ShoBox: The New Generation begins its 15th year with an explosive quadrupleheader on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 live from Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz. In the main event of the evening, undefeated middleweight Rob “Bravo” Brant (18-0, 11 KOs, 0-3 in World Series of Boxing) of St. Paul, Minn., measures against Atlantic City’s Decarlo Perez (15-3-1, 5 KOs) in a 10-round matchup.
In co-featured bouts, unbeaten Harmonito “Hammer” Dela Torre (17-0, 12 KOs), of Las Vegas by way of Philippines, makes his United States debut against Rafael Guzman (16-1-1, 10 KOs), of Ensenada, Mexico in an eight-round super featherweight bout and undefeated heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (15-0-1, 13 KOs) of Brooklyn, N.Y. faces southpaw Donovan Dennis (14-3, 11 KOs, 2-1 in WSB) of Cleveland, Ohio in an eight-round scrap.
Opening the ShoBox telecast, hard-hitting Bakhtiyar Eyubov (9-0, 9 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y. by way of Kazakhstan, meets Jared Robinson (16-2-1, 7 KOs), of Sumter, S.C. in an eight-round super lightweight tiff.
The event is promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions.
Boxing historian and expert ring analyst Steve Farhood has called every fight on ShoBox since it premiered in 2001. He anticipates another year of excellent, competitive matchups in 2016.
“In 2015, we had eight fighters who appeared on ShoBox and went on to win world titles. That means the average number of shows in which you’ll see a future world champion is one out of four,” said Farhood.
“We saw some fantastic prospects last year, including Erickson Lubin and Regis Prograis and fresh faces like Jarrett Hurd, Rob Brant—and a fighter who almost seems ready to fight for a title now—Sergey Derevyanchenko. Given Shobox’s 15-year history, I’m fully expecting that we will have more of the same in 2016.’’
Brant, Perez and Miller will be making their second consecutive appearances on ShoBox. Brant and Miller were victorious last Oct. 23, Perez last Aug. 28. Robinson will also be making his second ShoBox start; the four other boxers will be making their debuts.
“Both Brant and Perez won their most recent appearances on ShoBox and both were impressive,’’ Farhood said. “Brant took a big step up and outpointed Louis Rose in October and Perez pulled off the upset over the previously unbeaten Juan Ubaldo Cabrera in August. So it makes all the sense in the world to match them against each other. On Jan. 22, we’re going to find out just how hot Rob Brant is.’’
Twenty-six-year-old Brant will be headlining his second consecutive ShoBox. In his first, he captured a hard-fought 10-round majority decision over Rose. Going 10 rounds for the first time, Brant triumphed in an entertaining tight fight.
Before turning pro in November 2010, Brant was a 2010 National Golden Gloves Champion at 178 pounds and a member of the U.S. national boxing team pro. He currently trains in Dallas alongside top prospect Errol Spence Jr.
“I’m really excited about this fight and I’ve been training hard for several weeks now,’’ Brant said. “I’ve got a very serious opponent in front of me. He rates about a 7.7 at everything, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of weaknesses. I’ve got to go back to pure boxing for this one. I have to be better in every department. It’s my second time headlining ShoBox and I plan on improving from the first time, so viewers can chart my progress. This is my time to show my growth.’’
Perez, who hails from a fighting family, has won four straight and nine of his last 10. He scored a surprising, upset, a 10-round unanimous decision over Cabrera (23-0 going in) in his last outing. Perez, who took the fight on a week’s notice, outpointed the two-time Dominican Republic Olympian by the scores of 98-91 twice and 97-92.
“I’m so excited I’m the main event on national television,’’ Perez said. “I don’t know a lot about my opponent but I’m well prepared, both mentally and physically. I plan on giving the fans an exciting night.
“Camp is going very well. My management team has brought in top sparring with all undefeated boxers, one being Julian Williams. I’m excited that my trainer is allowing me to fight the majority, if not all of this fight, in the southpaw stance. I’m really a southpaw, but I have fought right-handed most of my career.”
Perez’ last loss came on a split eight-round decision to world title challenger Wilky Campfort in January 2014. Outside the ring, Perez is a pharmacy technician at an Atlantic City hospital.
Miller, a former New York Golden Gloves finalist who turned pro in July 2009, is a confident, power-punching heavyweight who comes to knock you out. He won his ShoBox debut, stopping Akhror Muralimov with a devastating right hand to the chin at 1:03 in the third round.
“I feel like I should have been here two years ago,’’ Miller said. “I’m not coming to make friends. I’m here to annihilate and destroy the whole heavyweight division. On Jan. 22, I’m going to put Donovan Dennis to sleep. I’m not being heard right now, so I have to make myself known. After this fight and what I do to Dennis, things will really, really start to pick up. I’m ready to destroy.’’
Besides being a hard hitter, Miller has good overall skills and movement for a big man whose weight fluctuates from fight to fight. He’s won his last four by knockout, all inside three rounds.
Known for an aggressive style, Miller is now fully focused on a fistic career, but he hails from an MMA and kickboxing background. For a few years, he competed in K-1, historically the world’s premier kickboxing organization, and twice fought the legendary Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović.
“There seems to be a new energy and enthusiasm on the American heavyweight scene,’’ Farhood said. “Part of that is explained by the fall of a dominant champion in Wladimir Klitschko and part of it is explained by the emergence of Deontay Wilder, and even Travis Kauffman. So for a young heavyweight like Jarrell Miller, the time seems to be ideal to secure TV exposure and make a name for himself.’’
Dennis, 28, was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. Before turning pro in June 2010, he was a top-level amateur: 11-time Iowa State Champion, 2011 National Golden Gloves runner-up in and 2012 U. S. Olympic Games Trials contestant.
The 6-foot-4 Dennis possesses good skills, movement and punching power to go with his strong amateur background. His weakness is durability; he’s been knocked out in all of his losses.
“I’m ready to fight,’’ Dennis said. “I’ve been training really hard and I am looking forward to the fight. I just want to get this win and move on as I will have a big year in 2016.’’
Dela Torre, considered one of the top young talents in the Philippines, will be fighting outside of Asia for the first time. A big puncher and winner of seven straight by knockout, the 5-foot-8, 21-year-old is coming off a third-round TKO over Ricard Betos last Nov. 14.
“It’s every boxer’s dream to fight on big cards in United States. This is the next step in my pathway to becoming world champion,’’ Dela Torre said. “I can’t wait. This is an opportunity I will take advantage of and show everyone I’m ready to step up. I let my team concentrate on my opponents and pass me instructions. I just know I’ll be ready and able to stop any opponent.’’
Before turning professional at 17, Dela Torre was a top member on the Philippine National Amateur Boxing Team. As a pro, he has made a “name” for himself after an impressive victory over Jason Butar-Butar on the undercard of a Manny Pacquiao-headlined fight in November 2013.
Guzman, a 5-foot-8½-inch 20-year-old, will be making his U.S. debut and initial start outside of Mexico since turning pro at 16 in July 2011. In Dela Torre, Guzman will be taking a significant step up in class. He scored a third-round TKO over Pedro Lopez on his last start in Oct. 9.
“I’m feeling very strong and ready for the challenge of this fight,’’ Guzman said. “Fighting on SHOWTIME is a huge opportunity for me. I hear my opponent is a good fighter, but I am ready for anything he can throw. Everybody is going to be talking about me after this fight.”
Eyubov, 29, who could be on the fast track to stardom, is regarded by many to be the second-hardest Kazakh hitter in boxing, ranked only behind Gennady Golovkin. Since his days as an amateur when he won more than 150 fights, a vast majority by knockout, Eyubov has lived up to his reputation as a fearsome banger who looks to remove the judges from the equation.
He’s overwhelmed his first nine opponents as a pro, winning six by knockout in the first round and two by knockout in the second. The furthest he’s gone in a fight came in his second start when he scored a third-round TKO (2:57) over Jhaquis Davis. In his last outing on Oct. 29, he scored a 1:27, first-round TKO over Antonio Chaves Fernandes in Brooklyn.
Robinson, a pro since August 2009, fights out of Charlotte, N.C. A veteran of several scheduled 10-round fights, he’s undeniably the most experienced boxer Eyubov’s ever faced. A natural 140-pounder, Robinson won his initial 14 starts before losing on a fourth-round TKO to then-unbeaten Amir Imam on ShoBox in a bout he took on short notice on Feb. 21, 2014.
Two starts ago, Robinson fought to a disputed eight-round split draw against then-unbeaten Haskell Rhodes (23-0 going in) on June 21, 2015. An excellent boxer with good skills and movement, the 5-foot-9-inch Robinson, 33, is coming off a one-sided 10-round decision over Christian Dominguez last Sept. 26. Outside the ring, Robinson is a massage therapist.