Luis Del Valle Risks Perfect Record Against Christopher Martin In Co-Feature; Promising Youngster Jose Pedraza Opens Telecast Against Gil Garcia
Six hungry prospects with a combined record of 88-4-5 with 61 knockouts will clash in a trio of vitally important fights on ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, April 27, live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla.
In the main event, unbeaten southpaw and IBO super middleweight champion Thomas “Tommy Gun” Oosthuizen (18-0-1, 13 KOs) of Gauteng, South Africa, will make his ShoBox debut when he meets Marcus “Too Much” Johnson (21-1, 15 KOs), of Houston, in a 10-round super middleweight bout.
Undefeated Luis Orlando Del Valle (15-0, 11 KOs) of Bayamon, P.R., gets the toughest test of his career when he faces Christopher Martin (23-1-3, 6 KOs) of Chula Vista, Calif., in a 10-round super bantamweight battle.
Former international amateur standout and current World Boxing Council (WBC) super featherweight Youth champion Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza (7-0, 6 KOs), of Caguas, P.R., will open the telecast against Gil Garcia (5-2-1, 1 KO) in an eight-round super featherweight bout.
ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood is eager to see how the intriguing matchups play out. “I’m anxious to see Oosthuizen,” Farhood said. “He seems like a physical marvel because he’s 6-feet-4 and makes 168 pounds. This division is one we’ve targeted on SHOWTIME and ShoBox so we’ll get our chance to see if he’s going to be a player or not. But he’s matched very tough. Johnson has proven in his previous ShoBox appearances that he has a lot of talent. If he’s motivated, this is a virtual pick ’em fight.
“Del Valle shined in his one previous ShoBox fight, but Martin is a slick, very experienced boxer who’s certainly a top 15 super bantamweight. So Del Valle is taking a big step up in class.
“And it’s very exciting to have Pedraza on ShoBox. He’s clearly one of best prospects in the world and might just be the best prospect in Puerto Rico, which is saying a lot given all the young talent on the island today.”
Oosthuizen, 24, is managed and trained by fellow countryman and former two-time world title challenger, Harold Volbrecht. The son of former two-division South African champion Charles Oosthuizen, Thomas is ranked No. 7 in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and No. 10 by the WBC.
A rangy boxer-puncher, Oosthuizen has fought all but one of his fights in South Africa. This will be his second go in the United States after winning a unanimous decision over Aaron Pryor Jr., on Sept. 3, 2011, in Biloxi, Miss. The fast-starting Oosthuizen, despite a right eye that was cut and badly swollen, outlasted Pryor by the score of 117-111 three times.
Oosthuizen is coming off a sixth-round TKO over Serge Yannick on March 3. He turned pro in February 2008. The sole blemish on his record, a Nov. 6, 2010, draw, came in his 14th fight in a 12-rounder against Isaac Chilemba.
Johnson, who is making his 2012 debut, regained his winning ways in his last outing by outpointing William Bailey across six rounds on Nov. 19. In his outing before last, the 26-year-old suffered his lone defeat on an upset 10-round decision to Dyah Davis on April 8, 2011, on ShoBox.
A terrific amateur who just missed making the 2004 United States Olympic team, he twice defeated Andre Dirrell before losing to Andre Ward in the trials and The Box-Offs. Johnson was ranked in the top 10 by two of boxing’s major organizations before the stunning setback to Davis, the son of 1976 U.S. Olympian Howard Davis.
“Everything happens in its own time, but I’m ready to make another move,” said Johnson, a skilled boxer-puncher. “I have a lot to prove in this fight. I just want to thank SHOWTIME for having me again.”
Johnson’s other ShoBox appearances came against Victor Villereal (Oct. 2, 2009), Derek Edwards (April 30, 2010) and Kevin Engle (Nov. 5, 2010).
The world-ranked Del Valle, a quality prospect and member of the vaunted Team Puerto Rico, is rated No. 3 at featherweight in the World Boxing Association (WBA) and No. 8 in the World Boxing Organization (WBO). He’s won eight of his last 10 fights by knockout.
This will be the 5-foot-6, 25-year-old Del Valle’s second start in 2012 and third since he won his ShoBox debut with an impressive 10-round unanimous decision over Dat Nguyen. Del Valle is coming off a clear but hard-fought unanimous eight-round decision over Mexico’s Jose Beranza on Jan. 21.
“I’m very excited and can’t wait for this fight,” said Del Valle, who lives in Puerto Rico and splits training between Puerto Rico and New York. “Martin beat Eduardo Arcos and Chris Avalos and the only fight he lost was very close. But with me, there won’t be any excuses. I’m going to win. I feel I’m a complete fighter and if I just stay focused, everything will fall into place. I want to fight for a world title by early 2013.”
An outstanding amateur who captured countless titles en route to going 114-12, Del Valle has been a pro since April 11, 2008. A natural left-hander who fights from the orthodox stance, Del Valle made headlines recently for nearly getting into a fight with WBO bantamweight champion Jorge Arce at the weigh-in for the rematch between Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez in Puerto Rico.
Martin, the No. 8-ranked contender at 122 pounds in the International Boxing Federation (IBF), was unbeaten through 25 fights (23-0-2) with his most significant success coming in his 10-round debut on a split decision over the previously unbeatenAvalos on ShoBox, on Aug. 6, 2010, in Hinckley, Minn.
The 5-foot-7, 25-year-old Martin is looking to rebound on April 27, however, after going 0-1-1 in his last two starts. He boxed a 10-round majority draw with Teon Kennedy last Jan. 13, and dropped a split nod to Beranza on Oct. 1, 2011. The draw was scored 95-95, 95-95 and 97-93 for Kennedy. Martin lost to Beranza by the scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92.
“I definitely have a lot to prove,” said Martin, a pro since July 2006. “My last fight, I didn’t fight my best, and I felt I lost to Beranza. There was just too much going on before that one. I never get nervous and I got nervous. I trained hard. It just wasn’t me with the same edge. It was like just going through the motions.
“Somebody once told me that I ‘fight to my opponent’s level.’ And even though I didn’t want it to be true, it is true. When I fought Avalos, I knew I was going to be a challenged. That is how I feel now.”
Pedraza represented Puerto Rico in the 2008 Olympics. He also was a gold medalist at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games, and was a three-time Puerto Rican national amateur champion.
A pro for little more than a year, the 21-year-old has mostly blitzed his opposition, winning all but one of his seven fights by knockout. He turned pro on Feb. 18, 2011, and fought six times that year. In his 2012 debut, he registered a fourth-round TKO over Anthony Woods in Puerto Rico.
“My training is going great. We are ready for any challenge and the fans can expect a great fight,” said Pedraza, who trains in his hometown of Cidra, P.R. Jose started boxing when he was 10 and turned pro on Dec. 3, 2009, after going 155-15 in the amateurs.
Pedraza’s opponent, Garcia, is no stranger to tough competition in his young career. The Houston native has already faced unbeaten prospects like Jerry Belmontes, Jesse Magdaleno and Gabino Saenz.