WBO Junior Middleweight champion Sergiy Dzinziruk measured 153 pounds and challenger Daniel Dawson tipped the scales at 154 pounds during yesterday's weigh-in at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.
Dzinziruk (35-0, 23 KOs), a superstar in Europe, will make his U.S. professional debut and the fifth defense of his 154-pound title against the once-beaten, Australian-born Dawson (34-1, 24 KOs ) in the main event of Friday’s ShoBox: The New Generation live at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) on Showtime.
Unbeaten prospect Vernon Paris (20-0, 13 KOs), of Detroit, Mich , and the tough Juan Santiago (12-3-1, 7 KOs), of Denver, Colo., both measured 146.5 pounds during Friday’s weigh in. The two will face off in an eight round welterweight fight in the ShoBox co-feature.
The 34-year-old Dzinziruk, of Hamburg, Germany, is arguably the world’s top junior middleweight, but is largely unknown in the U.S. The southpaw, who is currently training in Los Angeles for his first world title defense in more than 17 months, was inactive in ’09 due to a contract dispute with his European former promoter.
Despite the inactivity, Dzinziruk is still drawing raves reviews and is the No. 1 ranked junior middleweight by many well-respected boxing websites, including ESPN.com and FightNews, ahead of 154-pound stars Alfredo Angulo, Antonio Margarito, Kermit Cintron, Cory Spinks and Yuri Foreman.
Dawson’s only loss came to then-unbeaten Daniel Geale for the IBO 154-pound belt in 2007. The 33-year-old Dawson is a late replacement for Sherzod Husanov, who couldn’t make it to the U.S. from Russia due to visa issues.
The telecast will originate from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., and will be promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC.
What the fighters had to say on Thursday:
“Normally, it’s not a good thing to change an opponent at the last minute. But, we had enough time to see Dawson ’s tapes and study him, so we’re ready.
“We know what we need to do to beat him. We’ve watched enough to know what his weaknesses are. There’s going to be a feeling-out process in the beginning, but then I’ll adapt and do whatever it takes to win the fight.
“I’m a fighter, I’m a world champion. I want to impress the American fans, but I also want to win. The European style is a little bit different, but that doesn’t matter. I’m going to do everything I can to win this fight.”
“I was always in the gym, even during my layoff. I always had fights promised to me that never came through. So, I’ve always been in shape.”
“This is the right time for me, it’s the perfect opportunity. I’ve been waiting to get in the ring to show people what I can do. It’s a world title fight; it’s going to be tough. It’s a good challenge.
“I saw him a good amount in the gym, so I know what I’m getting into. I’ve been ready to fight for a while. I’ve had a lot of fights cancelled lately, so I’m hungry to get in there.
“In my layoff, we’ve been anticipating fighting, so the layoff shouldn’t hurt me. I like fighting against southpaws; I like their style, so that won’t be a problem at all.
“They say style makes fights, and this will be a great style matchup.”
“This guy was a late change for me, but that doesn’t matter. I was in the gym and fighting on this card anyways. I don’t know much about this guy, that’s how I fight. I’ll do what I need to do in the ring. Whatever happens, happens.
“I’m on the straight and narrow, focused and mature. I’m focused on my career and keeping my perfect record. I’ve got to fight to provide for my daughter.
“I’ve been training at Wildcard (gym) with Amir Khan, so I’ve been in there with some good guys. I probably did 15 rounds with him.”
“I like our chances with this guy. I know him as a fighter and I think we’ve got a great chance against him. “I know he’s slick fighter, but he fought Corey Alarcon, a stablemate of mine. He’ll have his hands full with me.”
“I’m an aggressive fighter. I like to be the bully in my fights. I’ve never been knocked down, knock on wood, but I don’t plan on it happening tomorrow night.
“I’ve fought a few southpaws so I don’t think his style will be a difference for me. I know he can switch it up in there, so I’ll be ready for everything.”
Curt Menefee will call the action from ringside with the Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.