Thomas Dulorme (13-0, 10 KOs), of Carolina, Puerto Rico, will face surging southpaw, Jose Reynoso (15-3-1, 2 KOs), of Riverside, Calif., by way of Mexicali, Mex., for the vacant NABF welterweight title in the main event on ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, Feb. 17, live on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast.
The headlining fighters will make their ShoBox debuts in a 10-round welterweight bout with a contracted limit of 143 pounds.
In the co-feature at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., the power-punching Puerto Rican, Jonathan “Mantequilla” Gonzalez (14-0, 13 KOs), of San Juan, will battle Billy Lyell (24-10-2, 5 KOs), of Warren, Ohio, in a 10-round junior middleweight match.
Despite having only 13 fights, Dulorme (pronounced Do-Lore-May) is already ranked in the top 10 by both the World Boxing Association (No. 3) and World Boxing Council (No. 8) at welterweight. Some consider the charismatic youngster a superstar in the making.
A hard-hitting sort who also can box, the highly regarded Dulorme has been spectacular and explosive enough to warrant the lofty praise. But he’ll get his toughest test to date against Reynoso, who’s unbeaten in his last six starts (5-0-1).
“I’m always looking to fight the best guys available and I’m expecting a good fight,’’ the crowd-pleasing Dulorme said. “I’ve been in with left-handers before. Fighting for the first time in 2012, I want to come out with a bang and show the audience on ShoBox that I’m the real deal.
“Capturing the NABF title will get me one step closer to my dream of becoming a world champion.”
Since turning pro after a terrific amateur career that included winning a Golden Gloves championship, the 5-foot-9 ½-inch Dulorme, who turns 22 on Jan. 29, has campaigned in three weight classes: welterweight, junior welterweight (140 pounds) and lightweight (135 pounds).
Dulorme won a four-round majority decision in his pro debut on Aug. 13, 2008. His next 10 fights ended by knockout -- two in the first round, eight in the second. He’s been victorious in his last two starts via lopsided decision, a 10-round triumph over former world champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley on June 10, 2011, and a nine-round win over world title challenger Charlie Navarro the following Oct. 22.
Although he knows he’s an underdog, Reynoso is anxiously awaiting this fight, his first since taking an eight-round decision over Esteban Almarez on June 22, 2011.
“This is the most important fight of my career. I’m fighting for everything, and this fight means everything to me,’’ the 5-foot-7, 27-year-old Reynoso said. “I’ve seen tapes. I know he’s undefeated and a hard banger, but he hasn’t fought solid opposition like I have. He’s strong, but I’m strong too, and I plan to put him to the test. If I have to trade shots, I will. I have much more power than my record says.
“This isn’t the first time I’ll enter the ring an underdog, so I’m used to that kind of pressure. I’m coming to win and I’m going to surprise everybody.’’
In the co-featured bout, Gonzalez, who’s ranked by three of the four major boxing organizations, is 14 fights into a career that began in January 2009. A former amateur standout and a 2008 Olympic representative for Puerto Rico , he’s rated No. 7 in both the WBC and World Boxing Organization (WBO) and No. 12 in the WBA.
This will be Gonzalez’ second consecutive start on ShoBox. In his debut and most recent outing last June 11, he recorded a unanimous 10-round decision over Richard Gutierrez. It was the first time the 5-foot-11, 22-year old Gonzalez had gone the distance since he went pro. None of his previous 12 outings had lasted more than seven rounds. Eleven of the KO wins came within three sessions.
Lyell is a durable, hard-luck 27-year-old who doesn’t seem to get the benefit of the doubt in tough fights against favored fighters on the road.
In his last bout, the 5-foot-9 Lyell lost a majority 10-round decision to local favorite Dominik Britsch (25-0 going in) on Oct. 22 in Germany . On Jan. 29, 2011, he came up on the wrong end of a close 10-round decision to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (41-0-1 going in) in Mexico .
One fight that went Lyell’s way: He scored a shocking split 10-round decision over previously undefeated John Duddy on April 24, 2009.