Four dedicated, determined fighters with a combined 64 wins with 41 knockouts will be featured when ShoBox: The New Generation returns Friday, Aug. 6, on Showtime at 1 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast.
In yet another ShoBox battle of unbeatens, world-ranked bantamweight Chris Avalos (16-0, 13 KOs), of Lancaster, Calif., by way of San Diego, will face California state featherweight and junior featherweight champion Chris “The San Diego Kid” Martin (18-0-2, 5 KOs), of Chula Vista, Calif., in an excellent 10-round main event.
Undefeated, hard-hitting cruiserweight Lateef “Power’’ Kayode (12-0, 11 KOs), of Nigeria, will seek his 12th consecutive knockout when he makes his ShoBox debut against Puerto Rico’s Alfredo Escalera, Jr. (18-2-1, 12 KOs), the son and namesake of the former world champion, in the eight-round co-feature at Grand Casino Hinckley, in Hinckley, Minn. The doubleheader is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC.
Avalos, who’ll be making his fourth appearance on ShoBox and second in a main event, has been steadily ascending through the ranks and is currently rated No. 5 by the WBO and No. 11 by the WBA.
“With names like Fernando Montiel, Yonnhy Perez and Abner Mares, bantamweight is a very exciting and competitive division,” said Gordon Hall, Executive Producer of ShoBox.
“It’s good to see these upcoming guys, like Avalos and Martin, putting their unbeaten records on the line to prove themselves as legitimate prospects and near future contenders.”
“As long as I keep doing my job and winning and getting the type of exposure I’m getting on Showtime, I should keep moving up,’’ said the 5-foot-7, 20-year-old Avalos, who has won three straight by knockout and seven of his last eight.
“But there’s still a lot of work to do. The more I step up, the tougher the opposition. I definitely expect a good fight against Martin.’’
Named by several publications in 2009 as a Prospect to Watch in 2010, the promising youngster has done his part so far with an extremely active schedule. He turned pro on Feb. 1, 2008, fought eight times that year and six times in ‘09. This will be this third outing in 2010.
An aggressive, crowd-pleasing fighter with solid two-fisted punching power, Avalos tends to get reckless on occasion and forgets to play defense, but it’s his all-out style that makes him that much more entertaining to watch. In his most recent start, he blew away John Molina in two rounds last April 24 in Ontario, Calif.
Avalos, who is managed by Mike Criscio and is a stablemate of unbeaten two-time light heavyweight world champion and ShoBox alumnus Chad Dawson and junior middleweight contender Alfredo Angulo, won his main event debut with an impressive fourth-round TKO over Jose Nieves last Jan. 29 in Albuquerque, N.M., on ShoBox.
“I’m beyond happy, but I didn’t think it would end that quickly,” said Avalos after the Nieves fight. “I thought it would go into the sixth round. He was a good fighter. I was just the better fighter tonight.”
Five outings ago, in the co-feature on ShoBox, Avalos scored a thrilling fourth-round knockout over Giovanni Caro in a slugfest on Sept. 18, 2009, at Santa Ynez, Calif. Avalos registered a second-round TKO over Andre Wilson in his ShoBox debut on July 31, 2009, at Temecula, Calif.
On the July 16 ShoBox telecast, expert analyst Steve Farhood previewed the Aug. 6 bout by stating, “You want to see some power punching, you watch Chris Avalos.”
Fellow analyst Antonio Tarver seconded Farhood’s notion by adding, “I thought Chris Avalos had star potential from day one. He’s not afraid of taking chances and has a knack for bringing the unexpected to a fight.”
A winner of eight in a row, the slick-boxing, 5-foot-6, 24-year-old Martin captured the California State 126-pound title in his last outing with a convincing, lopsided yet entertaining eight-round decision over Adolfo Landeros on June 11, 2010, in San Diego.
“That was a good win for me,” said Martin, who has fought nearly half his fights in the San Diego area. “I feel I’m ready to fight some name opponents. I’m OK with whoever they place in front of me. In all my fights, I give it my all and never leave anything in the ring.’’
Martin won the California State 122-pound crown with a seventh-round knockout over Eduardo Arcos on Nov. 12, 2009. Martin retained the crown with a sixth-round knockout over Ruben Lopez on April 8, 2010.
Durable and disciplined, the confident, well-conditioned, non-stop punching Martin will try to utilize his excellent jab and movement against the aggressive-minded Avalos, who had difficulty with the skilled boxer Nieves, until Avalos turned around the fight with one punch.
Martin, who started boxing at 14, excelled as an amateur, winning the 2005 Ringside World Championship and a California State Golden Gloves Championship. After turning pro in July 2006, Martin went 4-0 before fighting the first of his two draws. He trains out of the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista .
Kayode currently resides in Hollywood, Calif. He’s promoted by Shaw and trained by the famed Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym. An imposing figure with chiseled hands, Kayode has won his last 11 fights by knockout - all inside four rounds - since winning by decision in his pro debut in August 2008. He is coming off a second-round knockout over Jose Herrera last May 14 at Santa Ynez, Calif.
The 6-foot-2, 27-year-old Nigerian, whose goal is to become a cruiserweight world champion, turned to boxing in 1988 after growing up on the tough streets of the Surulere district of Lagos.
“It seemed like every day one of the guys in the local gangs would demand that I buy them something at the store, or just demand I hand over my money to them,’’ he said.
“If I said no, they’d beat me up. If you bought them things, it only made them want to keep coming back to you. That’s why I needed to learn how to fight.
“And once they learned I knew how to fight, they stopped bothering me. That’s how I got my nickname, because my power came from the streets.”
Kayode would become the top Nigerian amateur heavyweight, winning gold medals in Pan-African competitions in Ghana, Morocco and Algeria. After arriving in the United States to pursue his dream, he went to Chicago to try and qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games.
But his flight was delayed. “By the time I got there, the tournament had already started,” he said. So, the boxer turned pro. “The Nigerian Air Force wanted me to join, but it wasn’t for me,’’ Kayode said. “ I knew I wanted to be a professional boxer.’’
Kayode campaigned as a heavyweight for his first 10 fights. This will be his third start at cruiserweight.
Escalera, whose father was a former WBC super featherweight champion, turned pro in April 2005 and won his initial 14 fights, 11 by knockout. He’s won his last two starts and three out of four. In his last fight, he registered a six-round decision victory over Hilario Guzman on July 3, 2009.
In 2008, Escalera joined the fourth season of The Contender. He won his first fight against Jon Schneider via unanimous decision before Akinyemi "A.K." Laleye knocked him out in the fifth round of their quarterfinal matchup.
The six-foot, 30-year-old split his time growing up in San Juan and Orlando , Fla. , where his mother resides. Besides his father, he also had a brother, uncle and a couple of cousins who also boxed.
“I sort of got interested in boxing because of my dad, but because I didn’t live with him I took up football and wrestling,’’ he said. “I wrestled for five years. I played 13 years of football. But whenever I was on the island, I would train in the gyms with my dad. Right after I got out of high school, I decided I had been fighting in the streets so much that I just said ‘let me go ahead and make it legal’ and I got in the ring.’’
Escalera, who possesses good skills and movement, started boxing at the age of 19. He compiled a record of 21-3 in the amateurs. He fights out of Florida ; 15 of his fights have emanated from the Sunshine State.