Showtime Networks Inc. announced today that undefeated IBF Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute, one of the most talented pound-for-pound and popular fighters of this era, has signed a multi-fight agreement with the premium television network.
The announcement was made by Ken Hershman, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports, and Jean Bedard, Bute’s promoter and President of InterBox, at a press conference in Las Vegas.
With the network’s ongoing Super Six World Boxing Classic, which includes the best active fighters in the division, Bute is afforded a number of potential matchups on Showtime.
The remaining tournament participants all have high-stakes bouts in the coming weeks: Allan Green-Glen Johnson (tomorrow, Sat., Nov. 6 live at 10p ET/PT), Carl Froch-Arthur Abraham (Sat., Nov. 27 for vacant WBC title) and WBA World Champion Andre Ward against non-tournament contender Sakio Bika, (Sat., Nov. 27). The field boasts multiple super middleweight belts, boxing styles and virtually anything a courageous super middleweight would seek in opposition.
Bute ’s first fight in the new deal will be scheduled for the first quarter of 2011 against an opponent to be announced.
“We are very excited for Lucian Bute to rejoin us on Showtime,” said Hershman. “In the next six weeks alone, Showtime will feature a virtual who’s who of the most talented and accomplished champions at both 168 and 175 pounds. Lucian’s entrance into that mix is sure to deliver even more thrilling, closely matched fights in 2011 to our network subscribers.”
“It’s a real honor for me to be given this opportunity to face the top fighters of my division on the premium television network Showtime. I want to prove that I’m the best super middleweight in the world and this opportunity will allow me do just that,” stated Bute, who gladly put his vacation in Romania on hold to announce this signing and to meet the press in Las Vegas . “I want to thank Jean Bedard and Ken Hershman for getting this deal done. I could not be happier or more proud.”
“This is a great day for InterBox,” said Bedard. “This agreement proves to everyone in boxing that InterBox is a world-class organization and Lucian is a great champion. Lucian will have the chance to fight the best fighters in his category and clean up his division. I am sure that Showtime subscribers from coast-to-coast will experience great boxing moments watching Lucian fight, as his fans do in Quebec and throughout Canada every time he steps into the ring.”
Bute, 30, is Romanian born and living in Montreal , Canada , where he routinely draws a sellout crowd. He is a natural left-handed fighter with supreme counter-punching ability, speed and power. The 6-foot, 2 ½-inch Bute carries a record of 27-0 with 22 knockouts.
Bute won the IBF title from Alejandro Berrio in 2007. He has since made six successful defenses against William Joppy, Librado Andrade twice, Fulgencio Zuniga, Edison Miranda and, just two weeks ago, Jesse Brinkley. All but one of those wins has come by knockout.
In his first appearance on Showtime, Bute retained the IBF crown with a lopsided 12-round decision over Andrade on Oct. 24, 2008, in one of the most talked about final rounds of the last decade.
Bute began boxing in Galat, Romania when he was 14. He had a stellar amateur career, winning 235 of 250 bouts. Bute earned a bronze medal at the 1999 World Championships in Houston, Texas, and a bronze medal in 1998 in Argentina at the Junior World tournament. He moved to Canada in October 2003 at the age of 23. He turned pro on Nov. 22, 2003.