Top middleweight contender James Kirkland will return to the ring in his home state of Texas on Friday, June 24 and is determined to make a statement against Dennis Sharpe Jr. in their eight-round middleweight in-arena featured bout on a hard-hitting card taking place at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas.
In the eight round televised main event, which headlines TeleFutura's "Sólo Boxeo Tecate, Fort Worth middleweight contender Brian Vera squares off against San Antonio's Eloy Suarez in a good ol' fashioned Texas shootout. The televised co-main event will see unbeaten Florida power puncher Joseph Elegele risk his unbeaten record in an eight round welterweight bout against Dallas' Noel Rodriguez.
Fans at home can also be part of the action by participating in Cinturón Tecate and voting for the fighter in the main event who displayed the most character in the ring by sending a text message to 55333. Voting will be open through the end of the weekend.
Exciting knockout artist James "Mandingo Warrior" Kirkland (27-1, 24 KO's) stomped everyone in his path at 154 pounds and even after a layoff of two years, he picked up where he left off, stopping Ahsandi Gibbs and Jhon Berrio in emphatic style earlier this year. In April, the Austin native was upset by Japan's Nobuhiro Ishida, a result which stunned the boxing world. The 27-year-old Kirkland has not let the setback deter him, and on June 24, he is back and ready to return to the win column.
Jersey City, New Jersey's Dennis Sharpe (17-7-3, KO's) has consistently faced the best available competition and his June 24 bout against Kirkland is no exception. In fact, in his last seven bouts (which include fights against the likes of Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin, Pawel Wolak and Deandre Latimore), Sharpe's opponents have walked into the ring with a combined 97-3 record. This Friday, he will look to put a severe dent in Kirkland's comeback plans.
A member of the cast of NBC's reality series "The Contender," Brian Vera (18-5, 11 KO's) is on his way to earning contender's status in his boxing life after the show, and once that goal is reached, a world title shot should be too far behind. Owner of a stirring knockout win over Andy Lee in 2008, Vera soon followed that with his most recent victory, a huge win over former World Champion Sergio "The Latin Snake" Mora in February. Vera will look to keep his hot streak going against Suarez on the 24th.
Eloy Suarez (11-11-1, 5 KO's) is well known for his toughness, and it's that ability that will serve him well in his June 24 fight with Vera. Celebrating his 10th year as a professional when he steps into the ring for the most important fight of his career, expect him to lay it all on the line in search of victory in this Texas grudge match.
Southpaw standout Joseph Elegele (12-0, 10 KO's) has been on an active path in his professional career, fighting seven times in 2010 and three times thus far in 2011. He hasn't had to work long in those bouts, as nine of his fights have ended with an Elegele knockout win three rounds or less. In his most recent bout, he knocked out Angel Hernandez in two rounds and he is looking forward to his Texas debut on Friday night.
Fellow lefthander Noel Rodriguez (14-2, 5 KO's) turned professional in 2004 and sailed to near the top of the 140-pound weight class until a 12-round decision loss to Francisco Figueroa in a 2007 bout for the NABF title. Discouraged by the defeat, Rodriguez took nearly three years off before returning in 2010 with a decision win over Raul Tovar last November. Now, he is refocused and ready to hand Elegele his first loss and get back on the road to the top.
This night of world-class professional boxing is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and is sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and AT&T. Doors open at 6:30pm CT on fight night and the first bell rings at 7:30pm CT. The TeleFutura broadcast begins at 11:30pm ET / PT (10:30pm CT).
Regular tickets, priced at $10, $20 and $50, are available at www.ridersbaseball.com. If purchased online or by phone, ticket service fees apply. If purchased in advance or on the day of the event at the Dr Pepper Ballpark box office, there are no ticket service fees. Fans can download vouchers for free general admission or upgrade to reserved seating for half price at www.ridersbaseball.com. Free General Admission seating is limited and available on a first come basis.