Gary Shaw Productions in association with Lucas Oil look to put on a stellar edition of ESPN's Friday Night Fights, August 9 at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif. In action that night, rising lightweight Rustum Nugaev (24-6, 14 KOs) squares off against Jose Hernandez (14-6-1, 6 KOs) in the evening's main event.
Nugaev is coming off of his two biggest wins in a row and ever since his return to the ring in 2013 he's looked solid and stayed busy. In his last bout, Nugaev defeated veteran Daniel Attah in impressive fashion.
The win was a barometer type victory over an opponent that has been beaten by many top fighters, but his win over Jonathan Maicelo was an impressive upset. That victory put Nugaev's talent on full display.
The fact that Nugaev is putting himself out there again so quickly with very little downtime in between fights is a main factor in the title implications surrounding him. The kind of run Nugaev has been on is impressive, but he says it is only the beginning.
"I feel great right now, fighters always say these things but I can prove it on August 9th. I feel like for the first time in my career I'm going down the right path at the right time, I always believed in luck being a residue of hard work and my opponent is going to have to deal with both come fight night," Nugaev said.
His opponent, Jose Hernandez, is coming off an impressive win in his own right, defeating Canadian prospect Tony Luis back in January of 2013 in a fairly significant upset. However, Nugaev knows what he has to do to be successful.
"He's a worthy opponent and that is how I want it, make no mistake about my desire to fight the best out there. My opponent can feel good about his accolades, but those accolades only make my victory more impressive," Nugaev said.
With the bout headlining Friday Night Fights, Nugaev is in prime position to become a fan favorite. A highly publicized win on ESPN could give Nugaev the attention he needs to get a major fight.
"ESPN is giving me the opportunity to be seen by more fans than ever before and I'm very appreciative of that. I would never overlook anyone and I know I have to get past this very difficult opponent first, but I have plans. I feel I matchup well with guys like Gamboa, Linares, and Demarco, just to name a few," Nugaev said.
This is a significant bout in the 135lb division and Gary Shaw knows what a win could do for either fighter, but the fact that they are both crowd pleasing fighters is a bonus that ticket buyers and ESPN viewers will benefit from.
"When you have a style matchup like this you don't worry about the entertainment factor of the fight, you just sit back and enjoy," said Shaw. "These guys have had some really impressive outings of late and I know they will both bring in this Friday."
The co-feature is just as exciting and it has all the potential to steal the show with junior lightweights Gabriel Tolmajyan (14-2-1, 3 KOs) and Jose Pedraza (13-0, 9 KOs) squaring off in a matchup that holds a ton of promise for the winner.
Tolmajyan is coming off of a minor upset win over previously undefeated Puerto Rican standout Jorge Maysonet Jr., and like Maysonet Jr., Pedraza is coming into the bout as an undefeated prospect with a lot to gain from a win. Tolmajyan knows that another win in front of a televised audience could mean big things for his future and he is focused on the task at hand.
"I can't even describe how badly I want this, I feel like this is my opportunity to move up the rankings and solidify my status as one of the best in the division. This is my time and I know that in this sport you don't get many, so my plan is to come out and leave it all in the ring," said Tolmajyan.
Pedraza, who's a member of Team Puerto and co-promoted by GSP, Universal Promotions and DiBella entertainment, is on a mission of his own, taking a 3 fight KO streak into his bout with Tolmajyan.
The last being a sensational 7th round knockout on HBO against a durable opponent in Mexico's Sergio Villanueva (26-3-2, 13 KOs). The fact that he has performed so well in his last few outings has given him the kind of confidence he will need to tackle the obstacle at hand.
Typically, a young undefeated fighter like Pedraza is plagued by a lack of experience, but it is obvious that the 24 year old Puerto Rican is growing with every fight, both physically and mentally.
"I don't get caught up on my record or my resume like other fighters. I'm focused on the things that matter and those things are proven every day in the gym. I stay geared towards winning and getting better in camp. My confidence doesn't come from the things I've done, it comes from the things I know I'm capable of doing.
"My opponent shouldn't concern himself with what I've accomplished on paper, he should worry about what I've learned from my past fights and camps and the fact that I scrutinize myself even in my victories," Pedraza said.
While both competitors are excited about the potential perks associated with a big win on network TV, Gary Shaw is excited about the potential fireworks that exist with the style matchup in the co-feature.
"This is a fantastic card and the fans are in for a great night of fights. The winner of this fight will position themselves nicely but an action packed fight could further both guys status and fans will want to see more from both men if they can produce the kind of fight they are capable of producing," Shaw said.
Tickets priced $35 & $55 are on sale now and can be purchased at the Morongo Casino Box office or by calling the Box office hotline at (951) 755-5391. Tickets are also available by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745- 3000 or online at ticketmaster.com.
The Morongo Casino Resort and Spa is located at 49500 Seminole Dr, Cabazon, CA, 92230. Doors open at 5:00 p.m , first fight starts at 5:30 p.m. ESPN "Friday Night Fights" telecast begins at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.