Showtime’s Showbox takes it to the next level

Are they promoting the wrong fighter? Here we see Chris Martin of Chula Vista landing a big overhand right on the chin of Chris Avalos when the two fought August, 9, 2010 at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota, a fight that was televised on Showtime’s Showbox. Since that time, Martin has remained undefeated and won the NABO super bantamweight title.

If you’re a boxing fan what could be more scrumptious than back-to-back telecasts of boxing action? Just weeks before it celebrates its tenth anniversary, there will be a double airing of ShoBox on consecutive nights, Friday, June 10 at 11 p.m. and a special Saturday edition on June 11 at 10:35 p.m. featuring 12 top flight boxers with a combined record of 181-11-2 and 111 KOs. It’s the first time the popular, critically acclaimed boxing series which has spawned 42 world champions will go two nights in a row.

In the June 10 main event, hard-hitting Lateef Kayode (16-0, 14 KOs) will risk his unblemished record against the more experienced Matt “Too Smooth” Godfrey (20-2, 14 KOs) of Providence, R.I., in a 10-round cruiserweight bout at Chumash Resort Casino in Santa Ynez, CA. Other bouts on a Gary Shaw Productions-promoted event: Chris Avalos (18-1, 15 KOs) of San Diego, CA,  faces undefeated Khabir “Crazy Russian” Suleymanov (11-0, 5 KOs) of Los Angeles by way of Chelybinsk, Russia in a 10-round super bantamweight match and Archie Ray Marquez (12-0, 8 KOs), of Albuquerque, N.M., and Armenian-born Art “Lionheart” Hovanessian(13-0, 7 KOs), of Glendale, CA, clash in an eight-round battle of unbeaten lightweights.


The June 11 fight card features four Puerto Rican fighters on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. In the featured attraction, Hector “El Flaco” Sanchez (19-1, 9 KOs), of Santuce, P.R., will be opposed by Vincent Arroyo (11-1, 7 KOs), of Rio Piedras, P.R. in a 10-round junior welterweight scrap at Roseland Ballroom in New York City. This co-promoted event with DiBella Entertainment and Gary Shaw Productions will include a 10-round featherweight affair between Luis Orlando “Orlandito” Del Valle (12-0,10 KOs), of Bayamon, P.R., and his toughest foe to date, Dat “Be Dat’’ Nguyen (17-1, 6 KOs) of Vietnam, and an eight-rounder pitting 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian, power-punching Jonathan Gonzalez (13-0, 13 KOs), of Rio Piedras, against Colombian Richard Gutierrez (26-6-1, 16 KOs), of Miami, in a middleweight match.

Lateef Kayode

Lateef Kayode, the highly regarded Freddie Roach-trained puncher-boxer of Hollywood, CA, by way of Lagos, Nigeria, had a 14-fight knockout streak end in his most recent fight when he had to settle for a unanimous 10-round decision over the awkward but elusive Nicholas Iannuzzi Feb. 4 on ShoBox at Chumash.






Matt Godfrey

Matt Godfrey, 30, has a distinct class advantage and has won a few minor titles. He’s been knocked down twice in his career only to get up and win. His only losses were against hometown favorites in Germany, to WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck on a fifth-round TKO in his last start on Aug. 21, 2010, and on a 12-round decision to Rudolf Kraj in a WBC eliminator in March 2008. Godfrey, a six-time New England Golden Gloves champion, had more than 200 amateur bouts.

Chris Avalos will be making his sixth start at Chumash and fifth on ShoBox. A pro since February 2008, the 21-year-old has won two consecutive fights since suffering his lone defeat to fellow unbeaten Christopher Martin on Aug. 6, 2010, onShoBox in Hinckley, Minn. Avalos won a third-round technical decision over Cecilio Santos in his last outing on Dec. 11, 2010 on the non-televised undercard of the SHOWTIME Bantamweight Tournament.

Khabir Suleymanov, 30, will be making his ShoBox debut. He captured the vacant North American Boxing Organization (NABO) crown in his last start with a thrilling ninth-round KO of Francisco Gallo on Oct. 22, 2010, in Glendale, CA. Suleymanov floored Gallo with a right hand late in the round. Gallo made it to his feet but could not continue and the referee stopped the bout at 2:59. A former top kickboxer, Suleymanov turned pro in September 2006. He and his twin brother, Sabir, made it to the bantamweight finals of the 2005 New York Golden Gloves. Rather than fight each other, both were awarded gold medals.

Archie Ray Marquez, one of the most talented boxers to come out of Albuquerque in years, went 2-0 in 2010 and will be making his third appearance on ShoBox. In his last effort on April 2, the 22-year-old registered a unanimous eight-round decision over Johnny Frazier in Bernalillo, N.M. Marquez went 115-15 in the amateurs. His pro debut came in March 2005.

The Armenian-born Artyom Hovhanessian will be making his ShoBox debut. The 29-year-old former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao has won 11 consecutive fights and five of his last six inside the distance, including a fifth-round knockout over Luis Lugo last April 23 in Los Angeles. Hovhanessian turned pro in April 2006 and fought his initial three fights in France.

Hector Sanchez, of Rio Piedras, will be making just his third start since December 2008 and first since a shocking fifth-round TKO loss to Cleotis Pendarvis on April 2, 2010, in Las Vegas. The two-time Puerto Rican national champion and the 2000 Junior Olympic Bronze medalist compiled an amateur record of 72-10 before turning pro in March 2005. His most notable victory came on an eight-round decision over former world champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop’’ Corley on April 10, 2009.

Vincent Arroyo, 23, has won two straight, including an eight-round majority decision over the previously undefeated Willie Nelson last April 8 onShobox, since suffering his only setback on a six-round nod to Mike Dallas Jr. on Sept. 12, 2009.

The 24-year-old Luis Orlando Del Valle has won five in a row by knockout, including a sixth-round TKO over Irving Hernandez in his last outing Feb. 18 in Puerto Rico. Del Valle, who was an outstanding amateur for the U.S. before turning pro in April 2008, knocked out Pasqual Rouse in the fourth round to capture the New York State featherweight title on July 10, 2010, in Poughkeepsie.

In August 2009, Dat Nguyen had his arm raised in victory at the Pala Casino in Pala, Ca. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Del Valle’s opponent, Dat Nguyen, not to be confused with the former NFL defensive back, has competed exclusively in the United States since turning pro in May 2004. As an amateur in 2003, he became the first Vietnamese-American to earn a spot in the U.S. Championships, where he lost to eventual Olympic gold medalist Mickey Bey.

The 28-year-old, a resident of Vero Beach, Fla., won his last six starts, all by decision, over a bunch of lightweights. His last fight, an eight-round decision win over Andres Ledesma, a guy who’s won just two times in his last 19 fights, was a while back, Oct. 10, 2009. Nguyen suffered his lone loss on a six-round split decision to Gregorio Torres in August 2007, a journeymen boxer who lost to both Charles Huerta and Chris Martin. Here’s hoping Nguyen has improved from his former predictable self of bull rushing an opponent, then repetitiously throwing a jab followed by the overhand right.







It's carnival time at all Dat Nguyen fights. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Nguyen’s ring entrance needs no enhancements, it’s a site to behold. When performing at the Pala Casino in August 2009 against Noe Lopez Jr., it featured a colorful, celebratory gyrating dragon dancing to the beat of a steel drum.

Jonathan Gonzalez, 21, who’s a bit of a brawler, has fought into the seventh round only once. That bout came in his last outing against Rudy Cisneros at Chumash this past May 13. Eleven of his KO wins have come within three rounds. The No. 11 contender in the WBA has fought 10 of his 13 fights in the U.S.

Richard Gutierrez, 32, is a physically strong, well-conditioned veteran who has experience against capable competition. He won 21 fights in a row after turning pro in January 2001 and then dropped a decision to then-undefeated Carlos Abregu on Feb. 6, 2006, on Showtime. In his last eight fights, he’s won just two.

Blow-by-blow announcer Curt Menefee and ringside analyst Steve Farhood will work the Friday night show from Santa Ynez and then Antonio Tarver will join the announce team for Saturday’s telecast.


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