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Showtime Boxing 1-03- 04
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING TO PRESENT WBO LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE AND IBF JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT ELIMINATION BOUT
WBO/WBA 130-Pound Champion Acelino Freitas
WBO Lightweight Champion Artur Grigorian
IBF No. 1 Junior Middleweight Contender Kassim Ouma
IBF No. 2 Junior Middleweight Contender Juan Carlos Candelo
Saturday, Jan. 3, 2004, At 11 PM ET/PT
From Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
NEW YORK (Dec. 2, 2003) - SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will commence an exciting year of boxing on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2004, at 11 p.m. ET/PT as World Boxing Organization (WBO)/World Boxing Association (WBA) 130-Pound Champion Acelino Freitas steps up in weight to challenge WBO Lightweight Champion Artur Grigorian. The battle for Grigorian's title will feature undefeated champions who sport a combined record of 70-0 with 53 KOs. Banner Promotions will promote the card from Foxwoods Resort Casino.
The co-feature will pit International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 1 junior middleweight contender Kassim Ouma against IBF No. 2 contender Juan Carlos Candelo in a 12-round IBF 154-pound elimination bout. Banner Promotions will promote the card from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.
Freitas (34-0, 31 KOs), of Salvador, Brazil, rallied from a punishing 11th-round knockdown to keep his perfect record intact with a 12th-round TKO over Jorge Rodrigo Barrios Aug. 9, 2003 on SHOWTIME. After Barrios landed a punishing left-right combination to send the champion to the canvas early in round 11, Freitas regained his composure and floored the challenger as the bell sounded to end the stanza. In the opening seconds of the final round, Freitas smelled victory and knocked Barrios down for the third and final time. The brave challenger managed to rise from the canvas, but slipped soon after. Referee Jorge Alonso decided he had seen enough and waved the fight off at :50 of round 12.
Appearing on SHOWTIME for the sixth time, Freitas, who captured the WBA belt with a victory over previously unbeaten Joel Casamayor on SHOWTIME Jan. 12, 2002, made his third WBA and 10th WBO defense. In his previous outing on March 15, 2003, Freitas retained his titles by scoring a fourth-round TKO over Juan Carlos Ramirez on SHOWTIME from Chicago. The undefeated knockout artist closed out the 2002 campaign on Aug. 3 in Phoenix by registering a 12-round decision over WBO No. 1 contender Daniel Attah on SHOWTIME. Freitas captured the WBO title on Aug. 7, 1999, with a first-round knockout over Anatoly Alexandrov.
Grigorian (36-0, 22 KOs), of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is one of boxing's longest reigning world champions. Since capturing the WBO lightweight crown in April 1996, Grigorian has made 17 successful title defenses, including 15 in his native Germany. Born in Hamburg, Germany, Grigorian has knocked out 11 of his 18 opponents in world title contests. In his lone 2003 appearance, the slick southpaw recorded a 12-round majority decision over Maciej Zegan on Jan. 18 from Essen, Germany. The judges scored the controversial bout 114 apiece, 115-113 and 115-112.
Ouma (18-1-1, 12 KOs), of Palm Beach, Fla., captured the vacant United States Boxing Association (USBA) junior middleweight crown and became the IBF's top 154-pound contender by registering a split decision over Angel Hernandez on May 30, 2003, at Foxwoods. The judges scored the contest 115-113 twice and 113-115. Ouma previously won the vacant USBA junior middleweight crown on May 10, 2002, by scoring an eighth-round TKO over Jason Papillion in Dover, Del. Less than five months later, Ouma successfully defended the USBA title with an 11th-round TKO over Darrell Woods on Oct. 4, 2002. However, the outcome was changed to a no decision and Ouma was stripped of the title when he failed a post-fight drug test. After reclaiming the USBA title with the victory over Hernandez, Ouma stopped Carlos Bojorquez in the eighth round on Aug. 22, 2003, in Choctaw, Miss.
Candelo (26-5-3, 18 KOs), of Denver, by way of Barranquilla, Colombia, earned the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) junior middleweight crown in a rematch against Angel Hernandez with a 12-round unanimous decision over Dec. 13, 2002, in Temecula, Calif. In their initial meeting on Jan. 12, 2002, Hernandez won the vacant NABF crown by tallying a 12-round unanimous decision over Candelo. Eight months after defeating Hernandez, Candelo made his lone world title appearance on March 1, 2003, and held his own against IBF Junior Middleweight Champion Winky Wright before dropping a 12-round decision. In his last outing, Candelo successfully defended his NABF crown by scoring an eighth-round TKO over Julio Garcia on July 26, 2003, from Tunica, Miss.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING's Steve Albert and Al Bernstein will call the action from ringside with Jim Gray serving as roving reporter. The executive producer of the SHOWTIME telecast is Jay Larkin, with David Dinkins Jr. producing and Bob Dunphy directing