Lem’s latest: Tarver-Kayode, Quillin-Wright part of quadruple-header
Unbeaten cruiserweight contender Lateef Kayode and former light heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver will be the main event, with a co-feature matching undefeated middleweight prospect Peter Quillin and ex-junior middleweight champ Ronald “Winky” Wright, for a Showtime-televised quadruple-header from the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on June 2.
The other two bouts of the live broadcast are still in the works, according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer.
“This is something which I just finalized. It will not be a double-header, not a triple-header, but it will be four live fights,” Schaefer told RingTV.com on Wednesday. “That’s something that really has only been reserved for pay per views. So, it will be a big, big night of boxing. The biggest night Carson has seen.
“We’re going to be doing it with AT Entertainment, which is Antonio Tarver’s company, ourselves and [promoter] Gary Shaw, we will be hosting something that hasn’t happened yet as a live boxing card and a non-pay per view on June 2 from the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.”
Kayode (18-0, 14 knockouts), an L.A.-based Nigerian who turned 29 in March, was originally slated to face the 43-year-old Tarver (29-6, 20 KOs) on March 26 on Showtime — the same night that Quillin (26-0, 20 KOs), 28, had been scheduled to face the 40-year-old Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs).
But Schaefer said both matchups have been paired for what shapes up as an unprecedented event.
“AEG, which owns the Staples Center, the Home Depot Center, and is the venue and facility powerhouse, they are putting their full effort and weight behind it to make this one of the biggest nights that we’ve seen here in Los Angeles,” said Schaefer.
“I’m working on two other fights which probably will be ready to be announced within the next few days. It’s going to be an exciting night of boxing. Ground-breaking that a network is going to be doing four fights live in one night, and there still is going to be the lead-in on Showtime Extreme, and then, you’re going to go live.”
What of the Showtime Extreme portion?
“I’m going to be working with [Golden Boy matchmaker] Eric Gomez to put some exciting fights together with a strong, Southern California flavor,” said Schaefer.
“So you’re going to have a little bit of everything. The Hispanic story, the urban segment, the general market with Tarver. A little bit of everything. That’s what boxing is all about.”
Trained by Freddie Roach, who also handles WBO welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao, Kayode spent part of his summer sparring with heavyweight prospect Seth Mitchell in preparation for Mitchell’s second-round knockout of Timur Ibragimov at the Washington Convention Center in December.
Kayode’s last fight was September’s unanimous decision victory over Felix Cora Jr.
Tarver is coming off a ninth-round stoppage of cruiserweight Danny Green in Australia in July of last year during which he used a second-round left hand to drop Green on the way to the first knockout loss of the Aussie’s career.
Green had scored a first-round knockout of Roy Jones Jr. in December of 2009, and was Tarver’s second straight win, following his unanimous-decision triumph over heavyweight Nagy Aguilera in October of 2010.
Tarver’s win over Aguilera ended a 17-month layoff for that had followed consecutive losses to Chad Dawson in October of 2008 and May of 2009.
A talented middleweight who goes by the nickname, “Kid Chocolate” (a nod to his Cuban heritage), Quillin fought his way out of Grand Rapids, Mich., and lives in New York City and Los Angeles.
Quillin has won five in a row — all by knockout — since signing with Golden Boy Promotions, including a third-round stoppage of former super middleweight title contender Jesse Brinkley in April of last year.
In his last fight in November, Quillin scored a sixth-round knockout of Scottish fighter Craig McEwan, who entered their bout with a mark of 19-1 that had included 10 stoppages.
Over the course of his career, Wright has twice beaten Mosley, also earned decisions over ex-beltholders Felix Trinidad and Ike Quartey, and battled to a draw with former beltholder Jermain Taylor. Wright lost his last two bouts by Bernard Hopkins and Paul Williams in July of 2007 and December of 2009.
The fight with Williams was the last time Wright was in the ring.
GARY RUSSELL JR. COULD RETURN TO A WASHINGTON, D.C. SHOW ON JUNE 30
Schaefer also said that unbeaten southpaw featherweight, Gary Russell Jr., (19-0, 11 KOs) could return to action on June 30 at The Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
While training on Friday in his native Capitol Heights, Md., Russell Jr. sprained his left ankle during the 12th round, his father and trainer, Gary Russell Sr., told RingTV.com on Tuesday.
The injury forced Russell Jr. off a Showtime-televised, April 21 triple-header slated for the Don Haskins Convention Center, El Paso, Texas, whose main event is a junior featherweight bout featuring Abner Mares against Eric Morel for the WBC’s vacant belt. The other clash has WBA bantamweight titleholder Anselmo Moreno defending against David Lamora.
“I met with Gary Russell’s advisor, Al Haymon, on Tuesday, and I was told about the injury, and we were looking at the calendar. And it will be that Gary will return on June 30 from Washington, D.C.,” said Schaefer.
“We have the Verizon Center on hold, and I am going to be talking to [Washington-based boxing attorney,] Jeff Fried, as well over the next couple of days. We are working on finalizing the card. We’re almost there. It will be a big night of boxing for Washington.”
Schaefer said that he is trying to capitalize on the D.C.-area momentum gained in December, when Mitchell’s HBO-televised stoppage of Ibragimov was the co-feature to Lamont Peterson’s split-decision victory that dethroned Amir Khan as IBF/WBA junior welterweight beltholder before a crowd of nearly 10,000 at the Washington Convention Center.
Peterson is a native of Washington, D.C., and Mitchell, of Brandywine, Md., is from the Washington Metro area.
“I think that you’re going to see that more and more. We want to take these fighters more to the fans and have more fights from these important cities,” said Schaefer. “Saturday, we’re going to be in one of the hottest fight towns, El Paso, Texas, with Abner Mares and Anselmo Moreno.”
On June 23, said Schaefer, “we’re going to be back in Los Angeles” at the Staples Center, where Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) will have a Showtime-televised return bout of former welterweight beltholders with Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs).
Schaefer also hopes to soon shine the light on lightweight Omar Figueroa (15-0, 12 KOs) of Weslaco, Texas, who has scored three straight knockouts.
“We want to go and take the shows to those local markets,” said Schaefer. “That’s exactly the same here with the Antonio Tarver fight. That’s the way to go.”
MITCHELL: THE AMERICAN “AMBASSADOR” FOR THE HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION
“Seth Mitchell can really be the ambassador, not only for boxing’s heavyweight division, but for the sport,” said Schaefer. “The way that he comes across is that he’s smart, speaks well and he’s polite. He’s the total package.”
Mitchell (24-0-1, 18 knockouts) will be after his 10th straight knockout, his 23rd consecutive victory and his 18th knockout during that run when he meets Chazz Witherspoon (30-2, 22 KOs) on the undercard of the rematch between RING light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson in an HBO-televised event from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on April 28.
Mitchell, 29, is a former scholarship linebacker at Michigan State who was named Maryland’s Defensive Player of the Year at Gwynn Park High by the Associated Press. Mitchell graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice.
“It just goes to show that just because one is a fighter and you’re involved in what can sometimes be a brutal sport, that doesn’t mean that you can not be a gentleman outside of the ring,” said Schaefer. “I think Seth Mitchell has all of the ingredients to really be the next big American star. And when I say big, I mean in every way.”
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Photo by Chris Cozzone, Fightwireimages.com
Photo by Craig Bennett
Photo by Delane Rouse, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]