Thursday, March 30, 2023  |



Antonio Tarver and son both to fight on Sept. 29

Fighters Network

Former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver will face heavyweight rival Johnathon Banks and his son, Antonio Jr., will make his professional debut on Sept. 29 at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.

Golden Boy Promotions and Mike Battah of Leija Battah Promotions announced the event in a release on Thursday.

“This is a great match-up between two veteran heavyweights who can show a lot of the younger kids how it’s done,” said Oscar De La Hoya, president and founder of Golden Boy. “I’m really looking forward to this one and as far as picking a winner, it’s a toss-up.”

A resident of the Tampa Bay area of Florida, Tarver (30-6, 21 knockouts) ends his 10-month ring absence against Banks on FOX Sports 1, and 26-year-old Antonio Jr., a southpaw like his father, will fight as a junior middleweight.

“I’m happy to be back in the ring and fighting in Texas for the first time,” said Tarver, 45. “A win over Johnathon Banks is just what I need to get my shot at the heavyweight title. To come back to boxing on the same day that my son, Antonio Jr. makes his pro debut, that’s even more rewarding.”

Tarver was last in action in November, earning a fourth round stoppage over Mike Sheppard that ended a 17-month ring absence.

Banks (29-2-1, 19 KOs) split his last two bouts with Seth Mitchell, winning by second-round stoppage in November 2012 before falling by unanimous decision in their rematch in June 2013.

Banks is the trainer of RING heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and was formerly advised and trained by the late Emanuel Steward, to whom he served as an assistant.

“Tarver is a crafty veteran who deserves respect for what he’s done in the sport,” said Banks, 32, “but his time has passed and I’ll remind him of that on September 29.”

Against Sheppard, Tarver had returned to the ring for the first time since June 2012, when he tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid drostanolone following a draw-turned-no-contest with Lateef Kayode.

A 1996 Olympic bronze medalist, Tarver is best known for winning two of three bouts against Roy Jones Jr., including a second round stoppage victory in their second meeting.

Tarver also owns wins over ex-light heavyweight titleholders such as Glen Johnson, Clinton Woods and Montell Griffin.