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James Kirkland returns from four year absence against Colby Courter on August 24

Fighters Network

Former junior middleweight contender James Kirkland will return to the ring after a four year absence from the ring.

Kirkland will face journeyman Colby Courter in a six round bout on Aug. 24 at the Frank Erwin Center in Kirkland’s hometown of Austin, Texas.

Aug. 24 will mark Kirkland’s first fight since his knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez before a crowd of over 31,500 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Little is known about Kirkland’s whereabouts during his hiatus other than rumors of a comeback that never materialized until now.

Kirkland came into prominence in the sport about 12 years ago on ‘ShoBox’ telecasts, decimating his opposition with his knockout power and aggression. Kirkland, who then was promoted by Gary Shaw, fought the likes of Bryan Vera and Joel Julio, notching knockout victories.

The 35-year-old Kirkland (32-2, 28 knockouts) had a world title shot lined up, but suffered a shocking first round knockout loss to Nobuhiro Ishida in April of 2011. The loss came after Kirkland split with trainer Ann Wolfe.

Kirkland reunited with Wolfe after the Ishida loss, putting together five consecutive victories, including wins over Alfredo Angulo, Carlos Molina, and Glen Tapia. Prior to the loss to Alvarez, Kirkland split again with Wolfe.

In April, Kirkland returned to work with Wolfe and signed a promotional deal with Davies Entertainment.

Courter (13-14, 10 KOs), who resides in Saint Louis, Missouri, lost by unanimous decision to Morgan Fitch in his last bout on May 4. The 33-year-old Courter has lost seven of his last nine bouts.

Prospects and unbeaten fighters will round out the Underwood Promotions card.

Lightweight Antonio Williams (10-0-1, 4 KOs) of Richmond, Texas will face Mexico’s Pedro Amigon (6-14, 3 KOs) in an eight-round bout.

San Antonio’s Edward Ortiz (8-0-2, 4 KOs) will square off against Jas Phipps (10-6-2, 5 KOs) of Killeen, Texas in an eight-round middleweight bout. Phipps has won his last five bouts.

Welterweight Daniel Baiz (13-1, 5 KOs) of San Antonio will face Waco’s Marquis Hawthorne (7-11, 1 KO) in an eight-round bout.

Junior welterweight Albert Romero (10-3-1, 4 KOs), who resides in Austin, will square off against unbeaten Gabriel Smith (9-0, 4 KOs) of Houston in an eight-round bout.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper,, and He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing