Janelson Figueroa Bocachica vs. Mark Reyes Jr. headlines ShoBox on February 17
Unbeaten Janelson Figueroa Bocachica and Mark Reyes Jr. will square off on February 17, it was announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The 10-round bout will take place at Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Connecticut, and will headline a four-bout “ShoBox” card (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).
The clash between Figueroa and Reyes will pit two hard-punching prospects with the winner taking a significant step forward in a competitive welterweight division.
Figueroa (16-0, 11 knockouts), who resides in Detroit, Michigan, made his ShoBox debut in his most recent bout on October 7, dropping Nicklaus Flaz twice en route to a knockout win in the opening round. Figueroa has recently displayed more aggression and power, having now stopped seven of his last nine opponents.
On paper, the 22-year-old will be taking a step up in opposition when he squares off against Reyes, which he welcomes.
“After the last appearance on ShoBox, I felt like that was the performance that I needed,” said Bocachica, who is promoted by Marshall Kauffman and managed by David McWater. “I picked Mark Reyes out myself because I wanted better competition and he is 14-0. I want to put a statement out to all of the fighters in the 147-pound division. A win gets me closer to my dreams. I am fighting better opposition. It shows that Janelson is the truth and I am coming for everyone in the welterweight division. I am not worrying about anything.”
Reyes (14-0, 12 KOs) knocked out Argentina’s Diego Perez in the opening round of his most recent bout on November 21 in his hometown of Tampa, Florida. In his previous bout on September 24, the 24-year-old stopped Carlos Rodriguez of Mexico in Round 4. Reyes has now won his last nine bouts by stoppage.
Having accumulated an impressive amateur record before turning pro in March 2016, Reyes is confident he can defeat Bocachica on less than a month’s notice.
“I am excited to be in this position, fighting on ShoBox, where a win will put my name on the boxing map. Bocachica is a solid fighter but I look forward to adding the first loss to his record and showing the viewers why I took this fight on short notice. Training camp has been going great and I will be ready.”
In the co-feature, unbeaten super middleweight Vladimir Shishkin will face Sena Agbeko in a 10-round bout.
The Russian-born Shishkin (11-0, 7 KOs) most recently fought on August 20, stopping gatekeeper Oscar Riojas in Round 9 at the Kronk Gym in his adopted hometown of Detroit. In his previous fight on January 17, the 29-year-old outpointed previously-unbeaten Ulises Sierra over 10 one-sided rounds.
Despite his limited number of fights as a pro, Shishkin, who has fought twice on ShoBox telecasts, believes he can soon fight for a major title.
“I’m grateful, once again, to get the chance to showcase my skills on ShoBox,” said Shishkin, who also has a stoppage win over DeAndre Ware. “I’m preparing in a new gym called ‘Superbad’ with a new coach [L.J. Harrison]. I’m curious how that will affect me in the bout. I know this fight puts me just one step closer to my goal of becoming a world champion.”
Agbeko (23-1, 18 KOs), who is originally from Ghana and now resides in Nashville, Tennessee, defeated Roy King by unanimous decision in his most recent bout on January 16 of last year. Despite being the underdog, Agbeko is confident he can pull off the upset over Shishkin.
“Training is going great and we’ve been training for a while already, so we’re just doubling down on a few things and fine-tuning as well for the fight,” said Agbeko, who has sparred against IBF super middleweight titleholder Caleb Plant, former two-division titleholder Badou Jack and former middleweight title challenger Brandon Adams. “I know my opponent has an extensive amateur background and a style that’s reflective of where he’s from in Russia. I expect an aggressive yet well-calculated fighter. I will win this fight because I know I want it more and, as a result, have put more effort in preparation. My superior boxing skills coupled with desire and effort will get it done.”
Unbeaten Alejandro Guerrero (12-0, 9 KOs), of Irving, Texas, will square off against Mexicali, Mexico’s Abraham Montoya (19-2-1, 14 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout.
Middleweight Timur Kerefov (9-0, 4 KOs), who is originally from Shalusha, Russia, and now resides in Detroit, will face hard-hitting Argenis Espana (15-1, 14 KOs), of Venezuela, in an eight-round bout.
Salita Promotions will promote the card.
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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 (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.