Shinard ‘Showtime’ Bunch is ready for his Showtime opportunity
As fighters with unique nicknames go, Shinard Bunch can say he was destined to fight on Showtime.
“Showtime” is Bunch’s middle name.
Now that he has realized his dream, the once-beaten fighter can capitalize on the opportunity tonight against Janelson Figueroa Bocachica on the ShoBox: New Generation telecast (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT). The 10-round welterweight bout will take place at Heartland Events Center in Grand Island, Nebraska, and will precede the main event bout between unbeaten super middleweights Kalvin Henderson and Isaiah Steen.
Tonight’s card coincides with the 20-year anniversary of the first ShoBox telecast. The popular series has been a springboard for prospects and unbeaten fighters to take that next step into contender status and an eventual run at a world title belt.
A resident of Trenton, New Jersey, Bunch (15-1, 13 knockouts) hopes to be the next fighter that follows that path. He has arrived at this juncture by fighting as often as possible, including five times in 2020 that included a stretch where boxing was on hiatus due to the ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
The fight against Figueroa will mark Bunch’s sixth of this year, which included two fights in January.
In his last bout on May 8, Bunch knocked out Diego Perez of Argentina at 34 seconds of the opening round. In his previous bout on March 6, Bunch scored a unanimous decision win over gatekeeper Cameron Krael.
Bunch, who has not lost since his third pro fight against Paul Kroll in August 2019, believes fighting often has been beneficial.
“I didn’t dwell on the (Kroll) loss back then. I just wanted to keep fighting,” Bunch said. “I don’t focus so much on the bad. It was a team decision to fight as often as I’ve had. It’s no different than in the amateurs, where I had over 400 fights. I would fight about four times a month, so I’ve been used to fighting a lot as a pro.”
The 22-year-old will square off against Figueroa (17-0, 11 KOs), who is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Mark Reyes on February 17. In his previous fight on October 7, Figueroa, also 22, knocked out Nicklaus Flaz in the opening round.
Even as the intangibles make this a competitive fight, Bunch is confident he will be victorious tonight.
“He’s aggressive, that is really it,” said Bunch, who is promoted by Nedal Abuhumoud and managed by J Russell Peltz. “He is definitely too arrogant. He feels that he is the best. I believe I have fought top opposition, including Krael, whose record is deceiving and doesn’t reflect the fighter he is. I know I can get the better of him.”
With an impressive win over Figueroa, Bunch is confident he can springboard into bigger fights on bigger platforms.
“I do want to make a statement,” he said. “I believe I’m a top prospect and so is he. (Tonight) will be all about the best fighting the best.”
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. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing
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