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Ardreal Holmes-Ismael Villarreal to headline ShoBox on Feb. 17


Undefeated junior middleweights Ardreal Holmes and Ismael Villarreal will square off on February 17, it was announced Tuesday afternoon.

The 10-round bout will take place at the Stormont Vail Events Center in Topeka, Kansas, and will headline a three-bout ShoBox telecast (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).

Lou DiBella will promote the card.

“This is a really good card coming off last month’s ShoBox, which was one of the most exciting we’ve had in years,” said Gordon Hall, executive producer of ShoBox: The New Generation. “Ardreal Holmes put on an impressive performance on ShoBox a year ago and is one of the top prospects in the junior middleweight division. Now he faces his toughest test to date in Villarreal, who is coming off his best win against an undefeated fighter. This is a high-stakes fight for both Holmes and Villarreal at this stage of their careers.”

Holmes (12-0, 5 knockouts), who resides in Flint, Michigan, has not fought since March 2022, defeating once-beaten Vernon Brown by unanimous decision. The win over Brown also took place on a ShoBox telecast.

The 28-year-old southpaw was an amateur standout, winning the 2015 U.S. Nationals, and was a silver medalist at the 2013 National Golden Gloves tournament. Despite a layoff that lasted almost two and a half years prior to the Brown fight and nearly a year of inactivity following it, Holmes is confident he can become a contender and fight for a world title belt.

“I can’t wait for February 17 to headline once again on ShoBox,” said Holmes. “I am thankful and very excited to be back on the series. I’m looking forward to showing the world I’m ready for all comers and soon to contend for a world title.”

Villarreal (12-0, 8 KOs), who resides in The Bronx, New York, last fought on July 30, dropping LeShawn Rodriguez twice en route to a sixth-round knockout victory. Rodriguez entered the fight unbeaten. Villareal has stopped his last five opponents.

The 25-year-old also hopes to make the most of this appearance on ShoBox, as a win could propel him toward contender status.

“My goal is to someday be world champion at 154 and 160 pounds,” said Villarreal, who recently received his Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from Lehman College. “To achieve that, I will defeat whoever tries to get in my way, including Ardreal Holmes. I’m grateful for this great opportunity to headline in front of a large national audience. I know that this is just the beginning of many great things in my career.”

In the co-feature, featherweight Misael Lopez will face Edward Vazquez in a 10-round bout.

Lopez (14-1, 5 KOs), who is originally from Agua Prieta, Mexico, and now resides in Denver, Colorado, will be making his third appearance on ShoBox and has won his last three bouts. The 26-year-old defeated once-beaten Orlando Gonzalez by unanimous decision in his last bout on September 23.

Vazquez (13-1, 3 KOs) last fought on October 8, defeating Viktor Slavinskyi by split decision. The 27-year-old has won his last two bouts since losing a close and disputed split decision to Raymond Ford on February 5 of last year.

In the opening bout of the telecast, junior welterweight Kurt Scoby (10-0, 8 KOs) of New York City will square off against Australia’s John Mannu (7-0-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-round bout.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 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 at [email protected]