Undefeated former Russian amateur standout Dmitry Bivol will defend his Interim WBA Light Heavyweight Title against Samuel Clarkson in the 12-round main event of ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, April 14 live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT) at MGM National Harbor in National Harbor, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C.
Known for his aggressive style, Bivol (9-0, 7 KOs, 2-0 WSB) was a prominent amateur who is now determined to make his mark in one of boxing’s toughest weight classes. Clarkson (19-3, 12 KOs), of Cedar Hill, Texas, has won his last nine fights in a row and will make his third appearance on ShoBox.
In a co-featured matchup of undefeated welterweight prospects, former amateur standouts Juan Ruiz (18-0, 11 KOs) and Malik Hawkins (10-0, 7 KOs) will square off in an eight-round 147-pound bout.
In the telecast opener, Baltimore featherweight Glenn Dezurn (8-0, 6 KOs), who is trained by the renowned Barry Hunter, will take on an opponent to be named in an eight-round bout.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions and Banner Promotions in association with World of Boxing and Uprising Promotions, are priced at $103, $73 and $48 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800.745.3000.
Dmitry Bivol vs. Samuel Clarkson – 12 Round Light Heavyweight Bout:
Bivol, who compiled an impressive amateur record of 285-15, is looking to break through in a division which features the likes of Adonis Stevenson, Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev and Badou Jack. Last May in Moscow, the 26-year-old won the Interim WBA Light Heavyweight Title in only his seventh professional fight with a unanimous decision over previously undefeated Felix Valera.
Bivol has since won twice, both times on Russian soil, including a fourth-round knockout of Robert Berridge in defense of his interim belt.
“I am very glad that this will be my first fight televised in the U.S.,” said Bivol, who is fighting for the third time in America. “It’s great that this is main event because that motivates me. Clarkson is a good defensive fighter. He can be aggressive and I expect this to be a tough fight. I look forward to introducing myself to American fans with a great performance, and I plan to defend my title with an exciting victory.”
Clarkson has registered nine consecutive victories following a loss to the current unbeaten Jesse Hart (21-0). Clarkson moved up in weight to beat Cedric Agnew (27-1) in February 2015, and has ShoBox knockout wins over Jerry Odom (13-1) in July 2015 and Lavarn Harvell (15-1) in October 2015.
“This is a huge opportunity to prove my abilities to the world,” Clarkson said. “Bivol is a crafty fighter from Russia and had a very impressive amateur career, mostly at 165 pounds. He’s a good fighter and I definitely have to bring my A-game.
“I’m ready for the challenge because I do really well against European fighters. European fighters are slow and come forward a lot, and they’re not big on head movement. We are working hard and have a lot of guys in the gym who fight with a similar style. By fight time I’ll be ready for anything he has.
“I had to make up my mind if I wanted to be the lion or the lamb and, in the end, I decided I don’t like losing. I rededicated myself and now I can’t be stopped.”
Juan Ruiz vs. Malik Hawkins – Eight-Round Welterweight Bout:
The son of a former fighter, Ruiz is originally from Venezuela and fights out of Baja California, Mexico. He lost just eight times in 220 amateur fights, was a six-time Venezuela national champion and was part of the Venezuelan National Team. The undefeated Ruiz has won via knockout in seven of his last nine fights.
“This is a golden ticket for me to show what I’m capable of,” Ruiz said. “I will do my best to give the fans watching on TV and those attending the fight the best show possible.”
The 21-year-old Baltimore-resident Hawkins was 92-8 as an amateur and shares the same trainer – Calvin Ford – as stablemate and IBF Junior Lightweight Champion Gervonta Davis. Hawkins, who was the 2012 Bronze Medalist in the Junior Olympics, will face his toughest test to date in fellow undefeated Juan Ruiz.
“This is a huge chance for me to showcase my skills and show I belong among the best in the welterweight division,” Hawkins said. “There’s nothing he can bring I haven’t seen, and I plan on making him fight my fight.
“I get better when I fight talented fighters. To be honest, nobody I have fought so far has brought out the best in me, but I’m hoping that Ruiz does just that. A victory over him would put me in position to fight the opponents I need to fight to take that next step toward becoming a contender.”
Glenn Dezurn vs. TBD – Eight-Round Featherweight Bout:
The undefeated Dezurn, who was a three-sport star athlete in high school, was an amateur standout who compiled an 87-7 record in the unpaid ranks under the tutelage of Barry Hunter. The Baltimore native is married to female boxer and U.S. Olympic alternate Franchon Crews, who fought Claressa Shields in the amateurs and in her pro debut.