ShoBox: The New Generation will celebrate the 2017 Hall of Fame weekend with a special doubleheader on Friday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME (10:30 p.m. ET/PT) from Turning Stone Resort Casino, just minutes from the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y.
Longtime ShoBox analysts Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood will call the action on Friday before their induction in the “Observer” category on Sunday as part of a 2017 class headlined by boxing greats Evander Holyfield, Marco Antonio Barrera and Johnny Tapia.
Fellow Hall of Famers Al Bernstein and Jimmy Lennon Jr. will join Farhood and Tompkins on-air during the special Hall of Fame edition of the prospect oriented series. Lennon Jr. returns to Canasota for the posthumous induction of his father, world-renowned ring announcer Jimmy Lennon, Sr.
In the 10-round main event, undefeated super lightweights Regis “Rougarou” Prograis (19-0, 16 KOs) and Joel Diaz Jr. (23-0, 19 KOs) will meet in a quintessential ShoBox matchup that could thrust the winner from prospect to legitimate title contender. Viewers have seen both fighters develop on the series – this will be Prograis’ fourth start and Diaz’ third onShoBox.
In the co-feature, unbeaten Canadian super middleweight Steve Rolls (15-0, 9 KOs) makes his second start on ShoBox when he faces the dangerous Demond Nicholson (17-1-1, 16 KOs) in an eight-round match.
“I think I can speak on behalf of all of us here at SHOWTIME about how happy and proud we are to see both Steve and Barry’s careers validated with their induction into the Boxing Hall of Fame,” said Gordon Hall, ShoBox Executive Producer and SVP Production, SHOWTIME Sports. “And when you add four fighters with only one loss between them in a quintessential ShoBox card, it just doesn’t get much better than that.”
Tompkins and Farhood are the one-two punch behind ShoBox: The New Generation. Tompkins calls the blow-by-blow and Farhood offers his wealth of boxing knowledge and expert analysis. The series announce team also includes former world champion Raul Marquez, who also serves as expert analyst.
This will be the fifth ShoBox visit to Turning Stone Resort Casino, which hosted its first ShoBox telecast during the 2013 Hall of Fame weekend.
Tickets for the event, co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment (DBE) and AASHA Record Breakers, are priced at $65 for ringside, $50, $40 and $30 (may be subject to additional fees) and are available at the Turning Stone Box Office, by calling 877-833-SHOW, or online at Ticketmaster.com. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with the first bout scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
REGIS PROGRAIS VS. JOEL DIAZ JR. – SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT – 10 ROUNDS
Ranked No. 4 by the WBC, the 28-year-old Prograis has scored knockouts in 12 of his last 13 fights. Originally from New Orleans but currently fighting out of Main Street Gym in Houston, the 5-foot-9 Prograis is an aggressive-minded southpaw with stunning accuracy on his power shots.
Prograis has beaten two previously undefeated fighters on ShoBox – an eight round stoppage of Abel Ramos and an eight-round decision over Amos Cowart – in addition to his most recent performance, a first round KO of veteran Aaron Herrera. The former amateur standout is coming off a first round knockout of Wilfrido Buelvas on Feb. 11.
“It’s ‘Rougarou Time’,” said Prograis, whose nickname originates in Louisiana folklore and is defined as a werewolf-like creature. “This is a crossroads fight for me. I am ranked No. 4 by the WBC and fifth by The Ring at 140 pounds. I have worked hard to get here, and I am on a hunt for the title belts.
“Diaz is standing in the way of my ultimate objective and I know that I must defeat him to get where I want to be. He needs to get past me to move onto the next level himself, so I am sure he is equally motivated. That is what makes for great fights.”
Joel Diaz Jr., of Palmdale, Calif., will return to ShoBox for the third time. He debuted on the SHOWTIME series in just his sixth pro bout, stopping unbeaten prospect Guy Robb in seven rounds in 2012. Diaz Jr. returned to headline a ShoBox event on May 16, 2014, dominating Canadian Tyler Asselstine over 10 rounds en route to a unanimous decision.
The 25-year-old won all of his starts by stoppage in 2016.
“I am honored to be back on SHOWTIME and am thankful to my promoters DiBella Entertainment and Jean Pascal Promotions for the opportunity,” said Diaz Jr. “On June 9, I will be more than ready to hand Regis Prograis his first defeat. ShoBox fans are in for a treat as this will be a thriller while it lasts. When the smoke clears, I know that I will be the one left standing.”
STEVE ROLLS VS. DEMOND NICHOLSON – SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT – 8 ROUNDS
Steve Rolls, of Toronto, Canada, earned his biggest victory in his ShoBox debut in December 2015, stopping then undefeated prospect and amateur standout Steed Woodall inside four rounds. He has since earned two impressive knockout wins in 2016.
Rolls had a successful amateur career, competing on both the 2009 and 2010 Canadian National boxing teams and finishing with an 83-14 record overall. In 2009, he went to the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Men’s Boxing Championship in Milan, Italy, where he lost in the Round of 16 to 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Singh.
“It feels great to be back on ShoBox and I’m looking forward to putting on another spectacular performance,” Rolls said. “I know that Nicholson can fight and I expect him to come prepared. Training camp has been going very well and on June 9, I will be more than ready.”
Demond “D’Bestatit” Nicholson is a super middleweight from Laurel, Md. with devastating power, scoring all but one of his wins by knockout, including 10 in the first round. The 24-year-old has won seven fights with one draw since his only defeat in 2014.
Nicholson, who owns an impressive victory over former world title challenger Milton Nunez, is coming off of a questionable draw against Immanuwel Aleem –who recently stopped Ievgen Khytrov in a back-and-forth brawl that aired on SHOWTIME. As an amateur, Nicholson accumulated a record of 110-15, before turning pro in July 2013.
“My time is now,” said Nicholson. “Any time that I am able to showcase my talent in front of a national audience means a lot. I am very humbled and thankful to be a part of this card. I’ve had great sparring, making adjustments every session. I saw Rolls’ fight against Steed Woodall – I think he has a lot to learn, and I will teach him a lesson. I look forward to victory and continuing to move up the world rankings.”