Undefeated welterweight Jaron Ennis electrified his hometown crowd with a devastating second-round knockout of Raymond Serrano in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation in front of a standing-room only crowd at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
The main event of the telecast – which featured five ShoBox veterans and three fighters who call Philadelphia home – did not last long.
The battle-tested Serrano (24-6, 10 KOs), whose six professional losses have come against opponents with a combined fight night record of 111-1-1, proved to be no match for Ennis.
The flashy southpaw with a deadly combination of speed and power scored three highlight reel knockdowns in round two, and capped off the night with an explosive uppercut to the jaw.
The 21-year-old Ennis (22-0, 20 KOs) has now knocked out 12 consecutive opponents and has proven his worth as one of boxing’s brightest prospects.
“It was a good fight, I was just in there having fun,” said Ennis, who is trained by his father Bozy. “My dad said to start touching the body and that set up the big shots. That’s exactly what I did.
“I knew after the first knockdown, the fight was over. He’s a good fighter and it looks good to have his name on my resume. I’m ready for anybody in my division. I will knock any of them out.”
Ennis wouldn’t speculate if he was the best prospect in the U.S. “I don’t like to talk,” he said. “I do my talking in the ring.”
In the middle bout of the tripleheader, Philadelphia’s Sam Teah (14-2-1, 7 KOs) energized the hometown crowd by putting in a dominating performance en route to a unanimous decision (79-73 and 77-75 twice) over Chicago’s Kenneth Sims Jr. (13-2-1, 4 KOs).
Cheered on by chants of his nickname “Tsunami”, the 31-year-old Teah utilized his jab and set the pace throughout the eight rounds. Executing a clever game plan, Teah beat the volume-punching Sims at his own game as he averaged nearly 86 punches per round to Sims’ 59.
After an even first two rounds, Teah began to pull away, as he landed 164 punches to just 91 for Sims in rounds three through eight. Teah grew stronger throughout the fight, and put the contest out of question in the final two rounds as he out-landed Sims, 53-28.
“Oh my goodness, this feels great,” said an overjoyed Teah. “This is my biggest stage. I’ve fought on SHOWTIME several times but now I’m at home in front of my friends and family and the energy was amazing.
Body shots and uppercuts; that was the game plan. I had more in my arsenal to show tonight. My head might look like an acorn by tomorrow, but it’s worth it.
“I’m asking for the biggest fights,” he continued. “This is what I asked for. Let’s level up and whatever’s biggest next, let’s do it.”
Unified 154-pound world champion Jarrett Hurd, of Accokeek, Md., was in attendance at the jam-packed 2300 Arena and spoke to SHOWTIME’s Steve Farhood about his upcoming bout with Jason Welborn.
Hurd returns to the ring to defend his IBF and WBA titles on the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury SHOWTIME PPV event on December 1 in Los Angeles in his first fight since undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
In the telecast opener, undefeated Ukrainian prospect Arnold Khegai (14-0-1, 9 KOs) kept his unbeaten record intact with a hotly contested unanimous decision win over New Brunswick, N.J. native Jorge Diaz (19-6-1, 10 KOs), who announced his retirement immediately following the fight. The judges scored the fight 79-72, 77-74 twice.
Khegai, known for his aggressive come-forward style, stayed true to his reputation by pressing the action early. Despite suffering a cut over his left eye after an accidental clash of heads in the fourth round, Khegai was more accurate in all phases while Diaz’s activity made the fight competitive throughout the first five rounds.
Khegai dazed Diaz in the fifth with a big left hook and followed it up by scoring the only knockdown of the fight in the sixth, landing a combination that forced Diaz to a knee.
Tied at 122 total connects after seven rounds, Khegai clinched the fight with a huge eighth and final round where he landed 31 power punches to just 13 for Diaz.
“I’m very excited to get the win against a very uncomfortable fighter,” said Khegai through an interpreter. “He was tough and I had to stick to my game plan. He was doing different things and leaning in with his head. My main idea was to win the fight and I tried to get the knockout.
“I think I can fight a top 15 fighter next time and someday win a world title. Of course, it’s important to look good on SHOWTIME, but it’s even more important to have a good fight in America and to get the win. That’s what is most important.”
Diaz showed toughness and grit throughout the fight. “I am done. I am retiring,” he said. “I have so much more to do and accomplish in life. I gave it my all in rounds seven and eight. I got caught with a body shot in the last round and that’s when he jumped on me. I think he won because of the last round.”
Tonight’s tripleheader was promoted by Victory Promotions in association with Hard Hitting Promotions.
The full telecast will replay on Monday, November 19 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME and will be available on SHOWTIME ANYTIME® and SHOWTIME on DEMAND®.
Barry Tompkins called the action from ringside with boxing analyst and historian Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer was Gordon Hall with Chuck McKean producing and Rick Phillips directing.