122 lb. prospect Roman Morales makes ShoBox debut
On July 20th, Gary Shaw Promotions will bring a tripleheader to the esteemed prospect series ShoBox: The New Generation from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif. as confirmed by matchmaker John Beninati.
As has been previously reported, the card will be headlined by a 10-round lightweight bout between unbeaten Artyom Hovhannisyan of Glendale, Calif. by way of Armenia against former titleholder Miguel Acosta of Venezuela. The two televised undercard bouts have not been previously reported anywhere.
Hovhannisyan (14-0-2, 8 KOs) is coming off a ShoBox televised technical draw against Cristobal Cruz last August and will have been out of the ring nearly a year when he steps into the ring. Prior to that, he had recorded a career best victory over previously unbeaten Archie Ray Marquez in his ShoBox debut, stopping him in the 6th round.
Acosta (29-5-2, 23 KOs) is coming off an October loss to Richard Abril in Panama in which Acosta was floored three times en route to losing a unanimous decision. This fight will go a long way towards establishing if Acosta has anything left in the tank after tough bouts against Abril and Brandon Rios in 2011. Against Rios, Acosta lost his alphabet title when he was frighteningly stopped in the 10th of a Fight of the Year candidate, having absorbed a number of unnecessary late punches due to the ineptness of Joe Cortez that night.
In the co-feature, Philadelphia junior middleweight prospect Julian Williams meets Said El Harrak of Henderson, Nevada via the UK in an 8-round bout.
Williams (9-0-1, 4 KOs) is only 22 years old. His lone blemish is a draw which came against local favorite Francisco Santana on the untelevised portion of a May 2011 edition of ShoBox. Williams and Santana engaged in an enthralling 6-round brawl that saw Williams fade down the stretch after building an early lead. Williams has since shown he can now go the 8-round distance, beating unheralded Hector Rosario in April by wide decision.
El Harrak (10-2-1, 5 KOs) is tougher than his record may indicate. This past May, he took a huge step up in class taking on battle-tested Jesus Soto Karass, giving him all he could handle in going the 10-round distance. Many felt the split-decision verdict rendered in favor of the veteran was a bit suspect, and El Harrak will carry that experience with him into the fight against Williams. At 24, a win here could turn around his once promising career.
Making his ShoBox debut is prized San Ardo, Calif. based junior featherweight prospect Roman Morales, perhaps the best kept secret in the United States in the lower weight classes. Morales meets rugged Alexis Santiago of Phoenix, Ariz. in an 8-round 122-pound bout.
Morales (10-0, 6 KOs) only turned professional last year, piling up 9 wins since his debut in February. Morales, 20, has only recently started getting exposure to American viewing audiences; his March victory over Rufino Serrano was televised on ESPN. Prior to, he had only been featured in swing bouts on Solo Boxeo. Morales was named in this writer's list of 25 Favorite Prospects to begin the year.
Santiago looks on paper to be Morales' toughest opponent to date. He gave highly-touted southern California prospect Randy Caballero all he could handle in losing an 8-round unanimous decision last July, despite the scorecards representing a shutout. Though his record isn't exactly sparkling, he is definitely a step-up and at 21 years old it is possible we haven't seen his best yet.
Rounding out the untelevised portion of the card are a number of intriguing bouts as well as a few fighters with opponents still to be determined.
The previously mentioned Rufino Serrano (12-4) looks to move back into the win column against Seattle, Wash.'s Rob Diezel (8-4, 3 KOs) in a 6-round featherweight bout. Serrano hails from nearby Santa Maria and often draws well at Chumash.
Also a local favorite, Santa Barbara's Francisco Santana will return against an opponent to be announced, in either a 6 or 8-round welterweight bout. Santana has previously campaigned at 154 as of late, including in a spirited loss against prospect Jermell Charlo on ShoBox last year.
East Los Angeles featherweight Roy Tapia (3-0-1, 2 KOs) will also return to Chumash for the 4th time in 5 fights and will fight an opponent still to be determined in a 4-rounder. Tapia was down in his last fight against a 1-5 fighter in March and barely got a draw.
Edgar Alvarado Jr. (1-1) of Riverside, Calif. and Eric Prado (0-2) of Santa Ynez will engage in a 4-round flyweight bout.
Rounding out the card, Guadalupe Gutierrez of La Habra, Calif. will take on debuting Maria Suarez of Santa Maria in a 4-round bantamweight bout.
Tickets are available by visiting www.chumashcasino.com and are priced at $85, $70, $55, $45, $35.
Mark Ortega can be reached via e-mail and followed via Twitter. Mark also contributes to renowned boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly, and is a member of the Boxing Writer's Association of America and RING Ratings Advisory Panel.
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