OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST ANDRE WARD TO TAKE ON
JERSON RAVELO ON SHOBOX: THE NEW GENERATION
LIVE FROM THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
“Cayman Knockout: Championship Boxing” is First Televised Fight in Island’s History
Friday, June 20, Live On SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT
NEW YORK (June 12, 2008) – Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward looks to take the next step toward a world title shot when he battles former Olympian Jerson Ravelo in a 12-round North American Boxing Organization (NABO) super middleweight championship on Friday, June 20, 2008, live on the SHOWTIME series ShoBox: The New Generation 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism presents “Cayman Knockout: Championship Boxing” from the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal in the capital city of George Town on Grand Cayman. The co-feature of the evening will have Ronald Hearns (18-0, 14 KOs) vs. Jose Luis Gonzalez (12-3-1, 10 KOs) battle it out in a 10-round Junior Middleweight bout.
In addition, highlights of the Eddie Chambers vs. Raphael Butler will be shown during the telecast. Once-beaten heavyweight Chambers (30-1, 16 KOs) will take on hard-hitting, six-foot-four-inch, 260-pound knockout artist, Butler (31-4, 24 KOs) in a 12-round United States Boxing (USBA) heavyweight championship contest.
Ward (15-0, 10 KOs), America’s sole boxing Gold Medalist in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, brings a string of five consecutive knockout victories into his match-up against Ravelo.
The 24-year-old Oakland, Calif., native is coming off a seventh-round stoppage against the rugged veteran Rubin Williams on March 20, 2008. Prior to that bout, Ward, who has remained active in the ring since turning pro, appeared on ShoBox and stopped then-unbeaten rising star Roger Cantrell on Nov. 16, 2007.
“I want to be the best fighter in my era,” said the six-foot-one Ward. “I will achieve that with class and integrity.
“A victory over Ravelo could put me up in the top-10 for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight title.”
While Ward has goals of soon capturing the WBO title, he knows that he must wait and first defeat Ravelo in order to get that opportunity.
“There is a process. My time will come,” Ward said. “Working hard for the NABO national title is part of the plan. The stakes are high.”
Ravelo (18-2, 12 KOs) is a 30-year old Dominican and former participant in the highly successful “Contender” boxing series. The Newark, N.J., resident earned an impressive, unanimous decision win over undefeated Paul Buchanan in his most recent bout, following on the heels of a competitive loss to highly-regarded and world-ranked contender Allan Green.
At six-feet-two-inches, Ravelo will prove to be Ward’s first taller and his toughest professional opponent to date.
“It is going to be about preparation for this fight,” Ravelo said. “Ward is a good fighter, and so am I. He is fast, and so am I.”
“I’m not saying I am going to knock Ward out. I’m just going to win. I’m ready to go the full 12 rounds.”
While they competed in different Olympics, Ward in 2004 and Ravelo in 2000, the Dominican is familiar with his opponent.
“I supported Ward in the Olympics. I made the Olympics in 2000, and it was a dream of mine to get there. I achieved my goal, and now I will achieve my goal for a championship title on June 20.”
A promising prospect with two tough losses, Ravelo says this will be his first bout in perfect health and knows that he has no excuses if he doesn’t come out of the Cayman Islands with a victory.
“I broke my right hand and it was injured for four years without truly healing,” said Ravelo, who took more than a year off following his victory over Buchanan on March 30, 2007. “Now, it is completely healed and it feels good and ready to fight.”
Both fighters are facing their most difficult opponent in one another, an ideal that ShoBox: The New Generation, a prospect-oriented series which showcases young fighters in tough, competitive matchups, has been built upon.
“Andre and Jerson are matched tougher than they’ve ever been matched before,” said Steve Farhood, ShoBox’s expert analyst. “Jerson Ravelo is a young veteran and I think he’s definitely the toughest opponent of Andre’s young career.”
“There are a lot of contrasts in this fight. We have east coast, west coast; we have 2004 Olympics vs. the 2000 Olympics; we have an undefeated prospect and young contender in Andre, and young veteran in Jerson who wants what Andre has.”
Both Ward and Ravelo have been on ShoBox before, and each win brings them closer to the ultimate goal of becoming a world champion.
“It’s an extremely important fight at this point in their careers,” said Gordon Hall, executive producer of ShoBox. “Hopefully the winner will eventually go on and win a world title and become the 27th fighter that has fought on ShoBox and went on to win a world title.”
Promoter Dan Goossen knows that while the Cayman Islands provide an amazing backdrop for boxing match, the true excitement will take place in the ring.
“Ward faces his toughest test against Ravelo,” Goossen said. “On June 20, Ward and Ravelo will do all of their trash talking with their fists.”
The Hearns-Gonzalez bout should prove to be as exciting and surprising as the main event. While Hearns is undefeated as a professional, Gonzalez had over 300 amateur fights and one of the very few blemishes on his resume came by a draw against Jason LeHoullier (21-0).
“Gonzalez is a pressure type of fighter,” said Hall. “It should be a good test for Hearns, who had a very limited amateur career and, with only 18 fights on his resume, is still learning and developing.”
Blow-by-blow announcer Nick Charles will call the action from ringside with expert analyst and boxing historian Steve Farhood at his side. The executive producer of “ShoBox” is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing.
For information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.