Two world title fights will be featured on the undercard of the historic Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin – Kamil Szeremeta IBF/IBO World Middleweight Championship.
Undefeated super middleweight contenders Ali Akhmedov (16-0, 12 KOs), from Almaty, Kazakhstan and Carlos Góngora (18-0, 13 KOs), from Esmeraldas, Ecuador, will rumble for the vacant IBO super middleweight world title and unbeaten WBA super featherweight world champion Hyun Mi Choi (17-0-1, 4 KOs), from Seoul, South Korea, will be looking to extend her 12-year title reign against Calista Silgado (19-11-3 14 KOs) from Tolu, Colombia.
Presented by GGG Promotions and Matchroom Boxing with Warriors Boxing, the Golovkin – Szeremeta world championship event will take place Friday, Dec. 18, behind closed doors at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL. It will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN beginning at 5pm ET in over 200 countries and territories.
“Title fights have always been my goal, and together with the team we became one step closer to the world title. I am confident in myself, my strength, and can’t wait to step into the ring. The training camp was held at the highest level as always, and I am ready for the fight,” Akhmedov said.
“We have been training together for several years and I have seen his progress with every fight and training camp. He is ready to fight for the world title and I am glad that Ali represents GGGP at the turning point of his career. I am sure he will succeed,” Golovkin said.
“I know I will be in tough with Akhmedov and I am ready for anything he wants to offer. We will see if he can do the same against me. Boston is about to see the start of its newest championship dynasty — mine,” Góngora said.
Akhmedov, who has won 75% of his fights by stoppage, returns to the ring having won five of his last six bout by knockout. He captured the WBC International Silver super middleweight title on June 8, 2019 by knocking out undefeated Marcus McDaniel in the third round. He followed that up with his first title defense, a first-round stoppage of Andrew Hernandez, Oct. 5, 2019. Promoted by GGG Promotions, he has been in the same training camp of his mentor Gennadiy Golovkin for several years.
Góngora, who represented Ecuador in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, reaching the quarterfinals in the 2008 summer games, has been training out of the Boston area throughout his professional career. The Ecuadorian bomber's skill set as a boxer puncher and his victory by knockout ratio of 72% has made him one of the most avoided fighters. Now, in his first opportunity to fight on the international stage, he has vowed to make the most of this opportunity.
Choi’s 19th pro outing is her 18th World title fight, and on her American debut, the two-weight World ruler will look to make a big statement to her star-studded rivals at Super-Featherweight, while Calista is looking to break her curse in World title outings, having challenged for elite belts on six previous fights.
“From the time I started boxing, it was my dream to fight in the United States,” said Choi. “Now, it’s time to realize that dream. I am ready to show everyone a great boxing match. Through this match I hope to gain respect and support from the world. I’m looking forward to my first match in the United States.”
Also added to the card is British Super-Middleweight World title contender John Ryder (28-5 16 KOs) who takes on Michael Guy (12-5-1 5 KOs) over ten rounds. Ryder is back in action for the first time since taking on Callum Smith for the WBA and WBC Diamond titles, running the champion close on his Liverpool home turf. The Londoner will be looking to shake the rust off as he prepares for a big fight in the first quarter of 2021.
Reshat Mati (8-0 6 KOs) has been an exciting addition to the paid ranks, and the Albanian Bear fights for the ninth time as a pro and unbeaten Californian 18 year old Jalan Walker (6-0 6 KOs) fights on US soil for the first time against Rafael Reyes (18-11 14 KO's) having boxed in Mexico six times since his debut in November 2019.
NEW YORK – December 11, 2020 – Former bantamweight world champion Emmanuel Rodríguez will take on unbeaten former interim WBA bantamweight champion Reymart Gaballo for the vacant interim WBC Bantamweight World Championship in the main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Saturday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT live on SHOWTIME from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The action-packed tripleheader will feature unbeaten welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis taking on his toughest opponent to date in veteran contender Chris Van Heerden in a 12-round co-main event for the vacant IBO welterweight title. Plus, unbeaten bantamweight Antonio Russell will face former world champion Juan Carlos Payano in a 10-round showdown to kick off the telecast.
Non-televised undercard action will see rising prospect Brandun Lee battling Dakota Linger in a 10-round super lightweight attraction.
Nordine Oubaali and Nonito Donaire were originally set to meet for Oubaali's WBC title, before the fighters tested positive for COVID-19, at which point the Rodríguez vs. Gaballo fight was made for the vacant interim title.
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions. Rodríguez vs. Gaballo is promoted in association with Warriors Boxing and Fresh Productions. Ennis vs. Van Heerden is promoted in association with D&D Boxing.
“Emmanuel Rodríguez will seek to grab a second bantamweight title on December 19, but will have a hungry and dangerous fighter in the unbeaten Reymart Gaballo standing in his way,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “With the vacant interim WBC title on the line, expect both fighters to leave it all in the ring in order to claim this belt. Adding in the always exciting Jaron Ennis against Chris Van Heerden, and an intriguing clash between Antonio Russell and Juan Carlos Payano, and December 19 shapes up to be a stacked night from start to finish live on SHOWTIME.”
The 28-year-old Rodríguez (19-1, 12 KOs) will look to capture a second bantamweight title with a victory on December 19. Fighting out of Manati, Puerto Rico, Rodríguez won the IBF Bantamweight World Title with a unanimous decision victory over Paul Butler in 2018 and successfully defended it against then-unbeaten Jason Moloney. Rodríguez was most recently stopped by unbeaten champion Naoya Inoue in their May 2019 title bout.
“This is a dream come true to have another chance to fight for the title,” said Rodríguez. “Even with the opponent change, I know it will be a tough challenge, but I've worked too hard and put in too much time in the gym to allow myself to lose this fight on December 19.”
Fighting out of General Santos City, Philippines, Gaballo (23-0, 20 KOs) enters this battle on a four-fight knockout streak and is unbeaten since turning pro in 2014. The 24-year-old's most impressive victory came in March 2018, when he dropped then-undefeated Stephon Young on his way to a unanimous decision victory for the interim WBA bantamweight title. The number one bantamweight in the WBA rankings, who also is ranked 12th by the WBO, Gaballo will fight in the U.S. for the fourth time on December 19, with his most recent stateside triumph coming by third-round stoppage over Yeison Vargas in August 2019.
“I'm very excited for this fight,” said Gaballo. “I can't wait to step into the ring again. I've been training in Miami since March and I'm planning to take advantage of this opportunity. I have a very tough opponent, but I'm going to show everyone what I can do and make sure I'm victorious.”
A native of boxing-rich Philadelphia, Pa., the supremely talented Ennis (26-0, 24 KOs) returns to the ring after stopping Juan Carlos Abreu in September on SHOWTIME. Ennis, 23, scored two emphatic knockout victories on ShoBox: The New Generation in 2018 before adding two more KO wins to his ledger in 2019. As his level of opposition has steadily increased since turning professional in 2016, the switch-hitter has scored 16 consecutive knockouts in addition to notching 16 knockdowns in his last six bouts.
“I can't wait to get in there to make a big statement,” said Ennis. “I am ready to show out and put on a crushing performance. This is one step closer to the bigger names and my world title shot.”
Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Van Heerden (28-2-1,12 KOs) now lives and trains out of Santa Monica, Calif. The 33-year-old has won five-straight bouts leading into December 19, including 2019 wins over Aslanbek Kozaev and Mahonri Montes. Since his first professional defeat in 2010, Van Heerden has won 14 of his 15 fights, with his only blemish coming in 2015 against unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
“Sometimes it can take years for that one moment to come around and change your life,” said Van Heerden. “I have waited seven years for this opportunity to do my part and inspire my country of South Africa. Even with three weeks' notice and coming in as the underdog, I am taking advantage of the opportunity that has been placed in front of me in these challenging times. I'm the veteran and will use my experience to win this fight. Fighters fight. We need to be prepared to step in when the opportunity presents itself and seize the moment. I'll be ready on December 19.”
The middle brother between WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Jr. and 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne, Antonio Russell (17-0, 12 KOs) will return to action looking to cement his contender status in the bantamweight division. The 27-year-old from Capitol Heights, Md. turned pro in 2015 after an impressive amateur career. After four wins in 2019, Russell kicked off 2020 defeating Jesus Martinez in February.
“I'm ready for this fight,” said Russell. “We have been in the gym training hard despite the pandemic. I'm looking forward to getting back in the ring. We know our opponent is coming to fight, and so are we. I'm prepared for whatever he brings.”
Born in the Dominican Republic but now living and fighting out of Miami, Fla. Payano (21-4, 9 KOs) will move back down to bantamweight, where he was previously champion, after his most recent outing saw him drop a competitive decision against former champion Danny Roman in September. Payano captured his title in 2014 by defeating Anselmo Moreno, before splitting a pair of memorable fights against Rau'shee Warren. Payano has come up short in recent years against top fighters Luis Nery and Naoya Inoue, while delivering Damien Vazquez his first career loss.
“I can't wait to get back in the ring before the end of the year,” said Payano. “I'm excited for the opportunity on SHOWTIME against an undefeated bantamweight. He's never faced anyone like me, and I plan on testing him from the opening bell and giving the fans a great show. Uncasville, CT and Mohegan Sun is a first class city and venue. Thank you to PBC for giving me this opportunity.”
The 21-year-old Lee (20-0, 18 KOs) steps into the ring for the fourth time in 2020, having already delivered three knockout victories this year. Fighting out of La Quinta, Calif., Lee most recently dropped Jimmy Williams three times on his way to a first round knockout in October. Lee enters this fight having stopped his last 11 opponents inside of the distance.
Representing his native Buckhannon, W. Va., Linger (12-4-2, 8 KOs) has proved to be a durable challenge in his pro career that dates back to 2015. The 26-year-old was 2-2 from January 2019 to January 2020, with his losses coming by narrow majority decisions against Maurice Lee and Nelson Hampton. Most recently Linger lost an eight-round decision to unbeaten prospect Omar Juarez in September.
WBC TITLE ON THE LINE FOR CANELO VS. SMITH
Famous green and gold strap added to Ring Magazine and WBA belts in Texas
Matchroom and Canelo Promotions are delighted to announce that the WBC World Super-Middleweight title will be on the line when Canelo Alvarez and Callum Smith clash at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday December 19, live on DAZN in 200+ countries and territories worldwide and on TV Azteca in Mexico.
Canelo (53-1-2 36 KOs) once again reaches for greatness as he challenges the WBA Super, Ring Magazine and world number one rated Super-Middleweight Smith (27-0 19 KOs) in Texas, and the addition of the WBC title adds more greatness and glamour to an already monstrous fight.
Both men have won WBC straps before, with Canelo winning belts at Super-Welterweight and Middleweight and Smith landing the WBC Diamond belt at 168lbs, and the winner on December 19 will be ordered to face WBC #2 ranked Avni Yildrim within 90 days.
“The WBC is extremely proud to have such tremendous fight for the vacant WBC Super-Middleweight title,” said WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman. “Canelo and Callum will give the world a superb closing of a difficult year and will make fans from around the world celebrate with much entertainment and enjoyment. I would like to personally praise Avni Yildirim for his exemplary collaboration to make this a reality.”
“I am delighted that the winner of this fight will be crowned the WBC World champion at 168lbs,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Canelo Alvarez is the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet, and Callum Smith is the number one Super-Middleweight on the planet – so it is fitting for the winner to proudly wear the green and gold belt on December 19.”