When Does Gleason’s Gym Boxer Kurt Scoby Fight on ShoBox?
Over 20 years since it first made airwaves in July 2021, Showtime’s boxing series ShoBox: The Next Generation is arguably the most vital broadcast in all of boxing. More and more, the sport seems to be shooting itself in the leg, with fights left on the wayside and more attention given to the negotiation of fights than the fights themselves. But for junior welterweight Kurt Scoby (10-0, 8 KOs), who made the decision to turn professional in 2020, boxing has been a saving grace in his life. In 2020, Scoby made the life-altering decision to get on a plane to New York and walk into the famed and fabled Gleason’s Gym to give boxing his full attention.
“I met two great coaches, Don Saxby and Leon “Cat” Taylor,” said Scoby in an exclusive interview with NY Fights. “Once I knew I had the right team, you can do anything in life. That goes for anything you do, and just in life, period. But, once I knew I had a great team around me, the sky was the limit. I knew I could go to the moon and back with those two people.”
On what will be the most important fight of his career thus far, Scoby will take on a fellow undefeated fighter in Australias, John “The Beast” Mannu (7-0-1, 4 KOs), at the Stormont Vaile Events Center in Topeka, KS on Friday, Feb. 17. As is tradition with ShoBox, the two undefeated prospects are being provided a platform to showcase their skills.
Over the last 20-plus years that ShoBox has been a part of the boxing world, there have been over 80 fighters who have fought on the platform that went on to hold world titles. Some fighters include Hall-of-Famers like Andre Ward and Timothy Bradley, world champions Nonito Donaire, Ricky Hatton, Robert Guerrero, and current WBC junior welterweight champion Regis Prograis.
“Very quickly fighters understood the value of ShoBox,” said ShoBox commentator and boxing historian Steve Farhood of Showtime. “A medium is the message. When you get exposure on national TV it is invaluable. You can go from a fighter that nobody has ever heard of to being a fighter that everyone in boxing knows from one performance because its on national TV.”
While Kurt Scoby, 27, has been boxing since the age of 9 and considers the sport to be one of his first loves, the Duarte, California native spent the majority of his life on the football field. He was a former NCAA Division I player and was scouted by NFL teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers. As a premier athlete, the football background gave Scoby a level of discipline that he could use to his advantage to translate over to boxing.
“For me, it’s basically just dedication, hard work and understanding the discipline of the sport,” Scoby told NY Fights. “It definitely brought a dedicated attribute where I have to understand everything that I do. I have to kind of slow down with it, because there’s a thing called overworking. Every time I want to do something in the sport, or any sport that I do, I give it my all. So that’s what I brought to boxing from a football aspect. I’m always working.”
With almost 300 shows aired since 2001, ShoBox has shown over 200 fighters lose their undefeated records. This underlies the significance of ShoBox as it can be a proving ground to separate those who genuinely have potential from those that are merely built on hype.
“Putting on good prospects is a consistent part of it but also we’ve had 193 fighters who suffered their first losses on ShoBox,” said Steve Farhood to Showtime in a mini-documentary celebrating the 20th anniversary of ShoBox. “So it’s just as much about exposing the pretenders as it is about advancing the contenders.”
The stage for Kurt Scoby may be significant, but it isn’t something that is weighing on his mind. As far as he is concerned, the former high school and college football star has been on similar stages to ShoBox and is more focused on himself than his opponent or what platform he fights on.
“I’ve been here plenty of times in my mind,” Scoby said to NY Fights. “I’ve been here before, so I’ll never let the moment get bigger than myself. I’ve been to the worst places in my life, and nothing can get bigger than myself. As long as I have myself, and I’m getting better each and every day, this platform is great to be on, but I’m my own biggest fan at this moment.”
ShoBox has always been a place for fight fans to witness the next potential world champion or Hall-of-Famer at the beginning stages of his career. A time when they may still be working out the kinks in their style and how far they are willing to push themselves. Winning is the goal for everyone that steps through the ropes, but losing has never been the absolute end for fighters on ShoBox.
Will Kurt Scoby come out of his fight with John Mannu, known as a legitimate contender at junior welterweight? For those who haven’t seen Scoby in the ring yet, he won’t be spoiling anything for fans, he told NY Fights: “That would be giving the people the popcorn before the movie even started.“
We’ll have to wait until Friday night to see where Scoby stands.