Promoters Art Pelullo/Banner Promotions and Top Rank, Inc., will present a sensational world championship fight card on April 29, 2006, in the Fox Arena at Foxwoods Resort Casino, located at 39 Norwich Westerly Road in Mashantucket, Connecticut. The main event and co-featured fight will be televised live at 10:15 P.M. (ET) on the first telecast of the year of HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” series.
In the 12-round main event for the vacant WBO lightweight world championship, WBO No. 1 ranked Acelino Freitas, 37-1, with 32 knockouts, of Salvador, Brazil, will fight WBO No. 3 ranked Zahir Raheem, 27-1, with 16 knockouts, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The title was recently vacated when champion Diego Corrales failed to make his mandatory defense against Freitas.
Now 30 years old, Freitas is the former WBO jr. lightweight world champion, and made 10 successful defenses of the title, which included three successful defenses of the unified WBA 130-pound title, as well, before moving up in weight. Freitas won the WBO lightweight world title in January, 2004, before losing it in his first defense against Corrales in August, 2004.
29 year-old Raheem is coming off a tremendous win in his last fight in September, 2005, a decisive 12 round unanimous decision against former WBC super featherweight, featherweight, and super bantamweight world champion Erik Morales. Raheem’s only loss in July, 2004, was by very controversial decision against hometown favorite Rocky Juarez in Houston. Raheem represented the U.S. in the 1992 Olympics.
The opening televised bout will feature 2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward of Oakland, California, in an eight-round middleweight match. Now 22 years old and with a record of 7-0, with 4 knockouts, Ward will fight 24 year-old Andy Kolle, 9-0, with 7 knockouts, of Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
An exciting lineup of supporting bouts is planned to complete the event. All bouts are subject to change without notice.