SHOWTIME, America’s favorite boxing network, celebrated the 100th fight of its highly successful series, “ShoBox: The New Generation,” with Ian Gardner putting together a split-decision victory over Kuvanych Toygonbayev, 99-91 and 96-94 for Gardner and 94-96 against, Thursday on SHOWTIME. In the co-feature, Francisco Diaz easily handed Guadalupe Martinez the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision, scored 80-71, 79-73, and 78-73. The doubleheader, which took place at Harrah’s Hotel & Casino, was co-promoted by Millennium Events in association with Titan Entertainment and aired at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). It was the 50th fight show in the popular “ShoBox” series, which debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001.
Gardner (17-1, seven KOs) of Toronto, Canada, landed enough shots under Toygonbayev’s right eye to cause some swelling. He spent most of the fight at a distance, using his reach advantage to tag Toygonbayev often. Since suffering his lone loss on Nov. 2, 2001, “The Cobra” has reeled off 15 consecutive victories. In his last outing, Gardner captured the vacant WBC International middleweight crown by tallying a 10-round unanimous decision over Patrick Perez on June 25, 2004, in Boston. The judges scored it 100-90 and 97-93 (twice).
Toygonbayev (23-3, 15 KOs), of Andizhan, Uzbekistan, was the fight’s more aggressive fighter, working his way inside when he could. Toygonbayev has never shied away from facing the toughest opposition inside of the ring. On May 18, 2002, he defeated former North American Boxing Federation (NABF) welterweight champion Oba Carr across 10 rounds in Las Vegas. Most recently, Toygonbayev dropped a controversial decision to former two-time WBC middleweight champion Keith Holmes on March 14, 2004, in Temecula, Calif. The judges scored the bout 95-93 (twice) for Holmes and 94-apiece. Toygonbayev was deducted two points for low blows.
Diaz (13-1, seven KOs), Shawnee, Kan. moved fluidly through the ring, unleashing quick combinations that forced a standing eight count in the third round, nearly ending the fight. The once-beaten Diaz has won his past seven fights, including an opening-round TKO over Mike Stone on June 30, 2004, in Kansas City. Diaz used his jab to set up a powerful left-right combination, resulting in the TKO.
Martinez (13-1, nine KOs), of Sugar Land, Texas, took a beating in the fight’s early rounds, but rebounded and seemed to still have power in his punches in the bout’s latter stages. Since turning pro on Nov. 20, 2001, with a second-round TKO over Paul Brown in Humble, Texas, Martinez defeated each of his first 13 opponents in convincing fashion.
“ShoBox: The New Generation” features up-and-coming prospects determined to make a mark and eventually fight for a chance at a world title. The best of the new generation of hungry, young boxers will have an opportunity to showcase their talent and heart as they battle each other in competitive fights in front of a national television audience. “ShoBox: The New Generation” is pure, basic boxing, reminiscent of the golden days of the sport. Five fighters who have appeared on “ShoBox” have gone on to become world champions: Kermit Cintron, Juan Diaz, Leonard Dorin, Joan Guzman and Scott Harrison. Roughly 15 percent of the boxers who have battled on “ShoBox” have gone on to become world-rated boxers.
Nick Charles called Thursday’s action from ringside, with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of the telecast was Gordon Hall, with Richard Gaughan producing.
The next “ShoBox’’ telecast is Thursday, September 16, on SHOWTIME. The doubleheader from Kewadin Hotel & Casino in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. features the International Boxing Federation’s (IBF) No. 1 ranked Light Heavyweight Rico Hoye (17-0, 14 KOs) and Former World Boxing Council (WBC) Light Heavyweight Champion/ IBF No. 3 Contender Montell Griffin (46-4, 29 KOs) in a 12-round battle. In the eight-round co-feature of once-beaten 122 pound contenders, Al Seeger (19-1, 16 KOs) will square off against Eric Aiken (11-1, eight KOs).
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