Holt-Arnaoutis eliminator April 20 on Shobox


Holt-Arnaoutis eliminator April 20 on Shobox

PRESS RELEASE: Two fighters who have made a name for themselves on the popular SHOWTIME boxing series, "ShoBox: The New Generation,” return to the network for the most significant fight of their respective careers. In arguably the finest, most meaningful match-up in the six-year history of “ShoBox,” World Boxing Organization (WBO) No. 1 contender Kendall Holt will take on No. 2 contender Mike Arnaoutis in a WBO 140-pound elimination bout Friday, April 20, 2007.


The winner of the sizzling showdown of New Jersey natives and “ShoBox” regulars will become the mandatory challenger for WBO Junior Welterweight Champion Ricardo Torres and have an opportunity to join a growing list of “ShoBox” fighters who have gone on to become world champions, including Ricky Hatton, Robert Guerrero, Juan Diaz, Jeff Lacy and Joan Guzman.


The “ShoBox” telecast will air live at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).   Star Boxing and Duva Boxing will co-promote the fights at Bally's Atlantic City. 


            With six “ShoBox” appearances between them, Holt and Arnaoutis each have won minor titles on SHOWTIME and compiled a 5-0-1 record with three knockouts.  Holt, who has two wins with one by KO on the network, captured the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) 140-pound crown with a thrilling 12-round unanimous decision over Isaac Hlatshwayo in November 2006.  Arnaoutis, who is 3-0-1 with two KOs on SHOWTIME, won the NABO super lightweight title on the network in October 2004, and made one successful defense.


             "The goal of the ‘ShoBox’ series has always been to showcase young fighters in multiple fights as they develop their careers," said Executive Producer Gordon Hall. "In the case of Holt and Arnaoutis, our audience has seen them develop from prospects into world title contenders. They have earned this elimination fight in the ring. That's what this series is all about."


No stranger to SHOWTIME audiences, Holt (21-1, 12 KOs), a native of Paterson, N.J., will make his third network appearance.  Since suffering his lone setback in June 2004, the current world-ranked contender has reeled off six consecutive victories and won two pro titles.  In addition to his top-ranked WBO status, Holt also is the International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 6/World Boxing Association (WBA) No. 10 contender at 140 pounds.


In his last outing on Nov. 3, 2006, Holt dealt previously undefeated Hlatshwayo his first loss and captured the vacant NABO super lightweight crown with a thrilling 12-round unanimous decision on “ShoBox.” Twenty-one months earlier in his SHOWTIME and “ShoBox” debuts, Holt snapped David Diaz’ head back a number of times before the referee stopped the contest at 2:26 in the eighth round


“I have long believed in Kendall Holt’s potential to be a superstar in boxing,” said Dino Duva, president of Duva Boxing.  “Now, he is one fight away from achieving his goal of fighting for a world championship.  Mike Arnaoutis is a very tough fighter, and I expect a great fight.  I fully expect Kendall to win and move on to superstardom in the junior welterweight division.”


Arnaoutis (17-1-1, 9 KOs), of Atlantic City, via Athens, Greece, successfully defended his NABO junior welterweight title in his last “ShoBox” appearance with a 12-round majority decision over Roberto Santa Cruz, Feb. 18, 2005, on SHOWTIME. 


“What we have here is an extremely competitive and compelling match-up between two of the top junior welterweights in the world,” said Joe DeGuardia, CEO of Star Boxing. “I have the utmost confidence that Mike Arnaoutis will be successful on April 20th, and then win what is rightfully his, the WBO junior welterweight title from Ricardo Torres.”


With a victory over Holt, Arnaoutis will have the chance to avenge his lone defeat to Torres.  In a closely contested battle on Nov. 18, 2006, Torres captured the vacant WBO junior welterweight belt by scoring a controversial 12-round split decision over Arnaoutis.  Two of the judges scored it 114-113 for Torres, while the third had it 116-111 for Arnaoutis.


            “I will become a world champion, and Kendall Holt will not stop me from doing this,” Arnaoutis said.  “I will completely dominate him and beat him convincingly.  There will be only one man’s hand raised in victory at the end of this fight, and that hand will be mine. 


            “I have worked hard for a long time and realize what must be done.  There is no way I will allow myself to lose.  I appreciate the efforts of everybody who made this fight possible.  I will win big and not let anybody down.” 


            Still stinging from the controversial loss to Torres, Arnaoutis’ advisor, Mike Michael, believes his fighter has not received the respect he deserves.


            “Everybody knows that “Mighty” Mike Arnaoutis is the uncrowned WBO world champion at 140 pounds,” Michael said.  “It does not make any difference to us if we fight Holt now or if we fight him later.  Either way, we will beat him.  It’s that simple.”     


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.


                About ShoBox: The New Generation


Since its inception in July 2001, the critically-acclaimed SHOWTIME boxing series, “ShoBox: The New Generation” has featured young talent matched tough. The “ShoBox” philosophy is to televise exciting, crowd-pleasing and competitive matches while providing a proving ground for willing prospects determined to fight for a world title.  The growing list of fighters who have appeared on ShoBox and advanced to garner world titles includes Leonard Dorin, Scott Harrison, Juan Diaz, Jeff Lacy, Ricky Hatton, Joan Guzman, Juan Urango, David Diaz (interim) and Robert Guerrero.