Continuing to solidify its position as the premiere boxing series for unearthing championship-caliber contenders, “ShoBox: The New Generation” returns for its second telecast of the year when Kahren “Armenian Essence” Harutyunyan and Nonito “Flash” Donaire meet for the vacant North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super flyweight title on Jan. 20, 2006.
In the exciting co-feature, Global Boxing Union (GBU) Americas Lightweight Champion Tyrone Harris will take on Israel Hernandez in an eight-round junior lightweight tussle. SHOWTIME will televise the Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, doubleheader from Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif., at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Harutyunyan (13-2-3, zero KOs), of Yerevan, Armenia, is a senior English major at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) junior bantamweight titleholder. He hopes to change the perception many people have toward fighters.
"It really hurts me that boxers are perceived as uneducated people," said Harutyunyan, who is trained by Freddie Roach. "Because of fighters who have done stupid things in the past, there is this image of a boxer as a street fighter."
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Harutyunyan gets up at 4 a.m. to get his roadwork in. At noon, he heads to the gym. By mid-afternoon, he is studying and taking care of his schoolwork. In the evening, he will go through a regimen that includes weight training and swimming.
On Tuesday and Thursday, Harutyunyan wakes up at 7 a.m. and readies himself for a full day on campus. From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., the NABO champion is in class. By 5 p.m., he is back at the gym for his daily workout. By 8 p.m., he is back at home, mostly getting rest for another busy day.
Juggling the sweet science and his studies does not allow Harutyunyan time for any extracurricular activities.
"I have been missing the college life," Harutyunyan said. "I see kids partying, living on a college campus, and I cannot do that. But education has always been an important part of my family, and I love boxing.”
Currently riding an eight-bout winning streak, Harutyunyan captured the vacant NABO crown with a dominant 12-round unanimous decision over Tatsuo Hayashida on April 1, 2005, in Montebello, Calif. Two of the judges scored the bout 120-107, while the third had it 119-108.
Donaire (13-1, eight KOs), of Castro Valley, Calif., by way of General Santos, Philippines, could get a speeding ticket for his work in the ring. Often averaging more than 55 punches per minute, “Flash” and his brother Glenn Donaire burst on the boxing scene with highly-disputed losses to 1999 National Golden Gloves champion Brian Viloria in the 2000 Olympic Trials. The Donaires then staged a sit-in protest during the consolation semifinals, with Glenn getting disqualified. The next day, Nonito withdrew from his consolation final.
“I had a heartache because I thought I won the fight against Viloria,” Nonito Donaire said. It was controversial, and knowing that my goal was in my grasp, just right there, it broke my heart. After the decision, people were booing and throwing chairs. It was a fight to remember.”
Stung by the politics of the amateur game, Donaire entered the pro ranks and made his debut with a first-round knockout over Jose Lazaro on Feb. 22, 2001, from Inglewood, Calif.
In his next outing, Donaire suffered his lone defeat when he dropped a five-round unanimous decision to Rosendo Sanchez on March 10, 2001, in Vallejo, Calif.
Finding a rhythm in the ring, Donaire has reeled off 12 consecutive victories since the loss.
“Donaire is somebody to watch,” said Doug Fischer of Maxboxing.com. “He has good hand speed, reflexes and punching power. He is not just supremely talented; he also has a warrior mentality.”
On Sept. 1, 2002, Donaire won his first pro title in just his sixth pro outing by defeating Kaicho Vorapin in Agana, Guam. The hard-hitting Filipino ended matters and captured the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asian Pacific flyweight crown by flooring Vorapin with a fierce combination in the second round.
In his last outing, Donaire gave his most impressive performance by recording a lopsided eight-round unanimous decision over Ilido Julio (33-6-1 going in) on Nov. 5, 2005, in Stateline, Nev. The once-beaten brawler utilized his blazing fast hands to counter punch, but a low blow caused the fighter to slow down enough for Julio to rake him against the ropes. Donaire rebounded by dropping Julio twice with body shots in the eighth and final round. Each of the three judges scored it 79-70.
Harris (14-0, 12 KOs), of Lansing, Mich., has controlled his opposition with one of the best jabs in the game. However, with only two of his 14 bouts going the distance, including seven first-round stoppages, the southpaw has demonstrated he can slug with anybody.
“Tyrone Harris has not received the publicity or exposure of some prospects, mostly because he has fought off television in the Northwest,” said “ShoBox” expert analyst Steve Farhood. “But he is a hot young prospect who should benefit from the ‘ShoBox’ cameras. Harris is exactly the type of prospect we love to uncover on the show.”
“It is fine with me if my opponent gets in the ring and thinks ‘oh, I can beat this guy,’ ” Harris said. “The only thing that matters is whose arm the referee raises after the fight.”
When Hernandez (11-1-1, 11 KOs), of Mazatlan, Mexico, is involved in a fight, chances are there is going to be a knockout. All of the hard-hitting pugilist’s 11 victories have come via KO, while his lone loss was by TKO. In his other outing, Hernandez fought to a third-round technical draw.
“This is boxing, not salsa class,” Hernandez said. “People do not pay money to see us dance around the ring. They want knockouts. And, on Jan. 20 on ‘ShoBox,’ that is exactly what I will give them.”
The telecast represents the 71st in the popular “ShoBox” series, which debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001. “ShoBox” features up-and-coming prospects determined to make a mark and eventually fight for a chance at a world title. A number of fighters who have appeared on the series have gone on to become world champions, including Kermit Cintron, Juan Diaz, Leonard Dorin, Joan Guzman and Scott Harrison.
Nick Charles will call the action from ringside, with Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of the telecast 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