Promoter Art Pelullo/Banner Promotions will present a sensational world championship fight card on Wednesday, May 31, 2006, in the Pend O’reille Pavillion at Northern Quest Casino, located at North 100 Hayford Road in Airway Heights, Washington. The fights will be televised live on ESPN2’s “Wednesday Night Fights.”
In the 12-round main event, Manuel “Mantecas” Medina, 66-14 with 31 knockouts, of Tijuana, Mexico, will battle Cassius “The Hitman” Baloyi, 31-2 with 16 knockouts, of Johannesburg, South Africa, for the vacant International Boxing Federation jr. lightweight world title. Medina is ranked No. 1 by the IBF, Baloyi No. 7.
Now 35 years old, Medina is a five-time featherweight world champion and veteran of 20 world title fights. Manuel turned pro at the age of 14 in 1985 and won the IBF featherweight world title for the first time in 1991. He is experienced against top opposition and has fought current or former world champions Scott Harrison twice (W12, TKOby11), Juan Manuel Marquez (TKOby7), Johnny Tapia (L12), Frankie Toledo twice (TKO6, W10), Paul Ingle (L12), Hector Lizarraga (W12), Derrick Gainer (KOby9), Luisito Espinosa twice (TL8, L12), Naseem Hamed (TKOby11), Alejandro Gonzalez (W12), Juan Polo-Perez (W12), Tom Johnson three times (L12, L12, TW9), John John Molina (L12), Fabrice Benichou (W12), Troy Dorsey (W12), and Steve Cruz (W10).
Baloyi, 31 years old, is a skilled and tough lefthander, and is 5-2 in his last seven fights. He is also experienced against top opposition, and has fought former world champions Lehlohonolo Ledwaba twice (W12, W12), Mbulelo Botile (TKO11), Steve Robinson (W12), Hector Lizarraga (KO1), and Frankie Toledo (W12).
In the co-featured jr. lightweight fight scheduled for 10 rounds, Koba Gogoladze, 18-1 with 7 knockouts, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will take on Tyrone Harris, 15-1 with 13 knockouts, of Lansing, Michigan.
Gogoladze, 33 years old, represented his native country, The Republic of Georgia, in the 1996 Olympics. He has been based in Philadelphia since 2002. Harris, a 25 year-old lefthanded prospect, was a 2002 National Golden Gloves amateur champion.