SHOWTIME’s spectacular tripleheader on Saturday, October 2, will be the first boxing event to take place in the new outdoor Amphitheatre at Caesars Palace, recalling an era of legendary nights of boxing including Sugar Ray Leonard against Thomas Hearns, Larry Holmes against Gerry Cooney, Muhammad Ali against Larry Holmes and Leonard against Marvelous Marvin Hagler at the famed Las Vegas resort. It was also the scene of the Hagler against John “The Beast” Mugabi, SHOWTIME’s first boxing event in March 10, 1986. The telecast will begin at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
In the main event, former World Boxing Organization (WBO) heavyweight champion and current WBO No. 6 contender, Klitschko (42-3, 39 KOs), will make his SHOWTIME debut and first start since losing to Lamon Brewster, when he takes on North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Heavyweight Champion DaVarryl Williamson (20-2, 17 KOs) in a 10-round heavyweight battle.
Prior to Klitschko-Williamson, SHOWTIME will feature a pair of world championship battles. In the evening’s second televised bout, International Boxing Federation (IBF) Junior Middleweight Champion Verno Phillips (38-9-1, 20 KOs) will make his initial title defense in a rematch against IBF No. 1 contender Kassim Ouma (19-1-1, 13 KOs). Opening the SHOWTIME tripleheader will be IBF No. 1 contender Syd Vanderpool (35-2, 23 KOs) taking on IBF No. 4 contender Jeff Lacy (16-0, 13 KOs) for the vacant IBF super middleweight belt. Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, in association with Caesars Palace will present the event.
Tickets for reserved seats are priced from $50 to $325, and are on sale now at the Caesars Palace Box Office, online through ticketmaster.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets. To order tickets by phone, call (702) 474-4000. Price excludes tax and a handling fee.
Klitschko, of Kiev, Ukraine, avenged his older brother, Vitali’s, loss to Chris Byrd to capture the WBO heavyweight crown on Oct. 14, 2000. The 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist held the title for more than 28 months and made five successful defenses before being dethroned by Corrie Sanders on March 8, 2003. The six-foot-six-inch Klitschko has knocked out two out of his past three opponents. On Aug. 30, 2003, Klitschko scored an opening-round KO over Fabio Moli.
Less than four months later on Dec. 20, 2003, the former world champion stopped Danell Nicholson in the fourth round. In his last outing, Klitschko lost the vacant WBO crown to Brewster via fifth-round TKO despite dominating for much of the April 10, 2004, contest.
Williamson, of Washington, D.C., rallied from an eighth-round knockdown to win the NABF and WBO Latino heavyweight titles with a 12-round majority decision over Eliecer Castillo on April 17, 2004, in Tampa, Fla. The well-educated father of two, who has a master’s degree in administrative services, has knocked out more than 77 percent of his opponents, including six in the opening round.
Prior to turning pro at age 31 in 2000, Williamson was a three-time United States national champion and compiled a 120-17-11 amateur record with 103 knockouts. Nicknamed “Touch of Sleep,” the hard-hitting heavyweight will make his seventh Las Vegas appearance.
Phillips, of Troy, N.Y., registered a sixth-round TKO over late substitute and IBF No. 15 contender, Carlos Bojorquez, to capture the vacant IBF junior middleweight title June 5, 2004, on SHOWTIME. Since falling short to Ouma on Sept. 7, 2001, Phillips has won seven consecutive bouts. Game throughout, Phillips landed the more explosive punches, including many hard left hooks and clubbing right hands that kept Ouma honest. However, a 14-month layoff took its toll, and Phillips tired late.
The hard-working Phillips captured the WBO 154-pound title by scoring a seventh-round TKO over Lupe Aquino on Oct. 30, 1993, and made three successful defenses. A seasoned boxer-puncher, who has been victorious in 12 out of his past 13 starts, Phillips owns victories over former world champions Julian Jackson, Gianfranco Rosi, Aquino and Julio Cesar Vasquez.
Ouma, of Palm Beach, Fla., is coming off of a scintillating 10th-round TKO over Juan Carlos Candelo in an IBF elimination bout Jan. 3, 2004, on SHOWTIME. A promising young star, Ouma is on an 11-bout unbeaten streak (10-0-1) since suffering his lone defeat on Nov. 20, 1999. Ouma recorded a 10-round unanimous decision over Phillips in a memorable slugfest in which neither fighter conceded an inch from start to finish. Possessing the faster hands, Ouma rattled his opponent on several occasions, got credit for a knockdown in the ninth and won the hard-fought slugfest by the scores 95-94, 96-93 and 97-93.
The pride of Palm Beach won the vacant USBA junior middleweight crown and became the IBF’s top 154-pound contender by winning a 12-round split decision over Angel Hernandez on May 30, 2003. Ouma previously won the vacant USBA junior middleweight crown on May 10, 2002, by scoring an eighth-round TKO over Jason Papillion. Ouma successfully defended the USBA title with an 11th-round TKO over Darrell Woods on Oct. 4, 2002. However, the outcome was changed to a no decision and Ouma was stripped of the title when he failed a post-fight test. After reclaiming the USBA crown with the victory over Hernandez, Ouma stopped Bojorquez in the eighth round on Aug. 22, 2003.
Lacy, of St. Petersburg, Fla., will attempt to become the first 2000 United States Olympian to capture a world championship when he makes his 10th SHOWTIME appearance. In his most recent outing on June 5, 2004, Lacy retained his World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas/North American Boxing Association (NABA) and United States Boxing Association (USBA) super middleweight crowns when his IBF elimination bout on SHOWTIME against fellow unbeaten IBF/World Boxing Association (WBA) International titleholder Vitali Tsypko ended in a no-decision after the second round.
On Dec. 13, 2003, Lacy retained his WBC/CA/USBA/NABA belts with an eighth-round TKO over NABF light heavyweight champion Donnell Wiggins Dec. 13, 2003, on SHOWTIME. The flourishing Floridian retained his WBC/CA and USBA titles, and added the vacant NABA super middleweight crown with a 12-round decision over Richard Grant on July 15, 2003. Prior to turning pro, Lacy went 209-12 in the amateurs, won numerous competitions and made it to the second round of the 2000 Olympics.
Vanderpool, of Kitchener, Canada, captured the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) middleweight crown on Sept. 12, 1997, in his 23rd bout and made one successful defense. Currently riding a seven-bout winning streak, the well-traveled boxer has fought in 14 different states and four Canadian cities since entering the pro ranks as a 20-year-old middleweight in March 1993.
In his lone world title appearance, Vanderpool went the distance and held his own against longtime IBF Middleweight Champion Bernard Hopkins before dropping a 12-round unanimous decision on May 13, 2000, from Indianapolis, Ind. After defeating his next six opponents, Vanderpool registered a 12-round unanimous decision over Tito Mendoza in an IBF super middleweight elimination bout on April 17, 2004, from Tampa, Fla.
Located near the mid-Strip corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, the new Caesars Palace Amphitheatre is the centerpiece of a five-acre, open-air Roman Plaza, which opened July 1, 2004. Situated in front of the resort, the arena will be configured with more than 4,000 seats for the tripleheader, offering an incomparable broadcast and event location, surrounded by the famed lights of the resort city.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’s Steve Albert and Al Bernstein will call the action from ringside with Jim Gray serving as roving reporter. The executive producer of the SHOWTIME telecast will be Jay Larkin, with David Dinkins Jr. producing and Bob Dunphy directing.