Press Release: The semi-final round of the Jose Sulaiman invitational welterweight tournament will take place on Saturday, August 25th in Toronto. Evander Holyfield's The Real Deal Sports and Lee Baxter Promotions made the announcement at a press conference. The second event in the tournament will see the quarterfinal winners face each other in co-main events when South Africa’s Chris Van Heerden (26-2-1) takes on Ghana’s Fredrick Lawson (27-1) and the USA’s Brad Solomon (28-1) faces Mexico’s Francisco Santana (25-6-1).
The two semi-final winners in August will go head-to-head later this year in the finals. The overall winner of the Jose Sulaiman World Invitational Tournament will be in a position to fight for the WBC welterweight title in 2019.
The undercard will feature tournament alternate, Russia's Sergey Lubkovich (8-0), English featherweight Alex Dilmaghani (17-1) and other Canadian boxers including Dierry Jean (29-2-1), Kane Heron (11-0-1), Josh Lupia (3-0) and more.
Chris “The Heat” Van Heerden (26-2-1, 12 KO), the popular southpaw has only been stopped once in his professional career, against one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, Errol Spence. Since then the South African native has been on a 3 fight win streak and is already deep into his training camp at Wildcard West in Santa Monica, California. "Adversity introduces a man to himself and I have come face to face with it. I know what I'm made of and now the semi-final is another step closer to becoming a champion again."
Frederick “General Okunka” Lawson (27-1, 21 KO) the power punching Ghana native now residing in The Bronx has over 20 knockouts and is eager to provide the tournament with it’s first stoppage. "Ain't no stopping Team Lawson now, we're on the move. Nothing can change the course of my destiny. I respect Chris and his accomplishments but I'm just too strong and hungry for him. Watch me take him apart on fight night. General Okunka is coming to do battle and will surely prevail."
Brad “King” Solomon (28-1, 9 KO) is a slick-moving and highly-skilled boxer hailing from Georgia, whose only professional loss came by split decision. "My ring rust is over. Be on the lookout for speed, quick footwork and fast hands this entire tournament. This is my opportunity to showcase my skills to the world."
Francisco “Chia” Santana (25-6-1, 12 KO) the battle tested veteran from Santa Barbara, California representing Mexico, did not make the initial 8-man bracket but an online fan vote earned him an alternate spot. After a fighter pulled out, Santana, who has taken champions like Jermell Charlo and Sadam Ali the distance, shocked the tournament's #1 seed and Olympic Gold Medalist, Feliz Diaz. "I was coming off another robbery in a split decision loss. My promoter had dropped me. I couldn't find a fight. I took a full-time job on a ship to support my wife and little girl. I thought maybe my career was over. When I got in the tournament, I knew it was my last chance and I brought that mentality into the ring. I'm glad I am the underdog again because it fuels my fire. On August 25th you will see the best version of Francisco Santana yet. I am a man on a mission to win this tournament."
Toronto's Lee Baxter Promotions is putting together an undercard of Canadian fighters to further add to the excitement. “I made a promise I would continue to bring world class boxing to Toronto. Now with the help of Evander Holyfield and The Real Deal Boxing, the city will play host to a major international tournament. Toronto boxing fans can be assured that Canadian contenders, prospects and local rivalry clashes will be featured on an amazing undercard.", explains Lee Baxter, President of Lee Baxter Promotions.
As Holyfield sums it up, “We invite the entire boxing world to watch the semi-finals live from Toronto on August 25 to see not only four hungry welterweight contenders go head to head for the opportunity of a lifetime in a legendary boxing venue but also to see the beginning of long overdue changes in the sport we all love.”
Ticket information, broadcast details and the full undercard will be released shortly. For more information visit The Real Deal Boxing and Lee Baxter Promotions.