Press Release: James Wilikns, a super featherweight and former amateur standout, will make his live television debut on ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, September 21st immediately following the Showtime premiere of the documentary Cradle of Champions. The film chronicles Wilkins and the 2015 New York Golden Gloves boxing tournament. Wilkins will face featherweight Misael Lopez (8-0, 4 KOs) in the opening bout of what is now a four-fight ShoBox telecast. The back-to-back programs will begin at 8 p.m. ET/PT with the film airing before the live ShoBox telecast at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT from Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Wilkins, of New York City, has five wins and five knockouts since turning professional two years ago following an accomplished amateur run. Cradle of Champions documents one of the pinnacle moments of his amateur career as the Staten Island native fights through the 10-week tournament in hopes of establishing himself as an elite amateur prospect. Having already won the New York Golden Gloves in 2013 at 123 pounds, the film chronicles Wilkins’ journey as a 19-year-old competing in the 132-pound class and culminates with a dramatic 2015 championship bout.
“I’m honored to be a part of Cradle of Champions,” the 22-year-old Wilkins said. “Fighting in the Golden Gloves was a life-changing experience for me and it’s a great feeling to know that boxing fans can watch the documentary on Showtime and then watch my ShoBox debut right after.”
"They call me 'Crunchtime' and that's what I'm bringing to ShoBox on September 21. I'll be ripping and running and I look forward to putting on a spectacular performance against Misael Lopez.”
Wilkins, who counts former four-division champion Roy Jones Jr. and former two-division champion Paulie Malignaggi as mentors, fought his way to the 2016 Olympic Trails in what was his last amateur tournament. His professional debut came in June of 2016 when he defeated Jack Grady via second-round knockout in a super lightweight contest.
In Friday’s main event, super featherweight Jon Fernandez (16-0, 14 KOs) will clash with O’Shaquie Foster (13-2, 8 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight bout. In the eight-round co-featured bouts, Irvin Gonzalez Jr. (10-0, 9 KOs) meets Carlos Ramos (9-0, 6 KOs) in a featherweight matchup, and Wesley Ferrer (12-0-1, 7 KOs) will face Steven Ortiz (8-0, 3 KOs) in a battle of lightweights.