VERONA, N.Y. (June 11, 2016) – In the co-feature on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, on June 11, from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y., Demetrius Andrade delivered a statement, knockout victory over Willie Nelson, staking his claim as one of the world’s best in the stacked 154-pound division. In the opening bout, Dejan Zlaticanin knocked out Franklin Mamani to earn the vacant 135-pound world title and make history as the first native of Montenegro to win a world championship.
In the opening bout of the SHOWTIME telecast, Zlaticanin blasted late-replacement Mamani with a third round TKO (:54) to win the vacant WBC Lightweight World Championship.
The 32-year-old Zlaticanin (18-0, 10 KOs) became the first native of the Southeastern European country of Montenegro to capture a world championship.
“I’m very proud. I made Montenegro proud,” Zlaticanin said. “I want to thank my fans that came to support me. I think I made my country proud. I think they will be delighted. I don’t think they know what this means, but in a few days they will know.”
The southpaw Zlaticanin pounced with a powerful straight left that had Mamani in trouble just seconds into the fight. The Bolivian, who was also aiming to become the first native of his homeland to win a title, survived the round but he was in trouble again in the third. Zlaticanin staggered with an overhand left and followed with a series of unanswered blows that forced referee Charlie Fitch to halt the contest with Mamani (21-3-1, 12 KOs) defenseless against the ropes.
“I knew that I would knock him out. He stood too close to me.”
After the fight, Zlaticanin called out Jorge Linares, the WBC Lightweight “Champion in Recess”, who pulled out of a tentatively scheduled match with Zlaticanin due to an injury.
“I want Linares next. He can’t run from me anymore.”
Undefeated former world champion Demetrius Andrade put on a masterful performance against top-10 ranked Willie Nelson, flooring the former world title challenger four times including once in the opening round and emphatically in the final round to close the show (TKO 12, 1:38).
With the win, Andrade, who landed a staggering 57 percent of his power punches in just his second fight in two years, moved one step closer to earning another shot at a title fight. Andrade, who never lost his belt in the ring, is now the second mandatory challenger for the WBC Super Welterweight World Title, currently held by Jermell Charlo.
Andrade was on his way to pitching a shutout, delivering a statement performance after months of frustration from “boxing politics.” The former WBO 154-pound champion targeted the head and the body of Nelson, relying on a steady diet of combos to floor the 6-foot-3 Nelson in the first, 11th and twice in the 12th.
Nelson, of Cleveland, dropped to 25-3-1 with 15 KOs.
“He was tough,” Nelson said. “I was forcing my shots too much. I felt like I was getting back into the fight, but he was crafty and mobile.
“I am ready for whatever is next and, despite what happened tonight, I am here to stay. My career won’t end like this.”
Saturday’s event from Turning Stone Resort Casino was promoted by Banner Promotions and DiBella Entertainment.
Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader replays Monday, June 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME. The SHOWTIME BOXING on SHO EXTREME telecast replays Tuesday, June 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHO EXTREME.
Brian Custer hosted the SHOWTIME telecast, with Mauro Ranallo calling the action, Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein and former two-time world champion Paulie Malignaggi commentating and Jim Gray reporting. Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood called. the SHOWTIME EXTREME action. In the Spanish simulcast, Alejandro Luna called the blow-by-blow and former world champion Raul Marquez served as color commentator. The executive producer of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING was David Dinkins Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.