Zenunaj, Rolls and Baranchyk All Impress With Knockouts
At Bayou City Event Center In Houston;
Heavyweight Challenger Artur Szpilka Interviewed During Telecast
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Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME
HOUSTON (Dec. 12, 2015) – Regis Prograis dominated previously undefeated Abel Ramos en route to a ninth-round TKO in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME on Friday at Bayou City Event Center in Houston.
Prograis (16-0, 13 KOs) was connecting at a more than 5-1 rate the last three rounds of the fight before Ramos’ corner asked referee Laurence Cole to stop the fight.
With the loss – and the previous results in the quadrupleheader – Ramos became the 139th fighter to suffer his first loss on the prospect developmental series.
Prograis was the more aggressive and effective fighter from the outset. He landed 53 percent of his power shots compared to just 28 percent for Ramos while throwing more than 250 more total punches.
Ramos (14-1-2, 9 KOs) simply couldn’t deal with Prograis’ speed and movement. At the finish, he was a bloody mess from a cut around his left eye and a gash on the top of his head and had no answer for the onslaught of punches from his undefeated opponent.
“It was an incredible fight,” Prograis said. “It was really, really tough and I didn’t think I was going to stop him, but I did. We stuck to the game plan and I am happy.
“He was really messed up. I don’t like to talk bad about my opponents, but I definitely hurt him and think that maybe they should’ve stopped it earlier. You never want to hurt anybody that bad where it can affect them in the long run.”
After the fight, Ramos complained that he wasn’t the same after the accidental head butt in the fifth that opened the gushing cut on the top of his head.
Late-replacement Dardan Zenunaj handed previously unbeaten lightweight prospect Bryant Cruz the first loss of his career after Cruz’ trainer Ronnie Shields called an end to the fight after the seventh round. Zenunaj was ahead 67-64 on the three judges’ scorecards after the seventh.
Cruz was the more active fighter, throwing 754 punches through seven rounds compared to just 555 for Zenunaj, but it was clear that Zenunaj was landing the more powerful shots.
Zenunaj (11-1, 9 KOs) knocked Cruz down midway through the fourth with a wide left hook. Cruz survived the round, but continued to eat a series of big shots to close the round. Cruz bounced back but couldn’t keep Zenunaj from picking his shots and landing damaging power punches. Zenunaj floored Cruz again with another strong blow in the final seconds of the seventh, Cruz beat the count, but Shields had seen enough and halted the fight when Cruz (16-1, 8 KOs) returned to the corner.
Zenunaj out-landed Cruz 40-24 in the seventh, the only time in the fight that he out-threw and out-landed Cruz.
“I wanted it to be a war for all of the people watching and I did it, so I’m feeling really good,” Zenunaj said. “He is really good, much stronger than I believed he would be. He hung in there, but I did the work and I won.
“Today was my first fight in the U.S. and it won’t be the last. Next year is going to be a big year for me.”
After the fight, Cruz didn’t make any excuses for the disappointing performance.
“I came in really confident that I was going to win. I had almost seven weeks of training and this guy took the fight on a week’s notice.
“I came in thinking I was going to win, but it didn’t go my way. He was a tough opponent. He came forward and hit me with some really awkward shots. He’s an awkward fighter and he hit me with different angles I hadn’t seen before. He caught me by surprise, but that’s the way that boxing is so I can’t really be too upset with myself by this loss. I will come back stronger.
“I did everything I could and gave it my all. I tried to listen to the punch list from my coach, but he just out-hustled me and I give him all the respect for that.”
In a matchup of middleweight prospects, Steve Rolls scored an impressive fourth round TKO over previously undefeated Steed Woodall. VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: http://s.sho.com/1O1bf7g
After two close rounds, Woodall knocked Rolls down midway through the third. While Rolls complained it was a slip, Woodall came out blazing after the count and legitimately hurt Rolls in the final minute of the round. Rolls (13-0, 7 KOs) came back with a vengeance in the fourth, landing nearly a dozen big right hands. With Woodall wobbling around the ring with his guard down, referee Laurence Cole stepped in to halt the contest at 2:46 of the round.
“I was prepared to do what I came here to do,” said Rolls, who landed 41 percent of his power shots. “I didn’t agree with the knockdown, but that’s the nature of boxing. That kind of stuff is going to happen and you just need to pick yourself up, collect yourself and fight on.
“I’m going to rest a bit and really just soak it in and relax.”
Woodall (8-1-1, 5 KOs) complained that the stoppage was premature.
“I didn’t agree with the stoppage,” Woodall said. “I was caught on my ear so that threw off my balance a little bit, but I was totally fine. I’m wise enough to take a knee if I wasn’t able to continue, but that wasn’t the case. I definitely feel that was a premature stoppage but I’m not a sore loser.
“Now it’s back to the drawing board. I need to sit down with my manager and get back to training camp. I know it’s soon to say this after the fact, but I’ll definitely be looking for the rematch at some point. But, for now, it’s back to the drawing board.”
In the opening bout of the telecast, Ivan Baranchyk (9-0, 8 KOs) knocked out previously undefeated Shadi Shawareb (9-1-2, 5 KOs) with a steady diet of power shots at 2:28 of the first round.
Polish southpaw Artur Szpilka was interviewed by ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood during Friday’s telecast as he prepares to challenge undefeated WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder on Saturday, Jan. 16 on SHOWTIME. During the interview, Szpilka warned Wilder that he’s coming to take his belt:
“Artur Szpilka is future heavyweight champion, future Polish champion and a wonderful person. I can’t wait, man. I can’t wait.
“I was so excited. When I was very young I dreamed that one day I would be champion, and now I have that opportunity. Thank you to the champ for giving me the chance. But you don’t see what you’re doing. This is no joke. This is no (expletive) joke.
“This is very important for Polish fans. This is when I change my story, change my life, change what people think about Polish people here. Polish people have heart, we have everything. And now I must show everyone what I want. I am so confident, you will see. I can’t wait.
“Listen, I don’t care what everyone thinks. I care what my team thinks. I care what my family, my people think.
“I’m going to kick his ass. Remember, champ, I’m going to kick your ass. Happy Holidays, champ. Do not sleep.”
The ShoBox quadrupleheader will re-air on Monday, Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME and will be available on SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® beginning Saturday, Dec. 12
Barry Tompkins called the ShoBox action from ringside with Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer was Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
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About ShoBox: The New Generation
Since its inception in July 2001, the critically acclaimed SHOWTIME boxing series, ShoBox: The New Generation has featured young talent matched tough. The ShoBox philosophy is to televise exciting, crowd-pleasing and competitive matches while providing a proving ground for willing prospects determined to fight for a world title. Some of the growing list of the 65 fighters who have appeared on ShoBox and advanced to garner world titles includes: Andre Ward, Deontay Wilder, Erislandy Lara, Shawn Porter, Gary Russell Jr., Lamont Peterson, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Omar Figueroa, Nonito Donaire, Devon Alexander, Carl Froch, Robert Guerrero, Timothy Bradley, Jessie Vargas, Juan Manuel Lopez, Chad Dawson, Paulie Malignaggi, Ricky Hatton, Kelly Pavlik, Paul Williams and more.
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