NEW YORK – February 24, 2022 – Super welterweight prospect Ardreal Holmes puts his undefeated record on the line against fellow unbeaten prospect Mekhrubon Sanginov in another tightly-matched main event of ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, March 11 live on SHOWTIME at 9:35 p.m. ET/PT from Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel in Deadwood, S.D.
The main event pairs two amateur standouts trying to seize the spotlight as Flint, Michigan’s Holmes (11-0, 5 KOs) takes on Tajikistan’s Sanginov (12-0-1, 9 KOs) in an eight-round super welterweight contest. Uzbekistan’s Hurshidbek Normatov (10-0, 3 KOs) faces once-beaten Vernon Brown (13-1-1, 9 KOs) in an eight-round co-featured middleweight bout and undefeated lightweight prospect Luis Acosta (12-0, 11 KOs) takes on the power-punching Edwin De Los Santos (13-1, 12 KOs). Plus, 2021 National Golden Gloves Champion Giovanni Márquez, the son of former world champion and ShoBox commentator Raul Márquez, makes his professional debut against Dominican Nelson Morales (2-0) in a four-round super lightweight bout that opens the telecast.
The event is promoted by Holden Productions.
Here is a closer look at the matchups:
Holmes vs. Sanginov – Eight-Round Super Welterweight Main Event Bout
The southpaw Holmes was a No. 1-ranked amateur at 147 pounds with more than 80 amateur fights. He won several amateur tournaments including the 2015 USA National Elite Championship and was a three-time Michigan Golden Gloves Champion. He also represented USA in the World Series of Boxing and was an alternate on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team. Standing at six-foot-two-inches, Holmes has proven to be a handful since turning pro in 2016. He owns wins over 55-fight veteran Lanardo Tyner and most recently defeated Jose Antonio Abreu in 2019. He is coached by Joe Bermudez, managed by David McWater and promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
“I am excited to jump back in the ring,” said the 27-year-old Holmes. “I am in a good spot, and I will make the most of this opportunity. I think I should be able to do anything that I want off the jab. I’m not worried about anyone slipping on me because I am in a position that people will get to know who I am really soon. Get ready for a great night of boxing. Seeing people come up that you know such as the Dirrell brothers motivated me, and March 11 people will get to know and remember who I am.”
An exceptional amateur himself, Sanginov amassed a record of 105-14 and became a fan favorite in his native Tajikistan. He turned professional in 2016 and moved to Las Vegas in 2018 to pursue his dream of becoming a world champion. He stopped four-of-his-last-six opponents, beating then-undefeated Quincy LaVallais via split-decision and fighting then-undefeated Fred Wilson Jr. to a draw. Sanginov has fought five times since Holmes last stepped into the ring.
“I am very happy and excited for this opportunity,” said the 26-year-old Sanginov, who is five inches shorter than Holmes. “ShoBox is a steppingstone to bigger and better things. I know that a win gets me bigger fights. I don’t know much about my opponent except his amateur career. Training camp has been great and I can’t wait to get in the ring on March 11.”
Normatov vs. Brown – Eight-Round Middleweight Bout
Uzbekistan’s Normatov, who now resides and fights out of Brooklyn, N.Y., finished his impressive amateur career in 2016 with a 190-40 record. In his first ten fights as a pro, the southpaw has faced seven fighters with winning records including two undefeated prospects. He also participated in the World Series of Boxing, where he fought to a 5-1 record. Normatov is trained by Andre Rozier, who has trained several world champions including Richard Commey, Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Normatov is also managed by McWater and promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
“I am very happy to be back in the ring and especially to be on a big show like ShoBox,” said the 29-year-old Normatov. “This is a big chance for me to show what I can do. It’s a great opportunity and I will take advantage of it.”
Brown, a 32-year-old Chicago native, turned professional in 2015 and has competed in a variety of weight classes from 140 to 160 pounds. He won his first seven fights, including five by way of stoppage, before fighting Jesus Zazueta Anaya to a split-draw in 2017. He won his next three fights before dropping a hotly contested 10-round unanimous decision to talented 154-pound contender Jamontay Clark in a fight many felt Brown could have won. Brown rebounded with three straight wins, including a second-round KO in his last time out in February 2021. He will face his first undefeated opponent since his 2017 win over then 6-0 Angelo Snow on March 11.
“I am just ready to fight,” said the 5’7” Brown. “I haven’t fought in a year, but I have been in the gym, and I am just ready. My opponent is a crafty southpaw who is tall, but I have knocked out a couple guys with a similar style as his. I’m excited to fight on ShoBox and I’m ready to give people a show. A win will boost my career and will show a lot of people what I am made of.”
Acosta vs. De Los Santos – Eight-Round Lightweight Bout
The undefeated, power-punching Acosta began boxing at the age of 16, following in the footsteps of his father, Jose, and uncle, Mario, who were both professional boxers. As an amateur, the Houston native Acosta had a record of 57-8 and won both the Title and Ringside Tournaments. Known as an aggressive, come-forward fighter, Acosta has stopped 11-of-his-12 professional opponents. Acosta is a graduate of the University of Houston with a degree in Exercise Science and Kinesiology and is trained by his father.
“I am very excited for my first televised fight,” said Acosta, 25. “I feel like I have something to prove. I will not get caught in the moment and I want to put on a show for everybody. I know that my opponent is a southpaw and is taller, and he looks like he is strong early on in the fight. May the best man win.”
De Los Santos began boxing in his native Dominican Republic at the age of 12, and by age 14, he had won his first amateur tournament. Following a brilliant amateur career in which he fought 265 times and lost just six bouts, he turned pro in 2018 and made his ShoBox debut in January, dropping a close decision to William Foster III. Packing one-punch power, De Los Santos had scored stoppages in his last seven fights prior to the defeat. Among his most impressive performances is a first-round KO over then 8-2 Juan Alberto Garcia Perez and a unanimous decision over then 31-10 Francisco Contreras.
“I am extremely disappointed in my last performance,” said De Los Santos of his ShoBox debut. “It did not go as I expected. A lot had to do with the weight loss, which caused me to get weak and tired after the third round. This is why I am fighting at 135 pounds in this fight. I will be stronger than ever so my opponent better watch out.”
Márquez vs. Morales – Four-Round Super Lightweight Bout
Highly regarded super lightweight prospect Giovanni Márquez will become the seventh fighter in the history of ShoBox to make their professional debut on the series. The previous six, including the likes of world champions Gary Russell Jr. and Errol Spence Jr., were all U.S. Olympians. Houston’s Márquez is fresh off winning the national Golden Gloves 152-pound championship, where he was also given the prestigious Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament Award. The list of current or former world champions to win the Golden Gloves title at 152 pounds in the past 20 years includes Spence (2009), Demetrius Andrade (2006-07), Daniel Jacobs (2004) and Andre Berto (2003). Márquez began boxing at age 12 and finished his amateur career with a record of 75-12. He is trained by his father, 1992 U.S. Olympian, former junior middleweight world champion and SHOWTIME Boxing analyst Raul “El Diamante” Márquez.
“I am very excited to be making my debut on ShoBox,” said the 20-year-old Márquez. “I am excited to display my skills and everything that my father and I have been working on in the gym. I have been envisioning this moment for myself from a young age. There is footage of me mimicking walking to the ring in my house. To make that walk is a dream come true. Being on the show my dad works on is an honor, and I am definitely up for it. For some, that might be pressure, but I am embracing it. The audience will see the best of me on March 11.”
Dominican Republic born, Scranton, Penn.-based 29-year-old Nelson Morales has two professional bouts under his belt, including a four-round unanimous decision over Ronny Arana in August 2021. In his 2019 pro debut, he defeated Kynndale Prather via majority decision. For the second consecutive fight, Morales will be facing an opponent making their pro debut. Morales works as a part-time police officer in the Pennsylvania boroughs of Clarks Summit, Throop and Dunmore.
“This is a dream come true,” said Morales. “I have been watching SHOWTIME Boxing for a long time. I have been dreaming about this for a long time. I know that Márquez has been around boxing since he was in the belly. I know of his father Raul, so I know he will bring it. I have been working very hard and a lot had to happen for me to get this opportunity, and I won’t waste it.”
Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins calls the action from ringside with veteran combat sports reporter Brian Campbell and Márquez serving as expert analysts, and Hall of Famer Steve Farhood remotely performing unofficial scoring duties.
The executive producer of ShoBox: The New Generation is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.