Miller-Kassi headlines ShoBox, Karim Mayfield returns on undercard
Undefeated heavyweight Jarrell Miller claims he’s America’s top heavyweight prospect. “Big Baby” will get a chance to back up his boast when he faces his toughest test to date in veteran Fred Kassi in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, Aug. 19.
The confident and hard-hitting Miller (17-0-1, 15 KOs) and the durable and vastly experienced Kassi (18-5-1, 10 KOs) will headline a tripleheader live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT from the outdoor soccer venue Rhino’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y.
Two undefeated young bantamweight prospects will square off in the ShoBox co-feature as world-ranked Nikolay Potapov (14-0-1, 6 KOs) and Antonio Nieves (16-0-1, 8 KOs) meet in a 10-round bantamweight bout.
In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated welterweight knockout artist Bakhtiyar Eyubov (10-0, 10 KOs) will face battle-tested veteran Karim Mayfield (19-3-1, 11 KOs) in a 10-round match.
Tickets for the event presented by Salita Promotions go on sale this Friday at Noon ET and are available at http://www.rhinossoccer.com/and http://www.etix.com
“This is an amazing opportunity. I’m in the main event going against a tough opponent, and he’s definitely game to fight,” Miller said. “I’m ready to put his lights out like I do everybody else. I know he’s durable and a little older than me. He’s a tough guy and he can take a beating. So far, he’s only been stopped once. I’ll be the second.
“I’m going back to basics in this camp. I’m an advanced fighter, but there are a couple of things I’ve wanted to work on. It’s easy for heavyweights to rely on power and forget about technique. You see what happened to Dominic Breazeale against Anthony Joshua? His power didn’t mean jack because there was no technique behind it. I want to be the kind of fighter who puts his technique first and power last.”
“I approach Jarrell like all young fighters,” Kassi said. “I’m a seasoned pro that has fought top-tier opponents. Jarrell will have to bring his ‘A game’ against me. He’s got size and power, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen. I’m tired of getting robbed by judges like in El Paso (against Chris Arreola), and in Alabama (against Dominic Breazeale). That should have been me fighting Anthony Joshua in The O2. Against (Hughie) Fury, the cut saved him. Another round or two and he would have been done. Then we heard what we always hear, ‘oh, Fury had a bad night, so did Breazeale, so did Arreola.’ They all seem to have ‘bad’ nights when I’m in the other corner. I’m hoping to actually get some credit when Miller has a ‘bad’ night too. I’m a heavyweight boxer, that’s boxer underlined. I move my feet, I use angles, I hit and don’t get hit. That’s boxing and it’s my art. Boxing fans are going to have a great time watching me dismantle a giant.”
“I am very happy to be back on SHOWTIME fighting the best opponent of my career,” Eyubov said. “I know this will be my hardest fight to date and that’s what motivates me. I am grateful that I am getting an opportunity to prove myself and I want to show that I am ready for the best fighters in the world. I am ready for the boxing world to know my name. August 19, Karim Mayfield, here I come.”
“This will be a special event at Rochester Rhinos soccer stadium. We have America’s brightest heavyweight contender in Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller and a knockout sensation out of Brooklyn by way of Kazakhstan in Bakhtiyar ‘Bakha’ Eyubov,” promoter Dmitriy Salita said. “This show has all the ingredients to be one of the most talked about boxing events of the summer, and we think Miller has all the skills and charisma to break through in the heavyweight division. I am grateful to SHOWTIME and Rhinos Stadium that boxing fans will witness talented fighters in their toughest fights to date. I look forward to an explosive night of boxing.”
“Wendy and I are so excited to be hosting both SHOWTIME and the fighting debut of Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller at Rhinos Stadium,” said Wendy and David Dworkin, owners of the Rochester Rhinos soccer stadium. “August 19 will be a great opportunity to showcase our stadium and the City of Rochester to a nationwide audience.”
The menacing Miller, a 6-foot-4 Brooklyn, N.Y. native, is a consensus top 15 heavyweight – he’s ranked No. 8 in the WBO, No. 9 in the WBA and No. 14 in the IBF. The 27-year-old former professional kickboxer has knocked out six consecutive opponents as he’s risen through the rankings as one of America’s top heavyweight hopes. Prior to Miller’s knockout of Nick Guivas on May 27, his previous two fights were on ShoBox – a third round destruction of Akhror Muralimov last October and a knockout of Donovan Dennis in January in which he was pushed to the seventh round for the first time.
Kassi has been in with some of the most recognizable names in the heavyweight division, including Amir Mansour, Dominic Breazeale and Hughie Fury. The 36-year-old fought to a disputed majority draw with three-time world title challenger Chris Arreola last July on PBC on CBS in which most ringside observers, including ShoBox analyst Steve Farhood, had Kassi winning by a wide margin. The New Orleans resident has been stopped just once – in 2014 by Mansour – and stands as an excellent barometer for Miller’s progression as a legitimate contender.
The fast-rising Potapov, of Potolsk, Russia, is ranked in the top 15 in three of the four sanctioning bodies (No. 7 WBO, No. 13 IBF, No. 14 WBA) after just 15 professional fights. A former amateur standout with over 200 fights, the 25-year-old Potapov has already gone at least 10 rounds seven times since turning professional in 2010. The only blemish on his record is a draw with undefeated prospect Stephon Young in his last fight on April 15 on ShoBox.
Coincidently, the only blemish on Antonio Nieves’ record is a 2015 draw with Stephon Young. The 29-year-old is coming off his first 10-round performance, a unanimous decision over then once-beaten Oscar Mojica on June 18. The Cleveland, Ohio native will face his toughest opponent to date in fellow unbeaten Potapov in the matchup of unbeaten bantamweights.
The Brooklyn-based Eyubov has passed every test he’s faced, and knocked out all of his opponents in the process. The 29-year-old native of Kazakhstan is coming off an impressive third-round stoppage of veteran Jared Robinson last January on ShoBox. Eyubov will step up his level of opposition when he faces Karim Mayfield, a 35-year-old veteran who owns wins over Mauricio Herrera and Steve Forbes and has never been stopped in 23 fights.
Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez will serve as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Rich Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.