“Boots” Ennis headlines ShoBox, first nationally televised headliner
A battle of unbeaten welterweight prospects will headline a ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader on Friday, July 20 live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT when Jaron Ennis squares off against Armando Alvarez in the 10-round main event from WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa.
Philadelphia’s Ennis (20-0, 18 KOs) has knocked out 10 consecutive opponents and was the 2015 National Golden Gloves Champion before turning professional in 2016. The 20-year-old former amateur standout will face his first undefeated opponent in Alvarez (18-0, 12 KOs), a native of the Florida Keys who has knocked out six of his last seven opponents.
The three-fight telecast features six prospects with a combined record of 82-1, with all six fighters facing what is likely the toughest tests of their careers.
In the co-feature, undefeated lightweight Thomas Mattice (12-0, 10 KOs) returns to Iowa for his second ShoBox appearance of the year when he clashes with former Armenian amateur standout Zhora Hamazaryan (9-0, 6 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
Also on the card, undefeated super lightweight prospect Montana Love (11-0, 5 KOs) will take on former national amateur champion Kenneth Sims Jr. (12-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight bout.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by GH3 Promotions, Victory Promotions, Ringside Ticket Inc., Banner Promotions & Thompson Boxing are priced from $10-$60 and can be purchased at winnavegas.com.
JARON ENNIS vs. ARMANDO ALVAREZ – 10-Round Welterweight Bout
Ennis will debut on ShoBox following a statement second-round knockout of former junior welterweight contender Mike Arnaoutis earlier this month, his 10th consecutive KO victory. The Philadelphia native had a standout amateur career, notching an impressive record of 58-3 and winning the 2015 National Golden Gloves tournament. Ennis, who was ranked No. 1 as an amateur at 141 pounds, narrowly missed the opportunity to represent the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics after losing a box-off to Gary Antuanne Russell at the Olympic Trials.
“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for,” Ennis said. “I can’t wait to show the world my talent.”
Just 20 years old, Ennis currently trains under his father Derek “Bozy” Ennis Sr., who also trained his other sons Derek Jr. and Farah. The 5-foot-10 Ennis will be the third brother to appear on ShoBox; Derek Jr. appeared on the series in 2007, and Farah faced Badou Jack on the series in 2013.
“A win on this platform would mean everything,” Ennis continued. “From here on out, I want to fight only the big names in the division. I feel grateful for this opportunity to show the world my talents and skills. It’s great to follow in my brother’s footsteps, and I am ready to take the Ennis last name to the next level.”
The 28-year-old Alvarez turned professional in 2014 and has gradually increased his level of opposition. Alvarez, who now lives in Key West, compiled a 26-4 amateur record and won the Florida State Championship in 2013. His headlining fight with Ennis will be his second fight of 2018 and by far his toughest test to date.
“This is the biggest opportunity I have ever received,” Alvarez said. “This is it. It’s on. Ennis is a great young fighter, but I think he has stepped out of his league. He is just a kid. The world will find out who Armando Alvarez is on July 20.”
THOMAS MATTICE vs. ZHORA HAMAZARYAN – Eight-Round Lightweight Bout
A 27-year-old from Cleveland, Mattice turned pro in 2014 and had an amateur record of 72-18. He was a three-time Ohio State Golden Gloves Champion and bronze medal winner in the USA National Tournament in 2014.
Mattice will be making his second ShoBox appearance following a strong debut Feb. 2, when the undefeated lightweight rallied from behind to score a seventh-round TKO of ShoBox veteran Rolando Chinea. Mattice has recorded five straight KOs and nine overall in 11 professional fights.
“I am excited for the opportunity to showcase my talent again on ShoBox,” Mattice said. “I’m going to go out there and do what I did before. I’m going to get a win, hopefully in knockout fashion. This guy (Hamazaryan) doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into.”
Undefeated lightweight prospect Hamazaryan, who signed with Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing in February, is originally from Armenia but fights out of Los Angeles. Part of a long line of Armenian fighters who have fought in the U.S., Hamazaryan won his U.S. debut on Feb. 16, when he scored a unanimous decision win over the previously unbeaten Sergio Ramirez. Prior to his win against Ramirez, all of Hamazaryan’s victories were earned in Russia.
The 22-year-old was considered the No. 1 fighter in Armenia after an amateur career that spanned over 200 fights. Hamazaryan turned professional in 2015, turning down an opportunity to fight for the Armenian Olympic Team in 2016.
“This fight is very important for me, and I am very excited to be fighting on national television in America,” Hamazaryan said. “I know [Mattice] is undefeated but I normally don’t look at my opponent. I’m just looking to put on a great performance and make a statement for fans in the U.S.”
MONTANA LOVE vs. KENNETH SIMS JR. – Eight-Round Super Lightweight Bout
Cleveland native Love was an accomplished amateur who compiled a 174-13 record and won a bronze medal at the 2012 National Golden Gloves Championships. The 22-year-old recently sparred with Adrien Broner, and served as head sparring partner for Robert Easter Jr. before his lightweight title defense against Javier Fortuna on Jan. 20.
Love has won two consecutive bouts against lesser opposition since defeating Samuel Teah in his ShoBox debut on Feb. 2.
“I am excited and happy to be back,” Love said. “I want to put on another great performance. Sims and I grew up as amateurs together. He’s a good fighter, but I am hungry and want to keep rolling. I can’t let anything get in my way.”
Chicago native Sims makes his return to ShoBox just over a year after suffering the first loss of his career against Rolando Chinea via close majority decision in what was his toughest test to date. The 24-year-old Sims, who has sparred with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, was a 2013 U.S. National Amateur Champion and a 2012 Olympic Trials semifinalist.
“I am happy to be back fighting after having surgery on my elbow that had been bothering me for the last year and a half,” Sims said. “This is my chance to prove that I’m back and the loss onShoBox was a fluke. I remember Love from the amateurs and I know I have what it takes to beat him.”