Junior middleweight prospects Chris Pearson and Justin DeLoach meet in a 10-round showdown in the main event from Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California.
Showtime will broadcast the fight live on Friday, February 24 at (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast)
Pearson (14-1, 10 KOs, WSB 3-0, 1 KO) and DeLoach (16-1, 8 KOs) were scheduled to meet in the co-main event of Ishe Smith vs. Frank Galarza’s card in September 2016, but Pearson was forced to withdraw due to an injury suffered in training.
In the telecast opener, unbeaten cruiserweights Andrew Tabiti (13-0, 11 KOs) and Quantis Graves (11-0-2, 4 KOs) will clash in a 10-round bout and undefeated up-and-coming prospect Saul Rodriguez (20-0-1, 15 KOs) will take on Chile’s Oscar Bravo (22-6, 10 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight battle.
The event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, which will celebrate the 40th birthday of its President Floyd Mayweather with this exciting fight card.
“This is my first fight since April and I’ve really taken this time to push myself as a fighter by gaining mental and physical strength,” said Pearson. “I’m thankful to my team for putting this fight together. It’s going to be a great show for the fans and I’m happy that it’s is finally ready to happen.”
“I’ve been very patient and focused,” said DeLoach. “I’ve shown through my last six performances that I am a tough opponent. The only way that Pearson can beat me is if he stops me and I don’t see that happening at all.”
“We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Floyd’s 40th birthday than with a great night of boxing featuring three exciting and competitive battles,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “We’re looking forward to watching our own Chris Pearson and Justin DeLoach go head-to-head to establish themselves in the loaded 154-pound division. We’re also excited about one of our newest rising stars, Saul Rodriguez, as he looks to keep his perfect record intact in front of his hometown fans. The show will open with exciting knockout artist Andrew Tabiti, who’s continuing to climb the ranks in the cruiserweight division. This is going to be a great night from start to finish.”
“ShoBox: The New Generation is the perfect event to start our year of live boxing and sports at Pechanga Resort & Casino,” said Lee Torres, interim General Manager. “The franchise and Mayweather Promotions are known worldwide and we’re excited to host an action-packed night for boxing fans. This time next year, Pechanga fans can look forward to seeing boxing like this in the new 70,000 square foot event space as part of the resort’s ongoing $285 million expansion.”
Pearson, of Dayton, Ohio, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev., had an outstanding amateur career that saw him capture a National Championship in 2011. He bounced back from his first defeat with a dominant decision victory over Joshua Okine last April. The 26-year-old previously picked up victories over Janks Trotter, Steven Martinez and Said El Harrak.
The 23-year-old DeLoach is coming off a six-bout winning streak in which he delivered an impressive knockout over previously unbeaten Dillon Cook. He followed that up by knocking down previously unbeaten Junior Castillo twice on his way to a unanimous decision victory in June 2016 and most recently scored a unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Domonique Dolton. The fighter from Augusta, Georgia turned pro in 2013 and won his first 10 fights before suffering a defeat in early 2015.
Fighting out of Riverside, Calif., Rodriguez scored a first-round knockout in his professional debut in 2011 against William Fisher and has continued to dominate since. He first fell in love with the sport from watching the Fernando Vargas vs. Felix Trinidad fight at just five-years-old and began training at the Riverside Boxing Academy at age seven. The 23-year-old has stopped his opponents inside the distance in 10 of his last 12 bouts. He most recently earned a seventh-round knockout against his toughest opponent to date in Daulis Prescott.
The 28-year-old Bravo has fought professionally since 2008 and was undefeated in his first 13 professional fights. Fighting out of Santiago de Chile, Bravo is coming off a second-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Cesar Vergara in 2016. The veteran has shared the ring and gone the distance with top contenders Felix Verdejo and Mason Menard while fighting in six countries, including twice in the U.S.
The highly regarded 27-year-old Chicago native Tabiti, is ranked No. 8 by the WBC and in the top 15 by the WBO. In his last start, he defeated previously unbeaten Keith Tapia on SHOWTIME in May of 2016. Prior to that, he had won 11 of his 12 fights inside the distance, including a second-round TKO over Tomas Lodi on Sept. 29, 2015. Tabiti, a solid amateur with a record of 32-6, turned pro in July 2013 with 10 stoppage victories in a row.
Born in New Orleans and fighting out of Beaumont, Texas, Graves returned to the ring in 2016 with a decision victory over Rayford Johnson. Graves turned pro in 2008 after serving as an Olympic alternate for the 2008 U.S. team. The cruiserweight is unbeaten in his 13 pro starts and he will be fighting in California for the first time on February 24.