LOS ANGELES (July 25, 2007)- KJ Noon hopes to become the first fighter to hold and MMA Championship and Boxing Belt at the same time. He’ll attempt to move close to his goal when he takes on rising star Edson Berto in the first-ever edision of ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series on SHOWTIME this Friday night. Tickets in all price ranges are on sale for Friday’s terrific 10-bout Mixed Martial Arts cage fight card at Chumash Resort Casino at Santa Ynez, Calif. They are priced at $55, $80, $105, $130 and $155. For ticket information and sales, please visit www.chumashcasino.com or call the box office at 1-800-585-3737. Friday’s event starts at 8 p.m. PT. Doors open at 7 o’clock.
After suffering a shocking defeat to “Krazy Horse’’ Charles Bennett in the first-ever Mixed Martial Arts fight shown on premium television (SHOWTIME), KJ Noons, of San Diego, Calif., was determined to return to action as quickly as possible.
When Noons came back, four months later, however, it was not in a cage or a hexagon. It was in a ring – a boxing ring.
Talk about a true fighter.
A May Thai specialist, Noons is a highly regarded up-and-comer in MMA with a 3-1 record. He has won numerous awards during his career, including nominations as Pride Fighting Championships Best Striker and is a former ISKA and Art of War champion.
But Noons also is a promising prizefighter with a record of 7-1 with five knockouts.
“I just alternate back and forth between boxing and MMA when I train,” he said. “It’s definitely tough. You have to work out twice as hard and twice as much. But this is what I want to do. I want to stay in both and be busy in both for as long as I can, and it is way too early to give up on either.
“My ultimate goal is to win championship belts in MMA and boxing.’’
This Friday, July 27, Noons will make network history again when he faces streaking Edson “Little Tiger’’ Berto of Winter Haven, Fla., in the first-ever edition of ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series on SHOWTIME (live at 11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).
The Noons-Berto fight is scheduled for three, 5-minute rounds.
In the co-feature of an exciting two-hour telecast that will feature up to five bouts at Chumash Resort Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif., Aaron Wetherspoon of Irvine, Calif., will face local favorite Jeremiah Metcalf of Santa Ynez in a King of the Cage/Gladiator Challenge welterweight championship unification match (five, 5-minute rounds).
“I think this new ShoXC series is just great,” Noons said. “It is just like ShoBox except instead of young boxers it will focus on young talent in MMA. It gives guys like me a chance to showcase their skills on national television and get a little time to spend in the limelight.’’
Like its boxing predecessor, ShoBox, the mission of the ShoXC series is to pit young fighters against quality opposition in tough, crowd-pleasing and competitive matches.
For sure, Noons has been matched extremely tough in his return to the MMA cage in the 155-pound fight.
The always well-conditioned Berto has won 11 consecutive ultimate fighting competition fights. He won 10 in a row in Real Fighting Combat (RFC), including a title victory at 155 pounds in 2006.
In his last start, the older brother of undefeated welterweight boxer Andre Berto scored a shocking 47-second, first-round submission victory over Victor “Joe Boxer’’ Valenzuela on the undercard of “Shamrock Vs. Baroni” on June 22, 2007, in San Jose, Calif. on SHOWTIME® PPV.
Berto, who came in on a few days’ notice as a late replacement for the incarcerated Bennett, submitted Valenzuela with a perfectly executed heel hook.
“Berto has a great all-around game and is on a roll,” Noons said. “This will not be any easy fight by any means. It is a perfect ShoXC fight between two young guys. I know I will have to be at my best to beat him.’’
Noons’ fight with “Krazy Horse” on Feb. 10, 2007, on SHOWTIME ended in devastating and sudden fashion. During one of many exchanges early in the fight, a “Krazy Horse” right hook landed squarely on Noons’ chin. Noons went down and “Krazy Horse’’ pounced on him, prompting the referee to stop the bout.
“I was really disappointed and discouraged for a while, but mostly I was just mad at myself,” Noons said. “I don’t make excuses. ‘Krazy’ definitely caught me with a good shot.
“But I was too hesitant in there. Then, I made an even bigger mistake. I got caught up with the crowd, who I could tell were anxious for more action. So I tried to make something happen. Instead, I got caught.
“Every fighter loses, but it is what they do after a loss that counts. A loss like I had definitely challenges a fighter’s character. Do they get back up on their feet and get on the right track? Do they use it as a learning experience, or do they mope around?
“The good thing about MMA as opposed to boxing is that one loss doesn’t destroy you. In MMA, you can be a .500 fighter and still be a threat.’’
Noons’ last pro boxing start came on June 1, 2007, at Chumash. He registered a lopsided six-round decision, winning all the rounds on all the scorecards.
“I was really happy to get that fight out of the way,’’ said Noons, who will become the first fighter to participate in both a boxing and MMA match at Chumash. “Usually before a fight I am calm, but I was a little jittery before that one. But I concentrated on keeping my hands held high so I wouldn’t get caught and after a few rounds I was fine.’’
ShoXC will air regularly on Saturday nights — following the Friday premiere — and will feature fighters from all over the world. In the debut episode, matches will take place in a 20’ x 22’ foot hexagon cage. MMA fights on other ShoXC telecasts may take place in a cage or a ring.
In other fights on the ShoXC debut card on Friday, Jefferson “Tank’’ Silva (3-1) faces Aaron Rosa (8-0) in a 170-pound match (three, 5-minute rounds); Chris David (8-5-1) meets Scott Jorgenson (3-1) in a 135-pound bout (three, 5-minute rounds) and Muhsin Corbbrey (4-2) opposes Lee Gibson (10-2) in a 155-round contest (three, 5-minute rounds).
Up to six additional fights on Friday will be streamed live on the Internet (www.ProElite.com) immediately following the telecast.
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