BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (June 19, 2007) — World championship boxing arrives at Bridgeport’s Arena at Harbor Yard in a big way on Saturday, July 7 showcasing four fighters that boast a combined record of 98-1 with 69 knockouts.
In a battle of the undefeated, Norwalk’s own “Tremendous” Travis Simms (25-0, 19 KOs) will defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight title against No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger Joachim “Ti-Joa” Alcine (28-0, 18 KOs), from Haiti now living in Montreal. In a second world title fight, undefeated Aussie knockout powerhouse Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan (28-0, 22 KOs), will defend his International Boxing Federation (IBF) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight championships against once-beaten Filipino Nonito “Flash” Donaire (17-1, 10 KOs).
The co-featured main events will be televised on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). The event is promoted by Don King Productions with Darchinyan vs. Donaire being promoted in association with Gary Shaw Promotions, LLC.
A domestically non-televised third world championship will also be presented when former IBF super flyweight champion Luis “El Demoledor” Perez (24-1, 15 KOs), from Managua, Nicaragua, will tangle with Genaro “Poblanito” Garcia (35-5, 20 KOs) for the vacant IBF bantamweight title.
Tickets, priced at $35, $50, $100 and $200, with a limited number of ringside seats at $350, are on sale at Arena at Harbor Yard box office (Information Line: 203-345-2400), all Ticketmaster outlets, online at ticketmaster.com or by charging by phone at (203) 368-1000, (203) 624-0033, (860) 525-4500 or (203) 744-8100.
Promoter Don King has put together a full fight card and has dubbed the event “Fistic Fireworks.” He wants Bridgeport to know it will be hosting one of the bigger fight cards of the year.
“Only in America and only in Connecticut, will we be celebrating our nation’s birthday on Wednesday, the Fourth of July, followed by ‘Fistic Fireworks’ at Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport on Saturday,” King said. “I’m excited to be coming to Bridgeport and I know Bridgeport is excited to see world championship boxing at it’s finest. I know they’ll be rooting for Norwalk’s own world champion ‘Tremendous’ Travis Simms in the main event.”
Simms, 36, is making his first title defense in his second stint as WBA 154-pound champion. The southpaw stamped himself as one of the top boxers in the division when he regained the WBA title with a ninth-round technical knockout over Jose Antonio Rivera on Jan. 6, 2007, on SHOWTIME.
Making his first start in 27 months, the 5-foot-10-inch Simms was dominant throughout, twice dropping the highly respected two-time world champion Rivera. Perhaps most effective as a counter-puncher, Simms looked like the total package after displaying a deft combination of skill and power.
“I thought I was going to have more ring rust,” said Simms, who will fight for only the second time since October 2004. “I felt great and it showed because I didn’t have much trouble with Rivera.”
Known for his sharp, accurate punches, Simms is a well-rounded and versatile craftsman. Unafraid to stand in the middle of the ring and exchange, Simms carries freight-train-like power, having knocked out 19 of his 25 opponents.
“I’m not afraid to throw a lot of punches at Alcine,” said Simms. “He has that natural boxing ability, but I don’t think he’s seen anyone as strong and as experienced as me.”
Alcine is one of the top fighters north of the border and has been seeking a world title fight for a long time. A classy, six-foot boxer with nice hand speed, he will be making just his third American start.
The 31-year-old has had some nice wins in Montreal, including stoppage victories over Carlos Bojorquez, Carl Daniels and Elio Ortiz. Alcine would become the first boxer of Haitian descent to win a world championship if he is able to defeat Simms.
“This win would be huge for me,” Alcine said. “Not only because it is my first shot at a world title, but because I would create history in my home country.”
Known for his dazzling hand speed, Alcine sets ups his attack with an efficient jab, since he doesn’t possess one-punch knockout power. Alcine, however, is a master at setting the pace, often baiting his opponent into different styles until he finds ways to exploit weaknesses.
“I’m a great tactician,” Alcine said. “It doesn’t take me long to figure out a fighter’s tendencies. After a few rounds I know what his comfort zones are and I know what part of his game to exploit.”
Having fought nearly all of his professional fights in Canada, Alcine will find himself in unfamiliar surroundings without the home-crowd advantage he’s become accustomed to.
“It would bother me if I weren’t mentally tough,” Alcine said. “If you want to be a world champion you have to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime. You have to have that mental toughness. That is what sets you apart from other fighters who may be talented but lack the mental edge to continue winning.”
Darchinyan, of Sydney, Australia, by way of Armenia, is making the seventh defense of his IBF crown and sixth defense of his IBO belt. In his last outing, he successfully retained his titles with a one-sided 12th-round TKO over former world champion Victor Burgos May 3, 2007, on SHOWTIME.
Immediately after the fight, an unconscious Burgos was taken away by ambulance to a hospital where he spent several days.
“Like everyone, I was scared at the beginning but was very relieved once I found out Burgos was OK,” Darchinyan said.
A pint-sized powerhouse with dynamite in either mitt, Darchinyan, 31, is a flyweight with seemingly supernatural slugging ability as evidenced by 22 of 28 of his wins coming by knockout.
He has registered KOs in nine of his last 10 starts, including five of six in title defenses. Ironically, the one successful title defense that did not end by stoppage came against Glenn Donaire, brother of Nonito, who lost by 10th-round technical decision. So, two obvious questions going into this one are: will “The Lord of the Flys” take out revenge for the sin of his brother not succumbing by knockout, or will Nonito be inspired to regain his family’s honor by besting his brother’s conqueror?
“I do not want to just win,” said Darchinyan. “I want to draw attention to the good fighters in the lower weight classes and the best way I know to do that is to win all my fights by knockout.”
The cocky, confident Darchinyan will fight anybody, even if it means moving up a weight class or two. “I want to unify the titles at 112 but none of the champions will fight,” he said. “I have challenged the best at 115 and they don’t want to fight either. If I have to move up to 118, or 122, so be it. Let’s get it on.”
Recently named IBF Champion of the Year for 2006, Darchinyan can bench press double his body weight and thinks nothing of doing 1000 push-ups a day. But, he says, time is running out for him.
“It seems like yesterday I was fighting for Armenia at the Sydney Olympics but that was six years ago,” he said. “I am 31 now and boxers only have a short career. I’m hungry for as many world title belts as I can get and I don’t want to waste time. Let all the world champs from flyweight to junior lightweight know that I am coming after them.”
Donaire, 24, of San Leandro, Calif., by way of General Santos, Philippines, is ranked No. 6 in the World Boxing Organization, No. 7 in the WBA and No. 8 in the IBF at 115 pounds.
If triumphant, Donaire will become the 17th alum of “ShoBox: The New Generation” to capture a world title. Donaire won the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super flyweight belt with a 10-round split decision over Kahren Harutyunyan on “ShoBox” on Jan. 20, 2006.
Known as “The Filipino Flash,” Donaire is an intriguing talent having won 16 consecutive fights since his lone loss in March 2001, his second professional fight.
“I’ve been on a tear ever since that loss,” said Donaire. “I want to fight the best and compete for world titles. I’m young, hungry and ready to fight anybody.”
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