FROM SHOWTIME BOXING ANALYST STEVE FARHOOD
Happy New Year! Or are we living 2014 all over again?
The reason I ask: The first ShoBox: The New Generation of 2014 featured Ukrainian lightweight Ivan Redkach, who was 15-0 and billed as a prospect who sought to break faces.
Guess who’s headlining our first show of 2015? The same Redkach, who’s now 17-0, and intent on validating the hype.
A year ago, Redkach, a southpaw, outpointed Canada’s spirited Tony Luis in a demanding duel. His only other start came in June, when he again won by decision, this time against a substitute from Belarus named Sergey Gulyakevich.
Gulyakevich came in with a sterling record of 41-2, but fought as if the least bit of physical contact would instantly result in banishment from boxing, or worse yet, forced viewing of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
The lack of action in the Gulyakevich fight wasn’t Redkach’s fault, and he won easily. Still, what happened to the concept of breaking faces?
The 28-year-old Redkach remains among the hottest prospects at 135 pounds, and I strongly anticipate improvement because he’s now working in Oxnard, Calif., with super-trainer Robert Garcia.
It shouldn’t be long before they rename Oxnard “Boxnard.”
I’m certain high-profile opportunities will continue to present themselves for Redkach because in December, he signed with advisor Al Haymon.
Stylistically, Redkach’s opponent this Friday, Ghanaian veteran Yakubu Amidu, should make for slam-bang fight. Amidu, 19-5-2, is better than his record suggests. He’s lost narrow decisions to contender Ali Funeka and prospect Haskell Rhodes (now 23-0), and more recently fought to a draw with another contender, Juan Carlos Burgos.
Amidu’s never been floored, and unlike the pacifist Gulyakevich, his game is all about pressure.
I don’t know about breaking faces, but this is a tremendous opportunity for Redkach to at least reestablish his rep.
The fighter most likely to steal the show is another prospect from the Ukraine, middleweight Ievgen Khytrov. In 2011, Khytrov won the amateur world title at middleweight, and in ’12, he fought in the Olympics.
We’re talking stud.
Now based in Brooklyn, Khytrov is 7-0 with 7 kayos, and being moved as if the short-term goal is contendership by the end of 2015. I’ve seen a few of his fights; he’s confrontational by nature and throws short, damaging punches. In other words, another guy who seeks to break faces.
In the first TV fight, Khytrov will face Maurice Louishomme, 8-0-1. Ten years ago, Louishome was a top American amateur, but he’s been slowed by several layoffs as a pro.
Louishomme stands 6’1″, which tells you all you need to know about his style.
And making his national TV debut will be poised, smooth-boxing New York junior middleweight Patrick Day, who was the national amateur champion in 2012. Credit Day, 9-0-1, for taking a major risk: He’ll be facing Alantez Fox, 13-0-1, who stands 6’5″.
That’s right, a 6’5″ junior middleweight.
Paulie Malignaggi famously once wore hair extensions during a fight. For Day on Friday, I recommend arm extensions.
Lots of talent on this installment of ShoBox. Enjoy!