On Saturday, October 4th, DiBella Entertainment andWarriors Boxing will stage a thrilling SHOWTIME Boxing Special Edition with reigning undefeated IBF champion Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy (20-0-0-1NC, 12KO’s) defending his super featherweight title against former world title challenger and IBF #3-rated Fernando Saucedo (52-5-3, 8KO’s). The main event is promoted in association with Sampson Boxing. This card will air live on SHOWTIME beginning at 9 pm ET/PT from the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino, in Mashantucket, Conn.
In the co-feature, two highly ranked junior middleweights will collide in an exciting 10-round matchup when Willie Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KO’s) faces Vanes Martirosyan(34-1-1, 21 KO’s). This contest is promoted in association with Rumble Time Promotions and Goossen Tutor Promotions.
After defecting from his native Cuba, former amateur star Barthelemy successfully made his pro debut in 2009 and immediately began turning heads with his electric performances. Nicknamed “Kid Blast”, the highly gifted boxer with devastating knockout power in both hands quickly moved up the ranks of the 130lb. division. In June 2013, Barthelemy moved himself to the #1 spot in the IBF world ratings when he scored a second-round knockout over contender Fahsai Sakkreerin with a single body shot in their official IBF title eliminator.
Next up for Barthelemy was IBF champion Argenis Mendez this past January. Barthelemy took the fight right to Mendez and had him in trouble almost immediately in the first round. In the second, Barthelemy landed a barrage of punches to drop Mendez with just under 15 seconds to go in the round. Mendez was able to beat the count, but, as the bell was sounding to end the frame, Barthelemy landed a vicious combination that knocked Mendez out cold. Initially, referee Pete Podgorski ruled Barthelemy the victor by way of knockout. However, following review of the bout weeks later, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry determined that Barthelemy’s final blows came after the bell had rung and changed the result of the fight to a ‘No Contest.’ The IBF ordered an immediate rematch and the two met sixth months later, with Barthelemy winning by unanimous 12-round decision, officially taking the IBF belt from Mendez. Now, the 28-year-old Barthelemy is ready to make the first defense of his title when he takes on the tough Argentinean Saucedo.
Saucedo is no stranger to championship opportunities, having fought for the Super WBA world featherweight championship against long reigning champion Chris John back in 2010. The bout against John was the last time that Saucedo tasted defeat, with the dogged Argentinean moving up in weight and reeling off 14 consecutive victories. The move up in weight also seemed to have brought more power to Saucedo’s punches, as seven of his eight career knockouts have come during his current winning streak. Last year, Saucedo claimed the vacant WBC Silver super featherweight championship with a 12-round unanimous decision over Sergio Medina. Now, he is looking to rip Barthelemy’s IBF strap from around his waist when the two meet on October 4th.
“We are so excited that Showtime Boxing will be televising Rances Barthelemy’s first defense,” said Leon Margules, President of Warriors Boxing & Promotions, LLC. “We believe that Rances will be a star for many years to come and is showing his mettle by fighting #3-ranked Fernando Saucedo in his first defense, who is on quite a roll himself. Working with a great resort like Foxwoods and with my friend Lou DiBella on this stellar show is a pleasure for us.”
A native of Cleveland, OH, Willie Nelson, rated #5 by the WBC, is one of the most talented and dangerous 154-pounders in the world. Since his lone loss to once-beaten Vincent Arroyo via majority decision on ShoBox in 2011, Nelson has switched trainers, moved up in weight and has never looked better, winning seven straight bouts. Following a 10-round unanimous decision over the 12-0 Yudel Johnson on Showtime, Nelson has scored sensational victories against the 13-0 John Jackson and 32-2 Luciano Cuello via unanimous decision as well as a brutal first-round TKO of Michael Medina. After annihilating Darryl Cunningham inside one round on the Cotto-Martinez undercard this past June, Nelson last fought and defeated the gritty Mexican 17-2-2 Luis Grajeda on August 8. Showing tremendous heart, Nelson overcame a couple moments of adversity, getting tagged by Grajeda’s heavy hands, to outbox him the rest of the way en route to winning a 10-round unanimous decision. Nelson is on the doorstep to challenging for his first world title and is hungrier than ever to get his shot, but Vanes Martirosyan is standing in his way.
Martirosyan, an eight-time National champion, finished his amateur career with a stellar 120-10 record prior to turning pro in 2005. Amassing several minor title belts, Martirosyan soon built a reputation as a dangerous 154lb. contender and potential future champion. Between 2009-’11, Martirosyan picked up the NABF, NABO, WBA International and WBC Silver junior middleweight titles, including an impressive 10-round unanimous decision victory over the 22-0 Joe Greene held at Yankee Stadium. In November 2012, Martirosyan challenged Cuban prodigy Erislandy Lara, breaking him down with pressure and a powerful right hand. However, following a fight-ending severe cut over Martirosyan’s left eye resulting from an unintentional clash of heads, the bout was halted and ruled a draw on the scorecards. One year later, Martirosyan received a shot at the vacant WBO title against the 19-0 Demetrius Andrade, but he would ultimately suffer his first defeat via close, split decision. In his last bout, on March 21, 2014, Martirosyan scored a 10-round unanimous decision win over a tough Mario Lozano. Currently ranked #4 by the WBO, #8 by the IBF and #9 by the WBC, Martirosyan is zeroing in on another title opportunity, but he must first get by the resolute Nelson.
“I am excited to be co-promoting this event with Leon Margules and Warriors Boxing,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Willie Nelson versus Vanes Martirosyan is a great matchup between two of the better fighters in the stacked 154lb. division. It is a tremendous opportunity for the winner to catapult himself to a world title shot in his next fight.”
“As Foxwoods strives to maintain our market leadership position in casino sports, boxing remains an important part of our overall entertainment platform. Lou DiBella is one of the best boxing promoters in the world and never fails to deliver a world-class event,” said Scott Butera, President and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Additional undercard bouts will be announced shortly.
Tickets, priced at $150, $90 and $45, are currently on sale and can be purchased online at Foxwoods.com, by calling the Foxwoods’ box office at 800-200-2882, or in person at the Foxwoods’ box office. Tickets may also be purchased through any Ticketmaster outlet or online at Ticketmaster.com. Doors open at 6:00pm, with the first bout scheduled for 6:30pm.