NEW YORK and TORONTO, ON – January 29, 2019 – The lights will be bright, the crowd will be loud, the stakes will be sky-high for undefeated lightweight Will Madera, who intends to cash in on the biggest opportunity of his pro career Friday night against an opponent hyped as his toughest test yet.
Madera (12-0-2, 6 KOs), a native of Albany, NY, says fans can expect a vastly-improved version of himself against highly-touted Thomas Mattice, 13-0-1 (10 KOs) in the co-feature of a scintillating ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader, which airs at 10 p.m. ET.
The two rising stars, both 28, collide at the historic Main Street Armory in Rochester, NY, on a card headlined by undefeated super middleweight prospect Ronald Ellis, who takes on once-beaten DeAndre Ware.
“I believe one of the reasons (Mattice’s team) chose Madera is because he’s had two draws in his last three fights, but Madera is a different fighter now, and Mattice is in for a nasty surprise on Friday,” said Denis Benoit, CEO of Liveco Boxing and Madera’s promoter. A lot has changed, says Benoit, since Madera battled Wesley Ferrer (12-0 at the time) to a split draw in December 2017, followed by a majority draw last March against Alberto Alejandro Morales Bautista (6-8).
In September, veteran boxing trainer Gunther Fishgold took the reins of Madera’s career, eliminating personal distractions, including a four-nights-a-week work schedule as a residential counselor at an adult nursing facility. Fishgold enabled the fighter to train full-time for the first time ever.
The Madera-Mattice clash was a late add to the televised portion of the ShoBox card, replacing a bout involving 140-pound prospect Logan Yoon, who withdrew with a knee injury from his showdown with Richard Zamora. But Madera had been preparing for a Feb. 23 fight date on another card, and seized on the chance to face Mattice on Showtime at the end of an intense, eight-week training camp — by far the best of his life.
“The timing is perfect. I’m in great shape and I’m prepared for Mattice,” said Madera, whose amateur pedigree included two New York Golden Gloves championships, and whose aunt was Mike Tyson’s high school prom date. “This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for, and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Meanwhile, Mattice, of Cleveland, also is expected to arrive eager to impress after back-to-back wars with Zhora Hamazaryan, both of which ended in disappointment. The first, in July, resulted in a controversial split-decision victory (called “the worst decision in the history of Showtime Boxing” by analyst Steve Farhood). September’s rematch was ruled a split draw, the only blemish on Mattice’s record.
Doors should swing open for the winner of the Madera-Mattice battle, and it will be back to the drawing board for the fighter who comes up short.
In the main event, Ellis (15-0-2, 10 KOs) will battle for three vacant regional belts against Ware (12-1-2, 8 KOs), who will attempt to rebound from the only loss of his career, a unanimous-decision setback at the hand of Cem Kilic in September.
Ware represents a step up in competition for Ellis, whose resume also includes a 2018 draw with undefeated Junior Younan.
In the opener of Friday’s telecast, Albany’s Abraham Nova (14-0, 10 KOs), formerly the No. 1-ranked U.S. amateur, will battle fellow unbeaten Oluwaseun Joshua Wahab (18-0, 11 KOs) of Ghana in a super featherweight bout scheduled for eight rounds.