“ShowBox Boxing: The New Generation” is coming to the capital and the titles are up for grabs.
With the doors opening at 5:30pm Friday at the Stormont Vail Events Center, seven fights will be on the line for the night. The undefeated Ardeal “Bossman” Holmes will face the undefeated Ismael “Maleo” Villarreal in a 10 round welterweight division, main event match. Holmes and Villarreal should reach the ring by 10pm
The undercard will feature Victor Padilla, who is undefeated, and John Mannu, 7-0-1. That fight will be contested over eight rounds in the super lightweight division. The main fights will be broadcast live on Showtime.
Also fighting will be Kansas heavyweight champion John Cantrell, of Topeka.
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“The possibility for us to bring two nationally televised sporting events to Topeka and Shawnee County is beyond exciting,” said Kellen Seitz, general manager of the Stormont Vail Events Center for OVG360. “It really allows us to put our facility and local community on the map for professional sports for the whole country to see.
“We couldn’t be more excited to continue these successes over the coming months and years of our operations at the Stormont Vail Events Center.”
The live televised event will also feature wrestling champion Trey Morrison and others. Tickets for the event can be found on the Stormont Vail Events Center website, where prices may vary based on seating.
Kansas heavyweight champion John ‘Iron Man’ Cantrell, of Topeka, to fight
Topeka star and Kansas heavyweight champion John Cantrell will fight Missouri heavyweight champion Brandon Carmack. Cantrell won the Kansas heavyweight title against Mario “Moon” Munoz in the 2022 Midwest Combat Coalition.
After getting started in MMA and kickboxing in 2018, Cantrell said he didn’t acquire his love for the sport until last year, when his trainer, Damon Reed, started working with him. Although his career is quite young, he won’t let his lack of in-ring experience get in the way of his performance.
“Most of my opponents have been in the fighting game for over a decade,” Cantrell said. “They have a lot more fights than me. They have a lot more experience than me. They are better boxers, better fighters. But they won’t train me better. They won’t top me, and they won’t lose my heart.”
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And using his heart is exactly what keeps him motivated. After experiencing a life-changing moment when his son Cooper, now 2, was in the NICU, Cantrell knew he had to make a difference.
“I started thinking, ‘One day my son is going to ask me, ‘You know, Dad, if you really gave it your all, what could you have done in boxing?'” Cantrell said. “So, that kind of got stuck in my head, and I just decided, you know what, I don’t want my kid to never be able to do something because someone else tells them to.
“I wanted him to see that if you put your head into it, and you put your soul and your spirit into something, you can achieve amazing things.”
Cantrell has started a children’s boxing program and 10% of Friday night ticket sales will be donated to the Team Blake Foundation.
“John Cantrell is always working hard to improve our community and his passion is to help children,” the foundation said on Facebook. “We are extremely honored that he has chosen our Foundation to help children battling cancer here in Topeka.”
Cantrell said he loves that this show will be the biggest boxing show Topeka has ever seen and the night will be unforgettable.
“This is going to be an incredible card, in terms of the quality of the fights and the big show, the talent,” he said. “This is huge for Topeka.
“I hope Topeka shows up and comes to support and we’re able to keep bringing back great stuff like this.”
Keishera is most recently the business reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. She can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @Lately_KT.