They have specialized niche, and you know what? There are times when more than a few fans look at ShoBox and look forward to the SHO fare as much or more than a lot of the more heralded feature bouts on the various platforms.
And yes, that goes for even some of those pay-per-view pairings.
I speak for myself when I say I much look forward to the Feb. 15 ShoBox main event, which pits bomb-thrower Shohjahon Ergashev versus defuser specialist Mykal Fox.
Yeah, two dudes that are more so household names in their own residences than in the sphere of pugilism fans. Sure, the hardcore rooters know that Ergashev is a power puncher, and beyond that, some know the specifics. He’s 15-0 with 14 KOs, so he gets extra love, extra ink, because he puts chins on check. The hitter, promoted by Salita Promotions, comes from Uzbekistan, and his in-ring style doesn’t need to be deciphered by an ace analyst. He wants to seperate your head from your shoulders, and the earlier is better. Yeah, he knows, you get paid the same whether you end it in round one or round ten, so why not head home earlier, and start enjoying the payday quicker?
ShoBox regulars recall that the lefty junior welter downed 18-0 Sonny Frederickson, in January 2018 (TKO3):
And those that put him on their radar screens then saw 10-2 Zhimin Wang take him to deep waters, where he triumphed after 10 rounds of action at Barclays Center in April 2018.
Three more victims succumbed in 2018 and now he’s getting to the point where more people are going to know his foe, he’s going to be paired with “names.”
On Feb. 15, the 5’10” Ergashev (age 27) is in super tough.
19-0 Mykal Fox, (age 23; 6’3½”) is a guy who will make you miss, and miss again, and again, to the point where you could get frustrated.
He’s from the fighting Fox family, and knows big brother Alantez, age 26, and him will be having a gentleman’s battle as to whose boxing legacy will stand out more when all is said and done.
I reached out to Fox, who I’ve seen in person. I appreciated very much his skill set and slickness when I sat ringside and watched him handle with ease the ultra vet Chop Chop Corley last August.
“I mean, he’s a good fighter, it’s definitely gonna be the toughest fight of my career so far,” said Fox, who when he is wearing his glasses wouldn’t be pegged as a fighter anywhere but in his home gym, where dad Troy Fox watches his development.
“However I believe I have the skill set it would take to beat a fighter like him. We’ve been working on this fight since last November. Marshall Kauffman (his promoter) and Salita were trying to get us on a DAZN card. That didn’t happen. Then came a January card that didn’t happen either. We eventually landed on the date we have now.”
Salita touted his side of the slate.
“Ergashev is one of the hardest punchers in boxing,” the promoter told me. “Mykal Fox is one of the better undefeated prospects in the junior welterweight division. It’s a great fight with two different styles and the winner will be one of the top challengers soon for a world title in the division. It’s a big year for Ergashev, and he is fighting a tall, slick, skilled fighter in Fox. Ergashev wants to cement himself as the best in the world and these are the necessary fights to make his dreams come true.”
All in all, you will get a classic styles make fights setup on this ShoBox event, which will unfold in Kansas, and also feature a Jesse Angel Hernandez vs Thomas P. Ward tango. Ward (25-0) is No. 4 in the WBO and No. 11 in the WBC, but not a known quantity in the U.S., as the England-based fighter makes his U.S. debut after over six years in the pro ranks. The 12-1 Hernandez lost his fifth pro fight and has been on a sweet streak since.
Bottom line, the ShoBox series does a stellar job at offering reckoning fights, where prospects collide and very often, one or the other gets a figurative kick in the jewels. Yeah, ShoBox is in the balls and ego-busting business, because both men come to the ring chest puffed, feeling a bit bulletproof. And then one realizes he can be pierced, and he can bleed and maybe, just maybe, he isn’t what they thought he was. That’s drama — because now we see if the ego-stricken return to the stage. Or not.
ShoBox rocks, basically. The drama is lower level, but also more pure, less packaged with storylines and narrative arcs and all that marketing hype. Circle Feb. 15 on your virtual calendar, ShoBox rocks.
--Woods, a Brooklyn resident, was a staff writer at NY Newsday, before joining ESPN The Magazne (2003-2013). He edited TheSweetScience.com (2007-20015), publishes NYFights.com, calls fights for Facebook Fightnight Live and does the “Talkbox” podcast for Everlast.