Boxing


Unbeaten Walker Hands Garcia First Loss In Split Decision Win, Binkowski Scores Dramatic 8th Round TKO Over Butler

travis walker(Travis Walker, pictured on right) MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (April 7, 2007) – Despite frigid Minneapolis temperatures outside, unbeaten heavyweight Travis Walker turned up the heat in the Target Center and handed George Garcia his first defeat with a 10-round split decision Friday on “ShoBox: The New Generation.”

In the co-feature, actor and heavyweight boxer Art Binkowski overcame three first-round knockdowns from local favorite Raphael Butler and scored a dramatic technical knockout 37 seconds before the end of the eighth and final round. SHOWTIME televised the Goossen Tutor Promotions doubleheader.

Walker (23-0-1, 17 KOs), of Colorado Spring, Colo., by way of Tallahassee, Fla., captured the International Boxing Association (IBA) heavyweight crown by winning his fourth bout in Minnesota and second consecutive bout on SHOWTIME. Additionally, he also became the first heavyweight from Tallahassee to win a pro heavyweight title.

In a hotly contested battle, Walker avenged an amateur defeat for the second straight time despite getting a point deducted in the 10th round for repeated low blows. Judges John Mariano and Carl Benson scored it 95-93 and 95-94 respectively for Walker, while Denny Nelson had it for Garcia, 96-93.

Despite the close decision, Walker was thrilled to win his first pro crown.

“I just made history for my hometown,” Walker said. “I hurt Garcia in the second round, but I tried to get him out of there too early. I give myself a “B.” I still have a lot to work on. I am glad I got the win on SHOWTIME and I hope they put me on again.”

Garcia (13-1, four KOs), of Phoenix, Ariz., by way of Salinas, Calif., neutralized Walker’s six-and-one-half-inch height advantage through much of the fight by landing effective lunching shots to the head. At the end, however, the judges handed Garcia his pro loss. The air conditioner technician previously defeated Walker in the 2004 Olympic Trials and made his pro debut on the same card in Glendale, Ariz., on July 30, 2004.

“ShoBox” expert analyst Steve Farhood scored the Walker-Garcia 96-93 and was not shocked by the judges’ decision.

“Although Walker’s technique disappeared after the first couple of rounds, he won the fight because his punches were harder than Garcia’s,” Farhood said.

Binkowski (15-1-3, 10 KOs), of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, was on the verge of losing for the second time in three fights when he miraculously stopped Butler. After Butler backed him up against the ropes, Binkowski landed a series of combinations to the head and dropped Butler late in the 10th round. Butler got up and spit his mouthpiece out twice, forcing referee Gary Miezwa to stop the contest at 2:23.

“I was running on almost an empty tank, but I had something to prove,” said Binkowski, who appeared with Russell Crowe in the Ron Howard film, Cinderella Man.” “If Butler was trying to win on points, I was going to make him earn it.”

Butler (25-4, 1 ND, 20 KOs), of Rochester, Minn., nearly ended the fight in the first round when he floored Binkowski three times. After scoring a knockdown seconds after the opening bell, Butler sent his opponent to the canvas for the second time with an overhand right to the head. Thirty seconds later, Butler dropped Binkowski for a third time. Well ahead on points going into the last round, the pride of Rochester shocked the hometown fans when he could not hold off a late charge from Binkowski.

Farhood said the dramatic finish is what makes “ShoBox” come back to the heavyweight fighters.

“It was a wild start and a wild finish. Butler beat himself, but Binkowksi deserves credit because not many heavyweights get up from three knockdowns in one round.”



Nick Charles and Farhood called the action from ringside. The executive producer of “ShoBox” is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing.

Friday’s bouts will re-air as follows:



DAY CHANNEL

Saturday, April 7, at Midnight ET/PT SHOTOO

Monday, April 9, at 10 p.m. ET/PT SHO EXTREME

Tuesday, April 10, at Midnight ET/PT SHO EXTREME

Thursday, April 12, at 11 p.m. ET/PT SHOTOO



The next “ShoBox” telecast is Friday, April 20 (SHOWTIME, 11 p.m. ET/PT). In the main event from Atlantic City, N.J., World Boxing Organization (WBO) No. 1 contender Kendall Holt (21-1, 12 KOs) will take on No. 2 contender Mike Arnaoutis (17-1-1, nine KOs) in a WBO 140-pound elimination bout. In the co-feature from Bally’s Atlantic City, Mike Marrone (17-0, 13 KOs) and Malachy Farrell (15-0, 12, KOs) will put their undefeated records on the line in an eight-round heavyweight tussle.

Today, April 7, three-time world champion Diego Corrales will move up two weight classes when he returns to SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING to take on world-ranked challenger Joshua Clottey. SHOWTIME will televise the 10-round welterweight bout at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

For more information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go to the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.



About ShoBox: The New Generation

Since its inception in July 2001, the critically-acclaimed SHOWTIME boxing series, “ShoBox: The New Generation” has featured young talent matched tough. The “ShoBox” philosophy is to televise exciting, crowd-pleasing and competitive matches while providing a proving ground for willing prospects determined to fight for a world title.

Article posted on 08.04.2007



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