Boxing


Hasim "The Rock" vs Rob Calloway: Rock's Last Stop Before Title Shot

26.05.04 - “BALLROOM BOXING," the greatest boxing club show in the U.S., finishes its 10th season in grand style with an action-packed card headlined by former world heavyweight champion and Baltimore native HASIM "THE ROCK" RAHMAN, the WBA's top-rated contender, against WBF Intercontinental heavyweight champion Rob Calloway, "The All-American Fighter," Thursday, June 17, at Michael's Eighth Avenue, in Glen Burnie, MD.

Rahman, 37-5-1 (30 KOs), literally rocked the boxing world on April 22, 2001, when he knocked out Lennox Lewis in the fifth round to win the undisputed world heavyweight championship. Despite the fact he lost the title in the immediate rematch to Lewis, Rahman has proven to be a factor in the heavyweight division fighting former world champions Evander Holyfield and John Ruiz and top-rated contender and former world title challenger David Tua, in consecutive bouts. Currently the WBA's top-rated heavyweight contender and world-rated No. 4 by the WBC and the WBO, and No. 5 by the IBF, Rahman has decided to return home once more before he rumbles for the world title, and fight in front of his hometown fans of Ballroom Boxing at Michael's Eighth Avenue, where he reignited his career in March, winning a unanimous decision over former world champion Al Cole, before a standing room only crowd and a live television audience. Rahman's resume is highlighted with victories over Lewis, former WBO and WBU champion Corrie Sanders, who knocked out Wladimir Klitschko last year to win the title, and former world title challenger Obed Sullivan, and a disputed draw against former heavyweight title challenger David Tua.

Calloway, 47-4-1 (34 KOs), from St. Joseph, MO, captured the vacant IBA jr. heavyweight title in 2002 via a first-round knockout of Troy Weida. He vacated that title and moved up to capture the WBF Intercontinental heavyweight title later that same year, knocking out Otis Teasdale in the 11th round. Calloway has successfully defended the title twice.

"Ballroom Boxing" is more than just a club show, it is a lifestyle! Or as Thom Loverro, columnist for The Washington Times, stated in a column on the show, "Babes, beers and boxing"¦it's a mixture that has been drawing a large and devoted audience for years."

The founder and architect of "Ballroom Boxing" is Maryland businessman Scott Wagner, 35, who has made competitive fights the norm, NOT the exception, show after show after show.

"The bottom line is that our crowd wants to be entertained and they are not going to be entertained seeing one-sided blowouts," said Wagner. "When managers or promoters book a fight on a Ballroom Boxing card, they know their fighter is in a real scrap. That is the style of fight card our clientele have come to expect -- a knockdown drag-out, "˜pick ˜em"-style fight. A live telecast with Hasim Rahman headlining our March 11 event is the next step up for Ballroom Boxing. It just shows how Ballroom Boxing has evolved from being a club show to a nationally-televised boxing program."

Wagner, whose "Ballroom Boxing" boasts a season ticket subscriber list in the hundreds, is able to make these style of matches because he has no vested interest in any fighters.

"We have no direct involvement with the fighter by design," explained Wagner. "Our mandate to our patrons is to provide great fights. We have no conflict of interest. Hell, we are fans too. We all want to see great fights!"

And it's not just the fans at Michael's Eighth Avenue who see the great Ballroom Boxing fights. Millions of loyal viewers around the world do too. In fact, Wagner has syndicated one-hour and two-hour taped versions of the show to 60 different TV markets in the U.S. and 181 countries overseas. With less boxing on FOX Sports Net “ and the impact of ESPN's decision to eliminate promoter rights fees and cutting back on its boxing schedule “ Wagner has a rare commodity for cable networks. Ballroom Boxing is currently seen on the following major network outlets: the Sunshine Network (Florida-5 million homes plus satellite), the Empire Sports Network (Upstate NY-one million homes), New England Sports Network (New England states-5 million homes), Comcast Sports Network-Philadelphia (3.5 million homes), Comcast Sports Network-Mid-Atlantic (4.5 million homes), FOX Sports Digital Nets (3 million digital cable subscribers - combines Fox Sports Net's local feeds from its regional sports networks into a three-channel package for digital subscribers - Fox Sports Digital Pacific, Fox Sports Digital Central and Fox Sports Digital Atlantic.), FOX Sports International (Middle East-800,000 homes), Urban America Television (70 cities-22 million homes nationwide), Major Broadcasting Cable Network (25 million homes), American Armed Forces Television (181 countries-800,000 homes), Comcast Sports South (southeastern region-3.1 million homes), UPN 27, WCVI (St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John “ 110,000 homes), as well as home satellite systems DirecTV and DISH Network, which carry many of the above networks.

The shows, which are hosted by WestwoodOne Radio's Larry Michael, USA Today's Jon Saraceno, and boxing analyst John Scheinman, outdraw FOX Sports Net's "Sunday Night Fights" in several of the major markets.

Tickets to the March 11 show are now on sale and priced at $200, $100, and $70. To purchase, call Ballroom Boxing at (410) 766-7474.

Article posted on 26.05.2004



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