"Ring of Gold" Card to Air on HBO 2 Feb. 2202/11/2014
MACAU, CHINA (February 11, 2014) -- The Year of the Horse will get off to a galloping start when world championship boxing makes its 2014 debut at The Venetian® Macao's Cotai Arena. International Boxing Federation (IBF) world lightweight champion MIGUEL "Titere" VAZQUEZ, of Mexico, and two-time Chinese Olympic gold medalist ZOU SHIMING headline "Ring of Gold," Saturday, February 22. Vazquez will defend his title against undefeated top-rated contender DENIS "Ghengis Khan" SHAFIKOV, of Russia, and Shiming will risk his undefeated record in an eight-round flyweight bout against the young seasoned YOKTHONG KOKIETGYM of Thailand. Both fights will be televised on HBO2, beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Tecate, the "Ring of Gold" HBO2 telecast will feature Fran Charles handling the blow-by-blow while former world champion Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini and Hall of Famer Larry Merchant will add expert analysis and commentary.
Remaining tickets for Ring of Gold can be purchased via Cotai Ticketing; prices start at HKD/MOP 80, with ferry and hotel packages also available.
Rounding out the troika of 2012 Olympic gold medalists will be RYŌTA MURATA and EGOR MEKHONTSEV, from Japan and Russia, respectively, in separate bouts on the non-televised undercard. It is exceptional for so many Olympic gold medalists to be featured on the same boxing card. The "Ring of Gold" undercard will also feature former world champion and current No. 2-rated contender AKIFUMI "Sugar" SHIMODA of Japan, in a 12-round Word Boxing Organization (WBO) International featherweight title bout against fellow former world champion MARVIN SONSONA of the Philippines, and undefeated Hong Kong super flyweight sensation REX TSO in a 10-round rumble with MAKO MATSUYAMA of Japan, with the World Boxing Council (WBC) Asian super flyweight and the WBO Asia Pacific junior bantamweight titles at stake.
Vazquez (33-3, 13 KOs), of Guadalajara, México, captured the IBF lightweight title in 2010 when he won a 12-round unanimous decision over Jihoon Kim. Since winning the world title, Vazquez has successfully defended it five times during his four-year reign. Vazquez will be facing undefeated top-rated contender Shafikov (33-0-1. 17 KOs), from Chelyabinsk, Russia. A southpaw with an aggressive style, good skills and movement, the former European junior welterweight champion Shafikov has good punching power and is not afraid to use it.
Zou (3-0), from Guizhou, China, and trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, won his professional debut on April 6, 2013, via a dominant four-round unanimous decision over gritty Eleazar Valenzuela. He followed that up with six-round unanimous decision victories over Jesus Ortega and Juan Toscano on July 27 and November 24, respectively, last year, and all at CotaiArena. One of the most popular Olympic athletes in China, Zou was the world's greatest light flyweight, capturing gold medals in the World Amateur Championships in 2005, 2007 and 2011, along with gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He also owns an Olympic bronze medal from the 2004 games, making him his nation's first Olympic medallist in boxing as well as its first boxing gold medallist in the World Amateur Championships and the Olympics. He will be graduating to an eight-round bout when he faces Kokietgym (14-3, 10 KOs), of Roi-Et, Thailand. The vastly more experienced Thai enters this fight having won six of his last seven bouts, with two of those victories coming by way of knockout.
Murata (2-0, 2 KOs), from Tokyo, a sensational prospect at 160 pounds, captured the Olympic gold medal in the middleweight division at the 2012 Olympics held in London. It was the first gold medal won by a Japanese boxer since Takao Sakurai in 1964, and also is the first-ever boxing medal in a weight class other than bantamweight or flyweight. The six-foot Murata also became the 100th gold medalist in Japanese Olympic history. He made his pro debut last August, knocking out OPBF middleweight champion Akio Shibata (21-7-1) in the second round. Murata followed up that victory on December 6 with a fourth-round stoppage of David Peterson (13-1). He will be facing battle-tested slugger and one-time world title challenger Carlos Nascimento (28-3, 22 KOs), of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who enters this fight having won 12 of his previous 14 bouts, nine by way of knockout. Their fight is schedule for eight rounds at middleweight.
Mekhontsev (1-0, 1 KO), of Asbest, Russia, won his pro debut on December 4, knocking out Peter Cajigas in the third round. Trained by his father Leonid, Mekhontsev captured the Olympic light heavyweight gold medal at the 2012 summer games and as a heavyweight he won gold at the 2009 World Amateur Championships and the 2010 and 1008 European Amateur Championships. He'll be battling fellow undefeated prospect Jaritram Atthaporn (3-0, 1 KO), of Bangkok, in a six-round light heavyweight bout.
Shimoda (28-3-2, 12 KOs), of Tokyo, captured the World Boxing Association (WBA) super bantamweight title in 2011, dethroning defending champion Ryol Li Lee via a unanimous decision aided by three knockdowns. Shimoda's title reign was short-lived, losing his first title defense, to Rico Ramos, six months later. He immediately moved up to featherweight and enters this fight riding a two-year unbeaten streak. Sonsona (17-1-1, 14 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, captured the WBO junior bantamweight title in 2009, winning a decisive unanimous decision over defending champion Jose "Carita" Lopez . Sonsona lost the title in his first defense on the scale coming in two pounds over the division limit, against Alejandro Hernandez, though the official decision was a draw. After losing to Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in 2010 a battle for the vacant WBO junior featherweight title, Sonsona returned to the winner's circle and enters this fight on a two-year winning streak with his last two victories coming by way of knockout.
Tso (8-0, 5 KOs), is the Pride of Hong Kong. This will mark his third time fighting at Cotai Arena where he has begun to develop a very big following. In his last bout, on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios event last November, Tso scored a first-round knockout of Susu Sithjadaeng Tso will be facing Mako Matsuyama (7-7-1, 3 KOs) of Tokyo, who enters this fight having won a unanimous decision victory over Masatoshi Nakamura last November. They will be facing each other in a 10-round bout for Tso's WBC Asian super flyweight title and the vacant WBO Asia Pacific junior bantamweight title.
The undercard will also feature local favorite, "The Macao Kid" KUOK KUN NG (2-0), from Macao, China, who will be in a six-round super featherweight and a four-round super welterweight bout, respectively.
Tickets for the Ring of Gold multi-bout boxing extravaganza are on sale now at all Cotai Ticketing box offices*, and can be purchased in one of seven categories: HKD/MOP 4,680 (Gold), 1,680 (Silver), 1,280 (Bronze), 980 (A Reserve), 580 (B Reserve), 280 (C Reserve) and 80 (D Reserve). Packages with round trip Cotai Water Jet ferry tickets between Hong Kong and Macao are available for HKD/MOP 4,768 (Gold), 1,768 (Silver), 1,368 (Bronze), 1,068 (A Reserve), 668 (B Reserve) and 368 (C Reserve). Hotel packages are also available. Tickets can be booked online at www.CotaiTicketing.com, or by phone at +853 2882 8818 (Macao) / +852 6333 6660 (HK) / 4001 206 618 (China). Tickets are also available through Hong Kong Ticketing (customer service fee applies), online at www.HKTicketing.com or by phone at +852 3128 8288; and through Macao Kong Seng Ticketing Network, online at www.macauticket.com, by phone at +853 2855 5555, or in person at selected retail outlets (for locations, visit www.macauticket.com/TicketWeb/ServiceStations.aspx).
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Entertainment at Sands China Ltd. Properties
Sands China Ltd. has as a clear vision to establish Macao as Asia’s top entertainment destination.
The 15,000-seat Cotai Arena is the only venue in Asia ranked in Pollstar’s Top 100 Worldwide Arena Venues based on ticket sales. It is the top entertainment destination in southern China, hosting the world’s and the region’s biggest names in music, sports and awards shows. Superstars frequently choose the venue as the starting point of their Asian tours.
The 1800-seat, multi-purpose Venetian Theatre is one of the most luxurious entertainment venues in greater China. Featuring ushers in black-tie, champagne service, gourmet food and beverage items and other unique, premium amenities, it offers an intimate, luxurious and exclusive venue experience. The Venetian Theatre is playing a key role in bringing the best in international and Chinese entertainment to Macao, with a luxury theatre experience like no other in the region.
The 650-seat Sands Theatre regularly features internationally-renowned singers, performers and artists of the highest calibre. From traditional Chinese-costumed dancers to modern performances, and from singing troupes to contemporary bands, everything from Western rock to Cantonese pop is covered.
With an unbeatable diversity, the entertainment offering of Sands China Ltd. is ushering in a new era of entertainment in Macao.
About The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel
Opened in 2007, The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel is Macao's first integrated resort featuring stunning replicas of the famous canals and architectural icons of Venice, Italy. The Venetian Macao features 3,000 suites, 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of convention and meeting facilities as well as a 15,000-seat Cotai Arena designed for world-class sports events and electrifying entertainment. The Venetian Macao is also home to the unique, 1,800-seat luxury Venetian Theatre, hosting the best in international and Chinese entertainment; more than 30 renowned restaurants; TAIVEXMALO Day Hospital & Spa; the incredibly fun QUBE indoor playground and more than 330 retailers at Shoppes at Venetian. Outdoor recreation areas include swimming pools and cabanas and a mini-golf course.
For more information, please visit www.venetianmacao.com.
About Cotai Strip Resorts Macao – Macao’s Integrated Resort City
Sands China Ltd. is the leading developer, owner and operator of integrated resorts in Macao. The befittingly named Cotai Strip Resorts Macao, situated on reclaimed land between the islands of Coloane and Taipa, is the one destination that provides a stunning array of experiences at the heart of Cotai. Cotai Strip Resorts Macao has transformed a gaming-centric day-trip market into an integrated resort city and international hub for business and leisure travellers.
Pulsating with life, both night and day, Cotai Strip Resorts Macao features an expansive offering of affordable luxury available nowhere else in Macao, with approximately 9,000 hotel rooms and suites, international superstar live entertainment, duty-free shopping with 600 retailers offering an unparalleled array of name brands, 1.3 million square feet (120,000 square metres) of meeting and exhibition space for Asia’s leading conferences and exhibitions, gaming excitement, transportation offerings and well over 100 dining options, including international restaurants, bars and lounges. Cotai Strip Resorts Macao is a must-see destination providing every guest with an unforgettable experience and unparalleled excitement.
Comprised of The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel; The Plaza™ Macao, featuring the Four Seasons Hotel Macao; and Sands® Cotai Central, featuring the world’s largest Conrad, Sheraton, and Holiday Inn hotels, Cotai Strip Resorts Macao is where Asia’s ultimate destination is all within reach.
Cotai Strip Resorts Macao….Macao Starts Here. For more information, please visit http://en.cotaistrip.com/.
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FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Media):
Lee Samuels: 702-378-1083 / Lee@toprank.com
Ricardo Jimenez: 909-615-3436 / Ricardoej@aol.com
Fred Sternburg: 303-548-0707 / TooFred@aol.com
Ed Keenan: 609-399-1330 / Keenan@emcevents.com
Kevin Flaherty 212-512-5052 / Kevin.Flaherty@hbo.com
VENETIAN MACAU LIMITED
Tel: +853 8118 2268 / +853 6240 5635
* The Venetian Macao – Cotai Arena and Main Lobby box offices; Four Seasons Hotel Macao – The Plaza™ box office; Sands® Macao – L1 box office; Sands® Cotai Central – Sheraton Main Lobby and Holiday Inn Main Lobby box offices
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