Thomas Patrick Ward will follow in the footsteps of British fight legend Ricky Hatton when he makes his US debut this weekend.
Hatton made his name in America when he boxed on Showtime’s ShoBox and on Friday night, County Durham’s Ward appears on the same series when he meets Jesse Angel Hernandez.
ShoBox: The New Generation has featured scores of young talent matched in tough and meaningful fights, with many going on to dominate their divisions.
Some of the growing list of the 77 fighters who have appeared on the series and went onto win World Titles includes: Errol Spence Jr, Andre Ward, Deontay Wilder, Erislandy Lara, Shawn Porter, Gary Russell Jr, Lamont Peterson, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nonito Donaire, Devon Alexander, Robert Guerrero, Timothy Bradley, Jessie Vargas, Juan Manuel Lopez, Chad Dawson, Paulie Malignaggi, Ricky Hatton, Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams.
Can former junior amateur star Ward join them?
Here are seven standout moments in the series that has been one of boxing’s great success stories since it’s inception almost 18 years ago:
1) Sechew Powell v Cornelius Bundrage. This fight in In May 2005 featured a rare double knockdown in the opening seconds. Both threw simultaneous rights to the chin, and went down although the referee didn't score any knockdowns, having missed the flashpoint believing they’d slipped. Powell recovered quickly and floored his rival to force a first round stoppage.
2) Perhaps one of the worst decisions in the history of boxing left the BoxNation studio apoplectic when Thomas Mattice was gifted a split decision over Zhora Hamazaryan last summer. It was a shocker with ShoBox pundit Steve Farhood exclaiming: "That was the worst decision I’ve seen in the history of ShoBox."
We get stinkers in boxing and there have been plenty I’ve worked on @boxnationtv but Mattice decision over Hamazaryan tonight the worst of 2018. Even Mattice looked embarrassed. #MatticeHamazaryan #boxing #boxnation— Steve Lillis (@stevelillis) July 21, 2018
3) Once hyped Super-Middleweight Allan Green was awarded KO of the Year in 2005 by Ring Magazine when he starched Jason Codrington with a barrage of blows that sent his opponent falling face first into the middle rope.
4) Tim Bradley became one of the most familiar faces on ShoBox, so it was quite fitting that he was the first boxer to win a World Title on the series when he travelled to Nottingham and outpointed Junior Witter to become WBC Super-Lightweight Champion in May 2008.
5) Pundit Steve Farhood tried his best to help orchestrate a fight between Paulie Malignaggi and the winner of Oscar Diaz v Al Gonzalez so arranged for him to challenge the winner from outside the ring. When Diaz won on points, Malignaggi dashed to the ring apron to spit venom and was held back by his smiling brother. The problem was nobody warned security about the stunt and Malignaggi was grabbed and dragged from the arena at Foxwoods, Connecticut. He never did get the fight.
6) Gary Russell is the only boxer to have made his professional debut on a ShoBox card. That was more than 10 years ago when he stopped Antonio Reyes in Tulsa.
7) American fans were wowed by Ricky Hatton when he made his three appearances on the network. It wasn’t just Hatton’s exciting style, but the ring-walk to Manchester City's anthem Blue Moon. Hatton stopped Freddie Pendleton and Justin Rowsell and won on a bizarre disqualification against Stephen Smith when his rival’s dad and cornerman, Darkie Smith, leapt in the ring to stop the bout.