SHOWTIME Sports is preparing two significant programs in support of one of this year’s biggest pay-per-view events.
The network will for the first time televise a special SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING headlined by WBA Welterweight Champion Radzhab Butaev and top contender Eimantas Stanionis in a battle of unbeatens taking place immediately before the four-fight Spence vs. Ugas SHOWTIME PPV® from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins live at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and also features unbeaten rising star Brandun Lee taking on Zachary Ochoa in a super lightweight bout.
Additionally, SHOWTIME Sports will premiere a new installment of the Emmy Award-winning series ALL ACCESS. The multi-part series premieres Saturday, April 2, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME with episode two premiering Saturday, April 9, at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT in advance of Spence vs. Ugas on Saturday, April 16. Furthermore, ALL ACCESS Epilogue will premiere on SHOWTIME the following Saturday, April 23, and will showcase fight week in Dallas as well as all the action inside the ropes on fight night and the immediate aftermath.
“We are pulling out all the stops for the April 16 event, which is easily one of the biggest of the year. Delivering a special episode of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING to our subscribers before the four-fight pay-per-view card begins is something that has never been done in the history of this network. We are proud to break precedent,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Adding high-stakes, compelling fights to an already strong undercard elevates what is sure to be a memorable night for boxing. Plus, a new installment of our signature ALL ACCESS series to chronicle the divergent paths of Spence and Ugas to reach this moment will be captivating drama. It’s an embarrassment of riches from top to bottom for the boxing audience.”
Tickets for the April 16 live event at AT&T Stadium are on sale now and can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING LINEUP
The 28-year-old Butaev (14-0, 11 KOs) captured his WBA title with a dominating performance on SHOWTIME in October, as he battered top contender Jamal James on his way to a ninth-round stoppage victory. Butaev turned pro after approximately 400 amateur bouts in 2016 and reeled-off KOs in six of his first seven outings. Butaev is now trained by top coach Joel Diaz in Indio, Calif. His TKO victory over James gave Butaev victories inside of the distance in five of his last six fights.
“I’m feeling very prepared for this fight on April 16,” said Butaev. “Every time I step into the ring, I’m looking to give the fans an exciting fight. Knowing how Stanionis also loves to come forward and compete, this time, it’s a guarantee that there are going to be fireworks. We’re definitely both going to bring it in this fight. Make sure you don’t miss this one, because it’s going to be a brutal back-and-forth affair.”
Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs) earned a series of attention-grabbing victories as he has climbed the ranks from prospect to contender, including a career-best 12-round decision over Thomas Dulorme in April 2021 on SHOWTIME. The 27-year-old former Olympian from Lithuania, who now lives and trains in California, most recently fought former champion Luis Collazo to a no-decision in August 2021 after an accidental clash of heads prematurely ended the action. Prior to going 12 rounds for the first time with Dulorme, Stanionis had stopped six of his previous eight opponents.
“I’m excited for this huge opportunity to show my skills in front of thousands of fans at AT&T Stadium,” said Stanionis. “Butaev is a strong opponent. I know that this is going to be a hard fight for both of us and that our styles are going to make this action-packed for as long as it lasts. My goal for 2022 is to become world champion. That’s been my dream since I was a child and now I’m very close to bringing the belt back home to Lithuania.”
A highly regarded prospect, Lee (24-0, 22 KOs) has won his last 15 fights by knockout, most recently dropping and stopping veteran contender Juan Heraldez on SHOWTIME in December 2021. Trained by his father Bobby, Lee fought four times in 2020 and three times in 2021 as he continued to pile up knockouts. He had a decorated amateur career with an estimated record of 196-5 and was the 2015 U.S. Junior National Champion, taking home the gold medal at 145 pounds.
“I think it is a great idea to have our fight lead into the SHOWTIME PPV,” said Lee. “What better way to show all the boxing fans out there some of the top young talent looking to become the next contenders and world champions in the sport.”
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Ochoa (21-2, 7 KOs) trains in Philadelphia with highly regarded trainer Stephen “Breadman” Edwards. The 28-year-old was unbeaten in his first 16 pro fights and bounced back from his first pro defeat to win five straight contests between 2017 and 2020. Ochoa returns to the ring after dropping a narrow, split decision to Argentine contender Juan Jose Velasco in February of 2021.
“I’m very ready and focused on this fight coming up on April 16,” said Ochoa. “I’m sure Lee will be ready too and that just makes me more motivated to be at my best. Trust me, this is a night boxing fans will not want to miss!”
ALL ACCESS: SPENCE VS. UGAS
ALL ACCESS: SPENCE VS. UGAS peels back the curtain to showcase how the two champions share one trait – resilience. Both fighters open up about their frantic and ultimately fruitful journeys that led them to this moment with Spence talking about his near-tragic automobile accident and eye injury that forced him to miss a career-defining opportunity against Manny Pacquiao, and Ugas depicting his harrowing journey from Cuba to the United States.
Filming is underway in Dallas, revealing a surprising lifestyle change Spence has made as he prepares for the fight with longtime trainer Derrick James. Filming in Las Vegas has also begun, where Ugas is in training camp under renowned coach Ismael Salas.