Ardreal Holmes’ last two wins were important steps in developing the undefeated prospect into a 154-pound contender.
Both of those points victories over Vernon Brown and Ismael Villarreal were broadcast by Showtime as part of the network’s prospect series, “ShoBox: The New Generation.” Holmes admitted Wednesday, though, that his fight against Wendy Toussaint on Saturday night is especially meaningful because the Flint, Michigan native will box before fans from his home state, on the undercard of the most accomplished boxer that his hometown has produced.
Holmes (13-0, 5 KOs) and Toussaint (14-1, 6 KOs) will square off in the 10-round co-feature before unbeaten three-division champion Claressa Shields defends her IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight titles against Maricela Cornejo in the 10-round main event at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. DAZN will stream the junior middleweight bout between Holmes and Toussaint and Shields-Cornejo as part of coverage scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. EDT.
“I’m really happy that everyone came out and that Flint and Detroit are gonna get to watch us on Saturday,” Holmes said during a press conference Wednesday at Little Caesars Arena. “This is a Michigan thing. It’s a Michigan card. We all want to show out.”
Holmes, 28, is ranked 15th among the WBO’s contenders for one of Jermell Charlo’s four junior middleweight championships. Toussaint, 30, isn’t ranked by the IBF, WBA, WBC or WBO, but his only loss came against one of the division’s top contenders, Charles Conwell (18-0, 13 KOs), who stopped Toussaint in the ninth round of a 10-round fight that Showtime aired in October 2020 from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“I know I have to look impressive and open the door for me to eventually fight for a world title,” Holmes said. “I’m taking it one fight at a time, but I’m coming for the top of the division.”
Toussaint has won each of his two fights since Cleveland’s Conwell beat him, but he’ll end nearly a one-year layoff when he battles Holmes.
“I know my opponent is very tough,” Toussaint said, “but this is nothing new to me. … I’ve had a great training camp and I feel prepared for this fight. I respect Holmes, but he’s not going to be bringing anything that I haven’t seen before.”
Holmes, a 6-foot-2 southpaw, is one of six undefeated fighters from Michigan who will be showcased on Shields’ undercard at the home arena of the NBA’s Pistons and the NHL’s Red Wings.
“This is going to be a historic night of boxing,” said Dmitriy Salita, Shields’ promoter and a Michigan resident. “Claressa Shields has opened the door for Michigan and Detroit talent to be seen on a worldwide scale. This card will feature some of the best talent in the world of boxing from right here in the state.
“The city of Flint has provided some of the best fighters in the sport of boxing, and many believe that Ardreal Holmes is next in line. He is undefeated and stepping in for the most challenging fight of his career.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.