Isaiah Steen was supposed to take a significant step up in class versus Kalvin Henderson on October 7.
Showtime was set to televise Steen-Henderson as the co-feature of a “ShoBox: The New Generation” telecast before Steen’s half-brother, 2016 U.S. Olympian Charles Conwell, faced Wendy Toussaint in the main event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Henderson withdrew from that bout during fight week, though, due to an illness that reportedly was not related to COVID-19.
Their super middleweight match instead will be the main event of a “ShoBox” telecast Friday night from Heartland Events Center in Grand Island, Nebraska.
“This is a big step up for me,” Steen told BoxingScene.com. “This is the biggest fight in my career so far. He’s a straightforward, pressure fighter that tries to throw one haymaker punch, maybe throw a couple combinations. But just me boxing, keeping on my jab, my head movement, it’s gonna frustrate him and slow him down a lot. I definitely feel like I’m a more complete fighter.”
Cleveland’s Steen (15-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) and Henderson (14-0-1, 10 KOs), of Fayetteville, Arkansas, will headline a tripleheader on Showtime. Their postponement led to their eight-round bout being rescheduled as a 10-round main event, not the co-feature.
“This is an amazing stage,” said Steen, a 24-year-old prospect who is co-promoted by Lou DiBella and Tony Holden. “This is a big fight in my career, so I’m excited. I’m ready. I can’t wait to show everybody who I really am in this ring.”
This three-bout broadcast will commemorate the 20th anniversary of “ShoBox.” The long-running prospect series debuted on Showtime in July 2001 from Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Janelson Bocachica (17-0, 11 KOs), a welterweight prospect from Detroit, is scheduled to box Shinard Bunch (15-1, 13 KOs), of Trenton, New Jersey, in the 10-round co-feature Friday night. The telecast is set to begin at 9 p.m. ET with an eight-rounder in which Martino Jules (10-0, 2 KOs), of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Armenia’s Aram Avagyan (10-0-2, 4 KOs) will square off in an eight-round featherweight fight.
“As we celebrate two decades of ‘ShoBox’ on July 23, we will stay true to our ethos and match undefeated, developing prospects tough,” said Gordon Hall, the executive producer of the series. “In the main event, undefeated 168-pound prospects with decorated amateur pedigrees will seek a career-best win. The co-feature has the return of fast-rising Janelson Bocachica in a difficult style matchup against the power-punching Bunch, while the opener features a battle of unbeatens that could steal the show. ‘ShoBox’ remains the sport’s ultimate proving ground for prospects and this event on July 23 is the perfect way to kick off our next decade.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.