ShoBox: The New Generation returns to Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Fla. for the second time in two months on Friday, February 18 for an exciting tripleheader featuring six prospects with a combined record of 74-2-2, five new to the developmental series. The action takes place live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
The main event will see undefeated lightweight prospect Jamaine Ortiz (14-0-1, 8 KOs), who shared the ring with Jaron Ennis and Teofimo Lopez during a decorated amateur career, make his ShoBox debut against once-beaten Nahir Albright (14-1, 7 KOs) in a 10-round bout that could have long-term consequences for boxing’s hottest division. Albright is an aspiring R&B singer who belted out a tune during a post-fight interview following his last win.
The co-feature matches ShoBox returnee Joe George (11-0, 7 KOs) facing Sean Hemphill (14-0, 8 KOs) in an eight-round super middleweight bout of unbeatens.
The telecast opens with Philadelphia’s undefeated welterweight prospect Paul Kroll (9-0, 6 KOs) squaring off against perennial spoiler Marquis Taylor (12-1-1, 1 KOs) in an eight-round battle between ShoBox newcomers.
The three-fight telecast is promoted by King’s Promotions.
“This edition of ShoBox has compelling storylines and terrific matchups that make it a must-see for boxing fans,” said Gordon Hall, executive producer for ShoBox: The New Generation. “I’m particularly interested in finding out if Jamaine Ortiz or Nahir Albright can emerge as serious players at 135 pounds. Or if Joe George can follow up his sensational KO in his last outing against the gifted and elusive boxer-puncher Sean Hemphill. Or whether Paul Kroll can fulfill his vast potential against the talented Marquis Taylor. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out on February 18.”
Here is a closer look at the matchups:
Ortiz vs. Albright – 10-Round Lightweight Main Event Bout
Fighting out of Worcester, Mass., the 25-year-old Ortiz is a promising prospect in the loaded 135-pound division. Blessed with fast hands and an aggressive style, Ortiz delivered a career-best win over Sulaiman Segawa in November 2020 on the undercard of Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones, scoring a seventh-round KO to become the first fighter to stop Segawa. Known as “The Technician,” Ortiz, who sometimes fights out of the southpaw stance, is also the only fighter to beat current 11-1 lightweight Ricardo Quiroz. His last time out, Ortiz overcame two knockdowns to battle the undefeated Joseph Adorno to a majority draw in a thrilling eight-round affair in April. He recently spent five weeks in California helping pound-for-pound great Vasiliy Lomachenko prepare for his December fight with Richard Commey. Ortiz built his foundation in the amateurs, where he went 100-14 and sustained spirited losses to Ennis and Lopez. Ortiz is a former full-time union carpenter and college student who currently dabbles in real estate and has spoken of finishing college and perhaps attending medical school following his boxing career.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity to be the main event on ShoBox,” said Ortiz. “I've been waiting for this a long time. I'm ready to put on a great performance. This is a great platform for future champions, and on February 18 I'm going to put the lightweight division on notice."
Albright turned pro in 2016, dropping a majority decision in his debut against current 13-1 pro Anthony Laureano, before bouncing back to rattle off 14 straight wins. The streaking prospect has earned stoppages in five of his last six bouts which all took place in 2021, including his last time out when he dropped Michael Dutchover four times en route to a sixth-round stoppage victory. Albright will be making his ShoBox debut but has already beaten two fighters who have appeared on the developmental series in Dutchover and the 16-2 Jeremy Hill. The 25-year-old from Sicklerville, N.J. was originally scheduled to face Ortiz in November 2020 but was forced to withdraw with an injury.
“It's a great feeling to headline on ShoBox,” said Albright. “The Hill fight was a step-up fight and I proved again that I belong. I will show again against Jamaine Ortiz that I am on my way to being a world champion. Ortiz is a sharp, fast and slick fighter. I’m sure he will give his all and it will be a good fight, but I will be victorious.”
George vs. Hemphill – Eight-Round Super Middleweight Bout
Managed by San Francisco 49ers All-Pro offensive lineman Trent Williams, George will return to the ring for the first time since scoring one of 2020’s most vicious KOs. The Houston native landed a stunning uppercut in the ninth round to immediately end his rematch with Marcos Escudero. George previously emerged victorious via a split decision victory in a battle of then unbeaten fighters when he first faced Escudero on SHOWTIME in November 2019. The 32-year-old George played basketball in college and didn’t start boxing until he was 19. He fought in the amateurs for five years, winning the 2015 National Golden Gloves and going 74-5 before making his pro debut in 2016. Campaigning primarily at light heavyweight, George will look to continue his success when he moves down to super middleweight on February 18.
"I am excited to be back on ShoBox,” said George. “I have won on this stage before and on February 18th, I will prove it again that I am one of the top super middleweights out there."
Hemphill made his pro debut in 2019 and has already reeled off 14 consecutive wins without a blemish after a standout amateur period. He has fought six times since George last stepped in the ring, including once already in 2022. Hemphill scored an eight-round unanimous decision over Jeyson Minda in front of his hometown New Orleans fans on January 7. The 26-year-old known as “Silky” fought three times in 2021, scoring two TKOs. George will be the first undefeated opponent of Hemphill’s career with multiple victories. Hemphill is managed by Adam Glenn, son of the late Jimmy Glenn, who owned the beloved Jimmy’s Corner bar in Midtown Manhattan and was a well-known, iconic figure in boxing circles. Hemphill was a member of Team USA during a stellar amateur career (55-12) that saw him rise to become one of the top light heavyweights in the country.
"This is a great opportunity for me,” said Hemphill. “I have been looking for something like this to showcase my talent. I have been going through a lot in my personal life such as Hurricane Ida and I want to show people that I am fighting through it all. This is a good fight for me and it will show the world how great I am. This will take my career to the next level. I have been fighting on local shows and this is a big step up and a big stage for me to show I am part of the next generation.”
Kroll vs. Taylor – Eight-Round Welterweight Bout
Representing the fighting city of Philadelphia, Kroll is a four-year pro who already owns impressive wins over the highly regarded ShoBox alum Shinard Bunch and previously undefeated Philadelphian southpaw Mark Dawson. He also owns a 10-round victory over Lucas Santamaria in perhaps the toughest test of his career. Kroll overcame a knockdown in the second round to recover and earn the unanimous decision. A highly touted amateur with a record of 123-17, Kroll won the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials in 2015 and has sparred with the likes of standouts Julian Williams, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia.
“This is a great opportunity for me to get back on television against a good opponent,” said Kroll. “I am looking forward to a big win. I’ll take a unanimous decision, but I definitely want the knockout that will make a statement. I have seen a couple clips of Taylor and I see that he’s a good fighter, but I know he can’t beat me. He’s tall and had a draw with Lucas Santamaria. I’m really excited to be on ShoBox and I’m going to perform and put on a show for everybody.”
The 28-year-old Taylor is a nine-year veteran who owns wins over three then-undefeated fighters including Jimmy Williams (14-0-1) and Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (10-0-1), who have both appeared on ShoBox, and Oscar Torres (8-0). The 6-foot-1 Taylor suffered his only career loss to current 21-2 contender Ladarius Miller. Following that loss, Taylor won five consecutive fights before taking on two-time welterweight world champion Kermit Cintron. That fight was ruled a no contest after Cintron was cut from an accidental headbutt. Taylor has one opponent in common with Kroll, Lucas Santamaria, who Taylor fought to a majority draw in June 2019. His last time out, Taylor traveled to Colombia where he earned a third-round KO over Esteban Alseco. Taylor refined his tools in the amateurs, where he went 130-20.
“I appreciate the opportunity and I have been trying to get on ShoBox for years,” said Taylor. “I have a lot of appreciation and gratitude, and I still can't believe it's finally happening. I am just anxious to get in the ring now. I know Kroll is a good boxer and an undefeated fighter. This will be my fifth undefeated opponent. I have the tendency to have fighters fight my fight. I am super motivated for this and I’m coming to win in spectacular fashion. I am always the underdog and stealing fights is my thing.”