Pro boxing returns to Beaumont on Friday with loaded fight card

Cody Richard vs. Santos Benavides

For the first time since 2004, pro boxing returns to Southeast Texas when Beaumont native Allen Jaco’s League of Extraordinary Fighters along with Corona, presents the “Showdown in Beaumont” on Friday, May 8 at the Beaumont Civic Center. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at the Civic Center box office or online at Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the fights begin at 7 p.m.

Most of the professional fights will include a local fighter and will be headlined by Cody “The Kid” Richard (16-1-1) of Orange vs. Santos “El Toro” Benavides (23-7-2) of Nicaragua. This will be Richard's toughest opponent to date.

“I’m super excited to get to fight here in Southeast Texas,” said Richard. “Normally, my fights are out of town and a lot of family and friends don’t get a chance to see me fight. Well, now they do. It’s going to be really fun to fight there at the Civic Center where there is so much boxing history and I cannot wait to put on a show.”

Southeast Texas has a great boxing heritage and the area produced some very good professional boxers such as Beaumont’s James “Bubba” Busceme, and Ronnie Shields and the late Wilford Scypion of Port Arthur.

Busceme, who graduated from South Park, entered his first boxing competition at 7 years old and went on to become a five-time Golden Gloves champion and competed in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. In 1982, Busceme took on Alexis Arguello inside a sold-out Beaumont Civic Center for the WBC World Lightweight Title, which was aired nationally on ABC Sports.

Scypion, was a National Golden Gloves champ, and fought “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler in 1983. It was the first bout to simultaneously decide the WBA, WBC and IBF titles in history and was aired on HBO.

Shields was a multiple National Golden Gloves champion in the mid 70s and has went on to train some of the best pro fighters in the world including Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker and Arturo Gatti.

The last time boxing was held at the Beaumont Civic Center was June 14, 2002 when Carlos Hernandez, of Los Angeles, who went on to retire with a 43-8-1 record, defeated a gamely Mark Burse via unanimous decision that was shown live on Telemundo/Univision.

“Boxing has a rich heritage in Southeast Texas and we need to pay homage to that,” said Jaco, who graduated from Beaumont Central. “But at the same time, it’s about coming back to Southeast Texas and putting on a positive event. I’m from Beaumont and most of these fighters are from the area and we want to put on an exciting show.”

Andre “Silverback” August (1-0-1), who graduated from Beaumont Central in 2007 and played football for the Jaguars, is anxious to climb inside the ring.

“It’s unbelievable,” said August. “No one ever thought boxing would come back to Beaumont, much less me being able to fight on the card.”

August was a multiple sport star back in high school and went on to play junior college football at Blinn.

“I was in college and was miserable,” said August. “I got kicked out of school and was lost. My cousin, Justin Williams, who will also be fighting on the card, started boxing and I followed him. I was getting into trouble by street fighting so he told me to stop street fighting and start boxing. My older brother took me to Savannah Boxing Gym in Houston and that's how it started.” 

Cody "The Wolverine" Williams became the first Mixed Martial Arts fighter to turn pro in Beaumont and will now step into the squared circle and box professionally for the first time.

“It’s going to be exciting,” said Williams. “I fell in love with boxing as a kid and was a huge Mike Tyson fan and that’s what led me to MMA.”

There will be no kicking, submission moves and the gloves are heavier are in boxing.

“There are plenty of different exercises that you put your body through to get into boxing condition but I am preparing for this like I would any MMA fight,” said Williams. “It’s a refresher. I know how to fight so I get to go out there and apply it to boxing. UFC fighters like Robbie Lawler and Donald Cerrone rely heavily on their boxing when they step inside the cage and fight MMA. I’ve always been mentally prepared for any type of combat performance and boxing will be no different.”

Beaumont native “Bad” Chad Broussard is also scheduled to fight on the card.

Fight order

1-Greg Garza vs. Juan Reyna

2-Joel “Slick” Baglio vs. Hector Garza

3-Leroy Jackson vs. Chris Edwards

4-Cody “The Wolverine” Williams vs. Reggie Harrison

5-“Bad” Chad Broussard vs. Artimus “El Chapo” Sartor

6-Andre “Silverback” August vs. Patrick Simes

7-Justin Williams vs. Keyon Thomas

8-Cody “The Kid” Richard vs. Santos Benavides