NIKOLA SJEKLOCA AND SAKIO BIKA ARE NOW HBO FIGHTERS
Press Release: After a broken thumb forced Johnathon Banks to withdraw from his February 16th rematch with Seth Mitchell, Golden Boy Promotions has announced that a twelve-round WBC super middleweight eliminator between Nikola Sjekloca (25-0) and Sakio "The Scorpion" Bika (30-5-2) will move into the HBO World Championship Boxing co-feature at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey just prior to Adrien Broner against Gavin Rees in the main event.
The non-televised undercard will feature a junior middleweight fight between Charles Whittaker and Demetrius Hopkins, a junior lightweight bout pitting Vicente Escobedo against Edner Cherry and appearances by 2012 United States Olympians Rau'Shee Warren and Jamel Herring.
Nikola Sjekloca (25-0, 7 KOs) comes from Budva, Montenegro. A professional since 2006, he is 34-years old.
The 33-year-old Sakio "The Scorpion" Bika (30-5-2, 21 KOs) is a 2000 Olympian for Cameroon who also won NBC's boxing reality show "The Contender" in 2007, Bika's list of vanquished opponents includes Sam Soliman, Jaidon Codrington and Peter Manfredo Jr. The winner of two straight and coming off of a technical knockout over Dyah Davis last June, Bika is fired up for his February 16 showdown with Sjekloca.
Back in a fighting rhythm after a layoff of over a year, Philadelphia's Demetrius "The Gladiator" Hopkins (32-2-1, 12 KO's) is 2-0 in his new weight class of 154 pounds, shutting out Doel Carrasquillo and stopping Joshua Snyder in his first two fights in the division. However, the truest test of his ability to challenge the elite at junior middleweight thus far will come on February 16th when he meets up with Miami's Charles Whittaker (39-13-2, 23 KO's). A hard-hitting late bloomer who has won 15 of his last 16 bouts, the 39-year-old Whittaker will push Hopkins hard for 12 rounds if necessary.
2004 United States Olympian Vicente Escobedo (26-4, 15 KO's) will make his first start since a July 2012 title fight loss to Adrien Broner on Saturday night and the 31-year-old Woodland, California native can't wait to score a win and get back on track for another shot at a world championship. Standing in his way will be Miami veteran Edner "Cherry Bomb" Cherry (30-6-2, 16 KO's), a former world title challenger at 140 pounds whose return to his optimum weight class of junior lightweight has seen him go unbeaten in his last seven bouts.
Three-Time United States Olympian Rau'shee Warren (2-0) has left the amateur game behind as he searches for professional gold and he's off to a good start thus far wins in both of his bouts. On February 16, the bantamweight prospect will join his fellow Cincinnati native Adrien Broner on one of the most highly-anticipated cards of the year in a four-round battle against Wharton, Texas' Richard Hernandez (0-5).
Rockville Centre, New York's Jamel Herring (1-0) proudly represented the United States at the 2012 London Olympics and after his professional debut win over Puerto Rico's Jose Valderrama on December 8, the lightweight prospect will seek his second victory the weekend against Carlos Lopez (4-2) of San Juan, Puerto Rico in a four-round.
In lightweight action, Toledo's Robert Easter Jr. (2-0, 2 KO's) will meet up with the aforementioned Valderrama (3-3, 3 KO's) from Manati, Puerto Rico in a four-round fight and opening up the show will be Philadelphia's Wahid Rahim (3-0, 1 KO) facing Allentown, Pennsylvania's Ismael Serrano who will be making his professional debut.
Tickets are available for purchase at the Boardwalk Hall box office, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at www.ticketmaster.com