MENDEZ TITLE DEFENSE TOPS FIRST ESPN SHOW OF 2014
Press Release: On Friday, January 3, 2014, at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the year's first installment of ESPN2's Friday Night Fights will feature an IBF 130-pound title fight. Argenis Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KOs) originally from the Dominican Republic defends against Rances "Kid Blast" Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs) originally from Cuba. And in the ten-round semifinal, middleweight Caleb "Golden" Truax (23-1, 4 KOs) of Osseo, Minnesota, will face Derek "Pooh" Ennis (23-4-1, 13 KOs) of Philadelphia. Tickets go on sale Friday, November 22nd at www.AXS.com or by calling 888.9.AXS.TIX (888.929.7849).
The 27-year-old Mendez will be making the second defense of his IBF title he won in March from Juan Carlos Salgado. The victory over Salgado also avenged one of only two defeats Mendez has suffered in his distinguished career. He was last seen in the ring fighting to a majority draw against Arash Usmanee in August. Mendez was a 2004 Olympian.
The 27-year-old Barthelemy is coming off a quick knockout of Thailand's Fahsai Sakkreerin last June. Before that, he won a decision over Usmanee in January. Barthelemy is the younger brother of Olympic Gold Medalist Yan Barthelemy and older brother of Leduan Barthelemy, also a fighter. As an amateur, he was Cuban Junior National Champion.
The 30-year-old Truax vanquished two Minnesota rivals (W10 over Matt Vanda and TKO4 over Ceresso Fort) in 2013 and also stopped fringe contender Donovan George. The victory over Fort garnered him the Minnesota State Championships. Truax's only career loss was to world champion Jermain Taylor and Truax had Taylor down in round nine.
The 33-year-old Ennis is a former Pennsylvania State champion. He won an October 2009 war against Eromosele Albert and also boasts a majority decision win over Gabriel Rosado in 2010. He most recently lost a majority decision to Jonathan Gonzalez. Ennis's brother, Farah, is a well-regarded super middleweight contender and his father, Derrick "Bozy" Ennis, was also a pro fighter.