- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Lightweight Ivan Redkach, tabbed by many as a can’t-miss prospect, is now 28 and coming off a 2014 in which he remained unbeaten, though he only fought twice. He is at that stage of his career when it’s time to step up into meaningful fights and see if he can live up to his great potential.
Now living in Los Angeles, Redkach (17-0, 13 KOs), who was a top amateur in Ukraine, has moved a bit slowly since turning pro in late 2009, but he is aiming to make an impact in 2015.
“This is my year. This is the year I’m going to break out and earn that title shot,” Redkach said.
It will start when he takes on Los Angeles-based Ghana native Yakubu Amidu (21-5-2, 19 KOs), 30, on Friday night in the season debut of “ShoBox: The New Generation” (Showtime, 11 ET/PT) at the Morongo Casino Resort in Cabazon, California.
Also on the prospect-packed tripleheader, Patrick Day (9-0-1, 5 KOs), of Freeport, New York, and Alantez Fox (13-0-1, 4 KOs), of Forestville, Maryland, will meet in an eight-round junior middleweight bout and hot middleweight prospect Ievgen Khytrov (7-0, 7 KOs), a Ukraine native living in Brooklyn, New York, takes on Maurice Louishomme (8-0-1, 4 KOs), of Colorado Springs, Colo., in the eight-round opening bout.
Redkach, an offensive-minded southpaw who loves to attack the body, trained with Robert Garcia for the first time, getting good work at his gym in Oxnard, California.
“I love training with Robert Garcia. The work we get there and his sparring is amazing,” Redkach said. “He has taught me a few of his own tricks. I’m comfortable there. It feels like home. I enjoy everyone that I spar with there and they have become like family to me. It’s the best environment that I’ve trained in. I can’t wait to show how I’ve improved.”
Among the fighters Redkach said he sparred with in preparation for the fight are junior welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas, former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios and lightweight contender Ray Beltran.
Redkach, coming off a seven-month layoff, at one point sparred with Amidu preparing for a different fight and has respect for him. Still, he said he will be trying to knock Amidu out.
“He is a very strong opponent. He punches very hard, but he can’t maneuver,” Redkach said. “He only punches straight and does not have the technique that I have.”
Redkach is hoping a win over Amidu will move him on a path to eventually challenge newly-crowned titlist Jorge Linares.
“I am going to try to knock [Amidu] out so I can get closer to a championship fight in 2015,” he said. “No matter what, we are both very strong fighters and I don’t think it will go 10 rounds.”