TUCSON, Arizona (May 22, 2019) – Tunisia native and mother of two, Ikram Kerwat, headlines this Thursday evening for her first time in the initial female main event streamed on RJJ Boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS®, starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, live from Casino Del Sol’s outdoor AVA Amphitheater in Tucson, Arizona.
Kerwat (9-1, 5 KOs), fighting out of Frankfurt, Germany, throws-down with 9-time world title challenger Simone DaSilva (15-12, 6 KOs), of Brazil, in the 10-round main event for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) female super featherweight championship.
Kerwat vs. DaSilva is presented by Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions and Kerwat is trained by living legend and 10-time world champion Roy Jones, Jr.
“Ikram is an exciting fighter with awesome power and good hand speed,” Jones evaluated his protege. “She’s always looking to improve, and I look forward to her next voyage towards a world title.”
The 35-year-old Kerwat is a former WBC International female lightweight champion, who will be fighting in the United States for the fourth time as a pro boxer. “Fighting in the U.S. was always one of my biggest dreams,” she commented. “It’s amazing. I already have a fanbase and they are really awesome. I like the enthusiasm and positive energy of U.S. people.
“This is my first main event and I can’t wait to step into the ring. To be live streamed on UFC FIGHT PASS is very important to me, my fans and, of course, my family. My last fight was also live streamed on FIGHT PASS and it was amazing. I’m happy and thankful for that.
“I want to give a big shout out to my family and my coach and promoter, Roy Jones, Jr., his wonderful wife, Natlyn Jones, and, of course, the RJJ Promotions team for this opportunity and their kindness.”
(L-R) Ikram Kerwat & Roy Jones, Jr.
A pro since 2015, Kerwat first met Jones at the WBC Convention three years ago in Miami. “It’s an honor for me to lean from a legendary boxer like Roy,” she added. “He’s a boxing guru! Before I met Roy, I was a brawler, more of an aggressive fighter. Now, I’d say I learned to skillfully box. I’ve made a lot of improvements and I developed more, boxing-wise. I grew mentally, which is the most important part in boxing and life.”
Da Silva may have fought in nine world titles fights, but Ikram doesn’t feel that she’s at a disadvantage because of her opponent’s edge in quality experience. “My opponent is experienced, but this means nothing to me,” she remarked. “I fear nobody, but I respect all boxers who step in the ring. I do not underestimate anyone, nothing more, and nothing less. I don’t look at her, I look at myself. This is only thing I have control over. I do my job, live my dream, and I have fun doing it. I enjoy every single minute of it. This next step is very important for us. Every single fight brings me a step closer to my goal, which means that every single fight is significant for my career. Fights like this even more so.”
Although she had only three amateur matches, including a gold medal performance in the Berlin Championships and taking bronze in the German Championships, Ikram is positioning herself for a world title fight in the not too distant future, assuming she gets past Da Silva.
“I trained myself (as an amateur) and that wasn’t easy for me, because I really wasn’t a trainer, but I wanted it so bad and now even more,” Kerwat concluded. “I have two kids and I used to say boxing is my third child. And it’s the oldest. I protest and love it, making sure that I progress and develop, getting better and better.”
In the co-featured event, unbeaten bantamweight Max “The Baby Face Assassin” Ornelas (12-0-1, 4 KOs), ranked No. 11 in the world by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), as well as the reigning NABA USA bantamweight champion, clashes with Alex “Xhino” Rangel (17-9, 4 KOs), of Mexico, in an eight-round bout.
Tucson’s Alfonso Olvera (11-5-2, 4 KOs) meets Carlos “Silk” Villa (14-3-1, 6 KOs), of San Antonio, in the six-round Special Welterweight Attraction, and undefeated middleweight prospects, Tucson’s Nicholas Rhoads (5-0, 2 KOs) takes on Eduardo Ayala (4-0, 1 KO), of Phoenix, square off in a four-round match.
Former UFC fighter Joe “Diesel” Riggs (47-18-1, 1 NC), fighting out of Phoenix, makes his professional boxing debut in the FIGHT PASS opener versus pro-debuting Daviante Jones, also of Phoenix, in a four-round bout.
Undefeated Kazakhstan fighter Madiyar Asjkeyev (11-0, 6 KOs) faces Cecil McCalla (21-3, 8 KOs) to open the non-FIGHT PASS segment of the show in a 10-round bout for the vacant North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super welterweight title.
A pair of Tucson middleweights, Arturo Resendiz (2-0, 2 KOs) and Jose “Raging Bull” Pena (2-1, 1 KO), are matched in the four-round swing bout.