Rau’Shee “Baby Pit” Warren (right) of the L.A. Matadors and Donchai Thathi of the Bangkok Elephants battled it out this past Sunday at the Music Box in Hollywood to close out the five-bout event.  To see this epic battle and the rest of the fights from that night, tune into Fox Sports West on Sunday at 8 p.m.  Photo by Jason Lewis  ****Update, Warren won the fight by split decision. 

Sijuola “Juice” Shabazz was smooth like butter in his bout this past Sunday night.  Photo by Jason Lewis ****Update, Shabazz won by TKO

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
[email protected]

Los Angeles breeds champions, and to make it in this city any athlete has to be on the top of his game.  With the amount of championships that have been won in this town, nobody wants to show up to watch a loser. 

The Los Angeles Matadors of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) knows good and well that if they want people to show up to watch their matches at the Music Box in Hollywood, or watch them on Fox Sports West, then they better produce some great fighters and fight some of the top competition around the world.

The Matadors do just that in the WSB, which features amateur fighters who are preparing to make the jump to the professional ranks.  The fighters do not wear head guards or vests, and there is professional-style scoring.  There are teams from all around the world, and they face off against each other just like professional teams in other sports. 

Some of the fighters have put off a professional career to fulfill dreams of winning the gold medal in the Olympics.  One of those boxers is Rau’Shee “Baby Pit” Warren, who will become the first boxer ever to fight in three Olympic games. 

Warren, who is 24, could have turned pro at an earlier age, but there are great benefits to winning an Olympic gold medal.  Gold medal winners have greater opportunities with the top boxing promoters when they turn pro. 

Warren has compiled an amateur record of 318-12, he is a 5-time U.S. National Champion, he won the gold medal in the 2007 AIBA World Championships and the bronze medal in 20011.

Another fighter with Olympic aspirations is “Silky” Raynell Williams, who is looking to make the 2012 Olympic team before turning pro.  Williams has compiled a 120-15 record while winning the 2007 U.S. National Championship and the 2008 National PAL Championship. 

Williams, 22, can also turn pro at any moment, but the dream of fighting for his country and the financial benefits of winning the gold medal has put off a pro career for the time being. 

The fighters in the WSB are amateur boxers, but this league ensures that these fighters can concentrate on their athletic career without worrying about the financial hardship of most amateur fighters. 

These fighters receive a monthly paycheck as well as get their housing covered by the league.  This allows them to fully dedicate themselves to boxing, and in the case of both Warren and Williams, who both have two young children back home in Ohio, they are able to take care of their families and chase their dreams at the same time. 

This past Sunday night Warren and other members of the L.A. Matadors showcased their skills against the Bangkok Elephants at the Music Box in Hollywood.  The stands were packed and some of the top amateur fighters in the world slugged it out in five-five round bouts. 

Sijuola “Juice” Shabazz of the Matadors looked silky smooth in his bout while Warren and Donchai Thathi of Bangkok put on a monumental battle to close the show.  One judge gave the fight to Warren by a wide margin, one judge gave the fight to Thathi by a wide margin, and the third judge had the fight coming down to the final round.  ****Update- Shabazz won by TKO and Warren by split decion.  The Matadors won all five fights.

To watch that bout and the rest of the action between Los Angeles and Bangkok tune into Fox Sports West on Sunday at 8 p.m.  Matadors fights can be viewed every Sunday night though the rest of their season on Fox Sports West on Sundays at 8 p.m. 

The Matadors travel to Astana next, and will return to the Music Box on Sunday, January 22 at 7 p.m. 

For more information on the L.A. Matadors, visit their website at www.lamatadors.com.


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