Washington's Darryl Tyson, the World Boxing Council Continental Americas lightweight champion who has won 18 straight fights, will defend his title against veteran Freddie Roach at the D.C. Convention Center tonight at 7:30.
Tyson's 12-round bout against Roach, an eight-year pro from Las Vegas with a 40-10 record, will be preceded by three fights and followed by a concert by the singing group, the Temptations.
In the other bouts, welterweight Tommy Ayers of Cincinnati (30-1), the International Boxing Federation's No. 1-ranked contender, will face Leland Hart of Atlanta (16-9-3), and Jocko King and Jose Ortez of Washington will make their pro debuts. King will face James Woodhouse of Philadelphia (2-5), and Ortez will fight another rookie, Ray Bright of New London, Conn.
Darryl Lattimore of Washington, the IBF's No. 1-ranked amateur welterweight, was to have had his first professional fight, against an undetermined opponent. But a shoulder injury suffered Thursday during training forced Lattimore to withdraw.
Tyson (23-1), who successfully defended his title last month with a second-round knockout of Sam Johnson, probably needs to beat Roach to earn a shot at IBF lightweight champion Jimmy Paul. Tyson beat Paul in October 1983 but has been unable to get a title fight against him.
However, Roach, who lost a 10-round decision to WBC champion Hector Camacho in December, cannot be overlooked.
"I understand Roach is a pretty good fighter," Tyson said. "I hear he comes straight ahead. Well, this will make the fight better because I come to fight also. There won't be no singing or dancing Saturday night."
The sponsor of the program, the Washington-based International Promotions Group, expects it to draw approximately 7,000. Van Alexander, the group's president, said he believes concert-fight combinations are the only way to revive interest in professional boxing in the area.
"Boxing has had its problems in D.C. in the past, but this has always been a boxing town," Alexander said. "My logic is to expand via acts like the Temptations to create excitement and attract world-class boxing."