Rayonta Whitfield returns to the boxing ring Saturday night with a new promoter and an old opponent.
Whitfield (22-1), who came through the Augusta Boxing Club and is the No. 7 IBF/No. 8 WBO flyweight, takes on Evaristo Primero (14-12-1) at Arena Theatre in Houston in a scheduled 8-round bout.
The two fought in April 2006 at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, and Whitfield won a unanimous decision in a fight televised by ESPN2.
This time, Whitfield is now with TKO Boxing Promotions. The 28-year-old fighter left Prize Fight Boxing this summer after losing to Omar Andres Narvaez in February.
"I'm feeling very excited. I wasn't in the ring in six months, working on getting a new promoter, and I'm glad to be working with these guys," Whitfield said before departing for Houston in September. "I'm ready to be back in the ring."
For the Narvaez fight, Whitfield had to travel to his opponent's country, Argentina, and abide by a different set of rules.
Whitfield, who lost in the 10th round by technical knockout, said he couldn't wear his own gloves and there was no governing body.
"I learned a lot about the business and preparation for a big fight," Whitfield said. "You can't leave nothing out of your contract. You've got to have a business mind all the way around it. Next time I'll know what to do. It was a really good learning experience for me."
Whitfield did some research in looking for a new promoter and landed with Cameron Duncan of TKO. He trained in Augusta for two months under the eye of Tom Moraetes before heading to Houston for some light sparring and "fine-tuning."
He didn't know his opponent last month, but he said that's not unusual.
"Every now and then it happens," he said. "I'm a ranked guy, and a lot of guys pull out of fights."
Although Whitfield is on the undercard Saturday night, he is hopeful of getting some bigger fights in the future.
"My ultimate goal is to win a championship," he said. "Hopefully my promoter will want to bring a fight to Augusta. I don't want to leave the country."
Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.