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Assorted: Klitschko/Doc, Pacquiao, ESPN FNFs, Showtime Tourny, Empire, Ward, a LOT more


The fifth annual Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will include the world premiere of Klitschko, a documentary exploring the rise of six-foot-six Ukrainian brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko who made history in 2008, becoming the first brothers in boxing to hold world titles at the same time. After emigrating to Germany to begin careers in heavyweight boxing in 1996, the sport was never the same. Through an engaging mix of candid interviews and absorbing fight footage, Klitschko offers a captivating glimpse into the makings of these champion boxing brothers.

The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has become the premier showcase for independent films about sports and competition. In addition to giving sports fans and movie-lovers the opportunity to be among the first to see new sports-themed films, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival hosts a gala premiere, conversations and a family Sports Day where fans can enjoy free, interactive, sports-related games and activities and meet some of New York’s most popular athletes.

This year’s Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival is comprised of six documentary feature films that run the gamut of sports. The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival runs during the Tribeca Film Festival (April 20-May 1) in lower Manhattan.

ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTIONS! @MannyPacquiao IS MANNY PACQUIAO’S AUTHORIZED TWITTER USER NAME

MANILA (March 31, 2011) — He came. He saw. He Tweeted. MANNY PACQUIAO, the eight-division world champion and lone congressional representative from the Sarangani province in the Philippines, has returned to Twitter. Manny’s authorized user name is @MannyPacquiao.

Fans are invited to follow Manny as he trains with Freddie Roach for his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title defense against three-division world champion Sugar Shane Mosley (@SugarShaneM). Pacquiao returns to Los Angeles on Saturday where he will resume his training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif.

Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines and Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), of Pomona, Calif., have won world titles in 11 weight divisions between them. They will go toe-to-toe on Saturday, May 7, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev. Named the “Fighter of the Decade” by the Boxing Writers Association of America, Pacquiao will be making his first ring appearance in The Fight Capital of the World since 2009.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions, Tecate and MGM Grand, Pacquiao vs. Mosley will be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV®.

The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All on Saturday, April 23 LIVE on SHOWTIME®

(10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. Orange, CA (March 30, 2011) – Former IBF bantamweight world champion Yonnhy “El Colombiano” Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs), who is set to clash against former two-division world champion Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs) as the co-feature of “The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All” discusses his experience with training for the first time is his native homeland of Cartagena, Colombia.

Here is what he had to say upon arriving to Los Angeles late last Sunday:

How was training in Colombia?

Training in Colombia was great. I am strong and I have my speed back. I am doing everything to get back into the limelight and into a title contention position. The fight with Abgeko was a great learning experience for me and I don’t want that to happen ever again. I never cut any corners during this or any other training camp so I feel sharp and in great shape to face Darchinyan on April 23.

How is training in Colombia different from training in the U.S.?

Well, there are a lot of obvious differences. The weather in Colombia was excruciatingly hot, but I am used to it. I would rather have this than Air Conditioning. I enjoyed the humidity of Cartagena. I began my days at the gym much earlier and I also had a huge selection of sparring partners, I was in my element, close to my wife and kids, close to my parents and siblings. That is what made me train even harder while I was there.

Were you staying home with your wife and kids or were you apart from them?

I was home with my sons Mateo and Yonnhy Jr., and I was helping my wife with the day-to-day upbringing of our children. I have not been home for a long period of time and I have missed a lot of my kid’s activities. So when they had me home recently they and I was able to take Yonnhy Jr. to school and help take care of my 2-year-old Mateo who is a handful.

What is going on with the construction of your new house? Were you involved with that?

My wife was involved and doing everything by herself. It was too much for her as the building is almost finished. When I was there I would get up and go running at 4:30 am, then get to the gym after I would drop off my nine-year-old son at school and I supervise the construction and get the needed materials right around lunch time. I was involved, as much as possible, in every detail and the 4-unit complex will look great once is completed.

What in particular are you doing to prepare yourself mentally and physically for Vic Darchinyan?

It isn’t an easy task to prepare for Darchinyan. He has an unorthodox style, he is a great champion and a heavy handed opponent. I just need to stay focused and listen to my trainer, my manager and promoters. They have laid the path for me and it has worked thus far. Physically I will be ready and I am preparing myself to go to war with a great champion with the conviction that I will be the last man standing.

How has training in Colombia affected your family?

It has affected us all in a positive way. It was extremely difficult to be away from home in Los Angeles away from my family. I have my LA family that has been there for me, they are the Zamora family that took me in and made me part of their life. I will never forget that and I will always thank them for it, but I was growing apart from my most important treasure, my wife and kids, and by being back in Colombia put us back to where we need to be – we have each other like it should be. My trainer, Danny Zamora, made the effort to come to Colombia and start camp there; he left his 2-year-old twin boys home and is sacrificing. But if I needed inspiration or a real meaning to what I do, it’s all there at home. I will have been in Los Angeles for a month before the fight so now that I am back I am fine-tuning myself and Vic will have his hands full on April 23.

About “The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All”

“The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All” will take place on Saturday, April 23, LIVE on SHOWTIME® (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles.

Joseph King Kong Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs), of Accra, Ghana, will defend his International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight world championship against undefeated rising star Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs), of Hawaiian Gardens, Calif. by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, who defends his WBC Silver bantamweight championship in the tournament final.

In what will be a hotly contested co-feature, former two-division world champion Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs), of Sydney, Australia, by way of Vanadzok, Armenia, and former IBF bantamweight world champion Yonnhy “El Colombiano” Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs), of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., by way of Cartagena, Colombia, will clash in the tournament consolation bout.

Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, are available online at Ticketmaster.com, and via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available at STAPLES Center Box Office.

WORLD CHAMPION DONNIE “AHAS” NIETES TO HIT BACOLOD FRIDAY

WBO Minimum Weight World Champion and Bacolod City hero Donnie “Ahas” Nietes is scheduled to arrive Bacolod City Friday April 1, 2011 to do his final preparations for his scheduled homecoming fight dubbed PINOY PRIDE 5: BATTLE OF CHAMPIONS 3 PM Saturday, April 9, 2011 at the St. La Salle Coliseum.

The Filipino world champ Nietes will be fighting for the first time at the Junior Flyweight division where he aims to be a two division world champion. He will be facing a very tough opponent in Mexican Armando Vasquez, a typical Mexican fighter with an aggressive style that never backs down from wild exchanges.

A win for the “AHAS” would mean a whole lot for he will be challenging the winner of the title fight between Colombian Jesus Gelez and Mexican Ramoncito Garcia dated April 30, 2011 in Mexico.

Nietes will be coming in from Cebu City where he is based now and will be joined by fellow ALA Promotions fighters WBO Youth Junior Welterweight Champion and 19 year old phenom Jason Pagara and PABA Bantamweight Super Champ Roli Gasca who likewise will be featured during the PINOY PRIDE 5 event.

It is going to be one energy filled afternoon of boxing as Negrenses will be treated to world class boxing match-ups that would feature four foreign fighters and two regional championships in one event.

Besides the Mexican Vasquez, three other foreign pugilists will be featured in African Deo Njiku who will be challenging for Pagaras WBO Youth title, James Mokoginto of Indonesia to brawl for Lorenzo Villanueva’s WBO Oriental belt and as an added attraction, PABA Super Champ Roli gasca will duke it out with Ngaotawang Sithsaithong of Thailand.

PINOY PRIDE 5: BATTLE OF CHAMPIONS is a proud presentation of ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports and supported by the Bacolod City and Negros Oriental Provincial Governments. This is also brought to you by SM City Bacolod, Diamond Suites and Residences Cebu, Palmas del Mar Resort, Mooon Cafe, Thirsty Juices and Shakes, The Bacolod Pavillion Hotel Resort and Restaurant, Bob’s Cafe, Merci Pasalubong, Sheridan and Mang Inasal.

Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund Live in Studio with Host Brian Kenny

Lightweights and Undefeated Middleweight Featured on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights

“Irish” Micky Ward, known for his trilogy of brutal fights with Arturo Gatti and his brother Dicky Eklund will join studio host Brian Kenny throughout ESPN’s Friday Night Fights telecast April 1, from 9-11 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The brothers were portrayed in the 2010 Academy Award winning film The Fighter, which centered on the life of Ward (played by Mark Wahlberg), and his older half-brother Eklund (played by Christian Bale). The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. Bale won the Oscar for best supporting actor.

Friday’s cards will originate from Mashantucket, Conn. when lightweight “Hammerin” Hank Lundy (19-1-1, 10 KO’s), and undefeated middleweight Vladine “Mr. Providence” Biosse (10-0, 5 KO’s) are featured in co-main events. Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside at Foxwoods Casino, describing the action.

Philadelphia’s Lundy, will face New Hampshire resident and Venezuelan native Patrick “El Elegante” Lopez (20-3, 12 KO’s). Lundy is coming off a 10-round decision win against Omri Lowther last August on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. After the fight, ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael wrote, “On July 9, Lundy headlined ‘Friday Night Fights’ on ESPN2. He talked a lot of smack about opponent John Molina, whom he called stupid. After dominating most of the fight, Lundy got dropped hard in the eighth round and then stopped in 11th round as Molina made a big comeback in a fight he was being outclassed in. It was perhaps a humbling experience for Lundy. Looking to rebound as quickly as possible, Lundy took the fight with Lowther on just three days’ notice, came to his turf and shut him down in fairly easy fashion as the ‘Friday Night Fights’ season closed with a special Saturday edition. Lundy was quicker than Lowther and hit him almost at will. He is a skillful boxer, has good defense and put his technical ability to good use against an opponent who just could not cope with his movement and speed.”

Providence’s Biosse, who has stepped up in class of opposition and given impressive performances in recent fights, will meet St. Louis’ “The Irish Pride” Tim Connors (10-2, 7 KO’s). Biosse is coming off a February third-round knockout win against former WBA interim super welterweight world titlist Santiago Samaniego. In July he was co-featured on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, winning an eight-round decision. Biosse said of Friday’s fight, “Nothing’s really changed since last time, except that I got better. We try to keep it the same. Like they say, if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it. I don’t know much about the guy I’m fighting. We’re not even sure if he’s a southpaw or an orthodox fighter. All I know is that he’s a kickboxer. The way I believe – if he has two hands, then he’s do-able. The way we train is for anything and everything. We want to make sure we’re in better shape than our opponent, and better prepared than him. So whether he’s a southpaw or orthodox or whatever, it doesn’t really matter. We just want it all. I’m just going to bring my best into that ring.”

‘La Revancha’ PPV Saturday night

HOBOKEN, N.J. (March 21, 2011) – The pay-per-view undercard for Saturday night’s “La Revancha,” featuring the highly-anticipated rematch between WBO and The Ring light flyweight champion Giovani “El Guerrero Azteca” Segura and former 108-pound king, Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon, has been officially announced.

“La Revancha: Segura-Calderon 2,” presented by Zanfer Promotions and PR Best Boxing, will be distributed live in the United States from Auditorio del Estado in Mexicali, Mexico by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing at 9 PM/ET – 6 PM/PT on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, DIRECTV, DISH Network and Avail-TVN, for a suggested retail price of only $39.95.

The 12 round co-feature matches a pair of former world title challengers from Mexico, Jorge “Baby Face” Lacierva (38-7-6, 26 KOs) and Fernando “Wary” Beltran, Jr. (35-4-1, 19 KOs), in an IBF featherweight eliminator.

Veteran Ricardo “Piolo” Castillo (39-9-2, 26 KOs), a three-time world title challenger, battles Joksan “El Torito” Hernandez (21-3, 14 KOs), the former WBC Continental Americas super featherweight titlist, in a 12-round bout for the IBF Latino Featherweight Championship. Castillo is the younger brother of two-time world lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo.

Also on the card, undefeated Mexican super bantamweight prospect Ramon “Cobra” Maas (24-0, 15 KOs) takes on dangerous Enrique “Duende” Bernache (15-2, 7 KOs) in a 10 rounder.

Time permitting, additional bouts will air, possibly one showcasing 18-year-old Mexican-American phenom Jose Benavides (10-0, 9 KOs), the hot super lightweight prospect from Los Angeles. Benavides, who is trained by Freddie Roach, had an outstanding 120-5 amateur record, including a gold-medal performance at the 2009 National Golden Gloves Tournament.

All fights and fighters are subject to change.

Segura-Calderon I was one of the 2010 Fights of the Year. Segura (26-1-1, 22 KOs), fighting out of Bell, California by way of Mexico, captured the WBO, The Ring and WBA Super light flyweight titles last October, when he knocked-out the previously unbeaten champion Calderon (34-1-1, 6 KOs) in the eighth round in Puerto Rico. Segura was leading (69-64, 68-65, 67-66) on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Segura, who will turn 29 this Friday, also holds notable victories against Daniel Reyes KO1) and Carlos Tamara (DEC12).

Calderon, the pride of Puerto Rico, prior to fighting Segura had been the WBO light flyweight champion for more than three years (six successful title defences) and WBO minimum weight titlist (11 successful title defences) from 2003 until he moved up to light flyweight in 2007. Ivan, who is rated No. 1 by The Ring, as well as No. 3 by the WBO, has defeated great 108 and 105 pound world champions and challengers such as including victories against the likes of Rodel Mayol, Reyes, Higo Fidel Cazares (twice), Nelson Dieppa, Issac Bustos, Roberto Carlos Leyva, Ednar Cardenas, Alex Sanchez and Eduardo Ray Marquez.

For more information about the Segura-Calderon 2 PPV event go to www.integratedsportsnet.com. Follow Integrated Sports Media on Twitter @IntegratedPPV.

“LA REVANCHA” PPV FACT SHEET

WB0 & THE RING LIGHT FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIPS – MAIN EVENT – 12 ROUNDS
GIOVANNI “El Guerrero Azteca” SEGURA IVAN “Iron Boy” CALDERON
WBO & The Ring Junior Light Flyweight Champion Former WBO Junior Flyweight Contender Former WBA Super World Light Flyweight Champion The Ring #1, WBO #3/2000 Puerto Rico Olympian Bell, California by way of Mexico Guaynabo, Puerto Rico 26-1-1 (22 KOs) 34-1-1 (6 KOs)

IBF FEATHERWEIGHT ELIMINATOR – CO-FEATURE — 12 ROUNDS
JORGE “Baby Face” LACIERVA FERNANDO “Wary” BELTRAN, JR. Former WBA Super Featherweight Title Challenger Two-Time World Title Challengers Mexico City, DF, Mexico Culiacan, Sin., Mexico 38-7-6 (26 KOs) 35-4-1 (19 KOs)

IBF LATINO FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP – 12 ROUNDS
RICARDO “Piolo” CASTILLO JOKSAN “El Torito” HERNANDEZ Mexican Featherweight Champion Former WBC Continental Americas Champion Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico 39-9-2 (26 KOs) 21-3 (14 KOs)

10 ROUNDS – SUPER BANTAMWEIGHTS
RAMON “COBRA” MAAS ENRIQUE “Duende” BERNACHE
Merida, Yuxc., Mexico Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico 24-0 (15 KOs) 15-2 (7 KOs)

Time permitting, additional bouts will air, possibly one showcasing 18-year-old Mexican-American phenom Jose Benavides (10-0, 9 KOs), the hot super lightweight prospect from Los Angeles. Benavides, who is trained by Freddie Roach, had an outstanding 120-5 amateur record, including a gold-medal performance at the 2009 National Golden Gloves Tournament.

WHEN: Saturday, April 2, 2011 – 9 PM/ET 6 PM/PT

WHERE: Auditorio del Estado in Mexicali, Mexico.

PROMOTER: Zanfer Promotions and PR Best Boxing

PAY-PER-VIEW INFORMATION: Distributed in the United States by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing at 9 PM/ET – 6 PM/PT on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, DIRECTV, DISH Network and Avail-TVN, for a suggested retail price of only $39.95. Also available worldwide on Internet PPV (excluding Mexico and Puerto Rico) via www.Integratedsportsnet.neulion.com (processing orders starting March 31)

PAY-PER-VIEW ANNOUNCERS: English – Former NFL player and veteran boxing announcer Benny Ricardo (blow-by-blow) and award-winning Al Bernstein (color analyst); Spanish – Gilbert Godow

SPECIAL CEREMONY: Legendary boxer Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. will be honored by the Boxing Commission of Mexicali prior to the main event as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in Mexican history. Chavez will also receive an award for his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

BAYAN JARGAL VS. BREDIS PRESCOTT DEMETRIUS ANDRADE VS. OMAR BELL

On Friday, April 22nd, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing returns to the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT with an intriguing double-header on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights”. Kicking off the telecast will be Providence Rhode Island’s 2008 U.S. Olympian, Demetrius Andrade as he takes on his toughest opponent to date when he squares off against once beaten Omar Bell in an eight round jr. middleweight showdown. Then all-action, Bayan Jargal looks to make the leap into the mix of top 140 pounders when he takes on the “Khanqueror” Breidis Prescott in a ten round jr. welterweight contest.

“We are excited to be returning to Mohegan Sun, with what promises to be an exciting double-header,” stated Joe DeGuardia, CEO of Star Boxing, and promoter of Jargal and Andrade. “At Star Boxing we always look to make the best possible fights for the fans, and we feel April 22nd will be no different. You have one of the hottest prospects in all of boxing opening up the show, and Jargal and Prescott are both all-action fighters which is sure to produce fireworks. We are also looking to to pack the undercard with exciting local talent that will make it an entertaining and exciting show from top to bottom.”

“Friday Night Fights and Mohegan Sun go hand-in-hand when it comes to providing a memorable night of action and competition,” said Tom Cantone, Vice President of Sports and Entertainment at Mohegan Sun. “The relationship we’ve sustained throughout the years has provided boxing fans with entertainment and allows the region’s premiere fighters to showcase their talents.”

Jargal (15-1-3, 10KO’s) who represented his native Mongolia at the 2004 World Games, is coming off his lone defeat as a pro, a very close, controversial split decision to Steve Chambers (23-1-1). Prescott, (23-3, 19KO’s) who is ranked #11 by the WBA, began his career knocking out seventeen of the first eighteen opponents he faced. Prescott shocked the boxing world when he completely annihilated current WBA jr. welterweight champion, Amir Khan, knocking him out in the first round when the two met in 2008. Prescott has since all but begged Khan to step back into the ring with him, and get a shot at Khan’s world title, but Khan refuses to fight the man who knocked him out. A win over “Khanqueror” Prescott would immediately throw Jargal into the mix of the loaded jr. welterweight division.

For Andrade (12-0, 8KO’s), who along with representing the US in the 2008 Olympics, was the 2007 Amateur World Champion, it will mark the seventh time in just thirteen fights as a pro that the young star will be featured on ESPN. The 23-year-old southpaw, has continued to impress each time he steps in the ring, and is coming off a dominating eight round unanimous decision over another once beaten prospect Alberto Herrera (7-1-1) on ESPN in his last fight.

Bell (8-1, 5KO’s) bounced back nice in 2010, (after suffering his first loss as a pro in 2008,) picking up two victories, including a shut-out win in his last fight against previously undefeated Quinton Willis. Bell’s has a very exciting non-stop, high output punching style which will make for a very entertaining fight against the highly regarded Andrade.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 1 (800) 745-3000 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the Star Boxing office at (718) 823-2000 or visiting www.starboxing.com. Tickets are also available for purchase at the Mohegan Sun Box Office. Tickets are priced at $80, $50 and $35. ESPN will begin live coverage of the event starting at 8PM ET.

Fan favorite Sonya Lamonakis added to ‘East-West Showdown’ card

Berto-Ortiz headlines April 16 at MGM Grand at Foxwoods

NEW YORK, NY (Mar. 30, 2011) – Popular female heavyweight Sonya “The Scholar” Lamonakis has been added to the April 16 “East-West Showdown” card, featuring World Boxing Council (“WBC”) Welterweight World Champion and undefeated star Andre Berto against WBC # 5 rated challenger “Vicious” Victor Ortiz, at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

“East-West Showdown: Berto vs. Ortiz” is presented by DiBella Entertainment, in association with Golden Boy Promotions. The bout will be televised live on HBO’s World Championship Boxing starting at 9:45 PM/ET 6:45 PM/PT. The broadcast kicks off with Amir “King” Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) defending his WBA Super Lightweight World Title against Paul “Dudley” McCloskey (22-0, 12 KOs) from the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England.

Lamonakis (4-0, 1 KO), a native of Greece, is a sixth-grade teacher at Harlem’s Family Academy who trains at the famed Gleason’s Gym in New York City. A four-time New York Golden Gloves champion, Sonya was a field hockey and softball player at Springfield College in Massachusetts. She has been a professional boxer since last June and, in her most recent fight, March 12 on the Sergio Martinez-Sergiy Dzinziruk card, also at MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods, she won an entertaining six-round unanimous decision against previously unbeaten Tanzee Daniel. Lamonakis will be matched in another six-round bout against an opponent to be determined.

“Sonya is an all-action fighter who attracts a lot of fans,” promoter Lou DiBella said. “She has done very well and we’re happy to get her right back in action. Fight fans love watching her fight. ‘The Scholar’ is one of the most exciting female fighters out there today.”

Lamonakis will take on an opponent to be announced.

Tickets are priced at $350, $200, $125, and $65 and went on sale today through the MGM Grand at Foxwoods box office. Tickets can be purchased online at www.mgmatfoxwoods.com, by calling the MGM Grand at Foxwoods at 1-866-646-0609, or in person at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods box office.

Sergei Liakhovich Training Camp Notes

Fight Date – Saturday, April 9, 2011 Venue – Prudential Center, Newark, NJ Live on PPV Main Event – Tomasz Adamek vs. Kevin McBride 10 Rounds – Heavyweights

Sergei Liakhovich is training to take on Johnnie White in a 10 round heavyweight bout on the April 9th Adamek vs. McBride card at Newark’s Prudential Center. “White Wolf” took time out to talk about his training and future plans.

On physical fitness/training: “I am in great shape, I am ready to go, I can’t wait to get in the ring.”

On his training regimen as the fight gets closer: “I’m working on speed and running. Usually running in morning and afternoon boxing workout or sparring. Right now just boxing and roadwork, especially two weeks before the fight.”

On Kenny Weldon and Tommy Brooks: “I have two great trainers who work with me”. “In the boxing world he (Tommy Brooks) is one of the best fundamental guys, we’re working right now on little things. ”

“I am very glad to have Kenny Weldon as my trainer again. Kenny is a great Professor of Boxing. He is great at polishing my skills and making it interesting and challenging.”

“I learn from Kenny a lot, and Tommy is a great trainer too, he motivates me and pushes me to the limit. They are both equal.”

On upcoming fight against Johnnie White: “He is tough guy; we will see what he can do.”

“I can use everything that I have and everybody will see what I’m able to do in the ring”

On being able to use footwork, boxing ability, defense, and movement to his advantage: “Yes absolutely, everybody knows me with my footwork. This is what I didn’t use in my last fight, but everything came back to me, my muscle memory. I can do so many things using my feet”

On Main Events: “Tony Cardinale is my attorney and advisor right now, we decide to do this because I saw what she (Kathy Duva) did with her fighters. They are on top right now and this is why we decided to sign with Main Events.”

Where do you see Main Events taking your career: “Fight for the title again.”

History of getting into boxing:”I train all my life. I start when I was twelve, but before that I did three years in wrestling, one year Greco Roman, two years freestyle. My father brought me to boxing, we watch Olympic Games in 1988 together and so I got interested in boxing.”

On newborn son: “The best thing (son) that happened in my life. My son is 4 months. I am a happy father.”

His parting comments: “Training camp is going great. I believe that no matter how long you are in this sport, when you stop learning you should stop fighting. I could not ask for a better team right now. I am looking forward to April 9th!”

CHUMASH CASINO RESORT AND LIVE ON ESPN2 FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Two world champions known for never backing down will meet at the crossroads in the main event of promoter Gary Shaw in association with Thompson Boxing’s outstanding Friday Night Fights broadcast from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California, on Friday May 13.

Set to clash in the sensational 10-round “Fight Night at the Chumash” welterweight main event are Paterson, New Jersey’s former WBO Light Welterweight Champion Kendall “Rated R” Holt (26-4, 14 KOs) and Coachella, California’s former IBF Lightweight World Champion Julio “The Kidd” Diaz (38-6, 27 KOs).

In the televised 8-round co-main, the “Next Puerto Rican Superstar”, undefeated knockout artist Jonathan Gonzalez (12-0, 12 KOs) will face the toughest test of his young career when he takes on Chicago’s power punching Rudy Cisneros (12-2, 11 KOs) in a fight that is almost certain not to go the distance.

At this stage in their impressive careers, neither Holt nor Diaz can afford to lose. Both men, already known for the thrills they delivered the boxing world in the past, will be fighting to stay relevant in today’s welterweight division. A victory means another trip up the mountain to try and make the top. A loss means a long climb back into contention.

After dropping two consecutive fights to strong opposition, Holt came back with a 1:50 TKO win last January over veteran Lenin Arroyo. Diaz has notched two good victories since he suffered consecutive losses in 2009.

“Both of these guys have too much to lose for this to be anything but a sensational fight,” said promoter Gary Shaw. “They’re both going to be coming out knowing they must win if they are to ever win another world championship.”

“Mantequilla” Gonzalez has been perfect in his professional career so far, not allowing anyone to make the final bell. But, in Cisneros he is faced with an opponent who can match him power shot for power shot. Fireworks are certain.

“I believe Jonathan has what it takes to become a champion you can mention in the same breath as Miguel Cotto, but we’ll be finding out for sure on May 13,” continued Shaw. “Rudy Cisneros’s only loss in the last seven years was on the show The Contender. He’s a tough fight for anybody.”

Scheduled to appear on the night’s undercard are undefeated Texas super middleweight Kurtiss Colvin (4-0, 4 KOs) in a four-rounder vs. TBA and a six-round all-California featherweight battle as Rufino Serrano (8-3) takes on Edgar Flores.

Also seeing action that night will be Santa Barbara junior middleweight Francisco Santa in a six-round bout vs. TBA; Colton, California, welterweight Artemio Reyes (11-1, 10 KOs) vs. TBA over six rounds, Female junior flyweight Seniesa Estrada will make her pro debut vs. TBA and undefeated super featherweight Joel Diaz (2-0, 1 KO) in a four-round fight vs. TBA.

Although the Chumash has become a hotbed of world-class boxing in California, this will be the first time the ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” crew has broadcasted from the beautiful venue.

Opponents will be announced shortly. All bouts are subject to change.

Tickets are priced at $35, $45, $55, $65, and $75 and are available at Star Tickets.

Huck-Nakash / Helenius-Peter public work-out

Four days ahead of their title fight at the Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Germany, WBO Cruiserweight Champion Marco “Captain” Huck (31-1, 23 KOs) and challenger Ran Nakash (25-0, 18 KOs) participated in an open work-out today. “The belt will remain in Germany,” Huck said. “I am the world champion and I will still be the world champion after Saturday night. Nakash cannot beat me.”

Huck worked the pads with coach Ulli Wegner, who expects a tough night for his hard-hitting champion. “Marco must not underestimate his opponent,” Wegner said. “Nakash is unbeaten and will therefore enter the arena with a lot of confidence. It will be an interesting match-up, but if Marco sticks to the game plan, he will leave the ring victorious.”

Nakash boasts a perfect record of 25 victories in as many fights (18 KOs). After Giacobbe Fragomeni pulled out due to an injury, he took the fight on short notice. “It was only last week on Tuesday or Wednesday that I heard about my world title shot, but that is no problem for me at all,“ he stated. “I had planed to fight in April anyway and have been in full training. I could not pass on the chance to become world champion. I will make the most of it.”

In the co-featured main event, WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion Robert Helenius (14-0, 9 KOs) will put his title on the line against former world champion Sam Peter (34-4, 27 KOs). The WBA Intercontinental Heavyweight Title will also be at stake. Both men decided not to give the opposing camp too many insights into their training routine, settling for a little shadow boxing during today´s work-out. “I have prepared well for Peter,” Helenius said. “On my way to the top, I need to defeat the best opponents out there and Peter clearly is one of them. I am ready to make the next step on my way up the rankings.”

‘Nothing fazes me!’Biosse remains focused and humbled despite increased attention worldwide

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (March 30, 2011) – Even with accolades and interview requests pouring in on a daily basis, Vladine Biosse – dubbed affectionately as “Mr. Providence” in his native Rhode Island – remains as humble as ever as he prepares for the second nationally-televised boxing match of his career Friday night at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.

“I respect every fighter in the game,” said Biosse (10-0, 7 KOs), who will face Tim Connors (10-2, 7 KOs) of St. Louis in the 10-round super middleweight co-feature of ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” at the Fox Theater, “and this kid is right up there. He has a decent record. Like anyone else, he’s earned it. You can’t just pick up a record like that at the supermarket.

“At the end of the day, he’s just another guy I’ve got to face – another guy standing in the way of me reaching my ultimate goal of winning a world title.”

Biosse is aiming for his 11th victory in the co-feature of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Coming Attractions” show Friday, April 1, 2011. “Hammerin’” Hank Lundy (19-0-1, 10 KOs) of Philadelphia will battle Patrick Lopez (20-3, 12 KOs) of Londonderry, N.H., for the vacant NABF lightweight title in the 12-round main event.

While Biosse remains respectful of Connors’ ability – Connors has a high knockout percentage and is also a former kickboxer – he still hasn’t lost the confident, brash exterior that has made him a household name throughout New England.

“I’ve got something in store for Tim Connors,” Biosse said. “Top-secret stuff. I can’t reveal it. You’ll just have to wait and see.”

Biosse has earned the right to talk a bit of trash now and then, even if he often refrains. With only 10 wins under his belt, Biosse is already making his second appearance on ESPN – the first being a unanimous decision win over Joey McCreedy last July – so having to perform in front of 42 million homes has done nothing to affect his psyche. To him, this is just another fight, even if the bright lights and worldwide viewing audience suggest otherwise.

“That really doesn’t matter to me,” Biosse said. “Being on TV is good, and I appreciate it because it allows so many different people that haven’t seen me or who are looking forward to seeing me again see what I’m made of and what I bring to the game of boxing, but at the same time, it doesn’t faze me.

“A lot of guys get psyched out or overly excited. To me, it’s just another step in the road of reaching that No. 1 spot – being at the top of the game, which I work for everyday.”

Biosse’s background as a Division I-AA college football player (defensive back and wide receiver) at the University of Rhode Island helps block any stage fight.

“I played in so many different stadiums through the years and was on a number of [TV] channels,” he said, “so it allows me a little experience and comfort to not get too worked up.”

The pedigree of training he receives on a daily basis helps, too. Biosse works with his head trainer, Orlondo Valles, and Peter Manfredo Sr., the father of former “The Contender” reality TV series star and current IBO middleweight world champion Peter Manfredo Jr., at Manfredo’s Gym in Pawtucket, R.I. There, Biosse spars with some of the best fighters in the world, not just New England, including former U.S. Olympian Demetrius Andrade, amateur standout Maurice Cole and undefeated light welterweight Danny O’Connor.

Working with O’Connor has been particularly helpful since he, too, is a southpaw, as is Connors. Biosse has been described as “awkward” by Valles because of his unpredictability fighting as a southpaw, and Biosse expects to see a similar look from Connors, which is why he’s spent time sparring O’Connor during camp.

“O’Connor is one of the most technical southpaws you can find in this sport,” Biosse said. “I’m fortunate that at my gym I have so many different styles of fighters. You’ve got coaches who are knowledgeable coaching southpaws and there’s just a ton of knowledge behind those walls. I get some good work over there.”

The key now is carrying all the tutelage into Friday’s fight and building off of his last win, a third-round knockout victory over Santiago Samaniego in February. Before then, Biosse hadn’t recorded a knockout since returning from a hand injury, but he had an extra incentive to finish off Samaniego.

“He [ticked] me off at the weigh-in!” Biosse said. “I had never fought that way before. I know it’s competition, but that fight was different. At the weigh-in, he didn’t make weight. On top of that, we’re trying to work it out and he started talking junk. I’m not a big trash-talker. I go in there and get it done. I said, ‘That’s enough talking.’ He called me out, and I didn’t appreciate it, so I took that fight personally.”

Chances are Connors won’t say anything inflammatory to rattle Biosse’s cage between now and Friday, but don’t expect anything less than another relentless effort from “Mr. Providence.” Every fight is a chance to move up the ladder, and another chance to keep learning in preparation for the next challenge.

“We’ve been working on some different crafts and different moves during this camp,” Biosse said. “I think I’ve found something different to get the job done. I’m still learning. I’m learning how to take shots and create shots. With every fight, there’s something new I learn, and it only gets better from here.”

The undercard of “Coming Attractions” features a special, super middleweight showdown between Elvin Ayala (21-5-9, 9 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., and Joe Gardner (7-1-1, 1 KO) of Woonsocket, R.I., in a six-round bout.

Undefeated middleweight Thomas Falowo (2-0, 2 KOs) of Pawtucket and super middleweight Greg McCoy (2-2-1, 1 KO), lightweight Christian Lao (0-0), welterweight Dominic DeSanto (5-0, 5 KOs) and middleweight Rick Dawson (2-0, 1 KO) of New Haven are fighting in separate, four-round bouts.

Tickets for “Coming Attractions”, priced at $40, $65 and $105, can be purchased by calling the Foxwoods box office at 800.200.2882, or online at www.foxwoods.com. For more information, visit www.cesboxing.com or www.foxwoods.com. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.

Morales Impresses in National TV Debut

Super bantamweight prospect Roman Morales (2-0, 1 KO) of San Ardo, California displayed the superior boxing skills that made him one of the top amateurs of recent years in a nationally televised four-round unanimous decision over game Danny Pantoja (0-4-2) at the Fairfield Sports Center in Fairfield, California this past Friday night.

Morales, 123, looked sharp making his television debut on Telefutura’s popular Solo Boxeo telecast, as he simply had too many skills for the always tough Pantoja, 125. Not only did Morales overcome the nerves of fighting before a television audience, but he dealt with fighting in his opponent’s hometown like an experienced veteran.

“I was a little nervous, but my coach had warned me I was going to be against the crowd because it was his hometown,” recalls Morales, who is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions. “But he told me just to do my best and reminded me that I have been training hard for this. When I was in the locker room I was a little nervous and anxious, but once I stepped out, I felt good. Then once I got into the ring, it all went away. Every time I step into the ring, I just feel good. All of the nervous feelings go away and I just stay concentrated.”

Morales remained focused as he dissected Pantoja with a varied attack over four rounds en route to the shutout decision, 40-36, on all three cards. Pantoja is one of those fighters that own a very deceiving record, as he had been matched incredibly tough in his career, which Morales’ team knew going into the bout. “We knew with this guy, he was going to give us rounds,” said Morales’ trainer Rodolpho Tapia. “He fought Efrain Esquivas, who has a lot of knockouts, and he went the four rounds without getting knocked down. So we knew he could take a punch. And also he fought Aaron Alafa, who is not a great puncher, but was a really good boxer. Then against Jonathan Arrellano, he lasted the full rounds with him also.”

It was a big night, not only for Morales, but for his entire family and friends, who watched the fight on television back in San Ardo. “All of his family came over for a barbeque, and decided to stay to watch the whole show to see what happened,” says Tapia. “We are talking about 50 people at Roman’s house. All of his family, all of his friends, everybody watched the fight.” Luckily the scheduled main event ended in less than a round, which freed up the time for Morales’ bout to make air and bring a happy end to the barbeque. “When Perez knocked out Escalante, and then Tino [Avila] did the same, we knew we were probably going to get on TV. So I called to let them know we were going to be on.”

Morales’ debut in February lasted just one round, so Friday was his first chance to really show off many of the tools he developed as a top amateur and now brings into the pro game. One attribute in particular, which Morales began developing as youngster, will likely draw some attention as he moves up the ladder. “With my stance, it just depends on how I feel, as far as switching back and forth,” says Morales. “Whatever I think I am landing better with, I will stay with that a little more, then switch back. I love fighting both ways because it confuses the guy a little bit and throws him off. It is something I have been doing since I was thirteen, so I think I have it down pretty good. But I am still working on it a little more, so that I don’t get off balance.”

While Pantoja gave a determined effort, Morales noticed some openings he could exploit, which turned the fight completely in his favor. “He was good, but some of his punches were a little too lazy or he would show me his punch, and that is when I would counter him,” recalls Morales. “I think I did hurt him. I let him know right away I wasn’t going to be easy. I wanted him to know that just because it was his hometown, I wasn’t going to let him have anything. I think my power calmed him down a little bit.”

If there was one negative for Morales on Friday it was that he suffered a cut with just seconds to go in the bout, which will cost him an opportunity to fight April 15th. However, Morales sees it as an occurrence which will prepare him better for similar situations down the road. “It was a new experience, but if it ever happens in the earlier rounds, now I will know how it feels,” says Morales. “So I am happy that it happened, it was something new.”

While Pantoja seemed to be the perfect opponent for Morales at this stage in his career, his manager Repo Ric has been hearing from some second guessers that did not agree with his matchmaking choice. “He was the perfect opponent, because we need the rounds,” says Repo, more than happy to defend his decision-making. “Roman showed all of his skills to the world, since we were on national TV, and we needed that because in his first fight he didn’t have the chance to show all of his skills. So we put him on TV with the right person and gave him a chance to show what he has. And I hope the next opponent is like that, because we don’t want any guys to lie down.”

Morales’ trainer was also pleased that his charge was given a tough opponent on Friday night. “I don’t want to take easy fights,” says Tapia. “I want him to be able to show, especially if it is going to be on TV, all of his skills.” For anyone doubting Repo’s ability to move Morales correctly, he has an interesting offer only he could make. “If you think Repo picked the wrong opponent for Roman Morales, and you can do better, get me a ’68 three-door suburban and you can manage him,” challenges Repo Ric.

Roman Morales will return to the site of his professional debut, the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California, for his third pro bout on May 13th. Tickets for the event, promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, have yet to go on sale.

Coleman’s Bad Habit in Boxing

Tim “Pitbull” Coleman was about to do what he’s not supposed to do.

At a conference to announce his upcoming elimination bout against once-beaten Victor Cayo on April 29 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Coleman (18-1-1, 5 KOs) made his intentions clear: when handed the mic, he was going to openly look past Cayo and call out current IBF Super Lightweight Champion Zab Judah, the man he would potentially face next.

The mood at the conference was light and the narrative was clearly supposed to be that both young fighters were honored by the right to face such a great champion as Judah. Explaining that while he does respect his accomplishments, he is personally not a fan of Judah’s, Coleman was going to upset the apple cart by taunting a reigning world champion while he was supposed to be talking about his fight with Cayo.

When it comes to boxing, Tim Coleman has a habit of not doing what he’s supposed to do.

In his only loss, Coleman came out of obscurity and took a huge leap up in opposition while dropping a surprisingly debatable decision to then-unbeaten red-hot prospect James De La Rosa while the Showtime cameras rolled.

In December 2009, he was brought in as comeback fodder for then top contender Mike Arnaoutis in Arnaoutis’s promoter’s home base of New York City. However, Coleman stole the show and won the USBA Light Welterweight Championship by taking a close but well-deserved decision.

And then in October 2010, Coleman was again considered the underdog in a bout against well-regarded Patrick Lopez… Three rounds and two knockdowns later, he was a KO winner.

“I know I’m supposed to come in here and lose against Cayo, but I’m not going to do what they want. I’m a fighter who steps up and then steps over the level of competition,” explains the likeable 26-year-old Baltimore native.

Regarding Cayo, Coleman says he shouldn’t have too many problems. “He’s got a very small frame for this weight class and I doubt he’ll be strong enough to keep me off of him. And his defense isn’t so good. He doesn’t move his head enough. I know he’ll come out blazing, but I’ll just box him and keep coming forward until I wear him down and score a late KO.”

It’s this powerful belief in himself that has allowed Coleman to spring the series of upsets that have led to being on the verge of a world title shot. “I have an excellent core group that keeps me grounded and gives me the confidence I need to win. My father, Tim Coleman Sr. and my best friend Raymond Zabeti are always there for me.”

Interestingly for someone so often pegged as an underdog, the hard-working Coleman had approximately 200 amateur fights, is trained by Roger Mayweather, promoted by Gary Shaw Productions and has been in camp with notables including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Cory Spinks, Alfredo Angulo, and Steve Forbes among many others.

When his turn came at the mic, Coleman looked out into the crowd and saw that Judah had already left, so instead he said a few respectful words about Cayo and left it at that.

But until the boxing world stops underestimating him, Tim Coleman will continue to look for opportunities to do the wrong thing.

Huck to defend WBO Cruiserweight Title against unbeaten Nakash on April 2

Marco “Captain” Huck will defend his WBO Cruiserweight Title against Ran Nakash on April 2. After Giacobbe Fragomeni pulled out due to a cut injury from sparring, Huck (31-1, 23 KOs) will now make his sixth defence against the unbeaten challenger from Israel (25-0, 18 KOs). “I don´t care about the late change,” Huck said. “It will not exactly be a walk in the park, but as the world champion, I will find a way to deal with it. I will be prepared for Nakash and I will defeat him just like I defeat anybody who wants to take the belt away from me.”

Huck is currently putting the finishing touches on his preparation at Team Sauerland´s training camp base in the solitude of Kienbaum, Germany. “It has been exhausting, but it has been worth it,” Huck said. “I will not disappoint my fans at the Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle. But I am prepared for a tough night.”

Nakash has yet to taste defeat as a professional boxer. “He is a tough and very skilled guy,” Sauerland sports director Hagen Doering said. “He has been in full training as he was preparing for a fight. It will be an interesting match-up.”

Brazil’s Prodigal Son Michael Oliveira

Returns Home to Capture Interim WBC Title

SAO PAULO, Brazil (March 25, 2011) – Somebody’s “O” had to go in tonight’s Brazilian-Argentinean showdown between unbeaten prospects, as Michael “The Brazilian Rocky” Oliveira’s rising popularity in his native country continued to grow with his 10-round unanimous decision victory against a game Abel Nicolas “El Principito” Adriel, headlining the “International Boxing Challenge” pro-am event at Mauro Pinheiro Gymnasium in Sao Paulo.

The 20-year-old Oliveira (14-0, 11 KOs), rated No. 10 by the USBA, captured the Interim World Boxing Council Latino Super Middleweight Championship, defeating (98-92, 98-92, 97-93) previously undefeated Adriel (10-1-2, 2 KOs) in front of a spirited, partisan crowd.

“International Boxing Challenge,” presented by MO Productions, aired live on TV Globo Network, SporTV cable, GloboEsporte and TV Globo International.

Brazilians and Argentineans are traditional arch-rivals in sports and the 21-year-old Adriel, who fights out of Buenos Aires, was a natural foe for the hard-punching Oliveira. The extremely active Adriel is a consummate boxer who has now had 13 fights in only 14 months as a professional.

“He changed his style,” Oliveira said after the fight. “I usually fight on the inside but he fought on the inside, and I had to fight on the outside. My performance was sufficient to win and put smiles on the faces of the fans here tonight, but I’m not smiling. I know I’m 100 times better than I showed. I knew he didn’t have any power and he liked to work the body, but he didn’t go to the body as much as I had expected. When he started protecting himself downstairs, I went back upstairs at the end of the fight. It was a fight of adjustments.”

Oliveira, the repeat winner of the Brazilian International Press Award’s Athlete of the Year (2009 and 2010), was born in Sao Paulo but he moved two weeks after birth to Miami with his family. He made his Brazilian debut last November, stopping Junior Ramos in the third round, and remains committed to re-establishing boxing in Brazil.

“I think the people here in Brazil have put me on a pedestal but I’m really not there, yet,” Oliveira noted. “This fight was a valuable learning experience for me. I got sidetracked, expecting one thing from him, and I getting something else. You know, it was like at Christmas when you expect a ball but get a doll. He was tough and I’ll be better because of this fight.”

Oliveira expects to return to the ring once again in Sao Paulo in late May or early June.

Brazil’s last superstar boxer, 4-time world champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas, was in attendance supporting Oliveira.

“This was a very structured event and an incredible project,” Freitas commented. “Michael is very humble and calm in the ring. I flew two hours from my home to support him and what MO Productions is doing for boxing in Brazil.”

Go on line to www.MichaelOliveria.com for additional information.

Complete Results Below:
‘International Boxing Challenge” – March 25, 2010 – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Professionals
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS:
Michael Oliveira (14-0, 11 KOs), Miami, FL WDEC10 (98-92, 98-92, 97-93) Abel Adriel (10-1-2, 2 KOs), Buenos Aires, Argentina
(Oliveira won the Interim WBC Latino super middleweight title)

MIDDLEWEIGHTS:
Douglas Ataibe (1-0, 0 KOs), Sao Paulo, Brazil WDEC4 (40-36, 40-36, 40-35) Valdevan Pereira (5-5, 4 KOs), Sao Paulo, Brazil

Amateurs (Brazilian Olympic Team members)
119 POUND DIVISION:
Jackson Junior, Bahia, Brazil WPTS3 (3-0) Adauto Silva, Para, Brazil
Gilson Barros, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil WPTS3 (2-1) Jefferson Silva, Para, Brazil

Segura-Calderon 2 Undercard Announced

Grano in crossroads fight Apr. 9 in Hartford “The Willie Pep Boxing Classic’ at Conn. Convention Center

HARTFORD (March 31, 2011) – Popular Connecticut heavyweight Tony “TNT” Grano will be in a crossroads fight April 9 when he headlines “The Willie Pep Boxing Classic,” presented by Hard Hittin’ Promotions (“HHP”), at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

Grano (17-2-1, 13 KOs), fighting out of nearby Hebron, faces veteran “Diamond” Dominque Alexander in the 8-round main event. Grano, the WBF All-Americas heavyweight champion and 2005 U.S. Nationals winner, is coming off his second career loss, the first by stoppage, last June to Nicolai Firtha in June. Grano hopes to get back where he was in 2009, when he knocked out previously unbeaten Travis Kauffman (18-0) on ShoBox.

“I feel real good and have been training hard,” Grano reported. “I’ve been getting good work in the gym, hitting the roads running, and I’ve been working with good sparring partners. I feel sharp and I’m excited about getting back into the ring. I felt that I got a bad shake in my last fight where there was an early stoppage. I was in great condition, physically, but not mentally. I wasn’t focused and didn’t have a good game plan, Not being focused killed me.

“He rocked me in the first round and I was hit when down. That through me out of what game plan I had and I went toe-to-toe with a big guy – punch-for-punch – and you can’t do that in this division. I was totally shocked when the referee stopped the fight. I was throwing back and had just hit him with a three-punch combination.”

Alexander has fought WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs and current WBO cruiserweight titlist Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, in addition to world heavyweight title challengers Kali Meehan and Fres Oquendo, and Odlanier Solis.

“I know Alexander is experienced with over 30 fights against guys like Briggs and Solis. I do know that every time he’s stepped up he’s been stopped. I don’t take anybody lightly but, personally, I don’t think he can last more than four rounds with me. Not the way I feel right now. I’m very confident and in great shape. This is a good guy for me to get back in the ring with.

“I’m ready to make a serious statement. I’m going to show everybody on April 9th that I’m ready to make the next step up. After this fight I want to stay busy and get back in the ring in May or June.”

The undercard showcases some of the best young fighters in New England, including Meriden (CT) by way of Mexico bantamweight Danny Aquino (5-1, 1 KO) vs. James Owens (4-2, 2 KOs), Puerto Rican junior welterweight prospect – training in New Haven – Javier “El Chino” Flores (5-0, 4 KOs) vs. game Norwalk (CT) veteran Shakha Moore (10-15-3, 2 KOs), and promising New Haven featherweight and former amateur standout, Luis Rosa (5-0, 2 KOs) vs. Tommy Attencio (4-6, 2 KOs), all in 6-round bouts. Undefeated East Hartford Joseph “Chip” Perez (5-0, 2 KOs) faces Charles Vanderveer (1-1, 1 KO) in a 4-rounder.

Also scheduled to fight on the undercard are a pair of Middletown (CT) favorites, light heavyweight Doug Cartelli (1-0) and pro-debuting junior middleweight Willie Picard. They’ll be facing the Williams brothers, respectively, Jaquan (pro debut) and Charles (0-1), from North Carolina. All fights and fighters are subject to change.

Tickets are priced at $100.00 (ringside), $80.00 (preferred seating), $60.00 (reserved) and $40.00 (general admission) and are available to purchase by calling 860.402.4838 or The Lions Den at 860.613.2394.

Willie Pep: Born Gugloermo Papaleo in 1922 in Middletown, CT. He was a 2-time world champion who retired in 1966 after a 26 year professional career with an amazing 229-11-1 (65 KOs) record. In 1990, Pep was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York. He died November 23, 2006 at the age of 84.

RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV VS. IVAN POPOCA HEADLINES FIGHT CARD,

JI-HOON KIM VS. MARVIN QUINTERO IN CO-FEATURE

AT PECHANGA RESORT CASINO IN TEMECULA, CA., ON APR. 15; TELEVISED LIVE ON ESPN’S “FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS”

Art Pelullo/Banner Promotions, GT & KP Boxing Promotions, Gary Shaw Productions, Patrick Ortiz/Ringside Ticket and Dominic Pesoli/8 Count Productions, in association with the Pechanga Resort Casino, will present a sensational fight card on Friday, April 15, 2011, in the Grand Ballroom at Pechanga Resort Casino, located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway in Temecula, California. The main event, co-featured bout, and other selected fights will be televised live on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes – ESPN’s Spanish-language network – and ESPN3.com, the network’s broadband platform service.

The main event, scheduled for 10 rounds in the junior welterweight division, will feature two fan favorites – both exciting, up and coming young talents: Ruslan Provodnikov, 18-1 with 12 knockouts, of Berezovo, Russia, will fight undefeated Ivan Popoca, 15-0-1 with 10 knockouts, of Chicago, Illinois.

Styles make fights, and a matchup of two aggressive, pressure-style sluggers like Provodnikov and Popoca always produces fireworks in the ring.

Provodnikov, 27 years old, had an impressive amateur career with over 150 fights before making his professional debut in December, 2006. In his last fight on February 20 in Berezovo, he won by third-round TKO against Vyacheslav Yakovenko. In his previous fight in the United States – on January 7 in Las Vegas – Provodnikov headlined on ESPN. He gave a strong performance, but lost a 12-round decision against Mauricio Herrera. It was a fast-paced, rousing battle that many observers thought Ruslan deserved to win.

Popoca, a native of Guerrero, Mexico, had an extensive amateur background, as well, reportedly with 150 fights (137-13). Now 29 years old and a four-year professional veteran, he has won three of his last four fights by knockout.

In the co-featured fight, scheduled for 10 rounds in the lightweight division, former lightweight world title challenger Ji-Hoon “Volcano” Kim, 22-7 with 18 knockouts, of Goyang City, South Korea, will fight Marvin “El Cachorro” Quintero, 21-3, with 17 knockouts, of Tijuana, B.C., Mexico.

Former heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfield will also be in attendance at the event. He will be available for media interviews as well as photos and signing autographs for the fans.

More exciting fights will be announced. All bouts subject to change without notice.

Doors open at: 5:00 P.M. (all times Pacific Time)

First fight at: 6:00 P.M.

Tickets prices: $35, $60, $85.

Tickets available at Pechanga Resort Casino Box Office – tel.: 1-877-711-2946, and on the Pechanga website: www.pechanga.com.

UNBEATEN JESSIE VARGAS TO FACE FORMER WORLD CHAMPION VIVIAN HARRIS IN APRIL 8 “SÓLO BOXEO TECATE” MAIN EVENT

EDDIE GOMEZ VS. ROBERTO LOPEZ ALSO FEATURED LIVE FROM PRIMM, NEV.

LOS ANGELES, March 31 – Buffalo Bill’s Star of the Desert Arena in Primm, Nevada will be the site for the Friday, April 8 edition of TeleFutura’s “Sólo Boxeo Tecate,” as one of boxing’s rising stars, Jessie Vargas, returns to his home state to face former World Champion “Vicious” Vivian Harris in the headlining bout of an action-packed card that also features New York prospects Eddie Gomez and Roberto Lopez in a Big Apple showdown, plus middleweight knockout artist Bastie Samir and top prospect Michael Finney.

This night of world class professional boxing is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Roy Englebrecht Promotions’ special edition of “Fight Club Primm,” and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and AT&T. Doors open at 6:00pm PT, the first bell rings at 7:00pm PT and the TeleFutura broadcast begins at 11:30pm ET / PT (10:30pm CT).

Tickets, priced at $50 (Floor) and $20 (General Admission), may be purchased at the Star of the Desert Arena Box Office or online at www.primmvalleyresorts.com.

Las Vegas’ Jessie Vargas (14-0, 7 KO’s) is one of the best young boxers to emerge from the “fight capital of the world” in recent years and at the rate he’s going, he one day may own the town. Since his professional debut in 2008, the 21-year-old’s growth and improvements have been visible in each fight, and with wins over Arturo Morua, Ernesto Zavala and Ramon Montano already, it’s clear to see that he will be tough to beat for anyone at 140 pounds.

One of the hardest punchers of this era, Brooklyn, New York’s “Vicious” Vivian Harris (29-5-1, 19 KO’s) is fearless in the ring and a look at his record proves that reputation. A former Junior Welterweight World Champion who has faced the likes of “Vicious” Victor Ortiz, Diosbelys Hurtado, Oktay Urkal, Stevie Johnston and Juan Lazcano, the 32-year-old Harris is looking to make one more run at championship gold. A win over the unbeaten Vargas, would kick-start his journey in a big way.

A former Junior Olympic and New York Golden Gloves champion, the Bronx’s Eddie Gomez (3-0, 3 KO’s) has made short work of his first three professional opponents, winning two bouts in the first round and n his most recent bout against Jose Ramon Sanchez in February, he ended it in the second round. The 18-year-old prodigy will face a stiff test in Brooklyn’s Roberto Lopez (4-1-2, 1 KO), a late bloomer who has shown great promise since turning professional at the age of 26 in 2008.

Vargas’ Las Vegas neighbors, undefeated Ghana native Bastie Samir (10-0, 10 KO’s) and Michael Finney (7-0, 7 KO’s) have been breaking down opponents with ferocious intensity and will be featured in separate bouts on April 8. Samir who turned professional in 2008 is already 3-0 with three knockouts in 2011 and will face an opponent to be named in a six round middleweight bout. Finney, originally from Smith’s Station, Alabama, has only been in the professional game for a year, but with seven knockouts in seven fights, he has made quite an impression already. He will look to impress Nevada fans again as he fights for the third time in his adopted home state against an opponent to be determined in a six round welterweight battle.

Tecate, cerveza con carácter, is the largest beer brand to sponsor boxing matches in the U.S. Part of its commitment to make boxing accessible to consumers is the title sponsorship of “Sólo Boxeo Tecate,” which creates an opportunity for local fans to witness some of the most exhilarating fights by today’s up-and-coming prospects. Additionally, Tecate has been a primary supporter of Golden Boy Promotions’ marquee events since 2007, and has launched a variety of initiatives to ensure consumers are part of the boxing experience, including boxer autograph signing sessions, commemorative cans, PPV mail-in rebate offers, and most recently the launch of a mobile museum “Tecate Museo de Boxeo,” which showcases decades of the most memorable moments in the sport.

“SUPER” PROSPECT MARCUS JOHNSON BATTLES DYAH DAVIS EN ROUTE TO CONTENDER STATUS IN MAIN EVENT OF SHOBOX: THE NEW GENERATION TRIPLEHEADER

Plus Danny O’Connor Takes On Gabriel Bracero and Willie Nelson Battles Vincent Arroyo On Friday, April 8, LIVE on SHOWTIME® at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) From Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas

NEW YORK – After three straight victorious appearances on ShoBox: The New Generation, Marcus Johnson hopes to make his fourth an eye-catching performance on the path from prospect to contender.

Touted as a top American prospect on many boxing lists, Houston’s unbeaten and hard-hitting Johnson (20-0, 15 KOs) will make his fourth consecutive appearance on the popular series featuring boxing’s youngest and brightest stars as he goes up against another ShoBox alumnus in Boca Raton’s Dyah Davis (18-2-1, 9 KOs) on Friday, April 8, in a 10-round super middleweight main event as part of a spectacular tripleheader LIVE on SHOWTIME (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West coast).

The night of boxing begins with two exceptionally matched co-features. Two unbeaten, 14-0 fighters will square off in an eight-round junior welterweight affair as 25-year-old and brand new father Danny O’Connor (14-0, 3 KOs) takes on 30-year-old Gabriel Bracero (14-0, 1 KO) of Brooklyn, N.Y., by way of Puerto Rico.

In the evening’s first televised fight, a pair of 23-year-olds tangle as former amateur standout Willie Nelson (16-0-1, 10 KOs) of Cleveland, meets Vincent Arroyo (10-1, 7 KOs) from Amherst, N.Y., in an eight-round welterweight bout.

Promoted by DiBella Entertainment, the “Rumble on the Rio” will originate from the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas.

“Yeah, four straight on ShoBox, that’s pretty exciting,” said Johnson. “I’ve fought on SHOWTIME in Oklahoma, Chicago and North Dakota and now I’m in Texas. I wish it could be in Houston but Laredo is fine. It’s about a five-hour drive from Houston.”

When we last saw the 25-year-old Johnson, he was polishing off Kevin Engel back in November, 2010, in Fargo, N.D., recording a third-round TKO. Johnson won the WBO NABO championship last April by scoring a 10-round decision over then-unbeaten Derek Edwards in Chicago and in October, 2009, he decisioned Victor Villereal in Newkirk, Okla.

Johnson hopes the April 8 fight will advance his status as a fighter and some boxing experts agree. “A convincing win over Dyah Davis would suggest that Marcus Johnson is ready to make a move in the 168-pound division,” said SHOWTIME boxing analyst Steve Farhood.

The 29-year-old Davis — son of 1976 Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr. — fought as recently as February, battling to a controversial 10-round majority draw with formidable Mexican Francisco Sierra on Feb. 5 in Maywood, Calif., although most observers, and one judge, felt Davis had done enough to win.

“I definitely thought I won the fight,” Davis said. “I thought I did enough to win but in boxing it’s politics. It was his promoter’s show. But for me I think it was a learning experience: I have to be able to put guys away when I have the chance. This fight is going 10 rounds and if I have the opportunity to put him away, I will this time. I have to let my hands be the judges.”

Fighting on the same card as Johnson-Engel in Fargo, N.D., Davis lost an eight-round decision to Aaron Pryor Jr., on ShoBox last Nov. 5 in an all-action and entertaining fight.

“I didn’t see [Johnson’s] fight there but I know he’s fundamentally sound but nothing that special,” Davis said. “My style will give him problems, for sure. This is the toughest test for both of us. He hasn’t fought anyone as strong as I am. I see myself victorious.”

He added: “I don’t care that the fight is in his home state. I’ve fought in England and Mexico. Fighting in someone else’s territory never really bothered me.”

Johnson recently watched the Davis-Sierra fight and concluded, “He’s a good boxer and we both have that classic boxer-puncher style. He probably thinks I’m going to come out and brawl and I don’t think he’s aware of my speed as well as my power.”

The southpaw O’Connor from Framingham, Mass., is described as an all-action fighter who trains at Peter Manfredo’s gym in Rhode Island. He is managed by Leon Margules. “It really should be an exciting fight,” Margules said. “I like Danny because of his amateur pedigree but here you have two fighters at basically the same stage of their careers. That’s what makes boxing great when you have two unbeatens going at it. It’s a real coming-out and a chance for fight fans to see two very skilled boxers.”

O’Connor was the 2008 National Golden Gloves Champion, an alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team and a 2007 U.S. Olympic Trials bronze medalist.

On March 10, O’Connor and his wife welcomed home new son Liam. It’s given O’Connor a new outlook and fresh perspective on life. “It really hasn’t been a distraction in my training,” he said. “It’s actually been more motivating than I can put into words.”

O’Connor knows he’ll be facing an unbeaten fighter on April 8. “We both have zeros. I have to do everything in my power to take his away,” he said.

This will be Bracero’s first fight outside of New York, who has turned heads since returning to boxing in 2009 after an eight-year absence. He has been a mainstay of DiBella Entertainment’s “Broadway Boxing” series, headlining fight cards at B.B. King Blues Club in seven of his last nine fights, creating a very vocal and enthusiastic hometown fan base.

Bracero’s lone knockout came against Raymond Betancourt, on July 28, 2010, in Bracero’s 11th pro contest, but the majority of his victories by decision have been virtual shutouts.

The tall and lanky 6-foot-3 Nelson comes from a long line of outstanding Cleveland-area boxers and is quickly being looked at as a rising prospect in the talent-thick welterweight division. After more than 200 amateur fights, Nelson made his pro debut in 2006 with the only negative mark on his record so far a controversial draw in then-unbeaten Antonio Johnson’s home state of California.

Nelson’s biggest career win was against former “Contender: Season One” contestant Jesse Feliciano, whom he knocked out inside one round last June. Last time out, Nelson stopped Quinton Whitaker in similar fashion with another one-round knockout in Atlantic City, on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez-Paul Williams rematch, on Nov. 20, 2010.

The heavy-handed Nelson has a “boxer-puncher” style and has been described as a fighter who will try to keep his opponent on the outside. Nelson trains with ShoBox standout Shawn Porter.

The tough and aggressive two-time national junior champion Arroyo, facing his third straight undefeated opponent, can bring the power too as he was last seen scoring an upset knockout over formerly undefeated Jeremy Bryan. His only loss came at the hands of ShoBox alum Mike Dallas Jr., in September, 2009.

Curt Menefee will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. Gordon Hall is the executive producer of ShoBox with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.

For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://www.sho.com/sports.

Protecting the President While Protecting Himself at All Times
By Andre Courtemanche

Mike Kurzeja is your everyday police officer turned Secret Service agent/professional boxer with a nationwide nutritional supplement sponsorship.

The series of events that led to him protecting the President by day and trading leather at night begins with a bored Chicago cop.

“I was at a crossroads in my career,” he recounts, “I didn’t want to be a police officer for another 10 years, so I decided to apply to federal agencies. The Secret Service told me I could still be based out of Chicago if I came to work for them. It was a no-brainer at that point.”

In his spare time, Kurzeja took to boxing in college and then as a police officer, became involved in the Police Athletic League’s program. In 2000, he started fighting in the annual Chicago-area Super Cop Tournament, a charitable boxing event for fallen officers, and won three times.

It was the promoters of Super Cop who suggested Kurzeja consider turning professional. “I got my license and the rest is history. I made my debut in 2009.”

Meanwhile, because he is a physical fitness buff, he applied for sponsorship from the biggest supplement company in the world, Optimum Nutrition, and they agreed to become his sponsor. “They take care of me. I got lucky. Most of the people they sponsor are national-level body builders and fitness models. I’m the only boxer.”

And thus, Agent Kurzeja (4-0, 4 KOs) is in final preparations to appear on the Hitz Boxing Fight Night event on Saturday, April 9, at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. He is scheduled to face Ohio’s Ross Niggemyer (2-1, 2 KOs).

“He can punch and seems like a worthy opponent. Hopefully I’ll be able to show the improvements I’ve made in training.”

Off work, Kurzeja is friendly, likeable and even calls himself mellow. At work, he can’t even talk about what he does. “I can’t speak specifically about what I do during the day,” he explains. “In the Secret Service, we’re a dual-mission agency that provides a protective function, we protect the president and vice-president, and we have an investigative function. Let’s leave it at that.”

Kurzeja is wildly popular among his law enforcement colleagues and they flock to his fights. “I get a lot people from Super Cop come out to support my boxing. And then of course I get people from the Secret Service, so I do have a good-size following from the law enforcement community.”

Mike Kurzeja’s life is not for everybody and certainly not for the timid. It takes discipline, dedication and courage to do the things he does. He says if everything goes right he’ll be adding the word champion to his many descriptions.

“I plan to build up my record and keep stepping up my competition level and with God’s grace I’ll hopefully fight for some sort of title in the fall.”

Empire Sports And Entertainment Announces The Departure Of President, COO, And Director Greg Cohen

The Empire Sports and Entertainment Holdings Co. (OTCBB:EXCX), “The Empire,” a promoter of entertainment and sports events, today announced the departure of Greg Cohen as the Company’s President, Chief Operating Officer and Director. As part of his departure, a portion of Mr. Cohen’s equity position consisting of 900,000 shares of common stock, will be canceled.

Commenting on the departure, Shelly Finkel, CEO of The Empire, stated, “In the coming weeks, we intend to strengthen our board of directors by adding members that have extensive entertainment and promotional industry experience. The agreement to cancel a significant ownership block will have an immediate net positive effect on the Company’s capital structure and provide The Empire with more flexibility to retain higher quality management and directors as we strive to promote world-class sporting and entertainment events.”

About The Empire Sports and Entertainment

The Empire Sports and Entertainment, Inc. is a promoter of sports-driven promotions and entertainment events such as concerts, music festivals, pay-per-view programming and other exciting events. The company is led by CEO Shelly Finkel, a legendary promoter and member of The Boxing Hall of Fame.

For more information about “The Empire,” visit www.theempirese.com.

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