Boxing Insider Notebook: Braekhus, Chocolatito, Zurdo, Hurd, Stevenson, Chavez, and more…
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 7th to November 14th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Lina Baker/360 Promotions
Cecilia Braekhus vs. Alexsandra Magdziak-Lopez and Chocolatito vs. Guevara Set for December 8th
Two of Boxing’s Biggest Stars make their highly anticipated return at the iconic Stubhub Center in Carson, CA. on Saturday, December 8 for an outstanding double-header featuring Undisputed Women’s Welterweight World Champion ‘The First Lady’ Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs) and Four-Division Pound for Pound World Champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, (47-2, 39 KOs). The event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:20 p.m. ET/PT.
Fighting out of Bergen, Norway, Braekhus, the Consensus #1 Ranked Women’s Pound-for-Pound Fighter in the World will face two-time world title challenger, Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes, (18-4-3, 1 KO), a native of Gilwice, Poland, now based in Marshfield, MA in the ten-round main event.
Former Men’s #1 Ranked Pound-for-Pound Fighter in the World, Gonzalez of Managua, Nicaragua, clashes with former world champion Pedro ‘Jibran’ Guevara, (32-3-1, 19 KOs) of Sinaloa, Mexico in a ten-round super-flyweight bout.
Presented by Tom Loeffler’s 360 Boxing Promotions, advance tickets priced at $25, $50, $100 and $150 can be purchased through www.AXS.com starting This Friday, November 9 at 12:00 p.m. The StubHub Center is located at 18400 Avalon Boulevard, Carson, CA 90746. For more information please visit their website at www.StubHubCenter.com.
A press conference was held on Wednesday in Downtown Los Angeles to formally announce the event. Also appearing at the press conference was popular atomweight world title challenger Louisa ‘Bang Bang Lulu’ Hawton, (8-2-0, 4 KOs), of Perth, Australia, who will also be fighting on the non-televised portion of the show.
“I’m thrilled to be announcing my next title defense against Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes,” said Cecilia Braekhus, currently training in Southern California with the renowned Johnathon Banks. “I know Aleksandra very well and this will be a very tough challenge for me.”
“It’s great to be back in Los Angeles, it’s starting to feel like my second home now. Right now, it’s pretty cold now in Norway so the sun and warm weather are treating me very good and I expect a lot of fans from Norway to come to my fight and experience the Southern California sunshine. My trainer Johnathon Banks and I have already started working very hard in the gym.”
“A big thank you to Tom Loeffler and 360 Promotions for putting together this great event. Thanks very much to HBO for putting me on the network again. I promise to deliver another big fight, my last fight was very exciting and this one will be as well, I don’t do boring fights.”
‘I’m defending all the belts as you see in front of me. They represent a life-time of hard work. Hopefully when it becomes time to retire I can do so undefeated, that is my dream, that is my goal. I thank you for all your support and to the fans here in the United States and those attending the fight Internationally.
“It’s been my dream to fight Cecilia and I can’t wait to fight her,” said Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes. “She is the best women’s fighter in the world and has been for many years but on December 8 I will be up to the challenge and come out victorious with her titles.”
Stated Roman Gonzalez, “Thanks very much to God, Mr. Honda, Teiken Promotions, HBO Boxing and 360 Promotions. I know Pedro Guevara very well, he’s a very tough fighter and I will have to be at my very best to continue my pursuit of a fifth world title.”
“It’s an honor to be on the same card as Cecilia Braekhus, we’re very blessed to be here. I was very happy with the knockout victory of my last fight and look forward to fighting in Los Angeles again in front of my fans.”
“Chocolatito was the best fighter in the world not too long ago and that is the fighter I am preparing for,” said Pedro Guevara. ‘It’s an honor to share the ring with him but on December 8 it will be another victory on my path to again becoming a world champion.”
Said Tom Loeffler, “This card truly is a tribute to HBO where the biggest stars in boxing have been made for decades. As we have seen with the ascent in popularity with Gennady Golovkin and as we continue to see with Cecilia and Roman their international popularity and marketability continues to increase with each appearance on HBO.”
“We’ve promoted some outstanding and record-breaking memorable nights of boxing at the Stubhub Center and we look forward to another great event on Saturday, December 8. We hold the record for the 3 largest gates at StubHub Center with GGG in his two fights at StubHub and Chocolatito with his sold out fight there last year.”
“Thanks to Dan Beckerman at AEG and everyone at StubHub Center for their support and for working on this show with us and to the California State Athletic Commission who have always been very fair while keeping the health and safety of the fighters as their number one priority.”
Fighting for the first time in Russia, Cecilia Braekhus won a 10-round unanimous decision over junior middleweight world champion Inna Sagaydakovskaya on July 21, 2018 in Moscow. The victory took place in front of over 25,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium and an international televised audience. Prior to that, Braekhus was victorious in the first women’s bout televised by HBO in their 45-year history on May 5, 2018. Defeating Kali Reis by unanimous decision at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA, the fight drew an average of 904,000 viewers in the United States, the second highest viewership by the network for boxing in 2018.
Braekhus is currently ranked the #1 Pound-for-Pound Female Boxer by Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America. She was presented with the first women’s Ring Magazine Pound-for-Pound Title belt in Las Vegas on September 15, 2018. Since September 2014, Braekhus has held the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO Welterweight World Titles and was just awarded 3 Guinness Book of World Records Awards this year at the WBC Convention in Kiev, Ukraine.
Magdziak-Lopes has twice previously challenged for world title. On September 17, 2016, she traveled to Gdansk, Poland to face Ewa Piatkowska for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight World Title, losing a hard-fought ten-round decision. In 2014, Magdziak-Lopes battled Mikaela Lauren in her hometown of Rocklunda, Sweden for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight World Title. At the end of a highly competitive ten rounds, Lopes would come up just short losing a majority decision to Lauren.
Magdziak-Lopes is unbeaten in her last 3 fight, including victories over Paty Ramirez and Lisa Noel Garland.
Returning to battle less than three months after a knockout victory, Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez looks to continue on his path towards a fifth world title. On September 15, 2018, the hard-hitting Nicaraguan dismantled Moises Fuentes with a ‘Knockout of the Year’ stoppage in the fifth round on the HBO Pay-Per-View® Undercard of the World Middleweight Championship between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
Gonzalez has held world titles in four weight divisions; minimum weight, junior flyweight, flyweight and super flyweight. From September 12, 2015 to March 18, 2017, he was the Consensus #1 Pound-for-Pound Fighter in the World.
The 29-year-old Guevara first became a world champion on December 30, 2014 with a seventh-round knockout of Akira Yaegashi in Tokyo, Japan, winning the vacant WBC Junior Flyweight World Title. After making two successful defenses in Mexico, Guevara would return to Japan losing a split-decision to Yu Kimura on November 28, 2015.
In 2018, Guevara has recorded two stoppage victories, an eighth-round knockout of Angel Guevara on May 18, 2018 followed by a tenth-round stoppage of Roberto Sanchez on September 1, 2018.
Revenge or Repeat? Zurdo-Hart 2 Set for December 14th in Corpus Christi
It was one of the best fights of 2017. WBO super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez had Jesse “Hollywood” Hart down and nearly out in the second round, only for Hart to come back with a furious late-rounds rally. Ramirez ultimately prevailed via unanimous decision that September evening in Tucson, Ariz., but Hart, the Philadelphia native with the legendary last name, had rematch on his mind immediately after the decision was rendered.
His wish has finally come true.
Ramirez will make the fifth defense of his world title against Hart, Friday, Dec. 14 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. Ramirez-Hart 2 and a soon-to-be announced co-feature will stream live and exclusively at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ in the United States— the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. The entire undercard will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zapari Boxing Promotions, tickets to the Ramirez-Hart 2 world championship event will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. CST. Priced at $100, $65, $45, and $30, tickets may be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, at the American Bank Center Box Office, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
“This will be a good fight. I feel better prepared than the first time and even more convinced that I will finish him,” Ramirez said. “I’ve always said that I wanted to be the king of the division. I’ve been waiting for unification fights, and I’m still patient. I’m at my best, and against Hart, I want to show why I’m the best.”
“I’m very grateful and humbled for this opportunity,” Hart said. “I just want to go out there and perform to the best of my ability. I have nothing derogatory to say about Gilberto Ramirez. At this point, I just want to go out there and perform.”
Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs), the first Mexican-born super middleweight champion, will be defending the title he won from Arthur Abraham via shutout decision on April 9, 2016. A hand injury put Ramirez on the shelf until April 22, 2017, but he didn’t miss a beat, dominating Max Bursak en route to a unanimous decision victory. In his most recent outing, June 30 in Oklahoma City, Ramirez used his boxing skills to win a unanimous decision against Alexis Angulo. Ramirez, from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, is a nine-year pro who is no stranger to Corpus Christi. He headlined a show at the American Bank Center on Feb. 3, knocking out the previously unbeaten Habib Ahmed in the sixth round to retain his title.
Hart (25-1, 21 KOs), the WBO No. 1 contender, is a former amateur standout, winning the 2011 National Golden Gloves and U.S. National championships at 165 pounds. A 2012 U.S. Olympic alternate, Hart turned pro in 2012 and won his first 22 bouts prior to challenging Ramirez. Hart last fought as the ESPN co-feature Aug. 18 in Atlantic City, battering Mike Gavronski en route to a third-round stoppage. After more than a year of calling out Ramirez for a return match, Hart has his shot at redemption. A proud native of Philadelphia, Hart is the son of Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, a feared middleweight contender in the 1970s who never received a world title shot. With Eugene Hart in his corner as head trainer, Jesse Hart will seek to bring a world title home to the City of Brotherly Love.
Split Site Doubleheader Featuring Adonis Stevenson and Julio Cesar Chavez Kicks Off Big Night of Boxing on December 1st
A split-site doubleheader airing live on SHOWTIME and streaming live on SHOWTIME Sports social media platforms will kick off a big night of boxing on Saturday, December 1, leading into the SHOWTIME PPV presentation of the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury heavyweight blockbuster event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Adonis Stevenson will make the 10th defense of his WBC Light Heavyweight World Championship against undefeated, mandatory challenger Oleksandr Gvozdyk to start the action live from Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada. The two-fight telecast presented by Premier Boxing Champions continues live from Los Angeles, where Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. will take on Alfredo Angulo in a 10-round super middleweight clash at STAPLES Center.
COUNTDOWN LIVE: WILDER VS. FURY will begin at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT live on SHOWTIME and on SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and Facebook page, preceding the Wilder vs. Fury SHOWTIME PPV event that begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT from STAPLES Center.
The December 1 SHOWTIME PPV and COUNTDOWN LIVE presentations feature two of the most feared knockout punchers in the sport. With 39 knockouts in 40 professional fights, Wilder’s right hand is widely regarded as the biggest weapon in boxing. The southpaw Stevenson’s left has led to knockouts in six of his nine title defenses. On December 1, the two power-punchers will take on top-rated, undefeated opponents as they make the 10th and eighth defenses of their respective WBC titles.
Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs) is boxing’s longest reigning world champion, having won the WBC 175-pound title in 2013. The Montreal-based southpaw will face his WBC-mandated challenger in Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs), a Ukrainian with 12 knockouts in his 15 professional fights since a standout amateur career that included a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.
In Gvozdyk, Stevenson will face his second consensus top-10 light heavyweight of 2018, following his Fight of the Year candidate draw with Badou Jack in May on SHOWTIME. Gvozdyk, an amateur teammate of fellow Ukrainians Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk, earned the mandatory status with a near-shutout decision over Mehdi Amar in March.
“I’ve been pushing myself in training to be ready to put on a great performance December 1 and defend my title once again,” said Stevenson. “My old trainer, the late great Emanuel Steward, used to tell me that ‘knockouts sell’ and that’s what I’m going for in this fight. I know I’m facing a good boxer who’s coming in very determined. He’ll be ready, but it won’t be enough. It’s going to be show time on SHOWTIME and another victory for ‘Superman’.”
“I have been waiting for this title shot for a very long time, and I will take full advantage of the opportunity,” said Gvodzyk. “It doesn’t matter where we fight. I am fully prepared to become the new WBC light heavyweight champion. Canada, ‘The Nail’ is coming to put on a show!”
Chavez, Jr. (50-3-1, 32 KOs) is the son of Mexican boxing legend and Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. The 32-year-old from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico ripped off 46 straight victories to start his career using a gritty boxing style that denoted his toughness in the ring. Chavez is seeking to rebound from a unanimous decision loss to middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on May 6, 2017.
The 36-year-old Angulo (24-7, 20 KOs) is a tough brawler who has faced some of the best boxers in the sport. Angulo, who lives in Coachella, California but was born in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, is coming off a hard-fought split decision loss to former world champion Sergio Mora in April.
“I am excited to be back on December 1 to perform for the great Mexican fans in Los Angeles,” said Chavez Jr. “At my weight I know I can beat anyone. I am focused and feel strong. Angulo will be first, but then I will pursue a belt at 168. I’m putting the division on notice. Chavez is back.”
“I have been training very hard in anticipation of this fight and this is the best I have felt in a long time,” said Angulo. “I am looking forward to defeating Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and getting a title opportunity in the near future. I’m thankful for everyone who has supported me and I promise to surprise a lot of people on December 1.”
Showtime Sports Captures a Day in Training Camp with Welterweight Prospect Jaron Ennis
SHOWTIME Sports delivers a day in the life of training camp with Philadelphia’s Jaron Ennis as he prepares to face Raymond Serrano in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation this Friday, November 16, live on SHOWTIME at 9:35 p.m. ET/PT from 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
Ennis (21-0, 19 KOs), who knocked out Armando Alvarez in a third-round stoppage during his ShoBox debut in July, has knocked out 11 consecutive opponents. He faces perhaps the toughest test of his career in Serrano, a 29-fight veteran whose five losses have come against opponents with a combined fight night record of 89-1-1.
Training under his father Bozy, who also trained Jaron’s older brothers Derek Jr. and Farah, the 21-year-old undefeated prospect puts in work in what he describes as an ‘old-school’ training camp consisting of chopping wood, flipping tires and climbing rope. With victory in his hometown on his mind this Friday, Ennis vows to become a household name in the sport of boxing.
“When you’re a boxer from Philly, it means you have to put on a show,” says Ennis. “I love fighting at home, that’s the best feeling ever. People let the crowd get to them, I just feel at home. I feel comfortable and relaxed. I get to show out on SHOWTIME in Philly, get a win and look good doing it.
“My goal is to be world champ and be a great example for the kids. I want to unify, get all the belts, move up in weight and keep going, and keep going. Watch out all 147’s. A young animal is on the way!”
In the co-feature of Friday’s live ShoBox telecast, series veterans Kenneth Sims Jr. (13-1-1, 4 KOs) and Samuel Teah (14-2-1, 7 KOs) meet in an eight-round super lightweight bout. Undefeated Ukrainian Arnold Khegai opens the three-fight card when he takes on New Jersey’s Jorge Diaz (19-5-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round super bantamweight bout.
Star Boxing Signs Undefeated French Welterweight David Papot
JOE DEGUARDIA, CEO of Star Boxing announced the signing of undefeated French super welterweight, former WBA Continental Middleweight Champion and current French Super Welterweight Champion, DAVID PAPOT (Saint Nazaire, France, 22-0 3KO’s) to a long-term promotional agreement
Papot, 27, who is also currently rated #7 Middleweight in the World (WBA) began boxing at the age of 5 in his hometown of Saint Nazaire, France, where he still currently resides. With an impressive amateur pedigree, Papot has fought over 100 amateur bouts, earning the titles of two-time junior French champion, two-time vice champion and senior champion of France. Papot fought a total of thirty bouts with the French national team, reaching the quarter-finals of the European Championship.
In March of 2017, Papot took on undefeated Belarus southpaw, DZIMITRY ATROKHAU (then 15-0 5KO’S), where he earned the WBA Continental Middleweight Title by a dominating unanimous decision victory, with scores of 116-112 and 115-113 (2X). In his next bout, Papot took on co-Frenchman BARTHELEMY LEFEBVRE (then 16-8-1 4KO’s), for the France Super Welterweight Title. Papot dismantled Lefebvre over the 10-round bout, winning another unanimous decision with scores of 99-91 and 98-92 (2X). Papot has successfully defended his title two times since being crowned Champion.
PAPOT has this to say about signing with Star Boxing, “Today I have global ambitions and that is why I need a strong team to accompany me to world titles and I trust my team and promoter Star Boxing to accomplish these goals. ”
Promotor JOE DEGUARDIA said this about the signing of Papot, “We are excited to have signed David Papot, who has reached the pinnacle of boxing in France and now, together with Star Boxing, we believe David will have every opportunity to reach his goal of becoming a world champion.”
Star Boxing anticipates announcing David Papot’s next bout in the near future.
Sullivan Barrera is a Promotional Free Agent, Targets Top Light Heavyweights
Top light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera bounced back into the win column with a dominant decision victory earlier this month in New York. Barrera started off strong and won by the scores of 99-91 and 98-92 twice.
Along with the victory, Barrera also became a promotional free agent and is looking to get the biggest possible fights.
“I saw on social media that Badou Jack is looking for an opponent in January and that time table works perfect for me. I am sure the fans would like to see me and Jack trade punches,” Barrera stated.
The Cuban slugger holds victories over Joe Smith Jr, Vyacheslava Shabranskyy, and Felix Valera and has also been in the ring with champions like Andre Ward and Dmitry Bivol.
Barrera is driven to accomplish his goal of becoming a world champion and will not stop until he fulfills his destiny.
“At this point in my career I only want to fight the best. I have always wanted to be a champion and I will accomplish my dream. I want to fight the Adonis Stevenson-Olesandr Gvozdyk winner, the Eleider Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev winner, Jack, Artur Beterbiev. Those are the guys I want. There are no excuses for these fights not to happen. I don’t have a promoter so any of these fights should be easy to make,” said Barrera.
“Beating Monaghan got me back on track. I was able to work on some things in the gym and I promise that the next time I get a shot at a world title I will win. I am just reaching my peak and the fans haven’t seen my best yet.”
Gamboa and Lopez Both Win, Set Up Future Bout
Yuriorkis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez were both victorious this weekend and have set up a possible fight in the very near future.
Below are some quotes after their victories:
JuanMa Lopez Post Fight
“I don’t know how he absorbed all the punishment. I couldn’t know him out but it was a good fight.
It was uncomfortable because of his style but I’ve been fighting for a long time and it was an excellent warm up for the Gamboa fight.”
Gamboa trainer Post Fight:
“i have been working every day to make Gamboa a champion once again. And he is responding. It was a great night.”
Gamboa Post Fight:
“I was very happy with the results. I tried to work on my explosiveness and it worked well. It was a very exciting night for me. Here in Miami. My city. Great crowd.”
JuanMa after Gamboa’s fight grabs the mic in the ring:
“Enough of the waiting. We have been waiting long enough I did my part and you did your part now let’s get it on.”
Gamboa after JuanMa:
“If it’s a fight the fans want to see, let’s do it!”
Unified 154 World Champion Jarrett Hurd Returns on Wilder vs. Fury Showtime PPV Card
The most significant heavyweight event in the U.S. in more than 15 years will feature an undercard lineup of stellar fighters including the return of a unified world champion and two of boxing’s hardest-hitting heavyweights.
Undefeated, unified 154-pound world champion Jarrett Hurd along with heavyweight title contender Luis Ortiz and top heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce will fight in separate bouts on the SHOWTIME PPV® undercard of the Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz heavyweight blockbuster event presented by Premier Boxing Champions on Saturday, December 1 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs) returns for his first fight since unifying the super welterweight division earlier this year to defend his IBF and WBA titles against British Commonwealth champ Jason Welborn (24-6, 7 KOs). Hurd, who edged Erislandy Lara in a leading candidate for 2018 Fight of the Year in April on SHOWTIME, will enter the ring for the first time since undergoing rotator cuff surgery as he targets another title unification in 2019.
Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis Ortiz (29-1, 25 KOs) will continue his quest for a second shot at a heavyweight world championship as he takes on American Travis Kauffman (32-2, 23 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Ortiz went toe-to-toe with Wilder in another contender for Fight of the Year in March on SHOWTIME and returns for his third bout of 2018 with his sights set on a rematch with Wilder.
In the opening bout of the SHOWTIME PPV, 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist and unbeaten heavyweight Joe Joyce (6-0, 6 KOs) will face his sixth opponent of 2018 when he meets Joe Hanks (23-2, 15 KOs) in a 10-round heavyweight bout.
“This fan-friendly undercard features two participants from 2018 Fight of the Year candidates, Jarrett Hurd and Luis Ortiz, along with one of the hottest rising talents in the heavyweight division,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Heavyweight boxing has re-captured the world’s attention and both of these potentially explosive fights will help shape the future of the division. Jarrett Hurd emerged as one of boxing’s most exciting fighters in unifying the super welterweight division in 2018. Now, he returns from a significant injury to risk his titles in his quest to become undisputed 154-pound world champion.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by BombZquad Enterprises and Queensberry Promotions, in association with TGB Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, are on sale now and are available via AXS.com. Wilder vs. Fury will be produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV. The suggested retail price (SRP) for the pay-per-view telecast is $64.99 for standard definition.
Hurd, who hails from Accokeek, Md., floored Erislandy Lara in the final minute of their unification showdown to earn the narrow split-decision victory over the divisions’ longest-reigning champion. Following the bout, Hurd underwent surgery and subsequent rehab to repair a rotator cuff. Hurd won the IBF title with a TKO of Tony Harrison in 2017 and handed Austin Trout his first loss via knockout later that year. The 28-year-old is known for his all-action, fan-pleasing style that had seen him record seven straight stoppages prior to his decision win over Lara.
“’Swift’ is back and Christmas is coming early,” said Hurd. “This is the perfect way to get ready for 2019. I expect it to be a big year with big fights that the fans will love. I’m locked in right now and ready to put on a great performance against Jason Welborn. Tune in on December 1, because I promise you it won’t go 12 rounds.”
Jason Welborn, from West Midlands, England, will make his U.S. debut on the heels of two wins over previously once-beaten Tommy Langford for the British middleweight title in 2018. Langford now moves back to the 154-pound class, where he has faced Matthew Macklin and Liam Smith in all-British encounters.
“Jarrett Hurd is a big talent who holds all the belts and I respect the challenge he poses,” said Welborn. “I was a huge underdog against Tommy Langford in May and I came through and shocked Britain. In December, I’m going to shock the world. I’ve been in training camp since my last fight and I’ve already been preparing for Hurd’s style. This is my time.”
The 39-year-old Ortiz returns to STAPLES Center for his second consecutive fight in Los Angeles after scoring a second-round knockout of Razvan Cojanu in July. In a March, Ortiz nearly had Wilder out on his feet in the seventh until he ultimately succumbed to Wilder’s power in the 10th round, suffering the first loss of his professional career. A consensus top-5 heavyweight, Ortiz will look for another knockout as he hopes to earn a rematch with Wilder in the revived heavyweight division.
“I feel blessed to be on the Wilder vs. Fury card and competing on a huge night of boxing in front of a full house,’’ said Ortiz. “In my last fight at STAPLES Center the fans showed me so much love and I can’t wait to be back. I know Travis Kauffman has a good record and I know he’s definitely got heart. If all goes as expected and Wilder puts Fury to sleep like I think he will, I want another shot at him ASAP. It will be an epic rematch between me and Wilder.”
Kauffman, of Reading, Penn., is coming off a majority decision over Scott Alexander in May in which the two heavyweights traded first round knockdowns. Kauffman is 14-1 (1 NC) in his last 16 fights with the sole loss coming to Amir Mansour in March 2017.
“I’m looking forward to stepping up and challenging myself in an exciting fight,” said Kauffman. “Luis Ortiz is the second best heavyweight in the world next to Deontay Wilder. But I’m the toughest fighter you’ll ever face. This is my chance to prove that I’m a great fighter and I’m excited to do it on this huge stage.”
The 6-foot-6 Joyce, of London, England, has started his professional career with a 100 percent KO rate after turning professional in 2017 at the age of 32. An accomplished amateur, Joyce claimed the super heavyweight silver medal for Great Britain at the 2016 Olympic Games. Joyce, who trains in Big Bear, Calif. under renowned trainer Abel Sanchez, made his U.S. debut in September with a fifth-round knockout of Iago Kiladze.
“It’s an honor to be part of this huge event and I give a lot of credit to Joe Hanks for stepping up and taking this fight,” said Joyce. “Hanks has a good record, but I am coming to take him out. If everything goes to plan and I come through this fight as I should, I am ready for a big fight early next year to show that I’m a force in this division.”
Hanks, of Newark, N.J., started his career with a 21-0 run before suffering consecutive losses to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2013 and Derric Rossy in 2014. After a three-and-a-half-year layoff following the loss to Rossy, Hanks, who lives in downtown Los Angeles, has recovered his form and returned to score a unanimous decision over Joel Caudle and a first round knockout of Terrence Marbra in consecutive fights.
“It feels good to be in the mix and getting exposure with the top heavyweights,” said Hanks. “I bring speed, athleticism and power to this fight. I’ve got a lot of great experience in my career sparring against guys like Deontay Wilder and Wladimir Klitschko, so I’m comfortable against a guy like Joe Joyce. I live in Los Angeles now and this is going to be like fighting in my front yard. I’m going to be feeling good on fight night.”