Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Golovkin, Shields, Garcia, Hammer, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 12th to December 19th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Terrell Groggins / Salita Promotions
Claressa Shields Media Workout Quotes
Unified Women’s Super Middleweight World Champion Claressa Shields met with local members of the media and took part in an open-to-the-public workout on Tuesday at Kronk Gym, exactly one month away from defending her 168-pound WBC and IBF titles against undefeated IBF mandatory challenger Tori Nelson on Friday, Jan. 12 live on SHOWTIME.
A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Shields (4-0, 2 KOs) will face her second consecutive undefeated opponent in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation live at 10 p.m. ET/PT from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions, are currently on sale for $75 for the first two rows of ringside, $65 for remaining ringside seats and all others priced at $49 and $37, plus any applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased in person or by calling the Turning Stone Resort Box Office at 800.771.7711 or online at Ticketmaster.
Here is what the 22-year-old native of Flint, Mich., had to say on Tuesday:
“I am calm – focused – but still hungry like a challenger with the added confidence of being a world champion. I took some time off after my last win but I look forward to getting busy again in 2018.
“This training camp I did eight weeks instead of six. A lot of camp has been extremely hard. But I’m so focused and determined on 2018 and starting great and staying busy. I expect my opponent to apply pressure, and to use some dirty tactics. She has more experience, but not that much when you speak of her amateur experience.
“There is no doubt I will start 2018 with a win. Then I just take it one fight at a time. Right now my focus is Nelson.
“I’m excited to be on SHOWTIME as the first fight of the year, and just to be back inside the ring. I feel I have been the face of women’s boxing for some time now. I don’t let it feel like pressure – I just work really hard in the gym.
“In 2018 I expect great fights against the best contenders. I expect to make history again on SHOWTIME and also looking forward to dropping to 160 to fight against [Christina] Hammer mid-2018. January 12th will be the beginning of great things to come
“Training through the holidays is fine. The difference between the amateurs and now is that I was always in other countries competing. Now I get to be home with my family getting ready and I feel good.
“The match-up to me will play out with the first few rounds of me using my jab. Then I’ll add the combinations as the fight goes on. I see it being competitive though. I’m going to earn the win. I believe I can KO her by the sixth, seventh round.”
Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin Deal Very Close According to LA Times
Esteemed boxing writer Lance Pugmire of the LA Times recently reported that a deal for a rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin is very close to being finalized.
Pugmire reported that Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, texted him and indicated that there only a few items left to discuss with Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler to finish the agreement.
Many were worried that the outcome of the WBO Title fight between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux could affect the negotiations for the rematch, but Gomez seems to not be too concerned. He stated, “Our main goal is the rematch, not thinking of Saunders.”
Read more at: http://www.latimes.com/sports/boxing/la-sp-sn-boxing-canelo-ggg-rematch-20171218-story.html
Mikey Garcia to Face Sergey Lipinets on Februray 10th on Showtime
Undefeated three-division world champion Mikey Garcia will attempt to win a world title in a fourth weight class when he challenges unbeaten IBF 140-pound world champion Sergey Lipinets on Saturday, February 10 live on SHOWTIME. The matchup of top-5 ranked junior welterweights will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and is presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy will face Kiryl Relikh in a rematch of their May showdown on SHOWTIME, this time for the vacant WBA 140-pound world title. The doubleheader of title bouts in the wide-open 140-pound division sets the stage for a potential unification match.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, are priced at $250, $75, $50 and $20. Tickets will go on sale next week and will be available at Ticketmaster.com.
The 29-year-old Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs), emphatically returned to pound-for-pound lists in 2017 by scoring a highlight reel knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin to win the WBC Lightweight World Championship in January and then dominating four-division champion Adrien Broner on his way to a unanimous decision in July. Garcia is a member of a renowned boxing family, and is noted for his sportsmanship and his commanding presence in the ring, honed by his brother and acclaimed trainer Robert Garcia.
Garcia, of Moreno Valley by way of Oxnard, Calif., returned to the ring after a two-and-half-year layoff in July 2016 without missing a beat by stopping former champion Elio Rojas. Garcia, who has held world titles at 126, 130 and 135 pounds, has stopped 19 of his last 22 opponents including Roman “Rocky” Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Salido.
“It is a dream to have the opportunity to become a four-division worldchampion,” Garcia said. “San Antonio has some of the greatest boxing fans in the country, including some key supporters of my Robert Garcia Boxing Academy family. Since my last fight, I have stayed in the gym. I can’t wait to give the fans in Texas and those watching at home on SHOWTIME another great performance.”
The unbeaten Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) captured a super lightweight world title in just his 13th pro fight by defeating Akihiro Kondo via a unanimous decision on November 4 on SHOWTIME. He is originally from Kazakhstan but moved to Russia when he was six years old. He currently lives in Beverly Hills, California, Lipinets and is trained by Buddy McGirt.
The 28-year-old moved up the 140-pound rankings with victories over then unbeaten Haskell Rhodes, Levan Ghvamichava and Walter Castillo before knocking out Leonardo Zappavigna in a world title eliminator last December. Lipinets will look to stamp his place as an elite fighter when he takes on the accomplished and dangerous Garcia on February 10.
“Getting the title is one thing, but keeping the title is a more difficult task,” said Lipinets. “I’m not about to give it away to anybody. No disrespect to Mikey Garcia or anybody else out there, but I’m keeping my title. Beating Mikey Garcia will put me in the elite of boxing where I believe I belong. I’m happy my team was able to put this great fight together. I can promise you this won’t be a snoozer. It’s going to be an action-packed fight for sure.”
“We’re going to call it’ ‘Undefeated.’ That pretty much sums it up. Two undefeated fighters, champion versus champion,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports. “It’s a big challenge for Mikey Garcia to win a championship belt in his fourth weight class. Lipinets never backs down and he’s out to show that’s he one of the biggest punchers in the division. A win for Lipinets is a game-changer for his family and his career. A win for Mikey is another feather in his cap and will help him be recognized as pound-for-pound best in the world. I’m happy to be back in San Antonio at the Alamodome. I’ve promoted some big fights there. San Antonio fight fans are in for a real treat seeing two of the best fighting each other. I’m sure the fans will embrace this fight.”
“We have another intriguing matchup of two young, hungry undefeated fighters who lay it on the line every time they step into the ring,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “As talented as Mikey is, you can’t count Lipinets out. He’s one of the hardest hitters in the 140-pound division. He’s a tough competitor and there’s a reason why he’s a world champion. He knows this is a career-defining fight and he’s going to do everything he can to spoil the party for Garcia in San Antonio on Feb. 10.”
“In three consecutive fights on SHOWTIME since his return to the sport, Mikey Garcia has solidified his position on boxing’s pound-for-pound lists,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “Mikey has proven he’s willing to take on the most avoided opponents in any division as he seeks out the biggest possible matchups in the sport. He’ll face yet another dangerous opponent in Sergey Lipinets, an undefeated champion in his own right, as he seeks to become a four-division world champion. On the heels of Errol Spence vs. Lamont Peterson on January 20, a matchup of consensus top-10 welterweights, we’re proud to deliver this main event of top-5 ranked fighters to build on the momentum.”
Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs), who was born in Arroyo Naranjo, Cuba and now lives in Las Vegas, has won world titles at 130 and 135 pounds. He defeated Relikh by unanimous decision in his debut at 140 pound in his last fight on May 20. If he defeats Relikh again, he will become the first Cuban boxer to win world championships in three different weight classes. He defeated Argenis Mendez by unanimous decision to win the 130-pound world title in 2014 and a year later scored a unanimous decision over Denis Shafikov for the 135-pound world title. Barthelemy, 31, has two brothers, Yan and Leduan, who are professional boxers who he trains alongside with under the tutelage of Ismael Salas.
Relikh (21-2, 19 KOs) believes that he won the first match with Barthelemy and that the scorecards did not reflect the competitive nature of the fight. The 28-year-old nearly had Barthelemy out after landing a barrage of punches that penned Barthelemy on the ropes, but he was only awarded a knockdown. In the eighth round, Barthelemy came back to drop Relikh with a body shot. Shortly after the May 20 title eliminator, the WBA ordered a rematch, this time to be contested for the vacant 140-pound title. This will be Relikh’s second world title shot after the fighter from Minsk, Belarus lost a unanimous decision to Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland on Oct. 7, 2016.
Christina Hammer Signs with Salita Promotions
Promoter Dmitriy Salita proudly announces the signing of undefeated women’s unified world middleweight champion Christina Hammer to a multi-fight promotional contract.
Already a superstar in Europe, “Lady Hammer” (22-0, 10 KOs), from Dortmund, Germany, (via Novodolinka, Kazakhstan) is the current WBC and WBO Middleweight Champion. She has also previously held the WBF Middleweight, as well as WBO and WBF Super Middleweight Championships.
Under Salita’s promotional direction, Hammer will make her United States boxing debut on Friday, January 12, at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, on the non-televised undercard of a ShoBox: The New Generation telecast (10 p.m. ET/PT), featuring unified Women’s Super Middleweight World Champion Claressa Shields’ WBC and IBF title defense against mandatory challenger Tori Nelson. Hammer is scheduled for a 10-round fight, highlights of which will be shown on SHOWTIME.
“I never had any doubt that my manager Harald Pia and I would reach an agreement,” said a happy Hammer of the signing. “I love the U.S.,” she continued. “If you are successful here, you will be successful everywhere. Since the beginning of my boxing career it has been a dream of mine to fight in the U.S.. I can’t wait for January 12.”
Hammer joins the Salita Promotions roster that also includes women’s superstar, unified super middleweight champion and two-time gold medalist Claressa Shields, as well as world, European (2X) and Russian (6X) amateur champion and 2012 Olympian, Elena Savelyeva.
“Christina has all the tools to become a star in the U.S.,” said Dmitriy Salita. “Her skills, personality and appeal outside the ring make Christina a unique and special fighter in the talent-filled middleweight division. I believe 2018 is going to be a historic year for women’s boxing all over the world.”
Hammer is a technically outstanding boxer, but her outstanding physical strength is what separates her from the rest of the world’s 160-pound fighters. She was voted WBF Female Fighter of the Year in 2011 and 2013; the WBO Female Fighter of the Year in 2013; the BDB Female Boxer of the Year in 2016; the HERQUL Female Boxer of the Year in 2017 and is the only woman in Europe to earn the Diamond Ring of the WBO.
“It is always a pleasure to work with highly professional partners,” said manager Pia of the deal. “I’m confident we have a contract that is good for all parties. Christina is very happy to be fighting in the U.S. It is a dream of hers to be successful over here and she can’t wait to show the U.S. public who Christina Hammer is!”