Boxing Insider Notebook: Conlan, Jones, Davis, Farmer, Vargas, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 23rd to January 30th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Otha Jones III Makes Pro Debut in Turning Stone

Otha Jones III will make his professional debut on Saturday March 9 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.

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Jones III announced his decision to join the paid ranks last week and the Ohio talent will begin converting his amateur prowess into professional success on a huge World title double-header bill as Dmitry Bivol defends his WBA World Light-Heavyweight title against Joe Smith Jr and Maurice Hooker is on the road again as he puts his WBO Junior Welterweight strap on the line against unbeaten Brooklynite Mikkel LesPierre.

Jones III amassed 280 wins as an amateur in just under 300 fights, winning 13 National titles and representing the USA national team in multiple tournaments around the world, and believes his amateur style will translate into titles as a pro fighter.

“My style is hard to beat and it’s going to be the same in the pros,” said Jones III. “My team have a great plan for me and I’m so excited to fight in the UK as well as in the US, it’s awesome to know that I’ve got so many options and fights in front of me. I don’t feel any pressure because I have total faith in my ability, I just can’t wait to get out there and show what I’ve got.”

“Otha’s record speaks for itself,” said Hearn. “I asked people ‘who do we need to sign in the US?’ and the name Otha Jones III came up time and again, they’d say ‘this is the guy in amateur boxing right now that you need in the paid ranks’.

“Otha is going to box eight times in his first year as a pro starting on March 9, all over the world, particularly in the US. He’s an outstanding fighter with a great personality, and we can’t wait for his journey to start.

“We do stadium events and World title fights, but this is sometimes the most exciting thing as you get the chance to grow a fighter from day one.”
Tevin Farmer Defends World Title Against Jono Carroll on Marc 15
Tevin Farmer will defend his IBF World Super-Featherweight title against Jono Carroll at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia on Friday March 15, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Farmer (28-4-1 6KOs) makes the third defense of his crown in his first fight on home turf as a World champion, following a wide points win over Francisco Fonseca in New York in December, a win that followed a dominant fifth-round stoppage over Northern Irishman James Tennyson in his first defense in Boston in October.

The 28-year-old returns to the Temple University venue having boxed there in April 2017 against Arturo Reyes – the fight before his first World title showdown with Kenichi Ogawa in Las Vegas in December, where his controversial split decision loss was turned into a no-contest after Ogawa failed a drug test. Farmer would claim the vacant IBF title in August in Australia with a comprehensive points win over seasoned Aussie Billy Dib.

Unbeaten Dubliner Carroll (16-0-1 3KOs) fights for his first World title on St Patrick’s weekend against Farmer, with his shot at the title following a closely fought split draw in a final eliminator with Guillaume Frenois in Sheffield, England in December.

Farmer and Carroll have been involved in bitter social media spats and will finally come face-to-face for the first time at a press conference to launch the fight in Philly next Tuesday, and both fighters believe the fight will be as fiery as the build-up.

“He’s got a World title shot on St Patrick’s weekend, he should be thanking me,” said Farmer. “He’s trying to get under my skin but it’s impossible to get under my skin. He’s making himself look bad and he’s stepping up to a whole different level with me. I’m A-level and he’s going to pay.

“He says we both come from tough backgrounds, the hood, that boy hasn’t come from any struggle, no hood. I’m going to show him when he comes to Philly, he’s going to eat his words. He’s trying to get his buzz up but there’s certain things that you don’t say. He’s made this personal and you don’t want to get personal with a Philly guy like me.

“This is big for me, fighting as a World champion in Philly. When does Philly hold big World championship shows? This is big – it’s a boxing town but this is as big a show as there’s been here for a long time. I have to thank Eddie, Lou and DAZN for making this a reality, because often World champions don’t always get the chance to fight in their home city. It doesn’t happen, but it’s happening for me and that shows the level of respect that Eddie, Lou and I have for each other. It’s going to be a great night.

“I don’t care about these other champions. You never know what is going to happen with politics and people making excuses, but I’m here, I defended the title twice in three months last year and I’m headlining at home. If people really want to fight, it’s simple to do – sign the contract and turn up and fight.

“The only thing I care about is my career, keep lining them up and I’m going to keep smoking them and keep getting paid. With or without them, my career will be the best of all those guys. I’m on a high right now. Everything is good right now, I’m doing everything I’ve dreamed of.”

“It is only fitting that Tevin Farmer’s remarkable journey in boxing and in life comes back to his home city, Philadelphia,” said DiBella. “In 2018, from Australia to Madison Square Garden, Tevin established himself as one of the brightest and most active stars in boxing.

“This is the homecoming Tevin deserves, and if Jono Carroll fights with the same fervor that he talks, it will also be a fight befitting of a city that has long been synonymous with all-action wars.”

“I’ll do what I want with Tevin, he’s a tiny little child and I’m not afraid of him,” said Carroll. “When we meet, if he’s respectful of me, I’ll be respectful back as that’s how I’ve been brought up – but if comes talking rubbish then I’ll put him in his place.

“I see a fakeness in him when I see him interviewed, I see a fake person. My thoughts on him are that he wants to be liked, but he’s not. I reckon he’s arrogant, that’s the man I think he is and I know he’s that sort of flashy person saying stupid things on Twitter.

“Tevin is a man that wants to be liked but he plays like he’s Floyd Mayweather, but he’s not half as good as him. He has serious holes in his armory, and I am going to poke every single one of them, I’ll break him up and stop him.

“He’s never met a man like me in his life. He came from a rough background yes, but so did I. We’re both from crazy places but we’re in the limelight now, so we have to be grown-up and responsible as we’re going to have cameras around us.”

Irish sensation Katie Taylor can take a giant step towards her goal of becoming the undisputed World Lightweight champion when she aims to unify her WBA and IBF titles against WBO ruler Rose Volante.

Taylor (12-0 5KOs) added the IBF strap to her WBA title in April against Victoria Bustos in Brooklyn, New York, and has since defended the titles three times, stopping Kimberly Connor in three rounds in London in July before shutouts against Cindy Serrano in Boston in October and ending a stunning 2018 by beating Eva Wahlstrom in New York in December.

Volante (14-0 8KOs) has defended her WBO crown twice since winning the vacant title in December 2017 and the Argentine won both of her 2018 defenses in Brazil by the halfway point, with Lourdes Borbua retiring after five rounds in April and Yolis Marrugo Franco stopped in three in September.

The champions put titles and unbeaten records on the line in Philadelphia, and the winner will target Belgian WBC ruler Delfine Persoon for all the belts later in the year.

“Ever since I won my first world title as a pro my goal has been to unify the Lightweight titles so this is obviously a massive step towards that,” said Taylor. “Volante is unbeaten so I’m expecting a tough fight but that’s exactly the kind of challenge I want. I think the better the opponent and the bigger the challenge the better I will perform.

“It’s a great card to be on especially with so many Irish fighters on the bill on St. Patrick’s weekend in Philadelphia so I’m sure it will be a special occasion.

“For now my focus is on Volante but of course after that fight I would love to have all the belts as soon as possible. Hopefully the Persoon fight can finally be made for the summer and then there are some other huge fights out there as well for the rest of the year.”

A stacked card in support of the two World title blockbusters is led by a crunch Middleweight clash between Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado and Pole Maciej Sulecki and an all-Philadelphia Lightweight clash between Hank Lundy and Avery Sparrow.

Rosado (24-11-1 14KOs) is back in action after a controversial all-action fight in Kansas with Luis Arias in November, the former World title challenger drawing with the Milwaukee man. The 33 year old will be desperate to get his name back into contention for major honors with the 160lbs division red hot right now, but Sulecki (27-1 11KOs) will have the same designs on those title shots having bounced back from a loss against Daniel Jacobs in April with a second round KO win in Poland in November.

“I’m excited to start the year back home in Philly,” said Rosado. “This is the second half of my career and the goal is to win a World title. It’s only right that it starts here in Philly.”

Prospect Sparrow (9-1 3KOs) will be gunning to add a major scalp to his CV in the shape of former World title challenger Lundy (29-7-1 14KOs). Sparrow faces the second ten round clash of his career as he looks to step up his progress early in 2019.

“It’s been a long time since I last fought but that’s on me and I’ve learned from it,” said Sparrow. “Fighting someone like Hank Lundy is the kind of challenge I look forward to. It’s a big fight on a big stage.”

“Once again we have a great Philly vs. Philly fight and that is always good for boxing in Philly,” said Lundy. “It’s a hard fight but we’re both looking down the road because we know what winning this fight will do for our careers.”

Kazakhstan’s Olympic gold medal star Daniyar Yeleussinov (5-0 3KOs) fights for the sixth time in the paid ranks ahead of what promises to be a break out year for the 27 year old, the same of which can be said for two-time Olympian and 2012 silver medalist John Joe Nevin (11-0 4KOs) who joins fellow Irish fighters on the St. Patrick’s weekend bill.

“I can’t wait for March 15 at the Liacouras Center,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “It’s our first ever event in Philadelphia and it’s an honor to promote in this great city on St Patrick’s weekend.

“Tevin Farmer is one of the great boxing underdog stories of our generation and I’m so happy he is getting the chance to bring that World championship home against a feisty and talented Jono Carroll.

“The biggest star in World boxing, Ireland’s Katie Taylor, looks to unify the division against WBO champ Rose Volante. Philly favorite Gabe Rosado takes on Poland’s Maciej Sulecki in a thrilling middleweight match up and Olympic stars Daniyar Yeleussinov and John Joe Nevin. It’s stacked from top to bottom and it’s going to be an electric night of boxing in Philadelphia.”
Gervonta Davis Relocates Training Camp to Los Angeles
Two-time super featherweight world champion Gervonta Davis is relocating his training camp today and traveling from his hometown of Baltimore to finish camp in Los Angeles as he prepares defend his title against three-division world champion Abner Mares. Davis vs. Mares will headline a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader on Saturday, February9 from Dignity Health Sports Park, formerly StubHub Center, in Carson, California andpresented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Davis, along with longtime trainer Calvin Ford, will be working at Ten Goose Boxing Gym as he nears this showdown that will serve as Davis’ first U.S. main event.

“Camp is going great, my weight is good and everything I had planned to do is on schedule,” said Davis. “I decided to move camp to Los Angeles to train in the same weather I’ll be fighting in and to get the long flight out of the way. Get your tickets now before they sell out, because you don’t want to miss my first SHOWTIME main event!”

“We decided to break camp and head to Los Angeles sooner than anticipated to allow Gervonta to get used to the change in altitude and climate,” said Ford. “We’re also taking into consideration that the fight will be outside. Everything with his training is on point and going as scheduled toward an explosive performance on February 9.”

Davis had previously scheduled a Baltimore media workout for Wednesday, before deciding to relocate for the final days of training.

Tickets for the event, promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.
Michael Conlan Set for St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza Against Ruben Garcia Hernandez at MSG
Michael “Mick” Conlan is set to paint the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden green on St. Patrick’s Day for a third consecutive year. The Belfast native, two-time Irish Olympian, and top featherweight prospect packed the Hulu Theater to the rafters in 2017 and 2018 and will return on Sunday, March 17 to face the battle-tested Ruben Garcia Hernandez in the 10-round main event.

Conlan-Hernandez will begin following the conclusion of the annual NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

In the co-feature, former junior featherweight world champion Jessie Magdaleno will face former junior lightweight world title challenger Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz in a 10-round featherweight clash. And, in a crossroads welterweight bout, Brooklyn native and former world champion Luis Collazo will take on Samuel Vargas in a 10-rounder.

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets for St. Conlan’s Evening priced at $206, $156, $106, $81, $56, and $31 (including facility fees) go on sale Thursday, Jan. 24 at 12 p.m. ET and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at ticketmaster.com and MSG.com.

This special St. Patrick’s Day tripleheader will stream live and exclusively at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — 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 soon-to-be-announced undercard will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

“I’m excited and honored to fight at my home away from home, The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, on St. Patrick’s Day for the third consecutive year,” Conlan said. “The fans in New York City have been incredibly supportive of my professional career, and I look forward to putting on a show for them, in addition to my great fans from Ireland who will be coming over for the party in Manhattan. Thanks very much to my team and Top Rank for this tremendous opportunity. I’ll be well prepared for victory to kick off a huge year for me in 2019.”

Conlan (10-0, 6 KOs) turned pro on St. Patrick’s Day 2017 following a storied amateur career that included gold medals at the European Championships, World Championships, and Commonwealth Games. His pro debut — in front of a capacity crowd of 5,201 and including being flanked to the ring by UFC superstar Conor McGregor — was the birth of a superstar. Conlan fought five times apiece in 2017 and 2018, most recently capturing the vacant WBO Intercontinental belt with a unanimous decision over Jason Cunningham on Dec. 22 in Manchester, England. Conlan, who captured a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics, has been dominant in the paid ranks. On St Patrick’s Day 2018, he knocked out David Berna in the second round. Hernandez (24-3-2, 10 KOs) has only been knocked out once as a pro and took four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire the 10-round distance in a 2017 bout.

Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs) is moving up four pounds following a world title run at 122 pounds that included one successful title defense. In his last bout, April 28 in Philadelphia, he battled Isaac Dogboe in one of the best fights of 2018. Magdaleno knocked down Dogboe in the opening round, only for Dogboe to rally for an 11th-round knockout. Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs), from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, climbed the 130-pound rankings until he earned a shot at the vacant WBO title last July 28 versus Masayuki Ito. Diaz was knocked down in the fourth round and lost a unanimous decision in a gutsy showing. He moved down to featherweight and rebounded with a first-round stoppage over David Berna on Nov. 24. Diaz is now training with the legendary Freddie Roach.

“It’s going to be that classic Mexico vs. Puerto Rico battle,” Magdaleno said. “That’s the type of fight that the fans love to see! It’s two warriors that like to scrap and bring excitement, so I know I have to be 100 percent ready, and I’m ready to show the fans that I’m back!”

“Facing Jessie Magdaleno represents a new opportunity to battle against top fighters,” Diaz said. “I don’t like going the easy route. I am a warrior, and I want to face the best. That’s why I always work hard. March 17 will not be different. That will be the time to shine against the best. Magdaleno is a great challenge because he is a former world champion who will come with plans to get a victory that positions him to challenge for a world title in a second division. But that’s also what I want. I want another world title shot, and Magdaleno is in my way. I know that with the great Freddie Roach in my corner, my hunger for triumph, my willingness to leave everything in the ring, and my desire to be the best featherweight in the world, I will achieve my dream of becoming a world champion.”

Collazo (38-7, 20 KOs) is a 19-year-pro and a former welterweight world champion who has faced the likes of “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan, Andre Berto, Keith Thurman, and Victor Ortiz. One of the sport’s craftiest veterans, Collazo is coming off a well-earned decision victory over Bryant Perrella (15-1 at the time) and a sixth-round knockout against former top prospect Sammy Vasquez. Vargas (30-4-2, 14 KOs) has faced many of the welterweight division’s leading lights during his nine-year career. Last September, he knocked down Khan in the second round, but was unable to finish Khan off and lost a unanimous decision.

“I’m eager to get back in the ring and show the fans that I’m still an elite welterweight,” Collazo said. “Every time I fight, I give my blood, sweat, and tears. Brooklyn is going to be in the house on March 17. Samuel Vargas is in for a rude awakening. After I take care of business, I’m coming for all the top welterweights.”

“For a kid who came from Colombia with nothing, trying to make a name for himself and a better life for his family, fighting at Madison Square Garden feels like a dream come true,” Vargas said. “I’ve fought on some of the biggest stages in the world, but this is where every fighter envisions themselves fighting. It’s an opportunity I won’t let go to waste.”
Roy Jones Junior Boxing Fact Sheet: Palicte-Martinez
WHAT: RJJ Boxing on UFC Fight Pass
WHO: MAIN EVENT – WBO Jr. BANTAMWEIGHT WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR (12)*
“Mighty” Aston Palicte(24-2-1, 20 KOs), Bago City, Negros Occidental, Philippines vs. Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez (20-0-2, 13 KOs), Las Marias, Puerto Rico
CO-FEATURE – FEATHWERWEIGHTS (6)*
Edward “Kid” Vasquez (5-0, 0 KOs), Fort Worth, Texas vs. Brandon “2 Smooth” Cruz (6-0, 4 KOs), San Diego, California
JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHTS (6)*
Dilan “El Rey” Miranda (4-1, 3 KOs), San Diego, California by way of Mexico vs. Daniel Constantino (2-2-1, 1 KO), Compton, California
FEMALE FEATHERWEIGHTS (4 X 2)
Jessica Juarez (1-0, 1 KO), San Diego, California vs. Kailyn Hansen (1-2, 0 KOs), Whittier, California
WELTERWEIGHTS (4)
Anthony Franco (3-1-1, 0 KOs), Redlands, California vs. David Morales (2-1-1 (0 KOs)
HEAVYWEIGHTS (4)
Oscar Torres (3-0, 1 KO), Los Angeles, California Vs. Ignacio Zambrano (2-4, 0 KOs), Torrance, California
*denotes live-streamed on UFC Fight Pass
(ALL FIGHTS & FIGHTERS SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
WHEN: Thursday, January 31, 2019
WHERE: Oak Ballroom in Viejas Casino & Resort, Alpine, California (35 miles outside of San Diego)
PROMOTER: Roy Jones Jr (RJJ) Boxing Promotions in association with Miguel Cotto Promotions
LIVE STREAM: UFC FIGHT PASS®, starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Samuel Vargas to Face Luis Collazo March 17th
Samuel Vargas has had a lot of “pinch me” moments in his boxing career. From fighting on national television, to facing world champions, bringing a boxing show to his native Colombia, and headlining arena shows in his hometown of Toronto.

But on March 17, Vargas may have the biggest opportunity of his career, as he faces Luis Collazo in a 10-round welterweight bout at the Hulu Theatre inside the legendary Madison Square Garden.

The bout will be a co-feature on an ESPN card headlined by Irish superstar Michael Conlan, fittingly, on St. Patrick’s Day.

“For a kid who came from Colombia with nothing, trying to make a name for himself and a better life for his family, fighting at Madison Square Garden feels like a dream come true,” Vargas said. “I’ve fought on some of the biggest stages in the world, but this is where every fighter envisions themselves fighting. It’s an opportunity I won’t let go to waste.”

Collazo had recently been in talks as a potential opponent for welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman. Vargas hopes that a victory over Collazo could potentially put him in line for a world title opportunity, something that has eluded him despite his deep resume of opponents.

Vargas has done battle with some of the sport’s and division’s very best, including Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, Ali Funeka and more. However, none were world title fights, either because the bouts were between title stints, or the belt wasn’t on the line.

“A win over Luis Collazo would force the hand of the welterweight division,” said Vargas’ promoter Lee Baxter. “It would be the biggest win of Sammy’s career, and would establish that he belongs in the positions he’s been put in throughout his career. Remember, he was maybe one inch and a few seconds away from knocking out Amir Khan. On March 17, he won’t let anything slip away.”

Collazo (38-7, 20 KOs) has been a pro for 19 years, a career which has included a run as welterweight champion, and a who’s who resume of fighters he’s shared the ring with, including: “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan, Andre Berto, Keith Thurman, and Victor Ortiz. Collazo is coming off two major upset victories, a win over Bryant Perrella and a sixth-round knockout of top prospect Sammy Vasquez

“Collazo is someone I have a lot of respect for. We have a lot in common, we’ve both never ducked anybody, we’ve both improved and learned on the job as the years have gone on, and we’re always in exciting fights. But on March 17, all that goes out the window, and I’m going to prove that my time has finally come.”

With a victory, opportunities for Vargas could be abundant, says Baxter.

“Sammy isn’t someone that’s tied to a network right now, but he’s one step away from being a viable option to face any welterweight titleholder, not just Keith Thurman, but Terence Crawford, especially considering Sammy almost knocked out the man he’s about to fight. A win on March 17 could give us a lot of leverage,” said Baxter.

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