Boxing Insider Notebook: Donaire, Frampton, Ali, Ortiz, Alexander, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 2nd to January 9th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Frampton and Donaire to Clash in Belfast on April 21st
Carl Frampton believes his clash against Nonito Donaire on Saturday, April 21 will be one of the biggest fights to ever take place in Belfast and a make-or-break bout for both men.
MTK Global-backed two-weight world champion Frampton (24-1, 14KO) is set to take on Filipino four-weight world champion Donaire (38-4, 24KO) in a featherweight showdown at Belfast’s SSE Odyssey Arena.
Both former Fighters of the Year, the pair will meet in a blockbuster bout, live on BT Sport and BoxNation in the UK and Ireland on a Frank Warren-promoted bill.
Tickets ranging from £40 (tier) to £400 (inner-ring hospitality) will go on general sale this Thursday (January 11th) at 10am.
And MTK Global’s Frampton is looking forward to meeting elite opposition on home soil in his first bout of 2018.
“It’s a brilliant fight – a four-weight world champion against a two-weight world champion,” said Frampton. “Has a bigger ‘away’ fighter ever come to fight in Belfast before? I don’t think there’s been a bigger name than Nonito Donaire and he’s coming to fight a local guy in his hometown.
“But I think both of us are in the same situation – a slip-up here and one of us might never fight for a world title again. There’s a lot on the line for both guys.”
With a much-anticipated summer fight date at Belfast’s Windsor Park in the works for ‘The Jackal’, 30-year-old Frampton believes a win over the 42-fight Filipino veteran would be perfect preparation ahead of a world-title tilt.
The Irishman is coming off the back of a 10-round points win over Mexican Horacio Garcia last month in what was Frampton’s first outing since the loss of his WBA world featherweight crown to Leo Santa Cruz.
And ‘The Jackal’ is confident that victory over Donaire will tee up a bout against the winner of the forthcoming IBF title clash between 126lb rivals Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.
“In terms of the size of a fight, it’s not for a world title but the winner of this fight will no doubt get a world-title shot,” said Frampton.
“On the world stage, I think this is a bigger fight than Lee Selby against Josh Warrington, which is a world-title fight, so it’s huge,” continued the Belfast native, whose reign as unified WBA & IBF world super-bantamweight champion in 2016 coincided with Donaire’s second spell as the WBO 122lb title holder before both men later claimed world featherweight belts.
“He’s been at the top of four divisions, but he was in the same weight division as me for quite a while and he’s someone I’ve always kept an eye on,” said Frampton. “He’s someone I admire as well and I think he’s a great fighter, but I think this is the perfect fight to get me ready for a world-title fight in the summer.”
While Donaire has suffered three defeats since being named 2012 Fighter of the Year by The Ring, ESPN and the Boxing Writers’ Association of America –the same honours Frampton picked up for 2016 – the 35-year-old ‘Filipino Flash’ is eager to prove that he is still an elite force at 126lbs.
“This is exactly the type of fight I live for — going in against one of the best in the world in the lion’s den of his hometown of Belfast,” said Donaire. “I can’t wait for the first bell! I know I’ll have to be the best I can be on fight night. Make no mistake, I’m already training like never before.”
MTK Global Professional Development Coordinator Jamie Conlan believes the fight will be an ideal warm-up for Frampton ahead of a summer world-title date.
“Donaire is a great fighter and this will be a real test for Carl, but it’s one that MTK are confident he’ll pass and that he’ll do so in style. Fair play to Carl, he didn’t want a handy fight ahead of another world-title shot and we were keen to deliver that,” said Conlan.
“It’s going to be another huge night for Belfast and Irish boxing and we’ll have some of MTK’s best talent on the bill.”
Details of a press conference will be announced in the coming days.
Kamegai to Face Daquan Pauldo on Matthysse and Linares Card
Japanese slugger Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-4-2, 24 KOs) will return after his impressive first shot at a world title to take on Orlando, Florida’s Daquan “King” Pauldo (16-1, 9 KOs) in a 10-round super welterweight fight that will top off the non-televised undercard of Matthysse vs. Kiram and Linares vs. Gesta on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The non-televised undercard action will be streamed live on RingTV.com beginning at 3:00 p.m. PT/ 6:00 p.m. ET.
As previously announced, Argentine knockout artist Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) of Chubut, Argentina will take on the explosive undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (38-0, 28 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship in the first co-main event. Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) will defend his WBA, WBC Diamond, and Ring Magazine Lightweight Titles against Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) in a 12-round bout in the second co-main event. This special double main event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Kamegai will return after his impressive outing against former six-time, four-division world champion Miguel Cotto, which was for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title in an HBO-televised main event in August 2017 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Before that fight, Kamegai took part in two consecutive Fight of the Year candidates against Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass in June and Sept. of 2016. Kamegai will look to earn another shot at a 154-pound title if successful against Pauldo.
Pauldo, a 25-year-old super welterweight contender who was formerly known as Daquan Arnett, has only suffered one loss in his impressive career, which was when he dropped down to 147 pounds to take on tough Golden Boy Promotions contender Eddie “Eboy” Gomez. After returning to 154 pounds, Pauldo has defeated five people in a row, including the experienced Jorge “Pantera” Silva in his last bout in July 2017. A win against Kamegai would give Pauldo a much-earned boost in the super welterweight rankings.
Marcelino “Nino” Lopez (33-21, 18 KOs) the native of Buenos Aires, Argentina and member of the exclusive training camp of Joel Diaz in Indio, Calif., will return in a 10-round super lightweight fight against an opponent that will be announce shortly. Lopez will return after defeating former interim WBA Super Lightweight Champion Pablo “El Demoledor” Cesar Cano via second-round technical knockout.
After seven spectacular wins in 2017, Armenian welterweight prospect Ferdinand Kerobyan (7-0, 4 KOs) will start the new year in a six-round welterweight fight against an opponent that will be announced soon. In his last fight, Kerobyan defeated Tavorus Teague in the ESPN3-streamed undercard of the Dec. 14 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.
In an exciting and rarely-seen battle between two undefeated prospects, Los Angeles native Tenochtitlan “T-Dog” Nava (7-0, 1 KO) will participate in an eight-round 126-pound clash against Las Vegas’ Francisco “El Alacran” Esparza (6-0-1, 2 KOs). Both fighters are known for their come-forward, all-action styles, and with so much on the line, the bout will surely produce fireworks.
Romero “Ruthless” Duno (15-1, 13 KOs) will fight for a second consecutive time at the “Fabulous” Forum in an eight-round lightweight battle against Sacramento, Calif.’s Yardley Armenta (21-9, 12 KOs). The Filipino prospect made his U.S. debut and introduced himself in exciting fashion via a devastating second-round knockout victory against the previously undefeated prospect Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez. Since then, Duno has scored two more victories, which were against Jason Tinampay and Juan Pablo Sanchez respectively.
Undefeated prospect Javier Martinez (4-0, 3 KOs) of Dallas, Texas will kick off highly-anticipated night of action in a six-round featherweight fight against a soon-to-be-announced opponent.
HDNet Movies Pays Tribute to Muhammad Ali on his Birthday on Wednesday January 17th
Step into the ring with HDNET MOVIES, as the network celebrates the life and legacy of boxing superstar Muhammad Ali on what would have been his 76TH Birthday with a “Remembering Ali” double feature—a night of documentaries and biopics starring the legend himself on Wednesday, Jan. 17, beginning at 7:15pE.
The night kicks off with the star-studded 1977 biopic THE GREATEST, starring Ali as himself in his big screen debut. The film is based on his acclaimed autobiography of the same name, and recreates some of the most important moments of his life and career including his gold medal Olympic victory at 18 years old; his legendary match with Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla In Manila”; his conversion to Islam; and his three-and-a-half-year legal battle to win back the heavyweight title that was stripped from him when he refused to enter the army due to his religious beliefs. James Earl Jones, Robert Duvall, and Ben Johnson also star.
Then, stay tuned for the classic 1970 documentary A.K.A. CASSIUS CLAY at 9pE, which provides an intimate glimpse into the boxing icon’s career with rare archived footage featuring Ali associates such as Malcolm X, Angelo Dundee, and more, as well as clips from some of his most famous fights including an epic bout with Sonny Liston. The piece is headlined by a very special sit-down with Ali and his longtime trainer Cus D’Amato, who discuss Ali’s career and share a priceless back-and-forth that true Ali aficionados won’t want to miss.
For a complete schedule of films and times, visit www.hdnetmovies.com/schedules.
Victor Ortiz vs. Devon Alexander Set for February 17th
“Vicious” Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander “The Great” headline a show topped by two USA vs. Mexico battles as the former welterweight champions meet in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, Feb. 17 from Don Haskins Center on the UTEP campus in El Paso, Texas with televised coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
In the co-main event unbeaten contender Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant will battle Rogelio “Porky” Medina in a 12-round 168-pound world title eliminator.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $100, $60, $40, $25 and will go on sale Friday. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
Also on the card, Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) takes on Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) in a super welterweight showdown and Karlos Balderas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, will appear in a lightweight special attraction.
“This is a classic crossroads match in the truest sense. Both Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz are battle-tested in one of the toughest, deepest divisions in boxing,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Alexander has overcome some serious health issues and is looking to regain the welterweight championship. Ortiz, also a former champion, has always come to fight and doesn’t back down from anyone. It promises to be an entertaining match for the fans in attendance at Don Haskins Center and those who tune in on FOX and FOX Deportes.”
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs), a former 147-pound champion, has split time between boxing and acting throughout his recent career and brings a certain flare every time he steps into the ring. The 30-year-old native of Garden City, Kansas who now lives in Ventura, California, has faced some of the top names in the 147-pound division during his career. Ortiz won the welterweight title with unanimous decision victory over Andre Berto on April 16, 2011. Five months later he lost the title to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. by knockout. Ortiz, 30, suffered a knockout loss to Andre Berto in 2016 on FOX and bounced back with a knockout victory over Saul Corral in his last fight on July 30 on FS1.
“I’m ready to give all I have to defeat Devon Alexander and get my crown back,” said Ortiz. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and putting myself in a position to have my straps once again. I demonstrated what I was made of and did what I said I was going to do in my last fight. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I’ve known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I will not be his friend on fight night and he won’t be mine. I’m ready to prove everyone wrong starting on Feb. 17.”
Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) emerged on the scene with a unanimous decision victory over Randall Bailey for the welterweight title in 2012. He defended the title once before losing it to Shawn Porter in 2013. Since then, the 30-year-old Alexander of St. Louis, Missouri has been on a mission to regain the title. After losing to Amir Khan and Aaron Martinez, Alexander suffered another setback when he sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers. Fully healthy for the first time in three years, Alexander returned to the ring with a unanimous decision victory over Walter Castillo on FS1 on Nov. 21.
“I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” said Alexander. “We’ve known each other a long time but never fought in the amateurs, so this should be interesting. My speed, quickness and smarts will win me this fight. Victor checks out sometimes when he can’t hit you, so my skills will be the difference. I’m ready for any challenge that’s brought my way. When I’m 100 percent, nobody can beat me.”
Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) won eight of his first nine fights by knockout, demonstrating power in both hands to go along with his boxing abilities. The 25-year-old climbed into the top ten of the 168-pound rankings with his last victory – a unanimous decision over Andrew Hernandez in Las Vegas on Sept. 8. Medina represents a major step up for Plant and will give him an indication of just where the Ashland, Tennessee native stands in the division as he looks to become a mandatory challenger for the IBF title.
The 29-year-old Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) has squared off against some of the toughest boxers in the division, including current champion David Benavidez and former champions James DeGale and Badou Jack. Fighting out of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico lost by knockout to Benavidez on May 20, and bounced back with a knockout victory over Daniel Eduardo Yocupicio on Sept. 1.
The FOX prime time broadcast will kick off a full night of boxing, leading into a doubleheader on SHOWTIME that features two-division world champion Danny Garcia versus Brandon Rios and 168-pound champion David Benavidez defending his title in a rematch against Ronald Gavril from Las Vegas.
Thomas LaManna Battles Gabriel Bracero for WBC Fecarbox Welterweight Title in Atlantic City
Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna will headline the inaugural Boardwalk Boxing series when he takes the battle-tested veteran Gabriel Bracero in a ten-round welterweight bout for the WBC Fecarbox welterweight title on Saturday, February 24th at The Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City.
The bout will be the main event of a huge night of boxing promoted by Rising Star Promotions
The new Boardwalk Boxing series, which was announced last week, promised high-quality matchups, while featuring the best local fighters.
LaManna, 26, of Millville, New Jersey has an impressive mark of 25-2 with nine knockouts.
The popular LaManna has led the revival of boxing in Atlantic City as his Rising Star Promotions has become the preeminent promoter in Atlantic City.
LaManna consistently has performed as a headliner in front of sell out crowds is eager to thrill fans, and potentially notch the biggest win of his career.
“This is a crossroads fight. He needs a win over me to stay relevant, and I need a win over him to be taken serious,” said LaManna. “Bracero has fought some top guys. His losses have been to world champions and Gold Medal winners. He has been around the block.”
“I want to start 2018 with a good test. I want to test myself. When I go through a hard camp, dieting and focusing, I want it to be worth it.”
“This should be a great atmosphere as he is a popular fighter like myself. A win over him will give me an opportunity as I will move up in the ratings. This is a make or break year, and a win will put me in there with other contenders.”
LaManna will celebrate his 7th year as a professional, as he has wins over Kendal Mena (20-3), as well as winning the WBC Silver Latino and WBC FECARBOX Welterweight titles with a ten-round unanimous decision over rugged George Sosa.
In his last bout, LaManna defended the WBC FECARBOX title with a ten-round unanimous decision over Samuel Amoako on November 28th in Atlantic City.
This will be LaManna’s 18th fight in Atlantic City.
Bracero of Brooklyn, New York has an impressive mark of 24-3 with five knockouts.
Bracero, who will be 38 on February 14th has faced and defeated some impressive foes over his 17 year-career.
Bracero win his first 18 bouts which were highlighted by wins over Winston Mathis (6-0), Danny O’Connor (14-0), Guillermo Valdes (12-3), Jermaine White (17-4), former world totle challenger Dmitry Salita (35-1-1), and a sensational 1st round stoppage over O’Connor (26-2) in the rematch.
Bracero is coming off a ten-round unanimous decision defeat to former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi on July 30, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York
“This will be a good fight. He is a tough kid. He is tall, and I will get into the best shape possible,” said Bracero.
“I am excited to finally be fighting in Atlantic City. I have family there, plus my fans from Brooklyn can drive there and spend a nice weekend. ”
“This fight is a true crossroads battle. He is looking to make his name off of me, and I am focusing on winning his WBC Fecarbox title. A win will get me back into the bigger fights.
Also announced is a terrific co-feature bout that will see Anthony “Juice” Young of Atlantic City battling Khiary Gray or Worcester, Massachusetts.
Young, 29, has a record of 18-2 with six knockouts.
The seven-year professional will be looking for his eighth consecutive victory. The Atlantic City favorite has a quality win over Jose Javier Claderon (4-1), and will be making his 12th start in his hometown.
Pitts has an impressive mark of 15-3 with eleven knockouts.
The 25 year-old New Englander won his first 13 bouts. The four-year professional is a former UBF International Super Welterweight champion, and in his last bout he won the Interim New England Super Welterweight title with an eight-round majority decision over Greg Jackson on December 7, 2017 in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
There will be an announcement about the full undercard shortly.
Tickets are available for $155, $80 and $55, and can be purchased online at www.risingboxingpromotions.com .
This event is sponsored by Acos Energy, Designer Wraps, Eat Clean Bro, Calvi Electric, and Alpha Academy.
Sugar Promotions New Blood Card in Mexico Set for February 2nd
Damien Vazquez’ Sugar Promotions, will promote its card titled “New Blood”, featuring Issac “Canelito” Avelar (13-0, 8 KOs), vs. Alejandro Frias (6-2-1, 3 KOs), fighting for the WBC FECOMBOX Featherweight title in a 10-round main-event. The bout will take place at the Palenque de la Feria in Aguascalientes, Mexico on February 2, 2018.
Issac “Canelito” Avelar, who is managed by Prince Ranch Boxing, is looking to make a statement in his hometown after having his last fight delayed due to a minor hand injury.
“I am ready to show my hometown fans why I will be fighting the best fighters in the world,” said Issac Avelar. “I was supposed to fight last December, but it was delayed, because of a small hand injury. I took that time to improve as a fighter and I am 100% healthy. Everyone will see the best version of Canelito on February 2nd”
“Canelito is a big star in Aguascalientes, Mexico where he was born and raised,” Oscar Vazquez, president of Sugar Promotions stated. “We are excited to put on a show with great local talent. Canelito is a homegrown hero from Aguascalientes, Mexico and it is exciting to promote such a massive event. Everyone in town will be here.”
“NEW BLOOD” also features undefeated bantamweight Damien “Sugar” Vazquez (12-0, 6 KOs) vs. TBA, unbeaten super-featherweight Edwing Davila (16-0, 9 KOs), vs. Octavio Guardado, Lightweight Donovan Estrella (10-0, 4 KOs) vs. Antonio Camacho, Mayran Reyes vs. Naomi Arellano, Christina Mora vs. TBA and light heavyweight Kye Brooks (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Ivan Sanchez. Damian Vasquez has his sights set on fighting McJoe Arroyo (17-2, 8 KOs) before the year is over.
“February 2nd is looking to be a great show and I’m thrilled to work with Sugar Promotions,” said Greg Hannely, CEO of Prince Ranch Boxing. “This will be one of the best cards ever put on in Aguascalientes, Mexico. All my fighters are coming to win and win impressively.”