Boxing Insider Notebook: Estrada, Rungvisai, Easter, Barthelemy, Byrd, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 26th to April 2nd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Estrada vs. Rungvisai Rematch Will Be Twice the First Fight
Juan Francisco Estrada says he will be 100 per cent fit for his rematch with Sor Srisaket Rungvisai – and that will make the fight twice as good as the first clash and see him become World champion at The Forum in Inglewood, LA on Friday April 26, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
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Estrada and Rungvisai served up a fight of the year contender at the famous LA venue last February, with the Thai star edging out ‘Gallo’ to retain his WBC Super Flyweight title and land the Ring Magazine crown.
Former WBA and WBO king Estrada was hampered in the build up by a knee issue for the first clash, yet the Mexican ace delivered a fantastic performance. The 28 year old has recorded a pair of wins since the majority decision loss to Rungvisai, and crucially, has enjoyed a great camp in Los Mochis, Mexico to enter the showdown in great shape.
“I’ve always said there’s always a second chance and we need to take advantage of it,” said Estrada. “I was 50 per cent prepared last time, not because I didn’t want to train but because I had some injuries that affected my preparation and we had no choice but to keep facing the fight as it was a very important fight. This rematch is an opportunity and we will make the most out of it because we are well trained and the goal is to be a World Champion, doesn’t matter if it’s against Rungvisai or anyone else.
“After his hand was raised, I knew there will be a rematch because it was an interesting fight for the fans and for us, it had to be a rematch. I had to win my way back with two or three flights because I was ranked on the top 10 but needed to come up to the second rank to be able to get this fight and my team and I made it happen.
“I had a knee injury first time around and my reactions were not the same. I could not run the same, I was tired but I showed heart. The final round was one of the best rounds of the year, and if I was 100 per cent prepared with no injuries the whole fight would have been like that and maybe he wouldn’t handle that round.
“When a right-handed fighter faces a lefty, it could be a boring fight because of the stances, but when Rungvisai and I fight, our style of boxing is a great match and I think it wasn’t a dirty fight, I think it was a good fight for the fans and that they enjoyed it.
“If he is 100 per cent prepared like he was or more, I think it will be a more aggressive fight for both of us, a tougher fight but I will throw a lot more punches and that will make the difference. He is a fighter that doesn’t throw a lot of combinations, he is a fighter that is has trusts his punch, he has very strong punches and I progressively throw more combinations. I will look for the knockout thawing more punches and showing more intensity.
“Really being champion is the most important, doesn’t matter who is it against, and fighting Rungvisai, in my opinion he is the best of this division. If god gives me the chance to win the fight, I would like to fight against other World champions and defend my title with a few fights and then get to the next division.
“It will be like the first fight but now throwing a lot more punches, and like I said our styles are a great match. Our physical preparation will be crucial last time I was 50 per cent and now the key will be to get their 100 per cent.”
Estrada’s rematch with Rungvisai tops a huge card in Los Angeles with WBA World Super-Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman and IBF ruler TJ Doheny clashing in a unification battle.
Jessie Vargas (28-2-2 10 KOs) is on the hunt to become a three-weight World champion and he faces fellow two-weight World king Humberto Soto (69-9-2 37 KOs) in a crunch clash for their elite level aspirations. The Soto clash will be Vargas’ first fight with new trainer Freddie Roach, and it’s a busy evening for the Hall of Fame coach as Scott Quigg (35-2-2 26KOs) also looks to move to world honors in a new weight, targeting a Featherweight World title shot in the second half of the year.
Unbeaten Super-Middleweight talent Anthony Sims Jr is set for a breakout year and will fight for his first title on the bill. Sims (17-0 16 KOs), who is in action in Peterborough, England on Saturday night live on DAZN and Sky Sports, clocked three stoppage wins in the second half of 2018, and will look to convert that momentum in style in first the UK and then in LA.
Shakhram Giyasov (7-0 6KOs) and Diego Pacheco (2-0 1KO) landed wins in Tijuana, Mexico this weekend and will fight on the bill, while Eddie Hearn’s latest addition to his blossoming stable of young USA talents, Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams, will make his pro debut on the card.
Robert Easter Jr. and Rances Barthelemy Meet in WBA Lightweight Title Fight on April 27th
Former lightweight world champion Robert Easter Jr. and former two-division champion Rances Barthelemy will meet for the vacant WBA Lightweight Title on Saturday, April 27 live on SHOWTIME from The Chelsea inside of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING coverage begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will also feature former super lightweight champion Viktor Postol taking on France’s Mohamed Mimoune in a WBC super lightweight title eliminator, while rising heavyweight sensation Efe Ajagba looks to remain unbeaten against once-beaten German Michael Wallisch in a 10-round heavyweight attraction.
Easter vs. Barthelemy pits two highly skilled and explosive former 135-pound champions against each other as they look to grab a title and vault themselves back into the top echelon of the lightweight division.
Easter will return to the ring for the first time since losing his IBF title in a unification showdown with WBC Champion and pound-for-pound great Mikey Garcia last July on SHOWTIME. Barthelemy is undefeated at 135 pounds and returns to the lightweight division for his second fight since losing a 140-pound title rematch to Kiryl Relikh last March on SHOWTIME.
“Two former champions looking to reclaim their championship status speaks for itself in terms of the action and will to win that Easter and Barthelemy will bring on April 27,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “Both guys have already proven that they have what it takes to take care of business at this level. The eliminator bout, with Postol bringing his experience and Mohamed looking to take advantage of the opportunity, is a great lead-in to the main event attraction. Plus, Efe Ajagba will bring his A+ game in pursuit of a victory over Michael Wallisch. The fans in attendance at the Cosmopolitan here in Las Vegas, and tuning in on SHOWTIME, are in for a treat.”
“Easter vs. Barthelemy is a true 50-50 fight that will end with one of these fighters leaving the ring with one of the top spots in the lightweight division,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Both are former world champions at lightweight and possess the styles and attributes that should make this an action-packed match. Combined with a very competitive title eliminator between Viktor Postol and Mohamed Mimoune, plus the can’t-miss punching power of Efe Ajagba, this is going to be a dramatic night on SHOWTIME and at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions in association with About Billions Promotions, go on sale Monday, April 1, and can be purchased at www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com or through Ticketmaster.
The 28-year-old Easter (21-1, 14 KOs) won the IBF Lightweight Championship in 2016 by edging an exciting split-decision against then-unbeaten and current IBF titleholder Richard Commey. After two successful title defenses in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, Easter defeated former champion Javier Fortuna by decision in a January 2018 fight in SHOWTIME.
That victory set up a unification with WBC champion Mikey Garcia, in which Easter survived an early knockdown to push Garcia the full 12 rounds before coming up short on the scorecards. At 5-foot-11, Easter has continued to show the combination of size, skill and athleticism that made him a highly regarded prospect following an amateur career that featured a spot as an alternate on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.
“I’ve wanted to fight Barthelemy since he had the lightweight title and vacated it, and now I have the chance,” said Easter. “He has an awkward style and I’m up for that challenge. I am still coming in as the taller fighter with a reach advantage and I’ll use it to make this fight go how I want it to. He is a former world champion and he is coming to bring it just like I am.”
A decorated Cuban amateur who hails from a boxing family that includes his older brother, Olympic Gold Medalist Yan, and younger brother, unbeaten featherweight Leduan, Rances Barthelemy (27-1, 14 KOs) will return to lightweight to vie against one of the best fighters in the division. The 32-year-old now trains in Las Vegas and previously captured a 135-pound belt by defeating Denis Shafikov in December 2015.
Barthelemy won a 130-pound championship by defeating Argenis Mendez in 2014 and attempted to become the first Cuban three-division champion when he moved up to 140-pounds for his first fight against Relikh, a title eliminator that he won by decision. After dropping the rematch to Relikh in a vacant title fight on SHOWTIME, Barthelemy returned to the ring in December and stopped Robert Frankel.
“I’m looking forward to a great fight against Robert Easter Jr,” said Barthelemy. “I know I have what it takes to beat him and capture another title and become a three-time world champ. My best performances have come at 135 pounds. Both of us are former world champions who are hungry and will give the fans a sensational night of boxing. I’ve never lost at lightweight and that will continue on April 27. Don’t miss this fight on SHOWTIME. It’s now or never!”
Originally from Ukraine, but now fighting out of Los Angeles, Postol (30-2, 12 KOs) previously earned a 140-pound world title by knocking out Lucas Matthysse in 2015. The 35-year-old dropped the title in a unification showdown with Terence Crawford in 2016 before bouncing back by defeating then unbeaten Jamshidbek Najmiddinov. Last June he dropped a decision to unbeaten contender Josh Taylor and most recently he defeated Siar Ozgul in November.
The 31-year-old Mimoune (21-2, 2 KOs) has fought professionally since 2010 and will be making his U.S. debut against Postol on April 27. Representing Haute-Garonne, France, he is unbeaten in his last 10 fights dating back to 2014. His last five victories have come in 12-round decisions, including two last year over then unbeaten Emiliano Dominguez and most recently against Franck Petitjean.
Nigeria’s Ajagba (9-0, 8 KOs) gained notoriety last August 24 when his opponent, Curtis Harper, walked out of the ring after touching gloves to start the first round. The 24-year-old, 2016 Nigerian Olympian won the fight without throwing a punch as Harper was disqualified. In his last fight Ajagba, who lives in Stafford, Texas and trains with Ronnie Shields, defeated his toughest competition to date by stopping longtime contender Amir Mansour after two rounds.
Fighting out of Munich, Germany, Wallisch (19-1, 12 KOs) won his first 19 pro fights after turning pro in 2010, including a German heavyweight title-winning performance in 2013 against Alexander Kahl. The 33-year-old fought three times last year, picking up two knockout victories before losing to Christian Hammer in December.
World Heavyweight Champion Chris Byrd Joins BYB Extreme Announcing Team
Two-time world heavyweight boxing champion and 1992 Olympic silver medalist Chris Byrd has been added to an already strong BYB Extreme pay-per-view announcing team for its inaugural event, “BYB Brawl 1: Brawl For It ALL”, on Friday night, April 5, live from the Cheyenne Ice & Event Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Byrd will be part of the BYB Extreme announcing team at cage-side, along with blow-by-blow announcers Din Thomas and the othercolor commentators, Dyrushio “Rusy” Harris and his brother, Dhafir Harris, AKA iconic backyard-brawler Dada 5000. Tony Martinez will support the BYB announcing team in Spanish (SAP option), while veteran Bob Alexander is the BYB ring announcer.
“I’m excited to be part of the BYB team,” Bryd said. “I’m Looking forward to commenting and sharing my vast knowledge of boxing and many years of experience. Although the two sports are different, they are still very much the same. Looking forward to April 5th
“BYB Brawl 1: Brawl For It ALL” Is the first sanctioned-event promoted by BYB Extreme Fighting Series (BYB), bare-knuckles fighting’s most intense combat sports promoter, featuring 10 professional bare-knuckle fights and two mixed-martial-arts fights, all held inside the “The Trigon”, the most confrontational cage in combat sports. The much-anticipated show is presented by title sponsor Pure and Natural (www.getpureandnatural.com) and available to watch live worldwide on pay-per-view.
BYB Extreme and Lights Out Productions was initially inspired by the Backyard Fights that were held in Miami, featured in the award-winning documentary “Dawg Fight”, which debuted on Netflix and it still remains available to watch. Dada 5000 was the subject and star of “Dawg Fight”. Production of “Dawg Fight 2”, produced once again by award-winning documentary filmmaker Billy Corben (Rakontur), concludes at “BYB Brawl 1: Brawl for it ALL”.
Byrd, who now lives in San Diego, captured a silver medal for Team USA at the ’92 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. In 2003, Byrd upset Vitali Klitschko to become the World Boxing Organization (WBO) World heavyweight champion. During his illustrious professional career, Byrd (415, 22 KOs) also defeated Evander Holyfield and David Tua.
“Seems like every day a new piece gets added that gives BYB more depth and experience,” BYB Extreme president Mike Vazquez noted. “The addition of two-time World Heavyweight champion and US Olympic medal winner Chris Byrd does just that. We are very excited that Chris will be joining Din Thomas, Rusy Harris and Dada 5000 as part of our BYB Brawl broadcast team. His experience as a world Champion and what he will bring to the commentary is priceless. BYB may be a relatively new series, but we have all the tools to bring fight fans what they want, exciting well matched fights and a quality and experienced broadcast team that know first hand what they are talking about.”
“BYB Brawl 1: Brawl For It ALL” will revolutionize bare-knuckles fighting with all fights held inside its triangular cage, “The Trigon” (pictured below) – 7′ high fences, two beveled corners and a 60-degree, tight third-corner forming a triangle, totaling 187 square feet – marking the first time a professional bare-knuckles event is held inside a cage. This will also be the first time bare-knuckles fighting and MMA are contested in a cage on the same night.
Yunusov Shows Heart and Determination with Unanimous Decision Over Colon at SugarHouse Casino
Three-time Olympian Anvar Yunusov remained perfect by getting off the deck and fighting through a bad cut to win an eight-round unanimous decision over Carlos Colon in a junior lightweight bout that highlighted an action-packed ten bout card before a sold-out crowd on Friday night at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.
The card, which was promoted by King’s Promotions in association with Titans Boxing Promotions, was streamed LIVE (and now can be seen on-demand) all of the world on the King’s Boxing Facebook Page. The Main event can be seen HERE
Yunusov was dropped by a right hand in round three. He was cut badly in the same round over his right eye. Yunusov was able to shake off the rough 3rd frame to come back and put Colon down with body shot’s in rounds four and five. Yunusov was able to control the action down the stretch, and win by scores of 79-71 and 78-71 twice.
Yunusov of Philadelphia by way of Tajakistan is now 7-0. Colon of Lares, Puerto Rico is 5-2.
Erik Spring and Terrance Williams locked up in a very competitive eight-round super welterweight battle that saw Spring come through with a majority decision.
Spring of Reading, PA won by scores of 77-75 and 76-75, while one card read even at 76-76.
Spring is now 12-2-2. Williams of York, PA is 5-3-1.
Popular super middleweight Brandon Robinson needed one left hand to the body to take out Lawrence Blakey at 2:49 of the 1st round of their scheduled six-round bout.
Robinson of Philadelphia is 12-2 with nine knockouts. Blakey of Pittsburgh is 5-13-2.
Colby Madison beat down Emilio Salas and scored a 2nd round stoppage in a scheduled six-round heavyweight bout.
Madison of Owings Mills, MD is 8-0-2 with five knockouts. Salas of Yonkers, NY is 5-3-1.
Laquan Evans took a four-round split decision over Jordan Demko in a a middleweight bout featuring pro debuters.
The fighters mixed it up in an entertaining four-round scrap that saw the fight go back and forth. Evans was able to overcome being dropped in the 1st round.
Evans was able to fight back, and win by scores of 39-37 and 38-37 with Demko winning a card 39-37.
Anthony Mercado proved to be too much for Andres Navarro by scoring a stoppage at the end of round five of a scheduled eight-round bout featuring junior welterweights based in Puerto Rico.
Mercardo is 13-4 with 11 knockouts. Navarro is 11-8-1.
Ryan Humburger and Brent Oren put on a display that not only thrilled the capacity crowd in attendance, but kept everyone on their feet for the duration of their middleweight bout.
Both guys took turns pounding away on each other, with each debuter being several times before Oren was worn down and not able to come out for round four.
Michael Coffie scored a vicious 2nd round stoppage over Eduardo Vitela in a scheduled six-round heavyweight bout.
Cofffie landed a thudding left hook that immediately knocked Vitela out, and the fight was stopped at 1:10 of the 2nd frame.
Coffie of Brooklyn, NY is 6-0 with five knockouts. Vitela of Durango, Mexico is 3-4.