Boxing Insider Notebook: Farmer, Pulev, Fury, Rios, Showtime, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 21st to August 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Kubrat Pulev Promising ‘Fire & Fury’ in IBF Eliminator Against Hughie Fury on October 27th in Sofia, Bulgaria
On Saturday, October 27, “Fire & Fury” will collide, as IBF #2-rated heavyweight contender Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev will face Britain’s IBF #5-rated Hughie Fury in a 12-round elimination bout at the Arena Armeec in Pulev’s hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria.
Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) and Fury (21-1, 11 KOs) will be competing for the right to face the winner of the September 22 showdown between champion Anthony Joshua and challenger Alexander Povetkin.
The event, entitled “Fire & Fury” will be presented by Ivaylo Gotzev and John Wirt’s Epic Sports and Entertainment, together with Fury’s promoter, Hennessey Sports, and will be broadcast live in the UK on Channel 5.
One of the most popular athletes in all of Bulgaria, 37-year-old Pulev is on a five-fight winning streak, including a TKO 3 over former heavyweight champion Samuel Peter. Among his many distinctions, Pulev is a former two-time European and IBF International Heavyweight Champion. He stands 6’ 4 ½” and weighs in around 240 lbs. Pulev’s only career loss came in a challenge for the undisputed heavyweight championship against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. Fury is the fourth opponent scheduled to face Pulev, as Britain’s Dillian Whyte and Americans Jarell Miller and Dominic Breazeale all declined the fight.
Pulev, who will be having his first bout since partnering with Epic Sports and Entertainment, says Fury better not be looking past him while preparing for this fight.
“The fact that Hughie Fury is coming to Bulgaria when many others ran away speaks volumes,” said Pulev. “I understand that he is very motivated because this is an eliminator fight for a chance at the world title. I suggest he stops thinking about the world title for a moment and come prepared for a real battle. I am already in beast mode and I’m hungry for my return in the ring!”
Fury hails from Manchester and is the current BBBofC British Heavyweight Champion and is trained by his father, Peter Fury. The 23-year-old stands 6’ 6” tall and also weighs in around 240 lbs. In September of 2017, Fury suffered his only career loss, a controversial majority decision to Joseph Parker for Parker’s WBO Heavyweight Championship.
“It’s taken a lot of time to make this fight happen and I want to thank all of those involved,” said Hughie Fury. “I want to fight for world titles and to do that I need to beat the guys at the top of the division. Kubrat Pulev is a serious fight for the mandatory position and I know I’ve got to be the real deal to beat him. I believe I’m going to do that in his back yard where others trembled at the thought of it.”
“We want to be involved in these big fight nights and to go up against the big names that lead the division,” added father and trainer Peter Fury. “To become a world heavyweight champion, you’ve got to overcome every challenge that’s put in front of you. And for Hughie that starts in Bulgaria in October.”
“In this day and age, when some promoters and their fighters opt for the safest bets, Hughie Fury has done the opposite,” said Ivaylo Gotzev of Fury, who has faced his own share of delays and disappointments on his way to this eliminator bout. “Fury has decided to step into the Lion’s Den, and fight Kubrat in his home town of Sofia. This matchup is intriguing, as two of the best in the division step up and face one another. We expect a great heavyweight battle – one that will decide one man’s destiny to fight for the most coveted title in the world – the Heavyweight Championship. To all of Team Fury – you are welcome in Bulgaria!”
Hennessy Sports CEO Mick Hennessy, promoter of Fury, said: “First and foremost I’d like to heap praise on my young fighter Hughie Fury. There’s no pantomime and no theatrics. He’s just a young man, full of respect for everyone he faces, and who believes in giving the fans proper fights and value for money. At just 23 years of age Hughie is a massive talent. He’s not perhaps got the plaudits he deserves, so this is his moment to make the boxing world really sit up and take notice of what he’s capable of.”
“I’d also like to thank my counterparts at Epic Sports & Entertainment for making this fight happen. It’s taken a lot to get to this point, but we were determined to give the fans a fight that they deserve. Both teams are excited about this one.”
Uzcátegui and Jerwin Ancajas Headline Oakland Throwdown
IBF super middleweight champion José Uzcátegui, the power-punching boogeyman of the 168-pounders, will face Ezequiel Maderna in the 10-round, non-title main event on Friday, Sept. 28 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
And, in the co-feature, Jerwin Ancajas, the world’s longest-reigning 115-pound world champion, is ready to add another defense to his résumé. The southpaw Filipino sensation will make the sixth defense of his IBF junior bantamweight world title against the hard-charging Alejandro Santiago.
Ancajas-Santiago and Uzcátegui-Maderna will stream live in the United States beginning at 10:30 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 undercard will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET and includes a matchup of former 122-pound world champions: Jessie Magdaleno will take on Rico Ramos in a 10-round featherweight bout. Also appearing on the ESPN+ broadcast will be 118-pound contender Joshua Greer Jr. (17-1-1, 9 KOs) making his Top Rank debut in a 10-rounder against Giovanni Delgado (16-7, 9 KOs); the return of Filipino featherweight contender Genesis Servania (31-1, 14 KOs); and 18-year-old featherweight sensation Christopher Zavala (1-0) in a four-rounder.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions and Zanfer Promotions, tickets for this all-action card go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. PST. Priced at $105, $78.75, $52.50, and $26.25, including facility fees, tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at the Oracle Arena box office. The Oracle Arena box office is open Monday-Friday from 12-5 p.m.
“This is my first fight since winning the world title, and I will be representing my country and my beloved Tijuana, Mexico, with pride and guts,” Uzcátegui said. “I will show the world and my opponent why I’m the best super middleweight in the world right now!”
“I am very excited to defend my title in Oakland in front of the great fans there, and I look forward to a great challenge from Santiago,” Ancajas said. “There is a large Filipino community in Northern California, so I expect an incredible atmosphere inside the Oracle Arena. I also want to thank MP Promotions, Sean Gibbons, Top Rank, and Mr. Bob Arum for this opportunity.”
“I want to be a world champion again. I have that fire and that fuel, and I am ready to do whatever it takes to get back there,” Madgaleno said. “I have new trainers, Ismael Salas and Jorge Capetillo, and I feel like it’s been a great move. I feel like I Iacked movement in my last fight, and I felt like I needed to get back to the way I was when I won the world title against Nonito Donaire. Everyone will see a renewed Jessie Magdaleno when I fight Rico Ramos.”
Uzcátegui (27-2, 23 KOs) is coming off the biggest win of his career, an eighth-round stoppage against former world champion Andre Dirrell on March 3. It was a rematch of a controversial 2017 disqualification defeat for Uzcátegui, who was ruled to have knocked out Dirrell after the bell had sounded to end the eighth round. The win over Dirrell earned Uzcátegui the IBF interim title, but he was elevated to full champion after then-champion James DeGale elected to vacate the belt rather than face Uzcátegui. A native of El Vigia, Venezuela, Uzcátegui’s last 10 wins have come via stoppage. Maderna (26-4, 16 KOs), from Buenos Aires, Argentina, turned pro in 2008 and has won three of his past four fights.
Ancajas (28-1-1, 19 KOs) from Barangay Ramirez, Magallanes, Cavite, Philippines, is a southpaw power puncher who has been a world champion since Sept. 3, 2016, when he knocked down McJoe Arroyo in the eighth round en route to a unanimous decision victory. He is one of boxing’s most active champions, having defended his title three times in 2017 and twice in 2018. In his last bout, May 26 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, Ancajas defeated countryman Jonas Sultan via unanimous decision in the first all-Filipino world title bout since 1925. Ancajas is 16-0 with 14 knockouts since his only loss, a 10-round majority decision to Mark Geraldo on March 17, 2012.
Santiago (16-2-4, 7 KOs), a native of Tijuana, Mexico, is riding an 11-bout unbeaten streak dating back to August 2015. He last fought on March 14 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, battling to a spirited draw versus Jose Martinez for the NABO super flyweight title.
Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs) is a former WBO junior featherweight world champion who lost the belt in one of the best fights of 2018. On April 28 in Philadelphia, he knocked down Isaac Dogboe in the first round, but Dogboe rallied to score three knockdowns of his own and knock Magdaleno out in the 11th round of an instant classic. Ramos (29-5, 14 KOs), is a 10-year pro, won the WBA 122-pound title with a shocking, one-punch left hook knockout against Akifumi Shimoda in 2011, but lost the title in his first defense against then-unbeaten Guillermo Rigondeaux on Jan. 20, 2012 in Las Vegas. Ramos has won five in a row since a third-round KO loss against Claudio Marrero in July 2015.
WBC Ambassadors Maureen Shea and Brandon Rios Support the Grand Opening of Virgil Hill’s New Gym Funded by George Lopez
A few months ago, a Simi Valley Boxing Gym lost its owner due to canceR, It didn’t take much for comedian George Lopez and his company Fifty150 (Chasing Dreams – Overcome Obstacles) to step up to the plate and help save the gym the kids loved. This past Saturday, the gym had its Grand Opening ceremony where QuickSilver Hill Sports Academy was presented to the community with Head Coach, Former Champion, Virgil Hill.
In attendance at the Red Ribbon cutting ceremony was Former Champions and WBC Ambassadors, Bam Bam Brandon Rios and Maureen Shea, as well as Golden Boy Boxing’s house DJ Ray and hosting the event was Nancy Rodriguez. The WBC presented Virgil Hill with a WBC Certified plaque, very soon Pepe Sulaiman and team will be going to the gym for workshops and Boxing fundamentals.
The gym had two sparring sessions where both Brandon Rios and Maureen Shea were put in as trainers, which was great to see them in these roles. Many raffles, prizes, photos, autographs from the fighters, free food and drinks for all.
Rios and Shea spoke to the children in attendance and really gave them great advice on following their dreams and never giving up.
On behalf of the WBC, we’d like to congratulate Quicksilver Hill Sports Academy on their Grand Opening and we look forward to seeing them in the Boxing Community.
Showtime to Premiere Cradle of Champions
SHOWTIME has acquired the television rights to CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS, a documentary film that takes viewers through the New York Golden Gloves tournament, one of the most prestigious amateur boxing tournaments in the country. Written and directed by journalist Bartle Bull, the film will premiere Friday, September 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS chronicles three inspiring fighters—James Wilkins, Nisa Rodriguez, and Titus Williams—as they navigate the 10-week tournament and fight their way among 500 boxers from the five boroughs, all vying for the coveted title of Golden Gloves champion. Through the three intertwined yet unique narratives, the film explores the pressures and sacrifices on the arduous journey toward boxing greatness.
Shot in a cinema verité-style with no voice-over narration, the character-driven narrative examines what it means to “fight for your life,” not only for the boxers, but also for their coaches, mentors, teammates and loved ones. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS includes genuine characters and intimate revelations set against the gritty urban landscape of New York City to create a powerful and layered account of the 2015 tournament.
The film follows Williams and Wilkins as they battle through opposite sides of the 132-pound bracket. Williams is the tournament favorite on the brink of professional success. He is mentored by coach Joe Higgins, a retired New York City firefighter suffering from illnesses sustained during rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Wilkins, a Staten Island native who channels his propensity for fighting into an amateur career, aims to beat Williams and establish himself as a prospect to watch as he turns to the professional ranks. Meanwhile, single mother and teacher Rodriquez—a five-time Golden Glove champion and self-proclaimed, “fighting pride of the South Bronx”—attempts to cement her legacy as she sets her sights on the 2016 Olympic Trials.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is Bull’s first endeavor into documentary filmmaking. A New York based author and journalist by trade who specializes in foreign affairs and the Middle East, Bull has appeared on NPR, Fox News, BBC, and other news outlets, and his work has been featured in New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is executive produced by Donald Rosenfeld (Tree of Life, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Remains of the Day) and written and directed by Bull, in association with cinematographer Tom Hurwitz (The Queen of Versailles) and editor Michael Levine (Restrepo). The film was an official selection at the 2017 American Documentary Film Festival, the 2017 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Doc NYC 2017. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS was named Best Feature at the 2017 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.
The Underground Showdown Returns to Atlanta September 15
ATLANTA, GA- Saturday September 15, The Underground Showdown returns to Buckhead Fight Club, presented by Holmes Entertainment . This evening of pro/amateur boxing action will see an action packed card, and promoter Mark Holmes is excited to be back in Atlanta and return to professional boxing promotions. “”This is a great opportunity to see good, local growing talent, so I’m going to put some shows together and try and keep the fighters in all these gyms busy and fighting.”
Underground Showdown is stacked with many of the top Mexican fighters in Atlanta, all ready to battle it out on Mexican Independence weekend. Pro fighters scheduled to appear are: super welterweights Jesus Tavera and Anthony Hill in a 6 round main event; featherweights Deonte Brown and Joe Gibson, 4 rounds; super welterweights Antonio Todd and Jorge Gonzales Rolon, 4 rounds; fly weights Rondarius Hunter and Arrel Love, 4 rounds; Jerson Ramos, super featherweight opponent TBD, and welterweight Sean Charleston and opponent TBD. Amateur bouts will feature Abel Aparicio, Roberto Escalante, Luis Damian, Rafael Castillo, William Hernandez and Andres Leon.
Doors open 6 PM Saturday, September 15 at Buckhead Fight Club/Atlanta Art of Boxing, 3293 Buford Hwy. NE #500, with first bell at 7 PM Sharp. Tickets are available now at Buckhead Fight Club or online at: http://undergroundshowdown3.doattend.com
Former Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz Clashes with Hard-Hitting Brawler John Molina Jr. in Premier Boxing Champions Main Event
Expect fireworks when former welterweight champion “Vicious” Victor Ortiz meets hard-hitting former title challenger John Molina Jr. on Sunday, September 30 in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes live from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature a stacked lineup of undercard attractions leading up to the action-packed main event.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, go on sale tomorrow, August 24 at 12 p.m. PT and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Ortiz (32-6-3, 25 KOs) is an all-action boxer-puncher who comes to fight and is always in exciting battles. The 31-year-old southpaw has one of the best resumes of anyone in the welterweight division having been in against Floyd Mayweather, Andre Berto twice, Lamont Peterson, Luis Collazo and Marcos Maidana. Ortiz, who was born in Garden City, Kansas and now lives in Ventura, California, is coming off a majority draw against Devon Alexander in February.
“We’ve known each other a long time and we’re both always in exciting battles, so fans should expect nothing less on September 30,” said Ortiz. “I had a broken eye socket from an injury in the second round of the Alexander fight, but I’m feeling 100 percent now. I’m ready to take what is rightfully mine, and that’s another world title down the road. It’s going to be a way from round one and I can’t wait.”
Molina (30-7, 24 KOs) has never backed down from a challenge and has been in the ring with some of the best boxers from lightweight to welterweight during his career. The 35-year-old from Covina, California beat a fierce Ruslan Provodnikov by unanimous decision in 2016. Another standout battle from Molina’s career saw him drop former welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse twice before losing on an 11th round knockout. In his last fight he scored a fourth round TKO victory over Ivan Redkach in a back-and-forth bout from December on FS1.
“I respect Victor and everything he’s accomplished in this game, but I know that I have the tools to overcome everything he does,” said Molina. “Everyone knows that I’m in it to win it. We’re both going to be ready to mix it up and throw bombs. There is no way that I see this fight going the distance. It’s going to come down to heart and I’m going to be there until final bell.”
“Victor Ortiz vs. John Molina Jr. has war written all over it and should be another in a long line of memorable battles featuring these Southern California fan-favorites,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports. “These two men are known for leaving it all in the ring and giving the fans incredible action from the opening bell. I have no doubt that this will be another outstanding showdown, with the winner setting themselves up for even bigger things in the star-studded welterweight division. We’re excited to bring this matchup, plus a jam-packed undercard, to the fans in Ontario and watching live on FS1 and FOX Deportes.”
“This is a true crossroads battle between two hardnosed veterans who have fought almost every welterweight of note in the last decade,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The one thing you can be certain of when you get Victor Ortiz and John Molina Jr. in the ring is that a fight will break out. This match should be highly entertaining for the fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena and those who tune in on FS1 and FOX Deportes on September 30.”
Tevin Farmer Pens Multi-Fight Co-Promo Deal with Matchroom Boxing USA and DiBella Entertainment
Tevin Farmer has signed a multi-fight co-promotional deal with DiBella Entertainment and Matchroom Boxing USA.
The newly crowned IBF World Super Featherweight champion will make the first defense of his title live on DAZN in a bout to be announced this week – another step in the remarkable career of the popular southpaw.
Farmer travelled to Australia earlier in the month to land the title in convincing fashion in the backyard of Sydney’s Billy Dib, to claim the IBF strap at the second attempt having been on the wrong end of a controversial split decision against Kenichi Ogawa in Las Vegas in December, a result subsequently change to a no-contest following Ogawa failing a drugs test.
The Philadelphian ace’s win was a sweet moment after recovering from a career-threatening injury when he was shot in the hand in July 2017 – reaching the World title status his undoubted talent has always promised.
Farmer is hunting down unification bouts as soon as possible, with champions Gervonta Davis, Miguel Berchelt and Masayuki Ito all on his radar.
“Winning that belt after everything I’ve been through brought me indescribable joy,” said Farmer. “I always felt that I was a true champion. I just had to go over to Australia, capture the title and prove it, and I did just that. I came home a champion and celebrated, but I got right back in the gym. I want to be an active champion and defend my title. That’s why I’m so thrilled about this deal. It’s a pleasure to work with both DiBella Entertainment and Matchroom Boxing USA and I know that with us working together, big things are going to happen. Ultimately, my goal is to get all the belts and I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m open to fighting anybody to unify. I’m looking forward to showing the world who Tevin Farmer is and what I can do.”
“Through all of Tevin’s hard work, heart and determination, he overcame the odds, achieved his dream, and now he can enjoy the fruits of his labor,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This is a great deal that will help progress Tevin’s career as he begins his championship reign. Starting with his first title defense in October, Tevin will stay active as we work toward getting him the biggest and most meaningful fights available.”
“Tevin Farmer has a great story but more importantly to me the man can really fight,” said Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing USA. “He showed great heart to bounce back from that shocking decision in Las Vegas and go to Australia to win the title – and now the world is his oyster.
“We have a great fight lined up for him in October but the ultimate focus is Gervonta and other unifications. We are going to keep him nice and busy and we look forward to working with Tevin and Lou on this exciting journey.”