Boxing Insider Notebook: Garcia, WBSS, Hernandez, Carto, Beltran, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 16th to January 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Mikey Garcia vs. Sergey Lipinets Rescheduled for March 10th
The highly anticipated showdown between undefeated three-division world champion Mikey Garcia and IBF 140-pound champion Sergey Lipinets has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 10th. The Premier Boxing Champions event was set to take place on February 10th, but Garcia’s quest for a fourth world title had to be rescheduled following a training injury to Lipinets’ hand. The fight will be live on SHOWTIME and will remain in San Antonio but move to the Freeman Coliseum.
Ticket information will be released early next week. Those holding tickets for the original date at the Alamodome will receive priority on seat exchange for the new venue. Tickets are priced at $250, $150, $75, $50 and $20 and will be available at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 210 556-6390. The event is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, in association with Leija-Battah Promotions.
The remainder of the card will remain the same including the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature, which will see two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy taking on Kiryl Relikh in a rematch of their thrilling fight last May, 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.
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.
With a win, Garcia would become only the third fighter in modern history to become champion at 126, 130, 135 and 140-pounds, joining future Hall of Famers Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao*.
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.
Nico Hernandez to Fight on February 10th
2016 Olympic bronze medalist and hometown hero Nico Hernandez has fully recovered from an injury that postponed his December 2nd fight to Saturdeay, February 10, versus Hungarian champion Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai in the the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight title, headlining the “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” card, at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
“KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” is a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC., in association with Hartman Arena, and sponsored in part by Park City (KS), Twister City Harley-Davidson and Metro PCS.
The action will be taped live for future airing on CBS Sports Network.
The 22-year-old Hernandez (3-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of Wichita, suffered an undisclosed injury that forced him to withdraw from the Dec. 2nd fight. Neither Hernandez nor his promoter, John Andersen (KO Night Boxing, LLC), have revealed any details about Nico’s injury to avoid giving his opponent any possible advantage to target in the ring.
“I feel good, ready to fight,” Hernandez commented. “We wanted to make sure that I was injury free and I am 100-percent. I’m going to do whatever is needed to win this fight. Fighting for my first title means a lot to me. I didn’t think it would happen this fast. I want everybody to see that I can be competitive with the best in my division. A win February 10th will get me there a lot closer.
“My opponent like to runs a lot and he’s quick, so I need to have my legs under me. Other than that, though, I should be okay. He has fought some good guys. I can’t wait to get in the ring in front of my fans.”
Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs), who is one year and six days younger than Hernandez, has already fought in five title fights. He also went the full 10-round distance, albeit in a loss by decision in 2016, to two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou, the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight world champion. Fighting in his opponent’s hometown isn’t a problem for Ajtai, who has vast road experience having fought as a pro in the USA, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia.
“Nico will not know where I will be in the ring,” Ajtai predicted. “When he looks to the left for me, I will go to the right; when he tries to find me on the right, I will be on the left. When he wants to rest, I will come forward punching; when he wants to punch, he won’t find me.
“I have a plan for this fight and I’m sure he does as well. But, in the ring, only one fighter’s plan can succeed. It’s going to be a good fight, but I can’t promise the public that Nico will be the winner.”
“I’m excited that Nico is 100-percent healthy for this fight,” Andersen said. “We couldn’t be happier to bring this great fight, and many more as we move forward, to the great city of Wichita.”
In the six-round co-featured event, Minneapolis welterweight Javonte Starks (13-2, 7 KOs), a former Future Stars National Champion as an amateur, takes on veteran Mexican fighter Cesar Soriano (28-36-1, 17 KOs), the former FECARBOX lightweight titlist.
Tickets for Beltran-Moses Are on Sale
World championship boxing returns the “Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno Nevada! No. 1 world-rated lightweight contender RAY “Sugar” BELTRAN, fighting for his first world championship belt and his green card to stay in the U.S. with his family, will headline an all-action card on Friday, February 16, in the Grand Sierra Resort’s Grand Theatre. Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KOs), from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, will be battling former world champion and current No. 2 world-rated contender PAULUS MOSES (39-3, 24 KOs), from Windhoek, Namibia, for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight world title. The co-main event will feature undefeated NABF welterweight champion EGIDIJUS “The Mean Machine” KAVALIAUSKAS (18-0, 15 KOs), from Oxnard, Calif., by way of Kaunas, Lithuania, defending his title against former world champion DAVID “Ava” AVANESYAN (23-2-1, 11 KOs), of Pyatigorsk, Russia, in a 10-round battle of Top-10 world-rated contenders. Both title fights will be televised live and exclusively at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App at 7 p.m. EST. The championship event will also feature the return of 2016 Olympic silver medalist SHAKUR STEVENSON (4-0, 2 KOs), of Newark, NJ. Stevenson has a unique relationship with Reno, where he began each year from 2013 through 2015 by winning a national amateur title. Additionally, he won the gold medal and Outstanding Boxer award at the 2016 Olympic Trials. Stevenson has never lost in Reno
Two-time world heavyweight championship challenger and current Top-10 world- rated contender BRYANT JENNINGS (21-2, 12 KOs), of Philadelphia, PA, will also be featured on the undercard, in an eight-round bout. Jennings, who is a vegan, appears in “The Game Changers,” a documentary directed by Louie Psihoyos, the Oscar®-winning director of “The Cove.” “The Game Changers” tells the story of James Wilks — elite special forces trainer and winner of The Ultimate Fighter — as he travels the world on a quest for the truth behind the world’s most dangerous myth: that meat is necessary for protein, strength and optimal health. It premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Let’s Get It On Promotions, tickets to the Beltran-Moses world championship event will go on sale Tomorrow! Wednesday, January 24, at 1 p.m. EST / 10 a.m. PST. Priced at $79, $54, and $29, including facility fees, tickets may be purchased online at www.grandsierra.com, at the Grand Theater Box Office, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT, daily, or charge by phone at 1-775-789-1115.
“There isn’t a more inspiring story in boxing than Ray Beltran’s,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “It hasn’t been an easy road for Ray, but he has more than met the challenge time and time again. I can’t think of a better way to start Ray’s 2018 season than with this tremendous world championship fight. I am also looking forward to seeing the welterweight battle between Egidijus Kavaliauskas and David Avanesyan which should be nothing but fireworks. And no one lights up a night better than Shakur Stevenson, with his fast hands and bright smile.”
“I’m excited about this fight for many reasons. I’m fighting for myself, for my eighteen years I have worked to become a world champion, I am fighting for my family, my wife, and for my children to be proud of me,” said Beltran. “When you’re a champion, you are a champion forever. I am fighting for my team, the people who have been with me from the start. It’s easy when you are on your way up to have fans, but my true fans have been with me at my lowest, and stayed through my highs in life. This fight means everything to me, a victory will also seal my green card. For me to be world champion, and a citizen of this country, this is my dream. I respect my opponents always, but this is my destiny, and no man will get in the way of that. I’m ready to prove to everyone that I am the most dangerous lightweight in the world. I’m coming February 16th to take what was mine in Scotland, and when I leave Reno I am leaving as the WBO world champion.”
“I would like to thank God for this amazing opportunity. I have had a blessed boxing career and all thanks to everybody who supported me over the years. Thanks to my Promoter and mentor Nestor Tobias and to an amazing forward looking visionary sponsor in MTC who continues to push us to become only the best,” said Moses. “It’s been an incredibly positive week. I am honoured to have recently been inducted as a MTC Sports Legend, the highest sports honour in Namibia and now an amazing opportunity to fight Beltran who I highly regard, and of course an opportunity for me to become world champion again. I look forward to this fight and doing my country proud once again.”
“I don’t remember much about Avanesyan when we were in the amateurs. But he will, for sure, be my toughest opponent in the ring,” said Kavaliauskas. “I am very excited to show the best of me in this fight. Thank you, Top Rank and ESPN for giving me this opportunity — one step closer to getting a world title belt.”
“I am so glad and proud for the Mean Machine to climb to a new level. Thank you, Top Rank for giving the Machine an opportunity to make his debut on ESPN,” said Egis Klimas, who manages Kavaliauskas.
“This is a great opportunity for me to return to the top of the welterweight division,” said Avanesyan. “My trainer and I are working very hard on my conditioning, strength and strategy because we know what is at stake and we know Egidijus brings to the fight. And make no mistake, this is a fight.”
“I’m ready to kick off 2018 in my first eight-round fight. I’ve been wanting to go eight rounds for awhile now and I’m excited to finally get the opportunity in my first fight of the year.” said Stevenson. “I’m undefeated in Reno and won four national titles there in the amateurs, including the 2016 Olympic Trials, so I plan to keep that streak going on February 16.”
“Grand Sierra Resort is thrilled to host this exciting championship fight card and generate national TV exposure for the Reno-Tahoe region,” Christopher Abraham, VP of Marketing at Grand Sierra Resort said. “We are thrilled to work with such outstanding partners as Top Rank, ESPN and Let’s Get It On Promotions.”
Beltran, a native of Mexico who resides in Phoenix, AZ., enters this fight having won four of his last fights by knockout. A three-time lightweight world title challenger and a former sparring partner of eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Beltran still trains at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif. Beltran is fighting for more than just a world title. He is fighting to obtain his green card so that he can remain in the U.S. with his family under the Extraordinary Ability as a Professional Boxing (EB-1) Employment-Based First Preference category.. A world title victory will all but assure him of his permanent status. Recent career highlights include one-punch knockout victories over Mason Menard (32-1, 24 KOs) and Jonathan Maicelo (32-1, 24 KOs) on December 10, 2016 and May 20, 2017, respectively. In his most recent fight, Beltran solidified his upcoming world title shot by winning a gritty majority decision over former two-time interim World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight world champion Bryan Vasquez (36-2, 19 KOs), on August 5. Vasquez was world-rated No. 1 by the WBA when they fought. Beltran is currently world-rated No. 1 by the WBO and the World Boxing Council (WBC).
Moses captured the WBA world lightweight title in 2009, traveling to Yokohama, Japan to defeat defending champion and hometown favorite Yusuke Kobori via a unanimous decision. After one successful title defense — another unanimous decision victory, this time over Takehiro Shimada, Moses’ 15-monthn reign as world champion ended in 2010 at the hands of Miguel Acosta. Since losing a unanimous decision to Ricky Burns in their 2012 WBO lightweight world championship fight, Moses has strung together an impressive record of 11-1, 1 NC, including TKO victories over Cosmas Cheka and Crispin Moliati in his last two fights and a two-year reign as WBO International lightweight champion and his current 14-month reign as WBO Africa lightweight champion. Moses, a veteran who has fought professionally in Asia, Europe and Africa, will be making his North America debut.
World Boxing Super Series Semi-Finals Schedule
Super Channel, the No. 1 destination network for Canadian boxing fans, will air the upcoming semifinals of the popular World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament, featuring world-class cruiserweight and super middleweight divisions action, live from various venues in Europe.
Super Channel acquired exclusive rights in Canada to air the entire WBSS tournament from MP & Silva, a leading international media company that provides media rights, digital, technology and sponsorship services.
“We are thrilled that the WBSS is returning to Super Channel for exclusive Canadian coverage of the highly anticipated semifinals,” said Troy Wassill, Director of Programming, Domestic Distributors and Sports. “I have no doubt that every single bout is going to deliver exciting, must-see action for boxing fans, as these world-class fighters compete to see who is going to go head-to-head for the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.”
WBSSis a revolutionary bracket-style elimination tournament featuring the world’s best boxers and a total of $50 million in prize money. The knockout format of the competition will see the best boxers ultimately compete for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, the greatest prize in boxing. The tournament is organized by newly-founded Comosa AG, a Swiss-registered company with principal owners Highlight Event & Entertainment, Modern Times Group and Team Sauerland. Comosa AG is working in partnership with boxers, promoters and managers around the world, and in alignment with the four major world boxing federations, to create a new global platform for the sport.
The first of its kind tournament, which is planned to take place on an annual basis, kicked off this past September with quarterfinals competition in two divisions, cruiserweight and super middleweight. An expert panel invited the world’s best boxers to compete, namely the top 15-ranked fighters of the four major federations: WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO. The winners of the two semifinals will advance to the championship round in both divisions this May.
Below find the WBSS semifinals schedule and a preview of the four matches and eight fighters who survived the quarterfinals:
January 27, Riga Arena, Riga, Latvia – WBO/WBC Unification
Oleksandr “The Cat” Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs), WBO World Champion, Ukraine – Ring #1 vs. Mairis Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs), WBC World Champion, Latvia – Ring #3
February 3, Bolshoy Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia – IBF/WBA Unification
Murat “Iron” Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs), IBF World Champion, Russia – Ring #2 vs. Yunier “The KO Doctor” Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs), WBA World Champion, Cuba – Ring #5
February 17, Manchester, Arena, Manchester, UK – WBA/IBO Unification
“Saint” George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs), WBA World Champion, United Kingdom – Ring #2 vs. Chris “Next Gen” Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs), IBO World Champion, United Kingdom – Ring #4
February 24, Arena Nurnberger Versicherung, Nuremburg, Germany
Juergen Braehmer (49-3 35 KOs), Germany – Ring #10 (Former WBO & WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion) vs. Callum “Mundo” Smith (23-0, 17 KOs), United Kingdom – Ring #3 (WBC Diamond Super Middleweight Champion)
Christian Carto to Face James Smith on March 2nd
Popular and undefeated bantamweight Christian Carto will headline a packed night of boxing when he takes on James Smith in an eight-round bout on Friday, March 2nd at The SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.
The card is promoted by King’s Promotions.
Carto of Philadelphia has a record of 13-0 with 11 knockouts. The 21 year-old has established himself as one of the top prospects in Philadelphia, and the popular Carto continues to draw large and enthusiastic crowds to his fights.
Carto, who had a very active 2017 as he mustered seven victories and has a signature win over Alonso Melendez (14-1). Carto is coming off an eight-round unanimous decision over Luis Fernando Saavedra on December 1st at The SugarHouse Casino.
This will be Carto’s 7th appearance at The SugarHouse Casino.
Smith of Detroit has a record of 12-1 with seven knockouts.
The 27 year-old is a seven-year professional, who won his first 11 bouts, which was highlighted by a win over Olimjon Nazarov (14-2).
After suffering his lone defeat, Smith won his last bout as he stopped Yaqub Kareem on August 4, 2017 in Detroit.
In an eight-round all-Philadelphia super middleweight bout, Christopher Brooker (12-5, 5 KOs) battle Jamaal Davis (16-12-1, 7 KOs).
In an eight-round bout, Tyrone Crawley, Jr. (7-0) of Philadelphia takes on Anthony Mercado (10-3, 9 KOs) of Arecibo, PR in a super lightweight bout.
David Gonzales (8-2-2, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia will fight Victor Vazquez (9-3, 3 KOs) of Yonkers, NY in a super lightweight contest.
Undefeated Marcus Bates (8-0-1, 6 KOs) of Washington, DC will take on an opponent to be named in a eight-round super bantamweight fight.
Carlos Rosario (7-3, 4 KOs) of Pennsauken, NJ will square off with Seifullah Wise (3-4, 1 KO) of Philadelphia in a super featherweight fight.
Darius Ervin (4-1) of Los Angeles tangles with Jesus Perez (3-0, 1 KO) of Reading, PA in a super lightweight fight.
Jerrod Miner (1-1, 1 KO) of Philadelphia fights Rondarrius Hunter (1-2, 1 KO) of Atlanta in a four-round super flyweight bout.
Tickets are on sale for $100, $75, $50, and can be purchased at SugarHouseBoxing.eventbrite. com.