Boxing Insider Notebook: Groves, Eubank, Barrios, Garcia, Stevenson, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 6th to February 13th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Undefeated Light Contender Mario Barrios Steps Up Elite Training with SNAC System
Undefeated 140-pound contender, Mario “Nino de Oro” Barrios (20-0, 12 KOs) takes his strength and conditioning to an elite level with Victor Conte’s SNAC System. Barrios will face Eudy Bernardo in a 10-round bout on SHOWTIME BOXING on SHO EXTREME Saturday, March 10 from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
In preparation for his homecoming fight, Barrios has begun training with SNAC track coach and living legend Remi Korchemny, one of the world’s best elite performance trainers. Barrios is entering his third week with Korchemny, who’s worked with Andre Ward, Demetrius Andrade and Nonito Donaire to name a few. Korchemny sees significant improvement with Barrios’ speed and explosiveness.
“Barrios is a world class athlete with a tremendous work ethic and I see him getting stronger as we continue our rigorous training methods.” said Victor Conte, CEO/Founder of SNAC Nutrition supplements. “Barrios has really taken the next step to becoming a more explosive fighter. Remi and Mario are working great together.”
“Remi is having me do workouts that I have never done before, and our focus is on speed and explosiveness,” said Mario Barrios. “I am grateful to Victor Conte and Remi Korchemny for providing such top-level training prior to my big fight on Showtime.”
“Remi Korchemny is a world-renowned trainer who helps elite boxers develop more power in their punches.” Victor Conte concluded. “This is next level preparation. Only a select few are able to work with Remi and Barrios is definitely worthy.”
TMB and PRB Entertainment Sponsored by MIkey Garcia Promotions Presents Friday Night Fights
TMB & PRB Entertainment, sponsored by Mikey Garcia Promotions, present “Friday Night Fights”, live professional boxing Friday, March 9, 2018, from the Mi Mercado Event Center in San Antonio, TX. The card will showcase ten fights, all featuring hot prospects in 4-round bouts.
Undefeated featherweight sensation and San Antonio native, Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (4-0, 2 KOs) vs. Jose Casiano (0-1) will serve as the main-event. In the co-feature, Arnold Alejandro (5-0, 4 KOs) battles Christian Santibanez (5-7, 3 KOs).
“We are very excited to be working with TMB & PRB Entertainment,’ said Robert Garcia, who runs and operates Mikey Garcia Promotions. “Mikey and I want to build a great boxing series here with my good friends Rick Morones and Greg Hannley of Prince Ranch Boxing. I know with hard work we can bring a lot of big fights to San Antonio.”
“Mikey and Robert Garcia bring great name recognition to the boxing community here in San Antonio,” said Rick Morones of TMB & PRB Entertainment. “Our local fans are asking for more boxing events and we are delivering. We are thrilled to be working with the Garcia family and March 9th is going to be a great night of boxing.”
Rounding out the card will be super bantamweight’s Angel Alejandro (1-0, 1 KO) vs Jose Elizondo (2-4-1), super middleweights Eddie Hunter Ortiz (5-0-2, 3 KOs) vs. Edward Tigs (4-7-3), lightweight’s Frank “Bloodhound” Brown (3-1-1, 1 KO) vs. Joe Sombrano (2-11-1, 2 KOs), super middleweight’s Tommy Kamara (0-1) vs. Patrick Clarke (Pro Debut), bantamweights Aaron Morales (Pro Debut) vs. Carlos Lopez (Pro Debut), and Featherweight Louie “King” Coria (6-1, 4 KOs) vs. TBA. More bouts to be added on a later date.
Multiple division world champion Mikey Garcia, former world champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, 3-time world champion Abner Mares, and world title contender Josesito Lopez, will all be special guests at the event.
Ringside tickets priced at $100, and general admission $30, are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (210) 449-5599 or (210) 322-9974. The Mi Mercardo Event Center is located at 227 New Laredo Hwy, San Antonio, TX. Doors open at 6:30 PM, first bell at 8:00 PM.
Super Middleweight World Champions George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. World Boxing Super Series Semifinals Airing on Super Channel in Canada
World champions “Sir” George Groves and Chris “Next Gen” Eubank Jr., both fighting out of the United Kingdom, will open World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) semifinals-round action in the super middleweight division, this Saturday at Manchester Arena in Manchester United Kingdom.
The Groves vs. Eubank Jr card, starting at 2 p.m. ET, will air live in Canada, exclusively on Super Channel.
The Groves-Eubank Jr. winner will advance to the WBSS championship final against the winner of the other WBSS super middleweight semifinals bout, Feb. 24 in Germany, between Juergen Braehmer (49-3, 35 KOs) and Callum “Mundo” Smith (23-0, 17 KOs). The two semifinals victors will battle for the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Super Channel acquired the exclusive rights in Canada to broadcast the World Boxing Super Series from MP & Silva, a leading international media company that provides media rights, digital, technology and sponsorship services.
Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) knocked out defending champion Fedor Chudinov in the sixth round to capture the World Boxing Association (WBA) super middleweight title last May. In the WBSS quarterfinals, Groves stopped previously undefeated Jaime Cox in the fourth round. All three of Groves’ pro losses have been to world champions, twice to his fellow countryman Carl Froch and Badao Jack.
“The hype behind this fight is huge,” Groves said. “I hope the fight justifies it. On paper, this is billed as a 50-50 fight with Eubank Jr. maybe even or being made the favorite. I don’t really understand that. I think the form, the history, the experience, the ability all lie in my favor and I’m looking forward to a big night. It’s a semifinal in a tournament I expect to win, so it’s a stepping stone, another step on the way for me.
“Chris Eubank Jr. puts on a façade that he’s able to do everything himself, that’s he’s a one-man band. But it’s very difficult doing stuff on your own, so we’ll see if he starts to make changes and adapts. He’ll have to. Obviously, this is his first really big fight, definitely at super middleweight, and I believe that he is going to fall short in a lot of categories.”
The son of two-time, two-division world champion Chris Eubank, Eubank Jr. was crowned International Boxing Organization (IBO) super middleweight world champion a year ago, when he knocked out Renold Quinlan in the 10th round. He successfully defended his belt last June, taking a 12-round unanimous decision over three-time, two-division world champion Arthur Abraham (46-5). In the WBSS quarterfinal round, Eubank Jr. stopped Avni Yildirim (16-0) in the third round.
“I’ve had many big fights, but this is probably the biggest in terms of profile, the tournament and hype,” Eubank Jr. commented. “But at the end of the day, I always rise to the occasion. The bigger the fight, the better I perform.
George seems to be hung up on what I’ll do. He needs to worry about himself. Thinking about me isn’t going to get him anywhere. I’m a man of my word and George, you will not see the end of the 12th round. He doesn’t have speed, his defense is poor, and his stamina is average, at best. The fact that he’s lacking in those things means he won’t be able to compete with me. I’m not a stepping stone, I’m Mount Everest, and you’re not going to climb me.”
Four potentially explosive fights, including three title matches, are on the “Groves vs. Eubank, Jr.” card, presented by Sauerland Event, airing exclusively in Canada on Super Channel.
The 10-round WBSS Super Middleweight Substitute Fight features undefeated Brit Zach Parker (14-10, 10 KOs) vs. Adasat “Toro” Rodriguez (16-6-2, 10 KOs), of Spain. British middleweight titlist Tommy Langford (19-1, 6 KOs) defends his title against challenger Jack Arnfield (25-2, 6 Kos) in a 10-round bout, and British featherweight champion Ryan Walsh (22-2-1, 11 KOs) takes on unbeaten challenger Isaac Lowe (14-0-2, 5 KOs) in a 12-rounder. Two “swing bouts” could air pending results of the televised bouts: four-round light heavyweight match between pro-debuting Sebastian Eubank and Poland’s Kamil Kulczyk (2-8, 1 KO) and a six-round bout between a pair of British welterweights, Danny Craven (3-1, 1 KO) and Luther Clay (6-1, 3 KOs).
Sullivan Barrera “After Ward, Bivol is My Toughest Challenge
Top light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera is working hard in the second half of his training camp for his March 3rd HBO televised clash against WBA light heavyweight champoin Dmitry Bivol.
The 35-year-old former Cuban amateur standout has been on quite a run. After losing a unanimous decision to the now retired former pound-for-pound king Andre Ward, Barrera has put together a four fight win streak against the likes of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Paul “Pay Per View” Parker, Joe Smith Jr. and the hard hitting Felix Valera.
While that is an impressive list, Barrera knows that none of those opponents are as formidable as the challenge that lies ahead of him on March 3rd at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
“Bivol is a great fighter. He will be the second best fighter I have faced and second only to Andre Ward,” said Barrera. “He has a great amateur pedigree and has been knocking out the majority of his opponents. I know I need to bring my ‘A’ game to beat him.”
Bivol has stopped his previous four opponents and only 2 of his 12 victims have made it to the final bell. Barrera has a lot of respect for his opponent and believes his power is legitimate.
“He has knocked guys out with one punch. I know I have to be careful in there. He is a very confident fighter. He knows he has power and knows how to get in position to use it. That is why I am taking him very seriously,” Barrera explained.
Barrera knows that a victory over Bivol will open a lot of doors as fights against champions like Sergey Kovalev, the Adonis Stevenson-Badou Jack winner and Artur Beterbiev could be available to him but the Cuban refuses to look ahead.
“March 3rd is all that matters. God willing I get the win and then we can talk about future plans but right now I am focused on Bivol. I know I have to concentrate on him and give him all of my attention,” said Barrera.
Olympic Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson Set to Open 2018 in Impressive Fashion in Reno
From 2013 through 2015, 2016 Olympic silver medalist and featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.) (4-0, 2 KOs) opened his competitive year in Reno, Nev. He will return to that tradition in 2018, kicking off the year in an eight-round featherweight contest versus Juan Tapia (Brownsville, Texas) (8-1, 3 KOs) on Friday, February 16 at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino’s Grand Theater.
Competing in Reno has always been a good luck charm of sorts for Stevenson with his run to both Junior and Youth World titles, a Youth Olympic Games gold medal and even his berth in the 2016 Olympic Games all beginning with domestic competitions in the “Biggest Little City in the World.” The Grand Sierra will also be a familiar venue for Stevenson who earned three straight Junior and Youth Open titles in the hotel as a teenager.
It’s only fitting that he prepares for his return to Reno and first eight-round bout at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the new USA Boxing training facility now showcases an action shot of the 20-year-old proudly on the gym wall.
Stevenson is training for his fifth professional fight with coach Kay Koroma and alongside the USA Boxing National Team, which includes three teammates from his home gym, the Alexandria Boxing Club in Alexandria, Va. He even enjoyed a special visit from Olympic gold medalists Andre Ward and Claressa Shields earlier in his training camp and Ward, Stevenson’s co-manager, will be ringside for Stevenson’s bout on February 16.
He looks forward to kicking off 2018 in impressive fashion after scoring four professional wins in 2017, including two TKO victories in New York, near his hometown of Newark. He hopes to be even busier in 2018 as he works toward his goal of becoming a World Champion.
Stevenson and his team will conclude training camp this weekend and travel to Reno on Monday in preparation for his February 16 bout. His fight will take place on the undercard of the Ray Beltran – Paulus Moses World Championship fight which will be televised on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Derrick Webster Earns Win Number 25
Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster (25-1, 13 KOs) was back in action on Saturday night at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, battling gritty opposition in power-puncher Francisco Cordero (38-10, 29 KOs). All but one ringside judge scored it a complete shutout for Webster, who earned the win via counts of 80-72 twice and 79-73.
“He was a tough opponent,” Webster said of Cordero. “He definitely wasn’t as fast as me and couldn’t move with me. I knew he didn’t like the body shots, so I probably should have gone to the body a little more. I was also landing left hooks on him, but he had a strong base. After not fighting since August, I was knocking a lot of ring rust off, but I ultimately came out and did what I needed to come away successfully with another victory.”
Webster was working the jab early in this contest, establishing his range and keeping his hands busy. In the second frame, he began tossing some throwaway jabs that he followed-up with a straight right hand down the middle, something that would be successful for him throughout the evening. He continued to do a nice job of keeping Cordero on the edge of his attack, and he looked to be in complete control by the time the middle rounds arrived.
Cordero had trouble getting inside the 6-foot-4 frame of Webster, as his offense quickly became restricted to a two-punch combination of an attempted jab to the body and a wild overhand right. Throughout the bout, Webster was able to continually read Cordero correctly, and he repeatedly missed with those shots.
In the latter rounds, Webster mixed in flurries while keeping Cordero distanced on the perimeter of his range, which prevented his opponent him from being able to get much offense going. Webster eventually put the exclamation point on the bout with a fast start to the eighth and final frame before finishing off a strategic win that never allowed Cordero to bring his power into play.
The victory stands as the 25th win for the Glassboro, N.J. native, a prestigious mark that was clearly significant to him.
“It means everything,” Webster said of reaching 25 victories. “I’m a student of the game, and I will remain a student of the game so I can keep on growing.”
With his first fight of the year now under his belt, Webster looks to springboard this win into a busy 2018. He hopes to step back into the ring as early as March.