Boxing Insider Notebook: Hammer, Shields, De La Hoya, Hall of Fame, Young, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 23rd to May 30th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Luis Arevalo Jr./Westside Boxing
Diego De La Hoya and Mercito Gesta Workout Quotes
Diego De La Hoya (20-0, 9 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico hosted a media workout today at Wild Card Boxing Club ahead of the June 8 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. De La Hoya will defend his NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Titles against Jose “Sugar” Salgado (35-4-2, 28 KOs) of Cozumel, Mexico in the 10-round main event.
DIEGO DE LA HOYA, NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Champion:
“This is going to be a tough fight. Salgado has the record of a knockout artist. But that doesn’t intimidate me. I’m going do a good job and show that I’m back. I’m going to show that I’m ready for a world title shot. He’s been saying a few things about me, but he just wants me to lose my focus. He can talk all he wants, but I’ll do my talking in the ring. All I have to say is that I’m going to give a great fight. Winning this fight, I want to face any champion who will give me the opportunity. But they just have to know what they will lose their title fighting me.”
MERCITO “NO MERCY” GESTA, Former Lightweight Title Challenger:
“I feel excited for every fight. It’s another great event. Every event that I fight I treat as something special. Manzanarez is tough, but I’ll need to figure him out in the ring. Based on the videos, it’s tough to get on the inside because he’s tall, long and knows how to use that as advantages.”
“I learned from my world title fight. It boosted my confidence because I did so well against a great fighter. Every opponent is different and has different styles. I can’t look down on this guy. He’s not a stepping stone, and I will treat him as a world champion. I see myself fighting for a world title again soon. I still feel strong and ready. I still have a long way left in my career. I want any champion in the division. I’m always ready to take a fight.”
Anthony “Juice” Young Signs with Real Deal Entertainment
Boxing manager Rich Masini announced that welterweight Anthony “Juice” Young has signed a promotional contract with Real Deal Entertainment.
Young (18-2, 6 KOs) of Atlantic City will make his debut under the Real Deal Entertainment banner when he takes on this Saturday night when he takes on Enver Halili (10-1, 3 KOs) in a scheduled eight-round bout at Boardwalk Hall in his hometown of Atlantic City.
“I am happy to join Real Deal Boxing. They are an up-and-coming promotion,” said Young.
In Halili, Young will be fighting the brother of a former opponent who defeated Young for one of his two defeats.
“I expect a tough fight. I saw his fight against Raymond Serrano, and I think he was winning until he got disqualified. I expect to get the victory.. At the end of the day, he is not his brother Skender. When his brother beat me, it was just a little setback.”
The Atlantic City native is honored and motivated to be performing on Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame weekend.
“It is special to fight at Boardwalk Hall. I am now at the point of my career, that I am set on bigger fights, and it is an honor to fight on Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame weekend. It motivates me as I want to be be inducted when my career is over.”
Masini, who has managed Young for the last six-years, is excited at the new partnership that he has for his fighter.
“I have seen “Juice” Improve greatly over his last seven fights. It is Anthony’s commitment and his team led by trainer Raul “Chino” Rivas that have done a great job with his preperation,” said Masini. “In addition, Anthony’s dad, Teany has helped me in the management end of things. I am very proud of him. He has matured inside and outside of the ring.”
“I am looking forward to working with Real Deal Entertainment. Sal Musumeci has been a long time friend, and this is the final piece of the puzzle in-terms of completing the team around Anthony. The reason that I am in this business is because of people like Anthony. He is loyal, dedicated, and now has all of the pieces to become world champion. We have tried to keep him busy, but in the last eight-months, we have had some fights fall out, but we are back on Saturday against Enver Halili. “Juice” will be ready to show all that he is on the rise.”
Ballard vs. Idigov Added to Claressa Shields vs. Hannah Gabriels Card
The Salita Promotions professional boxing event on Friday, June 22, at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, is heating up even more with the announcement of an intriguing match-up of promising light heavyweight prospects with local ties.
In a fight with explosive action written all over it, Detroit’s own James “The Equalizer” Ballard (10-1, 3 KOs) will face undefeated Aslambek Idigov (12-0, 5 KOs), from Detroit via Grozny, Russia, over 10 exciting rounds.
Fighting mostly in his home city, the 28-year-old Ballard has become a fan favorite for his fearlessly aggressive style. Ballard says he refuses to lose on his home turf of Detroit.
“Expect a war,” said Ballard. “I will go out there and give the fans what they want by going toe-to-toe. I am coming for Idigov’s O. I’m not going to be out-boxed in my hometown. It’s a respect thing. It’s going to be a long night for him. We are training hard and ready to go hard every round if it takes that long. June 22 can’t get here soon enough. I’m more than ready to send Russia back home.”
A compact puncher with pinpoint accuracy, Idigov has fan favorite written all over his muscular frame. Since he began training in Detroit’s famed Kronk Gym, Idigov says he’s learning to fight the American way.
“Training at the Kronk Boxing Gym in Detroit has been a great experience for me and I learn a lot and get better every day. I love their philosophy that the best win is a knockout!”
James Ballard is a very good fighter. I have no problem fighting him and winning in his hometown, which is becoming my second home as well. Let’s get it on!”
“This is a classic, crossroads fight between two talented and hungry prospects,” said event promoter Dmitriy Salita. “This is a ‘pick em’ type of match that will bring excitement to fans in the championship City of Detroit!”
The skillful pair will duel as part of the untelevised undercard of the blockbuster “It’s Our Time to Shine” event featuring two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and current Unified Women’s Super Middleweight Champion Claressa Shields attempting to become a two-division world champion against unified 154-pound champion Hanna Gabriels for the vacant IBF and WBA Women’s Middleweight World Championships.
The main event will be televised live on SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION (10 p.m. ET/PT) and will also feature highlights of Unified Women’s Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer as she defends her WBC & WBO Titles in her U.S. debut against former world champion Tori Nelson.
Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend to Feature Mazion vs. Pauldo on ESPN
Travell “Black Magic” Mazion(12-0, 11 KOs) of Austin, Texas will put his undefeated record on the line against once-beaten Daquan Pauldo(17-1, 9 KOs) of Orlando, Florida in an eight-round super welterweight fight in the co-main event of the June 8 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. In the main event, Diego De La Hoya(20-0, 9 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico will defend his NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Titles against Jose “Sugar” Salgado(35-4-2, 28 KOs) of Cozumel, Mexico in the 10-round fight.
ESPN3 will stream the fights live beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fights at 12:30 a.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT. ESPN Deportes will air the fights the following day at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Mazion has the tools and the team that are guaranteed take him to the top, especially since he is trained Ozell Nelson. Nelson is known for training former undisputed middleweight championand Olympic Bronze Medalist Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor, who in his prime ended Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins’12-year reign as world champion. Mazion has been touted to have all the skills that Taylor had bad more, reflected partly by his 90% knockout rate.
“I have the team and the skills, both of which will do all the talking,” said Travell Maizon. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be the co-main event for such a legendary weekend, especially because I’ve got a legendary coach behind me. I want to thank Golden Boy and my team. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
Representing Orlando, Fl., Daquan Pauldo, formerly known as Daquan Arnett, only has one-blemish on his record. Pauldo has come back with six impressive victories since.
“I’ll make sure that people haven’t forgotten about me,” said Daquan Pauldo. “I wanted to be more active this year. I’ve been training harder at my original weight class, and I will come into the ring on ESPN showing that I’m someone you should look out for. I want to thank Golden Boy and my team for this opportunity. I’m ready.”
The event will take place during the International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, where legendary fighters such as “Dr. Ironfist” Vitali Klitschko, Erik “El Terrible” Morales, and Ronald “Winky” Wright will be inducted, along with important figures in the sport of boxing such as Peter Kohl, Steve Albert, Jim Gray and Lorraine Chargin.
Super lightweight prospect Daniel Zorrilla (6-0, 5 KOs) of Rio Piedras, Puerto will participate in the night’s swing bout, which is schedule for four or six rounds against a soon-to-be-announced opponent.
Participating in a four-round super lightweight fight, Dallas, Tex.’s Alex Rincon (3-0, 3 KOs) against Agua Prieta, Mex.’s Engelberto Valenzuela (11-13, 3 KOs). Rincon, whose fights have all ended in a knockout, will seek to maintain his unblemished knockout record.
Kenneth “Bossman” Sims, Jr. (12-1, 4 KOs) of Chicago, Il. will participate in a six-round super lightweight fight. The “Bossman” fought at the 2012 Olympic Trials, losing to eventual representative Jose Ramirez by one point.
In a four-round heavyweight fight, Syracuse, New York’s Luis Vargas (3-0, 2 KOs) will return to Turning Stone Resort Casino after ending his previous fight in a clear unanimous decision victory. Lawrence Gabriel (2-1-1, 1 KO), who also represents Syracuse, will open up the card in a four-round cruiserweight battle and will return after a technical knockout victory earlier in May.
De La Hoya vs. Salgado is a 10-round super bantamweight fight for the NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Titles presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Don Chargin & Paco Presents.The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle.” The fights will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. ESPN3 will stream the fights live beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fights at a delayed start time of 12:30 a.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT. ESPN Deportes will air the fights the following day at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend is packed with a series of events starting Thursday, June 7 until the induction ceremony on Sunday, June 10. The weekend kicks off on Thursday with the opening bell ringing and ringside lectures on the museum grounds. Friday, June 8 will feature another series of lectures preceding the celebrity fist casting, followed by the highly anticipated Fight Night, broadcasted live from Turning Stone. Saturday, June 9 will showcase a golf tournament, a 5K race, another series of lectures, a boxing autograph card show, a VIP “Gala” and the Banquet of Champions at 8:00p.m. The weekend will conclude on Sunday with the Parade of Champions and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 2:30p.m. Click here to see the full schedule.
Host of the June 8 event, Turning Stone Resort Casino is a Forbes Four-Star Award-winning destination resort, which continues to distinguish itself as a premier venue for fight-of-the-year level boxing. The May event will mark Turning Stone’s 26th nationally-televised boxing event, cementing the resort as a leading destination for nationally-televised combat sports. Turning Stone features world-class amenities including four hotels, more than 20 signature restaurants and dining options, two spas, an all-new 125,000 square foot Las Vegas style gaming floor, a cabaret-style Showroom, a 5,000-seat arena, five golf courses, several bars, cocktail lounges and nightlife venues with live entertainment every weekend.
Christina Hammer Training Camp Notes
Unified Women’s WBC and WBO Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer has taken to the mountains of Austria for this leg of her intense training camp.
Hammer (22-0, 10 KOs) will make her U.S. fighting debut while defending her titles against former world champion Tori Nelson (17-1-3, 2 KOs) on Friday, June 22. The bout will serve as a supporting bout to two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and unified women’s super-middleweight champion Claressa Shields’ attempt to become a two-division world champion against unified women’s 154-pound champion Hanna Gabriels at Masonic Temple in Detroit, Mich.
Shields vs Gabriels will be contested for the vacant IBF and WBA Middleweight World Championships and telecast on SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION at 10 p.m. ET/PT live on SHOWTIME. Extensive highlights of Hammer vs. Nelson will also be shown.
Hammer, of Dortmund, Germany, has dominated the women’s middleweight division since 2010. The 27-year-old says training at elevation in the mountains of Austria is bringing the best out of her.
How has training camp gone so far?
“My camp has gone well. We train three times a day and work hard to be in the best shape possible on June 22 in Detroit.”
Can you tell us about your current training location?
“We are in Austria, staying at a place in the mountains that is about 5000-feet elevation. It’s amazing here. The nature and the mountains inspire me and give me power. It’s very comfortable to do my roadwork and go to the boxing gym because everything is situated in a comfortable way.”
What is a typical day like at training camp?
“We’ve been in Austria for the last 10 days. At 7:30 am, we start the first interval runs. At 9 am, I have breakfast and at 11 am, we go up to the mountains to our gym (which is at 6500 feet high) to do my strength and conditioning work. Later, in the afternoon, we start our boxing work. The nature and beautiful surroundings give me peace of mind.”
How and why is your training camp built into different stages?
“The mountains are perfect to prepare for the fight. You are away from your hometown stay more focused on training. The air is thin and this high level of elevation gives your body a higher level of conditioning. On June 10, we will move on to our next stage of training, which will take place in the United States. That will be to help acclimate me to the new time and climate for fight night on June 22, which is when I will put all of this hard work together and have it pay off in a big way.”
Who is your head trainer?
“My coach is Dimitrie Kirnos. I started my professional career with him. He himself was Soviet Union Boxing Champion and trained many top champions. He is old school and pushes my mind and body to the limit. He is a big part of my team we have a great bond. I have much respect and admiration for him.”
Have you done anything different preparing for this fight?
“I spar with lots of shorter fighters, like Tori Nelson. I guarantee that it will be much more explosive and impressive than Claressa Shields was against her.”
American fans love knockouts. Can they expect a Christina Hammer KO on June 22?
“That’s why I train hard and give everything in the gym. I want to be amazing that night and a knockout would be a perfect ending.”
What is your prediction for June 22?
“I will show my power and skills. People will see who the real unified Middleweight Champion of the world is. My performance will speak for itself!”