Boxing Insider Notebook: Kovalev, Haney, Yarde, Golden Boy Promotions, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 16th to July 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo / Main Events
Sergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde Scheduled for August 24th in Chelyabinsk, Russia
Fighting in his own hometown for the first time in his professional boxing career, WBO World Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) takes on the WBO’s mandatory challenger, Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) of the UK, on Saturday, August 24th at the Traktor Arena in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The event will be presented by RCC Promotions, Main Events, Krusher Promotions and Queensberry Promotions. This will be Kovalev’s 16th consecutive world title bout. That is more than the three other light heavyweight champions combined.
The Three-Time World Light Heavyweight Champ, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, explained the significance of this fight. “I am thrilled to fight for the first time in my home town of Chelyabinsk. It is a dream to defend my WBO title in front of all my friends and family back home. Thank you to Igor Altushkin, Egis Klimas and Main Events for making this dream a reality and thank you to Anthony Yarde for agreeing to fight in my backyard.”
Challenger, Anthony Yarde, replied, “I am more than happy to achieve my goal in Russia and I think it is only right that a great world champion such as Kovalev is given the opportunity to defend in his home country. He has earned that right. What I know is that on Aug. 24 another World Title belt will be under British ownership and I will have done it the hard way-one that nobody will be able to question” He continued, “This is my time and I am going to show the world what I am all about. Everything has fallen perfectly into place for me. This will be my coronation as world champion and I am going to realize my dream by beating the most decorated of the current world title holders.”
“We are so pleased that Sergey, one of boxing’s greatest all-time road warriors, will finally get the chance to defend his title in his own hometown, where he grew up and where his most-devoted fan base resides,” said promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events. “I can only imagine how excited Sergey’s friends and neighbors will be to finally get the chance to see him perform in person. We are most grateful to Igor Altushkin, RCC Promotions, Queensberry Promotions and Anthony Yarde for making this great event possible.”
Kovalev’s long-time manager and friend, Egis Klimas added, “Sergey has wanted to fight in his hometown for a long time. But he has always been the one to go and fight in another fighter’s backyard. Now that he is back where he rightfully belongs, on top of the light heavyweight division, it is exciting that he finally gets this opportunity. Thank you to RCC Promotions, Igor Altushkin, Queensberry Promotions and, of course, Anthony Yarde for making this fight possible.”
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Anthony and he has earned his shot by working his way to the No.1 spot in the rankings. He has showed what he is all about by being prepared to go into Kovalev’s backyard and it demonstrates the confidence he has in his own ability,” explained Yarde’s promoter, Frank Warren. “Everybody knows Kovalev is a tremendous puncher and a fearsome presence in the ring. It is something we first saw over here when he fought Nathan Cleverly, and he has continued to operate at the very highest level. Anthony possesses tremendous self-belief and we back him to come away with the spoils. But whatever does happen in the fight, it is one that he will take a lot of valuable experience from.”
The fight will be seen on Match TV in Russia, BT Sport in the UK and US distribution information will be released soon.
Devin Haney Feeds the Elderly at the San Francisco Senior Center
Yesterday at the San Francisco Senior Center, undefeated lightweight contender, Devin “The Dream” Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) spent his day feeding the elderly. Devin, who is looking to get back in the ring in September, feels it’s important to give back financially as well as spend quality time with those less fortunate.
“Today was a very special day for me because I had a great time serving the elderly at the San Francisco Center. I want to thank all the veteran volunteers and staff for showing me the ropes. I’m extremely humbled by the Seniors. The seniors gave me a much better perspective on life after hearing all their heartfelt stories. I believe taking care of the elderly is something they deserve, so sharing quality time and catering to them is very important to me. Life is a blessing but we will all get old one day. Me, my father, and brother, served food as if we were working at one of our favorite restaurants. We laughed and everyone shared so many different kinds of experiences. It was really cool. I will be going back real soon.” – Devin Haney
About Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
San Francisco Senior Center (SFSC) is the oldest nonprofit senior center in the nation, founded in 1947. We serve nearly 2,000 people of diverse backgrounds and cultures each year at two locations, Aquatic Park Center and Downtown Center. (SFSC) offers a variety of services from daily, low-cost, nutritious lunches and comprehensive social services to healthy living programs and continuing education. SFSC encourages socialization, independence and living well.
Golden Boy Promotions Signs Major Talent From Smallest and Biggest Weights in Boxing
Golden Boy is proud to announce the signing of major talent from the smallest and biggest weight divisions in boxing as WBC Minimumweight World Champion Chayaphon Moonsri (53-0, 18 KOs) and Olympic heavyweight Mihai Nistor have joined the Golden Boy family.
Moonsri is a 33-year-old native of Maha Sarakhm, Thailand who made his professional debut in January 2007. In his third fight, he captured the WBC Youth Minimumweight Title and captured two additional regional titles within the following five years. In November 2014, Moonsri won the WBC Minimumweight World Title, a prestigious belt held by the likes of Xiong Chaozhong (China’s first world champion) and perhaps its most popular holder, Mexican legend Ricardo “El Finito” Lopez. Since then, Moonsri has defended his title over 10 times and has developed an impressive 53-0 record, becoming one of the biggest stars in Thailand. Now he plans to continue his reign in the United States, the capital of professional boxing.
“I am very delighted that the Golden Boy has given me the opportunity to get more exposure overseas,” said Chayaphon Moonsri. “I felt really excited when I learned that I would fight abroad. It will be my very first time fighting outside my home country. This will not only be to prove myself but also to make the world know and recognize me as the great world champion in this division.”
Nistor is a 28-year-old southpaw of Erbiceni, Romania who boasts a tremendous amateur background. Nistor began boxing at the age of 16 and developed an impressive resume that includes several national and international titles. He also participated in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Nistor’s most significant victory came in the 2011 European Amateur Championships when he stopped Anthony Joshua in the third round of their fight. Nistor is ready to make his professional debut under the Golden Boy banner and plans to conquer the division.
“I am honored to be working with Golden Boy as a professional boxer,” said Mihai Nistor. “As its first Romanian heavyweight boxer, this partnership will give me the opportunity to demonstrate my expert boxing skills. I am confident that I will capture all the world titles. Stay tuned!”
“We want to make waves at all divisions in this great sport,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “Chayaphon Moonsri is a great champion with an impressive 53-0 record that’s unmatched in the sport. I expect him to make exciting fights the way Ricardo Lopez did in his time defending the same title and in the same division. With Mihai Nistor, we have a fighter who stopped Anthony Joshua in the amateurs years before his upset loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. That should be enough to indicate to everyone that this Romanian standout will be a force in the heavyweight division.”
Gilbert Venegas Jr. Eager to End Brian Mendoza’s Undefeated Record
Welterweight prospect, Gilbert Venegas Jr. (11-1, 7 KOs), who is managed by Prince Ranch Boxing and promoted by TMB & PRB Entertainment, is training hard for his upcoming fight with Top Rank Promotion’s, Brian Mendoza (17-0, 12 KOs). The 8-round welterweight bout will take place at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California, on August 17, 2019.
Venegas Jr., who resides in San Antonio, TX, is coming off an impressive 4th round knockout against Adam Ealoms, a bout that took place at the Market Square in San Antonio, Texas, on April 20, 2019. Venegas Jr. feels a win against Mendoza will catapult him up the welterweight rankings.
“A win against an undefeated fighter like Brian Mendoza will surely help me climb up the welterweight rankings,” said Venegas Jr. “I’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this fight and I’m getting in great shape. My training camp has been going smooth and my timing is right on point. My goal is to win this fight and position myself into an even bigger fight. Mendoza has a lot of holes in his game that I’m going to exploit. He might be undefeated but he’s not invincible.”
“Venegas Jr. is determined to show everyone that has doubts about him, that he’s worthy of stepping up.” said Manager Greg Hannley, of Prince Ranch Boxing. “A win against Mendoza will certainly make a splash in the welterweight division. We are about three weeks away and I know he’s going to be ready for war.”
“I know Venegas Jr. is training hard for this fight,” said TMB & PRB Entertainment promoter Rick Morones. “When I got the call to put him in with Mendoza there was no hesitation on his end. This is a big fight for all of us and we believe Venegas Jr. will come out victorious against Mendoza.”
“If there is one fighter that has the will to win its Venegas Jr.” said promoter Alex Draghici. “He’s always working hard in the gym and has all the tools to beat Mendoza. He’s well prepared and an upset is all he’s thinking about. This will be a good fight for the fans.”
Vergil Ortiz Jr., Hector Tanajara Jr., and Joshua Franco Discuss Training Camp Under Robert Garcia
Vergil Ortiz Jr. (13-0, 13 KOs), Hector “El Finito” Tanajara Jr. (17-0, 5 KOs) and Joshua “The Professor” Franco (15-1-1, 7 KOs) discussed training camp under renowned trainer Robert Garcia ahead of their respective fights. All three fighters will return on the Ortiz vs. Orozco card, which takes place Saturday, Aug. 10 at The Theatre at Grand Prairie in Texas and will be streamed live on DAZN.
Ortiz will headline in his hometown for the first time against Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (28-1, 17 KOs) of San Diego, Calif., while Franco will defend his NABF and WBA International Bantamweight Titles in a trilogy fight against Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete (18-2-1, 7 KOs) of Tierralta, Colombia. Tanajara will put his WBC USNBC Lightweight Title on the line against Ezequiel Aviles (16-3-3, 6 KOs) of Ensenada, Mexico.
Below is what all three fighters had to say during a recent camp visit, along with some insight from renowned trainer Robert Garcia.
VERGIL ORTIZ JR., Welterweight Contender:
“I’m fighting for my hometown. I’m fighting for all the little kids that think they can’t make it because it’s a small town. Not many people make it out of Grand Prairie. I hope to set a good example for them. I felt all the love when I visited. I felt the atmosphere, and it was electric. We got a lot of people to show up to the press conference, so I know there’s going to be a lot of people who show to the fight.”
“I’m really excited to be fighting in the main event. I’ve only done that once before. For me being the main event is a test for me to show how many people want to see me and how excited they’re going to be to watch me fight. But I have a lot of people telling me they want to go and that they already bought tickets and even want some shirts.”
“Fighting alongside my childhood friends is really cool. I never thought that we would be on the same card fighting together. We’re all fighting for a title that night. I’m fighting for the WBA Gold [Welterweight Title], and Joshua [Franco] will defend his belts in the trilogy fight against Negrete. Tanajara is fighting for the belt he won in Tijuana. It’s great to see how far we’ve come.”
“Antonio Orozco believes that this fight will put him back on the map. He feels a win will make people believe in him again. Honestly, he only lost one time; I don’t see why they wouldn’t believe in him. This fight will definitely make his meter go up. People will start looking at him if he gets the win. That’s going to make him very dangerous. He’s hungry. But I’m coming up too. I want to be a world champion too. I have my dreams that I want to achieve. This fight is going to help me get there a lot faster than these other fights, so I’m very glad he took this fight. It’s a very good opportunity for both of us.”
“This is Orozco’s first fight in the welterweight division. He was having a hard time making weight at 140. We’re going to see how his power holds up and see what he can take because seven pounds is a big jump. Orozco’s body is going to be bigger. It’s a whole new story, and we’re going to find out on August 10.”
“On August 10, you can expect the same Vergil Ortiz you see in every other fight. I’m going to be at my absolute best. I’m not taking Antonio Orozco lightly at all. I’m not going to be looking for the knockout, but I’m not going to count it out either. I’m going to let it come by itself. That’s when you look the best.”
JOSHUA FRANCO, NABF & WBA International Bantamweight Champion:
“It’s very special fighting back in Texas, back in the Dallas area. With Vergil, Hector and everybody from Texas, it’s going to be a great show. I gained a lot of experience in my first two fights against Oscar Negrete. I won a lot of rounds against him, and he’s a top contender. I gained a lot of experience and a lot of confidence.”
“To me, Negrete did the same thing in the second fight. He put pressure, and he tried to throw a lot of punches. He tried to be more aggressive, but to me it was the same thing. I feel like that’s the only thing he knows how to do. Negrete didn’t really do anything to surprise me. What he did the first fight, he did the second fight.”
“For this third fight, you can expect the same fighter I always am. I’ll be smart, explosive, and I’ll be throwing a lot of combinations. I feel like I’m going to be stronger than the last two fights. The only thing that’s different is that it’s going to be in Texas. That’s going to give me more motivation. I’m always training hard like always. After this I want to go on to bigger things. I want to fight for a world title.”
HECTOR TANAJARA JR., WBC USNBC Lightweight Champion:
“It’s very special sharing this night with guys I grew up with. I know these guys since the amateurs. I saw when Joshua first walked into the gym, and I knew Vergil since we were young. I also knew the Rincon brothers [Alex and George]. We all came up together, so it feels good to be together on the same card to give fans an exciting night of boxing.”
“It doesn’t add pressure to see my stablemates getting knockouts. I’m already 17 fights deep. I just have to stick to my game plan and what my coaches tell me. That’s what works. My last fight was in Tijuana, and it was very special fighting in Mexico. I’ve always wanted to fight there, and I like the crowd. Mexican fans are always the best. They just want to see people go at it. I’m glad I was able to get a belt that night too, so it was very special for me.”
“It doesn’t bother me that I haven’t had a knockout since 2018. I know I have power. But trying to make 130 pounds was draining me a little bit. At 135 pounds, I feel much stronger. Even though I’ve been fighting better opposition, I’ve still been hurting them in there, and I feel that a lot of my knockouts are yet to come.”
“For this camp we’ve been working on all my little mistakes. I’m being busier with my jab. I’m working on putting smart pressure. I’m working on doing all the things needed to get the victory and to get try to get the guy out of there. On August 10, my fans can expect an exciting fight. I’m motivated more than ever because it’s in Texas, my hometown, and a lot of family and friends who usually can’t go are going to be there. I’m very excited, and I hope to put on a great show.”
ROBERT GARCIA, 2012 Trainer of the Year:
“It’s going to be a great event. It’s going to be awesome that we’re going to Vergil Ortiz’s hometown in Grand Prairie. I’m sure he’s very excited, along with his fans, his family, and his friends. We also have two kids from San Antonio that are going to bring a lot of friends and family.”
“We are going to be very busy, but I have a lot of help. With Vergil, his father Vergil Sr. and co-trainer Hector Beltran are always on top of Vergil and make sure he works hard. With Hector Tanajara, we have my son, Robert Garcia Jr. and Jose “Chepe” Contreras. With, Joshua Franco we have same thing. For both guys, their fathers are very involved. Hector Tanajara Sr. and Jessie Rodriguez [father of Franco] are involved and work the corner for their sons, so it won’t be as hard as it sounds that night.”
“This has been our fourth training camp with Vergil. It’s unbelievable to see him develop so fast. You hardly see that. You only see that with an Olympic Gold medalist like Oscar De La Hoya, who won his first world title in his 12th fight, or with Olympians like Fernando Vargas, who was 14-0 when he became a world champion. Vergil is one of those kids. He didn’t go to the Olympics, so he didn’t get the same recognition as the Olympians did, but he’s close to becoming a world champion.”
“Here in my gym, whoever you spar and whatever weight division you’re at, it’s going to be tough. You’re going to have to work hard to be able to compete. I have nothing but world class fighters. For example, Vergil is sparring fighters that are 160, 168. I don’t want to say dominating them because they’re also my fighters, but he’s able to compete with them and give them all they can handle, so that tells you what he is. He spars with Jose Ramirez, a world champion right now. He spars with Mikey Garcia, who is pound for pound one of the best fighters in the world, and he’s able to compete well against them.”