Boxing Insider Notebook: Kovalev, Lomachenko, ESPN, Acosta, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 8th to May 15th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events
Sergey Kovalev to Face Alvarez in Atlantic City
WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) and Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) addressed the media at Hard Rock Café in Times Square to officially announce their upcoming “Super Men” showdown at the brand new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, on Saturday, August 4 televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®.
Below is what Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev had to say at the press conference.
Eleider “Storm” Alvarez: “Good afternoon, everybody. First of all, I would like to thank Yvon Michel, Stèphane Lèpine who’s not here currently, Main Events, Kathy Duva, HBO and Sergey Kovalev for this opportunity. I feel really overwhelmed. It’s my first press conference outside of my country.
“I want to speak a little bit about myself. The first time that they offered me to fight against Sergey Kovalev, I didn’t think about it too much, and I said, at once, yes. Because everybody knows I’ve been three years waiting for Stevenson for the world championship. I have this kind of opportunity and I wanted to take advantage of it at once. It’s the same thing; it’s a world championship. But the importance of this fight is the man that I’m facing. The man that I’m going to be fighting with. He’s the best in the category of the 175 pounds. And after I took the position to fight as a professional boxer, I wanted to face the best ones. Sergey Kovalev is one of the best ones. For this sport of ours, you’re going to know more about who Eleider Alvarez is.
“Many know me from BoxRec because I didn’t have before to have the fight of such importance as the one that I’m going to have on the 4th of August. It’s going to be a chance for me to show what I have and everything I went through throughout my career. The next 4th of August, WBO’s going to have our next champion, and it’s going to be Eleider Alvarez.
“I have a lot of respect for Sergey Kovalev. He’s a great champion but I like these kinds of fights. I know it’s going to be a difficult fight but I know what I have. I know of my training and my preparation, and on next August 4th, I’m going to be the champion. Thank you very much.”
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev – Two-Time Light Heavyweight World Champion: “Thank you. Thank you very much for everything and I’m happy to be here and back to New York and I’m glad to be here again.
“First of all, I want to say thank you to Egis, who one day believed in me and gave me opportunity to be a professional fighter and may my dreams happen for me. And, also, thank you to Kathy Duva who supports us and gave opportunity fighting on HBO. Thanks also to HBO for great opportunity to be in team of HBO boxing. And personal thank you for help to Peter Nelson and Hard Rock for expressing confidence in me.
“Thanks to Yvon Michel and Eleider Alvarez for approve the fight. I am sure that we will show really great fight August 4th because I have a plan to defend my title. He has a plan to get a title and to be champion. It will be very big battle and we must be ready and be the best shape of our boxing career. Because in the future, happening huge fights, unification fights, I hope.
“Thank you to all the writers. To the writers who gave award that Egis best manager in the world, Lomachenko was the best fighter in the world, and his father, Anatoly, won the best trainer in the world.
“Thank you very much for everything and see you and at next press conference before August 4th. God bless you everyone, and thank you.”
Linares vs. Lomachenko is Cable Television Highest-Rated Fight of 2018
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN won the night for combat sports last night. Not only did the Linares vs. Lomanchenko main event draw a 1.0 metered market rating, making it cable television’s highest-rated fight of 2018, according to Nielsen overnight data, but the entire Top Rank on ESPN telecast was ESPN’s highest-rated Top Rank telecast of the year.
Vasiliy Lomachenko stopped Jorge Linares in the tenth round to win the WBA and Ring Magazine lightweight titles in front of a packed house at Madison Square Garden. A left hand to the body put Linares down for the 10-count.
Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) is a now a three-weight world champion. With this victory, he has shattered the all-time boxing record for fewest fights needed to win a world title in three weight divisions, accomplishing that in just his 12th fight. Lomachenko broke the record held by Australian legend Jeff Fenech, a Hall of Famer who won world titles at bantamweight and junior featherweight before winning a belt at featherweight in his 20th fight in 1988.
Main Things to Know
◦Last night’s entire Top Rank on ESPN telecast averaged a 0.8 metered market rating, making it ESPN’s highest-rated Top Rank telecast of 2018
◦The main event, featuring Jorge Linares and Vasiliy Lomachenko, averaged a 1.0 metered market rating, making it cable’s television’s highest-rated fight of 2018
◦The co-feature, featuring Alejandro Barrera vs. Carlos Adames, averaged a 0.7 metered market rating, tying it as the third highest-rated fight on ESPN this year
WBO Light Flyweight Champion Tito Acosta to Face Carlos Buitrago
World Boxing Organization Light Flyweight World Champion Tito Acosta will showcase his vast skills June 16 in his first title defense against Nicaraguan challenger Carlos “Chocorroncito” Buitrago in the “La Batalla” 12-round main event, airing on pay-per-view, live from the Coliseo de Puerto Rico Center in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.
La Batalla: Acosta vs. Buitrago is presented by Miguel Cotto Promotions, which is owned and operated by the first Puerto Rican boxer to capture world titles in four different weight classes, future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto, and H2 Entertainment, in association with DIRECTV Puerto Rico.
Integrated Sports Media will distribute the La Batalla: Acosta vs. Buitrago card in the United States on cable, satellite and digital pay-per-view via iN Demand, Vubiquity, DIRECTV, DISH and live-streamed worldwide (excluding Puerto Rico) on the FITE.TV app and website (www.fite.tv), starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, for a suggested retail price of only $34.95.
Building his own legacy in a traditionally rich, hot-bed for boxing like Puerto Rico, Acosta (17-1, 17 KOs) captured the vacant WBO title last December at famed Madison Square Garden, when he knocked out Juan Alejo (24-4-1), of Mexico, in the 10th round.
An outstanding amateur boxer with more than 180 matches, highlighted by his gold-medal performance at the Central American Games,), the San Juan-based fighter has defeated 22-5 Juan Guzman (KO1), 12-1 Japhet Uutoni (TKO12), and 28-5-3 Luis Ceja (KO2).
“My goal is to be the best,” Acosta said. “I grew-up watching Tito Trinidad and Miguel Cotto, who are my favorite fighters. I will work as hard as I can to give the best to my family, as well as make my island proud. I will win on June 16th and let the world know that I am the best 108-pound boxer in the world.”
Having a future Hall of Famer such as Cotto as his promoter is a tremendous advantage, in and out of the ring, for Acosta. “It means a lot and is an honor for me to have a living legend like Miguel Cotto as my promoter,” Acosta explained. “He has guided my career the best way. He also gets involved in my camp and wants me to get better and better every fight.”
“Tito Acosta is a really good fighter,” Cotto commented about his protégé. “He is World Champion for a reason. We will work to give him the best opportunities. Tito has an opportunity to show the world on June 16th what he is made of and who he is. As World Champion, he needs to be at the highest level to have a brilliant performance each fight, because the better performances and victories, the bigger name he will build.”
“It is important for a fighter to do his job in the ring because every performance is a unique opportunity to show the world who you are and at what level you belong. People in Puerto Rico love boxing, and its fighters.”
WBA #2-rated Buitrago (30-3-1, 17 KOs) will be fighting in his fifth world title fight, after losing three times with one draw. He was stopped for the first time in his last fight this past December, by undefeated International Boxing Federation (IBF) Minimumweight World Champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (8-0), in the eighth round of their title fight in Japan.
All three of Buitrago’s career losses have been to world champions, including a pair to Thammanooon Niyomtrong (11-0) in 2016 and 2014, both by way of 12-round unanimous decisions in Thailand for the Interim WBA title. Buitrago also fought a 12-round split draw in 2013 to then-WBO Minimum World Champion Merlito Sabillo (12-0) in Manila, Philippines.
“Chris Buitrago is a great fighter and tough challenger, who has the highest level of experience, and that motivates me,” Acosta spoke about his Nicaraguan opponent. “People want to watch a toe-to-toe brawl and he brings that style. I think he will brawl with me, but I’ll be ready for any style he brings June 16th.
“I work for the KO (he has 17 knockouts in his 17 wins) because that’s what fans like. I work for that every fight and I will win June 16th by knockout!”
Two New Exclusive Original Programs on ESPN+ to Expand ESPN’s Boxing Coverage
ESPN will debut two new shows this month, exclusively on ESPN+, as it continues to introduce new and unique boxing content to serve fans of the “Sweet Science.”
In This Corner is a twice-monthly deep-dive talk show with a rotating panel of four of boxing’s best journalists gathering at noteworthy New York City establishments to discuss boxing’s biggest stories, past, present and future.
The first episode of In This Corner will be available today on ESPN+ and brings fans to New York’s Crompton Ale House, just six blocks from Madison Square Garden, to preview Saturday’s big Top Rank Boxing on ESPN fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jorge Linares, as well the potential rematch between Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin (aka Triple G) and Saul Canelo Alvarez. The four featured boxing writers: George Willis of the New York Post), Chris Mannix from Yahoo Sports, Lance Pugmire at the Los Angeles Times and Mike Coppinger of Ring Magazine.
The Boxing Beat, a weekly interview show available next Monday, May 14, on ESPN+, features ESPN’s lead boxing writer Dan Rafael providing an inside perspective of boxing through conversations with top fighters, as well as breaking news, commentary and questions from boxing fans. The Boxing Beat will debut with Keith Idec of Boxingscene.com and WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr.
Professional Boxing Ringside Official Training Seminar to be Held in Chicago
Professional Boxing Ringside Officials Training Seminar to be conducted in Chicago on June 30, 2018.
The Illinois State Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Organization are conducting a training seminar for professional boxing officials on June 30, 2018 at the Garfield Park – Golden Dome, 100 N. Central Park Ave, Chicago, Illinois, 60624 starting at 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Space is limited, so to reserve a seat, please email you intent to attend and your contact information to Nancy Ilg and Joel Campuzano of the Illinois State Athletic Commission: [email protected] and [email protected]