Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, Golovkin, Cuadras, Fonfara, Olympics, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 24th to January 31st, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Olympian Richard Hitchins Signs with Mayweather Promotions
Richard Hitchins fought for Haiti at the 2016 Rio Olympics and has recently signed a deal with Mayweather Promotions.
Hitchins will make his debut on March 4th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. He will compete in the junior welterweight division. He will be on the undercard of the Thurman vs. Garcia bout.
Carlos Cuadras vs. David Carmona Added to Golovkin vs. Jacobs HBO PPV Telecast
Former World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Flyweight Champion CARLOS “PRINCIPE” CUADRAS, (35-1-1, 27 KO’s) of Mexico City, Mexico returns to battle against cross-town rival and Former World Title Challenger DAVID “SEVERO” CARMONA, (20-3-5, 8 KO’s), also of Mexico City, Mexico, on Saturday, March 18 at The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden.
Cuadras vs. Carmona, scheduled for ten rounds, will be featured on the televised undercard of the World Middleweight Championship between Unified Middleweight World Champion GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN, (36-0-0, 33 KO’s) and WBA Middleweight World Champion and Mandatory Challenger DANIEL “THE MIRACLE MAN” JACOBS, (32-1, 29 KO’s). The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
“I wanted a rematch with Roman Gonzalez but right now my sole focus is on Carmona, we’ve known each other for many years and there is a true rivalry between us,” said Cuadras. “I’m looking forward to settling it in the ring at Madison Square Garden, the home of so many classic battles and in front of the great Mexican boxing fans in New York City and those watching on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
Said Carmona, “Carlos has accomplished a great deal in boxing, being a former world champion and undefeated for many years. However, my time is now and I look forward to being victorious on March 18.”
“We’re very excited to add this all-Mexican battle between Carlos Cuadras and David Carmona to an already outstanding boxing event,” said TOM LOEFFLER, Managing Director of K2 PROMOTIONS. “Cuadras is coming off one of the best fights of 2016 in his world title fight with “Chocolatito” last September on HBO and Carmona is looking to prove he’s worthy of another world title opportunity.”
“Carlos was one of the true breakout stars in boxing last year in his valiant performance against ‘Chocolatito’. We’ve gotten a tremendous response to our showcasing of the lighter weights at our events from boxing fans and the media and we’re very excited to have these two super flyweight battles on the televised undercard.”
“Adding this third bout to the March 18 event continues our commitment to boxing fans in the arena and those watching on HBO Pay-Per-View that we will provide maximum value at our events. Tickets for Madison Square Garden are selling fast and we look forward to another outstanding event on March 18.”
On September 10, 2016, then undefeated WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Cuadras and three-division world champion ROMAN “CHOCOLATITO” GONZALEZ waged war in a 2016 “Fight of the Year” candidate in front of a huge crowd at The Fabulous Forum and telecast on HBO.
After twelve epic rounds of world class action, the 28-year-old Cuadras lost a very close decision to Gonzalez in a battle that had the Mexican and Nicaraguan partisan crowds on their feet cheering throughout.
Carmona is returning to the ring following the toughest test of his seven-year professional career. On May 8, 2016, the 25-year-old Carmona traveled to Tokyo, Japan to challenge undefeated WBO Super Flyweight Champion NAOYA INOUE. Following twelve action packed rounds, Carmona came up short on the judges’ scorecards but validated his standing among the best in the division.
Sampson Lewkowicz Issues Challenge to World’s Top Super Middleweights on Behalf of Boxing Prodigy David Benavidez: Fight My Fighter
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz is issuing a challenge to the world’s top super middleweights: Help his fighter, David “El Bandera Roja/Red Flag” Benavidez, become the youngest 168-lb champion in boxing history by fighting him.
“He is on a course to smash the old record,” said Lewkowicz of Benavidez, but I need a top-10 contender or a world champion to fight him. He’ll take on anyone in the world.”
Phoenix, Arizona’s Benavidez (17-0, 16 KOs), who did his usual steamroll over opponents last Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (this time over Uzbekistan’s Shareli Mamajonov in less than two brutal rounds), is only 20 years old. The youngest super middleweight champion in history was Darin Van Horn, who was 22 years, 8 months and 11 days old when he beat Robert Hines by a 12-round unanimous decision for the IBF Junior Middleweight Championship on February 5, 1989.
“Promoters don’t want their fighters to fight him,” continued Lewkowicz. “He can’t move up the ratings or make boxing history if promoters are too worried about their investments to let their fighters face him. I need the promoters behind the top 10 contenders in the division to step up and see if their fighters can stop his rise. They can’t. But I need them to try.”
Benavidez is currently rated WBC #14, WBA #7, IBF #13.
“If you are reading this and you promote any super middleweight fighter who has a top-10 ranking or is world champion, call me. We will fight. We hear from opponents looking to get paid for getting knocked out, but never anyone with a top-10 rating. This is your challenge. Call me and let’s get it on. Help my fighter become part of boxing history.”
Fred Jenkins and Roque Zapata Have Statements to Make in March 10th Battle in Philly
Fred Jenkins, Jr., who has labored in anonymity for six years as a pro, and Roque Zapata, a virtual unknown who upset the apple cart two months ago in Philadelphia, collide March 10 at the 2300 Arena in a six-round junior middleweight fight with career implications for each man.
Topping the nine-bout card is an eight-round all-Philadelphia lightweight contest between Anthony Burgin and Avery Sparrow. First fight begins at 7.30 pm.
Jenkins, 30, turned pro in early in 2011. He has compiled a 10-3 record with 3 K0s. His biggest win came in 2014 when he knocked out Jeremy Trussell, of Baltimore, MD, in two rounds at the 2300 Arena. Trussell was 8-1-1 at the time.
In his last fight Oct. 14 in the same ring, Jenkins outpointed Ibrihim Shabazz, of Newark, NJ, over four rounds. He also has beaten James Robinson, of York, PA, and he lost to undefeated fighters: Jeff Lentz, of Lanoka Harbor, NJ, and Ismael Garcia, of Vineland, NJ. He has been stopped once.
“I had about 50 amateur fights,” said Jenkins (left), who is 5-foot-7. “The heaviest I ever was in the amateurs was 215 pounds, but there were times around 2008 or 2009 when I was not training that I went up to 275.”
When he turned pro in 2011, Jenkins was as heavy as 174.
“I was working back then and I didn’t have a lot of time to train,” Jenkins said. “I worked for a railroad company in King of Prussia (PA) and my job was to drive people to and from work. I also worked for a paratransit company, driving elderly people and disabled people. Sometimes I was in the gym and sometimes not. I was taking fights at heavier weights “
Jenkins was in the house Dec. 2 when Zapata out-pointed Isaiah Wise.
“Zapata throws a lot of punches and he simply tries to outwork you,” Jenkins said. “But when I start banging him in the body and going to his ribs, I don’t think he’ll be throwing that many punches afterward. He’s also smaller than I am (5-foot-6 compared to 5-foot-7) and that doesn’t happen too often with me. I’m coming to win and I’m going to do everything I can to get there.” Jenkins is managed and trained by his dad, Fred Jenkins, Sr., a member of the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame.
Zapata (right), 21, of Culpeper, VA, traveled to the 2300 Arena on Dec. 2 and upset previously unbeaten (3-0) Wise, of Philadelphia, in what could have been the most action-packed four rounds of 2016 locally.
A pro less than one year, Zapata squeezed all six fights (2-1-3 record) into 2016, fighting opponents with good records, mostly in their backyards. He has boxed once in Virginia, five times in Pennsylvania and he also upset then-unbeaten (5-0) Dan Karpency, of Adah, PA, over four rounds last April in Washington, PA.
Zapata’s only setback was via six-round decision to unbeaten (6-0) Amonte Eberhardt, also in Washington, PA.
“I came into Philly on December 2 as an outcast and that night all I wanted was the respect of the Philly fans,” Zapata said. “I knew I had to prove to myself and to the Philly fans that I belong there with the hometown guys. I’m going to bring it every time. I feel I have not got the respect of the Philly fans, so that being said, on March 10 I am going to fight Fred Jenkins and I’m gonna do my absolute best to show the fans that I’m not a bum looking for paycheck but that I was born to do this and be the best at it.
“My career progress I would say is good even though I have one loss and three draws. All my fights were tough. Amonte Eberhardt is the only guy who beat me and I took that fight on one day’s notice and I had to cut 13 pounds and I fought six hard rounds even though I was dehydrated. This is no excuse but I believe if I had an eight-week camp (it would have been different). I was robbed in those three draws. I have watched them over and over and I cannot believe how the judges scored the way they did but that’s what happens when you fight hometown guys sometimes, but life goes on.
“Returning to Philadelphia to fight on a great card with good upcoming prospects is amazing.”
Andrzej Fonfara Adds Pilates to Training Regimen
Light heavyweight contender, Andrzej Fonfara (28-, 16 KOs), has entered the world of Pilates as he plans to take his career to new heights. Born in Poland and training in Bay Area, CA, with coach Virgil Hunter, Fonfara believes his Pilates regimen will improve his boxing career on many different levels.
“I just started doing Pilates as part of my workout routine.” said former world title challenger Andrzej Fonfara. “I felt I needed to do something different in my boxing training and Pilates fit right in. The workouts are very challenging. My stamina and balance feels better. Overall I feel like a new fighter. I know I have what it takes to get back on top. My goal is to get back in the win column and continue my march toward a world championship.”
Right now, negotiations are being discussed for his next fight. Look for Fonfara to return to the ring in March, most likely against a top contender. Right now Fonfara is currently ranked WBC #8.
AIBA Special Investigation Committee Statement on 2016 Rio Olympics
The AIBA Special Investigation Committee (SIC), consisting of experts from its Refereeing and Judging (R&J), Technical and Rules, as well as Disciplinary Commissions, has concluded its investigation into the practices and procedures of officials during the Rio 2016 Olympic Boxing Tournament. The SIC’s recommendations for improvements to R&J structure for the Tokyo 2020 Cycle are already being put in place.
The investigation ordered by AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu after a small number of decisions at Rio 2016 came under scrutiny and serious allegations were made against AIBA officials, has been concluded. Starting in mid-September, the full investigation took place in two phases across four months, with over 50 interviews conducted during that time.
The key findings indicate that, due to a lack of proper procedural norms, a concentration of decision-making power and the assigning of roles assumed by former senior management that had a detrimental impact on in-competition best practice. Whilst the Special Investigation found no active interference in the results, AIBA moved quickly to identify those involved and took the necessary steps to ensure its officials will no longer become scapegoats for close decisions which are an inherent aspect of the sport.
“AIBA defends the integrity of its expert R&Js who operate in difficult, subjective circumstances, but we have shown that we are also not afraid of making difficult decisions for the good of boxing. An unwelcome axis of influence and sole decision-making had been created and used by former Senior Management that led to a lack of due process being carried out. We moved immediately to re-empower our commissions and use their expertise in order to decentralise the decision-making and re-establish our procedures.
Whilst there is no evidence that this had a direct influence on results in Rio, if best practice is not followed 100% of the time by our officials and R&Js, that is unacceptable. The SIC have conducted a thorough investigation and many of their recommendations, including the disbanding of the 5-star R&J structure and placing control of the FOP back in the hands of the Tournament Supervisor, have already been put into place. These actions will ensure even greater consistency and transparency in our officiating as we head into the new Olympic Cycle.” said AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.
Potentially damaging influences removed
The report shows that the actions AIBA has taken since the Rio 2016 Olympic Boxing Tournament, and the organisation’s current positive steps, are justified. Following the removal of these mechanisms that threatened the integrity of the organisation, the SIC also found unprofessional relationships within AIBA had created an atmosphere of collusion between senior management and the Five-Star R&Js that undermined the organisation and had a negative impact on its operating efficiency.
Recommendations already being implemented
The overriding goal of the SIC investigation, to provide recommendations that will help create a reorganised structure for R&Js and ensure the correct safeguards are in place, have already been realised. The Five-star R&J system has been disbanded with the unanimous agreement of the R&J Commission. Improvements to the in-competition administration of officials have already been trialled and approved for AOB tournaments in 2017 after being successfully trial run at the Youth World Championships in St Petersburg in November 2016.
The R&J Draw Commission has been removed and an automated Swiss Timing system will assign officials to matches, with all five Judges’ scorecards now used to determine the winner of a bout. Changes to the Field of Play will now give R&Js the best possible environment in which to operate and be evaluated, while the Executive Director, or any AIBA staff member, will no longer have any role in the FOP. There is no evidence that the reallocation of medal rankings is required for Rio 2016, but AIBA will be researching the feasibility of processes for the appeal of decisions in the future.
Education and training
In order to move forward, and to prevent AIBA becoming a scapegoat for unpopular decisions in the future, a broad education programme will be undertaken involving boxers, coaches, officials and fans alike, to instil a greater understanding of scoring and give a strong reminder of the importance of sportsmanship, respect and fair play values. It is essential that the entire boxing community is more in tune with the parameters within which the R&Js work, in order to better understand their decisions. The subjectivity of scoring is part of what makes the sport unique, and the nature of the contest means that strong opinions are formed by teams and fans, but that should not impact negatively on the integrity of the officials.
Reintegration of Rio 2016 officials
AIBA reiterates that while the decision to stand down all 36 R&Js that were officiating at Rio 2016 was necessary until the SIC investigation had been concluded, as a preventive measure, it was in no way an indication of their wrongdoing. The reintegration process of those officials into the new-look R&J structure will now begin on a case by case basis, and an extensive series of courses and workshops is being implemented to grow and enhance the pool of first-class officials around the world.
AIBA has taken important steps for the sake of boxing and is determined to learn from the past in order to build positive, enduring legacies for the sport. AIBA Ethics Commission Chair has received the mandate to analyse recent issues and the general organisation of the Association, with the objective to propose operational and governance reforms to the President and the Executive Committee. The organisation stands more united than ever as witnessed in the last Extraordinary Congress held in Montreux, but will continue to tackle any incident of impropriety that dishonours it or the sport with the utmost severity, and repeats its commitment to ensuring the values of fair play and transparency are upheld at all times by the entire AIBA Family, its staff and stakeholders.