Boxing Insider Notebook: Roy Jones Jr., Raging Babe, Whyte, Cohen, Gabriels, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 12th to December 19th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Showtime Sports to Present Whyte vs. Chisora on Saturday, December 22nd on Showtime
SHOWTIME Sports will present the highly anticipated rematch between top-rated heavyweight contenders Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora this Saturday, December 22 live on SHOWTIME at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT. As with all SHOWTIME programming, the event will air live on air and via the networks’ streaming service.
Whyte (24-1, 17 KOs) and Chisora (29-8, 21 KOs) will go toe-to-toe once again in a rematch of one of 2016’s best fights, live from London’s The O2 on SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL. The all-British affair between the bitter rivals has been brewing since Whyte narrowly edged Chisora in a back-and-forth slugfest that necessitated a rematch.
“SHOWTIME continues to lead the industry by delivering more of the most compelling boxing events from around the world to our premium cable subscribers and online streaming customers,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, SHOWTIME Sports. “This network has televised all of the most important heavyweight fights during the division’s renaissance and we are proud to join Matchroom Sports in delivering Whyte-Chisora II to our audience. Their first fight was action-packed from bell to bell. Now, with the stakes as high as they have ever been for both men, this bout promises to be even better. I hope that the boxing pundits have not yet cast their vote for Fight, Knockout and Round of the Year. Saturday’s matchup may challenge some of this year’s best.”
The SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL coverage will be provided by Sky Sports Box Office with host Brian Custer and Hall of Fame analyst Steve Farhood calling the action.
The stakes are high in the rematch, as both Whyte and Chisora have been working toward world title opportunities against IBF, WBA and WBO Champion Anthony Joshua and WBC Champion Deontay Wilder. Whyte holds the No. 1 ranking in the WBC and WBO, as well as the WBA’s No. 4 position. Chisora is ranked No. 5 by both the WBA and IBF, as well as No. 9 by the WBC. Their first matchup was widely regarded as the best heavyweight matchup of 2016, and round five of their “sensational fight” earned Round of the Year honors from ESPN.
Women’s World Champion Hanna Gabriels Returns to Defend Against Sarah Dwyer on January 26th
Having solidified herself as a legitimate women’s star in her own right with her gallant performance against Claressa Shields last June, world champion Hanna Gabriels (18-2-1, 11 KOs) will return to her homeland to face Australia’s Sarah Dwyer on Saturday, January 26, at the Avenida Escazu in San Jose, Costa Rica.
The 10-round battle will be in defense of Gabriels’ WBA Super Welterweight Championship.
Dwyer (3-4-2, 1 KO) is coming off a draw for the Australian Championship against undefeated Tayla Harris in November.
This will be Gabriels’ first fight since the impressive showing against Shields, where she had the women’s superstar down in the first round before losing an exciting and close decision. The fight is being called the Women’s Fight of the Year for 2018.
“I’m feeling amazing training with my husband and just ready to get back,” said Gabriels. “She’s (Dwyer) a warrior will try to come and chop my head off, but we will send her back to Australia quick enough.”
Gabriels’ manager, Hector Cordova, says Dwyer is the first stop of a comeback that includes a return go with Shields and some other big names in women’s boxing.
“I am really proud of Hanna and everything she does for the community in Costa Rica. She is a hero inside and outside the ring; a real-life world success story. Our goal is to unify the 154-lb. division. We want to raise women’s boxing to new heights and eventually rematch Claressa and fight (women’s unified welterweight champion) Cecilia Braekhus. Hanna is the best 154-lb fighter in the world: a point we look forward to proving once again on January 26.”
Promoter Dmitriy Salita says that Gabriels’ name belongs among the best names in the sport.
“Hanna is one of the best female fighters in the world. Her world-class skills make her one of the biggest names in all of women’s boxing. January 26 is going to be a great night and will open a door of exciting new opportunities for Hanna.”
“I want to thank all of my fans for supporting me always and showing me love even in defeat,” said the always gracious Gabriels. “That’s what makes me want it more and more. I want to fight Claressa and Cecilia and give my fans all I can before I leave the sport. I also want to thank my team because they’re amazing. Bryan Vasquez, my husband, Hector Fernandez de Cordova, my manager, Pedro Gonzalez and Esteban Quesada, my co-trainers and Dmitriy Salita for lending a hand when is needed. I won’t disappoint you.”
Raging Babe’s Philly Special Set for February 8th at 2300 Arena
Michelle Rosado, who has been promoting her own boxing cards in Arizona and working behind the scenes on other shows in Pennsylvania, is taking the next step by staging her first card in Philadelphia on Friday evening, Feb. 8, at the 2300 Arena.
Rosado’s Raging Babe company has been a trend-setter, and her Feb. 8 card, dubbed “Philly Special,” will add to her resume.
Coming to Philadelphia with a solid promotional background and a reputation for selling out venues, Rosado is no stranger to the area. She was born in Bristol Borough, attended Temple University, and she cut her teeth working with Hall-of-Fame promoter J Russell Peltz since 2014. Peltz will handle matchmaking duties.
While promoting her first card in 2011 in Phoenix, AZ, Rosado was dubbed “Raging Babe” by Phoenix New Times. The New Times and many in the boxing community credited her with re-energizing the professional boxing scene in Arizona. She promoted several events in Phoenix and Tucson before branching out and promoting shows in North Carolina, and assisting with several large promotions with Top Rank Boxing.
A master at making connections, Rosado brought together the women of boxing for the first Raging Babe Brunch in 2012, and has hosted several since to honor these women. She also co-founded and hosted “The Morning Punch-in Show with RB and Jae,” a drive-time boxing radio show that was acclaimed throughout the industry for its unique format, sense of humor, and down-to-earth interviews. She even boasts her own line of boxing apparel for men and women.
Of all the projects Rosado has taken on, promoting boxing shows most complements her work ethic and dedication to the old school methods taught to her by Peltz, and practiced by boxing promotional legends. She plans to combine those old-school methods with her new-school ways. Taking a page from the 2018 Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, Rosado has dubbed her first event “Philly Special.” The event promises to showcase some of Philly’s top talent in competitive fights, while honoring the rich history of Philadelphia boxing.
The main event and ticket information will be announced soon
Greg Cohen Promotions Signs New York Prospects Zachary Ochoa and Oscar Moreno to Exclusive Contracts
Greg Cohen, of Greg Cohen Promotions, proudly announces the signing of a pair of Brooklyn-based prospects, super lightweight Zachary “Zungry” Ochoa and super bantamweight Oscar “Filoso” Moreno to promotional contracts.
Boxing since age 13, the talented Ochoa (20-1, 7 KOs) is a Puerto Rican from Brooklyn. Despite having just seven career knockouts, the 26-year-old scored a spectacular 15-second KO over Engelberto Valenzuela and, in 2016, was nominated for Knockout of the Year for his one-punch KO 8 of Luis Joel Gonzalez.
“I can adapt to anything. I’m very unpredictable,” said Ochoa. “I can box and win easily, or I can hit you with one shot and take you out.”
Ochoa says he’s happy to have his career back on track and looking forward to the future with Cohen.
“It’s a blessing. I’m very focused and determined. I stay in the gym because I love boxing. I saw Greg Cohen’s resume and what’s he’s done in the sport and I know this is a great opportunity for me. This is the guy who’s going to make me a millionaire and world champion.”
Moreno (7-0, 6 KOs) is power puncher who comes forward behind lots of movement. Originally from Mexico City, he is now also living in Brooklyn. The 25-year-old went 54-5 as an amateur and was the 2004 Junior Olympic Champion, the 2011 Golden Gloves NY Champion and the 2012 Golden Gloves NY Runner-Up.
“I’m excited to make it happen,” said Moreno of the signing. “I’m looking forward to getting on the road toward the world championship. The plan I have is to have 10 more fights to get the experience in, because so far most of my fights have ended in the first round. So I say in a year or two we’ll be looking to step up and fight for titles.”
Both fighters are managed and trained by Kelly Rich at GymU Boxing (in Association GGE Fitness Studio) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Rich has had Ochoa since childhood and has been working with Moreno for the past four years.
Rich says he trusts Cohen to do the right things with his fighters.
“Greg is an exciting person and he motivates you and get the job done,” said Rich. “He’s a top promoter affiliated with all the other premier boxing companies. We are good friends and I can personally trust him. We’ve always been on the up-and-up.”
Promoter Cohen, on a hot streak of late with the “out of nowhere” success of heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller and world middleweight champion Robert Brant, says he’s happy to be adding this one-two punch of prospects from New York.
“Both these fighters have a wealth of talent,” said Cohen. “I will be looking to continue their strong development and advancement against increasing competition in the next couple years. Both fighters have the talent it takes to make it and with hard work and determination, it is very possible. I credit Kelly Rich for the work he’s done with them.”
Undisputed Champions Program Teaches Boxing and More to Teens with Autism and Other Disabilities
The Undisputed Champions Program, a unique non-contact boxing program for kids with autism and other disabilities, will be holding a showcase Friday, December 14 at 11:00am at SCHOTT’S BOXING, 21 Vatrano Road in Albany NY.
The program is part of Wildwood School’s adapted physical education program. Head Coach, Javier Martinez, a retired, undefeated professional fighter and a police officer with the Colonie Police Department, volunteers and leads the class of 17 students along with professional fight judge Tom Schreck. A team of volunteer coaches works side by side with the students.
Many people hear the term “disability” and they immediately feel sorry for the individual who they believe must be limited in what they can experience in their lives. Autism is often seen as one of those disabilities.
“When you get labeled with a disability it can become defining, if you let it. People around you often lower expectations and that becomes a way of life. That doesn’t happen here. The Undisputed Champions program is about going beyond,” Tom Schreck, the co-founder of the program says.
The program was designed by Martinez and Schreck and with certified adapted physical education instructor, Rachel McDermott, who made sure the program fit within the students’ PE goals. Safety is paramount…but so is hard work.
“When you drop in you can see the group doing burpees, mountain climbers, pushups, pistons—you name it. If need be, the exercises can be adapted to a person’s level. Doing their best and pushing to their limit is what is important,” Javy Martinez, co-founder, says.
The program also teaches the principles of “Relax, Focus and Adjust” as a way to be prepared in the ring, but more importantly, in life. Though the program does no sparring for safety reasons, the fighting metaphor is used as a teaching tool. The students train for eight weeks building up to this showcase where they will throw 1,000 punches to earn their “Undisputed Champion” title and their t-shirt. There’s a brief ceremony to close the training camp and salute the new champions.
This training camp the team decided to fight for a cause bigger than themselves. They are dedicating their 1,000 Punch Challenge to people facing cancer and raising funds for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. They are closing in on their $2,000 fundraising goal and will have an oversize check to present to Dana Farber at the end of the ceremony.
The International Boxing Federation, Everlast and Schott’s Boxing have all lent their support to the Undisputed Champions program.
Roy Jones, Jr. Boxing Inks 18-1 Featherweight Prospect Ray Ximenez, Jr.
Roy Jones, Jr. (RJJ) Boxing proudly announces the signing of Dallas featherweight prospect Ray Ximenez, Jr. to a long-term, exclusive promotional contract.
Riding a five-fight win streak, the 25-year-old Ximenez (18-1, 4 KOs) is expected to make his RJJ Boxing debut in March.
“We’re excited to sign another top prospect like Ray Ximenez to our growing stable of fighters,” RJJ Boxing CEO and co-founder Keith Veltre said. “Ray is an old-school boxer, well-conditioned, hard-working, and we believe he has a very bright future.”
“I’m very excited and very appreciated for Roy Jones Jr. Boxing giving me this opportunity,” Ximenez commented. “I plan on showing everyone that I will be the next world champion from Dallas. “I am ready, willing and able to fight anyone, anywhere, any place and any time.”
Ximenez was a standout amateur boxer, compiling a sterling 120-9 record, highlighted by three gold-medal performances, both in the National P.A.L. Championships and Ringside World Championships. A six-time Dallas Golden Gloves champion, Ximenez started boxing at the age of 10 and he also captured gold at the 2009 Silver Gloves National Championships and Junior Olympic National Championships. He represented and captained Team USA at the 2009 Youth World Junior Olympics.
In 2010, Ximenez made a successful pro debut, winning a four-round unanimous decision versus Cristoval Larrazolo..
Five years later, Ximenez defeated Jesse Angel Hernandez, currently 12-1 and world rated (IBF #14, WBO #15), by way of a six-round split decision in Fort Worth, Texas. Last February on beIN Sports, Ximenez registered an impressive eight-round unanimous decision in Dallas over Eugene Lagos, who in his next fight on ESPN knocked off Golden Boy’s top prospect, undefeated (15-0) Emilio Sanchez, in round two.
Ximenez won a 10-round unanimous decision over 111-fight veteran German Meraz this past July in Ximenez’ last fight.
“I’m also excited and appreciate for this opportunity,” Ximenez’ manager Michael Montoya added. “I’d like to especially thank CEO Keith Veltre and matchmaker Guy Taylor for believing in Ray Ximenez, Jr. and I am looking forward to a long-term relationship with one of the best boxing promoters in the sport of boxing.”