Boxing Insider Notebook: Roy Jones, WBSS, Top Rank, Frank Warren, DAZN
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 4th to September 11th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Top Rank Announced Media Partnership with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions
Top Rank and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions are proud to announce an exclusive, landmark multi-year licensing agreement that will bring the best events from the United Kingdom and Europe to boxing fans in the United States and Canada on ESPN platforms.
“We are committed to securing the biggest and best events from around the world,” said Top Rank President Todd duBoef. “Our long-term objective is to showcase global talent and to expose the next generation of boxing stars. Frank Warren is a legend with a keen eye for building talent, and his elite stable has proven to resonate with North American fans.”
“I am absolutely delighted and honored to announce this landmark multi-year deal with Top Rank that will see my promotions going forward featured regularly on the ESPN platforms in the U.S. and Canada,” Warren said. “This was a very attractive opportunity to us due to the level of exposure our stable of fighters will benefit from by being showcased by one of, if not, the biggest broadcaster in sport. Boxers like Terence Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko appear on ESPN, and our boxers will be sharing a broadcast home with them going forward. The agreement will open doors for them to get their name known coast to coast in North America and eventually become stars there.”
The first show under the agreement will be Warren’s stacked card on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Morningside Arena Leicester in Leicester, England. That main event will feature WBO No. 2 super lightweight contender Jack “El Gato” Catterall (22-0, 12 KOs) against fellow top contender Ohara Davies (18-1, 14 KOs). Two-time Olympic gold medalist Nicola Adams (4-0, 3 KOs) and young heavyweight knockout artist Daniel Dubois (8-0, 8 KOs) will also see action on the bill. Dubois will face his toughest test to date against former world title challenger Kevin Johnson.
Warren, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, has been promoting cards for nearly 40 years and has one of the sport’s deepest rosters. He has helped turn many of the United Kingdom’s biggest stars into fan favorites across the pond. Ricky Hatton, Nigel Benn, Joe Calzaghe, Prince Naseem Hamed, and Amir Khan all fought under the Warren banner.
Gilbert Venegas Remains Undefeated with Dominating Performance in San Antonio
TMB & PRB Entertainment presented “Fight Night at the Scottish Rite 2” a ten-bout card that took place at the Scottish Rite Theatre in downtown San Antonio. In the six-round main event, local fighters, Gilbert Venegas and Armando Cardenas gave the fans a crowd-pleasing showdown.
Cardenas, who had the height and reach advantage, was doing his best to box from the outside, but was getting caught with overhand rights by Venegas. At the end of round two, Venegas dropped Cardenas with a looping right hand. Cardenas wasn’t hurt to bad and came back strong in round three. Venegas then started landing pounding body shots, slowing down Cardenas’ comeback. Another overhand right by Venegas dropped Cardenas for the second time in round four. Venegas followed with a vicious left hook to the body that put Cardenas down once again in round three. Cardenas was badly hurt but made it to the final round. Both fighters went out with a blaze of glory as they went toe to toe in the last seconds of round six. Venegas remains undefeated winning by unanimous decision, improving his record to (10-0, 6 KOs), while Armando Cardenas’ record stands at (9-2, 5 KOs). Scorecards unavailable.
DAZN Adds World Boxing Super Series Ali Trophy Final George Groves vs. Callum Smith
DAZN, the live and on-demand sports streaming platform, announced it will carry the Ali Trophy Final between George Groves and Callum Smith in the Super Middleweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series. The card will stream live in the U.S. on Friday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT from Indoor Sports Hall at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
WBA Super Middleweight tilist Groves (28-3, 20 KOs), back in action after an unanimous decision win against Chris Eubank Jr., will take on the undefeated Callum Smith (24-0, 17 KOs) in the third defense of his belt.
“The World Boxing Super Series has produced some of the best fights over the last year and we’re excited to bring the Groves-Smith final to the U.S.,” said Joe Markowski, DAZN SVP, North America. “When you consider the fact that we offer a one-month free trial to each subscriber, this will be a tremendous fall for combat sports fans.”
Groves vs. Smith is the latest addition to DAZN’s stacked fall lineup of exclusive fights featuring Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 22, Bellator 206 on Sept. 29, Jessie Vargas vs. Thomas Dulorme on Oct. 6, Billy Joe Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade on Oct. 20, among many others. Fans can sign up for DAZN for only $9.99 per month by registering at DAZN.com or by downloading the DAZN app on a wide range of connected devices, including smart TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and game consoles, when the service goes live on Sept. 10.
Earlier this summer, DAZN announced it will bring all 15 fight nights of the World Boxing Super Series’ second season to boxing fans in the U.S. and Canada, featuring the following weight classes:
Mairis Briedis (Latvia) vs. Noel Mikaelian (Germany)
Yunier Dorticos (Cuba) vs. Mateusz Masternak (Poland)
Krzysztof Glowacki (Poland) vs. Maksim Vlasov (Russia)
Andrew Tabiti (United States) vs. Ruslan Fayfer (Russia)
Regis Prograis (United States) vs. Terry Flanagan (England)
Josh Taylor (Scotland) vs. Ryan Martin (United States)
WBA titlist Kiryl Relikh (Belarus) vs. Eduard Troyanovsky (Russia)
Vacant IBF title matchup: Ivan Baranchyk (Belarus) vs. Anthony Yigit (Sweden)
WBA titlist Ryan Burnett (Northern Ireland) vs. Nonito Donaire (Philippines)
WBO titlist Zolani Tete (South Africa) vs. Mikhail Aloyan (Russia)
Naoya Inoue (Japan) vs. Juan Carlos Payano (Dominican Republic)
Roy Jones Jr. Leads Class of 2018 Inductees into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame
Living legend Roy Jones, Jr., universally recognized as one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all-time, leads a celebrated quintet of Class of 2018 inductees into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame.
The second annual USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame reception, held in conjunction with the 2018 USA Boxing Elite and Youth National Championships and Junior and Prep Open, December 2-8, will be held Dec. 7, at the Radisson Hotel (215 S. Temple St.) in Salk Lake City, Utah.
In addition to Jones, the Class of 2018 also includes two U.S. Olympic gold medalists and world (professional) champions, Andre Ward and Claressa Shields, as well as former USA Boxing National Director of Coaching Emanuel Steward and veteran USA Boxing official Tom Cleary. The latter two will be posthumously inducted.
The charter class inducted last year included Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield, as well as veteran coaches Roosevelt Sanders and Tom Coulter.
“I am honored to be selected for induction into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame,” Jones commented, “especially as a member of this great class with my fellow inductees.
“Amateur boxing gave me the chance to learn life skills as well as face every other possible scenario inside of the ring.”
Jones, ironically, got into boxing at the age of 11 because of Ali. “I saw Ali vs. (Joe) Frazier and just felt as though Ali and I had the same mental concept on life,” Jones explained.
Jones went on to become one of the best amateur boxers in the world, compiling a reported 121-13 record, including gold medal performances at the 1984 National Junior Olympics and 1986 & 1987 National Golden Gloves Tournaments.
At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Jones reached the championship final of the light middleweight division against Park Si-Hun, of South Korea. Jones suffered arguably the worst decision in boxing history, losing 3-2, despite outpunching his opponent, 86 to 32 landed punches, and he was forced to settle for a silver medal. Even his opponent admitted that Jones won their fight, leading the AIBA to later suspend the three judges who selected the hometown fighter as the winner.
How disgraceful was this decision? Jones was selected as the Val Barker Trophy winner as the best boxer of the 1988 Olympics and, due to controversy, the scoring system for Olympic boxing was changed, replacing the 20-point must system with electronic scoring.
“I was angered,” Jones admitted, “yet promoted to prove that I was the best fighter there, and in the world, at that time.”
Jones made his professional debut May 6, 1989, at home in Pensacola, Florida, in a scheduled eight-round bout, in which RJJ stopped Ricky Randall in the second round. His long, glorious journey has produced a remarkable 66-9 (47 KOs) pro record, highlighted by nine major world titles in four different weight classes.
In 2003, Jones defeated John Ruiz by way of a 12-round unanimous decision to become the first former world middleweight champion to become world heavyweight title holder in more than a century.
The possessor of exceptional hand and foot speed, athleticism, movement and reflexes, Jones went undefeated through his first 34 pro fights, 22-3 (14) in world title fights. Against former, present or future world champions, Jones was 19-9 (8 KOs) and included among his victims were greats such as Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Mike McCallum, Vinnie Pazienza, Virgil Hill, Antonio Tarver and Felix Trinidad.
Today, the 49-year-old Jones, technically speaking, is still an active fighter. He also has two promotional companies and gyms, located in Pensacola and Las Vegas, trains several pro boxers and serves as a color commentator for HBO Boxing. He recently opened gyms in South Africa.
For the past two years, Jones has hosted the “Future Stars of Boxing Tournament” in Las Vegas, showcasing some of the best amateur boxers in the world.
“Hosting the tournament in Las Vegas gives me the opportunity to give back to amateur boxing,” Jones explained. “It’s a great experience for the boxers and it reminds them that who they may have or still look up to, are watching them as well.”