Boxing Insider Notebook: Shields, Sosa, Gamboa, Fury, Seldin, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 31st to November 7th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Claressa Shields to Defend Women’s Super Middleweight Title Against Tori Nelson
Unified Women’s Super Middleweight World Champion Claressa Shields will defend her 168-pound titles against undefeated IBF mandatory challenger Tori Nelson on Friday, Jan. 12 live on SHOWTIME.
A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Shields (4-0, 2 KOs) will face her second consecutive undefeated opponent in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation live at 10 p.m. ET/PT from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.
Shields dethroned previously unbeaten Nikki Adler Aug. 4 on SHOWTIME to pick up the WBC and vacant IBF titles less than one year after she became the first American boxer to capture back-to-back Olympic gold medals. The 22-year-old native of Flint, Mich., returns to face Nelson, a seven-year veteran with seven times the professional ring experience.
“I’m truly excited to have the chance to demonstrate my skills against an opponent the caliber of Tori Nelson,” Shields said. “I’m honored to be headlining the first ShoBox of 2018, and I know January 12 will be a great night for the fans. This will be the beginning of a historic year for me and for women’s boxing.”
Nelson (17-0-3, 2 KOs) won a middleweight world championship in 2011 and owns wins over previously unbeaten Alicia Napoleon and Mia St. John. The 41-year-old Ashburn, Va., native looks to capture her second world title in a showdown with the fastest rising star in women’s boxing.
“Ever since Claressa turned pro, I have wanted this fight,” Nelson said. “She’s young and talented, but my experience will make the difference. Since I became a boxer, I have dreamed of being in big fights on television. I am confident that I will win this fight and remain undefeated. And I plan to retire as an undefeated world champion.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions in association with Aasha Record Breakers, go on sale Monday, Nov. 13 for $75 for the first two rows of ringside, $65 for remaining ringside seats and all others priced at $49 and $37, plus any applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased in person or by calling the Turning Stone Resort Box Office at 800.771.7711 or online at Ticketmaster.
“Claressa’s determination to challenge the best available contenders shows why she is one of the most accomplished fighters in the sport today,” promoter Dmitriy Salita said. “This is a great matchup and I am confident that we will witness another memorable performance.”
Said Gordon Hall, Executive Producer of ShoBox: The New Generation: “Claressa is a star both in and out of the ring who possesses all the intangibles to become the face of women’s boxing. In just four professional fights, two as headliners on ShoBox, she is already unified champion at 168 with plans to conquer the 160 and 154-pound divisions. Tori Nelson is undefeated, a former champion, and represents what should be the toughest test of Claressa’s young career. Only time will tell, but I don’t know if there is any fighter in the world who can stop Claressa Shields.”
Shields compiled an amateur record of 77-1 and won her first Olympic Gold when she was only 17 years old in the inaugural women’s boxing competition at the 2012 London Games. She won a second gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and turned professional three months later.
In March 2017 in Detroit, Shields stopped Hungary’s Szilvia Szabados in four rounds in the first women’s main event in premium television history. Shields returned to headline her second ShoBox telecast in August, knocking out Adler in the fifth round to become unified champion in just her fourth professional fight. With the win, Shields became the 70th world champion in the history of the prospect developmental series.
Active in her community, Shields advocates for several social issues and serves as an inspirational figure in her hometown of Flint, a city beset by problems.
Nelson turned professional at the age of 29 and won the WBC 160-pound title in just her fifth professional fight. She twice fought to a draw in middleweight world title bouts with Teresa Perozzi.
The high-pressure Nelson is one fight removed from a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Napoleon, and is fresh off a second round knockout of Latashia Burton in her first hometown fight in Ashburn, Va.
Undercard bouts for the ShoBox telecast will be announced in the coming weeks.
Hennessy Sports Statement in Regards to Tyson Fury
Both Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury have been fighting the United Kingdom Anti-Doping (Ukad) over Fury’s positive test for steroids in June of 2016. The BBC is reporting that the Ukad fears it could be made insolvent or require a government bailout over a dispute with Tyson Fury.
Hennessy Sports recently released a statement in regards to Tyson Fury and stated, “It has been a difficult two years but we will not stop until we have cleared Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury names.”
Former Unified Featherweight Champion Yuriorkis Gamboa to Step In and Fight Jason Sosa
Former unified featherweight champion Yuriorkis “El Ciclon de Guantanamo” Gamboa (27-2, 17 KOs) will step in to fight Jason “El Canito” Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in the televised opener to Kovalev vs. Shabrankskyy. The event takes place Saturday, Nov. 25 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Gamboa, a 35-year-old native of Guantanamo, Cuba, is an Olympic Gold Medalist who shot to the top of the Featherweight rankings to win two world titles, defeating the likes of Orlando “Siri” Salido and Daniel Ponce De Leon before officially moving up to 130 pounds. Gamboa has also faced stiff competition as a super featherweight, with wins against Darleys Perez and Rene “El Gemelo” Alvarado under his belt. Gamboa is replacing Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos, who pulled out of this fight due to an injury.
“I’m excited for this great opportunity to fight Sosa on the undercard of Kovalev-Shabranakssy,” said Gamboa. “A win over Sosa on HBO could push me back into title contention. I’m a fighter with many aspects and dimensions, and that’s what I’ll bring in my fight against Sosa. For my my last fight, I wasn’t prepared well. This time I will be very much prepared, so I can walk away with my hand raised.”
“I’m excited for Gamboa,” said Zeferino Ramirez of ZR Entertainment. “This is the fight we wanted. And I expect big things in 2018. He’ll be ready for any 130-pound champion if he is successful on November 25.”
The 29-year-old Sosa, of Camden, NJ, is the former WBA World Super Featherweight Champion. He earned his title by handing Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna his first loss as a pro with an 11th-round knockout in Beijing, China in June 2016. Sosa successfully defended his title with a 12-round decision win over Stephen Smith in Monte Carlo in November 2016 before returning several months later in a tough fight against Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko in April 2017. Sosa is also known for fighting to an impressive majority draw against former WBA Super World Featherweight Champion Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters and for stopping former world title challenger Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes in only one round.
“People think we have an easier opponent in Gamboa since Castellanos beat him, but we’re not buying into that,” said Sosa. “Maybe Gamboa didn’t take Castellanos seriously. We expect to see the very best Gamboa on Nov. 25. Having said that, this is not about who we are fighting; this is about why. We are fighting to make Puerto Rico proud after what all the people who live there have been through recently.”
“This should be a solid fight between two guys, the same size, who like to hurt people,” said Russell Peltz, Hall of Fame Promoter of Peltz Boxing Promotions.”It’s a better matchup, style-wise, than the one between Jason [Sosa] and Robinson Castellanos.”
Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight World Title promoted by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions. Barrera vs. Valera is a 10-round light heavyweight fight promoted by Main Events in Association with Shuan Boxing Promotions.
Gamboa vs. Sosa is a 10-round super featherweight fight promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Peltz Boxing and ZR Entertainment. The event will take place on Nov. 25 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Tyron “Pretty Boy” James Media Day Quotes
Super lightweight contender and Long Island knockout artist CLETUS “THE HEBREW HAMMER” SELDIN, (20-0 16 KO’s), and undefeated welterweight prospect TYRONE “PRETTY BOY” JAMES (5-0 3 KO’s) entertained the large group of press and fans at the Westbury Boxing Gym in Long Island today, in advance of their fights at NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, this Saturday, November 11th. James will face veteran DANIEL SOSTRE (13-14-1, 5 KO’s) in a 6 round bout during the non-televised portion of the card. Also in attendance was Long Islander, TOMMY “THE RAZOR” RAINONE, who will be fighting on the non-televised portion of the card.
Seldin will be the TV opener on HBO, in a 10 round clash against Mexican brawler ROBERTO “MASSA” ORTIZ (35-1-2 26 KO’s). Headlining the card is DANIEL “MIRACLE MAN” JACOBS (32-2 29 KO’s) vs LUIS ARIAS (18-0 9 KO’s) in a 12 round bout and co-feature JARRELL “BIG BABY” MILLER (19-0-1 17 KO’s) vs MARIUSZ WACH (33-2 17 KO’s) in a 12 round heavyweight showdown. The HBO World Championship production is set to begin a 10:00 PM ET with Cletus Seldin vs Roberto Ortiz bout.
“When Star Boxing told me that I had a fight on HBO, I just jumped at it, I didn’t even ask who the opponent was”
“Im ecstatic, so excited, to be fighting on HBO and to be in my hometown of Long Island.”
“This is my audition and I’m taking it as there is no tomorrow.”
“I want to show everybody that I am just a really hard working individual who as long as I work hard, I will get there.”
“Whether I am the first fight or the last fight, I will put on the most exciting fight of the night.”
“This is a big fight for me and I know that, but I am going to take it like any other fight, training 110% just like my other fights, and give it everything I have.”
“We will come out victorious.”
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Second Induction Weekend June 1st through June 3rd
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is proud to announce its second Annual Induction Ceremony & Celebration Weekend. The 2018 celebration is set for Friday, June 1st through Sunday, June 3rd; and will be held at the historic Claridge a Radisson Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Our esteemed Nomination Committee has completed the nomination and voting process; and the names of all luminaries who will be inducted into the 2018 Induction Class, will be announced Monday, November 27, 2017, via an official press release. This year’s group of Inductees is comprised of Boxers, Trainers, Promoters, Managers, Matchmakers, Historians, Special Contributors, and Posthumous individuals. All who have played a major role in making Atlantic City atop boxing destination in the U.S.A.
The countdown to Induction Weekend has begun as plenary meetings are already underway. Over the next several week’s updates on room packages, schedule of events and expected celebrity appearances will be posted on the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and the Claridge Hotel websites and social media platforms.
During last year’s inaugural three-day celebration – ACBHOF showcased the Fight Fan Experience – a festive boxing-themed environment that included a Boxing Fantasy Camp, Pop-Up Barber Shop, Jack Johnson Exhibit, Icons of Boxing, The Legacy Exists Joe Frazier Scholarship Fund, James O’Neal Sculptures, Cake King of Queens, The Press of Atlantic City Exhibit, WBC Boxing, Food vendors and music by DJ Young Hitta.
The master of ceremonies for the ceremony was President of NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, Henry Hascup. The 2017 induction weekend was a smorgasbord of boxing royalty, celebrity guests, and legions of boxing fans. Last year’s star-studded Charter Class members included: Don King, Michael Spinks, Larry Hazzard, Steve Smoger, Mike Rossman, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Frank Gelb, Don Elbaum, J Russell Peltz, Dave Bontempo, Ken Condon, Robert Lee, Sr., Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson.
Some of last year’s VIP guests included: Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, Councilman Frank Gilliam, Dr. Nina Radcliff, Whitney Ullman, Jill Diamond, Flo Anthony, Aaron Snowell, Lillo Brancato, Alan Goldberg, Ray Mercer, Mark Breland, Iran Barkley, Iceman John Scully, Tracy Patterson, Milton Luban, Chuck Zito and the Grandy Twins. Entertainment was provided by former Miss America, Suzette Charles; Chicken Bone Beach Jazz Band and saxophonist Parris.
Considering the scale and level of our inaugural event and the significant interest it has kindled, we can safely say that the celebration remains unique and exciting for Atlantic City and the sport of boxing.
All interested sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors looking be involved in 2018 induction weekend or to reserve a booth are encouraged to contact the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) at [email protected]
Two Time Olympian Alberto Melian to Turn Professional December 16th
Sampson Boxing’s newest promotional signing, Argentinean amateur star and two-time Olympian, Alberto “Impacto” Melián, will be taking the “Lomachenko” route into the professional ranks by facing Diego Ricardo Santillan (23-2, 15 KOs) in an eight-round bout for his first professional fight on Saturday, December 16, at the Macro Stadium of the Argentine Federation of Boxing (FAB) in Buenos Aires.
A formidable foe for anyone, the 30-year-old Santillan, from Tartagal, Salta, Argentina, is a former Argentina (FAB), WBC Mundo Hispano and South American Bantamweight Champion. Melian, however, has requested the fast track to a world championship and promoter Lewkowicz has agreed.
“Alberto is regarded as one of the best Argentine amateur boxers ever and he’s ready for the best of the professional ranks. We hope to have him fighting for a world championship within 10 fights,” said Lewkowicz.
Lewkowicz says that Melian’s amateur credentials are enough to let him forego the usual development period of a new professional.
“In addition to his two Olympic appearances, Alberto fought in nearly every international tournament and won dozens of titles. He’s ready for anyone in the world going into his first fight. We have every confidence in him.”
Melián vs. Santillan will be televised live by TyC Sports Argentina.