Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 12th to June 19th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo of Hizni Altunkaya
Hizni Altunkaya Challegned Shumenov for WBA Cruiserweight Title
World Boxing Association (WBA) No. 3-rated cruiserweight Hizni “The Warrior” Altunkaya (30-1, 17 KOs) isn’t concerned about hitting the road to fight local hero and two-division World Boxing Association (WBA) World Champion, Beibut Shumenov, for the vacant WBA World cruiserweight title, July 7 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
A 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian, Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs) retired a year ago due to an eye injury that required surgeries, forcing him to relinquish his WBA cruiserweight world title. Shumenov has fully recovered and he’s on a mission to recapture his WBA world cruiserweight title.
Shumenov vs. Altunkaya is a presentation of Shumenov’s company, KZ Event Productions, Inc. The July 7th gala event will be part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Astana being the capital of Kazakhstan. Many political dignitaries from Kazakhstan and around the World are expected to attend Shumenov’s comeback fight, which will air nationally on Qazaqstan TV and QAZSPORT TV, as well as internationally, including BoxNation in the United Kingdom.
“I have no reservations about fighting Shumenov in his country,” 30-year-old Altunkaya said. “I believe that there will be a fair decision and the better fighter that evening will win. I will arrive in Kazakhstan with enough time for me to acclimate.
“I have great respect for what he has achieved. Shumenov has a lot of experience and he is a strong boxer. We are studying some fights to find his weaknesses. I think it will be, technologically, a good fight, in which both of us will take chances to get a knockout. I’m a boxer, but when I see the chance for a knockout, I can change my style. It will be a tough fight and I will do my best to go home as world champion.
Altunkaya, who was born in Turkey but now lives and fights out of fighting out of Germany, knocked out Mathias Reinhardt in the first round, on the Vitali Klitschko versus Shannon Briggs World Boxing Council (WBC) Heavyweight World Championship card in 2010, at O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
In 2011, Altunkaya won a 12-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Salvatore Aiello (29-0) for the Interim World Boxing Federation (WBF) World cruiserweight crown. The gifted Turk captured the vacant Global Boxing Council (GBC) Intercontinental cruiserweight title in 2016, His pro loss happened last year, when he was stopped in round five by former World Boxing Organization (WBO) Cruiserweight World champion Krzysztof Glowacki (26-1).
Shumenov has a tremendous quality experience advantage over Altunkaya, who did not box as an amateur. Although Altunkava has fought more pro rounds than Shumenov, 147-140, the chiseled Kazakh has fought 88 rounds in major world title fights compared to zero for his Turkish opponent.
“The fight against Glowacki was one of the most important experiences in my career,” Altunkaya added. “I know what I did wrong and I will not repeat those mistakes against Shumenov.”
Additional fights will soon be announced. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
New England’s Top & Most Promising Boxers to be Showcased on “Slugfest at the Sun” Card June 30th
The “Common Man,” Long Island light heavyweight JOE SMITH, JR. (23-2, 19 KOs), returns to the ring after being inactive the past 11 months recovering from a broken jaw. The popular Irish-American will face MELVIN “THE ROMANTIC REDNECK” RUSSELL (11-4-2, 7 KOs) in the 10-round main event.
Smith burst onto the boxing scene in 2016 when he defeated, top rated light heavyweight, Andrzej Fonfara on NBC in Chicago, and again later that year, when he knocked living legend Bernard Hopkins clear out of the ring, becoming the first person to ever KO the former multi-division world champion and future Hall of Famer.
JOE DEGUARDIA, CEO of Star Boxing had this to say about June 30th, “We are thrilled to be up in New England for this sensational show at Mohegan Sun on June 30th that will be filled with local favorites and headlined by an international favorite (Joe Smith Jr). Boxing history is full of exciting fighters from New England and on June 30th fans will be treated to local fighters aiming to continue a rich tradition of tough New Englanders.”
In the eight-round co-featured event, two-time middleweight champion (pictured to left) KALI “KO MEQUINONOAG” REIS (13-7-1, 4 KOs), fighting out of Cranston, RI, is coming off her eye-opening performance last month against undisputed women’s world welterweight champion and pound-4-pound Queen, 33-0 CECELIA BRAEKUS, in the first female bout ever featured on HBO. Reis floored Braekhus once, but she lost a 10-round decision. The former WBC and UBF World middleweight champion will meet former world title challenger PATTY “LA ELEGANTE” RAMIREZ (11-5, 5 KOs), of Mexico, on Aug. 30 at Mohegan Sun.
Six New Englanders are scheduled to provide support on the undercard, including 2016 N.E. Golden Gloves champion “ACTION” ANTHONY LAUREANO (7-0, 3 KOs), of East Hartford (CT), in a six-round junior welterweight match against Mexican knockout artist JUAN de la cruz RODRIGUEZ (8-9-1, 6KOs). Laureano earned an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from Manchester Community College.
Former University of New Haven basketball star, New London, CT undefeated heavyweight CASSIUS CHANEY (12-0, 6 KOs), meets ELDER “BARON” HERNANDEZ (5-2, 3 KOs), of Mexico, in a six-round bout. Chaney is coming off a vicious second round KO win at Madison Square Garden against Tim Washington.Chaney is promoted by Main Events.
New Haven, CT junior lightweight prospect WILLIAM FOSTER III (8-0, 6 KOs), a three-time N.E. Golden Gloves champion, puts his undefeated pro record on the line in a six-rounder versus TRYROME JONES (4-3-1, 1 KO). Foster is promoted by Murphy’s Boxing.
Exciting South Boston, MA junior welterweight, and Union Local 941 railroad laborer, JOE FARINA (2-0, 2 KOs) throws-down with STEVE MOORE (1-3, 1 KO) in a six-round junior welterweight battle.
In a pair of six-round fights, Worcester, MA junior middleweight ANDY GONZALEZ (6-2, 5 KOs) has prepared to upset unbeaten WENDY “HAITIAN FIRE” TOUSSAINT (8-0, 2 KOs). Toussaint’s last three fights have ended via TKO, and the Long Island fighter plans on extending the streak to four,while Springfield, MA junior middleweight ANTHONY VELAZQUEZ (2-0, 2 KOs) will try to make an impression against ANTHONY WOODS (1-6-1).
Mayer, Conceicao, and Alvarado Headline Oklahoma City Card
Former WBO junior welterweight champion Mike Alvarado, female fighting sensation Mikaela Mayer, and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceicao will see action on the June 30 undercard at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The card will be headlined by WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez’s title defense against Alexis Angulo and 140-pound contender Alex Saucedo’s homecoming bout against the hard-hitting Lenny Zappavigna.
Alvarado (38-4, 26 KOs) will fight Martin Martinez (17-4-1-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight bout, Mayer (5-0, 3 KOs) will face fellow unbeaten Sheena Kaine (5-0, 1 KO) in a six-round lightweight contest, and Conceicao (7-0, 4 KOs) will take on Gavino Guaman (5-2, 1 KO) in an eight-round super featherweight bout.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets to this world championship extravaganza are ON SALE NOW. Priced at $200, $100, $60, $40 and $25, not including facility and service fees, tickets may be purchased at the Chesapeake Energy Arena box office, online at Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Ramirez-Angulo and Saucedo-Zappavigna will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 9 p.m. ET, while undercard action will stream live and exclusively in the United States on ESPN+ starting at 6:00 p.m. ET. ESPN+ is the recently launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
“I’m really excited to be fighting alongside the champ, Zurdo Ramirez!” Mayer said. “Top Rank continues to put me on amazing cards with the best talent in boxing. Fighting in Oklahoma City is the perfect opportunity to meet more boxing fans and give them an exciting show as I continue my journey to a world championship!”
“I’ve been reconstructing my entire organization over the past three years. I am training now with one of the finest professors of the sweet science, Tony Aguilera,” Alvarado said. “I’m excited to showcase what I’ve stayed dedicated to working hard for. Come June 30, I’ll be one step closer to securing my legacy against anyone who stands in my way.”
“I am very confident of fighting in OKC. I’m having a great high-level training camp in Miami,” Conceicao said. “I’m evolving every day and I’m sure I will put on a great show for all the fans in OKC and those watching live on ESPN+.”
Also appearing on the undercard will be heavyweight knockout sensation Trey Lippe Morrison (14-0, 14 KOs) of Tulsa, Oklahoma; former amateur standout Chris Zavala making his professional debut in a four-round super featherweight bout against Tyler Pacheco (1-1, 0 KOs); Oklahoma City native Aaron Morales (2-0, 2 KOs) in a four-round bantamweight contest; and unbeaten 140-pound prospect Julian Rodriguez (16-0, 10 KOs) against Alejandro Barbosa (11-2, 7 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
Alvarado has turned his career and his life around since personal problems derailed his career, as he’s won four consecutive fights (three by knockout). In his last bout, he scored one of 2017’s best one-punch knockouts with a third-round KO over Sidney Siqueira on the Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo undercard in Lincoln, Nebraska. Alvarado has been involved in multiple ‘Fight of the Year’ candidates, including the first fight of his trilogy against Brandon Rios, which won Sports Illustrated ‘Fight of the Year’ honors in 2012. Alvarado lost that fight via seventh-round TKO, but less than six months later, he outboxed Rios to win a unanimous decision.
Mayer, who is making her third ring appearance of 2018, is on the fast track to a world title shot. In her last bout, May 12 on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jorge Linares card in New York City, she shut out the game Baby Nansen over six rounds. The Los Angeles native opened her 2018 campaign on March 10 in Carson, California, with a 35-second knockout over Maria Semertzoglou.
In 2016, Conceicao became the first Brazilian boxer to capture Olympic gold. He is 2-0 with a pair of decision wins in 2018, with his last bout coming April 28 in Philadelphia. On that evening, he shut out the game Alex Torres Rynn over six rounds.
Dusty Hernandez-Harrison Released from Roc Nation Sports
Undefeated welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison is now a promotional free agent after being granted his release from promoter Roc Nation Sports. The former USBA, WBC Continental Americas and WBC Youth Champion is eager to get back in the ring after a 22-month hiatus from the sport.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to get back into the ring and fulfill my goal of becoming a World Champion,” Hernandez-Harrison said. “I am in the gym and I am working hard to get back to where I was two years ago.”
“I just want to fight at this point; it’s been way too long,” Hernandez-Harrison added.
Hernandez-Harrison sports a record of 30-0-1, with 16 knockouts and is huge draw in his native Washington, D.C.
“I would really like to have a few fights at home,” the Southeast D.C., native said. “I love fighting in D.C., and I can’t wait to fight in front of my hometown fans again.”
That opportunity could come sooner rather than later if current plans come to fruition.
Sam Crossed Scores Devastating Knockout in Ring Return
Knockout artist Sam “The Vanilla Gorilla” Crossed of Greenbelt, Maryland, was triumphant in his ring return following an 11-month hiatus. Crossed won in spectacular fashion knocking out his previously undefeated opponent, Josh Jones, just 23 seconds into the first round with a brutal overhand right. Crossed improves his perfect record to 7-0, with 5 knockouts. The bout took place this past Saturday June 16, 2018, at The Gardens Ice House in Laurel, Maryland and was co-promoted by Jeter Promotions and GQ Promotions.
“It was a shot my trainer and I had been working on in the gym,” Crossed said. “This was the best camp I have had in my career and I felt more relaxed than ever before.”
Crossed should be back in action in August if things go as planned for the Washington, D.C., region fan favorite.
“It looks like we could have Sam back in the ring and possibly in a televised fight next time out if everything falls into place,” Crossed’s manager Mike Walters said. “He had a huge crowd for this fight and put on a hell of a performance for as long as it lasted.”
“The promoter (Jeter Promotions) was very happy with his performance and with the number of tickets he sold.”
Crossed has a rabid fan base in the Washington, D.C., region, which was evident on Saturday night as he received arguably the loudest cheers of any boxer on the card and by the number of fans in attendance wearing Vanilla Gorilla T-shirts. Dan Rafael of ESPN fame described the fighter as having a “cult like following” in an article he wrote in May 2016.
“I just want to get back in the ring as soon as possible,” Crossed said. “I feel like I have improved leaps and bounds since I made my debut and I am looking to step up in my next fight.”
“I want to fight as often as possible against better opposition every time out.”