Boxing Insider Notebook: Wallin, Monroe, Hunter, Kovalev, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 18th to February 25th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Otto Wallin Wants Tyson Fury Rematch

Brand-new WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury wasn’t the only fighter whose stock rose dramatically with his dominant seventh-round stoppage of Deontay Wilder Saturday night.

By virtue of his strong performance against Fury last September, Sweden’s IBF #15-ranked Otto Wallin (20-1, 13 KOs) must now be considered a serious force in the big man’s division. “If anybody still doubted me, now they know,” said Wallin. “My fight with Fury was of course a much better fight and I showed that I belong as a top contender.”

Early in the fight, when the two met at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last Fall, Wallin opened two gruesome cuts around Fury’s right eye with legal blows and came within a hair of scoring the huge upset. After an extremely tense 12-round battle, Fury was forced to fight through his own blood and dig deep to rally in the later rounds and take a unanimous decision over Wallin.

Many boxing experts noted, post-fight, that less serious cuts had brought a halt to the action in other fights and Fury was extremely fortunate to have escaped with his unbeaten record. Fury required close to 50 stitches and had to have a web mesh inserted surgically into the horrific wound.

“Neither Wladimir Klitschko or Deontay Wilder, two of the greatest heavyweights of our time, could do to Tyson Fury what Otto Wallin did,” said Wallin’s promoter Dmitriy Salita. “Otto at 29 years is only going to get better in every facet of the game. He is on his way to becoming a dominant force in the heavyweight division.”

Wallin and Fury displayed mutual respect after their fight and it continued Saturday night with Wallin congratulating the new champion for his impressive showing and the former champion for his courage.

“I think Fury came in with a good game plan and showed he’s the number one heavyweight in the world,” said Wallin. “The trainer change he made worked out for him and the more-aggressive style made Wilder look bad. Fury seemed to be on another level. Everything worked in his favor. I honestly think that my fight with Fury helped him get ready for this fight. He fought Wilder in a similar way to how he fought me in the second half of our fight.

“At the same time Wilder deserves respect for not wanting to quit. He kept fighting and showed a lot of heart, even though I think his corner should’ve stopped the fight earlier.”

Team Wallin say they will continue to train hard and look for opportunities to move back into line for another shot at Fury.

“Otto didn’t get lucky in that fight,” continued Dmitriy Salita. “He has the right style to always give Tyson Fury big problems. We’re going to keep him busy and winning while we wait for Fury to decide to settle this unfinished business with a rematch.”

“I want a rematch and this time I will finish what I started,” added Wallin.

Ring of Hope’s Night to Fight Returns March 7th at Toyota Music Factor in Irving, Texas

Lone Star State-based non-profit organization Ring of Hope returns for a resounding night of sanctioned professional boxing when it presents its ninth annual “Night To Fight” pro boxing and charity event on Saturday, March 7 at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, Texas.

The main event will present an 8 round light heavyweight attraction between two battle-tested warriors when Dallas-Fort Worth born-and-bred boxer Samuel Clarkson (22-5, 15 KOs) challenges the Freddie Roach-trained Israel Duffus (19-6, 16 KOs).

The marquee match of the night will culminate to serve as the major fundraising event to help support the Ring of Hope boxing program. Since 2010, Ring of Hope has transformed communities and changed the lives of the youth by educating, empowering and engaging students through the fundamentals of boxing.

“I’m often asked why I’ve had such a desire to be a part of Ring of Hope. It’s all about the future of the young men and women in our communities,” said Ring of Hope founder Steven Bolos. “We believe for them, believe in them and believe with and through them that they can be the leaders of tomorrow.”

Evan “Yung Holy” Holyfield (3-0, 3 KOs), the son of Hall of Fame fighter Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, will continue on his quest to follow in his legendary father’s footsteps when the 22-year-old returns to the ring. Presented by Main Events, the Houston-based Holyfield made his pro boxing debut in November with his legendary father supporting ringside.

Local talent and 18-year-old standout Tristan Kalkreuth (4-0, 3 KOs), who last year inked a deal with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, will continue his climb up the ranks in a separate fight as well. Kalkreuth was born in Carrollton and is a resident of Duncanville. He’s trained by renowned coach Ronnie Shields, and has a decorated amateur background, where he participated in over 100 fights, earned two National Championships and fought for the USA Boxing Team in the World Championships in 2018.

Also to be featured in separate bouts are welterweights Jessy Martinez (14-0, 9 KOs) and Brandyn Lynch (10-1, 8 KOs), cruiserweight Robin Safar (10-0, 7 KOs) and heavyweight Patrick Mailata (4-0, 2 KOs), Austin-based super lightweight Robert Kevin Garcia (6-0, 5 KOs) and the Corpus Christi-based lightweight John Rincon (4-0, 2 KOs).

Night To Fight will be available live on Integrated Sports Pay Per View on cable, satellite and digital pay-per-view via iN Demand, Vubiquity, DIRECTV and DISH in the United States, Shaw PPV in Canada and worldwide via the FITE.TV app and website.

Hall of Fame Showtime TV broadcaster Al Bernstein, former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi and LA Times and Boxing Scene journalist and writer Manouk Akopyan will call the action from ringside.

Limited tickets and VIP dinner tables can be obtained through a sponsorship to Ring of Hope. For more information, go to www.ringofhope.com.

The Toyota Music Factory is located at 300 West Las Colinas Boulevard in Irving, Texas.

Keith Hunter to Face Ssanjarbek Rakhmanov in Rematch on February 28th

Undefeated rising prospect Keith “The Bounty” Hunter will face talented Sanjarbek “War” Rakhmanov in a rematch in the 10-round super lightweight ShoBox: The New Generation main event Friday, February 28 live on SHOWTIME (10:45 p.m. ET/PT) from Sam’s Town Casino in Las Vegas. Rakhmanov steps in to replace previously scheduled opponent Malik Hawkins who was forced to withdraw for medical reasons.

Hunter (11-0, 7 KOs) and Rakhmanov (12-2-1, 6 KOs) first met on February 5, 2019, in an eight-round welterweight contest that resulted in a narrow-split decision victory for Hunter. Although Hunter controlled the action in the early rounds and scored a knockdown in the second, Rakhmanov recovered and landed some heavy blows in the later rounds. The scorecards read 77-74, 76-75 and 75-76.

Rakhmanov, who fought to a draw with Alfonso Olvera on ShoBox in May of 2016, will be making his second appearance on the prospect developmental series and his ninth start at Sam’s Town Live. In his most recent performance on September 20, 2019, he broke down Andre Byrd, delivering punishment to the body for four straight rounds, leading to Byrd taking a knee and ending the fight. He currently trains with Chris Ben-Tchavtchavadze at the Mayweather Boxing Club.

The 30-year-old Rakhmanov, who was born in Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan, was a top amateur with more than 140 bouts, including a Gold Medal win at the 2009 Asian Amateur Boxing Championship. In 2013, he became the national champion of Uzbekistan. After signing with Mayweather Promotions in 2014, he turned pro with an impressive 1:21 first-round knockout over Brett Simmons in June of 2015.

In the ShoBox co-main event, 2016 Olympian and undefeated super lightweight prospect Richardson Hitchins (10-0, 5 KOs) takes on Rhode Island’s Nick DeLomba (16-2, 5 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Once-beaten Las Vegas native Kevin Newman II (11-1-1, 6 KOs) faces Albania’s Genc Pllana (7-1-1, 4 KOs) in a 10-round super middleweight matchup to open the telecast.

Barry Tompkins will call the action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.

TMZ Reports Sergey Kovalev Arrested for DUI

TMZ is reporting that Sergey Kovalev was arrested for DUI early Monday morning.  He was allegedly pulled over by the California Highyway Patrol around 2am.  He was released on his own recognizance around 7:35 AM.

This recent arrest comes while he is in the middle of a felony assault case stemming from an incident in 2018.  He has pled not guilty and is currently fighting the case.

More info can be found here: https://www.tmz.com/2020/02/24/sergey-kovalev-arrested-dui-los-angeles-boxing/

Undefeated Russian Heavyweight Destroys Former Undefeated John Napari in Moscow

Last Friday, Russian heavyweight slugger Apti Davtaev remained undefeated with a two-round demolition of formerly undefeated John Napari of Accra, Ghana at the Dynamo Palace of Sports in Krylatskoye, Moscow.

Despite a confident and flamboyant ring entrance, Napari (now 21-1, 15 KOs) had no answers for the incredible power of Davtaev (20-0-1, 19 KOs) once the action started. The big Russian dropped Napari twice with counter right hands, the second time for good in round two.

Davtaev has been steadily improving under the tutelage of SugarHill Steward at Kronk Gym in Detroit. The already freakishly strong Davtaev has been developing outstanding boxing skills working with Steward and the difference is obvious with each passing performance.

“Apti has gained world-class skills since we’ve been working together,” said SugarHill Steward. “He is definitely ready to become a force in the heavyweight division in 2020.”

Davtaev agrees with Steward’s assessment that his time at Kronk has made him an even more formidable force.

“I am happy that my training at the Kronk Gym has been paying off,” said the 6’ 5” slugger from Mayrtup, Russia. “The goal is to continue to score knockouts and that is what I plan to do as I continue my march to the world title.”

Davtaev’s promoter Dmitriy Salita says he was also impressed with Davtaev’s latest beat down. “Apti showed impressive power and skills in dominating his undefeated foe. He is ready to beat the big names and will be a new star in the heavyweight division.”

Split T Management Signs Two Time World Title Challenger Willie Monroe Jr.

Split T Management Management has signed two-time world title challenger, middleweight Willie Monroe Jr.

“Willie is one of the top middleweights in the world.  He is a terrific boxer, and has championship experience. I expect to get him a big opportunity in the very near future.” said Split-T Management’s David McWater.

“I’m just super grateful I’m at a point in my life, I am grateful for my fans and for the sport I am excited for opportunities past, present and future, and am.approaching the new season with gratitude. I always knew I could do it. It took me a little longer than I personally expected but never the less I’m here,” said Monroe. “Dave McWater is a very smart guy and I like his attitude and approach towards boxing.  He is a very knowledgeable and he understands everything.”

Monroe of Rochester, New York has a record of 24-3 with six knockouts.

The 33 year-old Monroe is a 12 year-professional who began his career with wins over Wilson Montero (1-0-1), Chris Aucoin (1-0-1), Troy Artis (2-0-1) & Ibahiem King (7-1).

Monroe entered and won the 2014 Boxcino Middleweight Tournament with wins over Donatas Bondorovas (18-4-1), Vitalii Kopylenko (22-0) and future world title challenger Brandon Adams (14-0).

Those wins catapulted him into an opportunity to face unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. 

After falling to Golovkin, Monroe gained wins over two world title challengers in John Thompson (17-2) and Gabriel Rosado.

After losing to WBO Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, Monroe has won three in a row with wins over Javier Maciel (33-6) and his latest outing where he won a 10-round unanimous decision over Hugo Centeno (27-2) on June 1st in San Jacinto, California.

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