By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 24th to December 31st, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
ESPN’s Friday Night Fights Premiere Set for January 4th
The 2013 debut of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights features undefeated junior lightweights Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy (17-0) and Arash Usmanee (20-0) in a 12 round Main Event. The card will start on Friday January 4th at 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and will take place at the Magic City Casino in Miami. Todd Grisham will also premier as the new studio host.
Barthelemy is a 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and Usmanee is a native of Afghanistan who had migrated to Canada during the then-Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
Rigondeaux’s Strength Coach Denies Donaire’s Claim
The strength-and-conditioning coach of WBA Super Bantamweight Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0), D.J. Montanocordoba, vehemently denies reports by Nonito Donaire that, after the December 15th HBO show in Houston, Montanocordoba verbally accosted a female member of Donaire’s entourage during a heated argument that took place at the Hyatt Hotel.
“I just want to clear my name,” Montanocordoba said. “I am part of Team Rigondeaux and wouldn’t do anything like that. I didn’t know anything, if it happened, because I was in my hotel room and not involved. I don’t have a problem with Donaire or anybody in his camp. I didn’t see them after the fight was over. I’m very mellow. I don’t drink or go out clubbing. I concentrate on my job. I talked to a few people in the hotel lobby and went to my room. That’s not my style; I don’t disrespect people. I was surprised by what Nonito said. I spoke to him that Wednesday and told him how much I respected him for what he’s done and that I thought he was good for boxing. He’s a great fighter. I respect him and his wife, his trainer, Robert Garcia, and his other coaches. I was totally shocked when I read the report with Donaire accusing me. .
“We’ll be on opposite sides when if he fights Rigondeaux. As great a fighter Nonito is, I think Rigondeaux is better, and that nobody can beat him at 122. If Nonito doesn’t fight Rigeondeaux, no problem, I can’t disrespect him for that, but he can’t go around saying he’s cleaned-up the division without taking Rigondeaux’ title. Hey, I respect every fighter. (Abner) Mares is great, so is (Wilfredo) Vasquez. If Nonito decides to move-up a division, I can respect that but, he has to defeat Rigondeaux to say he’s cleaned out the 122-pound division, and I believe he is not capable of beating Rigondeaux. The only way they can prove who is better is by fighting in the ring. I’m confident in my ability but, even if I wasn’t working for Rigondeaux, I’d still believe he’s the better fighter. And I’m not taking anything away from Donaire by saying that but I believe it and I know Donaire belives it otherwise he would be willing to face Rigondeaux.
“I don’t conduct myself that way (Donaire’s claim). At the last press conference, I had a direct conversation with Nonito, and I said I admire him and had nothing but respect for him. I’ve said nothing negative about him. He’s has accused me of doing something that I wasn’t even present for and I’m still not disrespecting him. Maybe somebody told him a story, he believed it and got angry. It just never happened.”
Eric Fields States Yoan Pablo Hernandez is in Danger
Ardmore, Oklahoma’s Eric “Danger” Fields (21-1) is hoping he will be underestimated when he fights IBF Cruiserweight Champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (27-1) on February 2, 2013 at Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, Germany. They will be the main supporting bout of the European Light Heavyweight Championship main event between Eduard Gutknecht and Juergen Braehmer.
Fields stated, “This is his third defense and he’s had some big wins and he’s a southpaw, so I bet he’s feeling real confident fighting a guy in the top 15. Well, guess what? He’s in danger and he won’t know it till it’s too late. I’m taking the title from him and bringing it back to America.”
Lateef Kayode To Campaign at Heavyweight
Gary Shaw Productions’ Lateef Kayode (18-0) is bumping up from the cruiserweight division to the heavyweight division.
“Kayode is a heavy handed puncher who can easily bring his power up to the heavyweight division,” said Gary Shaw. “Right now my matchmaker John Beninati is looking at potential opponents and we are confident Lateef will be successful moving up in weight.”
“We made a lot of headway campaigning as a cruiserweight,” said Kayode’s manager Steve Feder. “Considering the fact that we appeared more times on Shobox then any other cruiser in a decade, in a division far more suited for the European market, ultimately our options since the Tarver debacle have diminished.”
“The IBO completely ignored our ranking when granting Green a title shot, not allowing Kayode to challenge. At this point, the heavyweight division which we fought our first nine fights in. seems to be calling. Lateef is in the gym and feels very strong at his new weight. We expect to preview back at heavyweight in February.
Jonathan “Mantequilla” Gonzalez Promises a Knockout
Undefeated Puerto Rican boxer, Jonathan “Mantequilla” Gonzalez (15-0-1) will be fighting Philadelphian Derek Ennis (23-3-1) on Friday Janauary 4th at the Magic City Casino in Miami, Florida. The bout is scheduled for 10 rounds in the junior middleweight division and will be televised on ESPN 2. Ennis has victories over Gabriel Rosado and Edwin Vazquez.
“I’m very happy with the preparation. I’m in the best shape of my career, and at the end of the fight, the result will be a knockout” said a confident González, who is promoted by Warriors Boxing,Universal Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions.
DiBella Entertainment Kicks Off 2013 at BB King Blues Club in NYCs
On Wednesday Janaury 23rd DiBella Entertainment will kick off its 9th consecutive season of the popular New York based Broadway Boxing Series at New York City’s famed BB King Blues Club. It will featured noted prospects such as Lamar Russ (11-0), Luis Rose (11-0), and Delen Parsley (9-0). Tickets can be purchased by calling (212) 947-2577.
Fan Base Promotions Announce Calgary Boxing Show
Fan Base Promotions and Century Casino in Calgary have agreed to present “To Be Determined” on Friday, 01/25/13 at the Century Casino. The main event will be between Steve “The Dragon” Claggett (15-1-1) and Eddie Brooks (9-3) in a light welterweight matchup. Claggett hopes to fight Jose Benavidez Jr. if he gets past Steve Claggett. More information can be found at www.fanbasepromotions.com.
Golden Boy Promotions Signs 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist
Anthony Ogogo won the 2012 Olympic Bronze Medal in the middleweight division for Great Britain, and hopes to follow in the footsteps of other British Boxing Superstars and has announced that he has signed with Golden Boy Promotions.
“I am delighted to be signing with the premier promoter in boxing, Golden Boy Promotions,” said Ogogo. “So many great fighters have come before me at Golden Boy and in the coming years I hope to live up to the standard they’ve set. I can’t wait to get started.”
A date, venue, and opponent for Ogogo will be announced shortly.
Delvin Rodriguez vs. George Tahdooahnippah Annouced for ESPN Friday Night Fights
Devlin Rodriguez (26-6-3) vs. George Tahdooahnippah (31-0-1) has been announced for the main event of ESPN Friday Night Fights on February 15th, 2013 at the Mohegan Sun Casino. This bout will take place in the junior middleweight division and will be a ten round main event. Tickets will be available online at www.ticketmaster.com
Adrien “The Problem” Broner Announces Next Opponent
It has been speculated that the next opponent for Adrien Broner (25-0)will be fellow titlist Ricky Burns, but that fight has been squashed when Burns would not agree to the proposed February 16th date. Instead Broner will now face Gavin Rees (37-1-1) on February 16th at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ in an HBO main event.
Andre Ward v. Kelly Pavlik Canceled
Andre Ward has announced that he has a tear in his right shoulder that will require surgery, so he has to pull out of his scheduled defense against former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik. The fight was supposed to take place at the Galen Center on the USC Campus in Los Angeles, and a new date was being discussed, but the fight has now been completely called off, as Ward will need some time to recover from surgery.