By: Hans Themistode
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 7th to January 14th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Darryl Cobb/TGB Promotions
Julian Williams Media Workout Quotes
Unified 154-pound champion and Philadelphia native Julian “J-Rock” Williams showed off his skills and previewed his upcoming hometown title defense at a media workout Wednesday, as he prepares to face hard-hitting Jeison Rosario Saturday, January 18 in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes from Temple University’s Liacouras Center.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at http://www.liacourascenter.com/events (direct link HERE) or by calling 800-298-4200.
After winning the title in one of 2019’s best fights against then unbeaten Jarrett Hurd, Williams will fight in his hometown for the first time since 2011 when he competes on January 18. Here is what Williams and his trainer, Stephen Edwards, had to say Wednesday from James Shuler’s Memorial Boxing Gym in Philadelphia:
On training and fighting in his hometown…
“I try to just block myself from the world… Especially with a hometown fight, people are pulling you 50 different ways, tickets, asking me stupid questions. It’s crazy, so I just try to block myself from the world.
“It’s not about enjoying, it’s about winning. I don’t care about enjoying. You’re not supposed to enjoy camp. It’s supposed to be a grind.”
On what he expects out of Rosario…
“Rosario brings ambition to the table. I think he’s an ambitious kid. I don’t think it’s a difficult fight (for me), to be quite honest. I just think it’s a matter of being focused and on top of my game, and I think I’ll take care of him. I don’t think it’s difficult, though. He’s a decent fighter. We’re not going to make him out to be Ray Robinson.
“He has put together a good string of wins, and he’s tough and he’s coming to win. So that’s more important than anything. He has the ambition to win, so you can’t underestimate him.”
On growing up in Philadelphia…
“Seeing all the stuff that I saw growing up (in West Philadelphia) made me hungry, made me want to get out and make a better life for myself. All you have to do is walk outside and go down Lancaster Ave. If that’s not motivating for you then nothing will.”
On his celebrity now that he’s a world champion…
“I’ve got a little more notoriety now. To be honest, I stopped thinking about it because I want to stay focused on the task at hand. The task at hand is being pound-for-pound best in the world. I’m not satisfied with just being the best super welterweight in the world. I’m just not satisfied with being unified champion of the world. Why sell myself short when I have the drive and the ability to be the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world? I’d be selling myself short. I’d be leaving millions of dollars on the table.”
On the history that he made for himself and Philadelphia when he defeated Hurd…
“I’m one of three men (from Philadelphia) who can say they’re a unified champion of the world.”
STEPHEN EDWARDS, Williams’ Trainer
On Rosario’s abilities…
“At this level, everybody can fight. (Rosario) is a good-looking fighter. He can punch. He’s just a good fighter. He’s got a lot of the same characteristics as Hurd and Charlo. He’s big and strong. It’s a good fight.”
On why this opponent for this fight…
“We thought we were going to be fighting Hurd (again), so we got a guy that’s kind of like Hurd because we didn’t know if Hurd was pulling out of the fight.”
On being Julian’s manager and helping advise him on real estate…
“If (Julian) buys a house I’ll tell him if that’s a good property, or sometimes he messes up, but the cool thing is that he’s got the money to make up for all the mistakes now.”
Nashville Native Austin Dulay Takes on Diego Magdaleno on Fox on February 15th
Lightweight contender and Nashville native Austin Dulay will fight in front of his hometown crowd when he takes on former title challenger Diego Magdaleno in a 10-round fight that opens FOX PBC Fight Night action and on FOX Deportes Saturday, February 15 from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
FOX PBC Fight Night begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is headlined by IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant defending his title in a homecoming bout against mandatory challenger Vincent Feigenbutz. Plus, welterweight contenders Bryant “Goodfella” Perrella and Abel Ramos battle in the 10-round co-feature.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Sweethands Promotion, TGB Promotions and Sauerland Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.
Nashville’s Dulay (13-1, 10 KOs) has won back-to-back fights by stoppage since his lone pro defeat to top contender Chris Colbert in April 2018. The 24-year-old has fought professionally since 2015 and won his first 11 fights. He most recently scored a TKO victory over Yardley Armenta Cruz in February of last year, and his last time in the ring saw him stop Justin Pauldo in a fight that was later changed to a no contest. He will return to fight in Nashville for the first time since a 2017 victory.
The 33-year-old Magdaleno (31-3, 13 KOs) has twice challenged for a world title and will look for a signature victory on February 15 to get closer to another chance at the belt. The Las Vegas native previously dropped title fights against Roman Martinez and Terry Flanagan. Magdaleno won three straight fights between 2016 and 2018, including a triumph over Art Hovhannisyan, and most recently lost to lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez in February 2019.
Three Salita Promotions Prospects Score Victories in Atlantic City
Both of Salita Promotions undefeated Detroit-based welterweights, twin brothers Joseph and Jacob Bonas, and Russian heavyweight destroyer Apti Davtaev, remained undefeated with impressive victories last Friday night.
Fighting on the untelevised undercard of the Claressa Shields vs. Ivana Habazin showdown at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., Joseph “Detroit Bad Boy” Bonas moved his record to 7-0, 6 KOs by stopping Steubenville, Ohio’s Glenn Mitchell (3-5, 3 KOs) via TKO 2. Meanwhile, brother Jacob Bonas (now 5-0-1, 2 KOs) had to work a bit harder to gain a unanimous four-round decision over Highwood, Illinois’ Christian Rivera (1-1-1).
Showing marked improvement from his work in Detroit with SugarHill Steward, heavyweight crusher Apti Davtaev (19-0-1, 18 KOs) from Kurchaloi, Russia, overpowered Glenville, West Virginia’s Keith Barr (20-13-1, 8 KOs) in three brutal rounds.
Joseph Bonas showed some newfound patience in waiting for the right moment to pounce on the long-limbed Mitchell. And when the opening finally presented itself, he lowered the boom with a three-punch combination that brought things to a decisive end at 1:55 of round two.
Jacob Bonas survived a momentary scare when a surprise right hand from opponent Rivera got his attention quickly in round one. Showing his extensive amateur pedigree, however, Bonas made adjustments and eventually cruised to a comfortable four-round decision (scores 39-37 x 3).
Early on, Barr looked ready to rumble with his big Russian foe until a few punches from the Eastern Bloc strongman had him in full survival mode. 38 seconds into round three, the super naturally powerful Davtaev had his most impressive victory to date.
“All our fighters had terrific nights on Friday,” said Dmitriy Salita. “The Bonas brothers look to be turning into excellent professional fighters. They did what they are supposed to do with their early opponents by dominating. And Apti Davtaev is clearly getting stronger and stronger as his career advances. He is ready for a step-up fight against another up-and-coming heavyweight. His power is something the boxing world should have a look at soon.”
Mykal Fox Re-Signs with King’s Promotions
King’s Promotions is pleased to announce the re-signing of world ranked welterweight Mykal “The Professor” Fox to a multi-year promotional agreement.
Fox of Forrestville, Maryland has a record of 22-1 with five knockouts, and is currently ranked number-14 by the IBF and number-15 by the WBA.
The 24 year-old Fox had a busy 2019 as he competed four times against top-level opposition. After suffering his only professional setback to undefeated Shohjahon Ergashev on ShoBox: The New Generation, Fox rebounded in terrific fashion by defeating 2016 Olympic Gold Medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-0), Eudy Bernardo (25-4), and John Arellano (10-1) to earn his ranking.
Fox, who turned professional in 2014 also has wins over Ricardo Garcia (14-1), former world champion DeMarcus Corley and Gonzalo Dallera (5-0).
“We are ecstatic to have Mykal in the fold with us. It’s been a pleasure to watch him grow and King’s Promotions will continue to move Mykal into big fights and ultimately a world title opportunity,” said King’s Promotions CEO Marshall Kauffman.
“King’s Promotions has been great to me since signing in 2015. I look forward to continuing on with them and putting myself in position to become a world champion,” said Fox.
“We are happy to to continue the relationship with Marshall Kauffman and Kings Promotions. KP will allow Myke to keep busy until his inevitable world title opportunity,” said Fox’s agent and attorney, Mike Borao.
Ruben Villa to Face Alexei Collado on ShoBox on January 31st
Undefeated featherweight prospect Ruben Villa will make his fourth ShoBox: The New Generation appearance in just over a year as the former two-time Junior Olympic National Champion takes on hard-hitting Alexei Collado in a 10-round main event of a three-fight telecast on Friday, January 31live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT) from Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport, La.
Undefeated Ukrainian and 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Taras Shelestyuk (17-0, 10 KOs) meets Mexico’s Alejandro Davila (19-1-2, 7 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight matchup in the co-featured bout. The televised opener features an eight-round lightweight bout pitting Southern California native Jerry Pérez (12-0, 9 KOs) against ShoBox veteran Zhora Hamazaryan (9-1-1, 6 KOs) from Armenia.
The event is promoted by Banner Promotions, Thompson Boxing and Bishop Promotions LLC. Tickets can be purchased at www.Bishoppromotions.com and prices are $20-$100.
“On January 31 we have three prospects at different points in their careers with Ruben Villa developing into a must-see prospect with high expectations,” said Gordon Hall, Executive Producer of ShoBox: The New Generation. “Taras Shelestuyk is still undefeated and working on rebuilding a once-promising career in a must-win fight and Jerry Pérez is young and relatively unknown, but in a big step-up fight looking to be noticed. Each of these three are in meaningful fights that should be action-packed.”
The 22-year-old Salinas, Calif., native Villa (17-0, 5 KOs) was also the 2014 and 2016 National Golden Gloves Champion and is currently ranked No. 5 at 126 pounds by the WBO and No. 13 by the WBC. Villa was a 2016 U.S. Olympic Team alternate, and had an impressive amateur record of 166-17 with wins against Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson, and Gary Antonio Russell.
The southpaw Villa has looked impressive in each of his three previous ShoBox appearances, including his debut last January when he outclassed then-unbeaten Ruben Cervera. In May, Villa stepped up to 10-round status for the first time and won a unanimous decision against Luis Alberto Lopez and in September, Villa scored a second-round knockdown against Enrique Vivas en route to a comfortable shutout unanimous decision.
“I know my opponent has a good record at 26-2 and he has heavy hands, but he is wild,” Villa said. “I feel that I am close to a title eliminator, but the middle or at the very latest at the end of 2020. ShoBox has helped me with my recognition and showcasing my talent. I am just thankful to be headlining once again on ShoBox. I know I’m close to making that next step up to contender so I have to look impressive on January 31.“
In Collado (26-2, 23 KOs), Villa will face a tough, 31-year-old Cuban currently living and training in Miami. Collado is on a seven-bout winning streak with six KOs and was active in 2019 winning four times, including his last victory via first-round KO against Facundo Eduardo Ased four days before Christmas. Collado won the 2006 Junior World Title in the flyweight division.
“I participated on a ShoBox event in the past and I couldn’t close the show,” said Collado, who made his ShoBox debut in April of 2014 in a 10-round lightweight unanimous decision loss to Rod Salka. “This time the story will be different and I am more than ready for Ruben Villa. Ruben is a young talented boxer but he will not be able to do with me what he was able to do to other guys. I’m far more experienced, much stronger and way smarter than all the guys put together that he has faced so far. This is an opportunity that I will not take for granted, Villa better be ready to get shocked.”
Management issues have kept the 34-year-old Shelestyuk mostly inactive and he has fought just once in two and a half years. Currently living and training in Southern California, Shelestyuk has trained with Freddie Roach and his stable of fighters at the famed Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. Shelestyuk’s last fight came in March, a unanimous decision against Martin Angel Martinez in Southern California. His best win came in 2015 on ShoBox over once-beaten Aslanbek Kozaev.
“Training camp is going great and a lot of the hard work is already done, but we have three more weeks to rock it and finish strong,” said Shelestyuk, who has previously fought twice on ShoBox, recording unanimous decisions in November of 2015 and 2016. “We always have a great atmosphere with the team during the training camp. It’s exciting to be back on SHOWTIME. The fans like my style and I’m ready to give them a show. My opponent is tough and a big guy, He has more fights than me in the professional ring, and it will be clash of different styles.”
Davila has campaigned almost exclusively in Mexico since turning professional in 2014. He was undefeated over his first 20 bouts, including two draws, before suffering his first loss in his last fight in November against once-beaten Mikael Zewski in Canada. Davila notched his last victory via unanimous decision over Luciano Chaparro Araujo in July in Mexico.
“I know Taras has a tremendous amateur and professional career but I also got what it takes to beat anybody at this level,” Davila said. “I am coming to win this fight and hand Taras his first defeat. I will do my best to win this fight.”
The 26-year-old Pérez had 45 amateur fights with some international experience and currently trains with four-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz, whom he met through a family friend in 2016. Perez made his pro debut on the Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton undercard at MGM Grand in Las Vegas as Perez recorded a knockout against Javier Cepeda in January 2017. In his young career, Perez has also fought at Staples Center in Los Angeles on the Mikey Garcia-Robert Easter undercard scoring a second-round KO against Aaron Jamel Hollis. Perez started boxing at age 9 learning his craft at the High Desert Boxing Club in Victorville, Calif., in San Bernardino County.
“We have been knocking on doors for a while and finally that door has opened up to us,” Perez said. “It’s now time to show I belong in the ring with a guy like Zhora whom I respect but have the certainty I can beat. I’m coming to make a statement in my TV debut and show that I’m a force at lightweight.”
The 23-year-old Hamazaryan resides in Los Angeles and has fought on ShoBox twice, both memorable and exciting bouts against lightweight prospect Thomas Mattice. Hamazaryan lost the first matchup by split decision in July of 2018 after out-landing and out-powering Mattice in a fight many observers thought Hamazaryan clearly won. Hamazaryan earned a draw against Mattice in an immediate rematch two months later.
“I have had a tremendous camp and am excited to get back on ShoBox,” Hamazaryan said. “I feel I am still undefeated and the fans now know what I bring and that is a fighter who fights hard for the whole fight. I do not know much about my opponent except his record. I just fight my fight and I will bring home the victory.”
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.
Sampson Boxing Signs Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong to a Co-Promotional Contract
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz proudly announces he has signed Bangkok, Thailand, slugger Apinun Khongsong to a co-promotional contract, along with Jimmy Chaichotchuang of Kiat Kreerin Promotions.
23-year-old Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) is the mandatory challenger to WBA and IBF Super Lightweight World Champion Josh Taylor of Scotland. Khongsong became the IBF’s mandatory by scoring a fifth-round knockout over Akihiro Kondo this past February.
Co-promoter Chaichotchuang says he and Khongsong were in attendance for Taylor’s World Boxing Super Series unanimous decision victory over Ivan Baranchyk last May and the pair say they see holes in the Scotsman’s game.
“We are very confident,” said Chaichotchuang of Taylor. “We know we can beat him. My fighter is a very, very hard puncher and he will beat Josh. And when he does he will go on to become the ‘Pacquiao of Thailand.’”
Chaichotchuang says he’s happy to be working with his old partner Lewkowicz on the promising Thai’s career.
“I’ve known Sampson for almost 20 years and he’s a good man. I feel very good about this deal and for my fighter’s future.”
Lewkowicz, who says he will begin negotiations almost immediately for the Taylor vs. Khongsong match-up, says he’s also happy to have inked this co-promotional.
“I’ve known Jimmy for many years, and we’ve done a lot of good business together,” said Lewkowicz. “Jimmy is very loyal and honest and I’m very proud to be helping him represent the best fighter from Thailand in all of boxing. Khongsong is a very hard puncher and not many fighters will be able to take his punches, especially at 140 lbs.”