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News Beat: Ruiz, Julio, Banner, Guzman, more

  • Ruiz walks for U.S. Troops

    LAS VEGAS – Former two-time world heavyweight champion John “The Quietman” Ruiz still be part of the ESPN Radio 1100, The Dream Team marching to show support for U.S. military troops next Wednesday morning (April 30), starting at 9 AM/PT, in Las Vegas.

    Seat Williams, host of “Afternoon Gridlock” on ESPN 1100, has organized The Dream Team to march approximately three hours from Las Vegas City Hall to Nellis Air Force Base in order to help raise awareness and donations for troops and their families.

    Ruiz joins The Dream Team that includes former world heavyweight boxing champion “Iron” Mike Tyson, former UFC champion Randy Couture, Williams, and Nellis Air Force Base troops.

    “Our soldiers serve all over the world to help keep us free,” Ruiz said. “Joining this march is just my way of showing support for the troops. They are real heroes and should never be forgotten for the sacrifices they make every day for us. I’m honored to have been asked to participate in this great cause. I have a new team and I’m no longer held back from doing things that I really want to get involved in like this.”

    Ruiz (43-7-1, 29 KOs) is the former 2-time WBA heavyweight champion presently rated No. 2 and No. 3 by the WBA and WBC, respectively, No. 6 by the IBF, and No. 10 by The Ring magazine. The Puerto Rican-American Ruiz is the first and only Latino heavyweight champion of the world. He has fought in 10 world championship fights, defeating three world heavyweight champions — Evander Holyfield, Hasim Rahman and Tony Tucker – in addition to beating top contenders such as Andrew Golota, Fres Oquendo, Kirk Johnson and McCline during his 15-year pro career.


    Columbian bomber to battle veteran Ishe Smith on way to title shot

    TOTOWA, NJ (April 28, 2008) – World ranked jr. middleweight contender Joel Julio returns to the ring on April 30, 2008, when he challenges veteran Ishe Smith in a 10 round bout from the River Rock Casino Resorts in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, it was announced today by Main Events CEO Kathy Duva. The bout will be broadcast live on a special Wednesday edition of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights,” beginning at 9:00 pm ET.

    “I am very excited to fight again on ESPN,” said Julio. “It is very important to me to look good against Ishe because I want to fight for a world title next. Ishe is a good fighter who will bring out the best in me.”

    “Sometimes life and circumstances bring the best out of us all!” said Smith.

    Julio (31-1, 29 KO’s) is ranked #4 by the IBF and #6 by the WBA and WBC. The 23-year-old Monteria, Colombia native has stopped 21 opponents within the first three rounds. He has won his last four bouts, three by knockout. In 2005 Julio was named “Prospect of the Year” by several media outlets, including In his last bout on May 16, 2007, Julio blasted Mauro Lucero in one round (KO 1).

    Smith (19-2, 9 KO’s) has won four of his last five bouts. The 29-year-old Las Vegas, NV native captured the vacant WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Championship on January 15, 2004, when he decisioned Randall Bailey (W 12). That same year Smith participated in “The Contender” series and lost a split decision to eventual champion Sergio Mora on September 12, 2004 (L 5). In his last bout on February 8, 2008, Smith crushed Carlos De La Cruz in two rounds (TKO 2).


    Banner Promotions president Art Pelullo has signed five fighters – IBO featherweight world champion Cristobal Cruz, and four prospects, Ruslan Provodnikov, Orlando Lora, Maxim Vlasov, and Ji-hoon Kim – to promotional contracts.

    Art said, “I think all of these boxers have a lot of talent and determination, and the potential to become world champions. I’m looking forward to working with all of them.”

    IBO featherweight world champion Cristobal Cruz, 36-11-1 with 23 knockouts, of Tijuana, B.C., Mexico, who is co-promoted by Golden Gloves Promotions, is coming off a sensational win in his last fight on March 7.

    After the fight,’s Graham Houston reported, “Toughness, tenacity and a CompuBox punch record for a 12-round fight carried Tijuana veteran Cristobal Cruz to a bitterly hard-fought majority decision win over highly regarded South African Thomas Mashaba in an upset on Friday Night Fights.

    “This was a terrific fight, almost non-stop action. A clear underdog, Cruz fought with a winner’s attitude, going right at Mashaba and throwing punch after punch from all directions, body and head, around the sides and up through the middle.

    “Back and forth they went, but Cruz was often having the last word, seeming to throw six or seven punches after getting hit by two or three.

    “Fights such as this are great for boxing – 12 intense and exciting rounds, the issue in doubt to the very end, with a veteran journeyman gritting out a surprise win over a world-class fighter adding a feel-good factor.”

    The four prospects will fight on the undercard of the Chris Byrd-Shaun George main event at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas on May 16:

    Ruslan Provodnikov – 7-0 with 6 knockouts, of Ekaterinburg, Russia; 24 years old, 5’6” tall, 140 pounds. Ruslan, who is co-promoted by German Titov of Titov Box Promotion, is scheduled to open the May 16 ESPN show.

    Maxim Vlasov – 11-0 with 3 knockouts, of Tolyatti, Russia; 21 years old, 6’3” tall, 168 pounds. Vlasov is co-promoted by Rinat Yusupov.

    Orlando “Olimpico” Lora – 20-0-1 with 15 knockouts, of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico; 27 years old, 5’10” tall, 140 pounds.

    Ji-hoon Kim – 13-5 with 10 knockouts, of Goyang, Korea; 21 years old, 5’9” tall, 130 pounds.

    Kim will fight Koba Gogoladze, 20-2 with 8 knockouts, in the co-featured bout. The opponents for Lora, Provodnikov, and Vlasov are to be announced.

  • Tsurkan Scores Career Best Victory

    Bronx, NY – Apr 26, 2008 Ukranian born and Bronx resident Andrey Tsurkan (26-3 17KO) scored the biggest win of his career Friday night as he outgunned fellow tough guy Jesse Feliciano (15-7-3 9KO), scoring a TKO at 1:17 in the eighth round of a scheduled ten round Jr. Middleweight contest, at The Utopia Paradise Theatre in The Bronx, NY. The fight was televised live on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.

    The fight was as advertised, with both guys locking horns right from the opening bell. Both styles were mirror images of each other as the fighters stood at close quarters trading freely. Tsurkan landed a picture perfect right hand late in the round which dropped Feliciano for a short count and then followed up with crisp combinations which had Feliciano on rubber legs as the bell sounded ending the round. Feliciano came out strong in round two as the fighters once again engaged each other, both landing big shots. The fight went back and forth but it was clear that Tsurkan’s punches were cleaner and crisper but Feliciano would always try and answer. As the fight entered the eighth round, it seemed Tsurkan had built a clear lead. Midway through the round, with Feliciano refusing to take a step backwards and Tsurkan landing heavy and damaging blows, referee Benji Esteves called a halt to the fight as Feliciano was taking a lot of punishment due to Tsurkan’s relentless assault. Everyone applauded Esteves’ decision in stopping the fight, as Tsurkan was certainly inflicting damage on the game Feliciano, who has proven time and time again what a real warrior he is. This was a thrilling crowd pleasing brawl which had the fans in attendance on their feet throughout.

    The semi-final eight round Heavyweight contest saw Poland’s Albert Sosnowski improve to 43-1 (26 KO) with a fifth round stoppage of game Terrell “Baby Bull” Nelson (8-5 5KO). Sosnowski was making his American television debut. Albert showed poise throughout as he withstood an early assault from Nelson. Sosnowski landed the more telling blows as both fighters set a good pace. Sosnowski landed a beautiful right uppercut followed by a clean left hook which dropped Nelson in the fifth round. The end was in sight as Nelson arose and fought back bravely but referee Wayne Kelly stopped the fight at 0:52 of the fifth as Sosnowski landed numerous clean punches.

    Undercard action was plentiful. The evening started off with Heavyweights Joe Hanks (2-0 1KO) and Corey Winfield (2-4 2KO) locking up in an entertaining four round bout won by Hanks 40-36,39-37 39- 37.

    The second bout of the evening featured Middleweights Bryant Pappas (6-0 6KO) and Mike Terry (1-3 1KO). Both fighters came out swinging for the fences but Pappas’ persistence paid off as he stopped the game Terry midway through the third round of a scheduled four round bout.

    In a wild four round Featherweight contest Eddie Irizarry (2-0 1KO) thrilled his large contingent of fans stopping Jean Ramos (0-1) at the end of the first round. The action was frenetic from the opening bell. Irizarry dropped Ramos with a neat left- right combination but Ramos came back firing as he caught Irizarry with a huge left hook staggering into the ropes. Irizarry came right back and landed monster shots as Ramos went down again near the end of round and was unable to continue as the bell sounded ending round one. This one had the fans going wild.

    In an upset Clarence Moore (5-3-1 5KO) avenged an earlier loss to hometown favorite Jon Schneider (7-2-1 5KO) knocking out Schneider at 2:48 of round two of a scheduled four round Cruiserweight bout. Schneider was impressive early but walked into short uppercut followed by a left hook which stunned him badly. Moore seized the opportunity and landed a vicious uppercut which put Schneider on the deck for the count.

    Hot Welterweight prospect Raymond Serrano Jr. (5-0 3KO) won a hard fought four decision over journeyman Damon Antoine (7-24-1 3KO). Serrano, just 18 years old, displayed poise and sharp punching over the course of the fight winning by scores of 40-36,40- 36, 39-37.

    The nearly sold out crowd was treated to a highly entertaining, action filled evening of boxing. Star Boxing head honcho Joe DeGuardia was thrilled by the evening’s fights. “This was a throwback to the glory days of boxing. Each fighter who participated tonight came to fight and tried to win. I am very proud of the performances they gave all of us in attendance and those who watched on ESPN2.”

  • Dettweiler vs. Koc set for May 17

    A win is all that matters for Cengiz Koc and Rene Dettweiler when the two Sauerland heavyweights battle out an internal duel in Bayreuth on May 17. Koc (23-3, 15 KOs) will be in the ring for the first time since November 2006. Back then, the 30-year-old dropped a unanimous decision against Timo Hoffmann. “The loss really hurt,” Koc said. “It took me a while to get over it.” After rethinking his decision to hang up the gloves, Koc was scheduled to return in May 2007 but a string of injuries have kept him out of action. “He is back in great shape now,” his new coach Oktay Urkal said. “We are full of confidence. Cengiz has kept his style but has become much more mobile.”

    Just like his stablemate, Dettweiler (22-1, 11 KOs) is brimming with confidence ahead of the pivotal fight. “I am the better fighter,” he said. “I can only move up in the rankings if I beat him so failure is not an option.”

    Dettweiler suffered the only loss of his career on the same night as Koc fell to Hoffmann. 18 months ago, Michael Sprott clinched a split decision win in a fight for the EU heavyweight title. The East German bounced back with four victories in as many fights. On April 12, he defeated Daniel Peret in Neubrandenburg. “I was prepared to fight Cengiz but after he pulled out I had to prepare for three different opponents in a very short period of time,” the 25-year-old stated. “It´s hard to make a convincing fight under those circumstances.”

    Dettweiler, who is coached by Manfred Wolke, is determined to show his true potential on May 17. “I used to do sparring with Cengiz every now and then and I always performed well against him,” he said. “I am very optimistic.”


    SAN DIEGO, Calif. (April 25, 2008) – World Boxing Organization (WBO) Junior Lightweight Champion Joan Guzman (28-0, 17 KOs) has obtained a visa that will allow him to travel to Scotland to defend his title against interim champion and Scotland-native Alex Arthur.

    “This was the last hurdle that we needed to clear before we could make our title defense,” Guzman said. “Now we’re just waiting on the new date.”

    The fight was scheduled for Saturday, May 3 at Meadowbank Sports Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, but due to Guzman’s visa issues, the fight will now have a new date.

    “All we need now is for Frank Warren (promoter) of Sports Network to give us the new, rescheduled date,” said Sean Gibbons, matchmaker for Sycuan Ringside Promotions, the company that promotes Guzman. “Guzman cleared up his visa issues and is now ready to go to Scotland to successfully defend his WBO junior lightweight belt.”

    Frank Warren won the rights to this championship fight in a WBO purse bid.


    IBF cruiserweight champion named best boxer by the”Bible of Boxing” for second consecutive year

    Philadelphia (April 23, 2008)—for the second consecutive year, Ring Magazine has named Steve “USS” Cunningham the best boxer in the cruiserweight division.

    It was a banner 2007 for Cunningham has he won and then defended the IBF Cruiserweight championship.

    When told of the honor, Cunningham was more then happy of the accomplishment.

    “This means a lot to me. It means the hard work I have put in to reach a certain level has continued and people still recognize that. I only plan to bring my skills up to a higher level and continue to reign as champion.”

    “The Ring Magazine means a lot and with David Haye moving to heavyweight, I know one of the criteria’s of crowning a new champion is that the top-two contenders fighting each other. As I look at the rankings, I am number-one and Jean-Marc Mormeck is two. We are both promoted by Don King so I hope that a fight with us can be made so I can win that belt.”

    Cunningham, 21-1 with eleven knockouts will also be appearing on ESPN radio, 950-am in Philadelphia on the Mike Missinelli show this Friday in the 3 o’clock hour.

    The champ will be doing the show live at O’Malley’s, 56 Cresent Blvd, Gloucester City, NJ

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