Alexander Flores Tabbed To Face Joseph Parker In December Homecoming
By: Jake Donovan
The story going into the initial announcement for Joseph Parker’s year-end bout in Christchurch, New Zealand was a long-awaited return to his home country.
The opponent that has been secured for that very occasion also indicates a need for a long-awaited return to the win column.
Photo Credit: Joseph Parker Twitter Account
Parker’s forthcoming hometown showcase now has an official dance partner, as the former heavyweight titlist will square off with California’s Alexander Flores. The bout will headline at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch, New Zealand, marking Parker’s first home country appearance since a 12-round win over Razvan Cojanu last May.
On the surface, the selection of Flores (17-1-1, 15KOs) is designed to ensure that Parker (24-2, 18KOs) enters 2019 on a high note after having suffered back-to-back losses. While there is no shame in suffering defeats to unbeaten, unified heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua and top-rated contender Dillian Whyte, winning still goes a long way in this sport.
Still, where some see an inexperienced opponent, Parker’s handlers are focused on the combination of a perceived knockout artist coming in with nothing to lose.
“With Joseph coming off two straight defeats – however unlucky – a third defeat would be catastrophic for his career,” Duco Events’ David Higgins said. “Alexander’s undoubted punching power makes this an extremely dangerous assignment for Joseph – so it is fair to say I am the most nervous I have ever been before a fight.”
Meanwhile, Parker’s chosen opponent couldn’t be any calmer heading into by far the biggest opportunity of his career.
“There is no way this fight goes 10 rounds,” insists Flores, whose lone career loss came at the hands of former titlist Charles Martin in 2014 when both were unbeaten prospects. “I’m going to knock him out. A lot of people might not have heard of Alexander ‘The Great’ yet – but they’ll all know who I am after December 15.”
Flores—a 28-year old Mexican-American from California—is unbeaten in his last four starts following the aforementioned loss to Martin. He attributes the setback to the minimal time he had to train for the opportunity after accepting the fight on less than two weeks notice.
Three consecutive knockout wins in Mexico has put Flores on the right track, but in Parker takes a massive leap in competition level. Still, a confident fighter is a dangerous fighter, or so goes the motivational speech in the former titlist’s training camp.
“We’ve known for some time it was likely to be Flores and it is great to have that confirmed,” Kevin Barry, Parker’s head trainer revealed. “These guys are the same height and they both pack a serious punch, so it stacks up as a great contest. This is a dangerous fight. A fight where Joseph Parker is fighting for his career.”
“After a five-year undefeated run that took Joe all the way to the WBO World Title, we now find ourselves in very unusual territory, coming off back-to-back losses. Joe has never been in this position before and needs a top performance. Joe finds himself under huge pressure to not only to win this fight, but to win big and get his career back on track.”
Prior to the aforementioned losses to Joshua and Whyte, Parker enjoyed more than a year-long stay as an unbeaten heavyweight titlist. He first laid claim to alphabet hardware in a Dec. ’16 points win over Andy Ruiz in New Zealand, where he remained for his first title defense in outpointing Cojanu.
Three straight road trips followed, all taking place in jolly old England. Parker came up aces in the first leg of the UK tour, outpointing Hughie Fury last September before conceding his belt to Joshua in their unification bout this past April.
A far more bitter pill to swallow was his subsequent loss to Whyte this past July. Parker’s slow start and two suffered knockdowns proved too much to overcome, despite his late rally and dropping Whyte in the 12th and final round.
Rather than dwell on two straight losses for the rest of the year, Parker was eager to get one more fight in 2018. Now that he has a confirmed opponent, a clear state of mind comes of his preparation for fight night.
“I’m really glad that Alex is coming to New Zealand full of confidence,” Parker admits. “For me boxing is all about the challenge – and this is another big one. I know what is stake, I need to win and win well.
“I need to knock him out and I will knock him out. But I can’t focus on that. I need to focus on getting better each and every time I get in the ring.”
Can Povetkin Pull Off a Wembley Upset?
By: Ste Rowen
September has already given us the return of ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, Superfly 3 and Canelo/GGG 2, so you could be forgiven for forgetting that this weekend sees the unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, return to the ring to face the under-the-radar threat of Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium.
It feels a long time since AJ added the WBO to his ever-expanding belt collection, which is now only missing Deontay Wilder’s WBC and the vacant Ring Magazine title, but it seems an age ago since Povetkin took on Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 for his first, and so far, only attempt at the full world championship belts.
By some, the Russian was hailed as the chosen one, the man who could end the Klitschko brother’s heavyweight duopoly. He entered the pro ranks riding a wave of hype having won gold medals at the 2003 world championship and the 2004 Athens Olympics. Fighting between Germany and Russia, Alexander steadily built his record with wins over gatekeepers and fringe contenders but when his breakout happened, it happened quickly.
In 2007, just 2 years as a professional, Povetkin, at 13-0, took on Chris Byrd, who 18 months previous, had been stopped in seven rounds by the now, IBF champion, Wladimir Klitschko. That night in Erfurt, Alex engaged in an entertaining back and forth with the American southpaw until ultimately forcing the stoppage in the 11th round. Just three months later, the Russian was back in the ring to take on 30-0, Eddie Chambers. This time in Berlin, the rising star from the East completely dominated Chambers. The only thing missing was the knockout.
It didn’t matter too much, from there it was all about biding his time, staying busy until he was finally given his shot at either Klitschko. By the time of the Moscow bout, ‘Sasha’ was 26-0, held the WBA ‘Regular’ title, and had added names to his growing record such as Ruslan Chagaev, Marco Huck, a faded Hasim Rahman and an unbeaten Andrzej Wawrzyk.
But in the end, Wladimir was a bridge too far. Dropped four times en route to a unanimous decision defeat, the Ukrainian was a level above. All of ‘Sasha’s’ best attributes were nullified; unable to land his looping overhand-right, rarely successful with left hooks to the body and what seemed most demoralising of all, Klitschko’s size eradicating the 2004 gold medallist’s attempts inside. It’s an issue Povetkin will no doubt have worked on in preparation for facing another bigger man in Joshua.
‘‘I need to work on my conditioning…Just a single punch could’ve turned it all upside-down…I lost the battle, but I’ll win the war.’’ Povetkin said post-fight that night, perhaps more hopeful than realistic. He never got the opportunity for revenge and ever since the Klitschko loss it’s felt as if the current WBA’s #2, has been in search of a big-name fighter to propel him into boxing’s mainstream and redeem himself for that defeat. It should have been Wilder, but the Russian has only himself to blame for those bouts falling through.
Whatever your views on Povetkin’s suspect history with PEDs, purely in terms of resume of opponents to earn another shot at a full world title; since 2014, ‘Sasha’ has those names, including stoppages over Carolos Takam, Manuel Charr, Mariusz Wach and most recently a chilling two-punch destruction of David Price on the Joshua-Parker undercard in March.
At today’s press conference, Alexander, like the rest of the build up to this bout, continued to be understated,
‘‘I’ve been concentrating on strength and endurance…There’s nothing else to add. The fight will show everything that we’ve got.’’
‘‘When I fought Klitschko I was much weaker and much worse shape than I am now…I never like to say what will happen ahead of time. You will see everything on Saturday night.’’
The Russian, currently 34-1 (24KOs), will step into the ring with what many view as no more than a puncher’s chance. Perhaps the lack of hype heading into his 2nd super fight will see the 39-year-old excel.
Joshua is already set for yet another Wembley stadium bout in April 2019, where the opponent is expected to be Dillian Whyte in a rematch of their 2015 domestic dustup. It’s up to ‘Sasha’ to scupper those plans and upset the masses.
DAZN Boxing Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin
By: William Holmes
The buzz behind DAZN has been growing louder and louder, and their first “official” card will happen this Saturday at 4:30PM ET. Undefeated heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua will face top rated contender, Alexander Povetkin, for Joshua’s IBF, WBA, and WBO Heavyweight titles.
This bout will take place at a sold out Wembley Stadium. Joshua has fought in London several times before, mainly at the O2 Arena, but this will be Joshua’s first fight at Wembley Stadium since he defeated Wladimir Klitschko.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
Joshua nearly didn’t fight Povetkin, as there were ongoing negotiations with US Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder, but Joshua and Eddie Hearn hope to make the Povetkin fight in 2019 and have move forwarded with the Povetkin fight.
The undercard looks to have solid fights. Luke Campbell will face Yvan Mendy in the co-main event of the night. Matty Askin will defend his British Cruiserweight Title against Lawrence Okolie. Sergey Kuzmin will meet David Price in the heavyweight division, and Shakhram Giyasov, Julio Laguna, Dana Zaxo, and Tony Bilic will be featured on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the main event of the evening:
Anthony Joshua (21-0) vs. Alexander Povetkin (34-1) IBF, WBA, WBO Heavyweight Title Fight
Most consider Anthony Joshua to be the best heavyweight fighter in the heavyweight division, and that belief is backed up by Joshua’s resume. But he will be facing one of the toughest tests of his career in Alexander Povetkin on Saturday.
The challenge in front of him is not lost on Joshua. He stated, “ We both have a big heart and we can dig deep, so that always turn out for a good fight. The one who’s toughest will come out victorious. When I look at this weight, he’s one of the lighter heavyweights, but that means he’s got a lot of speed and is a quick fighter. But I train against amateur guys that are just as quick as him..with a good fight, I’ll always find a wa.”
He’s twenty eight years old and is eleven years younger than Povetkin. He will also have a significant four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage on Povetkin.
Both boxers have considerable power, but Joshua has the edge in this department. He has stopped twenty opponents, every single man he has faced except Joseph Parker failed to reach the final bell. Povetkin has twenty four stoppages, including three of his past five fights, but his power is not on Anthony Joshua’s level.
Povetkin is very aware of the power of Joshua. He stated, ”Anthony Joshua is one of the strongest in the division.”
Both boxers have had highly successful amateur careers. Joshua won the Gold Medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics while Povetkin won the Gold Medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Activity is also in Joshua’s favor. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and three times in 2016. Povetkin fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and once in 2016. Povetkin might have been able to fight more often, but two positive steroid tests have led to periods of suspensions.
Even though Joshua has only been fighting as a professional 2013, but his professional resume for someone with 21 fights is very impressive. He has defeated the likes of Joseph Parker, Carlos Takam, Wladimir Klitschko, Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, and Kevin Johnson.
In fact, Joshua has only fought two guys with losing records during his entire career.
Povetkin has been boxing as a professional since 2005 and also has an impressive list of defeated opponents. He has defeated the likes of David Price, Christian Hammer, Andriy Rudenko, Johan Duhaupas, Mariusz Wach, Mike Perez, Carlos Takam, Manuel Charr, Andrzej Wawrzyk, Hasim Rahman, Marco Huck, Ruslan Chagaev, Eddie Chambers, Chris Byrd, and Larry Donald. His lone blemish was to Wladimir Klitschko.
Povetkin’s lone loss, to Wladimir Klitschko, was a route and Klitschko has similar size and reach in comparison to Anthony Joshua. Joshua had a good fight with Klitschko, but was able to turn up the pressure and stop him in the later rounds after getting knocked down himself.
Povetkin is a live underdog, but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to pull off the upset at the age of 39 and with no banned substances in his system.
Final Press Conference Quotes: Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin
At Wembley Stadium on Thursday afternoon, the boxing world saw a preview of what will prove to be a historic night for the fight sports world, as Anthony Joshua will face off against Alexander Povetkin in front of more than 80,000 people. In a press conference, Saturday night’s fighters gathered to discuss their preparation, what it will be like to fight at Wembley Stadium, and their predictions.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing
“We both have a big heart and we can dig deep, so that always turns out for a good fight. The one who’s toughest will come out victorious. When I look at this weight, he’s one of the lighter heavyweights, but that means he’s got a lot of speed and is a quick fighter. But I train against amateur guys that are just as quick as him… With a good fight, I’ll always find a way.”
Povetkin is one of my toughest challengers to date so that’s where my focus has been… My body has been broken down and rebuilt back up through this camp like never before.”
On fighting at Wembley Stadium:
“Coming back here is a blessing… This is home.”
“Anthony Joshua is one of the strongest in the division.”
On a prediction:
“I never try to say anything ahead of time, so you will see everything on Saturday fight night.”
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing Managing Director
“It’s an absolute honor to be back at a national stadium, Wembley Stadium, for another huge night of boxing. Four world champion belts on the line, 80,000 people out there singing and dancing trying to see if Anthony Joshua can continue to reign supreme as the No. 1 star in the sport.”
On DAZN making its U.S. debut:
“DAZN is a major move in the U.S. market, and it’s a must-have for fight fans.”
Joseph Markowski, DAZN SVP, North America
“DAZN is different and we will quickly become an absolute must-have for fight fans. Via our partnerships with Matchroom, Bellator MMA, the World Boxing Super Series and Combate Americas, we will deliver more than 80 fight nights in our opening 12 months – and we’ll deliver them for just $9.99 per month after a one-month free trial. Superb value, without doubt. And that value offering is immediate from this weekend. If you sign up for DAZN today, you’ll get 14 premium boxing and MMA events from DAZN in your free trial month. That is unmatched value for U.S. fight sports fans. Full stop.”
“Our entrance into the U.S. market has caused quite a stir. Since our launch announcement earlier in the year, we’ve seen other promoters and broadcast networks making their own grand announcements. It’s been a lot of fun to see how this has shaken up the community – because it only benefits fight fans as everyone steps up their game.”
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing
Participants from Saturday’s undercard also spoke with the press on Thursday.
• Sergey Kuzmin vs. David Price – Heavyweights
• Matty Askin vs. Lawrence Okolie – Cruiserweights
• Luke Campbell vs. Yvan Mendy – Lightweights
“I’m happy to be part of such a significant event here at the arena. I’ve gone through very hard and tedious training, and I’ll demonstrate all that I’ve achieved during this training on Saturday night.”
“I can’t lose… The upside of winning this fight is life-changing so I’ll be going in there and doing whatever it takes to win.”
On his rematch against Yvan Mendy:
“This for me is a fight I’ve wanted the last three years. I’ve had a great training camp. Physically and mentally, I’m all there.”
“I have a lot of self belief because of the training I put in, and I know what I’m capable of. I’m looking forward to it – skill for skill will show that I’m on another level. My attributes are overlooked.”
For more information, fans can follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels: @DAZNUSA on Facebook, @DAZN_USA for Twitter, and DAZN_USA for Instagram.
DAZN Ushering in a New Era with Joshua vs. Povektin
By: Oliver McManus
A landmark moment for the broadcasting of boxing – if you believe the press releases, that is – Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin will be broadcast over in the States on the DAZN platform ahead of their extended, $1billion commitment (over eight years) to the airing of Matchroom USA shows.
In many ways the nature in which we consume our content is ever evolving so let’s talk about that quickly before we move onto the big heavyweight contest taking place at the weekend –
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
With boxing becoming increasingly popular both sides of the Atlantic, broadcasters are all looking to cash in on the action whilst the boom is still hot – as of late we’ve seen MTK Global sign a 12 date deal with BoxNation in the UK, Frank Warren has transitioned over to BT Sport and, in America, there have been renewed deals for PBC and Top Rank on ESPN as well as the new boys in DAZN.
All of this means that the shows we are getting tend, and I say tend because they’re not always, to be better than the quality of card we would have seen, say, five years ago with everyone involved acutely aware that, hey, if they’re product isn’t good enough then there are viable alternatives.
But it’s not just your traditional TV stations that are starting to emerge as big players in the world of boxing broadcasting – we already know about DAZN and their huge plans in America but look at ESPN+ which costs $4.99 a month, airs exclusive undercard coverage and, indeed, full fight nights from Top Rank.
It’s clear then that there is a desire to move away from the traditional and start capturing new audiences, a younger audience that, yes, consumes content on the go and doesn’t always want to sit in front of a television set, they want to watch it when they’re on a train, at a café, all sorts of things and we are seeing companies adapt to the habits of modern society.
Streaming is fast becoming an increasingly popular way of accessing live boxing and I’m not just talking about when you don’t fancy £19.95 for a pay per view; IFL TV and Boxing Social are the leaders of this particular game in Great Britian with the two platform, both on YouTube, having started off with a devotion to interview but quickly finding their feet by showing some of the best shows around the country from the likes of MTK and Carl Greaves.
And platforms like this are providing opportunity for the fighters, not just fans, to get added exposure and, potentially, extra ticket sales because gone are the days where the likes of Sam “Bullet” Bowen’s British title fight against Maxi Hughes would go unwitnessed except for those on the night – it allows larger numbers to view the sport for the first time, for free, it even helps if you’re the opponent because now you can get your hand on the footage.
DAZN promises to be an, almost, wraparound service with full fight week coverage because there can be no scheduling clashes – this is a platform where you can choose which stream – and we’ve seen Matchroom already make strides in this area with three new shows, STREAMED, in the run-up to a fight (hosted by Chris Lloyd and Darren Barker).
You’ll notice how often I’ve said the word stream because I cannot emphasise enough how key this market is to the future of boxing.
Ultimately we can take two things for the way boxing is going – a) more, better content and b) lighter wallets. But, hey, it’s a price to pay!
Let’s talk the big fight then – Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin – in a bout for the unified WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO Heavyweight Championship of the World that sees AJ looking to go 22 unbeaten.
Povetkin was showcased to the British fans, on the undercard of Joshua’s victory over Joseph Parker, when he beat and bloodied David Price over five rounds and that performance showed us that, whilst Povetkin is still crisp and powerful with his punch, he is there for the taking.
Price rocked Povetkin, sending him collapsing into the ropes, and there can be no doubt that Joshua is of a far superior technical quality to Price – Anthony’s shot selection, timing, footwork, hand placement, it’s all in a league above – so there should be no valid reason why Joshua can’t go through the gears and stop the Russian.
Of course if he attempts to get embroiled in a real fire fight then that’s where we could see some issues because nothing makes Povetkin perform like pressure, like feeling on the cusp of defeat, he’ll just come back and punch you even harder.
And when you get punched by Povetkin, you know you’ve just been hit with something real.
Having said that you would still back the heavyweight kingpin to be able to withstand the best that his challenger has to offer ahead of a, hopefully, super fight in April next year.
A new era begins with DAZN but, if you ask me, that heavyweight crown will still be on the shoulders of Anthony Joshua come Sunday morning.
Anthony Joshua Prepared To Face Alexander Povetkin – And His Critics – This Saturday
By: Sean Crose
The last time the world saw Anthony Joshua in the ring, the Englishman cruised to victory over New Zealand’s Joseph Parker. Throngs of people had gathered live and in person to watch the reputed best big man in boxing ply his trade that March evening in Wales. They were not disappointed. Although he didn’t score a knockout, Joshua let the tens upon tens of thousands gathered in Cardiff know that he was numero uno in boxing’s most historically esteemed division. It was most certainly a shining moment for the undefeated (now 21- 0) champion. Since that time not all that long ago, however, things have changed.
There’s a perception throughout much of the fight world that Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn have been, if not outright avoiding, then dragging their heels regarding a major unification bout with American knockout artist (and WBC champ) Deontay Wilder. Although many, if not most, feel a battle between the two men is inevitable, some of the shine of Joshua’s heretofore sterling reputation has clearly waned. The fact that Wilder appears ready, eager and willing to get it on with former undefeated heavyweight king Tyson Fury only serves to make team Joshua look more suspect. Eagerness on the parts of the two most highly regarded heavyweights not named Joshua to face off simply puts Joshua’s seeming standoffishness to face Wilder in stark relief.
Still, Joshua is certainly not taking on a cherry picked opponent when he faces Russia’s 34-1 Alexander Povetkin this Saturday night at London’s Wembley Stadium. Povetkin, whose only loss came to a younger Wladimir Klitschko than the one who almost bested Joshua in a classic not so long ago, is considered one of the top operators in the heavyweight division. He’s been popped for PED use several times, but Eddie Hearn has told the media Povetkin has been thoroughly tested in the lead up to this weekend’s bout. Povetkin last fought on the same Cardiff card Joshua did, smashing the well-known David Price in the fifth round of a title eliminator. In short, Povetkin is Joshua’s mandatory, not some tuneup opponent.
Now within days of the fight, Joshua makes it clear he knows the bloom is somewhat off the rose of his reputation – at least for the moment. “I can’t please everyone anymore,” the IBF, WBO, and WBA champ, ever the level head, told the BBC, “so I get that and so it’s my game now.” Joshua is widely regarded to have proved himself a true top level champion after getting up off the mat in his war with Klitschko in 2017. He doesn’t appear willing to let the shots of naysayers lay him out now. “Either I get stronger from it,” he said of his criticism, “or I get drained by it.” Say what one will about the 28-year-old, he’s not known to drain easily.
Berto Beats Alexander in a Split Decision and Peter Quillin Steamrolls Over J’Leon Love
By: Daniel Smith
The former world champion Andre Berto (32-5, 24 KOs) snatches the win by split decision in a 12 round dust-up in last night’s fight against the gallant former champion Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs).
The bell clanged for round 1 as both fighters rushed towards each other and went toe-to-toe in the centre of the ring like two ferocious pit bulls. The southpaw, Alexander, was sharper and slicker than his rival and presented problems to from the off, finding success with a glut of speedy combinations, powerful right hooks before connecting with a solid straight left that dropped Berto in round 3.
“The Great” continued to deploy his gruelling and ripping “head-body-head” combos; notching up the first four rounds of the bout. However, by the fifth, Alexander slowed down and had taken his foot off the gas somewhat, allowing Berto “The Beast” opportunity to get stuck in and claw back some desperately needed rounds.
It cost him the four rounds, however, Berto had become wise to the southpaw’s traps and combinations; now attacking and punishing on the inside, breaking down his tiring opponent’s defence. By round 7, the relentless Berto had certainly slipped a gear or two and was slamming on the pressure to a fatigued and low guarded Devon Alexander.
Andre was clearly less spent than his opponent and utilised the upper hand to dominate in the later rounds. After one of their numerous clinches and tie-ups, “The Beast” tagged Alexander with some heavy left and right hooks. Alexander, however, dug deep and fired back using what was left of his dwindling ammunition; force-feeding a straight left to his challenger. Berto’s legs seemed to momentarily stiffen, but he hung on and recovered quickly, seemingly unscathed.
The ref ruled a “slip” in round 10 after Alexander hit the canvass. Thereafter, both corners had encouraging words to keep their fighters’ fires ablaze until the very end. The battle finished how it started, with both men going toe-to-toe, scrapping it out in a vicious slugfest. Berto detonated with a beefy uppercut, followed by an over the top right before peppering Alexander with a rapid six-punch combination that whammed against the ribs, forcing his back to the ropes where he absorbed more punishing and clobbering left and right hooks.
With the clang of the final bell, the fight was over and both men shared a respectful embrace, commending one another’s ability, grit and determination in a fight that displayed rapid and brutal exchanges of leather, in a real toe-to-toe slugfest to the end, with both warriors refusing to quit.
The judge’s scorecards were close but a split decision was awarded to the underdog, Andre “The Beast” Berto. The bookies favourite, Devon Alexander was understandably disappointed and has said to be discussing things with his team, moving forward. In the meantime, Andre Berto is relishing the prospect of his next fight and whether this win will lead to title contention.
The undercard of the event saw 10 rounds of super middleweight action, and the former middleweight world champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (34-1-1, 23 KOs) earn a unanimous decision victory over J’Leon Love (24-2-1, 13 KOs).
Peter Quillin’s work-rate and power-shots proved all too much for J’Leon Love. Quillin piled on the pressure and dominated the fight throughout; backing up his opponent, battering him on the ropes – raging and firing-out solid flurries that clobbered and thudded Love’s head and body.
“Kid Chocolate” firmly stamped his authority and controlled the fight, exemplifying his speed, power and accuracy; peppering, pounding and punishing J’Leon Love with a slew of explosive chopping rights and hooking powerhouse lefts.
In the eighth, J’Leon was pressed to the corner while Quillin pelted him with another torrent of heavy shots to further convince the judges scoring. Love didn’t really have much to respond or bother Quillin with, and by the end of the fight it was a clear a unanimous decision was on the cards, with all judges later favouring and declaring Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin as the winner of the bout.
With no ring-rust in sight, the future may be prosperous for the former champion.
PBC on Fox Preview: Quillin vs. Love, Alexander vs. Berto
By: Daniel Smith
This Saturday night, on August 4th, former welterweight world champs Andre Berto and Devon Alexander will mix it up within the square jungle in a 12-round main event. The undercard of the fight features former middleweight champ Peter Quillin vs. contender J’Leon Love in a super middleweight bout. The event takes place at the Nassau Coliseum in New York and will be televised live by FOX.
First and foremost, let’s sample the undercard before the main event.
Peter Quillin vs. J’Leon Love (Super Middleweight Division).
At thirty-five- years of age, the former WBO middleweight world champion, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin is chomping at the bit for another world title shot. A shot and prospect which he believes is potentially within touching distance.
However, he first needs to eradicate his opponent and younger contender, J’Leon Love, from a long line of rapacious super middleweight fighters within a rough, tough and dangerously competetive division.
Both Quillin and Love’s professional records are blemished with a loss and draw a piece, and both men will be more than prepared to rage against the tide and be dragged into deep waters; dissolving all strategic-game plans, scrapping it out in a brutal tear-up in order to advance to the next phase of their careers and compete at the top level for a super middleweight title.
Until 2015, Peter Quillin was ploughing his way through middleweight boxers, accumulating and notching up an impressive score of 23 knockouts on his professional record. However, since suffering a vicious first-round TKO at the fast-flurrying, lethal hands of Daniel Jacobs back in 2015, Quillin began re-scaffolding his boxing career, and in 2017, he fought for twelve rounds and earned a unanimous decision against Dashton Johnson.
Now, “Kid Chocolate” seems raring to go and ready to steamroll his way to victory against the (24-1-1) J’Leon Love. But can he achieve it? Can Quillin, at 35, return to the sport after a hefty 21 month lay off, only to come back in heavier weight class and present a challenge to the top, youthful, title-hungry super middleweight lions? Well, all will be revealed this commencing Saturday night, where a cracking night of boxing should be on the cards!
The former Olympian, sports a professional career of (24-1-1) – a fairly decent record with its sole defeat coming from a the Rogelio Medina fight, where a steely left hook rendered Love out by the eight count. However, this fight is a “must-win” if he is to be thrown into the blend of fighters that present a serious threat to the division’s reigning champions, Groves (WBA), Benavidez (WBC), Ramirez (WBO) and Uzcategui (IBF). If so, J’Leon needs to execute his game-plan with precision and effect; deploying and detonating with hard, clean-crisp punches and convincingly winning the bout to aid his ascending climb on the competitive super middleweight ladder.
This weekend, we’ll see if Love has the skill, determination and calibre to be regarded as a genuine contender that possess champion material.
The Main Event – Berto vs Alexander (Welterweight Division)
The main event will showcase Devon Alexander vs. Andre Berto. The former two-weight class, unified world champion, Devon Alexander – a man whose held the WBC and IBF light welterweight titles as well as the IBF welterweight belt, will trade leather against the two-time former welterweight world WBC, IBF and WBA champion, Andre Berto. Berto will clash with the No 4 ranked IBF, welterweight contender in a fight (if he’s successful) that will potentially hurl him back in contention with the division’s elite welterweight warriors.
Let’s take a preview and analysis of both men going into the bout.
Devon Alexander “The Great” (27-4-1) needs to be sharp and slick in this fight when utilising his solid three punch combinations. It’s clear that Alexander is capable and prepared to stand toe-to-toe and involve himself with terse and brutal, “fighting in a phone booth” slugfests – his battle against Ortiz springs to mind. However, “The Great” should get behind his jab, set traps and fire “in and out” with poised, venomous shots that rattle and breakdown his opponent.
With the No. 1 slot vacant for the IBF title, Alexander, absolutely needs to make this one count and do it in style, too if he’s to knock the top welterweight dogs from their championship spots.
Andre “The Beast” Berto – with 36 fights, 31 wins and 5 losses in his repertoire; Berto should be licking his lips at the prospect of causing an upset by defeating the bookies favourite in this contest. If “The Beast” emerges victorious as the underdog going into the fight, then it would certainly raise his stock and add further spice to an already fiery division. But only time will tell.
For this fight, both men should prepare for vicious trades within an ugly, Gran Prix paced scrap that displays fast hands, rapid combinations and hard, solid punishing blows. Both fighters can’t afford to get caught cold and both need to be vigilant and wired-up, yet capable to dispatch a dynamite, powerhouse ferocity that explodes “at the ready.” Essentially, a convincing win is definitely required from one of the two boxers. But who wins and who goes away with second prize from a two horse race?
Joshua, Povetkin, Wilder and Whyte – Amidst the Heavyweight Jungle
By: Daniel Smith
Alexander the “White Lion” Povetkin is certainly no palooka Joe opponent for the current WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua. The Russian bulwark and former WBA champion comes equipped with explosive hooking-bombs and an attacking ferocity that’s set to a hair trigger. A steely seasoned pro, a lethal brawling-scrapper who conducts his affairs inside the ring without pomp, pretence or pantomime grudges for that matter. A rough, tough fighter, who’s more than ready to upset the order of the food-chain amidst the heavyweight jungle!
Let’s take an analysis of the hardboiled Russian’s attributes.
Povetkin – a 6ft 2″ and 16 stone, solidly conformed, power-punching, pit-bull of a man. A heavyweight brusier who blasts out opponents from his inside fighting style and punishing combinations. Povetkin’s not a man to be tangled with, as his impressive record of 34 wins in 35 fights demonstrates his fighting caliber. The former two time heavyweight, Ring Magazine, Lineal and WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF champion, Wladimir Klitschko is only man to have beaten the “White Lion” – a win that came by unanimous decision, not before the Russian was knocked-down in round 2 from a quick left hook, and 3 knockdowns in round 7.
However, since his defeat against “Dr Steel-Hammer”, Povetkin has showcased and examplified his brutish-brawling aptitude by contiuing his winning streak in his last six bouts – his most recent victory coming by way of a chilling knockout against the 6ft 7″ heavyweight, British contender, David Price. Povetkin, prior to the knockout was staggered backwards, crashing into the ropes in round 3 before recovering and deploying a sledge-hammering hook to the chin that rendered Price out for the count in round 5.
In addtion to the hardboiled Russian’s rampart-esque attributes; Povetkin is “no piece of cake” for any fighter, including Mr Joshua. His resilience, grit, iron-determination and his rapcious pangs to be world champion once again, position him within the mix of top-tier heavyweight lions that trade leather in the squared cirlce.
AJ – some have regarded the heavyweight champion as the ‘complete boxer’. A fighter who posseses a furnished slew of a proficient pugilistic attributes, whilst equally equipped to slug it out in a gritty brawl when the chips are down. You just have to look no further than his win over Wladimir Klitschko, back in 2017.
Joshua is a boxer who appears to prefer fighting guys of similar height and weight. In his last two bouts, AJ fought Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker – two relatively smaller fighters within the division and two guys who he didn’t blast out of the ring or chin with smashing uppercuts. But that said, I feel the days of Anthony whamming fighters across the ring, maybe drawing to a close.
Nowadays, AJ seems to tread with caution, taking a more strategic chess- match enforcement; utilising dynamics, fundamental advantages, such as speed, skill, reach, knowledge and now, experience, rather than emptying his tank after six or seven rounds from firing-out a barrage of sheer velocitised power-punchers. Joshua seems to struggle slightly when figting the smaller heavyweights – his punching power becomes somewhat blunted with the shift of gravitational direction, from channelling his momentum downwards instead straight ahead or up.
But I’m confident Josh’s record will be sporting another notch come September, 22nd, 2018, for he’ll undoubtedly treat the Povetkin fight with the respect and earnestness it demands, not looking past the extremely dangerous opponent who thretens his rein. However, if he does emerge as the victor against the solid Russian; would the unfication bout between himself and Deontay Wilder be back on the cards in 2019? I have to be honest – I’m not completely sure it will come to fruition.
And here’s my thoughts as to why.
Not for a moment do I believe AJ harbors any fear or doubts in his ability to beat Wilder, nor do I believe he is ‘ducking’ the WBC champion (even though that’s how it may appear to some). However, I do believe Joshua is conscious he would be facing an opponent that is capable of destryoing his Lineal champion dreams, by sparking him out-cold. It may well in fact be Matchroom who are calculating the “risks vs. benefits” assessment of a unification battle with “the bronze bomber”, Deontay Wilder. And it’s a possibilty Hearn who’s avoidng the clash, in an attempt to have another ‘sing-song around the money tree’ or to ‘make hay while the sun shines’, as the old phrases go.
So, what are the risks and benefits of the WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF world heavyweight champion, (21-0) Anthony vs. the WBC world heavyweight champion, (40-0), Deontay Wilder?
Let’s take a look.
Wilder – a formidable powerhouse banger who dishes out brutal beatdowns like they’re going out of style. A dangerous fighter, a certified knockout merchant whose punching power detonates on impact like brass knuckles shattering a glass jaw. A man whose boxing forte is not within the parameters of pugilistic sophistication; nor could he lay claim to any proficient technique or graceful footwork. However, Wilder more than compensates and counters with a raw, brutal strength and a primal-predatory ferocity that detects fighters vulnerabilities and weaknesses, like a shark sensing a mere droplet of blood in miles of ocean before attacking its prey.
A towering 6ft 7″, 15stone 10lbs, physical heavy weight- hybrid whose lanky- skinny legs scaffold a lean and muscled statue that configures a physique that becomes a perilous weapon of mayhem and destruction, throwing a torrent of hard-solid shots, wildly swinging muscly spaghetti-like arms in a frenzied punching onslaught, demolishing and obliterating fighters into a straggled heap.
Deontay is understandably frustrated, as he’s not being given the opportunity to display his devastating punching aptitude against AJ – and I’m sure he’s rehersed the fight a million times, as he envisions himself beneath the lights of the squared circle, in the midst of a sell-out rip-roaring, blood-thirsty arena crowd, while he throws mostrous knockout shots before the ref waves off the fight and he emerges as unified heavyweight champion of the world; carving out a legacy along with the memories of career best performance within a battlegound domain that’s embellsihed with the blood, sweat and spit of a classic bout between two hard-hitting heavyweights – the best of their era.
In my opinion, Joshua would be taking the greater risk in this bout as he would be trading leather with an extremely ferocious opponent in Wilder, with an uncalibrated distribution of the belts at stake. I suppose that’s why the proposed uneven see-saw of financial spoils are being generously distributed in Matchroom and AJ’s favour.
It’s fair to say, only relevant people involved from both camps truely know what’s going on and when or if the fight will ever happen. It’s evident there are risks involved for both men, as it’s the heavyweight divsion and it the world can come crasing down with one big punch.
So there’s obviously a lot going on behind the scenes we don’t know about. However, what we do know is Anthony Joshua’s takes on Povetkin, while Wilder will probably have to defend his title to the mandatory challenger, Dominic Breazeale (19-1).
However, outside Joshua and Wilder, Dillian “the body snatcher” Whyte is the one to watch and possiblly the sleeping, unification giant of the heavyweight divsion – providing he makes an example of Joseph Parker by way of knockout. A potential cracker-jack of a fight that takes place on July 28th, 2018 at London’s O2 arena.
DAZN Kicks Off Stacked Fall Lineup of Boxing and MMA with Heavyweight Title Fight: Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin
DAZN, the world’s largest dedicated live and on- demand sports streaming service, today announced the details of its expansion into the U.S. This follows parent company Perform Group’s $1 billion joint venture with Matchroom Boxing, one of the world’s leading boxing promoters, and a nine- figure multiyear global distribution agreement with Bellator MMA, a leading global combat sports franchise owned by Viacom. The first-ever fight night will be headlined by heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua OBE and Alexander “The Russian Warrior” Povetkin as the two battle for Joshua’s WBA, IBF and WBO titles on Sept. 22 live from Wembley Stadium in London.
Scott Coker, Bellator President and CEO, announced today the invited participants and some of the matchups for its stacked Welterweight Grand Prix. The tournament begins with Douglas Lima taking on Andrey Koreshkov as part of the star-studded “Bellator: Mousasi vs. MacDonald” event on Sept. 29 from the SAP Center in San Jose. Additional fights in the tournament include Jon Fitch vs. Neiman Gracie and Ed Ruth vs. Yaro Umasov. The 10-fighter tournament will play out over the next year exclusively on DAZN.
Additionally, Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing Managing Director, announced plans for a stacked Oct. 6 card at Wintrust Arena in Chicago featuring new signings and former world titleholders Jessie Vargas and Demetrius Andrade as well as world-rated heavyweight Jarrell Miller, in separate bouts. The card will also include IBF light heavyweight titlist Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Johnson and WBO, IBF women’s lightweight champion Katie Taylor vs. Cindy Serrano. At today’s event, Hearn announced the signings of WBO super lightweight titlist Maurice Hooker, WBA super bantamweight titlist Daniel Roman and several promising American amateurs to Matchroom U.S.A.
Going live in the U.S. on Sept. 10, the Over-the-Top (OTT) sports streaming service made by fans, for fans, will be reshaping the way fans experience the sports they love by making the viewing experience simpler, more affordable and more accessible to all – starting with fight sports. The global streaming platform with millions of subscribers will provide viewers with unlimited access to premium sports content anytime, anywhere for a single subscription price of $9.99 per month following a one-month free trial. All matches streamed on the service will be available both live and on-demand, on a wide range of connected devices, including smart TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and game consoles.
“We launched DAZN to disrupt the status quo and change the way the world sees sports,” said James Rushton, DAZN CEO. “When you get DAZN, you’ll get all the fights; we won’t stash our best matchups for PPV, linear TV or a higher-tier package. And you’re going to get the entire card live, no matter the time zone and without constraints for one affordable price.”
As the first global pure sports OTT platform, DAZN will be embarking on its September launch with a stacked line up of 70+ fights – more than one fight night a week on average – through partnerships with Matchroom Boxing U.S.A., Bellator MMA and the World Boxing Super Series. Fans will also enjoy access to a robust content portfolio ranging from new shows premiering on the service, behind-the-scenes features leading up to big events and real-time news stories about the upcoming matchups, making it a must-have for fight fans in the U.S.
“DAZN is Perform Group’s most ambitious undertaking to date and we have big plans as a global streaming leader,” said John Skipper, Perform Group Executive Chairman. “In the last two years we’ve expanded into seven countries across three continents attracting millions of subscribers and creating long-term global partnerships with the best in the industry to bring our fans what they want at an affordable price.”
Fight fans who take advantage of DAZN’s one-month free trial just ahead of Sept. 22 will be treated to the following fight nights already scheduled:
• Sept. 22 – Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin
• Sept. 29 – Bellator: Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald
• Oct. 6 – Card featuring Jessie Vargas, Demetrius Andrade
• Oct. 12 – Bellator: Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader***
*** Simulcast with Paramount Network
For more information on the fight cards, visit www.matchroomboxing.com and
Additionally, fight fans will feel right at home as International Boxing Hall of Fame fight announcer and the “voice of champions” Michael Buffer will be partnering with DAZN and Matchroom to bring his iconic “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” call to all fight nights as part of the joint venture.
Fight sports is just the first chapter in DAZN’s multisport plans for the U.S. The platform, which first launched in Europe and Asia two years ago, has developed long-term relationships with rights holders around the world, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, EPL and UEFA among others. The sports streaming service has ambitious plans to expand the portfolio as more rights become available and make DAZN the true sports fan’s home, offering sports content from all over the world that’s viewable anytime, anywhere at one affordable rate. DAZN is already available as a multisport service in markets including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and most recently Italy. Fans can pre-register for the subscription service on www.DAZN.com, as well as receive news about the platform and the sports and games it will show. They can also follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels @DAZNUSA on Facebook and @DAZN_USA for Instagram and Twitter.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Klitschko, Berto, Alexander, Diaz, Monaghan, Ortiz, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 4th to July 11th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Klitschko Backs Police to Protect Animals from Abuse in Kyiv, Ukraine
For the first time ever, police in Kyiv are receiving training on how to fight crimes against animals and the alarming connections between the abuse of children, vulnerable adults and animals.
Animal-loving Vitali Klitschko (Mayor of Kyiv and former Professional Boxer) gives the project his full support, and states:
“Mistreating animals is cowardly and cruel, and I find it abhorrent that it goes on in our city. I am proud that so many Kyiv Police Officers are participating in this pioneering training programme and hope animal abuse cases will no longer be overlooked as a low-priority. Thank you to the British animal welfare NGOs for providing this vital training.”
Increasing research and clinical evidence suggests people who abuse animals may also abuse vulnerable people. It is understood that children who witness abuse within the home, either towards animals or people, are more likely to become violent themselves later in life.
Knowledge about these links will go a long way to help police protect victims, both animal and human.
The training also includes what constitutes evidence at animal abuse crime scenes, and how to use Ukrainian animal protection legislation to prosecute cases.
The training programme mirrors that being applied in other western countries.
Kyiv Police are aiming for more than 2000 officers to receive the training.
The first phase of the training programme took place in March where senior members of the Kyiv Police department attended a full day’s workshop. That same week, local animal welfare NGOs and the Kyiv Municipality received training on how to work with police and provide usable evidence that will assist with prosecutions.
Head of Kyiv Patrol Police Public Relations Department, Sergiy Bezpalchuk, says: “The training was very helpful, clearly demonstrating how to investigate cases of animal abuse. It was also useful to learn about the link between animal cruelty and abuse towards people. I’d like to thank the organisers and trainers, and look forward to further cooperation to train more officers in the future.”
The intention of the training programme is to assist with building a collaborative framework within which animal welfare groups, police, prosecutors and the municipality may address animal cruelty together, reducing victims of animal crime and bringing suspected offenders to justice.
The training is being delivered by UK animal welfare charity, Naturewatch Foundation, in collaboration with Mark Randell, a retired senior Police Officer and Animal NGO Director from the UK.
For over twenty-five years, Naturewatch Foundation has run projects in Ukraine to protect animals from abuse and suffering.
Naturewatch Foundation Campaign Director, Jennie Rudd, says: “By taking the initiative to tackle animal abuse and recognise the link between violence towards vulnerable people and animals, Kyiv police are developing a culture of compassion towards all living beings that future generations will benefit from.
“International organisations responsible for promoting the link between animal and human violence in Europe and America are impressed that Kyiv Police are taking on board this training as part of their development, and look forward to seeing how the programme develops.”
Jesus Rojas to Defend WBA Featherweight Title Against Joseph Diaz on Golden Boy Fight Night on Facebook Watch
Golden Boy Promotions’ partnership with Facebook will kick off with a bang as Jesus Rojas (16-1-2, 19 KOs) defends his WBA Featherweight World Title against Joseph Diaz, Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) in the main event of the inaugural edition of Golden Boy Fight Night at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. The action will be streamed live on Saturday, August 11 beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. Fans can catch all the fights by clicking here.
Rojas is a 31-year-old puncher who is coming off a seventh-round knockout against former interim WBA Featherweight World Champion Claudio Marrero. During his time off, Rojas was elevated to world champion status, and he’ll be making the first defense of this title against Diaz, Jr. The native of Caguas, Puerto Rico is an experienced champion as he has taken on the likes of former world champion Jorge “El Travieso”Arce and featherweight contenders Jorge “El Pilón” Lara and Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez.
“I’m ready to come back after almost a year off,” said Jesus Rojas. “I’ll defend my title for the first time on a very important Golden Boy card which will start a new association with Facebook. Diaz Jr. is tough, intelligent and fast, but I have the power and the experience to score a spectacular win against him. We’ll see you all this August 11 in Hollywood.”
Diaz Jr. is a 25-year-old southpaw who represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic games in London. Immediately after, Diaz Jr. signed with Golden Boy Promotions and began a stellar career that has earned him a spot at the pinnacle of the featherweight division. Diaz Jr.’s first title opportunity was against Gary Russell Jr. in May of this year. Though he did not win, Diaz Jr.’s impressive efforts earned him an immediate title shot but this time against Rojas.
“I’ve always said that I’m going to be a world champion.,” said Joseph Diaz Jr. “I learned from my last fight, and now I know the adjustments I need to make in order to have a world title around my waist. I’m going to make a big statement in the 126-pound division. It’s also an honor to be the main event of the first-ever Golden Boy show with Facebook. It shows the faith my promoter has in me to be a leading name in the new era of boxing.”
In the co-main event, Ferdinand “Lucky Boy” Kerobyan (9-0, 5 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. will battle across a scheduled six-rounds of welterweight action. Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (4-0, 3 KOs) of Monaghan, Ireland will participate in a four-round welterweight fight.
Opponents for these two fighters will be announced shortly.
Luis Ortiz to Take on Razvan Cojanu in Co-Feature Bout of Garcia vs. Easter
Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz returns to action to face former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu in a 10-round bout on Saturday, July 28 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) will open with unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario “El Azteca” Barrios takingon hard-hitting Jose Roman in a 10-round showdown. The event is headlined by lightweight world championship title unification bout between WBC Lightweight World Champion Mikey Garcia and IBF Lightweight World Champion Robert Easter Jr.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit AXS.com.
After having heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder nearly out on his feet in their March classic, Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) eventually succumbed to the power of the unbeaten champion. Now, Ortiz looks to get back to world title contention on July 28. Originally, from Camaguey, Cuba, now residing in Miami, Fla., Ortiz will fight in Los Angeles for the first time as a professional. Ortiz quickly became one of the most avoided men in boxing with victories over Bryant Jennings, Tony Thompson and Malik Scott on his way to the memorable showdown with Wilder.
“I’m looking to make a statement on July 28 and get back to challenge for the heavyweight championship of the world,” said Ortiz. “I’m excited to be back in the ring. I am thankful to have this opportunity. To all the fans in Los Angeles, don’t miss this great card at STAPLES Center. ‘The Real King Kong’ is coming to LA!”
A native of Romania and fighting out of Burbank, Calif., Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) challenged then WBO heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker for the title in May 2017. Cojanu took the New Zealand champion the distance but lost via unanimous decision in the champion’s home country. Standing over six-foot-seven, Cojanu scored three straight knockout victories in 2016 to earn the title shot and will return to the ring for his first fight in the U.S. since January 2016.
“I’m proud and confident to know that I will be stepping into the ring against a worthy opponent on July 28,” said Cojanu. “Luis Ortiz is a world-class fighter with a lot of experience, which will give me the opportunity to show my skills to all the fans at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and watching on SHOWTIME.”
The 23-year-old Barrios (21-0, 13 KOs) has been impressive since moving up to 140 pounds last March. He’s scored stoppage victories over Yardley Cruz, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Naim Nelson and most recently a second-round destruction of Eudy Bernardo. The five-foot-ten Barrios of San Antonio had previously campaigned at 130 pounds before making the move to the higher weight class that has helped unlock his power.
“I fought on SHOWTIME EXTREME but making my debut on SHOWTIME has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” said Barrios. “Now, the time has come to show why I’m here. I’m ready to keep showing why I’m going to become a star and one of the sport’s next great fighters. Come July 28, everyone should tune-in for a great night of fights. It’s ‘Azteca’ time.”
Fighting out of Garden Grove, Calif., Roman (24-2-1, 16 KOs) scored knockouts in nine of his first 11 pro fights and has won 10 of his last 11 leading up to July 28. The 30-year-old most recently dropped a decision to Wilberth Lopez last September after a run of defeating veteran fighters and will look to put himself back on the path to a world title with a victory over Barrios at STAPLES Center.
“I’m very excited to have this great opportunity,” said Roman. “Barrios has been on a roll, but I have the experience to take him out. Both of us bring pressure and I know he’s going to be hungry to keep his record perfect. I’m more motivated than I’ve ever been for this fight. I can’t wait to put on a show in my backyard for all the great fans in Southern California.”
Barrera vs. Monaghan Set for August 18th
Former WBC International Light Heavyweight world champion Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) returns to the ring to regain his standing as one of the world’s top Light Heavyweights. Barrera faces top five Light Heavyweight Contender “Irish” Seanie Monaghan (29-1, 17 KOs) in the 10-round main event at the Sands Bethlehem Casino and Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Saturday, August 18, 2018. The event is promoted by Main Events and World of Boxing and will be streamed live via Facebook Watch as part of the Golden Boy Fight Night series. Fans can catch all the fights by clickinghere.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, July 13.
Barrera vs. Monaghan is the second live card of the recently announced Facebook series, a collaboration between Golden Boy Promotions, Facebook and Main Events, offered to fans around the world via live online streaming.
Barrera, 36, a native of Cuba who defected to the United States after fighting for the Cuban National Team, now lives and trains in Miami, Florida. He makes his return to the ring after taking WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol deep into the 12th round of their title fight in November 2017 before being stopped, by far the most difficult opponent of Bivol’s professional career. The WBC ranks Barrera fourth in the competitive Light Heavyweight division.
Monaghan, also 36, is a Long Island, New York native with proud Irish roots. He began his professional boxing career at the late age of 28 but quickly made up for lost time. After his first and only loss as a professional in 30 fights to Marcus Browne in July 2017, Monaghan started his comeback quest with a win in November 2017, and intends to make up for lost time against Barrera.
“Thank you to my team, my coach Derik Santos, my promoter Main Events, my manager Luis Molina, and thanks to Seanie Monaghan for taking this fight,” said Barrera. “As always, I’m willing to face the top guys in my division. This is another tough fighter. I look forward to August 18 and I’ll give the fans a great show. They will see me start to climb my way back up to facing the very best light heavyweights in the world.”
Barrera’s trainer, Derik Santos, said training is already underway for the fight. “We are working, and are dedicated as usual. Thank you to manager Luis Molina and our promoter Main Events. Sullivan has gone into tough fights over the years, and has consistently shown himself to be one of the toughest light heavyweight contenders in the division.”
Despite the pressure on them, Barrera and Santos maintain the same confidence and positive attitude that led Barrera to the top. “Train well and overcome, has been the directive since day one,” declared Santos. “Our expectations are the same today.”
Barrera is no stranger to Seanie Monaghan, and he’s looking forward to the match-up. “This fight is do or die for both of us. I’ve been going back and forth with Barrera on Twitter for a couple of years now. This will finally be our chance to settle it in the ring, no more talking,” said Monaghan.
Monaghan recently lost his father, and has plans to bring the late Davy Monaghan’s ashes back to his hometown of Navan in Ireland someday while wearing a title belt around his waist. His fight with Barrera is as much for his father as it is for himself.
In the ultra-competitive Light Heavyweight division, the talent pool is deep, and virtually every fighter ranked among the Top 15 contenders is a threat to the current titleholders. Main Events’ CEO and Barrera’s promoter, Kathy Duva, selected this high-stakes fight as a perfect fit for the first Main Events-promoted card in the Golden Boy Fight Night series. “We have delivered the best in boxing entertainment to the fans for 40 years,” said Duva. “What better way to start our next 40 years in business by expanding access to our fan-friendly fights around the world with online streaming technology.”
Duva promised: “Technology has changed a lot in this world, but one thing will never change about Main Events: our determination to make the best matches and feature amazing athletes in the ring. I know Sullivan Barrera and Seanie Monaghan will give everything they’ve got for their legacy, and for the fans.”
Andre Berto and Devon Alexander Set to Square Off on August 4th
Former 147-pound world champions Andre Berto (31-5, 24 KOs)and Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs)will battle in a 12-round showdown that headlines a stacked night of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes live in prime time on Saturday, August 4 from NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The telecast begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT with former world champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (33-1-1, 23 KOs)facing 168-pound contender J’Leon Love (24-1-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Also in action will be former amateur standout and fast-rising unbeaten prospect Joey Spencer (3-0, 3 KOs) in a super welterweight match.
The exciting night of fights begins with a special edition of PBC on FS2 & FOX Deportes at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT with unbeaten light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne (21-0, 16 KOs) taking on once-beaten Lenin Castillo (18-1-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round match. The FS2 & FOX Deportes telecast will begin with a welterweight showdown between former world champion Luis Collazo (37-7, 20 KOs) against Bryant Perrella (15-1, 13 KOs).
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, go on sale Friday, July 6 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.nycblive.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the Ticketmaster Box Office at NYCB LIVE beginning Saturday, July 7 at noon. Group discounts are available by calling 516-231-4848.
“This is an outstanding card from top to bottom with matches that figure prominently in the 147-pound, 168-pound and 175-pound divisions,” said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions. “Berto and Alexander are two former champions who are fighting to get back into the crowded welterweight title picture. The Peter Quillin and J’Leon Love winner factors heavily in the super middleweight championship mix. It’s compelling action for the fans at Nassau Coliseum and the ones tuned in to FOX in prime time.”
“I’m happy to bring another action-packed event back to NYCB Live on Long Island,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Headlining the FOX and FOX Deportes telecast, former world champions Andre Berto and Devon Alexander meet in a high-stakes crossroads battle with the winner emerging one step closer to another shot at the welterweight crown. Former middleweight champion Peter Quillin continues his comeback facing the talented J’Leon Love and Staten Island’s unbeaten light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne also appears on the card. Long Island boxing fans will want to arrive early for a tremendous undercard, with local talent as well.”
An exciting and accomplished fighter from Florida, Berto returns to the ring after dropping a contest last April to Shawn Porter. Berto represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympics and picked up his biggest recent triumph on FOX in April 2016 as Berto scored a fourth-round knockout of former champion Victor Ortiz in their high-octane rematch.
Berto previously challenged retired legend Floyd Mayweather in September 2015 and has engaged in numerous Fight of the Year-worthy bouts, including a 2012 war with Robert Guerrero and his first fight with Ortiz. He has twice held a welterweight title, first the WBC belt, which he successfully defended five times between 2008 and 2011, plus the IBF crown he picked up in 2011 with a victory over Jan Zaveck.
“This is a great fight that has been a long time coming,” said Berto. “We share some common opponents, but we have different styles of fighting and styles make fights. I’ve had a lot of success with southpaws. I’m looking forward to seeing him in front of me and capitalizing on what I’m working on now.”
Alexander returned to the spotlight in February after only fighting once since 2015 while he sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers. He looked sharp in his first big fight in years, displaying similar speed and skills that had made him a two-weight champion before being given a controversial draw against former champion Victor Ortiz on FOX, in a fight most thought Alexander had won.
The 31-year-old emerged onto the scene with a unanimous decision victory over Randall Bailey to add the welterweight crown to the 140-pound title he had won three years prior. Originally from St. Louis, but now training in Florida with longtime coach Kevin Cunningham, Alexander has defeated the likes of Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse and Jesus Soto Karass throughout his accomplished career.
“I’m very excited about this fight. Berto and I have history going back to the amateurs,” Alexander said. “I know him very well, but we’ve never fought. I have to show that I’m still one of the best in a stacked division. This is all business for me, because at this point in my career, I’m approaching every fight as if it’s my last. This is prime time for me.
“My mentality is that Berto is still the killer that he was 10 years ago. So I’m looking at him like he’s lost nothing. I’ve got one mission, and that’s to beat Berto. I’ll be technically sound and 100 percent focused on accomplishing that task.”
A Brooklyn-resident who has made the borough home for his whole career, Quillin returned to the ring last September when he defeated Dashon Johnson by unanimous decision. The former middleweight champion made three title defenses after winning his title from Hassan N’Dam in Brooklyn and his only loss came at the hands of former champion Daniel Jacobs.
“I’m excited to be back at home in New York in front of my fans and people I love so dearly,” Quillin said. “I’m coming back more polished and more seasoned and a man of God. I’ve definitely always been a guy who steps out and does what people think I can’t do. I know J’Leon is looking to make a splash. He needs a name on his resume. I have to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. Either he’s going to have to learn a hard lesson or give me a hard lesson.”
The 30-year-old Love enters this fight unbeaten in his last seven contests after most recently defeating Jaime Barboza in May. The Michigan-native who now trains and lives in Las Vegas had previously defeated a slew of contenders and will look to move closer to a world title shot with a victory over Quillin on August 4.
“I think this is a really good matchup,” said Love. “Peter Quillin is a very talented fighter and a former world champion who is always in great shape. He’s someone you have to train very hard for and that you definitely cannot take lightly. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to fight a spectacular fighter like him. We’ll put on a great fight.”
Browne has put together three-straight impressive knockout victories to continue his rapid rise up the highly competitive 175-pound division. The 27-year-old southpaw has sandwiched knockouts of Thomas Williams, Jr. last February and Francy Ntetu this January around a second-round destruction of then unbeaten Seanie Monaghan in the inaugural boxing event at Nassau Coliseum on a FOX primetime telecast last July. The 2012 U.S. Olympian will look to put himself in position for a world title fight with a convincing win on August 4.
“I feel good about fighting close to home in New York,” said Browne. “Lenin Castillo is definitely a good, hungry, up-and-coming fighter who has one loss to Joseph Williams. I’m not overlooking him, but right now I’m trying to keep my top position in order to vie for a title, so I have to destroy him.”
The 29-year-old Castillo fights out of his native Dominican Republic and enters this bout with three straight victories by stoppage. Castillo’s recent wins followed his first professional loss, a majority decision defeat to unbeaten Joseph Williams last February. Castillo has fought professionally since 2010 and was unbeaten in his first 12 fights. The only other blemish on his pro resume was a majority draw in Brooklyn against then unbeaten Travis Peterkin in 2015.
“Marcus Browne is a boxer I’ve been following a long time because we were both Olympians,” said Castillo. “This is a good style matchup that I think will make a fun fight for the fans. We’re looking for the victory. Both of us know that a win here can take us to a world title shot and I’m not planning on wasting my opportunity.”
Collazo is a former world champion hailing from Brooklyn who has fought top welterweights from Berto and Shane Mosley to Keith Thurman and Ricky Hatton. His most recent fight saw him score a sensational knockout victory over Sammy Vasquez in February 2017. He returns to the ring after recovering from injuries sustained during training and will face Perrella of Fort Myers, FL. The 29-year-old defeated Alex Martin in his home state in December via a unanimous decision in his last outing.
PBC on Fox Results: Alexander and Ortiz fight to a Draw.
by Eric Lunger
Tonight, on PBC on Fox, the talented but enigmatic Victor Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) took on former world champion Devon Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) in a twelve-round welterweight clash. No belt was on the line, but both fighters knew what was at stake: the winner would have a meaningful claim in the deep welterweight division, while the loser very well might mark the end of his career.
In a close, professional first round, both men boxed from range, and Alexander just nipped the round, landing one clean shot. Ortiz was looking to land a lead hook in the second round, feinting his way in. Alexander’s hand speed was noticeable, however, and Ortiz suffered a cut on his forehead. It was another extremely close round. Alexander looked the better fighter in the third round, showing world-class accuracy and speed.
In the fourth, Alexander continued to land precise shots, with Ortiz’s left eye noticeably swelling. The pattern continued in the middle rounds, with Ortiz trying to feint his way in, but Alexander timing him with precise, short shots. Ortiz did get inside at the end of the fifth, but could not do any significant damage. In the seventh, Ortiz bulled his way in, and there was a lot of leather exchanged at close range. The eighth was an exciting round, two professionals exhibiting a high level of skill and courage. It might have been Ortiz’s best round, but Alexander seemed none daunted.
The ninth was full of action, but Alexander’s footwork allowed him to dictate the range (most of the time), and thus Ortiz could not make it an inside brawl. In the eleventh, Ortiz was looking to land some wide hooks, while Alexander remained sharp and accurate. In the final frame, Ortiz fought with urgency but he seemed unable to summon enough energy after a tough and exhausting effort. For a fighter who has taken a lot of criticism regarding his heart, Ortiz fought like a lion.
The scorecards came a stunner. Inexplicably, a majority draw with two cards 114-114, and one card 115-113 for Ortiz.
In the co-feature, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) took on rugged and experienced Rogelio “Porky” Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. Sold as America vs. Mexico, the storyline was more interesting as undefeated prospect against tested and tough veteran. Medina failed to make weight, however, and appeared in the ring with a brace on his left knee.
Plant showed a strong left jab in the first round, taking no risks. In the second, Plant dropped his left hand, and allowed Medina to come forward and dictate the action. Plant spent a significant portion of the round back-peddling, earning a Bronx cheer from the crowd. But in the third round, Plant appeared looser and more confident, bouncing on the balls of his feet and landing some clean counters. Medina had no answers and began to take real punishment.
Medina had some success in the fourth, but Plant landed more jabs and used his footwork to frustrate the Mexican veteran. In the middle rounds, Medina could not negate Plant’s advantage in reach and Plant’s jab. Plant was winning rounds jabbing and countering, but he never seemed like he wanted to get Medina out of there.
In the late rounds, Plant remained in control, always boxing, always safe. Medina showed a ton of heart and desire, but could not make inroads against Plant’s defensive footwork. Going twelve rounds for the first time in his career, Caleb Plant earned the decision 120-108, 119-109, 117-111, running his record to a perfect 17-0.
In earlier action, US Olympian Carlos Balderas (3-0, 3 KOs) showcased his elite-level skills, outpointing Jorge Rojas (4-2-1, 2 KOs) in a four-round lightweight bout. Prior to the televised bouts, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) stopped George Sosa (15-12, 15 KOs) in the fifth round, for Harrison’s second win since losing to Jarrett “Swift” Hurd in February of 2017.
PBC on Fox Preview: Devon Alexander vs. Victor Ortiz
By: Eric Lunger
Former welterweight world champions Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander look to climb back into the top echelons of the division, as they face off on Saturday night in a twelve-round welterweight bout, live on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Alen Mena/PBC
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) held the WBC title in 2011, losing it to Floyd Mayweather on a bizarre knock out, after Ortiz had inexplicably head-butted Mayweather and was still attempting to apologize. Ortiz, 31, has been erratic since then, winning three and losing three over a five-year span, but he is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Saul Corral in July of last year. A southpaw with a fluid and entertaining style, Ortiz is a pressure fighter who can leave himself open to being countered.
“I’m ready to give all I have to get my crown back,” Ortiz said via PBC press release. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and put myself in position to have my straps once more. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I have known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I won’t be his friend on fight night.”
Alexander, also 31, won the IBF welterweight title in November 2012, but lost it a year later, in his second defense of the belt, to Shawn Porter. Alexander held the IBF and WBC super lightweight titles in 2010-2011. The St. Louis native is a southpaw as well, and he brings to the ring a well-rounded style with solid defense and potent offense. Alexander has a strong jab and a dangerous straight left, but he can also bang the body with the left hook.
After battling some on-and-off health issues over the last three years, Alexander is eager to get back on track. Coming off a UD victory over Walter Castillo in November, a big win Saturday night could jump start his career. “I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” Alexander told PBC. “My speed, quickness, and smarts will win me this fight. Victor checks out sometimes when he can’t hit you, so my skills will be the difference.”
With fights against Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana, and Timothy Bradley on his resume, Alexander is no stranger to the big stage. Both he and Ortiz have a lot of hard-earned experience between them; both of them are very talented. The fight should come down to which fighter can impose his game plan on the other.
In the co-main event, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) will take on tough veteran Rogelio Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. At super welterweight, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) will face off against Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) of Mexico in a ten rounder. Harrison, a real technician of the sport, was stopped by Jarrett Hurd in February of last year in an IBF title fight. In addition, 2016 US Olympian Carlos Balderas will appear in a lightweight special attraction.
Victor Ortiz: On the Comeback Trail against Devon Alexander
By: Eric Lunger
Premier Boxing Champions have recently announced that Victor “Vicious” Ortiz, former WBC welterweight world champion, will continue his comeback in a twelve-round bout against Devon Alexander, set for February 17 in El Paso, Texas. Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) is also a former world champion, having held the IBF belt in 2013 before losing it to Shawn Porter.
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) has always struck me as an enigmatic fighter: a man who both revels in and fears the violence unleashed by his boxing skills. Ortiz came to boxing from a rough childhood, a thing not unique in this sport by any means, but Ortiz’s journey was especially marked by hardship and adversity. Nonetheless, he found boxing, and Roberto Garcia found him, and Ortiz climbed to the heights of the sport, eventually taking on Marcos Maidana for the interim WBA junior welterweight title in June of 2009.
In that wild and memorable bout, both fighters were on the canvas multiple times, but Ortiz, having suffered a cut in the fifth and knocked down in the sixth, lost by TKO when the ring-side physician would not allow him to continue. Some felt Ortiz had quit in the fight, and Ortiz took a lot of criticism in the media for the way the fight ended. But the fight, in my view, was really over at the end of the fifth, when Ortiz took two thunderous shots from Maidana and was, essentially, out on his stool.
In 2011, Ortiz defended his WBC strap against Floyd Mayweather. After failing to land any effective shots on the elusive Mayweather, Ortiz bizarrely, but with savage intent, head-butted his opponent in the fourth round. Bewildered and baffled by what he had done, Ortiz kept trying to apologize and make amends. As he did so, he apparently did not see the referee’s gesture to continue boxing, and Mayweather unceremoniously knocked him out.
Ortiz’s ambivalent approach to this brutal sport was on display again in the second Berto fight in April of 2016. Ortiz looked good early, and scored a punishing knock down in the second round. But if you watch the fight closely, Ortiz kept trying to touch gloves at the end of the rounds, as if to assure Berto that his animosity was not personal. It’s as though “Vicious” Victor wants to mollify his boxing with a touch of kindness.
Ortiz presents an odd combination: a boxer with elite hand speed, coordination, and power, and yet he also possesses a temperament that seems to both embrace and abhor the violence inherent in the sport. Maybe boxing is a simple sport pursued by complicated people.
I’ve always enjoyed watching Victor Ortiz. His style is entertaining and, at times, elegant in its fluidity and logic. A man who had to grow up while still a child, a man whom life has kicked around pretty hard, and a man who found stunning success and bitter failure in boxing, this man is returning to the ring on February 17th. I don’t buy notions of redemption in sport. Redemption is bigger than athletics, and we will never really understand what demons Victor Ortiz had to face down outside the ring. Walk a mile in another man’s shoes before you understand him – it’s a good rule to try to live by. Which Victor Ortiz will we see on February 17? The consummate southpaw with punching power in both hands, or the reluctant combatant? Or maybe both.
PBC on FS1 Recap: Impressive Return for Devon Alexander
by B.A. Cass
After taking twenty-five months off and going through rehab for opioid addiction, the former two-division champion Devon Alexander dominated Walter Castillo over ten rounds, proving that he deserves to fight the best talent in his division.
Photo Credit: Douglas DeFelice / Premier Boxing Champions
The first round was slow but somehow still exciting. That’s because it was highly entertaining to watch the skilled and intelligent Devon Alexander expertly control the pace. Both fighters employed the jab. But it was Alexander who was waiting for Castillo, appraising him. Towards the end of the round, Alexander caught Castillo with a sharp left. It got Castillo’s attention.
During the second round, Alexander remained patient, sharp, and calculated. He was able to slip and back away from most of Castillo’s punches. And then Alexander landed a brutal combination—jab, uppercut, right—knocking Castillo flat on his ass.
Castillo tried to get back control during the third round, but all he managed to do was get his opponent in a clinch. The referee had to remind Castillo not to hold down Alexander’s head.
Frustrated, Castillo started the fourth round by apparently trying to give his opponent a noogie. He also hit Alexander in the face with his elbow. The referee caught this and informed Castillo that, if he did it again, he would deduct two points. Seconds later, the referee had to remind Castillo to avoid low blows. The round ended with the two fighters engaging at close distance in the center of the ring.
Castillo was busy during the fifth round, but he was not controlling the action. He caught Alexander with a straight left, which snapped Alexander’s head back. There was an accidental headbutt, and Castillo made a theatrical display of being hurt. It’s always a bad sign when a boxer starts looking for the referee’s help. “You got a bump, no cut,” the referee told Castillo, and the fight continued.
By the sixth round, the only hope Castillo had was to make the fight into a brawl. But Alexander found his distance, and Castillo started swinging—swinging wildly ad missing. Alexander’s confidence was on supreme display. He dropped his hands, hoping the aggressive and frustrated Castillo would make a wrong move.
In between the sixth and seventh rounds, Keith Thurman, who was seated in the front row, noted how great it was to see Devon Alexander back in action. “Calm and confident” is how he described Alexander’s performance.
As the seventh round commenced, Alexander began to dance around the ring. He was clearly the superior fighter. He threw punches at different angles, stifling the less dynamic Castillo.
It was during the eighth round that Castillo’s frustration reached its peak. He got Alexander into a headlock and then punched the top of his head. And then in the ninth round, Castillo used his elbow once again.
But none of these dirty tricks worked. Alexander reigned supreme during the tenth and final round, landing solid shots to the body and hardly looking fatigued.
Devon Alexander put on a beautiful performance and won by unanimous decision.
As for the fight between Miguel Cruz and David Grayton—the referee certainly had his hands full with these two boxers.
Early in the fight, Cruz nearly knocked down Grayton, but Grayton tackled Cruz, and both went down. By doing so, he avoided being given a count. Grayton continually employed his most powerful shot—the “accidental” headbutt. As a result, by the fifth round, there was a substantial cut about Cruz’s right eye and his left eye was visibly swollen.
It was a dynamic fight. One moment, the fighters were engaging in a battle of jabs and in the next they got were tangled up, both unleashing vicious body shots and uppercuts. The referee had to repeatedly—almost exhaustively—stop them from clinching and wrestling.
During the sixth round, Cruz scored a knockdown by way of a jab and by putting a bit of downward pressure on a doubled-over Grayton’s head.
But Grayton endured. In fact, he didn’t even seem fazed. He came back from the knockdown and forced Cruz to fight at close range, landing a beautiful jab to the face.
Grayton began the seventh round looking focused and immediately landed a series of fast combinations. They two fighters slugged it out on the ropes. If you had just tuned in, you would have never known that Grayton had just been knocked down. Grayton looked eager, pleased to be fighting. Cruz seemed to be tiring.
There was a bit more wrestling in the eighth round. Grayton focused on the body. Once again, he headbutted Cruz, causing a cut to open up above the right eye. Blood streamed down the right side of his face.
Grayton came on strong in the night round, landing a sharp 1-2 to the face. But Cruz countered with a strong straight right hand. Cruz ended the round strong, landing a big right.
During the first thirty seconds of the tenth round, Cruz seemed to be wasting time. He was noticeably tired. He forced Grayton into a clinch and then stood there, his arms limp as he used his body weight to push Grayton against the ropes. Cruz later slipped because of a foot tangle. But he emerged feeling strong, and the two engaged in a battle of jabs before slugging it out until the sound of the bell.
It was a close, well-matched fight, but even so, it was no surprise that Cruz won. Even though he looked worse for the wear, the damaged he sustained was mostly due to Grayton’s consistent use of the headbutt. Still, it was an entertaining fight. Grayton lost, but he wasn’t truly defeated. I’ll be interested to see both boxers fight again.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch