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Boxing Has Yet Another Biting Problem


By: Hans Themistode

This past Saturday on March 27th, it was a typical boxing weekend. There were a ton a good fights on the telecast including Kash Ali vs David Price. The proceedings started off normally. Both men were boxing and landing their fair share of shots. Ali made it an ugly affair as he tried to rough up Price a bit. He was even docked a point early in the rounds for hitting his opponent on the back of the head.

Punches to the back of the head or better known as rabbit punches and are frowned upon in the sport of boxing. Serious injuries have occurred from these sorts of punches. There is a fine line that boxers try not to cross and that would be one of them. Be that as it may that type of stuff happens. Whether it be intentional or not they just do. What happened shortly after that however went from dirty boxing to just plain bizarre.

In the fifth round both fighters fell to the ground. It was at that point where Ali apparently bit Price while he was on the ground. The referee immediately called off the contest and named Price the winner. That isn’t the end of this story.

It was later found out that Ali bit Price up to four times during the duration of the match. Unfortunately the sport of boxing has an unforgettable history in-terms of biting. Former Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson infamously bit Evander Holyfield during their 1997 rematch not once but twice. In 1999 Middleweight Adrian Dodson bit Alain Bonnamie and was given an 18 months ban.

Price some how was able to keep a level head and not react in a way that would have gotten him disqualified as well. Ali will undoubtedly face a stiff punishment as the British Boxing Board of Control has already withheld his purse and is looking into the matter to determine just how severe his punishment will be. Make no mistake about it, the penalty will be a harsh one.

As for Price this is his second straight win. What he will do next is a bit of a toss up as he has a number of opponents to choose from. One thing we do know is that he does not want to get back into the ring with Ali ever again.

“I don’t want to share a ring with an animal like that again.”

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Ali, Peterson, Lipinets, Eyubov, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 5th to February 12th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Muhammad Ali Enterprises LLC Photo By: Ken Regan

Muhammad Ali: Two-Part Television Event Debuts Tuesday, May 14th on HBO
The two-part HBO Sports documentary WHAT’S MY NAME | MUHAMMAD ALI, chronicling the extraordinary life of one of the 20th century’s most iconic figures, debuts TUESDAY, MAY 14 (8:00-10:40 p.m. ET/PT), with both chapters airing back-to-back in a special television event, it was announced today by Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and CINEMAX Programming, and Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports.

The documentary will also be available on HBO GO, HBO NOW, HBO on Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.

WHAT’S MY NAME | MUHAMMAD ALI is the first feature-length HBO production from SpringHill Entertainment, with LeBron James and Maverick Carter serving as executive producers, and is directed and executive produced by acclaimed feature-film director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “Southpaw,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Equalizer” franchise). Exploring Ali’s challenges, confrontations, comebacks and triumphs through recordings of his own voice, it paints an intimate portrait of a man who was a beacon of hope for oppressed people around the world and, in his later years, was recognized as a global citizen and a symbol of humanity and understanding.

In addition to relying on Ali himself to guide viewers through his remarkable journey, WHAT’S MY NAME | MUHAMMAD ALI features archival footage, some of it previously unseen.

The production team features executive producer Bill Gerber, a producer of the current Best Picture Oscar® nominee “A Star Is Born,” and executive producer Glen Zipper, creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed docu-series, “Dogs,” a producer of the Oscar®-winning documentary “Undefeated” and an executive producer of HBO’s 2018 multi-part documentary “Elvis Presley: The Searcher.” The film is produced by Sean Stuart, whose HBO and CINEMAX credits include “Eagle of Death Metal: Nos Amis” and “Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus.” Paul Wachter and Jamie Salter are executive producers and Kat Samick of Fuqua Films is co-executive producer

“Muhammad Ali transcended sports in a way the world had never seen before,” says LeBron James. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to tell his incredible and important story for the coming generations. He showed us all the courage and conviction it takes to stand up for what you believe in. He changed forever what we expect a champion to be, and I’m grateful that SpringHill gets to be a part of continuing his legacy.”

“Muhammad Ali had a deep impact on me from an early age,” observes Antoine Fuqua. “Being given the opportunity to tell his story, both inside and outside the ring, is a privilege and a dream come true.”

“Muhammad Ali is indisputably one of the most iconic and distinctive figures in the history of sports,” says HBO’s Kary Antholis. “His impact resonates far beyond the boxing ring and is woven deep into the cultural and social tapestry of the second half of the 20th century. His personality, his voice, his message and his legacy all endure as an important element of American history. From the moment LeBron James told us of his deep visceral connection to Ali’s life and legacy, we were committed to helping him and Antoine Fuqua realize this film about one man’s incredible journey and the impact he had upon the world.”

Lonnie Ali, who was married to Muhammad Ali for the final 30 years of his life, adds, “We are at a time in American history when we look to a new generation of heroes like LeBron James to carry on Muhammad’s legacy, not only by remembering Muhammad, as is done so eloquently in this documentary, but also through their own words and deeds. I’m grateful to LeBron, Maverick Carter, SpringHill Entertainment and HBO for advancing the ideals that Muhammad believed in and fought for throughout his life.”

WHAT’S MY NAME | MUHAMMAD ALI is produced with the cooperation of the Muhammad Ali family estate and Jamie Salter, founder, chairman and CEO of Authentic Brands Group, which has been active in preserving the Ali legacy and brand.

“As proud guardians of Muhammad Ali’s legacy, we are dedicated to preserving and upholding his core principles, and HBO’s production of WHAT’S MY NAME | MUHAMMAD ALI provides audiences around the world with an intimate connection to this global icon,” says Jamie Salter.

The HBO Sports presentation is a Sutter Road Picture Company Production in association with Fuqua Films and SpringHill Entertainment; executive producers, LeBron James, Antoine Fuqua, Maverick Carter, Paul Wachter, Bill Gerber, Jamie Salter and Glen Zipper; directed by Antoine Fuqua; produced by Sean Stuart; co-executive producer, Kat Samick; written by Steven Leckart; edited by Jake Pushinsky.

Lamont Peterson to Take on Sergey Lipinets on March 24th on FS1

Two-division world champion Lamont Peterson takes on former junior welterweight world champion Sergey Lipinets in a 12-round welterweight match that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes on Sunday, March 24 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

Coverage on FS1 and FOX Deportes begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features Anthony Peterson, Lamont’s brother, battling former junior lightweight world champion Argenis Mendez in a 10-round junior welterweight bout that serves as the co-main event.

The Peterson brothers are an inspirational duo that rose from poverty and homelessness in Washington D.C. as children to become professional boxers and reach an elite level in the sport. They will be fighting as the main and co-main event in nationally televised bouts for the first time since 2006 and will look to put on a show for fans just outside of their hometown.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and HeadBangers Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.mgmnationalharbor.com/.

“Lamont Peterson vs. Sergey Lipinets is a classic 50-50 matchup that is sure to include drama, action and intrigue,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Lipinets is looking to conquer a second division after winning a 140-pound title, while Peterson is out to show he’s still amongst the welterweight elite. Peterson will be joined by his brother, Anthony Peterson, for a true homecoming event featuring two of Washington D.C.’s most popular fighters. Anthony will have a tall task in former champion Argenis Mendez, and it should all equal to a great night at MGM National Harbor and on FS1 and FOX Deportes.”

“I’m looking forward to the return of the Peterson brothers to the ring,” said famed trainer Barry Hunter, who has mentored and coached the Petersons since they were kids. “It’s always nice to be fighting at home in the DMV and I’m truly looking forward to a big 2019 for us.”

Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) has battled some of the top names in the sport at 140 and 147-pounds in climbing through the ranks and winning titles in both divisions while facing the likes of Victor Ortiz, Timothy Bradley, Jr., Amir Khan, Kendall Holt, Lucas Matthysse, Danny Garcia and Errol Spence, Jr. The 35-year-old from Washington D.C. won the IBF and WBA 140-pound titles with a split decision victory over Khan in 2011 and won the welterweight championship with a unanimous decision over David Avanesyan in 2017. Peterson is looking to rebound from a loss to Spence in a welterweight title fight last January.

“I’m happy to be doing what I love and that is fighting,” said Lamont Peterson. “I’m really excited about having the chance to fight at home once again and also on FS1 and FOX Deportes for the first time. I plan on giving fans on TV and in the arena the show they came to see.”

Lipinets (14-1, 10 KOs) has moved up to the welterweight division after previously becoming a world champion at 140 pounds. The 29-year-old, who is from Kazakhstan, grew up in Russia and now lives in Beverly Hills, California, picked up the IBF super lightweight world title with a unanimous decision victory over Akihiro Kondo in 2017. He lost the title by decision to Mikey Garcia last March and rebounded to defeat Erick Bone in his welterweight debut.

“I’m ready for the intensity of this fight with a great champion like Lamont Peterson,” said Lipinets. “I’m very humbled and honored to be in this position. I’m pushing myself to bring my A-game, because in a fight like this, there is no room for mistakes. I promise that I’m going to give a great performance and leave my fans happy.”

The 33-year-old Anthony Peterson (37-1, 24 KOs) is the younger brother of Lamont Peterson and has won seven straight fights since losing by disqualification to Brandon Rios in 2010. Five of his last eight wins have come inside the distance and he will look to put himself into title contention facing his toughest competition in years on March 24.

“This fight means a lot coming off a layoff because I want to make a clear statement that I am a world class legitimate fighter and that I deserve a shot at a title in 2019,” said Anthony Peterson. “It’s even more important for me to show up and show out as I will be fighting at home in front of my family and friends. I have to bring it and make the absolute most of this.”

Mendez (25-5-1, 12 KOs) won the IBF super featherweight title with a knockout victory over Juan Carlos Salgado in 2013. He has put together two straight victories since losing back-to-back fights to Luke Campbell and Robert Easter Jr. at lightweight in 2016. The 32-year-old, who is from San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic and now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., scored a unanimous decision over Eddie Ramirez in his last fight in May after defeating Ivan Redkach the previous year.

“I’m excited for this challenge against Anthony Peterson so that I can prove that I am still at a world championship level,” said Mendez. “I know that he’s fighting at home, but when he’s in the ring, no one can help him. I want to show off all of the skills that have gotten me here and leave an impression on everyone watching that I’m a threat to anybody they put in there against me.”

Bakhtiyar Eyubov to Fight For Salita Promotions on UFC Fight Pass on February 15th
Undefeated Kazakhstani dynamo Bakhtiyar “Bakha Bullet” Eyubov has been added to the special two-hour UFC Fight Pass live stream (7:30 pm ET/6:30 pm CT) on Friday, February 15, from the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas.

Eyubov (14-0, 12 KOs) will face Mexican veteran Jose Luis “La Boa” Rodriguez (25-12, 13 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight showdown.

The live stream, presented by Salita Promotions will also feature US Olympic bronze medal winner Nico Hernandez, women’s top contender Elena Saveleva and undefeated heavyweight puncher Apti Davtaev in separate bouts.

A born showman, Eyubov’s relentlessly aggressive fighting style has won him new fans with every fight. The young slugger says he’s looking forward to bringing his mayhem to a new audience through the UFC.

“I look forward to showcasing my skills February 15th and am honored to do so on UFC Fight Pass,” he said. “I am the best in the world and look forward to proving this point when I get in the ring.”

Eyubov was last seen taking out 21-1-1 Nicholas Givan in seven rounds last June. His promoter, Dmitriy Salita, says he’s happy his entertaining slugger is back in action.

“Bakha is one of the most dominant contenders in the sport. I look forward to an exciting performance from him on one of the leading combat platforms in the works in UFC Fight Pass,” said Salita.

In a very special bonus that night for online viewers, the commentating team will consist of long-time combat sports voice Sean Wheelock and “2018 Female Boxer of the Year” and women’s world champion Claressa Shields, making her debut behind the microphone.

Djeko vs. Federici Set for Star Boxing Main Event

STAR BOXING is excited to return to its renown Long Island venue, The Paramount, on February 22nd, for another thrilling night of “Rockin’ Fights.” The 34th edition of the acclaimed fight series brings extreme boxing talent from across the world, right to Huntington’s, The Paramount. The main event is a real toss-up between the ‘big boys’ in a truly international fight between European champs. Giant Belgium JOEL “BIG JOE” DJEKO will take on Italian challenger, SIMONE “TYSON” FEDERICI in an intriguing 10-round cruiserweight bout. The co-main event will feature the return of Huntington’s own JOHNNY “HITMAN” HERNANDEZ who will be taking on upset minded, MARQUIS “THE HAWK” HAWTHORNE.

The main event features two international cruiserweight prospects who will travel a combined 7,873 miles to meet in the squared circle, in front of the expected packed crowd at The Paramount. Belgium’s Djeko (14-2-1 7KO’s), an IBO Champion, stands at a towering 6’5″ and breaks the will of his opponents by fighting behind his jab, followed by devastating power in both hands. Djeko’s marquee win came against then undefeated MARIANO ANGEL GUDINO (then 12-0 7KO’s), when he defeated the Argentinian by wide unanimous decision, dominating for the full ten-rounds, to secure the IBO Continental Cruiserweight Title. Djeko has fought in America only once before, but intends to begin laying roots state side, for an eventual shot at a cruiserweight world title. Djeko’s only 2 losses were on the road and by majority and split decision against undefeated prospects.

Djeko had this to say about fighting in America, “I am excited to make my first fight in New York, a city that saw the birth of great champions. But, I also come to fulfill my mission, that of leaving with a victory by knockout.”

Federici (14-1-1 6KO’s), a 25-year-old Italian who resides in Roma, Italy, will be making his debut on American soil on the February 22nd Paramount show. Federici had an impressive amateur record of 35-1-1. As a professional, Federici defeated FRANCESCO CATALDO in a thrilling battle earning the Italian Cruiserweight Title. Since then, Federici has successfully defended his title twice, most recently defeating the dangerous Georgian, ZURA MEKERESHVILLE by unanimous decision to add the IBF Mediterranean Cruiserweight Title to his pedigree. Federici has his eyes set an a massive victory on February 22nd main event. Federici and Djeko both have their eyes set on victory in the February 22nd main event and both know a top rankings in the cruiserweight division are at stake.

Federici said this about his American debut, “I thank America for the wonderful opportunity that has offered me! I hope to better meet American expectations. I can’t wait to get in the ring.”

In the co-main event, fans will see Johnny “Hitman” Hernandez (9-4 1KO), a familiar face at The Paramount having fought eleven of his thirteen professional fights at the venue. Hernandez who is known for his footwork and great conditioning, always seems to get stronger as the fight carries on. This will be Hernandez second main event at The Paramount. He was last seen in an absolute thriller with fellow Star Boxing stablemate DANNY “EL GALLO” GONZALEZ (then 16-1-1 7KO’s). Over the ten-round main event, Hernandez and Gonzalez exchanged blow after blow at the center of the ring, as the crowd seemed to be on their feet throughout the fight with consistent and vocal support for both fighters. While the judges scored the bout in favor of Gonzalez by majority decision, Hernandez proved to the rowdy sold out crowd that he has the skill to fight the upper echelon of the 140 lb. division. Gonzalez went on to fight fellow Paramount alumni CHRIS ALGIERI at Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago. Hernandez promises to return with vengeance on February 22nd in his Paramount hometown.

Hernandez is ready for his opportunity on February 22nd, and is prepared to leave his mark. “There are no secrets to success,” said Johnny, “it is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failures.”

Hernandez will be facing the very tough Texan, Marquis Hawthorne, who will be making his second appearance at The Paramount. Over his twelve-fight career, Hawthorne has fought ten undefeated prospects, with an opponent combined record of 81-23-3. Most recently, Hawthorne (6-9 1KO) won in a shocking upset at Mohegan Sun on January 26th over amateur standout and undefeated professional, from Detroit, Michigan RONNIE “TEFLON RON” AUSTION (then 10-0 7KO’s). Over the 6-round bout, Hawthorne commanded the action, using his long reach and height advantage to maintain his distance, landing grueling right hands to the body and the head of Austion. At the final bell, the scorecards read 57-56, 58-55 and 59-54, earning a massive upset victory for Hawthorne over the previously undefeated Austion.

Hawthorne has is eyes set on one thing only come February 22nd. “I am coming off a big win over a great prospect,” said Hawthorne, “the game plan is to continue to trust the plan my coaches have set before me, resulting in victory.”

Star Boxing CEO JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about the main and co-main event, “We have put together a very intriguing international fight for Long Island’s dedicated boxing fans. Belgium’s, Big Joel Djeko, is an imposing figure, and carries knockout power in both hands. Federici has proven his ability to win big fights in his home country of Italy. The winner has a bright future. ” Regarding the co-main, DeGuardia stated, “this fight is a perfect example of the allure of our ‘Rockin’ Fights’ series. Both Johnny and Marquis have earned the right to be in this fight. In his last fight Johnny showed grit and we will always support our fighters, win or lose, when they perform like he did. That’s what the Paramount series is all about, action and heart. Similarly, Marquis Hawthorne earned the right to this fight with his victory over our undefeated prospect Ronnie Austion in a huge upset. Johnny and Marquis always show up in phenomenal shape with great energy on fight night, and I expect a thrilling fight on February 22nd.”

The main event between European cruiserweight champions in Djeko and Federici is destined to excite. The co-main event will see Hernandez in front of his hometown fans while Hawthorne will look for a second consecutive upset. Undercard to be announced soon.

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Muhammad Ali’s 77th Birthday Is Today


By: Ken Hissner

In 1960 a brash young boxer from Louisville, KY, came on the scene. Cassius Clay won the National AAU light heavyweight title defeating Roy Ector at 0:55 of the third and last round in Louisville.

In the Golden Gloves he won the Inter-city title April 7th defeating Joe Reynolds in Toledo, OH. He qualified for the Olympic Trials. He won the Eastern Regional defeating Henry Cooper by TKO2 at 2:49 in Louisville. In the Trials he would go onto defeat Fred Lewis by DEC and Allen Hudson by TKO 3 in San Francisco. In the finals he defeated Yvon Because TKO 2 at 1:50 in Rome. He had competed at heavyweight but lost to Percy Price of the Marine Corp out of Philadelphia so he was allowed to compete at light heavyweight.

In the Olympic Games in Rome Clay defeated Genadiy Schatkov, Australian’s Tony Madigan and for the Gold Medal he defeated 3-time European Champion Zbigniew Pietrzkowski of Poland. The world now was his as he would turn professional in October of 1960. There have been different records shown for him such as 134-7, 137-7, 99-8 and 61-6.

There have been reports Clay lost in 1955 to James Davis in the Novice GG tourney. In the same year he lost to John Hampton. In 1957 he lost to Donnie Hall by split decision. He lost to Terry Hodge by TKO1. He lost to Jimmy Ellis whom he would split with, in the amateurs.

In 1958 Clay was TKO by 2 Kent Green. At the Pan Am Games he lost to Amos Johnson in the semis. Percy Price was the last to defeat him in the Olympic Trials. That’s at least seven losses. Some reported he ended up 100-7.

He would turn professional in October of 1964 and win his first nineteen bouts earning him a Championship bout with Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston. Clay would win the title when Liston couldn’t go on after six rounds. The fight was even with each boxer getting a vote and the other judge a draw. After this fight he announced he had joined the Islamic faith and would be called Muhammad Ali.

A rematch was scheduled just three months later with Ali delivering the “phantom punch” knocking out Liston at 2:12 of the first round. This fight has always been under scrutiny asking did Liston take “a dive?”

Ali would go onto win the title three times after losses. His final record was 56-5 with 37 knockout wins. He only lost once by stoppage. As a husband he lost three times before being married a fourth and last time.

Ali became quite a humanitarian. In 1990 he went to Iraq where their President Saddam Hussein allowed him to bring back fifteen American hostages. This in itself was remarkable.

Other world heavyweight champions celebrating their birthdays in January include “Smokin” Joe Frazier on the 12th , “Big” George Foreman on the 10th and Floyd Patterson on the 4th

So on January 17th of 2019 Ali would have celebrated his 77th birthday! Long live the memory of the “Greatest!”

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Sadam Ali’s Road Back To Gold


By: Hans Themistode

For Sadam Ali (26-2, 14 KOs) he knows what it means to reach the mountain top. He also understands what it feels like to fall from its lofty heights.

In 2016, after clamoring for his shot at a title his wish was finally granted. The WBO Welterweight title was vacant and up for grabs. Ali was matched up with Jessie Vargas. A fighter who had decent success in his pro career up to that point and was just coming off a lopsided decision loss to Tim Bradley.

Everything seemed lined up for the Brooklyn born Ali to achieve his goals of becoming a world champion. Unfortunately however things don’t always go as planned.

Ali seemed to be winning on the scorecards. He was boxing effectively all night long until a string of knockdowns ultimately stopped him in the ninth round. As with all boxers who take a loss, it was rehabilitation time. Three straight wins against admittedly not the best competition placed Ali in the biggest fight of his career. A matchup against future hall of famer Miguel Cotto in his backyard (Ali’s hometown however) Madison Square Garden to defend his WBO Junior Middleweight title.

It was a farewell fight for Cotto. Ali was coming up in weight and was given no chance by most. To the dismay of the fans watching the fight the challenger took it to the champ all night long. Visibly hurting him several times throughout the fight and securing the victory to become the new WBO Junior Middleweight champion of the world.

Conventional thinking was that Ali would move back down to the Welterweight rankings. Sure he just defeated the champion but Cotto suffered a torn bicep during the bout. Also Cotto never truly had the frame of a Jr Middleweight, he was more so of a Welterweight to begin with. For Ali however he worked to hard to simply drop his title and go back down in weight. Instead he decided to take on his mandatory challenger. Little known Jaime Munguia.

What ensued in that bout was four rounds of hell for Ali before he was subsequently stopped by the much bigger man. Seven months later and one weight class lower, Ali makes his return to the ring. He will be taking on the uber tough and supremely crafty veteran Maurício Herrera (24-7, 7 KOs). Don’t let the amount of losses Herrera has accumulated fool you into believing this will be a cake walk for Ali as it will not. Losses to both Danny Garcia and Jose Benavidez Jr we’re highly controversial. He has defeated the likes of Ruslan Provodnikov, Henry Lundy and most recently Jesus Soto Karass.

Ali has proven to be a world class fighter. One that has flaws but has the capabilities to compete at the highest level. Earlier this year he suffered the worst loss of his career but this weekend he is returning to the scene where he celebrated his biggest win.

December 15th from Madison Square Garden in New York City Ali will look to send a statement that he is back in his proper weight class and ready to make noise.

For Sadam this weekend represents his first step on his path back to gold.

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Could Tyson Fury Look to Ali to Beat Wilder?


By: Daniel Smith

Could Tyson Fury deploy an ‘Ali’ style game-plan when he finally squares off against Deontay Wilder, this Saturday, December 1?

“The Kansas City Shuffle” is an old foot-tapping jazz tune that originates from 1920s America. With its chugging beat and colluding instrumental tale of entwining dupery; the song itself refers to an astute form of con-artistry whereby the “grifter” deploys a “bait and switch”-style hustle to a heedless “mark”. In essence, the shrewd con-man hoodwinks the mark into looking to the left while he whips-away to the right, having just swindled a fool from his money or goods.

From 1920s jazz to Muhammed Ali and George Foreman’s 1974, heavyweight clash, “Rumble in the Jungle”. Ali challenged and knocked-out the formidable, power-punching Foreman after eight punishing rounds of boxing. An earthquake result that shook the boxing world, not forgetting a financial sucker-punch for the bookies, too, as Muhammed Ali was a 4-1 underdog.

To an extent, it could be considered Ali utilized the fundamentals of The Kansas City Shuffle’s, “bait and switch” tactic – a game-plan that certainly flummoxed and exploited Foreman over the course of the first round. During the months, weeks, days and minutes leading up to the fight, Ali convinced the world (including Foreman) that he was in fact, too fast and too slick for the slow, lumbering “Mummy” – a nickname he famously gave to antagonize George.

In a fusion of speed, skill and pomp, he predicted: “Big George” would be out-boxed, out-classed, and rendered unable to lay a single glove on him. And it didn’t matter whether it was in front of the world’s media or to a handful of people in a room, Ali declared he was ‘gonna dance’ and sting Foreman all night with lightning-fast jabs and make him look slow and foolish. However, in the opening round, Muhammed Ali didn’t dance. Instead, he let his hands go and tried to knock Foreman out by planting a batch of right-hand leads straight into George’s face, one after the other – the “bait and switch” play no-one saw coming – especially not Foreman.

But for all its genius, Ali’s plan “A” was to no avail, as the more shots he landed the more aggressive Foreman became. By round two, George was thunderously banging away at Ali’s flank with big-powerful, annihilating hooks. At this point, the rope-a-dope; Ali’s plan “B” was immersed into deep, choppy waters. And in round eight, after throwing a torrent of vicious punches, Foreman was gassed-out and exposed to Ali’s five-punch combination and the final right that floored an exhausted George, crowing Muhammed Ali a two-time world champion.

Now, while Tyson Fury and Muhammed Ali are not comparable; in this instance, “The Gypsy King” is the lineal champion, the underdog and a heavyweight boxer about to square off against a ferocious fighter: the WBC champion and division’s most devastating power-puncher, Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder. So, some similarities could again be considered.

Like Ali, Fury is the boxer, an underdog, the man who was stripped of his titles and a man who faces a fearsome and heavy-hitting brawler. Wilder’s a man Fury can’t knock-out with one punch and a man who is equally as tall, fast and can take a punch. So, along with his technical ability, awkward-hybrid style of boxing, Tyson Fury will need a solid game-plan that flummoxes Wilder and aids “The Gypsy King’s” victory.

So, when the bell rings for round one, we may well see Fury rush towards Wilder and let his hands go early on. This may completely rattler the WBC champ and force him to make mistakes, providing openings for Fury to dish-out some heavy artillery. If an impression is established from the off, Fury will be up on the cards, leaving Wilder possibly chasing the fight, throwing wild shots and being punished for it in the process.

Fury, from round two, may switch back to boxer-mode and keep moving; occasionally spearing out his thudding jabs.

Round three may see further explosive attacks from Fury, followed by more footwork and a sound defence.

Rounds five and six, Fury may showboat a little in between targeting Wilder’s body – an area not many have charted.

Seven and eight – fundamentals implemented: clinching, holding and leaning from Fury, in attempts to frustrate and wear-out his opponent.

Nine and ten may see Wilder’s best chances to knock Fury through the ropes with his trademark right, accompanied by his wild, windmill punching onslaught.

If both are still on their feet for eleven and twelve, then the busy work early may have generated enough momentum, placing Fury ahead on the judges’ scorecards and producing another massive, shattering upset as “The Gypsy King” becomes a two-time world heavyweight champion – something not many envision.

But this is heavyweight boxing and it could well be all over in the first round (more so for Fury) if Wilder lands a monstrous shot to the jaw – that much is possible.

And whatever the result, a cracking fight should be on the cards come Saturday, December 1.

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Media Still Insists On Comparing McGregor To Ali


By: Sean Crose

One of the interesting things that got lost in the madness leading up to Conor McGregor’s MMA superfight with Khabib Nurmagomadedov last weekend was McGregor being compared to Muhammad Ali before the media. To his credit, McGregor squashed the talk. One might think that would have been that, especially since McGregor was all but wiped out in his subsequent fight with Nurmagomedov last Saturday.

One would have been wrong.

Mere days after the UFC’s biggest star essentially got steamrolled in the octagon, there are those in the media still banging the McGregor-Ali drum. The latest? Yahoo running a piece comparing the McGregor-Nurmagomedov rivalry to that of Ali and Frazier. Let’s be frank – the comparison is a stretch. Frazier barely bested Ali in the first of their three matches. The two subsequent Ali-Frazier bouts (which Ali won) were likewise brutal and razor thin.

McGregor has only met Nurmagomedov in the octagon once to date, and with the exception of a single round, the Irishman was dominated. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce the obvious…McGregor got outclassed last weekend. He lost, just as he had lost numerous times before. Ali lost, too, but never in as one sided a manner as McGregor did against Nurmagomedov. It took an illness and 38 years for Ali to suffer the kind of one sided embarrassment to Larry Holmes that a 30 year old McGregor just suffered to his Russian foil.

A bit of hard truth….McGregor simply isn’t as good a mixed martial artist as Ali was a boxer. He just isn’t. And that simple fact should preclude any comparison between the two men right from the get go. McGregor may be better at mind games – though that’s arguable – but there might have been 10 other boxers in Ali’s time who were better than Ali at mind games. We’d never know who they were because they most likely wouldn’t have been as great as Ali when it came down to skill.

Despite what some say, talk isn’t cheap…at least not on all occasions. A great fighter, though, must consistently fight at least as good as he or she talks. And McGregor doesn’t do that. Not consistently he doesn’t. Not anymore. One doesn’t have to delve into social issues to see McGregor and Ali are like apples and oranges. One can simply keep the argument to the ring and to the octagon. It’s not bias to claim McGregor is no Ali. It’s just a relatively small act of honesty. The world of mixed martial arts may indeed produce the next Ali, and there will be nothing wrong with it if it does.

Just don’t expect it to be Conor McGregor.

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Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali’s Final Loss in Olympic Trials in 1960


By: Ken Hissner

Ali in 1960 was the Golden Gloves National heavyweight champion and the AAU National light heavyweight runner-up. The last person to defeat him in the amateurs is a name few have ever heard of but this writer knew the name Staff Sgt. Percy Price.

Price served two tours in Viet-Nam. He entered the Marine’s in 1955 and retired in 1976. Price was from Salem, NJ, but retired and moved to Jacksonville, FL.

Price was a 3-time All Marine champion, two Interservice championships and one CISM championship. At the Olympic trials he defeated Hal Epsy to represent the USA in the 1960 Olympics at Rome in the heavyweight division. He won his first match knocking out Ronald Taylor of Australia in two rounds. In the quarter final he lost to Josef Nemic of CZ 4-1. Nemic appeared in three Olympics in 1956, 1960 winning a Bronze Medal and 1964.

In 1956 he was knocked out by USA’s Pete Rademacher in two rounds. The latter went on to win the Gold Medal in the Olympics and fought Floyd Patterson in his debut for the heavyweight title having the champion on the floor in the second round before being knocked down six times and for the last time in the sixth round.

Ali represented the USA in the light heavyweight division. Ali always had a problem with southpaws. He lost to Amos Johnson in the 1959 Pan Am Trials. He went onto get to the finals after defeating Yvon Becaus, of Belgium, RSC 2, Gennadi Schatkov, of USSR 5-0, Tony Madigan, of Australia, 5-0 and in the final Poland’s southpaw Zbigniew Pietrzykowski, 5-0.

If Ali would have represented the USA in the heavyweight division and he would have got to the semi-final he would have met another southpaw from Italy Franco de Piccoli who defeated the man Price lost to Nemec 4-1. Then he defeated Daan Bekker of South Africa for the Gold Medal.

As a professional de Piccoli won his first twenty-five fights, twenty by knockout before losing to American Wayne Bethea and then Jamaica’s Joe Bygraves by knockout in back to back losses. He would go onto win his next twelve fights before losing his last two bouts by knockout to American Everett Copeland, 3-7-3 and Peter Weiland, 8-2 in his final fight.

In closing out his career he was 37-4 (29) at age 28. Some of the boxers he defeated were Billy Daniels, 19-6-1, who gave Ali fits as a pro. Also, Americans Herb Siler, 20-9, who Ali defeated earlier, Floyd Joyner, 23-9-3, Howard King, 42-26-8, Tony Hughes, 26-2, Buddy Turman, 35-9-1 and German Uli Ritter, 21-9-6, breaking a bone in his left hand.

Ali’s amateur record was mentioned with six different totals like 100-5, 118-5, 127-5, 134-7, 137-7 and 99-8. He was a six-time Kentucky Golden Gloves champion.

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HBO Boxing Results: Munguia Defeats Ali


By: Oliver McManus

In the dust of Linares-Lomachenko over on ESPN there were two more world title tilts live on HBO, from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, in a card lacking the hype of legacy but delivering buckets of credibility and tasty match-ups.

Sadam Ali vs Jaime Munguia was the headlining bout with Ali’s WBO Super Welterweight title at stake – Munguia, 28-0, arrived in New York the vast underdog having taken up the challenge on less than two weeks’ notice, following Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith’s withdrawal, and Ali, 26-1, was on a quest to prove his victory over Miguel Cotto last year was not a mere fluke.


Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account

The fight started off with Ali visibly looking the smaller, more diminutive figure – his opponent a natural middleweight – and whilst Ali looked to be the more mobile of the two fighters and put his sprightly figure to good use, it was Munguia who started off the brighter with a clipping left hand dropping the champion in the first round… twice.

The Mexican challenger seemed in complete domination, easing his way into his rhythm and never completely stepping up the gas, round two came and he simply reverted back to his jab that saw him have so much success in the first – the key, beforehand, was to work on the counter-attack but Munguia simply did not give Ali a chance to impose his gameplan, twice more would Cotto’s conqueror crumple to the canvas.

That was before the bell to signal the end of round two even went and when it sounded again to start round three, the story was much the same – sheer domination from the unexpected challenger who was putting to short shrift the naysayers, seizing his chance opportunity at the title – a near knockdown in the third put beyond doubt whether this would go the distance with the crowd warming to Munguia.

A third of the way into the fight and at the fourth round came the climatic ending, another knockdown from a supreme, confident Munguia left Ali out of his depth and reeling – in visible pain, this wasn’t a fluke victory by Munguia, this was an utter demolition job, a bank robbery almost, and there could be no questioning the skill and shot selection from the brave 21 year old… AND NEW WBO SUPER WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD.
Rey Vargas, expecting a “wild war” went into his fifth world title fight against a game, gritty, Azat Hovhannisyan, following two comfortable points victory in the back-end of 2017 to retain his WBC Super Bantamweight title against Oscar Negrete and Ronny Rios, respectively.
Hovhannisyan, nicknamed crazy, was also coming off the back of a win over Ronny Rios – a sixth round knockout – in March of this year and was confident of continuing his momentum all the world to grabbing that prestigious world title belt.

And he started off looking the fresher, more prepared of the fighters, going to the centre of the ring in the opening round in a bid so shock Vargas into submission but it failed to rattle the Mexican who instead opted to trade some bruising shots with his Armenian counterpart.

Startled but little else, Vargas hit back with some big shots of his own but came off visibly worse when a cut above his left eye started to open up… superficial damage, that’s all.

The brawl-like contest continued much into the first third of this fight and it seemed evident that Azat was aware the only way he was going to win this fight was by pushing Vargas into the unknown, the uncomfortable.

But whilst Vargas was, arguably, mentally uncomfortable, he was physically serene and targeted the body of Hovhannisyan – everyone’s weak point – sending huge combinations into the guts of the Armenian before letting a flurry unravel towards the latter stage of the third round.

Aware that this was have success, Vargas continued this onslaught of an assault to the Armenian’s body and started to utilise his left hook a bit more – really opening up Azat – but the challenger responded in the sixth with, a last, do or die effort, swinging wildly in an attempt to connect with a final bomb.
The fatigue showed going into the final half with Vargas’ attempted-toppler slowing demonstrably and suffering from the affects of the body shot – another cut was opened up, this time above Vargas right eye – and whilst there were periods of success for the challenger they were all too brief and all to rare.

A brawl, an ugly but spectacular brawl, Vargas dealt with it comfortably enough to earn the win on all three scorecards, 112-116, 111-117, 110-118.

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HBO Boxing Preview: Ali vs. Munguia, Hovhannisyan vs. Vargas


By: Oliver McManus

Live on HBO this coming weekend there’s a mammoth world title double-header from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York promoted by Oscar de la Hoya, on behalf of Golden Boy Promotions,featuring Sadam Ali – Jaime Munguia and Rey Vargas – Azat Hovhannisyan.

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Photo Credit: Golden Boy Twitter Account

Topping the bill is the WBO Super Welterweight world championship clash between Sadam Ali, 26-1, and Jaime Munguia, 28-0. Munguia is a name fresh on the mind having been hotly linked as a replacement opponent for Gennady Golovkin in the wake of Canelo’s failed drugs test – the Nevada State Athletic Commission would go on to refuse to sanction the proposed bout – but the 21 year old Mexican has his crack at world title glory on at the weekend.

A crack that’s arose purely as a result of yet another withdrawal – this time to the mandatory challenger and, former WBO Super Welterweight champion, Liam Smith who was forced to pull out in thanks to an allergic reaction; the hope is that they’ll reschedule the fight for August with Frank Warren keen to bring it to the United Kingdom.

Mugnuia will be in his third fight of 2018 having secured two third round knockouts against Jose Carlos Paz and Johnny Navarrette already with the latter being enough to secure the WBC Latino title. Over the past twelve months Munguia has worked on his footwork and hand-speed enabling him to perform to the more archetypal explosivity expected of a Mexican boxer.

In particular he packs a wincing left upper-cut which he floats around with sublime accuracy and split-second timing, leaning his whole body into the shot, as he did with specific effect against Alvaro Robles in 2016 before having sense-of-mind to pounce when Robles had beaten the count and send in a flurry towards the body to finish the fight.

Sadam Ali will always be known as the man who stole the show for Miguel Cotto’s farewell party thanks to his narrow (116-112, 115-113, 115-113) unanimous decision victory over the Puerto Rican in December of last year.

Determined to prove that victory was through his own hard-work and skill as opposed to the combination of luck and a past-it Cotto, Ali will be in no mood to take his time when the bell sounds for round one.

From his 26 victories he’s hailed 14 KO’s and whilst many of those have been against lesser opponents, he’ll be looking to take the fight to Munguia right from the off with his in-your-face fight style enough to put off the most virtuous of fighters.

Whether it’s fair or not there will likely be no praise for Ali regardless of the manner in which he wins for he is expected to a job on his challenger, comfortably so, after all this IS a man who’s never gone 12 rounds before, never even been scheduled for the full 12 but then again, we’ve had this sort of match-up before – I’m thinking James DeGale vs Caleb Truax I, no-one gave Truax a chance but then he went and shocked the world.
Nearly did it twice.

Rey Vargas vs Azat Hovhannisyan for the WBC Super Bantamweight title completes this HBO World Title double-header as Vargas looks to make the third successful defence of the belt he first claimed in February 2017 thanks to an MD win over Gavin McDonnell.

Aged 27 but looking closer to 47, it’s predictable that Vargas carries with him a mature head with plenty of wisdom – both in the ring and out of it – but the Mexican possess an underrated knockout power brought to the fore when countering an opponent’s lazy jab. It really is a work of art.

That being said you’ll never see the 31 fight veteran searching for a stoppage, he’d much rather outbox his opponent, keeping a high tempo, being clever with his shots to do damage in terms of fatigue and mental fortitude but never relentless.

That victory over Gavin McDonnell was arguably Vargas’ finest fight, boxing to punch perfection against a game, gutsy Gavin who threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at him.

Hovhannisyan represents one of the easier voluntary defences that Vargas could have made, ranked number nine by the WBC and having two losses in the early stages of his career to nothing opponents represents enough chinks in the armour of this, otherwise, untested boxer for Vargas and his team to be willing to take the chance.

Nonetheless the Armenian will be coming to fight in a manner similar to McDonnell, seeking to throw bombs from the very beginning in a bid to take Vargas into the unknown – forget a phone box fight, this could be a postage stamp fight if Crazy gets his way.

You suspect the champion will use all of his experience and tactical awareness to nullify the threat of Hovhannisyan but Azat will be seeking to galvanise the momentum he gained by knocking out Ronny Rios in the 6th round in March – the very same Ronny Rios who, last August, took Vargas all the way to points.

It’s a case then of the tactician vs the magician and it’s never a magic trick without fire… BRING IT ON.

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Sadam Ali: “I Just Have To Fight Smart”


By: Sean Crose

“I view every fight as dangerous,” says WBO world super welterweight champion Sadam Ali, 26-1, who will be facing the undefeated Jamie Munguia, 28-0, this Saturday night at the Turning Stone casino in New York state. Although Munguia isn’t a marquee name like Miguel Cotto, the man Ali stunned late last year in a world class upset, Ali makes it clear he isn’t taking his opponent lightly. “It is late notice,” he says, “but I still get to watch. I still get to see who I’m fighting.” Late notice indeed. Ali was originally supposed to fight notable Liverpool native, Liam Smith. Unfortunately for all parties involved, Smith had to pull out of the fight due to a skin condition.

Muniga was able to step up, however. “It’s a little different,” says Ali, “but I’m prepared, regardless.” Ali made it clear that religious considerations were involved in the situation. “ I’ve also got Ramadan coming soon,” he says, “so we really couldn’t wait (two days after the fight, when Ramadan begins).” So, what does Ali have to say about his opponent this Saturday? “This guy has some power shots, great body shots,” he claims, “but I feel that we’re both dangerous.” Things may not have gone exactly as planned, but Ali appears at ease. “He’s a different type of fighter,” he notes of Munguia. “He has power. The height threw me off a little bit. It’s a big change.”

Still, the man comes across as being unperturbed. “I’m ready,” he says. “Late notice, but it’s still two guys in there fighting, so I’m not worried at all.” He may not be worried about Munguia, but the super welterweight division is booming right now, with names like Charlo, Lubin, and Lara dotting the landscape. People are wondering what Ali thinks of possible opposition (provided, of course, he gets past the formidable Munguia). “I think there’s a lot of great guys at that weight. I think some of them talk a little too much,” he says.

Some have reportedly been slow to give Ali credit since his victory over Cotto, claiming Cotto was old or that Ali simply isn’t as good as others in his weight realm. Ali, however, is untroubled (his team is another story). “They can underestimate,” he says, “they can talk.” The thoughts of others clearly don’t cause internal damage in Ali’s case. “When I get in there, it comes down to me and God,” he adds. “I just have to fight smart.”

The Ali-Munguia fight will be aired live on HBO.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Ali, King, Smith, O’Connor, Boxing Hall of Fame, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 14th to March 21st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Sadam Ali to Face Liam Smith on HBO

Sadam “World Kid” Ali (26-1, 14 KOs) will defend his WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship against hard-hitting former world champion and No.1 contender Liam “Beefy” Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 12-round main event at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The event takes place Saturday, May 12 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Ali, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, has always displayed the skills of a future world champion. The 29-year-old pride of Brooklyn, N.Y. held multiple regional titles and scored important wins against the likes of Francisco “Chia” Santana, Luis Carlos “El Potro” Abregu and former interim WBA World Super Lightweight Champion Johan “El Terrible” Perez. Though suffering a setback in a welterweight title fight against Jessie Vargas, Ali silenced his doubters by moving up to 154 pounds to defeat future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto in Dec. 2017. The newly-crowned WBO Junior Middleweight Champion will face a tough challenge in Smith, a former holder of the same 154-pound title.

“It felt great to accomplish my dream of becoming world champion,” said Sadam Ali. “I’m excited to defend my title and to demonstrate that it is not up for grabs. Liam Smith is a great fighter and I’m sure he’ll be ready, but so will I.”

Smith, the first of an impressive stable of brothers to win a world title, is a 29-year-old native of Liverpool, England. After scoring 20 impressive victories as a professional, Smith defeated John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson via seventh-round technical knockout to capture the WBO 154-pound title that Ali currently holds. Smith then faced Canelo Alvarez in front of over 50,000 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Smith lost the title in an impressive show of heart and determination, and after three consecutive victories, he is ready to regain the title that was once his.

“I’m very happy that we’ve got this fight,” said Liam Smith. “I’m looking forward to pitting myself against a good fighter in Sadam Ali, a former Olympian and now world champion who is coming off the back of a good win against Miguel Cotto. I’m confident going into this fight. I know I’m naturally the bigger man, and that will come into play, especially in the type of fight that I think it will be.”

“Sadam Ali climbed onto the world championship stage with one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he snatched the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title from Four-Division, Six Time World Champion, and Future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Being in the ring with a hungry fighter with a world championship belt on his resume like Liam Smith will be nothing new to Ali. Sadam will prove yet again he’s someone to watch out for in the division.”

“This is Liam’s chance to reclaim his world title,” said Frank Warren. “He’s come through two hard fights against Liam Williams to earn his shot, and he’s done what he set out to do. When he lost his belt against Canelo Alvarez, Liam said he would be a world champion again, and on May 12 he will deliver on that promise.”

Ali vs. Smith is a 12-round fight for the WBO Junior Middleweight Championship presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Frank Warren. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Casa Mexico Tequila. The fight will take place Saturday, May 12, 2018 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Host of the May 12 event, Turning Stone Resort Casino is a Forbes Four-Star Award-winning destination resort, which continues to distinguish itself as a premier venue for fight-of-the-year level boxing. The May event will mark Turning Stone’s 25th nationally-televised boxing event, cementing the resort as a leading destination for nationally-televised combat sports. Turning Stone features world-class amenities including four hotels, more than 20 signature restaurants and dining options, two spas, an all-new 125,000 square foot Las Vegas style gaming floor, a cabaret-style Showroom, a 5,000-seat arena, five golf courses, several bars, cocktail lounges and nightlife venues with live entertainment every weekend.

Tickets for this highly anticipated matchup go on sale Tuesday, March 20 at 10:00 am ET and are available from $95 and $75 for ringside seats and all others priced at $55 and $45, plus any applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office in person or by calling 315-361-7469 or online at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).

Don King Brings Isaac Ekpo and Rafael Mensah to America to Train for Upcoming World Title Fights

World Boxing Association (WBA) Mandatory challenger Isaac Ekpo (32-3, 25 KOs) from Abuja, Nigeria, and Rafael “Sweet Pea” Mensah (31-0, 23 KOs) from Accra Ghana both recently arrived to the U.S. with a new manager, new direction and first full training camps with trainer Stacy McKinley, to prepare for their upcoming world title fights.

Ekpo arrived in Germany Sunday for a world title rematch against WBA Super Middleweight Champion Tyron Zeuge. Their first bout, almost a year ago to the day on March 25, 2017, ended in controversial fashion and a loss for Ekpo.

Mensah has been in serious negotiations to challenge WBA Super Featherweight Champion Alberto Machado (19-0, 16 KOs).

Both Ekpo and Mensah arrived in the U.S. having made little to no money while fighting in Africa. Both fighters have a new manager. Stacy McKinley is training both for the first time.

“My old manager and promoter in Ghana, Anthony Karmah, (of Landmark Boxing), did good by taking me to where I am but he cheated me and is cheating all the boxers.” Explained Ekpo, also a 2004 Olympian. “He never paid me for the fights. He told me the fights, all of my fights, were for building my career. He prefers to have the money all to himself and the boxers are suffering, which is very bad. I was the mandatory challenger to (WBO Super Middleweight Champion Robert) Stieglitz in 2013. I was No. 7. We fought 12-rounds and was paid only $12K – for a world title fight! I argued with him but it didn’t matter. After the fight I went back to Africa, and signed with Don King. When I came to America in December, Don King told me to put the past behind and move forward. My coach is there beside me taking good care of me. He and Don King don’t treat me like a boxer they treat me like I am their blood.”

“In Ghana I was the champion, but no, I didn’t get any money,” said Mensah, who as an amateur was the Captain of the Ghana National Team. “The promoter there signed me and I don’t get money. Why? Somebody chopped my money. Every time I fight he told me he was building my record for me. I don’t know why. I fought thirty-one fights, big fights. I won the African title twice and the African Boxing Union title. I fight in front of huge crowds in Ghana – it is like the Las Vegas of Africa, it is the Mecca. Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey, Azumah Nelson, Agbeko – they all fought there.”

Ekpo went further: “I would fight under Don King Productions and Don would send the money to my manager and I would never see the money – my manger keeps saying, still, he is building my record and I never see the money. When I fought Zeuge my manager got the money from Don King but he took two months to pay me – he said Don King never paid him. My manger was trying to destroy the man’s (Don King’s) name and it’s not like that. When my wife passed, I was looking for some money to help my family and Don King sent my former manager $10,000 to give to me. I only received $2000 of it – my manager kept the rest.” Ekpo lived on his marginal soldier’s salary. “When I came to train in America in December, Don King told me to put the past behind and move forward. My coach is there beside me taking good care of me. He and Don King don’t treat me like a boxer they treat me like I am their blood. Don King gave me money and I shared it and said this money is going to change a lot of things in my life.”

Mensah on his arrival to the U.S.: “I was in Ghana and I was told I got this opportunity to fight Machado and I may not get this opportunity again so I said OK, I will come to the America to see Don King for the first time. I signed with Don King three years ago with my old manager and never net him. My old manager would not let me meet Don King. My contract with my old manager was up in November and my new manager told me to come to the US to get better training – he convinced me to move here. I came to US a month ago and Don King said, “Rafael, now that you are here, how can I help you?” I said ‘yes, I will take this title to give to you. Don’t worry about that.’ I am here in the USA training and it will not be a problem. I am the man, I am Sweet Pea.”

Ekpo wants this message sent across to Zeuge regarding the rematch – “Train hard because I am coming. My name is ‘Grenade’ and when I explode no living thing will be left near me – everything will fall, and he is going to fall. I promise him and by the grace of God he is going to fall.”

In the first Zeuge-Ekpo fight, in front of a Zeuge hometown crowd at MBS Arena in Pottsdam, Germany, Zeuge (21-0-1, 11 KOs) from Berlin, was cut in round three from an Ekpo left hook.. “I gave him a left hook and it caught him but they changed it to a head-butt. It wasn’t a head-butt like they called it. It was a left hook. I watch the fight every day,” said Ekpo. The decision would go to the judges’ scorecards, whom all had Zeuge ahead at the time (48-47, 49-47, 49-46). “In round 5 he was very tired, but he survived the round. When the round was over he called the doctor to stop the fight. When they stopped the fight my coach and I were celebrating, but next the referee said ‘no, it is a technical decision.’ Why technical decision? The guy said he can’t fight. I’m not tired. I didn’t give up. If he stopped the fight that means I am the winner because I never give up but the champion said he is not going to fight anymore.”

Ekpo had gone into the fight with extreme adversity, having lost his wife (a 32-year-old Nigerian National soccer star) during childbirth on March 9, just two weeks before the fight. “After my wife delivered she started bleeding and from there she passed away,” explained Ekpo. “She left the baby behind. I gave her the mommy’s name and she is living right now with her grandmother. ” Ekpo trained only one week with his new trainer and five weeks total for the fight. Ekpo thought long and hard before deciding to go through with the fight. “I needed the money to take care of my family. Coach Stacy McKinley said to me ‘you’re good, you can beat this kid.’ I fought Zeuge with pains in my heart.”

“This time my hands are my referee and my judges. I am going to fight Tyron Zeuge as if he is the one that killed my wife,” said Ekpo. “Last time I took all of his best punches. Now I am stronger and I’m going to hit him hard – harder than before, like a sledgehammer. This time I am going to knock him out in his hometown, right in front of his people. He is not going 12-rounds with me. I promised my wife before she died that I would bring the title back to my baby. I love her so much. Every time I think about her I shed tears.”

Machado on his immediate future: “My next fight will be against Machado. I know Machado and I know I can beat Machado. There is no doubt that Mensah can beat him. When I saw Machado I said ‘yes, I can beat you.’ You are not somebody that can beat me. You cannot beat Rafael Mensah. I will come and maybe not knock you out but I will beat you in boxing. I will teach you boxing very well. If I don’t knock you out I will teach you a boxing lesson.”

“I came to America and signed with a new manager and he exposed everything,” explained Ekpo, who moved to the United States on December 27. “When I first learned what had happened, I wanted to go back to Africa and fight him but Don King said no. He knows he can’t even call me any more and he’s scared. Everything is exposed. The last time I was at his office and he hid then ran out the back door. Don King gave me money and immediately I told my new manager to send it to my family and he said ‘why are you crying?’ The amount of money Don King gave me will change a lot of things and that makes me happy. Now I’m going to give him the title. That’s the thing I’m going to use to pay him back.”

“Now I am ranked #2 in the WBA and now I am waiting for Machado,” said Machado. “I came here to train and listen to my new manager. I left my 4-month old child and my wife to come to America because of Machado. When I arrived Don King said, ‘Rafael, now that you are here, how can I help you?’ I said ‘yes, I will take this title to give to you. Don’t worry about that. I am now focused about the business of being in the ring. I don’t see anybody coming to beat me. My new manager is here to help me. God has done everything for me and now I listen to Don King and my manager. So now everything will be all right for me in America.”

Nelson Aiyelabowo, current manager of both Ekpo and Mensah: “We are very grateful for how Don King has welcomed us. Isaac is having a great camp and we are ready to add to a stable of champions Don King has promoted over the past decades.”

MTK Global Opens MTK NewCastle as UK Presence Continues to Grow

MTK Global is pleased to confirm the opening of a new UK branch – MTK Newcastle in Gateshead.

With MTK Global’s UK bases in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Scotland already thriving, the proud fighting city of Newcastle has joined the party.

The north-east has produced several success stories in the ring, such as Glenn McCrory’s world cruiserweight title glory down the road in Stanley in 1989. World title challengers John Davison and Billy Hardy are also local stars of yesteryear.

With interest in boxing and MMA on the rise, MTK Newcastle will provide excellent facilities for the stars of tomorrow while remaining an invaluable recreational facility for the local community.

MTK Newcastle Gym Manager and coach, Brad Tarren, said: “It’s exciting news for fighters in the north-east of England as we look to create combat teams under the MTK banner.

“MTK Newcastle adds to the growing entity of the MTK Global brand and we are certainly excited for the future prospects this opportunity brings.

“The gym will also remain as a recreational facility welcome to all members of the public – regardless of their level or experience.”

MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan added: “We are so proud to have added a Newcastle headquarters. It’s a fantastic city with a rich history in combat sports.

“We look forward to Brad and his team nurturing the local talent. This move is further proof of MTK Global’s commitment to improving opportunities for fighters in as many areas as we can.”

Follow MTK Newcastle on Twitter @mtknewcastle

National Boxing Hall of Fame Gala 2018

The National Boxing Hall Of Fame will be holding its Annual GALA April 28th, 2018 from 11:00am – 3:00pm, at Quiet Cannon Event Center, 901 Via San Clemente, Montebello, CA. Tickets are $75 and available at www.nationalboxinghalloffame.com All 2018 Inductees are confirmed to attend event this year! Limited seating available and tickets MUST be paid in advance to attend.

The 2018 Inductees are:
◦Al Bernstein
◦Ruben Castillo
◦Michele Chong
◦George Chuvalo
◦Miguel Diaz
◦Juan LaPorte
◦Lupe Pintor
◦Christy Martin
◦Eddie Mustafa Muhammad
◦Richie Sandoval
◦Herbert Santos
◦Aaron Snowell
◦Alfonso Zamora
◦Carlos Zarate

POSTHUMOUS (Family will attend)
◦Muhammad Ali
◦Bundini Brown
◦Zora Folley
◦Ernie Lopez
◦Jerry Quarry

RISING STAR AWARD
◦2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas

DON SULAIMAN LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
◦Don Majeski

HOWIE STEINDLER AWARD

◦Danny “Little Red” Lopez
◦Ernie “Indian Red” Lopez

BOBBY CHACON GIFT OF LOVE AWARD

◦Mike Donahue

Boxing Fans, don’t miss this great Boxing event with legends of our sport and future stars, for more information please contact [email protected] .

Danny O’Connor Defends WBC Title Against Steve Claggett

After coming off a of a great KO win, earning the vacant WBC Silver Intercontinental Title against rising Queens prospect and previously undefeated, DANNY GONZALEZ, (then, 14-0 5KO’s) at STAR BOXING’S Slugfest at the Sun, at Mohegan Sun Arena, in November, DANNY O’CONNOR (now, 30-3, 11KO’s) put his title on the line at the against an extremely tough Canadian in STEVE CLAGGETT (now, 26-5-1, 17 KO’s).

Claggett came into last nights title bout, just off of a hard fought win against previously unbeaten, and fellow highly touted Canadian prospect, YVES ULYSSE JR. (then, 14-0 9KO’s).

O’Connor vs. Claggett was seen live on PPV, and was the main event bout of a great night of boxing on St. Patricks day, from the House of Blues Boston.

For the opening two rounds, O’Connor and Claggett maintained a fast, competitive pace, with give and take action by both fighters. However, in the third round, O’Connor began to find his rhythm, landing strong combinations while alluding the attempted offense of Claggett.

O’Connor continued to use his combinations to score, while keeping his foot on the outside of Claggett, dodging most attempts the Canadian threw. However, in the seventh round, Claggett threw a perfect counter right, that sent O’Connor to the canvas. O’Connor managed to shake off the knockdown, got his legs under him, and finished the final two rounds strong, earning a unanimous decision vicory, and successfully defending his WBC belt.

Promoter JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about O’Connor’s strong outing, “Danny O’Connor showed true guts, putting his title on the line against a very tough fighter in Steve Claggett. Danny used his skill and more importantly, great resilience, getting up from a late round knockdown to defend his title. This was a very solid victory for Danny against a tough opponent, and we look forward to what is to come.”

O’Connor vs. Claggett was promoted by Murphy’s Boxing and Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing.

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Today Would Have Been Muhammad Ali’s 76th Birthday


By: Ken Hissner

In 1960 a brash young boxer from Louisville, KY, came on the scene. Cassius Clay won the National AAU light heavyweight title defeating Roy Ector at 0:55 of the third and last round in Louisville.

In the Golden Gloves he won the Inter-city title April 7th defeating Joe Reynolds in Toledo, OH. He qualified for the Olympic Trials. He won the Eastern Regional defeating Henry Cooper by TKO2 at 2:49 in Louisville. In the Trials he would go onto defeat Fred Lewis by DEC and Allen Hudson by TKO 3 in San Francisco. In the finals he defeated Yvon Because TKO 2 at 1:50 in Rome. He had competed at heavyweight but lost to Percy Price of the Marine Corp out of Philadelphia so he was allowed to compete at light heavyweight.

In the Olympic Games in Rome Clay defeated Genadiy Schatkov, Australian’s Tony Madigan and for the Gold Medal he defeated 3-time European Champion Zbigniew Pietrzkowski of Poland. The world now was his as he would turn professional in October of 1960. There have been different records shown for him such as 134-7, 137-7, 99-8 and 61-6.

There have been reports Clay lost in 1955 to James Davis in the Novice GG tourney. In the same year he lost to John Hampton. In 1957 he lost to Donnie Hall by split decision. He lost to Terry Hodge by TKO1. He lost to Jimmy Ellis whom he would split with, in the amateurs.

In 1958 Clay was TKO by 2 Kent Green. At the Pan Am Games he lost to Amos Johnson in the semis. Percy Price was the last to defeat him in the Olympic Trials. That’s at least seven losses. Some reported he ended up 100-7.

He would turn professional in October of 1964 and win his first nineteen bouts earning him a Championship bout with Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston. Clay would win the title when Liston couldn’t go on after six rounds. The fight was even with each boxer getting a vote and the other judge a draw. After this fight he announced he had joined the Islamic faith and would be called Muhammad Ali.

A rematch was scheduled just three months later with Ali delivering the “phantom punch” knocking out Liston at 2:12 of the first round. This fight has always been under scrutiny asking did Liston take “a dive?”

Ali would go onto win the title three times after losses. His final record was 56-5 with 37 knockout wins. He only lost once by stoppage. As a husband he lost three times before being married a fourth and last time.

Ali became quite a humanitarium. In 1990 he went to Iraq where their President Saddam Hussein allowed him to bring back fifteen American hostages. This in itself was remarkable.

So on January 17th of 2018 Ali would have celebrated his 76th birthday! Long live the memory of the “Greatest!”

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Donaire, Frampton, Ali, Ortiz, Alexander, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 2nd to January 9th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Frampton and Donaire to Clash in Belfast on April 21st

Carl Frampton believes his clash against Nonito Donaire on Saturday, April 21 will be one of the biggest fights to ever take place in Belfast and a make-or-break bout for both men.

MTK Global-backed two-weight world champion Frampton (24-1, 14KO) is set to take on Filipino four-weight world champion Donaire (38-4, 24KO) in a featherweight showdown at Belfast’s SSE Odyssey Arena.

Both former Fighters of the Year, the pair will meet in a blockbuster bout, live on BT Sport and BoxNation in the UK and Ireland on a Frank Warren-promoted bill.

Tickets ranging from £40 (tier) to £400 (inner-ring hospitality) will go on general sale this Thursday (January 11th) at 10am.

And MTK Global’s Frampton is looking forward to meeting elite opposition on home soil in his first bout of 2018.

“It’s a brilliant fight – a four-weight world champion against a two-weight world champion,” said Frampton. “Has a bigger ‘away’ fighter ever come to fight in Belfast before? I don’t think there’s been a bigger name than Nonito Donaire and he’s coming to fight a local guy in his hometown.

“But I think both of us are in the same situation – a slip-up here and one of us might never fight for a world title again. There’s a lot on the line for both guys.”

With a much-anticipated summer fight date at Belfast’s Windsor Park in the works for ‘The Jackal’, 30-year-old Frampton believes a win over the 42-fight Filipino veteran would be perfect preparation ahead of a world-title tilt.

The Irishman is coming off the back of a 10-round points win over Mexican Horacio Garcia last month in what was Frampton’s first outing since the loss of his WBA world featherweight crown to Leo Santa Cruz.

And ‘The Jackal’ is confident that victory over Donaire will tee up a bout against the winner of the forthcoming IBF title clash between 126lb rivals Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.

“In terms of the size of a fight, it’s not for a world title but the winner of this fight will no doubt get a world-title shot,” said Frampton.

“On the world stage, I think this is a bigger fight than Lee Selby against Josh Warrington, which is a world-title fight, so it’s huge,” continued the Belfast native, whose reign as unified WBA & IBF world super-bantamweight champion in 2016 coincided with Donaire’s second spell as the WBO 122lb title holder before both men later claimed world featherweight belts.

“He’s been at the top of four divisions, but he was in the same weight division as me for quite a while and he’s someone I’ve always kept an eye on,” said Frampton. “He’s someone I admire as well and I think he’s a great fighter, but I think this is the perfect fight to get me ready for a world-title fight in the summer.”

While Donaire has suffered three defeats since being named 2012 Fighter of the Year by The Ring, ESPN and the Boxing Writers’ Association of America –the same honours Frampton picked up for 2016 – the 35-year-old ‘Filipino Flash’ is eager to prove that he is still an elite force at 126lbs.

“This is exactly the type of fight I live for — going in against one of the best in the world in the lion’s den of his hometown of Belfast,” said Donaire. “I can’t wait for the first bell! I know I’ll have to be the best I can be on fight night. Make no mistake, I’m already training like never before.”

MTK Global Professional Development Coordinator Jamie Conlan believes the fight will be an ideal warm-up for Frampton ahead of a summer world-title date.

“Donaire is a great fighter and this will be a real test for Carl, but it’s one that MTK are confident he’ll pass and that he’ll do so in style. Fair play to Carl, he didn’t want a handy fight ahead of another world-title shot and we were keen to deliver that,” said Conlan.

“It’s going to be another huge night for Belfast and Irish boxing and we’ll have some of MTK’s best talent on the bill.”

Details of a press conference will be announced in the coming days.
Kamegai to Face Daquan Pauldo on Matthysse and Linares Card

Japanese slugger Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-4-2, 24 KOs) will return after his impressive first shot at a world title to take on Orlando, Florida’s Daquan “King” Pauldo (16-1, 9 KOs) in a 10-round super welterweight fight that will top off the non-televised undercard of Matthysse vs. Kiram and Linares vs. Gesta on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The non-televised undercard action will be streamed live on RingTV.com beginning at 3:00 p.m. PT/ 6:00 p.m. ET.

As previously announced, Argentine knockout artist Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) of Chubut, Argentina will take on the explosive undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (38-0, 28 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship in the first co-main event. Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) will defend his WBA, WBC Diamond, and Ring Magazine Lightweight Titles against Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) in a 12-round bout in the second co-main event. This special double main event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Kamegai will return after his impressive outing against former six-time, four-division world champion Miguel Cotto, which was for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title in an HBO-televised main event in August 2017 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Before that fight, Kamegai took part in two consecutive Fight of the Year candidates against Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass in June and Sept. of 2016. Kamegai will look to earn another shot at a 154-pound title if successful against Pauldo.

Pauldo, a 25-year-old super welterweight contender who was formerly known as Daquan Arnett, has only suffered one loss in his impressive career, which was when he dropped down to 147 pounds to take on tough Golden Boy Promotions contender Eddie “Eboy” Gomez. After returning to 154 pounds, Pauldo has defeated five people in a row, including the experienced Jorge “Pantera” Silva in his last bout in July 2017. A win against Kamegai would give Pauldo a much-earned boost in the super welterweight rankings.

Marcelino “Nino” Lopez (33-21, 18 KOs) the native of Buenos Aires, Argentina and member of the exclusive training camp of Joel Diaz in Indio, Calif., will return in a 10-round super lightweight fight against an opponent that will be announce shortly. Lopez will return after defeating former interim WBA Super Lightweight Champion Pablo “El Demoledor” Cesar Cano via second-round technical knockout.

After seven spectacular wins in 2017, Armenian welterweight prospect Ferdinand Kerobyan (7-0, 4 KOs) will start the new year in a six-round welterweight fight against an opponent that will be announced soon. In his last fight, Kerobyan defeated Tavorus Teague in the ESPN3-streamed undercard of the Dec. 14 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.

In an exciting and rarely-seen battle between two undefeated prospects, Los Angeles native Tenochtitlan “T-Dog” Nava (7-0, 1 KO) will participate in an eight-round 126-pound clash against Las Vegas’ Francisco “El Alacran” Esparza (6-0-1, 2 KOs). Both fighters are known for their come-forward, all-action styles, and with so much on the line, the bout will surely produce fireworks.

Romero “Ruthless” Duno (15-1, 13 KOs) will fight for a second consecutive time at the “Fabulous” Forum in an eight-round lightweight battle against Sacramento, Calif.’s Yardley Armenta (21-9, 12 KOs). The Filipino prospect made his U.S. debut and introduced himself in exciting fashion via a devastating second-round knockout victory against the previously undefeated prospect Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez. Since then, Duno has scored two more victories, which were against Jason Tinampay and Juan Pablo Sanchez respectively.

Undefeated prospect Javier Martinez (4-0, 3 KOs) of Dallas, Texas will kick off highly-anticipated night of action in a six-round featherweight fight against a soon-to-be-announced opponent.
HDNet Movies Pays Tribute to Muhammad Ali on his Birthday on Wednesday January 17th

Step into the ring with HDNET MOVIES, as the network celebrates the life and legacy of boxing superstar Muhammad Ali on what would have been his 76TH Birthday with a “Remembering Ali” double feature—a night of documentaries and biopics starring the legend himself on Wednesday, Jan. 17, beginning at 7:15pE.

The night kicks off with the star-studded 1977 biopic THE GREATEST, starring Ali as himself in his big screen debut. The film is based on his acclaimed autobiography of the same name, and recreates some of the most important moments of his life and career including his gold medal Olympic victory at 18 years old; his legendary match with Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla In Manila”; his conversion to Islam; and his three-and-a-half-year legal battle to win back the heavyweight title that was stripped from him when he refused to enter the army due to his religious beliefs. James Earl Jones, Robert Duvall, and Ben Johnson also star.

Then, stay tuned for the classic 1970 documentary A.K.A. CASSIUS CLAY at 9pE, which provides an intimate glimpse into the boxing icon’s career with rare archived footage featuring Ali associates such as Malcolm X, Angelo Dundee, and more, as well as clips from some of his most famous fights including an epic bout with Sonny Liston. The piece is headlined by a very special sit-down with Ali and his longtime trainer Cus D’Amato, who discuss Ali’s career and share a priceless back-and-forth that true Ali aficionados won’t want to miss.

For a complete schedule of films and times, visit www.hdnetmovies.com/schedules.

Victor Ortiz vs. Devon Alexander Set for February 17th

“Vicious” Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander “The Great” headline a show topped by two USA vs. Mexico battles as the former welterweight champions meet in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, Feb. 17 from Don Haskins Center on the UTEP campus in El Paso, Texas with televised coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

In the co-main event unbeaten contender Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant will battle Rogelio “Porky” Medina in a 12-round 168-pound world title eliminator.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $100, $60, $40, $25 and will go on sale Friday. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Also on the card, Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) takes on Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) in a super welterweight showdown and Karlos Balderas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, will appear in a lightweight special attraction.

“This is a classic crossroads match in the truest sense. Both Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz are battle-tested in one of the toughest, deepest divisions in boxing,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Alexander has overcome some serious health issues and is looking to regain the welterweight championship. Ortiz, also a former champion, has always come to fight and doesn’t back down from anyone. It promises to be an entertaining match for the fans in attendance at Don Haskins Center and those who tune in on FOX and FOX Deportes.”

Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs), a former 147-pound champion, has split time between boxing and acting throughout his recent career and brings a certain flare every time he steps into the ring. The 30-year-old native of Garden City, Kansas who now lives in Ventura, California, has faced some of the top names in the 147-pound division during his career. Ortiz won the welterweight title with unanimous decision victory over Andre Berto on April 16, 2011. Five months later he lost the title to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. by knockout. Ortiz, 30, suffered a knockout loss to Andre Berto in 2016 on FOX and bounced back with a knockout victory over Saul Corral in his last fight on July 30 on FS1.

“I’m ready to give all I have to defeat Devon Alexander and get my crown back,” said Ortiz. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and putting myself in a position to have my straps once again. I demonstrated what I was made of and did what I said I was going to do in my last fight. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I’ve known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I will not be his friend on fight night and he won’t be mine. I’m ready to prove everyone wrong starting on Feb. 17.”

Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) emerged on the scene with a unanimous decision victory over Randall Bailey for the welterweight title in 2012. He defended the title once before losing it to Shawn Porter in 2013. Since then, the 30-year-old Alexander of St. Louis, Missouri has been on a mission to regain the title. After losing to Amir Khan and Aaron Martinez, Alexander suffered another setback when he sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers. Fully healthy for the first time in three years, Alexander returned to the ring with a unanimous decision victory over Walter Castillo on FS1 on Nov. 21.

“I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” said Alexander. “We’ve known each other a long time but never fought in the amateurs, so this should be interesting. 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. I’m ready for any challenge that’s brought my way. When I’m 100 percent, nobody can beat me.”

Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) won eight of his first nine fights by knockout, demonstrating power in both hands to go along with his boxing abilities. The 25-year-old climbed into the top ten of the 168-pound rankings with his last victory – a unanimous decision over Andrew Hernandez in Las Vegas on Sept. 8. Medina represents a major step up for Plant and will give him an indication of just where the Ashland, Tennessee native stands in the division as he looks to become a mandatory challenger for the IBF title.

The 29-year-old Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) has squared off against some of the toughest boxers in the division, including current champion David Benavidez and former champions James DeGale and Badou Jack. Fighting out of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico lost by knockout to Benavidez on May 20, and bounced back with a knockout victory over Daniel Eduardo Yocupicio on Sept. 1.

The FOX prime time broadcast will kick off a full night of boxing, leading into a doubleheader on SHOWTIME that features two-division world champion Danny Garcia versus Brandon Rios and 168-pound champion David Benavidez defending his title in a rematch against Ronald Gavril from Las Vegas.

Thomas LaManna Battles Gabriel Bracero for WBC Fecarbox Welterweight Title in Atlantic City

Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna will headline the inaugural Boardwalk Boxing series when he takes the battle-tested veteran Gabriel Bracero in a ten-round welterweight bout for the WBC Fecarbox welterweight title on Saturday, February 24th at The Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City.

The bout will be the main event of a huge night of boxing promoted by Rising Star Promotions

The new Boardwalk Boxing series, which was announced last week, promised high-quality matchups, while featuring the best local fighters.

LaManna, 26, of Millville, New Jersey has an impressive mark of 25-2 with nine knockouts.

The popular LaManna has led the revival of boxing in Atlantic City as his Rising Star Promotions has become the preeminent promoter in Atlantic City.

LaManna consistently has performed as a headliner in front of sell out crowds is eager to thrill fans, and potentially notch the biggest win of his career.

“This is a crossroads fight. He needs a win over me to stay relevant, and I need a win over him to be taken serious,” said LaManna. “Bracero has fought some top guys. His losses have been to world champions and Gold Medal winners. He has been around the block.”

“I want to start 2018 with a good test. I want to test myself. When I go through a hard camp, dieting and focusing, I want it to be worth it.”

“This should be a great atmosphere as he is a popular fighter like myself. A win over him will give me an opportunity as I will move up in the ratings. This is a make or break year, and a win will put me in there with other contenders.”

LaManna will celebrate his 7th year as a professional, as he has wins over Kendal Mena (20-3), as well as winning the WBC Silver Latino and WBC FECARBOX Welterweight titles with a ten-round unanimous decision over rugged George Sosa.

In his last bout, LaManna defended the WBC FECARBOX title with a ten-round unanimous decision over Samuel Amoako on November 28th in Atlantic City.

This will be LaManna’s 18th fight in Atlantic City.

Bracero of Brooklyn, New York has an impressive mark of 24-3 with five knockouts.

Bracero, who will be 38 on February 14th has faced and defeated some impressive foes over his 17 year-career.

Bracero win his first 18 bouts which were highlighted by wins over Winston Mathis (6-0), Danny O’Connor (14-0), Guillermo Valdes (12-3), Jermaine White (17-4), former world totle challenger Dmitry Salita (35-1-1), and a sensational 1st round stoppage over O’Connor (26-2) in the rematch.

Bracero is coming off a ten-round unanimous decision defeat to former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi on July 30, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York

“This will be a good fight. He is a tough kid. He is tall, and I will get into the best shape possible,” said Bracero.

“I am excited to finally be fighting in Atlantic City. I have family there, plus my fans from Brooklyn can drive there and spend a nice weekend. ”

“This fight is a true crossroads battle. He is looking to make his name off of me, and I am focusing on winning his WBC Fecarbox title. A win will get me back into the bigger fights.

Also announced is a terrific co-feature bout that will see Anthony “Juice” Young of Atlantic City battling Khiary Gray or Worcester, Massachusetts.

Young, 29, has a record of 18-2 with six knockouts.

The seven-year professional will be looking for his eighth consecutive victory. The Atlantic City favorite has a quality win over Jose Javier Claderon (4-1), and will be making his 12th start in his hometown.

Pitts has an impressive mark of 15-3 with eleven knockouts.

The 25 year-old New Englander won his first 13 bouts. The four-year professional is a former UBF International Super Welterweight champion, and in his last bout he won the Interim New England Super Welterweight title with an eight-round majority decision over Greg Jackson on December 7, 2017 in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

There will be an announcement about the full undercard shortly.

Tickets are available for $155, $80 and $55, and can be purchased online at www.risingboxingpromotions.com .

This event is sponsored by Acos Energy, Designer Wraps, Eat Clean Bro, Calvi Electric, and Alpha Academy.

Sugar Promotions New Blood Card in Mexico Set for February 2nd

Damien Vazquez’ Sugar Promotions, will promote its card titled “New Blood”, featuring Issac “Canelito” Avelar (13-0, 8 KOs), vs. Alejandro Frias (6-2-1, 3 KOs), fighting for the WBC FECOMBOX Featherweight title in a 10-round main-event. The bout will take place at the Palenque de la Feria in Aguascalientes, Mexico on February 2, 2018.

Issac “Canelito” Avelar, who is managed by Prince Ranch Boxing, is looking to make a statement in his hometown after having his last fight delayed due to a minor hand injury.

“I am ready to show my hometown fans why I will be fighting the best fighters in the world,” said Issac Avelar. “I was supposed to fight last December, but it was delayed, because of a small hand injury. I took that time to improve as a fighter and I am 100% healthy. Everyone will see the best version of Canelito on February 2nd”

“Canelito is a big star in Aguascalientes, Mexico where he was born and raised,” Oscar Vazquez, president of Sugar Promotions stated. “We are excited to put on a show with great local talent. Canelito is a homegrown hero from Aguascalientes, Mexico and it is exciting to promote such a massive event. Everyone in town will be here.”

“NEW BLOOD” also features undefeated bantamweight Damien “Sugar” Vazquez (12-0, 6 KOs) vs. TBA, unbeaten super-featherweight Edwing Davila (16-0, 9 KOs), vs. Octavio Guardado, Lightweight Donovan Estrella (10-0, 4 KOs) vs. Antonio Camacho, Mayran Reyes vs. Naomi Arellano, Christina Mora vs. TBA and light heavyweight Kye Brooks (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Ivan Sanchez. Damian Vasquez has his sights set on fighting McJoe Arroyo (17-2, 8 KOs) before the year is over.

“February 2nd is looking to be a great show and I’m thrilled to work with Sugar Promotions,” said Greg Hannely, CEO of Prince Ranch Boxing. “This will be one of the best cards ever put on in Aguascalientes, Mexico. All my fighters are coming to win and win impressively.”

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“This is Your Life” Muhammad Ali


By: Ken Hissner

Back on December 25th in 1978 in the UK host Eamonn Andrews surprised Muhammad Ali at the New London Theatre when Ali showed up with Reg Guthridge a journalist and boxing ring commentator through a theatre door and was Ali surprised! Ali got a big applause from the audience and kept shaking his head like “is this for real?” Pertaining to Guthridge Ali said “he lied to me!”

The first guest was his third and then current wife Veronica from backstage said “he said he was afraid of me!” She said they met in Salt Lake City where he was training.

Singer Tom Jones appeared on film claiming Ali showed up at one of his performances back stage when they first met and said “I wonder if this is a bigger surprise then when Henry Cooper hit you with that left hook?” Than added “nice set up this time I can talk to you without being interrupted!” He added “you made a recording of Stand by Me. “I told you if you don’t take up singing I won’t take up boxing!”

Then Ali’s parents came out. His mother Odessa Ali nicknamed “Bird” due to her small nose. His mother said “when he was eighteen months old he was strong and was swinging his arms and knocked out one of my teeth and loosened another.” Then Ali’s brother Rahman Ali came out who was eighteen months younger and also was a boxer (14-3-1).

Then by film came his father’s sister and Ali’s Aunt Eva in her barber shop in Louisville giving former heavyweight champion Jimmy Ellis a haircut. “I change your diapers and all you could say was “GG” and later said it meant Golden Gloves,” said Aunt Eva. Then another film came on with Ellis racing by foot next to a school bus like Ali did growing up and ran up to a school where Ali attended and there was his third grade school teacher Mrs. Carter. “Muhammad came to the YMCA that I worked at after retiring from teaching with a check for $10,000.00 for underprivileged children,” said Mrs. Carter. Next thing you know Mrs. Carter and Ellis came out from back stage.

Andrews mentioned Ali’s bike being stolen when he was twelve and from back stage and there came the voice of Ali’s first amateur trainer Joe Martin along with Fred Stoner another trainer of Ali’s. Ali said “don’t tell me you have my bike?” Ali talked how he would secretly go from Martin’s gym to Stoner’s gym who was the better trainer. Ali said the reason pertaining to Stoner who was black was “he got the complexion and connection to get the protection.”

Then by film at a factory in Kentucky was Ali’s first amateur opponent Ron Oakie who lost a split decision to Ali. Then from back stage out came Oakie. Next out was Ali’s professional trainer Angelo Dundee who said “people would say he must have been difficult to train but he was the easiest boxer I ever had to train and we never had one argument.”

Next guest was from the 1960 Olympics in Italy that lost to Ali in the finals from Poland Ziggy Pietrzykowski. He was followed by Olympian Wilma Rudolph from the same Olympics where in track she won three Gold Medals and one Bronze Medal. They were in a parade together when they came to the states. As he hugged her when she came out (rumors back in 1960 it was Ali’s first love) Ali would look over at his wife as if to see was she jealous.

Ali commented “I feel like a little kid at Christmas getting a toy!” Next out was Drew Bundini Brown who made up the phrase “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!” Ali commented “I never saw him so well dressed and sober!” Brown said “I worked with the great “Sugar” Ray Robinson for seven years and called Ali a phony when he said he could name the rounds when his opponent would fall.”

Then out came Ali’s personal photographer Howard Bingham to whom they were the best man at each other’s weddings. Then out came British champ Henry Cooper who dropped Ali when they met in the UK but lost the fight. Ali said of Cooper “you hit me so hard you jarred my kin folks in Africa!”

By film was actor Anthony Quinn who starred in the movie “Requiem for a Heavyweight” that Ali did a cameo in. Next out was Ali’s former three fight opponent “Smokin” Joe Frazier. After they hugged Ali sat down as Frazier started talking how he gave Ali a ride in his Cadillac to New York. “I couldn’t get a word in the whole trip,” said Frazier. Then it was former great world champion on film Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis who was recuperating from a stroke.

Finally out with their nanny came Ali’s two young daughters that he hugged and kissed while holding both of them in his arms!

All in all in was a great show with plenty of laughs!

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Muhammad Ali Beat Four Olympic Gold Medalists


Muhammad Ali Beat Four Olympic Gold Medalists
By: Ken Hissner

At a boxing event in Atlantic City recently top boxing judge Steve Weisfeld asked “who beat four Olympic Gold Medalists?” About 15 minutes later he told me who it was.

In the 1960 Olympic Boxing Trials Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali boxed in the heavyweight division and lost to Percy Price of the Marines. Ali was able to then drop down to Light Heavyweight and made the team and went onto win the Gold Medal in Rome, Italy.

Upon turning professional he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. During his career he would go onto defeat four Olympic Gold Medalists starting with 1952 winner Floyd Patterson, 43-4. Ali entered the ring at 21-0. It was November 22nd in 1965. Ali was making his second title defense at the Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. Ali was well ahead when the contest was stopped in the 12th of a 15 round fight. Referee Harry Krause was one of the voting judges in addition to being the referee. He had it 53-46 while Harold Buck had it 54-45 and Bill Stremmell 53-43.

On March 8th 1971 Ali in his third comeback fight took on the world champion who won Gold in 1964 “Smokin” Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This writer had it 7-6-1 going into the 15th and final round when Frazier knocked Ali down to take the decision by scores of 8-6 in rounds from referee Arthur Mercante, 9-6 by Artie Aidala and 11-4 by Bill Recht.

On March 20th 1972 Ali and Patterson had a return match with Ali stopping him in the 7th round on cuts for the North American Boxing Federation title at Madison Square Garden. At the time of stoppage referee and judge Arthur Mercante had it 6-1, Jack Gordon 4-2 and Tony Castellano 3-3.

On January 28th of 1974 Ali had his second fight with Frazier, 30-1, for the NABF title at Madison Square Garden. Referee and judge Tony Perez had it 6-5, Tony Castellano 7-4 and Jack Gordon 8-4.

On October 30th of 1974 Ali would regain the world title for a record third time defeating then champion “Big” George Foreman, 40-0 stopping him in the 8th round in what was called “the Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire, Africa. Scores at the time of stoppage were 4-2-1 by referee and judge Zack Clayton, 3-0-4 Norridine Adalla and 4-1-2 by James Taylor.

On October 1st 1975 Ali and Frazier, 32-2, would have their third fight called “the Thrilla in Manila” where Ali stopped Frazier at the end of the 14th round.

On February 15th 1978 Ali lost his world title to 1976 Olympic Gold Medalists Leon Spinks, 6-0-1, at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. Lou Tabat had it 145-140, Harold Buck 144-141 for Spinks and Art Lurie 143-142 for Ali.
On September 15th 1978 in their rematch Ali re-won the title at the Superdome in New Orleans, LA, before 63,350 in attendance. Lucien Lubert had it 10-4, Ernie Cojoe 10-4 and Herman Preis 11-4.

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