Tag Archives: and more…

Boxing Insider Notebook: Roy Jones, Yarde, Kovalev, Beterbiev, Gvozdyk, Imam, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 13th to August 20th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Unbeaten Champions Beterbiev and Gvozdyk Set to Unify Titles October 18th in Philadelphia

Two very bad men are set for an old-fashioned Philadelphia throwdown.

WBC light heavyweight world champion Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk and IBF light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev will fight in a highly anticipated title unification bout Friday, Oct. 18 at the Liacouras Center.

Beterbiev and Gvozdyk enter this can’t-miss clash with a combined record of 31-0 with 28 knockouts.

Gvozdyk-Beterbiev will headline a special edition of Top Rank on ESPN beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

The undercard will stream live on ESPN+ — the industry-leading sports streaming service — beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Peltz Boxing, tickets priced at $150, $90, $75 and $50 (not including applicable fees) go on sale Friday, Aug. 23 at 12 p.m. ET and can be purchased at the Liacouras Center Box Office, www.liacourascenter.com or charge by phone at 800-298-4200.

“This could very well be the fight of the year,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “These are two evenly matched, undefeated light heavyweight champions. There is nothing better in the sport of boxing.”

“My first goal was to win a light heavyweight world title. Now, I want to unify the belts, and that mission starts with Artur Beterbiev,” Gvozdyk said. “This is going to be a spectacular fight, one that the fans will enjoy. The fans asked for this fight, and we will deliver. One thing I know is that I will be the unified champion. I have the best trainer, Teddy Atlas, in my corner. This is our third fight together, and under his guidance, I will continue to get better.”

“I wish to thank Top Rank and my opponent, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, for making this unification bout possible and giving the fans around the world what they want,” Beterbiev said. “This will be a great fight between the two champions who aspire to become the undisputed light heavyweight world champion. I am looking forward to stepping into the ring on October 18.”

Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs) will be making the second defense of the title he won from longtime champion Adonis Stevenson in a come-from-behind 11th-round KO last December in Quebec City, Canada. He followed up the Stevenson win with a dominant fifth-round TKO March 30 over Doudou Ngumbu in Philadelphia, where a large Ukrainian contingent showed up to cheer on their countryman. Gvozdyk captured a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, where he was teammates with current professional stablemate and pound-for-pound great Vasiliy Lomachenko. A five-year pro, Gvozdyk climbed the ranks with victories over established veterans like Isaac Chilemba, Yunieski Gonzalez and Nadjib Mohammedi.

Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs), a former Russian amateur star, has a come-forward, take-no-prisoners ring approach that has made him the only current world champion with a 100 percent KO ratio. He won the vacant IBF world title with a 12th-round TKO over Enrico Koelling, preserving his perfect KO record by stopping Koelling with 27 seconds left in the bout. His two title defenses have lasted a total of nine rounds, and most recently, he walked through longtime contender Radivoje “Hot Rod“ Kalajdzic in five rounds in the main event of the May 4 Top Rank on ESPN telecast.

Amir Imam Signs with Top Rank

Amir Imam, a former super lightweight world challenger known for his explosive knockouts, has signed a multi-year promotional agreement with Top Rank.

Imam (21-2, 18 KOs) has been out of the ring since March 17, 2018, the evening he challenged Jose Ramirez for the vacant WBC super lightweight world title. He lost via unanimous decision in a brutal toe-to-toe battle to Ramirez, who is currently the unified WBC/WBO 140-pound world champion.

Imam will campaign at either super lightweight or welterweight, and he recently enlisted the services of South Florida-based manager Peter Kahn. He is expected to make his long-awaited ring return later this year.

“I am grateful to have joined the best promotional company in boxing. I have learned a lot from my past fights and have made positive changes that will allow me to succeed as I move forward to my goal of becoming a world champion,” Imam said. “I’m eager to get back into the ring before the end of the year and showcase my skills as part of the Top Rank team. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me.”

“Amir Imam is a naturally gifted fighter who can best be defined as potential unrealized to this point in his career,” Kahn said. “He has the physical and mental tools to be a world champion. He’s a perfect fit for Top Rank. Whether Amir continues to campaign at super lightweight or welterweight remains to be seen, but the fans will see a rejuvenated, well-prepared Amir who is on a mission to be a world champion.”

Imam, from Albany, New York, knocked out 12 out of his first 13 opponents in the paid ranks, and won an eight-round unanimous decision in 2014 over Yordenis Ugas, who is currently one of the welterweight division’s top contenders. He scored highlight-reel knockouts over Jason Robinson and Fidel Maldonado before being stopped in shocking fashion by Adrian Granados in 2015. Imam rebounded with three consecutive knockout wins before locking horns with Ramirez in a memorable clash at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Carlos Takam Signs with Star Boxing

Star Boxing is excited to officially announce the signing of distinguished heavyweight title contender CARLOS TAKAM (36-5-1 28KO’s) of France, by way of Douala, Cameroon. Standing at 6’3″, the heavy handed, Takam has taken on some of the best in the business, in the heavyweight division. Star Boxing revealed the signing last week on its social media platforms.

Takam was an amateur standout in Cameroon. In 2003, he competed in the All-African Games in Nigeria, finishing with a bronze medal. In 2004, Takam qualified for the Athens, Greece Summer Olympics by earning Gold at the AIBA African Olympic Qualifying tournament in Morocco. Later that year, representing his native country of Cameroon, Takam fought in the Summer Olympic games in Athens, Greece, making it to the sweet sixteen.

Turning pro in 2005, just one year after the Olympics, Takam was an immediate force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division. After securing a record of 23-1 with 18KO’s, Takam defeated GBENGA OLUOKUN (then 18-5 12KO’s) by TKO to earn his first professional title, becoming the WBO International African Heavyweight Champion. Since then, Takam has held multiple titles, including the WBC Silver World Championship, the IBF Intercontinental Championship, and the WBF World Championship.

From 2011 on, Takam fought a gruesome list of boxing’s best heavyweights which include, heavyweight world title challengers, FRANS BOTHA (then 48-6-3 29KO’S), MICHAEL GRANT (then 48-7 36KO’S), TONY THOMPSON (then 39-4 27KO’s), JOSEPH PARKER (Then 18-0 16KO’s), DERECK CHISORA (then 28-8 21KO’s) as well as former world champion, ALEXANDER POVETKIN (then 27-1 20KO’s). In 2017, Takam challenged ANTHONY JOSHUA (19-0 19KO’s) in the biggest, bout of his career, for the WBA, IBF and IBO World Heavyweight Titles.

In Takam’s last bout in December 2018, he defeated German prospect, SENAD GASHI (then 17-1 17KO’s) who was favored in the bout. Gashi was a 5x Saarland Champion, 2x Gold International Boxing champion, 2x Gold German Open champion, amongst many other accolades in the amateurs. The bout took place at the 02 Arena in London, ending in a seventh round TKO victory for Takam.

Takam said this about signing with Star Boxing, “I’m very happy to sign with Joe and Star Boxing. It’s almost one year now I’m free agent. I didn’t sign with any promoter. I have had several propositions on the table, but with Joe [DeGuardia], the way I see, I have good feeling that we can achieve my potential together. I have big ambition in boxing for these coming years. Because I was taking my time looking around before to make any decision. I am ready to do the job.”

Manager of Carlos Takam, DWIGHT YARDE, had this to say about the opportunities that are ahead for Team Takam with Star Boxing, “Exciting times in the heavyweight division! I have known Joe [DeGuardia] for some 20 years and truly believe he is the man to take Team Takam to the heavyweight title. With Carlos’ ability as a fighter, nothing can stop us now. Heavyweight division watch out – we are coming.”

Star Boxing CEO, JOE DEGUARDIA said this about the signing of Takam, “Carlos is a world class heavyweight who has faced some of the best in the division. Throughout boxing history, the heavyweight division has always cultivated the most buzz, and that buzz is back.” DeGuardia continued, “I think highly of Carlos. The hard-core boxing experts know how good he is, but now he will show the casual fans and will surprise many as to how good he can still be. We are really excited to bring some big things to the table for him, and are confident that a heavyweight championship of the world bout is in his future.”

Kovalev-Yarde Headlines Special Afternoon of Boxing on ESPN+

WBO light heavyweight champion and future Hall of Famer Sergey Kovalev will face off against his hard-hitting mandatory challenger, Anthony Yarde, in a highly anticipated showdown Saturday, Aug. 24 from Traktor Arena in Kovalev’s hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Kovalev-Yarde will stream live and exclusively in the United States on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT. The stream will also showcase the co-feature bout between unbeaten cruiserweight contender Aleksei Papin (11-0, 10 KOs) and former world title challenger Ilunga Makabu (25-2, 24 KOs). Fans in the U.S. can sign up at www.ESPNplus.com or on the ESPN App.

“I am thrilled to fight for the first time in my hometown of Chelyabinsk,” Kovalev said. “It is a dream to defend my WBO title in front of all my friends and family back home. I am also thankful ESPN+ will show the fight to my fans in the U.S. Thank you to Igor Altushkin, Egis Klimas, Main Events and Top Rank for making this dream a reality, and thank you to Anthony Yarde for agreeing to fight in my home.”

“Sergey has done just about everything a professional fighter can do, other than fight in his own hometown,” said promoter Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events. “One of the sport’s greatest road warriors, Sergey will finally get the chance to salute his legion of fans in Chelyabinsk, where he grew up. It will be an exciting, long overdue homecoming for Sergey. And I am so happy to confirm that Sergey’s many fans in the U.S. will be able to watch this great event only on ESPN+. I wish to thank Igor Altushkin, German Titov and everyone at RCC for making this all possible. I also wish to thank Bob Arum and Top Rank for their continued support.”

Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) is a veteran of 15 world title bouts and has won the light heavyweight world title on three occasions. A former unified champion, he revived his career in February by scoring a wide points win over Eleider Alvarez, the man who’d knocked him out less than six months prior. One of this generation’s most decorated champions, Kovalev holds victories over Jean Pascal, Nathan Cleverly and living legend Bernard Hopkins. In Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs), he faces a London native with a giant hand who is taking a giant step up in competition. Yarde has won his last 16 bouts by knockout, most recently stopping Travis Reeves in five rounds in a bout that streamed on ESPN+. This will be only his second pro bout outside of England.

Roy Jones Junior Boxing Announces Deal with Eldorado Group to Co-Promote Multiple Installments on UFC Fight Pass

Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions has reached an exclusive agreement with Eldorado Group to co-promote multiple installments of “RJJ Boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS®,” commencing October 25 with Joey Gilbert Promotions in Reno, Nevada.

The Oct. 25th show in Reno will be streamed live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, from a venue to be determined.

“Everyone has seen all the excitement the Eldorado Group has going on,” RJJ Boxing CEO and Co-Founder Keith Veltre said. “Signing a deal of this magnitude is sending a strong message to the public that Eldorado Group wants to deliver the best in combat sports to its customers. Adding Joey Gilbert as a co-promoter only adds to the growing excitement RJJ Boxing Promotions has in the store for the future. Joey is a massive asset to what we are doing. Roy and I are super happy that he’s part of the team.”

In addition to being a combat sports promoter, Gilbert is a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer in Reno, as well as a sports agent and motivational speaker. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Nevada, where he was an outstanding amateur boxer, double majoring in English Literature and Political Science, and he went on to graduate from Thomas Jefferson Law School in San Diego.

Now retired as a boxer, Gilbert fought professionally from 2000-2010, compiling a 20-3 (15 KOs) record. He gained tremendous exposure participating in popular reality television series, The Contender, Season One.

“I am thrilled to bring professional boxing back to Reno,” CEO Joey Gilbert commented. “Reno has always been a fight town. I benefitted from this as both an amateur and professional fighter. I am beyond delighted to be involved in this endeavor with Roy Jones, Jr., who I have always held in such high regard, and looked up to as a fighter.

“I have been thoroughly impressed with the RJJ Boxing executive team and CEO Keith Veltre, who certainly produces one of the highest-quality and exciting boxing shows that I have ever seen. Together with UFC FIGHT PASS, we will absolutely impress and exceed expectations of all local fight fans, and The Row will be hosting this exciting opportunity. This will be one of many new fighting opportunities for our community to enjoy. I am excited that Eldorado Resorts International threw its proverbial hat in the ring to support this program. It’s safe to say that I can see this being the first fight series of many across numerous El Dorado International properties in the United States.”

The fight card will be announced at a future date.

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Whyte, Rivas, Pacquiao, Thurman, Ugas, Roach, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 9th to July 16th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Yordenis Ugas Camp Quotes

Welterweight contender, Yordenis Ugas (23-4, 11 KOs) wrapped up his final day of training camp and talks about his up coming showdown with Omar Figueroa Jr. (28-0-1, 19 KOs), a 12-round bout that will serve as the co-main event to Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao vs. WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman, ahead of their Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event this Saturday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased online through AXS.com, charge by phone at 866-740-7711 or in person at any MGM Resorts International box office.

Here is what he said about training camp, facing another undefeated fighter, and more.

On his upcoming fight with Omar Figueroa Jr.:

“This is a big opportunity for me to derail another undefeated fighter. Omar Figueroa Jr. is a young hungry fighter who’s never tasted defeat but that will all change on July 20th. He’s never been in with an experienced fighter like me. I have the style to beat him and I’m going to let my hands fly on fight night!

On fighting in the biggest boxing event of the year:

“I can’t ask for a better situation at this stage of my career. To be fighting on FOX PPV, on the same card as one of the greatest fighters to ever step in the ring in Manny Pacquiao, is a dream come true. I’m truly blessed to be fighting on such a big stage and I’m going to give the fans a night to remember. The fans deserve a war and that’s what I’m going to give them.”

On what a win will do for his career:

“Beating an undefeated fighter like Figueroa will get me right back into a world title fight. These are the type of fights I need to win if I’m going to become a world champion. I’m determined more than ever to prove to the world that I’m one of the best welterweights in the division.”

On his recent training camp:

“Training camp is finally all wrapped up. I did my last day of sparring this past weekend. My trainer Ismael Salas has a masterful game plan in place that we believe will be the perfect blueprint to beat Figueroa. I’m in tremendous shape, ready to let me hands go.”

Devin Haney Back in the Gym Going Hard

Undefeated lightweight contender, Devin “The Dream” Haney (22-0, 14 KOs), has returned to the gym after his sensational knockout over Antonio Moran, a fight that took place at the MGM National Harbor Hotel in Maryland on May 25, 2019.

Haney, no longer a prospect, is now ranked top ten by all four sanctioning bodies in the lightweight division and is currently WBC #2, WBO #,5 WBA #3 and #9 in the IBF. Beyond that, the bible of boxing, Ring Magazine, has Devin Haney #4 on their own list of the best lightweights in the world. This is no small feat for a boxer who is barely 20-years old. Haney is back in the gym as he awaits his next fight date.

“I’m back in the gym getting ready with an unofficial date in September,” stated Haney. “Ironically the WBC ordered a lightweight tournament to decide the mandatory for the winner of Loma vs Campbell. When Teofimo Lopez went the opposite direction, it made me and Zaur Abdulaev the final elimination bout. I’m also ranked #3 WBA and #5 WBO so my opportunity for a World Title is right around the corner. I took a well deserved break that I hadn’t taken since I began the sport. Now I’m recharged and ready to reap havoc on the lightweight division.”

“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring,” Haney Continued. “My time is coming and I will be 100% ready to show the everyone that I’m ready for a world title shot.”

Coming this Saturday: Pacquiao vs. Thurman Broadcast Live to US Movie Theaters

Boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Philippine Senator and regular WBA welterweight champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao returns to face undefeated Super WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman in a powerhouse 147-pound showdown broadcast live on Saturday, July 20 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. With his speed, power and tremendous boxing skills, Thurman represents the most dangerous challenger that the future Hall of Famer Pacquiao has faced in recent bouts. This high-stakes match will firmly give the winner a claim for the top spot in one of boxing’s deepest and most talented divisions.

Tickets for “Pacquiao vs. Thurman” can be purchased online at www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices now.

The live broadcast of “Pacquiao vs. Thurman” presented by Fathom Events, Premier Boxing Champions and FOX Sports is set for Saturday, July 20 beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 8:00 p.m. CT / 7:00 p.m. MT / 6:00 p.m. PT / 5:00 p.m. AK / 3:00 p.m. HI. Boxing fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in more than 175 select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). A complete list of theater locations is available on the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

A three-time Fighter of the Year and the Boxing Writers Association of America’s reigning Fighter of the Decade, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), who hails from Sarangani Province in the Philippines, is the only sitting Congressman and Senator to win a world title. Pacquiao’s boxing resume features victories over at least seven current and future Hall of Famers, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez.

In his last match on January 19, Pacquiao put on a vintage performance against four-division champion Adrien Broner, scoring a 12-round unanimous decision in the 70th match of his illustrious career. It was his first time fighting in the U.S. in two years. Before that, he scored an impressive knockout over Lucas Matthysse to win his version of the WBA welterweight championship in Malaysia last July 15.

The 30-year-old Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) is the longest reigning welterweight champion in boxing, having collected his WBA title with a stoppage victory over Diego Chaves in 2013. He has successfully defended that title eight times and became a unified welterweight champion when he defeated Danny Garcia by split decision to win the WBC title. Thurman was out of action for nearly two years due to injuries before getting back into the ring with a hard-fought victory against Josesito Lopez in January. His power punching earned him the nickname “One Time.”

“Fight fans coast-to-coast were thrilled to watch Pacquiao’s victory over Broner live and larger-than-life in their local cinemas in January,” said Ray Nutt, Fathom Events CEO. “We’re pleased to partner again with our friends at FOX Sports and Premier Boxing Champions to bring another of Pac Man’s highly-anticipated bouts to the big screen.”

Freddie Roach: It Will Be One Time vs. All Time

For the third time in 12 months, boxing’s only eight-division world champion and boxer laureate Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) will be battling in a world championship fight. Forget collecting on a pension, amazin’ Manny, 40, the reigning Fighter of the Decade, will be punching more than the clock this Saturday, when he tries to complete his world title hat trick, against undefeated WBA welterweight super champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), from Clearwater, Florida, who is 10 years Manny’s junior. The Pacquiao – Thurman welterweight world title attraction headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

“Keith Thurman has it easy. His only job is to train for this fight. I have three jobs. I am a fighter. I am a public servant. And on Saturday, I am going to be Keith Thurman’s teacher,” said Manny. “I have heard everything he has said about me. I have heard everything he has said he will do to me in the fight. Those things he says about me do not make me angry. They inspire me. This has been the best training camp I have had in years. Keith Thurman thinks he is going to retire me. I am not ready to look back. I am still looking forward. Keith Thurman is going to be very surprised by what he sees from me in the ring. He is going to leave the ring a very disappointed fighter.”

“It will be ‘One Time’ vs. All Time,” said Manny’s Hall of Fame trainer world-famous Freddie Roach. “Thurman may be ten years younger but Manny still has extraordinary talent and an era’s worth of experience against Hall of Fame opposition. The betting action on this fight reflects that. I have done a lot of interviews. All the media seem to be picking Thurman to win. They consider this a battle between Generation X and Generation Geritol. But we’re talking about Manny Pacquiao. He pushed himself to the limit in this training camp. Youth will be served a big slice of humble pie on Saturday night.”

Statement from Salita Promotions Regarding Otto Wallin vs. B.J. Flores Heavyweight Fight

As part of the licensing process in the state of Washington, the doctor appointed by the boxing commission to oversee tonight’s event reviewed medical tests and determined that B.J. Flores would not be medically cleared to compete. Based on that opinion, Washington State Department of Licensing spokesperson Gigi Zenk notified Salita Promotions this afternoon that they would not issue B.J. Flores a license to fight against Otto Wallin tonight. Due to medical privacy requirements we are unable to provide further information at this time.”

STATEMENT FROM WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING SPOKESPERSON GIGI ZENK: “Benjamin Flores was not medically cleared to compete.”

DAZN to Broadcast Whyte-Rivas Around the World

The heavyweight title eliminator between Dillian Whyte and Oscar Rivas for the number one spot in the WBC will be streamed live in all DAZN markets on Saturday, July 20, from The O2 in London. DAZN is available across four continents with the service available in the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Japan and Brazil.

Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “This is a huge night of Heavyweight boxing and I’m excited for DAZN subscribers that they will get to watch it live. Dillian Whyte who has proved himself as one on the best Heavyweights on the planet takes on the relentless unbeaten Oscar Rivas who is coming off a brutal knockout of Bryant Jennings. Brit Derek Chisora faces off against Poland’s Artur Szpilka and crowd favourite Dave Allen tackles David Price in a big domestic shootout. Tune in and don’t miss it!”

Whyte (25-1 18 KOs) holds the number one slot with the WBC and puts that on the line as the hard-hitting ‘Body Snatcher’ continues to blast his path to a World title shot. The Brixton banger put Derek Chisora away in devastating style in his last outing, the pair thrilling the Greenwich crowd in their rematch in December – before icing Del Boy in the 11th round.

The 31-year-old Briton will be gunning for a tenth straight win against Rivas, with wins over Joseph Parker, Robert Helenius and Lucas Browne sandwiched between his two wins over Chisora. Whyte has become a must-watch fighter since rocking old foe Anthony Joshua in their battle at The O2 in December 2012, and yet again takes on a high-risk challenge as he cements his spot as the leading Heavyweight contender in the world.

Rivas (26-0 18 KOs) is yet another dangerous challenger for Whyte to risk his number one rankings with, and the Colombian comes into the bout on the back of his biggest win in the paid ranks. Rivas traveled to Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York in January and KO’d former World title challenger Bryant Jennings in the final round of their clash, underlining his dangerous potential to World titlists and fellow contenders.

In the United States, action will begin on DAZN at 1:00 p.m. ET with the full six-fight Matchroom Boxing undercard from The O2 in London.

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Thurman, Frampton, Dominguez, Parker, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 25th to July 2nd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Keith Thurman Training Camp Quotes

Keith Thurman’s head trainer Dan Birmingham is typically a man of few words who likes to keep his focus on his job; which is training, coaching and creating world champion boxers. So when Dan speaks, people listen. His Mr. Miyagi-style message ahead of Keith’s blockbuster PBC on FOX Sports pay-per-view showdown versus Manny Pacquiao?

“Freddie Roach is going to lose a lot of money,” said Birmingham. “When the fight is over Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman’s hands will be raised. Keith is going to win this fight and win it in fine fashion.”

“Dan and I have worked together since I was an amateur, he was my mitt-man when my trainer Ben Getty couldn’t take my power,” said Thurman. “Ben would be on the sidelines and tell me what to throw and Dan would be there to catch it. The day I turned pro, Dan was in my corner and I felt blessed to have Dan become my coach and first corner when Ben passed away. Dan knows my strengths and he’s worked with other world champions. We’re not rookies. We’re prepared to be on the big stage.

“He’s a man of few words but his actions and words that he picks are always right on point. He sees what is going on even when I can’t or don’t see it. He isn’t hype. He is honest. He is giving me technique, criticism and whether or not we won the round; I know I can trust him.”

Trained by Birmingham since his original coach Ben Getty passed away ten years ago, Thurman continues to hone and develop his boxing prowess at Birmingham’s St Pete Boxing Club gym in St. Petersburg, FL. The Florida Boxing Hall of Famer knows what is needed for his pupil to win this historic fight on Saturday, July 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“This is a very important fight for Florida boxing and for our gym,” said Birmingham “From Winky to Jeff Lacy and all the guys who train and fight for titles, we have a lot of pride in Keith. This fight and holding this title means everything to our gym.

“Manny knows Keith’s a puncher, and that he brings youth and experience like Manny does. But Keith wants to fight, he’s anxious to fight and he’s got someone to fight for besides himself.”

One of the keys to Thurman’s impending victory is very simple, said Birmingham. “It’s been the rest factor. He’s rejuvenated his body and mind, he got married and as I said before, he has someone to fight for.”

Thurman’s over two-year recovery have allowed him to fully heal and its made for a powerful training camp. The undefeated, two-time world champion is operating at his very best – showing glimpses on his Instagram channel (@KeithOneTimeThurman) of his high intensity workouts.

“I am back on the big stage, I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase my talent and skill with a legend in the sport. It’s a big ‘get back’ year for me,” said Thurman. “I tried to tell everyone that and this is what it’s like when champions get back to performing like world class champions. No excuses. I want to be the best Keith Thurman I can be, and we set up a camp where we can bring out the best in me, for myself, for the fight and for the fight fans.”

“He has a renewed vigor – more energy – and he’s anxious to fight and anxious to train,” said Birmingham. “His power, ferociousness and tenacity will be a problem for Manny. We’ve only escalated that in this camp. He has two strength and conditioning coaches – NFL great Yo Murphy and leading strength coach Kimberly Doehnert. The core team includes post-workout trainer Eric Wilson for stretching and recovery in addition to myself and Chris Getty for strategy and training.

“We’ve mixed up sparring with some guys who emulate Manny but are tougher, stronger fighters who can take a punch. You’ve got to be tough to box with Keith.

“We’re going to win this fight.”
Carl Frampton-Emmanuel Dominguez To Headline Philly Fight Night on ESPN+

Carl “The Jackal” Frampton is on the hunt for another world title. Frampton, the former two-division world champion from Belfast, Northern Ireland, will make his first stateside appearance in more than two years in a 10-round featherweight bout against the hard-hitting Emmanuel Dominguez on Saturday, Aug. 10 at the Liacouras Center.

Frampton-Dominguez and a co-feature will stream live on ESPN+ — the industry-leading sports streaming service — beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The entire undercard, including South Philadelphia heavyweight sensation Sonny Conto (3-0, 3 KOs), Philadelphia-born featherweight prospect Donald Smith (9-0, 6 KOs) and Puerto Rican middleweight puncher Edgar Berlanga (11-0, 11 KOs), will stream on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Peltz Boxing, tickets, priced at $100, $55 and $35 (not including applicable fees), are on sale now and can be purchased at the Liacouras Center Box Office and www.liacourascenter.com, or by calling Peltz Boxing at 215-765-0922.

“Dominguez is a tall, young, hungry featherweight, so I’ll need to be on my game,” Frampton said. “The premise of an Oscar Valdez fight is dangling in front of me, so I want to go out and show the world that I’ve still got what it takes to be a world champion. Winning is always the most important thing, but I want to do it in style. It’s great to be boxing stateside again. And Philly, in particular, has so much boxing history. I’d like to thank MTK Global and Top Rank for giving me the opportunity. I won’t disappoint.”

“Carl Frampton is already looking ahead to an Oscar Valdez fight, which gives me added motivation,” Dominguez said. “I am not a stepping stone. I am coming to Philadelphia prepared to ruin Carl’s plans.”

Frampton (26-2, 15 KOs), a 10-year pro who compiled more than 100 victories during a standout amateur career, is on the road back to another world title opportunity following his competitive decision loss to IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington last December. Frampton won the IBF junior featherweight world title in 2014 and unified titles against WBA champion Scott Quigg via split decision in February 2016. He upset Leo Santa Cruz to win the WBA super world featherweight title in July 2016 but lost the immediate rematch six months later.

Frampton won three in a row, including an interim world title, before running into Warrington in front of a sold-out Manchester Arena crowd in one of the year’s best fights. With his sights set on Valdez, he must first defeat Dominguez (26-8-2, 18 KOs), a 25-year-old native of Aguascalientes, Mexico, who has won four of his last five, all by knockout.
Joseph Parker Signs Promotional Deal with Matchroom

Matchroom Boxing have signed a three-fight promotional deal with Heavyweight star Joseph Parker.

Parker will fight for the first time with Matchroom Boxing USA on June 29 in Providence, Rhode Island on the undercard of the Demetrius Andrade’s WBO Middleweight world title defense against Poland’s Maciej Sulecki, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Team Parker also announce today that David Higgins has been appointed to Joseph Parker’s management team.

The bout marks the beginning of the second phase of Parker’s career – and the start of the road to becoming the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world.

“My six-year promotional contract with Duco Events ended on March 26,” said Parker. “It was a wonderfully successful partnership – so much so that David Higgins will always be part of my team, advocating in my best interests in a management capacity.

“Since my contract with Duco ended I have been a free agent, with my team and I spending several months assessing how to best achieve my goal of not only becoming a World Champion again, but unifying all of the belts to become the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world.”

Parker said he and his management team conducted a robust process that included seeking offers from boxing’s most prominent promoters.

“Ultimately we decided that the best option was to partner with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing. We believe the three-fight deal that we are announcing today will be the start of a long and successful partnership.”

Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn said he had no doubt Parker could once again become Heavyweight Champion of the world.

“If Joseph Parker performs the way we all know he can over these next three fights then he will have a strong case for some huge fights,” Hearn said. “Parker is a young man with a great mix of experience and ambition, and this is a really exciting signing for Matchroom.

“And, I must say, I am also looking forward to sparring again with my old mate David Higgins as we haggle over the terms of each deal for Joseph. David unquestionably has Joseph’s best interests at heart and he is a tough negotiator, so there are going to be some interesting discussions ahead.”

Higgins said: “This is absolutely the right decision for Joseph and Team Parker, which I have supported every step of the way. I’m pleased that I can now work with Joseph’s existing management team to help carefully guide the remainder of his career.”

Higgins confirmed the creation of a new company, Sports Advisory and Management Limited, with his business partner Rachael Carroll, a former international pole vaulter.

The company will manage and advise a stable of talented athletes, he said.

The fight will be streamed on DAZN in the US and available on Sky Sports UK. Negotiations are underway for live broadcast rights in New Zealand.
Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions Inks Undefeated Super Middleweight Prospect Juan Jose Barajas

Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions’ growing stable of gifted fighters has expanded with today’s announcement of its latest addition, undefeated super middleweight prospect Juan Jose “Just Business” Barajas.

The 22-year-old Barajas (10-0, 7 KOs), fighting out of Victorville, California, is scheduled to make his RJJ Boxing debut August 24 at Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, California (outside of San Diego). Barajas’ fight against an opponent to be determined will be streamed live on UFC FIGHT PASS®.

Barajas’ last fight was his most impressive to date as a professional. Last May in Memphis, he took a 10-round majority decision against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. protégé Lanell Bellows (18-4-3, 11 KOs).

“I am excited about fighting for RJJ Boxing Promotions,” Barajas said. “I am happy about the direction I am going and feel confident that RJJ Boxing will put me in the bests position to reach my goals. I am looking forward to fighting the best and showcasing my skills among the top players in the super middleweight division. It’s time to go to work!”

Barajas, who won 27 of 30 amateur matches, is managed and trained by Michael Love.
Greg Cohen Promotions Signs Louis Rose to a Promotional Contract
Greg Cohen Promotions proudly announces the signing of charismatic middleweight contender Louis Rose to a promotional contract.

Rose (16-3-1, 7 KOs) is a former NABF Middleweight Champion who in October 2015, lost a razor-thin majority decision to current WBA Middleweight Champion Rob Brant for the WBC Continental Americas Middleweight Title. In his seven-year career, Rose has also taken the undefeated 0’s from Delen Parsley (then 10-0), Gino McClellan (9-0), Fabian Reyes (10-0), Ievgen Khytrov (6-0), Milorad Zizic (11-0), and Jorge Ivan Ibanez (8-0).

The 30-year-old Rose was world-rated and closing in on a title shot when he says he got sidelined by managerial problems for the last two years. With this new deal, he is eager to get back in the 160-lb mix.

“I feel amazing! This is going to resurrect my career and put me back where I was,” said Rose. “After the fight with Rob Brant, I feel that I should have been right there next to him. Most people think I beat him, but right after that fight, everything started going south. I didn’t feel like I could trust the team I was with, so now that I’m with GCP, I’m looking forward to getting the fights I deserve.”

A native of Los Angeles, Rose says he came to boxing after fleeing an unhealthy home life, living with relatives and eventually becoming homeless at age 17.

“Before boxing, I had a tough time on the street. When I was 20, I joined a boxing gym for $20 a month and I was just going to use the shower every day before work because I had no place to live. But then, I thought about it and I said I’m paying this money I might as well hit the bags. I learned I really like it!”

Rose’s story took another unexpected turn recently, as he chased love to Europe and is now living there, awaiting the birth of his first child in Athens, Greece, while training with Stavros Stofylas and Costa Vetimes at The Coliseum Gym. Rose says he and his new family will be returning to LA soon to get back to business.

“With the right fights I should be in line for a title shot by next year. I have a lot better resume than a lot of the guys getting title shots. I’m happy to have signed this deal with Greg Cohen and I’m looking forward to getting everything back to where it should be with this sport I love.”

Promoter Greg Cohen says he’s happy to be adding Rose to his stable of world contenders.

“Louis impressed me against Rob Brant. That was a close fight. When you look at what Rob has gone on to do, it’s not difficult to picture Louis being successful as well. He’s got a lot of personality and he’s a very talented fighter. No one coddled Louis Rose on his way up, he’s already beaten a lot of guys he was probably supposed to lose to. I think with the right guidance, he could be world champion some day soon.”

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Donaire, Rosado, Top Rank, MTK Global, Clark, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

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

MULVANE, KS – NOVEMBER 17: Luis Arias and Gabriel Rosado during their bout on November 17, 2018 at the Kansas Star Casino. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA)


Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

Hearn: Winner of Rosado-Sulecki Fight Likely for Andrade

The Middleweight clash between Gabriel Rosado and Maciej Sulecki on Friday night (March 15) at the Liacouras Center, Philadelphia live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK, has extra spice added to it as promoter Eddie Hearn announced that the winner is likely to face WBO kingpin Demetrius Andrade in June.

TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW PRICED FROM $40 FROM THE LIACORAS CENTER WEBSITE

Rosado and Sulecki promised to be a war from the get-go when the fight was announced in January, but now the WBO International title will be on the line, and with that, a likely shot at Rhode Island star Andrade in the summer.

Rosado (24-11-1 14 KOs) is back in action following his closely fought draw with Luis Arias in Mulvane, Kansas in November – another contentious fight for the Philly favorite who will now be chasing a third World title shot in his first fight on home turf in seven years.

Sulecki (27-1 11 KOs) is hunting a first World title shot having returned to winning ways in November with a second round stoppage of Jean Michel Hamilcaro in his native Poland. The 29 year old gave Daniel Jacobs a stern test in April before the Brooklyn man moved on to become a two-weight World ruler, and Sulecki will believe that experience will serve him against Rosado.

WBO ruler Andrade defended his title live on DAZN in January against Artur Akavov at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the streaming giants rubber-stamped their status as the home of the elite Middleweights by adding Kazakh star Gennady Golovkin to the phenomenal roster of 160lbers, with Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs clashing in a unification blockbuster on DAZN on May 4 in Las Vegas.

“I’m pretty sure that the winner of Saturday’s fight will be the next opponent for Demetrius in June,” said Hearn. “It’s a massive fight for Gabe and Maciej – we know that DAZN is the home of the Middleweights and these two have the opportunity on Friday to unlock the door to the big time.

“I expect an absolute war between both men, I think it could be fight of the night and on this card, that’s saying something!”

Rosado’s clash with Sulecki is part of a huge night of action in Philadelphia on St Patrick’s weekend topped by a World title double-header as Philly’s Tevin Farmer (28-4-1 6 KOs) comes home to defend his IBF Super-Featherweight title against Ireland’s Jono Carroll (16-0-1 3 KOs), and Irish sensation Katie Taylor (12-0 5 KOs) looks to unify the Lightweight division once again, putting her IBF and WBA straps on the line against Brazil’s WBO champion Rose Volante (14-0 8 KOs).

Philly Lightweight’s Hank Lundy (29-7-1 14 KOs) and Avery Sparrow (9-1 3 KOs) battle for local pride, Olympic gold medal pair Luke Campbell MBE (19-2 15 KOs) and Daniyar Yeleussinov (5-0 3 KOs) and silver medalist John Joe Nevin (11-0 4 KOs) taste their first action of 2019, unbeaten Super-Middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (19-0 12 KOs) faces Victor Fonseca (17-9-1 14 KOs) while exciting New Jersey amateur star Raymond Ford makes his pro debut.

Super Welterweight Contender Jamontay Clark Battles Unbeaten Vernon Brown on March 24th

Exciting super welterweight contender Jamontay Clark joins the Peterson brothers on a Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes show on Sunday, March 24 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

Clarkwill take on Vernon Brown of Chicago in a 10-round super welterweight match that will open the broadcast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. ET. Two-division world champion Lamont Peterson takes on former junior welterweight world champion Sergey Lipinets in a 12-round welterweight match that will headline the show. Anthony Peterson, Lamont’s brother, battles 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 these nationally televised bouts for the first time since 2006 and will look to put on a show for fans just outside of their hometown.

The 24-year-old Clark (13-1, 7 KOs) was on an impressive roll, having defeated Domonique Dolton and previously unbeaten Ivan Golub, before his match against Jeison Rosario last August. Fighting out of Cincinnati, he dropped a tough unanimous decision to Rosario in the first loss of his career. He will be looking to bounce back against the 29-year-old Brown (10-0-1, 7 KOs), who had a busy 2018 with three victories – two by way of knockout.

The FS1 prelims broadcast will begin at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and feature Mexican slugger Jose Miguel Borrego (14-2, 13 KOs) clashing with California’s Jerry Thomas (14-1-1, 8 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight match. It will also see Brandon Quarles (21-4-1, 10 KOs) battling Kansas-native Aaron Coley (15-2-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight bout, plus Baltimore’s Lorenzo Simpson (2-0, 2 KOs) taking on Earl Henry (0-1-1) in a four-round super welterweight attraction.

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/.

Action-Packed Night of Undercard Attractions Lead Up to Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia

An exciting night of undercard attractions will lead up to the first Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event headlined by unbeaten welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. taking on undefeated four-division champion Mikey Garcia on Saturday, March 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The action features 2016 Mexican Olympian Lindolfo Delgado (8-0, 8 KOs) looking to keep his perfect record intact against once-beaten Oklahoma-native James Roach (5-1, 5 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight fight and undefeated Dallas-native Fernando Garcia (11-0, 6 KOs) taking on Colombia’s Marlon Olea (14-4, 12 KOs) for eight rounds of super featherweight action.

Tickets for this showdown, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now, and can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.

The undercard will also see a host of local talent from Texas as cruiserweight Burley Brooks makes his pro debut against Randy Mast (1-0) in a four-round bout, Dallas-native Amon Rashidi (5-0, 3 KOs) in a six-round welterweight fight against El Paso’s Gabriel Gutierrez (5-7, 3 KOs), San Antonio’s Jesse Rodriguez (8-0, 4 KOs)facing Rauf Aghayev (26-6, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bantamweight showdown, Mesquite’s Adrian Taylor (8-1, 4 KOs)in a four-round cruiserweight attraction and San Antonio’s Robert Rodriguez (2-0) in a four-round super flyweight fight against Fernando Ibarra.

Rounding out the show are Marsello Wilder (3-1, 2 KOs)facing Mark Sanchez (0-2)in a four-round cruiserweight fight, California’s Luis Coria (10-2, 5 KOs) in a six-round featherweight bout against Mexico’s Omar Garcia (6-7, 1 KO), Milwaukee’s Thomas Hill (7-2, 1 KO) facing Christian Aguirre (8-4, 4 KOs) in a six-round super welterweight attraction, unbeaten Aaron Morales (5-0, 3 KOs) taking on Fernando Robles (2-0) for six-rounds of bantamweight action and Mexico’s Jose Valenzuela (2-0) in a four-round super featherweight bout against Christian Velez (1-1, 1 KO).

Top Rank Announced Media Partnership with MTK Global

Top Rank and MTK Global are proud to announce an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement that will bring MTK Global events to fans in the United States on ESPN platforms, including ESPN+ — the direct-to-consumer sports streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment and ESPN.

The agreement calls for approximately 30 shows a year emanating from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and elsewhere around the globe.

The inaugural Top Rank/MTK Global/ESPN card will be announced soon.

“MTK Global manages a vast number of A-list fighters from around the globe,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “This deal will enable Top Rank, through the ESPN family of networks, to afford viewers in the United States the opportunity to see these great fighters perform.”

“This is a very proud day as MTK Global partners with the biggest and best in the industry to expand the audiences for our incredible fighters,” said MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan. “Our sole mission has, and always will be, to afford every possible opportunity we can to the athletes we represent, and this partnership really cements that. Top Rank and ESPN are names synonymous with boxing on an international level, as MTK Global has become in recent times, and we couldn’t imagine better partners to take the next step with.”

MTK Global is the world’s leading boxing management firm with more than 100 fighters under their umbrella, including lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, Michael Conlan, Billy Joe Saunders and Carl Frampton. The MTK Global cards will complement the wide variety of international fight offerings already under the Top Rank on ESPN banner.

Prograis-Relikh and Donaire-Tete WBSS Semi-Finals Confirmed for Lafayette
Regis Prograis & Kiryl Relikh and Nonito Donaire & Zolani Tete continue their pursuit for the Ali Trophy on April 27 at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. Tickets on sale next Friday.

The sensational doubleheader opens the semi-final stage of the World Boxing Super Series.

American and New Orleans native Regis Prograis (23-0, 19 KOs) faces Belarusian Kiryl Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs), who is training in Miami, in a semi-final in the 140lb division and American-Philippine Nonito Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs) meets South African Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KOs) in a semi-final in the 118lb edition of the tournament.

“Fighting in Lafayette is a perfect situation for me because it’s halfway between my two homes Houston and New Orleans,” said Prograis, the WBC Diamond Champion. “I can’t wait to come out and put in a historical event.”

The World Boxing Super Series is returning to Louisiana after last years 140lb quarter-finals in New Orleans.

“We are thrilled to bring the Ali Trophy lights to Lafayette kickoff the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer. “The fans in Lafayette and around the world can look forward to two unbelievable blockbusters with the best production in the game all on one night.

“The WBSS is about the best fighting the best and to serve up Fight of the Year contenders in the quest for the Ali Trophy and the supreme international superstars involved in this doubleheader at the Cajundome on April 27 will deliver just that .”

Fans wanting to buy tickets are encouraged to sign-up to Ticket Alerts to receive emails reminders when tickets go on sale.

Fans in the U.S. and Canada can watch all the Ali Trophy semi-finals LIVE, exclusively on DAZN.

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Prograis, Bivol, Pascal, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 9th to October 16th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Canelo Alvarez Receives WBC Middleweight Title in Mexico City

Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) received his WBC Middleweight World Title today at Museo Soumaya in Mexico City in recognition of his spectacular victory against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in September. Canelo also received the Cinturon Chiapaneco and the Cinturon Huichol at this momentous event as he prepares to return to the ring. The 28-year-old WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion will take on WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) in a special 12-round super middleweight attraction on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden.

Below is what today’s participants had to say at the belt presentation:

CANELO ALVAREZ, WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion:

“I want to thank everyone for their support during the good times and the bad. It was a tough year for me. I would never do anything to blemish my career, but I’m grateful to all those who were there with me. I’m going to represent the WBC from here on. They’ve been my family since the beginning. It’s a great responsibility to be a Mexican world champion. But I take that responsibility because I know I’m a determined and disciplined fighter. I honor every fighter who has fought at Madison Square Garden, but I’m going to make my own story. This is another chapter in my legacy.

JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO, Manager and Trainer of Canelo Alvarez:

“The past 13 years of Canelo Alvarez’s career has not been easy. It has been difficult. But when you have a lot of determination like he does, it makes the hard road that much easier. We completed the promise of making him a world champion because he completed his part of working hard. I thank everyone here and the sport of boxing.”

EDDY REYNOSO, Head Trainer and Manager of Canelo Alvarez:

“I’m grateful and thankful for all that Canelo Alvarez has achieved. I thank Mauricio Sulaiman and the WBC for their help. They’ve supported us all along the way. We’re proud of what he has accomplished, and we know there is more to come.”

ERIC GOMEZ, President of Golden Boy Promotions:

“We’ve worked with Canelo Alvarez since he was a very young prospect. He was hungry and determined to be great. To see him achieve that greatness is a wonderful thing to see. I congratulate him on this exciting day for him.”

MAURICIO SULAIMAN, President of the WBC:

“Canelo shut a lot of mouths in his last fight. He quieted a lot of critics who said he did not come forward. But in his last fight he showed with his fists and his aggression that he is the better fighter. Canelo is always first to raise the Mexican flag after a victory and yell Viva Mexico! I am so proud he is representing the WBC once again.”

Canelo vs. Fielding is a 12-round fight for the WBA Super Middleweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Matchroom Boxing. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” and Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event will take place Saturday, December 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.

Prograis Makes Brief Stop Home Before Upcoming Fight
Since the Crescent City last saw native son Regis “Rougarou” Prograis in the ring in July, it’s been a whirlwind for the rising star of boxing’s super lightweight division.

Prograis has been to Russia, Brazil and then in training for nearly six weeks in both Los Angeles and Houston as he counts down to an Oct. 27 matchup with Englishman Terry Flanagan at UNO Lakefront Arena.

“I started training camp two weeks earlier,” Prograis said Wednesday in a visit with local media. “I had to go to Russia on Tuesday (after his last fight). When I came back, I went back to Houston and bought a house. I barely stayed in my house for a couple of days, then I went to Brazil for a month … I was training MMA and jiu jitsu. I was back in Houston for a week, then off to (Los Angeles) for training camp.”

The longer camp allowed Prograis and trainer Bobby Benton to change the focus initially.

“As we start camp, we usually start with strength and conditioning,” Benton said. “Instead, we worked his feet. His feet are so much better, his balance is better. It’s made a difference.”

Prograis was wearing a reminder of how difficult training for the fight has been, showing a mark below his left eye as a result of a “little pop” in training Tuesday.

“My training camps are really, really hard,” Prograis said. “My body is sore.”

It’s the second consecutive fight at Lakefront Arena for Prograis, who dispatched Juan Jose Velasco in an eighth-round TKO in the headline event of New Orleans’ first championship fight card in nearly two decades.

“My whole goal is to turn it into a franchise,” Prograis said. “We got the Saints, the Pelicans, and hopefully now we’ll have Regis Prograis.”

A win against Flanagan could mean a return to New Orleans for his next bout.

Prograis, who is 22-0 in his career with 19 knockouts, is not only the No. 1 seed in the super lightweight bracket for the Ali Trophy, but ranked No. 1 in the 140-pound division by ESPN. As the top seed, he had a choice of opponents and picked Flanagan (33-1, 13 KOs).

“I’m in it to fight the best people,” Prograis said. “Terry Flanagan is tough, he’s scrappy, he’s going to come to right and he has a lot of experience. I wanted to fight the hardest fight first.”

If his first fight in his hometown taught Prograis anything, it was to watch what he eats right before the fight. What will he do differently this time? “Don’t eat po-boys and gumbo before I fight,” he said. “Otherwise, everything went smoothly. I experienced (nervousness) already, so that’s done. This time, it’s going to be back being fun to me again.”

If Prograis can win the Ali Trophy – the final would likely happen around June 2019 – he has in his sight a matchup with fellow unbeaten Jose Ramirez (23-0). Prograis attended Ramirez’s fight last month in Fresno, California.

Prograis and his team were headed back to Houston late Wednesday to resume training before returning to New Orleans in the days leading up to the fight.

The Prograis-Flanagan co-headliner is another Ali Trophy super-lightweight quarterfinal between Ivan Baranchyk and Anthony Yigit for the IBF world championship.

The undercard is expected to begin at 6 p.m., with the two main events at about 9. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the Lakefront Arena box office.

Dmitry Bivol to Defend WBA Title Against Jean Pascal in Atlantic City

Dmitry Bivol will defend his WBA Light Heavyweight World Title against former Olympian and former WBC, IBO, and Ring Magazine champion Jean Pascal on Saturday, November 24, 2018 as boxing returns to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.

The event will be promoted by Main Events and World of Boxing, Bivol’s promoter, in association with Jean Pascal Promotions. The bout will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Bivol, age 27, of St. Petersburg Russia, risks his perfect record of 14 wins with no losses and 11 knockouts against the time-tested Pascal, who turns 36 on October 28, has 33 wins, 20 by knockout, against five losses and a draw.

Bivol is coming off a dominating 12-round decision victory over crafty Isaac Chilemba of Malawi on August 4. Pascal is fresh from an eighth round TKO over former UFC champion Steve Bosse at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec on July 20.

After storming through the amateur ranks, Bivol has quickly moved himself into position to take over the highly competitive light heavyweight division by facing top names and defeating them, one after the other. Bivol is open about his ambitious goals to fight all of the best opponents in the division, and to deliver entertaining fights in front of large audiences.

Bivol’s ultimate goal to unify the light heavyweight division: “It’s very important for me. It’s every boxer’s dream to be the champion, the unified champion. It’s a big step to dream about. Like (unified cruiserweight champion) Oleksandr Usyk.”

Although he has a humble nature, Bivol is sure about his abilities. “Not too long ago, Pascal fought for three world titles and I watched on TV. Now he wants to take my title away, and I am very happy to accept this challenge and look forward to my next title defense on HBO.”

Vadim Kornilov, Bivol’s manager, added, “We are looking forward to another great performance by Dmitry Bivol on November 24th. Jean Pascal is a name everyone has heard, and we look forward to a competitive fight with this great champion.”

Andrei Ryabinski of World of Boxing, Bivol’s promoter, said, “We are glad to be putting together another fight for Dmitry Bivol together with HBO, Main Events and the Hard Rock. Look forward to a great fight between Dmitry Bivol and Jean Pascal!”

“This is the most important fight of my life and I could not be more motivated,” said Pascal. “I’m making boxing history on November 24th. I’m known as a champion who never turned down any challenges, but I want to be two-time champion and I want to be immortalized in the Hall of Fame when my career is over. To fully cement my status as a hall of famer, I must win this fight and I will win this fight.

“Bivol is a very good fighter and a difficult challenge, but greatness has never been achieved without overcoming difficult challenges. My Canadian fans should be very excited because all of the light heavyweight belts will be in our house for Christmas this year,” promised Pascal.

Manager Greg Leon is equally confident. “In my opinion Bivol is the best light heavyweight champion in the world, so this is an extremely difficult challenge for us. However, Jean is fighting for the hall of fame, history and legacy. That coupled with the intangibles he possesses that cannot be taught make him the most dangerous fighter Bivol has ever faced by far.

“November 24th will provide Bivol with a couple of new experiences; he’ll be fighting in his first major main event and he’ll be suffering his first loss as a professional,” said Leon.

Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said, “Main Events could not be more excited to return to Atlantic City for our second card at the Hard Rock’s Etess Arena. Our first card there on August 4 was a sellout, and we expect to build on that momentum by bringing Dmitry back to be in the main event on November 24.”

“Following up on the success of last August’s fight between Alvarez and Kovalev, this will just be another step forward in Atlantic City’s return to professional boxing,” says Bernie Dillon, Vice President of Entertainment for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, “I’m thrilled that Hard Rock can be a big part of that.”
Ruben Villa Shines on Front of Hometown Fans on Saturday Night
Featherweight Ruben Villa (14-0, 5 KOs) returned to his hometown for the second time in his career and delivered a thrilling, one-sided performance against the game Miguel Carrizoza (10-4, 2 KOs) Saturday night from a sold-out Storm House in Salinas, Calif.

Villa, 21, used terrific footwork to find the angles against Carrizoza in route to a sweep of the scorecards in the 8-round main event. Throughout the fight, Villa hammered Carrizoza with a stiff jab, followed by a thundering left hand. It was an outstanding display of accuracy for the southpaw in his fifth fight of the year.

“I felt great tonight,” said Villa, who is promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing. “Everything was clicking. The guy was tough. I landed a lot of good shots and he came coming back. I’m very happy with my performance. I put on a great show for my hometown fans.”

To watch a replay of Villa’s dominant performance, please click here

Villa, who has been as active as possible since joining the professional ranks in 2016, looked as comfortable as he ever has.

“I’m gaining more and more confidence with each win,” Villa said. “I like where I’m at right now.”

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Prograis, DeGale, Beltran, Briedis, Smith, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 26th to July 4th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Briedis Faces Deslaurier on Usyk-Gassiev Undercard

Mairis Briedis, Ali Trophy Final Cruiserweight Substitute Fighter, meets Brandon Deslaurier, on the Usyk-Gassiev undercard July 21 at the Olimpiyskiy Arena in Moscow, Russia.

“I can’t wait to fight again,” said Briedis (23-1, 18 KOs). “I’m looking forward to a quality World Boxing Super Series event and I am sure that the 21st of July will make a great night of boxing for the fans in Moscow and all over the world.”

The former WBC World Champion won his quarter-final in the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy against Mike Perez by unanimous decision and continued to face top-seed Usyk.

The Latvian sports hero did not fail to impress in a ‘Fight Of The Year’-contender as the semi-final was dubbed.

Briedis was defeated in a close and thrilling contest and gave what Usyk called; ‘the toughest fight of my career.’

The 33-year-old will be on standby to enter the final in Moscow in the unlikely scenario of one of the original participants being unable to compete.

In his fight on the Moscow undercard, Briedis is up against France’s Brandon Deslaurier (11-1-1, 1 KO).

“I’m very excited to come to Russia and compete against a world class fighter like Mairis Briedis. But people must not underestimate me. I am coming to Russia to win and beat Mairis Briedis,” said Deslaurier.

Everything is on the line for Aleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev in the Ali Trophy Cruiserweight Final in Moscow: The winner in Moscow on July 21 will be the first one ever to take home the Muhammad Ali Trophy. The first cruiserweight ever to unify the titles in the four-belt era. The winner will also add RING Magazine’s vacant cruiserweight championship belt.

Prograis and Velasco Competing for Place in Ali Trophy Tournament

The winner of WBC Interim World Champion Regis Prograis vs top challenger Juan Jose Velasco on July 14 will enter the 140lb edition of the second season of the World Boxing Super Series.

29-year-old Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs), the Houston resident who relocated from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, won the WBC Interim 140-pound World Championship in March after a sensational second round TKO-victory over former titleholder Julius Indongo from Namibia.

“My biggest asset is my hunger to be the best. I have a chip on my shoulder and I want to prove to everybody I am the best at 140 lbs,” said Prograis.

The undefeated southpaw, known for his fan-friendly style inspired by idols such as Roberto Duran and Pernell Whitaker, is confident that he will enter the tournament.

“I’m definitely excited to enter into the tournament. This is great for boxing. The best fighting the best.”

31-year-old Velasco (20-0, 12 KOs), from Buenos Aires, Argentina, will challenge the Interim WBC World Super Lightweight Champion in Prograis’ birthplace of New Orleans, Louisiana on July 14. Velasco already sees himself as an Ali Trophy participant:

“It’s a great honour and I look forward to competing for the Muhammad Ali Trophy and winning the whole thing. I think the format is set up well,” said Velasco, also known as ‘El Pitbull’. “The best fight the best in the World Boxing Super Series to determine one champ. Great!”

Said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer: “Prograis is an exciting athlete capable of catapulting his status to new heights of sporting glory in the Ali Trophy tournament. He is facing Velasco, a tough challenger. We are sure of one thing: another belt will enter the Ali Trophy tournament!”

Three weight classes will feature in Season II of the World Boxing Super Series with two categories, Bantamweight and Super Lightweight, already announced.

DeGale Vacates IBF Title

Two-Time IBF World Super-Middleweight Champion James DeGale MBE has today relinquished his title as he closes in on securing big-fights in the final phase of his illustrious ring career.

DeGale, a former British and European Champion, has ruled the 168 pound division split over two reigns as World Champion totalling almost three years and has been involved in six IBF World Championship contests.

The Londoner is proud to have held the organisation’s prestigious and famous red and gold World Title belt that has been worn by many of the great fighters at the weight including legends Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jnr.

DeGale began his first reign as IBF World Champion in May 2015 by making history to become Britain’s first ever Olympic Champion to win a world title when he sensationally defeated Andre Dirrell in Boston to claim the vacant belt.

The trail-blazing Londoner then continued his campaign across the Atlantic to gain respect from the media and fans’ as he made the first successful defence of the title against former IBF World Champion Lucian Bute in Canada in November that year.

In April 2016, DeGale returned to the U.S to make the second defence of the title against tough Mexican Rogelio Medina in Washington which he won on a majority decision.

DeGale then aimed to solidify his dominance of the 168 pound division by attempting to unify his IBF title against WBC World Champion Badou Jack in January 2017 in Brooklyn, New York. In an electrifying, all-action fight, DeGale retained his title by way of controversial draw that many felt DeGale had won.

A British homecoming world title defence against American Caleb Truax in December 2017 was ruined after DeGale lost his title on a points decision in a below par performance. He later admitted it was because he returned to the ring too soon after having career saving surgery to his shoulder following the Jack fight.

However, DeGale proved his champion’s heart by facing Truax in his backyard for the rematch in April this year in Las Vegas when he reclaimed the title with a dominant display to win clearly on the judges’ scorecards.

DeGale was due to be involved in a purse bid for his IBF mandated title defence against Interim Champion Jose Uzcategui this Thursday (5th July), but has now withdrawn.

DeGale said, “No World champion easily gives up their World title that they’ve earned the hard way in the ring and I’ve proudly held the IBF World title in two reigns with pride and distinction which is why it makes it very hard decision to relinquish the belt. It has been a pleasure to work with the IBF and I would like to thank president Daryl Peoples for allowing me to challenge and hold the distinguished belt that so many of the division’s great champions have held before for me. It has been a honour to be recognised as the IBF World Champion and I hope that by now vacating it will ease the transition to determine a successor between the Interim champion Jose Uzcategui and the next highly ranked available contender. I’ve achieved so much in my career, Olympic Gold, British, European and International titles and two-time World Champion and I believe I’m at the top of my game right now. I’m in the final phase of my career where I have a few good years left where I can be involved in massive fights and really leave a legacy in the division’s history. My team have been working very hard behind the scenes and we’ve got some very big and exciting news to announce soon.”

WBO News: Top Rank Wins the Beltran-Andreev Purse Bid

This afternoon, at the World Boxing Organization (WBO) headquarters in Puerto Rico, the purse bid for the mandatory fight between WBO Lightweight World Champion Raymundo Beltrán (35-7-1 , 21 KOs), from Mexico, and first-ranked Roman Andreev (21-0, 15 KOs), from Russia.

Top Rank won the rights for the fight with a successful bid of $ 252,000. Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti, personally presented the winning bid. The fight is scheduled for Saturday, August 25 in Phoenix, Arizona.

The OMB exhorted both Top Rank and other promoters to submit their boxers to doping controls, not only immediately prior to and after the title fights, but throughout the entire training phase of both combatants.

Joe Smith Jr. Returns with Devastating KO at Mohegan Sun

Returning to the ring after an 11-month layoff due to a broken jaw, Joe “The Beast” Smith, Jr. provided early fireworks last night (Saturday, June 30) in the latest installment in the popular “Slugfest at The Sun” series, presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

“Slugfest at The Sun” was taped live and will air July 19, 8 -10 p.m. ET, on New England Sports Network (NESN). Star Boxing’s next event, “Rockin’ Fights”, September 21 at the Paramount in Huntington, NY, will also air via tape- delay on NESN.

Rated No. 3 and No. 7 in the world, respectively, by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA), Smith (24-2, 20 KOs) hurt Melvin “The Romantic Redneck” Russell (11-5-2, 7 KOs) with the first punch he landed and finished the show, two devastating knockdowns later, in the opening round.

“I hit him with a decent shot when I was walking him down and saw that I hurt him,” Joe Smith Jr. explained. “So, I looked to end it. I would have liked to have gotten some rust off, but I’m happy with my performance. My jaw feels great.”

“We’re looking to go to the top,” Smith’s promoter Joe DeGuardia stated. “Joe’s plan and goal has always been to be world champion. We wanted (Sergey) Kovalev before this fight, but it didn’t work out. We’re hoping to get him in the fall.”

“Kovalev looks great, he motivates me,” Smith noted. “I think I can take advantage of his conditioning.”

Coming off her historic fight this past May against the undefeated Queen of Boxing Cecelia Breakhus, who won a 10-round decision in the first female fight to air on HBO, three-time world champion Kali “KO Mequinonoag” Reis (14-7-1, 4 KOs) cruised past Mexican welterweight Patty “Las Elegante” Ramirez (11-6, 5 KOs), a former world title challenger, winning all eight rounds.

“She was a survivor,” Reis commented. “There was a lot we wanted to work on, body shots, jabs and more … getting more comfortable. I executed the plan my corner gave me and got the job done.

A Native American from Rhode Island, Reis wants a rematch with Breakhus, “I know I need to stay busy, active and remain fighting at welterweight to get the rematch,” Reis added. “I’m going to stay on her tail. I’ll be ready when it happens, I really want it to happen.”

In the television opener, undefeated junior welterweight “Action” Anthony Laureano (8-0 3KO’s) lived up to his nickname, never taking a backwards step, as he pounded Juan Rodriguez (8-10-1 6KO’s) in the center of the ring from the opening bell through the end for a dominant six-round unanimous decision. The 2016 New England Golden Gloves champion Laureano, who fights out East Hartford, CT, put on an entertaining show in front of his large, loud contingent of fans. Laureano effectively used every punch in his vast arsenal to break down a tough, game Rodriguez.

“I thought I did well,” Laureano said after the fight, “but I’d like to see more angles. I want to see more power, too. It’s there, he felt it; it’s coming. I have a long road. Next fight, I’d like to have an eight-rounder. We’re adding more people to the team. I hope everyone see that I’m getting better each fight. I have more tools and my discipline is there.”

Undefeated junior middleweight Wendy “Haitian Fire” Toussaint (9-0, 3 KOs) lit up an overwhelmed Andy Gonzalez (6-3, 5 KOs), battering him from pillar to post, until referee Steve Willis waved off the fight in the third round. Haiti-native Toussaint, now living in Huntington, NY, used his superior power and speed to make an impressive statement.

Popular South Boston southpaw Joe Farina (3-0, 2 KOs) overcame a flash knockdown during the opening seconds of the fight, using a relentless attack to defeat junior welterweight Steve Moore (1-4, 1 KO), by way of a four-round split decision.

Irish junior welterweight “Lethal” Larry Fryers (formerly known as Gleeson) improved his record to 7-1 (2 KOs) with a six-round unanimous decision over Anthony Woods (1-7-1). Fighting out of Yonkers NY, Fryers floored Woods with a left hook at the end of round two. Woods was penalized a point near the end of the final round for an intentional head butt.

Former U. of New Haven basketball star Cassius Chaney (13-0, 7 KOs), fighting out of New London (CT), kept his undefeated record intact, dropping Mexican heavyweight Elder Hernandez (5-3, 3 KOs) twice before referee Willis halted the match near the end of the opening round.

The opening bout of the evening ended in the second round and ruled a “No Contest” because of an accidental head butt that left both fighters — William “The Silent Assassin” Foster III (8-0, 6 KOs) and Tyrome Jones (4-3-1, 1 KO) – with serious head cuts and unable to continue.

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Garcia, Easter, Diaz, Boxing Documentaries, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

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


Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account

Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter to Meet in Lightweight Unification Fight

WBC Lightweight World Champion Mikey Garcia and IBF Lightweight World Champion Robert Easter Jr. will square-off in a 135-pound unification showdown between unbeaten stars Saturday, July 28 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

The main event of the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) will see Garcia look to become a unified champion for the first time in a career that has seen him win titles in four weight classes. Easter, who enters with a 5-inch height and 8-inch reach advantage, looks to stamp his name amongst boxing’s elite by unifying titles at 27 years old, less than two years after capturing his first belt.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale today at 12 p.m. PT. To purchase tickets, visit AXS.com.

“SHOWTIME Sports continues to lead the industry with the biggest events, the most important matchups, week after week, month after month,” said Stephen Espinoza, President Sports & Events Programming, Showtime Network Inc. “Mikey Garcia vs. Robert Easter Jr. is the third world championship unification match on SHOWTIME this year. A consensus top-10 pound-for-pound champion facing an undefeated young champion while both are in the prime of their careers. July 28 has all the makings of an instant classic.”

“Mikey Garcia vs. Robert Easter is an outstanding lightweight matchup that is sure to deliver drama for fight fans at STAPLES Center and on SHOWTIME,” Said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Garcia will look to unify in his hometown and further solidify his credentials as boxing’s pound-for-pound best. He’ll have perhaps the toughest test of his career in the unbeaten Easter, who has a lethal combination of size, speed and power that he brings to the ring. With both fighters defending their titles and undefeated records, this is shaping up to be a can’t-miss night of boxing in downtown Los Angeles.”

“This is the kind of matchup that boxing fans love and a fight that I believe will certainly live up to expectations,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports. “With two undefeated world champions, and two of the top guys at 135 pounds, this fight is guaranteed drama. Mikey Garcia will look to become a unified world champion and add another accolade to a career that is already shaping up to be historic. Robert Easter Jr, a proud champion in his own right, is coming to STAPLES Center on July 28 to upset Mikey Garcia in his hometown. This is the quality of matchup that fans watching on SHOWTIME have come to expect and I suspect they will be fulfilled once again when these two warriors meet in the ring.”

“We are really looking forward to this incredible fight at STAPLES Center,” said Lee Zeidman, President, STAPLES Center. “These two fighters will undoubtedly headline an amazing night of fights for boxing fans in Los Angeles and we are looking forward to welcoming back Premier Boxing Champions and SHOWTIME for the second time in just two months.”

One of Southern California’s most popular fighters, Garcia returns to STAPLES Center for his first fight since becoming a world champion, and his first in California in seven years. Easter returns to the site of his professional debut, having started his career at STAPLES Center in 2012 after serving as an alternate in the London Olympic Games.

Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs), of Moreno Valley by way of Oxnard, Calif., became only the third fighter in modern history to become champion at 126, 130, 135 and 140-pounds, joining future Hall of Famers Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, when he defeated Sergey Lipinets for the IBF 140-pound title in March. The 30-year-old relinquished that title so that he can unify the WBC Lightweight World Championship that he won in January 2017 with a highlight reel knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin.

These wins, combined with a summer 2017 victory over Adrien Broner, have seen Garcia return to the top of pound-for-pound lists after a layoff of two and a half years. Garcia accrued wins over a list of notable names while winning his first two titles at 126 and 130-pounds, including Orlando Salido, Roman Martinez and Juan Manuel Lopez.

“This is the toughest fight of my career to date,” said the four-division champion Garcia. “Robert Easter Jr. is an undefeated world champion who presents serious challenges that I’m going to have to work hard to overcome. Unifying titles is something I’ve dreamed of doing for many years, and to do it at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles will make it even more special. This is the kind of fight that will help my legacy. To be the best you have to beat the best, and Easter is certainly one of the best out there. I’m very thankful to have this opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it on July 28.”

Representing his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, Easter (21-0, 14 KOs) has made three successful defenses since winning his world title in an exciting contest over Richard Commey in 2016. The 27-year-old delivered a fifth-round destruction of former champion Argenis Mendez to earn the title shot, and since winning the title has held off challenges from Javier Fortuna, Denis Shafikov and Luis Cruz to retain his 135-pound belt.

Easter will be making the move to work with Kevin Cunningham for the first time for this fight and conducting training camp in West Palm Beach with him. Cunningham, the longtime trainer of former world champions such as Devon Alexander and Cory Spinks, spurred Adrien Broner to a strong performance in a draw against Jessie Vargas and Gervonta Davis to a dominant knockout of Jesus Cuellar in their first fights together in April.

“This is a fight I’ve been waiting for and I’m really excited that the time is now,” said Easter. “This is the best fighting the best. These are the fights that boxing is all about. I made the move to train with Kevin Cunningham down in Florida and I think it’s going to help me reach another level. It’s just eat, sleep and train down there. We’re going to be ready on July 28 to put on a show and deliver fireworks.”

Christopher Diaz to Fight Masayuki Ito for WBO 130 Pound Title on July 28th

Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz wants to add his name to the storied list of Puerto Rican world champions. He will get that chance July 28 at the Kissimmee Civic Center, when he squares off against Masayuki Ito for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight title.

And, in the 10-round co-feature, undefeated welterweight prospect Carlos “Caballo Bronco” Adames will face Artemio Reyes of San Bernardino, Calif.

Diaz-Ito and Adames-Reyes will stream live and exclusively in the United States at 9:30 ET on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. Undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. ESPN+ is available to all fans on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with All Star Boxing and Teiken Promotions, tickets to this world championship event will go on sale Tuesday, June 12 at 10 a.m. ET. Priced at $100 (red carpet ringside), $50 (lower bowl), and $30 (general admission), tickets may be purchased at the Kissimmee Civic Center box office, online at ticketerapr.com, or charge by phone at (787) 305-3600.

“This fight is dedicated to all of Puerto Rico and to my family that has always been there to support me,” Diaz said. “Now it’s my time to become a world champion, and I promise that I will bring home the world title. I love you, Puerto Rico. This one’s for you!”

“I am really pleased to be able to fight a great fighter like Christopher Diaz for the WBO title. Diaz is a very good fighter with power and speed, but on July 28, I will become the champion,” Ito said. “I will bring the belt home back to Japan without fail. I have promised my wife and children. I will fight as if my life depended on it.”

“I am happy and excited to return to the ring quickly because I want to keep as active as possible. This will be my second fight with Top Rank, and now I will return to the ring much better prepared because I have the experience and the confidence of fighting on big stages,” Adames said. “I will come ready to give the public what they always expect from me… a spectacular knockout! On July 28, ‘Caballo Bronco’ will come to Kissimmee with all the ‘Platano Power’ from the Dominican Republic.”

Diaz (23-0, 15 KOs), from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, is entering his first world title match riding a four-bout knockout streak. The WBO’s No. 1 junior lightweight contender, Diaz won the vacant NABO junior lightweight title last December with a third-round knockout of Bryant Cruz, knocking Cruz down five times en route to the stoppage. In his last bout, March 17 on the Jose Ramirez-Amir Imam undercard at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Diaz defeated Braulio Rodriguez via fourth-round TKO to earn the shot at the world title. For Diaz, this world title opportunity is beacon of hope, as his home and most of his possessions were destroyed when Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico last year.

Ito (23-1-1, 12 KOs), from Tokyo, is the WBO’s No. 2 junior lightweight contender. He has won seven consecutive bouts since the lone defeat of his career, a 10-round majority decision to then-undefeated Rikki Naito in February 2015. Ito, who has fought all of his professional bouts in Japan, has won four of his past five bouts via knockout, including a ninth-round stoppage of Lorenzo Villanueva in April of last year. In his last bout, on March 3 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Ito stopped Vergil Puton in the ninth round.

Adames (14-0, 11 KOs), one of the welterweight division’s fastest rising contenders, made his Top Rank debut as the ESPN-televised co-feature May 12 on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jorge Linares card, rolling to a unanimous decision win over Alejandro Barrera. The Dominican Republic native will be fighting for the second time under renowned trainer Joel Diaz and is training in Palm Springs, Calif. Reyes (25-2, 20 KOs) is 10-0 with eight knockouts since his last defeat, a first-round TKO at the hands of Alan Sanchez on April 13, 2012 in Las Vegas. In his previous bout, in August of last year, Reyes knocked out Steve Marquez with a body shot in the fourth round.

Mekhrubon Sanginov Arrives in Las Vegas to Pursue Boxing Greatness

Undefeated super-welterweight prospect Mekhrubon Sanginov (5-0 3 KOs), from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, has moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to continue his dream of becoming a world champion. The highly decorated amateur returns to action June 23, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico.

“I am excited to take my training to a new level working in Las Vegas,” said Sanginov. “Las Vegas is the fight capital of the world and I feel that training in Las Vegas will take my career to the next level.”

Sanginov, who captured the WBC Youth Middleweight title in his last bout, has begun training with Justin Gamber, the well-respected trainer of undefeated super middleweight contender, Caleb “Sweethands” Plant (17-0, 10 KOs). Mekhrubon is looking forward to taking his career to new heights, as he will campaign at super-welterweight moving forward. Sanginov is currently a promotional free agent.

“I am excited to be training with Justin Gamber,” Sanginov continued. “He is an experienced coach, who is making me into a world champion. The sparring I am getting is top notch sparring as well. I’ll be looking to be signing with a credible promoter in the near future.”

Sanginov was an outstanding amateur, amassing a record of 105-14, which made him a heavy fan favorite in his native country of Tajikistan. His hometown fans are wanting to see how he progresses as a professional.

“I am going to make a statement in the world of boxing, especially in the super-welterweight division, and the world will know my name after my upcoming performances.” Mekhrubon concluded.
Boxing Documentary The People’s Fighters by Peter Berg Premiers on Olympic Channel

The Olympic Channel today announced the worldwide premiere of The People’s Fighters, the second film in its Five Rings Films signature series, which examines the triumphs and challenges faced by Cuban boxing today and how the rise of local talent is paving continued success for Cuba. The feature-length documentary, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Patriots Day), is now available to all audiences at olympicchannel.com and its mobile apps, in addition to a United States television premiere on NBCSN today, Thursday, 31 May, at 8 p.m. ET.

The People’s Fighters (87 minutes) takes an in-depth look at Cuba’s overwhelming history of success in the sport of boxing. Over the past 50 years, and despite being a nation of only 11 million residents, Cuba has produced more Olympic boxing medallists than any other country taking home 73 medals in the sport, 38 of which are gold. The success has been led by three-time heavyweight gold medallists Teófilo Stevenson, who once famously turned down a million-dollar offer to fight Muhammad Ali and turn professional in favour of continuing to fight for his beloved homeland, and Félix Savón, as well as the man behind their greatest achievements, the legendary coach Alcides Sagarra Carón.

“As a champion, Teófilo was the greatest, an example to all of us,” said Savón at the time of Stevenson’s death in 2012. “When he stopped fighting he taught me his tricks, and they were the secret of my success.”

Directed and narrated by Peter Berg and produced by Hollywood legend Frank Marshall (Jason Bourne, Jurassic World, Indiana Jones) and Mandalay Sports Media (MSM), The People’s Fighters features historical archival footage, interviews, and remarkable access in Havana and beyond.

Filmed in Havana and the United States and told through personal commentary from Savón, Sagarra, other Cuban Olympic boxing medallists and athletes, and former boxing world champion and Team USA Olympic gold medallist Oscar De La Hoya, the film provides an authoritative look at the country’s seminal boxing culture.

“As an American, I wanted to make money after becoming an Olympic gold medallist, to give my family a better life,” said De la Hoya. “But not in Cuba – they’re not built that way. Cuban fighters don’t think about how many millions they can have, it’s all about making your country proud. That’s the Cuban way.”

Five Rings Films, the Olympic Channel’s signature documentary series, is produced exclusively for the global media platform by Hollywood legend Frank Marshall and MSM. Five Rings Films is a series of incisive and entertaining documentaries directed by some of the biggest names in film from around the world. The first film in the series, The Nagano Tapes, which told the inspiring underdog story of the Czech Republic’s stunning gold medal win in men’s ice hockey in 1998, the first Games to allow NHL players, premiered in February. Future films include the story of Manu Ginobili and the rise of Argentinean basketball.

“Bringing Olympic stories to life through great filmmaking is a goal of our Five Rings Films signature documentary series” said Mark Parkman, General Manager of the IOC’s global Olympic Channel. “Peter Berg is not only an acclaimed filmmaker, but also a passionate boxing fan and he brings a personal perspective to the making of The People’s Fighters that is sure to resonate with fans around the world.”

“This film has all the elements that make the Olympics so fascinating – the intersection of politics, culture, huge personalities and incredible athletic achievement,” said Jon Weinbach, Executive Vice President of MSM. “Cuba’s boxing legacy is one of the great stories in modern sports history, and it was a privilege and a ton of fun making this film with Peter and our team.”

Marshall, whose producing credits include legendary titles such as the “Jason Bourne,” “Jurassic World” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, and MSM’s Mike Tollin are executive producers. MSM Executive Vice-President Jon Weinbach and Olympic Channel Director of Original Programming Greg Groggel are co-executive producers.

Fox Sports Acquires “They Fight” Boxing Documentary

Today, FOX Sports Films announced the acquisition of the North American rights for boxing documentary “They Fight,” as an addition to its “MAGNIFY” series. The film is directed by Andrew Renzi and produced by Emmy® Award winner, Academy Award® winner, Golden Globe® winner, and two-time Grammy Award® winner Common; his company Freedom Road Productions; and Argent Pictures, the film’s production and financing company run by Jill Ahrens, Ryan Ahrens, and Ben Renzo. The film was executive produced by Argent Pictures partners Drew Brees, Tony Parker, Derrick Brooks and Michael Finley.

The documentary follows Coach Walt Manigan’s Lyfe Style Boxing, an after-school program in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8 – a community rife with inequity. Walt mentors young boxers, “Peanut” Bartee and Quincey Williams on the path to the 2017 Junior Olympics, while he also fights to find a permanent home for his program to help young fighters avoid the troubles he found in his own youth.

“It is important to share Coach Walt’s story and seeing how he overcame extreme hardships and now serves as a mentor to the youth in Ward 8,” said Common. “It is a true example as to how we can take the most challenging of situations and turn them into a positive, not only for ourselves but for others. Boxing is more than just a sport to these kids, it empowers and unifies them to fight for a better life.”

This project is the newest in the Sports Emmy®-nominated “MAGNIFY” series from FOX Sports Films. The series leverages sports as a lens for exploring important cultural stories and investigates the challenges, change, and unity they bring to communities. Since its November 2017 launch, the MAGNIFY series’ roster of influential contributors includes: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chance the Rapper; and, most recently, Kevin Durant.

“From the opening minutes of this powerful film, we knew it was a perfect fit for our ‘Magnify’ series,” said Gabe Spitzer, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer, FOX Sports Films. “The power of sports as a community builder is visible throughout the documentary.”

The producers are Jill Ahrens, Ryan Ahrens, and Renzo for Argent Pictures; Derek Dudley, Shelby Stone, and Melisa Resch through Common’s Freedom Road Productions; Renzi, Michael Minahan, Daniel Yaro, Nick Boak, and Chris Burt through Renzi’s North of Now production label; and Andrew D. Corkin through his Uncorked Productions company. Jason Michael Berman executive produced for Mandalay Pictures along with Michael Sherman and Matthew Perniciaro of Bow and Arrow Entertainment; Tommy Oliver and Codie Oliver of Confluential Films; and Stanley Twarog. The deal was negotiated by Endeavor Content.

“We continue to connect really strong contributors to the ‘Magnify’ series,” added Charlie Dixon, Executive Vice President, Content, FOX Sports. “These varied, authentic voices that influence and support the films add an important layer to the mission of telling stories that focus on life beyond sports.”

“They Fight” will premiere this fall as a FOX Sports broadcast. Other “MAGNIFY” films, past and future:

• 2018 Sports Emmy®-nominated “89 Blocks,” executive produced by James and Carter for Uninterrupted, along with Sports Illustrated (November 2017)
• “Shot in the Dark,” executive produced by Wade and Chance the Rapper (February 2018)
• “Nossa Chape,” from award-winning directors Jeffrey Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist (The Two Escobars, Pele: Birth of a Legend) focuses on the 2016 plane crash involving Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense. It premieres June 23rd at 4:15 pm ET on FOX immediately following 2018 FIFA™ World Cup coverage.

ESPN+ Debuts Its Newest Boxing Brand: Camp Life

ESPN+ has debuted its newest boxing brand, Camp Life, a series that takes fans inside the training camps of today’s biggest fighters for intimate and penetrating looks at boxers’ lives as they prepare for battle. The premiere episode visits pound-for-pound elite Terence “Bud” Crawford at his training camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and gives fans an opportunity to take a peek behind the curtain of one of boxing’s modern greats as he prepares for his bout against WBO welterweight champion Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“Camp Life” is available now live and exclusively in the United States on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Hammer, Shields, De La Hoya, Hall of Fame, Young, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 23rd to May 30th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Luis Arevalo Jr./Westside Boxing

Diego De La Hoya and Mercito Gesta Workout Quotes

Diego De La Hoya (20-0, 9 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico hosted a media workout today at Wild Card Boxing Club ahead of the June 8 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. De La Hoya will defend his NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Titles against Jose “Sugar” Salgado (35-4-2, 28 KOs) of Cozumel, Mexico in the 10-round main event.

DIEGO DE LA HOYA, NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Champion:

“This is going to be a tough fight. Salgado has the record of a knockout artist. But that doesn’t intimidate me. I’m going do a good job and show that I’m back. I’m going to show that I’m ready for a world title shot. He’s been saying a few things about me, but he just wants me to lose my focus. He can talk all he wants, but I’ll do my talking in the ring. All I have to say is that I’m going to give a great fight. Winning this fight, I want to face any champion who will give me the opportunity. But they just have to know what they will lose their title fighting me.”

MERCITO “NO MERCY” GESTA, Former Lightweight Title Challenger:

“I feel excited for every fight. It’s another great event. Every event that I fight I treat as something special. Manzanarez is tough, but I’ll need to figure him out in the ring. Based on the videos, it’s tough to get on the inside because he’s tall, long and knows how to use that as advantages.”

“I learned from my world title fight. It boosted my confidence because I did so well against a great fighter. Every opponent is different and has different styles. I can’t look down on this guy. He’s not a stepping stone, and I will treat him as a world champion. I see myself fighting for a world title again soon. I still feel strong and ready. I still have a long way left in my career. I want any champion in the division. I’m always ready to take a fight.”

Anthony “Juice” Young Signs with Real Deal Entertainment

Boxing manager Rich Masini announced that welterweight Anthony “Juice” Young has signed a promotional contract with Real Deal Entertainment.

Young (18-2, 6 KOs) of Atlantic City will make his debut under the Real Deal Entertainment banner when he takes on this Saturday night when he takes on Enver Halili (10-1, 3 KOs) in a scheduled eight-round bout at Boardwalk Hall in his hometown of Atlantic City.

“I am happy to join Real Deal Boxing. They are an up-and-coming promotion,” said Young.

In Halili, Young will be fighting the brother of a former opponent who defeated Young for one of his two defeats.

“I expect a tough fight. I saw his fight against Raymond Serrano, and I think he was winning until he got disqualified. I expect to get the victory.. At the end of the day, he is not his brother Skender. When his brother beat me, it was just a little setback.”

The Atlantic City native is honored and motivated to be performing on Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame weekend.

“It is special to fight at Boardwalk Hall. I am now at the point of my career, that I am set on bigger fights, and it is an honor to fight on Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame weekend. It motivates me as I want to be be inducted when my career is over.”

Masini, who has managed Young for the last six-years, is excited at the new partnership that he has for his fighter.

“I have seen “Juice” Improve greatly over his last seven fights. It is Anthony’s commitment and his team led by trainer Raul “Chino” Rivas that have done a great job with his preperation,” said Masini. “In addition, Anthony’s dad, Teany has helped me in the management end of things. I am very proud of him. He has matured inside and outside of the ring.”

“I am looking forward to working with Real Deal Entertainment. Sal Musumeci has been a long time friend, and this is the final piece of the puzzle in-terms of completing the team around Anthony. The reason that I am in this business is because of people like Anthony. He is loyal, dedicated, and now has all of the pieces to become world champion. We have tried to keep him busy, but in the last eight-months, we have had some fights fall out, but we are back on Saturday against Enver Halili. “Juice” will be ready to show all that he is on the rise.”

Ballard vs. Idigov Added to Claressa Shields vs. Hannah Gabriels Card

The Salita Promotions professional boxing event on Friday, June 22, at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, is heating up even more with the announcement of an intriguing match-up of promising light heavyweight prospects with local ties.

In a fight with explosive action written all over it, Detroit’s own James “The Equalizer” Ballard (10-1, 3 KOs) will face undefeated Aslambek Idigov (12-0, 5 KOs), from Detroit via Grozny, Russia, over 10 exciting rounds.

Fighting mostly in his home city, the 28-year-old Ballard has become a fan favorite for his fearlessly aggressive style. Ballard says he refuses to lose on his home turf of Detroit.

“Expect a war,” said Ballard. “I will go out there and give the fans what they want by going toe-to-toe. I am coming for Idigov’s O. I’m not going to be out-boxed in my hometown. It’s a respect thing. It’s going to be a long night for him. We are training hard and ready to go hard every round if it takes that long. June 22 can’t get here soon enough. I’m more than ready to send Russia back home.”

A compact puncher with pinpoint accuracy, Idigov has fan favorite written all over his muscular frame. Since he began training in Detroit’s famed Kronk Gym, Idigov says he’s learning to fight the American way.

“Training at the Kronk Boxing Gym in Detroit has been a great experience for me and I learn a lot and get better every day. I love their philosophy that the best win is a knockout!”

James Ballard is a very good fighter. I have no problem fighting him and winning in his hometown, which is becoming my second home as well. Let’s get it on!”

“This is a classic, crossroads fight between two talented and hungry prospects,” said event promoter Dmitriy Salita. “This is a ‘pick em’ type of match that will bring excitement to fans in the championship City of Detroit!”

The skillful pair will duel as part of the untelevised undercard of the blockbuster “It’s Our Time to Shine” event featuring two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and current Unified Women’s Super Middleweight Champion Claressa Shields attempting to become a two-division world champion against unified 154-pound champion Hanna Gabriels for the vacant IBF and WBA Women’s Middleweight World Championships.

The main event will be televised live on SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION (10 p.m. ET/PT) and will also feature highlights of Unified Women’s Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer as she defends her WBC & WBO Titles in her U.S. debut against former world champion Tori Nelson.

Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend to Feature Mazion vs. Pauldo on ESPN

Travell “Black Magic” Mazion(12-0, 11 KOs) of Austin, Texas will put his undefeated record on the line against once-beaten Daquan Pauldo(17-1, 9 KOs) of Orlando, Florida in an eight-round super welterweight fight in the co-main event of the June 8 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. In the main event, Diego De La Hoya(20-0, 9 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico will defend his NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Titles against Jose “Sugar” Salgado(35-4-2, 28 KOs) of Cozumel, Mexico in the 10-round fight.

ESPN3 will stream the fights live beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fights at 12:30 a.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT. ESPN Deportes will air the fights the following day at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Mazion has the tools and the team that are guaranteed take him to the top, especially since he is trained Ozell Nelson. Nelson is known for training former undisputed middleweight championand Olympic Bronze Medalist Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor, who in his prime ended Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins’12-year reign as world champion. Mazion has been touted to have all the skills that Taylor had bad more, reflected partly by his 90% knockout rate.

“I have the team and the skills, both of which will do all the talking,” said Travell Maizon. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be the co-main event for such a legendary weekend, especially because I’ve got a legendary coach behind me. I want to thank Golden Boy and my team. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”

Representing Orlando, Fl., Daquan Pauldo, formerly known as Daquan Arnett, only has one-blemish on his record. Pauldo has come back with six impressive victories since.

“I’ll make sure that people haven’t forgotten about me,” said Daquan Pauldo. “I wanted to be more active this year. I’ve been training harder at my original weight class, and I will come into the ring on ESPN showing that I’m someone you should look out for. I want to thank Golden Boy and my team for this opportunity. I’m ready.”

The event will take place during the International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, where legendary fighters such as “Dr. Ironfist” Vitali Klitschko, Erik “El Terrible” Morales, and Ronald “Winky” Wright will be inducted, along with important figures in the sport of boxing such as Peter Kohl, Steve Albert, Jim Gray and Lorraine Chargin.

Super lightweight prospect Daniel Zorrilla (6-0, 5 KOs) of Rio Piedras, Puerto will participate in the night’s swing bout, which is schedule for four or six rounds against a soon-to-be-announced opponent.

Participating in a four-round super lightweight fight, Dallas, Tex.’s Alex Rincon (3-0, 3 KOs) against Agua Prieta, Mex.’s Engelberto Valenzuela (11-13, 3 KOs). Rincon, whose fights have all ended in a knockout, will seek to maintain his unblemished knockout record.

Kenneth “Bossman” Sims, Jr. (12-1, 4 KOs) of Chicago, Il. will participate in a six-round super lightweight fight. The “Bossman” fought at the 2012 Olympic Trials, losing to eventual representative Jose Ramirez by one point.

In a four-round heavyweight fight, Syracuse, New York’s Luis Vargas (3-0, 2 KOs) will return to Turning Stone Resort Casino after ending his previous fight in a clear unanimous decision victory. Lawrence Gabriel (2-1-1, 1 KO), who also represents Syracuse, will open up the card in a four-round cruiserweight battle and will return after a technical knockout victory earlier in May.

De La Hoya vs. Salgado is a 10-round super bantamweight fight for the NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Titles presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Don Chargin & Paco Presents.The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle.” The fights will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. ESPN3 will stream the fights live beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fights at a delayed start time of 12:30 a.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT. ESPN Deportes will air the fights the following day at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend is packed with a series of events starting Thursday, June 7 until the induction ceremony on Sunday, June 10. The weekend kicks off on Thursday with the opening bell ringing and ringside lectures on the museum grounds. Friday, June 8 will feature another series of lectures preceding the celebrity fist casting, followed by the highly anticipated Fight Night, broadcasted live from Turning Stone. Saturday, June 9 will showcase a golf tournament, a 5K race, another series of lectures, a boxing autograph card show, a VIP “Gala” and the Banquet of Champions at 8:00p.m. The weekend will conclude on Sunday with the Parade of Champions and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 2:30p.m. Click here to see the full schedule.

Host of the June 8 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 26th 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.

Christina Hammer Training Camp Notes

Unified Women’s WBC and WBO Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer has taken to the mountains of Austria for this leg of her intense training camp.

Hammer (22-0, 10 KOs) will make her U.S. fighting debut while defending her titles against former world champion Tori Nelson (17-1-3, 2 KOs) on Friday, June 22. The bout will serve as a supporting bout to two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and unified women’s super-middleweight champion Claressa Shields’ attempt to become a two-division world champion against unified women’s 154-pound champion Hanna Gabriels at Masonic Temple in Detroit, Mich.

Shields vs Gabriels will be contested for the vacant IBF and WBA Middleweight World Championships and telecast on SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION at 10 p.m. ET/PT live on SHOWTIME. Extensive highlights of Hammer vs. Nelson will also be shown.

Hammer, of Dortmund, Germany, has dominated the women’s middleweight division since 2010. The 27-year-old says training at elevation in the mountains of Austria is bringing the best out of her.

How has training camp gone so far?

“My camp has gone well. We train three times a day and work hard to be in the best shape possible on June 22 in Detroit.”

Can you tell us about your current training location?

“We are in Austria, staying at a place in the mountains that is about 5000-feet elevation. It’s amazing here. The nature and the mountains inspire me and give me power. It’s very comfortable to do my roadwork and go to the boxing gym because everything is situated in a comfortable way.”

What is a typical day like at training camp?

“We’ve been in Austria for the last 10 days. At 7:30 am, we start the first interval runs. At 9 am, I have breakfast and at 11 am, we go up to the mountains to our gym (which is at 6500 feet high) to do my strength and conditioning work. Later, in the afternoon, we start our boxing work. The nature and beautiful surroundings give me peace of mind.”

How and why is your training camp built into different stages?

“The mountains are perfect to prepare for the fight. You are away from your hometown stay more focused on training. The air is thin and this high level of elevation gives your body a higher level of conditioning. On June 10, we will move on to our next stage of training, which will take place in the United States. That will be to help acclimate me to the new time and climate for fight night on June 22, which is when I will put all of this hard work together and have it pay off in a big way.”

Who is your head trainer?

“My coach is Dimitrie Kirnos. I started my professional career with him. He himself was Soviet Union Boxing Champion and trained many top champions. He is old school and pushes my mind and body to the limit. He is a big part of my team we have a great bond. I have much respect and admiration for him.”

Have you done anything different preparing for this fight?

“I spar with lots of shorter fighters, like Tori Nelson. I guarantee that it will be much more explosive and impressive than Claressa Shields was against her.”

American fans love knockouts. Can they expect a Christina Hammer KO on June 22?

“That’s why I train hard and give everything in the gym. I want to be amazing that night and a knockout would be a perfect ending.”

What is your prediction for June 22?

“I will show my power and skills. People will see who the real unified Middleweight Champion of the world is. My performance will speak for itself!”

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Ergashev, Warren, Maidana, Graziano, Garcia, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 10th to April 17th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Ryan Garcia Twitter Account

Ergashev to Face Wang for WBA International Junior Welterweight Title

The previously announced 10-round clash between fast-rising, unbeaten knockout artist SHOHJAHON ERGASHEV, (11-0-0, 11 KO’s), a native of Uzbekistan, now fighting out of Brooklyn, NY and China’s ZHIMIN WANG, (10-2-0, 3 KO’s), has now been elevated to a WBA International Junior Welterweight Title bout, it was announced today by Matchroom Boxing USA, promoter of “Straight Outta Brooklyn”,the massive international boxing event set for Saturday, April 28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

The 26-year-old Ergashev, training out of the famed Kronk Gym in Detroit, has quickly impressed boxing fans in the United States with two recent show-stopping knockouts and 100% knockout ratio, building a huge following in the New York City area.

In his U.S. debut, the hard-hitting southpaw stopped Marquis Hawthorne in the second round on November 11, 2017 at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Making his nationally televised debut on January 12, 2018 in roaring style, Ergashev knocked out undefeated, highly regarded contender Sonny Fredrickson in the third round in Verona, New York. He is promoted by Salita Promotions.

Wang will be looking to stay in the win column returning to action following a dominant 10-round decision over Anthony Sabalde on December 10, 2017 in Guangzhou, China. The victory capped a four-fight campaign for Wang last year which included two additional decision victories.

“I had a great training camp at the Kronk Gym in Detroit and look forward to making a statement on April 28,” said Ergashev. “I pushed myself to the limits because I know that a world title is in my destiny. Zhimin Wang is a very skilled, strong fighter and I look forward to this great match-up and an opportunity to win my first title.”

Said Eddie Hearn, President of Matchroom Boxing USA, “I watched this young man at our last show in Long Island and he immediately caught my attention. He is a pure puncher and is going to be a real danger to the division. He has a great following already and I’m looking forward to watching him challenge for his first title in Brooklyn on April 28.”

“Shohjahon has all the ingredients to dominate the junior welterweight division and be a star in the ring,” said Dmitriy Salita, President of Salita Promotions. “His work ethic, punching power and desire for greatness is very special. Zhimin Wang is a very skilled, durable fighter and I expect a great fight on April 28.

Advance tickets for ‘Straight Outta Brooklyn’starting at $42 may be purchased by visiting Ticketmaster.com, BarclaysCenter.com, or calling 800-745-3000. Tickets for the event can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. For information on group sales, call 844.255.9647.

Raushee Warren and Fabian Maidana to Compete on April 21st

Former bantamweight world champion Raushee Warren and top prospect Fabian Maidana will step into the ring at Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, on Saturday, April 21 in separate attractions as part of an exciting night of undercard fights.

The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by four-division champion Adrien Broner battling former welterweight world champion Jessie Vargas. The SHOWTIME telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features undefeated former world champion Jermall Charlo clashing with once-beaten Hugo Centeno, Jr. for the interim 160-pound world title and former champions Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Jesus Cuellar as they square off for the vacant WBA 130-pound Super World Championship.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, start at $50 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.

Warren (15-2, 4 KOs) will return to action in an eight round bantamweight fight against Juan Medina (10-2, 9 KOs), whileMaidana (14-0, 10 KOs) steps in for a 10-round super lightweight showdown against Hevinson Herrera (22-14-1, 16 KOs). The undercard attractions also include popular local female contender Heather “The Heat” Hardy (20-0, 4 KOs)as she competes in a featherweight contest against Mexico’s Paolo Torres (10-2-1, 3 KOs).

The action inside the arena will also feature a pair of 2016 Olympians in separate six-round super lightweight attractions as U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell (4-0, 4 KOs) enters the ring against Andrew Rodgers (4-2-1, 2 KOs) and Haitian Olympian Richardson Hitchins (4-0, 2 KOs) battles Alexander Charneco (4-4, 4 KOs).

Brooklyn’s unbeaten Chordale Booker will step into the ring for a six-round super welterweight fight against Daniel Calzada while the Bronx’s undefeated heavyweight George Arias competes in an eight-round attraction against Tyrell Wright.

The action rounds out with unbeaten super featherweight Desmond Jarmon battling Kendrick Latchman in a four-round showdown, unbeaten prospect Shyngyskhan Tazhibay in a four-round welterweight contest against Justin Savi (31-15-2, 21 KOs) and undefeated prospect Dylan Price, who meets Edson Noria for a six-round super flyweight bout.

The 31-year-old Warren became a world champion in 2016 when he defeated Juan Carlos Payano to capture the WBA Bantamweight World Championship. The Cincinnati-native represented the U.S. three times at the Olympic games during a prolific amateur career and most recently defeated former champion McJoe Arroyo last July at Barclays Center. He returns to Brooklyn to face the 25-year-old Medina, who fights out of the Dominican Republic.

The brother of former welterweight champion Marcos Maidana, Fabian will look to remain unbeaten when he makes his 2018 debut on April 21. The 25-year-old from Santa Fe, Argentina most recently defeated former interim champion Johan Perez by unanimous decision last November in his first fight to go 10 rounds.

The First Biography of Rocky Graziano in 60 Years

Jeffrey Sussman, boxing author, has written another hard-hitting exciting biography. It is of Rocky Graziano, juvenile delinquent, middleweight boxing champion, and comedic actor, who was the last great fighter from the golden age of boxing, the era of Joe Louis, Jake LaMotta, and Sugar Ray Robinson.

In Rocky Graziano: Fists, Fame, and Fortune (published March 10 by Rowman & Littlefied), Jeffrey Sussman tells the rags-to-riches story of Tommy Rocco Barbella, who came to be known as Rocky Graziano. Raised by an abusive father, Graziano took to the streets and soon found himself in reformatories and prison cells. Drafted into the U.S. Army, Graziano went AWOL but was eventually caught, tried, and sent to prison for a year. After his release, Rocky went on to have one successful boxing match after another and quickly ascended up the pyramid of professional boxing. In one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the middleweight division, Rocky beat Tony Zale and became the middleweight champion of the world. Rocky retired from boxing after he lost his crown to Sugar Ray Robinson and went on to have a successful acting career in two acclaimed television series. Rich and famous, he was no longer the angry young man he once was. In his post-boxing life, Rocky became known for his good humor, witty remarks, and kindness and generosity to those in need.

Rocky Graziano’s life is not only inspiring, it is also a story of redemption, of how boxing became the vehicle for saving a young man from a life of anger and crime and leading him into a life of happiness and honesty. The first biography of Graziano in over 60 years, this book will bring his story to a new generation of boxing fans and sports historians.

Bill Calogero, boxing historian and host of the Talkin’ Boxing with Billy C, TV & Radio Program, wrote: “Rocky Graziano was one of my all-time favorite fighters. Being in the boxing business for over thirty-five years, I thought I knew it all about Rocky. That was until I read Jeffrey Sussman’s new book, Rocky Graziano: Fists, Fame and Fortune. Sussman tells Graziano’s story like no other ever written. I learned things about Rocky I never knew before. Sussman’s writing style not only educated me more about Rocky Graziano, he put me there with him. Page after page, I felt I was with Graziano, feeling his pain as a child and his triumphs as World Champion. I could not put it down! This book is a must read for all, not just boxing fans.”

In Booklist, Wes Lukowsky wrote: “Sussman does a fine job with the biographical details from start to finish, but he really nails the fight descriptions, creating a sensory experience in which the reader can almost feel the punches and hear the crowds. A vivid slice of boxing history.”

Jeffrey Sussman is also the author of the 2017 best seller: Max Baer and Barney Ross: Jewish Heroes of Boxing, published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Ryan Garcia to Face Jayson Velez

Ryan “The Flash” Garcia (14-0, 13 KOs), the 2017 consensus prospect of the year and pride of Victorville, Calif., headlines a very special edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Garcia, who is the brightest rising star in the sport of boxing today, will kick off the Cinco de Mayo festivities as he faces seasoned Puerto Rican contender Jayson “La Maravilla” Velez (26-4-1, 18 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight in this spectacular arena that has become the home for great battles.

ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will air the fights beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT, and stream live on ESPN3 starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

At only 19 years of age, Garcia is the future superstar of boxing. After winning multiple national championships as an amateur and several professional fights in Mexico, Garcia signed with Golden Boy Promotions in Nov. 2016. Since then, he has won every fight by knockout, including a highlight-reel knockout of Miguel Carrizoza to win the Junior NABF Super Featherweight Title. In his most recent performance, Garcia defeated Fernando Vargas on the March 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN via a stunning first-round knockout victory.

“I’m back already and with high expectations,” said Ryan Garcia.”I’m glad to be headlining two times in a row and excited to be fighting in an iconic venue where there have been many wars. I’ve said all along that I was destined for greatness. I’m speaking it to existence, and I will show that on May 4.”

Velez is an experience contender of the Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico, home of former world champions such as Wilfred “El Radar” Benitez, Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez, Felix “Tito” Trinidad and Miguel Cotto, among others. The 30-year-old pugilist has faced the toughest fighters of the competitive 126-pound division, including Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. and Ronny Rios. Velez is coming off three impressive victories, including a unanimous decision win against the previously undefeated Alberto Mercado and back-to-back stoppage victories over former contender Giovanni “El Ruso” Caroand former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez.

“I will not let my country down as it is a powerful force in boxing,” said Jayson Velez. “If anyone believes that I am only going for the paycheck, they are wrong. As I have proved before, I always give my best and this will not be the exception against Garcia. In the face of all predictions, I will defeat him.”

“Ryan Garcia is going to prove that he’s the next superstar in the sport of boxing,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “After an amazing performance in March, Garcia will now make his debut in an arena that is slowly becoming a legendary battleground for boxing, the StubHub Center.”

In the co-main event, Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs), the incomparable and explosive Irish contender, will make his Southern California debut in a 10-round middleweight fight presented in association with Murphy’s Boxing. O’Sullivan has faced the likes of current WBO Middleweight World Champion Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank, Jr., and he’ll returning after his most significant and impressive victory against Antoine “Action” Douglass via seventh-round technical knockout. O’Sullivan will be next in line for a middleweight title shot if successful on May 4.

Welterweight knockout artist Alexis “Lex” Rocha (11-0, 8 KOs), who without a doubt will be the first world champion to come out of Santa Ana, Calif., will participate in an eight-round 147-pound fight. Rocha has many tools in his southpaw arsenal as he can both fight at the distance and knock people out from the inside.

Ferdinand Kerobyan (8-0, 4 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. will battle across a scheduled six-rounds of action in the super welterweight division. Kerobyan is the latest prospect to be signed to the exclusive Golden Boy Promotions stable and the first fighter under the management of former UFC fighter and current WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey.

Richard “Kansas Kid” Acevedo (1-0, 1 KO), a prospect originally out of Garden City, Kansas, will participate in a four-round super welterweight fight. This exciting puncher out of the Westside Boxing Club promises fireworks as he initiates this exciting card.

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Charlo, Trout, Fury, Jennings, Murata, Garcia, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 4th to April 11th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Charlo to Face Trout on June 9th

The 154-pound division continues to heat up as undefeated world champion Jermell Charlo defends his belt against former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout Saturday, June 9 in a 12-round showdown live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by WBA Super World Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz battling WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Abner Mares in an anticipated world title rematch.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now To purchase tickets visit AXS.com or click HERE.

Super welterweight is one of the deepest and most ferociously contested divisions in boxing with unified champion Jarrett Hurd and Charlo on a collision course for supremacy in the weight class. Virtually all of the most significant fights in the division are taking place in 2018 on SHOWTIME, with the three consensus best fighters, and at least five of the consensus top-10, facing off in what has become an unofficial tournament.

Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) has blasted his way to the top of the division, having stopped four of his last opponents by knockout. The 27-year-old from Houston won the title with a knockout victory over John Jackson in 2016. Since then he has successfully defended it twice, including scoring a devastating first round knockout victory over top contender Erickson Lubin in his last fight in October and a Knockout of the Year contender against Charles Hatley in April. Charlo and his twin brother, Jermall, were the only twin brothers to hold world titles in the same weight class simultaneously before Jermall relinquished his 154-pound championship to campaign at 160 pounds.

“Trout is no journeyman. He’s a former world champion, someone who has a name and he comes to fight. The name means he’s worthy of another title challenge,’’ said Charlo. “Trout is the man that has been chosen for me and I have to take care of him. I’m super excited to be fighting and defending my title again.

“The only thing I’m going to tell you about what I’m going to do against Trout is, I’m going to surprise you guys. I plan to show my skills and show why I’m the best at 154 pounds. The most important thing is to make my mark and claim my territory.’’

The 32-year-old Trout (31-4, 17 KOs) is one of most accomplished boxers in the 154-pound division, having stepped into the ring against champions like Miguel Cotto, Saul “Canelo’’ Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo and Jarrett Hurd. Representing Las Cruces, New Mexico, he won the super welterweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Rigoberto Alvarez in 2011. He successfully defended the title four times, including a victory over Cotto, before losing the championship to Alvarez in 2013 and a decision to Lara eight months later.

After winning four straight, Trout stepped in for a world championship against Jermall Charlo but lost a close unanimous decision in 2016, although he is the only person to go the distance with Jermall since 2015. Last October he took on Hurd for the title, but lost via 10th round TKO – the first time in his career that he’d ever been stopped. Trout is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Juan De Angel on Feb. 17.

“I’m more than excited. I’m happy because I’m still a threat in this game,” said Trout. “People can write me off all they want. Even when I was a champion people wrote me off. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I’m approaching it is as my last opportunity. Everybody is counting me out and I’m hoping he is too. I’m going to shock him and the world.

“I feel like I’ve done this before because I fought his brother. Jermell uses more of his skills where Jermall uses more of his brute strength. I fought the bigger one and I fought Hurd who was like his bigger brother. Now I get to fight someone who is closer to my size.’’

Jennings vs. Dawejko Matchup April 28th Recalls Memories of All-Philly Fighters

When heavyweights Bryant “By By” Jennings and Joey “The Tank” Dawejko square off in their 10-round heavyweight bout Saturday, April 28, it will revive memories of the some of the great all-Philly matchups that helped to make the Quaker City one of the leading boxing centers in the country.

The Jennings-Dawejko match is one of three bouts at the Liacouras Center at Temple University to be televised live by ESPN, beginning at 7 pm EST. The card is being promoted by Top Rank and Peltz Boxing.

Topping the show is a 12-round contest for the WBO junior featherweight title between defending champion Jessie Magdaleno, of Las Vegas, NV, and mandatory challenger Isaac Dogboe, of Accra, Ghana. The 10-round semifinal features Jesse Hart, of Philadelphia, against Demond Nicholson, of Laurel, MD, for the vacant NABF super middleweight championship.

First live fight begins at 4 pm EST and all undercard bouts will be streamed on the ESPN App.

Always a leading center for boxing, Philadelphia built its reputation by matching fighters from different neighborhoods in front of large, enthusiastic crowds. Artist Jim Meehan’s drawing (above) lists several of those great matchups, among them the classic 1928 showdown at Shibe Park between Hall-of-Fame junior lightweight champion Benny Bass and unbeaten crosstown rival Harry Blitman in front of 24,000 raucous fans.

“My dad went to that fight with his dad,” promoter J Russell Peltz said, “and he’d always tell me about it. My dad went to school with Harry Blitman and he never got over the fact that Blitman smoked cigarettes and still was successful as a fighter. My dad sat on the second row and he used to tell me about the sweat that flew off Blitman’s hair every time Bass nailed him.”

Bass, who boxed from 1919 to 1940, won by knockout in six rounds and went on to a career record of 158-29-6 with 72 K0s. Blitman, who boxed from 1926 to 1934, finished at 53-11-4, 25 K0s, including a victory over Hall-of-Fame lightweight champ Tony Canzoneri.

“There were so many great all-Philly fights that you simply cannot list them all,” Peltz said. “The heavyweight bout between a couple of Joe Louis victims, Al Ettore, of West Philadelphia, against Gus Dorazio, of South Philly, belongs on that list, as well as the world lightweight title fight between Hall-of-Famer Bob Montgomery and Wesley Mouzon, who had knocked Montgomery out three months earlier in a non-title fight.”

Peltz, who began promoting in 1969, rates the first meeting between middleweights Bennie Briscoe and Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, a 10-round draw late in 1975 at The Spectrum, as one of the greatest action fights in Philly’s long and storied boxing history.

“Now we’ve got Jesse Hart, Cyclone’s son, on the card,” Peltz said. “I believe Jennings vs. Dawejko is the biggest all-Philly matchup in 36 years. That goes back to 1982 when Jeff Chandler successfully defended his WBA bantamweight title by knocking out former high school classman Johnny Carter in six rounds at the Civic Center. We’ve had some good ones since then, but none as big as Chandler vs. Carter.

“A lot of 21st century boxing ‘experts’ don’t like to see all-Philly fights. They wonder why we would want to knock off a local attraction. I guess they’d rather me import some scrub from the South or the Midwest to get his brains beat out. They’d rather watch that than a competitive all-local fight. The most recent major local showdown was in 2010 when junior middleweightDerek Ennis beat Gabriel Rosado at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. Guess who got knocked off in that one? The winner, Ennis, who soon faded from the scene. The loser that night, Rosado, went on to climb the ladder and make a lot on money and he’s still going strong.

“Jennings vs. Dawejko is my kind of fight. I guarantee there will be more action in one round than there was in 12 rounds of the recent heavyweight unification match between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker.”

Murata to Defend WBA Middleweight Title Against Emanuele Blandamura

It’s breakfast with the middleweights on Sunday, April 15, as Ryota Murata makes the first defense of his World Boxing Association (WBA) middleweight title against Italian challenger Emanuele ‘Sioux’ Blandamura at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan. This special, international edition of Top Rank on ESPN will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes and stream on the ESPN App at 8 a.m. ET, with a same-day replay scheduled for 11 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Murata (13-1, 10 KOs), from Nara, Japan, captured a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics (165 pounds), becoming the first Japanese boxer to accomplish that feat since Takao Sakurai at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. He turned pro on Aug. 25, 2013, and by his fifth pro bout, was already fighting in scheduled 10-rounders. Murata made a big statement on U.S. soil on July 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, when he knocked out George ‘Comanche Boy’ Tahdooahnippah in the opening round.

His first title challenge came this past May against Hassan N’Dam for the vacant WBA middleweight title at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. In one of the year’s most controversial verdicts, N’Dam prevailed via split decision. The WBA ordered an immediate rematch, and the two judges who scored the bout for N’Dam were suspended for six months and ordered to pass several evaluations before being allowed to judge WBA-sanctioned fights again. Murata got his revenge — and the WBA world title — in the rematch on Oct. 22, when he dominated the action and forced N’Dam to retire on his stool following the seventh round.

Blandamura (27-2, 5 KOs), ranked No. 8 in the WBA middleweight rankings, is a former European middleweight champion who captured the title with a 12-round split decision over Matteo Signani on Dec. 3, 2016. In his last ring outing, on June 17, 2017, Blandamura retained the European title with a unanimous decision against Alessandro Goddi. He later vacated the title and heads into his first world title bout riding a four-bout winning streak.

Showtime Adds Two Featherweight Fights to Lineup

SHOWTIME Sports added two featherweight bouts to its robust boxing schedule with two high-stakes matchups from the U.K. streaming live on SHOWTIME Sports social media platforms, free to boxing fans in the U.S.

Former two-division world champion Carl Frampton will battle former four-division champion Nonito Donaire on Saturday, April 21 in Belfast, Ireland for the interim WBO Featherweight Title. Then, on Saturday, May 19, IBF World Champion Lee Selby will defend his 126-pound title against undefeated Josh Warrington live from Leeds, England. Both SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL® social media offerings will stream live in the U.S. on SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and SHOWTIME Sports YouTube Channel. The events are promoted by Frank Warren with live coverage provided by BT Sport and BoxNation.

The previously announced rematch between WBA Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz and former three-division champion Abner Mares will take place just a few weeks later on Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME® from the Staples Center in L.A.

In all, five of the consensus top-10 ranked featherweights will clash on SHOWTIME platforms in two months, including two world champions and four former multi-division champions. These matchups between titleholders and top-ranked featherweights will give further clarity to a stacked division.

“As we’ve seen at welterweight, super welterweight and even heavyweight, the top fighters in the featherweight division are looking to prove that they are undoubtedly the best in the world,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming for SHOWTIME. “They are doing so by facing their toughest challengers and ultimately seeking to unify world titles. SHOWTIME proudly leads the industry with fights like these—the most competitive and important fights in boxing’s most talent-laden weight divisions. We commend the fighters who have dedicated themselves to this simple, yet dangerous premise. Their effort has been inspiring and contagious.”

Tyson Fury Sets Return Date and Names New Promoter

Former WBA Super, WBO and IBF world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has confirmed his return under a new promoter.

Fury caused a colossal upset in his previous bout in November 2015 when he ended the 11-year reign of Wladimir Klitschko with a masterful points victory in Dusseldorf.

Now, the unbeaten 29-year-old (25-0-KO18) will fight for the first time in two-and-a-half years at the Manchester Arena on June 9 after signing a promotional deal with Frank Warren.

Ahead of an official press conference on London’s Park Lane, Fury said: “A lot of people out there are claiming to be the best and I know they’re not.

“They won’t be a match up for me. They’re sluggers and wild punchers and I’m looking forward to getting in there and showing them.

“Let’s say I’m a lot, lot, lot lighter than I’ve been in the past. If Frank asked me to fight this weekend, I’m ready. I’m better than I’ve ever been.”

Warren added: “The heavyweight division should now be put on notice because the lineal champion will be looking to pick back up where he left off.

“I am thrilled Tyson has entrusted us with the responsibility of recharging his career and steering him back to where he once emphatically belonged.

“Were it not for his exploits, the now thriving and fascinating heavyweight scene might have remained stagnant. Tyson’s comprehensive schooling of the Wladimir Klitschko opened all sorts of doors from which others have ultimately benefitted.

“Now Tyson is back, in fantastic shape and full of beans, ready to take the first step on the road back towards world domination once again.

“I am certain the boxing public – who he never lost the affection of – will get behind him in force and support his journey.”

A spokesperson for MTK Global added: “It’s been a long wait but we are delighted with the news that Tyson’s return is now finalised.

“Working with Frank Warren and his team on this has been highly productive and this is just the start of another chapter of success in Tyson’s extraordinary story.

“We are all looking forward to seeing Tyson conquer the world again as he begins his climb back to the top of boxing’s marquee division.”

Ryan Garcia to Face Jayson Velez

Ryan “The Flash” Garcia (14-0, 13 KOs), the 2017 consensus prospect of the year and pride of Victorville, Calif., headlines a very special edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Garcia, who is the brightest rising star in the sport of boxing today, will kick off the Cinco de Mayo festivities as he faces seasoned Puerto Rican contender Jayson “La Maravilla” Velez (26-4-1, 18 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight in this spectacular arena that has become the home for great battles.

ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will air the fights beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT, and stream live on ESPN3 starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

At only 19 years of age, Garcia is the future superstar of boxing. After winning multiple national championships as an amateur and several professional fights in Mexico, Garcia signed with Golden Boy Promotions in Nov. 2016. Since then, he has won every fight by knockout, including a highlight-reel knockout of Miguel Carrizoza to win the Junior NABF Super Featherweight Title. In his most recent performance, Garcia defeated Fernando Vargas on the March 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN via a stunning first-round knockout victory.

“I’m back already and with high expectations,” said Ryan Garcia.”I’m glad to be headlining two times in a row and excited to be fighting in an iconic venue where there have been many wars. I’ve said all along that I was destined for greatness. I’m speaking it to existence, and I will show that on May 4.”

Velez is an experience contender of the Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico, home of former world champions such as Wilfred “El Radar” Benitez, Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez, Felix “Tito” Trinidad and Miguel Cotto, among others. The 30-year-old pugilist has faced the toughest fighters of the competitive 126-pound division, including Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. and Ronny Rios. Velez is coming off three impressive victories, including a unanimous decision win against the previously undefeated Alberto Mercado and back-to-back stoppage victories over former contender Giovanni “El Ruso” Caroand former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez.

“I will not let my country down as it is a powerful force in boxing,” said Jayson Velez. “If anyone believes that I am only going for the paycheck, they are wrong. As I have proved before, I always give my best and this will not be the exception against Garcia. In the face of all predictions, I will defeat him.”

“Ryan Garcia is going to prove that he’s the next superstar in the sport of boxing,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “After an amazing performance in March, Garcia will now make his debut in an arena that is slowly becoming a legendary battleground for boxing, the StubHub Center.”

In the co-main event, Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs), the incomparable and explosive Irish contender, will make his Southern California debut in a 10-round middleweight fight presented in association with Murphy’s Boxing. O’Sullivan has faced the likes of current WBO Middleweight World Champion Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank, Jr., and he’ll returning after his most significant and impressive victory against Antoine “Action” Douglass via seventh-round technical knockout. O’Sullivan will be next in line for a middleweight title shot if successful on May 4.

Welterweight knockout artist Alexis “Lex” Rocha (11-0, 8 KOs), who without a doubt will be the first world champion to come out of Santa Ana, Calif., will participate in an eight-round 147-pound fight. Rocha has many tools in his southpaw arsenal as he can both fight at the distance and knock people out from the inside.

Ferdinand Kerobyan (8-0, 4 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. will battle across a scheduled six-rounds of action in the super welterweight division. Kerobyan is the latest prospect to be signed to the exclusive Golden Boy Promotions stable and the first fighter under the management of former UFC fighter and current WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey.

Richard “Kansas Kid” Acevedo (1-0, 1 KO), a prospect originally out of Garden City, Kansas, will participate in a four-round super welterweight fight. This exciting puncher out of the Westside Boxing Club promises fireworks as he initiates this exciting card.

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Vargas, Andrade, Joshua, Parker, Golovkin, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 20th to March 27th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker Press Conference Quotes

Undefeated heavyweight world champions Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker kicked off fight week with a tense faceoff at the sprawling Sky Headquarters outside London as they approach Saturday’s Heavyweight World Championship Unification live on SHOWTIME from Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

The British sensation Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) owns the IBF and WBA titles, while New Zealand’s Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) is the reigning WBO Champion. The two will meet on Saturday in just the 11th unification in heavyweight history in front of what is expected to be nearly 80,000 boxing fans at the national stadium of Wales.

The blockbuster matchup marks just the second heavyweight championship unification between undefeated world titleholders. The last fighter to emerge victorious from a matchup of unbeaten heavyweight champions was Mike Tyson in 1987.

Here’s what the fighters had to say at Tuesday’s press conference.

ANTHONY JOSHUA:

“I feel like this is what we have to do. If champions don’t face off, then we won’t bring excitement to boxing, and I feel like we heavyweights are the flagbearers for the sport.

“I’m peaking, but what I need to do is remain where I am. If you want to see my peak then I need to face stern challenges. The better opponent, the better I get.

“We embrace the challenge of facing an undefeated champion. He’s a champion, he’s done well for himself. He’s quick and he can take a punch.

“I have to mentally say the fight will go 12 rounds in my head, but if I had to pick I’d say nine rounds. I win by knockout, 100 percent.”

“For a long time, I’ve had to rely on my strength and my physicality. Over the 10 years I’ve been boxing, I’ve built a lot of mental strength as well. And now I’m combining the two. I feel confident and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“I take it one thousand percent one fight at a time. A lot of talk has been happening about AJ vs. Deontay (Wilder). People need to be realistic. I’m looking at Joseph Parker, who is a lively challenger. He’s a champion for a reason.

“Let’s say we look into a crystal ball and I’m victorious, then we can start talking about future plans. But, for now, my future starts on Saturday. That’s where I’ve got to look to and not really beyond that moment.

“There’s definitely a fear of losing because it keeps me going. I have to make sure I stay focused on the task at hand. The fear of losing keeps me motivated because I know how quickly the tables can turn. One minute you’re the man and the next you’re not.

“I’m definitely preparing for a 12-round fight. One hundred and ten percent. It isn’t a problem to go the distance. But let’s say I’ve got 20 quid in my pocket and I’m looking at Joseph Parker vs. Anthony Joshua. I believe Anthony Joshua will knock Joseph Parker out, myself.”

JOSHEPH PARKER:

“I feel ready, confident and sharp. I feel better than ever, and I’m taking these belts back to New Zealand.

“I see Joshua as a great champion. The reason why we wanted this fight is because we respect what he’s achieved in the boxing world. We respect his team and what they’ve been able to achieve on this side of the world. And we love challenges. We see him as a big challenge and that’s the reason we want to fight him.

“I feel it’s my time. I’m young, I’m fast, I’m strong. And I’m determined to win. I’m not here for a payday. I’m here to take those belts back with me. I’m here to be part of history. I’m not doing it just for myself. I’m doing it for my team, my family and my country.

“He’s at his best. I’m at my best. This is the perfect time for the fight. There are going to be no excuses. Whoever wins is the best on the day.

“I’m going to beat Joshua. I haven’t decided how I want to beat him yet. I don’t know if it’s a knockout or if it’s points or decision. We’ll see how I feel on fight night. But I’m going to be undefeated going home with the belts. These are mine.

“I’m in the best shape ever. Whoever wins is the better man. There’s no excuses on my side. I’m feeling great, I’m feeling strong and I’m going to leave it all in the ring. I’m punching hard, I’m punching with way more speed so I’m looking to put on a display.

“This is the perfect time because he’s undefeated. He’s got belts that I want. We’re both at the top of our game now and it’s a good time to see who the best is.

“I’m confident I’m going to win. I’m taking the belts home.”

Demetrius Andrade Ready to Step in to Fight Gennady Golovkin on May 5th

Undefeated, two-time world champion Demetrius Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs) is ready and available for a showdown with unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, should Canelo Alvarez not be cleared by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on April 10th for his May 5th rematch with Golovkin.

Andrade, who is ranked number #1 by the WBO in the middleweight division, feels that if Alvarez is not cleared by the commission for his recent positive test for Clenbuterol, he would be the most obvious candidate to face Golovkin.

“I am ready, willing, and able to step to the plate on May 5th to fight Golovkin,” stated Andrade. “I am always in the gym, and I will start VADA testing right now. I guarantee that I will pass all the tests. I know other fighters can’t say the same thing. I am undefeated, and a two-time world champion.

Golovkin went through a period where nobody wanted to fight him. I am that guy now. The man nobody wants to fight. Everyone says, what does Demetrius Andrade bring to the table? Besides being the best American middleweight, and one of the top 3 middleweights in the world, everyone knows who I am, and they know how good I am. My question is to those who say that I don’t bring anything to the table. What did Murray, Adama, Geale, Monroe, and Rosado bring to the table? None of the top contenders want to fight me so I believe that if Canelo is unavailable for May 5th, I want the opportunity to face Golovkin for the unified middleweight championship of the world.”

Golovkin’s Promoter Tom Loeffler stated after Alvarez was temporarily suspended that his fighter will still compete on May 5th with or without Alvarez.

“Whatever the commission does, Gennady would still fight May 5th if Canelo is out,” he said. “If for some reason it’s not against Canelo, we’ll figure out the best course of action at that time, but he is training to fight May 5th.”, Loeffler told Dan Rafael of ESPN.com

Like Golovkin, Andrade is also in the gym, and will be ready should he get the call for May 5th.

Raymond Serrano Looks to Continue Career Upswing Against Malik Hawkins in Philadelphia
This Friday night, welterweight contender, Raymond “Tito” Serrano will look for his 4th consecutive victory when he takes on undefeated prospect Malik Hawkins in the 10-round main event at The Fillmore in Serrano’s hometown of Philadelphia.

Serrano whose winning streak has coincided with his changing of training venues to Los Angeles, has defeated three fighters in a row that sport a combined record of 25-4.

In his last outing, the 28 year-old Serrano was impressive in defeating previously undefeated Enver Halili via 8th round disqualification.

“I had a great training camp. Freddie Roach trained me and I will be cornered by his assistant Ernie Zavala on Friday,” said Serrano. “Training in Los Angeles is a big part of my winning streak. Out there, I am always around big fighters, and I can focus on boxing 100% of the time.”

Another big part of his resurgence is his manager Mark Cipparone of Club 1957 Management. Cipparone has helped put Serrano in the best possible situation for Serrano to succeed, and Serrano fully acknowledges that.

“Mark is certainly a big part of this. He makes sure that I get tested in each fight. The reason that I am around such good training is because of him. With all that, I feel that I can compete with anyone at welterweight, and I will continue to show it.”

In Hawkins, Serrano is facing an undefeated but untested foe, and he feels with his confidence at a sky high level and ring experience will prove to be the difference.

“Hawkins is undefeated, but this is not the first undefeated fighter that I have fought (It will be his 6th undefeated opponent). I know he is young, so I want to see what he has. I am more experienced, and that will be a huge factor on Friday. Experience is everything. I know what it takes to beat these guys. I don;t think he will be able to do to me what he has to his previous opponents.”

Cipparone has been seeing the steady improvement in the 11 year-veteran Serrano.

“His last four fights have developed him further then he has at any point in his career. I would even say beginning with his fight against (Undefeated Prospect) Alex Saucedo. Raymond would have won the fight if he didn’t get caught in the 2nd round. Look at the scores. I think that fight was a turning point for him. It gave him the confidence that he could compete on the level of the top of the division,” said Cipparone, who also manages heavyweight Joey Dawejko.

“Raymond has the natural ability to go along with a tremendous ring I.Q. He is such a sophisticated fighter in there, and now he has found that warrior inside of him. I feel it is his time to get to the top of the welterweight division. This fight is a gift to the promoters as it is for the NABA-USA title with the winner not only going to get the belt, but a ranking in the WBA. You don’t see fights like this on the club level shows.”

Francisco Vargas Workout Quotes

Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (24-1-2, 17 KOs), two-time Fight of the Year winner and former WBC Super Featherweight World Champion, hosted a Los Angeles media workout on Tuesday, March 27 at Westside Boxing Club ahead of his battle against “Lightning” Rod Salka (24-4, 4 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight in the main event of the April 12 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will air the fights beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT, and stream live on ESPN3 starting at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT.

Fighters from the explosive Vargas vs. Salka undercard also participated in today’s workout. San Diego’s Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (7-0, 5 KOs) will go up against Filipino boxer Recky “The Terror” Dulay (10-3, 7 KOs) in a scheduled 8-round lightweight fight. Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (2-0, 1 KO) will return against a soon-to-be-announced opponent in a four-round welterweight fight. Opening up the card is Rancho Mirage’s Javier Padilla (5-0-1, 5 KOs), who will fight in a scheduled six-round super bantamweight affair against Mexico City’s Ricardo Arias (1-2-1).

Here’s what today’s participants said at today’s workout:

FRANCISCO “EL BANDIDO” VARGAS, former WBC Super Featherweight World Champion:

“I’m excited to put on another spectacular show for all the fans watching in person and for everyone tuning in live on ESPN. Rod Salka has a ton of experience. He’s got good technique and good speed, so it will be a good tough fight. I’m totally focus on this fight, but I would love to get a rematch with Miguel Berchelt.”

GENARO “EL CONDE” GAMEZ, Lightweight Prospect:

“I’m fighting a tough Filipino in Recky Dulay. I’ve seen him work and he’s good, but I know I have the talent and skills to pass this test. Filipinos maybe coming in shocking other Golden Boy fighters, but that won’t happen to me. I’m trying to be the best at 130 and 135 pounds, so I’m ready and willing to fight any other Golden Boy Promotions prospect at any time.”

AARON “SILENCER” MCKENNA, Welterweight Prospect:

“I’m delighted to be returning to Fantasy Springs so soon after my knockout win last week. I train hard as if I’m fighting every week. I’m ready and my team is ready. I look forward to putting on another great performance for the fans. See you all on April 12.”

JAVIER PADILLA, Super Bantamweight Prospect:

“It’s great training with Joel Diaz. He’s pushing us to our limits so we can be champions one day. We practiced more on working the body. This fight is a rematch. We fought to a draw and this time I will for sure get that ‘W.’ I want to become one day become world champion and accomplish what I set out to do.”

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Lara, Hurd, Imam, Ramirez, Top Rank, ESPN, and more….


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 6th to March 13th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Lara and Jarrett Hurd to Clash on April 7th

Erislandy Lara, the longest reigning world champion at 154-pounds, will clash with IBF champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd in a highly-anticipated super welterweight title unification live on SHOWTIME (10 pm ET/7 pm PT) as part of an exciting card presented by Premier Boxing Champions Saturday, April 7 from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

In the co-main event, Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb Truax will make the first defense of his IBF title against James DeGale in a rematch of one of the biggest upsets of 2017 that saw Truax wrestle the belt from DeGale on his home turf in London last December.

Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, will go on sale Friday, March 16 and be available by visiting AXS.com or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Box Office.

“This is an action-packed card from top to bottom. The televised card features boxers who all have something significant to gain with a victory,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The winner of Lara-Hurd will be one step closer to becoming the undisputed 154-pound world champion. In a rematch, Truax gets to re-affirm his position as champion and DeGale has a chance to regain his world championship status. This is the kind of show that keeps fans on the edge of their seats.”

“We take pride in promoting quality events that our audiences always want to see,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “This card is going to be another line-up that the fans won’t want to miss. With Lara and Hurd looking to unify their titles and guys going head-to-head in rematches on the undercard, this is sure to be a night of non-stop action.

Lara vs. Hurd is a classic contrast in styles that could force each fighter to raise their game to another level. Lara is a crafty southpaw who relies on his superior boxing skills to confound opponents, while Hurd is a pure pressure boxer-puncher that stalks his opponents and isn’t easily frustrated.

Lara, a Cuban whose nickname is “The American Dream”, is coming off a unanimous decision victory on SHOWTIME over Terrell Gausha in October. Hurd was on the same card and defeated former champion Austin Trout when Trout’s corner stopped the fight in the 10th round. That paved the way for this unification showdown.

The 34-year-old Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), who lives and trains in Houston, Texas, won his world title with a TKO victory over Alfredo Angulo in 2013 and has successfully defended it seven times, which includes wins over Trout, Ishe Smith and Vanes Martirosyan.

“I’m very excited and motivated for this fight and to once again be headlining on the best network in boxing on SHOWTIME, is truly a pleasure,” said Lara. “I look forward to adding another belt to my collection on April 7 and to proving that I’m the best 154-pound fighter out there. Everyone tune-in because you don’t want to miss this unification. It’s going to be a legendary night and one for the history books.”

The undefeated Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) is coming off a career-defining TKO victory over the former champion Trout in his last fight on Oct. 14. It was the first defense of the title for the 27-year Hurd of Accokeek, Maryland, who won the championship with a TKO victory over Tony Harrison on Feb. 25, 2017.

“I plan on being the aggressor for the entire fight, so I’ve been doing some exercises and working on techniques to improve my foot work so that I can stay on top of Erislandy Lara,” said Hurd. “We are not trying to go to the scorecards, so hopefully, I can be the first man to stop him, which I hope to do in the later rounds.

“I called him out, and now, it has come to pass that I get to become a unified champion against the man everyone considers to be the best and most feared in the division, and that’s Erislandy Lara.”

They call 34-year-old Truax “Golden”, and he punched his ticket to world title gold while on a trip to London in December, when he defeated DeGale by majority decision. Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) of Osseo, Minnesota was on a two-fight win streak heading into the match against DeGale. Before that his only losses came against former champions Anthony Dirrell, Daniel Jacobs and Jermain Taylor.

“They made the right call on the decision in England, and I expect to be even more dominant this time around,” Truax said. “I am planning to really just beat up James Gale and get the job done in more efficient fashion this time.’

“Fighting in Las Vegas for the first time will be a very cool experience and I expect it to be friendlier than it was in London. There is a lot of pride on the line for me, being that I’m the first boxing world champion from Minnesota in a long time. So there is a lot on the line for me and I plan to keep that going, especially as a means for supporting my family.”

The 32-year-old DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) was the first British boxer to win a Gold Medal in the Olympics (2008 Beijing Games) and a world championship as a professional. He won his world title with a unanimous decision over Andre Dirrell in 2015 and made two successful defenses before fighting to a draw against Badou Jack on Jan. 14, 2017. It was a brutal standoff between two world champions, but neither man had his hand raised in victory. DeGale, who was coming off of an injury, had his home town crowd behind him but couldn’t deliver a win as Truax scored a stunning upset with the majority decision victory.

‘I’m happy to have the opportunity to rematch Truax and regain my IBF title,” said DeGale. “I am not going to make excuses for my poor performance, actions speak louder than words. I am excited to be boxing in Vegas and on SHOWTIME again. The real JD will be back on fight night!”

Amir Imam Preparing for Jose Ramirez

Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) is in Pompano Beach, Florida, under the auspices of head trainer Stacy McKinley, in final preparations for his March 17 showdown against Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) from Avenal, California for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight belt Saturday, March 17, at the The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Imam, 27, rated No. 1 by the WBC, boasts a victory by knockout ratio of 86%, including his last three and five of his last seven. Ramirez, 25, WBC No. 3 ranked super lightweight, has stopped 76% of the opponents he has faced, including four consecutive and eight in his last 10 bouts

“Amir Imam is coming to Madison Square Garden, The Mecca of Boxing, in New York City, to take down not only Jose Ramirez but Bob Arum too!” boasted Imam’s promoter Don King. “I can hardly wait for Saturday night. Start the clock. Tick-tock, tick-tock.” T-minus 124 hours 45 minutes till Ramirez-Imam enter the ring, Saturday night . . .

“Yes sir, March 17 is a big day for me and the stakes are real high for both me and him. It’s the first time I get to fight in the Garden and that’s exciting, knowing that greatness has fought there. It’s the first time I am fighting in a main event and first time fighting for a world title,” said Imam. “It’s what I have been working for my whole life and it’s finally here and I’ve got to take advantage of it.

“He’s kind of tall and long just like me, so it’s like seeing each other in the mirror so it is going to be real interesting and it’s going to be an electrifying fight.”

“Ramirez is a tough fighter – a real tough fighter and we know what we’ve got to do to win this fight. If a knockout comes I will take advantage of it but I am not going in there looking for a straight knockout. I have to fight real hard and get the rounds under my belt just in case. He’s been aggressive but he may not come out aggressive – you never know. I just have to be smart in the ring and adjust to things he will be doing.”

“I can definitely match his power, I can box when I have to, and I can fight. I can do a lot of things. I can do whatever it takes to get the W. A lot of fighters these days can’t do that – they are one-dimensional fighters. If I have to box or if I have to slug I can do it. I think I am the toughest guy in the 140-pund divisi

“I can just hear them saying “The New.”

Ramírez vs. Imam will headline a spectacular St. Patrick’s Day boxing extravaganza, The Ramírez – Imam world championship fight will be televised live and exclusively at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN and stream live on the ESPN App at 6 p.m. EDT. It will mark the first time Arum and King have battled each other promotionally on the same card since Miguel Cotto defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight world title on March 12, 2011.

ESPN Scores Highest Rated Boxing Fight on Cable Television in 2018 with Saturday Night’s Top Rank on ESPN

Top Rank on ESPN saw Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) retain his WBO featherweight title against Scott Quigg while fighting under a canopy at the rainy StubHub Center, the famed outdoor boxing venue in Carson, Calif. south of downtown Los Angeles. The telecast includes two of 2018’s top five highest-rated fights on cable television in 2018, according to preliminary audience results from Nielsen. The Valdez vs. Quigg world championship fight aired live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and streamed live on the ESPN App.

Top Things to Know

• Last night’s telecast was the highest-rated of the three Top Rank on ESPN telecasts in 2018
• Last night’s Top Rank on ESPN featured two of the five highest-rated fights on cable television in 2018
• The main event featuring Valdez vs. Quigg averaged a 0.7 metered market rating, while the co-main event featuring undefeated junior lightweights Andy Vences vs. Erick De Leon averaged a 0.8 metered market rating
Top Boxing Overnight Ratings on Cable Television 2018 (By Fight)
03/10/2018
ESPN
VENCES vs. DE LEON
0.8

03/03/2018
SHOWTIME
WILDER vs. ORTIZ
0.8

03/10/2018
ESPN
VALDEZ vs. QUIGG
0.7

01/27/2018
HBO
MATTHYSSE vs. KIRAM
0.7

03/03/2018
HBO
KOVALEV vs. MIKHALKIN
0.7

The next Top Rank on ESPN is this Saturday, March 17 and features top-rated contenders José Ramírez and Amir “Young Man” Imam fighting for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight world title. Ramirez vs. Imam will headline a St. Patrick’s Day at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The event also features Irish Olympian Michael Conlan (5-0, 4 KO’s), from Belfast, who begins his sophomore professional year exactly where he started his freshman year — at The Garden. The Ramirez vs. Imam world championship event will live and exclusively at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and stream live on the ESPN App at 6 p.m. ET.

Witherspoon Decisions Capers in Atlantic City

Chazz Witherspoon raised his winning streak to eight in a row as he went the eight-round distance by won a unanimous decision over Lamont Capers that headlined a seven-bout card at The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City.

The show, which took place this past Saturday, was promoted by Mis Downing Promotions and Silverspoon Promotions.

Witherspoon was able to outpoint the crafty Capers. Capers was very competitive, but it was Witherspoon’s size and harder punches that proved to be the difference as he captured the via 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 scores.

Witherspoon of Paulsboro, NJ is now 37-3. Capers, who was fighting for the 2nd time in seven days is 9-12-4.

Willis Lockett took a six-round majority decision over Prince Badi Ajamu in a cruiserweight bout.

Lockett of Takoma Park, MD won by scores of 59-55, 58-56 and 57-57, and is now 16-22-6. Ajamu of Camden, NJ is 28-4-1.

Super Lightweight John Bauza remained undefeated with a six-round unanimous decision over David Morales.

Bauza of North Bergen, NJ won on all cards by scores of 60-54, and is now 9-0. Morales of Managua, Nicaragua is 13-9.

Mike Hilton won a three-round technical unanimous decision over Hector Perez.

The fight was a terrific back and forth brawl when Perez suffered a cut over his right eye in the third frame.

Perez almost made a quick night for himself as he dropped Hilton in the 1st round. Hilton stormed back to register his own knockdown’s in round two and three.

The scores were 28-26 on all cards at the time of the stoppage.

Hilton of Trenton, NJ is 10-0. Perez of Pleasantville, NJ is 3-2

Edgar Cortes won a four-round unanimous decision over Kevin Asmat in a featherweight bout.

Scores were 38-37 twice and 39-36 for Cortes, of Vineland, NJ, who is now 6-4. Asmat of North Bergen. NJ is 3-2.

Alejandro Jimenez made a successful pro debut with a 2nd round stoppage over Derrick Pitts in a bantamweight bout.

The time of the finish was 3:00. Pitts is 0-2.

Dan Murray and Latorrie Woodberry fought to a no-contest when Woodberry hurt his shoulder in the 1st round of their scheduled four-round welterweight bout.

“I am ecstatic about Saturday night’s card,” said Mis Downing of Mis Downing Promotions. “The fights were terrific and very competitive. I want to thank the Claridge Hotel and a special thanks to The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. I also want to thank Mayor Frank Gilliam for supporting our event. We are excited about what is to come in the future, and we will have a very big announcement shortly about our next event, which will be a very special night of boxing.”

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Roy Jones Jr., Khan, Bowe, Kovalev, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 30th to February 6th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Roy Jones Junior Quotes for his Last Fight

One of the greatest careers in ring history will come to close this Thursday night, when the legendary Roy Jones Junior competes in his final bout as a professional boxer bout as a professional boxer.

Widely considered one of the very best pound-for-pound fighters of all time Jones, 65-9 (47KOs), competes in cruiserweight (200lbs) bout vs Scott Sigmon, 30-11-1 (16KOs). The 10-rounder serves as the main event to a five fight Island Fights main card which features both boxing and mixed martial arts bouts.

The event will be live-streamed and available on video-on-demand basis exclusively on UFCFIGHTPASS, the UFC’s digital streaming service.

Joining combat sport play-by-play veteran TJ De Santis in the commentator booth will be Jeff Lacy. Known as “Left Hook” during his boxing career, Lacy represented the United States at the 2000 Olympics and went on to win the same IBF super-middleweight title Jones had annexed a decade earlier. Lacy also fought Jones in 2009 (the entire fight is available on UFC FIGHT PASS) and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the event.

ROY JONES JUNIOR FLASH QUOTES:

ON FIGHTING ON UFC FIGHT PASS

“This is the first live boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS. I love being the first to do something, so to be the first boxing event on UFC FIGHT PASS is cool. When I turned pro back in 1989, I said I wanted to bring new audiences boxing and that’s what I tried to do. By having my last night as a fighter on the
UFC’s (streaming service) I’m bringing new eyeballs to boxing and I’m throwing a spotlight on the boxing and MMA fighters who are on the event.

“I’m been a fan of the UFC for years. Me and (UFC President) Dana White have been friends for a long time, since before he even got started with the UFC. We’ve talked about FIGHT PASS showing a fight (of mine) and it has come about perfectly.”

ON HIS FINAL FIGHT

“It feels different. I’m emotional even thinking about how I’m going to feel on the day. I’m almost tearing up talking. I’m worried about how I am going to feel all day of the fight. I may be crying all day – but once I am in the ring I’ll have to put those tears away because there’s gonna be a guy in the other corner looking to beat me. Scott Sigmon won’t care about those tears. He cares about getting the win, that’s the reality.

“I turned professional in May 1989 in this same arena, but I’ve been doing this since 1979. In 39 years there’s not been a single day where I didn’t put on glove, skip, watch tape or spend time thinking about boxing.

“Boxing has been my life and it is my life. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. So much of it is still fresh (in my mind), not one thing but so much jumps out when I look back… representing my country at the Olympics in 1988, becoming a world champion for the first time, becoming the No.1 pound-for-pound vs James Toney, winning the world heavyweight title… like it was all yesterday.”

ON GETTING OLDER

“I’m not sad to get older, we all get old. I had a great prime. I was good in my prime, y’know? I wasn’t surprised that I was getting old, and that my abilities were getting more limited. Everybody knows everybody gets old, but I think some guys really don’t think their body will get old.

“I accepted it. People told me to retire but I knew what I could do and I’ve never let anyone tell me what to do.

“There are things I wanted to accomplish that I knew were no longer within my reach. I love boxing, even out of my prime I love boxing like I did when I was champ. But you can’t go on forever no matter how much you love it. It’s time, I’m ready to say goodbye.”

After MTV Super Fight League Ropes in Fox Networks Group for an Asian Broadcasting Deal

FOX Sports Asia has entered into a brand new one-year exclusive multimedia and broadcastrights agreement for the second season of Super Fight League, the world’s first mixed martial arts tournament, promoted by British businessman and sports enthusiast Bill Dosanjh and British professional boxer Amir Khan on their television and digital platforms in Asia.

Promising reach in more than 500 million homes by broadcasting action pack content, the licensed territories include Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam . Earlier this year, SFL came to one-year agreement on a broadcasting deal with MTV, Viacom 18 in India to broadcast all matches for season 2 (till 2019)

Having garnered over a whopping 100 million views in 5 years for 67 live televised events, Super Fight League is ranked as the third biggest Mixed Martial Arts brand in the world and second most watched sport in India after cricket apart from being the fastest growing combat sport.The franchise-based league that is being organized in association with the All-India Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA) will entail prize money of INR 4 crores as well as 96 players and 8 teams as listed below –

Bill Dosanjh, CEO & Founder of Super Fight League stated, “We are excited to be partnering with FOX Networks Group, the leading multi-platform entertainment group across the world. This association will further capitalize on our long term vision of taking SFL to different markets. In the next 3 years we would like to take SFL to the Asian markets where MMA is more popular than a sport like cricket and comes second after soccer. The opportunity to have our premier content available in over 500 million homes will immediately accelerate the growth of the SFL brand and the sport of MMA across the region. The emergence of young Indian mixed martial artists coupled with FOX’s marketing muscle and distribution, will allow us to expand our event output beyond India and into the rest of the world in the coming years.”

Brian Sullivan, President of FOX Networks Groupadded, “This new agreement allows us to continue adding value to our uniquely holistic entertainment experience, aiming to suit all our fans’ preferences. We are quite delighted to deliver first class MMA content through our channels and digital platforms. The passion of Asian fans for mixed martial arts makes this category key to our content offering, and we will contribute with our know-how to make the experience of living it in our portfolio unbeatable.”

Elaborating Asian athlete and two-time world champion Amir Khan states, “I think we’ll be considered mainstream just like the NFL and NBA now. To be on the Fox platform, we’re not second class anymore. This new agreement represents a great opportunity and will allow us to attract a new fanbase for the sport where MMA has a strongly established tradition as well as huge potential to gather and galvanize new fans.”

Formed in 2012 by British-Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bill Dosanjh with an intent to give Indian mixed martial artists a platform to compete and hone their talent in their country of origin whilst bringing in talented fighters from different parts of the world, SFL is a revolutionary approach to combat and is the first MMA organization to feature female fighters. MTV SFL 2018 will promote gender equality through a fair and unique platform with women having the same influence on the team as men. The league entails a group ‘A’ and ‘B’, consisting of four teams each. Every team has six players—five male fighters and one female—and six back-ups, belonging to six different weight categories. The teams within the group compete with each other in 12 league-level matches.

The second season of the leading MMA league will be conducted at MTV SFL Arena, Famous Studios, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai from February 9, 2018 to March 17, 2018.

Riddick Bowe to be Special Guest for February 22nd Golden Boy Boxing Card

Former Undisputed Heavyweight World Champion Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe will be the special VIP guest for the Feb. 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. The highly anticipated headlining matchup will feature 126-pound contender Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (25-0, 13 KOs) defending his NABF and NABO Featherweight Titles against former world champion Victor “Vikingo” Terrazas (38-4-2, 21 KOs) in a 10-round fight.

Doors to the Special Events Center open and first fight begins at 5:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will transmit the fights beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT, and streaming on ESPN3 starting at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.

A certified Hall of Famer, “Big Daddy” Bowe is known as the only Undisputed Heavyweight World Champion to have earned belts from all four main sanctioning bodies – WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO. The controversial heavyweight faced some of the best fighters of his era, including Andrzej Golota, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, Herbie “Dancing Destroyer” Hide, and Michael “Dynamite” Dokes. Bowe is also one of five former heavyweight champions to have never suffered a stoppage defeat in the span of more than 40 fights in his career. Bowe will be in attendance for this event to meet fans, sign autographs and take pictures inside the Fantasy Springs Special Events Center before the ESPN transmission begins. The meet-and-greet is open to the public with the purchase of a ticket to the event.

Tickets for the event start at $25 and are available at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office, by calling 1-800-827-2946, or by purchasing online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Chief support to the main event battle will be knockout artist Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (8-0, 8 KOs), who will participate in the eight-round co-main event for the vacant Junior NABF Super Lightweight Title against the dangerous Jesus “Carambolas” Alvarez (15-3,11 KOs) of Sinaloa, Mexico. Ortiz, Jr. has never heard the final bell of a bout and will be putting his spotless record on the line as he takes a step up in competition and fights for his first regional title.

Lightweight knockout artist Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez (18-1, 15 KOs) will make his highly anticipated ring return over a scheduled eight rounds of action and will kick off the ESPN3 coverage.Gonzalez will face Rey “Flash” Perez (21-9, 6 KOs), a Filipino fighter who now calls Los Angeles home and who was last seen giving Lamont Roach, Jr. trouble in the main event of the Nov. 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.

Manny “Chato” Robles III (14-0, 6 KOs), who is trained by his world-renowned father, Manny Robles, Jr., will participate in an eight-round featherweight affair. Power punching prospect Edgar “Kid Neza” Valerio (10-0, 7 KOs) of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl by way of South Central, Los Angeles, Calif. will participate in an eight-round battle in the 126-pound division.

San Diego’s Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (6-0, 4 KOs) will participate in an eight-round lightweight fight, and Hector “El Finito” Tanajara, Jr. (11-0, 4 KOs) of San Antonio, Texas will open up the stacked card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in a scheduled eight-round super featherweight fight.

Opponents for all these exciting prospects will be announced shortly.

AIBA Releases Progress Report on Governance

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board decided to maintain the financial suspension of AIBA and demanded a new report on AIBA governance by April 30th . This decision was made despite AIBA’s fulfilment of the IOC’s request to submit a Progress Report outlining all steps AIBA was asked to take and continues to take to improve its governance. To access the full AIBA Progress Report, please see the AIBA website.

This decision is extremely disappointing for AIBA as it hoped the IOC Executive Board would have understood that the processes necessary to implement even more measures require more time and that the positive steps already taken in recent times are evidence of AIBA’s strong efforts and willingness to reform.

Over the next six months AIBA will be in the process of a complete organisational review, which will lead to the ‘New Foundation Plan’ for AIBA. This plan and the recommendations produced will be discussed during the AIBA Executive Committee meeting in July and an update will be provided to the IOC in the requested April 30th report.

In the meantime, AIBA will continue its efforts to convince the IOC of its determination to not repeat any of the past mistakes and its commitment to a fresh, positive future centered on good governance and sound management.

Tickets on Sale for Kovalev vs. Mikhalkin
Tickets are on sale for the upcoming showdown between two-time Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) versus Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) and WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs), which takes place on Saturday, March 3 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Tickets for this exciting event are priced from $50 to $300 and are available through ticketmaster.com and the Madison Square Garden box office.

Promoted by Main Events, Krusher Promotions and World of Boxing in association with EC Box Promotions, the event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:05 p.m. ET/PT.

About March 3: The Saturday, March 3 main event between Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Igor Mikhalkin is a 12-round match-up for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The co-main event features WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol versus Sullivan Barrera in a 12-round title fight. The event is promoted by Main Events, Krusher Promotions and World of Boxing in association with EC Box Promotions and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®. Tickets range from $50 to $300 and will be available through TicketMaster.com, the Madison Square Garden Box office and the Main Events office by calling 973-200-7050 or emailing [email protected]

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Premier Boxing Champions, Shumenov, Fundora, and more….


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 23rd to January 30th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime

Notes and Quotes from 2018 Boxing Upfront Presented by Showtime Sports and Premier Boxing Champions

SHOWTIME Sports and Premier Boxing Champions unveiled the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING television lineup for the first half of 2018 in an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind Boxing Upfront at Cipriani’s in New York City on Wednesday.

Legendary ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. introduced the matchups of 10 marquee events featuring 12 world champions, 14 undefeated fighters and 12 World Championship fights across the first six months of 2018. Among the fighters in attendance included Deontay Wilder, Danny Garcia, Jermall Charlo, Jermell Charlo, Mikey Garcia, Erislandy Lara, Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman, Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares and Errol Spence Jr.

Radio presenter and television personality Charlamagne the God hosted Wednesday’s event and spoke to each fighter in attendance. Here are some highlights of what the fighters had to say:

Deontay Wilder
“Ever since I’ve been a little boy, I’ve always been doubted no matter what. As a grown man now, I’m still being doubted. I like proving people wrong. There’s nothing like proving somebody wrong.
“As I see it, I’m 39-0 with 38 KOs. Every time I promise I’m going to knock somebody out, I’ve done that. Come March 3, I promise I’m going to knock him out too.”

Luis Ortiz
“There’s an opportunity for a dreamer and March 3 is going to be a great fight.”

Jermall Charlo
“My ideal goal is to show everyone why I’m the best in the world at 160 pounds.”

Keith Thurman
“2017 was a great year. Unifying the WBA and the WBC titles was a dream come true. Since then, we had the elbow surgery but 2018 is a get-back year. I’m truly looking forward to being back in the ring May 19. After that, I’m going to bring a more exciting fight later on this year. There are a lot of contenders and champions gunning for my number one spot but I’m going to have to let them know that I’ll be right here at the top.”

Mikey Garcia
“Hopefully I get to accomplish this goal of winning the title in four different weight divisions on March 10. It’s an honor to be included on such a short list. This only opens up the doors to bigger fights and bigger things for my career. March 10 is just another small step closer to achieving my ultimate goal, which is to become the best fighter of this generation.”

Sergey Lipinets
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be on SHOWTIME and fight in this event. I will give my best before I get in the ring and when I get in the ring. I guarantee it will be a war and a great fight and you won’t be disappointed.”

Adrien Broner
“I’m trying to outshine everybody. I have to go crazy. I have to rematch Mikey. I have to fight Shawn Porter. This fight is the start of the turn-up. I’m ready. Let’s get it on. He’s undefeated, I’m trying to give him his first loss.”

Gervonta Davis
“Young people make mistakes but the greats learn from it. I believe I’m the most skillful young guy that’s fighting on TV right now and in 2018, I want to show it.”

Jarrett Hurd
“It’s time to put everyone on notice who the best 154-pounder is. I know a win over Erislandy Lara will put me there so I’m coming for that number one spot.”

Leo Santa Cruz
“The fans can expect a full-action fight just like the first one, maybe even better. I know Abner Mares changed his trainer and Robert Garcia is a great trainer who will bring the best out of him. But we’re also smart. My dad is a great trainer who will bring the best out of me. It will be a great fight.”

Abner Mares
“It’s been two years since I fought Leo Santa Cruz and all I’ve been thinking about is redemption. With Team Garcia, you’ve seen the change. If they think I’m going to fight the same way, they are in for a surprise.”

Jermell Charlo
“I’m going to stay fly, get my body count up and let that lion roar.”

Badou Jack
“It wasn’t my choice to relinquish the title, it was in the contract. Floyd [Mayweather] told me he would get me a bigger and better fight against Adonis Stevenson for the WBC title so I couldn’t pass that up.”
Beibut Shumenov Announces his Comeback
Two-division World Boxing Association (WBA) World Champion Beibut Shumenov announced his comeback today at a press conference held in his native Kazakhstan.

“I thought a very long time before making this decision,” Shumenov explained. “Having weighed all the pros and cons, in addition to consulting with my family and team, I have firmly decided to return to professional boxing. Ahead is a lot of work but our goal is obvious. I want to express my thanks to all those who’ve supported me. I will keep everyone up to date with more news and details of my return to the ring.”

The Las Vegas-based Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs), a 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian, retired last June due to an eye injury., forcing him to relinquish his WBA cruiserweight world title.

“I want to tell you why I decided to interrupt my career.” Shumenov announced at today’s presser conference. “The trauma of my eye affected my decision. Fatigue and emotional tension accumulated. I just needed a break. Now, I have recovered, and I am going to resume my boxing career. Negotiations are now underway for my next fight.”

Shumenov also revealed that he is working with a Kazakh group to develop a domestic pro boxing program in Kazakhstan for young children in Kazakhstan to help them reach their heights.

In only his 10th pro fight, Shumenov established the fewest-fights record for the light heavyweight world champion 10 years ago, when he decisioned Gabriel Campillo in Las Vegas.

Shumenov became the only two-division world champion from Kazakhstan in his last fight, when he stopped Junior Wright in the 10th round of their May 2, 2016 title fight, capturing the WBA Cruiserweight World Championship.

During the 34-year-old Shumenov’s professional career, he has defeated four world champions (Campillo, Byron Mitchell, William Joppy and Montell Griffin), as well as seven world title challengers (Epifanio Mendoza, Vlacheslav Uzelkov, Danny Santiago, Enrique Ornelas, Tamas Kovacs, BJ Flores and Wright).

Sampson Boxing Sign Super 6’7” Super Welterweight Sebastian Fundora
Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing proudly announces the signing of undefeated super welterweight prospect Sebastian ‘The Towering Inferno’ Fundora to a promotional contract.

The 6′ 7″, 20-year-old southpaw Fundora, from Coachella, California, is the tallest fighter in his division in the world. Lewkowicz was, at first, reluctant to sign a virtually unknown commodity in Fundora, whose tall statue and low weight make him look deceptively emaciated.

So, always having been a great eye for talent, Lewkowicz put the young fighter in some tough match-ups and was very impressed by the results.

In September of last year, Fundora took on then undefeated Victor Toney and dominated him over six rounds. Looking to evaluate him further, Lewkowicz then put Fundora in a couple tough tests in South America and he won both by near shutout.

“I thought he would be too frail against better competition,” said Lewkowicz, “but he barely lost a round in his last four fights. Sebastian is nearly impossible to fight at this weight, with his reach and southpaw stance. And he took enough shots for me to see that he also has a world-class chin. He is going to be a major factor in the division very soon and I’m happy to have signed him to my stable.”

“I am fortunate to have met and signed with a great boxing promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, who has exciting plans for my future and who will guide me to conquer the dream of becoming world champion,” said Sebastian Fundora. “I have trained all my life to become a world champion, step by step and day by day. I am looking forward to seeing what the future awaits.”

Fundora has worked as a sparring partner for the world’s youngest super middleweight world champion in history, David Benavidez… also a Sampson Boxing fighter. It was members of Benavidez’ camp who initially directed Lewkowicz to the fighter.

“I now have boxing’s youngest super middleweight champion in history and the tallest junior middleweight in history,” said a proud Lewkowicz of his promotional stable.

Stephen Espinoza Promoted to President of Showtime Sports
Showtime Networks Inc. has announced that Stephen Espinoza has been promoted to President, Sports and Event Programming, where he will continue to develop and execute the overall strategy of the group. The announcement was made today by David Nevins, President and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc., to whom Espinoza reports.

Under Espinoza’s leadership, SHOWTIME has become the world’s leading outlet for live boxing. In 2017, SHOWTIME Sports produced 33 world championship fights and 71 live bouts in all – twice as many as any other outlet. SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® has a television lineup for the first six months of 2018 that will be the largest ever in the sport, with 10 world-class events including 12 world title fights. SHOWTIME can also lay claim to the two most watched pay-per-view events in history with Mayweather-Pacquiao (May 2015) and Mayweather-McGregor (August 2017), as well as the three most lucrative with Mayweather-Canelo (September 2013), each bout produced during Espinoza’s tenure. He also helped orchestrate one of the biggest deals in boxing history when Floyd Mayweather moved to SHOWTIME in 2013 under a landmark six-fight deal. Across seven events with Mayweather, SHOWTIME PPV generated more than 14 million domestic buys (U.S. and Canada) and over $1.2 billion in domestic pay-per-view revenue during a span of just four years.

“Simply stated, Stephen is the heavyweight champion of his profession,” said Nevins. “He is an innovator, equal parts thoughtful and tenacious, who has turned SHOWTIME boxing into the market leader, while also driving excellence in our documentaries and sports series.”

As head of SHOWTIME Sports, Espinoza is responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the sports and event group, including its pay-per-view unit. Based in Showtime Networks’ New York offices, Espinoza oversees the production of the network’s original sports series and sports documentaries, as well as the acquisition and licensing of all other SHOWTIME and pay-per-view sports and event programming. The network’s hard-hitting sports content includes SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, SHOBOX: THE NEW GENERATION, ALL ACCESS, A SEASON WITH (featuring college football programs from Notre Dame, Florida State and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis), ALL ACCESS: QUEST FOR THE STANLEY CUP and the Emmy® Award-winning INSIDE THE NFL, as well as an enviable slate of documentaries including IVERSON, KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE, ONE & DONE and DISGRACED.

Prior to joining SHOWTIME in late 2011, Espinoza was a partner in the firm of Ziffren Brittenham LLP. At the firm, he specialized in representing athletes and sports personalities, including professional boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Mike Tyson, who generated a total of over $500 million in pay-per-view revenues under his representation. Espinoza served as lead counsel for De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions dating back to the formation of the company. Through his representation of Tyson, De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions and his subsequent work at SHOWTIME, Espinoza has been directly involved in the five highest-grossing pay-per-view events of all time (including De La Hoya-Mayweather and Tyson-Lewis, as De La Hoya/Golden Boy’s lawyer and Tyson’s lawyer, respectively).

Other notable former sports clients include former NFL star and current broadcaster Michael Strahan and mixed martial arts fighter and actress Gina Carano. Espinoza also represented a variety of established and emerging performers and filmmakers across the film and television industries. Espinoza previously worked at the Law Offices of Steinberg & Moorad, one of the nation’s preeminent sports law firms.

Espinoza earned a B.A. in Communication from Stanford University and received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, and also offers SHOWTIME ON DEMAND®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ ON DEMAND and FLIX ON DEMAND®, and the network’s authentication service SHOWTIME ANYTIME®. Showtime Digital Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNI, operates the stand-alone streaming service SHOWTIME®. SHOWTIME is currently available to subscribers via cable, DBS and telco providers, and as a stand-alone streaming service through Apple®, Roku®, Amazon, Google, Xbox One and Samsung. Consumers can also subscribe to SHOWTIME via Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Sony PlayStation® Vue and Amazon Channels. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks™, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution, which offers Smithsonian Channel™, and offers Smithsonian Earth™ through SN Digital LLC. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV. For more information, go to www.SHO.com.

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Golovkin, Shields, Garcia, Hammer, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 12th to December 19th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Terrell Groggins / Salita Promotions

Claressa Shields Media Workout Quotes

Unified Women’s Super Middleweight World Champion Claressa Shields met with local members of the media and took part in an open-to-the-public workout on Tuesday at Kronk Gym, exactly one month away from defending her 168-pound WBC and IBF titles against undefeated IBF mandatory challenger Tori Nelson on Friday, Jan. 12 live on SHOWTIME.

A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Shields (4-0, 2 KOs) will face her second consecutive undefeated opponent in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation live at 10 p.m. ET/PT from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions, are currently on sale for $75 for the first two rows of ringside, $65 for remaining ringside seats and all others priced at $49 and $37, plus any applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased in person or by calling the Turning Stone Resort Box Office at 800.771.7711 or online at Ticketmaster.

Here is what the 22-year-old native of Flint, Mich., had to say on Tuesday:

CLARESSA SHIELDS

“I am calm – focused – but still hungry like a challenger with the added confidence of being a world champion. I took some time off after my last win but I look forward to getting busy again in 2018.

“This training camp I did eight weeks instead of six. A lot of camp has been extremely hard. But I’m so focused and determined on 2018 and starting great and staying busy. I expect my opponent to apply pressure, and to use some dirty tactics. She has more experience, but not that much when you speak of her amateur experience.

“There is no doubt I will start 2018 with a win. Then I just take it one fight at a time. Right now my focus is Nelson.

“I’m excited to be on SHOWTIME as the first fight of the year, and just to be back inside the ring. I feel I have been the face of women’s boxing for some time now. I don’t let it feel like pressure – I just work really hard in the gym.

“In 2018 I expect great fights against the best contenders. I expect to make history again on SHOWTIME and also looking forward to dropping to 160 to fight against [Christina] Hammer mid-2018. January 12th will be the beginning of great things to come

“Training through the holidays is fine. The difference between the amateurs and now is that I was always in other countries competing. Now I get to be home with my family getting ready and I feel good.

“The match-up to me will play out with the first few rounds of me using my jab. Then I’ll add the combinations as the fight goes on. I see it being competitive though. I’m going to earn the win. I believe I can KO her by the sixth, seventh round.”

Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin Deal Very Close According to LA Times

Esteemed boxing writer Lance Pugmire of the LA Times recently reported that a deal for a rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin is very close to being finalized.

Pugmire reported that Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, texted him and indicated that there only a few items left to discuss with Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler to finish the agreement.

Many were worried that the outcome of the WBO Title fight between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux could affect the negotiations for the rematch, but Gomez seems to not be too concerned. He stated, “Our main goal is the rematch, not thinking of Saunders.”

Read more at: http://www.latimes.com/sports/boxing/la-sp-sn-boxing-canelo-ggg-rematch-20171218-story.html

Mikey Garcia to Face Sergey Lipinets on Februray 10th on Showtime

Undefeated three-division world champion Mikey Garcia will attempt to win a world title in a fourth weight class when he challenges unbeaten IBF 140-pound world champion Sergey Lipinets on Saturday, February 10 live on SHOWTIME. The matchup of top-5 ranked junior welterweights will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and is presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy will face Kiryl Relikh in a rematch of their May showdown on SHOWTIME, this time for the vacant WBA 140-pound world title. The doubleheader of title bouts in the wide-open 140-pound division sets the stage for a potential unification match.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, are priced at $250, $75, $50 and $20. Tickets will go on sale next week and will be available at Ticketmaster.com.

The 29-year-old Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs), emphatically returned to pound-for-pound lists in 2017 by scoring a highlight reel knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin to win the WBC Lightweight World Championship in January and then dominating four-division champion Adrien Broner on his way to a unanimous decision in July. Garcia is a member of a renowned boxing family, and is noted for his sportsmanship and his commanding presence in the ring, honed by his brother and acclaimed trainer Robert Garcia.

Garcia, of Moreno Valley by way of Oxnard, Calif., returned to the ring after a two-and-half-year layoff in July 2016 without missing a beat by stopping former champion Elio Rojas. Garcia, who has held world titles at 126, 130 and 135 pounds, has stopped 19 of his last 22 opponents including Roman “Rocky” Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Salido.

“It is a dream to have the opportunity to become a four-division worldchampion,” Garcia said. “San Antonio has some of the greatest boxing fans in the country, including some key supporters of my Robert Garcia Boxing Academy family. Since my last fight, I have stayed in the gym. I can’t wait to give the fans in Texas and those watching at home on SHOWTIME another great performance.”

The unbeaten Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) captured a super lightweight world title in just his 13th pro fight by defeating Akihiro Kondo via a unanimous decision on November 4 on SHOWTIME. He is originally from Kazakhstan but moved to Russia when he was six years old. He currently lives in Beverly Hills, California, Lipinets and is trained by Buddy McGirt.

The 28-year-old moved up the 140-pound rankings with victories over then unbeaten Haskell Rhodes, Levan Ghvamichava and Walter Castillo before knocking out Leonardo Zappavigna in a world title eliminator last December. Lipinets will look to stamp his place as an elite fighter when he takes on the accomplished and dangerous Garcia on February 10.

“Getting the title is one thing, but keeping the title is a more difficult task,” said Lipinets. “I’m not about to give it away to anybody. No disrespect to Mikey Garcia or anybody else out there, but I’m keeping my title. Beating Mikey Garcia will put me in the elite of boxing where I believe I belong. I’m happy my team was able to put this great fight together. I can promise you this won’t be a snoozer. It’s going to be an action-packed fight for sure.”

“We’re going to call it’ ‘Undefeated.’ That pretty much sums it up. Two undefeated fighters, champion versus champion,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports. “It’s a big challenge for Mikey Garcia to win a championship belt in his fourth weight class. Lipinets never backs down and he’s out to show that’s he one of the biggest punchers in the division. A win for Lipinets is a game-changer for his family and his career. A win for Mikey is another feather in his cap and will help him be recognized as pound-for-pound best in the world. I’m happy to be back in San Antonio at the Alamodome. I’ve promoted some big fights there. San Antonio fight fans are in for a real treat seeing two of the best fighting each other. I’m sure the fans will embrace this fight.”

“We have another intriguing matchup of two young, hungry undefeated fighters who lay it on the line every time they step into the ring,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “As talented as Mikey is, you can’t count Lipinets out. He’s one of the hardest hitters in the 140-pound division. He’s a tough competitor and there’s a reason why he’s a world champion. He knows this is a career-defining fight and he’s going to do everything he can to spoil the party for Garcia in San Antonio on Feb. 10.”

“In three consecutive fights on SHOWTIME since his return to the sport, Mikey Garcia has solidified his position on boxing’s pound-for-pound lists,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “Mikey has proven he’s willing to take on the most avoided opponents in any division as he seeks out the biggest possible matchups in the sport. He’ll face yet another dangerous opponent in Sergey Lipinets, an undefeated champion in his own right, as he seeks to become a four-division world champion. On the heels of Errol Spence vs. Lamont Peterson on January 20, a matchup of consensus top-10 welterweights, we’re proud to deliver this main event of top-5 ranked fighters to build on the momentum.”

Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs), who was born in Arroyo Naranjo, Cuba and now lives in Las Vegas, has won world titles at 130 and 135 pounds. He defeated Relikh by unanimous decision in his debut at 140 pound in his last fight on May 20. If he defeats Relikh again, he will become the first Cuban boxer to win world championships in three different weight classes. He defeated Argenis Mendez by unanimous decision to win the 130-pound world title in 2014 and a year later scored a unanimous decision over Denis Shafikov for the 135-pound world title. Barthelemy, 31, has two brothers, Yan and Leduan, who are professional boxers who he trains alongside with under the tutelage of Ismael Salas.

Relikh (21-2, 19 KOs) believes that he won the first match with Barthelemy and that the scorecards did not reflect the competitive nature of the fight. The 28-year-old nearly had Barthelemy out after landing a barrage of punches that penned Barthelemy on the ropes, but he was only awarded a knockdown. In the eighth round, Barthelemy came back to drop Relikh with a body shot. Shortly after the May 20 title eliminator, the WBA ordered a rematch, this time to be contested for the vacant 140-pound title. This will be Relikh’s second world title shot after the fighter from Minsk, Belarus lost a unanimous decision to Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland on Oct. 7, 2016.

Christina Hammer Signs with Salita Promotions

Promoter Dmitriy Salita proudly announces the signing of undefeated women’s unified world middleweight champion Christina Hammer to a multi-fight promotional contract.

Already a superstar in Europe, “Lady Hammer” (22-0, 10 KOs), from Dortmund, Germany, (via Novodolinka, Kazakhstan) is the current WBC and WBO Middleweight Champion. She has also previously held the WBF Middleweight, as well as WBO and WBF Super Middleweight Championships.

Under Salita’s promotional direction, Hammer will make her United States boxing debut on Friday, January 12, at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, on the non-televised undercard of a ShoBox: The New Generation telecast (10 p.m. ET/PT), featuring unified Women’s Super Middleweight World Champion Claressa Shields’ WBC and IBF title defense against mandatory challenger Tori Nelson. Hammer is scheduled for a 10-round fight, highlights of which will be shown on SHOWTIME.

“I never had any doubt that my manager Harald Pia and I would reach an agreement,” said a happy Hammer of the signing. “I love the U.S.,” she continued. “If you are successful here, you will be successful everywhere. Since the beginning of my boxing career it has been a dream of mine to fight in the U.S.. I can’t wait for January 12.”

Hammer joins the Salita Promotions roster that also includes women’s superstar, unified super middleweight champion and two-time gold medalist Claressa Shields, as well as world, European (2X) and Russian (6X) amateur champion and 2012 Olympian, Elena Savelyeva.

“Christina has all the tools to become a star in the U.S.,” said Dmitriy Salita. “Her skills, personality and appeal outside the ring make Christina a unique and special fighter in the talent-filled middleweight division. I believe 2018 is going to be a historic year for women’s boxing all over the world.”

Hammer is a technically outstanding boxer, but her outstanding physical strength is what separates her from the rest of the world’s 160-pound fighters. She was voted WBF Female Fighter of the Year in 2011 and 2013; the WBO Female Fighter of the Year in 2013; the BDB Female Boxer of the Year in 2016; the HERQUL Female Boxer of the Year in 2017 and is the only woman in Europe to earn the Diamond Ring of the WBO.

“It is always a pleasure to work with highly professional partners,” said manager Pia of the deal. “I’m confident we have a contract that is good for all parties. Christina is very happy to be fighting in the U.S. It is a dream of hers to be successful over here and she can’t wait to show the U.S. public who Christina Hammer is!”

More Headlines