A Tale Of Two Middleweight Title Fights
By Jake Donovan
Demetrius Andrade managed to win all 12 rounds of his vacant title fight yet somehow still found himself outclassed by another middleweight in the ring on Saturday night.
Luckily for Andrade, the far more memorable performance delivered by Robert Brant took place in a boxing ring in Las Vegas, more than 2,700 miles away from his main event in Boston, Mass.
The pair of middleweight title fights were the biggest events of a busy boxing weekend, but couldn’t have been more drastic in action despite both delivering the same exact results: landslide victories for the newly crowned titlists.
Photo Credit: Demetrius Andrade Twitter Account
Andrade scored a 12-round shutout of late replacement Walter Kautondokwa in their main event at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The makeshift headliner came about after Billy Joe Saunders was pulled from the bill and stripped of his title after a failed drug test in late August resulted in his being denied a boxing license by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission.
Kautondokwa (17-1, 16KOs) attempted to put his best foot forward, but the 33-year old contender from Namibia—who took the fight on less than two weeks official notice—was hopelessly outclassed from the opening bell. Andrade (26-0, 16KOs) had a chance to make a major statement, appearing well on his away after scoring four knockdowns through the first four rounds while making his debut under promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA outfit.
Rather than proceeding in a manner that would keep fans in attendance and DAZN home viewers engaged, the contest somehow devolved into a garden variety Andrade fight. The fighting pride of Providence, Rhode Island—roughly an hour from Boston—had a hopelessly overmatched opponent in front of him, yet decided to box his way through the rest of the night.
It was the safest route he could’ve possibly chosen, but one that he and his supporters will quickly note that resulted in winning his third title in two weight divisions. Those who didn’t care for his opting to put it in cruise control will quickly point out that on the very same streaming service that carried his bout—and going head-to-head with his show—came a fiercely-contested World Boxing Super Series doubleheader from Orlando, Florida which generated far more engaging social media chatter.
Playing to far less pre-fight fanfare, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Yunier Dorticos both survived firefights to advance to the semifinal round of their respective WBSS tournaments. Rodriguez barely escaped with his bantamweight title and unbeaten record still intact following a hard-fought split decision win over Jason Moloney in a legitimate Fight of the Year contender.
It had to be that good after the brave showing put forth in the co-feature, where Dorticos fended off a late rally from Poland’s Mateusz Masternak to earn a close unanimous decision. The win put him in the semifinals of the WBSS cruiserweight bracket, the same position he found himself in earlier this year during Season One of the WBSS cruiserweight tournament.
As heartwarming as were both legs of the DAZN-aired WBSS tourney from Orlando, both DAZN offerings were extraordinarily outdone by what took place on EPSN+ live from Las Vegas.
For Ryota Murata (14-1, 12KOs), the game plan was simple; turn back the challenge of Brant and then proceed to a mouthwatering showdown with recently dethroned unified titlist Gennady Golovkin at some point in 2019. Murata was attempting the second defense of his secondary middleweight title, but the belt and his drawing power back home in Japan was enough to drum up the idea of a showdown with Golovkin at the famed Tokyo Dome.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The concept was enough to prompt Golovkin’s longtime promoter, Tom Loeffler ringside at MGM Grand’s Park Theatre in Las Vegas to keep an eye on his client’s potential future investment.
What he witnessed what was not only that very opportunity drying up and blowing away, but also quite possibly the biggest upset of the 2018 boxing season.
Brant (24-1, 16KOs) told anyone who’d listen that his loss to Jurgen Braehmer in last year’s WBSS super middleweight quarterfinals round made him a better fighter in the long run. It’s something that a lot of boxers say after a defeat, but claiming such an occurrence to be a learning lesson and actually learning from the experience are not always one and the same.
The performance delivered by Brant in his first career title fight certainly put something behind his words. The engaging middleweight from Minnesota—who moved up to 168 last year solely for the sake of entering the tournament but has since dropped back down to his natural fighting weight—had fought just once since his lone defeat and was a massive underdog heading into Saturday’s showdown with Murata.
Someone forgot to tell him that he was just an opponent who wasn’t supposed to get in the way of bigger plans in store for the defending titlist. Brant jumped out to an early lead, finding Murata’s leaky defense all too inviting, Murata was not only forced to deal with his opponent’s offensive attack, but also bruising and swelling around both eyes and a growing deficit on the official scorecards.
Try as he might, the 32-year old from Tokyo—who captured a Gold medal for Japan during the 2012 London Olympics—just couldn’t mount a sustained attack to help turn the tide. Meanwhile, Brant never stopped throwing punches, in fact launching more than 1,260—averaging more than 100 punches per round, an unheard of workrate for a middleweight fight.
It was more than enough to secure the biggest win of his career. Brant claimed a surprisingly wide decision to become a secondary titlist in a lucrative middleweight division, and—perhaps even more important—fighting well beyond expectations, even taking into consideration the hype surrounding his career not too long ago as a rising middleweight prospect.
When all was said and done, Brant delivered a performance indicative of a boxer who never took a win for granted at any point in the fight and who had no clue heading into the night—or even afterward—of his next move.
Andrade’s makeshift title fight came with considerable fanfare. Part of it had to do with the aggressive promotional effort put forth by Hearn, but with the DAZN event picking up major profile following the mid-week announcement of World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez signing a record-breaking 11-fight, $365 million deal with the streaming platform.
The move meant a clearer path to a future career-altering payday for Andrade, not to mention the possibility of a 2019 showdown with the winner of next Saturday’s bout between Daniel Jacobs (also promoted by Hearn) and Sergey Derevyachenko.
With so much movement in the middleweight division just in this last part of October alone, any boxer at the weight would be best served to stand out from the pack if he wants to dominate the headlines rather than just be another part of the story.
Andrade had that golden opportunity the moment he realized his late replacement opponent was in well over his head. Yet in a fight where he scored a shutout and won a title, he still couldn’t even win the story of the best middleweight performance of the night.
DAZN Boxing Results: Andrade Steamrolls Kautondokwa
By: Sean Crose
After a very long undercard…seven hours or so…Michael Buffer stepped up to the center of the ring at Boston’s TD Garden arena to announce the main event of the evening’s DAZN broadcast. Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade entered the ring with a record of 25-0. His goal? To conquer his undefeated challenger, the 17-0 knockout artist known as Walter Kautondokwa.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
Kautondokwa went down in the first, though Andrade also clipped him while his man was down. The second round saw Andrade clearly looking to impress, for he fought aggressively and punched with power. Kautondokwa landed himself, though, proving that he was no pushover.
Andrade was all business in the third, landing effectively and with great speed. He then sent Kautondokwa back on the mat with a thunderous right. Andrade jumped on the corner ropes to celebrate, but the rugged Kautondokwa got up and survived the round.
Andrade sent his man to the mat twice more on the fourth. He was completely wiping Kautondokwa out but the game contender simply wouldn’t quit. Andrade looked as if he wanted to conserve some energy in the 5th though he wrapped the round up with a series of explosive body shots.
Andrade kept an active, dominant pace in the sixth, though there were no knockdowns. The seventh was much the same as the sixth. There was little doubt Andrade was pitching a shutout. By the eighth round, the situation was becoming repetitive. Kautondokwa was acting as target practice for Andrade’s fists.
In the ninth, Kautondokwa spit up blood. And yet he kept fighting. The man’s heart was nothing short of impressive. And still, Andrade kept banging clean shots against his foil in the tenth, and eleventh. Andrade conintued throwing thunder in the twelfth. Kautondokwa stayed on his feet…but it was all he could do.
Andrade walked away with the UD win.
Kautondokwa Looks To “Shock The World”
By: Sean Crose
“This is a huge opportunity for me,” said undefeated contender Walter Kautondokwa, “and one I will take with both hands.” The undefeated middleweight wasn’t particularly well known until recently. Having a titlist test positive for a banned substance, however, can bring about strange occurrences. And that’s just what happened when Billy Joe Saunders, the WBO middleweight champ, tested positive leading up to his scheduled October 20th title defense against Demetrius Andrade at the famed TD Center in Boston. Stripped of his belt and the chance to fight in Massachusetts, Saunders subsequently had no choice but to step away and allow someone else to fill his shoes. And in stepped Kautondokwa, the 17-0 contender who has won all but one fight by knockout. “I’ve been in the gym,” Kautondokwa claimed in the leadup to the opportunity of a lifetime “and I am 100 per cent ready to get to Boston and add Demetrius to my KO record.”
Kautondokwa may not be a household name, at least not yet. The Nambian fighter nonetheless exudes nothing but confidence as he readies himself to face Andrade for the now vacant WBO middleweight strap. “I’ve earned my spot as the number two challenger in the division and I fear no man,” he said in a press release. “Demetrius is a great fighter, but I know that I can KO any 160lber in the world, and that includes Andrade.” Most may think Andrade should win the fight, and they have good reason to. Not only is Andrade a Rhode Island fighter battling in nearby Boston, he’s also an extremely skilled foe – not a man whose easy to beat. Andrade has this title shot for a reason. Still, Kautondokwa has his own take on things. “He’s been preparing for Billy Joe, who is a technical guy that doesn’t have power,” Kautondokwa claimed of Andrade. “I am going to be a nightmare for him next Saturday night and I am ready to become a major player in the Middleweight division.”
Should Kautandokwa win, it might make for the upset of the year. Surely the man would become the toast of boxing. Andrade is held in high enough regard that a loss to a largely unknown contender would be an upset on the scale of Lloyd Honeyghan’s stunning victory over Donald Curry decades ago. “I can shock the world,” the fighter known as “The Executioner” said. Should he win on Saturday, Kautandokwa will most certainly do that.
Andrade and Kantondura Set to Collide on DAZN
By: Sean Crose
Major boxing returns to Boston on Saturday as Demetrius Andrade (25-0) faces Walter Kautondura (17-0) for the vacant WBO middleweight title strap. Andrade was originally supposed to face England’s Billy Joe Saunders, who won the belt after dominating David Lemieux last year. Saunders tested positive for a banned substance, however, and found himself without his title and without the ability to fight in Massachusetts. Therefore, Andrade will be facing a less well known opponent in Kantondura on Saturday, a knockout artist with a perfect record. Should he win, Andrade can expect an interesting future, especially now that middleweight kingpin Canelo Alvarez has signed on with DAZN, which airs Andrade’s fights.
Photo Credit: Demetrius Andrade Twitter Account
Tevin Farmer (26-4-1) will also be on the card. He’ll be defending his IBF Super Featherweight title against James Tennyson (22-2). Farmer, who is happy to now be teamed with DAZN, Eddie Hearn, and Lou DiBella, has his eyes on the future, but remains focused on Tennyson. ““I have a big fight on Saturday,” says Farmer, “and I’m not over-looking James. You don’t get to this level for no reason and I know he’s going to come to fight and try to beat me, but that’s not going to be easy – he needs to make sure he brings his A-game.” Should he emerge victorious on Saturday, Farmer has another known fighter in his sights.
“I want to fight Gervonta Davis,” he says.
Ireland’s Katie Taylor (10-0) will be fighting as well at the Garden this weekend. Making her third appearance in the United States, Taylor will be defending her WBA and IBF lightweight titles against the 27-5-3 Cindy Serrano of Brooklyn. Taylor is particularly pleased with the fight’s location. “The fact it’s in Boston means it’s going to be like a home from home for me in there with all the Irish support,” says Taylor.
England’s Kid Galahad will likewise be fighting on the card. The undefeated 24-0 Englishman will face the 25-1- Toka Kahn Clary. Both men will walk into the scheduled 12 round match with much to prove. An impressive win will help move the victor along in his career. Clary, who fights out of nearby Rhode Island, may have the advantage of having the live crowd before him. Yet Galahad is looking to impress as he makes his American debut.
The fights will air live on the DAZN streaming service beginning at 9 PM eastern standard time on Saturday evening.
Demetrius Andrade Looks to Grab His Slice of the Middleweight Title Pie
By: Sean Crose
“I take every fight very seriously,” says 25-0 middleweight contender Demetrius Andrade. “I have since day one.” Andrade’s fight this weekend, against the undefeated knockout artist Walter Kautondokwa at the TD Center in Boston for the WBO middleweight title, caps off a journey filled with down periods and frustration. Since having teamed up with promoter Eddie Hearn, however, Andrade is happy with how things are working out. “My situation,” he says, “is great right now…had I not made the move with Eddie, I would have been fighting in England, having tune-ups or waiting around still.”
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
After fighting only three times in a three year period, Andrade won two fights in 2018 against notable opponents Jack Culcay and Alantez Fox, and is now preparing for his shot at the head of what he says might become boxing’s latest “glamour division,” the middleweight realm. “I think Middleweight can be the new glamour division in boxing,” he says. “We have big names at 160lbs and if you look at 154lbs, those guys are going to grow and they’ll have to come up – look at Jarrett Hurd, he’s a big dude. The division is hot and it’s going to get hotter.”
With names like Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin sitting atop the middleweight heap, Andrade, who has always been highly regarded, will be breathing rarefied air should be get a belt of his own this weekend. “If everyone involved with the elite does their jobs,” the outspoken Rhode Islander claims, “we can make these big fights. The window is starting to close on those fights though, people get old, people move on, and people look to run around and fight lesser guys like the Charlos do.”
“I want to fight the best,” he adds, “only and often.” Andrade was supposed to face the highly regarded Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday. Unfortunately, Saunders was popped for having a banned substance in his system and was subsequently out of the picture. In stepped Kautondokwa, a largely unknown fighter with a terrific record of 16 knockouts in 17 fights. “When you are fighting lower level opponents,” says Andrade, “you can afford to get in there four or five times a year, but at the level I want to operate at, you can’t do that.” Here is a man who clearly wants to place himself at the top of the mountain.
“I’m going to take it one step at a time, do my job against Walter, come home with the belt and we will look to get out early in 2019,” says Andrade. “I know Eddie and DAZN want to keep me active and that’s great, and if it’s going to be the rest of the elite guys, then let’s go.” DAZN, the online streaming service, will be airing the fight live this weekend. In fact, it will be airing the entire card starting at 4:30 PM eastern standard time on Saturday.
Billy Joe Saunders Denied License in Massachusetts; Andrade, Kautondokwa To Vie For Interim Title
By Jake Donovan
Billy Joe Saunders’ year has gone from bad to worse in a hurry.
BoxingInsider.com has learned that the unbeaten but troubled British middleweight was denied a license by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) during the board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday. The ruling greatly affects a planned October 20 show at TD Garden in Boston, where Saunders was due to defend his title versus Demetrius Andrade.
Saunders was asked to appear before the board to review his application status on Tuesday, which he did via speakerphone from England. His specific purpose for appearing was to detail the events that led to his testing positive for banned substance Oxilofrine on August 31 through testing conducted by Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA).
Trace amounts of the drug were evident in his system, to which he attributed to having ingested nasal decongestant spray upon learning of the results in late September and again at Tuesday’s hearing.
Saunders made a similar—and successful argument—back home, where he was cleared by the British Boxing Board of Control. His clearance stemmed from his status being classified as “out of competition”, per United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) which follows the code set forth by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Simply put, any test conducted prior to fight night is deemed out-of-competition, a point which Saunders and his representatives argued with MSAC.
While the excuse wasn’t necessarily dismissed by the commission, it also wasn’t found sufficient enough to sway the board who unanimously voted to deny his license, according to BI source Cory Blamire, a local freelance writer who was in attendance.
The incident drew comparisons to that of Major League Baseball pitcher Michael Kopech, who was handed a 50-game ban for testing positive for the very same substance as a 19-year old in the Boston Red Sox minor-league system. Kopech, now with the Chicago White Sox, denied that he willingly took the substance but nevertheless apologized for the outcome and was forced to accept his punishment.
Appearing before a state athletic commission residing in Red Sox country—with at least two board members boasting baseball roots—proved to be a detriment for Saunders’ cause. The British Traveller didn’t take too kindly to the ruling, at first confused as to his license status before reportedly telling the board to “suck my p***k.”
The show will still go on, but without Saunders who not only is off the show but now sees his days as a middleweight titlist come to an end. Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcárcel declared prior to the hearing that any such ruling that would result in Saunders not being able to compete on October 20 would result in his being stripped of the title.
As Saunders is granted an appeals process, Andrade (25-0, 16KOs) will remain eligible to fight for the organization’s interim title, as the unbeaten middleweight from Providence remains as the mandatory challenger. As earlier reported by BoxingInsider.com, the 2008 U.S. Olympian and former 154-pound titlist will now face the next highest-rated contender in the WBO middleweight rankings, Namibia’s Walter Kautondokwa.
Should Saunders’ appeal be denied, Valcárcel confirmed to BoxingInsider.com that the October 20 winner would then be elevated to full titlist.
Promoter Eddie Hearn—who will present the October 20 show through his Matchroom USA promotional outfit live on streaming app DAZN—was wise enough to secure a contingency plan in the event Saunders would not be able to compete. Kautondokwa (17-0, 16KOs) signed a contract on September 28 provisionally agreeing to face Andrade should the title become vacant.
The bout will mark a massive leap in competition for Kautondokwa, a former member of Namibia’s national amateur boxing team before turning pro in 2013. The unbeaten knockout artist—who turns 34 in November—will also be making his stateside debut, taking on a vastly more experienced boxer in Andrade, who will be fighting less than an hour from his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.
Andrade hasn’t fought since a 12-round win over Alantez Fox last October, with the upcoming show marking 52 weeks to the day of that very ring appearance.
Meanwhile, Saunders will have to turn elsewhere for his next payday.
The 29-year old was due make the fourth defense of the title he won in a 12-round decision over Andy Lee in Dec. ’15. His title reign has been plagued by injuries and more infamously known for the fights that didn’t happen than the few defenses he’s managed in nearly three years.
For this event, Saunders (26-0, 12KOs) to earn a career-high purse for this event, which in part would help subsidize a £100,000 fine handed down by the BBBoC for his role in a social media video where offered a local woman (and apparent drug addict) £150 worth of drugs to perform a sex act.
It was hoped by Saunders and his team that he would at least be cleared to fight on October 20, which would’ve at least provided a high note to an otherwise miserable year. He came into 2018 on the heels of a 12-round whitewash of former middleweight titlist David Lemieux last December, but has now seen three scheduled bouts this year fall by the wayside.
Saunders was due to face countryman Martin Murray this past March, a bout that was postponed to June but ultimately canceled altogether when the reigning titlist claimed a training camp injury. It was widely speculated—by Murray, among others—that Saunders withdrew to instead make himself available in the event that Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin were unable to reach terms for their rematch.
It became moot when Alvarez and Golovkin fought again on September 15, four months pushed back from their original May 5 date. The postponement was due to Alvarez receiving a six-month suspension for having tested positive for Clenbuterol earlier in the year. The wildly popular boxer from Mexico attributed it to contaminated meat, an ongoing epidemic in his home country.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission accepted his response and documented proof that came with it, but still held him responsible for any substance that enters his body, regardless of means of consumption. Saunders was among Alvarez’ most vocal critics, his comments having since coming back to haunt him in light of recent developments.
Saunders-Andrade: Walter Kautondokwa On Standby Ahead of Massachusetts Commission Hearing
By Jake Donovan
The majority of boxing fans may not be familiar with Walter Kautondokwa, but the outcome of a key item in the Massachusetts Boxing Commission (MBC) on Tuesday could change that in a hurry.
Kautondokwa—an unbeaten middleweight knockout artist from Namibia—will be among the interested observers as Billy Joe Saunders will learn the fate of his license status ahead of a planned October 20 title defense versus Demetrius Andrade. The bout is due to headline at
TD Garden in Boston, but that status is very much up in the air due to the unbeaten Brit showing trace amounts of the banned substance Olixofrine during an August 31 drug test administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA).
Photo Credit: Billy Joe Saunders Twitter Account
In the event he is denied a license, Saunders will also be stripped of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) middleweight title. Andrade, Saunders’ unbeaten mandatory challenger will vie for the vacant title versus the next highest-rated contender, which is where Kautondokwa enters the picture.
Test results were first revealed to the public on September 27, via a breaking news entry from ESPN.com senior writer Dan Rafael. The subject has now made its way to the MBC agenda for its next monthly meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at its headquarters in Boston.
It was also cause enough for event promoter Eddie Hearn—whose Matchroom USA outlet promotes Andrade and will present the show on the subscription-based DAZN USA app—to immediately secure a back-up plan to ensure the October 20 card goes uninterrupted.
“We signed an agreement with Matchroom on September 28 to step in and take the fight in the event Saunders is not (licensed),” Nestor Tobias, Kautondokwa’s manager and a former boxer informed BoxingInsider.com. “(Such short notice) is of course never enough to prepare for such a big fight…but we were already in the gym training.”
Kautondokwa (17-0, 16KOs) has not fought since registering a 5th round knockout of Argentina’s Billi Godoy in his hometown of Windhoek, Namibia, where the bulk of his five-year career has taken place. As far back as his knockout win over Obodai Sai last June in Ghana–his one career bout outside of Namibia—he has lobbied for a shot at Saunders.
Now he could wind up taking his place.
For the moment, Saunders (26-0, 12KOs) is sticking to the story that the substance ended up in his system due to his taking an over-the-counter nasal decongestant to clear his sinuses. Whether or not it’s true is less significant than the fact that athletes are held fully accountable—especially in this day and age—for anything they put in their body.
It is why all VADA forms include a section requiring athletes to disclose any medications they are currently taking, or have taken close enough to where a test soon thereafter would return such results. Even if the decongestant was inhaled after such forms were submitted, Saunders and his team are still obligated to inform testing officials of such a development.
No greater lesson was learned than with the postponement of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’ planned May 5 rematch with Gennady Golovkin. The bout was pushed back by more than four months after Alvarez was handed a modest six-month suspension for trace amounts of Clenbuterol found in his system during two separate tests in February.
Alvarez’ handlers presented all of the necessary documents and receipts to validate the theory that he consumed the banned substance through contaminated meat, a years-long epidemic in his native Mexico. The Nevada State Athletic Commission seemed sympathetic to his plight, but in the end still held the wildly popular boxer accountable and thus denied him the right to fight for six months dating back to the date of the failed test.
Alvarez, of course, returned in September in claiming a narrow decision to end Golovkin’s eight-year run of holding at least one middleweight title. Still, the preceding suspension sent a message that nobody in the sport is above the rules—a lesson that Saunders could very well learn on Tuesday.
Kautondokwa and his team aren’t necessarily rooting for such an outcome, nor are they accusing Saunders of cheating, intentionally or otherwise. At the same time, they remain very curious to see how the Massachusetts board handles the situation.
“It is never good to hear that a boxer has tested positive for drugs, it is not good for the sports of boxing but these things do happen,” Tobias notes. “We are happy that doping agencies are making a concerted effort to curb down such boxers and athletes around the world because it is not fair on their fellow sportsman and women with who they are to compete against.
“Saunders has been a great champion, whether or not he really used a banned drug will be up to the Commission to decide. All we are saying is that there should be zero tolerance to any athlete found guilty or failing drug test irrespective of how big they are. If the results prove that he is, than it would only be fair to strip him of the title like it would have been with any other (champion).”
Such a scenario is precisely what the World Boxing Organization (WBO)—whose title Saunders has held since a Dec. ’15 points win over Andy Lee—has insisted would be the case should the MBC deny the Brit a boxing license. WBO President Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcárcel has made it abundantly clear that the title would become vacant under such circumstances, leaving Andrade and Kautondokwa to compete for the vacant strap.
Andrade (25-0, 16KOs) would have the advantage of a full training camp in addition to being the far more established pro. The unbeaten 30-year old from Providence, Rhode Island—less than an hour from Boston—was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Boxing team and is a former 154-pound titlist in the pro ranks.
However, he has also been grossly inactive for the lion’s share of his optimal prime. In fact, the 6’1” southpaw will have been out of the ring for exactly 52 weeks come fight night, having been out of the ring since a 12-round points win over Alantez Fox last October.
Still, he’d remain a heavy betting favorite and for good reason. This much isn’t at all lost on Kautondokwa, who would be making his U.S. debut in addition to the massive step up in competition just ahead of his 34th birthday.
“Andrade is slick, very experienced and unbeaten. He will be fighting at home, had enough time to prepare for the fight, and is clearly the better known name, so everything will be in his favor going into a fight with Kautondokwa,” conceds Tobias. “But that is exactly the position we want to be in.
The pressure will be on Andrade and not on Kautondokwa. We will take full advantage of our underdog status.”
Of course, none of that matters until a final decision is handed down Tuesday afternoon in Boston. But just incase, boxing fans can at least rest assured that Plan B is not only already in place, but game for the cause.
Boston Press Conf Quotes: Billy Joe Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade, Farmer vs. Tennyson
Eddie Hearn, President of Matchroom Boxing USA:
“I am thrilled to be bringing this triple-header of World championship action to the TD Garden in Boston.
“We want to take major fight nights to major cities across America that haven’t had the chance to witness this great sport in the flesh, that’s why we’re in Chicago on October 6 and then in Boston on October 20 – we’re taking this great sport to great cities in great arenas like the TD Garden with the best night of boxing the city has seen.”
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland
Billy Joe Saunders – Hertfordshire, England – 26 (12) – 0 – defending his WBO World Middleweight title against Demetrius Andrade
“This is such a big fight. The two main men at Middleweight at the moment is GGG and Canelo – and neither of them want to fight me or Demetrius. There’s a lot of smoke and mist in the division right now, and when it clears up I will be the man standing there.
“All jokes and trash talk aside, this is going to be a really good fight. Does anyone want to fight Demetrius? No. Does anyone want to fight me? No. We have to fight each other to prove who the number one guy is. Technically, we are the best two in the division, and the winner is going to be number one. I’m World champion, I’ve been more active, I’ve boxed the better opposition – but I have to beat this man.
“David Lemieux is a bum, a bum – he’s not worth talking about and I don’t take any credit from beating him. But I’ve been in with and easily handled World-class opposition – I’ve been in with Chris Eubank Jr and dealt with him, been in with Andy Lee and dealt with him, Willie Monroe had no heart or desire to win.
“There’s too much at stake in this fight to even think about losing – and I will prove that I am number one. If I turn up at my 100 per cent best, it’s good enough to beat him. He’s a great fighter and he’s been avoided, our paths have crossed and we have to fight. The winner is number one.”
Demetrius Andrade – Providence, Rhode Island – 25 (16) – 0 – challenging WBO World Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.
“It’s an honour to be fighting at the TD Garden, we’re giving you the best fight in boxing this year, you have to be there.
“Billy Joe is a great fighter, an undefeated southpaw, he’s ugly looking, but he can fight – but your boy Demetrius Andrade always come through. Never have I failed to come out with the victory.
“It’s going to be an entertaining build up and I’m thrilled to be working with Eddie Hearn, he’s bringing boxing at the highest level out here – there’s no sport like boxing, and we’re showcasing it in Boston.
“We’re going to be in shape to do 12 rounds, I know I have the bigger dog inside me than Billy Joe, and I’m going to unleash that on him on October 20.”
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland
Tevin Farmer – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 26 (5) – 4 (2) – 1 – defending his IBF World Super-Featherweight title against James Tennyson.
“It’s been a long time coming for me to fight as a World champion. October 20, we’re coming to bring the pain. The last time I fought in Boston I fought Emanuel Gonzalez in June 2014 and it changed my life.
“I don’t know much about James but you don’t get to this level for no reason and I know he’s going to come to fight and try to beat Tevin Farmer. I’ve been one of the hottest fighters over the last few years, to beat me, he’s going to need to bring a knife and a gun because it’s not going to be easy – he needs to make sure he brings his A-game.”
James Tennyson – Belfast, Northern Ireland – 22 (18) – 2 (2) – challenging IBF World Super-Featherweight champion Tevin Farmer.
“It’s amazing to be involved in such a huge bill in a great city like Boston – and it’s going to be even better when I leave with the IBF World title.”
Katie Taylor – Bray, Ireland – 10 (5) – 0 – defending her WBA and IBF World Lightweight titles against Cindy Serrano.
“It’s great to be here, I love this city and it’s going to be like a homecoming fight for me with all the Irish fans living here. I want to thank Cindy for taking this fight, these are the types of fights that I absolutely relish, it’s going to be a really exciting clash alongside some brilliant fighters on the rest of the bill, I can’t wait.”
Cindy Serrano – Brooklyn, New York (born in Puerto Rico) – 27 (10) – 5 – 3 – challenging WBA and IBF World Lightweight champion Katie Taylor.
“Katie is a tremendous fighter and a hard worker so I know it’s going to be a hard fight, but a great fight. I am a great fighter too and not only can we both fight, we look good doing it – and we’re going to prove that on October.
Kid Galahad – Sheffield, England – 24 (15) – 0 – facing Toka Kahn Cleary in a final eliminator for the IBF World Featherweight title.
“We’re not here to play marbles, we’re here to take over. I’m over here to hurt this man, real bad. Me and Billy Joe Saunders are not joking – we’re coming to get big wins and in style.
Toka Kahn Cleary – Providence, Rhode Island – 25 (17) – 1 (1) – facing Kid Galahad in a final eliminator for the IBF World Featherweight title.
“It’s great to be on this huge bill alongside my big brother Demetrius Andrade and a lot of great fighters. I work very hard in the gym and I belong on the big stage, I promise you that after October 20, Toka Kahn Cleary is going to be fighting for a World title.”
Billy Joe Saunders – Demetrius Andrade Fight Promotion Kicks Off In Entertaining Fashion
By: Sean Crose
Some press conferences are boring. Some are so over the top, they’re off-putting. Friday’s kickoff for the WBO middleweight championship of the world between champion Billy Joe Saunders and Demetrius Andrade was downright entertaining. Andrade decided to show his patriotism for the crowd gathered in Boston by dressing as a colonial soldier while England’s Saunders had some gems of his own to deliver. The fight, which goes down October 20th at Boston’s TD Garden, is being promoted by Eddie Hearn, and will have a strong undercard, featuring such notables as Tevin Farmer, Katie Taylor and Scott Quigg.
“The red jackets are here!” Andrade yelled in reference to the red uniformed British soldiers who used to occupy Boston at the dawn of the American Revolution. “We look good,” Saunders quipped in response, “but we’re mean m—–f—–s!” It may have been a bit vulgar at times, but this kickoff was as good natured as it was rowdy. Here were two fighters, both flamboyant, who seemed to actually like each other on a personal level, but were not afraid to go at it with the verbal jabs. Unlike last year’s Mayweather-McGregor pre fight tour, no one here seemed to be trying too hard.
“Billy Joe Saunders, yes, he’s a great fighter,” said Andrade. “Southpaw. Undefeated. Ugly looking. But he is a great fighter, yes.” Saunders took a moment to note the seriousness nature of the boxing business. While bringing up the fact that Canelo-Golovkin 2 is currently boxing’s big ticket, he added this dig at his fellow middleweights: “Does anybody want to fight Demetrius Andrade?” he asked. “Does anybody want to fight me? No.” Saunders made it clear that the two best men at middleweight aren’t Canelo or Golovkin, but Andrade and himself. “Technically,” he said, “we are the two best in the division and the winner of this fight will prove to be number one.”
Aside from the fact that there seems to be no bad blood between the combatants, another thing that separates Saunders-Andrade from Canelo-GGG 2 is the fact that both Saunders and Andrade are known as scientific fighters. In other words, the slickness and skill of both men can supersede the thrill factors that they can being to a bout. Saunders’ match last year against a way over his head David Lemieux, however, showed that slickness and skill can make for an entertaining fight. “This is going to be a really, really good fight,” said Saunders. “October 20th you have to be there,” claimed Andrade, “you have to see it.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
Machado KOs Corrales, As Andrade, Burnett Emerge Victorious On HBO
By: Sean Crose
HBO’s Boxing After Dark kicked off on Saturday night by running a replay of the Ryan Burnett-Zhanat Zhakiyanov 12 round bantamweight title unifier, which went down earlier in the day at the SSE Arena in Burnett’s home territory of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The first three rounds were, as HBO’s Harold Lederman claimed, hard to judge. The fighting was in close, fairly fast paced and very physical. The fourth round was also hard to call, though one got the feeling that, if Zhakiyanov, 27-1, employed his jab a bit more, he would more effectively rise to the occasion.
Burnett, 17-0, seemed to edge the fourth and fifth. The Ricky Hatton trained Zhakiyanov was performing well, but Burnett looked to have the edge – his footwork a bit more proficient, his punches a bit sharper overall. Rounds 6 through 9 remained close, but Burnett continued to appear to have the advantage – albeit a slight advantage. In the final three rounds, it was obvious that Burnett’s use of distance was a key part of the fight. Zhakiyanov could land and have his moments, but he couldn’t have enough of them. Sure enough, the Irishman’s slightly superior skill set led him to a unanimous decision win and Shakiyanov’s WBA strap to add to his own IBF title belt.
The broadcast then went live to the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York, where Rhode Islander Demitrius Andrade, 24-0, faced off against Maryland’s Alantez Fox, 23-0-1 in a 12 round middleweight affair. Alantez had a significant height advantage, but Andrade was coming to impress in his middleweight debut. And, sure enough, Andrade rocked his man immediately after the opening bell. Andrade impressively went to the body as Fox hung on the ropes. Although Fox survived the round, it was a very impressive opening for Andrade. It may have been the opportunity of a lifetime for Alantez, but through the second and third, it was clear that Andrade’s power and ring generalship was, up until that moment, overwhelming.
Andrade continued to dominate the first half of the fight. “He doesn’t want it any more,” his corner said after the 6th – and it may well have been true. In the 7th, Andrade actually went down. It might well have been a slip, but the ref declared it was a knock down. Andrade got right back up and continued to dominate the rest of the round, along with the following three. By the championship rounds, Fox continued to perform, or underperform, as he had throughout the fight. It was an easy unanimous decision win for Andrade, whose power may be an issue if he continues to stay at middleweight.
It was time for the main event. Panama’s 22-1 Jezreel Corrales faced San Juan, Puerto Rico’s 18-0 Alberto Machado in a 12-round super featherweight affair. Corrales was, until Friday’s weigh in, the WBA World Super Featherweight champion. Rather than losing the belt in the ring, he lost it on the scales. Heavy or not, though, Corrales started well, hitting fast and strong throughout the first two rounds. Machado was able to catch his man in the third, but Corrales kept bulling forward. Corrales kept up the pace in the fourth, and, in the fifth, dropped his man outright. Machado got up, be he was clearly being overwhelmed.
“This is simply not up to the standard of the main event on HBO,” Max Kellerman said with refreshing honesty in the 6th. Almost on cue, Machado rocked his man immediately after. He then rocked his man again seconds later. The fight was changing course – and getting quite exciting. Corrales came back and nailed his man in the seventh. Machado, however, suddenly dropped Corrales in the eight. Even more surprising, perhaps, the ref stopped the fight after a rattled Corrales got back to his feet. With a brilliant knockout victory, Machado takes hold of the WBA Super Featherweight title.
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Burnett vs. Zhakiyanov, Machado vs. Corrales, Andrade vs. Fox,
By: Sean Crose
Saturday’s HBO Boxing After Dark card will showcase bouts from two distinct locations. The main event, which will be broadcast from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York, will feature Panama’s 22-1 Jezreel Corrales facing San Juan, Puerto Rico’s 18-0 Alberto Machado in a 12-round super featherweight affair. Machado, whose knocked out all but three of his opponents, is hoping to win the WBA World Super Featherweight Title off Corrales, who has only fought in the United States once before. This will be Machado’s first attempt at winning a world title.
Corrales has held his WBA belt since knocking out Takashi Uchiyama back in April of 2016. This will be the Panamanian’s third defense of that belt.
As HBOs Harold Lederman says: “Corrales, the champion, is a bit wild. When you watch him, he throws punches from every angle you can think of.” Yet Lederman gives the edge to Machado due to the fact that the Puerto Rican “boxes beautifully.” Says Lederman: “I think it’s going to give him (Machado) an advantage in this fight.”
Also competing at the Turning Stone that evening will be two time junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade, who will be moving up to middleweight to put his 24-0 record up against fellow undefeated fighter Alantez Fox, 23-0-1. HBO describes former Olympian Andrade as having “a deep amateur resume, having won a gold medal at the 2007 AIBA World Boxing Championships.” Meanwhile, “the six-foot-four Fox will look to exploit his height advantage over the six-foot-one Andrade.” Rhode Island’s Andrade is hoping to move successfully onto the next phase of his career, while Maryland’s Fox is looking to shock the world.
HBO will start it’s program on Saturday with a replay of the Ryan Burnett-Zhanat Zhakiyanov 12 round bantamweight unifier, which will have gone down earlier in the day at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Burnett, the undefeated 17-0 local, will have hoped to defend his IBF World Bantamweight Title while gaining Zhakiyanov’s WBA Super World Bantamweight Title strap. With a record of 27-1, Zhakiyanov “has compiled a 22-bout win streak since his only ring loss.” And that loss was back in 2008 against Sakhib Usarov – ancient history career-wise for a contemporary fighter. As for Burnett, the 25 year old fought as recently as last June, when he bested Lee Haskins via unanimous decision at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena. The fight will be HBO’s maiden voyage for covering bouts from Northern Ireland.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Andrade, Lara, Matchroom, Conte, Ortiz, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 26th to October 3rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Edward Jackson/Team Lara and Team Gausha/Premier Boxing Champions
Victor Conte Gives Opinion on Luis Ortiz Positive Test
Sports scientist, Victor Conte, reveals in detail, why he believes undefeated heavyweight contender, Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs), is innocent in regards to his recent positive drug test. An expert in the field of scientific nutrition, Conte feels, Ortiz was negligent in declaring his blood pressure medicine, but also believes there is no evidence of intent to cheat. Conte’s position is that the WBC heavyweight championship fight between, Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) and Luis Ortiz, scheduled for November 4th on Showtime, should move forward without delay.
“Unless you have strong evidence of intent to cheat, then you don’t have a case,” said a stern Victor Conte. “Let the fight go on. Don’t deprive the fans…and the WBC, I hope your listening.”
Matchroom Boxing Secures Services of Event Marketing and Communications
Matchroom Boxing USA announced on Monday it has secured the services of Ed Keenan’s Event Marketing & Communications, a media relations company, as Matchroom launches its promotional arm in the US and promotes its first event, the HBO televised return of former middleweight world titleholder Daniel Jacobs on November 11.
“I am delighted to welcome Ed Keenan and Event Marketing Communications to the Matchroom Boxing USA team for our launch in the US and our first show on November 11,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport. “Ed has unrivaled experience and a great reputation in the sport for delivering first-class media and PR services and we look forward to forging a strong relationship.”
Ed Keenan’s career in boxing began with the heavyweight showdown between Evander Holyfield and George Foreman, the first fight under the TVKO banner (now HBO PPV). He has since worked on many of the biggest fights in boxing over the years, including the biggest pay-per-view events in the sport: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin, Canelo vs. Miguel Cotto, De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao, Roy Jones Jr. vs. John Ruiz, Jones Jr. vs. Antonio Tarver I, II & III, Felix Trinidad vs. Bernard Hopkins, Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson, Holyfield vs. Lewis I & II, Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III & IV, Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev I & II, Riddick Bowe vs. Holyfield II & III, De La Hoya vs. Fernado Vargas, and on one of the best trilogies in boxing history, Artuto Gatti vs. Micky Ward.
Ed has also worked with fighters such as Lewis, Jones Jr., Trinidad, Gatti, Vargas, Cotto and “Prince” Naseem Hamed for most of their professional world title bouts.
Erislandy Lara vs. Terrell Gausha Training Camp Notes
WBA Super Welterweight World Champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara will defend his belt for the fifth time, and the first against an unbeaten opponent, when he battles 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha in the headlining fight of a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader on Saturday, October 14 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING®.
Coverage on SHOWTIME begins live at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features hard-hitting unbeaten champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo taking on top contender Erickson “Hammer” Lubin and “Swift” Jarrett Hurd making his first title defense against tough former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout.
Here is what the fighters had to say from their respective training camps:
(24-2-2, 14 KOs) From Guantanamo, Cuba & Training with Ronnie Shields in Houston
Q. How has training camp gone? Has it been affected by the Hurricanes and what is your message for the people effected in your training home in Houston and home in Miami?
“Training camp is going smooth as always. A lot of hard work has been put into the camp. As far as the Hurricanes, it flooded bad in the areas close to our gym, but we were only gone for a couple of days. The roads to the gym were flooded, so we couldn’t go to the gym on those days. I just want to say I’m praying for all those affected by the hurricanes in both Houston and Miami.”
Q. What do you know about Gausha and what kind of problems does he present? What do you have to be prepared to do to get the win?
“Gausha is a very good fighter. I know he was an Olympian and is currently undefeated as a professional. There’s nothing he does that I haven’t already seen. So, I’m just going to stick to my game plan and listen to my corner. If I stay composed I will be able to put on the performance I’m looking for.”
Q. What does it mean to you to be on a card with all of these 154-pound champions and top contenders? How important is it to make a statement to the rest of the division?
“It’s a great honor, especially since I’m in the main event. It shows I’m the top fighter in the division. Getting the win by all means necessary will be my statement. If I get the knockout, it will be icing on the cake as the say here in the U.S.”
Q. What do you think is the significance of you being the longest-reigning 154-pound champion? If you’re able to win on October 14 what fights in the division do you want to make in the future?
“It means a lot. I have a goal to break the record, held by Gianfranco Ross, for most title defenses at 11. But I’ll always be ready to fight anyone they put in front of me. I want big challenges so I would love to fight with GGG or Canelo, and I would also jump at the chance to unify against Cotto or Hurd.”
(20-0, 9 KOs) From Cleveland, Ohio & Training with Manny Robles in Norwalk, California
Q. How has training camp gone so far? Who have you been sparring with and what have they been able to do to prepare you for Lara? Have you tried anything new this training camp?
“Training has been great. We’ve been at it for 10 weeks. I’ve been sparring with good partners, even though I can’t pronounce most of their names. We brought in a bronze medalist from the 2012 Olympics, Chris Pearson and a great Nigerian fighter as well. They’re defensively skilled and as close as we could find to Lara’s style. He’s hard to mimic, but they’re close. We’re not really doing anything new, just working more rounds. I’ve done lots of 12-rounders in sparring, but we’ll save the rest of our secrets for fight night.”
Q. What does it mean to you to fight for a world title for the first time? Is there extra motivation from seeing other 2012 Olympians who’ve picked up titles?
“It’s a blessing and a dream come true. I’ve been working on this since I first laced up the gloves. Not everyone gets this shot and I plan on taking full advantage. Those guys from the 2012 Olympics are my brothers. We talked about things like this back at the Olympics. Then they went out and showed me it’s possible. I want to be the next one to pick up a title to fulfill my promise too.”
Q. What kind of problems does Lara present in the ring? How do you prepare for his skill set and what he does well in the ring?
“I’ve been watching Lara for a while. I know he’s a mover. Guys like that are slick and he’s a good counter-puncher. He’s a crafty veteran and has fought a lot of top guys. But I have a lot of experience myself. I’m undefeated and it’s my time.”
Q. What does it mean to you to be part of a tripleheader with the top talent in the division? How important is it to take advantage of this opportunity and put on the best performance possible?
“Being involved in this lets me know where I’m at. Not just anybody got on this card. We earned our way here and this night will open up other big fights in the division. There’s no pressure for me, though. I put in all the hard work at the gym. On fight night, I just let things flow.”
Demetrius Andrade to Battle Alantez Fox
Undefeated two-time junior middleweight world champion, Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade makes his return to HBO® when he takes on undefeated Alantez Fox in a 12 round middleweight bout that will take place on Saturday, October 21st from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
The bout will be the live co-feature of an HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader card that will feature Jazreel Corrales defending the WBA World Super Featherweight Title against undefeated Alberto Machado and Ryan Burnett taking on Zhanat Zhakiyanov (tape delay) in a Bantamweight Unification Bout. The HBO telecast will begin at 10:05 p.m. ET/PT.
The Corrales vs. Machado bout is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
The Andrade – Fox bout is promoted by Banner Promotions, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and A-Team Promotions, in association with DiBella Entertainment.
Andrade of Providence, Rhode Island was a 2008 United Sates Olympian, and the 2007 World Amateur Champion. His success has continued in the professional ranks, as he has a perfect professional resume with a record of 24-0 with 16 knockouts.
Andrade, 29 years-old captured the WBO World Junior Middleweight crown with a 12-round split decision over fellow Olympian and previously undefeated Vanes Martirosyan on November 9, 2013. Andrade defended the title with a sensational 7th round stoppage of mandatory challenger Brian Rose.
On March 11, 2017, Andrade became a two-time world champion when he won the WBA World Junior Middleweight Championship with a 12-round split decision over reigning champion Jack Culcay in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
Fox of Forestville, Maryland has a undefeated mark of 23-0-1 with 11 knockouts.
The 25 year-old Fox stands 6’4″, and he has used that height to score impressive victories over Kenneth McNeil, Ronald Montes, Paul Valenzuela Jr., and previously undefeated Patrick Day.
“First of all I need to thank HBO, and especially Peter Nelson for giving me this tremendous opportunity. Thanks to him, I get a chance to not only have a great fight on October 21st, but I also get to show my fans on prime time that I’m the best fighter in the junior middleweight and now the Middleweight division, “said Andrade. “I can’t wait for the chance to fight more often and against the very best and thanks to HBO I finally have that chance! And I’m looking forward to giving my fans a great performance and I’m going to show them how much I appreciate their support by giving them a great show!”
“The Olympics were ten years ago. He is not the same fighter. I don’t see anything that he will do that can put a loss on my record. I am going on HBO to put on a boxing exhibition,” said Fox.
“I am very happy for Demetrius to be back in the ring on HBO. There are a lot of compelling fights that could take place on HBO for Demetrius’ future career,” said Artie Pelullo, President of Banner Promotions.
“We are very pleased to have Demetrius back in the ring on HBO,” said Joe DeGuardia, President of Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing. “I have always felt that Demetrius is one of the best fighters in the world, and I feel he has a very bright future.”
“Alantez Fox is a tall, rangy, powerful, and undefeated middleweight contender,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Boo Boo Andrade is a great fighter, but we believe that Fox is up to the challenge.”
Demetrius Andrade Will Rise
Demetrius Andrade Will Rise
By: Brandon Bernica
The first time I glanced at Demetrius Andrade doing work in a boxing ring, I was floored. Right before he was scheduled to fight Vanes Martirosyan for the WBO junior middleweight crown, I decided to scout out this former Olympian. Immediately, his form grabs your attention. Somehow his pristine punches freeze his opponents just out of range. If said opponents try to overextend into his space, he slides to the sides, knowing full well how badly they’re going to whiff before they even punch. His real genius, however, is in his return, in how he seems to choose the right punch at the right time to optimize every exchange for his benefit.
If you think I’m mistaken, I wouldn’t blame you. Andrade is a promoter’s dream – a true talent with proven skills and unbridled confidence. His resume isn’t sparse, either, consisting of wins against well-known contenders like Martirosyan and Willie Nelson. But before you take your money to Bank Andrade and deposit every cent of stock you own, listen. Because Andrade’s story feels incomplete, and it has nothing to do with his performance inside the ropes.
The truth is, Andrade struggles to find an enclave in boxing’s revolving carousel of niches. Not to his own fault, he fights with gusto and barks for any top-dog to go against him. As you start peeling the layers back from Andrade’s career, you notice that the only figures lacking confidence in his abilities are the team around him. Promotionally, Andrade’s never been pushed as an attraction, and it shows in the gun-shy nature of Banner Promotion’s matchmaking for him. Fans have had nothing to get excited about – no big fights, no buzz, no engendering to the public. When he signed a deal to appear exclusively on the Showtime networks, many believed that would be the beginning of an Andrade run at stardom. Instead, Showtime has been reluctant to showcase him, despite little rationale behind that decision. Training-wise, he’s outlasted multiple changes at the helm. While anyone would call it foolish to believe that men like his father and the great Virgil Hunter couldn’t see the prospects in his future, clearly the issue of consistency behind his career lingers.
If anything, Andrade should have the fans in his back pocket, right? Wrong. Fans just haven’t developed any large swell of support for Andrade despite his credentials. One theory behind this disappointing turn out (or turn-away) might be the color of Andrade’s skin. Boxing fans quickly identify black fighters as slick boxer-punchers, lazy bylines moving uninspired, predetermined narratives. And the thing is, Andrade is slick and is a boxer-puncher. But he’s so much more than that. He loves to mix it up. He uses the ring as his playground, bobbing and weaving and punching from every angle the sun shines on. Yet much of this is missed when you box him into stereotypes, limiting perspective to what you expect to see over what you actually see.
If Demetrius Andrade’s story seems unfair, consider this: the man’s thrived under the radar. He grew up in the sliver of the nation in Rhode Island, away from the burning lights of fame. In 2008, his Olympic experience was overshadowed by the likes of Raushee Warren, Gary Russell Jr., and Deontay Wilder. Even against Martirosyan, it was Vanes, not Andrade, who was expected to blossom at the professional level. His ship has tossed and turned amongst the waves already. Fortunately, he’s a pro at righting the ship, thriving in the undertow of boxing. One day, everything will fall in place, or, just maybe, it won’t. To spin an old adage – don’t blame the player, blame the game.
Showtime Boxing Results: Zlaticanin makes history, Andrade shines in return & Molina upsets Provodnikov
Showtime Boxing Results: Zlaticanin makes history, Andrade shines in return & Molina upsets Provodnikov
By: Matthew N. Becher
Live from Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, Showtime sports in associating with Banner Promotions, presented a three fight boxing card.
The first fight of the evening was a historical one, which had Dejan Zlaticanin become the first world champion from the small country of Montenegro.
Photo Credit: Emily Harney/Banner Promotions
In the co-main event, the return of Demetrius Andrade was as good a performance as you can get. Andrade showed no rust in his abilities and put on a brilliant performance. He will look to take this win and attempt a WBC title shot, later this year.
The main event was a fight of the year contender on paper. In the end, it was less brawl and more of a controlled fight, performed by Molina.
Dejan Zlaticanin (21-0 14KO) v. Franklin Mamani (21-2-1 12KO): WBC Lightweight Championship
Both fighters came into the ring looking to make history. Manini attempting to become the first Bolivian to become a world champion, Zlaticanin trying to be the first person from Montenegro to do so.
They both came out throwing punches, trading shot for shot, working the body. Zlaticanin looked to be the heavier hitter and planned to end the fight early if Mamani dared to stay in front of him.
In the third round, Mamani was wobbled with a big shot, going down on a slip. Zlaticanin moved in with a barrage of punches, causing the referee, Charlie Fitch, to step in and put a stop to the fight.
Zlaticanin TKO3 0:54
Demetrius Andrade (22-0 15KO) v. Willie Nelson (25-2-1 15KO): Jr. Middleweight
Andrade has been on a long layoff over the past couple of years, and he proved tonight why he is still a champion level type of fighter. Even though Nelson, who came in at a very tall 6’3”, would be one of Andrade’s toughest opponents, Andrade showed no trouble in landing his punches in bunches. Andrade came out throwing lots of heavy shots and knocking Nelson down at the one minute mark of the first round.
Andrade used great foot work and punches from different angles to keep Nelson covered up and confused. Andrade threw almost double the punches and was extremely sharp in breaking through Nelsons guard.
Nelson really had no answer for the busier Andrade. Andrade again showed why he deserves a shot at the best fighters in the 154lb division, ending the fight with a knock down in the 11th, and two more in the final round, with the referee putting a stop to it before the final bell could ring.
Andrade TKO12 1:38
Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4 18KO) v. John Molina Jr. (28-6 23KO):Jr. Welterweight
Molina Jr. had a 5 inch height advantage and rehydrated from 140 to 160 and both would prove beneficial in tonight’s fight.
In the early rounds, Provodnikov would push the action, trying to get Molina in a corner or against the ropes and go toe to toe. Molina was able to hold his own, but would then use his length to pump out a steady jab, keeping Provodnikov at bay.
The fourth round had an accidental head-butt that opened a cut over Ruslans eye, and provided a target for Molina’s steady one two jab.
When Provodnikov would let his hands go, he could actually stagger Molina, but Provodnikov just never followed up his attack. Molina would end up going back to his jab and resetting the tempo.
In the end, Ruslan wasn’t able to close the distance and stay away from the jab.
Molina used a jab and mixed it up when necessary. It was a one sided fight.
Molina Jr. UD12 116-112, 117-111, 115-113