Boxing Insider Interview with Miguel Beltran Jr.: Ready For War
By: Henry Deleon
Leading up to his upcoming bout against Olympic gold medalist Yuriokis Gamboa (28-2 17kos), I had the honor of interviewing over the phone Miguel Beltran Jr. (33-6 22kos) of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. He’s a two-time world champion challenger. Here’s what he had to say:
Photo Credit: David Martin Warr
Boxing Insider – Miguel, how do you feel about your fight with Gamboa this Saturday?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – I feel ready, I feel good. We had a great preparation, a great training camp. Now we’re just waiting for the day of the fight. We’re ready to go!
Boxing Insider – In this training camp, what did you find difficult in preparation for this fight?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – We had a lot of rounds of sparring. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we had tough and intense sparring. But we are ready and in good rhythm come fight night this Saturday.
Boxing Insider – with Gamboa’s previous experience of being a gold medalist in the Olympics, being an ex-world champion. How difficult do you feel this encounter will be?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – I feel it’s going to be a great fight because of our styles of fighting. And to tell you the truth it motivates me to fight someone like Yuriokis Gamboa because of the name and trajectory he has built himself. He doesn’t intimidate me though and come Saturday we will leave it all in the ring so we can come out victorious that night.
Boxing Insider – Many feel that Gamboa’s chin can be questionable, will you be going for the Knock out?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – Yes, but more than anything we prepared in camp for an intense 10 round fight. If we’re able to finish the fight early than great, we welcome that. If not then just know we are well prepared to give a great fight from the opening of the 1st to the end of the 10th round.
Boxing Insider – What is your plan to get Gamboa to fight your kind of fight?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – To keep closing the distance on him and keep constant pressure because we know we have everything against us in this fight, that we basically need a knock out to win the fight.
Boxing Insider – Looking past this fight a bit. Do you feel that with a victory over Gamboa, would that put you on a level to compete with the other big names in that division?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – Yeah for sure! In fact, I’m willing to fight with whoever. I’ve never turned away from anyone nor am I afraid of anyone. But above all I don’t really like to talk a lot. My focus is on Yuriokis Gamboa and if all goes well and we get the victory then we’ll talk about what rival we want next.
Boxing Insider – Gamboa has been inactive for nearly a year now, you have had one fight this year against Misael Munoz who you stopped. Do you feel that Gamboa’s inactivity is going to work in your favor come Saturday night?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – Inactivity tends to have an effect on all fighters. I prepared to win this fight. My team and I are aware of his inactivity and it could have an effect on him, but either way we had a great training camp and we’re ready for war.
Boxing Insider – Any final words you’d like to say to your fans and all those that support you?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – Thank you for supporting and to continue supporting us. I’d like to give a big shout out to all the Mexican people that are going to be with us that night and most of all a huge shout out to my family.
Miguel Beltran Jr. will be going head to head with Yuriokis Gamboa in a 10-rounder lightweight bout live on PPV Saturday Nov 10, 2019. Also on the card will be Juan Manuel Lopez(35-6 32kos) taking on Cristian Mino (19-2 17 kos) in another 10-rounder bout. Tune in for another exciting night of boxing.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Pedraza Defeats Beltran
by: Sean Crose
Phoenix, Arizona hosted an evening of championship boxing on ESPN Saturday night. The card opened with Isaac Dogboe demolishing Japan’s Hideonor Otake in the first round of their WBO super bantamweight championship. The 20-0 titlist, the son of Ghanan, royalty scored his 14th knockout. The end started less than two minutes into the first round, as a thunderous left sent Otake to the mat. The man rose gamely, but he simply didn’t have what it took to beat the ferocious rising star. Dogboe, a fighter with a likable personality to match his thunderous style, is fast becoming one of the more entertaining athletes in the sport.
Next up, the 15-7 Edna Kiss faced off against the 6-0 former Olympian, Mikaela Mayer. Mayer, tall, lean and hard hitting, had Kiss down within seconds. Kiss survived the round, but Mayer’s piston jab and powerful right were telling the tale. There was no knockdown in the second, but by the third Mayer was turning up the volume and clearly looking for an early finish to the scheduled six rounder. And the third was all there was to it. Kiss retired on her stool before the fourth.
It was time for the main event. Former IBF super featherweight champion Jose Pedraza, 24-1, aimed to take the WBO world lightweight title from the 35-7-1 Ray Beltran. The first was close, but Pedraza seemed to control the tempo. Beltran spent the second stalking while Pedraza remained largely illusive. Beltran looked a bit more effective in the third, but still looked to come up a bit short. Beltran began to take over the tempo in the fourth, perhaps winning his first round of the fight. In the fifth, Beltran landed on his man hard while Pedraza appeared like he might be a bit flustered. By the middle of the fight, Beltran continued to work effectively.
The second half of the fight saw Pedraza reestablishing his jab in the 7th. The fight was becoming particularly hard to score in the 8th. Pedraza was zapping his man with jabs, but Beltran’s pressure and power were quite effective. The 9th saw Pedraza’s jab holding Beltran at bay. The 10th, on the other hand, was essentially even. Both men looked completely exhausted in the 11th. Beltran seemed to be edging it – until Pedraza dropped his man with a thunderous left. Beltran got up, but had clearly been rocked. The last round saw Pedraza’s jab effectively at work. In truth, the 37 year old Beltran had been looking up at the clock several times as the fight had wore on. The man’s age may have been starting to show. Pedraza ended the round with an explosive and effective flurry with Beltran on the ropes.
Pedraza walked out of the ring with the UD win and the WBO belt.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Beltran vs. Pedraza, Dogboe vs. Otake
By: Ste Rowen
Ray Beltran vs. Jose Pedraza Preview
On Saturday night at the Gila River Arena, Glendale, Ray Beltran, 35-7-1 (21KOs), makes the first defence of his WBO lightweight title when he takes on former IBF super-featherweight champion, Jose Pedraza.
The Mexican will be hoping to extend his hot streak to 7 victories since his last official loss, when he was taken to school over 12 rounds by a, 24-0, Terence Crawford. The 37-year-old has rebuilt himself since that loss, and the immediate bout that followed; an overturned TKO win over Takahiro Ao, ruled a non-decision due to a failed drug test by Beltran.
Four straight stoppages and a majority decision over Bryan Vasquez led to a February 2018 showdown with Paulus Moses, then 40-3 (25KOs) for the bronze belt, thanks to Terry Flanagan vacating the WBO strap to move up a weight class.
Beltran handily dealt with his Namibian foe, winning a unanimous decision in Reno by consistently beating Moses to the punch. Raymundo was willing, and able to go toe-to-toe with Paulus throughout the 12 rounds, and although Paulus had his bright moments, the Mexican was not to be denied and he obtained world honours, on his 4th attempt.
‘‘This belt represents my family’s future and it’s going nowhere.’’ The Mexican told ‘ESPN’ last month. ‘‘I am very motivated to defend my title and it’s very special to me because I’m fighting in my adopted home. Pedraza is a very skilful fighter and is going to bring his best to take the belt from us.’’
Raymundo also has future plans for unification and is hoping to add another top 10 pound-for-pound fighter to his resume. Speaking to ‘FightHype’ he said,
‘‘I’ve got my own conclusions about Lomachenko’s style. I think I have the advantage of the size and strength…Another thing is that Lomachenko stays in the pocket. He comes and stays close, he gets hit…I’ve got enough power to hurt him.’’
‘Sugar Ray’ Beltran isn’t the only one eyeing up a future bout with the WBA and Ring lightweight champion. Puerto Rican challenger, Jose Pedraza, speaking to ‘BoxingScene.com’, is already talking tactics on how to defeat the Ukrainian,
‘‘I am focused on Beltran but, sure I would love to fight Lomachenko…The key simply is to be in great condition and to match his boxing. Salido used a style…that made Lomachenko very uncomfortable.’’
Pedraza, 24-1 (12KOs) is fighting in his first world title bout since his 7th round stoppage loss to unbeaten super-featherweight, Gervonta Davis last year. Since then Jose took over a year out and, much like Beltran did after his defeat to Crawford, steadily fought his way back into contention; defeating 23-11, Jose Luis Rodriguez and Antonio Moran, 23-2, over 8 & 11 rounds respectively, but ‘Sniper’ recognises the step up he’s about to take again,
‘‘Beltran is a veteran and finally a world champion…It’s going to be a great fight because he will not want to lose the title. I’m 100% prepared for war.’’
Isaac Dogboe vs. Hidenori Otake
Also on Saturday’s card in Arizona, is WBO super-bantamweight champion, Isaac Dogboe of Ghana, who takes on Japanese veteran, Hidenori Otake, in his first defence of the WBO belt proper, won back in April this year.
It’s already been a busy year, for ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe.
At the beginning of 2018, the WBO champ, 19-0 (13KOs), dismantled Cesar Juarez to a 5th round stoppage victory in his native city of Accra. Then, 4 months ago, the 23-year-old was dropped in the 1st round, before going on to stop unbeaten American, Jessie Magdeleno via the 11th round in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate.
‘‘Coming into the fight we did think we could go there and blow Magdaleno out within three rounds and then I found myself on the floor and I wasn’t expecting it.’’ The WBO champ told ‘Sky Sports’ in June.
‘‘I got back up though, unhurt, and kept fighting. I just thought I had to put him back down and wanted to engage…God prepares my hands for war and my fingers for battle.’’
‘‘I’m making my first defence against Otake, a Japanese warrior…I’m not stepping back. We’re on a quest to make this division exciting and great again. We’re shaking up the division.’’
‘‘Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe. You all know I bring lighting and thunder.’’
Otake, 31-2-3 (14KOs), will be hoping to bring a storm of his own. The Japanese fighter hasn’t loss since 2014, when he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to then, WBA ‘Regular’ champion, Scott Quigg. It was Hidenori’s one and only fight outside of Japan so far, not a good sign for Saturday.
The former Japanese super-bantamweight champion is on a 9-fight win streak, but it has come against fairly substandard opposition. Saturday’s fight will be his first fight in his pro career, other than the Quigg loss, not to take place in Tokyo’s Korakuen hall.
But home comforts will be the least of Otake’s problems once the bell rings and Dogboe comes out swinging, as is expected.
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.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ray Beltran Becomes Champ in War with Moses
By: Bryant Romero
Another Top Rank card on ESPN is in the books and the fans who attended at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada were treated to a great fight in the main event.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
On the undercard, the A-sides to each bout delivered in expected victories as Heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings (22-2, 13 KOs) demolished an overmatched Akhror Muralimov (16-4) in just three rounds. Also, U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (5-0, 2 KOs) scored a wide unanimous decision win over Juan Tapia (8-2, 3 KOs) in what was his first scheduled eight-rounder of the 20-year-old’s 10 month pro career.
In the co-featured bout, the “Mean Machine” Egidijus Kavaliauskas (19-0, 6 KOs) defeated his most notable opponent to date by stopping former world champion David Avanesyan (23-2-1) in the sixth round. The bout started out slowly as Kavaliauskas slowly but surely broke down Avanesyan with big counter power shots, rocking the former champion with hooks and overhand rights. The mean machine was simply too strong for the Russian fighter as referee Tony Weeks was forced to put a halt to the bout after consecutive unanswered blows were delivered to the head and body of Avanesyan.
Finally in the main event, Ray Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) was a heavy favorite to pick up the vacant WBO lightweight strap against 39-year-old Paulus Moses (40-4, 25 KOs). However, it was a much more difficult than expected for Beltran as Moses withstood the early onslaught and began to gain confidence as the bout progressed. The Nambian fighter started to gain momentum in the middle rounds opening cuts on both of the eyes of the Mexican fighter with an accurate jab and big straight right hands.
Despite fighting with cuts over both eyes for nine-plus rounds, Beltran dug deep and got a second wind in the last quarter of the fight as Moses began to tire.
Beltran closed the fight strong establishing more distance between himself and his opponent, getting tagged less, and scoring several power shots of his own. The late rally seemed to seal the deal for Beltran as he was awarded with a comfortable unanimous decision win. The Mexican immigrant won the WBO lightweight title in his fourth attempt as his ongoing pursuit for a green card may finally come to an end.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Beltran vs. Moses
By: Bryant Romero
This Friday, ESPN will televise a Top Rank card featuring Ray Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KOs, 1NC) challenging Namibia’s Paulus Moses (40-3, 25 KOs, 1NC) for the vacant WBO lightweight world championship at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno, Nevada. Beltran has won 4 straight fights since his last setback in a wide points loss to Terence Crawford back in November of 2014. The 36-year-old hopes that a title winning victory this Friday will secure his longtime pursuit of a green card. The Mexican immigrant has spent 20 years living in the United States and currently resides in the Phoenix area with his wife and three children.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Former World Champion Paulus Moses will look to put a halt to those plans as he looks to secure the WBO lightweight strap in his second attempt. Moses since the loss to Ricky Burns for the same belt back in March of 2012 has reeled off twelve wins in fourteen bouts. The Namibian pugilist is now pushing 40, but is very motivated to get his hands on the belt that was recently vacated by Terry Flanagan.
A lot is on the line for both fighters in the main event but especially for Beltran in not only obtaining a green card with a win this Friday, but also to be in the mix as a potential opponent for Vasyl Lomachenko this Spring. Lomachenko’s handlers are having trouble securing top opponents for the Ukrainian southpaw and network conflicts could prevent a possible Lomachenko/Linares clash, so Beltran winning this Friday would make for an easy fight to make since both Beltran and Lomachenko are promoted by Top Rank.
On the undercard features a solid welterweight matchup between Egidijus ”The Mean Machine” Kavaliuaskas(18-0, 15 KOs) taking on former world champion David Avanesyan (23-2-1, 11 KOs). The 29 year old Lithuanian welterweight contender is taking on his most notable opponent to date and a win over Avanesyan will help The Mean Machine continue to rise in the rankings in the division that will get him closer to title contention.
Also on the undercard, heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings (21-2, 12 KOs) will see action looking to secure his third consecutive win since the setback to Luis Ortiz when he takes on Akhror Muralimov (16-3, 13, KOs) in an 8 rounder. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenon will also be on the card for his first bout of 2018 and first scheduled 8 rounder of his pro career. This Friday’s televised ESPN card in Reno will be aired at 10:30 PM, Eastern Standing Time.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Garcia, WBSS, Hernandez, Carto, Beltran, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 16th to January 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Mikey Garcia vs. Sergey Lipinets Rescheduled for March 10th
The highly anticipated showdown between undefeated three-division world champion Mikey Garcia and IBF 140-pound champion Sergey Lipinets has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 10th. The Premier Boxing Champions event was set to take place on February 10th, but Garcia’s quest for a fourth world title had to be rescheduled following a training injury to Lipinets’ hand. The fight will be live on SHOWTIME and will remain in San Antonio but move to the Freeman Coliseum.
Ticket information will be released early next week. Those holding tickets for the original date at the Alamodome will receive priority on seat exchange for the new venue. Tickets are priced at $250, $150, $75, $50 and $20 and will be available at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 210 556-6390. The event is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, in association with Leija-Battah Promotions.
The remainder of the card will remain the same including the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature, which will see two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy taking on Kiryl Relikh in a rematch of their thrilling fight last May, 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.
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.
With a win, Garcia would become 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*.
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.
Nico Hernandez to Fight on February 10th
2016 Olympic bronze medalist and hometown hero Nico Hernandez has fully recovered from an injury that postponed his December 2nd fight to Saturdeay, February 10, versus Hungarian champion Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai in the the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight title, headlining the “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” card, at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
“KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” is a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC., in association with Hartman Arena, and sponsored in part by Park City (KS), Twister City Harley-Davidson and Metro PCS.
The action will be taped live for future airing on CBS Sports Network.
The 22-year-old Hernandez (3-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of Wichita, suffered an undisclosed injury that forced him to withdraw from the Dec. 2nd fight. Neither Hernandez nor his promoter, John Andersen (KO Night Boxing, LLC), have revealed any details about Nico’s injury to avoid giving his opponent any possible advantage to target in the ring.
“I feel good, ready to fight,” Hernandez commented. “We wanted to make sure that I was injury free and I am 100-percent. I’m going to do whatever is needed to win this fight. Fighting for my first title means a lot to me. I didn’t think it would happen this fast. I want everybody to see that I can be competitive with the best in my division. A win February 10th will get me there a lot closer.
“My opponent like to runs a lot and he’s quick, so I need to have my legs under me. Other than that, though, I should be okay. He has fought some good guys. I can’t wait to get in the ring in front of my fans.”
Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs), who is one year and six days younger than Hernandez, has already fought in five title fights. He also went the full 10-round distance, albeit in a loss by decision in 2016, to two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou, the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight world champion. Fighting in his opponent’s hometown isn’t a problem for Ajtai, who has vast road experience having fought as a pro in the USA, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia.
“Nico will not know where I will be in the ring,” Ajtai predicted. “When he looks to the left for me, I will go to the right; when he tries to find me on the right, I will be on the left. When he wants to rest, I will come forward punching; when he wants to punch, he won’t find me.
“I have a plan for this fight and I’m sure he does as well. But, in the ring, only one fighter’s plan can succeed. It’s going to be a good fight, but I can’t promise the public that Nico will be the winner.”
“I’m excited that Nico is 100-percent healthy for this fight,” Andersen said. “We couldn’t be happier to bring this great fight, and many more as we move forward, to the great city of Wichita.”
In the six-round co-featured event, Minneapolis welterweight Javonte Starks (13-2, 7 KOs), a former Future Stars National Champion as an amateur, takes on veteran Mexican fighter Cesar Soriano (28-36-1, 17 KOs), the former FECARBOX lightweight titlist.
Tickets for Beltran-Moses Are on Sale
World championship boxing returns the “Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno Nevada! No. 1 world-rated lightweight contender RAY “Sugar” BELTRAN, fighting for his first world championship belt and his green card to stay in the U.S. with his family, will headline an all-action card on Friday, February 16, in the Grand Sierra Resort’s Grand Theatre. Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KOs), from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, will be battling former world champion and current No. 2 world-rated contender PAULUS MOSES (39-3, 24 KOs), from Windhoek, Namibia, for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight world title. The co-main event will feature undefeated NABF welterweight champion EGIDIJUS “The Mean Machine” KAVALIAUSKAS (18-0, 15 KOs), from Oxnard, Calif., by way of Kaunas, Lithuania, defending his title against former world champion DAVID “Ava” AVANESYAN (23-2-1, 11 KOs), of Pyatigorsk, Russia, in a 10-round battle of Top-10 world-rated contenders. Both title fights will be televised live and exclusively at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App at 7 p.m. EST. The championship event will also feature the return of 2016 Olympic silver medalist SHAKUR STEVENSON (4-0, 2 KOs), of Newark, NJ. Stevenson has a unique relationship with Reno, where he began each year from 2013 through 2015 by winning a national amateur title. Additionally, he won the gold medal and Outstanding Boxer award at the 2016 Olympic Trials. Stevenson has never lost in Reno
Two-time world heavyweight championship challenger and current Top-10 world- rated contender BRYANT JENNINGS (21-2, 12 KOs), of Philadelphia, PA, will also be featured on the undercard, in an eight-round bout. Jennings, who is a vegan, appears in “The Game Changers,” a documentary directed by Louie Psihoyos, the Oscar®-winning director of “The Cove.” “The Game Changers” tells the story of James Wilks — elite special forces trainer and winner of The Ultimate Fighter — as he travels the world on a quest for the truth behind the world’s most dangerous myth: that meat is necessary for protein, strength and optimal health. It premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Let’s Get It On Promotions, tickets to the Beltran-Moses world championship event will go on sale Tomorrow! Wednesday, January 24, at 1 p.m. EST / 10 a.m. PST. Priced at $79, $54, and $29, including facility fees, tickets may be purchased online at www.grandsierra.com, at the Grand Theater Box Office, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT, daily, or charge by phone at 1-775-789-1115.
“There isn’t a more inspiring story in boxing than Ray Beltran’s,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “It hasn’t been an easy road for Ray, but he has more than met the challenge time and time again. I can’t think of a better way to start Ray’s 2018 season than with this tremendous world championship fight. I am also looking forward to seeing the welterweight battle between Egidijus Kavaliauskas and David Avanesyan which should be nothing but fireworks. And no one lights up a night better than Shakur Stevenson, with his fast hands and bright smile.”
“I’m excited about this fight for many reasons. I’m fighting for myself, for my eighteen years I have worked to become a world champion, I am fighting for my family, my wife, and for my children to be proud of me,” said Beltran. “When you’re a champion, you are a champion forever. I am fighting for my team, the people who have been with me from the start. It’s easy when you are on your way up to have fans, but my true fans have been with me at my lowest, and stayed through my highs in life. This fight means everything to me, a victory will also seal my green card. For me to be world champion, and a citizen of this country, this is my dream. I respect my opponents always, but this is my destiny, and no man will get in the way of that. I’m ready to prove to everyone that I am the most dangerous lightweight in the world. I’m coming February 16th to take what was mine in Scotland, and when I leave Reno I am leaving as the WBO world champion.”
“I would like to thank God for this amazing opportunity. I have had a blessed boxing career and all thanks to everybody who supported me over the years. Thanks to my Promoter and mentor Nestor Tobias and to an amazing forward looking visionary sponsor in MTC who continues to push us to become only the best,” said Moses. “It’s been an incredibly positive week. I am honoured to have recently been inducted as a MTC Sports Legend, the highest sports honour in Namibia and now an amazing opportunity to fight Beltran who I highly regard, and of course an opportunity for me to become world champion again. I look forward to this fight and doing my country proud once again.”
“I don’t remember much about Avanesyan when we were in the amateurs. But he will, for sure, be my toughest opponent in the ring,” said Kavaliauskas. “I am very excited to show the best of me in this fight. Thank you, Top Rank and ESPN for giving me this opportunity — one step closer to getting a world title belt.”
“I am so glad and proud for the Mean Machine to climb to a new level. Thank you, Top Rank for giving the Machine an opportunity to make his debut on ESPN,” said Egis Klimas, who manages Kavaliauskas.
“This is a great opportunity for me to return to the top of the welterweight division,” said Avanesyan. “My trainer and I are working very hard on my conditioning, strength and strategy because we know what is at stake and we know Egidijus brings to the fight. And make no mistake, this is a fight.”
“I’m ready to kick off 2018 in my first eight-round fight. I’ve been wanting to go eight rounds for awhile now and I’m excited to finally get the opportunity in my first fight of the year.” said Stevenson. “I’m undefeated in Reno and won four national titles there in the amateurs, including the 2016 Olympic Trials, so I plan to keep that streak going on February 16.”
“Grand Sierra Resort is thrilled to host this exciting championship fight card and generate national TV exposure for the Reno-Tahoe region,” Christopher Abraham, VP of Marketing at Grand Sierra Resort said. “We are thrilled to work with such outstanding partners as Top Rank, ESPN and Let’s Get It On Promotions.”
Beltran, a native of Mexico who resides in Phoenix, AZ., enters this fight having won four of his last fights by knockout. A three-time lightweight world title challenger and a former sparring partner of eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Beltran still trains at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif. Beltran is fighting for more than just a world title. He is fighting to obtain his green card so that he can remain in the U.S. with his family under the Extraordinary Ability as a Professional Boxing (EB-1) Employment-Based First Preference category.. A world title victory will all but assure him of his permanent status. Recent career highlights include one-punch knockout victories over Mason Menard (32-1, 24 KOs) and Jonathan Maicelo (32-1, 24 KOs) on December 10, 2016 and May 20, 2017, respectively. In his most recent fight, Beltran solidified his upcoming world title shot by winning a gritty majority decision over former two-time interim World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight world champion Bryan Vasquez (36-2, 19 KOs), on August 5. Vasquez was world-rated No. 1 by the WBA when they fought. Beltran is currently world-rated No. 1 by the WBO and the World Boxing Council (WBC).
Moses captured the WBA world lightweight title in 2009, traveling to Yokohama, Japan to defeat defending champion and hometown favorite Yusuke Kobori via a unanimous decision. After one successful title defense — another unanimous decision victory, this time over Takehiro Shimada, Moses’ 15-monthn reign as world champion ended in 2010 at the hands of Miguel Acosta. Since losing a unanimous decision to Ricky Burns in their 2012 WBO lightweight world championship fight, Moses has strung together an impressive record of 11-1, 1 NC, including TKO victories over Cosmas Cheka and Crispin Moliati in his last two fights and a two-year reign as WBO International lightweight champion and his current 14-month reign as WBO Africa lightweight champion. Moses, a veteran who has fought professionally in Asia, Europe and Africa, will be making his North America debut.
World Boxing Super Series Semi-Finals Schedule
Super Channel, the No. 1 destination network for Canadian boxing fans, will air the upcoming semifinals of the popular World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament, featuring world-class cruiserweight and super middleweight divisions action, live from various venues in Europe.
Super Channel acquired exclusive rights in Canada to air the entire WBSS tournament from MP & Silva, a leading international media company that provides media rights, digital, technology and sponsorship services.
“We are thrilled that the WBSS is returning to Super Channel for exclusive Canadian coverage of the highly anticipated semifinals,” said Troy Wassill, Director of Programming, Domestic Distributors and Sports. “I have no doubt that every single bout is going to deliver exciting, must-see action for boxing fans, as these world-class fighters compete to see who is going to go head-to-head for the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.”
WBSSis a revolutionary bracket-style elimination tournament featuring the world’s best boxers and a total of $50 million in prize money. The knockout format of the competition will see the best boxers ultimately compete for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, the greatest prize in boxing. The tournament is organized by newly-founded Comosa AG, a Swiss-registered company with principal owners Highlight Event & Entertainment, Modern Times Group and Team Sauerland. Comosa AG is working in partnership with boxers, promoters and managers around the world, and in alignment with the four major world boxing federations, to create a new global platform for the sport.
The first of its kind tournament, which is planned to take place on an annual basis, kicked off this past September with quarterfinals competition in two divisions, cruiserweight and super middleweight. An expert panel invited the world’s best boxers to compete, namely the top 15-ranked fighters of the four major federations: WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO. The winners of the two semifinals will advance to the championship round in both divisions this May.
Below find the WBSS semifinals schedule and a preview of the four matches and eight fighters who survived the quarterfinals:
January 27, Riga Arena, Riga, Latvia – WBO/WBC Unification
Oleksandr “The Cat” Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs), WBO World Champion, Ukraine – Ring #1 vs. Mairis Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs), WBC World Champion, Latvia – Ring #3
February 3, Bolshoy Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia – IBF/WBA Unification
Murat “Iron” Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs), IBF World Champion, Russia – Ring #2 vs. Yunier “The KO Doctor” Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs), WBA World Champion, Cuba – Ring #5
February 17, Manchester, Arena, Manchester, UK – WBA/IBO Unification
“Saint” George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs), WBA World Champion, United Kingdom – Ring #2 vs. Chris “Next Gen” Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs), IBO World Champion, United Kingdom – Ring #4
February 24, Arena Nurnberger Versicherung, Nuremburg, Germany
Juergen Braehmer (49-3 35 KOs), Germany – Ring #10 (Former WBO & WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion) vs. Callum “Mundo” Smith (23-0, 17 KOs), United Kingdom – Ring #3 (WBC Diamond Super Middleweight Champion)
Christian Carto to Face James Smith on March 2nd
Popular and undefeated bantamweight Christian Carto will headline a packed night of boxing when he takes on James Smith in an eight-round bout on Friday, March 2nd at The SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.
The card is promoted by King’s Promotions.
Carto of Philadelphia has a record of 13-0 with 11 knockouts. The 21 year-old has established himself as one of the top prospects in Philadelphia, and the popular Carto continues to draw large and enthusiastic crowds to his fights.
Carto, who had a very active 2017 as he mustered seven victories and has a signature win over Alonso Melendez (14-1). Carto is coming off an eight-round unanimous decision over Luis Fernando Saavedra on December 1st at The SugarHouse Casino.
This will be Carto’s 7th appearance at The SugarHouse Casino.
Smith of Detroit has a record of 12-1 with seven knockouts.
The 27 year-old is a seven-year professional, who won his first 11 bouts, which was highlighted by a win over Olimjon Nazarov (14-2).
After suffering his lone defeat, Smith won his last bout as he stopped Yaqub Kareem on August 4, 2017 in Detroit.
In an eight-round all-Philadelphia super middleweight bout, Christopher Brooker (12-5, 5 KOs) battle Jamaal Davis (16-12-1, 7 KOs).
In an eight-round bout, Tyrone Crawley, Jr. (7-0) of Philadelphia takes on Anthony Mercado (10-3, 9 KOs) of Arecibo, PR in a super lightweight bout.
David Gonzales (8-2-2, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia will fight Victor Vazquez (9-3, 3 KOs) of Yonkers, NY in a super lightweight contest.
Undefeated Marcus Bates (8-0-1, 6 KOs) of Washington, DC will take on an opponent to be named in a eight-round super bantamweight fight.
Carlos Rosario (7-3, 4 KOs) of Pennsauken, NJ will square off with Seifullah Wise (3-4, 1 KO) of Philadelphia in a super featherweight fight.
Darius Ervin (4-1) of Los Angeles tangles with Jesus Perez (3-0, 1 KO) of Reading, PA in a super lightweight fight.
Jerrod Miner (1-1, 1 KO) of Philadelphia fights Rondarrius Hunter (1-2, 1 KO) of Atlanta in a four-round super flyweight bout.
Tickets are on sale for $100, $75, $50, and can be purchased at SugarHouseBoxing.eventbrite. com.
Top Rank on ESPN Results: Lomachenko Breaks Down Marriaga, Beltran Decisions Vasquez
By: William Holmes
Top Rank Promotions continued their relationship with ESPN tonight by placing one of boxing’s pound for pound superstars, Vasyl Lomachenko, on the main event in a WBO Junior Lightweight Title Bout.
The Microsoft theater in Los Angeles, California was the host site for tonight’s card with an announced attendance of 4,102. The NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame ended late and the first undercard fight was shown on ESPN2.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Arnold Barboza Jr. (16-0) and Jonathan Chicas (15-2) started off the telecast halfway through the bout and both boxers scored a knockdown by the sixth round.
The crowd responded well to this bout as Chicas was going for an upset and had Barboza hurt several times throughout the bout.
The final scores were 76-74, 77-73, and 78-72 for Arnold Barboza Jr,
The next bout of the night was between Raymundo Beltran (33-7-1) and Bryan Vasquez (36-2) in the lightweight division.
Vasquez came in overweight and was unable to fight for Beltran’s titles. However, Beltran looked significantly bigger than Vasquez inside the ring.
Both boxers started off in the orthodox stance in the first round and Beltran was showing good head movement while landing his straight right hands and counter lefts. Vasquez switched stances during the first round, but was not effective with it.
Beltran went to the body more I the second round and landed several hard shots in the last thirty seconds. Vasquez tripped Beltran at the end of the round.
Vasquez started off the third round strong but Beltran took over in the second half of the round. Beltran’s best combination of this round started off with two hooks to the body followed by a left hook to the head.
Vasquez was able to land an impressive wind up right uppercut on Beltran in the fourth round, but Beltran walked right through it and seemed unaffected. Beltran had Vasquez backing up with jabs to the body and head in the fifth round but may have been out landed by Vasquez during their exchanges.
Vasquez appeared to be more willing to exchange in the sixth round, but Beltran’s punches were noticeably more effective and had more pop behind them. Beltran landed an impressive right hook around the high guard of Vasquez in the seventh and looked to be establishing firm control of the fight.
Vasquez had a decent eighth round and proved to be elusive for Beltran and at the start of the ninth round Beltran had a cut by his right eye.
Vasquez and Beltran clashed heads in the tenth and Vasquez probably needed a knockout to win. The blood was obscuring the vision of Beltran but he was able to avoid succumbing to a last round knockdown.
Beltran was bloodied but walked away with a close win. The final scores were 95-95, 96-94, and 96-94.
The main event of the evening was between WBO Junior Lightweight Champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1) and Miguel Marriaga (25-2).
Both boxers showed a lot of upper body movement in the opening round but Lomachenko was the boxer that was applying the pressure. Marriaga was able to land the early punches but Lomachenko began to land some good combinations as the round came to an end.
The pressure by Lomachenko continued in the second round and he was able to land hard left uppercuts and punches from all angles.
Marriaga was tagged with hard lefts to the head and body in the third round as Lomachenko was starting to settle into his grove. Lomachenko landed two consecutive straight left hands on Marriaga that sent him to the mat. Marriaga was able to get back to his feet and Lomachenko willingly backed into a corner and waived Marriaga forward. Marriaga came forward and threw several punches at Lomachenko, but was not able to land anything of significance.
Lomachenko’s pressure continued into the fifth round but he suffered a cut near his left eye due to a clash of heads.
Lomachenko’s pressure and hand speed had Marriaga back pedaling while getting peppered from all angles in the sixth and seventh rounds. Marriaga looked like he was hurt in the sixth round from a consistent body attack by Lomachenko.
Lomachenko looked like he was going for the stoppage in the seventh round as he was landing heavy shots and taking a lot of risks. Lomachenko was able to score a late round knockdown and Marriaga looked mentally defeated as he went back to his corner.
Marriaga’s corner told the referee their fighter was unable to continue before the start of the eighth round.
Vasyl Lomachenko dazzles once again with a 7th round TKO.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo, Crawford Dazzles in Impressive Performance
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo,
By: William Holmes
The ultra-talented and underappreciated Terence Crawford headlined tonight’s HBO World Championship Boxing Card live from Madison Square Garden in New York City as he took on former Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz.
The untelevised undercard featured some of Top Rank’s best prospects, including gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov and the man many consider to be the best prospect from the US Olympic Boxing team of 2016, Shakur Stevenson.
There were no notable upsets on the undercard.
Unfortunately for Top Rank, Terence Crawford’s ability to draw in New York City appears to be questionable, as the top section of Madison Square Garden was empty and there were numerous empty seats in the lower section of the arena.
The first bout on the televised card was between Jonathan Maicelo (25-2) and Ray Beltran (32-7-1) for the NABF, NABO, WBA International, and in an IBF World Title Elimination Bout in the lightweight division.
Maicelo, surprisingly, had a large number of fans in attendance and they were very vocal during the ring entrance and announcements.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Beltran was clearly the bigger fighter. Beltran pressed forward in the opening round while the crowd loudly chanted “Peru, Peru!” for their boxer Jonathan Maicelo. Maicelo was able to score a surprise knockdown on Beltran from a combination to the body and an accidental head-butt in the first. The clash of heads opened up a cut over the left eye of Maicelo and the left eye of Beltran. Beltran was able to hurt Maicelo with a left hook at the end of the round.
Beltran pressed forward to start the second round and opened up with an early left hook. Maicelo was able to respond with a solid four punch combination followed by a hard shot to the body. Maicelo looked energized and landed another combination on Beltran by the ropes. However, beltran later responded with a vicious left hook that sent the back of Maicelo’s head crashing hard on the mat.
Maicelo was out cold and the referee immediately stopped the bout. Ray Beltran wins by a vicious knockout at 1:25 of the second round.
The main event of the night was between Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz (19-1) and Terence Crawford (30-0) for the WBO and WBC Super Lightweight World Titles.
Crawford, who had a noticeable height advantage, was active with his jab early on and chose to come out in a southpaw stance against the Diaz, who is a natural southpaw. Diaz was short with most of his punches and reached for his left hook while Crawford was active with his jab.
Diaz was able to land a good left hook early in the second round and later fell to the mat with a pushdown afterwards. Crawford was sharp with his jab for most of the second round and landed a sharp double uppercut combination in the middle of the round. Diaz was able to land a hard right hook near the end of the second that caught Crawford off guard.
Crawford hard a commanding third round and opened it up with a crisp counter left uppercut on a charging Diaz. Crawford’s accuracy with his jab continued in the third round and he was able to land several hard two punch combinations on Diaz.
Diaz was warned for a low blow in the fourth round, but more concerning for him was that Crawford’s accuracy showed no signs of letting up while Diaz’s face was beginning to show signs of swelling from Crawfrod’s accurate assaults.
Crawford dominated the fifth round which was punctuated by a left cross right jab combination and a hard left uppercut.
Crawford toyed with Diaz in the sixth round and seemingly touched Diaz with his gloves whenever he wanted to. Diaz was able to land some good punches in the seventh round and they had several good exchanges, but Crawford appeared to get the better of Diaz.
There was some trash talk between both boxers in the eighth and ninth rounds, but Crawford was landing combinations at will and the intensity of his punches showed no signs of slowing down. He had Diaz momentarily stunned in the ninth round with a hard left cross to the temple of Diaz.
Ringside doctors took a hard look at the eyes of Diaz before the start of the tenth round but decided to let him continue. Crawford took no pity on the plight of Diaz and battered him from ring post to ring post in the tenth round and toyed with him, again.
Diaz walked back to his corner at the end of the tenth round looking like a defeated man and his corner wisely decided to call of the fight.
Terence Crawford wins by TKO at the end of the tenth round in an impressive and dominant performance.
Undercard Quick Results:
Steve Nelson (7-0) defeated Gilberto Rubio (7-5) by TKO at 0:36 of the second round in the light heavyweight division.
Henry Lebron (2-0) defeated Johnny Estrada (0-2) by TKO at 0:52 of the second round in the super featherweight division.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (2-0) defeated Agustine Mauras (6-3-3) by decision with scores of 80-72 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.
Konstantin Ponomarev (32-0) defeated Edward Paredes (37-7-1) by decision with scores of 78-74 on all three scorecards in the super welterweight division.
Teofimo Lopez III (5-0) defeated Ronald Rivas (5-6-2) by knockout at 2:21 of the second round in the lightweight division.
Tong Hui Li (9-1) defeated Daniel Calzada (14-17-3) by decision in the super welterweight division with scores of 60-54 on all three scorecards.
Shakur Stevenson (2-0) defeated Carlos Suarez (6-4-2) in the featherweight division wins by TKO at 2:35 of the first round.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Raymundo Beltran vs. Jonathan Maicelo, Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Raymundo Beltran vs. Jonathan Maicelo, Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the under appreciated Terence Crawford will defend his WBO and WBC titles against former Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz. This bout will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The co-main event of the night will be between Raymundo Beltran and Jonathan Maicelo in an IBF Lightweight eliminator. American prospect Shakur Stevenson will also be featured on the undercard.
Top Rank will be the lead promoter on Saturday night and HBO will be televising the fights. The following is a preview of Saturday’s card.
Raymundo Beltran (32-7-1) vs. Jonathan Maicelo (25-2); IBF Lightweight Eliminator
The opening bout of the night will be between the rugged and entertaining Raymundo Beltran and contender Jonathan Maicelo.
Beltran is always a tough fight, but at thirty five years old his best days physically are likely behind him. He’s two years older than Maicelo and will be about one inch taller than him but will also be given up one inch in reach.
Beltran has the edge in power over Maicelo. He has twenty victories by stoppage and his last three wins have been by KO or TKO. Maicelo has twelve wins by stoppage but his last four fights were decision victories. Both boxers are able to be stopped, as Beltran has two stoppage losses and Maicelo has one.
Neither boxer has any notable international success as an amateur, though Maicelo did compete in several regional amateur tournaments in South America with a moderate amount of success.
Beltran’s last fight was a sensational knockout victory over Mason Menard. He has also defeated the likes of Arash Usmanee, Ji-Hoon Kim, Henry Lundy, and David Torres. His losses were to Terence Crawford, Luis Ramos Jr., Sharif Bogere, and Ammeth Diaz. He stopped Takahiro Ao in the second round, but that bout was overturned due to a positive test for steroids.
Maicelo has defeated the likes of Jose Felix Jr., Samual Amoako, and Art Hovannisyan. His losses were to Darleys Perez and Rustam Nugaev.
Beltran is that type of contender that will seemingly always be in the title hunt and has a pressure style that is difficult for some boxers to overcome. Maicelo has never defeated a high level opponent and doesn’t seem suited to handle the forward pressure that Beltran is known for.
This should be a good fight, but despite his age Beltran has enough gas in his tank to squeak out a decision victory.
Terence Crawford (30-0) vs. Felix Diaz (19-1); WBO/WBC Junior Welterweight Title
Terence “Bud” Crawford is considered to be a possible future opponent for Manny Pacquiao and is one of the top talents on the Top Rank roster.
He’s twenty nine years old and is in the middle of his athletic prime. His opponent, Felix Diaz, is thirty three years old. Crawford will also have a three inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage.
Crawford has been fairly active the past two years. He has fought three times in 2016 and twice in 2015. Diaz fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Both boxers have strong amateur backgrounds. Crawford had success on the national level as an amateur and won the Police Athletic League Championship as well as the United States Pan American Games. Diaz won the gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics for the Dominican Republic.
Crawford has looked sensational throughout his career and nobody has come close to defeating him. He has defeated the likes of John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andrey Klimov. Even though Crawford has fought many fights in his native Nebraska, he has shown a willingness to travel to fight as evident in his past fight with former champion Ricky Burns in Scotland.
Diaz is a technician but lacks power. He only has nine stoppage wins while Crawford has twenty one. The best opponents Diaz has defeated so far are Sammy Vasquez, Gabriel Bracero, Adrian Granados, and Emmanuel Lartei Lartey. His lone loss was a disputed loss to Lamont Peterson.
This writer thinks Diaz be one of the most difficult fights in Crawford’s career. He’s a technician and has a deep and successful amateur background. But Crawford has faced elite talent several times in his career and has defeated every opponent put in front of him. Diaz’s resume is void of any elite talent, and the one time he did face a legitimate title contender in Lamont Peterson he came up short.
Crawford should win the fight by decision.
Terence Crawford wins by 8th round TKO
Terence Crawford wins by 8th round TKO
By: Matthew N. Becher
Live from the Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska, HBO Sports presented a World Championship Boxing event. With an undercard consisting of major players in the Lightweight division, Mason Menard (32-1) will have to get through gatekeeper and former title contender Ray
The main event involves the Pride of Omaha, former fighter of the year and current pound for pound lister, Terence Crawford(29-0) againstheavy hitting John Molina Jr. (29-6). Molina,unfortunately, did not make the 140lb limit and will no longer be able to win Crawfords WBC/WBO/Ring titles.
Ray Beltran v. Mason Menard (Lightweight):
Both fighters put in a lot of heavy work early in the fight. Beltran fighting for the second time at the Century Link, his first being a decision loss to the champion, Terence Crawford. Neither guy knows how to fight going backwards and are looking to punish their opponent.
Beltran who has been in the ring with the likes of Lundy, Kim, Burns and was the former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao, was not taking this fight lightly, coming out with a very intense style.
Menard, who is a fighter that is normally able to confuse and counter his opponents well, has been set to follow Beltran and cover up against the veteran Beltrans hard shots. Menard was able to land some tough punches in the early rounds and did earn some respect from Beltrans chin.
The pace of the first three rounds was frenetic to say the least. The fourth round showed both fighters pick and choose when they would start to throw
heavy hands. Beltran may have a slight lead, but Menard is definitely not backing down.
Beltran very much was the aggressor and used certain veteran techniques to make this a very very tough and uncomfortable fight. Midway through the fight Beltran was making it apparent that he was in control and would not leave Omaha as a loser again.
Menard showed heart, taking on a fighter with much more experience and power.
Unfortunatley, Beltran was not only the better fighter, but may have been on
his absolute A game.
In the seventh round a counter left hook was what it took for Ray Beltran to end the fight. Menard was clearly over his head, and Ray Beltran has once again
added his name to the list of top Lightweight Contenders.
Beltran KO7 :51
Terence Crawford v. John Molina Jr. (Jr. Welterweight):
Molina came into the ring not looking very good. He came in overweight and was limited in his rehydration clause…it absolutely showed. Terence Crawford came
to the ring as the Lineal and Unified Jr. Welterweight champion in front of his hometown, he started off quickly, sharp and could see the wounded opponent in front of him immediately.
Crawford landed a few big shots early then made Molina follow him around the ring , letting Molina run into a straight right. Molina’s only chance from the first round would be a lucky punch.
Crawford was just too sharp.
The best quote was by HBO announcers saying “Throw Caution to the Wind”, which is exactly what John Molina had to do. He landed his best shot in the 3rd round,
but also got carved up by the technician that is Bud Crawford.
This fight truly looked like a fighter from the 1950s taking on a top pound for pound fighter of today, which Crawford is. Molina was throwing wild punches and
rarely covered up. Crawford was able to work easy as a southpaw, which he switched to one minute into the first round, and picked Molina apart.
In the fifth round Molina was doing more of the same, following Crawford around the ring, running into punches. Crawford was content with being the untouched
Molina lived up to his name, Warrior, but unfortunatley it was in a non competitive way. Crawford completed his win from pillar to post, never once for a moment
looking in any type of trouble. Crawford will throw his name into the mix for this years fighter of the year and retain his place on the pound for pound list. Is a showdown with the living legend Pacquiao next, we’ll see.
Crawford TKO8 2:32
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Parker vs. Ruiz, Beltran vs. Menard, Terence Crawford vs. John Molina
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Parker vs. Ruiz, Beltran vs. Menard, Terence Crawford vs. John Molina
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night HBO and Top Rank Promotions will team up to televise three bouts from two different locations.
Terence Crawford will defend his WBO and WBC Junior Welterweight titles in the main event of the evening against John Molina live from Omaha, Nebraska. Additionally, lightweight contender Raymundo Beltran will compete against rising prospect Mason Menard as the co-main event of the Nebraska card.
It was also recently announced that Top Rank will promote Joseph Parker in the United States; and HBO has decided to show the WBO Heavyweight Title Bout between Parker and Ruiz on a same day tape delay from Auckland, New Zealand.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Joseph Parker (21-0) vs. Andy Ruiz (29-0); WBO Heavyweight Title
Joseph Parker will be fighting in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand and will be the favorite coming into this bout.
He has already fought four times in 2016, and four of his past five fights have been by TKO/KO. He is twenty four years old and is three years younger than his opponent. He will also have a two inch height advantage and a two inch reach advantage on Ruiz. Ruiz has also been fairly active and has fought three times in 2016.
Joseph Parker has the heavier hands of the two boxers. He has stopped eighteen of his opponents, and four of his past five fights have ended by TKO/KO. Ruiz has stopped nineteen of his opponents, but only two of his past five opponents failed to go the distance.
They both have had moderate success as an amateur. Ruiz was a Mexican National Amateur Champion and Parker medaled in several international competitions as an amateur.
Parker has a slight edge in quality of opposition. He has defeated the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko, Carlos Takam, and Bowie Tupou. Ruiz has defeated the likes of an aged Ray Austin and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Ruiz is a good enough of a boxer to last all twelve rounds, but it will be extremely difficult for him to pull out a victory in Parker’s home country of New Zealand.
Raymundo Beltran (31-7-1) vs. Mason Menard (32-1); Lightweights
The opening bout of the night in Omaha, Nebraska will be between Ray Beltran and Mason Menard in the lightweight division.
Beltran is a former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao and is a rugged, tough, durable opponent. He’s much better than his record suggests and is known for having excellent stamina.
However, Beltran is thirty five years old and will be seven years older than his opponent, Mason Menard. Beltran will have about a two inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
Menard does have a slight edge in power. He has twenty four knockouts on his record while Beltran only has nineteen.
Menard became well known with some upset victories on national television, including wins over Bahodir Mamadjonov and Eudy Bernardo. But prior to those wins he faced mainly non-descript opponents and most of his bouts were in his home state of Louisiana.
Beltran has defeated the likes of Ivan Najera, Arash Usmanee, Ji-Hoon Kim, and Henry Lundy. He also has several losses, but most of them have come against good opposition. He has lost to the likes of Terence Crawford, Luis Ramos Jr., and Sharif Bogere.
Neither boxer was very active in the past two years. They both fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015. Neither boxer experienced a great deal of success on the international stage as an amateur.
Menard has surprised many with his two latest victories, but Beltran is a big step up in competition for him and isn’t past his prime yet. This should be a fight that Beltran wins through a hard fought decision.
Terence Crawford (29-0) vs. John Molina (29-6); WBO/WBC Junior Welterweight Titles
Terence Crawford is one of Top Rank Promotions’ biggest stars and has been a rumored opponent for Manny Pacquiao in the future.
Crawford regularly fights in Omaha and will have a nearly sold out venue cheering him on.
He’s twenty nine years old and is in the middle of his athletic prime. He’s four years younger than Molina, but will be giving up about two and a half inches in height as well as an inch in reach.
Crawford has been fairly active for a champion and fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2015. Molina has only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Crawford has twenty stoppage victories and three of his past five fights did not go the distance. Molina has twenty three stoppage wins, but has gone 3-3 in his past six fights.
Molina is always a dangerous fighter, and this was evident in his last upset victory over the hard hitting Provodnikov. He has also defeated the likes of Mickey Bey, Dannie Williams, and Henry Lundy. However, Molina also has an impressive list of opponents that he has lost to. These fighters include Antonio DeMarco, Andrey Klimov, Lucas Matthysse, Humberto Soto, and Adrien Broner.
Crawford has never been defeated and has been slowly increasing the level of competition that he faces in the ring. He has defeated the likes of Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymondo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andre Klimov.
Crawford was also very successful as an amateur on the national level, and has even won a Police Athletic League Boxing Championship.
This is a fight that very few expect Crawford to lose. He’s a more technically skilled boxer than the last man that Molina beat and should be able to stop Molina.
Molina has been known for upsetting the apple cart from time to time, but Saturday is unlikely.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Cuellar, Mares, Lopez, Webster, Crawford, Beltran, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Cuellar, Mares, Lopez, Webster, Crawford, Beltran, and more…
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 29th to December 6th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Cuellar, Mares, and Lopez Media Workout Quotes
Featherweight world champion Jesus Cuellar and former three-division world champion Abner Mares participated in a media workout in Los Angeles Tuesday in advance of their long awaited showdown taking place Saturday, December 10 from Galen Center in USC in Los Angeles and live on SHOWTIME.
Also in attendance Tuesday at City of Angels Boxing was former title challenger and local fan favorite Josesito Lopez, who competes in a welterweight bout on the undercard. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features junior middleweight world champion Jermall Charlo taking on top-rated challenger Julian Williams in a battle of undefeated rising stars in their prime.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and are priced at $35, $50, $75, $150 and $200. To purchase tickets go to www.galentix.com.
Here is what the participants had to say Tuesday:
“The fight is here and I’m ready to step in the ring. I have defended my title six times already and I want to be the best in the division. He’s one of the best and I’m willing to challenge him.
“This is an important fight that I’ve wanted for a long time. It’s an important fight for my career and to prove to everyone how good I am.
“Abner Mares is a high level fighter. I have to beat him to reach the next level of this sport. That’s what I’m preparing to do.
“You’re going to see everything I’ve learned on December 10. I love to train hard and I’ve improved greatly as a fighter. I’m going to put it all together in the ring.
“There’s no pressure for me coming into this fight. I know that I’m in his backyard but I have the people of Argentina behind me. This is going to be a really good fight.
“I’m ready to go to war. I know Abner is ready and he has a goal in his mind. I’m ready to do what I have to do in the ring.
“It’s been almost a year. We came here in January to fight Mares and now the time is almost here to accomplish our goal.
“I have to go out there and do my job. I’m going to show Abner a lot of different things. I have a lot more skills than people give me credit for. It will all be on display in the ring.
“I know that I’m going to be at 100 percent. I’m more confident now than I’ve ever been that I’m prepared for this fight and I’m going to win.
“Freddie Roach is getting the best out of me. He knows what I like to do and he knows how to correct my mistakes. He’s doing a really good job in training camp.
“I’m working to go 12 rounds and end the night with a victory for Argentina. I came here to achieve a great victory for my country.”
“I’m so happy and excited to be fighting in Los Angeles and in my backyard again. SHOWTIME is the reason I’m famous.
“On paper I thought that Cuellar is probably going to be toughest, strongest fighter I’ve been in with. I can’t say for sure because we haven’t fought yet. But I know that he is a strong, powerful champion who is coming in to keep his title.
“There’s always a reason behind something bad that happens. In this case, me not being able to fight twice (due to postponements), it just gave me the opportunity to get to know Robert even better. I’ve had a whole year leading up to this fight. You will see a difference in me. I’m very eager and excited to fight.
“It’s going to be a tremendous fight. I think Cuellar only has one style, and that’s to rely on his power punches. He’s a come forward type of fighter that seems to always be looking for the knockout. But I’ve been known to give a fight too and make for great fights.
“My plan is to make the fight as easy for myself as possible. I feel I have the tools to give him different looks that maybe he hasn’t seen before against a fighter of my talents. For me to win another world title would mean the world to me. It would be an early Christmas present for me, my family and my friends.
“Coach Robert Garcia brings the discipline and the demanding voice of a trainer. We have to do things his way and I like that. It’s bringing the best out of me. I’m really excited for this fight.
“Fighting in my hometown of LA, I feel like I have the home field advantage. I don’t feel any pressure at all. I feel like I’m in as good of shape as I can be and there will be no ring rust. I’ve actually had three training camps for this fight, after postponements in March and June.
“If you look at Cuellar he looks much naturally bigger. But we’re both going to weigh just about the same at the weigh-in. He has to make the same weight as I do. I felt a little bit of pressure before the Leo Santa Cruz fight, but none this time.
“Bringing in Robert Garcia has been a great thing for me. He’s brought a lot of experience and he’s one of the best coaches out there. I can’t wait to show the fans what I’ve learned from Robert.”
“I’ve been anxious to get in there but I’m ready now and excited to get back to doing what I love. I healed up from some injuries that I suffered. Now that I’m fully healed I have felt the power returning and it’s time to go.
“The most important thing is that I’m 100 percent ready mentally and physically. I’ll be right there in the ring on December 10.
“This is my first quiz in going back to school and working my way toward a world title. I’m back in the gym and putting everything together so that I can use it in the ring.
“I am going to be smart and work hard in the ring. I know I have to make the key adjustments during a fight that will make the difference when I meet the elite fighters.
“Just a few months ago when I sparred for the first time in a while, I realized I missed getting hit. Why? Because I love the chance to hit back. Even just having the Vaseline back on my face was something I missed. I’ve probably watched more boxing than I had in my entire life since I’ve been gone.”
“This absence has brought back the fire in me. There are several titles that are accessible to many guys in my division. I know I’m right there and I just need to take the right steps to get to that point.
“I have undivided attention in training camp with Robert Garcia and I’ve worked very hard to get myself ready. I feel like I’m still improving and getting better.
“I’m really excited to get back in the ring. I can hardly wait. There’s nothing I love more than performing for my fans. I’m going to do what I always do, which is make sure the fans see a great fight when I’m in the ring.”
Split-T Management Signs Antonio Vargas
Split-T Management is pleased to announce the signing of another member of the 2016 United States Olympic Team, Antonio Vargas to a managerial contract..
Vargas of Kissimmee, Florida was the Flyweight representative for the 2016 U.S. Team.
“I have known Split-T Management’s David McWater for several years. The people I know told me a lot of positive things about him. He showed me he was a good person and the man who can manage my career the way it should be,” said Vargas.
Said Split-T Management’s David McWater, “Antonio is just a special kid. Of course he has all the talent and physical tools, but he is so much more than that. He’s got incredible focus and determination. Not to mention, he is always very classy. I wanted to represent him since the first time that I saw him at the National Golden Gloves, and I know he will be a world champion.”
He was considered one of the best pound for pound fighters on the squad, and the most successful amateur of the team heading into the games. He was a U.S. Youth Open champion, U.S. National Elite champion, two-time National Golden Gloves champion and won the Gold Medal at the Pan American Games at the age of 18. Those accomplishments led him to be named the 2015 USA Boxing Male Athlete of the Year.
In the 2016 Olympics, Vargas lost to eventual Gold medal winner Shakhobibdin Zoirov of Uzbekistan.
Vargas will turn professional at either 115 or 118 pounds and his handlers believe that he will fight up to junior lightweight before his career is complete.
Vargas has a very exciting style, and he has taken traits from some of the best fighters in the world that he feels makes him a complete fighter.
“I would compare my style to Manny Pacquiao, Vasyl Lomachenko, and going back a bit, Orlando Canizales because all three had fast hands and feet with the ability to stop on a dime and unleash powerful shots to the head and body that can get you out of there.”
Vargas began boxing at age nine.
“I had ADHD, and was a very hyper kid that was always fighting and getting into trouble,” said Vargas. “One of my teachers actually told my parents to put me on medication. My father instead brought me to the boxing in gym in hopes it would help me burn a lot of energy and tire me out.”
“I told my teacher that I was on medication but it was actually boxing that helped calm me down so I could focus on my studies and stay out of trouble.”
As Vargas grew older, boxing became more of a future then just an activity.
“I won a lot of state tournaments, but when I won the US Youth Open Tournament at age 16, I realized I could make boxing my career. I was undefeated for 4 years, which I won several gold medals at the National Golden Gloves, U.S National Championships and Pan American Games.”
Vargas believes that all of his international experience will help him in the pros because he was exposed to the many different styles of boxing, and now he is extremely motivated due to his Olympic experience.
“The Olympics did not go as I wanted. I lost to the eventual gold medal winner. The loss made me real hungry and now I train harder than I ever did before because I want to be the best.”
“I plan on turning professional as either a junior bantamweight or bantamweight and win world championships in four different weight divisions. I am going to achieve greatness while glorifying Jesus Christ and to spread his word.
Derrick Webster to Return on Zab Judah Card
Fresh off a dominant TKO victory of Zoltan Sera last month in Philadelphia, Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster (21-1, 11 KOs) will make a return to the ring on Jan. 21st at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, N.J. Standing opposite him that night will be Thomas Awimbono (25-5-1, 21 KOs), with the IBO Super Middleweight Championship on the line.
“I am extremely excited because it has been a few years since the last time I fought in New Jersey,” the Glassboro native stated. “Just being able to fight back in New Jersey feels good. I really have to take my hat off to the amount of supporters who have already committed to coming out to this fight.”
With the IBO Super Middleweight Championship on the line, Webster says that the intensity surrounding this camp is already at an extreme level.
“My trainers and I have really kicked it into high gear,” he remarked. “(Head trainer) Denny Brown and (assistant) Robert Rossi are already pushing me to my limits. In order to be a champion, you have to train like a champion. I am so hungry for this right now, and all I can think about is the amount of sacrifices that I have made to get to this point. This shot here, I am taking it by the horns, and we are going to ride it all night long. This boy is going to have hell to pay. It might be a 10-round fight, but I really don’t know if it is going to make it the distance.”
A newly married man, Webster quickly put to rest any concerns regarding his mental focus in his last fight, where he knocked down Sera three times before a referee stoppage in the 5th round.
“With me getting married in September, so many people questioned whether or not I would be the same guy,” he said. “I found out about my last fight at the wedding. We were supposed to go on a month-long honeymoon, and I shut my honeymoon down to start preparing for the fight. If that’s not sacrifice and determination, I don’t know what is. I wanted to make a statement that in 2017 I am going to be a problem, period. I don’t want any .500 fighters or guys with bad records. I never wanted any fighters like that, but I just fought who they put in front of me. With this last guy, it had to start with him in terms of what I am trying to accomplish in 2017.”
The card on Jan. 21st is being promoted by Renee Aiken, someone who has been a consistent ally of Webster throughout his career.
“Going into the last fight, I had every intention of staying busy afterwards,” Webster confirmed. “Right after we took care of business with our last opponent, I immediately started looking for another card. I reached out to Renee Aiken about a spot on one of her future cards, and she helped us get this fight locked up. I just really wanted to stay busy after the last fight to keep the momentum going.”
Webster vs. Awimbono will be the co-feature bout on the Jan. 21st card, with former four-time world champion Zab Judah making his return to boxing in the main event.
“I met Zab Judah when I was in camp with Jean Pascal a few years ago,” Webster recollected. “Above all things, he is a great person. He is a four-time world champion, and that is such a huge accomplishment. I always said I was the main event, even when I have not been fighting in the main event. I always wanted to be the most exciting fighter on the card. But for me to get to share the stage with a guy of his stature, that means a whole lot to me. I’m a southpaw, he’s a southpaw. In my book, I’m calling this night the southpaw showdown. I am excited to see Zab once again, and I am going to bring him to the ring in unbelievable fashion. I am going to handle my business, and then I am going to sit back and watch Zab do his thing.”
Menard Ready for Beltran on Crawford vs. Molina Card
Rayne, Louisiana’s “Rock Hard Mighty” Mason Menard (32-1, 24 KOs) knows he’s in for a tough challenge when he makes the first defense of his WBO NABO Lightweight Championship against fellow top-10 contender Ray Beltran (31-7-1, 19 KOs) of Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, December 10, at CenturyLink Center Omaha in Omaha, Neb.
The 10-round Menard vs. Beltran lightweight showdown will serve as the middle bout of an HBO World Championship Boxing tripleheader (9:35 p.m. ET/PT) that will open with the same-day delay telecast of the Joseph Parker vs. Andy Ruiz, Jr. WBO heavyweight championship in New Zealand.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with TGB Promotions, the exciting event will be headlined by undefeated World Junior Welterweight Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter TERENCE “Bud” CRAWFORD (29-0, 20 KOs), of Omaha, Neb., making the first defense of his unified World Boxing Organization (WBO) / World Boxing Council (WBC) /Ring magazine 140-pound world titles against one-time world title challenger and current No. 1 contender JOHN MOLINA JR. (29-6, 23 KOs), from Covina, Calif.
Remaining reserved seat tickets to the Crawford – Molina world championship event, priced at $27, $52, $77 and $127, can be purchased at the CenturyLink Center Omaha box office and all Ticketmaster outlets.
To charge-by-phone call (800) 745-3000. To order online, visit ticketmaster.com.
“I know Beltran has been around a long time and he’s fought at the top level many times. He is very tough and I know he will bring it,” said Menard.
The 28-year-old Menard punched his way into world contention this year with a pair of high-profile knockouts. In April of this year, he scored one for the highlight reels by starching formerly undefeated Eudy Bernardo with one punch in round three.
Then in August, he returned with another KO, this time against well-regarded Uzbekistani Bahodir Mamadjonov in the ninth round.
“2016 has been a great year for me,” he continued. “I’ve had two consecutive KO’s on national television and one is a candidate for ‘Knockout of the Year.’ I also won an award from the WBO in Puerto Rico. Now this fight has fallen into my lap and I will make the best of this opportunity.”
Another impressive victory for Menard would land him in world title contention… a fact not lost on the excited slugger. “Landing this fight is big for me and my career. A win here should put me in position to fight for a world title next. It should open doors me and make me a serious contender in the lightweight division.”
Menard is taking this tough challenge on relatively short notice, but says he’s in great shape and will be fully prepared for battle on December 10. “Yes, I am ready. I was already training to fight December 15. It’s now or never. I believe God has blessed me with this fight because I’ve been praying for a big one to get me to the next level.”