Boxing Insider Notebook: Shumenov, Verdejo, Ortiz, Wilder, Fox, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 31st to February 7th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Former WBA Interim Heavyweight Champion Luis Ortiz to WBC Champ Deontay Wilder: Stop Making Excuses
Responding to WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder’s recent public statements, former WBA Interim Heavyweight Champion Luis Ortiz would like to let him know: “I signed up for the WBC/VADA Clean Boxing Program last September. Stop using that excuse to avoid fighting me!”
The undefeated Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs), of Camaguey, Cuba, now living in Miami, has been trying to get Wilder into a boxing ring for quite a while, as Wilder has chosen to face a string of what many would label second-tier opponents to defend against.
“He’s scared!” said Ortiz of Wilder. “The more he can use my failed test against me he will. He and (promoter Lou) DiBella are saying he won’t fight me because of that. That was years ago, and since that unfortunate incident, for which I was punished, I have tested a dozen times clean. Now he’s trying to say I haven’t signed up for VADA Clean Boxing… guess what Wilder? I signed up last September when I was notified that all WBC contenders need to be part of their new Clean Boxing Program. I filled out the paperwork and my trainer submitted it to the WBC. He can stop using that excuse to avoid me. I have nothing to hide and do not have to prove any longer to anyone that I am clean. Wilder is nothing but a paper champion who happened to be at the right place at the right time against the right opponent with, most importantly, the right promoter. That’s all he is.”
Ortiz’s trainer, Herman Caicedo of Caicedo Sports Training Center of Miami, Florida, also says Ortiz’s failed drug test in 2014 is no longer a factor.
“Since failing his test years ago, Luis has been tested over a dozen times, voluntarily and mandatorily in fights. He has made it very clear that he never wants that to happen again and I wouldn’t work with a fighter I even suspected wasn’t clean. There’s too much involved in how I train fighters. We all put a lot of blood sweat and tears into training for a failed drug test to derail the entire process. I do my own drug panels and steroid checks before I take fighters. And those that do not wish to willingly participate, I will not train.”
Ortiz says sooner or later, Wilder will run out of excuses to avoid him or be run out of boxing.
“My mentality was always to beat whoever was the best fighter in my division, period. I don’t handpick my opponents. This is all weird and new to me. He can’t run for much longer though. I assume he will try to unify or vacate before he has to fight me. He can’t unify with the Joshua/Klitschko winner because I am the mandatory above any unification fight, and I will not be jumped over. So, he can try to beat up (New Zealand-based contender Joseph) Parker after his next fight. Then retire the paper champion he is.”
“I am very confident about the outcome if Ortiz and Wilder ever do fight,” continued Caicedo. “Ortiz will knock him out within 10 rounds. Luis has a level to his approach that I haven’t seen in quite some time. He is a throwback, old-school heavyweight boxer. He has incredible poise, precision, and ring generalship. He’s accurate with this punches and defensively very sound. If they ever do fight, Wilder will be exposed. But, he will probably retire a legend in his own mind without ever fighting anybody.”
Ortiz says no matter what happens with Deontay Wilder, he is happy and comfortable with his life.
“I would like to thank my team: Jay, Javier and my trainer Herman for the support they give me throughout all this uncertainty, as well as my fans and, most important to me, my wife and three children. I never thought I would be fighting to make a living. Boxing was always what I did because I loved it. I fought for pride. I fought for bragging rights!! I have already achieved one dream and that was to be here in the United States with my family. I am a United States citizen and very proud. Now to be able to box for a living, make money and potentially become world champion… that, to me, is priceless.”
Mykal Fox Believes Tre’Sean Wiggins is a Dangerous Opponent
Undefeated junior welterweight prospect, Mykal “The Professor” Fox will take on hard-punching Tre’Sean Wiggins in the eight-round main event of a big night of boxing on This Saturday night, February 11th at the Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, Maryland.
The show is promoted by King’s Promotions.
Fox, 21 years old of Forestville, Maryland is coming off a good 2016, where he went 4-0 and became a main event fight in the Maryland area.
The 3-year pro is coming off a 7th round stoppage over Juan Rodriguez on November 5th in the same venue.
Fox is wrapping up training camp in the D.C. area, and he believes that Wiggins could be the toughest test of his young professional career.
“Training camp has been great. It has been another good camp,” said Fox.
“Wiggins is a dangerous opponent. I have fought opponents that may have had more experience, but Wiggins has a lot of power in both hands. He is left handed like I am.”
Fox has been progressing up the ladder, and now he is considered to be on some prospects lists on the East Coast. A win over the heavy handed Wiggins would solidify his status as 2017 progresses.
“I think fighting him is the next step in my progression. I wanted to be tested, and Wiggins is a guy who has power. I am not looking to take those punches, bit if I do, I will be ready for what he has.”
Fox doesn’t have to look far for motivation, as he brother, talented middleweight Alantez Fox has a bout on February 25th for the NABF title, and the two train side by side with each other under the guidance of their trainer, who also happens to be their father, Troy Fox,
“We are both very motivated. We are there for each other. We feed off each other in the gym and it is a great motivator to train next to him every day.”
A win over Wiggins will keep Fox moving towards his short term goal for 2017.
“I am looking to get in a few more eight-round bouts, and then be able to get some some television bouts. As long as I continue to stay busy, I see that happening.”
Wiggins of Newbergh, New York has a record of 7-2 with six knockouts.
The 26 year-old southpaw scored knockouts in his first three bouts by knockout which was highlighted by a 1st round destruction of current WBA Super Featherweight world champion Jason Sosa.
The 7-year professional is coming off a six-round split decision defeat to Benjamin Whitaker on April 15, 2016 in Verona, NY.
Oliver Flores Strong Performance Against Felix Verdejo Embodies Spirit of Havoc Boxing
Nicaraguan lightweight Oliver “Trombita” Flores’ strong performance this past Friday evening against undefeated, No. 1 ranked Felix “El Diamente” Verdejo, fought in front of more than 7,000 fans in Verdejo’s hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico, truly embodied the spirit of Flores’ promoter, Havoc Boxing.
Known throughout boxing for its flashy, totally unique looking boxing “uniforms” – trunks and jackets – that are famously worn by present and past world champions such as Danny “Swift” Garcia, Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs, Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi and others, Havoc Boxing is also a boxing promotional company on the rise.
While Havoc Boxing may not be a major player, at least not right now, it does feature a growing stable of gifted boxers such as Flores, the former world super featherweight title challenger who many fell deserved a far better fate than his controversial 10-round decision loss (94-96, 91-99, 92-92), which was turned in by the three Puerto Rican judges at ringside.
Flores (27-3-2, 17 KOs) was a live underdog who gave prohibitive favorite Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs) all he could handle and much more. Verdejo even drew the wrath of his hometown fans for not engaging Flores, who came on strong in the second half of the fight, bloodying the 2012 Puerto Rican Olympian’s nose in the eighth round and seriously hurting him in the 10th. The World Boxing Organization (WBO) Latino lightweight champion left the ring at Roberto Clemente Coliseum to a chorus of boos.
Headlines describing the fight used phrases like “escaped with victory” and “struggles to win” to describe Verdejo’s tainted victory. One boxing writer had Flores winning six rounds to four, claiming Verdejo simply didn’t do enough to win any other rounds.
“We’re so proud of Oliver,” Havoc Boxing CEO Rob Diaz said. “We thought he won the fight but it’s tough fighting a national hero in his backyard with three of his countrymen as judges. Those who made excuses for Verdejo claiming he wasn’t at his best because of his eight-month layoff, we reminded that Oliver hadn’t fought in more than a year because a few fights we had lined up fell out. After the fight, so many Puerto Rican fans congratulated us, saying Oliver was robbed, and that he deserved a rematch. Verdejo is looking for an opponent for his Puerto Rican Day eve fight (June 10) at Madison Square Garden. We’re certainly open to a rematch but I doubt they’ll risk fighting Oliver again.
“Flores is what Havoc Boxing Promotions is all about. We’re still building our stable of fighters but people in the boxing industry should know by now that our fighters come to fight. They’re all willing to fight anybody, anytime, anywhere, as long as it’s a fair deal for us.”
In addition to Flores, Havoc also promotes 22-year-old Dominican Republic featherweight prospect Yohan “La Fiera” Vasquez (19-1, 16 KOs), who is ranked No. 14 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), as well as a pair of Colombian fighters, super bantamweight Wilner Soto (16-1, 8 KOs) and cruiserweight Santander “Cha Cha” Silgado (27-4, 21 KOs), who fought for the WBA world title in Russia and was ranked among the top 15 in the WBA and World Boxing Council (WBC) a few years ago.
“We’re rebuilding the Havoc Boxing brand to also showcase our promotional division,” Diaz continued. “We have some talented, hungry fighters who we keep as busy as possible, moving them into position for major fights, like Flores versus Verdejo, including two world title shots so far. We’re getting close to crowning our first world champion. Havoc Boxing is much more than boxing’s best design and merchandising company. The future is Havoc!”
Former Interim Cruiserweight World Champion Youri Kalenga Added to “Battle of Casablanca” Card
Former Interim cruiserweight world champion Youri “El Toro” Kalenga will provide chief support February 18 for pro-debuting Moroccan amateur boxing sensation Mohammad Rabii on the “Battle of Casablanca” card, presented by Nowhere2Hyde, at Complexe de Sportif Mohammed V Arena in Casablanca, Morocco.
Kalenga (22-3, 15 KOs), fighting out of France by way of The Congo, is currently rated No. 12 by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and No. 16 by the World Boxing Council (WBC). The knockout artist takes on Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson (17-11-1, 9 KOs), of Philadelphia, who is a former United States Boxing Association (USBA) and North American Boxing Federation (NABF) champion.
In 2014, Kalenga captured the WBA Interim title with a 12-round split decision over 32-1 Mateusz Masternak in Monaco, followed with a successful title defense in Canada against 12-0 Denton Daley by way of a 12th round technical knockout.
Kalenga has never been in a dull fight. Two of his three career losses have been to current WBA Super cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (26-2), who Kalenga dropped in the fourth round, by way of a 12-round unanimous decision in Russia, and last June he was stopped for the first time in his seven-year pro career by 20-0 Yunier Dorticos in Paris for the Interim WBA strap.
The 23-year-old Rabii defeated 2016 Olympic gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov in the welterweight division championship finale of the 2015 AIBA World Amateur Championships to capture a gold for his native Morocco. Rabii won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, dropping a highly-disputed decision (0-3) in the semifinals to Uzebek boxer Shakhram Giyasov, the eventual silver medalist.
The ultra-charismatic Rabii has reached “rock star” status in Morocco, testament by an average of 6-million Moroccans viewing each of Rabbi’s Olympic matches on Arryadia Television. “We are very excited to work with our television partners, Arryadia, on our February 18th show as the first of five shows in 2017 featuring Mohammed Rabii,” promoter Gary Hyde said. “Rabii has the entire nation of Morocco behind him and he will be challenging for top welterweight honors in no time at all.”
Rabii will take on veteran Hungarian boxer Adam “Bad Boy” Mate (24-10, 17 KOs) in the six-round main event.
Caribe Promotions Loses Rights to Shumenov-Dorticos WBA Cruiserweight Title Fight
The World Boxing Association (WBA) has notified WBA cruiserweight world champion Beibut Shumenov and WBA Interim cruiserweight title-holder Yunier Dorticos, as well as their representatives, that Caribe Promotions has lost its rights to promote the WBA mandated Shumenov vs. Dorticos title fight.
Dorticos’ promoter, Caribe Promotions, originally won the Shumenov vs. Dorticos title fight rights last November with a winning purse bid of $350,001, which required a fight date within 90 days. Although rumored to be held in mid-February in either Miami or Las Vegas, Caribe’s ability and willingness to actually promote the fight came into question in January, 2017. The WBA demanded that Caribe confirm its intentions and even granted Caribe additional time to respond, but Caribe failed to file confirmation of a fight date with the WBA. Because Caribe was unable to confirm its intentions, the WBA had little choice but to award rights to the second-highest purse bidder, Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions.
“I last fought May 21st and I have been in the gym since June because I was supposed to fight Lebedev in September,” said a terribly frustrated Shumenov. “But he backed out of the fight with me once again and I have been ready to fight since then. I signed a bout agreement to fight Dorticos on February 11th in Miami, but Dorticos and his promoter disappeared after I signed. They’re full of it; all they do is talk. I can’t wait to knock him out. I am waiting on my manager to call me right now to tell me the new fight date with TGB.”
Caribe Promotions has been forced to also forfeit its $35,000 purse bid deposit with 10-percent off the top going to the WBA and remainder ($31,500) distributed to Shumenov and Dorticos, respectively, on a 75-25 percent basis due to its failure to promote the fight.
Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs), fighting out of Las Vegas by way of Kazakhstan, fought last May 21, when he stopped 15-1-1 Junior Wright in the 10th round of their Las Vegas fight for the vacant WBA World cruiserweight title. The WBA had ruled that the Shumenov-Wright winner would be the mandatory challenger for its “Super” champion, Lebedev, within 90 days, however, it later allowed unified cruiserweight titlist Lebedev (against Shumenov’s strong objections) to fight his International Boxing Federation (IBF) mandatory defense against challenger Murat Gassiev, effectively mandating an eliminator between Shumenov and Dorticos with that winner to fight the winner of Lebedev-Gassiev. Only days prior to the Lebedev-Gassiev title fight, Lebedev was inexplicably allowed to fight Gassiev without defending his WBA title, as only his IBF belt was on the line. Gassiev (24-0) defeated Lebedev (29-3) by way of a 12-round split decision in Moscow to become the IBF cruiserweight world champion and Lebedev remains the WBA Super cruiserweight world champion, at least for now. The WBA is expected to rule on Shumenov’s objections to Lebedev’s fight against Gassiev, Lebedev’s status and whether Lebedev will remain champion having lost his last fight.
Dorticos has made false claims in the media that Shumenov, who had been waiting for the WBA to rule on his petitions to force Lebedev to fight him without further delay, had been avoiding him. It is ironic now that Dorticos’ own promoter first sought to delay and has now defaulted on the long-awaited confrontation by failing to promote the Shumenov-Dorticos title fight within the WBA deadline.
A former WBA Super light heavyweight world champion, the 33-year-old Shumenov is the first two-division world champion from a Soviet-bloc country.