By Jake Donovan
Luis Ortiz may have begun his 2018 ring campaign with a loss to Deontay Wilder, but he wants to end the year with a firm reminder that he’s still very much in the heavyweight mix.
The Cuban southpaw is making the most of life after his first career defeat, having suffered a 10th round stoppage at the hands of Wilder in their title fight thriller this past March. Having already rebounded with a 2nd round knockout of Razvan Cojanu in July, Ortiz (29-1-0-2NC, 25KOs) will close out 2018 with a December 1 showdown versus Travis Kauffman.
Their bout will take place at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, gracing the Pay-Per-View undercard of Wilder’s latest title defense as he faces undefeated Tyson Fury in a battle of unbeaten heavyweight behemoths.
“I’m very happy to be fighting on the December 1 card,” a gleeful Ortiz told BoxingInsider.com. “My manager Jay Jimenez, along with Luis DeCubas Jr. and Al Haymon have done a great job of keeping me active and lining up opponents who will actually fight. I don’t want to do anything other than fight.”
The bout will be Ortiz’ fourth in exactly 52 weeks after having sat out nearly all of 2017 for a variety of reasons. The 39-year old heavyweight—who lives and trains in Miami—joined Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions family early last year, but stumbled out the gate in making his debut.
An untimely injury earlier in the year and a clerical error on his VADA paperwork leading to his planned Nov. ’17 clash with Wilder being postponed left Ortiz inactive since a stoppage win of David Allen in Dec. ’16. He finally returned to the ring last December, scoring a 2nd round knockout of Daniel Martz in Hialeah, Florida, minutes from his adopted hometown.
The win was predictable, but came with the cavaet of building toward a rescheduled date with Wilder, who was seated ringside as a guest commentator for that specific portion of the FS1 telecast. The two jawed at one another inside the ropes, paving the way for their eventual clash this past March.
Ortiz gave Wilder all that he could handle but was dropped and eventually stopped in suffering his frst loss since 2008 when he was still an amateur in Cuba. Still, his brave performance was a reminder that he was still the same top-rated heavyweight who rose through the ranks with a stream of spectacular wins, perhaps none bigger than his 7th round stoppage of Bryant Jennings in Dec. ’15.
For the most part, it has been a struggle to line up opponents for Ortiz. His southpaw style and high skill level isn’t exactly a matchmaker’s dream, so he remains grateful for any opportunity that can come his way—even those that aren’t necessarily owed to him.
“We’re grateful to be on this card,” Herman Caicedo, Ortiz’ longtime trainer told BoxingInsider.com. “This is Wilder’s show, and he could have easily blocked this fight and let Luis make his name elsewhere. Instead, he welcomed the (supporting) fight and Luis with open arms.”
The PBC brass could very well have their own agenda for adding Ortiz-Kauffman to the show; historically, a good heavyweight fight belongs anywhere, regardless of its future implications. Ortiz’ motivation is simple: win big, and begin 2019 with a fresh pursuit of the only heavyweight titlist he believes will take on all comers.
“Wilder has already proven he’d fight us, and I’m sure he’d love to do it again after he takes care of Fury,” suggests Ortiz, in effect offering predictions on both his fight and that of Wilder. “I’m confident that he will beat Fury by knockout, and then he and I can go at it again in 2019 since no other top heavyweight will face either of us. You saw what Wilder has gone through chasing the other so-called champ.”
The latter part is an obvious dig at Anthony Joshua, the unbeaten, unified heavyweight titlist from England. There has been heavy demand for a Joshua-Wilder showdown, dating back to 2016 when Joshua won his first title and both heavyweights were part of the Showtime boxing family.
Fast forward to 2018, where petty bickering still remains as the two sides continue to foolishly negotiate through the media while making little progress.
“Joshua is a p***y so forget about him ever facing Wilder or myself,” Ortiz believes. “Honestly, my coach has a better chance of getting Joshua in the ring. I’m just going to focus on the guys that want to fight me—beginning with Travis Kauffman. Once I take care of him, I’ll clean up and grab a ringside seat for Wilder’s fight.
“Once he wins, we can begin planning our rematch in 2019.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Wilder, LaManna, Rabii, Spadafora, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 20th to December 27th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Deontay Wilder’s Next Fight Set for February 25th
Deontay Wilder’s next fight has been reportedly set for February 25th against Andrzej Wawrzyk. The Tuscaloosa Times reported that this fight will take place in Birmingham, Alabama.
Wawrzyk lone loss on his record came at the hands of Alexander Povetkin three years ago, but he has since won six straight fights. Wilder is coming off a half a year layoff from multiple surgeries to repair his broken hand and torn biceps.
Read more at http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/sports/20161220/wilder-to-fight-next-bout-in-birmingham
Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna Returns to Action on Saturday, January 28th
Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna will return to the ring in an eight-round junior middleweight bout on Saturday night, January 28th at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City.
The bout will headline a card promoted by Rising Promotions.
LaManna of Millville, New Jersey has a record of 21-2 with nine knockouts.
The 25 year-old is coming off a defeat to undefeated Dusty Hernandez Harrison in a thrilling bout that took place on September 15th in Philadelphia.
In that bout, LaManna fought a good fight and had solid moments throughout the hotly contested bout that was for the USBA Welterweight title.
LaManna is moving back up to the 154 pound division where LaManna is undefeated (7-0 between 148-154 pounds) in the division for which he turned professional in 2011.
LaManna won his first 16 bouts, where enjoyed wins over Ashanti Gibbs and Jamaal Davis.
After suffering his first professional defeat to undefeated middleweight prospect Antoine Douglas, LaManna ripped off five consecutive victories that was highlighted by by a 4th round stoppage over Kendal Mena (20-3)
“I’m excited to be getting back in the ring at The Claridge! It’s like my adopted home in Atlantic City and the whole staff over there have been nothing but great to me and my Rising Star Promotions crew,” said LaManna. “My last fight with Dusty was a rough one for me, I feel I was robbed of a decision win or at least a draw. I took some time off, enjoyed time with family and friends but I’ve been training for the passed 2 months and camp has been going really well.”
“This is my second fight with new trainer Ray McCline and we expect to put on a show come January 28th.”
“I’m looking for big fights in 2017, possibly another title fight and TV exposure but my main focus is on January 28th.”
In the six-round-co feature, light heavyweight Chuck Mussachio (19-3-2, 5 KO’s) of Wildwood, New Jersey will fight Michael Mitchell (3-7-2, 1 KO) of Paterson, New Jersey.
Mitchell has faced terrific competition and has only been stopped once, and has fought four undefeated fighters.
Also scheduled to appear in a six-round bout will be:
Junior Welterweight John Bauza (5-0, 2 KO’s) of North Bergen, NJ & super middleweight Gabriel Pham (6-1, 2 KO’s) of Pleasantville, NJ.
In four-round bouts:
Ernesto Perez of Vineland, NJ will make his pro debut against Courtney McCleave (2-5, 1 KO) of Concord, North Carolina in a junior middleweight bout.
Jamil Simmons of Pleasantville, NJ will make his pro debut against Tomas Romain (0-1) of Brooklyn, NY in a lightweight bout.
Also scheduled to compete in four-round bouts will be heavyweight Quian Davis (4-0-2) of Mays Landing, NJ; junior welterweight Bryne Green (7-9-1, 3 KO’s) of Paulsboro, NJ; junior welterweight Dan Murray (1-0) of Lanoka, NJ; welterweight Yurik Mamedov (3-0, 1 KO) of Brooklyn, NY & bantamweight Dallas Holden (1-0) of Atlantic City.
Decorated Amateur Boxer Mohammed Rabii to Make Pro Debut February 18th
Moroccan amateur boxing sensation Mohammed Rabii will make his long anticipated professional debut February 18, fighting at home in Casablanca, at the Complexe de Sportif Mohammed V Arena.
The 23-year-old Rabii represented Morocco at this year’s Olympic Games in Brazil, where he captured a bronze medal in the welterweight division, losing a disputed decision (0-3) in the semifinals to Uzebek boxer Shakhram Giyasov, who then lost (0-3) in the championship final to Daniyar Yeleussinov. Rabii had defeated Yeleussinov, of Kazakhstan, in the gold-medal championship bout of the AIBA World Amateur Championships. An average of 6 million Moroccans viewed each of Rabbi’s Olympic matches, providing testimony to his celebrity status back home.
A gifted orthodox fighter, Rabii was the past World Series of Boxing Fighter of the Year, who signed an exclusive, multi-year managerial contract last October with Nowhere2Hyde Management, which is owned and operated by international manager Gary Hyde, of Cork, Ireland.
“We are delighted to have signed one of the best amateur boxers in the world,” Hyde said. “Mohammed has a great style with knockout power in both hands. He will kick-star his pro career in front of his adoring fans in Casablanca February 18th. He is a national hero, so, the plan is to take full advantage by building him up at home in Morocco.”
Two other boxers managed by Hyde, former World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight Simpiwe Vetyeka and middleweight Gevorg Khatchikian, will fight in the main event and co-feature, respectively, against opponents to be determined.
Vetyeka (29-3, 17 KOs), fighting out of South Africa, is currently ranked No. 4 by the WBA. The only two pro losses for Khatchikian (24-2, 12 KOs), a Netherlander, have been to present super middleweight world champions James Degale (IBF) and Gilberto Ramirez (WBO).
Tickets are now on sale for the Feb. 18 show in Casablanca, in which Rabii will be supported by three other Moroccan fighters.
Paul Spadafora in Trouble with the Law
Paul Spadafora is in jail for allegedly stabbing his brother in the thigh and then threatening officers who responded to the scene and hurling an object at them.
It is being reported that police had to respond with a stun gun and had to place a mask on his face in order to get Spadafora to stop spitting on them.
Spadafora was recently in trouble for allegedly attacking an older woman at a local bar and throwing her to the ground. Spadafora also served time in prison for shooting his girlfriend in 2003.
Read more at: http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/18331623/boxer-paul-spadafora-stabbed-brother-fought-cops-according-police
IBF Flyweight World Champion John Riel Casimero to Relinquish Title and Campaign at Super Flyweight
Former IBF World Light Flyweight and current IBF Flyweight World Champion John Riel “Quadro Alas” Casimero and his team have made the decision to relinquish his title and campaign in the super flyweight division.
Casimero (23-3, 15 KOs), who stopped Englishman Charlie Edwards in 10 rounds last September at the O2 Arena in London, will now go gunning for the 115-lb division’s top dogs including IBF World Champion Jerwin Acajas and Nicaragua’s Román “Chocolatito” González.
26-year-old Casimero, from Cebu City, Philippines, says he’s looking forward to the opportunity to join the greats of Philippines boxing.
“To win my third title would be a great honor for me and put my name in with some of the best fighters my country has ever produced,” said Casimero. “I will be immediately looking to make an impact and fight the big fights that allow me the opportunity.
Casimero’s promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing, says Casimero is more than ready for the move.
“He’s so strong and he keeps growing,” said Lewkowicz. “It is time for John Riel to move up and secure his place in Philippines boxing history. It is our hope to quickly face Acajas and Chocolatito next year. That is what we will work to make happen.”
New York State Boxing Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2017
The New York State Boxing Hall of Fame (NYSBHOF), sponsored by Ring 8, has announced its 15-member Class of 2017. The sixth annual NYSBHOF induction dinner will be held Sunday afternoon (12:30-5:30 p.m. ET), April 30, at Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach, New York.
“Once again, “said NYSBHOF president Bob Duffy, “we’re honoring New York’s finest in our sport. This is all about recognizing great fighters, as well as others involved in boxing, from the state of New York. We’re expecting another knockout night.”
Living boxers heading into the NYSBHOF include Manhattan welterweight Gaspar “El Indio” Ortega (131-39-6, 69 KOs), Yonkers’ world heavyweight title challenger Renaldo “Mr.” Snipes (39-8-1, 22 KOs), Yonkers middleweight Doug “Cobra’ Dewitt (33-8-5, 19 KOs), and “The Bronx Bomber,” world middleweight title challenger Alex Ramos (39-10-2, 24 KOs)
Posthumous participants being inducted are Queens’ former middleweight and light heavyweight world champion Dick Tiger (60-19-3, 27 KOs), Brooklyn/Manhattan light heavyeight world champion Jose “Chegui” Torres (41-3-1, 29 KOs), and “The Nonpareil”, Williamsburg middleweight world champion Jack Dempsey (51-4-11, 23 KOs).
Non-participants heading into the NYSBHOF are Queens’ International agent Don Majeski, Long Island matchmaker Ron Katz, Manhattan manager Stan Hoffman and past Ring 8 president/NYSAC judge Bobby Bartels.
Posthumous non-participant inductees are Brooklyn boxing historian Hank Kaplan, Long Island cut-man Al Gavin, Bronx referee Arthur Donovan and New York City columnist Dan Parker.
Each inductee will receive a custom-designed belt signifying his induction into the NYSBHOF.
The 2017 inductees were selected by the NYSBHOF nominating committee members: Jack Hirsch, Steve Farhood, Bobby Cassidy, Jr., Randy Gordon, Henry Hascup, Ron McNair, Angelo Prospero and Neil Terens.