Three Takeaways: It’s an Incredible Stretch for Women’s Boxing
By: Jonah Dylan
The boxing world is finally back to some semblance of normalcy. This weekend we had watered-down cards on multiple networks, horrible judging and extremely questionable refereeing. Oh, and a nonsense belt from the WBA. If that doesn’t represent the official return of boxing, I don’t know what does.
Still, there’s a lot to get into. Let’s get to it.
1. Jessica McCaskill just casually flipped the boxing world on its axis
McCaskill came into her fight with Braekhus as a clear underdog. That’s not to belittle McCaskill, who was already a unifed champion at super lightweight. It says more about Braekhus, who was considered one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world and had made 25 defenses of her welterweight title. She was undefeated and had been the undisputed champ for years.
McCaskill fought like she knew what she was up against, outworking Braekhus and taking the fight to her to earn a hard-fought majority decision win in a DAZN main event. Braekhus hinted at retirement after the fight, but a rematch could certainly be in order if she wants to fight on.
As for McCaskill, she’s set up for another shot at Katie Taylor, assuming Taylor wins her rematch with Delfine Persoon this Saturday. McCaskill lost to Taylor in 2017 but is more than deserving of another crack at the undisputed lightweight champion. I’d still like to see Taylor fight Amanda Serrano (adding that to the list of fights ripped from us by boxing politics) but McCaskill-Taylor or McCaskill-Persoon would both be very compelling matchups.
McCaskill’s win also comes in the midst of a great period for women’s boxing. In just the past month, women have taken over the spotlight in the sport. Terri Harper-Natasha Jonas was one of the best fights of the year, Mikayla Mayer earned another impressive win in a main event and Braekhus and McCaskill engaged in another great fight on Saturday. It all leads to easily the best fight on paper, a rematch between Taylor and Persoon this weekend.
Taylor beat Persoon by controversial majority decision to become the undisputed champion on the Joshua-Ruiz I card, and fans have been clamoring for a rematch ever since. The wait is finally over, and the winner will have a litany of major fights waiting in the near future.
2. Israil Madrimov is still really, really good
Madrimov went the distance for the first time in his career, and while he earned a decision win, it wasn’t without speedbumps. He looked gassed in the middle rounds, and Eric Walker made him pay for it. Walker is a really solid fighter and wasn’t getting enough credit coming in, so his performance wasn’t particularly surprising. Anyone who watched The Contender is familiar with Walker and how tough he makes it on his opponents.
Madrimov is clearly a work-in-progress. And that’s okay. He’s only had six pro fights, and Saturday’s bout with Walker was the first time he really had to overcome adversity in a fight. He puts everything he has into every one of his punches and doesn’t seem to care what’s coming back at him when he throws. Against an opponent with heavy hands, that could be a recipe for disaster.
But he also hits really hard, which is what makes him so exciting and what makes him hard to pick against. Even in a tough fight, Madrimov should’ve had a knockout when he sent Walker to the ground in the 9th round and the referee ruled that his shoulder had caused Walker to hit the canvas. Walker didn’t look like he was in any shape to continue, but the referee gave him five minutes to recover and he was able to finish the rest of the fight.
It’ll be interesting to see how Madrimov gets matched in his next fight. He’s coming off a win over the best opponent of his career and should theoretically be in line for a title shot. Does his team want to give him more time to develop, or are they ready for the big fights? That decision could have implications for the rest of his career.
3. David Benavidez
Yes, David Benavidez. There’s a lot to unpack. On one hand, Benavidez’s talent is undeniable. He has elite power and is very advanced for his age, and there isn’t a lot inside the ring that’s given him any trouble. Outside the ring is a different story.
Benavidez was stripped of his WBC super middleweight title in 2018 when he tested positive for cocaine. He won it back against Anthony Dirrell on the Spence-Porter undercard with an impressive performance that was probably his best as a pro. Then, scheduled to make his first defense against Roamer Alexis Angulo, he lost the title on the scales.
He knocked out Angulo in a fight no one predicted would be competitive, title or no title. We learned nothing, except that Benavidez has trouble making 168 pounds. He’s big for the weight class and a move to 175 is no doubt in his future, but he’s continued to talk about fighting fellow belt-holder Caleb Plant.
The reality is there’s nothing holding up a fight between Plant and Benavidez other than the notion that it needs to “marinate.” Neither of the fighters have been in competitive fights since they won their respective titles, and there are no obvious other fights out there. If Benavidez is going to stay at 168, he should fight Plant. If he’s not going to fight Plant, I’d rather see him move up to light heavyweight. The weight class is wide open underneath Artur Beterbiev, and Benavidez would be a welcome addition.
Follow me on Twitter @TheJonahDylan
HBO Boxing Preview: Shields vs. Hermans, Estrada vs. Mendez, Braekhus vs.
By: Hans Themistode
This Saturday night from the StubHub Center in California, HBO will be presenting a triple header for the final card on their boxing platform.
Current unified Women’s Middleweight world champion Claressa Shields (7-0, 2 KOs) will be looking to defend her titles against Femke Hermans (9-1, 3 KOs).
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account/Hogan Photos
For those unfamiliar with Femke she is not only a skilled and tough fighter but she is also the current WBO Super Middleweight champion. Femke dropped down in weight in order to make this fight happen. Femke won the WBO title earlier this year when she dethroned Nikki Adler for the vacant crown. Since then she has gone on to defend her title twice this year. Realizing that the Shields fight was a possibility Femke decided to drop down in weight in order to make the bout a reality.
For Shields taking on yet another champion is something she has grown accustomed to. The two time Olympic gold medalist has built her short career on taking the most difficult challenges.
In just her second pro fight she captured the NABF Super Middleweight title. In her fourth bout she snagged a legit world title by defeating Nikki Adler for both the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight titles. Earlier this year she entered the record books by becoming a two weight world champion when she dropped down in weight and captured both the IBF and WBA Middleweight titles.
Shields is attempting to defend her titles while also fighting on short rest. Just three weeks ago Claressa defended her IBF and WBA titles while capturing the vacant WBC title. Yes just three short weeks later and she’s back in the ring once again. Don’t expect Shields to be fatigued going into this bout as she has grown accustomed to a busy schedule. Both of these women are sure to bring their A games to this matchup.
Claressa will be sharing the spotlight this Saturday night with two other bouts of note.
Juan Francisco Estrada (37-3, 25 KOs) will be looking to get back in the mix for a title shot when he takes on Victor Mendez (28-3-2, 20 KOs). Estrada won’t just be looking to secure a victory but he will try to do so in dominant fashion.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account/Hogan Photos
Earlier this calendar year Estrada engaged in a fight of the year caliber contest against current WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
Although the bout was close Estrada ultimately lost by majority decision. He is itching to get his chance at redemption but will first have to knock off the tough and durable Victor Mendez. For the aforementioned Mendez this is his opportunity to vault up the rankings and secure his own shot at a world title. Since losing to Arthur Villanueva in November of 2016, Mendez has reeled off four straight victories with his last two coming via knockout.
Mendez will be the bigger man come Fight night as he has a three inch height advantage. Checking in at 5’7 compared to 5’4 for Estrada. He has also given contenders a tough time. Just ask former WBC champion Luis Nery as he matched up with Mendez in 2014 and only managed to win by a close split decision.
In short, Mendez is no push over. If Estrada is hoping to land a title shot in the near future he will have to leave an impression in this fight. However as we have seen with Mendez time and time again that will not be an easy task.
Headlining the card is the consensus pound-for-pound best female fighter in the world Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs) and Undisputed Welterweight champion. She will be looking to defend her titles against Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes (18-4-3, 1 KO).
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account/Hogan Photos
Magdziak-Lopes is not new to challenging for a world title as this will be her third effort. Her first two attempts came in losing efforts to Mikaela Lauren and Ewa Piatkowska. Magdziak-Lopes however is hoping that the third time truly the charm.
Winning her first world title won’t be easy as she’s facing her stiffest competition in Braekhus.
Let’s be honest here. The deck is stacked mightily against Aleksandra. She has never faced someone with the skill nor pedigree of Braekhus. However with that being said Aleksandra can take solace in her present form. She has not lost a fight in over two years while defeating the likes of Patty Ramirez and Lisa Noel Garland.
Aleksandra also has nothing to lose at this point. If she loses then she was supposed to. There can be no shame in losing to who many regard as being the best fighter on the planet. If she wins however then her life can be changed forever. She has nothing to lose but plenty to gain. It will take Herculean effort to dethrone Braekhus but Magdziak-Lopes seems up to the task.
HBO has been the home for almost five decades for the world of boxing. “Prince” Naseem Hamed, Bernard Hopkins, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and Oscar De La Hoya to name a few have all graced this platform. As HBO bows out of the sport it is fitting that they are doing so with the Queen of boxing leading the charge.
Braekhus vs. Sagaydakovskaya & Undercard Preview
By: Ste Rowen
As Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev are preparing to go at it to claim the status of ‘Undisputed’ cruiserweight champion, the only other current undisputed boxer across the sport, will be in the ring, and no doubt impressing the Moscow crowd, as welterweight queen Cecilia Braekhus, 33-0 (9KOs) defends her WBC, IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO belts against 7-0 (3KOs), Inna Sagaydakovskaya of Russia in 10x2minute rounds.
The self-proclaimed ‘First Lady’ was in the ring just two months ago when she fought on the Golovkin vs. Martirosyan undercard against the former WBC champion Kali Reis. She eventually came out the clear winner with a 10-round unanimous decision victory that night, but she had to weather a few rough rounds late on when she took a knee in the 7th and was visibly shook by a right hand in the 8th. Once again though, she proved her elite credentials by regaining control and comfortably seeing out the final rounds, but the unbeaten 147lber, speaking to ‘ESPN Digital’, insists every fight, is a legacy fight,
‘‘It’s a legacy because it’s not just another fight, it’s a fight that is part of a very important card…For me every fight is harder, but they have made me feel at home and I know I can achieve a clear victory against my rival, who comes from a heavier division to try to dethrone me.’’
Her opponent on Saturday will be Russian, Inna Sagaydakovskaya. The ‘Ice Queen’ has earnt her shot at Braekhus in her last two bouts, defeating former IBF junior middleweight champion, Maria Lindberg over ten rounds, and more recently, stopping Jennifer Retzke in impressive fashion, inside two rounds at Almaty Arena, Kazakhstan.
Speaking to ‘Women of Boxing’, Inna was adamant she’s done more than enough to share the ring with the ‘First Lady’,
‘‘I’ve boxed for the national team for many years. I have a lot of experience and it’s not even about how many fights, but who is more prepared and more ready to win on July 21st.’’
Whether it’s bookie’s favourite, Braekhus, or the home crowd’s favourite, Sagaydakovskaya, whoever emerges the victor will have a host of fellow welterweights circling for their opportunity at all the belts with the likes of, American and WBC #1 Layla Carter, unbeaten Zambian, Lolita Muzeya and IBF #1 and Cecilia’s former foe, Klara Svensson readying themselves to be up next.
Mairis Briedis vs. Brandon Deslaurier
As long as there are no unexpected injuries between now and fight night, World Boxing Super Series semi-finalist and Saturday night’s main event reserve, Mairis Briedis will take on 11-1 (1KO), Brandon Deslaurier of France.
The Latvian and former WBC champion proved himself a worthy addition, even in defeat to Usyk, back in January and his bout this weekend is expected to be a relative walkover for the man most view as the 3rd best cruiserweight in the world. Speaking to the WBSS website earlier this month, Mairis seemed happy enough to be included on the card, and be kept in sight of the winner of Usyk/Gassiev,
‘‘I can’t wait to fight again. I’m looking forward to a quality WBSS event and I am sure that the 21st of July will make a great night of boxing for the fans.’’
Fedor Chudinov vs. Nadjib Mohammedi
Former WBA super middleweight champion, Fedor Chudinov will take on Frenchman, Nadjib Mohammedi for the WBA ‘International’ strap Fedor won back in December.
Chudinov, 17-2 (12KOs) is 3 for 3 since his stoppage lost to George Groves back in 2017, and the Russian, with a victory of course, will be adding his name to the exhaustive list of matchups that can be made at 168lb between champions and challengers.
Speaking to ‘Soviet Sport’ he said,
‘‘It will be a very difficult and beautiful battle. I can say that I am ready now as never before. In the past I was not completely sure but now I clearly know my strength.’’
‘‘This time I was trained in America.’’ Fedor now trains out of Big Bear with Abel Sanchez. ‘‘I saw a different look at boxing in general training…He looks and develops the best qualities in the boxer…We run every day on the mountains for 4 miles. We train 6 days a week.’’
Mohammedi, who’s most significant fights have been at light heavyweight, most notably defeats to Kovalev, Cleverly and most recently Gvozdyk, is unbeaten at the super middleweight limit. He made the move down to 168lb in 2016 and is undefeated in his last three bouts.
Serhii Bohachuk vs. Nikolozi Gviniashvilli
The highly rated Ukrainian Serhii ‘El Flaco’ Bohachuk returns to the ring one month on from his 2nd round KO of Cesar Soriano Berumen at The Avalon in California. Bohachuk, who also trains out of Big Bear, is fighting outside of the US as a pro for the first time as he takes on the 19-11-4 (15KOs) Georgian, Nikolozi Gviniashvilli.
‘El Flaco’ currently 9-0 (9KOs) and fighting at junior middleweight has impressed crowds with each limited opponent put in front of him so far and the hope for the weekend is that the former amateur standout will face a sterner test, whilst still being able to dazzle the Moscow crowd, over 8 rounds against Gviniashvilli.
Magomed Madiev vs. Guido Nicolas Pitto
Fighting for the WBA ‘Asia’ and IBF ‘International’ titles, Magomed Madiev, 11-0 (4KOs) of Russia, comes up against Argentine, Guido Nicolas Pitto, 25-5-1 (5KOs).
Madiev, 23, spoke at the end of last year, after Lomachenko had just stopped Rigondeaux, to ‘Soviet Sport’, of his desire to attempt to replicate Loma’s incredible run of victories in so few fights
‘‘I aspire to this. For me, it will be soon. But not all at once. We’ll catch up with Lomachenko…We plan to do it (Title Fights) in the near future. We will try to organise serious battles.’’
His opponent, Pitto was the first man to beat Jack Culcay in 2013, only to lose the rematch six months later. Since then he’s kept mainly to Argentina fighting for national titles. Magomed’s best measurement of success for this weekend will be whether he can get Guido out of there early.
Konstantin Ponomarev vs. Sergey Vorobiev
Another student of Abel Sanchez will take to the ring when 34-0 (13KOs), Konstantin Ponomarev matches up against fellow Russian, Sergey Vorobiev, 6-0 (6KOs).
Up until last year, Ponomarev was campaigning at welterweight, having twice turned down IBF eliminators against Errol Spence and then Carlos Ocampo. Instead the 25-year-old, jumped up two weight classes to challenge for the Russian middleweight belt, which he won via an underwhelming 10-round decision over Pavel Momontov.
The Moscow crowd will be hoping to see more of the welterweight version of Konstantin when the first bell rings against Vorobiev, who could be a potential banana skin in his Russian foe’s momentum.
Denis Shafikov vs. Jhon Gemino
Just over a month on from his 8-round decision victory over Mexican, Hector Ruben Ambriz Suarez in California, Denis Shafikov, 39-4-1 (20KOs) takes on Philippine super bantamweight, Jhon Gemino in a stated 10 round super featherweight contest.
It’s a strange matchup, even for a supposed stay busy fight for the Russian. Shafikov is a career lightweight, whilst Gemino, 17-10-1 (7KOs) has won only 2 of his 6 fights above 126lb, but maybe as one man moves down, and another jumps up, the stars will align to give us an unexpected undercard barnstormer.
HBO Boxing Preview: Braekhus vs. Reis, Golovkin vs. Martirosyan
By: William Holmes
Gennady Golovkin was supposed to face Canelo Alvarez in a highly anticipated rematch this Saturday in Las Vegas, but a positive drug test for Clenbuterol skirted those plans and have placed the legacy of Canelo in doubt, even though the claim is that the positive test was caused by tainted meat.
Instead Golovkin will get a new opponent in a new venue on Saturday night and the fight will no longer be on Pay Per View. Vanes Martirosyan has offered to set up to the plate to face Golvokin on short notice. The co-feature of the night will be a woman’s bout between Cecilia Braekhus and Kali Reis for Braekhus WBA/WBC/WBO/IBF Welterweight Titles.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/GGG Promotions
Boxers such as Ryan Martin, Bredis Prescott, Nam Pham, Ruslan Madiyev, and Brian Ceballo will be competing on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the two planned televised fights.
Cecilia Braekhus (32-0) vs. Kali Reis (13-6-1); WBA/WBC/WBO/IBF Women’s Welterweight Titles
Cecilia Braekhus is one of the best women boxers that is currently competing. She’s undefeated, has held a major world title since 2009 (WBC and WBA Titles) and is considered a legend in the sport of women’s boxing.
However, she is thirty six years old and is nearing the end of her athletic prime. Her opponent is five years younger and will have a slight half an inch height advantage, but Reis has never defeated an opponent near the caliber of Braekhus.
As an amateur, Braekhus is a former World Silver Medalist. Reis does not have any notable amateur accomplishments to discuss.
Braekhus is 12-0 against former world champions. She has defeated the likes of Makela Lauren, Eva Bajic, Anne Sophie Mathis, Mia St. John, Oxandia Castillo, Myriam Lamare, Ivana Habazin, Jennifer Retzke, Chris Namus, and Erica Anabella Farias,
Reis is a former middleweight world champion, but none of her past three opponents had a winning record. Two of them had a losing record and one had an equal number of wins and losses.
Neither boxer is known for their power. Braekhus has nine stoppage victories while Reis only has four stoppage victories. Both boxers have been fairly active in the past two years. Reis fought three times in 2017 and four times in 2016. Braekhus fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Braekhus will make history as the first woman to compete on an HBO televised female boxing match. This will only be her second fight in the United States, but she does not have an opponent in front of her that should present a major challenge.
Age will catch up to Braekhus soon, but she should have a good showing on Saturday night in her American debut.
Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1) vs. Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1); WBA/WBC Middleweight Titles
Gennady Golovkin was hoping to rematch Canelo Alvarez and get a definitive win, but instead he has to face the determine but heavy underdog Vanes Martirosyan.
Golovkin is thirty six years old and will be four years older than Martirosyan on Saturday night. Golovkin is already showing signs of slowing down. He has thirty three knockout wins on his resume, but his opponents in his past two fights were able to go the distance. Martirosyan will also have a slight one inch height advantage. Their reach is the same. Martirosyan is not really known for his power, he only has twenty one knockouts as a professional.
Golovkin was a 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist for Kazakhstan and Martirosyan competed for the United States in 2004 in the Olympics but failed to medal.
Golovkin has been fighting what is now considered a normal schedule for a top tier fighter. He fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Martirosyan has not been very active and it should be a concern for his camp. He’s fighting arguably the best middleweight in the 21st century and he only fought once in 2016 and did not fight at all in 2017. In fact it will be nearly two years since he has stepped in the ring.
Golovkin has defeated the likes Daniel Jacobs, Kell Brook, Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Martin Murray, Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Gabriel Rosado, and Kassim Ouma.
Martirosyan has defeated the likes of Ishe Smith, Willie Nelson, Saul Roman, and Kassim Ouma. His losses were to Erislandy Lara, Jermell Charlo, and Demetrius Andrade.
Martirosyan has been known to do better than expected in big fights, but fighting a current top five pound for pound boxer after not competing for two years will be a tall task to overcome.
However, if Martirosyan makes it to the final bell, the bigger question will be how much longer does Golovkin has left as one of the world’s best?
The Defenders, Contenders and Prospects: Four Undefeated Fighters to Watch This Weekend
By Vishare Mooney
Cinco De Mayo is upon us bringing with it a fantastic weekend of boxing as four undefeated fighters take to the ring to defend their records or the right to keep their championship belts. There are some interesting storylines, here’s what to watch.
History in the making: Challenges for two boxing giants Gennady Golovkin and Cecilia Breakhus
This is not the big drama show a Canelo rematch would have brought, but the Golovkin v. Martirosyan is still a challenging fight for the undefeated champion, Gennady Golovkin (36-0-1, 33KO); all his belts are on the line as he goes up against two-time world title challenger Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 23KO). Though Martirosyan is going up a weight class to fight Golovkin, promoter Tom Loeffler has called the matchup “a dangerous fight” while Golovkin humbly suggested “one punch can change everything.” At Wednesday’s press conference, Don King, Martirosyan’s promoter, struck a foreboding tone, predicting that the stars above the StubHub Center will be aligned for the champion’s first loss. He addressed his remarks to Golovkin, “The inimitable words of Mohammed Ali says, you have to lose to be a whole champion, there’s no disgrace in losing.” And of his fighter, Martiroysan, King said, “This may be the opportunity that Vanes is waiting on because yesterday’s nobody, becomes tomorrow’s somebody.” Pre-fight hype? Not for Golovkin, “I understand my situation, this is not an easy fight, this is a huge fight for us. I promise, we bring amazing show, amazing event.” This fight is without doubt not one to miss.
If there is an active fighter with more titles and accolades than Golovkin, it is Cecilia Braekhus (32-0, 9 KO and 22-0 in championship matches.) The Columbian-born boxer who fights out of Norway, is embarking on the 22nd defense of her titles IBF-WBA-WBC-WBO. She has heen the welterweight world champion for the past nine years. And yet, this fight, set as a co-feature to the GGG-Martirosyan, and having the distinction of being the first live broadcast of a woman’s bout on HBO, is not necessarily a walk in the park for Braekhus. Her opponent, former world WBC middleweight champion, 27-year-old Kali Reis (13-6-1, 4 KO) will still have a size and youth advantage as she goes down two weight classes to fight the 36-year-old Braekhus. Says Braekhus, who continues to hone her skills as she matures, “I am definitely another fighter today than I was ten years ago, and I always have to adapt to that, I always have to adapt to stay sharp.” She added, “I feel the young girls, you know, they are breathing down my neck, I always need to be sharp.” Boxing legend Lucia Rijker, who has been training Braekhus for this fight will be in her corner Saturday night. The moment in history is not lost in Rijker, who said to boxinginsider.com at a recent interview, “ I know my place as a coach, this is the time for the new generation and I’m honored to be a part of it with a humble heart.” All the women will have the platform at StubHub, under the stars to show the world, women’s boxing belongs on primetime along with men’s. Challenger Kali Reis, understands the the opportunity and the significance of this bout, “It’s not just live boxing on HBO, its the co-main event, that is huge. Not only for myself, not only for Cecilia, but for women’s boxing as a whole…We’re in it to fight and we can fight.” Tune into this one, it will likely be the best fight of the night.
Golovkin v. Martirosyan and Braekhus v. Reis, May 5, HBO, 8pm PT
Boxers On the Rise: Ryan Garcia and George Kambosos Jr.
It’s likely ESPN’s 2017 Prospect of the Year, 19-year-old Ryan Garcia (14-0, 13 KO), from Victorville, CA, with meticulous grooming of his boxing career by Golden Boy Promotions and supported by Garcia’s fast growing 800k Instagram followers, needs little more highlighting. On May 4th, the junior lightweight may actually have a worthy contest in the seasoned 30-year-old Puerto Rican fighter, Jayson Velez, (26-4-1, 18 KO). Garcia will want to feed his ambition of fighting Gervonta Davis and being the youngest pay-per-view star, as well as his growing fan base, with another decisive win. With such heightened media exposure at such an early time in his professional career, it seems Garcia is defending his fame rather than ascending to it. Nonetheless, fans shouldn’t miss out on watching this fighter’s impressive ability to “see and catch” his opponent’s next moves and launch a powerful and fast knockout punch. He described his technique to boxinginsider.com, “I see where he (the opponent) goes, and once he makes a little tiny mistake, my punch is there and I deliver my full ability” Coming off the lightning fast first round knockout of Fernando Vargas, just six weeks ago, boxing fans get another chance to see KingRy impress. May 4th, 7:30PM PT on ESPN2 and ESPN Desportes.
If you want a chance to see a future title contender in his first US fight, watch George “Ferocious” Kambosos, Jr. (13-0, 7 KO), the undefeated 24-year-old Greek-Australian prospect. Kambosos Jr. is currently ranked #5 by the WBA , #11 by WBO and holds the WBA Oceania lightweight title. Kambosos Jr., recently signed with powerhouse promoter Dibella Entertainment. He will headline the Broadway Boxing event at Foxwoods Resort Casino and fight against Jose “El Tigre” Forero (13-6-1, 11 KO). Kambosos Jr. moved from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles earlier this year to train under renowned coach, former heavyweight contender and long time Pacquiao cornerman Justin Fortune. His sights are set firmly on making a name for himself here in the U.S. “America is the mecca of boxing, to become world champion and to become recognized, you gotta be here.” Kambosos Jr., in addition to holding title belts, has sparred with Manny Pacquiao for over 50 rounds and brings shades of Pacquiao’s fast and furious high volume punching to the ring along with some impressive footwork. When asked what fans can expect of him in the ring, Kambosos Jr. told boxinginsider.com, “I’m an action packed fighter..fans can expect fireworks from round one.” Kambosos Jr. said he’s had a hundred rounds of sparring to prepare for his US debut and is ready for anyone. “We’ve left no stone unturned, we’ve had an awesome camp, if they pulled him (Forero) out today, and brought in a world champion, we are ready to go, we are ready to fight and ready to win.” May 5th, 9PM ET at CBS Sports HQ and Live.DBE1.com
Braekhus-Reis To Be HBOs First Televised Woman’s Bout
By: Vishare Mooney
“This marks the first time a women’s bout has been televised live on HBO.” So claimed a press release announcing the matchup between “boxing’s only undisputed world champion Cecilia Braekhus” and “former WBC Female World Middleweight Champion Kali Reis.” The two women will fight for Braekhus’ World Female Welterweight title on May 5th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Even more telling, the fight will be the co-feature of the Gennady Golovkin – Vanes Martirosyan middleweight title bout.
Braekhus, who fights out of Norway, has held her title for nine years and boasts a record of 32-0. “I’m honored,” said Braekhus, “to fight on the same card as the best male fighter in the world, Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.” Braekus also spoke well of the Southern California location of her HBO debut. “I’ve heard so many magnificent things about fighting in Southern California and the passion boxing fans have for great fights,” she said. “I’ve been training in Los Angeles for the last six weeks with Lucia Rikjer, and this has been a tremendous camp.” Rhode Island native Reis, 13-61, looks to keep Braekhus from making a 22nd successful title defense.
“I am so proud to help present the first female bout to be televised live on HBO,” promoter Tom Lorffler claimed. “Undefeated World Female Welterweight Champion Cecllia Braekhus, boxing’s only undisputed world champion, will have her hands full against former WBC World Female Middleweight champion Kali Reis.” The bout will be scheduled for ten rounds.
The non-televised portion of the May 5th card will also showcase 21-0 super lightweight Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin, as he faces well known 31-12 vet Breidis Prescott. “Best known for his first-round knockout victory of Amir Khan and a decision victory over former world champion Richar Abril,” the press release stated, “Prescott has been in tough for much of his professional career, going the distance against former two-division world champion Terence Crawford and top-rated contenders Roberto Garcia, Paul McCloskey and Fredrick Lawson. Boasting a victory by knockout ratio of 71%, Prescott will be looking to make the most of his Cinco De Mayo rumble with Martin.”
The 25 year old Martin, whose part of Abel Sanchez’ acclaimed stable, “returns to the ring after making a star turn headlining his first card, on March 27, at The Avalon in Hollywood, Calif. Martin blasted Luis Eduardo Florez in the fourth round of their 10-round bout.” The Golovkin-Martirosyan televised card is co-promoted by Loeffler and Don King and will be aired live at 11 pm eastern standard time on HBO.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Chavez, Lubin, Lara, Beterbiev, Bute, Braekhus, Svennsson, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Chavez, Lubin, Lara, Beterbiev, Bute, Braekhus, Svennsson, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 14th to February 21st, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit:Etzel Espinosa- Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Mexico City Press Conference Quotes
Two-division world champion Canelo Álvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) and former WBC World Middleweight Champion Julio César Chávez, Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) today kicked off their four-city international press tour in Mexico City. The event drew thousands of fans and hundreds of media to watch Canelo and Chavez, Jr. in their first face off ahead of their anticipated clash on Cinco De Mayo weekend, Saturday, May 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Below are what the fighters and their teams had to say at today’s press conference:
CANELO ÁLVAREZ, Former Two-Division World Champion:
“It’s a new weight, so I have started to spar with heavier partners, which everyone will notice come fight night. Fights between Mexicans are usually the biggest, and I want this fight to be a mark on the legacy that many fights like this have left behind in Mexico’s fight history.
“I think that a rivalry does exist, and we are both polemic fighters. There have been a lot of comments directed towards me and my character, and I fight for pride to represent my country.
“We are of course are training at 100 percent. I think what makes this fight interesting is that we are both heavy punchers. I’ve been in my fair share of mega-fights, and the boxing ring is my home. I have had the same people in my corner since the very beginning, and I trust Chepo and Eddy to fully support me in my corner.”
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR., Former WBC World Middleweight Champion:
“I’ve been making my way to this fight. My last fight was at 168 pounds. This fight isn’t going to be any different from any other fight that I have had in the past. I want to thank all the people who have come to support me over the years.
“This is going to be a tough fight. Every fight is important, and this one especially because it is between two Mexicans fighting each other for the glory. The fight could not have come at a more perfect timing – both my and Canelo’s names are known throughout the world as some of the best fighters. My two losses against Martinez and Fonfara taught me more than all 50 of my wins. This fight has the potential to open many doors to my future that might have been closed before. I fight for pride – everyone says that Canelo is the best.
“With Nacho Beristain in my corner, I have a lot of knowledge on my side. It’s symbolic because he has his name etched as one of the greats, and this is a tribute to him and is a contribution to Mexican boxing. Canelo isn’t Oscar De La Hoya’s son. I’ve got a great corner. I am going to win this fight.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions:
“Saul was the one who wanted this fight, and my duty as a promoter is to put together the best fights. Mexican boxing is the best, and when you have these two hot boxers who want to give the best to the fans, and we couldn’t pass it up.
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, SR., Six-Time World Champion Boxerz:
“I foresee a real tough fight. We have seen the best of Canelo, but we have not seen the best of my son. I firmly believe that with a disciplined training camp, Jr. is able to knock out not just Canelo but anyone in his way. I want to thank everyone who has come out to support my son. I can honestly say that this is a dream come true, and we are looking forward to the fight.”
Artur Beterbiev vs. Sullivan Barrera Announced for April 21st
It’s official: Montreal’s Artur Beterbiev (IBF #2 – 11-0-0, 11 KOs) will be in the most important fight of his career, against Cuban-born Sullivan Barrera (IBF #7 – 18-1-0, 13 KOs), for the mandatory challenger position for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) light heayvweight world title, held by American Andre Ward (31-0-0, 15 KOs). The Beterbiev vs. Barrera clash will take place April 21 in Miami, Florida.
“It is with great pride and confidence that we go into this fight in Miami,” Beterbiev’s promoter Yvon Michel (Groupe Yvon Michel). “In order for Beterbiev to receive maximum credibility, he needs to demonstrate that he can perform anywhere in the world. Because Sullivan Barrera, the only top-rated contender to accept the challenge to face Artur, could not cross the Canadian border, we agreed to have this fight take place in the United States.
“We are convinced that the many Quebecers who still live in Florida, at this time, will come to support Artur, who has made Quebec the adopted home for him and his young family.”
The Beterbiev-Barrera winner will become the mandatory challenger for the IBF light heavyweight champion, who will have until September, at the latest, to face the winner.]GYM won the IBF-ordered purse bid Feb. 2 (2017), winning with a $201,000 (USD) bid to $181,000 for Barrera’s promoter, Main Events. Due to the 75-25 percentage advantage going to the highest ranked fighter, Beterview will earn $188,250 to $62,750 for Barrera.
Ward won the IBF, WBA and WBO light heavyweight titles with a 12-round unanimous decision win over Sergey Kovalev, November 19, 2017, in Las Vegas.
Beterbiev was impressive in his most recent outing, last December 23 at the Lac Leamy Casino in Gatineau, stopping Paraguayan slugger Isidro Ranoni Prieto (26-1-3) in opening round (2:44).
Barrera also displayed tremendous skills during his most recent performance, this poast Dec. 16 in California, shattering the previously undefeated Vyacheslav Shabrankyy (17-0-0), of Ukraine, with a spectacular TKO victory in the seventh round.
More details about Beterbiev vs. Barrera will be announced in the coming days.
Erislandy Lara Gains US Citizenship
WBA and IBO super-welterweight champion, Erislady “The American Dream” Lara, is truly living the American dream since he has now completed all the eligibility requirements to become a U.S citizen. Erislandy, along with his wife Yudi, took an oath of allegiance to the United States today, solidifying their citizenship.
Lara, who made his U.S. boxing debut in Primm, Nevada, in January of 2009, is elated about gaining his U.S. citizenship. He reflects on the long journey it took to become a U.S citizen.
“When I arrived in the United States in 2008, my main goal was to become a citizen of this great nation.” said Erislandy Lara. “It brings me great joy to know that I am now a legal citizen of the United States of America. It’s been a long journey to get where I’m at today, and I couldn’t have done it without my beautiful wife Yudi. Together, we fulfilled all the legal requirements that were mandated to become a U.S citizen.”
“Living in here in the States has been a tremendous blessing to me and my family.” Lara continued. “With hard work, and the help of many good people around me, I’ve been able to provide for my loved ones. My goal is to continue my boxing career with my core team, and someday, God willing, become a Boxing Hall of Famer.”
Internationally-Flavored Full Card Announced for Bute vs. Alvarez
A full card with an international flavor, from top to bottom, has been announced for this Friday (Feb. 24) night’s “BUTE VS ALVAREZ” major event at Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada.
World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (21-0, 10 KOs), defends his title against former world super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (32-3-1, 25 KOs) in the 12-round main event that also serves as the final WBC eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger for WBC and lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (28-1-0, 23 KOs). Alvarez, who lives in Montreal, was a Colombian Olympian and Laval, Canada resident Bute is a native of Romania. Stevenson, Alvarez and Bute are all promoted by GYM.
“This is an excellent overall boxing event and the result will have a significant impact on the career of all participants,” said the President of GYM, Yvon Michel.
“The Martel-Braidwood WBU heavyweight title fight has all the ingredients to be a barnburner, while the NABO middleweight fight may prove that Lafreniere deserve to be named, ‘The people champ’ because of his relentless attack style. Bute and Alvarez in the main event are putting their future on the line with this the most significant light heavyweight fight so far in 2017. The real winners are going to be the boxing fans, who appreciate the evenly matched fights and fighters ready to leave it all in the ring!”
Promoted by Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM) and Gestev, “BUTE VS ALVAREZ” is a presentation of Videotron and Mise-O-Jeu, at Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada.
Integrated Sports Media will distribute “BUTE VS. ALVAREZ” live in the United States, starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, on cable, satellite and internet pay-per-view via iN Demand, Vubiquity, DIRECTV, DISH and the FITE app for a suggested retail price of only $29.95.
In Canada, “BUTE VS. ALVAREZ” will be available to watch, in English or French, on Canal Indigo, Shaw TV and Bell TV; English-only on Rodgers PPV, as well as in many of the top Canadian sports bars.
Outside of North America, “BUTE VS ALVAREZ” is being distributed by leading boxing television rights distribution firm, Protocol Sports Marketing Ltd.
In the 12-round co-feature, Canadian heavyweights Eric “The Hammer” Martel-Bahoeli (14-5-2, 8 KOs) and Adam “The Bogeyman” Braidwood (6-1, 5 KOs) will battle for the vacant World Boxing Union (WBU) title. A former Commonwealth & Canadian title challenger, Martel-Bahieli will be fighting at home in Quebec City. Braidwood, fighting out of British Colombian, is a former football player for Washington State University and in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Popular Quebec super welterweight Sebastian Bouchard, a 2007 Canadian Championships silver medalist, takes on Mexican super welterweight champion Gustavo “Vitaminas” Garibay (13-7-2, 5 KOs) in an eight-round non-title fight.
International Boxing Federation (IBF) middleweight champion Francis Lafreniere (14-5-2, 8 KOs), also fighting out of Quebec, defends his 10-round bout against Mexican knockout artist Uriel “Big Bang” Gonzalez (15-1-1, 11 KOs). The vacant North American Boxing Organization (NABO) championship will also be the line for the Lefreniere vs. Willis confrontation.
In a pair of off-PPV fights, undefeated Montreal super middleweight Dario Bredidean (11-0, 3 KOs) faces Mexican invader Alejandro Torres (9-1-2, 4 KOs) in an eight-round match, while 2016 France Olympian Christian “Le Solide” M’Billi (1-0, 1 KO) is showcased in a four-round fight against Mexican super middleweight Jesus Olivares (5-3, 3 KOs).
Tickets for “BUTE VS. ALVAREZ” are on sale and available to purchase by going on line to www.Videotron.centrequebeccity.cpm/tickets and www.Ticketmaster.ca
Svensson Believes Time Is Right to Dethrone Pound for Pound Queen Braekhus
Klara Svensson (17-1, 5 KOs) believes the time is right for her to dethrone the reigning pound-for-pound number one Cecilia Brækhus (29-0, 8 KOs) when the Scandinavian stars meet for the Unified World Welterweight titles on Friday night at the Oslo Spektrum.
Svensson will enter the lion’s den to face Brækhus in front of her home fans in the Norwegian capital, where despite being the away fighter, ‘The Swedish Princess’ is confident she can upset the odds and secure a historic victory.
‘’This is something I’ve always wanted to do,’’ says Svensson. ‘’It’s not every day you get the chance to fight away from home on a massive show like this. So for me, it’s definitely not a negative to be fighting Cecilia on her home turf.
‘’I know she’s extremely popular in Norway, so I’m not expecting much of the attention to be on me, but I’m just here to do the business, and I’m going to take all of that energy and use it my advantage.
‘’I feel like a lot of people don’t really think that I have much of a chance, which is more motivating than anything for me, and I can’t wait to prove everyone wrong. I don’t think she’s faced anyone with my experience or background, so it’s going to be really different fight for her this time.
‘’There is definitely a sense of freedom for me. All the pressure is on Cecilia. The feeling of being the underdog is not something I have experienced for a long time and it’s a nice feeling actually.
‘‘In Oslo, we are going to see an upset. I’m going to upset the whole Norwegian population. I know everybody is really proud of Cecilia and her accomplishments, and so should they be, but she’s not going to stay undefeated on the 24th.
‘’I feel like there couldn’t possibly be a better timing for me. Three years ago I would have been too inexperienced, but now I’m ready. I’m not here just to here to challenge her, I’m here to hurt her and to take her titles.”
Svensson has been known to get fired up before fights. A bad-blooded build up to her Swedish showdown with Mikaela Laurén saw the Malmo boxer spank her opponent at the weigh-in.
Asked whether we can expect any altercations with Brækhus during next week’s media events, she said: ‘’I think that’s something you just take in the heat of the moment. You cannot plan these things, but we’ll see!’’
The Unified Female World Welterweight Championship contest between Cecilia Brækhus and Klara Svensson is available live and exclusive on Viaplay PPV. For more information please visit: http://www.viaplay.se/ppv
Junior Middleweight Prospect Daquan Arnett Partners with AC Sports Management
Daquan Arnett (15-1, 9 KO’s) has hired Adrian Clark, owner of AC Sports Management, LLC as his primary
representative. Arnett has been out of the ring for 15 month (and counting). He is counting on Clark to get the ball rolling and get his promising career on track.
“I know I am going to be world champion, its just a matter of when. Once an opportunity presents itself, I am going to take full advantage. Bringing on AC is a plus because of how young and ambitious he is. He works in the best interest of the fighters,” said Arnett
Clark, 30 of Dallas, Texas is known for his work with Jerry Belmontes, James de la Rosa, Will Tomlinson (Australia) and most recently, Willie Monroe Jr. He is also the author of the book, Protect Yourself at All Times: A Guide for Professional Boxers.
“Daquan is a world class fighter and a guy who understands the business of boxing. He will be in contention for something big by early next year. I am honored that he thought to hire me.”
Despite the lay-off, Daquan is still young (24 years old) and has stayed in the gym. He is now training in Dallas, TX with friend, Errol Spence Jr.
The fighting pride of Orlando (FL), Arnett was a decorated amateur and since turning pro in 2011, he has put together a solid resumè. In his last 8 fights, four of Arnett’s opponents were undefeated. The only loss of his career came in 2014 against Eddie Gomez.
Arnett is looking to make his return to the ring in April or May.
Erickson Lubin Media Workout Quotes
Undefeated rising star Erickson “Hammer” Lubin hosted media at his gym in his hometown of Orlando Thursday as he prepares to face once-beaten contender Jorge Cota Saturday, March 4 in a 12-round super welterweight world title eliminator on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS, presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
Broadcast coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and is headlined by the welterweight world title unification showdown between unbeaten fighters Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, start at $50 (not including applicable fees) and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.barclayscenter.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Here is what Lubin had to say Thursday:
“I haven’t stopped training since my last fight on December 10. We have been full throttle since.
“This is a big fight. It is a title eliminator. It is at Barclays Center. It is on CBS. You’ve got Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman in the main event. It is 12-rounds. This is definitely what I’ve dreamed of. This is the kind of opportunity that I’ve wanted. Getting to seize the moment. Going out there, dominating the fight and going on to become the mandatory challenger for the title.
“We always say that we aren’t training for the fight coming up, we’ve training for the title. I’ve prepared for this. To be the youngest world champion, we just saw Gervonta Davis do that and make history like that is a blessing. I can’t wait to go for that.
“The fans can expect straight fireworks. I am going to go out there and dominate the fight. A lot of fighters say they’re going to do something, but I am the type of guy that says it and lives up to it. March 4 fans definitely want to tune in.
[On the “Hammer” ring name] “There are hammers in my hands. They punish and do damage. A hammer with fireworks is dangerous isn’t it?
“It is my first time fighting in Brooklyn. I expect a lot of stars to be there. A lot of people having their eyes on me. I am expecting to become the mandatory for the belt and for everyone to know my name.
“2017 is a big year. To be in this position right now is a great start for the year and to become a mandatory challenger is bigger and becoming a world champion is the biggest. I want to be undisputed.”
Cecilia “First Lady”Braekhus Makes 19th Defense in January!
Cecilia “First Lady”Braekhus Makes 19th Defense in January!
By: Ken Hissner
Cecilia “First Lady” Braekhus, 29-0 (8) was born in Cartagena, COL, some 35 years ago. On January 28th she will make only her second appearance in her now residence of Bergen, Norway. She will be defending her WBC welterweight title against Klara “Swedish Princess” Svensson, 17-1 (5). Her WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles will not be at stake.
In 2004 Braekhus won a Silver Medal at the European Championships in Riccione, IT. Then she won a Gold Medal in the same tourney in 2005 in Tonsberg, Norway. In 2005 she won a Silver Medal at the World Championships in Podolsk, Russia. She would turn professional in 2007 in Switzerland and then Belgium. Those were her only stops in those two countries.
In June of 2008 Braekhus had her one and only US bout defeating Nicole Woods, 4-2, in Hollywood, FL. In hereleventh fight she won her first world titles in the WBA and WBC defeating Denmark’s VinniSkovgaard, 7-0, in Germany. It was her “adopted” country fighting in that country some 10 times. Only in Denmark has she fought more times with a total of 13. The next 18 fights would all be title bouts.
Two fights later in September in her first bout in Denmark, Braekhus defeated Italian Lucia Morelli, 12-0, out of Germany. In May of 2010 Braekhus added the IBO title to her already WBA and WBC belts in defeating Victoria Cisneros, 5-8-2,of Albuquerque, NM, in Denmark. Cisneros had won her two previous fights. In the next defense for Braekhus she stopped Sweden’s Mikaela Lauren, 6-0, in Germany.
On May of 2011 Braekhus took on her most experienced opponent defeating ChevelleHallback, 28-6-2, of the US, in Denmark. Three fights later she defeated Anne Sophie Mathis 26-2, of France, in the first of their two fights. Opening up 2013 she stopped Mia “The Knockout” St John, 47-12-2, of the US. John had defeated Christy “Coal Miner’s Daughter” Martin for the WBC super welterweight title several fights before this.
After Braekus stopped another unbeaten boxer in Dominican Oxandia Castillo, 12-0-2, and next defeated MyriamLamare, 22-3, of France. Jessica Balogun, 24-3, of Germany was the next victim in Germany. Back to Denmark she defeated IvanaHabazin, 13-1, of Croatia. Next up she defeated Germany’s Jennifer Retzke followed by beating Chris Namus, 21-3, of Uruguay.
In Braekus’ last fight in a rematch with Anne Sophie Mathis, 27-3-1, she was able to stop her this time, in October in Norway. It was her first bout where her current residency is. Next up also in Norway will be Klara “Swedish Princess” Svensson, 17-1, on January 28th. This will complete her 10 years as a boxer. Can you imagine such good records of boxers she defeated compared to other “so called” champs?