Frampton Earns Title Shot with Victory Over Donaire
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
A world title shot beckons for Carl Frampton, who secured the WBO Interim Featherweight title with a dominant victory over Nonitio Donaire in Belfast last night.
Frampton, 31, fought an aggressive but intelligent fight, picking his punches carefully, landing them with precision and using his speed and movement to evade the Filipino’s legendary knockout power.
Donaire patiently stalked Frampton throughout the fight, searching for a big, fight-ending blow that never came. He struggled to get near the Irishman and on the few occasions that he did, he generally came off second best.
Frampton significantly damaged Donaire’s eye in the second round after he trapped him on the ropes and let fly with blistering combinations.
Things only got worse for the former four weight world champion as Frampton put it on him round after round in a near shutout performance.
The first six rounds were largely one way traffic with Frampton using his jab and different angles to create openings for big right hooks.
It was an extremely disciplined performance from the former two weight world champion as he landed a number of power shots, but didn’t overcommit or allow himself to get drawn into a brawl.
Although Donaire was outclassed, he was never completely out of the fight, landing some big shots off the ropes in the fifth round that reminded us that he has the ability to finish a fight from anywhere.
Nonetheless, Frampton patiently picked him apart, circling out of the Filipino’s range whenever he landed a big shot.
His clinical performance highlighted that he is still one of the best featherweights in the world.
“The Jackal” barely lost a round to the admittedly aging future hall of famer, who often looked slow, flat-footed and out of ideas.
The Irishman’s speed, skill and IQ seemed to bamboozle him at times. However, Donaire remained dangerous from start to finish due to the knockout power he possesses in both hands.
He landed a trademark uppercut in the seventh round, which briefly staggered the Irishman, but he was unable to land the follow-up shot needed to put him away.
Frampton was under the pump again in the eleventh round, eating some vicious hooks and uppercuts, but never looked in danger of being stopped.
In the end, these were minor blips in an impressive performance and the Belfast man now has his eye on another world title.
Frampton would love the chance to avenge his only professional loss in a trilogy fight with WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz, but the Mexican doesn’t appear to be keen on a rematch just yet.
A unification bout with WBO Champion Oscar Valdez or a big money fight with the winner of Lee Selby vs Josh Warrington seems more likely.
Either way, the Irishman is back in the big time and has silenced critics who called for his retirement after his defeat to Santa Cruz nearly two years ago.
Donaire’s next step is less clear, but this was probably his last chance to launch himself into title contention.
One thing’s for sure though, his place in boxing’s hall of fame is already secure.
Frampton Targeting World Title, Criticizes Scott Quigg
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Former two weight world champion Carl Frampton wants a Featherweight world title fight next if he beats Filipino boxing legend Nonito Donaire on the 21st of April.
The winner of Frampton-Donaire will become the WBO Interim Featherweight Champion after Oscar Valdez suffered a broken jaw a month ago.
However, Frampton says that while the belt might look nice on his mantelpiece, he will not be satisfied with an interim title.
In an interview with Behind the Gloves, the Northern Irishman said “Fighters in the past have called themselves a world champion after winning an interim title but I know what this is, I’m not going to call myself a world champion if I win,” he says.
“I won’t feel like a world champion until I beat Oscar Valdez, Leo Santa Cruz, Lee Selby or Gary Russell jr,” Frampton says.
He says the Donaire fight is a step in the right direction as “it’s pretty much a title eliminator with a belt on the line.”
“This has just given me the option of fighting a big name and people have talked about the winner of Selby vs Warrington and obviously with me being linked to the same team, that fight can happen,” according to Frampton.
There are many names on Frampton’s radar, but he says a fight with Valdez for the undisputed WBO title is a very attractive option.
“If Valdez recovers from the jaw injury he got against Quigg I think that fight is probably a bit more appealing to me than the winner of the Selby-Warrington fight,” he says.
Frampton has a lot of respect for the Mexican champion and says “I think he’s a very good fighter, he’s ferocious in how he fights and I like his style. I can see that he’s very attractive to the casual boxing fans because of how he fights.”
“I think it just captures the boxing public much more in a worldwide sense, it’s a much bigger fight than me versus Selby or Warrington,” says Frampton.
However, his first preference would be a trilogy fight with WBA Champion Leo Santa Cruz to avenge his only professional loss.
“I know one fight that I definitely want and that’s Leo Santa Cruz because I think that makes sense. It’s a huge fight and it’s one each between us, it settles the score and trilogies are always a big thing in boxing,” he says.
“So he’s the guy that I want more than anyone. But I think a Valdez fight is very, very appealing. After that, probably Selby,” Frampton says.
The Belfast man also criticised long-time rival Scott Quigg for missing weight by a significant margin when he fought Valdez last month.
“I believe he missed the weight purposely and then he didn’t do the second day weigh-in, which is just sticking the finger up to the people involved. He missed the weight by so much that he should have at least done a second day weigh-in,” Frampton says.
“When you look at the tactics in the fight, he was just trying to wear Valdez down from the start. So I think that was planned. I think he missed the weight purposely and I think he didn’t do the second day weigh-in because he wanted to overwhelm Valdez and use his size and strength,” he says.
“But Valdez stuck to a game plan. Quigg had good spells in parts of the fight and you have to give him credit for the injury he had himself. But I think Valdez won the fight comfortably,” according to Frampton.
Clearly, there is still no love lost between them.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Donaire, Frampton, Ali, Ortiz, Alexander, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 2nd to January 9th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Frampton and Donaire to Clash in Belfast on April 21st
Carl Frampton believes his clash against Nonito Donaire on Saturday, April 21 will be one of the biggest fights to ever take place in Belfast and a make-or-break bout for both men.
MTK Global-backed two-weight world champion Frampton (24-1, 14KO) is set to take on Filipino four-weight world champion Donaire (38-4, 24KO) in a featherweight showdown at Belfast’s SSE Odyssey Arena.
Both former Fighters of the Year, the pair will meet in a blockbuster bout, live on BT Sport and BoxNation in the UK and Ireland on a Frank Warren-promoted bill.
Tickets ranging from £40 (tier) to £400 (inner-ring hospitality) will go on general sale this Thursday (January 11th) at 10am.
And MTK Global’s Frampton is looking forward to meeting elite opposition on home soil in his first bout of 2018.
“It’s a brilliant fight – a four-weight world champion against a two-weight world champion,” said Frampton. “Has a bigger ‘away’ fighter ever come to fight in Belfast before? I don’t think there’s been a bigger name than Nonito Donaire and he’s coming to fight a local guy in his hometown.
“But I think both of us are in the same situation – a slip-up here and one of us might never fight for a world title again. There’s a lot on the line for both guys.”
With a much-anticipated summer fight date at Belfast’s Windsor Park in the works for ‘The Jackal’, 30-year-old Frampton believes a win over the 42-fight Filipino veteran would be perfect preparation ahead of a world-title tilt.
The Irishman is coming off the back of a 10-round points win over Mexican Horacio Garcia last month in what was Frampton’s first outing since the loss of his WBA world featherweight crown to Leo Santa Cruz.
And ‘The Jackal’ is confident that victory over Donaire will tee up a bout against the winner of the forthcoming IBF title clash between 126lb rivals Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.
“In terms of the size of a fight, it’s not for a world title but the winner of this fight will no doubt get a world-title shot,” said Frampton.
“On the world stage, I think this is a bigger fight than Lee Selby against Josh Warrington, which is a world-title fight, so it’s huge,” continued the Belfast native, whose reign as unified WBA & IBF world super-bantamweight champion in 2016 coincided with Donaire’s second spell as the WBO 122lb title holder before both men later claimed world featherweight belts.
“He’s been at the top of four divisions, but he was in the same weight division as me for quite a while and he’s someone I’ve always kept an eye on,” said Frampton. “He’s someone I admire as well and I think he’s a great fighter, but I think this is the perfect fight to get me ready for a world-title fight in the summer.”
While Donaire has suffered three defeats since being named 2012 Fighter of the Year by The Ring, ESPN and the Boxing Writers’ Association of America –the same honours Frampton picked up for 2016 – the 35-year-old ‘Filipino Flash’ is eager to prove that he is still an elite force at 126lbs.
“This is exactly the type of fight I live for — going in against one of the best in the world in the lion’s den of his hometown of Belfast,” said Donaire. “I can’t wait for the first bell! I know I’ll have to be the best I can be on fight night. Make no mistake, I’m already training like never before.”
MTK Global Professional Development Coordinator Jamie Conlan believes the fight will be an ideal warm-up for Frampton ahead of a summer world-title date.
“Donaire is a great fighter and this will be a real test for Carl, but it’s one that MTK are confident he’ll pass and that he’ll do so in style. Fair play to Carl, he didn’t want a handy fight ahead of another world-title shot and we were keen to deliver that,” said Conlan.
“It’s going to be another huge night for Belfast and Irish boxing and we’ll have some of MTK’s best talent on the bill.”
Details of a press conference will be announced in the coming days.
Kamegai to Face Daquan Pauldo on Matthysse and Linares Card
Japanese slugger Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-4-2, 24 KOs) will return after his impressive first shot at a world title to take on Orlando, Florida’s Daquan “King” Pauldo (16-1, 9 KOs) in a 10-round super welterweight fight that will top off the non-televised undercard of Matthysse vs. Kiram and Linares vs. Gesta on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The non-televised undercard action will be streamed live on RingTV.com beginning at 3:00 p.m. PT/ 6:00 p.m. ET.
As previously announced, Argentine knockout artist Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) of Chubut, Argentina will take on the explosive undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (38-0, 28 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship in the first co-main event. Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) will defend his WBA, WBC Diamond, and Ring Magazine Lightweight Titles against Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) in a 12-round bout in the second co-main event. This special double main event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Kamegai will return after his impressive outing against former six-time, four-division world champion Miguel Cotto, which was for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title in an HBO-televised main event in August 2017 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Before that fight, Kamegai took part in two consecutive Fight of the Year candidates against Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass in June and Sept. of 2016. Kamegai will look to earn another shot at a 154-pound title if successful against Pauldo.
Pauldo, a 25-year-old super welterweight contender who was formerly known as Daquan Arnett, has only suffered one loss in his impressive career, which was when he dropped down to 147 pounds to take on tough Golden Boy Promotions contender Eddie “Eboy” Gomez. After returning to 154 pounds, Pauldo has defeated five people in a row, including the experienced Jorge “Pantera” Silva in his last bout in July 2017. A win against Kamegai would give Pauldo a much-earned boost in the super welterweight rankings.
Marcelino “Nino” Lopez (33-21, 18 KOs) the native of Buenos Aires, Argentina and member of the exclusive training camp of Joel Diaz in Indio, Calif., will return in a 10-round super lightweight fight against an opponent that will be announce shortly. Lopez will return after defeating former interim WBA Super Lightweight Champion Pablo “El Demoledor” Cesar Cano via second-round technical knockout.
After seven spectacular wins in 2017, Armenian welterweight prospect Ferdinand Kerobyan (7-0, 4 KOs) will start the new year in a six-round welterweight fight against an opponent that will be announced soon. In his last fight, Kerobyan defeated Tavorus Teague in the ESPN3-streamed undercard of the Dec. 14 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.
In an exciting and rarely-seen battle between two undefeated prospects, Los Angeles native Tenochtitlan “T-Dog” Nava (7-0, 1 KO) will participate in an eight-round 126-pound clash against Las Vegas’ Francisco “El Alacran” Esparza (6-0-1, 2 KOs). Both fighters are known for their come-forward, all-action styles, and with so much on the line, the bout will surely produce fireworks.
Romero “Ruthless” Duno (15-1, 13 KOs) will fight for a second consecutive time at the “Fabulous” Forum in an eight-round lightweight battle against Sacramento, Calif.’s Yardley Armenta (21-9, 12 KOs). The Filipino prospect made his U.S. debut and introduced himself in exciting fashion via a devastating second-round knockout victory against the previously undefeated prospect Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez. Since then, Duno has scored two more victories, which were against Jason Tinampay and Juan Pablo Sanchez respectively.
Undefeated prospect Javier Martinez (4-0, 3 KOs) of Dallas, Texas will kick off highly-anticipated night of action in a six-round featherweight fight against a soon-to-be-announced opponent.
HDNet Movies Pays Tribute to Muhammad Ali on his Birthday on Wednesday January 17th
Step into the ring with HDNET MOVIES, as the network celebrates the life and legacy of boxing superstar Muhammad Ali on what would have been his 76TH Birthday with a “Remembering Ali” double feature—a night of documentaries and biopics starring the legend himself on Wednesday, Jan. 17, beginning at 7:15pE.
The night kicks off with the star-studded 1977 biopic THE GREATEST, starring Ali as himself in his big screen debut. The film is based on his acclaimed autobiography of the same name, and recreates some of the most important moments of his life and career including his gold medal Olympic victory at 18 years old; his legendary match with Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla In Manila”; his conversion to Islam; and his three-and-a-half-year legal battle to win back the heavyweight title that was stripped from him when he refused to enter the army due to his religious beliefs. James Earl Jones, Robert Duvall, and Ben Johnson also star.
Then, stay tuned for the classic 1970 documentary A.K.A. CASSIUS CLAY at 9pE, which provides an intimate glimpse into the boxing icon’s career with rare archived footage featuring Ali associates such as Malcolm X, Angelo Dundee, and more, as well as clips from some of his most famous fights including an epic bout with Sonny Liston. The piece is headlined by a very special sit-down with Ali and his longtime trainer Cus D’Amato, who discuss Ali’s career and share a priceless back-and-forth that true Ali aficionados won’t want to miss.
For a complete schedule of films and times, visit www.hdnetmovies.com/schedules.
Victor Ortiz vs. Devon Alexander Set for February 17th
“Vicious” Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander “The Great” headline a show topped by two USA vs. Mexico battles as the former welterweight champions meet in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, Feb. 17 from Don Haskins Center on the UTEP campus in El Paso, Texas with televised coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
In the co-main event unbeaten contender Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant will battle Rogelio “Porky” Medina in a 12-round 168-pound world title eliminator.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $100, $60, $40, $25 and will go on sale Friday. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
Also on the card, Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) takes on Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) in a super welterweight showdown and Karlos Balderas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, will appear in a lightweight special attraction.
“This is a classic crossroads match in the truest sense. Both Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz are battle-tested in one of the toughest, deepest divisions in boxing,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Alexander has overcome some serious health issues and is looking to regain the welterweight championship. Ortiz, also a former champion, has always come to fight and doesn’t back down from anyone. It promises to be an entertaining match for the fans in attendance at Don Haskins Center and those who tune in on FOX and FOX Deportes.”
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs), a former 147-pound champion, has split time between boxing and acting throughout his recent career and brings a certain flare every time he steps into the ring. The 30-year-old native of Garden City, Kansas who now lives in Ventura, California, has faced some of the top names in the 147-pound division during his career. Ortiz won the welterweight title with unanimous decision victory over Andre Berto on April 16, 2011. Five months later he lost the title to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. by knockout. Ortiz, 30, suffered a knockout loss to Andre Berto in 2016 on FOX and bounced back with a knockout victory over Saul Corral in his last fight on July 30 on FS1.
“I’m ready to give all I have to defeat Devon Alexander and get my crown back,” said Ortiz. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and putting myself in a position to have my straps once again. I demonstrated what I was made of and did what I said I was going to do in my last fight. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I’ve known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I will not be his friend on fight night and he won’t be mine. I’m ready to prove everyone wrong starting on Feb. 17.”
Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) emerged on the scene with a unanimous decision victory over Randall Bailey for the welterweight title in 2012. He defended the title once before losing it to Shawn Porter in 2013. Since then, the 30-year-old Alexander of St. Louis, Missouri has been on a mission to regain the title. After losing to Amir Khan and Aaron Martinez, Alexander suffered another setback when he sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers. Fully healthy for the first time in three years, Alexander returned to the ring with a unanimous decision victory over Walter Castillo on FS1 on Nov. 21.
“I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” said Alexander. “We’ve known each other a long time but never fought in the amateurs, so this should be interesting. My speed, quickness and smarts will win me this fight. Victor checks out sometimes when he can’t hit you, so my skills will be the difference. I’m ready for any challenge that’s brought my way. When I’m 100 percent, nobody can beat me.”
Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) won eight of his first nine fights by knockout, demonstrating power in both hands to go along with his boxing abilities. The 25-year-old climbed into the top ten of the 168-pound rankings with his last victory – a unanimous decision over Andrew Hernandez in Las Vegas on Sept. 8. Medina represents a major step up for Plant and will give him an indication of just where the Ashland, Tennessee native stands in the division as he looks to become a mandatory challenger for the IBF title.
The 29-year-old Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) has squared off against some of the toughest boxers in the division, including current champion David Benavidez and former champions James DeGale and Badou Jack. Fighting out of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico lost by knockout to Benavidez on May 20, and bounced back with a knockout victory over Daniel Eduardo Yocupicio on Sept. 1.
The FOX prime time broadcast will kick off a full night of boxing, leading into a doubleheader on SHOWTIME that features two-division world champion Danny Garcia versus Brandon Rios and 168-pound champion David Benavidez defending his title in a rematch against Ronald Gavril from Las Vegas.
Thomas LaManna Battles Gabriel Bracero for WBC Fecarbox Welterweight Title in Atlantic City
Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna will headline the inaugural Boardwalk Boxing series when he takes the battle-tested veteran Gabriel Bracero in a ten-round welterweight bout for the WBC Fecarbox welterweight title on Saturday, February 24th at The Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City.
The bout will be the main event of a huge night of boxing promoted by Rising Star Promotions
The new Boardwalk Boxing series, which was announced last week, promised high-quality matchups, while featuring the best local fighters.
LaManna, 26, of Millville, New Jersey has an impressive mark of 25-2 with nine knockouts.
The popular LaManna has led the revival of boxing in Atlantic City as his Rising Star Promotions has become the preeminent promoter in Atlantic City.
LaManna consistently has performed as a headliner in front of sell out crowds is eager to thrill fans, and potentially notch the biggest win of his career.
“This is a crossroads fight. He needs a win over me to stay relevant, and I need a win over him to be taken serious,” said LaManna. “Bracero has fought some top guys. His losses have been to world champions and Gold Medal winners. He has been around the block.”
“I want to start 2018 with a good test. I want to test myself. When I go through a hard camp, dieting and focusing, I want it to be worth it.”
“This should be a great atmosphere as he is a popular fighter like myself. A win over him will give me an opportunity as I will move up in the ratings. This is a make or break year, and a win will put me in there with other contenders.”
LaManna will celebrate his 7th year as a professional, as he has wins over Kendal Mena (20-3), as well as winning the WBC Silver Latino and WBC FECARBOX Welterweight titles with a ten-round unanimous decision over rugged George Sosa.
In his last bout, LaManna defended the WBC FECARBOX title with a ten-round unanimous decision over Samuel Amoako on November 28th in Atlantic City.
This will be LaManna’s 18th fight in Atlantic City.
Bracero of Brooklyn, New York has an impressive mark of 24-3 with five knockouts.
Bracero, who will be 38 on February 14th has faced and defeated some impressive foes over his 17 year-career.
Bracero win his first 18 bouts which were highlighted by wins over Winston Mathis (6-0), Danny O’Connor (14-0), Guillermo Valdes (12-3), Jermaine White (17-4), former world totle challenger Dmitry Salita (35-1-1), and a sensational 1st round stoppage over O’Connor (26-2) in the rematch.
Bracero is coming off a ten-round unanimous decision defeat to former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi on July 30, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York
“This will be a good fight. He is a tough kid. He is tall, and I will get into the best shape possible,” said Bracero.
“I am excited to finally be fighting in Atlantic City. I have family there, plus my fans from Brooklyn can drive there and spend a nice weekend. ”
“This fight is a true crossroads battle. He is looking to make his name off of me, and I am focusing on winning his WBC Fecarbox title. A win will get me back into the bigger fights.
Also announced is a terrific co-feature bout that will see Anthony “Juice” Young of Atlantic City battling Khiary Gray or Worcester, Massachusetts.
Young, 29, has a record of 18-2 with six knockouts.
The seven-year professional will be looking for his eighth consecutive victory. The Atlantic City favorite has a quality win over Jose Javier Claderon (4-1), and will be making his 12th start in his hometown.
Pitts has an impressive mark of 15-3 with eleven knockouts.
The 25 year-old New Englander won his first 13 bouts. The four-year professional is a former UBF International Super Welterweight champion, and in his last bout he won the Interim New England Super Welterweight title with an eight-round majority decision over Greg Jackson on December 7, 2017 in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
There will be an announcement about the full undercard shortly.
Tickets are available for $155, $80 and $55, and can be purchased online at www.risingboxingpromotions.com .
This event is sponsored by Acos Energy, Designer Wraps, Eat Clean Bro, Calvi Electric, and Alpha Academy.
Sugar Promotions New Blood Card in Mexico Set for February 2nd
Damien Vazquez’ Sugar Promotions, will promote its card titled “New Blood”, featuring Issac “Canelito” Avelar (13-0, 8 KOs), vs. Alejandro Frias (6-2-1, 3 KOs), fighting for the WBC FECOMBOX Featherweight title in a 10-round main-event. The bout will take place at the Palenque de la Feria in Aguascalientes, Mexico on February 2, 2018.
Issac “Canelito” Avelar, who is managed by Prince Ranch Boxing, is looking to make a statement in his hometown after having his last fight delayed due to a minor hand injury.
“I am ready to show my hometown fans why I will be fighting the best fighters in the world,” said Issac Avelar. “I was supposed to fight last December, but it was delayed, because of a small hand injury. I took that time to improve as a fighter and I am 100% healthy. Everyone will see the best version of Canelito on February 2nd”
“Canelito is a big star in Aguascalientes, Mexico where he was born and raised,” Oscar Vazquez, president of Sugar Promotions stated. “We are excited to put on a show with great local talent. Canelito is a homegrown hero from Aguascalientes, Mexico and it is exciting to promote such a massive event. Everyone in town will be here.”
“NEW BLOOD” also features undefeated bantamweight Damien “Sugar” Vazquez (12-0, 6 KOs) vs. TBA, unbeaten super-featherweight Edwing Davila (16-0, 9 KOs), vs. Octavio Guardado, Lightweight Donovan Estrella (10-0, 4 KOs) vs. Antonio Camacho, Mayran Reyes vs. Naomi Arellano, Christina Mora vs. TBA and light heavyweight Kye Brooks (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Ivan Sanchez. Damian Vasquez has his sights set on fighting McJoe Arroyo (17-2, 8 KOs) before the year is over.
“February 2nd is looking to be a great show and I’m thrilled to work with Sugar Promotions,” said Greg Hannely, CEO of Prince Ranch Boxing. “This will be one of the best cards ever put on in Aguascalientes, Mexico. All my fighters are coming to win and win impressively.”
Frampton, Tete, and Ancajas Win in Belfast
By: Oliver McManus
11,000 Irish fans packed into the SSE Arena, Belfast, for an enthralling night of World Championship boxing courtesy of Frank Warren – with Zolani Tete, Jamie Conlan, Paddy Barnes and Carl Frampton on the card it’s hard to tell who the main headlining act was but, boy , was it a brilliant night in Belfast.
The returning Jackal was in his first bout under MTK-management and in his new promotional agreement with Frank Warren and his homecoming featherweight (technically catchweight; 1lb above the featherweight limit) contest was against, Mexican, Horacio Garcia – a 33-3 fighter looking to cause a major upset.
Coming off the back of a majority-decision loss against Leo Santa Cruz (the rematch to their first bout that Frampton one), Frampton was hoping to get back into World Title contention with a convincing win over his 27 year old opponent whereas Violento was seeking to propel his name into the spotlight.
A two-weight World Champion, it’s in the balance as to whether Frampton continues in the featherweight division or jumps up to Super-Feather in an attempt to become Northern Ireland’s first ever three-weight world champion – first though, he’d need to get through Horacio Garcia.
There was a reception befitting royalty that greated Frampton to the ring for his 25th fight – his 24 previously yielding just the single loss – and both fighters entered the contest at 9st 1lb with Garcia possessing the 3inch reach advantage.
With 10 rounds scheduled The Jackal was looking to put to work the old adage that you don’t get paid for overtime and finish his opponent in emphatic fashion.
Taking to the centre of the ring Frampton, the shorter fighter, eased himself into the round before landing with a crouched left hook to signal his intent to both his opponent and the capacity crowd in the SSE Arena.
Starting off on the back foot – but without Garcia pressing anything of note – he appeared to be measuring out his opponent before swinging with quality shots round the guard of Garcia, slamming in the right hand to the cheek with split-second timing.
Fast, fleeting, footwork combined with lucid upper-body movement saw him evade the infrequent jabs coming his way, much to the delight of the crowd.
Packing a real crisp jab, The Jackal kept it popping into the body of Violento to distract from the overhand left that landed with alarming regularity to the Mexican’s head. Garcia failed to land anything without coming forward and, when he did, Frampton hit back by leaping onto the front foot and lading with sharp combinations to the inside body.
Looking confident yet not cocky, Frampton really was moving through the motions during the opening stanza of the bout with a high tempo forcing his 36-fight opponent into sloppy mistakes, slipping back onto the ropes and inviting the pressure from Frampton.
Opening up in the third by leaving his left hand hanging in front of Garcia’s face, the EU Amateur silver medallist, landed a cracking shot in the middle of the round to snap the neck back of his 27 year old opponent.
Despite all the artillery coming the Mexican’s way he seemed undeterred from staying true to his fighting style, keeping a high guard whilst occasionally dropping down to throw body shots at Frampton.
A durable fighter his three defeats have all been on points with one of them avenged a mere two months later and his 24 knockout victories out of 33 show that he’s not to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Wild, swinging, left hands started off his 4th round as Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez sat front row cheering his fellow national on and he landed his first shot of note about 45 seconds into the round with a firm right hook to the body, swiftly followed with further clubbing shots to head and body.
Frampton decided to stay and trade with his opponent, holding his feet in a style which probably favoured the Mexican but nonetheless the Jackal was determined to go toe-to-toe with his opponent.
Garcia landed with consistency and pushed the two-weight champion onto the ropes, firing in with slamming shots to both sides of the Irishman before the tables turned and Frampton shimmied his way back to the centre with a stylish flurry to the head, backing Garcia away.
Into the second half of the fight we went and it seemed to follow a similar script to the first with Frampton staying in control, working on that straight right followed by blindside left which was deployed to significant effect. Garcia would continue to fire back occasionally with a shot to remind the blue, white and gold wearing fighter of his presence but you’d be hard pushed to suggest he was troubling the pre-fight favorite.
A minor cut emerged to the side of Frampton’s right eye but nothing worthy of anything other than a brief mention and Garcia seemed to gain confidence from this, taking the sixth round with eye-catching flurries to the body before taking a ramrod right hook flush to the temple, shrugging it off.
The 7th round saw drama abound as The Jackal was floored in what was a blatant slip but Victor Loughlin counted it as a knockdown, getting up off the canvas he seemed bitter and enraged, throwing leather Garcia’s way with scant regard for the consequences. 10-8 for Garcia, presumably, the fight was in the balance.
For a fight of this nature to be overshadowed by a display of sub-par refereeing of this magnitude would be unjust and Frampton set out with a point to prove in the 8th, going back to basics but slipping in almost the exact same spot again. He stayed on his feet and stood square in front of the Mexican, landing solid right hands to the body of the granite Garcia.
The fatiguing face of Frampton painted a thousand words that preferably wouldn’t be uttered come the final bell but his work-rate and punch-quality was looking like enough to secure him victory in his first fight since January.
Frampton’s footwear saw him come unstuck for a third time in the fight, slipping again, but with only one of those slips counting as a knockdown it was a rectifiable issue; Garcia proved to be the aggressor in the final two rounds, throwing all sorts of shots at his opponent in order to get ahead on the judges’ scorecards.
Whilst The Jackal seemed to gas, he kept throwing back in what was proving to be a real knife-edge fight; the Irishman dominating the opening rounds with the Mexican coming on strongly in the final four, causing significant problems for the expected winner
Come the final bell there was a tangible sense of trepidation in the crowd as we went to the scorecards – 98-93, 97-93, 96-93 ; Carl Frampton beat Horacio Garcia in what has to be one of the greatest non-title fights you will ever see, guts, grit, glory, THE LOT.
Jamie Conlan, the pride of Belfast, featured in his 20th professional fight as he took on Jerwin Ancajas for the IBF World Super Flyweight title – coming in as the long-odds challenger, Conlan was confident in his game plan against the cagey Filipino champion.
Ancajas has the odd notoriety of being one of the most avoided champions in all of world boxing – despite the fact everyone wants his belt – and 13 knockouts out of his last 14 goes some way to demonstrating just why that is.
The 27-1 man looked to make his third defence of the IBF title he took off McJoe Arroyo back in September 2016 and, in The Mexican, he was facing quite possibly his most gung-ho fighter in the whole of his career.
Conlan was relishing this opportunity on the world stage and refused to let Ancajas’ reputation faze him during the build-up, insisting instead that the packed SSE Arena would be enough to see him over the line.
Fighting his first southpaw opponent in 5 years, the 31 year old seemed to struggle to adapt to the style of Pretty Boy and looked quite uncomfortable in the opening stages of the first round with Ancajas staying at length and prompting Conlan to open himself up if he wanted to land shots of any real meaning.
Unexpectedly after 90 seconds in the first round the Irishman shot down to the canvas with everyone in the arena bemused – no shots came in as he fell but as he got up it appeared to be something wrong with the lead leg.
The crowd voiced their support to create a spine-tingling atmosphere that carried Conlan to his corner – a 10-8 round certainly not the start they would have been hoping for.
Ancajas, wearing the red and white shorts, stuck to his deliberately cagey blueprint but failed to land any significant punches to trouble the maiden title challenger. Attempted roughhouse from the Filipino drew the ire of, referee, Steve Gray and caused a cut to the left-eye of The Mexican, prompting a stream of blood to gush to his eye.
The 6-time All-Ireland champion (junior and senior) doesn’t have quitting in his vocabulary, however, and mustered up the spirit to draw him his corner and attempt to bring himself back into the fight.
Patient, probing jabs provided little threat to Conlan but a straight right hand lead followed by a power left had the challenger rattled. A body shot sent him stumbling back but typical flamboyance saw him wave the attack on.
Body shot after body shot had him tucking up, curling into a ball almost. Three successive right hands to the body followed flush by a left to the livers dropped Jamie for the second time in the fight.
Momentum firmly in the defending champion’s corner, Pretty Boy know where to target and looked to exploit it as the fight entered the second third of the fight. Big right hands winded Conlan, the Filipino had him against the ropes and landed dozens of sharp, sustained punches to the body, inflicting maximum physical and psychological damage to the ever fatiguing Irishman.
Down in the last 15 seconds of the round as a result of yet more body shots, a fist punched the canvas in frustration at the quality of fighter he was facing – Ancajas proving to be a class above but Conlan giving it his all.
Finding spirit from no conceivable place, success was found with punches evading the guard of Ancajas but ultimately being nothing other than sighting shots as opposed to anything packing power.
A point was deducted from the champion in the fifth round as he floored the black-and-gold wearing Irishman thanks to a third low-blow of the fight, if anything was to be the point at which Conlan got back into the fight then surely this would be it.
Jabs aplenty found themselves rammed right down the throat of Conlan before he went down for a fourth time thanks to, in truth, a relatively nothing punch but when fatigue sets in, it’s a killer. Despite getting up and protesting the legality of the shot, the fight was ultimately waved off with the challenger looking dazed and distraught.
Although unlucky to be stopped by a punch which replays showed to be to the back of the head, he was exhausted and didn’t realistically look like winning the fight so perhaps it was a case of pulling him out before any major damage had been caused.
If bravery won you world titles then Conlan would have bags of them but, unfortunately for him, the fight went to Jerwin Ancajas owing to a 6th round knockout that took him to 28-1, stamping his mark as, arguably, the number one super-flyweight in the world.
Paddy Barnes’ defence of his WBO European title failed to materialize and instead the flyweight fighter fought Eliecer Quezada (21-6) from Nicaragua for the WBO Inter-Continental title.
Looking to his extend his record to 5-0, The Leprechaun knew he’d have to put in a better performance than the one he showed against Juan Hinostroza – a fight in which he admits he was less than impressive – if he were to get past the much underrated 26 year old in the opposing corner.
Scheduled for 10 rounds Quezada looked light on his feet despite being the heavier of the two fighters – weighing in 2.5lbs over the flyweight limit – bouncing around the ring with the first minute seeing very little in way of punches landed.
The taller, rangier fighter kept Barnes at bay for much of the first round with a constant switch from southpaw to orthodox stance but Quezada lay open to the faster hands, as opposed to feet, of his opponent who connected with successive flurries of jabs to the body.
Just as the bell came in to signal the end of the first round a clash of heads between the boxers left the Nicaraguan biting the inside of his mouth and holding his mouth guard but, other than that, no damage caused.
A somewhat stop-start round followed with Barnes attempting to suss out the experienced man opposite him but keeping busy with adept footwork before rocking Quezada with a good right hand; the legs wobbled and The Leprechaun pounced on the opportunity to land hard with speed and accuracy to fatigue the former WBA Fedecentro Light Flyweight champion.
In the final 15 seconds of the round, a short chopping right hand came cascading into the cheek of Quezada as Barnes recorded his first professional knockdown, the fighter made the count rather laboriously but started the next round looking groggy.
And the Irish Olympic and Commonwealth medallist showed his full range of capabilities as he stood in the middle of the ring trading with his man, reigning shots in with a degree of controlled recklessness; unsteady legs set in for Quezada in the concluding 30 seconds of round three but despite this landed a successful right hand of his own that kept Barnes in check.
Square feet and punching fresh air sapped the energy out of the travelling fighter as the Belfast man maintained his patience in waiting for a natural opening as opposed to forcing the cause. Both fighters took a relative breather in the fourth round but it was Barnes who maintained in control of the bout before unleashing some passionate punches towards the backend.
A performance that appeared exponentially more mature than any we’d previously seen, this fifth professional fight seemed to be an opportunity to showcase his skills for a potential world title challenge but in the middle round he was given his last warning for a low-blow, although a minor infringement it must be said.
Following that the Nicaraguan connected with his best shots of the fight, leaning in with his whole body and jumping into some shots with real venom – a good spell of sustained pressure saw Quezada land with headshots and garner a foothold in the fight, was momentum shifting in his favour?
A rallying Quezada managed to survive a furious onslaught of punches from his opponent four years older than him but the agony on his face was plain to see as Barnes managed to regain his composure and landed a sensational left hook cracking the ribs of the Nicaraguan.
Sinking to the canvas in a manner more like he’d been shot by a sniper, the writing was on the wall as he hit the floor for the second time in the fight. Set up by a left hook to the head, the quick change down to the body proved to be the end of the fight as, referee, Steve Grey counted out The Huricane in the 6th round as Paddy Barnes recorded his first ever knockout from his 5-0 record.
An ever burgeoning army of fans, the WBO Inter-Continental Flyweight title and a Top 10 ranking for The Leprechaun, it’s fair to say the future is looking pretty bright for this amateur-turned-pro sensation.
In the other World Title bout on the show, Zolani Tete was defending his WBO Bantamweight title against Siboniso Gonya and during the build-up had vowed to give his fellow South African a maximum of four rounds before knocking him out.
At 25-3, the two-weight World Champion went into the ring, on the back of a Unanimous Decision win against Arthur Villanueva, at 8st 5.5lbs whilst the challenger, who’s last win was against Immanuel Naidjala, was slightly lighter weighing in at 8st 4lbs.
On paper Tete was the heavy favourite, possessing the greater knockout power with 20 of 25 victories finishing early as well as a 3inch reach advantage to help dictate the pace of the bout.
Looking for a unification scrap with Ryan Burnett, Tete wasted no time in storming out of the blocks, leaping into the centre of the canvas. Gonya had no time to settle himself into any sort of game plan and Tete landed a flush right hook around he guard to the chin of the challenger on the six second mark.
Down went Gonya in what initially looked like a flash knockdown and, indeed, Phil Edwards began the count before the sudden realisation that the, previously, 11-1 fighter was out cold upon impact; the fight was waved off and concern grew as to the welfare of the KwaZulu-Natal resident who laid motionless for about 40 seconds.
Having displayed such explosive, raw, ability in the short 11 seconds that this fight lived it’s clear to see why Tete remains such an avoided boxer with very few men willing to get into the ring with such a risky fighter who can turn it on in an instant.
Subject to confirmation, the one-fight punch goes down in history as the shortest (in terms of time) World title fight of all time and Zolani Last Born Tete moved to 26-3 before remaining humble in his post-fight interview, even in his call-out of Burnett, as he sets up a potential Bantamweight unification showdown in 2018.
An honourable mention for Jono Carroll who was given a late setback when Declan Geraghty pulled out of their rematch and, instead, he fought (15-4) Humberto de Santiago for the IBF Inter-Continental Super Featherweight title.
Keeping the pressure high from the beginning it was an absolute brawl from Carroll who was twice warned for low blows but went for the kill as soon as the first bell went and a gritty, gutsy, display earned himself only his second ever professional knockout victory to move to 15-0 courtesy of a 3rd round stoppage.
Also on the card former ABA Champion Alex Dickinson looked lacklustre as he advanced to 3-0 in the heavyweight division thanks to an scrappy points decision against, a journeyman who came to trade, Milen Paunov to make it 3 knockouts from 3 fights; Marco McCullogh beat Josh Baillie (5-3) in his first fight since losing in a British title fight against Ryan Walsh as the featherweight made it 18 and 4; and cruiserweight up-and-comer Tommy McCarthy successfully broke down Blaise Mendouo over 6 rounds to improve his record to 11-1.
A brilliant Belfast barnstormer filled with pure boxing beauty saw 11,000 Irish fans singing loud and proud at the return of an Irish hero, the birth of another and one brave brother who gave it all but came up just short.
Conlan will come back stronger though, don’t doubt that and Ireland is THE place to watch going into 2018 – Frampton, Barnes, both Conlan’s and, of course, the potential for a unification between Zolani Tete and Ryan Burnett.
No-one does it better than the Irish, why did we ever doubt it?
BoxNation World Championship Boxing Preview: The Return of Carl Frampton
By: Oliver McManus
Boxing returns to Belfast in a couple of weeks’ time with Carl Frampton returning to the ring for his first fight in Northern Ireland since February 2015.
With two World Title fights on the bill, it’s hard to decipher who the real headline act is but a cracking night of action is guaranteed on Saturday 18th. Promoted by Frank Warren and live on BT Sport & BoxNation, the card features Zolani Tete, Jamie Conlan, Paddy Barnes, Darryll Williams and, of course, The Jackal himself.
Jerwin Ancajas defends his IBF World Super Flyweight against, Belfast’s own, Jamie Conlan; Ancajas has been steadily building up his profile in the Asian hemisphere, having captured the title back in September last year against McJoe Arroyo – since then he’s made two defences against Jose Alfredo Rodriguez and Teiru Kinoshita, to move his record 27-1-1.
Jamie Conlan will be in his first fight for 8 months, his last runout saw him take the vacant WBC International Silver title to move him up to 4th in the IBF Rankings and 3rd with the WBO. 19 and 0 with 11 knockouts, Conlan has already won the Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title as well as an array of Continental belts but gets his first World Title shot at the age of 31.
Conlan will be facing his first southpaw since, journeyman, Elemir Rafael way back in January 2012 so he could find it tricky to deal with Ancajas’ cagey nature in the opening rounds but will look to get on the front foot quickly, establishing his open stature and giving room for his sharp, snappy, right hand.
Ancajas, known as Pretty Boy, has built a growing reputation based on a patient fighting blueprint with deceptive knockout power. With a strong, powerful, right hand jab, he’s capable of keeping his opponent at length before turning on the fast, flashy, footwork to throw a trademark left hand hook.
His movement is unquestionably better than Conlan who has often been criticised for being “flat-footed”, and Ancajas’ lucid body movement could prompt flush air-shots from The Mexican.
Nonetheless Conlan always comes ready for a scrap, a brawl, and is never afraid to just let shots fly if he feels the heat start to crank up – home advantage is nothing to be sniffed and with 11,000 Irish fans roaring him on, you could do worse than put your money on the 11/4 priced amateur legend.
Carl Frampton is next up, he’ll be facing Horacio Garcia – a fringe fighter from Mexico, with a 33-3-1 record. Scheduled for 10 rounds, this will be the 30 year old’s first bout since his majority decision loss against Leo Santa Cruz in their second encounter.
With Frampton’s previous fight cancelled after his opponent, Andreas Gutierrez, suffered facial cuts and broken teeth the night before their clash, this will be his first bout under MTK management and with promoter Frank Warren.
Although The Jackal, with a record of 23-1, narrowly missed the weight for that postponed battle, he’s decided to stay at the Featherweight division and a convincing win against the 27 year old Mexican could set him up for an instant return to World level and, indeed, a tantalising trilogy with Santa Cruz.
Horacio Garcia seems an uninspired choice of opponent given that he’s never competed at anything higher than regional level – he’s challenged twice for NABF titles but never taken home the belt. Consider that less than 4 months ago he was outboxed over 8 rounds by Diuhl Olguin (at the time 11-6-3) and it’s clear that Garcia is already on the downward slide.
Carl Frampton will be looking to go through the motions once more and shake off any ring rust that he may be suffering; having reduced his sparring workload by ½ in order to prevent lasting brain injuries, any competitive rounds under his belt will always be useful but the 2-time World Champion will want to utilise his fast, flying hands, to make a statement to the rest of the division.
Having already conquered the Featherweight and Super Bantamweight divisions, should Frampton come through this with ease and go on to avenge his sole loss, we could see him attempt to become Northern Ireland’s first ever three-weight World Champion and capture the crown of the Super Featherweight division.
Also on the card is the WBO World Bantamweight Title fight between, the champion, Zolani Tete and, challenger, Siboniso Gonya; Tete was installed as champion following Shohei Omori’s transition to Super Bantamweight, having already captured the interim title against Arthur Villanueva in April this year.
Born in South Africa but fighting in the United Kingdom, Last Born has quickly been adopted by the city of Liverpool as one of their own – in no part hindered by his explosive power and all-round cheeky nature.
Fighting from a southpaw stance, Tete has been with Frank Warren since March 2015 and has been described as a “modern day road warrior”. With a come-forward style, the two-time World Champion has a fast fighting nature and utilises two quick straight jabs before unleashing a sharp under-hand hook.
Not one to be involved in boring, slow fights, Tete has on occasion literally jumped around the ring and is as evasive as he is powerful with opponents finding it near on impossible to connect with any real power shots – from his 25-3 record, the Eastern Cape fighter has suffered just one knockout defeat, to Moruti Mthalane in the 5th round way back 7 years ago.
Since then his jaw has more than improved to the point where he is, in my opinion, the number one bantamweight in the world.
Siboniso Gonya, on the other hand, is a relative novice to the fighting world with a mere 12 professional fights consisting of 11 wins a singular loss – incurred against Thabo Siswane, a point’s decision against the overwhelming favourite.
Since that defeat 4 years ago, Gonya has fought for, and defended, the WBA Pan African Bantamweight Title on 3 occasions with the two defences coming by way of knockout. His last fight came in April against, former World Title challenger, Immanuel Naidjala and having overcame the roaring away crowd in Namibia, Gonya took a unanimous decision over The Prince to prove his pedigree.
And that’s the thing because despite the fact literally no-one will have heard of Siboniso Gonya before, he is a very good fighter who’s definitely worth of a shot at Tete’s title; the fact it’s going to domestic dustup only adds to the intrigue and Gonya is going to throw some shots in the early stages before, I suspect, eventually falling fowl to Zolani Tete’s superior power and movement.
Also on the card and getting an honourable mention is Darryll Williams (16-0) who defends his English Super-Middleweight title against Birmingham’s Lennox Clarke (15-0-1), having come through to sensational fights with Jahmaine Smyle in April & July of this year. Clarke is 18 months younger at 26 but has no real names on his record thus far – although both men share a 1st round knockout over Richard Horton – despite that though, this fight feels like a 50-50 because both men will be giving it there all. A real burner in Belfast, bring it on!
Paddy Barnes features in his 5th professional fight, he’ll be attempting to gain his first ever knockout against an as-yet unnamed opponent slated for his first defence of the WBO European Flyweight title that he won against Silvio Olteanu back in June. By his own admission, his last outing against Juan Hinostroza was not a vintage performance from the Olympic bronze medallist and The Leprechaun will be looking to shake off some rustiness before building to a potential World Title shot towards the back end of 2018.
A thrilling card that promises not to disappoint, the SSE Arena is going to be absolutely bouncing come Saturday 18th with 11,000 Irishman cheering on their hero Carl Frampton as well as revelling in two, top-class world title clashes.
Leo Santa Cruz: El Terremoto
Leo Santa Cruz: El Terremoto
By: Francisco Martinez
3 division, 4 time champion Leo Santa Cruz is coming off arguably a career best performance after avenging his sole defeat to Carl Frampton. Santa Cruz met up with his team father and Al Haymon this past week to talk about his options and return date. September seems likely and a unification is his primary goal opening the doors for a possible Abner Mares rematch or Lee Selby and Gary Russell who all hold titles at 126lbs and are under the same promotional stable making those fights easy to make.
As his return to the ring is being figured out this coming Tuesday Leo Santa Cruz will also make his return to boxing but as a promoter with his 3rd promotional show under his promotional company banner, Last Round promotions. Ivan Redkach vs Argenis Mendez will be the headline on FS1 Premier Boxing Champions Toe to Toe Tuesday’s. A fan friendly series that PBC fans have enjoyed for the past year or so. Action packed fights that will also showcase Herbert Acevedo his brother Richard Acevedo who will be making his pro debut along with Antonio Santa Cruz, Leo’s cousin who are all stable mates training out of the same gym and will find each other in the same venue at the Sportsmans Lodge in Studio City, California.
Leo Santa Cruz talked to BoxingInsider about his new position as promoter “I’m really blessed. The people surrounding me and helping me out are the ones making everything possible. I’m really grateful for all the people who are helping me make this show so I’m happy and I’m excited but at the same time I think I get more nervous than when I’m gonna fight, you know, it’s stressful and it’s hard work and everything you know, you have to do interviews here and over there so that you can get the show out there so that people can come out and support so it’s really hard but little by little hopefully to god things come out good and hopefully one day we can be big”
Herbert Acevedo has been with the Santa Cruz stable for since last year and is the newest addition to the team along with his brothers Richard and Oscar Acevedo. Hebert spoke to us a little bit about being under the tutelage of the Santa Cruz team and family “I think we’re on the right path in my career right now everything is going good and I’ve been with them for about 6 months and I had my first fight in 3 months and another 3 months so this will be my 2nd fight with them” as for some advice Herbert passed on to his brother who will be debuting this May 2nd
He shared this with him “I told him all the hard work is in here sometimes you get harder sparring than a real fight so all the hard work is done here, just go in there calm don’t hesitate on anything” Leo Santa Cruz purpose of his promotional company is to give fighters a chance. Get them fights and help push them through his star power as they themselves aim to one day be world champions. Santa Cruz very embracive of the role do to knowing how it feels to have no support and people not giving you much of a chance to become anything as a fighter as he says accomplishing what he has been able to accomplish was like winning the lottery.
“I think of it almost everyday. I’m laying on my bed and I look at my house, cars and family and it’s like a dream. I still can’t believe that I have achieved so much. When I was growing up I dreamed of it but I never thought that I would accomplish it. I thank god everyday, I thank the fans because thanks to them I am where I’m at. It’s like I’m living the dream, it’s unbelievable and I can’t explain in words”
This coming Tuesday will also have a fan meet and greet Leo Santa Cruz will participate in along with world title contenders Chris Arreola, John Molina and Gerald Washington an opportunity for the fans to get pictures and autographs with some of their favorite fighters right before the televised portion of the card begins. Get your tickets and don’t miss out this Tuesday, May 2nd PBC on FS1, Toe To Toe Tuesday action packed card main evented by WBA ranked #3 Ivan Terrible Redkach as he squares off with Dominican Argenis Mendez in what could secure a title shot for the winner.
Follow coverage of the card by using #PBConFS1 and don’t forget to visit us on a daily for the latest and breaking news in boxing.
Leo Santa Cruz: Is 3rd Time a Charm?
Leo Santa Cruz: Is 3rd Time a Charm?
By: Francisco Martinez
Coming off a masterful performance that surprised most, Leo Santa Cruz channels his focus into a good deed. Using his superstar status to round up the masses in a charity event for a great cause. A humble beginning to Leo Santa Cruz life a beginning he hasn’t forgotten. Having grown up with no car and using the bus as means for transportation and at times a bicycle. Leo Santa Cruz has not forgotten where he comes from even with now being the owner of a 300k Lamborghini that he bout straight from Floyd Mayweather Jr. himself. The always humble Santa Cruz gives as much to his fans when outside the ring to when he’s inside the ring.
Holding a charity event that rounded up hundreds of his fans to give them the opportunity to own a piece of history as he raffled away his fight gear from the night he avanged his sole defeat by the hands of Carl Frampton “Whatever I can do to give back to all the people who helped me out and also the kids with cancer. It’s really hard to pay the bills so whatever I can do is my pleasure and I’ll do it with my heart” acts of kindness that those who know Leo Santa Cruz will say it’s not something he hasn’t done before.
Contributions from the raffling would be donated to the W.B.C. Cares program & Padres Contra El Cancer. Both programs aim to aid the fight against cancer by offering emotional and financial support. A cause Leo Santa Cruz aids with his full effort and ability to give back as he proved it by donating his ring attire for the benefit of both organizations and children around the world who have fallen ill. Visit WorldBoxingCares.com & IamHope.org for more information.
As for the boxing side of things for Leo Santa Cruz the 126lbs class is one of the most stacked divisions in boxing today. Apart from Leo Santa Cruz and his 2x rival Carl Frampton veteran Abner Mares & Lee Selby along with Oscar Valdez, Gary Russel Jr. all wait in the wings to possibly face Santa Cruz next. Who’s the biggest draw out of the division. The King Of L.A. a name earned back in 2015 when he soundly defeated Abner Mares in front of 13k fans at the Staples Center. A 3rd fight between Leo Santa Cruz & Carl Frampton would be the most lucrative in the division however it’s not certain if that fight is possibly next with the terms of the venue in the 3rd fight seeming to be a sticking point for both camps. As Carl Frampton stated right after the 2nd fight with Leo Santa Cruz
“Let’s do it again…I hope Leo is a man of his word. He said if there was a 3rd time he’d come to Belfast” However in boxing things don’t work like that. There’s a negotiation process and the venue is just one hurdle to making a fight of this magnitude possible. Leo Santa Cruz won’t confirm that a 3rd fight is being negotiated as we speak unlike Carl Frampton and his team are claiming “Like I said I’m a man of my word. If it was up to me I’d go fight him over there right now, already but I have to talk to my team, my manager cause I just can’t say I’m gonna go. Who’s gonna make the fight? I can’t just make that decision but if it was up to me and my manager asked me if I wanted to go fight over there I would say yes. It’s up to my promoter and team” he goes on to say
“I would like to fight him right away but Frampton wants to fight in Ireland so if the fight is not made over there I don’t know if he’s gonna want to fight me over here so if he fights somebody else, I’ll fight somebody else. Maybe unify against Lee Selby. A rematch against Abner Mares. There’s Oscar Valdez, Gary Russell, whoever. I’m willing to fight whoever. I want to fight the best and give the fans a great fight”
Leo Santa Cruz is more than willing to travel across the pond but his team is not so sure if that’s a good idea. One of the key members in Leo’s team is head trainer and father Don Jose Santa Cruz. Who’s say has a lot of influence over Leo. Don Jose had this to say about the potential of his son facing Carl Frampton for a 3rd time in Belfast, Northern Ireland “No, he can forget about another fight. He can come here and we’ll fight but we won’t go over there. They took the fight away (from us) in New York so if we go over there with more of a reason they’ll take it again. He can come over here and we’ll do it but over there, no”
Don Jose Santa Cruz admits Abner Mares deserves another crack at his son if the 3rd fight isn’t possible with Carl Frampton “There’s Mares. Mares deserves an opportunity” he also adds his thoughts on how he feels a potential rematch would play out with Abner Mares “To be honest I don’t know. They have somewhat of the same style. If Mares fights clean they can make a good fight but if he’s dirty like the first 3 rounds (like the 1st fight) it’s going to be a ugly fight but I’ll prepare him (Leo) so that he isn’t able to grab, hug him”
Leo Santa Cruz added this to the talk of an Abner Mares rematch “He did look like a different Mares but like I proved already I can change my tactics. Once I get up there I can see what style to fight him with and I’ll make it easier for me. I don’t think the fight will play out differently. I’ll still come out victorious. If he boxes me I’ll do different tactics. We’re gonna go with the perfect game plan to beat him. We’ll work on different styles. If he boxes, we can fight like that. If he brawls, we can fight like that. Whatever he comes with we’re gonna have an answer”
Just 2 weeks removed from his masterful performance over Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz makes it known all top 126 pounders are options and from the sounds of it the trilogy with Carl Frampton will have to take place somewhere in the U.S. as Leo’s father made it clear they won’t risk having another fight taken away from them. Hopefully both teams, Frampton & Santa Cruz can come to terms in making this trilogy happen as it would go down in history as one of the greatest 3 fight series in boxing.
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Santa Cruz Plays It Smart In Victory Over Frampton
Santa Cruz Plays It Smart In Victory Over Frampton
by John Freund
On Saturday night at the MGM in Las Vegas, before a crowd of 10,085 in attendance, Leo Santa Cruz did exactly what he didn’t do in his first meeting with Carl Frampton – exploited his long reach to keep Frampton outside, and maintained his composure as he fought with his head and not just his hands.
‘Discipline’ was the word of the day for Santa Cruz, having thrown over 1,000 punches in their last contest, and whose style is that of an aggressive, high-volume puncher. Many, including myself, believed that Santa Cruz knew only one way to fight: straight ahead. But the Mexican-American proved us wrong by taking his time and picking his spots, something he said he would do coming into the fight.
“My head was telling me to pressure him, but my dad and corner were telling me to box him,” Santa Cruz told reporters in the post-fight presser. “Before the fight I said I wanted revenge and I wanted to work hard. I went to the gym and I worked hard and I did what I had to do.”
Steering clear of Frampton’s inside game limited the Irishman’s connect percentage. Frampton only connected on 15% of his jabs and 26% of his power punches. Santa Cruz bested him in both categories, notching 19% and 32%, respectively. It was a very different story in their first fight, where Frampton was able to use Santa Cruz’s trademark aggressiveness to his advantage. He evaded the 3-time World Champion’s lunging strikes and counterpunched with fierce efficiency, even knocking Santa Cruz off his balance in the second round, a feat which surprised many given Frampton’s step up in weight for the bout. But Santa Cruz played it smart this time by utilizing his 2.5-inch reach advantage to control the tempo and distance of the fight. That strategy prompted Frampton to be the aggressor at times that he probably didn’t want to be, given his penchant for playing defense and counterpunching. There were moments where the Irishman achieved success, like he did in rounds 6 through 8 when Santa Cruz seemed tired and inexplicably forgot his jab, but for the most part Santa Cruz held his distance and fought the urge to trade inside with his shorter and scrappier opponent.
“The brawler was outboxing the boxer,” Frampton said in his post-fight interview. “He was very clever and he used his reach. I think he deserved it. I’m being honest, I think he deserved it.”
All said it was a very even fight, much more so than their first affair which Frampton won handily. The official scorecards read 114-114, and two 115-113’s. Santa Cruz likely pulled out the win with some key exchanges that nabbed him close rounds. Round 4 was a barn-burner that saw both men trade vicious blows as Frampton was finally able to move inside and Leo stood toe-to-toe with him. But Santa Cruz ended the round with a beautiful uppercut that sent Frampton to the canvas in what was ruled a slip by referee Kenny Bayless. Nonetheless, brief exchanges such as those likely won tight rounds for Santa Cruz – and ultimately gave him the victory.
Luckily for boxing fans, both men have expressed their eagerness for a third fight.
“Of course I want the rematch,” Santa Cruz declared. “I’m a man of my word and I said if I won that I would give him the trilogy.”
Prior to the fight, Frampton acknowledged his desire to unify the Featherweight titles against fellow UK Featherweight champion Lee Selby later this year in his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Obviously those plans are now on hold, as he first needs to win the rubber match in order to regain his share of the Featherweight crown. But Frampton is already angling for the fight to take place in his native Ireland.
“Let’s do it again,” Frampton cheered. “I hope he’s a man of his word and comes to Belfast. I hope he does.”
Showtime Championship Boxing Recap: Garcia wins by KO; Santa Cruz avenges first Loss by Maj Decision
Showtime Championship Boxing Recap: Garcia wins by KO; Santa Cruz avenges first Loss by Maj Decision
By: Matthew N. Becher
Live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nevada, Premier Boxing Champions presented a two fight championship card. The co-main event was between the first and only world champion from the nation of Montenegro Dejan Zlaticanin. Zlaticanin will be defending his WBC Lightweight title against the great 2x Division champion Mikey Garcia. Garcia is coming off of a 2 year layoff, with only one warmup fight and looks to take his place back on the pound for pound list.
The main event is a rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton. Santa Cruz and Frampton fought in a fight of the year contender last year, which
Frampton took by decision and solidified him as the 2016 Fighter of the Year. The first loss in Santa Cruz’s career, he looked to change his tacticts and get revenge against Frampton.
Dejan Zlaticanin v. Mikey Garcia: WBC Lightweight
Mikey Garcia came out early, establishing his jab and using his supperior reach advantage to keep Zlaticanin at bay. Garcia was also able to counter extremely well in the early rounds, making sure that Zlaticanin felt his power when he attempted to charge in.
Zlaticanin seemed content covering up and trying to walk Garcia down. Unfortunately Garcia stuck to his game plan of staying in control of the distance and being the true ring general throughout the fight.
In the third round, Mikey Garcia landed a huge right handed uppercut that stunned Zlaticanin and then Garcia followed up with a shot that completely layed out the champion. Garcia was in control of the entire fight. Zlaticanin was not only knocked out, but was knocked down for the very first time of his career.
Mikey Garcia becomes a 3 division world champion and showed why he is one of the greatest boxers in the sport.
Garcia KO3 2:21
Carl Frampton v. Leo Santa Cruz: WBA Featherweight: Rematch
Santa Cruz came out initially using his length to keep Frampton back and pick his shots as a boxer. That was quickly thrown out the window with half of the first round gone and the brawling that took place during the first fight was picked back up again. Frampton, looks to move in and brawl, and whenever Santa Cruz would get hit in the mouth he will throw his gameplan out, fighting toe to toe.
Frampton used very quick footwork, to move in and out at angles and work his way pass Santa Cruz’s guard. Santa Cruz was throwing lots of punches, but still under the normal 80 punches a round that he usually averages.
Everytime Frampton moves in and both men exchange punches, Santa Cruz is able to re establish by moving to the outside and start pumping out the jab again.
Frampton continues to try and make the match a brawl, and Santa Cruz, while abiding at certain points, was clearly able to control the tempo and pace of the fight.
The sixth round was beautiful in all of its brutality. Santa Cruz and Frampton went back to trading punches, going toe to toe in a very action packed round.
Through 8, it was a very close fight. Both fighters were investing into their opponents body and many rounds could have easily gone either way. Santa Cruz looked to be much sharper then he was in the first fight, though Frampton did display great head movement and defense this time around.
Frampton just seemed to be the more tired fighter. Possibly frustrated by Santa Cruz being able to keep him back with the long jab.
It was a great fight that lived up to the hype of the first meeting. Santa Cruz looked better in the rematch and is the reason he won the decison. These two
are well on their way towards a trilogy and both warriors notched a legacy that will forever link them in boxing history.
114-114; 115-113 (2x) Santa Cruz MD12
Is The Featherweight Division The Best In Boxing?
Is The Featherweight Division The Best In Boxing?
by John Freund
Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz just weighed in for their upcoming bout tomorrow night at MGM’s Grand Arena in Las Vegas. Both fighters matched the 126-pound weight limit, and both looked determined as they met face-to-face for the final time before their much anticipated rematch.
If Frampton should win this fight, he will likely be crowned the king of the Featherweights, having then defeated 3-division world champion Santa Cruz twice. That would catapult him to the top of what is rapidly being considered boxing’s most competitive weight class. Aside from Frampton and Santa Cruz, prominent Featherweights include Gary Russell Jr., Abner Mares, Jesus Cuellar – whom Mares defeated in his last fight, and hard-hitting Oscar Valdez. And let’s not forget about Lee Selby, who is defending his IBF title against former world champ Jonathan Barros on the undercard. Frampton has already declared that should he win his fight against Santa Cruz, he wants to unify the titles in his hometown of Belfast against Selby this summer.
“I just want to be involved in big fights,” Frampton said. “I’m 30 in February. It’s not like I have years and years left, so I want them to all be big fights now. And Selby is a big fight.”
Indeed, should the two UK superstars square-off, it could mean one of Britain’s biggest fights ever, outside of the Heavyweight division. For the Welsh-born Selby, a win against The Ring’s 2016 ‘Fighter of the Year’ honoree Frampton would provide a catapult to superstardom, should he defeat the Irishman in front of his hometown fans.
“He (Frampton) had the stand-out fight with Santa Cruz last year,” Selby told The Telegraph. “It changed his profile overnight. That’s what I’m looking for, that one stand-out fight. I think mine could be against Carl Frampton.”
For that to happen, both men need to be victorious tomorrow night; no small feat for either fighter. Although he is heavily favored, Selby faces a very dangerous opponent in former champion Barros, who has a ton of experience, this being his 47th fight. And Frampton will of course have his hands full during the rematch with Santa Cruz. Should the Mexican-American star regain his title, odds are he and Frampton will square off for a third time, in what could mean another epic boxing trilogy alongside the likes of Barrera-Morales, and Gatti-Ward.
Boxing fans not already prone to rooting for either fighter actually have a tough call tomorrow night. Whom to root for? Frampton-Selby this summer would be epic, but then again so would Frampton-Santa Cruz III.
Hey, with all of the PR trouble the sport has seen recently, it’s nice to know there’s at least one division that doesn’t need heating up… because it’s already red hot. Tomorrow night we’ll find out just how competitive the Featherweight division really is.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Lee Selby vs. Jonathan Victor Barros, Dejan Zlaticanin vs. Mikey Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Lee Selby vs. Jonathan Victor Barros, Dejan Zlaticanin vs. Mikey Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night a rematch of the consensus fight of the year between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz will take place in Las Vegas for Frampton’s WBA Featherweight Title. This bout will take place at the MGM Grand and will be televised live on Showtime.
Last year’s match was a thrilling and close encounter between the two high volume punchers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and it could have been scored for either fighter. This is a rematch that most fans of boxing want to see.
Two other world title fights will be televised in support of the main event. Lee Selby will defend his IBF Featherweight Title against Jonathan Victor Barros on the opening bout of the Showtime Card. Mikey Garcia will compete against Dejan Zlaticanin for Zlaticanin’s WBC Lightweight Title in the co-main event of the night.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Lee Selby (23-1) vs. Jonathan Victor Barros (41-4-1); IBF Featherweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be for the IBF Featherweight Title, and it seems likely that the winner of this bout will go on to face the winner of the main event between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton.
Lee Selby, the current IBF Champion, isn’t known for his power and has only stopped 8 of his opponents. Barros has stopped twenty two of his opponents, but also has one TKO loss.
Selby will be giving up an half inch in height and about an inch in reach on Saturday. However, he will be three years younger than Barros and has roughly half the professional fights of Barros.
Neither boxer has been very active in the past two years. They both only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Barros has shown a pattern of losing when he takes a step up in competition. Boxers such as Mikey Garcia, Juan Carlos Salgado, Celestino Caballero, and Yuriorkis Gamboa have defeated him. Barros has defeated the likes of Satoshi Hosono, Celestino Caballero, Miguel Roman, and Irving Berry.
Selby’s lone loss was early on in his career, by points, to Sami Mouneimne. He has defeated the likes of Fernando Montiel, Evgeny Gradovich, Joel Bunker, and Ryan Walsh.
Selby is the favorite going into the match and for good reason. Barros is a good boxer, but nothing more than a gatekeeper for rising stars such as Selby. Expect Selby to win by decision.
Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0) vs. Mikey Garcia (35-0); WBC Lightweight Title
Mikey Garcia was once considered one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world. But his stock has diminished somewhat since he made the decision to leave Top Rank Promotions and sign with Al Haymon. He lost several years of activity due to his decision.
Dejan Zlaticanin is the current WBC Lightweight Champion and is the first person from Montenegro to win a world title in boxing.
Zlaticanin will be three years older than Mikey Garcia and he will also be giving up three inches in height and reach to Garcia. Garcia also has more power in his punches, as he has stopped twenty nine of his opponents while Zlaticanin has only stopped fifteen of his opponents.
Zlaticanin, a southpaw, won the world title by defeating Franklin Mamani in June of 2016 in Verona, New York at the Turning Stone Casino. He has also beaten the likes of Ivan Redkach, Ricky Burns, and Petr Petrov.
The biggest knock against Zlaticanin is that he only fought once in 2015 and in 2016.
Garcia has been even more inactive than Zlaticanin. He fought once in 2014 and once in 2016 and had no fights in 2015. He has defeated the likes of Elio Rojas, Juan Carlos Burgos, Roman Martinez, Orlando Salido, Jonathan Victor Barros, and Bernabe Concepcion.
Garcia also has the edge in amateur experience, as he was a medalist in several national amateur competitions in the United States.
Zlaticanin will likely suffer the first defeat of his career on Saturday. Garcia looked sensational in his last bout and shook off the ring rust quite quickly.
Carl Frampton (23-0) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1); WBA Featherweight Title
Frampton won the WBA Super World Featherweight Title by defeating Leo Santa Cruz by majority decision at the Barclays Center in July of 2016. Frampton was an underdog in their last match, but the odds now favor Frampton.
Carl Frampton is one year older then Leo Santa Cruz and is two and a half inches smaller and wil be giving up seven inches in reach.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Frampton fought twice in 2015 and in 2016 while Santa Cruz fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Santa Cruz is known for being a volume puncher and has more stoppage victories than Frampton. Santa Cruz has stopped eighteen of his opponents while Frampton has only stopped fourteen of his opponents.
They both have good amateur backgrounds. Frampton was an Irish National Champion and a Silver Medalist in the EU Championships. Santa Cruz won the Silver Medal in the US National Amateur Championships.
Frampton has never tasted defeat and has beaten the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Scott Quigg, Alejandro Gonzalez Jr., Chris Avalos, Kiko Martinez, and Jeremy Parodi.
Santa Cruz’s lone loss was to Carl Frampton. Santa Cruz has defeated the likes of Kiko Martinez, Abner Mares, Jesus Ruiz, Manuel Roman, Cristian Mijares, Cesar Seda, Victor Terrazas, and Eric Morel.
The one difference between this fight and their last fight that may work in Santa Cruz’s favor is the fact that this fight is taking place in Las Vegas, which has a much larger Mexican population than Brooklyn, New York. This may give Santa Cruz the “home field” advantage on Saturday night.
However, this bout is expected to be exciting and a close one, like their last bout. Just don’t be surprised if the Mexican fans in attendance make a big enough difference for Santa Cruz to pull out the victory on Saturday and possible force a third fight.
Frampton – Santa Cruz II: Even Better Than Last Time
Frampton – Santa Cruz II: Even Better Than Last Time
By: John Freund
Hey boxing fans, I’ve got some good news and some even better news. First the good news: there are 4 huge fights scheduled over the next 4 months. Beginning early March, we’re in for some Garcia-Thurman, Haye-Bellew, GGG-Jacobs, and Joshua-Klitschko action (we also get to see Canelo wipe out JCC Jr, in what will hopefully be a lead up to Canelo-GGG… though I’m not holding my breath). And now for the even better news: we don’t have to wait until March to watch a great fight, because this Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Vegas is the rematch between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz.
Now, some experts have predicted this fight will be less entertaining than last year’s Fight of the Year candidate, which saw Frampton utilize his trademark elusiveness and excellent counterpunching skill to outpoint Santa Cruz in the early rounds, only to have Santa Cruz turn up the dial on the aggressiveness in the later rounds and transform the boxing match into a slugfest which brought fans out of their seats by the final bell. The theory is that Frampton will go with what worked in the first fight – elusiveness and counterpunching, and avoid letting the fight turn into an all-out brawl, while Santa Cruz won’t charge forward as much, instead opting to carefully pick his spots. The result, claim some boxing analysts, will be a much more cerebral, and therefore less entertaining fight than their first meeting.
Here’s why that’s all wrong:
First off, Santa Cruz is a puncher. You don’t get this far in your career throwing 1,000 punches a fight, then suddenly decide to dial it back and switch up your strategy just because you took your first loss. It would be one thing if Santa Cruz were dominated, but the first fight was very close. So there’s no reason to think that Santa Cruz will go out there and play it safe. Just the opposite, in fact – it’s likely he’ll be even more aggressive in a bid to win those early rounds which he gave away in their first meeting. Even if Santa Cruz does come out cautious, his puncher’s instinct will eventually take over and this thing turns into a war. As Mike Tyson famously said, “They all have a plan… until they get hit.” Whatever Santa Cruz’s plans are going into the fight, it’s only a matter of time before Frampton wallops him like he did in Round 2 of their last fight. Once that happens, all bets are off.
Secondly, the problem in the first fight for Santa Cruz was not his aggressiveness, it was his inability to counter the counter. Santa Cruz looked surprised by Frampton’s counterpunch strategy, and got rocked multiple times early, including that Round 2 left hook which sent him to the ropes. Frampton will likely enter this fight the same way he did the last – playing to his strengths of elusiveness and counterpunching ability. That means Santa Cruz has to get comfortable being 1st and 3rd, since Frampton will most likely be 2nd. I expect Santa Cruz to be just as aggressive as he was in the first fight – if not even moreso, but this time to be prepared for the counter and ready to counter with his own. And given that Carl Frampton is not the type to back away from a boxing match that turns into a fist fight, I’m expecting even more action than we got last time around.
One final reason this fight will be even more entertaining – this is Santa Cruz’s last shot to prove he’s better than Frampton. The pressure is on the Mexican-American to prove that he can beat ‘The Jackal’ and take his title back. Something tells me Santa Cruz is going in with the mindset that he’s got to take the fight away from Frampton; pressure him and break his defense down, not simply play it cautious and pick his spots.
In short, this is the type of fight boxing fans should be salivating over. Two warriors who both know they have to punch their way to victory. With the co-main event featuring another exciting matchup between power punchers Garcia and Zlaticanin, and the fact that both fights are televised on Showtime and not PPV, it looks as if 2017 is off to a strong start indeed.
British Boxing |The Year Ahead
British Boxing |The Year Ahead
By Courtney Riley
2016 was the year of the British Boxing Boom. The country’s fighting men have re-stamped the Great back into Britain, and we should all be proud. The year ended with Britain boasting world champions in 10 out of the 17 available weight-divisions; and a total of 12 current world titleholders – the most champions of any other nation on the planet. We saw some classic fights and we witnessed history. Northern Ireland’s 2-weight world champion, Carl Frampton, was awarded ESPN’s Fighter of the Year. The fifth-round of the heavyweight tear-up between London rivals Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora was recognised as the Round of the Year by ESPN; and Scotland’s Ricky Burn made history by becoming the first of his countrymen to have won world titles in 3 different weight divisions. 2016 was a brilliant year, so what is 2017 going to offer?
Here are 5 confirmed fights for the first half of the year (in order of date):
1.James Degale vs Badou Jack (January 14th)
Degale has not fought on Britain’s shores since November, 2014. Since then, he has won the vacant IBF super-middleweight world title across the pond and will remain there for his unification-fight against WBC title-holder, Badou Jack. This is a relevant fight and a great way to kick off the year’s fight calendar.
2.Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz II (January 28th)
These two provided an unforgettable featherweight contest last July which saw the Northern-Irishman come out on top against his tough Mexican rival to become a 2-weight world champion. The closely fought battle was quite the spectacle and fans are rightly excited to see their rematch later this month.
3.Chris Eubank Jr vs Renold Quinland (February 4th)
This fight makes the list because fans see it as a bit of a farce. Eubank Jr has had a decent 2016 in the ring where he fought a couple of decent domestic level fighters. He angered fans outside of it when negotiations for his fight with boxing’s boogieman Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin fell through. Many blamed Eubanks and his team. This led to one of biggest fights last year when the valiant Kell Brook stepped into the lion’s den and was ultimately stopped by the US-based Kazakh. Brook gained kudos and Eubank lost face. Now, he is returning in a pay-per-view fight against an opponent that no-one as ever heard of. A recent poll by a popular boxing magazine showed that 85% of the British public said they would not watch the fight, much less pay for it. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
3.David Haye vs Tony Bellew (March 4th)
Following a 3 year hiatus, Haye made his return to the ring last January in a year that saw him punch leather in to the faces of 3 overmatched opponents. Tony Bellew, for his part, has had a year to remember. We saw him mixing with Hollywood royalty on the big screen in the Rocky spin-off, Creed, as well as realising his dream to become a world champion at cruiserweight in front of a sell-out home crowd. Now he has decided to move up in weigh to challenge the Hayemaker in a match that has the causals buzzing.
4. Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko (April 29th)
Joshua claimed a world title after blasting out the unworthy champion, Charles Martin, in April last year. He returned twice that year to defend his belt against more underwhelming opponents. Now he is looking to step up in rank by taking on the former chief, Wladimir Klitschko, in the spring. Joshua will be looking to add the first worthy name to his résumé while the old ex- champ, though long in the tooth, will be looking to prove that he still has a bite.
5. Amir Khan vs Kell Brook (still negotiating)
This fight has been boiling over for far too long. It risks fizzling out into nothingness like countless number of ‘what if’ fights that fans tend to agonise over. Both men are coming off knockout losses to much bigger opposition and have grown their stocks as a result. Who would not like to see two elite fighters who have no love for one another duke it out for the nation’s recognition in the ring, while in the prime or their lives? 2017… Let’s have it!
Why Carl Frampton Is Not My Fighter Of The Year
Why Carl Frampton Is Not My Fighter Of The Year
By: Sean Crose
Okay, first things first – there’s something a bit misleading about the title of this article. The truth is that I don’t have a FIGHTER OF THE YEAR, per se. Indeed, you won’t find me listing the greatest fights, fighters, knockouts, and whatever else here at Boxing Insider. Not that I mind writers bestowing such honors. To the contrary, I often find the whole exercise fascinating. Again, though, you won’t see me engaging in it here – at least not this year. Still, I don’t feel Carl Frampton is worthy of the honor anywhere – even though I like the guy.
There’s no doubt the Irishman has had a hell of a year for himself. First, he defeated Scott Quigg for various superbantmweight titles last winter. Then , in a terrific display, the 22-0 slugger went on to defeat fellow undefeated pugilist – and WBA super world featherweight champion – Leo Santa Cruz under the bright lights of Brooklyn. Furthermore, Frampton is now set to face off against Santa Cruz again, this time in Vegas, next month. And, as a cherry to place atop the sundae, Frampton also comes across as a polite and likeable guy. To be sure, there isn’t much not to like.
Still, I can’t think of Frampton without the name of one Guillermo Rigondeaux popping into my head. To be sure, Frampton and superbantamweight Rigondeaux now operate at different weight classes. That wasn’t always the case, though. Indeed, there has been interest in having the two men meet over the years. Sadly, however, team Frampton clearly wants nothing to do with the Cuban stylist. Indeed, Sky Sports quoted Frampton’s manager, Barry McGuigan, last March referring to Guillermo as “negative.” Uh-huh. “What do we gain by fighting him?” McGuigan asked.
Perhaps not much more than a loss, Barry. Rigondeaux is exceedingly skilled, after all. Still, ducking one of the world’s top talents shouldn’t be taken lightly. Yes, Rigondeaux can be boring and no he hasn’t endeared himself to a strong fan base. What’s more, Rigondeaux may cause Frampton to lose out on future pay days, should he make Frampton look bad. Make no mistake about it, avoiding Rigondeaux is understandable, especially when one is repeatedly willing to face the likes of Santa Cruz, as Frampton is. Yet there are consequences for such actions, as well. At least there should be.
There’s no doubt that Frampton is an impressive talent. It should not be forgotten, however, that he has avoided a perhaps even greater talent on his way to earning accolades.
Three Reasons Why Gennady Golovkin vs Carl Froch Would Make For An Epic War
Three Reasons Why Gennady Golovkin vs Carl Froch Would Make For An Epic War
By: Jordan Seward
Carl Froch is considering coming out of retirement for a mega fight with the WBA, IBF, IBO and WBC middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin.
A fight between the pair has been mentioned in the past but with Froch’s retirement in 2014 it seemed like another potential show stopping fight that had slipped through our fingers, but Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, has dropped hints negotiations have begun.
Loeffler met with Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn in Monaco last week and it seems there’s genuine intentions on Golovkin’s behalf. There are talks of Golovkin fighting Daniel Jacobs in March but that one is yet to be signed and sealed.
Former world super-middleweight champion, Froch, 39, hasn’t been in the ring since his famous knockout victory of George Groves at Wembley in May 2014. As an active fighter Froch regularly spoke of a legacy and although in his mind his is secured a fight with Golovkin wouldn’t do his any harm, especially if he won it.
Although there is continued speculation and calls for Golovkin (36-0-33KO’s) to fight Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, ‘Triple G’ obviously enjoyed his UK debut when he beat Kell Brook in their showdown at the O2 in September and there may be more chance of a UK return for Golovkin to fight Froch at Wembley.
If he can entice Froch (33-2-24KO’s) out of retirement, the pair would be set to make $10million each in what would be an out and out war that you couldn’t take your eyes off and here’s why.
There’s a saying in boxing that styles make fights, Golovkin and ‘The Cobra’ share similar styles in that they like to march forward and have a tear up. We’ve seen it throughout Froch’s career, for the lack of natural and technical talent he certainly makes up for with grit, determination and willingness. Froch goes to the trenches and although Golovkin assuredly possess’ the better technical boxing skills he is very capable of doing the same thing. At times Golovkin seems to enjoy fighting on the inside and trading and we would have seen more of this from him if he could find an opponent who could absorb his power. Froch has been rarely involved in a boring fight if ever and with his and Golovkin’s style they just mesh. It all points to one thing – a war.
The Fist vs The Chin
Froch is naturally the bigger man and he is a big super-middleweight with proven power, it’s interesting to think this could be a fight where we look at Golovkin in a completely different light. For a while we’ve wanted someone to ask questions of Golovkin and there’s no guarantee Froch would do that if the fight was to materialise but certainly for once instead of talking of Golovkin’s power there will be a thought on what’s coming back. Golovkin’s chin is relatively untested, so could Golovkin handle Froch’s power? All through Froch’s career there has been no doubts on his chin but he has been put on the canvas twice before, once by Jermain Taylor in 2009 and once by George Groves in their first meeting, although it’s significant to remember he still won both those fights. Nevertheless, in a particular fight against Golovkin, with his power you’d have to consider whether or not even the strongest of jaws could take such punishment. So, there’s a few unanswered questions here that need to be answered.
Carl Froch can happily look back on a glittering career but lest we forget that after the fight with Groves, Froch was after one more mega-fight preferably in Las Vegas but for whatever reasons talks broke down with Chavez Jr and other hosts of names. Comparisons are regularly made between Froch and Joe Calzaghe and debates, often fierce ones, have started about who’s been the best UK super-middleweight boxer. A win against Golovkin who many have at the top of their pound-for-pound lists, could help settle this longstanding battle, so there’s more in it for Froch than just a crock of gold. Golovkin has struggled to find credible opponents that to some don’t justify the hype. In a division that is sparse of bill-topping names the Kazakhstani is desperate for wins over notable names and needs them more than ever. Even the victory over Kell Brook has done little to solve his legacy problems as Brook went up two weight divisions to take the fight. But, if Golovkin was to go up to super-middle and knockout Froch, who is well famed for a granite chin, well that might just justify what the hype is all about.