By Vishare Mooney
Cinco De Mayo is upon us bringing with it a fantastic weekend of boxing as four undefeated fighters take to the ring to defend their records or the right to keep their championship belts. There are some interesting storylines, here’s what to watch.
History in the making: Challenges for two boxing giants Gennady Golovkin and Cecilia Breakhus
This is not the big drama show a Canelo rematch would have brought, but the Golovkin v. Martirosyan is still a challenging fight for the undefeated champion, Gennady Golovkin (36-0-1, 33KO); all his belts are on the line as he goes up against two-time world title challenger Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 23KO). Though Martirosyan is going up a weight class to fight Golovkin, promoter Tom Loeffler has called the matchup “a dangerous fight” while Golovkin humbly suggested “one punch can change everything.” At Wednesday’s press conference, Don King, Martirosyan’s promoter, struck a foreboding tone, predicting that the stars above the StubHub Center will be aligned for the champion’s first loss. He addressed his remarks to Golovkin, “The inimitable words of Mohammed Ali says, you have to lose to be a whole champion, there’s no disgrace in losing.” And of his fighter, Martiroysan, King said, “This may be the opportunity that Vanes is waiting on because yesterday’s nobody, becomes tomorrow’s somebody.” Pre-fight hype? Not for Golovkin, “I understand my situation, this is not an easy fight, this is a huge fight for us. I promise, we bring amazing show, amazing event.” This fight is without doubt not one to miss.
If there is an active fighter with more titles and accolades than Golovkin, it is Cecilia Braekhus (32-0, 9 KO and 22-0 in championship matches.) The Columbian-born boxer who fights out of Norway, is embarking on the 22nd defense of her titles IBF-WBA-WBC-WBO. She has heen the welterweight world champion for the past nine years. And yet, this fight, set as a co-feature to the GGG-Martirosyan, and having the distinction of being the first live broadcast of a woman’s bout on HBO, is not necessarily a walk in the park for Braekhus. Her opponent, former world WBC middleweight champion, 27-year-old Kali Reis (13-6-1, 4 KO) will still have a size and youth advantage as she goes down two weight classes to fight the 36-year-old Braekhus. Says Braekhus, who continues to hone her skills as she matures, “I am definitely another fighter today than I was ten years ago, and I always have to adapt to that, I always have to adapt to stay sharp.” She added, “I feel the young girls, you know, they are breathing down my neck, I always need to be sharp.” Boxing legend Lucia Rijker, who has been training Braekhus for this fight will be in her corner Saturday night. The moment in history is not lost in Rijker, who said to boxinginsider.com at a recent interview, “ I know my place as a coach, this is the time for the new generation and I’m honored to be a part of it with a humble heart.” All the women will have the platform at StubHub, under the stars to show the world, women’s boxing belongs on primetime along with men’s. Challenger Kali Reis, understands the the opportunity and the significance of this bout, “It’s not just live boxing on HBO, its the co-main event, that is huge. Not only for myself, not only for Cecilia, but for women’s boxing as a whole…We’re in it to fight and we can fight.” Tune into this one, it will likely be the best fight of the night.
Golovkin v. Martirosyan and Braekhus v. Reis, May 5, HBO, 8pm PT
Boxers On the Rise: Ryan Garcia and George Kambosos Jr.
It’s likely ESPN’s 2017 Prospect of the Year, 19-year-old Ryan Garcia (14-0, 13 KO), from Victorville, CA, with meticulous grooming of his boxing career by Golden Boy Promotions and supported by Garcia’s fast growing 800k Instagram followers, needs little more highlighting. On May 4th, the junior lightweight may actually have a worthy contest in the seasoned 30-year-old Puerto Rican fighter, Jayson Velez, (26-4-1, 18 KO). Garcia will want to feed his ambition of fighting Gervonta Davis and being the youngest pay-per-view star, as well as his growing fan base, with another decisive win. With such heightened media exposure at such an early time in his professional career, it seems Garcia is defending his fame rather than ascending to it. Nonetheless, fans shouldn’t miss out on watching this fighter’s impressive ability to “see and catch” his opponent’s next moves and launch a powerful and fast knockout punch. He described his technique to boxinginsider.com, “I see where he (the opponent) goes, and once he makes a little tiny mistake, my punch is there and I deliver my full ability” Coming off the lightning fast first round knockout of Fernando Vargas, just six weeks ago, boxing fans get another chance to see KingRy impress. May 4th, 7:30PM PT on ESPN2 and ESPN Desportes.
If you want a chance to see a future title contender in his first US fight, watch George “Ferocious” Kambosos, Jr. (13-0, 7 KO), the undefeated 24-year-old Greek-Australian prospect. Kambosos Jr. is currently ranked #5 by the WBA , #11 by WBO and holds the WBA Oceania lightweight title. Kambosos Jr., recently signed with powerhouse promoter Dibella Entertainment. He will headline the Broadway Boxing event at Foxwoods Resort Casino and fight against Jose “El Tigre” Forero (13-6-1, 11 KO). Kambosos Jr. moved from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles earlier this year to train under renowned coach, former heavyweight contender and long time Pacquiao cornerman Justin Fortune. His sights are set firmly on making a name for himself here in the U.S. “America is the mecca of boxing, to become world champion and to become recognized, you gotta be here.” Kambosos Jr., in addition to holding title belts, has sparred with Manny Pacquiao for over 50 rounds and brings shades of Pacquiao’s fast and furious high volume punching to the ring along with some impressive footwork. When asked what fans can expect of him in the ring, Kambosos Jr. told boxinginsider.com, “I’m an action packed fighter..fans can expect fireworks from round one.” Kambosos Jr. said he’s had a hundred rounds of sparring to prepare for his US debut and is ready for anyone. “We’ve left no stone unturned, we’ve had an awesome camp, if they pulled him (Forero) out today, and brought in a world champion, we are ready to go, we are ready to fight and ready to win.” May 5th, 9PM ET at CBS Sports HQ and Live.DBE1.com
By: Vishare Mooney
“This marks the first time a women’s bout has been televised live on HBO.” So claimed a press release announcing the matchup between “boxing’s only undisputed world champion Cecilia Braekhus” and “former WBC Female World Middleweight Champion Kali Reis.” The two women will fight for Braekhus’ World Female Welterweight title on May 5th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Even more telling, the fight will be the co-feature of the Gennady Golovkin – Vanes Martirosyan middleweight title bout.
Braekhus, who fights out of Norway, has held her title for nine years and boasts a record of 32-0. “I’m honored,” said Braekhus, “to fight on the same card as the best male fighter in the world, Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.” Braekus also spoke well of the Southern California location of her HBO debut. “I’ve heard so many magnificent things about fighting in Southern California and the passion boxing fans have for great fights,” she said. “I’ve been training in Los Angeles for the last six weeks with Lucia Rikjer, and this has been a tremendous camp.” Rhode Island native Reis, 13-61, looks to keep Braekhus from making a 22nd successful title defense.
“I am so proud to help present the first female bout to be televised live on HBO,” promoter Tom Lorffler claimed. “Undefeated World Female Welterweight Champion Cecllia Braekhus, boxing’s only undisputed world champion, will have her hands full against former WBC World Female Middleweight champion Kali Reis.” The bout will be scheduled for ten rounds.
The non-televised portion of the May 5th card will also showcase 21-0 super lightweight Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin, as he faces well known 31-12 vet Breidis Prescott. “Best known for his first-round knockout victory of Amir Khan and a decision victory over former world champion Richar Abril,” the press release stated, “Prescott has been in tough for much of his professional career, going the distance against former two-division world champion Terence Crawford and top-rated contenders Roberto Garcia, Paul McCloskey and Fredrick Lawson. Boasting a victory by knockout ratio of 71%, Prescott will be looking to make the most of his Cinco De Mayo rumble with Martin.”
The 25 year old Martin, whose part of Abel Sanchez’ acclaimed stable, “returns to the ring after making a star turn headlining his first card, on March 27, at The Avalon in Hollywood, Calif. Martin blasted Luis Eduardo Florez in the fourth round of their 10-round bout.” The Golovkin-Martirosyan televised card is co-promoted by Loeffler and Don King and will be aired live at 11 pm eastern standard time on HBO.
Cecilia “First Lady”Braekhus Makes 19th Defense in January!
By: Ken Hissner
Cecilia “First Lady” Braekhus, 29-0 (8) was born in Cartagena, COL, some 35 years ago. On January 28th she will make only her second appearance in her now residence of Bergen, Norway. She will be defending her WBC welterweight title against Klara “Swedish Princess” Svensson, 17-1 (5). Her WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles will not be at stake.
In 2004 Braekhus won a Silver Medal at the European Championships in Riccione, IT. Then she won a Gold Medal in the same tourney in 2005 in Tonsberg, Norway. In 2005 she won a Silver Medal at the World Championships in Podolsk, Russia. She would turn professional in 2007 in Switzerland and then Belgium. Those were her only stops in those two countries.
In June of 2008 Braekhus had her one and only US bout defeating Nicole Woods, 4-2, in Hollywood, FL. In hereleventh fight she won her first world titles in the WBA and WBC defeating Denmark’s VinniSkovgaard, 7-0, in Germany. It was her “adopted” country fighting in that country some 10 times. Only in Denmark has she fought more times with a total of 13. The next 18 fights would all be title bouts.
Two fights later in September in her first bout in Denmark, Braekhus defeated Italian Lucia Morelli, 12-0, out of Germany. In May of 2010 Braekhus added the IBO title to her already WBA and WBC belts in defeating Victoria Cisneros, 5-8-2,of Albuquerque, NM, in Denmark. Cisneros had won her two previous fights. In the next defense for Braekhus she stopped Sweden’s Mikaela Lauren, 6-0, in Germany.
On May of 2011 Braekhus took on her most experienced opponent defeating ChevelleHallback, 28-6-2, of the US, in Denmark. Three fights later she defeated Anne Sophie Mathis 26-2, of France, in the first of their two fights. Opening up 2013 she stopped Mia “The Knockout” St John, 47-12-2, of the US. John had defeated Christy “Coal Miner’s Daughter” Martin for the WBC super welterweight title several fights before this.
After Braekus stopped another unbeaten boxer in Dominican Oxandia Castillo, 12-0-2, and next defeated MyriamLamare, 22-3, of France. Jessica Balogun, 24-3, of Germany was the next victim in Germany. Back to Denmark she defeated IvanaHabazin, 13-1, of Croatia. Next up she defeated Germany’s Jennifer Retzke followed by beating Chris Namus, 21-3, of Uruguay.
In Braekus’ last fight in a rematch with Anne Sophie Mathis, 27-3-1, she was able to stop her this time, in October in Norway. It was her first bout where her current residency is. Next up also in Norway will be Klara “Swedish Princess” Svensson, 17-1, on January 28th. This will complete her 10 years as a boxer. Can you imagine such good records of boxers she defeated compared to other “so called” champs?