By: Oliver McManus
From Azerbaijan to Thailand, through the sweltering Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Chad Sugden has fought all over the world. Born in Newark, Nottinghamshire, the 25 year old has been around combat sports for two decades with his father, Dean, the primary source of inspiration.
At the age of five he began kickboxing alongside his younger brother Regis. Six years later he took up boxing but, sooner rather than later, he had to pick just one to focus on. The promising teenager impressed across both disciplines but it was Chad’s first love that he opted to pursue.
“I stopped amateur boxing when I was 17 (having) got to a few national finals and won the Midlands title numerous times. I turned professional with kickboxing at the same age and I was good enough to fight all over the world with K-1 and Glory; I was the first British fighter to sign a long-term deal with K-1.
Outlining his credentials in the sport, Sudgen added: “After sparring in Holland the main matchmaker for Glory wanted to snap me up and they were an up and coming promotion at the time. I fought with them three times and won all three so I was ranked number 2 in the world. I’d won a world title at 19 with ISKA, as well.”
Four years after his professional kickboxing debut and the globe-trotter was, once again, assessing his options. Having amassed a 14-4 record, Sugden was eager to see if he could replicate that success within professional boxing: as he explained.
“I’d always wanted to be a professional boxer and I’d had a stress fracture in my coccyx, at the bottom of your spine, and kickboxing was taking a toll on my body. I was winning most of the fights with my hands anyway so when I’d got to 21 I felt as though I’d reached the top of kickboxing, near enough, and it was time to move back to boxing. I had to make the decision at that age so I could give myself as good a chance as possible of being successful.”
At 21 years old he began his boxing journey at super middleweight and “hit (his) rhythm smoothly”. In his fifth fight he faced Alistair Warren, a notably tricky opponent, and lost a razor-thin decision. Where many fighters would have blamed external circumstances, Sugden was keen to do the opposite. He insisted that the loss has benefited him in the long term.
“You don’t know you’re a fighter until you get hit in the face and it’s great looking good on the pads but you can’t kid people forever. Once you take a punch then that’s when you realise if you’re made for it. I lost (to Alistair Warren) early on in my career but I lost and looked inwards. I didn’t make excuses but I tried to work out what I could have done better: from then, yeah, I have had less pressure on my shoulders. I’ve already lost once – it’s not going to stop me from learning and getting better. If anything it’s helped me because I wouldn’t have thought twice if I’d have scraped the win.”
No further blips have followed with Sugden opting to step up to 175lbs: adding seven further wins to his tally. In December the phone rang with the light-heavyweight in camp for a six rounder in Birmingham; a tantalising offer was made to face, former British title challenger, Craig Richards.
“I was offered the Craig Richards fight on about ten days notice: I was in camp for a fight at the weekend (against Ben Thomas) so I was fit and in camp and, of course, I was going to say yes. You can’t turn down those opportunities – especially with Matchroom. I was (surprised) that it was a fight they wanted when they had Shakan Pitters already lined up for February: it was a risky fight and I didn’t get their logic but it worked well for me!”
The bout took place on December 19th at York Hall, Bethnal Green with Richards vs Sugden aired live on Sky Sports. Under the bright lights and buoyed on by a hearty support, Sugden put in a performance to be proud of. The pair went to war for eight rounds: Sugden’s nose “went” after the second round but he continued to push forward: a thoroughly enjoyable fight for those in attendance and, not least, Chad himself.
“I do love the challenge of a fight. He was landing some good shots and I do enjoy that I can’t get it all my own way. No-one would keep doing things if it was too easy: it’s like a Rubik’s cube because there are so many different possibilities in the ring. I loved it on the night but afterwards was amazing with everyone being so positive. People go on about being undefeated records but they also pay to see good fights and if I can entertain them then that’s great.”
As the rounds went on the pressure increased. Sugden edged his way into the contest and, arguably, deserved the nod on the scorecards. The fight was initially slated for 10 rounds and the WBA International belt and the 25 year old is keen to test Richards’ chin over the extended distance.
“The more I put it on him the more you could see he wasn’t enjoying it. I don’t think it was my best performance but, credit to Craig, he’s a very good fighter so he wasn’t making it easy. It’s an alright debut for TV, as well, coming in as an underdog and really pushing him all the way. People were probably expecting me to get rolled over but I’m pretty proud of myself. I’d love to get it on again because it was a draw – it makes sense!”
With Sugden still toying with the idea of dropping back to 168lbs the options available for the Newark fighter are plentiful. Couple that with the fact he’s boxing out of a burgeoning city, with Nottingham having a renaissance of sorts, and 2020 looks set to be promising. We finished our conversation by discussing some ambitions for himself and for his home city:
“Leigh Wood is smashing it at the moment and I’m backing him all the way in this (Golden Contract); Ekow (Essuman) is the English champ and no-one wants to risk it against him and Derrick (Osaze) smashed Ultimate Boxxer. Let’s get a show on because it can easily be done and we all sell tickets so it’s a no brainer, really. I’ll be happy if I just keep getting opportunities – at light-heavy or super-middle – and can fight for some titles. There’s plenty of BRitish fighters looking for a big fight and I’ll always put my name forward.”
“Everybody’s on Steroids” – The Concerning State of MMA
By Jaime C. Feal
During the hype for his first fight against Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz said it best: “Everybody’s on steroids.” Diaz went on to stop McGregor at UFC 196, and then McGregor was pulled from a potential rematch at UFC 200 due to not fulfilling media obligations. That decision by Zuffa brass turned out to be a big error, as their replacement main event between Jon “Bones” Jones and Daniel Cormier fell through when Jones was pulled from the card due to a positive test for PEDs. Cormier went on to beat last minute replacement Anderson Silva in a fight that saw the crowd boo heavily due to a lack of action. Furthermore, the Cormier-Silva fight was demoted to co-main event and a woman’s title fight between Miesha Tata and Amanda Nunes ended up headlining UFC 200. And the return of WWE superstar and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, the fighter that drew the most viewers, ended up testing positive himself as was revealed by USADA the week after UFC 200. Because of an exemption Lesnar received as a late addition to the card his results did not come back in time to stop him from competing, and he will not be fined by USADA or the UFC for his positive test. Lesnar’s opponent Mark Hunt has publicly demanded he be compensated and has blasted the UFC for “throwing him under the bus.”
To make matters worse, former Featherweight title contender Chad Mendes was popped for a positive test recently and suspended 2 years by USADA, just like Jones was suspended for 2 years. The fighters can appeal their suspensions and try to reduce them, but ultimately the UFC has an enormous problem on their hands with fighters using PEDs before competing against one another in the cage. The timing of the 4 billion dollar sale of the company amidst all the positive tests is also suspect. It could be said that Station Casino and Zuffa owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertita cashed out at the right time.
Not only are fighters getting suspended left and right, but other fighters who are theoretically clean are livid. Then you have superstar fighters like Georges St. Pierre who are prime for a comeback, but have expressed concerns about stepping in the cage against juiced competition. Finally, the fans can’t be happy to see their favorite fighter(s) and sport being tainted by steroids, masking agents, and PEDs. The crisis is similar to the steroid epidemic in the 90s in Major League Baseball where even the biggest superstars were using. Now that the UFC is under new ownership, the new owners and management have a chance to affect immediate change. The sport is inherently exciting, fast-paced, and action-packed. We don’t need to artificially increase the explosiveness of the sport as baseball did with the home run. When you have two athletes competing against each other in a combat sport fairness and safety are of the utmost concern. MMA as a sport has worked hard to become regulated and accepted, and a lot of that work can be undone if somebody is seriously hurt in the cage by an opponent who tests positive for PEDs. This epidemic needs to get cleaned up quickly in the interest of all parties. Let’s hope it does.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Smith, Canelo, Chocolatito, Cornflake, Guerrero, Frampton, and more…
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 19th to July 26th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Canelo vs. Smith Press Conference Quotes
Canelo Alvarez and Liam Smith recently held a press conference in London to promote their upcoming bout in Dallas, Texas. Below are a few select quotes from the press conference.
Canelo Alvarez, Former Two-Division World Champion
•I want to thank everyone for the great welcome, I am happy to be back here in England.
•Liam is a great fighter, who is hungry to win. We know what’s in front of us, and we know he is dangerous. We will train like never before to give everyone a great fight, and give the fans what they want to see.
Liam “Beefy” Smith, WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion
•I want to thank Frank Warren, Box Nation, and Golden Boy Promotions. I have been wanting a big fight with one of the biggest names and I jumped at the chance to fight Canelo. This is a chance to make a big name for myself in America because the biggest name in boxing with the biggest draw is Canelo.
•A lot of people will be surprised that size will not be a factor in this fight.
Oscar De La Hoya, CEO & Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions
•It’s a pleasure to be here once again, I love coming to the UK, and can see that this country takes boxing serious. The UK is turning out some serious boxers and more current world champions than Mexico.
•This fight is for pride and honor – both fighters are fighting for their countries and putting the fight together with the best promoters to be an A-class event.
•We are extremely proud to be televising on HBO, our partners in the U.S. I also want to thank Frank and Box Nation for making Canelo vs. Smith the event of the year.
•Canelo is the biggest star in the sport today, he is a huge PPV attraction and a fighter who sells out arenas filled with 40,000 people. He is fighting a world champion who is dangerous.
•Liam is not going all the way to the U.S. to fold. He is an undefeated world champ, and knows how important this fight is.
•We will have various activities staged for Mexican independence weekend in the U.S. It will be big, taking place the whole weekend and will have millions of fans tuning in to witness a historical event with Team Canelo and Team Smith.
•The event will occur at AT&T Stadium, a state-of-the-art arena, home the iconic NFL team the Dallas Cowboys owned by Jerry Jones. This stadium holds about 100,000 people, and we expect a ton of Liam Smith fans. There will many of Canelo fans coming out in Texas, and we expect a sell-out.
•This will be a fun weekend, and we are serious that the real winners will be the fans. These are two fighters with tremendous records and great pride putting it all on the line to fight for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title.
Frank Warren, Chairman of BoxNation
•Liam Smith will be making his third defense against the biggest name of boxing. We appreciate the big Texas welcome from Jerry Jones, as Cowboys Stadium hosts their third ever boxing match.
•When we were first offered this fight, we jumped at this opportunity. Liam can fight, he is one the best young fighters that has come out of Liverpool. Our guys have gone in on paper and had no chance, and came out defeating Hopkins.
•Then you have Ricky Hatton, and no one gave him a chance. He went in there and finished up his business. Liam has more chance than most–he can fight.
•Liam fights like a Mexican, and what he brings to the table will create fireworks. He will shock everyone in Dallas. The fans can be prepared for a really big shock.
•I would like thank everyone at Golden Boy Promotions for coming over and helping making this fight happen so we can show our man, Liam Smith and what he can do. Buy the tickets, because you won’t want to miss out on this fight in person!
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez’s Next Fight Announced
Consensus #1 Pound-for-Pound Fighter in the World and WBC Flyweight World Champion Roman “Chocolatito Gonzalez”, (L) (45-0-0, 38 KOs) will move up one weight class and challenge undefeated WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Carlos “Principe” Cuadras, (R)(35-0-1, 27 KO’s) on Saturday, September 10 from the Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles.
Following their epic 2016 “Fight of the Year” candidate this past April 15 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, Yoshihiro Kamegai, (26-3-2, 23KO’s) and Jesus “Renuente” Soto-Karass, (28-10-4, 18KO’s), will battle once again on Saturday September 10 from the Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles. The ten round super welterweight clash will serve as the chief support to the main event. Both fights will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Eleider Alvarez to Face Robert Berridge on PBC on Spike from Quebec, Chad Dawson Withdraws
Unbeaten contender Eleider Alvarez (19-0) will face Robert Berridge (27-4-1) in a ten round bout on Friday, July 29th on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Spike from the Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada.
Berridge replaces Chad Dawson, who had to withdraw due to a shoulder injury.
This card is headlined by light heavyweight world champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson battling brawling contender Thomas “Top Dog” Williams Jr. in a world title clash.
Moises Flores Receives IBO Belt, Eyes Rigondeaux Showdown
Moises “Chucky” Flores (25-0) received his IBO Super Bantamweight World Title from Henry Rivalta of Pro Box Management. Flores scored an impressive unanimous decision over Paulus Ambunda (24-2) in his hometown of Windhoek, Namibia (Africa) to earn the world title strap.
Flores, who is also the WBA Interim Champion, is now the mandatory challenger to face WBA Super Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0). Both camps are in negotiations to have the fight happen in the next few months. If the fight comes to fuition, both the WBA and IBO World Title Belts will be on the line. After receiving his IBO World Title Belt, and a big fight looming with Rigondeaux, Flores speaks on his current situation.
“Winning the IBO World Championship is a testament to my hard work and the great team around me,” said Mexico’s Moises “Chucky” Flores. “Together we worked really hard to get this world title. I’m now the mandatory to challenge Guillermo Rigondeaux, a fight I’m looking forward to. He’s very skilled but I fell I have all the tools to defeat him. My management team is working hard to get this fight finalized. It’s time to see who the best super bantamweight is. I’m going to bring that world title home to Mexico.”
Vyacheslav “Lion Heart-Chigonsky” Shabranskyy vs. Oscar Riojas Added as New Main Event for LA Fight Club
The lion will roar loudly on August 19 at the historic Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles when Vyacheslav “Lion Heart-Chigonsky” Shabranskyy (16-0, 13 KOs) makes his return to the ring to take on Laredo, Texas fighter Oscar “El Monstruo” Riojas (10-5-1, 3 KOs) for an eight-round light heavyweight bout as the new main event for LA FIGHT CLUB, airing live nationally on Estrella TV’s Boxeo Estelar and live streamed by the Ring TV.
“Vyacheslav Shabranskyy’s alias is ‘Lion Heart-Chigonsky’ for good reason – he is a fearless warrior whose inner strength matches his physical strength and skill,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Slava, as we call him, is a future star of the sport headed toward a world championship, and I’ve been pleased with his continued ascent as he rises to the challenge every time he steps in that ring. I’m proud to call him a Golden Boy fighter.”
Also just added to the Aug. 19 card, San Diego, Calif.’s Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (2-0, 2 KOs) will make the third appearance of his professional career in a four-round lightweight bout against local fighter Tyshawn Sherman (0-2) of Adelanto, Calif. while stable mate Oscar Duarte (6-0-1, 3 KOs) of Parral, Mexico will engage in an six-round lightweight fight against Omar Garcia (5-3, 1 KO) of Monterrey, Mexico. Additionally, Golden Boy Promotions fighter David Mijares (2-0, 1 KO) of Santa Monica, Calif. who will take on Jorrell Sparenberg (0-1) from Houston, Texas in a four-round super lightweight bout.
Anthony “Juice” Young Defeats Flores, LaManna Victorious in Atlantic City
Welterweight Anthony “Juice” Young won a six round unanimous decision over veteran Eduardo Flores in the featured bout of a nine bout card at the Claridge in Atlantic City. Rising Promotions promoted the card and it was the fourth consecutive sold out event in the last eight months that Rising Promotions had staged.
Anthony Young systematically took apart Flores and won on the score cards with scores of 60-54, 59-55, and 59-55.
Tomas “Cornflake” LaManna took apart his opponent, Engleberto Valenzuela, in a super welterweight bout with a first round knockout at 2:17. A body shot by LaManna sent his opponent to the mat. LaManna is rumored to face a big name opponent next.
PBC and Bellator to Host Back to Back Events Featuring Benson Henderson and Robert Guerrero
Spike Sports presents two world-class events on back-to-back nights on August 26 and 27 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.
After a three-fight stint in the welterweight division, former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson returns to the division where he reigned supreme to take on Patricio “Pitbull” (25-3) in the main event of “Bellator 160: Henderson vs. Pitbull” on Friday, August 26 at 10:00pm ET/PT LIVE on SPIKE.
A.J. McKee and Joey Davis have been best friends as long as they can remember, and on August 26 they will get to live out their childhood dreams when they compete at the same Bellator event in their native Southern California. McKee, the son of former MMA fighter Antonio McKee, has been on an absolute tear since beginning his career with Bellator MMA, never allowing a fight to reach the second round (3 KO, 1 SUB). Davis, on the other hand, compiled a college wrestling career for the history books, having amassed four National Championships and an unblemished 131-0 record, making him one of the hottest prospects the sport has ever seen.
Former multi-divisional world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero looks to deliver another exciting battle to the Southern California fight fans as he takes on Argentine slugger David Emanuel “El Pirata” Peralta in 10-rounds of welterweight action on Saturday, August 27 at 9:00pm ET/PT LIVE ON SPIKE. Guerrero owns victories over Andre Berto, Selcuk Aydin and defeated Yoshihiro Kamegai in a 2014 Fight of the Year candidate.
Also, hard-hitting all-action brawler Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo faces battle-tested veteran Freddy Hernandez in a 10-round middleweight matchup of Mexican power punchers looking to put on a show and make a mark in the middleweight division. Highly regarded U.S. Olympian and two-time U.S. National Amateur Champion Terrell Gausha puts his undefeated record on the line in possibly the toughest test of his pro career against the Bronx’s Steve Martinez in 10-rounds of super welterweight action
Team Shumenov petitions WBA to Declare Purse Bid for Mandatory Title Fight vs. Lebedev or Strip Lebedev of his World Cruiserweight Title Belt
It has been more than a month since World Boxing Association (WBA) world cruiserweight champion Beibut Shumenov (16-2, 10 KOs), based on the much publicized WBA Cruiserweight Tournament rules and regulations, petitioned the WBA to either declare a purse bid for a title fight between WBA Super cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev, or strip Lebedev of his title belt for being non-compliant.
Last July, Shumenov defeated B.J. Flores by way of a 12-round unanimous decision to become the WBA mandatory challenger for Lebedev, who hasn’t fought a mandatory defense since April 10, 2015.
The WBA issued a resolution this past April that Lebedev, who defeated Victor Emelio Ramirez in May to also become International Boxing Federation cruiserweight champion, must fight Shumenov within 120 days of the latter’s May 21, 2016 knockout victory over Junior Wright.
On record for making changes to insure only one world champion in each division, incredibly, the WBA presently has 38 different world title belt holders in only 17 different weight classes. Only three WBA divisions have one world champion – super lightweight, lightweight and light flyweight – and eight have three world titlists, including its cruiserweight division, which presently has world champions in Lebedev, Shumenov and Interim champion Yunier Dorticos, who is the WBA second mandatory challenger.
In an apparent public relations move, the WBA has suddenly declared this month a rash of mandatory defenses, however, declaring and actually making these title fights are two different things, as Shumenov has unfortunately learned. The WBA should have ordered a Lebedev vs. Shumenov purse bid on June 21, 2016, when the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement, but the WBA failed to do so.
When Shumenov repeated his request for a purse bid in June, the WBA failed once again to act.
MSC Nutrition Signs Carl Frampton
High performance sports nutrition company, MSC Nutrition has signed World boxing champion, Carl Frampton as its latest brand ambassador this month.
The 29 year old from Northern Ireland will be joining a catalogue of ambassadors represented by the global nutrition brand, including world-renowned rugby star, Sam Warburton.
Carl is widely regarded as one of the most exciting boxers to watch in the ring. His entertaining style has garnered an intensely loyal following amongst boxing fans, and his status as a mainstream star continues to strengthen outside of the sport. After recently unifying the Super-Bantamweight division Carl is stepping up to the Featherweight division where he will fight for the world title against Leo Santa Cruz in a much-anticipated fight in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on July 30.
Carl said, “As an athlete it’s crucial that I choose the right supplement provider to ensure that I am performing at my best possible levels and reaching all the goals that I’m setting for myself. This is particularly important to me as I move into the featherweight division to compete and take another step up in my career.
“It’s vital that I work with a brand that I can trust and will provide me with top quality, tested supplements to keep me at peak performance and MSC Nutrition meets all my needs perfectly. I appreciate the support that MSC has given me so far- they go above and beyond with personal touches and all of my supplements are tailored to my exact needs. I am looking forward to representing the brand and working closely with its team and athletes.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Frampton, Briggs, Haye, Pacquiao, Bradley, Ali, Charlo, and more…
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 5th to April 12th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
HBO to Replay Pacquiao vs. Bradley III
HBO Sports serves up the exclusive replay of the highly anticipated third fight in the heated Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. rivalry when WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING:® MANNY PACQUIAO VS. TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR. is seen SATURDAY, APRIL 16 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT). The HBO Sports team, which was ringside at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, called the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.
Other HBO playdates: April 17 (10:30 a.m.) and 19 (11:00 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: April 18 (11:00 p.m.)
HBO Signature: April 17 (4:15 p.m.)
The two highly decorated welterweights who are among the sport’s top pound-for-pound performers came into the matchup with determination to score a convincing victory. Pacquiao and Bradley split the first two meetings with each winning by decision.
New Book About Muhammad Ali from Major Publisher
Running with the Champ: My Forty-Year Friendship with Muhammad Ali (Simon & Shuster; Hardcover; May 10, 2016) is a personal tribute to the remarkable friendship between author Tim Shanahan and legendary Muhammad Ali.
In 1976, Shanahan was a living in Chicago and was associated with a charity that arranged for athletes to speak to underprivileged kids. Ali was also living in Chicago—having just reclaimed his title as heavyweight champion of the world after defeating George Foreman and Joe Frazier—and was at the peak of his fame and athletic skill. Shanahan contacted Ali to ask whether he would participate in the program. Not only did Ali agree, he invited Shanahan to his home where the two then spent several hours talking.
It was the beginning of a forty-year friendship that continues today.
Shanahan and Ali’s relationship has always been personal: Shanahan never worked for Ali, preferring to remain a friend and get his paycheck elsewhere, but he was always there to play witness to the extraordinary life of the Champ. RUNNING WITH THE CHAMP gives readers an inside look at this extraordinary life, as Shanahan shares story after story of Ali’s interactions with various celebrities whom he met over the years, including Michael Jackson (who showed Ali and Shanahan his doll collection); Elvis Presley; John Travolta; Andy Warhol; and many others. Beyond the ring, Shanahan remembers numerous unpublicized incidents of Ali’s generosity to people in need.
Lara, Martirosyan, and Charlo Twins to Take Center Stage on Showtime
The 154-pound division will take center stage on Saturday, May 21 in a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader featuring three world title fights in the same division. In a rare showcase of the division’s elite, five of the top-six super welterweights* will square off live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Venue and ticket information are forthcoming.
In the main event, Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara—the consensus No. 1 fighter at 154 pounds—will defend his WBA Super Welterweight World Championship against U.S. Olympian and top contender Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan in a rematch of their 2012 bout that ended in a technical draw.
Brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo will look to make history in co-featured bouts as the first twins to hold world titles in the same division. Unbeaten IBF Super Welterweight World Champion Jermall faces his toughest test when he makes the second defense of his belt against former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout. Jermell will take on exciting contender John Jackson in a bout for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight World Championship.
The event is being promoted by Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions.
With five of the top-six ranked fighters on the telecast, the May 21 matchups join an already stellar slate of recently announced boxing events on SHOWTIME. The super welterweights join the top fighters at featherweight, welterweight, super middleweight and heavyweight in a series of fights that features accomplished champions and young stars facing each other in the most significant divisional matches that can be made.
“This is yet another example of SHOWTIME Sports’ commitment to delivering the best lineup in boxing,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “We’re featuring three important championship fights in one of boxing’s most intriguing young divisions – a tripleheader that will bring our 2016 tally of world title bouts to 14 – all free to SHOWTIME subscribers. We’re excited to offer this rare opportunity to see the top fighters in a division all on the same telecast.”
“Mayweather Promotions is thrilled to bring this fantastic tripleheader of super welterweight world champions to fight fans,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “The best of the 154-pound division will be on display on May 21 and we expect an action-packed night of drama.”
Star Boxing’s Joe Smith Jr. Set to Headline at the Paramount
Star Boxing’s Joe Smith, Jr. (20-1, 16 KOs) looks to continue his climb up the light heavyweight ladder when he faces tough and dangerous Brazilian Fabiano Pena (16-4-1, 12 KOs) in the main event in the 23rd installment of Star Boxing’s Rockin’ Fights series on Saturday night, April 23, at the Paramount in Huntington, New York.
Dubbed the “Irish Bomber” because of his knockout power, Smith is highly-regarded among the light heavyweight prospects during a young career guided by promoter Joe DeGuardia. The local hero fighting, out of Mastic, will be making his fourth appearance on his home turf at The Paramount.
Smith, Jr. has reeled off 14 straight triumphs, including nine by way of KO. In his latest win, the Irish Bomber scored a thrilling, unanimous 10-round decision over Will Rosinsky, while showcasing his talents in the Barclays Center ring on December 5.
The native of Mastic is a Union 66 laborer (concrete) in between fights. Trained by Gerard Capobianco, a former light heavyweight contender himself, Smith fights out of the Heavyhitters Boxing Gym on Long Island.
“Joe has all of the tools to be a top light heavyweight,” says DeGuardia. “His power and strength, combined with boxing skills and stamina have him earmarked for a big fight.”
The co-featured attraction is a “Long Island Showdown” when two popular Paramount regulars – Alan Gotay (8-2, 4 KOs) and Anthony Karperis (11-2, 4 KOs) – clash for the New York State Junior Welterweight Championship. Gotay hails from Huntington, while Kaperis is a product of Hicksville, so it will be a true “Battle for Backyard Bragging Rights.”
Chad Dawson, Ryan Kielczweski, Antontio Russell to Highlight Undercard for Gary Russell Jr. vs. Patrick Hyland
A stacked undercard of action featuring former world champion “Bad” Chad Dawson (33-4, 18 KOs), featherweight contender Ryan Kielczweski (24-1, 7 KOs) and undefeated prospects Antonio Russell (5-0, 4 KOs) and Carlos Gongora (4-0, 3 KOs) comes to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT., on Saturday, April 16.
The event is headlined by a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader of world title fights: WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. battles Ireland’s Patrick “The Punisher” Hyland and IBF Junior Lightweight World Champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza takes on top contender Stephen “Swifty” Smith from the UK, with televised coverage beginning live on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.
Dawson will face the veteran Cornelius White (23-4, 17 KOs) in a 10-round light heavyweight bout, Kielczweski enters the ring for eight rounds of featherweight action, Gongora competes in a super middleweight attraction while Russell takes on Leonardo Reyes (3-9, 1 KO) in a bantamweight fight.
Also entering the ring is popular super bantamweight contender Shelley Vincent (16-0, 1 KO) out of Providence, RI., who will have plenty of support behind her when she takes on New Mexico’s Elizabeth Anderson (4-7, 1 KO) in a six-round bout.
Rounding out the action are a pair of prospects making their pro debuts as Providence’s Anthony Marsella Jr. fights in a four-round junior welterweight match and Connecticut’s Mykquan Williams in a four-round welterweight contest. Williams is a highly touted local prospect who fought to a 45-13 amateur record including three gold medal performances at the Ringside World Tournament.
Briggs vs. Haye a Possibility
Forty four year old Shannon Briggs is more known for crashing press conferences than for actually fighting inside the ring, but it appears his mouth and antics have landed him a possible big money fight in the near future.
David Haye is set to fight at the O2 Arena on May 21st, and has recently stated that if Briggs is victorious on his undercard that he will fight him next. Briggs previously chased Wladimir Klitschko around the globe and showed up at several press conferences, and has done the same to David Haye.
David Haye (27-2) is scheduled to face Arnold Gjergjaj (29-0) on May 21st and Shannon Briggs (59-6-1) does not have a scheduled opponent yet.
Carl Frampton Stripped of WBA Junior Featherweight Title
Carl Frampton unified the WBA and IBF Junior Featherweight Titles when he defeated Scott Quigg on February 27th. However, it appears that he will not be fighting at the junior featherweight division anymore and has not agreed to fight the mandatory challenger for the WBA Junior Featherweight Championship. The WBA has since stripped Carl Frampton of his WBA Junior Featherweight title.
Broner v. Theophane Delivered Knockout Ratings for Premier Boxing Champions on Spike
Adrien Broner vs. Ashley Theophane delivered excellent ratings for Spike TV.
The main event drew 1,141,000 viewers (10:36pm-11:21pm) peaking with an impressive 1.3 million viewers at 11:11pm (with +3 DVR playback). This is the most watched PBC fight ever on Spike.
The entire card delivered 955,000 viewers, also a record for the PBC on Spike.
Also of note, 48 minutes of the broadcast were seen by 1 million or more viewers.