Andrade and Kantondura Set to Collide on DAZN
By: Sean Crose
Major boxing returns to Boston on Saturday as Demetrius Andrade (25-0) faces Walter Kautondura (17-0) for the vacant WBO middleweight title strap. Andrade was originally supposed to face England’s Billy Joe Saunders, who won the belt after dominating David Lemieux last year. Saunders tested positive for a banned substance, however, and found himself without his title and without the ability to fight in Massachusetts. Therefore, Andrade will be facing a less well known opponent in Kantondura on Saturday, a knockout artist with a perfect record. Should he win, Andrade can expect an interesting future, especially now that middleweight kingpin Canelo Alvarez has signed on with DAZN, which airs Andrade’s fights.
Photo Credit: Demetrius Andrade Twitter Account
Tevin Farmer (26-4-1) will also be on the card. He’ll be defending his IBF Super Featherweight title against James Tennyson (22-2). Farmer, who is happy to now be teamed with DAZN, Eddie Hearn, and Lou DiBella, has his eyes on the future, but remains focused on Tennyson. ““I have a big fight on Saturday,” says Farmer, “and I’m not over-looking James. You don’t get to this level for no reason and I know he’s going to come to fight and try to beat me, but that’s not going to be easy – he needs to make sure he brings his A-game.” Should he emerge victorious on Saturday, Farmer has another known fighter in his sights.
“I want to fight Gervonta Davis,” he says.
Ireland’s Katie Taylor (10-0) will be fighting as well at the Garden this weekend. Making her third appearance in the United States, Taylor will be defending her WBA and IBF lightweight titles against the 27-5-3 Cindy Serrano of Brooklyn. Taylor is particularly pleased with the fight’s location. “The fact it’s in Boston means it’s going to be like a home from home for me in there with all the Irish support,” says Taylor.
England’s Kid Galahad will likewise be fighting on the card. The undefeated 24-0 Englishman will face the 25-1- Toka Kahn Clary. Both men will walk into the scheduled 12 round match with much to prove. An impressive win will help move the victor along in his career. Clary, who fights out of nearby Rhode Island, may have the advantage of having the live crowd before him. Yet Galahad is looking to impress as he makes his American debut.
The fights will air live on the DAZN streaming service beginning at 9 PM eastern standard time on Saturday evening.
Demetrius Andrade Looks to Grab His Slice of the Middleweight Title Pie
By: Sean Crose
“I take every fight very seriously,” says 25-0 middleweight contender Demetrius Andrade. “I have since day one.” Andrade’s fight this weekend, against the undefeated knockout artist Walter Kautondokwa at the TD Center in Boston for the WBO middleweight title, caps off a journey filled with down periods and frustration. Since having teamed up with promoter Eddie Hearn, however, Andrade is happy with how things are working out. “My situation,” he says, “is great right now…had I not made the move with Eddie, I would have been fighting in England, having tune-ups or waiting around still.”
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
After fighting only three times in a three year period, Andrade won two fights in 2018 against notable opponents Jack Culcay and Alantez Fox, and is now preparing for his shot at the head of what he says might become boxing’s latest “glamour division,” the middleweight realm. “I think Middleweight can be the new glamour division in boxing,” he says. “We have big names at 160lbs and if you look at 154lbs, those guys are going to grow and they’ll have to come up – look at Jarrett Hurd, he’s a big dude. The division is hot and it’s going to get hotter.”
With names like Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin sitting atop the middleweight heap, Andrade, who has always been highly regarded, will be breathing rarefied air should be get a belt of his own this weekend. “If everyone involved with the elite does their jobs,” the outspoken Rhode Islander claims, “we can make these big fights. The window is starting to close on those fights though, people get old, people move on, and people look to run around and fight lesser guys like the Charlos do.”
“I want to fight the best,” he adds, “only and often.” Andrade was supposed to face the highly regarded Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday. Unfortunately, Saunders was popped for having a banned substance in his system and was subsequently out of the picture. In stepped Kautondokwa, a largely unknown fighter with a terrific record of 16 knockouts in 17 fights. “When you are fighting lower level opponents,” says Andrade, “you can afford to get in there four or five times a year, but at the level I want to operate at, you can’t do that.” Here is a man who clearly wants to place himself at the top of the mountain.
“I’m going to take it one step at a time, do my job against Walter, come home with the belt and we will look to get out early in 2019,” says Andrade. “I know Eddie and DAZN want to keep me active and that’s great, and if it’s going to be the rest of the elite guys, then let’s go.” DAZN, the online streaming service, will be airing the fight live this weekend. In fact, it will be airing the entire card starting at 4:30 PM eastern standard time on Saturday.
Billy Joe Saunders Denied License in Massachusetts; Andrade, Kautondokwa To Vie For Interim Title
By Jake Donovan
Billy Joe Saunders’ year has gone from bad to worse in a hurry.
BoxingInsider.com has learned that the unbeaten but troubled British middleweight was denied a license by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) during the board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday. The ruling greatly affects a planned October 20 show at TD Garden in Boston, where Saunders was due to defend his title versus Demetrius Andrade.
Saunders was asked to appear before the board to review his application status on Tuesday, which he did via speakerphone from England. His specific purpose for appearing was to detail the events that led to his testing positive for banned substance Oxilofrine on August 31 through testing conducted by Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA).
Trace amounts of the drug were evident in his system, to which he attributed to having ingested nasal decongestant spray upon learning of the results in late September and again at Tuesday’s hearing.
Saunders made a similar—and successful argument—back home, where he was cleared by the British Boxing Board of Control. His clearance stemmed from his status being classified as “out of competition”, per United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) which follows the code set forth by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Simply put, any test conducted prior to fight night is deemed out-of-competition, a point which Saunders and his representatives argued with MSAC.
While the excuse wasn’t necessarily dismissed by the commission, it also wasn’t found sufficient enough to sway the board who unanimously voted to deny his license, according to BI source Cory Blamire, a local freelance writer who was in attendance.
The incident drew comparisons to that of Major League Baseball pitcher Michael Kopech, who was handed a 50-game ban for testing positive for the very same substance as a 19-year old in the Boston Red Sox minor-league system. Kopech, now with the Chicago White Sox, denied that he willingly took the substance but nevertheless apologized for the outcome and was forced to accept his punishment.
Appearing before a state athletic commission residing in Red Sox country—with at least two board members boasting baseball roots—proved to be a detriment for Saunders’ cause. The British Traveller didn’t take too kindly to the ruling, at first confused as to his license status before reportedly telling the board to “suck my p***k.”
The show will still go on, but without Saunders who not only is off the show but now sees his days as a middleweight titlist come to an end. Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcárcel declared prior to the hearing that any such ruling that would result in Saunders not being able to compete on October 20 would result in his being stripped of the title.
As Saunders is granted an appeals process, Andrade (25-0, 16KOs) will remain eligible to fight for the organization’s interim title, as the unbeaten middleweight from Providence remains as the mandatory challenger. As earlier reported by BoxingInsider.com, the 2008 U.S. Olympian and former 154-pound titlist will now face the next highest-rated contender in the WBO middleweight rankings, Namibia’s Walter Kautondokwa.
Should Saunders’ appeal be denied, Valcárcel confirmed to BoxingInsider.com that the October 20 winner would then be elevated to full titlist.
Promoter Eddie Hearn—who will present the October 20 show through his Matchroom USA promotional outfit live on streaming app DAZN—was wise enough to secure a contingency plan in the event Saunders would not be able to compete. Kautondokwa (17-0, 16KOs) signed a contract on September 28 provisionally agreeing to face Andrade should the title become vacant.
The bout will mark a massive leap in competition for Kautondokwa, a former member of Namibia’s national amateur boxing team before turning pro in 2013. The unbeaten knockout artist—who turns 34 in November—will also be making his stateside debut, taking on a vastly more experienced boxer in Andrade, who will be fighting less than an hour from his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.
Andrade hasn’t fought since a 12-round win over Alantez Fox last October, with the upcoming show marking 52 weeks to the day of that very ring appearance.
Meanwhile, Saunders will have to turn elsewhere for his next payday.
The 29-year old was due make the fourth defense of the title he won in a 12-round decision over Andy Lee in Dec. ’15. His title reign has been plagued by injuries and more infamously known for the fights that didn’t happen than the few defenses he’s managed in nearly three years.
For this event, Saunders (26-0, 12KOs) to earn a career-high purse for this event, which in part would help subsidize a £100,000 fine handed down by the BBBoC for his role in a social media video where offered a local woman (and apparent drug addict) £150 worth of drugs to perform a sex act.
It was hoped by Saunders and his team that he would at least be cleared to fight on October 20, which would’ve at least provided a high note to an otherwise miserable year. He came into 2018 on the heels of a 12-round whitewash of former middleweight titlist David Lemieux last December, but has now seen three scheduled bouts this year fall by the wayside.
Saunders was due to face countryman Martin Murray this past March, a bout that was postponed to June but ultimately canceled altogether when the reigning titlist claimed a training camp injury. It was widely speculated—by Murray, among others—that Saunders withdrew to instead make himself available in the event that Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin were unable to reach terms for their rematch.
It became moot when Alvarez and Golovkin fought again on September 15, four months pushed back from their original May 5 date. The postponement was due to Alvarez receiving a six-month suspension for having tested positive for Clenbuterol earlier in the year. The wildly popular boxer from Mexico attributed it to contaminated meat, an ongoing epidemic in his home country.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission accepted his response and documented proof that came with it, but still held him responsible for any substance that enters his body, regardless of means of consumption. Saunders was among Alvarez’ most vocal critics, his comments having since coming back to haunt him in light of recent developments.
Boston Press Conf Quotes: Billy Joe Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade, Farmer vs. Tennyson
Eddie Hearn, President of Matchroom Boxing USA:
“I am thrilled to be bringing this triple-header of World championship action to the TD Garden in Boston.
“We want to take major fight nights to major cities across America that haven’t had the chance to witness this great sport in the flesh, that’s why we’re in Chicago on October 6 and then in Boston on October 20 – we’re taking this great sport to great cities in great arenas like the TD Garden with the best night of boxing the city has seen.”
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland
Billy Joe Saunders – Hertfordshire, England – 26 (12) – 0 – defending his WBO World Middleweight title against Demetrius Andrade
“This is such a big fight. The two main men at Middleweight at the moment is GGG and Canelo – and neither of them want to fight me or Demetrius. There’s a lot of smoke and mist in the division right now, and when it clears up I will be the man standing there.
“All jokes and trash talk aside, this is going to be a really good fight. Does anyone want to fight Demetrius? No. Does anyone want to fight me? No. We have to fight each other to prove who the number one guy is. Technically, we are the best two in the division, and the winner is going to be number one. I’m World champion, I’ve been more active, I’ve boxed the better opposition – but I have to beat this man.
“David Lemieux is a bum, a bum – he’s not worth talking about and I don’t take any credit from beating him. But I’ve been in with and easily handled World-class opposition – I’ve been in with Chris Eubank Jr and dealt with him, been in with Andy Lee and dealt with him, Willie Monroe had no heart or desire to win.
“There’s too much at stake in this fight to even think about losing – and I will prove that I am number one. If I turn up at my 100 per cent best, it’s good enough to beat him. He’s a great fighter and he’s been avoided, our paths have crossed and we have to fight. The winner is number one.”
Demetrius Andrade – Providence, Rhode Island – 25 (16) – 0 – challenging WBO World Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.
“It’s an honour to be fighting at the TD Garden, we’re giving you the best fight in boxing this year, you have to be there.
“Billy Joe is a great fighter, an undefeated southpaw, he’s ugly looking, but he can fight – but your boy Demetrius Andrade always come through. Never have I failed to come out with the victory.
“It’s going to be an entertaining build up and I’m thrilled to be working with Eddie Hearn, he’s bringing boxing at the highest level out here – there’s no sport like boxing, and we’re showcasing it in Boston.
“We’re going to be in shape to do 12 rounds, I know I have the bigger dog inside me than Billy Joe, and I’m going to unleash that on him on October 20.”
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland
Tevin Farmer – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 26 (5) – 4 (2) – 1 – defending his IBF World Super-Featherweight title against James Tennyson.
“It’s been a long time coming for me to fight as a World champion. October 20, we’re coming to bring the pain. The last time I fought in Boston I fought Emanuel Gonzalez in June 2014 and it changed my life.
“I don’t know much about James but you don’t get to this level for no reason and I know he’s going to come to fight and try to beat Tevin Farmer. I’ve been one of the hottest fighters over the last few years, to beat me, he’s going to need to bring a knife and a gun because it’s not going to be easy – he needs to make sure he brings his A-game.”
James Tennyson – Belfast, Northern Ireland – 22 (18) – 2 (2) – challenging IBF World Super-Featherweight champion Tevin Farmer.
“It’s amazing to be involved in such a huge bill in a great city like Boston – and it’s going to be even better when I leave with the IBF World title.”
Katie Taylor – Bray, Ireland – 10 (5) – 0 – defending her WBA and IBF World Lightweight titles against Cindy Serrano.
“It’s great to be here, I love this city and it’s going to be like a homecoming fight for me with all the Irish fans living here. I want to thank Cindy for taking this fight, these are the types of fights that I absolutely relish, it’s going to be a really exciting clash alongside some brilliant fighters on the rest of the bill, I can’t wait.”
Cindy Serrano – Brooklyn, New York (born in Puerto Rico) – 27 (10) – 5 – 3 – challenging WBA and IBF World Lightweight champion Katie Taylor.
“Katie is a tremendous fighter and a hard worker so I know it’s going to be a hard fight, but a great fight. I am a great fighter too and not only can we both fight, we look good doing it – and we’re going to prove that on October.
Kid Galahad – Sheffield, England – 24 (15) – 0 – facing Toka Kahn Cleary in a final eliminator for the IBF World Featherweight title.
“We’re not here to play marbles, we’re here to take over. I’m over here to hurt this man, real bad. Me and Billy Joe Saunders are not joking – we’re coming to get big wins and in style.
Toka Kahn Cleary – Providence, Rhode Island – 25 (17) – 1 (1) – facing Kid Galahad in a final eliminator for the IBF World Featherweight title.
“It’s great to be on this huge bill alongside my big brother Demetrius Andrade and a lot of great fighters. I work very hard in the gym and I belong on the big stage, I promise you that after October 20, Toka Kahn Cleary is going to be fighting for a World title.”
Billy Joe Saunders – Demetrius Andrade Fight Promotion Kicks Off In Entertaining Fashion
By: Sean Crose
Some press conferences are boring. Some are so over the top, they’re off-putting. Friday’s kickoff for the WBO middleweight championship of the world between champion Billy Joe Saunders and Demetrius Andrade was downright entertaining. Andrade decided to show his patriotism for the crowd gathered in Boston by dressing as a colonial soldier while England’s Saunders had some gems of his own to deliver. The fight, which goes down October 20th at Boston’s TD Garden, is being promoted by Eddie Hearn, and will have a strong undercard, featuring such notables as Tevin Farmer, Katie Taylor and Scott Quigg.
“The red jackets are here!” Andrade yelled in reference to the red uniformed British soldiers who used to occupy Boston at the dawn of the American Revolution. “We look good,” Saunders quipped in response, “but we’re mean m—–f—–s!” It may have been a bit vulgar at times, but this kickoff was as good natured as it was rowdy. Here were two fighters, both flamboyant, who seemed to actually like each other on a personal level, but were not afraid to go at it with the verbal jabs. Unlike last year’s Mayweather-McGregor pre fight tour, no one here seemed to be trying too hard.
“Billy Joe Saunders, yes, he’s a great fighter,” said Andrade. “Southpaw. Undefeated. Ugly looking. But he is a great fighter, yes.” Saunders took a moment to note the seriousness nature of the boxing business. While bringing up the fact that Canelo-Golovkin 2 is currently boxing’s big ticket, he added this dig at his fellow middleweights: “Does anybody want to fight Demetrius Andrade?” he asked. “Does anybody want to fight me? No.” Saunders made it clear that the two best men at middleweight aren’t Canelo or Golovkin, but Andrade and himself. “Technically,” he said, “we are the two best in the division and the winner of this fight will prove to be number one.”
Aside from the fact that there seems to be no bad blood between the combatants, another thing that separates Saunders-Andrade from Canelo-GGG 2 is the fact that both Saunders and Andrade are known as scientific fighters. In other words, the slickness and skill of both men can supersede the thrill factors that they can being to a bout. Saunders’ match last year against a way over his head David Lemieux, however, showed that slickness and skill can make for an entertaining fight. “This is going to be a really, really good fight,” said Saunders. “October 20th you have to be there,” claimed Andrade, “you have to see it.”
Demetrius Andrade Will Rise
Demetrius Andrade Will Rise
By: Brandon Bernica
The first time I glanced at Demetrius Andrade doing work in a boxing ring, I was floored. Right before he was scheduled to fight Vanes Martirosyan for the WBO junior middleweight crown, I decided to scout out this former Olympian. Immediately, his form grabs your attention. Somehow his pristine punches freeze his opponents just out of range. If said opponents try to overextend into his space, he slides to the sides, knowing full well how badly they’re going to whiff before they even punch. His real genius, however, is in his return, in how he seems to choose the right punch at the right time to optimize every exchange for his benefit.
If you think I’m mistaken, I wouldn’t blame you. Andrade is a promoter’s dream – a true talent with proven skills and unbridled confidence. His resume isn’t sparse, either, consisting of wins against well-known contenders like Martirosyan and Willie Nelson. But before you take your money to Bank Andrade and deposit every cent of stock you own, listen. Because Andrade’s story feels incomplete, and it has nothing to do with his performance inside the ropes.
The truth is, Andrade struggles to find an enclave in boxing’s revolving carousel of niches. Not to his own fault, he fights with gusto and barks for any top-dog to go against him. As you start peeling the layers back from Andrade’s career, you notice that the only figures lacking confidence in his abilities are the team around him. Promotionally, Andrade’s never been pushed as an attraction, and it shows in the gun-shy nature of Banner Promotion’s matchmaking for him. Fans have had nothing to get excited about – no big fights, no buzz, no engendering to the public. When he signed a deal to appear exclusively on the Showtime networks, many believed that would be the beginning of an Andrade run at stardom. Instead, Showtime has been reluctant to showcase him, despite little rationale behind that decision. Training-wise, he’s outlasted multiple changes at the helm. While anyone would call it foolish to believe that men like his father and the great Virgil Hunter couldn’t see the prospects in his future, clearly the issue of consistency behind his career lingers.
If anything, Andrade should have the fans in his back pocket, right? Wrong. Fans just haven’t developed any large swell of support for Andrade despite his credentials. One theory behind this disappointing turn out (or turn-away) might be the color of Andrade’s skin. Boxing fans quickly identify black fighters as slick boxer-punchers, lazy bylines moving uninspired, predetermined narratives. And the thing is, Andrade is slick and is a boxer-puncher. But he’s so much more than that. He loves to mix it up. He uses the ring as his playground, bobbing and weaving and punching from every angle the sun shines on. Yet much of this is missed when you box him into stereotypes, limiting perspective to what you expect to see over what you actually see.
If Demetrius Andrade’s story seems unfair, consider this: the man’s thrived under the radar. He grew up in the sliver of the nation in Rhode Island, away from the burning lights of fame. In 2008, his Olympic experience was overshadowed by the likes of Raushee Warren, Gary Russell Jr., and Deontay Wilder. Even against Martirosyan, it was Vanes, not Andrade, who was expected to blossom at the professional level. His ship has tossed and turned amongst the waves already. Fortunately, he’s a pro at righting the ship, thriving in the undertow of boxing. One day, everything will fall in place, or, just maybe, it won’t. To spin an old adage – don’t blame the player, blame the game.