Is the Welterweight Division Still the Strongest in Boxing?
By: Ken Hissner
The welterweight division is packed with talented boxers and mentioned as the toughest division in boxing. The WBA Super World champion is Keith “One Time” Thurman, 28-0 (22), of Clearwater, FL, who lost the WBC title due to inactivity. He defeated Shawn “Showtime” Porter, 28-2-1 (17), of Las Vegas, NV, in June of 2016, and Garcia in his last bout and is scheduled to fight on August 4th at the Barclay Center in NY, with an opponent yet named. Since his top two contenders are scheduled it may be No. 3 Jamal “Shango” James, 23-1 (10), of Minneapolis, MN. He last fought in April defeating Abel Ramos, 18-2-2. His only loss was to the Cuban Ugas.
Thurman in his last bout some fifteen months ago by split decision defeated WBC champion Danny “Swift” Garcia, 33-0, at the Barclay Center, in Brooklyn, NY. Porter won the WBC Silver title in November 2017. He entered the ring over the weekend barking at Garcia who had just defeated Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, 34-4-1 (25). Porter had to be escorted out of the ring. He and Garcia will fight!
Former champion Kell Brook, 37-2 (26), lost to Errol “The Truth” Spence, Jr., 24-0 (21), in May of 2017 and rebounded defeating Siarhei Rabchanka, 29-2, of Belarus. Spence of DeSoto, TX, who in his second defense on June 16th in Dallas, TX, knocked out No. 1 contender Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo, 22-0, in the first round, who was his mandatory. Brook is rumored to fight fellow UK and former champion No. 9 WBC Amir “King” Khan, 32-4 (20), who in April stopped Phil Lo Greco, 28-3.
Lucas “La Maquina,” Matthysse, 39-4 (36), of Argentina won the WBA World title stopping Tewa Kiram, 38-1, of Thailand, in January. He is now scheduled to meet former champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, 59-7-2 (38), on July 15th. “Pac Man” hasn’t fought since losing a highly disputed decision to Jeff Horn in July of 2017.
Speaking of Horn, he was defeated by former unified super lightweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford, 33-0 (24), in June stopping him in the 9th round. He is scheduled to return home to Omaha, NEB, in October to defend his title. Custio Clayton, 15-0 (10), of Montreal, Canada, is his No. 1 contender.
Garcia, 34-1 (20), of Philadelphia, PA, lost his WBC title to Thurman in March of 2017. He just had his first fight since then stopping the former WBA Lightweight champion Brandon Rios, 34-4-1, this past weekend. Garcia was asked afterwards if he wanted a rematch with Thurman and he said “that’s up to him.” Garcia is No. 1 in the WBC and will meet No. 2 the former champion Shawn “Showtime” Porter, 28-2-1 (17), for the vacant title. Porter hasn’t fought since November.
Pacquiao is ranked No. 1 in the WBA. Cuban Yordenis Ugas, 22-3 (11), of Miami, FL, who is No. 2 in the IBF with the top spot vacant stopped “The New” Ray Robinson, 24-3, of Philadelphia, PA, in June to earn that ranking. He may be the next opponent for Spence.
Jesse “The Pride of Las Vegas” Vargas, 28-2-1 (10), of Las Vegas, NV, is No. 2 in the WBA, No. 3 in the WBC and WBO. He lost to Pacquiao in November of 2016. In April he drew with former champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner, 33-3-1, of Cincinnati, now No. 4 in the WBO.
So, as you can see there are plenty of possible matches to be made. Though Thurman was the man to beat he has been idle and coming off an injury. So now the main fight fans want is “when do Spence and Crawford meet?” Don’t be in a hurry to see this one for there will be a big build-up for that one!
Japan’s Naoya “Monster” Inoue Becomes 3-Division World Champion
By: Ken Hissner
Japan’s Naoya “Monster” Inoue, now 16-0 (14), won the WBA World Bantamweight title on May 25th stopping champion Jamie McDonnell, 29-2-1, of the UK @1:52 of the 1st round at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. This is the third division title Inoue has won.
In Inoue’s next to last fight in December of 2017 Inoue defended his WBO World Super Flyweight title for the seventh time stopping Yoan “Yo Boy” Boyeaux, 41-4, of Beaune, France, at 1:40 of the 3rd round at the Bunka Gym, in Yokohama, Japan.
In the sixth fight of Inoue’s career he won the WBC World Light Flyweight title stopping Adrian “Big Bang” Hernandez, 29-3-1, of Toluca, MEX, at 2:54 of the 6th round in April 2014. He made one defense.
In December of 2014, Inoue knocked out the former WBO Flyweight champion Omar Andres Narvaez, 43-1-2, of Chubut, Argentina, to win his WBO World Super Flyweight title @3:01 of the 2nd round. Narvaez still holds the all-time record of 27 title defenses. In Inoue’s only bout outside of Japan he fought in the US stopping Antonio Nieves, 17-1-2, in September of 2017 at the Stub-Hub Center, in Carson, CA.
Inoue has wins over three current world champions including WBA Super World Bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett, 19-0 (9), of Belfast, No. Ireland, the WBO World Bantamweight champion Zolani “Last Born” Tete, 27-3 (21), of Eastern Cape, So. Africa and IBF World Bantamweight champion Emmanuel “Manny” Rodriguez, 18-0 (12), of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. All were in the World Boxing Super Series.
In Inoue’s only non-stoppage wins in his fourth fight he won the Japanese Light Flyweight title defeating Ryoichi Taguchi, 18-1-1, over 10 rounds. The other decision win was defeating David “Severo” Carmona, 20-2-5, of Mexico City, Mexico, over 12 rounds in a WBO World Super Flyweight defense.
The WBC title is vacant. Their No. 1 contender is the WBC Silver champion Nordine Oubaali, 14-0 (11), of France who on June 23rd will meet the No. 2 contender Tassana “Petch Sor Chitpattanna” Sanpattan, 46-0 (31), of Roi-Et, Thailand. The site has not yet been announced. Neither fighter has fought outside his country.
From 2010 to 2012 as an amateur Inoue competed in five major tournaments winning but one of them. He was 13-4 losing to Cuban Yosvany Veitia twice, Iran’s Masoud Rigi and Kazakhstan’s Birzahn Zhakipov of which none of these three ever turned professional.
Since Inoue has defeated the WBO, IBF and WBA Super World champions in the past they may not be too eager to unify titles fighting him. He just turned 25 in April so he is young enough to wait them out or possibly move up the Super Bantamweight division. The four world champions are the IBF’s Ryosuke Iwasa, 25-2 (16), of Chiba, Japan, WBC’s Rey Vargas, 32-0 (22), of Otumba, Mexico, WBA Daniel “Danny the Baby Faced Assassin” Roman, 24-2-1 (9), of L.A., CA, and the newly crowned WBO’s Isaac “Brave-Son” Dogbe, 19-0 (13), of Accra, Ghana. The No. 1 WBA contender is the interim champion Reymart “Assassin” Gabalo, 19-0 (16), of General Santos City, Philippines.
So the future is very bright for the 3-Division champion Inoue who joins two other current multi-division champions. The IBF World Super Lightweight champion Mikey Garcia, 38-0 (30), of Moreno Valley, CA, is a 4-division champion who in July defends his title against the IBF World Lightweight champion Robert Easter, Jr. He held the WBO Feather, WBO Super Feather and WBC Lightweight titles. The WBA Super World Lightweight champion is the Ukraine’s Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko, 11-1 (9), of Oxnard, CA. He also held the WBO Feather and Super Feather titles.
So as you can see there are many opportunities in the future for Japan’s unbeaten newly crowned WBA World Bantamweight champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue!
The Current Future of Boxing’s Heavyweight Division is Bright
By: James Risoli
In the pugilistic art form of the boxing world the title of heavyweight champion has always reigned supreme. Even the term heavyweight bears a deeper unknown subconscious meaning to the sport. Those brave warriors who seek after the glory of one day having their hands raised inside the square circle and being crowned heavyweight champion bear the “heavy weighted” burden of boxing’s life force. Heavyweights have always carried the sport from its lowest of lows to its highest of highs. From the roaring 20’s and 1930’s when “The Manassa Mauler” Jack Dempsey and “The Brown Bomber” Joe Louis would become cultural icons for their aggressive fighting styles and sensational boxing power to the golden age of boxing of the 1960’s and 70’s where names like Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Muhammad Ali, and many others were spoken in every household across America and throughout the boxing world. In the 1990’s “Iron Mike” Tyson and Evander Holyfield, as well as, Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe continued to carry the torch and brought fights inside the homes of boxing fans to forever to be watched, scrutinized, awed, and watched again for years and years to come. These men and many others imprinted their legacy on the sport and cemented the idea that the man who holds the heavyweight title holds the keys to the heart of boxing and its masses.
Then something happened. Boxing fell into a seemingly dark age. An age where Wladimir Klitschko and his brother Vitali would reign supreme and seemingly freeze the heavyweight division of boxing for over a decade. Nothing against Wladimir Klitschko. The man himself is an all-time great and a future hall of famer, who achieved the highest distinctions any one man before him named could achieve, yet something was missing. The glory that was once the heavyweight division started to fade and boxing’s life blood was being diverted elsewhere as were many of it fans. The lighter divisions started to stamp their own mark on the sport of boxing with fighters like Arturo Gatti, Micky Ward, Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Manny Pacquiao now being where most eyes of the fans were being diverted. Why? What happened to the heavyweight division and the days where fans would flock to their televisions or to the arenas to witness these warriors that once held the hearts of the fans?
Boxing Dark Ages was not the fault of one man. It was not brought about by Wladimir Klitschko. By no fault of his own Wladimir Klitschko ruled in a time where the heavyweight division was bogged down by mediocre competition and the honest lack of quality opposition, talent and durability. Or could it have been an even deeper unsaid theory that threw the heavyweight division in a state of limbo? Could it have been the lack of an American or English Heavyweight contender for fans to get behind?
Either way all one has to do is to look at the heavyweight division as of today and see that those two questions are moot. The heavyweight division is teeming with young talent with the likes of Adam Kownacki, Dominic Breazeale, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, Daniel Dubois, Jermaine Franklin, and Darmani Rock. We just recently in the past 30 days got to witness four undefeated heavyweights in title bout eliminators, one of which took place at Principality Stadium in Cardiff Wales in front of 80,000 fans and viewed across the worlds by millions. The other in New York City, the mecca city of boxing, where two undefeated champions went toe-to-toe for ten grueling rounds. Americans now have their first true American heavyweight champion to get behind in decades and our friends across the pound over in the U.K. have theirs. Those of you reading this article have seen and have beared witness to the two men that now seek to release the heavyweight division from the shackles of the dark ages. Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua are becoming the new household names of the heavyweight division. They are battling the ghosts of the past to become the new legends of the future. It is an exciting time for the heavyweight division. One of these men wants to have his hand raised in that square circle with the same meaning the title held previously and you can best believe the competition behind will be gunning for the same. A division that has been asleep has now been stirred from its slumber and once again the warriors of the heavyweight division are on a mission to become the life force of the boxing world and take back the most important and prestigious division in boxing.
Is the Welterweight Division the Strongest in Boxing?
By: Ken Hissner
The welterweight division is packed with talented boxers and mentioned as the toughest division in boxing. The WBA Super World and WBC champion is Keith “One Time” Thurman, 28-0 (22), of Clearwater, FL, who defeated Shawn “Showtime” Porter, 28-2-1 (17), of Las Vegas, NV, in June of 2016. Thurman is scheduled to defend his title May 19th at the Barclay Center, in Brooklyn, NY, with an opponent to be named. Thurman hasn’t fought since March of 2017. Porter won the WBC Silver title in November 2017. He also lost to Kell Brook, of the UK. He entered the ring over the weekend barking at Garcia who had just defeated Brandon Rios. He had to be escorted out of the ring.
Devon Alexander “The Great”, 27-4-1 (14), of St. Louis lost his IBF title to Porter in December of 2013. He drew with the former WBC champion Victor Ortiz, 32-6-3 (25), of Ventura, CA, this past weekend and was robbed. Porter lost it to Kell Brook, of the UK, in August of 2014. Brook lost it to Errol Spence, Jr. in May of 2017 and hasn’t fought since and dropped out of the ratings. Spence still holds the title and is 23-0 (20), of DeSoto, TX, and in his once defense he stopped Lamont Peterson, 35-4-1, in January of 2018 who is no longer in the ratings. Spence is scheduled to defend his title on June 16th in Dallas, TX, with an opponent to be announced.
Lucas “La Maquina,” Matthysse, 39-4 (36), of Argentina won the WBA World title stopping Tewa Kiram, 38-1, of Thailand, in January of 2018, and Kiram is no longer in the ratings. Matthysse lost to Danny “Swift” Garica in 2013 at Super Lightweight.
Garcia, 34-1 (17), of Philadelphia, PA, lost his WBC title to Thurman in March of 2017. He just had his first fight since then stopping the former WBA Lightweight champion Brandon Rios, 34-4-1, this past weekend. Garcia was asked afterwards if he wanted a rematch with Thurman and he said “that’s up to him.” Garcia is No. 2 in the WBC and No. 1 in the WBA.
The WBO champion is Australia’s Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, 18-0-1 (12), who won the title on a gift decision over former world champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, 59-7-2 (38), of the Philippines in July of 2017. Horn must fight his No. 1 contender Terence “Bud” Crawford, 32-0 (23), of Omaha, NEB, who held the four organization title at Super Lightweight and is having his first welterweight fight. That is scheduled for April 14th in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao is ranked No. 3 by the WBC and No. 2 by both the WBA and WBO. He is scheduled to fight Mike Alvarado, 38-4 (26), of Thornton, CO, April 14th in Las Vegas. The IBF’s No. 1 and No. 2 slots are vacant. Cuban Yordenis Ugas, 21-3 (10), of Miami, FL, who is No. 14 and stopped No. 11 “The New” Ray Robinson, 24-3, of Philadelphia, PA, over the weekend with the winner promised the No. 2 spot.
The No. 3 spot in the IBF is held by Carlos “Chema” Ocampo, 22-0 (13), of Baja CA, Mexico, who has never fought outside of Mexico. He has not defeated anyone of record but still has that high rating. Either Ugas or Ocampo may get that title shot at Spence.
Jesse “The Pride of Las Vegas” Vargas, 28-2 (10), of Las Vegas, NV, is No. 3 in the WBA and No. 4 in both the WBC and IBF. He lost to Pacquiao in November of 2016. Vargas outgrew his WBA Super Lightweight title after his November 2014 defense and has gone 2-2 since.
The UK’s British champion Bradley Skeete, 27-1 (12), is the WBO No. 3 and IBF No. 5 contender. He hasn’t fought since July of 2017. Another unbeaten contender is Russia’s Konstantin Ponomarev, 32-0 (13), living in Big Bear, CA, ranked No. 9 in the IBF and No. 8 in the WBC.
So, to summarize the situation in the welterweight division both WBC and WBA champion Thurman and IBF champion Spence, Jr. have defenses scheduled without opponents at this time. Horn will be meeting Crawford who is heavily favored to take that title. Thurman may be fighting his No. 1 contender Porter. Spence could fight Ugas, Ocampo or Vargas. The division is wide open for some great fights!
Timothy Bradley Jr.: The Desert Storm
Timothy Bradley Jr.: The Desert Storm
By: Francisco Martinez
Timothy Bradley Jr. one of the most exciting fighters in boxing today has been out of action since his loss this past April to 8 division champion Manny Pacquiao in what was a tie breaker in a very unexpected trilogy. Bradley was in attendance for commentary work for this past Saturday’s Top Rank PPV card at the StubHub Center which saw Oscar Valdez, Zurdo Ramírez and Jessie Magdaleno all successfully defend their WBO titles in front of a packed house.
After the fight Bradley gratefully gave his time to the media and answered a few questions. The very first question was actually from a fan who asked Bradley when he was going to step back into the ring and Bradley replied “I don’t know I think I honestly need a tune up fight on the way back” as to who Bradley had in mind as a possible tune up he quickly noted Adrien Broner and when asked of Broner’s recent troubles he said “I don’t know but I think that would be a good tune up for me” when asked why he liked Adrien Broner as a tune up he replied “why not? why not? That’s the question and I think it makes a lot of sense. I think people would love to see that” all fans present quickly agreed by shouting yes to Bradley’s belief of Broner making good for a tune up and an exciting fight.
Timothy Bradley Jr. is in a packed division with the likes of Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Kell Brook and legend Manny Pacquiao still out there beating guys half his age. Also young up and comers like Errol Spence Jr and primed veterans like Danny Garcia as well the already mentioned Adrien Broner. However Bradley keeping in mind he’s been out of the ring for about a year or so a tune up makes all the sense for his career as he eyes a possible September return date. As for the lay off Bradley said this about it “it kind of just happened that way but you know what I believe everything happens for a reason and there’s a reason why I had this big long lay off. Let my body heal up and give my brain a rest from taking all them punches. I’ve been doing this for 23 years man, you know, it’s been a long journey but I can’t wait to get back in it. I got super excited seeing this fight tonight it got my blood boiling boy, I’m boiling”
Maybe Bradley can look for a MMA fighter for his tune up? Given the back and forward between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC star, MMA’s pound for pound number one fighter in the world Conor McGregor anything seems to be on the table granted McGregor wouldn’t mind Manny Pacquiao either if Mayweather “craps his jocks” and doesn’t go through with their fight why wouldn’t Bradley be as good of an option? Anyways Bradley touched on the potential mega fight between Mayweather and McGregor had this to say about the boxing vs MMA circus act
“what do I think about it? Honestly man, I’m gonna watch the fight, in my honest opinion, I’m gonna watch the fight. We know what it’s about, we are fight fans and everything, Conor McGregor has never been in the ring, yeah he’s the best MMA fighter, he’s the biggest name and it makes sense. He called out Floyd Mayweather and Floyd Mayweather is just trying to make it real like, okay, alright, put your money where your mouth is. If you really wanna do this let’s do this but we’re gonna do it in the ring so, I mean, the advantage goes to Mayweather. Mayweather is always strategic and he’s strategic with his business as well, you know, so I think it’s a money grab and I think everybody is gonna watch it. We know what it’s about but I think it’s gonna be fun and I think Mayweather destroys, destroys like destroys Conor McGregor”
Obviously Timothy Bradley knows the business side of boxing as he clearly states that Mayweather vs McGregor is just that, a good business move. During his time off Bradley made a business move and has now ventured into the business side of boxing by managing a couple of fighters along side his wife something to keep him busy until he finds his way back into the ring. This is what sets Bradley apart from the other fighters being a very intelligent individual and thinking his every next move outside of boxing as he does inside the squared circle.
Options for Timothy Bradley are wide and vary earlier in the year Miguel Cotto was mentioned at a possible 155lbs catch weight there’s also 2 division champion Jessie Vargas who’s been hunting down a rematch with Bradley after a controversial ending to the first one that actually took place in the same venue BoxingInsider caught up Bradley. Visit us on a daily as we bring you the latest and breaking news in boxing.