Interview with Gary Rae: A Painter and a Boxer
By: Oliver McManus
On the same card as Josh Taylor vs Viktor Postol, Gary Rae took to the ring for the eight time as a professional boxer with the 29 year old looking to move up the ranks as quickly as possible. A full time painter-decorator, I rang up Gary whilst he was poolside in Tenerife and, whilst I know I’ve got to refrain from too much of an opinion, he has to be one of the nicest guys I’ve met since I’ve started covering the sport of boxing.
Gary is unique in that his trainer, Mark Breslin, has been coaching him since the amateur days – way back in 2010, when the Barrhead super bantamweight first took up boxing – and their relationship, as he goes on to say, has developed to such an extent their like father and son. The following is our conversation, talking everything from last week’s fight, THAT relationship with Mark, targeting titles and, most importantly, what type of sweet he’d be – we’ll start about sixty seconds in;
… “I’m good Gary, I feel like I’ve woken you up!”
No what it is, is, I’m actually on holiday in Tenerife, we’d book it at Christmas time for my mum, my sister, my girlfriend and my eight year old nephew – his first time abroad – and when they first announced the fight it was a strange one, it was originally the 9th June and then they pushed it back a bit and I was flying out at six in the morning on the Sunday (24th) so I had to get from Glasgow back to Barrhead which is around an hour’s drive, pack my suitcase and then get on down to the airport.
How long are you there for?
Just a week, flying back out on Sunday.
I mean, holiday aside, the obvious starting point is the fight on Saturday (against Johnson Tellez), how do you feel it went?
It was great just to get the win, I felt it was a good fight but I was a bit slow to start. He was working well behind the jab and I feel the occasion was a real eye opener for me, I was looking round and thinking “that’s more than my mum and my girlfriend cheering for me”. It was an awesome atmosphere to come out just before Josh but I think I was trying a wee bit too hard for the stoppage. Near the end I was loading up trying to chase Tellez around the ring instead of cutting it off but it was a great experience for me and he was throwing some shots back, caught me with a couple.
He was only small but he really didn’t stop throwing punches, was it hard to get into your rhythm?
Yeah it really was, at the weigh in I knew he was pretty small but when we got into the weigh in I thought “my god, he’s tiny” and from then I knew it would be really difficult to catch him clean, I think a few times it was hard to get down to his level, I’m used to throwing shots straight, but he was so small and I don’t think I’ve even sparred with anyone that small but it was hard work to put punches together.
He could just roll and step out the distance, I have quite long levers but I couldn’t get the distance for a couple rounds; he was throwing the punches and moving around and his shots were ones that could have been dangerous if I wasn’t fully switched on.
I tried to keep it 1, 2, 3, back to basics and keep my distance, land some nice body shots. I haven’t seen it back myself but my coach, Mark (Breslin), was telling me to keep my distance and not to get involved too close because he was worried about head-clashes and getting a cut. I did end up getting a wee lump above my left temple from a clash of head – it was nothing major, it went down after a couple days.
And this was your third fight of 2018, how often can we expect to see you out in the remaining six months?
I would like to be out again as soon as possible, to be honest, I’m always of the opinion that although I still work full time, boxing is my other job and it’s my full time job, too. It’s my job to always be ready to fight – I’m a painter and decorator so at any moment I’ve got to go and paint someone’s house and I think it should be the same the other way round, I should always be ready for a fit. I’m always fit, I’m always in the gym and I live a healthy life so I am always ready whenever I get the opportunity.
Ideally as soon as possible but speaking with Iain Wilson, my promoter, I think he’s having a public show in Paisley Lagoon in October (6th) and I’d like to get out on that after a wee break but as soon as I get home I’ll be back in the gym; it would be great to have two or three by the end of the year, get to 10 and 0 in my second year as a professional, looking at what’s going to come up next and I’m excited to see what we can really do.
Not sure what’s happening with Josh’s world title fight, I see some rumours it may be in New York, but it’ll be great if it’s in Scotland so I can be on the undercard of a world title fight and that would be amazing.
How hard is it to fit training in and around working full time?
Yeah, I can’t lie, it is really hard to get through but as you say it is something I have to get used to because I don’t have loads of money where I can fund being a full time boxer so I work full time, get up at half four in the morning, go and do my training – strength and conditioning or runs – then I go out for eight, nine hours at work, get home and change my clothes and then it’s straight back out sparring, boxing training, strength and conditioning at night.
Every day is planned out from getting up and I try to get to bed as soon as I can, I don’t like to get to bed too late as sleep is really important for recovery and I always have a rest day…
… I have a rest day every Thursday and I’ll always go and visit my gran, go up and have a wee gab with my gran whilst Sunday’s are meal prep day and I’ll make 20-30 meals for the week ahead so, yeah, it is tough work but I love it, I love the sport of boxing and I’m trying to test myself to see how good I am – that’s all it’s ever been about, since the amateur’s and now I’m a bit older than most people at this stage but I’ll give it a good go.
The fight on Saturday was part of a Cyclone Promotions card, live on Channel 5, how did it feel to be on TV or was it just a regular fight?
No it’s a bit of difference, I felt, my first two fights were in Saint Andrews, in Glasgow, and they were broadcast on STV 2 – so not a big channel – but the difference from there to this one was massive, I felt quite a bit nervous and to see all the messages from my friends and family, I was trying not to think about it but I knew everyone back in Barrhead would be watching and wanting me to win and all of a sudden I started thinking “what if I don’t win, what if I don’t perform well” and I had to get rid of those doubts, my coach Mark was telling me it was nothing.
“As soon as you get in that ring it’s just me and you, nothing else matters, just listen to what I say and box well, try and enjoy it but don’t get involved with the crowd” and I think I did that okay, it wasn’t a bad performance, I’d have liked to put together a few more combinations but I did struggle with his height.
As the interview progressed it was clear to see that Gary was one of those guy’s in the professional scene still doing it for the love of boxing as opposed to trying to rake in the big bucks – of course that would be an added bonus but it’s not the driving factor – and there was one distinct inspiration for Gary in his coach Mark Breslin, himself 15 and 0 as a professional, and a man who Gary likens to a father-figure;
For me it’s so important (continuity), I need that. Mark has looked after me since I started boxing in 2010 as an amateur – he had a good amateur, and professional, career, I think he had 15 fights as a pro with 15 wins – he knows what it’s all about but he’s someone I look up to as a father figure. I don’t have a dad in my life and I’ve got a really good bond with Mark, he’s someone who’s got two children himself so he’s like the dad I never had, a really tight relationship, I can speak to him about anything and it’s good to know there’s a mutual trust and genuine care for each other outside of boxing.
Whatever happens Mark will look after me and he knows my mentality and how much I can endure and that we’re not going to fall out over anything because we know each other so well. It’s really great to have that and not many others have that relationship with their coach, other than when they train with their dad, Mark is just loyal to the end.
If we talk about motivation, what is it that gets you through those dark times?
Sometimes if I’m at work, I just sit there and I’m surrounded by paint and I think “I’m going to have work a bit longer, I just won’t go for that run tonight”, when I sit down for five minutes I just think even if I don’t have another opponent I’m always trying to improve, trying to work harder than the next guy to make sure I don’t get beat in the next fight and that’s the way I look at it. If I don’t do it then I’m not going to perform, I’m 100% or nothing with everything I do whether that’s painting or boxing, I always want to do the best job and I will always give 100%, blood, sweat and tears. If I don’t win I want to be able to say it was by the better man not because I didn’t give everything and I will never cut corners, I need to know I’ve given myself the best opportunity.
Super bantamweight at the moment, is there potential for you to move up or down a weight?
They billed the last fight at featherweight, I’ve no idea why…
You weighed in about 123 (lbs) or 124…
Yeah I was eight stone 11 pounds but I was told I could come in up to nine stone – they told me that two weeks before the fight but, by then, I was already down at eight stone nine so I just had a couple days where I could eat and I was eating and drinking. I’m one of these freaks of nature that can still make super-bantam really well, I’m really tall, I think I’m 5”10, I’ve always been slim.
I tell you what, Gary, I’m six foot and I weight about 7st 12lbs…
That’s incredible pal, that’s a proper freak of nature right there. You’ll know what it’s like, then, I’ve got no problem making weight even if I do eat a little bit so I could see myself getting to bantamweight if an opportunity were to pop up but I couldn’t go any lower. If anything were to pop up at bantam, super bantam, even feather, I’m not afraid to shy away from these fights.
Looking at titles then, how long is it before you’re in the mix?
If I’m honest I’m really not sure, I’m ready to fight for the Commonwealth title and I would like that by the end of this year or even next year. I know it was vacant for a while and I was ready, I’m not sure who had it now (Ashley Lane) but I think that could be a title I would be capable of challenging for by the end of this year. I think Thomas Patrick Ward has vacant the (British) title so I feel Jazza Dickens vs Martin Ward, I think Jazza would win that, and it’s been made for the end of July. I think that’s a while away and I need experience before I challenge one of those boys over 12 but I’ve been doing that in sparring. I think I would need more rounds to mentally tick the box to show myself I can deal with the pressure under the lights, I do keep myself fit but I think there would be a difference in the ring mentally, especially when they’ve been there and done it for a few fights, I think a couple of 8-10 round fights then I’d be happy to challenge anyone for anything that came up.
Joe Ham is the Scottish Area champion (although he lost his challenge for the Celtic belt), would you fancy that sort of level or would you rather go straight in with a bigger title?
I’m quite happy to go straight in purely because of my age, I know I don’t really have that long and I would like to just kick on after another couple of fights and try for the bigger fights. I’m not sure if at 34 I still want to be taking punches every other day, working a full time job, I can’t see that happening but if something were to come up, I’m like every other fighter, I dream of a world title but you’ve just got to work towards it and hopefully one day it can materialize, secure me financially for a few years and enable me to do it a bit longer but I can’t see doing a job and boxing AND, potentially, starting a family all at the same time.
When you do retire from fighting would we see you as a trainer, a pundit or would you want to leave the sport behind for good?
Funnily enough one of my amateur coaches has often said he could see me in some capacity after I’ve finished as a fighter and I would love to give back to the Barrhead Amateur Boxing Club and help out there, bring through some young talent from my home town. It gave me so much and there’s plenty of people in Barrhead who go to boxing as a way out from family things, whatever it is, I would love to help out some young boy or girl have a professional career, or even just some amateur titles, to give back to my club that has given me, and still does, give me so much. They’re always watching me, supporting me, asking me questions and have always had my back. They tell me they look up to me and I’m always looking up at them, how strong some of the guys are, it’s a funny circle.
You were on the undercard of Josh Taylor vs Viktor Postol, did you catch that fight?
Me and my coach, and my second, we went out and we had, part of the deal, tickets to see the main event so we stayed and watched it together. It was a great fight and you could really see Josh learning on the job, it was a great fight, for a boxer and a fan to watch, you could see them both thinking and it was a really well matched fight.
I don’t want to get you to say anything controversial but what did you make of the scorecards?
Yeah I thought they were wide, I thought Josh won, don’t get me wrong, but I think Viktor Postol was competitive in every round so I can see, objectively, where some people like you or I would have thought Postol got a round, I can see why other people gave it to Taylor when it was 50-50. I definitely thought once Josh got the knockdown, the championship rounds were all his. I had Josh maybe 115-112, something like that, three rounds but it was a really eachy-peachy fight.
Do you think Josh Taylor is the best fighter in the division?
Oh absolutely, I think when Mikey Garcia moved up earlier in the year you could have said that he was the best but, now he’s back at lightweight, it’s hard not to say Josh is the best in the division.
And I want to end on a random question, if you were a sweet, what sweet would you be?
What sweet, erm, that’s a question.
If it helps I think you’d be a fruit pastille…
A fruit pastille? Ollie, you must be kidding. I tell you what though, I do like a wee kinder Bueno so I reckon that would be a fair shout – I don’t really do sweets but I do like a wee bit of chocolate; not like bars, dairy milk, but, I’ve got to admit, a Bueno is like my cheat food.
Thank you very much Gary, I’ll let you get back on with your holiday – don’t get sunburnt!
No worries Ollie, thank you for the opportunity mate, I’ll speak to you soon.
I don’t quite know how to round up this article, which is odd, but I’ve got to say that Gary, without doubt, is one of the nicest, most personable boxers I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to and there’s not a doubt in my mind that he has all the attributes for a successful career – I’m not quite sure why his nickname is Razor, mind, I think it should be Gary “Bueno” Rae.
Showtime Boxing Results: Russell Defeats Diaz, Stevenson and Jack Battle to a Draw
By: William Holmes
Showtime has shown no signs of slowing down in putting on competitive fights with a split site double header on their Showtime World Championship Boxing telecast.
The opening bout of the night was between Gary Russell Jr. (28-1) and Joseph Diaz (26-0) for the WBC Featherweight Title. This bout took place at The Theater at the MGM Grand National Harbor in Maryland.
Joseph Diaz entered the ring first and Russell second to a much louder ovation.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Both boxers were southpaws and Diaz looked like the bigger fighter, but Russell established early on that he had the better hand speed. He was active with his jab in the opening round and had a strong start to the fight.
Russell continued with his jab in the early parts of the second round, but Diaz had some moderate success to the body and ended the round strong.
The third round was a closer round, but it looked like Diaz was willing to take a few punches from Russell in order to land one punch of his own. Diaz ended the round with two good straight left hands.
Diaz kept a high guard in the fourth and fifth rounds but Russell landed the higher volume of punches while Diaz landed the harder shots to the body. Diaz had a strong fifth round, but Russell came back in the sixth round with his active jab and high volume output.
Russell was the first man to throw and land in the seventh and eighth rounds and looked like he was beginning to walk away with the fight. Russell hand speed was on full display in the ninth round as Diaz was simply not throwing enough punches.
Diaz had a better tenth round and took more risks than earlier rounds, but was also countered more often by the faster Russell.
The final two rounds featured several fierce exchanges, and Russell looked like he was beginning to fade a little bit in the last round, but Diaz wasn’t able to do enough to get a stoppage.
The Judges scored the fight 115-113, 117-111, and 117-111.
The last fight televised by Showtime was a WBC Light Heavyweight Title Fight between Champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1) and challenger Badou Jack (22-1-2) at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.
Stevenson, a southpaw, and Jack, fighting out of an orthodox stance, had spent the better part of two rounds feeling each other out and tried to find their range. Stevenson was able to land some straight left hands in the second and was more active in the third, but Jack was able to land some counters in the third round.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Jack was able to fire off his punches first in the fourth round but took a good left uppercut from Stevenson with about thirty seconds left. Stevenson was the aggressor in the fifth and sixth rounds while Jack fought mainly out of a tight high guard. Jack was warned for a low blow at the end of the sixth round.
Jack started to come forward in the seventh round and hurt Stevenson with a short right hand followed up by combinations. Jack was snapping the head of Stevenson in the seventh with his uppercuts, but he was warned for a low blow again at the end of the round.
Jack opened up the eighth round with another low blow and Adonis Stevenson was given time to recover. Jack followed up with short right hooks and uppercuts and was able to bust open the nose of Badou jack.
Jack looked like the fresher fighter in the ninth round and had Stevenson stumbling at one point. Stevenson was able to come back and have a strong tenth round when he hurt Jack with a body shot and had Jack peddling backwards.
Stevenson pressed the pace early on in the eleventh round and had Jack in full retreat, but he tired in the middle of the round and Jack re-established dominance in the ring.
Both boxers were able to land some good shots in the final round, but Jack ended the fight strong with a hard combination as the final bell rang.
The judges scored the bout 114-114, 115-113 Jack, 114-114 for a majority draw.
Adonis Steven retains the title with a draw.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Stevenson vs. Jack, Russell vs. Diaz
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime network will broadcast two fights from two separate locations on a split site feature.
One fight will feature a WBC Light Heavyweight Title Fight between current champion Adonis Stevenson and the Swedish fighter Badou Jack. This bout will be taking place in Toronto, Canada at the Air Canada Centre. The other bout will be a WBC Featherweight Title between Gary Russell Jr. and Joseph Diaz Jr.
Photo Credit: Badou Jack Twitter Account
The following is a preview of both televised fights.
Adonis Stevenson (29-1) vs. Badou Jack (22-1-2); WBC Light Heavyweight Title
Adonis Stevenson has often been mentioned as one of the best light heavyweights in the world along with Sergei Kovalev and Andre Ward, but neither of those fights have ever come to fruition and he’s no forty years old and past his athletic prime.
Stevenson will face a very tough opponent in Badou Jack. Jack is six years younger than Stevenson, but has also been more active. He fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016, while Stevenson only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016.
Stevenson will also be giving up about two inches in height to Jack, but he will have a four inch reach advantage. Stevenson will be fighting in his home country which shouldn’t be a big surpise since he has only fought outside of Canada two times. This will be Jack’s first fight outside of the United States since 2010.
Both boxers had successful amateur careers. Stevenson was a Canadian National Champion and Jack was a Swedish National Champion and a competitor in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Andrzej Fonfara, Thomas Williams Jr., Tommy Karpency, Sakio Bika, Tony Bellew, Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson, and Donovan George. His lone loss was the Darnell Boone, which he later avenged.
Jack also has a good professional resume, though his level of competition in recent fights surpasses that of Stevenson. His lone loss was a shocking TKO upset loss to Derek Edwards in 2014. He has two draws against James DeGale and Marco Antonio Periban. He has defeated the likes of Nathan Cleverly, Lucian Bute, George Groves, Anthony Dirrell, and Marco Antonio Periban.
If this fight happened five years ago Stevenson would have to be considered the favorite. But he’s now forty years old and has been fairly inactive recently while Jack has been steadily facing tougher and tougher competition.
If this fight goes to the Judges scorecards Stevenson may have a slight edge since the fight is happening in Canada, but the timing feels right for Jack to pull off a victory.
Gary Russell Jr. (28-1) vs. Joseph Diaz Jr. (26-0); WBC Featherweight Title
Golden Boy Promotions needs to be given credit for their willingness to throw their fighters in the ring with top fighters from other promotions. The Diaz-Russell fight is a good example of Golden Boy taking a risk by putting one of their top guys against an established champion.
Diaz is twenty five and will be four years younger than Russell. However, Joseph Diaz has been very active since 2016. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2017 and four times in 2016. Russell only fought once in 2017, 2016, and in 2015.
Diaz will have about an inch and a half reach height advantage and both boxers have the same reach. They both represented the United States in the Summer Olympics, Russell in 2008 and Diaz in 2012.
Diaz is a southpaw, and the only boxer that Russell lost to, Vasyl Lomachenko, was a southpaw. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Russell has made since he last fought Lomachenko.
Russell represents the biggest test of Diaz’s young career. He has defeated the likes of Victor Terrazas, Rafael Rivera, Manuel Avila, Jayson Velez, and Ruben Tamayo.
Russell has been fairly inactive for a world champion, but has defeated some very good fighters. He has defeated the likes of Oscar Escandon, Patrick Hyland, Jhonny Gonzlaez, and Christopher Martin. His lone loss was the Vasyl Lomachenko, who has since jumped up two weight classes to dethrone Jorge Linares as the Lightweight Champion.
Russell’s inactivity should be of concern to his camp, especially since he’s facing a young, undefeated, challenger who has a strong amateur pedigree.
This fight will be close, but age and activity has this writer giving Diaz a slight edge on Saturday night.
Jeff Horn Defends WBO Welterweight Title by Stopping Gary Corcoran
By: Ken Hissner
WBO Welterweight champion Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, of Brisbane, Australia made his first title defense at the Convention & Exhibition Centre, in Brisbane, Australiaagainst No. 10 contender the British and WBO Inter-Continental champion Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran,of London, UK.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
WBO Welterweight champion Jeff “Hornet” Horn, 18-0-1 (12), of Brisbane, Australia, stopped British & WBO Inter-Continental champion Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran, 17-2 (7), of London, UK, in a blood filled battle on both sides at 1:35 of the eleventh round.
In the first round Horn used the jab from the start. It took close to half a minute for Corcoran to throw a punch. Horn lands the first combination to the head of Corcoran. A Horn jab knocked Corcoran off balance. In the second round a Horn right to the chin of Corcoran stunned Corcoran. Horn did it again seconds later. Corcoran landed his best punch so far a short right to the chin of Horn. Corcoran warned by referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. as Horn got spun around Corcoran hit him from behind. In the third round Horn landed a 3-punch combination on Corcoran. Corcoran spun Horn around landing a left hook to the head. Horn landed a good right to the head of Corcoran who countered with a left hook to the chin. Both fighters warned for dirty tactics by referee Esteves, Jr.
In the fourth round Corcoran landed a good lead right to the head of Horn. Inside Horn landed a left hook to the head of Corcoran as the fight started to heat up. Corcoran back Horn up with separate left then a right to the head. Horn landed a good right to the head of Corcoran within ten seconds of the end of the round with Corcoran getting the final punch in a left hook to the head of Horn. In the fifth round Corcoran landed lead rights to the head of Horn. Horn landed a pair of uppercuts to the chin of Corcoran. A Corcoran left hook to the right ear of Horn got his attention. Horn warned for holding. Corcoran landed a hard overhand right to the head of Horn. In the sixth round Corcoran landed a solid left hook to the head of Horn after some thirty seconds of action. Corcoran cut on the outside of his left eye. It seemed to urge Corcoran to throw more punches as the blood flowed down the side of his face. Horn was cut by the left eye.
In the seventh round with the fight looking even at the halfway point with Horn taking the first three and Corcoran the last three rounds. Horn landed a good combination to the head of Corcoran. Horn landed a lead right knocking the head of Corcoran back. A Corcoran right to the head of Horn knocked him off balance. Corcoran warned for landing a right to the head of Horn after the bell. In the eighth round Horn was cut on the right eye but he came back with a solid combination. Corcoran warned for holding and then Horn for the same. In the ninth round Corcoran backed up Horn with a 3-punch combination. Blood coming down the eyes of both fighters as it gets rough inside. Horn landed a good right uppercut to the chin of Corcoran.
In the tenth round Horn almost put Corcoran through the ropes with a flurry of punches. Corcoran came back with a combination and showing a smile. Corcoran’s left eye bleeding from Horn’s left hooks. Between rounds the ring physician checked the left eye of Corcoran. In the eleventh round a Horn combination knocked Corcoran off balance. Horn in control of the fight as referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. who did a good job throughout had seen enough of the badly cut left eye of Corcoran stopping the fight to in favor of Horn to the disgust of Corcoran for the fight to be stopped by the urging of his corner.
After Horn took the first three and Corcoran the next three Horn took over taking the last four going into the eleventh round. The talk in the ring after the fight was Horn meeting four division super lightweight champion Terence Crawford moving up to welterweight. It would be a giant of a mountain for Horn winning that one. It also leaves former champion Manny Pacquiao out of the picture hoping for a deserving rematch with Horn.
Super middleweight Rohan Murdock, 21-1 (15), Queensland, Australia, defeated Apti “Tiger” Ustarkhanov, 15-3-3 (5), of Kurchaloi, Russia, for the vacant WBO Oriental title.
IBF Pan Pacific Featherweight Champion Nathaniel “Cheeky” May 19-1 (10), Bunbury, Australia, defeated Aelio “Biro” Mesquita, 16-1 (14), San Paulo, Brazil, for the Asia Pacific Title.
Super featherweight southpaw Paul “Showtime” Fleming, 25-0 (16), of Sydney, Australia, defeated Vergil “Strong Man” Putton, 17-9 (8), of Manila, Philippines.
Jeff Horn to Defend WBO Welterweight Title Against Gary Corcoran in Australia
By: Ken Hissner
The new WBO Welterweight champion Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, 17-0-1 (11), makes his first title defense Wednesday at the Convention & Exhibition Centre, in Brisbane, Australia. He will feel at home living in Brisbane as he defends his title against his No. 10 contender the British and WBO Inter-Continental champion Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran, 17-1 (7), of London, UK.
Horn won the title in his last fight in July over former WBC World Flyweight, IBF Super bantamweight, IBF World Featherweight, WBC Super Featherweight, WBC World Lightweight and WBO World Welterweight Champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, 59-6-2, by scores of 117-111, 115-113 twice, at the Suncorp Stadium, in Bribane in July of 2017. The fight was close enough that Pacquiao has demanded a rematch in April in the Philippines when as a Senator of that country he is on break. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one!
The 29 year-old Horn has a win over former IBF World Welterweight Champion Randall “Knock Out-King” Bailey, 46-9 and the WBO African Champion Ali Funeka, 39-6-3. Corcoran’s trainer Frank Greaves has complained that Horn has a reputation for coming forward and using a head butt. The allegation is strongly refuted by the Horn camp.
The 27 year-old Corcoran has defeated other unbeaten boxers such as Rick Skelton, 13-0, Rick Goddine, 21-0-1, Liam Williams, 14-0-1, and in July in his last fight over Larry Ekundayo, 12-0.
The Horn camp may be looking past Corcoran having their eyes on Terence Crawford who holds all the four super lightweight title and recently announced he is moving up to welterweight. He is also targeting IBF Champion Errol Spence and WBA & WBC Champion Keith Thurman according to trainer Glenn Rushton. “Jeff has trained for a 12 round bout but I want him to score the knockout. I want this to be a big statement to the rest of the welterweight division,” said Rushton. Horn’s only non-win was against Rivan Cesaire in 2013 but stopped Cesaire in 2014. Horn has never fought out of Australia.
It’s already been announced that American Benjy Esteves, Jr., will be the referee. This writer considers him one of the world’s best having seen him on numerous occasions.
The championship fight will be broadcasted over ESPN 6:30AM EST.
Maliek & Mikhail Montgomery Interview
By: Benny Henderson
The Montgomery brothers were raised on boxing, all three, Maliek, Mikhail and Michael were decorated amateurs. With a combined record of 419-44, and countless awards and trophies, all three have decided to take the plunge as a professional in the bang for your buck sport. Both, Maliek, a super featherweight, and Michael, a welterweight, are 1-0 (1 KO) as a professional, as Mikhail awaits to step in the pro ranks, but should see action shortly as a pro. All three were recently signed by Witness Sports Management, and are excited to see what the future holds.
Sports Management has some major credibility behind the newly formed company, it is ran by boxing veterans, Greg Hannely, founder of the Prince Ranch Boxing facility, who also helped guide the careers of former world champions, Clarence Adams and Steven Luevano. And Jared Shaw, the son of famed boxing promoter, Gary Shaw.
The future looks bright for the Montgomery brother’s, who may be young in age, but have been battle tested in the ring. With youth, talent, the willingness to learn, hunger for success, their father/trainer Michael Montgomery Sr. and Sports Management by their side, it is going to be a thrill to see what is in store for the Montgomery brothers.
In this exclusive interview, Maliek and Mikhail speak out on various topic concerning their boxing career, they both talk about their styles, each other’s greatest accolades, what separates them from other young prospects, and more.
An Interview with Jared Shaw – Mayweather vs McGregor, Golovkin vs Alvarez
By: Eric Lunger
Jared Shaw, son of Gary Shaw, long time boxing promoter and former NJ commissioner, has been around boxing and boxers since he was a kid. As an adult, Jared worked for his father, Main Events, Roc nation, Al Haymon, and others. He has extensive experience in MMA as well, having been vice president of EliteXC and the promoter of internet sensation Kimbo Slice.
Most recently, Jared founded Witness Sports Management (WSM) along with Greg Hannely, founder of the Prince Ranch boxing facility in Las Vegas. WSM has just signed three exciting prospects from Georgia who happen to be brothers: Mikhail, Maliek, and Michael Montgomery. Brought along by their father, Michael, Sr., the three brothers have extensive amateur experience, but are now looking to make their marks in the pro game under WSM guidance. “If you like pressure fighters with knockout power, then you will love the Montgomery brothers,” Jared said.
Boxinginsider.com caught up with Jared this week, and he shared his insights on the up-coming mega fights Mayweather vs. McGregor and Canelo vs. Golovkin.
Boxinginsider.com: Jared, thanks for talking with me. You have a ton of experience in both the boxing and the MMA world, let’s get right to it. Does Conor McGregor have a chance against Floyd Mayweather, one of the all-time greats?
Jared Shaw: Everyone who gets in a ring or a cage has a chance, just as much as they have a risk. But you want to break it down to “styles make fights,” which is essentially what they do in boxing, and Conor McGregor has zero chance. The reason I put him at absolute nothing is because, in MMA – and there is no doubt that Conor McGregor is outrageously entertaining, an offensive fighter, he has great hands for MMA – the reason it doesn’t translate is the same reason a boxer does not translate to Mixed Martial Arts.
MMA is meant to be this hybrid between all fighting styles, but you notice how boxing is not really in there. In order to be a good mixed martial artist, you have to be able to defend the take-down, work out of submissions, and counter not only a punch, but a leg check, a take-down. So that already changes the way you stand, whereas a boxer is already way more “angled up.” So, a boxer is able to put that much more mustard into his punches.
Some people are going to say, why doesn’t Conor McGregor have a chance, you know, a puncher’s chance. But it actually works the opposite way. Just because he gets angled up and it looks like there is power, it depends who is on the other side. In this case, he is fighting maybe the best boxer who ever lived, maybe not the greatest fighter, but boxer? One hundred percent! Boxing is a dance, it’s “hit or be hit.” And Floyd is going to show movements to McGregor that he not only has never seen, but that McGregor is not even going to realize that Mayweather is tiring him out, exhausting him.
The way I see the fight is McGregor coming in – and Floyd invites everyone in – but then he is going to crowd his punches so he can feel it. People say, “Well, what if he lands a punch?” Well, that’s the thing! No one has ever landed a punch on Floyd.
BI: Even Canelo Alvarez couldn’t touch Floyd.
JS: Right. I don’t care if you want to talk about Zab Judah, or Jose Luis Castillo – nobody finished Mayweather. If they could not finish him, then I don’t think Conor McGregor is going to finish him. And let’s go back to the third round of the Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor fight, to me McGregor was punched out, he was exhausted. Nate almost had him out in the third, but Conor came back to win. But for me, there were these small things [in that fight] that Mayweather doesn’t do. Taking it to boxing, now, where they are wearing 8 or 10 ounces gloves. Was that decided?
BI: I know they made some noise about going to 8 ounces, but the Nevada Commission is going to vote on the matter on August 16.
JS: Now [assuming they stay at 10 ounces] you have a guy wearing five ounces more in each hand. That is an enormous difference. Add to that the ring generalship of Floyd, leaning on you, making you work. You are going to be gassed out, my guess is, by the fourth round. If you are a bettor, you are going with Floyd Mayweather by stoppage.
BI: Is there a worry in the Mayweather camp that, if there is a quick knock out, the PPV audience is going to feel cheated? Does that go into their calculus at all, or do they just game plan to win?
JS: Look, that is more of a business question. In this situation, no. First of all, Floyd lives to be the greatest. The only thing he knows is how to box, he had a tough childhood, and so, wining is what fills him. I happen to like Floyd, and he is a marketing genius. They both are. But in this case, he wants to embarrass MMA. He does not want any challenge to his throne, you know what I mean? The other reason is this: if he finishes him quickly and there is a backlash, like the Pacquiao fight, does he really care anymore? Who is left for him?
BI: Taking a step back for a second, the old cliché that there is no such thing as bad publicity: is this fight good for boxing?
JS: Truthfully? I think it is great for boxing. Boxing has had a hard path since the late 1990s and the era of the great heavyweights. We have been clamoring for stars. But boxing is having a great year, some really good fighters and some really good fights. There happens to be a lot boxing on television, but it still doesn’t feel like it did in the nineties and late eighties. I think for our community, we are pretty happy. But for the mainstream audience, boxing is not making its mark. But this fight does make a mark. It puts the eyeballs back on boxing, period. It puts eyeballs on Canelo vs Golovkin, and so on. It remains to be seen, of course, but how can this not be good for the sport with all the publicity and circus sideshow?
BI: Switching gears, can you comment on the Canelo vs. Golovkin bout? Do you think Golovkin was exposed in some way against Jacobs? Danny Jacobs is a great fighter, a great middle weight. Did he expose GGG or was it just a tough, close fight?
JS: An interesting question. I like to think about how a fight will play out, and Canelo vs Golovkin is one I just go back and forth on. At first, I favored Canelo a bit, because I thought they hurt him business-wise fighting Mayweather so early, but they didn’t really hurt his career. He has done a very good job of disposing of every fighter that has come his way. The difference is, I have shaken Golovkin’s hand, and we are pretty much the same size, but his hands are enormous. Like Kovalev, like Duran even, these guys have heavy hands that are game changers. The question becomes: can Canelo handle that power? This is not 154 pound power.
BI: That’s the criticism against Canelo, isn’t it? That he is a catchweight fighter and not a true middleweight?
JS: Right, and my point is that Golovkin is hitting harder even than a 160 pounder. But let’s go back to what you asked about Danny Jacobs. I think Jacobs is underrated, because when you go back to his whole body of work, he is tremendous. He was impressive as an amateur, and when he beat cancer, that was a whole other level of victory. Peter Quinlin is no joke, and he demolished Peter Quinlin. When he fought Golovkin, that was a very hard fight. Not only is Danny Jacobs a very good boxer, but he is an underrated puncher. I give Golovkin a lot of credit because I think Jacobs can stop most guys.
BI: But don’t you think that Canelo re-hydrates well? He is big when he comes back into the ring.
JS: He does, but what Canelo has not been prepared for is someone who can sit in the pocket with him and make it a Mexican brawl. He hasn’t been given that treatment, hasn’t felt that pressure. I have more questions in that fight for Canelo than I do for Golovkin.
BI: I was really fascinated with GGG’s performance against David Lemieux, where he clearly changed his style and fought behind the jab for a long time. Do you see him doing that against Canelo?
JS: I do. That’s exactly what I see him doing. Look, we are all expecting Canelo to out-box him, but I think that is [Golovkin’s] game plan. They are going to take the boxing to Canelo. I would say, for three to four rounds, Golovkin is behind that jab until a fight breaks out. It’s an interesting fight, it’s a great fight for the sport.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Guerrero, McGregor, Smith, Shields, Montgomery Brothers, and more
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 11th to July 18th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Mario Serrano
Robert Guerrero Announces Retirement
After giving fans some of the most thrilling fights in boxing, which spanned over sixteen hard fought years, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero is announcing his retirement.
“First, I want to thank God for allowing me to have a wonderful career. I’m a kid from a small town in Gilroy, California, who made it to the mountain top of the boxing world. When I was a young kid growing up, I always believed in myself, but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a small-town kid like myself, would be fighting in front of millions of fans.”
“I was blessed to win multiple world titles in four-divisions. A boxer’s career is a long and tough road. Many tears were shed, lots of blood, and tons of sweat. Many miles were traveled, thousands of rounds sparred, none were easy and nothing was ever given to me. I earned everything I got the old fashion way. I never ducked anyone and fought the best fighters in the world. I fought my way through every obstacle to make sure my fans enjoyed every second, of every round, of my fights.”
“I competed at super-bantamweight (122 lbs.) and won world titles across multiple weight classes, closing my career at welterweight (147 lbs.), fighting the big guys 25 pounds heavier. A good friend always told me I was God’s warrior, born to fight. I enjoyed every minute of every war. I represented my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with the bible verse Acts 2:38 on my trunks. If I reached one person and brought that person closer to Christ, then it was all worth it.”
“I want to thank some very important people in my career starting with the most important person, my wife Casey, who has been with me every step of the way, my soul mate, my sweetheart, the one and only love of my life. My father/trainer Ruben Guerrero Sr. He’s the one who started it all and made me the man I am today, and the champion I was in the ring. He’s one of the best trainers in the world and I hope to be working side by side with him in the future. My mother Marcy Guerrero for being a great mother and supporter. My co-manager Bob Santos for all the sacrifices he made to get me to the top…I will always remember the early days when we made the most with very liitle. He always had my back and looked out for me like I was his brother. His wife Diane Santos who did a lot of secretarial work for me during my whole career. Both my grandparents on Martinez and Guerrero sides for believing in me. My brother’s Sammy, Ruben Jr., Victor, Randy and especially Eric, who has been with me my whole career, my shadow every step of the way, my right-hand man. My mother and father in-law, Shelly and Cary O’neal.
My cutman Ruben Gomez. My good friends, Pastor Mark Wilson, Dave Castro, Pastor Chris Avila, John Mersho, and Albert Guarado. My uncle Russel Sr., Russel Jr., Uncle Ricky, Hector Catano and Greg Amundson. I want to thank my co-manager Luis Decubas Jr. for taking my career to the next level. Santos and Decubas Jr. are more than managers, they are family to me. My publicist Mario Serrano, who has also been with me the whole ride, he is also family to me. All the fans and the community who stuck by my side when my wife was battling cancer…I will never forget the love you showed. There are so many people who have helped me, if I leave anyone off, thank you for everything.”
“In closing, I want to thank the most special man I’ve ever met in my boxing career, and possibly lifetime, a man who always does what’s best for the fighter, a man who has changed the sport of boxing, a man who has helped bless me and my family with a great life, and that person is my advisor Al Haymon. Not only is Al Haymon a spectacular advisor, he is a wonderful human being as well, a great man, and someone who cares. In a sport where most managers, promoters, and trainers turn their back on a fighter, when they no longer can perform, or are no longer beneficial to their interest, Haymon stands tall. Love and loyalty is tough to find in the boxing game, but for any boxer looking for it, you don’t have to look far, reach out to Al Haymon. I want to thank everyone, the fans included. I hope you guys appreciated the guts and glory I left in the ring. God bless you all.” ~ Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero
Claressa Shields Named 2017 ‘Biggest Powerhouse’ in Sports by Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Sports Awards
Budding women’s boxing superstar, community activist, role model and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Claressa Shields has been bestowed with another honor, as she has been announced as the winner of the 2017 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Award for “Biggest Powerhouse.”
In winning the prestigious award, which honors the heaviest hitters, strongest sluggers and unstoppable players in sports each year, Shields beat out a field of such well-known stars as Demarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans), Von Miller (Denver Broncos), David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox) and Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels).
“It is a tremendous honor and great thrill to win the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Award because it comes from the kids,” said Claressa Shields. “I work hard every day to show all children that nothing in life is impossible if you believe in yourself. If this kid from Flint can win Olympic gold medals, boxing world championships, and succeed in life, then you can do it too!”
Shields’ promoter, Dmitriy Salita, says she deserves all the incredible accolades and honors she’s received.
“Claressa is a true champion of the people with her incredible story of overcoming adversity through her own self-belief and determination. Her accomplishments, inside and outside the ring, make Claressa a real-life American hero and an inspiration to every young person.”
22-year-old Shields (3-0, 1 KO), from Flint, Michigan, is currently in training for her first world-title shot on August 4 against German star and WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Nikki Adler (16-0, 9 KOs). The 10-round super-middleweight match-up, will be televised live on ShoBox: The New Generation (10 pm ET/PT), and held at MGM Grand Detroit.
The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards are the only kid-oriented award show focusing on the world’s best athletes and each year’s greatest sports moments. Held at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, this year’s broadcast was once again hosted by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
The winners were chosen predominantly by children’s online voting.
Witness Sports Management Signs Montgomery Brothers
Boxing veterans, Greg Hannely, founder of the Prince Ranch Boxing facility, and Jared Shaw have joined forces, as they are happy to announce the birth of Witness Sports Management (WSM), a boxing management company that will guide the careers of some of the best young fighters in the sport.
The Montgomery Brothers, Maliek, Mikhail, and Michael Jr., out of Macon, Georgia, are WSM’s first signees. The highly touted trio, who were all decorated amateur standouts, are trained by their dad, Michael Montgomery Sr.
“I want to make sure it’s known how excited we are to be signing with Jared and Greg,” said Michael Montgomery Sr. “I’m happy that my boys are going to be represented by some folks that have been involved in boxing for many years. Greg and Jared have been wonderful to work with. My boys and I are very grateful and we are ready to take the boxing world by storm.”
Greg Hannely, is a well-known figure in the sport as he guided the careers of former world champions, Clarence “Bones” Adams and Steven Luevano, back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. His passion for boxing has brought him back to the sport he loves, and he wants nothing more than to build a stable of world champions.
“I’m very thrilled to be back in boxing, especially after signing the Montgomery Brothers.” Greg Hannely said, “Their father, Michael Sr., has been grooming all three boys to fight like professionals. They all have very exciting styles and I believe they will be well received to everyone who witnesses them fight. The Prince Ranch Boxing gym in Las Vegas will be available for the entire Montgomery family. These are good kids with strong family values. Their future is bright.”
Jared Shaw, son of world renowned boxing promoter Gary Shaw, has been around the sport since he was a young child. After spending many years learning from his father, Jared, developed a knack for spotting talent.
“If you like pressure fighters with knockout power, then you’ll love the Montgomery Brothers.” stated Jared Shaw. “Maliek, Mikhail, and Michael Jr., were all great amateurs with over 400 fights combined, but their styles are suited for the pros. All three of them have heavy hands and the ring intelligence to make adjustments on the fly. Greg and I are ecstatic to be working with the entire Montgomery family. This is a fantastic start to our new management company.”
“As co-managers, Greg and I started WSM with the idea of cultivating our fighters,” Shaw continued. “We want to be looked at as more than just a financial asset. We will provide are stable with the needed resources that will help them become better fighters. We will house are guys at “The Prince Ranch” in Las Vegas, getting them the best sparring in boxing. Our goal is to make sure they have no distractions that will hinder their development.”
About Mikhail Montgomery
Nickname – 50Khail
Height – 5’7
Weight – 122 (Super-Bantamweight)
DOB: – December 24, 1996 (Age 20)
Hometown – Macon, Georgia
Amateur Record – (120-12)
Pro Record – TBA
“Jared came to us a few years back and told us he was interested in signing us. The bond started back then and now that we are older, it’s good to look back and see that he’s still with us. He’s a man of his word and kept his promise. I’m excited that WSM is going to take me and my brothers under their wing.”
About Maliek Montgomery
Nickname – Mayhem
Height – 5’8
Weight – 130 (Super-Featherweight)
DOB: – September 17, 1995 (Age 22)
Hometown – Macon, Georgia
Amateur Record – (149-12)
Pro Record – (1-0, 1 KO)
“Signing with WSM has been a blessing to me and my family. Jared has been around for a few years now and we trust that he and Greg will take us to the top. My dad talked about this day for many years, signing with a good management team. Now that it’s here, I’m ready to start knocking out folks.”
About Michael Jr. Montgomery
Nickname – NA
Height – 5’11
Weight – 147 (Welterweight)
DOB: – March 11, 1994 (Age 23)
Hometown – Macon, Georgia
Amateur Record – (150-20)
Pro Record – (1-0, 1 KO)
“I believe everything is going to work out great with Jared and Greg. Fighting in the pros is new to me but I think I’m going to make an immediate impact. I got my first knockout in my pro debut earlier this year and I can’t wait to get back in the ring.”
Petition Demands Budweiser Drop Conor McGregor Over Bigoted Remarks
A Care2 petition is asking Budweiser to drop professional mixed martial artist and boxer Conor McGregor over his history of bigoted comments ahead of his August match against Floyd Mayweather. The petition has gathered over 6,700 signatures.
VIEW THE CARE2 PETITION HERE: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/391/537/851/
McGregor is projected to make $100 million in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August, in what could be the most viewed, highest grossing pay-per-view fight of all time.
But Care2 members are calling him out for his bigoted comments.
Leading up to his 2015 match against Brazilian fighter Jose Aldo, McGregor said:
“If this was a different time, I would invade his favela on horseback and kill anyone that was not fit to work.”
“What I really want to do is turn his favela into a Reebok sweatshop.”
“I think I’m going to have him come and clean up my airplane.”
“These remarks should have caused major brands to drop any association with McGregor long ago. Now that he’s gearing up to cash in on his history of bigoted comments, the time has come,” the Care2 petition reads. “Please sign this petition to ask Budweiser to drop Conor McGregor over his history of bigoted remarks!”
Last week, during a four-day promotional tour for the Mayweather-McGregor match, which takes place in Las Vegas on August 26, Mayweather made a quip using stereotypes about Black men: “A lot of media are saying I’m racist against black people. That’s absolutely f****** ridiculous. Do they not know I’m half-black? Yeeeeeah. I’m half-black from the belly button down.”
McGregor is reportedly worth $35 million.
Joe Smith Jr. Fights Nine Rounds with a Broken Jaw
Popular Long Island light heavyweight contender JOE SMITH JR. (23-2-0, 19 KO’S), gritted his way through Saturday’s ten round battle with SULLIVAN BARRERA (20-1-0, 14 KO’s), after suffering a broken jaw early in the 2nd round. Even with a broken jaw, Smith Jr. dug deep to fire away at the skilled Barrera until the final bell, in which he ultimately fell short by scores of 96-93 and 97-92 twice.
In a fight that had the cheering crowd on their feet throughout, Smith and Barrera went to war from the opening bell. Prior to breaking his jaw, Smith wasted no time showing his sheer power as he drilled Barrera with a hard left hook to the forehead in the opening round sending Barrera sprawling to the canvas. Barrera, hurt from the knockdown, showed his proven grit and determination by rising and finishing the round.
Although having his jaw broken in the second round, Smith continued to fight hard throughout the fight which featured excellent two-way action. Smith showed a great chin and tons of heart as he tried his best to fight through a debilitating injury. Smith landed some heavy blows stunning Barrera on occasion but Sullivan outworked him to grab the decision on the judges scorecards.
“Joe knocked down Barrera hard in the first round but in the second round he sustained a broken jaw,” said JOE DEGUARDIA, CEO and President of STAR BOXING. “It’s a similar injury to the one he suffered five years ago and frankly it’s amazing that he continued to valiantly fight over the next eight rounds and finish the fight.”
In his only other previous loss, Smith also suffered a broken jaw against Eddie Caminero five years ago.
Continued DeGuardia, “After spending part of Saturday night at the UCLA Medical Center, Joe will have surgery later this week in New York and we’ll know more then about a time frame for his full recovery. We congratulate Sullivan Barrera on his victory.”
We at Star Boxing are extremely proud of Joe for fighting this fight under such extreme conditions as are all his fans who came to the fight last night from Long Island and those who watched on HBO. Joe Smith is a true warrior and epitomizes what a real fighter is supposed to be.
Showtime’s Wild Saturday Boxing Card: Davis and Russell Victorious
Showtimes’ Wild Saturday Boxing Card: Davis and Russell Victorious
By: Sean Crose
Liam Walsh, 21-0, took a crack at the IBF junior lightweight title when he took on American champ Gervanta Davis, 17-0, in a sold out Copper Box arena in London.
Smith showed some nice range in the first, then refused to sit down in his corner. Davis, however, remained patient throughout the second, exuding terrific confidence in the process. It may have been a somewhat even round in the eyes of viewers and judges, but Davis acted as if he was completely in control. Perhaps he knew what would happen, for in the third he put his man down after several seconds of firing heavy shots. The Englishman got up, but that was polished off a few sharp punches later, when referee Michael Alexander wisely stopped the bout.
Showtime, which broadcast the bout, then went across the Atlantic to showcase a card live from the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. First up was Rances Barthelemy, the 25-0 junior welterweight from Vegas by way of Cuba. Barthelemy’s opponent was 21-1 Belarus native Kiryl Relikh. Barthelemy was well regarded walking into the fight, but Relikh had his man in trouble after dropping Barthelemy in round five. To add to the suspense, Barthelemy dropped Relikh three rounds later. It was an interesting, competitive bout and there was much unhappiness when Barthlemy ended up winning by UD via some very wide scores.
The controversy was followed up by super middleweight Andre Dirrell, 25-2 facing Jose Uzcategui, 26-1, for the chance to face multi-titlist James DeGale (for Dirrell, that fight would be a rematch). The first round wasn’t overly eventful, but Dirrell was jostled by Uzcategui in the second. Indeed, it looked like the man might go down. Dirrell, however, was able to survive the round. What’s more, he was able to work effectively at points, but Uzcategui remained aggressive.
Dirrell came back in the third by employing a very impressive jab and slick defense. By the fourth, Dirrell was in fine form, jabbing and keeping away from his foe proficiently. And Dirrell continued to keep Uzcategui from taking complete control throughout the middle of the fight. Then, at the end of the 8th, Dirrell was hammered after the bell. Referee Bill Clancy subsequently disqualified Uzcategui. Afterward, a rumble erupted and at least one member of Dirrell’s team took shots at Uzcategui.
Word came out that Maryland police were looking for Dirrell’s uncle while essentially keeping Uzcategui in protective custody. It was also reported that Dirrell’s brother may have become violent with a commission member. An ugly scene all around.
It was time for the main event. Featherweight Gary Russell, 27-1, looked to hop back into the public consciousness by looking impressive against 25-2 Oscar Escandon. It was Russell’s second defense of his WBC world title and he had the comfort of fighting within his home state of Maryland. Columbia’s Escandon, however, was planning to make the most of this opportunity. Russell, one of the sports’ more impressive slicksters, may have told the tale in the first round, but Escandon was able to get in his shots.
Both men traded shots effectively in the second, making it a fast paced, close quarters round. Russell, however, was able to drop his man in the third. Escandon got to his feet, but Russell was finding his mark and landing with noticeable power. By the end of the round, Russell was landing hard and often enough to make one wonder if the man would run out of gas should Escandon refuse to be stopped. Russell never had to worry about it. For he stopped Escandon in round seven after what was an exciting, high octane bout. Escandon was a true warrior, but referee Harvey Dock had seen enough of Russell’s power shots landing clean.
To his credit, Russell apologized for the wild antics of the evening – even though they had nothing to him. Boxing could use more of that kind of class.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon
By: Seamus McNally
On Saturday night, WBC featherweight champion “Mr.” Gary Russell Jr. (27–1, 16 KOs) of Capitol Heights, Md. makes his long-awaited home debut when he takes Colombia’s Oscar Escandon (25–2, 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md.
Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
The bout caps the night of a split-site four fight broadcast on Showtime Championship Boxing. First up, IBF junior lightweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis (17–0, 16 KOs) of Baltimore, Md. travels across the pond into hostile territory to risk his undefeated record against fellow unbeaten Liam Walsh (21–0, 14 KOs) at the Copper Box Arena in London. Once that bout is complete, the televised bouts from the MGM National Harbor will commence.
The first televised fight in Maryland will be a 12-round junior welterweight title eliminator between Cuba’s Rances Barthelemy (25–0, 13 KOs), who will be moving up from lightweight, and Kiryl Relikh (21–1, 19 KOs) of Belarus. The co-feature bout is a 12-rounder for the interim IBF super middleweight title between Andre Dirrell (25–2, 16 KOs) of Flint, Mich. and Venezuelan Jose Uzcategui (26–1, 22 KOs).
Russell, 28, entered the professional ranks in 2009 with high expectations, having won numerous amateur national titles, earning a bronze medal in the 2007 world amateur championships, and making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.
Russell was a very active fighter early in his career, and by the end of his third year as a professional, he had accumulated a record of 19–0, 11 KOs and was named 2011 Prospect of the Year by the likes of ESPN, Ring Magazine, and Sports Illustrated.
After padding his record for a few more years against modest opposition, Russell got his first crack at a world title in June 2014 against two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko. Russell was outclassed and lost a 12-round decision.
Russell won a shutout decision against Christopher Martin that December and then got his second chance at a world title in March 2015. The outcome was different this time as Russell blitz WBC champion Jhonny Gonzalez en route to a fourth-round knockout win.
In his most recent fight, Russell obliterated the overmatched Patrick Hyland in the second round of their fight, which took place 13 months ago in April 2016.
Escandon, 32, was an Olympian himself, representing Colombia in the 2004 Athens Games. Unlike Russell, Escandon entered the paid ranks inconspicuously, building his record in his homeland save for two fights in Argentina and two in Panama before making his U.S. debut in 2014.
By the time Escandon reached U.S. soil, he sported a record of 23–1, 16 KOs. In his U.S. debut in December 2014 on ESPN Friday Night Fights, Escandon was awarded a very controversial decision over Canadian Tyson Cave that elicited an epic rant from color commentator Teddy Atlas once the decision was rendered.
Like Russell, Escandon fought only once in each of the last two years. In April 2015, Escandon lost a close split decision to the undefeated Moises Flores. In his most recent fight, which took place in March 2016 at the D.C. Armory, Escandon scored a seventh-round knockout of Mexico’s Robinson Castellanos.
For the first time in a long while, Russell will enjoy a height advantage in the fight. Escandon is one of the shortest fighters in all of boxing, standing at just 5’1″. Because of his short stature, Escandon tends to throw looping shots to try and reach his opponents’ heads. He puts constant pressure on his opponents, always moving forward. Escandon does not move his head much, as he usually just holds his gloves up, blocking and eating punches as he tries to walk his opponents down to get in punching range.
Russell has arguably the fastest hands in all of boxing, and knows how to use it. Some fighters rely too much on their speed and are not technically sound and get caught (Amir Khan), whereas Russell patiently sets up his shots, and is almost never out of position.
Escandon has one chance to win this fight. The only knock on Russell is that he always throws his punches at the same speed, never varies them up. The saying is timing beats speed, so Escandon may be able to time one of Russell’s punches and connect flush with a looping shot over the top and hurt Russell.
I look for Russell to establish his sharp jab early, and use good lateral movement to keep the charging Escandon at bay. Russell will take out Escandon in the middle rounds, as the blazing combinations will be too much for Escandon to withstand.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ward, Kovalev, Pacquiao, Canelo, Chavez, Gamboa, Burns, and more….
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ward, Kovalev, Pacquiao, Canelo, Chavez, Gamboa, Burns, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 4th to April 11th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev Press Conference Quotes
Andre Ward (31-0) and Sergey KOvalev (30-1-1) recently held a press conference to announce their upcoming rematch on Saturday, June 17th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay Per View.
Below are some select quotes from their press conference:
Andre “S.O.G.” Ward – Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion
“I want to thank everybody for coming out today – the media, obviously, HBO, Peter Nelson and their whole team, these guys work tirelessly to get these kinds of things done. I appreciate my team, James Prince, Josh Dubin, Roc Nation and everyone at Roc Nation, JAY Z, Juan and Desiree Perez, Michael Yormark. It’s important to have a good team. We talk a lot about fighting, we talk all about matchups, but when we talk about support, it’s frowned upon. When we see fighters 10, 15, 20 years from now shuffling in a room, nothing to show what they fought for, that’s okay. By the grace of God and by way of my team, that’s not going to happen to me.
“Unfortunately, there’s perception and there’s reality. Perception is every one thing that’s written, every opinion but as you grow and learn this business, it’s not about perception. Nobody can point to a fight where I turned. Not one point. That’s not in my track record. So, I don’t mind the perception. I don’t care about Instagram. This is chess, not checkers. You can make all the rules you want to make, but it’s about the checkmate. That’s when the game is over.
“My team is working on life after boxing. Educating me on the ins and outs. A lot of people talk about money, but they don’t talk about the upside. They’re not talking about the personal sponsorships for the fight, and your obligations for the sponsorship. They’re not talking about the television rights and foreign rights, the merchandise. ‘Be tough, keep focus, destroy the fight’. I’m not with that man. I want the whole thing, I want to understand everything. The fight is not the end.
“They have to understand, there’s nothing scary about this man. You realize we just fought 12 rounds four months ago? Everyone wants to highlight the knockdown, that’s probably one of the most beautiful moments of my career. And did you guys see the other 10 rounds? Nobody’s talking about that. But that’s what makes us who we are. It’s hard concrete down there, we don’t want to fall. We’ve got another drive, we’ve got another gear we’ve got to tap into when we hit adversity and hit the cannons. You guys saw that, in the biggest moment of my career.
“I didn’t get to where I’m at because there’s something unique about me. I didn’t get to this point by happenstance. Some may not like it, but you got to respect it. You don’t have to, but we’ve earned the position that we have. We don’t mind being understated. The fight is academic. When my team green-lighted it, I said go ahead and announce it. The reality is, you’ve got to see me on June 17. That’s the reality of the situation. I love to talk, it’s all good. We knocked heads for 12 rounds, that’s the reality of the situation. He felt me, he knows. On June 17, that’s how we’re going to do. We’re going to get started a little early. Whether you’re with me, or whether you’re against me, tune in. Appreciate everybody’s time. Don’t miss this fight, June 17. You got what you asked for.”
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev – Former Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion
“Hello everyone. I am thankful the fight will take place on June 17. Well, will take place on paper for now. I’m appreciative of my team and Team Ward that this fight will actually happen. I want to apologize to my fans for my performance the last time but we’re going to get this squared either way. We’re going to see who is the best fighter. I’m very excited for June 17. The only thing I hope is that a week or two before the fight, Andre Ward does not get injured and he has enough balls to come out and fight me on June 17.”
Pacman Ready to Go Down Under to Turn Horn’s World Upside Down!
Add Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia to the list of venues on foreign soil that will play host to a MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO fight. Boxing’s only eight-division world champion and the reigning Fighter of the Decade, Pacquiao has accepted the challenge of undefeated No. 2 world-rated contender JEFF “The Hornet” HORN to defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title, Saturday, July 1 (Sunday, July 2, in Australia). Promoted by Top Rank® and Duco Events, “The Battle of Brisbane” is expected to attract 55,000 fans and a record pay-per-view audience in Australia. It will also be seen live in the U.S. Look for details on the U.S. telecast in the following weeks.
“Manny has been a pioneer, bringing world title fights to Cowboys Stadium, The Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena and now Suncorp Stadium. We’re boxing’s version of Lewis & Clark, discovering new markets,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. ” Manny knows who will be the crowd favorite on July 1, but he can’t wait to give Australia and the world a great performance. It’s going to be unbelievable event.”
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), from General Santos City, Philippines, is in his third reign as WBO welterweight champion. He regained the title on November 5, winning a dominant unanimous decision victory over defending champion Jessie Vargas.
Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), from Bisbane, Queensland, Australia, enters this fight having won his last three fights — all in 2016 — against Ali Funeka, Rico Mueller and Randall Bailey inside the distance. They had a combined record of 105-14-4 when he fought them. Horn is world-rated No. 2 by the WBO and the International Boxing Federation (IBF).
Robin Krasniqi vs. Arthur Abraham Super Middleweight Title Eliminator
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) Super Middleweight title eliminator, featuring two-time world title challenger Robin Krasniqi taking on the three-time, two-division world champion “King” Artur Abraham, will be available to watch April 22 on pay per view in North America, starting at 2 p.m. ET/ 11 a.m. a.m. PT, live from Congress Center in Ekfurt, Germany. The two fighters have a combined record or 91-9 with 47 knockouts.
“Krasniqi vs. Abraham”, promoted by SES Promotions, is a presentation of Integrated Sports Media and FITE.
Integrated Sports Media will distribute “Krasniqi vs. Abraham” live in North America, starting at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT, on cable, satellite and internet pay-per-view via iN Demand, Vubiquity, and DISH in the United States, as well as Rogers, Shaw and Sask Tel in Canada, also on the FITE app and website, for a suggested retail price of only $24.95.
Outside of North America, “Krasniqi vs. Abraham” is being licensed by leading boxing television rights distribution firm, Protocol Sports Marketing Ltd.
Born in Kosovo, the 29-year-old Krasniqi (46-4, 17 KOs) is a former European and WBO International Light Heavyweight Champion, who resides in Munich, Germany and packs a thunderous punch. Three fights ago, he moved down in weight from Light Heavyweight to Super Middleweight, winning all three bouts at the new weight class and looking highly impressive.
In 2013, Krasniqi lost his first world title shot by way of a 12-round unanimous decision to defending WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Nathan Cleverly (25-0), in London, by way of a hard-fought 12-round decision.
Following his first career defeat, Krasniqi went on to capture the WBO International Light Heavyweight Title with a seventh-round knockout of previously undefeated Emmanuel Danso (20-0), and has since defended that belt. Krasniqi won the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) Continental Light Heavyweight Title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Oleksandr Cherviak (14-3-1).
In 2014, Krasniqi successfully defended those two championships, taking a 12-round unanimous decision from Dariusz Sek (21-1-1), which set up his second world title shot, March 21, 2015 in Germany, against long-time defending WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Juergan Braehmer (45-2) in a massive all-German world title showdown. Krasniqi was unable to answer the bell for the 10th round but learned that he should drop a weight class. Since moving down to Super Middleweight, Krasniqi has looked impressive but Abraham will surely be the biggest test of his career.
Rated No. 2 by the WBO, Abraham (45-5, 30 KOs) has positioned himself for another world title shot as the winner of his Apr. 22nd eliminator with Krasniqi will become the mandatory challenger for reigning WBO Super Middleweight World Champion Gilberto Ramirez, of Mexico. Abraham lost his WBO crown by way a 12-round unanimous decision to Ramirez in Las Vegas in 2016 but must win against Krasniqi to have an opportunity at regaining his title.
The 37-year-old Abraham, a native of Armenia who lives in Berlin, Germany, is a two-time WBO (World Boxing Organization) Super Middleweight Champion, as well as the former International Boxing Federation (IBF) Middleweight World Champion. The knockout artist has a remarkable 18-4 (9 KOs) record in world championship bouts and is 7-4 (4 KOs) against former or current world champions. Noted victims during his 16-½ year professional career reads like a Who’s Who of Boxing in the 160 and 168-pound divisions, including world champions Raul Marquez, Hector Javier Velazco, Jermain Taylor, Robert Stieglitz thrice, and Giovanni De Carolis. Abraham has also defeated world-class opponents such as Martin Murray, Paul Smith twice, Lajuan Simon, Edison Miranda twice. Khoren Gevor, Sebastian Demers, Kofi Jantuah, Kingsley Ikeke and Howard Eastman.
Four of Abraham’s five career losses have been to world champions Carl Froch, Andre Ward, Robert Stieglitz and Gilberto Ramirez. Stieglitz is the only opponent to stop Abraham, who has won nine of his last 10 fights, the most recent an eighth-round technical knockout of Tim Robin Lihaug (15-1) this past July in Germany for the vacant WBO International Super Middleweight Title.
Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. Defends His Belt Against Oscar Escandon on May 20th
WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. will make the second defense of his title when he faces top challenger Oscar Escandon Saturday, May 20 in themain event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING from the recently opened MGM National Harbor in Maryland live on SHOWTIME.
The Maryland-native Russell Jr. (27-1, 16 KOs) and the WBC Interim Featherweight Champion Escandon (25-2, 17 KOs) will battle in one of boxing’s most talented divisions that continues to deliver exciting action fight after fight. A lineup of exciting co-featured attractions will be announced next week.
“I’m a gladiator getting ready for a tough battle,” said Russell Jr. “This is going to be a huge night for my family and I’m glad that the time is here. This will be the first time as pros that I get to fight on the same card as both of my little brothers, (unbeaten bantamweight) Gary Antonio and (2016 U.S. Olympian) Gary Antuanne, plus my brother Gary Allan will work all of our corners. We’re excited to get in the ring and show the fans what we’re capable of doing in the ring.”
“I’ve had to wait for this opportunity to face Gary Russell Jr. and I’m going to take full advantage of it,” said Escandon. “It’s going to be a great fight and I know the fans are going to get their money’s worth. I feel 100 percent healthy and now that the fight is here I am ready to knock him out.”
Tickets for the live event promoted by TGB Promotions are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50, and are now on sale. To purchase tickets go to http://mgmnationalharbor.com/. The main event is co-promoted by Sampson Boxing. This bout was originally scheduled to take place on March 11 but was rescheduled after Escandon suffered a back injury in training camp. Fans who bought tickets for the March 11 show will have their tickets honored on May 20.
“This is going to be a great night of boxing,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The featherweight division is very hot right now with the recent wins by Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares. There is something very special going on in the division and this will be another memorable fight. Escandon is a tough warrior who has proven time and again that he doesn’t care about going on the road or where he fights. There are great boxing fans in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia region and they are in-store for an exciting night on May 20.”
A speedy and supremely talented boxer, Russell Jr., was impressive in his fourth-round stoppage of the battle-tested Jhonny Gonzalez that earned him the title in March 2015. The 2008 U.S. Olympian had scored important victories over Vyacheslav Gusev, Juan Ruiz and Miguel Tamayo before losing a majority decision to Vasyl Lomachenko for the WBO 126-pound title in June 2014. The southpaw, of Capitol Heights, Md., most recently scored a dominant second-round TKO victory over Patrick Hyland in his first title defense in April 2016.
Fighting out of Ibague, Colombia, Escandon turned pro in 2008 and was undefeated in his first 22 professional bouts. Escandon won an interim world title at super bantamweight in 2014 when he defeated Tyson Cave in his U.S. debut. He earned his shot at Russell Jr. last March when he survived an early knockdown to score a knockout victory over Robinson Castellanos in the seventh round of their showdown in Washington, D.C.
Golden Boy Promotions Throw Cinco De Mayo Triple Header on Canelo vs. Chavez Weekend
On Friday, May 5, one day before the mega-fight between Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. goes down in Las Vegas, Golden Boy Promotions will throw a Cinco de Mayo fiesta at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Fans will get a full afternoon and evening of activity starting with the Official Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr.Weigh In, an action-packed night of Golden Boy Boxing onESPN fights headlined by Former Three-Division World Champion Yuriorkis Gamboa taking on the longtime contender Robinson Castellanos, surprise fighter appearances, DJs, sponsor giveaways, entertainment and much, much more!
First, the MGM Grand Garden Arena doors will open at 1:00 p.m. PST for the official Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr. and full undercard Weigh-in with fighters hitting the scales at 2:00 p.m. PST/5:00 p.m. EST, main pay-per-view-view undercard to weigh in beginning at 2:30 p.m. PST/5:30 p.m. EST. Soon after the weigh-in, the Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN fights will begin, leading into a special televised tripleheader of fan-friendly action live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
As a special treat to the fans, Golden Boy Promotions will be giving away exclusive VIP seating and entrance to the Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr. Weigh-in with purchase of a ticket to Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN: Gamboa vs. Castellanos.
“On the eve of the Mexico vs. Mexico superfight that is Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr., it was only fitting we throw the ultimate fan fiesta on Cinco de Mayo in Las Vegas,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “There is no better way to enjoy this special holiday than to come out and watch some top quality, action-packed fights, listen to the sounds of the mariachi bands and wave your Mexican flags.”
Cuban standout and Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis “El Ciclon de Guantánamo” Gamboa (26-1, 17 KOs) of Miami, FL will be making a rapid return to the ring to face rugged Celaya, Mexico fighter Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos (21-11, 13 KOs) in a main event lightweight fight scheduled for 10 rounds transmitted on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes beginning at 5:00 p.m. PST/8:00 p.m. EST.
In the co-main event, Abraham “El Chamaco” Lopez (22-0-1, 15 KOs) of La Puente, CA will put his WBA-NABA Featherweight title and undefeated record on the line, as he squares off in a 10 round bout against dangerous fighter Jesus Rojas (24-1-2, 17 KOs) hailing from Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Opening up Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN televised fights, someone’s “0” must go as Sao Paulo, Brazil’s own Yamaguchi Falcão (12-0, 6 KOs) faces his toughest challenge yet in the sturdy Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch (18-0-1, 8 KOs) of Pittsburgh, PA in a 10 round middleweight match.
Ricky Burns to Meet Julius Indongo on Saturday April 15th
Ricky Burns and Julius Indongo will clash in a bout that will unify the WBA and IBF 140-pound world titles. The match-up takes place on Saturday, April 15th and will be featured live and exclusively on AWE, A Wealth of Entertainment and www.klowdtv.com in the United States.
Burns will have the home fan advantage. The bout originates from the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. The undercard fights begin at 2:30 PM EST / 11:20 AM PT.
“We’re thrilled to bring this very exciting world unification fight to our fans,” stated Robert Herring, CEO of AWE.
Burns of Coatsbridge, Scotland has been a world champion in three weight-classes, and has been competing in world title bouts for seven years.
The 33 year-old has a record of 41-5-1 with 14 knockouts. He has taken part in 12 world title bouts with a record of 10-1-1 in those contests.
Burns has wins over Colin Bain (8-0), Graham Earl (22-0), Haider Ali (4-1), Osumanu Akaba (21-4-1), Yakuba Amidu (16-1-1), Michael Gomes (38-9) and Kevin O’Hara (16-4).
On September 4, 2010, Burns won the WBO Super Featherweight title with a 12 round unanimous decision over Michael Katsidis (28-4). He won the full title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Paulus Moses (28-1). Burns defended that title 3 times with wins over Kevin Mitchell (33-1) & Jose Gonzalez (22-0) and a draw with Raymundo Beltran (28-6), before dropping his title to Terence Crawford.
Burns became a 3-division champion with an 8th round stoppage over Michele Di Rocco on May 28, 2016. He has made one defense, which came on October 7th with a unanimous decision over Kiryl Relikh.
“When Julius Indongo knocked out Eduard Troyanovsky he was immediately an opponent I was interested in,” says Burns. “Indongo can clearly punch and that’s an impressive way to win a World title, especially in Russia. It was some shot he hit Troyanovsky with.
“It’s a huge fight in the division and the kind of fights I need to be involved in at this stage of my career. There were other names talked about but I wanted the toughest, most dangerous fight out there. Indongo with his two belts was that man.
“He is a big tall, rangy, southpaw but bring it on – I have no fear of anyone and it is only the massive fights for me now.
“Fighting in Glasgow is special for me, the crowd at the SSE Hydro has been electric the last two occasions and I expect it to be no different this time round.”
Indongo of Windhoek, Namibia has a perfect mark of 20-0 with 11 knockouts.
The 34 year-old is an eight-year professional, who was the WBO African Super Lightweight champion as he had wins over Zolani Marali (4-5), Ibrahim Class (12-1) and Ishmael Kuchocha (12-3).
On December 3, 2016, Indongo scored one of the biggest upsets of the year, when he scored a stunning and explosive 40 second knockout over classy and undefeated IBF Champion Eduard Troyanovsky (25-0) in the former champion’s backyard of Moscow, Russia.
Indongo added: “It’s an absolute honor for me to fight Ricky, who I regard as an accomplished champion. I respect what he has achieved so far but I’m going to Scotland to rob him of his belt. I know it won’t be easy but I’m comforted by the fact that I have a good team and passionate Namibian fans, and I have every intention of making them smile and unifying the division on April 15.”
Showtime World Championship Boxing Results: Pedraza Wins by Decision, Russell Destroys Hyland
Showtime World Championship Boxing Results: Pedraza Wins by Decision, Russell Destroys Hyland
By: William Holmes
The Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut was the host site for tonight’s World Championship Boxing telecast on Showtime. Two world title fights were featured as Gary Russell Jr. defended his WBC Featherweight Title against Patrick Hyland in the main event of the night and Jose Pedraza defended his IBF Junior Lightweight Title in the co-main event.
The first bout of the night was between Jose Pedraza (21-0) and Stephen Smith (23-1) for the IBF Junior Lightweight Title.
Smith started the bout off strong by taking control of the center of the ring in the first round and was accurate with his lead left hook, but neither boxer was threatened in the opening stanza and both were feeling each other out.
Pedraza came out firing in the second round and landed an early two punch combination followed by a straight right hand that hurt Smith. Smith was forced to tie up several times in the second round as Pedraza was able to land several hard shots.
Pedraza showed good head movement in the third and fourth round and boxed patiently. Smith was able to land a few blows to the body of Pedraza, but Pedraza remained in control.
Pedraza’s upper body movement appeared to confuse Smith in the fifth and sixth rounds, and Pedraza pressed forward more in the sixth round and was effective in landing from the outside.
Smith was able to offer some good flurries in the seventh and eighth rounds and may have stolen these rounds, but his shots were not hurting his opponent.
Pedraza finally scored a knockdown in the ninth round when he connected with a flush counter right hand. Smith was able to get back to his feet and held on when he could to try and survive the round, but not without taking some additional punishment.
Smith showed heart and clearly needed a knockout in the championship rounds to win the bout, but he was unable to do so.
The judges scored the bout 117-110, 116-111, and 116-111 for Jose Pedraza.
The main event of the evening was between Gary Russell Jr. (26-1) and Patrick Hyland (31-1) for the WBC Featherweight Title.
Patrick Hyland was a heavy underdog in this fight, and Russell’s hand speed was very evident in the first round as his jab was on point and he seemed confident in landing his combinations when he threw them.
Russell was able to score his first knockdown in the second round with a lightning fast right hook that sent Hyland to the mat for the first time in his career. He was able to get back to his feet but was knocked down a second time while falling back into the ropes. The referee allowed him to continue, but he only went down for the third and final time after a four punch combination for Gary Russell Jr. The referee, rightly, waived off the fight.
Gary Russell Jr. won by KO at 1:33 of round two.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Pedraza vs. Smith, Hyland vs. Russell
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Pedraza vs. Smith, Hyland vs. Russell
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Foxwoods Resort Casino will televised two world title fights live on Showtime as Gary Russell Jr. defends his WBC Featherweight Title against Patrick Hyland in the main event of the evening and Jose Pedraza defends his IBF Junior Lightweight Title against Stephen Smith.
Other noted boxers will appear on the undercard including Antonio Russell in the bantamweight division as well as former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson facing Cornelius White. Only two fights are currently scheduled to be televised on Showtime, but highlights of the undercard may be shown.
The following is a preview of both the televised championship fights.
Jose Pedraza (21-0) vs. Stephen Smith (23-1); IBF Junior Lightweight Title
Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza had some considerable hype when he turned a professional for he represented Puerto Rico in the 2008 Summer Olympics and medaled in several international events. He is the current IBF Junior Lightweight title holder and has a significant edge in amateur experience over his opponent Stephen Smith, despite the fact Smith won the gold medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games as an amateur.
Neither boxer is known for their power, as Pedraza has twelve knockouts on his record while Smith has thirteen. Pedraza is four years younger than Smith at twenty six years old. He will also have about a two inch height advantage as well as a four and a half inch reach advantage.
Smith has never fought outside of the United Kingdom and Saturday will be his first fight in the United States. Smith’s resume is lacking in big name victories, and his biggest wins to date were over Devis Boschiero, Mauricio Munoz, and Gary Buckland. Smith’s lone loss was by TKO to Lee Selby back in 2011.
Pedraza’s last victory was against Edner Cherry which he won by split decision. Other notable victories include Andrey Klimov, Michael Farenas, and Sergio Reyes.
This is a bout that Pedraza should win, quite easily. However, Pedraza has shown that he may have difficulty against crafty veterans as was evident in his bout against Edner Cherry. Unfortunately for Smith, he does not appear to have the power to catch Pedraza by surprise and he was stopped the last time he faced a big name opponent.
Gary Russell Jr. (26-1) vs. Patrick Hyland (31-1); WBC Featherweight Title
Gary Russell Jr. has a reputation for fighting boxers that are way overmatched, and Saturday night appears to be another fight that he should win easily.
Patrick Hyland is one half of the Hyland brothers and is more famous for his previous management deal with Snooki of MTV’s the Real World than for his actual boxing ability. Patrick was the better of the two Hyland brothers, but it appears he no longer has a working relationship with Snooki.
Both Hyland and Russell have fifteen knockouts on their resume. Hyland will have a significant height advantage as he is three and a half inches taller than Russell. Russell, however, is five years younger than Hyland.
Russell also holds an edge over Hyland in amateur experience. Russell qualified for the United States in the 2008 Olympics but failed to compete due to missing weight.
Despite the fact Russell has a reputation for fighting inferior opponents, he has a vastly better resume than Hyland. He has defeated the likes of Jhonny Gonzalez, Christopher Martin, Vyacheslav Gusev, and Christopher Perez. His lone loss was the current world champion and amateur standout Vasyl Lomachenko. Russell has two stoppage wins in his past five fights.
Hyland’s only notable victories came against Emmanuel Lucero and Frankie Arhculetta. His lone loss was to Javier Fortuna in 2012.
Hyland is the type of opponent that Russell should dispatch of easily. Russell does have problems when he’s facing someone that can match him in hand speed as was evident in his bout with Lomachenko, but Hyland will be outmatched in hand speed.
This is a bout that Russell should look incredible in, and it’s hard to envision a scenario where Hyland pulls off the upset.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Frampton, Briggs, Haye, Pacquiao, Bradley, Ali, Charlo, and more…
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.