By: Ken Hissner
Trained by former IBF World Light Heavyweight Champion Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson, Raphael “The Nigerian Hurricane” Akpejiori who is a Nigerian heavyweight hailing from Lagos, Nigeria will be turning professional in September. As an amateur he is 13-1 with 10 knockouts.
Akpejiori was discovered at a basketball camp in South Africa and awarded a scholarship to play high school basketball at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas in 2008. He came to the US as an international student and lived with a host family while attending high school for two years. He received numerous scholarships from Division 1 basketball programs and decided to attend the University of Miami in FL in 2010 where he obtained a bachelor/master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
“In training him for the past six months he has learned a lot. He is a quick learner and has a great work ethic,” said Glen Johnson.
Akpejiori played power forward on the Miami basketball team from 2010-14. He joined the football team as a tight end in 2014 and played one season. After a stint in the Miami Dolphins training camp he was encouraged to pursue the sweet science which he discovered came naturally. He resides in Miami where he is employed in the Facilities Management Department as a Project Coordinator.
Akpejiori signed with Classic Entertainment & Sports because he is convinced that promoter Jimmy Burchfield, Sr. will guide him to a world heavyweight title within five years. His manager is his father Pius. His publicist is George Hanson Jr., a lawyer and boxing writer in Philadelphia who also trains you kids at the Marion Anderson Recreation Center in South Philadelphia. He is from Jamaica. I have to give him credit for making my connection for this article to him.
“Akpejiori stands 6:08 and tips the scales at 260 lbs. He has Nyquil in both hands with a jack hammer jab reminiscent of former heavyweight champion Sonny Liston,” said Hanson.
Now let’s focus on Akepjiori’s trainer the former IBF World Light Heavyweight champion Glen “Road Warrior” Johnson from Jamaica moving to Miami, FL, at age 15. He fought from 1993 to 2015.
Johnson won his first 31 bouts before getting a world title fight in July of 1997 losing to OBF World Middleweight champion Bernard “Exterminator” Hopkins, 31-2-1, by TKO11 in Indio, CA. Johnson hadn’t won a round up until the stoppage. His trainers at that time were Pat Burns and Bobby Baker.
Johnson after losing three in a row bounced back taking the WBC Continental Americas Super Middleweight title in April of 1999. His four bout win streak was stopped losing to Sven Ottke, 16-0, for his IBF World Super Middleweight title in a close fight over 12 rounds. Ottke had an amateur style. He would “touch you” and move around the ring scoring points. He was not a puncher. Another fight I felt that I won,” said Johnson.
Johnson would lose his next three fights before stopping Toks Owoh, 15-1, in London, UK, in September of 2000 for the IBF Inter-Continental Super Middleweight Title. He would return ten months later moving up to light heavyweight winning the WBO Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight Title knocking out Thomas Ulrich, 20-0, in 6 rounds at Berlin, Germany.
Johnson’s up and down career continued losing to contenders Derrick Harmon, 21-2 and Julio Cesar Gonzalez, 31-1 by decision and drawing with Daniel Judah, 17-0-1. In May of 2003 he stopped this streak defeating Eric Harding, 21-2-1, for the vacant USBA Light Heavyweight Title.
The win over Harding got Johnson a vacant IBF World Light heavyweight Title fight drawing with Clinton Woods, 35-2, in November of 2003 in the first of three encounters all in the UK. In February of 2004 in their rematch Johnson defeated Woods for the IBF World Light Heavyweight Title in the UK. “Woods was a tough guy who fed off the fans. When he fought outside of the UK he wasn’t the same fighter. I would have loved to have fought him in the US,” said Johnson.
Johnson would defend his title knocking out the former Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight champion Roy Jones, Jr., 49-2, in 9 rounds in the US in September of 2004. “When I fought Roy Jones he was like my favorite boxer at the time,” said Johnson.
“In Johnson’s next fight he won a split decision over Antonio Tarver for the IBO World Light Heavyweight title in L.A. Six months later he would lose to Tarver in a rematch over 12 rounds in the US. “Tarver was a big light heavyweight. I’m surprised he is still talking about fighting again,” said Johnson. In February of 2006 he won the IBA Light Heavyweight Title defeating Richard Hall, 27-5 in the US.
Johnson in his next fight had his third encounter with Woods losing a split decision in the UK losing his IBF World Light Heavyweight Title. He would go onto a three fight win streak stopping Montell Griffin, 48-6, Fred Moore, 30-6, and Hugo Pineda, 39-3-1, all in the US. “Griffin was good and very tricky,” said Johnson.
Johnson lost to Chad Dawson, 25-0, for the WBC World Light Heavyweight Title in the US. After winning a pair of bouts he lost in a rematch with Dawson in the US. In August of 2010 he lost to IBF World Light Heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud, 20-0, in the US. “He was tough with limited skills but very strong,” said Johnson.
Johnson would come back to stop Allan Green, 29-2. This was a tournament called the “Super 6” in which Andre Ward ended up winning it.
In Johnson’s next fight he would drop back to super middleweight losing a majority decision to Carl Froch, 27-1, in the US for the WBC World Super Middleweight Title. In Johnson’s next fight he lost to Lucian Bute, 29-0, in Quebec, Canada, for his IBF World Super Middleweight Title. “Bute was a decent fighter but better at home”, said Johnson. He would drop his next two fights to Andrzel Fonfara, 21-2, in the US and George Groves, 15-0, in the UK. “Tough and decent but nothing special,” said Johnson.
Johnson ended up his career at 54-21-2 (37) in August of 2015 at age 46. He then would become a trainer. In 2004 Johnson would be voted Boxing Writers Association of American Fighter of the Year. The USA Today and Ring Magazine also voted him Fighter of the Year.
KEN HISSNER: You have fought many good and great fighters in your 77 bout career. Is there one that stands out as the best?
GLEN JOHNSON: Roy Jones, Jr. and Chad Dawson. Roy was very fast. Dawson was an excellent boxer and a moving southpaw, not a puncher.
KEN HISSNER: You fought Bernard Hopkins in one of your first major bouts.
GLEN JOHNSON: He was the first I lost to and he stopped my 31 fight winning streak. I liked Hopkins.
KEN HISSNER: I believe you never fought in the country you were born in Jamaica. Did you ever want to fight there?
GLEN JOHNSON: No, I left there when I was 14 and wasn’t interested in boxing until I started boxing in Miami.
KEN HISSNER: You have fought for many titles, minor and world titles. Did anyone stand out?
GLEN JOHNSON: Winning my world title in my second fight with Clinton Woods.
KEN HISSNER: Are there any fighters you have trained that you would like to mention?
GLEN JOHNSON: I just started training fighters in the last 3 years. I have another prospect named Malik Lewis who is 24 and a featherweight. He had about 20 amateur fights and is a tremendous fighter and very good technically.
KEN HISSNER: Thanks for giving so much back to the many fans and that including myself.
GLEN JOHNSON: Call me back anytime.
By: Ken Hissner
In a main event at the Park Theater in Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas, NV, Golden Boy Promotions over ESPN2 brought in a good main event with both boxers needing a win and Philly’s Gabe “King” Rosado came away with it over Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia.
Photo Credit: Derrick Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
In the main event Middleweight Gabe “King” Rosado, 24-11 (13), of Philadelphia, stopped Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia, 23-5 (15), of Passaic, NJ, at 1:15 of the sixth round.
In the first round Tapia landed a pair of 3-punch combinations. Rosado coming forward drove Tapia into a corner. Rosado landed a solid left hook to the top of the head of Tapia just prior to the bell hurting Tapia. In the second round Rosado landed a straight right to the chin.
Tapia came back with his own right rocking Rosado making him hold on. Tapia had a bloody nose from a Rosado right hand. In the third round Rosado countered well as Tapia was forcing the action. Tapia came back with a 3-punch combination to the body of Rosado.
In the fourth round Tapia came out throwing bombs. Rosado caught Tapia lunging with a left hook to the head.
Rosado missed with a left hook but followed with a right to the head of Tapia. Rosado chasing down Tapia scored with a right to the chin. Tapia had a lump on the left side of his forehead. In the fifth round Rosado flurried having Tapia on the ropes. Rosado kept throwing lead rights to the head of Tapia. Tapia countered with a left hook to the head of Rosado. In the sixth round a left hook followed by a right to the head hurt Tapia. Rosado then landed a left hook to the chin dropping Tapia. He beat the count but his legs seemed gone. Rosado jumped on Tapia landing unanswered punches until referee Robert Byrd wisely stopped it.
“I felt it was a good performance coming off a pair of controversial losses. I went back home to Philly to my original trainer Bill Briscoe and came back hungry,” said Rosado.
In his third fight in the US Welterweight Alejandro Barrera, 29-4 (18), of Monterrey, MEX, lost by majority decision in a bloody battle to Keandre “The Truth” Gibson, 18-1-1 (7), of St. Louis, MO, over 10 rounds.
In the first round it was a battle of jabs with the quicker Gibson gaining an edge. In the second round Gibson drew blood from the nose of Barrera. Barrera lands several combinations but Gibson boxing well. In the third round Barrera landed a pair of overhand rights to the head of Gibson. Barrera worked the body and head backing up Gibson. In the final minute of the round Barrera landed almost a dozen punches without return from Gibson.
In the fourth round a lead right from Gibson to the chin of Barrera stunned him. Gibson rocked Barrera with a left hook to the head as the nose of Barrera is flowing with blood. Gibson cut over the left eye. In the fifth round Gibson landed a hard lead right to the chin of Barrera. A counter right by Gibson caught Barrera on the way in on the chin. In the sixth round Barrera scored with several right uppercuts to chin of Gibson. Gibson came back and landed a pair of his own right uppercuts. Barrera received a cut over his left eye.
In the seventh round Barrera received another cut over his right eye. Barrera got caught with a hard counter right to the chin from Gibson. There was fierce punching in the round from both sides.
Barrera’s face was a mask of blood. In the eighth round Barrera landed a solid right to the head over a jab from Gibson. Gibson came back with a 3-punch combination. There was a good exchange from both boxers just prior to the bell.
In the ninth round Barrera worked the body of Gibson until he got caught with a counter left hook from Gibson. Barrera at the end of the round is a bloody mess but keep coming forward.
In the tenth and final round it was a war with both going for a knockout. Referee Jay Nady didn’t have much work to do in this round.
Judge Trowbridge scored it 95-95, Clemens 97-93 and Baylis 98-92. This writer had it 97-93.
By: William Holmes
On Thursday night Golden Boy Promotions will present a card live at the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas, Nevada on ESPN 2.
At least two bouts are currently scheduled to take place. The co-main event will feature KeAndre Gibson taking on Alejandro Barrera in the welterweight division. The main event will be a fight between Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado and New Jersey’s Glen Tapia in the middleweight division.
Photo From Glen Tapia’s Twitter Account
Both Rosado and Tapia have been in the ring with some high profile opponents, and a loss for either will likely signal the end of meaningful matchups for either boxer.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Alejandro Barrera (29-3) vs. KeAndre Gibson (17-1); Welterweights
KeAndre Gibson was once considered a high level prospect due to his amateur background and success. He won the Junior Golden Gloves National Championship in 2006 and was a bronze medalist in the 2006 Junior Olympics.
However, he lost by TKO to the undefeated Antonio Orozco in April of this year and some of Gibson’s hype has begun to fade.
Gibson will be facing Alejandro Barrera, and opponent that is four years older than him but will have a five and a half inch reach advantage and stands at the same height.
Barrera does not have the amateur experience of Gibson, but he does appear to have a slight edge in power. He has stopped seventeen of his opponents while Gibson has only stopped seven. Both men have suffered on stoppage loss in their career.
Gibson has been fairly active the past two years. He already fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Barrera only fought once in 2017 and zero times in 2016.
Barrera has defeated the likes of Eddie Gomez, Juan Mantiel, and Armando Robles. His losses were to Errol Spence Jr., Ramses Agaton, and Armando Robles.
Gibson has defeated the likes of Dennis Dauti, Mahonry Montes, and Jorge Romero.
It should be noted that three of the past four fights of Barrera were split draws and very close on the scorecards. Gibson’s amateur experience and technical edge should make him the favorite, but he will have to be wary of the power of Barrera.
Glen Tapia (23-4) vs. Gabriel Rosado (23-11); Middleweights
The main event is between two guys known for their heart and willingness to leave it all in the ring, but are also known for coming up short when placed in big time fights.
Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia, will be giving up a half inch in height and about an inch and a half in reach to Gabriel Rosado. However, Tapia is four years younger than Rosado and has a considerable edge in amateur experience. Tapia has a claimed amateur record of 130-4 while Rosado is alleged to only having eleven fights as an amateur on his record.
Both boxers have similar power numbers. Tapia has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Rosado has stopped thirteen. Both boxers have also been known to be stopped by their opponents. Tapia has three stoppage losses to his resume while Rosado has four.
Tapia fought once in 2017 and once in 2016. He is currently riding a three fight losing streak. He has lost to the likes of Jason Quigley, David Lemieux, Michel Soro, and James Kirkland. Notable victories include Daniel Dawson, Donatas Bondorovas, Abraham Han, and Ayi Bruce.
Roasdo has fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Antonio Gutierrez, Joshua Clottey, Charles Whittaker, Sechew Powell, Jesus Soto Karass, and Ayi Bruce. His losses were to Martin Murray, Willie Monroe Jr., David Lemieux, Jermell Charlo, Peter Quillin, and Gennady Golovkin.
Rosado has only gone 2-5 in his past seven fights, but most of those fights were against high level opponents.
Both boxers have had their share of tough losses, but Tapia has suffered more devastating losses than Rosado and has not been as active. Additionally, Rosado’s losses were against some of the best in the business, including Gennady Golovkin and Jermell Charlo, while Tapia has lost to lesser known boxers such as Jason Quigley and Michel Soro.
This should be an entertaining action packed bout. But it won’t be a bout to showcase the technical aspects of boxing. Rosado has an edge in the intangibles, but this is a fight that could go either way.
Golden Boy on ESPN Results: Quigley and Caballero Emerge Victorious
By: William Holmes
Boxing made its return to ESPN last night as Golden Boy Promotions put on a card from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
Many boxing aficionados’ are hoping the deal between Golden Boy and ESPN turns out to be successful for both parties as boxing has greatly missed the legendary Friday Night Fights series on ESPN.
The opening bout of the night was between Randy Caballero (24-0) and Jesus Ruiz (36-8-5) in the junior featherweight division.
Despite Caballero’s undefeated record and the eight losses of Ruiz this fight was much closer than expected. Caballero was clearly the better technical boxer, but Ruiz was willing to get in tight and rough up Caballero on the inside. Ruiz had success to the body, but Caballero was landing the cleaner combinations.
Caballero suffered a cut over his right eye in the ninth round from an accidental head butt but it didn’t cause him any serious problems for the remainder of the fight.
The quick and crisp combinations of Caballero were too much for Ruiz to overcome; though no knockdowns were scored in the fight.
Caballero won the decision with scores of 97-93, 96-94, and 96-94.
The main event of the night was between Glen Tapia (23-4) and the undefeated Jason Quigley (13-0) in the middleweight division.
Tapia is known for giving his fans action packed bouts and this one was no different. However, Tapia started off slow and it cost him this bout.
Quigley looked like he may end the fight early and his right hand was finding its target on Tapia’s chin in the opening round and had him wobbled as the round came to an end.
Quigley’s assault continued into the second and third round and he was very effective to the body. But Tapia was able to stay on his feet and fight back and slowly wear down Quigley.
Quigley was taking some hard shots of his own from Tapia and his face was showing the effects of Tapia’s punches. By the eighth round Quigley looked exhausted and Tapia had blood on his face, but Quigley was still out boxing Tapia who at times appeared to be flat footed.
Tapia needed a knockout in the final two rounds to win and he made an honest effort to get it, but it was too little too late as Quigley won the decision.
The final scores were 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92 for Quigley.
HBO PPV Preview: Herrera vs. Gomez, Tapia vs. Lemieux, Khan vs. Canelo
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Golden Boy Promotions will partner up with HBO to broadcast at least three fights on pay per view.
The brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for this card in which Canelo Alvarez will defend his WBC Middleweight title against Amir Khan. Two other fights are on tap for the card as David Lemieux looks to bounce back from his loss to Gennady Golovkin when he takes on “Jersey Boy” Glen Tapia in the middleweight division. The opening bout on the card should be between Mauricio Herrera and Frankie Gomez in the welterweight division.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts on the pay per view.
Mauricio Herrera (22-5) vs. Frankie Gomez (20-0); Welterweights
The opening bout of the night should be a coming out party for Frankie Gomez.
Freddie Roach once called Frankie Gomez his most prized prospect in the Wild Card Gym, and he has the amateur pedigree to back up that claim. Gomez won the 2009 US National Championships as an amateur in 2009 and has yet to taste defeat.
Mauricio Herrera will be a major step up in competition for Gomez and he is a crafty and tough veteran. Herrera however, is thirty five years old and will be eleven years older than Gomez. Gomez will be about a half an inch taller but will be giving up about an inch and a half in reach. Herrera has spent most of his career fighting in the lightweight division and fought in the junior welterweight division in his last fight.
Gomez’s biggest concern should be his recent lack of activity. He only fought once in 2016 and in 2015, and twice in 2014. His only big victories have come against Vernon Paris and Jorge Silva.
Herrera has beaten the likes of Hank Lundy, Johan Perez, Ji Hoon Kim, and Mike Dallas Jr. His losses have come to Jose Benavidez, Danny Garcia, Karim Mayfield and Mike Alvarado.
Herrera is the perfect test for Gomez at this stage of his career and it’s a test that Gomez should pass. Gomez’s past three wins have come by decision and Saturday should be no different.
David Lemieux (34-3) vs. Glen Tapia (23-2); Middleweights
This is a crossroads fight for both Lemieux and Tapia and both are coming off of tough stoppage losses. However, both boxers are under the age of thirty and have plenty of time to make another title run.
Lemieux is known for his incredible power and has stopped thirty one of his opponents. Tapia only has fifteen stoppage victories. Tapie will have an edge in height and reach, as he is an inch and a half taller and will have a three inch reach.
Lemieux won several Canadian Amateur Championships but did not compete in the Olympics. Tapia placed in several golden gloves tournaments as an amateur, but did not enjoy success on the international level.
Lemieux has the better resume as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gabriel Rosado, Fernando Guerrero, Hector Camacho Jr., and Elvin Ayala. His losses were to Gennady Golovkin, Joachim Alcine, and Marco Antonio Rubio.
Tapie has defeated the likes of Daniel Dawsom, Abraham Han, and Ayi Bruce. He has lost to Michel Soro in a mild upset and James Kirkland.
Tapia’s chin has been exposed as suspect in recent fights and he will have a difficult time avoiding the power of Lemieux. A victory for Lemieux in combination with his drawing power in Montreal will likely lead to another future title shot for him.
Canelo Alvarez (46-1-1) vs. Amir Khan (31-3); WBC Middleweight Title
Amir Khan has been chasing a mega fight with either Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao and has come up short. He surprised everyone by signing on the dotted line to fight the current WBC Middleweight Champion Canelo Alvarez.
Amir Khan will be jumping up two weight classes to take on the bigger Canelo. Khan is four years older than Canelo and has the faster hands. He will be giving up about a half an inch in height but will have about a half an inch reach advantage.
Canelo does have a clear advantage in power and has the stronger chin. Canelo’s lone loss was by decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and two of the three losses for Amir Khan were by knockout. Canelo has stopped thirty two of his opponents while Khan has only stopped nineteen.
Canelo has also been the more active boxer. He fought twice in 2015 and in 2014. Khan only fought once in 2015 and 2013, but did fight twice in 2014.
Khan does have the edge in amateur experience. Khan won the silver medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics and Canelo won the gold medal at the 2005 Junior Mexican National Championships and then turned pro at the age of fifteen.
Khan’s losses were to Danny Garcia, Breidis Prescott, and a disputed decision loss to Lamont Peterson. He has beaten Chris Algieri, Devon Alexander, Louis Collazo, Julio Diaz, Carlos Molina, Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana, and Paul Malignaggi.
Canelo has defeated the likes of Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erisandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Shane Mosley, and Miguel Vazquez.
Khan’s speed could give Canelo problems, but it will be essential for him to stay out of the range of Canelo’s punches. Canelo looked very good in his last bout against Miguel Cotto and he has more power in his hands than Garcia and Prescott, both boxers that were able to stop Khan.
The most likely scenario is that Canelo will use his size to his advantage and trap Khan by the ropes and stop him before the championship rounds.