Boxing Insider Notebook: Conto, Wilder, Ortiz, Easter, Granados, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 15th to October 22nd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Undefeated Heavyweight Sonny Conto Remains Perfect with 1st Round Stoppage
Split-T Management’s Sonny Conto remained undefeated with a stoppage after the 1st round over Steve Lyons in a bout that took place this past Friday night at The Liacouras Center in Conto’s hometown of Philadelphia.
Conto dominated the action against the 11-fight veteran as he used his jab and right hand effectively to the point that Lyons did not want anymore punishment from the 23 year-old Conto.
With the win, the South Philadelphia native upped his perfect mark to 5-0 with four knockouts. Lyons of Larose, Louisiana was the most experienced foe of Conto’s young career is now 5-6.
Conto is promoted by Top Rank.
Two More High-Octane Showdowns Added to Wilder vs. Ortiz II Fox Sports Pay Per View on Saturday, November 23rd
Undefeated rising star Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa will make the first defense of his WBA Super Bantamweight Titleagainst former champion Julio Ceja while undefeated Mexican power-puncher Luis Nery battles Emmanuel Rodríguez in a matchup of former bantamweight champions on Saturday, November 23 in FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View action live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The pay-per-view event is headlined by boxing’s longest reigning heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder defending his WBC title in a rematch against once-beaten Cuban slugger Luis “King Kong” Ortiz. Three-division champion “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz will seek a title in another division in the co-main event when he takes on Miguel “El Michoacan” Flores for the WBA Super Featherweight Championship as part of the pay-per-view action beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
“With these two all-action matchups added, the November 23 card is shaping up to deliver another memorable night of excitement on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “In addition to the Wilder vs. Ortiz rematch and the Santa Cruz vs. Flores title fight, one of the 122-pound division’s hottest young stars Brandon Figueroa will make his first title defense against a very tough opponent in former champion Julio Ceja. Rounding out the night is Mexican knockout artist Luis Nery and tough former champion Emmanuel Rodríguez, who will be sure to kick off the pay-per-view in style with another classic in the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by BombZquad Promotions, TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at www.mgmgrand.com or www.axs.com.
The 22-year-old Figueroa (20-0, 15 KOs) will look to make the first defense of his super bantamweight championship in his fourth fight of 2019. He knocked out Moises Flores in January on FS1 and won an interim super bantamweight title in April on FOX by stopping Yonfrez Parejo. Representing Weslaco, Texas, Brandon, the younger brother of former world champion Omar, has a seven-fight knockout streak that he brings into the ring on November 23, having most recently stopped Javier Nicolas Chacon with an exciting fourth-round knockout in an FS1 main event in August. He was subsequently elevated to full champion by the WBA.
“This is probably going to be the biggest test of my career in the first defense of my title against a solid fighter like Ceja,” said Figueroa. “To be fighting on pay-per-view of the Wilder-Ortiz II undercard at MGM Grand is a dream come true. I’ve been working towards this moment my whole life. I attended Pacquiao vs. Thurman in July and the crowd was electric that night. I told myself while watching that fight ringside that I couldn’t wait to fight at MGM on a similar card, and now look at where we are. Ceja might have lost against Rigondeaux, but he put on a great fight and I know he’s going to come forward and brawl with me on November 23.”
Fighting out of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, Ceja (32-4, 28 KOs) will look to rebound from a loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux on FOX in June, when he was stopped in round eight while leading on all three judges’ scorecards. The 26-year-old knocked out Hugo Ruiz in 2015 to win an interim title before eventually being elevated to the full champion. While he lost the rematch to Ruiz, Ceja put together wins in two of his next three fights heading into the Rigondeaux bout.
“This is a great opportunity and I plan to win the world title again on November 23,” said Ceja. “I know what it takes to win and I will have the best training of my career for this fight. I hope Brandon Figueroa is prepared for fireworks. This title is coming back to Mexico for my country, my pride and my people.”
Nery (30-0, 24 KOs) is a power puncher who has stopped his last 11 opponents and 15 of his last 16. The 24-year-old southpaw from Tijuana, Mexico will be making his third appearance on a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View this year. He scored a dominant stoppage victory over McJoe Arroyo on the March event in Arlington, Texas and returned on the July 20 show to stop former champion Juan Carlos Payano. He scored a TKO victory over Shinsuke Yamanaka to win the bantamweight world title in 2018.
“I’m excited for another opportunity to perform on the biggest stage and show that I’m the best bantamweight in the world,” said Nery. “Rodríguez is a tough competitor and he will help bring out my best on November 23. Mexico and Puerto Rico have a storied rivalry in this sport and I intend to make my mark in history with a spectacular win.”
The 27-year-old Rodríguez (19-1, 12 KOs) will also look to put himself back in position to reclaim a 118-pound belt with a statement win on November 23. Fighting out of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, Rodríguez won the IBF Bantamweight World Title with a unanimous decision victory over Paul Butler in 2018 and defended it successfully against then-unbeaten Jason Moloney. He most recently was stopped by unbeaten champion Naoya Inoue in their May title bout.
“Switching opponents is no problem for me since we always train for different fighting styles,” said Rodríguez, who had previously been scheduled to face former champion Rau’shee Warren before Warren withdrew due to injury. “My Puerto Rican and Mexican people want to see a great fight and that’s what they will have on November 23. I know what Nery brings to the table and I’m ready for that. We are confident in victory and that in 2020 I will be crowned world champion again.”
Robert Easter Jr. and Adrian Granados Preview Super Lightweight Showdown Taking Place this Saturday
Former world champion Robert Easter Jr. and all-action veteran Adrian “El Tigre” Granados will go toe-to-toe this Saturday, October 26 in a crucial super lightweight showdown as both fighters look to insert themselves into the title picture with a win live on SHOWTIME from Santander Arena in Reading, Pa.
“I want to be the top dog at 140 pounds,” said Easter. “I have to go after those guys that have the belts in this division. It doesn’t matter to me who I fight. I just have to fight the best and to me all the belts in the division are up for grabs.”
“Beating Easter would definitely bring me back to championship contender status,” said Granados. “I feel like everything is on the line in this fight. I’m treating this as if my back is against the wall. Easter being a former champ would elevate me for sure, and a win against him would go a long way.”
The weight for this fight is of particular note for both fighters as Easter, a former lightweight champion, will make his super lightweight debut and Granados will move back down after suffering defeats to the 147-pound elite. Both believe big improvements could be in-store because of the weight.
“I’ll be stronger at this weight and more dominant,” said Granados. “I can do a lot more at this weight and it’s more natural for me. I’m stricter on my diet and I have to push a little more in training for this weight. But I’ve had more success at this weight and my body is still geared towards fighting at this weight.
“Overall, this has been night and day from the training camp for my last fight compared to this camp. I was so sick during camp for my last fight that we were almost ready to cancel the fight. This camp has been totally different. I feel completely healthy now and can’t wait to put on great performance on October 26.”
“I felt it was time to make the move up and explore a higher weight class,” said Easter. “Making 135 pounds wasn’t that hard for me, but I was taking off too much muscle to make that weight. Now I’ll definitely have more power and be better hydrated. I’ll feel much more comfortable heading into the fight and inside the ring.
“I know that the guys I’m facing in this weight class will be stronger too, so we’ve been working a lot with my strength and conditioning coach. We’re doing lots of legs and upper body drills. I’m focusing on staying strong, as well as keeping the cardio up.”
With Easter bringing his slick boxing style and top flight speed to the table, and Granados being known as a come-forward fighter who never lets his opponent rest, the winner could be determined by which fighter is able to impose their will and adjust as the fight progresses.
“Granados will come to fight,” said Easter. “I know that. I’ll try to use my boxing skills and not just stand there banging with him, but you never know how it’ll play out until we actually get in the ring. You can’t really put together a blueprint. I’ll just have to adjust to whatever style he brings to the table on October 26.
“Granados is a tough fighter, and I’ve had a plenty of tough fights, but he’s been in there with some great fighters. I know he’ll test me, but I’m ready for whatever he throws at me. I’m training really hard for this one.”
“I think this fight is a classic boxer versus puncher-brawler,” said Granados. “I am going to apply the pressure and I’m going to come out to take this one from him. I think Robert is a tough, good fighter, but I’ve been in there with lots of elite fighters.
“I’m excited to be back at my natural weight. I know that he’s the taller, longer fighter, but I’m not much shorter than him and I know that I have what it takes to beat him when I’m at my best.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and King’s Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com or at the Santander box office (Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.).
Sampson Boxing Signs Mexican Super Lightweight German Orozco to a Contract
Sampson Boxing proudly announces the signing of Mexican super lightweight contender German Rodolfo “Sinaloita” Orozco to a promotional contract.
20-year-old Orozco (24-2-3, 17 KOs) hails from Guamuchil, Sinaloa, Mexico. He turned professional shortly before his 16th birthday and has fought exclusively in his homeland to this point in his career. Orozco is 9-0-1 in his last 10 fights and holds a shutout unanimous decision over former world-title challenger Cosme Rivera in July of this year. In his most recent ring appearance he scored a seventh-round stoppage over popular Mexican contender Nery Saguilan two weeks ago.
“I am honored to have signed with a promoter who has helped so many Mexican fighters become champions,” said Orozco. “I am looking forward to fighting in the United States against the best challengers. I will be world champion one day.”
Orozco’s manager, Javier Landeros, says he’s been waiting patiently for his young prospect to strengthen and mature before bringing him to Lewkowicz.
“We knew we were going to sign with Sampson as the promoter and Fernando Dominguez as the agent from the start,” said Landeros. “German has grown into a strong and talented fighter who is ready for the challenges he needs to become a contender and champion. I trust Sampson to help guide us to big fights internationally, where he can show the world the newest talent from Mexico.”
Lewkowicz says he’s eager to get Orozco fighting in the US and building his name as a prospect to watch next year.
“Sinaloita Orozco is a very talented boxer with great potential and his manager Javier Landeros and Fernando Dominguez are good and honest men who care very much for their fighters,” said Lewkowicz. “I look forward to bringing this young prospect to the United States where he can start his climb to the world-class. They are a good team and I’m happy to be working with them.”
Statement From Golden Boy Regarding Recent Lawsuit
A frivolous lawsuit was filed recently alleging that Oscar De La Hoya sexually assaulted ‘Jane Doe,’ which is completely false. Oscar is a very successful businessman, running one of the country’s leading sports and entertainment companies – thus a prime target. It is worth noting that both recent lawsuits have been filed by the same attorney who is looking to make a name for himself. We vehemently deny these allegations and look forward to vigorously defending Oscar’s good name and reputation.