The Nordic Nightmare Robert Helenius Stops Adam Kownacki in a Shocker
By: Rich Lopez
Premier Boxing Champions returned back to FOX with three fights in the heavyweight division. The card was staged at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. A huge Polish crowd was on hand hoping for another great performance from their countrymen Adam Kownacki. However, his challenger Robert Helenius did not follow the script.
In the main event, Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius(30-3, 19 KO’s) shocked the world and scored a TKO overAdam “Babyface” Kownacki (20-1, 15 KO’s) in the fourth round. This fight was a WBA World Heavyweight Title Eliminator. In the opening round, Helenius started to use his jab in long range but Kownacki wasted no time coming forward. Kownacki got close to Helenius and landed body shots. In round two, the action picked up. Kownacki came forward and was able to land a right hand on the chin of Helenius. Helenius then backed up Kownacki with two right hands on the chin. Kownacki then finished the round coming forward and both men traded shots.
In round three, Kownacki worked the body of Helenius. He backed up Helenius on the ropes and landed punches to his body and head. Once again, Helenius fired back with right hands that landed on the head of Kownacki. In round four, as Kownacki came forward, both fighters traded punches. In an exchange, Helenius landed a right hand on the chin of Kownacki that dropped him. However, the ref did not rule it a knockdown. Once Kownacki got up, Helenius landed a right hand that dropped Kownacki. Once Kownacki got up, Heleniuswent for the finish. He landed a barrage of punches on Kownacki that prompted the referee to stop the fight. The shocking ending came at 1:08 of the fourth round.
This was another shake up in the heavyweight division. Kownacki was expected to win this fight for a chance at a title shot or land a bigger fight. However, anything can happen in the heavyweight division when you have big punchers hitting each other. For Helenius, he just resurrected his career and is once again a top world heavyweight. Now, he will be lined up for a world title shot. Quite a comeback story for Helenius. Good action fight from both men that ended in a stunner.
In the co-feature, Efe Ajagba (13-0, 11 KO’s) scored a ninth round TKO over Razvan Cojanu (17-7, 9 KO’s). Ajagba stalked Cojanu in the first round. He focused on landing his left jab and his right hand to the head of Cojanu. In the second round, Cojanu came out and put the pressure on Ajagba. Cojanu landed a few hooks to the body of Ajagba. Both fighters stayed close to each other and worked well in the inside in round three. Ajagbalanded good left hooks to the body of Cojanu. Both fighters were busy in round four. Ajagba landed a few overhand rights on the head of Cojanu. Cojanu started to come forward in round five and he worked the body of Ajagba. Ajagba returned the favor and landed his own body shots. Things heated up in round six. Ajagba landed a series of right and left hooks to the head of Cojanu. Cojanu did some good body work on Ajagba. In round seven, Ajagba concentrated on the body of Cojanu and had success. In round eight, a right hand by Ajagba landed on the head of Cojanu. Cojanu went down on his knee and he got up on the count of nine. Ajagba went forward and landed a right hand followed by a left hook to finish the round. In round nine, a battered Cojanu made a final stand and traded with Ajagba. Ajagba threw all power shots to the head of Cojanu and Cojanuwent down on his knee again. The referee saw enough and waived off the fight. The time of the stoppage was 2:46 of round nine.
Ajagba scored another stoppage and against his toughest opponent up to date. It was an impressive performance from Ajagba. Not only did he display his power again but we saw a different wrinkle in his game. Ajagba boxed well throughout the fight. He used his jab well and kept a high guard. He also mixed his attack with body shots that eventually broke down Cojanu.
In the opening bout of the telecast, Frank “The Cuban Flash” Sanchez (15-0, 11 KO’s) dominated Joey “Tank” Dawejko (20-8-4, 11 KO’s) to earn a ten round unanimous decision. The opening round was a feel out round. Both guys started using their jabs. Sanchez out landed Dawejko on jabs in the round. In round two, Sanchez continued to stay busy with his jab while Dawejko relied only on his defense. Sanchez landed a few straight right hands to the body and head of Dawejko in round three. Dawejko was still waiting around to land a counter while talking to his opponent. At the end of the round, Sanchez landed a left jab that popped the head of Dawejko. In round four, Dawejko made an adjustment of coming forward, but Sanchez did not let him get in close. Sanchez used his left jab well and showed good side to side movement. Sanchez landed a good right hand on the head of Dawejko in round five. The fighters ended up bumping heads which cut Dawejko’s left eye. In round six, Sanchez continued to move and box while Dawejko was just following Sanchez around. Dawejko was coming forward inround seven but was not effective. In round eight, Dawejkocame forward and tried to get close again. He landed a body shot on Sanchez but it was not enough. Sanchez continued to popDawejko with left jabs and straight right hands. Sanchez started to land combinations in round nine. At the end of the round, Sanchez landed a right hand on the head of Dawejko and Dawejko landed a quick counter right hand on the head of Sanchez. In the final round, Dawejko had a better round and got closer to Sanchez. In the inside, Dawejko landed a few body shots and Sanchez kept boxing and moving. The final scores of the fight were 98-92, and 100-90 (twice) all for Sanchez.
It was a good win for Sanchez who displayed good boxing skills. He out boxed and outclassed a durable challenger in Dawejko. Sanchez did not get a knockout but Dawejko is a tough guy with a good chin. We should see Sanchez against a tougher opponent in his next outing.
Fight Preview: Adam Kownacki Closer to a Title Shot but Needs to Get Past Robert Helenius
By: Rich Lopez
Premier Boxing Champions returns back to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York this Saturday. Three fights are scheduled to be televised on the Fox telecast and the focus will be on the heavyweight division. Three undefeated heavyweights are looking to make a name for themselves and all three will have worthy challengers.
In the main event, one of the most exciting heavyweights is back and now aiming closer to a world title shot. Adam “Babyface” Kownacki (20-0, 15 KO’s) of Poland, will be making his tenth appearance at the Barclays Center. Kownacki was a good amateur boxer who won the 2006 and 2009 New York Golden Gloves Championships. He started his professional career in 2009 and he had a brief absence from the sport from 2011-2012 due to injuries. He resumed his career in 2013 and he started to make a name for himself. In 2017, Kownacki really opened our eyes when he stopped fellow countrymen Artur Szpilka in an all-out Polish showdown. Kownacki made a huge statement and stopped Szpilka in the fourth round. He had a stellar 2019 with two impressive victories over Gerald Washington and Chris Arreola. His fight with Arreola was one of the best fights of 2019. Both men slugged it out for twelve rounds which produced a CompuBox heavyweight record of 667 punches landed and 2,172 punches thrown from both fighters combined. This is one of the reasons why Kownacki is must see TV. He is an action fighter that is aggressive. He also has power and he throws many punches.
On Saturday, he will be fighting in a WBA World Heavyweight Title Eliminator and his opponent will be Robert Helenius (29-3, 18 KO’s) of Finland. Helenius, who is known as “The Nordic Nightmare,” was actually a top heavyweight when Kownacki was just getting started in his pro career. Helenius secured victories over Samuel Peter, Siarhei Liakhovich, and Dereck Chisora in 2010 and 2011. He was being talked about as an opponent to possibly dethrone Wladimir Klitschko at that time. From 2012-2014, his career was set back due to injuries and layoffs. Since returning to the ring in 2015, Helenius has struggled to get back on top and has lost when stepping up in competition. Most recently, in his American debut last year, he was stopped by Gerald Washington in the eighth round. He did bounce back with a win in November against easy competition with a TKO over Mateus Roberto Osorio.
Kownacki will be looking for another knockout victory in his hometown in front of his Polish fans. He is getting closer to a bigger fight but he needs to get past Helenius first. As for the 36 year old Helenius, this will probably be his last shot in a big fight and he will try to make the most of it.
In the co-main event, Efe Ajagba (12-0, 10 KO’s) of Nigeria, looks to continue his rise in the heavyweight division. Ajagba is a former 2016 Olympian that has gotten a quick start to his professional career and has gained a lot of attention. Since he started his pro career in 2017, he has kept a busy schedule with most of his knockout victims not seeing past the fifth round. The 6’6” heavyweight is a fearsome puncher with a devastating right hand. Ajagba is also known to be involved in the shortest boxing match in history in 2018. His opponent Curtis Harper walked out of the ring in the first round when the bell rang which resulted in a disqualification win for Ajagba. In Ajagba’s last fight in December of last year, he had to battle through adversity. After dropping his opponent Iago Kiladze in the first round, Ajagba was dropped in the third round. Ultimately, Ajagba recovered and stopped Kiladze in the fifth round. On Saturday, Ajagba will square off with battle tested Razvan Cojanu (17-6, 9 KO’s) of Romania. Cojanu is 1-4 in his last five fights but on paper this will be a solid test for Ajagba. Cojanu has only lost to top fighters in his career.
In the opening bout of the telecast, Frank Sanchez (14-0, 11 KO’s) of Cuba, is also looking to continue his rise in the heavyweight division. Sanchez was a decorated amateur who got his start to his professional career in 2017. Sanchez has been on a quick start and has looked good so far in his career. He has shown quick hands and good power. He will take on his toughest opponent up to date. His opponent will be Joey “Tank” Dawejko (20-7-4, 11 KO’s) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Don’t be fooled by the record. Out of his seven losses, he was only stopped once earlier in his career which was to former heavyweight champion Charles Martin. Dawejko is solid and has good skills and should serve as a solid test for Sanchez.
Robert Helenius Back in Action Against Washington
By: Shane Willoughby
Robert Helenius vs Gerald Washington this weekend is a fight of the underachievers. I don’t think you can two fighters in modern boxing who have failed to maximise on their abilities.
This fight is a real ‘pick me’ fight because it’s difficult to know exactly who will turn up to fight. It could be a great battle or an absolute snooze fest.
Washington on his day can outbox many good heavyweights. His height and footwork on the back foot caused Deontay Wilder all sorts of problems. But sometimes it looks like the American doesn’t care and just turns up to get paid. He just doesn’t have the heart.
Helenius, on the other hand, is the definition of hit or miss. On his day, he has the power to knock any fighter in the world out. The late Emanuel Steward rated the Nordic Nightmare as one of the top talents of this era.
Hence why he was one of Klitschko’s sparring partners for so long. But sometimes the Finnish fighter stinks the place out. He is the only person that can hurt both Whyte and Chisora but still find a way to bore the fans to sleep.
So, to call this fight is a really difficult task. But Helenius has the power to knock Washington out cold. That has to be on the American’s mind.
However, Gerald Washington does have good movement and he does try to run himself to a 12 round points win. Fortunately, this fight is only 10 rounds.
The most likely scenario for this fight is the pair run around, and just at the point where the eyes of the fans start to close, Helenius lands a massive right hand and ends the fight.
90% of Helenius’ fights go exactly like that. For some reason, his punch output is just always minimal. But his knockouts are always emphatic. In the words of Manny Steward, a motivated Helenius causes every fighter trouble.
The other fight on the card is between Jamal James and Antonio De Marco Soto. I wish I can tell you this will be more exciting but I can’t see how. In fact, this fight might be even worse
The matchmaking for this match is abysmal. Antonio De Marco Soto who is coming off a defeat, has spent the majority of his career at lightweight and has never fought at 147, is taking on the biggest welterweight in modern times.
Jamal James stands at 6 ft 2. If you thought Tommy Hearns was a big welterweight James is taller.
If James could win in emphatic fashion and stop the Mexican he can send out a great message to the rest of the division and say I can knock out a lightweight.
All jokes aside, James is a very accomplished fighter and is too good to be in these types of fights. Although he lost to Ugas, he is still a very good fighter and hopefully after he dispatches Antonio De Marco Soto he gets a big fight.
Joshua vs. Takam – The Undercard
By: Ste Rowen
Despite the late change of opponent, the biggest draw on Saturday night remains the main event, with Anthony Joshua taking on Carlos Takam for the WBA, IBF and IBO Heavyweight World title belts. However, hidden gems may lie in the undercard.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Yafai v Ishida
Chief support to Joshua’s bout sees WBA Super Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai take on Sho Ishida in his second title defence. Kal (22-0-0 14KOs) won the vacant WBA belt back in December 2016 from Luis Concepcion, who’d come in over the limit in two attempts at the scales, meaning the only Yafai could win the belt. Then in May this year Kal got his first defence in the bank when he dominated Suguru Muranaka. Yafai was mightily impressive in both bouts, scoring legitimately wide scorecards. He’ll be hoping that this is the stepping stone fight to being included on HBO’s ‘SuperFly 2’ in early 2018. His opponent Sho Ishida’s record is good on paper, 24-0-0 (13KOs) however that does include six debutants including his last two bouts in which Ishida stopped first timers Patiphon Saithonggym and Phetnamnung Sisaketphattana in rounds three and two respectively. This will also be Sho’s first fight outside of Japan, he’ll be hoping to upset the Brit’s party and join his countryman, Naoyo Inoue at the top table of the Superfly division.
Whyte v Helenius
Dillian Whyte (21-1-0 16KOs) is looking to turn up the heat on the current Heavyweight belt holders when he goes up against Robert Helenius. In his most recent outing Whyte made quick work of Malcolm Tann on the undercard of Crawford v Indongo in Nebraska. Though sloppy at times, he made sure his keep-busy fight didn’t last long, dropping Tann for a third time with a body shot in the third round. A stark contrast from his split decision win previous to that, when he fought in a Fight of the Year contender, going all twelve in a heavyweight war against Dereck Chisora. His opponent, Robert Helenius (25-1-0 16KOs) was once the man to beat in the European Heavyweight scene. A sparring partner of Anthony Joshua’s leading up to the Klitschko fight, Helenius was racking up victories including a controversial decision over Chisora in 2011 and knocking out an unbeaten Gregory Tony in 2010. His steady rise took a big hit in 2016 though when he was knocked clean out by a big 1-2 from Johann Duhaupas. He’s on a three-fight win streak and will be looking to take Whyte’s status as a number one contender for the belts.
Sanchez v Taylor
Katie Taylor (6-0-0 4KOs) fights for her first world title in just her seventh fight when she takes on Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA Lightweight belt. It will be Taylor’s second schedule ten round fight, in her second stadium fight, and the omens are good because in that ten-rounder at Wembley Stadium last April, Taylor continued to show her class when she dispatched of unbeaten Nina Meinke in the seventh. In her one fight since, the Irishwoman beat up Jasmine Clarkson for three rounds before the American’s cornerman pulled her out. Anahi Esther Sanchez, as expected should represent Taylor’s biggest challenge yet. Sanchez (17-2-0 9KOs) has previously held a world title when she won the IBF Super Featherweight belt in March 2016. She’s also fought and lost twice in world title fights. Once in December 2016 via a unanimous decision to Nina Wahlstrom for the WBC Super Feather title and again in May this year, when she was given two standing counts and eventually stopped in the fourth for her old IBF title. She bounced back quickly, and in her second fight at the 135lb limit, stopped Cecilia Sofia Mena for the WBA belt, that will be on the line this Saturday.
Cult hero Dave ‘White Rhino’ Allen (12-3-1 9KOs) was looking to exact revenge on Commonwealth Champion, Lenroy Thomas when the two were set to meet for the second time on Saturday night for an immediate rematch of their May 2017 split decision. However, the Jamaican has pulled out due to a virus. Allen is expected to remain on the undercard in a six round keep busy fight before going again for the British and Commonwealth belts.
Buglioni v Richards
Another late change to Saturday’s card sees British Light Heavyweight Champion, Frank ‘Wise Guy’ Buglioni take on Craig ‘Spider’ Richards. Buglioni (20-2-1 15KOs) was due to fight Callum Johnson in a mandated bout but Johnson withdrew last week, leaving the door open for Craig Richards (9-0-0 3KOs), who has been campaigning mainly at Super Middleweight up to this point.
Three of Matchroom’s 2016 Olympic signings will also be on the card. Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (5-0-0 4KOs), taken the distance for the first time in his last fight with Blaise Mendouo. Super Featherweight and Welshman Joe Cordina (4-0-0 4KOs) fighting in Wales for the first time in his pro career. And Light Heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (2-0-0 2KOs) a bronze medallist in Rio, and arguably Britain’s most highly thought of from the class of 2016.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Klitschko, Joshua, Mayweather, McGregor, Ward, Kovalev, Canelo, Chavez, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Klitschko, Joshua, Mayweather, McGregor, Ward, Kovalev, Canelo, Chavez, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 11th to April 18th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Klitschko vs. Joshua US Television Rights Settled for April 29th
Matchroom Sport, Klitschko Management Group (KMG) and K2 Promotions have reached agreement with U.S. premium television giants Showtime and HBO to televise the most significant heavyweight world championship match in more than a decade. On Saturday, April 29, IBF Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua will face former unified world champion Wladimir Klitschko from a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London.
Showtime is the exclusive U.S. television partner of Joshua, while HBO has an exclusive agreement with Klitschko in the States. Each premium network will produce its own separate telecast of the main event match for the U.S. audience. SHOWTIME will televise its SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING presentation live at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT, while HBO will televise its WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING production at approximately 10:45 p.m. ET/PT.
Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) will meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant IBO and WBA World Championships. The British sensation Joshua has knocked out all 18 of his professional opponents in a meteoric rise to stardom, while the long-reigning world champion from Ukraine, Klitschko, aims to win back titles he previously held in his 11-year rule as heavyweight world champion. Joshua vs. Klitschko is promoted by Matchroom Boxing, KMG and K2 Promotions and has officially sold out Wembley Stadium with a record-setting 90,000 tickets sold.
“I’m extremely happy and thankful that our respective U.S. TV partners Showtime and HBO reached an agreement,” said Bernd Boente, Managing Director of Klitschko Management Group. “This happened before in the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and the Lewis vs. Tyson fights and shows you the magnitude of our event at Wembley Stadium on April 29.”
“I’m delighted to announce this historic deal that will see Britain’s biggest ever fight shown on both HBO and SHOWTIME in the U.S.,” said Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport. “It takes a special fight to break down barriers and boundaries but also networks and executives who believe in working with the best interest of fight fans in mind. With the obstacles in place it would have been any easy resolution to not air the fight in the States but I want to thank HBO and Showtime for their perseverance and allowing America to see one hell of a fight at our national stadium in front on 90,000 passionate fans. Joshua vs. Klitschko is a fight for the ages and we look forward to the show!”
“We are thrilled to be delivering Joshua vs. Klitschko to the U.S. audience live on SHOWTIME,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “On the afternoon of April 29, U.S. sports fans will be able to tune in to SHOWTIME to join a record-breaking crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium and a worldwide television audience in witnessing an event that represents not only the contesting of the heavyweight world championship, but potentially the changing of the guard in the most influential division in boxing. We are proud to be Anthony Joshua’s exclusive U.S. television partner as he attempts to establish his legacy against the legendary Wladimir Klitschko, live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, as Showtime continues its unrivaled commitment to the sport.”
Said Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports: “Both promoters and both networks have found a solution that enables boxing fans in the U.S. to watch the world heavyweight championship. This agreement ensures that our subscribers have access to same-day primetime coverage of the fight. It will mark Wladimir Klitschko’s 22nd appearance on HBO and the first for Anthony Joshua.”
The 27-year-old Joshua has been perfect since turning professional shortly after winning Gold at the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain. Joshua, of Watford, England, won the IBF Heavyweight World Championship with a second-round knockout of defending champion Charles Martin in April 2016, earning a heavyweight belt in the fewest number of fights in more than 20 years. He has since successfully defended the title twice—against Dominic Breazeale in June and Eric Molina in December.
Joshua is just the sixth Olympic Gold Medalist at super heavyweight to go on to win a professional heavyweight world title, joining Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Alexander Povetkin and his rival on April 29, Wladimir Klitschko.
HBO has been the long-time home of Klitschko’s professional boxing career in the States. The 41-year-old has been a kingpin in the heavyweight division since winning Gold at the 1996 Olympic Games. He turned pro shortly after the Atlanta games and ran an undefeated campaign for 24 fights before suffering his first defeat to experienced veteran Ross Puritty. Klitschko quickly rebounded by winning 10 in a row and captured his first world title (WBO) with a unanimous decision victory over Chris Byrd in 2000, a win which avenged a loss by his brother, Vitali, earlier that year.
Klitschko’s most recent reign at heavyweight began in 2006 when he captured the IBF and IBO belts via knockout in a rematch against Chris Byrd. He went on to make 17 consecutive defenses of the IBF and IBO crowns, 13 consecutive defenses of the WBO belt, and eight consecutive defenses of the WBA title. Along the way, he amassed victories over Sultan Ibragimov, Hasim Rahman, Ruslan Chagaev, David Haye, Samuel Peter, Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev and more. In total he has fought in 28 total world title fights – a unique record in the history of the heavyweight division – compared to just 18 total professional fights for Anthony Joshua. He was the longest reigning world champion (2006-2015) after Joe Louis.
This will be Klitschko’s first outing since losing the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles to Tyson Fury in 2015, his first defeat in 11 years.
Closed Circuit Venues Announced for Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr.
The hottest ticket in town is for the sold-out Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr. mega fight that is set for Saturday, May 6 at T-Mobile Arena. Due to the demand of closed circuit telecast tickets, additional locations have been added for the Cinco de Mayo weekend showdown between two-division world champion Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) and former WBC World Middleweight Champion Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs).
In addition to the previously announced MGM Grand Ballroom viewing location, Liberty Loft at New York-New York Hotel & Casino and The Still at The Mirage Hotel & Casino will now show Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr. live on Saturday, May 6, giving fans the opportunity to experience an exciting night of boxing live in Las Vegas in an electrifying setting side-by-side with other fight fans.
Tickets for the closed circuit telecast of Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr. are priced at $75, not including applicable fees. All seats are general admission and additional tickets go on sale Wednesday, March 12 at 10 a.m. PST at any MGM Resorts International box office or concierge desk. Tickets also can be purchased by phone with a major credit card at 800-745-3000.
Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr. is a 12-round fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Tecate, BORN BOLD, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Adriana’s Insurance and Interjet. Lemieux vs. Reyes is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Eye of the Tiger Management, Matthysse vs. Taylor is a 10-round fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Arano Boxing and Star Boxing. Diaz, Jr. vs. Avila is presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event will take place on Saturday, May 6 at T-Mobile Arena and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Kovalev vs. Ward II Tickets on Sale
Tickets for Ward-Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” go on sale to the public today at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT. Tickets priced at $1,255, $755, $505, $355, $255 and $105 not including applicable service charges will be available on axs.com and at the Mandalay Bay Events Center box office.
Ward vs. Kovalev 2: “The Rematch,” a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Championships, is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions, Krusher Promotions and Corona Extra, and is sponsored by Monster Products and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The championship event takes place Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Follow the conversation using #WardKovalev.
TMZ Sports Reports Mayweather vs. McGregor is Still Not Close
Dana White recently told TMZ Sports that the rumored Mayweather vs. McGregor fight isn’t even close to happening. TMZ also reports to not expect much movement on the fight being made until after Conor’s baby is born, as Dana White has said they plan to meet up after McGregor’s girlfriend gives birth.
Dana also told TMZ that Ronda Rousey hasn’t officially retired yet.
Helenius Hits Back at Chisora: “You Are Going to Get Knocked Out!”
Robert Helenius (24-1, 15 KOs) has hit back at claims made by Dereck Chisora’s (26-7, 18 KOs) coach Don Charles ahead of their rematch for the WBC Silver World Heavyweight title on May 27 at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.
‘The Nordic Nightmare’ holds a controversial split decision win over Chisora from their all-action showdown December 2011, which many, including Charles, believed the British boxer did enough to win.
“Every fighter needs an incentive, and the incentive here is to correct the original decision,’’ said Chisora’s trainer. ‘’Dereck has to be the referee, judge and the jury. We are not leaving anything to chance.
“I hate giving fighters instructions to go out looking for the KO, but for this fight, Dereck is under strict instruction to go out there and knock this guy out.
“Robert is a good fighter, but without a doubt he has not been the same man since he first fought Dereck. Dereck knocked every last inch of confidence out of him. I am very confident that Dereck will knock him out!”
On hearing these comments, Helenius has issued a video message to his long-time rival, in which the Finnish heavyweight states: ‘’You can be the judge, you can be the referee, I don’t care, you are going to get knocked out anyway, On 27th May, I’m going to be coming to the ring with both my hands so you better be ready!’’
Caleb Plant Makes Impact Speech to At Risk Youths at Spring Mountain in Las Vegas
This past Saturday, undefeated super-middleweight contender, Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (15-0, 10 KOs), made an impact while doing a speaking engagement to at-risk teens at the Spring Mountain Youth Camp (SMYC) in Las Vegas. Caleb spoke to the youth about a variety of subjects but mostly about staying focused on their goals.
“I really wanted to come talk with these kids instead of at them,” said Caleb Plant. “The kids were very well mannered and they asked a lot of questions. I was honest with them and I believe I made a positive impact on the entire group. They have a boxing program up there and I was able to give a few pointers to some of the kids. It was a very uplifting experience for me and I’m grateful to the Spring Mountain youth leaders for inviting me.”
About Spring Mountain Youth Camp: (SMYC) is a staff-secure correctional facility, housing male youth between the ages of 12 and 18. This division provides for the therapeutic, educational, social, medical and recreational needs of approximately 240 young men each year. SMYC is located at Angels Peak in the Mt. Charleston National Forest Area. It sits at an elevation of 8,470 feet and has a capacity of 100 youth.
Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui to Battle for Interim World Title on May 20th
An exciting night of action will feature super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui in a matchup for the Interim IBF Super Middleweight World Championship plus two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy in a WBA 140-pound world title eliminator against Kiryl Relikh on Saturday, May 20 from the recently opened MGM National Harbor in Maryland and live on SHOWTIME.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast is headlined by WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. making the second defense of his title when he faces top challenger Oscar Escandon.
Top 168-pound contenders Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) and Uzcategui (26-1, 22 KOs) are set to meet in a 12-round matchup with the winner in line to face IBF champion James DeGale, who is currently recovering from injuries sustained in his draw against Badou Jack in January on SHOWTIME.
“This fight is a massive step towards my journey to success in 2017,” said Dirrell. “To me, this is my championship fight leading up to the rematch with the current champion, James DeGale. Jose has all of the tools of a champion, so he’s fierce competition for me. But I will show the world that I’m up for the task. This is my year!”
“I’m very excited to be facing a fighter the quality of Andre Dirrell,” said Uzcategui. “These are the types of fights that I’ve wanted and I look forward to coming out victorious. This fight will be another step on the way to my dream of becoming a world champion.”
A world champion at 130 and 135-pounds, Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KOs) and the former world title challenger Relikh (21-1, 19 KOs) will battle in 12 rounds of action for the right to be the mandatory challenger for current WBA Super Lightweight Championship held by unified champion Julius Indongo.
“I’m very excited to be back in the ring, especially on SHOWTIME against a top-ranked contender in Kiryl Relikh,” said Barthelemy. “This victory will get me one step closer to fulfilling my dream of becoming the first Cuban to win world titles in three different weight classes. I’m very motivated and I will not be denied on May 20.”
“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity in a world title eliminator,” said Relikh. “Rances Barthelemy is a good fighter, but my experience at this weight will help me get the victory. I’m ready to do whatever it takes to get this win and eventually wear that world title belt around my waist.”
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/.
Representing his hometown of Flint, Michigan, Dirrell looks to take one step closer to a rematch with DeGale after dropping a narrow decision to the current IBF champion in May 2015. The 33-year-old bounced back from the defeat in his last outing by earning a wide unanimous decision over Blake Caparello last April. After a decorated amateur career that saw him win two U.S. Amateur World Championships in addition to an Olympic bronze medal, Dirrell was unbeaten in his first 18 pro fights before losing a split decision to Carl Frosh in 2009.
Born in Venezuela, Uzcategui now fights out of Baja California, Mexico, where he won two fights last year by knockout. The 26-year-old shot up the rankings in 2015 when he stopped previously unbeaten Julius Jackson in the second round after knocking his opponent down four times. Uzcategui was undefeated in his first 22 pro fights and enters this bout on a four-fight win streak.
A Cuban amateur national champion, 30-year-old Barthelemy has yet to taste defeat since turning pro in 2009. Born in Cuba but now fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev. he won a super featherweight world title in July 2014 by defeating Argenis Mendez in impressive fashion, and followed that up with a second round TKO victory over Angino Perez. After dominating former champion Antonio DeMarco in June, he won a world title in a second division when he impressively defeated Denis Shafikov in December. Most recently, Barthelemy made the lone defense of his lightweight belt with a decision over former champion Mickey Bey last June.
Fighting out of Minsk, Belarus, Relikh returns to the ring after challenging the former champion Burns for the WBA title in October 2016. The 27-year-old was undefeated after turning pro in 2011 leading up to his world title shot. Relikh owns wins over veteran contenders Christian Ariel Lope, Joaquim Carneiro and Lazaro Santos de Jesus.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Pacquiao, Helenius, Alvarez, Chavez, Chisora, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Pacquiao, Helenius, Alvarez, Chavez, Chisora, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 28th to April 4th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Pacquiao to Possibly Face Jeff Horn
Bob Arum recently stated that Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn may face each other in the summer after Pacquiao abandoned the planned fight to pursue a showdown with Amir Khan.
This fight is being discussed to take place in Australia, but no set date or venue has been established.
Arum is currently working on finalizing the deal, but nothing has been set in stone yet.
Helenius and Chisora Ready to Renew Rivalry
Robert Helenius (24-1, 15 KOs) and Dereck Chisora (26-7, 18 KOs) came face-to-face for the first time since their controversial December 2011 showdown today at the Hotel Kamp in Helsinki, Finland as they prepare to renew their rivalry on May 27.
Helenius was awarded a split decision victory in their first bout, despite many people believing the British boxer did enough to win. Chisora now has the chance to settle the score when they return to the Hartwall Arena to contest the WBC Silver World Heavyweight title in a hotly anticipated rematch.
Chisora is coming off the back of another contentious decision in a ‘fight of the year’ contender versus countryman Dillian Whyte, while Helenius has scored back-to-back knockout victories against Konstantin Airich and Gonzalo Omar Basile.
‘’I don’t think Robert took me seriously last time,’’ said Chisora. ‘’But this time he will need to train harder than ever. I’m going to take him to places he has never been before, and I’m going to stop him. I’m not playing around. This guy is in trouble. When I come back to Helsinki, I’m going to be in war mode.”
‘’I’m looking forward to this fight,’’ said Helenius. ‘’Dereck is a tough fighter and I think we will put on a great show for the fans. My hand was raised after our first fight and I can’t see any other outcome this time. This is a big opportunity for me. A victory will bring me closer to a World title fight, and that is my goal.’’
‘’This is going to be the biggest fight on Finnish soil in recent history,’’ said promoter Nisse Sauerland. ‘’It’s a fight that’s been six years in the making, and we’re delighted to be back in Helsinki and back at the Hartwall Arena.’’
Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. Coming Live to the Big Screen on May 6th
Cinemas across the U.S. will play host to a Cinco de Mayo weekend mega-fight with a pulse-pounding live broadcast event featuring two of Mexico’s finest boxers: “Canelo Álvarez vs. Julio César Chávez, Jr.” in a historic showdown that will rival the biggest fights in Mexico’s rich boxing history. Two-division world champion Canelo Álvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) will square off against former WBC World Middleweight Champion Julio César Chávez, Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) in a 12-round battle.
Presented by Fathom Events and Golden Boy Promotions, the one-day cinema broadcast is set for Saturday, May 6 at 6:00 p.m. PT / 7:00 p.m. MT / 8:00 p.m. CT / 9:00 p.m. ET, live from the sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In addition to catching all the in-ring action up close and personal, event attendees will receive an exclusive commemorative fight mini-poster.
Tickets for “Canelo Álvarez vs. Julio César Chávez, Jr.” can be purchased beginning Friday, April 7, 2017 online by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). A complete list of theater locations will be available April 7 on the Fathom Event’s website (theaters and participants are subject to change).
On May 5, 2016, Álvarez celebrated T-Mobile Arena’s first boxing event with a knockout of Amir “King” Khan. Álvarez last fought on September 17, 2016, knocking out the previously undefeated WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith. Chávez, Jr. was last in action on December 10, 2016, when he secured a unanimous decision victory over highly-regarded German fighter Dominik Britsch.
Álvarez says, “Julio César Chávez, Sr. is one of the best, if not the best fighter in history. I grew up watching him and learned a lot from him, but that won’t have any influence when I fight his son… I want to remind you that when two Mexican fighters face-off, a spectacular show is guaranteed, and I can assure you that May 6 will be no exception.”
“This is going to be a tough fight. Every fight is important, and this one especially because it is between two Mexicans fighting each other for the glory,” Julio César Chávez, Jr. said. “I’m going to win, but my country will too, because this is the fight that boxing needs.”
Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions said, “Mexican boxing is the best, and when you have these two top boxers who want to give the best to the fans, we couldn’t pass it up. Canelo, the biggest boxing star, will take on not only a former world champion in Julio César Chávez, Jr., but the son of the biggest star in the history of boxing in Mexico.”
“There’s nothing like seeing these warriors – Canelo Álvarez and Julio César Chávez, Jr. – do battle, larger than life, on the big screen,” John Rubey, CEO of Fathom Events said. “It’s like having a real ring-side experience in your local cinema surrounded by other fans!”
Samuel Clarkson Laser-Focused on Interim WBA World Title Fight
A laser-focused Samuel “Main Event” Clarkson (19-3, 11 KOs) will step onto the world stage on Friday, April 14, as the Uprising Promotions light heavyweight faces unbeaten prospect Dmitry Bivol (9-0, 7 KOs) for the Interim WBA World Championship. The bout will serve as the feature attraction of ShoBox: The Next Generation, with the fight taking place at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C.
“Preparation for this fight has been awesome. I’m ready, and I’m excited,” said Clarkson, who moved his training camp to New York for this bout. “I will definitely owe this victory to New York City and of course Uprising Promotions, Ronson Frank and my dad. This was a very hard camp, but it has made me mentally become a stronger person. Physically, I’m definitely a stronger person. Going through life from this day forward, I’m just a different person.”
A Texas native, Clarkson and his father/head trainer, Samuel, Sr., opted to move this camp to New York where Uprising Promotions President Ronson Frank has been able to secure sparring with many of the top prospects in the region.
“Preparation in New York has been awesome,” Clarkson continued. “I’m not taking anything away from my people in Dallas, but I came out here and got exactly what I wanted. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and we’re ready for war now. All the hard work is just about done.”
Clarkson has gone unbeaten since joining Uprising Promotions and is currently riding a nine-bout winning streak. Among those victories included a decision over former world title challenger Cedric Agnew and knockouts of highly touted prospects Jerry Odom and Lavarn Harvell on ShoBox. The 26-year-old pugilist has been continually improving and showing significant growth since signing with Uprising Promotions in 2015, and a newfound dedication to his craft now leads him into the biggest opportunity of his professional career on April 14.
“Coming here and being out of our comfort zone has been great for two key reasons,” said Samuel Clarkson, Sr., who has worked alongside his son throughout his amateur and professional campaigns. “For one, this has enabled Samuel to fully prepare mentally. Two, the quality of sparring we have gotten has been tremendous. We have sparred with some top quality guys here in New York. Being embraced by all of these highly skilled fighters in New York has just made this whole thing a great experience. We’re really thankful to have this opportunity.”
Uprising Promotions President Ronson Frank, who initially started the promotion in 2013 to help himself get fights as an undefeated light heavyweight prospect, has aggressively build the foundation for his company over the past four years and feels very confident as its lead stablemate heads into this world title opportunity.
“Camp has been great, and everything has gone very smoothly,” said Frank. “We have a nice, strong game plan, and we have put in all of the preparation necessary to be ready for a fight like this. We are good to go and can’t wait until the fight.”
Standing opposite Clarkson on April 14 will be Bivol, who had an extensive amateur career that he finished off with a record of 285-15. The 26-year-old won the Interim WBA Light Heavyweight Title last May in Moscow with a unanimous decision over previously undefeated Felix Valera.
“We have some tricks up our sleeves,” Clarkson concluded. “Fans are definitely going to see an amazing fight. Anybody who knows me, you know I’m going for the knockout. If it shows up early, we’re taking it. If it’s later in the rounds, then that’s where we’ll take it. I’m just coming, and I’m going to be vicious. I’m always aggressive. I’m not afraid of this guy, so people are going to see a really exciting fight from bell to bell.”
Diego De La Hoya to Headline Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN on May 18th
Looking to continue his meteoric rise up the Super Bantamweight division, undefeated WBC Youth World Champion Diego De La Hoya (17-0, 9 KOs) will headline the Thursday, May 18 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN in a 10-round battle against crafty veteran Erik Ruiz (16-6-1, 6 KOs) at Casino Del Sol Resort in Tucson, Arizona and televised on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes starting at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST.
“I’m excited and thankful to be headlining Golden Boy Promotions’ new venture with ESPN in Tucson!” said Diego De La Hoya. “I have a tough opponent in Erik Ruiz, but I’ll be more than ready for him! I know ESPN is expecting great matchups from Golden Boy, and this fight is no exception!”
“I am thrilled to be getting the opportunity to fight Diego De La Hoya,” said Erik Ruiz. “I’ve had many ups and
downs in my career and I know a win against Diego can help erase some of those bumps. This fight has given me a renewed motivation. Only in boxing can one win change your life and a win against De La Hoya can change mine for the better. This will be a great fight for the fans!”
“We are thrilled to be adding Casino Del Sol Resort as one of our designated ESPN stops as an effort to ensure that fight fans around the country have the opportunity to see top talent give all they have in the ring,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “Diego is a natural in the ring and he’ll do anything to make sure he takes back home that belt. On the other hand, Erik Ruiz will look to vindicate himself, and will not hold back on Diego.”
US Olympian Nico Hernandez Building Wichita into a Fight Town
Last Saturday night at Kansas Star Arena in nearby Mulvane, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez planted a seed in hopes of growing Wichita into a fight town, as world champions Terence Crawford and Deontay Wilder have already accomplished in the respective hometowns, Omaha (NE) and Birmingham (AL).
More than 3,100 fans purchased tickets Hernandez’ successfully professional debut, stopping Pat Gutierrez in the fourth round. To put that attendance figure in its proper perspective, Wichita has a population of less than 400,000 and in this hoop-crazed state, the appropriately named “KO Night Boxing: History Begins” went head-to-head with the popular Kansas Jayhawks quintet playing on national television in the Elite Eight of the NCAA college basketball championship, as well as The Wichita Force playing at home in indoor football.
The 21-year-old Hernandez is practically a sports franchise in Wichita, second only to the Wichita State University (WSU) men’s basketball team. The city turned out in force at a parade honoring Hernandez upon his return home from the Olympics and WSU awarded him an open-ended four-year college scholarship.
“The show was a huge success and Nico, as a pro fighter, produced a more complete body of work than we had expected,” Hernandez’ promoter John Andersen (KO Night Boxing) said. “I was very impressed. His amateur background converted to an even better pro style. It really showed his potential and that’s one of the primary reasons we signed him. We really believed in Nico. He is the only fighter we have signed, right now; Nico is our stable! We see things from a different angle than big-time promoters. We understood that he’s a hometown hero, so we had him headline at home his pro debut on national television (CBS Sports Network). We produce our shows on television and we enjoy telling stories like Nico’s. We’d like to come right back to Wichita with Nico fighting in June.”
Lifelong Kansas Sean Wheelock, a non-paid member of the Kansas Athletic Commission that oversees boxing, in addition to calling last Saturday’s fights as a member of the KO Night Boxing announcing team on CBS Sports Network, has a unique perspective on the significance of last Saturday evening’s in terms of local boxing history.
“It was huge for Kansas boxing,” Wheelock explained, “the biggest show in this state since the Tommy Morrison Era (early-to-mid 1990’s). Morrison was an adopted son, though. Nico was born here and he has a deep investment in the Wichita community. Drawing 3000-plus for his pro debut, in a non-boxing market, was phenomenal and he has the potential to do what Crawford has done in Omaha and Wilder in Birmingham. Boxing has strong roots in Kansas and across the Midwest, but MMA has taken over and lately, most boxing in Kansas has been on hybrid shows with MMA and kickboxing.
“Fans were loudly chanting, ‘Nico’ and ‘316’ (Wichita’s area code) before, during and after his fight. I’ve never heard fans chanting for a city like they did, ‘Wichita’, for an individual athlete. And they were also chanting ‘USA’. As a native Kansas, I’m proud that this state has become more ethnically and culturally diverse with more Hispanics living in Wichita. Nico is engaged in the Hispanic community and he is a fantastic kid, too. Because of his personality and fighting style, he can draw locally from Wichita, throughout all of Kansas, and nationally among Hispanics and Americans across the country because of his accomplishment in the Olympics.”
Hernandez is also fighting in one of the hottest divisions in boxing — 115-pound junior bantamweight/super flyweight — showcasing name fighters such as Naoya Inoue, Roman Gonzalez, Carlos Cuadras, Juan Francisco Estrada and recent addition Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Conspicuously absent, however, are top 20 ranked American fighters in this weight class, excluding 36-year-old Brian Viloria, the four-time, two-division (junior flyweight and flyweight) world champion. The opportunity is right there for Hernandez to quickly establish himself as the preeminent American boxer in this weight class.
“There’s no reason for Nico to fight outside of Wichita for a couple of years as he develops,” Andersen noted. “I feel that he can win a regional title next year. Our goal is to have him in a world title fight position within three years. Our goal is to get him 13 to 15 fights and then promote a super fight in Wichita. He started out in a six-round fight. I think he’ll only have a couple more and then move up to eight-round bouts.
“Nico doesn’t waste a lot of punches, so the number of scheduled rounds won’t be a problem for him. Another fighter would have punched himself out in two rounds, fighting at home in front of a crowed like he had supporting him, but Nico showed tremendous poise, settling down and putting his punches together very well. He didn’t chase Gutierrez, he effectively cut off the ring, and his powerful body attack was something he didn’t do as an amateur. We wanted to see how he reacted to resistance and he passed that test with flying colors.”
Andersen noted that his company has promoted several successful shows, noting the big difference is last weekend’s show featured a world-class fighter in Hernandez. “Making the Olympics was a big deal for Nico,” Andersen added, “whether he medaled or not. Nico is to us what Manny Pacquiao is to Top Rank, ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to Golden Boy. We’re lucky to start out with a fighter like Nico. Fighting in Wichita was risk for everybody but it’s already paying dividends.
“We know who and what we are as a promotional company. Nico is our top priority, our only fighter right now, and now we have a great opportunity to build off last weekend’s success. We give Nico all the attention he deserves and he’s going to take advantage of this situation. And we also discovered that there’s some other talented boxers in this market. Whit Hayden did a wonderful job making very competitive fights. That’s his history, he never has blowouts. Whit is one of the most knowledgeable people I know in boxing. He’s the perfect matchmaker to guide Nico’s career, along with Nico’s father (head trainer) Lewis Hernandez, who we work closely with in many ways, in and out of the ring.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Golovkin, Canelo, Fortuna, Chavez, Lemieux, and more..
Boxing Insider Notebook: Golovkin, Canelo, Fortuna, Chavez, Lemieux, and more..
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 21st to March 28th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Gennady Golovkin’s Promoter Tells TMZ Canelo Alvarez Fight Needs to Happen
Gennady Golovkin’s promoter told TMZ that the Canelo Alvarez fight needs to happen and that both sides want it done and that there’s just way too much money to be made.
Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, says he’s been in serious talks with Golden Boy about a possible September date as long as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. doesn’t beat Canelo in May.
He also indicated that there’s a lot of options for a venue, including Madison Square Garden and T-Mobile Arena.
Read more at: http://www.tmz.com/2017/03/25/gennady-golovkin-promoter-canelo-alvarez-fight/
Javier Fortuna Renews Promotional Agreement with Sampson Boxing
Former WBA Featherweight and Super Featherweight Champion Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (31-1-1, 22 KOs) has renewed his long-term promotional agreement with promoter Sampson Lewkowicz and Sampson Boxing.
From La Romana, Dominican Republic, the 27-year-old Fortuna has won two straight since dropping his super featherweight belt in a shocker against Jason Sosa in June 2016. He came back with an impressive two-round blowout of fellow Dominican Marlyn Cabrera in September 2016 and then, in November took the undefeated record of Delaware’s Omar “Super O” Douglas by unanimous decision.
“Sampson Lewkowicz is and always will be my promoter,” said Fortuna. “He has done right by me and my career at every turn. I will be world champion again with Sampson in my corner.”
Lewkowicz, who says he’s working on a big fight for Fortuna, says Fortuna has become like family.
“Javier is a son to me. I am honored to be his promoter and look forward to continuing to work for him. He is a great champion with many great fights left. After he won his first title, he told me we would work together for his entire career and he has kept his word. I will do everything to make him a champion again.”
Hasim Rahman Jr. Pro Debut Moved to Friday, April 14th
When promoter Greg Cohen announced he had finalized arrangements for his next event, the decision to delay his promising heavyweight hopeful, Hasim Rahman Jr.’s, professional boxing debut two more weeks became an easy one.
Originally scheduled to turn professional on March 23, Baltimore native Rahman will now have his first four-round fight in front of a huge contingent of hometown family and friends on Friday, April 14, at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md.
Rahman will face Kansas City’s Brian Imes (1-4, 1 KO) on the non-televised undercard portion of an event that features the live telecast of undefeated Dmitry Bivol defending his interim WBA Light Heavyweight title against Samuel Clarkson in the 12-round main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader (10 p.m. ET/PT). In the co-feature, unbeaten welterweight prospects Juan Ruiz and Malik Hawkins will square off in an eight-round bout, and Baltimore’s undefeated featherweight Glenn Dezurn will open the telecast.
Tickets for the event, which is co-promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions and Banner Promotions in association with World of Boxing and Uprising Promotions, are priced at $103, $73 and $48 and can be purchased at www.TicketMaster.com.
“You only get one pro debut, so when Greg announced this show, he and I thought it would be a great idea for me to turn pro on this show instead, in front of my hometown friends and family,” explained Rahman.
The 25-year-old, son of Hasim “The Rock” Rahman, who famously knocked out Lennox Lewis in April 2001 to win the WBC and IBF Heavyweight Championships, says to being at home is a very important part of his mission.
“I’m doing this for my family and my friends and my city, so I think I should start right in front of them,” Rahman continued. “And someday I’ll bring them back the heavyweight championship. I can’t wait to fight on the same show as my brother with all my loved ones watching. It’s going to be a very big night.”
“We didn’t get the final word we were doing the Maryland show until a few days ago,” said Greg Cohen. “But once we knew it was happening, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to let Hasim Jr. turn pro at home. It just worked out perfectly.”
Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Rich Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
David Lemieux and Joseph Diaz Added to Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. HBO PPV Telecast
Less than two months after delivering the top knockout of 2017, Canadian knockout artist David Lemieux (37-3, 33 KOs) will return in a 10-round fight against Marco “Dorado” Reyes (34-4, 25 KOs) as the chief support to the highly anticipated battle between Canelo Álvarez and Julio Cesar Chávez, Jr. on Saturday, May 6. The mega-event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Opening up the stacked Cinco de Mayo weekend card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, former U.S. Olympian and current undefeated NABF Featherweight champion Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (23-0, 13 KOs) will face perhaps his toughest challenge to date when he defends his title against the undefeated Manuel “Tino” Avila (22-0, 8 KOs) in a 10-round battle.
These two fights along with the main event and the previously announced brawl between Argentinian slugger Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs) and Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor (20-4, 14 KOs) will round out the pay-per-view telecast on Saturday May 6.
“With three of Golden Boy Promotions’ most exciting contenders appearing on the pay-per-view, as well as the biggest star in the sport, Canelo Álvarez, the Cinco de Mayo card can be described in one word, ‘stacked’,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “I fully expect four action-packed fights that will have fans out of their seats for the entire evening.”
The hard-hitting Lemieux is riding a three-fight winning streak and was last seen delivering a thunderous third-round knockout of the highly touted Curtis “Cerebral Assassin” Stevens that has put the Canadian directly back into the title picture.
“I’m thankful to have the opportunity of being part of this event during the Cinco de Mayo celebrations,” Lemieux said. “I think I was able to send a clear message on March 11 with my performance against Stevens and I intend to do the same on May 6. I want to make sure that everyone understands that David Lemieux is making his way towards the top and that he intends to stay there.”
Reyes, a 29-year-old former WBC FECOMBOX middleweight champion, has knocked out 25 opponents and went toe-to-toe with Chavez, Jr., in a unanimous decision defeat that many spectators had closer than what came up on the scorecards.
“I know everyone is talking about the Lemieux knockout, but I’m ready to take him out,” Reyes said. “With my Mexican fans supporting me on Cinco de Mayo weekend, I’m ready to turn Lemieux’s lights out.”
“Following his performance against Curtis ‘The Cerebral Assassin’ Stevens at Turning Stone Resort Casino, fight fans wanted to see David in the ring again as soon as possible,” said Eye of the Tiger Management President Camille Estephan. “Being part of such a tremendous card that will be featured on May 6 with eyes on us from all around the world represents an incredible showcase opportunity. We are convinced that David will shine. He is in great shape and is more motivated than ever to conquer the top of the middleweight division,”
In the opening battle of the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast, two undefeated fighters will go toe-to-toe with both Joseph Diaz, Jr. and Manuel Avila risking their undefeated records for a chance at greater glory.
“I’m excited to return for the first time in 2017 and put my title on the line against such a tough competitor,” Diaz, Jr. said. “This fight will put me one step closer to a world title shot.”
“This is a golden opportunity to move myself into world title contention, and I’m not planning to let that chance slip away,” Avila said. “I know all about JoJo’s undefeated record, but he’s never faced anyone like me, and at the end of the night, my hand will be raised in victory.”
Preliminary bouts for the May 6 show will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tickets for a closed circuit viewing of the fights at the Grand Ballroom at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino are on sale for $75, not including applicable fees. All seats are general admission and can be purchased at the MGM Grand box office or by phone with a major credit card at 800-745-3000.
Helenius and Chisora Set for Huge Heavyweight Rematch
Robert Helenius (24-1, 15 KOs) and Dereck Chisora (26-7, 18 KOs) are set for a huge heavyweight rematch on May 27 at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.
There is a lot of the line for both men, in what promises to be the biggest fight on Finnish soil in recent history, with both the WBC Silver World Heavyweight title and a shot at the current WBC World Champion Deontay Wilder up for grabs.
Helenius holds a controversial split decision win over Chisora from their all action showdown in December 2011, which many believed the British boxer did enough to win. However, the Finnish fighter says this time the decision will be left in no doubt.
‘’Chisora is a good fighter and I’m expecting a tough fight, but I’m very confident I will win,’’ said the 33 year-old. ‘’Before our first match, I injured my right shoulder and had to fight for twelve-rounds with just one arm. If I was able to beat him with one arm, I don’t see any problems beating him when I have two.
‘’I am in great shape now, and I feel stronger than ever. It’s been a long road back since my shoulder operation, and I’ve been waiting a long time for an opportunity like this. I believe I am ready, and after I beat Chisora, I will be in a good position to challenge for the World title.’’
‘’I’m looking forward to going back to Helsinki and putting on another great show for the fans,’’ said Chisora. ‘’It’s a beautiful city with a lot of beautiful people. We had a lot of fun last time, and everyone knows who really won that fight. He can make all the excuses he wants, but that won’t help him on May 27.
‘’I feel like this is my time, I’m in my prime, and I can’t wait. I might be relaxed now, but when I leave London, I’m going to war. When I get on that flight I become a different person. Mr. Nice Guy is gone. It brings the vicious side out in me, and he’d better be ready!’’
‘’We’re delighted to be bringing this huge heavyweight attraction to Helsinki,’’ said promoter Nisse Sauerland. ‘’The first fight between Robert and Dereck was something special, and this promises to be even better. They’ve got unfinished business, and on May 27, they’ve finally got the chance to settle the score.’’
Tickets for the WBC Silver World Heavyweight Championship clash between Robert Helenius and Dereck Chisora will go on sale Monday, March 27 at 9.00 (EET) and are available online via www.ticketmaster.fi or by calling the ticket hotline on 0600 10 800.
Life Saving Brain Scanners Debut at Exclusive Boxing Event in Malta
Last Friday evening the cream of Maltese Glitterati descended on the Le Meridien Hotel in St Julian’s, Malta, for a rather exclusive Professional Boxing event, sanctioned by the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) in conjunction with the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC).
With tickets priced at almost ten times the normal for a boxing event in the Mediterranean haven, joining the rich and famous from the Islands were in excess of sixty international high rollers, each and every one of them attending to support Damon Booth as he made his professional boxing debut, against Ireland’s Marty Kayes, as well as to watch the highly decorated multi-World Champion Scott Dixon in action against England’s Will Cairns
However, those in attendance for the swanky event were totally unaware that in the background was an historic event also taking place, as for the first time on the Islands and only the second time ever at a professional boxing event anywhere in the World, the ground breaking hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect bleeds to the brain of the combatants, were in action both pre and post fights.
The Infra-Scanners, that were successfully introduced by the BIBA just two weeks prior, at an event in Paisley Scotland, following a number of high profile life changing head injuries incidents at professional boxing events in the UK last year, most notably the death of Scottish Boxer Mike Towell, even though these tragic incidents were on events sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and not by themselves.
The Infra-Scanner is a hand held brain scanner that is designed to detect bleeding on the surface of the brain inside the skull, so epidural and subdural bleeds, which are the common bleeds associated with an impact to the head, ones that can commonly cause life changing injuries or in the worse case scenario, death, in a short space of time.
Within Boxing, the Infra-Scanner is not intended to replace an MRI scan, which is required annually for Professional Boxers, but allows Doctors at Ringside to undertake a two or three minute scan, to determine if as a result of the boxing match that a boxer may have sustained an epidural and subdural bleed to the head.
Should the scan produce a positive result this will enable the Ringside Doctors to ensure that the Boxer is admitted immediately to the nearest specialist unit, where the appropriate care can be undertaken.
Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) Chief Medical Officer and British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) Medical Advisory Committee Member Dr Mark Xuereb spoke briefly after the successful introduction of the Infra-Scanners at the special event.
“My comments as a Boxing Doctor for both the MBC & BIBA and having been in this profession for in excess of ten years, I can say I’ve seen a lot of boxers and sometimes as a clinician the team has a dilemma do you refer to hospital or don’t you, which is a crucially important decision because you are potentially toying with death.
Without wanting to dramatize, this is a fantastic tool, the Infra-Scanner is a crucial tool to aid in that decision process. It’s easy, it’s simple, any paramedic or doctor can be trained to use it and it helps with the triage system, which is crucially important decision, because we decide what is current urgent versus future important.
We have guidelines for head injuries charting, whether to refer or not refer, as always this will not replace clinical assessment, however shall we say it fortifies and confirms your clinical hunch.
So easy to use, perfect, would I use in the future, absolutely, the research results are undeniable, and it’s making waves all over the world, so I would really like to thank whoever invented it because it is really going to help us as health & safety in any sport is first and foremost, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, five stars and hopefully as it develops it will get smaller and lighter, although saying that must say it is already lightweight and reasonable in size, so brilliant all round.”
Maltese Heavyweight Billy Corito, who had attended the event became the first Maltese boxer to be scanned, even though he wasn’t boxing on the event had this to say about the technological breakthrough.
“I was overwhelmed to be asked by Dr Xuereb to be the first Maltese boxer to have a Brain scan using the infra-scanner.
Could not believe this little remote looking device can save a boxers life! It was so quick and easy to detect if I have an injury or blood on my brain or anyone else’s.
It was over in just a couple of minutes, so just imagine if all boxing federations have one of these on every boxing event how quick lives would be saved.
As the saying goes, boxing saves lives, well now its Infra-scanners who are saving lives”
Scott Dixon, who was the actual first competitor to be scanned post fight at the event also spoke about the infra-scanners and the positive effect he believes having them ringside will have on the sport.
I think it’s an absolute revelation that BIBA have now bought in the head scanners to Malta, before and after every contest, this is the way forward, the only way forward.
There have been a few fatalities in the ring and most notably when I had my first fight on Friday the 13th October 1995 my best friend James Murray died in the boxing ring.
It took me a long time to get over that and I always hoped and wished that the rules would become more stringent. Back then it was British Boxing Board of Control, but hey now the British & Irish Boxing Authority are ruling the waves now with their pro-active approach to boxer safety.
BIBA make it their number one priority to look after the fighters and that’s the way it should be, their regulations are amazing, so I’m delighted to be a BIBA license holder and to be the first boxer to undertake a scan after my fight here in Malta, forget the rest BIBA’s the best.
I came to Malta eleven years ago and when I came here boxing was virtually nonexistent, they never knew a left hook from a fishhook, but now they’ve progressed and moved forward, so much so that having the scanners here are leading the charge in boxer safety.
Scott then went on to praise the BIBA on their professionalism with regard to another of their procedures, this time regarding dope tests, particularly due to an unsavory brush with the local doping authority, who not only failed to follow correct procedures at one of his previous fights that was sanctioned by the Malta Boxing Association (MBA), but then decided to charge him with failing to undertake a doping request, which is currently under appeal.
“I’m also delighted that tonight BIBA even regulated the doping screening, I volunteered to take the tests as they were going to pick them at random which is standard procedure, but I volunteered as I have nothing to hide.
The true procedure is that you are notified before that you will be subject to dope testing, obviously like I said, I volunteered, I done one test before the contest.
After my fight I was escorted, to the dressing room, by BIBA officials, to make sure there was no dodgy business, I went straight to the dressing room and was observed and did another doping test.
Obviously both were clear, as always, because I’m a professional athlete, I’ve been a professional 23 years now.
Now I’ve done thirty dope tests during my career in total, the correct procedure is you be notified and like I said BIBA followed the correct procedure and in an appropriate manner.
I’m so pleased to be part of this set-up, I mean listen there are so many cowboys in this sport, let’s be honest you have the MBA here in Malta for an example, so if you want to join a circus you go with them, if you want to be part of a truly professional set up you go with MBC or BIBA, as they look after the fighters safety first and foremost and that’s the only way forward and that’s why we’ve gone with the top of the chain.”