Showtime PPV Undercard Results: Hurd, Ortiz, and Joyce Stomp their Competition
By: William Holmes
The Staples Center in Los Angeles, California was the host site for tonight’s Showtime PPV offering between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
The opening bout of the night was between Joe Joyce (6-0) and Joe Hanks (23-2) in the heavyweight division.
Joe Joyce was a silver medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics and has stopped every opponent he has faced as a professional.
Joyce was the taller fighter, but looked a little awkward around the ring and was stunned with some decent combinations by Hanks early on. However, when Joyce connected with a straight right hand it hurt Hanks and had him momentarily stunned. Joyce was able to follow that up with a jab and a left hook to the chin that sent Hanks crashing to the mat.
Hanks struggled to get up by the count of ten and protested when the referee waived the fight off, but he looked badly hurt at the time of the stoppage.
Joe Joyce wins by way of knockout at 2:25 of round one.
The next fight of the night was between Luis Ortiz(29-1) and Travis Kauffman (32-2) in the heavyweight division.
Ortiz is an elite fighter with a deep amateur background and the difference in talent was evident early on. Ortiz had Kauffman backing up early on with a stead streak of jabs and kept it up throughout most of the fight.
Kauffman got hit with a low blow in the third round and got some time to recover, but got tagged with a good combination by Ortiz after his break in what may have been the best shots of the night at that point.
Kauffman continued to get moved corner to corner in the fourth and fifth rounds as he was backwards. Ortiz landed a vicious straight left hand in the sixth round that sent Kauffman to the mat and Ortiz celebrating jumping in the corner. But it may have ben premature as Kauffman got back to his feet.
Ortiz picked Kauffman apart for the remainder of the sixth round and landed some solid straight right hands but wasn’t able to finish Kauffman off.
Ortiz had Kauffman backing up in the seventh round and sent him to the mat again in the eighth round with an overhand right to the temple. Kauffman got back to his feet again and took several more hard shots, including a left uppercut, but was able to survive the round.
Ortiz went for the stoppage in the final two rounds, an landed a low blow and a near knockdown in the ninth round that was ruled a push. He did land a left hand in the tenth and final round to score his third knockdown of the fight, but Kauffman got up to his feet again, only to get tagged with another left hook that had him badly hurt before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
Louis Ortiz at wins by TKO at 1:58 of the tenth and final round.
The final fight on the undercard was between Jarrett Hurd (22-0) and Jason Welborn (24-6) in the super welterweight division.
Welborn was pressing the pace in the opening round and kept his head in the chest of Hurd and fought the fight in close and appeared to do well.
Hurd pressed behind his jab in the second round and appeared to throw a large number of left jabs and hooks. Hurd was rolling well with the punches of Welborn in the third round, but Welborn may have stolen that round with a flurry at the end.
Welborn opened up the fourth round with some heavy shots on Hurd by the ropes and connected with some clean hooks to the head while Hurd’s back was against the ropes. Hurd covered up and took the shots of Welborn before unloading a right uppercut to the body that sent Welborn to the canvas.
Hurd took some heavy shots in the process, but wins by knockout at 1:55 of the fourth round.
Rd 4: Weblron landed some heavy shots on Hurd by the ropes. Some hard combos. Hurt taking on some good shots. Hurd fighting back. Body shot sends him down. For ten. KO!!
Boxing Insider Notebook: Braekhus, Chocolatito, Zurdo, Hurd, Stevenson, Chavez, and more…
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 7th to November 14th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Lina Baker/360 Promotions
Cecilia Braekhus vs. Alexsandra Magdziak-Lopez and Chocolatito vs. Guevara Set for December 8th
Two of Boxing’s Biggest Stars make their highly anticipated return at the iconic Stubhub Center in Carson, CA. on Saturday, December 8 for an outstanding double-header featuring Undisputed Women’s Welterweight World Champion ‘The First Lady’ Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs) and Four-Division Pound for Pound World Champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, (47-2, 39 KOs). The event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:20 p.m. ET/PT.
Fighting out of Bergen, Norway, Braekhus, the Consensus #1 Ranked Women’s Pound-for-Pound Fighter in the World will face two-time world title challenger, Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes, (18-4-3, 1 KO), a native of Gilwice, Poland, now based in Marshfield, MA in the ten-round main event.
Former Men’s #1 Ranked Pound-for-Pound Fighter in the World, Gonzalez of Managua, Nicaragua, clashes with former world champion Pedro ‘Jibran’ Guevara, (32-3-1, 19 KOs) of Sinaloa, Mexico in a ten-round super-flyweight bout.
Presented by Tom Loeffler’s 360 Boxing Promotions, advance tickets priced at $25, $50, $100 and $150 can be purchased through www.AXS.com starting This Friday, November 9 at 12:00 p.m. The StubHub Center is located at 18400 Avalon Boulevard, Carson, CA 90746. For more information please visit their website at www.StubHubCenter.com.
A press conference was held on Wednesday in Downtown Los Angeles to formally announce the event. Also appearing at the press conference was popular atomweight world title challenger Louisa ‘Bang Bang Lulu’ Hawton, (8-2-0, 4 KOs), of Perth, Australia, who will also be fighting on the non-televised portion of the show.
“I’m thrilled to be announcing my next title defense against Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes,” said Cecilia Braekhus, currently training in Southern California with the renowned Johnathon Banks. “I know Aleksandra very well and this will be a very tough challenge for me.”
“It’s great to be back in Los Angeles, it’s starting to feel like my second home now. Right now, it’s pretty cold now in Norway so the sun and warm weather are treating me very good and I expect a lot of fans from Norway to come to my fight and experience the Southern California sunshine. My trainer Johnathon Banks and I have already started working very hard in the gym.”
“A big thank you to Tom Loeffler and 360 Promotions for putting together this great event. Thanks very much to HBO for putting me on the network again. I promise to deliver another big fight, my last fight was very exciting and this one will be as well, I don’t do boring fights.”
‘I’m defending all the belts as you see in front of me. They represent a life-time of hard work. Hopefully when it becomes time to retire I can do so undefeated, that is my dream, that is my goal. I thank you for all your support and to the fans here in the United States and those attending the fight Internationally.
“It’s been my dream to fight Cecilia and I can’t wait to fight her,” said Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes. “She is the best women’s fighter in the world and has been for many years but on December 8 I will be up to the challenge and come out victorious with her titles.”
Stated Roman Gonzalez, “Thanks very much to God, Mr. Honda, Teiken Promotions, HBO Boxing and 360 Promotions. I know Pedro Guevara very well, he’s a very tough fighter and I will have to be at my very best to continue my pursuit of a fifth world title.”
“It’s an honor to be on the same card as Cecilia Braekhus, we’re very blessed to be here. I was very happy with the knockout victory of my last fight and look forward to fighting in Los Angeles again in front of my fans.”
“Chocolatito was the best fighter in the world not too long ago and that is the fighter I am preparing for,” said Pedro Guevara. ‘It’s an honor to share the ring with him but on December 8 it will be another victory on my path to again becoming a world champion.”
Said Tom Loeffler, “This card truly is a tribute to HBO where the biggest stars in boxing have been made for decades. As we have seen with the ascent in popularity with Gennady Golovkin and as we continue to see with Cecilia and Roman their international popularity and marketability continues to increase with each appearance on HBO.”
“We’ve promoted some outstanding and record-breaking memorable nights of boxing at the Stubhub Center and we look forward to another great event on Saturday, December 8. We hold the record for the 3 largest gates at StubHub Center with GGG in his two fights at StubHub and Chocolatito with his sold out fight there last year.”
“Thanks to Dan Beckerman at AEG and everyone at StubHub Center for their support and for working on this show with us and to the California State Athletic Commission who have always been very fair while keeping the health and safety of the fighters as their number one priority.”
Fighting for the first time in Russia, Cecilia Braekhus won a 10-round unanimous decision over junior middleweight world champion Inna Sagaydakovskaya on July 21, 2018 in Moscow. The victory took place in front of over 25,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium and an international televised audience. Prior to that, Braekhus was victorious in the first women’s bout televised by HBO in their 45-year history on May 5, 2018. Defeating Kali Reis by unanimous decision at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA, the fight drew an average of 904,000 viewers in the United States, the second highest viewership by the network for boxing in 2018.
Braekhus is currently ranked the #1 Pound-for-Pound Female Boxer by Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America. She was presented with the first women’s Ring Magazine Pound-for-Pound Title belt in Las Vegas on September 15, 2018. Since September 2014, Braekhus has held the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO Welterweight World Titles and was just awarded 3 Guinness Book of World Records Awards this year at the WBC Convention in Kiev, Ukraine.
Magdziak-Lopes has twice previously challenged for world title. On September 17, 2016, she traveled to Gdansk, Poland to face Ewa Piatkowska for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight World Title, losing a hard-fought ten-round decision. In 2014, Magdziak-Lopes battled Mikaela Lauren in her hometown of Rocklunda, Sweden for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight World Title. At the end of a highly competitive ten rounds, Lopes would come up just short losing a majority decision to Lauren.
Magdziak-Lopes is unbeaten in her last 3 fight, including victories over Paty Ramirez and Lisa Noel Garland.
Returning to battle less than three months after a knockout victory, Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez looks to continue on his path towards a fifth world title. On September 15, 2018, the hard-hitting Nicaraguan dismantled Moises Fuentes with a ‘Knockout of the Year’ stoppage in the fifth round on the HBO Pay-Per-View® Undercard of the World Middleweight Championship between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
Gonzalez has held world titles in four weight divisions; minimum weight, junior flyweight, flyweight and super flyweight. From September 12, 2015 to March 18, 2017, he was the Consensus #1 Pound-for-Pound Fighter in the World.
The 29-year-old Guevara first became a world champion on December 30, 2014 with a seventh-round knockout of Akira Yaegashi in Tokyo, Japan, winning the vacant WBC Junior Flyweight World Title. After making two successful defenses in Mexico, Guevara would return to Japan losing a split-decision to Yu Kimura on November 28, 2015.
In 2018, Guevara has recorded two stoppage victories, an eighth-round knockout of Angel Guevara on May 18, 2018 followed by a tenth-round stoppage of Roberto Sanchez on September 1, 2018.
Revenge or Repeat? Zurdo-Hart 2 Set for December 14th in Corpus Christi
It was one of the best fights of 2017. WBO super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez had Jesse “Hollywood” Hart down and nearly out in the second round, only for Hart to come back with a furious late-rounds rally. Ramirez ultimately prevailed via unanimous decision that September evening in Tucson, Ariz., but Hart, the Philadelphia native with the legendary last name, had rematch on his mind immediately after the decision was rendered.
His wish has finally come true.
Ramirez will make the fifth defense of his world title against Hart, Friday, Dec. 14 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. Ramirez-Hart 2 and a soon-to-be announced co-feature will stream live and exclusively at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ in the United States— the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. The entire undercard will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zapari Boxing Promotions, tickets to the Ramirez-Hart 2 world championship event will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. CST. Priced at $100, $65, $45, and $30, tickets may be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, at the American Bank Center Box Office, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
“This will be a good fight. I feel better prepared than the first time and even more convinced that I will finish him,” Ramirez said. “I’ve always said that I wanted to be the king of the division. I’ve been waiting for unification fights, and I’m still patient. I’m at my best, and against Hart, I want to show why I’m the best.”
“I’m very grateful and humbled for this opportunity,” Hart said. “I just want to go out there and perform to the best of my ability. I have nothing derogatory to say about Gilberto Ramirez. At this point, I just want to go out there and perform.”
Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs), the first Mexican-born super middleweight champion, will be defending the title he won from Arthur Abraham via shutout decision on April 9, 2016. A hand injury put Ramirez on the shelf until April 22, 2017, but he didn’t miss a beat, dominating Max Bursak en route to a unanimous decision victory. In his most recent outing, June 30 in Oklahoma City, Ramirez used his boxing skills to win a unanimous decision against Alexis Angulo. Ramirez, from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, is a nine-year pro who is no stranger to Corpus Christi. He headlined a show at the American Bank Center on Feb. 3, knocking out the previously unbeaten Habib Ahmed in the sixth round to retain his title.
Hart (25-1, 21 KOs), the WBO No. 1 contender, is a former amateur standout, winning the 2011 National Golden Gloves and U.S. National championships at 165 pounds. A 2012 U.S. Olympic alternate, Hart turned pro in 2012 and won his first 22 bouts prior to challenging Ramirez. Hart last fought as the ESPN co-feature Aug. 18 in Atlantic City, battering Mike Gavronski en route to a third-round stoppage. After more than a year of calling out Ramirez for a return match, Hart has his shot at redemption. A proud native of Philadelphia, Hart is the son of Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, a feared middleweight contender in the 1970s who never received a world title shot. With Eugene Hart in his corner as head trainer, Jesse Hart will seek to bring a world title home to the City of Brotherly Love.
Split Site Doubleheader Featuring Adonis Stevenson and Julio Cesar Chavez Kicks Off Big Night of Boxing on December 1st
A split-site doubleheader airing live on SHOWTIME and streaming live on SHOWTIME Sports social media platforms will kick off a big night of boxing on Saturday, December 1, leading into the SHOWTIME PPV presentation of the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury heavyweight blockbuster event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Adonis Stevenson will make the 10th defense of his WBC Light Heavyweight World Championship against undefeated, mandatory challenger Oleksandr Gvozdyk to start the action live from Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada. The two-fight telecast presented by Premier Boxing Champions continues live from Los Angeles, where Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. will take on Alfredo Angulo in a 10-round super middleweight clash at STAPLES Center.
COUNTDOWN LIVE: WILDER VS. FURY will begin at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT live on SHOWTIME and on SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and Facebook page, preceding the Wilder vs. Fury SHOWTIME PPV event that begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT from STAPLES Center.
The December 1 SHOWTIME PPV and COUNTDOWN LIVE presentations feature two of the most feared knockout punchers in the sport. With 39 knockouts in 40 professional fights, Wilder’s right hand is widely regarded as the biggest weapon in boxing. The southpaw Stevenson’s left has led to knockouts in six of his nine title defenses. On December 1, the two power-punchers will take on top-rated, undefeated opponents as they make the 10th and eighth defenses of their respective WBC titles.
Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs) is boxing’s longest reigning world champion, having won the WBC 175-pound title in 2013. The Montreal-based southpaw will face his WBC-mandated challenger in Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs), a Ukrainian with 12 knockouts in his 15 professional fights since a standout amateur career that included a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.
In Gvozdyk, Stevenson will face his second consensus top-10 light heavyweight of 2018, following his Fight of the Year candidate draw with Badou Jack in May on SHOWTIME. Gvozdyk, an amateur teammate of fellow Ukrainians Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk, earned the mandatory status with a near-shutout decision over Mehdi Amar in March.
“I’ve been pushing myself in training to be ready to put on a great performance December 1 and defend my title once again,” said Stevenson. “My old trainer, the late great Emanuel Steward, used to tell me that ‘knockouts sell’ and that’s what I’m going for in this fight. I know I’m facing a good boxer who’s coming in very determined. He’ll be ready, but it won’t be enough. It’s going to be show time on SHOWTIME and another victory for ‘Superman’.”
“I have been waiting for this title shot for a very long time, and I will take full advantage of the opportunity,” said Gvodzyk. “It doesn’t matter where we fight. I am fully prepared to become the new WBC light heavyweight champion. Canada, ‘The Nail’ is coming to put on a show!”
Chavez, Jr. (50-3-1, 32 KOs) is the son of Mexican boxing legend and Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. The 32-year-old from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico ripped off 46 straight victories to start his career using a gritty boxing style that denoted his toughness in the ring. Chavez is seeking to rebound from a unanimous decision loss to middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on May 6, 2017.
The 36-year-old Angulo (24-7, 20 KOs) is a tough brawler who has faced some of the best boxers in the sport. Angulo, who lives in Coachella, California but was born in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, is coming off a hard-fought split decision loss to former world champion Sergio Mora in April.
“I am excited to be back on December 1 to perform for the great Mexican fans in Los Angeles,” said Chavez Jr. “At my weight I know I can beat anyone. I am focused and feel strong. Angulo will be first, but then I will pursue a belt at 168. I’m putting the division on notice. Chavez is back.”
“I have been training very hard in anticipation of this fight and this is the best I have felt in a long time,” said Angulo. “I am looking forward to defeating Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and getting a title opportunity in the near future. I’m thankful for everyone who has supported me and I promise to surprise a lot of people on December 1.”
Showtime Sports Captures a Day in Training Camp with Welterweight Prospect Jaron Ennis
SHOWTIME Sports delivers a day in the life of training camp with Philadelphia’s Jaron Ennis as he prepares to face Raymond Serrano in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation this Friday, November 16, live on SHOWTIME at 9:35 p.m. ET/PT from 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
Ennis (21-0, 19 KOs), who knocked out Armando Alvarez in a third-round stoppage during his ShoBox debut in July, has knocked out 11 consecutive opponents. He faces perhaps the toughest test of his career in Serrano, a 29-fight veteran whose five losses have come against opponents with a combined fight night record of 89-1-1.
Training under his father Bozy, who also trained Jaron’s older brothers Derek Jr. and Farah, the 21-year-old undefeated prospect puts in work in what he describes as an ‘old-school’ training camp consisting of chopping wood, flipping tires and climbing rope. With victory in his hometown on his mind this Friday, Ennis vows to become a household name in the sport of boxing.
“When you’re a boxer from Philly, it means you have to put on a show,” says Ennis. “I love fighting at home, that’s the best feeling ever. People let the crowd get to them, I just feel at home. I feel comfortable and relaxed. I get to show out on SHOWTIME in Philly, get a win and look good doing it.
“My goal is to be world champ and be a great example for the kids. I want to unify, get all the belts, move up in weight and keep going, and keep going. Watch out all 147’s. A young animal is on the way!”
In the co-feature of Friday’s live ShoBox telecast, series veterans Kenneth Sims Jr. (13-1-1, 4 KOs) and Samuel Teah (14-2-1, 7 KOs) meet in an eight-round super lightweight bout. Undefeated Ukrainian Arnold Khegai opens the three-fight card when he takes on New Jersey’s Jorge Diaz (19-5-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round super bantamweight bout.
Star Boxing Signs Undefeated French Welterweight David Papot
JOE DEGUARDIA, CEO of Star Boxing announced the signing of undefeated French super welterweight, former WBA Continental Middleweight Champion and current French Super Welterweight Champion, DAVID PAPOT (Saint Nazaire, France, 22-0 3KO’s) to a long-term promotional agreement
Papot, 27, who is also currently rated #7 Middleweight in the World (WBA) began boxing at the age of 5 in his hometown of Saint Nazaire, France, where he still currently resides. With an impressive amateur pedigree, Papot has fought over 100 amateur bouts, earning the titles of two-time junior French champion, two-time vice champion and senior champion of France. Papot fought a total of thirty bouts with the French national team, reaching the quarter-finals of the European Championship.
In March of 2017, Papot took on undefeated Belarus southpaw, DZIMITRY ATROKHAU (then 15-0 5KO’S), where he earned the WBA Continental Middleweight Title by a dominating unanimous decision victory, with scores of 116-112 and 115-113 (2X). In his next bout, Papot took on co-Frenchman BARTHELEMY LEFEBVRE (then 16-8-1 4KO’s), for the France Super Welterweight Title. Papot dismantled Lefebvre over the 10-round bout, winning another unanimous decision with scores of 99-91 and 98-92 (2X). Papot has successfully defended his title two times since being crowned Champion.
PAPOT has this to say about signing with Star Boxing, “Today I have global ambitions and that is why I need a strong team to accompany me to world titles and I trust my team and promoter Star Boxing to accomplish these goals. ”
Promotor JOE DEGUARDIA said this about the signing of Papot, “We are excited to have signed David Papot, who has reached the pinnacle of boxing in France and now, together with Star Boxing, we believe David will have every opportunity to reach his goal of becoming a world champion.”
Star Boxing anticipates announcing David Papot’s next bout in the near future.
Sullivan Barrera is a Promotional Free Agent, Targets Top Light Heavyweights
Top light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera bounced back into the win column with a dominant decision victory earlier this month in New York. Barrera started off strong and won by the scores of 99-91 and 98-92 twice.
Along with the victory, Barrera also became a promotional free agent and is looking to get the biggest possible fights.
“I saw on social media that Badou Jack is looking for an opponent in January and that time table works perfect for me. I am sure the fans would like to see me and Jack trade punches,” Barrera stated.
The Cuban slugger holds victories over Joe Smith Jr, Vyacheslava Shabranskyy, and Felix Valera and has also been in the ring with champions like Andre Ward and Dmitry Bivol.
Barrera is driven to accomplish his goal of becoming a world champion and will not stop until he fulfills his destiny.
“At this point in my career I only want to fight the best. I have always wanted to be a champion and I will accomplish my dream. I want to fight the Adonis Stevenson-Olesandr Gvozdyk winner, the Eleider Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev winner, Jack, Artur Beterbiev. Those are the guys I want. There are no excuses for these fights not to happen. I don’t have a promoter so any of these fights should be easy to make,” said Barrera.
“Beating Monaghan got me back on track. I was able to work on some things in the gym and I promise that the next time I get a shot at a world title I will win. I am just reaching my peak and the fans haven’t seen my best yet.”
Gamboa and Lopez Both Win, Set Up Future Bout
Yuriorkis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez were both victorious this weekend and have set up a possible fight in the very near future.
Below are some quotes after their victories:
JuanMa Lopez Post Fight
“I don’t know how he absorbed all the punishment. I couldn’t know him out but it was a good fight.
It was uncomfortable because of his style but I’ve been fighting for a long time and it was an excellent warm up for the Gamboa fight.”
Gamboa trainer Post Fight:
“i have been working every day to make Gamboa a champion once again. And he is responding. It was a great night.”
Gamboa Post Fight:
“I was very happy with the results. I tried to work on my explosiveness and it worked well. It was a very exciting night for me. Here in Miami. My city. Great crowd.”
JuanMa after Gamboa’s fight grabs the mic in the ring:
“Enough of the waiting. We have been waiting long enough I did my part and you did your part now let’s get it on.”
Gamboa after JuanMa:
“If it’s a fight the fans want to see, let’s do it!”
Unified 154 World Champion Jarrett Hurd Returns on Wilder vs. Fury Showtime PPV Card
The most significant heavyweight event in the U.S. in more than 15 years will feature an undercard lineup of stellar fighters including the return of a unified world champion and two of boxing’s hardest-hitting heavyweights.
Undefeated, unified 154-pound world champion Jarrett Hurd along with heavyweight title contender Luis Ortiz and top heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce will fight in separate bouts on the SHOWTIME PPV® undercard of the Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz heavyweight blockbuster event presented by Premier Boxing Champions on Saturday, December 1 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs) returns for his first fight since unifying the super welterweight division earlier this year to defend his IBF and WBA titles against British Commonwealth champ Jason Welborn (24-6, 7 KOs). Hurd, who edged Erislandy Lara in a leading candidate for 2018 Fight of the Year in April on SHOWTIME, will enter the ring for the first time since undergoing rotator cuff surgery as he targets another title unification in 2019.
Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis Ortiz (29-1, 25 KOs) will continue his quest for a second shot at a heavyweight world championship as he takes on American Travis Kauffman (32-2, 23 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Ortiz went toe-to-toe with Wilder in another contender for Fight of the Year in March on SHOWTIME and returns for his third bout of 2018 with his sights set on a rematch with Wilder.
In the opening bout of the SHOWTIME PPV, 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist and unbeaten heavyweight Joe Joyce (6-0, 6 KOs) will face his sixth opponent of 2018 when he meets Joe Hanks (23-2, 15 KOs) in a 10-round heavyweight bout.
“This fan-friendly undercard features two participants from 2018 Fight of the Year candidates, Jarrett Hurd and Luis Ortiz, along with one of the hottest rising talents in the heavyweight division,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Heavyweight boxing has re-captured the world’s attention and both of these potentially explosive fights will help shape the future of the division. Jarrett Hurd emerged as one of boxing’s most exciting fighters in unifying the super welterweight division in 2018. Now, he returns from a significant injury to risk his titles in his quest to become undisputed 154-pound world champion.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by BombZquad Enterprises and Queensberry Promotions, in association with TGB Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, are on sale now and are available via AXS.com. Wilder vs. Fury will be produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV. The suggested retail price (SRP) for the pay-per-view telecast is $64.99 for standard definition.
Hurd, who hails from Accokeek, Md., floored Erislandy Lara in the final minute of their unification showdown to earn the narrow split-decision victory over the divisions’ longest-reigning champion. Following the bout, Hurd underwent surgery and subsequent rehab to repair a rotator cuff. Hurd won the IBF title with a TKO of Tony Harrison in 2017 and handed Austin Trout his first loss via knockout later that year. The 28-year-old is known for his all-action, fan-pleasing style that had seen him record seven straight stoppages prior to his decision win over Lara.
“’Swift’ is back and Christmas is coming early,” said Hurd. “This is the perfect way to get ready for 2019. I expect it to be a big year with big fights that the fans will love. I’m locked in right now and ready to put on a great performance against Jason Welborn. Tune in on December 1, because I promise you it won’t go 12 rounds.”
Jason Welborn, from West Midlands, England, will make his U.S. debut on the heels of two wins over previously once-beaten Tommy Langford for the British middleweight title in 2018. Langford now moves back to the 154-pound class, where he has faced Matthew Macklin and Liam Smith in all-British encounters.
“Jarrett Hurd is a big talent who holds all the belts and I respect the challenge he poses,” said Welborn. “I was a huge underdog against Tommy Langford in May and I came through and shocked Britain. In December, I’m going to shock the world. I’ve been in training camp since my last fight and I’ve already been preparing for Hurd’s style. This is my time.”
The 39-year-old Ortiz returns to STAPLES Center for his second consecutive fight in Los Angeles after scoring a second-round knockout of Razvan Cojanu in July. In a March, Ortiz nearly had Wilder out on his feet in the seventh until he ultimately succumbed to Wilder’s power in the 10th round, suffering the first loss of his professional career. A consensus top-5 heavyweight, Ortiz will look for another knockout as he hopes to earn a rematch with Wilder in the revived heavyweight division.
“I feel blessed to be on the Wilder vs. Fury card and competing on a huge night of boxing in front of a full house,’’ said Ortiz. “In my last fight at STAPLES Center the fans showed me so much love and I can’t wait to be back. I know Travis Kauffman has a good record and I know he’s definitely got heart. If all goes as expected and Wilder puts Fury to sleep like I think he will, I want another shot at him ASAP. It will be an epic rematch between me and Wilder.”
Kauffman, of Reading, Penn., is coming off a majority decision over Scott Alexander in May in which the two heavyweights traded first round knockdowns. Kauffman is 14-1 (1 NC) in his last 16 fights with the sole loss coming to Amir Mansour in March 2017.
“I’m looking forward to stepping up and challenging myself in an exciting fight,” said Kauffman. “Luis Ortiz is the second best heavyweight in the world next to Deontay Wilder. But I’m the toughest fighter you’ll ever face. This is my chance to prove that I’m a great fighter and I’m excited to do it on this huge stage.”
The 6-foot-6 Joyce, of London, England, has started his professional career with a 100 percent KO rate after turning professional in 2017 at the age of 32. An accomplished amateur, Joyce claimed the super heavyweight silver medal for Great Britain at the 2016 Olympic Games. Joyce, who trains in Big Bear, Calif. under renowned trainer Abel Sanchez, made his U.S. debut in September with a fifth-round knockout of Iago Kiladze.
“It’s an honor to be part of this huge event and I give a lot of credit to Joe Hanks for stepping up and taking this fight,” said Joyce. “Hanks has a good record, but I am coming to take him out. If everything goes to plan and I come through this fight as I should, I am ready for a big fight early next year to show that I’m a force in this division.”
Hanks, of Newark, N.J., started his career with a 21-0 run before suffering consecutive losses to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2013 and Derric Rossy in 2014. After a three-and-a-half-year layoff following the loss to Rossy, Hanks, who lives in downtown Los Angeles, has recovered his form and returned to score a unanimous decision over Joel Caudle and a first round knockout of Terrence Marbra in consecutive fights.
“It feels good to be in the mix and getting exposure with the top heavyweights,” said Hanks. “I bring speed, athleticism and power to this fight. I’ve got a lot of great experience in my career sparring against guys like Deontay Wilder and Wladimir Klitschko, so I’m comfortable against a guy like Joe Joyce. I live in Los Angeles now and this is going to be like fighting in my front yard. I’m going to be feeling good on fight night.”
Showtime Boxing Results: Hurd Wins Thriller Over Lara, Williams and DeGale Victorious
By: William Holmes
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions put on a triple header on the Showtime networks live from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main event of the evening was between Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd and the co-main event of the evening was between James DeGale and Caleb Truax which was a rematch of a mammoth upset in 2017.
The opening bout of the night was between Julian Williams (24-1-1) and Nathaniel Gallimore (20-1) in the junior middleweight division. The winner of this bout will likely be looking at a title shot in the near future.
Julian Williams was a big step up in competition for Nathaniel Gallimore and he stayed behind a strong jab and good side to side movement in the opening three rounds. Gallimore was able to land some shots on the inside, and landed and received some heavy shots in the fourth round.
Williams had a small mouse under his right eye in the fifth round that opened up from an unintentional headbutt. Williams began to focus on the body more in the middle rounds, though he looked a little tired in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Williams body work continued into the seventh, eight, and ninth rounds and it was visibly sapping the energy of Gallimore. Gallimore’s punches didn’t have much snap in the tenth round and Williams had Gallimore badly hurt in the eleventh round and looked close to stopping him.
It was an entertaining fight, with only one questionable scorecard at the end.
The final scores were 114-114, 116-112, and 117-110 in favor of Julian Williams.
After this bout Floyd Mayweather Jr. was interviewed by Showtime and indicated that if he was going to unretire he would fight in the octagon.
The co-main event of the night was between Caleb Truax (29-3-2) and James DeGale (23-2-1) for the IBF Super Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
DeGale showed the quicker hand speed and more accurate in the opening two rounds, but it featured many headbutts that often happen when a southpaw faces an orthodox fighter.
Truax applied heavy pressure in the third round which featured a hard-right hand to the chin of DeGale that sent him falling backwards into the ropes. DeGale had a cut by his right eye that the referee ruled was caused by a punch, but the video replay showed it was caused by a head-butt.
The Nevada commission informed the announce team in the fourth round that the ruling on the cut being caused by a punch still stood despite the video evidence.
Truax continued to come forward in the fourth through sixth rounds while DeGale badly bled. Truax however wasn’t able to land many effective combinations but he was pressing the action.
DeGale started to land some good counters in the seventh round and land some good short shots on the inside. DeGale had a very strong eighth and ninth rounds and often switched to an orthodox stance from his traditional southpaw stance.
Truax had cuts under both of his eyes by the ninth round and appeared to be tiring. DeGale lost a point in the tenth round for a deliberate shoulder strike.
The final two rounds were close and featured some tight action, but DeGale looked like he was landing the better punches.
The final scores were 117-110, 114-113, and 114-113 for James DeGale.
The main event of the night was between Jarrett Hurd (21-0) and Erislandy Lara (25-2-2) for the IBF and WBA Junior Middleweight Titles .
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
Hurd looked like he was two weight classes bigger than Lara, but Lara was able to find a home with his straight left hand early on and land some quick combinations in the second.
Hurd didn’t appear to be too bothered with Lara’s power and was able to land some good short shots on the inside and was making Lara back away from him in the fourth rounds.
Hurd showed he had a granite chin in the fifth round and was able to take the shots of Lara and answer with his own shots to the body. Lara appeared to tire in the sixth rounds as his back was against the ropes again, and he took a hard right hook at the end of the seventh round.
Hurd was able to land some very hard shots in the eighth round and had Lara’s eye puffed up badly in the ninth.
Lara was able to slow Hurd’s momentum in the 10th round with quick counters and being the first on the attack, and he was able to finish the eleventh round strong and maybe steal the round.
The twelfth round featured both boxers going for the knockout, but it was Hurd who landed a shot that sent his opponent to the mat. Lara looked badly hurt and face was swollen, but he was able to survive the round.
The scores were 114-113 Lara, 114-113 Hurd, and 114-113 Hurd.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Lara v. Hurd, Truax vs. DeGale
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime will team up with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) to put on two highly competitive fights live from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada.
The main event will feature a Junior Middleweight Unificaiton bout between Erislandy Lara and the rising Jarrett Hurd. The co-main event of the evening will feature an anticipated rematch between Caleb Truax and James DeGale for the IBF Super Middleweight World Championship.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
Their first match was won by Truax in what many consider to be the biggest upset of the year in 2017.
The undercard will feature fighters such as Julian Williams, Sergio Mora, and Alfredo Angulo.
The following is a preview of the two televised fights.
Caleb Truax (29-3-2) vs. James DeGale (23-2-1); IBF Super Middleweight Title
The expected opening bout of the telecast will be between Caleb Truax and James DeGale for the IBF Super Middleweight Title. Truax was able to pull off a tremendous upset during their first bout and surprisingly is still considered by many to be the underdog, despite the fact he beat DeGale in England.
Truax and DeGale are the same height and DeGale has a slight one inch reach advantage. Truax has been the more active boxer of the two. He fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016. DeGale fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016.
DeGale clearly has the better amateur resume of the two. He was an Olympic Gold Medalist in 2008 while Truax was an Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Champion. However, while DeGale may be the better amateur boxer Truax appears to have more power in his punches. Truax has stopped eighteen of his opponents while DeGale has stopped fourteen.
Truax has defeated the likes of DeGale, KeAndrae Leatherwood, Melvin Betenacourt, Scott Sigmon, Derek Ennis, and Donovan George. He has lost to the likes of Anthony Dirrell, Daniel Jacobs, and Jermain Taylor.
DeGale has beaten the likes of Rogelio Medina, Lucian Bute, Andre Dirrell, Marco Antonio Periban, and Dyah Davis. His losses were to George Groves and Truax.
Even though DeGale has the edge in amateur experience and defeated opponents, Truax was able to beat DeGale in his own backyard and rather convincingly the first time they faced each other and it wasn’t by a lucky knockout punch.
Truax will have the mental edge going into Saturday night that may be the difference to help him win this rematch.
Jarrett Hurd (21-0) vs. Erislandy Lara (25-2-2); IBF/WBA Junior Middleweight Titles
This is an intriguing fight between a decorated amateur from Cuba that may be coming near the end of his physical peak and a young upcoming champion looking to make a name for him.
Lara is thirty four years old and will be seven years older than Hurd on fight night. He will also be giving up four inches in height and two and a half inches in reach. Hurd has also been the more active fighter of the two. He fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016, while Lara only fought once in 2016 and fought twice in 2017.
Lara, however, does not appear to be worried about the size difference. He stated at the last press conference, ” “Everyone knows I love to fight his style. I’ve fought better and taller fighters than him and you’ve seen me dominate them. It’s going to be nothing different on Saturday night.”
Hurd has a slight edge in power as he has fifteen stoppage victories on his record, while Lara only has fourteen stoppage victories.
Hurd was a semifinalist in the National Golden Gloves tournament as an amateur while Lara was a Cuban National Amateur Champion and a member of the Cuban National Boxing Team.
Hurd has defeated the likes of Austin Trout, Tonly Harrison, Ionut Dan, Oscar Molina and Frank Galarza. Nobody has yet to defeat Hurd as a professional.
Lara’s two losses were close and were to Canelo Alvarez and to Paul Williams. He has defeated the likes of Terrel Gausha, Yuri Foreman, Vanes Martirosyan, Jan Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez, Ishe Smith, Austin Trout, Alfredo Angulo, and Freddy Hernandez.
Hurd appears ready to test Lara and take advantage of his size advantage and his age advantage. He stated, “”Lara is a guy who can’t take pressure fighters well. I have some of the best pressure in the game. I’m younger, stronger, taller and longer. He’s not going to be able to run for 12 rounds. “
Has Lara reached the end of his peak? He hasn’t shown signs of slowing down and Hurd leaves himself open to counters. It should be a close fight, but this writer envisions Lara pulling away by the end of the fight.
Jarrett “Swift” Hurd Jumped at the Chance for a Unification Bout with Erislandy Lara
By: Bryant Romero
Jarrett “Swift” Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) showed no hesitation in accepting a unification bout with the considered most established and experienced champion in the Jr. Middleweight division against Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) this Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Hurd relished the opportunity and is heading into the biggest fight of his career with supreme confidence that not only will he defeat Lara, but also establish himself as the only unified champion in the talented rich 154 pound division and make a strong argument that he is the best Jr. middleweight in the world.
Photo Credit:Stephanie Trapp/Showtime Boxing
“There was something in me that always wanted this fight. Once I defended my title against Austin Trout, I was quick to get on top of this opportunity.
“This is going to be a difficult fight. Lara is the type of fighter who has a lot of experience. It won’t be easy so I have to be well prepared and on top of my game come Saturday night,” Hurd said.
Hurd has on been on a tear as of late which can explain the supreme confidence he has heading into this bout. Over the past 7 fights, Hurd has recorded 7 consecutive crushing knockouts, including an impressive stoppage win over former world champion Austin Trout in his last outing. It’s only fitting that for his first unification bout, Hurd will be back at the same arena where he first gained notoriety in his impressive knockout win over the previously undefeated Frank Galarza almost 3 years ago.
“Being back in Vegas and back at Hard Rock where I beat Frank Galarza to really get this whole journey started means a lot to me. I’m planning to give everyone a great show just like I always do,” Hurd told the boxing press.
Despite a limited amateur career, Hurd is only a slight underdog to the more experienced champion in Erislandy Lara. Lara has fought by far the much better opposition, but his career has stagnated since his close decision loss to Canelo Alvarez back in 2014. Lara has since made 5 successful defenses of his WBA strap since then, but inactivity and fighting some unworthy opponents has made his WBA title run very lackluster. The word in Vegas is that Hurd will be too big, too strong, and too fresh for Lara, but whatever happens this Saturday, Hurd promises action in this Jr. Middleweight unification.
“No matter what kind of fight he brings; I’m going to stick to my game plan. He has to fight at my pace. No matter what he comes with, I’m going to be in charge in the ring.
“It’s always going to be fireworks when I’m in the ring. I have a fan-friendly style. At the end of the day, you don’t have to worry about Lara running away, because I’m going to be in his face for 12 rounds,” Hurd said.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Lara, Hurd, Imam, Ramirez, Top Rank, ESPN, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 6th to March 13th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Lara and Jarrett Hurd to Clash on April 7th
Erislandy Lara, the longest reigning world champion at 154-pounds, will clash with IBF champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd in a highly-anticipated super welterweight title unification live on SHOWTIME (10 pm ET/7 pm PT) as part of an exciting card presented by Premier Boxing Champions Saturday, April 7 from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
In the co-main event, Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb Truax will make the first defense of his IBF title against James DeGale in a rematch of one of the biggest upsets of 2017 that saw Truax wrestle the belt from DeGale on his home turf in London last December.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, will go on sale Friday, March 16 and be available by visiting AXS.com or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Box Office.
“This is an action-packed card from top to bottom. The televised card features boxers who all have something significant to gain with a victory,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The winner of Lara-Hurd will be one step closer to becoming the undisputed 154-pound world champion. In a rematch, Truax gets to re-affirm his position as champion and DeGale has a chance to regain his world championship status. This is the kind of show that keeps fans on the edge of their seats.”
“We take pride in promoting quality events that our audiences always want to see,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “This card is going to be another line-up that the fans won’t want to miss. With Lara and Hurd looking to unify their titles and guys going head-to-head in rematches on the undercard, this is sure to be a night of non-stop action.
Lara vs. Hurd is a classic contrast in styles that could force each fighter to raise their game to another level. Lara is a crafty southpaw who relies on his superior boxing skills to confound opponents, while Hurd is a pure pressure boxer-puncher that stalks his opponents and isn’t easily frustrated.
Lara, a Cuban whose nickname is “The American Dream”, is coming off a unanimous decision victory on SHOWTIME over Terrell Gausha in October. Hurd was on the same card and defeated former champion Austin Trout when Trout’s corner stopped the fight in the 10th round. That paved the way for this unification showdown.
The 34-year-old Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), who lives and trains in Houston, Texas, won his world title with a TKO victory over Alfredo Angulo in 2013 and has successfully defended it seven times, which includes wins over Trout, Ishe Smith and Vanes Martirosyan.
“I’m very excited and motivated for this fight and to once again be headlining on the best network in boxing on SHOWTIME, is truly a pleasure,” said Lara. “I look forward to adding another belt to my collection on April 7 and to proving that I’m the best 154-pound fighter out there. Everyone tune-in because you don’t want to miss this unification. It’s going to be a legendary night and one for the history books.”
The undefeated Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) is coming off a career-defining TKO victory over the former champion Trout in his last fight on Oct. 14. It was the first defense of the title for the 27-year Hurd of Accokeek, Maryland, who won the championship with a TKO victory over Tony Harrison on Feb. 25, 2017.
“I plan on being the aggressor for the entire fight, so I’ve been doing some exercises and working on techniques to improve my foot work so that I can stay on top of Erislandy Lara,” said Hurd. “We are not trying to go to the scorecards, so hopefully, I can be the first man to stop him, which I hope to do in the later rounds.
“I called him out, and now, it has come to pass that I get to become a unified champion against the man everyone considers to be the best and most feared in the division, and that’s Erislandy Lara.”
They call 34-year-old Truax “Golden”, and he punched his ticket to world title gold while on a trip to London in December, when he defeated DeGale by majority decision. Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) of Osseo, Minnesota was on a two-fight win streak heading into the match against DeGale. Before that his only losses came against former champions Anthony Dirrell, Daniel Jacobs and Jermain Taylor.
“They made the right call on the decision in England, and I expect to be even more dominant this time around,” Truax said. “I am planning to really just beat up James Gale and get the job done in more efficient fashion this time.’
“Fighting in Las Vegas for the first time will be a very cool experience and I expect it to be friendlier than it was in London. There is a lot of pride on the line for me, being that I’m the first boxing world champion from Minnesota in a long time. So there is a lot on the line for me and I plan to keep that going, especially as a means for supporting my family.”
The 32-year-old DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) was the first British boxer to win a Gold Medal in the Olympics (2008 Beijing Games) and a world championship as a professional. He won his world title with a unanimous decision over Andre Dirrell in 2015 and made two successful defenses before fighting to a draw against Badou Jack on Jan. 14, 2017. It was a brutal standoff between two world champions, but neither man had his hand raised in victory. DeGale, who was coming off of an injury, had his home town crowd behind him but couldn’t deliver a win as Truax scored a stunning upset with the majority decision victory.
‘I’m happy to have the opportunity to rematch Truax and regain my IBF title,” said DeGale. “I am not going to make excuses for my poor performance, actions speak louder than words. I am excited to be boxing in Vegas and on SHOWTIME again. The real JD will be back on fight night!”
Amir Imam Preparing for Jose Ramirez
Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) is in Pompano Beach, Florida, under the auspices of head trainer Stacy McKinley, in final preparations for his March 17 showdown against Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) from Avenal, California for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight belt Saturday, March 17, at the The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Imam, 27, rated No. 1 by the WBC, boasts a victory by knockout ratio of 86%, including his last three and five of his last seven. Ramirez, 25, WBC No. 3 ranked super lightweight, has stopped 76% of the opponents he has faced, including four consecutive and eight in his last 10 bouts
“Amir Imam is coming to Madison Square Garden, The Mecca of Boxing, in New York City, to take down not only Jose Ramirez but Bob Arum too!” boasted Imam’s promoter Don King. “I can hardly wait for Saturday night. Start the clock. Tick-tock, tick-tock.” T-minus 124 hours 45 minutes till Ramirez-Imam enter the ring, Saturday night . . .
“Yes sir, March 17 is a big day for me and the stakes are real high for both me and him. It’s the first time I get to fight in the Garden and that’s exciting, knowing that greatness has fought there. It’s the first time I am fighting in a main event and first time fighting for a world title,” said Imam. “It’s what I have been working for my whole life and it’s finally here and I’ve got to take advantage of it.
“He’s kind of tall and long just like me, so it’s like seeing each other in the mirror so it is going to be real interesting and it’s going to be an electrifying fight.”
“Ramirez is a tough fighter – a real tough fighter and we know what we’ve got to do to win this fight. If a knockout comes I will take advantage of it but I am not going in there looking for a straight knockout. I have to fight real hard and get the rounds under my belt just in case. He’s been aggressive but he may not come out aggressive – you never know. I just have to be smart in the ring and adjust to things he will be doing.”
“I can definitely match his power, I can box when I have to, and I can fight. I can do a lot of things. I can do whatever it takes to get the W. A lot of fighters these days can’t do that – they are one-dimensional fighters. If I have to box or if I have to slug I can do it. I think I am the toughest guy in the 140-pund divisi
“I can just hear them saying “The New.”
Ramírez vs. Imam will headline a spectacular St. Patrick’s Day boxing extravaganza, The Ramírez – Imam world championship fight will be televised live and exclusively at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN and stream live on the ESPN App at 6 p.m. EDT. It will mark the first time Arum and King have battled each other promotionally on the same card since Miguel Cotto defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight world title on March 12, 2011.
ESPN Scores Highest Rated Boxing Fight on Cable Television in 2018 with Saturday Night’s Top Rank on ESPN
Top Rank on ESPN saw Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) retain his WBO featherweight title against Scott Quigg while fighting under a canopy at the rainy StubHub Center, the famed outdoor boxing venue in Carson, Calif. south of downtown Los Angeles. The telecast includes two of 2018’s top five highest-rated fights on cable television in 2018, according to preliminary audience results from Nielsen. The Valdez vs. Quigg world championship fight aired live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and streamed live on the ESPN App.
Top Things to Know
• Last night’s telecast was the highest-rated of the three Top Rank on ESPN telecasts in 2018
• Last night’s Top Rank on ESPN featured two of the five highest-rated fights on cable television in 2018
• The main event featuring Valdez vs. Quigg averaged a 0.7 metered market rating, while the co-main event featuring undefeated junior lightweights Andy Vences vs. Erick De Leon averaged a 0.8 metered market rating
Top Boxing Overnight Ratings on Cable Television 2018 (By Fight)
VENCES vs. DE LEON
WILDER vs. ORTIZ
VALDEZ vs. QUIGG
MATTHYSSE vs. KIRAM
KOVALEV vs. MIKHALKIN
The next Top Rank on ESPN is this Saturday, March 17 and features top-rated contenders José Ramírez and Amir “Young Man” Imam fighting for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight world title. Ramirez vs. Imam will headline a St. Patrick’s Day at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The event also features Irish Olympian Michael Conlan (5-0, 4 KO’s), from Belfast, who begins his sophomore professional year exactly where he started his freshman year — at The Garden. The Ramirez vs. Imam world championship event will live and exclusively at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and stream live on the ESPN App at 6 p.m. ET.
Witherspoon Decisions Capers in Atlantic City
Chazz Witherspoon raised his winning streak to eight in a row as he went the eight-round distance by won a unanimous decision over Lamont Capers that headlined a seven-bout card at The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City.
The show, which took place this past Saturday, was promoted by Mis Downing Promotions and Silverspoon Promotions.
Witherspoon was able to outpoint the crafty Capers. Capers was very competitive, but it was Witherspoon’s size and harder punches that proved to be the difference as he captured the via 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 scores.
Witherspoon of Paulsboro, NJ is now 37-3. Capers, who was fighting for the 2nd time in seven days is 9-12-4.
Willis Lockett took a six-round majority decision over Prince Badi Ajamu in a cruiserweight bout.
Lockett of Takoma Park, MD won by scores of 59-55, 58-56 and 57-57, and is now 16-22-6. Ajamu of Camden, NJ is 28-4-1.
Super Lightweight John Bauza remained undefeated with a six-round unanimous decision over David Morales.
Bauza of North Bergen, NJ won on all cards by scores of 60-54, and is now 9-0. Morales of Managua, Nicaragua is 13-9.
Mike Hilton won a three-round technical unanimous decision over Hector Perez.
The fight was a terrific back and forth brawl when Perez suffered a cut over his right eye in the third frame.
Perez almost made a quick night for himself as he dropped Hilton in the 1st round. Hilton stormed back to register his own knockdown’s in round two and three.
The scores were 28-26 on all cards at the time of the stoppage.
Hilton of Trenton, NJ is 10-0. Perez of Pleasantville, NJ is 3-2
Edgar Cortes won a four-round unanimous decision over Kevin Asmat in a featherweight bout.
Scores were 38-37 twice and 39-36 for Cortes, of Vineland, NJ, who is now 6-4. Asmat of North Bergen. NJ is 3-2.
Alejandro Jimenez made a successful pro debut with a 2nd round stoppage over Derrick Pitts in a bantamweight bout.
The time of the finish was 3:00. Pitts is 0-2.
Dan Murray and Latorrie Woodberry fought to a no-contest when Woodberry hurt his shoulder in the 1st round of their scheduled four-round welterweight bout.
“I am ecstatic about Saturday night’s card,” said Mis Downing of Mis Downing Promotions. “The fights were terrific and very competitive. I want to thank the Claridge Hotel and a special thanks to The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. I also want to thank Mayor Frank Gilliam for supporting our event. We are excited about what is to come in the future, and we will have a very big announcement shortly about our next event, which will be a very special night of boxing.”
PBC on Showtime Results: Lara Cruises, Charlo Destroys, Hurd Rises To The Occasion
By: Sean Crose
The Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York, hosted three major super welterweight bouts on Saturday, in a card which was aired live by the Showtime pay cable network. First up was a twelve rounder between 30-3 former titlist Austin Trout and 20-0 IBF Super Welterweight Champion Jarrett Hurd. Neither man was dominant in the first, but Trout and his clean punching had an edge. Trout moved well, employed angles and hit with effectiveness in the second. The third was close, but a more aggressive Hurd may have taken it by a hair.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
By the fourth round, Trout was hitting hard and with precision. Hurd landed hard in fifth, however. Trout punched clean and often again in the 6th, yet by the end of the round, Hurd caused his man to stumble. Hurd continued to do damage in the early part of the 7th, but Trout was able to make up some ground.
Hurd’s strength looked to be coming through in the 8th, but Trout remained effective with his shots. Trout was clearly starting to gas, however. Entering the championship rounds, it was Hurd who looked fresher. Trout controlled the tenth until the very end, when Hurd almost finished him. The ring doctor halted the proceedings in between rounds
Next up was Jermell Charlo, 29-0 and Erickson Lubin, 18-0, for the WBC world super welterweight title. The first part of the first was slow. The second part was slow, too – until Charlo, the champion, took his man out with a single shot. “They threw a chair at my brother.”Charlo said after the bout, referring to an unseen incident. No one seemed to be seriously hurt. Not even Lubin.
It was time for the final event of the evening. Cuban-American Erislandy Lara, 24-2-2, defended his WBA super world super welterweight title against former US Olympian Terrell Gausha, 20-0. Lara, the southpaw, was able to control the first. The second was more of the same. Ditto for the third. The crowd started booing at the inaction in the fourth – only to have Lara suddenly drop his man with a right. Guasha got up, but was unable to effectively engage. Laura continued to dominate in patient fashion.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh were virtual repeats of each other. Lara dominated. Gausha was unable to make headway. The crowd booed again and began to empty the Barclay’s Center. In the eighth, Lara began to hurt his man. Gausha, though, was able to make it to the final bell. “There’s no change of gears,” Showtime’s Paulie Malignaggi claimed correctly. The fight stayed at the same pace throughout. Lara was rewarded with a unanimous decision win.
PBC on Showtime Preview: Lara vs. Gausha, Charlo vs. Lubin, Hurd vs. Trout
By: Sean Crose
Junior middleweight slickster Erislandy Lara will be defending his WBA super world title this weekend when he faces undefeated Terrell Gausha at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Photo Credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
The bout will headline a stacked card that will be aired live Saturday starting at 10 PM eastern standard time on the Showtime pay cable network. Lara, a 24-2-2 student of the Cuban school of boxing, is a challenge for any fighter. Indeed, some feel he bested Canelo Alvarez in a fight Alvarez squeezed a decision win out of back in 2014. Cleveland’s Gausha, on the other hand, holds a 20-0 record, but has never faced anyone of Lara’ s pedigree. With that in mind, Lara is getting on at 34 years of age and hasn’t fought since January, when he bested Yuri Foreman in a bout some thought shouldn’t even have been made.
Also that evening, the undefeated, 29-0 Jermell Charlo will be defending his WBC world title in the super welterweight division by facing hard hitting 18-0 Erickson Lubin. Charlo will be coming off a streak where none of his last three bouts have gone the distance. Indeed, the man has been looking impressive as of late. For his own part, however, Orlando’s Lubin has stopped three of his own last four opponents within the distance. Some see this as the top fight of the evening, even though it will be taking a back seat to the Lara-Gausha bout in the card’s lineup. Charlo, after all, is on a hot streak…and Lubin has made it clear he’s a man with something to prove.
Still yet another junior middleweight championship bout will be going down in front of Showtime cameras on Saturday, featuring veteran fighter Austin Trout and Jarrett Hurd for Hurd’s IBF world super welterweight title. Trout a 30-3 former division titlist, hasn’t fought in over a year but is looking at a chance to reclaim past glory. Hurd’s name may not be as illustrious as former Trout foes Canelo Alvarez ‘ and Miguel Cotto’s are, but the 20-0 Maryland native has a ten year age advantage and can boast of having knocked out his last six opponents. In fact, the last time a Hurd fight went the distance was back in 2014 when the fighter bested Emmanuel Sanchez on the cards. This isn’t a going to be a battle where bad behavior is to be found in the leadup, however, as both Trout and Hurd are known to be respectful and professional.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Charlo, Hurd, Lara, Donaire, Fury, Parker, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 28th to September 5th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Charlo, Hurd, and Lara to Defend Titles on October 14th in Brooklyn, New York
A trio of 154-pound world champions will defend their titles as part of a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader headlined by Erislandy Lara defending against undefeated Terrell Gausha, in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions on Saturday, October 14 live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING®.
The card, promoted by DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, will feature four undefeated 154-pound boxers and will pave the way for an undisputed king of the 154-pound division.
Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs), generally recognized as the best boxer in the super welterweight division and its longest reigning champion, will defend his title against undefeated 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs).
In the co-main event, hard-hitting unbeaten champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) takes on top contender Erickson “Hammer” Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) while “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) will make his first title defense against tough former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout (30-3, 17 KOs).
“On October 14 at Barclays Center, three world champions will be defending their belts, on SHOWTIME, in a night of tremendous super welterweight action,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Long reigning Cuban Erislandy Lara takes on undefeated Olympian Terrell Gausha and newly crowned Jarrett Hurd faces respected former world champion Austin Trout. This card also features one of the best matchups that can be made between two undefeated fighters, champion Jermell Charlo and young sensation Erickson Lubin.”
“This is a blockbuster card for boxing fans,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The 154-pound division is full of talent and this card is loaded with the best champions and top-ranked contenders in the division. The guy who will be the eventual king of the division is fighting on this show and the fans will be treated to matches that will determine who that unified champion will be.’’
Tickets to the event will go on sale on tomorrow, August 31 at 10 a.m. ET and start at $50 (not including applicable fees). Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center starting Friday, September 1 at noon ET. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
“We are thrilled to continue our best year yet of BROOKLYN BOXING with our fifth major boxing event of 2017,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “We always aim to deliver fight fans an evening packed with top-notch matchups from start to finish, and this card certainly does that.”
Lara, a 34-year-old Cuban southpaw, owns victories over Trout, Alfredo Angulo and a slew of former champions and top contenders in addition to a controversial split decision loss to Canelo Alvarez on the way to cementing his credentials as the top boxer in the division. Lara will make the seventh defense of his world title as he continues to train with renowned trainer Ronnie Shields.
“I’m very excited to be making another title defense back on SHOWTIME headlining a great tripleheader,” said Lara. “This is an interesting fight versus an undefeated U.S. Olympian in Terrell Gausha. I know he will be ready because it’s his opportunity to beat the best fighter in the division and become a champion. But come fight night, he will quickly realize and know why I’m the consensus No. 1 super welterweight in the world. After this performance, I look forward to, one-by-one, adding a WBC and IBF title to my collection.”
The 29-year-old Gausha, of Cleveland, Ohio, earned a shot at the world title with solid victories in his last two matches. He won a hard-fought decision over Steven Martinez last August and followed it up with another impressive victory over Luis Hernandez on Feb. 10. Lara figures to be his toughest battle in his pro career that dates back to 2012.
“I’ve been talking about this since I was a three-year-old watching Muhammad Ali on television,” said Gausha. “I’m here now and blessed for this opportunity. Lara’s a tough fighter, champion and the best opponent I’ll fight on paper. He’s been in with the bigger names. But the better the opponent, the better I am, and I’m coming to dethrone him. He’s crafty, but the world hasn’t seen all that I can bring to the table. I’ll make adjustments on the fly and do things that I’ve never shown before. Seeing other Olympic team members win titles gives me motivation to earn the victory and the notoriety I’ve been looking for.”
Charlo of Houston, Texas will be making the second defense of his title, which he won by knockout victory over John Jackson on May 21, 2016. The 27-year-old Charlo successfully defended the title with a highlight reel knockout victory over fellow Texan Charles Hatley on April 22 at Barclays Center. He and his twin brother, Jermall, both held world titles at 154-pounds, before Jermall relinquished his title to move up to 160 pounds. Charlo now trains in Dallas with Derrick James, trainer of world champion Errol Spence Jr.
“Lubin is young and hungry and I know he always comes to fight, but there’s a reason why I’m where I am in the sport,” said Charlo. “I’ve been through the trenches and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. This is what boxing always needs — two young, undefeated fighters willing to risk their ‘0’. But I think it’s a little early for Lubin to step in the ring with me, and I plan on keeping my title. October 14 I’ll show everyone why I’m a world champion.”
Lubin, 21, is nicknamed “The Hammer’’ because of his power in both hands and his ability to bring a quick conclusion to every match. Lubin of Orlando, Fla., has picked up 10 victories since the beginning of 2015 including seven knockouts on his way to contender status. Lubin most recently scored a sensational knockout of Jorge Cota in a title eliminator in March at Barclays Center.
“This is a fight for the fans,” said Lubin. “You have an undefeated champion against an undefeated Prospect of the Year. I’m very excited to be fighting for the belt and it’s truly been a dream of mine ever since I first got into boxing. Come fight night, Charlo will either give it to me or I’m going to rip the belt out of his hands. Many fans and reporters have said that he’s one of the best, and that will make it even sweeter. My mentality will be to seek and destroy, so everyone tune-in to SHOWTIME on October 14, you will witness boxing’s new superstar!”
Hurd, 26, will be making the first defense of the title that he won with a KO victory over Tony Harrison on Feb. 25. Fighting out of Accokeek, Maryland, Hurd soared up the rankings with stoppage victories over previously unbeaten fighters Frank Galarza and Oscar Molina at Barclays Center plus veteran Jo Jo Dan.
“I got a Trout to catch,’’ said Hurd. “His losses have all been to top champions Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara and Jermall Charlo. But I’m on a streak of six straight knockouts and Trout has never been stopped, so I’m looking for the stoppage to make a statement that the other fighters couldn’t make. This is definitely my toughest fight, and I didn’t have to take it since it’s a voluntary defense. But I wanted this fight to stop Austin Trout, proving to the fans and people in general I’m the real deal and a true champion.”
Trout, a 31-year-old southpaw from Las Cruces, New Mexico, has faced some of the top 154-pound boxers in the division. He defeated Miguel Cotto in New York to win a title in 2012 and has close losses to Canelo Alvarez and Lara on his resume. In his most recent attempt at winning the title, Trout gave Jermall Charlo perhaps the toughest test of his career after looking impressive in four straight victories leading up to the challenge.
‘What a blessing it is to have this opportunity at a world title shot,” said Trout. “I want to thank everyone who has been in my corner to help get me career defining fights. It’s refreshing to see young champions showing heart and testing their skill with the best in the game. With that said, salute to Hurd for allowing this fight to go through.”
Nonito Donaire Returns to the Ring on September 23rd to Face Ruben Hernandez
Exciting former world champion Nonito Donaire (37-4-0, 24 KOs) will return to the ring to take on Ruben Garcia Hernandez (22-2-1, 9 KOs) for the WBC Silver Featherweight Title in a bout that takes place alongside the World Boxing Super Series Quarterfinals on Saturday, September 23 from the Alamodome live in San Antonio and presented by Ringstar Sports.
Additional action will feature a 10-round showdown between once-beaten cruiserweights Keith Tapia (17-1, 11 KOs) and Lateef Kayode (21-1, 16 KOs) that will serve as the reserve match for the World Boxing Super Series Quarterfinal matchup of Cuban WBA World Champion Yunier ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) versus Russian Dmitry ‘Russian Hammer’ Kudryashov (21-1, 21 KOs).
Donaire returns to the ring after a controversial loss last November to Jessie Magdaleno. Donaire recently teamed up with Ringstar Sports where he plans to reclaim his supremacy in the featherweight division. Garcia Hernandez is a tested Mexican fighter looking to make a name for himself in the U.S. at the Alamodome.
“I’m ready to return to the ring and show that I still have what it takes to be a world champion and face the best in this sport,” said Donaire. “I’m thankful to Ringstar Sports for helping me in this next chapter of my career and I know with them in my corner, I’ll be back to where I belong soon. I’m excited to give the great fight fans in San Antonio a great show, just like when I fought Wilfredo Vazquez at the Alamodome in 2012. After this fight, I’m coming for all of the featherweight champions and to prove I’m the best in the division.”
“I am grateful for this opportunity and I can’t wait to get in the ring,” said Garcia Hernandez. “I know that I am facing a great fighter and that has motivated me to train harder than ever before for this matchup. I’m planning on giving it my all and giving the fans a great fight. I hope Donaire comes to fight because I am coming to knock him ou on September 23rd.”
Tickets for the live event are priced at $250, $125, $100, $50, and $30, and are on sale now. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com HERE.
“The return of Nonito Donaire to the ring is a treat for boxing fans in San Antonio as he looks to return to his place as one of the top fighters in the sport,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports. “He will be in an all-action matchup against a tough Mexican fighter in Ruben Garcia Hernandez and I expect them to give the fans an exciting night. The entire card will be jam packed with rising prospects and contenders, plus a great cruiserweight showdown between Keith Tapia and Lateef Kayode that will be the reserve match for the World Boxing Super Series Quarterfinal that night.”
The Filipino fighter known as the “Filipino Flash” Donaire grew up in Northern California and now fights out of Las Vegas. His last fight was November 2016 when he battled Magdeleno for a junior featherweight world title in a bout that he lost by controversial decision. Hoping for a rematch that was never made, he partnered with Ringstar Sports looking to return to the top of the featherweight division. Prior to that, Donaire won belts in four different weight classes and was recognized as the 2012 Fighter of the Year by the BWAA, ESPN and Ring Magazine.
Fighting out of Mexico City, Mexico, Hernandez made his pro debut in 2010. Since that time he has battled his way through Mexico while fighting in the U.S. four times. Hernandez enters this bout on a seven fight winning streak and plans to make a name for himself in the United States on September 23rd when he takes on Donaire.
The 27-year-old Tapia returns to the ring after dropping a decision to unbeaten Andrew Tabiti that snapped a 17-fight win streak to begin his professional career. Originally from Puerto Rico but fighting out of the Bronx, Tapia has picked up victories over durable veterans Garrett Wilson and Anthony Caputo Smith and will look to cement his status as a cruiserweight contender on September 23rd.
A former title challenger at cruiserweight, Kayode last battled Denis Lebedev for his cruiserweight crown in a November 2015 bout in Russia. Fighting out of Hollywood, Calif., by way of Nigeria, Kayode has shared the ring with the likes of Antonio Tarver and Luis Ortiz while taking down Felix Cora Jr, Matt Godfrey and Nick Kisner on his way to an unbeaten mark after his first 21 pro fights.
Hennessy Sports and YouTube Partner to Announce Groundbreaking Partnership to Show Parker vs. Fury Exclusively Live
Hennessy Sports is delighted to announce a groundbreaking partnership with YouTube that will offer a new way of watching Boxing.
The blockbuster WBO World Heavyweight Championship title fight between Joseph Parker and Hughie Fury on Saturday 23rd September at the Manchester Arena will be shown exclusively live in the UK and Ireland on YouTube (www.youtube.com/parkerfury) on a pay-per-view basis with further countries to be announced shortly.
A portion of the undercard will also be streamed for free before the big fight, this is also available live on www.youtube.com/parkerfury. Watch this event anywhere online or on your smart TV, game console, PC, Mac, mobile, tablet and more for a special advance purchase offer price of only £9.99 in the UK and €11.99 in the Republic of Ireland until midnight on Sunday 17th September.*
www.youtube.com/parkerfury is the home of Hennessy Sports YouTube Channel which is called The Boxing Channel presented by Hennessy Sports.
This represents fantastic value for money to watch one of Britain and Ireland’s most exciting young talents challenging for the prestigious World Heavyweight title at half the price of regular Pay-Per-View events and viewers can watch live at a fan-friendly UK and Ireland prime-time.
With 1.5 billion viewers globally, Hennessy Sports believes that partnering with YouTube (which is the world’s biggest provider of online video content) could prove to be a pivotal change in the sport’s landscape.
Through the years boxing has been delivered to fans via the traditional route of TV and after receiving numerous offers from TV broadcasters for the event, promoter Mick Hennessy, CEO of Hennessy Sports, has made the bold and visionary move to partner with YouTube.
Hennessy believes this will take Parker v Fury to a global audience; bring in younger viewers and attract a new generation of fans to the sport with the wide range of devices that the fight can be viewed on.
Claudio Marrero To Put WBA Interim Featherweight Title On Line Against Jesus Rojas on September 15th
On Friday, Sept. 15, one day before the highly anticipated battle for middleweight supremacy between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, WBA Interim Featherweight Champion Claudio Marrero (22-1, 16 KOs) will make the first defense of his title against Jesus Rojas (25-1-2, 18 KOs) in the 12-round main event of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at the MGM Grand Marquee Ballroom in Las Vegas. The ESPN3 livestream of the undercard bouts begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT, followed by the main event at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT on ESPN Deportes and streaming live on ESPN3 and on ESPN2 at 1:15 a.m. ET/10:15 p.m. PT.
Marrero, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, captured the Interim WBA Featherweight Title with a devastating first-round knockout of Carlos Zambrano in April 2017. Though suffering his only defeat against Jesus Cuellar in 2013, Marrero has scored six victories since then, five of them by knockout.
Rojas will return after an impressive eighth-round technical knockout victory against the previously undefeated Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez. The native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, has taken on the likes of former world champion Jorge “El Travieso” Arce and Jorge “El Pilón” Lara of Mexico (who will take on Joseph “JoJo” Diaz in the co-main event of Canelo-Golovkin). Rojas will look to take yet another step towards the top of the 126-pound division with a victory over Marrero.
In the co-main event, Boston’s Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (18-0, 12 KOs) will make the second defense of his IBF North American title against Juan Carlos “Merengue” Abreu (19-3-1, 18 KOs). Ellis earned his crown with an impressive first-round knockout victory over Eddie “E-Boy” Gomez in December 2016. In his first defense, Ellis fought in a toe-to-toe battle against John Karl Sosa en route to a majority decision victory in April 2017. Ellis faces a tough challenge in Abreu, a veteran of the Dominican Republic with tough fights against Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano and Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto on his resume.
Ryan “Kingry” Garcia (10-0, 9 KOs) will open up the ESPN Deportes transmission in an eight-round fight for the Junior NABF Super Featherweight title against Miguel Carrizoza (10-2, 2 KOs) of Nogales, Mexico. Garcia, a young prospect of Victorville, Calif., is coming off a spectacular first-round knockout of Mario Antonio Macia and will look to earn his seventh knockout victory in a row on Sept. 15.
Horacio “Violento” Garcia (32-3-1, 22 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico will take on fellow countryman Diuhl Olguin (11-7-2, 9 KOs) in an eight-round super bantamweight rematch. In their first encounter, Garcia lost via an upset unanimous decision in July of this year. In the night’s swing bout, Alexis “Laberinto” Salazar (11-3, 3 KOs) of Tlaquepagque, Mexico will take on Evan Torres (6-4, 5 KOs) of El Paso, Texas in a scheduled six-round middleweight fight. The bout will be a rematch of their May 2017 fight, which Salazar won via close split decision.
Opponents for former IBF champion Jose “El Tecuala” Argumendo (20-3-1, 11 KOs), who will participate in an eight-round minimumweight bout, and Philadelphia’s Damon “No Smilin'” Allen, Jr. (12-0-1, 5 KOs), who will return in an eight-round lightweight fight, will be announced shortly.
Marrero vs. Rojas is a 10-round featherweight fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with TGB Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, BORN BOLD; Hennessy, Never Stop, Never Settle; and Interjet. The event will beheld at the MGM Grand Marquee Ballroom in Las Vegas on Friday, Sept. 15. Doors open at 3:00 p.m. PT, and the first fight begins at 3:30 p.m. PT. The ESPN3 livestream of the undercard bouts begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. on ESPN Deportes and streaming live on ESPN3 and on ESPN2 at 1:15 a.m. ET / 10:15 p.m. PT.
FIGHTNIGHT Live Sets New Record with 200,000 Plus Facebook Views for Saturday Show
Before fight fans turned their attention to the desert with knockout PPV numbers last Saturday, the FIGHTNIGHT LIVE Facebook series landed a massive haymaker of its own. Linacre Media and CES Boxing partnered on a pre Mayweather-McGregor card that ran from 6-9:30 p.m. ET live from Foxwoods in Connecticut, with the tech-forward, fan-friendly Facebook broadcast platform drawing an audience of 201,935 fight fans, and counting.
“Fight fans were primed and ready for Saturday night’s mega-event from Las Vegas, and we were pleased to be able to entertain so many with great fights from Foxwoods for the hours leading up to Showtime PPV,” said Mark Fratto, Principal and Director of Business Development, Linacre Media. “Of course we had some fans thinking they’d get to see Mayweather-McGregor, but we were quick to point them in the proper direction for that content. The hundreds of thousands that stayed on our platform saw some great action, including a wild ending in the CES main event. As a matter of fact, we saw 50,000 more fight fans log-in on Sunday to review the closing moments, and as always with our interactive Facebook shows, offer their own opinions and interpretations. We’re pleased to be able to announce that seven or more shows are being added to the calendar from September through November, including one leading into GGG – Canelo.”
Over the first four months of programming, the numbers on the FIGHTNIGHT LIVE series have showed promise and potential for the new platform with an average of more than 85,000 fight fans tuning in per event. The August “Super Saturday” from Foxwoods (202,000), the July Roy Jones Jr. “Desert Showdown” from Phoenix (63,000), the May “Slugfest at the Sun” from Mohegan Sun (46,000) and the June “Rosemont Rumble” from Chicago (32,000) saw a total of more than 8,000 total hours of Facebook video consumed by 342,000-plus users across all devices.
In addition to the raw viewership numbers, the fully-interactive, fan-friendly productions have seen more than 33,000 collective live post engagements, including more than 3,000 “likes” or “loves,” more than 10,000 comments and 3,000-plus shares.
FIGHTNIGHT LIVE broadcasts are viewed by 76 percent men, 24 percent women. The top demographic is comprised of males aged 25-34, which encompasses approximately 30 percent of the audience, on average.
The Aug. 26 Foxwoods “Super Saturday” show stands out individually with 201,935 views across 3,336 live hours of content, with 8,224 viewer interactions including 1,133 “likes” or “loves,” 1,570 comments and 1,392 shares.
“For more than 25 years, CES has delivered boxing excitement to fans all over the world. The tradition continued Saturday night at Foxwoods when we teamed with FIGHTNIGHT LIVE by using cutting edge technology allowing fight fans to view the fights live on Facebook. This historic, record-setting event was the result of a great production team and action-packed, competitive fights,” said CES President Jimmy Burchfield, Sr.
Facebook FIGHTNIGHT LIVE has been delivered to fans absolutely free since its May 2017 launch courtesy of corporate partners like Barbour One 9, Talent Management and Entertainment Production (www.barbourone9.com) and Northeastern
Gritty Brooklyn Fighter Frank Galarza seeks to reset Career by Signing with Main Events
Gritty Brooklyn Fighter Frank Galarza seeks to reset Career by Signing with Main Events
by: Eric Lunger
Frank “Notorious” Galarza signed with Main Events promotions, it was announced yesterday. The Brooklyn native, 31, was on track as a super welterweight contender, posting an undefeated record (17-0-2, 11 KOs) until he ran into Jarrett “Swift” Hurd in November of 2015. Galarza was stopped in the sixth round by a brutal Hurd uppercut, a punch that has become something of a trademark for the Accokeek, Maryland fighter.
[Photo courtesy of Frank Galarza and Main Events]
In September of last year, Galarza’s career went sideways again as he dropped a ten round majority decision to crafty veteran Ishe Smith. Trying to start fast, Galarza walked into a trap in the second round and was unable to close the deficit, at least on two judges’ cards.
Now the “Brooklyn Rocky,” as Galarza is known, is seeking to reset his career by signing with Kathy Duva’s Main Events. “I am just one of those fighters who will never turn down anyone,” Galarza said via press release.“I will fight anyone. I wanted to work with Main Events because I have seen what they have done in the past. I like the way they move their fighters.”
The thirty-one year old boxer knows it is time to make the leap from contender to champion. Away from the ring, Galarza is a new father, as well as a man who believes in giving back to his community. In 2014 he founded Youth Fighting Forward, helping young people reach their goals through boxing, education, and job training. A serious person as well as serious contender, Galarza hopes to make his mark in an already loaded division, against the likes of Erislandy Lara, the Charlo Brothers, Jarrett Hurd, and Demetrius Andrade.
For more information on Youth Fighting Forward, visit frankgalarza.com/youthfightingforward.
Jarrett “Swift” Hurd’s First Title Defense is a Serious Challenge
Jarrett “Swift” Hurd’s First Title Defense is a Serious Challenge
By Eric Lunger
There is a perception in boxing today that too many fighters, when they finally reach that goal of grabbing their first belt, spend too much time resting on their laurels, maybe trying to maximize their earning power by dusting a few weak challengers. And who can blame them, really? Success in boxing requires years of sacrifice and rigorous training, so once a fighter reaches the top, there is no hurry to risk that coveted position.
So big respect to Jarrett “Swift” Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs), who has set his first title defense against Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs). Hurd, who proudly hails from Accokeek, Maryland, won the IBF super welterweight belt last February in a tactical and very professional stoppage of well-regarded veteran Tony Harrison (24-2, 20 KOs). Although it was Hurd’s first title fight, he approached the bout methodically and patiently, doing some serious bodywork with his left hook and waiting for an opening. Hurd was also surprisingly versatile in this bout, working behind the jab from range but also comfortable and effective on the inside. Hurd is classically trained, so to speak, and takes pride in being able to display all aspects of the craft.
Austin Trout, from Las Cruces, New Mexico, is a serious threat. He has a long professional resume — he fought Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, and Canelo Alvarez back to back — and he brings a tricky, southpaw style into the ring. Trout has a full professional tool kit and enough experience to make adjustments during the fight. His last bout, against rising star Jermall Charlo, was a close unanimous decision loss (116-112, 115-113, 116-112). While making no excuses, Trout was bitterly disappointed with his loss to Charlo, and the Hurd fight might be his last chance to regain a top spot in the division.
As I see it, Hurd still has some defensive issues that Trout may be able to exploit, while Trout is vulnerable to a short right counter when he fights on his front foot. This bout may hinge on ring IQ and ring adjustment — which fighter will be able to solve his opponent first?
This will be an exciting card, also featuringMikey Garcia vs. Adrian Broner. Garcia, a multiple division champ, is moving up to 140 lbs. Having put his legal issues behind him, Garcia destroyed an overmatched Dejan Zlaticanin in a scary knockout in January, and he is looking to make up lost time. Technically proficient, Garcia sits down on his punches, generates real power, and has a mean streak when he steps between the ropes. No disrespect to Broner, who is a warrior in the ring whatever problems he may have away from boxing, but I think Garcia will clean out most of the division, setting up a potential super-fight showdown with Terence Crawford.
Showtime is broadcasting the fight on July 29th and it looks like the card will land at Barkley’s Center in Brooklyn, a fantastic venue for boxing.
PBC on Fox Results: Breazeale, Hurd, and Deontay Wilder Win by Stoppage
PBC on Fox Results: Breazeale, Hurd, and Deontay Wilder Win by Stoppage
By: William Holmes
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions series was televised live from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
Two world title fights were televised tonight as Deontay Wilder defended his WBC World Heavyweight Title against challenger Gerald Washington, and Tony Harrison faced Jarrett Hurd for the vacant IBF Junior Middleweight Title.
This was the third straight fight that Wilder fought in Birmingham, Alabama.
The opening bout of the night was between Izuagbe Ugonoh (17-0) and Dominic Breazeale (17-1) in the heavyweight division.
Ugonoh was giving up several inches in height to Breazeale, but looked like he was in incredible shape.
Ugonoh circled Breazeale in the opening round and attacked the body with an occasional combination to the head. Breazeale seemed bothered by the speed of Ugonoh early on.
Ugonoh continued with the good body work in the third round and Breazeale was missing wildly with his punches. Breazeale had difficulty catching up to Ugonoh, and when he did he was hit with a low blow. Ugonoh ended the second round with a good two punch combination.
The third round was action packed and Breazeale turned the tide of the fight in his favor with a right hand that sent Ugonoh to the mat. Ugonoh was able to get back to his feet and survive an onslaught from Breazeale; before answering back with hard thudding right hands that had Breazeale wobbly on his feet. Both boxers were throwing and landing heavy blows as the third round came to an end.
Breazeale pressed the pace in the fourth round and was walking Ugonoh down early on. Ugonoh was able to hurt Breazeale with a right hand to the temple that sent Breazeale falling forward in a failed attempt to hold onto Ugonoh. Breazeale was wobbly when he got back to his feet but was able to survive the round.
Breazeale was recovered by the beginning of the third round and landed two heavy straight right hands to the temple of Ugonoh that forced him to take a knee. Ugonoh looked badly shaken when he got to his feet and was met with several more hard right hands to the temple that sent him crashing outside the ring.
The referee had seen enough and jumped in to stop the fight at 0:50 of the fifth round.
Breazeale showed incredible heart in a highly entertaining fight to get the TKO victory.
The next bout was between Tony Harrison (24-1) and Jarrett Hurd (19-0) for the IBF Junior Middleweight Title.
The opening round was a feeling out round with both boxers throwing their jab in an attempt to find their range. Harrison did look like he had the quicker hands and wider variety of punches.
Hurd was chasing Harrison in the second round and was eating a steady stream of jabs. Hurd kept up the pressure in the third round but Harrison landed several good counters and check left hooks.
Harrison continued to display the quicker hands in the fourth round while Hurd appeared to do little but walk into the jabs of Harrison. Hurd was able to land a good right uppercut in the fifth round but was still out landed by his opponent.
Harrison picked up the pace again in the sixth round and at one point hard Hurd hurt and backed into a corner; but Hurd turned the tide of the fight back in his favor in the seventh round when he had Harrison badly hurt with good body shots and chopping right hooks.
Hurd kept up the pressure in the eighth round and appeared to be physically hurting Harrison with every punch that he landed. Hurd finally scored a thudding knockdown in the ninth round when he connected with a clean straight right hand that sent him crashing backwards to the mat.
Harrison got back up at the count of nine, but spit out his mouthpiece as the referee was talking with him. The referee immediately waived off the fight, despite the protest of Tony Harrison.
Jarrett Hurd wins by TKO at 2:24 of the ninth round.
The main event was between Deontay Wilder (37-0) and Gerald Washington (18-01) for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
Washington established his jab in the opening round and was causing Wilder some problems early on. Wilder was not used to facing boxers as tall as Washington and he had difficulty finding his openings in the second round and at times was moving backwards.
Washington landed some heavy body shots in the third round and was able to avoid the power shots of Wilder and had a good round. Washington was able to land some combinations in the fourth round and it looked like he had Wilder confused.
Wilder opened up the fifth round with a long reaching jab and a looping left hook, before he cracked a straight right hand to the head of Washington that sent him falling backwards on his butt onto the mat.
Washington was able to get up at the count of eight, but Wilder unloaded several hard shots to the head of a cowering Washington before the referee waived the fight off.
Deontay Wilder retains his WBC Heavyweight Title with a TKO victory at 1:45 of the fifth round.
After the fight, Deontay Wilder acknowledged the presence of WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker and stated he’s ready to fight him next and unify the titles.
PBC on Fox Preview: Tony Harrison vs. Jarrett Hurd, Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington
PBC on Fox Preview: Tony Harrison vs. Jarrett Hurd, Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder will return to his home state at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama to defend his title against top rated and unbeaten heavyweight contender Gerald Washington live on the Fox network.
The co-main event of the night will be between Jarrett Hurd and Tony Harrison for the IBF Junior Middleweight Title. Fox Sports 1 will also feature some of the undercard bouts, which include a heavyweight fight between Dominic Breazeale and Izuagbe Ugonoh as well as rising prospect Caleb Plant.
The following is a preview of the two title fights set to be televised on Saturday night.
Tony Harrison (24-1) vs. Jarrett Hurd (19-0); IBF Junior Middleweight Title
The first world title fight to be televised will be a very competitive one and is a tough bout to pick.
Harrison and Hurd have very similar physical characteristics. Surprisingly, both boxers are 6’1” tall and both fighters have a reach of 76 ½”. Both boxers are also the same age and are in the midst of their athletic prime at twenty six years old.
Harrison, a Detroit, Michigan native, has a slight edge in amateur experience and success and comes from a boxing family. Both his Father Ali Salaam and Grandfather Henry Hank competed professionally with moderate to good success as a boxer. Harrison was also previously trained by the late, great, Emmanuel Steward.
Both boxers have also been very active in the past two years. Harrison fought two times in 2016 and four times in 2015. Hurd fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Hurd has never tasted defeat. He has defeated the likes of Ionut Dan Ion, Oscar Molina, Frank Galarza, and Jeff Lentz. He has won his past five fights by knockout.
Harrison has defeated the likes of Siarhei Rabchanka, Fernando Guerrero, Antwone Smith, Tyrone Brunson, Bronco McKart, and Grady Brewer. His lone loss was to Willie Nelson.
This is a tough bout to pick, but when Harrison fought someone at the level of Jarret Hurd he came up short. Hurd’s power is at least equal to that of Willie Nelson, and Harrison’s confidence may not be where it’s needed to defeat someone like Jarrett Hurd since his knockout loss.
This writer has to give Jarrett Hurd a slight edge over Tony Harrison.
Deontay Wilder (37-0) vs. Gerald Washington (18-0-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
Deontay Wilder was originally scheduled to fight Andrzej Wawrzyk, and received heavy criticism for his choice of opponents, but that bout was cancelled due to Wawrzyk failing a pre-fight drug test.
Gerald Washington was chosen as a replacement opponent despite the fact other well known heavyweights such as Louis Ortiz offered to fight Wilder as a replacement.
Wilder is three years younger than his opponent and will have a one inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage. Wilder also has a much deeper amateur background. Wilder won the bronze medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics for the United States. Washington has no amateur accomplishments to speak of. However, Washington does have an athletic background as he played tight end and defense end for the University of Southern California and played on the practice squad for the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills.
Washington started boxing late and made his pro debut at the age of thirty. He has stopped twelve of his opponents. Wilder has stopped thirty six of his opponents and the only man to last all twelve rounds with him was former world title holder Bermane Stiverne. Wilder has stopped four of his past five opponents while Washington has only stopped two of his past five opponents.
Both boxers have been fairly active recently. Washington fought twice in 2016 and in 2015. Wilder fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Wilder clearly has the better professional resume. He has beaten the likes of Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johan Suhaupas, Eric Molina, Bermane Stiverne, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich. Washington has defeated the likes of Ray Austin and Eddie Chambers and had a controversial draw with Amir Mansour.
Washington is a tremendous athlete, but he is not on the level of World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder. Wilder is fighting in front of his hometown fans and will likely put on another exciting stoppage victory for them to enjoy.
Getting Ready for Hurd vs. Harrison: An Interview with “Swift” Jarrett Hurd.
Getting Ready for Hurd vs. Harrison: An Interview with “Swift” Jarrett Hurd.
By Eric Lunger
Next Saturday night at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (19-0, 13 KO’s) will face Tony Harrison (24-1, 20KO’s) in aSuper Welterweight IBF title eliminator bout. Scheduled as the co-main event on the Wilder vs. Washington PBC card on FOX, this is Hurd’s biggest test and his biggest opportunity. Hailing from Accokeek, Maryland, Hurd began boxing at age 15, turned pro at 19, and has his sights set on a world title this year. An exciting and dynamic fighter, Jarrett Hurd is also a serious student of the sport.
Yesterday, in an exclusive interview with boxinginsider.com, Jarrett and his long time trainer, Ernesto Rodriguez, looked back on Jarrett’s last three fights and looked forward to the Tony Harrison show down. Here’s what Jarrett and Ernesto had to say:
Boxinginsider.com: The Frank Galarza fight in November of 2015 was your first ten rounder – you caught Galarza with two really huge uppercuts. Did you all expect him to be vulnerable to that punch or was that a mid-fight adjustment?
Jarrett Hurd: Well, it’s really the way we threw the upper cut. Galarza was used to the basic jab and, right after, the right hand, and after that, the hook. We tried to switch it up, after the jab, or we may lead with the right hand, and bring the uppercut underneath. So, it was the way we switched up the combination. He maybe shoots his left hand up to block the first right, but I come up underneath with the uppercut, and it catches him off guard every time.
Boxing Insider: Your next big fight was Oscar Molina on the Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter undercard in June of 2016. Would you characterize that as your breakout fight? How do you see that in your progression?
JH: I would say that Frank Galarza was my breakout fight, but the Oscar Molina fight was the icing on the cake, letting the people know I was the real deal. The Molina fight was [important for] not only the performance I put on, but it was on one of the biggest cards of 2016, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter – I was on the big stage, under the big lights, opening up for those guys. And the performance I put on let everyone know I was ready for the big time.
Boxing Insider: Did you take any lessons away from the Molina fight, going ten rounds with a former Olympian and a guy who was 13-0 at the time?
JH: Yes, most definitely. We knew the first couple of rounds were going to be competitive because Molina was an Olympian. Going in into the fight, I wanted to work off the jab – that’s what my trainer taught me – we wanted to beat him from the outside. The fight would have been more technical that way. So, going into the fourth round, we wanted to make it a closer fight. Many guys think, because I am tall and rangy that I don’t have a good inside game, but now they know. I switched the game plan up into close quarters and showed him a whole different style.
From that fight I learned, basically, to adjust and switch a game plan between fights and during fights.
Boxing Insider: Did you think you were going to get a stoppage during the tenth round? What were your emotions like when the referee stopped the bout?
JH: You know, he survived the whole fight, so going into the tenth I didn’t really think I was going to stop him. I knew it was the last round and I wanted to pick it up. In the process of picking up [the pace] I got the stoppage. Not only did I fight a great fight throughout the ten rounds, I actually closed the show, so that was a plus for me.
Boxing Insider: I was in Philly for the Jo Jo Dan fight this past November; how would you evaluate your performance in that bout?
JH: Out of my three ten-round fights, I felt that Jo Jo Dan was not my best performance. It wasn’t because I didn’t have a big uppercut or a highlight knockdown, or anything like that, it was I think that I allowed myself to perform at his level. You know, because he didn’t have power and because I wasn’t afraid of his power, I kind of got lazy on my defense.
Boxing Insider: Were you prepared for the amount of in-fighting that he did? He wasn’t head-butting, but he did lead with his head and tried to push you around.
JH: Yeah, he was trying to use some veteran tactics. As I said, it was more that his power didn’t do much. I was not watching out for little things. I went to my corner, and they said: hey, you’re not moving your head. He didn’t have much power, but you don’t want to get hit with unnecessary punches. So that’s when I started boxing a little more.
Boxing Insider: That brings us to Tony Harrison, February 25th, the co-main event on FOX and Sky in England, so this is a big arena. But you’ve fought at Barclays in Brooklyn, Hard Rock in Vegas, the Prudential Center in Newark — what’s it like going on this kind of big stage, or are you just focused on your job?
JH: I’m just focused on the job, you know. Maybe the first two fights, Galarza and Molina, it was kind of exciting to get under the lights. But now it’s second nature. When it’s time to go out there and fight, I don’t let it affect me. I get nervous and butterflies, just because I want to go out and perform, not because of the crowd I’m in front of.
Boxing Insider: This next question is for Ernesto. How much do you game plan for a specific opponent, or do you say “here are Jarrett’s strengths, and he has to beat us?” Where is the balance there?
Ernesto Rodriguez: Well, the way I look at it, styles make fights. The style of a fighter will determine the adjustment for us, how easy or how difficult a fight will be and what adjustments we need to make. Like it was for Galarza, I saw a lot of mistakes that he made, like leaning in after throwing his right hand. We worked on that uppercut in the gym, specifically for that counterpunch. We knew that Molina was an Olympian, that he was aggressive and would come in, and that same uppercut he threw in the first round — we worked on that in the gym, you know, and it set the tone. For Jo Jo Dan, a southpaw, we worked on counterpunches. And now, for Tony Harrison, he’s a fighter that fights on his front foot, puts a lot of weight on his punches coming forward. In my opinion, he is tailor-made for counter punches from Jarrett, [we’ll] let him run into punches. A lot of people expect this to be a very difficult fight, but in my opinion, in won’t be.
Boxing Insider: It suits Jarrett’s style, in your view?
ER: Right. He is tailor-made for Jarrett to maneuver and be patient, and to set the tone and stop him.
Boxing Insider: Jarrett, as you said, you’re a big guy, 6’ 1’’ and rangy, what’s the process of making weight like for you?
Jarrett Hurd: Weight is never a problem. As a matter of fact, I’ve always come in under weight. I usually make the weight the day before the weigh-in, and we usually don’t work out the day of the weigh-in.
Boxing Insider: What is it like in that last hour before a bout, when you are back stage with your team? Are you guys getting focused, are you talking, are you loose? What is going through your mind and what’s happening back there?
JH: We are warming up and they [my team] are always in my ear, motivating me. They are telling me, you’ve put in all this work. The phrase we always use is: don’t leave no stones unturned. We feel like we’ve put in all the work we were supposed to in the camp, we did all the things that were necessary, so going out there, we have no doubts, no second guessing. We’ve done everything right. So they [my team] are just motivating me, but also making sure I’m relaxed and ready to go out there and fight.
Ernesto Rodriguez: We always pray before we go out.
Jarrett Hurd: Most definitely, we always say a prayer.
Boxing Insider: Obviously you don’t look past anyone in this business, but what are your goals for the year?
JH: Well, win the title! Every boxer’s dream and I know this year, its coming. When you turn professional, you know, you’ve seen your idols win world titles, and that’s something I want to do. To win world titles and to leave this sport with my health, those are the two things I want to do.
PBC Card in Philadelphia had its Ups and Downs
PBC Card in Philadelphia had its Ups and Downs
By Eric Lunger
I happened to attend the Danny Garcia vs. Samuel Vargas PBC event Saturday night in Philadelphia. The experience was a pleasure all around, except, unfortunately, for the main event. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first I’ll offer a few observations about watching live boxing in Philadelphia. First off, the Liacouras Center is a wonderful venue; parking, access, concessions, the arena staff – everything was top-notch. And the arena feels small and big at the same time: when seated close to the ring, the blazing lights make you feel like the ring dominates the whole building; but if you wander up to the upper decks, you can sit by yourself in the massive bank of seats looking down on the spectacle. I did so for Garcia’s ring walk, and watching his massive entourage snake its way to the ring between the crowd-control barriers was like watching an ill-intentioned dragon slither out of a burrow.
The crowd was an interesting mix of folks from almost all walks of life. I was surprised and pleased by the congenial and carnival-like atmosphere. Everyone was courteous, in a cheerful mood, and there was a sense of camaraderie in the building, like, “Hey, we’re all here for fight night!” Not the usual Philly sports crowd – I’ve been to a Flyers game where they booed the Zamboni driver. There were well-dressed folks; there were folks in jeans and sweatshirts. There were couples out for date night. It was also very much a home-town night, in so far as the promoters had a done a nice job matching local prospects against good, but not world class opponents. Omar Douglas, from Wilmington, DE, and Jarrett Hurd, from Maryland, were loudly supported by their traveling fans.
There are some interesting things about watching boxing live, as opposed to on TV. First thing I noticed was how tense the crowd was during the bouts. A boxing crowd goes from tense quiet to an explosion of sound in split-second. A good shot or big punch is immediately punctuated by a crowd reaction. But most of the time, the crowd is tensely observing the action, with occasional members yelling instructions to the fighters, which I doubt they hear. A corollary of the relative quiet is that the punches are audible. A “thudding” punch is not just a cliché – its real. Second thing I noticed was that I didn’t miss having TV commentators interpret the fight for me. I had to really focus on what was going on in the ring and I had to rely on my own interpretation of who won that round, or why so-and-so stopped using his jab, or where a certain fighter’s strength lay. It made for a much more immersive and active experience.
Watching boxing live also underscores how dangerous boxing really is, and why defensive boxing is such an art. The punches are fast, accurate, and hard. Javier Fortuna in the first round of the first televised undercard made one error, and Omar Douglas caught him with a brutal hook inside: Fortuna went down like he had been shot in the head. From then on, Fortuna fought from the outside, boxed, jabbed, moved, and never again got in range of that short hook. That bout developed, after the first round knock down, into a classic battle between a come-forward puncher (Douglas) and a dancing, southpaw boxer (Fortuna). Fortuna edged out Douglas on the cards and the crowd was not happy with the decision, though I think it was correct.
The second undercard was entertaining and compelling as well, but for other reasons. Jarrett Hurd is a talented and fundamentally trained boxer with a complete skill set. He is also a big super welterweight – keep you eye on him in the future. His opponent, a very tough and very professional Jo Jo Dan, took a lot of punishment, landed a number of his own shots, but didn’t have the power at this weight to do damage. Hurd was patient, methodical, and precise, landing increasing damaging blows through Dan’s defense. The referee called off the bout at the right time, as Dan took more damage without returning fire.
I wish I could say something positive about the main event, as I think the Garcia camp has taken enough abuse in the media, but Samuel Vargas (nothing against him personally) was a gross mismatch. The fact that he lasted seven rounds testifies to his toughness, if nothing else. Garcia blasted him at will. The partisan Garcia fans loved it, but it was lesser end to a better undercard. It was a shame because the Liacouras Center is a great venue to watch boxing, and the undercard deserved a better main event.