Boxing Insider Notebook: Machado, Conlan, Kelly, Robinson, Saunders, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 7th to May 14th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Rio Revenge? Michael Conlan to Face Olympic Nemesis Vladimir Nikitin August 3rd in Belfast
Michael “Mick” Conlan’s amateur career ended in controversy and a pair of middle fingers. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Conlan appeared to have bested Russian standout Vladimir Nikitin in the 56-kilogram quarterfinals. The judges disagreed, and Conlan responded with a memorable double middle-finger salute.
Almost three years to the day since Conlan flashed those digits, the Olympic rivals will run it back in the paid ranks, this time on Irish soil.
Conlan will face Nikitin in a 10-round featherweight bout Saturday, Aug. 3 in a massive outdoor fight at Falls Park in his home city of Belfast. Conlan-Nikitin will take place as part of the annual Féile an Phobail, Europe’s largest community festival.
Conlan-Nikitin will stream live in the United States beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, on a special international edition of Top Rank on ESPN.
“This is the opportunity for Mick Conlan to right what most observers felt was an injustice,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “That being said, Nikitin is a real aggressive fighter, and he believes that a victory over Conlan in August would cement the one he was given in the Rio Olympics.”
“I am delighted that I will be fighting Vladimir Nikitin in front of 10,000 fans,” Conlan said. “This is literally home turf for me and it is absolutely huge. I am West Belfast and Falls Road born and bred so this means everything to me. Vladimir Nikitin and I have unfinished business from the 2016 Olympics, and I can’t wait to set the record straight.”
“When I turned professional last year, the man I wanted to fight most was Michael Conlan,” Nikitin said. “Michael has said a lot of things since the Olympics about how he was robbed of a medal. Well, I am coming to his hometown during their biggest festival to show everyone my Olympic victory was not a fluke. This is going to be repeat, not revenge. Conlan will regret pushing for this fight. I beat him twice in the amateurs and will do the same as a pro. It will feel even sweeter to beat him in his hometown. Belfast, here I come!”
“The fight with Vladimir Nikitin has been talked about for a long time now, and MTK Global and Top Rank have worked extremely hard along with Féile an Phobail to make it happen,” said Jamie Conlan, Professional Development Manager, MTK Global. “Michael Conlan is coming home for one of the biggest fight nights Belfast will have ever seen.”
Conlan (11-0, 6 KOs) entered the pro ranks as one of Ireland’s most beloved sporting figures, having earned an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 and gold medals at both the European and World Championships in 2015. He was favored to win Olympic gold in 2016, but Nikitin and the judges thwarted those plans. “The Conlan Revolution” turned pro in front of a sold-out Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden crowd on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. He won the vacant WBO Intercontinental featherweight belt last December in Manchester, England, besting Jason Cunningham via unanimous decision. In his last bout, in front of a raucous St. Patrick’s Day crowd at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Conlan defeated Ruben Garcia Hernandez over 10 rounds.
Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs) did not turn pro immediately following the 2016 Olympics, electing to fight as an amateur throughout 2017. He signed a professional contract in 2018 with Top Rank, in large part because he wanted to face Conlan as a pro. Nikitin’s come-forward style has translated to the pro ranks, as he’s won a trio of clear-cut unanimous decisions. He has fought on the same card as Conlan twice as a professional. The message was clear: Conlan and Nikitin were destined to meet again.
It will finally happen, in front of more than 10,000 of Conlan’s rowdiest supporters. Will it be Rio Revenge or another shining moment for Nikitin?
Josh Kelly to Face Ray Robinson on June 1st
Josh Kelly will make his US debut against Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s Heavyweight World title clash with Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
Sunderland star Kelly (9-0, 6 KOs) outclassed the previously undefeated Pole Przemyslaw Runowski on his big ring return at The O2 in London last month, flooring the gutsy challenger three times to defend his WBA International title with a classy unanimous verdict after winning all ten rounds.
Kelly was due to face former World Champion David Avanesyan on the undercard of Kell Brook vs. Michael Zerafa in Sheffield, but an illness scuppered a December dust-up between the pair. A showdown with the now European Champion is at the top of Kelly’s wish list should he come through his test against Robinson.
Robinson (24-3-1, 12 KOs) has lost only three times in his 28-fight career, one of those losses coming to current WBC Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter in 2010, and the 33-year-old southpaw earned an impressive draw in his last outing in March against the undefeated and World rated Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
“To be boxing at the Mecca of boxing Madison Square Garden is pretty serious isn’t it,” said Kelly. “I’ve never been there before so I’m going to enjoy the experience and put a performance on. To be fighting at a venue like that so early on in my career is another box ticked on my journey.
“Things change and titles switch hands but the majority of World titles are held in the US at the moment so I could end up boxing there a lot more in the future. I just take things fight by fight and I never overlook anyone because I’d be doing myself and my opponent an injustice.
“Robinson is a very good opponent. He’s a good boxer with an awkward southpaw style so it’s another good test for me. It’s going to be a great fight and a night to enjoy. I get a lot of support from people in the US so it’s nice to have an opportunity to put on a performance in front of them.
“What happened with the Avanesyan fight was unfortunate but it’s a fight that’s still 100% on my radar. Adam has got a plan for it and I’ll just go with what he says. It’s definitely more than likely going to take place. June 1 is going to be the start of something big.”
“This is a great fight and a huge step-up for Josh on the biggest stage possible,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Robinson clearly won last time out and is an accomplished fighter that will test him in every department. This is the stage for him to shine, in front of a sold out MSG broadcast all over the World – June 1 we will really find out what PBK is all about.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Josh Kelly is one of the hottest talents in Britain – and Madison Square Garden is a perfect venue for him to showcase his skills.
“We’ve covered Kelly’s exciting career from the very start. ‘PBK’ can now show American fans why he’s a name to watch in that red-hot Welterweight division.
“It will be a bumper evening of boxing as Katie Taylor bids to become the undisputed World Lightweight champion, and then AJ can mark his US debut with a bang against Andy Ruiz Jr!”
Kelly and Robinson clash on a huge night of action at Madison Square Garden where Joshua’s World title defense against Ruiz is supported by Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashing with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed Women’s World Lightweight championship and Chris Algieri and Tommy Coyle meeting in a crossroads Lightweight fight – with more undercard fights to be announced shortly.
Tickets for the huge night of World title action in New York are on sale now via Madison Square Garden and StubHub (www.stubhub.com)
Billy Joe Saunders and Ryan Burnett to Headline ESPN+ Cards this Weekend
Champions Weekend is coming to ESPN+, as two of the United Kingdom’s most dynamic fighters — former WBO middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders and former unified bantamweight world champion Ryan Burnett — are set to headline separate shows.
Burnett will battle Jelbirt Gomera for the vacant WBC International super bantamweight title Friday at Ulster Hall in his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Burnett-Gomera live stream will begin at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT exclusively on ESPN+ and will also feature a compelling vacant IBF European junior lightweight title fight between Declan Geraghty and Marco McCullough. Geraghty and McCullough were roommates in the Irish amateur ranks and will renew acquaintances with a world ranking on the line.
Saunders will take center stage Saturday, as he battles Shefat Isufi for the vacant WBO super middleweight title from Lamex Stadium in Stevenage, England. The Saunders-Isufi live stream will start at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT on ESPN+ and will also include the highly anticipated heavyweight showdown between 2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist Joe Joyce (8-0, 8 KOs) and former world title challenger Alexander Ustinov (34-3, 25 KOs).
ESPN+ is the leading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service. Fans can sign up for ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) at www.espnplus.com.
Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs) made three successful defenses of the title he won from Andy Lee on Dec. 19, 2015, punctuating his middleweight title run with a dominant decision over David Lemieux in December 2017. A 2008 Olympian, Saunders captured British, Commonwealth and European middleweight titles, defeating the likes of Chris Eubank Jr., John Ryder and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan. Isufi (27-3-2, 20 KOs) has won 10 consecutive fights, most recently defending his WBO Intercontinental super middleweight belt with a unanimous decision over Mohamed El Achi in his adopted hometown of Munich, Germany.
Burnett (19-1, 9 KOs) recently signed a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank and will be competing at super bantamweight after a sterling run at bantamweight. He defeated Lee Haskins via unanimous decision in June 2017 to win the IBF world title, and four months later, he bested Zhanat Zhakiyanov to unify the IBF and WBA super world titles. Burnett suffered his first pro defeat last November when he tore his oblique while throwing a punch versus Nonito Donaire and was forced to retire on his stool following the fourth round.
Gomera (14-5, 7 KOs) is a Filipino southpaw who will be fighting for the first time outside of Asia. He is a former Filipino super bantamweight and featherweight champion and is coming off an eight-round unanimous decision win over Lloyd Jardeliza.
Caleb Plan to Make First Title Defense Against Unbeaten Mike Lee
In the biggest night of boxing this year, boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Senator Manny “Pac Man” Pacquaio, will take on undefeated WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman on Saturday, July 20 in a blockbuster showdown that headlines a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event.
Adding to the excitement of the evening, PBC will present 2-hours of boxing action with undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant making his first title defense against unbeaten contender Mike Lee in the main event of PBC on FOX and FOX Deportes show taking place in the same ring where Pacquiao and Thurman will later battle for welterweight supremacy.
Further details will be announced soon.
Jermall Charlo to Make Hometown Return Against Brandon Adams on June 29th
Unbeaten WBC Interim Middleweight Championand Houston-native Jermall Charlo will return to his hometown to defend against middleweight contender Brandon Adams Saturday, June 29 live on SHOWTIME from NRG Arena in Houston and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features hard-hitting super welterweight Erickson “Hammer” Lubin taking on French contender Zakaria Attou in a 12-round WBC title elimination bout in the co-main event. Opening the telecast is a WBA featherweight title eliminator between slick Mexican southpaw Eduardo Ramirez and power-punching Dominican Claudio Marrero.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Lions Only Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale Monday, May 13 at 12 p.m. CT and can be purchased through Ticketmaster. Charlo vs. Adams is promoted in association with Banner Promotions and The Tournament of Contenders.
“Jermall Charlo is already a star and on June 29 he gets to bring the excitement that follows him into every fight back to his hometown of Houston,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “We can’t wait to see the fans embrace their champion and push him to another electric performance at NRG Arena and live on SHOWTIME. He’s going to have tricky opposition in middleweight contender Brandon Adams, who’s highly motivated to upset Jermall’s homecoming. It’s going to be a great atmosphere in Houston and I’m sure that will propel each man to be at their very best.”
“I am very happy for Brandon to have this great opportunity,” said Artie Pelullo, President of Banner Promotions. “This is the right fight at the right time in Brandon’s career. I want to thank SHOWTIME for giving Brandon this chance to prove he belongs here.”
“Brandon Adams is out to prove once again that The Contender creates world champions and contenders,” said Jeff Wald of The Tournament of Contenders.
The 28-year-old Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) won a world title at 154-pounds when he scored a devastating third-round knockout of Cornelius Bundrage to win the IBF Junior Middleweight Title in 2015. Born in Richmond, Texas and growing up in Houston, Jermall still trains in Houston with renowned coach Ronnie Shields. He successfully defended his 154-pound title three times, including a devastating knockout of top contender Julian Williams, before moving up in weight to campaign at middleweight.
Jermall proved to be just as dominant at 160 pounds as he was at 154 pounds when he made his middleweight debut by stopping Jorge Sebastian Heiland in the fourth round of their July 2017 bout. He became the interim WBC middleweight champion with a second round knockout victory over Hugo Centeno, Jr. Jermall is one-minute older than his identical twin brother, former champion Jermell Charlo, and most recently defeated Matt Korobov to retain his interim title in December.
“It’s time for me to put up for my city of Houston,” said Charlo. “George Foreman is back and he’s in the middleweight division. That’s the way I feel about fighting in my hometown. You know how hot it gets down here in the summer and no one is going to be able to take this heat that I’m about to deliver. I’ve been working hard with Ronnie Shields and making some adjustments and now you’re going to see me back with the knockout power. I know Brandon Adams is looking at this as a big opportunity, but it’s a big step up for him. The pressure isn’t on him. It’s on me, because I’m fighting in my hometown and I’m going to deliver what the fans have come to expect from me.”
The Los Angeles-native Adams (21-2, 13 KOs) shot up the middleweight rankings by winning the 2018 reboot of The Contender. He is currently ranked fifth by the WBO and seventh by the WBA after beating Ievgen Khytrov, Tyrone Brunson, Eric Walker to make the series’ final, where he defeated Shane Mosley Jr. by unanimous decision in a 10-round fight.
The 28-year-old’s current run came after a three-year absence from the ring following a loss to John Thompson in 2015. He was 17-1 in his first 18 pro fights after turning pro in 2011, with his only loss coming to Willie Monroe Jr.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity and ready to prove that I belong in the conversation as one of the top fighters in the middleweight division,” said Adams. “This is an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. They must feel that I am beatable, and want to use my name that I built up on The Contender, so now I need to show why I won The Contender and continue my winning ways. Charlo is a solid fighter and he’s a champion for a reason.I look forward to matching skills with him and showcasing my ability.”
Lubin (20-1, 15 KOs) is coming off an impressive TKO victory of Ishe Smith in which Lubin became the first to ever stop the durable former champion. The 23-year-old from Orlando, Florida is looking to get back into world title contention and a victory over Attou will do just that. The only loss of Lubin’s career came in a world title fight against former champion Jermell Charlo in October 2017.
Born in Paris, France Attou (29-6-3, 7 KOs) will be making his U.S debut, having campaigned primarily in his home country. He is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Stefano Castellucci on March 16. Attou is currently riding a seven-fight win streak after having fought to a draw against Emanuele Della Rosa in 2016.
Ramirez (22-1-3, 9 KOs) has strung together two TKO victories since suffering the only loss of his career, in which he dropped a unanimous decision to Lee Selby in a world title match in 2017. The 26-year-old southpaw from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico bounced back from the loss with a stoppage victory over Carlos Jacobo in 2018 and stopped Bryan De Gracia in his last fight on March 2 on SHOWTIME.
Marrero (23-3, 17 KOs) is keen to get back into the championship ranks and wants to remove the sting of losing a unanimous decision to Tugstsogt Nyambayar in his last fight in January. The 30-year-old southpaw from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic won the interim WBA featherweight title with a knockout victory over Carlos Zambrano in 2017. Five months later he lost the title to Jesus Rojas, but he bounced back from that loss with an impressive knockout of then unbeaten Jorge Lara in April 2018.
Andrew Cancio to Face Alberto Machado in Rematch for Super Featherweight Title
Andrew “El Chango” Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KOs) and Alberto “Explosivo” Machado (21-1, 17 KOs) will meet again to erase all doubts in a 12-round rematch for the WBA Super Featherweight World Title at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. The event will take place Friday, June 21, 2019 and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
“Andrew Cancio surprised the world when dominated Alberto Machado in their first fight,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “This was his toughest fight on paper, and he never looked better. This fight is a rematch, and Cancio is going to prove to himself that he can do it again. This will be an even better fight than the first, so make sure to catch it live at Fantasy Springs or from home on DAZN.”
Cancio is a 30-year-old world champion who recently gave new life to his career after re-signing with Golden Boy. The native of Blythe, Calif. has scored victories against the likes of Rocky Juarez, Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes and Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado, and he’s also been in tough fights against Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. and Ronny Rios in a professional career that started over 12 years ago. Cancio is coming off his most important victory yet, a fourth-round stoppage victory against Machado, and he’ll look to put all doubts about his win to rest by repeating his performance.
“I’m very excited to be defending my world title against Alberto Machado in the rematch from my knockout victory on February 9,” said Andrew Cancio. “This is my 11th time fighting at Fantasy Springs Casino, and I look forward to defeating Machado again in convincing fashion in front of another huge crowd of my fans.”
Machado, a 28-year-old of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a big man for his division and boasts explosive power in both hands. After unifying two regional titles with a dominant unanimous decision victory against Carlos “The Solution” Morales, Machado defeated Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales by way of eighth-round knockout to capture WBA Super Featherweight Title in Oct. 2017. The hard-hitting southpaw had retained his title against the likes of Rafael “Sweet Pea” Mensah and Yuandale “Money Shot” Evans, but in his last fight, he suffered a tough title loss against Cancio.
“June 21 is a great opportunity for me,” said Alberto Machado. “Besides recovering my place as a world champion, a victory will have a special meaning for me, and that makes me very motivated. I hope that Cancio is enjoying his time as a champion because I’m going with bad intentions to bring that championship belt back to Puerto Rico.”
“We are excited to have Alberto Machado back for his world title rematch against Andrew Cancio,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “This is an exciting fight that fans can’t miss on DAZN. It will be a classic war of unfinished business. In the first fight, Cancio went toe-to-toe with Machado and took him out. But on June 21, the story will be different. Machado will definitely be ready for war and to put everything on the line in the ring.”
Angel “Tito” Acosta (19-1, 19 KOs) of San Juan, Puerto Rico will make the fourth defense of his WBO Light Flyweight World Title in a 12-round bout. Acosta is a knockout artist who has won all of his victories by knockout.
Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares (45-5, 28 KOs) of Barinas, Venezuela will look to bounce back from his fifth career loss in a 10-round super lightweight fight.
Local favorite Rommel “The Legacy” Caballero (5-0, 4 KOs) of Coachella, Calif. will battle in a four-round super featherweight fight against a soon-to-be-announced opponent.
Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (7-0, 4 KOs) will fight in a six-round welterweight clash.
Anthony Garnica (1-0, 1 KO) of Oakland, Calif. will return in a four-round super bantamweight battle.
Emilio Rodriguez (3-1, 2 KOs) of Van Nuys, Calif. will participate in a four-round middleweight bout.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Harrison, Charlo, Golovkin, Ali, Foreman, Algieri, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 30th to May 7th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Chris Algieri to Clash with Tommy Coyle at the Garden on June 1st
Chris Algieri and Tommy Coyle will clash in a crossroads showdown on Saturday June 1 at Madison Square Garden, New York, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office.
Algieri (23-3 8 KOs) puts the WBO International Junior Welterweight title on the line that he landed in January with a hard fought win over Daniel Gonzalez at the Theater at MSG. The former WBO World Champion made his return to the ring at the Paramount in his Huntington, NY home town in November following two and a half years out of the ring, beating Angel Hernandez over ten rounds before moving on to land the strap he defends.
Coyle (25-4 12 KOs) is fresh from his exciting US debut in Boston in October, sharing ten now trademark back-and-forth rounds with Ryan Kielczweski to win on points over ten. ‘Boom Boom’ moves up from Lightweight where he was Commonwealth king in April 2018 after stopping Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd in Liverpool inside six.
Algieri and Coyle lock horns on the undercard of Heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua’s USA debut against Andy Ruiz knowing that the winner will be in the frame for a potential World title shot against WBO champion and Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN star Maurice Hooker – and both men know that the stakes are high for their respective careers.
“I’m very excited to be fighting once again at The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden on June 1,” said Algieri. “I know that Tommy Coyle is another tough test for me and that a victory will bring me one step closer to another World title fight.
“I’d like to thank my entire team for making this possible and for their total support of my quest to once again become a World champion.”
“I’m absolutely delighted to be boxing on such a huge event at Madison Square Garden,” said Coyle. “It’s a dream come true. Fighting in America is one thing, but fighting at the mecca of boxing against a former World Champion in Chris Algieri is just unbelievable and I’m so up for it.
“I’m expecting a Gatti vs. Ward style fight, I really am. I know how tough Chris is, you’ve only got to watch him in the Provodnikov fight, I’m not sure if he broke his eye socket or not but he just gritted his teeth and battled on. I think we’re both cut from the same cloth. It can only go one way and I think that’s a war.
“I honestly believe that this fight has come at the perfect time for me. It’s like I’m having a rebirth in my career and I’m probably performing the best I’ve ever performed in the gym. If I come through this fight successfully there could be a World title shot on the horizon for me.”
Algieri and Coyle clash, promoted by Eddie Hearn for Matchroom Boxing in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, on a huge night of action at Madison Square Garden where Joshua’s World title defense against Ruiz is supported by Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashing with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed Women’s World Lightweight championship – with more undercard fights to be announced shortly.
Hana Ali on George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali and the Rumble in the Jungle
Muhammad Ali’s Daughter Hana Ali was recently on the Murder Master Music Show to speak about her new book At Home With Muhammad Ali. During the interview she recalls how her Dad felt about the Rumble in the Jungle memerabale fight with George Foreman and goes onto to document the friendship that the two Heavyweuights had beginng a couple years after the legendare bout in Zaire. During the interview she told a shocking moment of when George foreman had a bad vision and warned Ali not to fight Holmes.
Rumble in the Jungle was Ali’s most important fight.
“The Rumble in the Jungle was the most important fight to himbecause he had never lost his title because the government had stripped it. He was never thinking that he would go back to the ring and then he fought Frazier and would lose only to have George Foreman. Now he has to go through Foreman and nobody in the world but himself believed he could do it. That was always the most important fight to him.”
Foreman and Ali find friendship while discussion religion in rare conversation on the streets.
“George is like a second Father. He is always helpful and supportive and he has a huge heart. They had a conversation and Dad recorded it for about an hour about religion. My Dad was trying to convince George to come back in the ring because at the time he sold all his possessions and started preaching in the street literally. Dad told him he could still box and he did later on. I kneew sports fans would be shocked that they were friends. George was trying to get my Fasther to come back to Christianity and my Father was trying to explain that people who kill in the name of Islam are not real Muslims.”
Foreman had bad vision about Ali being lured out to fight Homes and warned him not to do it.
George Foreman was trying to warn my Dad that he had a vision about him being lured out to fight Hoilmes and not to do it. My Father didn’t plan on going back into the ring and did ended up being lured into the fight a year later.
Troy Isley Coming Off Biggest Win, Preparing for 2020 Olympics
USA Boxing middleweight Troy Isley is coming off the most significant victory of his young career, when he defeated the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, Cuba’s Arlen Lopez, at the recent Pan American Games Qualifier in Managua, Nicaragua.
Lopez served as a positive barometer for Isley in terms of his potential 2020 Olympic run. “Beating Lopez is my biggest win so far,” Isley admitted. “He won a gold medal at the last Olympics. I avenged my loss to him in 2017. We almost fought in The Continentals, but he lost in the quarterfinals, and I lost in the semifinals. We could face each other again in July at the Pan American Games.”
In 2017, Isley captured a bronze medal at the Elite World Championships, which marked a first for an American elite boxer in six years. He’s progressed year-by-year, taking top honors at the 2012 & 2013 National PAL Championships, 2014 National Junior Olympics, 2016 & 2017 Elite National Championships. So far this year, in addition to winning at the Pan American Games Qualifier, he also took bronze at the Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria.
Not too shabby accomplishments for a kid who really didn’t like boxing, especially compared to football, which was his favorite sport growing up.
“When I returned to the gym I trained at, Alexandria (VA) Boxing Club,” USA National Team assistant coach Kay Koromba remembered,” they needed help with a young kid, Troy Isley. I had a simple conversation with him. He said he’d come back to the gym if I was there coaching. I didn’t go back for a little while and he didn’t return. I eventually took over the gym when the coach left, and Troy returned.
“Troy is friends with Keyshawn Davis (USA Boxing’s No. 1-rated lightweight). They both live in Virginia (Troy in Alexandria, Keyshawn in Newport) and train with me at the Alexandria Boxing Club, when we aren’t living and training in Colorado Springs. They fought as kids and became good friends. All of the other boxers here look up to them.”
“I was only 8 and at first I really didn’t like boxing,” the now 20-year-old Isley spoke about his introduction to amateur boxing. “I was more interested in team sports like football, but I gave up boxing when I chose to compete in the Box-Offs. I just wanted to be a kid and you can’t play boxing. I went back to the gym and beat up everybody. Coach Kay told my father that he could make me into a national champion, and that gave me a lot of self-esteem.”
A self-described boxer puncher, Isley is an intelligent, well-spoken boxer with eyes on the future, outside of boxing, taking on-line business courses through DeVry University. “I can do it all,” he offered about his boxing style. “I’m working on using more jabs to be a better all-around boxer. The jab sets the offense up. I’m working on my jab because you can win fights with a jab.”
Promoters are lining up to pitch their companies to sign Isley, who has a definitive plan that involves making the 2020 USA Olympic Boxing Team, medal in Japan, and then turn professional.
“The Olympics is only a year away,” Isley noted. “I’m close with Keyshawn and Shakur (Stevenson, 2016 Olympic silver-medalist and an 11-0 pro prospect). Training with them makes things easier for all of us. We drive each other and train against different styles. I’m always picking up new stuff. We help each other training, sparring, and just talking. We’re always together, either in Alexandria or Colorado Springs. Shakur still goes there for good sparring.
“Shakur tells us a lot about his experiences in the Olympics and now as a pro. Me and Keyshawn have always talked about being together on the USA Boxing Olympic Team. We keep working hard and staying focused. It’s been our dream.”
Dreams do come true but, first, Isley is preparing for the Pan-Am Games
UFC Fight Pass and Murhpys Boxing Reach Multi Year Live Streaming Agreement
UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, today announced a new multi-year partnership with popular Boston-based promotion Murphys Boxing. The promotion will make its FIGHT PASS debut on Friday, May 10th, from Springfield, Massachusetts at the MGM Springfield at 9:30 p.m. E.T. / 6:30 p.m. P.T. and will feature a ten-round main event, headlined by undefeated NABA Super Featherweight Champion Abraham Nova vs. Mario Ezequiel Sayal Lozano.
“Murphys Boxing is one of the top promotions in New England, and I am excited to have them on FIGHT PASS,” UFC President Dana White said. “In just five years, Ken Casey has done incredible things with this promotion. I am looking forward to showcasing these exciting fighters to our subscribers.”
“We’re incredibly excited to join forces with FIGHT PASS,” said Ken Casey, founder of Murphys Boxing. “UFC is providing a platform for us to highlight New England’s thriving boxing scene to combat sports fans. We will introduce the world to our incredible roster that includes future champions, such as Nova.”
Recently entering the WBA’s Top 10 Rankings, undefeated Abraham Nova (14-0, 10 KOs) will make his highly anticipated 2019 debut under the Murphys Boxing banner. Nova’s opponent is Argentinian prospect Mario Ezequiel Sayal Lozano (18-2-1, 9 KOs), marking Nova’s 12th fight in the past two years.
Entering the ring for the second time this year, Junior NABF Super Featherweight Champion William Foster III (9-0, 6 KOs) will face off against Ramon Esperanza (22-15-1, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bout. Foster’s rare ability to combine both power and speed has led him to become one of New England’s most talked about prospects.
In an eight-round middleweight bout, power punching prospect Carlos Gongora (15-0, 12 KOs) will take on Argentina’s Damien Ezequiel Bonelli (23-6, 20 KOs). Gongora, a former Olympian from Ecuador, won the WBC South American Middleweight Title this past February after defeating Jesus Aviles.
Luis Arcon Diaz (6-0, 6 KOs), an undefeated Olympian from Venezuela, and a recent signing, will return to action against Argentina’s Jose Aubel (8-3, 7 KOs).
Representing the Boston area, James Perella (2-0, 2 KOs) will look for his third consecutive knockout in a four-round welterweight bout. His opponent will be named in the coming days.
Ray Jay Bermudez (6-0, 4 KOs) will make a quick return to the ring after a KO victory last month when he takes on an opponent to be named in a six-round welterweight contest.
Rounding out the card will be two of Springfield’s own – power punching welterweight Anthony Velazquez (5-0, 5 KOs), who will take on an opponent to be named, and welterweight DJ Whitley (4-1-1), who will take on the always dangerous Bryan Goldsby (5-10) in separate four-round contests.
Gennday Golovkin Selects Johnathon Banks as His New Trainer
Boxing’s pound-for-pound superstar attraction Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin announced that he has selected Johnathon Banks to be his new trainer. Banks, who is no stranger to the pressure of working on boxing’s biggest stages, has worked the corners of unified heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko and undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus, just to name a few. The announcement was made today at a press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, will be bringing his Big Drama Show back to the “Mecca of Boxing” — Madison Square Garden — on Saturday, June 8. He will be taking on undefeated top-10 contender Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs), of Toronto, in a 12-round rumble that will be contested at a maximum weight of 164 lbs. The fight will be streamed live on DAZN. Golovkin vs. Rolls kicks off the exclusive six-fight, three-year global partnership between GGG Promotions and DAZN, the world’s fastest-growing sports streaming platform.
“I want to build on what I have already achieved and continue to improve as a boxer. Johnathon is teaching me new skills that will help me reach those goals. I believe in Johnathon’s teaching methods. We are working hard and I look forward to showing the world something special when I bring the Big Drama Show to Madison Square Garden on June 8,” said Golovkin.
“I have always been a fan of Triple G since I began watching him as an amateur. I remember him at the Olympics and thought he was a tremendous talent,” said Banks. “When I got the call, of course I was excited to be working with him. We have one goal and that is to officially return Gennadiy to the world championship throne that he deserves. The two fights Gennadiy had with Canelo reminded me of the two battles between Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns. Those fights had the same caliber of high level competition. I can’t wait for Gennaidy to get another shot at him.”
Banks, a former IBO cruiserweight champion and a heavyweight contender, is a disciple of the legendary Emanuel Steward. Upon Steward’s death in 2012, Banks, who was 30, was personally selected by heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko to be his new trainer, despite Banks being six years his junior. It was a boxing Baptism of fire but a challenge Banks was prepared for thanks to the many years he studied under Steward’s tutelage at the Kronk Gym, first as a fighter and then as an assistant trainer. Banks and Klitschko traveled the world together, successfully defending the heavyweight world titles six times, with five of those defenses against undefeated contenders. Banks has steadily built on his success with Klitschko, earning a reputation as trainer with great insight who instills confidence and success into the fighters he teaches. Another star pupil of Banks is undisputed world welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus, long considered the best pound for pound female fighter. The undefeated Braekhus is in the 10th year of her world championship reign.
Boasting a resume that includes a record 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses (18 by way of knockout), Golovkin has consistently drawn packed houses to the five previous events he has headlined at The Garden, dating back to 2013. Rolls, who has stopped four of his last seven opponents, has vowed to ice the middleweight legend with his version of a Canadian cold front.
Super Welterweight Champion Tony Harrison and Former Champion Jermell Charlo Set to Rematch on June 23
WBC Super Welterweight Champion Tony “Superbad” Harrison and former super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo will step into the ring for a highly anticipated rematch live in primetime Sunday, June 23 in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Televised coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features former world champion Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux taking on exciting Mexican contender Julio Ceja in a WBC Super Bantamweight world title eliminator.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Lions Only Promotions, TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.
Harrison and Charlo’s first encounter took place live on FOX in December as Harrison earned the decision and upset Charlo to earn the title. The close nature of the bout helped warrant an immediate rematch that promises to be just as highly charged and dramatic.
“Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo showed off their elite talent to the world in their first bout and I anticipate an even more explosive showdown in the rematch on June 23,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Harrison will no doubt be at his very best again as he looks to establish himself in the championship ranks. Jermell Charlo is certainly more motivated than ever to reclaim his spot atop the 154-pound division. Fans tuning in on FOX and FOX Deportes in primetime and in attendance at Mandalay Bay Events Center are in for an action-packed Sunday night.”
Harrison (28-2, 21 KOs) has proven to be “Detroit tough” during a boxing career inspired by early years trained and managed by the late Emanuel Steward. He had to climb back into title contention twice before reaching the top with his unanimous decision victory over Charlo last December.
Harrison was on track for a title shot before suffering the first loss of his career in 2015 to Willie Nelson. After three-straight wins, he earned a shot at the vacant 154-pound title against Jarrett Hurd. Although Harrison had strong moments in the fight, he eventually lost to Hurd and was forced to again climb to the top. After another three victories, including a win over former champion Ishe Smith, Harrison took advantage of his second world title opportunity against Charlo.
“Being a world champion now, I’m excited to defend my title for the first time in this rematch that everyone is looking forward to,” said Harrison. “I think there’s actually more pressure on Charlo, just like last time. It’s just a blessing for me to be fighting on FOX and FOX Deportes Sunday, June 23. Everyone is going to be tuned-in to this fight and we’re going to bring the action to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the capital of the boxing world. I plan on doing the exact same thing to Jermell that I did in December. I’m going to get the win, and then I don’t want to hear any more crying or excuses.”
The 28-year-old Charlo (31-1, 15 KOs) suffered the first setback of his career with the close unanimous decision loss to Harrison. Fighting out of Houston, Texas, Charlo won the vacant WBC title with a devastating knockout victory over John Jackson in 2016. He made three successful defenses of the title with highlight-reel knockouts over Charles Hatley and Erickson Lubin, plus a majority decision win over former champion Austin Trout.
Charlo is trained in Dallas by Derrick James, who was recognized as the 2017 Trainer of the Year by Yahoo Sports and also works with welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. Charlo is one-minute younger than his identical twin brother, Jermall, who is the WBC interim middleweight champion and a former 154-pound champion.
“I am in a ruthless state of mind. I am upset and this upcoming fight, I am going to give it 110 percent,” said Charlo. “I am way hungrier now than I was before. I am not desperate for a win because I know how to win. The judges gave me a bad decision because I didn’t get the knockout, but you don’t have to knock everybody out to beat them. He knows he didn’t beat me. He knows exactly what happened. He knows he can’t beat me. If I have to go in there and prove it again, I will.”
Rigondeaux (18-1, 12 KOs) will look to show off the masterful technical skills that made him a unified world champion and perennial member of the pound-for-pound list when he steps into the ring on June 23. A two-time Olympic gold medalist for his native Cuba, Rigondeaux made his name with victories over the likes of Nonito Donaire, Rico Ramos and Joseph Agbeko. The 38-year-old most recently knocked out Giovanni Delgado in January on FS1.
Fighting out of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, Ceja (32-3, 28 KOs) won an interim world title at super bantamweight in 2015 by stopping Hugo Ruiz in the fifth-round. The 26-year-old would lose the full title to Ruiz in their rematch in 2016, but has won two of three fights since, including a knockout of Anselmo Moreno.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Haney, Wilder, Golovkin, Barrios, Ortiz, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 23rd to April 30th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Devin “The Dream” Haney Signs with Matchroom Boxing USA
Matchroom Boxing USA and Eddie Hearn are delighted to announce the signing of Lightweight star Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney.
Haney (21-0 13 KOs) has raced to the top of the Lightweight rankings and is on the cusp of fighting for his first World title ahead of turning 21 in November.
‘The Dream’ has rattled off 21 wins since turning pro in Mexico in 2015 at 16 years of age following a stellar amateur career that saw him crowned junior amateur champion seven times and plunder 130 wins.
The Las Vegas-based talent now sits at number three in the WBC rankings where the Lightweight title is now vacant, five in the WBA, eight in the WBO and ten in the IBF – and Haney will look to make a big statement on his debut with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN when he takes on Antonio Moran (24-3 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25.
“I’m excited about my multi-million dollar partnership with Matchroom Boxing. All this hard work is finally paying off. This is a huge chapter in my career. I have a co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing, Eddie Hearn is the perfect guy for me to go in business with.
“While Matchroom will provide the infrastructure, together we will select the best opponents to showcase my talents in the sexiest cities in the world. I’m the future of the sport, and without a doubt in my mind… I’m going to continue to set the boxing world on fire. Matchroom and DAZN now have another superstar… ME!”
“Antonio Moran is a tough fighter with a lot of experience. He has been in the ring with good opposition. He fought Jose Pedraza to a decision last year, so I know he comes to fight. I expect nothing less from him on May 25. I’ve been in the gym working hard. Everyone knows that I stay ready and May 25 can’t come soon enough. On fight night the world will see I’m ready for anyone.”
“Devin Haney is a superstar – no two ways about it,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “At just 20 years old he has already racked up 21 victories, untouched as a pro and has become one of the most talked about fighters in America.
“The big fights are right in front of him, he is ready for anyone and we look forward to a wonderful partnership together. DAZN has another exceptional talent on their platform and we look forward to his Matchroom and DAZN debut on the huge Usyk vs. Takam card May 25 at MGM National Harbor.”
Haney’s clash with Moran is part of a huge night of action in Maryland as Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk moves up to Heavyweight after dominating the Cruiserweight division, and takes on former World title challenger Carlos Takam. In addition, rising Heavyweight Croatian talent Filip Hrgovic takes on Gregory Corbin in his US debut, and WBA World Super-Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill looks to unify the division against WBA champion Anahi Sanchez.
Statement from Gennady Golovkin on Abel Sanchez
I would like to announce that I have made a major decision for myself and for my career. I want to build on what I have already achieved and continue to better myself. Therefore, I will not be training with Abel Sanchez. This was not an easy decision for me and it is not a reflection on Abel’s professional abilities. He is a great trainer, a loyal trainer, and a Hall of Fame trainer.
I will be announcing my new trainer at a later date. But today, I want to thank Abel for the lessons he taught me in boxing.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Mauricio Herrera to Now be the Co-Main Event for Canelo vs. Jacobs
Rising star Vergil Ortiz Jr. (12-0, 12 KOs) will have the opportunity of a lifetime as his scheduled 10-round welterweight battle against Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (24-8, 7 KOs) will now be the co-main event of Canelo vs. Jacobs. As previously announced, the night will also feature the likes of Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano, Lamont Roach Jr., John “The Gorilla” Ryder, Sadam “World Kid” Ali and Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. in separate bouts. The event will take place Saturday, May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
“This will be a big test for Vergil Ortiz Jr.,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “This young man has all that it takes to become a dominant world champion, so it’s only fitting that a prospect like him gets the opportunity to be the co-main event of a Canelo fight. At the same time, we know the kind of fighter Mauricio Herrera is. He has a lot of experience and has been in close fights with the best of his division, including what we all know was a win against Danny Garcia. If Ortiz Jr. can look spectacular against Herrera, then he will demonstrate what we already know: that he is the real deal.”
Since debuting as a professional in 2016, Ortiz Jr. has never heard the final bell of a fight, and he hopes to retain his 100% knockout ratio in the toughest fight of his career. The native of Dallas, Texas, who has his roots in Michoacan, Mexico, will return after defeating Jesus Valdez in January of this year. Ortiz Jr. will move up to welterweight for this fight only, and he plans to make a statement to the fighters of the 140-pound weight division, where the 21-year-old plans to return after this tough test.
“This is a great opportunity for fans all over the world to get to know me,” said Vergil Ortiz Jr. “Everyone will be watching this event, so I look forward to showing boxing fans what I’m made of. It’s very hard to look good against Mauricio Herrera. World champions have fought him and have looked bad. If I can look good and be the first to ever stop him, then I’ll be making a big statement.”
Herrera, a former interim WBA World Super Lightweight Champion, is a longtime veteran of the sport. The 38-year-old of Riverside, Calif. has faced a veritable who’s who of the welterweight and super lightweight division, including fights against Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov, Mike “Mile High” Alvarado, Danny “Swift” Garcia, Johan “El Terrible” Perez, and Jose “Merciless” Benevidez Jr., among others. Herrera will bring a world of experience against the young prospect.
“Everyone knows the kind of experience that I bring to the table,” said Mauricio Herrera. “Whether it’s against world champions, contenders or prospects, I bring a tough fight to anyone. Vergil Ortiz might have bitten off more than he can chew for this fight, especially now since we are the co-main event. I’m happy for yet another opportunity, and we look forward to stealing the show.”
Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano (32-7-1, 22 KOs) will defend his WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Title against Michael “The Artist” Perez (25-3-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-round fight. Cano will return after his dominant knockout victory against former three-division world champion Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares.
Lamont Roach Jr. (18-0-1, 7 KOs) of Washington, D.C., will unify his WBO International Super Featherweight Title in a 10-round battle against NABO Super Featherweight Champion Jonathan Oquendo (30-5, 19 KOs) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The winner of this bout will earn the No. 1 spot for the WBO Super Featherweight World Title.
Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (28-1, 14 KOs) of South El Monte, Calif. will fight against Freddy Fonseca (26-1-1, 17 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Gold Super Featherweight Title. Diaz Jr. will return after a dominant victory against rugged warrior Charles Huerta.
Sadam “World Kid” Ali (27-2, 14 KOs) will return in a 10-round clash for the vacant USNBC Silver Welterweight Title against Anthony Young (20-2, 7 KOs) of Atlantic City, N.J.
London’s John “The Gorilla” Ryder (27-4, 15 KOs) will take on Bilal Akkawy (20-0-1, 16 KOs) of Sydney, Australia for the vacant interim WBA Super Middleweight World Title. Ryder was originally going to take on David Lemieux, though the fight was cancelled due to an injury Lemieux suffered in his right hand. Now, Ryder will now face a highly-ranked contender who is trained by Eddy Reynoso, the trainer of Canelo.
Alexis Espino (1-0, 1 KO) of Las Vegas, Nevada will participate in a four-round super middleweight fight against Billy Wager (1-0) of Great Falls, Montana.
Showtime Sports to Chronicle Wilder vs. Breazeale Heavyweight World Championship Fight with Award Winning Series All Access
SHOWTIME Sports will chronicle heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder’s ninth defense of his WBC title against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale with a new installment of ALL ACCESS, premiering Friday, May 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. The Emmy Award-winning series will peel back the curtain as two American heavyweights with a combined 90 percent knockout ratio prepare to square off Saturday, May 18 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
ALL ACCESS immerses viewers into the lives and training camps of Wilder and Breazeale as they approach a grudge match that has been brewing for more than two years. Filming for the series is underway in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the Bay Area as the two 6-foot-7 heavyweights prepare to settle the score with Wilder’s coveted WBC title on the line.
ALL ACCESS DAILY will accompany the acclaimed original series with digital installments released throughout fight week on the networks’ social media channels. ALL ACCESS DAILY: WILDER vs. BREAZEALE will deliver the franchise’s signature intimate access and storytelling in the final days before the heavyweight showdown. New installments of the digital series will be available each day beginning Wednesday, May 15 on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page. A digital installment of ALL ACCESS EPILOGUE will provide an inside look at the intensity of fight night and capture all the sights, sounds and drama of heavyweight prizefighting.
Self-Procalimed “Godfather” of Arizona Mixed Martial Arts Charged on Numerous Criminal Offenses Involving Unsactioned Events
On April 26, 2019, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed charges in justice court against Mr. Roland Sarria and Mr. Todd Whitmoyer for suspected involvement in unsanctioned combat sporting events in Maricopa County. Charges arose from an Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) investigation into the activities of both defendants who reside in Maricopa County.
Each subject faces four, class 2 misdemeanors for failing to procure a license and failing to provide a physician for unsanctioned events that occurred on September 15, 2018, in Phoenix, and another event on September 29, 2018, in Glendale. Additional charges could be forthcoming. In Arizona, class 2 misdemeanors can carry a maximum fine of $750 and four months jail time, per violation. In some instances, courts may assess a maximum fine of $10,000, per violation.
The Arizona Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Commission regulates and sanctions amateur and professional MMA, professional boxing and kickboxing, and tough man contests conducted statewide. Arizona’s requirements for sanctioned events are in place to protect the health and safety of participants and the public and include on-site medical and security professionals, match officials (referees, judges, inspectors, timekeepers, etc.), safety gear/equipment, licensed/bonded promoters (who provide health insurance for combatants), and specific combatant health tests/documentation. Any event not approved by an authorized sanctioning body is unsanctioned.
“It’s our duty to protect the integrity of these sports, the unarmed combatants and the public,” said ADG Director Ted Vogt. “We do this by ensuring that individuals engaged in unsanctioned unarmed combat events are held accountable in a court of law.”
“Unarmed combat sports are highly regulated competitions that require careful oversight to ensure the safety of the combatants and the spectating public, as well as a fair competition and impartial result,” said Francisco Meneses, Jr., Executive Director, Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission. “Unsanctioned events pose a physical danger to fighters and the public alike and compromise the integrity of combat sports.”
ADG takes tips about unsanctioned events involving unarmed combat sports events very seriously. If you have a tip, or just need information, please call (602) 364-1721.
All defendants are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.
Mario Barrios Training Camp Quotes
Unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario Barrios will return to action and look to further solidify his spot amongst the 140-pound elite when he takes on Argentina’s Juan Jose Velasco in a 10-round showdown as part of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, May 11 from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is headlined by IBF and WBA 154-pound world champion Jarrett Hurd defending his titles again top contender Julian Williams.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com).
The 23-year-old made his 2019 debut in February, knocking out Richard Zamora in round four to bring his knockout streak to eight. Here is what Barrios (23-0, 15 KOs) had to say about his upcoming matchup, training camp with Virgil Hunter and more as he prepares to enter the ring May 11:
On his matchup with Juan Jose Velasco:
“Velasco is a tough fighter from Argentina who’s only loss is at the world class level against Regis Prograis. He will have to adjust to my style because I’m going to be dictating the action from the opening bell. My jab will be the key in this fight. I know I’ll have to let my hands go to be effective. This is going to be a tough fight, but I’m ready for the challenge.”
On his recent training camp:
“Training camp is going as planned. I’ve been in the Bay Area for the last six weeks working with Virgil Hunter and getting world class sparring with some of the best fighters in the world. Virgil has me perfecting my ability to fight with my length while using my jab efficiently. I’ve also been doing my strength training with Victor Conte and Remi Korchemny at the SNAC facility. I’m in amazing shape and will be at my best when I step in the ring against Velasco.”
On when he thinks he’ll be ready for a world title:
“I’m ready now, in my opinion, to fight any of the champions at super lightweight. I’m only 23, so there is plenty of time. I’ve never turned down a fight and when that time comes for me to get that title shot, I’ll be ready. I’m just talking it one fight at a time.”
On fighting on FOX:
“This is a major opportunity for the world to see me in action. The exposure on FOX is going to be unbelievable. My goal is to give the fans another knockout performance. Since I’ve moved up in weight, I’ve been knocking everyone out and my game is getting better with each fight. I feel I’m the next Mexican-American star in boxing who’s going to help keep this sport thriving.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Lemieux, Russell, Whyte, Martinez, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 16th to April 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Right Hand Injury Forces David Lemieux to Withdraw From Super Middleweight Debut Against John ‘The Gorilla” Ryder
An unfortunate hand injury has forced David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) to withdraw from his 168-pound debut against London’s John “The Gorilla” Ryder (27-4, 15 KOs) in what was going to be the scheduled 12-round co-main event of Canelo vs. Jacobs. Lemieux injured his right hand during a sparring session, and his doctor has recommended that he rest for eight weeks before returning to the gym.
Details for the new co-main event will be announced shortly. The Canelo vs. Jacobs will continue as planned on Saturday, May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Lemieux, a 30-year-old native of Montreal, Canada, is disappointed at his injury, but promises to return stronger than ever.
”Training camp was going really great,” said David Lemieux.”I felt in tremendous shape, the strongest I’d ever felt in my entire career. But, I will be back soon. Hopefully, the fans will understand. I promise I will make it up to them once I’m healed.”
“I’m very disappointed since he was in the best shape of his life both in the gym and in the ring,” said Camille Estephan, President of Eye of the Tiger Management. “We will take the time to heal his hand and get right back in the chase for a world title.”
“It’s very unfortunate that David Lemieux’s return has been postponed,” said Eric Gomez, President of Golden Boy. “But this is boxing, and these things happen. We wish David a speedy recovery and look forward to his return, so he can make big waves at 168 pounds.”
WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. To Defend Against Former Champion Kiko Martinez
WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. will defend his title against former world champion Kiko Martinez in the co-feature to Wilder vs. Breazeale on Saturday, May 18 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will also feature unbeaten super lightweight contender Juan Heraldez squaring-off against former world champion Argenis Mendez in a 10-round attraction. The event is headlined by WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder as he makes the ninth defense of his title against mandatory challenger Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale.
“Gary Russell Jr. is one of the most skilled fighters in the sport and he’ll look to stake his spot atop the featherweight division on May 18 against the always exciting former champion Kiko Martinez,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The event will also feature a battle between a rising contender in the 140-pound division in Juan Heraldez going up against one of the division’s toughest and most active contenders in Argenis Mendez. This is truly going to be an electric night leading up to heavyweight champion of the world Deontay Wilder in the main event.”
“Preceding the night’s main attraction will be Gary Russell Jr. defending his title against a tough and experienced Kiko Martinez, making for a battle that is sure to bring excitement to the fans, plus Mayweather Promotions’ young prospect Juan Heraldez will open the telecast looking to put on a show, as he continues to elevate his career to new heights,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “I’m confident that he will execute his game plan impressively and showcase his talent against a seasoned and tested Argenis Mendez, who has been in the ring with some of the top guys in the super lightweight division. The fans at Barclays and those tuning in on SHOWTIME will see a night of non-stop action come May 18.”
Tickets for this BombZquad event can be purchased at ticketmaster.com and barclayscenter.com, Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP. The Heraldez vs. Mendez fight is co-promoted with Mayweather Promotions.
The 30-year-old Russell (29-1, 17 KOs), who was born in Washington, D.C. and now lives in Capitol Heights, Maryland, will make the fourth defense of his featherweight world title on May 18 and his second career appearance at Barclays Center. Russell won his title by knocking out Jhonny Gonzalez in 2015. After stopping Patrick Hyland and Oscar Escandon, he most recently defeated previously unbeaten Joseph Diaz Jr. last May. Russell, who is trained by his father, Gary, Sr., is part of a boxing family. Two of his younger brothers, Gary Antonio and Gary Antuanne, are currently unbeaten professionals.
“I expect to send a message to everyone in or near my division that I’m a force to be reckoned with,” said Russell. “I want to unify against Leo Santa Cruz and I’m going to do what I have to do to get there. I’m never going to take any opponent lightly and right now, it’s my job to take care of Kiko Martinez before I worry about anything else. On May 18 you should expect to see excitement, punching power, hand speed, fast combinations and a great level of boxing IQ. I’m the best in boxing today and I prove that every time I get in the ring.”
A native of Comunidad Valenciana, Spain, Martinez (39-8-2, 28 KOs) has faced the best names in and around the featherweight division throughout his career. He won a super bantamweight world title in 2013 by stopping Jhonatan Romero and has faced the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton, Josh Warrington and Scott Quigg. The 33-year-old is unbeaten in his last four contests, including most recently defeating Marc Vidal for a European featherweight title in October.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to win another world title and I’m thankful and excited for May 18,” said Martinez. “Gary Russell Jr is in for a rude awakening. I have a lot of experience and I feel great at featherweight. There will be nothing better than celebrating my 50th fight with a new world title.”
The undefeated Heraldez (16-0, 10 KOs) continued to rise up the rankings in 2019 when he knocked out Eddie Ramirez in their February showdown. The 28-year-old from Las Vegas earned a decision victory over Kevin Watts and a stoppage of Maynard Allison in 2018. That followed up a unanimous decision victory over then unbeaten prospect Jose Miguel Borrego in his first 10-round bout in August 2017 on the Mayweather vs. McGregor undercard.
“I’m one of the best super lightweights in the world and I’m going to show it again on May 18,” said Heraldez. “They keep lining them up and I’ll keep knocking them down. Mendez is good, veteran opposition, but I’m going to show I’m on a different level. This is a great opportunity to once again perform on a big stage and I’m going to take full advantage and steal the show.”
Mendez (25-5-2, 12 KOs) most recently fought to a competitive split-draw against Anthony Peterson in March, running his unbeaten streak up to three fights. The 32-year-old defeated Eddie Ramirez and Ivan Redkach in back-to-back fights after losses to Robert Easter Jr. and Luke Campbell. Originally from San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic and now living in Brooklyn, N.Y, Mendez won the IBF super featherweight title with a knockout victory over Juan Carlos Salgado in 2013.
“This fight is do or die for me to become champion again,” said Mendez. “Anthony Peterson ran from me in our fight in March, so if Heraldez does that on May 18, I will be better prepared. If he stands and fights with me, I feel strongly that I will dominate him and make a statement to everyone that I’m an elite 140-pound fighter.”
Whyte to Face Rivas in London Showdown
Dillian Whyte will face Oscar Rivas for the number one Heavyweight spot in the WBC at The O2 in London on Saturday July 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Whyte (25-1 18KOs) holds the number one slot with the WBC and puts that on the line as the hard-hitting ‘Body Snatcher’ continues to blast his path to a World title shot. The Brixton banger put Derek Chisora away in devastating style in his last outing, the pair thrilling the Greenwich crowd in their rematch in December – before icing Del Boy in the 11th round.
The 31-year-old Briton will be gunning for a tenth straight win against Rivas, with wins over Joseph Parker, Robert Helenius and Lucas Browne sandwiched between his two wins over Chisora. Whyte has become a must-watch fighter since rocking old foe Anthony Joshua in their battle at The O2 in December 2012, and yet again takes on a high-risk challenge as he cements his spot as the leading Heavyweight contender in the world.
Rivas (26-0 18KOs) is yet another dangerous customer for Whyte to risk his number one rankings with, and the Colombian comes into the bout on the back of his biggest win in the paid ranks. Rivas travelled to Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY in January and KO’d former World title challenger Bryant Jennings in the final round of their clash, underlining his dangerous potential to World titlists and fellow contenders, with ‘Kaboom’ ranked at number ten with the WBC, seven in the IBF and a lofty five with both the WBA and WBO.
The Canadian-based 31 year old carried an impressive amateur record into the paid ranks, beating Kubrat Pulev in the 2008 Olympic Games a year after landing silver in the Pan-American games – and with 18 Kos in 26 fights since turning over, July 20 promises to be an explosive war between two in-form big-punchers, with huge stakes on the line.
“I am very happy to be fighting again at The O2 in July,” said Whyte. “Oscar Rivas is undefeated and ranked in the top 10 across the board of all the governing bodies. He has been one of the most avoided heavyweight fighters in the last few years.
“His KO victory over Bryant Jennings sent shockwaves through the division and Tyson Fury just turned down ESPN/Top Rank’s offer to fight him. I am over the moon that he has accepted the fight. He has a great amateur and professional record, including a win over Kubrat Pulev.
“I am more than happy to carry on fighting top 10 fighters like Rivas until I get my well-earned shot at Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua.
“I can’t wait until July 20 to fight again at The O2 which is one ofthe best venues in the world for boxing.”
‘‘I have waited for this opportunity for a very long time,” said Rivas. “Dillian Whyte is an excellent boxer, a World class fighter and the number one contender. He deserve all my respect for his accomplishments and I am grateful for the opportunity he is giving me.
“This is exactly the kind of challenge I was hoping to get. I am undefeated, I am planning to keep my perfect record after July 20 in my quest to get the ultimate opportunity to become World champion.”
“This is a great fight with both men coming off explosive late knockouts,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Rivas is undefeated and looking to take Dillian’s number one spot but as we know, The O2 has become a fortress for him of late and this is set to be another war. We are planning a huge night of boxing on July 20 with a monster card topped by the brilliant heavyweight headliner.”
“First I would like to thank Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing who made a proposal impossible to turn down,” said Yvon Michel, President of Groupe Yvon Michel. “Oscar Rivas was willing to step up and face Anthony Joshua for June in New York and representations were made.
“It might not be his turn now but instead he is extremely happy, to be earning an eventual World title opportunity, by proving he is the best amongst the contenders against the outstanding Dillian Whyte. On July 20 a new star will be born!”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Dillian Whyte is risking it all again as he battles the dangerous Oscar Rivas at The O2, which has become a happy hunting ground for ‘The Body Snatcher.’
“Dillian has already delivered exciting wins over Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora at the same venue, but he could have his hands full against Rivas, the unbeaten Colombian with his own world ambitions.
“Expect another enthralling showdown when Whyte returns in the summer, and we expect to have a stacked card before a sizzling main event.”
Croatian Heavyweight Star Hrgovic Makes American Debut on May 25
The Rio 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist joins a blockbuster bill in Maryland headlined by former undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk, the winner of the inaugural World Boxing Super Series tournament, who makes his Heavyweight bow against Carlos Takam.
Hrgović returns following a one-sided points victory over Kevin Johnson in his hometown of Zagreb and is eager to showcase his skills in front of an American audience as he continues his quest for World glory.
The Croatian boxing sensation will take on Dallas-born Heavyweight Gregory ‘Bad News’ Corbin (15-1, 9 KOs), whose only previous defeat has come at the hands of former IBF World Champion Charles Martin.
“I am pleased that my promoter Team Sauerland has made an agreement with Matchroom and DAZN that will enable me to fight in America,” said Hrgović. “I believe DAZN is the future of boxing and I’m sure they will give their viewers the best match ups in the history of the Heavyweight division.”
“I look forward to making my American debut on May 25 I’m very excited because the entire Heavyweight division is moving to the US and the US is the best place for big fights at the moment.”
“I think American fans will love my style because I’m not a classic distance fighter. I’m constantly trying to fight and throwing many punches. The fans can expect some excellent fights from me.”
“My opponent Greg Corbin is very good, and I think he is an excellent choice for this stage of my career. I will prepare for this fight as if it were for a World title so I’m sure it will be a great match up.”
“It will be a good test for me because he is more experienced than me, we can see that from his record, and I believe he will come in his best possible shape so it will be an exciting match for viewers around world watching on DAZN.”
“I’m currently in training camp in Miami. We always train like it’s a fight for the world title. Pedro Diaz insists on discipline and hard training. He refuses to work with fighters who are not 100% focused. We share the same opinion about that. That is why we are a good team, and I think we can achieve big things together.”
“I am looking forward to getting straight back in there on May 25,” said Corbin. “This is a chance for me to redeem myself after the Martin fight. There were a lot of distractions for me in the build-up to that one, but this time I’m fully focused on Hrgovic. “There’s a lot of hype around this guy with his amateur background and his start in the pros – let’s see if he can back it up.”
“Filip Hrgović is an incredibly talented fighter and this could be a breakthrough year for the young Croatian,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “His amateur pedigree is outstanding and I share Team Sauerland’s excitement about his future – he’s going to be a real player in the division.”
“American fight fans are in for a treat. On May 25 they will witness a future star of the Heavyweight division,” said Hrgović’s promoter Nisse Sauerland. “Filip Hrgović is on a fast track for Heavyweight gold.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Atlantic City, Khan, Crawford, Judah, WBC, and more..
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 9th to April 16th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Amir Khan Confirms First ‘Ring the Changes’ Initiatives to Help Young People Across the UK
Boxing superstar Amir Khan and online financial trading broker ThinkMarkets have confirmed their first partnerships as part of the ‘Ring the Changes’ initiatives aimed at providing support and opportunities for under-privileged young people across the UK.
More than 35 young people have been murdered in London already this year and Khan will work with ThinkMarkets and charity partners to raise funds and support initiatives to help young children get off the streets using financial education and the power of boxing.
The London Institute of Banking & Finance will offer young people access to their Lessons in Financial Education (LiFE) course to teach young people about the world of finance. Amir Khan will be actively working with ThinkMarkets to reach out to boxing clubs across London to invite young people on to the programme.
Youth Employment UK is not for profit organisation that helps 14-24-year-olds to kick-start their careers and will provide support specifically through their Young Professional programme which helps young people develop the work ready skills that employers are looking for.
This ties in with Amir Khan’s aims with ThinkMarkets to secure employment in the City for 100 young people from disadvantaged families by 2022.
Amir Khan said: “My ‘Ring the Changes’ initiative with ThinkMarkets WILL have an impact on youth crime and disenfranchisement and make a real difference.
“I’m focused on training for my fight against Terence Crawford in a few days but it’s tragic seeing the increasing devastation families are facing as young people are being killed or maimed in knife attacks.
“We have to give young people hope and opportunities and I believe that ‘Ring the Changes’ can go some way to providing inspiration for young people who may feel lost. Together with ThinkMarkets, we will not forget them and we will provide ways to help.”
Alison Pask, Managing Director, Financial Capability and Community Outreach at The London Institute of Banking & Finance added: “The Ring the Changes campaign helps young people combine the advantages of sports and financial knowledge to develop their skills and confidence.
“Over 70% of young people regularly worry about money and want to learn more. The role that initiatives like this can play in building financial resilience is critical. But more than that, initiatives like these can help open doors to career opportunities – and there are lots of those in the finance sector.
“We hope this programme will help raise the aspirations of young people, opening doors to careers and opportunities they may not have thought possible. We’re very proud of the role we can play.”
Laura-Jane Rawlings, Chief Executive Officer of Youth Employment UK, added: “The combination of sports, financial education and employability programme will provide young people with the necessary tools to further their career goals. By collaborating with ThinkMarkets under the Ring the Changes campaign we believe we can really make a difference to the future generations.”
Khan has a long history of helping charitable causes around the world and set up his own Foundation in 2014, something that attracted ThinkMarkets to working with the former Olympic silver medalist.
Nauman Anees, Co-founder of ThinkMarkets, said: “We wanted to take our time to get the right partnerships in place and have worked closely with Amir Khan before securing the London Institute of Banking & Finance and Youth Employment UK.
“’Ring the Changes’ WILL make a difference to the lives of a great many young people in the UK through a combination of philanthropy, opportunity and inspiration.”
ThinkMarkets aims to teach youngsters the importance of mental discipline and provide them with key skills to help them achieve their goals.
Khan’s partnership with ThinkMarkets is the first of its kind, with ThinkMarkets becoming the first UK broker to sponsor a professional boxer.
Earlier this year, ThinkMarkets announced another sporting partnership, with legendary Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath supporting young people in Australia and the UK.
WBC Champs Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada and “Bang Bang” Louisa Hawton Are All in for Autsim
This past weekend was one stacked with Women in Boxing no doubt! The World Boxing Council, WBC Cares program with Chairperson, Jill Diamond, WBC President, Mauricio Sulaiman and the entire WBC Family are very grateful to our WBC Champs, Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada and “Bang Bang” Louisa Hawton who donated their time Saturday evening to raise money for Autism Awareness. With World Champions in attendance like MLB World Series Champ, Scott Erickson, Former Dallas Cowboys, and NFL Superbowl XXVI MVP, Mark Rypien along with many other celebrities, it was a fun filled night where the Champs played, laughed and rewarded the winners of the table that knocked them out with WBC Medals!
April is Autism Awareness Month and we at the World Boxing Council are honored Pam Phillips and the Gemini Family have invited us to be a part of this event another year! The difference begins within each one of us. Let’s spread awareness just like our Champs Seniesa and Lulu!
For information on how Gemini helps those in the Autism Spectrum, go to Gemini.org
Judah vs. Seldin to Battle At Turning Stone Resort Casino
Preparations are well underway as Central New York prepares to host boxing’s biggest weekend of the year, International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend. Star Boxing, in partnership with Turning Stone Resort Casino, today announced a new event for an already impressive boxing weekend – Zab “Super” Judah (44-9, 30 KOs) vs. Cletus “Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (23-1, 19 KOs). The fight will take place in the Turning Stone Event Center on Friday, June 7, 2019, as part of the 30th Anniversary of Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend. The evening’s co-main event will feature James “Buddy” McGirt Jr. (27-3-1, 14KO’s) facing off against David Papot (22-0, 3KO’s), the same weekend his father James “Buddy” McGirt Sr. will be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Boxing fans will also have an opportunity to mingle with some of the biggest names in boxing, including boxing VIPs and Hall of Famers. Turning Stone will offer a unique boxing fan experience for guests who purchase tickets for the June 7thJudah vs. Seldin fight. For $50 (plus the purchase of a ticket), guests will receive access to the Boxing Hall of Fame Lounge, where boxing VIPs will be socializing throughout the night.
Tickets for Judah vs. Seldin are now available at the Turning Stone Box Office in person or by calling 315.361.7469 and 12:00 p.m. online at Ticketmaster. Prices start at only $35, with ringside seats available for $89 and $75.
June 7th’s main event features, Zab “Super” Judah (Brooklyn, NY), a six-time world champion, and the last undisputed welterweight champion of the world. The three-time New York Golden Glove champion made his professional debut at the age of 18, later holding world titles in three weight classes, capped off by his undisputed welterweight reign. Judah has defeated some of the most notable names in the business, including, Micky Ward, Lucas Matthysse and Cory Spinks (Undisputed Welterweight Title), and fought many other top fighters including Floyd Mayweather, Amir Khan, Danny Garcia and Miguel Cotto .
Opposing the six-time and former undisputed champion will be New York’s feared knockout artist, Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (Shirley, NY). Born from a tough line of Jewish-Americans, Seldin won the Ringside Amateur World Championship in 2009. As a professional, Seldin created buzz throughout New York as a knockout artist packing the Paramount with his “Hamma Head” fans. He broke on to the national scene when he devoured Roberto Ortiz at the Nassau Coliseum in a featured HBO fight. One month later, Seldin became the first boxer alongside Hall of Fame world champions, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. to fight in featured fights on back to back months on HBO. 83 percent of Seldin’s wins have come via knockout.
The veteran craftsmanship of former undisputed champion Judah, will have to weather the storm of the heavy-handed New York brawler in Seldin. On the biggest weekend in boxing, with many Hall of Famer’s in attendance, #JudahSeldin is bound to set off fireworks at Turning Stone on June 7th.
In the co-feature bout, James “Buddy” McGirt Jr. (Vero Beach, FL) will look to tip his hat to his father, James McGirt Sr. who is being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame during the same weekend, when he takes on tough Frenchman David Papot (Saint-Nazaire, France). McGirt compiled an impressive amateur record of 44-4 winning the Sunshine State Games and the Southeastern Regional. As a professional McGirt has also found success and has faced some well-regarded fighters in his division, including, Carlos De Leon Jr., Edwin Rodriguez, and Raymond Joval. His opponent, undefeated Frenchman David Papot is taking the trip across the Atlantic Ocean with intentions of ruining the McGirt family weekend. Papot had 102 amateur bouts, 30 of which were with the French National team, earning French National Champion honors two times. In 2017 Papot earned the WBA Continental Middleweight Title, and later that year became the French National Super Welterweight Champion, having since defended the title three times.
Crawford vs. Khan PPV Details Revealed
The undefeated pound-for-pound king, three-division world champion and reigning WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford will headline the inaugural Top Rank on ESPN pay-per-view broadcast against former unified super lightweight world champion Amir “King” Khan Saturday, April 20 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT from Madison Square Garden.
Crawford vs. Khan will be available via all major cable and satellite providers with a suggested retail price of $59.95 (SD) or $69.95 (HD).
All undercard bouts will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, beginning at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), the fighting pride of Omaha, Nebraska, unified all four super lightweight titles in August 2017 and moved up to the welterweight division intent on doing the same. In June 2018, he won the WBO welterweight title with a dominant ninth-round stoppage over Manny Pacquiao conqueror Jeff “The Hornet” Horn. Four months later, in front of a packed hometown house at the CHI Health Center Omaha, he stopped bitter rival Jose Benavidez Jr. in the 12th round.
Khan (33-4, 20 KOs), who captured an Olympic silver medal in 2004 for Great Britain at the age of 17, has long been one of boxing’s most captivating performers. He won his first world title in 2009 and has victories over Marco Antonio Barrera, Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana, Paulie Malignaggi, Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander. He is undefeated as a welterweight and is once again attempting to prove his greatness against boxing’s best.
In other action on the pay-per-view broadcast:
• Lightweight sensation Teofimo Lopez (12-0, 10 KOs) will face former world title challenger and two-time European lightweight champion Edis Tatli (31-2, 10 KOs) in a 12-round co-feature. Lopez is ranked in the top five by all four major sanctioning organizations and is coming off a savage seventh-round knockout over Diego Magdaleno.
• In the other co-feature attraction, Shakur Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs), the 21-year-old featherweight phenom who earned a silver medal for the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will face former world title challenger Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
• Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo (24-1, 16 KOs), one of Puerto Rico’s most popular fistic attractions, will fight former interim world champion Bryan Vasquez (37-3, 20 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight duel with potential world title implications.
CRAWFORD vs. KHAN is a 12-round fight for the WBO welterweight championship of the world, presented by Top Rank in association with Matchroom Boxing and Khan Promotions. The event is sponsored by Geico. CRAWFORD vs. KHAN will take place Saturday, April 20, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT at Madison Square Garden
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) Announces Opening of It’s Legends Café
The ACBHOF is pleased to announce the opening of its Legends Café during their 3rd Annual Celebration and Induction Weekend. For the third year, the Claridge A Radisson Hotel will serve as ACBHOF’s partner and backdrop for this historic event to be held June 21 – 23, 2019.
On Friday, June 21st the ACBHOF VIP Cocktail Reception will kick-off the weekend with the opening of the Legends Café and a special screening of the movie “ME WHEE” — a 30-minute documentary of Muhammad Ali.
“It is with tremendous pride that The Claridge-A Radisson Hotel welcomes The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame during this induction weekend. We are privileged to join in this partnership, a blending of the rich history that we both share here in Atlantic City. The Legends Café is an extraordinary, unique, and unforgettable opportunity for immersion into the legendary world of boxing that has evolved in this city over the years.” – A. Cem Erenler V.P. Operations & Development.
On Saturday, June 22nd the ACBHOF will invite boxing enthusiasts to join us for conversation and coffee in the Legends Café where an engaging panel discussion will take place. The panel will be moderated and activated with a panel comprised of top boxing historians from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Café will host exciting exhibits and art on display by Patrick Killiam from Newport, Wales, and other talented artists and Exhibits that will be on display: Jack Johnson, Joe Frazier Legacy Exists, Deborah King, James O’Neal Sculptures, Boxing Apocalypse and the SparBar.
Also, on Saturday the ACBHOF will be inside the Orange Loop for good food and music at the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall; where guests and fans alike will be interacting up close and personal with boxing legends on hand for autographs and photo opportunities.
“Our mission is to honor, preserve and celebrate the excellence of Atlantic City’s rich Boxing History and there’s no better place to highlight this tradition than at the historic Claridge-A Radisson Hotel. My team and I are excited about this collaboration.” – Ray McCline President of Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
The weekend will culminate with the Induction Ceremony on Sunday, June 23rd where the ACBHOF Class of 2019 will be enshrined into the hall of fame history.
The Class of 2019 Participants: Bernard Hopkins, Tim Witherspoon, Iran Barkley, Roberto Duran, Micky Ward, Kevin Watts, John Brown, Virgil Hill, Butch Lewis, English Bouie Fisher, Ace Marotta, Jimmy Binns, Sr., Stan Hoffman, Nigel Collins, Henry Hascup, Tom Kaczmarek, Tony Orlando Jr., and Rhonda Utley-Herring.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Adames, Donaire, Lomachenko, Crawford, Carto, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 2nd to April 9th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Top Rank on ESPN to Bring Vasily Lomachenko vs. Anthony Crolla Lightweight World Title Bout April 12th Exclusively on ESPN+
One of the biggest boxing events of the year will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ on April 12 at 11 p.m. ET from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The reigning WBA/WBO lightweight – and widely regarded pound-for-pound –champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs), is set to defend his unified lightweight world title against mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs). The undercard bouts will also stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 8 p.m. ET. All the evening’s fights will be available in Spanish on ESPN+.
Friday’s Top Rank on ESPN card coincides with the one-year anniversary of the launch of ESPN+ – the leading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service.
Calling the action for ESPN will be Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), former two-division world titleholder Tim Bradley (analyst) and former pound-for-pound two-division world titleholder and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward (analyst). The on-location desk team will feature analysis from Mark Kriegel and Max Kellerman, and the ESPN+ Spanish coverage includes play-by-play from Jorge Eduardo Sánchez and former boxing champion Juan Manuel Márquez as analyst.”
ESPN’s official coverage of fight week kicked off Sunday, April 7, with Countdown to Lomachenko vs. Crolla, where viewers follow rival boxers Vasiliy Lomachenko and Anthony Crolla as they prepare for a must-see world title fight on April 12. See inside the training camp of pound-for-pound superstar Lomachenko as he trains at his home base in Oxnard, Calif., while former world champion Crolla trains to return the WBA title he once held to its rightful owner.
ESPN.com will have the fight covered throughout the week with a feature on Anthony Crolla from Nick Parkinson, a unique look at how the world’s best boxing trainers would prepare their fighters to face Vasiliy Lomachenko from Steve Kim and a complete guide to the fight from Dan Rafael. Rafael and Kim will be at the fight offering their unique insight as the action goes down.
Christian Carto Named the “One to Watch”
Local bantamweight boxer Christian Carto won four straight bouts in 2018 and improved his record to 17-0, with 11 KOs. These four fights included two local main events, and two supporting spots on big nationally televised cards. This was a year of development for Carto, as he went the distance in all four fights, mixed it up a bit more than we’re used to seeing, and faced a tougher level of competition. Along the way, Carto also established himself as one of the biggest box office attractions of the local scene.
For these factors, as well as his exciting style and promising future, Carto earned the award as “The One to Watch”, and will take home his first-ever Briscoe Award on Sunday, April 14, 2019, at Xfinity Live! in South Philly.
In his first start of 2019, Carto suffered his first professional set back, but for many reasons, he remains the fighter that everyone continues to watch, perhaps even more so after his most recent outing.
The awards, named after Philly middleweight boxing legend Bennie Briscoe, have been recognizing the best achievements of the Philly boxing scene since 2007.
This year’s event will be held on Sunday, April 14, 2019, at Xfinity Live! in South Philadelphia (1100 Pattison Avenue), 1-4 PM. Tickets for the Briscoe Awards cost $10 each, and can be purchased in advance at BriscoeAwards.com, or by calling 609-377-6413.
The Briscoe Awards are presented by Philly Boxing History Inc., a 501c3 Non-Profit organization, dedicated to preserving and honoring the great legacy of boxing in and around the city of Philadelphia. For more information, call John DiSanto at 609-377-6413.
Donaire: “I can’t wait to the to show the crowd what we’ve been working on”
Philippine-American Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire feels well prepared and looks forward to his World Boxing Super Series 118lb Semi-Final against South Africa’s WBO Champ Zolani Tete at the Cajundome in Lafayette, LA, USA on April 27.
“Lafayette, Louisiana is definitely going to be an experience,” said Donaire, a native of the Philippines who moved to the Bay Area in California at the age of 10 and today lives and trains in Las Vegas.
“There is so much culture all over the United States and I am I’m blessed to be in a tournament that allows me to visit a different state. I’ve heard the food is amazing and I can’t wait to try it out after the fight.”
36-year-old Donaire is perhaps the biggest name in the star-studded WBSS Season 2 line-up having held eight world titles by the main four boxing sanctioning bodies. Known as “The Filipino Flash” due to exceptionally hand speed and extraordinary punching power.
The former multiple-time world champion in four weight classes and current WBA Super Bantamweight Champion came down from 126lb to compete at 118lb for the first time in seven years to enter the WBSS.
In the quarter-final in Glasgow, Scotland Nov. 3rd last year against Northern Ireland’s Ryan Burnett, tournament No. 1 seed, Donaire felt he was in control and would have taken home the victory in the normal fashion if his opponent hadn’t been forced to retire after four rounds with a lower back injury.
How is the training going, can you give us some insight from your training camp?
“Training started about two weeks after the Burnett fight. We didn’t know when the fight would be scheduled but we knew the opponent so we stayed head on for Tete. I implemented new training methods that we haven’t tried before and have had a smooth training camp in Las Vegas.”
How would you describe your shape and preparations compared to your last fight?
“I believe the major difference is building upon what we had in the Burnett fight. I made sure to continue to stay disciplined with my diet and continue to be at the gym. As I said, it wasn’t completely 100% boxing throughout and we did implement training outside of the boxing gym and different drills as well. We made sure to have rest when needed so we could turn it up in these last couple weeks.”
How do you see the match-up with Tete?
“Tete is a formidable opponent. He is tall, he is fast, he is slick, but I am a fighter that can fight any kind of style. I can’t wait to the to show the crowd what we’ve been working on.”
April 20: Carlos Adames and Frank Galarza Headlines Packed Crawford-Khan Undercard
One of the 154-pound division’s biggest punchers — Dominican sensation Carlos “El Caballo Bronco” Adames — is set to make a thunderous statement April 20 at Madison Square Garden.
NABF champion Adames will defend his belt against Brooklyn native Frank Galarza in the 10-round featured bout on the Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan undercard broadcast, which will begin at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on ESPN2 and in Spanish on the ESPN app. Adames vs. Galarza will also be contested for the vacant NABO 154-pound belt.
Adames vs. Galarza will headline a scheduled five-fight broadcast, which will lead into the Crawford vs. Khan pay-per-view extravaganza at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.
Details on how fans will be able to access the pay-per-view event will be announced at a later date.
“I am thrilled and proud to fight at Madison Square Garden once again. It is a great honor to be in action on such a big stage and on an important card like this one,” Adames said. “I have a new trainer, Robert Garcia, and we are working on a lot of new things. This will be the new era of ‘Caballo Bronco.’ Frank Galarza is a good, experienced fighter. I know he has faced good opposition and that he is training hard for this fight. It will be a very interesting fight because he will be battling against someone that wants to be one of the greats in the sport. I’m coming to make noise in the 154-pound division.”
“There is no better place for this fight to be than at The Garden,” Galarza said. “It’s a dream come true for me. I’m ready to show the world what I’m really made of. Carlos and I both are ranked in the top 15 in the WBO. He is coming to my backyard, and it’s going to be a great fight.”
Adames (16-0, 13 KOs) is 3-0 since signing with Top Rank in early 2018. He turned pro in 2015 after a nearly 300-fight amateur career and showed he belonged at the world-class level in July 2017, knocking down and scoring a shutout decision over former world champion Carlos Molina. His last two fights have lasted a total of five rounds, and he is coming off a third-round knockout over Juan Ruiz on Jan. 18 in Verona, N.Y.
Galarza (20-2-2, 12 KOs), from the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, overcame a troubled childhood and a brief 11-fight amateur career to become a longtime contender in the paid ranks. He began his career 17-0-2 before a sixth-round TKO loss to Jarrett Hurd, who is currently the unified 154-pound world champion. A close decision loss to Ishe Smith followed in September 2016, but Galarza has since resurrected his career, winning a trio of fights to set up this opportunity versus Adames.
In other action on the ESPN2 broadcast:
Former Indian amateur standout Vikas “The Indian Tank” Krishan (1-0, 1 KO) will take the next step in his professional journey against Noah Kidd (3-1-1, 2 KOs) in a six-round super welterweight fight. Krishan was a two-time Olympian for his home country and is the only Indian fighter to have won both the Asian and Commonwealth Games.
“As I continue my pro journey, it’s an honor to fight on such a significant card,” Krishan said. “There is a large Indian population in New York and New Jersey, and I can’t wait to see the support from my Indian people. It’s going to be a special night.”
Puerto Rican middleweight sensation Edgar Berlanga (9-0, 9 KOs) has scored nine consecutive first-round stoppages to begin his pro career. He will look to make it 10 for 10 versus Brazilian veteran Samir Dos Santos (37-15-3, 26 KOs) in an eight-rounder. The Brooklyn-born Berlanga has fought four times in New York City as a pro and will be making his Top Rank debut.
Bantamweight prospect Lawrence “BT” Newton (11-0, 7 KOs), a stablemate of Crawford’s, will face Jonathan Garza (7-2, 2 KOs), in a six-round showdown.
Larry Fryers (9-1, 3 KOs), a native of Ireland who now lives in New York, will look to make it four wins in a row against Dakota Polley (5-2, 2 KOs) in a super lightweight bout scheduled for six or four rounds.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing and Khan Promotions, tickets priced at $606, $406, $306, $206, $106, $81, and $56 (including facility fees) are on sale now and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.MSG.com.
Boxing Insider’s Boxing Beffudlements – Oldest Boxers of All Time
By: Oliver McManus
Hear at Boxing Insider we have committed ourselves to finding the unique angles of boxing history. In this series of Boxing Beffudlements we have already covered the heaviest and tallest boxers of all time but this week we cast our eye on some of the oldest fighters in history.
I’ll start proceedings by venturing a fairly obvious suggestion – Bernard Hopkins. Naturally when you think of the sport’s elder statesman the mind will drift towards the two-weight world champion. The smoothest thing out of Philadelphia since the eponymous cream cheese, Hopkins debuted in 1988, at the age of 23, infamously losing a majority decision over four rounds.
The Executioner took knockbacks in his stride. He was, afterall, raised in the offbeat social obscurity that were the ‘Raymond Rosen’ housing projects of Philadelphia. At 30 years of age he laid claim to the first world title of his career – the IBF middleweight belt – with a seventh round knockout over Segundo Mercado. 20 consecutive defenses, in which he unified and became undisputed, saw Hopkins become “the man” for nearly ten years. Victories over Oscar de la Hoya and Felix Trinidad were particular highlights.
Hopkins was far from done, we all know his story. He was not like his former foe Roy Jones Jr, however, continuing to carve out a “legacy” against nobodies. Indeed Hopkins avenged his 1993 defeat some 17 years later with a unanimous decision. Before retirement in 2016, Hopkins would have two more stints as world champion. Firstly in 2011 when he defeated Jean Pascal, at the second time of asking, having overcome an early storm from his Canadian opponent. That made history, in itself, though his reign would last a mere 14 rounds.
12 months on from losing the WBC, Ring and Lineal titles to Chad Dawson he would fight for the IBF belt against Tavorious Cloud. A unanimous decision ensured Hopkins broke his own record as the oldest champion in history. Aged 49 he would unify against Beibut Shumenov before being pasted by Sergey Kovalev for 12 rounds and sent lurching out of the ring by Joe Smith. A fighter of true calibre, going out on his sword, and refusing to settle for mediocrity. Bernard Hopkins chased greatness at every opportunity, it’s safe to say he achieved it.
The oldest world champion of all time, then, in Bernard Hopkins and he took that mantle from an equally infamous figure in George Foreman. Yet another icon of the sport, Foreman regained a version of the heavyweight world titles when he was 46. He’ll have to settle for a mere footnote in this feature, however, for he’s positively youthful in comparison to some of these next guys.
Gilberto Jacobs is a perfect example of fighting beyond your years with the South Carolina native boasting a career spanning some 30 years. He does, however, average just one fight every 40 months, however, with a record of 3-6. Debuting in 1989, already getting on at 34, he was knocked out within three rounds by, fellow debutant, Phil D’Amelio. Four months later and Jacobs made amends with a first round KO over Nick Tolomeo to level his record at 1-1.
And that was that, so it seemed. For six years, anyway, when Jacobs emerged from obscurity for two more bouts. Both lasted less than a round with the 40 year old getting dispatched comfortably by Jim Mullen and Jerry Moran. That definitely was the end of the story. Except, evidently, the lure of the ring drew Jacobs back some fifteen years later. In 2010 and at the age of 56, the light heavyweight recorded his first win in 21 years thanks to a majority decision over Pete Yates.
Three fights in the next eight years would see a return to his position of cannon fodder. As archaic as that warfare reference, no-one wanted to get beaten by Jacobs and no-one wanted to boast about beating him, either. On March 30th of this year, however, the 64 year old became the oldest fighter ever to record a victory in professional boxing. Jamil Shrine Temple – a venue that describes itself “as American as apple pie” – played host to the round that shattered records. Carlos Umanzor, dubiously licensed by the South Carolina Athletic Commision, found himself knocked out within a round to place Jacobs, forty-one years the older fighter, in the record books.
64 years and 105 days. I think it’s probably time for Gilberto to start settling into retirement.
Bizarrely, though, this doesn’t even allow Jacobs to dine-out on the honour of being the oldest boxer ever. You see, proudly in possession of that plaque is a certain Jack Lucious . His last fight came on April 6th last year in Houston when Juice entered the ring aged 64 years and 246 days.
Having turned professional in 1984 there was a degree of the ordinary to Lucious’ career, building up a record of 3-4-1 by fighting local Houston boxers at anywhere between 157 and 170lbs. A relative journeyman in the making. The background of Lucious was anything but ordinary, however.
His mother was killed, when Jack was five, by his father – later ruled an act of self-defence – and when he was eleven he had packed up and left home. Joining the army as a teenager, he was honourably discharged before taking up boxing, harbouring ambitions of representing the ‘States at the Olympics.
The eighth fight of his career, in 1986, came against, unbeaten in five, Charles Hollis. The contest ended in the seventh with Lucious suffering a broken leg. Just a temporary hitch with a swift return to the ring in the works. Alas it would be 32 years until the squared circle was graced with the presence of Juice, again.
21 years in jail following a case of “purse-snatching” would have been enough for anyone to give it all up. Jack proved to be quite the opposite, viewing his time inside – for a crime he professes his innocence – as merely “a two decade training camp”. Yail Eligo, a one veteran at the time, was his opponent at the Arabia Shrine, Houston. Ironically Lucious had proclaimed Eligo to be “too old” before the fight but, despite the desire for a victorious narrative, the contest lasted all of 141 seconds – Juice found himself, suitably, getting pulped.
And, finally, an honourable mention to Martin Rovcanin – everybody’s second favourite Serbian heavyweight (narrowly behind Boban Filipovic). The 48 year old resident of Belgrade has been fighting infrequently since 2013 to amass a record of 6-0. Mouthwatering victories over Nedeljko Cvorovic and Dragan Bajak have cemented his place in my heart as a true titan of Baltic heavyweight folklore.
Who, though, is your favourite fighter to have fought long after the rules of time suggest?
Boxing Insider Notebook: Estrada, Rungvisai, Easter, Barthelemy, Byrd, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 26th to April 2nd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Estrada vs. Rungvisai Rematch Will Be Twice the First Fight
Juan Francisco Estrada says he will be 100 per cent fit for his rematch with Sor Srisaket Rungvisai – and that will make the fight twice as good as the first clash and see him become World champion at The Forum in Inglewood, LA on Friday April 26, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
**TICKETS START FROM JUST $25 AND ARE ON SALE NOW FROM TICKETMASTER**
Estrada and Rungvisai served up a fight of the year contender at the famous LA venue last February, with the Thai star edging out ‘Gallo’ to retain his WBC Super Flyweight title and land the Ring Magazine crown.
Former WBA and WBO king Estrada was hampered in the build up by a knee issue for the first clash, yet the Mexican ace delivered a fantastic performance. The 28 year old has recorded a pair of wins since the majority decision loss to Rungvisai, and crucially, has enjoyed a great camp in Los Mochis, Mexico to enter the showdown in great shape.
“I’ve always said there’s always a second chance and we need to take advantage of it,” said Estrada. “I was 50 per cent prepared last time, not because I didn’t want to train but because I had some injuries that affected my preparation and we had no choice but to keep facing the fight as it was a very important fight. This rematch is an opportunity and we will make the most out of it because we are well trained and the goal is to be a World Champion, doesn’t matter if it’s against Rungvisai or anyone else.
“After his hand was raised, I knew there will be a rematch because it was an interesting fight for the fans and for us, it had to be a rematch. I had to win my way back with two or three flights because I was ranked on the top 10 but needed to come up to the second rank to be able to get this fight and my team and I made it happen.
“I had a knee injury first time around and my reactions were not the same. I could not run the same, I was tired but I showed heart. The final round was one of the best rounds of the year, and if I was 100 per cent prepared with no injuries the whole fight would have been like that and maybe he wouldn’t handle that round.
“When a right-handed fighter faces a lefty, it could be a boring fight because of the stances, but when Rungvisai and I fight, our style of boxing is a great match and I think it wasn’t a dirty fight, I think it was a good fight for the fans and that they enjoyed it.
“If he is 100 per cent prepared like he was or more, I think it will be a more aggressive fight for both of us, a tougher fight but I will throw a lot more punches and that will make the difference. He is a fighter that doesn’t throw a lot of combinations, he is a fighter that is has trusts his punch, he has very strong punches and I progressively throw more combinations. I will look for the knockout thawing more punches and showing more intensity.
“Really being champion is the most important, doesn’t matter who is it against, and fighting Rungvisai, in my opinion he is the best of this division. If god gives me the chance to win the fight, I would like to fight against other World champions and defend my title with a few fights and then get to the next division.
“It will be like the first fight but now throwing a lot more punches, and like I said our styles are a great match. Our physical preparation will be crucial last time I was 50 per cent and now the key will be to get their 100 per cent.”
Estrada’s rematch with Rungvisai tops a huge card in Los Angeles with WBA World Super-Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman and IBF ruler TJ Doheny clashing in a unification battle.
Jessie Vargas (28-2-2 10 KOs) is on the hunt to become a three-weight World champion and he faces fellow two-weight World king Humberto Soto (69-9-2 37 KOs) in a crunch clash for their elite level aspirations. The Soto clash will be Vargas’ first fight with new trainer Freddie Roach, and it’s a busy evening for the Hall of Fame coach as Scott Quigg (35-2-2 26KOs) also looks to move to world honors in a new weight, targeting a Featherweight World title shot in the second half of the year.
Unbeaten Super-Middleweight talent Anthony Sims Jr is set for a breakout year and will fight for his first title on the bill. Sims (17-0 16 KOs), who is in action in Peterborough, England on Saturday night live on DAZN and Sky Sports, clocked three stoppage wins in the second half of 2018, and will look to convert that momentum in style in first the UK and then in LA.
Shakhram Giyasov (7-0 6KOs) and Diego Pacheco (2-0 1KO) landed wins in Tijuana, Mexico this weekend and will fight on the bill, while Eddie Hearn’s latest addition to his blossoming stable of young USA talents, Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams, will make his pro debut on the card.
Robert Easter Jr. and Rances Barthelemy Meet in WBA Lightweight Title Fight on April 27th
Former lightweight world champion Robert Easter Jr. and former two-division champion Rances Barthelemy will meet for the vacant WBA Lightweight Title on Saturday, April 27 live on SHOWTIME from The Chelsea inside of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING coverage begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will also feature former super lightweight champion Viktor Postol taking on France’s Mohamed Mimoune in a WBC super lightweight title eliminator, while rising heavyweight sensation Efe Ajagba looks to remain unbeaten against once-beaten German Michael Wallisch in a 10-round heavyweight attraction.
Easter vs. Barthelemy pits two highly skilled and explosive former 135-pound champions against each other as they look to grab a title and vault themselves back into the top echelon of the lightweight division.
Easter will return to the ring for the first time since losing his IBF title in a unification showdown with WBC Champion and pound-for-pound great Mikey Garcia last July on SHOWTIME. Barthelemy is undefeated at 135 pounds and returns to the lightweight division for his second fight since losing a 140-pound title rematch to Kiryl Relikh last March on SHOWTIME.
“Two former champions looking to reclaim their championship status speaks for itself in terms of the action and will to win that Easter and Barthelemy will bring on April 27,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “Both guys have already proven that they have what it takes to take care of business at this level. The eliminator bout, with Postol bringing his experience and Mohamed looking to take advantage of the opportunity, is a great lead-in to the main event attraction. Plus, Efe Ajagba will bring his A+ game in pursuit of a victory over Michael Wallisch. The fans in attendance at the Cosmopolitan here in Las Vegas, and tuning in on SHOWTIME, are in for a treat.”
“Easter vs. Barthelemy is a true 50-50 fight that will end with one of these fighters leaving the ring with one of the top spots in the lightweight division,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Both are former world champions at lightweight and possess the styles and attributes that should make this an action-packed match. Combined with a very competitive title eliminator between Viktor Postol and Mohamed Mimoune, plus the can’t-miss punching power of Efe Ajagba, this is going to be a dramatic night on SHOWTIME and at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions in association with About Billions Promotions, go on sale Monday, April 1, and can be purchased at www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com or through Ticketmaster.
The 28-year-old Easter (21-1, 14 KOs) won the IBF Lightweight Championship in 2016 by edging an exciting split-decision against then-unbeaten and current IBF titleholder Richard Commey. After two successful title defenses in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, Easter defeated former champion Javier Fortuna by decision in a January 2018 fight in SHOWTIME.
That victory set up a unification with WBC champion Mikey Garcia, in which Easter survived an early knockdown to push Garcia the full 12 rounds before coming up short on the scorecards. At 5-foot-11, Easter has continued to show the combination of size, skill and athleticism that made him a highly regarded prospect following an amateur career that featured a spot as an alternate on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.
“I’ve wanted to fight Barthelemy since he had the lightweight title and vacated it, and now I have the chance,” said Easter. “He has an awkward style and I’m up for that challenge. I am still coming in as the taller fighter with a reach advantage and I’ll use it to make this fight go how I want it to. He is a former world champion and he is coming to bring it just like I am.”
A decorated Cuban amateur who hails from a boxing family that includes his older brother, Olympic Gold Medalist Yan, and younger brother, unbeaten featherweight Leduan, Rances Barthelemy (27-1, 14 KOs) will return to lightweight to vie against one of the best fighters in the division. The 32-year-old now trains in Las Vegas and previously captured a 135-pound belt by defeating Denis Shafikov in December 2015.
Barthelemy won a 130-pound championship by defeating Argenis Mendez in 2014 and attempted to become the first Cuban three-division champion when he moved up to 140-pounds for his first fight against Relikh, a title eliminator that he won by decision. After dropping the rematch to Relikh in a vacant title fight on SHOWTIME, Barthelemy returned to the ring in December and stopped Robert Frankel.
“I’m looking forward to a great fight against Robert Easter Jr,” said Barthelemy. “I know I have what it takes to beat him and capture another title and become a three-time world champ. My best performances have come at 135 pounds. Both of us are former world champions who are hungry and will give the fans a sensational night of boxing. I’ve never lost at lightweight and that will continue on April 27. Don’t miss this fight on SHOWTIME. It’s now or never!”
Originally from Ukraine, but now fighting out of Los Angeles, Postol (30-2, 12 KOs) previously earned a 140-pound world title by knocking out Lucas Matthysse in 2015. The 35-year-old dropped the title in a unification showdown with Terence Crawford in 2016 before bouncing back by defeating then unbeaten Jamshidbek Najmiddinov. Last June he dropped a decision to unbeaten contender Josh Taylor and most recently he defeated Siar Ozgul in November.
The 31-year-old Mimoune (21-2, 2 KOs) has fought professionally since 2010 and will be making his U.S. debut against Postol on April 27. Representing Haute-Garonne, France, he is unbeaten in his last 10 fights dating back to 2014. His last five victories have come in 12-round decisions, including two last year over then unbeaten Emiliano Dominguez and most recently against Franck Petitjean.
Nigeria’s Ajagba (9-0, 8 KOs) gained notoriety last August 24 when his opponent, Curtis Harper, walked out of the ring after touching gloves to start the first round. The 24-year-old, 2016 Nigerian Olympian won the fight without throwing a punch as Harper was disqualified. In his last fight Ajagba, who lives in Stafford, Texas and trains with Ronnie Shields, defeated his toughest competition to date by stopping longtime contender Amir Mansour after two rounds.
Fighting out of Munich, Germany, Wallisch (19-1, 12 KOs) won his first 19 pro fights after turning pro in 2010, including a German heavyweight title-winning performance in 2013 against Alexander Kahl. The 33-year-old fought three times last year, picking up two knockout victories before losing to Christian Hammer in December.
World Heavyweight Champion Chris Byrd Joins BYB Extreme Announcing Team
Two-time world heavyweight boxing champion and 1992 Olympic silver medalist Chris Byrd has been added to an already strong BYB Extreme pay-per-view announcing team for its inaugural event, “BYB Brawl 1: Brawl For It ALL”, on Friday night, April 5, live from the Cheyenne Ice & Event Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Byrd will be part of the BYB Extreme announcing team at cage-side, along with blow-by-blow announcers Din Thomas and the othercolor commentators, Dyrushio “Rusy” Harris and his brother, Dhafir Harris, AKA iconic backyard-brawler Dada 5000. Tony Martinez will support the BYB announcing team in Spanish (SAP option), while veteran Bob Alexander is the BYB ring announcer.
“I’m excited to be part of the BYB team,” Bryd said. “I’m Looking forward to commenting and sharing my vast knowledge of boxing and many years of experience. Although the two sports are different, they are still very much the same. Looking forward to April 5th
“BYB Brawl 1: Brawl For It ALL” Is the first sanctioned-event promoted by BYB Extreme Fighting Series (BYB), bare-knuckles fighting’s most intense combat sports promoter, featuring 10 professional bare-knuckle fights and two mixed-martial-arts fights, all held inside the “The Trigon”, the most confrontational cage in combat sports. The much-anticipated show is presented by title sponsor Pure and Natural (www.getpureandnatural.com) and available to watch live worldwide on pay-per-view.
BYB Extreme and Lights Out Productions was initially inspired by the Backyard Fights that were held in Miami, featured in the award-winning documentary “Dawg Fight”, which debuted on Netflix and it still remains available to watch. Dada 5000 was the subject and star of “Dawg Fight”. Production of “Dawg Fight 2”, produced once again by award-winning documentary filmmaker Billy Corben (Rakontur), concludes at “BYB Brawl 1: Brawl for it ALL”.
Byrd, who now lives in San Diego, captured a silver medal for Team USA at the ’92 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. In 2003, Byrd upset Vitali Klitschko to become the World Boxing Organization (WBO) World heavyweight champion. During his illustrious professional career, Byrd (415, 22 KOs) also defeated Evander Holyfield and David Tua.
“Seems like every day a new piece gets added that gives BYB more depth and experience,” BYB Extreme president Mike Vazquez noted. “The addition of two-time World Heavyweight champion and US Olympic medal winner Chris Byrd does just that. We are very excited that Chris will be joining Din Thomas, Rusy Harris and Dada 5000 as part of our BYB Brawl broadcast team. His experience as a world Champion and what he will bring to the commentary is priceless. BYB may be a relatively new series, but we have all the tools to bring fight fans what they want, exciting well matched fights and a quality and experienced broadcast team that know first hand what they are talking about.”
“BYB Brawl 1: Brawl For It ALL” will revolutionize bare-knuckles fighting with all fights held inside its triangular cage, “The Trigon” (pictured below) – 7′ high fences, two beveled corners and a 60-degree, tight third-corner forming a triangle, totaling 187 square feet – marking the first time a professional bare-knuckles event is held inside a cage. This will also be the first time bare-knuckles fighting and MMA are contested in a cage on the same night.
Yunusov Shows Heart and Determination with Unanimous Decision Over Colon at SugarHouse Casino
Three-time Olympian Anvar Yunusov remained perfect by getting off the deck and fighting through a bad cut to win an eight-round unanimous decision over Carlos Colon in a junior lightweight bout that highlighted an action-packed ten bout card before a sold-out crowd on Friday night at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.
The card, which was promoted by King’s Promotions in association with Titans Boxing Promotions, was streamed LIVE (and now can be seen on-demand) all of the world on the King’s Boxing Facebook Page. The Main event can be seen HERE
Yunusov was dropped by a right hand in round three. He was cut badly in the same round over his right eye. Yunusov was able to shake off the rough 3rd frame to come back and put Colon down with body shot’s in rounds four and five. Yunusov was able to control the action down the stretch, and win by scores of 79-71 and 78-71 twice.
Yunusov of Philadelphia by way of Tajakistan is now 7-0. Colon of Lares, Puerto Rico is 5-2.
Erik Spring and Terrance Williams locked up in a very competitive eight-round super welterweight battle that saw Spring come through with a majority decision.
Spring of Reading, PA won by scores of 77-75 and 76-75, while one card read even at 76-76.
Spring is now 12-2-2. Williams of York, PA is 5-3-1.
Popular super middleweight Brandon Robinson needed one left hand to the body to take out Lawrence Blakey at 2:49 of the 1st round of their scheduled six-round bout.
Robinson of Philadelphia is 12-2 with nine knockouts. Blakey of Pittsburgh is 5-13-2.
Colby Madison beat down Emilio Salas and scored a 2nd round stoppage in a scheduled six-round heavyweight bout.
Madison of Owings Mills, MD is 8-0-2 with five knockouts. Salas of Yonkers, NY is 5-3-1.
Laquan Evans took a four-round split decision over Jordan Demko in a a middleweight bout featuring pro debuters.
The fighters mixed it up in an entertaining four-round scrap that saw the fight go back and forth. Evans was able to overcome being dropped in the 1st round.
Evans was able to fight back, and win by scores of 39-37 and 38-37 with Demko winning a card 39-37.
Anthony Mercado proved to be too much for Andres Navarro by scoring a stoppage at the end of round five of a scheduled eight-round bout featuring junior welterweights based in Puerto Rico.
Mercardo is 13-4 with 11 knockouts. Navarro is 11-8-1.
Ryan Humburger and Brent Oren put on a display that not only thrilled the capacity crowd in attendance, but kept everyone on their feet for the duration of their middleweight bout.
Both guys took turns pounding away on each other, with each debuter being several times before Oren was worn down and not able to come out for round four.
Michael Coffie scored a vicious 2nd round stoppage over Eduardo Vitela in a scheduled six-round heavyweight bout.
Cofffie landed a thudding left hook that immediately knocked Vitela out, and the fight was stopped at 1:10 of the 2nd frame.
Coffie of Brooklyn, NY is 6-0 with five knockouts. Vitela of Durango, Mexico is 3-4.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Frampton, Top Rank, Hurd, Williams, Hall of Fame, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 19th to March 26th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Jarrett Hurd vs. Julian Williams Press Conference Quotes
Unified and undefeated IBF and WBA 154-pound “Swift” Jarrett Hurd and top contender Julian “J-Rock” Williams previewed their recently announced showdown at a press conference Sunday before they meet in primetime in Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes action on Saturday, May 11 at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.
Tickets for the event go on sale Thursday, March 28 at 12 p.m. ET and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com).
Here is what the fighters had to say Sunday from MGM National Harbor in Maryland:
“It was very important to fight at home because that’s what everyone has been asking for. I’m excited to have the opportunity and I can’t wait to step in the ring.
“All of my fights are classics. I know that ‘J-Rock’ has been watching me and that makes him dangerous. He’s coming in with a good game plan and we’ll see what it is on fight night.
“Jermall Charlo is a big puncher and he landed some shots that got Julian out of there, but Julian was right in that fight. It was kind of back and forth action until Charlo landed those shots, but Charlo was hurt in that fight too.
“The fighter that I am, I wanted to go out there and close the show against Erislandy Lara. I thought I was up, but it’s not in me to just go out and survive. I’m glad I did because it got me the win.
“I’m going to be victorious on May 11. I’m looking for a decisive win. I’m not saying I’m going to to get the stoppage, but it will be convincing that it went my way.
“Tony Harrison beating Jermell Charlo definitely threw a monkey wrench into the plan coming off of surgery. I’m going to go after the WBC belt regardless of who has it, but first I have to take care of Julian.”
“I’m not Erislandy Lara, I’m going to fight a completely different fight than he did. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to win. That’s the kind of fighter Hurd is, so that’s the kind of fighter I have to be.
“I think I’m going to win in a classic. We’re probably going to have to do it a second time it’ll be so good.
“My motivation are those two belts on the line. Any kind of fight with Harrison or Charlo and Hurd has nothing to do with me. I’m focused on what I have to do.
“I had to get over the loss quick. You can’t dwell on that. Am I going to mope? No, it’s who’s up next? I can’t even put it into words how hungry I am.
“Hurd is definitely a really exciting fighter. He gives that extra each fight, but I’ve seen some things. I have a way of wearing guys down myself. I wore Nathaniel Gallimore down fighting off my front foot and I think I’ll do the same to Hurd.
“I don’t know if there will be extra pressure on him fighting at home. You have to ask him. I know when I fight at home I don’t feel any extra pressure. When the bell rings, a fight is a fight.”
Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Announces Star-Studded 2019 Induction Class
A diverse and glittering array of boxing greats will be honored with induction into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame at the 7th Annual Induction Weekend spectacular August 9th and 10th 2019 at Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in Las Vegas. The partnership with the Red Rock Casino and Spa is just the beginning of a wonderful relationship with the NVBHOF.
The Inductees were announced at a press conference hosted by NVBHOF Founder Rich Marotta and 2014 NVBHOF Inductee, “Colonel” Bob Sheridan.
CEO and President Michelle Corrales-Lewis said, “I’m extremely excited about this year’s Class. I feel it’s one of our most glamorous ever!”
The exciting list of inductees includes:
Non-Nevada Resident Boxers
BERNARD “THE EXECUTIONER” HOPKINS: The magnificent “Executioner” won multiple world titles in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions including 20 successful defenses of 160 pound title. Hopkins was the first male boxer to simultaneously hold world titles from four sanctioning bodies and became the oldest boxer ever to win a world championship fighting in his 50’s.
JUAN MANUEL “DINAMITA” MARQUEZ: Considered one the greatest Mexican champions of all time. A superb counter-puncher and technician and was willing to slug it out as well, hence his nickname “Dinamita”. Marquez engaged in an iconic 4-fight series With Manny Pacquaio, all of them in Las Vegas, and won World Titles in 4 divisions.
RONALD “WINKY” WRIGHT: Master ring general who could use all 20 feet of the ring to out-think, out-maneuver and out-hustle his adversaries. Strong resume included Wins over Trinidad, Mosley and Quartey.
HUMBERTO “CHIQUITA” GONZALEZ: One of the hardest punching lighter-weight boxers at 108 lbs ever. Won 2 of 3 in epic trilogy with Michael Carbajal, losing only a sensational Vegas battle in which he scored two knockdowns.
VINNY “THE PAZMANIAN DEVIL” PAZ: The Pazmanian Devil, winner of multiple world titles and a 1994 decision over Roberto Duran in Las Vegas. His unique story includes an incredible comeback from auto accident resulting in a broken neck, chronicled in the movie “Bleed for This”.
“TERRIBLE” TERRY NORRIS: The true epitome of “boxer-puncher” was a Las Vegas regular With 14 fights in Nevada. Possessor of great hand and foot speed, he KO’d champs like John Mugabi, Donald Curry, Meldrick Taylor, and Simon Brown among others and won a Decision over the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard.
“SCHOOLBOY” BOBBY CHACON (Posthumous): Immensely popular champion who engaged in Fight of the Year in both 1982 vs Bazooka Limon and ’83 vs Cornelius Boza-Edwards.
Nevada Resident Boxers
JOEL “EL CEPILLO” CASAMAYOR: Fought 12 times in Nevada. A clever, wise fighter who knew all the tricks. He held the WBA 130 pound and WBC 135 pound world titles. Won 2 of 3 in epic trilogy with Diego Corrales. Had nearly 400 fights as an amateur and won 1992 Olympic Bantamweight Gold Medal in Barcelona with victory over Wayne McCullough. Would’ve been 1996 Olympian as well but defected from Cuba just before Olympics. Longtime resident of Las Vegas, now working training kids.
WAYNE “POCKET ROCKET” McCULLOUGH: One of Ireland’s most famous and popular fighters and lived in Las Vegas throughout and after his career. He had storied amateur career of about 350 fights. Made it to finals of 1992 Olympics where he lost decision to Joel Casamayor. He returned to Ireland with Silver Medal as major hero. After just two years as pro, traveled to Japan and pulled off difficult assignment of defeating Yasukio Yakushiji to win the WBC Bantamweight Title. Career included wins over Johnny Bredahl, Joe Luis Bueno and Victor Rabanales.
HASIM “THE ROCK” RAHMAN: Longtime Las Vegas Resident held both the IBF and WBC Heavyweight title, and had two stints as WBC King. His first fight vs Lennox Lewis proved his biggest win with a stunning KO win in South Africa. Notable wins over Maskaev and Barrett, draws with Toney and Tua. Fought 5X in NV, including his 1994 pro debut at Caesars Palace.
LEROY “IRISH” HALEY (Posthumous): Fought an awesome 49 times in Nevada, more than any current or past NVBHOF Inductee. He won the WBC 140lb title in 1983, defeating outstanding champion Saoul Mamby and repeated victory later in the rematch. He lost the title outdoors at Caesars Palace to Bruce Curry. He lived in Las Vegas throughout his career.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER SR.: Best known for training his son Floyd Jr, and Oscar de la Hoya. He is well known for teaching defensive techniques. He also has trained Chad Dawson, Laila Ali and Ricky Hatton. He also had successful pro boxing career with 28-6-1 record.
DUANE FORD: A longtime judge in NV and now President of North American Boxing Federation (NABF). Resides in Las Vegas. He judged over 600 fights including some of the biggest bouts in Las Vegas such as Hagler vs Antuofermo 1, De La Hoya vs Mosley 2, Morales vs Barrera 1, Wright vs Mosley 2 and Hopkins vs Taylor 1.
DAN GOOSSEN (Posthumous): President of Goossen-Tudor Promotions, previously President of America Presents and Ten Goose Boxing. He served as VP at Top Rank when he resided in Las Vegas. He promoted the Ruelas Brothers, Michael Nunn, James Toney, Terry Norris, Chris Arreola, Andre Ward and briefly Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. He died 2014
DR. EDWIN “FLIP” HOMANSKY: Ringside physician for more than 20 years. NV State athletic Commissioner, Chairman NSAC Medical Board.
MARC RISMAN: He was the attorney to Joe Louis and has represented many in boxing, including NVBHOF inductees and nominees with legal matters. Also managed Virgil Hill, Trevor Berbick and Engels Pedroza. Marc has always been a huge advocate for the sport of Boxing throughout the community.
Elated Frampton: Top Rank/ESPN Deal Insane
Carl Frampton has heaped praise on MTK Global after securing a colossal deal with US boxing giants Top Rank and ESPN.
Belfast’s two-weight world champion (26-2-KO15) was in New York to watch MTK Global team-mate Michael Conlan beat Ruben Garcia Hernandez on St Patrick’s Day as news broke.
Frampton told iFL TV: “I’ve done a deal through MTK Global with Top Rank and ESPN and it’s massive for me personally. It’s huge and I’m very, very excited for it.
“It’s an amazing deal. Talking financially, if you got this deal coming off the back of win, you’d be very happy with it but coming off a loss, credit to MTK Global.
“I think it’s insane coming off a loss. At one point a few months ago, I was genuinely thinking about retiring.
“It’s been in discussion for a number of weeks and we’ve done well to keep it quiet. There was a little bit of talk about it online but I’ve kept it very quiet.
“It gives me a big opportunity to get back. I believe I can win a world title. There’s more of a chance of that happening now than there was six weeks ago.
“Potentially, I’ll face a good fighter and then potentially Oscar Valdez after that. That’s an option and if I’m asked to fight Valdez straight away, I’d be happy to do that too.”
Frampton, who unified super-bantamweight world titles before dethroning Leo Santa Cruz on his first outing as a featherweight, was defeated by Josh Warrington on points in a classic world title fight back in December.
Banner Promotions Signs Super Middleweight Patrick Mukala to Promotional Contract
Banner Promotions is proud to announce the signing of super middleweight Patrick Mukala to a Promotional Contract.
Mukala of the Democratic Republic of The Congo has a record of 11-1-1 with 10 knockouts.
The 25 year-old Mukala began boxing at the age of 15 after watching a film of the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
“The fight took place in my country (formerly known as Zaire), since seeing seeing that fight, it really motivated me to be the face of boxing in my country, and then the whole world,” said Mukala.
Mukala had an amateur record of 65-5 and he was an eight-time regional champion.
Mukala turned professional on April 28, 2014 with a 1st round stoppage over Vhonani Netshidamboni. Mukala has wins over Page Tshesane (20-4-3), Faizel Malinga (6-1), Renson Hobyani (6-1) and Daniel Lartey (6-0). In the bout with Lartey, Mukala won via 8th round stoppage that garnered him WBA Pan African Super Middleweight Title.
He defended that title twice.
“My country hosted that legendary fight with Ali and Foreman. I believe that wasn’t by chance. For me it is a sign that a Congolese boxer can achieve big things in boxing. I want to say thanks to Banner Promotions to offer me this opportunity to follow my American dream and achieve my ultimate dream to become a world champion.”
“We are very excited to add Patrick to our roster. He is a very exciting young fighter, who has power in both hands. We will announce his first fight with us very shortly,” said Artie Pelullo, President of Banner Promotions.
Mukala is trained by Asheley Fourie, and is managed by Marcel Tshiyoyi.
Boxing Insider’s Boxing Beffudlements – The Heaviest Boxers of All Time’
By: Oliver McManus
Boxing Befuddlements is a new feature on Boxing Insider as we take a look at some of the anomalous extremities of the boxing world. For this, the first part, we discover some of the heaviest boxers to have ever stepped into the ring.
An obvious starting point to this exploration is with, Russian behemoth, Nikolay Valuev who officially tipped the scales over the 300lb mark on 47 occasions over the course of a 16 year career. Debuting at the age of 20, in October 1993, the heavyweight emerged as a relative road warrior throughout his early years; his first ten fights saw him encompass Germany, Russia, Australia, England, Japan and America.
In his 13th contest as a professional Valuev would weigh in at his career heaviest, all of 158kg (348lbs in traditional currency). His opponent, Alarim Usyal, weighed in at 72 kilos later and was, perhaps predictably, flattened in the second round. Future heavyweight world champion Vitali Klitschko would also fight on that show, recording a sixth round stoppage victory.
The Russian’s career only began to bounce into any sort of tangible rhythm with the turn of the new millenium. Crowned as the PABA heavyweight champion, Valuev would defeat Taras Bidenko (at the time in his third pro fight) and began to build some stability. Settling in Germany, in 2003, would be the catalyst for success as Valuev targeted getting himself in a position to fight for the WBA belt.
By the time such an occasion came about, the Russian had built an impregnable forty-four fight winning streak, albeit without much in way of a stiff challenge. Guided by Wilfried Sauerland for the latter part of his career, Valuev claimed the WBA championship with a controversial majority decision over, ageing, John Ruiz. At 147kg (324lbs) Valuev had secured his place as the heaviest heavyweight champion of all time. Subsequent defences came against, equally questionable, Owen Beck, Monte Barrett and Jameel McCline before Ruslan Chagaev defeated the Russian.
Having reclaimed a version of the title he would bow out with a less than glamorous, for either fighter, points loss to David Haye in 2009. The original Beast from the East had already defeated the odds having suffered with acromegaly from an early age – hence his distinctive wide-jawed look. The heaviest champion the sport has ever known but, don’t be fooled, by no means the heaviest man to step foot in a boxing ring.
Wade Bruins can lay claim to that particular honour with the Illinois resident crashing onto the scales at a gigantic 249.5kg (550lbs) for his only professional contest. The 18 year old, yes 18, had his only fight so far on February 2nd this year when he took on Alfredo Cervantes in Davenport, Iowa.
Cervantes, himself 46, had built up a record of 2-4-1 before taking on this particular bout but, bizarrely, his last fight had come just 36 days before Bruins was even born. You really couldn’t make this story up. Annoyingly there is very little information available about Bruins despite my best efforts to dig some up.
The fight itself was quite a laid back affair, fought in the spirit of an exhibition contest, with Cervantes punching upwards in a relaxed fashion. Bruins, the significantly taller man, resembled a less-muscular Eddie Hall (World Strongest Man, 2017) and possessed a quite spectacular chinstrap of a beard.
Indeed the contest was to raise awareness and money for brain cancer with Cervantes’ wife having been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. A worthy cause that provided a surreal four rounds of boxing.
If we begin to add some rules into this, in an attempt to avoid flukes, and stipulate that the boxers in question must have had more than one professional fight then Frank Finnegan is the man in pole position.
Born in Elkton, Maryland in 1966 it was until Finnegan was 34 years old that he made his professional debut. Though his debut weight is officially unrecorded, Ken Hissner reported him as 210.5kg (464lbs) – 91kg (200lbs) heavier than his opponent, Josh Waters. Finnegan recorded a second round stoppage of Waters, four years the older man.
The Animal , an appropriate nickname, would find himself having to go the distance in his next fight, a rematch with Waters, in a contest that was surely a test of his stamina as much as anything. Joking aside, Finnegan’s short career came to an abrupt end less than four months after it all began.
A lonely Tuesday evening in a now-abandoned Kahunaville Night Club – a venue that had seen Bob Dylan, Green Day and Hall and Oates pass through their doors – housed a mere splattering of people as Finnegan edged his way past, debutant, Brian Aro. A majority decision over four rounds with Finnegan weighing in at a career-high 211kg (465lbs).
He retired thereafter in a bid to shed some of that weight although no-one is sure just how he fared with that mission – Finnegan opted to step away from his fifteen minutes of fame. Aged 49 he passed away, on January 21st 2016, having suffered from an apparent heart attack.
Eric Esch is a name etched, or should I say esched, in the memory of many a fight fan having made his mark across a plethora of combat sports. A kickboxer and mixed martial artist between 2003 and 2011, Butterbean , as he is known in legacy, had 91 professional boxing contest with 77 victories – 58 of those coming by way of knockout.
Regularly weighing in between 136kg (300lbs) and 145kg (320lbs), Esch’s weight ballooned as he reached the tail end of his career, his stature was always imposing despite being just 5ft 11 inches. Never with any misconceptions as to his ability, boxing was more about the love and enjoyment as opposed to achieving materialistic glory – the affection afforded to him is one that resonated across the world.
The majority of his contests took place over the course of four rounds, aside from when Esch was brought in as an “away opponent”, and entertainment was always guaranteed with Butterbean in the ring. Perhaps the oddest honour of his career came when he took on, former world champion, Larry Holmes in 2002 – Holmes, 53 at the time, was spuriously knocked down by Esch but was a comfortable victor.
My personal favourite double-heavy heavyweight, however, “Big G” Gabe Brown . The Pensacola heavyweight, who gave as good as he got in a career full of twists and turns, tipped the scales at 166.5kg (367lbs) for his first fight against Saul Montana. Lasting all of 175 seconds, Brown dropped Montana before succumbing to the power of La Cobra , himself.
This brings us nicely to the conclusion of Boxing Insider’s first ‘boxing beffudlements’, a new series designed to provide some light-reading. It really is quite a crazy sport but, as you’ve seen, it is a sport for anyone. Wade Bruin is, as it stands, the heaviest boxer of all time and it looks like he’ll take some beating – well, on the scales anyway.
Joe Smith Jr. Plans to “Outwork” Bivol
By: Sean Crose
“Winning a World title would mean everything to me,” light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr says. “It’s everything I have worked towards my whole life. I cannot even express how I will feel when I win this title.” Smith, who will be facing WBA World Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol this Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, is aiming to grasp the holy grail of the professional boxer – a world title belt. “Dmitry is a great fighter,” Smith says of defending champ, Bivol, “very busy and active. My plan is to stay just as active and be busier than him, to outwork him. I plan to punch when he punches and make it a great fight.”
Smith made his mark by knocking out Bernard Hopkins in the great fighter’s final match back in December of 2016. In his next fight, however, Smith was bested by Sullivan Barrera via unanimous decision in July of 2017. Smith came back by knocking out Melvin Russel in June of last year. “The fans are in for a great show on Saturday,” Smith says.“They will see a new and improved Joe Smith Jr., the new Light-Heavyweight champion of the world.” As for Bivol, his last fight was a UD win over popular veteran, and former world champion, Jean Pascal last November in Atlantic City.
The Bivol-Smith battle will be broadcast live on the DAZN streaming service, and will be presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Matchroom Boxing. “I would like to thank Joe DeGuardia, Star Boxing, DAZN and Matchroom for this opportunity,” says Smith. “I am looking forward to raising that belt, and finally reaching my dream of becoming a World champion.” Although the 24-2 Long Island native is going to have his hands full against the undefeated, 15-0, Bivol, he would insert himself into the heart of the highly competitive light heavyweight division should he once again score a considerable upset.
“Smith Jr’s clash with Bivol is part of a huge night of action at Turning Stone Resort Casino,” Matchroom Boxing states, “with a second mouthwatering World title fight on the bill in the shape of Maurice Hooker (25-0-3 17 KOs) defending his WBO World Super-Lightweight title against Brooklyn’s Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1 10KOs).” Saturday will represent the 29 year old Smith’s first shot at a world title, though he’s fought for, and held the World Boxing Council International Light Heavyweight Title.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Crawford, Khan, Stevenson, Vazquez, Bivol, Smith, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 26th to March 5th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Crawford vs. Khan Undercard Announced, to Feature Lopez, Stevenson, and Verdejo
Before pound-for-pound king Terence “Bud” Crawford enters the ring to defend his WBO welterweight world title against Amir “King” Khan, a pair of 21-year-old wunderkinds — Teofimo Lopez and Shakur Stevenson — will look to steal the show in their respective co-feature bouts on ESPN PPV Saturday, April 20 at Madison Square Garden.
Stevenson, the 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, will tangle with former 130-pound world title challenger Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz in a 10-round featherweight bout. Lopez, the consensus 2018 Prospect of the Year and top lightweight contender, will face two-time European lightweight champion and former world title challenger Edis Tatli in a 10-rounder. Tatli is ranked No. 3 by the IBF and No. 10 by the WBC.
And, in a special attraction that will open the broadcast, Puerto Rican star Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo will fight former two-time interim super featherweight world champion Bryan Vasquez in a 10-round lightweight bout that will thrust the winner into the world title picture.
Tickets priced at $606, $406, $306, $206, $106, $81, and $56 (including facility fees) are on sale now and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.msg.com.
Details on how fans will be able to access the pay-per-view broadcast, which will begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, will be announced at a later date.
The entire undercard will stream live beginning at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+, 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.
“This terrific undercard accompanying the Crawford-Khan main event will be extremely entertaining and exciting,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Shakur Stevenson and Teofimo Lopez are two of the brightest young lights in boxing and are facing seasoned opponents in Diaz and Tatli. Felix Verdejo is on the comeback trail, and Bryan Vasquez is a tough veteran who won’t give in.”
Lopez (12-0, 10 KOs) catapulted from prospect to contender in 2018 and early 2019 with a slew of headline-grabbing wins, including sensational knockout victories over Mason Menard and Diego Magdaleno in his last two fights. A 2016 Olympian for his parents’ native Honduras, the Brooklyn-born puncher last fought at Madison Square Garden’s big arena on May 12 of last year, punctuating his first-round knockout of Vitor Jones Freitas with a Fortnite dance that went viral. Tatli (31-2, 10 KOs) has never been stopped as a pro and has wins over current European lightweight champion Francesco Patera, top contender Yvan Mendy and former 130-pound world champion Mzonke Fana. A celebrity in his native Finland, Tatli recently took home the first prize on “Tanssii tähtien kanss,” the Finnish version of the popular BBC program, “Strictly Come Dancing.”
“Every time I fight in my hometown, I take over the show, and that’s what I plan on doing again,” Lopez said. “This is the year I become a world champion, and whoever stands in my way is going to get knocked out. If you think you’ve seen the best version of Teofimo Lopez, think again. The Takeover is coming to Madison Square Garden and ESPN pay-per-view.
“One thing I know for sure: Tatli will be dancing with the real star of The Takeover on April 20. This ain’t reality TV. This is a real fight.”
“This is a great matchup, and I can’t wait to get the job done,” Tatli said. “Lopez is a skilled fighter, and he is in for a real treat on April 20. My goal has been clear for a long time — to win a world title — and Lopez is not going to stop me reaching it.”
Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs) followed up a 5-0 campaign in 2018 with a spectacular fourth-round TKO over Jessie Cris Rosales on Jan. 18 in Verona, N.Y. A native of Newark, N.J. — a short train ride from Madison Square Garden — Stevenson hopes to move closer to a world title opportunity in front of his home fans. Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs), from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, moved down to featherweight following his July 2018 decision loss to Masayuki Ito for the vacant WBO junior lightweight world title. He knocked out David Berna in the first round on Nov. 24 to set up the Stevenson showdown.
“Newark is going to be in the building on April 20 as I show Christopher Diaz what I’m all about,” Stevenson said. “After I get done with him, Diaz will wish he’d stayed at 130 pounds. Soon enough, the featherweight division is going to run through me.”
“I feel super motivated and focused as always for another big fight in another big event,” Diaz said. “I like these kinds of challenges. I’m fighting against a silver medalist of the 2016 Rio Olympics who is also a great prospect with a lot of potential. He needs to demonstrate that he has what nobody can teach him. He needs to show that he has heart and gallantry. We’ll see on April 20 when he faces his first real tough test. I will come prepared as I always do. On that night, he will understand that you can’t teach cojones and that I was born with very big ones.”
Verdejo (24-1, 16 KOs), a former amateur superstar for his native Puerto Rico, hopes to graduate to contender status with a victory over Vasquez. He suffered his first loss last March via 10th-round stoppage to Antonio Lozada Jr. in a fight he was leading. Verdejo was victorious in his comeback bout on Nov. 10 in Puerto Rico, knocking out Yardley Armenta Cruz in the second round. Vasquez (37-3, 20 KOs) has won two in a row since a tight majority decision loss to Ray Beltran in August 2017.
“I’m going into this new challenge ready to demonstrate my skills against a world-class fighter,” Verdejo said. “I hope that this fight will open the doors to big fights. I want to bring a world championship to Puerto Rico, and this is the year.”
“In order for me to lose to Verdejo, he’s going to have to kill me,” Vasquez said. “In order for him to kill me, he’s going to have to be willing to die with me. And he’s already shown that he’s not willing to die in there.”
Use the hashtag #CrawfordKhan to join the conversation on social media.
Bivol: I Know Smith Will Come and Fight
DMITRY BIVOL knows that JOE SMITH JR. is coming to rip his title away from him – and the WBA World Light-Heavyweight king says that will make for a great fight when he defends his belt at TURNING STONE RESORT & CASINO in Verona, NY on Saturday March 9, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW PRICED FROM $49 VIA TICKETMASTER.COM
Bivol (15-0 11 KOs) puts his strap on the line for the fifth time and it’s been smooth sailing since he destroyed Trent Broadhurst inside a round in his first defense in November 2017.
The Russian has put Sullivan Barrera, Isaac Chilemba and Jean Pascal to the sword since that win in Monaco, and now the hard-hitting Russian goes head to head with Smith Jr (24-2 20KOs).
The Long Island man fights for his first World title against Bivol, and the 29 year old has vowed to pour everything out of himself to land the crown – and the defending champ believes that their styles will gel for a great clash.
“He’s a strong guy,” said Bivol. “I saw his fight against Bernard Hopkins, and he’s really strong. He has the same age like me, he’s young. But he has some minus points like many fighters that I will use to my advantage for my win. He moves forward a lot. This is a good challenge for me, to stop him.”
“I saw in his eyes when I met him, he wanted my belt. And I’m glad, because only that way it can make a good fight.”
“We are both of different styles. When two guys meet in the ring with different styles in boxing, it usually makes a good fight. I think it will be a good fight for boxing fans.”
“To be honest, I don’t think about the belt. I just think about who my opponent is, and what he can show me in the ring. All I think about is how I should beat him. In my sight, I feel like I should just beat him. Of course, the belt is good for history, but I only think about my opponent.”
Bivol’s clash with Smith Jr. is part of a huge night of action at Turning Stone Resort Casino with a second mouthwatering World title fight on the bill in the shape of Maurice Hooker (25-0-3 17 KOs) defending his WBO World Super-Lightweight title against Brooklyn’s Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1 10KOs).
Callum Johnson (17-1-0 12KOs) and Sean Monaghan (29-2-0 17KOs) will both have a keen eye on Bivol’s clash as they battle in a crunch fight in the 175lbs division, World-ranked heavyweight contender Sergey Kuzmin, (14-0 11 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Russia will battle Philadelphia based veteran Joey Dawejko, (19-6-4 11 KOs) and Otha Jones III makes his pro debut on the card.
DraftKings Delivers Knockout Gaming Experience in Collaboration with Showtime Sports
DraftKings Inc. and SHOWTIME Sports today announced a collaboration that will combine forces to immerse boxing fans in the sport they love through a custom Pick ‘Em style game exclusive to SHOWTIME Sports that debuts with this Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event on March 2nd.
This new Pick ‘Em style game asks players to choose the winner of each televised fight, determine the method of victory and predict when the bout will end for all SHOWTIME boxing events including SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®, ShoBox: The New Generation®, SHOWTIME Boxing: Special Edition and SHOWTIME PPV®. Players will be awarded points based on the number of correct predictions in each boxing match. Prizing for individual fight cards includes $5,000 in winnings with each of the top-five finalists receiving a SHOWTIME Boxing prize pack. Additionally, the overall 2019 Pick ‘Em winner will be awarded a free trip to every 2020 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® event.
To view and play the DraftKings and SHOWTIME Sports Pick ‘Em game please visit www.draftkings.com/showtime
“Our alignment with SHOWTIME Sports is another prime example of our endless efforts to innovate and satisfy our customers with the most comprehensive sports offerings possible,” said Ezra Kucharz, Chief Business Officer at DraftKings. “Boxing draws edge-of-the-seat fans with incredible passion and engagement with the sport, and this collaboration will further our ability to best connect with our burgeoning player community.”
“This unique collaboration with DraftKings delivers an entertaining companion experience for viewers and provides a year-long connection to all SHOWTIME boxing events,” said Stephen Espinoza, President Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “We’re excited to align with a leading sports-tech entertainment brand in the U.S. as SHOWTIME Sports continues to deliver fresh and innovative ways for fans to enjoy the best that boxing has to offer.”
Boxing is among the most storied and popular sports in the world with a passionate fan base, both domestically and internationally. Viewership trends for televised combat sports spectacles have been consistently impressive in recent years, with boxing accounting for the top selling pay-per-view television events in history. To serve this large and growing fanbase, DraftKings and SHOWTIME Sports are reshaping the fan sports entertainment experience through a creative collaboration, which will include custom fantasy games and other gaming innovations.
This Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event will be the first opportunity for fans to play this Pick ‘Em style game. Saturday’s three-fight telecast is headlined by former world champion Erislandy Lara challenging undefeated WBA Super Welterweight Champion Brian Castaño plus the return of heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz.
Damien Vazquez Training Camp Quotes
Unbeaten bantamweight Damien Vazquez will take on the toughest test of his career in former world champion Juan Carlos Payano in Premier Boxing Champions Prelims on FS1 this Saturday from Dignity Health Sports Park, formerly StubHub Center, in Carson, California.
Prelims begin at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and lead into a PBC on FOX and FOX Deportes show that’s headlined by WBC Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter making his first title defense in primetime against mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at AXS.com.
Here is what Vazquez, who is the younger brother of former three-time world champion Israel Vazquez, had to say about training, his matchup and more:
On his recent training camp:
“I’ve had a phenomenal training camp going into this fight. Bones Adams and Joel Casamayor are two of the best boxing minds in the sport. I’m soaking up everything they’re showing me. I’ve also been sparring with Isaac ‘Canelito’ Avelar, a big strong featherweight who brings it every day. I’m confident and victory is on my mind.”
On his upcoming matchup with Payano:
“This is a big step up for me. Payano is a former world champion who is very dangerous, but I’m confident in myself, in my talent, and I’m going to leave everything in the ring. After March 9, the world will know who I am and what I’m about. There is no doubt in my mind, I’m coming out on top!”
On making his nationally televised debut on FS1:
“Fighting on FS1 is going to be a huge blessing for my career, because the whole world will be able to watch me perform. I’m very grateful for this opportunity. Boxing fans tuning in will see two warriors going for the kill.”
On what a victory will do for his career:
“Beating a former world champion like Payano will get me closer to that world title shot I’m seeking. I’m the future of the bantamweight division and it’s my time to shine.”
Boxing Insider Interview with Luther Clay
By: Oliver McManus
Caught up in the bizarrely busy Thursday afternoon traffic, a relaxed voice emerged. Luther Clay, talking via handsfree I hasten to add, came across as a content and serene individual throughout the 40-odd minutes we spoke. He started by telling me the simple stuff, as every boxer does, of when he first laced up the gloves. The word ‘simple’ is to be used loosely in this instance, Clay doesn’t do anything by half measures.
“I was born in South Africa, a sort of farming area of the country, but I moved to England when I was six, seven years old. All my family is in Africa, in England it’s just my dad, my mum, my sister and I. You’ve probably heard it a lot but I used to get into a fights a fair bit at school but I didn’t really start boxing until I was 15. Had eleven amatuer fights in three years before I stopped and went to university. I was studying computer, web and app development, but I never really wanted to end up in that industry.
To be honest I only really went to university because of my parents. They didn’t force it on me, don’t get me wrong, but they really wanted me to go, no-one in my family had been yet, and I didn’t fancy a full time job. I’ve always loved boxing and when I got there I ended up getting roped back in.”
A key figure that “roped” Luther back in to the sport was Al Siesta who, alongside Gennadi Gordienko (a Russian trainer) were influential to Clay turning professional. A machiavellian figure, almost, Siesta always strikes me as someone with the demeanour of a Bond villain but I was reassured he’s not part-timing as a criminal mastermind,
“I get that but he’s a nice guy, really, very talkative and raw, I’d say, what he says is what you get. He’s a genuine character who’s always very hands on, I see him a couple of times a week and he’s always coming in the gym to see us training. He likes to see what’s happening but it’s not just boxing, he’s interested in you as a person.”
Since the fateful linkup with Siesta there have been a number of opportunities provided by his promotional company. The welterweight, aged 20 at the time, debuted in Latvia on a show headlined by Mairis Briedis. Subsequently he’s fought away in Lithuania, Georgia and twice more in Latvia and it’s something that Clay told me he was loving,
“I’m really laid back about it all, to be honest, a fight is a fight as far as I see and the boxing ring will be the same wherever I am. From there it’s just my job to go in and win the fight. I prefer fighting in those countries, if I’m honest, my personal goal is to fight in South Africa one day but I will fight anywhere that Al wants me to. I’ve received a lot offers, especially from Fox, to fight in South Africa so the opportunity has been there but it has to align with Al’s plan. Realistically we’re looking at next year but it will happen.”
With a fight in South Africa being the only definitive long term goal, titles aside, the Bracknell fighter is fully focussed on his next contest. On March 17th he’ll face O’Shane Clarke, a fighter he knows well.
“I know O’Shane, I know him. He’s from Reading and he was always more advanced than me – he’s a couple years older – and he was a good amatuer. I’ve seen him sparring people at my gym and over the last year and a half we’ve done a couple rounds so I think I know what to expect from him. He’ll probably use the whole of the ring, try to survive, and take me to a decision but I’m confident I’ll beat him. Apparently this fight is an eliminator for the Commonwealth title so that’s a title I’ll be eyeing up for the near future.”
Whilst speaking to Luther he seemed to be really reflective about his time in the sport, speaking with honesty even if it went against the general norm of opinion for a professional boxer. It was interesting to just sit back and listen to him discussing, with himself, what he would like to get from the sport,
“I think, and I know it’s just hypothetical, I’d be in the sport until I’m 35. It seems a long time but it’s really not, it all depends on how good I get though. If I saw, in myself, that I couldn’t achieve a certain level in the sport – let’s say British or European – then I wouldn’t continue. I’m not in this to just be here, be a gatekeeper. I love a fight but I want to be at a certain level so I can be satisfied with myself and my career. If I can’t reach that level then I’d rather just go and get a job.
“Boxing is crazy, you see people who have won world titles and aren’t in the best position in life. The ultimate dream is to win world titles but just to have a successful life, outside of boxing, would be the goal. To be able to leave the sport and be in a good position. This is out of nowhere but look at Dave Allen, he might never be a world championship boxer, but he’s got houses and he’s in a reasonable financial position. You want world titles but you want to be successful. Fuck, though, I want belts. Life has a way of giving you some stuff and taking some away – James Toney has done in a lot in his career, an all time great right, but now he’s basically bankrupt.”
The 23 year old was confident in his ability to mix at a domestic level, welcoming potential fights with fellow prospects, but was pragmatic when discussing his progression.
“I’d happily take any fight as long as the risk-reward ratio was worth it. Right now I’m still in my learning period of the sport but in the next 12 months you never know what can happen, there are fights out there that I know I could win but it’s about taking it at a time that benefits me the most. It’s all about the opportunities that are provided to me, it doesn’t matter what route I take to the titles because the end destination is the same. People ask me if I wish I had a ‘big promoter’ as in Eddie or Frank but that’s irrelevant, the doors are there but you’ve got to be ready and I’m not going to take a fight I’m not ready for. You can’t chuck yourself in a position that you’re not ready for and I’m realistic about that, this year I will be ready, trust me, I will be ready, towards the end of the year I want to be knocking on the door of that British title.”
Looking to move 11-1 on the 17th – a sole loss that came in Georgia but one, Clay confesses, has made little impact on his mentality – the truly fascinating character ended our conversation by discussing exposure and building a profile.
“When I had just started it really annoyed me that people would overrate guys like Conor Benn so much just because of the name and the platform. As I’ve been progressing through and I look at the names I’m next to in the rankings I just think “man, I shouldn’t be worried about him, let me worry about getting these guys out of the way”. I think so many boxers like to focus on what other people do so I’m just trying to concentrate on myself and seeing where that path leads. I know and my team know my ability but let’s not get hung up on fights that might never happen, let’s focus on the ones in front of us. Keep on winning and these fights will have to happen, it’s as simple as that, and then the talking can stop.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Jacobs, Lara, Rungvisai, Estrada, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 19th to February 26th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Tickets on Sale for Canelo vs. Jacobs
Tickets for the highly anticipated 12-round unification fight between Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs), WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion, and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs), IBF Middleweight World Champion,will go on sale this Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 10:00 a.m. PST. The champion-vs.-champion event will take place Saturday, May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Tickets for Canelo vs. Jacobs are priced at $2,505, $1,505, $1,205, $805, $605, $405, $305, $205 and $105, not including applicable service charges and taxes. There will be a limit of 10 per person at the $2,505, $1,505, $1,205, $805, $605, $405, and $305 price levels with a limit of two (2) per person at the $205 and $105 price levels. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849). Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.t-mobilearena.com or www.axs.com.
To purchase tickets during the pre-sale, subscribe to our newsletter by going on www.goldenboypromotions.com and clicking VIP Connect or by following us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at @GoldenBoyBoxing.
Canelo vs. Jacobs is a 12-round fight for the WBC, WBA, Lineal, Ring Magazine and IBF Middleweight World Titles presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Matchroom Boxing. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event will take place Saturday, May 4, 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Erislandy Lara Training Camp Quotes
Former super welterweight world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara will look to reclaim a piece of the 154-pound crown when he challenges WBA champion Brian Castaño on Saturday, March 2 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
“Brian Castaño is coming into this fight with an undefeated record, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before,” said Lara. “This will be my third fight in a row versus an undefeated fighter. I’m taking this very seriously. Stylistically, I feel I’m the superior fighter, but he’s a very strong champion. I will be prepared to take back a title in this great division, then look to the biggest fights that are out there.”
One of the big fights that could be out there for Lara is a rematch with unified 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd. Lara dropped a split-decision to Hurd in a unification showdown on SHOWTIME that was the consensus 2018 “Fight of the Year”, having been recognized by the BWAA, ESPN and Sporting News, amongst others.
“The fight against Hurd was a great fight for the fans, but I felt I won seven or eight rounds that night,” said Lara. “To be on the wrong end of another close decision left a bad taste in my mouth. That fight being recognized as ‘Fight of the Year’ shows my versatility as a fighter. I was on the ballot before with Alfredo Angulo, so it was good to get recognized for being a warrior, not only a craftsman. I will always give the fans my all and come March 2, it will be no different.”
Lara is continuing to to work with longtime trainer Ronnie Shields in Houston, where Lara has prepared for his matchup with sparring that includes going up against top prospects in 18-year-old Joey Spencer and 24-year-old Eimantas Stanionis.
“Ronnie and I are working great together, and we have an excellent game plan in place.,” said Lara. “This is one of the better camps I’ve had the last few years. Having young fighters like Spencer and Stanionis in camp with me is refreshing because I know they are hungry. When we spar, I feed off their energy, because I know they are trying to take take their game to the next level, which makes me better. This is a demanding sport and they are definitely pushing me.”
March 2 also gives Lara a chance to share the stage with another one of Cuba’s best fighters, as Luis Ortiz is set to take on Christian Hammer in the co-main event, making the night a celebration of Cuban boxing.
“Luis Ortiz and I go way back and I’m happy that my brother is fighting on the same card as me,” said Lara. “We’ve gone through a lot since leaving Cuba to pursue our dreams of becoming world champions here in the U.S. Like myself, I know he’s going to be ready to entertain the fans on fight night and make this a memorable night for Cuban boxing!”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions in association with DiBella Entertainment, are on sale now and 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. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Rungvisai vs. Estrada and Roman vs. Doheny Top LA Blockbuster
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada will meet in a rematch for the WBC and Ring magazine Super-Flyweight titles and WBA and IBF Super-Bantamweight World Champions Daniel Roman and TJ Doheny clash in a unification battle on a blockbuster night of action at The Forum, Los Angeles on Friday April 26, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.
Rungvisai (47-4-1 41KOs) and Estrada (38-3 26KOs) clashed at the LA venue in February 2018 and delivered a memorable all-action affair that saw Rungvisai defeat Estrada by Majority Decision to retain his WBC Super-Flyweight title.
Pound for pound Thai star Rungvisai, who recently penned a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA, successfully defended his title for the third time in October on home turf against Iran Diaz, while Mexican ace Estrada enters the bout on the back of wins over Felipe Orucata at The Forum in September and Victor Mendez in Carson, California in December.
“I am extremely excited and honored to be back fighting in the US again,” said Rungvisai. “Estrada is a great fighter, and we had an amazing fight last year. Our round 12 was awarded Round of the Year by WBC. That is an evidence of how entertaining the previous fight was.
“I believe that this fight on April 26 will be even more entertaining. I am training extremely hard in Thailand. And I am confident I will be the winner on April 26th.
“Thank you to Matchroom Boxing and DAZN for this amazing opportunity, it’s such a great honor to be fighting for them. I also would like to thank WBC, NKL Team, and 360 Promotions for making this possible. I can’t wait to give a great fight to all the fans on April 26th!”
Roman (26-2-1 10KOs) and Doheny (21-0 15KOs) clash in a unification bout that is certain to entertain. Roman was one of the standout fighters of 2018, winning a wide points decision in the first defense of his WBA crown in Japan over Ryo Matsumoto in February and followed that with another authoritative points triumph over Moises Flores in Frisco, Dallas in June.
The LA man then punctuated his year’s work by stopping Brit challenger Gavin McDonnell in the tenth round of their clash on the first American boxing bill live on DAZN in October, and now looks to make a flying start to 2019 against IBF king Doheny.
Doheny’s path has echoes of his opponents as like Roman, the Australian-based Irishman travelled to Japan to land his first World title when he took the strap from Ryosuke Iwasa in Tokyo in August.
The unbeaten 32 year old signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA in January and swiftly made his first defense in New York against Ryohei Takahashi, stopping the Japanese in the 11th round at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, with Roman watching in the crowd.
“This is the biggest and most important fight of my career,” Roman said. “I haven’t been shy about wanting to unifying the division. This is the fight that I’ve been asking for since I became a World Champion. I need to deliver on my goal of becoming the best and a win against another World Champion puts me in that conversation.
“It will be a new experience for me because I’m not fighting a challenger, I’m fighting another belt holder. It’s exciting in a lot of ways. I’ll be at my best because I’m planning to add another title on April 26.
“It feels pretty damn good to fight in front of my hometown fans. My last five fights have been away from home, but I don’t feel any added pressure in this homecoming of sorts. I know I have a job to do. Nothing is easy at this point. It’s going to be a heck of a fight. Two World Champions fighting for control of the division. What more could you want?”
“Danny is one of those rare boxers that is motivated and committed to fighting the very best,” said Ken Thompson, President, Thompson Boxing Promotions. “He understands the risks that he is taking, but that’s what drives him. Against Doheny, he gets to show the world what he’s made of. It will be a tough fight, but one that Danny is more than capable of winning. We expect him to fight his fight and come out with another win and another World title.”
“This was my ideal scenario,” said Doheny. “Get the voluntary defence out of the way, then go straight into the unification, so great work from my team, and Eddie Hearn with Matchroom Boxing USA for getting this fight on. It’s unbelievable, it would mean the World to me. It’s just another boxed ticked, after I won the World title, the next goal was to become a unified Champion. I’m looking forward to achieving that.
“We met in the ring after the fight in New York, and there was a lot of respect for each other. That’s the way it should be. We’re two World class fighters, two World Champions in the division. A fight like this doesn’t need any false hype, I think that when you’ve got two World class fighters like this that’s enough of a selling point for a high-calibre fight like this
“Danny’s a great fighter, he adds a lot of pressure, he’s a great puncher, great punch selection, he’s got it all really. It’s going to be a great fight between us, and I won’t be surprised if the fans get to see a bit of a war. Fighting Danny in his home city, that doesn’t bother me. I’ve been fighting on the road my whole career, so it will be no different to me. It’s me and him in the ring, and it’s going to be all action.”
A stacked card in support of the huge World title double-header is led by Jessie Vargas’ move to 154lbs. The Las Vegas-based LA man (28-2-2 10KOs) headlined the aforementioned Chicago show in an entertaining clash with Thomas Dulorme, a draw the outcome after 12 pulsating rounds for the WBC Silver Welterweight title, where a last round knockdown cost Vargas the win.
The 29 year old will start the journey on becoming a three-weight World Champion on April 26 and will have a new but familiar face in his corner with the bout marking his first fight under hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach.
Roach will be a busy man on the night, with former Super-Bantamweight World Champion Scott Quigg returning to action. The English star (35-2-2 26KOs) returned to winning ways in Boston in October with a spiteful second round stoppage of Mario Briones, and will be on familiar ground in LA where he trains with Roach and shared a bruising fast-paced battle with WBO Featherweight ruler Oscar Valdez last March.
Unbeaten Super-Middleweight talent Anthony Sims Jr is set for a breakout year and will fight for his first title on the bill. Sims (17-0 16 KOs), who is in action in Peterborough, England on Saturday night live on DAZN and Sky Sports, clocked three stoppage wins in the second half of 2018, and will look to convert that momentum in style in first the UK and then in LA.
Shakhram Giyasov (7-0 6KOs) and Diego Pacheco (2-0 1KO) landed wins in Tijuana, Mexico this weekend and will fight on the bill, while Eddie Hearn’s latest addition to his blossoming stable of young USA talents, Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams, will make his pro debut on the card.
“I’m proud to announce this huge card for our first show in LA,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Rungvisai vs. Estrada was one of the fights of the year in 2018 and fans can expect another war on April 26 for the WBC and Ring Magazine World titles.
“LA’s Danny Roman attempts to unify the division against IBF champ TJ Doheny and two division World Champion Jessie Vargas returns under his new trainer Freddie Roach as he begins his quest to win World titles in three different weight classes.
“Former World champ Scott Quigg returns to LA after his war with Oscar Valdez and unbeaten Super Middleweight star Anthony Sims Jr challenges for his first title. This is one of the cards of 2019 to date and fight fans can expect a wonderful show at the Forum and live on DAZN and Sky Sports.”
An announcement on ticket details will be made at the launch press conference in LA next Tuesday.
Ray Ximenez, Jr. Headlines His First RJJ Boxing Show Against Alberto Lopez for WBO International Featherweight Title
Texas prospect Ray “Valentino” Ximenez, Jr. will make his Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions debut this Thursday night, headlining a card live-streamed on UFC FIGHT PASS®, from the Event Center at Legends Casino Hotel in Toppenish, Washington.
The 26-year-old Ximenez, fighting out of Dallas, takes on dangerous Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez (16-1, 8 KOs), in the 10-round main event for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) International Featherweight Championship.
Ximenez vs. Lopez will headline a card to be streamed live on UFC FIGHT PASS, starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. The show is the third under a new agreement between RJJ Boxing, and FIGHT PASS, to live stream up to 72 professional boxing events over the next three years.
Ximenez (18-1, 4 KOs), who has won his last five fights in a row, was a decorated amateur boxer with a sterling 120-9 career record.
A former Texas State featherweight champion, Ximenez won a 10-round unanimous decision in his most recent fight, last June against 111-fight veteran German Meraz.
“It feels great fighting for RJJ Boxing and for a title,” Ximenez said. “I feel like I’m finally getting what I deserve in my career. Winning this fight will set me up for bigger and better things to where my family won’t have to worry about anything. It will mean all the time and hard work I put in and out of the gym will be paying off.”
Riding a four-fight win streak, including a 10-round unanimous decision last October over 10-1 Christian Bielma, Lopez will fight outside of his native Mexico for the first time during his 3-1/2-year pro career.
“I know he (Lopez) he leaves himself open a lot,” Ximenez added. “I will be able to control the fight the way I want it to go.”
Also scheduled to fight on the card, all in four-round matches, are OR light heavyweight John Peak (3-0, 1 KO) vs. Tacoma, WA’s Juan Jackson (1-0), Kent, WA junior welterweight Shae Green (3-0-1, 1 KO) vs. Medford, OR’s Gerardo Esquivel (0-1), Fairbanks, AK light heavyweight Taylor Shirley (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Vancouver, WA”s Luis Iniguez (1-1-1), Roman Avetisyan (7-0. 5 KOs) vs. Antonio Neal (4-0, 3 KOs), of Granger, CA, in a battle of unbeaten prospects, and Bonney Lake, and Pasco, WA light heavyweight Roman Avetisyan (0-1) vs. Moldova-native Alex Cazac (0-2), fighting out of Portland, OR,
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ali, Peterson, Lipinets, Eyubov, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 5th to February 12th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Muhammad Ali Enterprises LLC Photo By: Ken Regan
Muhammad Ali: Two-Part Television Event Debuts Tuesday, May 14th on HBO
The two-part HBO Sports documentary WHAT’S MY NAME | MUHAMMAD ALI, chronicling the extraordinary life of one of the 20th century’s most iconic figures, debuts TUESDAY, MAY 14 (8:00-10:40 p.m. ET/PT), with both chapters airing back-to-back in a special television event, it was announced today by Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and CINEMAX Programming, and Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports.
The documentary will also be available on HBO GO, HBO NOW, HBO on Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.
WHAT’S MY NAME | MUHAMMAD ALI is the first feature-length HBO production from SpringHill Entertainment, with LeBron James and Maverick Carter serving as executive producers, and is directed and executive produced by acclaimed feature-film director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “Southpaw,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Equalizer” franchise). Exploring Ali’s challenges, confrontations, comebacks and triumphs through recordings of his own voice, it paints an intimate portrait of a man who was a beacon of hope for oppressed people around the world and, in his later years, was recognized as a global citizen and a symbol of humanity and understanding.
In addition to relying on Ali himself to guide viewers through his remarkable journey, WHAT’S MY NAME | MUHAMMAD ALI features archival footage, some of it previously unseen.
The production team features executive producer Bill Gerber, a producer of the current Best Picture Oscar® nominee “A Star Is Born,” and executive producer Glen Zipper, creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed docu-series, “Dogs,” a producer of the Oscar®-winning documentary “Undefeated” and an executive producer of HBO’s 2018 multi-part documentary “Elvis Presley: The Searcher.” The film is produced by Sean Stuart, whose HBO and CINEMAX credits include “Eagle of Death Metal: Nos Amis” and “Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus.” Paul Wachter and Jamie Salter are executive producers and Kat Samick of Fuqua Films is co-executive producer
“Muhammad Ali transcended sports in a way the world had never seen before,” says LeBron James. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to tell his incredible and important story for the coming generations. He showed us all the courage and conviction it takes to stand up for what you believe in. He changed forever what we expect a champion to be, and I’m grateful that SpringHill gets to be a part of continuing his legacy.”
“Muhammad Ali had a deep impact on me from an early age,” observes Antoine Fuqua. “Being given the opportunity to tell his story, both inside and outside the ring, is a privilege and a dream come true.”
“Muhammad Ali is indisputably one of the most iconic and distinctive figures in the history of sports,” says HBO’s Kary Antholis. “His impact resonates far beyond the boxing ring and is woven deep into the cultural and social tapestry of the second half of the 20th century. His personality, his voice, his message and his legacy all endure as an important element of American history. From the moment LeBron James told us of his deep visceral connection to Ali’s life and legacy, we were committed to helping him and Antoine Fuqua realize this film about one man’s incredible journey and the impact he had upon the world.”
Lonnie Ali, who was married to Muhammad Ali for the final 30 years of his life, adds, “We are at a time in American history when we look to a new generation of heroes like LeBron James to carry on Muhammad’s legacy, not only by remembering Muhammad, as is done so eloquently in this documentary, but also through their own words and deeds. I’m grateful to LeBron, Maverick Carter, SpringHill Entertainment and HBO for advancing the ideals that Muhammad believed in and fought for throughout his life.”
WHAT’S MY NAME | MUHAMMAD ALI is produced with the cooperation of the Muhammad Ali family estate and Jamie Salter, founder, chairman and CEO of Authentic Brands Group, which has been active in preserving the Ali legacy and brand.
“As proud guardians of Muhammad Ali’s legacy, we are dedicated to preserving and upholding his core principles, and HBO’s production of WHAT’S MY NAME | MUHAMMAD ALI provides audiences around the world with an intimate connection to this global icon,” says Jamie Salter.
The HBO Sports presentation is a Sutter Road Picture Company Production in association with Fuqua Films and SpringHill Entertainment; executive producers, LeBron James, Antoine Fuqua, Maverick Carter, Paul Wachter, Bill Gerber, Jamie Salter and Glen Zipper; directed by Antoine Fuqua; produced by Sean Stuart; co-executive producer, Kat Samick; written by Steven Leckart; edited by Jake Pushinsky.
Lamont Peterson to Take on Sergey Lipinets on March 24th on FS1
Two-division world champion Lamont Peterson takes on former junior welterweight world champion Sergey Lipinets in a 12-round welterweight match that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes on Sunday, March 24 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
Coverage on FS1 and FOX Deportes begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features Anthony Peterson, Lamont’s brother, battling former junior lightweight world champion Argenis Mendez in a 10-round junior welterweight bout that serves as the co-main event.
The Peterson brothers are an inspirational duo that rose from poverty and homelessness in Washington D.C. as children to become professional boxers and reach an elite level in the sport. They will be fighting as the main and co-main event in nationally televised bouts for the first time since 2006 and will look to put on a show for fans just outside of their hometown.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and HeadBangers Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.mgmnationalharbor.com/.
“Lamont Peterson vs. Sergey Lipinets is a classic 50-50 matchup that is sure to include drama, action and intrigue,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Lipinets is looking to conquer a second division after winning a 140-pound title, while Peterson is out to show he’s still amongst the welterweight elite. Peterson will be joined by his brother, Anthony Peterson, for a true homecoming event featuring two of Washington D.C.’s most popular fighters. Anthony will have a tall task in former champion Argenis Mendez, and it should all equal to a great night at MGM National Harbor and on FS1 and FOX Deportes.”
“I’m looking forward to the return of the Peterson brothers to the ring,” said famed trainer Barry Hunter, who has mentored and coached the Petersons since they were kids. “It’s always nice to be fighting at home in the DMV and I’m truly looking forward to a big 2019 for us.”
Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) has battled some of the top names in the sport at 140 and 147-pounds in climbing through the ranks and winning titles in both divisions while facing the likes of Victor Ortiz, Timothy Bradley, Jr., Amir Khan, Kendall Holt, Lucas Matthysse, Danny Garcia and Errol Spence, Jr. The 35-year-old from Washington D.C. won the IBF and WBA 140-pound titles with a split decision victory over Khan in 2011 and won the welterweight championship with a unanimous decision over David Avanesyan in 2017. Peterson is looking to rebound from a loss to Spence in a welterweight title fight last January.
“I’m happy to be doing what I love and that is fighting,” said Lamont Peterson. “I’m really excited about having the chance to fight at home once again and also on FS1 and FOX Deportes for the first time. I plan on giving fans on TV and in the arena the show they came to see.”
Lipinets (14-1, 10 KOs) has moved up to the welterweight division after previously becoming a world champion at 140 pounds. The 29-year-old, who is from Kazakhstan, grew up in Russia and now lives in Beverly Hills, California, picked up the IBF super lightweight world title with a unanimous decision victory over Akihiro Kondo in 2017. He lost the title by decision to Mikey Garcia last March and rebounded to defeat Erick Bone in his welterweight debut.
“I’m ready for the intensity of this fight with a great champion like Lamont Peterson,” said Lipinets. “I’m very humbled and honored to be in this position. I’m pushing myself to bring my A-game, because in a fight like this, there is no room for mistakes. I promise that I’m going to give a great performance and leave my fans happy.”
The 33-year-old Anthony Peterson (37-1, 24 KOs) is the younger brother of Lamont Peterson and has won seven straight fights since losing by disqualification to Brandon Rios in 2010. Five of his last eight wins have come inside the distance and he will look to put himself into title contention facing his toughest competition in years on March 24.
“This fight means a lot coming off a layoff because I want to make a clear statement that I am a world class legitimate fighter and that I deserve a shot at a title in 2019,” said Anthony Peterson. “It’s even more important for me to show up and show out as I will be fighting at home in front of my family and friends. I have to bring it and make the absolute most of this.”
Mendez (25-5-1, 12 KOs) won the IBF super featherweight title with a knockout victory over Juan Carlos Salgado in 2013. He has put together two straight victories since losing back-to-back fights to Luke Campbell and Robert Easter Jr. at lightweight in 2016. The 32-year-old, who is from San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic and now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., scored a unanimous decision over Eddie Ramirez in his last fight in May after defeating Ivan Redkach the previous year.
“I’m excited for this challenge against Anthony Peterson so that I can prove that I am still at a world championship level,” said Mendez. “I know that he’s fighting at home, but when he’s in the ring, no one can help him. I want to show off all of the skills that have gotten me here and leave an impression on everyone watching that I’m a threat to anybody they put in there against me.”
Bakhtiyar Eyubov to Fight For Salita Promotions on UFC Fight Pass on February 15th
Undefeated Kazakhstani dynamo Bakhtiyar “Bakha Bullet” Eyubov has been added to the special two-hour UFC Fight Pass live stream (7:30 pm ET/6:30 pm CT) on Friday, February 15, from the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas.
Eyubov (14-0, 12 KOs) will face Mexican veteran Jose Luis “La Boa” Rodriguez (25-12, 13 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight showdown.
The live stream, presented by Salita Promotions will also feature US Olympic bronze medal winner Nico Hernandez, women’s top contender Elena Saveleva and undefeated heavyweight puncher Apti Davtaev in separate bouts.
A born showman, Eyubov’s relentlessly aggressive fighting style has won him new fans with every fight. The young slugger says he’s looking forward to bringing his mayhem to a new audience through the UFC.
“I look forward to showcasing my skills February 15th and am honored to do so on UFC Fight Pass,” he said. “I am the best in the world and look forward to proving this point when I get in the ring.”
Eyubov was last seen taking out 21-1-1 Nicholas Givan in seven rounds last June. His promoter, Dmitriy Salita, says he’s happy his entertaining slugger is back in action.
“Bakha is one of the most dominant contenders in the sport. I look forward to an exciting performance from him on one of the leading combat platforms in the works in UFC Fight Pass,” said Salita.
In a very special bonus that night for online viewers, the commentating team will consist of long-time combat sports voice Sean Wheelock and “2018 Female Boxer of the Year” and women’s world champion Claressa Shields, making her debut behind the microphone.
Djeko vs. Federici Set for Star Boxing Main Event
STAR BOXING is excited to return to its renown Long Island venue, The Paramount, on February 22nd, for another thrilling night of “Rockin’ Fights.” The 34th edition of the acclaimed fight series brings extreme boxing talent from across the world, right to Huntington’s, The Paramount. The main event is a real toss-up between the ‘big boys’ in a truly international fight between European champs. Giant Belgium JOEL “BIG JOE” DJEKO will take on Italian challenger, SIMONE “TYSON” FEDERICI in an intriguing 10-round cruiserweight bout. The co-main event will feature the return of Huntington’s own JOHNNY “HITMAN” HERNANDEZ who will be taking on upset minded, MARQUIS “THE HAWK” HAWTHORNE.
The main event features two international cruiserweight prospects who will travel a combined 7,873 miles to meet in the squared circle, in front of the expected packed crowd at The Paramount. Belgium’s Djeko (14-2-1 7KO’s), an IBO Champion, stands at a towering 6’5″ and breaks the will of his opponents by fighting behind his jab, followed by devastating power in both hands. Djeko’s marquee win came against then undefeated MARIANO ANGEL GUDINO (then 12-0 7KO’s), when he defeated the Argentinian by wide unanimous decision, dominating for the full ten-rounds, to secure the IBO Continental Cruiserweight Title. Djeko has fought in America only once before, but intends to begin laying roots state side, for an eventual shot at a cruiserweight world title. Djeko’s only 2 losses were on the road and by majority and split decision against undefeated prospects.
Djeko had this to say about fighting in America, “I am excited to make my first fight in New York, a city that saw the birth of great champions. But, I also come to fulfill my mission, that of leaving with a victory by knockout.”
Federici (14-1-1 6KO’s), a 25-year-old Italian who resides in Roma, Italy, will be making his debut on American soil on the February 22nd Paramount show. Federici had an impressive amateur record of 35-1-1. As a professional, Federici defeated FRANCESCO CATALDO in a thrilling battle earning the Italian Cruiserweight Title. Since then, Federici has successfully defended his title twice, most recently defeating the dangerous Georgian, ZURA MEKERESHVILLE by unanimous decision to add the IBF Mediterranean Cruiserweight Title to his pedigree. Federici has his eyes set an a massive victory on February 22nd main event. Federici and Djeko both have their eyes set on victory in the February 22nd main event and both know a top rankings in the cruiserweight division are at stake.
Federici said this about his American debut, “I thank America for the wonderful opportunity that has offered me! I hope to better meet American expectations. I can’t wait to get in the ring.”
In the co-main event, fans will see Johnny “Hitman” Hernandez (9-4 1KO), a familiar face at The Paramount having fought eleven of his thirteen professional fights at the venue. Hernandez who is known for his footwork and great conditioning, always seems to get stronger as the fight carries on. This will be Hernandez second main event at The Paramount. He was last seen in an absolute thriller with fellow Star Boxing stablemate DANNY “EL GALLO” GONZALEZ (then 16-1-1 7KO’s). Over the ten-round main event, Hernandez and Gonzalez exchanged blow after blow at the center of the ring, as the crowd seemed to be on their feet throughout the fight with consistent and vocal support for both fighters. While the judges scored the bout in favor of Gonzalez by majority decision, Hernandez proved to the rowdy sold out crowd that he has the skill to fight the upper echelon of the 140 lb. division. Gonzalez went on to fight fellow Paramount alumni CHRIS ALGIERI at Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago. Hernandez promises to return with vengeance on February 22nd in his Paramount hometown.
Hernandez is ready for his opportunity on February 22nd, and is prepared to leave his mark. “There are no secrets to success,” said Johnny, “it is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failures.”
Hernandez will be facing the very tough Texan, Marquis Hawthorne, who will be making his second appearance at The Paramount. Over his twelve-fight career, Hawthorne has fought ten undefeated prospects, with an opponent combined record of 81-23-3. Most recently, Hawthorne (6-9 1KO) won in a shocking upset at Mohegan Sun on January 26th over amateur standout and undefeated professional, from Detroit, Michigan RONNIE “TEFLON RON” AUSTION (then 10-0 7KO’s). Over the 6-round bout, Hawthorne commanded the action, using his long reach and height advantage to maintain his distance, landing grueling right hands to the body and the head of Austion. At the final bell, the scorecards read 57-56, 58-55 and 59-54, earning a massive upset victory for Hawthorne over the previously undefeated Austion.
Hawthorne has is eyes set on one thing only come February 22nd. “I am coming off a big win over a great prospect,” said Hawthorne, “the game plan is to continue to trust the plan my coaches have set before me, resulting in victory.”
Star Boxing CEO JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about the main and co-main event, “We have put together a very intriguing international fight for Long Island’s dedicated boxing fans. Belgium’s, Big Joel Djeko, is an imposing figure, and carries knockout power in both hands. Federici has proven his ability to win big fights in his home country of Italy. The winner has a bright future. ” Regarding the co-main, DeGuardia stated, “this fight is a perfect example of the allure of our ‘Rockin’ Fights’ series. Both Johnny and Marquis have earned the right to be in this fight. In his last fight Johnny showed grit and we will always support our fighters, win or lose, when they perform like he did. That’s what the Paramount series is all about, action and heart. Similarly, Marquis Hawthorne earned the right to this fight with his victory over our undefeated prospect Ronnie Austion in a huge upset. Johnny and Marquis always show up in phenomenal shape with great energy on fight night, and I expect a thrilling fight on February 22nd.”
The main event between European cruiserweight champions in Djeko and Federici is destined to excite. The co-main event will see Hernandez in front of his hometown fans while Hawthorne will look for a second consecutive upset. Undercard to be announced soon.