By: Hans Themistode
Isaac Dogboe (20-2, 14 KOs) might only be 24 years of age but he is already at a crossroads in his career. It was just one year ago that he was on top of the boxing world. He turned several heads when he stopped Jessie Magdaleno to capture the WBO Super Bantamweight title. He followed that up with a stoppage win in his very next contest. 2018, was coming to a close and Dogboe was looking to close the year out strong.
A matchup against Emanuel Navarrete was supposed to be just a tune up before her fought the bigger names in the division. That contest stunned all who seen it as Dogboe lost his undefeated record and his title as well. The immediate rematch was even more shocking as Dogboe was stopped in the final round.
For a fighter with such promise and still so young, his career is on the brink of mediocrity. He’s hoping for a new life in a new division as he is now moving up to the Featherweight division. His first test? Former two weight world champion Carl Frampton.
Frampton is looking to bounce back from his own defeat as he lost to Josh Warrington in his last ring appearance. Now at the age of 32, Frampton can’t afford anymore losses. He was originally scheduled to return to the ring earlier this year in Philadelphia but a freak injury to his hand forced him to the sidelines.
This contest pits two former champion who are looking to prove that they aren’t at the end of their respective careers. For Frampton, the incentive to become a three weight world champion is massively appealing to him. He is also looking to eventually untie the scoreboard with Leo Santa Cruz as they both won one fight a piece against one another. Another loss on his record could bring down the value of that huge matchup going down the line.
Dogboe is facing something else entirely. When he first burst onto the scene, not only did he have the skills of a great fighter but he also had the personality of one as well. Premature placements of him on the pound for pound list were found everywhere. Now that he has suffered back to back defeats, he is the forgotten man.
A change of scenery could lead him down the road to success once again but it could also lead to even more losses on his record. He struggled with the height and length of Navarrete and he is sure to meet even bigger fighters at his new weight class.
This is truly a crossroads matchup for both men. It isn’t just about a win for either man but more so about them making a statement to the rest of the division.
By Jake Donovan
Isaac Dogboe’s upcoming 122-pound title defense versus Emanuel Navarrete was secured and announced long ago, but the pairing has suddenly taking on a new dynamic.
The December 8 clash serves as the chief support to the lightweight title unification bout between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza, with both fights airing live on ESPN from MSG’s Hulu Theatre in New York City.
Photo Credit: Isaac Dogboe Twitter Account
What was believed to be an optional defense for Dogboe, however, has now been classified as a mandatory title fight which—with a win—will open up his 2019 schedule.
The ruling came about during the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) annual convention this week, recognizing Navarrete (25-1, 22KOs) as the leading available contender for Dogboe’s title. The 23-year old from Mexico City is ranked number two by the organization, right behind countryman and unbeaten contender Diego de la Hoya.
However, de la Hoya (21-0, 10KOs) and his team—which includes his first cousin and promoter, Hall of Fame former six-division titlist Oscar de la Hoya—decided a bit more grooming was required before chasing a title. The 24-year old from Mexicali, Mexico will instead fight in his hometown for the first time in his career—along with his first pro fight in Mexico in general—in a November 17 showcase headliner versus Venezuela’s Edixon Perez.
The decision came with the understanding that the winner of Dogboe-Navarrete will not be obligated to make a mandatory title defense until September 2019, a decision that came with de la Hoya’s blessing.
Should Dogboe prevail on December 8, it gives him plenty of room for an active 2019 campaign that could very well include a homecoming title defense in his native Ghana.
Such plans were part of his agreeing to a long-term co-promotional pact with Top Rank, under whose umbrella the unbeaten 24-year has fought since winning the title over Jessie Magdaleno earlier this year. The upcoming title defense versus Navarrette will already mark his fourth fight of 2018, all carrying title fight implications.
Dogboe (20-0, 14KOs) burst onto the scene in the first significant fight of 2018, stopping Cesar Juarez in the the 5th round of their interim title fight this past January in Accra, Ghana. It marked his 10th appearance in his home country, but also the last for the time being with his upcoming bout with Navarrete marking his third straight in the United States.
The win over Magdaleno—with both boxers hitting the canvas before Dogboe prevailed in the 11th round of their ESPN-televised thriller—marked his arrival as a major player in the 122-pound division, rising from adversity to bump off a previously unbeaten titlist. The feat came with the understanding that he’d inherit a mandatory challenger in Hidenori Otake.
Dogboe gladly obliged, destroying Japan’s Otake inside of one round this past August, also on ESPN where he has become a network favorite.
He’s also quickly become a favorite of Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, who remains eager to expand the boxer’s horizons.
“We are looking forward to exploring the opportunity for Isaac Dogboe to defend his world championship in 2019 in Ghana,” Arum noted upon extending their agreement in October. “Together with (father/trainer) Paul Dogboe and Mike Altamura (Dogboe’s co-manager) we will afford Isaac opportunities to win championships in multiple weight divisions.”
Providing he continues his winning ways in December, the sky’s the limit—at least for the next nine months, thereafter.
By Jake Donovan
Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe will cap his breakout 2018 campaign in grand style, defending his super bantamweight title in New York City.
The unbeaten 122-pound titlist from Ghana will make the second defense of his crown versus Mexico’s Emmanuel Navarrete on December 8 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theatre. The bout will air live on ESPN in chief support to the lightweight title unification clash between pound-for-pound entrant Vasyl Lomachenko and Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza.
“Put me among the best, and you’ll see the best of ‘Royal Storm’,” Dogboe (20-0, 14KOs) said of his upcoming bout, his fourth in a Fight of the Year-level 2018 campaign. “We love the New York crowd. That’s what will motivate us and make us fight harder. Madison Square Garden is a legendary place. It’s a place where many fighters were made.”
For Dogboe, the journey to cult favorite actually began at home this past January. The charismatic 24-year old became an instant hit on the strength of his 5th round stoppage of Cesar Juarez in Accra, Ghana. The interim title fight came on the first weekend of 2018, officially kicking off the boxing season and positioning Dogboe for a shot at a real title.
That moment came less than four months later, with Dogboe overcoming an early knockdown to drop and stop previously unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno in the 11th round of their thriller to win the 122-pound title this past April. The bout aired live on ESPN, as did his first title defense—a crushing 1st round knockout of Japan’s Hidenori Otake this past August.
Through a co-promotional arrangement with Top Rank, Dogboe continues to enjoy increased exposure on the all-sports network where he has quickly emerged as a series favorite.
His rise to fame is in stark contrast to that of his opponent.
Navarrete (25-1, 22KOs) comes in with little profile, having fought exclusively in Mexico and whose bouts have only been seen by US audiences through showcase appearances on beInSport Español.
Still, the 23-year old challenger is riding a wave of confidence ahead of his first career title fight. He enters on the heels of a 20-fight win streak dating back to 2012 and has scored stoppage wins in each of his last eight starts.
While his level of opposition is inferior to that of the defending titlist, Navarrete—like Dogboe—has enjoyed an active 2018 campaign. The forthcoming clash will mark his 5th ring appearance of the year—and the one that he promises will produce a major shakeup.
“This is the opportunity I was waiting for,” Navarrete insists. “I have a lot of respect for Isaac Dogboe, but this title will be mine. I feel very happy and motivated by this opportunity, even more, because of fighting in New York City.
“I know that from Dec. 8 forward, the name Emanuel Navarrete will be known all around the world. I’m sure this win will be mine.”
Not only will Dogboe do his best to disprove that claim, but also make sure his own performance is the one that the crowd best remembers by night’s end.
“Lomachenko and Pedraza are great fighters and being featured on a show with other great fighters is an honor,” Dogboe notes. “We are ready to roll. And to my fans, trust me, the ‘Royal Storm’ is coming to entertain!”
By Jake Donovan
Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe has enjoyed a brilliant breakout campaign in 2018, not just because of the in-ring results but also because his flawless ability to captivate the audience.
His extremely marketable combination of talent and charisma has clearly left its mark on the staff at Top Rank, who has presented each of his last two starts and is now on board for the long haul.
Photo Credit: Isaac Dogboe Twitter Account
The unbeaten 122-pound titlist took to social media to reveal his having signed long-term co-promotional agreement with Las Vegas-based Top Rank Inc. on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, but have both sides eagerly looking to the future.
“I am delighted to announce that I have extended my co-promotional agreement on a long-term deal with Top Rank boxing,” Dogboe (20-0, 14KOs) stated on social media Tuesday morning. “RSAP (Rising Star Africa Promotions) and I look forward to welcoming (Top Rank founder and Hall of Fame promoter) Bob Arum and the Top Rank team in our beautiful country, Ghana next year!”
The news was equally celebrated by the very man who plans to make Dogboe boxing’s next major star—both here in the United States and an even larger figure at home.
“We are pleased to announce that we’ve signed world champion Isaac Dogboe to a co-promotional deal with Rising Star Africa Promotions,” Arum said of the new deal. “We are looking forward to exploring the opportunity for Isaac Dogboe to defend his world championship in 2019 in Ghana.”
Dogboe immediately became a cult hero while kicking off the 2018 boxing season with a 5th round stoppage of Cesar Juarez in his birthtown of Accra, Ghana this past January. The win earned him the right to challenge then-unbeaten titleholder Jessie Magdaleno, who is promoted by Top Rank.
The promotional buildup to their April 28 encounter included its rocky moments, including extremely racially-insensitive comments made by Dogboe’s father and trainer, Paul who to his credit immediately walked back his remarks and left the promoting to the experts.
Dogboe went on to stop Magdaleno in the 11th round of their ESPN-televised Fight of the Year-level war in April, trading knockdowns before prevailing late to win the title.
The win was followed by his entering a one-year agreement with Top Rank, which he celebrated in style with a blistering 1st round knockout of Hidenori Otake this past August in Glendale, Arizona. Live sports conflicts delayed the show’s start time, with ESPN cameras barely catching the opening bell. Dogboe tore through his visiting Japanese challenger, dropping him twice en route to an emphatic first title defense.
It has since been suggested by Arum that the Royal Storm will next crash in New York City.
Dogboe was revealed as a highly likely candidate to land on the December 8 ESPN show at MSG’s Hulu Theatre, which will be headlined by the lightweight title unification clash between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza—the latter whom topped the aforementioned Glendale card in a lightweight title-winning 12-round decision over Ray Beltran.
The December 8 show will immediately follow ESPN’s live coverage of the annual Heisman Trophy Awards, honoring the best college football athlete of the year. The same formula applied last December, when Lomachenko battered Guillermo Rigondeaux atop the second most-watched cable TV boxing show of the year, also at Hulu Theatre (nee MSG Theatre).
Lomachenko (11-1, 9KOs) has since claimed a title in a third weight class, climbing off the deck to stop Jorge Linares in 10 rounds this past May. The two-time Olympic Gold medalist from Ukraine has long been identified along with unbeaten three-division titlist Terence Crawford as the tentpoles for Top Rank’s long-term network deal with ESPN.
A sport always in search of the next crossover star, it’s clear that in Dogboe a Royal Storm is brewing.
“Together with Paul Dogboe and Mike Altamura (Dogboe’s co-manager) we will afford Isaac opportunities to win championships in multiple weight divisions,” Arum promised.
By: Ken Hissner
On April 28th of this year Ghana’s Isaac “Brave-Son” Dogboe, 18-0 (12), came into Philadelphia to face the co-promoters boxer Jesse Magdaleno, 25-0 (18), of Las Vegas, NV.
At the press conference several days before their bout at the Liacouras Center of Temple University Magdaleno had some harsh childish name calling about the facial appearance of Dogboe. He was one nasty opponent who wanted to bait Dogboe into his child like name calling. I knew for sure I would not be rooting for Magdaleno.
In the first round of their fight Magdaleno dropped Dogboe. By the end of the third round it didn’t look good for Dogboe. Suddenly in the fifth round Dogboe started a body attack that took out the gut’s and heart of Magdaleno dropping him. By the eleventh round Magdaleno hit the canvas two more times forcing referee Benjy Esteves, Jr., to wave the fight off at 1:38 of the eleventh round proclaiming Dogboe the World Boxing Organisation World Super Bantamweight Title. Dogboe was ahead on the three scorecards by 96-91, 95-93 and 97-91 at the time of the stoppage.
At a dinner the night before the press conference I was able to attend at an Upper Darby Afro-American eatery sponsored by co-promoter J Russell Peltz who was accompanied by “Raging Babe”. The meal was splendid. I got a picture with Dogboe and I felt I obtained a “new friend!” I brought him his record via www.boxrec.com along with three fellow former boxers from Ghana including Azuma “Professor” Nelson, WBC World Super Featherweight champion, Floyd Robertson, former British Commonwealth (Empire) champion and two-time world title challenger and Love Allotey, British Commonwealth (Empire) champion and world title challenger.
Dogboe turned professional on August 30, 2013 in a 6 round bout knocking out Csaba Toth, 10-18. It would be ten months before he had his second fight being in Belfast Harris defeating Andy Harris, 3-14-1, dropping Harris in the first round. In his next five fights over a six month period all in the USA Dogboe would stretch his winning streak to seven! In his next eight fights all in his home country of Ghana he increased his unbeaten winning streak to fifteen.
On November 06, 2015 Dogboe would win his first minor title the vacant West African Boxing Union Featherweight title stopping John Oblitey Commey, 9-18, in the third round of a scheduled 12. Two fights later he would add a second title stopping Michael Pappoe, 13-2, for the World Boxing Organisation Africa Featherweight Title winning every one of the twelve rounds.
On June 18, 2016 Dogboe would stop Edward Kakembo, 10-0, of Uganda, living in Silver Springs, MD, in the sixth round of his newest title in his first defense. In his next bout he would defeat Neil John Tabanao, 13-1, of Cebu, Philippines, winning the vacant World boxing Council Youth Silver Featherweight Title, the World Boxing Organisation Oriental title and a defense of his Africa title
Four months later Dogboe would drop down to Super Bantamweight and won the vacant World Boxing Organisation International Title with a seventh round stoppage of Julian Evaristo Aristule, 32-6, of Argentina, the South American champion at Spark Arena, Auckland, NZ.
In July 22, 2017, Dogboe would defend his WBO Int’l title stopping Javier Nicolas Chacon, 25-3-1 at the end of six rounds. Some eleven months later he would win the interim World Boxing Organisation’s World Super Bantamweight Title stopping Cesar Juarez, 20-5, of Mexico City, MEX, in the fifth round of a scheduled 12. Both fights were at the Bukom Boxing Arena, in Accra, Ghana. This fight set-up his meeting with Magdaleno almost four months later in Philadelphia. He is trained and promoted by his father Paul Dogboe of Rising Stars Africa. His manager is John Arthur.
Through his advisor Mike Altamura I was able to conduct a Q&A with the new world champion.
KEN HISSNER: Did Magdaleno get you to the point at the press conference you wanted to punish him even more in your bout with him?
ISAAC DOGBOE: Not really. He’s a nice guy and a true warrior. I just wanted him to come and fight. Not run. I thought he brought his best.
KEN HISSNER: In October of 2014 you came to the USA and won five fights over a six month space of time. How did this come about bringing you to the USA?
ISAAC DOGBOE: Well the legend James “Lights Out” Toney came to London and my dad met him and he asked my dad to show him where to get a cigar! So my dad drove him to central London Chinatown and got it for him. They became friends and my dad invited him to the gym to come check me spar and he fell in love with my style. Next minute I was in the USA with my dad to make history.
KEN HISSNER: How were you received when you returned to your home country of Ghana?
ISAAC DOGBOE: Well the people were amazing and were calling me the second coming of Azuma Nelson. I was loved by them but the boxing fraternity kinda shunned me because they were saying this little kid just came on the scene and he’s beating all our boxers.
KEN HISSNER: I see your No. 1 contender is Diego De La Hoya from Mexico. What are your future plans?
ISAAC DOGBOE: I was born ready so if he wants it and the world wants it, why not? If Top Rank arranges it I am game. I’d love to make a defense then immediately eye unification.
KEN HISSNER: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
ISAAC DOGBOE: Of course. God Bless them for all supporting me and I love them. Without the fans there is no Isaac Dogboe.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you my new friend and world champion for taking the time to answering these questions.
ISAAC DOGBOE: Ken, thank you too, and God Bless. You do a great job covering our sport.
HBO PPV Undercard Results: Curtis Stevens and Oleksandr Gvozdyk Emerge Victorious, and Hooker Draws with Perez
By: William Holmes
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s HBO PPV card featuring a main event betweenSergey Kovalev and Andre Ward for the Light Heavyweight Championship.
Three bouts were featured on the undercard, and the opening bout was between Curtis Stevens (28-5) and James De La Rosa (23-4) in the middleweight division.
De La Rosa was rocked by a rising left hook from Stevens in the first round and he was on the defensive for most of the opening round. Stevens was able to land a left hook that knocked De La Rosa in the last thirty seconds of the round, but De La Rosa was able to get back to his feet.
De La Rosa had a cut by his left eye in the second round and took heavy shots to the body. However, he was able to start to land his jab in the last minute of the round.
Both fighters let it all fly in the third round and both landed several hard combinations. Stevens got the better of De La Rosa and landed the stronger shots, but he may have spent all of his energy.
De La Rosa began to relay on his jab in the fourth round and was able to keep Stevens at bay, and that jab continued to be successful for De La Rosa in the fifth and sixth rounds and even had Stevens trapped in a corner at multiple points.
De La Rosa looked like the fresher fighter in the seventh round and Stevens was short with most of his punches. Stevens crowded v in the eighth and was able to land some heavy hooks to the body, but he was deducted a point by the referee for landing a low blow.
The announcers felt Stevens may have hurt his left hand in the ninth round since he wasn’t throwing his patented left hook counter like he usually does. The HBO cameras were able to capture Stevens telling his trainer he hurt his left hand in the fourth round
Stevens pressed the action in the final round and landed some heavy shots over the top of De La Rosa’s guard which reopened the cut of De La Rosa, but it was De La Rosa who was raising his hands in the air at the final bell as if he won the fight.
The final scores were 98-90, 96-92, and 96-92 for Curtis Stevens.
The next bout of the night was in the light heavyweight division between Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0).
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Gvozdyk was backing Chilemba up early with his contant jab. Chilema was able to land his check left hook near the end of the round, but it could have been scored either way.
Chilemba was missing with his hooks in the second round while Gvozdyk was finding a home for his right cross. Gvozdyk was landing at a higher clip than Chilemba in the third round, and he had Chilemba covering up in a defensive shell with his back against the ropes while Gvozdyk unleashed several combinations on him.
Chilemba had a strong fifth round and was able to land some short uppercuts on the inside, but Gvozdyk took back over in the sixth round and looked like he was wearing his opponent down.
Gvozdyk outworked Chilemba in the seventh round and Roy Jones Jr. threatened to stop the fight if he didn’t pick up the action in the eighth round. Chilemba was able to catch Gvozdyk by surprise in the opening thirty seconds of the eighth round, but Gvozdyk took back over in the final minute and had Chilemba’s nose bleeding badly.
Chilemba told his trainer, Roy Jones Jr., before the start of the ninth round that he was done and couldn’t fight anymore, and Jones told the referee the fight was over. Chilemba believed his right hand was broken.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk wins by TKO at the end of the eighth round.
The final fight on the undercard was between Maurice Hooker (21-0-2) and Darleys Perez (33-2-1) in the junior welterweight division.
Hooker was a lot taller than Perez and used it to his advantage by keeping a jab in the face of Perez in the opening round. However, Perez looked comfortable with Hooker’s power in the second round and was able to catch Hooker by surprise with some well timed hooks, and he had him hurt in the opening minute of the third round with a clean looping right hook.
Perez appeared to score a knockdown in the fourth round when he tagged Hooker with a right cross and sent him tumbling backwards and to the mat, but the referee ruled it a slip.
Hooker had a good fifth round with an active jab, but Perez again caught Hooker with looping right hooks in the sixth round.
Perez remained the aggressor in the seventh round and took some of Hooker’s best punches but kept on moving forward. Perez remained the aggressor in the eighth round and had Hooker circling away from his opponent and moving backwards.
The final two rounds played out like the earlier rounds, with Perez pressing forward and landing an occasional right hook or right cross while Hooker would land a number of jabs while moving backwards.
A lot of rounds could have been scored either way, but the judges appeared to agree by scoring the fight 97-93 Perez, 97-93 Hooker, 95-95 making the bout a draw.
HBO PPV Preview: Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward, Hooker vs. Perez, Chilemba vs. Gvozdyk, Stevens vs. De La Rosa
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Roc Nation Sports and Main Events Promotions will team up to deliver one of the best fights that could be made in boxing on HBO Pay Per View. The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Title fight between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.
Ten fights total are featured on this card, including the highly anticipated debut of two time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields.
HBO appears to be ready to televise four fights on the pay per view, and the following is a preview of all four bouts.
Curtis Stevens (28-5) vs. James De La Rosa (23-4); Middleweights
This bout is on the pay per view card despite the fact it’s highly unlikely that either participant will be fighting for a world title in the near future.
Curtis Stevens is a fan favorite and shocked many in his last bout when he beat undefeated prospect Patrick Teixeira.
He’ll be giving up ½ inch in reach and about three inches in height to De La Rosa. However, he has faced significantly better competition and has a deep amateur background than his opponent.
De La Rosa lost his last two fights and only has thirteen knockout victories. Stevens has twenty one knockout victories and is known for delivering exciting bouts.
Both boxers only fought one time in 2016, zero times in 2015, and three times in 2014.
Stevens has beaten the likes of Patrick Teixeira, Tureano Johnson, Patrick Majewski, Saul Roman, Derrick Findley, and Elvin Ayala. He has lost to the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Andre Dirrell and Jesse Brinkley. De La Rosa has defeated the likes of Alfredo Angulo but has lost to the likes of Jason Quigley, Hugo Centeno Jr., Marcus Willis, and Allen Conyers.
Stevens has been inconsistent throughout his career, but this is a bout that he should win in a fan pleasing fashion.
Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2) vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0); Light Heavyweights
Not many boxers can claim to have lasted twelve rounds with Sergey Kovalev, and Isaac Chilemba is one of them.
However, he’s facing a highly decorated Ukranian amateur that is managed by Egis Klimas, who has an impressive stable of boxers under his control, and many consider Gvozdyk to be future world champion material.
Gvozdyk has nine stoppage victories in only eleven professional bouts and is a 2012 Summer Olympics Bronze medalist. Chilemba has ten stoppage victories in thirty professional bouts, so Gvozdyk has a clear edge in power. Chilemba also does not have the amateur experience of Gvozdyk.
Gvozdyk will be the same height as Chilemba but will also have a two and a half inch reach advantage. They are of the same age. Gvozdyk has also been considerably more active than Chilemba. He fought three times in 2016 and four times in 2015, while Chilemba only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Gvozdyk has already defeated the likes of Nadjib Mohammedi and Tommy Karpency before he has faced his twelfth opponent. Chilemba has defeated the likes of Doudou Ngumbu, Maksim Vlasov, Edison Miranda, Denis Grachev, and Vasily Lepikhin; but he has also lost to the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, Tony Bellew, and Willbeforce Shihepo.
Chilemba is a tough opponent with a strong chin, but he’s not on the same level of technique as Gvozdyk and he doesn’t have the power to score an upset knockout.
This should be a good showcase fight for Gvozdyk to show off his skills.
Maurice Hooker (21-0-2) vs. Darleys Perez (33-2-1); Junior Welterweights
Maurice Hooker is one of the most intriguing prospects on the undercard, as his reach and height has many people comparing him to Paul Williams.
Hooker will have a four inch height advantage as well as an amazing ten inch reach advantage over Perez. He’s also six years younger than Perez.
Hooker is known for being a hard puncher and has stopped sixteen of his opponents. Perez has twenty one stoppage victories, but his best days appear to be behind him.
Hooker fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016 while Perez fought one time in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Perez has the edge in amateur experience. He represented Columbia in the 2008 Summer Olympics while Hooker’s biggest claim to fame in the amateurs was when he won the Dallas Regional Golden Gloves Championship.
This bout is a big step up in competition for Hooker. He has defeated the likes of Ty Barnett, Wilfrido Buelvas, and Eduardo Galindo. Perez has beaten the likes of Argenis Lopez, Jonathan Maicelo, and Jaider Parra. His losses have come to Anthony Crolla and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Perez was the former WBA Lightweight champion, but he’ll be competing at a higher weight class on Saturday and will be facing a good opponent with a ridiculous reach advantage.
The ten inch reach advantage will be too much for Perez to overcome.
Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1) vs. Andre Ward (30-0); WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Title
The main event of the night is one of the best fights that could be made in boxing today and the winner will likely have a claim to the top pound for pound spot on the mythical list.
Kovalev, at the age of 33, and Ward, at the age of 32, are nearing the end of their physical primes but neither have shown signs of slowing down inside the ring.
They both are six foot tall, but Kovalev will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage when they are both inside the ring.
Ward has the deeper amateur background of the two as he won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2004. Kovalev also had success as an amateur and was a former Russian Champion as an amateur, but he never competed in the Olympics and was engaged intense competition with two other Russian amateur standouts, Matt Korobov and Artur Beterbiev.
Kovalev has the edge in power. He has stopped twenty six of his opponents while Ward has only stopped fifteen. However, Ward is a gifted defensive boxer and is excellent with his counters, and Kovalev often leaves himself open for counters after he throws one of his heavy combinations.
Kovalev has defeated the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Nadjib Mohammedi, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Nathan Cleverly, Ismayl Sillah, Cedric Agnew, and Gabriel Campillo. He has fought twice in 2015 and once in 2016.
Ward has fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015. He has defeated the likes of Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, Paul Smith, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carlo Froch, Artur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, and Edison Miranda.
This is a tough fight for many to pick, mainly because Ward has never faced a power puncher like Kovalev and Kovalev has never faced a slick boxer like Ward.
However, Ward’s jab is his best weapon and he’ll likely use it often to keep Kovalev at bay. History has shown that a slick boxer will usually beat a power puncher if everything else is reason, and Saturday should be no different.
Interview with Isaac Chilemba: “He has picked the wrong time and wrong opponent:”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Isaac Chilemba is a contender in the Light Heavyweight Division. He is 29 years old from Malawi and lost his last fight in Russia to Sergey Kovalev. Many a pundit predicted Chilemba to be an easy opponent for Kovalev in the champs’ native country, but Chilemba proved anything but, lasting the entire fight while absorbing punches that have knocked out many a challenger before him. On November 19th, Chilemba will take on the up and coming Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk on the Kovalev v. Ward Pay per View undercard. We spoke with Isaac about his previous fight, switching trainers to Roy Jones Jr. and how he feels about becoming a gate keeper in the division.
Boxing Insider: After your last fight with Kovalev, do you feel you have a better chance at winning a title in the light heavyweight division?
Chilemba: Yes, I think that I am where I am supposed to be. I’ve put in a lot of sacrifice and a lot of time and I feel that I am super close to winning a title.
Boxing Insider: What was the reasoning for changing trainers after the Kovalev fight?
Chilemba: We had to make a decision on if we were going to stay training in Africa or if I would come back to America for training. We decided it would be better to go to America for training, for my career.
Boxing Insider: On November 19th, you will be the main undercard against former Olympian Bronze medalist Oleksandr Gvozdyk. How do you feel about performing on such a big stage? And what do you know about your opponent?
Chilemba: The stage doesn’t get to me at all. I am happy to fight anywhere, anytime. What I know about my opponent is that he was a top amateur and now is a good professional. I believe he wants to get somewhere in the boxing world. He has picked the wrong time and wrong opponent.
Boxing Insider: At 29 you are still a very young man in the fight game, but you will be seen as a gatekeeper for Gvozdyk. How does that feel?
Chilemba: I treat every opponent the same. We don’t overlook anyone, all fighters train the same. All of our goals, as fighters, is to be the best, and to be the champion. So if I’m fighting a guy with only 11 fights or a guy with 40 fights, they are all the same. He was a medalist, an Olympian, so I will treat him the same as if I was fighting a Kovalev.
Boxing Insider: Since you have been training with Roy Jones Jr. Is there anything that he has sharpened in your game plan and/or style?
Chilemba: Since training with Roy is the best thing that could happen right now. Coming up as a youth I would learn a lot of my technique watching other fighters and the fighter I watched the most video of was Roy Jones. My old trainer use to say to me “Stop that Roy Jones Shit”, he never thought that was my style. Now I am working with a guy that I look up to and he is showing me the meaning behind all the moves and why he was doing what he was doing. I believe that you will see a whole new Isaac Chilemba on the 19th of November.
Boxing Insider: So the main event is against 2 of the top pound for pound fighters in the world, and they are both in your weight class. What will the outcome be between Kovalev v. Ward?
Chilemba: I always believe that the boxer can outsmart the puncher. Kovalev is a puncher but is a very good boxer. It is very much a 50/50 game. Ward is a very smart fighter, and if he comes to box, he should be able to outbox Kovalev easily. It is very hard for me to pick a winner.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Sergey Kovalev wins by Unanimous Decision
By: Matthew N. Becher
On a special Monday night edition of World Championship Boxing, HBO presented a title fight from Ekaterinburg, Russia. The fight between the WBO, IBF & WBA Light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1 26KO) and the challenger Isaac Chilemba (26-4-2 10KO) was a homecoming for Kovalev, who last fought at the DIVS in Russia in 2011, when he defeated Roman Simakov, who tragically fell into a coma after that match and passed away three days later.
This was most importantly a tune up fight for Kovalev, who has a date set for a mega fight in November against former unified Super Middleweight champion Andre Ward.
Kovalev started the fight as the aggressor, looking for and targeting the head, as usual. Chilemba was able to pump out and land a steady jab.
Chilemba showed to be a very strong and tough opponent, landing his best shots to Kovalev’s head, more often than most of Kovalevs previous opponents.
Unfortunately Chilembas lack of power did little to stop the come forward style of Kovalev.
Kovalev was mostly looking for head shots and possibly working on some different techniques instead of ending the fight in certain situations. After a big right hand landed in the seventh round, knocking Chilemba down, Kovalev may not have gone “all in” to end the fight. As well as in the eighth round, after landing a monster shot, snapping back the head of Chilemba, Kovalev stepped off the gas pedal and was content with putting in some more work.
Chilemba landed some solid shots of his own, but Kovalev never looked hurt against the hardest, cleanest shots that Chilemba could land. Also Kovalev may have possibly wanted to get in a full twelve round fight, after knowing that he was not in any real trouble. He will not be fighting again until November, so the extra rounds could prove vital for the future fight.
The fight went longer than most expected, but Kovalev still looked extremely dominant. The next step is the match up against Andre Ward. It is the best fight that can be made in the sport and this was a great stay busy fight for the Light heavyweight champ, and hopefully erasing some of the demons that have stayed with him from the last time he fought in his native land.
Kovalev UD12 117-110, 116-111, 118-109
Isaac Chilemba: “I Truly Believe I Am Where I Was Meant To Be”
By: Sean Crose
“We will find a way for people to see it.”
So said Main Events boss Kathy Duva on Tuesday during a conference call to promote Sergey Kovalev’s July 11th light heavyweight title fight in his native Russia against Isaac Chilemba. “It was hard to find the right partners to work with,” Duva stated in reference to making the fight in Kovalev’s homeland. “That was a lot of work.”
Kovalev’s opponent, the crafty Chilemba was on the call from South Africa to promote the event, as well. Although he was hard to hear at times due to connection problems, he came across as a pleasant, even thoughtful guy. Whether or not he will have what it takes to surprise the world on July 11th, however, remains to be seen.
For his own part, though, the underdog fighter seemed confident. “There’s no such thing as an easy fight,” he said, adding later that “The pressure’s on him (Kovalev). He’s the one fighting at home.” I asked if he felt that getting a fight with Kovalev after losing a controversial decision to Eleider Alvarez last time out shows that wins don’t always matter, even in this era where a perfect record is held in such high regard.
“Yes, he said, adding that “I truly believe I am where I was meant to be.” Chilemba’s famed trainer, Buddy McGirt, concurred. “I believe,” McGirt stated, “that good things come to those who wait.”
Duva herself also had some pointed things to say on the matter. “My job is to make good fights,” she said. “There’s a lot of fighters out there these days who seem to prefer to not take a risk…that’s crazy.” The lionization of having an undefeated record at the expense of challenging oneself is something Duva clearly found puzzling.
“It’s sad that people think that’s extraordinary,” she said.
Although the 24-3-2 Chilemba clearly isn’t afraid to risk having another “L” on his resume, he and his team also appeared confident heading into the fight. “This is one fight where Isaac can pretty much be Isaac,” McGrit said.
Still, the trainer made it clear that no one was going to take it easy. “Personally, I think that the key to victory is to box,” McGirt stated. “Everyone sees Kovalev as a puncher. I don’t see Kovalev as just a puncher. Kovalev can fight.”
“But,” he added. “My guy can fight, as well.”
Duva made it clear that she was pleased to give Chilemba a crack at the title, especially in an era where people are said to avoid the 29-0-1 Kovalev (“We know where they stand,” she said, referring to Adonis Stevenson’s camp). “Issac very much wanted a title shot,” the promoter stated. “He did everything we ever asked him to do.”
Perhaps Chilemba was right when he claimed that ultimately “being a good fighter is what it is about.” Will he be good enough for the Russian terror, though? What’s more will western fans be able to see the fight live when it goes down in Russia? Duva promises they will, one way or another. Referring to HBO possibly not showing the fight, she appeared unperturbed.
“It’s more a matter of logistical issues than anything else,” she stated.