Trainer James Ali Bashir Back In Hospital After Assault
By: Sean Crose
Boxing received another black eye last week when Ivana Habazin trainer James Ali Bashir was punched from behind immediately at the weigh in for Habazin’s scheduled title bout with rising star Claressa Shields. There had been words between the Bashir and someone who may have been from Shield’s camp shortly beforehand, so tensions were running high. Still, the blow sent Bashir to the hospital and shockwaves throughout the boxing world. Saturday’s Habazin-Shields match was canceled, and the action – by a still unidentified assailant – was widely and rightly condemned. Ali Bashir himself was sent to the hospital while photos of the man being wheeled out of the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Michigan told a disturbing tale.
The news went from bad to worse on Tuesday. “Yesterday,” Habazib tweeted, “my coach James Ali Bashir was called by Detroit hospital’s personel and told that he needs to go to the nearest hospital ASAP because he has bleeding in his brain! I feel very bad because of all this thing what happend. My prayers are with him!” Bashir’s sister, also took to Twitter on Tuesday. “My brother, legendary #boxing trainer James Ali Bashir has been rushed back to the hospital due to bleeding in his brain.. Prayers are needed immediately for him!!! This is a nightmare. 🙁 #boxing community he needs all prayers&healing! @AliBashirTeach”
Although no word has yet been given of Bashir’s condition, there’s no denying that a return to the hospital is a frightening development. Although some suspect a person form Shield’s camp was behind Friday’s assault, Shields herself denied the allegation. “I had a chance to talk to coach Bashir Ali today,” Shields tweeted on Monday, “he know I had nothing to do with what happened and I let him know I’m sorry about everything. He said the same and he let it be known he wasn’t upset with me. I’m glad we had a chance to talk and pray he has a speedy recovery.”
Ali Bashir is well known throughout the fight game, not only through his own work as a trainer, but also through his association with the late legendary trainer Emanuel Steward. One of the more notable fighters Ali Bashir has worked with has been former heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko. Ali Bashir was unconscious for more than fifteen minutes after being struck by the still unknown assailant on Friday. Blows to the back of the head are extremely dangerous and, needless to say, are illegal in the sport of boxing.
Trainers Derrick James and Kenny Porter Get into Altercation
By: Hans Themistode
The dislike between WBC Welterweight champion Shawn Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) and IBF titlist Errol Spence Jr (25-0, 21 KOs) has stretched to their respective trainers as Kenny Porter, the father and trainer of Shawn Porter and Derrick James, who has been the trainer of Spence for several years had to be separated.
The altercation reportedly steamed from comments that James made about the way Porter treats his son.
“His father treats him like trash,” said James about how Kenny has been treating Shawn.
Kenny would go on to approach James about the situation and the two had to be separated. Following the dispute, James did not hold back when speaking about his rival trainer.
“He just says a lot of things that aren’t true. He said in the Kell Brook fight that Errol was looking at him for advice. Do you know how asinine that sounds? Well the same instruction that you claim that you gave Errol then why didn’t you tell your son the same thing to beat Kell Brook then? Errol fights nothing like wild man Shawn Porter.”
The WBC champion, who has been known to fight on pure will and aggression as opposed to solely skill, has been called out before in the past for his inability to box. James believes that the critics are spot on in their analysis.
“I believe in boxing technique and skill. It’s hard to watch him fight anybody. He does a lot of things but he doesn’t know when to do it. Kenny doesn’t even know what he’s talking about. That shows you the level of intellect that the father has which is his teacher.”
Further bashing his rival trainer, James took it a step further as he was critical of the ability of Shawn up until this point in his career
“I think that he’s gotten to a point to where he’s not getting any better,” said James of Shawn Porter. “He’s in a horrible situation, with somebody that doesn’t respect him. He forgets the way this thing works. The trainer works for the fighter, right? The manager works for the fighter. So, what happens is regardless of whatever you think about the father thinks he is, you don’t have to let your employee talk to you like that. You understand? We have a order, where we are. So, if he wanna get treated like a real man, somebody gonna respect him, come over here. That’s where he need to come – hands down. He wanna be treated like a real person – not yelled at, not belittled, not demeaned – he can come over here, with us.”
With the fight coming up in just merely a few short hours, James has some immediate questions about the future of Shawn Porter.
“He’s gotta do something,” James said. “Because after this knockout, what is he gonna do? I’m asking you what is he gonna do? Where is his relevance at? You wonder why they go to every fight. They wanna be relevant. They wanna be relevant. They wanna be relevant. After this fight, what do you do? He gets treated like trash by his father so if he wants to get treated like a real fighter, then he can come over here.”
Clearly things have crossed into personal territory between the two trainers. What was first viewed as a contest between just the fighters, have quickly shifted into a battle of the trainers as well. The question of not only who is the better fighter between Spence and Shawn, but also who is a better trainer, will soon be answered.
Jamal James Defeats Antonio DeMarco and Packs his Bags for Las Vegas
By: Andrew Johnson
Jamal “Shango” James (26-1, 12 KOs) won a unanimous decision in his fourth consecutive fight at the Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday night. “Shango” faced a formidable opponent in former champion Antonio DeMarco (33-8-1, 24 KOs), but he proved to be the more active fighter and overwhelmed the more experienced DeMarco with consistent flurries in the center of the ring. The victory moves him into the conversation as a potential challenger to the winner of the Manny Pacquiao/Keith Thurman bout next Saturday night in Las Vegas.
James came out of the gates swinging and after the first round it looked like his youth, height and speed might be too much for DeMarco. In the second round, DeMarco showed that he had made the trip to Minneapolis to win the fight and not just cash a check. DeMarco cut off the ring and forced James against the ropes, neutralizing the taller fighter’s four-inch height advantage and faster hands. James absorbed the early punishment and did not panic after the early onslaught by the former champion.
“That’s just part of the game,” the hometown welterweight told the Boxing Insider after the fight. “This is boxing and sometime you’re going to get hit.”
DeMarco committed himself to punishing James’s ribs and landed dozens of right hands to the lean area around James’ left kidney. James adapted to DeMarco’s strategy by using his feet to escape from the corners and put DeMarco into vulnerable positions. Though James’ ribs began to glow with neon pink welts, he resisted the temptation to lower his guard and expose his chin. He absorbed the body blows and answered DeMarco’s single shots with rapid combinations.
“Being one of the taller fighters in the division, those guys have to put that pressure on me,” said James. “I have to use good footwork to keep those guys chasing me. When they chase me is when they make a mistake, and that is when I catch them.”
The PBC has invested heavily in James over the past two years, featuring him on four televised cards in a city that had been for years a boxing desert. The national exposure and his recent successes in front of hometown crowds have provided momentum in his campaign to challenge for a title at 147 lbs. As it was in the previous three fights, the atmosphere at The Armory was electric. The partisan crowd cheered every flurry thrown by James and winced at every slicing right hand DeMarco landed on James’ ribs.
“There ain’t no better place to fight but The Armory in Minnesota. I mean, you could tell, looking at it on TV across the nation,” said the elated title contender. “It’s beautiful in here, and the energy is beautiful. This is it, man, the new hub for boxing.”
Later this week, Jamal James will fly to Las Vegas to attend the Pacquiao/Thurman showdown. Though he clearly feeds off of the support of the crowd in Minneapolis, “Shango” hopes that his next fight will be in a different state, at a larger venue and for a championship belt.
Earlier in the night, Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington (20-3-1, 12 KOs) faced Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius (28-3, 17 KOs). Helenius looked like he walked straight from the set of the Game of Thrones as he entered the ring in a black hooded robe to the unsettling sounds of Scandinavian heavy metal. Helenius, who trains in Stockholm, Sweden, was successful early in his United States debut and was ahead on two of the three judges’ scorecards after seven rounds. But his quest to be the next Ingemar Johansson came to a violent conclusion in the 8th round when Washington landed an overhand right to the “Nordic Nightmare’s” chin.
LeBron James To Helm Boxing Documentary Series “40 Days”
By: Sean Crose
“I love boxing,” basketball great LeBron James tweeted on Wednesday, “but I REALLY love the stories of the fighters and the build up to each! @UNITERRUPTED x @DAZN_USA will be giving you those stories. Yes Sir!!!!!!”
Thus James, who has been one of the best in the NBA for over fifteen years, announced he will be behind a documentary boxing series called “40 Days,” the first installment of which will focus on the leadup to the highly anticipated Canelo Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs middleweight title bout set to go down May 4th in Vegas. Uninterrupted – a company owned by James and Maverick Carter – will produce the series for the DAZN streaming service.
Photo Credit: Lebron James Twitter Account
“We are pleased to announce that @UNINTERUPRUPTED is set to produce a new docu-series titled “40 DAYS” in lead up to #CaneloJacobs,” DAZNUSA tweeted.
The first episode of “40 Days” is set to air April 23d, while a second episode will air on April 30th. Aside from DAZN, the April 23d episode will be aired on UNINTERRUPTED’s own channels, along with Univision, NBC Sports Network, the northeast’s MSG channel, and other local outlets. Carter claims the series will be designed for a “new audience of global boxing fans that want to see another side to these athletes that has yet to be shown.”
The documentaries are going to be in the tradition of other behind the scenes shows, such as HBOs 24/7, while at the same time presenting their own unique take on the genre. “These documentaries,” says Carter, “will shine a light on the three-dimensional aspect of who these athletes are outside of the ring and empower them to tell their own stories as they prepare for some of the biggest moments in their boxing careers.”
DAZN honcho John Skipper claims James and Maverick “have a unique vantage point that allows them to understand both Canelo’s pursuit to be one of the greatest of all time and Jacobs’ dogged determination to reach the pinnacle of his sport.” There’s no doubt both Canelo and Jacobs have stories worthy of documentaries. Canelo rose from the hardscrabble streets of Mexico to the top of the sporting world while Jacob’s successful, but near life threatening, battle against cancer has been well documented.
According to the Las Angeles Times, “Forty Days” may move on to focus on Anthony’s Joshua’s June 1st heavyweight title defense after the Canelo-Jacobs episodes are done.
James DeGale: The Underachiever that Achieved Everything
By: Oliver McManus
“I just didn’t do enough”, the immediate verdict from James DeGale following his loss to Chris Eubank Jr. Talking to Gabriel Clarke he offered a neat characterisation of not only the fight in question but DeGale’s underwhelming professional career as a whole.
No-one can dispute the natural talent of Hammersmith’s premier boxing product but did we ever see the realisation of his capability as a pugilist?
Having turned professional with an Olympic gold medal freshly around his neck expectations were high. And rightly so. This is a man who had already cultivated a reputation, partly in thanks to his six-fight amateur series with Darren Sutherland, and EU Silver and Commonwealth Bronze medals also adorning his trophy cabinet. Such promise saw a, reported, £1.5million contract thrown his way by Frank Warren.
From the off DeGale seemed to be up against it with his debut fight – in February 2009, against Vephkia Tchilaia – being met with a splattering of disapproval due to the fact it lasted the full four rounds. Nothing particularly untowards about a shut-out win against a defensive journeyman but, for DeGale, he was expected to do better. He always has been, he was the talent of a generation.
Developed quickly, it would be in his ninth fight that Chunky planted a marker by knocking out Paul Smith – an established figure by the time of the bout – in the ninth round to rip away the British super-middleweight title. Perhaps, then, now was the time to sit back in expectation. From here on would be the time for judgement. The first occasion in which we could evaluate the progress of DeGale arrived shortly after with a grudge-match against George Groves.
Himself a graduate of Dale Youth, Groves had been forging a career of his own under the guidance, for a while, of Adam Booth. Crunch time came on May 21st and we all know how the fight fared. Close on the scorecards – 115-115, 115-114, 115-114 in favour of Groves – it was a gritty chess match if ever there was one. Groves utilising the superior movement and leading with a steady jab whilst DeGale sought to counter-punch. No disgrace in losing the contest.
The buildup to the bout showed, ultimately, a flaw from DeGale in failing to capitalise on his, how shall we say, less than warm personality. Personal as it sounds, it’s not a criticism of who he is but rather how he marketed himself. It was painfully clear that DeGale never really cared to be liked and, for him, boxing was about results not building a fan base. He said what he genuinely thought and in a manner only he could. What he didn’t do, however, was embrace his role as a villain.
In contests such as the one with Groves, you’re never going to out-talk or out-smart the opponent so there was no point in trying to do so. Even though Groves didn’t cover himself in glory, either, it was the older statesman who, ultimately, came across as churlish and arrogant. Not through some designed act in order to goad Groves or generate publicity but because of a desire to strike his own ego.
That prioritisation of self-satisfaction was evident from his attempts to crack the American market. Not that, in itself, that’s an issue but he never did ‘crack’ it despite his repeated success. Credit where credit is due, DeGale went to the States and won the IBF super-middleweight title, against Andre Dirrell, in the best win of his career. Two fights later and he was lined up for a unification with Badou Jack. At the time an imperious force to be reckoned with – how the years have seen him stutter in stardom – Jack was a foreboding test but one that DeGale rose to. A majority draw against the Swedish fighter that, hindsight suggests, took it firmly out of the British man.
It can certainly be claimed that performances on foreign soil never attract the same glamour or acclaim as they perhaps deserve but DeGale didn’t look on full form against Dirrell or, in subsequent defences, Lucian Bute (in Canada) and Rogelio Medina. The ambition for a fight, throughout his career, against a true behemoth of boxing such as Carl Froch and Andre Ward seemed to exist in verbals only. Imagine that – Ward vs DeGale. It’s frightening. Then, I guess, that’s why this article has come about. Perhaps the real James DeGale is still wandering around lost in Beijing and the man we’ve seen is just a poor imitation. In seriousness it isn’t only a case of never seeing the full potential of the man – and there are extenuating circumstances around that from lifestyle to injury – it is more the acceptance of mediocrity that pains me the most.
Lost in his own illustrious loyalty, a long term allegiance to trainer Jim McDonnell may well have proven to be the sticking point for Chunky. That doesn’t mean McDonnell is a bad trainer and far from it but after repeated performances where nothing seems to be clicking or flowing with fluidity then the clues are there that it might be time for a change. After a career of disappointing performances the message should have been blindingly obvious. Make a change, try something new. Nothing is stopping you from reverting back to the old afterwards.
Yet throughout his career you got the impression that for James DeGale simply being a belt holder was adequate, his stake at supremacy. An ever present frustration for British boxing fans was the fact that we never saw quite how good he could be yet we all had an idea of just how irreproachable his abilities were. Against Chris Eubank Jr, then, at the weekend we saw a laboured version of the man we, certainly I, admired. If that was the final act for the two-time world champion then, to be frank, I don’t think I want to see the encore.
The first British fighter to win Olympic Gold to go on to claim world glory in the professional ranks. Not just that but a British, European and International champion – across three governing bodies – he really did have a career to reflect on with pride. You suspect, though, the history books will likely not remember him in the fondest of terms for, such was his ability and promise, James DeGale never did quite enough.
Showtime Boxing Results: Eubank Defeats DeGale, Joyce Batters Stiverne
By: Ste Rowen
Chris Eubank Jr forced himself into the super-middleweight world scene tonight with a deserved unanimous decision victory over former world champion, James DeGale.
Now improving his record to 28-2 (21KOs), the victor spoke post-fight,
‘‘I knew he was gonna come in there and run and use his boxing skills. I’ve been working a lot on my jab…The game plan worked. Smart pressure. Not getting too ahead of myself.
I dominated pretty much every single round…A lot of people said I was gonna lose, and now I’m onto big and better things.’’
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
The defeated DeGale, now 25-3-1 (15KOs), sounding a little dazed also spoke, ‘‘I’ve left my mark in boxing…I didn’t do enough, but when you’re in there with someone like Chris on you; punches you don’t even see.
I’ve been to the heights of boxing. If I call it a day now…’’
It was cold in the O2 Arena, but not for long.
As James DeGale vs. Chris Eubank Jr drew nearer, the atmosphere felt more claustrophobic. As though the crowd was inching their seats forwards every time the stewards looked away. By the time the main-event fighters were in the ring, the audience was practically breathing down their necks.
From the 1st round it was setup perfectly, DeGale in all-black, Eubank in all-white but both decided to size each other up through the first. DeGale, in the southpaw stance, allowed himself to become a little too susceptible to Eubank’s right hand which forced a small cut to James’ left eye early on.
The first minute of round 2 is where the action came alive. Eubank Jr landed a sharp left hook that unsteadied DeGale and, through a flurry of punches, eventually forced the referee into recognising that James had been knocked down. DeGale’s experience was telling as he survived the rest of the round, but it was obvious that Chris was well on top.
In the corner, the former IBF champion was complaining about something in his eye – it was a bad sign for a man already behind. But Eubank, like his opponent, sustained a cut this time under his right eye, it didn’t stop the Brighton-man from ending the 4th the stronger. Through to the 7th, Eubank stalked the perceived boxer across the ring whilst the former gold medallist did very little to reply.
As round 7 ended, DeGale stuck his tongue out to his opponent, which was an odd move considering Chris seemingly bossed the end of the round. DeGale kept switching between southpaw and orthodox, but neither was breaking through.
As the fight headed into the 10th Eubank seemed well on top. DeGale hit the canvas for the second time as Eubank landed a beauty of a left hook that shook up the former world champion, forced James onto the ropes and eventually the ground. DeGale survived, but it was clear he needed the KO, but it was Eubank Jr that came out swinging. By the end of the 11th, career-southpaw DeGale was orthodox and everywhere.
Both fighters raised their arms as the final bell rang but it seemed cleared who’d won. DeGale, the legitimate former world title holder had fallen well short.
Of course it’s never a chore to hear Jimmy Lennon Jr and it wasn’t this time as he read out the judge’s cards of, 114-112, 115-112, 117-109 all for Eubank Jr.
Joe Joyce vs. Bermane Stiverne
Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce took another step up in quality tonight as the British Olympian (2016 Silver) scored a 6th round stoppage of former world champion, Bermane Stiverne.
Dominant from beginning to end, the Commonwealth champion, now 8-0 (8KOs), spoke post-fight,
‘‘Big respect to Stiverne. He was very tough, still game, still tough. Only Wilder with that phenomenal power could take him out…My able condition in Big Bear.
Big things to come. Next one for the WBA ‘Regular’. Couple of weeks off and then back in the gym…I’ve barred all (The top heavyweights) bar Wilder, but I’m coming.’’
In a fight designated as a WBA eliminator Joyce had his chin checked at least twice in the 1st round but seemed unaffected and continued to pursue his prey. His shots may look slow, but Joe’s arms are long and thudding once landed and clearly leave an effect. Stiverne looked apprehensive as he stepped off his stool for the 2nd however he did begin to throw back, but only for a brief spell. The ‘Juggernaut’ fired clubbing shot after clubbing shot without reply for most of the round. Testament to the former world champion, Bermane for staying upright.
Round 3 brought the first knockdown as Joyce landed a lengthy right hook that sent the American into the ropes and forced the knockdown. Bermane continued but it felt pointless. Stiverne looked drunk as he tried to evade Joyce’s heavy combinations but survived into the 6th.
Joe dominated behind the left-hand jab until he seemed to switch flavour and fired hook and power shot continuously, forcing referee Howard Foster into stopping the fight midway through round six. There were no complaints from the away fighter.
Lee Selby vs. Omar Douglas
Fighting in his first lightweight bout, and for a minor title at 135lb, Lee ‘Lightning’ Selby bounced back from his May 2018 defeat to Josh Warrington to rough it out in a twelve round unanimous decision victory over American, Omar Douglas.
‘‘That was one of the toughest.’’ Selby said. ‘‘In the fight I kept on undoing their (His cut-men’s) good work.
Douglas was supposed to be a big puncher and I held his shots well…If my management says I’m fighting Anthony Joshua tomorrow, I wouldn’t turn it down.’’
In his signature white and gold shorts, Selby of Wales, forced an energetic start onto the American. Lee clearly wanted to make an early impression in what was a new division for him. Douglas’ dreads (white at the start but red by the end) were wrapped up much like his hands, so every time Selby landed a clean jab, Omar’s head fired back and made him look like Ridley Scott’s Alien.
But towards the end of round two a bloody cut on the eye of Lee Selby opened up, much like in his fight vs. Warrington. It didn’t stutter his performance for that round, but it did create a new element to the fight. The Welshman continued to fire off well, despite the cut, but it was clear Lee wasn’t as urgent in his offence as before the cut.
Omar has spent his career bouncing between 130-135 and as the rounds drew on he was giving Lee, who’d jumped 9lb in weight, a rough entry into the lightweight division. By the time of the final bell it was close as well as clear that ‘Lightning’ had taken the rough alleyway to enter 135lb.
Final scorecards were 116-112, 116-112, 115-114 all in favour of Lee Selby.
Showtime Boxing Preview: DeGale vs. Eubank Jr.
By: Ste Rowen
Two Brits from the South of England, both lay claim to being former World champions – James ‘Chunky’ DeGale with the IBF and Chris Eubank Jr with the suspect IBO; and each with a defeat to George Groves on their record, the pair have seemed to be on a collision course to meet in the ring for a while, even when DeGale was the IBF king at super-middleweight and Eubank was a lowly 160lb challenger.
On Saturday night at London’s O2 Arena, they finally meet.
From the sparring stories to the trash talk, it’s been a bout that’s been a long time coming,
‘‘This is my second coming I promise you.’’ James, 25-2-1 (15KOs), told ITV. ‘‘95% of people think I’m on the decline. I can’t wait for this fight…I know what’s left in myself…He thinks I’m not ready. He thinks he’s gonna get me late on. He’s in for a big surprise.
He came down to spar me, done 6-8 rounds, I can’t even remember…Then the next day he went on social media and said, ‘I schooled James DeGale blah, blah, blah.’ Crazy stuff.
He’s not that good but boy can he fight…I’m too fast, I’m too strong, I’m too big, I’m too smart.’’
This time last year ‘Chunky’ was in preparations to avenge his 2017 decision defeat to Caleb Truax in which he lost the IBF belt he’d held on to for over two years. It also ruined his homecoming as it was his first fight in England for three years. But the Olympic gold medallist bounced back four months later, beating crowd favourite, Truax to settle the demons of their first fight.
DeGale’s recent record might be mixed but his title run from defeating Andre Dirrell to the infamous majority draw with Badou Jack, prove that James has the style and strength to back up his claims that he’s still got it. Although injuries have plagued him, and it was a massive shame for him and the tournament that he was injured before the super-middleweight World Boxing Super Series got going.
Chris Eubank Jr has promised to retire his opponent but although his opponent is almost definitely in the home stretch of his career, Chris is going to need a career best performance to take the win. 27-2 (21KOs), the Brighton-native’s recent career has also been a bit of a mixed bag.
His last five fights have included victories over Renold Quinlan and veteran, Arthur Abraham to win and then defend the IBO 168lb strap. Unlike Saturday’s opponent, Eubank Jr did enter the WBSS, firstly knocking out unbeaten Turk, Avni Yildrim before his fortunes changed and he lost for the second time in his pro career when, in a bloody affair, George Groves got the better of him over twelve rounds.
A comeback victory over JJ McDonagh in September last year meant a quiet end to 2018, but the 29-year-old is as confident as ever,
‘‘He’s got nowhere else to go, I’ve been calling him out for so long and he finally realised ‘I have to fight him.’…I can’t wait to teach him a lesson.’’
The WBSS semi-finalist also has a different view on the infamous sparring stories,
‘‘I beat him up in the 8th round. I vaulted the ropes and he got upset and he kicked me and my dad out of the gym, but in the past he’s said he made me quit.
He has the pedigree, he’s a former world champion. You can’t take that away from him, but at the level that I’m at for this fight he can’t touch me…It’s a redemption fight. I’ve trained for a 12-round fight but I’m stopping this man.’’
There’s no major title on the line this Saturday, other than the vacant IBO, but with Billy Joe Saunders making the move up to super-middle to fight for the recently vacated WBO world title in April, a huge domestic tie for this weekend’s winner should be in sight for later this year.
Saturday Night’s Undercard:
Defending his Commonwealth heavyweight title for the first time since winning it last May, Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce faces off against former WBC world champion, Bermane Stiverne.
The hype around the 9-0 (9KOs), Olympic silver medallist has cooled a little since he made lightwork of Lenroy Thomas nine months ago but victories over journeyman, Ivica Bacurin, career-cruiserweight Iago Kiladze and American Joe Hanks, have kept the winning feeling going and Joyce is once again confident of victory over Stiverne, arguably his toughest opposition to date,
‘‘He is a former world champion that has gone twelve rounds with Deontay Wilder and will give me a real challenge, but my engine and power will be too much for him.’’
Stiverne hasn’t fought since he was knocked out in the first round in a rematch with Deontay Wilder in 2017. Since then, a bout with Alexander Povetkin in Russia fell through due to the Russian failing a drug test, but despite the lengthy layoff, the former world champion feels Joyce has made a big mistake,
‘‘Seven fights and he wants to box me? For me it’s a dream come true but for Joyce it will be a nightmare. I’ll knock out Joe Joyce and step over him to KO Anthony Joshua.’’
Lee Selby vs. Marco Douglas
Also on show on Saturday will be Lee Selby 26-2 (9KOs) in his comeback fight after losing his IBF featherweight belt to Josh Warrington last May. The Welshman takes on American, Omar Douglas, 19-2 (13KOs), in Selby’s first fight at lightweight,
‘‘I’m at a new weight and feeling good. You can expect the best Lee Selby yet.’’
James DeGale vs Chris Eubank Jr: Make It or Break It
By: Waqas Ali
As the war of words continues, only one fighter will have his career going further on fight night and the other could contemplate retirement.
James ‘Chunky’ DeGale will be facing fellow countrymen Chris Eubank Jr at the O2 arena in London, England.
This will be the first time in eight years where DeGale will be facing a British fighter and fighting in that arena.
The bout will be for the IBO super-middleweight belt and will be broadcasted live on ITV Box Office.
The feud between the pair had been going on for more than five years but only last year had the trash talking been taken in serious consideration of a potential bout.
DeGale (25-2-1) won his IBF super-middleweight belt from Caleb Traux in a rematch last year and vacated it in July 2018 in order to pursue a bigger fight paycheck with better opposition.
The current No.5 ranked fighter by Ring Magazine did fight a journeyman named Fidel Muñoz two months after his relinquishment of the IBF title and stopped him in three rounds.
Both DeGale and Eubank Jr had been hinting the other to retire should the other man lose.
Fans of DeGale had been pointing to the fact that DeGale, 33, had lost interest in the fight game. This is in evidence of his previous performances that were shown to be competitive.
The two fights with Traux, in particular, were back and forth exchanges and at one point DeGale was cut above his right eye.
But the Hammersmith-based fighter insisted that he’s not ready to give up yet and is ready to trade shots with Eubank Jr.
He said: “There are a lot of questions hanging over it.
“Is JD shot? Am I on the decline? Is Eubank that good?
“I’m going to give him another chance to see if he’s that good, so it’s spicy.
“Going by my last couple of performances, people will probably say, ‘Yeah, he’s on the decline’, and I can see that.
“But I don’t give up, I’ve got balls, heart and desire — to mix it with the big boys and achieve what I have achieved, you have to heart.
“Eubank has a lot of good attributes. He’s tough, strong, he has a good chin, he doesn’t mind if it gets hard.
“But you need more than that to mix it at the top and become world champion.”
Eubank Jr (27-2), 29, also like DeGale came off a tough battle that questioned his ability with top-level opposition.
He lost to former WBA super-middleweight titlist George Groves in a World Super Series contest in the semi-final and was left with a massive cut in his right eye.
He then fought Irish boxer JJ McDonagh several months later and stopped in three rounds.
The current No.8 ranked Ring Magazine fighter says that DeGale will be well prepared for this all-star domestic clash but this fight could be one step closer retirement for him.
“He’s the type of fighter who rises to the occasion,” Eubank Jr said.
“If he’s got someone he doesn’t respect or fear, then that shows in his performance. He respects me and knows what’s coming, so he’s going to be on form.
“He’s had some hard fights, that’s for sure. It’s one of those things – a fight like this especially against me – could be career ending.
“I’m relentless, I don’t stop. Volume, speed, power, it’s all a dangerous combination, and he knows that.
“But the fact he knows that is why we’re going to see the best James DeGale we’ve seen for a long time.
“He knows I’m a livewire and that I’m dangerous; he knows being ill-prepared is dangerous for his health. I don’t think he’s going to put himself in that position.”
From what the boxing world thinks in the outcome of this fight, the majority have it for Degale.
According to a poll conducted by Boxing News, 55% of voters chose Degale to win on points, 10% by KO and only 21% for Eubank Jr by decision.
But what are the stats, stakes and solutions for each fighter?
Degale stands at 6 feet 0 inches and a reach of 74”. In his last six fights, he’s won four, lost one and drew one. He is a southpaw and his style consists of being an effective counterpuncher. He throws numerous shots to the body and often counters to the head with a left uppercut. Though his knockout ratio stands at a rate of 54%, he does have the ability to knock fighters down.
In terms of the numbers, DeGale throws around 46 punches and lands around 17. His connect rate is at 37% while the average super-middleweight connects at 30% and throws around 53 punches. By the power punches, DeGale lands at 13 with a connect percentage of 43%. While the average super-middleweight lands around 11 with a connect percentage of 37.
Eubank Jr has a reach of 72” and a height of 5 feet 11 inches. His knockout ratio (73%) stands much higher than DeGale’s and in his last six bouts, he won five and lost one. Out of his five wins, four were by KO/stoppages.
Eubank Jr has ferocious speed and ability when it comes to letting his hands go. He is more of an inside fighter and trades with right hands, left hooks and uppercuts. He does lack the power ability of a one-punch knockout finish. This is opposite to his Father Chris Eubank Sr who was known to be a knockout finisher. From a viewing point, Eubank Jr tends to throw a frequent amount of power punches that do not result in a knockout finish but rather a stoppage.
However, by the numbers, Eubank Jr, is highly active. Considering the fact that he throws around 61 punches and lands 21 with a connect rate of 34%. In the power punching department, he lands around 15 with a connect rate of 43%. His opponents landed just 4.4 power punches per round which is less than half the super middleweight average and landing at just 14%. He also likes to provide a bit of showmanship or as others would call it showboating. This can be a psychological factor that is often done by Eubank Jr and many fans find it detesting from their point of view.
Judging by the numbers for both fighters, Eubank Jr has a good activity level and accuracy both in total punches and the power punching rate.
His punches can be as grilling as a chef cooking a grilled chicken. It can be an unbearable amount of heat to take.
For DeGale, one must be aware that his opponents have landed 34% of their power shots on him.
In this particular context, the defence would need improving. This could mean he an easy target to hit – considering the inside exchanges. Based on the whole fight, both fighters know this is a make or break for them. The stakes are high and both fighters will need to be cautious with their punches as well as their styles. This includes speed, timing, accuracy, power and agility. DeGale will need to prove to the world that he’s vacated his belt for the right reasons by fighting Eubank Jr and beating him. For Eubank Jr, he needs to prove that he can compete with the boxing elites and prove that he is a great fighter.
Heavyweight Prospect James Wilson: “I’m Here To Tear You Apart”
By: Sean Crose
“I really feel like they got me,” says James Wilson, the 7-0 Southern California based heavyweight on his recent signing with the noted Golden Boy Promotions. “We were on the same wave length…we just spoke the same language.” Wilson is unique in that he came to boxing somewhat late after engaging in a variety of different sports, including kickboxing and MMA, where he did a stint with the prestigious Belator organization. “Before boxing,” he says, “I was doing MMA, kickboxing, Muay Thai…I absolutely wish I had made the transition sooner.” Still, the fighter adds that having outside influences in combat sports can also be beneficial.
Other sporting endeavors, he states: “helped me even though I started a little later.” One of the things that has clearly helped Wilson is the attitude he brings towards the sweet science, especially in its contemporary state. “None of the guys who are the top dogs so to speak right now,” he says, “have what I have.” He’s speaking, of course, of his fellow heavyweights, who he intends to put on notice this weekend when he faces the 3-0-1 Juan Torres on the undercard of the Jaime Munguia-Takeshi Inoue junior welterweight title fight at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
“Here’s the thing,” he says, brimming with confidence, “I’m not looking to go into a fight and box.
I’m coming to do my job, get my check, go home to my kids.” Wilson, whose won six of seven bout by knockout, wants to see the sport go back to the action packed era of the 70s-90s. As his manager, Jared Shaw puts it, the current boxing scene has “too much boxing and not enough fighting,” a common complaint in a world where MMA has gotten popular. Perhaps, then, the mindset of a former MMA fighter can be something of a game changer. “I’m going to smash some faces and go about my business,” he says. “I’m not here to box you, I’m here to tear you apart.”
Not that Wilson wants the world to think he’s a terrible person. There is, after all a distinct difference between in and out of the ring behavior. “I’m a killer,” he says of his fighting style, “but outside the ring, I’m the coolest guy.” To be fair, the man certainly comes across as likable. “I’m a very personable person,” he states, “and can adapt to any situation.” Does that include a situation where his opponent is more eager to box than stand and fight? “I can play both sides of the game (skill and power),” he says. “When it’s time to go there, it’s not a problem.”
As for the future, Wilson intends to stay active. “We’re looking at possibly having six fights,” he claims of 2019. In the meantime, there’s business with Torres to contend with, on a card of note, no less. “It’s a great card to be on,” says Wilson. “I’m good. I’m ready to go. I’m thankful.”
“The awe factor, the wow factor,” he says, “that’s what I’m bringing back. So don’t blink…the only mode I know is beast mode or no mode.”
DeGale-Eubank Jr. Feb. 23 Grudge Match Launches PBC UK Debut
By Jake Donovan
James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr. finally get to settle things in the ring.
The pair of British super middleweights and longtime domestic rivals will collide on February 23 at The O2 in London, with the bout formally announced at a press conference held on site Thursday afternoon.
“I’d like to say how personally proud I am of this new relationship between Premier Boxing Champions and ITV,” stated promoter Richard Poxon, whose Poxon Sports will present the event live on ITV Box Office in the UK. “This is a fantastic all British super-middleweight fight that takes us back to the glory days on ITV.
“For the first British event (under the new deal between PBC and ITV), it’s probably the most anticipated event of recent years. This has every ingredient to be a great event. We’re looking forward to the buildup and of course looking forward to a great fight.”
There will be far less at stake than was the case when the two were first on each other’s radar. In the time that has passed since interest in such a grudge match first made the rounds, DeGale (25-2-1) has won, lost, regained and vacated a super middleweight title.
Meanwhile, Eubank Jr. (27-2, 21KOs) will enter fight night barely a year removed from his disappointing points loss to George Groves in their title fight last February. A win would’ve advanced the second-generation boxer into the World Boxing Super Series finals versus Callum Smith; instead, it left him without a career-defining win and a lot to prove.
It also made it easier to finalize terms to face DeGale, a fitting debut for PBC expanding its brand to the United Kingdom four years after its initial U.S. launch in 2015.
“At this stage of my career, big fights, fan-favorite fights are all that I’m after,” Eubank Jr. said during Thursday’s press conference. “This fight has been 4-5 years in the making.”
Of course, being the son of legendary former two-division titlist Chris Eubank Sr. made him recognizable name from the moment he turned pro in 2011. What caught the eye of his upcoming opponent, though, was Eubank Jr’s awareness of those around him at that time.
“This fight has been a long time coming,” acknowledges DeGale, a 2008 Olympic Gold medalist for Great Britain and two-tour super middleweight titlist. “A lot of people have been calling for this fight. Chris has been calling for this fight.
“When the guy first turned pro, he was calling me out. He’s very deluded and now I’ve finally got the chance to deal with this guy, good and proper.”
The moment will come without a major belt on the line. DeGale regained his title in a points win over Caleb Truax last April after suffering a shocking loss to the American in Dec. ’17, which initially ended his 2 ½ year title reign.
His first title win was a historic moment, becoming the first ever Olympic Gold medalist from Great Britian to win a major title in outpointing Andre Dirrell in their May ’15 clash.
The second tour was short-lived and without fanfare or even a single defense. DeGale opted to vacate in order to search for bigger fights rather than be contractually bound to a mandatory title defense versus Jose Uzcategui. Among the bouts discussed was an eventual showdown with Eubank Jr., a fight that was factored into PBC moving forward with its long-discussed plans of launching its brand in the U.K. market.
Both boxers took on separate tune-ups in the interim, each scoring 3rd round knockouts just two days apart. Eubank Jr’s return to the win column came in an uninspiring stoppage of JJ McDonagh last September in Saudi Arabia, on the undercard of Smith’s knockout win over Groves to win the WBSS super middleweight tournament.
Two days later, DeGale claimed an early hit of Mexico’s Fidel Monterrosa in a bout buried deep on the non-televised portion of a PBC on FS1 show in California.
Little was made of either contest, other than marking time for their eventual head-on collision. Whereas such a fight could have arguably declared the best super middleweight in the world a year or two ago, the February 23 clash has become must-win for both boxers.
“We can call this the retirement fight,” DeGale repeatedly insisted during Thursday’s press conference. “Whoever loses, can knock it on the head. Call it a retirement fight because whoever loses, game over.”
The sentiment wasn’t exactly shared on the other side of the dais.
“Speak for yourself, James,” Eubank Jr. quipped of the notion. “James is talking about retirement. That thought has never entered my mind.”
What has entered his mind, however, was getting game-ready for this bout and functionally for the rest of his career. The 29-year old admits to having been self-trained for his past few contests, but will enter this under the watchful eye of a new—and full-time—coach.
“I haven’t really had an official trainer,” Eubank Jr. confessed in regretting past decisions that have left him in must-win territory. “Ronnie Davies has always been with me, but was never my full time trainer, he was more of an overseer. I was basically training myself.
“This fight will be different. I’m training with a man named Nate Vasquez, who has been living with me full-time. He had to fly home for Christmas but is now back with me. It’s great to have a guy working with me full time, fixing the things I need to work on rather than someone just going through the motions. It’s going to take me to the next level.”
It will have to, as Eubank Jr. has yet to land the type of breakout victory that has advanced his career from potential to confirmed greatness. He was aggressively moved early in his career, perhaps not quite ready for “the next level” in dropping a dull 12-round decision to then-rising contender Billy Joe Saunders, who would go on to win a middleweight title.
The path was similar to that of DeGale, who was paired early in his career with Groves when both were unbeaten prospects. Groves won a tightly contested decision, but it was DeGale who would be the first to win a major title in outpointing Dirrell on U.S. soil.
Three successful title defenses followed, including a 12-round draw with Badou Jack in their Jan. ’17 war. DeGale—who turns 33 in February—remained with a belt around his waist, but the majority draw coupled with the upset loss to Truax that following December left the Brit without a win since barely getting past Rogelio Medina in April ’16.
He now enters this grudge match with two straight victories. The former two-time titlist is also equipped with the more proven track record in big fights and—he believes—has far more left to offer the sport, which he doesn’t believe to be the case for his future opponent.
“After he’s lost to me, I’m not too sure where he’s going to go,” DeGale wondered aloud. “Fortunately, we only have seven more weeks to wait. I’m ready to go.”
Jamal James and Caleb Truax Make Statements from their Hometown
By: Andrew Johnson
The two best boxers in Minnesota delivered distinct messages by scoring early-round knockouts at the Armory last Friday night in Minneapolis. Jamal James (24-1, 11 KOs) told the welterweight division “Here I come!” with his second-round knockout of Mahonry Montes’ (35-8-1, 24 KOs). While Caleb Truax announced “I am still here!” to the Super Middleweight division with a dominating performance against Fabiano Pena (15-11-1, 10 KOs).
Jamal James believes that he belongs among the elite fighters at 147 lbs. Known as a slick boxer who uses his length to frustrate opponents, James surprised many with the power he displayed in the fight.
“He said that he would be coming forward on us so I knew what to expect.” James told the Boxing Insider immediately after the fight. “I had watched his film and my corner told me to keep that jab on him, use the angles and feel him out.”
In the first round, the fighters threw inconsequential punches to size each other up and find their rhythm. Montes launched his attack in the second round and was building momentum until James landed a series of right hands. The first shot landed squarely on Montes’ chin, rattling the veteran fighter from Sinaloa. James capitalized on the moment by continuing to throw his right hand over Montes defense. When Montes finally lifted his gloves to protect his head, James finished him with a vicious left to the body that ended the fight.
“I was able to hurt him early with a right hand and then that body shot just sunk him.” said an exuberant James.
The welterweight division is full of marquee names and big money fights. After successfully headlining two nationally televised cards in his hometown, Jamal James believes that he has earned a shot at a title, most likely a WBA belt, which ranked him as the #3 contender entering the fight.
“Hopefully this brings me closer to a world title opportunity, if not a world title opportunity in my next fight.” James responded when asked what this victory means for his immediate future.
3,754 fans came to the event, so the PBC may want to let “Shango” fight in front of the Armory’s friendly crowd one more time before presenting him with a contract for a title bout. But if it were up to Jamal James, he would likely want to challenge Keith Thurman for his WBA
Even though FS1 turned off their cameras after the James/Montes bout, no one left the arena. Caleb Truax had not fought in his hometown since his shocking upset of James DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KOs) last December. He turned his homecoming match into a sing along by selecting “Purple Rain” to accompany his ring walk and entered the building like a choir conductor.
In April, Truax was sluggish in losing his title to DeGale in their rematch, launching rumors of retirement for the 34 year-old. Though he fought as a Light Heavyweight after weighing-in above the Super Middleweight limit and faced an overmatched Fabiano Pena, Truax looked sharp in the fight. After absorbing a few solid punches from Pena, he took control and pummeled his opponent with a barrage of power shots, ending the fight in the third round with a sensational upper-cut.
The victory put Truax in the mix again at Super Middleweight with the potential to face powerhouses like Jose Uzcategui and David Benavidez, a third fight with DeGale or possibly Julio Cesar Chavez Jr this fall.
A Big Step for Jamal James this Friday Night in Minneapolis
By: Andrew Johnson
For the second time in 45 years, professional boxing returns to the Armory in downtown Minneapolis. Last April, hometown contender Jamal “Shango” James (23-1, 10 KOs) outlasted Abel Ramos (20-3-2, 15 KOs) in a compelling fight that inched him closer to a title shot and introduced the Armory as the Midwest’s most intriguing boxing venue.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions
This Friday night, James will headline a marathon PBC card by facing Mahonry Montes (35-7-1, 24 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight bout (FS1 and FOX Deportes starting at 8:00 ET). Already ranked as the #3 welterweight by the WBA, a compelling win against Montes will put James in contention for a fight with WBA Super Champion Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) or WBA World Champion Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) in 2019.
Jamal James is taller, faster and has a considerably longer reach than Montes. This isn’t news to the veteran fighting out of Sinaloa, Mexico.
“I know that Jamal James is very tall and uses his range well, but one thing that I always do well in my fights is to bring pressure.” Montes told the media. “I am very aggressive and that is what I am going to do tomorrow.”
In James’ last fight, Abel Ramos came to Minneapolis with the same strategy. A shorter and slower fighter than James, Ramos struggled in the early rounds, but as the fight progressed he figured out how to land his own shots and avoid James’ best weapon, the straight right hand. Ramos lost a very close split decision, but he may have laid the blueprint for how other pressure fighters might counter James’ speed and height.
“This is a step to get to that world title.” James told reporters after he weighed-in at two pounds below the 147 lbs limit. A win would be a significant step in his career and one he will attempt in front of his hometown fans and a national audience. But the staircase that boxers must climb in the welterweight division is steep. A misstep by “Shango” on Friday would send him tumbling down the rankings in boxing’s deepest division and out of the welterweight title conversation.
Fellow Minnesotan, Caleb Truax’s (29-4-2, 18 KOs) fight won’t be televised, but he will be on Friday’s card as he looks to make one last title run at super middleweight. He faces the relatively unknown Brazilian boxer, Fabiano Pena (15-10-1, 11 KOs) in a match that is meant to show Truax still has gas in the tank and is ready for what would be his third fight with James DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KOs).
Jamal James Edges Abel Ramos in Minneapolis
By: Andrew Johnson
Jamal “Shango” James outlasted a sturdy and persistent Abel Ramos last Friday night in front of a loud, partisan crowd at the Armory in snowy Minneapolis. He won by the slimmest of margins, splitting the judges 95-95, 96-94, 96-94.
Clearly enthused to be fighting at home, James came storming out of the gate throwing flurries of punches behind sharp double and triple jabs. He appeared intent on scoring another early knockdown, building on the third-round KO he registered in December against Diego Chaves.
Photo Credit: Brian Schroeder / Premier Boxing Champions
Abel Ramos looked very comfortable at 147 lbs. and weathered the first-round storm. He steadied himself in his corner and launched his own offensive in the 2nd round, catching James with a left hook that nearly flattened the hometown fighter.
“I caught him with some tough shots and he was shaking them off,” James told the Boxing Insider immediately after the fight, “so I knew I had to keep boxing him.”
James’ strategy to use his length and quickness to outbox the shorter, slower Ramos proved to be a winning formula, but the victory wasn’t as easy or as decisive as Shango had hoped. In the first half of the fight, Ramos absorbed combination after combination from James, but he never flinched. In fact, Ramos kept pursuing the quicker fighter and by the middle of the fight he was starting to land with more success.
Solidifying his reputation as a difficult target, James ducked, dodged and leaned away from Ramos’ power shots. “I got slick on the inside because I knew he was going to keep pressuring me.” James said about his mid-fight strategy.
James was also aided by the 3,500 fans who braved the weather to back one of the best prospects Minneapolis has produced in the last two decades. Chants of “Shango! Shango! Shango!” started in the third round and were repeated throughout the fight. James appeared to draw energy from the supporting crowd in the late rounds when he was cut over his ear and losing steam.
The Armory felt like it was made for the sweet science and is poised to host future fights. It was a reminder that live boxing is best when the crowd has skin in the game and is emotionally invested in the main event. The vocal fans may have nudged a round or two on the judges’ scorecards towards James, as a number of rounds could have gone either way.
The WBA was already on board with Jamal James as a top contender at welterweight and it will be interesting to see if this fight will improve his standing with the other sanctioning bodies.
In the locker room after the victory, Shango was both elated and palpably relieved. He came through in the biggest fight of his life and defeated a tough opponent in front of his friends, family and a national audience.
Jamal “Shango” James: The African God of Thunder…from the Tundra
By: Andrew Johnson
Jamal “Shango” James (22-1, 10 KOs) faces fellow welterweight Abel Ramos (18-2-2, 13 KOs) this Friday night in PBC on FS1’s main event (FS1 9:00 EST) at the historic Armory in downtown Minneapolis.
James is the WBA’s #4 welterweight contender and hopes to use the platform offered by the nationally televised event to legitimize his place among the top fighters at 147 lbs. Proud of his Minnesota roots, James wants to continue the recent momentum in Minnesota boxing that began with Caleb Truax upset of James DeGale last December.
Photo Credit: Mn Fight News
James, whose nickname means “African God of Thunder”, climbed up the rankings as a slick, defensive, counter-puncher with an impressive jab. At 6’2”, he reminds some fans of an early 1980s Thomas Hearns, but Shango employs a very different boxing strategy than the Motor City Cobra.
“The best thing I do in the ring is not get hit.” James told the media during Wednesday’s press conference. “I try to bring a little bit of the art back (to boxing). I am not a super big slugger, but I can still hurt you.”
He hurt Diego Chaves in his last fight and knocked out the rugged, Argentine veteran. James kept his distance in the fight’s early minutes with his long, weaponized jab, but brought the thunder late in the third round with a left hook to the body that put Chaves on the canvas and ended the fight.
Friday’s fight will be the first-time James has fought in Minnesota in over three years. He began boxing at the age of five when his mother brought him to Circle of Discipline gym in South Minneapolis. The trainers at the gym teach footwork and crisp punching to aspiring boxers, but also focus on faith and building character in youth whose backs are against the wall. After nearly 25 years of training at the gym, James embodies the holistic approach to the fight game preached by the Circle of Discipline.
“I am at a place in my life where I can give life back to others. I was able to bring a big event like this to Minnesota and we gave tickets to a ton of kids from low-income homes who may not have been able to afford it.” James told the Boxing Insider after the press conference. “We have given 100 tickets to high schools around the city and more to other organizations. I pray and hope that the more success I have, the more I am able to help my organization and community.”
If Jamal James wants a title shot in the next year, he needs to shine against Ramos on Friday night. Simply avoiding Abel Ramos’ punches and winning an uninspired decision may not be enough to make noise in a division full of marquee names and big money fights.
Ramos moved up to 147 lbs. for his last fight and won via TKO. He said that fighting at a heavier weight will allow him to bring new strength and endurance to the ring on Friday and is confident that he will defeat James in his homecoming and the return of boxing to the Armory.
There will be snow on the streets of Minneapolis, but the atmosphere inside the Armory should be electric as the hometown crowd receives Jamal “Shango” James and welcomes boxing back to a building that hosted legends like Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Louis decades ago.
Showtime Boxing Results: Hurd Wins Thriller Over Lara, Williams and DeGale Victorious
By: William Holmes
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions put on a triple header on the Showtime networks live from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main event of the evening was between Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd and the co-main event of the evening was between James DeGale and Caleb Truax which was a rematch of a mammoth upset in 2017.
The opening bout of the night was between Julian Williams (24-1-1) and Nathaniel Gallimore (20-1) in the junior middleweight division. The winner of this bout will likely be looking at a title shot in the near future.
Julian Williams was a big step up in competition for Nathaniel Gallimore and he stayed behind a strong jab and good side to side movement in the opening three rounds. Gallimore was able to land some shots on the inside, and landed and received some heavy shots in the fourth round.
Williams had a small mouse under his right eye in the fifth round that opened up from an unintentional headbutt. Williams began to focus on the body more in the middle rounds, though he looked a little tired in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Williams body work continued into the seventh, eight, and ninth rounds and it was visibly sapping the energy of Gallimore. Gallimore’s punches didn’t have much snap in the tenth round and Williams had Gallimore badly hurt in the eleventh round and looked close to stopping him.
It was an entertaining fight, with only one questionable scorecard at the end.
The final scores were 114-114, 116-112, and 117-110 in favor of Julian Williams.
After this bout Floyd Mayweather Jr. was interviewed by Showtime and indicated that if he was going to unretire he would fight in the octagon.
The co-main event of the night was between Caleb Truax (29-3-2) and James DeGale (23-2-1) for the IBF Super Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
DeGale showed the quicker hand speed and more accurate in the opening two rounds, but it featured many headbutts that often happen when a southpaw faces an orthodox fighter.
Truax applied heavy pressure in the third round which featured a hard-right hand to the chin of DeGale that sent him falling backwards into the ropes. DeGale had a cut by his right eye that the referee ruled was caused by a punch, but the video replay showed it was caused by a head-butt.
The Nevada commission informed the announce team in the fourth round that the ruling on the cut being caused by a punch still stood despite the video evidence.
Truax continued to come forward in the fourth through sixth rounds while DeGale badly bled. Truax however wasn’t able to land many effective combinations but he was pressing the action.
DeGale started to land some good counters in the seventh round and land some good short shots on the inside. DeGale had a very strong eighth and ninth rounds and often switched to an orthodox stance from his traditional southpaw stance.
Truax had cuts under both of his eyes by the ninth round and appeared to be tiring. DeGale lost a point in the tenth round for a deliberate shoulder strike.
The final two rounds were close and featured some tight action, but DeGale looked like he was landing the better punches.
The final scores were 117-110, 114-113, and 114-113 for James DeGale.
The main event of the night was between Jarrett Hurd (21-0) and Erislandy Lara (25-2-2) for the IBF and WBA Junior Middleweight Titles .
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
Hurd looked like he was two weight classes bigger than Lara, but Lara was able to find a home with his straight left hand early on and land some quick combinations in the second.
Hurd didn’t appear to be too bothered with Lara’s power and was able to land some good short shots on the inside and was making Lara back away from him in the fourth rounds.
Hurd showed he had a granite chin in the fifth round and was able to take the shots of Lara and answer with his own shots to the body. Lara appeared to tire in the sixth rounds as his back was against the ropes again, and he took a hard right hook at the end of the seventh round.
Hurd was able to land some very hard shots in the eighth round and had Lara’s eye puffed up badly in the ninth.
Lara was able to slow Hurd’s momentum in the 10th round with quick counters and being the first on the attack, and he was able to finish the eleventh round strong and maybe steal the round.
The twelfth round featured both boxers going for the knockout, but it was Hurd who landed a shot that sent his opponent to the mat. Lara looked badly hurt and face was swollen, but he was able to survive the round.
The scores were 114-113 Lara, 114-113 Hurd, and 114-113 Hurd.