Sergey Kovalev-Eleider Alvarez Rematch Coming to ESPN in Early 2019
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Eleider “Storm” Alvarez lit up the Atlantic City Boardwalk in a pitched battle last month. The two will renew acquaintances early next year live on a Top Rank on ESPN card as part of a co-promotion with Main Event and Krusher Promotions, in association with Groupe Yvon Michel.
Alvarez knocked down Kovalev three times in the seventh round and scored a TKO to capture the WBO light heavyweight title in a shocking upset. Kovalev led on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage and hopes to pick up where the first six rounds left off.
“We are very happy to be joining forces with Top Rank and ESPN for what we expect will be another exciting and historic fight,” said Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events. “Sergey was clearly winning his first bout with Alvarez when he just got caught. It happens. Congratulations to Alvarez for his spectacular performance, but Sergey is a warrior. He let me know that he is anxious to avenge this loss as soon as possible. We are looking forward to the new year!”
“Bringing this marquee rematch to boxing fans on ESPN is a great way to start 2019,” said Top Rank President Todd duBoef. “The light heavyweight division is loaded, and both Kovalev and Alvarez have fan-friendly styles that will make for another gripping fight.”
Added Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling: “This has been an exciting year for boxing on ESPN, and the Kovalev-Alvarez rematch is another example of the world-class caliber of events we look forward to continue to showcase on Top Rank on ESPN in 2019.”
Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) established himself as one of this generation’s preeminent light heavyweight champions with nine title defenses across two title reigns. He first won the WBO title in August 2013, traveling to Wales and knocking out hometown champion Nathan Cleverly in the fourth round. He became the unified champion in November 2014 with a dominating 12-round decision against future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins and further enhanced his résumé with a pair of knockout wins against former lineal light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal. Kovalev lost the title via controversial decision loss to Andre Ward in November 2016. After dropping the rematch via eighth-round TKO, Kovalev recaptured the WBO title with a second-round TKO against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November of last year. He defended the title once before the first Alvarez bout.
Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs), a former Colombian amateur standout who resides in Montreal, is a nine-year pro with a host of A-list names on his résumé, including: Kovalev, Pascal, and former super middleweight world champion Lucian Bute. The Kovalev triumph is the signature victory on his record. Come 2019, Alvarez hopes it’s repeat rather than revenge.
Use the hashtag #AlvarezKovalev to join the conversation on social media.
Alvarez Knocks Out Kovalev In Thrilling Fashion
by: Sean Crose
Major boxing returned to Atlantic City on Saturday night, as Sergey Kovalev, 32-2-1, defended his WBO Light Heavyweight Title against the undefeated 23-0 Eleider Alvarez. First, though WBA Light Heavyweight champ Dimitry Bivol, 13-0, defended his title against veteran contender Isaac Chilemba, 25-2-2. Bivol came out swinging – and landing. Chilemba was too crafty to be blown out right away, but Bivol ended up dominating the round, regardless. Bivol unloaded in the second. Chilemba once again held strong, but Bivol was also proving to be a patient fighter. By the third it was clear Bivol was simply the much stronger man. Chilemba was brave and game, but it wasn’t enough.
The fourth showed more of the same. It was perfectly clear at that point that Bivol was looking like a very formidable fighter indeed. It could be argued that Chilemba had a better go of it in the middle rounds, but it was clear that Bivol was still in charge of the fight overall. As the fight pushed into the later rounds, however, there seemed to be a contentedness in Bivol’s performance. Then again, the veteran Chilemba was able to go the distance with Kovalev, back when Kovalev was feared throughout the division. After a full twelve rounds, it seemed that Bivol didn’t dominate AS MUCH as it looked like he might have. Still, the man earned a well deserved unanimous decision win.
It was time for the main event. The first round was close, but Kovalev controlled the tempo. The second was also close, but Alvarez landed the sharper punches. Kovalev’s body shots seemed to give the Russian an edge, albeit a slight one, in round three. Kovalev had a good fourth, so good that it was a credit to Alvarez that he remained standing. Kovalev went on to take the fifth – barely. It was a close fight, albeit one Kovalev was edging. Things started getting ugly in the sixth, as Kovalev’s power started to really tell the tale, while Alvarez started to show some blood. Alvarez, however, was fighting very well. Again, it was the strength of Kovalev that was telling the tale.
And then, all of the sudden, a HUGE right dropped Kovalev in the seventh. Then Alvarez sent his man to the mat again. And then…Kovalev was knocked out. In explosive fashion, Alvarez became the big man of the light heavyweight division. It was a stunning and explosive end to an exciting, hitting match.
There’s a new big name in the fight game…one that, ironically, has been around for quite some time.
HBO Boxing Preview: Bivol vs. Chilemba, Kovalev vs. Alvarez
By: William Holmes
Atlantic City has seen a surge in the past year in the number of boxing events held in the local casinos, and with Sports Betting now legal in New Jersey, it appears that the surge will continue.
On Saturday night Main Events Promotions will promote a solid fight card at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Two light heavyweight world title bouts will be featured on that card, the main event of Sergey Kovalev vs. Sleider Alvarez and the co-main event between Dmitry Bivol and Isaac Chilemba for Bivol’s title.
The undercard will feature several prospects and local fighters, including Karl Dargan, Vaughn Alexander, Denis Douglin, Frank Galarza, and Bakhram Murtazaliev.
The following is a preview of the two televised fights.
Dmitry Bivol (13-0) vs. Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2); WBA Light Heavyweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be a light heavyweight title fight between Dmitry Bivol and Isaac Chilemba.
Bivol is a Russian boxer with a deep amateur background. He was Russian National Gold Medalist as well as a World Cadet Championship gold medalist. Chilemba does not have the amateur credentials of Bivol.
Chilemba will have a slight one inch height advantage over Bivol. However, Bivol is the harder puncher of the two. Chilemba only has ten stoppage victories on his resume while Bivol has stopped elevent of his opponents, only two went the distance.
Inactivity should be of some concern to Chilemba. He only fought once in 2018, zero times in 2017, and twice in 2016. Chilemba has also gone 1-3 in his past four fights.
Bivol has been more active than Chilemba. He fought once in 2018 and four times in 2017. By his eleventh professional fight Bivol was already a world champion.
Chilemba has some big losses on his resume. He has losses to Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, and Tony Bellew. His notable wins include Blake Caparello, Vasily Lepikhin, Denis Grachev, and Edison Miranda.
Bivol has been fairly dominant in his career. He has beaten the likes of Sullivan Barrera, Trent Broadhurst, Cedric Agnew, and Samuel Clarkson.
Bivol appears to be following Sergey Kovalev’s career path and has beaten some opponents that previously faced Kovalev. Chilemba will likely be no different.
Sergey Kovalev (32-2-1) vs. Eleider Alvarez (23-0); WBO Light Heavyweight Title
Sergey Kovalev was long considered one of the top boxers in the light heavyweight division, but back to back losses to Andre Ward has faded his shine a little bit. But he’s still a very dangerous boxer and one of the top guys in the light heavyweight division.
However, he’s facing one of the biggest tests of his professional career in Eleider Alvarez.
Both Kovalev and Alvarez has extensive amateur backgrounds. Kovalev is a former Gold Medalist in the Russian National Championships and Alvarez represented Columbia in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Both boxers are slightly past their athletic primes. Kovalev is 35 years old and Alvarez is 34 years old. Kovalev will have a two inch height advantage and about a three inch reach advantage on Alvarez.
Both boxers have been fairly active in recent years. Kovalev fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017. Alvarez fought twice in 2017 and 2016 but has yet to fight in 2018.
Kovalev’s only losses were to Andre Ward, an all time great. He has defeated the likes of Igor Mikhalkin, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Nadjib Mohammedi, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Nathan Cleverly, and Gabriel Campillo
Alvarez has defeated the likes of Jean Pascal, Lucian Bute, Isaac Chilemba, Robert Berridge, and Alexander Johnson.
This writer feels this bout will be very close and competitive. Alvarez has been on a hot streak recently with some impressive wins, but has never fought someone on the level of Kovalev.
If Kovalev can use his reach and height advantage well he should win this bout, but an upset wouldn’t be surprising.
Sergey Kovalev On Eleider Alvarez: “We Have A Big Test Next Saturday”
By: Sean Crose
In just a few days, on August 4th, to be exact, Sergey Kovalev will return to Atlantic City in order to defend his WBO world light heavyweight title belt against the undefeated 23-0 Eleider Alvarez. Atlantic City, which has been home to several notable Kovalev bouts, hasn’t hosted a fight featuring the man named “Krusher” since Kovalev outskilled the iconic Bernard Hopkins back in 2014. Much has changed since that time, but the 32-2-1 Kovalev is eager to once again leave his mark on the famous fight town. “Long time,” he says over the phone, discussing his time away from Atlantic City. “I’m really happy (to be) back.”
Since losing twice to Andre Ward (once in controversial fashion) in 2016 and 2017 respectively, Kovalev has returned to the ring with two straight knockouts in the past year. Needless to say, the 35 year old isn’t slowing down. Alvarez may only be a year younger than Kovalev, and not much of a knockout artist, either – but the challenger is hungry and will be coming into the ring with a unique skill set which has led to an undefeated career (so far at least) in the professional ranks. Yet Kovaelv, the veteran champion, isn’t one to let his own nerves get the better of him.
“You know,” Kovalev says of his training in easygoing, slightly broken English, “(I’m) just making shape to be ready for anything.” It would be easy for the man to look ahead, to imagine completing his dream of unifying the light heavyweight titles. “Right now,” though, his goal is to “focus (on Alvarez).” Should he win on August 4th, however, people will once again be asking for a bout with fellow titlist Adonis Stevenson. They will also ask if Stevenson, who – fairly or not – has earned a reputation in various quarters for ducking Kovalev, will be willing to finally meet his counterpart in the ring.
Not one to project, Kovalev makes it clear that it would be unwise for him to to look beyond Alvarez at this point. “Chickenson,” Kovalev says (Chickenson is his name for Stevenson) “should fight Alex (the undefeated Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who Stevenson is said to be facing in November).” And if both Kovalev and Stevenson emerge victorious in their next bouts? “After this (the Alvarez match), we will speak about any possible fight,” Kovaelv says. To Kovalev, it seems, the most important business is the business at hand. “We have a big test next Saturday,” he states. No doubt Eleider Alvarez agrees.
Sergey Kovalev: “My Goal Is To Get All Four Titles”
By: Sean Crose
“This is my biggest opportunity,” light heavyweight Eleider Alvarez said of his August 4th title fight against WBO champ Sergey Kovalev in Atlantic City. “I waited three and a half years.” Alvarez was in line to face WBC champ Adonis Stevenson for ages, but, as has sometimes been the case for potential Stevenson opponents over the years, the bout never materialized. Now the undefeated Colombian fighter finally has his chance. “I’m going to be ready for this,” Alvarez claimed on a Tuesday conference call. For his part, Kovalev seems prepared to slip on the gloves and prove whose best, as well.
Photo Credit: Main Events Twitter Account
“He’s undefeated,” Kovelev said of his foe in his trademark broken English (Alvarez himself spoke through a translator), “he’s number one WBC rank.” Still, Kovalev made it clear that he’s not the type to be easily frightened. “I’m not scared,” he said on the call. “I’m ready to face any champion.” Indeed, Kovalev wishes to finally accomplish his longstanding dream of unifying all the major light heavyweight belts. “My goal is to get all four titles,” he said, “to be undisputed champion.”
That may be a very hard goal to accomplish in an era of competing promotional outfits and networks. What’s more, Stevenson, fairly or not, has a reputation in many quarters for having previously been completely unwilling to face Kovelev in a unification match. Asked whether he was tired of hearing about the likes of Stevenson and Andre Ward, who bested him in the ring twice, Kovalev came across as unperturbed. “It’s part of my career,” he stated. “I’m happy I’m still fighting, but Andre Ward’s already retired.”
I asked Kovalev’s promoter, Kathy Duva, and Alvarez’ promoter, Yvon Michel, how difficult it was to make Kovalev-Alvarez after Alvarez had been standing at the door to a championship fight for so long. “From my perspective,” said Duva, “it was extremely easy.” According to Duva, she simply gave, Michel a call, an assertion Michel quickly backed up. “We had a meeting,” he said, referring to events that occurred immediately after the Duva call. “I came back from that meeting with a mandate.” And hence, a title bout was made. “It’s not that difficult,” Duva said, “when you have two fighters who want to make the fight.”
Rising star Dmitry Bivol will also be on the August 4th card. He’ll be facing veteran fighter Isacc Chilemba, who stunned Sullivan Barerra in March. The winner will be in he possession of the WBA light heavyweight title. That means, should they both win this weekend, a Kovalev-Bivol bout may be on the horizon. “Most likely the fight will happen,” Bivol said, “as Sergey and I are both HBO boxers.”
Sergey Kovalev Demolishes Mikhalkin; Bivol Shines against Barrera
By Eric Lunger
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) returned Saturday night to the Madison Square Garden Theatre, defending his WBO World light heavyweight strap against fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) in a twelve-round bout on HBO Championship Boxing. Kovalev, now age 34, was looking to continue his comeback in the division, after losing two tough fights to now-retired Andre Ward.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Accoun
Having dispatched Vyacheslav Shabranskyy with relative ease three months ago, Kovalev’s appeared to opt for a second tune-up against little-know Mikhalkin, who was making his first appearance in the United States. The challenger, a six-foot-one southpaw, came into the bout with a decent record, but no big names on his resume. Scoring only one knockout in his last eight outings, Mikhalkin would have to put on a boxing clinic in order to compete with the heavily-favored Kovalev.
Kovalev dominated the first round, landing stiff jabs and occasional power punches. Mikhalkin stayed behind his guard, and kept his hands home as though trying to gauge what exactly he had in front of him. The second was more of the same, as Kovalev landed hard shots for which his opponent has no answer. In a slightly more competitive third round, Mikhalkin found the range to land a few shots, but Kovalev continued to dictate the pace.
As the rounds wore on, Kovalev did not look particularly sharp, with some sloppy footwork marring his performance. Still, Kovalev staggered Mikhalkin in the fifth, but the challenger’s southpaw stance seemed to stymie the Champion. In the sixth, Kovalev opened a nasty cut under Mikhalkin’s right eye with a brutal left hand. In addition, Mikhalkin had a significant cut on the bridge of his nose. The seventh was hard to watch. Mikhalkin was beaten and beaten up. With 35 seconds left in the round, the ring-side doctor (rightly) stopped the fight. Kovalev wins by TKO in the seventh.
The co-main event, also in the light heavyweight division, featured WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) of Kyrgyzstan versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) of Miami, FL, by way of Cuba. Barrera, having fought Ward (loss), Shabranskyy, and Joe Smith, Jr. (wins), is familiar to American fight fans, while Bivol is highly-touted for his fundamentals and speed, but is less well known.
In round one, both fighters tried to establish the jab and both fighters did good work to the body. Bivol showed a high level of confidence, not seemingly fazed by the big stage. Barrera opened a slight cut over Bivol’s right eye in the second — replay showed that it was a head butt — and seemed to gain confidence as the round went on, countering Bivol and looking smooth and comfortable. The third was more competitive, as Bivol started to initiate and throw combinations. The pace slowed slightly in the fourth, both fighters standing in the pocket and trying to impose their game plan on the other. Bivol looked to jab and throw combinations, while Barrera was attempting to time and counter his Kyrgyzstani opponent. It was clean and attractive boxing, with no clinches or running.
In the fifth, Bivol began to show a combination of footwork and hand speed unusual at this weight class, and Barrera had no answers. The Cuban showed real resilience in the sixth, mounting a sustained body attack while absorbing some straight right hands from Bivol. The seventh ended with a flurry from both fighters, but Bivol seemed to land the more accurate shots.
Going into the eighth, I saw the fight as fairly close — but in that round Bivol looked fresher and more confident, bouncing on the balls of his feet, dropping his lead left hand, and throwing combinations. Barrera started to look tired for the first time in the fight. Nonetheless, there was no quit, no resignation in Barrera in these later rounds: he continued to battle and look for opportunities. He just couldn’t find any.
The championship rounds saw Bivol continue to box, showing impressive conditioning, while Barrera could not match the younger fighter’s speed and distance control. In the twelfth, Bivol caught Barrera standing sideways to him. It was an error by the Cuban, and Bivol pounced, landing a jab that stunned Barrera, setting up a straight right. Barrera beat the count, but referee Harvey Dock waved off the bout. Dmitry Bivol boxed cleanly, intelligently, and athletically. It was an impressive performance.
Kovalev and Bivol to Defend Separate Belts on HBO card Saturday Night
By Eric Lunger
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) returns Saturday night to the Madison Square Garden Theatre against fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) in a twelve-round light heavyweight WBO world championship bout. Kovalev is coming off a second-round TKO of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November of last year, Ifalso If also MSG, where he won the WBO belt that had been vacated by Kovalev’s nemesis, the now-retired Andre Ward.
Photo Credit: Main Events Twitter Account
Kovalev looks to reclaim his light heavyweight titles, which he lost to Ward in November of 2016. Ward nipped a close 12 round decision, winning by one round on all three judges’ cards. In the rematch, Kovalev was stopped in a controversial fashion, having taken what some saw as a series of low blows. Kovalev emerged onto the world-wide boxing scene in 2013 when he stopped England’s Nathan Cleverly in the fourth round, picking up the WBO belt for the first time. He then reeled off three stoppage wins and then a 12-round decision over Bernard Hopkins in November of 2014. Having now claimed the IBF and WBA belts, “Krusher” made four successful defenses until running into Ward. Still ranked number one by Ring Magazine, Kovalev, now at age 34, looks to continue his journey back to the undisputed top of the division on Saturday night.
After the two losses to Ward, Kovalev switch trainers to Abror Tursunpulatov, submitting to a much higher level of direction: “I don’t think about what I should do, what I need to do, how many minutes or rounds,” Kovalev told Main Events, “everything is under his plan and his control. I like it, and right now I don’t spend my energy to think about training camp. Everything is under the control of Abror.” And like the veteran he is, Kovalev understands the challenge of fighting a contender like Mikhalkin: “he is very motivated. He comes here [to a Championship bout], and he is very dangerous because it is a great opportunity for his future boxing career … and I should be ready for everything he can bring against me.”
Igor Mikhalkin will be making his first appearance fighting in the US. At age 32, the 6-foot-one southpaw holds the IBO World light heavyweight belt, having outpointed Doudou Ngumbu of France in twelve-round clash in December of last year. With only one KO in his last eight outings, Mikhalkin will have to outbox Kovalev. A slugfest would favor the man they call the “Krusher.” Mikhalkin’s most notable win was over then-undefeated Thomas Oosthuizen (27-0-2) in May of 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, Mikhalkin’s adopted home town.
Mikhalkin knows a bit about Kovalev, however, as they were teammates in their amateur days two decades ago. Mikhalkin says, “What I remember of Sergey from those day, he was always working and training really hard, and doing his job as a boxer. Since then, I’ve seen every one of his fights and I respect him for what he has done.” The Irkutsk-born Mikhalkin knows what an enormous opportunity this is: “I’m not as well known, but I get to fight a very popular opponent, a very dangerous opponent with lots of fans. It would change everything in my life.”
The co-Main event features a fascinating clash between two other world-level light heavyweights, albeit from very different boxing traditions: WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) of Kyrgyzstan versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) of Miami, FL, by way of Cuba. Bivol, 27, is riding a four-fight knock out streak. He won the WBA belt by defeating Trent Broadhurst (20-2, 12 KOs) of Australia via a first-round knockout. Bivol made a splash last June on the Ward vs. Kovalev II undercard, where he punished a tough Cedric Agnew, stopping the Chicago fighter in the fourth.
Bivol is thankful to be fighting at MSG on the same card as the vaunted Kovalev: “it’s a pleasure to fight on a card where there’s going to be two world champions from Russia, fighting on the same night… I think the fans should be very glad, the Russian fans and all the fans who like both of us, will come and see both of us fight.” The Kyrgyzstan native realizes that Barrera is a real step up in opposition, but he is excited to step in the ring with the Cuban: “I want to fight with the best guys. Barrera accepted our challenge. I’m glad he did.”
Sullivan Barrera, like other former Cuban amateur standouts, started his professional career somewhat late. But he has been busy over the last two years. After losing to Andre Ward in March of 2016 by twelve-round unanimous decision, Barrera reeled off four victories. He earned stoppage wins over Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (2016) and prospect Paul Parker (2017). Barrera then finished a three-fight 2017 with decision wins over Joe Smith, Jr., in July, and Felix Valera in November, the latter on the Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy undercard. Saturday night is Barrera’s first title shot, and the Cuban knows that Bivol will be a difficult opponent: “Bivol is a good fighter and it is known that he has speed but we have a plan to adjust to the speed and take it away. We are going to impose ourselves and use our abilities. It would be a dream come true to win the title.”
The action will be broadcast live this Saturday night at 10:00 PM ET/PT on H
Boxing Insider Notebook: Roy Jones Jr., Khan, Bowe, Kovalev, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 30th to February 6th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Roy Jones Junior Quotes for his Last Fight
One of the greatest careers in ring history will come to close this Thursday night, when the legendary Roy Jones Junior competes in his final bout as a professional boxer bout as a professional boxer.
Widely considered one of the very best pound-for-pound fighters of all time Jones, 65-9 (47KOs), competes in cruiserweight (200lbs) bout vs Scott Sigmon, 30-11-1 (16KOs). The 10-rounder serves as the main event to a five fight Island Fights main card which features both boxing and mixed martial arts bouts.
The event will be live-streamed and available on video-on-demand basis exclusively on UFCFIGHTPASS, the UFC’s digital streaming service.
Joining combat sport play-by-play veteran TJ De Santis in the commentator booth will be Jeff Lacy. Known as “Left Hook” during his boxing career, Lacy represented the United States at the 2000 Olympics and went on to win the same IBF super-middleweight title Jones had annexed a decade earlier. Lacy also fought Jones in 2009 (the entire fight is available on UFC FIGHT PASS) and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the event.
ROY JONES JUNIOR FLASH QUOTES:
ON FIGHTING ON UFC FIGHT PASS
“This is the first live boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS. I love being the first to do something, so to be the first boxing event on UFC FIGHT PASS is cool. When I turned pro back in 1989, I said I wanted to bring new audiences boxing and that’s what I tried to do. By having my last night as a fighter on the
UFC’s (streaming service) I’m bringing new eyeballs to boxing and I’m throwing a spotlight on the boxing and MMA fighters who are on the event.
“I’m been a fan of the UFC for years. Me and (UFC President) Dana White have been friends for a long time, since before he even got started with the UFC. We’ve talked about FIGHT PASS showing a fight (of mine) and it has come about perfectly.”
ON HIS FINAL FIGHT
“It feels different. I’m emotional even thinking about how I’m going to feel on the day. I’m almost tearing up talking. I’m worried about how I am going to feel all day of the fight. I may be crying all day – but once I am in the ring I’ll have to put those tears away because there’s gonna be a guy in the other corner looking to beat me. Scott Sigmon won’t care about those tears. He cares about getting the win, that’s the reality.
“I turned professional in May 1989 in this same arena, but I’ve been doing this since 1979. In 39 years there’s not been a single day where I didn’t put on glove, skip, watch tape or spend time thinking about boxing.
“Boxing has been my life and it is my life. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. So much of it is still fresh (in my mind), not one thing but so much jumps out when I look back… representing my country at the Olympics in 1988, becoming a world champion for the first time, becoming the No.1 pound-for-pound vs James Toney, winning the world heavyweight title… like it was all yesterday.”
ON GETTING OLDER
“I’m not sad to get older, we all get old. I had a great prime. I was good in my prime, y’know? I wasn’t surprised that I was getting old, and that my abilities were getting more limited. Everybody knows everybody gets old, but I think some guys really don’t think their body will get old.
“I accepted it. People told me to retire but I knew what I could do and I’ve never let anyone tell me what to do.
“There are things I wanted to accomplish that I knew were no longer within my reach. I love boxing, even out of my prime I love boxing like I did when I was champ. But you can’t go on forever no matter how much you love it. It’s time, I’m ready to say goodbye.”
After MTV Super Fight League Ropes in Fox Networks Group for an Asian Broadcasting Deal
FOX Sports Asia has entered into a brand new one-year exclusive multimedia and broadcastrights agreement for the second season of Super Fight League, the world’s first mixed martial arts tournament, promoted by British businessman and sports enthusiast Bill Dosanjh and British professional boxer Amir Khan on their television and digital platforms in Asia.
Promising reach in more than 500 million homes by broadcasting action pack content, the licensed territories include Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam . Earlier this year, SFL came to one-year agreement on a broadcasting deal with MTV, Viacom 18 in India to broadcast all matches for season 2 (till 2019)
Having garnered over a whopping 100 million views in 5 years for 67 live televised events, Super Fight League is ranked as the third biggest Mixed Martial Arts brand in the world and second most watched sport in India after cricket apart from being the fastest growing combat sport.The franchise-based league that is being organized in association with the All-India Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA) will entail prize money of INR 4 crores as well as 96 players and 8 teams as listed below –
Bill Dosanjh, CEO & Founder of Super Fight League stated, “We are excited to be partnering with FOX Networks Group, the leading multi-platform entertainment group across the world. This association will further capitalize on our long term vision of taking SFL to different markets. In the next 3 years we would like to take SFL to the Asian markets where MMA is more popular than a sport like cricket and comes second after soccer. The opportunity to have our premier content available in over 500 million homes will immediately accelerate the growth of the SFL brand and the sport of MMA across the region. The emergence of young Indian mixed martial artists coupled with FOX’s marketing muscle and distribution, will allow us to expand our event output beyond India and into the rest of the world in the coming years.”
Brian Sullivan, President of FOX Networks Groupadded, “This new agreement allows us to continue adding value to our uniquely holistic entertainment experience, aiming to suit all our fans’ preferences. We are quite delighted to deliver first class MMA content through our channels and digital platforms. The passion of Asian fans for mixed martial arts makes this category key to our content offering, and we will contribute with our know-how to make the experience of living it in our portfolio unbeatable.”
Elaborating Asian athlete and two-time world champion Amir Khan states, “I think we’ll be considered mainstream just like the NFL and NBA now. To be on the Fox platform, we’re not second class anymore. This new agreement represents a great opportunity and will allow us to attract a new fanbase for the sport where MMA has a strongly established tradition as well as huge potential to gather and galvanize new fans.”
Formed in 2012 by British-Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bill Dosanjh with an intent to give Indian mixed martial artists a platform to compete and hone their talent in their country of origin whilst bringing in talented fighters from different parts of the world, SFL is a revolutionary approach to combat and is the first MMA organization to feature female fighters. MTV SFL 2018 will promote gender equality through a fair and unique platform with women having the same influence on the team as men. The league entails a group ‘A’ and ‘B’, consisting of four teams each. Every team has six players—five male fighters and one female—and six back-ups, belonging to six different weight categories. The teams within the group compete with each other in 12 league-level matches.
The second season of the leading MMA league will be conducted at MTV SFL Arena, Famous Studios, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai from February 9, 2018 to March 17, 2018.
Riddick Bowe to be Special Guest for February 22nd Golden Boy Boxing Card
Former Undisputed Heavyweight World Champion Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe will be the special VIP guest for the Feb. 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. The highly anticipated headlining matchup will feature 126-pound contender Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (25-0, 13 KOs) defending his NABF and NABO Featherweight Titles against former world champion Victor “Vikingo” Terrazas (38-4-2, 21 KOs) in a 10-round fight.
Doors to the Special Events Center open and first fight begins at 5:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will transmit the fights beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT, and streaming on ESPN3 starting at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.
A certified Hall of Famer, “Big Daddy” Bowe is known as the only Undisputed Heavyweight World Champion to have earned belts from all four main sanctioning bodies – WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO. The controversial heavyweight faced some of the best fighters of his era, including Andrzej Golota, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, Herbie “Dancing Destroyer” Hide, and Michael “Dynamite” Dokes. Bowe is also one of five former heavyweight champions to have never suffered a stoppage defeat in the span of more than 40 fights in his career. Bowe will be in attendance for this event to meet fans, sign autographs and take pictures inside the Fantasy Springs Special Events Center before the ESPN transmission begins. The meet-and-greet is open to the public with the purchase of a ticket to the event.
Tickets for the event start at $25 and are available at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office, by calling 1-800-827-2946, or by purchasing online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com.
Chief support to the main event battle will be knockout artist Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (8-0, 8 KOs), who will participate in the eight-round co-main event for the vacant Junior NABF Super Lightweight Title against the dangerous Jesus “Carambolas” Alvarez (15-3,11 KOs) of Sinaloa, Mexico. Ortiz, Jr. has never heard the final bell of a bout and will be putting his spotless record on the line as he takes a step up in competition and fights for his first regional title.
Lightweight knockout artist Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez (18-1, 15 KOs) will make his highly anticipated ring return over a scheduled eight rounds of action and will kick off the ESPN3 coverage.Gonzalez will face Rey “Flash” Perez (21-9, 6 KOs), a Filipino fighter who now calls Los Angeles home and who was last seen giving Lamont Roach, Jr. trouble in the main event of the Nov. 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.
Manny “Chato” Robles III (14-0, 6 KOs), who is trained by his world-renowned father, Manny Robles, Jr., will participate in an eight-round featherweight affair. Power punching prospect Edgar “Kid Neza” Valerio (10-0, 7 KOs) of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl by way of South Central, Los Angeles, Calif. will participate in an eight-round battle in the 126-pound division.
San Diego’s Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (6-0, 4 KOs) will participate in an eight-round lightweight fight, and Hector “El Finito” Tanajara, Jr. (11-0, 4 KOs) of San Antonio, Texas will open up the stacked card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in a scheduled eight-round super featherweight fight.
Opponents for all these exciting prospects will be announced shortly.
AIBA Releases Progress Report on Governance
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board decided to maintain the financial suspension of AIBA and demanded a new report on AIBA governance by April 30th . This decision was made despite AIBA’s fulfilment of the IOC’s request to submit a Progress Report outlining all steps AIBA was asked to take and continues to take to improve its governance. To access the full AIBA Progress Report, please see the AIBA website.
This decision is extremely disappointing for AIBA as it hoped the IOC Executive Board would have understood that the processes necessary to implement even more measures require more time and that the positive steps already taken in recent times are evidence of AIBA’s strong efforts and willingness to reform.
Over the next six months AIBA will be in the process of a complete organisational review, which will lead to the ‘New Foundation Plan’ for AIBA. This plan and the recommendations produced will be discussed during the AIBA Executive Committee meeting in July and an update will be provided to the IOC in the requested April 30th report.
In the meantime, AIBA will continue its efforts to convince the IOC of its determination to not repeat any of the past mistakes and its commitment to a fresh, positive future centered on good governance and sound management.
Tickets on Sale for Kovalev vs. Mikhalkin
Tickets are on sale for the upcoming showdown between two-time Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) versus Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) and WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs), which takes place on Saturday, March 3 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Tickets for this exciting event are priced from $50 to $300 and are available through ticketmaster.com and the Madison Square Garden box office.
Promoted by Main Events, Krusher Promotions and World of Boxing in association with EC Box Promotions, the event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:05 p.m. ET/PT.
About March 3: The Saturday, March 3 main event between Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Igor Mikhalkin is a 12-round match-up for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The co-main event features WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol versus Sullivan Barrera in a 12-round title fight. The event is promoted by Main Events, Krusher Promotions and World of Boxing in association with EC Box Promotions and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®. Tickets range from $50 to $300 and will be available through TicketMaster.com, the Madison Square Garden Box office and the Main Events office by calling 973-200-7050 or emailing [email protected]
The Krusher Returns: True or False?
By: Kirk Jackson
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev 31-2-1 (27 KO’s) certainly looked confident after securing victory for the first time since July of 2016, recapturing the WBO light heavyweight championship in the process.
Scoring a 2nd round knock-out over Vyacheslav “Lion heart” Shabranskyy 19-2 (16 KO’s), Kovalev aims to conquer the light heavyweight terrain heading into 2018.
Photo Credit: David Spagnola/Main Events
“I did it and worked very hard to get to champion status. My brain, mentally, my conditioning, my body – I’m back. It’s my goal to be the best in this division. I am here, I love boxing,” said Kovalev in a post-fight interview.
Kovalev is scheduled to return back to the ring in March of 2018, against an opponent yet to be determined and with his biggest obstacle (Andre Ward retirement) no longer in the picture, is the path clear for the Russian “Krusher” to resume reign over the division?
HBO boxing analysts Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman suggest that is the case.
They actually suggested upon conclusion of the fight and during the post-fight interview with Kovalev, that we should forget about the two fights against Ward that previously took place – resulting in defeats for Kovalev.
It’s as though they want to paint a narrative where the viewer is supposed to forget about Kovalev losing and we are to wash that foul taste out of our mouths.
Well for one, reality does not work that way, what’s done is done and history cannot be erased.
However, Kovalev can use these previous experiences and set-backs and learn from those situations.
Redemption can be a wonderful story and adversity plays its part as the antagonist.
Over the course of the past year, Kovalev experienced his share of adversity losing to Ward twice, along with the dysfunction within his training camp including discord between head trainer John David Jackson.
The boxing ring serves as an absolute truth, because it reveals everything about whoever steps in the ring.
It reveals who trained, who properly prepared and poses the question to each combatant who wants it more? During the duration of a fight, the ring also exposes strengths and weaknesses for those who enter.
Defeat brings upon harsh reality as well.
When a fighter experiences defeat, many cases there’s an evaluation of the process; training regimen, coaching, outside distractions/activities, all the aspects of preparation leading up to the fight.
Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva, hardcore fans of the “Krusher,” along with Kovalev himself emphasized the notion he was robbed of a decision in the first encounter against Ward and was unfairly stopped against Ward in the rematch – due to poor officiating.
The perspective with each case is subjective, but the results in which is etched in history is a defeat on two occasions for Kovalev.
Something to consider as well, if Kovalev felt so strongly in his mind about the result of each fight with Ward, why undergo vast changes in training camp in preparation for the second fight against Ward and then again for his most recent fight against Shabranskyy?
Obviously he needed to switch things up, improve on his skill-set and changes had to occur. There was a glaring disconnect between trainer and fighter. With Jackson out, Kovalev is now being prepared by Abror Tursunpulatov.
Now that Kovalev is back in the winner’s circle after destroying Shabranskyy and equipped with a world title, questions still remain.
The fight against Shabranskyy was a small sample size and not a true telling tale to see if Kovalev gained improvements to his overall style.
We don’t know how good Shabranskyy is. Regarding high level opposition faced, Shabranskyy fought the likes of light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera and was soundly defeated.
For Kovalev, he looked good in there; he was loose, relaxed and displayed a few new wrinkles to his repertoire.
Known for his reliance on his left jab and straight right hand, Kovalev managed to sneak a few left hooks in there and also jabbed effectively to the body.
Kovalev also displayed weapons presented in previous bouts; laser sharp jabs and a blazing counter-right hand which sparked the end for Shabranskyy.
Perhaps the most important element to recovery for Kovalev was the mental aspect and regaining any lost confidence.
Losing to Ward shouldn’t fully damper what Kovalev has accomplished in his career; he was a top pound-for-pound fighter prior to the pair of defeats and can regain that status depending on how he performs moving forward.
Some of the questions regarding Kovalev is can he return to an elite level and for how long? Former foe Bernard Hopkins, believes Kovalev can fight effectively at a high level for a number of years.
“Although he (Kovalev) is certainly not the youngest guy, he is not an old man, he is still dangerous for a lot of opponents.”
“Sergey can box at the highest level for at least four more years and be at the top. Perhaps, it’s possible that he goes to cruiserweight? Who knows?”
Assuming Kovalev is back on an elite level, there’s the question of the fights against Ward and whether they should be viewed as an anomaly, or a true illustration and exposure of Kovalev’s weaknesses.
Can any other fighters in the division capitalize on the perceived weaknesses of Kovalev? The light heavyweight division is certainly loaded with talent.
Adonis Stevenson 29–1 (24 KO’s) is the WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal champion, Dmitry Bivol 12-0 (10 KO’s) is the WBA champion and Artur Beterbiev 12-0 (12 KO’s) is the WBO champion.
The aforementioned Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KO’s), who has his pick between facing Kovalev or Bivol next for a title, former super middleweight champion Badou Jack 22-1-2 (13 KO’s), Eleider Alvarez 23-0 (11 KO’s), Marcus Browne 20-0 (15 KO’s) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk 14-0 (12 KO’s) occupy the division as well.
The end of 2017 and entering 2018, there is new landscape at light heavyweight and a long list of challenges awaiting Kovalev. Challenges Kovalev aims to embrace.
“I’m a real fighter,” Kovalev said. “I’m not running from the real fighters. In the future, it will be very interesting fights because right now we are just belt-holders. We’ll find out from all of the champions who is the best.”
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev Regains WBO Title by KO, Gamboa Controversially Defeats Sosa
By: Ken Hissner
At the Madison Square Garden Theater, in New York City, Saturday night Main Events, Krusher Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and HBO promoted the vacant WBO light heavyweight title fight.
In the main event former WBA, WBO & IBF light heavyweight champion Russian Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 31-2-1 (27), of Los Angeles, CA, stopped Ukranian Vyacheslav “Lion Heart” Shabranskyy, 19-2 (16), of Los Angeles, CA, regaining the vacant WBO light heavyweight title, at 2:36 of round two of a scheduled 12.
In the opening round both boxers exchanged jabs with Shabranskyy showing a harder one. A right hand from Kovalev on the left ear and down went Shabranskyy. Another right hand from Kovalev to the left ear of Shabransky and down he went again. In the second round a hard right from Kovalev to the side of Shabranskyy’s and down he went. Kovalev went right after Shabranskyy and was hurting him again with the right hand to the head forcing referee Harvey Dock to end the fight. Seems Kovalev’s new trainer made a big difference with Kovalev seemingly back to his old form.
Light heavyweight Cuban Sullivan Barrera, 21-1 (14), won easily over awkward Felix “Mangu” Valera, 15-2 (13), of Dominican Republic, over 10 rounds.
In the first round Barrera landed a good right to the chin of Valera. Halfway thru the round Valera turned southpaw momentarily. Switching back to orthodox Valera landed a left hook dropping Barrera. A questionable call by referee Mike Ortega ruled a knockdown against Valera by a glancing left hook by Barrera. In the second round Valera was warned for a low blow. Valera started show boating and got caught with a right hand from Barrera. Barrera suffered a cut over his left eye under the eye brow.
In the third round another low blow by Valera cost him a point. Barrera comes fighting back landing hard shots to the head of Valera. Valera again switches to southpaw and show boating. Barrera had a big round. In the fourth round Barrera landed a hard overhand right to the head of Valera. Hands to his side Valera from the southpaw stance landed a solid left to the head of Barrera who keeps coming forward with blood flowing from his cut from a right hook. Barrera ended the round landing a right to the head of Valera.
In the fifth round Barrera kept coming forward landing more punches though the awkward Valera landing the harder punches though moving around with hands to his side. In the sixth round another low blow by Valera cost him a point. Halfway thru the round Valera decided to stand his ground giving the most action of the fight with Barrera throwing back. Barrera landed a double left hook to the head of Valera just prior to the bell.
In the seventh round Barrera landed well with his right to the head along with an uppercut to the head. They traded hard body shots. Barrera continued landing hard rights to the head of Valero. In the eighth round another low blow cost Valero a point. Barrera landed a solid right uppercut to the chin of Valero.
In the ninth round Barrera landed a low blow and lost a point. Again Valero started show boating. Valero dancing around the ring not throwing punches though well behind in the fight. In the tenth and final round Valero opened up with a solid left hook to the head of Barrera knowing he needs a knockout to win. Valero continues to dance around the ring not throwing punches again. Barrera lands final punch of the fight to the head of a strange Valero.
Judge Akerman had it 98-88, Feldman 97-90 and Schreck 97-89 with this writer 98-89. Referee was Mike Ortega. This should earn Barrera a title shot.
Former WBA super featherweight champion Jason “El Canito” Sosa, 20-3-4 (15), of Camden, NJ, lost a disputed majority decision to former IBF & WBA featherweight champion Cuban Yuriokis “El Ciclon de Guantanamo” Gamboa, 28-2 (17), of Miami, FL, over 10 rounds.
In the first round Sosa was the aggressor. Gamboa showed good hand speed in out working Sosa with counter combinations. A clash of heads showed a small red mark over the right eye of Gamboa. In the second round Sosa was warned for a low blow by referee Ron Lipton. Gamboa landed a double left hook to the mid-section of Sosa. Late in the round Sosa landed a left hook to the head of Gamboa where the head butt landed earlier opening a cut over the right eye of Gamboa. Sosa ended the round with a solid overhand right to the head of Gamboa.
In the third round Gamboa was warned twice for pushing off Sosa by referee Lipton. Sosa is throwing the right which is going over the head of Gamboa. Gamboa landed a left hook to the head of Sosa being the best punch of the round. In the fourth round Gamboa landed a good left hook to the body of Sosa. Gamboa warned for holding. Gamboa is landing 3-punch combinations on Sosa. Sosa keeps chasing Gamboa.
In the fifth round Gamboa landed a hard right hand to the chin of Sosa. Gamboa warned about holding for second time. Sosa lands a lead right to the mid-section of Gamboa. Both fighters exchanged right hands to the head. Sosa ended the round with a right uppercut to the chin of Gamboa. In the sixth round Gamboa continues to throw and grab Sosa. Halfway thru the round Sosa landed a good left hook to the head of Gamboa. Gamboa’s left eye started showing swelling.
In the seventh round Sosa landed a pair of left hooks dropping Gamboa with a delay knockdown when his glove hit the canvas per referee Lipton. Gamboa finally warned again for holding for the third time. Sosa landed a hard right to the head of Gamboa that was followed up by another seconds later. In the eighth round a Sosa right hand rocked Gamboa on the chin. Sosa followed up with a right to the body of Gamboa who may be tiring.
In the ninth round another warning to Gamboa for holding. Sosa landed a solid left hook to the head of Gamboa. Sosa ended the round with a good body shot. In the tenth and final round Sosa landed several good jabs to the chin of Gamboa. Referee Lipton finally takes a point from Gamboa for holding once again. Gamboa never stopped holding the rest of the round as Sosa did his best to punch him off of him.
Judge Taylor 94-94, McKaie 95-93 and Tella 96-92 with this writer 95-93 for Sosa. Gamboa took the fight on 3 weeks notice. This fight promoted by Golden Boy and Peltz Boxing.
Can Sergey Kovalev Bounce Back from Defeat?
By: Jacob Tanswell
At one time, not so long ago, he was viewed as the the most feared boxer in the game, Sergey “the Krusher” Kovalev is now firmly at a crossroads in his boxing life. On November 25th, he has an opportunity to get back to winning ways,regaining the WBO World Light Heavyweight Title in the process against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1) and perhaps salvage his career.
After suffering two contentious defeats to the recently retired Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev is having to evaluate his future. After being considered as one of the pound for pound best, who was seen as an unbeatable, powerful and a “beast from the east,” Kovalev has well and truly been a victim of his own hype. After weaknesses being exposed in the two Ward fights along with some staggering revelations from previous trainers, there is an argument from the fans that he is no longer “the Krusher.” The question is, has the former unified champion regained that hunger that made him so successful? Or is he continuing with the same mindset and bad habits?
On the back of an 8th round stoppage defeat to Andre Ward in June, shocking allegations have been made about Kovalev. Along the with increased strain on his promotional relationship with Kathy Duva, John David Jackson, his former trainer, has had some choice words to say about him. During a number of controversial interviews, Jackson claimed that once Kovalev found success, he lost his appetite and desire; he often didn’t train as hard and would regularly drink vodka and other alcohol during training camp. Furthermore, he insisted that the Russian couldn’t take a shot to the body and knew “Ward would get to his body” in the rematch which in the end, proved correct. Jackson and another former trainer in Abel Sanchez unanimously agreed Sergey was very difficult to train and had complex personality traits which caused tension in their partnerships. Since being catapulted into stardom, the once determined fighter who was brought up through hardship and struggle, became embroiled in his ultra ego – “the Krusher.” Everywhere you went in his training camp, them two words could be seen. Many believed he thought he was superhuman; no one could touch him. Now, after two loses, that notorious reputation is currently plunged in crisis after falling from grace. Its up to him to regain that tag and prove himself amongst the elite in the division.
In order to reaffirm himself on the light heavyweight scene, he needs to get that “hunter” mentality back, starting with the fight on the 25th. A good performance and a win will certainly go along way to convince doubters that Kovalev has his hunger back and has realised he has a point to prove. Then, eventually, he can finally put the Ward saga behind him, instead focusing on same huge dust ups in 2018 against possibly the new breed of superstars in Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol who are finding themselves in the same boat Kovalev was once on – tenacious fighters who are on the quest to achieve greatness…
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy
By: Ste Rowen
This coming Saturday the Madison Square Garden Theater, New York sees the return of Sergey ‘The Krusher’ Kovalev as he looks to regain the crown in the light heavyweight division after his two controversial defeats to Andre Ward. In his way stands Ukrainian fringe contender Vyacheslav ‘Lion Heart’ Shabranskyy, a man looking to establish himself as a frontrunner for a world title shot.
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo/Main Events
Twelve months ago, Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1) was reeling from his first professional career defeat. An unjust defeat to many. The highly anticipated bout between Sergey ‘The Krusher’ Kovalev and Andre ‘S.O.G.’ Ward neither disappointed, nor set alight into a real classic however, it did decide who was the consensus number one P4P fighter in the word. Unfortunately for the Russian, it was Andre who was given that crown, and the belts he held before their 19th November bout last year.
Almost seven months later he looked a completely different man to the feared light heavyweight juggernaut who stepped into the ring for the first bout. Rumours of needle between himself and trainer, John David Jackson did nothing to help convince those who backed Ward to a get a second win without any controversy this time.
Controversy is what unfolded though. Unlike the previous fight the Russian struggled to beat Ward to the punch and there was no knockdown in his favour to make the scorecards close even before the stoppage. Ward did what many thought was impossible, not the TKO victory, but the fact that Kovalev looked broken, and searching for a way out.
The old ‘Krusher’ wouldn’t have complained about Ward’s low blows, ‘The Krusher’ of previous fights would’ve fired back his own illegal shots ala Ricky Hatton vs Kostya Tszyu, but instead, after six unanswered punches to head, body, and almost definitely lower, the referee stepped in and called off the bout as Kovalev leant on the ropes almost folded in half.
In a recent interview with ‘Fight Hub TV’ Sergey said he’s cleaned up now, dropping the one or two beers he drank a day, and sticking to only water. He looks in supreme condition now, another criticism that followed Sergey going into the rematch with Ward, S.O.G. calling him soft bellied due to the training camp vodka Kovalev was supposedly enjoying. He also has a new trainer in tow but there remain questions over whether Abror Tursunpulatov is the man to rein Sergey back in if he’s lacking discipline in the fight itself or in camp.
Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1-0) himself twelve months ago was a relatively feared light heavyweight picking up notable victories over Paul Parker & Derrick Findley via stoppages, and a majority decision over, then 16-1-0 Yunieski Gonzalez. Momentum was slowed abruptly though when he was handed his first defeat comprehensively in December last year by Cuban, Sullivan Barrera, who fights on the undercard of Saturday’s main event vs Felix Valera.
In previous fights Vyacheslav has looked quick on his feet, constantly on his toes, looking for the opportunities to fire off quick left and right hooks. In his longest bout when he went ten rounds with Gonzalez, Shabranskyy took a more methodical approach, working behind the jab, counter-shots and short spurts of hooks; but last December there seemed a gulf in class between himself and Barrera.
Despite all the signs seemingly being that this would a well-matched fight, perhaps leaning toward the Ukrainian, after the first bell rang, Shabranskyy was ruthlessly dominated. Despite dropping the Cuban in round two, he himself was dropped in the 1st, 5th and 7th when the referee called the fight. He’s steadily built himself back into winning form with a routine win over journeyman Larry Pryor and a fight ruled a TKO victory for the Ukrainian, in an ugly encounter with Todd Unthank May; the fight stopped in the seventh due to cuts.
Shabranskyy is not as polished as Kovalev despite his amateur background. If allowed to attack he will hit the throttle and test what resolve Kovalev has left after the two Ward fights. The Ukrainian however, leaves his chin wide open for the counter, and even if Saturday night’s Kovalev isn’t the Russian of 2015, if the power is still there, Kovalev will only need a few opportunities to put it on his opponent and turn the fight.
At his best, ‘The Krusher’s’ jab was king, and if he’s able to throw it as he did in fights before the second defeat to Ward, it will be a sure sign the Russian is back somewhere close to his best. Another positive for Kovalev is that it was evident in Shabranskyy’s sole defeat, he couldn’t work out how to get around the jab, which setup his eventual downfall in the fight.
Like most fighters returning from a possibly career defining loss, the big question is, ‘Will Kovalev be motivated to keep on fighting?’ He achieved light heavyweight supremacy, even if the WBC title held by Adonis Stevenson alluded Sergey. The WBO strap will be on the line for the weekend’s bout, a belt Sergey won back in 2013, when he beat up recently retired Nathan Cleverly for four rounds.
The current light heavyweight division, even without retired Andre Ward, is one of the most stacked. To name just the current title holders, newly crowned IBF and WBA champions respectively, Artur Beterbiev & Dmitry Bivol, along with WBC Champion Adonis Stevenson. Then add in contenders, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Badou Jack, Sullivan Barrera, Eleider Alvarez and Marcus Browne.
There will be no easy fights for any of the light heavyweights who dare to unify.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Kovalev, Bradley, Shabranskyy, Oscar, and more…
Compiled by: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 7th to November 14th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Kovalev-Shabranskyy Media Conference Call Recap
Below are some select statements from the recent Sergey Kovalev-Shabranskyy Media Conference call.
Sergey Kovalev, former unified light heavyweight world champion: Yes, I’m really good. My training camp is going really good, like always, and I’m happy to work right now with my new coach Arbor Tursunpulatov. He’s doing a great job and we understand each other because we speak and understand one language. We understand each other and I feel comfortable.
Question: Sergey, can you describe what it was like for you to put the losses to Andre Ward behind you? This is like a new beginning for your career. Can you talk about that?
SK: All life is like a lesson for me. After my last three fights, some felt that I should get more physically into my work life with my boxing again. But right now, I feel all bad things are gone from my mind. Right now I concentrate, and I focus for the future of my boxing career. I’m ready to be again a world champion and collect my belts if somebody will be ready to unify the title.
Question: Sergey, when this fight was made with Shabranskyy you did not know it was going to be for the title. Andre Ward hadn’t retired, I don’t believe, when this fight was put together and you were going to go in and fight him to get back in action, score a win and get back on track. Can you tell me what it was like for you, as far as how excited you were that when you found out that it was going to be for one of the titles that Andre vacated when he retired? That you’d have a chance to regain one of your belts in your first fight coming off of a defeat?
SK: My next fight without the belt was going to be discouraging, because I must come back.(It) should be very exciting. I’m really excited and ready to get my belts back. It would be really interesting and really exciting, and I would fight anybody.
I was ready to fight Sullivan Barrera, but he didn’t approve the fight and we got Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. And, after this, Andre Ward vacated the title; it’s additional motivation. It’s like the most important (in) how my future boxing career is going to be. I’m really happy that this fight will be for the title and for the WBO, because this was the first title that I had already., But now this is like a new chapter in my boxing career. I am recharged. I am much stronger than last three fights and you will see November 25 in New York.
RIP Desmond Hammond of King’s Promotions
King’s Promotions is deeply saddened at the passing of Desmond Hammond.
Hammond of Reading, Pennsylvania passed away on Monday morning at the age of 35. He was at his home and surrounded by his family.
Hammond was the Director of Operations for King’s Promotions for the better part of the last three years. He was the nephew of King’s Promotions CEO Marshall Kauffman.
“This is such a sad day for my family and for everyone who knew Desmond,” said Kauffman.
“Desmond was like a son to me. He is my sister’s son, and he is basically the same age as my children so we are extremely close. Desmond came to boxing just a few years ago and he picked up the business so fast. We have run more shows then anybody in the country, and they all have come off so smoothly. That was because of Desmond. He was on top of every detail, which made the events go off without a hitch. But most of all he was very selfless and caring. He was always there for someone in need. He was a great young man, who was very smart, and he was always joking. It was such an honor for me to have him on board with King’s Promotions. He was such a special person who was loved and will be missed so much.”
Besides Kauffman and his family, Hammond is survived by his mother Sheri Clark, sisters Lynchel Hammond and Raven Hammond, brother Steven Brandon, his daughter Dayana, newborn son Donovan and his girlfriend Alisha.
The Viewing will be held next Monday, November 20th between 9 am and 11 am at St. John Baptist Church, 436 South 7th Street, Reading, Pa.19602
Flowers and gifts can be sent by copying and pasting this link:
Tim Bradley Jr. Presents $5,000 to Elementary School to Launch Book
Palm Desert-based Back Story Publishing has released its inaugural book entitled “Hard to Heart: How Boxer Tim Bradley Won Championships and Respect,” a biography geared to middle-grade readers about five-time World Champion boxer and Palm Springs, CA, resident Tim Bradley. As an element in the standard agreement with a book’s subject, Back Story Publishing makes a $5,000 contribution to the charity of the subject’s choice. Bradley and his wife, Monica, selected the library at Amelia Earhart Elementary School of International Studies in nearby Indio as the recipient of this contribution. Today, “Hard to Heart” author Bill Dwyre and Brady presented a $5,000 check to Earhart principal Ann Morales and Desert Sands Unified School District Superintendent Scott Bailey in front of the 900+ students at the school. Each of the students also received a copy of “Hard to Heart: How Boxer Tim Bradley Won Championships and Respect,” and each teacher received a classroom copy of the book autographed by Bradley and Dwyre.
Tim Bradley perfectly fit Dwyre’s vision of a first subject for a book developed by Back Story. From being a combative child growing up in Palm Springs, to channeling his love of boxing into a successful career, and from being down to his last $11 before he won his first world title, to becoming what he is today: a five-time World Champion boxer in two weight classes (retired); a volunteer football coach at La Quinta High School; a board member for a youth football program for underprivileged children; father to five busy children with wife Monica; and a businessman working alongside Monica who owns a healthy-options, quick-service restaurant – Haus of Poké — in Rancho Mirage, CA, with two additional restaurants in the works. He and Monica also manage/mentor two up-and-coming local boxers: Edgar Alfredo Martinez and Dominic Serna, Jr. In the Coachella Valley of Southern California, Bradley is seen as an inspiration for perseverance over challenges and for giving back to the community.
“I never, ever expected to have a bio written about me,” said Bradley. “It’s a double thrill that one has been and that it’s for young people. I believe in reading, education and pursuing your dreams, and I hope the lessons I learned the hard way, and that Bill talked about in the book, will help other kids find a smoother path.”
Newly launched Back Story Publishing is the brainchild of Dwyre, award-winning former sports editor and later columnist of the Los Angeles Times. Dwyre envisioned a company that produced books about athletes who contribute to their sport and their community, and who have a compelling personal story demonstrating perseverance and success over life’s challenges. Dwyre also hoped that kids – who spend much of their time on electronic devices using their thumbs – would be inspired to pick up a book and read. “Hard to Heart” is available from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble in paperback and e-book formats, and from the Apple iTunes store.
Oscar De La Hoya Presents New, State of the Art Boxing Equipment to Garden Grove Boxing
Olympic gold medalist and 10-time world champion Oscar De La Hoya presented new, state-of-the-art boxing equipment valued at thousands of dollars today at Garden Grove Boxing. De La Hoya was joined by dozens of excited youth who gathered together to receive gloves, hand-wraps, mouth guards, headgear and other state-of-the art boxing equipment. Also during the giveaway, De La Hoya honored Ben Barker and the California Municipal Finance Authority as the 2017 Corporate Partner of the Year in recognition of their commitment to serving youth in Southern California.
“This event is about giving back, about giving a helping hand,” said Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “This is about giving kids hope. When I was a kid, I used to love it when people would stop by the gym to give words of encouragement. It was inspiring. So if we can change and inspire and help families and kids out–then we’ve done our jobs as human beings.”
“I want to thank our partners at California Municipal Finance Authority, Garden Grove Boxing and the entire staff at Golden Boy Promotions for making this event possible. As long as I can give back, I’ll do it for the rest of my life. When you accomplish something in life and you have the opportunity to give back, then do it. It’s my motivation and my way of saying thank you.”
This was the fifth annual boxing equipment giveaway the Oscar De La Hoya Foundation has hosted for after-school youth programs. The Foundation, with the support of its corporate partner of the year California Municipal Finance Authority, is donating new, state-of-the-art boxing equipment to five gyms in Southern California that serve youth in economically disadvantaged communities. The equipment will help these local gyms to provide children and teenagers in their communities with an opportunity to practice the sweet science during their respective after-school programs. Recipients of the Foundation’s boxing equipment donations this giving season include Garden Grove Boxing in Garden Grove, Eddie Heredia in Los Angeles, Westside Boxing Club in Los Angeles, Azteca Boxing Club in Bell, and Duarte Boxing Club in Duarte.
Angel Luna Going Up in Weight to Face Bryant Cruz
Uprising Promotions featherweight Angel “El Gato” Luna (11-3-1, 6 KOs) will go north in weight to battle Bryant “Pee Wee” Cruz (17-2, 8 KOs) at 135 pounds, with the bout occurring this Saturday at Resorts World Casino in Queens, N.Y.
“We are excited about this opportunity for Angel,” said Ronson Frank, President of Uprising Promotions. “We know that Pee Wee Cruz presents a very difficult challenge, but Angel has never been one to back down from anyone. He has been fighting a lot of tough fighters over the past few bouts, and he always goes out there and gives 100%. Angel stays in great shape, and we are focused on coming out victorious on Saturday night.”
As mentioned by Frank, Luna has faced extremely tough competition over the past couple of years. His last three opponents had a combined record of 50-1-1 with the fourth being Tevin Farmer, who is fighting for a world title in December.
The most notable win for Luna came over Jose Lopez, who was previously undefeated in 16 fights before the two met at Barclays Center in 2015. In that bout, Luna floored Lopez twice as he cruised to a six-round unanimous decision. As a professional, Luna fought his first nine contests in his native country of the Dominican Republic before moving to Brooklyn in 2014.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Kovalev, Ali, Pascal, Frazier, Gonzaga, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 24th to October 31st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy Now for WBO Light Heavyweight Title
The World Boxing Organization voted today at their annual convention to sanction the upcoming battle at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, November 25 between former unified light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) and Vyacheslav “Lion Heart” Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight World Title.
The fight will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT and is presented by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions. Tickets range from $50 to $350 and available online at Ticketmaster.com, at the MSG box office or Main Events’ office by calling (973) 200-7050 or emailing [email protected]
Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight World Title promoted by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions. Barrera vs. Valera is a 10-round light heavyweight fight promoted by Main Events in Association with Shuan Boxing Promotions. Sosa vs. Castellanos is a 10-round super featherweight fight promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Peltz Boxing. The event will take place at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Unbeatend Ahmed Elbiali Clashes with Jean Pascal on December 8th
Unbeaten contender Ahmed Elbiali will take on former world champion Jean Pascal in the 10-round light heavyweight main event of a special Friday night edition of Premier Boxing Champions TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on FOX Deportes, December 8 from Hialeah Park in Miami, Florida.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features former two-time world champion Chad Dawson against hard-hitting contender Edwin Rodriguez in a 10-round bout plus a showdown between unbeaten prospects Austin Dulay (11-0, 8 KOs) and Raynell Williams (12-0, 6 KOs) in eight rounds of lightweight action.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Warriors Boxing, begin at $30 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at www.TicketForce.com or calling (877) 840-0457, and are also available at the casino cage.
“The historic Hialeah Park Racetrack & Casino is a beautiful venue for an old-school crossroads fights like Ahmed Elbiali vs. Jean Pascal and Chad Dawson vs. Edwin Rodriguez,” said Leon Margules, President of Warriors Boxing. “In the main event, the world will be watching to see if the young contender Elbiali will have his day or if the older champion Jean Pascal still has what it takes. With Dawson vs. Rodriguez, it is ‘do or die’ time for both these guys. The winner of this fight will go on to another big opportunity. The loser will have some thinking to do. It’s going to be an outstanding night of fights from top to bottom, at one of the nicest venues for boxing in North America.”
The 27-year-old Elbiali (16-0, 13 KOs) is a powerful 175-pound contender looking to prove he stacks up with the other big punchers in the division. Born in Cairo, Egypt and now living in Miami, he will be fighting before a hometown crowd in a major step up bout against the former 175-pound champion Pascal. Elbiali is coming off a TKO victory against Christopher Brooker in his last fight on July 18 after previously stopping Jackson Junior in March.
“I’m so thankful to everyone who helped me get here and believe in my skills enough to give this opportunity,” said Elbiali. “This is my golden ticket. I’m excited, ready and blessed for this opportunity. Come December 8, it will be fireworks in Miami!”
Pascal (31-5-1, 18 KOs) was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti but now lives in Laval, Quebec, Canada, and won the light heavyweight title with a decision victory over Adrian Diaconu. He went on to make three defenses, including a victory over Chad Dawson, before losing the title to Bernard Hopkins in 2011. The 34-year-old is looking to bounce back from losing a majority decision to Eleider Alvarez in his last fight on June 3.
“This is not only a comeback fight, but I’m ready to battle for my career on December 8,” said Pascal. “They’re trying to give this young guy a test against a former champion and he’s going to try to use me as a ladder to the next level in this sport. I have a dangerous opponent and I’m going to be ready for him. When I fought Bernard Hopkins I was the young lion, now it’s the other way around and I’m going to be ready to show him something he’s never seen before.”
Ali, Frazier, Marciano Autographed Memorabilia on Auction Block
The Steiner Auctions’ “Fall Classic” online auction is by no means limited to baseball memorabilia with a slew of collectibles signed by greats of the sweet science on the auction block up for grabs through November 18th. Legendary boxing champions such as Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather spearhead the online auction.
Visit steinerauctions.com to bid and for more information.
Gennady Golovkin, Marvin Hagler, Oscar de la Hoya, Manny Pacquiao and Jack Dempsey are also among the greats featured.
The Aaron Judge Game Used No. 99 Home Uniform Jersey from September 30, 2017 when he broke Babe Ruth’s 96-year record for most Home Runs at Yankee Stadium juxtaposed against the 1925 Lou Gehrig Signed Yankees Players Contract and a Yankee Stadium Guest Book Signed by Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Walter Johnson and Mickey Mantle can also be found on the auction block.
In late July, the uniform jersey worn by Aaron Judge in the Yankee rookie’s debut game, which fetched a high bid of $160,644.05, was the top seller in Steiner Auctions’ Mid-Summer Classic on-line auction which concluded Saturday (July 29). A total of more than $1 million in winning bids was collected on 1,006 memorabilia pieces.
Collectors interested in consigning memorabilia to the next Steiner auction may call 914-307-1058 or email [email protected]
Here are some of the vintage collectibles included in the Fall Classic Auction.
• Rocky Marciano Cut Signature framed Collage (JSA)
• 1958 Cassius Clay Golden Gloves Light Heavyweight Ticket
• Floyd Patterson Light Heavyweight Champion Ring
• Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston II Original Full Fight Ticket from November 16, 1964
• Muhammad Ali Vs. Floyd Patterson Original Full Fight Ticket from November 22, 1965
• Sugar Ray Leonard Signed Boxing Trunks (PSA/DNA Holo Only)
• Smokin Joe Frazier Signed 20×30 Framed Photo with Ali (PSA/DNA)
Former UFC Heavyweight Title Challenger Gabriel Gonzaga Wins Boxing Debut
Former UFC heavyweight title challenger Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga has a successful pro boxing debut last night (Saturday, Oct. 28) in the co-featured event on the “New England’s Future 4″ card, presented by Rivera Promotions Entertainment (RPE), at DCU Center, Exhibition Hall, in Worcester.
The 6′ 2”, 280-pound Brazilian, now fighting out of Worcester (MA), fought another pro-debut boxer with limited MMA experience, Alejandro Esquilin Santiago, of Tampa (FL). Gonzaga stalked the southpaw Santiago, landing some hard shots in the opening round. The heavy-handed Gonzaga picked up the pace in the third and his upset-minded opponent responded in a positive fashion. Both fighters exchanged freely in the fourth and final round, neither was hurt during the contest, and Gonzaga was awarded a win by four-round majority decision.
“I thought I’d be more relaxed in the ring like I had been in the gym,” Gonzaga said. “I did my best and came away with a victory. I was too safe in the third round. My punches were much strong and a lot of his punches I blocked with my gloves. This was really great! tonight”
“I felt good and gave it my all,” Santiago remarked. “He hit me with some shots and gave ’em back. Not only does he have a big nose (“Napao”), he has a strong, big head, too.”
In the main event, popular Hartford (CT) light heavyweight Richard “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera remained undefeated, improving his record to 4-0 (3 KOs), with a first-round knockout of an over-matched Hansen Castillo (0-3)
Rivera, not relations to the promoter, first dropped Castillo with a beautifully placed left uppercut and finished the show moments later with a left hook that sent Castillo flying to canvas. Referee Kevin Hope didn’t bother to count.
“My coaches were telling me to be calm because it was a six-round bout,” Rivera explained. “I saw that he had his left down and caught him with an uppercut. I’m strong to the finish because I eat my spinach.”
New Haven junior middleweight Edwin Sosa (11-2-2, 4 KOs) overcame at 15-pound disadvantage, at the very least, en route to a dominant six-round unanimous decision over Anthony “The Animal” Everett (1-7), of Rowley (MA).
Danbury (CT) junior welterweight Omar Bordoy, Jr. (3-0, 1 KO) stopped New York veteran Bryan “The Brick” Abraham (6-31, 6 KOs) in the fourth and final round. Abraham was decked twice and after counting to 10 after Abraham’s second time on the canvas, referee Paul Casey waved off the action.
Three-time national amateur champion Elvis “Chi Chi” Figueroa (3-0, 1 KO), fighting out of New Haven, pitched a complete shutout over a game, pro-debuting Rene Nazare (0-1), of Brazil, for a convincing win by way of a four-round unanimous decision.
Southbridge (MA) welterweight Wilfredo “El Sucaro” Pagan (3-0, 1 KO) pinned Patrick Leal (0-4), of Woburn, on the ropes early, dropping him three times until referee Casey halted the fight midway through the opening round.
Edis Tatli and Francesco Patera Will Clash for EBU Lightweight Belt
Edis Tatli (29–2) gets a chance to revenge his split decision defeat against Francesco Patera (18–2). Tatli and Patera will meet for the second time on 12th December in Finland.
Tatli and Patera met for the first time in May, as the challenger Patera managed to squeeze out a controversial decision over the EBU champ Tatli. Tatli, his team and Finnish sports journalists were shocked over the verdict, and Tatli’s manager Pekka Mäki filed a formal claim demanding an immediate rematch between the two.
The claim was rejected, but Tatli was named as the mandatory challenger for the victor of Patera’s next fight. Patera was supposed to face Yvan Mendy next, but Mendy had other ideas and withdrew from the fight. Therefore it’s Tatli’s turn after all.
Tatli vows to get his vengeance.
“This time the fight won’t go to the scorecards”, says Tatli.
“I will give him a boxing lesson. If I was too passive in our last fight, now it’s different. I will give him a beating and become the European champion once more.”
The fight, dubbed as The Rematch, will take place at Kisahalli, Helsinki. More info about the event will be published next week.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Kovalev, Shabranskyy, Carto, AIBA, Linares, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 5th to September 12th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Sergey Kovalev to Face Vyacheslav Shabranskyy on November 25th
Former Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) returns to the ring Saturday, November 25 at The Theater Madison Square Garden to take on hard-hitting contender Vyacheslav “Lion-Heart Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) in a 10-round light heavyweight showdown.
Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy will be promoted by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions, and televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets for this exciting event will go on sale soon.
The Krusher, 34, from Chelyabinsk, Russia, rose to the top of the pound-for-pound rankings as he quickly tore through the light heavyweight division, stopping 26 of his 33 opponents. He won the WBO Light Heavyweight Title from Nathan Cleverly in 2013 when he stopped the then-unbeaten champion in Cleverly’s backyard. After three straight title defenses, all knockouts, Kovalev dominated future Hall-of-Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins in a unanimous decision shutout to add the WBA and IBF belts to his collection. He continued his run as the unified light heavyweight champion for two more years before meeting undefeated champion and Olympic gold medalist Andre “SOG” Ward in Las Vegas and on HBO pay-per-view. Kovalev dropped two controversial and hard-fought losses to the current pound-for-pound king.
Now, Sergey Kovalev is ready to write the next chapter of his career. Before returning to the United States from a summer in Russia, he spent time at a monastery in Greece to clear his head and prepare mentally and spiritually for his climb back to the top of his division. Kovalev said, “I learned a lot from my fights with Andre Ward. When you don’t win and when you suffer adversity, it makes you stronger.
It also shows you who your real friends are. I feel like I cleaned out my life and now I’m ready to start fresh. I’m very excited to get back in the ring, and fight at Madison Square Garden for the first time, and I’m focused on the future. I’m not looking back.”
Shabranskyy, 30 of Zhytomyr, Ukraine, and fighting out of Los Angeles, California has quickly made a name for himself in the light heavyweight division. “Slava” made his professional debut in 2012 with 17 straight victories and 14 knockouts. His only career blemish is a hard-fought TKO loss to Sullivan Barrera, the Cuban sensation who is currently ranked #3 by the WBC and #2 by the WBA at light heavyweight. Since his loss to Barrera, Shabranskyy has two straight wins both coming by way of knockout including his most recent win over Todd Unthank May where he secured the WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight Title. This is Shabranskyy’s opportunity to shoot to the top of his division if he can pull off an upset of the former unified champion.
“I’ve been waiting for this fight a long time. I will take this chance to show everyone my abilities and qualities in the ring,” Shabranskyy said. “My coach, Manny Robles and I have been working on movement and defense, which together with my natural power will be more than enough to defeat a great fighter such as Kovalev. I’m proud to represent USA and Ukraine at this fight.”
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said, “The Theater at Madison Square Garden is really a perfect place for Sergey to start the next chapter of his career. He needs to go out and remind people why they love the Krusher. Sergey is an exciting fighter who is a pleasure to watch in the ring and that’s what everyone is going to see on November 25th.”
“Vyacheslav Shabranskyy is back, and ready to prove he will do everything to climb to the top, including facing a top-level fighter such a Kovalev.” said Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya. “Shabranskyy is stronger and smarter inside the ring, and will show off his mastered talent when he faces Sergey. We are excited to partner with Kathy Duva and the Main Events team yet again for an amazing show that will no doubt bring the action.”
About Kovalev-Shabranskyy: The Saturday, November 25 bout between Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy is a 10-round light heavyweight match-up at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The event is promoted by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions and will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
World Boxing Super Series to Feature Murat Gassiev vs. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
World Boxing Super Series action comes to the east coast as the cruiserweight quarter-final showdown between IBF champion Murat “Iron” Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) and former world champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1, 37 KOs) is set for Saturday, October 21 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Promoted by Ringstar Sports in association with World Boxing Super Series, tickets for the live event are on sale now and are available at Ticketmaster.com. Tickets will also be available to purchase at the Prudential Center box office beginning Monday, September 11 at 11 a.m.
“It’s a great pleasure to promote this exciting World Boxing Super Series matchup,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports. “Murat Gassiev is clearly one of the top cruiserweights in the world but he will have a great obstacle against the battle-tested former champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, who will have a big boost from the raucous Polish fans in New Jersey. Prudential Center is the perfect venue for this event and I know that the fans will enjoy this matchup as both men vie for the Muhammad Ali Trophy.”
“It’s so exciting that the Ali Trophy is coming to a fighting place like New Jersey,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer. “Hold tight and enjoy the ride, October 21 is going to be a unique experience, think ‘Game of Thrones’ meets boxing. Can’t wait!”
A full slate of undercard bout will be announced soon.
“I promise that I’m going to come to the ring to win and do everything possible to get this victory,” said Gassiev. “I want to take advantage of this opportunity to fight the best boxers in my weight class.”
“I have a very serious opponent in Krzysztof Wlodarczyk who is a two-time world champion and his resume speaks for itself. He has fought the best and I’m looking forward to a very hard fight.”
“It is a great honor for me to fight in the World Boxing Super Series for the Muhammad Ali Trophy,” said Wlodarczyk. “I trained for two weeks in the Polish mountains and now I am back in Warsaw putting in the work for October 21.”
“I am very happy to have the opportunity to fight a champion like Murat Gassiev. He is a young, strong champion like I was a few years ago but I am ready to show that I am still the best in the division.”
One of the hardest punchers in the sport, Gassiev trains with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear, California and hails from Vladikavkaz, Russia. The 23-year-old made his U.S. debut in 2015 and delivered four straight knockout victories, including a “Knockout of the Year” contender when he flattened Jordan Schimmel in the first round in May 2016. Gassiev then challenged Denis Lebedev in Russia last December and was able to drop the champion on his way to winning the IBF title.
Fighting out of Piaseczno, Poland, Wlodarczyk first became a world champion when he defeated Steve Cunningham in 2006 to capture the IBF crown. After fighting to a draw against WBC Champion Giacobbe Fragomeni in 2009, Wlodarczyk stopped Fragomeni in their 2010 rematch to become a champion again. He would go on to defend the title six times and enters his October 21 matchup on a four fight winning streak.
California’s Most Exciting Prospects and Contenders to be Part of Linares-Campbell Undercard
California’s most exciting prospects and contenders will showcase their talent on the explosive non-televised undercard of the lightweight showdown between Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) and Luke Campbell (17-1, 14 KOs) for the WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championship on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The Linares vs. Campbell non-televised undercard action will be live streamed on RingTV.com beginning at 3:00 p.m. PT/ 6:00 p.m. ET.
As previously announced, super lightweight contender Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (26-0, 17 KOs) of San Diego, Calif. will make the first defense of his WBC USNBC Super Lightweight title against veteran Roberto “Massa” Ortiz (35-1-2, 26 KOs) in the co-main televised opening bout.
Topping the non-televised portion of the card, Filipino lightweight sensation Romero Duno (14-1, 13 KOs) will take on Juan Sanchez (29-13, 14 KOs) of Tabasco, Mexico in an eight-round lightweight fight. Duno, a member of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif. was last seen in the U.S. blasting Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez in only two rounds in a knockout upset on the March 10 edition of LA FIGHT CLUB. Duno then stopped Jason Tinampay via second-round technical knockout in June in his return to the Philippines. This will be Duno’s first fight on U.S. soil since signing with Golden Boy Promotions earlier this year.
Azat Hovhannisyan (12-2, 10 KOs), a member of the Glendale Fighting Club, will return in a 10-round fight for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Super Bantamweight title against Sergio Frias (19-7-2, 10 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico. Hovhannisyan was last seen in the ring headlining the June edition of LA FIGHT CLUB, beating Isao Carranza by unanimous decision.
Contender Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez (22-1-1, 15 KOs)of La Puente, Calif. will fight in an eight-round featherweight bout against Isao Carranza (15-9-1, 9 KOs) of Mexico City. Lopez will return after his first professional loss, which was against Jesus Rojas, who will now fight Claudio Marrero for the interim WBA Featherweight title on Sept. 15 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.
Manuel “Tino” Avila (22-1, 8 KOs) of Fairfield, Calif. will also return to the ring in an eight-round featherweight bout against Ramiro Robles (14-6-1, 9 KOs) of Queretaro, Mexico. Avila suffered his first defeat against Joseph “Jojo” Diaz, Jr. in May 2017, and will look to return to his climb of the competitive126-pound division with a win on Sept. 23.
Rafael “El Alikin” Gramajo (8-1-1, 2 KOs) of Los Angeles’ Westside Boxing Club will open the night of boxing in his return after more than a year away from the ring in a six-round super bantamweight fight against Pedro Melo (17-15-2, 8 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico.
AIBA Statement on Interference During 2017 African Continental Championships
Following an incident on 25 June 2017, during the AFBC African Boxing Continental Championships hosted by the Congolese Boxing Federation (Fecoboxe) in Brazzaville, Congo and in light of reports made by AIBA officials present at the tournament, the AIBA Disciplinary Commission has decided to exclude Fecoboxe from organising any AIBA competition for two years and suspend with immediate effect the President of the African Boxing Federation (AFBC), AIBA Vice President and member of the Executive Committee, Mr Kelani Bayor, from all boxing activities, duties and responsibilities for a period of three years.
The Disciplinary Commission found that a hostile and threatening reaction to AIBA officials by spectators after the result of a bout on the last day of the competition was exacerbated by comments from Mr Bayor, who committed serious and unacceptable violations of the AIBA Disciplinary Code. The intimidation felt by AIBA officials as a result of insufficient security planning from Fecoboxe, their inadequate response to the situation and Mr Bayor’s own actions, was fully outlined in the Tournament Supervisor’s written report. The Commission’s decision was also based on written testimony from the majority of those officials present. The Commission’s decision is final and is not subject to appeal.
Christian Carto to Face Alonso Melendez on September 29
Undefeated bantamweight sensation, knockout artist, Christian Carto has been added to an already loaded night of boxing on Friday night, September 29th at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
Carto (11-0, 11 KOs) is set to take on Alonso Melendez (14-1, 11 KOs) of Chihuahua, Mexico in a bout scheduled for eight-rounds.
The show is promoted by King’s Promotions.
The 20 year-old continues to step up in competition, and on September 29th, he will be taking on his toughest foe in Melendez.
Carto has kept extremely busy as he fought all eleven of his bouts in a 13-month span, with his latest being a 2nd round stoppage over Phillip Adyaka on August 11th in front of a sold-out crowd at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.
He will be making his 1st appearance at the 2300 Arena.
Melendez will making his United States debut. He has won three in a row, and the five-year professional has a win over previously undefeated Edgar Garcia. Alonso is coming off a 7th round stoppage over Jesus Limones on September 9, 2015 in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Carlos Rosario (7-2, 4 KOs) of Pennsuaken, New Jersey and Jerome Conquest (8-2, 1 KO) of Philadelphia will meet in a highly anticipated eight-round lightweight bout.
In a ten-round super middleweight attraction, Junior Castillo (14-1, 10 KOs) of the Dominican Republic takes on Gabriel Pham (9-1, 4 KOs) of Atlantic City.
Mykal Fox (14-0, 4 Kos) of Forestville, MD will take on Marlon Aguas (9-1, 4 KOs) of Quioto Ecuador in a eight-round welterweight bout.
In six-round bouts:
Maynard Allison (9-1, 6 KOs) of Philadelphia meets Juan Rodriguez (7-7-1, 5 Kos) of Haymarket, Virginia in a junior lightweight bout.
David Gonzales (8-2-2, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia battles Darius Ervin (4-1) of Los Angeles in a super lightweight bout.
Erik Spring (9-1-2, 1 KO) of Reading, PA will fight Anthony Prescott (6-7-2, 2 KOs) of Cherry Hill, NJ in a super welterweight fight.