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Vasyl Lomachenko vs Anthony Crolla: Can Crolla Shock the World?


By: Waqas Ali

Boxing magician Vasyl Lomachenko will be taking on Britain’s Anthony Crolla for the WBA and IBF lightweight belts on April 12 in Los Angeles.

Crolla (34-6-4) was made the mandatory challenger after defeating Daud Yordan in November last year at the Manchester Arena, marking his tenth appearance at that venue.

However, Crolla has been faced with extensive criticism from the boxing world especially from the casuals and hardcore fans.

Several boxing outlets have branded the upcoming bout as “a mismatch”, “waste of time” and a “lamb ready to be slaughtered”.

The former WBA lightweight champion defended himself by saying: “I started getting punched on the nose for nights like this 23 years ago. I’m not an idiot and I know this is a huge challenge.

“But April 12th I’m gonna be in the best shape both physically and mentally and going to LA to shock the world! I can’t wait to do it,” added the Manchester man.

The 32-year-old’s main competition of his career consisted of Gavin Rees, Darleys Perez & Ricky Burns.

Neither of the three possess the immense talent of Lomachenko, respectively.

Lomachenko in defence of Crolla says: “Los Angeles boxing fans are passionate and knowledgeable, and I look forward to putting on a spectacular show for them at Staples Center. Crolla is my mandatory challenger, and I like that he always comes to fight. He’s going to make the most of this opportunity.”

Two big names in particular that fans were hoping to be next for Lomachenko were Mikey Garcia and Gervonta Davis.

But because of politics in the business, they were unable to take place.

According to poll conducted by Boxing Kingdom, out of 1,900 plus voters, 83% of them picked Lomachenko to win and only 17% picked Crolla.

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Lomachenko vs Crolla

April 12th

Staples Center

ESPN / Top Rank

Difficult fight to predict.

Who wins? #boxingkingdom

— Boxing Kingdom (@BoxingKingdom14) February 20, 2019

Lomachenko boasts a record of 12 wins and one loss. In his last six bouts, five were KO/TKOs and four of them were due to his opponent quitting on the stool. Hence the nickname “No Mas Chenko” was given to him.

He is considered by many boxing experts, writers, and fans to be the best and the most gifted fighter in the modern day and age.

He possesses great attributes in his arsenal of weaponry including speed, power, technique, combat, footwork and precision.

His innovative shots and movement provide a thrilling outcome like a musician playing the cello. The sounds played in accordance with the tune provide a great sound.

astonishing amateur record consists of 396 wins and only one defeat which he avenged twice.

The 31-year-old is a three-weight world champion and will be making his third defence of the belts on fight night.

By the numbers, the Ukrainian fighter is highly active by throwing 62 punches per round and connecting at 35%. This similar to the average lightweight who throws around 59 punches but the connect rate is slightly lower at 29%.

He lands a few more punches in power punching department (14 per round) with an excellent connect rate of 47%. The average lightweight lands at 12 with a rate of 35%.

His opponents landed just 24% of their power shots and just 6 per round which is half the lightweight average.

Crolla is not a knockout artist and more of a 12 round fighter. Out of Crolla’s 34 wins, 18 of those have come by a decision (61%) and a knockout ratio of just 34%.

He will need to do something exceptional if he doesn’t want to hear the whispers of the magician’s magic moment and feel the casting spell of the wizard.

The bout overall will not be an eye-catcher for most boxing fans. Based on the stats and styles and survey, the fight is heavily in favour of Lomachenko. It would be difficult for any fan to bring any form of evidence to suggest that Crolla has a chance of winning. However, no fan can deny the heart and soul of Crolla. He never gives up and has only been stopped once which was six years ago. This is a dream fight for him and he will not take it lightly. In boxing, we never say never and like the old saying goes: “One punch can make a difference.” Regardless of what happens in this bout, he will always remain the people’s champion of Manchester.

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What’s the Exit Plan for Vasyl Lomachenko?


By: Kirk Jackson

There are rumblings of impending retirement talk for one of boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters today, Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko 12-1 (9 KO’s).

The current unified WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine lightweight champion is scheduled to defend his titles against former Anthony Crolla 34-6 (13 KO’s) April 12 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“It’s better to fight with (Richard) Commey than Crolla. Richard has belt at least and I have goal — to win all the belts,” said Lomachenko regarding his upcoming title defense.

“My goal is to collect all four belts in one weight class and retire. What should I do next? Boxing is sport for me. It’s interesting to challenge champions. Who should I fight with, when I become undisputed champion? I am ready to retire even at the age of 33 years. For the first time I wore gloves when I was 5 and after that my entire life has been boxing. But everything has an end.”

Unfortunately, Lomachenko and Richard Commey 28-2 (25 KO’s) will have to wait for unification of the lightweight belts to transpire, with the latter suffering injury his last fight, which resulted in a 2nd round TKO victory for the Ghanaian fighter.

If the unification bout is to occur between Lomachenko and Commey, it probably won’t ensue until the back-end of summer due to the timing of Lomachenko’s upcoming title defense and the recovery period for Commey.

The other missing jewel-piece to the lightweight treasure Lomachenko desires is the WBC portion of the lightweight crown, preserved by Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s).

Although Garcia has business north of 135 lbs. with the undefeated IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) March 16, Garcia vs. Lomachenko is a match-up constantly discussed and dissected over the past few years. This match-up features a clash of styles and two distinctively excellent fighters holding top position across the pound-for-pound list.

Former super featherweight world champion, world renowned trainer and Mikey’s older brother Robert Garcia, believes his brother has what it takes to defeat the likes of Lomachenko.

He’s not alone with that sentiment, as other boxing figures such as world renowned trainer and analyst Teddy Atlas, favors Garcia in the hypothetical pairing, along with former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.

“Mikey Garcia is a very talented fighter,” Pavlik said to FightHype. “Garcia is very smart in the ring and the longer the fight goes the better Mikey Garcia is. Garcia can adapt to anything in the ring. He’s very solid, so he doesn’t leave himself open.”

“I don’t think Lomachenko has got the power,” Pavlik continued. “I think it would be a very interesting fight and a close fight. I almost have to go with his size advantage and boxing knowledge that he has. Mikey very rarely makes mistakes and Mikey has good footwork. Footwork doesn’t have to be flashy.”

Whether Lomachenko vs. Garcia manifests depends on the results of Garcia vs. Spence March 16; either way Lomachenko has business to handle regardless April 12 against Crolla.

It’s interesting analyzing the options for Lomachenko as the 31-year-old aims to retire at 33. This only leaves a few options and speaking as a fan, we want to see this generational talent test his abilities against other highly talented individuals.

Speaking of talent, there is an upcoming generation of young fighters ranging from featherweight through lightweight oozing of ability. Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis, Michael Conlan and Teofimo Lopez just to name a few.

Lopez in particular stands out not only for his boxing ability, but for his brashness, boldness and willingness to knock Lomachenko off the throne.

Lopez’s assessment of Lomachenko can be summarized in two quotes.

“I feel like Lomachenko does the same thing when it comes to footwork and moving side-to-side. There are three or four different ways of beating Lomachenko,” said Lopez.

“I don’t take nothing away from Lomachenko,” Lopez said. “But I just don’t see anything special in him – that’s all.”

For Vasyl’s part, he wouldn’t mind knocking out the brash challenger or even at the very least adding Teofimo to the list of opponents quitting against the Ukrainian’s unrelenting assault.

Over a three year stretch, the list includes in succession: Gamalier Rodriguez, Romulo Koasicha, Roman Martinez, Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga and Guillermo Rigondeaux and Jorge Linares all stopped by Lomachenko.

This impressive streak earned Lomachenko the moniker, “No Mas Chenko.”

Whether Lopez can successfully challenge Lomachenko remains to be seen. Another fighter to throw in the mix of this matrix, is Gervonta “Tank” Davis 21-0 (20 KO’s).

The young champion from Baltimore has been on boxing’s forefront ever since he captured a world title in 2017. Often compared as southpaw mixture of Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather, Davis lives up to the moniker “Tank,” as he has the tendency to steamroll over his opponents with bone shattering punches.

Bouts with and potential victories over fighters such as Lopez, Davis or Garcia would only add to Lomachenko’s legend if he were to pull off the feats.

Lomachenko wants to be remembered for his exploits in the ring and has an impressive resume thus far as an amateur and professional boxer. He’s arguably one of the best of his era and to further cement his status, he may aim to crush some of the young lions hunting for his perch on top before he exits the sport for good. Interesting to see if any of the aforementioned names are part of the exit plan for Vasyl Lomachenko.

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Lomachenko Headlines Staples Center Card April 12 Against Anthony Crolla on ESPN+


After thrilling Big Apple audiences in his last three bouts, Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko is ready to bring his lightweight world titles to the City of Angels.

Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound Picasso and the WBA and WBO lightweight world champion, will defend his titles against former lightweight world champion Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla on Friday, April 12 at Staples Center. In the co-feature, longtime WBO super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez will make his light heavyweight debut against an opponent to be announced in a 10-rounder.

Lomachenko-Crolla and Ramirez’s fight will stream live and exclusively in the United States beginning at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on ESPN+ — the direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, which will mark its one-year anniversary since launching on the day of the fight. The entire undercard will also stream live on ESPN+ starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing USA, tickets priced at $310.50, $207, $103.50, $77.65, and $51.75 (including facility fees) go on sale Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 12 p.m. PT. Lomachenko’s last headlining appearance in Los Angeles came in August 2017 at the Microsoft Theater when he defended his 130-pound world title against Miguel Marriaga via seventh-round TKO.

“Staples Center is the perfect venue to showcase one of boxing’s great fighters, Vasiliy Lomachenko, who will test himself against a top contender in Anthony Crolla of Great Britain,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

“Los Angeles boxing fans are passionate and knowledgeable, and I look forward to putting on a spectacular show for them at Staples Center,” Lomachenko said. “Crolla is my mandatory challenger, and I like that he always comes to fight. He’s going to make the most of this opportunity.”

“I cannot wait for this. These are the fights you are in the sport for,” Crolla said. “People will say that I have got nothing to lose, but I am genuinely going over to LA to shock the world. I will concentrate on me. Firstly, I have to make sure the best Anthony Crolla turns up that night. I’m not worried about that. Preparing for Lomachenko is hard because he’s so unorthodox. He’s that good that when he does something wrong he gets away with it. You wouldn’t teach some of the things that he does. He’s so unique in that respect.”

“I’m delighted that Anthony gets another chance at a world title, this time against pound-for-pound star Vasiliy Lomachenko,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport. “After losing his world title to Jorge Linares, Anthony has fought his way back into the mandatory position, and he is more than ready for the challenge. It’s been a fairytale story for him and now he gets another big chance on the big stage in a fight that means everything to him.”

Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) entered the professional ranks following an amateur career that included a pair of Olympic gold medals for his native Ukraine and an unprecedented 396-1 record. He set a boxing record by winning world titles in three weight classes in 12 fights, shattering the previous mark of 20 set by Jeff Fenech 30 years prior. He was named 2017 Fighter of the Year by most boxing outlets after forcing all three of his opponents — Jason Sosa, Marriaga and fellow two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux — to quit on their stools.

In May 2018, he moved up in weight and captured the WBA lightweight title when he rebounded from a torn labrum and a sixth-round knockdown to stop Jorge Linares at Madison Square Garden with a body shot in the 10th round. That December, in front of a sold-out Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden crowd, he scored a pair of knockdowns and won a wide unanimous decision over WBO lightweight champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza to unify titles.

Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs), from Manchester, England, turned pro in October 2006 and won the British lightweight title in 2011. He won the WBA lightweight title with a fifth-round knockout over Darleys Perez in November 2015, knocking Perez out for the count with a vicious left hook to the liver. Crolla defended the belt with an upset seventh-round knockout win against Ismael Barroso, scoring the finishing blow on a right hand to the body. He lost the title via competitive unanimous decision to Linares in September 2016, then lost the immediate rematch by unanimous decision the following March. Crolla earned another world title shot by authoring three consecutive decision wins, including a unanimous decision over former three-weight world champion Ricky Burns in October 2017.

Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs) is ready to make his mark at light heavyweight after making five successful defenses of his WBO world title. The native of Mazatlán, Mexico, is a 10-year pro who won the world title in April 2016 with a shutout unanimous decision over two-weight world champion Arthur Abraham. In his last bout, Dec. 14 in Corpus Christi, Texas, he closed the show strong and defeated Jesse “Hollywood” Hart via majority decision. Ramirez, who has not ruled out returning to super middleweight to defend his title, also has his sights set on the light heavyweight division’s leading names.

“I am very motivated because of all the new things I have been doing to advance my career,” Ramirez said. “I am very excited to fight at Staples Center for the first time, as I consider Los Angeles my second home. I knew there will be many Latino fans supporting me. I want to become an idol of Mexican boxing, and nothing will stop me as I work to fulfill my dreams. I am also working with a new trainer, Julian Chua, who is pushing me to become the best fighter possible.”

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ESPN Boxing Results: Lomachenko Bests Game Pedraza, Eyes Mikey Garcia


By: Sean Crose

Lightweight supremacy was on the line Saturday night when Vasyl Lomachenko, the man many have claimed is the best fighter on the planet, defended his WBA lightweight championship against WBO beltholder Jose Pedraza in a scheduled 12 round title unifier at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The match was the main event on a three fight card aired live on ESPN.

First, undefeated lightweight phenom Teofimo Lopez, 10-1, slipped between the ropes to battle the 34-3 Mason Menard. The match was as brief as it was violent. Lopez rocked his man with a right almost immediately, unloaded his arsenal, then blasted Menard with a thunderous right. Menard landed flat on his face, forcing the referee to halt the bout almost immediately. It was reminiscent of Marquez’ knockout of Pacquiao or even Hearns’ of Duran. Indeed, it may have been the knockout of the year.

Next up, WBO junior featherweight champion Isaac Dogboe put his title belt and 20-0 record on the line when he faced the 25-1 Emanuel Navarette in a scheduled 12 rounder. Dogboe looked good in the first, though Navarette came on strong at the end of the round. Dogboe got hurt in the second and survived. Navarette nailed the champion with a pair of hard lefts in the third.

Dogboe looked better in fourth, but then got hurt again by Navarette late in the fifth. Things started looking up for the titlist in the eighth, and he even dropped Navarette in the ninth. It was Dogboe’s last big moment. Navarette survived the knockdown and continued to hurt his man on his way to a unanimous decision victory. Dogboe, gracious in defeat, looked as if the fight should have ended sooner than it did.

It was time for the main event. WBO champ Pedraza boasted a 25-1 record while WBA champ Lomachenko entered the bout with a record of 11-1. The first round was a feeling out process, with Loma landing what was essentially the only meaningful shot. Pedraza employed his own effective skill set in the second. The third was also a close affair. The fourth, too, was close…though Loma landed the more telling shots.

The fight remained tight in the fifth, but Loma began to land more regularly in the sixth. Yet Pedraza did enough in the seventh to perhaps win the round on the cards. It was a surprisingly close affair. The eighth and ninth began to tell a tale of Lomackenko edging a closer than expected bout.

Pedraza showed he was still in the fight by seemingly taking the 10th. Loma became explosive in the 11th, taking his man down twice with blistering flurries of punches. Pedraza survived the round, only to be dominated in the twelfth. Loma walked away with a new belt and a UD decision victory.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Dogboe vs. Navarrete, Lomachenko vs. Pedraza


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night Top Rank Boxing will take two of their top stars, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Isaac Dogboe, to the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City for another Top Rank Boxing on ESPN telecast.

Pound for pound star, Vasiliy Lomachenko, will put his WBA Lightweight Title on the line against WBO Champion Jose Pedraza in the main event of the night. The co-main event of the evening will be between Isaac Dogboe and Emanuel Navarrete for the WBO Junior Featherweight Title.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

The undercard will feature boxers such as Teofimo Lopez Jr., Mason Menard, Alexander Besputin, Juan Carlos Abreu, Josue Vargas, and Michael Perez.

The following is a preview of the main two fights of the night.

Isaac Dogboe (20-0) vs. Emmanuel Navarrete (25-1); WBO Junior Featherweight Title

Isaac Dogboe burst onto the scene and minds of boxing fans worldwide with his shocking upset of Jessie Magdaleno for the Junior Featherweight Title.

He’s a champion to keep an eye one, and the twenty four year old boxer from Ghana brings into the ring a wealth of amateur experience, including a trip to the 2012 Olympic Games.

His opponent, Emmanuel Navarrete, does not have the amateur experience of Dogboe and has never fought outside of his native country of Mexico.

Navarrete will have a large height advantage over Dogboe, approximately five inches. They both are relatively young, Dogboe is twenty four years old while Navarrete is twenty three.

Dogboe has been fairly active, especially in 2018. He has already fought three times in 2018 and fought once in 2017. Navarrete fought three times in 2018 and five times in 2017.

At this point in their careers, Dogboe has defeated the better boxers. He has defeated the likes of Hidenori Otake, Jessie Magdaleno, Cesar Juarez, and Javier Chacon.

Navarrete has fought exclusively in Mexico and his biggest win to date was over Jose Sanmartin. He has no other notable victories, but it should be noted he has only faced one opponent with a losing record and his lone loss was way back in 2012 to Daniel Argueta.

Both boxers have considerable power. Navarrete has twenty two knockouts on his resume, and he has stopped his past eight opponents. Dogboe has stopped fourteen of his opponents, including five of his past six.

Navarrete isn’t quite yet a well known opponent in the United States and this is first fight in soil outside of Mexico. This is a bout that Dogboe should emerge victorious.

Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1)vs. Jose Pedraza (25-1); WBA/WBO Lightweight Title

Lomachenko, despite a loss early in his professional career to former world champion Orlando Salido, is considered by many to be the best pound for pound boxer on the planet.

He’s thirty years old and only one year older than his opponent Pedraza. Pedraza will have a slight one inch height advantage and a more pronounces five and a half inch reach advantage.

Lomachenko fought three times in 2017 and only once in 2018. Pedraza has fought three times in 2018 but only once in 2017. Both fighters have been fairly active recently.

Both boxers competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics as an amateur, but only Lomachenko can claim to have won a medal. In fact, Lomachenko has won two gold medals as an amateur boxer.

Lomachenko has defeated the likes of Jorge Linares, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa, Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez, Gary Russell Jr., and Jose Ramirez. He has won his last eight fights by stoppage.

Pedraza’s lone loss was to Gervonta Davis by TKO. He has defeated the likes of Raymundo Beltran, Antonio Moran, Stephen Smith, Edner Cherry, Andrey Klimov, and Micahel Farenas. Pedraza, in contrast to Lomachenko, hasn’t had a stoppage victory in eight fights.

Pedraza’s length and height might give Lomachenko some problems early on, but Lomachenko is too good of a technical boxer to not figure out the reach and timing of Pedraza. Pedraza is a boxer with heart and will likely make it an entertaining fight, but he has little to no chance of beating Lomachenko.

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Boxing Insider Interview with Jose Pedraza: Ready to Put on A Great Show


By: Henry Deleon

Brooklyn’s most famous Boxing gym, Gleason’s Gym hosted Top Ranks meet and greet event on Wednesday December 5th. Here the fighters from the Lomachenko vs. Pedraza card met with the kids from Gleason’s “Give a Kid a Dream”, a nonprofit corporation in where they provide mentorship to disadvantaged youths through the sport of boxing.

Jose “Sniper” Pedraza who will be fighting in the main event Saturday, was among those fighters at the meet and greet. In the midst of it all, Boxing Insider had the opportunity to catch up with Jose on his upcoming bout.

Boxing Insider – Jose how do you feel for your fight against Lomachenko this Saturday?

Jose Pedraza – I feel great. I’m excited for it to be the 8th of December already so I can put on a great show for you all.

Boxing Insider – How do you feel to be fighting here in Madison Square Garden? Where fighters like Miguel Cotto have created a grand legacy.

Jose Pedraza – I feel very excited to be fighting here where not only Cotto has fought, but many other Puerto Ricans have fought. Like Tito Trinidad who is one of the biggest names in Puerto Rican Boxing. I feel very excited to be part of that history.

Boxing Insider – Without giving too much of your game plan away, I’m curious on knowing on how you are going to approach and counter Loma’s movement come Saturday?

Jose Pedraza – well I’m definitely the taller fighter in this fight, so I am going to have to use my distance to my advantage. We need to have great conditioning, which we do, to be able to fight at his pace and to make good usage of my speed.

Boxing insider – Going into this fight, what do you think would be Lomachenko’s most difficult attribute to adjust to?

Jose Pedraza – well we are going to see how the fight unfolds. My team and I have studied Lomachenko really well. So, we are going to see how the fight unfolds and make the proper adjustments as the rounds go by.

Boxing Insider – This is a big fight for you to end the year with. God willing, you come out victorious this Saturday, who else out there would you like to face?

Jose Pedraza – well after this fight, which I’m a 100% sure I will be victorious, we’re going to go after all those great champions in the division. We’re going to continue unifying the belts. So, we are going to make sure we keep training hard so we’ll be ready to take on these fights.

Boxing Insider – Thank you Jose. All the best for this Saturday!

Jose “Snipper” Pedraza (25-1 12 KO’s) is currently the W.B.O World Lightweight Champion. He is only the second Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles at 103 and 135 pounds. Jose will be taking on 2-time Olympic gold medalist and currently the W.B.A Super World Lightweight Champion Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (11-1 9 KO’s) in a unification bout Saturday December 8th at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The fight will also be live on ESPN at 9 p.m ET. Tune in for another exciting night of Boxing!

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Lomachenko, Khan, Algieri, Taylor, Wilder, and more…


Boxing Insider Notebook: Lomachenko, Khan, Algieri, Taylor, Wilder, and more…

Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 28th to December 5th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Top Rank on ESPN to Feature Lomachenko vs. Pedraza WBA/WBO Lightweight Unification Bout

Live and Exclusively on ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Saturday, December 8 at 9 p.m. ET from The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
ESPN+ to Stream Undercards Live Starting at 6 p.m. ET

One of the biggest boxing events of the year airs live on ESPN Saturday, December 8 from The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The reigning WBA lightweight champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) is set to take on WBO champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs) in a title unification main event airing live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 9 p.m. ET, immediately following the live presentation of the 2018 Heisman Trophy Ceremony. Top Rank on ESPN will drop gloves just after 6 p.m. ET starting with the undercards on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment and ESPN.

Two additional fights round out Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN with marquee appearances by rising stars Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe and Teofimo Lopez. ESPN+ will stream the undercards live headlined by Guido Vianello facing Luke Lyon (5-1-1, 2 KOs) starting at 6 p.m. ET.

Calling the fight for ESPN will be Joe Tessitore and Mark Kriegel, with former two-division world titleholder, Tim Bradley (analyst), reporter Bernardo Osuna and on-location studio contributors Stephen A. Smith, Kevin Connors, former pound-for-pound two-division world champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward, and ESPN Deportes’ coverage includes play-by-play from Robert Sierra and analyst Delvin Rodriguez.

ESPN’s official coverage of fight week kicked off Monday, December 3 with “Top Rank on ESPN: Best of Lomachenko” – an encore presentation of Vasiliy Lomachenko’s last two fights — Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux (December 9, 2017) and Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Jorge Linares (May 12, 2018).

ESPN+ will also feature:
• Countdown to Lomachenko vs. Pedraza, a four-part series that takes viewers behind the scenes as one of the world’s great pound-for-pound fighters attempts to unify lightweight world titles against WBO world champion Pedraza. Episodes include:
• “Loma: Under the Knife” (available now) — rare footage of Lomachenko prepping for shoulder surgery, the surgery itself, how he injured it vs. Jorge Linares, and how his team handled his comeback.
• Unifying The Belts (premieres today) — Lomachenko and Pedraza talk about their chances and ambitions to unify the lightweight title belts.
• Fishing with Loma (premieres Wednesday, Dec 5) — Behind the scenes day fishing with Lomachenko and his team off the coast of California.
• Training The Loma Way (premieres Thursday, Dec 6) — Inside Team Lomachenko’s unique training strategies, including unique outdoor and mental training.
• The final press conference, which will stream live on Thursday, December 6 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
• The Boxing Beat with Dan Rafael premieres Tuesday, the weekly ESPN+ original show will include a look ahead to Lomachenko vs. Pedraza with ESPN boxing guru Dan Rafael.

• The weigh-in will stream live Friday, Dec 7 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Also airing on ESPN2.
Katie Taylor to Defend World Titles Against Wahlstrom in New York
Katie Taylor will defend her IBF and WBA World Lightweight titles against Eva Wahlstrom at Madison Square Garden, New York on December 15, on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez challenging Rocky Fielding for the WBA World Super Middleweight title, live on DAZN.

Taylor (11 – 0 5KOs) makes her third defense of her belts in her third fight in New York, first in the World famous Manhattan boxing mecca and the fourth stateside fight in her last seven fights.

The Irish sensation became the WBA World ruler in her seventh pro outing in Cardiff, Wales in October 2017 against Anahi Sanchez and unified the belts at the Barclays Center in fight number nine in the paid ranks, comfortably ripping the IBF belt from Victoria Bustos in April.

Taylor, an amateur star in the Emerald Isle with an Olympic gold medal added to five World championships and six European golds, is hunting unification bouts at 135lbs in 2019, but in unbeaten Finn Wahlstrom, the 32 year old faces the stiffest test of her pro career.

Wahlstrom (22 – 0 – 1 3KOs) is aiming to become a two-weight World champion in the Big Apple the long-reigning WBC Super-Featherweight champion steps up to Lightweight to achieve that goal on December 15.

The 38 year old landed her 130lbs strap in April 2015 and has been unmoved in four defenses on home turf, including a win over her common foe with Taylor, in former World champion Sanchez, who the Helsinki ace beat in December 2016.

The pair have history having clashed at the very start of Taylor’s amateur career 14 years ago, and the defending champion cannot think of a better setting to meet in the pros and continue her path to unification just over two years since the start of her pro career.

“Eva is someone I know very well from our time in the amateurs,” said Taylor. “I was actually drawn against her in my very first international competition back in 2004 and it seemed like every time I turned up to a major competition after that she was in the draw!

“She was always a really tough opponent so it’s no surprise that she’s gone on to have a great professional career. I think this fight will really showcase the best that women’s boxing has to offer and I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’ve been lucky enough to fight in some iconic venues since turning pro two years ago but I’m not sure there’s any more iconic in a boxing sense than Madison Square Garden. I think every fighter dreams about stepping in the ring there and I’m no different. To get the opportunity to defend my World titles there is really very exciting.”

“I have stated for a longest time that I am ready and I want to engage in toughest fights available,” said Wahlstrom. “This is the ultimate, biggest and toughest fight anywhere and to have it in the legendary Madison Square Garden is a huge honor.

“I lost to Katie few times in amateur days but I am sure I won her respect anyway. Now in a 10-round pro fight, it will be totally different game with all new avenues to avenge those defeats.

“I have the greatest respect to Katie for how she has remained her respectable, nice, down-to-earth personality despite all the success and fame. Thus, I am not going to do any trash-talking, but I am very ready to do some thrashing in the MSG ring.”

“This is an amazing opportunity for Katie to fight at MSG,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “This is by far the toughest fight of her career so far and hugely important moving into 2019.

“There will be great Irish support in New York and she adds even more superstar status to this brilliant night of boxing on DAZN.”

ICB Signs Vanes Martirosyan; Contender to Make Cage Boxing Debut in 2019

Former super welterweight world contender Vanes Martirosyan of Glendale, Calif., is the first standout to join International Championship Boxing, promoter of the revolutionary and exciting new combat sport that features boxing in a cage.

“Vanes is not just the first to sign a multi-bout, multi-year agreement with ICB, but he’s also the first of several,” says Jack Fulton, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia-based ICB.

“We are in discussions with many boxers, mixed martial artists and kickboxers, and some of the names definitely would surprise,” says Fulton.

“It’s more than interest, it’s enthusiasm to box in ‘The Fight Zone’ says Fulton. “We’ve struck a chord with boxers and MMA fighters, and it’s resonating.”

The 32-year-old Martirosyan, originally from Armenia, has a record of 36-4-1 with 21 knockouts.

Martirosyan’s most recent bout was against Gennady Golovkin on May 5 for “GGG’s” World Boxing Association and the World Boxing Council middleweight championships, a fight he took on three-week notice.

Martirosyan had two previous title bouts, one for the WBA super welterweight crown and another for the World Boxing Organization super welterweight championship.

Martirosyan’s first bout in the ICB cage will be during the first quarter of 2019.
“I was surprised when I heard about boxing in a cage, but at the same time I was real happy,” says Martirosyan. “The idea is just amazing. Fans are going to love it.

“I’m going to be a nightmare in the cage,” says Martirosyan. “It’s easier to cut off the cage in a dog fight, and I’m an action fighter; I do bring the action.

“I challenge all fighters in the world, boxing or MMA, to come into the cage with me, and I’ll show them what real fighting is all about,” says Martirosyan.
“Vanes and his team are excited to be part of this new and unique concept for boxing,” says his manager, Vince Carthron.

“It’s a format just made for Vanes, and we are delighted to be there at the beginning and helping to build it,” says Carthron. “It’s good for boxing fans, and it’s good for Vanes.”

It took Fulton almost two years to get the cage designed, built, patented and approved by boxing and athletic commissions within the United States, including the state of Nevada.

An 18 year veteran promoter of the sport, through the years Fulton began to realize the sport needed something new, something fresh. And in 2016 he did something about it.

“The sport of boxing needed something revolutionary, and this is it,” says Fulton.

“The ICB cage better assures toe-to-toe, non-stop action, something that’s appealing to both boxing and mixed martial arts fans, and to the new hybrid athlete that’s proficient in more than one combat sport”

“We have no doubt ICB boxing in the cage will engage all ring sports fans,” says Fulton. “‘This is boxing for a new generation, a generation that has grown up watching combat sport in a cage. And that’s the main reason we conceived, created and now launched the ICB. It will re-energize boxing fans and bring MMA fans who prefer stand-up striking.”

“Vanes gets it; he sees the future and the opportunity,” says Fulton. “The ICB cage doesn’t force a boxer or an MMA fighter to make a choice; it offers them flexibility.”

Showtime to Air Epic Wilder vs. Fury Heavyweight World Title Bout on Saturday at 9pm ET

The thrilling Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury heavyweight blockbuster, a sure-fire Fight of the Year candidate, will air on SHOWTIME this Saturday, December 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The WBC Heavyweight World Championship bout between the 6-foot-7 unbeaten American champion Wilder and 6-foot-9 challenger Fury originally aired live on SHOWTIME PPV® on Saturday, December 1 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

On Saturday, both Wilder and Fury made strong cases for 2018 Fighter of the Year honors. Wilder faced the two toughest opponents of his career this year including a spectacular knockout win over Cuban slugger Luis Ortiz in a Fight of the Year candidate in March. Fury, the lineal heavyweight champion, returned from a two-and-a-half-year layoff to score two wins in a span of 10 weeks before facing Wilder. On Saturday, he miraculously withstood a devastating, final-round knockdown that appeared to knock him out cold. Fury rose dramatically and continued to fight until the final bell to cap an effort that will go down as one of the greatest comeback stories in all of sports.

The SHOWTIME presentation of the Wilder vs. Fury, a bout that has been hailed as “…the greatest night for boxing in the U.S. in recent memory,” by Yahoo! Sports, will be immediately followed by the premiere of ALL ACCESS: WILDER vs. FURY EPILOGUE. The networks’ Emmy Award winning Epilogue reveals the drama of fight night from a unique perspective and introduces viewers to the rarely seen aftermath of world championship prizefighting. ALL ACCESS: WILDER vs. FURY EPILOGUE goes behind the scenes, into the locker rooms, corners and inner circles as Fury aims to complete a storybook comeback and Wilder looks to continue his reign as the “baddest man on the planet.”

Amir Khan Launches ‘Ring the Changes” Initiative to Help Under-Privileged Youth

Boxing superstar Amir Khan has launched a new initiative in London today aimed at addressing youth crime in partnership with online financial trading broker ThinkMarkets.

More than 100 young people have been murdered in London alone this year and Khan will work with ThinkMarkets and charity partners to raise funds and support initiatives to help young children get off the streets using financial education and the power of boxing.

Amir Khan said: “ThinkMarkets have ambitious plans to address youth crime and together I am confident that we can make a real difference through our ‘Ring the Changes’ initiative.

“I faced challenges as a young man and I’ve been fortunate that boxing has given me opportunities and a support network that has helped me throughout my life. Not everyone is as fortunate as I have been and alongside my boxing career, I want to do some good in the world, helping young people.

“As a sportsman in the public eye, young people may be more inclined to listen to me than to people they don’t know and if I can pass on any guidance or help with opportunities that change even just one person’s life for the better, I will be very proud.”

Tonight (December 3) Khan will auction an exclusive training session and VIP tickets for his next fight with funds going to sport for employment charity Street League, that delivers a powerful programme of sports combined with employability coaching to young people from the most disadvantaged communities in the UK in order to improve their life chances.

Khan will also work with ThinkMarkets to secure employment in the City for 100 young people from disadvantaged families by 2022 and is planning to collaborate with an amateur boxing club to provide inspirational talks and fundraising activities to support its members.

The collaboration will also see Khan and ThinkMarkets run masterclasses together for the trading community, with the boxer giving talks on having a successful mindset and how to manage emotions.

Khan has a long history of helping charitable causes around the world and set up his own Foundation in 2014, something that attracted ThinkMarkets to working with the former Olympic silver medallist.

Faizan Anees, Co-founder of ThinkMarkets, said: “’Ring the Changes’ aims to make a difference to the lives of a great many young people in the UK. Amir Khan will be a fantastic ambassador for our activities and we are both committed to helping less fortunate young people and their families.”

ThinkMarkets aims to teach youngsters the importance of mental discipline and provide them with key skills to help them achieve their goals.

Khan’s partnership with ThinkMarkets is the first of its kind, with ThinkMarkets becoming the first UK broker to sponsor a professional boxer.

Algieri Rocks the House in Return to Paramount

CHRIS ALGIERI (22-3 8KO’s) returned to the Star Boxing’s acclaimed venue, The Paramount in Huntington, NY for the first time in over four years as the former WBO Super Lightweight champion looked spectacular in dismantling a game and rugged
ANGEL HERNANDEZ (14-12-2 9KO’s) from McAllen, TX over the 10 round distance of a Jr Welterweight contest in the main event of Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing Rockin Fights 33 before a frenzied sold-out standing room only crowd last night.

Algieri took control from the outset as he displayed the superb boxing skills he is known for but under new head trainer Andre Rozier, Chris has added another dimension to his already potent offense. Chris worked at a very high rate and threw numerous impressive multi punch combinations to both the body and head of Hernandez. Algieri displayed tremendous hand speed and his usual impeccable conditioning. Hernandez for his part tried the best he could and moved forward the entire fast paced fight but was no match in skills of the former world champion and in the end Algieri came away with the unanimous decision, 100-90, 100-90, and 99-91 improving to 22-3 8KO’s while Hernandez dropped to 14-12-2 9KO’s.

The semi-final 8 round Welterweight bout pitted Elmont’s TYRONE “PRETTY BOY” JAMES (9-0 6KO’s) and LEONARDO CARRIZALES (5-6-1 2KO’s), Tampico, MX. They certainly didn’t disappoint the sold out crowd as they put on a wild bout which saw James score a sensational 8th round TKO after a series of eye opening uppercuts. James started out boxing beautifully over the first 5 rounds landing vicious shots to the ever charging Carriales who also landed his fair share of blows. In the 6th round the fight took a dramatic turn as Carrizales landed a blistering right hand to the jaw of James dropping “Pretty Boy” for the first time in his career. James arose on very wobbly legs but hung in there to finish the round. The final 2 rounds saw wild action between these two fighters as they stood toe to toe trading bombs with each other, much to the delight of the crowd. The end came as James cornered Carrizales and landed 5 straight vicious uppercuts which had Carrizales’ head moving like a Jack N Box and forcing the ref to call a halt to the bout at the 42 second mark of the final frame. James improves to 9-0 6KO’s while Carrizales drops to 5-6-1 2KO’s.

Undefeated Lightweights OMAR BORDOY (7-0 2KO’s) and TEREL BOSTIC (3-1 1KO), put on a fight to remember over the 6 round distance. Danbury, CT’s Bordoy took the fight right to the local Wynadanch fighter, Bostic, as they went back and forth in a high paced, skillful match. Bordoy dropped Bostic with a monstrous right hand in the 3rd round and tried his best to finish Bostic but was unable to do so. Bostic came out for round 4 and took the fight right to Bordoy getting the best of the action. The final 2 rounds had the crowd going wild as the 2 young fighters traded freely and in the end Bordoy came away with a split decision winning 58-55 on two card while Bostic prevailed on the 3rd card 57-56.

ALEX VARGAS (2-0) won a hard fout 4 round decision over Rochester’s JARRILL HAADI (0-1), getting off the deck in the first round to do so by scores of 38-37 across the board and Jr. Welterweight DASHAUN JOHNS made his pro debut a successful one taking out late sub DEVON GRANT in the first round.

Promoter JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about the fights: “What a spectacular night of fights. The Paramount was electric and Chris Algieri confirmed that he wants to regain his world championship belt. We plan on providing Chris with another world title opportunity in 2019. He is a skilled and dedicated boxer and will give any title holder at 140 lbs. an exciting and tough challenge. Congratulations to all of Friday nights fighters on a exciting and action-packed night of fights, and thank you to our great fans”

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Lomachenko, Shields, Brant, Baranchyk, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 24rd to October 31st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Loma Prepares for Pedraza in Oxnard
WBA lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko was at home at the Boxing Laboratory as he prepared for his next challenge. Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs), who has won world titles in three weight classes in just 12 pro fights, will seek to unify titles for the first time as a pro when he takes on WBO champion Jose Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs), Dec. 8 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 9 p.m. ET).

Lomachenko worked out for the media Tuesday, showing off his assortment of training tricks. This is what the pound-for-pound great had to say.

On the Pedraza fight

“I had a long rest {following shoulder surgery}. I am looking forward to seeing how I feel and taking on a tough opponent like Pedraza. I haven’t had much time to watch his fights.”

On potentially unifying the titles

“I can’t wait. After this fight, a lot of doors will be open. Title unification fights are good for the sport of boxing.”

On future opponents

“I love challenges. That’s what motivates me. I want all the top fighters. I’m open to anyone.”

On the Jorge Linares fight

“It was the first time I was knocked down as a pro. After the knockdown, I came back and finished the fight. It was a tough fight, but I showed the heart of a champion.”

On whether he’ll remain at lightweight

“I believe I’ll stay at 135 and focus on 135 because when I fought against Linares, I felt like he was bigger than me. So I’ll stay at 135 because I think 135 is not my {ideal} weight category right now. After one or two years, it will be my {ideal} weight.”

On a Mikey Garcia fight

“I hope {it will happen}. We can see in the future because my next fight is against Pedraza. After Pedraza, we can talk about fighting Mikey.”

Claressa Shields to Defend IBF and WBA Middleweight Championships Against Hannah Rankin on DAZN
On Saturday, November 17, at the Kansas Star Arena and Casino in Mulvane, Kansas, superstar two-division women’s world champion Claressa Shields of Flint, Michigan, will defend her IBF and WBA World Middleweight Championships and be looking to add the vacant WBC title against Hannahh Rankin from Glasgow, Scotland.

The 10-round Shields (6-0, 2 KOs), and Rankin (5-2, 1 KO) battle will serve as the co-featured bout to Brooklyn-born heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller’s WBA World Heavyweight Championship showdown against Romania’s Bogdan Dinu.

These two fights will be broadcast live on DAZN, along with former world champion Brandon Rios taking on Canelo’s brother, Ramon Alvarez, in a super welterweight 10-rounder and former two-time world middleweight title challenger Gabriel Rosado going against once-beaten contender Luis Arias.

Shields was originally scheduled to face WBC and WBO World Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer on November 17, but the bout was postponed after Hammer withdrew due to medical reasons. Hammer has been named a champion in recess during her recovery. The two champions are now projected to do battle in the first quarter of 2019.

“Claressa is a once-in-a-generation athlete that transcends the sport,” said her promoter, Dmitriy Salita. “She will take another step in her goal to achieve the status of GWOAT as she makes the first defense of her middleweight world titles against the skilled and durable Hannah Rankin.”

A bonafide women’s superstar and TV ratings favorite, 23-year-old “T-Rex” Shields is a two-time Olympic gold medallist and already a world champion in two weight divisions. In her fourth professional fight, she won the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight Championships in August 2017 with a dominant stoppage of Germany’s Nikki Adler. Then, in June of this year and in just her sixth pro fight, she dropped down to 160 pounds and won the IBF and WBA Middleweight titles with an exciting unanimous decision over Hannah Gabriels.

“I’m so excited to be able to give my fans another chance to see me defend my championship this year and to have the opportunity to win the WBC middleweight title on November 17,” said Shields. “I appreciate the efforts of Salita Promotions, my manager Mark Taffet, and Matchroom Boxing in putting this fight together so quickly. I will be in great shape and will provide a great performance.”

“I want to thank Salita Promotions and Matchroom Boxing for providing Claressa with another chance to fight this year and an opportunity to attain a third middleweight world championship,” said Mark Taffet, manager of Claressa Shields. “Claressa is hungry and motivated to put on a great performance on November 17 on DAZN. Claressa has lofty goals and I have no doubt that she’s going to achieve every one of them, including fighting and defeating Christina Hammer early next year. I expect Shields vs Rankin to be an action-packed fight that fans will enjoy tremendously.”

28-year-old Rankin put in an impressive and brave performance while losing a challenge for Alicia Napoleon’s WBA Super Middleweight Championship in August of this year. Before that, she picked up the WBC Silver Middleweight Championship with a dominant victory over Finland’s Sanna Turunen in June.

“I’m excited about the fight and proud to be representing Scotland on such a big stage,” said Rankin. “In boxing, nothing is impossible and on November 17, it will be just us in there when the bell rings and I think it’s going to be one hell of a fight.”
New WBA Middleweight Champion Rob Brant Basking in the Glow, but Ready for Next Assignment

Brand-new WBA World Middleweight Champion Rob “Bravo” Brant says he goes everywhere with his new best friend. “The belt hasn’t left my side since they handed it to me,” laughs the personable new champion from Saint Paul, Minnesota.

28-year-old Brant (24-1, 16 KOs) says he went into his main-event showdown with then champion Ryota Murata (14-2, 11 KOs), last Saturday night at the Park MGM in Las Vegas (and live on ESPN+), unaware he was such a heavy underdog.

“I really did go into it very confident I would win, just off the preparations we did,” said Brant, who was having his first fight with former world champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad as his trainer. “I tried to stay away from news when I was in training, so I had no idea how big of an underdog I was. We had a post-fight press conference and that was when I found out. When reporters were asking about it. I had no idea. It wouldn’t have deterred me anyway if I had known.”

Despite the doubts of the bookmakers, Brant cruised to a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision over 2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata, with two judges giving him all but one round, the other all but two. Brant busted up the now ex-champion with a piston-like jab and peppered him with combinations throughout what turned out to be a surprisingly dominant performance.

According to CompuBox statistics, Brant landed 356 of 1,262 punches (28 percent) while Murata connected with just 180 of 774 (23 percent).

“As a pro, he hasn’t seen what I gave him,” explained Brant. We knew he had a hard time with hand speed and jabs. He locks up when punches are being thrown, so we made sure we kept him backing up and worried about the jab and punches in general. The more he thinks about my shots, the less he throws. We knew we’d be able to keep him on his back foot. Eddie Mustafa is very strict on letting the hands go. We were big on the cardio in training and keeping the punch rate high. And when you’re keeping the jab out there all the time, other shots open up.”

Brant says at fight’s end, he wasn’t worried about the decision going his way.

“I’ve always felt that judges’ decisions are out of my hands. I was nervous about it, you don’t know until they announce your name, but I knew I had done what I felt was my best work. I had a great sense of pride and relief knowing I put it all out there and did everything possible to win. But now that I have won, it’s kind of like having giant weight lifted off my shoulders. It’s definitely my biggest accomplishment ever, winning in Vegas against a former Olympic gold medallist. It’s everything I ever worked for. It was the best feeling in the world. I knew how much I worked for that. Boxing gives back what you put into it and I put my everything into it.”

Although Brant and promoters GCP reportedly agreed to a rematch before the fight, the new champion says he’s not sure the now ex-champion wants it.

“All the talk of a rematch has been from his promoters. I haven’t heard him say anything about it. He might be a little discouraged right now. I’m not saying he won’t be able to come back, but I don’t think he wants it right now. I’ll just go on to bigger and better in the division. Once you win a title, there are no more easy fights. Until you are the undisputed king, you’re always taking steps up in class in every fight.”

Brant says he took a week off but is now back in the gym and ready for what comes next.

“I’m just waiting for the next assignment to work toward. I want to know who my next opponent is as soon as possible, so I can go to sleep at night thinking of what I’m going to do. Watching film and looking for flaws and things I can exploit. That’s when I‘m really the most comfortable. When I have an assignment. It’ll be a big name eventually. I’m there now. So I’m just waiting to see who is next for me to spend all my time watching that person.”

Brant gives a big piece of the credit for his upset victory to the only man to ever beat him. Last October, he stepped up in weight to participate in the World Boxing Super Series as a super middleweight and lost a one-sided decision to former light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer in Germany.

“The thought of what happened against Braehmer was always in the background. That’s what really motivated me to be the best I could in this fight. I knew I was better than I was in that fight. I had to prove it by doing what I’m capable of. The loss to Braehmer will be in the back of my mind forever. I won’t let anyone else do that to me again. I will never forget that loss and I’ve been a better fighter from that point forward.”

Undefeated Prospects Castaneda and Venegas Jr. Clash for NABA Super Lightweight Title on December 1st

TMB & PRB Entertainment and Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions, present “Whose ‘0’ Will Go 2”, a live boxing event taking place at the Scottish Rite Theatre in San Antonio, TX, on December 1, 2018. In the 10-round main event, undefeated super lightweights Kendo Castaneda (14-0, 7 KOs) and Gilbert Venegas Jr. (10-0, 6 KOs), will battle for the vacant WBA-NABA title. The entire card will be streamed via Facebook’s FIGHTNIGHT LIVE channel, which has already served more than three million fight fans since May 2017.

Venegas age 24, is coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory against Armando Cardenas (9-2, 5 KOs), a fight that took place at the Scottish Rite Theatre on September 8, 2018. With momentum on his side, Venegas is determined to remain unbeaten with a victory against Castaneda.

“Castaneda comes in with an undefeated record, so this will no doubt be my toughest opponent of my career, but a fight I believe I can win.” stated Gilbert Venegas Jr. “I’ve worked very hard to get into this position, to fight for a title, so rest assure, I’m not going to let this opportunity pass me by. Being that this will be my first shot at a title, you better believe I’m coming to win, and win impressively. I’m going to be the new NABA super lightweight champion and on December 1st, my hands will be raised in victory.”

The 24-year old Castaneda, who is promoted by Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions, recently defeated former WBC United States Champion, Jesus “Chuy” Gutierrez, by 8-round unanimous decision. With the victory, Castaneda, who resides in San Antonio, TX, will look to keep his undefeated record in tact against Venegas.

“I’m predicting a tremendous performance,” said Castaneda. “I’m ready to razzle and dazzle, graze them and daze them, confuse and abuse them. Getting a NABA title shot on my second fight with Roy Jones Jr. Boxing represents a huge door being kicked down for me. If I can’t beat a guy like Venegas, I have no business in boxing.”

Tickets priced $35 General Admission $40 at the door, and $100 Ringside, are on sale now, and can be purchased by calling (210) 449-5599 or (210) 322-9974. The Scottish Rite Theatre is located at 308 Ave E, San Antonio, TX 78205. Doors open at 4:00 PM, first bell at 5:30 PM.
Split-T Management’s Ivan Baranchyk Captures IBF Junior Welterweight Title
Split-T Management’s Ivan Baranchyk won the IBF Junior Welterweight title with a 7th round stoppage over Anthony Yigit.

The bout, which took place in New Orleans, was also part of the World Boxing Super Series, giving Baranchyk more than just a world title to celebrate.

Baranchyk took the fight to Yigit, as he landed many power shots that made the left eye of Yigit swell very badly. With the eye just about closed, the fight was halted after the 7th frame, gibing Baranchyk the coveted world title.

Baranchyk will now face the winner of next Saturday’s contest between Josh Taylor and Ryan Martin, which will take place in Glasgow, Scotland.

“This is the best feeling in the world,” said Baranchyk. “To become world champion, I feel like I am the best fighter in the tournament. It was a good fight, I was able to implore my style and get the stoppage. I will rest for a a week or so, and then start my work for my next fight.”

“I couldn’t be happier than I am for Ivan. He deserved this and worked for it as hard as anyone can. You have to be around Ivan to really realize how intense and dedicated he is. We are looking forward to the next round and I honestly don’t think Ivan cares which one he fights,” said David McWater of Split T Management.

Baranchyk is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, Holden promotions and Fight Promotions.
New Era Dawns: ICB Launches Boxing’s Move to MMA-Style Cage

With a patent, trademarks and official approval complete, Jack Perone Fulton, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of International Championship Boxing (ICB), is set to reboot the traditional sport of boxing by moving it into an MMA-style cage.

Trademarked “The Fight Zone,” the specially designed ICB cage is a 24-foot, six-sided fenced hexagon with red and blue entry points and two opposing neutral corners.

“ICB represents boxing for a new generation, one that has grown up watching combat sports in a cage,” said Fulton. “It’s truly a better boxing platform. It’s a larger fighting space and with better camera angles for broadcast viewers. And when a boxer’s heel touches the back of the cage fencing, they must come out swinging instead of resting on the ropes. Those are the main reasons we conceived, created and are now launching the ICB. We have no doubt the ICB will capture the imaginations of existing fans and attract new ones around the globe.”

It took Fulton almost two years to get The Fight Zone specially designed, built, patented and approved by boxing and athletic commissions within the United States. In March of this year, he received a unanimous approval from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, recognized as the industry leader when it comes to regulatory matters.

“I’m both ecstatic and excited we have been granted approval by the NSAC,” said Fulton. “It’s the first time anything remotely resembling this has been legally attempted.”

Real-life testing of the new format has gone extremely well.

“The initial sparring sessions have resulted in action that has exceeded our wildest expectations,” said Fulton. “MMA fans get what they want: stand-up striking, instead of the all-too prevalent ground game, which produces long breaks in the action. And boxing fans will enjoy the new action-packed toe-to-toe dynamic the cage produces.”

What has also exceeded expectations is the response from boxers and mixed martial artists alike. Several notable combatants in both fields have expressed enthusiasm about competing in the ICB. “You’d be surprised by the number of boxers – boxers whose skill sets range all the way up to world champions and world-ranked contenders – who not only are expressing interest but enthusiasm about boxing in the ICB cage,” said Fulton.

Because of the characteristics of a cage in comparison to a ring, boxers will have to learn and hone new skill sets.

“Some boxers will adapt and flourish quicker than others,” said Fulton, “but eventually, they’ll see the advantages of competing in the cage and will gravitate en-masse. Mixed martial artists, particularly those who excel at striking, will also feel the lure of boxing in the cage. It accentuates their strong points while eliminating their weak points.”

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Media Workout Quotes: Lomachenko Prepares for Pedraza in Oxnard


WBA lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko was at home at the Boxing Laboratory as he prepared for his next challenge. Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs), who has won world titles in three weight classes in just 12 pro fights, will seek to unify titles for the first time as a pro when he takes on WBO champion Jose Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs), Dec. 8 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 9 p.m. ET).

Lomachenko worked out for the media Tuesday, showing off his assortment of training tricks. This is what the pound-for-pound great had to say.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

On the Pedraza fight

“I had a long rest {following shoulder surgery}. I am looking forward to seeing how I feel and taking on a tough opponent like Pedraza. I haven’t had much time to watch his fights.”

On potentially unifying the titles

“I can’t wait. After this fight, a lot of doors will be open. Title unification fights are good for the sport of boxing.”

On future opponents

“I love challenges. That’s what motivates me. I want all the top fighters. I’m open to anyone.”

On the Jorge Linares fight

“It was the first time I was knocked down as a pro. After the knockdown, I came back and finished the fight. It was a tough fight, but I showed the heart of a champion.”

On whether he’ll remain at lightweight

“I believe I’ll stay at 135 and focus on 135 because when I fought against Linares, I felt like he was bigger than me. So I’ll stay at 135 because I think 135 is not my {ideal} weight category right now. After one or two years, it will be my {ideal} weight.”

On a Mikey Garcia fight

“I hope {it will happen}. We can see in the future because my next fight is against Pedraza. After Pedraza, we can talk about fighting Mikey.”

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Madison Square Garden, tickets for Lomachenko-Pedraza are on sale now. Priced at $506, $356, $206, $106, and $56, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at ticketmaster.com and MSG.com.

Lomachenko-Pedraza will headline a special edition of Top Rank on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET, which will follow the 84th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Presentation.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Barrera, Lomachenko, Hardy, Wilder, Fury, and more…


The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 2nd to October 9th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Canelo Alvarez to Make NYC Debut Against Rocky Fielding

Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs), the universally recognized middleweight champion of the world and the veritable face of boxing, will make his New York City debut as he faces WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) in a special 12-round super middleweight attraction on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden.

Additional details for the event, including ticket information, will be announced shortly.

Canelo, the 28-year-old native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, is without a doubt boxing’s biggest star. After capturing two world titles and the lineal championship in the super welterweight division, Canelo moved up to middleweight to capture the WBC, Lineal and

Ring Magazine World Titles with a unanimous decision victory against Miguel Cotto in November 2015. Canelo has maintained his status as the lineal champion ever since. But after his historic win against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in their highly anticipated rematch in September, Canelo captured the WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Titles and established himself as the very best in the division. Canelo will look to capture a world title in a third division against Fielding.

“It has always been a desire of mine to fight in New York, and where better than at the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden?” said Canelo Alvarez. “I look forward to exploring this 160-pound division against current WBA World Champion Rocky Fielding. I will be representing the WBC as its current middleweight world champion as I continue demonstrating to the world that I am the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.”

Fielding is a 31-year-old native of Liverpool, England who climbed the 168-pound rankings by fighting the toughest fighters in his native country. Fielding has only suffered one loss in his career, against who would eventually be a world champion in Callum Smith. Since then, he has scored six victories in a row, including his career-best win against Tyron Zeuge to capture the WBA Super Middleweight World Title in July. Fielding will defend his title in what will be his United States debut.

“This is everything that I’ve ever dreamed of – fighting a pound-for-pound star at Madison Square Garden for my world title,” said Rocky Fielding. “I can really punch. Everyone knows that. Let’s see what happens on the night when I catch him clean. He’s [Canelo] stepping up in weight, and he’s not going to be a big super middleweight. I know how good he is, but we will come up with a plan to beat him. I know I can catch him and put him to sleep.”

“It was about time that the biggest star in boxing headed to Madison Square Garden,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions. “Nearly every great fighter has fought at this historic arena. Canelo is establishing a historic legacy, and I’m excited that fans in New York will be able to see this great talent in such a famed place for boxing.”

“This will be a huge night for Rocky Fielding, and one he couldn’t turn down – the chance to fight one of the biggest names of the sport in an iconic and historic venue in Madison Square Garden,” said Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. “Although Rocky is the champion, we thank Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya and Eric Gomez for this wonderful opportunity. New York can expect a Liverpool invasion on December 15 and a great atmosphere in the Big Apple.”

Canelo vs. Fielding is a 12-round fight for WBA Super Middleweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Matchroom Boxing. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” and Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event will take place Saturday, December 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.

Showtime Sports to Chronicle Wilder vs. Fury with All Access Series

SHOWTIME Sports will chronicle the buildup to the heavyweight blockbuster event featuring WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury with a new installment of ALL ACCESS, a three-part series beginning Saturday, November 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. The Emmy Award-winning series will peel back the curtain as two of boxing’s most charismatic showmen prepare to put their undefeated records on the line Saturday, December 1 live on SHOWTIME PPV® from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

Episode two of ALL ACCESS: WILDER VS. FURY will premiere Saturday, November 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. ALL ACCESS EPILOGUE, which spotlights the intensity of fight night and the solemn aftermath of world championship prizefighting like never before, will premiere on Saturday, December 8.

The acclaimed SHOWTIME Sports original series will be accompanied by digital features released throughout fight week on the networks’ social media channels. ALL ACCESS DAILY will deliver the same intimate access and signature storytelling as the intensity builds toward the most significant heavyweight title fight in the U.S. since 2002. New installments of the digital series will be available each day beginning Wednesday, November 28 on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page.

ALL ACCESS: WILDER VS. FURY will immerse viewers into the lives and training camps of Wilder, the Alabama native set for his eighth world title defense and Fury, the self-proclaimed “Gypsy King” who shocked the world in 2015 when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko to become the unified and lineal heavyweight world champion. Filming for the series is underway as the towering figures embark on a three-city press tour for one of 2018’s most anticipated events.

Sullivan Barrera vs. Seanie Monaghan in Brooklyn on November 3rd

Former WBC International Light Heavyweight world champion Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) returns to the ring to regain his standing as one of the world’s top light heavyweights. Barrera faces top five light heavyweight contender “Irish” Seanie Monaghan (29-1, 17 KOs) in the 10-round main event at The Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn, NY on Saturday, November 3, 2018. The event is promoted by Main Events and will be streamed live via Facebook Watch as part of the Golden Boy Fight Night series.

Tickets are priced at $125 and $100 for VIP ringside seats and $50 for general admission. They are available to purchase now through Eventbrite or by calling Main Events at 973-200-7050 or emailing [email protected]

Barrera vs. Monaghan was originally scheduled to take place on August 18 but was postponed when Barrera suffered an eye injury. Barrera has since recovered, and Monaghan remained available to put the bout back on the Facebook Watch series, a collaboration between Golden Boy Promotions, Facebook and Main Events, offered to fans around the world via live online streaming.

Barrera, 36, a native of Cuba who defected to the United States after fighting for the Cuban National Team, now lives and trains in Miami, Florida. He makes his return to the ring after taking WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol deep into the 12th round of their title fight in March before being stopped, by far the most difficult opponent of Bivol’s professional career. The WBC ranks Barrera fourth in the competitive Light Heavyweight division.

Monaghan, also 36, is a Long Island, New York native with proud Irish roots. He began his professional boxing career at the late age of 28 but quickly made up for lost time. After his first and only loss as a professional in 30 fights to Marcus Browne in July 2017, Monaghan started his comeback quest with a win in November 2017 and intends to make up for lost time against Barrera.

“Thank you to my team, my coach Derik Santos, my promoter Main Events, my manager Luis Molina, and thanks to Seanie Monaghan for taking this fight,” said Barrera. “As always, I’m willing to face the top guys in my division. This is another tough fighter. I look forward to November 3, and I’ll give the fans a great show. They will see me start to climb my way back up to facing the very best light heavyweights in the world.”

Barrera’s trainer, Derik Santos, said training is already underway for the fight. “We are working and are dedicated as usual. Thank you to manager Luis Molina and our promoter Main Events. Sullivan has gone into tough fights over the years and has consistently shown himself to be one of the toughest light heavyweight contenders in the division.”

Despite the pressure on them, Barrera and Santos maintain the same confidence and positive attitude that led Barrera to the top. “Train well and overcome, has been the directive since day one,” declared Santos. “Our expectations are the same today.”

Barrera is no stranger to Seanie Monaghan, and he’s looking forward to the matchup. “This fight is do or die for both of us. I’ve been going back and forth with Barrera on Twitter for a couple of years now. This will finally be our chance to settle it in the ring, no more talking,” said Monaghan.

Monaghan lost his father over the summer. He planned from that day to bring the late Davy Monaghan’s ashes back to his hometown of Navan in Ireland someday while wearing a title belt around his waist. His fight with Barrera is as much for his father as it is for himself.

In the ultra-competitive light heavyweight division, the talent pool is deep, and virtually every fighter ranked among the Top 15 contenders is a threat to the current titleholders. Main Events’ CEO and Barrera’s promoter, Kathy Duva, originally selected this high-stakes fight as a perfect fit for the Main Events-promoted card in the Golden Boy Fight Night series and remained resolved to make the fight happen after the cancellation.

“Expanding access to our fan-friendly fights around the world with online streaming technology is the latest chapter in the 40-year history of Main Events,” said Duva. “Boxing has always been able to adapt and stay current as a sport.”

Duva promised: “Technology has changed a lot in this world, but one thing will never change about Main Events: our determination to make the best matches and feature amazing athletes in the ring. We wanted Sullivan Barrera and Seanie Monaghan in the ring and were more disappointed than anyone when the original bout was postponed. We were determined to make this fight happen, because I know these guys will give everything they’ve got for their legacy, and for the fans.”

Lomachenko-Pedraza Tickets on Sale October 10th

WBA lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko has made his second home in New York City.

The man considered by many boxing experts to be the world’s best fighter will top the bill at a Madison Square Garden venue for the fourth time as a pro when he takes on WBO champion Jose Pedraza in a unification bout Dec. 8 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Madison Square Garden, tickets for Lomachenko-Pedraza go on sale Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 12 p.m. ET. Priced at $506, $356, $206, $106, and $56, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at ticketmaster.com and MSG.com.

Lomachenko-Pedraza will headline a special edition of Top Rank on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET, which will follow the 84th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Presentation.

This will be Lomachenko’s third consecutive bout at a Madison Square Garden venue. He last fought May 12 at Madison Square Garden, knocking out Jorge Linares in the 10th round in front of 10,429 fans.

12th Ranked Heavyweight Jermaine Franklin Parts Ways with Management Team

Undefeated Heavyweight Jermaine “989 Assassin” Franklin (17-0, 13KOs) is taking the next step toward being World Heavyweight Champion. Franklin announced last week that he has parted ways with his former Manager Mark Haak.

At 24 years old and ranked #12 in the U.S., Franklin is currently the youngest fighter ranked in the Top 20 in the country. “After long discussions with my family, I felt it was best to go in a new direction. I’m ready to take the next step toward being the World Heavyweight Champion. Whoever promotes the Franklin name needs to know they are getting a world champion in two years or less. That’s a promise,” said Franklin.

Franklin won the Golden Gloves heavyweight national title in 2014 and placed second in the 2014 World Golden Gloves. Known for speed and punching power with both hands, Franklin’s growing popularity is making the boxing world take notice.

“When I look at the heavyweight division, my skills and heart is second to none. There is no one out there that I fear. I have the power to knock out whoever stands in front of me,” said Franklin.

Heather Hardy vs. Shelly Vincent Added to October 27th HBO telecast

In a rematch of their epic 2016 “Fight of the Year”, Brooklyn’s Heather “The Heat” Hardy (21-0, 4 KOs) and Shelly “Shelito’s Way” Vincent (23-1, 1 KO) will clash once again on October 27, at the Hulu Theater from Madison Square Garden. The scheduled 10-round bout, for the vacant WBO Women’s Featherweight World title, will open a sensational tripleheader televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Previously announced on the telecast, Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) and Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) will battle for the vacant IBF World Middleweight Title and Alberto Machado (20-0, 16 KOs) will defend his WBA Super Featherweight Title against Yuandale Evans (20-1, 14 KOs).

“I’m so excited and so honored to be fighting on HBO,” said Hardy. “Shelly and I have wanted a rematch since the first fight ended and it’s fitting that it’s on this huge card and will be telecast on HBO from Madison Square Garden. The first fight was one of the very best of 2016 and the rematch will start right where we finished off.”

Said Vincent emphatically about the world title bout and prospect of winning the title belt, “I’m not leaving without my property!”

“I was thrilled to call Heather and Shelly and let them know that their rematch will be telecast on HBO,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “I have to give a lot of credit to Peter Nelson and HBO for advancing women’s boxing by stepping up to air this fight.”

“The first fight between Heather and Shelly was an outstanding, back-and-forth battle, reminiscent of the Gatti-Ward fights that I co-promoted. I anticipate nothing less when the bell rings for the rematch. October 27 is a stacked card, in the intimate setting of Hulu Theater from Madison Square Garden, and I encourage as many fans as possible to join us live.”

Fighting on August 21, 2016, in Coney Island, NY, and in a nationally telecast bout, Hardy won a hard-fought majority decision over 10 rounds. Hardy has since won three additional fights including two victories versus former world title challenger Edina Kiss. Most recently, Hardy scored an eight-round decision against Iranda Torres on April 21, in Brooklyn.

A native of Providence, RI, Vincent has stayed busy with five wins since her loss to Hardy, the only defeat of her eight years as a professional. As a result of her performance against Hardy, the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame named her their “Fighter of the Year” for 2016, with Vincent becoming the first female recipient of that award. In her last bout on July 21, Vincent took home an eight-round decision victory against Calista Silgado.

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Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza Set for Lightweight Unification in New York City


Lomachenko is ready to take another bite out of the Big Apple. Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound superstar and WBA lightweight world champion, will look to unify world titles for the first time as a professional when he clashes with WBO champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. ET, live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. This marks Lomachenko’s fourth main event appearance at a Madison Square Garden venue.

Lomachenko-Pedraza will headline a special edition of Top Rank on ESPN, which will follow the 84th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Presentation.

Promoted by Top Rank, ticket and undercard information for this world championship event will be announced soon.

“Boxing fans are excited that Vasiliy Lomachenko will be back in action on Dec. 8,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “He knows that in WBO champion Jose Pedraza, he faces a tough opponent with a style that may give him a lot of trouble.”

“I am ready to fight an excellent opponent like Jose Pedraza,” Lomachenko said. “My goal has always been to unify the titles, and Pedraza is standing in my way. There is something special about fighting in New York City and at Madison Square Garden. The fans in New York City are true boxing fans, and I can’t wait to put on another spectacular performance for them.”

“I am grateful to have this opportunity, since I didn’t get the chance to unify titles when I was champion in the junior lightweight division,” Pedraza said. “In this division, I will achieve my goal, and I will do it against one of the best boxers in the world. There will be a surprise on Dec. 8!”

“We are thrilled to bring fans one of the year’s marquee boxing events to ESPN,” said ESPN’s Burke Magnus, executive vice president, programming and scheduling. “Currently ranked as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, Lomachenko is who fans want to watch. His historic victory last year on this night was a tremendous success, and we look forward to showcasing the world’s best once again.”

Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) is widely considered to be the greatest amateur boxer in history, as he posted a 396-1 record with Olympic gold medals for his native Ukraine in 2008 and 2012. In the pro ranks, he has continued to etch his name in the history books. Lomachenko tied a boxing record by winning a world title in his third pro bout on June 21, 2014, a clear points win against Gary Russell Jr. to claim the vacant WBO featherweight title. He made three defenses of that title before moving up to 130 pounds. In his debut at 130 pounds, Lomachenko knocked out Roman Martinez with an uppercut-hook combination to win the WBO junior lightweight world title. Following the Martinez bout, Lomachenko began an unprecedented streak of four consecutive opponents – Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga, and Guillermo Rigondeaux – retiring on their stools. The Rigondeaux bout, which took place last December at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, was the first time in boxing history that a pair of two-time Olympic gold medalists fought as professionals. After six rounds, Rigondeaux quit on his stool.

With nothing left to prove at 130 pounds, Lomachenko moved up to lightweight and challenged WBA champion Jorge Linares. On May 12 at Madison Square Garden, Lomachenko suffered a labral tear of his right shoulder in the second round and was knocked down with a right hand in the sixth, only to come back and stop Linares with a left hand to the body in the 10th round. The Linares victory signified another milestone for Lomachenko. In becoming a three-weight world champion in 12 professional fights, he broke the previous record set by Jeff Fenech (20 fights) in 1988. Lomachenko has knocked out eight consecutive opponents dating back to his fourth professional bout in 2014.

Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs), from Cidra, Puerto Rico, has climbed back to the top of the sport following a January 2017 TKO loss to Gervonta Davis that saw him relinquish his IBF junior lightweight world title. He returned 14 months later as a lightweight on March 17, shutting out Jose Luis Rodriguez over eight rounds at the Hulu Theater at Madison Garden. After a hard-fought 10-round unanimous decision against Antonio Moran on June 9, Pedraza traveled to Glendale, Ariz., on Aug. 25 to face WBO lightweight world champion Ray Beltran. He scored an 11th-round knockdown to seal the unanimous decision victory, becoming only the second male Puerto Rican fighter to win world titles at 130 and 135 pounds.

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What’s Next for Pacquiao?


By: Oliver McManus

The clock was ticking, the guard began to change as star after star began to fade into the background but an ever present constant in the boxing hemisphere, Manny Pacquiao, was determined to shift the sands of time back into his favour last weekend as he faced Lucas Matthysse, in Malaysia, for yet another world title.

“He’s too old”, the doubters said. “Matthysse has too much power”, cried the naysayers. “Getting rid of Roach was a mistake”, echoed those who questioned Pac Man.

He paid no attention to the script, setting about what can only be described as a demolition job in crushing the Argentine in a manner akin to taking a hammer to a peanut. Matthysse landed a fair few half-decent punches but never looked like carrying a realistic threat to the legacy of Pacquiao and was dropped time after time before the contest was waived off in the seventh round.

What next for Pacquiao, then?

RETIREMENT

Seems harsh to suggest in the immediate aftermath of such a scintillating performance – his first knockout victory since 2009 – but retirement does seem to be a genuine option for the Filipino with the huge money making fights seemingly few and far between and with increasingly more risk to the ageing eight-weight world champion.

The legacy of Pacquiao is solidified with the defining moment seeming to always be characterised by his series of fights with Juan Manuel Marquez so there’s no real need for the legendary fighter to carry on and risk becoming a Roy Jones Jr figure – albeit at a higher level and not against guys such as Bobby Gunn, Rodney Moore and that respective ilk.

It’s not as though the 39 year old is without other options, boxing is very much a secondary focus as things stand in Pacquiao’s life with his priority being politics – elected as a senator in his home country, Pacquiao has a minimum term until 2022 which, in itself, makes preparing and organising fights relatively difficult.

And let’s be clear this was probably Pacquiao’s best performance in six or seven years and there will always be the eternal question regarding his age and stamina – he proved his doubters wrong on Saturday but as we saw against Horn there is a distinct blueprint for beating Pacquiao and he’s ripe for the taking – so what better a night than to call it quits, retire as a world champion with plaudits aplenty.

AMIR KHAN

On the distinct polar opposite vein you could argue that because Pacquiao looked so good that in itself is all you need to back-up a call for him to continue – whether that’s papering up the cracks or not is something we’ll find out as and when future bouts happen – and an immediate fight that springs to mind is Amir Khan.

Big in the States and big in the United Kingdom, Amir Khan is of an ideal profile for a mega fight with mega dollars to boot – it could also see Pacquiao in the United Kingdom for the first time though such is the statue of the guy we’d likely only see him for a press conference over here as opposed to the actual bout.

Let’s not forget that the pair were scheduled to fight on April 23rd last year in the United Arab Emirates before the bout was called off but the desire to see the two meet in the ring has not dampened and if anything the flame has only burned brighter since Khan’s successful comeback.

For Khan, who has more options than Kell Brook, this is a perfect opportunity to return to the world title scene and, in all honesty, it’s possibly the easiest champion he’d have to face in the division which is saying quite something.

Amir has been there, too, he’s no stranger to these big fights and even though he lost, viciously, to Canelo, he put up a really good showing and there’s no doubt that against Pacquiao we could witness a tremendous, 50-50 fight with styles meshing.

From that knockout loss to Canelo, mind, Pacquiao will be able to take immense confidence especially off the back of such a convincing beat-down of Lucas Matthysse. Couple in the notorious “glass chin” that Khan is often accused of having, the risk for Pacquiao would be relatively big but the reward would be phenomenal – Khan is possibly one of the biggest names that the Filipino could face whilst still possessing the tag as favourite.

For me this is a fight that simply has to happen.

VASYL LOMACHENKO

Dropping down a weight division to super lightweight there is the possibility of facing Vasyl Lomachenko in yet another HUGE fight – Lomachenko needs no introduction so I won’t bother giving him one but it’s fair to say that a fight of this magnitude would invoke memories of Pacman’s contest with Mayweather and supersede the sport of boxing in becoming a sheer event for the pubic, fans or not.

Loma is out until December at least following shoulder surgery and Pacquiao has hinted at wanting to drop back to super-lightweight for some time now so the build-up for the potential clash would no doubt capture the imagination of the boxing world.

A clash with Lomachenko is the only bout that could have a positive impact on how we look back on Pacquiao’s career in 10 years – any other opponents are merely extra icing on the already lavishly decorated cake that are his 23 years as a professional boxer – but the Ukrainian provides a test that is unlike any other, a living legend, a walking Hall-of-Famer, a fighter who is, frankly, a freak of nature.

Lomachenko would be the best opponent since Floyd Mayweather and there’s a reasonable argument to be made that he’d be the best opponent INCLUDING Floyd Mayweather, at least in retrospect, and would enter the fight as a favourite but if Pacquiao is determined to prove, once and for all, that he IS back then this is the sort of challenge he really needs to be looking at.

The question that gets raised when you talk about this fight – potentially held at catchweight – is whether Manny really looked that good against Matthysse or if he was simply the least washed up of the two boxers as whilst it was a very accomplished performance you’d be hard pushed to say the Matthysse that turned up was on his A game.

It’s a risk, yes, but is it a risk worth taking?

JEFF HORN

I’ve opted for Jeff Horn to fill this last section although I was tempted to select Terence Crawford instead but Horn gets the edge because there is history in that encounter, we all know what happened in Australia and this would be a perfect opportunity to silence his critics from that night and prove it was a fluke loss.

Over here in the United Kingdom endless repeats of their first fight were being shown on the broadcaster and, make no mistake, there wasn’t anything like the outrage shown in America with regards to the scoring but this is a fight that would sell, literally, to all four corners of the globe; you’ve got the Australian market who will be fervently routing for their home hero, the America’s backing Pacquiao and the Brit’s / European’s who love nothing more than a rematch with a bit of needle so in terms of marketability, this fight has it all.

Redemption is a factor that can never be over-stated because looking back on his career, Pacquiao is not a man who will be satisfied with a perceived injustice if there was a possibility to put such a situation to bed and we’ve seen immediately after their contest in February last year that Pacquiao wanted the rematch so his self-belief is there.

Horn, himself, is looking for an avenue back to the big time after getting soundly beaten by Crawford and the fight against Pacquiao is the instant avenue to go down because, for him, if he can pull of the “miracle” a second time then who can doubt him, immediately goes away all the criticism from their first encounter.

A snagging point in this whole deal is the style of Horn, it’s not exactly conducive to a performance that will knock your socks off because even if Pacquiao is able to control every second of every round, he’s going to emerge with a bruised and bloodied face such is the aggressive nature of the Australian – the less sound about his leading head, the better – so whilst emotionally and sentimentally the fight may be seen as a win, stylistically and in terms of future stock, it’s hard to see Pacquiao emerge looking any sharper than the fight at the weekend.

Time after time we’ve sat here and idolised about what could be next for such an icon of the sport and time after time he’s delivered the complete unexpected, the only thing we can ever take for granted with Manny Pacquiao is that he will never duck an opponent and he will always bring his all to a fight.

What more could you ask for from an all-time great? Wherever he goes next, even if he doesn’t fight again, let’s just take a minute to bask in his shadows because for now, at least, this warrior is taking a one-man stand against the surge of young pretenders and, boy, is he holding his own when everyone and their dog seems to be writing him off.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Lomachenko Stops Linares in the Tenth


By: William Holmes

Madison Square Garden in New York City was the host site for tonight’s collaborative effort between Top Rank Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions to put on a highly anticipated main event between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares for the WBA Lightweight Title.

The opening bout of the night was between Carlos Adames (13-0) and Alejandro Barrera (29-4) in the welterweight division.

Adames is a high ceiling prospect for Top Rank and he made it known why early on. His straight right hand was finding it’s home often and he was in control. Barrera was able to sneek some punches in past the guard of Adames, but they didn’t appear to hurt him.

In the sixth round he switched to a southpaw stance and was still able to land shots at will. His power shots came from his right hand, but he was still fluid and smooth in his southpaw stance.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

Barrera was able to do some decent body work in the seventh round and was a little more effective. His counter uppercut found it’s home but Adames was landing the harder shots. Barrera continued to hang in the fight into the eighth round and showed a willingness to exchange, and he may have stolen the round when he landed some short shots on Adames when his back was against the ropes.

The ninth round featured fierce exchanges and started with Barrera walking Adames down, but Adames was able to turn the momentum back in his favor with sharp left hooks. A clash of heads occurred in the final moments of the ninth round that caused a cut by the right eye of Barrera.

Barrera needed a knockout in the final round to win, and he was the more active fighter and landed more shots in the final round, but that knockout never came.

Carlos Adames wins by decision with scores of 97-93, 96-94, and 98-92.

The main event of the night was between Jorge Linares (44-3) and Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1) for the WBA Lightweight Title.

Lomachenko, the favorite, entered the ring first while the champion, Linares, entered second.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

Linares looked like the significantly bigger man in the ring and was able to land his straight left hand from his southpaw stance early on in the first round. Linares though was accurate with his counter punches in the first and landed a good lead left hook at the end of the round.

Lomachenko looked to be a little looser in the second round and was landing more, and by the third round his foot movement was on point as he danced around Linares and landed multiple combinations. Lomachenko continued to stay on the attack in the fourth round. Linares was warned for rabbit punches in the fourth and Lomachenko responded by landing hard right uppercuts.

Lomachenko was able to bloody the nose of Linares in the fifth round. Linares was warned for a low blow in the fifth and sixth rounds and appeared to be fading fast. However, a clean straight right hand by Linares in the sixth round sent Lomachenko to the mat.

Linares pressed the action in the seventh round and Lomachenko was no longer on the offensive. Linares was able to land good shots to the body and head of Lomachenko.

Lomachenko looked like he was recovered by the eight round and was able to get a cut over the left eye of Linares. Lomachenko was focusing on that cut throughout the remainder of the eighth round as momentum swung back in his favor.

Linares and Lomachenko had several good exchanges in the ninth round and that round could have been scored either way, but it appeared Lomachenko was landing more shots than Linares but Linares was landing the harder shots.

Linares came right at Lomachenko in the beginning of the tenth round but Lomachenko was able to slow him down with an accurate jab. Lomachenko connected with a multi punch combination to the head and ended it with a liver shot that sent Linares crumbling in pain to the mat.

The referee counted to nine before waiving off the fight as he could tell that Linares was unable to continue.

Lomachenko wins by body shot knockout at 2:08 of the tenth round.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Linares vs. Lomachenko, Adames vs. Barrera


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night two of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters, Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko will square off in a WBA Lightweight Title bout at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions will be working together and will televise this fight on ESPN.

The co-feature of the night will be a welterweight bout between Carlos Adames and Alejandro Barrera. Other prospects on the fight card include Michael Conlan, Teofimo Lopez, and Jamel Herring. Conlan may appear on the televised portion of the card due to his popularity, but that bout should be an easier victory for him.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing

The following is a preview of the co-featured bout and the main event of the night.

Carlos Adames (13-0) vs. Alejandro Barrera (29-4); Welterweights

Carlos Adames is a prized prospect with heavy hands. He’s only twenty four years old and will be seven years younger than Barrera on fight night. He will also have a significant three inch reach advantage.

Adames has been very active. He fought three times in 2017 and four times in 2016. Barrera fought twice in 2017 and did not fight in 2016.

Adames has considerable power. He has stopped eleven of his opponents and only one of his past ten opponents was able to make it the full fight. Barrera has eighteen stoppage victories, but he has lost two of his past four fights.

Adames is a former Pan American Gold Medalist and competed in the world amateur championships. Barrera has no notable amateur career to speak of.

Adames has fought mainly in the Dominican Republic, his past nine fighters were there. He has defeated the likes of Carlos Molina, Jean Carlos Prada, and Ivan Alvarez. Barrera has defeated the likes of Eddie Gomez and Juan Macias Montiel. He has losses to Armando Robles, Rmases Agaton, Errol Spence Jr., and Keandre Gibson.

Barrera is talented enough to score an occasional upset, as evident in his win over Eddie Gomez. But Adames looks like he will be too talented for Barrera to handle.

Jorge Linares (44-3) vs. Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1); WBA Lightweight Title

Jorge Linares used to be a top boxer in Top Rank’s stable of fighters, but back to back losses to Sergio Thompson and Antonio DeMarco in late 2011 early 2012 forced Top Rank to let Linares loose and allowed for Golden Boy Promotions to pick him up.

He has since won thirteen fights in a row and his name has often come up in conversation as one of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters.
However, he’ll be facing a true legend in the sport with only eleven professional fights, Vasyl Lomachenko.

Lomachenko has eight stoppage victories and will be giving up about an inch in height and three and a half inches in reach to Linares. Lomachenko will be two years younger than Linares, but both boxers are still considered by most to be in their athletic primes.

Linares has twenty seven stoppage wins, but his past four fights were won by decision. Lomacheno fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016 while Linares fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016.

Lomachenko’s lone loss was a controversial one to Orlando Salido, who came in overweight. He has defeated the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa, Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez, and Gary Russell Jr.

Linares has losses to Sergio Thompson, Antonio DeMarco, and Juan Carlos Salgado. He has defeated the likes of Oscar Larios, Mercito Gesta, Luke Campbell, Anthony Crolla, Kevin Mitchell, and Nihto Arakawa.

It is extremely rare to find someone with the amateur resume of Vasyl Lomachenko. He was a two time Olympic Gold Medalist. Linares was a national champion as an amateur in Venezuela.

Linares has excellent footwork and incredible accuracy, but Lomachenko also has excellent footwork and accuracy and in fact, probably has better footwork than Linares. Linares can hang with anyone in the first half of a fight, but he tends to fade late. Lomachenko has never shown signs of fading in a ring.

Lomachenko does have problems with fighters who are known for being rough on the inside and willing to fight a little dirty, like Orlando Salido. Linares is not that type of fighter. He’s known for his technique and finesse.

Linares will have a size advantage on Saturday night, and he’d be wise to use it. But Lomachenko’s movement and accuracy will should win him the fight, especially in the later rounds.

This writer thinks Linares will be able to keep it close early on, but will fade late and eventually succumb to a Lomachenko barrage.

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Media Workout Notes & Quotes: Lomachenko and Linares Hit the Streets of NYC


Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jorge Linares took their talents to the streets of Manhattan on Wednesday, as they participated in an open workout on the corner of 33rd Street and 8th Avenue, just outside Madison Square Garden.

Lomachenko, a two-weight world champion, is looking to conquer a third weight class when he challenges WBA/Ring Magazine lightweight champion Jorge Linares on Saturday at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

Linares vs. Lomachenko headlines an evening of world-class action, as welterweight contender Carlos Adames will take on savvy veteran Alejandro Barrera in the 10-round co-feature.

Appearing on the undercard will be Irish sensation Michael Conlan in an eight-round featherweight bout against once-beaten Ibon Larrinaga, 2016 U.S. Olympian Mikaela Mayer in a six-round lightweight contest against Baby Nansen, and Brooklyn native Teofimo Lopez against Vitor Freitas in an eight-round lightweight bout.

This is what the fighters had to say.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Jorge Linares

“I am hungry to win and to continue with my reign as world champion. This is a high-level fight and a very important one for my career because I am going to prove that Lomachenko is not an invincible fighter. We will see what he is really made of when he faces me this Saturday. I believe in myself and I know that I will come out with the victory. I am here to win. I did not come here to quit.”


(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Vasiliy Lomachenko

“I want to put my name in the history of boxing, and this is one of the steps I have to take, to fight in different weight classes, different titles. That’s what will put my name in the history of boxing.”

“I don’t know what Linares will bring. After the fight, I can compare him with Rigondeaux.”

“I already proved where I am, and I plan on being at the top of the sport for a very long time. I do not plan on slowing down.”

“Linares is one of the best fighters in his weight class. I don’t think it’s going to be easy work.”

Carlos Adames

“This Saturday, the fans will all talk about ‘Caballo Bronco’. This will be the first step towards a world championship opportunity and also the first step on my way to becoming the new face of boxing in the Dominican Republic. I have the talent, the mentality and the dedication to represent my country with dignity. That’s why I’m going to give my best and leave everything in the ring to give the fans a good show”

Mikaela Mayer

“I love that Top Rank is putting me on big cards and exposing women’s boxing a bigger audience. There’s definitely an increased interest in women’s boxing, and I am proud to be part of that.”

“Do I want a knockout? Of course. I want the fans to see that women can be in exciting fights and score knockouts.”

“If Nansen wants to come at me, I’m going to be ready for it. I’m ready for anything.”

Michael Conlan

“Madison Square Garden is my home away from home, and I can’t wait to put on a great show for the New York fans. This is going to be a great night of boxing.”

Teofimo Lopez

“This is my third time fighting at Madison Square Garden, and we know what happened last time I fought here. I knocked out the guy {Ronald Rivas} with one shot. One left hook, and he was out.”

“I believe in my God-given talent. Shout out to New York City. I’m from Brooklyn, and I look forward to showing up and feeling the love from my hometown fans.”

“Big things are coming. I love big cards like this. The more people I see out there, the more pumped up I get. Look out for the knockout because it’s coming.

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Linares vs. Lomachenko and Adames vs. Barrera will be televised live and exclusively at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+, available through the ESPN App, beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Golden Boy Promotions, Teiken Promotions, and Madison Square Garden, tickets for the Linares vs. Lomachenko world championship card are ON SALE NOW. Priced at $506, $406, $306, $206, $106, and $56, including facility fees, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at MSG.com.

Use the hashtag #LinaresLoma to join the conversation on social media.

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