Luis Ortiz Dropped from WBO Rankings
By: Shane Willoughby
Luis King Kong Ortiz has lost his place in the WBO Heavyweight rankings. The Cuban has won 3 fights since his defeat to Deontay Wilder for the WBC title.
Since then, the 40 year old has been linked with a potential rematch with Wilder at the end of the year and he was offered a reported $7 million dollars to fight Anthony Joshua on June 1st. However, that big money fight with AJ could be in doubt.
Ortiz isn’t ranked in either the WBA or the WBO rankings which are both titles AJ holds and without a top 15 Ranking a fight with Joshua can’t happen.
With that said, those minor technicalities are easily rectified with these governing bodies. When there is money to be made they can work miracles.
Just look at Tyson Fury, he beat Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta and is ranked number 2 with the WBC. If that isn’t a miracle, then what is?
The question of why the WBO has dropped Ortiz remains a mystery. The former WBC title contender was ranked 8 last month with the WBO. But for no apparent reason he wasn’t placed in this months rankings.
The most plausible explanation is that the WBO doesn’t have an accurate perception of the division. Any rankings system that places Tom Schwarz at number 2 has to be questioned.
Not to mention them having 5 fighters in their top 15 that doesn’t appear in any other governing bodies rankings. In the WBO’s defence Ortiz hasn’t beaten anyone of significance in recent years.
Luis Ortiz most noticeable victory in the last 3 year’s was against Tony Thompson who is older than Ortiz, and that alone should be a good enough reason to drop him from their rankings.
What’s Next for Deontay Wilder?
By: Hans Themistode
Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) told every and anyone that would listen, that he would kill Dominic Breazeale. (20-2, 18 KOs). On Saturday night, May 18th 2019 at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York, he nearly did just that. Wilder completely destroyed Breazeale with a devastating right hand in the opening round. Breazeale was out cold before he even touched the canvas. We can all expect to see Wilder back in the ring later this year, but against who?
Keep reading and we’ll give you the best possible opponents.
Outside of his showdown with Tyson Fury, WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has dominated his competition. Never has he looked to be in any real trouble, that was true until he stepped in the ring with Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) on March 3rd, 2018. It was a great contest, one that saw Wilder visibly hurt for the first in his career. Ortiz landed several monster shots that had Wilder in serious trouble. Not only was Wilder hurt, but he seemed to be getting outboxed as well. The problem for Ortiz is that he ran into the right hand of Wilder. From there it was goodnight. A rematch between these two would produce great fire works once again. Ortiz is one of the very few boxers in the world that stands a chance against Wilder. Let’s book the rematch as soon as possible.
The Brooklyn born Adam Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) has quickly become a fan favorite, and for good reason. His come forward all action style has led to some exciting fights. Although he only has 19 fights, he has picked up some high quality wins including, knockouts of former title challengers Gerald Washington and Artur Szpilka. He also outpointed ex brief belt holder Charles Martin. The time has come for Kownacki to get this shot. Not many has what it takes to be a legitimate threat to Wilder, Kownacki is one of those very few.
Even with Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury batting to a draw in December of 2018, current unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) is still the man we all want to see face Wilder next. For as great of a fighter that Fury is, he just isn’t a big puncher. A match between Joshua and Wilder would undoubtedly end in a knockout. Both men are considered to be the best in the division. It’s time to end the debate.
Luis Ortiz “I Know What It Takes To Be At My Best”
By: Sean Crose
“Everybody knows I don’t talk a lot, and prefer to make my name in the ring,” says the sometimes surly, always exciting to watch, heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz, “On Saturday you’re going to see what I do best and that’s throw punches. That’s my job.” Part of Ortiz’ job this Saturday, when he faces the 25-5 Christian Hammer at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York, is to not only win, but win impressively. For the fractured heavyweight division means there are possible openings available for Ortiz to get a second shot at a world title.
“This is a big fight for me to prove that I deserve another shot at the title,” he says. “In my heart I still believe I had that fight against Deontay Wilder in my hands. It was mine to win. Hopefully he will step up and face me again.” The fight with Wilder that Ortiz is referring to was an absolute war last year that saw the Cuban slugger have his opponent badly hurt, before the hard hitting WBC champion ended the affair by successfully stopping Ortiz in the 10th round. Before he can get another chance at a belt, however, Ortiz has to get past Hammer.
“Christian Hammer says that he’s coming to win so he better come with a lot of energy,” Ortiz says. Officially 39 years old (though he’s rumored to be even older), Ortiz is a fighter who simply doesn’t have time on his side. “I fight for my family and I bring that passion into the gym every day,” says Ortiz. “You will see it in the ring Saturday night. I hope that Hammer has prepared because I’m leaving it all in the ring like I always do.”
For his part, Hammer is exuding confidence in the leadup to Saturday’s fight. “I’m completely focused on this fight,” the German (by way of Romania) fighter says. “I’m here to cancel his plans for a Wilder rematch. I’m going to put myself in a position for even more big fights.” Needless to say, Ortiz isn’t coming across as intimidated. “I don’t know how I’m going to win on Saturday,” he claims, “but I’ll leave with my hand raised. I don’t know how, but I’m going to do everything to make it happen.”
With little likelihood of Wilder, Anthony Joshua, or Tyson Fury facing off anytime soon, it’s been suggested there’s plenty of room and opportunity in the heavyweight playground at the moment. There are already whispers that, should Ortiz prevail on Saturday, a rematch with Wilder might go down in the spring. At the moment, though, Ortiz looks content staying locked in on what’s directly in front of him. “My focus is completely on Christian Hammer,” he says. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I know what it takes to be at my best. After this fight, I’ll see where we’re at and see which of the top heavyweights will be available to me.”
The Wilder-Hammer fight is part of a Premiere Boxing Champions card featuring Erislandy Lara and Brian Castano, which will be aired live on Showtime starting at 9PM Eastern Standard Time this Saturday night.
Luis Ortiz Excited To Appear on Wilder-Fury, Wants Wilder Rematch in 2019
By Jake Donovan
Luis Ortiz may have begun his 2018 ring campaign with a loss to Deontay Wilder, but he wants to end the year with a firm reminder that he’s still very much in the heavyweight mix.
The Cuban southpaw is making the most of life after his first career defeat, having suffered a 10th round stoppage at the hands of Wilder in their title fight thriller this past March. Having already rebounded with a 2nd round knockout of Razvan Cojanu in July, Ortiz (29-1-0-2NC, 25KOs) will close out 2018 with a December 1 showdown versus Travis Kauffman.
Their bout will take place at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, gracing the Pay-Per-View undercard of Wilder’s latest title defense as he faces undefeated Tyson Fury in a battle of unbeaten heavyweight behemoths.
“I’m very happy to be fighting on the December 1 card,” a gleeful Ortiz told BoxingInsider.com. “My manager Jay Jimenez, along with Luis DeCubas Jr. and Al Haymon have done a great job of keeping me active and lining up opponents who will actually fight. I don’t want to do anything other than fight.”
The bout will be Ortiz’ fourth in exactly 52 weeks after having sat out nearly all of 2017 for a variety of reasons. The 39-year old heavyweight—who lives and trains in Miami—joined Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions family early last year, but stumbled out the gate in making his debut.
An untimely injury earlier in the year and a clerical error on his VADA paperwork leading to his planned Nov. ’17 clash with Wilder being postponed left Ortiz inactive since a stoppage win of David Allen in Dec. ’16. He finally returned to the ring last December, scoring a 2nd round knockout of Daniel Martz in Hialeah, Florida, minutes from his adopted hometown.
The win was predictable, but came with the cavaet of building toward a rescheduled date with Wilder, who was seated ringside as a guest commentator for that specific portion of the FS1 telecast. The two jawed at one another inside the ropes, paving the way for their eventual clash this past March.
Ortiz gave Wilder all that he could handle but was dropped and eventually stopped in suffering his frst loss since 2008 when he was still an amateur in Cuba. Still, his brave performance was a reminder that he was still the same top-rated heavyweight who rose through the ranks with a stream of spectacular wins, perhaps none bigger than his 7th round stoppage of Bryant Jennings in Dec. ’15.
For the most part, it has been a struggle to line up opponents for Ortiz. His southpaw style and high skill level isn’t exactly a matchmaker’s dream, so he remains grateful for any opportunity that can come his way—even those that aren’t necessarily owed to him.
“We’re grateful to be on this card,” Herman Caicedo, Ortiz’ longtime trainer told BoxingInsider.com. “This is Wilder’s show, and he could have easily blocked this fight and let Luis make his name elsewhere. Instead, he welcomed the (supporting) fight and Luis with open arms.”
The PBC brass could very well have their own agenda for adding Ortiz-Kauffman to the show; historically, a good heavyweight fight belongs anywhere, regardless of its future implications. Ortiz’ motivation is simple: win big, and begin 2019 with a fresh pursuit of the only heavyweight titlist he believes will take on all comers.
“Wilder has already proven he’d fight us, and I’m sure he’d love to do it again after he takes care of Fury,” suggests Ortiz, in effect offering predictions on both his fight and that of Wilder. “I’m confident that he will beat Fury by knockout, and then he and I can go at it again in 2019 since no other top heavyweight will face either of us. You saw what Wilder has gone through chasing the other so-called champ.”
The latter part is an obvious dig at Anthony Joshua, the unbeaten, unified heavyweight titlist from England. There has been heavy demand for a Joshua-Wilder showdown, dating back to 2016 when Joshua won his first title and both heavyweights were part of the Showtime boxing family.
Fast forward to 2018, where petty bickering still remains as the two sides continue to foolishly negotiate through the media while making little progress.
“Joshua is a p***y so forget about him ever facing Wilder or myself,” Ortiz believes. “Honestly, my coach has a better chance of getting Joshua in the ring. I’m just going to focus on the guys that want to fight me—beginning with Travis Kauffman. Once I take care of him, I’ll clean up and grab a ringside seat for Wilder’s fight.
“Once he wins, we can begin planning our rematch in 2019.”
Showtime Boxing Preview: Ortiz vs. Cojanu, Garcia vs. Easter
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime will broadcast three bouts live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. This fight card will be presented by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
The main event of the night will be between Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter Jr. in a WBC/IBF Lightweight Title Unification Bout. The co-main event of the night will feature the return of heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz as he takes on Razvan Cojanu.
Other boxers on the undercard include Mario Barrios, Jose Roman, Roberto Marroquin, and other prized prospects. The Barrios vs. Roman fight looks likely to be broadcast on Showtime in addition to the Easter-Garcia and Ortiz-Cojanu bout.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
Luis Ortiz (28-1) vs. Razvan Cojanu (16-3); Heavyweights
Luis “King Kong” Ortiz fought a hard battle against Deontay Wilder in his last match but eventually succumbed to Wilder’s power.
He returns on Saturday against Razvan Coajnu, a three loss Romanian heavyweight that should be viewed as a comeback opponent that stands little chance of winning.
Cojanu will have a rather large five and a half inch height advantage, but will still be giving up about three inches in reach. Ortiz is eight years older than Cojanu.
Ortiz has a strong edge in amateur experience. Cojanu has no notable amateur accomplishments while Ortiz was a multi time National Champion in boxing mad Cuba as an amateur.
Ortiz’s age and recent inactivity could be a factor. He only fought once in 2018 and once in 2017 and is pushing 40. Cojanu fought once in 2017 and three times in 2016, but it should be noted that two of his past three wins were against opponents with losing records.
Ortiz has beaten the likes of Malik Scott, Tony Thompson, Bryant Jennings, and Monte Barrett. His lone loss was to Deontay Wilder.
Cojanu doesn’t have any big wins on his resume, but his best wins have come against Zhiyu Wu, Ed Fountain, and Manuel Alberto Pucheta. His losses were to Alvaro Morales, Joseph Parker, and Donovan Dennis.
This fight will likely not be competitive. Ortiz should stop Cojanu within the first six rounds.
Mikey Garcia (38-0) vs. Robert Easter Jr. (21-0); WBC/IBF Lightweight Titles
Mikey Garcia is considered by many to be one of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters. He’s held world titles in four different weight classes spanning from featherweight to the junior welterweight divisions.
Garcia is facing a fellow undefeated fighter in Robert Easter Jr. Garcia is only thirty so he’s still in his athletic prime, but Easter is three years his younger and will have a large four inch height advantage and an even larger seven inch reach advantage.
Garcia does have an edge in power. He has thirty stoppage victories on his resume while Garcia only has fourteen. Garcia has stopped two of his past five opponents while Easter has stopped one of his past five opponents.
Easter had a close win against Javier Fortuna in his last bout. He has also defeated the likes of Denis Shafikov, Luis Cruz, Richard Commey, and Argenis Mendez.
Garcia has enver tasted defeat and has beaten the likes of Sergey Lipinets, Adrien Broner, Dejan Zlaticanin, Juan Carlos Brugos, Roman Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Orlando Salido.
Garcia did have an extended break from boxing from January of 2014 to July of 2016 while he was working out promotional issues, but has been fairly active since then.
Both boxers enjoyed moderate success as amateurs in the national scene. Garcia was a Bronze Medalist in the National Golden Gloves while Easter was a US Olympic Team Alternate.
Technically, Garcia is one of the best in the sport. The height and reach of Easter should give Garcia problems early on, but Easter doesn’t have enough power for Garcia to worried about trying to force his way on the inside.
The opening few rounds should be close, but Garcia should be settled and win a comfortable decision victory when the final bell rings.
DiBella Entertainment Boxing on Showtime Preview: Rosa vs. Evans; Butaev vs. Gonzalez; Fa vs. Latham
by B.A. Cass
You don’t have to be Freemason to gain entrance on Friday night to the Masonic Temple & Performing Arts Center in Cleveland, OH where DiBella Entertainment will put on an exciting line up of boxing matches. You don’t even have to be living in the Cleveland area because you can catch the main event, along with the two preceding undercard fights, on Showtime starting at 10 p.m. ET.
The three fights are part of the “ShoBox: Next Generation” series, and the first televised fight will be between Junior Fa and Fred Latham. The next fight will be between Radzhab Butaev and Janer Gonzalez.
The main event of the evening will be between Luis Ross and Yuandale Evens.
Charles Conwell (5-0) vs. Roque Zapata (4-1-3)
Great amateur boxers are often fundamentally more sound than great professional boxers. That’s because the sole objective of the amateur is to win and they do not have to think so much about entertaining the crowd.
Conwell, the youngest member of the 2016 Men’s USA Boxing Team, is just a year into his professional career and still maintains the integrity and solid defense strategy from his amateur days. And yet he’s fun to watch. He knows how to absorb punches without sustaining damage, and he has an impeccable sense of when to go for the kill.
He has won all five of his professional fights by TKO.
Roque Zapata is a jumpy fighter and throws punches as if his fists were just the extensions of his unraveled nerve endings. He moves wildly and can be dangerous. He may not be as skilled a boxer as Conwell, but he’s one of those fighters who could get hit in the face with a block of cement and barely flinch. He often unleashes his most brutal attacks on opponents after he has sustained significant damage himself.
Conwell has the reach advantage over Zapata, but Zapata has fought taller men before and beaten them. Plus, Zapata is unpredictable. He could give the fundamentally more sound Conwell a hard time.
Junior Fa (12-0) vs. Fred Latham (9-0-2); heavyweight
Fa, a New Zealander, made his professional boxing debut in February of 2016. Since then, he’s kept busy—extremely busy. In just over a year, he’s fought twelve times. That’s a remarkable number of fights for a boxer in today’s age—or in any age, for that matter. Fa is tough and brutal.
Pointing forward with his manicured little beard, the heavy-footed Latham knows how to work a clean jab. He likes to stand in one spot and punch, and it may prove difficult for him to move out of reach of Fa, who is known for his combination assaults.
Radzhab Butaev (7-0) vs. Janer Gonzalez (19-0-1); welterweight
The 23-year-old Butaev was born in Russia just two years after the fall of the Soviet Union. He is despot of the ring—cool, menacing, wielding complete power. Butaev has won all his fights, and all but one of these wins have been by KO.
Janer (19-0-1) makes his US fight debut when he steps into the ring to face Buteav. Janer, who has the advantage of experience, is unknown to US fight fans. Like Buteav, he’s undefeated, but we just don’t know what to expect from him.
However, we can expect one thing of this fight.
Both men will fight as if everything is on the line because everything is. This showcase fight has the potential to advance the career of the man who wins.
Luis Rosa (23-0) vs. Yuandale Evans (19-1); featherweight
Last seen in the sparsely crowded Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven, CT where he defeated Carlos Osorio (then 13-6), the 26-year-old Rosa steps into the ring on Friday night as a man determined to win.
We all know that becoming a world champion requires something more than skill. It requires a dedication that borders on the psychotic and something else, something ineffable. Luis Rosa has that all of these qualities.
A smart inside fighter who knows how to make necessary adjustments during a round, Rosa often remains elusive in the ring despite the fact that fights at close range. He’s tough and likes to go
Evans is a different type of fighter, more of a pure boxer. But after suffering a first-round KO to Javier Fortuna in 2012, Evans stayed out the ring for nearly two and half years. He’s fought three times since his return in 2015, and he’s on a winning streak. The Cleveland born Evans is a skilled boxer and he will be fighting for the first in front of a hometown crowd.
Don’t discount Evens just because he’s been less active than Rosa. Disappointing his fans won’t be an option for him when he enters the ring on Friday night. Expect this to be one good fight.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
Luis Ortiz in the Emergency Room
by B.A. Cass
Luis Ortiz made a visit on Friday night to the Baptist Hospital of Miami—not as a patient, though. He was there, along with his management team, to get documentation. According to his trainer, German Caicedo, Ortiz had been previously admitted to the emergency room for high blood pressure on two separate occasions.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos
“He was put into the ICU because it [his blood pressure] was entirely too high,” Caicedo says. “His blood pressure was two hundred over something.”
VADA shows up unannounced. “In our scenario,” explains Caicedo, “we were at the track running. They called and said, ‘We’re at the gym.’ We raced over there. Luis peed. Then we were asked to fill out the paperwork.”
According to Caicedo, Luis Ortiz didn’t fill out any of the VADA paperwork: “I’m not saying he can’t read and write, but education is not his strong point. So, we filled it out for him. And we filled out everything. And when asked what he was taking, we put ten, twelve different things. But we were thinking fitness-wise, performance wise. If anything, we’re guilty of not filling something out properly. And VADA didn’t ask, because it’s not their job to help fighters pass.”
Still, Caicedo and Ortiz know that ignorance is no excuse.
“We’re not stupid people over here,” Caicedo says, responding to the suggestion that Ortiz may have been cheating the system. “We knew we were being watched like we’re under a microscope. If we were going to cheat, wouldn’t we put the blood pressure medication that we knew we were taking as a diuretic to mask—wouldn’t the first thing we do is put it on the form?”
Caicedo makes a very good point. Why would Ortiz and his team risk shocking VADA and the WBC? It would have caused much less of a scandal if they had simply reported it.
If it turns out to be true that Ortiz’s doctors prescribed him this life-saving medication and that he had to visit the ER twice because of high blood pressure, then it’s going to come down to the DiBella and the WBC vs. the American Medical Association. Is that a fight those organizations really want to have? If a licensed medical doctor prescribed a certain medicine to Ortiz, who are they to say it’s not right?
And if the WBC calls off the Ortiz-Wilder fight, then they must strip Luis Nery of his bantamweight title. After all, the 118-pounder tested positive for zilpaterol before his August fight Yamanaka. Does the WBC think it’s okay for fighters to inject substances used to increase the size of cattle, yet think it’s wrong for fighters to use medication prescribed for high blood medication? There can’t be different standards for different fighters. That wouldn’t be right.
What does Deontay Wilder have to lose in taking this fight?
If Wilder wins handily, he can claim it was an easy fight because Ortiz is a bum. If he struggles and still scores a victory, he can claim it was only hard because Ortiz has been doping. And if Wilder loses, well, he can again say it’s because Ortiz has been doping. There’s no way Wilder can’t spin the result of the fight into a victory.
Unless of course, Wilder loses and loses big.
Wilder keeps saying he’s the most feared man in boxing, but he found a way to out of fighting Dillian Whyte. And let’s be honest, Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Bermane Stiverne, Gerald Washington—these are hardly Hall of Fame contenders. Wilder hasn’t faced a serious threat in years. Caicedo puts it more bluntly: “He’s nothing but a coward. Him and DiBella.”
“Wilder already said he’d walk away from the fight,” Caicedo says. “That in no way shape or form is someone who wants to fight. Come on, man. If Wilder tested positive for everything in the book, Ortiz would still fight him. He wouldn’t think twice.”
Wilder he has a choice: face another easy opponent or take on Luis Ortiz on November 4th. Which one seems less cowardly to you?
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WithThePunch
Undefeated WBC Champ Deontay Wilder to face Cuban Challenger Luis Ortiz in November
By: Eric Lunger
WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder will put his belt and his undefeated record on the line on November 4th in Brooklyn, NY, giving Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz his long-sought shot at a world title. Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) will make his sixth defense of the belt, and his second foray to Barclays Center.
“The Bronze Bomber,” as Wilder is known in homage to the great Joe Louis, was a bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games. His last outing at Barclays Center in June of 2016 culminated with a brutal knockout of Poland’s Artur Szpilka. At 6-foot-7 and 228 pounds, the Alabama native is an imposing force with dynamite in his right hand: we are talking thirty-seven knockouts out of thirty-eight professional fights.
Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) is a product of the vaunted Cuban boxing program, and he brings the full skill set that one expects from that system. Having defected to the USA seven years ago, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Ortiz made his mark defeating veteran contenders Bryant Jennings, Tony Thompson, and Malik Scott. Now thirty-eight, Ortiz is hungry and determined to make the most of his opportunity.
“Wilder has been doing a lot of talking about me and this fight,” said Ortiz at the SHOWTIME press conference today. “I’m tired of hearing it. I like to do all my talking in the ring and that’s what I plan to do. I respect him. I know he hits hard, but I hit hard too. It’s going to be a great fight. I can’t wait to get in the ring and shut him up in front of everybody at Barclays Center on SHOWTIME on November 4.”
Wilder sees the fight as an important step towards unification: “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and I’m excited that the time has come to meet Ortiz,’’ said Wilder. “Luis Ortiz is considered the boogeyman of the sport and I am the hardest hitter in boxing. When you put us together in a ring, you will get one of the best heavyweight fights in a long time. I will unify the division. This I promise. This is the first step towards unifying.”
The bout will be broadcast live on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing, presented by Premier Boxing Champions on November 4th (9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT). Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports, framed the bout this way: “The main event on Nov. 4 features two dynamic punchers with a 92-percent knockout ratio between them. It will be the 21st world championship fight on SHOWTIME this year and the 16th time we’ve seen undefeated fighters going head-to-head.”
With WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker in action this weekend in Manchester, UK, against Hughie Fury, with Anthony Joshua defending his IBF and WBA belts against Kubrat Pulev in October, and now Deontay Wilder taking on Luis Ortiz in November, this fall is the season of heavyweight boxing.
Luis Arias Interview: “The goal is to be the number one contender by early next year”
Luis Arias Interview: “The goal is to be the number one contender by early next year”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Luis Arias is a young (26), undefeated (17-0 8KO), American middleweight boxer who will be appearing on the June 17th HBO pay per view showing of the rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev.
Arias will look to make a big statement in the division as he takes on top ten ranked Arif Magomedov. Boxing Insider was able to speak with Arias as he took a break from his training camp in Florida.
Boxing Insider: Tell the fans a little about yourself and your fighting style.
Luis Arias: I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I picked up boxing at a young age, at about 7, 8 years old. I then had my first amateur fight at 8. I was an American amateur, seven time national champion, Olympic trial finalist. I’m currently 17-0 as a pro and ranked in more than one of the sanctioning bodies organizations. I have a very fan friendly style. Considered more of a boxer puncher, but I like to be more of a puncher first. I’m a little aggressive, I like breaking my opponent down. I like to go to the body like no other, I feel like I’m one of the best body punchers in the game and I’m ready to prove it.
Boxing Insider: You are a young fighter, what does it feel like to be fighting on the undercard of such a big event?
Luis Arias: It feels great. It’s a fantastic opportunity. It’s like every fighters dream to make it to HBO. To have my first televised fight to be on a HBO pay per view card is amazing. It’s just truly a blessing and goes to show you that hard work really pays off. I’ve been working hard for this and my time has come.
Boxing Insider: What do you know about your opponent Arif Magomedov?
Luis Arias: Well, I know everything there is to know about him. I studied him, my team has studied him. I know he’s a tough guy, young, aggressive. I know he comes to fight. But he does already have a blemish in his record, he’s been beat before and come June 17th I have the perfect game plan to beat him again.
Boxing Insider: Do you feel that a win against Magomedov puts you as one of the top 20 middleweights in the world?
Luis Arias: Well, I’m already one of the top 20 middleweights in the world, but once I get this guy out of the way I will definitely be in the top ten. All I have to do is put on an A class performance, show the crowd that I am a threat to anyone in the division. I will be defending my belt (USBA) for the second time and I will definitely be in the top ten. The goal is to be the number one contender by early next year.
Boxing Insider: That leads into my final question, what are your overall goals for 2017.
Luis Arias: My goal is to creep up that ranking, keep climbing and to be the number one contender. GGG and Canelo are having a big showdown in my weight division. Once their fight is over with both are going to have to fight someone early next year, and my plan is to be the number one contender and force the winner of that fight to fight me. I want top 10 after June, by the end of the year be at least top 5 and just keep climbing and go from there.
The Cuban Heavyweights Professional and Amateur!
The Cuban Heavyweights Professional and Amateur!
By: Ken Hissner
TEOFILO STEVENSON was 6:03 andin 1972, 1976 and 1980 won Olympic Gold Medals.He won World Gold Medals in 1974, 76 and 1980. He won Pan Am Gold in 1975 beat future WBA championMichael Dokes, 79 and a Bronze in 1971. He stopped Duane Bobickin 1972 after losing to him in 1971. He won the Val Barker Trophy in 1972. In 1976 he KO1 John Tate, future WBA champion andin 1981 defeated Jimmy Clark 1978 twice and in 1980 once and in 1982 he lost tofuture WBO champion Francesco Damiani. In 1984 he defeated future 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Tyrell Biggs and in 1986 beat Alex Garcia. He also defeated future WBA champion Tony Tubbs, Marvin Stinson and Phillip Brown. Stevenson was awarded the Merited Master of Sport of the USSR in 1972, 1976 and 1980. He is the only boxer to have received this. He died in June of 2012 at age 60 from heart failure.
FELIX SAVON was 6:00 and in 1992, 96 and 2000 won Olympic Gold Medals as a heavyweight. In Pan Am Games in 1987, 1991 and 1995he won Gold Medals. He won4 Central American& Caribbean Games and 4 World Cups. He was 362-21 with all losses avenged. He defeated RuslanChagaev twice. He KO’d DaVarryl Williamson. In 2000 Olympics he defeated Michael Bennett and retired at age 33. He won 6 world championships and aSilver Medal. He defeated Danell Nicholson and David Izon in 1992 Olympics. In 1996 he defeated Georgi Kandelak, Luan Krasniqi and David Defiagbon. In 2000 he defeated Michael Bennett, Sebastian Kober and Sultan Ibragimov. He defeated in Pan Am Games Michael Bentt, Shannon Briggs and Lamon Brewster. He is 67.
ALEXIS RUBALCABA was 6:08 and in 1999 he wonthe Pan Am Gold Medal. He representedCuba in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics at Super heavyweight. In 1997 World Games he won a Silver Medal. He is 44.
JORGE LUIS GONZALEZ at 6:07 was 31-8 as a professional. In 1983 won Pam Am Gold. He defeated Tyrell Bigss. In 1987 he won Pan Am Gold defeating Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis. In 1987 North American Championships he lost to Lewis.
ROBERT BALADO was 6:00 and was the 1992 Olympics super heavyweight Gold Medalist defeating Larry Donald and Brian Nielsen. He was World Championship Gold Medalist in 1989, 1991 and 1993. He was Pan Am Games Gold Medalist in 1991. He died in 1994 at age 25 in car accident.
JULIO CARLOS “BLACK PANTHER” GOMEZ was 6:03 1/2 and was the WBC cruiserweight champion and finishing at 55-4-1nc (39). He had 10 successful title defenses and moved up to heavyweight fighting twice with former heavyweight champion Oliver McCall winning the first which got reversed to NC but winning the second. He lost to VitaliKlitschko for the WBC heavyweight title and moved back to cruiser. He was 158-12 as an amateur and moved to Germany as a professional. He reversed 2 of his losses as a professional.
MIKE “THE REBEL” PEREZ at 6:01 won the World Junior championship in 2004. In 2007 he defeated Louis Ortiz in the Cuban National championships but lost to Osmay Acosta in the final. In 2007 he defected to Cork, IRE. He was 21-2-1 (13) as a professional finishing up in 2015 losing to Alexander Povetkin for the WBC Silver title at age 30.
ODLANIER SOLIS FONTEat 6:01 ½ was 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist defeating Sultan Ibragimov and David Haye. He won 3 consecutive World Championships in 2001, 03 and 05. In 1999 he defeated Felix Savon for the Cuban title and took 2 of 3 from him. He won the 1999 and 2003 Pan Am Games Gold Medals. His amateur record was 227-14. He is 22-3 (14) as a professional losing to WBC champion VitaliKlitschko in 2011. He won the WBC International, IBF Inter-Continental and the WBA Fedelatin titles. He is 36 and lives in North Miami, FL.
YANQUI DIAZ at 6:04 in 2002 came to Mexico and then Las Vegas, NV, and won 13 of his first 14 fights stopping Juan Carlos Gomez and defeating Vaughn Bean while losing to Tony Thompson. Then in 2005 and 2006 losses to Samuel Peter and Kirk Johnson followed by a pair of nc’s before losing to Damian Wills and Oliver McCall retiring at 30 the end of 2006 with a 13-5 (8) record.
ERISLANDY SAVON the nephew of Felix Salon in 2016 was Olympian Bronze Medalist. He won the Pan Am Games in 2015 and a Silver in the World championships. He won the World Junior championships in 2008. At the National Championships he lost in semi-final by DQ to Osmay Acosta. He is 26.
OSMAY ACOSTA DUARTE won the 2007 Pan Am Games Gold Medal and was the 2008 Olympic heavyweight Bronze Medalist. In 2009 he was the Silver Medalist in the World Amateur championships. At the 2006 National Senior championships he lost to Odlanier Solis at super heavyweight and dropped back to heavyweight winning the Central American Games. He qualified for Beijing in an Olympic qualifier defeating current WBC champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder. He retired in 2009 after finishing with a Silver Medal in the World Amateur championships at age 24.
LOUIS “KING KONG” ORTIZ at 6:04 was 343-19 as an amateur. In 2005 he won the PAN AM championships. In 2010 he came to Miami, FL, and won 5 minor titles as a professional in 2010 the FECARBOX, 2011 the Fedelatin, in 2012 the Inter-American, WBC and WBO Latino titles. In 2015 he won the interim WBA World title. He is currently 27-0-2 nc’s (23). He is the current No. 1 WBA, No. 2 WBC and No. 6 IBF contender at 37 turning 38 this month.
NANCIO CARRILLO represented Cuba in the 1968 Olympics losing in the first round to East German Bernd Anders.
Other Cuban heavyweight professionals: Nino Valdez, 48-18-3 (36), OmelioAgramonte, 50-21 (32), Federico Malibran, 34-22-1 (25), Antolin Fierro, 8-8 (8), Santiago Esparraguera, 46-21-4 (42), RoleauxSaguero, 25-21-1 (23), Goyito Rico, 28-12-1 (25), Young John Herrera, 42-22-3 (28) and trained Stevenson, Elieser Castillo, 30-7-2 (17), Julio Mederos, 21-19-3 (14) who was managed by Jake LaMottaand Jose Ribalta, 38-1-1 (27), 55-8 (26) as an amateur in Cuba.
Luis Collazo Stops Sammy Vasquez in Tunica in 6 Thursday!
Luis Collazo Stops Sammy Vasquez in Tunica in 6 Thursday!
By: Ken Hissner
It was a show of good fights all in the welterweight division by Premier Boxing Champions at the Horseshoe Casino, MS & Hotel Thursday night over FS-1.
Former WBA world welterweight champion Luis Collazo, out of Queens, NY, may have been behind after five rounds though he scored a knockdown in the third round over Sammy “The Who Can Mexican” Vasquez, 21-2 (15), out of Monessen, PA. In the same round he had a cut over his right eye. A left and a right to the chin floored Vasquez. Vasquez looked to take the first two rounds in this battle of southpaws. After losing the third he came back to take the fourth with the fifth being close though he may have pulled it out.
In the sixth round Collazo landed the same combination as in the third round knockdown. A straight left to the chin followed by a right hook to the chin. Vasquez went down partially on his right side facing the canvas for the full count by referee Bill Clancy at 1:27 of the round. It was the second straight loss for Vasquez after winning first twenty-one for the two tour of Iraq Army Sgt.
In the co-feature Cuban welterweight Yordenis Ugas, 18-3-1 (8), out of Miami, FL, won a hard fought split decision over Levan Ghvamichava, 17-3-1 (13), of GEO, now out of Hayward, CA, over 10 rounds.
Ugas was the harder hitter landing overhand rights to the head of Ghvamichava all night to get past the hands held high of Ghvamichava. He had a strong body attack trying to get the guard down of Ghvamichava.
In the fifth round Ugas landed three or four low blows with only warnings from referee Clancy. It wasn’t until the eighth round a point was finally taken on the second low blow by Clancy.
The scoring was strange with Ghvamichava getting a 95-94 nod while Ugas took a 97-94 which seemed in line while the 99-90 was way off.
Welterweight Eddie “Escorpion” Ramirez, 16-0 (11), out of Aurora, IL, won after nine rounds when Ryan “Cowboy” Karl, 13-1 (9), out of Houston, TX, couldn’t come out for the tenth round. Ramirez looked like he was up 86-85 if not by more. It was give and take the entire fight with Clancy working as the referee.
Welterweight Jose Miguel Barrego, 11-0 (10), out of MEX, scored a first round knockout with a left hook to the liver over Tomas Mendez, 23-9 (16), out of DR, at 2:35 of the round. Barrego came out firing and never stopped throwing punches.
What’s Next for Shannon Briggs?
What’s Next for Shannon Briggs?
By: Iftisaam Khan
Having suffered a number of setbacks in his career of late, Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Briggs will be certainly looking to put that all behind him as he aims to return to the ring next year. Reflecting on a year of bad luck, the American will be rather disappointed at his inactivity in the ring as he was overlooked on numerous occasions due to a number of reasons.
Looking for an opponent initially saw the 45-year-old focus his efforts on securing a bout with Heavyweight rival, David Haye which eventually came to no avail. Chasing the fight saw ‘The Cannon’ go around the country gate-crashing press conferences and media events to call out the Londoner but his efforts eventually turned futile. At times the prospect of thefight being made actually looked promising with Briggs featuring on the undercard of Haye’s fight, but it turned out that was the closest the American was going to get to Haye as he overlooked the American and weeks later announced his next fight against Tony Bellew in 2017.
If his luck couldn’t get any worse, his hopes of attaining a heavyweight title this year weredashed after his opposed fight with Australian, Lucas Browne was cancelled after his opponent was found to have had taken banned substance, Ostarine leaving the former world champion looking at the coming year for a change of luck.With the Heavyweight scene currently thriving there won’t be a shortage of options.
One potential opponent in the new year could be the ‘Body Snatcher’ who will be looking to take as much time off from the ring as possible given his superb performance against Derick Chisora in a fight being touted as fight of the year. The possibilities of seeing Briggs and Whyte share the ring next year are unlikely with Eddie Hearn hoping for a rematch instead between Whyte and Chisorainstead.
A more realistic possibility could see the ‘Cannon’ take on fellow compatriot and friend, Luis Ortiz who recently overcame a brave Dave Allen in Manchester; stopping him in the 7th round. A fight between the pair would make sense for both parties but time will tell.
A fighter who’s known for his willingness to share the ring with anybody, the ‘White Rhino’would be a great option as a step up of opposition for Briggs who will be looking to ease his way back in the heavyweight scene.
Looking to resurrect his career is Liverpudlian, David Price. The fighter will be looking to make everyone forget about his 3 defeats to Tony Thompson and ErkanTepen which came as a big shock to the boxing world as at the time Price was touted for special things in the division. Time is on his side to establish his career again but another slip up cannot be afforded.
A logical fight for both parties, Briggs would provide a stern test for the scouser who is aiming for a shot at World Champion, Anthony Joshuain the near future.
Ortiz vs. Takam falls through; Malik Scott Possible as New Opponent for “King Kong” Ortiz
Ortiz vs. Takam falls through; Malik Scott Possible as New Opponent for “King Kong” Ortiz
By: Eric Lunger
Boxing fans are looking forward to an action-filled November when Manny Pacquiao comes out of retirement to challenge Jessie Vargas for the latter’s WBO welterweight title on November 5; Sergei Kovalev puts several light heavyweight belts on the line against Andre Ward on November 19; and rising star and WBO junior lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko takes on Nicholas Walters on November 26.
However, one fight that may go under the radar in November features Heavyweight Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (25-0, 22KO’s). The Cuban southpaw was set to step into the ring against Carlos Takam (33-1-1, 25 KO’s) of France on November 12 in Monaco, according to a recent report in El Nuevo Herald. However, negotiations failed at a late stage, according to trainer/manager Juan Jimenez. “Takam pulled out late, even though we had the fight set,” Jimenez told boxinginsider.com on Saturday.
The date and venue are still being retained. “Right now we are looking at Malik Scott,” said Jimenez, but several other fighters remain possible options. Scott, 35, hails from Philadelphia, PA and has a long professional resume (38-2-1, 13 KO’s). He suffered a first round TKO loss to WBC Champion Deontay Wilder in March of 2014, and has been in the ring twice since then, defeating Alex Leapai (30-5-3) and Tony Thompson (40-5), both by unanimous decisions.
Ortiz’s last outing was also against Tony Thompson in March of this year, and Ortiz stopped Thompson in the sixth after a rather lopsided affair. Ortiz has the extensive technical arsenal typical of a Cuban-trained fighter, but he also has wicked power in his left hand. Dynamic and skillful, “King Kong” Ortiz appeals to the aficionado as well as the casual fight fan. In a month of stellar dates, be sure to keep November 12 on your calendar.
Coming Soon: Heavyweight Havoc
Coming Soon: Heavyweight Havoc
By: Brandon Bernica
Boxing’s heavyweight division has always been its most glamorized weight class. Maybe it appeals to deep human longings for violence – after all, it’s hard to take your eyes off of, say, a nasty car crash or a blazing forest fire. That’s the guilty pull that thrusts its way into our conscience when it comes to boxing’s big boys, the threat of imminent destruction resting in each of their knuckles. Even at its oft molasses-esque pace, the impending sense of knee-buckling evisceration bound to occur at any moment funnels our greatest anxieties into eye-peeling attention.
The magic of the heavyweight division has simmered to a melancholy halt over the past decade. Both Klitschkos defended every belt during that span with an iron lock as opponents languished at every opportunity against them, baffled by each brothers’ ungodly reach and boxing prowess. With the subsequent rise of welterweight division stars like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather – fighters who blended lighter-class speed with heavy hands – heavyweight acclaim fell victim to any sport’s worst nightmare – predictability. After all, fans watch the sport for the blood-gushing drama that lingers in every round, and as dominant a force as the Klitschkos were, their dominance boxed-out any hope for parity at the weight.
All of this made the toppling of this stale infrastructure that much more pivotal. After Vitali Klitschko pseudo-retired and Tyson Fury upset Wladimir Klitschko last year, the race to heavyweight supremacy was wide open for the first time in years. It’s like a king who’s overthrown by his court of nobles, each hungry to retain their stronghold of authority in a moment of instability. As positions of power are more clearly defined, we’ll find out which fighters are true royalty and which are none more than jesters, playing the public for fools.
Deontay Wilder, who scooped in to capture Vitali’s old WBC belt last year, stands out amongst the heap. His long reach both accentuates him and bodes as his possible downfall. While he can keep smaller fighters at the end of his jab, it remains to be seen whether he will be punished for his windmill punching style by someone with counter punching ability. Wilder’s talent becomes more and more solidified with every victory, but he’s still looking for that defining win to stamp his name at the top.
Meanwhile, Tyson Fury, the man who dethroned Wladimir Klitschko, stands as the inherent ringleader of the heavyweight circus. Not only is he another towering force, he’s a proven one, too. Fury’s large in-ring presence only cowers to his out-of-ring persona, as controversially flawed as it may be. Not only has Fury stopped many past foes, he went the distance with a future hall-of-famer in Klitschko. A face-off with Wilder would be massively appealing.
Underneath the radar, Anthony Joshua of Great Britain lurks as the most potent of the group. As a current world champion in his own right, his skillset has never been the question for the former Olympian. One glimpse of his style, and you’d be hard-pressed to deny his ring savvy, power, and subtle spacing ability. The biggest question for Joshua will be whether his quick ascent to the top tier of the division robbed him of too much vital professional experience. He should be fine if his matchmaking continues to build at a gradual rate.
Below this champion-layer are a variety of contenders eager to shine past the expectations. Luis Ortiz, a Cuban with enormous power, poses danger to anyone in the way of his punches, though exactly how dimensional his game is still needs to be determined. A hidden gem from New Zealand named Joseph Parker also holds much promise, but his talent won’t be acknowledged by pundits until he fights the best as well. Just outside of the picture, veterans David Haye, Kubrat Pulev, and Alexander Povetkin all have fallen to Wladimir Klitschko, yet place hope in the possibility that they match-up better with Wilder, Fury, and Joshua. And don’t forget the old sensei Wladmir Klitschko. All it takes is a rematch win against Fury and he’ll have recovered much of the luster lost in their first fight. Yet as age drains him of more of his physical brawn, he will have to adjust to keep up with the young blood at heavyweight.
Optimism is running rampant at heavyweight today, and for good reason. Besides a collection of worthy challengers, the division seethes with one key ingredient: volatility. Just as the action in the ring often crashes to a perilous halt, the ever-shifting landscape at the weight mirrors that. Unlike most divisions in boxing, the heavyweight picture is comprised of numerous promoters, many without qualms about working with each other. Hopefully this leads to great showdowns in the near future between the figurative and literal titans of the sport.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ortiz, Ali, Ray Edwards, Gomez, Canelo, Ward, Kovalev, Smith, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ortiz, Ali, Ray Edwards, Gomez, Canelo, Ward, Kovalev, Smith, and more…
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 23rd to August 30th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos
Sadam Ali and Eddie Gomez to Fight on Canelo vs. Smith Undercard
Fans at AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas will be in for a treat on Saturday, September 17, as top welterweight contenders Sadam “World Kid” Ali (22-1, 13 KOs) and Eddie “E-Boy” Gomez (19-1, 11 KOs), make their grand return to the ring in respective 10-round fights. Ali and Gomez will be headlining the preliminary undercard which will start off the action on Mexican Independence Day weekend, ahead of the live Pay-Per-View telecast, on select channels before the pay-per-view event and digitally on HBO Boxing’s YouTube Page, www.GoldenBoyPromotions.com, www.ringtvlive.com and additional websites and outlets where Ring TV is available starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT/3:30 p.m. PT.
Diving head first into the action in the Lone Star State this September will be the pride of Brooklyn, as Sadam “World Kid” Ali makes his grand return to the ring to take on Saul Corral (21-7, 12 KOs) of Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico in a 10-round welterweight fight. The Bronx’s Eddie “E-boy” Gomez will also be participating in a 10-round fight defending his IBF North American Welterweight Title against Mexican fighter Dario “Maczio” Ferman (13-1, 10 KOs).
“The preliminary undercard for Canelo vs. Smith features a string of talented and exciting fighters to watch in the ring from rising welterweight contenders to young, thirsty lightweight and bantamweight prospects,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “On Sept. 17, Sadam Ali is determined to prove that he is still a force to be reckoned with after a difficult loss to Jessie Vargas earlier this year, and Eddie Gomez will show the fans that he is a threat not to be ignored in the hot welterweight division. Additionally, we have some of Texas’s most promising prospects on the card with Vergil Ortiz, Hector Tanajara, Jr. and Joshua Franco and as fight fans know – some of the best fighters in the sport have come from the Lone Star State. In addition to an exciting undercard, Canelo vs. Smith will be an event that celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month with activities to enjoy and celebrate Canelo reclaiming Mexican Independence Day weekend for fight fans.”
Kovalev vs. Ward Tickets On Sale September 2nd
Tickets for the most anticipated fight of the year go on sale to the public on Friday, Sept. 2 at 11:00 a.m. PT. The Saturday, Nov. 19 showdown between No. 2 Pound-for-Pound* and WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) and No. 4 Pound for-Pound* and Two-Time World Champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) will crown the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Tickets start at $55 and are available on axs.com and the T-Mobile Arena box office.
Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound for Pound” is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and sponsored by the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. The championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Luis Ortiz Splits with Golden Boy
Luis Ortiz has split with Golden Boy Promotions and will now be a promotional free agent.
Golden Boy Promotions spokesman Stefan Friedman told ESPN, “Golden Boy Promotions and Luiz Ortiz amicably parted ways. We are proud of the work that Golden Boy and Luis accomplished together culminating in his WBA Heavyweight interim championship victory and subsequent title defense. We wish Luis and his team all the best in the future.”
Former NFL Player Ray Edwards Signs with GH3 Promotions
GH3 Promotions is honored to announce the signing of undefeated heavyweight Ray Edwards to an exclusive promotional contract.
Edwards of Cincinnati, Ohio has a perfect mark of 11-0-1 with seven knockouts.
After a successful seven-year career as a defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League, Edwards has made professional boxing his full-time occupation.
The 31 year-old Edwards actually turned professional May 20, 2011 when the NFL players were entrenched in a lockout.
“Ray has shown that he has the physical tools to become a top heavyweight,” said GH3 Promotions CEO Vito Mielnicki.
“He has a ton of upside and with heavyweights, there is a chance to become a star very quickly here in the States. I think that because he has competed at a high level in the NFL, he has a chance to do that in boxing. We are looking to get him three fights before the end of the year. He is 6’6 255 lbs. and we will move him like like most heavyweights, steady but right and no rush. He will be at the top when it’s time. He is class act, well spoken and when he walks in a room u see his presence.
“I always loved boxing. I started doing in at as an off-season workout and just really enjoyed it,” said Edwards.
In his pro debut, Edwards won a four-round unanimous decision over Tyrone Gibson in Hinckley, Minnesota.
Edwards, who did not have an amateur fight, has increased his level of opposition and is coming off a 2nd round stoppage over Steven Tyner on August 26 in Minneapolis.
“It is a big deal for me to sign with GH3 Promotions,” continued Edwards. “Vito Mielnicki has a good stable with Antoine Douglas and Jerry Odom and this is the type of step I was looking for.”
Because Edwards was known for his prowess on the gridiron, his transition into the ring was not taken seriously.
“I was looked down upon because I was a football player. I have the right team around that will help develop my style. I have been in camp wiith (WBC Heavyweight champion) Deontay Wilder and I held my own, and I have confidence in myself.”
In what he thinks his move from the NFL to boxing can help persuade kids to start boxing, where in the recent past, a lot of the good young athletes have chosen other sports.
“I can help kids be passionate about boxing. Kids haven’t dedicated themselves and learned their crafts. People just see the finished products of fighters. I don’t listen to the negative comments and have good people around me.”
“I just want to stay busy and keep winning. Let me be great. In do time, people will see the finished product.”
In what playing at the highest level of professional sports, he can take into boxing, Edwards notes, “I p
played defensive line and I was focused on the ball. So I have learned to tune things out. It’s that tunnel vision that playing in front of 100,000 people, you learn that. Not to listen to the crowd and stay focused.”
When asked if what his former NFL fraternity thinks of his move to boxing, Edwards stated, “I still get support from my friends in the league. They are always asking when and where I am fighting, so I feel when the fights get higher profile, It will become a really big thing.”
Edwards will fight on September 15 against an opponent to be named in Philadelphia. The bout will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Sampson Lewkowicz Says Peralta No Longer a Cab Driver After Huge Upset Victory Over Robert Guerrero
Sampson Lewkowicz, promoter of suddenly red-hot welterweight David Emanuel “El Pirata” Peralta, says big changes are on the way for his cab-driving Argentinean fighter.
On Saturday night, Peralta (26-2-1, 14 KOs), a 70:1 underdog, came out of retirement to win a surprise 12-round split decision over former world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
The victory, televised nationally on PBC on Spike, has changed 33-year-old Peralta’s fortunes in the talent-rich welterweight division.
“He is no longer a cab driver,” laughed a happy Lewkowicz, post-fight. “David came out of retirement to take this fight when I offered it to him. Now his life will change. He will go back to being a full-time fighter and I will find him another big fight to win.”
Lewkowicz, credited with discovering Manny Pacquiao and Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez among many others, says his Argentinean fighter was taken lightly because he had never fought outside his homeland, but he knew what he could do.
“David is very talented fighter and very tough,” said Lewkowicz. “We knew Guerrero was in a tough battle against him, but no one else did. And I thank the great champion Robert Guerrero for giving him the opportunity. He and his team have our utmost respect.”
Lewkowicz says he will get to work finding Peralta another big opportunity as soon as possible.
“You have to like David. He is very humble and honest and he fought his heart out and now everybody knows his name. He’s a special fighter and I’m very happy to be his promoter. He was only retired because he thought nothing would ever happen in his career. He’s back now and he’ll be in the gym full-time. His cab can wait. I will find him a big fight against another top contender and try to get him in line for a world title shot. Or if Robert Guerrero feels like he wants an immediate rematch, we would give it to him. He gave us the chance.”
Mason Menard Calls Out Terry Flanagan
Coming off another impressive SHOWTIME-televised knockout last Friday, Louisiana-based lightweight contender “Rock Hard Mighty” Mason Menard is setting his sights on WBO Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan.
“I would be more than happy to fight Terry Flanagan,” said Menard. “It would be a great fight. He’s a skillful southpaw, but he is touchable. With my power, that makes for a cat and mouse-type fight. I think sooner or later I would catch up with him.”
Menard (32-1, 24 KOs) of Rayne, Louisiana, was last seen taking out the capable Bahodir Mamadjonov in nine rounds in the co-main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation broadcast from Rochester, New York last Friday night. Before that, the 27-year-old scored a “Knockout of the Year” candidate over then undefeated Eudy Bernardo.
“He’s a star in the making with all the momentum in the world behind him,” said Menard’s promoter, Greg Cohen. “Mason is now the WBO NABO Champion and climbing up their ratings. Now that Felix Verdejo (whom Flanagan was supposed to fight) has been injured, I think Menard stepping in would make for a great match-up.”
However, Menard says he has his doubts that Manchester’s Flanagan will take the bait.
“Let’s just be real, after what I did to the last skillful southpaw (Mamadjonov) with only two weeks’ notice, I doubt he wants these problems.”
DiBella Entertainment Signs Fernandez and Roman
Looking to add to its ever growing stable of young, up-and-coming talent, DiBella Entertainment (DBE) has announced the signing of undefeated Spanish prospect Jon Fernandez and Puerto Rican amateur standout Jose Roman to exclusive long-term promotional contracts. Both Fernandez and Roman will be making their DBE debuts on the upcoming special edition Broadway Boxing card in the Premier Ballroom at the beautiful Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT, next Thursday, September 1. Broadway Boxing is proudly sponsored by Nissan of Queens, OPTYX, Azad Watches, and Christos Steakhouse.
“I am happy to be coming back to Foxwoods with another great card, and to have the opportunity to showcase these two new additions to the DBE roster,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Promoting Sergio Martinez was one of the highlights of my career and I am proud to say that he and I have forged a lifelong friendship. Sergio told me that Jon is one of the best young fighters he has seen in a very long time, and I look forward to helping build the career of Jon Fernandez here in the States with my friend and great champion Maravilla.”
Regarding Roman, DiBella continued, “Jose Roman was a terrific amateur, and gained invaluable experience fighting on the Puerto Rican national team. He was one of the most sought out amateurs on the island and we are thrilled for him to call DBE his home. We are looking forward to featuring him in the US, as well as in Puerto Rico, and building him in front of the huge Puerto Rican fan base here on the East Coast.”
At just 20 years of age, the junior lightweight Fernandez (8-0, 6 KO’s) is one of the most promising young prospects to come out of Spain in years. Standing at 5’11”, Fernandez is extremely tall for the 130lb. division and has devastating power in both hands. Fernandez caught the eye of former middleweight kingpin and future Hall-of-Famer Sergio Martinez when he was still fighting as an amateur. Martinez immediately saw star potential and signed Fernandez to his promotional company, MaravillaBox Promotions, in 2015 and soon after began courting the young Fernandez to his own former promoter Lou DiBella. DiBella and Martinez made things official in June, signing Fernandez to a co-promotional deal at this year’s Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) awards dinner, where DiBella received the James A. Farley award for honesty and integrity in boxing.
“This is a dream come true. I still cannot believe it,” said Fernandez. “I am very grateful to Lou DiBella, one of the most important and prestigious promoters in the United States, for the trust and belief that he has placed in me and to Sergio (Martinez) for the potential he saw in me as a boxer. Boxing is my life and I want to be the best. Following in the footsteps of Sergio and becoming a world champion like him is my lifelong dream.”
“I have been watching Jon fight since his amateur days and truly believe that the sky is the limit for him,” said Maravilla Martinez. “With each passing fight, he continues to show vast improvement and I believe that he has the ability to become not only a future champion but a future star in this sport. Jon has to stay focused and continue to work, to learn and to give everything he has to this sport. For Jon to have the opportunity to sign with Lou at just 20 years old, an opportunity that I did not have until I was already 32, is amazing and he has to take full advantage of it. Jon has to destroy everything that is put in his path and with time, patience and hard work, he will achieve greatness in this sport.”
A native of the boxing rich city of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Roman began boxing at 13 years of age amassing a stellar 124-17 record along the way. Roman joined the Puerto Rican national team in 2012, winning three consecutive national championships from 2013-2015.
“I couldn’t be more excited to get my career underway behind such a great promoter as Lou. DiBella has done tremendous work with so many great fighters over the years, and I am looking forward to growing and shining under the DiBella Entertainment banner. It is every fighter’s dream to fight in the US, and now I have the opportunity to make my pro debut here, and for that I want to thank my manager Ricardo Figueroa and my trainer Emilio Lozado for getting me this amazing opportunity,” said Roman.