ESPN+ Boxing Results: Conlan Dominates Hernandez in Paddy’s Day Celebration
By: Ste Rowen
With a familiar feeling of magic in the air from two years ago when he performed in the same theatre on St Patricks Day, Irishman, Mick Conlan scored a whitewash 10-round decision over hopeful challenger, Ruben Garcia Hernandez and although he might not have been able to give the worshipping crowd the KO they craved Conlan, now 11-0 (6KOs), seemed more than happy speaking post-fight,
‘‘Ireland is in New York tonight and Ireland fucking runs New York…I just used my skills as I said I would.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank
He had a tough head on them. There were a few times I probably could’ve stepped on it, but we wanted to practice things we’ve been working on. I felt I did that tonight.’’
Conlan, who now fights at featherweight, a weight class up from where he started as a pro, was in charge from the outset.
His display of attributes keeping most of the fans happy throughout the 10-rounds. Hernandez, 24-3-2, looked out of his depth at times; Mick was too fast, too slick, too much destined to not let anything spoil his night tonight.
Onlookers could tell how much Mick was enjoying himself as he consistently switched from southpaw to orthodox, further bamboozling his Mexican foe.
Ruben’s only brief success felt like a minor inconvenience for the 27-year-old amateur standout to deal with and all three judge’s scorecards read 100-90 for the Irishman, but Conlan was eager to aim for bigger challenges after tonight’s celebration, mainly calling out the man who defeated him in the controversial 2016 Olympics, Vladimir Nikitin,
‘‘Vladimir, I know you’re here tonight. We need to do it again for the fans. I need to write a wrong that shouldn’t have been written.’’
Whatever’s next for Mick, fans can be assured it’ll be engrossing in the ring, and rowdy outside of it.
On the undercard…
Luis Collazo attempted to reintroduce himself to the world welterweight scene with a close split decision victory over Samuel Vargas over 10 rounds. The New York southpaw sustained a cut to his left eye during proceedings, but it didn’t stop him from being able to move well when Colombian, Vargas came charging in.
At 37-years-old and now 39-7 (20KOs), Luis looked the much sharper man as the fight went on, laying the more eye-catching combinations, and though he didn’t look as agile as he used to back in his world champion days, was able to measured when Samuel had some success.
The final scorecards read as, 96-94 98-92 for Collazo, 94-96 for Vargas. Luis the victor was confident of the future ahead post-fight,
‘‘I want to be a world champion again. I still got the desire. I still got the fire. And I would like to fight the top guys in the welterweight division. They know who they are. I called them out before. It just hasn’t happened.’’
In his USA debut and 7th fight as a pro, Paddy Barnes fell to his second consecutive defeat after being dropped en route to a split decision loss to super-flyweight gatekeeper, Oscar Mojica.
Barnes’ frequent flurry of punches weren’t enough to trouble Mojica in the early rounds and the American put the Irishman down with a wonderful body shot in the second. Pale Paddy’s quickfire combinations looked good but did nothing to deter the bigger man from throwing heavy handed shots; one after the other.
By the end of the 3rd, Barnes’ face resembled a man who wanted out of there ASAP.
Weighing in 7lbs heavier than his most recent bout, a world title loss to Cristofer Rosales, Paddy was seriously struggling to find any kind of rhythm, although the final round was certainly his best as Mojica took a backseat. Both fighters made it to the final bell, and Oscar Mojica, determined in his capacity to get the upset, achieved his goal.
The final scorecards were, 56-58 to Barnes, and 58-56 (x2) for Mojica, to improve the American’s record to 12-5-1 (1KO).
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank
Josue Vargas entered the ring in an emerald top hat to match the night and the Irish luck rubbed off on Vargas who dominated 8 rounds of fighting in his 14th pro bout.
Vargas looked the noticeably bigger man in the ring with Adriano Ramirez, and it suited him well to rule behind his jab for the first two rounds, but, Ramirez made him suffer in the third.
But Josue, fighting out of the southpaw stance, kept Adriano at bay. When he threw his dominant jab, it was left to fans to wonder where the rest of Josue’s attack was. With only the scheduled 8 rounds to fight in, Vargas was taking a little bit of a risk by stepping off his attack so much.
The fight entered the 8th and final round and it was left to Ramirez, 10-2 (6KOs) heading into tonight to take the bout by the horns. He was unable to, and Vargas remained sufficiently dominant to see the fight out on top. The final scorecards came out as, 80-72 all for Josue Vargas of New York.
Vargas improves his record to 13-1 (8KOs).
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: New York’s Favorite Irish Son Returns
By: Ste Rowen
Two years ago Mick Conlan drenched the Madison Square Garden Theater in an emerald wave when the Irishman headlined a New York event in his debut fight, to coincide with a freezing St Paddy’s day in the Big Apple.
That night, Conlan, currently 10-0 (6KOs) made easy work of Tim Ibarra inside three rounds and has since moved up a division to featherweight. Almost twenty-four months on, Conlan will, with help from fellow Irish favourite and Commonwealth gold medallist Paddy Barnes, once again make St Patrick’s day greener in New York than it would’ve been without him.
“I’m dealing with the expectation well. It’s prize fighting and I’m not in this game to earn buttons.’’ Conlan told the Guardian.
Chosen to spoil the show this Paddy’s Day is Ruben Garcia Hernandez, a 24-3-2 (10KOs) Mexican.
Ruben’s resume includes a loss to Nonito Donaire in 2017, unfortunately that inclusion is an exception to the rule. Ruben has never beaten or, other than the Filipino legend, faced anyone of note.
It’s a bad opponent for a boxer that comes with so much hype, but as long as Mick deals with Hernandez as well as, if not better, than he did Ibarra in 2017, the Irish-faithful will be more than jubilant.
Also on this weekend’s New York card is southpaw, welterweight gatekeeper, Luis Collazo, who takes on fellow keeper of the welterweight gate, Samuel Vargas.
Until the April bout between Terence Crawford and Amir Khan was announced, Collazo was feted to take on the much feared, WBO 147lb champion. But it wasn’t to be for Luis who claims he was more than ready for the juggernaut that is Crawford.
Instead this Sunday, Luis will step between the ropes with Samuel Vargas, who’s looking to regain a respectable ranking at 147lb.
‘‘This is my purpose. To be able to go out there and perform and to be able to try to inspire those who are kind of down on their life and just be able to do what I love and keep spreading inspiration.’’ Collazo, who’s pro record currently sits at 38-7 (20KOs), told ESPN, ‘‘There’s been some ups and downs, but this is the difference between passion and purpose.’’
Collazo is undefeated since his unanimous decision loss to Keith Thurman; unfortunately Luis has only fought twice in that time. A sixth round KO of Sammy Vazquez in 2017 and a mid-2018 decision over Florida native, Bryant Perrella – who recently scored a UD victory over Briedis Prescott
Vargas, 30-4-2 (14KOs), rebounded from his August decision loss to Amir Khan, with a dominant win over 27-0, Gabriel Pereiro. However, much like Collazo’s most recent opposition, 40-year-old Pereiro had never fought an opponent of note, or even professionally took a fight outside of his homeland of Argentina.
On the face of it, Collazo vs. Vargas looks more like two older welters putting it on the line for one last hopeful attempt at a world title shot, but it could turn into the best fight of Sunday’s undercard.
Michael Conlan Grateful For Year-End UK Showcase
By Jake Donovan
The next ring appearance for Michael Conlan represents the best of both worlds: getting in one last fight in 2018 just before the holiday season and returning to a country where he boasts his greatest boxing achievement to date.
As an added bonus, it comes on the undercard of a show where he could very well one day face the winner of the evening’s main event.
“That’s the thing being with Top Rank; they are the absolute best promoter in the game,” Conlan insisted to BoxingInsider.com of the manner in which his pro career has been handled thus far.
The 27-year old from Belfast, Northern Ireland gets to squeeze in a fifth fight in capping a productive 2018 in-ring campaign when he resurfaces this Saturday in Manchester, England. Conlan (9-0, 6KOs) will face domestic trialhorse Jason Cunningham in a scheduled-eight round featherweight bout on a bill where his countryman, Carl Frampton seeks to become a three-time titlist as he challenges unbeaten featherweight titlist Josh Warrington.
Both bouts will be part of a loaded show which will stream live on ESPN+.
“It was very smart of Top Rank to put me on the show,” notes Conlan, who was last seen in a 7th round stoppage of Nicola Cipolletta this past October in Las Vegas. “I love fighting in the United States, but this show is much closer to home (roughly one hour by plane from Belfast to Manchester), which is good for my fans over here who don’t have to worry about flying abroad just to see me live.”
Saturday will mark just the second time in his pro career that Conlan gets to play a venue more befitting his regional base. The lone other occasion came just six months ago, when he soundly outpointed Adeilson dos Santos this past June at home in Belfast.
To return to the UK, however, had to come with more meaning than just for the sake of fighting near home.
“I like fighting in the United States and am fine with a ratio maybe three in the states and then one at (or near) home,” Conlan admits. “This show is a really good one, though, and Top Rank recognized the benefit of my fighting on it. The fact that the main event is right in my weight division, I get a good look at who I can face in the future when I begin facing contenders and eventually challenge for a world title.”
Just two years into the pro ranks, Conlan isn’t quite yet within arm’s length of fighting for a title or even at the contender level. This is where show placement comes into play.
In Cunningham (24-5, 6KOs), he gets a durable southpaw capable of going rounds regardless of competition. The 29-year old from Doncaster has only been dropped twice and stopped just once in 29 pro contests.
For Conlan, it’s also his first look at a southpaw as a pro.
“The stance doesn’t matter to me, but it’s good to see all different styles rising through the ranks,” admits Conlan. “It’s all part of my development as I continue to work on my all-around game. My coach and I practice everything—boxing, short distance, long distance. Our goal is to be a master of all trades, instead of just one.”
The expanded skillset will certainly be a necessityin a loaded featherweight division, from the top level to contenders down to prospects on the rise. One in particular happens to be in Conlan’s promotional stable.
Top Rank signed the two-time Olympian around the same time they secured the services of 2016 Olympic Silver medalist Shakur Stevenson. Company founder and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum has ever shied away from the selling point of one day matching them together, once it can be built into a superfight.
There already exists built-in history. Both competed as bantamweights in the 2016 Rio Olympics and were on a direct path toward meeting in the medal round.
That’s when Conlan forever remained a fixture in the spotlights. Having already captured a Bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics for Ireland, a repeat was well within reach and seemed to have occurred following his quarterfinals meet with Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin (now also with Top Rank as a pro).
Most observers had Conlan winning by no smaller than a 2-1 rounds margin, but the ringside judges saw a very different fight. Nikitin was awarded a unanimous decision—losing just one round among the three official scorecards—with a dejected Conlan reduced to his infamously flipping off the judges before erupting in a profanity-laced post-fight tirade.
It wasn’t at all how he envisioned his decorated amateur career coming to a close, but in a way helped his profile upon turning pro. But while some can leave bad memories in the past, Conlan—unable to shake loose the wrongdoing—has instead chosen to own it.
“For me, Rio is remembered forever,” Conlan confesses. “No matter how hard I try, I can never get over it. At the same time, it’s a good thing if you think about it because it’s given me a great attitude towards professional boxing.
“It put me in a very good position from a media perspective. It’s great focus for where I want to be as a professional—never take any situation for granted. Just keep working hard and good things will continue to happen.”
While Rio still remains on the mind, his latest trip to the United Kingdom conjures up a different type of amateur boxing memoir.
“This is my first time fighting in England since London 2012 (Olympics),” Conlan fondly recalls of his Bronze medal run as a flyweight, losing to eventual Gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba. “It’s brought back some great memories, but I’m so much a different fighter today than I was back then.”
By this time next year, he hopes to not even recognize the fighter he is today.
“First thing is to take care of business with Jason on Saturday,” Conlan notes before turning his attention to 2019. “God willing I come out victorious and healthy, next year will be all about building towards the path that leads to contending for a title. In 12 months, hopefully we’re talking about fighting for a world title or taking a title eliminator.
“But me and my team just worry about the battle plan in the ring. I have the best promoter in the world behind me. Top Rank knows better than anyone else how to move a fighter, so we’re in no rush.”
For now, being at—or near home—is a good enough way to end the year.
“We knew turning pro that the majority of my fights would take place in the United States, and that’s great for my worldwide appeal,” Conlan notes. “But getting to occasionally comes home makes it feel like a big event. That’s a great thing. Fighting at home always is, but getting the big fight night treatment just makes it even more special.”
Michael McGurk Interview: Back in Action and Looking to Add More Titles
By: Michael Kane
Former WBC Silver Youth champion, Michael McGurk made his return to action on Saturday at the World Boxing Super Series show in Glasgow.
McGurk (11-0) had been out injured for a year and made a winning return against Miguel Aguilar. McGurk is not wasting time before getting back in the ring with a scheduled bout on 30th November at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
Photo Credit: MTK Global Facebook Page
Boxing Insider spoke with McGurk after he successfully completed 6 rounds on Saturday.
McGurk was happy to be back, saying, “It felt great to be back, it was a long wait in the dressing room so I just tried to stay relaxed and not think too much about it until it was my time to get shifted.”
McGurk felt a little rusty so the six rounds should prove beneficial.
“Yeah he was a very durable opponent, tough tough man I was landing some heavy shots and had him hurt a few times,” McGurk said. “I was a little rusty in there cause I’ve only had one spar in preparation for that fight so it was good to get the full 6 in.”
World Boxing Super Series was a big show to make a come back on, however McGurk felt it was a great experience to be part of.
“It’s been great being part of such a huge show, as soon as it got offered to me I jumped at it, I really enjoyed the experience and it’ll stand me in good stead for my future.” He explained.
Due to being scheduled as a live float, McGurk couldn’t get out to enjoy the event. His fight coming after the main event. Like most people in the arena he was impressed by Josh Taylor.
“Unfortunately I never got to really experience the event much, as I was in the changing room for it all,” McGurk said. “I watched the fights from my changing room though and enjoyed the show as a whole, Taylor put on a great display and was a pleasure to watch.”
Having won the WBC Silver Youth title last year, McGurk is keen to add more.
“I’ve always believed in myself and believe I will win major titles as a pro, I’m very ambitious and know I’ll progress through the ranks and bring those titles back home! Winning the WBC youth title is just a taster for me. I want more and it’s only a matter of time before that happens.”
MTK Global have signed up a lot of UK talent and have been putting on shows around the UK. How has McGurk enjoyed working with MTK?
“MTK have been great to work with, they got me on that huge show and now I’m looking forward to fighting on the show on the 30th at the Emirates, I’m unsure who I am fighting yet but I can tell you we are pushing on for some huge fights in the new year and I cannot wait for them.”
McGurk is looking forward to the year ahead and putting his injury problems behind him.
McGurk said, “Next year I’d like to challenge for more titles. I’ll fight anyone anywhere with a proper camp and I’m buzzing to be involved in huge fights in the very near future.”
Michael Conlan Wins in Belfast
By: Oliver McManus
MICHAEL CONLAN made a sensational homecoming at the SSE Arena in Belfast last night as he boxed in his home country for the first time in some eight years – Adeilson dos Santos was the chosen opponent and Conlan was aware that even as the overwhelming favourite, he still had everything to prove.
Dos Santos, presumably, viewed this as his opportunity for a route straight back to the world title scene – having contended for Jessie Magdaleno’s Super Bantamweight crown last year – and came out with a high-tempo, something that Conlan predicted pre-fight.
A raucous atmosphere cheered on their homecoming hero and dos Santos started the bout rather oddly, crouching a couple of times in the middle of the ring, before setting about his fight rhythm in the centre of the ring but Conlan remained calm. After all, this was expected.
Conlan was scamperous with his footwork, bouncing from foot to foot and keeping his staunch guard. Firing in a few jabs in order to test the range, Conlan managed to evade the guard of dos Santos on a couple of occasions.
Switching stances periodically it was clear that Conlan was going to be the silkier of fighters and with the Belfast-icon finding his comfort zone early on it began to look like a long night for his Brazilian opponent. A leaning, leading, right hand set up the left hand to the body from Conlan and whilst the occasional big left hand managed to miss the target, the busy work was being done to perfection and keeping Adeilson at bay.
Patience was the name of the game as Conlan returned to southpaw for the third round and dos Santos looked to get on the front foot, seeking out pockets of activity in which to launch an attack but Mick Conlan’s superior movement saw him evade near-all of dos Santos’ shots.
The Brazilian began to get frustrated as Conlan’s fight-intelligence came to the fore with the constant stance-switching and ramrod jab causing real problems for the former world title challenger. At one point you thought dos Santos may start to have success against the ropes with a series of shots but, before you knew it, Conlan had slipped off the ropes and launched an attack of his own.
A display of technical brilliance as opposed to any ego-boosting needless aggression, Conlan was making dos Santos pay whilst remaining in first gear. Body feints from Conlan were all that was needed to throw his counterpart off the scent and the shoulder shimmy started to become a work of art, frustrating dos Santos whilst creating the opportunity for a 1,2,3 of Conlan’s very own.
An accidental cut to the head of Conlan made no difference as the relaxed Irishman simply upped the levels of frustration being felt by dos Santos, firmly in control, picking apart the Brazilian with ease without the need for reckless punches.
Conlan started to develop a neat counter punch which he landed with considerable success as we went into the second half of this, scheduled, eight rounder but the sixth round produced some real success for Adeilson dos Santos who used his reach advantage well to control portions from distance before slipping in up close and landing shots to the inside of the Irishman.
Success but nothing game-changing and, certainly, nothing that Michael couldn’t handle.
A tough cookie that refused to crumble, dos Santos was probably the ideal opponent for Conlan in that whilst there was no major threat to Conlan’s unbeaten record, he probably learnt a hell of a lot more in this fight than in all of his previous bouts put together. Conlan had to think but he didn’t have to test himself, this was a display of technical precision from a relaxed fighter who, without doubt, looks the real deal.
Bring on 2019.
On the undercard featured the most bitter of rivalries between Jono Carroll and Declan Geraghty, a contest for the Carroll’s IBF Inter-Continental Super Featherweight belt, and the tempestuous duo opened up with a tantalizing pace, Carroll the busier of the fighters but Geraghty causing the damage, cutting Carroll above the right eye and, indeed, on the bridge of the nose.
Into the second round of the bout we went with both men taking to the centre of the ring, landing at a furious pace, Geraghty appeared to be having the better of the exchanges, leaping from distance into the body of Carroll in order to earn the plaudits of the crowds. As the round continued, however, Carroll worked into his natural game, bringing the aggression and refusing to lie down and have his belly tickled.
Carroll began to prove why his record is an unbeaten one with an incredible pace tempo and, already, after a mere two rounds, Geraghty looked visibly fatigued and flustered when walking to his corner.
Pre-fight Jono had accused Declan of lacking stamina and it began to emerge why with the challenger huffing and puffing just a minute into the third and Carroll kept the pressure up, throwing repeated punches into the body of Geraghty whenever there was a lapse in the guard of Geraghty.
A barrage of sustained aggression with a minute left of the 3rd round saw Geraghty touch down, the legs of the fallen began to betray him, Carroll’s onslaught ever-hastening, but Pretty Boy, somehow, survived to see the end of the round.
The attacks began to flow from Jono – who won the previous encounter between these two southpaws – but Geraghty chipped in each salvo with a timely reminder that he was still here to fight. If not with punches but with his elusive movement to duck and weave his way from the never-ending work-rate of his nemesis.
Taking a significant time to return to the ring ahead of the fifth round, Geraghty was clearly struggling and the fight took a bit of a lull for that particular round with both men taking a breather but Carroll still remaining the busier fighter.
This fight began to turn into a pure beatdown as we extended into the second half of the bout, Carroll launching attack after attack into the body of Declan Geraghty, sapping the energy out of the game challenger who, he claimed, was the pre-fight betting favourite.
The seventh and eighth round was a familiar story with Jono Carroll keeping sustained pressure, with an evil smile on his face, varying shots from head to body but with a particular preference to the livers of Geraghty. By this point there was little doubt who would win.
Somehow Geraghty made it to the ninth round offering precious little in terms of resistence and Bob Williams, the referee, informed Geraghty that if he didn’t witness more in defence then he would call the fight off.
Bouncing around the ring, Carroll had the energy of a terrier spaniel, and looked set on finishing the job inside the distance, cutting the ring off and working on the inside of Geraghty – fighting up close and personal Geraghty fell to the ground, ruled a push, before a flurry of uppercuts from Jono Carroll saw his foe’s head bounce back and forth like a yo-yo, causing Williams to slide in and call the contest to a halt – a ninth round TKO for Jono Carroll in a case of repeat victory.
To rattle through some of the other major results from Belfast, Jack Catterall emerged the victor in tough contest with Tyrone McKenna by score-lines of 95-91, 94-93, 94-93, in a contest that, whilst entertaining, taught us very little about either prospect; Tyrone McCullagh comfortably outclassed, Scottish champion, Joe Ham to claim the vacant Celtic Super Bantamweight title with the well-mannered man proving he’s as brutal in the ring as he is polite out of it; Johnny Coyle and Lewis Benson produced an absolute war of a fight to leave pundits and punters in turmoil as to who deserved to win but, officially, the verdict was for Johnny Coyle by a single round.
Boxing and Belfast, it’s the perfect combination.
Top Rank Boxing Preview: Conlan vs. Dos Santos
By: Oliver McManus
There’s been a lot of talk about returns and comebacks in a British ring over the past weeks and month but this weekend, in Belfast, there’s, arguably, the most exciting return of all; for the first time in eight years, Michael Conlan will fight in his home town of Belfast and headline at the SSE Arena in front of a raucous crowd of near 11,000.
Already 7 and 0 as a professional, having fought in various states across America as well as in Australia, Saturday marks Conlan’s first professional fight in the United Kingdom and he’ll be looking to make a significant statement up against Adeilson Dos Santos.
Dos Santos brings pedigree to the encounter having challenged for Jessie Magdaleno’s WBO Super Bantamweight crown and whilst the Brazilian has only recently moved up to the heavier weight class – this will be his third successive fight at featherweight – his experience is something that Conlan refused to look beyond.
Something of a “gatekeeper” across both divisions, Dos Santos will be viewing this as his opportunity to cause an upset of untold magnitude and instantly reinstate himself as in-and-around the world title scene.
Conlan, himself, says 2018 is all about setting up and preparing for a big 2019, the year in which he envisions becoming world champion, and will be looking to display all of his natural ability in the most pressurised environment of his life.
The Rio Olympian has gone on record as saying he would like opponents who come to fight as opposed to those who simply tuck up, and Adeilson is the type of man who will start fast and hard, looking to disrupt the rhythm of Conlan, in a bid to really rattle the nerves of the Irish sensation.
Let’s be clear, on paper, Conlan should be more than enough to overcome his latest opponent but, as we’ve seen all too often, paper means nothing and Dos Santos has a frequent habit of taking to the centre of the ring during the first couple of rounds and swinging some wild left hands from a, borderline, crouched posture.
Indeed from some of the footage of his fights back in Brazil – undeniably against lesser opposition – he really does favour a three-four punch combination of left hooks to the ribcage of his opponent.
Conlan, meanwhile, has been forced into changing his style in past fights in order to accommodate for trickier opponents, having to go forward and really press his case whereas the more natural style of his relies on having a livewire opponent that he can really trade and tee-off with.
Genuinely one of the best counter-punchers in the business there’s an expectation that this bout – scheduled for 10 rounds – will enable Conlan to showcase what made his name in the amateur ranks and, certainly, build on everything he’s learned so far as a professional.
Also on the card is a ferocious rivalry for between Jono Carroll and Declan Geraghty as the two meet for the first since a controversial four rounder between the pair way back in 2014; for context, Geraghty was six and 0 whilst Carroll was two and 0 when they faced off in November, four years ago, with the two boxers producing a barnstormer of a fighter, Geraghty leading on the scorecard, before Declan got disqualified for a repetitive use of the head in the fourth round.
Since then the heat has been brewing and the blood between them is genuinely bad, the talk from both camps in the build up to this fight has shown no signs of simmering down and, indeed, it looks as though fight night will be the boiling point and produce, yet another, sensational clash.
Geraghty believes he is the more naturally gifted boxer and that his class should outshine the “brawling” nature of Jono Carroll and since that loss Geraghty has shown an unrivalled development in terms of maturity, looking really patient and composed throughout his career in not pushing the stoppage.
Admittedly, as with every boxer, there is a weakness and you must suggest his chin is questionable having been dropped on three occasions, once against Eusebio Osejo and twice against James Tennyson, but even that has developed and Geraghty has looked particularly impressive over the course of his last 10 rounders – against John Quigley and Michael Roberts – and, let’s not forget, he has the experience to learn from his previous mistakes.
Jono Carroll, despite that tag as a brawler, has only notched up two stoppage victories from 15 wins without defeat and he takes to the ring with, yes, aggression but a continued, constant aggression that just wears down, fatigues, his opponent as opposed to bouncing them out of the ring.
The current IBF Inter-Continetnal Super-Featherweight champion, he too faced John Quigley – over 12 rounds – and claimed an edgy split decision against his fellow Irishman but looked a bit better than the scorecards suggested. If you were to isolate the Quigley fights then you’d suggest that Geraghty performed better but there’s no point in over-extrapolating one particular bout and Carroll has been consistently impressive over the course of his career.
A Prizefighter champion – that’s no mean feat – he beat Stephen Foster, Gary Buckland and Michael Devine on his way to lifting the trophy and that was only in his fourth, fifth and sixth fights.
These were experienced contenders and, albeit over only three rounds, Carroll’s high-tempo combined with a classy fighting style secured him the win and ensured development far beyond his age.
The winner of this bout will gain bragging rights for life but, more importantly, they’ll push themselves ever closer to the coveted world title shot and this could, easily, be fight of the night.
But you look down the card and there’s so much talent stacked across Tyrone McKenna taking on Jack Catterall over 10 rounds in the super lightweight division – two sleek and skilled stylish southpaws going at it, McKenna coming off the back of a convincing win against Anthony Upton and Catterall looking to further push himself up the world rankings.
Lewis Benson and Johnny Coyle will pit their unbeaten records against each other as they go head-to-head over the course of 10 rounds in a fight that looks like going the distance; Coyle is the established fighter despite being younger than Benson but ‘Kid Caramel’, as he’s known, has looked SO impressive every time he’s been in the ring so, yet again, this is another 50-50 fight that’s just TOO GOOD to miss.
Joe Ham vs Tyrone McCullagh, Gary Corcoran, Sunny Edwards, Gary Cully, Lewis Crocker, Taylor McGoldrick, Padraig McCrory… even some 21 year old Cuban called Neslan Machado, this is, without doubt, the CARD OF THE YEAR from any British promoter.
Bring it on.
“Surprise” from Unbeaten Lightweight Michael “Bling Bling” Valentin!
By: Ken Hissner
Unbeaten 19 year-old Lightweight Michael “Bling Bling” Valentin, of Providence, Rhode Island, won his fourth straight fight on February 23rd taking a majority four round decision over Demitrius Wilson, 2-4 (0), of Florissant, MO, at the Twin River Event Center, in Lincoln, RI.
In Valentin’s three previous fights debuting in June of 2017 he stopped Kevin DeFreitas, of Somerville, MASS, who was also debuting, at 0:55 of the first round.
In Valentin’s second pro fight in September he defeated Henry Garcia, of New Bedford, MASS, who was debuting over four rounds by scores of 40-35 twice and 39-36, at the Twin River Event Center, in Lincoln, RI.
In Valentin’s third pro fight in December he defeated debuting Efren Nunez, of Fall River, MASS, over four rounds at the Twin River Event Center, in Lincoln, RI.
After Valentin’s most recent win he surprised the fan’s when he pulled down his trunks and there was a Colostomy Bag. AMERICAN Boxing commentator Xavier Porter said: “That’s more than a role model, that’s a hero”.
Addressing his audience Valentin said, “I know it’s going to hurt me, but all my life I dealt with adversity”. After taking a moment to compose himself he said, “I always fought with a colostomy bag. For anybody that thinks I’m lying, look at me now, I got a colostomy bag.”
Valentin was put on indefinite suspension by the Rhode Island Commission.
Boxing Insider Interview with Michael Conlan: Ready for Belfast
By: Oliver McManus
Michael Conlan is seldom a man who needs introducing, a living legend in his home city of Belfast quickly building his legacy stateside but for the prodigious professional his fight on the 30th June will mark his first fight back home since 2010, when he was at the start of his star-studded amateur career.
Bronze at London 2012, Gold at the World, European and Commonwealth Championships saw him enter the Rio games as one of the most successful amateur fighters ever to herald from Ireland and favourite for the title. A well-documented, and controversial, Vladimir Nikitin resulted in Conlan walking away from the amateur sport.
Photo Credit: Michael Conlan Twitter Account
His fire and hunger for success was galvanized and transitioned into the paid ranks where, promoted by Bob Arum and Top Rank, the Conlan world tour has only just begun; New York, Chicago, Brisbane, Arizona, Belfast, already ticked off the list.
Seven fights, seven opponents conquered, sharing the bill with Lomachenko, Linares and Pacquaio serves as a taste for the big fight atmosphere that Michael admits he is still to get used to – his fourth headlining show on June 30th, in front of that fabled Irish crowd, should see him settle into the spotlight.
Ireland awaits, the world awaits.
We’re just over a month away from your first professional fight in the UK, in Belfast no less, how are you feeling?
I’m really looking forward to it, you know, it’s a huge thing for me, a huge achievement in my career. For me to come home and fight in Belfast is something special, it’s something I’ve dreamed of all my life as a fighter, as a boxer. Especially as a professional I think it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, to fight in the Odyssey – sorry, SSE now – and it’s the first time I’ll be boxing at home since 2010 and I’m main eventing in the SSE Arena.
It’s really special and I’m really looking forward to it.
Are there any extra nerves because it is your first fight home in so long or is it just a case of getting the job done?
No I don’t think so, I honestly don’t, I feel the fact that I’ve headlined MSG twice now and then I’ve competed on such big cards, you know, Lomachenko-Linares, Pacquiao and I’ve had major billing on those cards. I think the atmosphere that’ll be generated in the Garden on St Patrick’s Day had prepared me for what to expect.
Maybe not so much as it’s only 5,000 at the theatre but it’s the same compact, crazy atmosphere we’re expecting in Belfast. That’s definitely stood me in good stead.
It will be your fourth headlining fight from eight bouts, have you got used to that yet?
No I still get excited, I don’t think anyone ever gets used to it unless you’re like a twenty world title veteran fight, then you can get used to it, but I feel that, for me, it’s still very fresh. Especially now it’s in Belfast, it’s even more exciting for me but I definitely find that I am getting comfortable with the situation more now and I think that’s the main thing, being comfortable in those situations and being able to put in performances and not letting the nerves affect your performance.
You’re fighting a former world title challenger, what sort of a fight are you expecting?
He’s kind of more a gate-keeper type fighter now, I’d say, and I expect him to come trying to win, he’s got good power and he’s dangerous but he’s been beaten in the past and he knows what the feels like. I think he’ll be expecting to feel it again but he’ll put it on me and try and take it away from me because he may see this as his platform to get back into the mix and I’m not saying he’s a warrior but I am expecting a tough test from him because after all this is my eight fight and it is a good step up from my recent opposition.
So I am expecting a tough fight and an early on acid test to see where I’m at now and that’s what it is because there’s an awful lot riding on this – it is a test, it’s in Belfast and if it all goes wrong, it all goes wrong. I am prepared, I’m not underestimating anybody and I know he’s a tough guy who comes in and fights to win. He’s got power so I am very aware of that.
And I ask that because some of your opponents have been quite negative in their style, does it frustrate you when you can’t showcase your ability because of the way they’ve came to fight?
Oliver, you know, this is something that really annoys me but at the end of the day I can’t complain because I’ve watched these guys pre-fight and I’m going “okay this guy is going to give me a test” and against other opposition he’s going forward, he’s trying to win the fight and they’re doing a job, winning fights and they actually look like they’re game and ready to go but then when these guys have stepped in the ring they’ve kind of shied away, they’ve got too nervous, the atmosphere has maybe tripped them up and I think that’s what has happened so far.
The last guy (Ibon Larrinaga) was a former WBC Mediterranean Champion and I watched his previous clips and he always came to win and then you’ve got that David Berna guy, 14 wins 13 knockouts something like that with two losses and he’s the only that came to win. He tried a little bit, I caught him with a body shot and that was it but everybody else they just seem to be taken away by the occasion.
At the same time I can’t complain because not everybody is going to be like that, a lot of people will be tougher and harder.
In terms of your development I’m assuming you’d rather have people who come and try and beat you as opposed to people who just tuck up and let you work around them?
Yeah, yeah, definitely, I like to describe myself as a trading puncher but a boxed fighter, almost, I can do the go forward stuff but it’s not my strongest point so I like to be in the pocket but at the same time counter punching so that would be how I like it – if someone was trying to connect then I’d make them pay and even then you can tee off and it’s always a very eventful style, I feel.
And what I have been doing is going Mexican-style sometimes on people and that’s not my kind of fight.
I want to talk about the undercard for June 30th – all 50-50 fights – what does it mean to you when you look at the card and it’s so solid?
It’s brilliant, I’m really happy about it and it was one of the main things we spoke about when we talked about having me come back because I don’t want to be part of shows, even if I am the main event, where it’s just about me. I want everybody to play their part and to have a solid card, I don’t want it to just be a great main event, I want it to be a great night in general and the whole card is really solid, I’m really happy to be a part of it.
Is there any particular fight that stands out, for you?
They all do! It is very tough to pick and I honestly can’t really pick between them because I’m really interested to see how Sutcliffe-McKenna goes, I WANT to see Jono Carroll vs Declan Geraghty again because there is so much bad blood between them it’s unbelievable.
Then even Tyrone McCullagh vs Joe Ham, that’s two undefeated prospects who are probably a bit further on in their career in terms of development and they’ve had more fight, they’re facing each other and someone’s 0 will go so that’s another fight I’d like to watch.
You are signed up with Bob Arum and Top Rank but we’ve seen Frank Warren and Top Rank sign an agreement for “enhanced partnership”, does that realistically mean we can see you in Ireland and the UK more often or is you career still mainly in America?
I think most of my career will still be in America but hopefully there’ll be some more, I always said I was going to box in Ireland at least once a year and that was what I wanted to negotiate before I became professional and signed with Top Rank and we got that sorted, I’m really happy with that and hopefully with Frank Warren and Top Rank coming to an agreement we can have me fight at home more or even elsewhere in the UK or Ireland – it’s definitely something that I would love to do and be interested in doing because I know Top Rank don’t just want me to be America based or just Ireland based, they want me worldwide and it shows already in where they’ve put me.
They’ve put me in Arizona, New York, Australia, Ireland now and it’s growing and growing and growing and hopefully we can keep it going like this.
How quickly are we looking at getting you to that world level, that world title shot?
I’m thinking towards the end of next year, the end of 2019 and that’s what I kind of said when I turned professional that 2019 would be the year that I’m going to be world champion or there or thereabouts so I think this year is definitely an important year with the level of opposition that I face and next year is the crucial year, I will do a lot next year and it just depends on how I develop through the next year but if everything goes to plan, I believe I will be world champion next year.
You’re still only 26, you’re still young, are we going to see you move up or down the weights as you get older and see a multi-weight champion or are you fully committed to feather?
At the minute I’m committed to featherweight but yes, I will be a multi-weight world champion, that’s always been my aim even before I turned professional – I’m not going to move down any weights because I tried super-bantamweight but I quickly gave that up. You know I’m a big featherweight and I get in the ring at 142(lbs), 143 so I’m really happy with that because I believe I am big enough to move up to super-featherweight and even lightweight.
For you what has been your best professional performance to date?
Best professional performance? When I think about learning and what I’ve done as a whole maybe the last one because the guy gave me rounds and I was able to work off him and do things that I’d practised. Maybe I didn’t look my best but it was the little things that I developed when I was in the ring and it was probably MY best performance so far based on learning that night and I probably learnt more than I did in the rest of them.
On performances maybe St Patrick’s Day this year (Berna) when I took the guy out with the body shot, just the way it happened it was nice, a left uppercut to the body and then that was it.
Absolutely mate, can I get a prediction for your next fight, sort of result and performance?
Just another win and I’m going to say a lot stoppage maybe, I think so, a late stoppage, definitely. Another victory in what is an entertaining fight while it lasts.
Thank you so much for speaking to us, been a pleasure.
Cheers Oliver, appreciate it.
Michael Conlan Returns to MSG Theatre on Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux Undercard
By Eric Lunger
Former Olympian Michael “Mick” Conlan of Belfast, Ireland, returns to Madison Square Garden on Saturday night to take on Luis Fernando Molina (7-3-1, 2 KOs) of Argentina in a six-round featherweight bout on the undercard of the much-anticipated Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux Top Rank on ESPN event.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account
Conlan (4-0, 4 KOs) first rose to international prominence in the 2016 Rio Olympics where he was blatantly robbed of a decision in a quarterfinal bout against Vladimir Nikitin of Russia. Conlan let the judges know exactly how he felt; the image of him standing in the middle of the ring, flashing the double bird in his hand wraps to the judges, sums up the ineptitude (to be charitable) of the judging in the Rio tournament. His tirade in the aftermath of the decision was likewise memorable. Not content to let matters rest there, Conlan even sent a tweet to Russian President Vladimir Putin, “How much did they charge you, Bro???” Putin has been called a lot of things, but probably never “bro.”
Whatever the state of international judging, Conlan, age 26, quickly signed a professional contract with Top Rank and made his debut at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, on St. Patrick’s Day 2017, defeating Tim Ibarra by a third-round TKO and sending the Irish fans into a frenzy. In his last outing in August, Conlan scored a dramatic second-round knockout win over Kenny Guzman, showing significant improvement in form over the Ibarra fight.
Conlan grew up in the Catholic districts of West Belfast, a tough area still struggling to put the effects of the bloody and bitter “Troubles” (as the civil strife between Unionists and Republicans was known) behind them. Like kids on other mean streets, boxing for Mick Conlan was a way to a better life, a channel for energy that might otherwise have been ill-spent. He wears his pride in his roots on his sleeve, but he equally proud of where boxing has taken him. Trained from his amateur days by his father, Mick moved to the US and currently lives and trains in southern California under the guidance of veteran trainer Manny Robles.
Stylistically, Conlan likes to be on his front foot. Fighting out of an orthodox stance, he can jab effectively to the body and the head; in fact, he likes the jab to the chest to set up the overhand right. His left hook, though, is also an effective weapon to the rib cage or as a lead to the head. In short, he possesses a professional offensive tool kit. Defensively, Conlan relies on a combination to head movement, body lean, and quick in-and-out footwork. He also possesses a bit of the showman streak in the ring, switching to a southpaw stance in order to confuse an opponent, to open the fight up, or just be entertaining. But the southpaw work has become more than show: after the win over Jarrett Owen in Australia in July, Robles confirmed that the southpaw offense was something they had been intentionally drilling in the gym.
Is Mick Conlan ready for the top names in the division? No, and no one should expect him to be. He has a deep amateur background, but he has plenty of areas to develop first, especially in tightening up his hooks and polishing his defensive skills. Will he be a contender down the road? Almost certainly, as long as he continues to be brought along carefully. Saturday night should be another step, and, judging from his previous bouts, it will definitely be entertaining.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Valdez, Conlan, and Ramirez Entertain and Win
By: William Holmes
Tucson Arena in Tucson, Arizona was the host site for tonight’s broadcast of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and featured two world title fights which featured two popular Mexican boxing stars.
The co-main event of the night was between Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Jessie Hart for Ramirez’s WBO Super Middleweight Title and the main event was between Oscar Valdez and Genesis Servania for Valdez’s WBO Featherweight Title.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
The undercard featured several up and coming prospects, including Irish Olympian Michael Conlan. Tonight’s card was supposed to start on ESPN, but the baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers ended later than expected and the fight card started on ESPN News.
Michael Conlan (3-0) opened up the telecast against Kenny Guzman (3-0) in the featherweight division in a six round bout.
Conlan has 340 fights as an amateur compared to 47 amateur fights for Kenny Guzman, who also works a full-time carpenter.
The first round was more of a feeling out round as Guzman was able to land some decent shots but Conlan was clearly the better technical boxer. Conlan switched to a southpaw stance midway through the first round with some moderate success.
Conlan switched back into an orthodox stance and was sitting on his punches more in the second round. Guzman’s left eye was showing signs of swelling and blood was coming from his nose as he was taking some heavy shots from Conlan. Conlan landed a heavy right hand in the final ten seconds of the second round that sent Guzman falling backwards to the mat. He was able to get back up before the count of ten but was still wobbly and the referee waived off the fight.
Michael Conlan wins by TKO at 2:59 of the second round.
The next fight of the night was for the WBO Super Middleweight Title between Jesse Hart (22-0) and Gilberto Ramirez (35-0).
Ramirez was slightly taller than Hart, who was active with his jab early on. Hart was very active while circling and was able to stay on the outside in the opening round.
Hart continued to stay active with his jab into the second round and appeared to be a little hesitant of Ramirez’s power. Hart had a habit of ducking his head low when he gets in tight and Ramirez was able to take advantage of that with a short right uppercut that sent Hart crashing to the mat. Hart was able to get back to his feet and survive the round, but he was badly hurt.
Hart had a decent third round and was given time to recover from a low blow by Ramirez, but Ramirez had an excellent fourth round and appeared close to stopping Jesse Hart several times during that round.
Ramirez kept up the pressure in the fourth and fifth rounds and was landing a high number of power shots. Hart was able to slip in a few shots of his own, but he also lost his balance several times in the corner of the ring.
Hart may have stolen some of the middle rounds from the sixth round to the ninth as he was able to land some decent counter shots and avoid getting hurt again. Hart had a very strong ninth round with good straight right hands, but Ramirez showed a strong chin and was able to continue to walk forward.
Both boxers left everything in the ring in the championship rounds with both boxers landing heavy blows and absorbing heavy punishment. But Ramirez ended the final round as the aggressor.
It was an entertaining and competitive bout. The judges scored it 115-112, 115-112, and 114-113 for Gilberto Ramirez.
The main event of the night was between Oscar Valdez (22-0) and Genesis Servania (29-0) for the WBO Featherweight Title.
Servania is a Filipino boxer who trains in Japan. This was his first professional fight outside of Asia.
Servania showed a lot of head movement early on and had some success with his left hook, but Valdez was far more active and was landing good shots to the body.
Valdez was in control in the second and third rounds and simply out landed the constantly coming forward Servania.
Servania was able to score a flash knockdown in the fourth round on Valdez as he was backing away with his hands down. Valdez was in some trouble at the end of the round when Servania was able to catch him off guard with a good combination.
Valdez turned the tide of the fight back in his favor in the fifth round when a clean left hook sent Servania crashing to the mat. Servania was able to get back to his feet and slug it out with Valdez as the round came to an end, but he was badly hurt.
Servania may have stolen the sixth round with a round ending combination, but Valdez outworked Servania for most of the round. Valdez appeared settled in the seventh round and was the more aggressive fighter.
Valdez’s body work won him the eighth round and he was cruising by the ninth. Sevania, to his credit, never stopped coming forward despite the constant barrage of punches.
Servania was reaching for his punches in the tenth and eleventh round and never had Valdez in trouble. Vadez just continued to pile up the points by throwing at Servania whenever he got in range.
The final round was exciting as Servania came right at Valdez to exchange to start the final round and took several risks throughout, but his punches just weren’t powerful enough to hurt Valdez or put him down again.
Oscar Valdez defends his title with scores of 116-110, 119-111, 117-109.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results: Perez Squeaks By Lopez, Ellis Defeats Sosa
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results: Perez Squeaks By Lopez, Ellis Defeats Sosa
By: William Holmes
On Thursday night Golden Boy Promotions televised a card from the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on ESPN Networks.
ESPN used to televised Friday Night Fights until Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions came along. However, ESPN appears to have stopped televising PBC events and the PBC has since taken over.
Photo Credit: Emily Harney/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions Photos
Eddie Gomez (20-2) faced Dennis Dauti (14-2) in the welterweight division.
Gomez is from nearby Bronx, New York and was once considered by many to be a high level prospect but two losses to Rashidi Ellis and Francisco Santana has since damaged his stock.
Gomez had a tougher bout than expected against Dauti, but he showed that he’s still a good technician and won the decision with scores of 79-73, 77-74, and 77-74.
The co-main event of the night was between Rashidi Ellis (18-0) and John Karl Sosa (13-3) in the welterweight division.
Sosa started the bout off aggressively and was throwing wild punches, but he was unable to find his target. Ellis remained calm and was able to use his hand speed and elusive movement to keep Sosa uncomfortable and landing clean quick shots.
Sosa was able to hurt Ellis in the second round which forced Ellis to hold on, but Ellis was able to recover by the third round and take over the fight. Ellis was in control in the middle rounds but he did have a brief scare in the eighth round from hard uppercuts. Ellis however showed he was willing to change power shots with Sosa in the ninth and did enough in the tenth to likely win the final round.
Ellis won the majority decision with scores of 95-95 and 97-93 on the remaining two cards.
The main event of the evening was between Michael Perez (25-2-2) and Marcelino Lopez (32-2-1) in the junior welterweight division.
Perez was landing the cleaner punches in the early parts of the fight but Lopez was the aggressor and was pressing the pace. Perez did better work when Lopez was in tight, but Lopez was clearly the more aggressive fighter.
Perez was taking some hard shots in the final moments of the fourth round and Lopez continued to land hard blows in the fifth round. Perez went back to sticking and moving in the sixth round and was able to keep Lopez off balance.
Lopez connected with a beautiful left hook in the eighth round that sent Perez to the mat. Perez was able to beat the count and recover, but by the ninth round his right eye was damaged and had a cut above it.
Lopez was the more aggressive boxer and landed the harder shots, but Perez showed more movement and defensive ability.
It was a close bout that could have been scored either way, but the judges scored it 96-93 for Lopez, and 97-92 and 96-93 for Perez.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Lomachenko vs. Sosa, Gvozdyk vs. Gonzalez, Usyk vs. Hunter
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Lomachenko vs. Sosa, Gvozdyk vs. Gonzalez, Usyk vs. Hunter
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night in Oxon Hill, Maryland the Theater at the MGM National Harbor will be the host site for the next installment of HBO World Championships Boxing.
Three bouts will be televised, including a junior lightweight title fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jason Sosa in the main event of the night, a light heavyweight fight between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Yuniesky Gonzalez, and a cruiserweight title fight between Aleksandr Usyk and Mike Hunter.
The non-televised undercard will feature boxers such as Mike Reed, Patrick Harris, and Jesse Hart.
The following is a preview of the three televised bouts.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0) vs. Yunieski Gonzalez (18-2); Light Heavyweight
The opening bout of the night will be between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Yunieski Gonzalez in the light heavyweight division.
Both boxers have deep amateur backgrounds. Gonzalez was a member of the Cuban Amateur Team and had a record of 345-27. Gvozdyk represented the Ukraine in the 2012 Summer Olympics and won the bronze medal.
Gvozdyk has never tasted defeat and will be about three inches taller than Gonzalez. Gvozdyk has also been incredibly active the past two years and four times in 2016 and four times in 2015. Gonzalez fought twice in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Gvozdyk has never tasted defeat and stopped ten of his opponents and currently has six straight stoppage wins. Gonzalez lost twice and went 2-2 in his past four fights.
Gvozdyk has already beaten the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Tommy Karpency, and Nadjib Mohammedi. Gonzalez doesn’t have the resume of Gvozdyk and has beaten the likes of Maxwell Amponsah and Jackson Junior. His losses were to jean pascal and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
Gonzalez is a good test for Gvozdyk and this is a rare fight where we see two notable international amateur stars face off in the ring early before their twentieth professional fight. But Gvozdyk is the better skilled boxer and has the bigger wins, he should emerge victorious.
Oleksandr Usyk (11-0) vs. Michael Hunter (12-0); WBO Cruiserweight Title
Oleksandr Usyk is one of the Ukraine’s most prized prospects and he will be stepping into the ring with a former United States Olympian.
Both boxers are undefeated in their professional careers. Usyk has stopped ten of his opponents and Hunter has stopped eight. Usyk will have a slight one inch height advantage but Hunter will have an inch and a half reach advantage.
Both boxers have deep amateur backgrounds, but Usyk experienced a lot of success on the international stage while Hunter experienced success on the national stage. Hunter is a former US National Amateur Champion and represented the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics but failed to medal. Usyk was a gold medalist in the 2012 Olympic games.
Usyk has defeated the likes of Thabiso Mchunu, Krzystzof Glowacki, and Pedro Rodriguez. Surprisingly, all of his wins thus far in his career have come against opponents with winning records.
Hunter has yet to face any significant opposition and has defeated the likes of Isiah Thomas and Phil Williams.
This should be an easy win for Usyk, despite the fact his opponent has a good amateur background.
Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1) vs. Jason Sosa (20-1-4); WBO Junior Lightweight Title
Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, pound for pound boxer in the world. He fought for a world title in only his second professional fight and is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a two time World Amateur Champion.
His opponent, Jason Sosa, has more of a Rocky upbringing in the sport of boxing than Lomachenko. Sosa has no notable amateur achievements on the international stage and was born and raised in poverty stricken Camden, New Jersey. He won a world title with an upset stoppage victory over then WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Javier Fortuna and is now in the biggest fight of his life.
Lomachenko will have about a one inch height advantage on Sosa but will be giving up about an inch and a half in reach. Lomachenko’s lone loss was a disputed split decision loss to an overweight Orlando Salido early on in his career. He has since destroyed every other opponent he has faced.
He has already defeated the likes of Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez, Suriya Tatakhun, Gary Russell Jr., and Jose Ramirez before he even competed in his tenth professional fight. Lomachenko has stopped five of his opponents.
Sosa has fifteen knockouts to his credit and one stoppage loss. His lone loss was to Tre’Sean Wiggins in 2010, early on in Sosa’s career. He has defeated the likes of Javier Fortuna, Stephen Smith, Jerry Belmontes, Michael Brooks, and Angel Ocasio. Sosa did have a disputed draw with Nicholas Walters, but many felt he lost that fight.
Jason Sosa is a good gritty boxer that consistently puts on entertaining bouts. He has the heart of a champion, but Lomachenko is on a different level than Sosa and that should be immediately apparent.
It’s hard to envision a scenario where Sosa gives Lomachenko problems and this should be a relatively easy bout for Lomachenko.
Conlon Wins Pro Debut As McGregor Proclaims He’ll Take Over Boxing
Conlon Wins Pro Debut As McGregor Proclaims He’ll Take Over Boxing
By: Sean Crose
Super bantamweight Michael Conlon had quite a pro debut for himself on Friday night in New York. Entering the ring in grand Irish fashion while being accompanied by MMA star Conor McGregor (who, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN, started screaming at some point during the evening about how he was going to take over boxing), the Belfast native was treated to a hero’s welcome at the Theater in Madison Square Garden. The wildly pro Conlon crowd cheered as if he was battling in his native Ireland rather than on the eastern American seaboard. His opponent? Tim Ibarra, an unknown with a record of 4-4. People weren’t at the Garden to see an epic match. They were there to watch a decorated amateur with a promising future make his first foray into the pro ranks.
Conlon instigated the action with one/two, jab/right hand combinations. Ibarra, however, didn’t offer much in the way of a challenge. Conlon looked sharper in the second and was was clearly determined to impress in his first big league bout. He was somewhat slower than one might expect, and perhaps his timing was a bit off, but the guy was dominating nonetheless. What’s more, Conlon showed as the fight entered the first half of the third round that he could do some damage to the body.
That damage gave way to head shots that Conlon started landing throughout the course of the third with alarming frequency. With just over a minute to go in the round, Benjy Estevez, the referee, stepped in and halted the bout. Ibarra had, simply put, become a punching bag. Conlon jumped on the ropes and spread out his arms as if he had just won a world title…and the crowd ate it up. So, how was this well regarded prospects’ debut? Not bad. Conlon showed he could hit – though it took him a bit of whaling on a man who wasn’t really fighting back to get the job done.
Conlon also showed determination, which is of primary importance. Here was a fighter who clearly wanted to put the world on notice. And as a potential money earner, Conlon certainly did just that. The man is bold, he’s Irish and he’s not without talent. That, as his friend McGregor could tell anyone, is catnip to contemporary American audiences. Still, Conlon certainly didn’t appear to be breathtakingly impressive in a professional fight. It’s a tall order to be breathtakingly impressive, though. Only a rarefied few can reek of greatness their first time out. And besides, time is on Conlon’s side – along with some big name support. Time, however, will also tell if the hype surrounding the man is legitimate.
The Pride of Ireland: Michael Conlan
The Pride of Ireland: Michael Conlan
By: Francisco Martinez
St. Patrick’s Day only comes once a year and this year you can bank on it that Michael Conlan’s debut will be one not to forget as the start of a promising career officially begins. Michael, or Mick, Micky as some call him enjoyed his 1st U.S. media day in Los Angeles, California but definitely not new to this media attention “I’m used to it. I like it. It’s just natural for me. It’s another part of the game and you got to enjoy what you do”
With an estimate of 2 thousand family, friends, fans and supporters making the trip for Michael Conlan’s massive debut in the Theater at the Madison Square Garden this is what Conlan says they can expect from his pro debut “I’m gonna give them some entertainment. Some excitement and a happy ending and a nice party after” making it sound more like a concert than a boxing fight as the charismatic Conlan plans to treat his family and friends to an unforgettable March 17th Top Rank promotions show in New York.
Not even 1 fight into their careers, Michael Conlan & Shakur Stevenson already seem to be in a crash course to a mega showdown as promoter, the legendary Bob Arum is aiming for with his two new young guns who became part of Arum’s young stable additions to the likes of WBO 126lbs champion Oscar Valdez, WBO 122lbs champion Jessie Magdaleno, who both Conlan and Stevenson have sparred and WBO 168lbs champion Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez. BoxingInsider picked the brains of both Conlan & Stevenson just to see where they stand on this little rivalry that has been sparked by their promoter Bob Arum.
“I feel like me and Michael Conlan have some unfinished business that we didn’t get to handle in Brazil so, Michael Conlan is a great fighter and I like his style. I love his boxing style he a technician also and the fans are gonna want to see that, so…” says the young enthusiastic 2016 Olympic silver medalist, Shakur Stevenson. Kind but competitive words of his rival Michael Conlan who replied by saying “He’s a nice respectful kid. It’s a potential fight and I’m happy with that. That’s good for me down the line that’s a money fight. Everybody is in this business to make money so that’s a fight I would want. I rate him as a fighter and he’s a real good fighter. Very skillful so, it’s a fight that I really want and I’m really happy he signed with Top Rank so it’s possible for a future fight”
Conlan goes on to systematically break down Stevenson’s style “He’s very defensive. He’s a box fighter. More defensive very up right, shoulder roll kind of stance but I’m sure, I’m confident that I would have beat him in the Olympics. I’m confident I’ll beat him now. I’m confident I’ll beat him in the future so no matter what happens I’ll be ready when the time comes. I got the best team around me. The best management team, the best promotional team and the best coaching team so I have nothing to fear. I’m ready for anyone so bring it on”
In regards to St. Patrick’s Day being an Irish exclusive holiday and time of celebration it’s a no brainer that his debut will benefit from this Irish contingency as Michael Conlan would like to make this date an annual date in his career a lot like when Floyd Mayweather Jr. took over the Mexican dates of May & September. Dates that now belong to Saul Canelo Alvarez. Conlan says “I want to hold St. Patrick’s Day in the Garden every single year. That’s what I want, I want that to be my day and this is the start of it and it will continue. I feel it’s probably the best day in the year to fight in the Garden and maybe 2 years, 3 years time we’ll be fighting in the big Garden and that’s my aim. I want to sell it out in a world title”
Most should be informed by now that Michael Conlan has the co-sign of the great MMA fighter and fellow Irish countryman in Conor McGregor who will walk him out for his pro debut upon the request of Conlan who McGregor was kind enough to accommodate for his wishes. Conlan first came across McGregor by helping him select sparring for one of his fights with Nate Diaz. Now if we dig a little deeper into this friendship between Conlan & McGregor we’ll find a little truth to the so much talked about dream showdown between McGregor and Mayweather.
A fight that has grasp the attention of both sports and Mayweather who’s really pushing for this fight as he sees some serious dollar signs at the end of this tunnel. Perhaps a bigger pay day than a rematch with Manny Pacquiao and a bigger pay day than the actual 1st fight with Pacquiao which netted Mayweather something along the lines of $300 million. Even though some are critical of this possible circus act that will surely entertain we’re not sure how much this fight is really possible. However rumors as of late say the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas has been put on hold which only makes this dream scenario a more concrete one than ever before.
Michael Conlan shares a little insight as to who Conor McGregor is as a person and a little on how McGregor feels about a potential bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. “He’s a guy who believes in his ability and if he gets the Mayweather fight 100% he believes he’ll win” as for possibly helping McGregor prepare for a fight inside of the ring other than the octagon Conlan said he wouldn’t sparr him “He’s too big. He’s like 170lbs at the minute or 180lbs. He’s a big man. His hands are like two sizes bigger than mine”
Michael Conlan previewed his speed, power & skills in front of dozens of media members and from what we saw the talent level in him is an extraordinary one. Great chemistry with trainer Manny Robles. Both being fond of each other as they competed in the World Boxing Series a few years back and managed to catch each other’s attention with their respective abilities as trainer and fighter. Fast forward a few years later now both a team and one that will surely be a great hit and formula for great success in boxing.
Tune in March 17th live in the Theater at the Madison Square Garden in New York, St. Patrick’s Day for the massive debut of this young future legend, the pride of Ireland, Michael Conlan.
Michael Conlan: Luck of the Irish
Michael Conlan: Luck of the Irish
By: Francisco Martinez
Bronze medalist and 2x Olympian amateur standout Michael Conlan debuts March 17th in New York at the Madison Square Garden on a Friday that so happens to land on a St. Patrick’s Day but this time around as we tap into our inner Irishman and drink a pint or two we will be treated to a memorable Top Rank promotions event. Headlined by the young lad Conlan who many remember from this past year’s 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro where Conlan was favored to bring back gold to his home country of Belfast, Northern Ireland but instead the young Irish hopeful saw his dreams of Olympic gold shattered in what he felt was a decision influenced by AIBA corruption.
Now the highly touted Top Rank promotions signee sets his eyes on a road to a different kind of gold. A world title that former pugilist and now Conlan’s manager Matthew Macklin expects from his young eccentric fighter “I think Michael will go all the way. Guaranteed he’d be world champion. He’s a special talent and I think by the people at Top Rank he’ll be maneuvered into a PPV star” high expectations not just from his manager but his brother as well, current WBO Inter-Continental 115lbs champ Jamie Conlan “I get more nervous for him than when I fight myself. It’s because it’s outta my control. I do believe he is the best fighter in the world. He was the best amateur in the world. He’s just now coming, he’s a rookie in the pros but he’s come to the right man who’s gonna bring him along perfectly. I believe in Manny (Robles) and what I’ve learned in these 3 weeks or more, over 3 weeks of being out here (in Los Angeles) in their environment is that he certainly in the right hands. In really good hands with Manny who’s not gonna rush him. He is building him along perfectly and slowly but surely will mature him into a world champion”
Being about 5 thousand miles away from home Michael Conlan is not too far from his comfort zone having been joined by fellow lads in brother Jamie Conlan, Tyrone McKenna & 2 time Olympic bronze medalist Paddy Barnes who are set to fight on February 18th along with his fiancé & daughter who are key to his journey as a fighter “It’s great having them here it does make me feel at home…my fiancé & daughter are here and for me that’s very important. I don’t think I would be able to be on this journey without them. Having them here it’s very important to me”
BoxingInsider.com: “Being from Ireland how have you adapted now here in California? How do you take to the change? The Culture?”
Michael Conlan: “Its great. I think since I’ve started working with Manny since November, when we got together I think it was instant. A great connection right away. It usually takes me a long time to get used to a new coach but with Manny I was ready. The first day I was in the gym I felt we were used to each other already so that was great for me. The lifestyle out here you can’t beat it. It’s the sun. Once you wake up to the sunny weather it’s a lot easier than when you are in Ireland waking up to rain everyday or else a cold morning. So when you wake up to the sun you’re always gonna be happy so I’m happy to be here”
BoxingInsider.com: “Manny do you feel the same about the connection with Michael?”
Manny Robles: “Absolutely, absolutely. He’s a kid that is humble. Very important in a individual. This kid is a good kid. We’re dealing with a good boxer but more important than anything else more important than dealing with a good boxer is we’re dealing with a good human being. It’s always nice to be around talent of course. Talented fighters like Michael but now that I’ve had a chance to meet his dad (who came from Ireland) I can understand why he’s such a good kid. His dad has done a great job raising him and keeping him grounded. That’s the most important thing. Everything else, the talent is extra”
Michael Conlan: “Fighting is (the) fun time. This is (the) hard work. Fighting is where we go and have fun and we do what we have practiced. What we put into practice and we get the victory we’ll enjoy it. Unlike when you gotta wake up and your body is in pain and you come in here and Manny beats the shit outta you on the pads. That’s the hard work. That’s where it all stems from you know. When you have a good coach like him pushing you every single day what more do you want?”
After a controversial decision in Rio 2016 that shattered his dreams of Olympic gold Michael Conlan expressed his even more controversial thoughts & emotions regarding the judges questionable decision by calling them “cheats” & “cheating bastards” which only made matters worse as the AIBA in return hitting him with a hefty fine of €9,300 euros. These past Olympics also saw the removable of a combined 36 referees & judges pending an internal investigation that lasted about a 4 month period . Having had his differences with AIBA Conlan had this to say about the final results of the AIBA investigation claiming no foul play.
“I think it’s shit to be honest. I think it’s bullshit because the judges are still sacked. They’re not coming back. I think they have found something but they don’t want to admit wrong doing cause it opens up, it kind of ruins it for everybody”
For those casual boxing fans who don’t know Michael Conlan’s style or have never seen him fight manager Matthew Macklin describes him as a complete fighter as he goes on to say “I think he’s a pretty complete fighter. He can box, that’s probably his best attribute he’s a really good boxer. He’s really smart. He’s tall for his weight. He hits quite hard but he can also sit in the pocket and fight in the inside and his experience and his self belief. He really believes in himself which is key. He really, really does believe in himself and he’s backed it up. He’s a bronze medalist as a 20 year old in the Olympics. He was commonwealth (games) gold medalist. European (amateur championships) gold medalist and best boxer of the tournament, world amateur champion. He should’ve won the gold medal, we believe in Rio. He lost out in the quarter finals to a very, very bad decision. So his international experience is 2nd to none and he has the right team around him. He’s got a great stable here at the rock gym (in Carson, CA) great sparring, Oscar Valdez (WBO 126lbs champion) Jessie Magdaleno (WBO 122lbs champion) just to name 2. I think everything is going right for him”
There’s high expectations from everyone in Michael Conlan’s team as a whole but it also seems the young lad has gotten the stamp of approval by fellow Irishman UFC PPV star Conor McGregor who promised to carry the Irish flag upon walking him out into the ring for his massive debut. With all this going into Conlan’s pro debut it can only make you anticipate what future plans legendary promoter Bob Arum may have for Conlan given the huge success Arum has had not just with Mexican & American fighters but foreign pugilists as well having produce Manny Pacquiao one of boxing’s biggest PPV stars and Vasyl Lomachenko considered my many to be pound for pound the best fighter alive today. Tune in March 17th St. Patrick’s Day in Manhattan, New York at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca Of Boxing for Michael Conlan’s debut set to be Televised on UniMas.