Boxing Insider Notebook: Stevenson, Wallin, Hunter, Monroe, DAZN, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 16th to September 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Stevenson-Gonzalez Tickets on Sale
Tickets for the highly anticipated vacant WBO featherweight world title fight between unbeaten stars Shakur Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez — Saturday, October 26 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center — go on sale TODAY, September 23, at 10 a.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Golden Boy, Let’s Get It On Promotions and Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, tickets for this world championship event priced at $110, $70 and $40 (not including applicable fees) can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com or in person at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa gift shop.
A pair of undefeated Northern Nevada-based prospects, JJ Mariano and Diego Elizondo, are slated to appear on the undercard.
Stevenson (12-0, 7 KOs), the WBO No. 1 contender, is no stranger to Reno fight fans. He won multiple national tournaments there as an amateur, including the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials in late 2015. Stevenson went on to capture a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 22-year-old last fought July 13 in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, knocking out Alberto Guevara in the third round.
The 25-year-old Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KOs), the WBO No. 2 contender, is a seven-year pro who has scored three consecutive knockouts. A Los Angeles native, Gonzalez is coming off a sixth-round stoppage over Manuel Avila.
Stevenson-Gonzalez and a co-feature will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The entire undercard will stream on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
DAZN to Launch on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex
DAZN, the world’s largest sports streaming service, is now available to Comcast customers on Xfinity Flex and will be available over the Internet to millions more on Xfinity X1 this fall, marking DAZN’s first distribution deal with a major U.S. video and internet provider.
“We’re thrilled to give our Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex customers access to DAZN’s live and on-demand programming starting this fall just in time for some of the most highly anticipated events in sports this year,” said Daniel Spinosa, Vice President, Entertainment Services for Comcast Cable. “With new content from partners like DAZN, coupled with our aggregated UI, X1 is the best way to experience live sports at home, and with Flex we can extend this great content, integrated experience and voice control to our Internet-only customers directly on their TVs.”
As part of a new global initiative DAZN for Operators, DAZN now provides a turnkey opportunity for cable, satellite, mobile and internet providers to offer DAZN’s premium sports content as a major value add to their customers.
“DAZN for Operators is our new partnership program, in which we collaborate with the world’s leading pay TV operators, ISPs and mobile carriers to make the live sports experience even more accessible and better to watch for fans,” said Ben King, DAZN SVP, Global Distribution and Business Development. “We couldn’t think of a better inaugural partner than Comcast.”
Later this year, customers will be able to find DAZN’s content more deeply integrated within the X1 and Flex experiences, including direct access within the sports hub, the ultimate destination for all things sports on X1 and Flex, and the ability to call up a specific program with the Xfinity Voice Remote (“show me ChangeUp”). Flex is now included with an Xfinity Internet-only subscription, providing new and existing customers with the ability to easily access their favorite streaming services and manage their connected home devices right on the TV.
The launch coincides with DAZN’s blockbuster fall schedule of combat sports events. “Fight Season on DAZN” features:
– Oct. 5 – Triple G vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko – IBF Middleweight World Championship
– Oct. 26 – Bellator 232: Rory MacDonald vs. Douglas Lima – Welterweight Championship
– Nov. 2 – Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev – WBO Light Heavyweight Championship
– Nov. 9 – KSI vs. Logan Paul II
– Dec. 7 – Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua II – WBA, WBO, IBF Heavyweight World Championship
Since its introduction to the U.S. market in September 2018, DAZN has continued to add to its content portfolio, which includes thousands of live and on-demand sporting and other events each year. In April, it premiered a live MLB show ChangeUp that features the best action from around the league each day. The service also unveiled a new docu-series 40 DAYS which pairs celebrity executive producers with boxers to document their preparation leading up to fight night. On Sept. 9, the long-awaited daily talk show from former NFL All-Pro punter Pat McAfee launched on DAZN.
DAZN offers an annual pass for $99.99, and also a monthly option at $19.99 for those customers more focused on flexibility.
Wallin Returns to Hero’s Welcome in Sweden After Battle with Tyson Fury
Newly emerged top heavyweight contender Otto Wallin enjoyed a national hero’s homecoming yesterday in his native Sweden.
Basking in the glory earned by his epic stand against lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last Saturday, September 14, Wallin was greeted at Stockholm airport by countrymen eager to celebrate with their newest sports star and then whisked off for a national media tour.
“It felt great to have such a welcome at home in Sweden,” said a proud Wallin. “The media and the people are really backing me more and more and that’s awesome. Boxing in Sweden needs all the attention it can get and it feels good to be part of helping boxing at home and to be a role model for the kids.”
Wallin sat for several interviews including Sweden’s national publicly funded radio, Sveriges Radio, important sports newspaper Sportbladet and gave an emotional tribute to his late father in SVT’s popular Morning Studio, watched by 36.4% of the country.
Though Wallin was ultimately deemed to have lost on the scorecards after 12 tough rounds, the respect he earned from Fury and boxing fans worldwide has instantly taken him to recognizable status on the heavyweight boxing landscape.
“Otto had an outstanding fight against Tyson Fury and a well-deserved hero’s welcome in his homeland,” said his promoter, Dmitriy Salita. “Although he didn’t get to take home the belt, it feels like he did to his fans in Sweden. As he said after the fight, it was a great learning experience and he’s definitely proven to himself and the boxing world that he is a big part of the heavyweight division. The sky is the limit for Otto and I am very happy that he has achieved celebrity athlete status in the US and back home in Sweden.”
Wallin is scheduled for additional Swedish media appearances today and the rest of the week.
Kevin Hunter Ready to Challenge the Elite in the 140 Pound Division
Prince Ranch Boxing’s undefeated super lightweight, Keith “The Bounty” Hunter (11-0, 7 KOs), now ranked WBA #12, is ready to face anyone in the top ten of the 140-pound division as he enters contender status.
Hunter who recently out boxed Cameron Kreal (16-14-3, 4 KOs) by a wide decision, a fighter who despite his record not looking the best, was a heavily avoided fighter. In his previous fight before that, Hunter defeated, Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (11-2-1, 5 KOs) by split decision. Both wins come on his opponents home turf. Hunter has continuously looked to fight the best and is creating momentum organically through each performance.
“I have faced tough opposition in my last two bouts beating Cameron Kreal and Sanjarbek Rakhmanov, both who were fighting on the “A” side with their promoter, Mayweather Promotions,” said Keith Hunter, who is promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions. “I feel I am ready to face the best and this world ranking just puts me closer to getting those fights.”
Keith Hunter, who is the younger brother of Heavyweight contender, Michael Hunter (18-1, 12 KOs), comes from a boxing family. His father Michael Hunter Sr. (26-7-2, 8 KOs), had a successful career in the 80’s.
“I am fighting mostly as professional since people don’t put enough respect on my father’s name, and I feel that continuing his legacy is very important to me,” Hunter continued. “I am excited for what the future holds and like I said, I’m ready for anyone.”
“Hunter is a special fighter, he is talented, but also is a courageous fighter, who fights with tremendous heart,” said Prince Ranch Boxing’s CEO Greg Hannley. “It is exciting to see that he is now ranked in the top fifteen of the WBA as this can lead to some great fights in the future.”
Hunter is currently ranked #12 by the WBA and is awaiting a fight date as he looks to fight for a top ten opponent.
Carlos Monroe to Defend Title on Saturday in Atlanta
On Saturday, September 26 at Buckhead Theater in Atlanta, World Boxing Association Fedalatin Champion Carlos Monroe, in his biggest fight to date, defends his title against former world title challenger Javier Francisco Maciel. In the co-feature, Eric Moon will fight Mike Guy for the American Boxing Federation (ABF) title, as there will be eight bouts in all.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta.
Carlos Monroe (16-0, 13 KOs) was born in Chicago and moved to Atlanta age 3. As an amateur he won NINE consecutive Georgia State Golden Gloves tournaments. He also was two-time Florida State Golden Gloves champion. “Every year I competed n the state Golden Gloves, I won,” stated Carlos. In the 2015 Olympic trials, even though Carlos won his final bout, he was unable to fight further due to a major cut from an accidental head butt.
Monroe, coached by trainer of world champions Stacie McKinley, made his professional debut on December 16, 2017 and had ten fights in 2018, and this will be his sixth this year. “This is my biggest fight, to date,” said Carlos. “ I have been training in Pompano Beach, Florida, with a lot of sparring partners with different styles, so I am good about making adjustments on the fly. I don’t feel any threats in the ring. Javier is a game opponent and fought a few big names. He comes forward and is a pressure fighter, and I like that.” Monroe likes to work the body and “most of my stoppages have come from body shots.” Carlos lives about twenty minutes outside of Atlanta and will have many family and friends at the fight.
“Carlos is very smart, listens well and is a hard worker,” said McKinley, who has trained Mike Tyson and numerous middleweight world champions. “He has unusual hand speed, and power at the same time. This fight is a step up for him and after that, there will be another step up. I have big plans for him. He leaves home and comes here for to train, has a fight, goes home for week then comes back for another six to eight weeks. He is not just training boxing, he is living boxing and that’s what you need to do to become great. He has a young daughter now and a wonderful promoter, Judy Starkey, who has invested a lot in Carlos to provide for him what he needs to be successful.”
Javier Francisco Maciel (33-8, 23 KOs) from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has fought for the World Boxing Association world middleweight championship and has won numerous regional titles. Maciel has fought world champion Dmitry Pirog and world title challengers Willie Monroe Jr., Francisco Antonio Mora.
“We are so thankful to partners like this that support the nearly 3,000 kids that attend our Clubs each day and help them reach their full potential,” said Missy Dugan, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. “Through sports, youth build skills that will serve them now and throughout their lives including self-confidence, good sportsmanship, discipline, and an appreciation of healthy living and exercise.” Kids from several local Clubs will attend. Event organizers are Judy Starkey, an accomplished Atlanta businesswoman and Harry Barnett, who has been involved in boxing for over sixty years as a boxer, manager and promoter.
HBO PPV Undercard Results: De La Hoya and Diaz Win Easily, Monroe Decisions Rosado
HBO PPV Undercard Results: De La Hoya and Diaz Win Easily,
By: William Holmes
Golden Boy Promotions and HBO put on a four fight pay per view card tonight live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Diego De La Hoya (15-0) , the nephew of Oscar De La Hoya, opened up the card in the division against Luis Orlando Del Valle (22-2) in the super bantamweight division. This bout was for the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Championship.
De La Hoya was seven years younger than Del Valle and was taking a big step up in competition. De La Hoya was looking for his straight right counter early in the first round but was able to find range with his jab. Del Valle was knocked stumbling backwards into the corner in the middle of the round from a three punch combination, and the few punches he landed didn’t phase De La Hoya.
The second and third rounds were similar in that Del Valle would start off strong and De La Hoya would finish the roung strong. Del Valle showed he was willing to exchange with De La Hoya and held his own during their exchanges, but by the end of the third round it was De La Hoya who was winning the exchanges more frequently.
De La Hoya was tagged early in the fourth round with a sharp right cross, but he fired back with digging body shots. De La Hoya remained the aggressor for the remainder of the fourth and looked like he hurt Del Valle several times. De La Hoya also had control during the fifth round and was able to pop shot Del Valle at a safe range.
Del Valle was hit hard with a straight right counter in the first minute of the sixth round, and he remained tentative for the remainder. By the seventh round Del Valle’s right eye was showing signs of swelling. De La Hoya punished Del Valle to the body and to the head and was physically imposing his will.
Neither boxer stepped on the gas pedal in the eighth and ninth rounds, but De La Hoya was in clear control and landed the higher number of punches.
Del Valle needed a knockout in the final round to win the bout, but that knockout never came.
Diego De La Hoya remained undefeated with decision victory with scores of 100-90, 99-91, and 99-91.
Joseph Diaz Jr. (21-0) and Andrew Cancio (17-3-2) was the next bout of the night in the featherweight division.
Joseph Diaz was a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team and was four years younger than Cancio.
Diaz, a southpaw, stuck to the body in the opening two rounds and was looked very comfortable in the ring. He was able to avoid the punches of Cancio with solid upper body movement and kept his head an elusive target.
Cancio was able to get within striking range in the third round, but took a pounding from Diaz when he got in tight and got his nose busted in the process. Cancio was unable to handle the hand speed of Diaz.
Cancio was able to briefly trap Diaz in the corner in the opening minute of the fourth round and landed some solid body shots, but Diaz took control in the final two minutes and had the head of Cancio snapping backwards from several crisp punches.
Diaz really turned up the pressure in the fifth round and pounded Cancio throughout with combinations at will. Cancio looked outclassed and bewildered, and was simply out of his league.
Diaz’s dominance inside the ring wasn’t impressing the crowd as a wave broke out at the stadium in the sixth round, but at this point it was even clear to the regular fans in attendance that Cancio stood no shot.
Cancio corner was thinking about stopping the fight before the start of the seventh round but they sent him back into the ring. But this round was no different from the previous rounds and he was a punching bag for the talented Diaz.
Diaz’s offensive output dipped in the eighth round, but he still landed at a higher clip and the harder punches. Cancio’s corner repeatedly asked him if he wanted them to stop the fight, but Cancio refused and went back out for the ninth round. Hwoever, in the middle of the round Cancio’s corner wisely decided to stop the fight.
Joseph Diaz impressed with a TKO victory at 2:27 of the ninth round.
Gabriel Rosado (23-9) and Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2) met in the final bout of the televised undercard in the middleweight division.
Rosado looked like the taller fighter, but he was standing straight up while Monroe was boxing with his knees slightly bent. Monroe was able to stay out of Rosado’s range for most of the first round and boxed Rosado effectively by landing the higher number of punches, but none of them could be considered power shots.
Neither Monroe nor Rosado took many risks in the second or third round, but Monroe was landing more punches than Rosado and fought very defensively. The fans started to boo and whistle the lack of action in the third round.
The wave started again in the fourth round, and Monroe continued to safely outbox Rosado. Rosado complained to the referee in the fifth round from an apparent backhand landed by Monroe, but offered little offense after the complaint.
Monroe was sharp in the sixth round and landed several straight left crosses and quick counter jabs. Monroe was able to continue to stay out of the range of Rosado in the seventh round as Rosado was mainly landing at air when he threw punches, but he was pressing the pace and that could have factored in his favor in the eyes of the judges.
Rosado was able to land a few flurries at the end of the eighth round and may have stolen it. It was his most effective offensive output at this stage of the bout.
A cut opened up near the back of the head of Rosado in the ninth round and the referee briefly stopped it to get it attended to, but afterwards both boxers finally threw power shots and both landed heavy shots. Rosado may have scored a knockdown at the end of the round, but the referee ruled it a slip.
Rosado was pressing forward more in the tenth round, but he was not able to land any punches of note while Monroe side stepped him and pop shotted him from the outside.
Rosado needed at least a knockdown in the final two rounds in order to win the bout,but a headbutt in the eleventh round badly swelled and cut the left eye of Rosado and made it much more difficult. Rosado ended the fight better than he started, but it was too little too late.
The judges scored the bout 116-112, 118-110, 117-111 for Willie Monroe Jr.
HBO PPV World Championship Boxing Preview: Canelo vs. Smith, Monroe vs. Rosado
HBO PPV World Championship Boxing Preview: Canelo vs. Smith, Monroe vs. Rosado
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas will be the host site for HBO’s next pay per view offering.
Golden Boy Promotions will pit their superstar, Canelo Alvarez, against British boxer and WBO Junior middleweight champion Liam “Beefy” Smith. Most fight fans were hoping that Canelo would face Gennady Golovkin instead of Liam Smith, and view this fight as mismatch for Canelo.
Two former opponents for Gennady Golovkin, Gabriel Rosado and Willie Monroe Jr., will be fighting in the co-main event of the night. Highly rated prospects Joseph Diaz and Diego De La Hoya will fight on the televised portion of the undercard in matchups that they should win.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
The following is a preview of the main event and co-main event of the night.
Gabriel Rosado (23-9) vs. Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2); Middleweights
The co-main event of the night will be between two boxers that were stopped by Gennady Golovkin, but remain top contenders in the middleweight division.
Monroe is twenty nine years old and Rosado is thirty, so both boxers are in the middle of their prime years. Rosado will be about an inch and half taller than Monroe, but he will be giving up about two and a half inches in reach.
Rosado has the clear edge in power. Rosado has stopped thirteen of his opponents while Monroe has only stopped six. Monroe has the edge in amateur experience as he won the New York Golden Gloves and reached the finals in the Golden Gloves in 2007. Monroe is also the son of Willie Monroe and the great nephew of Willie the Worm Monroe. Rosado does not have any notable accolades as an amateur to mention.
Monroe has been slightly more active than Rosado in recent years. Monroe fought once in 2016, twice in 2015, and three times in 2014. Rosado has fought once in 2016, once in 2015, and two times in 2014.
Rosado’s record can be deceiving. He does have nine losses on his record and has only gone 2-3 in his past five fights, but his losses have come against some of the biggest names in boxing. He has defeated the likes of Joshua Clottey, Antonio Guiterrez, Charles Whittaker, Sechew Powell, Jesus Soto Karass, Ayi Bruce, and saul Roman. His losses have come to Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, Jermell Charlo, David Lemieux, Alfredo Angulo, Fernando Guerrero, and Derek Ennis.
Rosado is a warrior, but he has been stopped four times in his career. He was able to capture the middleweight crown in Big Knockout Boxing (BKB) outside of his normal career of boxing.
Monroe has defeated the likes John Thompson, Brian Vera, Brandon Adams, Vitaliy Kopylenko, Donatas Bondorovas, and won the Boxcino tournament in 2014. His losses were to Darnell Boone and Gennady Golovkin.
Rosado is a live dog in every fight he enters into, and this Saturday is no different. He would be a bigger underdog if Willie Monroe was known for his power, but he’s not and Rosado can box. This should be a very competitive fight, but this writer sees Monroe winning a decision victory.
Liam Smith (23-0-1) vs. Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
Canelo Alvarez holds the WBC World Middleweight Title but will bumping down to the junior middleweight division to face Liam Smith for his WBO Junior Middleweight Title. An argument could be made that even though Canelo holds a legitimate middleweight title, he has never faced an actual true middleweight, and has only faced blown up junior middleweights and welterweights.
Liam Smith has already gone on the record to state that there will be no fight if Canelo cannot make the 154 pound weight limit. However, there is little reason to believe that Canelo won’t make weight.
Saturday will be Canelo’s 50th fight as a professional, and that’s an impressive feat for someone who is only twenty six years old. Smith is two years older than Canelo, and will have a slight height advantage.
Even though Canelo has nearly double the number of fights of Smith and is two years younger, Smith has been more active than Canelo in the past two years. Smith fought four times in 2015 and twice in 2014, while Canelo has averaged two fights a year since 2012. It should also be noted that Smith has never fought outside of the United Kingdom.
Neither boxer has an overly impressive amateur background. Smith was a two time winner of the ABA Championships as an amateur and Canelo won the Junior Mexican National Boxing Championships as a young teenager, but neither competed in the Olympics or won any medals at an amateur world championship.
Canelo’s only loss in his career was to Floyd Mayweather Jr. His list of defeated opponents is impressive, and he has defeated the likes of Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Shane Mosley, and Alfonso Gomez.
Smith has never been in the ring with someone of Canelo’s talent. Smith has defeated the likes of Pregrad Radosevic, Jimmy Kelly, John Thompson, and Zoltan Zera.
The one major positive that jumps out at you when looking at Smith’s resume is that he has stopped his past eight opponents. Canelo has stop three of his past five opponents. However, Smith only has thirteen knockouts on his record while Canelo has thirty three.
Again, this will be the first time that Smith has fought outside of the United Kingdom and this fight will be held in Texas which has a large population of Mexican boxing fans. The fans will be hostile towards Smith, which is something he is not used to, and Canelo is the type of high quality opponent that Smith has never seen before.
The stars are aligned for an easy Canelo victory.
Get a Grip, Billy Joe Saunders
Get a Grip, Billy Joe Saunders
By: Brandon Bernica
Billy Joe Saunders reminds me of Gollum from The Hobbit. Just as with Saunders’ belt, Gollum’s ring infatuates him with illusions of grandeur. Both are so committed to their prized possessions that their sanities hinge on protecting their gold at all times.
Truthfully, Saunders rejecting big-name fights is indicative of this nature. In fact, it isn’t lofty to suggest that he masquerades as a false champion with delusional sensibilities.
First, Gennady Golovkin offered him a lucrative deal to unify titles – even ceding home turf advantage to Saunders for the fight. That wasn’t enough money for Billy Joe. Soon after, Golden Boy presented him with contracts to fight Golovkin victims Curtis Stevens and Willie Monroe. Both were turned down for unknown reasons.
At this point, you’d probably assert that nothing could top these levels of avoidance from a “champion”. Think again. After reviewing terms to fight middleweight journeyman Gabe Rosado on the Canelo vs. Smith undercard, Saunders passed on the bout because Rosado is not a strong enough name to add to his resumé. While shocking, Saunders’ decisions signal bad news for the outlook on the rest of his career.
Saunders’ career can fall into one of two directions from this point. One outcome of his stingy micromanagement could be a refusal of any big names to fight with him. While Saunders appears content to guard his belt against heavily outmatched opponents, he’ll eventually need a star fighter to bring him money and public respect. As they say, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
But what if an inverse scenario is true? What if big names prey on him, sensing the fear underlying his steady diet of match rejections? At some point, either public pressure or a sanctioning organization will force him into one of these fights, which could leave him exposed and stripped of marketability. By then, it will be too late to return to the negotiating table with the big boys with his career heading towards a sharp descent, leaving him little more than a cautionary tale.
Sadly, Saunders’ unwillingness to fight only points to a common trend in today’s boxing world: fighters search for the highest reward while incurring the lowest risk. Floyd Mayweather made a career off of maximizing his earning potential without consistently challenging himself against the best. Mayweather utilized a bevy of excuses in rationalizing his behavior, and now other fighters are following suit. Note to the boxing world: you are not entitled. You made your name off of cutting your teeth and dedication; to give up this edge is a lead-in to disaster.
Saunders didn’t start out the tepid fighter he is now. His road to notoriety crossed through fellow up-and-comer Chris Eubank Jr and former world champion Andy Lee, winning both of his fights impressively en route to prominence. But the road to respect in boxing doesn’t end overnight. It endures night after night of painstaking work. Saunders will never win the adulation of boxing fans until he embraces this grind. Here’s hoping that that happens soon.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Monroe, Top Rank, Gonzalez, Barrios, Benavidez, Gomez, Saunders, and more
Boxing Insider Notebook: Monroe, Top Rank, Gonzalez, Barrios, Benavidez, Gomez, Saunders, and more
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 5th to July 12th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Banner Promotions Re-signs Willie Monroe Jr.
Banner Promotions is pleased to announce the re-signing of former world title challenger and Boxcino 2014 Middleweight champion, Willie Monroe Jr. to an exclusive promotional agreement.
Monroe of Rochester, New York has a record of 20-2 with 6 knockouts and is coming off a 10-round unanimous decision over fellow former world title challenger and Boxcino champion, John Thompson on June 11th in Verona, New York.
The 29 year-old Monroe turned professional in 2008 and won his first 10 bouts. Monroe won the 2014 Boxcino Middleweight tournament with wins over Donatas Bondorovas, Vitally Kopylenko, and Brandon Adams.
Those wins catapulted him into a bout with WBA/Interim WBC Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
Monroe performed admirably in the bout, which took place on May 16, 2015 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
“I’m excited to re-sign with Banner Promotions. Artie has been nothing but great to me, and he’ll put me in position to fight against the Danny Jacobs and Canelos of the boxing world,” said Willie Monroe Jr.
“It feels good to have a fresh start over. I am coming off of a huge win on Showtime vs. John Thompson, and I now have a great team watching my back with my brother, Trent Monroe, TJ Nolan and Adrian Clark as my Strategic Partner.”
“Doing what was best for Willie was the focal point in negotiations. We put our heads together and structured a great deal for Willie with Banner Promotions. I am looking forward to working with Artie to map out things for Willie,” said Adrian Clark, Monroe’s Strategic Partner.
“We are excited to have Willie back in the fold,” said Banner Promotions President, Arthur Pelullo.
“Willie has showed not only in the Boxcino tournament, but in his fight against Golovkin, that he is one of the top middleweights in the world. He had a great performance against John Thompson, and now he is ready for any challenge in the division. We will be actively pursuing all of those opportunities for Willie.”
Top Rank Signs Jose Gonzalez
Unbeaten featherweight prospect José ‘El Chocolatito’ González signed a multiannual promotional contract with Top Rank® the promotional company based in Las Vegas that is led by hall of fame promoter, Bob Arum.
As a professional fighter, Gonzalez, who was born and raised in Harlem, New York, marches undefeated with a record of 3-0-1 and 1 knockout. The fighter that is called ‘El Chocolatito’ amassed a 34-6 record as an amateur and won various amateur tournaments as: Junior Olympics in 2011 and Golden Gloves in 2014.
“I feel very blessed and thankful for my managers and Top Rank for giving me this opportunity to sign with the best promotional company,” said Gonzalez. This will motivate me to train harder every day and accomplish my goal of becoming a world champion,” guaranteed the 20-year old fighter.
‘El Chocolatito’, who describes himself as a classic boxer-puncher with knockout power, is trained by his father Martin Gonzalez, in the famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.
Boxing runs through the Gonzalez’s veins. Martin represented Nicaragua in 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona and Jose is the cousin of world champion Roman ‘El Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, from whom he adopted his nickname.
“Jose is solid prospect who is always in entertaining fights and has a growing fan base. Along with his manager, Richard Anthony guiding him, his future is extremely bright,” said Carl Moretti, vice-president of Top Rank.
“It is a honor and privilege to work with the Top Rank family. Bob Arum and his team have been a delight to work with and we look forward to a long and happy relationship,” said Richard Anthony, manager of Gonzalez.
Details about Gonzalez debut under the Top Rank banner will be announced soon.
Barrios Defeats Boschiero on ESPN
Undefeated rising super featherweight contender Mario Barrios (16-0, 8 KOs) defeated former title challenger Devis Boschiero (39-5-1, 21 KOs) by unanimous decision (120-107 X 3) in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN & ESPN Deportes from Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, New Jersey.
From the opening bell, Barrios asserted himself as the aggressor, landing his jab at will and finding his distance early.
Barrios said, “Initially my game plan was to work the jab and see what would open (Boschiero) up. But as the rounds went by he didn’t seem like he was going to come at me. He just didn’t seem to want any action.”
A very tall super featherweight at more than six feet, the 21-year-old Barrios proved difficult for the stocky Boschiero to reach. However, near the end of the second round, the experienced Italian found a rare opening and landed several punches that briefly put Barrios on his heels.
In round three, Barrios regained control and coasted throughout the middle rounds, largely due to Boschiero’s hesitation to engage.
“It was pretty frustrating. I came out to put on a show for the fans, and unfortunately it seemed like my opponent was just trying to survive,” said Barrios. “I can try to press the fight all I want, but if he doesn’t want to fight it’s not going to happen.”
Boschiero, who challenged for a world title in 2011, added, “I had trouble finding my range tonight. He was tougher to hit then I expected.”
In round 12, Barrios scored the only knockdown of the fight, but Boschiero was able to get back to his feet and used the final seconds of the fight to execute his best combination of the night.
“I got to him in the final round,” said Bosciero. “But the opportunities were there when they weren’t in previous rounds.”
A victorious Barrios said, “This was my first 12-round fight, and it felt good to get the experience, I just wanted more intense action. But an ESPN main event takes my career to the next level. I’m just hoping for my shot at the title.”
Televised coverage kicked off with undefeated prospect Eddie Ramirez (14-0, 9 KOs) handily defeating Californian contender Jessie Roman (20-3, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision (98-92, 99-91 X2) in a 10-round super lightweight showdown.
David Benavidez Gets Right Back in the Gym
Just two days after dominating previously undefeated Francy Ntetu (16-1, 3 KOs) on Premier Boxing Champions’ June 25th CBS card at New York’s Barclay’s Center, “El Bandera Roja,” David Benavidez, was back at his home gym in Long Beach, preparing for his next bout. The rising star had no intention of taking time off, and jumped right into an intense training regimen that included sparring with Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (34-0, 24KO), who was set to make his pay-per-view debut later in the month, but was sidelined this week with an injury.
“My last fight was hard, but I learned a lot,” stated Benavidez regarding his bout with previously unbeaten Canadian Ntetu. “It was great experience, getting rounds in.”
With only one exception, a six round fight that went the distance in 2014, Benavidez hadn’t fought beyond the second round, knocking out opponent after opponent.
“I feel better and more experienced,” Benavidez continued. “I have confidence knowing I can go into deep waters and finish a fight if I have to. I’m learning how to pace myself when I need to during a round, and I know that those later rounds made me a better fighter.”
As Benavidez prepares for his next fight, he’s focused completely on improving himself.
“I didn’t mind getting right back to the gym,” said Benavidez. “This is my lifestyle now. I just want to train. I want to look at what I did wrong in my last fight and fix it. I don’t want to get rusty in between fights. When I’m not physically training, I’m thinking about mistakes I made in fights, techniques that can be improved. I want to get better each fight, and I’m consumed by that.”
“It’s this commitment to success and improvement that sets David apart from other young men his age, and other fighters,” said Jose Benavidez, Sr., David’s father and head trainer. “This is what makes him different, and this is why he’s going to be the best.”
Gomez Suffers Injury, Velez vs. Alvarado New Main Event
The exciting 10-round super featherweight bout between Jayson “La Maravilla” Velez (23-2-1, 16 KOs) and Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado (23-7, 16 KOs) has been upgraded to the main event on the Estrella TV Boxeo Estelar, broadcast on July 15. The originally scheduled fight between Alfonso Gomez vs. Pablo Cesar Cano has been cancelled due to Gomez sustaining an elbow injury earlier this week.
Live from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, the event will feature a new televised co-main event between undefeated prospect Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (15-0, 11 KOs) of Boston and Luis “La Roca” Hernandez (12-1, 7 KOs) of Rio Pierdas, Puerto Rico in a eight-round super welterweight fight. Decorated amateur, Cesar Diaz of Palmdale, Calif. will make his professional debut and open up the Estrella TV broadcast in a scheduled four-round super bantamweight fight.
The event will feature former five-division boxing world champion and International Boxing Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard hosting a meet and greet at the Fantasy Springs Special Events Center ahead of the televised bouts from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Rob Brandt Wants to Face Billy Joe Saunders
Undefeated Minnesota-based middleweight Rob “Bravo” Brant would like to be the contender chosen to face WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders on September 17.
Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) announced last week he would be fighting on the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Liam Smith undercard on HBO pay-per-view in the United States, and WBO #9-rated Brant (20-0, 13 KOs) says he thinks he’s the right choice to face him.
“I have the utmost respect Billy Joe Saunders as an athlete,” said Brant. “I respect him so much that I would really enjoy giving him a grand welcome to the United States in the middle of the square circle.”
Brant has been on a tear for the last year, scoring important victories on national television, including a “KO of the Year” contending knockout over Decarlo Perez in January. During that time, he also won the NABA Middleweight and WBC Continental Americas Championships.
“Rob Brant is the perfect choice for Saunders in that fight,” said Brant’s promoter, Greg Cohen of Greg Cohen Promotions. “He’s red hot right now. He’s undefeated and makes for exciting fights and he’s got a fan following from his television appearances. Saunders vs. Brant makes great sense for boxing fans and from a business perspective.”
Cohen says he’s hoping to hear from Saunders’ representatives soon.