Boxing Insider Notebook: Peterson, Spence, Diaz, Derevyanchenko, Davtaev, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 9th to January 16th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Patrice Harris
Joseph Diaz to Defend NABO Featherweight Title Against Victor Terrazas
Golden Boy Promotions will continue its partnership with ESPN for this exciting new year with an explosive main event featuring 126-pound contender Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (25-0, 13 KOs) defending his NABO Featherweight Title against former world champion Victor “Vikingo” Terrazas (38-4-2, 21 KOs) on the Feb. 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino inIndio, Calif.Doors to the Special Events Center open at 5:00 p.m. PT, and the first non-televised bout starts at 5:30 p.m. PT. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will transmit the fights beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT, and the ESPN3 transmission will begin at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.
Diaz Jr., a 25-year-old prodigy of South El Monte, Calif., was an exceptional amateur prospect who was part of the 2012 United States Olympic Team. After making his debut with Golden Boy Promotions in December 2012 at the now-defunct LA Sports Arena, Diaz, Jr. climbed the 126-pound rankings defeating one tough opponent after another. Diaz, Jr. had a great 2017 as he participated in two Pay-Per-View events. In the HBO-televised undercard of Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr., Diaz, Jr. cruised to a 10-round unanimous decision victory against the previously undefeated Manuel “Tino” Avila. Diaz, Jr. then defeated Rafael “Bing Bang” Rivera via dominant 12-round decision in the co-main event of the historic Canelo vs. Golovkin HBO pay-per-view event. Diaz, Jr. will look to continue his path to a world title with a win on Feb. 22.
“I look forward to making my 2018 debut,” said Diaz, Jr. “And what better way than by facing a tough former world champion in Victor Terrazas! I will remind everyone why I deserve a world title shot by headlining this card exciting fashion.”
Terrazas, a 34-year-old native of Jalisco, Mexico, is a former world champion who defeated Cristian “El Diamante” Mijares to capture the WBC Super Bantamweight Title. Terrazas, a student of the traditional Mexican school of boxing, has fought fighters at a world championship level from different parts of the world, and will bring years of fighting experience into his fight against Diaz, Jr.
“I have faced great fighters in my career,” said Terrazas. “And this fight against Joseph Diaz, Jr. will not be an exception. I think that my experience will be very important, and I have no doubts that I will leave with my hand raised.”
Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (8-0, 8 KOs), a super lightweight prospect who has delighted fans with his tremendous knockout power, will return in the eight-round co-main event. After debuting as a professional in 2016, Ortiz, Jr. has never heard the final bell of a bout, and he’s anxious to retain his 100% knockout rate in the year 2018. One must definitely not lose sight of this sensational Mexican American who has his roots in Michoacan, Mexico.
The explosive undercard will be stacked with the best and brightest prospects of the exclusive Golden Boy Promotions stable. Lightweight knockout artist Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez (18-1, 15 KOs) will make his highly anticipated ring return over a scheduled eight rounds of action in his Fantasy Springs Resort Casino debut. Gonzalez is a hard-hitting prospect who is coming off two spectacular wins, the last of which was against Gamaliel “El Platano” Diaz.
Manny “Chato” Robles III (14-0, 6 KOs), after making his headlining debut in Sept. of 2017, will square off in an eight-round featherweight fight. Power punching prospect Edgar “Kid Neza” Valerio (10-0, 7 KOs) of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl by way of South Central, Los Angeles, California will start the year off with a bang in an eight-round battle in the 126-pound division.
Hector “El Finito” Tanajara, Jr.(11-0, 4 KOs) of San Antonio, Texas will open the evening of very exciting combats in an eight-round super featherweight fight. In the night’s swing bout, Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (6-0, 4 KOs) will participate in a six-round lightweight fight.
Opponents for these exciting, rising prospects will be announced shortly.
Sergey Derevyanchenko Highlights Spence vs. Peterson Undercard
Unbeaten middleweight contender and IBF No. 1 challenger Sergey Derevyanchenko (11-0, 9 KOs, WSB: 23-1, 7 KOs) will enter the ring for an eight-round bout as part of an exciting undercard on Saturday, January 20 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING®.
The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. taking on two-division champion Lamont Peterson live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Lightweight world champion Robert Easter squares up against two-division champion Javier Fortuna. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP telecast will be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP).
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, are priced starting at $50, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com, at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center or by calling 800-745-3000. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Additional action inside of the arena will see the brother of Lamont Peterson, once-beaten Anthony Peterson (37-1, 24 KOs), facing Luis Florez (23-7, 19 KOs) in a 10-round super lightweight matchup plus once-beaten welterweight Ivan Golub (13-1, 11 KOs) in an eight-round fight against Colombia’s Fidel Monterrosa (38-14-1, 30 KOs).
Undercard fights continue with undefeated 2016 Haitian Olympian Richardson Hitchins (3-0, 1 KO) entering the ring for a four-round welterweight fight against Preston Wilson (4-2-1, 3 KOs), Philadelphia’s Dylan Price (4-0, 4 KOs) competing in a four-round super flyweight bout against Nestor Ramos (7-7, 3 KOs) and welterweight prospect Keyshawn Williams (1-0, 1 KO) taking on Denis Okoth (1-0, 1 KO) in a four-round matchup.
Rounding out the night is a four-round showdown between unbeaten Desmond Jarmon and Dallas-native Charles Clark plus New Jersey’s Matthew Gonzalez in a six round middleweight fight against Alexander Serna.
A highly decorated amateur who represented his native Ukraine in the 2008 Olympics, Derevyanchenko now lives and trains in Brooklyn and most recently earned the top spot in the IBF rankings with an impressive 12th round stoppage over Tureano Johnson. The 32-year-old also defeated previously unbeaten Kemahl Russell in 2017 after his 2016 saw him earn a TKO victory over Mike Guy in March before stopping former champion Sam Soliman in the second round of a world title eliminator in July. The unbeaten fighter defeated a slew of experienced contenders in 2015 with wins over Elvin Ayala, Alan Campa, Vladine Biosse and a third-round stoppage of Jessie Nicklow.
Derevyanchenko and Golub make it a pair of Ukrainian sluggers fighting out of Brooklyn who will compete on the undercard looking to put on impressive performances in their adopted hometown.
Russian Heavyweight Apti Davtaev Remains Undefeated
Several entertaining fights highlighted the untelevised undercard for two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields defense of her WBC and IBF titles against mandatory challenger Tori Nelson at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York tonight.
In the main supporting bout, Detroit via Kurchaloi, Russia, heavyweight Apti Davtaev had a successful United States fighting debut by scoring a six-round unanimous decision over Philadelphia’s Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson.
Wilson didn’t make it easy. Fighting out of a crouch, the heavily muscled, but much shorter Wilson came up with enough wild haymakers to make the entire fight very interesting. Davtaev appears to have a heavy right hand, which he dropped onto the hard head of Wilson often enough to earn the close, but deserved nod. Davtaev warrants credit for going to war whenever one of Wilson’s looping swings connected.
Davtaev (now 14-0-1, 13 KOs) loses his perfect KO percentage, but walks away with a hard-fought victory over a foe who came to win. Wilson is now (18-14-1, 9 KOs).
The scores were 58-56 from all three judges.
An accidental headbutt brought an abbreviated end to the six-round super lightweight return of Aktjubinsk, Kazakhstan’s Bakhtiyar Eyubov.
In against Lynchburg, Virginia’s Maurice Chalmers (14-13-1, 8 KOs), the exciting slugger Eyubov (13-0, 11 KOs) was advancing behind active head movement and a tight shell when his head collided with the retreating Chalmers’. The cut that resulted was ruled too severe and the fight was ruled a No Decision at 1:59 of the opening round.
In a wild women’s light heavyweight brawl featuring fists flying from every direction, wrestling holds and several MMA-style takedowns, Franchon “The Heavy Hitting Diva” Crews-Dezurn won a unanimous six-round decision over Tiffany “The Terminator” Woodard.
Crews-Dezurn, now 3-1, 1 KO, of Baltimore, Maryland, had too many weapons for Wilson, North Carolina’s Woodard (now 4-10-3, 3 KOs), so Woodard tried and succeeded to make things ugly. What followed was a wild punch-out featuring elbows and headlocks and takedowns that left both on the canvas more than once.
Woodard took a lot of hard leather and deserves credit for her toughness. Crews-Dezurn showed class in not taking the bait for most of the fight. She did lose a point in the sixth for a sneaky revenge takedown.
The scores were 59-53, 59-54 and 59-54.
Detroit via Magnitogorsk, Russia’s Alexey Zubov outworked a determined Lamont “Too Smooth” Capers of Hawley, Pennsylvania, on his way to a six-round majority decision.
An entertaining fight between hard-nosed cruiserweights, Zubov was cut over the right eye and took some good punches, but simply outworked the more selective Capers. Zubov showed his often-superior conditioning and worked behind an educated jab, while Capers was content to lay on the ropes and land hard pot shots often enough to keep it interesting.
A score of 57-57 draw was over-ruled by scores 59-56 and 58-56 for the tough Russian. With the victory, Zubov moves his record to 17-1, 9 KOs. Capers falls to 8-11-3.
Lamont Peterson Workout Quotes
Two-division world champion Lamont Peterson hosted a media workout in his hometown of Washington, D.C. Thursday as he prepares to take on unbeaten welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. Saturday, January 20 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING® and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features lightweight world champion Robert Easter battling former champion Javier Fortuna.
Here is what the workout participants had to say Thursday:
“I feel great. I’m already close to weight. I’m happy and eating up to five times a day. I feel strong and I’m ready for this fight.
“I have to look at this as really just another big fight. When you’re at the top, you try not to make too much of each fight. We know what’s at stake. I know that when I keep it simple, that’s when I perform best.
“Right now my body feels better than ever. I’m comfortable with everything that’s gone on in camp and I think you can see it in my body.
“I’ve always trained hard since the first day I came here as a child. That’s been instilled in me since a young age and it’s carried me throughout my career.
“Everything I do is for D.C. I’m trying to get as much recognition for this area the best way I can. That’s what we all strive for in this gym. This is the biggest one that’s been on the schedule for a while and I’m ready to bring it home.
“It gets easier and easier the more championship fights I’m in. I was in shape for all of them, but I definitely put more pressure on myself when I was young. I’ve improved each time and now I feel like I’m really at the perfect place in my career.”
Rances Barthelemy and Kyrl Relikh to Rematch on February 10th
Unbeaten two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy and former title challenger Kiryl Relikh will both look to kick off their new year with a world title victory when they meet in a rematch for a vacant 140-pound title Saturday, Feb. 10 live on SHOWTIME from the Alamodome in San Antonio in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT and will be headlined by three-division world champion Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) taking on unbeaten 140-pound world champion Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs).
“Obviously the number one goal for 2018 is to bring home that belt on February 10,” said Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs). “Then I want to unify with all the other champions. My New Year’s resolution is to surround myself with good people and win multiple world titles.”
“First I have to win this fight in February,” said Relikh (21-2, 19 KOs). “But then I have hopes of a great year defending my belt against the mandatory and eventually a unification fight. This will be the year I reach a new level in this sport.”
Barthelemy and Relikh will fight for the WBA’s vacant Super Lightweight World Title after their title eliminator bout in May ended in a debatable decision for Barthelemy. This time the fighters will look to leave no doubt with the full title on the line.
“This is my second time fighting for a world title and it will be a second lesson for me,” said Relikh. “This is my time to become champion. I need to do much more during this fight.
“I have to be aggressive right from the start. I’m sure that I need a knockout to get the victory. He can try to run, but he won’t be able to hide from me.”
“Winning this title would be a dream come true for me,” said Barthelemy. “I’d be the first Cuban fighter in history to win a title in three different divisions. The last fight was very close and deserving of a rematch.
“I just need to stick to my game plan and show everyone that I’m the best 140-pound fighter in the world. The key will be to stay disciplined and land hard shots all night.”
Both fighters have sacrificed in training camp on the road to what they hope will be a celebratory moment on February 10, training hard through the holiday season to stay on target for fight night.
“My whole team has done a fantastic job so far in camp,” said Barthelemy. “Ismael Salas and Joel Casamayor are giving me great tips and keeping me focused on my goal. One new thing I’ve added this camp is Bob Santos for nutrition and strength and conditioning. It’s made a big difference over the holidays where I usually eat too much. He’s kept me on a strict diet and training has never been better.”
“These last few weeks through the holidays have been the hardest of my camp, so there was no room for distractions,” said Relikh. “I spent New Year’s with my family and then I was right back into training camp in the morning.”
With two belts in the 140-pound division on the line in the same night, the winner between Barthelemy and Relikh will be in a great position to begin a path toward unification after February 10.
“I will have my eye on the main event for sure,” said Relikh. “I’m focused on Barthelemy now, but I want to unify and if that means fighting Garcia or Lipinets, I will be ready.”
“Garcia vs. Lipinets is going to be a great fight and I definitely want the winner,” said Barthelemy. “Although Lipinets is the underdog going into this fight, I think he’s going to give Garcia all he can handle. But I still think Garcia will come out on top, setting up war between us in a unification bout.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, McGregor, Fonfara, Stevenson, Pulev, Barrios and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, McGregor, Fonfara, Stevenson, Pulev, Barrios and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 17th to April 24th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Dana White Tells Colin Cowherd that McGregor vs. Mayweather is Getting Closer
UFC President Dana White joined The Herd with Colin Cowherd today, April 19, to update everyone on a potential Floyd Mayweather / Conor McGregor fight and said it’s getting really close. Below is a highlight from the interview, as well as a link to the video:
Cowherd: “Has one side agreed to it, or are they both in flux?”
White: “I think we get the McGregor side done in the next couple of days, and then I go lock myself in a room for a couple days with Team Mayweather and see what we can come out with.”
Cowherd: “Is it all about money at this point?”
White: “It’s all about money. Absolutely. Yeah, definitely.”
Cowherd: “What is your projection on total purse for this – all said and done?”
White: “It depends on how much the fight sells. If the fight sells as well as I think it can, Floyd makes a little north of $100 (million) and Conor makes $75 (million).”
Cowherd: “Mayweather is bothered by the split, because he feels what – he should get how much of it?”
White: “He feels he’s the A side and he should get more of it. We haven’t really got into that negotiation yet. I wanted to get McGregor locked in first because McGregor is under contract with me. At the end of the day, does this fight make a ton of sense for me? It really doesn’t, but you know, Conor wants this thing really bad, and I’ve said it many times, this kid has stepped up and saved some big fights for me, man. So I’m in, I’ll figure it out.”
Credit to “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and Foxsportsreadio.com
Andrzej Fonfara to Face Adonis Stevenson in Championship Rematch
WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson will take-on hard-hitting Polish contender Andrzej Fonfara in a rematch of their 2014 slugfest on Saturday, June 3 in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, presented by Premier Boxing Champions, live on SHOWTIME from the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Televised coverage will also include a matchup of top light heavyweights as WBC number-one contender Eleider Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs) faces former world champion Jean Pascal (31-4-1, 18 KOs) with both men looking to get a shot at the winner of the main event next.
Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) and Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs) battled at Bell Centre on May 24, 2014 as Stevenson was able to survive a knockdown late in the fight to win a decision and defend his belt for the third time. Both men threw huge shots all the way until the final bell and will look to pick up where they left off on June 3.
“I’m very excited for this rematch with Fonfara, but it is going to be a short night for him because they don’t pay me for overtime,” said Stevenson. “I’m very happy to be back in the ring for my first fight of 2017. I can’t wait to fight in front of my hometown fans at the Bell Centre. The first time I fought Fonfara was at the Bell Centre in 2014 and now we’re back doing it for a second time. I will put on a great, exciting show for the fans in my hometown, and for the fans on SHOWTIME.”
“I feel good that I’m back here after three years,” said Fonfara. “I’m ready for revenge. I’m a different fighter physically and mentally. I’ve shown in a couple of fights that I’m a better fighter. It’s a great opportunity to get the rematch and be a world champion. The last fight against Chad Dawson gave me experience because it was very technical. But really all the fights since then – Julio Chavez, Jr., Nathan Cleverly and even Joe Smith – have helped me prepare for Stevenson again. I changed my team, got a new coach and a trainer, which makes me physically and mentally where I need to be for this fight. I don’t have a problem fighting in Montreal. I love Montreal. It’s a beautiful city with beautiful people. It will be a great night of boxing and I’m sure that I will be victorious on the night of June 3.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Group Yvon Michel (GYM) in association with Warriors Boxing, are priced from $80 to $350, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Bell Centre box office, on www.evenko.ca, at GYM (514) 383-0666) or at Champion Boxing Club (514) 376-0980.
“This is one of the best shows in Quebec in a long time,” said Yvon Michel, President of GYM. “It’s the kind of event that will inject some adrenaline into boxing in Quebec. We have two fights that could be main events anywhere in the world and on any network. Adonis will defend his title for the eighth time. To be a world champion for four years is exceptional. Fonfara has a style that can give Adonis some problems.’
“In the co-main event we have a former world champion in Pascal who still believes he can be world champion. He will have a tough assignment with Alvarez, a fighter who just proved he belongs with the best in the world with his win over Lucian Bute. If he beats Pascal he will have beaten two of the best stars that Canada has ever produced in back-to-back fights. He will prove to be a threat to anyone in the future.”
“We’re really looking forward to taking on Stevenson at the Bell Centre in Montreal on SHOWTIME,” said Leon Margules, President of Warriors Boxing, Fonfara’s promoter. “Andrzej was just 26-years-old when they fought last time and it was a big step up for him. We believe he’s now ready to win because he has gained a significant amount of experience in matches with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., Nathan Cleverly and Chad Dawson. We’re thrilled to be given the opportunity to fight Stevenson for the world title for a second time.”
Stevenson won the world light heavyweight title in June of 2013 in Montreal, via a sensational 76-second, first-round knockout over the then-undisputed king of the division Chad Dawson. The impressive victory earned Stevenson “Knockout of the Year” and “Fighter of the Year” accolades. From there, Stevenson went on to record stoppage victories over Tavoris Cloud and Tony Bellew in addition to the decision over Fonfara. Born in Haiti, but fighting out of Quebec, Stevenson defended his title twice in 2015 before making the seventh defense of his belt in an exciting firefight with Thomas Williams Jr. that ended with a fourth-round knockout for the reigning champion.
The lineal 175-pound champion trains out of the late Emanuel Steward’s Kronk Gym with his head trainer Sugar Hill.
Now training in Oakland with Virgil Hunter, Fonfara enters this bout coming off of a 10th-round stoppage victory over former world champion Chad Dawson in March at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The fighter out of Warsaw, Poland bounced back from his defeat to Stevenson with a TKO victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and a decision over Nathan Cleverly in a 2015 Fight of the Year contender. The 29-year-old won his first 13 fights after moving up to light heavyweight in 2010 including wins over Gabriel Campillo, Glen Johnson and Tommy Karpency.
A 2008 Colombian Olympian fighting out of Montreal, Alvarez worked his way into the mandatory position for the WBC title with victories over Isidro Ranoni Prieto and Isaac Chilemba in 2015. He followed those up with wins over Robert Berridge and Norbert Dabrowski before his most recent matchup that saw him deliver a sensation fifth round knockout over former world champion Lucian Bute.
Originally from Haiti, Pascal and his family moved to Canada when he was a child and began boxing at the age of 13. He would eventually become one of the most accomplished fighters from Montreal. Pascal became a world champion in 2009 when he defeated previously unbeaten Adrian Diaconu. He would go on to defend the title three times, including a victory over Chad Dawson. After losing his title to Bernard Hopkins, Pascal has picked up victories over Lucian Bute, Yuniesky Gonzalez and most recently Ricardo Ramallo in addition to two challenges of former unified world champion Sergey Kovalev.
Fite TV to Stream Pulev vs. Johnson
FITE TV will stream the April 28th heavyweight clash between a pair of past world title contenders, Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev and Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson, live on pay per view, starting at 2 p.m. ET /11 a.m. PT, from Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria. Encore presentations will also be available to watch.
FITE TV is a Combat Sports Network that features boxing, MMA and wrestling programming. FITE gives viewers the choice to watch the program on line at www.FITE.tv, on their mobile device or on their WiFi connected television using the FITE app. The FITE app can be downloaded for free at Google Play or the iTunes app stores.
“Final Countdown: Pulev vs. Johnson”, promoted by Sauerland Promotions, is available to watch on the FITE app and website for a suggested retail price of $19.99.
Boxing fans may watch the entire card, headlined by the Pulev-Johnson 12-round World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight title fight, simply by downloading the FITE app and then cast the fight to the big screen by using the instant stream-to-TV function. The FITE app works with any Wi-Fi connected television around the world, iOS and Android devices, as well as streaming devices such as Roku, Chromecast and more. Fans may also watch the fights live on the FITE website at www.fite.tv from any computer.
“Pulev versus Johnson is another fine boxing event that FITE is now making available to our North American fan base,” FITE COO Michael Weber said. “FITE continues to grow by leaps and bounds and we are very proud of the growth of world class boxing events to complement our current line-up of MMA and wrestling events.”
The 6′ 4 ½ Pulev, fighting at home in Sofia, Bulgaria, captured the vacant WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title in his last fight this past December, in which former world champion Samuel Peters (36-5) retired after the third round.
Last May, Pulev won a 12-round split decision over Dereck Chisora (25-5) to capture the European heavyweight championship. The 35-year-old Pulev has won four in a row since he suffered the only loss of his professional career, by way of a fifth-round knockout in 2014, to then-International Boxing Federation (IBF) heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko (62-3).
Pulev was a celebrated amateur boxer who represented Bulgaria at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Currently rated No. 9 in the world by the WBA, Pulev can position himself for another world title shot with an impressive victory over Johnson, the battle-tested veteran fighting out of Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA.
“My number one goal is to fight for the World title and on April 28,” Pulev commented, “I will take another step towards achieving this goal. I’m already training hard to prove I am worthy to fight again for the heavyweight crown.
“Johnson is a tough opponent. You must only look at his resume to tell this will be a real challenge. He has shared the ring with many World class fighters like Vitali Klitschko and Anthony Joshua. I know I will need to be at my best to beat him, but with the help of my coach Ulli Wegner and the support of the Bulgarian people, I’m confident my hand will be raised, and we will be able to celebrate another great night for Bulgarian boxing and another step towards me fulfilling my dream of becoming the Heavyweight Champion of the World.’
Johnson, 37, has served as a dangerous “gatekeeper” in the heavyweight division during his 14-year professional career. He’s fought reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua – the only fighter to stop Johnson – former unified world heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury, former world title challenger Manuel Charr and current European champion Christian Hammer.
Johnson’s most notable wins have been against world title challengers Bruce Seldon (TKO5), Alex Leapai (TKO9) and Albert Sosnowski (SDEC3 in Prizefighter Tournament).
In 2009, Johnson lost his lone world title fight by unanimous decision to undefeated WBC champion Vitali Klitschko, extending him the full 12-rounds.
Additional PPV fights are scheduled on FITE TV on a weekly basis.
Beibut Shumenov Injured, Bout with Dorticos Cancelled
Cruiserweight world champion Beibut Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs) suffered an eye injury in training on Wednesday and will not be able to defend his title against Yunier Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) in the main event of a special Saturday night edition of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes, April 29 from Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas.
Shumenov-Dorticos has been postponed until Shumenov has completely healed from his injury. It will be rescheduled as soon as Shumenov is healthy enough to return to training. There is no timetable yet on when he is expected to return from the injury.
WBA Interim Featherweight Champion Carlos Zambrano (26-0, KOs) defending his title against once-beaten contender Claudio Marrero (21-1, 15 KOs) has been elevated to the main event.
Televised coverage will begin at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will feature undefeated Jeison Rosario (12-0, 9 KOs) taking on once-beaten Nathaniel Gallimore (17-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight attraction.
“It is disappointing that Shumenov suffered an eye injury in training. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of boxing,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “We were looking forward to seeing him defend his cruiserweight world title against Dorticos. I hope he makes a full recovery and we can reschedule the match.
“Now, we’re looking forward to Carlos Zambrano making his Mayweather Promotions debut in a scintillating match against a very tough challenger in Claudio Marrero on FS1 and FOX Deportes.”
An unbeaten fighter from Lima, Peru, Zambrano turned pro in 2008 and fought nine of his first 12 bouts in the U.S. He won a South American regional title in 2012 and began moving up the featherweight rankings with a knockout victory over Devis Perez in 2014. He picked up his interim title with a unanimous decision victory over Daniel Ramirez in 2015 and defended the belt successfully against Jose Sanmartin later that year.
A former title challenger who lost a narrow decision to Jesus Cuellar in 2013, Marrero has won seven-straight bouts since then. Most recently, the 28-year-old knocked down Luis Hinojosa four times before stopping him in the fourth round in August 2016. A native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Marrero was an accomplished amateur who will be fighting in Las Vegas for the second time in his pro career.
An unbeaten fighter out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Rosario will make his U.S. debut when he enters the ring on May 16. A pro since 2013, the 22-year-old scored knockouts in his first three starts and won a Domincan welterweight title with a second round stoppage of Jose Vidal Soto in 2014. Rosario’s last three starts have seen him score TKO victories over Euro Gonzalez plus previously unbeaten fighters Carlos Jairo Cruz and Rafael Lorenzo.
Originally from Kingston, Jamaica and fighting out of Evanston, Illinois, Gallimore enters this fight having won his last four bouts, all by knockout. The 28-year-old has fought professionally since 2014 and was unbeaten in his first 14 outings before losing a narrow split-decision last June. He began his 2017 with a third round stoppage of Angel Hernandez in early April.
Mario Barrios Training Camp Quotes
Undefeated rising contender Mario Barrios has wrapped up training camp and is set for a main event showdown against Nicaragua’s Nelson Lara that headlines Premier Boxing Champions TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on FOX Deportes Tuesday, April 25 from the Fitz Tunica Casino & Hotel in Tunica, Mississippi.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features a 10-round matchup of exciting welterweights as once-beaten Oscar Molina (13-1-1, 10 KOs) takes on Georgia’s Levan Ghvamichava (17-3-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round showdown.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, start at $20 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased through the Fitz Gift Shop or Ticketmaster at www.Ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
Here is what Barrios had to say from training camp:
On fighting in his first main event on FS1:
“Fighting in the main event on FS1, on national television, is going to be an incredible blessing. I know it’ll be a tremendous boost to my career. I want to set the pace from the opening bell, and give the fans a night to remember. These are the type of fights I’ve always dreamed of.”
On his recent training camp with Virgil Hunter in the Bay Area:
“Training with Virgil Hunter has been great. This will be my third fight with him as the lead in my corner. We are working tremendously well as a team and I’m happy where my career is at. We got a lot of good sparring in, with a lot of different looks. I feel my punches are sharp and my timing is on point. I’m going to shine in this fight.”
On his matchup with Nelson Lara…
“I really don’t know much about Nelson Lara, except for the fact that he’s coming off a couple of wins. I’m sure his confidence is high, so I’m expecting a tough fight. Also, I know he’s fought at lightweight or super-lightweight for most of his career, so he’s got more experience fighting at this weight. One thing for sure is…I’ll be ready for anything he brings to the ring.”
On moving up two weight classes…
“It’s hard to believe, but I started off my career at super-bantamweight while standing six feet plus. It was getting to make those smaller weights. I was killing myself to make super featherweight, so my team and I felt it was best to skip lightweight, and move to super-lightweight. It’s a big jump, but I feel real strong at this weight. This is where I want to make my run toward a world title, at super lightweight. You’ll see a stronger Mario Barrios.”
On fighting in Mississippi…
“I actually fought out here early in my career but at a different venue. The fans are great and they get loud. A lively crowd is always fun to fight in front of. I plan on giving the Mississippi fans a great night of boxing.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, Golovkin, Cuadras, Fonfara, Olympics, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, Golovkin, Cuadras, Fonfara, Olympics, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 24th to January 31st, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Olympian Richard Hitchins Signs with Mayweather Promotions
Richard Hitchins fought for Haiti at the 2016 Rio Olympics and has recently signed a deal with Mayweather Promotions.
Hitchins will make his debut on March 4th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. He will compete in the junior welterweight division. He will be on the undercard of the Thurman vs. Garcia bout.
Carlos Cuadras vs. David Carmona Added to Golovkin vs. Jacobs HBO PPV Telecast
Former World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Flyweight Champion CARLOS “PRINCIPE” CUADRAS, (35-1-1, 27 KO’s) of Mexico City, Mexico returns to battle against cross-town rival and Former World Title Challenger DAVID “SEVERO” CARMONA, (20-3-5, 8 KO’s), also of Mexico City, Mexico, on Saturday, March 18 at The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden.
Cuadras vs. Carmona, scheduled for ten rounds, will be featured on the televised undercard of the World Middleweight Championship between Unified Middleweight World Champion GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN, (36-0-0, 33 KO’s) and WBA Middleweight World Champion and Mandatory Challenger DANIEL “THE MIRACLE MAN” JACOBS, (32-1, 29 KO’s). The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
“I wanted a rematch with Roman Gonzalez but right now my sole focus is on Carmona, we’ve known each other for many years and there is a true rivalry between us,” said Cuadras. “I’m looking forward to settling it in the ring at Madison Square Garden, the home of so many classic battles and in front of the great Mexican boxing fans in New York City and those watching on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
Said Carmona, “Carlos has accomplished a great deal in boxing, being a former world champion and undefeated for many years. However, my time is now and I look forward to being victorious on March 18.”
“We’re very excited to add this all-Mexican battle between Carlos Cuadras and David Carmona to an already outstanding boxing event,” said TOM LOEFFLER, Managing Director of K2 PROMOTIONS. “Cuadras is coming off one of the best fights of 2016 in his world title fight with “Chocolatito” last September on HBO and Carmona is looking to prove he’s worthy of another world title opportunity.”
“Carlos was one of the true breakout stars in boxing last year in his valiant performance against ‘Chocolatito’. We’ve gotten a tremendous response to our showcasing of the lighter weights at our events from boxing fans and the media and we’re very excited to have these two super flyweight battles on the televised undercard.”
“Adding this third bout to the March 18 event continues our commitment to boxing fans in the arena and those watching on HBO Pay-Per-View that we will provide maximum value at our events. Tickets for Madison Square Garden are selling fast and we look forward to another outstanding event on March 18.”
On September 10, 2016, then undefeated WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Cuadras and three-division world champion ROMAN “CHOCOLATITO” GONZALEZ waged war in a 2016 “Fight of the Year” candidate in front of a huge crowd at The Fabulous Forum and telecast on HBO.
After twelve epic rounds of world class action, the 28-year-old Cuadras lost a very close decision to Gonzalez in a battle that had the Mexican and Nicaraguan partisan crowds on their feet cheering throughout.
Carmona is returning to the ring following the toughest test of his seven-year professional career. On May 8, 2016, the 25-year-old Carmona traveled to Tokyo, Japan to challenge undefeated WBO Super Flyweight Champion NAOYA INOUE. Following twelve action packed rounds, Carmona came up short on the judges’ scorecards but validated his standing among the best in the division.
Sampson Lewkowicz Issues Challenge to World’s Top Super Middleweights on Behalf of Boxing Prodigy David Benavidez: Fight My Fighter
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz is issuing a challenge to the world’s top super middleweights: Help his fighter, David “El Bandera Roja/Red Flag” Benavidez, become the youngest 168-lb champion in boxing history by fighting him.
“He is on a course to smash the old record,” said Lewkowicz of Benavidez, but I need a top-10 contender or a world champion to fight him. He’ll take on anyone in the world.”
Phoenix, Arizona’s Benavidez (17-0, 16 KOs), who did his usual steamroll over opponents last Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (this time over Uzbekistan’s Shareli Mamajonov in less than two brutal rounds), is only 20 years old. The youngest super middleweight champion in history was Darin Van Horn, who was 22 years, 8 months and 11 days old when he beat Robert Hines by a 12-round unanimous decision for the IBF Junior Middleweight Championship on February 5, 1989.
“Promoters don’t want their fighters to fight him,” continued Lewkowicz. “He can’t move up the ratings or make boxing history if promoters are too worried about their investments to let their fighters face him. I need the promoters behind the top 10 contenders in the division to step up and see if their fighters can stop his rise. They can’t. But I need them to try.”
Benavidez is currently rated WBC #14, WBA #7, IBF #13.
“If you are reading this and you promote any super middleweight fighter who has a top-10 ranking or is world champion, call me. We will fight. We hear from opponents looking to get paid for getting knocked out, but never anyone with a top-10 rating. This is your challenge. Call me and let’s get it on. Help my fighter become part of boxing history.”
Fred Jenkins and Roque Zapata Have Statements to Make in March 10th Battle in Philly
Fred Jenkins, Jr., who has labored in anonymity for six years as a pro, and Roque Zapata, a virtual unknown who upset the apple cart two months ago in Philadelphia, collide March 10 at the 2300 Arena in a six-round junior middleweight fight with career implications for each man.
Topping the nine-bout card is an eight-round all-Philadelphia lightweight contest between Anthony Burgin and Avery Sparrow. First fight begins at 7.30 pm.
Jenkins, 30, turned pro in early in 2011. He has compiled a 10-3 record with 3 K0s. His biggest win came in 2014 when he knocked out Jeremy Trussell, of Baltimore, MD, in two rounds at the 2300 Arena. Trussell was 8-1-1 at the time.
In his last fight Oct. 14 in the same ring, Jenkins outpointed Ibrihim Shabazz, of Newark, NJ, over four rounds. He also has beaten James Robinson, of York, PA, and he lost to undefeated fighters: Jeff Lentz, of Lanoka Harbor, NJ, and Ismael Garcia, of Vineland, NJ. He has been stopped once.
“I had about 50 amateur fights,” said Jenkins (left), who is 5-foot-7. “The heaviest I ever was in the amateurs was 215 pounds, but there were times around 2008 or 2009 when I was not training that I went up to 275.”
When he turned pro in 2011, Jenkins was as heavy as 174.
“I was working back then and I didn’t have a lot of time to train,” Jenkins said. “I worked for a railroad company in King of Prussia (PA) and my job was to drive people to and from work. I also worked for a paratransit company, driving elderly people and disabled people. Sometimes I was in the gym and sometimes not. I was taking fights at heavier weights “
Jenkins was in the house Dec. 2 when Zapata out-pointed Isaiah Wise.
“Zapata throws a lot of punches and he simply tries to outwork you,” Jenkins said. “But when I start banging him in the body and going to his ribs, I don’t think he’ll be throwing that many punches afterward. He’s also smaller than I am (5-foot-6 compared to 5-foot-7) and that doesn’t happen too often with me. I’m coming to win and I’m going to do everything I can to get there.” Jenkins is managed and trained by his dad, Fred Jenkins, Sr., a member of the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame.
Zapata (right), 21, of Culpeper, VA, traveled to the 2300 Arena on Dec. 2 and upset previously unbeaten (3-0) Wise, of Philadelphia, in what could have been the most action-packed four rounds of 2016 locally.
A pro less than one year, Zapata squeezed all six fights (2-1-3 record) into 2016, fighting opponents with good records, mostly in their backyards. He has boxed once in Virginia, five times in Pennsylvania and he also upset then-unbeaten (5-0) Dan Karpency, of Adah, PA, over four rounds last April in Washington, PA.
Zapata’s only setback was via six-round decision to unbeaten (6-0) Amonte Eberhardt, also in Washington, PA.
“I came into Philly on December 2 as an outcast and that night all I wanted was the respect of the Philly fans,” Zapata said. “I knew I had to prove to myself and to the Philly fans that I belong there with the hometown guys. I’m going to bring it every time. I feel I have not got the respect of the Philly fans, so that being said, on March 10 I am going to fight Fred Jenkins and I’m gonna do my absolute best to show the fans that I’m not a bum looking for paycheck but that I was born to do this and be the best at it.
“My career progress I would say is good even though I have one loss and three draws. All my fights were tough. Amonte Eberhardt is the only guy who beat me and I took that fight on one day’s notice and I had to cut 13 pounds and I fought six hard rounds even though I was dehydrated. This is no excuse but I believe if I had an eight-week camp (it would have been different). I was robbed in those three draws. I have watched them over and over and I cannot believe how the judges scored the way they did but that’s what happens when you fight hometown guys sometimes, but life goes on.
“Returning to Philadelphia to fight on a great card with good upcoming prospects is amazing.”
Andrzej Fonfara Adds Pilates to Training Regimen
Light heavyweight contender, Andrzej Fonfara (28-, 16 KOs), has entered the world of Pilates as he plans to take his career to new heights. Born in Poland and training in Bay Area, CA, with coach Virgil Hunter, Fonfara believes his Pilates regimen will improve his boxing career on many different levels.
“I just started doing Pilates as part of my workout routine.” said former world title challenger Andrzej Fonfara. “I felt I needed to do something different in my boxing training and Pilates fit right in. The workouts are very challenging. My stamina and balance feels better. Overall I feel like a new fighter. I know I have what it takes to get back on top. My goal is to get back in the win column and continue my march toward a world championship.”
Right now, negotiations are being discussed for his next fight. Look for Fonfara to return to the ring in March, most likely against a top contender. Right now Fonfara is currently ranked WBC #8.
AIBA Special Investigation Committee Statement on 2016 Rio Olympics
The AIBA Special Investigation Committee (SIC), consisting of experts from its Refereeing and Judging (R&J), Technical and Rules, as well as Disciplinary Commissions, has concluded its investigation into the practices and procedures of officials during the Rio 2016 Olympic Boxing Tournament. The SIC’s recommendations for improvements to R&J structure for the Tokyo 2020 Cycle are already being put in place.
The investigation ordered by AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu after a small number of decisions at Rio 2016 came under scrutiny and serious allegations were made against AIBA officials, has been concluded. Starting in mid-September, the full investigation took place in two phases across four months, with over 50 interviews conducted during that time.
The key findings indicate that, due to a lack of proper procedural norms, a concentration of decision-making power and the assigning of roles assumed by former senior management that had a detrimental impact on in-competition best practice. Whilst the Special Investigation found no active interference in the results, AIBA moved quickly to identify those involved and took the necessary steps to ensure its officials will no longer become scapegoats for close decisions which are an inherent aspect of the sport.
“AIBA defends the integrity of its expert R&Js who operate in difficult, subjective circumstances, but we have shown that we are also not afraid of making difficult decisions for the good of boxing. An unwelcome axis of influence and sole decision-making had been created and used by former Senior Management that led to a lack of due process being carried out. We moved immediately to re-empower our commissions and use their expertise in order to decentralise the decision-making and re-establish our procedures.
Whilst there is no evidence that this had a direct influence on results in Rio, if best practice is not followed 100% of the time by our officials and R&Js, that is unacceptable. The SIC have conducted a thorough investigation and many of their recommendations, including the disbanding of the 5-star R&J structure and placing control of the FOP back in the hands of the Tournament Supervisor, have already been put into place. These actions will ensure even greater consistency and transparency in our officiating as we head into the new Olympic Cycle.” said AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.
Potentially damaging influences removed
The report shows that the actions AIBA has taken since the Rio 2016 Olympic Boxing Tournament, and the organisation’s current positive steps, are justified. Following the removal of these mechanisms that threatened the integrity of the organisation, the SIC also found unprofessional relationships within AIBA had created an atmosphere of collusion between senior management and the Five-Star R&Js that undermined the organisation and had a negative impact on its operating efficiency.
Recommendations already being implemented
The overriding goal of the SIC investigation, to provide recommendations that will help create a reorganised structure for R&Js and ensure the correct safeguards are in place, have already been realised. The Five-star R&J system has been disbanded with the unanimous agreement of the R&J Commission. Improvements to the in-competition administration of officials have already been trialled and approved for AOB tournaments in 2017 after being successfully trial run at the Youth World Championships in St Petersburg in November 2016.
The R&J Draw Commission has been removed and an automated Swiss Timing system will assign officials to matches, with all five Judges’ scorecards now used to determine the winner of a bout. Changes to the Field of Play will now give R&Js the best possible environment in which to operate and be evaluated, while the Executive Director, or any AIBA staff member, will no longer have any role in the FOP. There is no evidence that the reallocation of medal rankings is required for Rio 2016, but AIBA will be researching the feasibility of processes for the appeal of decisions in the future.
Education and training
In order to move forward, and to prevent AIBA becoming a scapegoat for unpopular decisions in the future, a broad education programme will be undertaken involving boxers, coaches, officials and fans alike, to instil a greater understanding of scoring and give a strong reminder of the importance of sportsmanship, respect and fair play values. It is essential that the entire boxing community is more in tune with the parameters within which the R&Js work, in order to better understand their decisions. The subjectivity of scoring is part of what makes the sport unique, and the nature of the contest means that strong opinions are formed by teams and fans, but that should not impact negatively on the integrity of the officials.
Reintegration of Rio 2016 officials
AIBA reiterates that while the decision to stand down all 36 R&Js that were officiating at Rio 2016 was necessary until the SIC investigation had been concluded, as a preventive measure, it was in no way an indication of their wrongdoing. The reintegration process of those officials into the new-look R&J structure will now begin on a case by case basis, and an extensive series of courses and workshops is being implemented to grow and enhance the pool of first-class officials around the world.
AIBA has taken important steps for the sake of boxing and is determined to learn from the past in order to build positive, enduring legacies for the sport. AIBA Ethics Commission Chair has received the mandate to analyse recent issues and the general organisation of the Association, with the objective to propose operational and governance reforms to the President and the Executive Committee. The organisation stands more united than ever as witnessed in the last Extraordinary Congress held in Montreux, but will continue to tackle any incident of impropriety that dishonours it or the sport with the utmost severity, and repeats its commitment to ensuring the values of fair play and transparency are upheld at all times by the entire AIBA Family, its staff and stakeholders.