Tag Archives: Murata

In the Middle with this Division


By: Rich Mancuso

Canelo Alvarez holds the WBC Middleweight title and last week became the richest athlete in sports with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN. Saturday evening two championships in the division changed hands and now the middleweights are the talk of boxing.

Saturday evening at Madison Square Garden, Daniel Jacobs gets his opportunity on HBO with the iBF title middleweight title up for grabs. Jacobs (34-2, 29 KO’s) opposes Sergly Derevyanchenko, 12-0, the undefeated pro formerly of Feodosia Crimea, Ukraine who has more of an amateur background.

Welcome again to the middleweight division. Daniel Jacobs sits in the middle of this, a division that suddenly is compared to the elite fighters at 147. That weight class has dominated and is highly contested.

Similar to the complexion and change of televised boxing, so goes the middleweight title that has been highlighted with Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. And according to Eddie Hearn, promoter of Matchroom Boxing, the middleweight division has the top fighters.

“The middleweight division is class,” Hearn said on a conference call Monday afternoon. Hearn now has rights to Canelo Alvarez and said the winner of Jacobs-Derevyanchenko could fight Alvarez in May.

So the process, and as difficult as it can be, is to unify the middleweight titles. And with the different promoters, titles, and networks unifying the titles can be difficult. However, Hearn has the capability to get that accomplished and every fighter in the division will be aiming at getting that opportunity to challenge Canelo Alvarez.

“I think its a great time to be a middleweight in the division,” Jacobs said on the conference call. “A great time for the middleweight championship.”

Though Daniel Jacobs “The Miracle Man” knows this is the proper time, he sits in the middle. Alvarez is also aiming for the super middleweight title at Madison Square Garden in December but still holds the number one spot.

Rob Brant dethroned Ryota Murata on the WBA side and former 154lb world champion Demetrius Andrade defeated Walter Kautondokwa and claimed the vacant WBO middleweight title on Saturday night. Yes, in a matter of a few hours the complexion of this division changed.

And this is all good for boxing. As always, there has to be unity and Daniel Jacobs with a victory at the Garden Saturday night would no longer be sitting in the middle.
Eddie Hearn could be the promoter that gets the unity accomplished. Again, he has been at the forefront of changing the complexion of the sport with DAZN and signing big name fighters.

“You are going to see a lot of these big unification fights,’ he said. “Another champion in Andrade. Think with now the championship spreading out, three champions, the winner Saturday night is in prime position to fight Canelo.”

Assuming Jacobs gets the win, anything is possible. The middleweights have become as good as the always talked about welterweights.

“Being in one of the hottest divisions I’m looking to take advantage,” Jacobs said “Time to get a middleweight belt and campaign for some of these bigger and better fights. I don’t believe in sharing belts. I want unification ”

He added: This is a good time. The fans are the one who will benefit the most.”Jacobs has the advantage Saturday night and is the favorite. His opponent is undefeated in 12 professional fights
but is also motivated for something bigger, a piece of this middleweight title.

“This is a respected belt,” he said. More so, this is how Daniel Jacobs gets out of the middle of this pile and once again becomes a dominant middleweight.

And all you have to do is listen to co-promoter Lou DiBella. His perspective of where this division will stand after the Jacobs fight does speak volumes. That elite division of welterweight champions and contenders is in good company.

“Boxing is a business,” said DiBella. “When you get past the heavyweights we’ll see big middleweight fight after big middleweight fight.”

Comment: [email protected] [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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A Tale Of Two Middleweight Title Fights


By Jake Donovan

Demetrius Andrade managed to win all 12 rounds of his vacant title fight yet somehow still found himself outclassed by another middleweight in the ring on Saturday night.

Luckily for Andrade, the far more memorable performance delivered by Robert Brant took place in a boxing ring in Las Vegas, more than 2,700 miles away from his main event in Boston, Mass.

The pair of middleweight title fights were the biggest events of a busy boxing weekend, but couldn’t have been more drastic in action despite both delivering the same exact results: landslide victories for the newly crowned titlists.


Photo Credit: Demetrius Andrade Twitter Account

Andrade scored a 12-round shutout of late replacement Walter Kautondokwa in their main event at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The makeshift headliner came about after Billy Joe Saunders was pulled from the bill and stripped of his title after a failed drug test in late August resulted in his being denied a boxing license by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission.

Kautondokwa (17-1, 16KOs) attempted to put his best foot forward, but the 33-year old contender from Namibia—who took the fight on less than two weeks official notice—was hopelessly outclassed from the opening bell. Andrade (26-0, 16KOs) had a chance to make a major statement, appearing well on his away after scoring four knockdowns through the first four rounds while making his debut under promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA outfit.

Rather than proceeding in a manner that would keep fans in attendance and DAZN home viewers engaged, the contest somehow devolved into a garden variety Andrade fight. The fighting pride of Providence, Rhode Island—roughly an hour from Boston—had a hopelessly overmatched opponent in front of him, yet decided to box his way through the rest of the night.

It was the safest route he could’ve possibly chosen, but one that he and his supporters will quickly note that resulted in winning his third title in two weight divisions. Those who didn’t care for his opting to put it in cruise control will quickly point out that on the very same streaming service that carried his bout—and going head-to-head with his show—came a fiercely-contested World Boxing Super Series doubleheader from Orlando, Florida which generated far more engaging social media chatter.

Playing to far less pre-fight fanfare, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Yunier Dorticos both survived firefights to advance to the semifinal round of their respective WBSS tournaments. Rodriguez barely escaped with his bantamweight title and unbeaten record still intact following a hard-fought split decision win over Jason Moloney in a legitimate Fight of the Year contender.

It had to be that good after the brave showing put forth in the co-feature, where Dorticos fended off a late rally from Poland’s Mateusz Masternak to earn a close unanimous decision. The win put him in the semifinals of the WBSS cruiserweight bracket, the same position he found himself in earlier this year during Season One of the WBSS cruiserweight tournament.

As heartwarming as were both legs of the DAZN-aired WBSS tourney from Orlando, both DAZN offerings were extraordinarily outdone by what took place on EPSN+ live from Las Vegas.

For Ryota Murata (14-1, 12KOs), the game plan was simple; turn back the challenge of Brant and then proceed to a mouthwatering showdown with recently dethroned unified titlist Gennady Golovkin at some point in 2019. Murata was attempting the second defense of his secondary middleweight title, but the belt and his drawing power back home in Japan was enough to drum up the idea of a showdown with Golovkin at the famed Tokyo Dome.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

The concept was enough to prompt Golovkin’s longtime promoter, Tom Loeffler ringside at MGM Grand’s Park Theatre in Las Vegas to keep an eye on his client’s potential future investment.

What he witnessed what was not only that very opportunity drying up and blowing away, but also quite possibly the biggest upset of the 2018 boxing season.

Brant (24-1, 16KOs) told anyone who’d listen that his loss to Jurgen Braehmer in last year’s WBSS super middleweight quarterfinals round made him a better fighter in the long run. It’s something that a lot of boxers say after a defeat, but claiming such an occurrence to be a learning lesson and actually learning from the experience are not always one and the same.

The performance delivered by Brant in his first career title fight certainly put something behind his words. The engaging middleweight from Minnesota—who moved up to 168 last year solely for the sake of entering the tournament but has since dropped back down to his natural fighting weight—had fought just once since his lone defeat and was a massive underdog heading into Saturday’s showdown with Murata.

Someone forgot to tell him that he was just an opponent who wasn’t supposed to get in the way of bigger plans in store for the defending titlist. Brant jumped out to an early lead, finding Murata’s leaky defense all too inviting, Murata was not only forced to deal with his opponent’s offensive attack, but also bruising and swelling around both eyes and a growing deficit on the official scorecards.

Try as he might, the 32-year old from Tokyo—who captured a Gold medal for Japan during the 2012 London Olympics—just couldn’t mount a sustained attack to help turn the tide. Meanwhile, Brant never stopped throwing punches, in fact launching more than 1,260—averaging more than 100 punches per round, an unheard of workrate for a middleweight fight.

It was more than enough to secure the biggest win of his career. Brant claimed a surprisingly wide decision to become a secondary titlist in a lucrative middleweight division, and—perhaps even more important—fighting well beyond expectations, even taking into consideration the hype surrounding his career not too long ago as a rising middleweight prospect.

When all was said and done, Brant delivered a performance indicative of a boxer who never took a win for granted at any point in the fight and who had no clue heading into the night—or even afterward—of his next move.

Andrade’s makeshift title fight came with considerable fanfare. Part of it had to do with the aggressive promotional effort put forth by Hearn, but with the DAZN event picking up major profile following the mid-week announcement of World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez signing a record-breaking 11-fight, $365 million deal with the streaming platform.

The move meant a clearer path to a future career-altering payday for Andrade, not to mention the possibility of a 2019 showdown with the winner of next Saturday’s bout between Daniel Jacobs (also promoted by Hearn) and Sergey Derevyachenko.

With so much movement in the middleweight division just in this last part of October alone, any boxer at the weight would be best served to stand out from the pack if he wants to dominate the headlines rather than just be another part of the story.

Andrade had that golden opportunity the moment he realized his late replacement opponent was in well over his head. Yet in a fight where he scored a shutout and won a title, he still couldn’t even win the story of the best middleweight performance of the night.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ Results: Brant Spoils Murata’s US Debut


By: Michael Kane

Not many people gave Rob Brant much of a chance going into his WBA Middleweight title match against champion Ryota Murata. However Brant left the ring as the new champion.

Brant (24-1, 16 KO’s) showed he meant business right from the start, throwing punches, on the front foot. Murata (14-2, 11 KO’s) smiled through out the first round, as if bemused by Brant’s fast start, possibly expecting Brant to slow down.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Brant continued the fast pace until the 4th round when Murata started to land some heavy body shots, this led to a 5th round in which the Japanese Olympic gold medallist sensed he was gaining the upper hand and was throwing more punches however Brant weathered the storm and ended the round landing several right hands.

Murata had the power however Brant was landing frequently. Brant had now slowed down from his fast paced earlier rounds but was still appearing busier than Murata and landing point scoring shots.

As the championship rounds came, Murata sensed he had to up his game but Brant had his second wind and landed a couple of good right hands in the final round that appeared to hurt Murata.

The judges all scored the bout in favour of Brant, 118-110, 119-109, 119-109.

The statistics showed Brant threw 1262 punches, landing 356 compares to Murata throwing 764 and landing 180.

“This is one of the best moments of my life,” Brant said in the press conference afterwards. “I wasn’t thinking about punch output. I was thinking about winning.”

“This was a great middleweight championship fight,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arun. “Both fighters showed tremendous heart. Congratulations to the new champion. He deserved the win.”

Top Rank are putting a brave face on this defeat for Murata as they had big plans for him, with a fight against GGG or Canelo Alvarez rumoured to be on the horizon. However Brant remains undefeated in the middleweight division, his only defeat coming at super middleweight.

Also on the card at Park Theatre at Park MGM in Las Vegas was Maxim Dadashev defending his NABF super lightweight title against former world champion Antonio DeMarco.

DeMarco (33-7-1, 24 KO’s) showed his champion credentials as he stunned Dadashev (12-0, 10 KO’s) on several occasions throughout the fight. Dadashev had enough about him to survive these scares and come through and retain his belt. Dadashev won the last three rounds to secure the win.

The scorecard was 96-94, 97-93, 98-92.

The bout was a good learning experience for Dadashev, which he said so in the press conference.

“This was a great learning experience for me. DeMarco is a true champion and he thought with great heart and determination.”

Highly rated Irishman, Michael Conlan made his Vegas debut on the card against Italian Nicola Cipolletta, who was making his American debut.

Conlan pressured from the start, with Cipolletta on the defensive through out. Conlan landed several good shots to the body and head in the 7th which forced the referee to stop the fight.

Conlan moves on to 9-0 and is due back in the ring on the undercard of Josh Warrington v Carl Frampton bout in Manchester, England on December 22nd.

“When you fight a guy who is negative and trying to survive, those guys are the hardest guys to look good against,” Conlan said. “He was just negative. Now I want real opponents. I want top 10, top 15 opponents. These are the guys who are going to make me look good. These are the guys who are going to bring out the best of my technical ability. When you see guys trying to survive, it’s a lot easier to survive than fight it out.”

Other Results:
Middleweight: Esquiva Cacao (22-0, 15 KO’s) defeated Guido Porto (25-6-2, 8 KO’s) by unanimous decision 100-90 x3.

Lightweight: Joseph Adorno (10-0, 9 KO’s) defeated Kevin Cruz (8-1, 5 KO’s) by unanimous decision over 6 rounds, 59-53, 59-53, 58-54.

Super Lightweight: Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (6-0, 3 KO’s) won by 2nd rd TKO against Wilberth Lopez (23-10, 15 KO’s).

Featherweight: Vladimir Nikitin (2-0, 0 KO) won by unanimous decision over 6 rounds against Clay Burns (5-5-2, 4 KO’s). 59-55 x3.

Featherweight: Adam Lopez (11-1, 5 KO’s) defeated Hector Ambriz (12-8-2, 6 KO’s) by 8th round TKO.

Middleweight: David Kaminsky (3-0, 2 KO’s) won by 2nd round TKO against Noah LaCoste (2-1, 2 KO’s).

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Top Rank on ESPN Preview: Ryoto Murata vs. Rob Brant


By: Michael Kane

Ryoto Murata, makes his second defence of his WBA Middleweight title against American Rob Brant at the MGM’s Park Theatre, Las Vegas, Saturday 20th October.

Murata (14-1, 11 KO’s) won the middleweight crown after winning a rematch against Hassan N’Dam Jikam winning by TKO in round seven in October 2017.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

This rematch came about after they both fought for the vacant title and Jikam won a controversial split decision, when most thought Murata had won.

Murata defended his belt for the first time in April against Italian Emanuele Blandamura winning by 8th round TKO.

During the press conference, Murata was asked about facing GGG or Canelo and replied, “Everything will happen after the result of this fight, so I’m not thinking ahead. I am looking forward to getting the victory on Saturday.

“I had a great training camp, and I am going to put everything out in the ring that I trained with. I am very prepared and very confident.

“I am very thankful for this opportunity, especially to Bob Arun and everyone at Top Rank and the team over at Teiken Promotions.”

Brant (23-1, 16 KO’s) has won the WBA-NABA Middleweight title and WBC Continental Americas Middleweight title while he was on a 21 fight win streak.

Brant entered the first season of World Boxing Super Series where he faced German Juergen Braehmer in the Super Middleweight division Brant suffered his first and only defeat losing by unanimous decision.

Brant returned to middleweight and defeated Colby Courter by 1st round KO in March and feels confident ahead of his fight against the Japanese superstar.

“We knew that Murata would be the challenge of a lifetime being an Olympic gold medalist as well as being a world champion. I knew I’d have to be here early working with (trainer) Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. We’re training specifically for Murata. I feel good. I feel confident.”

When asked about moving back to 160 after competing at 168 briefly, Brant said, “I feel like this is my natural weight. I feel a lot better at 160 pounds. I did my entire amateur career at 178 pounds at light heavyweight. Then I decided I had to lay off the McDonald’s a little bit and actually train. My body is actually very comfortable at 160, and that’s where I am going to stay at. And it’s where I am going to win my titles

In the co feature bout Maxim “Mad Max” Dadashev defends his NABF Super Lightweight belt against former world champion Antonio DeMarco.

Dadashev (11-0, 10 KO’s) won the belt in his last outing against Darleys Perez in June by TKO in the 10th round.

The 28 year old Russian takes on a veteran in DeMarco (33-6-1 24 KO’s), the Mexican has won his last two fights having lost beforehand 3 in a row including losing his title to Jessie Vargas back in 2014.

Dadashev said at the press conference, “My opponent is a former WBC champion. Of course, he has really good experience and is a smart fighter. That’s it. But I’m also strong.

“I am working hard in the gym and am prepared for this fight. I had a good camp and (would like to fight for a world totle) as soon as possible.”

DeMarco has his eyes on becoming a world champion again.

“I’ve been through this before and I’ve seen this before. It’s truly a pleasure to be here.

“I want to thank Maxim and his management team for taking this fight. I feel good about it. I’m at peace. I’m very comfortable, and I want to become a world champion again.”

Also on the card is popular Irishman, Michael Conlan who makes his Las Vegas debut. Conlan has been on a bit of a tour since turning pro with Top Rank, with fights in New York, Belfast and Australia.

Conlan headlined a show in his home city, Belfast last time out and won comfortably against Adeilson Dos Santos winning by unanimous decision. Conlan takes on Italian Nicola Cipolletta in the featherweight division.

Conlan is looking forward to his Vegas debut.

“It’s my fourth fight of the year, and I plan to have another one after this. It’s a pleasure to be here in Las Vegas. It’s my first time fighting in probably the fight capital of the world at the minute.”

Conlan on his trainer Adam Booth.

“It’s been fantastic with Adam. I think now the pen has finally dropped. Everything seems to be falling into place. I know fighters say it all the time, and I get sick of hearing it myself, but it’s definitely the best training camp I’ve had. I feel like I’m becoming more of a complete fighter, and that’s what I want to show on Saturday night. I want to show how advanced my style is now.”

Conlan, who lost controversially as an amateur in the Olympics is looking to face his old for Vladimir Nikitin who also appears on the card.

Conlan said, “It would be fantastic to face Vladimir in the professional ranks. I have no ill feelings towards Vladimir. I know it wasn’t his fault, but revenge is something that I want. I have no anger towards him, but I will {fight} him with enjoyment, and I do believe I’ll get the victory when we face each other.”

The event will be streamed live on ESPN+ in the U.S and Boxnation in the UK.

ESPN+, 10:30 p.m. ET

Ryota Murata vs. Rob Brant, 12 rounds, WBA Middleweight World Championship

Maxim Dadshev vs. Antonio DeMarco, 10 rounds, NABF Super Lightweight Title

ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET

Esquiva Falcao vs. Guido Pitto, 10 rounds, Middleweight

Michael Conlan vs. Nicola Cipolletta, 8 rounds, Featherweight

Fazliddin Gaibnazarov vs. Wilberth Lopez , 8 rounds, Super Lightweight

Adam Lopez vs. Hector Ambriz, 8 rounds, Featherweight

Joseph Adorno vs. Kevin Cruz, 6 rounds, Lightweight

Vladimir Nikitin vs. Clay Burns, 6 rounds, Featherweight

David Kaminsky vs. Noah LaCoste, 4 rounds, Middleweight

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Top Rank Results: Ryota Murata KO’s Blandamura in Japan


By: Ken Hissner

Japan’s 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Ryota Murata, 13-1 (10), lost a disputed decision in his first attempt at the WBA World Middleweight title to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, 36-2, on May 20th 2017 by split decision at the Ariake Colosseum in Japan. In the rematch he won the title stopping N’JIkam in the 7th round on October 22nd at Kokugikan, Japan. His first defense was Sunday at the Yokahama Arena promoted by Top Rank on ESPN2 easily stopping his challenger Emanuele Felice Blandamura.

Ryota Murata, 14-1 (11), of Tokyo, Japan, stopped European Middleweight champion and Ranked No. 5 Emanuele Felice Blandamura, 27-3 (5), of Roma, Lazio, Italy, at 2:56 of the 8th round in defense of the WBA World Middleweight title at the Yokohama Arena, in Japan, over 12 rounds.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

In the first round Blandamura kept moving around the ring jabbing with an occasional left hook with Murata stalking him. In the second round Murata landed a hard right to the chin of Blandamura who was standing in front of him with hands held high. Blandamura landed a double left hook while moving backwards mostly blocked by Murata. Blandamura landed a 3-punch combination to body and head of Murata.

In the third round Murata who is a slow starter starts opening up more landing a left hook to the body and right to the head of Blandamura. Murata landed a solid right to the chin of Blandamura. Referee Raul Caiz, Jr. warned Murata for hitting behind the head. Murata went on the attack after this with solid punching right hand to the head of Blandamura. In the fourth round Murata landed several right hands to the head of Blandamura who tried countering but Murata blocked those punches. The light punching Bladamura is landing jabs and left hooks that have no effect on Murata. Murata landed two right hands to the chin of Blandamura. Murata got another warning from referee Caiz for hitting behind the head.

In the fifth round Blandamura landed a 3-punch combination to head and body of Murata. Murata received yet another warning for pushing the head of Blandamura down. Murata lined up a right to the head of Blandamura who came right back with a double left hook to body and head. Murata warned by referee Caiz for pushing. Murata backed Blandamura into the ropes where Murata is most successful landing rights to the head of Blandamura. In the sixth round a right to the ribs from Murata hurt Blandamura. Murata landed a double left hook to the body and head. A straight right to the chin of Blandamura spun him around as he was hurt. A chopping right from Murata on the chin of Blandamura got his attention. The 38 year-old Blandamura is slowing down afoot.

In the seventh round the 32 year-old Murata continued to stalk and land right hand after right hand to the head of Blandamura. Murata landed a stiff right to the head ob Blandamura followed by a left hook to the body. In the eighth round Murata landed a pair of rights to the head of Blandamura who fired back of a right of his own to the head of Murata. Murata landed a solid left hook to the body of Blandamura. Murata landed five unanswered punches to the head of Blandamura. He chased the running Blandamura before catching him with a terrific right to the head of Murata on the head of Blandamura knocking him to the canvas. Referee Caiz started counting and wisely waved it off before finishing the count.

After losing the first two rounds Murata started the beginning of the end for Blandamura by the eighth round. The audience was so polite they even clapped for the Italian anthem something that would never happen in the US.

WBC World Flyweight champion Daigo Higa, 15-1 (15), of Tokyo, Japan, failed to make weight and was stopped 1:42 of the 9th round to WBC International champion Cristofer Rosales, 27-3 (18), of Managua, Nicaragua, in a scheduled 12.

Flyweight southpaw Junto Nakatani, 15-0 (11), of Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan, well ahead defeated Mario Andrade, 13-7-5 (3), Mexico City, MEX, by TD8 in a scheduled 10.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Charlo, Trout, Fury, Jennings, Murata, Garcia, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 4th to April 11th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Charlo to Face Trout on June 9th

The 154-pound division continues to heat up as undefeated world champion Jermell Charlo defends his belt against former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout Saturday, June 9 in a 12-round showdown live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by WBA Super World Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz battling WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Abner Mares in an anticipated world title rematch.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now To purchase tickets visit AXS.com or click HERE.

Super welterweight is one of the deepest and most ferociously contested divisions in boxing with unified champion Jarrett Hurd and Charlo on a collision course for supremacy in the weight class. Virtually all of the most significant fights in the division are taking place in 2018 on SHOWTIME, with the three consensus best fighters, and at least five of the consensus top-10, facing off in what has become an unofficial tournament.

Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) has blasted his way to the top of the division, having stopped four of his last opponents by knockout. The 27-year-old from Houston won the title with a knockout victory over John Jackson in 2016. Since then he has successfully defended it twice, including scoring a devastating first round knockout victory over top contender Erickson Lubin in his last fight in October and a Knockout of the Year contender against Charles Hatley in April. Charlo and his twin brother, Jermall, were the only twin brothers to hold world titles in the same weight class simultaneously before Jermall relinquished his 154-pound championship to campaign at 160 pounds.

“Trout is no journeyman. He’s a former world champion, someone who has a name and he comes to fight. The name means he’s worthy of another title challenge,’’ said Charlo. “Trout is the man that has been chosen for me and I have to take care of him. I’m super excited to be fighting and defending my title again.

“The only thing I’m going to tell you about what I’m going to do against Trout is, I’m going to surprise you guys. I plan to show my skills and show why I’m the best at 154 pounds. The most important thing is to make my mark and claim my territory.’’

The 32-year-old Trout (31-4, 17 KOs) is one of most accomplished boxers in the 154-pound division, having stepped into the ring against champions like Miguel Cotto, Saul “Canelo’’ Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo and Jarrett Hurd. Representing Las Cruces, New Mexico, he won the super welterweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Rigoberto Alvarez in 2011. He successfully defended the title four times, including a victory over Cotto, before losing the championship to Alvarez in 2013 and a decision to Lara eight months later.

After winning four straight, Trout stepped in for a world championship against Jermall Charlo but lost a close unanimous decision in 2016, although he is the only person to go the distance with Jermall since 2015. Last October he took on Hurd for the title, but lost via 10th round TKO – the first time in his career that he’d ever been stopped. Trout is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Juan De Angel on Feb. 17.

“I’m more than excited. I’m happy because I’m still a threat in this game,” said Trout. “People can write me off all they want. Even when I was a champion people wrote me off. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I’m approaching it is as my last opportunity. Everybody is counting me out and I’m hoping he is too. I’m going to shock him and the world.

“I feel like I’ve done this before because I fought his brother. Jermell uses more of his skills where Jermall uses more of his brute strength. I fought the bigger one and I fought Hurd who was like his bigger brother. Now I get to fight someone who is closer to my size.’’

Jennings vs. Dawejko Matchup April 28th Recalls Memories of All-Philly Fighters

When heavyweights Bryant “By By” Jennings and Joey “The Tank” Dawejko square off in their 10-round heavyweight bout Saturday, April 28, it will revive memories of the some of the great all-Philly matchups that helped to make the Quaker City one of the leading boxing centers in the country.

The Jennings-Dawejko match is one of three bouts at the Liacouras Center at Temple University to be televised live by ESPN, beginning at 7 pm EST. The card is being promoted by Top Rank and Peltz Boxing.

Topping the show is a 12-round contest for the WBO junior featherweight title between defending champion Jessie Magdaleno, of Las Vegas, NV, and mandatory challenger Isaac Dogboe, of Accra, Ghana. The 10-round semifinal features Jesse Hart, of Philadelphia, against Demond Nicholson, of Laurel, MD, for the vacant NABF super middleweight championship.

First live fight begins at 4 pm EST and all undercard bouts will be streamed on the ESPN App.

Always a leading center for boxing, Philadelphia built its reputation by matching fighters from different neighborhoods in front of large, enthusiastic crowds. Artist Jim Meehan’s drawing (above) lists several of those great matchups, among them the classic 1928 showdown at Shibe Park between Hall-of-Fame junior lightweight champion Benny Bass and unbeaten crosstown rival Harry Blitman in front of 24,000 raucous fans.

“My dad went to that fight with his dad,” promoter J Russell Peltz said, “and he’d always tell me about it. My dad went to school with Harry Blitman and he never got over the fact that Blitman smoked cigarettes and still was successful as a fighter. My dad sat on the second row and he used to tell me about the sweat that flew off Blitman’s hair every time Bass nailed him.”

Bass, who boxed from 1919 to 1940, won by knockout in six rounds and went on to a career record of 158-29-6 with 72 K0s. Blitman, who boxed from 1926 to 1934, finished at 53-11-4, 25 K0s, including a victory over Hall-of-Fame lightweight champ Tony Canzoneri.

“There were so many great all-Philly fights that you simply cannot list them all,” Peltz said. “The heavyweight bout between a couple of Joe Louis victims, Al Ettore, of West Philadelphia, against Gus Dorazio, of South Philly, belongs on that list, as well as the world lightweight title fight between Hall-of-Famer Bob Montgomery and Wesley Mouzon, who had knocked Montgomery out three months earlier in a non-title fight.”

Peltz, who began promoting in 1969, rates the first meeting between middleweights Bennie Briscoe and Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, a 10-round draw late in 1975 at The Spectrum, as one of the greatest action fights in Philly’s long and storied boxing history.

“Now we’ve got Jesse Hart, Cyclone’s son, on the card,” Peltz said. “I believe Jennings vs. Dawejko is the biggest all-Philly matchup in 36 years. That goes back to 1982 when Jeff Chandler successfully defended his WBA bantamweight title by knocking out former high school classman Johnny Carter in six rounds at the Civic Center. We’ve had some good ones since then, but none as big as Chandler vs. Carter.

“A lot of 21st century boxing ‘experts’ don’t like to see all-Philly fights. They wonder why we would want to knock off a local attraction. I guess they’d rather me import some scrub from the South or the Midwest to get his brains beat out. They’d rather watch that than a competitive all-local fight. The most recent major local showdown was in 2010 when junior middleweightDerek Ennis beat Gabriel Rosado at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. Guess who got knocked off in that one? The winner, Ennis, who soon faded from the scene. The loser that night, Rosado, went on to climb the ladder and make a lot on money and he’s still going strong.

“Jennings vs. Dawejko is my kind of fight. I guarantee there will be more action in one round than there was in 12 rounds of the recent heavyweight unification match between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker.”

Murata to Defend WBA Middleweight Title Against Emanuele Blandamura

It’s breakfast with the middleweights on Sunday, April 15, as Ryota Murata makes the first defense of his World Boxing Association (WBA) middleweight title against Italian challenger Emanuele ‘Sioux’ Blandamura at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan. This special, international edition of Top Rank on ESPN will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes and stream on the ESPN App at 8 a.m. ET, with a same-day replay scheduled for 11 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Murata (13-1, 10 KOs), from Nara, Japan, captured a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics (165 pounds), becoming the first Japanese boxer to accomplish that feat since Takao Sakurai at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. He turned pro on Aug. 25, 2013, and by his fifth pro bout, was already fighting in scheduled 10-rounders. Murata made a big statement on U.S. soil on July 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, when he knocked out George ‘Comanche Boy’ Tahdooahnippah in the opening round.

His first title challenge came this past May against Hassan N’Dam for the vacant WBA middleweight title at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. In one of the year’s most controversial verdicts, N’Dam prevailed via split decision. The WBA ordered an immediate rematch, and the two judges who scored the bout for N’Dam were suspended for six months and ordered to pass several evaluations before being allowed to judge WBA-sanctioned fights again. Murata got his revenge — and the WBA world title — in the rematch on Oct. 22, when he dominated the action and forced N’Dam to retire on his stool following the seventh round.

Blandamura (27-2, 5 KOs), ranked No. 8 in the WBA middleweight rankings, is a former European middleweight champion who captured the title with a 12-round split decision over Matteo Signani on Dec. 3, 2016. In his last ring outing, on June 17, 2017, Blandamura retained the European title with a unanimous decision against Alessandro Goddi. He later vacated the title and heads into his first world title bout riding a four-bout winning streak.

Showtime Adds Two Featherweight Fights to Lineup

SHOWTIME Sports added two featherweight bouts to its robust boxing schedule with two high-stakes matchups from the U.K. streaming live on SHOWTIME Sports social media platforms, free to boxing fans in the U.S.

Former two-division world champion Carl Frampton will battle former four-division champion Nonito Donaire on Saturday, April 21 in Belfast, Ireland for the interim WBO Featherweight Title. Then, on Saturday, May 19, IBF World Champion Lee Selby will defend his 126-pound title against undefeated Josh Warrington live from Leeds, England. Both SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL® social media offerings will stream live in the U.S. on SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and SHOWTIME Sports YouTube Channel. The events are promoted by Frank Warren with live coverage provided by BT Sport and BoxNation.

The previously announced rematch between WBA Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz and former three-division champion Abner Mares will take place just a few weeks later on Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME® from the Staples Center in L.A.

In all, five of the consensus top-10 ranked featherweights will clash on SHOWTIME platforms in two months, including two world champions and four former multi-division champions. These matchups between titleholders and top-ranked featherweights will give further clarity to a stacked division.

“As we’ve seen at welterweight, super welterweight and even heavyweight, the top fighters in the featherweight division are looking to prove that they are undoubtedly the best in the world,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming for SHOWTIME. “They are doing so by facing their toughest challengers and ultimately seeking to unify world titles. SHOWTIME proudly leads the industry with fights like these—the most competitive and important fights in boxing’s most talent-laden weight divisions. We commend the fighters who have dedicated themselves to this simple, yet dangerous premise. Their effort has been inspiring and contagious.”

Tyson Fury Sets Return Date and Names New Promoter

Former WBA Super, WBO and IBF world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has confirmed his return under a new promoter.

Fury caused a colossal upset in his previous bout in November 2015 when he ended the 11-year reign of Wladimir Klitschko with a masterful points victory in Dusseldorf.

Now, the unbeaten 29-year-old (25-0-KO18) will fight for the first time in two-and-a-half years at the Manchester Arena on June 9 after signing a promotional deal with Frank Warren.

Ahead of an official press conference on London’s Park Lane, Fury said: “A lot of people out there are claiming to be the best and I know they’re not.

“They won’t be a match up for me. They’re sluggers and wild punchers and I’m looking forward to getting in there and showing them.

“Let’s say I’m a lot, lot, lot lighter than I’ve been in the past. If Frank asked me to fight this weekend, I’m ready. I’m better than I’ve ever been.”

Warren added: “The heavyweight division should now be put on notice because the lineal champion will be looking to pick back up where he left off.

“I am thrilled Tyson has entrusted us with the responsibility of recharging his career and steering him back to where he once emphatically belonged.

“Were it not for his exploits, the now thriving and fascinating heavyweight scene might have remained stagnant. Tyson’s comprehensive schooling of the Wladimir Klitschko opened all sorts of doors from which others have ultimately benefitted.

“Now Tyson is back, in fantastic shape and full of beans, ready to take the first step on the road back towards world domination once again.

“I am certain the boxing public – who he never lost the affection of – will get behind him in force and support his journey.”

A spokesperson for MTK Global added: “It’s been a long wait but we are delighted with the news that Tyson’s return is now finalised.

“Working with Frank Warren and his team on this has been highly productive and this is just the start of another chapter of success in Tyson’s extraordinary story.

“We are all looking forward to seeing Tyson conquer the world again as he begins his climb back to the top of boxing’s marquee division.”

Ryan Garcia to Face Jayson Velez

Ryan “The Flash” Garcia (14-0, 13 KOs), the 2017 consensus prospect of the year and pride of Victorville, Calif., headlines a very special edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Garcia, who is the brightest rising star in the sport of boxing today, will kick off the Cinco de Mayo festivities as he faces seasoned Puerto Rican contender Jayson “La Maravilla” Velez (26-4-1, 18 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight in this spectacular arena that has become the home for great battles.

ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will air the fights beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT, and stream live on ESPN3 starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

At only 19 years of age, Garcia is the future superstar of boxing. After winning multiple national championships as an amateur and several professional fights in Mexico, Garcia signed with Golden Boy Promotions in Nov. 2016. Since then, he has won every fight by knockout, including a highlight-reel knockout of Miguel Carrizoza to win the Junior NABF Super Featherweight Title. In his most recent performance, Garcia defeated Fernando Vargas on the March 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN via a stunning first-round knockout victory.

“I’m back already and with high expectations,” said Ryan Garcia.”I’m glad to be headlining two times in a row and excited to be fighting in an iconic venue where there have been many wars. I’ve said all along that I was destined for greatness. I’m speaking it to existence, and I will show that on May 4.”

Velez is an experience contender of the Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico, home of former world champions such as Wilfred “El Radar” Benitez, Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez, Felix “Tito” Trinidad and Miguel Cotto, among others. The 30-year-old pugilist has faced the toughest fighters of the competitive 126-pound division, including Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. and Ronny Rios. Velez is coming off three impressive victories, including a unanimous decision win against the previously undefeated Alberto Mercado and back-to-back stoppage victories over former contender Giovanni “El Ruso” Caroand former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez.

“I will not let my country down as it is a powerful force in boxing,” said Jayson Velez. “If anyone believes that I am only going for the paycheck, they are wrong. As I have proved before, I always give my best and this will not be the exception against Garcia. In the face of all predictions, I will defeat him.”

“Ryan Garcia is going to prove that he’s the next superstar in the sport of boxing,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “After an amazing performance in March, Garcia will now make his debut in an arena that is slowly becoming a legendary battleground for boxing, the StubHub Center.”

In the co-main event, Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs), the incomparable and explosive Irish contender, will make his Southern California debut in a 10-round middleweight fight presented in association with Murphy’s Boxing. O’Sullivan has faced the likes of current WBO Middleweight World Champion Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank, Jr., and he’ll returning after his most significant and impressive victory against Antoine “Action” Douglass via seventh-round technical knockout. O’Sullivan will be next in line for a middleweight title shot if successful on May 4.

Welterweight knockout artist Alexis “Lex” Rocha (11-0, 8 KOs), who without a doubt will be the first world champion to come out of Santa Ana, Calif., will participate in an eight-round 147-pound fight. Rocha has many tools in his southpaw arsenal as he can both fight at the distance and knock people out from the inside.

Ferdinand Kerobyan (8-0, 4 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. will battle across a scheduled six-rounds of action in the super welterweight division. Kerobyan is the latest prospect to be signed to the exclusive Golden Boy Promotions stable and the first fighter under the management of former UFC fighter and current WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey.

Richard “Kansas Kid” Acevedo (1-0, 1 KO), a prospect originally out of Garden City, Kansas, will participate in a four-round super welterweight fight. This exciting puncher out of the Westside Boxing Club promises fireworks as he initiates this exciting card.

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