Nelson Cuevas Passes Away Due to Coronavirus After a Lifetime in Boxing
By: Hans Themistode
Boxing has seen many faces. It’s also seen many of them leave as well.
Much like every other sport, the story of boxing cannot be told without mentioning certain names.
Names such as Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Larry Bird, Phil Jackson and countless others are intertwined with the NBA. Try all you want to explain the history of the game without them, but you’ll find that it’s impossible. Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Jerry Jones are precious pieces to the NFL. While names such as Derek Jeter, Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron are on the Baseball Mount Rushmore.
Simply put, certain names are synonymous with their respective sport.
In the case of boxing, the names are almost endless. From the moment Muhammad Ali stepped into the ring 1960, he dubbed himself “The Greatest”. We all laughed. But as he began to rack up the accomplishments, the laughing quickly stopped. Other names such as pound for pound great Sugar Ray Robinson, the freshly retired Floyd Mayweather and promoter Bob Arum all come to mind when discussing the history of boxing.
Recently inducted New Jersey Hall of Famer Nelson Cuevas, is amongst the names in which the story of boxing cannot be told without mentioning his name. His passing, due to the Coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the entire world, is particularly painful.
Cuevas gave his all to boxing from the moment he laid his eyes on it over 60 years ago. With the help of legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, Cuevas quickly found his niche as a cut man, trainer and manager. If you considered yourself one of the greatest boxers in the world, then chances are, you worked with Cuevas.
Fighters such as Earnie Shavers and Buddy McGirt worked closely with Cuevas. He also managed to build relationships with Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather as well. He didn’t just know them as great fighters inside of the ring, but he also knew another side of them. Something that the public didn’t always get a chance to see.
“They were great guys,” said Nelson about the polarizing names that he worked with over the years. “People looked at them sometimes like they were bad people but they did all of that for publicity, they are great people.”
Throughout the years, Cuevas never asked for the limelight. He wasn’t interested in it. All he simply wanted to do was continue to give back.
Although he worked with some of the greatest fighters of all-time, that wasn’t what he was mostly proud of.
“Many people grow up having help but I didn’t. I became a man at 11 years old. I have worked with so many kids and helped them get off the streets and I am very proud of that.”
With the news of his passing hitting the boxing world like a ton of bricks, the outpouring love and appreciation for everything that he has done came immediately.
“We are saddened to report the passing of our dear Nelson Cuevas,” said Mendez Boxing Gym via Facebook. “He meant a lot to many of us and it’s heartbreaking to hear and share this news.
Please send your thoughts and prayers for his wife, Nilda during this time. We feel vulnerable at times but must be there for each other. We miss you Nelson. Rest in peace.”
The passing of Nelson Cuevas is a bitter pill to swallow. The boxing world lost a giant. Cuevas might be gone, but he will certainly never be forgotten. His legacy will forever live on in the New Jersey Hall of Fame and in the hearts of everyone that he touched throughout his lifetime.
Boyd Melson Looks To Help Others With Two Fundraisers
Whenever a professional boxer decides to hang up the gloves, he normally leaves his fight inside of the ring. In the case of former professional boxer Boyd Melson, he’s learned how to take his fight with him outside of the squared circle.
Boyd Melson was simply born to fight. That statement isn’t entirely surprising once you find out that he grew up in Brooklyn. A neighborhood in New York that isn’t exactly known for its friendliness.
Before Melson decided to put the boxing gloves on, he was a bright student with an even brighter future. He just so happened to have a penchant for punching people in the face.
To list the accomplishments of Melson, quite frankly, wouldn’t do it enough justice. He attended West Point Academy where he would go on to major in Psychology while minoring in Nuclear Engineering. While there, Melson was a four time United States army champion and picked up the Colonel Marcus award amongst his long list of other honors.
After taking home gold in the World Military Boxing Championships, Melson was ready to take his talents to the professional scene.
It didn’t take long for Melson to make an impact as he won his first eight fights before suffering his first set back at the hands of Delen Parsley. Melson would go on to win seven more fights and capture WBC United States Super Welterweight before losing his final contest against Courtney Pennington, and calling it a career.
The boxing career of Melson may have been over, but if you believed he would fade into the shadows then you were mistaken. His real fight was only just beginning.
Becoming both a professional boxer and a champion would be enough for most people, but Melson has a different thought process in that regard. His reign in the pro ranks was fun but his true passion is giving back, and that’s exactly what he plans on doing as he hosts a pair fundraisers for two very different, but important causes.
“On April 10th at the Ping Pong nightclub called Spin on 48th, east 23rd street in Manhattan New York, we’re going to hold a fundraiser,” said Melson on Boxing Insider Radio. “This one is going to be for my West Point classmates that lost their lives serving this country. We created a foundation and were titling it protectors of the free. It is 100 percent a nonprofit that.”
If you’ve ever met Melson, then you’ll soon find out that he is one of the nicest people around who enjoys a good laugh. But when discussing the reasoning behind this fundraiser, he’ll turn his smiling face into a serious one as this topic touches close to home for him.
“This foundation was created to raise money for the family of my fallen classmates. We’ve had seven that we lost. So this is hopefully money for their children when they are ready to go to college one day.”
The origins surrounding the fundraiser is nothing to joke about, but that doesn’t mean that the event in itself won’t be one that every and anyone won’t enjoy. The now retired fighter plans on bringing the fun and excitement to this event, even if it comes at his own expense.
“We’re going to set up these four pillars from Mendez boxing gym. They’ve also let us borrow mats and we have two ropes to go around the four pillars to make a ring. People will donate $50 to get inside and throw punches at me. We did it for half an hour last time and raised $500. It was a long line so we’ll do it for an hour this time. I’ll get myself into some shape,” said Melson while chuckling.
“Last time the hot dog eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, got in the ring with me. Kenny Anderson from the Nets also came by last year and worked the corner. We also had Alicia Napoleon show up and Big Baby Miller. I reached out to my good friend Demetrius Andrade and he told me he would come by provided that he’s available. So it should be a really good turnout. This year we’re also having a celebrity ping pong match available. You pay $50 and you get a bracelet for two hours of open bar.”
For Melson, this fundraiser isn’t just an attempt to raise money for his fallen classmates. That in itself would be a worthy cause, but no, it’s much deeper than that.
“I Just pack the place with veterans and pay tribute to the lives that volunteers and lost themselves while they were out serving. Hopefully everyone has a great time.”
If we took a look at the entire landscape of all sports, we would notice that they all have one thing in common with its participants.
They try to make as much of it as possible.
In a sport as barbaric and unforgiving as boxing, who could really blame them? If you are going to risk your life every single time you step foot inside of the ring, then at the very least, you should profit considerably from it.
Yet, for Boyd Melson, he was never completely fixated on what boxing could do for him financially. Instead, he wanted to use his platform to help someone who, at the time, was the love of his life.
“I was in love one time with a woman that was paralyzed once upon a time and I promised her that I would never give up on helping her walk again. So when I turned pro I donated everything that I earned to help fund a specific clinical trial that one of Christopher Reeves former doctors is working on. They will be injecting umbilical cord cells and they just need the funding for it.”
Yes, you read that right. During a career that spanned six years, Melson never pocketed a dime. Instead, he fought for the woman that he loved. Now, even in retirement, he is still fighting, but not just for her, but for everyone affected by paralysis.
“Were having our first annual one love music festival June 6th at the Montgomery County agricultural fairgrounds in Maryland. We’re trying to pack it with the spinal cord community. I’ll be a speaker there and we’ll have a few performers. We’re looking to get Sean Paul to perform but we’re still in the process of getting our sponsors and investors to come and help fund it. But so far everything looks like it’s on track so it should be a great event.”
Retirement for professional boxers is usually a time where a fighter can relax. After all, he or she has been fighting for the majority of their lifetime. But for Boyd Melson, it doesn’t seem that he’ll ever stop fighting. Even if he’s doing it in a different way now.
Bellator 231: Mir vs. Nelson
By: Jesse Donathan
It’s going to be a clash of mixed martial arts legends at Bellator 231 on Friday, October 25, 2019 live on DAZN/Paramount starting at 9:00 pm EST at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The evenings main event set to take place in a rematch between former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir (18-13, 5 KOs) and Roy “Big Country” Nelson (23-17, 15 KOs). The two originally met at UFC 130 – Rampage vs. Hamill in 2011, where Nelson dropped a three round unanimous decision to the always dangerous former UFC heavyweight champion.
For those of you who may not be aware of who Frank Mir is, allow me the opportunity to introduce you to one of the most dangerous submission artists in the world. Frank Mir is not someone to be underestimated in any capacity, especially on the ground, but he is also a proven, well-rounded mixed martial artist very capable of stopping fighters on his feet as well.
Despite having his best days behind him, Frank Mir is still quite capable of breaking every bone in your body, a feat former UFC and Pride FC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, himself a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master, found out first hand in their rematch at UFC 140 in 2011. It was a grappling master showcase, though unfortunately for the Brazilian legend, Nogueira would succumb to Mir via technical submission by kimura, which is another way of saying Mir broke Nogueira’s arm and the referee was forced to intervene and bring a halt to the contest.
And who could forget Mir breaking former UFC champion Tim Sylvia’s arm at UFC 48 – Payback, also via technical submission, where Mir captured the UFC heavyweight crown via bone crunching armbar submission. Later, upon a trip to the emergency room it was revealed that the 6-foot-eight-inch former champions arm was fractured in several places, leaving an endearing reminder of exactly how soft “The Gentle Art” of Jiu-jitsu can truly be.
Following a serious motorcycle accident a few short months later, where he was ultimately stripped of his UFC heavyweight title; Mir would go on to triumphantly recapture UFC gold at UFC 92 some four years later, defeating Nogueira for the UFC interim heavyweight title via second round TKO.
“There’s mathematics to fighting Roy,” Mir told Phone Booth radio in an August 31, 2019 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “Frank Mir on rematch with Roy Nelson: ‘I really don’t want to fight Roy.’” According to Mir, who is currently riding a four-fight losing streak, “If you follow that formula, Roy is beatable. If you detour that, you take risks and open yourself up to make it more exciting, and that’s when Roy catches guys with that thunderous right hand of his,” writes author Nolan King.
“Roy Nelson has been around the block a few times over the course of his 15-year MMA career and, as a result, things just don’t bug him like they used to,” writes authors Simon Head and Matt Erickson in their October 24, 2019 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “Roy Nelson is (not quite) done caring as Bellator 231 approaches: ‘Everyone thinks I suck anyway’.” According to the report, “Nelson has fought each of his past three bouts,” in Uncasville, Connecticut despite having requested fights on the opposite side of the country each and every time. “Hey, it is what it is,” Nelson told MMAJunkie.com. In summarizing his ultimate thoughts on the rather peculiar irregularity and circumstance, “I feel like when I was in the UFC and got the international departures. I feel like it’s the same thing,” said Nelson in describing the perceivable oddity of it all.
Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, Nelson acquired the nickname “Big Country” due in large part to his to his impressive grappling acumen, which naturally led to his peers presuming he must have come out of one of the more decorated collegiate wrestling programs in the country such as Oklahoma or Iowa for example. Though on a current three fight losing streak of his own, a quick glance at Nelsons record indicates he has fought a who’s who list of mixed martial arts legends throughout his career, meaning the seventeen career losses on Nelsons record are a potentially deceptive indicator of his overall greatness when evaluating the totality of his career due to the strength of schedule he carried alone.
With both mixed martial arts legends riding multiple fight losing streaks, one of the two is about to snap a dry spell Friday night in the evenings main event live at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Considering the previous history these two combatants have with one another, is Nelson going to set the stage and record straight for a third and final showdown with Mir in avenging his 2011 UFC 130 defeat? Or will Mir manage to crunch the numbers once again, utilizing his tried and true mathematical equation to zero Nelson out, moving to 2-0 in their multi-organizational rivalry? Tune into Bellator 231 live on Paramount/DAZN tonight starting at 9:00 PM EST to find out and catch all the evenings results.
Boxing Insider Interview with Martin Bakole and Billy Nelson: A Contender from the Congo
By: Oliver McManus
Martin Bakole and Billy Nelson aren’t, on paper, two names that you’d associate with one another but, forget paper, because the relationship that they have brings out the best in each other and it really is as simple as that with Nelson relishing the prospect of guiding his Congolese heavyweight to the very top.
Billy rang me on Monday, about 10 minutes after he and Martin touched down at the hotel in Sheffield – where they’ve been sparring Anthony Joshua – and Bakole started off by telling me about growing up in Congo, how his father used to be a boxer and that he and his brother, Ilunga Makabu, would bounce off each other trying to be the best.
There were relatively few details at this point with Bakole struggling to understand my thick Southern accent so for the duration of the interview I had to rely on Billy, kindly, relaying the questions back in his unmistakable Scottish voice.
Talking of Scotland and his relationship with Billy, the fighter told me, “Yes, I’m getting used to it (the rain), I am a vegetarian, not only in Scotland but everywhere…
… it doesn’t matter where the meat comes from Ollie, he won’t eat it, there’s actually an African shop nearby where he gets his stuff from but I do try to get him trying the Scottish stuff…
…but the relationship with Billy is a very good one, I trust him, it’s great, it’s lovely, lovely, I always listen to what he tells me and he knows what he’s doing. My career has moved on since I’ve met him, I’m getting better, I’m having bigger fights. He gets me good sparring and I’m happy”.
Billy echoed those sentiments and I asked him just how good Martin was in comparison to his former charges, “Martin is by far the best fighter I have ever trained, he is technically fantastic, naturally gifted which makes my job a bit easier but the most important part for me is just tweaking some of the areas, fight management and guiding him through, he really is a fast learner”.
11 and 0 as a professional boxer, having made his debut back in 2014, there was a refreshing honesty from Martin when it came to that first fight – against Cecil Smith, also making his debut, at Emperors Palace in South Africa – “It was scary, harder than I thought it would be, in the amateurs there are head guards and I wasn’t used to it”.
Any fears that he initially had have been long put to bed with the Airdrie resident first fighting in the United Kingdom in August 2016 and having seven fights since, his last two fights have been against DL Jones and Ali Baghouz which, whilst not the highest level of operators, Martin dispatched with quicker than Daniel Dubois and Tony Yoka, respectively, and yet there is a comparative lack of attention being shone on Bakole.
Nelson was tactful on this, insisting it was just a case of biding their time, “It’s a fair point, they are British heavyweights but I can assure you that Martin Bakole’s time will come and Daniel Dubois will not fight Martin Bakole, not in a month of Sundays, Martin is just far too good right now. As good a fighter as Daniel is, Ollie, Martin is far superior so we don’t worry about getting the hype around us, Martin does the talking in the ring”
Fighting DL Jones back in June saw Bakole drop the challenger on two occasions on his way to a 62 second knockout, including the count, but it was by far the test that the IBO Continental champion was hoping for with a, unnamed, former European challenger withdrawing from the bout –
“I was beginning to worry that we wouldn’t get an opponent, at least DL Jones stepped up to the plate but look at the difference between Martin’s first fight with me – against (Dominic) Akinlade – and a few months previously Akinlade had gone 10 rounds with Nathan Gorman who is well thought of, we’ve sparred him, but Martin destroyed Akinlade in one round. DL Jones went three rounds with Dubois, Martin Bakole broke his nose and fractured his eye socket in 62 seconds. But the thing is, if you look at the Top 12 in Britain, I’d say at least eight of them will say ‘no, thank you’.”
Martin interjected at this point, “I think that was my best fight, or the guy I fought before, it’s a difficult name to say (Ali Baghouz), but DL Jones was a good fight, I got a very good knockout and it made me happy”.
Finding opponents is an area Martin doesn’t have to worry about, with the Congolese giant saying, “I don’t mind who I fight, I will not pick, I just want to fight” but it is something that causes Nelson nightmares, “we’ve offered Dave Allen the fight two or three times but he won’t take it, he was a bit derogatory to Martin but we made up and sparred two rounds and that’s really concreted that he won’t fight Martin, after that. The thing is that Martin has been round the country to spar, he sparred Tyson Fury a few years ago, Dillian Whyte called off sparring the night before, everyone knows what Martin has done in sparring and I got a coach telling me “play the game”. I told him “we don’t play games”, we’re here to spar Anthony Joshua for the next week but Martin doesn’t seem him as a sparring partner, they both need quality sparring and you’d pay good, good money to watch the spars”.
Attention swiftly turned to Martin’s next fight, on October 13th, against Michael Hunter – former Oleksandr Usyk challenger – and Bakole seemed to relax in prospect of this fight, taking a deep breath before telling me, “I am ready to show to the world who I am, that I will be a future world champion and I’m not going to be scared, I’m going to show people how good I am with a big fight, I will stop people saying “Who is Martin Bakole?. I will make a statement, whenever I knock him out, it will be a statement.”
That confidence was expanded on when he opened up about sparring with Anthony Joshua, “it gives me good confidence, no-one else wants to spar me but Anthony Joshua and his coach know that I am the best so when I spar him it is very good sparring, high level and it keeps me focussed. Helps my intelligent and he always texts me after sparring saying thank you and it gives me confidence going into my fights”.
A much mooted fight was that of Joe Joyce, who claimed Bakole needed to bring more to the table, “Martin is fighting Michael Hunter, who knocked out Joe’s last opponent, Kiladze, so it’s hypocritical of him to say that, I think we’ll go down different routes now but we would fight him in a heartbeat.”
Despite hailing from the Congo, Bakole will be eligible for a British Boxing Board of Control License from next year, allowing him to fight for domestic and European titles, and I asked him if that was a fight (Agit Kabayel) that interested him, “I think I am better than that level, I am higher than that”.
It was pleasing to hear the quiet character showing such confidence and Billy was happy with the progress made under him, “the guys just don’t want to fight him but he’s knocked Akinlade, Baghouz, DL Jones out in one round and the only guy to go the distance under me was Sokolowski, no excuses that day because we travelled from Scotland to London at about 6.30 in the morning – I had three in title fights the night before but Martin didn’t want to go down with anyone else – and he gave that guy a hell of a beating, broke his nose, the worst broken nose I’ve ever seen and Sokolowski is one tough guy”.
This was another one of those rare occasion where Martin came in with a declaration of his own, “I will fight anyone, I will beat anybody, it doesn’t worry me who they are, I will not say this one or that one but whoever wants to fight me, I will be thankful but I will beat them. I would like to be out 4, 5 time next year.”
I asked him what he thought of fighting on TV and in his new home country of Scotland, “It is nice to be on TV, people watching me live and it makes me feel nice, thank you to them for watching and for Cyclone Promotions. I love fighting in Scotland. I like the people here, they make me feel loved and happy”.
The last word, fittingly, should go to Bakole who had a very simple, emphatic answer for me when I was cheeky enough to ask if anyone could beat him – “NO”.
ShoBox: The New Generation Results: Claressa Shields Outclasses Tori Nelson
By Eric Lunger
Claressa Shields (4-0, 2 KOs), America’s only two-time Olympic boxing gold medalist, exploded onto the women’s professional scene less than two years ago, picking up the WBC and IBF super middleweight world titles in her fourth professional bout. Tonight, she put those titles on the line against undefeated challenger Tori Nelson (17-0, 2 KOs) of Ashburn, Virginia. Nelson, 41, took an unorthodox road to boxing, picking up the sport at age 29 as a way to increase her fitness.
Youth versus age, energy versus experience, talent versus strategy — there were lots of ways to view this fight, but first the first question was: could Nelson compete with Shield’s skill level? It is a serious question because the Flint, Michigan, native appears to be a once-in-a-generation talent.
Photo Credit: ShoBox Twitter
The two fighters faced off in the main event on ShoBox: The New Generation, at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY. Shields came out in the first with a tight, cautious attack, but the hand speed difference between the fighters was abundantly clear. In the second, Shields landed a number of heavy shots, but Nelson nodded her head, like “that was nothing,” but the blows had to be adding up. Nelson fought a smart third round, stepping inside Shields’ attack. In the fourth, Nelson got inside again, but Shields outfought her from off the ropes.
In the fifth, Shields opened with a textbook triple jab, followed by a classic one-two down the pipe. Shields continued to land big shots but Nelson showed herself as durable as she was unintimidated. The sixth was the first really lop-sided round, as Nelson slowed down and offered no offense at all. Tori Nelson fought hard in the seventh, still shaking her head when she got tagged, but no one wins rounds by just hanging on. The eighth was more of the same, and the ninth again saw Nelson hanging on and taking punishment. Shields won the final round convincingly, as she did all the others. That Nelson never went down was a testament to her durability, if nothing else. The judges saw it as a shut-out, 100-90 across the board for Claressa Shields.
In undercard action, Jessie Hernandez (10-1, 7 KOs) of Fort Worth, Texas, took on Ernesto Garcia III (9-2, 5 KOs) of Saginaw, Michigan, in a ten-round junior featherweight clash. Garcia was giving up almost 4 inches in height and 2 inches in reach to Hernandez, who was coming off a fifth round TKO win over previously undefeated Vladimir Tikhonov.
This was an action first round, both fighters coming forward, both willing to throw, but it was not sloppy. Hernandez switched to southpaw to start the second, but Garza got inside and landed a number of good combinations. The Michigan fighter scored a knock down with just seconds to go in the round, catching Hernandez inside with a short left hook. Fireworks started the third, with both men in the middle of the ring, exchanging power shots. But this was a much better round from Hernandez, who went back to orthodox and fought from the outside.
In the fourth, Hernandez went back to southpaw and went to work on Garza’s body. He landed one low blow, but otherwise the body assault seemed to be effective, as Garza’s work rate slowed markedly. The fifth was closer, but Hernandez landed the cleaner and more punishing shots. In the sixth, Garza seemed to regain some steam, but both men exchanged hard shots in the middle of the ring – at a pace that looked impossible to sustain. The seventh was a war, with Garza losing his mouthpiece for the second time, and the last thirty seconds again saw a flurry of activity from both boxers. In the eighth there was a drop in activity – it had to come at some point – but still lots of action in a very close round. The ninth went mostly Garza’s way, as Hernandez seemed to fade, or maybe he was taking a round off in preparation for the tenth. Garza began the final round dancing and moving, but the final minute was an incredible battle in the center of the. This was a tremendous fight by both men, and a difficult fight to score. The judges saw it 95-94, 93-95, 97-93, a split decision for Jesse Hernandez.
In the first televised bout, two undefeated prospects, Shohjahon Ergashev (11-0, 11 KOs) of Uzbekistan took on Sonny Fredrickson (18-0, 12 KOs) of Toledo, Ohio, in a scheduled eight-round junior welterweight clash. Ergashev, a five-foot-ten southpaw, currently trains in Brooklyn, NY, while the lanky six-foot-one Fredrickson was looking to run his KO streak to three. With a combined 80% knock out rate between the two men, this fight was not likely to go the distance.
Ergashev landed some heavy left hands early and late in the first round, with Fredrickson unable to match Ergashev’s speed and use of angles. The second round saw more effective boxing and power shots from the Uzbek, though he marred the round — in my view — with some unnecessary show-boating. The end came quickly, however, in the third, as Ergashev staggered Fredrickson with a clean left. The Toledo native tried to survive on rubber legs, but the punishment doled out by Ergashev compelled a stoppage at 1:58 of the round.
ShoBox Preview: Claressa Shields vs. Tori Nelson, Hernandez vs. Garza
By: William Holmes
On Friday night one of the biggest attractions in women’s boxing, former Gold Medalist and current IBF/WBC Super Middleweight women’s World Champion Claressa Shields will be defending her titles against Tory Nelson.
This bout will be the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation airing on Showtime live from the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Photo Credit: Terrell Groggins/Salita Promotions
Super bantamweight Angel Hernandez and Super Lightweight Shohjahon Ergashev are expected to compete on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the Hernandez vs. Garza fight and the main event between Claressa Shields and Tori Nelson.
Jesse Hernandez (10-1) vs. Ernesto Garza (9-2); Junior Featherweights
ShoBox has a long history of putting on “crossroad” fights between two young and upcoming prospects. A win for a boxer will usually catapult him to bigger and better opportunities. A loss for a boxer will usually derail any hopes of him obtaining a future world title fight.
The fight between Hernandez and Garza is a perfect example of that.
Hernandez is twenty seven years old and is two years younger than Garza. He will have about a three and a half inch height advantage and about a two and a half inch reach advantage.
Dmitriy Salita is the promoter of Hernandez and he’s been very active the past two years. He fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016. Garza has also been active, but not as active as Hernandez. He fought three times in 2017 and once in 2016.
Hernandez has seven stoppage victories in comparison to the five stoppage victories of Garza. Hernandez debuted in 2009 but had a five year gap in between his second and third professional fight.
Hernandez has two big wins on his resume. He defeated Glenn Dezurn and Vladimir Tikhobnov. They were both undefeated at the time.
Garza’s only notable win was against Edward Kakembo. His two losses were to undefeated boxers, Jon Fernandez and Neslan Machado.
ShoBox fights are usually hard to pick a favorite due to the series’ history of putting on competitive fights between up and coming prospects that have yet to be tested. However, the physical advantages for Hernandez appear to be too great for Garza to overcome.
Claressa Shields (4-0)vs. Tori Nelson (17-0-3); IBF/WBC Super Middleweight Titles
Claressa Shields is one of Women’s Boxing Biggest stars. Her upside is so high that she’s headlining Friday’s ShoBox card and became a world title holder in only her third professional fight.
She’s a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and won it in 2012 and 2016.
Her opponent, Tori Nelson does not have the amateur pedigree of Shields but women’s amateur boxing did not exist in the Summer Olympics prior to 2012.
Shields is still incredibly young at the age of twenty two. Nelson is nearly twice her age and is forty one years old.
Shields has only fought four times as a professional but already has 2 TKO/KO wins. Nelson has twenty professional fights but only has 2 wins by stoppage. Shields has the clear advantage in power.
Shields was thrown to the fire almost immediately upon turning pro. She defeated Nikki Adler in only her third professional fight and was able to win both the IBF and WBC titles. She has also been active, and has fought three times in 2017 and once in 2016.
Even though Shields fought three times in 2017, she feels like she took some “time off” after he last match, in an era where many champions only fight once to twice a year.
She stated at a recent media workout, “”I am calm – focused – but still hungry like a challenger with the added confidence of being a world champion. I took some time off after my last win but I look forward to getting busy again in 2018.”
Nelson only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016. Her biggest victory to date was a TKO over Mia St. John, but Mia St. John was 46 years old at the time of that defeat.
Shields appears to be aware of the experience that Nelson possess and has been training hard for this fight. “This training camp I did eight weeks instead of six. A lot of camp has been extremely hard. But I’m so focused and determined on 2018 and starting great and staying busy. I expect my opponent to apply pressure, and to use some dirty tactics. She has more experience, but not that much when you speak of her amateur experience”.
Unfortunately for Shields, women’s boxing is not deep with talent, especially at the higher weights where she competes. This should be an easier win for Shields, especially considering the advance age of Nelson and Nelson’s lack of amateur experience.
But some big fights await Shields if she’s able to emerge victorious. Christina Hammer is a big name in the 160lb division in Women’s boxing and she may be next on Shields agenda. Chris Cyborg of the UFC has also been talked about as a possible future opponent.
As far as her future, Shields stated, “In 2018 I expect great fights against the best contenders. I expect to make history again on SHOWTIME and also looking forward to dropping to 160 to fight against [Christina] Hammer mid-2018. January 12th will be the beginning of great things to come”
Boyd Melson Volunteers to Serve in the Middle East; Withdraws from NY Congressional Race
Army Public Affairs Officer and retired pro boxer Boyd Melson announced his withdrawal from the New York District 11 Congressional election to serve the United States in the fight against ISIS in Operation Inherent Resolve.
Melson is currently serving in the Army Reserve in the rank of Major. Recently, a member of Melson’s Army Reserve unit scheduled for deployment in early 2018 received an opportunity for an assignment in an Active Guard Reserve (AGR) position.
The soldier wanted this assignment for a long period of time and it was an opportunity that would not be offered again if initially turned down. The soldier is married with children and the opportunity would be extremely beneficial to the soldier and her family. Melson, a Brooklyn resident, previously volunteered, without success, to serve abroad on three different deployments. He was adamant that this is his time to fight terrorism at its forefront.
“I am proud of many things that have taken place in my life and lives of those around me,” said Melson, a 2003 West Point graduate. “The most important to me without question is being a great American that stands behind his responsibilities as a member of the Army Reserve.”
Melson, who helped raise more than $400,000 for Spinal Cord Injury research by donating every penny earned in his boxing career and helping host multiple charity galas, has been chronicled by many high profile media outlets for his selflessness. However, the 36-year-old believes this next journey is his responsibility as an American.
“I have never deployed. Wholeheartedly, I believe that it is my ultimate duty to serve this great country in our fight against ISIS in the Middle East. For this reason, I have decided to withdraw from the 2018 District 11 Congressional election. While there’s no doubt in my mind I was the right man to lead Staten Island and South Brooklyn, America needs me overseas. I was doing well in my campaign run. I was singled out by the New York times as one of a handful of up and coming Democratic candidates for United States Congress. I was one of six candidates asked to speak out in front of the White House to address Russia’s cyber-interference with our elections. Then I received a phone call. A fellow soldier was scheduled to deploy. She asked me if I would switch with her because of various circumstances that would greatly benefit her family’s life to include her. I immediately said yes.”
“I thought to myself, I have never been deployed and I don’t want to look back on my life thinking how I had my chance to do my part fighting ISIS but shied away from it. That would have gone against everything I stand for. I believe in sacrificing myself to help others. This time, the sacrifice is not only to help combat the terror in the Middle East, but to also help out a fellow soldier. If I said no, I would have lied to myself about who I think I am and what I think I am about.”
I have spent a great amount of time over the years traveling to schools and speaking to students from pre-k through college. I always stated that you must make sure that your decisions are in alignment with your heart’s values. Me not being there when called upon would have meant I would have lied to these children all of these years. I finally am getting my chance to join my brothers and sisters in arms with this experience. Only my inner-circle knew about the other three deployments I tried to get on. I finally get to join all those throughout our nation’s history that have made this choice. I believe in my choice, albeit it will be costing me my chance at being elected into office. Serving my nation, the United States of America, in uniform while in harm’s way, to help fight.”
PBC on FS1 Results: Mario “Golden Boy” Barrios Halts Naim Nelson on Injured Shoulder
By: Ken Hissner
King’s Promotions returned to the Sands Casino Event Center in Bethlehem, PA, Tuesday night over FS-1 with an 8 bout card.
Photo Credit: Kenyon Sessoms/Premier Boxing Champions
In the Main Event super lightweight Mario “Golden Boy” Barrios, 20-0 (12), of San Antonio, TX, won over Naim Nelson, 13-4 (1), of Philly, due to an injured left shoulder of Nelson’s.
In the first round Nelson was moving well and countering Barrios who seems content to let Nelson take the lead. At the 10 second mark Barrios and Nelson exchanged punches. Good round for Nelson. In the second round a double jab from Barrios was countered by a right to the chin from Nelson. A counter right from Nelson to the head of Barrios got his attention. In the third round Barrios landed a good right hand body shot on Nelson. Nelson landed a left hook and went to the canvas. The ring physician came in to examine Nelson’s left shoulder that may have been injured earlier when his left looked like it got caught onto the ropes. In between rounds the ring physician examined Nelson’s left shoulder.
In the fourth round a lead right hand from Barrios was right on the money to the chin of Nelson. It was a big round for Barrios as Nelson was on the defense for the most part. In the fifth round Nelson landed a nice lead right to the chin of Barrios. Both fighters landed right hands to the chins with Nelson going back several steps. It was a competitive round with Barrios edging out Nelson. In the sixth round while Barrios continued to be the aggressor Nelson countered him well. It was a very competitive and close round.
In the seventh round Barrios missed twice but landed his third try to the chin of Nelson. A right hand from Barrios landed on the left shoulder of Nelson’s causing him to take a knee. Referee Gary Rosato immediately called in the ring physician who halted the fight due to an injury.
“I don’t know what happened to my shoulder but I’m getting an MRI as soon as we leave here,” said Nelson. Barrios can thank his blessings because Nelson started winning the first two rounds while Barrios took the next three with Nelson taking the sixth on this writer’s scorecard making it even going into the seventh. It would be hard to find another boxer as nice and humble as Nelson in the game today.
Light heavyweight Earl Newman, 10-0-1 (7), of Brooklyn, NY, and Paul “Pay for View” Parker, 8-2-1 (4), of Toledo, OH, fought to a draw over 8 rounds.
In the first round it was a round of jabs with the exception of Newman getting in a right to the head of Parker. In the second round Newman countered a miss from Parker with a right to the chin. At the midway point a left hook from Parker to the chin rocked Newman forcing him to clinch. A right hand from Parker was countered by a left hook by Newman with both punches to the head. In the third round an overhand right from Parker to the head rocked Newman whose jab had been dominant. Both boxers landed right hands to the chin at the same time. It has been an evenly matched bout through 3 rounds.
In the fourth round a solid right from Parker to the chin of Newman had his knees buckled. Newman came right back rocking Parker with a right to the chin.
In the fifth round both boxers mixed it up well. Newman due to his jab seemed to have a slight edge. In the sixth round Newman countered with a nice right cross to the head of Parker. In the seventh round Newman landed a solid left hook to the chin of Parker making him clinch. A solid right from Newman to the chest of Parker could be heard throughout the arena. In the eighth and final round Newman chased and Parker countered well with his jab through most of the round. Benjy Esteves, Jr. did his usual fine job as the referee.
Judge Kevin Morgan had it 77-75 for Parker, judge James Kinney 79-73 for Newman and John McKay 76-76. This writer had it 77-75 Newman.
Lightweight Thomas “TJ” Velasquez, 9-0-1 (5), of Philly, and southpaw Tyrome Jones 4-2-1 (1), of South Bend, IND, battled to a 6 round draw.
In the first round Velasquez led with a right to the chin of Jones who countered with a right hook of his own to the chin.
It was a close round with Velasquez being the aggressor. In the second round Velasquez landed four unanswered punches to the head of Jones. Velasquez looked stronger while Jones seemed to take the round off. In the third round Velasquez continued to outwork Jones in a good close round.
In the fourth round Jones countered with a solid left uppercut to the chin of Velasquez. Shortly afterward Jones landed a solid left to the chin of Velasquez. As Velasquez came in low Jones was waiting with a solid lead left to the chin. In the fifth round Jones landed a lead left to the head of Velasquez who came back with several combinations to the head of Jones. A left hook from Velasquez to the chin drove Jones back several steps. In the sixth and final round it started with all Velasquez landing at will. A straight left from Jones knocked the head of Velasquez back. Just prior to the bell Jones landed a solid right uppercut on the chin of Velasquez.
Judge John McKay had it 59-55 for Jones, judge John Portujal had it 59-55 for Velasquez while judge James Kinney had it 57-57. This writer had it 58-56 for Velasquez. Gary Rosato was the referee.
Bantamweight southpaw Antonio Russell, 9-0 (7), of Wash, DC, stopped southpaw Cristian Renteria, 7-6 (6), of Tijuana, MEX, at 1:26 of the third round.
In the first round Renteria landed the first punch in a bout of southpaws.
Shortly afterwards Russell hurt Renteria with a solid right hook to the head making him clinch. Renteria was able to survive to the end of the round tying up Russell the rest of the round. In the second round Russell landed numerous vicious uppercuts to the mid-section of Renteria who hung in there the best he could. Referee Esteves, Jr. warned Renteria several times about holding.
In the third round Renteria opened up with his own left uppercut to the mid-section of Russell. A right hook from Russell to the head of Renteria rocked him. Shortly later in the round Russell landed a right cross to the chin of Renteria dropping him. Referee Esteves, Jr. halted the bout which didn’t please Renteria who wanted to continue.
Super lightweight southpaw Gary Antuanne Russell, 2-0 (2), of Wash. DC, stopped game Jesus Lule, 11-24-1 (2), of Ft. Myers, FL, at 2:38 of the first round.
In the first round it was all Russell though Lule as always showed the determination of a lion. Referee Esteves, Jr. saw enough as Russell was out landing Lule 5-1. Lule had no quit in him. Russell was a member of the USA Olympic team in 2016 after having his third fight and second win over Philly’s Jaron “Boots” Ennis, now 14-0, to earn that spot.
Middleweight Ryan Wiczak, 5-0 (3), of Scranton, PA, stopped Devin “Bearded Assassin” McMaster, 1-3 (0), of Allentown, PA, at 1:35 of the first round.
In the first round both fighters let it all hang out until the mid point when a right hand from Wiczak dropped McMaster on the canvas. Beating the count of referee Rosato McMaster was quickly jumped on and went down from another right hand forcing referee Rosato to wisely call a halt without a count.
In the opening bout Lightweight Jeffrey Torres, 4-0 (2), of Hartford, CT, stopped Latorie Woodberry, 1-5-1 (0), at 1:59 of the first round.
In the first round a double left hook from Torres to the ribs of Woodberry dropped him. Torres jumped on Woodberry landing a left hook to the head dropping him for a second time. Torres went right after Woodberry landing a right hand to the side of the head dropping him for a third time forcing referee Rosato to halt the fight. Torres is with DSG who is former 2-division champion Danny “Swift” Garcia and his father Angel.
Featherweight Juan Sanchez, 3-0 (1), of Allentown, PA, looked terrific scoring a knockdown in defeating Gorwar Karyah, 1-1 (1), of Philly, PA, over 4 rounds.
In the first round after both fighters mixed up Sanchez landed a left hook to the chin and down went Karyah. He beat the count from referee Esteves, Jr. and got up and mixed it up but got hurt by left hook to the chin of Sanchez. In the second round Karyah came out orthodox but it didn’t change what Sanchez had for him being the much faster of the two. Halfway through the round Karyah landed a lead right to the chin of Sanchez with little effect. Sanchez started showboating to the delight of his local followers.
In the third round Sanchez came out southpaw for about 10 seconds before switching back to orthodox. A minute into the round and Karyah landed a lead right to the chin of Sanchez. Sanchez started showboating again to the delight of his fans dropping his hands to his side and switching back and forth. By the end of the round Karyah went southpaw. In the fourth and final round with Sanchez backed into Karyah’s corner both fighters let it all hang out until a right to the head of Karyah’s turned his head. It turned into a brawl with Sanchez getting the better of it. Sanchez is a crowd pleaser and a prospect to keep your eye on.
Judges scores were 40-35 twice and 39-36 while this writer had it 40-35.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo, Crawford Dazzles in Impressive Performance
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo,
By: William Holmes
The ultra-talented and underappreciated Terence Crawford headlined tonight’s HBO World Championship Boxing Card live from Madison Square Garden in New York City as he took on former Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz.
The untelevised undercard featured some of Top Rank’s best prospects, including gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov and the man many consider to be the best prospect from the US Olympic Boxing team of 2016, Shakur Stevenson.
There were no notable upsets on the undercard.
Unfortunately for Top Rank, Terence Crawford’s ability to draw in New York City appears to be questionable, as the top section of Madison Square Garden was empty and there were numerous empty seats in the lower section of the arena.
The first bout on the televised card was between Jonathan Maicelo (25-2) and Ray Beltran (32-7-1) for the NABF, NABO, WBA International, and in an IBF World Title Elimination Bout in the lightweight division.
Maicelo, surprisingly, had a large number of fans in attendance and they were very vocal during the ring entrance and announcements.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Beltran was clearly the bigger fighter. Beltran pressed forward in the opening round while the crowd loudly chanted “Peru, Peru!” for their boxer Jonathan Maicelo. Maicelo was able to score a surprise knockdown on Beltran from a combination to the body and an accidental head-butt in the first. The clash of heads opened up a cut over the left eye of Maicelo and the left eye of Beltran. Beltran was able to hurt Maicelo with a left hook at the end of the round.
Beltran pressed forward to start the second round and opened up with an early left hook. Maicelo was able to respond with a solid four punch combination followed by a hard shot to the body. Maicelo looked energized and landed another combination on Beltran by the ropes. However, beltran later responded with a vicious left hook that sent the back of Maicelo’s head crashing hard on the mat.
Maicelo was out cold and the referee immediately stopped the bout. Ray Beltran wins by a vicious knockout at 1:25 of the second round.
The main event of the night was between Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz (19-1) and Terence Crawford (30-0) for the WBO and WBC Super Lightweight World Titles.
Crawford, who had a noticeable height advantage, was active with his jab early on and chose to come out in a southpaw stance against the Diaz, who is a natural southpaw. Diaz was short with most of his punches and reached for his left hook while Crawford was active with his jab.
Diaz was able to land a good left hook early in the second round and later fell to the mat with a pushdown afterwards. Crawford was sharp with his jab for most of the second round and landed a sharp double uppercut combination in the middle of the round. Diaz was able to land a hard right hook near the end of the second that caught Crawford off guard.
Crawford hard a commanding third round and opened it up with a crisp counter left uppercut on a charging Diaz. Crawford’s accuracy with his jab continued in the third round and he was able to land several hard two punch combinations on Diaz.
Diaz was warned for a low blow in the fourth round, but more concerning for him was that Crawford’s accuracy showed no signs of letting up while Diaz’s face was beginning to show signs of swelling from Crawfrod’s accurate assaults.
Crawford dominated the fifth round which was punctuated by a left cross right jab combination and a hard left uppercut.
Crawford toyed with Diaz in the sixth round and seemingly touched Diaz with his gloves whenever he wanted to. Diaz was able to land some good punches in the seventh round and they had several good exchanges, but Crawford appeared to get the better of Diaz.
There was some trash talk between both boxers in the eighth and ninth rounds, but Crawford was landing combinations at will and the intensity of his punches showed no signs of slowing down. He had Diaz momentarily stunned in the ninth round with a hard left cross to the temple of Diaz.
Ringside doctors took a hard look at the eyes of Diaz before the start of the tenth round but decided to let him continue. Crawford took no pity on the plight of Diaz and battered him from ring post to ring post in the tenth round and toyed with him, again.
Diaz walked back to his corner at the end of the tenth round looking like a defeated man and his corner wisely decided to call of the fight.
Terence Crawford wins by TKO at the end of the tenth round in an impressive and dominant performance.
Undercard Quick Results:
Steve Nelson (7-0) defeated Gilberto Rubio (7-5) by TKO at 0:36 of the second round in the light heavyweight division.
Henry Lebron (2-0) defeated Johnny Estrada (0-2) by TKO at 0:52 of the second round in the super featherweight division.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (2-0) defeated Agustine Mauras (6-3-3) by decision with scores of 80-72 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.
Konstantin Ponomarev (32-0) defeated Edward Paredes (37-7-1) by decision with scores of 78-74 on all three scorecards in the super welterweight division.
Teofimo Lopez III (5-0) defeated Ronald Rivas (5-6-2) by knockout at 2:21 of the second round in the lightweight division.
Tong Hui Li (9-1) defeated Daniel Calzada (14-17-3) by decision in the super welterweight division with scores of 60-54 on all three scorecards.
Shakur Stevenson (2-0) defeated Carlos Suarez (6-4-2) in the featherweight division wins by TKO at 2:35 of the first round.
Boyd Melson Interview with Boxing Insider
Boyd Melson Interview with Boxing Insider
By: John Freund
On November 19, 2016, former WBC USNBC Super Welterweight champ Boyd Melson returned to the ring after an 18-month long retirement. Boyd, who turned professional to raise awareness for spinal cord research, and who donated all of his boxing proceeds towards researching a cure for paralysis, was inspired to return to the ring for one last fight to raise awareness for the growing heroin problem in Staten Island, New York.
Boyd brought a 15-1 record into the fight, his only loss coming against Delen Parsley in a somewhat controversial decision. Boyd struggled to make weight, however, and was injured in the opening round. He lost the fight by KO to opponent Courtney Pennington.
We spoke with Boyd about what happened during the fight, what it’s like to get back into the ring after such a long layoff, and what he accomplished with his latest endeavor.
What happened during the fight?
I went in completely flat. Weigh-ins ended up running later than I thought they would, and that small window made all the difference. I had sweat out about 8 pounds the night before, and I was doing well that morning, but by the time I had to go into the weigh in I had nothing left. I tried to go on the pads, and I had nothing. For the weigh-in I had to put the sauna suit on, I put on a long sleeve shirt underneath the top, wrapped two towels around my torso, put the pads on and had the hat on. Went from the steam room to the sauna back to the steam room. I almost died. I was exhausted. I had to take a cold shower because I started getting nauseous. And the last round I did in the steam room I started burning my hands because the wraps from the gloves were cutting into my skin. So I actually started praying to God, I said “God please give me the strength to go through this, because I have to make this weight or I won’t be able to fight, and it’s for the cause of bringing awareness to heroin on Staten Island and I have to do my part.”
Tell me about the injury you sustained in the opening round.
I went in there and got tagged in my left eye. Turns out I got a small hole in the retina and they have to close it with surgery. I couldn’t even see, because blood was pouring into it. I wanted to quit that first round because I kept getting scared I was going blind, that my retina was detached. And I kept pawing at it and pawing at it, and when I went in the corner I asked coach, “Am I bleeding, am I bleeding?” And he was like, ‘No, there’s nothing there. What are you pawing at?’
I wanted to quit because I was scared about losing my vision, but I thought to myself, ‘It’s only the first round, I can’t quit, I have to fight for this cause. I can’t give up now.’
The worst part was being scared, not knowing what had happened. After that, my reaction time was off, I couldn’t move, couldn’t get out of the way. I couldn’t generate any power. It’s what happens when you get dehydrated. I couldn’t get any spacing and I couldn’t hit hard.
It was scheduled for 8 and the fight went until 20 seconds left in the 7th. Courtney is a great boxer. I wanted to say to him, ‘Can you carry me please?’ but I wasn’t going to do that (laughs).
At what point did you realize the fight wasn’t going your way?
Everyone always says, ‘You never start fighting until you get hit hard.’ And I always feel The Hulk come out when I do get hit hard. And I remember after getting knocked down in the 2nd round, I stood up with no emotion, no Hulk no nothing, the well was completely empty, and I thought to myself, ‘This is not good.’
When Steve Farwood interviewed me after, the first thing he said was, ‘We know this is not the normal Boyd Melson.’ And I said, ‘Thank you for acknowledging it, because I had nothing.’
You retired last year, and this was your one-time coming out of retirement fight. Why now? Why this fight?
The whole purpose of turning professional was to raise money and awareness for this clinical trial that one of Christopher Reeves’ doctors is trying to conduct here in the U.S. to cure paralysis, injecting umbilical cord stem cells where they are matching 6 out of 6 HLAs. After about 6 years and around $400k raised, at age 33 I told family I’m done.
But now I see Staten Island – the second burough of my childhood – I see what’s going on there, 40 Vets ODing on heroin, and now maybe the number is even higher, like some have said 74. So I hooked up with Abe Goldberg, the founder of Big Vision (bigvision.nyc), they do events all the time to raise money and awareness. So I said let’s do a boxing match.
It turns out there was an event at Foxwoods for Veteran’s Appreciation day, and they said, ‘Would you like to fight?’ And it was perfect timing, I’m on track to make Major, God willing (Boyd is an Army vet). So I decided to fight to raise money and awareness for Staten Island. I believed that by doing this the Universe would open up and inspire the media to come, and I’ll be able to use that as a platform to talk about heroin addiction on Staten Island. And whatever I earn I’m going to donate to Big Vision, so we can help Staten Island.
I know it sucks to lose a fight, but how do you feel now that it’s over?
I remember I told my family, for this fight, I wanted it to be a war so everyone would be inspired by how hard I was willing to fight for this cause, it doesn’t even matter if I win or lose. And it was a war.
Was the training more difficult this time around, cause you’ve been off for a year?
The first 2 weeks was tough on my body. I had some knee issues that never happened before. I started needing shots of Cortisone. I also started having radial issues with both arms, so they put me on Pretasone for 5 days. I had all these challenges but I was in shape. I was in shape like a dog. But it was having to get on that scale and lose all that weight… I prayed, I prayed like I never prayed before in my life. When I got on the scale, I was 1/10th of a pound heavy, and I started crying, because I wasn’t going to fight, and I was embarrassing myself. I started jogging in place and flinging my arms, and just trying to get every bead of sweat out. And that did it. The scale flickered between 63 and 62.9 and 63 and 62.9, and it held. I was dejected and dehydrated, with no food in my body.
That was about 24 hours before the fight. And I probably put on 15-20 pounds in that 24 hours. I was so bloated.
What advice do you have for boxers considering coming out of a long layoff or retirement?
Get yourself a weighted vest. And don’t worry about running in the beginning because you’re probably going to be a little heavier, and that extra weight will be hitting your knees. Put on the vest, wear it for your shadowing, wear it on the bag, just to start getting your joints loose again. Don’t worry about footwork so much. Get on that elliptical with the vest on, and do some sprints on the elliptical – 30 seconds. Give yourself about 6-10 minutes, 30 seconds easy, 30 seconds hard. Just to get your metabolism up. Keep doing that for a week or two before you start running. You’ll lose some weight pretty quick with that. You need to get your body loose.
Can you give me an update on spinal cord injury research? How is that going?
By early fall of next year we should have clearance to conduct a study here in the U.S. – it was originally published in the May 2016 issue of ‘Cell Transplantation,’ a prestigious scientific journal. 15 of 20 paralyzed individuals can now walk with a walker, and 12 out of 20 had their bladder and bowel functions return. So God willing we’ll get FDA approval to continue that study next year.
What’s next for you in your career?
I want people in Staten Island to know, I have shown by example now – outside of many things I have on my resume in regard to philanthropy – what I’m willing to do to help that borough with its most grave problem. And my hope is, come 2018, I get elected in some official capacity to a leadership position so I can help serve the people of Staten Island. I risked my life for that.
Are you planning on running for an official position?
Yes, I would like to run for Congress in 2018. I fought this fight to bring awareness to a growing problem in the borough I love, that I grew up in, and even after barely making weight and nearly going blind in the first round, I kept fighting for 6 more rounds. It was a blood and guts fight, and I fought it for the people of Staten Island. I look forward to continuing to fight for them.
Demetrius Andrade Will Rise
Demetrius Andrade Will Rise
By: Brandon Bernica
The first time I glanced at Demetrius Andrade doing work in a boxing ring, I was floored. Right before he was scheduled to fight Vanes Martirosyan for the WBO junior middleweight crown, I decided to scout out this former Olympian. Immediately, his form grabs your attention. Somehow his pristine punches freeze his opponents just out of range. If said opponents try to overextend into his space, he slides to the sides, knowing full well how badly they’re going to whiff before they even punch. His real genius, however, is in his return, in how he seems to choose the right punch at the right time to optimize every exchange for his benefit.
If you think I’m mistaken, I wouldn’t blame you. Andrade is a promoter’s dream – a true talent with proven skills and unbridled confidence. His resume isn’t sparse, either, consisting of wins against well-known contenders like Martirosyan and Willie Nelson. But before you take your money to Bank Andrade and deposit every cent of stock you own, listen. Because Andrade’s story feels incomplete, and it has nothing to do with his performance inside the ropes.
The truth is, Andrade struggles to find an enclave in boxing’s revolving carousel of niches. Not to his own fault, he fights with gusto and barks for any top-dog to go against him. As you start peeling the layers back from Andrade’s career, you notice that the only figures lacking confidence in his abilities are the team around him. Promotionally, Andrade’s never been pushed as an attraction, and it shows in the gun-shy nature of Banner Promotion’s matchmaking for him. Fans have had nothing to get excited about – no big fights, no buzz, no engendering to the public. When he signed a deal to appear exclusively on the Showtime networks, many believed that would be the beginning of an Andrade run at stardom. Instead, Showtime has been reluctant to showcase him, despite little rationale behind that decision. Training-wise, he’s outlasted multiple changes at the helm. While anyone would call it foolish to believe that men like his father and the great Virgil Hunter couldn’t see the prospects in his future, clearly the issue of consistency behind his career lingers.
If anything, Andrade should have the fans in his back pocket, right? Wrong. Fans just haven’t developed any large swell of support for Andrade despite his credentials. One theory behind this disappointing turn out (or turn-away) might be the color of Andrade’s skin. Boxing fans quickly identify black fighters as slick boxer-punchers, lazy bylines moving uninspired, predetermined narratives. And the thing is, Andrade is slick and is a boxer-puncher. But he’s so much more than that. He loves to mix it up. He uses the ring as his playground, bobbing and weaving and punching from every angle the sun shines on. Yet much of this is missed when you box him into stereotypes, limiting perspective to what you expect to see over what you actually see.
If Demetrius Andrade’s story seems unfair, consider this: the man’s thrived under the radar. He grew up in the sliver of the nation in Rhode Island, away from the burning lights of fame. In 2008, his Olympic experience was overshadowed by the likes of Raushee Warren, Gary Russell Jr., and Deontay Wilder. Even against Martirosyan, it was Vanes, not Andrade, who was expected to blossom at the professional level. His ship has tossed and turned amongst the waves already. Fortunately, he’s a pro at righting the ship, thriving in the undertow of boxing. One day, everything will fall in place, or, just maybe, it won’t. To spin an old adage – don’t blame the player, blame the game.
PBC on ESPN Results: Benavidez and Luna Batter their Opponents to Remain Undefeated
PBC on ESPN Results: Benavidez and Luna Batter their Opponents to Remain Undefeated
By: William Holmes
The 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia was the host site for tonight’s telecast of the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on ESPN telecast.
Two highly touted prospects on the PBC roster fought on the televised portion of the card. Undefeated David Benavidez faced off against Denis Douglin in the main event of the night in the super middleweight division, and the co-main event was between undefeated Alejandro Luna and last minute replacement Naim Nelson in the lightweight division.
Credit: Premier Boxing Champions/Ryan Hafey
Naim Nelson (13-1) and Alejandro Luna (20-0) was the first bout of the night in the junior welterweight division. Stephen Ormond was originally scheduled to face Luna, but he badly missed weight and Nelson, a local Philadelphia fighter, stepped up as a last minute replacement.
Both men started off fighting out of an orthodox stance and Nelson attacked to the body early. It was obvious that Luna had more snap to his punches in the opening stanza, but Nelson was willing to stay in the pocket and exchange with Luna despite the fact he only has one stoppage victory.
Nelson continued to stay in the pocket with Luna in the second round and even caused Luna’s left eye to swell. However, Luna was connecting with good combinations to the body with short uppercuts to the jaw.
Luna had Nelson backing up to the ropes in the third round, but both boxers were exchanging and landing good shots. Luna started off the fourth round focusing more of his attacks to the head out of a southpaw stance, and had some success when fighting from a distance.
Nelson was able to tag Luna with a couple of hard right crosses in the fifth round, but Luna’s pressure was relentless and the volume of his punches showed no signs of slowing down.
Luna came back out in an orthodox stance in the sixth round and attacked Nelson with a little more urgency than previous rounds. Luna seemed unafraid of Nelson’s power despite the swelling in his left eye. Even though Nelson was able to land a few decent shots, he was unable to slow down the work rate of Luna.
Luna’s stalking continued into the seventh round as he continued to measure his body shots while chasing Nelson around the ring.
Nelson fought valiantly and with great heart in the final three rounds of the bout and may have stolen the ninth round, but he just couldn’t keep up with the pace of Luna nor match his power. Luna came close to scoring a knockdown in the final round and had Nelson bleeding from his forehead, but Nelson was able to stay on his feet.
Luna wins the hard fought decision with scores of 99-91, 98-92, and 97-93.
Afterwards Luna stated, “Nelson was a tough guy and could bang a little bit. Obviously we prepared for another opponent, but I felt I had a solid performance against him.”
The main event of the night was between the hard hitting David Benavidez (15-0) and Denis Douglin (20-4) in the super middleweight division.
Three of Douglin’s four losses have come by knockout, while fourteen of Benavidez’s fifteen wins have come by stoppage.
Benavidez was significantly taller than Douglin and used his jab and reach to his advantage with sharp jabs and crisp crosses. Douglin, however, was able to do good work to the body and stunned Benavidez with a left hook near the end of the round and finished strong.
The second round was a close one to call. Benavidez was able to land a few hard uppercuts, but also had to hold the back of Douglin’s head in order to land some body shots. This round featured some good exchanges with both boxers landing their fair share of good shots.
Benavidez looked he was starting to wear Doughlin down in the third round. He staggered Doughlin at one point in the fourth round with a straight right hand and Doughlin was forced to hold on.
Benavidez looked like he was in complete control in the fourth and fifth rounds, and he was able to snake his punches around the tight guard of Douglin from a variety of angles and did it well.
Benavidez opened up the sith round with a hard right cross right uppercut combination, and had Douglin reeling on the ropes while he delivered withering body blows and hard shots to the head. Douglin looked like he was close to hitting the mat, but his mouthpiece fell out and he was granted a short break and recovered.
Benavidez opened up the seventh round by backing Douglin to a corner and continuing the damage he inflicted upon him in the previous round. At one point Douglin had Benavidez’s back towards the ropes, but the ring ropes fell down and the fight had to be stopped in order to fix the ring.
Douglin attacked Benavidez immediately when the fight restarted and did some good work to the body when Benavidez had his back to the ropes and may have stolen the round.
Benavidez appeared to win the eighth round after giving away the seventh by sticking to his jab and landing clean shots from the outside.
Douglin needed a knockout in the final two rounds to win the fight, but Benavidez landed several crowd pleasing shots in the ninth round including a combination of uppercuts that finally sent Douglin to the mat at the end of the ninth.
Douglin took several hard shots from Benavidez at the start of the tenth round and looked like he was just trying to survive. Benavidez landed another blistering combination with Douglin’s back towards the ropes before the referee jumped in and stopped the bout.
David Benavidez wins by TKO at 0:45 of the tenth round.
Afterwards Benavidez states, “I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I knew he wasn’t going to go out without a fight. So I came in here and started slower than I usually do, just using my jab a little bit more. I hurt him a lot of times, but I kept my cool. I knew I was going to get him out of here sooner or later and that’s exactly what I did tonight.
Undercard Quick Results:
Jeffrey Torres (1-0) defeated Mariano Rolon (0-1) by KO at 2:23 of the first round in the lightweight division.
Kieran Hooks (1-0) defeated Miguel Martinez (2-2) by decision in the junior middleweight division with scores of 38-37 on all three scorecards.
Darryl Bunting (2-0-2) and Edward Jeramie Ortiz (1-0-1) fought to a draw in the super middleweight division with scores of 39-37 for Bunting, and 38-38 on the other two scorecards.
Tyrone Brunson (23-6-1) defeated Carlos Garcia (10-17-1) by knockout at 0:25 of the fourth round in the junior middleweight division.
Showtime Boxing Results: Zlaticanin makes history, Andrade shines in return & Molina upsets Provodnikov
Showtime Boxing Results: Zlaticanin makes history, Andrade shines in return & Molina upsets Provodnikov
By: Matthew N. Becher
Live from Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, Showtime sports in associating with Banner Promotions, presented a three fight boxing card.
The first fight of the evening was a historical one, which had Dejan Zlaticanin become the first world champion from the small country of Montenegro.
Photo Credit: Emily Harney/Banner Promotions
In the co-main event, the return of Demetrius Andrade was as good a performance as you can get. Andrade showed no rust in his abilities and put on a brilliant performance. He will look to take this win and attempt a WBC title shot, later this year.
The main event was a fight of the year contender on paper. In the end, it was less brawl and more of a controlled fight, performed by Molina.
Dejan Zlaticanin (21-0 14KO) v. Franklin Mamani (21-2-1 12KO): WBC Lightweight Championship
Both fighters came into the ring looking to make history. Manini attempting to become the first Bolivian to become a world champion, Zlaticanin trying to be the first person from Montenegro to do so.
They both came out throwing punches, trading shot for shot, working the body. Zlaticanin looked to be the heavier hitter and planned to end the fight early if Mamani dared to stay in front of him.
In the third round, Mamani was wobbled with a big shot, going down on a slip. Zlaticanin moved in with a barrage of punches, causing the referee, Charlie Fitch, to step in and put a stop to the fight.
Zlaticanin TKO3 0:54
Demetrius Andrade (22-0 15KO) v. Willie Nelson (25-2-1 15KO): Jr. Middleweight
Andrade has been on a long layoff over the past couple of years, and he proved tonight why he is still a champion level type of fighter. Even though Nelson, who came in at a very tall 6’3”, would be one of Andrade’s toughest opponents, Andrade showed no trouble in landing his punches in bunches. Andrade came out throwing lots of heavy shots and knocking Nelson down at the one minute mark of the first round.
Andrade used great foot work and punches from different angles to keep Nelson covered up and confused. Andrade threw almost double the punches and was extremely sharp in breaking through Nelsons guard.
Nelson really had no answer for the busier Andrade. Andrade again showed why he deserves a shot at the best fighters in the 154lb division, ending the fight with a knock down in the 11th, and two more in the final round, with the referee putting a stop to it before the final bell could ring.
Andrade TKO12 1:38
Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4 18KO) v. John Molina Jr. (28-6 23KO):Jr. Welterweight
Molina Jr. had a 5 inch height advantage and rehydrated from 140 to 160 and both would prove beneficial in tonight’s fight.
In the early rounds, Provodnikov would push the action, trying to get Molina in a corner or against the ropes and go toe to toe. Molina was able to hold his own, but would then use his length to pump out a steady jab, keeping Provodnikov at bay.
The fourth round had an accidental head-butt that opened a cut over Ruslans eye, and provided a target for Molina’s steady one two jab.
When Provodnikov would let his hands go, he could actually stagger Molina, but Provodnikov just never followed up his attack. Molina would end up going back to his jab and resetting the tempo.
In the end, Ruslan wasn’t able to close the distance and stay away from the jab.
Molina used a jab and mixed it up when necessary. It was a one sided fight.
Molina Jr. UD12 116-112, 117-111, 115-113
Showtime Boxing Preview: Andrade v. Nelson; Provodnikov v. Molina Jr.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Andrade v. Nelson; Provodnikov v. Molina Jr.
By: Matthew N. Becher
This Saturday at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in upstate Verona, New York, Showtime Boxing will present three televised boxing matches. The first will include the return of former Jr. Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade. The second, a title fight, for the vacant WBC Lightweight belt and finally the main event, a possible fight of the year contender, between the always exciting John Molina Jr. and “The Siberian Rocky” Ruslan Provodnikov.
Demetrius Andrade (22-0 15KO) v. Willie Nelson (25-2-1 15KO): Jr. Middleweight
Demetrius Andrade was on the fast track to a great career. The undefeated fighter out of Rhode Island was beating every fighter they put in front of him. By 2013 he became a world champion, defeating a very tough Vanes Martirosyan to become the WBO Jr. Middleweight titlist. Andrade would defend his title one time in 2014, against Brian Rose, and then subsequently be stripped of his title due to inactivity and problems with his promotional team. Andrade is a former amateur standout and 2008 US Olympian. Besides his fight with Martirosyan, this fight with Nelson will be his toughest to date, and an impressive win could fast track him back to the top of the division, and a possible title shot later this year.
Willie Nelson is no slouch of a fighter. Also sporting a great amateur record, Nelson has a solid professional record with only two losses. After a loss to Vanes Martirosyan in 2014, Nelson has been a bit inactive with only 2 fights since. His two fights though came in the way of big knockouts, one against an undefeated Tony Harrison, and the other against a lesser known opponent in Jonathan Batista. This fight against Andrade could launch nelson as a major player in the 154 lb. division, and it will not be an easy task against the undefeated Andrade, but one that Nelson is very much able to do.
Dejan Zlaticanin (21-0 14KO) v. Franklin Mamani (21-2-1 12KO): WBC Lightweight Title
This belt was recently stripped off of Jorge Linares, due to Linares having a hand injury and not being able to face his mandatory opponent, Dejan Zlaticanin. Dejan is a 32 year old southpaw from the country of Montenegro. He packs some serious power and this is his biggest fight to date. This will only be his second fight in the United States, with most of his matches taking place in and around his native country. Dejan has recent victories over Ricky Burns, Alex Bone and Ivan Redkach. With his brawler type style, Zlaticanin will look to be the aggressor of this fight and make his dream come true of becoming the lightweight champion of the world.
Mamani is the 84th ranked lightweight in the world. The biggest win of his career came against an old DeMarcus Corley in 2013. Mamani has not fought outside his native Bolivia in the last 4 years and has never been on a televised card or fought in the United States. He will definitely have his hands full against the undefeated Zlaticanin, but will have the opportunity to sneak out a win and become a World Champion if he can stick to his game plan and keep the Montenegrin off of him.
Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4 18KO) v. John Molina Jr. (28-6 23KO): Welterweight
What can be said about both these fighters that we do not already know? They are both come forward, punch for punch warriors. Both leave everything in the ring and have the ability to stop any opponent with one punch. Every fight they are in, is a Fight of the Year contender. So what happens when you put them up against each other? Only fireworks we imagine.
Ruslan Provodnikov is entering the end of his career. The former Jr. Welterweight world champion has been in some of the most exciting fights of the last 3 years. He has shared the ring with the likes of Timothy Bradley Jr., Mike Alvarado, Chris Algieri, and Lucas Matthysse. Provodnikov is must watch boxing. He is a stalker, who possesses punishing power in both hands and has literally been known to say that he would rather die in a ring then go down. Provodnikov is looking to make a last attempt at a world championship fight, or at least get a chance to fight some of the bigger names in the division, but first he will have to get past John Molina Jr. to make that a reality.
Molina is 33 and has lost 3 of his last 4 fights. He has knocked out Hank Lunch and lost to Antonio DeMarco. He shocked us all with his come from behind final knockout win against Mickey Bey and went shot for shot against Lucas Matthysse in 2014. Molina is a throwback fighter, which is very similar to his opponent Provodnikov. They have been very friendly in the build up to this fight, but on Saturday night, both will enter the ring, looking to hurt the other.
We expect this fight to live up to the hype. Almost every time these guys get into a fight, it turns into an all-out war. Will one of these men be able to break the others will, because that is what it is going to take. Tune in Saturday at 9pm to see.