Boxing Insider Notebook: Spence, Porter, Smith, Munguia, Guerrero, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 6th to August 13th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter Los Angeles Press Conference Quotes
IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. and WBC Welterweight World Champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter went face to face Tuesday in Los Angeles at a press conference to preview their 147-pound championship unification that headlines a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
Also in attendance at Tuesday’s press conference, and competing in pay-per-view action beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT were WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Anthony Dirrell and unbeaten former champion David Benavidez, who meet in a 168-pound title fight, unbeaten contenders Mario Barrios and Batyr Akhmedov, who battle for the WBA Super Lightweight title, and rugged veteran Josesito Lopez and brawler John Molina Jr., who battlein a 10-round welterweight fight.
The event also featured former three-time world champion Robert Guerrero and unbeaten super welterweight prospect Joey Spencer, who compete in separate attractions as part of FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Prelims on FS1 and FOX Deportes beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. Guerrero will face Jerry Thomas in a 10-round welterweight bout.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Man Down Promotions, TGB Promotions and Shawn Porter Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.
Here is what the fighters had to say Tuesday at the open to the public event from STAPLES Center in Star Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
“This is going to be an amazing event. The co-main event could be the main event on any normal, but this main event is going to be fire. You know it’s man down when I get in the ring and we’re going to show you just that on September 28.
“Shawn is a warrior who always comes to fight and leaves his heart on the table. He always comes ready, but I’m in shape and ready for him too. We’re both always in exciting fights and that’s what we’re going to give the fans.
“You’ve seen my growth over the years to where I’m fighting in bigger and bigger stadiums and headlining the pay-per-views. Now I’m in a unification fight, which is what I’ve wanted for a long time.
“I know Shawn will keep this same energy on fight night. It’s going to be an amazing moment when I get this knockout at STAPLES Center.
“This is what I’ve been waiting for. I had to be on the sidelines and watch Shawn fight Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, but now I’m in that group. I have the opportunity to fight these top guys and make my name known.
“My whole thing is that I’m looking for the stoppage. I want to make a statement that I’m clearing out the division. I want Manny Pacquiao and all of the top names in this division.”
“This fight demands this kind of excitement and energy that we have here today. We’re coming to the STAPLES Center for these fans, because they give us the energy that we need.
“Being in this position is amazing and I love it. I’ve always looked forward to opportunities like this and I’m going to bring this same energy into the ring.
“I know what’s about to go down. I know how great and how special this fight is going to be. The closer we get, the more excited I get. We will be prepared for it.
“People don’t understand the level that Errol and I are on. He’s expecting the same thing I’m expecting. We’re both training to go 12 hard rounds and out class each other. It’s all about that one moment, and I know I have what it takes to make that moment all mine. I’m looking forward to it.
“It was only a matter of time until this fight happened. I’ve been patient my entire career and never rushed anything. For me, this fight is happening on time. He’s amongst the elite of this division now and will be after September 28 no matter what.
“When I beat Errol Spence Jr., it doesn’t mean he’s going away. He’s still elite. But I’m going to take care of him September 28 and go after Manny Pacquiao. That’s the plan.”
“Benavidez is a come forward fighter who throws a lot of punches. You can frustrate him and do what you need to do to counteract that though.
“I’ve had some tough fights and people think that because of those fight, Benavidez is going to beat me. I feel otherwise. I’m the champion. I’m older and smarter and I’m going to go in there and defend my title successfully.
“I’m an experienced fighter. I’ve been doing this for 25 years going back to my amateur days. He’s only 22-years-old and he can’t possible know what I can do. He’s going to find out on September 28.
“I can’t only rely on just my experience. I have to throw punches and go in there to execute my game plan.
“Him going for the knockout definitely excites me. We’re going to give the fans something to see. They’re coming to see a knockout and I’m planning to give it to them.
“Being an underdog is great, it motivates me. I’m fine with it because I can prove everybody wrong at the end of the day. It’s about making history, and you can’t make history if you don’t go in there and take a chance.
“I’m ready. We’ve been wanting this fight for over a year. Now it’s here and we’re both ready to go. I’m looking for the knockout and I know he is too.
“I know that I can take a punch, but we’ll see if he can. He’s been dropped before, as have I. I’ve come back from worse than that though. We’re both warriors and we’re both going to be ready to give the fans something to see.”
“Anthony Dirrell is a tough, rugged fighter who has a lot of experience and has been in there with the best. He has height and reach like I do. We’re putting together a good game plan.
“Fighting in Dallas in front of 50,000 people was definitely one of the biggest fights of my life, but I feel like it’s just getting better and better from there.
“It’s a dream come true fighting at STAPLES Center. I’ve always dreamed about fighting here in front of all my people. It’s going to be like I’m fighting at home.
“The winners of this fight are going to be the fans. It’s going to be a great fight and I want to steal the show and put on the fight of the night.
“I have the opportunity to become the youngest two-time super middleweight world champion in history. I’m working hard to do my best to give the fans an action packed fight and accomplish my goals.
“There’s a lot of motivation for me because he has my title. We have respect outside the ring, but none of that will be in the ring. We’re both going for the knockout and it’s going to be a war from round one.
“There are a lot of things that I can do. I can box on the inside and I can brawl. I think Anthony Dirrell is going to want to make it a brawl and stay in there with me. That’s how he fought his last fight and we know there’s a lot we can do if he brings that style.”
Robert Guerrero and Joey Spencer to Appear in Separate Bouts on Fox Sports PBC Pay Per View Prelims
Former three-time world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero battles Jerry Thomas in a 10-round welterweight match and sensational undefeated super welterweight prospect Joey Spencer appears in a six-round attraction in FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Prelims on FS1 and FOX Deportes Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
The 90-minute prelims show begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT and will serve as the lead-in to the highly anticipated FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View headlined by the welterweight title unification showdown between IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBC champion Shawn Porter. WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony Dirrell defends his title against undefeated former champion David Benavídez in the co-feature, while unbeatens clash when Mario Barrios takes on Batyr Akhmedov for the WBA Super Lightweight title and hard-hitting veteran sluggers Josesito López and John Molina, Jr. meet in a 10-round welterweight bout in pay-per-view action beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the live event are on sale now and can be purchased AXS.com.
“An already great card just got better,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Robert Guerrero and Joey Spencer will provide the perfect lead in to the Pay-Per-View event. Guerrero has one of the most distinguished careers in boxing and he has never been in a bad match. Spencer is at the beginning of a career that promises to be spectacular. Combined with the other fights on the pay per view telecast, this is going to be an all-action show.”
Guerrero (35-6-1, 20 KOs) has won world titles at featherweight and super featherweight, and has fought a stacked lineup of elite fighters during a superb career. The 35-year-old Guerrero is from Gilroy, California and is coming off a stoppage victory over Hevinson Herrera on March 9 after previously scoring a TKO win in December 2018.
“It feels great to be back in the ring, especially fighting in front of my fans at STAPLES Center,” said Guerrero. “I had a couple tune up fights and now I’m stepping up in competition. My boxing skills will be on display and I’m ready to take that next step to a big fight. I’m in great shape and I’m ready to let my hands go. Lastly, I’m dedicating this fight to the victims of the Gilroy mass shooting and I’ll be donating a portion of my purse to their fund.”
Thomas (14-1-1, 8 KOs) has won three straight bouts since losing the first match of his career against Danny O’Connor in 2016. Thomas of St. Marys, Kansas is coming off a TKO victory over Brad Robison in his most recent fight last May 19.
The 19-year-old Spencer (8-0, 6 KOs) turned pro last year after an impressive amateur career and scored knockouts in his first six fights. Fighting out of Linden, Michigan, Spencer continued his unbeaten string in his most recent match when he scored a hard-fought unanimous decision over Akeem Black in June on FOX.
“It was really exciting to find out that I would be on a card of this magnitude,” said Spencer. “I just want to keep becoming a better pro each time I get in the ring. This experience is a big part of it. I’m working crazy hard each day to improve my stamina and pace and get to my maximum level. I’m looking forward to showing people what I can do, one fight at a time.”
Golden Boy and DAZN to Present Mungia vs. Allotey and Garcia vs. Sparrow on Mexican Independence Day Weekend
Golden Boy and DAZN will continue the tradition of delivering pugilistic action on Mexican Independence Day Weekend as Jaime Munguia (33-0, 26 KOs) takes on Patrick Allotey (40-3, 30 KOs) in a 12-round fight for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. The event will take place on Saturday, September 14 and will be streamed live on DAZN.
“We’re excited to be able to continue this tradition that we know many fans anticipate, and this year we’re putting on a series of exhilarating fights that will make for an entertaining night,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “Jaime Munguia is an undefeated world champion who has become one of Mexico’s biggest boxing stars. Meanwhile, Patrick Allotey has an impressive skillset with years of experience under his belt. The styles are guaranteed to make a war. We’ve also put together a full card of action in order to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.”
Munguia is a 22-year-old world champion of Tijuana, Mexico who catapulted to the highest levels of the 154-pound division by knocking out Sadam “World Kid” Ali in May to capture the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title. Since then, Munguia has defended his title against the likes of Liam “Beefy” Smith, Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook, Takeshi Inoueand Dennis Hogan. Munguia will now represent his country on the most important date for Mexican boxing.
“I feel very happy for the opportunity of headlining a card on Sept. 14,” said Jaime Munguia. “That’s the best date for boxing in the entire year. It’s a great date for Mexico because that’s when we celebrate Mexican Independence Day. I’m proud and honored to be representing Mexico in the festivals for my country. I’ll give my best and I’ll try to deliver a great fight for all the people and for those who will see us.”
Allotey is a 28-year-old native of Accra, Ghana who debuted as a professional in 2006 when he was only 16 years old. Though suffering losses against Golden Boy’s Patrick Teixeiraand standout contender Kanat Islam, Allotey is coming off six victories in a row.
“I respect Munguia. He is a great fighter,” said Patrick Allotey. “But I’m an African warrior, so you know I’ll be coming to cause a big surprise.”
“I’m very excited for Jaime Munguia’s next fight date as he’ll be headlining on Sept. 14, which is an important date for Mexico,” said Fernando Beltran, President of Zanfer Promotions. “I am very proud because our representative will fight on the most important date for Mexicans.
In the co-main event, rising sensation Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs) of Victorville, Calif. will take on Avery “A Plus” Sparrow (10-1, 3 KOs) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a 10-round lightweight fight.
“Sparrow is basically an undefeated fighter with a good amateur background,” Ryan Garcia.”People in boxing that know boxing will know this isn’t an easy fight. It will not be overlooked.”
“I’m thankful to Golden Boy and Russell Peltz for the opportunity,” said Avery Sparrow.”Ryan Garcia has yet to be tested, and it’s a big step up for him. It’s not much of a step up in opposition for me. It’s his biggest test, not mine. I’m good fighting at 130, but nobody wants to fight me there, so I’m moving up to 135. I look forward to putting on a great show.”
“It’s a difficult fight for Sparrow,” said Russell Peltz. “Once again he has to move up in weight from 130 to 135. None of the 130-pounders want to fight him. However, I am not a big believer that weight difference will determine the outcome. The outcome will be determined by who is the better fighter so long as the judges are fair, and I am sure they will be. Garcia has a prettier record, but Sparrow can more than handle himself.”
Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano (32-7-1, 22 KOs) of Tlalnepantla, Mexico will defend his WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Title in a 12-round fight against Michael “The Artist” Perez (25-3-2, 11 KOs) of Newark, New Jersey. Cano will return from his upset victory over Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares, and he will look to fight for a world title at 140 pounds if successful against Perez.
Filipino rising star “Ruthless” Romero Duno (20-1, 15 KOs) will defend his NABO Lightweight Title in a 10-round fight.
Armenian contender Azat “Crazy A” Hovhannisyan (17-3, 14 KOs) will return in a 10-round super bantamweight clash.
Alejandro “Pin Pon” Reyes of Los Angeles, Calif. will make his professional debut in a four-round lightweight fight against Jorge Padron (3-4, 3 KOs) of Sonora, Mexico.
Additional undercard information will be announced shortly.
Ishe Smith to Fight on September 22nd on Valor Bare Knuckle PPV
Ken Shamrock, the World’s Most Dangerous Man and co-founder of Valor Bare Knuckle Inc. (VBK™), today announced he has signed with Integrated Sports Media (ISM), one of the leading distributors of combat sports programming in North America, to present VBK ancillary programs and live fights.
Shamrock also announced VBK: 1, Valor Bare Knuckle’s inaugural event taking place from New Town, North Dakota at 4 Bears Casino and Lodge will feature a one-night heavyweight tournament between three UFC Vets: Jack May, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Mark Godbeer and legend of the kickboxing ring “Mighty Mo.” Also, former world champion boxer Ishe Smith will make his bare-knuckle debut on the Sept. 21 card.
“We are pleased that every major cable, digital and satellite provider is being so responsive to the Valor Bare Knuckle brand of fighting,” said Shamrock. “Doug Jacobs and Integrated Sports Media did a phenomenal job securing OTT and traditional pay-per-view platforms for our events. No doubt, September 21 will be an intriguing night that delivers an unprecedented combat sports experience for fight fans everywhere. Valor Bare Knuckle is here, and it’s here to stay.”
“Integrated Sports Media is thrilled to be distributing the inaugural Valor Bare Knuckle event to the pay-per-view audiences in the United States and Canada,” said Doug Jacobs, Owner, Integrated Sports Media. “It is an honor to represent Ken Shamrock, who is not only a combat sports and wrestling legend, but also has fought with and without gloves in the ring and the cage. We are excited about this promotion and its future as a regulated professional sport throughout North America.”
Valor Bare Knuckle’s inaugural event, VBK: 1 will be available live via on pay-per-view at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT on iNDEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH, VUBIQUITY in the United States, as well as Bell TV, Shaw Communications, Rogers and SaskTel in Canada, and the FITE.TV digital platform for a suggested retail price of $29.95. (taxes and fees may apply).
VBK: 1 will take place live from the New Events Center of 4 Bears Casino & Lodge in New Town, North Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.
Boxing Insider Notebook: De La Hoya, IBF, Cohen, Star Boxing, Team USA, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 30th to August 6th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Statement from Oscar De La Hoya Regarding the IBF’s Decision to Strip Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez
Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy, has issued the following statement in response to the International Boxing Federation’s decision to strip middleweight world champion, Canelo Alvarez.
“We are extremely disappointed at the IBF for forcing the world’s best fighter to relinquish his world title. We have been in serious negotiations with Sergiy Derevyanchenko’s promoter. We offered his team an unprecedented amount of money for a fighter of his limited stature and limited popularity, but the truth is that I’m now certain they never had any intention of making a deal. But instead they wanted to force us to relinquish Canelo’s belt. This is an insult to boxing and more importantly an insult to the boxing fans of the world. This decision validates already existing concerns about the credibility of the IBF championship. Canelo inherited a mandatory challenger by defeating Daniel Jacobs, the man who beat Derevyanchenko, so to strip him of his title without giving him enough time to make the best fight possible is truly what is wrong with boxing, and I plan to aggressively consider all legal actions possible.”
Star Boxing Returns to Resorts World Catskills September 14th
Boxing is back in the RW Epicenter at Resorts World Catskills, in collaboration with Star Boxing, on Saturday, September 14 at 8:00 pm.
“CATSKILLS CLASH II” will include five bouts on the card, including “Action” Anthony Laureano and Richie “Popeye the Sailor Man” Rivera, who won new titles during their thrilling fights at Resorts World Catskills in June.
Undefeated 2018 Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame Fighter of the Year, “ACTION” ANTHONY LAUREANO (11-0 4KO’S), made his professional debut in September 2016. The East Hartford, CT native is known for his come forward, all action style, hence his nickname. With a relentless work ethic and a work rate inside the ring that is second to none, Laureano is a force to be reckoned with in the super lightweight division, which was prominent as he won the ABO America’s Super Lightweight Title in his last bout at Resorts World Catskills.
Undefeated power punching, light heavyweight, RICHIE “POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN” RIVERA (12-0 10KO’s), is arguably the most popular boxer and hardest hitter in New England. The 28-year-old has almost single handedly resurrected an otherwise dormant boxing scene of late in the Hartford market, which dates back a full century. Rivera won the ABO America’s Cruiserweight Title during his last match and looks forward to his return to the storied Catskills on September 14th.
Greg Cohen Promotions Signs Promising Undefeated Lightweight Jeremy Hill to a Promotional Contract
Greg Cohen of Greg Cohen Promotions proudly announces the signing of undefeated lightweight Jeremy “Zereaux” Hill of New Orleans to a promotional contract.
A tall (6’ 0”) and naturally gifted fighter, Hill (7-0, 4 KOs) came to boxing only six years ago and has quickly developed impressive versatility. The 26-year-old is able to counterpunch with remarkable accuracy and power, as well as break down opponents by coming forward behind relentless pressure.
During his brief 60-fight amateur career, Hill fought his way to the #4 ranking nationally and won the Male Elite Champion at the Ringside World Championships in 2017. He turned pro in April 2018, already winning seven fights, including three undercard appearances on shows headlined by Louisianan and unified world super lightweight champion Regis Prograis’. Those fights provided Hill with impressive showcases twice on DAZN and once on ESPN.
“I’m excited,” said Hill of the deal. “I’ve never been in this situation before. It’s a major move for my career, I’m anxious to work hard to get where I want. My goal is to take over and make everyone feel my presence. I want to retire as one of the best, but right now I’ll just give it my all and hope to get it back someday.”
Hill is managed by New York-based Times Square Boxing Co., founded by Adam Glenn and Joe Winters. “Jeremy is great young man and a phenomenal talent,” said Adam Glenn, CEO of Times Square Boxing Co. “He is the total package. He has the skills inside the ring to be a champion and the charm, personality and character outside the ring to be a true star in the sport. We’re very excited to work with Greg and his team, who immediately recognized Jeremy’s talent and shared our vision for his future.”
“Jeremy is a hardworking and dedicated young fighter,” said Times Square Boxing Co. Chairman, Joe Winters. “Jeremy has had a great start to his career, fighting frequently and getting to showcase his talent on major cards. We’re excited for his future, and signing with a topflight promoter, like Greg Cohen, is a great step for him.”
Greg Cohen, who has a history of spotting and developing raw talent, says that Hill has already shown he has real potential in the sport.
“Jeremy can do it all,” said Cohen. “He can box and move, he can counterpunch and he can be a merciless finisher when he wants to. He beat a decent opponent last time out, Kaylyn Alfred, who can fight. Jeremy wore him down in three rounds and stopped him with body shots. He’s got terrific speed and he’s a very charismatic and likable fighter. It’s easy to picture Jeremy becoming a well-known world champion with his mix of talents and gifts. I’m happy to be working with him and Adam.”
Hill says he’ll be working even harder with trainer Toby Wattigney and looking to advance quickly now that he’s signed with a national promoter.
“I want to stay active and learn more. I would love to get more knowledge from big name people in this game. That’s what this deal does for me.”
Team USA Closes 2019 Pan American Games with Four Silver Medals
The American teams time in Lima, Peru at the 2019 Pan American Games came to a close last night after six intense days of boxing action at the Miguel Grau Coliseum.
Bantamweight Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) and light welterweight Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.) began the night coming up short against Cuban duo, David Caballero Garcia and Andy Cruz, respectively, to leave these Pan American Games with silver medals.
Team USA captain Virginia Fuchs (Houston, Texas) met a familiar foe in tonight’s flyweight championship bout, Ingrid Valencia of Colombia. However, this time Valencia received the judges’ cards on a 4-1 decision to give Fuchs Team USA’s third silver medal of the night.
Middleweight Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.) closed out the tournament by leaving everything in the ring against Jessica Caicedo Sinisterra, of Colombia, but came up short in the judges’ eyes by a 4-1 decision to add a fourth silver to Team USA’s final medal count.
Head Coach Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), National Assistant Coach Kay Koroma (Colorado Springs, Colo.), as well as assistant coaches Joe Guzman (Fountain, Colo.) and Jeff Mays (San Antonio, Texas) guided the American delegation throughout the tournament to USA Boxing’s best performance since the 1983 Pan American Games, which won 12 medals. Team USA entered these Championships with 11 boxers, with 10 boxers medaling. The team will return to the United States on August 4.
51 kg. Ingrid Valencia/COL dec. over Virginia Fuchs, Houston, Texas/USA, 4-1
56 kg. David Caballero Garcia/CUB dec. over Duke Ragan, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA, 5-0
64 kg. Andy Cruz/CUB dec. over Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va./USA, 4-1
75 kg. Jessica Caicedo Sinisterra/COL dec. over Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo./USA, 4-1
Top Rank Boxing Releases Full Fighter Card, Frampton Injured
Top Rank Boxing recently released their full fighter card for Saturday, August 10th at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Carl Frampton was scheduled be in the main event against Emmanuel Dominguez in the featherweight division, but a freak accident caused Frampton to suffer a broken hand and he had to pull out.
The rest of the card is as follows:
Jason Sosa vs. Haskell Lydell Rhodes
Former super featherweight world champion Jason Sosa won’t have to travel far for his next assignment. The native of Camden, New Jersey, will make the short drive to Philadelphia to face veteran Haskell Lydell Rhodes in a 10-round super featherweight bout.
OTHER UNDERCARD BOUTS:
Robeisy Ramirez vs. Adan Gonzales
The long-awaited professional debut of two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez will come against Adan Gonzales (4-2-2, 2 KOs) in a four-round featherweight bout.
Sonny Conto vs. Guillermo Del Rio
South Philadelphia-born heavyweight puncher Sonny “The Bronco” Conto (3-0, 3 KOs) will take on Guillermo Del Rio (2-2-1, 2 KOs) in a four-rounder. Conto was one of Tyson Fury’s chief sparring partners for Fury’s June 15 bout against Tom Schwarz. Conto stopped Daniel Infante in two rounds on the Fury-Schwarz card in Las Vegas.
Edgar Berlanga vs. TBA
Middleweight sensation Edgar Berlanga (11-0, 11 KOs), who has 11 straight first-round knockouts to begin his career, will face an opponent to be named in an eight-rounder.
Donald Smith vs. Abdur-Raheem Abdullah
Donald Smith (9-0, 6 KOs), a 5-foot-11 southpaw featherweight from Philadelphia, will look to notch his second victory of the year against Abdur-Raheem Abdullah (3-2, 0 KOs) in a six-rounder.
Paul Kroll vs. Shinard Bunch
Paul “The Punisher” Kroll (4-0, 4 KOs) will look to thrill the hometown fans versus fellow unbeaten Shinard Bunch (2-0, 2 KOs) in a six-round super welterweight bout. Kroll, who turned pro last August, has three first-round knockouts on his ledger.
Jeremy Adorno vs. Fernando Robles
Jeremy “Magic Hands” Adorno (1-0, 0 KOs) will fight the upset-minded Fernando Robles (2-1, 0 KOs) in a four-round super bantamweight bout.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Pulev, Pacquiao, Team USA, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 23rd to July 30th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Kubrat Pulev Petitions IBF For Mandatory Fight Against Champion Andy Ruiz
Bulgarian IBF #1-rated heavyweight contender Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev and his team have officially petitioned the IBF, requesting they order their world champion, Andy Ruiz, to postpone his rematch with former champ Anthony Joshua and make an immediate mandatory defense against Pulev.
Team Pulev say their fighter has earned the right to an immediate title fight by winning two IBF eliminators (October 27, 2018, when he defeated IBF #3-rated Hughie Fury and May 7, 2016, when he defeated former European champion and world title challenger Dereck Chisora) and by staying active against top competition. For example, on March 23 of this year, he knocked out WBA #14-rated Bogdan Dinu on ESPN.
Pulev had originally been scheduled to face then-champion Anthony Joshua on October 28, 2017, in Cardiff, Wales, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. Joshua went on to defeat substitute opponent Carlos Takam and then make two more defenses then lose to Ruiz by TKO 7 in June of this year without facing Pulev.
And now, even though long-time IBF mandatory challenger Pulev has re-earned his spot as the IBF mandatory by beating Fury, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing has made clear he and Joshua intend to exercise their contractual right to an immediate rematch against Ruiz.
“We’ve been waiting patiently. The time is now,” said Bob Arum, founder and CEO of Top Rank, which co-promotes Pulev along with Epic Sports. “Andy Ruiz has an obligation to fight #1 mandatory IBF contender Kubrat Pulev.”
“Eddie is running this heavyweight title like it’s his own private enterprise,” said Ivaylo Gotzev of Epic Sports. “The bottom line is, Pulev originally fought an IBF eliminator over three years ago and was next in line with his IBF mandatory status. The IBF is an organization that has set a precedent for following their written rules and, according to rule 5.A.1., Ruiz’s rematch clause against Joshua does not affect his obligation to defend his title against the IBF leading available contender. Mandatory obligations supersede a promoter’s promotional rights. The IBF should not set aside their rules over the contractual details of a past fight.”
Ruiz himself is an indirect beneficiary of the IBF’s respected reputation for strictly adhering to its rules.
When Tyson Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko to win the IBF title, the Klitschko camp exercised its contractual right to an immediate rematch with Fury. When Fury then refused to fight his IBF mandatory, opting for the more lucrative rematch with Klitschko, the IBF correctly vacated the title and ordered the two leading available contenders, Vyacheslav Glazkov and Charles Martin, to fight for the vacant IBF title.
Martin defeated Glazkov to become the IBF champion. In Martin’s first defense of the IBF title, he lost to Joshua which in fact was Joshua’s first bout for a major heavyweight title. Ruiz, who has now acquired the IBF title by defeating Joshua, is therefore the indirect beneficiary of the IBF’s policy of strictly complying with its rules, and Ruiz should therefore also be held to the IBF Rules and ordered to fight the IBF No. 1 available contender, Pulev, in his next bout.”
In another example, superstar fighter Gennady Golovkin was stripped of his IBF middleweight title in 2018 after choosing to face Vanes Martirosyan and failing to set up a mandatory defense against Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Daniel Jacobs then won the title by beating Derevyanchenko in a fight for the vacant belt.
“Two months have gone by since the Joshua bubble burst,” continued Gotzev. “No deal has been confirmed, only the occasional blurb by Eddie Hearn, of potential site and really no particular date. Eddie Hearn was talking to us for a November date at Wembley Stadium and Andy Ruiz ruined those plans. Andy is the new face of heavyweight boxing and we respect his fighting abilities. Pulev vs Ruiz will be a formidable battle.”
“I was ready to face Anthony Joshua in November and now I’m eager to challenge Andy Ruiz,” said Pulev. I will fight Ruiz anywhere in the world. Let’s make it
Henry Arredondo Returns August 3rd
Unbeaten super featherweight prospect, Henry “World Star” Arredondo (5-0, 2 KOs), will return to the ring on Saturday, August 3, 2019 at the Alzafar Shrine in San Antonio, Texas. Arredondo will face Alejandro Moreno (24-39-3, 11KOs), a veteran of over 60 fights, in his first six-round bout as he looks to live up to his “World Star” nickname.
“Everyone knows I have a lot of personality and style,” said Arredondo. “I mean, look at my nickname “World-Star”, you don’t get that by being a regular fighter. I’m looking to show people why I got that nickname and the goal is to have another clip that goes viral after this fight.”
“Henry is a showman and he is very excited for this upcoming fight,” said Rick Nunez, Arredondo’s trainer. “He has put the work in and now it is time for him to show his skills in his first six-round bout, right here in his hometown of San Antonio.”
Arredondo believes that going two extra rounds will allow for more chances for a stoppage.
“I am learning the pro game and I have a style in which I break opponents down and it might take some time to see me stop someone,” Arredondo continued. “I feel with two more rounds added, I can get more knockouts and show out to the best of my abilities.”
In the six-round main event, San Antonio’s Selina Barrios (5-1, 3 KOs) will face Nina Gallegos. Arredondo vs. Moreno will serve as the co-main event.
Team USA Wins Five Bronze Medals, Advance Five to Finals of 2019 Pan American Games
Team USA won five bronze medals yesterday and advanced five boxers to the championship bouts of the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru after two semifinal sessions took place at the Coliseo Miguel Grau.
The Americans had a rough and challenging start to the first session of the semifinal bouts, with three heartbreaking loses for Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio), Yarisel Ramirez (Las Vegas, Nev.) and team captain Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.). All three boxers left all they had in the ring, however, fell short in taking the judges cards to earn Team USA three bronze medals to start the day.
Welterweight Oshae Jones (Toledo, Ohio) got the team back on track with a 4-1 decision over Dominican Republics M. Moronta Hernand to advance to the championship bout. This will be Jones second international final of 2019, and she is three-for-three medaling this year internationally.
2017 World Championships silver medalists Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) got Team USA off to a great start in the second session of the day by taking all five judges’ cards over Uruguay to advance to the finals. Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.) kept the ball rolling for the Americans with his own unanimous decision victory over Trinidad and Tobago’s Michael Alexander to advance.
2019 Pan American Games Qualifier Champions Troy Isley (Alexandria, Va.) and Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) could not repeat their successes from Nicaragua, with tough split decision losses in the second session to a duo from Brazil.
Team Captain and 2019 Pan American Games Qualifier Virginia Fuchs (Houston, Texas) got one step closer to another international title, grabbing another unanimous decision victory over I. Rojas Cardozo of Venezuela to box for gold in Friday’s second set of finals. Fuchs 2018 World Championships bronze medalist teammate, Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.), closed out the day for Team USA with a 3-2 decision over Flavia Tereza Figueiredo of Brazil to be the fifth American to advance to the finals.
Follow the final five boxers competing for gold in the last two days of boxing at the 2019 Pan American Games by clicking here.
51 kg: Virginia Fuchs, Houston, Texas/USA, dec. I. Rojas Cardozo/VEN, 5-0
56 kg: Duke Ragan, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA, dec. Lucas Alexander Fernandez/URU, 5-0
57 kg: Jucielen Cerqueira Romeu/BRA dec. over Yarisel Ramirez, Las Vegas, Nev./USA, 5-0
60 kg: B. Ferreira Soares/BRA dec. over Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass./USA, 3-2
64 kg: Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va./USA, dec. over Michael Alexander/TTO, 5-0
64 kg: Oshae Jones, Toledo, Ohio/USA, dec. over M. Moronta Hernand/DOM, 4-1
69 kg: Iglesias Sotolongo/CUB, dec. over Delante Johnnson, Cleveland, Ohio/USA, 4-1
75 kg: Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo., dec. over Flavia Tereza Figueiredo/BRA, 3-2
75 kg: Herbert Carvalho Da Conceic/BRA dec. over Troy Isley, Alexandria, Va,/USA, 4-1
91+ kg: Justiz Pero/CUB, dec. over Richard Torrez Jr., Tulare, Calif./USA, 3-2
Manny Pacquiao Promotions Selects Protocol Sports Marketing as Worldwide Distributor for Back to Back World Title Fights
Manny Pacquiao Promotions (MP Promotions) has appointed Protocol Sports Marketing as the worldwide media rights agency for two upcoming world championship Boxing events, on August 24 and September 7, to be headlined by 3-time world champion John Riel Casimero and fast-rising sensation Samuel Salva.
MP Promotions, headed by future Boxing Hall of Famer and Philippines’ Senator Manny Pacquiao, has quickly risen to become leading Boxing promotional company in the Philippines as world class fighters flock to fight under the legendary Senator Pacquiao. Fresh off his emphatic victory over Keith Thurman, Senator Pacquiao is the only fighter to become a world champion in eight weight-classes and is widely considered to be one of the greatest fighters of all time.
Successfully making the transition from the ring to ringside, Senator Pacquiao now sets his sights on transforming MP Promotions into a global powerhouse and has selected Protocol Sports Marketing, the leading distributor of Boxing rights for over a decade, to help achieve this goal.
The two upcoming events will be:
• August 24, 2019 from Manila, Philippines:
o John Riel Casimero vs Cesar Ramirez for the WBO World Bantamweight Title
• September 7, 2019 from Manila, Philippines:
o Samuel Salva vs Pedro Taduran for the IBF World Minimumweight Title
“Protocol Sports is honored to join forces with Manny Pacquiao and his team to market and license the upcoming MP Promotions events,” says Lowell Conn, President of Protocol Sports Marketing. “Senator Pacquiao has transcended Boxing, and has made a major impact outside of the ring helping the Filipino people. My entire team is very proud to be working hand-in-hand with MP Promotions to present their fighters to audience worldwide.”
“MP Promotions has been growing steadily for years by putting on great fights, and the next step in our progression is to begin building international exposure and recognition for our fighters and for our brand” says Manny Pacquiao. “There is no team better suited to help us achieve this goal than Protocol Sports Marketing.”
Boxeo Telemundo’s Summer Season Ends Friday with a Championship Doubleheader Live on Telemundo at 11:35 P.M. ET
“Boxeo Telemundo,” the #1 Spanish-language boxing program in the U.S., wraps up its summer instalment this Friday, August 2 at 11:35 p.m. on Telemundo, featuring two championship events live from Kissimmee, FL. WBO/NABO title holder Yomar “The Magic” Alamo will defend his belt against challenger Salvador “Bufon” Briceno; and WBO #3, Latino champion Jeyvier Cintron faces WBO #2 ranked Koki Eto in a 10-round WBO elimination bout for the chance to challenge the newly crowned WBO super flyweight champion.
“Boxeo Telemundo” commentators René Giraldo and Edgar López will call the action alongside World Boxing Champion and former Olympian Abner Mares. The show will continue its 30th anniversary celebration with special segments that look back at the best moments of the show. The action will also be available via live stream on Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app with additional extensive news and content on TelemundoDeportes.com and social media platforms using hashtag #BoxeoTelemundo.
WBO #10 Yomar Alamo (16-0 12 KO’s) of Puerto Rico will be making his first defense after winning the title in a 10-round shutout over spoiler Manuel Mendez on Boxeo Telemundo this past spring. The challenger, Salvador Briceño (16-4 10 KO’s) of Guadalajara, is coming up in weight to face the champion. On his last fight, he gave top rank prospect Gabriel Flores Jr his toughest fight in an 8-round bout last June.
In the second championship event of the night, WBO #3 Latino champion Jeyvier Cintron (10-0 5 KO’s) of Puerto Rico meets WBO #2 ranked Koki Eto (16-4 10 KO’s) of Japan. The winner will be the mandatory challenger to newly crowned WBO super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka. Cintron-Eto II is a rematch bout of their May 25th fight in the same venue that ended in a no decision due to an accidental headbutt that ended the fight. The ruling of the contest was a no decision.
“Boxeo Telemundo” will return in October with its fall season. Debuting in 1989, the show has grown to become the #1 combat sports program in the U.S. among Hispanics, across broadcast and cable landscape. Since its launch, “Boxeo Telemundo” has broadcast over 350 title fights, showcasing some of the biggest boxing stars as they rose to stardom and won their first championship titles, earning a reputation as the show “where champions are born.” Among these stars is Saúl Canelo Alvarez, who won his first pro boxing title on “Boxeo Telemundo” in 2008. Other notable champions featured include Juan Manuel Marquez, Diego Corrales, Carlos Maussa, Floyd Mayweather, Israel Vázquez, Wilfredo Vázquez, Rafael Ruelas, Jorge Solis and many others. In addition, renowned boxing Hall of Famers have also appeared on the show, including Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Felix Trinidad.
Boxers Help Kids Get Back to School with Book Bags and Supplies
Top Rank Boxing is teaming up with James Shuler Memorial Boxing Gym to distribute 100 backpacks filled with school supplies to kids in the Philadelphia community. The giveaway will take place Thursday, August 8, from 11am-1pm and 4pm-6pm.
Fighters from the August 10th boxing card at Temple University’s Liacouras Center, which is promoted by Top Rank in association with Peltz Boxing, will be on hand to meet the kids, take photos, and give away the back to school essentials. Kids aged 7-12 from the boxing community and beyond are welcome to stop by the gym, located at 750 Brooklyn St. in Philadelphia.
Participating boxers include Northern Ireland’s two-time World Champion Carl Frampton, who headlines the ESPN fight card. Camden’s Jason Sosa, Edgar Berlanga and Robeisy Ramirez will join Frampton from 11am-1pm.
The afternoon crew, who will be on hand from 4pm-6pm, includes undefeated South Philly heavyweight Sonny Conto, Donald Smith, Paul Kroll, and Allentown’s Jeremy Adorno.
“This is a great opportunity for neighborhood kids to grab their school supplies and spend some time with Philly’s future champions, along with former Champion Carl Frampton,” said Michelle Rosado, who is organizing the event on behalf of local promotional outfit Peltz Boxing. “We’re thrilled that Shuler’s is hosting, and grateful they are partnering with us. Working together, we’re able to distribute 100 backpacks to local kids.”
“James Shuler Memorial Boxing Gym has had the opportunity to serve children of the Philadelphia Boxing community for the past 25 years,” said Crystal Custus, the gym’s Director. “This year we are extremely excited to expand our contributions beyond the boxing ring and to partner with Top Rank in hosting our first annual book bag and school supply giveaway. We are humbled and grateful.”
Who: Kids aged 7-12
What: Backpack & School Supply Giveaway – first 100 kids will receive a backpack and school supplies
Where: James Shuler Memorial Boxing Gym, 750 Brooklyn Street, Philadelphia
When: Thursday, Aug 8, 11-1 and 4-6
Boxing Insider Notebook: Kovalev, Haney, Yarde, Golden Boy Promotions, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 16th to July 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo / Main Events
Sergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde Scheduled for August 24th in Chelyabinsk, Russia
Fighting in his own hometown for the first time in his professional boxing career, WBO World Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) takes on the WBO’s mandatory challenger, Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) of the UK, on Saturday, August 24th at the Traktor Arena in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The event will be presented by RCC Promotions, Main Events, Krusher Promotions and Queensberry Promotions. This will be Kovalev’s 16th consecutive world title bout. That is more than the three other light heavyweight champions combined.
The Three-Time World Light Heavyweight Champ, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, explained the significance of this fight. “I am thrilled to fight for the first time in my home town of Chelyabinsk. It is a dream to defend my WBO title in front of all my friends and family back home. Thank you to Igor Altushkin, Egis Klimas and Main Events for making this dream a reality and thank you to Anthony Yarde for agreeing to fight in my backyard.”
Challenger, Anthony Yarde, replied, “I am more than happy to achieve my goal in Russia and I think it is only right that a great world champion such as Kovalev is given the opportunity to defend in his home country. He has earned that right. What I know is that on Aug. 24 another World Title belt will be under British ownership and I will have done it the hard way-one that nobody will be able to question” He continued, “This is my time and I am going to show the world what I am all about. Everything has fallen perfectly into place for me. This will be my coronation as world champion and I am going to realize my dream by beating the most decorated of the current world title holders.”
“We are so pleased that Sergey, one of boxing’s greatest all-time road warriors, will finally get the chance to defend his title in his own hometown, where he grew up and where his most-devoted fan base resides,” said promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events. “I can only imagine how excited Sergey’s friends and neighbors will be to finally get the chance to see him perform in person. We are most grateful to Igor Altushkin, RCC Promotions, Queensberry Promotions and Anthony Yarde for making this great event possible.”
Kovalev’s long-time manager and friend, Egis Klimas added, “Sergey has wanted to fight in his hometown for a long time. But he has always been the one to go and fight in another fighter’s backyard. Now that he is back where he rightfully belongs, on top of the light heavyweight division, it is exciting that he finally gets this opportunity. Thank you to RCC Promotions, Igor Altushkin, Queensberry Promotions and, of course, Anthony Yarde for making this fight possible.”
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Anthony and he has earned his shot by working his way to the No.1 spot in the rankings. He has showed what he is all about by being prepared to go into Kovalev’s backyard and it demonstrates the confidence he has in his own ability,” explained Yarde’s promoter, Frank Warren. “Everybody knows Kovalev is a tremendous puncher and a fearsome presence in the ring. It is something we first saw over here when he fought Nathan Cleverly, and he has continued to operate at the very highest level. Anthony possesses tremendous self-belief and we back him to come away with the spoils. But whatever does happen in the fight, it is one that he will take a lot of valuable experience from.”
The fight will be seen on Match TV in Russia, BT Sport in the UK and US distribution information will be released soon.
Devin Haney Feeds the Elderly at the San Francisco Senior Center
Yesterday at the San Francisco Senior Center, undefeated lightweight contender, Devin “The Dream” Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) spent his day feeding the elderly. Devin, who is looking to get back in the ring in September, feels it’s important to give back financially as well as spend quality time with those less fortunate.
“Today was a very special day for me because I had a great time serving the elderly at the San Francisco Center. I want to thank all the veteran volunteers and staff for showing me the ropes. I’m extremely humbled by the Seniors. The seniors gave me a much better perspective on life after hearing all their heartfelt stories. I believe taking care of the elderly is something they deserve, so sharing quality time and catering to them is very important to me. Life is a blessing but we will all get old one day. Me, my father, and brother, served food as if we were working at one of our favorite restaurants. We laughed and everyone shared so many different kinds of experiences. It was really cool. I will be going back real soon.” – Devin Haney
About Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
San Francisco Senior Center (SFSC) is the oldest nonprofit senior center in the nation, founded in 1947. We serve nearly 2,000 people of diverse backgrounds and cultures each year at two locations, Aquatic Park Center and Downtown Center. (SFSC) offers a variety of services from daily, low-cost, nutritious lunches and comprehensive social services to healthy living programs and continuing education. SFSC encourages socialization, independence and living well.
Golden Boy Promotions Signs Major Talent From Smallest and Biggest Weights in Boxing
Golden Boy is proud to announce the signing of major talent from the smallest and biggest weight divisions in boxing as WBC Minimumweight World Champion Chayaphon Moonsri (53-0, 18 KOs) and Olympic heavyweight Mihai Nistor have joined the Golden Boy family.
Moonsri is a 33-year-old native of Maha Sarakhm, Thailand who made his professional debut in January 2007. In his third fight, he captured the WBC Youth Minimumweight Title and captured two additional regional titles within the following five years. In November 2014, Moonsri won the WBC Minimumweight World Title, a prestigious belt held by the likes of Xiong Chaozhong (China’s first world champion) and perhaps its most popular holder, Mexican legend Ricardo “El Finito” Lopez. Since then, Moonsri has defended his title over 10 times and has developed an impressive 53-0 record, becoming one of the biggest stars in Thailand. Now he plans to continue his reign in the United States, the capital of professional boxing.
“I am very delighted that the Golden Boy has given me the opportunity to get more exposure overseas,” said Chayaphon Moonsri. “I felt really excited when I learned that I would fight abroad. It will be my very first time fighting outside my home country. This will not only be to prove myself but also to make the world know and recognize me as the great world champion in this division.”
Nistor is a 28-year-old southpaw of Erbiceni, Romania who boasts a tremendous amateur background. Nistor began boxing at the age of 16 and developed an impressive resume that includes several national and international titles. He also participated in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Nistor’s most significant victory came in the 2011 European Amateur Championships when he stopped Anthony Joshua in the third round of their fight. Nistor is ready to make his professional debut under the Golden Boy banner and plans to conquer the division.
“I am honored to be working with Golden Boy as a professional boxer,” said Mihai Nistor. “As its first Romanian heavyweight boxer, this partnership will give me the opportunity to demonstrate my expert boxing skills. I am confident that I will capture all the world titles. Stay tuned!”
“We want to make waves at all divisions in this great sport,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “Chayaphon Moonsri is a great champion with an impressive 53-0 record that’s unmatched in the sport. I expect him to make exciting fights the way Ricardo Lopez did in his time defending the same title and in the same division. With Mihai Nistor, we have a fighter who stopped Anthony Joshua in the amateurs years before his upset loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. That should be enough to indicate to everyone that this Romanian standout will be a force in the heavyweight division.”
Gilbert Venegas Jr. Eager to End Brian Mendoza’s Undefeated Record
Welterweight prospect, Gilbert Venegas Jr. (11-1, 7 KOs), who is managed by Prince Ranch Boxing and promoted by TMB & PRB Entertainment, is training hard for his upcoming fight with Top Rank Promotion’s, Brian Mendoza (17-0, 12 KOs). The 8-round welterweight bout will take place at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California, on August 17, 2019.
Venegas Jr., who resides in San Antonio, TX, is coming off an impressive 4th round knockout against Adam Ealoms, a bout that took place at the Market Square in San Antonio, Texas, on April 20, 2019. Venegas Jr. feels a win against Mendoza will catapult him up the welterweight rankings.
“A win against an undefeated fighter like Brian Mendoza will surely help me climb up the welterweight rankings,” said Venegas Jr. “I’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this fight and I’m getting in great shape. My training camp has been going smooth and my timing is right on point. My goal is to win this fight and position myself into an even bigger fight. Mendoza has a lot of holes in his game that I’m going to exploit. He might be undefeated but he’s not invincible.”
“Venegas Jr. is determined to show everyone that has doubts about him, that he’s worthy of stepping up.” said Manager Greg Hannley, of Prince Ranch Boxing. “A win against Mendoza will certainly make a splash in the welterweight division. We are about three weeks away and I know he’s going to be ready for war.”
“I know Venegas Jr. is training hard for this fight,” said TMB & PRB Entertainment promoter Rick Morones. “When I got the call to put him in with Mendoza there was no hesitation on his end. This is a big fight for all of us and we believe Venegas Jr. will come out victorious against Mendoza.”
“If there is one fighter that has the will to win its Venegas Jr.” said promoter Alex Draghici. “He’s always working hard in the gym and has all the tools to beat Mendoza. He’s well prepared and an upset is all he’s thinking about. This will be a good fight for the fans.”
Vergil Ortiz Jr., Hector Tanajara Jr., and Joshua Franco Discuss Training Camp Under Robert Garcia
Vergil Ortiz Jr. (13-0, 13 KOs), Hector “El Finito” Tanajara Jr. (17-0, 5 KOs) and Joshua “The Professor” Franco (15-1-1, 7 KOs) discussed training camp under renowned trainer Robert Garcia ahead of their respective fights. All three fighters will return on the Ortiz vs. Orozco card, which takes place Saturday, Aug. 10 at The Theatre at Grand Prairie in Texas and will be streamed live on DAZN.
Ortiz will headline in his hometown for the first time against Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (28-1, 17 KOs) of San Diego, Calif., while Franco will defend his NABF and WBA International Bantamweight Titles in a trilogy fight against Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete (18-2-1, 7 KOs) of Tierralta, Colombia. Tanajara will put his WBC USNBC Lightweight Title on the line against Ezequiel Aviles (16-3-3, 6 KOs) of Ensenada, Mexico.
Below is what all three fighters had to say during a recent camp visit, along with some insight from renowned trainer Robert Garcia.
VERGIL ORTIZ JR., Welterweight Contender:
“I’m fighting for my hometown. I’m fighting for all the little kids that think they can’t make it because it’s a small town. Not many people make it out of Grand Prairie. I hope to set a good example for them. I felt all the love when I visited. I felt the atmosphere, and it was electric. We got a lot of people to show up to the press conference, so I know there’s going to be a lot of people who show to the fight.”
“I’m really excited to be fighting in the main event. I’ve only done that once before. For me being the main event is a test for me to show how many people want to see me and how excited they’re going to be to watch me fight. But I have a lot of people telling me they want to go and that they already bought tickets and even want some shirts.”
“Fighting alongside my childhood friends is really cool. I never thought that we would be on the same card fighting together. We’re all fighting for a title that night. I’m fighting for the WBA Gold [Welterweight Title], and Joshua [Franco] will defend his belts in the trilogy fight against Negrete. Tanajara is fighting for the belt he won in Tijuana. It’s great to see how far we’ve come.”
“Antonio Orozco believes that this fight will put him back on the map. He feels a win will make people believe in him again. Honestly, he only lost one time; I don’t see why they wouldn’t believe in him. This fight will definitely make his meter go up. People will start looking at him if he gets the win. That’s going to make him very dangerous. He’s hungry. But I’m coming up too. I want to be a world champion too. I have my dreams that I want to achieve. This fight is going to help me get there a lot faster than these other fights, so I’m very glad he took this fight. It’s a very good opportunity for both of us.”
“This is Orozco’s first fight in the welterweight division. He was having a hard time making weight at 140. We’re going to see how his power holds up and see what he can take because seven pounds is a big jump. Orozco’s body is going to be bigger. It’s a whole new story, and we’re going to find out on August 10.”
“On August 10, you can expect the same Vergil Ortiz you see in every other fight. I’m going to be at my absolute best. I’m not taking Antonio Orozco lightly at all. I’m not going to be looking for the knockout, but I’m not going to count it out either. I’m going to let it come by itself. That’s when you look the best.”
JOSHUA FRANCO, NABF & WBA International Bantamweight Champion:
“It’s very special fighting back in Texas, back in the Dallas area. With Vergil, Hector and everybody from Texas, it’s going to be a great show. I gained a lot of experience in my first two fights against Oscar Negrete. I won a lot of rounds against him, and he’s a top contender. I gained a lot of experience and a lot of confidence.”
“To me, Negrete did the same thing in the second fight. He put pressure, and he tried to throw a lot of punches. He tried to be more aggressive, but to me it was the same thing. I feel like that’s the only thing he knows how to do. Negrete didn’t really do anything to surprise me. What he did the first fight, he did the second fight.”
“For this third fight, you can expect the same fighter I always am. I’ll be smart, explosive, and I’ll be throwing a lot of combinations. I feel like I’m going to be stronger than the last two fights. The only thing that’s different is that it’s going to be in Texas. That’s going to give me more motivation. I’m always training hard like always. After this I want to go on to bigger things. I want to fight for a world title.”
HECTOR TANAJARA JR., WBC USNBC Lightweight Champion:
“It’s very special sharing this night with guys I grew up with. I know these guys since the amateurs. I saw when Joshua first walked into the gym, and I knew Vergil since we were young. I also knew the Rincon brothers [Alex and George]. We all came up together, so it feels good to be together on the same card to give fans an exciting night of boxing.”
“It doesn’t add pressure to see my stablemates getting knockouts. I’m already 17 fights deep. I just have to stick to my game plan and what my coaches tell me. That’s what works. My last fight was in Tijuana, and it was very special fighting in Mexico. I’ve always wanted to fight there, and I like the crowd. Mexican fans are always the best. They just want to see people go at it. I’m glad I was able to get a belt that night too, so it was very special for me.”
“It doesn’t bother me that I haven’t had a knockout since 2018. I know I have power. But trying to make 130 pounds was draining me a little bit. At 135 pounds, I feel much stronger. Even though I’ve been fighting better opposition, I’ve still been hurting them in there, and I feel that a lot of my knockouts are yet to come.”
“For this camp we’ve been working on all my little mistakes. I’m being busier with my jab. I’m working on putting smart pressure. I’m working on doing all the things needed to get the victory and to get try to get the guy out of there. On August 10, my fans can expect an exciting fight. I’m motivated more than ever because it’s in Texas, my hometown, and a lot of family and friends who usually can’t go are going to be there. I’m very excited, and I hope to put on a great show.”
ROBERT GARCIA, 2012 Trainer of the Year:
“It’s going to be a great event. It’s going to be awesome that we’re going to Vergil Ortiz’s hometown in Grand Prairie. I’m sure he’s very excited, along with his fans, his family, and his friends. We also have two kids from San Antonio that are going to bring a lot of friends and family.”
“We are going to be very busy, but I have a lot of help. With Vergil, his father Vergil Sr. and co-trainer Hector Beltran are always on top of Vergil and make sure he works hard. With Hector Tanajara, we have my son, Robert Garcia Jr. and Jose “Chepe” Contreras. With, Joshua Franco we have same thing. For both guys, their fathers are very involved. Hector Tanajara Sr. and Jessie Rodriguez [father of Franco] are involved and work the corner for their sons, so it won’t be as hard as it sounds that night.”
“This has been our fourth training camp with Vergil. It’s unbelievable to see him develop so fast. You hardly see that. You only see that with an Olympic Gold medalist like Oscar De La Hoya, who won his first world title in his 12th fight, or with Olympians like Fernando Vargas, who was 14-0 when he became a world champion. Vergil is one of those kids. He didn’t go to the Olympics, so he didn’t get the same recognition as the Olympians did, but he’s close to becoming a world champion.”
“Here in my gym, whoever you spar and whatever weight division you’re at, it’s going to be tough. You’re going to have to work hard to be able to compete. I have nothing but world class fighters. For example, Vergil is sparring fighters that are 160, 168. I don’t want to say dominating them because they’re also my fighters, but he’s able to compete with them and give them all they can handle, so that tells you what he is. He spars with Jose Ramirez, a world champion right now. He spars with Mikey Garcia, who is pound for pound one of the best fighters in the world, and he’s able to compete well against them.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Whyte, Rivas, Pacquiao, Thurman, Ugas, Roach, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 9th to July 16th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Yordenis Ugas Camp Quotes
Welterweight contender, Yordenis Ugas (23-4, 11 KOs) wrapped up his final day of training camp and talks about his up coming showdown with Omar Figueroa Jr. (28-0-1, 19 KOs), a 12-round bout that will serve as the co-main event to Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao vs. WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman, ahead of their Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event this Saturday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased online through AXS.com, charge by phone at 866-740-7711 or in person at any MGM Resorts International box office.
Here is what he said about training camp, facing another undefeated fighter, and more.
On his upcoming fight with Omar Figueroa Jr.:
“This is a big opportunity for me to derail another undefeated fighter. Omar Figueroa Jr. is a young hungry fighter who’s never tasted defeat but that will all change on July 20th. He’s never been in with an experienced fighter like me. I have the style to beat him and I’m going to let my hands fly on fight night!
On fighting in the biggest boxing event of the year:
“I can’t ask for a better situation at this stage of my career. To be fighting on FOX PPV, on the same card as one of the greatest fighters to ever step in the ring in Manny Pacquiao, is a dream come true. I’m truly blessed to be fighting on such a big stage and I’m going to give the fans a night to remember. The fans deserve a war and that’s what I’m going to give them.”
On what a win will do for his career:
“Beating an undefeated fighter like Figueroa will get me right back into a world title fight. These are the type of fights I need to win if I’m going to become a world champion. I’m determined more than ever to prove to the world that I’m one of the best welterweights in the division.”
On his recent training camp:
“Training camp is finally all wrapped up. I did my last day of sparring this past weekend. My trainer Ismael Salas has a masterful game plan in place that we believe will be the perfect blueprint to beat Figueroa. I’m in tremendous shape, ready to let me hands go.”
Devin Haney Back in the Gym Going Hard
Undefeated lightweight contender, Devin “The Dream” Haney (22-0, 14 KOs), has returned to the gym after his sensational knockout over Antonio Moran, a fight that took place at the MGM National Harbor Hotel in Maryland on May 25, 2019.
Haney, no longer a prospect, is now ranked top ten by all four sanctioning bodies in the lightweight division and is currently WBC #2, WBO #,5 WBA #3 and #9 in the IBF. Beyond that, the bible of boxing, Ring Magazine, has Devin Haney #4 on their own list of the best lightweights in the world. This is no small feat for a boxer who is barely 20-years old. Haney is back in the gym as he awaits his next fight date.
“I’m back in the gym getting ready with an unofficial date in September,” stated Haney. “Ironically the WBC ordered a lightweight tournament to decide the mandatory for the winner of Loma vs Campbell. When Teofimo Lopez went the opposite direction, it made me and Zaur Abdulaev the final elimination bout. I’m also ranked #3 WBA and #5 WBO so my opportunity for a World Title is right around the corner. I took a well deserved break that I hadn’t taken since I began the sport. Now I’m recharged and ready to reap havoc on the lightweight division.”
“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring,” Haney Continued. “My time is coming and I will be 100% ready to show the everyone that I’m ready for a world title shot.”
Coming this Saturday: Pacquiao vs. Thurman Broadcast Live to US Movie Theaters
Boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Philippine Senator and regular WBA welterweight champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao returns to face undefeated Super WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman in a powerhouse 147-pound showdown broadcast live on Saturday, July 20 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. With his speed, power and tremendous boxing skills, Thurman represents the most dangerous challenger that the future Hall of Famer Pacquiao has faced in recent bouts. This high-stakes match will firmly give the winner a claim for the top spot in one of boxing’s deepest and most talented divisions.
Tickets for “Pacquiao vs. Thurman” can be purchased online at www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices now.
The live broadcast of “Pacquiao vs. Thurman” presented by Fathom Events, Premier Boxing Champions and FOX Sports is set for Saturday, July 20 beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 8:00 p.m. CT / 7:00 p.m. MT / 6:00 p.m. PT / 5:00 p.m. AK / 3:00 p.m. HI. Boxing fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in more than 175 select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). A complete list of theater locations is available on the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).
A three-time Fighter of the Year and the Boxing Writers Association of America’s reigning Fighter of the Decade, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), who hails from Sarangani Province in the Philippines, is the only sitting Congressman and Senator to win a world title. Pacquiao’s boxing resume features victories over at least seven current and future Hall of Famers, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
In his last match on January 19, Pacquiao put on a vintage performance against four-division champion Adrien Broner, scoring a 12-round unanimous decision in the 70th match of his illustrious career. It was his first time fighting in the U.S. in two years. Before that, he scored an impressive knockout over Lucas Matthysse to win his version of the WBA welterweight championship in Malaysia last July 15.
The 30-year-old Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) is the longest reigning welterweight champion in boxing, having collected his WBA title with a stoppage victory over Diego Chaves in 2013. He has successfully defended that title eight times and became a unified welterweight champion when he defeated Danny Garcia by split decision to win the WBC title. Thurman was out of action for nearly two years due to injuries before getting back into the ring with a hard-fought victory against Josesito Lopez in January. His power punching earned him the nickname “One Time.”
“Fight fans coast-to-coast were thrilled to watch Pacquiao’s victory over Broner live and larger-than-life in their local cinemas in January,” said Ray Nutt, Fathom Events CEO. “We’re pleased to partner again with our friends at FOX Sports and Premier Boxing Champions to bring another of Pac Man’s highly-anticipated bouts to the big screen.”
Freddie Roach: It Will Be One Time vs. All Time
For the third time in 12 months, boxing’s only eight-division world champion and boxer laureate Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) will be battling in a world championship fight. Forget collecting on a pension, amazin’ Manny, 40, the reigning Fighter of the Decade, will be punching more than the clock this Saturday, when he tries to complete his world title hat trick, against undefeated WBA welterweight super champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), from Clearwater, Florida, who is 10 years Manny’s junior. The Pacquiao – Thurman welterweight world title attraction headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
“Keith Thurman has it easy. His only job is to train for this fight. I have three jobs. I am a fighter. I am a public servant. And on Saturday, I am going to be Keith Thurman’s teacher,” said Manny. “I have heard everything he has said about me. I have heard everything he has said he will do to me in the fight. Those things he says about me do not make me angry. They inspire me. This has been the best training camp I have had in years. Keith Thurman thinks he is going to retire me. I am not ready to look back. I am still looking forward. Keith Thurman is going to be very surprised by what he sees from me in the ring. He is going to leave the ring a very disappointed fighter.”
“It will be ‘One Time’ vs. All Time,” said Manny’s Hall of Fame trainer world-famous Freddie Roach. “Thurman may be ten years younger but Manny still has extraordinary talent and an era’s worth of experience against Hall of Fame opposition. The betting action on this fight reflects that. I have done a lot of interviews. All the media seem to be picking Thurman to win. They consider this a battle between Generation X and Generation Geritol. But we’re talking about Manny Pacquiao. He pushed himself to the limit in this training camp. Youth will be served a big slice of humble pie on Saturday night.”
Statement from Salita Promotions Regarding Otto Wallin vs. B.J. Flores Heavyweight Fight
As part of the licensing process in the state of Washington, the doctor appointed by the boxing commission to oversee tonight’s event reviewed medical tests and determined that B.J. Flores would not be medically cleared to compete. Based on that opinion, Washington State Department of Licensing spokesperson Gigi Zenk notified Salita Promotions this afternoon that they would not issue B.J. Flores a license to fight against Otto Wallin tonight. Due to medical privacy requirements we are unable to provide further information at this time.”
STATEMENT FROM WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING SPOKESPERSON GIGI ZENK: “Benjamin Flores was not medically cleared to compete.”
DAZN to Broadcast Whyte-Rivas Around the World
The heavyweight title eliminator between Dillian Whyte and Oscar Rivas for the number one spot in the WBC will be streamed live in all DAZN markets on Saturday, July 20, from The O2 in London. DAZN is available across four continents with the service available in the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Japan and Brazil.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “This is a huge night of Heavyweight boxing and I’m excited for DAZN subscribers that they will get to watch it live. Dillian Whyte who has proved himself as one on the best Heavyweights on the planet takes on the relentless unbeaten Oscar Rivas who is coming off a brutal knockout of Bryant Jennings. Brit Derek Chisora faces off against Poland’s Artur Szpilka and crowd favourite Dave Allen tackles David Price in a big domestic shootout. Tune in and don’t miss it!”
Whyte (25-1 18 KOs) holds the number one slot with the WBC and puts that on the line as the hard-hitting ‘Body Snatcher’ continues to blast his path to a World title shot. The Brixton banger put Derek Chisora away in devastating style in his last outing, the pair thrilling the Greenwich crowd in their rematch in December – before icing Del Boy in the 11th round.
The 31-year-old Briton will be gunning for a tenth straight win against Rivas, with wins over Joseph Parker, Robert Helenius and Lucas Browne sandwiched between his two wins over Chisora. Whyte has become a must-watch fighter since rocking old foe Anthony Joshua in their battle at The O2 in December 2012, and yet again takes on a high-risk challenge as he cements his spot as the leading Heavyweight contender in the world.
Rivas (26-0 18 KOs) is yet another dangerous challenger for Whyte to risk his number one rankings with, and the Colombian comes into the bout on the back of his biggest win in the paid ranks. Rivas traveled to Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York in January and KO’d former World title challenger Bryant Jennings in the final round of their clash, underlining his dangerous potential to World titlists and fellow contenders.
In the United States, action will begin on DAZN at 1:00 p.m. ET with the full six-fight Matchroom Boxing undercard from The O2 in London.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Haney, Roach, Thurman, Cuevas, Pacquiao, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 2nd to July 9th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Devin Haney Gives Back to his Community, Volunteers to Feed Homeless Youth in Las Vegas
Yesterday, undefeated lightweight contender, Devin “The Dream” Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) was a volunteer at the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) in Las Vegas. Devin spoke with the youth that were present and served food during lunch.
Haney, who is coming off a “Knockout of the Year” performance against Antonio Moran, is on the cusp of fighting for his first word title and is considered one of the top fighters in boxing. He is grateful for the opportunity to serve his community by giving back.
“Thank you, Rachel and staff, at Nevada Partnerships for Homeless Youth for giving me the opportunity to meet so many strong and resilient teenagers. I’m truly inspired by all their stories and even more impressed by their smiles they maintain through all the adversity. There are some very beautiful and talented people there. Life for me will never be the same! I will continue to share for the rest of my life” – Devin Haney
About Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
NPHY is the most comprehensive service provider for the thousands of young people experiencing homelessness in our community, providing access to life-changing services for homeless youth 24 hours a day at virtually every street corner in Southern Nevada. NPHY’s wraparound programs stabilize young people’s lives, meeting their immediate needs and providing a safe, supportive environment and a path to self-sufficiency. NPHY’s individualized, holistic services empower young people to not only achieve long-term independence, but to craft the futures they want for themselves.
Strengthening and complementing our high-quality direct services for homeless youth, NPHY is dedicated to advocating for the Vegas Valley’s homeless youth population and serves as a leader in systems-level efforts to eliminate homelessness among Nevada’s youth.
Uprising Promotions and the New Mexican Promotions Return to Club Amazura on July 12
Ronson Frank’s Uprising Promotions will be returning to Club Amazura on Friday, July 12, once again presenting an entertaining night of boxing in association with The New Mexican Promotion.
“We look forward to putting on another great night of fights alongside The New Mexican Promotion,” said Ronson Frank, President of Uprising Promotions. “We have a nice mix of local prospects and action fighters who should keep the fans on their feet throughout the whole card. We have received great support from the boxing community at each and every one of our shows at Club Amazura, and we do not expect July 12 to be any different.”
Long Island fan favorite Titus Williams (8-2, 3 KOs) will make his return to the ring on the card, facing Aaron Echeveste Lopez (6-3, 3 KOs) of Guanajuato, Mexico. Williams last competed this past March on an Uprising Promotions and The New Mexican Promotion show at Club Amazura, when he stopped Cristian Renteria in an exciting main event showcase. Just 22 seconds into the fourth round of that bout, Renteria stepped into a perfectly timed counter right uppercut from Williams that immediately sent him crumbling to the canvas. Referee Sparkle Lee never even started her count, waving off the fight to give Williams the knockout victory.
Undefeated super lightweight Mathew Gonzalez (8-0, 5 KOs) will also be back in action next Friday night. He will be looking to pick up the ninth consecutive win to start his professional career when he meets 30-bout veteran Federico Jesus Benjamin Malespina of Argentina. The Ridgewood, N.Y. native last fought this past March at Club Amazura as well, disposing of Gabor Kovacs in less than three frames. After putting Kovacs down in the second round, Gonzalez continued to overwhelm his opposition until the bout was halted with 34 seconds remaining in the third frame.
Two undefeated Brooklyn welterweights will also feature on this card. Cesar Francis (5-0, 4 KOs) looks to keep his perfect record intact by defeating 14-fight veteran Antonio Sanchez of Puerto Rico, while Paul Anthony (2-0, 1 KO) looks for his third consecutive win at Club Amazura when he steps into the ring opposite Earvin Young (1-0, 1 KO) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Rounding out the seven-fight show will be three professional debuts. Brooklyn native Raymond Wilburg will be making his first pro start at 147 pounds, while former New York amateur standout Hosam Abdeldayem will feature at 160 pounds. Additionally, Brooklyn lightweight Saul De Los Santos will begin his professional campaign when he meets Joseph Santana of Providence, Rhode Island.
Freddie Roach: The Dud Abides!
There are no holidays for the reigning Fighter of the Decade and boxer laureate Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) as he continues to train for his upcoming challenge of undefeated WBA welterweight super champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), from Clearwater, Florida. The two warriors are just 16 days away from their world championship collision.
“The only hot dog Manny is thinking about is Keith Thurman,” said Hall of Fame trainer world-famous Freddie Roach. “Thurman talks a good game but we’ll see if he can cut the mustard with Manny on July 20. Manny is 10 years Thurman’s senior and yet this will be Manny’s third world championship fight over the past 12 months. Activity keeps fighters sharp. The lack of activity explains why Thurman has looked worse and worse over his last three fights. He’s like the Jeff Bridges character in The Big Lebowski. He just seems to be fighting as little as possible to keep his title. Only Thurman’s not The Dude, he’s The Dud. Manny will sizzle and Thurman will fizzle when they battle it out in the ring at the MGM Grand on July 20. After that, it will be champagne and Lobster Thurmandor for us. Happy Fourth of July!”
Greg Cohen Promotions Signs Undefeated Welterweight Reshard Hicks to a Promotional Contract
Greg Cohen Promotions proudly announces the signing of Killeen, Texas-based welterweight Reshard “Too Quick” Hicks to a promotional contract.
A naturally talented athlete from Tampa, Fla., Hicks was an All-American cornerback and long jumper at Fordham University before enlisting in the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division as a mechanic and serving in Iraq. A successful recovery from stomach cancer led to Hicks’ retirement from the forces and his entrance into boxing at age 25.
Wasting no time, the gifted Hicks was the Texas Regional Golden Glove Champion and State Champion in 2012 at 165lbs, finishing with a record of 21-6. He turned professional in 2013 and has already held several regional and state championships.
Hicks is trained by Jesse Ravelo, the 1996 Olympic Boxing, All Marine Boxing Team and International Boxing Team Head Coach out of JR Boxing Club in Killeen. He is managed by Michael Cameron of the Cameron Management Team.
“I am extremely excited to become part of the GCP stable and I look forward to displaying my skills on the big stage,” said Hicks. “I’ll be working my way to the top and bringing more straps to the GCP family. I’d like to personally thank Greg Cohen, my promoter, and Mike Cameron, my manager, for believing in me. Let’s gets to work! I will not disappoint.”
“I am very happy to have GCP and my good friend Greg Cohen as Reshard’s promotional company,” said Cameron. “I’m very confident that this is the right move to get him to the top of the 147-lb division. I look forward to a long and successful journey together.”
“We are going to keep Reshard as busy as possible,” said Greg Cohen. “He’s been having trouble getting fights because he’s so talented and yet unknown, so that’s where Mike Cameron and I come in. We are going to get him the exposure he deserves and the fights he can win all the way to the championship.”
Co-Main Event and Undercard Announced for Cuevas vs. Beltran
Miami via Cuba prospect Livan “Machine Gun Kid” Navarro’s eight-round welterweight showdown against Mexico City veteran Diego “Demoledor” Cruz will serve as the televised co-main event for the Friday, July 12, “Championship Fight Series” boxing event at Hard Rock Event Center at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.
Former amateur standout and undefeated Navarro (11-0, 7 KOs) and Cruz (19-7-2, 15 KOs) will meet as the chief supporting bout when WBA #13-rated welterweight Derrieck “Pretty Boy” Cuevas (21-0-1, 14 KOs) of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, defends his WBA Fedelatin Welterweight Championship against Los Mochis, Mexico’s Jesus Alberto “Barretero” Beltran (17-2-2, 10 KOs) in the 10-round “Puerto Rico vs. Mexico” main event.
Championship Fight Series is presented by Kris Lawrence and The Heavyweight Factory, in association with All Star Boxing, and will be televised live on the most popular boxing series on Hispanic television, Boxeo Telemundo, at 11:35 p.m. EST.
Tickets for “Championship Fight Series” are on sale now and cost $60, $100, $150, $250 and $500. Tickets are available through ticketmaster.com.
As is custom for these jam-packed events, the exciting undercard features many South Florida and international fighters.
Headlining the undercard, two-time Olympic medalist and undefeated heavyweight KO artist Ivan “The Kazakh Giant” Dychko (8-0, 8 KOs) of Boca Raton, Florida, via Rudniy, Kazakhstan, will face former ESPN 2015 Boxcino Tournament Quarterfinalist Nate Heaven (9-2, 7 KOs) of Ocala, Florida.
In an eight-round super featherweight battle, Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan’s Mussa “Warrior” Tursyngaliyev (9-0, 6 KOs) will face Panama City, Panama’s Ricardo “El Matematico” Nunez (29-9, 23 KOs). In a four-round light heavyweight contest, Miami via Cuba’s wildly popular Ulysses Diaz (10-1, 9 KOs) will look to return to the win column against Winter Park, Florida’s Mike Sawyer (8-12, 6 KOs).
In a special eight-round super featherweight attraction, Miami via Cuba’s Jessy “Beast Boy” Cruz (16-7-1, 7 KOs) will look to continue his four-fight winning streak in an all-action punch-out with Mexico City’s Isao Gonzalo “Kato” Carranza (15-14-1, 9 KOs).
Also featured will be an eight-round super bantamweight slugfest between Miami’s Jorge De Jesus Romero (14-0, 10 KOs) and Mexico City’s Szilveszter Kanalas (14-8, 9 KO); as well as a four-round light heavyweight matchup featuring popular Fort Lauderdale warrior Blake Davis (2-0, 1 KO) and Jefferson City, Missouri’s Armando Reeves (2-3).
Opening up the action will be a four-round featherweight bout between Miami’s Luis Melendez (4-1, 3 KOs) and Ponce, Puerto Rico’s Eduardo Melendez (5-26, 1 KO).
On fight night, the Hard Rock Event Center doors open at 6 p.m., and the action starts at 7 p.m. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood is located at 1 Seminole Way in Hollywood, Fla.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Thurman, Frampton, Dominguez, Parker, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 25th to July 2nd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Keith Thurman Training Camp Quotes
Keith Thurman’s head trainer Dan Birmingham is typically a man of few words who likes to keep his focus on his job; which is training, coaching and creating world champion boxers. So when Dan speaks, people listen. His Mr. Miyagi-style message ahead of Keith’s blockbuster PBC on FOX Sports pay-per-view showdown versus Manny Pacquiao?
“Freddie Roach is going to lose a lot of money,” said Birmingham. “When the fight is over Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman’s hands will be raised. Keith is going to win this fight and win it in fine fashion.”
“Dan and I have worked together since I was an amateur, he was my mitt-man when my trainer Ben Getty couldn’t take my power,” said Thurman. “Ben would be on the sidelines and tell me what to throw and Dan would be there to catch it. The day I turned pro, Dan was in my corner and I felt blessed to have Dan become my coach and first corner when Ben passed away. Dan knows my strengths and he’s worked with other world champions. We’re not rookies. We’re prepared to be on the big stage.
“He’s a man of few words but his actions and words that he picks are always right on point. He sees what is going on even when I can’t or don’t see it. He isn’t hype. He is honest. He is giving me technique, criticism and whether or not we won the round; I know I can trust him.”
Trained by Birmingham since his original coach Ben Getty passed away ten years ago, Thurman continues to hone and develop his boxing prowess at Birmingham’s St Pete Boxing Club gym in St. Petersburg, FL. The Florida Boxing Hall of Famer knows what is needed for his pupil to win this historic fight on Saturday, July 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“This is a very important fight for Florida boxing and for our gym,” said Birmingham “From Winky to Jeff Lacy and all the guys who train and fight for titles, we have a lot of pride in Keith. This fight and holding this title means everything to our gym.
“Manny knows Keith’s a puncher, and that he brings youth and experience like Manny does. But Keith wants to fight, he’s anxious to fight and he’s got someone to fight for besides himself.”
One of the keys to Thurman’s impending victory is very simple, said Birmingham. “It’s been the rest factor. He’s rejuvenated his body and mind, he got married and as I said before, he has someone to fight for.”
Thurman’s over two-year recovery have allowed him to fully heal and its made for a powerful training camp. The undefeated, two-time world champion is operating at his very best – showing glimpses on his Instagram channel (@KeithOneTimeThurman) of his high intensity workouts.
“I am back on the big stage, I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase my talent and skill with a legend in the sport. It’s a big ‘get back’ year for me,” said Thurman. “I tried to tell everyone that and this is what it’s like when champions get back to performing like world class champions. No excuses. I want to be the best Keith Thurman I can be, and we set up a camp where we can bring out the best in me, for myself, for the fight and for the fight fans.”
“He has a renewed vigor – more energy – and he’s anxious to fight and anxious to train,” said Birmingham. “His power, ferociousness and tenacity will be a problem for Manny. We’ve only escalated that in this camp. He has two strength and conditioning coaches – NFL great Yo Murphy and leading strength coach Kimberly Doehnert. The core team includes post-workout trainer Eric Wilson for stretching and recovery in addition to myself and Chris Getty for strategy and training.
“We’ve mixed up sparring with some guys who emulate Manny but are tougher, stronger fighters who can take a punch. You’ve got to be tough to box with Keith.
“We’re going to win this fight.”
Carl Frampton-Emmanuel Dominguez To Headline Philly Fight Night on ESPN+
Carl “The Jackal” Frampton is on the hunt for another world title. Frampton, the former two-division world champion from Belfast, Northern Ireland, will make his first stateside appearance in more than two years in a 10-round featherweight bout against the hard-hitting Emmanuel Dominguez on Saturday, Aug. 10 at the Liacouras Center.
Frampton-Dominguez and a co-feature will stream live on ESPN+ — the industry-leading sports streaming service — beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The entire undercard, including South Philadelphia heavyweight sensation Sonny Conto (3-0, 3 KOs), Philadelphia-born featherweight prospect Donald Smith (9-0, 6 KOs) and Puerto Rican middleweight puncher Edgar Berlanga (11-0, 11 KOs), will stream on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Peltz Boxing, tickets, priced at $100, $55 and $35 (not including applicable fees), are on sale now and can be purchased at the Liacouras Center Box Office and www.liacourascenter.com, or by calling Peltz Boxing at 215-765-0922.
“Dominguez is a tall, young, hungry featherweight, so I’ll need to be on my game,” Frampton said. “The premise of an Oscar Valdez fight is dangling in front of me, so I want to go out and show the world that I’ve still got what it takes to be a world champion. Winning is always the most important thing, but I want to do it in style. It’s great to be boxing stateside again. And Philly, in particular, has so much boxing history. I’d like to thank MTK Global and Top Rank for giving me the opportunity. I won’t disappoint.”
“Carl Frampton is already looking ahead to an Oscar Valdez fight, which gives me added motivation,” Dominguez said. “I am not a stepping stone. I am coming to Philadelphia prepared to ruin Carl’s plans.”
Frampton (26-2, 15 KOs), a 10-year pro who compiled more than 100 victories during a standout amateur career, is on the road back to another world title opportunity following his competitive decision loss to IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington last December. Frampton won the IBF junior featherweight world title in 2014 and unified titles against WBA champion Scott Quigg via split decision in February 2016. He upset Leo Santa Cruz to win the WBA super world featherweight title in July 2016 but lost the immediate rematch six months later.
Frampton won three in a row, including an interim world title, before running into Warrington in front of a sold-out Manchester Arena crowd in one of the year’s best fights. With his sights set on Valdez, he must first defeat Dominguez (26-8-2, 18 KOs), a 25-year-old native of Aguascalientes, Mexico, who has won four of his last five, all by knockout.
Joseph Parker Signs Promotional Deal with Matchroom
Matchroom Boxing have signed a three-fight promotional deal with Heavyweight star Joseph Parker.
Parker will fight for the first time with Matchroom Boxing USA on June 29 in Providence, Rhode Island on the undercard of the Demetrius Andrade’s WBO Middleweight world title defense against Poland’s Maciej Sulecki, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Team Parker also announce today that David Higgins has been appointed to Joseph Parker’s management team.
The bout marks the beginning of the second phase of Parker’s career – and the start of the road to becoming the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world.
“My six-year promotional contract with Duco Events ended on March 26,” said Parker. “It was a wonderfully successful partnership – so much so that David Higgins will always be part of my team, advocating in my best interests in a management capacity.
“Since my contract with Duco ended I have been a free agent, with my team and I spending several months assessing how to best achieve my goal of not only becoming a World Champion again, but unifying all of the belts to become the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world.”
Parker said he and his management team conducted a robust process that included seeking offers from boxing’s most prominent promoters.
“Ultimately we decided that the best option was to partner with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing. We believe the three-fight deal that we are announcing today will be the start of a long and successful partnership.”
Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn said he had no doubt Parker could once again become Heavyweight Champion of the world.
“If Joseph Parker performs the way we all know he can over these next three fights then he will have a strong case for some huge fights,” Hearn said. “Parker is a young man with a great mix of experience and ambition, and this is a really exciting signing for Matchroom.
“And, I must say, I am also looking forward to sparring again with my old mate David Higgins as we haggle over the terms of each deal for Joseph. David unquestionably has Joseph’s best interests at heart and he is a tough negotiator, so there are going to be some interesting discussions ahead.”
Higgins said: “This is absolutely the right decision for Joseph and Team Parker, which I have supported every step of the way. I’m pleased that I can now work with Joseph’s existing management team to help carefully guide the remainder of his career.”
Higgins confirmed the creation of a new company, Sports Advisory and Management Limited, with his business partner Rachael Carroll, a former international pole vaulter.
The company will manage and advise a stable of talented athletes, he said.
The fight will be streamed on DAZN in the US and available on Sky Sports UK. Negotiations are underway for live broadcast rights in New Zealand.
Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions Inks Undefeated Super Middleweight Prospect Juan Jose Barajas
Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions’ growing stable of gifted fighters has expanded with today’s announcement of its latest addition, undefeated super middleweight prospect Juan Jose “Just Business” Barajas.
The 22-year-old Barajas (10-0, 7 KOs), fighting out of Victorville, California, is scheduled to make his RJJ Boxing debut August 24 at Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, California (outside of San Diego). Barajas’ fight against an opponent to be determined will be streamed live on UFC FIGHT PASS®.
Barajas’ last fight was his most impressive to date as a professional. Last May in Memphis, he took a 10-round majority decision against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. protégé Lanell Bellows (18-4-3, 11 KOs).
“I am excited about fighting for RJJ Boxing Promotions,” Barajas said. “I am happy about the direction I am going and feel confident that RJJ Boxing will put me in the bests position to reach my goals. I am looking forward to fighting the best and showcasing my skills among the top players in the super middleweight division. It’s time to go to work!”
Barajas, who won 27 of 30 amateur matches, is managed and trained by Michael Love.
Greg Cohen Promotions Signs Louis Rose to a Promotional Contract
Greg Cohen Promotions proudly announces the signing of charismatic middleweight contender Louis Rose to a promotional contract.
Rose (16-3-1, 7 KOs) is a former NABF Middleweight Champion who in October 2015, lost a razor-thin majority decision to current WBA Middleweight Champion Rob Brant for the WBC Continental Americas Middleweight Title. In his seven-year career, Rose has also taken the undefeated 0’s from Delen Parsley (then 10-0), Gino McClellan (9-0), Fabian Reyes (10-0), Ievgen Khytrov (6-0), Milorad Zizic (11-0), and Jorge Ivan Ibanez (8-0).
The 30-year-old Rose was world-rated and closing in on a title shot when he says he got sidelined by managerial problems for the last two years. With this new deal, he is eager to get back in the 160-lb mix.
“I feel amazing! This is going to resurrect my career and put me back where I was,” said Rose. “After the fight with Rob Brant, I feel that I should have been right there next to him. Most people think I beat him, but right after that fight, everything started going south. I didn’t feel like I could trust the team I was with, so now that I’m with GCP, I’m looking forward to getting the fights I deserve.”
A native of Los Angeles, Rose says he came to boxing after fleeing an unhealthy home life, living with relatives and eventually becoming homeless at age 17.
“Before boxing, I had a tough time on the street. When I was 20, I joined a boxing gym for $20 a month and I was just going to use the shower every day before work because I had no place to live. But then, I thought about it and I said I’m paying this money I might as well hit the bags. I learned I really like it!”
Rose’s story took another unexpected turn recently, as he chased love to Europe and is now living there, awaiting the birth of his first child in Athens, Greece, while training with Stavros Stofylas and Costa Vetimes at The Coliseum Gym. Rose says he and his new family will be returning to LA soon to get back to business.
“With the right fights I should be in line for a title shot by next year. I have a lot better resume than a lot of the guys getting title shots. I’m happy to have signed this deal with Greg Cohen and I’m looking forward to getting everything back to where it should be with this sport I love.”
Promoter Greg Cohen says he’s happy to be adding Rose to his stable of world contenders.
“Louis impressed me against Rob Brant. That was a close fight. When you look at what Rob has gone on to do, it’s not difficult to picture Louis being successful as well. He’s got a lot of personality and he’s a very talented fighter. No one coddled Louis Rose on his way up, he’s already beaten a lot of guys he was probably supposed to lose to. I think with the right guidance, he could be world champion some day soon.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Pacquiao, Khan, Adams, Roach, Cason, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 18th to June 25th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Amir Khan vs. Neeraj Goyat Landmar in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (24 June 2019) Two-Time World Champion and boxing star Amir Khan’s history making fight against Neeraj Goyat at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday 12th July will be broadcast exclusively live in the UK on free-to-air Channel 5.
Khan versus Goyat headlines a fantastic all-action championship fight card that includes heavyweight star Hughie Fury in a sensational showdown with Former World Champion Samuel Peter plus Prince Patel and Dave Penasola both in title fights.
British-Pakistani hero Khan and India’s star Goyat make history when the two nations meet in the boxing ring for the first time ever with the specially commissioned World Boxing Council (WBC) Pearl Welterweight Championship on the line.
The Bolton star promises a feast from the Middle East when he break down frontiers in the event titled ‘Nations Connect’ as he makes his debut in the MENA region and in the The Kingdom for the first time in his illustrious 14 year, 38 fight pro career.
This will also be Khan’s first terrestrial TV appearance since 2010, as Channel 5 televise his ground-breaking fight to millions with the undercard also featuring on free-to-air 5 Spike in nearly 5 hours of live boxing action.
‘It’s an honour to be fighting in The Kingdom during the Saudi Seasons and a big thank you to GSA for making this happen. I can’t wait to deliver a world class performance here and really put Saudi Arabia on the map as a boxing destination to rival any of the big fights cities in the World. It’s been a dream of mine to fight here for many years and I finally get to share my talent and spread boxing to new territories across the world just as Muhammad Ali did. Importantly, this fight against Neeraj is sending a message that our two nations, Pakistan and India, can connect in the boxing ring and through the power of sport we can send out a positive message.” Said Khan.
Khan is hungry to get back in the ring following his controversial sixth round stoppage loss to WBO welterweight boss and pound-for-pound contender Terence Crawford in April and knows that a victory in Jeddah could lead to a blockbuster showdown with the legendary eight-division World Champion Manny Pacquiao.
In the opposing corner stands Indian trailblazer Neeraj Goyat who will be eager to replicate his compatriots’ recent conquest over sporting rivals Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup.
The 27 year old former Commonwealth Youth medallist and World Youth and Military Games rep topped the bill in India’s first professional promotion in May 2015, when he also became the first from his nation to contest and win a pro title by scalping Nelson Gulpe for the WBC Asian crown. A brace of successful defences led to Goyat being honoured as the WBC’s Asian Honorary Fighter of the Year in 2017 plus the first Indian to crack the WBC world ratings.
Though winless in his opening four paid starts (two draws, all overseas), the 5ft 7 ½ in terror has triumphed in 11 of his last 12 – the sole stain a points loss to a Mexican in Mexico. He is also undefeated in MMA combat and yet to be stopped.
Nevertheless, ‘King Khan’ is promising to leave the man from the state of Haryana in a proper state before advancing to what could be an All-Asian career finale against ex-gym mate and eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao from the Phillipines.
‘End of this year, early next year, I want to make a big name world title challenge and there’s a strong possibility it could be here in Saudi Arabia against Pacquiao,’ claims Khan who will be coached for the first time by ex-WBA super-bantam boss Clarence ‘Bones’ Adams and Alex Ariza.
‘Hopefully, Manny beats up Keith Thurman the week after my fight and we’ll see what happens.
‘A fight between us would set-up boxing in the Middle East forever and lead to multiple championship fights taking place in the region. I intend being at the forefront.’
Chief support pitches world grade heavyweights from past and present when undefeated former British champion Hughie Fury, 24, who features courtesy of Hennessy Sports and Channel 5, steps up against one-time WBC World Champion Samuel Peter in a mouthwatering championship title contest to be announced.
England’s first ever World Youth super-heavyweight champion, the 6ft 6in ‘Fists of Fury’ has already showcased his considerable skills in eight countries since debuting as a pro, aged 18, in March 2013. However, this will be his first exposure in the MENA region and he is promising to expand his fan base by delivering a sparkling performance.
‘I’ve a job to do and it’ll get done. Samuel Peter is a seriously solid, dangerous veteran who can clearly punch but I relish the challenge,’ said Fury who is trained by his father Peter.
He added, ’It’s always great to visit different places and get my name around the World. I’m expecting a great atmosphere. There’s only one thing on my mind, getting to the very top, winning the world title.
Peter, the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’, is a 2000 Sydney Olympian, now in his 19th year as a pro. The powerhouse has clattered 31 victims inside schedule whilst compiling a stellar 38-7 CV. The solid 6ft 2in, 19stone plus African reigned on the WBC throne for seven months in 2008 and has swapped leather with four fellow world champions, including both Klitschko brothers. He famously flattened Wladimir three times before dropping a close, contentious 12 round decision in 2005.
Following a break, Samuel returned in Mexico in February and has already bombed out two foes inside the opening frame. Fury will need to bring his A-game if he hopes to advance above his ranking of 14 with the IBF.
To add further garnish to the bill, Acton pantomime villain Prince Patel attempts to become the first fighter of Indian heritage to claim a boxing world title when he collides with violent Venezuelan Michell Banquez for the Vacant IBO Bantamweight belt.
It’s a genuine toss-up between boxers who both boast 18 wins from 19 outings – Patel’s blemish a draw, Banquez’s an 11 round points loss in Chile – and both claim 13 stoppage wins.
The punching Prince, a three-time national junior champion and 2013 Senior ABA finalist, is as awkward inside the ropes as he is beyond. Love him or loathe him, he’s hard to ignore.
Nevertheless, 28 year old banger Banquez, known as ‘El Arsenal’ has never been stopped and promises to pose stern resistance.
Freddie Roach: Lobster Thurmandor will be the July 20th Special
The reigning Fighter of the Decade and boxer laureate, Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), is back and the sports world is for the better because of it. One week removed from his landing to a throng of fans and media at LAX, Manny has exceeded everyone’s expectations in training camp for his challenge of undefeated WBA welterweight super champion Keith “One Time” Thurman — which may be the only normal thing about his current training camp. Three days in, he was displaying a chiseled physique and a six pack of abs. Forty may just be a number to Manny but his trainer, World-Famous Freddie Roach, wouldn’t be surprised if Thurman became Manny’s fortieth knockout victim.
“If Thurman comes straight in and goes after Manny, which I think he will, he is going to be cooked. Chef Manny will be serving him up on a platter like Lobster Thurmandor,” said Roach.
Boxing’s only eight-division world champion and the Philippines’ national treasure, Amazin’ Manny is preparing for his third world championship fight in the past 12 months. He and Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), from Clearwater, Florida, who is 10 years Manny’s junior, will battle in a welterweight world title attraction that headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event, Saturday, July 20, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
Muhsin Cason Scores First Round TKO to Extend Undefeated Record
Undefeated heavyweight prospect, Muhsin Cason (5-0, 3 KOs), who is managed by Greg Hannley of Prince Ranch Boxing, remained unbeaten with a 1st round TKO against Nathaniel Copeland (1-1, 1 KO) of Washington D.C.
Cason, the younger brother of two-time heavyweight world champion Hasim Rahman, landed a vicious body blow in the middle of round one, sending the bigger Copeland to the canvas. Copeland did not recover, and the bout was halted.
“Since I’ve recently moved up to heavyweight, I feel a lot stronger,” said Cason, who is also trained by his older brother Hasim Rahman. “I’m starting to feel more comfortable at heavyweight with each fight. This was my second bout fighting with the big boys and I promise to get better with each fight. My power is moving up with me. I’m hoping to get back in the ring next month.”
“Muhsin showed he has the power to compete at heavyweight,” said manager Greg Hannely. “We are going to try to get three or four more fights in before the end of the year. Right now, the focus is on keeping him busy. He has a bright future and we believe he has all the tools to become a force in the heavyweight division.”
“Muhsin is becoming a better fighter as he marches on in his career,” said Hasim Rahman, who trains Muhsin. “We are working very had in the gym and he’s getting great sparring with some of the best heavyweight in boxing. He’s still learning but he’s retaining all the knowledge I’m showing him. I’m happy we got another knockout against a tough fighter like Copeland.”
Star Boxing Signs Richard “Popeye the Sailor Man” Rivera
JOE DEGUARDIA’S STAR BOXING is pleased to announce the signing of undefeated light heavyweight/cruiserweight, Richie “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera, arguably the most popular and hardest puncher in New England.
The 28-year-old Rivera (11-0, 10 KOs), born and raised in Hartford, CT, is scheduled to fight on the CATSKILLS CLASH card on Friday, June 28, on FITE.TV ($9.99), live from Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, New York.
Rivera will face BRIAN “MVP” HOWARD (14-2, 11 KOs), fighting out of Loganville, Georgia, in an eight-round fight for the vacant American Boxing Organization (ABO) America’s Cruiserweight title.
“I’m excited and ready to go,” an ecstatic Rivera said between training sessions at the Hartford Boxing Center. “I was very nervous about the whole thing (process). I don’t just sign a paper put in front of me. I read everything closely and ask questions. I really thought Joe worked with us and met our demands. I’m very happy to move on to the next level.”
“I’ve worked with (Star Boxing’s former world champion) Joe Smith Jr. for the past two years. It started with the (Andrzej) Fonfara fight, then (Bernard) Hopkins, and I’m helping him now (as a sparring partner). He’s mentioned a few things, gave me some good advice to be cautious with all my decisions, and to listen before speaking.”
Rivera is partners in Hartford Boxing Promotions with his adviser/head trainer Tony Blanco and Michael Tran.
Blanco drew a different analogy in terms of co-promoting Rivera with Star Boxing, saying: “The plane was on the runway, Richie is the engine, and now we have the pilot (DeGuardia) to take us where we want to go.”
One of the key reasons for partnering with Star Boxing, according to Blanco, is DeGuardia’s success working with former world light heavyweight champions Antonio Tarver and Smith Jr..
“I like what Joe [DeGuardia] has done in the light heavyweight division, starting with Tarver, and more recently Smith Jr.,” Blanco commented. “It’s good for Richie because that’s his division. This was kind of a no-brainer. Joe is reachable (in NYC), which is something I like to do business with him. Some promoters sign fighters for no real reason and then they end up on the shelf, which is a fighter’s worst nightmare. I think Joe is one of the top 10 promoters in the world, but it seems like the top three are always bickering with each other. I like the fact Joe works with all other promoters. He’s low key and I think a perfect fit for us.”
“Another reason for us is Joe’s new deal with NESN (home of the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins), which is a New England regional network but available to watch nationally. It’s huge for Richie to be on television. You just put the cameras on Richie, give him a microphone, and he does the rest. And Richie can really fight, too. I think he has the most star power in New England.”
“The plan for Richie in 2019 is for him to continue developing, fighting a lot, and getting exposure. He’s self-motivated, always working hard in the gym, and hungry. We’re on the right path.”
Star Boxing has another undefeated Hartford prospect in its stable, junior welterweight “Action” Anthony Laureano (10-0, 3 KOs), who is also scheduled to fight on the June 28th card.
“We’re excited to sign Richie and work with Hartford Boxing Promotions to guide him to the top,’ CEO of Star Boxing, DeGuardia added. “Richie has so much potential. He’s extremely strong, dedicated, hard-working, and charismatic. We learned a lot about Richie during his training and sparring sessions with Joe Smith Jr.. Star Boxing has committed itself to further developing New England boxers and Richie has everything we look for, and more, to build him into a star.”
Brandon Adams Training Camp Quotes
Middleweight contender Brandon Adams has been working hard at The Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California as he prepares for the biggest fight of his career when he takes on unbeaten interim WBC Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo, on Saturday June 29 at NRG Arena in Houston and live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Lions Only Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster. Charlo vs. Adams is promoted in association with Banner Promotions and The Tournament of Contenders.
Adams has been training under longtime coach Dub Huntley and Hall of Famer Freddie Roach as he prepares for this opportunity.
“Everything is going good and this camp has been very solid,” said Adams. “I feel good and I am very excited to get in there and fight. I know that I have a great team that are preparing me to be the best Brandon Adams possible.
“The combination of Dub and Freddie really gives me everything I could ever need for a fight like this. They teach me something new every day and I’m going to be confident in my abilities on fight night.”
Adams and Charlo went face to face for the first time on May 30 at a press conference in Houston that Adams believes will help prepare him for his surroundings on fight night.
“Houston was not as hostile as I thought it would be,” said Adams. “There was a lot of mutual respect between Jermall and I. I know the fans will be rooting for him, but it’s just the two of us in the ring. I’m just focused on what I have to do to get the win.
“I always knew the road to the top wouldn’t be easy. Nothing in boxing has been for me. I’ve always been ready to do whatever I had to do.”
Adams knows the stakes of the fight on June 29, and he believes that with a win, he will be considered a major player in the middleweight division.
“I feel this opportunity is the biggest one in my career to this point,” said Adams. “This will set me up for much more, and I am ready to face the challenge. I couldn’t be more prepared or focused. I am very dedicated to this fight and everything it’s going to take to reach my dream. I am looking to put on a tremendous performance on June 29.”
The 29 years-old Adams out of Los Angeles, California is promoted by Banner Promotions and Tournament of Contenders.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Beltran, Pacquiao, Atlantic City, Roach, Plant, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 12th to June 19th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Financial Advice from World-Famous Freddie Roach
Under the watchful eyes of world-famous Freddie Roach and Vice Mayor Buboy Fernandez, Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), the Philippines’ national treasure, boxer laureate and the sweet science’s only eight-division world champion, kicked off his U.S. training camp with eight rounds of sparring. Not bad for the jet lagged fighter who arrived at LAX after a 19-hour flight on Saturday night to a throng of media and fans. After five weeks of training in the Philippines, Manny is back at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif., preparing for his third world championship fight in the past 12 months. Amazin’ Manny has begun the most intense part of his training and conditioning for his battle against undefeated WBA welterweight super champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), from Clearwater, Florida.
Pacquiao and Thurman will battle in a welterweight world title attraction that headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event,Saturday, July 20, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
And for the first time in many years, Manny, 40, and ten years Thurman’s senior, has been installed as an underdog by major sports & race books around the world.
“I haven’t made a bet in a long time, but the oddsmakers have brought me back. I’m going to make a huge score betting on Manny in this fight,” said Roach. “Manny loves beating undefeated fighters, especially the younger ones. Heck, at this stage of the game, everyone Manny faces is younger. But that makes it fun for Manny. And when Manny is having fun, his opponents had better watch out. I was very pleased with Manny’s first day at Wild Card. Buboy and Justin [Fortune] have him in great condition for the rigors of this part of training camp. We were scheduled for six rounds of sparring and Manny insisted on going eight with two sparing partners. He’s running the Hollywood Hills like a deer. Nobody has the work ethic and conditioning like Manny. I can already see we are going to have to hold him back throughout camp.
“This is a great matchup. Thurman has youth and size. I’m sure he will come into the ring with 160 pounds behind his big right hand. Manny will be under 150,” Roach continued. “But we will have speed and movement. Winning this fight will come down to taking chances. Manny proved in his last two fights, against Matthysse and Broner, that he has his killer instinct back. Thurman better be prepared to shoot the works.”
Aston Palicte vs. Kazuto Ioka is First World Boxing Championship Fight to be Streamed Live on UFC Fight Pass
The official weigh in was held today for tomorrow’s (Wednesday, June 19) first world championship boxing match ever streamed live on UFC Fight Pass®, between the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) top two-ranked junior bantamweight contenders, “Mighty” Aston Palicte and Kazuto Ioka, who will square off for the vacant WBO World title.
Palicte and Ioka both weigh in at the 115-pound maximum.
Palicte’s promoter, Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions, owns the worldwide live streaming rights outside of Japan. Palicte vs. Ioka, co-promoted by RJJ Boxing and Reason Taki Promotions, will be streamed live, starting at 8 a.m. ET / 5 a.m. PT, from Makuhari Messe in Chiba City, Chiba, Japan.
WBO No. 1-ranked contender Palicte (25-2-1, 21 KOs), fighting out of the Philippines, takes on four-time three-division world champion Ioka (23-2, 13 KOs), who will be fighting at home, in the 12-round main event.
The 28-year-old Palicte (pictured above) knocked out previously unbeaten Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez, this past January 31st in the second round of their WBO title eliminator. Palicte become the mandatory challenger for then WBO champion and fellow Filipino, Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, who subsequently relinquished his title belt rather than accept a Palicte rematch to pursue more lucrative fights than a rematch with his countryman.
Nietes and Palicte had fought to a controversial 12-round draw last September for the then vacant WBO junior bantamweight world title. Nietes, ironically, captured the title last December 31st in Macao, China, winning a controversial 12-round split decision over Ioka.
The No. 2-rated Ioka, 30, has a decisive experience advantage over the younger, stronger Palicte. He has a 13-2 (3 KOs) record in world title fights and Ioka is on a mission to become the first Japanese boxer to be world champion in four different divisions. The only other members of this elite Nippon club are Hozumi Hagegawa, Koki Kameda, Akira Yaegashi and Naoko Fuijioka, the lone female in the group.
“I’m very appreciative of this opportunity to fight or the WBO belt again,” Ioka said from training camp. “Japan has a long history of boxing and for me, personally, it (4-division world champion) would be my highest goal to reach.
“Aston Palicte is a very good, tough fighter. I don’t really see any weaknesses, but I think his strength is his ability to be physical and fight aggressively.”
A triumph over Ioka will allow Palicte to join an elite club of Filipino world boxing champions, past and present, such as Nietes, Manny Pacquiao, Pancho Villa, Flash Elorde, and Nonito Donaire.
Caleb Plant Media Roundtable Quotes
Undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant hosted a Las Vegas media breakfast roundtable Saturday morning as he discussed his upcoming title defense Saturday, July 20 against unbeaten Mike Lee in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night on FOX and FOX Deportes from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
FOX PBC Fight Night begins at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and also features unbeaten heavyweight sensation Efe Ajagba squaring off against undefeated 2016 Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen
Tickets for the event, which is presented by TGB Promotions and Sweethands Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased online through AXS.com, charge by phone at 866-740-7711 or in person at any MGM Resorts International box office. The Ajagba vs. Demirezen match is being promoted in association with Ringstar Sports.
After FOX PBC Fight Night, boxing’s only eight-division world champion and Philippine Senator Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao takes on undefeated WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman in a powerhouse 147-pound showdown that headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Here is what Plant (18-0, 10 KOs), along with his trainer Justin Gamber, had to say Saturday from Hecho En Vegas at MGM Grand about their matchup against Lee (21-0, 11 KOs) and more:
“I’ve been working hard. Sparring is great. My weight is on point and I’ve been eating good. We’re rolling. Last camp I found my groove in probably my third or fourth week. This time it was in my second week. I’m going to be an improved Caleb Plant.
“As I’ve worked more on strength and conditioning with my coach Larry Wade, everyone can see how my power has developed. I’m sitting down on my punches more as well. But there’s no substitute for sharpening your tools in the shed. I’m still working on my craft as much as ever.
“We’ve seen so many big upsets so far this year in boxing, so I have more than enough motivation to focus on the task July 20. I’ve always said that the only fight I worry about, is the one that is signed.
“I already feel like I’m the best out there. Good luck to Mike Lee. I hope he shows up. He’s going to be getting a mattress sponsorship, because July 20 he’s going to sleep. This isn’t going 12 rounds.
“Justin Gamber is underrated and I believe he’s one of the best teachers in boxing. That’s what he is, a teacher. There’s a lot of guys with stopwatches and whistles, but not everyone can teach the art of boxing. Different fighters need different things and Justin knows I don’t need to be screamed at to get going. It’s all positivity and he makes it easy to understand.
“I think I’ve shown that I’m special and I’m different. I can bring things to the table that no one else can. I don’t have to raise my voice for you to know that I mean what I say. You already believe me. I’m going to continue to walk how I walk and talk how I talk.
“Media recognition and stature has changed since winning the title, but who I am and how hard I work, I’m still the same Caleb that I’ve always been. I’ve looked at myself as a world champion from a young age. How else do you become a world champion?
“Jose Uzcategui was everything they were building him up to be. He’s a relentless pressure fighter with power in both hands and I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I don’t think he knew what he was getting himself into, and I tried to warn him.
“We’d love to unify and be undisputed, that’s the goal. For now, we’re just focused on the task at hand. I have my hands full on the big stage July 20. If you look too far down the road, it can mess up the immediate future. I am really focused on getting past this challenge.”
JUSTIN GAMBER, Plant’s Trainer
“Caleb has been the ultimate student. I couldn’t ask for someone better. When I think of Caleb as an amateur, I think of just an athletic guy. Since he turned pro he’s really developed his skill set and fine-tuned his technique. He’s a guy who now has that athletic ability combined with skill and high boxing IQ.
“Caleb amazes me every day with how he tries different things and how he can break it down, fine tune it and perfect it. We’re just making sure that he can use his skills at the right time in the fight.
“The super middleweight division is in one of its hottest eras and I think Caleb Plant is head and shoulders above the rest. When I think of a possible future fight with Caleb against David Benavidez, I think of Floyd Mayweather vs. Diego Corrales. The offensive-minded big man against the smaller, better boxer. I see Caleb doing a similar job one day.”
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Inductions Culminates a Weekend of Festivities June 20th through June 23rd
What promises to be a memorable weekend packed with boxing matches, a movie screening, comedy show, meet & greets and more will take place during the 3rd annual Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame event from June 20 through June 23.
The climax of the weekend showcases the prestigious Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony which will take place on Sunday, June 23 in the Celebrity Theater at The Historic Claridge – A Radisson Hotel, located on Park Place & the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. The legendary boxers, sports managers/crew, media, and community honorees being enshrined into the 2019 Hall of Fame includes:
Bernard Hopkins, Tim Witherspoon, Iran Barkley, Roberto Duran, Micky Ward, Kevin Watts, John Brown, Virgil Hill, Butch Lewis, English ‘Bouie’ Fisher, Ace Marotta, Jimmy Binns, Sr., Stan Hoffman, Nigel Collins, Henry Hascup, Tom Kaczmarek, Bob Goodman, Tony Orlando, Jr., and Rhonda Utley-Herring.
“We are delighted to induct such an esteemed group of Individuals whom all have helped make Atlantic City Boxing known around the world. They represent the best of what we envision when selecting individuals to be part of our hall of fame,” said Ray McCline, President of the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
In addition, many of our previous honorees, as well as VIP/celebrity guests, will be in attendance including: Michael Spinks, Kelly Pavlik, Al Cole, Chuck Zito, ‘Mr. Basketball’ Sonny Hill, John ‘Iceman’ Scully, Angel Manfredy, Ivan ‘Mighty’ Robinson, Hip Hop Pioneer Roxanne Shante, Syndicated Radio Host, TV Contributor and Author Flo Anthony, Ray Mercer, Tracy Patterson, Junior Jones, Former NBA player Maurice Evans, Sugar Ray Seals, Tyrone Frazier, Daryl ‘Chill’ Mitchell and the Honorable Mayor of Atlantic City Frank M. Gilliam Jr.
Prior to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, attendees can enjoy the following programs at The Claridge:
Friday, June 21 – VIP Cocktail Reception kicks-off the weekend in the Pop -up Legends Café and a special screening of the movie, “ME WHEE” – a 30-minute short film of Muhammad Ali.
Saturday, June 22 – Boxing enthusiasts may join us for conversation and coffee in the pop-up Legends Café featuring a panel comprised of top boxing historians from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition, the Pop-up Café will showcase spectacular art by Patrick Killian, from Newport, Wales, as well as paintings by Verneen Hill and exhibits by Jack Johnson, Joe Frazier Legacy Exists, Deborah King “Life Is The New Cool, as well as displays by The Boxing Glove Artist Chris Guzman and Sculptures by James O’Neal and the SparBar.
Saturday, June 22
– An evening of laughter will enthrall audiences during the ‘Wise Guys & Whack Jobs’ Comedy Show in the Celebrity Theater.
Sunday, June 23
– Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Pre-Reception in the Art Gallery, and the Induction Ceremony which will culminate in the Celebrity Theater.
In addition, attendees can enjoy two other events including:
Thursday, June 20 – Fight Night by Golden Boy Promotions featuring the main event – a 10-round middleweight battle between D’Mitrius ‘Big Meech’ Ballard (20-0, 13 KOs) and Elias ‘Latin Kid’ Espadas (18-4, 13 KOs) will take place in the Ovation Hall at Ocean Casino Resort. Plus, six undercards which feature several local boxers.
Saturday, June 22 – Guests will enjoy a Fan Experience at the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, located inside the Orange Loop, where they can interact with boxing legends and garner autographs and photographs.
Sunday, June 23 – Fans will have an opportunity to join the legends for an interactive meet and greet at the Blue Water Grille located on the 7th floor inside the Flagship Resort.
Cuevas to Face Beltran on Friday July 12th
Boxing returns to its hotbed in South Florida on Friday, July 12, as Kris Lawrence and The Heavyweight Factory in association with All Star Boxing proudly present “Championship Fight Series,” a night of world-class boxing in Hard Rock Event Center at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood with featured bouts televised live on the most popular boxing series on Hispanic television Boxeo Telemundo (11:35 p.m. EST).
The night’s 10-round main event will feature a classic Puerto Rico vs. Mexico showdown, as welterweight Derrieck Cuevas of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico (21-0-1, 14 KOs) will defend his WBA Fedelatin Welterweight Championship against his toughest challenge to date in Mexican warrior, Jesus Alberto “Barretero” Beltran of Los Mochis (17-2-2, 10 KOs).
Tickets for “Championship Fight Series” are on sale now and cost $60, $100, $150, $250 and $500. Tickets are available through ticketmaster.com.
A hard-punching prospect on the rise, 24-year-old Cuevas was last seen in May scoring a wide unanimous decision over well-respected Ghanaian veteran Albert Mensah at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood.
“I’m prepared to defend my title,” said Cuevas. “This is my first time headlining on a national stage, and I want to show all my fans that I’m worthy of a world title opportunity after this fight.”
Jesus Alberto Beltran, 30, hails from a boxing family. He is the older brother of super featherweight contender and former world-title challenger Miguel “Barreterito” Beltran Jr.
“I want to thank All Star Boxing for giving me the opportunity to come to the U.S. and showcase my talent,” said Beltran. “I will be victorious come July 12. I look forward to fighting on the Telemundo network for years to come.”
“This will be another great show at this fantastic venue,” said Henry Rivalta, Director of Boxing Operations for The Heavyweight Factory. “Derrieck Cuevas is becoming a player at 147 lbs. and that means taking on tough opponents like Beltran from Mexico. The winner of this fight will almost certainly gain a world ranking and be closing in on a title shot. It’s going to be a terrific match-up between two fighters with their futures on the line.”
Six more exciting bouts are being scheduled. On fight night, the Hard Rock Event Center doors open at 6 p.m., and the action starts at 7 p.m. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood is located at 1 Seminole Way in Hollywood, Fla.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Judah, Haney, Seldin, Lee, Buatsi, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 21st to May 28th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Undefeated Mike Lee Realizes Dream to Fight for World Title in Las Vegas
Mike Lee was an aspiring boxer headed to one of the most distinguished Universities in the country.
Lee, The most prolific boxer in Notre Dame history also graduated with a degree in Finance with a 3.8 GPA.
Lee will challenge for the IBF Super Middleweight title, live on FOX from Las Vegas at The MGM Grand.
Lee, who battles Autoimmune Disease not only became a championship caliber boxer but is a National Pitchman and accomplished Public Speaker to Fortune-500 Companies. Mike Lee is a A true Renaissance man.
“Doctors told me at one point that I wouldn’t fight again, but I’m still standing right here. I pushed through my pain to get here,” said Lee.
Lee, whose philanthropic efforts, and humility makes makes him a unique commodity in the sport. Something that has not been seen before. A true role model in every sense of the definition.
Mike has personally has given over $100,000 for to the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, the Robinson Community Learning Center in South Bend and the Kelly Cares Foundation, headed by Coach Brian Kelly of the Fighting Irish Football Team.
“I’ve had people that never thought I’d get here and I love it. It takes a different kind of person to step into that ring in front of so many people. You have to be ready to go out there and risk it all. I fight who they put in front of me and keep winning. That’s what I plan to do on July 20. On July 20, I’m going to keep proving people wrong.”
“This has been a culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. Most importantly, I’ve gotten somewhere no one thought I would get. I’m fine being the underdog. I have nothing to lose,” said Lee. “I’m coming out with everything I have. This is everything I’ve ever wanted. I respect Caleb Plant, but on July 20, I plan on making it my moment. On July 20, I’m going to keep proving people wrong”
“This is a dream come true for me. I’ve been through so much and there were days where I thought my dream was over. I’ve chased this since I was eight-years-old and I’m thankful for this chance to go after a dream that others thought I couldn’t reach.
In Las Vegas, where people bet against the odds everyday, On July 20th, Mike Lee will do what he does every time he faces a big challenge and give hope to the millions who suffer from their Autoimmune Disease.
Devin Haney Quotes After Vicious Knockout
Undefeated lightweight sensation Devin Haney capped off an action-packed evening of boxing on DAZN from the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, with a stunning seventh-round knockout. Making his DAZN debut, Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) impressed a raucous crowd with his highlight-reel stoppage of Mexico’s Antonio Moran (24-4, 17 KOs). In the heavyweight co-feature of the evening, Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic (8-0, 6 KOs) scored a brutal first-round technical knockout against Gregory Corbin (15-2, 9 KOs) of Dallas, Texas. Michael Hunter (17-1, 12 KOs) of Las Vegas kicked off the evening’s main card in dramatic fashion with a scintillating second-round technical knockout victory over Brazil’s Fabio Maldonado (26-3, 25 KOs) to continue his unbeaten streak at heavyweight. On the preliminary card of the evening, Jessica McCaskill (7-2, 3 KOs) and Anahi Sanchez (19-4, 11 KOs) wowed the Maryland crowd with a thrilling slugfest. McCaskill emerged with a unanimous decision victory to unify the WBA and WBC Women’s World Super Lightweight titles.
On his performance: “I want to thank God, my dad, Eddie Hearn, my whole team behind me. Coming into this fight, I wanted to make a statement. There were a lot of rumors going around that I didn’t have any punching power and I can’t knock anyone out. But as you see, I can. I went in there and broke my opponent down and then knocked him out.”
On the moment he knew the knockout was possible: “I know I got him hurt with that first shot. My dad always tells me, when you get him hurt go right to the body. So I went to the body and then went over the top. I knew when I landed and saw his facial expression that he was out.”
On his abilities on offense and defense: “All of the above. I am overall a great fighter. I have speed, I have power, I have head movement. Like I said before, I have many tools in the toolbox. It just depends on what I want to bring out that night. I am able to make adjustments the whole fight, too.”
On what he did to neutralize Moran: “Honestly, I don’t think a lot of the guys that I have been fighting actually have more experience than me. I have been in there with world class fighters. They say that sparring doesn’t count but I believe it does. I have put in many rounds with many different world champions so I believe that I have the experience factor.”
Buatsi Faces Periban at Madison Square Garden
Joshua Buatsi will fight in America for the first time as a professional when he defends his WBA International Light-Heavyweight title against Marco Antonio Periban at Madison Square Garden on Saturday June 1, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
Buatsi (10-0, 8 KOs) stopped Liam Conroy in three rounds to claim the vacant British 175lbs title last time out at London’s Copper Box Arena, dropping the former English champion twice in the third round to force another impressive early stoppage.
The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist landed his WBA crown with brutal first round KO of Andrejs Pokumeiko in July last year before defending the title twice against Tony Averlant and Renold Quinlan – both fights ending in explosive first round knockouts.
Next up for the fast-rising Croydon star is Mexico’s Marco Antonio Periban (25-4-1, 16 KOs), a former opponent of former two-weight World Champion Badou Jack, IBF Super-Middleweight king James DeGale and World title challenger Avni Yildrim.
“I’m excited to be in the United states for the first time,” said Buatsi. “There is so much history here with this venue, the greats have fought here and to be able to say I’ve boxed at Maddison Square Garden this early in my career is an honour. I’ve had a great camp in Miami and I can’t wait to get started and put on a fantastic performance for all the fans.”
“As Britain takes over the Mecca of boxing next week in NY, it’s only right that one of our biggest rising stars gets the chance to shine,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Joshua Buatsi has been sensational since turning professional and next week gets the chance to make his US debut on the biggest stage of all. We expect a tough challenge from Periban who will have big support at the arena from the Mexican fans hoping Andy Ruiz can make history for his country. Periban has mixed in great company and this is the perfect test for Josh as he closes in at shot at the World title. Next week is going to be special in so many ways, I can’t wait!”
Buatsi and Periban clash on a huge night of action at MSG where Anthony Johua’s World title defence against Andy Ruiz Jr. is supported by Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashing with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed Women’s World Lightweight championship, Callum Smith defending his WBA World ‘Super’, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles against Hassan N’Dam, Josh Kelly making his US debut as he defends his WBA International Welterweight title against Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson and Chris Algieri defending his WBO International title against Britain’s Tommy Coyle in a crunch Super-Lightweight showdown – with more exciting undercard additions announced this week.
Korobov Camp Demands Investigation
The team representing WBC #14-rated middleweight Matvey Korobov have sent a letter to the Attorney General and Governor of Virginia, requesting they open an investigation into Korobov’s controversial majority draw last Saturday (May 11) against Virginia-based fighter Immanuwel Aleem and several relevant “surrounding incidents.”
Leon Margules, attorney for Team Korobov, sent the letter on behalf of the fighter, along with several supporting pieces of evidence, to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Governor Ralph Northam.
In it, Margules points out what he alleges is a conflict of interest in that the two Virginia-based judges, Mark D’Attilio and Brian Costello who both questionably ruled the bout a draw at 95-95, are members of the state’s Boxing, Martial Arts, and Professional Wrestling Advisory Board responsible for selecting each fight’s judges and licensing fighters.
Costello, in fact, is the Board’s Chairperson.
And thus, two members of the body responsible for appointing a fight’s judges appointed themselves and a relatively inexperienced referee (Michelle Myers) from Virginia to officiate a nationally televised bout featuring a fighter from their home state, against Korobov, a Russian living in Florida.
It then questions why, of the three televised fights, this was the only one carried out like this, with non-neutral officials.
The letter also references the original scorecard provided to media, that showed Korobov as a majority decision winner, as well as the same scorecard 20 minutes later, with D’Attilio’s round 10 Korobov score scratched out and changed from a 10 to a 9, transforming the outcome to a majority draw.
A further point of contention is the judging performance of the two Virginia-based judges, who scored the fight a draw when a Korobov victory was almost universally agreed upon by the boxing media and fans, post-fight.
To most, Korobov appeared to win the first seven rounds handily and hurt Aleem badly in round six before Aleem mounted a minor comeback in the last two or three rounds. At the final bell, Korobov enjoyed a sizeable advantage in landed punches (according to CompuBox statistics, Korobov landed 154 punches out of 417 thrown (37%), while Aleem landed 119 shots out of 630 [19%]).
Respected boxing official and unofficial judge for the contest, Larry Hazard Sr., scored the fight 97-92.
A long list of fans on social media voicing suspected corruption is also attached.
Margules’ letter also points out what many consider a missed knockdown by Referee Myers in round four, when Korobov sent Aleem down with a counter right hand only to have her rule it a foul incorrectly.
Team Korobov say they are hoping the state will find a solution for this unfortunate situation to prevent another black eye for boxing and a “chilling effect” on fighters coming to fight in Virginia.
Judah vs. Seldin Undercard Announced
International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend is right around the corner and STAR BOXING is pleased to announce the undercard for the highly anticipated event, set to take place at Turning Stone Resort Casino on June 7th. The main event features six-time world champion, and the last Undisputed Welterweight Champion, ZAB “SUPER” JUDAH (44-9 30KO’s) against New York knockout artist, CLETUS “THE HEBREW HAMMER” SELDIN (23-1 19KO’s). The two will do battle in a 12-round bout, with the vacant NABA Super Lightweight Title up for grabs. In the co-feature, #8 WBA rated, undefeated Frenchman, DAVID PAPOT (22-0 3KO’s) will face veteran, JAMES “BUDDY” MCGIRT JR. (27-3-1 14KO’s), son of Long Island’s first world champion “BUDDY” MCGIRT, for the WBA Intercontinental and WBO International Middleweight Titles in a 12-round bout, who is being inducted to the Hall of Fame during the fight week induction ceremony.
The undercard will feature five undefeated fighters, including ROBERT DURAN JR. (Plantation, FL 2-0, 2KO), son of the legendary, “Mano de Piedra,” ROBERTO DURAN, Italy’s “SUPER” MARIO ALFANO (14-0-1 3KO’s), Long Island’s WENDY “HAITIAN FIRE” TOUSSAINT (Huntington, NY 9-0 4KO’s), up and coming welterweight BOUBACAR SYLLA (Cincinnati, OH 9-0 7KO’s), Vero Beach Florida native, JONATHAN PIERRE (3-0) and cruiserweight ALEX VANASSE (4-0 4KO’s).
In an 8-round lightweight bout, Italian sensation, “SUPER” MARIO ALFANO will be making his United States debut against a tough opponent in LAVISAS “RED” WILLIAMS (Rochester, NY 8-1-1 3KO’s). The 28-year-old Italian earned the Italian National Super Featherweight Title in 2016, and successfully defended it in the same year. Alfano comes to the USA with the hopes that being seen on a world stage will expedite his opportunity at cracking into the upper level of the super featherweight/lightweight rankings. Williams is looking to avenge the first loss of his career at the hands of O’Shaquie Foster, knowing that a win against an undefeated fighter in Alfano will be one of, if not the best, of his young career.
Star Boxing’s undefeated, rising super middleweight, WENDY “HAITIAN FIRE” TOUSSAINT (9-0 4KO’s) is a highly-regarded prospect that many believe may be a future world champion. He is coming off a 12 month layoff due to an injured hand. Toussaint has developed into a well-rounded fighter and his last 4 fights have been via TKO’s. Opposing the Haitian born Toussaint will be LUCIUS “BULLDOG” JOHNSON (Compton, CA, 4-5-1 3KO’S). Johnson has a deceiving record, with combined opponent record of 62-7-6. Toussaint will be the seventh undefeated fighter that Johnson will take on. This scheduled 6-round super middleweight bout is expected to be a thriller.
The Sengalese welterweight, now fighting and training out of Cincinnati, Ohio, BOUBACAR SYLLA (9-0 7KO’s) will be fighting in New York for the first time, having recently defeated Brooklyn prospect, Marlon Brown. The 6’0″ prospect was born in Dakar, Senegal and will be campaigning at the 147 lb. division as the 24-year-old continues to rise the ranks. He will face tough Texan MARQUIS “THE HAWK” HAWTHORNE (7-10 1KO). Hawthorne has faced almost exclusively highly rated prospects in his career, with a combined opponent record of 96-27-5, of which twelve of his seventeen opponents have been undefeated. He recently handed highly regarded prospect Ronnie Austion his first loss in a massive upset this past January. This bout is scheduled for 6 rounds in the welterweight division.
In a special attraction battle of undefeated fighters, ROBERT DURAN JR. (2-0 2KO), son of boxing legend, ROBERTO DURAN, will step in for his third professional bout, against JONATHAN PIERRE (3-0), in a four round welterweight bout. No-one has been able to take Duran Jr. the full distance as his two wins have come by TKO, and Duran has the added benefit of having already fought on a big stage when he shined on ESPN + in his last bout. Pierre plans to be unphased by the Duran mystique, and says he will continue on his undefeated path, with a fourth victory against the son of the boxing legend.
In an interesting New York scrap, Undefeated, ALEX “LIGHTS OUT” VANASSE (Carmel, NY 4-0 4KO) will take on ERIC ABRAHAM (Schenectady, NY 5-4 2KO’s) in a 4-round cruiserweight showdown.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Andrade, Haney, Smith, Fielding, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 14th to May 21st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Smith to Defend WBA, WBC, and Ring Magazine Belts Against Hassan N’Dam
Callum Smith will defend his WBA World ‘Super’, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight belts against Hassan N’Dam on the blockbuster Anthony Joshua OBE vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. World title bill at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
‘Mundo’ (25-0, 18 KOs) captured the WBA World title and was crowned World Boxing Super Series champion following a stunning seventh round knockout victory over British rival George Groves in Saudi Arabia last September – a win that also saw the Liverpudlian claim the vacant Ring Championship. Smith puts those titles on the line for the first time against former Middleweight World ruler N’Dam in his second appearance as a professional in the US.
N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs) has operated at World level since landing the WBA Interim Middleweight World title against Avtandil Khurtsidze in 2010. He defended that title twice before losing on points to Peter Quillin with the WBO Middleweight crown at stake. A landslide win over Curtis Steven qualified the Frenchman for a shot at the IBF title in 2015 – an explosive contest with David Lemieux followed with the Canadian coming out on top on the score cards.
In 2017 N’Dam took on London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Ryota Murata for the vacant WBA regular World title, which he won via a split decision. The pair rematched five months later, again on Japanese soil, where N’Dam was forced into retirement in the seventh round. He most recently defeated four-time World title challenger Martin Murray by a 12 round majority decision in December.
“I’ve had a good camp and I’m looking forward to walking to the ring as a World Champion for the first time in my career,” said Smith. “I worked so hard to get where I am and now the task is to keep hold of my titles and target those big fights. To have my first defence at Madison Square Garden is going to be special and it’s another box ticked for me personally. People call it the Mecca of Boxing and I’ve always seen it as a venue that I’d love to fight at one day. The minute that there was a chance of it happening I pushed to make sure that I could be part of this show.
“N’Dam is a good fighter and he’s a former World Champion. He’s only lost to three top fighters and he’s got some great wins on his record. I had him over in England to help me prepare for George Groves so we know each other well. He’s a good mover, has good footwork and can move around the ring pretty well. Experience is on his side and he’s an awkward guy to face. Saying that, he’s definitely a fighter that I should beat and get rid of if I’m on my game.
“I believe that I’m improving all of the time – I’ve even improved since winning the World title. I believe that I’m the best Super-Middleweight in the World. There’s a few fighters in my division who probably disagree with that and rightly so. If I am the best on the planet then I should be able to get rid of Hassan N’Dam and look good doing it.”
“I am confident I will create a big surprise in New York,” said N’Dam. “It is a true privilege for me to be given the chance to fight at Madison Square Garden for the first time in my life. At this stage of my career this is a beautiful opportunity for me to be able to change division and fight for both the WBA World and WBC Diamond titles.
“I am so pleased and proud for this opportunity to be offered to me and I would like to add that even though the challenge is a big one, this does not affect my focus and my determination. Callum Smith is an excellent boxer with many qualities. As he is tall he can impose his own boxing style on most of his opponents. I have much respect for him both as a boxer and a person. I believe it will be a very tactical fight.
“Being able to say that once in my life I have fought at MSG will be a great pride. Besides, I have the experience of boxing on big shows as I have participated in many and in front of thousands of people. I have always defended my titles abroad and I am used to pressure and know how to handle it.”
“This is a huge platform and one that Callum fully deserves,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “He has established himself as the number one 168 pounder in the World and will prove it at the Mecca of boxing on June 1. N’Dam always brings the action and I believe this will be a high level fight with plenty of fire. The mega fights await Callum and he can’t afford to slip up here, I know him and Joe Gallagher have prepared diligently for this challenge and he will be sending out a statement live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN.”
Rocky Fielding’s Homecoming on July 12th
Former world champion Rocky Fielding will make his return to action on the #MTKFightNight in Liverpool on July 12.
Fielding, who is back for the first time since losing his WBA world super-middleweight crown to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez at Madison Square Garden back in December, will feature live on ESPN+ and iFL TV.
As he prepares to head back for the familiar turf of the Eventim Olympia, ‘Rocky from Stocky’ is brimming with anticipation.
Fielding said: “I’m absolutely buzzing to be back. There’s no place like home and the Olympia is really where my career started – I won Prizefighter there and then the English and British titles there too.
“I’ve been very impressed with the #MTKFightNight series. They’ve been on virtually every weekend and they look great. It’s important to keep getting these up-and-coming fighters exposure.
“It’s great to be back fighting in front of my home fans. I look at the top names in the division and I believe I’m still up there.
“I’m looking forward to training alongside my good mate Martin Murray for this one. The last time we were on a bill together, we both won titles so it’ll be special for us both.”
Already confirmed for the card is an IBF European title clash between Jazza Dickens and Nathaniel May.
Further news of fights and fighters on the card will be forthcoming in due course.
AIBA Remains Confident After Meeting with IOC Inquiry Committee
An eight-person strong delegation, led by Interim President Dr. Mohamed Moustahsane met today with the IOC ad-hoc inquiry committee.
During the meeting, a number of areas were discussed including AIBA’s significant progress in regards to finance, governance and refereeing and judging. AIBA provided the committee with insights into its complete transformation of the organisation, explaining the improvements made and assessment tools put in place that will ensure the continued positive work that has been done to rebuild all areas of the organisation. In addition, the AIBA team further responded to the last outstanding points raised by the committee.
Dr. Mohamed Moustahsane, AIBA President said: “We had a very productive meeting with the IOC inquiry committee today and we remain confident that Mr. Lalovic and his team will be able to positively report back to the IOC Executive Board in a few days’ time. We have done everything in our power to work with the IOC and all of our Olympic Partners, and we remain optimistic about the future of Olympic Boxing and AIBA’s ability safeguard this great sport.”
Devin Haney Media Workout Quotes
Highly touted undefeated lightweight contender, Devin “The Dream” Haney (21-0, 13 KOs), who is scheduled to face Antonio Moran (24-3, 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25, held a media workout yesterday at City Boxing Gym in Las Vegas.
The 10-round main event will air live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK as Haney is set to make his Matchroom Boxing USA debut. Tickets priced $40, $80, $150 and $250 (plus fees) are on sale now at ticketmaster.com.
Here is what Haney and his father and trainer Bill Haney had to say:
On his recent training camp:
“This has been a really good training camp. We started camp in the Bay Area training with Victor Conte and sparring Amir Khan. I was able to get some elite work with not only him but Mike Dallas as well. So, I started off strong in the beginning of camp, and when I moved camp back to Las Vegas, I was sharp. I just wrapped up my final sparring session before we leave for Maryland. I’ve put the work in, and my body feels great. “I’m ready to go.”
On facing Antonio Moran:
“Moran is a very tall fighter who brings a lot experience to the ring. I know he’ll be at his very best. He’s had two months to prepare for me. I’m prepared as well for anything that he’s going to bring to on fight night. The fans watching are in for a treat.”
On making his Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN main event debut:
“I can’t wait to showcase my talent on DAZN and show my partners at Matchroom they made the right choice. I will prove I’m an elite fighter and I can rise to the competition. Making my DAZN main event debut in the DMV area is very special, I get the chance to fight in front of some great fight fans. I’m going to put on a great show. I have no doubt in my mind that I’m elevating the sport of boxing with Matchroom and DAZN by my side. We are changing the game. May 25th the world will bear witness.
BILL HANEY, Devin’s Father and Trainer
On his relationship with his son Devin Haney:
“Me and Devin have always had a great relationship. We respect each other and understand where the other is coming from. We have a plan and we are on the same page. He’s had a great camp and fans can expect to see a fighter that’s ready for a World Title.
On the recent signing with Matchroom Boxing USA:
“Signing a Co-promotional agreement with Matchroom Boxing has been a blessing. Eddie Hearn is someone I have a lot of respect for. All the sacrifices DHP made as a team paid off when we inked this deal. Now it’s time to show the world who the next superstar in boxing is. Together with Matchroom and DAZN no one will stop us.”
On how his son matches up with Antonio Moran:
“This is not an easy fight stylistically because Moran is so tall, I believe he is listed at 6’0. That’s a little freaky for a lightweight. Needless to say this is the type of fight he needs. We want to show the world that Devin can make adjustments with any fighter out there. Antonio Moran has faced some very good fighters, but the world will see Devin is on a different level.
Tickets on Sale for Andrade vs. Sulecki
Tickets for the homecoming WBO World Middleweight title defense of Demetrius Andrade are on presale NOW as he puts his belt on the line against Maciej Sulecki at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday June 29, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Andrade (27-0 17 KOs) makes the second defense of his crown in his first ever fight in his Providence backyard, with the two-weight World king landing the belt in Boston with an emphatic points win over Walter Kautondokwa in October and then stopping Artur Akavov in the final round of their January clash in New York.
The former WBO Junior-Middleweight ruler holds a powerful position in the star-studded 160lbs division as one of two World champions after Canelo Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs to add his IBF crown to the WBA and WBC belts he owns – meaning ‘Boo Boo’ is hunting an undisputed fight with the Mexican superstar.
Sulecki (28-1 11 KOs) will want to gatecrash those plans and the all-action Pole promises to deliver a war on June 29. The 30 year old challenger comes into the bout on the back of a thrilling clash with Gabriel Rosado in March, pocketing the WBO International belt after flooring the hometown favorite in the second and eighth rounds but then hitting the deck twice himself in the ninth.
The pair will come face-to-face at a press conference at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center next Wednesday and fans can get their hands on tickets NOW – with tickets starting at just $28 (including fees).
Fans can visit: https://www1.ticketmaster.com/matchroom-boxing-usa/event/010056AAED7788D1 and enter the code MBUSA to access presale tickets.
Tickets go on general sale at 10am on Wednesday May 22.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Machado, Conlan, Kelly, Robinson, Saunders, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 7th to May 14th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Rio Revenge? Michael Conlan to Face Olympic Nemesis Vladimir Nikitin August 3rd in Belfast
Michael “Mick” Conlan’s amateur career ended in controversy and a pair of middle fingers. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Conlan appeared to have bested Russian standout Vladimir Nikitin in the 56-kilogram quarterfinals. The judges disagreed, and Conlan responded with a memorable double middle-finger salute.
Almost three years to the day since Conlan flashed those digits, the Olympic rivals will run it back in the paid ranks, this time on Irish soil.
Conlan will face Nikitin in a 10-round featherweight bout Saturday, Aug. 3 in a massive outdoor fight at Falls Park in his home city of Belfast. Conlan-Nikitin will take place as part of the annual Féile an Phobail, Europe’s largest community festival.
Conlan-Nikitin will stream live in the United States beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, on a special international edition of Top Rank on ESPN.
“This is the opportunity for Mick Conlan to right what most observers felt was an injustice,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “That being said, Nikitin is a real aggressive fighter, and he believes that a victory over Conlan in August would cement the one he was given in the Rio Olympics.”
“I am delighted that I will be fighting Vladimir Nikitin in front of 10,000 fans,” Conlan said. “This is literally home turf for me and it is absolutely huge. I am West Belfast and Falls Road born and bred so this means everything to me. Vladimir Nikitin and I have unfinished business from the 2016 Olympics, and I can’t wait to set the record straight.”
“When I turned professional last year, the man I wanted to fight most was Michael Conlan,” Nikitin said. “Michael has said a lot of things since the Olympics about how he was robbed of a medal. Well, I am coming to his hometown during their biggest festival to show everyone my Olympic victory was not a fluke. This is going to be repeat, not revenge. Conlan will regret pushing for this fight. I beat him twice in the amateurs and will do the same as a pro. It will feel even sweeter to beat him in his hometown. Belfast, here I come!”
“The fight with Vladimir Nikitin has been talked about for a long time now, and MTK Global and Top Rank have worked extremely hard along with Féile an Phobail to make it happen,” said Jamie Conlan, Professional Development Manager, MTK Global. “Michael Conlan is coming home for one of the biggest fight nights Belfast will have ever seen.”
Conlan (11-0, 6 KOs) entered the pro ranks as one of Ireland’s most beloved sporting figures, having earned an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 and gold medals at both the European and World Championships in 2015. He was favored to win Olympic gold in 2016, but Nikitin and the judges thwarted those plans. “The Conlan Revolution” turned pro in front of a sold-out Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden crowd on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. He won the vacant WBO Intercontinental featherweight belt last December in Manchester, England, besting Jason Cunningham via unanimous decision. In his last bout, in front of a raucous St. Patrick’s Day crowd at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Conlan defeated Ruben Garcia Hernandez over 10 rounds.
Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs) did not turn pro immediately following the 2016 Olympics, electing to fight as an amateur throughout 2017. He signed a professional contract in 2018 with Top Rank, in large part because he wanted to face Conlan as a pro. Nikitin’s come-forward style has translated to the pro ranks, as he’s won a trio of clear-cut unanimous decisions. He has fought on the same card as Conlan twice as a professional. The message was clear: Conlan and Nikitin were destined to meet again.
It will finally happen, in front of more than 10,000 of Conlan’s rowdiest supporters. Will it be Rio Revenge or another shining moment for Nikitin?
Josh Kelly to Face Ray Robinson on June 1st
Josh Kelly will make his US debut against Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s Heavyweight World title clash with Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
Sunderland star Kelly (9-0, 6 KOs) outclassed the previously undefeated Pole Przemyslaw Runowski on his big ring return at The O2 in London last month, flooring the gutsy challenger three times to defend his WBA International title with a classy unanimous verdict after winning all ten rounds.
Kelly was due to face former World Champion David Avanesyan on the undercard of Kell Brook vs. Michael Zerafa in Sheffield, but an illness scuppered a December dust-up between the pair. A showdown with the now European Champion is at the top of Kelly’s wish list should he come through his test against Robinson.
Robinson (24-3-1, 12 KOs) has lost only three times in his 28-fight career, one of those losses coming to current WBC Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter in 2010, and the 33-year-old southpaw earned an impressive draw in his last outing in March against the undefeated and World rated Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
“To be boxing at the Mecca of boxing Madison Square Garden is pretty serious isn’t it,” said Kelly. “I’ve never been there before so I’m going to enjoy the experience and put a performance on. To be fighting at a venue like that so early on in my career is another box ticked on my journey.
“Things change and titles switch hands but the majority of World titles are held in the US at the moment so I could end up boxing there a lot more in the future. I just take things fight by fight and I never overlook anyone because I’d be doing myself and my opponent an injustice.
“Robinson is a very good opponent. He’s a good boxer with an awkward southpaw style so it’s another good test for me. It’s going to be a great fight and a night to enjoy. I get a lot of support from people in the US so it’s nice to have an opportunity to put on a performance in front of them.
“What happened with the Avanesyan fight was unfortunate but it’s a fight that’s still 100% on my radar. Adam has got a plan for it and I’ll just go with what he says. It’s definitely more than likely going to take place. June 1 is going to be the start of something big.”
“This is a great fight and a huge step-up for Josh on the biggest stage possible,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Robinson clearly won last time out and is an accomplished fighter that will test him in every department. This is the stage for him to shine, in front of a sold out MSG broadcast all over the World – June 1 we will really find out what PBK is all about.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Josh Kelly is one of the hottest talents in Britain – and Madison Square Garden is a perfect venue for him to showcase his skills.
“We’ve covered Kelly’s exciting career from the very start. ‘PBK’ can now show American fans why he’s a name to watch in that red-hot Welterweight division.
“It will be a bumper evening of boxing as Katie Taylor bids to become the undisputed World Lightweight champion, and then AJ can mark his US debut with a bang against Andy Ruiz Jr!”
Kelly and Robinson clash on a huge night of action at Madison Square Garden where Joshua’s World title defense against Ruiz is supported by Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashing with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed Women’s World Lightweight championship and Chris Algieri and Tommy Coyle meeting in a crossroads Lightweight fight – with more undercard fights to be announced shortly.
Tickets for the huge night of World title action in New York are on sale now via Madison Square Garden and StubHub (www.stubhub.com)
Billy Joe Saunders and Ryan Burnett to Headline ESPN+ Cards this Weekend
Champions Weekend is coming to ESPN+, as two of the United Kingdom’s most dynamic fighters — former WBO middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders and former unified bantamweight world champion Ryan Burnett — are set to headline separate shows.
Burnett will battle Jelbirt Gomera for the vacant WBC International super bantamweight title Friday at Ulster Hall in his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Burnett-Gomera live stream will begin at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT exclusively on ESPN+ and will also feature a compelling vacant IBF European junior lightweight title fight between Declan Geraghty and Marco McCullough. Geraghty and McCullough were roommates in the Irish amateur ranks and will renew acquaintances with a world ranking on the line.
Saunders will take center stage Saturday, as he battles Shefat Isufi for the vacant WBO super middleweight title from Lamex Stadium in Stevenage, England. The Saunders-Isufi live stream will start at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT on ESPN+ and will also include the highly anticipated heavyweight showdown between 2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist Joe Joyce (8-0, 8 KOs) and former world title challenger Alexander Ustinov (34-3, 25 KOs).
ESPN+ is the leading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service. Fans can sign up for ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) at www.espnplus.com.
Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs) made three successful defenses of the title he won from Andy Lee on Dec. 19, 2015, punctuating his middleweight title run with a dominant decision over David Lemieux in December 2017. A 2008 Olympian, Saunders captured British, Commonwealth and European middleweight titles, defeating the likes of Chris Eubank Jr., John Ryder and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan. Isufi (27-3-2, 20 KOs) has won 10 consecutive fights, most recently defending his WBO Intercontinental super middleweight belt with a unanimous decision over Mohamed El Achi in his adopted hometown of Munich, Germany.
Burnett (19-1, 9 KOs) recently signed a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank and will be competing at super bantamweight after a sterling run at bantamweight. He defeated Lee Haskins via unanimous decision in June 2017 to win the IBF world title, and four months later, he bested Zhanat Zhakiyanov to unify the IBF and WBA super world titles. Burnett suffered his first pro defeat last November when he tore his oblique while throwing a punch versus Nonito Donaire and was forced to retire on his stool following the fourth round.
Gomera (14-5, 7 KOs) is a Filipino southpaw who will be fighting for the first time outside of Asia. He is a former Filipino super bantamweight and featherweight champion and is coming off an eight-round unanimous decision win over Lloyd Jardeliza.
Caleb Plan to Make First Title Defense Against Unbeaten Mike Lee
In the biggest night of boxing this year, boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Senator Manny “Pac Man” Pacquaio, will take on undefeated WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman on Saturday, July 20 in a blockbuster showdown that headlines a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event.
Adding to the excitement of the evening, PBC will present 2-hours of boxing action with undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant making his first title defense against unbeaten contender Mike Lee in the main event of PBC on FOX and FOX Deportes show taking place in the same ring where Pacquiao and Thurman will later battle for welterweight supremacy.
Further details will be announced soon.
Jermall Charlo to Make Hometown Return Against Brandon Adams on June 29th
Unbeaten WBC Interim Middleweight Championand Houston-native Jermall Charlo will return to his hometown to defend against middleweight contender Brandon Adams Saturday, June 29 live on SHOWTIME from NRG Arena in Houston and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features hard-hitting super welterweight Erickson “Hammer” Lubin taking on French contender Zakaria Attou in a 12-round WBC title elimination bout in the co-main event. Opening the telecast is a WBA featherweight title eliminator between slick Mexican southpaw Eduardo Ramirez and power-punching Dominican Claudio Marrero.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Lions Only Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale Monday, May 13 at 12 p.m. CT and can be purchased through Ticketmaster. Charlo vs. Adams is promoted in association with Banner Promotions and The Tournament of Contenders.
“Jermall Charlo is already a star and on June 29 he gets to bring the excitement that follows him into every fight back to his hometown of Houston,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “We can’t wait to see the fans embrace their champion and push him to another electric performance at NRG Arena and live on SHOWTIME. He’s going to have tricky opposition in middleweight contender Brandon Adams, who’s highly motivated to upset Jermall’s homecoming. It’s going to be a great atmosphere in Houston and I’m sure that will propel each man to be at their very best.”
“I am very happy for Brandon to have this great opportunity,” said Artie Pelullo, President of Banner Promotions. “This is the right fight at the right time in Brandon’s career. I want to thank SHOWTIME for giving Brandon this chance to prove he belongs here.”
“Brandon Adams is out to prove once again that The Contender creates world champions and contenders,” said Jeff Wald of The Tournament of Contenders.
The 28-year-old Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) won a world title at 154-pounds when he scored a devastating third-round knockout of Cornelius Bundrage to win the IBF Junior Middleweight Title in 2015. Born in Richmond, Texas and growing up in Houston, Jermall still trains in Houston with renowned coach Ronnie Shields. He successfully defended his 154-pound title three times, including a devastating knockout of top contender Julian Williams, before moving up in weight to campaign at middleweight.
Jermall proved to be just as dominant at 160 pounds as he was at 154 pounds when he made his middleweight debut by stopping Jorge Sebastian Heiland in the fourth round of their July 2017 bout. He became the interim WBC middleweight champion with a second round knockout victory over Hugo Centeno, Jr. Jermall is one-minute older than his identical twin brother, former champion Jermell Charlo, and most recently defeated Matt Korobov to retain his interim title in December.
“It’s time for me to put up for my city of Houston,” said Charlo. “George Foreman is back and he’s in the middleweight division. That’s the way I feel about fighting in my hometown. You know how hot it gets down here in the summer and no one is going to be able to take this heat that I’m about to deliver. I’ve been working hard with Ronnie Shields and making some adjustments and now you’re going to see me back with the knockout power. I know Brandon Adams is looking at this as a big opportunity, but it’s a big step up for him. The pressure isn’t on him. It’s on me, because I’m fighting in my hometown and I’m going to deliver what the fans have come to expect from me.”
The Los Angeles-native Adams (21-2, 13 KOs) shot up the middleweight rankings by winning the 2018 reboot of The Contender. He is currently ranked fifth by the WBO and seventh by the WBA after beating Ievgen Khytrov, Tyrone Brunson, Eric Walker to make the series’ final, where he defeated Shane Mosley Jr. by unanimous decision in a 10-round fight.
The 28-year-old’s current run came after a three-year absence from the ring following a loss to John Thompson in 2015. He was 17-1 in his first 18 pro fights after turning pro in 2011, with his only loss coming to Willie Monroe Jr.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity and ready to prove that I belong in the conversation as one of the top fighters in the middleweight division,” said Adams. “This is an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. They must feel that I am beatable, and want to use my name that I built up on The Contender, so now I need to show why I won The Contender and continue my winning ways. Charlo is a solid fighter and he’s a champion for a reason.I look forward to matching skills with him and showcasing my ability.”
Lubin (20-1, 15 KOs) is coming off an impressive TKO victory of Ishe Smith in which Lubin became the first to ever stop the durable former champion. The 23-year-old from Orlando, Florida is looking to get back into world title contention and a victory over Attou will do just that. The only loss of Lubin’s career came in a world title fight against former champion Jermell Charlo in October 2017.
Born in Paris, France Attou (29-6-3, 7 KOs) will be making his U.S debut, having campaigned primarily in his home country. He is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Stefano Castellucci on March 16. Attou is currently riding a seven-fight win streak after having fought to a draw against Emanuele Della Rosa in 2016.
Ramirez (22-1-3, 9 KOs) has strung together two TKO victories since suffering the only loss of his career, in which he dropped a unanimous decision to Lee Selby in a world title match in 2017. The 26-year-old southpaw from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico bounced back from the loss with a stoppage victory over Carlos Jacobo in 2018 and stopped Bryan De Gracia in his last fight on March 2 on SHOWTIME.
Marrero (23-3, 17 KOs) is keen to get back into the championship ranks and wants to remove the sting of losing a unanimous decision to Tugstsogt Nyambayar in his last fight in January. The 30-year-old southpaw from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic won the interim WBA featherweight title with a knockout victory over Carlos Zambrano in 2017. Five months later he lost the title to Jesus Rojas, but he bounced back from that loss with an impressive knockout of then unbeaten Jorge Lara in April 2018.
Andrew Cancio to Face Alberto Machado in Rematch for Super Featherweight Title
Andrew “El Chango” Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KOs) and Alberto “Explosivo” Machado (21-1, 17 KOs) will meet again to erase all doubts in a 12-round rematch for the WBA Super Featherweight World Title at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. The event will take place Friday, June 21, 2019 and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
“Andrew Cancio surprised the world when dominated Alberto Machado in their first fight,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “This was his toughest fight on paper, and he never looked better. This fight is a rematch, and Cancio is going to prove to himself that he can do it again. This will be an even better fight than the first, so make sure to catch it live at Fantasy Springs or from home on DAZN.”
Cancio is a 30-year-old world champion who recently gave new life to his career after re-signing with Golden Boy. The native of Blythe, Calif. has scored victories against the likes of Rocky Juarez, Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes and Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado, and he’s also been in tough fights against Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. and Ronny Rios in a professional career that started over 12 years ago. Cancio is coming off his most important victory yet, a fourth-round stoppage victory against Machado, and he’ll look to put all doubts about his win to rest by repeating his performance.
“I’m very excited to be defending my world title against Alberto Machado in the rematch from my knockout victory on February 9,” said Andrew Cancio. “This is my 11th time fighting at Fantasy Springs Casino, and I look forward to defeating Machado again in convincing fashion in front of another huge crowd of my fans.”
Machado, a 28-year-old of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a big man for his division and boasts explosive power in both hands. After unifying two regional titles with a dominant unanimous decision victory against Carlos “The Solution” Morales, Machado defeated Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales by way of eighth-round knockout to capture WBA Super Featherweight Title in Oct. 2017. The hard-hitting southpaw had retained his title against the likes of Rafael “Sweet Pea” Mensah and Yuandale “Money Shot” Evans, but in his last fight, he suffered a tough title loss against Cancio.
“June 21 is a great opportunity for me,” said Alberto Machado. “Besides recovering my place as a world champion, a victory will have a special meaning for me, and that makes me very motivated. I hope that Cancio is enjoying his time as a champion because I’m going with bad intentions to bring that championship belt back to Puerto Rico.”
“We are excited to have Alberto Machado back for his world title rematch against Andrew Cancio,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “This is an exciting fight that fans can’t miss on DAZN. It will be a classic war of unfinished business. In the first fight, Cancio went toe-to-toe with Machado and took him out. But on June 21, the story will be different. Machado will definitely be ready for war and to put everything on the line in the ring.”
Angel “Tito” Acosta (19-1, 19 KOs) of San Juan, Puerto Rico will make the fourth defense of his WBO Light Flyweight World Title in a 12-round bout. Acosta is a knockout artist who has won all of his victories by knockout.
Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares (45-5, 28 KOs) of Barinas, Venezuela will look to bounce back from his fifth career loss in a 10-round super lightweight fight.
Local favorite Rommel “The Legacy” Caballero (5-0, 4 KOs) of Coachella, Calif. will battle in a four-round super featherweight fight against a soon-to-be-announced opponent.
Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (7-0, 4 KOs) will fight in a six-round welterweight clash.
Anthony Garnica (1-0, 1 KO) of Oakland, Calif. will return in a four-round super bantamweight battle.
Emilio Rodriguez (3-1, 2 KOs) of Van Nuys, Calif. will participate in a four-round middleweight bout.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Harrison, Charlo, Golovkin, Ali, Foreman, Algieri, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 30th to May 7th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Chris Algieri to Clash with Tommy Coyle at the Garden on June 1st
Chris Algieri and Tommy Coyle will clash in a crossroads showdown on Saturday June 1 at Madison Square Garden, New York, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office.
Algieri (23-3 8 KOs) puts the WBO International Junior Welterweight title on the line that he landed in January with a hard fought win over Daniel Gonzalez at the Theater at MSG. The former WBO World Champion made his return to the ring at the Paramount in his Huntington, NY home town in November following two and a half years out of the ring, beating Angel Hernandez over ten rounds before moving on to land the strap he defends.
Coyle (25-4 12 KOs) is fresh from his exciting US debut in Boston in October, sharing ten now trademark back-and-forth rounds with Ryan Kielczweski to win on points over ten. ‘Boom Boom’ moves up from Lightweight where he was Commonwealth king in April 2018 after stopping Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd in Liverpool inside six.
Algieri and Coyle lock horns on the undercard of Heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua’s USA debut against Andy Ruiz knowing that the winner will be in the frame for a potential World title shot against WBO champion and Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN star Maurice Hooker – and both men know that the stakes are high for their respective careers.
“I’m very excited to be fighting once again at The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden on June 1,” said Algieri. “I know that Tommy Coyle is another tough test for me and that a victory will bring me one step closer to another World title fight.
“I’d like to thank my entire team for making this possible and for their total support of my quest to once again become a World champion.”
“I’m absolutely delighted to be boxing on such a huge event at Madison Square Garden,” said Coyle. “It’s a dream come true. Fighting in America is one thing, but fighting at the mecca of boxing against a former World Champion in Chris Algieri is just unbelievable and I’m so up for it.
“I’m expecting a Gatti vs. Ward style fight, I really am. I know how tough Chris is, you’ve only got to watch him in the Provodnikov fight, I’m not sure if he broke his eye socket or not but he just gritted his teeth and battled on. I think we’re both cut from the same cloth. It can only go one way and I think that’s a war.
“I honestly believe that this fight has come at the perfect time for me. It’s like I’m having a rebirth in my career and I’m probably performing the best I’ve ever performed in the gym. If I come through this fight successfully there could be a World title shot on the horizon for me.”
Algieri and Coyle clash, promoted by Eddie Hearn for Matchroom Boxing in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, on a huge night of action at Madison Square Garden where Joshua’s World title defense against Ruiz is supported by Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashing with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed Women’s World Lightweight championship – with more undercard fights to be announced shortly.
Hana Ali on George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali and the Rumble in the Jungle
Muhammad Ali’s Daughter Hana Ali was recently on the Murder Master Music Show to speak about her new book At Home With Muhammad Ali. During the interview she recalls how her Dad felt about the Rumble in the Jungle memerabale fight with George Foreman and goes onto to document the friendship that the two Heavyweuights had beginng a couple years after the legendare bout in Zaire. During the interview she told a shocking moment of when George foreman had a bad vision and warned Ali not to fight Holmes.
Rumble in the Jungle was Ali’s most important fight.
“The Rumble in the Jungle was the most important fight to himbecause he had never lost his title because the government had stripped it. He was never thinking that he would go back to the ring and then he fought Frazier and would lose only to have George Foreman. Now he has to go through Foreman and nobody in the world but himself believed he could do it. That was always the most important fight to him.”
Foreman and Ali find friendship while discussion religion in rare conversation on the streets.
“George is like a second Father. He is always helpful and supportive and he has a huge heart. They had a conversation and Dad recorded it for about an hour about religion. My Dad was trying to convince George to come back in the ring because at the time he sold all his possessions and started preaching in the street literally. Dad told him he could still box and he did later on. I kneew sports fans would be shocked that they were friends. George was trying to get my Fasther to come back to Christianity and my Father was trying to explain that people who kill in the name of Islam are not real Muslims.”
Foreman had bad vision about Ali being lured out to fight Homes and warned him not to do it.
George Foreman was trying to warn my Dad that he had a vision about him being lured out to fight Hoilmes and not to do it. My Father didn’t plan on going back into the ring and did ended up being lured into the fight a year later.
Troy Isley Coming Off Biggest Win, Preparing for 2020 Olympics
USA Boxing middleweight Troy Isley is coming off the most significant victory of his young career, when he defeated the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, Cuba’s Arlen Lopez, at the recent Pan American Games Qualifier in Managua, Nicaragua.
Lopez served as a positive barometer for Isley in terms of his potential 2020 Olympic run. “Beating Lopez is my biggest win so far,” Isley admitted. “He won a gold medal at the last Olympics. I avenged my loss to him in 2017. We almost fought in The Continentals, but he lost in the quarterfinals, and I lost in the semifinals. We could face each other again in July at the Pan American Games.”
In 2017, Isley captured a bronze medal at the Elite World Championships, which marked a first for an American elite boxer in six years. He’s progressed year-by-year, taking top honors at the 2012 & 2013 National PAL Championships, 2014 National Junior Olympics, 2016 & 2017 Elite National Championships. So far this year, in addition to winning at the Pan American Games Qualifier, he also took bronze at the Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria.
Not too shabby accomplishments for a kid who really didn’t like boxing, especially compared to football, which was his favorite sport growing up.
“When I returned to the gym I trained at, Alexandria (VA) Boxing Club,” USA National Team assistant coach Kay Koromba remembered,” they needed help with a young kid, Troy Isley. I had a simple conversation with him. He said he’d come back to the gym if I was there coaching. I didn’t go back for a little while and he didn’t return. I eventually took over the gym when the coach left, and Troy returned.
“Troy is friends with Keyshawn Davis (USA Boxing’s No. 1-rated lightweight). They both live in Virginia (Troy in Alexandria, Keyshawn in Newport) and train with me at the Alexandria Boxing Club, when we aren’t living and training in Colorado Springs. They fought as kids and became good friends. All of the other boxers here look up to them.”
“I was only 8 and at first I really didn’t like boxing,” the now 20-year-old Isley spoke about his introduction to amateur boxing. “I was more interested in team sports like football, but I gave up boxing when I chose to compete in the Box-Offs. I just wanted to be a kid and you can’t play boxing. I went back to the gym and beat up everybody. Coach Kay told my father that he could make me into a national champion, and that gave me a lot of self-esteem.”
A self-described boxer puncher, Isley is an intelligent, well-spoken boxer with eyes on the future, outside of boxing, taking on-line business courses through DeVry University. “I can do it all,” he offered about his boxing style. “I’m working on using more jabs to be a better all-around boxer. The jab sets the offense up. I’m working on my jab because you can win fights with a jab.”
Promoters are lining up to pitch their companies to sign Isley, who has a definitive plan that involves making the 2020 USA Olympic Boxing Team, medal in Japan, and then turn professional.
“The Olympics is only a year away,” Isley noted. “I’m close with Keyshawn and Shakur (Stevenson, 2016 Olympic silver-medalist and an 11-0 pro prospect). Training with them makes things easier for all of us. We drive each other and train against different styles. I’m always picking up new stuff. We help each other training, sparring, and just talking. We’re always together, either in Alexandria or Colorado Springs. Shakur still goes there for good sparring.
“Shakur tells us a lot about his experiences in the Olympics and now as a pro. Me and Keyshawn have always talked about being together on the USA Boxing Olympic Team. We keep working hard and staying focused. It’s been our dream.”
Dreams do come true but, first, Isley is preparing for the Pan-Am Games
UFC Fight Pass and Murhpys Boxing Reach Multi Year Live Streaming Agreement
UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, today announced a new multi-year partnership with popular Boston-based promotion Murphys Boxing. The promotion will make its FIGHT PASS debut on Friday, May 10th, from Springfield, Massachusetts at the MGM Springfield at 9:30 p.m. E.T. / 6:30 p.m. P.T. and will feature a ten-round main event, headlined by undefeated NABA Super Featherweight Champion Abraham Nova vs. Mario Ezequiel Sayal Lozano.
“Murphys Boxing is one of the top promotions in New England, and I am excited to have them on FIGHT PASS,” UFC President Dana White said. “In just five years, Ken Casey has done incredible things with this promotion. I am looking forward to showcasing these exciting fighters to our subscribers.”
“We’re incredibly excited to join forces with FIGHT PASS,” said Ken Casey, founder of Murphys Boxing. “UFC is providing a platform for us to highlight New England’s thriving boxing scene to combat sports fans. We will introduce the world to our incredible roster that includes future champions, such as Nova.”
Recently entering the WBA’s Top 10 Rankings, undefeated Abraham Nova (14-0, 10 KOs) will make his highly anticipated 2019 debut under the Murphys Boxing banner. Nova’s opponent is Argentinian prospect Mario Ezequiel Sayal Lozano (18-2-1, 9 KOs), marking Nova’s 12th fight in the past two years.
Entering the ring for the second time this year, Junior NABF Super Featherweight Champion William Foster III (9-0, 6 KOs) will face off against Ramon Esperanza (22-15-1, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bout. Foster’s rare ability to combine both power and speed has led him to become one of New England’s most talked about prospects.
In an eight-round middleweight bout, power punching prospect Carlos Gongora (15-0, 12 KOs) will take on Argentina’s Damien Ezequiel Bonelli (23-6, 20 KOs). Gongora, a former Olympian from Ecuador, won the WBC South American Middleweight Title this past February after defeating Jesus Aviles.
Luis Arcon Diaz (6-0, 6 KOs), an undefeated Olympian from Venezuela, and a recent signing, will return to action against Argentina’s Jose Aubel (8-3, 7 KOs).
Representing the Boston area, James Perella (2-0, 2 KOs) will look for his third consecutive knockout in a four-round welterweight bout. His opponent will be named in the coming days.
Ray Jay Bermudez (6-0, 4 KOs) will make a quick return to the ring after a KO victory last month when he takes on an opponent to be named in a six-round welterweight contest.
Rounding out the card will be two of Springfield’s own – power punching welterweight Anthony Velazquez (5-0, 5 KOs), who will take on an opponent to be named, and welterweight DJ Whitley (4-1-1), who will take on the always dangerous Bryan Goldsby (5-10) in separate four-round contests.
Gennday Golovkin Selects Johnathon Banks as His New Trainer
Boxing’s pound-for-pound superstar attraction Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin announced that he has selected Johnathon Banks to be his new trainer. Banks, who is no stranger to the pressure of working on boxing’s biggest stages, has worked the corners of unified heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko and undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus, just to name a few. The announcement was made today at a press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, will be bringing his Big Drama Show back to the “Mecca of Boxing” — Madison Square Garden — on Saturday, June 8. He will be taking on undefeated top-10 contender Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs), of Toronto, in a 12-round rumble that will be contested at a maximum weight of 164 lbs. The fight will be streamed live on DAZN. Golovkin vs. Rolls kicks off the exclusive six-fight, three-year global partnership between GGG Promotions and DAZN, the world’s fastest-growing sports streaming platform.
“I want to build on what I have already achieved and continue to improve as a boxer. Johnathon is teaching me new skills that will help me reach those goals. I believe in Johnathon’s teaching methods. We are working hard and I look forward to showing the world something special when I bring the Big Drama Show to Madison Square Garden on June 8,” said Golovkin.
“I have always been a fan of Triple G since I began watching him as an amateur. I remember him at the Olympics and thought he was a tremendous talent,” said Banks. “When I got the call, of course I was excited to be working with him. We have one goal and that is to officially return Gennadiy to the world championship throne that he deserves. The two fights Gennadiy had with Canelo reminded me of the two battles between Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns. Those fights had the same caliber of high level competition. I can’t wait for Gennaidy to get another shot at him.”
Banks, a former IBO cruiserweight champion and a heavyweight contender, is a disciple of the legendary Emanuel Steward. Upon Steward’s death in 2012, Banks, who was 30, was personally selected by heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko to be his new trainer, despite Banks being six years his junior. It was a boxing Baptism of fire but a challenge Banks was prepared for thanks to the many years he studied under Steward’s tutelage at the Kronk Gym, first as a fighter and then as an assistant trainer. Banks and Klitschko traveled the world together, successfully defending the heavyweight world titles six times, with five of those defenses against undefeated contenders. Banks has steadily built on his success with Klitschko, earning a reputation as trainer with great insight who instills confidence and success into the fighters he teaches. Another star pupil of Banks is undisputed world welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus, long considered the best pound for pound female fighter. The undefeated Braekhus is in the 10th year of her world championship reign.
Boasting a resume that includes a record 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses (18 by way of knockout), Golovkin has consistently drawn packed houses to the five previous events he has headlined at The Garden, dating back to 2013. Rolls, who has stopped four of his last seven opponents, has vowed to ice the middleweight legend with his version of a Canadian cold front.
Super Welterweight Champion Tony Harrison and Former Champion Jermell Charlo Set to Rematch on June 23
WBC Super Welterweight Champion Tony “Superbad” Harrison and former super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo will step into the ring for a highly anticipated rematch live in primetime Sunday, June 23 in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Televised coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features former world champion Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux taking on exciting Mexican contender Julio Ceja in a WBC Super Bantamweight world title eliminator.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Lions Only Promotions, TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.
Harrison and Charlo’s first encounter took place live on FOX in December as Harrison earned the decision and upset Charlo to earn the title. The close nature of the bout helped warrant an immediate rematch that promises to be just as highly charged and dramatic.
“Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo showed off their elite talent to the world in their first bout and I anticipate an even more explosive showdown in the rematch on June 23,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Harrison will no doubt be at his very best again as he looks to establish himself in the championship ranks. Jermell Charlo is certainly more motivated than ever to reclaim his spot atop the 154-pound division. Fans tuning in on FOX and FOX Deportes in primetime and in attendance at Mandalay Bay Events Center are in for an action-packed Sunday night.”
Harrison (28-2, 21 KOs) has proven to be “Detroit tough” during a boxing career inspired by early years trained and managed by the late Emanuel Steward. He had to climb back into title contention twice before reaching the top with his unanimous decision victory over Charlo last December.
Harrison was on track for a title shot before suffering the first loss of his career in 2015 to Willie Nelson. After three-straight wins, he earned a shot at the vacant 154-pound title against Jarrett Hurd. Although Harrison had strong moments in the fight, he eventually lost to Hurd and was forced to again climb to the top. After another three victories, including a win over former champion Ishe Smith, Harrison took advantage of his second world title opportunity against Charlo.
“Being a world champion now, I’m excited to defend my title for the first time in this rematch that everyone is looking forward to,” said Harrison. “I think there’s actually more pressure on Charlo, just like last time. It’s just a blessing for me to be fighting on FOX and FOX Deportes Sunday, June 23. Everyone is going to be tuned-in to this fight and we’re going to bring the action to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the capital of the boxing world. I plan on doing the exact same thing to Jermell that I did in December. I’m going to get the win, and then I don’t want to hear any more crying or excuses.”
The 28-year-old Charlo (31-1, 15 KOs) suffered the first setback of his career with the close unanimous decision loss to Harrison. Fighting out of Houston, Texas, Charlo won the vacant WBC title with a devastating knockout victory over John Jackson in 2016. He made three successful defenses of the title with highlight-reel knockouts over Charles Hatley and Erickson Lubin, plus a majority decision win over former champion Austin Trout.
Charlo is trained in Dallas by Derrick James, who was recognized as the 2017 Trainer of the Year by Yahoo Sports and also works with welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. Charlo is one-minute younger than his identical twin brother, Jermall, who is the WBC interim middleweight champion and a former 154-pound champion.
“I am in a ruthless state of mind. I am upset and this upcoming fight, I am going to give it 110 percent,” said Charlo. “I am way hungrier now than I was before. I am not desperate for a win because I know how to win. The judges gave me a bad decision because I didn’t get the knockout, but you don’t have to knock everybody out to beat them. He knows he didn’t beat me. He knows exactly what happened. He knows he can’t beat me. If I have to go in there and prove it again, I will.”
Rigondeaux (18-1, 12 KOs) will look to show off the masterful technical skills that made him a unified world champion and perennial member of the pound-for-pound list when he steps into the ring on June 23. A two-time Olympic gold medalist for his native Cuba, Rigondeaux made his name with victories over the likes of Nonito Donaire, Rico Ramos and Joseph Agbeko. The 38-year-old most recently knocked out Giovanni Delgado in January on FS1.
Fighting out of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, Ceja (32-3, 28 KOs) won an interim world title at super bantamweight in 2015 by stopping Hugo Ruiz in the fifth-round. The 26-year-old would lose the full title to Ruiz in their rematch in 2016, but has won two of three fights since, including a knockout of Anselmo Moreno.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Haney, Wilder, Golovkin, Barrios, Ortiz, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 23rd to April 30th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Devin “The Dream” Haney Signs with Matchroom Boxing USA
Matchroom Boxing USA and Eddie Hearn are delighted to announce the signing of Lightweight star Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney.
Haney (21-0 13 KOs) has raced to the top of the Lightweight rankings and is on the cusp of fighting for his first World title ahead of turning 21 in November.
‘The Dream’ has rattled off 21 wins since turning pro in Mexico in 2015 at 16 years of age following a stellar amateur career that saw him crowned junior amateur champion seven times and plunder 130 wins.
The Las Vegas-based talent now sits at number three in the WBC rankings where the Lightweight title is now vacant, five in the WBA, eight in the WBO and ten in the IBF – and Haney will look to make a big statement on his debut with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN when he takes on Antonio Moran (24-3 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25.
“I’m excited about my multi-million dollar partnership with Matchroom Boxing. All this hard work is finally paying off. This is a huge chapter in my career. I have a co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing, Eddie Hearn is the perfect guy for me to go in business with.
“While Matchroom will provide the infrastructure, together we will select the best opponents to showcase my talents in the sexiest cities in the world. I’m the future of the sport, and without a doubt in my mind… I’m going to continue to set the boxing world on fire. Matchroom and DAZN now have another superstar… ME!”
“Antonio Moran is a tough fighter with a lot of experience. He has been in the ring with good opposition. He fought Jose Pedraza to a decision last year, so I know he comes to fight. I expect nothing less from him on May 25. I’ve been in the gym working hard. Everyone knows that I stay ready and May 25 can’t come soon enough. On fight night the world will see I’m ready for anyone.”
“Devin Haney is a superstar – no two ways about it,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “At just 20 years old he has already racked up 21 victories, untouched as a pro and has become one of the most talked about fighters in America.
“The big fights are right in front of him, he is ready for anyone and we look forward to a wonderful partnership together. DAZN has another exceptional talent on their platform and we look forward to his Matchroom and DAZN debut on the huge Usyk vs. Takam card May 25 at MGM National Harbor.”
Haney’s clash with Moran is part of a huge night of action in Maryland as Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk moves up to Heavyweight after dominating the Cruiserweight division, and takes on former World title challenger Carlos Takam. In addition, rising Heavyweight Croatian talent Filip Hrgovic takes on Gregory Corbin in his US debut, and WBA World Super-Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill looks to unify the division against WBA champion Anahi Sanchez.
Statement from Gennady Golovkin on Abel Sanchez
I would like to announce that I have made a major decision for myself and for my career. I want to build on what I have already achieved and continue to better myself. Therefore, I will not be training with Abel Sanchez. This was not an easy decision for me and it is not a reflection on Abel’s professional abilities. He is a great trainer, a loyal trainer, and a Hall of Fame trainer.
I will be announcing my new trainer at a later date. But today, I want to thank Abel for the lessons he taught me in boxing.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Mauricio Herrera to Now be the Co-Main Event for Canelo vs. Jacobs
Rising star Vergil Ortiz Jr. (12-0, 12 KOs) will have the opportunity of a lifetime as his scheduled 10-round welterweight battle against Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (24-8, 7 KOs) will now be the co-main event of Canelo vs. Jacobs. As previously announced, the night will also feature the likes of Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano, Lamont Roach Jr., John “The Gorilla” Ryder, Sadam “World Kid” Ali and Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. in separate bouts. The event will take place Saturday, May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
“This will be a big test for Vergil Ortiz Jr.,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “This young man has all that it takes to become a dominant world champion, so it’s only fitting that a prospect like him gets the opportunity to be the co-main event of a Canelo fight. At the same time, we know the kind of fighter Mauricio Herrera is. He has a lot of experience and has been in close fights with the best of his division, including what we all know was a win against Danny Garcia. If Ortiz Jr. can look spectacular against Herrera, then he will demonstrate what we already know: that he is the real deal.”
Since debuting as a professional in 2016, Ortiz Jr. has never heard the final bell of a fight, and he hopes to retain his 100% knockout ratio in the toughest fight of his career. The native of Dallas, Texas, who has his roots in Michoacan, Mexico, will return after defeating Jesus Valdez in January of this year. Ortiz Jr. will move up to welterweight for this fight only, and he plans to make a statement to the fighters of the 140-pound weight division, where the 21-year-old plans to return after this tough test.
“This is a great opportunity for fans all over the world to get to know me,” said Vergil Ortiz Jr. “Everyone will be watching this event, so I look forward to showing boxing fans what I’m made of. It’s very hard to look good against Mauricio Herrera. World champions have fought him and have looked bad. If I can look good and be the first to ever stop him, then I’ll be making a big statement.”
Herrera, a former interim WBA World Super Lightweight Champion, is a longtime veteran of the sport. The 38-year-old of Riverside, Calif. has faced a veritable who’s who of the welterweight and super lightweight division, including fights against Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov, Mike “Mile High” Alvarado, Danny “Swift” Garcia, Johan “El Terrible” Perez, and Jose “Merciless” Benevidez Jr., among others. Herrera will bring a world of experience against the young prospect.
“Everyone knows the kind of experience that I bring to the table,” said Mauricio Herrera. “Whether it’s against world champions, contenders or prospects, I bring a tough fight to anyone. Vergil Ortiz might have bitten off more than he can chew for this fight, especially now since we are the co-main event. I’m happy for yet another opportunity, and we look forward to stealing the show.”
Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano (32-7-1, 22 KOs) will defend his WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Title against Michael “The Artist” Perez (25-3-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-round fight. Cano will return after his dominant knockout victory against former three-division world champion Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares.
Lamont Roach Jr. (18-0-1, 7 KOs) of Washington, D.C., will unify his WBO International Super Featherweight Title in a 10-round battle against NABO Super Featherweight Champion Jonathan Oquendo (30-5, 19 KOs) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The winner of this bout will earn the No. 1 spot for the WBO Super Featherweight World Title.
Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (28-1, 14 KOs) of South El Monte, Calif. will fight against Freddy Fonseca (26-1-1, 17 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Gold Super Featherweight Title. Diaz Jr. will return after a dominant victory against rugged warrior Charles Huerta.
Sadam “World Kid” Ali (27-2, 14 KOs) will return in a 10-round clash for the vacant USNBC Silver Welterweight Title against Anthony Young (20-2, 7 KOs) of Atlantic City, N.J.
London’s John “The Gorilla” Ryder (27-4, 15 KOs) will take on Bilal Akkawy (20-0-1, 16 KOs) of Sydney, Australia for the vacant interim WBA Super Middleweight World Title. Ryder was originally going to take on David Lemieux, though the fight was cancelled due to an injury Lemieux suffered in his right hand. Now, Ryder will now face a highly-ranked contender who is trained by Eddy Reynoso, the trainer of Canelo.
Alexis Espino (1-0, 1 KO) of Las Vegas, Nevada will participate in a four-round super middleweight fight against Billy Wager (1-0) of Great Falls, Montana.
Showtime Sports to Chronicle Wilder vs. Breazeale Heavyweight World Championship Fight with Award Winning Series All Access
SHOWTIME Sports will chronicle heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder’s ninth defense of his WBC title against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale with a new installment of ALL ACCESS, premiering Friday, May 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. The Emmy Award-winning series will peel back the curtain as two American heavyweights with a combined 90 percent knockout ratio prepare to square off Saturday, May 18 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
ALL ACCESS immerses viewers into the lives and training camps of Wilder and Breazeale as they approach a grudge match that has been brewing for more than two years. Filming for the series is underway in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the Bay Area as the two 6-foot-7 heavyweights prepare to settle the score with Wilder’s coveted WBC title on the line.
ALL ACCESS DAILY will accompany the acclaimed original series with digital installments released throughout fight week on the networks’ social media channels. ALL ACCESS DAILY: WILDER vs. BREAZEALE will deliver the franchise’s signature intimate access and storytelling in the final days before the heavyweight showdown. New installments of the digital series will be available each day beginning Wednesday, May 15 on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page. A digital installment of ALL ACCESS EPILOGUE will provide an inside look at the intensity of fight night and capture all the sights, sounds and drama of heavyweight prizefighting.
Self-Procalimed “Godfather” of Arizona Mixed Martial Arts Charged on Numerous Criminal Offenses Involving Unsactioned Events
On April 26, 2019, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed charges in justice court against Mr. Roland Sarria and Mr. Todd Whitmoyer for suspected involvement in unsanctioned combat sporting events in Maricopa County. Charges arose from an Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) investigation into the activities of both defendants who reside in Maricopa County.
Each subject faces four, class 2 misdemeanors for failing to procure a license and failing to provide a physician for unsanctioned events that occurred on September 15, 2018, in Phoenix, and another event on September 29, 2018, in Glendale. Additional charges could be forthcoming. In Arizona, class 2 misdemeanors can carry a maximum fine of $750 and four months jail time, per violation. In some instances, courts may assess a maximum fine of $10,000, per violation.
The Arizona Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Commission regulates and sanctions amateur and professional MMA, professional boxing and kickboxing, and tough man contests conducted statewide. Arizona’s requirements for sanctioned events are in place to protect the health and safety of participants and the public and include on-site medical and security professionals, match officials (referees, judges, inspectors, timekeepers, etc.), safety gear/equipment, licensed/bonded promoters (who provide health insurance for combatants), and specific combatant health tests/documentation. Any event not approved by an authorized sanctioning body is unsanctioned.
“It’s our duty to protect the integrity of these sports, the unarmed combatants and the public,” said ADG Director Ted Vogt. “We do this by ensuring that individuals engaged in unsanctioned unarmed combat events are held accountable in a court of law.”
“Unarmed combat sports are highly regulated competitions that require careful oversight to ensure the safety of the combatants and the spectating public, as well as a fair competition and impartial result,” said Francisco Meneses, Jr., Executive Director, Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission. “Unsanctioned events pose a physical danger to fighters and the public alike and compromise the integrity of combat sports.”
ADG takes tips about unsanctioned events involving unarmed combat sports events very seriously. If you have a tip, or just need information, please call (602) 364-1721.
All defendants are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.
Mario Barrios Training Camp Quotes
Unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario Barrios will return to action and look to further solidify his spot amongst the 140-pound elite when he takes on Argentina’s Juan Jose Velasco in a 10-round showdown as part of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, May 11 from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is headlined by IBF and WBA 154-pound world champion Jarrett Hurd defending his titles again top contender Julian Williams.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com).
The 23-year-old made his 2019 debut in February, knocking out Richard Zamora in round four to bring his knockout streak to eight. Here is what Barrios (23-0, 15 KOs) had to say about his upcoming matchup, training camp with Virgil Hunter and more as he prepares to enter the ring May 11:
On his matchup with Juan Jose Velasco:
“Velasco is a tough fighter from Argentina who’s only loss is at the world class level against Regis Prograis. He will have to adjust to my style because I’m going to be dictating the action from the opening bell. My jab will be the key in this fight. I know I’ll have to let my hands go to be effective. This is going to be a tough fight, but I’m ready for the challenge.”
On his recent training camp:
“Training camp is going as planned. I’ve been in the Bay Area for the last six weeks working with Virgil Hunter and getting world class sparring with some of the best fighters in the world. Virgil has me perfecting my ability to fight with my length while using my jab efficiently. I’ve also been doing my strength training with Victor Conte and Remi Korchemny at the SNAC facility. I’m in amazing shape and will be at my best when I step in the ring against Velasco.”
On when he thinks he’ll be ready for a world title:
“I’m ready now, in my opinion, to fight any of the champions at super lightweight. I’m only 23, so there is plenty of time. I’ve never turned down a fight and when that time comes for me to get that title shot, I’ll be ready. I’m just talking it one fight at a time.”
On fighting on FOX:
“This is a major opportunity for the world to see me in action. The exposure on FOX is going to be unbelievable. My goal is to give the fans another knockout performance. Since I’ve moved up in weight, I’ve been knocking everyone out and my game is getting better with each fight. I feel I’m the next Mexican-American star in boxing who’s going to help keep this sport thriving.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Lemieux, Russell, Whyte, Martinez, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 16th to April 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Right Hand Injury Forces David Lemieux to Withdraw From Super Middleweight Debut Against John ‘The Gorilla” Ryder
An unfortunate hand injury has forced David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) to withdraw from his 168-pound debut against London’s John “The Gorilla” Ryder (27-4, 15 KOs) in what was going to be the scheduled 12-round co-main event of Canelo vs. Jacobs. Lemieux injured his right hand during a sparring session, and his doctor has recommended that he rest for eight weeks before returning to the gym.
Details for the new co-main event will be announced shortly. The Canelo vs. Jacobs will continue as planned on Saturday, May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Lemieux, a 30-year-old native of Montreal, Canada, is disappointed at his injury, but promises to return stronger than ever.
”Training camp was going really great,” said David Lemieux.”I felt in tremendous shape, the strongest I’d ever felt in my entire career. But, I will be back soon. Hopefully, the fans will understand. I promise I will make it up to them once I’m healed.”
“I’m very disappointed since he was in the best shape of his life both in the gym and in the ring,” said Camille Estephan, President of Eye of the Tiger Management. “We will take the time to heal his hand and get right back in the chase for a world title.”
“It’s very unfortunate that David Lemieux’s return has been postponed,” said Eric Gomez, President of Golden Boy. “But this is boxing, and these things happen. We wish David a speedy recovery and look forward to his return, so he can make big waves at 168 pounds.”
WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. To Defend Against Former Champion Kiko Martinez
WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. will defend his title against former world champion Kiko Martinez in the co-feature to Wilder vs. Breazeale on Saturday, May 18 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will also feature unbeaten super lightweight contender Juan Heraldez squaring-off against former world champion Argenis Mendez in a 10-round attraction. The event is headlined by WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder as he makes the ninth defense of his title against mandatory challenger Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale.
“Gary Russell Jr. is one of the most skilled fighters in the sport and he’ll look to stake his spot atop the featherweight division on May 18 against the always exciting former champion Kiko Martinez,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The event will also feature a battle between a rising contender in the 140-pound division in Juan Heraldez going up against one of the division’s toughest and most active contenders in Argenis Mendez. This is truly going to be an electric night leading up to heavyweight champion of the world Deontay Wilder in the main event.”
“Preceding the night’s main attraction will be Gary Russell Jr. defending his title against a tough and experienced Kiko Martinez, making for a battle that is sure to bring excitement to the fans, plus Mayweather Promotions’ young prospect Juan Heraldez will open the telecast looking to put on a show, as he continues to elevate his career to new heights,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “I’m confident that he will execute his game plan impressively and showcase his talent against a seasoned and tested Argenis Mendez, who has been in the ring with some of the top guys in the super lightweight division. The fans at Barclays and those tuning in on SHOWTIME will see a night of non-stop action come May 18.”
Tickets for this BombZquad event can be purchased at ticketmaster.com and barclayscenter.com, Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP. The Heraldez vs. Mendez fight is co-promoted with Mayweather Promotions.
The 30-year-old Russell (29-1, 17 KOs), who was born in Washington, D.C. and now lives in Capitol Heights, Maryland, will make the fourth defense of his featherweight world title on May 18 and his second career appearance at Barclays Center. Russell won his title by knocking out Jhonny Gonzalez in 2015. After stopping Patrick Hyland and Oscar Escandon, he most recently defeated previously unbeaten Joseph Diaz Jr. last May. Russell, who is trained by his father, Gary, Sr., is part of a boxing family. Two of his younger brothers, Gary Antonio and Gary Antuanne, are currently unbeaten professionals.
“I expect to send a message to everyone in or near my division that I’m a force to be reckoned with,” said Russell. “I want to unify against Leo Santa Cruz and I’m going to do what I have to do to get there. I’m never going to take any opponent lightly and right now, it’s my job to take care of Kiko Martinez before I worry about anything else. On May 18 you should expect to see excitement, punching power, hand speed, fast combinations and a great level of boxing IQ. I’m the best in boxing today and I prove that every time I get in the ring.”
A native of Comunidad Valenciana, Spain, Martinez (39-8-2, 28 KOs) has faced the best names in and around the featherweight division throughout his career. He won a super bantamweight world title in 2013 by stopping Jhonatan Romero and has faced the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton, Josh Warrington and Scott Quigg. The 33-year-old is unbeaten in his last four contests, including most recently defeating Marc Vidal for a European featherweight title in October.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to win another world title and I’m thankful and excited for May 18,” said Martinez. “Gary Russell Jr is in for a rude awakening. I have a lot of experience and I feel great at featherweight. There will be nothing better than celebrating my 50th fight with a new world title.”
The undefeated Heraldez (16-0, 10 KOs) continued to rise up the rankings in 2019 when he knocked out Eddie Ramirez in their February showdown. The 28-year-old from Las Vegas earned a decision victory over Kevin Watts and a stoppage of Maynard Allison in 2018. That followed up a unanimous decision victory over then unbeaten prospect Jose Miguel Borrego in his first 10-round bout in August 2017 on the Mayweather vs. McGregor undercard.
“I’m one of the best super lightweights in the world and I’m going to show it again on May 18,” said Heraldez. “They keep lining them up and I’ll keep knocking them down. Mendez is good, veteran opposition, but I’m going to show I’m on a different level. This is a great opportunity to once again perform on a big stage and I’m going to take full advantage and steal the show.”
Mendez (25-5-2, 12 KOs) most recently fought to a competitive split-draw against Anthony Peterson in March, running his unbeaten streak up to three fights. The 32-year-old defeated Eddie Ramirez and Ivan Redkach in back-to-back fights after losses to Robert Easter Jr. and Luke Campbell. Originally from San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic and now living in Brooklyn, N.Y, Mendez won the IBF super featherweight title with a knockout victory over Juan Carlos Salgado in 2013.
“This fight is do or die for me to become champion again,” said Mendez. “Anthony Peterson ran from me in our fight in March, so if Heraldez does that on May 18, I will be better prepared. If he stands and fights with me, I feel strongly that I will dominate him and make a statement to everyone that I’m an elite 140-pound fighter.”
Whyte to Face Rivas in London Showdown
Dillian Whyte will face Oscar Rivas for the number one Heavyweight spot in the WBC at The O2 in London on Saturday July 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Whyte (25-1 18KOs) holds the number one slot with the WBC and puts that on the line as the hard-hitting ‘Body Snatcher’ continues to blast his path to a World title shot. The Brixton banger put Derek Chisora away in devastating style in his last outing, the pair thrilling the Greenwich crowd in their rematch in December – before icing Del Boy in the 11th round.
The 31-year-old Briton will be gunning for a tenth straight win against Rivas, with wins over Joseph Parker, Robert Helenius and Lucas Browne sandwiched between his two wins over Chisora. Whyte has become a must-watch fighter since rocking old foe Anthony Joshua in their battle at The O2 in December 2012, and yet again takes on a high-risk challenge as he cements his spot as the leading Heavyweight contender in the world.
Rivas (26-0 18KOs) is yet another dangerous customer for Whyte to risk his number one rankings with, and the Colombian comes into the bout on the back of his biggest win in the paid ranks. Rivas travelled to Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY in January and KO’d former World title challenger Bryant Jennings in the final round of their clash, underlining his dangerous potential to World titlists and fellow contenders, with ‘Kaboom’ ranked at number ten with the WBC, seven in the IBF and a lofty five with both the WBA and WBO.
The Canadian-based 31 year old carried an impressive amateur record into the paid ranks, beating Kubrat Pulev in the 2008 Olympic Games a year after landing silver in the Pan-American games – and with 18 Kos in 26 fights since turning over, July 20 promises to be an explosive war between two in-form big-punchers, with huge stakes on the line.
“I am very happy to be fighting again at The O2 in July,” said Whyte. “Oscar Rivas is undefeated and ranked in the top 10 across the board of all the governing bodies. He has been one of the most avoided heavyweight fighters in the last few years.
“His KO victory over Bryant Jennings sent shockwaves through the division and Tyson Fury just turned down ESPN/Top Rank’s offer to fight him. I am over the moon that he has accepted the fight. He has a great amateur and professional record, including a win over Kubrat Pulev.
“I am more than happy to carry on fighting top 10 fighters like Rivas until I get my well-earned shot at Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua.
“I can’t wait until July 20 to fight again at The O2 which is one ofthe best venues in the world for boxing.”
‘‘I have waited for this opportunity for a very long time,” said Rivas. “Dillian Whyte is an excellent boxer, a World class fighter and the number one contender. He deserve all my respect for his accomplishments and I am grateful for the opportunity he is giving me.
“This is exactly the kind of challenge I was hoping to get. I am undefeated, I am planning to keep my perfect record after July 20 in my quest to get the ultimate opportunity to become World champion.”
“This is a great fight with both men coming off explosive late knockouts,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Rivas is undefeated and looking to take Dillian’s number one spot but as we know, The O2 has become a fortress for him of late and this is set to be another war. We are planning a huge night of boxing on July 20 with a monster card topped by the brilliant heavyweight headliner.”
“First I would like to thank Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing who made a proposal impossible to turn down,” said Yvon Michel, President of Groupe Yvon Michel. “Oscar Rivas was willing to step up and face Anthony Joshua for June in New York and representations were made.
“It might not be his turn now but instead he is extremely happy, to be earning an eventual World title opportunity, by proving he is the best amongst the contenders against the outstanding Dillian Whyte. On July 20 a new star will be born!”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Dillian Whyte is risking it all again as he battles the dangerous Oscar Rivas at The O2, which has become a happy hunting ground for ‘The Body Snatcher.’
“Dillian has already delivered exciting wins over Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora at the same venue, but he could have his hands full against Rivas, the unbeaten Colombian with his own world ambitions.
“Expect another enthralling showdown when Whyte returns in the summer, and we expect to have a stacked card before a sizzling main event.”
Croatian Heavyweight Star Hrgovic Makes American Debut on May 25
The Rio 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist joins a blockbuster bill in Maryland headlined by former undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk, the winner of the inaugural World Boxing Super Series tournament, who makes his Heavyweight bow against Carlos Takam.
Hrgović returns following a one-sided points victory over Kevin Johnson in his hometown of Zagreb and is eager to showcase his skills in front of an American audience as he continues his quest for World glory.
The Croatian boxing sensation will take on Dallas-born Heavyweight Gregory ‘Bad News’ Corbin (15-1, 9 KOs), whose only previous defeat has come at the hands of former IBF World Champion Charles Martin.
“I am pleased that my promoter Team Sauerland has made an agreement with Matchroom and DAZN that will enable me to fight in America,” said Hrgović. “I believe DAZN is the future of boxing and I’m sure they will give their viewers the best match ups in the history of the Heavyweight division.”
“I look forward to making my American debut on May 25 I’m very excited because the entire Heavyweight division is moving to the US and the US is the best place for big fights at the moment.”
“I think American fans will love my style because I’m not a classic distance fighter. I’m constantly trying to fight and throwing many punches. The fans can expect some excellent fights from me.”
“My opponent Greg Corbin is very good, and I think he is an excellent choice for this stage of my career. I will prepare for this fight as if it were for a World title so I’m sure it will be a great match up.”
“It will be a good test for me because he is more experienced than me, we can see that from his record, and I believe he will come in his best possible shape so it will be an exciting match for viewers around world watching on DAZN.”
“I’m currently in training camp in Miami. We always train like it’s a fight for the world title. Pedro Diaz insists on discipline and hard training. He refuses to work with fighters who are not 100% focused. We share the same opinion about that. That is why we are a good team, and I think we can achieve big things together.”
“I am looking forward to getting straight back in there on May 25,” said Corbin. “This is a chance for me to redeem myself after the Martin fight. There were a lot of distractions for me in the build-up to that one, but this time I’m fully focused on Hrgovic. “There’s a lot of hype around this guy with his amateur background and his start in the pros – let’s see if he can back it up.”
“Filip Hrgović is an incredibly talented fighter and this could be a breakthrough year for the young Croatian,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “His amateur pedigree is outstanding and I share Team Sauerland’s excitement about his future – he’s going to be a real player in the division.”
“American fight fans are in for a treat. On May 25 they will witness a future star of the Heavyweight division,” said Hrgović’s promoter Nisse Sauerland. “Filip Hrgović is on a fast track for Heavyweight gold.”