Boxing Insider Notebook: Garcia, WBSS, Hernandez, Carto, Beltran, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 16th to January 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Mikey Garcia vs. Sergey Lipinets Rescheduled for March 10th
The highly anticipated showdown between undefeated three-division world champion Mikey Garcia and IBF 140-pound champion Sergey Lipinets has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 10th. The Premier Boxing Champions event was set to take place on February 10th, but Garcia’s quest for a fourth world title had to be rescheduled following a training injury to Lipinets’ hand. The fight will be live on SHOWTIME and will remain in San Antonio but move to the Freeman Coliseum.
Ticket information will be released early next week. Those holding tickets for the original date at the Alamodome will receive priority on seat exchange for the new venue. Tickets are priced at $250, $150, $75, $50 and $20 and will be available at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 210 556-6390. The event is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, in association with Leija-Battah Promotions.
The remainder of the card will remain the same including the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature, which will see two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy taking on Kiryl Relikh in a rematch of their thrilling fight last May, this time for the vacant WBA 140-pound world title. The doubleheader of title bouts in the wide-open 140-pound division sets the stage for a potential unification match.
The 29-year-old Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs), emphatically returned to pound-for-pound lists in 2017 by scoring a highlight reel knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin to win the WBC Lightweight World Championship in January and then dominating four-division champion Adrien Broner on his way to a unanimous decision in July. Garcia is a member of a renowned boxing family, and is noted for his sportsmanship and his commanding presence in the ring, honed by his brother and acclaimed trainer Robert Garcia.
Garcia, of Moreno Valley by way of Oxnard, Calif., returned to the ring after a two-and-half-year layoff in July 2016 without missing a beat by stopping former champion Elio Rojas. Garcia, who has held world titles at 126, 130 and 135 pounds, has stopped 19 of his last 22 opponents including Roman “Rocky” Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Salido.
With a win, Garcia would become only the third fighter in modern history to become champion at 126, 130, 135 and 140-pounds, joining future Hall of Famers Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao*.
The unbeaten Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) captured a super lightweight world title in just his 13th pro fight by defeating Akihiro Kondo via a unanimous decision on November 4 on SHOWTIME. He is originally from Kazakhstan but moved to Russia when he was six years old. He currently lives in Beverly Hills, California, Lipinets and is trained by Buddy McGirt.
Nico Hernandez to Fight on February 10th
2016 Olympic bronze medalist and hometown hero Nico Hernandez has fully recovered from an injury that postponed his December 2nd fight to Saturdeay, February 10, versus Hungarian champion Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai in the the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight title, headlining the “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” card, at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
“KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” is a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC., in association with Hartman Arena, and sponsored in part by Park City (KS), Twister City Harley-Davidson and Metro PCS.
The action will be taped live for future airing on CBS Sports Network.
The 22-year-old Hernandez (3-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of Wichita, suffered an undisclosed injury that forced him to withdraw from the Dec. 2nd fight. Neither Hernandez nor his promoter, John Andersen (KO Night Boxing, LLC), have revealed any details about Nico’s injury to avoid giving his opponent any possible advantage to target in the ring.
“I feel good, ready to fight,” Hernandez commented. “We wanted to make sure that I was injury free and I am 100-percent. I’m going to do whatever is needed to win this fight. Fighting for my first title means a lot to me. I didn’t think it would happen this fast. I want everybody to see that I can be competitive with the best in my division. A win February 10th will get me there a lot closer.
“My opponent like to runs a lot and he’s quick, so I need to have my legs under me. Other than that, though, I should be okay. He has fought some good guys. I can’t wait to get in the ring in front of my fans.”
Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs), who is one year and six days younger than Hernandez, has already fought in five title fights. He also went the full 10-round distance, albeit in a loss by decision in 2016, to two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou, the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight world champion. Fighting in his opponent’s hometown isn’t a problem for Ajtai, who has vast road experience having fought as a pro in the USA, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia.
“Nico will not know where I will be in the ring,” Ajtai predicted. “When he looks to the left for me, I will go to the right; when he tries to find me on the right, I will be on the left. When he wants to rest, I will come forward punching; when he wants to punch, he won’t find me.
“I have a plan for this fight and I’m sure he does as well. But, in the ring, only one fighter’s plan can succeed. It’s going to be a good fight, but I can’t promise the public that Nico will be the winner.”
“I’m excited that Nico is 100-percent healthy for this fight,” Andersen said. “We couldn’t be happier to bring this great fight, and many more as we move forward, to the great city of Wichita.”
In the six-round co-featured event, Minneapolis welterweight Javonte Starks (13-2, 7 KOs), a former Future Stars National Champion as an amateur, takes on veteran Mexican fighter Cesar Soriano (28-36-1, 17 KOs), the former FECARBOX lightweight titlist.
Tickets for Beltran-Moses Are on Sale
World championship boxing returns the “Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno Nevada! No. 1 world-rated lightweight contender RAY “Sugar” BELTRAN, fighting for his first world championship belt and his green card to stay in the U.S. with his family, will headline an all-action card on Friday, February 16, in the Grand Sierra Resort’s Grand Theatre. Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KOs), from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, will be battling former world champion and current No. 2 world-rated contender PAULUS MOSES (39-3, 24 KOs), from Windhoek, Namibia, for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight world title. The co-main event will feature undefeated NABF welterweight champion EGIDIJUS “The Mean Machine” KAVALIAUSKAS (18-0, 15 KOs), from Oxnard, Calif., by way of Kaunas, Lithuania, defending his title against former world champion DAVID “Ava” AVANESYAN (23-2-1, 11 KOs), of Pyatigorsk, Russia, in a 10-round battle of Top-10 world-rated contenders. Both title fights will be televised live and exclusively at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App at 7 p.m. EST. The championship event will also feature the return of 2016 Olympic silver medalist SHAKUR STEVENSON (4-0, 2 KOs), of Newark, NJ. Stevenson has a unique relationship with Reno, where he began each year from 2013 through 2015 by winning a national amateur title. Additionally, he won the gold medal and Outstanding Boxer award at the 2016 Olympic Trials. Stevenson has never lost in Reno
Two-time world heavyweight championship challenger and current Top-10 world- rated contender BRYANT JENNINGS (21-2, 12 KOs), of Philadelphia, PA, will also be featured on the undercard, in an eight-round bout. Jennings, who is a vegan, appears in “The Game Changers,” a documentary directed by Louie Psihoyos, the Oscar®-winning director of “The Cove.” “The Game Changers” tells the story of James Wilks — elite special forces trainer and winner of The Ultimate Fighter — as he travels the world on a quest for the truth behind the world’s most dangerous myth: that meat is necessary for protein, strength and optimal health. It premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Let’s Get It On Promotions, tickets to the Beltran-Moses world championship event will go on sale Tomorrow! Wednesday, January 24, at 1 p.m. EST / 10 a.m. PST. Priced at $79, $54, and $29, including facility fees, tickets may be purchased online at www.grandsierra.com, at the Grand Theater Box Office, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT, daily, or charge by phone at 1-775-789-1115.
“There isn’t a more inspiring story in boxing than Ray Beltran’s,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “It hasn’t been an easy road for Ray, but he has more than met the challenge time and time again. I can’t think of a better way to start Ray’s 2018 season than with this tremendous world championship fight. I am also looking forward to seeing the welterweight battle between Egidijus Kavaliauskas and David Avanesyan which should be nothing but fireworks. And no one lights up a night better than Shakur Stevenson, with his fast hands and bright smile.”
“I’m excited about this fight for many reasons. I’m fighting for myself, for my eighteen years I have worked to become a world champion, I am fighting for my family, my wife, and for my children to be proud of me,” said Beltran. “When you’re a champion, you are a champion forever. I am fighting for my team, the people who have been with me from the start. It’s easy when you are on your way up to have fans, but my true fans have been with me at my lowest, and stayed through my highs in life. This fight means everything to me, a victory will also seal my green card. For me to be world champion, and a citizen of this country, this is my dream. I respect my opponents always, but this is my destiny, and no man will get in the way of that. I’m ready to prove to everyone that I am the most dangerous lightweight in the world. I’m coming February 16th to take what was mine in Scotland, and when I leave Reno I am leaving as the WBO world champion.”
“I would like to thank God for this amazing opportunity. I have had a blessed boxing career and all thanks to everybody who supported me over the years. Thanks to my Promoter and mentor Nestor Tobias and to an amazing forward looking visionary sponsor in MTC who continues to push us to become only the best,” said Moses. “It’s been an incredibly positive week. I am honoured to have recently been inducted as a MTC Sports Legend, the highest sports honour in Namibia and now an amazing opportunity to fight Beltran who I highly regard, and of course an opportunity for me to become world champion again. I look forward to this fight and doing my country proud once again.”
“I don’t remember much about Avanesyan when we were in the amateurs. But he will, for sure, be my toughest opponent in the ring,” said Kavaliauskas. “I am very excited to show the best of me in this fight. Thank you, Top Rank and ESPN for giving me this opportunity — one step closer to getting a world title belt.”
“I am so glad and proud for the Mean Machine to climb to a new level. Thank you, Top Rank for giving the Machine an opportunity to make his debut on ESPN,” said Egis Klimas, who manages Kavaliauskas.
“This is a great opportunity for me to return to the top of the welterweight division,” said Avanesyan. “My trainer and I are working very hard on my conditioning, strength and strategy because we know what is at stake and we know Egidijus brings to the fight. And make no mistake, this is a fight.”
“I’m ready to kick off 2018 in my first eight-round fight. I’ve been wanting to go eight rounds for awhile now and I’m excited to finally get the opportunity in my first fight of the year.” said Stevenson. “I’m undefeated in Reno and won four national titles there in the amateurs, including the 2016 Olympic Trials, so I plan to keep that streak going on February 16.”
“Grand Sierra Resort is thrilled to host this exciting championship fight card and generate national TV exposure for the Reno-Tahoe region,” Christopher Abraham, VP of Marketing at Grand Sierra Resort said. “We are thrilled to work with such outstanding partners as Top Rank, ESPN and Let’s Get It On Promotions.”
Beltran, a native of Mexico who resides in Phoenix, AZ., enters this fight having won four of his last fights by knockout. A three-time lightweight world title challenger and a former sparring partner of eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Beltran still trains at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif. Beltran is fighting for more than just a world title. He is fighting to obtain his green card so that he can remain in the U.S. with his family under the Extraordinary Ability as a Professional Boxing (EB-1) Employment-Based First Preference category.. A world title victory will all but assure him of his permanent status. Recent career highlights include one-punch knockout victories over Mason Menard (32-1, 24 KOs) and Jonathan Maicelo (32-1, 24 KOs) on December 10, 2016 and May 20, 2017, respectively. In his most recent fight, Beltran solidified his upcoming world title shot by winning a gritty majority decision over former two-time interim World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight world champion Bryan Vasquez (36-2, 19 KOs), on August 5. Vasquez was world-rated No. 1 by the WBA when they fought. Beltran is currently world-rated No. 1 by the WBO and the World Boxing Council (WBC).
Moses captured the WBA world lightweight title in 2009, traveling to Yokohama, Japan to defeat defending champion and hometown favorite Yusuke Kobori via a unanimous decision. After one successful title defense — another unanimous decision victory, this time over Takehiro Shimada, Moses’ 15-monthn reign as world champion ended in 2010 at the hands of Miguel Acosta. Since losing a unanimous decision to Ricky Burns in their 2012 WBO lightweight world championship fight, Moses has strung together an impressive record of 11-1, 1 NC, including TKO victories over Cosmas Cheka and Crispin Moliati in his last two fights and a two-year reign as WBO International lightweight champion and his current 14-month reign as WBO Africa lightweight champion. Moses, a veteran who has fought professionally in Asia, Europe and Africa, will be making his North America debut.
World Boxing Super Series Semi-Finals Schedule
Super Channel, the No. 1 destination network for Canadian boxing fans, will air the upcoming semifinals of the popular World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament, featuring world-class cruiserweight and super middleweight divisions action, live from various venues in Europe.
Super Channel acquired exclusive rights in Canada to air the entire WBSS tournament from MP & Silva, a leading international media company that provides media rights, digital, technology and sponsorship services.
“We are thrilled that the WBSS is returning to Super Channel for exclusive Canadian coverage of the highly anticipated semifinals,” said Troy Wassill, Director of Programming, Domestic Distributors and Sports. “I have no doubt that every single bout is going to deliver exciting, must-see action for boxing fans, as these world-class fighters compete to see who is going to go head-to-head for the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.”
WBSSis a revolutionary bracket-style elimination tournament featuring the world’s best boxers and a total of $50 million in prize money. The knockout format of the competition will see the best boxers ultimately compete for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, the greatest prize in boxing. The tournament is organized by newly-founded Comosa AG, a Swiss-registered company with principal owners Highlight Event & Entertainment, Modern Times Group and Team Sauerland. Comosa AG is working in partnership with boxers, promoters and managers around the world, and in alignment with the four major world boxing federations, to create a new global platform for the sport.
The first of its kind tournament, which is planned to take place on an annual basis, kicked off this past September with quarterfinals competition in two divisions, cruiserweight and super middleweight. An expert panel invited the world’s best boxers to compete, namely the top 15-ranked fighters of the four major federations: WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO. The winners of the two semifinals will advance to the championship round in both divisions this May.
Below find the WBSS semifinals schedule and a preview of the four matches and eight fighters who survived the quarterfinals:
January 27, Riga Arena, Riga, Latvia – WBO/WBC Unification
Oleksandr “The Cat” Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs), WBO World Champion, Ukraine – Ring #1 vs. Mairis Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs), WBC World Champion, Latvia – Ring #3
February 3, Bolshoy Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia – IBF/WBA Unification
Murat “Iron” Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs), IBF World Champion, Russia – Ring #2 vs. Yunier “The KO Doctor” Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs), WBA World Champion, Cuba – Ring #5
February 17, Manchester, Arena, Manchester, UK – WBA/IBO Unification
“Saint” George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs), WBA World Champion, United Kingdom – Ring #2 vs. Chris “Next Gen” Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs), IBO World Champion, United Kingdom – Ring #4
February 24, Arena Nurnberger Versicherung, Nuremburg, Germany
Juergen Braehmer (49-3 35 KOs), Germany – Ring #10 (Former WBO & WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion) vs. Callum “Mundo” Smith (23-0, 17 KOs), United Kingdom – Ring #3 (WBC Diamond Super Middleweight Champion)
Christian Carto to Face James Smith on March 2nd
Popular and undefeated bantamweight Christian Carto will headline a packed night of boxing when he takes on James Smith in an eight-round bout on Friday, March 2nd at The SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.
The card is promoted by King’s Promotions.
Carto of Philadelphia has a record of 13-0 with 11 knockouts. The 21 year-old has established himself as one of the top prospects in Philadelphia, and the popular Carto continues to draw large and enthusiastic crowds to his fights.
Carto, who had a very active 2017 as he mustered seven victories and has a signature win over Alonso Melendez (14-1). Carto is coming off an eight-round unanimous decision over Luis Fernando Saavedra on December 1st at The SugarHouse Casino.
This will be Carto’s 7th appearance at The SugarHouse Casino.
Smith of Detroit has a record of 12-1 with seven knockouts.
The 27 year-old is a seven-year professional, who won his first 11 bouts, which was highlighted by a win over Olimjon Nazarov (14-2).
After suffering his lone defeat, Smith won his last bout as he stopped Yaqub Kareem on August 4, 2017 in Detroit.
In an eight-round all-Philadelphia super middleweight bout, Christopher Brooker (12-5, 5 KOs) battle Jamaal Davis (16-12-1, 7 KOs).
In an eight-round bout, Tyrone Crawley, Jr. (7-0) of Philadelphia takes on Anthony Mercado (10-3, 9 KOs) of Arecibo, PR in a super lightweight bout.
David Gonzales (8-2-2, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia will fight Victor Vazquez (9-3, 3 KOs) of Yonkers, NY in a super lightweight contest.
Undefeated Marcus Bates (8-0-1, 6 KOs) of Washington, DC will take on an opponent to be named in a eight-round super bantamweight fight.
Carlos Rosario (7-3, 4 KOs) of Pennsauken, NJ will square off with Seifullah Wise (3-4, 1 KO) of Philadelphia in a super featherweight fight.
Darius Ervin (4-1) of Los Angeles tangles with Jesus Perez (3-0, 1 KO) of Reading, PA in a super lightweight fight.
Jerrod Miner (1-1, 1 KO) of Philadelphia fights Rondarrius Hunter (1-2, 1 KO) of Atlanta in a four-round super flyweight bout.
Tickets are on sale for $100, $75, $50, and can be purchased at SugarHouseBoxing.eventbrite. com.
Nico Hernandez Remains Undefeated Despite Opponent Change
By Grant Cohen
PARK CITY, Kan.– Nico Hernandez did not know who his opponent was until hours before his third professional fight on Saturday.
Instead of cancelling the fight, the 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist and his team decided that too many factors played into reschedule.
The fact that Hernandez’s fans were anxiously waiting for him to step in the ring and the three year anniversary of the death of Tony Losey, the 21-year-old’s boxing teammate and best friend, fueled Hernandez to fight 12 pounds above his weight class. Despite getting up to 116 pounds to fight at 125, Hernandez defeated Kansas City MMA fighter Kendrick Latchman in a six-round unanimous decision to remain undefeated at Hartman Arena on Saturday night.
“As a team, we learned what to do and what not to do,” said Lewis Hernandez, Nico’s father and trainer. “We put ourselves in a very dangerous situation, probably the most dangerous situation that we’ve ever put ourselves in. It was hard, but Nico adapted. He adapted and overcame what he had to, because that’s just Nico. He knows how to win and he wants to win.”
Hernandez’s original opponent, Francisco “Guerrero” Lapizco, was forced to withdraw from the main event by KO Night Boxing after breaking his contract. Hernandez’s team scheduled Basyzbek Baratov for Saturday’s card, but the 2-1-2 boxer pulled out following Friday’s weigh-in.
‘Stating false information on reasons why’, according to a Facebook post on Hernandez’s page, promoter John Anderson confirmed that Basyzbek withdrew because Hernandez weighed in at 113 pounds for a 112 pound fight. The Kansas Boxing Commissioner, in cooperation with the Kansas Athletic Commission, allows boxers to fight one pound over, but Basyzbek felt that Hernandez being over was an unfair advantage, Anderson said.
Latchman received a call from Hernandez’s team about making the drive for Saturday’s fight, in which the 24-year-old agreed.
“I’m a fighter, so that’s what I do,” Latchman said. “I try to fight the best, I want to be the best fighter. (To do that), I have to challenge myself against the best. You can’t call yourself the best fighter if you don’t fight the best.”
Both Hernandez and Latchman dealt with last minute changes prior to their fight. Hernandez had to eat more food and drink more fluids throughout Saturday in order to get his weight up to 116. Latchman said he was told prior that the fight would be four rounds and was told upon arriving to Hartman arena that the fight would be six rounds.
Fighting at 125 pounds, Latchman tried to pace himself in order to have energy left for the final two rounds. After battling through four rounds, Latchman ran out of gas in the fifth and sixth that allowed Hernandez to land his punches and ultimately claim his third professional win 59-55, 59-55, 60-54.
“Nothing that he did surprised me or hurt me at all. I wasn’t in the best shape,” Latchman said. “I planned on a four-round fight and I was going to go out a little bit harder than I did and then they told me six [rounds] so I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve got to pace myself.’ [The loss] doesn’t discourage me. It just motivated me more to always stay in shape and to stay ready at all times.”
Hernandez was put in a similar situation of not having a lot of time to prepare for an opponent when he competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Instead of focusing on the opposition, Hernandez had to invest his attention on his own technique.
Latchman’s boxing style was different than what Hernandez was scouting for his opponents, something that Hernandez said he had to adjust to once he was in the ring.
“[The Olympics] helped me a little bit, but it was a little different,” Hernandez said. “At the Olympics, I’m not really training for one certain person. This fight, I was training for one certain person and it was way different style than what Kendrick fought. When I got in the ring, I had to adjust.”
Feeding off the crowd’s energy chanting his name, Hernandez was the early aggressor and landed his punches. Latchman was looking for the counter punch, according to Lewis Hernandez, forcing Hernandez to take his time.
As Lewis Hernandez shouted that advice to his son in the ring, Hernandez followed by not being flashy for the fans, but being patient for his shots.
“When I got in the ring, I realized his arms were longer. He was waiting for me to come in and commit,” Hernandez said. “I just went back to the corner and listened to what the coaches had to say and came out with the victory.”
KO Night Boxing announced Hernandez’s next professional fight would occur on December 2 at Hartman Arena, but his opponent is to be determined.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Golovkin, Pacquiao, Shields, Atlantic City, Hernandez, and more..
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Golovkin, Pacquiao, Shields, Atlantic City, Hernandez, and more..
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 13th to June 20th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Canelo vs. Golovkin Tickets on Sale June 22nd
Tickets for the Saturday, Sept. 16 showdown for supremacy between lineal and RING Magazine Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) and IBO/IBF/WBA/WBC Middleweight World Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), for which fans have been clamoring, will go on sale Thursday, June 22 at 10:00 a.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. ET. In what may be boxing’s best, most competitive fight in 2017, the mega-event will feature two of the most popular and powerful fighters in the storied middleweight division fighting for ultimate supremacy and glory.
Tickets for Canelo vs. Golovkin are priced at $5,000, $2,500, $2,000, $1,500, $800, $700, $500 and $300, not including applicable service charges and taxes. There will be a limit of 10 per person at the $5,000, $2,500, $2,000, $1,500, $800, $700 price levels and a limit of two (2) per person at the $500 and $300 price levels. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849). Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.t-mobilearena.com or www.axs.com.
Canelo vs. Golovkin is a 12-round fight for the middleweight championship of the world presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions and sponsored by Tecate, BORN BOLD, Hennessy, Never Stop, Never Settle, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Tsesnabank and Capital Holding. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®
Claressa Shields Dominates to Win WBC Silver Belt
In just her first eight-round fight, Claressa “T-Rex” Shields scored a spectacular unanimous decision victory last Friday, June 16, at the Masonic Temple in Detroit to win the WBC Silver Super Middleweight Title.
Shields (3-0, 1KO) dominated tough Sydney “Ginger the Ninja” LeBlanc (4-2-1), winning all eight rounds on all three judges’ scorecards en route to adding the WBC Silver belt to her NABF Middleweight Championship belt. LeBlanc was simply no match for the blazing fists of crowd favorite Shields, who has convincingly established herself as a world championship-class contender in women’s boxing after just three professional fights.
Shields’ bout was the main event of a jam-packed Detroit Brawl event which set a new gate record for promoter Dmitriy Salita’s popular Detroit-based series.
“Claressa is one of the best boxers in the world!” said Dmitriy Salita. “Regardless of gender, her skills and experience are that of the elite fighters in the world. She is improving with each fight and the sky is the limit. Claressa is ready for the top fighters in her division and we will work on making a big championship fight happen next.”
In the 10-round co-main event, transplanted Detroit cruiserweight Alexey Zubov moved to 15-1, 9 KOs with a surprisingly easy 10-round decision over Detroit’s highly regarded Demetrius Banks (9-1, 4 KOs).
From the opening bell, the superior work rate of Zubov told the story, as the confused Banks had no answers for the big Russian’s jab. All three judges scored the fight 99-91. There were no knockdowns.
“Two of the best cruiserweight prospects in the world met in Detroit,” continued Salita. “The winner is now a real contender, ready to fight the best in the world. Alexey is much improved since his time training with Sugar Hill at the Kronk Boxing Gym. The magic of Kronk is alive and came to life in Alexey’s performance. Great things on the horizon for him!”
Another of Salita’s growing stable of promising contenders, Detroit bantamweight Ja’Rico O’Quinn (7-0, 5KOs) had too many tools for the outgunned David Martino (2-3, 2 KOs) and won by dominant unanimous decision (60-54, all three judges). A talent to watch, O’Quinn basically walked the determined Martino into his lightning-fast shots for six rounds.
“Ja’Rico’s defense was superb in his fight. His opponent was rarely able to even touch him. He is going to be a force at 118 lbs. in the not-too-distant future.”
Another surging contender from the Salita stable, junior welterweight wrecking ball Bakhtiyar Eyubov (13-0, 11 KOs) needed just 1:41 of round one to chew up and spit out Mexico’s Cesar Soriano. Eyubov targeted the body of Soriano and took away his breath with thudding left hoods to the liver that ended things quickly. Eyubov is an animal.
“Bakhtiyar went up a weight class because no one will fight him. This fight showed why,” said Salita. “He is too strong for most fighters to stay in with for very long. He will be in a big fight in the near future. He’s ready.”
ESPN and ESPN Deportes to Exclusively Air Manny Pacquiao Fight Live from Brisbane, Australia
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division world champion and the only sitting Senator to capture a world championship belt, will add another first to his burgeoning list of Hall of Fame-caliber accomplishments with his live debut on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (also streaming live on the ESPN app) on Saturday, July 1 at 10:00 p.m. ET. The fight will be called ringside by ESPN commentators Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas. They will be joined by guest analyst Timothy Bradley, Jr., a former two-division world champion recently trained by Teddy Atlas who has met Pacquiao three times in the ring, winning their first match in a decision. ESPN Deportes will pair Jorge Eduardo Sanchez and Juan Manuel Marquez to call the main event in Spanish, with prefight commentary from Pablo Viruega, Leopoldo Gonzalez, Claudia Trejos and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s reigning Fighter of the Decade, will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against undefeated No. 1 contender and Brisbane’s favorite son Jeff “The Hornet” Horn at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. This will be the first time Pacquiao has not fought on pay-per-view since Sept. 10, 2005, when he stopped Hector Velazquez in the sixth round — 12 years and four weight divisions ago.
ESPN’s coverage of “The Battle of Brisbane” will begin on Friday, June 30th, and includes live coverage of the Pacquiao and Horn weigh-in at 7 p.m. ET within SportsCenter on ESPN and within Golpe a Golpe on ESPN Deportes. During the week of June 26, classic Pacquiao fights will also be available on demand and streaming via the ESPN app, on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes, including Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton (5/2/2009), Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (11/12/11) and Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley (4/12/14).
The July 1 telecast will also feature Irish Olympic hero Michael Conlan (2-0, 2 KOs), from Belfast, in a six-round featherweight bout against Jarrett “Juarez” Owen (5-4-3,2 Kos), of Brisbane, and International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight world champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas (24-1-1, 16 KOs), of Cavite City, Philippines, defending his title against top-rated contender Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8 KOs), of Kobe, Japan. The live telecast will open with an eight-round middleweight rumble between Shane Mosley, Jr. (10-1, 7 KOs), of Pomona, Calif. and son of former three-division world champion “Sugar”
Shane Mosley, and David Toussaint (10-0, 8 KOs), of Canberra, Australia.
Olympic Bronze Medalist Nico Hernandez Stops Jose Rodriguez in the Third Round
Wichita hero and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, Nico Hernandez, dominated Jose “Mexican Diablo” Rodriguez in last night’s “KO Night Boxing: Rapid Fire” main event, which aired on CBS Sports Network live from Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
“KO Night Boxing: Rapid Fire” was a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC. TITLE Boxing is the official apparel and gloves partner for Knockout Night Boxing.
The 21-year-old Hernandez (2-0, 2 KOs) came out fast, rapidly firing combinations that consistently landed to his opponent’s head and body. Hernandez was as electric in the ring as the sky outside, battering the over-matched Rodriguez, finally dropping him midway through the second round.
The extremely sharp Hernandez floored Rodriguez again in the third with a right-left combination but the tough Mexican rose again. The onslaught continued briefly as the Olympian pounded Rodriguez (2-1, 2 KOs), knocking him down for the third time and final time as referee Kevin Champion counted him out at 2:38.
“I came out with a victory, it can’t get better than that,” Hernandez said after the fight. “I put him down a few times. I was happy with my performance. I was trying to get out of her to celebrate with my family and friends.
“I didn’t expect him to keep coming, getting up and still coming forward. I’ll talk to my promoter and coaches and see what’s next.”
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Inducts 24 Charter Class Members
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) Inaugural Induction weekend held on May 26, 27 and 28th was a smorgasbord of boxing royalty, celebrity guests and legions of boxing fans. ACBHOF mission is to create visibility and awareness through annual inductions ceremonies; boxing champions, as well as the boxing community at-large will have their names enshrined into immortality by being inducted into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
“Watching my vision come together with the assistance of Rodrick Green, the VP of Business Strategy, and Angela Crockett our Communications Director, along with the rest of my team and countless other supporters and fans across the country, who’ve embraced this endeavor has been overwhelmingly impressive.” – Ray McCline, Founder & President
The trio of events, which were sponsored by the Claridge – a Radisson Hotel, kicked-off May 26th with a pre-reception and welcome address in the VÜE Rooftop Bar. The 150 guests included: Red Carpet Host Whitney Ullman, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, Councilman Frank Gilliam, Dr. Nina Radcliff, Flo Anthony, Aaron Snowell, Lillo Brancato, Alan Goldberg, Ray Mercer, Mark Breland, Iran Barkley, Iceman John Scully, Tracy Patterson, Milton Luban, Chuck Zito, Grandy Twins, sponsors and stakeholders alike.
“The Claridge – a Radisson Hotel was proud to have hosted Atlantic City’s first Boxing Hall of Fame induction class. It’s events like this that make hospitality and history come to life in this city. From the Fight Fan Expo to the Gala it was a pleasure to see new faces and passion throughout a weekend of exceptional events. We look forward to hosting the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame events for years to come at The Claridge – a Radisson Hotel.”- Cem Erenler, V.P. of Hotel Operations & Business Development
On May 27, the festivities continued into the Fight Fan Experience, a festive boxing themed environment that included a Boxing Fantasy Camp, Pop-Up Barber Shop, Jack Johnson Exhibit Icons of Boxing, The Legacy Exists Joe Frazier Scholarship Fund, James O’Neal Sculptures, The Press of Atlantic City Exhibit, Food vendors and music by DJ Young Hitta.
The evening of May 27th concluded with an Honoree Gala in the Art Gallery celebrating “Women in Boxing.” Host for the evening, Nino Del Buono. Honorees included: Cathy Burke, Marian Muhammad, Joan Pierce, Renee Aiken and Althea “Vern” Saunders.
The culminating Induction celebration concluded Sunday, May 28th with a little over 500 guests. The master of ceremonies for the ceremony, President of NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, Henry Hascup. The star-studded Charter Class members included: Don King, Michael Spinks, Larry Hazzard, Steve Smoger, Mike Rossman, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Frank Gelb, Don Elbaum, J Russell Peltz, Dave Bontempo, Ken Condon, Robert Lee, Sr., Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson.
“I would like to sincerely congratulate Mr. Ray McCline, Roy Foreman, Rodrick Green, Angela Crockett and all of the wonderful people responsible for the great Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame weekend which took place on May 26th, 27th, and 28th. The event was an astounding success and it allowed many of us, who attended, the opportunity to relive some of the exciting moments of our past boxing history. The establishment of the ACBHOF will also ensure that the great legacy of Atlantic City Boxing, will be remembered and celebrated for many years to come!! Once again congratulations and I look forward with great anticipation to next year’s celebration. God Bless!!” – Commissioner Larry Hazzard, NJ State Athletic Control Board
Posthumous Inductees: Arturo Gatti (received by Sofia Bella Gatti); Leavander Johnson (received by his Son); Mathew Saad Muhammad (received by Mustafa Ameen); Lou Duva (received by Dino Duva); Jack Obermayer (received by his daughter Ellen Kaplan); Bert Sugar; Dennis Gomes (received by his daughter Danielle Gomes and Mrs. Gomes); Mike Hall, Sr. (received by his son Mike Hall, Jr.) and Dr, Frank Doggett (received by his daughter Yvonne “Missy” Doggett).
“It was such an incredible honor to be part of such a historic event. We had a blast at the HARD Kickoff party with Michael Spinks and Ray Mercer. It was so amazing to see all the young kids enjoying the Boxing experience. They are the new generation of Atlantic City Boxing. The Highlight of the weekend for us was the Gala, it was truly a memorable evening. Congratulations to Ray McCline and the inductees on a successful Inaugural Induction. The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame will be a staple destination for Boxing Fans in the years to come.” – Gregory V. Posella, President & Co-founder HARD Beverage
Former Miss America, Suzette Charles, Chicken Bone Beach Jazz Band and saxophonist Parris provided entertainment for the evening. Entertainment was coordinated by Kevin Crump.
Title Sponsors: Hard Lifestyle Beverages, Designer Wraps and Hammer Fiber Optics. The Atlantic City Police Athletic League is ACBHOF’s charitable arm. Keebler Media was the official ACBHOF videographer.
Other sponsors and supporters: City of Atlantic City; Triax 57; 2300 Arena; FantaSea Resorts; Adams Boxing; Rumble TV Network; Tina Davido Promotions; Abrams Boxing, Adams Boxing, Plush Vodka, Punzoné Organic Vodka, House of Genesis and WBC.
While the menus consisted of scrumptious passed hors d’oeuvres and signature drinks, the Honoree cake designed by Cake King of Queens and the unveiling of Commemorative Paintings by Nicolosi were stunning show stoppers.
Another extraordinary highlight from the weekend was when Arturo Gatti’s 11-year old daughter Sofia Bella Gatti accepted her father’s award alongside his longtime friends Chuck Zito and Mike Sciarra.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Pacquiao, Helenius, Alvarez, Chavez, Chisora, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Pacquiao, Helenius, Alvarez, Chavez, Chisora, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 28th to April 4th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Pacquiao to Possibly Face Jeff Horn
Bob Arum recently stated that Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn may face each other in the summer after Pacquiao abandoned the planned fight to pursue a showdown with Amir Khan.
This fight is being discussed to take place in Australia, but no set date or venue has been established.
Arum is currently working on finalizing the deal, but nothing has been set in stone yet.
Helenius and Chisora Ready to Renew Rivalry
Robert Helenius (24-1, 15 KOs) and Dereck Chisora (26-7, 18 KOs) came face-to-face for the first time since their controversial December 2011 showdown today at the Hotel Kamp in Helsinki, Finland as they prepare to renew their rivalry on May 27.
Helenius was awarded a split decision victory in their first bout, despite many people believing the British boxer did enough to win. Chisora now has the chance to settle the score when they return to the Hartwall Arena to contest the WBC Silver World Heavyweight title in a hotly anticipated rematch.
Chisora is coming off the back of another contentious decision in a ‘fight of the year’ contender versus countryman Dillian Whyte, while Helenius has scored back-to-back knockout victories against Konstantin Airich and Gonzalo Omar Basile.
‘’I don’t think Robert took me seriously last time,’’ said Chisora. ‘’But this time he will need to train harder than ever. I’m going to take him to places he has never been before, and I’m going to stop him. I’m not playing around. This guy is in trouble. When I come back to Helsinki, I’m going to be in war mode.”
‘’I’m looking forward to this fight,’’ said Helenius. ‘’Dereck is a tough fighter and I think we will put on a great show for the fans. My hand was raised after our first fight and I can’t see any other outcome this time. This is a big opportunity for me. A victory will bring me closer to a World title fight, and that is my goal.’’
‘’This is going to be the biggest fight on Finnish soil in recent history,’’ said promoter Nisse Sauerland. ‘’It’s a fight that’s been six years in the making, and we’re delighted to be back in Helsinki and back at the Hartwall Arena.’’
Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. Coming Live to the Big Screen on May 6th
Cinemas across the U.S. will play host to a Cinco de Mayo weekend mega-fight with a pulse-pounding live broadcast event featuring two of Mexico’s finest boxers: “Canelo Álvarez vs. Julio César Chávez, Jr.” in a historic showdown that will rival the biggest fights in Mexico’s rich boxing history. Two-division world champion Canelo Álvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) will square off against former WBC World Middleweight Champion Julio César Chávez, Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) in a 12-round battle.
Presented by Fathom Events and Golden Boy Promotions, the one-day cinema broadcast is set for Saturday, May 6 at 6:00 p.m. PT / 7:00 p.m. MT / 8:00 p.m. CT / 9:00 p.m. ET, live from the sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In addition to catching all the in-ring action up close and personal, event attendees will receive an exclusive commemorative fight mini-poster.
Tickets for “Canelo Álvarez vs. Julio César Chávez, Jr.” can be purchased beginning Friday, April 7, 2017 online by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). A complete list of theater locations will be available April 7 on the Fathom Event’s website (theaters and participants are subject to change).
On May 5, 2016, Álvarez celebrated T-Mobile Arena’s first boxing event with a knockout of Amir “King” Khan. Álvarez last fought on September 17, 2016, knocking out the previously undefeated WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith. Chávez, Jr. was last in action on December 10, 2016, when he secured a unanimous decision victory over highly-regarded German fighter Dominik Britsch.
Álvarez says, “Julio César Chávez, Sr. is one of the best, if not the best fighter in history. I grew up watching him and learned a lot from him, but that won’t have any influence when I fight his son… I want to remind you that when two Mexican fighters face-off, a spectacular show is guaranteed, and I can assure you that May 6 will be no exception.”
“This is going to be a tough fight. Every fight is important, and this one especially because it is between two Mexicans fighting each other for the glory,” Julio César Chávez, Jr. said. “I’m going to win, but my country will too, because this is the fight that boxing needs.”
Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions said, “Mexican boxing is the best, and when you have these two top boxers who want to give the best to the fans, we couldn’t pass it up. Canelo, the biggest boxing star, will take on not only a former world champion in Julio César Chávez, Jr., but the son of the biggest star in the history of boxing in Mexico.”
“There’s nothing like seeing these warriors – Canelo Álvarez and Julio César Chávez, Jr. – do battle, larger than life, on the big screen,” John Rubey, CEO of Fathom Events said. “It’s like having a real ring-side experience in your local cinema surrounded by other fans!”
Samuel Clarkson Laser-Focused on Interim WBA World Title Fight
A laser-focused Samuel “Main Event” Clarkson (19-3, 11 KOs) will step onto the world stage on Friday, April 14, as the Uprising Promotions light heavyweight faces unbeaten prospect Dmitry Bivol (9-0, 7 KOs) for the Interim WBA World Championship. The bout will serve as the feature attraction of ShoBox: The Next Generation, with the fight taking place at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C.
“Preparation for this fight has been awesome. I’m ready, and I’m excited,” said Clarkson, who moved his training camp to New York for this bout. “I will definitely owe this victory to New York City and of course Uprising Promotions, Ronson Frank and my dad. This was a very hard camp, but it has made me mentally become a stronger person. Physically, I’m definitely a stronger person. Going through life from this day forward, I’m just a different person.”
A Texas native, Clarkson and his father/head trainer, Samuel, Sr., opted to move this camp to New York where Uprising Promotions President Ronson Frank has been able to secure sparring with many of the top prospects in the region.
“Preparation in New York has been awesome,” Clarkson continued. “I’m not taking anything away from my people in Dallas, but I came out here and got exactly what I wanted. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and we’re ready for war now. All the hard work is just about done.”
Clarkson has gone unbeaten since joining Uprising Promotions and is currently riding a nine-bout winning streak. Among those victories included a decision over former world title challenger Cedric Agnew and knockouts of highly touted prospects Jerry Odom and Lavarn Harvell on ShoBox. The 26-year-old pugilist has been continually improving and showing significant growth since signing with Uprising Promotions in 2015, and a newfound dedication to his craft now leads him into the biggest opportunity of his professional career on April 14.
“Coming here and being out of our comfort zone has been great for two key reasons,” said Samuel Clarkson, Sr., who has worked alongside his son throughout his amateur and professional campaigns. “For one, this has enabled Samuel to fully prepare mentally. Two, the quality of sparring we have gotten has been tremendous. We have sparred with some top quality guys here in New York. Being embraced by all of these highly skilled fighters in New York has just made this whole thing a great experience. We’re really thankful to have this opportunity.”
Uprising Promotions President Ronson Frank, who initially started the promotion in 2013 to help himself get fights as an undefeated light heavyweight prospect, has aggressively build the foundation for his company over the past four years and feels very confident as its lead stablemate heads into this world title opportunity.
“Camp has been great, and everything has gone very smoothly,” said Frank. “We have a nice, strong game plan, and we have put in all of the preparation necessary to be ready for a fight like this. We are good to go and can’t wait until the fight.”
Standing opposite Clarkson on April 14 will be Bivol, who had an extensive amateur career that he finished off with a record of 285-15. The 26-year-old won the Interim WBA Light Heavyweight Title last May in Moscow with a unanimous decision over previously undefeated Felix Valera.
“We have some tricks up our sleeves,” Clarkson concluded. “Fans are definitely going to see an amazing fight. Anybody who knows me, you know I’m going for the knockout. If it shows up early, we’re taking it. If it’s later in the rounds, then that’s where we’ll take it. I’m just coming, and I’m going to be vicious. I’m always aggressive. I’m not afraid of this guy, so people are going to see a really exciting fight from bell to bell.”
Diego De La Hoya to Headline Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN on May 18th
Looking to continue his meteoric rise up the Super Bantamweight division, undefeated WBC Youth World Champion Diego De La Hoya (17-0, 9 KOs) will headline the Thursday, May 18 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN in a 10-round battle against crafty veteran Erik Ruiz (16-6-1, 6 KOs) at Casino Del Sol Resort in Tucson, Arizona and televised on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes starting at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST.
“I’m excited and thankful to be headlining Golden Boy Promotions’ new venture with ESPN in Tucson!” said Diego De La Hoya. “I have a tough opponent in Erik Ruiz, but I’ll be more than ready for him! I know ESPN is expecting great matchups from Golden Boy, and this fight is no exception!”
“I am thrilled to be getting the opportunity to fight Diego De La Hoya,” said Erik Ruiz. “I’ve had many ups and
downs in my career and I know a win against Diego can help erase some of those bumps. This fight has given me a renewed motivation. Only in boxing can one win change your life and a win against De La Hoya can change mine for the better. This will be a great fight for the fans!”
“We are thrilled to be adding Casino Del Sol Resort as one of our designated ESPN stops as an effort to ensure that fight fans around the country have the opportunity to see top talent give all they have in the ring,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “Diego is a natural in the ring and he’ll do anything to make sure he takes back home that belt. On the other hand, Erik Ruiz will look to vindicate himself, and will not hold back on Diego.”
US Olympian Nico Hernandez Building Wichita into a Fight Town
Last Saturday night at Kansas Star Arena in nearby Mulvane, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez planted a seed in hopes of growing Wichita into a fight town, as world champions Terence Crawford and Deontay Wilder have already accomplished in the respective hometowns, Omaha (NE) and Birmingham (AL).
More than 3,100 fans purchased tickets Hernandez’ successfully professional debut, stopping Pat Gutierrez in the fourth round. To put that attendance figure in its proper perspective, Wichita has a population of less than 400,000 and in this hoop-crazed state, the appropriately named “KO Night Boxing: History Begins” went head-to-head with the popular Kansas Jayhawks quintet playing on national television in the Elite Eight of the NCAA college basketball championship, as well as The Wichita Force playing at home in indoor football.
The 21-year-old Hernandez is practically a sports franchise in Wichita, second only to the Wichita State University (WSU) men’s basketball team. The city turned out in force at a parade honoring Hernandez upon his return home from the Olympics and WSU awarded him an open-ended four-year college scholarship.
“The show was a huge success and Nico, as a pro fighter, produced a more complete body of work than we had expected,” Hernandez’ promoter John Andersen (KO Night Boxing) said. “I was very impressed. His amateur background converted to an even better pro style. It really showed his potential and that’s one of the primary reasons we signed him. We really believed in Nico. He is the only fighter we have signed, right now; Nico is our stable! We see things from a different angle than big-time promoters. We understood that he’s a hometown hero, so we had him headline at home his pro debut on national television (CBS Sports Network). We produce our shows on television and we enjoy telling stories like Nico’s. We’d like to come right back to Wichita with Nico fighting in June.”
Lifelong Kansas Sean Wheelock, a non-paid member of the Kansas Athletic Commission that oversees boxing, in addition to calling last Saturday’s fights as a member of the KO Night Boxing announcing team on CBS Sports Network, has a unique perspective on the significance of last Saturday evening’s in terms of local boxing history.
“It was huge for Kansas boxing,” Wheelock explained, “the biggest show in this state since the Tommy Morrison Era (early-to-mid 1990’s). Morrison was an adopted son, though. Nico was born here and he has a deep investment in the Wichita community. Drawing 3000-plus for his pro debut, in a non-boxing market, was phenomenal and he has the potential to do what Crawford has done in Omaha and Wilder in Birmingham. Boxing has strong roots in Kansas and across the Midwest, but MMA has taken over and lately, most boxing in Kansas has been on hybrid shows with MMA and kickboxing.
“Fans were loudly chanting, ‘Nico’ and ‘316’ (Wichita’s area code) before, during and after his fight. I’ve never heard fans chanting for a city like they did, ‘Wichita’, for an individual athlete. And they were also chanting ‘USA’. As a native Kansas, I’m proud that this state has become more ethnically and culturally diverse with more Hispanics living in Wichita. Nico is engaged in the Hispanic community and he is a fantastic kid, too. Because of his personality and fighting style, he can draw locally from Wichita, throughout all of Kansas, and nationally among Hispanics and Americans across the country because of his accomplishment in the Olympics.”
Hernandez is also fighting in one of the hottest divisions in boxing — 115-pound junior bantamweight/super flyweight — showcasing name fighters such as Naoya Inoue, Roman Gonzalez, Carlos Cuadras, Juan Francisco Estrada and recent addition Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Conspicuously absent, however, are top 20 ranked American fighters in this weight class, excluding 36-year-old Brian Viloria, the four-time, two-division (junior flyweight and flyweight) world champion. The opportunity is right there for Hernandez to quickly establish himself as the preeminent American boxer in this weight class.
“There’s no reason for Nico to fight outside of Wichita for a couple of years as he develops,” Andersen noted. “I feel that he can win a regional title next year. Our goal is to have him in a world title fight position within three years. Our goal is to get him 13 to 15 fights and then promote a super fight in Wichita. He started out in a six-round fight. I think he’ll only have a couple more and then move up to eight-round bouts.
“Nico doesn’t waste a lot of punches, so the number of scheduled rounds won’t be a problem for him. Another fighter would have punched himself out in two rounds, fighting at home in front of a crowed like he had supporting him, but Nico showed tremendous poise, settling down and putting his punches together very well. He didn’t chase Gutierrez, he effectively cut off the ring, and his powerful body attack was something he didn’t do as an amateur. We wanted to see how he reacted to resistance and he passed that test with flying colors.”
Andersen noted that his company has promoted several successful shows, noting the big difference is last weekend’s show featured a world-class fighter in Hernandez. “Making the Olympics was a big deal for Nico,” Andersen added, “whether he medaled or not. Nico is to us what Manny Pacquiao is to Top Rank, ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to Golden Boy. We’re lucky to start out with a fighter like Nico. Fighting in Wichita was risk for everybody but it’s already paying dividends.
“We know who and what we are as a promotional company. Nico is our top priority, our only fighter right now, and now we have a great opportunity to build off last weekend’s success. We give Nico all the attention he deserves and he’s going to take advantage of this situation. And we also discovered that there’s some other talented boxers in this market. Whit Hayden did a wonderful job making very competitive fights. That’s his history, he never has blowouts. Whit is one of the most knowledgeable people I know in boxing. He’s the perfect matchmaker to guide Nico’s career, along with Nico’s father (head trainer) Lewis Hernandez, who we work closely with in many ways, in and out of the ring.”
The Drought is Over: Nico Hernandez takes home Bronze for US Boxing
The Drought is Over: Nico Hernandez takes home Bronze for US Boxing
By: Matthew N. Becher
Nico Hernandez came into these Olympic Games as a pretty big underdog, in fact the whole USA Boxing team did. Not having won a medal since Deontay Wilder took home a bronze in 2008 it is a daunting task to compete with so much pressure, in a sport that is already filled with enough of it.
Hernandez started the round of 32 with a Unanimous Decision win against Italy’s Manuel Cappai last Wednesday, which in itself was a great accomplishment. The entire 2012 men’s team in London only won 1 match between them.
Nico followed that up with a huge upset win over the second seeded Russian, Vasilii Egorov, again by Unanimous decision, leading him into the Quarterfinals, “Me and my coaches came in with a game plan and we executed it….I knew he was going to try and make it rough for me, so I just tried to keep my composure and stay smart with him.”
In the Quarterfinals, the unseeded Hernandez kept up his winning ways by defeating Ecuador’s Carlos Quipo and guaranteeing him a spot in the medal round. For the first time in 28 yrs. an American Light Flyweight would take home an Olympic Medal. The last to do it was Michael Carabajal in the 1988 Seoul games. “It was a little difficult but I know as I go along the fights are just gonna get harder. As long as I listen to my coaches and do what they say, I know they won’t lead me on the wrong path. They told me it was close, I hit him with a couple body shots and I feel like that slowed him down. I knew he was going to be coming forward. He’s a real strong fighter so I had to wear him down to the body and slow him down.”
Today the Cinderella story came to an end, as Hernandez lost to Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov 3-0. Dusmatov was just too strong and fast for Nico to handle. Hernandez was also cut in the fight. Hernandez said “he was just the better man today, I’m definitely disappointed, I didn’t want to go home with a bronze medal. I wanted to go home with a gold….I know win or lose, my supporters back home are proud of me.”
Hernandez is certainly right. He is a shining star in the sport now, one that many are sure to keep their eye on in the future. At only 20 years old, the kid from Wichita, Kansas should know that he made his country very proud, while adding a few historical moments as well.