By: Jesse Donathan
The main event of UFC 161 between Michelle Waterson and Joanna “Champion” Jedrzejczyk may not have proven to be a fight of the year candidate Saturday night, but it does serve as a great example of how pressure from above can come with little to no consideration or regard for the best interests or wellbeing of the athletes themselves. The combat sports industry only cares about dollars and cents, a fact which underscores the value and necessity for a fighter to have a good team and management in their corner. Jedrzejczyk dominated Waterson Saturday night, taking home a five-round unanimous decision victory, though one unfortunately marred by a weight controversy and the resulting speculative fallout that saw the Waterson camp reportedly pressured into accepting a catchweight bout.
In an October 10, 2019 MMAMania.com article titled, “Joanna Jedrzejczyk has a message for her weight-cutting critics: Stay quiet, you’re not important,” author Jesse Holland touched based on some of the highlights from Jedrzejczyk’s UFC Fight Night 161 open workout scrum with MMAFighting.com prior to her Saturday night showdown against Michelle Waterson (17-7, 3 KOs) in Tampa, Florida.
“There are always some troubles with the weight cut, there’s always some risk, Jedrzejczyk said. I know people are smart and think it’s that easy to, ‘Hey, go run for 10 hours or don’t eat,’ but it’s not like this, you know? So, people who are not important who don’t know a lot about it should just stay quiet and just wait until the end, the results,” writes MMAMania.com.
Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account
The story of the week leading up to UFC Fight Night 161 was the controversy surrounding reports Jedrzejczyk had informed the UFC brass well ahead of time that she would not be able to make the 115-pound strawweight limit. As BoxingInsider.com previously reported, Waterson’s camp held their ground in insisting Jedrzejczyk make the 115-pound strawweight division limit (116-pounds), reportedly having received ultimatums from the UFC to either accept a catchweight against Jedrzejczyk or face Jessica Andrade at UFC 244. Thankfully, Jedrzejczyk (16-3, 4 KOs) made weight at Friday’s weigh-in, coming in at a reported 115.5-pounds.
“I’m trying to unpack Joanna not champion here,” said ESPN MMA analyst Chael Sonnen in his October 11, 2019 YouTube video titled, “Joanna not champion’s weight cut struggles….” According to Sonnen, “She calls the promotion and she says, ‘I can’t make weight.’ Now don’t forget, this is a feature fight with Michelle Waterson that has implications for top contender status, ultimately implications for title contender status in the division. She calls up three days early and says, ‘Hey, I can’t make weight.’”
“There is a certain amount of honor that comes with calling ahead of time, notifying the promotion, notifying the media and notifying your opponent, regardless of the deal that we had,” said Professor Sonnen in his classic reverse psychology critique of how the story unfolded. “I must tell you that I am going to break that deal,” said Sonnen, stepping into the role of the honorable Jedrzejczyk. Continuing, Sonnen went on to add, “So, instead of surprising you and dropping this in your lap, making you panic, making the commission panic, double-crossing my opponent who is going to go and get her weight off, I’m just going to tell you right up front I need a new deal, we got to make a new deal.”
“And, a couple of things here,” added the Bad Guy Inc. CEO. “First, is she going to get teased? Yeah. Was that unprofessional? Yeah. Does that beg question what the hell have you been doing this entire training camp that you can’t make weight? Yeah, it does,” said Sonnen who was no doubt roasting Jedrzejczyk in the face of a potentially disastrous situation for the UFC and ESPN should a last-second opponent substitution have taken place, or perhaps even worse yet, the main event itself cancelled altogether. Which was no doubt the genesis of reports surfacing from the mixed martial arts media of an ultimatum having been served up to the Waterson camp.
To give you an idea of how the actual fight went, by the 4th round the call must have come from upstairs for fight announcers Michael Bisping and guest coach Trevor Wittman to discuss the tremendous heart Waterson was displaying and to remind the audience both fighters were top level strikers despite the fact Waterson was bloodied and getting pieced up throughout the bout. As far as striking goes, Waterson was never really in the game throughout the duration of the match, her offensive mindset and killer instinct seemingly having taken a back seat to her team’s game planning and the realities of a five-round contest.
Michelle found it hard to navigate the distance with her taller, longer opponent as Waterson either looked to tie Jedrzejczyk up in the clinch along the fence or take her down throughout the five-round affair, which is a commendable strategy, but unfortunately one Waterson failed to capitalize on despite having her moments late in the third when she briefly took a standing Jedrzejczyk’s back, threatening with a rear naked choke before ultimately losing the position and submission not long before the end of the round.
Meeting the bell at the beginning of the fifth and final round, Jedrzejczyk’s right foot was badly swollen, her cornermen treating the injury with ice in between rounds, the result of repeated leg kick attacks from the Muay Thai specialist. Both fighters appeared well conditioned as the beginning of final five minutes began to count down, the two meeting in the center of the Octagon and embracing before Jedrzejczyk went back on the offensive. The two would tie up along the fence in the clinch for a meaningful period of time, with Bisping noting that Joanna had dominated Waterson thus far in the contest as the clock was winding down.
With just over two minutes left in the round, Waterson managed to briefly drag Jedrzejczyk to the mat before again taking a standing Jedrzejczyk’s back along the fence. Joanna eventually managed to peel Waterson off, receiving a thank you from Bisping in the process who had just finished explaining to the audience how to defend Waterson’s submission attempt, which coincidentally enough, Jedrzejczyk had just demonstrated beautifully. The round would come to a close with Jedrzejczyk on a bloodied Waterson’s back, the two warmly embracing each other after a hard fought 25-minute battle after the final bell rung.
With the story of UFC Fight Night 161 being Jedrzejczyk’s reported difficulty in making the 115-pound strawweight limit of 116 pounds, the fact she dominated the fight is unfortunately overshadowed by the controversy surrounding her weight and the reported ultimatums levied to the Waterson camp in accepting a catchweight bout. Jedrzejczyk was the bigger woman in the cage Saturday night, she had a height and reach advantage, her length posed significant problems for Waterson and Jedrzejczyk’s top level Muay Thai kickboxing was on full display for the world to see.
Yet, despite all of those advantages, unfortunately there were those who wanted to see Waterson concede even more ground to Jedrzejczyk in accepting a catchweight bout despite being dominated under the originally agreed upon terms. While this bout may not have been a fight of the year candidate, it does stand as perhaps one of the best examples of how pressure from above can come with absolutely no consideration for the best interests or well-being of the athletes themselves, underscoring the necessity and value of a good team and proper management in a fighters corner in a combat sports industry that only cares about dollars and cents.
By: Jesse Donathan
The UFC Fight Night 156 main event between flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and challenger Liz Carmouche was simply put, terrible. If Liz Carmouche’s game plan was to force the disciplined, ever patient counter striker in Shevchenko to come to her than perhaps she can claim some kind of marginal success. Because all Carmouche did throughout round one was run a glorified sparring session at best against Shevchenko, putting on a demonstration for fans on how to move in the cage without actually fighting. It was a terribly boring performance, not the kind of fight that had you looking forward to round two.
Unfortunately, the second round was marked with more of the same from round one. Carmouche at one point went for a takedown, shooting from a mile away, which Shevchenko easily defended. Baring this break in the action, the remainder of the round was little more than a mirror image of the first. The exact kind of fight you know for a fact you do not want to watch for another three full rounds.
The problem with attempting to out counterstrike the counter striker, forcing them out of their element and into your own counterstriking glory is once the terribly boring game plan begins to work, you have to actually do something once your opponent begins engaging you. Otherwise, it’s a game of pity-patter; less than a glorified sparring session bordering on a direct insult to our intelligence. The third round was little more than a continuation of the previous two rounds, a glorified sparring session marked with a lot of movement from Carmouche but not much in the way of offense or even a pulse in the fight.
Quite honestly, it appeared as if Carmouche was shadow boxing in an actual championship bout, literally punching at and catching air. The only ray of light in an otherwise dismal fight throughout three rounds was Shevchenko finally catching up with Carmouche with a straight left hand, planting the veteran firmly on the canvas with just under two minutes left to go in the third.
With Carmouche grounded on her back, Shevchenko would begin to work leg kicks before the referee Keith Peterson made the decision to stand the combatants back up. From there the fighters would find their way into the clinch, with Shevchenko impressively throwing her Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt foe to the mat with a variation of an upper body takedown, ultimately trapping Carmouche against the fence. Carmouche would begin to work heel kicks to Shevchenko’s thighs from her back, the effectiveness of which being open for debate. This was perhaps exactly where you would expect Carmouche to shine in the fight, the exact place Liz needed this contest to go and unfortunately, she failed to capitalize on her good fortune.
The fourth round was more of the same from Carmouche, going through the motions on her feet before Shevchenko strung a combination together off of a superman punch that drew applause from the otherwise tame crowd. Carmouche would again shoot for a takedown from a mile away, which not surprisingly was defended by the well-rounded champion who moments later actually chose to chase Carmouche down to the ground where she immediately pulled rubber guard. Again, Carmouche would start heel kicking Shevchenko from her back instead of looking to improve her position or fish for a submission.
Shevchenko literally followed Carmouche down to her own world and yet Liz failed to capitalize. The fighters would jockey for position on the mat for sometime before the referee decided he had seen enough and once again stood the fighters back up. The fight would continue briefly on the feet, before Carmouche rushed in for a takedown, eating a spinning back fist for her efforts before once again ending up on her back with Shevchenko in dominant top position. The fourth would end with Carmouche down four rounds to zero and getting thoroughly outworked by the champion Shevchenko.
The fifth and final round began much the same as the second, with Carmouche going through the motions on her feet before shooting in for a takedown and ending up on her back once again. Shevchenko would slowly push Carmouche across the cage and into the fence, where Liz still could not manage to threaten any kind of legitimate submission attempt despite having a perceived advantage in the grappling department on paper. The fight would come to an end with Shevchenko standing up and frustratingly biding Carmouche to follow her to the center of the Octagon before the final bell sounded drawing an end to one of the most uneventful championship fights in UFC history.
Valentina Shevchenko may have defended her title Saturday night, but the real loser of the fight wasn’t the heartless Liz Carmouche but the fans themselves. An insult to our intelligence, UFC light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos was prepared to die in the cage to defeat Jon Jones and claim the UFC light heavyweight title. Santos will be recovering from the injuries he sustained in that fight for months to come. In contrast, Liz Carmouche put on the exact opposite performance of Santos leading one to question to whether she came to win or collect a pay check and go home at UFC Fight Night 156 on ESPN.
By: Kevin Dyson
Right, first thing is first. This is about a video game and, as such, will probably get dismissed.
But humour me, as I want to explain how something that may be seen as niche can impact the way our sport is seen and supported by the general public.
With that out of the way, let us talk about the saga of Fight Night Champion 2.
Between 1999 and 2011, gamers enjoyed a series of 10 boxing games, five under the Knockout Kings moniker and a further five in the Fight Night series.
For a great part of this run, the fighters that historically attracts the most casual fans, the heavyweight division, was at its lowest ebb, thanks to a dearth of talent and the dominant but dull Klitschkos facing very little challenge. I was a fan of both, but sometimes it seemed the only way we would get any excitement was through the brothers facing off against each other.
Thankfully we had the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and a plethora of talent in the lower weight classes. But there is no doubt that having stars among the big men is the easiest way to attract the public.
With 2011’s Fight Night Champion we had a great sports game that managed to satisfy true boxing fans, featuring legends and current fighters and rewarding players who understand the ebb and flow of the sweet science, It was also ground-breaking, featuring a dramatic storyline that would go on to inspire a number of other sports titles.
So we played the game, loved it.
Ever since then publisher EA has opted to take advantage of the burgeoning UFC, releasing three editions of mixed martial art action since 2014.
On the face of it, it was entirely sensible given the fortunes of the sports at that time.
However, with sales in the UFC series falling and the resurgence of boxing’s glamour division, you could reasonably expect the sort of thinking that drove them into the arms of UFC in the first place directing them back to boxing.
Just compare the potential rosters for a start. While Fight Night Champion featured all the legends of the sport, the modern talent was underwhelming. As well as the Klitschkos, we had Butterbean, Eddie Chambers and Chris Arreola.
bviously, we did have the likes of Pacman, Mosely, De La Hoya, Cotto and Bradley to make up for that, but broadly speaking it was less than stellar.
Compare that to the potential line up in a sequel.
Lomachenko, Fury, Wilder, Joshua, Ruiz, Inoue, Garcia, GGG, Canelo, Ward, Kovalev and so on. Not only are these exciting fighters, they are all personalities.
Unfortunately, this short list highlights the one potential roadblock. With the UFC the game developers deal with a single entity, as they do with their NFL, NBA and NHL games. Clearly this makes a deal a lot more straightforward.
The boxing industry certainly can’t be accused of being straightforward. After all most fighters are more like freelancers or agency workers and the each sanctioning body works independently of one another. Trying to secure individual fighters for a game is a laborious, not to mention expensive, endeavour.
Still, if not now, then when? If they don’t get their finger out during this boom period for the sport I wouldn’t put money on them bothering in the future.
There has been no lack of pressure from fans, that is certain. One fan decided to be proactive, setting up a petition, www.change.org/p/ea-games-new-boxing-game-fight-night-champion-2, which has attracted more than 10,000 signatures.
The petition states: “There is no doubt about it. Boxing IS on the rise again. The excitement and entertainment the sport brings to the masses is unquestionably breath-taking
“It (Fight Night Champion 2) would mean a great deal to the boxing community as well as many casual fans to be given an opportunity to relive the great moments from fighters, old and new, all over again.”
While many (possibly most) of you may have absolutely no interest in pixelated pugilism, I hope that you would agree that, for boxing to grow, it is precisely this type of crossover that has a role to play – drawing people, especially younger ones, into the boxing family.
By: Jesse Donathan
“If he dies, he dies.” These are the haunting words of Ivan Drago from Rocky IV and the classic image of how Russian fighters are still portrayed in the United States today. Ruthless, formidable opponents who represent a direct threat to the western way of life. And just like on the big screen, Russian fighters are on the cusp of making big waves in the arena of combat sports in real life. Enter UFC Fight Night 149 which goes down Saturday night, April 20, 2019 at the Yubileyny Sports Complex in St. Petersburg, Russia on ESPN +. The headlining event will feature two longtime mixed martial arts veterans pitted against one another in 41-year old Moscow native Alexey Oleynik (57-11-1) versus the 38-year old Dutchmen Alistair Overeem (44-17).
Alexey “The Boa Constrictor” Oleynik is a very dangerous man. A heavyweight with an impressive arsenal of submission hold victories, Oleynik has the skillset to submit opponents from a variety of different positions including his back where fighters are often considered to be at their most vulnerable. Oleynik is a seasoned, crafty veteran who has been in the cage with some of the worlds best stand up fighters, feared strikers who are respected the world over for their particular brand of violence and Oleynik has come out on top against virtually all of them including former K-1 kickboxing and mixed martial arts legends Mark Hunt and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
And with a submission victory over the likes of the great Jeff Monson, a two-time ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion, Alexey Oleynik is a fighter who has been there and done that. Having defeated some of the worlds best grappling and striking experts in the field of mixed martial arts sporting competition. Oleynik is a true mixed martial artist with a wealth of experience against the very best the sport has to offer across a variety of disciplines.
Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem is a fighter who possesses the ability to defeat virtually anyone on the planet on any given night. Not someone you want to tangle with, Overeem is a dynamic striker who at various points in his career has looked virtually unstoppable against a deaths row of striking experts. A popular and controversial fighter, Overeem once failed a performance enhancing drug test with an eye popping 14:1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio.
To put that into perspective, in an April 5, 2012 mmafighting.com article titled “Alistair Overeem’s T/E Ratio was 14:1 in Failed PED Test” author Mike Chiapetta writes, “The average male produces a T/E ratio around 1:1. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) uses a 4:1 standard for positive tests, and the NSAC uses a 6:1 as its cutoff.”
Overeem is a former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, an elite mixed martial artist who is also the former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and interim DREAM Heavyweight Champion who has went on to smash some of the biggest names in the sport today including Mark Hunt, Junior Dos Santos and even WWE superstar Brock Lesnar. If you’re a fan of strikers who look for the finish, Alistair Overeem is a fighter whose record is littered with a trail of unconscious bodies in its wake. On any given night, against any fighter on the planet Alistair Overeem possesses the ability to defeat him in convincing, devastating fashion.
While enjoying a reputation as a feared striker, Overeem is also a crafty submission artist in his own right with a legendary guillotine choke that can easily introduce his opponents to the sandman if they are not prepared to deal with the tricks the seasoned veteran has up his sleeve. Unfortunately for Overeem, in what comes with the territory when you live and die by the sword, “The Demolition Man” is susceptible to being stopped by strikes to those crafty enough to exploit the holes in the veteran mixed martial artists game.
On paper, this is a classic striker versus grappler matchup. Though this is mixed martial arts and anything can happen, the keys to victory for each fighter are relatively clear cut and dry. By looking at their respective records alone it is clear that Oleynik is going to want to take this fight to the mat where he can utilize his submission grappling ability to put Overeem in a compromising position. Unfortunately for Oleynik, he is going to have to close the distance with Overeem in order to drag the Dutchmen to the canvas. Which is going to put “The Boa Constrictor” in striking range with the former K-1 champion though it isn’t like Oleynik hasn’t been here before.
It will be essential for the Russian to keep his hands up, conscious of his own head position as he looks to bring Alistair to the mat for fear of being caught in the Dutchmen’s own web of sticky submission techniques. The good news is that it won’t be hard to find Overeem in the cage, but the bad news is Oleynik is going to have to weather the storm from a straight up killer in order to make it a grappling contest.
Conversely, “The Demolition Man” should avoid going to the ground with Oleynik at all costs, keeping the Russian at the end of his punches, kicks and knee’s. Overeem is going to need to conduct a symphony of destruction while conscious of closing the distance with the Russian submission ace. Overeem needs to be an athletic, dynamic and mobile striker who makes his opponent pay for coming into striking range while maintaining sufficient enough range to minimize Oleynik’s grappling based offensive attack.
There are no mysteries in this fight, the only unknowns are which fighter is going to be able to impose his will over the other first. This is a fight where fighter IQ and the better game plan will mean the difference between victory and defeat. “The Boa Constrictor” will either catch Overeem in an ambush like assault or “The Demolition Man” is going to blow Oleynik right out of the water in a classic grappler versus striker matchup that will only continue to fuel the debate on which style of fighting is best.
By: Ken Hissner
Marshall Kauffman’s King’s Promotions close out September at the Sands Event Center on Tuesday Night Fights “Fight Night Live”. The Matchmaker is Damian Ramos. There are TEN scheduled bouts.
“King’s Promotions are ecstatic about almost 200,000 views for our Sept. 14th show, especially on short notice”, said Marshall Kauffman of King’s Promotions. “We continue to be one of the busiest promoters anywhere and we’re excited to bring the best-quality boxing to fight fans on Facebook”, he added.
In the Main Event Super Lightweight Anthony Mercado 11-4 (10), of Philadelphia and Arecibo, PR, takes on Victor Vazquez, 10-4 (4), Yonkers, NY, over 8 rounds for the World Boxing Foundation Silver International Title.
Stephen “Scooter” Fulton, 13-0 (6), Philadelphia, PA, takes on Esteban Aqino, 12-5 (7), of La Romana, DR, over 8 rounds.
The following are all 6 rounds:
Heavyweight Joe Hanks, 22-2 (14), Newark, NJ, takes on Terrance Marba, 9-6 (7), St. Petersburg, FL.
Super Welterweight southpaw Erik Spring, 10-2-2 (1), Reading, PA, takes on James Robinson, 5-11-5 (1), York, PA.
Heavyweight Colby Madison, 6-0-2 (4), Owings Mills, MD, takes on Jamaica’s Nicoy Clarke, 2-1 (0), Jersey City, NJ.
Heavyweight Michael Polite Coffie, 3-0 (2), Brooklyn, NY, takes on Curtis Head, 4-2 (3), Southfield, MI.
Super Lightweight Kenny Robles, 3-1 (1), Staten Island, NY, takes on southpaw Corey Gulley, 2-2-2 (0), Killeen, TX.
Super Bantamweight Raeese Aleem, 11-0 (5), Las Vegas, NV, takes on Alcides Santiago, 6-2 (5), Arecebo, PR.
Middleweight Money Powell IV, 7-0 (4), Ft. Mitchell, AL, takes on Marcus Washington, 4-1 (1), Toledo, OH.
Featherweight Martino Jules, 4-0 (0), Allentown, PA, takes on Felix Rosa, 1-0 (0), DR, over 4 rounds.
On Line: https://www.facebook.com/FaceFIGHTNIGHTLIVE/
By: Eric Lunger
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) makes his sixth title defense this Saturday night against former champ Bermane Stiverne (25-2, 21 KOs) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NYC. Wilder won the belt in January of 2015, defeating Stiverne in a 12 round unanimous decision, so what relevance does a second go-round have, especially when the first fight was not very competitive?
The answer to that question lies partially in what happened last weekend in Cardiff, Wales. Anthony Joshua, who dramatically dethroned the great Wladimir Klitschko last April, looked less than spectacular against the crafty and difficult-to-hit Carlos Takam. With a potential showdown with Joshua in the near future on the line, what questions can the Bronze Bomber answer this Saturday night which might help seal the deal?
We know that Wilder has KO power, but can he box? He’ll need more than power to hang with AJ. The Alabama native has a classic (and devastating) one-two, but has Wilder become a more multi-dimensional fighter? It would be great to see some variety from Deontay, some inside game, for example, or some new use of footwork and angles. The knock on Wilder has been that, while he has plenty of power, a technically proficient fighter would exploit those wide and wild punches that Wilder has thrown in the past. A tighter, more controlled performance from Wilder might silence that type of criticism.
Where is Wilder in terms of conditioning? The Bomber is known for staying in fighting trim, whereas at times Joshua looked tired, and seemed to be carrying too much weight for his frame. A lean and efficient Wilder might pose some real trouble for AJ, especially if he can take the British star into the late rounds.
Does Wilder need to score a dramatic knockout in order to stoke interest in a Joshua match-up? English promoter Eddie Hearn will not want to risk his star’s “zero” until conditions are optimal. There is already a high level of interest in the fight among boxing fans on both sides of the Atlantic — an exclamation point by Wilder would only add fuel to the fire. And a dominant win would make it harder for Joshua’s team to justify an interim opponent, especially after taking Takam deep into the fight and winning on a questionable stoppage.
The action will be live this Saturday night on Showtime (9 PM ET/6 PM PT)
By: William Holmes
The Marquee Ballroom at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Card.
The venue was a more intimate venue with good views for the fans in attendance.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
The opening bout of the televised card was between Damon Allen Jr. (12-0) and Jayro Duran (10-2) in the lightweight division.
Damon Allen is a Philadelphia native and considered by many to be on of the area’s best prospects.
Allen was in clear control the opening rounds and was able to land his left hook and jab with ease. He was able to control the distance and fight a measured but controlling pace on Duran.
Duran was able to land a thudding right hook in the fifth round that caught Allen by surprise momentarily, but Allen was able to outland Duran for the remainder and in this writer’s opinion still won the round.
Allen won a large majority of the remainder rounds and was sharp with his combinations and didn’t appear to tire even though Duran was able to continuously come forward. However Allen did not show that he had fight stopping power, but he did have good boxing skills.
All three judges scored the bout 79-72 for Damon Allen Jr.
The next bout of the night was in the Super Featherweight Division between Ryan Garcia (10-0) and Miguel Carrizoza (10-2) in the Super Bantamweight division. This bout was for the Junior NABF Super Featherweight Title.
Garcia came right out and landed a thudding right hook in the opening seconds that sent Carrizoza down to the mat. As soon as Carrizoza got to his feet Garcia landed another thudding hook that sent him down to the mat and the referee stopped the fight.
Two punches, two knockdowns, quick stoppage. Impressive fight for Garcia.
Ryan Garcia wins by TKO at 0:30 of the first round.
The next bout of the night was between Alexis Salazar (11-3) and Evan Torres (6-4) in the middleweight division. This bout was a TV swing bout.
Salazar was the taller fighter and he attempted to use his reach to keep Torres at bay. Torres, however, applied consistent pressure but he appeared to be more effective in the earlier rounds.
Both boxers took advantage of the opportunity to possibly be on television and had some heavy exchanges in the later rounds.
The final scorecards were read in Torres favor: 59-55, 58-56, and 60-54.
The televised main event was between Claudio Marrero (22-1) and Jesus Rojas (25-1-2) for the WBA Interim Featherweight Title.
Rojas is known for his hard charging come forward style and he had Marrero backing into a corner early. Marrero was mixing his combinations to the body and head and at one point pushed Rojas down into the corner. Marrero landed several good uppercuts in the opening round.
Marrero controlled the distance in the second round and showed he was clearly the fighter with the faster hands. Rojas was able to do a better job in the third round keeping the fight in close quarters, but Marrero was dominating when there was some separation between the two fighters.
Rojas dominated the fourth and fifth rounds and looked like he was wearing Marrero down. He kept his head in the chest of his opponents and was landing heavy shots, though Marrero was able to get in some good combinations of his own.
Marrero was able to retake control in the sixth round by landing good combinations and even backing Rojas up. Marrero could be seen jawing to his opponent throughout the sixth.
Marrero looked like he was catching his second round in the seventh round until Rojas landed a devastating combination with a fight ending left hook that sent Marrero down to the mat. Marrero was badly hurt and unable to get up before the count of ten.
Jesus Rojas wins by knockout at 2:59 of the seventh round.
Rosado returns to finish what she started in the Bull City.
This time last year, “Raging Babe” Michelle Rosado touched down in Raleigh for the first time, determined to help a local boxing promoter make his mark in North Carolina. Rosado and her company, Raging Babe, did just that, and have now emerged as North Carolina’s newest boxing promoter. On October 19th, Raging Babe promotes its own event at the Durham Armory, aptly named The Return. The card will feature some of the best young talent from across North Carolina in competitive fights, matched by Hall of Fame Matchmaker and mentor to Rosado, Russell Peltz.
With a combined 50+ years of experience in the rough and tumble world of boxing, Rosado and Peltz brought a well-tested formula to Wilson in their first North Carolina endeavor in February. The sell-out event was followed up by the debut of Thursday Night Fights in Durham. Throwing a boxing event on a Thursday night was a hard sell for Rosado. “I had to really work on the promoter to get them to give Thursday Night Fights a shot. Durham is a fight town. I knew that if we threw a solid, quality card, with good fights, that fans would come out on a Thursday night, and they did.” When planning The Return, Rosado opted to bring back Thursday Night Fights, and return to the Durham Armory.
After two wildly successful events, followed by a dramatic falling out with the now defunct promotional company, Rosado was reluctant to return to the Tar Heel State. She realized, though, after so many months of putting her sweat and passion into boxing in North Carolina, she owed to herself and the gyms, fighters and fans she met there to return, and fulfill the commitments she made to them to deliver quality fights, while treating the fighters ethically and with respect.
“It took a while to get to know the personalities, the gyms, the fighters and their stories,” said Rosado. “For a long time, North Carolina was a place that managers and promoters brought their fighters to rack up wins. The fighters here deserve so much more than that, as do the fans. I made it a point to let everyone I met in North Carolina know that we were here to work on changing that.”
In planning The Return, Rosado has felt that she could fully put her passions and ideas to work for North Carolina boxing. “I’m excited for the opportunity to do it my way,” said Rosado, who has put on events in Phoenix, Tucson, Philadelphia and Danbury, Connecticut. “I’m happy to work with any fighter that wants to step up and fight. There are no easy touches on my cards. We want to pack the venue and give fans a night to remember. Russell is putting together a phenomenal fight card. The main and co-main events are going to have people so excited – I get goosebumps thinking about it. These guys are really stepping up to give the fans some of the best fights Durham has seen in a while. I wasn’t even sure we could put these fights together, and all of these fighters signed on the dotted line with no hesitation. They are daring to be great, and putting their undefeated records on the line, and I can’t wait to formally announce what we’ve been working on these last few weeks.”
Rosado is also planning to work with the fighters to help the community in and around Durham. “I want to bring positivity to Durham, and to North Carolina boxing. These guys are given a stage to showcase their talent, and we want to use that platform to give back to the community in any way we can.”
The complete fight card will be announced August 24th, and tickets for The Return go on sale that morning. Tickets can be purchased through the fighters or at ragingbabe.com.
Boxing with First State Pro Boxing Series Friday in New Castle, DE!
By: Ken Hissner
Dee Lee Promotions, LLC & Night Night Promotions, Inc. continues to keep boxing in the limelight with the second show in the state in 3 years this Friday at the Nur Shrine Temple at 198 S. Dupont Hwy in New Castle, DE.
Diane Lee Fischer Cristiano of Dee Lee Promotions has promoted over 75 shows and is joining first time promoters “Joltin” Joey Tiberi, Jr. and Todd Mulvena of Night Night Promotions. Tiberi will be in the main event with Lamont “The Problem Solver” Singletary in the co-feature. There will be 7 additional bouts scheduled for a total of 40 rounds.
At a press conference Monday at Hooters in Glen Mills, PA, Nino Del Buono was the MC with the 3 promoters in attendance. Tiberi has always had a large following as an undercard boxer and will finally get to be the main boxer for this event.
Tiberi is 14-2 (7), from Newark, DE, and will be featured in a 6 round lightweight bout. Singletary, 8-2 (5), will be in the other 6 round bout at cruiserweight.
In 4 round bouts will be Jamaican southpaw middleweight Anthony Miller, 3-2 (3), of Wilmington, cruiserweight ReuelWiliams, 7-1 (2), of Wilmington, Felix “The Dangerous Dominican”Manzuesta, Michael “The Hammer” Crain, Maurice Horne all DE boxers making their debut, Josue Rivera of Philadelphia and Edgar Cortes of Vineland, NJ.
Del Buono introduced Diane “as the most honest promoter in the business!”
“I’ve done 75 shows around the world and will be joining Joey Tiberi, Jr., and Todd Mulvena and feel it’s important to help keep the kids off the streets. It was my daddy’s dream who is now 95 and with the help of my husband Leo I can continue,” said Fischer. She is an inductee in the NJ BHOF.
Tiberi won by first round kayo in February on the Roy Jones, Jr.-Bobby Gunn undercard. Singletary did the same on the same card. Miller is returning for the first time in a year, Williams returns after almost 5 years, Maurice Horne, son of well-known DE trainerRon Horne will be making his debut after having 30 fights in the amateurs, Crain has had 13, Rivera has 11 fights all ending in kayo but one.
Doors open at 6pm and first bout at 7pm. Tickets are priced at a modest $45 advance / $50 at the door Ringside $60 advance $65 at the door, VIP seats $75.00.
ESPN, Golden Boy Announce Major Collaboration
By: Sean Crose
Those of us who have been moaning and groaning since the small scale, yet thoroughly terrific, Friday Night Fights has been yanked off the ESPN airwaves now have plenty to smile about. For Golden Boy Promotions has announced a major collaboration with the sports network, one which will bring close to twenty fight cards to the ESPNs channels this year alone. What’s more, Golden Boy has declared that the deal is of the “multi-year” variety, which means the programming will at least extend beyond 2017. For the record, the first card will air March 23d. The participants, however, have yet to be announced.
The ESPN branches which will be airing the fights are ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, the network’s traditional boxing homes. Furthermore, ESPN and Golden Boy will be showing more than just fight cards.
Things such as a “Classic Fight Library,” half hour boxing-related interviews, an entire thirty minute program about boxing training, and podcasts are also on the roster. To be sure, it’s a full plate, and one which seemingly came out of the blue. After what was, in many ways, a miserable 2016, the New Year is looking much improved for fight fans. Let’s hope things keep moving forward.
The One Game We’d All Want for Christmas… If It Existed
By: Jordan Seward
If you’re an avid boxing fan and a gaming enthusiast the one game you’d have to have at the top of your Christmas list this year would be the new EA Sports boxing game … if only it existed.
Since EA Sports launched Fight Night Champion in 2011 boxing as a sport has dramatically increased in popularity, but calls for a new boxing game compatible with the new generation consoles have been largely ignored. With rumours and demands circling many were hopeful of an announcement at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), but hopes were washed away when nothing official came from EA, despite a petition signed by almost 5,000 people in efforts to persuade them to create a new boxing game.
EA put the Fight Night franchise on hold after Fight Night Champion was released, instead turning their attentions to UFC games which was understandable with the rise of the sport. For years UFC has played second fiddle in the world of combat sports to boxing but with the immediate emergence of superstars like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey the sport has taken off. The UFC game was undoubtedly worthy of the second game that was released in March this year after the first game took to the shelves in 2014 selling 1.45million copies across the PS4, XBOX1 platforms.
At UFC 205 McGregor made history by beating Eddie Alvarez to become the first UFC fighter in history to hold two belts simultaneously in different weight divisions. Reports suggested the event drew in a record-breaking 1.65 million US pay-per view buys, surpassing the previous UFC PPV buys of 1.6million when McGregor faced Nate Diaz in their much-anticipated rematch.
These gigantic numbers have led to reports suggesting McGregor alone drew twice, nearly triple the number of buys than the entire sport of boxing in 2016. Though it is a credible argument to suggest UFC is on the cusp of equating to or even overtaking boxing as a sport, in perspective these numbers mean little.
Though boxing right now hasn’t got a Conor McGregor, it did used to have a certain commodity who could sell tickets like hotcakes and that was Muhammad Ali. His fight of the century with Joe Frazier makes McGregor’s numbers look meniscal and almost insignificant as 27.3million people in the US tuned in to watch the fight between Ali and Frazier.
Even more recently Mayweather vs Pacquiao in the ‘fight of the century’ pulled in a whopping 4.4million purchases. Despite Boxing losing its biggest PPV seller in Mayweather to retirement, Pacquiao has bought in 1million buys several times before and is now back in the ring. Elsewhere with the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Vasyl Lomachenko, Anthony Joshua and more, these big-name superstars could generate similar numbers to the ones drawn in by UFC, providing they have a comparable, credible dance partner.
While EA made a correct call to focus on UFC games, an identical sized if not larger audience is crying out for their turn. The audience and popularity is there in boxing, Frank Warren’s recent multi-million-pound TV deal with BT Sport is testament to that and the gaming community, well that doesn’t need such justifying. It’s huge. Chances are, if you own an Xbox 1 or PS4 and you like boxing or sporting games, you’ll most likely purchase it.
The long five years since Fight Night champion needs to be drawn to a close. Though it was labelled as the most well-received boxing game it was still a game that lacked convincement – every knockout no matter what position you threw the punch from would result in the opponent falling in the same melodramatic and unconvincing fashion. It lacked care, maintenance and thought process.
But now with the technological advances and the vast improvements in gaming quality in terms of graphics, gameplay, game options and capabilities, it’s crying out for someone to grab the bull by the horns and give us a high-quality boxing game to rid the memories of the last one.
If EA were to go ahead they’d have to consider whether it’s worth re-branding the franchise or naming it ‘Fight Night 5’ or ‘Fight Night Champion 2’. The general consensus among the fans is that they’re hoping for a Fight Night Champion 2. Though essentially part of the same anthology the Fight Night games and Fight Night Champion game does differ. Fight Night Champions focused on depicting the tangible, coarse reality of a boxer in the career mode and was targeted at an older audience in comparison.
When the first Fight Night was released in 2004 they became a regular product on gaming shelves, with round 2 and 3 coming out the following years. After two UFC games in the last two years it’s been the UFC fans who have been reaping such benefits of having a new game to enjoy, but with five years without one could it be time for the boxing fans’ turn? Hopefully.
It’s fair to say since the last EA boxing game the sport has ventured uphill in terms of popularity, particularly in Britain, but it still remains unclear what it will take to make EA budge, perhaps the news of a certain Irish MMA fighter making the switch from the octagon to the ring might entice them?
Lipinets, Nyambayar Thunder To Victory
By: Sean Crose
There were complaints that Friday’s PBC card on ESPN appeared to be pretty much the same as an old Friday Night Fights broadcast. For those who don’t know, Friday Night Fights, ESPNs boxing program of old, featured up and coming boxers and gave them international exposure. The PBC, on the other hand, was supposed to bring major bouts to “free” television. Needless to say, ESPNs PBC card on Friday featured up and comers rather than huge stars. So yes, the broadcast did look like an old FNF show. Truth be told, however, I always loved FNF, so I settled in for a fun night of boxing.
The evening showcased a Mongolian fighter who boasted a 5-0 record, all by knockout. Sure enough, Tugstogt Nyambayar stepped into the ring at the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, Mississippi as a featherweight who was off to a thunderous, if not high profile, start. His opponent, Rafael Vazquez, hadn’t fought since dropping a unanimous decision to Ryan Kielczewski the previous October. Still, with 13 knockouts out of 16 victories in a record consisting of 19 fights, it was clear Vazquez was more than just cannon fighter. Unfortunately for Brooklyn’s Vazquez, Nyambayar kept up his knockout streak by crushing his man in round one.
The main event, which featured 9-0 junior welterweight Sergey Lipinets facing off against Nicaragua’s 26-3-1 Walter Castillo. With a rich background in MMA and amateur boxing, Lipinets was clearly looking to improve his resume -which featured seven knockouts – with a sharp performance. Castillo, however, was known to be a high energy foe. After having one win, one loss and one draw in his last previous fights, Castillo would earn the career boost he needed with a win over the rising Kazakh.
Lipinets took to Castillo with his heavy fists early on, but Castillo remained game. Lipinets split his man’s lip in the third as his hard shots gave him an edge. Castillo, however, was not to be denied so quickly, for he started the fourth with a harsh assault on his foe. Sure enough, the fight started to even out. What’s more, Lipinets suffered a cut due to a clash of heads.
Lipinets nailed his man in the 6th so effectively that it looked like the proceedings might be coming to a close. Castillo survived, though, and remained competitive. Still, Lipinets connected with thunderous precision again in the seventh before banging Castillo against the ropes. Not one to relent, Lipinets swung away until Castillo began to look helpless, leaving the referee no choice, but to stop the fight.