Boxing Insider Notebook: Ramirez, Postol, Ali, Frazier, Vargas, Conlan, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 3rd to March 10th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol & Jose Pedraza-Javier Molina Super Lightweight Double Header Set for May 9th on ESPN
It took a little longer than expected, but WBC/WBO super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez, the pride of California’s Central Valley, is set to return. Ramirez will defend his titles against mandatory challenger and former world champion Viktor “The Iceman” Postol Saturday, May 9 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, a short drive from Ramirez’s hometown of Avenal. Ramirez and Postol were set to fight Feb. 1 in China, but the bout was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Ramirez-Postol and a 10-round super lightweight battle between former two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza and surging 2008 U.S. Olympian Javier “El Intocable” Molina will be televised LIVE on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10 p.m. ET, with the undercard bouts scheduled to stream in English and Spanish on ESPN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with TGB Promotions, tickets priced at $206, $131, $96, $66 and $31 go on sale Tuesday, March 10 at 10 a.m. PT and can be purchased at the Save Mart Center box office, Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.
“We are pleased that Ramirez and Postol will finally fight May 9 from the great city of Fresno,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Viktor is a worthy mandatory challenger who earned his title shot, and Jose will be fully prepared to make a statement. And for Jose, this could be his last fight in Fresno for a long time, so I expect the Central Valley faithful to fill up the Save Mart Center for a special evening.”
Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) is one of two unified junior welterweight champions. He won the WBC world title in March 2018, prevailing via 12-round shootout against Amir Imam in New York City. He defended that belt twice before stepping up to fight Maurice Hooker in a highly anticipated title unification bout. In one of the best fights of 2019, Ramirez knocked out Hooker in six rounds. A 2012 U.S. Olympian, Ramirez has headlined at Save Mart Center five times previously and has drawn a total of 65,794 fans through the arena’s turnstiles. Last time he fought at Save Mart Center — February 2019 against Jose Zepeda — he drew a career-high turnout of 14,034.
“It is always a blessing to fight at Save Mart Center in front of my loyal fans,” Ramirez said. “I prepared for Postol once, and I will be in top form May 9. My trainer, Robert Garcia, will have me ready for whatever he brings to the table. He is a former world champion who I cannot underestimate.”
Postol (31-2, 12 KOs) has spent the majority of his 12-year career as a super lightweight and nearly a decade at, or near, the top of the division. He stunned the boxing world in October 2015 when he dethroned Lucas Matthysse via 10th-round KO to win the WBC world title. In his next fight, he was blunted over 12 rounds by Terence Crawford in a unification bout. He is 3-1 since the Crawford defeat, dropping a 2018 decision to Josh Taylor, who is now the division’s other unified champion. He earned the WBC’s mandatory shot at Ramirez in April with a unanimous decision over Mohamed Mimoune.
“I am glad the new fight date is set. I’m already in gym, and camp is going really well,” Postol said. “I was ready to fight on Feb. 1 and now I’m focused on May 9. The fight is taking place in his hometown, but that does not bother me because I have the experience to fight on away soil. I am looking forward to become a champion again.”
Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs), from Cidra, Puerto Rico, held the IBF junior lightweight world title from 2015-2017 and then upset Ray Beltran in August 2018 to capture the WBO lightweight world title. He came up short in a valiant effort against Vasiliy Lomachenko in a toe-to-toe unification bout in December 2018 before knocking out Antonio Lozada Jr. in nine rounds the following May. Pedraza then moved up to 140 pounds last September and was outboxed by southpaw spoiler Jose Zepeda. He’s taking another shot as a super lightweight, this time against Molina (22-2, 9 KOs), a native of Norwalk, Calif. Molina, winner of five in a row, is coming off a pair of signature victories.
Last November, he knocked out Japanese veteran Hiroki Okada in just 65 seconds in an ESPN-televised co-feature. He followed that up with gritty eight-round decision over Imam on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder II undercard.
“This May 9 fight against Javier Molina will be crucial for my career. This is a crossroads fight, and I will do everything in my power to return to the winning route against a world-class opponent,” Pedraza said. “I know Molina very well. I saw him fight while we were at the 2008 Olympics in China. He is coming off a couple of big wins and is looking for a world title shot at 140. I’m also looking for a world title shot at super lightweight, and that makes this fight a significant and interesting one. I’m working extremely hard because I know that to get a world title opportunity, I can’t have another loss on my record. I will get a big win against Javier Molina on May 9, and after that, the ‘Sniper’ will aim for a world title at 140.”
“I’m happy to get right back in the ring with another tough opponent. With a win over Pedraza, I feel like it should definitely set me up for a title shot next,” Molina said. “I’m excited to be on ESPN once again and continue to get that exposure. I’m just ready to go. 2020 will be my year.”
Josue Vargas, Julian Rodriguez, Paddy Donovan and Christopher Zavala Added to Michael Conlan’s St. Patrick’s Day Garden Party
Before Irish sensation Michael “Mick” Conlan enters the ring against Colombian slugger Belmar Preciado in front of a raucous St. Patrick’s Day crowd at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET), many of the sport’s brightest young stars will look to steal the holiday spotlight.
Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas will make the first defense of his IBF North American 140-pound belt Tuesday, March 17 against Salvador Briceno in a 10-rounder. Vargas (16-1, 9 KOs), from the Bronx, N.Y., has won 10 consecutive bouts since an October 2016 disqualification defeat. Briceno (17-5, 11 KOs), from Guadalajara, Mexico, has won two of three since pushing undefeated prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. the distance last June in Reno, Nev.
Vargas-Briceno, along with the returns of top prospects Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez, Paddy “Real Deal” Donovan and Christopher “The Boy” Zavala, will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 5 p.m. ET.
“I’m excited to be fighting in my hometown on such a stacked card,” Vargas said. “It’s an honor to defend my belt in front of my friends, family and biggest supporters. I can’t wait for another spectacular fight night and to put on a show for everyone who will be watching on ESPN+.”
Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs), the fighting pride of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., will face former top prospect Dannie Williams (24-3, 18 KOs) in an eight-rounder at super lightweight. Rodriguez fought three times in the last five months of 2019 after nearly two years out of the ring due to assorted injuries. Williams, from Saint Louis, returned to the ring last April following more than five years away from it. He last fought in January, notching a 10-round decision over Andre Keys (12-1 at the time).
Donovan (3-0, 2 KOs), a 13-time national amateur champion from Limerick, Ireland, will be making his American debut in a six-round welterweight contest against Gregory Young (4-3, 1 KO). Donovan is trained and managed by former middleweight world champion Andy Lee.
“I can’t wait for my U.S. debut. I learned so much from training alongside Tyson Fury recently,” Donovan said. “I’m taking that experience into this fight. Thank you to Top Rank for putting me on this card. Conlan’s St. Patrick’s Day cards are always exciting, and I’m happy to be part of the festivities.”
Zavala (6-0, 3 KOs), a 20-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., will fight Rennard Oliver (7-2-3, 0 KOs) in a six-rounder at super featherweight. Oliver has never been knocked out as a pro and is coming off a draw against Raul Manrique Jr. (4-0 at the time).
In other action on the undercard stream:
Feargal McCrory (11-0, 5 KOs), one of Ireland’s top young prospects, will make his United States debut against the durable Juan Tapia (9-3, 3 KOs) in a six-rounder at super featherweight. Tapia, who has fought the likes of current WBO featherweight world champion Shakur Stevenson, has never been knocked out as a pro.
Matthew Tinker (2-0, 2 KOs), from Scarborough, England, will face Esai Herrera (2-1, 1 KO) in a four-rounder at light heavyweight. Tinker has scored a pair of first-round knockouts to begin his career.
Hrgovic and Yeleussinov Step Up in Maryland
Filip Hrgović will take on Jerry Forrest and Daniyar Yeleussinov will meet Julius Indongo in big step-up bouts for the talented pair on Friday April 17 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, live on DAZN.
TICKETS START AT JUST $43 (PLUS FEES)
Hrgović (10-0 8 KOs) made his debut under the Sauerland-Matchroom Boxing USA co-promotional banner in the same venue in May, hammering Gregory Corbin in the first round in his first defense of his WBC International title, and has added two more big KO wins since then, stopping Mario Heredia in Mexico in August in three rounds and then needing under nine minutes once again to blast away former World title challenger Eric Molina in Saudi Arabia in December.
Hrgović expects tough resistance from Forrest (26-3 20 KOs) in his first fight in 2020, with the Virginia man having ran unbeaten Jermaine Franklin close in July and returning to action in September to record his 20thKO win from 23 fights.
“I am looking forward to getting back in the ring,” said Hrgović. “I have good memories from fighting at the MGM National Harbor. This is where I made my American debut when I knocked out Gregory Corbin in the first round, and I’ve been training hard to give the fans another exciting performance on April 17.
“Jerry Forrest is a good boxer. He is a southpaw with a good record, and I’m expecting a tough fight, but I’m confident I will beat him.
“2019 was a great year for me. I fought in America, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. I had three fights against three strong opponents and got three knockouts wins. This year will be even better. My goal has always been to become World Champion, and I’m now closing in on that goal. I’m coming for belts!”
Promoter Nisse Sauerland said: “Filip is in fantastic shape and ready to start his 2020 campaign in style. Last time out at the MGM National Harbor he introduced himself to the American fight fans with an explosive first-round knockout, and they can expect a similar display this time round. Whenever Filip steps into the ring you’re guaranteed excitement. He is the future of the Heavyweight division and it’s only a matter of time before he’s fighting for World honors.”
Yeleussinov (9-0 5 KOs) looked explosive in his last two outings of 2019, hammering Reshard Hicks inside the opening round of their September clash in New York before stopping Alan Sanchez in the fifth round of their clash in Phoenix in September.
The Kazakhstan 2016 Olympic gold medal man now faces a stiff test of his talents in his first action of 2020 against Indongo (23-2 12 KOs). The rangy Namibian rose to prominence in December 2016 when his stunning first round one-punch KO win saw him rip the WBO World Super-Lightweight title from Russia’s Eduard Troyanovsky in Moscow and then unified the division against Scotland’s three-weight World champion Ricky Burns in Glasgow in April 2017.
The 37 year old faced Terence Crawford for the undisputed Super-Lightweight title in August 2017 and then met former World Super-Lightweight champion and Maryland headliner Regis Prograis in March 2018. Indongo fell to both champions but bounced back with a 12th career KO win in Alabama in August, and Yeleussinov has vowed to shine against the former World ruler.
“This is the most important fight of my career,” said Yeleussinov. “I had a great end to the year, and I feel I am building real momentum in the pro game now, but this is a big leap in quality of opponent. Julius is a former unified World champion and has huge experience at the very top level, so I will need to put on a career-best performance to keep my run going.”
One of Matchroom Boxing USA’s bright young talents joins Hrgovic and Yeleussinov in the shape of Raymond Ford (5-0 2 KOs), who will be eager to build on an explosive performance in December in destroying Francisco Mura in the first round in Phoenix.
“This is a big night in the careers of Filip Hrgovic and Daniyar Yeleussinov,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Filip is a big problem for the Heavyweight division. The Croat is gaining valuable experience with every camp and fight, and all eyes will be on the 27 year old in Maryland as he looks to make another statement in boxing’s glamour division.
“Daniyar is really growing in the paid ranks and has been impressive in his recent outings, but Julius Indongo is a big step-up for the ‘Kazakh Thunder’. The former unified World champion will look to carry his power up to 147lbs so Daniyar will be under pressure to both impress again and stave off the attack of the dangerous Indongo.
“Our young stable of fighters is the best in the States, and Raymond continues his pro education on what promises to be another exciting night of action on DAZN.”
Ali-Frazier 50th Anniversary Save the Date
The World Boxing Council, The New York Athletic Club and Madison Square Garden join forces to honor the Fight of the Century, arguably the most celebrated boxing event in the history of sports!
Mark your calendars for March 2021 when one year from today, the world will commemorate this majestic battle with a variety of great events, recreating the thrill and breathtaking majesty of the Fight of the Century. Once again, New York will be the capital of boxing, and this time…. you’re invited.
Ali and Frazier fought three times, the first time on March 8, 1971 to a sold-out Madison Square Garden. The tension was high as Ali, attempting to recover his WBC World Heavyweight Title, stepped back into the ring after his absence for political and legal reasons.
Broadcast live, the fight, promoted by Jerry Perenchio, broke all existing, audience records, and was aired worldwide, in 50 countries and in 12 different languages to over 300 million fans.
The referee was Arthur Mercante, who also scored the fight. The other two, acclaimed New York judges were Artie Aidala and Bill Retch.
A spectacular war ensued, between two undefeated champions (Ali 31-0 and Frazier 26-0) resulting in the first time Muhammad Ali was ever knocked down.
That was a magical night, rich with celebrities participating in the spectacle; Frank Sinatra, the accredited photographer for Life magazine, Burt Lancaster the color commentary and Leroy Neiman, the official artist. And now, fifty years later, we will create the feeling of boxing at its best, again!
We are thrilled to begin the journey to commemorate the greatest fight of history, get ready! The countdown to greatness, begins!
DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing Coming to Atlantic City on March 19th
DiBella Entertainment’s acclaimed Broadway Boxing series, celebrating its 17th year, has moved its scheduled March 12 event in Miami, FL, to Thursday, March 19 at the Showboat Atlantic City in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The event will still be headlined by Ghanaian lightweight contender Emmanuel “The Gameboy” Tagoe (31-1, 15 KOs) battling Filipino veteran Rey “The Technician” Perez (24-11, 8 KOs) and live streamed exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
Advance tickets, priced at $100 (Ringside), $65 (Reserved) and $35 (General Admission), may be purchased on Eventbrite HERE or by calling DiBella Entertainment at (212) 947-2577. Doors on the night of the event will open at 6:30 p.m. ET with the first bell at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Showboat Atlantic City is located at 801 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401. More information can be found on their website, www.ShowboatHotelAC.com.
“I’m thrilled to bring the next Broadway Boxing event to the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ, on Thursday, March 19. World ranked Ghanaian lightweight contender Emmanuel Tagoe faces Filipino Rey Perez in a terrific main event, streamed live on UFC Fight Pass,” said 2020 International Boxing Hall-of-Fame Inductee Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “The stacked undercard includes two exciting female fights, featuring former world champion Kali Reis and rising prospect Logan Holler. Colombian Olympian Juan Carlos Carrillo will take on Demetri Bentley in a battle of unbeaten light heavyweight prospects and the popular Dusty Harrison, from Washington, D.C., will see action as well.”
Fighting out of the talent-laden region of Accra, Ghana, world-ranked lightweight Emmanuel “The Gameboy” Tagoe (31-1, 15 KOs) will seek to keep his remarkable winning streak intact, facing Rey “The Technician” Perez (24-11, 8 KOs), of North Hollywood, CA, by way of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines, in the 10-round main event. Tagoe has won 31 fights in a row since his lone defeat in his 2004 pro debut.
Ranked #2 by the WBO, #6 by the IBF, and #10 by the WBC, Tagoe will be fighting in the United States for the first time in seven years. Most recently, the heavy-handed Ghanaian knocked out Ishmael Aryeetey in the sixth round, on July 20, 2019, in Accra. He also holds victories against former world champions Moses Paulus and Mzonke Fana.
Said Tagoe manager, Peter Kahn, “Emmanuel has been in camp in Florida for four months away from home in Ghana, away from his family. He has been working hard, he’s in excellent condition and ready to fight on March 19 in Atlantic City. As the WBO #2 rated lightweight in the world, Emmanuel is in line for big fights in 2020.”
The 30-year-old Perez hits the ring following a hard-fought decision loss to undefeated contender George Kambosos on January 19, 2019, in Las Vegas. Perez has been tested against solid opposition throughout his 11-year career, facing Jessie Magdaleno, Lamont Roach, Chris Avalos and Oscar Duarte. Prior to the loss against Kambosos, Perez stopped Christian Gonzalez in the seventh round on October 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, CA.
The co-feature will have former world champion Kali “KO Mequinonoag” Reis (16-7-1, 5 KOs), of Providence, RI, fighting in a scheduled eight-round welterweight bout. Since challenging undisputed champion Cecilia Braekhus in May of 2018, Reis has won three consecutive fights, including a six-round decision on August 29, 2019, against Patricia Juarez.
In a scheduled six-round light heavyweight battle of unbeaten prospects, 2016 Colombian Olympian Juan Carlos Carrillo (3-0, 2 KOs) continues his ascent as a professional challenging hard-hitting Demetri Bentley (8-0, 6 KOs), of Atlanta, GA. The 27-year-old Carrillo is staying busy in 2020, scoring a second-round knockout of Ben Williams on February 8, in Daytona Beach, FL. Following an active 2019, fighting eight times last year, the 24-year-old Bentley returns to action after an eight-round unanimous decision versus Ian Darby on September 29, 2019.
Exciting female junior middleweight prospect and newly signed to DiBella Entertainment, Logan Holler (8-0-1, 3 KOs), of Columbia, SC, clashes with Leslie Pope (4-1, 3 KOs), of Kansas City, MO, in a six-round bout. Fighting for the first time in 2020, the former star college athlete Holler has moved her training to South Florida, where she is guided by Javiel Centeno in a camp alongside Tagoe and Kambosos. She is looking to bounce back following the only blemish on her record; a six-round majority draw to Bertha Aracil on February 23, 2019.
Rounding out the card, undefeated light heavyweight contender Dusty Harrison (34-0-1, 24 KOs) will compete in an eight-round bout. The 25-year-old Washington D.C. resident is currently riding a five-bout winning streak against top-level competition. Most recently, he knocked out Les Sherrington in the second round on February 8, 2020, in Vienna, Virginia. The Harrison bout is presented in association with Lee Baxter Promotions.
WBO 18th Children’s Athletics Invitational Was a Huge Success
In an effort to help in engaging children occupied in positive activities and keeping them drug free, the World Boxing Organization (WBO), chaired by Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcárcel, Esq., held the 18th edition of the ‘WBO Annual Children’s Athletics Invitational’ which took place at the Cupey Alto Sports Complex (Cupey Track) located in the capital of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The WBO sponsored the event as part of their ‘WBO Kids Drug Free’ program, which is focused on helping to keep the world’s youth healthy and drug free.
The track and field invitational tournament was dedicated to current WBO Mini-Flyweight World Champion, Wilfredo ‘Bimbito’ Méndez, of Trujillo Alto. In and out of the ring, Méndez has been an example of discipline, dedication and sacrifice to reach his goal and win a world championship title.
“Thanks to the WBO for hosting this great activity that brings together lots of children from all over Puerto Rico so they can compete in positive, healthy activities. Thanks to the parents for bringing them to this event. You are also champions, but in life. I will always support events like this, that help kids stay out of trouble” Méndez said.
The tournament was very we’ll attended and involved over 300 boy and girl participants between the ages of 6 and 13, representing 20 athletic clubs around Puerto Rico.
The participants were awarded medals to the first three places per event and cash to the most prominent competitors in each category. Trophies were also awarded to the first three teams in scoring and two bikes were raffled per category.
The event was attended by the WBO Latino Junior Welterweight champion Jean ‘Lobo’ Torres, WBO NABO Interim Junior Welterweight Champion Danielito Zorrilla, former 130-pound world champion Alberto Machado, WBO Latino Junior Flyweight Champion René Santiago, WBO Latino Featherweight Champion Bryan Chevalier, prospects Nicklaus Flaz, Edwin Valentin and Angel ‘Bebito’ Aponte as well as amateur boxer Moisés Zorrilla.
Also present were referee José Hiram Rivera (event coordinator), judge Luis Ruiz, managers Raúl Pastrana and José ‘Pepe’ Ortíz, matchmaker Yoel González and trainer David Oyola.
WBO Treasurer Adolfo Flores and legal advisor Gustavo Olivieri Miranda, Esq. also were present in the tournament.
WBO Kids Drug Free is an international program aimed at children and young people in order to carry a message of drug prevention and motivate them to continue studying, using sports as a tool to stay on the right path, as well that support causes directed to those in need in order to ensure a better quality of life.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Wallin, Monroe, Hunter, Kovalev, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 18th to February 25th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Otto Wallin Wants Tyson Fury Rematch
Brand-new WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury wasn’t the only fighter whose stock rose dramatically with his dominant seventh-round stoppage of Deontay Wilder Saturday night.
By virtue of his strong performance against Fury last September, Sweden’s IBF #15-ranked Otto Wallin (20-1, 13 KOs) must now be considered a serious force in the big man’s division. “If anybody still doubted me, now they know,” said Wallin. “My fight with Fury was of course a much better fight and I showed that I belong as a top contender.”
Early in the fight, when the two met at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last Fall, Wallin opened two gruesome cuts around Fury’s right eye with legal blows and came within a hair of scoring the huge upset. After an extremely tense 12-round battle, Fury was forced to fight through his own blood and dig deep to rally in the later rounds and take a unanimous decision over Wallin.
Many boxing experts noted, post-fight, that less serious cuts had brought a halt to the action in other fights and Fury was extremely fortunate to have escaped with his unbeaten record. Fury required close to 50 stitches and had to have a web mesh inserted surgically into the horrific wound.
“Neither Wladimir Klitschko or Deontay Wilder, two of the greatest heavyweights of our time, could do to Tyson Fury what Otto Wallin did,” said Wallin’s promoter Dmitriy Salita. “Otto at 29 years is only going to get better in every facet of the game. He is on his way to becoming a dominant force in the heavyweight division.”
Wallin and Fury displayed mutual respect after their fight and it continued Saturday night with Wallin congratulating the new champion for his impressive showing and the former champion for his courage.
“I think Fury came in with a good game plan and showed he’s the number one heavyweight in the world,” said Wallin. “The trainer change he made worked out for him and the more-aggressive style made Wilder look bad. Fury seemed to be on another level. Everything worked in his favor. I honestly think that my fight with Fury helped him get ready for this fight. He fought Wilder in a similar way to how he fought me in the second half of our fight.
“At the same time Wilder deserves respect for not wanting to quit. He kept fighting and showed a lot of heart, even though I think his corner should’ve stopped the fight earlier.”
Team Wallin say they will continue to train hard and look for opportunities to move back into line for another shot at Fury.
“Otto didn’t get lucky in that fight,” continued Dmitriy Salita. “He has the right style to always give Tyson Fury big problems. We’re going to keep him busy and winning while we wait for Fury to decide to settle this unfinished business with a rematch.”
“I want a rematch and this time I will finish what I started,” added Wallin.
Ring of Hope’s Night to Fight Returns March 7th at Toyota Music Factor in Irving, Texas
Lone Star State-based non-profit organization Ring of Hope returns for a resounding night of sanctioned professional boxing when it presents its ninth annual “Night To Fight” pro boxing and charity event on Saturday, March 7 at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, Texas.
The main event will present an 8 round light heavyweight attraction between two battle-tested warriors when Dallas-Fort Worth born-and-bred boxer Samuel Clarkson (22-5, 15 KOs) challenges the Freddie Roach-trained Israel Duffus (19-6, 16 KOs).
The marquee match of the night will culminate to serve as the major fundraising event to help support the Ring of Hope boxing program. Since 2010, Ring of Hope has transformed communities and changed the lives of the youth by educating, empowering and engaging students through the fundamentals of boxing.
“I’m often asked why I’ve had such a desire to be a part of Ring of Hope. It’s all about the future of the young men and women in our communities,” said Ring of Hope founder Steven Bolos. “We believe for them, believe in them and believe with and through them that they can be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Evan “Yung Holy” Holyfield (3-0, 3 KOs), the son of Hall of Fame fighter Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, will continue on his quest to follow in his legendary father’s footsteps when the 22-year-old returns to the ring. Presented by Main Events, the Houston-based Holyfield made his pro boxing debut in November with his legendary father supporting ringside.
Local talent and 18-year-old standout Tristan Kalkreuth (4-0, 3 KOs), who last year inked a deal with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, will continue his climb up the ranks in a separate fight as well. Kalkreuth was born in Carrollton and is a resident of Duncanville. He’s trained by renowned coach Ronnie Shields, and has a decorated amateur background, where he participated in over 100 fights, earned two National Championships and fought for the USA Boxing Team in the World Championships in 2018.
Also to be featured in separate bouts are welterweights Jessy Martinez (14-0, 9 KOs) and Brandyn Lynch (10-1, 8 KOs), cruiserweight Robin Safar (10-0, 7 KOs) and heavyweight Patrick Mailata (4-0, 2 KOs), Austin-based super lightweight Robert Kevin Garcia (6-0, 5 KOs) and the Corpus Christi-based lightweight John Rincon (4-0, 2 KOs).
Night To Fight will be available live on Integrated Sports Pay Per View on cable, satellite and digital pay-per-view via iN Demand, Vubiquity, DIRECTV and DISH in the United States, Shaw PPV in Canada and worldwide via the FITE.TV app and website.
Hall of Fame Showtime TV broadcaster Al Bernstein, former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi and LA Times and Boxing Scene journalist and writer Manouk Akopyan will call the action from ringside.
Limited tickets and VIP dinner tables can be obtained through a sponsorship to Ring of Hope. For more information, go to www.ringofhope.com.
The Toyota Music Factory is located at 300 West Las Colinas Boulevard in Irving, Texas.
Keith Hunter to Face Ssanjarbek Rakhmanov in Rematch on February 28th
Undefeated rising prospect Keith “The Bounty” Hunter will face talented Sanjarbek “War” Rakhmanov in a rematch in the 10-round super lightweight ShoBox: The New Generation main event Friday, February 28 live on SHOWTIME (10:45 p.m. ET/PT) from Sam’s Town Casino in Las Vegas. Rakhmanov steps in to replace previously scheduled opponent Malik Hawkins who was forced to withdraw for medical reasons.
Hunter (11-0, 7 KOs) and Rakhmanov (12-2-1, 6 KOs) first met on February 5, 2019, in an eight-round welterweight contest that resulted in a narrow-split decision victory for Hunter. Although Hunter controlled the action in the early rounds and scored a knockdown in the second, Rakhmanov recovered and landed some heavy blows in the later rounds. The scorecards read 77-74, 76-75 and 75-76.
Rakhmanov, who fought to a draw with Alfonso Olvera on ShoBox in May of 2016, will be making his second appearance on the prospect developmental series and his ninth start at Sam’s Town Live. In his most recent performance on September 20, 2019, he broke down Andre Byrd, delivering punishment to the body for four straight rounds, leading to Byrd taking a knee and ending the fight. He currently trains with Chris Ben-Tchavtchavadze at the Mayweather Boxing Club.
The 30-year-old Rakhmanov, who was born in Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan, was a top amateur with more than 140 bouts, including a Gold Medal win at the 2009 Asian Amateur Boxing Championship. In 2013, he became the national champion of Uzbekistan. After signing with Mayweather Promotions in 2014, he turned pro with an impressive 1:21 first-round knockout over Brett Simmons in June of 2015.
In the ShoBox co-main event, 2016 Olympian and undefeated super lightweight prospect Richardson Hitchins (10-0, 5 KOs) takes on Rhode Island’s Nick DeLomba (16-2, 5 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Once-beaten Las Vegas native Kevin Newman II (11-1-1, 6 KOs) faces Albania’s Genc Pllana (7-1-1, 4 KOs) in a 10-round super middleweight matchup to open the telecast.
Barry Tompkins will call the action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
TMZ Reports Sergey Kovalev Arrested for DUI
TMZ is reporting that Sergey Kovalev was arrested for DUI early Monday morning. He was allegedly pulled over by the California Highyway Patrol around 2am. He was released on his own recognizance around 7:35 AM.
This recent arrest comes while he is in the middle of a felony assault case stemming from an incident in 2018. He has pled not guilty and is currently fighting the case.
More info can be found here: https://www.tmz.com/2020/02/24/sergey-kovalev-arrested-dui-los-angeles-boxing/
Undefeated Russian Heavyweight Destroys Former Undefeated John Napari in Moscow
Last Friday, Russian heavyweight slugger Apti Davtaev remained undefeated with a two-round demolition of formerly undefeated John Napari of Accra, Ghana at the Dynamo Palace of Sports in Krylatskoye, Moscow.
Despite a confident and flamboyant ring entrance, Napari (now 21-1, 15 KOs) had no answers for the incredible power of Davtaev (20-0-1, 19 KOs) once the action started. The big Russian dropped Napari twice with counter right hands, the second time for good in round two.
Davtaev has been steadily improving under the tutelage of SugarHill Steward at Kronk Gym in Detroit. The already freakishly strong Davtaev has been developing outstanding boxing skills working with Steward and the difference is obvious with each passing performance.
“Apti has gained world-class skills since we’ve been working together,” said SugarHill Steward. “He is definitely ready to become a force in the heavyweight division in 2020.”
Davtaev agrees with Steward’s assessment that his time at Kronk has made him an even more formidable force.
“I am happy that my training at the Kronk Gym has been paying off,” said the 6’ 5” slugger from Mayrtup, Russia. “The goal is to continue to score knockouts and that is what I plan to do as I continue my march to the world title.”
Davtaev’s promoter Dmitriy Salita says he was also impressed with Davtaev’s latest beat down. “Apti showed impressive power and skills in dominating his undefeated foe. He is ready to beat the big names and will be a new star in the heavyweight division.”
Split T Management Signs Two Time World Title Challenger Willie Monroe Jr.
Split T Management Management has signed two-time world title challenger, middleweight Willie Monroe Jr.
“Willie is one of the top middleweights in the world. He is a terrific boxer, and has championship experience. I expect to get him a big opportunity in the very near future.” said Split-T Management’s David McWater.
“I’m just super grateful I’m at a point in my life, I am grateful for my fans and for the sport I am excited for opportunities past, present and future, and am.approaching the new season with gratitude. I always knew I could do it. It took me a little longer than I personally expected but never the less I’m here,” said Monroe. “Dave McWater is a very smart guy and I like his attitude and approach towards boxing. He is a very knowledgeable and he understands everything.”
Monroe of Rochester, New York has a record of 24-3 with six knockouts.
The 33 year-old Monroe is a 12 year-professional who began his career with wins over Wilson Montero (1-0-1), Chris Aucoin (1-0-1), Troy Artis (2-0-1) & Ibahiem King (7-1).
Monroe entered and won the 2014 Boxcino Middleweight Tournament with wins over Donatas Bondorovas (18-4-1), Vitalii Kopylenko (22-0) and future world title challenger Brandon Adams (14-0).
Those wins catapulted him into an opportunity to face unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
After falling to Golovkin, Monroe gained wins over two world title challengers in John Thompson (17-2) and Gabriel Rosado.
After losing to WBO Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, Monroe has won three in a row with wins over Javier Maciel (33-6) and his latest outing where he won a 10-round unanimous decision over Hugo Centeno (27-2) on June 1st in San Jacinto, California.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Wilder vs. Fury Edition
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is special edition of the Boxing Insider notebook for the upcoming Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder Pay Per View Rematch that take place on Saturday night.
Wilder vs. Fury II Undercard Media Workout Photos
Fighters competing on the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury II undercard this Saturday, February 22 took part in a media workout Wednesday as they near their respective showdowns at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The workout featured fighters competing in the PPV undercard, including former heavyweight champion Charles Martin and former title challenger Gerald Washington, who meet in the co-main event, WBO Junior Featherweight World Champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete, a.k.a. “The Mexican Iron Man”, and Filipino contender Jeo Santisima, who battle in the PPV featured bout, and unbeaten super welterweights Sebastian Fundora and Daniel Lewis, who fight in the PPV opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Also showing off their skills Wednesday were fighters who enter the ring for Wilder vs. Fury II Prelims beginning at at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT, including hard-hitting unbeaten contender Subriel Matias, who battles Petros Ananyan in a super lightweight showdown, plus contenders Amir Imam and Javier Molina, who will fight in a super lightweight attraction.
Prelims will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT on FS1, ESPNEWS and in Spanish on FOX Deportes and ESPN3. ESPNEWS’ coverage will switch to ESPN at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Fury vs. Wilder 2 Officials Announced
Since the last fight was close and ended in a draw, it was important for the Nevada State Athletic Commission to pick officials and judges with experience that can handle a big time fight such as this one.
At the most recent NSAC hearing, the judges assigned for Wilder vs. Fury are Steve Weisfeld, Glen Feldman, and Dave Moretti.
The referee assigned will be Kenny Bayless.
Deontay Wilder Announces First “Fight for Peace” Under Pontifex Scholas Ocurrentes
World Boxing Council Heavyweight Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder is pleased to announce that his rematch with Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury headlining the historic, mega PPV event this Saturday, Feb. 22 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena will be his first “Fight for Peace” under Pontifex Foundation Scholas Ocurrentes.
Wilder has authorized his company BombZquad Promotions and co-promoter TGB Promotions to donate $1 of each Wilder vs. Fury II ticket sold to be donated to Scholas Ocurentes.
“It’s an honor to be appointed by Pope Francis as boxing’s Peace Ambassador,” said Wilder. “I’m excited that Wilder vs. Fury II will be the first boxing match under the program and I’m happy to be able to touch the lives of so many people around the world as the WBC heavyweight champion. I want to use my position to have a positive influence on the lives of people and especially children because they represent the best the future has to offer.”
Scholas Ocurrentes is a non-religious foundation, which was created by Pope Francis (Jorge Bergolio) while he was serving as archbishop of Argentina 30 years ago. The primary goal of Scholas Ocurrentes is to promote educational programs for children through art, sports and technology, while building bridges for peace through inclusion and integration.
Pope Francis named Wilder the Ambassador For World Peace Through Sports during a private audience at the Vatican in Rome on Dec. 13, 2019.
The WBC has the honor of being in charge of the boxing program under Scholas through its BoxVal (Boxing with Values) Program, which uses boxing to highlight the importance of fair play and brotherhood.
The “Fight For Peace” program is a call to action for all members of the worldwide boxing community to join Scholas and Pope Francis in their humanitarian efforts. All are welcomed to join.
Imagination Park Sponsors Legendary Boxing and MMA Cutman Stitch Duran for Wilder vs. Fury 2
Imagination Park Technologies Inc. (CSE: IP) (OTC: IPNFF) proudly announced it has signed on as a Sponsor of the legendary boxing, UFC (MMA), and Bare Knuckles Fighting Cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran, who will be working in Tyson Fury’s corner, for one of the most anticipated rematches in recent boxing history. The Championship Fight will be hosted at the sold-out MGM Arena on February 22,2020 and broadcast to millions worldwide on TV and PPV.
“Imagination Park is absolutely thrilled to be a part of this historic rematch represented by Stitch in Tyson Fury’s Corner,” said Alen Paul Silverrstieen, CEO & President. “We are the first-ever Augmented Reality company to be represented at such a historic sports event by a legend in both boxing and UFC for decades. Millions of sports fans worldwide will see our ImagineARTM logo and website on Stitches vest in the ring.”
For this event, Imagination Park has created a FREE limited-edition Stitch Duran AR Model which boxing fans worldwide can place in their living room or bar starting today thru the end of February!
1) Download ImagineAR mobile app from the IOS or Android App Store.
2) Launch ImagineAR & select the top menu choice “AR Near Me”.
3) Select one of the three AR Nearby! on the bottom of the screen.
4) Place Stitch model with the white guide lines on any flat surface & Tap Stitch to place him. The closer to you, the bigger he will appear.
5) Take a picture with Stitch and instantly share in social media (Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook) with the hashtag #StitchWithMe. Imagination Park will be giving away a Stitch Prize Package to the best Stitch AR Picture shared in social media.
Prayer Cloud Productions executive team of Cody Cohen, Chelsea Sweeney, and David Pahler brokered this sponsorship.
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury Make Grand Arrivals at MGM Grand
WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury made their grand arrivals Tuesday afternoon at MGM Grand, kicking off fight week events for the most anticipated heavyweight showdown in two decades.
Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) rolled up in a red Ferrari, while Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) arrived shortly after in a Rolls-Royce SUV, both greeted by throngs of fans awaiting Saturday’s clash.
They will renew their rivalry this Saturday, February 22, in a historic mega PPV event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Wilder has defended his world title successfully 10 consecutive times, while Fury is unbeaten in five bouts since returning from a nearly three-year layoff in June 2018.
The grand arrivals also featured fighters competing in the PPV undercard squaring off, including former heavyweight champion Charles Martin and former title challenger Gerald Washington, who meet in the co-main event, WBO Junior Featherweight World Champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete, a.k.a. “The Mexican Iron Man”, and Filipino contender Jeo Santisima, who battle in the PPV featured bout, and unbeaten super welterweights Sebastian Fundora and Daniel Lewis, who fight in the PPV opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
This is what the main event fighters had to say Tuesday:
“The first fight was great, but the second time around we’re getting even more love. It’s been a blessed feeling and I’m so excited to show my greatness come Saturday night.”
“I’m going to knock out Tyson Fury in devastating fashion on Saturday night. After I show the world what greatness lies inside of me, I will continue to go even further and do more amazing things in this sport.”
“We all know that boxing is the hurt business and we both have bad intentions coming into this fight. I’m looking forward to our energies colliding and having an amazing fight.”
“Las Vegas is the home of champions, and ‘The Gypsy King’ is here to put on a show. I am knocking that bum out in two rounds. It’s going to be an early night.”
“I’ve done all I can, and I can’t wait for Saturday night to be here. The WBC belt is the only major title I’ve yet to win. Saturday night, it will be mine.”
“Las Vegas is the new home of ‘The Gypsy King.’ This is my time. Wilder got a gift last time. That won’t happen again. I’m coming for the knockout.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Jackie Kallen, Vergil Ortiz, Jimmy Thunder, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 11th to February 18th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Banner Promotions Releases Statement on Passing of Jimmy Thunder
Banner Promotions has issued the following statement on the passing of it’s former fighter, heavyweight Jimmy Thunder, who passed away on Wednesday due to complications of a brian tumor at age 54 in New Zealand.
“My heartfelt condolences go out to Jimmy’s family. I was saddened to hear that Jimmy passed away,” said Artie Pelullo, President of Banner Promotions. “He was a real good guy and true professional. It was my pleasure to be associated with Jimmy. He was a good fighter who gave the fans a lot of exciting fights when we promoted him, especially on the Tuesday Night Fights series on USA Network, where he had one of the fastest knockouts in boxing history when he knocked out Crawford Grimsley in 13 seconds. It’s always sad to see someone pass away at a young age.”
Included in Thunder’s record that read 35-14 with 28 knockouts were wins over three former heavyweight champions, Tony Tubbs, Trevor Berbick and Tim Witherspoon.
Vergil Ortiz to Headline Stacked Card Against Samuel Vargas
The most dominant rising force in the welterweight division returns to the ring as Vergil Ortiz Jr. (15-0, 15 KOs) defends his WBA Gold Welterweight Title against Samuel Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KOs) in a 12-round main event. Ortiz Jr. will headline a stacked card in his adoptive home of Southern California that will also feature Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano, Azat “Crazy A” Hovhannisyan, Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis, Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada and more! The event will take place Saturday, March 28 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Ticket information for the event will be announced shortly.
“When people think of the future of the welterweight division, one name stands out, and that’s Vergil Ortiz Jr.,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO at Golden Boy. “Simply put, this kid is special. His talent, speed and power set him apart from any other fighter who is moving up the 147-pound rankings. Don’t miss another spectacular knockout performance at the Forum or live on DAZN!”
Since debuting as a professional in 2016, Ortiz Jr. has knocked out every opponent in sight. The native of Grand Prairie, Texas, who has roots in Michoacan, Mexico, will participate in his first fight of the year after stopping Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera, Antonio “Relentless” Orozco and Brad “King” Solomon in a spectacular 2019. The 21-year-old knockout artist plans to do the same in 2020, but Vargas stands in his way.
“I’m excited to be returning against Samuel Vargas,” said Vergil Ortiz Jr. “He’s a tough fighter with a lot of experience, so I know that my talent and skills are going to be put to a tough test. I’m also happy to be fighting in Los Angeles at such a historic venue where many legends in the sport have fought. I love this city, and I love the people here, so I’m going to work very hard to perform to the best of my abilities on March 28.”
Vargas is recognized as one of the toughest challenges in any division. The 30-year-old native of Bogota, Colombia has faced a who’s who of welterweight boxers, including Amir “King” Khan, Luis Collazo, Danny “Swift” Garcia and Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. Vargas plans to engage Ortiz Jr. in a war, something he has yet to encounter.
“Throughout my career, I have always taken the challenges that other fighters in the division don’t want, and that’s exactly what I’m doing again,” said Samuel Vargas. “Vergil Ortiz Jr. is one of the brightest young stars in boxing, but he hasn’t had to go through a war yet. I’ve shown that I’m willing to go through hell in that ring, so if Ortiz is everything he’s hyped up to be, he better be on point March 28 because I know I will.”
In the co-main event, Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano (33-7-1, 23 KOs) will put his WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Title on the line against Michael “The Artist” Perez (25-3-2, 11 KOs) of Newark, N.J. in a 12-round fight.
Azat “Crazy A” Hovhannisyan (18-3, 15 KOs) will fight for the vacant WBA Interim Super Bantamweight Championship against Jose Sanmartin (30-5-1, 20 KOs) of Barranquilla, Colombia in 12-round clash.
Welterweight contender Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (22-0, 14 KOs) of Lynn, Mass. will defend his WBA Continental Americas Welterweight Title against Sergio Ortega (21-2, 15 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico in a 10-rounder.
Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) of East Los Angeles, Calif. will make the first defense of her WBA Interim Flyweight Title in a 10-round battle.
Christopher Pearson (17-2, 12 KOs) of Tortwood, Ohio will participate in a 10-round middleweight bout.
Raul “Cougar” Curiel (8-0, 6 KOs) of Tampico, Mexico will face Steve “Manos de Oro” Villalobos (8-0, 6 KOs) of Mount Vernon, Wash. in a 10-round welterweight clash between two young prospects.
Irish prospect Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (10-0, 6 KOs) will return in an eight-round super welterweight clash.
Chris “Milly” Ousley (12-0, 9 KOs) of Chicago will open the night in an eight-round middleweight battle against Jarvis Williams (8-2-1, 5 KOs) of St. Louis.
Star Boxing’s Catskills Clash III Set for April 17th at Resorts World Catskills
Star Boxing is pleased to announce its return of “Catskills Clash III” to the majestic Resorts World Catskills Casino Resort in Monticello, New York on April 17.
The Catskills have an undeniable claim to boxing greatness. Decades of fighters have called the Catskills their temporary home, to train for upcoming championship fights. The hollowed boxing grounds of Sullivan County have been sacred territory since the golden age of boxing, established by the likes of Marciano, Tyson and Ali. As of late, that reputation has carried over to the new, fully integrated casino as Star Boxing delivered two hugely success events there in 2019.
Star Boxing’s “Catskills Clash” series returns to the Resorts WorldRW Epicenter, continuing theits own legacy of boxing in the region. Fully prepared to pick up where it left off last September, “Catskills Clash” III is set to be an evening of thrilling, action packed fights. In Catskills Clash I & II, Star Boxing featured rising talent including five title fights, big time knockouts and immense boxing skill. On April 17, fans can expect another outstanding experience.
Star Boxing CEO JOE DEGUARDIA is excited to be back at Resorts World Catskills, “The Catskills and boxing go hand in hand, and we are proud to be a part of that continued legacy. The fights at Resorts World Catskills have been great and fans love that they can see the fights and afterwards walk out to NYC’s closest fully integrated casino. April 17 will yet again feature fan-pleasing fights on a thrilling show with top talent, rising stars, and title bouts.”
Kim Clavel vs. Esmeralda Moreno on March 21st in Montreal
Dooly’s Boxing Series, presented by Mise-O-Jeu, in association with Videotron, is back at the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal in 2020 with five entertaining events on March 21, May 2, June 6, October 24 and December 12.
North American Boxing Federation (NABF) light flyweight champion Kim Clavel (11-0, 2 KOs) will be the main star of this series, and on March 21 she will make her Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM) debut. Clavel will defend her title in the 10-round main event against her Mexican challenger, former world champion Esmeralda Moreno (35-12-2, 11 KOs).
Moreno is a two-time World Boxing Council (WBC) flyweight World champion, reigning from 2012-2013 and again in 2017. She is 3-4-1 in world championship fights and currently ranked at No. 2 according to the independent website BoxRec.com. The charismatic Clavel will face the toughest test of her pro career in her GYM debut.
“Kim Clavel and her team are tremendously ambitious and confident by accepting this challenge,” GYM president Yvon Michel said. “Moreno is part of the elite fighters in her division, holding WBC champion Yesenia Gomez to a draw and losing to a majority decision in a pair of 2018 clashes. After March 21, we will know where Kim rates among the brightest prospects in her division. “
A very well-known and popular figure at the Casino de Montréal, undefeated light heavyeight Terry Osias (9-0, 4 KOs) of Longueuil, will be in his 10th pro fight, all held at the Casino de Montréal, which is a unique phenomenon in Quebec. His opponent will be former Bolivia National Champion Javier Saucedo (7-3-1, 6 KOs) in an 8-round bout.
Welterweight Marie-Pier Houle (2-0-1, 1 KO) of Terrebonne, will be in her first career 6-round fight, against Mexican Claudia Rangel (2-2, 0 KOs). Marie-Pier fought a furious fight against Linda Dostalkova at the Videotron Centre in her last outing, which ended in a draw.
This Casino event will mark the start of an association with Ontario promoter Lee Baxter. For the entire 2020 series at the Casino de Montréal, GYM and Lee Baxter Promotions will be co-promoters of popular Montreal prospect Mazlum Akdeniz (11-0, 6 KOs). The light welterweight Quebecer will not be in unknown territory since he has already fought six fights on GYM cards. His opponent in the 8-round match is left-hander Lavisas Williams (9-1-1, 3 KOs) of from Rochester NY.
In other bouts, Ontario light heavyweight Kane Heron (16-0-1, 7 KOs) will face Alejandre Meneses (12-4, 6 KOs) in an 8-rounder. Light heavyweight Simon Pierre Adde (7-1, 3KO), a Frenchman who lives in Los Angeles, will meet undefeated Italian Stivven Dredhaj (5-0, 2 KOs) in a 6-round fight. In a pair of 4-round confrontation the Stéphane Larouche protégé, super lightweight Abed El-Safadi (3-0, 0 KOs) will tangle with Jakub Laskowski (1-0-1, 1 KO) of Poland, and a show opener for Diizon Belfon (2-0, 2 KOs) of LaSalle, an associate of the famed Grant brothers, who will try for another knockout against his Greek foe, Alexandros Kirsanidis (1-0, 1 KO).
All this action will take place in the warm and unique atmosphere of the prestigious Cabaret of the Casino de Montréal, where the proximity of the ring and the fighters provides a perspective and sensations that are found nowhere else. The fights will start at noon, so it’s a good opportunity to come have lunch with us, while watching spectacular and emotional fights on the first day of spring.
Jackie Kallen Predicts Unbeaten Mykquan Williams Will Be Her Sixth World Champion
Women’s pioneer Jackie Kallen, the first and arguably most successful female manager in the boxing history, strongly believes unbeaten 21-year-old “Marvelous” Mykquan Williams (15-0-1, 7 KOs) will develop into her sixth world champion.
Williams, fighting out of East Hartford, CT, is the reigning the World Boxing Council (WBC) United States super lightweight champion.
“Mykey has a lot of the qualities as some of the greats in boxing,” Kallen said. “He has some of the flash and speed of fighters like Ray Leonard, and the training habits and dedication of Thomas Hearns and Mike Tyson. He also has a killer smile and good looks like Hector Camacho, Sr.
“Mykey can go all the way to a world title. He has the speed, attitude, and heart, along with exceptional boxing ability. He has been groomed perfectly by his trainer, Paul Cichon, who has kept Mykey true to his style, working hard to perfect his skill. Mykey trains hard, eats right, and takes the game seriously.”
“Jackie’s very experienced and knowledgeable in boxing,” Williams remarked. “She’s worked with some great, world-class fighters, so she knows the route to take for me to get there.”
Cichon added, “I sought out Jackie as our manager because of her love for the sports, as well as the knowledge of that she brings to the table. She’s very well respected, as she certainly deserves to be.”
Boxing has dramatically changed since Kallen covered her first fight for a Detroit daily newspaper in 1978. The card showcased Hearns and Mickey Goodwin. She became an instant fan and wrote about boxing on a regular basis. A legendary trainer/manager based in Detroit, Emanuel Steward, hired her as a publicist for his famed Kronk Gym. Some of her best friends to this day are fighters who she worked with back then. She and Hearns still get together.
After serving as Kronk’s publicist for a decade, Kallen decided to branch out and she started managing fighters. Her first client was heavyweight Bobby Hitz, who today is a successful promoter and restaurateur in Chicago. She went on to manage a group of Who’s Who fighters, including world champions James Toney, Bronco McKart,Tom “Boom Boom” Johnson, Pinklon Thomas and Nonito Donaire.
Kallen, who overcame sexism in the boxing industry, is best known, perhaps, for her working relationship with Toney, largely because her life during that period was the inspiration for the popular 2004 movie, Against the Ropes, starring Meg Ryan as Kallen.
“Boxing today is a totally different animal,” she explained. “That’s not to say it’s better or worse, just different. There used to be more gyms in every city, heavy amateur programs, lots of shows on television networks, and enough local club shows to keep a young fighter active. I had guys back then who fought 8 to 10 times a year, which, of course, is almost impossible in 2020.
“There wasn’t as much information available on opponents either. If you were lucky, you could buy a tape. If the fighter hadn’t been on television, though, you were out of luck. There was no Internet, so there was nothing like BoxRec to check opponents’ records. You just had to believe the matchmaker. I had fighters expecting to fight a 14-4 guy who found out at the weigh in that he was actually 16-0.”
Boxing, likely the second-oldest profession, has continued to survive, albeit often on a roller-coaster ride.
“Today’s fighters are not as quick to fight each other as they were in the days of Hearns/Hagler/Leonard/Duran,” Kallen noted. “Back then, fighters wanted to really fight to be the best they could be. I see fighters today being more analytical and taking less chances.
“There are also more sanctioning organizations today. Back then it was most the WBA, WBC and IBF. Not to mention there was never one person who managed dozens and dozens of boxers at the same time. The game has definitely changed!” Kallen, though is still heavily invested in the sport she loves. Confident Williams will be her next world champion, her dream is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with Toney
Boxing Insider Notebook: Juarez, Imam, Flores, Parker, Winters, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 4th to February 11th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Omar Juarez Greets Kids with Special Needs at the Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine
Undefeated super lightweight boxing sensation, Omar “El Relámpago” Juarez (7-0, 4 KOs), was a featured guest of honor at last Friday’s “A Night To Shine”, a prom-style event for special needs children presented by Down By The Border in association with the Tim Tebow Foundation, which took place on February 7, 2020.
Shoe Palace and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), proudly presented Omar at this very heartwarming and touching event that featured makeup stations, red carpet paparazzi entrances, and attendance by local and state-level dignitaries that made a night to remember for years to come.
As this event grows larger with each passing year, Juarez plans to be at every event. Omar saw nine hundred people in attendance, many of whom lined up to get a photo or autograph with him.
“This is such a great time and a special event,” said Omar Juarez, who is a rising prospect for PBC. “I look forward to attending this event every year as it is such a special event and so memorable for everyone involved, especially the kids. I want to thank Shoe Palace, PBC, Down by the Boarder, and the Tim Tebow Foundation for letting me be part of this event with their support.”
Amir Imam-Javier Molina, Gabriel Flores and Isaac Lowe Headline Wilder-Fury 2 Prelims
An exciting lineup of rising stars will enter the ring in undercard action leading up to the highly anticipated rematch between unbeaten WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and undefeated lineal champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury headlining a historic, mega PPV event Saturday, February 22 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Wilder vs. Fury II Prelims will feature hard-hitting undefeated contender Subriel Matias in a super lightweight showdown against Petros Ananyan, plus super lightweight contender Amir Imam taking on Javier Molina.
Prelims will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT on FS1, ESPNEWS and in Spanish on FOX Deportes and ESPN3. ESPNEWS’ coverage will switch to ESPN at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
The Wilder vs. Fury II PPV begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features former heavyweight world champion Charles Martin squaring off against former title challenger Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington for a 12-round IBF Heavyweight Title eliminator in the co-main event. WBO Junior Featherweight World Champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete, a.k.a “The Mexican Iron Man” will defend his title against Filipino contender Jeo Santisima in the PPV featured bout. Plus in the PPV opener, super welterweight sensation Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora will face 2016 Australian Olympian Daniel Lewis in a 10-round battle of unbeatens.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at www.mgmgrand.com or www.axs.com. The event is promoted by BombZquad Promotions, TGB Promotions, Top Rank and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. A Premier Boxing Champions presentation.
A pro since 2015, Matias (15-0, 15 KOs) has stopped every opponent he’s faced in the professional ranks, including three more knockout victories in 2019. The 27-year-old will be fighting in the U.S for the third time on February 22, and the first time in Las Vegas, as he looks for a big 2020 debut. The Fajardo, Puerto Rico native will take on the 31-year-old, Ananyan (14-2-2, 7 KOs), who made his U.S. debut in December 2019, losing a narrow majority decision against Kareem Martin after defeating Arkadi Harutyunyan in April 2019. Born in Abovyan, Armenia and training in Houston, Texas, Ananyan was unbeaten in his first 15 fights after turning pro in 2015.
“I’m very excited for this fight and thankful to my team for giving me this great opportunity,” said Matias. “Just like all of my other fights, I’m going to train to my maximum level, because no matter who the opponent is, we’re all chasing the same dream. I want to thank him for taking this fight, but I won’t let him stand in my way. We’re going to give the fans great action and on February 22, we will know who is the most prepared to win.”
“This is a moment that every boxer dreams about and I can’t wait to demonstrate my skills on a big show,” said Ananyan. “I’m training hard, learning my opponent’s style, his weaknesses and putting together a strategy for fight night. This is a very important fight for me, because with a win I will be able to make my dreams come true. It’s been a long road to achieve my dreams and I’m ready to take another big step on February 22.”
The fighting pride of Albany, N.Y., Imam (22-2, 19 KOs) has resumed his quest for a super lightweight world title. After promotional issues kept him out of the ring for nearly two years following his competitive March 2018 decision loss to Jose Ramirez for the vacant WBC super lightweight title, Imam came back in grand style last November, knocking out Marcos Mojica in four rounds. The Mojica fight was his first under the Top Rank banner, and he’ll return against promotional stablemate Molina (21-2, 9 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympian. Molina went 3-0 in 2019, most recently knocking out Hiroki Okada at 1:05 of the opening round in their ESPN-televised showdown.
“I feel blessed to be fighting on the undercard of the biggest fight of the year,” said Imam. “I am prepared to shine and take full advantage of the opportunity and the exposure. I’ve had a great camp in preparation for this fight. I’m excited to get in the ring and I feel stronger and more prepared than ever. Defeating Javier Molina will put myself back in the conversation as one of the top super lightweights in the world.”
“I’m looking forward to fighting in an event as big as this one,” said Molina. “I know I’m facing a tough fighter in Amir Imam, but these are the type of fights that I need to earn a world title shot. I’m excited and ready to make a statement on February 22.”
The action-packed non-televised lineup includes unbeaten prospect Rolando Romero battling fellow unbeaten Arturs Ahmetovs in an eight-round lightweight fight, plus rising prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. in an eight-round lightweight affair against Matt Conway.
Rounding out the card is sensational 17-year-old prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. in a four-round welterweight attraction against Corey Champion, and unbeaten featherweight Isaac Lowe squaring off against Mexico’s Alberto Guevara.
Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada, Romero (10-0, 9 KOs) added three knockout victories to his tally in 2019, including a highlight-reel knockout win on FS1 in April when he stopped Andres Figueroa. A fast-rising prospect in the Mayweather Promotions stable, the 24-year-old will look to extend his five-fight knockout streak on February 22. He will take on the 30-year-old Ahmetovs (5-0, 2 KOs), who turned pro in March 2019 and picked up five victories throughout the year. Ahmetovs was born in Riga, Latvia and fights out of Delray Beach, Florida.
The 19-year-old Flores (16-0, 6 KOs) is one of the sport’s rising stars, an amateur prodigy who signed with Top Rank at the age of 16. Already a proven ticket-seller in his hometown of Stockton, California, he will be making his fourth Las Vegas appearance. Last September, he shut out Miguel Angel Aispuro over six rounds on the Fury vs. Otto Wallin undercard at T-Mobile Arena. Conway (17-1, 7 KOs) is a five-year pro whose only defeat came via split decision to Francisco Esparza last October.
Still a senior in high school, the 17-year-old Mielnicki (4-0, 3 KOs) fights out of his hometown of Roseland, New Jersey and turned pro in July 2019 after a stellar amateur career. Mielnicki has shown his immense skill in back-to-back performances on FOX PBC Prelims, stopping Marklin Bailey on the Wilder vs. Ortiz II prelims show on FS2 in November, then defeating Preston Wilson in his 2020 debut in January on FS1. He will take on the 21-year-old Champion, who fights out of Charlottesville, Virginia and has fought three times since turning pro in July 2019.
Lowe (19-0-3, 6 KOs), Fury’s close friend and training partner, is a former Commonwealth featherweight champion who has won five in a row since a 2018 draw against Ryan Walsh for the British featherweight title. A fan-friendly pressure fighter, Lowe was victorious on the undercards of Fury’s last two bouts and hopes to move closer to a world title shot with another win. Guevara (27-5, 12 KOs), a native of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, is a two-time bantamweight world title challenger who pushed then-champion Leo Santa Cruz the distance in December 2012. He fought Shakur Stevenson last July on short notice and gave a valiant effort before being stopped in the third round.
Efe Ajagboa Takes on Razvan Cojanu on March 7th
Undefeated heavyweight sensation Efe Ajagba will take on former title challenger Razvan Cojanu in the 10-round co-main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes Saturday, March 7 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
The night of heavyweight action begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is headlined by undefeated Polish star and Brooklyn native Adam Kownacki looking to thrill his hometown crowd when he takes on Robert Helenius in a 12-round WBA Heavyweight Title eliminator. The opening attraction will see rising heavyweight Frank Sánchez step in to face Philadelphia’s Joey Dawejko in a 10-round battle.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com and barclayscenter.com. Tickets are also available for purchase now at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center.
The non-televised undercard lineup will include exciting Brooklyn native Zachary “Zungry” Ochoa (20-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight fight and undefeated Cuban heavyweight Robert Alfonso (19-0-1, 9 KOs) in an eight or 10-round attraction against Puerto Rico’s Carlos Negrón (20-3, 16 KOs).
Rounding out the action is heavyweight prospect Steven Torres (2-0, 2 KOs) in a four-round bout and the pro debut of Boston’s Francis Hogan in a four-round middleweight fight.
Nigeria’s Ajagba (12-0, 10 KOs) has increased his opposition in his recent fights and passed those tests by getting off the canvas to stop Iago Kiladze in December 2019 and defeating fellow 2016 Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen by 10-round unanimous decision in July, both on FOX. The 25-year-old Ajagba gained widespread notoriety in August 2018 when his opponent, Curtis Harper, walked out of the ring after touching gloves to start the first round. Ajagba won the fight without throwing a punch as Harper was disqualified. Living in Stafford, Texas and training with renowned veteran trainer Ronnie Shields, Ajagba will make his 2020 debut and third career appearance at Barclays Center on March 7, after four victories in 2019.
Born in Romania and now residing in Burbank, California, Cojanu (17-6, 9 KOs) most recently won a decision over Tamaz Zadishvili in October 2019. The 32-year-old has fought professionally since 2011 and rebounded from a defeat in his first pro fight to win 16 of his next 17 bouts. He defeated Zhiyu Wu in 2016 to earn a title fight against Joseph Parker, which he lost by decision in 2017. Cojanu would then go on to challenge top heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz, plus rising contenders Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman, in three straight fights from 2018 until his most recent triumph.
Joseph Parker to Face Winters in Frisco
Joseph Parker will return to action against Shawndell Winters at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday February 29, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW STARTING AT $25 VIA SEATGEEK
Parker (26-2 20 KOs) is back on the hunt to regain his World champion status having been forced out of an October clash with Derek Chisora in London after a spider bite on his leg led to an illness that robbed the Kiwi of a fight with the all-action Brit.
The former WBO ruler had teed up a mouth-watering clash with ‘Del Boy’ having stopped Alex Leapai in the tenth round of their clash in Providence, RI in June, the first fight of a three-fight deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA.
Parker will look to reignite his charge to elite level and World title showdowns in Texas against Winters, the Illinois man ranked #14 with the WBA and looking to extend his KO run having taken the unbeaten record of Canadian-Ukrainian Oleksandr Teslenko to land the NABA title in Ontario, Canada in September and following that with another stoppage win on enemy turf with a fifth round victory over Poland’s Sergeij Werwejko in November.
Winters, who has KO’d 12 of his 13 wins, will be looking to continue his winning streak and scupper Parker’s plans to become a two-weight World champion, but Parker plans to make an explosive statement on a stacked card in the Lone Star State.
“I am delighted to be back in action on this huge bill in Texas,” said Parker. It was frustrating to be ruled out of the Chisora fight in October, especially in such an unusual way, but I have been on fire in the gym in Las Vegas and we’re ready to get back to business. The division is moving at a great pace and this is a perfect opportunity to show the world that I am one of the elite players in the division.
“Shawndell is on a great run and I know he’ll bring it on February 29 – but I am ready to show that I will become a two-time World champion in 2020 and that starts with a dominant and destructive display in Frisco.”
“This is the biggest fight of my career and I am going to make it count,” said Winters. “I am used to being the underdog, it’s something that I thrive on and if Joseph Parker underestimates me, he’s going to be in for a bad night – because I am going in there to take him out.
“I want to thank Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing USA, DiBella Entertainment and Be Def Sports for the opportunity and special thanks to champion Joseph for taking me as a worthy opponent – but he will live to regret it!”
“It’s great to have Joseph back in action early in the year,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “The Heavyweight division is red-hot right now, and it’s important for Joseph to make a statement and remind the champions and fellow challengers that he’s coming for them – but Shawndell is on a roll and will. be desperate to take a huge scalp in the shape of the Kiwi on a massive night in Texas.”
“Shawndell is a very tough competitor who recently moved up to Heavyweight. He’s already pulled off two consecutive upsets against favored opponents, and the fight before that should have been a third,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “He’s looking for his biggest upset yet against former World champion Joseph Parker. This is a tremendous opportunity for this ex-Cruiserweight Rocky from Harvey, Illinois. I believe he is a live underdog.”
Parker’s clash with Winters is part of a huge night of action in Texas topped by a mouthwatering Welterweight clash between Mikey Garcia (39-1 30 KOs) and Jessie Vargas (29-2-2 11 KOs).
Two huge World title bouts feature as Britain’s longest reigning World champion Kal Yafai (26-0 15 KOs) puts his WBA World Super-Flyweight title on the line against the former pound-for-pound king and four weight World ruler Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (48-2 40 KOs) and rising Mexican sensation Julio Cesar Martinez (15-1 12 KOs) makes the first defense of his WBC World Flyweight title against unbeaten European champion Jay Harris (17-0 9 KOs) – with more fights to be confirmed for the card imminently.
Stevie Ortiz-Damon Allen Headlines Philly Special on March 27th
It should be another all-Philly classic when lightweights Stevie Ortiz and Damon Allen collide over 10 rounds for Ortiz’ Pennsylvania state lightweight championship on Friday evening, March 27, at the 2300 Arena.
The Ortiz-Allen showdown will headline a seven-bout card dubbed Philly Special by Raging Babe, aka Michelle Rosado. First fight will start at 7:30 p.m.
“The recipe for success in Philly always has been Philly vs. Philly,” said Rosado. “It’s what made Philly a great fight town. The hard part today is getting Philly fighters to fight each other so I’m thankful that Steve Ortiz and Damon Allen bought in.
“This fight is happening at the right time for both of them. The winner can break into the world rankings.”
Ortiz won the vacant state 135-pound title last year when he scored a pair of knockdowns en route to a unanimous eight-round decision over another Philadelphian, Jeremy Cuevas, at the Met.
The 26-year-old Ortiz last boxed Sept. 20 at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, when he got off the canvas twice to earn an eight-round majority decision over Alejandro Salinas, of Youngstown, OH. Scores were 75-75, 76-74, 76-74.
A pro since 2015, Ortiz is 11-0, 3 KOs, and he has boxed only two men with losing records. Ortiz is managed and trained by Chino Rivas and promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
“It’s a big fight because we are both very talented,” Ortiz said. “It will draw a lot of attention because of our amateur backgrounds. A lot of people always wanted to see us fight.
“As amateurs, Damon was always the top guy in his division. I was the top in my division. We went to the National Golden Gloves together and we fought great fights. This match-up is going to bring the best out of us.”
“This is a great opportunity for Stevie Ortiz in a hometown, Philly Special main event against Damon Allen,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This is reminiscent of the great Philly fights of old. The card is stacked and will be a great representation of Philly boxing and the best of local shows. I look forward to working with Raging Babe to secure a television or streaming partner for the March 27 Philly Special. Philly Special will be special and I can’t wait for fans to see it.”
Allen, 27, last boxed Oct. 25 at the 2300 Arena when he scored a unanimous six-round decision over Dieumerci Nzau, of Silver Spring, MD. That marked Allen’s first fight in his hometown in more than four years.
A pro since 2013, Allen is 16-1-1, 5 KOs. He owns a pair of victories over Mexican veterans Gamaliel Diaz and Martin Honorio.
Allen is managed by Tim VanNewhouse and David McWater, and he is trained by Brian McIntyre.
“I never wanted to be the best in the city; I want to be the best period,” Allen said. “I know he’s looking at it like it’s a big fight. This isn’t my first rodeo in a fight like this. I know what to bring and what not to bring. My mind is straight. He is going to be game.
“I have more experience in and out of the ring. He’s just another fighter in front of me. I live a boxing lifestyle. I told him to ‘come ready and prepared’ because I’m coming 110 percent.”
Philly Special is promoted by Raging Babe, in association with DiBella Entertainment. Hall-of-Fame promoter, Russell Peltz will handle the matchmaking duties.
Blair Cobbs Media Workout Quotes
Undefeated NABF Welterweight Champion Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (14-0-1, 10 KOs) hosted a Las Vegas media workout Saturday in preparation for his upcoming bout against Samuel Kotey (23-2, 16 KOs) which takes place Friday, February 14 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Cobbs, who is managed by Greg Hannely of Prince Ranch Boxing and promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, will make his 2020 debut as part of the of Ryan Garcia versus Francisco Fonseca card, which will air live on DAZN at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
Here is what Cobbs had to say Saturday from the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in Las Vegas:
“This camp has been amazing. I’ve had nothing but the greatest sparring partners to get prepared for this upcoming bout. My trainer Brandon Woods has been sharpening up my tools and I’m ready to preform at my best on fight night. Everyone can expect to see the best Blair “The Flair” Cobbs possible. This is a sport filled with entertainment and I call myself “The most exciting man in Boxing”.
“On Valentines Day, I’m going to steal the show and all the fans watching on DAZN will see an amazing performance from me. My opponent, Samuel Kotey, is a tough hombre who is coming to win, but I have other plans for him. There is nothing he can do that will outmatch my skill and desire to win this fight.”
“It’s been a wonderful experience having the Mexican fans behind me being that they know that’s where I first learned how to box when I fled to Guadalajara, Mexico. It’s been a hell of a journey coming back to the United States from Mexico, where I learned to fight the Mexican style, always throwing big shots to entertain the fans. Fighting in the amateurs in Mexico, is like fighting in the pros. Sometimes we didn’t use headgear. It was crazy, but it made me the fighter I am today.”
GH3 Promotions Fighters in Action this Weekend
Six members of the GH3 Promotions stable will be in action this weekend, as the company will have three fighters featured on ShoBox: The New Generation card on SHOWTIME (10 PM ET/PT) on Friday night from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
In the main event, GH3’s Thomas Mattice (15-1-1, 11 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio takes on Isaac Cruz (18-1-1, 14 KOs) of Mexico City in a 10-round lightweight bout.
In the co-feature, Adam Lopez (19-3-2, 9 KOs) of San Antonio, Texas battles undefeated Raeese Aleem (15-0, 9 KOs) of Las Vegas in an eight-round super bantamweight contest.
Opening up the television portion of the card will be Derrick Colemon Jr. (11-0, 8 KOs) of Detroit taking on fellow undefeated fighter Joseph Jackson (15-0, 12 KOs) of Greensboro, N.C., in an eight-round super welterweight bout.
Before the camera’s begin rolling, undefeated heavyweight Norman Neely (5-0, 5 KOs) of Paterson, N.J., takes on Jersey City’s Nicoy Clarke (2-5) in Neeley’s first scheduled six-round bout.
Also Friday night in Philadelphia, middleweight Ian Green (12-2, 9 KOs) of Paterson, N.J., takes on Ray Barringer (6-3, 4 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio in a six-round middleweight fight.
Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn., former National Golden Gloves champion and undefeated Roney Hines (7-0, 5 KOs) of Cleveland battles Johnnie Langston (8-1, 3 KOs) of Sarasota, Fla., in a six-round heavyweight bout.
“We have all our guys in tough this weekend,” said Vito Mielnicki of GH3 Promotions. “I am really looking forward to seeing these fights, and how our fighters perform. A couple of the guys, namely Mattice and Lopez are on the cusp of some big opportunities. I think Colemon has a chance to establish himself as a top prospect. Green has won on ShoBox before and wants to get back there. And the two big heavyweights, Hines and Neeley, are taking the next steps on becoming top-prospects themselves.”
Richard Medina and Hector Coronado Score KO Wins in Mexico
Prince Ranch Boxing’s undefeated blue-chip prospects picked up big wins tonight as featherweight Richard Medina (7-0, 6 KO), and welterweight Hector Coronado (5-0, 4 KOs), both picked up spectacular wins on Friday, February 7, 2020, at the Centro de Convenciones in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico
The 19-year old Medina, who resides in San Antonio, TX, picked up a first-round TKO victory.
“I worked hard and had the performance I envisioned,” said Medina. “My promoter TMB & PRB Entertainment have done an excellent job with my career and my performances in the ring are showing. Between Rick Morones and Alex Draghici getting me fights, Greg Hannley of Prince Ranch Boxing managing me, I know I’m in good hands and I feel unstoppable.”
Coronado, a resident of Del Rio, TX, scored a second-round knockout.
“I am focused on becoming a world champion and this was the type of performance that puts me on that path,” said Coronado “I’m staying busy, and I am very focused. I am looking to fight a lot this year. I have a great team, who I know will keep me active and put me in the best possible positions.”
“Both Medina and Coronado are fighters with the skillset and abilities to be in position for great opportunities down the road,” said manager Greg Hannely, president of Prince Ranch Boxing. “What stands out about both fighters is their punching power, with some incredible knockouts early in their career, which makes them very fan-friendly.”
“These kids are both putting the time and effort into their training camps to have good performances,” said Rick Morones, of TMB & PRB Entertainment. “Medina and Coronado are crowd-pleasing fighters, who are looking to put on a show. Their work ethic is apparent in their fighting style.”
“It so exciting being a part of both of these young fighters’ careers,” said Alex Draghici, of TMB & PRB Entertainment. “They both leave everything in the ring, and the fans can tell by the type of performances they put on. I see only bigger and bigger things for them in the future.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Russell, Juarez, Andrade, Cancio, USA Boxing, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 21st to January 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Robert Elizondo/Team Juarez
Omar Juarez Training Camp Quotes
Unbeaten rising prospect Omar “El Relampago” Juarez will look to put on a show in the ring this Super Bowl weekend when he battles Mexico’s Angel Hernandez this Saturday, February 1 in FS1 PBC Fight Night action and on FOX Deportes from Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.
“This is another great opportunity for me to shine on the big stage,” said Juarez. “The Super Bowl is like a holiday for all sports fans. Everyone will be hanging out watching sports all weekend and I want to give them something to remember.”
The 20-year-old Juarez (6-0, 4 KOs) returns to the ring after an outstanding 2019 where he picked up five wins, including four by knockout. He most recently knocked out Kevin Shacks in November after his previous fight saw him score a sensational finish on FS1 over Gino De La Paz in August.
“I’m so grateful that my management team and FOX believe in me by continuing to showcase me to the masses,” said Juarez. “All I want to do is perform to my best ability and continue to give the fans watching on TV a spectacular performance.”
The Brownsville, Texas native held the early portion of his training camp in Brownsville before going to San Antonio to finish camp there and spar with WBA Super Lightweight Champion Mario Barrios, experience that will surely help him as his young career progresses.
“I started training camp in my hometown as I always do, but then headed out to San Antonio to finish off the last few weeks,” said Juarez. “I got really good sparring with a world champion and somebody I admire. I’m a big fan of Mario Barrios. He’s an incredible fighter and I learned a lot from being in the ring with him. As I’m getting older, I can feel my body getting stronger. I’m having a great training camp to say the least.”
Juarez will be opposed by the most experienced and accomplished opponent of his career in the 20-year-old in Hernandez. The Mexicali, Mexico native has won 10 of his 11 fights and will be making his U.S. debut on February 1.
“Angel Hernandez is a fighter with real power and a man who is coming to take me out,” said Hernandez. “All of his victories have come by knockout, so I feel I’m in the toughest fight of my career. He’s a tough gritty Mexican fighter with bad intentions on his mind.
“Unfortunately for Hernandez, I’m in the best shape of my life, and he’s stepping into the ring with a man on a mission. This will be an exciting night of fights and I plan to steal the show with a knockout.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at the Beau Rivage Theatre box office and through Ticketmaster.com.
Undefeated 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell & Unbeaten Bantamweight Contender Antonio Russell Compete in Separate Attractions Highlighting Undercard Lineup Saturday, February 8 from PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania
Undefeated 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell will take on Mexico’s José Marrufo in a 10-round super lightweight bout, while unbeaten bantamweight contender Antonio Russell steps in the ring for a 10-round fight highlighting the non-televised undercard Saturday, February 8 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The card is headlined by the older brother of Gary Antuanne and Antonio, as undefeated WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. will defend his 126-pound crown against unbeaten mandatory challenger Tugstsogt “King Tug” Nyambayar live on SHOWTIME.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will see former world champions Guillermo Rigondeaux and Liborio Solís battle for the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title in the co-main event, plus Jaime Arboleda meeting Jayson Vélez in a 12-round bout WBA Super Featherweight Title eliminator in the opener.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Kings Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through www.pplcenter.com/events (direct link HERE).
Undercard action will also see super welterweight contender Jamontay “The Quiet Assassin” Clark (14-1-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round showdown against Mexico’s Vladimir Hernández (10-4, 6 KOs) and Springfield, Massachusetts native Anthony Velázquez (8-0, 8 KOs) in a six-round welterweight duel against Reading, Pennsylvania’s Kashon Hutchinson (7-5, 1 KO).
Rounding out the lineup is Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Torres (7-0, 3 KOs) taking on Mexico’s Edson Eduardo Neri (3-4, 2 KOs) for six rounds of bantamweight action, and a six-round battle of unbeaten welterweights as Bowie, Maryland’s Marlon Bolen (3-0, 2 KOs) squares off against Miami’s Osmel Mayorga (2-0, 1 KO).
The 23-year-old Gary Antuanne Russell (12-0, 12 KOs) has yet to allow an opponent to make it the distance against him since turning pro in 2017 following his run representing the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics. Russell added five more stoppage victories in 2019 and will be opposed by the 28-year-old Marrufo (12-9-2, 1 KO), who was born in Sonora, Mexico but fights out of Phoenix, Arizona. Marrufo split a pair of fights against then unbeaten Willie Shaw in 2019, defeating him in March before dropping a decision in the rematch in August.
Antonio Russell (16-0, 12 KOs) trains alongside his brothers Gary Antuanne and Gary Jr., with their father and head trainer Gary Russell Sr. in their Capitol Heights, Maryland hometown. The 26-year-old is unbeaten since turning pro in 2015 and picked up four wins in 2019, including his first 10-round fight, when he bested Francisco Pedroza in July, and most recently a first round stoppage of Samuel Gutierrez in November.
USA Boxing Announces 2020 Tokyo
Olympic Games Qualification Team
USA Boxing announced today the 13 boxers who will
represent Team USA at the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games Tokyo Boxing
Qualification Events, as well as the 13 alternates. A full list can be seen
The team was announced following the two-stage qualification process that began in December at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing in Lake Charles and concluded at the recent 2020 Strandja Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. The full athlete selection procedure can be seen here.
“First of all, this was a very difficult decision,”
stated USA Boxing Head Coach Billy Walsh. “Some of these
boxers were neck and neck between training camp and the 2020 Standja
“We feel the 13 boxers that earned their place on the Olympic Qualification Team will be the best team to represent Team USA at the upcoming qualifiers, as well as have the best opportunity to qualify a full team to the 2020 Olympic Games Tokyo.”
All 13 boxers will have two chances to punch their ticket to Tokyo. The first will take place at the America’s Qualification tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 26 – April 3. Boxers who do not qualify in Argentina will have one final opportunity at the World Qualifier in Paris, France, May 13-24. Click here for more information on how boxers qualify
The boxers, as well as several training partners, will return to the United States Olympics and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Feb. 5 for their next training camp.
Follow USA Boxing on social media to stay up to date on training and news of the Olympic Qualification Team.
USA Boxing Olympic Qualification Team
51 kg: Virginia Fuchs, Houston, Texas
52 kg: Anthony Herrera, Los Angeles, Calif.
57 kg: Andrea Medina, San Diego, Calif.
57 kg: Bruce Carrington, Brooklyn, N.Y.
60 kg: Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass.
63 kg: Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va.
69 kg: Oshae Jones, Toledo, Ohio
69 kg: Delante Johnson, Cleveland, Ohio
75 kg: Naomi Graham, Fayetteville, N.C.
75 kg: Joseph Hicks, Grand Rapids, Mich.
81 kg: Rahim Gonzales, Las Vegas, Nev.
91 kg: Darius Fulghum, Houston, Texas
91+ kg: Richard Torrez Jr., Tulare, Calf.
USA Boxing Olympic Qualification Team Alternates
51 kg: Christina Cruz, Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.
52 kg: Abraham Perez, Albuquerque, N.M.
57 kg: Lupe Gutierrez, Sacramento, Calif.
57 kg: David Navarro, Los Angeles, Calif.
60 kg: Amelia Moore, Alexandria, Va.
63 kg: Ernesto Mercado, Pomona, Calif.
69 kg: Briana Che, Madison, Wisc.
69 kg: Freudis Rojas Jr., Dallas, Texas
75 kg: Morelle McCane, Cleveland, Ohio
75 kg: Javier Martinez, Milwaukee, Wisc.
81 kg: Atif Oberlton, Philadelphia, Pa.
91 kg: Jamar Talley, Camden, N.J.
91+ kg: Antonio Mireles, Des Moines, Iowa
Yordenis Ugas Training Camp Quotes
Top welterweight Yordenis Ugas shared his thoughts on training camp and previewed his upcoming showdown against Mike Dallas Jr. before he steps into the ring this Saturday, February 1 in the FS1 PBC Fight Night main event and FOX Deportes from Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.
“We are in the final days of a great training camp and I couldn’t feel any better going into this fight,” said Ugas. “Me and my trainer Ismael Salas are working on a great strategy that we believe will be successful. My timing is right on point and every round of sparring has been unbelievable. It’s been an outstanding camp in Las Vegas and I’m ready to go!”
Ugas will look to put on a performance worthy of his headlining slot the night before Super Bowl LIV, and further cement himself as a force to be reckoned with at welterweight.
“This is a huge weekend for sports fans,” said Ugas. “It’s very exciting to be in the main event one day before the Super Bowl. You know that when I get in the ring, you’re going to see action and great skill from start to finish. I always come to put on a great performance.”
Ugas will be challenged by the veteran Dallas, who has faced quality competition throughout his career and enters this matchup the winner of four of his last five bouts, with the only blemish a split draw in 2016 against Dusty Hernandez Harrison.
“Mike Dallas Jr. is a very skilled fighter who’s been in the ring with some very good opposition,” said Ugas. “He’s a crafty veteran who I know is coming to fight with all his heart. His only losses have come against top fighters. I’m taking this fight very seriously and I’ll have to be on my game to really make a statement.”
The Cuban-born Ugas believes that a statement on Saturday will put him back in position to challenge one of the welterweight elite for a second shot at a world title. In March 2019, Ugas came up just short of becoming champion, dropping a narrow decision to then WBC titlist Shawn Porter. Ugas returned to action for a WBC title eliminator in July 2019, and he performed impressively, dropping Omar Figueroa and handing him the first loss of his career.
“My lifelong dream ever since I first laced up a pair of gloves was to win a world title,” said Ugas. “I’ve come so close to accomplishing that dream, but for some reason I’ve come up short. I’m determined to be the best fighter I can be, and I know in my heart that I’m one of the best welterweights in the world. My goal is to become a world champion in 2020.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at the Beau Rivage Theatre box office and through Ticketmaster.com.
Ruben Villa Camp Notes
Undefeated featherweight and world-ranked Ruben Villa (17-0, 5 KOs) is winding down his training for his 10-round showdown with Cuban knockout artist Alexei Collado (26-2, 23 KOs), this Friday night at the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport, Louisiana. The bout will headline a three-fight telecast on ShoBox: The New Generation and live on SHOWTIME (10 PM ET/PT).
Villa has been working hard just outside of his native Salinas, California.
“Training camp has been good. I have been training in Prunedale which is a little bit outside of Salinas, but its close enough, so in a way I am home, but I am not at home.
In Collado, he is facing a tough veteran, who has an impressive knockout ratio.
“Collado is a real strong aggressive guy. He is a veteran. I have to be cautious because of his power and play it very smart on our end.”
With a winning performance on January 31st, Villa can see himself in the middle of the featherweight title chase as he looks to improve on his number-five ranking by the WBO.
“I feel like I’ve proven myself with the last couple of fights. I feel like I belong in the top-five if not higher. I feel that a win will set me up for bigger and better things.
Villa has been more them grateful to accelerate from prospect to contender on the series that has showcased more than 75 world champions.
“Another main event on ShoBox. I am excited to showcase my talents in Louisiana again. It’s motivation to prove myself to people that I should be the main event.
“I am usually just real focused. I know the featherweight division is stacked, but I am really just focused on what is in front of me and focused for the fight. After we are finished on January 31st, my team and I can figure out what is next; however, I feel that I am close to competing for a world title.”
Villa is promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing.
Undefeated Ukrainian and 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Taras Shelestyuk (17-0, 10 KOs) meets Argentina’s Luis Alberto Veron (18-1-2, 9 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight matchup in the co-featured bout. The televised opener features an eight-round lightweight bout pitting ShoBox veteran Zhora Hamazaryan (9-1-1, 6 KOs) of Armenia against Sulaiman Segawa (13-2, 4 KOs) of Uganda.
The event is promoted by Banner Promotions, Thompson Boxing and Bishop Promotions LLC. Tickets can be purchased at www.Bishoppromotions.com and prices are $20-$100.
Present 40 Days: Jake Paul vs. Gib
DAZN Originals will present the latest edition of its training camp series, 40 DAYS: JAKE PAUL VS. GIB, an in-depth look at YouTube stars Jake “The Problem Child” Paul and “7-Figure Gibber” AnEsonGib ahead of their Jan. 30 professional boxing debuts, which will serve as the co-main event to a special Thursday night edition of world class boxing, exclusively on DAZN.
40 DAYS: JAKE PAUL VS. GIB will debut on each fighter’s YouTube channel today, Jan. 23, one week before the two settle the score in Miami prior to the big game. The 25-minute episode will also be available on the DAZN platform in addition to DAZN and Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channels.
This edition of 40 DAYS provides a revealing look at each fighter and their road to the Jan. 30 grudge match. DAZN takes viewers from Jake Paul’s rise to stardom via Vine and YouTube through to his training camp at California’s Big Bear Mountain where he is escaping his fame to prepare with three-division world champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Meanwhile, Gib’s high-energy antics and his path to overcoming obesity are detailed as he trains in Las Vegas with professional fighter and KSI’s head trainer Viddal Riley.
“Big Bear is high altitude and no distractions, you can’t escape thinking about boxing there,” said Jake Paul. “Training with Shane Mosley, just everything clicked, and everything felt right. Gib is definitely a stepping stone but you have to step on that stone to get to the next one. I don’t think Gib has ever been punched in the face by someone who is pissed off and has been locked away in the mountains when I could be in LA doing fun shit.”
“You lot won’t be seeing this Jake Paul vs. KSI fight,” said Gib. “Jake is getting peppered. He does not know what he is in for on Jan. 30.”
Jake Paul has made his intentions clear in the promotion of his fight against Gib: If he emerges victorious in his pro debut on Jan. 30, he wants to avenge Logan Paul’s 2019 loss against KSI later this year.
“I don’t like Jake and I think the whole world doesn’t like Jake,” said KSI. “If he does manage to get past the Big Gibber then yes, I will fight Jake. 100%. But that’s not going to happen, I don’t think he’s ready for Gib at all and that’s going to show on Jan. 30. I think Gib wins this hands down and that will be the end of the Paul brothers.”
“Losing to KSI wasn’t easy but in many ways, it has given Jake an opportunity to no longer be the little brother,” said Logan Paul. “Jake took my loss harder than I did. It hurt because seeing my younger brother more affected than I am by something that wasn’t even his ordeal. I think it says a lot about Jake’s character.”
“Even the most public figures have a story to be told,” said Deirdre Fenton, DAZN Director, Original Programming. “The world may think they know all there is to know about Jake Paul and Gib but we have tried to peel back the layers to deliver a comprehensive look at both fighters before they settle their differences on Jan. 30.”
Top Rank Signs Andrew Cancio
Former WBA super featherweight world champion Andrew “El Chango” Cancio, the working man’s hero who reached the pinnacle of the sport, has signed a multi-fight promotional contract with Top Rank. Cancio, who still holds down a full-time job at Southern California Gas Company, is expected to make his Top Rank on ESPN debut in April.
“Andrew Cancio is one of the very best fighters at 130 pounds, a hard-working young man who deserves another opportunity to fight at the sport’s highest level,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He was a free agent, miraculously, and we didn’t hesitate to make a deal with him and his team.”
“I’m very grateful to begin the next chapter of my career with Bob Arum and the entire Top Rank team in my corner,” Cancio said. “I look forward to returning to the ring in front of my army of supporters and am fully prepared to fight my way towards becoming a world champion again. Thanks very much to my team, particularly my manager, Ray Chaparro, who has always believed in me and has been incredibly supportive of my career and instrumental in the success I’ve achieved.”
Said Chaparro: “Andrew and I are honored to join Top Rank as we move forward towards the rest of his career. I’ve known for a long time that Andrew is a world-class fighter and am very happy to begin working with Bob Arum and his outstanding team on our march towards another world title. I’d specifically like to thank Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman, who has worked diligently to welcome us to Top Rank. We both look forward to working closely with him in the future.”
Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KOs), from Blythe, Calif., knocked out Alberto Machado last February in four rounds to win the WBA super featherweight world title. Four months later, he repeated the deed, this time stopping Machado in three rounds. Cancio’s title reign ended last November when Nicaraguan veteran Rene Alvarado knocked him out in seven rounds.
Cancio is one of the sport’s top regional ticket-sellers, as he routinely draws sold-out crowds to the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif., a 90-minute drive from Blythe. After the Alvarado defeat, Cancio was released by his previous promoter, paving the way for him to sign with Top Rank. WBO world champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring, WBC world champion Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt, former featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez, former two-weight world champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton and former world champion Masayuki “The Judge” Ito are Top Rank-signed fighters who currently campaign at 130 pounds, leaving Cancio with a plethora of options as he resumes his career.
Andrade Signs Four Fight Extension with Matchroom
Demetrius Andrade has signed a four-fight extension to his contract with Matchroom Boxing USA.
Andrade (28-0 17 KOs) defends his WBO World Middleweight crown for the third time against Luke Keeler in Miami on January 30 live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
‘Boo Boo’ landed the vacant title in Boston in October 2018 with a win over teak-tough African Walter Kautondokwa and followed that win by stopping Artur Akavov in the final round of his first defense in New York in January 2019.
The Rhode Island ace went home for his second defense and thrilled his hometown fans at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence in June by putting Maciej Sulecki on the deck in the opening round en-route to a shut-out win over the Pole.
Irishman Keeler (17-2-1 5 KOs) travels to Miami in a bid to shock the world in his first World title fight, but Andrade wants to hold onto his title in style before attacking the big guns and fellow World rulers at 160lbs.
“I’m delighted to have signed an extension to my deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing USA,” said Andrade. “We have had a great 18 months and we’ve got plans to have an even bigger 2020 and 2021.
“I’ve matured in the ring as I’ve been more active and sometimes I think, if these guys had fought me before they might have had a better chance against me, but now they are giving me the time to sign with Eddie and DAZN, get active and fight four times, sharpen the tools and get the ring rust off. So, when it comes their time, it’s going to be hell for them!
“As long as I am building my legacy, performing the way I need to perform and people are loving my style and the things I am doing, I am not worried about anything else as the fans are going to start demanding that these guys fight me.”
The two-weight World ruler was one of the first fighters to team up with promoter Eddie Hearn in July 2018 as he expanded the Matchroom Boxing empire to America with a billion-dollar deal with DAZN, and Hearn expects the Rhode Island ace to have a big year in 2020.
“I am thrilled to have signed an extension to Demetrius’ deal with Matchroom Boxing USA,” said Hearn. “Demetrius is one of the best 160lb fighters in the world and now is the time to deliver him the fights against the other elite Middleweights in the division, live on DAZN.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Holyfield, Nova, Martin, Hurd, and more…
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 14th to January 21st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Promotions
Abraham Nova Scores 4th Round Knockout Over Navarrete
This past Saturday night, Split-T Management’s world-ranked junior lightweight contender Abraham “Super” Nova was explosive in stopping veteran Pedro Navarrete in the 4th round of their scheduled eight-round bout at The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
In round two, Nova landed a perfect left hook to the body that sent Navarrete to the canvas. In round three, it was an overhand right to the head that put Navarrete to the on the deck. In the opening seconds of round four, Nova landed three left hooks that dropped and eventually stopped Navarrete at 35 seconds.
Nova, of Albany, New York, is ranked number-seven by both the WBA and WBO is 18-0 with 14 knockouts. Navarrete, who has fought three future world champions and five more foes that competed for world titles, is now 30-25-3.
Nova was making his Top Rank debut and is co-promoted by Murphy’s Boxing and 12 Rounds Promotions.
Jarrett Hurd Training Camp Quotes
Former unified 154-pound champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd shared his thoughts on his ring return taking place Saturday, January 25 against Francisco Santana live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
“This fight isn’t about making a statement,” said Hurd. “I just want to get the win and fight a great fight. I’m going to remind the boxing world what it’s like when I bring a storm to Brooklyn.”
The January 25 co-main event will be Hurd’s first fight with new trainer Kay Koroma. While Koroma trains fighters at the Alexandria Boxing Club in Virginia, not far from Hurd’s Maryland home, he is also an assistant coach for the USA amateur boxing team, having helped various boxers win Olympic medals.
“Camp has been going great with my new trainer Kay Koroma,” said Hurd. “We’ve been working on a lot of head movement and jabs. We’re strictly focused on boxing and working on all the areas where I have room to grow. He’s really opened my eyes to a lot of things.”
For the Accokeek, Maryland native, this will be his first fight training outside of his home area as a pro fighter. He has been in Colorado Springs training since January 2 and has experienced both the positives and negatives of camp away from home.
“The positives are that there’s literally nothing to focus on out here except boxing,” said Hurd. “No distractions at all. The only negative is you can get homesick. I miss my girlfriend and my family. Also, I just got a new puppy named ‘Bolt’ and I miss my little guy too.”
Hurd will be fighting again after losing his WBA and IBF 154-pound titles in May 2019 against Julian Williams. It was one of the most exciting fights of last year, and one that Hurd will hope to be running back soon, after a victory on January 25.
“The rematch with Julian Williams is what I always wanted,” said Hurd. “I had no intentions of moving up in weight. Unfortunately, the rematch just couldn’t happen sooner because of my circumstances.”
For his first fight back, Hurd will be facing a tough veteran in Francisco Santana, one who has faced other top 154-pounders, including Williams and Jermell Charlo, and who always comes forward and brings the fight to his opponent. If Hurd is unprepared, it will show against his hard-charging opponent.
“We just wanted a matchup to get back in the groove of things,” said Hurd. “I’ve been inactive for the better part of the last year. Santana being a smaller fighter, he will stay close and try to outwork me. I know he’s coming to win, so I’m not thinking about anyone but Francisco Santana. We’re going to work behind strategy and skills to get the victory.”
Cletus Seldin to Headline Rockin Fights on February 28th
Boxing fans have been calling for it, Long Island has been waiting for it, and CLETUS “THE HEBREW HAMMER” SELDIN (Shirley, Long Island 24-1 20KO’S) couldn’t be more ready to make his ring return, back where it all began, at The Paramount, on February 28, at “Rockin’ Fights.”
Seldin is coming off the biggest win of his career, when he stopped boxing legend, and multi-time world champion, ZAB “SUPER” JUDAH (Brooklyn, NY 44-10 30KO’s) in June of 2019 at Turning Stone Resort Casino during the coveted Hall of Fame boxing event. Over eleven dominating rounds, Seldin hurt Judah badly in the third, finding success in relentless pressure, culminating in an eleventh-round stoppage as Seldin, an underdog to the former world champ, earned the NABA Super Lightweight Title. With the victory Seldinentered back into the World ratings (#11 WBA, #12 IBF).
Making his seventeenth appearance at “Rockin’ Fights,” Seldinholds the record for most wins at The Paramount, the first of which came in 2011 with a quintessential KO over Rashad Bogar. Seldinwent on to have tremendous success at the Paramount, ultimately winning the WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Title in 2014, which he successfully defended three times.
In November of 2017, Seldin would display his world class power on the national stage in a featured fight on HBO against ROBERTO ORTIZ (then 35-1-2 26KO’s). Seldin pounced on Ortiz from the opening bell and knocked knocked him out in the 3rd round in front of an electric crowd of his “Hamma Heads” fans at the Nassau Coliseum. Just one month later Seldin would make history as the only the third boxer to appear on HBO in back-to-back months, joining boxing legends MIKE TYSON and ROY JONES JR..
Seldin has fully recovered from a surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder which he suffered in the Judah fight in June. Riding a three-fight knockout streak, Seldin looks to continue his rise in the world rankings in his return to The Paramount. Seldinhad this to say about his return home, “It feels great to be home where it all started. There is no venue like The Paramount, and I cannot wait to be back. I feel healthy and plan on putting on a show for all the ‘Hamma Heads’ who come out on February 28.”
Blair Cobb Battles Samuel Kotey on Valentine’s Day on DAZN
Prince Ranch Boxing’s undefeated welterweight contender, Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (13-0-1, 9 KOs), who is by promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, faces Samuel Kotey (23-2, 16 KOs) of Ghana, Africa. The 10-round bout will take place on February 14, 2020, as part of the of Ryan Garcia versus Francisco Fonseca card at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA, which will air live on DAZN at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
“I am excited to return on such a great card,” said Blair Cobbs, who is managed by Greg Hannley of Prince Ranch Boxing. “I have been training very hard and know that all my hard work is about to pay off. My body feels great and I’m looking sharp in sparring. I’m ready to take this dude out.”
“We’re thrilled with how Blair Cobbs’ career is progressing” stated Hannely, Cobbs’ manager. “He has an incredible resume and has defeated some of the best unbeaten fighters already. He keeps getting better and better with each fight. I expect big things from Cobbs this year, and it all starts on Valentines day.”
Cobbs had a phenomenal 2019 defeating unbeaten fighters Ferdinand Kerobyan and Steve Villalobos as well as Robert Redmond Jr and Carlos Ortiz Cervantes. Cobbs’ last four opponents have had a combined record of (40-5-3, 32 KOs), making Cobbs one of the most battle-tested contenders in the welterweight division.
“Blair has all the tools to be a world champion,” stated Brandon Woods, Cobbs’ trainer, “He has defeated great opponents and done it in a style that is very entertaining. I see Blair accomplishing some incredible goals in 2020, and I know he’s done everything in the gym to be at his best come fight night.”
“I love what I do,” Cobbs continued. “I am ready to have another great year and continue to put on a great, entertaining show for the fans. It’s Blair “The Flair” time baby, WOOOO!
Evan Holyfield Gets Visit from Christy Martin
Evan “Yung Holy” Holyfield’s (2-0, 2 KOs) next fight will take place on a Christy Martin Promotions card at Hard Rock Hotel Daytona on Saturday, February 8.
Boxing legend Christy Martin stopped by Holyfield’s Houston Training Camp to look in on Four-Time World Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield’s son and came away impressed.
“Most importantly he is a great young man,”said Christy. “He has great speed and power. His work ethic looks unbeatable.”
“It was really great that Christy came by and she gave me some psychological tips to use during my training,” Evan said. “Right now we are in the middle of camp – sparring just started and things are getting more intense, which I like. I enjoy when things are hard.”
This Daytona Beach is about a six hour drive from Atlanta, where Evan grew up. “I am excited to fight in Daytona – it’s a little closer than my two previous fights. Mom says she is coming with some of the fam. My amateur coach plans to make the drive down, and so are a few friends. I also have a couple of friends in the military that are based in Daytona that will also be there.”
Holyfield announced himself to the professional boxing world on the Canelo-Kovalev November 2 fight card at MGM Grand with a spectacular seventeen second stoppage (TKO 1), which you can watch HERE His second fight took place in Houston on November 23, stopping his opponent with a vicious body shot (KO 4). Watch the viral body shot KO HERE
The event will be live streamed via Facebook and YouTube on Payne Boxing Television channels. More information will become available as we get close to the event.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Williams, Dulay, Salita, Fox, Khongsong, and more…
By: Hans Themistode
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 7th to January 14th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Darryl Cobb/TGB Promotions
Julian Williams Media Workout Quotes
Unified 154-pound champion and Philadelphia native Julian “J-Rock” Williams showed off his skills and previewed his upcoming hometown title defense at a media workout Wednesday, as he prepares to face hard-hitting Jeison Rosario Saturday, January 18 in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes from Temple University’s Liacouras Center.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at http://www.liacourascenter.com/events (direct link HERE) or by calling 800-298-4200.
After winning the title in one of 2019’s best fights against then unbeaten Jarrett Hurd, Williams will fight in his hometown for the first time since 2011 when he competes on January 18. Here is what Williams and his trainer, Stephen Edwards, had to say Wednesday from James Shuler’s Memorial Boxing Gym in Philadelphia:
On training and fighting in his hometown…
“I try to just block myself from the world… Especially with a hometown fight, people are pulling you 50 different ways, tickets, asking me stupid questions. It’s crazy, so I just try to block myself from the world.
“It’s not about enjoying, it’s about winning. I don’t care about enjoying. You’re not supposed to enjoy camp. It’s supposed to be a grind.”
On what he expects out of Rosario…
“Rosario brings ambition to the table. I think he’s an ambitious kid. I don’t think it’s a difficult fight (for me), to be quite honest. I just think it’s a matter of being focused and on top of my game, and I think I’ll take care of him. I don’t think it’s difficult, though. He’s a decent fighter. We’re not going to make him out to be Ray Robinson.
“He has put together a good string of wins, and he’s tough and he’s coming to win. So that’s more important than anything. He has the ambition to win, so you can’t underestimate him.”
On growing up in Philadelphia…
“Seeing all the stuff that I saw growing up (in West Philadelphia) made me hungry, made me want to get out and make a better life for myself. All you have to do is walk outside and go down Lancaster Ave. If that’s not motivating for you then nothing will.”
On his celebrity now that he’s a world champion…
“I’ve got a little more notoriety now. To be honest, I stopped thinking about it because I want to stay focused on the task at hand. The task at hand is being pound-for-pound best in the world. I’m not satisfied with just being the best super welterweight in the world. I’m just not satisfied with being unified champion of the world. Why sell myself short when I have the drive and the ability to be the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world? I’d be selling myself short. I’d be leaving millions of dollars on the table.”
On the history that he made for himself and Philadelphia when he defeated Hurd…
“I’m one of three men (from Philadelphia) who can say they’re a unified champion of the world.”
STEPHEN EDWARDS, Williams’ Trainer
On Rosario’s abilities…
“At this level, everybody can fight. (Rosario) is a good-looking fighter. He can punch. He’s just a good fighter. He’s got a lot of the same characteristics as Hurd and Charlo. He’s big and strong. It’s a good fight.”
On why this opponent for this fight…
“We thought we were going to be fighting Hurd (again), so we got a guy that’s kind of like Hurd because we didn’t know if Hurd was pulling out of the fight.”
On being Julian’s manager and helping advise him on real estate…
“If (Julian) buys a house I’ll tell him if that’s a good property, or sometimes he messes up, but the cool thing is that he’s got the money to make up for all the mistakes now.”
Nashville Native Austin Dulay Takes on Diego Magdaleno on Fox on February 15th
Lightweight contender and Nashville native Austin Dulay will fight in front of his hometown crowd when he takes on former title challenger Diego Magdaleno in a 10-round fight that opens FOX PBC Fight Night action and on FOX Deportes Saturday, February 15 from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
FOX PBC Fight Night begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is headlined by IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant defending his title in a homecoming bout against mandatory challenger Vincent Feigenbutz. Plus, welterweight contenders Bryant “Goodfella” Perrella and Abel Ramos battle in the 10-round co-feature.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Sweethands Promotion, TGB Promotions and Sauerland Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.
Nashville’s Dulay (13-1, 10 KOs) has won back-to-back fights by stoppage since his lone pro defeat to top contender Chris Colbert in April 2018. The 24-year-old has fought professionally since 2015 and won his first 11 fights. He most recently scored a TKO victory over Yardley Armenta Cruz in February of last year, and his last time in the ring saw him stop Justin Pauldo in a fight that was later changed to a no contest. He will return to fight in Nashville for the first time since a 2017 victory.
The 33-year-old Magdaleno (31-3, 13 KOs) has twice challenged for a world title and will look for a signature victory on February 15 to get closer to another chance at the belt. The Las Vegas native previously dropped title fights against Roman Martinez and Terry Flanagan. Magdaleno won three straight fights between 2016 and 2018, including a triumph over Art Hovhannisyan, and most recently lost to lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez in February 2019.
Three Salita Promotions Prospects Score Victories in Atlantic City
Both of Salita Promotions undefeated Detroit-based welterweights, twin brothers Joseph and Jacob Bonas, and Russian heavyweight destroyer Apti Davtaev, remained undefeated with impressive victories last Friday night.
Fighting on the untelevised undercard of the Claressa Shields vs. Ivana Habazin showdown at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., Joseph “Detroit Bad Boy” Bonas moved his record to 7-0, 6 KOs by stopping Steubenville, Ohio’s Glenn Mitchell (3-5, 3 KOs) via TKO 2. Meanwhile, brother Jacob Bonas (now 5-0-1, 2 KOs) had to work a bit harder to gain a unanimous four-round decision over Highwood, Illinois’ Christian Rivera (1-1-1).
Showing marked improvement from his work in Detroit with SugarHill Steward, heavyweight crusher Apti Davtaev (19-0-1, 18 KOs) from Kurchaloi, Russia, overpowered Glenville, West Virginia’s Keith Barr (20-13-1, 8 KOs) in three brutal rounds.
Joseph Bonas showed some newfound patience in waiting for the right moment to pounce on the long-limbed Mitchell. And when the opening finally presented itself, he lowered the boom with a three-punch combination that brought things to a decisive end at 1:55 of round two.
Jacob Bonas survived a momentary scare when a surprise right hand from opponent Rivera got his attention quickly in round one. Showing his extensive amateur pedigree, however, Bonas made adjustments and eventually cruised to a comfortable four-round decision (scores 39-37 x 3).
Early on, Barr looked ready to rumble with his big Russian foe until a few punches from the Eastern Bloc strongman had him in full survival mode. 38 seconds into round three, the super naturally powerful Davtaev had his most impressive victory to date.
“All our fighters had terrific nights on Friday,” said Dmitriy Salita. “The Bonas brothers look to be turning into excellent professional fighters. They did what they are supposed to do with their early opponents by dominating. And Apti Davtaev is clearly getting stronger and stronger as his career advances. He is ready for a step-up fight against another up-and-coming heavyweight. His power is something the boxing world should have a look at soon.”
Mykal Fox Re-Signs with King’s Promotions
King’s Promotions is pleased to announce the re-signing of world ranked welterweight Mykal “The Professor” Fox to a multi-year promotional agreement.
Fox of Forrestville, Maryland has a record of 22-1 with five knockouts, and is currently ranked number-14 by the IBF and number-15 by the WBA.
The 24 year-old Fox had a busy 2019 as he competed four times against top-level opposition. After suffering his only professional setback to undefeated Shohjahon Ergashev on ShoBox: The New Generation, Fox rebounded in terrific fashion by defeating 2016 Olympic Gold Medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-0), Eudy Bernardo (25-4), and John Arellano (10-1) to earn his ranking.
Fox, who turned professional in 2014 also has wins over Ricardo Garcia (14-1), former world champion DeMarcus Corley and Gonzalo Dallera (5-0).
“We are ecstatic to have Mykal in the fold with us. It’s been a pleasure to watch him grow and King’s Promotions will continue to move Mykal into big fights and ultimately a world title opportunity,” said King’s Promotions CEO Marshall Kauffman.
“King’s Promotions has been great to me since signing in 2015. I look forward to continuing on with them and putting myself in position to become a world champion,” said Fox.
“We are happy to to continue the relationship with Marshall Kauffman and Kings Promotions. KP will allow Myke to keep busy until his inevitable world title opportunity,” said Fox’s agent and attorney, Mike Borao.
Ruben Villa to Face Alexei Collado on ShoBox on January 31st
Undefeated featherweight prospect Ruben Villa will make his fourth ShoBox: The New Generation appearance in just over a year as the former two-time Junior Olympic National Champion takes on hard-hitting Alexei Collado in a 10-round main event of a three-fight telecast on Friday, January 31live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT) from Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport, La.
Undefeated Ukrainian and 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Taras Shelestyuk (17-0, 10 KOs) meets Mexico’s Alejandro Davila (19-1-2, 7 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight matchup in the co-featured bout. The televised opener features an eight-round lightweight bout pitting Southern California native Jerry Pérez (12-0, 9 KOs) against ShoBox veteran Zhora Hamazaryan (9-1-1, 6 KOs) from Armenia.
The event is promoted by Banner Promotions, Thompson Boxing and Bishop Promotions LLC. Tickets can be purchased at www.Bishoppromotions.com and prices are $20-$100.
“On January 31 we have three prospects at different points in their careers with Ruben Villa developing into a must-see prospect with high expectations,” said Gordon Hall, Executive Producer of ShoBox: The New Generation. “Taras Shelestuyk is still undefeated and working on rebuilding a once-promising career in a must-win fight and Jerry Pérez is young and relatively unknown, but in a big step-up fight looking to be noticed. Each of these three are in meaningful fights that should be action-packed.”
The 22-year-old Salinas, Calif., native Villa (17-0, 5 KOs) was also the 2014 and 2016 National Golden Gloves Champion and is currently ranked No. 5 at 126 pounds by the WBO and No. 13 by the WBC. Villa was a 2016 U.S. Olympic Team alternate, and had an impressive amateur record of 166-17 with wins against Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson, and Gary Antonio Russell.
The southpaw Villa has looked impressive in each of his three previous ShoBox appearances, including his debut last January when he outclassed then-unbeaten Ruben Cervera. In May, Villa stepped up to 10-round status for the first time and won a unanimous decision against Luis Alberto Lopez and in September, Villa scored a second-round knockdown against Enrique Vivas en route to a comfortable shutout unanimous decision.
“I know my opponent has a good record at 26-2 and he has heavy hands, but he is wild,” Villa said. “I feel that I am close to a title eliminator, but the middle or at the very latest at the end of 2020. ShoBox has helped me with my recognition and showcasing my talent. I am just thankful to be headlining once again on ShoBox. I know I’m close to making that next step up to contender so I have to look impressive on January 31.“
In Collado (26-2, 23 KOs), Villa will face a tough, 31-year-old Cuban currently living and training in Miami. Collado is on a seven-bout winning streak with six KOs and was active in 2019 winning four times, including his last victory via first-round KO against Facundo Eduardo Ased four days before Christmas. Collado won the 2006 Junior World Title in the flyweight division.
“I participated on a ShoBox event in the past and I couldn’t close the show,” said Collado, who made his ShoBox debut in April of 2014 in a 10-round lightweight unanimous decision loss to Rod Salka. “This time the story will be different and I am more than ready for Ruben Villa. Ruben is a young talented boxer but he will not be able to do with me what he was able to do to other guys. I’m far more experienced, much stronger and way smarter than all the guys put together that he has faced so far. This is an opportunity that I will not take for granted, Villa better be ready to get shocked.”
Management issues have kept the 34-year-old Shelestyuk mostly inactive and he has fought just once in two and a half years. Currently living and training in Southern California, Shelestyuk has trained with Freddie Roach and his stable of fighters at the famed Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. Shelestyuk’s last fight came in March, a unanimous decision against Martin Angel Martinez in Southern California. His best win came in 2015 on ShoBox over once-beaten Aslanbek Kozaev.
“Training camp is going great and a lot of the hard work is already done, but we have three more weeks to rock it and finish strong,” said Shelestyuk, who has previously fought twice on ShoBox, recording unanimous decisions in November of 2015 and 2016. “We always have a great atmosphere with the team during the training camp. It’s exciting to be back on SHOWTIME. The fans like my style and I’m ready to give them a show. My opponent is tough and a big guy, He has more fights than me in the professional ring, and it will be clash of different styles.”
Davila has campaigned almost exclusively in Mexico since turning professional in 2014. He was undefeated over his first 20 bouts, including two draws, before suffering his first loss in his last fight in November against once-beaten Mikael Zewski in Canada. Davila notched his last victory via unanimous decision over Luciano Chaparro Araujo in July in Mexico.
“I know Taras has a tremendous amateur and professional career but I also got what it takes to beat anybody at this level,” Davila said. “I am coming to win this fight and hand Taras his first defeat. I will do my best to win this fight.”
The 26-year-old Pérez had 45 amateur fights with some international experience and currently trains with four-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz, whom he met through a family friend in 2016. Perez made his pro debut on the Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton undercard at MGM Grand in Las Vegas as Perez recorded a knockout against Javier Cepeda in January 2017. In his young career, Perez has also fought at Staples Center in Los Angeles on the Mikey Garcia-Robert Easter undercard scoring a second-round KO against Aaron Jamel Hollis. Perez started boxing at age 9 learning his craft at the High Desert Boxing Club in Victorville, Calif., in San Bernardino County.
“We have been knocking on doors for a while and finally that door has opened up to us,” Perez said. “It’s now time to show I belong in the ring with a guy like Zhora whom I respect but have the certainty I can beat. I’m coming to make a statement in my TV debut and show that I’m a force at lightweight.”
The 23-year-old Hamazaryan resides in Los Angeles and has fought on ShoBox twice, both memorable and exciting bouts against lightweight prospect Thomas Mattice. Hamazaryan lost the first matchup by split decision in July of 2018 after out-landing and out-powering Mattice in a fight many observers thought Hamazaryan clearly won. Hamazaryan earned a draw against Mattice in an immediate rematch two months later.
“I have had a tremendous camp and am excited to get back on ShoBox,” Hamazaryan said. “I feel I am still undefeated and the fans now know what I bring and that is a fighter who fights hard for the whole fight. I do not know much about my opponent except his record. I just fight my fight and I will bring home the victory.”
Barry Tompkins will call the action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Sampson Boxing Signs Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong to a Co-Promotional Contract
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz proudly announces he has signed Bangkok, Thailand, slugger Apinun Khongsong to a co-promotional contract, along with Jimmy Chaichotchuang of Kiat Kreerin Promotions.
23-year-old Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) is the mandatory challenger to WBA and IBF Super Lightweight World Champion Josh Taylor of Scotland. Khongsong became the IBF’s mandatory by scoring a fifth-round knockout over Akihiro Kondo this past February.
Co-promoter Chaichotchuang says he and Khongsong were in attendance for Taylor’s World Boxing Super Series unanimous decision victory over Ivan Baranchyk last May and the pair say they see holes in the Scotsman’s game.
“We are very confident,” said Chaichotchuang of Taylor. “We know we can beat him. My fighter is a very, very hard puncher and he will beat Josh. And when he does he will go on to become the ‘Pacquiao of Thailand.’”
Chaichotchuang says he’s happy to be working with his old partner Lewkowicz on the promising Thai’s career.
“I’ve known Sampson for almost 20 years and he’s a good man. I feel very good about this deal and for my fighter’s future.”
Lewkowicz, who says he will begin negotiations almost immediately for the Taylor vs. Khongsong match-up, says he’s also happy to have inked this co-promotional.
“I’ve known Jimmy for many years, and we’ve done a lot of good business together,” said Lewkowicz. “Jimmy is very loyal and honest and I’m very proud to be helping him represent the best fighter from Thailand in all of boxing. Khongsong is a very hard puncher and not many fighters will be able to take his punches, especially at 140 lbs.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Killic, Russell, Nyambayar, Ortiz, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 31st to January 7th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Gary Russell Jr. to Defend His Title Against Unbeaten Mandatory Challenger Tugstsogt Nyambayar on February 8th
WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. will defend his 126-pound crown against unbeaten mandatory challenger Tugstsogt “King Tug” Nyambayar Saturday, February 8 live on SHOWTIME from PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will see former world champions Guillermo Rigondeaux and Liborio Solís battle for the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title in the co-main event. The telecast opens with Jaime Arboleda meeting Jayson Veléz in a 12-round bout WBA Super Featherweight Title eliminator.
The main event showdown will see Russell make the fifth defense of his title as he looks to again display the skills and speed that have made him one of the elite featherweight fighters in the world. He will be challenged by the 2012 Olympic silver medalist “King Tug”, who quickly rose up the rankings facing quality opposition throughout his 11-fight career.
“Gary Russell Jr. has proven himself to be at the very elite level of this sport and one of the best fighters in the featherweight division,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “His speed, power and overall skillset has made him a must-watch every time he steps into that ring. He’s going to get all he can handle from an undefeated fighter in ‘King Tug’ Nyambayar, who has the pedigree and power to make this a memorable fight. You won’t want to blink during this high octane showdown February 8 on SHOWTIME from PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.”
“The February 8 card is co-headlined by two of the most skilled boxers in the sport today,” said Stephen Espinoza, President Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Gary Russell Jr. – arguably the fastest hands in boxing – will be facing his toughest challenge as world champion against the aggressive power-puncher ‘King Tug’. And in the co-main event, Guillermo Rigondeaux, one of the best boxers on the planet since his days as an amateur in Cuba, moves down in weight to the bantamweight division for the first time in his pro career as he faces former world champion Liborio Solis with a world title at stake. Add in a compelling super featherweight eliminator and we have the makings of an action-packed tripleheader on February 8.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Kings Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through www.pplcenter.com/events (direct link HERE ).
The Capitol Heights, Maryland native Russell (30-1, 18 KOs) has held his WBC Featherweight Title since 2015 when he stopped multiple division champion Jhonny Gonzalez to emphatically capture the belt. The 31-year-old is part of one of boxing’s premier fighting families as he is trained by his father Gary Sr., and trains alongside his younger brothers, unbeaten super lightweight Gary Antuanne and undefeated bantamweight Antonio. Russell most recently stopped former champion Kiko Martinez in May on SHOWTIME after previously defeating then unbeaten challenger Joseph Diaz Jr in 2018 in a hometown defense.
“I’m forced to defend my title against another mandatory challenger and I’m going to show on February 8 why none of the other champions want to face me,” said Russell. “I’m the longest current reigning WBC champion but no one has stepped up to the challenge I present. I’m going to take care of business against a strong opponent and display all my skills like I always do.”
The 27-year-old Nyambayar (11-0, 9 KOs) represented his native Mongolia in the 2012 Olympics but now lives in the U.S. and is training out of Las Vegas. Nyambayar ascended up the featherweight rankings after his extensive amateur career with victories over then unbeaten Harmonito Dela Torre and former interim champion Oscar Escandon. Most recently he won his first 12-round decision by defeating former champion Claudio Marrero in January.
“This is going to be an exciting fight for everyone watching on February 8,” said Nyambayar. “Gary Russell Jr. is a great championwho is very talented, but he has the WBC belt and that’s what I want. I’m training hard to win this fight and I will be ready for anything that Russell brings to the ring.”
Rigondeaux (19-1, 13 KOs) will look to move down and capture a title in a second weight class in his SHOWTIME debut. Since turning professional in 2009 after one of the best amateur careers in history, Rigondeaux has showcased masterful technical skills that made him a unified 122-pound world champion and perennial member of the pound-for-pound list. A two-time Olympic gold medalist for his native Cuba, Rigondeaux made his name with victories over the likes of Nonito Donaire, Rico Ramos and Joseph Agbeko. Most recently, Rigondeaux scored an exciting eighth-round stoppage of former champion Julio Ceja in June.
Born in Venezuela and fighting out of Panama, Solís (30-5-1, 14 KOs) will make his U.S. debut on February 8 while riding a five-fight winning streak. Solís captured a super flyweight world title in 2013 amidst a 14-bout unbeaten run. He has lost by decision in his two previous attempts at 118-pound title, including a controversial loss to Jamie McDonnell, which he has bounced back from on his current win streak.
Arboleda (15-1, 13 KOs) has ripped off five straight victories by stoppage since he suffered the only loss of his career against ReckyDulay in 2017. The 25-year-old Arboleda from Curundu, Panama will be fighting in the U.S. for the third time in his career. He’s coming off a knockout victory over Victor Betancourt on August 24.
The 31-year-old Veléz (29-5-1, 21 KOs) has strung together three straight knockout victories since losing to Ryan Garcia in 2018. The Juncos, Puerto Rico resident is coming off a knockout victory over Hector Ruben Ambriz Suarez on July 27 and is looking for another championship opportunity. He came up short in his previous attempt when he fought to a draw against Evgeny Gradovich for the featherweight world title in 2014.
Undefeated Lightweight Prospect Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz Hammering His Way to Medical School
Undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth World lightweight champion Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz (12-0, 6 KOs) isn’t a typical professional boxer whose life entirely revolves in and around the “Sweet Science.”
The 23-year-old Ortiz is also a licensed carpenter with diverse interests ranging from engineering and psychology to philosophy, and his ultimate post-boxing career aspiration is to attend medical school. First, though, Ortiz’ goal is to become world champion, which would be a first for a native of Worcester, Massachusetts.
“I was always fascinated by architecture, starting with my mother’s house, and that spun off to engineering,” Ortiz explained. “I wanted to learn how to build to better understand and became a carpenter after graduating from high school. I’m not worried about getting hurt at work. I do work with my hands, but I’m in the union and everything is safe, and I’m very careful.
“Medical school is my dream. I want to help people working with cells, blood and muscle tissues, understanding the body. I’m not sure if I’ll do research or be working with patients, maybe in internal medicine, but not in traditional medicine. I’m interested in natural, holistic medicine, and working for the benefit of people.”
Ortiz, who started boxing at the age of six, will return to the ring in early 2020 for, most likely, his final WBC Youth World title fight, because this title is for fighters 23 or younger, and Jamaine turns 24 on April 28.
The WBC World Youth title has been a stepping-stone for great champions such as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Timothy Bradley, Danny Garcia and Leo Santa Cruz, among the more notables.
“I’m proud to be the WBC World lightweight champion, but I’ll have to give it up in April when I turn 24.,” Ortiz remarked. “I’ll win bigger titles as I get older. This has been good for now, but I’m going on to bigger and better things. I’m confident that I’ll be world champion in 2021 and I want to be a multiple wight-class world champion before I retire.”
Ortiz recently gained even more confidence when Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) captured the International Boxing Federation (IBF) World lightweight championship, knocking out defending champion Richard Commey in the second round this past December.
At the 2015 National Golden Gloves, Ortiz lost a decision to Lopez in the championship final. “He didn’t do that stuff to me (like he did to Commey),” Ortiz noted. “He didn’t beat me up. I lost a decision, but I showed that I could fight with him. He was nothing like you saw on television (vs. Commey), though. I’ve watched him get better and better.
So is Ortiz and before he swaps his boxing gloves for a stethoscope, he has unfinished business in boxing. Nothing short of capturing a world championship crown will satisfy “The Technician.”
Joey Spencer to Battle Erik Spring in FOX PBC Fight Night Action on January 18th
Top super welterweight prospect Joey Spencer will enter the ring to take on Erik Spring in a six-round showdown that opens up the FOX PBC Fight Night broadcast and on FOX Deportes Saturday, January 18 from Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
FOX PBC Fight Night begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is headlined by unified 154-pound champion and Philadelphia-native Julian “J-Rock” Williams making a homecoming defense against hard-hitting contender Jeison Rosario. The co-main event will feature undefeated rising star Chris “Prime Time” Colbert taking on former champion Jezreel Corrales for the Interim WBA Super Featherweight Title.
Preceding the main card on FOX, FOX PBC Fight Night Prelims on FS1 and FOX Deportes begin at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and feature a 10-round super welterweight attraction between Mexico’s Jorge Cota (29-4, 26 KOs)and New Jersey’s Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna (28-2-1, 10 KOs). Plus, sensational 17-year-old prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. (3-0, 3 KOs) steps in for a four round welterweight bout against West Virginia’s Preston Wilson (6-3-1, 4 KOs), while Puerto Rican prospect Romuel Cruz (3-0-1, 1 KO) competes in a four-round super bantamweight fight against Wisconsin’s Julio Garcia (3-3, 2 KOs) in the opener.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at http://www.liacourascenter.com/events (direct link HERE) or by calling 800-298-4200.
The 19-year-old Spencer (9-0, 7 KOs) has made fast strides since turning pro in February 2018, including four victories on his 2019 campaign. Representing his hometown of Linden, Michigan, Spencer most recently stopped Travis Gambardella on FS1 in September after defeating Akeem Black on FOX in June. He will kick off 2020 against the 35-year-old Spring (13-3-2, 1 KO), who fought three times in 2019, winning twice. The Reading, Pennsylvania native dropped a decision to Courtney Pennington last time out but has won five of his last seven bouts.
The non-televised undercard will also feature Delaware-native Kyrone Davis (14-5, 2 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight fight against Atlanta’s Antonio Todd (7-2, 4 KOs), Philadelphia native Paul Kroll (6-0, 5 KOs) battling another Philadelphia native in Marcel Rivers (7-2, 4 KOs) for a six-round super welterweight affair, and super featherweight Ricky Lopez (21-4-1, 6 KOs) from Colorado Springs taking on Chicago’s Jose Luis Gallegos (18-8, 14 KOs) in a contest scheduled for 10 rounds.
Rounding out the action is Paterson, New Jersey’s Norman Neely looking to remain unbeaten against Georgia’s Larry Knight in a four-round heavyweight bout, Puerto Rico’s Luis Del Valle in an eight-round super lightweight duel and the pro debut of Philadelphia’s Miguel Angel Roman Jr. in a four-round featherweight affair.
Undefeated Super Middleweight Cem Kilic Ready for Undefeated Steven Nelson in Atlantic City
This Saturday night at The Hard Rock Hotel Atlantic City, undefeated super middleweight contender Cem Kilic will be looking to make a big statement as well as positioning himself for a world title shot when he takes on undefeated Steven Nelson in the co-feature bout of an ESPN televised card.
The bout was originally scheduled for December 14th in Madison Square Garden, but was moved to Saturday, where the fight will receive more exposure being shown live on ESPN.
Kilic of Neustadt Hessen, Germany of Turkish decent, and now calls Sherman Oaks, California, has a record of 14-0 with nine knockouts.
That record includes wins over two undefeated foes in JerhedFenderson and DeAndre Ware.
In his last bout, Kilic, 25 years-old, stopped tough Martez McGregor in the eighth round of their June 15th bout in Las Vegas.
Kilic, who is ranked number-seven by the WBA has been training in Vero Beach, Florida under the watchful eye of Hall of Fame trainer Buddy McGirt.
“I have had a great training camp with my Hall of Fame trainer Buddy McGirt in Vero Beach, Florida, and I feel really strong and sharp heading into fight week. This fight means so much to me, as I know my talents will be on display, and that a big win in front of a large audience on ESPN will take my career to the next level. I would like to thank my manager Shane Shapiro for all his belief in me and Top Rank and ESPN for giving me this opportunity to properly introduce myself to the US audience,” said Cem Kilic
“Cem is doing very well. Everything is going good and we just waiting until next week. The fight being put off was a blessing. It gave us more time to do what we need to do to win this fight,” said McGirt.
“This is the life changing opportunity Cem, and I spoke about when he first agreed to move here from Germany 6 years ago. Next Saturday, on January 11th, all of the American audience watching will see Cem Kilic’s hard core aggressive style of boxing combined with Buddy McGirt’s teaching of textbook boxing! I want to thank Bob Arum and Brad Goodman for the opportunity and their committed dedication to bringing boxing back to network television. I can’t wait for Saturday night,” said Kilic’ manager Shane Shapiro of No Limit Mindset LLC.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Bunch, Cohen, Castandeda, Barrera, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 24th to December 31st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Kendo “Tremendo” Castaneda Preparing for Graduation to Contender Status
Texas super lightweight Kendo “Tremendo” Castaneda (17-0, 8 KOs) will risk his perfect pro record against Yomar “The Magic” Alamo (17-0-1, 12 KOs) in a rare showdown between undefeated prospects on February 28, live on Boxeo Telemundo, starting at 11:30 p.m. ET / 8:30 p.m. PT, from Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida.
The 26-year-old Castaneda will challenge Alamo, the reigning North American Boxing Organization (NABO) super lightweight champion, in the 10-round main event.
Alamo vs. Castaneda is co-promoted by All-Star Boxing, which promotes Alamo and the event, and Castaneda’s promoter, Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions.
“This fight is a testimony of what can happen when two companies work together to make the best fights possible.” Veltre said. “Yomarversus Kendo is a great match-up and exactly what the sport of boxing needs.”
The irony of Alamo vs. Castaneda is that a fighter from the city of San Antonio, home of the historically famous Alamo, will be fighting an opponent named Alamo.
“When I first saw his name,” the outspoken Castaneda said, “I thought to myself that he was in for what The Alamo is really all about, only a one-on-one war, and The Alamo is coming to him. I’m going to take it slow and let the good times roll.
“He’s undefeated, the same as me. He has a higher knockout ratio than me, but he hasn’t fought the caliber opponents than I have. I’ve been in tough. I was thrown into the fire from the start. I took over my state and now I’m in the stable of a big name, Roy Jones Jr. I’m the only ‘Tremendo’, though.”
Alamo, fighting out of Puerto Rico, is the former World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth World and FECARBOX super lightweight champion, who has made three successful NABO title defenses. The 24-year-old knockout artist will be headlining his fourth straight fight at Osceola Heritage Park.
“Alamo is a boxer-puncher who likes to stick and move,” Castaneda added. ”But he’s on his back foot too much, fighting in reverse, and he’s never fought anybody applying pressure like me. This is going to be a win for me. He’s going to try and out-box me, but I can box and punch the whole fight. This guy fights backwards. It’s going to be the same result as my fight with ‘Stan The Man’ (Martyniouk).”
Castaneda captured the vacant North American Boxing Association (NABA) crown a year ago, taking a 10-round decision from previously undefeated Gilbert Venegas, Jr. (10-0), and followed that with an impressive 10-round unanimous decision over Dominican veteran Eudy Berbardo (24-3).
This past October in Reno, Nevada, Castaneda stopped Stan Martyniouk (20-3) in the sixth round, after which he was installed by the World Boxing Organization as its No. 15 rated super lightweight in the world.
WBO No. 8 ranked Alamo is coming off the lone blemish on his pro record, a draw with Antonio Moran (24-4-1).
Castaneda has always delivered, in an out of the thing. He’s a part-time employee of FedX, starting work at 3 a.m. as a pre-loader. “Santa was coming. It’s peak season and we’ve been getting slammed,” Castaneda reported. “I look at my job as an advantage. Other fighters may wake up at 4 in the morning to start training. My workout starts at work. I go from work to the gym to train, or sometimes I mix it up and go home to sleep, and then train at 5 (p.m.).
Alamo vs. Castaneda has world title implications for the winner, possibly as early as late 2020, in addition to showcasing two fan-friendly fighters on television.
“This is the biggest fight of my career,” Castaneda concluded. “It’s two undefeated fighters, champion versus champion, Puerto Rico versus Mexico, and airing on Telemundo is huge. I’m going to make my mark in this fight. I’m going to put on a show and knock this guy’s brains out.”
Sullivan Barrera is a Promotional Free Agent, Wants Marcus Browne Next
Sullivan Barrera is 100% healthy and ready to return to the ring.
The former Cuban amateur standout has fought through a torn labrum and rotator cuff the past few years but is now 100% healed after having surgery over the summer and is looking to make a final run in the light heavyweight division.
“He had surgery to repair his rotator cuff and torn labrum in August. He has been back in the gym working and is ready to go. He is a promotional free agent so he can fight with anyone,” said his manager Luis Molina. “Marcus Browne is coming off of a loss and so is Sully. This next fight will be a make or break fight for Sully and Browne needs to get back in the mix too so I think it would be a perfect fight for both of them.”
Barrera has fought several of the top names at 175. Fighters such as Andre Ward, Dmitry Bivol, Joe Smith Jr. and Jesse Hart are all on his resume. While he hasn’t won all of his big fights, he is a proven television friendly action fighter.
With his shoulder fully healed, Barrera believes that he will prove that he still has a lot left in the tank. A lot of critics have written him off and he is using that negativity to fuel his comeback.
“A lot of people say I am too old but I know what I can do. I wasn’t 100% the past few fights. People haven’t seen the best Sully B in a long time. I just need one more chance to step in the ring and prove it. If I am so old and past it then I am sure Browne’s people will have no problem making the fight,” said Barrera.
Shinard Bunch: The Role Model in the Making that Trenton Needs
It was about 18 months ago when Shinard Bunch held his 17-year-old friend, a local camp counselor and youth mentor, Tashaughn“Yungsta” [sic] Robinson in his arms, encouraging him to breathe and stop talking, but Robinson died bleeding from a gunshot wound in Bunch’s front yard. The drive-by shooting, never solved, was one of a handful of killings Bunch has witnessed over the years in Trenton, the murder capital of New Jersey.
Bunch, a 20-year-old professional boxer, has become numb to the violence that plagues his city, where he has lived since he was 13. He now focuses on becoming a world champion, a dream Bunch feels he’s not entitled to have, coming from Trenton.
“I want to be great,” said Bunch, who fights January 11 at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Atlantic City. “I can’t say my goal is to become a world champion, or anything really spectacular. Where we come from, we don’t make it that far. You never heard about somebody from Trenton doing something like this.”
Well, except maybe Ike Williams.
A bridge in Trenton is emblazoned with the words “TRENTON MAKES THE WORLD TAKES.” This sentiment perfectly describes Williams’ career. One of the greatest fighters of all-time, Williams was managed by the mob and hardly saw a penny for several defenses he made of his World Lightweight Championship in the 1940s. Bunch is determined not to allow the world to take from him as it did from Williams.
Bunch’s mother, Quwannia Bunch, believed her son would be a star even before he was born. Upon his birth in Queens, NY, Bunch was named Shinard Charles Showtime Bunch by his mom.
“She always said she knew I was going to be a star,” said Bunch, whose birth certificate and calls to his mother would prove to new friends that he was being truthful about his name.
Now he goes by “Scraap,” [sic] a nickname given to him by Corey, his stepfather. Bunch’s father, also named Shinard, recently was released from prison, where he’d landed on attempted murder charges in New York. Quwannia married Corey when Bunch was 2 years old.
Corey treated Bunch’s siblings like his own children, and eventually gave Bunch another brother and sister.
“My parents don’t play,” remembered Bunch. Good grades and good behavior were expected from their son.
Bunch began boxing at the New York City PAL when he was only 5 years old. His mother had bought him a Muhammad Ali DVD, and the young boy was hooked. He followed his cousin to the gym and never left.
Bunch’s mother has had a profound impact on his career. She worked extremely hard to keep food on the table, first as a nurse and then as a security guard at a homeless shelter, sometimes going without food so her children could eat. Bunch is reverent of the sacrifices she made so that he could eat, wear nice clothes, and fight. She was ringside for his first loss, 30 fights into his amateur career. Bunch didn’t take the loss well and considered quitting the sport.
“She gave it to me that day,” Bunch said, laughing. “I acted a fool. I wanted to quit. I told her I’m not boxing. She sat me down and said, ‘At the end of the day this is what you chose to do so with that there’s always wins and losses in life, but you always gotta take a loss like you take a win. It’s right back to the drawing board. You mad because you got your ass kicked once? You kicked thirty asses before that–are you serious?’ My family is honestly why I’m at where I’m at. My mom always pushing me. My little brother Corey is my biggest fan.”
In 2016, Bunch was on the USA national team with Errol Spence and Shakur Stevenson. He was ready to make the Olympic team, but had a lot on his mind. He was 17, and his girlfriend recently revealed she was pregnant. His father had come back into his life and Bunch was talking to him regularly. His grandmother had just died and his mother was struggling.
Bunch decided to wait until the 2020 Olympics, but waiting became tiresome and he hit the pro circuit, debuting last April with a first-round knockout. On hand for that fight would be his stepfather Corey, and his mother and father, who had reconciled and moved back to New York.
Bunch stayed in Trenton, where he knew his success could make an impact.
One of Bunch’s major gripes with Trenton is the lack of mentors and father figures in the community. It’s something he says has kept him out of trouble, despite living within a razor’s edge of drug and gun violence.
“Corey is my dad,” said Bunch. “He’s my support system. He taught me everything I know–how to be a man, how to look at stuff, how to approach stuff, literally everything. When he found out I was going to be a father, he was angry but sat me down for a very long talk. He said, ‘Listen, you sat there and did what you did and now you gotta man up to it. This is what you’re gonna do.’ He molded me to be great, and to always remember who I am. The only person that can be myself is me.”
People who know that Corey isn’t Bunch’s biological father say Bunch resembles his stepfather in his mannerisms and character. For Bunch, that’s a compliment.
Bunch is working to be a role model to Trenton’s children: “Trenton is small, only 7 miles from one end of town to another. There are just not enough role models. I try to be a role model for the kids in and out of the gym. I go to schools and speak–anything I can do.”
He blames the rampant drug problems in the 1970s and ’80s for some of the city’s woes, and the lack of leaders in the community. “We’re ’90s kids,” he said. “Our generation is better, but there’s still problems.”
A win on ESPN+ on January 11 would give him new opportunities to talk about with the youth in Trenton. “Every fight is big, but this is just another level,” said Bunch.
“He was 2-0, and then we were offered the Paul Kroll fight last August,” said Bunch’s manager, J Russell Peltz. “Kroll was 4-0. You don’t usually have two undefeated prospects fighting each other that early in their careers.” Bunch lost, but gave Kroll, who is one of the hottest prospects in the country, a tough fight. “His promoter, NedalAbuhamoud and I realized we have a good prospect on our hands,” continued Peltz. “We wouldn’t have known that if he just knocked out another opponent. After that fight, I got excited.”
Bunch, his girlfriend and 2 children still live with Corey in Trenton. The fighter has no plans to leave Trenton as his career advances, and believes he can do good.
“We need more leaders, and more role models in Trenton,” said Bunch. “We need more Coreys and Yungstas.” After Jan. 11, win or lose, Bunch will return to Trenton. It’s a good thing, because Trenton needs more Shinard Bunches.
Split-T Management Adds Brian Cohen to Company
Split-T Management is pleased to announce the addition of manager Brian Cohen to the top Management company.
Cohen of Philadelphia will bring his stable of fighters to Split-T Management and will work very closely with CEO Dave McWaterin the management and development of approximately 14 fighters.
Cohen manages current world champions Alicia Napoleon Espinosa and Mary McGee.
Cohen will join McWater along with Tim VanNewHouse and Joe Quiambao in the Split-T Management company.
The 43-year old Cohen has been around boxing his whole life as he received an early indoctrination into the sport from his father, Ivan Cohen, who managed former world junior middleweight champion Buster Drayton. Cohen then embarked in a successful fighting career that saw him go 15-2 as a professional. He then transitioned into managing professional fighters, where he became the preeminent female boxing manager in the world with his Empire Management stable.
“I’m trying to build an all-star team of boxing people at Split-T, and it seemed impossible to do that without adding Brian.Beyond being the foremost expert today on women’s boxing, he’s an accomplished fighter, a trainer, a cut man, you name it, and most importantly he’s a good person,” said McWater.
“This is a very unique situation for me. Dave McWater is a very intelligent guy, and I have known him a long time,” said Cohen. “Dave is from New York, and I do a lot of business in New York, so we seem to run into each other everywhere. Dave wants to get more into women’s boxing, and we started talking. Split-T Management has a lot of terrific fighters, and I feel I can be an asset because of my experience doing different things in the sport. I can scout talent, work corners, train fighters in the gym, do strength and condition and help with nutrition. I look forward working with Split-T Management.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Plant, Garcia, Redkach, Hurd, Santana, and more…
Compiled by: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 17th to December 24th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime
Danny Garcia vs. Ivan Redkach and Jarred Hurd vs. Francisco Santana Press Conference Quotes
“This is my eighth fight at Barclays Center and I’m excited to be back. I’ve fought in a quarter of the events here at Barclays Center, so you could say this is my house. I’ve had some historic fights in here. I love walking in the tunnels and seeing my pictures next to Jay-Z, DMX and Rihanna.
“Come January 25, this is going to be another great night of boxing. I know Ivan is coming to fight. We’ve followed each other’s careers. I know he’s hungry and he wants to show the fans that he belongs on this level.
“I’m excited to share the card with my Philadelphia brother Stephen Fulton, who I’ve known since he was a kid. Plus, Jarrett Hurd, who’sjourney I’ve been watching. It’s been great and he’s going to show everyone that a loss doesn’t mean anything. Just like I have.
“I just think the culture here in Brooklyn is great and I fit right in with it. Lots of hip-hop and Puerto Ricans. It’s the perfect market and we just go together.
“If the top welterweights want to fight me, I’ll be ready whenever. Redkach makes a lot of sense because he’s a southpaw and that would have me ready for Errol Spence Jr. or Manny Pacquiao.
“We picked Redkach because he’s dangerous and we knew he’d be tough. I’m definitely not overlooking him. I’m training hard for this fight. For me, this is a big fight. If I overlook him, it could ruin everything. I want to show everyone I’m still one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
“Redkach has a big heart and he’s going to come forward. I think it’s going to be a really entertaining fight. I can’t overlook him.
“I always feel like I’m the best. They need me, I don’t need them. I’m one of the best fighters in the world and I’m going to be here for a while.”
“I want to give thanks to my team and everyone involved in making this fight and for believing in me, which give me the belief that gives me the strength to go in the ring and give it my all.
“This opportunity fighting at Barclays Center is huge for me. I accept the opportunity with honor and I want to thank Danny Garcia for taking the fight.
“My friends and family provide me with the will to win. That support, along with my experience, is what I’ll need to win this fight.
“I want Danny Garcia’s fans to all come out on January 25 because you’re going to see a great fight and you’re going to be welcomed into the Ivan Redkach family.
“The victory over Devon Alexander was important because he was a well-known opponent. Winning in the fashion that I did catapulted me to where I am right now.
“Danny made a mistake if he thinks this is a tune-up. I’m going to give everyone a great fight and we’ll see what happens on January 25.
“Training alongside Leo Santa Cruz was great motivation. I’m going to knock Danny Garcia out. That’s the plan. Simple.
“I’m training very hard because this fight is extremely important to me. I have to give the best performance of my professional career.
“The energy in the building on January 25 is going to give me the extra motivation to not only put up a great performance, but to leave Brooklyn with the victory.”
“This is my first time doing interviews since I fought Julian Williams. Last time I was up here I was an undefeated fighter and then I suffered my first loss.
“We had the rematch set up for this December, but with me going through a switch in trainers and still in the process of searching, I wasn’t in condition for it. It was the hardest thing possible to not take the rematch, much harder than taking it.
“I’ve been training in Colorado with Kay Koroma and getting away from everything. We’re focused strictly on boxing. I cut the hair off too because I was just ready for a change. The work so far is showing me how much work I have left to do and how much room I have to grow.
“I will stay at 154-pounds and fight for my titles again. I’m not looking past Francisco Santana because he’s a great fighter. I’m working hard to get back to the old me.
“This is the fighter who was put in front of me. He has the style that we were looking for with my having my first fight with my new trainer. I had some time out of a gym after the Williams fight but now we’re going strong toward January 25.
“I would never say I overlooked Julian Williams. There’s no excuses. Julian was the better man that night. When I look back there were probably some things that could have affected me, but Julian deserved to win the fight.
“I don’t know if I’m a better fighter now, but the loss opened my eyes to some things. My new coach has really opened my eyes to some things that I need to work on. Using my jab more and my footwork specifically.
“I’m not thinking about anyone but Francisco Santana. I look back at my fights and realize that I won those fights on pure heart and determination. We’re doing things different this time and working behind strategy and skills.”
“Jarrett Hurd is a good solid fighter who’s accomplished a lot. This is my Super Bowl. When someone calls and presents an opportunity like this, you can’t turn it down.
“To fight against one of the biggest names in the division, that’s hard to say no to. Of course I’m going to step up to the plate and on January 25 I’m going to show everyone the definition of never giving up on a dream.
“I’ve had setbacks like Jarrett and I’ve picked myself up and rose to the occasion time and time again. On January 25 I’m going to fight with every ounce of spirit that I have in me so I can go on and become a world champion.
“Jarrett has himself with a new team and when a fighter feels refreshed, you know he’s going to come out strong. I expect nothing less.
“I know that everyone is giving me zero chance come fight night. But that’s okay. I read the comments and what people say. It’s all good. My team believes in me and I believe in myself.
“I’m a big welterweight and people tend to forget that I started my career as a super welterweight, but back then I was self-trained. I used to fight on a couple weeks’ notice and was bouncing from gym to gym. When I met coach Joseph Janik, it all changed and we’ve been together about a decade now. He was the missing piece to my puzzle.
“I’ve often said it’s not how you start a race but how you finish it. I know it’s not an easy task, but I look forward to these big challenges. It will test me as a fighter and a human being. I want to show the whole world my definition of never giving up.
“The minute I stop learning, that would be the time I need to hang them up. I’m still learning and we’re still getting better at our craft. It’s a big challenge. He’s the monster of the division, but this is a great opportunity for me. Sometimes you have to face the monster head on.”
Caleb Plant to Defend Title Against Vincent Feigenbutz
IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant will defend his title in a homecoming bout against mandatory challenger Vincent Feigenbutz live in primetime in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes Saturday, February 15 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
The broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and feature a clash between welterweight contenders as Bryant “Goodfella” Perrellaand Abel Ramos battle in the 10-round co-feature.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Sweethands Promotion, TGB Promotions and Sauerland Promotions, are on sale today at 5 p.m. CT and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.
“We’re thrilled that championship boxing is back in Nashville with their homegrown world champion Caleb ‘Sweethands’ Plant defending his super middleweight title on February 15,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Caleb Plant has made a name for himself as one of the sport’s elite fighters and will look to continue solidify his place in the stacked 168-pound division. He’ll be facing a hard-hitting fighter in Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz, who is sure to apply the pressure and upset Plant in his hometown. Expect an all action main event live on FOX from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.”
This will be the first time that Plant (19-0, 11 KOs), who was born in Ashland, Tennessee outside of Nashville, will be fighting in his hometown as a pro. He will be making the second defense of the title that he won with a unanimous decision victory over Venezuelan slugger Jose Uzcategui in January. His first title defense saw him dominate and stop then unbeaten Mike Lee in July on FOX.
To win the title, Plant turned the tables on the hard-hitting Uzcateguiin their championship fight on FS1. Going into the match the consensus was that Uzcategui was the harder puncher and that Plant would have to withstand his power to walk away with the belt. It was the 27-year-old Plant however, who stunned Uzcategui by dropping him to the canvas twice on the way to a convincing unanimous decision. It was an emotional night for Plant, who now lives and trains in Las Vegas. He had dedicated his championship victory to the memory of his late daughter Alia, who suffered from a rare disorder that caused seizures.
“I’m very excited to bring my world title home to Nashville in my second title defense,” said Plant. “It’ll be in front of all of my family and friends and I plan to put on a spectacular performance. Vincent Feigenbutz is a very tough, rugged European fighter. He’s got a big knockout ratio, but this is my backyard and I will not let any man come in here and rain on my parade. On February 15, I’m representing my hometown and my home city with pride. I believe this will be the first of many fights that we hold at The Bridgestone in Nashville. This fight isn’t going 12-rounds. Nashville, stand up!”
The 24-year-old Feigenbutz (31-2, 28 KOs) is known as “The KO King” and he has been able to live up to that name with a 90% knockout ratio. The German slugger from Karlsruhe, Baden-Wurttemberg will be fighting in the United States for the first time on February 15. He became the youngest German champion ever when he defeated Giovanni de Carolis for the Interim WBA Super Middleweight title at the age of 20 in 2015. He lost the world title rematch with De Carolis, but recovered to win 10 straight since the loss – including nine via stoppage. He is coming in off of an eighth round TKO of previously undefeated over César Núñez in August.
“It has always been my goal to have a big fight like this in the U.S.,” said Feigenbutz. “I am not going there to lose. I am coming over to become only the second German boxer, after the legendary Max Schmeling, to win the world title in the U.S. and bring the belt back home to Germany. I hope everyone in my home country will have my back and support me on this journey. For me, Plant is the strongest of all super middleweight world champions. We are the underdog, but we won’t make it as easy for Caleb, like in his last fight. We know how difficult a fight on American soil is, so there is only one strategy: Get the knockout!”
The 30-year-old Perrella (17-2, 14 KOs) scored a decision victory over Breidis Prescott and most recently a stoppage of DomoniqueDolton in his 2019 campaign, bouncing back from a majority decision loss to former champion Luis Collazo in 2018. Fighting out of Fort Myers, Florida, Perella turned pro in 2012 after an impressive amateur career that included victories over Regis Prograis, Miguel Cruz and Sammy Vásquez. Perrella suffered a 2016 loss to top welterweight Yordenis Ugás that was sandwiched by victories over Alex Martin and then unbeaten David Grayton.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to showcase my talent,” said Perrella. “I have a quality opponent in front of me in Abel Ramos and I’m looking to make a statement on February 15. I’m going to show everyone once again that I’m a serious threat to anyone in the welterweight division.
Fighting out of Casa Grande, Arizona, Ramos (25-3-2, 19 KOs) picked up two victories in 2019, most recently stopping Jimmy Williams in July after defeating veteran contender Francisco Santana on FOX in March. The 28-year-old previously challenged former champions Regis Prograis and Ivan Baranchyk while campaigning at 140-pounds. He brings a seven-fight winning streak into February 15 since a close decision loss in 2018 to contender Jamal James.
“I can’t wait to start my year off fight a great fight on FOX,” said Ramos. “I know that I have a tough opponent across from me on February 15. I’m here to give a performance that makes me standout in this division. I know that after this fight, everyone will see I’m one of the best welterweights and that I’m going to have a huge 2020.”
Unbeaten Prospect Ernesto Delgadillo and Jade Bornea to Battle for NABF Super Flyweight Title
Three days prior to Super Bowl LIV, Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions, in association with Sanman Boxing, will present its first RJJ Boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS® event of 2020, Thursday night, January 30, at Legends Casino and Hotel in Toppenish, Washington.
RJJ Boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS will be streamed live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
Unbeaten Ernesto Delgadillo (11-0-2, 2 KOs) will battle undefeated Jade “Hurricane” Bornea (14-0, 10 KOs) for the vacant North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super flyweight title in the 10-round main event.
Delgadillo, fighting out of Dallas, is a former World Boxing Council (WBC) United States super flyweight and Texas State flyweight titlist.
Rated No. 10 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and No. 15 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), Bornea is a former IBF Youth World champion, as well as the latest member of a new wave of gifted Filipino fighters.
Delgadillo will be in action for the first time since the summer of 2018, when he won a 10-round decision over 10-1 Nate Green. “I am excited to be fighting for the NABF super flyweight title on UFC FIGHT PASS,” Delgadlillo said. “On January 30th, I’ll be in the best shape of my career, and bring that belt back to Dallas with me to prove that I belong in there with the very best of the division.”
Bornea will be making his United States debut having fought exclusively as a professional at home in the Philippines. “I want to thank my promoter, Sanman, Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions and UFC FIGHT PASS for this opportunity,” Bornea commented. “I have been training for three months and have no excuses. I am ready to show the world my abilities and come January 30th, I’m going to make a statement to all super flyweights.”
“The 115-pound weight class has always been my favorite division,” RJJ Boxing’s veteran matchmaker Guy Taylor added. “Last year, we opened up UFC FIGHT PASS with a WBO super flyweight (115 lbs.) world title ‘Eliminator’ and almost a year to the day later, we are opening up 2020 with an NABF super flyweight title fight. The winner of this intriguing match-up will solidify himself as a new face of the super flyweight division.”
Undefeated Mexican knockout artist, rising star Santiago “Somer” Dominguez (20-0, 16 KOs) will put his WBC USNBC Silver welterweight title on the line against his Brazilian challenger, Victor “La Amenza” Jones Freitas (16-5, 10 KOs), in the 10-round, co-featured event.
Undefeated middleweight Connor “The Kid” Coyle (11-0, 4 KOs), the Northern Ireland sensation who has become as regular on RJJ Boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS events, takes on Miguel Dumas (11-2, 9 KOs), of Mexico, in an 8-round bout.
A pair of undefeated Northwest prospects, light heavyweights Richard Van Sicien (7-0, 3 KOs) and Abraham Martin (5-0, 5 KOs), open the UFC FIGHT PASS segment of the evening in a 6-round match. Van Sicien is from Seattle, Oregon, Martin from Medford, Oregon, by way of Mexico.
Card subject to change.
Bellator Japan: Full Fight Card Announced for this Saturday on Paramount Network and DAZN
Bellator’s lineup for the promotion’s first show in Japan is now complete with six live televised bouts headlined by legends FedorEmelianenko (38-6, 1 NC) and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (38-13) in a long-awaited heavyweight showdown. The co-headlining attraction will see three-time former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler (19-5) take on Sidney Outlaw (14-3), who is looking for his tenth consecutive win, in a 160-lb. contract weight matchup.
Bellator Japan, powered by RIZIN, emanates from the iconic Saitama Super Arena and will air LIVE on Paramount Network and DAZN on Saturday, Dec. 28 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT. BellatorJapan post-lims, powered by RIZIN, will air on SKY PerfecTV! andGYAO! following the main card. Additionally, RIZIN.20 will be available in Japan on Dec. 31 on DAZN, SKY PerfecTV! andGYAO!
Fans will also be treated to an exciting matchup that sees Saitama’s own Shinsho Anzai (11-3) defend his home turf against London’s flashy kickboxing prodigy Michael “Venom” Page (16-1) in a 173-lb. contract weight bout.
Keeping with the promotional collaboration, three Bellator versus RIZIN bouts will be featured, including Tokyo’s K-Taro Nakamura (35-10-2, 1 NC) taking on Riverside, California’s Lorenz Larkin (21-7, 1 NC), while Brazil’s Ilara Joanne (9-4) welcomes Tokyo’s undefeated Kana Watanabe (8-0-1) to the Bellator flyweight ranks and the man with the most submissions in Bellator history, GoitiYamauchi (24-4) opens the show against “The Detroit Superstar” Daron Cruickshank (22-12, 1 NC) in lightweight action.
Bellator Japan: Fedor vs. Rampage Main Card:
Paramount Network & DAZN
10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT
Heavyweight Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko (38-6, 1 NC) vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (38-13)
160-lb. Contract Weight Co-Main Event: Michael Chandler (19-5) vs. Sidney Outlaw (14-3)
173-lb. Contract Weight Main Card Bout: Michael “Venom” Page (16-1) vs. Shinsho Anzai (11-3)
Welterweight Main Card Bout: Lorenz Larkin (21-7, 1 NC) vs. K-Taro Nakamura (35-10-2, 1 NC)
Flyweight Main Card Bout: Ilara Joanne (9-4) vs. Kana Watanabe (8-0-1)
Lightweight Main Card Bout: Goiti Yamauchi (24-4) vs. DaronCruickshank (22-12, 1 NC)
Bellator Japan post-lims, powered by RIZIN:
SKY PerfecTV! and GYAO! (in Japan)
120-kg Post-lim Bout: Shoma Shibisai (5-2, 1 NC) vs. Sergey Shemetov (9-6)
77-kg Post-lim Bout: Ryuichiro Sumimura (14-7) vs. Jon Tuck (10-5)
49-kg Post-lim Bout: Andy Nguyen (6-8) vs. Ai Shimizu (5-1)
58-kg Post-lim Bout: Yusaku Nakamura (16-6-1) vs. Makoto “Shinryu” Takahashi (9-1-1)
68-kg Post-lim Bout (Kickboxing): Ren Hiramoto (10-4) vs. Takahiro Ashida (23-10-2)
49-kg Post-lim Bout: Kanna Asakura (15-4) vs. Jayme Hinshaw (4-3)
53-kg Post-lim Bout: Haruo Ochi (19-7-2, 1 NC) vs. Jarred Brooks (15-2, 1 NC)
71-kg Post-lim Bout: Yusuke Yachi (20-9) vs. Hiroto Uesako (16-8)
Raeese ‘The Beat” Aleem Looks to Carry Momentum into 2020
Prince Ranch Boxing’s undefeated super bantamweight prospect, Raeese “The Beast” Aleem (15-0, 9 KOs), has his sights on facing all the top contenders and champions in the upcoming 2020 year.
In his las fight, Aleem, who is promoted by Kings Promotions, retired Saul Eduardo Hernandez (14-15, 9 KOs) by third round stoppage, a fight that took place on the undercard of Erickson Lubinvs Nathaniel Gallimore on October 26, 2019. Having knocked out seven of his last ten opponents, Aleem is looking to carry that momentum into the new year.
“I have big plans to step up in competition next year and make a name for myself,” said Aleem, who is managed by Greg Hannley of Prince Ranch Boxing. “Right now, I’m flying under the radar, but that is about to change when I fight someone with a name. I’m hoping I’ll land a big fight in the early part of next year. I know my team is working hard behind the scenes to make it happen. I’ll be ready to go when I get that call.”
The super bantamweight is loaded with some of the best fighters in boxing. World champions, Rey Vargas (33-0, 22 KOs), Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10 KOs), Emanuel Navarrete (30-1, 26 KOs) and Brandon Figueroa (20-0, 15 KOs), are all fighters with big names that Aleem wants to face.
“I want to fight all of the super bantamweight champions at some point.” Aleem continued. “I know I have to work my way up the rankings, so that’s what I’m going to do. I told my team that I’m willing to fight any and all world ranked contenders. Vargas, Roman and Navarrete, all those champions are beatable. Brandon Figueroa is not on my level, so if he wants to get some, then come get some. Next year will be my year. Soon everyone will know my name. All I need is an opportunity.”
“In 2020, everyone will start to recognize Raeese as one of the top fighters in the super bantamweight division,” said Greg Hannley of Prince Ranch Boxing. “He’s ready to step up and solidify his position as top contender. His promoter Marshall Kaufman and I agree, Raeese Aleem will be a household name in the near future. Big fights are on the horizon.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Baumgardner, Haney, Garcia, Rosado, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 10th to December 17th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Alycia Baumgardner Stops Christina Del Valle Pacheco in Harrisburg
Alyica Baumgardner was sensational in stopping Christina del valle Pacheco in the 1st round of their scheduled eight-round junior lightweight bout that headlined a nine-bout card at the Zembo Shrine in Harrisburg, Pa.
The show was promoted by King’s Promotions.
Baumgardner sent Pacheco to the canvas in round one with a chopping right to the head. Baumgardner finished off Pacheco by landing a flush combination that left Pacheco defenseless and the bout was stopped at 1:46.
Baumgardener, 130 3/4 lbs of Freemont, OH is 9-1 with six knockouts. Pacheco, 128 1/2 lbs of Cordoba, ARG is 11-13-2.
“Alycia looked fantastic tonight, and showed that she is one of the top fighters in the world. She is ready and wanting to fight anybody in the world.” said Marshall Kauffman, CEO of King’s Promotions.
Carlos Vidal remained undefeated by stopping Jonathan Perez in the 2nd round of a scheduled six-round junior lightweight fight.
Vidal started landing hard shots in the 2nd frame. He then landed a three-punch combination that wobbled Perez into the corner. A follow up flurry sent Perez down and the fight was stopped at 1:48.
Vidal, 128 1/2 lbs of Las Vegas is 16-0 with 15 knockouts. Perez, 128 3/4 lbs of Barranquilla, COL is 38-25.
James Bernadin stopped Nick Baez in the 2nd round of their scheduled four-round junior welterweight bout.
Bernadin landed several hard shots that backed up Baez before a huge overhand right to the jaw sent Baez down, and the fight was immedately called off at 1:57.
Bernadin, 141 lbs of Lancaster, PA is 3-0-1 with two knockouts. Baez, 136 lbs of Bronx, NY was making his pro debut.
Dewayne Williams stopped Brent Oren in the 1st round of their scheduled four-round middleweight bout.
Williams landed a thudding combination that was capped by a left to the jaw that sent Oren down. The fight was stopped upon Oren getting to his feet at 2:38
Williams, 160 1/2 lbs of Philadelphia is 2-2 with one knockout. Oren, 156 1/2 lbs of Harrisburg is 2-3.
Michael Coffie won a technical decision over Grover Young after Young suffered a cut in round five of their scheduled six-round heavyweight bout.
In round two, Coffie sent Young down with a straight left to the head.
In round five, Young was cut over his left eye. Later in the round, the cut worsened to the point that the ringside physician determined that the cut was too much, and the fight was halted.
Coffie, 273 3/4 lbs of Kissimmee, FL won by scores of 49-45 twice and 48-46, and is now 8-0. Young, 260 lbs of Memphis is 13-29-3.
Luis Morales remained undefeated with a four-round unanimous decision over Ayron Palmer in a lightweight battle.
Morales, 136 3/4 lbs of Harrisburg won by 40-36 tallies on all cards and is now 4-0. Palmer, 138 3/4 lbs of Tallahassee, FL is 0-3,
Roudly Lolo and Mike Diorio brawled their way to a four-round split draw in a super middleweight bout.
In round four, Lolo suffered a cut around his left eye.
Each guy took a card 39-37 and a 3rd card was 38-38.
Lolo, 165 1/2 lbs of Harrisburg was making his pro debut. Diorio, 167 3/4 lbs of Cortland, NY is 0-2-1.
Britain Hart and Unique Harris battled to a four-round split draw in a bantamweight fight.
Each fighter won a card 39-37 and 3rd card was even at 38-38.
Hart, 118 1/4 lbs of Bedford, VA is 3-3-3. Harris, 118 1/4 lbs of Philadelphia is 1-3-1.
Khainell Wheeler remained undefeated with a 37 second destruction over Patrick Pierre in a scheduled four-round super middleweight bout.
Wheeler landed a left hook in the opening seconds in the bout that wobbled Pierre into the ropes. The follow up flurry saw Wheeler landed several flush punches to the head, and referee Gary Rosato called a halt to the action.
Wheeler, 167 lbs of Bethlehem, PA is 4-0 with four knockouts. Pierre, 167 3/4 lbs of Brooklyn is 3-10.
Danny Garcia to Face Ivan Redkach in Brooklyn
Two-division world champion Danny “Swift” García returns to the ring to take on hard-hitting slugger Ivan “El Terrible” Redkach in a 12-round WBC welterweight title eliminator Saturday, January 25 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
In the co-feature, former unified 154-pound champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd will return to battle all-action Francisco “Chia” Santana in a 10-round super welterweight contest, plussensational super bantamweight Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton will face undefeated Arnold Khegai in a 12-round WBO Super Bantamweight title eliminator to open SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING action at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
García’s blend of power and sublime boxing skills has made him one of the most popular boxers of the last decade and secured him as a box-office fixture at Barclays Center, where he holds the record for the largest crowd for a boxing event. He set the benchmark when 16,533 attended his welterweight title unification match against Keith Thurman on March 4, 2017 in a bout that aired in primetime on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS. The fight against Redkach will be Garcia’s eighth appearance at Barclays Center.
“Barclays Center fan-favorite Danny García is back in Brooklyn as he continues his quest for the top spot in the welterweight division,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Danny has been in the biggest fights at Barclays Center and on January 25 there are sure to be fireworks when hard-hitting Ivan Redkach looks for a career-defining win. Redkach has upset the odds before and there’s no doubt he’ll leave it all in the ring with this opportunity to move closer to a world title fight. Combined with a former unified champion known for action fights in Jarrett Hurd, plus a rising star in Stephen Fulton, this card is loaded with intrigue from top to bottom.”
“Danny García and Jarrett Hurd are two of the biggest stars in the sport because they have consistently taken on the toughest challenges and they are always in all-action, exciting fights,” said Stephen Espinoza, President Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “On January 25, both men are fighting to maintain their place at the top of two of boxing’s deepest divisions in important, must-win fights. Add in two undefeated, promising contenders in the opener and we have the recipe for an explosive night of fights on SHOWTIME.”
“We’re thrilled to host our first boxing event of 2020 by welcoming Danny García back for his eighth fight at Barclays Center and have Jarrett Hurd return to the arena where he’s had some memorable victories,” said Keith Sheldon, EVP of Programming and Development for BSE Global. “Danny specifically has built an enthusiastic fan base in the borough, becoming one of the most popular fighters in our arena, and we can’t wait to see his supporters out in full force as he steps back into our ring against Ivan Redkach.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DSG Promotions, are on-sale now and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com andbarclayscenter.com. Tickets also can be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP. The Fulton vs. Khegai bout is promoted in association with Salita Promotions.
García (35-2, 21 KOs) is the latest in a long line of great boxers from Philadelphia who have made their mark on the sport. His run through the super lightweight division and two-year reign as a unified champion is one of the most impressive in modern history as he defeated a string of champions, including Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt, Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse.
After dominating the super lightweight division, the 31-year-old García moved up to welterweight where he won the vacant WBC title with a unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero in 2016. He lost a split decision to Thurman in a unification match in 2017 and dropped a narrow unanimous decision to Shawn Porter for the WBC title in 2018. García and many pundits thought he won both those matches. In his last fight, García scored a spectacular knockout victory over Adrian Granados on April 20 to get back into position to regain the welterweight crown.
“I’m very excited to be headlining another SHOWTIME card and to go back to Barclays Center, my home away from home,” said García. “I can’t wait to step in the ring in Brooklyn and give fans the Danny García show. I watched a few of Redkach’s recent fights and he had a great knockout win over two-time champion Devon Alexander. So, I know he’s a tough fighter and competitor who I expect to bring the best out of me, and he’s someone who deserves this opportunity. But January 25 is tax season, so I’m going to have to tax him and pay him with a reality check.”
Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KOs) has his sights set on winning a welterweight title and will face the toughest challenge of his career when he steps in against Garcia. The 33-year-old Redkach, who was born in Shostka, Ukraine and now lives in Los Angeles, is accustomed to stern tests. He started boxing as an amateur in Ukraine where he had over 300 fights. When he turned professional he traveled to Mexico to train and develop the “Mexican Style” – a style that emphasis standing in the pocket and throwing hard shots to the body.
Things started out slowly for Redkach, but soon he began to hold his own in Mexico and prevailed, earning the nickname “El Terrible” from his training partners. Redkach won 14 of his first 18 professional fights by stoppage and has won three in a row, including most recently knocking out former world champion Devon Alexander in June.
“I’m very motivated to take a massive step in my career and get closer to becoming world champion against a strong and accomplished fighter like Danny García,” said Redkach. “I have been to a lot of Danny’s fights and now I get the chance to test myself against him. I am training very hard so that I am the best that I have ever been on January 25. I’m going to shock the boxing world just like I did against Devon Alexander. I’ve never been this hungry before and I’m confident I will win this fight.”
The former WBA and IBF champion at 154-pounds, Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs) returns to action for the first time since losing his belts via decision against Julian Williams in one of 2019’s best fights. The 29-year-old from Accokeek, Maryland captured his first title by stopping current WBC titlist Tony Harrison in 2017 and then added the WBA belt by defeating Erislandy Lara in 2018’s consensus Fight of the Year. Hurd earned his title opportunity by going on a run of knocking off unbeaten fighters including Frank Galarza and Oscar Molina, and also owns a successful title defense against Austin Trout at Barclays Center in 2017.
“Just because I fell back, doesn’t mean I fell off,” said Hurd. “I’m back and excited to fight at Barclays Center for the third time. I’m bringing the storm back on January and I’m going to make a statement everyone is going to see. You’re not going to want to miss this fight and the best Jarrett Hurd anyone’s seen.”
Santana (25-7-1, 12 KOs) has taken on the toughest challenges at 154 and 147 pounds and has made his name with an all-action action style throughout a long career as a contender. The 33-year-old will look to bounce back from a close decision loss to Abel Ramos in March, in a fight where Santana dropped Ramos in the second round. Prior to the setback against Ramos, the Santa Barbara, California native was coming off of a victory over Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz in April 2018. Santana has faced former champions Jermell Charlo and Sadam Ali while also owning a six-round draw against Julian Williams in 2011.
“This is a great opportunity for me against a fighter like Jarrett Hurd,” said Santana. “When you get an opportunity like this, it’s hard to turn it down. My job is to rise to the occasion and have the best moment of my career on fight night. This is my Super Bowl. When I last fought at 154-pounds, I was basically self-trained. Now I have my coach Joseph Janik training me and I really think he’s the missing piece of the puzzle for me. I’m going to go in there and leave it all in the ring January 25.”
The 25-year-old Fulton (17-0, 8 KOs) has made a rapid rise through the super bantamweight ranks with superb boxing skills, befitting a slick fighter from Philadelphia. Lately Fulton has shown flashes of power that have caught his opponents off guard. In his last fight he stopped Isaac Avelar with a body shot to end their fight in the fifth round on August 24.
Fighting out of Odessa, Ukraine and training for this fight in Los Angeles, Khegai (16-0-1, 10 KOs) will make his third start in the U.S. on January 25, after a successful U.S. debut in in May 2018 when he defeated Adam Lopez on the prospect developmental series ShoBox: The New Generation. The 27-year-old has already been victorious twice in 2019, stopping Haidari Mchanjo in March and most recently winning a unanimous decision over Vladimir Tikhonov in August on ShoBox.
Raging Babe Michelle Rosado Set to Launch Boxing Mom’s Web Series
Raging Babe’s Michelle Rosado is set to launch her flagship web series Boxing Moms, chronicling the pain and glory of the mothers of the sports world’s toughest athletes.
The series shines a light on the women behind some of the most influential boxers in America, along with stars in the making as they climb the ladder. Experience the roller coaster that is being the mother of a fighter — the triumph, sacrifice, blood and tears.
Boxing Moms will feature a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of these women as they balance the demands of motherhood and boxing. From smoothing over their kids’ relationship woes, to helping to keep the fighters on track and focused as they prepare for fights, these mothers inspire with their strength and poise, all while holding down jobs and caring for their families and their own relationships. Training camps turn into chaotic fight weeks, which turn into fight nights, where these mothers who have stood next to their sons through it all watch them step into the ring, putting their lives on the line in the name of entertainment and glory.
“Boxing moms juggle being counselors, punching bags, taxi drivers, nutritionists, life coaches, and business managers,” said the show’s Creator and Executive Producer, Michelle Rosado. “We hear a lot about self-care, but with what these women go through, there aren’t enough spa days or meditation hours in the world that can balance the volatility of their everyday lives.”
It’s a passion project for Rosado, who has long wanted to tell the stories of the mothers she’s met as a boxing promoter, and during her signature Raging Babe Brunches – inspired events that bring together the women of boxing.
“These stories need to be told,” said Rosado. Every time I put on an event, it’s the mothers who are making things happen for their sons. It’s the moms who hustle tickets, and act as de facto public relations reps. It’s the moms who are cooking for the fighters, and bear the brunt of their weight cut crankiness. Then they have to watch their baby climb into the ring, knowing that dying is one of the risks, and that it can happen in any fight.”
The series will be produced by award-winning sports agency, Break Media Group. “Boxing Moms will bring back some of my signature emotional storytelling that I’m recognized for,” said Break Media’s co-founder Jay Chaudhry, who will be spearheading the series as producer/director. “It will share stories from the heart, and really show what it’s like being in the shoes of some of the real influential women in boxing: mothers.”
Boxing Moms launches in early 2020, and will be available exclusively on YouTube and IGTV.
Devin Haney Has Succesful Surgery Procedure on Injured Shoulder
WBC Lightweight World Champion, Devin “The Dream” Haney (24-0, 15 KOs), is recovering from a successful surgery to his injured right shoulder. The procedure was performed this week in Los Angeles by world renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache.
Haney suffered a microscopic tear of his right labrum on November 9, 2019, during his WBC title defense against Alfredo Santiago. The tear required immediate surgery. Now in recovery, Haney is focused on getting the proper rest and rehabilitation needed to make a full recovery.
“In my last fight with Alfredo Santiago, my right shoulder came completely out of the socket in the 12th round,” said Devin. Haney. “I stayed focused and showed the grit of a true champion. I’m very happy with my performance considering the injury. I’m the youngest world champion in the last 23 years. Unfortunately, my injury required that I have surgery, but I’m happy I went with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who in my opinion is the best surgeon in the world with these types of injuries. His resumé speaks for itself and the procedure was a success. Right now, I’m all about healing so I can get back in the ring as soon as possible.”
Haney’s surgeon Dr. ElAttrache has performed procedures on other distinguished athletes such as Tom Brady. ElAttrache serves as team physician for the LA Dodgers and LA Rams. In addition, he serves as an orthopaedic consultant for the LA Lakers, LA Kings, LA Angels and the Anaheim Ducks.
Devin, who was expected to defend his WBC world title against mandatory challenger and the #1 ranked contender, Javier Fortuna, is expected to be out of the ring for at least six months. Upon a healthy recover, Haney plans to solidify his position as the best young fighter in boxing.
“As soon as I feel I’m ready to get back in the ring, I’m coming for everyone,” continued Haney. Lomachenko, Lopez, Commey…who ever, I’m coming for all the belts! I’ll be back stronger than ever, that you can bet.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Crawford, Fox, Bejenarus, Bordoy, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 3rd to December 10th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Terence Crawford Hosts Packed Grand Opening Event for his Store, the TBC Shop
Three-division World Champion Terence “Bud” Crawford put on a new hat this weekend, officially becoming a retail store owner. Crawford opened his long-awaited TBC Shop on Saturday in the heart of north Omaha, near his childhood stomping grounds. Fans lined up around the block to get in to the newly renovated space, which features all of Crawford’s signature apparel. Crawford certainly felt the love and support of his fans, who came from near and far to purchase the latest merchandise and get a moment with their champion. The TBC Shop is located in north Omaha, an area of the city that once housed the historic district and is now enjoying a revitalization. The building was previously owned by the father of a childhood friend and Crawford has strong memories of the store that once sat in that location. “I remember going to the store and buying chips, pops and candy on my way to play basketball. It was the neighborhood store,” Crawford said. “When the building came up for sale, I thought I want to buy that building. I want to leave a legacy and help my community.” He hopes that his TBC Shop will create another bright spot in north Omaha and provide inspiration for the youngsters that now reside in the same neighborhood he grew up in. Even before Saturday’s successful grand opening, Crawford has enjoyed solely positive feedback, particularly once he hung up the sign outside the building. “I’ve had all positive reactions. Everybody’s really pleased with what I’m doing. They’ve been asking about it for awhile,” he said. “When I put the sign up, everyone knew whose building it was because they saw my logo.” A proud Omaha native, Crawford has consistently brought a positive spotlight to his hometown. A recipient of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Headliner Award, Crawford has brought the city more than one billion dollars of publicity through his six Nebraska fights and showcasing OMAHA across the waistband of his trunks in all of his bouts. Crawford and his team will depart for New York this evening ahead of his December 14 bout with two-time Olympian Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas at Madison Square Garden. The fight will be Crawford’s third defense of his WBO welterweight title, and will headline a stacked card airing immediately following the Heisman Trophy presentation on ESPN.
Mykal Fox Defeats Johnny Arellano in Philadelphia on Friday
World Ranked welterweight Mykal Fox won a eight-round unanimous decision over Johnny Arellano in the main event of a seven bout show at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. The card was promoted by King’s Promotions. Fox of Forestville, Maryland, controlled the action by keeping his jab in the face of Arellano. Arellano tried to get inside, but it was the experience of the fighter known as “The Professor” that was able to thwart the offense of Arellano. In round five, Fox was able to score a knockdown on shot that landed while both fighters were on the inside. The number-14 ranked welterweight in the world by the IBF and number-15 by the WBA, Fox won by scores of 80-71 twice and 78-73 to run his winning streak to three in a row and raise his overall mark to 22-1. Arellano of Conroe, Texas is 10-2. “Johnny is tough. He was awkward. He has some height on him presented some challenges, but we made the adjustments like we are supposed to,” said the 6’4″ Fox. “In 2020, we are looking for good fights, and just keep moving forward. That’s the biggest thing. We are going to go back to the gym, and work on the things we need to. I am going to work on what we did bad, and improve on what we did good, and look for a big 2020. We are going to keep working.” Kalvin Henderson and Genc Pllana battled to an eight-round majority draw in a super middleweight bout. Pllana took a card 79-73, while two cards read even at 76-76. Henderson of Fayettville, AR is 12-0-1. Pllana of Hagerstown, MD is 7-1-2.
No Reward If No Risk for Connecticut Super Lightweight Prospect Omar “The Beast” Bordoy
Unlike most boxing prospects, super lightweight prospect OMAR “THE BEAST” BORDOY (9-1, 3 KOs) is always willing to take risks, even fighting undefeated opponents, instead of simply padding his record. Bordoy, fighting out of Danbury, CT, meets undefeated Irish sensation “SLICK” VICTOR RABEI (8-0, 2 KOs) on December 13 in an 8-round bout on a stacked “New England Explosion” card, at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. “New England Explosion,” presented by JOE DEGUARDIA’S STAR BOXING and sponsored by MGM Springfield, will air live from Mass MutualCenter in a first for New England Sports Network (NESN), starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. As the home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox, NESN is available nationally on a sports subscription basis. “I fought an undefeated fighter before and it was cool to give him (3-0 Terell Bostic) his first loss,” the 24-year-old Bordoy said. “An undefeated record could be padded. Rabei is a good fighter and I expect a very good fight. He’s a good fighter who is good defensively. He’ll want to be fighting on the outside because he’s 5′ 9″ and I’m 5′ 5”. But he’s coming down in weight and we’re fighting at my natural fighting weight. I’ve fought taller opponents before. It looks like he has a little power. We’re both stepping up. “I’m excited to be fighting on live television for the first time. I’m a kid who came from nothing and now I’m fighting on TV. I’ve fought in pre-recorded fights before, but this will be my first on live television. It makes everything even more exciting. I’m glad to be fighting on this NESN platform.” Bordoy has won two in a row since losing a disputed 6-round split decision last April to Romain Tomas (7-2). “I didn’t get into boxing to go undefeated,” remarked Bordoy, who will be fighting in his first scheduled 8-rounder. “Only a few fighters have ever retired undefeated. A loss doesn’t bother most greats. It’s part of my developmental stage. I’d rather suffer a loss early in my career than later. I certainly don’t feel like a defeated fighter going into this fight. I learned a lot about myself and what to do better from that loss.” Cutting weight for this fight, Bordoy didn’t really enjoy Thanksgiving. In fact, he ate alone because it was too difficult dieting and eating with others. So, he had brown rice and baked chicken. “Yeah,” he added. “I didn’t get to eat much. I’m going to splurge this fight. And I’ll get an early Christmas present when my hand is raised at the end of the fight.”
Bejenarus Vows to be Ready for Fight of his Life Against WBA Champ Goulamirian on December 28th WBA #8 cruiserweight Constantin Bejenaru says he’s ready to go in and do the job he set out to do when he started boxing. Bejenaru (14-0, 4 KOs) will challenge WBA cruiserweight champion Arsen Goulamirian (25-0, 17 KOs) on December 28 at the Palais Des Sport in Marseille, France. “I have been working my entire career for this opportunity,” said Bejenaru, “…the chance to win a world title; the chance to show myself on the biggest stage with the highest stakes.” A tricky southpaw from Ungheni, in the Republic of Moldova and now living in Brooklyn, Bejenaru was a 10-time Romanian champion, a Bronze Medalist at the European Amateur Boxing Championships in 2006, a Finalist in the European Union Championships in both 2006 and 2007, and a Gold Medalist at World Combat Games in 2010. After turning professional in 2012, Bejenaru went on to score wide decision victories on ShoBox: The New Generation over previously undefeated Alexey Zubov (10-0, 6 KOs) and Stivens Bujaj (16-0-1, 11 KOs), as well as a decisive points victory over previous world title challenger Thabiso Mchunu (18-3, 11 KOs). Bejenaru’s career was stalled for nearly two years by what he called “promotional problems,” but he is now realizing his dream fight in just his second under the Salita promotional banner. “I love the sport of boxing. I am always working to develop my craft, my skills, my fitness and my mind. It is ultimately the mind that makes a champion. The intelligence and creativity that are necessary to succeed in the ring. The mental discipline that allows a boxer to persevere at the hardest moments. Goulamirian recently defended his belt for the first time by KO 4 over Australia’s Kane Watts on November 15 in Paris. “Goulamirian has made a mistake taking this fight against a fighter of Constantin Bejenaru’s caliber so quickly after first defense,” said promoter Dmitriy Salita. “Constantin has incredibly high boxing intelligence and he’s been waiting for this fight his entire life. I look forward to having a new world champion in the Salita Promotions stable.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Haney, Joshua, Ruiz, ESPN, Plant, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 19th to November 26th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing
Diriyah Arena Ready for Clash on the Dunes Action
An iconic fight needs a spectacular venue and few can compare to the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia which is now ready for a historic night as the Clash On The Dunes sees World Champion Andy Ruiz Jr take on Anthony Joshua.
Earlier this week, Joshua promised the world an “iconic evening of boxing” as he flew into the Kingdom ahead of the epic bout on December 7.
The first-ever Heavyweight World Title fight to take place in the Middle East will be staged in the custom-built 15,000 seat Diriyah Arena in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, known as the home of heroes and kings.
Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Boxing, said: “The arena and site are utterly breath-taking, with a theme park and concert the night before as well. It’s like nothing we’ve seen before in boxing. The Clash On The Dunes will be a night to remember. We can’t wait.”
The Diriyah Arena has been constructed by 175 staff working tirelessly to transform the 10,000 sq m site, which includes 295 tonnes of steel, which would stretch 57km. Work began on October 7, just two months out, with 3,000 sqm of scaffolding needed to complete the work.
On the night more than 2,000 staff will ensure proceedings run smoothly in the arena, 95 percent of which is reusable, and which will take a month to take down.
Joshua will be looking to regain his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts after suffering defeat to Ruiz in New York earlier this year, but the British Heavyweight will have the backing of thousands of UK fans joining boxing enthusiasts from more than 60 countries across the world.
Fans will approach the Diriyah Arena via the Diriyah Oasis, a huge sprawling entertainment hub which includes ice-skating outdoors, sky diving, jetski-ing and ziplining among a host of activities on offer. The Diriyah Oasis is split into the four zones – Nature, Imagination, Reflection, Excitement- giving families a place to come together, and at its heart lies an astonishing grand installation by world-renowned Italian artist, Edoardo Tresoldi.
The Clash On The Dunes forms part of the Diriyah Season, epic month of sports which kicked off with Formula E at the weekend, the Diriyah Tennis Cup featuring eight of the best men’s players on the planet, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, an elite competition with Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualifying points on the line.
The Diriyah Season is also supported by the Diriyah Music Festival with huge concerts taking place around the event. On December 6, the night before the Clash On The Dunes, major artists who are yet to be announced will perform. So far artists such as Imagine Dragons, DJ Alan Walker, Clean Bandit and Maluma have performed to 40,000 concert goers.
Tickets for all of the Diriyah Season’s spectacular events, concerts and entertainment will be available at www.diriyahseason.sa. Follow Diriyah Season’s news and announcements on the official social media pages on twitter and Instagram @diriyahseason.
Caleb Plant to Host Turkey Drive in his Hometown
This Wednesday, November 27, 2019, IBF super middleweight champion, Caleb “Sweethands” Plant (19-0, 11 KOs), will be hosting a turkey drive in his hometown of Ashland City, TN.
The Champ and his wife, FOX SPORTS announcer Jordan Plant, will personally hand out 100 turkeys to those in need. The Turkey Drive will take place on the Ashland City Courthouse Lawn, starting at 9:00 A.M CT.
“This is a chance to give back to those in need during the holiday season,” said Caleb Plant. “I felt it was important to come back home to Ashland City to give back to my community where it all started.”
WHO: CALEB PLANT, IBF Super Middleweight Champion.
JORDAN PLANT, FOX SPORTS Announcer.
WHAT: IBF Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant, and his wife, FOX
SPORTS announcer Jordan Plant, to host a Turkey Drive in,
Caleb’s hometown of Ashland City, TN.
WHERE: Ashland City, Courthouse Lawn
100 Public Square, Ashland City, TN 37015
WHEN: Wednesday, November 27, 2019
ESPN Celebrates 13th Annual V Week in Support of the V Foundation for Cancer Research
ESPN’s 13th consecutive V Week for Cancer Research begins on “Giving Tuesday,” Dec.3, and runs through Dec. 14. Throughout the week, ESPN will drive awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research across ESPN platforms and all net proceeds will go directly to cancer research and related programs. Last year, V Week helped raise a record $8.3 million, bringing the 12-year total of contributions to more than $30.5 million.
“V Week leverages ESPN platforms and partners to drive awareness of the continued fight against cancer and generates donations to the V Foundation,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president, ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “This year, we celebrate our dear friend and colleague, and the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award winner Stuart Scott, by honoring his courageous spirit to ‘Fight Like Hell.’ We’re honored to once again celebrate V Week and inspire fans to help support the V Foundation to one day eradicate cancer.”
The 2019 V Week will feature several new initiatives to raise funds for the V Foundation:
•Stuart Scott Day: In honor of famed ESPN television personality and 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award recipient Stuart Scott, who passed away from cancer in 2015, ESPN is dedicating Monday, Dec. 4, as “Stuart Scott Day.” On that day, ESPN will showcase content, which depicts Scott’s love of life and perseverance through his fight with cancer and his consistent message to “never give up.” A special, limited edition Stuart Scott t-shirt will go on sale starting Dec. 4 and all net proceeds of sales will benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
•UFC “Fight Like Hell” Night: On Saturday, Dec. 7, UFC is dedicating its fight to the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund, which supports groundbreaking minority cancer research. Scott had a strong connection to mixed martial arts and even trained during his treatments. “Fight Like Hell” Night will also feature Stuart Scott-related content all throughout fight night.
•“Ring the Bell to Knock Out Cancer” Night: Also during V Week, Top Rank will raise awareness and funds for the V Foundation by dedicating Saturday, Dec. 14, as “Ring the Bell to Knock Out Cancer” night. Within boxing, “ringing of the bell” symbolizes the end of the fight, and for patients with cancer and their healthcare team, the “ringing of the bell” is a significant moment as well, signaling the end of active treatment and the beginning of a life free of cancer. The “ringing of the bell” will be a symbolic moment during the Top Rank fight, making fans aware of ESPN’s dedication to eradicating cancer. The fight will air on ESPN, Saturday, Dec. 14, at 9 p.m. ET.
•“Don’t Give Up on Me” Anthem: Multi-platinum selling pop artist Andy Grammer is invested in the mission to find cures for cancer, having lost his mother to breast cancer. The lyrics of his song “Don’t Give Up on Me” fit perfectly with the themes of fighting adversity, supporting a loved one, having belief in dark times and ultimately not giving up. Grammer’s song “Don’t Give Up on Me” will air during V Week campaigns, which aligns with the V Foundation theme of fighting adversity and motto of “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®
Additional V Week programming includes:
•Kicks to Beat Cancer (Dec. 2-Dec.12): Professional athletes, celebrities and musicians are putting their “kicks” to good use by reaching into their extensive shoe collections and donating a signed pair to be auctioned off in support of the V Foundation. Celebrities and sports stars past and present have donated their shoes, including NBA legend Magic Johnson, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, former NFL player Victor Cruz, Kansas City Chief athletes Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, fashion icon Anna Wintour, celebrity Kim Kardashian West, college basketball coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams, USA national soccer team athletes Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, and many more. Fans can bid on the shoes at www.ebay.com/espn.
•Jim Valvano’s ESPYS Speech Roadblock: Just once a year, nearly all of ESPN platforms pause regularly scheduled programming and run a “roadblock” in support of the V Foundation. On Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m., the 15-minute roadblock will begin with a highlight by ESPN television personalities discussing Stuart Scott’s impact on the industry, his presence at ESPN and his fight with cancer. The roadblock also will highlight former N.C. State coach-turned ESPN commentator Jim Valvano’s legendary 1993 “Don’t Give Up” ESPYS speech. It will be offered simultaneously on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, ACC Network, SEC Network, Longhorn Network, ESPN Radio, the ESPN App and ESPN.com. The roadblock will be streaming live on all networks listed and fans can access it on demand via ESPN3 replay. A captioned version also will be available on the ABC SuperSign in Times Square, HearstLive, the New York City Disney Store and within Disney Resorts. In addition, speeches from all Jimmy V Perseverance Award winners (Robin Roberts, Craig Sager and Jim Kelly) will air during V Week. Across all ESPN networks, the Bottomline scroll will encourage viewers to join ESPN and the V Foundation to achieve Victory Over Cancer®” by visiting v.org/donate.
The Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona will begin with the Women’s Classic on Sunday, Dec. 8, followed by the Men’s Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 10, all airing live on ESPN.
•Women’s Classic: No. 15 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 UConn at 4 p.m. (Gampel Pavilion on UConn’s campus)
•Men’s Classic: No. 12 Texas Tech vs. No. 2 Louisville at 7 p.m., and Indiana vs. UConn at 9 p.m. (Madison Square Garden); College GameDay will also be on-site, with host Rece Davis and analysts Jay Bilas, LaPhonso Ellis and Seth Greenberg providing news and analysis in between games.
Devin Haney Visits Skid Row to Give Back to Those Less Fortunate
Earlier this week, WBC Lightweight Champion, Devin “The Dream” Haney (24-0, 15 KOs), spent his 21st birthday giving back to those less fortunate. The young boxing phenom spent time with the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles. His plan was to feed as many people as he possibly could, serving one of his favorite dishes, garlic crab and shrimp with macaroni cheese, yams, and dessert.
When the food ran out, he gave everyone a little cash to brighten up their day. Devin loves to see people smiling and happy. He had an amazing birthday celebration on Sunday, and the very next day, he woke up and went out in the world to share.
“I really wanted to give back after my last fight, and that’s just what I did,” said Devin Haney. “I took my whole team out to skid row right after celebrating my 21st birthday. When I ran out of food, I passed out cash to those that didn’t get a plate. It was great seeing all the smiles on their faces. I’m grateful for the blessing that God has giving me I just want to bless others as well.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Fox, Wilder, Ortiz, Hart, Smith, and more…
Compiled by: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 12th to November 19th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
<strong>Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz Make Grand Arrivals at MGM Grand </strong>
WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and Cuban slugger Luis “King Kong” Ortiz made their grand arrivals Tuesday at MGM Grand as they kicked off fight week events ahead of their highly anticipated rematch that headlines a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View this Saturday, November 23 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“We’re all here to see what’s going to happen on Saturday night,” said Wilder. “Even though I knocked Ortiz out the first time, it was an amazing fight. That was the fight that I was challenged the most during. I understand why none of the other heavyweights want to fight Ortiz.
“He’s very dangerous and I blessed him with a second chance,” continued Wilder. “Fans always get their money’s worth when I’m on the big stage. Because people know what I’m able to do to another human being inside of that ring. I can’t wait for Saturday night.”
“Deontay Wilder is a throwback fighter like me, and we both want to fight the best,” said Ortiz. “I believe I’m the best and that’s why I’m getting this rematch. I’m focused on this fight and this fight only and doing everything to have my hand raised Saturday night.
“My life has changed tremendously and for the better since I came to the United States from Cuba,” said Ortiz. “Being in the U.S. has allowed me to focus on my two dreams, finding a cure for my daughter’s disease and becoming heavyweight champion of the world. That’s always been my mission.”
Also making their grand arrivals at MGM Grand were fighters competing on the pay-per-view undercard that begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Three-division champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz is looking to win a title in a fourth division when he takes on Miguel “El Michoacan” Flores for the WBA Super Featherweight Championship in the co-main event.
The pay-per-view also features undefeated rising star Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa defending his WBA Super Bantamweight Title against former champion Julio Ceja while undefeated Mexican power-puncher Luis Nery battles Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodríguez in a showdown of former bantamweight champions.
<strong> Jesse Hart-Joe Smith Jr. to Clash in Light Heavyweight Showdown at Hard Rock Atlantic City January 11 Live on ESPN</strong>
This one is personal. Jesse “Hollywood” Hart, born and bred in Philadelphia, will take on Joe Smith Jr. Saturday, Jan. 11 from Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena in the 10-round main event, which will kick off the 2020 Top Rank on ESPN schedule.
It was Smith, the union construction worker from Long Island, who knocked Philadelphia legend Bernard Hopkins through the ropes and into retirement in December 2016. For Hart, who considers Hopkins a mentor, this fight is more than a step towards a world title shot.
ESPN and ESPN Deportes will televise Hart-Smith Jr. and a co-feature beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, with undercard action slated for ESPN+ beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Star Boxing, tickets priced at $100, $60, $40 and $25 (not including applicable fees) go on sale Friday, Nov. 22 at 10 a.m. ET and can be purchased by visiting www.ticketmaster.com and www.hardrockhotelatlanticcity.com.
“When you have two fighters who can punch like heck, anything can happen,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We believe Jesse Hart has everything it takes to become a world champion, but Joe Smith Jr. can turn the lights out at any moment. This is a sensational main event to kick off the Top Rank schedule in 2020.”
“This is personal. Bernard inspired me to be what I became,” Hart said. “I wouldn’t be right if didn’t avenge that defeat. I can’t move forward unless I beat him. This is a Philly thing. It’s more personal than business for me. I want a world title shot at light heavyweight, but I have to get through this guy first.”
“I am back in the gym and feel great,” Smith said. “I am focused and ready to bring everything I have. Jesse Hart might want to make this personal, but I didn’t even know who he was before this fight was brought up. I am ready for this. It is going to be a great night.”
“I look forward to a thrilling, fan-friendly fight in Atlantic City on ESPN Jan. 11,” said Star Boxing CEO Joe DeGuardia, Smith’s promoter. “Jesse Hart is Philly tough, but I love watching Joe Smith Jr. fight as his amazing punching power always puts him 10 seconds away from a KO win. It will be a rocking night at the Hard Rock Hotel.”
Hart (26-2, 21 KOs) is making his triumphant return to Atlantic City, where he is 7-0 with 7 knockouts. He twice challenged for the super middleweight world title previously held by Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, but he came up short via a pair of close decision defeats. Following the second Ramirez loss in December 2018, Hart moved up to the light heavyweight ranks and announced his arrival with a 10-round decision victory over Sullivan Barrera on the Tyson Fury-Tom Schwarz undercard.
Smith (24-3, 20 KOs) was boxing’s “Cinderella Man” in 2016, upsetting Andrzej Fonfara via first-round TKO to earn the shot at Hopkins. He proved the Fonfara win was no fluke, as he bullied Hopkins around the ring before a combination knocked him through the ropes. Smith is coming off a decision loss to WBA light heavyweight world champion Dmitry Bivol, although he buzzed Bivol on several occasions in the championship rounds.
<strong>Omar Juarez Training Camp Quotes </strong>
Rising super lightweight prospect Omar Juarez shared his thoughts on training camp, his upcoming matchup and more before he battles Kevin Shacks this Saturday, November 23 in FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Prelims on FS2 and FOX Deportes from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Prelims begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and is headlined by undefeated Cuban contender Leduan Barthelemy squaring off against former title challenger Eduardo Ramirez. Plus, 17-year-old sensation Vito Mielnicki Jr. compets in a four-round welterweight bout against North Carolina’s Marklin Bailey.
Prelims precede the pay-per-view event headlined by boxing’slongest reigning heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder defending his WBC title in a rematch against once-beaten Cuban slugger Luis “King Kong” Ortiz. Three-division champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz will seek a title in another division in the co-main event when he takes on Miguel “El Michoacan” Flores for the WBA Super Featherweight Championship as part of pay-per-view action beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by BombZquadPromotions, TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at www.mgmgrand.com or www.axs.com.
The 20-year-old Juarez (5-0, 3 KOs) fights out of his hometown of Brownsville, Texas and most recently stopped Gino De la Paz in the first round in August. Here is what Juarez had to say ahead of his Saturday showdown:
On his recent training camp:
“I had another great training camp going into this fight. I spent some time in Houston and San Antonio getting good sparring with some of the top guys in those areas. I’m in great shape and my body is healthy.”
On his upcoming fight with Kevin Shacks:
“I don’t know much about Shacks except that he has a lot of power. All his wins have come by knockout, so I know he’s dangerous. I’m still going to go in there and dictate the pace with my game plan. My goal is to knock him out.”
On fighting in Las Vegas on FS2:
“This is a dream come true for me and my dad. We’ve always talked about fighting in Las Vegas under the big lights. To top it off I’ll be fighting on FS2 in front of a large televised audience. All my people back home are having parties showing my fight, so this is a big blessing for my career. I’m truly grateful.”
On the state of the super lightweight division:
“The 140 pound division is loaded with talent and I think it’s one of toughest in boxing. Mario Barrios is a beast, Josh Taylor just showed the world what he’s about by beating Regis Prograis, and Jose Ramirez is no joke. The entire division is stacked and one day I’ll be right up there with all those guys.”
<strong> Star Boxing’s William Silva to Fight on ESPN on November 30th </strong>
Star Boxing is pleased to announce the signing of WILLIAM “BABY FACE” SILVA (27-2 15KO’s), who will be closing out 2019 with a bang when he faces undefeated California-born, ARNOLD BARBOZA JR (22-0 9KO’s) at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on November 30, to be featured on ESPN.
Hailing from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Silva has had an impressive amateur and professional career. Over his 29 professional bouts, the super lightweight has held titles such as the IBO Intercontinental Lightweight Championship, WBO Latino Welterweight and Lightweight Championship, NBA Lightweight Championship and is the current ABF Continental Americas Champion.
Silva began his boxing career well before his professional debut in 2006. At the age of 7, Silva’s father brought him to a local boxing gym and he never looked back. “My father was a boxer” said Silva, “he fought, as did my brothers.” Silva’s brother, Michele Silva is a professional boxer, fighting out of Brazil. As an amateur, Silva represented his home country as a member of the Brazil Olympic training team. He boasted a stellar amateur record of 135-5.
Campaigning most of his career at lightweight, Silva has had great success since moving from his native Brazil, making Florida his home away from home. Fighting prospects such as Felix Verdejoand Teofimo Lopez, Silva never hides from a challenge. In his last two bouts, Silva steamrolled Joe Forero, dominating the entire fight, ending with a 9th round TKO earning the ABF Continental America’s Title. In February it was more of the same for Silva, as he dominated a 10-round unanimous decision over the tough Juan Ramon Solis (then 25-13 9KO’s). (100-90 (x2), 98-91).
William Silva said this about signing with Star Boxing, “I am extremely excited and grateful to sign a contract with Star Boxing and feel really motivated to show the world that I belong in World Championship fights. I live and train in Plant City Florida, with a great coach Jose Rodriguez, my manager Jody Caliguire, and our entire team is awesome. I am ready to get back to the top of the rankings. I know I can beat anyone in the world.”
Silva is preparing to return to the ring in a thriller against top rated undefeated Barboza in an ESPN bout from the majestic Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on November 30. Having last fought in February of 2019, Silva is chomping at the bit to get back into the ring.
Manager JODY CALIGUIRE had this to say about Silva signing with Star Boxing, “Team Silva is very happy to have signed promotional contract with Star Boxing. We look forward to competing on great events and having the opportunity to compete soon for a world title. At 27-2, with 15 KO’S, Silva is a proven excellent boxer. We want a world title shot in the near future. Silva, now lives and trains in Florida, and we have the team in place to insure each time he walks in the ring he will be ready to win and convincingly. This man is a true professional and great boxer. Thank you to Joe DeGuardia for allowing us to be part of your great team.”
CEO JOE DEGUARDIA said this about signing Silva, “Silva is a very talented fighter who we are very excited to work with. We believe that with the team we have in place, the sky is the limit for Silva, and we are looking forward to closing out 2019 with a great fight in Las Vegas on ESPN!”
<strong> Welterweight Mykal Fox Takes on Johnny Arellano on Friday, December 6th </strong>
World-Ranked welterweight Mykal Fox will take on Johnny Arellano in the 10-round main event on Friday night, December 6th at The 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
The nine-bout card will be promoted by King’s Promotions.
Fox of Forestville. Maryland is ranked number-15 by the WBA, has a record of 21-1 with five knockouts.
The 24 year-old Fox is a five year professional and has garnered his world ranking on the strength of wins over Ricardo Garcia (14-1), Gonzalo Carlos Dallera (5-0), 2016 Olympic Gold Medal Winner Fazliddin Gainazarov (7-0) and in his last bout, Fox won a 10-round unanimous decision over Eudy Bernardo (25-4) on September 14th in Bethlehem, PA.
Arellano of Conroe, Texas has a record of 10-1 with nine knockouts. The 27 year-old Arellano is a nine-year pro who has wins over undefeated foes D’Angelo Keys (7-0) and his bout when he won a decision over Xavier Wilson (10-0-1) on March 28th in San Antonio.
In the eight-round co-feature, undefeated super middleweight Kalvin Henderson will take on Genc Pllana.
Henderson of Fayetville, Arkansas has a record of 12-0 with eight knockouts.
The 29 year-old is a three year professional, and has had a meteoric climb up the super middleweight latter.
Henderson has wins over Bobby Taylor (4-0) and Brandon Robinson in a bout that was voted Philadelphia Fight of the Year for 2018. In his last bout, Henderson stopped Antowyan Aikens on May 10th at the 2300 Arena.
Pllana of Hagerstown, Maryland has a record of 7-1 with four knockouts.
The 25 year-old is a two-year professional who has defeated Jason Bell (3-0) and in his last bout, Pllana stopped Alex Lara in one-round on October 24th in Washington, DC.
A packed undercard has been assembled as some very talented fighters will be on display.
In eight-round bouts, WBA Number-10 ranked super bantamweight Marcus Bates (10-1-1, 8 KOs) of Washington, DC battles Jesus Martinez (26-10, 13 KOs) of Hollywood, Florida.
Shinard Bunch (4-1, 4 KOs) of Trenton, NJ takes on an opponent to be named in a six-round welterweight bout.
Undefeated Devar Ferhadi (7-0, 6 KOs) of Frederick, Maryland will square off with fellow undefeated Vincent Baccus (4-0-1, 3 KOs) of Okmulgee, OK in a super middleweight bout.
In four-round bouts:
Ryan Umberger (3-0, 3 KOs) of Philadelphia battles an opponent to be named in middleweight contest.
Brandon Mullins (6-0, 2 KOs) will box Juan Zapata (6-17-2, 4 KOs) of Bronx, NY in a super middleweight bout.
Martino Jules (7-0, 1 KO) of Allentown, PA will take on an opponent to be named in a featherweight contest
Shamar Fulton (4-0-1, 3 KOs) of Alhambra, California takes part in a lightweight bout,
Tickets are $100, $75 and $50 and can be purchased at www.2300arena.com