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PBC on ESPN Preview: Shafikov vs. Herring, Szymanski vs. Campfort


PBC on ESPN Preview: Shafikov vs. Herring, Szymanski vs. Campfort
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night at the Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) series will partner up with ESPN to broadcast the next installment of their series. Kings Promotions will be the lead promoter of the card.

At least two fights are expected to be televised. Denis Shafikov will face off against undefeated prospect Jamel Herring in a ten round lightweight bout in the main event of the night. The co-main event will be between Patrick Szymanski and Wilky Campfort in the junior middleweight division.

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The following is a preview of both televised bouts.

Patrick Szymanski (15-0) vs. Wilky Campfort (21-2); Junior Middleweights

On paper, this appears to be an evenly matched fight.

Campfort is thirty one years old and eight years older than his opponent. They are both 5’11 and have similar builds. They both have traveled the globe to fight. Szymanski has fought in places such as Poland, Germany, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Campfort has fought in places such as Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cayman Islands, and the United States.

Szymanski appears to have a slight edge in amateur experience, as he was a former Polish Amateur Elite Boxing Champion.

They are also both about even in power. Szymanski has nine stoppage victories and Campfort has twelve, but Campfort has been in eight more professional fights than Szymanski.

Both boxers have been active the past two years. Szymanski fought three times in 2015 and 2014, while Campfort fought three times in 2015 and four times in 2014.

Szymanski has not faced any significant opposition so far. His best wins have come against Richard Gutierrez, Andrei Abramenka, and Mate Hornyak; and none of them are well known. Campfort has been in the ring with better competition. He has defeated the likes of Ronald Montes, Richard Guiterrez, Molton Nunez, and DeCarlo Perez by split decision.

One of Campfort’s two losses came early on in his career, in his second professional fight. His other loss was the Jermall Charlo in a world title bout.

It’s a hard fight to pick a favorite, and not many have seen enough of Szymanski to get a good gauge of his talent. Campfort is coming off of a knockout loss to Charlo and it can be quite difficult for a boxer to bounce back from that. But Campfort has to be given a slight edge based solely on experience.

Denis Shafikov (36-2-1) vs. Jamel Herring (15-0); Lightweights

The main event will feature a similar story line to the opening televised bout of the night. It will feature a rugged, tested veteran facing off against a relatively untested prospect.

Shafikov’s professional experience is far superior to that of Herring. Shafikov has fought all over the world, including places such as China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Finland, Latvia, Belarus, and the United States. Herring has fought exclusively on US soil as a professional.

Shafikov is thirty one years old, and despite the fact his professional experience far outweighs Herring’s, he is only one year older than his opponent. Shafikov will have a large physical disadvantage in that he will be giving up five inches in height to Herring.

They both has successful amateur careers, but Herring was able to compete in the Olympics for the United States in 2012.

Both boxers are southpaws, and both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Herring has fought four times in 2014 and 2015, and once in 2016. Shafikov has fought twice in 2015 and three times in 2014.

Shafikov has defeated the likes of Roy Mukhlis, Miguel Mandoza, Alisher Rahimov, Albert Mensah, and Brunet Zamora. His losses were to Miguel Vasquez and Rances Barthelemy in world championship fights. Herring has defeated nobody of note, but his most notable victories have come against Luis Eduardo Florez and Yakubu Amidu.

Shafikov has nineteen stoppage victories while Herring has eight.

Both boxers seem to realize that this is a big fight for them if they want to fight for a world title in the near future.

They stated, “I am just excited about the fight. I have been looking for a big step up to get me in title contention,” said Herring. “I started training before I got the call before the fight. I have been training in D.C. with Mike Stafford, Barry Hunter, Patrice Harris and Levi Smith and I feel after this fight, it will get me up to a championship fight. He is a tough guy. If you train hard and stay ready, you can make the fight a lot easier on yourself.”

“I am looking forward to facing Jamel Herring,” said Shafikov. “He is undefeated and a former Olympian. I have the experience of fighting for a title and I know with a win, it will get me another opportunity.”

Even though Herring doesn’t have the professional experience of Shafikov, his amateur experience should not be discredited and neither should his experience serving as a United States Marine.

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Showtime World Championship Boxing Results: Pedraza Wins by Decision, Russell Destroys Hyland


Showtime World Championship Boxing Results: Pedraza Wins by Decision, Russell Destroys Hyland
By: William Holmes

The Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut was the host site for tonight’s World Championship Boxing telecast on Showtime. Two world title fights were featured as Gary Russell Jr. defended his WBC Featherweight Title against Patrick Hyland in the main event of the night and Jose Pedraza defended his IBF Junior Lightweight Title in the co-main event.

russell hyland weigh in

The first bout of the night was between Jose Pedraza (21-0) and Stephen Smith (23-1) for the IBF Junior Lightweight Title.

Smith started the bout off strong by taking control of the center of the ring in the first round and was accurate with his lead left hook, but neither boxer was threatened in the opening stanza and both were feeling each other out.

Pedraza came out firing in the second round and landed an early two punch combination followed by a straight right hand that hurt Smith. Smith was forced to tie up several times in the second round as Pedraza was able to land several hard shots.

Pedraza showed good head movement in the third and fourth round and boxed patiently. Smith was able to land a few blows to the body of Pedraza, but Pedraza remained in control.

Pedraza’s upper body movement appeared to confuse Smith in the fifth and sixth rounds, and Pedraza pressed forward more in the sixth round and was effective in landing from the outside.

Smith was able to offer some good flurries in the seventh and eighth rounds and may have stolen these rounds, but his shots were not hurting his opponent.

Pedraza finally scored a knockdown in the ninth round when he connected with a flush counter right hand. Smith was able to get back to his feet and held on when he could to try and survive the round, but not without taking some additional punishment.

Smith showed heart and clearly needed a knockout in the championship rounds to win the bout, but he was unable to do so.

The judges scored the bout 117-110, 116-111, and 116-111 for Jose Pedraza.

The main event of the evening was between Gary Russell Jr. (26-1) and Patrick Hyland (31-1) for the WBC Featherweight Title.

Patrick Hyland was a heavy underdog in this fight, and Russell’s hand speed was very evident in the first round as his jab was on point and he seemed confident in landing his combinations when he threw them.

Russell was able to score his first knockdown in the second round with a lightning fast right hook that sent Hyland to the mat for the first time in his career. He was able to get back to his feet but was knocked down a second time while falling back into the ropes. The referee allowed him to continue, but he only went down for the third and final time after a four punch combination for Gary Russell Jr. The referee, rightly, waived off the fight.

Gary Russell Jr. won by KO at 1:33 of round two.

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Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Pedraza vs. Smith, Hyland vs. Russell


Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Pedraza vs. Smith, Hyland vs. Russell
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night the Foxwoods Resort Casino will televised two world title fights live on Showtime as Gary Russell Jr. defends his WBC Featherweight Title against Patrick Hyland in the main event of the evening and Jose Pedraza defends his IBF Junior Lightweight Title against Stephen Smith.

russell hyland

Other noted boxers will appear on the undercard including Antonio Russell in the bantamweight division as well as former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson facing Cornelius White. Only two fights are currently scheduled to be televised on Showtime, but highlights of the undercard may be shown.

The following is a preview of both the televised championship fights.

Jose Pedraza (21-0) vs. Stephen Smith (23-1); IBF Junior Lightweight Title

Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza had some considerable hype when he turned a professional for he represented Puerto Rico in the 2008 Summer Olympics and medaled in several international events. He is the current IBF Junior Lightweight title holder and has a significant edge in amateur experience over his opponent Stephen Smith, despite the fact Smith won the gold medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games as an amateur.

Neither boxer is known for their power, as Pedraza has twelve knockouts on his record while Smith has thirteen. Pedraza is four years younger than Smith at twenty six years old. He will also have about a two inch height advantage as well as a four and a half inch reach advantage.

Smith has never fought outside of the United Kingdom and Saturday will be his first fight in the United States. Smith’s resume is lacking in big name victories, and his biggest wins to date were over Devis Boschiero, Mauricio Munoz, and Gary Buckland. Smith’s lone loss was by TKO to Lee Selby back in 2011.

Pedraza’s last victory was against Edner Cherry which he won by split decision. Other notable victories include Andrey Klimov, Michael Farenas, and Sergio Reyes.

This is a bout that Pedraza should win, quite easily. However, Pedraza has shown that he may have difficulty against crafty veterans as was evident in his bout against Edner Cherry. Unfortunately for Smith, he does not appear to have the power to catch Pedraza by surprise and he was stopped the last time he faced a big name opponent.

Gary Russell Jr. (26-1) vs. Patrick Hyland (31-1); WBC Featherweight Title

Gary Russell Jr. has a reputation for fighting boxers that are way overmatched, and Saturday night appears to be another fight that he should win easily.

Patrick Hyland is one half of the Hyland brothers and is more famous for his previous management deal with Snooki of MTV’s the Real World than for his actual boxing ability. Patrick was the better of the two Hyland brothers, but it appears he no longer has a working relationship with Snooki.

Both Hyland and Russell have fifteen knockouts on their resume. Hyland will have a significant height advantage as he is three and a half inches taller than Russell. Russell, however, is five years younger than Hyland.

Russell also holds an edge over Hyland in amateur experience. Russell qualified for the United States in the 2008 Olympics but failed to compete due to missing weight.

Despite the fact Russell has a reputation for fighting inferior opponents, he has a vastly better resume than Hyland. He has defeated the likes of Jhonny Gonzalez, Christopher Martin, Vyacheslav Gusev, and Christopher Perez. His lone loss was the current world champion and amateur standout Vasyl Lomachenko. Russell has two stoppage wins in his past five fights.

Hyland’s only notable victories came against Emmanuel Lucero and Frankie Arhculetta. His lone loss was to Javier Fortuna in 2012.

Hyland is the type of opponent that Russell should dispatch of easily. Russell does have problems when he’s facing someone that can match him in hand speed as was evident in his bout with Lomachenko, but Hyland will be outmatched in hand speed.

This is a bout that Russell should look incredible in, and it’s hard to envision a scenario where Hyland pulls off the upset.

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