Ajagba, Plant, Rise To The Occasion On Fox Undercard
By: Sean Crose
Rising heavyweight Efe Ajagba, 11-0, won yet another fight on Saturday – though it may have been a bit more challenging than he had expected to be. The Nigerian power puncher had stepped into the ring at the MGM Grand in Vegas with all but one of his wins coming by way of knockout. Yet Ajabga’s opponent, the 11-1 Turkish hitter Ali Eren Demirezen came in with all but one of his victories having come by knockout, as well. It was a fight where someone’s oh had to go, and one couldn’t be faulted for thinking the bout might end soon.
The match, however, went the full ten. It was the first time Ajagba has gone the distance, and – although he got the win – the fighter was given a true run. Demirezen was effectively a fighter on the offensive Saturday, something Ajagba had yet to face at such a level. Showing himself to be a quick study, Ajagba was able to fend off his aggressive foe, even though Demirezen actually had him going back – a strange thing to happen to a knockout machine. At the very least, Ajagba can now boast of having gone serious rounds, something that’s important for a fighter on the rise.
Next up, the IBF super middleweight champ Caleb Plant, 19-0, made quick work of the 21-1 Mike Lee. Although much had been made of Lee being a Notre Dame grad and for promoting Subway, the challenger was no match for the highly skilled Plant, who dropped his man numerous times before stopping Lee in the third round. Lee was first dropped in the first round. He survived that situation, making it through the opening round, and through the entire second round, as well. Plant sent his man down twice more in the third, however, and referee Robert Byrd wisely stopped the fight.
“I take my hat off to Mike for getting in here,” Plant said afterward, “because it takes a champion to get in the ring, but it’s ‘and still.’” Plant is looking to earn another super middleweight title belt, while Ajagba is expected to keep trying to move up the heavyweight ranks. Both fights were aired live on Fox as part of the undercard of the highly anticipated Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman WBA welterweight title bout, which would be aired on Fox Pay Per View, along with several other undercard bouts.
Mike Lee Is Leaving No Stone Unturned
By: Hans Themistode
There are those who prepare themselves for their big moments, and there are those who take things to the next level.
For boxers, preparing for a contest is a rigorous regiment. Often times it includes hitting the heavy bag, working on footwork and of course sparring. Although this is considered the most important in terms of preparation, it isn’t the only thing.
Eating habits, controlling your weight, recovery and dieting are all just as important. For undefeated Super Middleweight contender Mike Lee, he sees the value of not just working on his fundamentals but also the nutritional side of things as well. On July 20th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Lee will be put to the ultimate test when he takes on fellow undefeated fighter, and current IBF belt holder Caleb Plant.
There is a reason why Plant (18-0, 10 KOs) is nicknamed “Sweet Hands”. His ability to outbox his opponents is second to none in the division. He also possesses very underrated power as he had it on full display in his last contest against former champion Jose Uzcategui. Plant was viewed as having no chance going into that contest. Not only did Plant unseat the former champion, but he did so in dominant fashion, dropping his man twice and winning a wide decision on the judges scorecards.
Lee is well aware of the abilities of Plant and has left no stone unturned in his preparation.
The former college all-conference linebacker was never supposed to be in this position. After attending Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois, Lee transferred to the university of Notre Dame in 2006 and graduated with a degree in finance. The world was officially his oyster as he was offered a job on Wall Street shortly after his graduation.
Not only did Lee turn it down, but he also turned to boxing. Although he was mostly known as a football player, Lee was no stranger to boxing as he won the 2009 Chicago Golden Gloves. His pro career has started off stellar. A record consisting of 21 wins with no losses would suggest that Lee has found his home in the ring.
For as successful as Lee has been in his short career, he decided to take things up a notch with his biggest showdown coming just days away.
Cal State Fullerton University performance expert Andy Galpin has worked with Lee in order to enhance his performance and fitness for his upcoming title fight. For Lee, coming from the Light Heavyweight division down to the Super Middleweight class can prove to be a difficult transition, but one that he is having no problem adjusting too.
“Andy has helped me physically and mentally with this fight. I have never fought at 168 so going down one weight class can be difficult if you are not properly prepared,” says Lee. “When I selected Andy, I was looking for his expertise on the human body and physical performance.”
According to Lee, his new found partnership with Lee is working wonders for him and his development as a fighter.
“Andy has helped me cut the weight while feeling strong and fast. His approach from nutrition, supplements, training regiments, and recovery modalities has been incredible,” adds Lee. “He is one of the best in the world for a reason and it shows in his work and results of his athletes.”
It might seem like an unconventional training method, but Galpin’s results speak for themselves as he has worked with some of the best athletes in the world such as 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist in women’s freestyle wrestling, Helen Maroulis. He has also most notably helped trained arguably the most popular Mixed Martial Arts fighter in the world, in Conor McGregor.
The science behind Lee’s training methods are impressive. Bringing in world renowned sports performance expert Andy Galpin should pay dividends. With that being said however, Galpin won’t be able to help Lee once he enters that squared circle. Lee will be facing one of, if not the very best fighter in the entire Super Middleweight division. With or without Galpins help, it will be a difficult task come fight night.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman and Caleb Plant vs. Mike Lee Los Angeles Press Conference Quotes
Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao and unbeaten welterweight world champion Keith Thurman, plus unbeaten super middleweight champion Caleb Plant and unbeaten Mike Lee,squared-off for the second day in a row Wednesday, this time at a Los Angeles press conference as they previewed their respective showdowns taking place Saturday July 20 presented by Premier Boxing Champions and FOX Sports from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao and Thurman will battle in a welterweight world title attraction that headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Plant will make the first defense of his title against the unbeaten Lee in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes preceding the Pay-Per-View and beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by MP Promotions, Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased online through AXS.com, charge by phone at 866-740-7711 or in person at any MGM Resorts International box office. Plant vs. Lee is presented by TGB Promotions and Sweethands Promotions.
Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday from The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles:
“It’s easy for my opponents to talk before the fight, and I’m used to everything they say. But when we get to the ring, it changes, and it will change on July 20.
“I chose Keith Thurman because he’s a great fighter, he’s undefeated and because we can give a good fight to the fans. I want to make the fans happy on that night and show that I can still go toe-to-toe with any opponent.
“He said he’s young, but we’ll see who looks young in the ring on July 20. I’m going to let my fists say everything for me.
“We will work hard in training camp like always for this fight. We’re not going to take Keith Thurman lightly or underestimate him. He’s a world champion. I’m thankful for what he’s been saying, because it’s giving me motivation to prove that at 40-years-old, I feel 29.
“Keith Thurman is aggressive and throws a lot of punches. I’m hoping on July 20 he will follow through with what he says and fight toe-to-toe with me.
“The fans need to watch this fight because it’s a once in a lifetime fight. It’s going to be a Fight of the Year and full of action from start to finish. I’m ready to get it on July 20.
“Most of my opponents are bigger than me and I beat them all. When we get into the ring, it doesn’t matter. This has happened before and it will happen again against Thurman.
“My experience will be very important for this fight. It’s going to be useful against an undefeated fighter. I’m going to give him the experience of losing for the first time.
“I’m still having fun and enjoying the sport. I’m excited to go straight to the gym after this and start focusing on training for the fight.”
“It’s a blessing to be on this stage and have a fight of this magnitude. I’m an all-American fighter, an all-American champion and come July 20, I’m going to stay champion.
“Manny is a world class fighter. He’s a gentleman inside and outside of the ring. I look forward to trading punches with a living legend. But one thing’s for sure, he’s not walking away with my title.
“All Manny does is hop around in the ring. I’m not going to lose to a bunny rabbit. He’s not Tupac, but he does a little hip hop and he’s not going to stop until he gets dropped.
“Manny is a world class fighter, not a world class boxer. I’m going to trip him up in the ring and he won’t know what direction to turn to. I know who I am as a fighter, and it will be proven come July 20.
“I’m destroying the legend of Manny Pacquiao. His legacy ends on July 20 and mine begins. He’s an inspiration to many people throughout the world and everyone respects him, but I’m respectfully going to finish him.
“This is a big fight as far as the stage goes, but it’s a big fight against a little guy. He’s a veteran and I’ve dismantled veterans in the past. I believe I would have destroyed Manny Pacquiao five years ago. I’ve always been ready for this fight. He’s never fought someone like me with this kind of lateral movement, speed and power. I’m coming for him.
“I was in the gym four weeks ago starting some preparations. I wanted to get the ball rolling and use the momentum from my last training camp for this opportunity. Who better to showcase my skills and talent against than Manny Pacquiao? He chose me because it will be a guaranteed action fight.
“I think this is one of the best Manny Pacquiao fights in a long time. I’m going to bring it. Pacquiao did not get reminded in his last fight what it feels like to be up against a real champion. I’m the youngest, fastest, hungriest fighter that he’s ever been in the ring with. July 20, it’s the ‘Keith Thurman show’.”
“I never consider myself the A-side because my history says that I shouldn’t even be here. As beautiful as the belt is, it’s about more to me than that. It’s about legacy for me. I’ve been carrying myself as a world champion since the day I started this journey, so this is nothing new to me.
“I’m the whole package. I have speed, I have footwork, I have power, I have the heart and the will to win. Until you find someone else who’s all that, I’m going to keep having my hand raised.
“Where I’m from, there’s confrontation every day. This is nothing new to me. There are times I was told that I wouldn’t make it. Nobody paved the way for me like I’m from New York or Los Angeles. I paved my own way.
“Mike Lee is in uncharted territory. I’m curious on how he plans on beating me. Does he plan on roughing me up and trying to knock me out like my last opponent? Can he do that better than Jose Uzcategui? Is he going to try to outbox me with his hand and foot speed? Because there’s no person from 160 to 175 who could do that.
“I’ve been committed to the same thing for the last 18 years straight. Rain, sleet or snow, I stayed committed. I’m bred for this. I was created for this. It’s the only thing I’ve done my whole life. On July 20, I’ll be keeping the thing that I’ve worked my whole entire life for.
“At every decision that has to be made, you can go left or you can go right. From the genesis of my being, every time it was the moment to make a tough decision, I went the same way. Because I do not bend or fold for anything. No matter what’s tossed my way, this journey must go on for me. He said he has nothing to lose, but I have everything to lose.
“All the motivational videos that he watches and books that he reads, I’m the very essence and meaning of that. I’m the pinnacle of all those things he’s studied. You can’t learn mental fortitude in a book. Those things are earned, they’re not learned.”
“This is a dream come true for me. I’ve been through so much and there were days where I thought my dream was over. I’ve chased this since I was eight-years-old and I’m thankful for this chance to go after a dream that others thought I couldn’t reach.
“The beauty of this sport is that it’s only me and Caleb in there. Everyone else can only talk. I’ve been in the ring through adversity and stuck it out, because that’s the kind of person I am. I know that if I come on July 20 as the best Mike Lee possible, that I can win.
“I’ve been in the gym working every day. Doctors told me at one point that I wouldn’t fight again, but I’m still standing right here. I pushed through my pain to get here.
“I’m excited to be here in Los Angles, where we hold training camp. I’m bringing the belt back to Chicago, but Los Angeles is a second home to me.
“Today is the culmination of years of sacrifice, hard work and discipline. I’m undefeated for a reason but I feel people underestimate me and I like that. I’ve been underestimated my whole career. I’ve thrived off people say I couldn’t do it.
“I respect Caleb Plant. He’s the champion for a reason and I respect any fighter who can step into that ring. You have to be a different kind of animal to do that in front of all those people, and I am that animal.
“I’m coming with power, strength, speed and I’m going to give it everything I have. I’m going to become the new IBF Super Middleweight World Champion.”
RICHARD STURM, President of Las Vegas Live Entertainment & Sports
“I’d like to welcome back Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman, two of the world’s best fighters, back to Las Vegas and MGM Grand. Manny returns to the ring at MGM Grand following his convincing win in January while Keith will fight in Las Vegas for the first time in four years, looking to remain undefeated.
“We’re truly excited to be hosting this sensational event at MGM Grand and we look forward to seeing everybody in July.”
BILL WANGER, Executive Vice President of Programming, Research & Content Strategy for FOX Sports
“Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman is a living legend, versus a legend in the making. We’re excited to deliver an unprecedented night of boxing on July 20 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Manny is one of boxing’s biggest stars. Keith Thurman is an undefeated world champion and a huge ratings draw. We’re excited to bring viewers inside the ropes and up close to the action on fight night, and produce extensive behind the scenes preview programming that will air across the FOX networks.
“FOX Sports is thrilled to have a battle on July 20 with such a compelling storyline to kick off a great night of championship boxing with the IBF champion Caleb Plant against the undefeated Mike Lee.
“In January, Caleb Plant headlined the most-watched boxing event ever on FS1. Now he’s fighting on the FOX network for the first time as the main event. At FOX Sports, big events that capture America’s attention are in our DNA. This fight certainly fits that bill.
“Our goal with the PBC deal is to build these fighters into household names, and we’re well on our way. We expect a great show on July 20 in Las Vegas.”
Plant Scores Two Knockdowns But Then Plays Prevent Defense
By Adam Pollack
On Sunday January 13, 2019 in Los Angeles, Caleb Plant, now 18-0, 10 KOs, won the IBF super-middleweight championship with a unanimous 12-round decision over Jose Uzcategui. Judges had it 116-110 twice, and 115-111. Many are high on the performance, but yours truly saw two different fights – the first half, in which Plant boxed effectively, using lightning-fast hands, subtle footwork, quick leads and beautiful counters, and the second half, in which he went into survival mode to freeze the ball, so to speak, holding a lot and not throwing very often. Fortunately for Plant, he scored flash knockdowns with counter left hooks in both the 2nd and 4th rounds, and outboxed Uzcategui in the 1st and 5th rounds as well.
However, starting in the 6th round and continuing for the rest of the fight, Plant was much less active or effective, throwing and landing less often, and he held, smothered, covered, and leaned in a lot more. He seemed tired and content to sit on his lead. His speed, footwork, and clinching ability helped him (as well as the referee’s refusal to break them very often or issue cautions for holding). Uzcategui was a bit more active and aggressive, and landed more often and more cleanly, on my card eeking every round of the second half of the fight (I gave him the 3rd, and rounds 6-12 – for 114-112 Uzcategui), but quite frankly, even when Uzcategui was winning the rounds in the second half of the fight, he seemed to lack sufficient passion, and several of the rounds that I thought he won were at least close or semi-even, and when they are close, you give the judges a chance to throw those rounds Plant’s way.
Photo Credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
Despite that fact that Uzcategui was more effective, active, and aggressive overall in the second half of the fight, his overall lack of pace and sufficient aggressive ferocity, often remaining too far away for too long, and not moving in enough, or going to the body enough, and failing to maintain a faster pace, allowed and helped Plant survive. Uzcategui failed to capitalize sufficiently on what appeared to be an opportunity to dominate a tired foe. Quite frankly, Uzcategui’s semi-lackluster though more aggressive and diligent effort made Plant’s performance look better than it really was. And Plant looked quite vulnerable to a more willing foe. It is quite possible that Plant’s quick counters that decked Uzcategui early on had garnered him so much respect that Uzcategui simply was unwilling to take the chances he really needed in order to dominate late. Only Uzcategui really knows. But to call Plant’s performance brilliant would be to overstate the truth. It was what it was. Reasonable minds might even question whether he won. But that isn’t and won’t be the popular take on this one.
In other action, in what on paper appeared to be a step-up fight for Brandon Figueroa, his fight against Moises Flores turned out to be an easy dominant performance. Figueroa was too strong and relentless, peppering the body and head consistently in relaxed fashion, both inside and out, leading to a 3rd round knockout. Flores was too passive, and his defense not good enough. He seemed to be overwhelmed. A left hook in the 3rd decked Flores for the first time, and a right hook dropped him again, leading to the stoppage.
Guillermo Rigondeaux did what he was supposed to do in what was an utter mismatch in its inception against Giovanni Delgado; knocked him out in the 1st round. Delgado, who was coming off several stoppage losses, was hurt by a body shot, and then Rigo finished him off with a straight left. Delgado was just a body to perform upon for a brief period of time. Enough said.
Joey Spencer was equally overmatched against Brandon Harder, who did not belong in the ring with him; the talent disparity being all too evident from the start. Harder went down at the end of the 1st, and a couple times in the 2nd, and the referee had to stop it, lest it become too farcical.
Ahmed Elbiali was sharp, aggressive, and strong in dominating Allan Green, who simply is too old and shot at this point in his career to be anything more than a human punching bag against a fighter of this level. Green was game and tried his best, taking the heavy blows, covering, firing some hard jabs and hooks, but mostly he was pounded upon with vicious rights, hooks and uppercuts, going down in each of the 3 rounds it lasted before the referee finally mercifully stopped the slaughter. It is sad, in a way, because at one point in his career he would have given Elbiali hell, but those days are long gone. Green should consider retirement.
Ryan “Cowboy” Karl avenged his prior defeat to Kevin Watts, scoring a 5th round TKO this time, in an entertaining contest. They went at it, bombs away in the 1st, with Watts having the edge, landing more, particularly to the body. However, from the 2nd round on, Karl was more active and effective, and started gradually taking over. Watts was very game, firing and occasionally landing some hard blows, but overall he was too defensive and getting outworked by Karl’s incessant non-stop power punches. By the 5th round, Karl was dishing out the punishment, and the referee stopped it with Watts covering up on the ropes, though quite frankly, Watts was not particularly hurt or even wobbly, and probably still had something to offer.
Lindolfo Delgado was too strong and talented for Sergio Lopez, overwhelming and stopping Lopez with a body shot near the end of the 3rd round.
Fernando Garcia got a real test against Isao Carranza, who was tough as nails and much better than his record would indicate. Garcia clearly had the superior talent and skill, landing the crisper, sharper blows. But Carranza had one heck of a good chin, and was very game and tough, firing back quite often, even landing some nice punches, often counters. Garcia occasionally had a look of, “Wow, I can’t believe this guy is hitting me back! How did he take that?” The referee stopped it in the 6th round, when Carranza was wilting a bit and getting hit a lot, but quite frankly, he wasn’t wobbly; just taking too many. He probably would have lasted the 6-round distance had it been allowed to continue.
Ruben Rodriguez pounded away on Daniel Perales, leading to the 3rd round TKO.
A brutal headbutt suffered by Angel Monrreal in the 1st round of his contest against Victor Slvansky forced a technical draw. And when I say brutal, I mean B-R-U-T-A-L. It was so loud that the explosive cracking sound could be heard throughout the arena.
Why in the world do they call these accidental foul stoppages technical draws? It should be called a no decision. Calling it a draw implies it was some sort of even fight, which it rarely is.
Michael Plania won an 8-round unanimous decision (79-73, 77-75, 78-74) over Juan Lopez. Plania was faster and flashier with his combinations, while the much slower Lopez was a bit stronger, sturdier, and consistent, enough to make it close. Plania scored what appeared to be a knockout in the 1st round with a body blow, but the referee for some reason decided it was low.
PBC on FS1 Results: Caleb Plant Dethrones Jose Uzcateguihas
By: Hans Themistode
The Super Middleweight division has a new champion to contend with.
Caleb Plant (18-0, 10 KOs) outclassed Jose Uzcategui (28-3, 23 KOs) tonight as he won a unanimous decision and picked up Uzcateguis IBF title in the process. The scorecards read 115-111 and two scores of 116-110 all in favor of the new champion.
Plant did an excellent job of boxing and moving all night. Uzcategui just couldn’t seem to find a rhythm as Plant made him miss countless shots. It was no surprise that Uzcategui would be at a major disadvantage in the boxing department. However it was believed that he had the edge in terms of power. That seemed to be in favor of Plant as well as he knocked Uzcategui down early in the second round. He then placed the former champion on the canvas for the second time in the fourth round. The rest of the fight played out mostly under Plants terms. Hitting Uzcategui whenever he wanted while causing his opponent to hit nothing but air.
The first half of the fight was all Plant but the second half however saw things become a lot more competitive. Uzcategui managed to his opponent with huge bombs as Plant seemed to be winded going down the stretch. Although Uzcategui came on strong during the championship rounds he gave away too many rounds in the first half of the fight to complete his comeback.
Just a few short months ago Uzcategui was viewed as possibly the best at the Super Middleweight division. His ability to come forward and land big power shots were thought to have a damning effect on anyone he would be matched up with. Tonight Plant showed that the former champion is too one dimensional and took full advantage.
A win over Uzcategui is impressive but it becomes even more eye opening when you consider just how dominant Plant was tonight. The Super Middleweight division has a ton of great fighters. However Plant might just be better than the rest.
PBC on FS1 Preview: Uzcategui vs. Plant
By: Hans Themistode
The first PBC on Fox card of the 2019 year kicks off this Sunday January 13th from Los Angelos California at the Microsoft Theatre when defending IBF Super Middleweight champion Jose Uzcategui (28-2, 23 KOs) takes on mandatory challenger Caleb Plant (17-0, 10 KOs) in a clash of completely opposites styles.
For Uzcategui he will be looking to defend his title for the first time and continue his recent run of domination. Since losing to Mat Korobov in 2014, Uzcategui has gone on to mow down his opposition. A flukey loss to Andre Dirrell by disqualification which he later amended in an immediate rematch, winning that bout by stoppage has the champion in the best form of his career. There has been very few that have been able to deal with the champions power and constant pressure.
Uzcategui’s mandatory challenger Caleb Plant however will present the champion with a different style. One that could ultimately prove to be tricky for him to solve. Plant is a pure boxer and one who would prefer to not get involved in slugfests. He has not scored a stoppage victory since a 2016 fourth round knockout win over Carlos Galvan. Plant’s game plan is simple, hit and don’t get hit in return.
The constant pressure that Uzcategui employs throughout a fight can make Plant’s game plan much more difficult to execute. The lack of power the challenger possesses will allow the champion to walk right through his shots and land crushing blows of his own. This may seem like a recipe for disaster for Plant but he has in fact shown to have a good chin and is very hard to hit cleanly. Both men will also be looking to close the mouths of their respective doubters.
After winning the IBF interim title last year from Andre Dirrell, Uzcategui was in prime position to challenge than title holder James DeGale. The aforementioned DeGale instead choose to drop the title in pursuit of more lucrative fights which led to Uzcategui receiving full champion status. Many believe that although Uzcategui is a great fighter he did not necessarily earn the gold that presently resides around his waist. A win over plant will go a long way in proving that he is indeed a worthy champion.
Plant on the other hand will be facing a completely different kind of pressure. Sure he has looked tremendous throughout his career but he has never faced someone the calibre of Uzcategui. Plant will be looking to prove that he does in fact belong at the world level.
Ultimately the path to victory for both men are entirely different. Plant will look to establish his jab and ring movement to box his way to victory while Uzcategui will look to apply his trademark pressure and accumulate enough damage to put an end to this contest before it reaches the final bell. How it plays is the burning question.
This Sunday night we will receive our answers.
IBF Orders Jose Uzcategui-Caleb Plant Super Middleweight Title Fight
By Jake Donovan
Jose Uzcategui has served nearly all of 2018 as a super middleweight titlist despite having yet to make a single defense.
The International Boxing Federation (IBF) is ready to change that status.
The New Jersey-based sanctioning body has ordered Uzcategui to make his first mandatory defense, naming unbeaten Caleb Plant as the leading contender to the throne. A 30-day free negotiation period has been ordered between the two camps, with a December 5 purse bid hearing set aside in the event they cannot come to terms.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
Representatives for Uzcategui and Plant were notified by the IBF earlier in the month.
“(Uzcategui’s) mandatory defense is due on or before January 5, 2019,” the IBF reminded Uzcategui’s promoter, Fernando Beltran in an official letter—of which a copy was obtained by BoxingInsider.com—to representatives for both sides. “The leading available contender is Caleb Plant…represented by TGB Promotions.
“Negotiations should commence immediately and be concluded by December 5, 2018. In the event that you are unable to come to an amiable agreement with Plant, the IBF will call for a purse bid.”
Uzcategui (28-2, 23KOs) claimed the interim title in an 8th round stoppage of Andre Dirrell in their rematch this past March. The Mexico-based Venezuelan—who turns 28 later this year—was elevated to full titlist after James DeGale vacated the belt this past summer in lieu of a mandatory title defense.
The turn of events was sweet redemption for Uzcataegui, who was cheated out of the title in his first fight with Dirrell last May. He was winning the bout and on his way to a stoppage win when he was suddenly disqualified for an official ruling of hitting Dirrell after the bell to end the 8th round. The sequence prompted a brief riot, infamously sparked by Dirrell’s uncle and head trainer Leon Lawson who attempted to sucker punch Uzcategui in his corner.
Lawson fled from the scene and was a wanted fugitive before eventually surrendering to authorities on an outstanding warrant.
Despite realizing his dream of winning a major title, it’s been hurry up and wait for Uzcategui. A mandatory title defense was desired, but Plant (17-0, 10KOs) has been out for most of the year while recovering from a hand injury. The Tennessee product hasn’t fought since a 12-round win over Rogelio Medina this past February.
Meanwhile, Uzcategui’s only piece of ring action since becoming full titlist came in the form of a stay-busy non-title fight this past September. It was a well-served purpose, easily outboxing Argentina’s Ezequil Maderna over 10 rounds in their ESPN+ streamed main event.
Uzcategui is co-promoted by Top Rank, which provides him with a major network outlet in ESPN. However, he is represented by his main promoter, Zanfer Promotions in this current round of negotiations.
Plant is represented by TGB Promotions but technically a free agent. His only contracted affiliation is through manager Luis DeCubas and adviser Al Haymon, fighting under the latter’s Premier Boxing Champions’ umbrella, which has lucrative long-term deals with Showtime and Fox.
Given that, the eventual clash will undoubtedly benefit from major televised coverage.
Caleb Plant Interview “I will be 15-0 after the Awimbono Fight!”
Caleb Plant Interview “I will be 15-0 after the Awimbono Fight!”
By: Benny Henderson
Coming up February 25th featured on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes 7 PM PST, the undefeated contender Caleb Plant 14-0 (10 KO’s) puts his unblemished record on the line, when he takes on his toughest test to date, Ghana’s Thomas Awimbono 25-6-1 (21 KO’s) in a scheduled ten round super middleweight clash. In this exclusive interview we speak with the Nashville native on his upcoming bout, his career and more.
Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant A Champion in the Making!
Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant A Champion in the Making!
By: Ken Hissner
In a sport that has so many prospects than never pan out Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant, 14-0 (10), from Ashland City, Nashville, TN, and now out of Las Vegas, NV, is the real deal and not only can he fight but he’s a thinking boxer!
Plant was one of many signed by Al Haymon to manage his career. Plant’s is coached by Justin Gamber with Caleb’s father Richie as his assistant coach. He started boxing at the age of 12 which is half of his life being 24 that he has been in the sport of “hard knocks”.
By the age of 18 Plant placed fourth in the 2010 USA Boxing National Championship. The next year in 2011 Plant defeated Sean Daniels (NJ), Craig Duncan (FL) now 6-1-1, Cory Richards (TX) and Jerry Odom (DC) now 14-2-1. This won him the 2011 National Golden Gloves at 178 pounds. Dropping down to 165 pounds the following year plant defeated Oliver Rivera (Omaha) but lost to southpaw Chris Galeano (NY), now 10-1-1 as a pro.
Plant has fought in Pennsylvania 5 times which is the most of the states he has participated in. Marshall Kaufman’s Kings Promotions out of Reading, Pennsylvania. His partner is David Feldman. Plant has fought out of the country once and that was in Canada. Of his 14 opponents 9 had winning records and 3 even records.
This writer covered all of his 5 fights in PA. He is a “thinking man’s” boxer. He isn’t one to come out looking for a knockout but waits until an opponent is hurt and ready to be taken. He has a very good defense with those “Sweet Hands” of his.
Plant debuted in May of 2014 and won 5 fights that year. In his ninth fight he stopped Hungarian Zoltan Sera, 20-5, in Montreal who had defeated 3 unbeaten opponents. In October of 2015 he defeated Philly’s Tyrone Brunson, 22-5-1, who had 21 knockouts. That made Plant 6-0 in 2015 after going 5-0 in eight months in 2014. In his next fight in January of this year he stopped Spain’s Adasat Rodriguez, 11-4-2, in L.A. In June he returned to the Sands in Bethlehem, PA, for his last 2 fights knocking out Colombian Carlos “Galvan, 12-4-1, who had lost a pair of split decisions to Javone Starks, then 12-0 and Immanuwel Aleem, 14-0. In his last fight in the main event he defeated Colombian Juan “La Amenaza” De Angel, 18-4-1, with 17 knockouts over 10 rounds on SPIKE. All 3 judges scored it 100-89 which included a knockdown. De Angel had won 9 of his last 10 fights.
This writer expects good things from Plant who I have briefly talked to after a couple of his fights. Since the Boxing Director in PA doesn’t allow you to go into the dressing room prior to or after a fight you hope to get some comments before they reach the dressing room.
Plant has worlds of talent and Al Haymon keeps him busy with promoters like Kings Promotion’s Marshall Kauffman and David Feldman.
KEN HISSNER: You seem to have a good relationship with your father. Did he train you in the amateurs?
CALEB PLANT: Yes my dad trained me my entire amateur career.
KEN HISSNER: What would it be like to be the first world champion from Tennessee?
CALEB PLANT: It would be a huge blessing to see me and my team’s hard work pay off.
KEN HISSNER: When did you sign with Al Haymon?
CALEB PLANT: I signed with Al Haymon the beginning of May in 2014.
KEN HISSNER: I know you haven’t boxed in Tennessee but they only had one show in 2015 and 3 in 2014 all in Nashville. Would you like to box at home?
CALEB PLANT: Yeah, it would be an honor to fight in Tennessee when the time is right.
KEN HISSNER: You won a National Golden Gloves title at 178 in 2011 before dropping down to 168 the following year. You have maintained that weight as a professional. Do you have any problem making weight?
CALEB PLANT: No it’s not too hard as long as I train and eat right.
KEN HISSNER: What made you want to move to Las Vegas?
CALEB PLANT: To better my personal life and expand my professional career.
KEN HISSNER: You had 6 fights last year but only 3 so far this year. Do you have any idea when your next fight is or how many you would like before the end of the year?
CALEB PLANT: I’m hoping to have one more fight this year in December making four fights total in 2016 that would be great.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank for taking the time to answer questions. I look forward to seeing you fight in Pennsylvania in the future.
CALEB PLANT: Thank you and that would be nice.
PBC on Fox Sports Results: Plant Cruises to Victory, Grayton and Gongora Win by TKO
PBC on Fox Sports Results: Plant Cruises to Victory, Grayton and Gongora Win by TKO
By: William Holmes
The Sands Bethlehem Events Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was the host site for tonight’s broadcast of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox Sports 1.
Three bouts were televised tonight, and the opening bout was between Carlos Gongora (5-0) and Ronald Mixon (7-0) in the light heavyweight division.
Mixon had a three inch in reach and height on Gongora, but both boxers were the same age. Gongora was a former two time Olympian for Ecuador.
Both boxers tried to feel each other out in the opening minute of the round, but Gongora was able to land a hard straight left hand by the ropes that momentarily stunned Mixon. Gongora followed that up with another straight left hand seconds later and Mixon dropped to the mat.
Mixon struggled to get back to his feet, but he was still clearly shot and struggled to even get to his knees. The referee waived off the fight 1:16 of the first round, giving Gongora a TKO victory.
The next bout was between Kareem Martin (8-0-1) and David Grayton (14-1) in the welterweight division.
Martin and Grayton were former sparring partners and they wasted no time in going after each other. Martin was the better defensive boxer and landed cleaner and harder counters. Grayton, a southpaw, had difficulty avoiding the counter rights of Martin.
Martin’s counter punching was on point in the second round and he was able to open up a cut over the right eye of Grayton. Grayton’s pressure was much more effective in the third round and he was able to walk through the punches of Martin.
There were some very good exchanges in the opening minute of fourth round, but Martin was able to land the harder shots. Martin showed more movement in the fifth round and was able to counter while avoiding risky exchanges.
Grayton came out firing at the start of the sixth round and had Martin backing up and holding on to try to slow the assault down. Martin was able to land a few hard shots, but Grayton took them well and kept up the intense pressure. Martin looked tired at the end of the round.
Grayton was told by his corner to walk Martin down before the start of the seventh round, and he responded to his corner with a high volume of punches to the body and head of Martin. Martin just could not keep up with Grayton.
Grayton jumped on Martin at the start of the eighth and scored a knockdown with a good left hand. Martin got back to his feet but was on wobbly legs and covered up while Grayton unleashed another combination on him.
Martin wasn’t able to answer and the referee jumped in and stopped the bout.
David Grayton defeats Kareem Martin by TKO at 0:41 of the eighth round.
A swing bout between Eric Newell (8-3-3) and Wes Triplett (3-1) in the heavyweight division was also shown. Wes Triplett won it by TKO at 0:27 of the third round.
Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (13-0) squared off against Juan De Angel (18-4-1) in the main event of the night in the middleweight division.
Plant, a Tennessee native, established control of the center of the ring in the opening round and was able to pop shot De Angel with jabs and lead hooks. De Angel was not able to mount much of an offensive attack.
De Angel was a little more aggressive at the start of the second round, but a good left to the body by Plant quickly slowed down De Angel. Plant had De Angel backing up in the third round and his right hand was finding it’s target with regularity.
Plant’s pressure paid off in the fourth round when he scored a knockdown with a left hook to the jaw of De Angel. De Angel was able to get back up before the count of ten and was able to survive the round.
Plant looked extremely comfortable in the fifth round and was battering De Angel from corner to corner while deftly avoiding any counter shots. Plant continued to outbox De Angel in the sixth round and was never seriously threatened. He mixed up his combinations well to the body and head in the seventh round.
De Angel was in pure survival mode in the eighth round and rarely went on the offensive attack. The only question in the final two rounds of the fight was whether or not Plant could stop De Angel, but that stoppage never came.
Caleb Plant won comfortably on the judges scorecards with scores of 100-89 on all three scorecards.
Boxing in Sands Casino in Bethlehem and Sugar House Casino in Philly This Week!
Boxing in Sands Casino in Bethlehem and Sugar House Casino in Philly This Week!
By: Ken Hissner
Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, continues to be busy thanks to Kings Promotions while Hard Hitting Promotions is the first running in the Sugar House Casino in South Philly.
The Sands event will be over Fox Sports 1 on Tuesday with a line-up of young talent with a total record of 60-6 versus some good record opposition. Headlining is Super Middleweight Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant, 13-0 (10), from Nashville, TN, against Dominican Juan “La Amenaza” DeAngel, 18-4-1 (17), over 10 rounds. Caleb is a top prospect who has fought in PA on three occasions including twice at the Sands.
There will be four 8 round bouts with Cruiserweight Earl Newman, 9-0 (7), of Brooklyn, NY, and Leo Hall, 8-1 (7), of Detroit, MI, Middleweight Dominican Junior Castillo, 10-1 (9), meets Khurshid Abdullaev, 7-1-1 (3), of Kyrgyzstan now out of Oxnard, CA. Light heavyweight Ecuador’s Carlos Gongora, 5-0 (4), out of Brooklyn, NY, takes on Ronald Mixon, 7-0 (6), out of L.A. Kyron “Shut It Down” Davis, 10-1 (4), of Wilmington, DE, with a TBA opponent. Four other bouts will open the nine bout show.
At the Sugar House Casino they will feature 19 year-old sensation Super Lightweight Milton “El Santo” Santiago, 14-0 (3), of Philly, against Dominican Ken Alvarez, 7-4-2 (3), out of PR, over 8 rounds. This is a 10 bout card with three 6 round bouts featuring Ricky Lopez, 16-4 (6), of Colorado Springs, David “One-Two” Murray 4-1 (3), of Wilmington, DE, and National GG champion Christian Carto, 2-0 (2), of Philly, John Joe Nevin, 7-0 (4), Two-time Olympian from IRE, a Silver Medalist in 2012 Olympics, Lebron “Popeye” Lebron, 5-0 (2), of San Juan, PR, Ring Announcing-boxer Alex Barbosa, 5-2-1 (1) , and debuting Angel Pizarro, both out of Philly. Making their debut will be Philly’s Laurie Shiavo against Mary O’Leary of Springfield, MASS. Philly Heavyweight Pedro Martinez, 7-9 (3), of Philly will also appear. There will be a press conference Wednesday 5:30pm at the Labor Union Hall Local 57, on 500-506 N. Sixth Street, in South Philly.
PBC on Spike Results: Barthelemy Defeats Bey by Split Decision, Rodriguez Decisions Guevara
PBC on Spike Results: Barthelemy Defeats Bey by Split Decision, Rodriguez Decisions Guevara
By: William Holmes
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida was the host site for tonight’s Premier Boxing Champions Card on Spike TV.
Mayweather Promotions in association with King’s Promotions and Panther Promotions put on tonight’s card.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Mayweather Promotions/Premier Boxing Champions
The opening bout of the night was between Puerto Rican boxer Emmanuel Rodriguez (14-0) and Mexican fight Alberto “Metro” Guevara (24-2) in the bantamweight division.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance Guevara attacked the body and had moderate success with his double left hook combination. Rodriguez was accurate with his straight right hand early on and was able to stagger Guevara with a left hook near the end of the round.
Guevara had a decent second round and out threw Rodriguez, but Rodriguez had the stronger shots and even took the body attacks of Guevara well.
Rodriguez picked up his pace in the third round and his left hook was stinging Guevara, and his counter punching continued to improve in the fourth and fifth rounds. The area near Guevara’s left eye was cut in the fifth round from a head butt and the blood appeared to bother him throughout the fight.
Rodriguez’s jab and pressure was just too much for Guevara to handle. Guevara was able to land some combinations, but he didn’t have the power to hurt Rodriguez, while Rodriguez’s straight right hand was able to effectively slow down and neutralize Guevara.
The final scores were 99-91, 100-90, and 99-91 for Rodriguez.
The second bout of the night was between middleweights Caleb Plant (12-0) and Carlos Galvan (12-4-1) in a short six round fight.
Plant has some moderate hype behind his name, and he looked in control in the opening round and looked like the bigger fighter inside the ring.
Plant however was in the ring with someone who never defeated an opponent with a winning record. Plant briefly had an offensive burst in the second round and did a lot of show boating after dodging punches in the third round, but some in the crowd started to boo his defensive style inside the ring.
Plant surprised everyone with a hard left hook to the body out of nowhere in the fourth round that sent Galvan to the mat for a full ten count.
Caleb Plant wins by knockout at 1:24 of the fourth round.
The main event of the evening was between Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy (24-0) and Mickey Bey (22-1-1) for the IBF Lightweight Title.
Both boxers fought out of a conventional stance and Barthelemy established himself as the aggressor early on and attacked the body of Bey.
Barthelemy continued to control the bout in the second round and his reach was appearing to give Bey problems, until a head butt occurred in the second round that forced Barthelemy to fall to his knee. The referee, incorrectly, ruled it a knockdown.
The knockdown seemed to awaken Rances Barthelemy and he was extremely aggressive in the third and fourth rounds and pounded the body of Bey and kept his opponent moving backwards.
Bey was able to take control of the fifth round by sticking to his jab and popping and moving before Barthelemy could trap him. The sixth round could have gone either way, but Barthelemy was the aggressor.
Barthelemy did a good job at catching the punches Bey in the seventh round and was able to work around the jab of Bey. Barthelemy came on strong at the end of the eighth round and got his Cuban supporters in the crowd on it’s feet.
By the ninth round Bey was falling badly behind on the cards and by the championship rounds he needed a knockout to win.
That knockout didn’t come, and Bey was simply outworked by Barthelemy for the remainder of the fight.
The final scores were 117-110 Barthelemy, 117-110 Bey, and 116-111 Barthelemy.