DAZN Boxing Preview: Munguia vs. Inoue, Rojas vs. Xu
By: Ste Rowen
On Saturday night at Houston’s Toyota Center, boxing’s youngest world champion returns to the ring as WBO junior middleweight belt-holder, Jaime Munguia takes on Takeshi Inoue, 13-0-1 (7KOs), in the third defence of the title he won just eight months ago.
Coming off a brilliant 2018 which was rounded off with a completely dominant third round stoppage of Brandon Cook, the 22-year-old Mexican, 31-0 (26KOs) has recently spoken about his future plans to move up to 160lb with many believing in the ‘very’ long term that Munguia is being setup for an all Mexican showdown with current middleweight king, Saul ‘Canelo Alvarez.
But, throughout this week and at the final pre-fight press conference, Jaime appears switched on and ready for the weekend,
‘‘This is my first time in Texas and the truth is, it feels like home here. We’re in good condition, and I wanna tell Inoue that the titles will not go to Japan. They will stay in Mexico and with the people who follow me.
I’m gonna be champion for a while.’’
Ranked #3 amongst the WBO’s 154lbers, the Japanese fighter has similar ambitions in mind to that of his namesake, WBA ‘Regular’ bantamweight champion, Naoya Inoue. Takeshi drew his professional debut with fellow debutant, Daishi Nagata back in 2014 but has since accumulated 13 straight victories including most recently, his standout victory over Japanese veteran, Yuki Nonaka via unanimous decision.
At the final media event before the weigh-in, the Tokyo native kept his message clear and concise,
‘‘I think Munguia is a great champion and I look forward to a great fight on Saturday night.
I have come here to bring the WBO belt back to Japan. ’’
Munguia is a champion with a mentality closer to famous faces of the past rather than a lot of the current crop of champions more than happy to fight once or twice a year, Jaime is talented with room to grow, but he’s clearly prepared to learn on the job having fought five times last year.
With attributes capable of making it a rough night for the Mexican, Takeshi’s sweeping hooks, if landed, could trouble the champion but it’s the landing that’s the problem. All evidence so far seems to show a lumbering quality to the Japanese fighter that will leave him open to swift, brutal counters from the Mexican. It’s extremely difficult, considering Munguia’s resume of opponents so far, to see Takeshi having enough to knock his opponent out, or even down if given the chance.
Jaime may have fellow and former champions, Jarrett Hurd, Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo in his sights, but, though unlikely, if he takes Saturday night’s opponent lightly, it could be a long night.
Jesus Rojas vs. Can Xu
With the WBA ‘Regular’ featherweight title on the line, Jesus Rojas of Puerto Rico comes up against Chinese ‘Monster’, Can Xu on the undercard.
Rojas, 26-2-2 (19KOs) is hoping to return to winning ways after dropping a 12-round unanimous decision loss to Joseph Diaz back in August last year, but despite defeat, the 32-year-old kept hold of the title due to Diaz weighing in over the 126lb limit.
With big fights in sight, Rojas is aiming for a showcase fight on Saturday,
‘‘I learned a lot from the Diaz fight.’’ The Puerto Rican told Boxing Scene. ‘‘I’m ready to show my head movement and an improved game plan.
Can Xu is a big fighter and it’s going to be a war…After about six rounds, I predict that I will end this fight by knockout.’’
The ‘big fighter’ Can Xu, 15-2 (2KOs) will be fighting in the US for the second time in a row having earnt an 8-round split decision win over Enrique Bernache back in September. His two defeats came in his first five professional fights but has since gone on a run of twelve straight wins despite quite clearly lacking sufficient power to keep the top featherweights wary.
For both the ‘Regular’ champ, Rojas and the WBA’s ranked #2, Can Xu the fight could represent a gateway-win that sets up a bout with one of the proper champions which includes, Leo Santa Cruz (WBA ‘Super), Gary Russell Jr (WBC), Josh Warrington (IBF) & Oscar Valdez (WBO).
Showtime Boxing PPV Preview: Wilder vs. Fury
By: Sean Crose
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will meet for heavyweight glory this weekend when they face off in a scheduled 12 round bout for numerous accolades. Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title is at stake, as is a claim to the lineal heavyweight championship, which Fury earned in stunning fashion by besting long standing lineal champ Wladimir Klitshcko in 2015. Also possibly at stake is a future battle with widely regarded heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua, who holds every other meaningful heavyweight recognition besides those held by Wilder and Fury. Both Wilder and Fury are reportedly earning a combined sum of well over 20 million dollars for their fight. The match will be aired live via Showtime PPV.
Photo Credit: PBC Twitter Account (@premierboxing)
America’s Wilder and England’s Fury are undefeated fighters. Wilder holds a record of 40-0. All but one of his fights has ended via knockout. An incredibly powerful puncher, the Alabama native most recently defeated the lauded and undefeated Luis Ortiz, a crafty and hard hitting contender who gave Wilder a considerable amount of trouble. Wilder was finally able to take his man out, however, proving that he could indeed meet and beat a top level contender. Although awkward, Wilder arguably works to land his big punches, rather than simply relying on them to carry or rescue him on the road to victory.
Fury, on the other hand, is known to rely on a slick skill set. Boasting of a record of 27-0, Fury’s greatest win was the victory over Klitschko. Afterwards, Fury lost his belts and also descended into a black hole of booze, drugs, food and depression. Fortunately, the fighter was able to pull himself out of the mire and went on to win two fights in the past year (against less than top opposition). He has reportedly lost over a hundred pounds since deciding to return to the ring after his over two-year absence, and has looked quite sharp in training for this weekend’s fight.
Although Wilder is favored to walk away with another win on Saturday – he isn’t favored overwhelmingly, as Fury is known to fight in a quirky, frustrating style that stopped future Hall of Famer Klitschko in his tracks. Fury is also a master of mind games, and has been said to have gotten into Wilder’s head in the leadup to this weekend’s bout. The general consensus, however, seems to be that Fury, slippery though he may be (especially for a man of his enormous size), can’t avoid Wilder’s devastating power all night, and that the American’s punches will ultimately tell the tale.
Also on the Pay Per View portion of the card will be a junior middleweight title bout between the 22-0 Jarrett Hurd and the 24-6 Jason Wellborn. At stake are Hurd’s IBF, IBO, and WBA titles. This fight is expected to end in a Hurd victory, as Wellborn isn’t a top name in the division and Hurd, who is coming off of surgery, recently bested the very impressive Erislandy Lara last spring. Wilder victim Ortiz will appear on the card, too. He’ll be facing the 32- 2 Travis Kauffman in order to improve his own record to 30-1. This will be Ortiz’ second fight since his lost to Wilder, having knocked out Razvan Cojanu last summer.
Saturday’s Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury Pay Per View Card will begin airing at 9 PM Eastern time, bringing with it a price tag of $74.99.
DAZN Monte Carlo Preview: Lebdev vs. Wilson, Yafai vs. Gonzalez, Hunter vs. Ustinov
By: Ste Rowen
Ever since Matchroom and DAZN USA have linked up, they’ve been crying out for a card that will really make its mark on the American scene. With its lack of hype and underrated fights, Saturday’s listing of matchups at Casino de Monte Carlo could be just that card.
Headlining in Monaco on Saturday will be former WBA cruiserweight champion, Denis Lebedev vs. American, Mike Wilson 19-0 (8KOs). Okay, hands-up you got me at the first hurdle. The headline act on paper is not one to catch the eye. Lebedev’s experience and accomplishments vs Wilson’s professional record, make this look somewhat of a mismatch however, ever since Denis was beaten on points by fellow Russian, Murat Gassiev in 2016, he’s fought and won twice in two extremely disappointing bouts.
Photo Credit: Kal Yafai Twitter Account
A decision victory over Mark ‘Bam-Bam’ Flanagan in 2017 and his only fight of 2018 so far, a third-round stoppage over 30-2-0, Hizni Altunkaya. The Altunkaya fight was the first time Lebedev has weighed in over the 200lb limit (212lb) since 2009, and it showed. For just over seven minutes, the boxer many viewed as the man to beat at cruiserweight just two years ago left himself wide open throughout, and although the Russian has one of the best chins in the game this seemed more of a reflex issue than anything else. The Flanagan bout last year was even worse, but the 39-year-old did get the win, and a stoppage although his Turkish opponent looked as if he wanted out after the first 30 seconds.
Mark ‘White Delight’ Wilson may be unbeaten but he’s going to need an already passed his best Lebedev to have entered the ‘washed’ stage of a boxer’s career. Wilson was a fairly accomplished amateur heavyweight winning national titles in the mid 2000’s and taking part but losing in the trials for the 2008 Olympics. The Oregon resident does have attributes that can make life awkward for Lebedev such as his superior reach and his willingness to shift and move rather than plod forward.
With Aleksandr Usyk currently in possession of every single belt at cruiserweight, and the second season of the 200lb World Boxing Super Series into its semi-final stage, there’s no guarantee that WBA ‘Champion-in-recess’, Lebedev or WBA ranked #11, Wilson will fight for the proper championship strap in the near future. And as Wilson himself said to the ‘Mail Tribune’ last month, Lebedev ‘‘…is long in the tooth now.’’ Let’s see if the American regrets saying age is in his favour when he fights the former cruiserweight king.
Khalid Yafai vs. Israel Gonzalez
WBA Super-flyweight champion of the world, Kal Yafai takes on Mexico’s, Israel Gonzalez which is setting itself up nicely for the gateway bout to unification battles that Yafai, 24-0 (15KOs) has spoken about so regularly.
‘‘Jerwin Ancajas and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai are obviously the two names that stick out.‘‘ Yafai told Sky Sports News. ‘‘Donnie Nietes and Kazuto Ioka are fighting for the vacant WBO title on New Years Eve so the winner of that is an option.‘‘
Challenger on Saturday, Gonzalez, 23-2 (10KOs) fought the aforementioned Ancajas for the IBF strap earlier this year where he was competitive in the early rounds, but the Filipino champion took over and scored a 10th round TKO. Yafai, who has fought just once this year (7th round stoppage of David Carmona), predicts a similar kind of effort from Israel this weekend,
‘‘I expect him to be looking to counter early on but then as the first three or four rounds go by, if it goes that far, he’ll realise that he can’t outbox me or counter me.‘‘
Kal enters as the heavy favourite and the prize-fights that await next year should be more than enough motivation for him to make the 4th defence of his WBA title. However, if he’s not at his championship best, the style of his Mexican foe will be perfect to make it a rough night.
Michael Hunter vs. Alexander Ustinov
Originally, Alexander Ustinov was set to be going up against unbeaten Chinese giant, Zhilei Zhang but due to visa issues, Michael ‘The Bounty’ Hunter has been brought in to arguably make an even more intriguing about.
Just over one month ago, former Usyk challenger at cruiserweight, Hunter shocked a packed-out York Hall when he stopped heavyweight prospect, Martin Bakole in the 10th and final round. Now 15-0 (11KOs), Hunter entered the fight as the underdog, viewed by many as a ‘stepping-stone’ fight for Bakole, who trains out of Scotland, to then move on to title fights in 2019.
That’s not quite how it went though as despite being equals going jab-for-jab, Hunter’s hooks and combination assaults were so much more effective and punishing to the Congolese fighter, who towards the end of the fight appeared to dislocate his shoulder and between rounds told trainer, Billy Nelson, that he wanted to quit.
He probably should of because the 10th was a complete onslaught from Michael who relentless attack, if sloppy at times, forced the referee into stepping in and calling an early end to the fight. As long as he avoids getting caught early on, the California native would do well to employ similar tactics when he faces off against Russian, Ustinov.
Hunter has faced the great and the good in the amateurs including Tyson Fury and Artur Beterbiev and the American isn’t talking down his chances as he looks to continue his heavyweight progress, as he told ‘Boxing News Online’ before the Bakole bout,
‘‘I beat Fury damn near to death in three rounds and actually he got the victory…I definitely thought I won that fight. I was very confident, I’m still very confident because I’ve already been in the ring with him…I heard that he (Usyk) was going to move up to heavyweight, so I hope to meet him there.‘‘
By the time Alexander ‘The Great’ Ustinov, 34-2 (25KOs) steps into the ring it will be one day shy of a year since he last fought; 18 months since his last victory. Last November Ustinov was out-fought and out-pointed by WBA ‘Regular’ champion, Manuel Charr. Consistently beaten to the punch by the smaller man that night means a lack of activity by Ustinov might not be his biggest issue when the first bell rings against Hunter. Before then, the now 41-year-old heavyweight was on a 7-fight win streak but, despite always being rumoured to be on the fringes of big heavyweight fights, the quality of his opposition has been subpar ever since he was stopped by Kubrat Pulev in 2015.
If Hunter comes at Ustinov with the same ferocity and fearlessness as he did against Martin Bakole, it could end being an early night for the aged Russian.
Frank Buglioni vs. Fanlong Meng
One of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend sees former British light-heavyweight champion, Frank Buglioni step in with former Chinese Olympian, Fanlong Meng for the IBF ‘Intercontinental’ title.
‘Wise Guy’ Buglioni, 22-3-1 (16KOs) heads into Saturday off the back of a run of the mill stoppage against the overmatched Emmanuel Feuzeu; Buglioni’s first fight since being knocked out by Callum Johnson last year. A victory over Meng on Saturday night, in Frank’s view, will see him not too far away from the best at 175lb,
‘‘The Light-Heavyweight division is buzzing and a good win over Meng will re-establish me as one of the top guys out there.’’ ‘Wise Guy’ told ‘RingNews24’. ‘‘A win would certainly put me back at the top of the pile domestically and possibly Europe too, I won’t be far off World level.’’
‘‘A shot at a World title is the dream…I like fighting southpaws and if an opportunity to fight Adonis Stevenson arises then why not?’’
Fanlong Meng, 13-0 (8KOs) is a southpaw who isn’t on WBC champion, Stevenson’s level just yet, but the former Olympian should be a good measurement of whether Buglioni still has what it takes to make a dent on the world scene.
Meng turned pro in 2015 and moved quickly and globally to boost his name in the professional ranks having already fought in the US & Puerto Rico, China and Macao. Victory over the former British champion would represent the first ‘big’ name on Fanlong’s resume and propel him up the rankings from the 11th position he currently resides with the IBF.
DAZN Boxing Preview: Shields vs. Rankin, Miller vs. Dinu
By: William Holmes
On Saturday, November 17th Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing will put on a stacked card live from the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas on the DAZN streaming service.
The card was originally scheduled to take place in Atlantic City, but the addition of Olympic Bronze Medalist Nico Hernandez, already a big draw in Kansas, was a factor in the change of venues.
The card is stacked with talent, including fighters such as Anthony Sims, Gabriel Rosado, Luis Arias, Nico Hernandez, and Canelo’s older brother Ramon Alvarado.
The main event of the evening is a heavyweight bout between Jarell Miller and Bogdan Dinu, with future title implications on the line. The co-main event of the evening is between Claressa Shields and Hannah Rankin for Shield’s IBF and WBA titles as well as the vacant WBC Middleweight Title.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Claressa Shields (6-0) vs. Hannah Rankin (5-2); IBF/WBA/WBC Women’s Middleweight Titles
Claressa Shields is one of the biggest names in woman’s boxing, and she has her sight set on some possible big money matches against Christina Hammer, she first has to get past Scottish boxer Hannah Rankin.
Photo Credit: DAZN USA Twitter Account
Shields is easily one of the top pound for pound female boxers in the sport today. She’s a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and her only loss as an amateur was to Savannah Marshall. She’s never tasted defeat and has two stoppage wins on her record. She’s the same size as Rankin, both stand at about 5’8”. But she’s five years younger than Rankin as Shields is only 23 years old.
Rankin only has one stoppage win on her resume and she did not have the amateur success that Shields enjoyed. Rankin however, has never been stopped but did lost her last bout
Both boxers have been fairly active. Shields fought twice in 2018 and three times in 2017. Rankin fought three times in 2018 and four times in 2017.
Shields only has six professional fights but has never faced an opponent with a losing record. She has defeated the likes of Nikki Adler, Tori Nelson, Hanna Gabriels, and Szilvia Szabados. Rankin’s best win to date was against Sanna Turunen. She has lost to the likes of Joanna Ekedahl and Alicia Napoleon. Her wins include wins against opponents with records of 10-47-3 and 2-21-1.
Shields is an exciting fighter to watch, but Rankin is an opponent with little to no shot of winning. Shields should win easily on Saturday.
Jarrell Miller (22-0-1) vs. Bogdan Dinu (18-0); WBA “World” Heavyweight Title
Jarrell Miller is a very large heavyweight boxer who had a prior successful career as a kickboxer. He’s thirty years old, two years younger than his opponent, but will be giving up about one inch in height to Dinu. But Miller will undoubtedly be heavier than Dinu.
Photo Credit:DAZN USA Twitter Account
When he fought Gerald Washington he weighed in at 298 pounds.
Miller is known for his knockout power. He has stopped nineteen of his opponents, and only one of his past ten opponents made it to the final bell. However, Dinu also has considerable power. He has stopped fourteen of his opponents and is currently riding an eight fight win by stoppage streak.
Miller had some success in the United States as an amateur. He was a NY Golden Gloves Finalist. Dinu had some success on the European Amateur Circuit as a child, but neither boxer was highly successful on the international stage.
Miller has fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017. Dinu has yet to fight in 2018 and had two fights in 2017 and two fights in 2016. Inactivity may be an issue for Dinu.
Dinu has fought exclusively in Romania and Canada and has not faced the level of competition that Miller has faced. His best wins to date were over Marino Goles and Kertson Manswell.
Miller has never tasted defeated and has beaten the likes of Tomasz Adamek, Johan Duhaupas, Mariusz Wach, Gerald Washington, and Fred Kassi.
This is a fight that Miller should win, but Dinu has the power to test Miller’s chin and the height to match Miller. A win for Miller could lead to a future showdown with fellow DAZN fighter, Anthony Joshua.
World Boxing Super Series Preview: Rodriguez vs. Moloney, Dorticos vs. Masternak
By: Ste Rowen
In Orlando’s CFE Arena, a venue normally associated with basketball, World Boxing Super Series season one semi-finalist, Yunier Dorticos of Cuba faces Polish cruiserweight veteran, Mateusz Masternak for the right to face Andrew Tabiti in the next round of the Super Series tournament. Alongside the cruiserweight’s second, the 3rd round of WBSS bantamweights get underway as IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez fights, Jason Moloney for the chance to face Naoya Inoue.
Yunier ‘KO Doctor’ Dorticos hasn’t fought since his Fight of the Year contender vs. Murat Gassiev last February. The Miami resident was brave, and emotional, in defeat eight months ago as he went tit-for-tat with then IBF champion Gassiev until ultimately, the Cuban was nailed with a wonderful counter left hook, shot from the hip, by the Russian and handing Dorticos his first professional defeat.
However, ‘The KO Doctor’ is far from down about that loss, if anything, going off the WBSS YouTube pre-fight documentary, Dorticos is more confident than ever,
‘‘Masternak? Master of nothing…Things are going to get really ugly for him.’’
‘‘I have to train to entertain…My style is aggressive, and I’ve always been aggressive… I respect my opponents as people, but I don’t respect them in the ring. I go out to get them.’’
Now 22-1 (21KOs), Yunier has no intention of changing his style this time around,
‘‘The defeat to Gassiev hurt, but when you get knocked down you get up again…Believe me, I am going to KO everyone in front of me this season…I’m here today because of a lot of sacrifice…No one ever gave me anything…’’
Mateusz ‘Master’ Masternak is 31 now but turned professional over twelve years ago. Perhaps defined mostly by his defeats, of which include the supremely talented, but injury-ridden Grigory Drozd and future Usyk opponent, Tony Bellew; Masternak does have victories over potential future hall of famer Jean Marc Mormeck, and twice winning against, his and Dorticos’ shared opponent, Youri Kalenga.
Currently 41-4 (28KOs), ‘Master’ recognizes the enormity of both the bout, and the challenge his opponent represents,
‘‘This is the most important fight of my career. It will determine whether I’m a world class boxer or a second league player…Dorticos is a great boxer. He made a great impression on the first edition of the tournament…But the odds aren’t stacked against me. If we do what we plan, we’ll be celebrating success.’’
It’s not just the Cuban juggernaut heading his way that Mateusz has to deal with. The Pole opened up about his struggle with long term spinal injuries but also, post-Bellew fight in 2015, problems with his vision,
‘‘Following the fight with Tony, I had crossed eyes…There was a problem when I turned my head, I had double vision. So, I saw two heads, so in order to be able to fight I had to change my boxing style.’’
‘‘I’ve been a professional boxer for 12 years, and my dream is to become the world champion. Never before have I been this close to achieving my goal.’’
The remaining quarter-finals to take place, both on the 10th November at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion, in the cruiserweight WBSS are;
Mairis Briedis vs. Noel Gevor
Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Maksim Vlasov
Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Jason Moloney
In the third fight of the 118lb World Boxing Super Series, IBF champion, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Rodriguez comes up against undefeated contender, Jason Moloney of Australia.
When Rodriguez, 18-0 12KOs) faced Paul Butler for the vacant IBF 118lb title earlier this year, it was all but confirmed that the winner would enter the World Boxing Super Series. Extra motivation perhaps then as, the Puerto Rican dominated ‘Baby Faced’ Butler over 12-rounds to claim his first world honours and dream of being THE man at 118lb.
Now the man tournament favourite, Naoya Inoue, named the ‘‘…best fight for me’’, has the opportunity to impress the audience and maybe, the Japanese ‘Monster’,
‘‘It’s now or never…I’m in this to win. We’re not here just to make up the numbers.’’
‘‘We’re going to be fully prepared for Jason Moloney. We know he’s unbeaten. He’s the mandatory challenger and hungry to be the world champion, just as I was when I had the opportunity.’’
‘‘I know I have the tools to beat Jason Moloney and anyone else that gets in our way.’’
Jason Moloney, twin brother of superfly contender, Andrew, earnt his path into the WBSS thanks to a technical stoppage over Kohei Kono. Currently the Ring Magazine’s 7th ranked bantamweight, the Australian cut Kono via a punch in round 3, which subsequently forced the end of the fight as the same cut, above the left eye, led to the referee waving off the bout at the beginning of the 7th, with Moloney clearly ahead on the cards.
Fighting outside of Australia for the first time, Jason, 17-0 (14KOs), is keen to prove his place in the tournament isn’t down to good luck,
‘‘I know I am the underdog in this tournament…People write me off because they haven’t seen much of me yet but, that excites me…It doesn’t worry me who we’re fighting. Stylistically I think I match up very well with Rodriguez.’’
‘‘The fans can expect an explosive, entertaining, all action fight. It’s my time to show the world what I’m capable of…If I fight to the best of my ability, I’ll win the fight.’’
The winner of Saturday’s 118lb matchup will take on Naoya Inoue at the semi-final stage. The fourth and final bantamweight quarter-final to take place will be between WBA ‘Super’ champion, Ryan Burnett and future hall of famer, Nonito Donaire, in Glasgow two weeks from this Saturday. The winner of that bout can look forward to a fight with WBO titlist, Zolani Tete, who grinded his way to victory over Mikhail Aloyan last weekend in Russia.
WBSS Preview: Tete vs. Aloyan; Tabiti vs. Fayfer
By: Ste Rowen
After last weekend’s fights in Yokohama, the World Boxing Super Series for the bantamweights and super-lightweights is well underway. Naoya Inoue and Kiryl Relikh, progressed through to their respective weight-class tournaments and this weekend in Ekaterinburg, Russia the second bantamweight quarter-final between WBO champion, Zolani Tete and Russian, Mikhail Aloyan takes place for the right to face either WBA champ, Ryan Burnett or Nonito Donaire at the semi-final stage.
Tete, the South African responsible for the quickest knockout in world title fight history (11-second wipe-out of Siboniso Gonya) shot himself into the wider audience’s view after he defended his IBF super-flyweight title for the first time, against Paul Butler, stopping the challenger in eight rounds.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Zolani decided against chasing unification, opting to have two homecoming bouts, returning to England 12 months on from the Butler win, and seek out the best at bantamweight. He would eventually achieve his aim of becoming a two-weight world champion after that same record-breaking Gonya KO meant Tete became the new WBO world champion, putting the rest of the division on notice.
Despite an underwhelming 12-round decision, first defence over Omar Andres Navaez, the South African southpaw, speaking at Thursday’s press conference, is confident he can score the knockout this Saturday,
‘‘As a world champion you need to adjust and adapt in each and every style that a boxer brings…Aloyan is one of the best fighters in the Super Series. I believe it’s going to be a good fight and definitely I’m gonna take him out…Whatever he is bringing, it won’t have any place to stay.
My focus is to become a unified world champion.’’
Zolani, 27-3 (21KOs) currently on a run of 11 straight wins, even set his future ambitions further than the WBSS,
‘‘After I win all the belts in the bantamweight division, we’ll move up to the next division.’’
Tete’s opponent on Saturday night has an interesting history. Born in Armenia but raised and fought for Russia in the amateurs, Mikhail Aloyan, 4-0 (0KOs), was an outstanding amateur picking up gold medals in the 2009 & 2016 World Championships. Aloyan briefly added the 2016 Olympic silver medal until tests came back positive for the stimulant, Tuaminoheptane and the Court of Arbitration of Sports ruled on stripping the silver from Mikhail.
Though the Russian maintains his innocence, he hasn’t let it affect his acceleration through the early stages of his pro career. Also a southpaw, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist has fought twice as at super-fly and twice at bantamweight, winning minor titles in both divisions. The combined record of his last three opponents is 46-1-2 (19KOs) and curiously, all four have so far all been from Nicaragua.
Aloyan, wasn’t allowing Tete’s talk of knockouts distract him at the press conference,
‘‘The fact that this fight takes place in Ekaterinburg, means we have an opportunity to bring out the best of our performance.
He is a strong opponent because he is a world champion…I’m not as experienced as a professional but we will see what happens on October 13th.’’
‘‘I will not speak about my opponent’s weaknesses.’’
The second season of the WBSS cruiserweights also gets going at the Ekaterinburg Expo, as unbeaten, American prospect, Andrew Tabiti steps into the ring with fellow undefeated fighter, Ruslan Fayfer, 23-0 (16KOs).
Tabiti, 16-0 (13KOs) was last seen sharing the ring with career-heavyweight, Lateef Kayode. An opponent ‘The Beast’ dispatched with inside 5 rounds with a precision right hand uppercut. It put to bed any demons left behind Tabiti’s controversial decision victory over cruiserweight veteran, Steve Cunningham on the Mayweather/McGregor undercard last year.
On Thursday, Tabiti, fighting outside of the US for the first time, was in confident mood,
‘‘I’m coming to this man’s country and take what he has. I’m on my A-game, I hope he’s on his A-game. It doesn’t matter how many fights he’s had; the quality of opponent is not anything for me to be afraid of.
I’m just coming to knock this guy out, that’s the only thing I’m worried about.’’
Ruslan Fayfer, 23-0(16KOs), born and raised in Russia, has mainly fought his career out above the 200lb limit, but in 23 fights, has yet to fight an outstanding name. The 27-year-old was taking a reserved approach in front of the media,
‘‘The fact I have more fights than my opponent does give me the ground to say I do have more experience than him…I am not going to reveal anything, I will show everything during the fight.
Everything you should see, you will see on Saturday night.’’
Saturday night’s winner of the cruiserweight showdown will fight either Yunier Dorticos or Mateusz Masternak.
The other WBSS cruiserweight quarter finals are as follows;
Yunier Dorticos vs. Mateusz Masternak – 20th October 2018
Mairis Briedis vs. Noel Mikaelian – 10th November 2018
Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Maksim Vlasov – 10th November 2018
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Stevenson vs. Simion, Benavidez vs. Crawford
By: William Holmes
Top Rank Promotions will promote a card featuring arguably their best pound for pound fighter, Terence Crawford, in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska in the main event of an ESPN televised card.
Crawford will face fellow undefeated welterweight Jose Benavidez for Crawford’s WBO Welterweight title.
The co-main event of the night will be between former Olympian and high level prospect Shakur Stevenson and Viorel Simion in a junior lightweight bout.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The undercard will feature several intriguing fights, including a junior middleweight bout between Carlos Adames and Josh Conley, ad junior welterweight bout between Mike Alvarado and Robbie Cannon, and a female junior lightweight bout between Mikaela Mayer and Vanessa Bradford.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Shakur Stevenson (8-0) vs. Viorel Simion (21-2); Junior Lightweights
Shakur Stevenson is one of Top Rank’s most coveted prospects, and he was a silver medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. On paper he’ll be facing the toughest test of his career, Viorel Simion, a former Olympic participant in the 2004 Summer games.
Stevenson is still very young and will be sixteen years younger than his 37 year old opponent. He will also have a two inch height advantage.
Stevenson, a Newark, New Jersey native, has won three of his past five fights by stoppage and has never faced anyone with a losing record. He only has four stoppage wins on his resume, but has been very active since turning pro. He fought four times in 2017 and has already fought four times in 2018.
Simion, from Romania, has nine KO wins on his resume and isn’t known for his power. This Romanian boxer lost the two fights where he stepped up in competition, to Scott Quigg and Lee Selby. Simion has fought mainly in Eurpe and fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Carlos Ruiz, Aelio Mesquita, Roxberg Patrick Riley, and Juan Tapia. He also went 2-0 n the World Series of Boxing.
Simion has defeated the likes of Andoni Gago, Alexander Miskirtchian, and Ryan Sermona. The few times he stepped up his level of competition he was soundly beat.
This is a bout that Stevenson should win comfortably, but Simion is a good experienced boxer to gauge where Stevenson currently is in his professional development.
Terence Crawford (33-0) vs. Jose Benavidez Jr.(27-0); WBO Welterweight Title
Terence Crawford will be stepping into the ring with a younger, taller, and longer undefeated challenger on Saturday.
Crawford is still in his prime, but Benavidez is five years younger than him. Benavidez will also have about a six inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage.
Crawford does appear to have an edge in power. He has stopped twenty four of his opponents, and seven of his past eight fights were stoppage victories. Benavidez only has eighteen stoppage victories, and three of his past five fights were by way of stoppage.
Both boxers had relatively successful amateur careers. Crawford was a former PAL National Champion while Benavidez was a former US National Golden Gloves Champion.
Both boxers have been fairly active in 2018 but Crawford has been the more active fighter of the two since 2016. Crawford fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and three times in 2016. Benavidez fought twice in 2018 and only once 2016.
Benavidez was also shot in 2016 and missed all of 2017 as a result.
Crawford has soundly beaten every man he has faced so far. He has beaten the likes of Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Hank Lundy, Dierry jean, Thomas Dulrome, Raymundo Beltran, Yoriorkis Gamboa, and Ricky Burns.
Benavidez does not have the professional resume of Crawford, but he has beaten some decent boxers. He has defeated the likes of Frank Rojas, Matthew Strode, Francisco Santana, Jorge Paez Jr., Mauricio Herrera, and Pavel Miranda.
However, his win against Herrera is disputed by many who thought Herrera deserved the decision in that bout.
This is a major, major step up in competition for Benavidez. Unfortunately for him, he has never faced anyone near the level of Terrance Crawford and it is this writer’s opinion that he will be in over his head on Saturday night.
UFC 229 Preview: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will host the biggest pay per view of the year in either boxing or MMA as the UFC Lightweight Title will be up for grabs when undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov faces Conor McGregor in the main event of the evening.
McGregor is the UFC’s biggest draw, and Khabib is McGregor’s toughest test to date in MMA. This blockbuster event will be getting a lot of attention in the mainstream media leading up to Saturday.
The co-main event of the evening will be between Anthony Pettis and Tony Ferguson in the lightweight division. The winner of this bout will likely be in line for a future title shot against the winner of Khabib and McGregor.
Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account
The undercard has some intriguing fights throughout. Ovince Saint Preux will face Dominick Reyes in the light heavyweight division, Derrick Lewis will face Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division, Sergio Pettis will face Jussier Formiga in the flyweight division, and Michelle Waterson will face Felice Herrig in the Women’s Straweight division.
The UFC tends to show more fights on their pay per view offerings than boxing so five fights will likely be televised.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and the main event of the night.
Anthony Pettis (21-7) vs. Tony Ferguson (23-3); Lightweights
The winner of the co-main event of the night will likely move on to a future title shot.
Anthony Pettis was once considered a top rated contender, but he has struggled recently and has only gone 3-3 in his last six fights, and actually has a losing record of 3-5 in his last eight fights.
Tony Ferguson has been on a roll and is currently riding a ten fight win streak. However, his activity is of some concern as he has only fought three times since the beginning of 2016, while Pettis has fought seven times since the beginning of 2016.
Ferguson is 34 years old and three years older than Pettis. Ferguson will have a very slight two inch height advantage on Pettis.
Both fighters like to finish their fight. Of Pettis’ 21 victories, 17 have come by way of stoppage. 18 of Ferguson’s victories have come by way of stoppage.
There really is no such thing as an easy fight in the UFC. Pettis has defeated the likes of Michael Chiesa, Jim Miller, Charles Oliveira, Gilbert Melendez, and Benson Henderson. His losses were to Rafael Dos Anjos, Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza, Max Holloway, and Dustin Poirier.
Ferguson’s only losses were to Michael Johnson and two lesser known fighters very early in his career. He has defeated the likes of Kevin Lee, Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Josh Thomson, Gleison Tibau, Abel Trujillo, and Danny Castillo.
Pettis might have a slight edge in striking, but Ferguson has a strong edge in grappling. Ferguson was a NCWA Collegiate National Champion in Wrestling and was a high school state champion in Michigan. Pettis didn’t pick up on grappling until later on in his life.
Ferguson should win this fight by decision. He’s never been stopped by strikes in his career, and that’s Anthony Pettis’ best weapon.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) vs. Conor McGregor (21-3); UFC Lightweight Championship
As stated earlier, there really is no such thing as an easy fight in the UFC, and that’s why it’s very impressive for Khabib Nurmagomedov to have an undefeated record.
Khabib is a fighter with a very strong grappling background. He was born in Dagestan, Russia and has never lost. His win streak currently stands at 26 victories in a row.
Both Khabib and McGregor are 30 years old, though Khabib will have a two inch height advantage on McGregor.
Khabib has a history of injuries and trouble making weight, though he has made weight for this weekend. 16 of his 26 wins were by stoppage, with eight by TKO and eight by submission.
McGregor’s excitement as a fighter is much more than his personality. Of McGregor’s 21 victories, 18 have come by TKO/KO and one by submission. Only two of his wins were by judges decision.
Neither fighter can consider themselves to be super active since 2016. Khabib fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and twice in 2016. McGregor did not fight yet in an MMA cage in 2018 or 2017. He fought three times in 2016 and was last seen competing in a boxing ring when he was stopped by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor has beaten the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Nate Diaz, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Dennis Silver, Dustin Poirier, and Max Holloway. His losses were to Joseph Duffy, Nate Diaz, and Artemij Sitenkov.
Nobody has ever beaten Khabib. He has defeated the likes of Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson, Darrel Horcher, Rafael Dos Anjos, Thiago Tavares, and Gleison Tibau.
One of the biggest factors that jumps out at this writer is that McGregor’s three losses were all by submission and he’s facing a fighter who’s known for being a very strong grappler. Khabib has finished 8 previous opponents by submission.
If McGregor is going to win he’ll have to stop Khabib with strikes, it’s difficult to imagine him keeping the fight standing for five rounds.
Even though McGregor recently signed a lucrative contract extension with the UFC and is their most popular fighter, his recent inactivity and weakness in grappling will likely be issues that Khabib will exploit.
This writer feels that Khabib’s strengths will make for a very bad matchup for McGregor on Saturday.
HBO PPV Preview: Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Rematch, Plus Full Undercard
By: William Holmes
Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin PPV
HBO PPV: $84.95
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Start time: 8PM ET/ 5PM PT
TV Undercard: Jaime Munguia vs Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook
David Lemieux vs Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs Moises “Moi” Fuentes
On Saturday, September 15th the long awaited rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez will finally occur for Golovkin’s WBA and WBC Middleweight Titles.
They were originally to fight on May 5th, but a positive test for clenbuterol scuttled those plans. Canelo claimed the trace levels detected were due to contaminated meat, which was met with some skepticism by Golovkin and his team.
Jaime Mungui and Brandon Cook will meet in the co-main event of the night for Munguia’s WBO Junior Middleweight World Title. David Lemieux and Gary O’Sullivan will also meet in a middleweight bout with possible future title implications.
Other boxers such as Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Moises Fuentes, Vergil Ortiz Jr., Alexis Rocha, and Brian Ceballo will also be featured on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the three top fights for Saturday’s HBO PPV offering.
David Lemieux (39-4) vs. Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2); Middleweights
David Lemieux is only twenty nine years old, and will be five years older than Gary O’Sullivan come fight night, but in ring years he’s significantly older. He’s been in some tough fights with some tough competition and already has thirteen more professional fights than O’Sullivan.
They’re about the same size, O’Sullivan will have a slight ½ inch height advantage. They both have decent power. Lemieux has stopped thirty three of his opponents while O’Sullivan has stopped twenty. However, Lemieux only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights while O’Sullivan has five victories in a row by stoppage.
They also have both been stopped. Lemieux has two stoppage losses while O’Sullivan has one stoppage loss on his record.
They both have been fairly active. He fought once in 2018, three times in 2017, and twice in 2016. O’Sullivan fought once in 2018, four times in 2017, and once in 2016.
Lemieux does have an edge in amateur experience. He won the Canadian National Junior Championships in 2006 while O’Sullivan does not have any notable amateur accomplishments.
Lemieux’s losses were to Billy Joe Saunders, Gennady Golovkin, and earlier in his career to Joachim Alcine and Marco Antonio Rubion. He has beaten the likes of Elvin Ayala, Hector Camacho Jr., Fernando Guerrero, Gabriel Rosado, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Glen Tapia, Curtis Stevens, and Karim Achour.
O’Sullivan’s losses were to Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr. He has defeated the likes of Berlin Abreu, Antoine Douglas, Nick Quigley, Melvin Bentancourt, and Matthew Hall.
If this fight happened three years ago Lemieux would be considered the favorite. But he looked slow and old in his loss to Billy Joe Saunders and he is starting to show signs of ring wear. O’Sullivan on the other hand, has been riding a good win streak and looked sensational against a solid young prospect in Antoine Douglas.
This writer has to pick O’Sullivan in a minor upset.
Jaime Munguia (30-0) vs. Brandon Cook (20-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
Jaime Munguia is one of Golden Boy Promotions’ best young fighters and at the age of twenty one is already a legitimate world champion.
He has exceptional power. He has twenty five stoppage wins and has stopped six of his past seven opponents. He’s also eleven years younger than his opponent Brandon Cook, who only has thirteen stoppage wins, and already has one stoppage loss.
Munguia has been incredibly active. He already fought four times in 2018 and fought seven times in 2017. Cook has also been active and fought once in 2018 and three times in 2017.
Munguia has the better amateur pedigree. He was a Gold Medalist in the Mexican National Championships and turned pro at the age of 16.
Cook’s lone loss was to Kanat Islam by TKO in 2017. He doesn’t have any big victories of note, he has defeated the likes of Miguel Suarez, Steven Butler, and Hector Santana.
Munguia has defeated the likes of Liam Smith, Sadam Ali, Jose Paz, Paul Valenzuela Jr., and Johnny Navarrete.
On paper, it’s hard to find anything that Bradon Cook does better than Jaime Munguia. It’s likely we will see that in the ring too.
Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1) vs. Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2); WBA/WBC Middleweight Title
Gennady Golovkin has to be considered one of, if not the best middleweight boxers in the 21st century. However, he doesn’t have that big signature win over an exceptional opponent on his resume.
Many thought he did enough to beat Canelo last year, but Canelo came on strong in the later rounds and was able to make the fight a draw.
Both boxers have good power. Golovkin has stopped thirty four of his opponents, though his power seems to be slipping recently. Canelo also has thirty four stoppage wins. Neither boxer has ever been stopped in their career.
Canelo will have a slight ½ inch reach advantage, but will also be giving up about two inches in height. Canelo will be eight years younger than Golovkin on Saturday, and Golovkin may be showing some signs of rust in his armor with his advancing age.
Golovkin has the better amateur career of the two. He was a silver medalist in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Canelo turned professional at a young age, but did win the 2005 Junior Mexican National Championships.
Golovkin has beaten the likes of Vanes Martirosyan, Daniel Jacobs, Kell Brook, Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, and Gabriel Rosado. He has fought twice a year in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Canelo has beaten the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Shane Mosley, and Kermit Cintron. His lone loss was the Floyd Mayweather Jr., and he had a draw very early in his career to a Jorge Juarez.
Both boxers seem motivated and have a genuine dislike of each other since Canelo’s positive steroid test in the spring. In their last fight they appeared to be very respectful towards each other, almost too much.
Golovkin’s age is a big concern and his best days are likely behind him. Canelo also appeared to have figured out Golovkin by the end of the fight and was coming on strong. The fight fans in attendance will also likely be in favor of Canelo over Golovkin.
The intangibles favor Canelo,but it’s hard to pick against a man that has never lost and looked absolutely dominating at times.
This is basically an even fight, but this writer has to give the slightest of edges to Golovkin, only because it appeared that Golovkin should have received the decision last time.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Jennings vs. Dimitrenko, Hart vs. Gavronski
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night at the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey Top Rank Promotions will promote an eight fight boxing card to be televised on ESPN.
The main event and co-main event of the evening will likely have future title bout implications. Bryant Jennings will face Alexander Dimitrenko in a heavyweight showdown in the main event of the evening and Jesse Hart will face Mike Gavronski in the super middleweight division.
The undercard is packed with local prospects and rising contenders which will help bring in fans from nearby areas to Atlantic City. Shakur Stevenson from Trenton, New Jersey, Jason Sosa from Camden, New Jersey, Christian Carto from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Thomas LaManna from Millville, New Jersey are all fighters with local ties that could be up for a title shot in the near future.
The following is a preview of the two main fights of the night.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Jesse Hart (24-1) vs. Mike Gavronski (24-2-1); Super Middleweights
Jesse “Hard Work” Hart is the son of legendary Philadelphia Boxer Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and recently lost a close decision to current WBO Super Middleweight World Champion, Gilberto Ramirez.
Hart, to his credit, has remained active since that loss and is back to his winning ways. He fought twice in 2018, twice in 2017, and twice in 2016. Four of his past five wins have been by KO/TKO.
Gavronski is a good boxer with a decent record. However, he is three years older than Hart and will be giving up about three inches in height and six and a half inches in reach.
He also fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016. Gavronski did not fight yet in 2018.
Jesse Hart also has an edge in power over Gavronski. He has twenty stoppage victories while Gavronski has fifteen. Hart has also never been stopped while Gavronski has been stopped once.
Hart also has the edge in amateur experience. He won the 2011 National Golden Gloves Championship and placed 2nd in the 2012 US Olympic Trials. Gavronski has no notable amateur accomplishments to speak of.
Hart has beaten the likes of Demond Nicholson, Thomas Awimbono, Alan Campa, Andrew Hernandez, and Aaron Pryor Jr. His lone loss was a close decision to Gilberto Ramirez.
Gavronski has beaten the likes of Andrew Hernandez, Thomas Awimbono, and Brian Vera. His losses were to Dashon Johnson and Tureano Johnson.
Dashon Johnson is a man that Hart beat in 2016.
Hart appears to have too much fire power for Gavronski to handle.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Bryant Jennings (23-2) vs. Alexander Dimitrenko (41-3); Heavyweights
Bryant Jennings is a solid heavyweight boxer who previously fought for the title but came up short against Wladimir Klitschko.
He’s fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017 and is looking for another title shot.
Jennings is facing a boxer that many consider to be past his prime in Alexander Dimitrenko.
Jennings, at the age of thirty three, is three years younger than Dimitrenko. He will also be giving up about four inches in height, but Jennings will have a one inch reach advantage. Both boxers aren’t necessarily known for their power. Dimitrenko has twenty six stoppage victories while Jennings has thirteen.
Both boxers have been stopped in their career. Dimitrenko has two stoppage losses while Jennings only has one.
Jennings had a brief amateur career but it was rather successful. He made it to the finals of the 2009 PAL Nationals and was a National Runner Up in the Golden Gloves National Championship. He also defeated former UFC Heavyweight Champion , Stipe Miocic, as an amateur. To this writer’s knowledge, Dimitrenko has no notable amateur accomplishments.
Jennings losses were to Wladimir Klitschko and Luis Ortiz. He has defeated the likes of Joey Dawejko, Akhror Muralimov, Don Haynesworth, Mike Perez, Artur Szpilka, Andrey Fedosov, Bowie Tupou, Steve Collins, Siarhei Liakhovich, and Maurice Byarm,
Dimitrenko fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016 but has yet to fight in 2018. His losses were to Joseph Parker, Kubrat Pulev, and Eddie Chambers. He has defeated the likes of Derric Rossy, Albert Sosnowski, Adrian Granat, and Miljan Rovcanin.
His win over Miljan Rovcanin is contested by many though and that was his last bout. The bout was originally ruled a split draw, but Dimitrenko team protested the result. It was later ruled a win for Dimitrenko because Rovcanin had three points deducted and accordingly he should have been disqualified after the third point deduction.
Jennings experience in fighting a taller elite fighter like Klitschko might prove valuable in Saturday’s fight. Dimitrenko won his last bout, but didn’t look particularly good doing so. Jennings isn’t known for his power, but he should be able to box intelligently and win a decision.
PBC on Bounce TV Preview: Miller vs. Galarza, Heraldez vs. Watts
By: William Holmes
Floyd Mayweather’s TMT Promotions will televise a card on Bounce TV live from Sam’s Town in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main event of the evening will be between Ladarius Miller and Dennis Galarza in the lightweight division, and the co-main event of the evening will be between Juan Heraldez and Kevin Watts in the junior welterweight division.
The undercard will feature several solid contenders and up and coming boxers, including Sharif Bogere, Omar Douglas, Kevin Newman, and others.
Photo Credit: Mayweather Promotions
The following is a preview of the two main fights of the night.
Juan Heraldez (13-0) vs. Kevin Watts (12-2); Junior Welterweights
Both Heraldez and Watts are in the middle of their athletic prime and have under fifteen fights under their belts. Watts is twenty six years old and Heraldez is twenty nine years old. Watts is a little tall for the junior welterweight division, he stands at 5’10” with a 70 ½” reach.
Watts’ activity has been ok. He’s fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and twice in 2016. Heraldez hasn’t fought yet in 2018, but fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Neither boxer has a notable amateur career to write of.
Watts has gone 1-2 in his past three fights. He has losses on his resume to Jose Miguel Borrego and Eddie Ramirez. He had an impressive win over Ryan Karl in his last match, and also has defeated the likes of Michael Chuedcki, and Manuel Damairias Lopez.
Heraldez has already defeated on opponent that Watts has lost to, and that’s Jose Miguel Borrego. He has also defeated the likes of Alfonso Alvera, Reyes Sanchez, and Adam Mate.
Watts length and reach could be an issue for Heraldez, but Watts’ two losses were by stoppage and they came recently. Heraldez has a decent amount of power with eight stoppage wins, so it seems like he should be the favorite going into their bout on Friday night.
Ladarius Miller (16-1) vs. Dennis Galarza (16-3); Lightweights
The main event is between two contenders that are twenty five years old and are gunning for title shots in the near future.
Miller’s is one of Floyd Mayweather’s better fighters in his stable. He’s been fairly active and fought twice already in 2018, twice in 2017, and four times in 2016. He’s been on a solid seven fight win streak and is looking to make it eight in a row against Galarza.
Galarza has also been fairly active. He fought once already in 2018 and three times in 2017. However, he’s gone 3-2 in his last five fights and struggles against good competition.
Neither boxer has a notable amateur career. Miller will be giving up about one inch in height to Galarza but will have a two inch reach advantage.
Miller’s lone loss was to Rolando Chinea early on in his career. He has beaten the likes of Carlos Padilla, Jesus Gutierrez, and most impressively he beat Jamel Herring.
Galarza has losses to Edner Cherry, Cesar Alan Valenzuela, and Vincent Jennings His notable victories include Omar Tienda, Jonathan Perez, and Bernado Gomez.
Mayweather seems high on Miller, perhaps because Miller reminds him of himself. Miller only have five stoppage wins on his resume, but he’s known as an excellent defensive fighter.
Galarza has some power, as he has stopped nine of his opponents, but on paper it looks like he’ll need a knockout to win against Miller, because Miller is the better technical fighter.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Saucedo vs. Zappavigna, Ramirez vs. Angulo
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the WBO Super Middleweight Champion, Gilberto Ramirez, will be defending his title in his home state against challenger Roamer Alexis-Angulo. Alex Saucedo, who is also from Oklahoma City will also be competing on the card when he takes on Lenny Zappavigna in the junior welterweight division.
This card is being promoted by Top Rank Promotions and will be televised live on ESPN. It will take place at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The undercard will also feature several prospects and former title contenders. Mike Alvarado, Julian Rodriguez, and Mikaela Mayer are just some of boxers competing on the undercard that fight fans may be interested in seeing.
The following is a preview of both planned televised bouts:
Alex Saucedo (27-0) vs. Lenny Zappavigna (37-3); Junior Welterweights
The opening televised bout will be between Alex Saucedo and Lenny Zappavigna in the junior welterweight division.
Saucedo is a young twenty four year old undefeated prospect. He is currently six years younger than his opponent and will have a rather large four inch height advantage and about a four and a half inch reach advantage.
Saucedo has been fairly active recently He fought once in 2018 and three times in 2017. Three of his past four fights have been KO/TKO victories. Zappavigna has also been fairly active, he fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Zappavigna does appear to have an edge in two areas. He appears to be the more powerful puncher of the two. He has stopped twenty seven of his opponents while Saucedo has stopped seventeen. But, two of Zappavigna’s losses were by KO/TKO. Saucedo has never tasted defeat.
Zappavigna also appears to have the better amateur career of the two. He competed in the 2005 World Championships and was a Bronze Medalist in the 2006 Commonwealth games.
Saucedo has the better professional resume. He has defeated the likes of Abner Lopez, Gustavo David Vittori, Raymond Serrano, and Clarence Booth. Zappavigna has defeated the lkes of JK Yang, Ramon Ayala, and Misael Castillo. His losses were to Miguel Vazquez, Ammeth Diaz, and Sergey Lipinets.
Saucedo physical edges in height, reach, and age will likely be too much for Zappavigna to overcome.
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez vs. Roamer Alexis Angulo; WBO Super Middleweight Title
Saturday night will be Gilberto Ramirez’s fourth defense of his world title.
Zurdo is a very good boxer who still needs an “elite” level victory to establish himself as one of today’s greats. Columbian boxer Roamer Alexis Angulo is not that elite level boxer that Ramirez needs.
Ramirez is in the middle of his athletic prime at twenty seven years old. Angulo is already either past or close to past his prime at the age of thirty four. Ramirez will also have about an inch and a half height advantage over his opponent.
Ramirez has been fairly active. He fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017. He also has twenty five stoppage wins on his record, but only one of his past five fights were stoppage victories. Angulo has twenty stoppage wins on his record and is currently riding a five fight win streak. However, two of those victories were against opponents with sub .500 records. Two of his past five fights were against guys with records of 2-33 and 6-19.
Angulo turned pro late and has no notable victories. His best wins to date were against Evert Bravo and Izaak Cardona. He turned professional late around the age of 26 in 2010.
Ramirez will be facing a third straight fighter with an undefeated record. He has defeated the likes of Habib Ahmed, Jesse Hart, Max Bursak, Arthur Abraham, Gevorg Khatchikian, Derek Edwards. Ramirez, a southpaw, looked especially good against Jesse Hart, a known power puncher.
Angulo is taking a big step up in competition and he has a daunting task in facing a world champion in his home state. He has never faced someone remotely close to the level of Ramirez and it’s unlikely he’ll survive to the final bell.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Martin Murray vs. Roberto Garcia
By: Ste Rowen
If all had gone to plan for this weekend, Martin Murray would be fighting in a world title bout for the 6th time in his pro career, but due to a second injury pull-out from WBO middleweight champ, Billy Joe Saunders, Murray, who’s fought for championship honours at both 160 and 168, will be taking on Mexican, Roberto ‘La Amenaza’ Garcia for the WBC ‘Silver’ belt at London’s O2 arena.
‘The fact I’m fighting a dangerous fight and it’s a meaningful fight means a lot.’ Said Murray at Wednesday’s press conference. ‘I was gutted Billy Joe pulled out, but I’ve not took my eye off the ball.’
‘He’s the complete opposite to Billy Joe…He’s orthodox, come forward fighter, in your face. It’s gonna be a tough fight. You could say it’s a tougher fight in some respects.’
‘It’s about levels, and I’m a level above and I’ll show that on Saturday.’
Murray, 36-4-1 (17KOs), fought twice last year marking his return back down to middleweight after his brief, unsuccessful, spell up at 168, which included defeats to George Groves and Arthur Abraham. The St Helens native scored a decision victory over Gabe Rosado in April 2017 and then on the undercard of Smith vs. Skoglund, the 35-year-old scored a body shot KO of relative unknown, Arman Torosyan.
In fact, before those two bouts, Murray’s last fight at 160 was his 11th round stoppage loss to 31-0 at the time, Gennady Golovkin back in early 2015. But as Martin said himself, sometimes it is about levels and Murray’s level of opposition, win or lose, has been significantly greater than La Amenaza’s.
Garcia, 41-3 (24KOs), now a relative veteran of the game (his debut fight coming in 2001), will be hoping this is finally his time. The 38-year-old, despite an impressive record on paper is in danger of his defining fight being his 2010 defeat to Antonio Margarito who, after earning a 10-round decision over Roberto fought, and loss to Manny Pacquiao just six months later.
‘La Amenaza’ was last in the ring in August 2017 where he travelled to Mexico to take on Julio Cesar Chavez’s son, Omar for the WBC ‘Silver’ strap. For 10 rounds, Garcia rushed forward laying hands on his opponent, not allowing him to breath, as Chavez struggled to maneuverer and counter. Roberto emerged the unanimous victor that night and showed that he has more left to give to boxing even if he remains a few levels below the elite.
‘It’s been one hell of a ride. I’ve always been the B-side my entire career. I’ve always fought against all the odds. I’ve built a career on pulling off upsets.’
‘We took that fight (vs. Chavez) on 28 days’ notice and I do a full time. We went over there with everything for him, the judges, it’s nothing I’m not used to.’
‘I fight hard as hell and I’ve had many, many guys say they’re gonna rip my head off, but it always changes…I go as hard as I want to. I walk the line.’
Whether Murray will have a tougher time, as he put it, in the ring with Garcia than he would with Saunders is highly doubtful, but the change of opponent should make a for a much more exciting style matchup.
Daniel Dubois vs. Tom Little
With the vacant English heavyweight title on the line, one of Britain’s most exciting prospects enters the ring in arguably his toughest test to date. 7-0(7KOs) Daniel Dubois will take on Tom Little, 10-5 (3KOs) in a fight that’s been simmering nicely over the past few weeks.
At the press conference, Little wasn’t shy in letting Dubois know he was in for a tough ride when the two meet,
‘He’s alright against whatever taxi driver you put in front of him. If you stand in front of him, he’s gonna cave your head in. Put him in with someone with an intelligent boxing brain then it’s gonna be a whole different story.’
‘I’m gonna take him into deep water and I’m gonna drown him very slowly.’
Not usually a big talker at press conferences, Dubois kept his time on the mic brief,
‘I’m a strong swimmer… Tom looks like a very weak man…You are a weak man and I’m gonna show you that on Saturday.’
Both fighter’s share a previous opponent in Dorian Darch. Dubois wiped out the Welshman in 2 rounds, whereas Little suffered his 3rd pro defeat to Darch back in 2014. The two seem polar opposites in terms of talk outside the ring vs style inside it, and the rate of which Dubois is climbing makes it seem, on paper at least, that both could in for an early night at the O2, but there does seem to be something in Little that’s got Dubois’ back up however, from what we’ve seen so far from ‘Dynamite’, that’s probably bad news for Tom.
Anthony Yarde vs. Dariusz Sek
Another of Britain’s exciting crop is back in between the ropes this weekend as, 15-0 (14KOs), light heavyweight, Anthony Yarde takes on southpaw, Dariusz Sek 27-3-3 (9KOs) for the WBO inter-continental and European belts.
Sek has lost two of the three occasions he’s fought outside of Poland, but he’s yet to be stopped and with Yarde on a 13-fight KO streak, things could get interesting when the two collide.
Asked about his opponent and the difference in training for a southpaw ‘The Beast’ said,
‘Doesn’t matter if they’re southpaw, west-paw, north-paw, east-paw, it’s a fight and we’ll see what happens on fight night…It’s a little bit different but I haven’t struggled.’
Yarde’s promoter, Frank Warren also revealed that he rejected the offer to fight Sergey Kovalev the current WBO champion,
‘We were offered the fight against Kovalev and we turned it down. He’s not ready for that. He won’t want to hear that, he wants to fight, but Tunde (Ajayi) and I discussed it and he’s not ready for that.’
‘The objective is to win the world title and once you’ve won it, you’ve got to defend it and to do that you need experience.’
Showtime Boxing Preview: Cruz vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Trout
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will rematch from a 2015 fight that featured more than 2000 total punches thrown. This rematch will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be televised live on Showtime. Santa Cruz and Mares will be fighting for Santa Cruz’s WBA “Super” Featherweight Title.
The co-main event of the night will be an intriguing bout between the rising Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout, who is best known for defeating Miguel Cotto. This bout will be for Charlo’s WBC Junior Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The undercard is packed with fights such as Karlos Balderas and Pedo Lopez in the junior lightweight division, Arnold Alejandro and Elliot Brown in the Featherweight Division, Jose Balderas and Luis Montellano in the Junior Featherweight division, and Ivan Redkach and Brian Jones in the welterweight division.
The following is a preview of both planned televised bouts.
Jermell Charlo (30-0) vs. Austin Trout (31-4); WBC Junior Middleweight Title
The opening bout will be for the WBC Junior Middleweight Title between Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout.
Trout had previously faced Jermell’s twin brother, Jermall Charlo, and came up short. Charlo is four years younger than Trout and will have about an inch and a half height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
They both have decent power, Charlo has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Trout has stopped seventeen. Trout has only fought once in 2016, 2017, and 2018 while Charlo fought twice in 2017, once in 2016. Trout has struggled recently and went 2-2 the past four fights, Charlo has been on a tear and has never tasted defeated and is currently riding a four fight win streak.
Both boxers had a pretty good amateur career. Charlo was a Junior Olympics Bronze Medalist and Trout was a US Amateur Gold Medalist.
Charlo has defeated the likes of Erickson Lubin, Charles Hatley, John Jackson, Vanes Martirosyan, and Gabriel Rosado. Trout has defeated the likes of Joey Hernandez, Daniel Dawson, Miguel Cotto, and Delvin Rodriguez. He has losses to Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo, and Jarrett Hurd.
Unfortunately for Trout the Charlo brothers are very close and will likely be talking about how to defeat Austin Trout. Trout’s biggest victory of his career was against Miguel Cotto and a win against Charlo might be considered an even bigger upset, but his lack of activity the past three years plus his recent struggles against high level competition makes those prospects unlikely.
Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1) vs. Abner Mares (31-2-1); WBA “Super” Featherweight Title
The first bout between Santa Cruz and Mares was an action packed bout with an abnormally high number of punches. Santa Cruz won a close decision when they first fought and Mares has been itching for a rematch ever since.
Santa Cruz is three years younger than Mares. He also has a three inch height and a three inch reach advantage. He will be the obvious bigger man inside the ring.
Both boxers are known for their ability to throw a high volume of punches and swarm their opponents. But Santa Cruz has been the more active boxer. He fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016, while Mares only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017.
Both boxers come from a successful amateur career. Santa Cruz won a gold medal in the Junior Olympics and Mares competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Santa Cruz has a slight edge in power. He has nineteen stoppage victories while Mares only has fifteen.
Mares has two losses, but was stopped in one of those losses, a mild upset to Jhonny Gonzalez.
Santa Cruz has defeated the likes of Chris Avalos, Carl Frampton, Kiko Martinez, Abner Mares, Cesar Seda, Eric Morel, and Cristian Mijares. His lone loss was to Carl Frampton, and it was a loss he later avenged.
Mares has defeated the likes of Andres Gutierrez, Jesus Cuellar, Jonathan Oquendo, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan. His losses were to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz, and he hopes to avenge his loss to Santa Cruz on Saturday.
Unfortuntely for Mares he’s still fighting a bigger man who’s in the middle of his athletic prime, while Mares is hitting the age that boxers tend to show signs of slipping.
It seems likely that Santa Cruz will get a more convincing victory on Saturday night.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ Preview: Ancajas vs. Sultan, Yafai vs. Carmona
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the first All Filipino World Title Fight in nearly one hundred years will take place as Jerwin Ancajas battles Jonas Sultan for the IBF Junior Bantamweight Title. The last all Filipino title fight was in 1925 when Pancho Villa defended his title against Clever Sencio. The WBA Junior bantamweight Title will also be on the line as Khalid Yafai defends his title against David Carmona.
This fight card will be part of Top Rank’s deal with ESPN to broadcast fights on ESPN’s new ESPN+ streaming service. The Save Mart Center in Fresno, California will be the host site for Saturday’s fights.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The following is a preview of both world title fights.
Khalid Yafai (23-0) vs. David Carmona (21-5-5); WBA Junior Bantamweight Title
Khalid Yafai is a British Champion that is starting to make a name for himself. He won the WBA title in 2016 against Luis Concepcion and has held it ever since.
He has never tasted defeat and has fourteen knockouts on his resume. He’s the same size as Carmona, but is considerably more experienced and successful both as a professional and as an amateur.
Yafai had a very successful amateur career and represented the United Kingdom in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Carmona has no such successful amateur background.
Carmona fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and once in 2016. Yafai has fought twice in 2017 and four times in 2016.
Carmona’s biggest win of his career was against Antonio Garcia. He has lost almost every time he has stepped up to face good competition. He has losses to Daniel Lozano, Carlos Cuadras, Naoya Inoue, Omar Narvaez, and Fernado Curiel.
Yafai has defeated the likes of Sho Ishida, Suguru Muranaka, and Jason Cunningham.
On paper this fight looks like a mismatch, and in the ring it will probably look like one. The winner of this bout may face the winner of the main event.
Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1) vs. Jonas Sultan (14-3); IBF Junior Bantamweight Title
Jerwin Ancajas is a twenty six year old southpaw Filipino Champion. He’ll be facing a Filipino contender in Jonas Sultan, who is also twenty six years old but fights out of an orthodox stance. Ancajas will have about a two inch height advantage.
Ancajas has fought once in 2018, three times in 2017, and once in 2016. Three of his past four fights were KO/TKO wins and he has twenty stoppages during his career.
Sultan is currently riding a five fight win streak with four of those five fights coming by KO/TKO. He fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016 with nine stoppages during his career.
Ancajas lone loss was to Mark Anthony Gerlado early on in his career in 2012. He has won every fight since then and has defeated the likes of Israel Gonzalez, Jamie Conaln, Teiru Kinoshita, Jose Rodriguez, and McJoe Arroyo.
Sultan does not have the professional resume of Ancajas. He has losses to Go Onaga, Jonathan Francisco, and Rolando Servania. He has had some recent success including victories over John Riel Casimero, Sonny Boy Jaro, Mazakole Tete, and Tatsuya Ikemizu.
Ancajas also has the edge in amateur experience. He allegedly has an amateur record of 90-5 while Sultan has an amateur record of 8-4.
Ancajas has traveled all over the world to fight. He has fought in the United States, Northern Ireland, Australia, Macao, the Philippines and China. Sultan has fought in nations such as South Africa, the Philippines, and Japan. This will be Sultan’s first fight in the United States.
Ancajas has the apparent edge in all the tangible comparisons with Sultan. He’ll likely shine on Saturday night with a bigger name opponent in the near future.