HBO Boxing Preview: Machado vs. Mensah, Munguia vs. Smith
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Night the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada will host a two world title fights to be televised on HBO.
Golden Boy Promotions is the lead promoter for this card which will feature a WBO Junior Middleweight Title Fight between Jaime Munguia and Liam Smith. The co-feature of the night will be between Alberto Macahdo and Rafael Mensah for the WBA Regular Junior Lightweight Title.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Munguia has gained some prominence with his resounding victory over Sadam Ali to capture his first world title and was mentioned as a possible replacement opponent for Gennady Golovkin when the rematch between him and Canelo had to be rescheduled.
The following is a preview of both world title fights.
Alberto Machado (19-0) vs. Rafael Mensah (31-0); WBA Regular Junior Lightweight Title
Alberto Machado is a champion who just won his title with a mild upset over Jezreel Corrales by knockout in his last fight. He’s 27 years old and has a very large reach of 72” for his weight class.
His opponent, Rafael Mensah, fights out of Ghana and not much is known about him except for his record. He’s never fought outside of Ghana but is the number one contender for the WBA Title.
Macahdo has been very active recently and fought three times in 2017 and four times in 2016. Mensah has also been active and fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016, but his last two opponents that he beat had losing records.
Win two fights against below .500 opponents gets you a title shot in the WBA.
Machado had moderate success as an amateur and was a National Champion at the Junior Olympics. Mensah has no notable amateur accomplishments.
Machado has defeated the likes of Carlos Morales, Jezreel Corrales, Juan Jose Martinez, and Miguel Mendoza.
Mensah has defeated nobody of note, but opponents with good records that he has defeated include Fatiou Fassinou and Abdul Jabir.
Macahdo hasn’t been taking Mensah lightly. He stated at a recent press conference,” Rafael is the Number 1 contender for a reason. I’ve got great training at the Wild Card Boxing Club where everyone is very strong. I thank Freddie Roach for focusing on me for the past several weeks. I’m going back to Puerto Rico a world champion.”
Machado probably could probably take the unproven Mensah lightly and still be a heavy favorite.
Jaime Munguia (29-0) vs. Liam Smith (26-1-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
Liam Smith was originally scheduled to face Sadam Ali for the WBO Junior Middleweight Title, but had to pull out and was replaced by Jaime Munguia, who won the title with a dominating TKO victory.
On Saturday they will face each other for that WBO Title.
Munguia has twenty five stoppage wins on his record and will have about a two and a half inch height advantage over Smith. Smith has fourteen stoppage wins on his record.
However, Munguia has six stoppage wins in a row. He is also only twenty one years old and eight years younger than Smith.
Even though Munguia has advantages in power and height, he is not taking Smith lightly. He recently stated, “Liam Smith is a tough fighter. We know what kind of style he has. He’s the type of fighter who will come forward and throw a lot of punches. He has an advantage because he’s been in big fights before. But I have a lot of experience as well. I’ve had over a hundred amateur fights and I have fought all over Mexico. We also know what style he will bring. Smith is the kind of fighter who will stand in front of you with a high guard and then suddenly throw a lot of punches. We both come forward and we both throw a lot of punches, so there is a high possibility that this fight will end in a knockout. If we don’t get the knockout, I’m prepared to go the 12 rounds. This has been the best camp of life. I am very prepared. My sparring has gone well. I feel great and I will show that on Saturday. Don’t miss this big fight!”
Smith looks ready for the challenge. He stated,” I was kept in the mandatory position and now I’ve got my shot against a good champion. It should be an exciting fight. He’s an exciting combatant who comes to fight. He’s young and he’s hungry. But you know me. I’m not going to come here and lie down. It’s not the Jaime Munguia show for me. I’m here to do my job. I’m here to do what I set out to do and get my title back.”
Munguia has defeated the likes of Sadam Ali, Johnny Navarrete, Uriel Gonzalez, and Juan Macias Montiel. He has fought three times in 2018 already and fought seven times in 2017!!
Munguia was a national gold medalist as an amateur and turned pro at the age of 16.
Smith fought three times in 2017 and his lone loss was to Saul Alvarez. He has defeated the likes of Liam Williams, Predgrag Radosevic, Jimmy Kelly, and John Thompson. He was an English ABA National Champion as an amateur.
Smith’s stoppage loss to Canelo should be concerning for his fans, as Munguia is also known for being a strong puncher. Munguia activity as a boxer is rare in today’s age and that should be helpful for him on Saturday.
The hype of Munguia has slowly been gaining steam, and this writer expects it to pick up more steam with a resounding win on Saturday.
WBSS Preview: Oleksandr Usyk vs. Murat Gassiev
By: Ste Rowen
Over four weeks since the 14th June, the soccer world cup has swept Russia and the globe. Overshadowing every other sporting event that dared take place on the same day, week or even months.
Somewhat ironic then that the ‘actual’ biggest sporting event in 2018 will take place six days later and 10km from the climax of the world cup when, in the World Boxing Super Series final, Oleksandr Usyk takes on Murat Gassiev for no less than the WBC, IBF, WBO, Ring Magazine, the actual (no strings, interims or regulars attached) WBA belt, as well as the Muhammad Ali trophy and, arguably most important of all, cruiserweight supremacy.
The fight was originally set to take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia but, like most fights billed for the Middle East, plans fell through weeks after Usyk was forced into postponing the original date due to a shoulder injury. It opened the door for the more logical option of Moscow to take its place.
The Olympiyskiy Arena has hosted the 1980 Olympics, the 2009 Eurovision song contest, and in September it will be the venue for the UFC’s first ever event in Russia, but on Saturday night, the arena will house an estimated 35,000 lucky, bloodthirsty boxing fans.
It’s been a long and explosive road to get to Saturday’s final in Moscow. Way back in the very first 200lb limit quarter final, on the 9th September 2017, when he only held the WBO belt, Usyk taunted and dominated Marco Huck to a 10th round stoppage.
For many, coming into the tournament the Ukrainian southpaw was the outright favourite already, but his September performance in Berlin solidified his number one status amongst a majority of fans. There was no let up from the champ that night in Germany, his movement even more demoralising for Huck than the punches he was landing, which seemed to be every time Oleksandr threw. So, when the referee eventually stepped in, with Marco still on his feet, there were little to no complaints at all.
42 days later, it was Murat’s turn to step into the ring for his quarter final. Due to IBF mandatory commitments, Gassiev had elected to fight Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, a good test for any newly crowned cruiserweight champion. The setting was the Prudential Center in Newark and it was to be a short night as, in the 3rd round, Murat landed a wonderful left hook upstairs/downstairs combination and left the Polish veteran fighting for breath, unable to rise to beat the count.
And so, onto the semi-finals, Usyk to face WBC champion, Mairis Briedis who’d earnt a 12-round decision over Mike Perez, in the only disappointing cruiserweight fight of the whole tournament. Gassiev was to take on then, WBA ‘Regular’ champion Yunier Dorticos who’d steamed through Dmitry Kudryashov in two rounds.
In the ‘WBSS Pre-Fight’ video for Saturday’s bout, Usyk said of his semi-final,
‘‘The first thing I remember is that it was a poor training camp. I could’ve done more work, I should have.’’
And there did seem to be something different about the Ukrainian that night, though many just put it down to a step up in competition. When he took on Mairis, it was the 5th time in a row the 2012 gold medallist had fought away from home (Saturday’s final will be his 6th), and though Usyk displayed the same attempts to dominant, as in his quarterfinal, this time his opponent wasn’t afraid to take punches, to land them. With the Riga crowd screaming him on, Briedis seemed to find another wind again and again, and though Usyk spent the majority of the fight as the aggressor, the Latvian timed his counter punches well enough to keep the fight close. The bout eventually went to the scorecards and was ruled a majority decision to Usyk, now the holder of the WBO and WBC.
A week on from the first semi-final, Gassiev and Dorticos fought an early frontrunner for fight of the year. Dorticos was unafraid of the Russian contingent on his back throughout the fight and started the brighter of the two, but unlike in his quarterfinal, Yunier’s 1-2’s wasn’t having the same effect on this Russian as they did against Kudryashov. As time drew on, it was clear that Murat’s early body attacks were having the lasting effect. In the championship rounds it seemed every punch ‘Iron’ threw shook up the Cuban and in the 12th Gassiev dropped Yunier once, then twice and with 17 seconds left in the fight, rifled Dorticos through the ropes and put an end to proceedings.
It was a fight that stood up alongside past greats such as Holyfield vs Qawi 1 or Haye vs Mormeck, and like the latter, Gassiev came out with two legitimate belts, as months later the WBA would rightfully upgrade the ‘Regular’ belt to the full champion strap.
‘‘Some experts predicted the final would be Gassiev vs. Usyk.’’ said Oleksandr, during his most recent training camp, ‘‘Now Murat and I will fight to be the undisputed world champion.’’
‘‘I’ve set myself on fire. I’m burning. That’s how I characterise my training camp.’’
‘‘We’re going to Moscow. I was not surprised… It doesn’t matter for me. The important thing is to fight, and I have somebody to fight.’’
Never one to give too much away before a fight, Gassiev is keeping a level-headed approach to the final,
‘‘Same as the last camps we do some different things in tactics for a southpaw and other things, nothing changes. Same running, physical exercise, sparring.’’
‘‘Toughest fight for me, for my career. He is number one in the cruiserweight division right now.’’
Ultimately, from hardcore to casual, fans want to see the best fight the best and in terms of the cruiserweights, that’s what we’re getting. For pure, unadulterated boxing, – skill, power, speed, P4P status – this upcoming WBSS final bout is arguably the best fight that can be made right now in this ridiculous sport.
Forget Wilder/Joshua, Spence/Crawford, Inoue/Tete… at least for now anyway.
Across 285 days, 8 fighters, 4 countries, and now 2 finalists.
Ukraine’s biggest vs. Russia’s best to give us an undisputed champion is what boxing, and the world, needs.
We should all be feel. Very feel.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Pacquiao vs. Matthysse
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Manny Pacquiao will be co-promoting his next fight with Golden Boy Promotions at Kuala Lumpur, Malyasia and will be fighting in the United States on ESPN+. Pacquiao’s long time promoter, Top Rank, is involved with the distribution of the fight in the United States but is not assuming their normal promoting duties for Pacquiao.
Not only is Pacquiao not using the full services of Top Rank Promotions, but he’s also entering this fight without the assistance of his long time hall of fame trainer, Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao has already stated that this will not be his last fight, but a loss here could seriously hamper his drawing power as a money fighter. He’s also facing a strong puncher with knockout power in the welterweight division.
Three other title fights are also on this card. Carlos Canizales will be defending his WBA “Regular” Junior Flyweight Title against Bin Lu. Moruti Mthalane and Muhammad Waseem will be fighting for the vacant IBF Flyweight Title. Also, Jhack Tepora will be facing Edivaldo Ortega for the vacant WBA Interim Featherweight Title.
The following is a preview of the main fight of the night between Lucas Matthysse and Manny Pacquiao for the WBA “Regular” Welterweight title.
Lucas Matthysse (39-4) vs. Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2); WBA “Regular” Welterweight Title
Manny Pacquiao has been featured on 23 PPV fights and for a long time was one of boxing’s most popular draws. However, he’s thirty nine years old and turns forty in December and this will be his second consecutive fight not on PPV.
His drawing power in the United States is waning, and he’s taking on a risky fight after his controversial, and outright terrible, decision loss to Jeff Horn.
Pacquiao is four years older than Matthysse and will be giving up an inch in height and two inches in reach. Pacquiao has 38 knockouts in his resume and Matthysse has 36, but Pacquiao hasn’t had a stoppage victory since he defeated Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Pacquiao only fought one time in 2017 and twice in 2016, but Matthysse has only fought once in 2018 and once in 2017. Both boxers haven’t been very active recently.
Matthysse power can be devastating. He has defeated the likes of Tewa Kiram, Emmanuel Taylor, Ruslan Providnikov, Roberto Ortiz, John Monlina Jr., Lamont Peterson, Mike Dallas Jr., and DeMarcus Corley. He has disputable losses to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander and clearer losses to Danny Garcia and Viktor Postol.
Pacquiao doesn’t fight with the same blind rage that he used to when he was younger, but he still possess good speed and movement. He has four losses in his past nine fights. Some of his more notable losses were to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley Jr., and Erik Morales.
His wins include Jessie Vargas, Timothy Bradley Jr., Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Osca De La Hoya, Maco Antonio Barrera, and Erik Morales.
Father time is catching up with Pacquiao and he’s not taking on an easy opponent in a non-ppv fight. Luckily for Pacquiao Matthysse isn’t as big of a welterweight as Jeff Horn, but he still packs a lot of power in his punch.
Can Pacquiao still hang with the best in the welterweight division? A lot of boxing pundits are saying no. His fight with Matthysse should give us a more definitive answer to that question.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Prograis Defends Title Against Juan Jose Velasco
By: Ken Hissner
Interim WBC Super Lightweight southpaw Regis “Rougarou” Prograis, 21-0 (18), out of Houston, TX, riding a six fight knockout streak defends his title against WBC Latino Champ Juan Jose “El Pitbull” Velasco, 20-0 (12), of Bueno Aires, ARG, over 12 rounds.
This is a “homecoming” for Prograis fighting at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, LA. He was born in New Orleans and has always wanted to headline there so Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment and Sampson Boxing has made his dream come true. On Saturday at 7pm ESPN will show this card.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
“It’s a dream to come here. The Lakefront Arena, I grew up right around the corner from there. I have to hide my excitement for I still have to fight. I hope to bring big time boxing back to New Orleans. Velasco is going to try to knock me out. I’m focused. There are no distractions,” said Prograis.
“Regis is a great fighter. To be a great champion, you have to beat the great fighters. I want to prove that Saturday night, that I’m elite like him,” said Velasco.
There is a strong undercard featuring Lightweight Teofimo Lopez, 9-0 (7), of David, FL, takes on IBO Continental Champion William “Baby Face” Silva, 25-1 (14), of Sao Paulo, BRZ, fight for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Lightweight title, over 10 rounds.
“I definitely want to showcase more of what I’m capable of doing. People have yet to see everything of me. This is a good step up,” said Lopez.
“I’m ready for the fight. It’s a real important fight. I had a really good training camp and I’m ready to go,” said Silva.
Coming off a draw decision super featherweight southpaw Mexican Erik De Leon, 17-0-1 (10), out of Detroit, MI, takes on Adrian “Chinito” Young, 25-4-2 (19), out of Sinaloa, MEX, over 10 rounds.
“I can’t wait to see all my fans. I can’t wait to display my talent and everything I got. It’s going to show Saturday so get there early,” said De Leon.
Also, on the undercard are unbeaten boxers like super welter 2016 Olympian Charles Conwell, 7-0 (5), of Cleveland, OH, taking on Travis “Sweet Feet” Scott, 19-3 (5), of Baton Rouge, LA., over 10 rounds.
Also, Jonathan “The King” Guidry, 10-0-2 (5), out of Dulac, LA., taking on Aaron Chavers, 8-4-1 (3), out of Oklahoma City, OK, over 6 rounds.
Also, super middleweight Tyler Howard, 14-0 (9), out of Crossville, TN, taking on Javier Frazier, 8-3-1 (4), out of SC, over 6 rounds.
Unbeaten boxers facing one another are super lightweight southpaw Fazlidden Gaibnazarov, 4-0 (2), of UZB and living in L.A., CA, against welterweight Kevin Johnson, 5-0 (4), out of Detroit, MI, over 8 rounds.
Unbeaten featherweight PR’s Jean Carlos “Chapito” Rivera, 13-0 (8), out of Orlando, FL, takes late sub Dominican Angel “El Gato” Luna, 11-4-1 (6), over 10 rounds.
Tyron Zeuge vs. Rocky Fielding Preview
By: Ste Rowen
This Saturday night in Germany, WBA ‘Regular’ super middleweight champion, Tyron Zeuge, 22-0-1 (12KOs) takes on, Commonwealth and recently-vacated British champion, Rocky Fielding, 26-1 (14KOs) at Offenburg’s, Baden-Arena, for the fourth defence of his secondary title.
Zeuge, fighting in Germany for the 24th time in his 24-fight pro career, defended his WBA strap just over a year ago when he took on Fielding’s fellow Brit and Liverpudlian, Paul Smith Jr, dropping the 3-time world title challenger, along the way to earning a dominant 12-round decision, and though from the 1st bell the victory never seemed in doubt, Tyron’s lack of power left the crowd wanting something more from the man hoping to emulate fellow countrymen, Arthur Abraham and current trainer, Juergen Braehmer by making big waves in the 168lb division, but he had the opportunity, in his first bout since the Smith fight, to prove to the German fans he had the ability to finish opponents when he took on Isaac Ekpo for a second time in March this year.
Photo Credit: Rocky Fielding Twitter Account
The first time the German met Nigerian, Ekpo it ended early when Zeuge suffered a cut near his right eye and the bout was called a Technical Decision victory to Zeuge in the 5th round. So, there was unfinished business for the two fighters heading into the March event. This time the WBA strap holder made lightwork of Isaac, dropping his opponent once at the end of the 1st and then landing a multitude of huge right hooks in round 2, dropping Ekpo again and forcing the referee into ending the bout.
Speaking to German website ‘BOXSPORT’, Tyron is confident he’ll still be unbeaten after Saturday,
‘I’m not too concerned with my opponent. Juergen (Braehmer) took a close look at Fielding and analysed him… He is a fighter, this will certainly be a good fight.’
And whether Fielding is his toughest opponent to date?
‘Hard to say, the next opponent is always the hardest.’
Three months ago, Fielding was apparently in talks to face another champion in Mexican, Gilberto Ramirez, the current WBO champion, but instead finds himself fighting for a lesser belt in, some would say, an even more hostile environment in Germany, as opposed to a US showdown with Ramirez.
But speaking to ‘Boxing News Online’ the former British and current Commonwealth champion is confident in his own ability to silence the crowd, and if it goes the distance, win over the judges,
‘It’s an opportunity that’s been presented to me and I have to take it, wherever it is I’ll go…The pressures on him to keep that belt in front of his home crowd.’
‘Zeuge is a good fighter, he does everything well, but I think I’ve boxed the better opponents…and I think I punch harder.’
Rocky is on a 5-fight win streak since he was knocked out in one round by current World Boxing Super Series finalist, Callum Smith back in 2015. The Liverpool native has earned completive, split 12-round decisions over Christopher Rebrasse and John Ryder, as well as 3 stoppage victories, the most impressive coming against Scotsman, David Brophy in November last year when Fielding took less than 60 seconds to wipe out then, 19-1-1, Brophy, whose only other loss came at the hands of current WBA ‘Super’ champion, George Groves.
It’s power that could be the real gamechanger if Fielding is to win. He’ll have the slight height advantage when the two meet, but arguably Zeuge’s best asset is the ramrod jab he’s displayed in his biggest fights, most notably when he took on Smith last year and no doubt from the 1st bell on Saturday it will be the German who attempts to immediately establish himself in the middle of the ring behind a constant throw of his piston left hand.
But as mentioned, it will be interesting to see, if and when Fielding lands his first significant punch, whether his opponent has the chin to withstand the shot, despite being the man heading into the bout with a KO loss on his record, Rocky has certainly come up against a consistently higher quality, and bigger punching calibre of opponent.
Whoever emerges victorious, the super middleweight division is packed with interesting matchups, from the WBSS finalists, Groves & Smith, to fellow belt holders Ramirez, Benavidez and recently crowned Uzcategui, and the broader string of challengers in the two Calebs, Truax and Plant or Eubank Jr. The list goes on for the 168lbers.
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.
Top Rank Boxing Preview: Conlan vs. Dos Santos
By: Oliver McManus
There’s been a lot of talk about returns and comebacks in a British ring over the past weeks and month but this weekend, in Belfast, there’s, arguably, the most exciting return of all; for the first time in eight years, Michael Conlan will fight in his home town of Belfast and headline at the SSE Arena in front of a raucous crowd of near 11,000.
Already 7 and 0 as a professional, having fought in various states across America as well as in Australia, Saturday marks Conlan’s first professional fight in the United Kingdom and he’ll be looking to make a significant statement up against Adeilson Dos Santos.
Dos Santos brings pedigree to the encounter having challenged for Jessie Magdaleno’s WBO Super Bantamweight crown and whilst the Brazilian has only recently moved up to the heavier weight class – this will be his third successive fight at featherweight – his experience is something that Conlan refused to look beyond.
Something of a “gatekeeper” across both divisions, Dos Santos will be viewing this as his opportunity to cause an upset of untold magnitude and instantly reinstate himself as in-and-around the world title scene.
Conlan, himself, says 2018 is all about setting up and preparing for a big 2019, the year in which he envisions becoming world champion, and will be looking to display all of his natural ability in the most pressurised environment of his life.
The Rio Olympian has gone on record as saying he would like opponents who come to fight as opposed to those who simply tuck up, and Adeilson is the type of man who will start fast and hard, looking to disrupt the rhythm of Conlan, in a bid to really rattle the nerves of the Irish sensation.
Let’s be clear, on paper, Conlan should be more than enough to overcome his latest opponent but, as we’ve seen all too often, paper means nothing and Dos Santos has a frequent habit of taking to the centre of the ring during the first couple of rounds and swinging some wild left hands from a, borderline, crouched posture.
Indeed from some of the footage of his fights back in Brazil – undeniably against lesser opposition – he really does favour a three-four punch combination of left hooks to the ribcage of his opponent.
Conlan, meanwhile, has been forced into changing his style in past fights in order to accommodate for trickier opponents, having to go forward and really press his case whereas the more natural style of his relies on having a livewire opponent that he can really trade and tee-off with.
Genuinely one of the best counter-punchers in the business there’s an expectation that this bout – scheduled for 10 rounds – will enable Conlan to showcase what made his name in the amateur ranks and, certainly, build on everything he’s learned so far as a professional.
Also on the card is a ferocious rivalry for between Jono Carroll and Declan Geraghty as the two meet for the first since a controversial four rounder between the pair way back in 2014; for context, Geraghty was six and 0 whilst Carroll was two and 0 when they faced off in November, four years ago, with the two boxers producing a barnstormer of a fighter, Geraghty leading on the scorecard, before Declan got disqualified for a repetitive use of the head in the fourth round.
Since then the heat has been brewing and the blood between them is genuinely bad, the talk from both camps in the build up to this fight has shown no signs of simmering down and, indeed, it looks as though fight night will be the boiling point and produce, yet another, sensational clash.
Geraghty believes he is the more naturally gifted boxer and that his class should outshine the “brawling” nature of Jono Carroll and since that loss Geraghty has shown an unrivalled development in terms of maturity, looking really patient and composed throughout his career in not pushing the stoppage.
Admittedly, as with every boxer, there is a weakness and you must suggest his chin is questionable having been dropped on three occasions, once against Eusebio Osejo and twice against James Tennyson, but even that has developed and Geraghty has looked particularly impressive over the course of his last 10 rounders – against John Quigley and Michael Roberts – and, let’s not forget, he has the experience to learn from his previous mistakes.
Jono Carroll, despite that tag as a brawler, has only notched up two stoppage victories from 15 wins without defeat and he takes to the ring with, yes, aggression but a continued, constant aggression that just wears down, fatigues, his opponent as opposed to bouncing them out of the ring.
The current IBF Inter-Continetnal Super-Featherweight champion, he too faced John Quigley – over 12 rounds – and claimed an edgy split decision against his fellow Irishman but looked a bit better than the scorecards suggested. If you were to isolate the Quigley fights then you’d suggest that Geraghty performed better but there’s no point in over-extrapolating one particular bout and Carroll has been consistently impressive over the course of his career.
A Prizefighter champion – that’s no mean feat – he beat Stephen Foster, Gary Buckland and Michael Devine on his way to lifting the trophy and that was only in his fourth, fifth and sixth fights.
These were experienced contenders and, albeit over only three rounds, Carroll’s high-tempo combined with a classy fighting style secured him the win and ensured development far beyond his age.
The winner of this bout will gain bragging rights for life but, more importantly, they’ll push themselves ever closer to the coveted world title shot and this could, easily, be fight of the night.
But you look down the card and there’s so much talent stacked across Tyrone McKenna taking on Jack Catterall over 10 rounds in the super lightweight division – two sleek and skilled stylish southpaws going at it, McKenna coming off the back of a convincing win against Anthony Upton and Catterall looking to further push himself up the world rankings.
Lewis Benson and Johnny Coyle will pit their unbeaten records against each other as they go head-to-head over the course of 10 rounds in a fight that looks like going the distance; Coyle is the established fighter despite being younger than Benson but ‘Kid Caramel’, as he’s known, has looked SO impressive every time he’s been in the ring so, yet again, this is another 50-50 fight that’s just TOO GOOD to miss.
Joe Ham vs Tyrone McCullagh, Gary Corcoran, Sunny Edwards, Gary Cully, Lewis Crocker, Taylor McGoldrick, Padraig McCrory… even some 21 year old Cuban called Neslan Machado, this is, without doubt, the CARD OF THE YEAR from any British promoter.
Bring it on.
Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis Takes on Alberto “Metralleta” Mosquera on ESPN
by: Ken Hissner
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions goes south of the border this Friday at the Grand Oasis Arena, in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, over ESPN. In the Main Event Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis, 19-0 (13), of Lynn, Massachusetts, takes on former WBA Fedelatin Super Lightweight champion Alberto “Metralleta” Mosquera, 25-3-2 (16), of Curundu, Panama, over 10 rounds.
Ellis has a brother Super Middleweight Ronald, who is 15-0-2 (10), whose last fight this writer covered in Philadelphia in March. In December of 2016 Rashidi had his biggest win to date knocking out Eddie Gomez, 19-1, in the first round for the IBF North American Welterweight title.
Super Bantamweight Francisco “Panchito” Horta, 17-3-1 (10), of Cancun, Mexico, takes on former WBC Youth Silver champion David “Zamorita” Reyes, 17-3-1 (6), of Sonora, Mexico, over 8 rounds.
Horta is 9-0-1 in his last 10 fights. Reyes biggest win to date is a split decision over Jonathan Sanchez Cantu, 18-2, in 2017.
Coming off a 10 round win in April for the WBO Latino Minimumweight title over Puerto Rico’s Janiel “Pototo” Rivera, 16-2-3, Mexican Carlos “Mexicanito” Licona, 12-0 (2), of Westminster, California, takes on Jose Eduardo “Motorcito” Ramirez Armenta, 10-3 (4), of Tlalchapa, Mexico, over 8 rounds. Armenta has won 3 of his last 4 fights.
Bantamweight southpaw Eric “Pitbull” Gamboa, 14-1 (9), of Cancun, Mexico, takes on Jose Luis “Gatito” Lopez Hernandez, 9-3-2 (6), of Guanajuato, Mexico, over 8 rounds. Gamboa has won his last 7 fights. In November 2017 Hernandez drew with Jorge Rivera Villegas, 7-0.
Featherweight Eduardo “El Sugar” Nunez, 10-0 (10), of Sinaloa, Mexico, seeks his 11th straight knockout taking on Hiram Gallardo, 6-2-2 (1), of Chetumal, Mexico, who is coming off a draw with Joaquin Cruz, 12-1, in March. This is for 6 rounds.
Super Lightweight Luis “Coyote” Salamanca, 12-1-1 (5), of Cancun, Mexico, takes on Jose Luis Aguilar, 8-3-1 (1), of Cancun, Mexico. Salamanca is 10-0-1 in his last eleven fights. Aguilar defeated Jesus “Jesse” Trevino, 13-2, in November of 2017. This is for 6 rounds.
A Look at Creed II
By: Kirk Jackson
The trailer for the Creed II released and it appears audiences are ready for round two of the revitalized Rocky series.
This upcoming installment is the sequel to Creed and the eighth installment in the Rocky film series. Creed II is directed by Steven Caple Jr., and written by Sylvester Stallone and Cheo Hodari Coker.
Creed II stars Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, and Wood Harris, all of whom will reprise their roles from previous entries, while Florian Munteanu joins the cast portraying Viktor Drago.
While Creed writer-director and frequent Michael B. Jordan collaborator Ryan Coogler, is not directing the sequel, he serves as an executive producer for this film.
While the Creed embodied elements of the first Rocky movie, the sequel appears to embody elements of Rocky II, Rocky III and Rocky IV.
Through the short montage of clips, it appears to display the ascension of Adonis Creed (played by Michael B. Jordan) as a fighter – more than likely a world champion at this point.
We saw stages of growth, maturity in the first film for Adonis, as he went from young, unproven, undisciplined boxer, aggressively fighting his way to the top of his respective sport and battling to establish separation from his father’s shadow.
In addition to that battle, Adonis was able to piece together meaningful relationships and develop some form of normalcy after initial subjection towards emotional and physical chaos due to his birth father’s indiscretions and untimely death.
Fast-forward towards the sequel, the major theme appears to be one of redemption.
Adonis or ‘Donnie’ proved himself worthy of a fighter and carved his path to the top, but the mission was not quite complete due to the successful title defense from “Pretty” Ricky Conlan (played by Tony Bellew).
At this point, Conlan is probably in jail (as the original storyline projected) and Adonis will battle Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler (played by Andre Ward) for top position in the light heavyweight division.
Adonis is seeking further validation and redemption of sorts, by defeating Wheeler – who bested him in a gym sparring session taking place in the first film, while winning the world titles – in which should silence the critics.
Another key point as far as plot is redemption of sorts for Adonis, as he aims to defeat the son of Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren), the illegally enhanced powerful athlete responsible for murdering his father in the ring way back in Rocky IV.
Ivan’s son Viktor (played by Florian Munteanu) is fighting for redemption of sorts and perhaps attempting to carve his own path and legacy as did Adonis in the last film.
Other plots to follow are the relationships between Adonis and his adoptive mother and widow of Apollo, Mary Anne Creed (played by Phylicia Rashad) and his love interest Bianca Porter (played by Tessa Thompson). Bianca continues to deal with progressive hearing loss and shares a newborn child with Adonis.
Of course we can’t forget the continued development between Adonis and the titular character from previous films Mr. Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone) himself.
Rocky is the head trainer and a fatherly figure of sorts to Adonis. Rocky is also battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The secondary plotlines extending beyond boxing is in part as why Creed was successful; the problems plaguing the characters of the film are relatable to the audience. Watching the antagonist rise from ultimate underdog status to overcome various obstacles can be inspiring at the very least.
It’s the reason why people gravitate towards the ideal of Rocky or any underdog for that matter.
The sequel for Creed is necessary because there are loose ends that need resolution. However, it would be unfortunate to see Creed travel down the same path as of the earlier installments of the Rocky franchise.
Sequels upon sequels of repetitive plot and unnecessary cinema, repeated themes to ad nauseam.
Creed is a fresh start – albeit borrowing and playing off similar elements in which made the original Rocky successful.
The problems plaguing some of the secondary characters from this continuation of the story and how they interact with Adonis should be compelling theater.
Themes of love, grief, family lineage, pride, history, revenge, growth and develop may all factor into this film.
It’ll be interesting to see how everything unfolds as the son of Apollo Creed and the son of Ivan Drago collide as both characters seek their own version of redemption.
The reunion between Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa should make for scintillating cinema, as should the interaction between Adonis and Ivan.
Audiences will find out as Creed II is scheduled for release nationwide November 21, 2018.
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.’
Claressa “T-Rex” Shields & Christine Hammer Continue on a Collision Course to Meet
By: Ken Hissner
This Friday Salita Promotions brings USA Showtime fans the two best female middleweights in the world in separate title defenses. Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, 5-0 (2), of Flint, MI, the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight champion drops down to middleweight in quest of two vacant belts in the IBF and WBA Middleweight belts at stake. She will be taking on WBA and WBO World Female Super Welterweight champion Hanna “La Amazona” Gabriels, 18-1-1 (11), of Alajuela, Costa Rica.
“It makes me so happy and it just touches my heart to see four female fighters on the main fight poster. I was so happy that they put them on TV. They have put me on before but it’s always been my goal to put other women on so when they decided to put Tori Nelson and Christina Hammer on women’s boxing is going somewhere,” said Claressa “T-Rex” Shields.
“I would like to say I am excited and grateful to be here, and share the ring with so many great fighters. I think it’s going to be a great fight night for all boxing fans, and after the weigh-in it will be all on us to make the very best out of all the effort and preparation we have had in these past months,” said Hanna “La Amazona” Gabriels.
In the co-feature WBC & WBO World Female Middleweight champion Christina Hammer, 22-0 (10), of KAZ, living in Dortmund, Germany, defends her title against the former IBF and WBC World Female UBF and IBA World Welterweight champion Tori Nelson, 17-1-3 (2), of Ashburn, VA, coming off a loss to Claressa Shields in January.
“US is the hot spot in boxing. It has always been my dream to fight here and show US that I am the champion and the best female middleweight in the world. I had a great final preparation in Florida. In a gym not white collar work out style, but tough, hot, pure and aggressive. I am in the best shape ever and can’t wait to go into the ring and show US my best performance. I am grateful to Dmitriy Salita and Mark Taffet, are giving me this opportunity. It is time to shine,” said Christina Hammer.
Shields and Hammer are on a collision course to unify the middleweight’s four title belts. Shields will be coming down in weight and Hammer up in weight. For Hammer she will be making her US debut.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Carlos Ocampo, Roman vs. Flores
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Errol Spence Jr., a man many consider to be the world’s top welterweight and one of the world’s best pound for pound fighters, will be making his mandatory defense of his IBF Welterweight title against Carlos Ocampo. Spence will be returning to his home state of Texas to make his title defense.
This fight card will take place at the Dallas Ford Center.
The co-feature of the evening will be a WBA Junior Featherweight bout between Danny Roman and Moises Flores. Other prospects will also be appearing on the undercard including former world champion Javier Fortuna, Yordenis Ugas, Roberto Marroquin, and Stephen “Scooter” Fulton.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The following is a preview of the televised fights.
Danny Roman (24-2-1) vs. Moises Flores (25-0); WBA Junior Featherweight Title
The opening bout of the night is between Danny Roman and Moises Flores for the WBA Junior Featherweight Title.
Roman is twenty eight years old and three years younger than his opponent, but will be giving up three and a half inches in height and an inch and a half in reach. Roman is also the lesser puncher of the two. Flores has seventeen stoppages in his career compared to the nine stoppages that Roman has.
Neither boxer has a notable amateur career to discuss.
Roman has been more active than Flores. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and four times in 2016. Flores only fought once in 2017, and one round at that against Guillermo Rigondeaux, and once in 2016.
Flores lone blemish on his record was a no contest against Guillermo Rigondeaux, but he was getting badly beaten at the time and the referee actually originally ruled it a stoppage victory for Rigondeaux before it was later reviewed and ruled a no contest due to punches landing after the final bell. Flores has beaten the likes of Paulus Ambunda, Luis Cusolito, and Oscar Escandon.
Roman had to travel to Japan to win the WBA title. He has defeated the likes of Ryo Matsumoto, Shun Kubo, Adam Lopez, and Christian Esquivel.
Flores long layoff, which includes a very brief encounter with Guillermo Rigondeaux, will hurt him against a younger opponent. Roman isn’t known for his power, but his last loss was on 2013 and he has won sixteen fights in a row.
Roman likely won’t win by stoppage, but he should win a decision.
Errol Spence Jr. (23-0) vs. Carlos Ocampo (22-0), IBF Welterweight Title
Errol Spence is one of the top stars in the welterweight division and has held the IBF title since his thrashing of Kell Brook in May of 2017.
He’s looking for a big fight and a matchup with either Terrance Crawford or Keith Thurman is a fight that most fight fans are looking forward to. However, he first has to take on his mandatory challenger, on paper a clearly overmatched Carlos Ocampo.
Spence is a tall, rangy southpaw, and is in the midst of his prime at 28 years old. Ocampo has been relatively unchallenged as a professional and is only 22 years old.
Spence had a highly successful amateur career and competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Ocampo experienced some success on the Mexican amateur circuit, but not on world circuit.
Spence also has the edge in power. He has twenty stoppages on his record, including ten wins in a row. Ocampo only has thirteen stoppages to his record, and only has one stoppage win in his past four fights.
Spence has beaten the likes of Lamont Peterson, Kell Brook, Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco, and Ronald Cruz. Spence fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and twice in 2016.
Ocampo’s biggest victories to date were over Jorge Paez Jr. and Charlie Navarro. He has never fought outside of Mexico. He fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Spence should win this bout relatively easily, and will likely get another stoppage victory.
Joe Joyce vs. Richard Lartey Preview
By: Ste Rowen
If March 2018 was the month of the heavyweight’s current elite, then June is surely it’s month for prospects…and Tyson Fury.
Last weekend saw the return of the lineal heavyweight champion from an almost 3-year hiatus; as well as 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, Filip Hrgovic moving to 5-0 (4KOs) with a 4th round stoppage over the previously unbeaten Mexican, Filiberto Tovar.
Photo Credit: Joy Joyce Twitter Account
Next week we’ll see 2016 gold medallist, Tony Yoka 4-0 (3KOs), take on former opponent of Luis Ortiz and Dillian Whyte, Dave ‘The White Rhino’ Allen in Paris; as well as Daniel Dubois taking on his biggest test in Tom Little at the O2 arena in London for the English heavyweight belt.
But this weekend, at heavyweight at least, belongs to current Commonwealth champion and 4-0 (4KOs), Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce who takes on 12-1 (9KOs), Richard Lartey of Ghana at London’s York Hall.
It’s been a sharp rise for the 2016 Rio silver medallist. Joyce started his pro career in a risky bout with Ian Lewison, who just 12 months previous to their fight, fought Dillian Whyte for the British belt, in which Lewison was eventually grinded down into a 10th round stoppage, of a fairly one-sided fight.
Even so, the risk was high for the ‘Juggernaut’, but the reward was eventually worth it. Overcoming a few awkward, early rounds until eventually finding his stride in his pro-debut and dominating his fellow Brit, forcing Lewison’s corner to throw in the towel in the 8th round.
From there, the talk from Joyce’s corner was big, including his promoter, David Haye eyeing bouts with the best of Britain, as well as attempting to goad Dereck Chisora into a fight with his protégé. More recently, Joyce called out Jerrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller on Twitter.
Joe was back out for his second and third pro bouts in February and March this year, spending just less than 4 minutes of combined time in the ring to knockout Rudolf Jozic, and America’s Donnie Palmer. Then it was onto his biggest fight yet, up against the Commonwealth champion at the time Lenroy Thomas, on the undercard of BellewHaye2.
The Jamaican turned up looking in great shape, he always seems to, but once the first bell tolled, his conditioning leant nothing to stopping the ‘Juggernaut’ hurtling towards him. Dropping his foe three times in total before the referee waved off the bout towards the end of the 2nd round, Joe Joyce was now the Commonwealth champion in just 4 fights. Quicker than Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Lennox Lewis and Trevor Berbick. Not a bad record to have, especially if Joyce manages to claim the British as well – currently held by Hughie Fury – within the next year.
It’s not just talent that’s seeing Joe put onto the fast track. At 32, even for a heavyweight, time isn’t exactly on his side if he wants his peak to coincide with facing the very best of his division.
His opponent on Friday will be fighting someone with a winning record for just the 4th time in his pro career.
Lartey knocked out 1-0, Nuzu Azuma in his 4th fight; was stopped by 11-0, Ergun Mersin in the 5th round of his one and only fight so far outside of Ghana; and in September last year he earned a 12-round decision over 13-7-1, Ibrahim Marshall in what would be his 6th fight of 2017.
It’s difficult to ascertain whether the Ghanaian is a worthy opponent for Joyce, his record, despite only 1 defeat, suggests not, and there’s next to no footage online of Lartey, but if nothing else, at least he’s active.
But on Friday night, if all goes to plan for Joyce, his opponent will play just a small supporting act in his performance. It gives the ‘Juggernaut’ an opportunity to defend the rainbow belt for the first time, and it keeps him active, and in the general boxing public’s minds for the future.
Golden Boy on ESPN Preview: Mercito Gesta vs. Robert Manzanarez
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar de La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions will be featuring what looks like a dynamite Main Event between Filipino southpaw Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta, 31-2-2 (17), out of San Diego, CA, and southpaw Robert “Tito” Manzanarez, 36-1 (29), out of Phoenix, AZ, for the vacant WBO NABO Lightweight title Thursday night on ESPN2 at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA.
Photo Credit: Mercito Gesta Twitter Account
Gesta is coming off his second attempt at a world title fight in January while Manzanarez is riding a fifteen bout winning streak after suffering his only loss back in 2012.
The co-feature will have a pair of L.A., CA, featherweights battling for the vacant NABF title. Mexican Edgar Valerio, 13-0 (8), will be taking on Manny “Chato” Robles, Jr., 15-0 (7), over 10 rounds. It will be the first 10 rounder for Robles.
There will be three other bouts on the card featuring Super Lightweight Luis Feliciano, 6-0 (3), out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, taking on Danny Montoya, 11-6 (8), out of Reynosa, MEX, over 8 rounds. Montoya returning to the ring after a year absence.
Welterweight Herbert Acevedo, 14-2 (6), out of Oxnard, CA, takes on David “Terminator” Thomas, 6-2-1 (2), of Orange, TX, over 6 rounds.
Lightweight Daniel Perales, 10-12-1 (5), out of Monterrey, MEX, takes on Ricardo Alan Fernandez, 3-8-4 (0), of Chihuahua, MEX, over 6 rounds. Both are on losing streaks and need a win.
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.