DAZN Boxing Preview: Edwards vs. Moreno
By: Ste Rowen
An early Christmas present and a dream realised. On the 22nd December last year, and in his second attempt in just fifteen fights, Charlie Edwards, in dominant fashion, defeated Cristofer Rosales to claim the WBC flyweight world championship. It came just over two years since his last world title attempt where he was stopped by John Riel Casimero in ten rounds.
But last December, Edwards was the man on the front foot, prepared to pressure and to take a punch to land two. Almost a coming of age fight for the 26-year-old, that proved he belonged with the elite at 112lb. Edwards has called out the current IBF super-flyweight champion and fellow Brit, Kal Yafai but Charlie’s first defence, this weekend at London’s Copper Box Arena, comes against Spaniard and Sergio Martinez managed fighter, Angel Moreno.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
At a press-conference, Edwards, 14-1 (6KOs) reflected on his world title win and his first defence,
‘‘When the going was getting tough and it didn’t look like it was coming off I had to believe and I had to keep pushing…I’d come in to the gym with Grant (Smith, Trainer) and I was in tears cos nothing was coming off.
I want to be a British great and to be a British great I want to be a multi-weight world champion.
Not only am I headlining my own show, but I’ve got some former Team GB teammates on the show.
Angel Moreno is a great fighter. I think we’ve shared 24-rounds together but it’s gonna heat up really nicely on the night.’’
On paper the signs don’t look good for Moreno, 19-2-2 (6KOs). When the Spaniard has fought outside of his home country (once in France and Ukraine respectively), Angel has come unstuck. A 12-round defeat to Thomas Masson of France, but more significantly a unanimous decision defeat to current WBA flyweight champion, Artem Dalakian, back in 2015 when the Ukrainian was 10-0.
Almost four years on from the Dalakian defeat, Moreno has only fought a scheduled 12-round bout once, his defeat to Masson in 2016. The furthest Angel has gone – and won – is ten rounds vs. gatekeeper, Jose Rivas in the backend of 2017.
However, Moreno will be hoping to follow fellow Spaniard, Sergio Garcia (against Ted Cheeseman), in upsetting the Brit, on foreign soil,
‘‘Charlie is a great boxer, but anything can happen on the night…I don’t think Sergio’s win was any surprise. I will certainly look to take inspiration from that.’’
Also on Saturday night’s card at the Copper Box is light-heavyweight rising star, Joshua Buatsi who looks to improve to 10-0 whilst also winning the vacant British 175lb strap vs. Liam Conroy.
Buatsi, 9-0 (7KOs) was last seen in the ring making lightwork of former super-middleweight IBO champion, Renold Quinlan – knocking him out in the 1st round. In fact, Josh has stopped his last three opponents in the 1st round and now, with the British belt vacant, the timing seems perfect for the much-hyped Buatsi to take his first significant belt as a pro,
‘‘The title is part of the journey I’m taking. So Conroy is the man that’s been put forward and March 23rd, it’s gonna happen…I’ve been getting the sparring that’s been more than ten rounds. As the rounds go on I get better, stronger, fitter. I’ll be there from 1-12 so whatever number it is, I’ll take it.
Don’t be surprised if it’s the 1st.’’
Conroy, 16-3-1 (8KOs), has been waiting a while for a shot at the Lonsdale belt. The 26-year-old is on a 9-fight win streak, stretching back to late 2015. His five straight stoppage victories also make Conroy more than a live dog against the Olympic silver medallist. He seemed in confident mood when he spoke to the media,
‘‘It’s been a long time coming. I won my British title eliminator in 2017 and I’ve been working relentlessly…It’s not about the opponent, it’s about the title. No matter who it was, I would’ve took it.’’
Fighting in an intriguing British-Commonwealth cruiserweight unification, British (and former Commonwealth champ, Lawrence Okolie takes on current Commonwealth titlist, Wadi Camacho in a scheduled 12-rounds.
Okolie, 11-0 (8KOs) has been understandably criticised for past bouts, especially against former British champion, Matty Askin where, despite his proven punching power, Lawrence took a very hug-filled approach to fighting to see him through the full twelve rounds. But if any British cruiserweight can force the action out of Okolie, it must surely be Camacho.
And the two men have a shared opponent in Isaac Chamberlain who Okolie dropped twice and decisioned over twelve and Wadi was beaten over ten.
Camacho, 21-7 (12KOs), claimed the Commonwealth with a Technical Decision over Arfan Iqbal and combined with hooking up with a new team, is confident of defeating the odds-on favourite,
‘‘I’ve been reborn since my last two fights and whoever was there watching it, what you saw was just a little glimpse…Everyone knows I’m an entertaining fighter. I’ve never been in a dull fight and I’ll give it my all.’’
Lawrence fought just last month, dropping Tamas Lodi four times en route to a 3rd round TKO, and after, at times, looking a little confused on how he wants to fight as a pro, Okolie is keen on another short night on Saturday,
‘‘I see Wadi on social media calling me names but when he comes up here he’s very quiet and respectful so hopefully he can bring that same energy from social media to the fight…When I stop and think, I was working at McDonalds and yet somehow I’ve become an Olympian, somehow I’ve won the British title, somehow I’ve won the Commonwealth title, somehow I’m gonna knock out Wadi Camacho on Saturday.’’
ESPN Boxing Preview: Jessie Magdaleno vs Rico Ramos and Kubrat Pulev vs Bogdan Dinu
By: Hans Themistode
After taking almost one year off, former WBO Super Bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs) makes his return to the ring. In his last outing he was stopped in the 11th round by Isaac Dogboe in a contest that many believed he would win handily.
Dogboe was an unknown fighter to many of the boxing public but quickly showed his abilities. Early on it seemed as though Magdaleno was on his way to an easy victory as he floored his man in the opening round. Dogboe managed to regain his composure and drop Magdaleno in the fifth round and again in the 11th before he was ultimately stopped.
The former champion has all of the skills in the world but has been inactive in recent years. He has fought once in both 2017 and 2018. He is looking to get himself back into the championship mix as he takes on Rico Ramos (30-5, 14 KOs) at The Hanger, Costa Mesa in California this Saturday night.
Ramos will be no rush over as he has won his past six contests. He too is looking to build his own name and a win over a former champion in Jessie Magdaleno will instantly make him a contender in the division.
At just age 27 Magdaleno is in the prime of his career and still has plenty of time to once again fight for a world title. Make no mistake about it if he picks up yet another loss this upcoming Saturday it would mark the end of his tenure as a true championship caliber fighter.
Magdaleno doesn’t just need to win he also is looking to make a statement. Ramos has not been stopped since his 2015 bout against Claudio Marrero. It was also the last time he tasted defeat. If Magdaleno is able to not only put an end to Ramos six fight win streak but also stop him in the process then he can begin to position himself for a big fight.
Speaking of a big fight, Kubrat Pulev (26-1, 13 KOs) missed an opportunity of a lifetime when he was scheduled to take on current unified champion Anthony Joshua in 2017 at the Wembley Stadium.
Unfortunately for Pulev he suffered a pectoral muscle in training camp and was forced to withdraw. Once he was healthy enough to return Pulev took on Hughie Fury who is the cousin of Lineal champion Tyson Fury. Pulev proved to be too much as he won a unanimous decision. The Heavyweight contender will be looking to continue his dominant run when he takes on Bogdan Dinu (18-1, 14 KOs).
In his last contest Dinu was stopped in the fourth round Jarrell Miller. Dinu needs this victory as he has never competed for a world title in his career. A win over former title challenger Kubrat Pulev would vault him up the rankings. A loss for Pulev would be devastating at this point in his career. Outside of his lone defeat to former long reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko, Pulev has won six straight bouts. He has picked up victories against notable names such as Dereck Chisora, Samuel Peters and Kevin Johnson. He will have to not just defeat Dinu but do so in impressive fashion.
Both Kubrat Pulev and Jessie Magdaleno are in need of big victories to keep their names in the championship mix. Their opponents however are looking to upset the applecart and become instant contenders themselves.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Bowen vs. McCorry
By: Oliver McManus
Saturday night sees, British champion, Sam Bowen in the first defence of his title as he fights Jordan McCorry. Taking place at the Leicester Arena, newly rebranded as ‘Morningside’, the contest headlines Frank Warren’s second show of 2019.
Bowen, aged 26, claimed the British belt last April with a convincing victory over Maxi Hughes in which he dropped his opponent on two occasions – an emphatic display in which everything seemed to piece together nicely. Carl Greaves’ protégé had to learn his trade on the off-beat small hall scene of Yorkshire and the Midlands. Off the back of that victory, however, he has secured the backing of Warren and BT Sport to really progress his career.
Scheduled to fight Ronnie Clark last October and, more recently, on February 23rd, the Scotsman has withdrawn on both occasions resulting in this, relatively late notice, fight against McCorry. The Ibstock man managed to stay busy in October with a comfortable victory over Horacio Alfredo Cabral, for the WBO Intercontinental belt, in which Bowen mercilessly targeted the Argentine’s body.
Up against McCorry, then, Bowen has a real opportunity to showcase the best of his abilities with his deceptive, energy sapping, punch power hidden behind constant shuffling footwork and a firm jab. Get the win on Saturday and Bowen can start to set his sights higher than his domestic contenders as the push for more titles continues.
McCorry, of course, isn’t coming into the fight as a knock-over job and will be confident his experience should be enough to see off the threat of Bowen. The Cambuslang resident is a two-weight Scottish Area champion having held the lightweight version between 2014 and 2015 before adding the featherweight belt in 2017.
The last two years have seen McCorry picking up the wins to advance his record to 17-4-1. An impressive showing against Jamie McGuire, in which he recovered from a first round knockdown, saw a 98-93 decision go the way of Jordy. A double helping of second round knockouts over, usually durable, Rafael Castillo and Reynaldo Mora give credence for his confidence.
His last fight, however, was a gravely disappointing display out in Switzerland against Patrick Kinigamazi. Losing a unanimous decision over 12 rounds for the World Boxing Federation crown, McCorry’s technique was lacking against an unknown quantity of opponent. He’ll be hoping to rediscover his previous form if he is to upset the odds against a formidable Sam Bowen.
Nathan Gorman will be looking to move to sixteen wins on the trot since turning professional, on Saturday night. Confusion surrounds quite who he’ll be facing with, scheduled opponent, Fabio Maldonado seemingly drafted in to fight Oleksandr Teslenko. Teslenko, for clarity, was originally meant to fight a returning Ian Lewison. Christopher Lovejoy then declared to the world, via Instagram, that he had accept “100 bands” to step in, on five days’ notice, and face Gorman.
I’m told, by people with better knowledge of slang than me, that 100 bands is around $100,000 so that figure seems highly questionable. As it happens Lovejoy has since reneged on his statement and confirmed it won’t be him in the opposite corner. Currently the official line is that Maldonado will be in Leicester come Saturday evening though it seems increasingly unlikely the former UFC fighter will turn up.
Should the Brazilian opt to proceed with the bout then it’ll be his first contest since an uninspiring loss to Oscar Rivas last December. The Steel Hillbilly has built a padded record to now sit 26-1 in the heavyweight division with 25 of those victories coming via knockout. Only six of those have had winning records and 14 were winless.
Sam Maxwell, on the other hand, has got a definite fight in the form of Sadbri Sediri. The unbeaten French fighter, 10-0-1, steps up to the plate after Kelvin Dotel withdrew from the contest earlier in the week.
Maxwell, himself unbeaten in ten professional fights, has built a burgeoning reputation with the distinguished amateur settling into the paid ranks with ease. Imperiously heavy handed, the Mersey-man has seen off eight of his opponents inside the distance. In December he became only the second man to knockout Jamie Quinn and did so with menace and spite – a mini statement but a statement, nonetheless.
Sediri will be stepping up to super lightweight for this fight, with the WBO European belt on the line, but has been inactive since June. His contests have come across the gymnasiums of eastern France against your archetypal journeyman. Against Maxwell he’ll be in the biggest fight of his career – past or, probably, future.
PBC on FOX PPV Preview: Garcia vs. Spence, Benavidez vs. Love
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions along with Fox Sports will put on a Pay Per View offering live from Arlington, Texas. This card will take place at the home of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
The main event of the night will be a bout between two undefeated fighters, Mikey Garcia and Errol Spence Jr. for Spence’s IBF Welterweight title. Garcia looks to make history as he jumps up two weight classes to take on Spence while Spence looks to cement his place as the welterweight division’s top fighter.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The co-main event of the night will be between David Benavidez and J’Leon Love in the super middleweight division. The winner of this bout will put him closer to a future title shot.
Seventeen fights are currently scheduled on the card! The undercard will feature boxers such as Luis Nery, McJoe Arroyo, Chris Arreola, Charles Martin, and Fernando Garcia.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
David Benavidez (20-0) vs. J’Leon Love; Super Middleweights (24-2-1)
David Benavidez is known as the youngest boxer to ever hold a Super Middleweight Championship, but he hasn’t been super active in the ring since he had a positive test for Cocaine in September of 2018 and had to serve a four month suspension.
On Saturday he’ll be facing one of the toughest tests of his career in veteran J’Leon Love.
Benavidez will have an inch and a half height advantage as well as an inch and a half reach advantage over Love. He is also nine years younger than Love, though Love is still in his athletic prime.
Benavidez has been fairly active, but only fought once in 2018 due to his suspension and fought three times in 2017. Love fought twice in 2018 but only fought once in 2017.
Benavidez didn’t fight often as an amateur, but has been boxing as a professional since he was a teenager. Love does have an edge in amateur experience as he competed both in the Olympic trials and the Golden Gloves tournament as an amateur.
Benavidez has the edge in power, as he has stopped seventeen of his opponents while Love has only stopped thirteen. In fact, Benavidez has been able to stop eight of his past ten opponents.
Benavidez has defeated the likes of Ronald Gavril, Rogelio Medina, Sherali Mamajonov, Denis Douglin, Francy Ntetu, and Philip Jackson Benson.
Love has defeated the likes of Marcus Upshaw, Scott Sigmon, Marco Antonio Periban, Vladine Biosse, Lajuan Simon, and Derrick Findley. His losses were to Peter Quillin and Rogelio Medina.
Love is a veteran, but he lacks that big named win on his resume to consider him to be a serious threat to Benavidez. The action may be slow in the beginning as Benavidez attempts to figure out Love’s style, but this writer expects him to dominate the middle to later rounds.
Errol Spence Jr. (24-0) vs. Mikey Garcia (39-0); IBF Welterweight Title
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Mikey Garcia is bumping up to weight classes to face Errol Spence and will have a size disadvantage. He’ll also be giving up three inches in height and about four inches in reach to Spence. Garcia has fought as high as the junior welterweight limit of 140 pounds, but fought his last fight at 135 pounds.
Spence is also two years younger than Garcia, but both fighters are still in their athletic prime.
Both boxers are known for their power and their ability to stop their opponents. Spence has stopped twenty one of his opponents while Garcia has stopped thirty. However, Spence is currently riding an eleven fight stoppage streak while Garcia has only stopped two of his past five opponents. The power has not follow him as he has jumped weight classes.
Spence has never been defeated and has defeated an impressive list of fighters. He has beaten the likes of Carlos Ocampo, Lamont Petereson, Kell Brook, Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Herrden, Phil Lo Greco, Samuel Vargas, and Ronald Cruz.
He also had a successful amateur career and was a former US National Champion as well as a Olympic Participant for the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Garcia has defeated the likes of Robert Easter Jr., Sergey Lipinets, Adrien Broner, Dejan Zlaticanin, Juan Carlos Burgos, Roman Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Orlando Salido. As an amateur Garcia was a Police Athletic League Silver Medalist as well as a Bronze Medalist in the National Golden Gloves Championship.
Garcia is an excellent fighter, but he’s facing a man who’s bigger, longer, and more powerful. The size advantage will likely be too much for Garcia to overcome, but he should still have his moments in this fight.
This writer expects Spence to win a closer than expected decision victory.
PBC Boxing Preview: Porter vs. Ugas, Ramos vs. Santana
By: Hans Themistode
With all of the hype that is surrounding the big showdown between Errol Spence Jr and Mikey Garcia, it is easy to overlook this weekends matchup between current WBC Welterweight champion Shawn Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs) and Yordenis Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs) but make no mistake about it, this is a must see fight. The contest is scheduled to take place at Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson California.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
With so many great fighters in the Welterweight division, Porter seems to be the forgotten man. On Saturday March 9th he will be looking to remind everyone just exactly who he is. In Porter’s last contest he picked up the biggest win of his career when he out pointed former two division champion Danny Garcia for the vacant WBC crown. In the first defense of that title Porter will undoubtedly have his hands full when he takes on Yordenis Ugas who is riding an eight fight win streak and has gone undefeated ever since making his debut in his new weight class class in 2016.
The fighting style of Porter is well chronicled as he uses his non-stop pressure and volume punching to make it a long night for his opponents. What can be deemed his strength could ultimately lead to his demise against the Cuban born Ugas who uses his slick fighting style to make his foes miss and pay. Don’t mistake Ugas for your typical Cuban fighter who doesn’t engage in all out brawls as he has no problem mixing it up on the inside. To say that this contest is a must win for both men would be an understatement.
Not only is Porter looking to defend his strap for the first time but he is also looking to make a statement. Super fights with Manny Pacquiao, Errol Spence Jr and others are within his grasp if he can just get past his tough Cuban foe. For Ugas this is the biggest fight of his career and one that he has worked extremely hard for. He has looked sensational since joining the Welterweight division but can put an exclamation point on his career renaissance with a win over Porter which would lead to his first world title.
The fans will be tuning in to see two of the best Welterweights on earth go toe to toe but will be equally as entertained in the co main event as Francisco Santana (25-6-1, 12) will be looking to put an end to the five fight win streak of the hard hitting Abel Ramos (23-3-2, 18 KOs). Both of these men campaign in the Welterweight division and will be looking to impress as they vie for their own title shot sometime soon.
Since losing a close majority decision to current title contender Jamal James, Ramos has won five straight matches all via stoppage. He has quickly turned himself into a possible future contender with his vaunted power. He will however, need more than that if he hopes to extend his streak. Santana recently found himself in a major rut, losing two fights in a row and three of his past five. That all quickly changed when he defeated the highly regarded Felix Diaz by majority decision in his last contest. That win placed his career back on track. With another impressive performance he can find himself in the championship mix.
Porter vs Ugas is sure to be a non stop action packed fight but don’t be surprised if Santana vs Ramos steals the show.
DAZN Boxing Preview: Bivol vs. Smith Jr., Hooker vs. LesPierre
By: William Holmes
The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York will be the host site for Saturday’s latest boxing offering by DAZN and will feature two separate title fights. The co-main event will be between Maurice Hooker and Mikkel LesPierre for the WBO Junior Welterweight Title and between Dmitry Bivol and Joe Smith Jr. for Bivol’s WBA Light Heavyweight Title.
The undercard also features some entertaining and competitive bout. Callum Johnson will meet Seanie Monaghan in the light heavyweight division, Sergey Kuzmin will meet Joey Dawejko in the heavyweight division, and Yamaguchi Falcao and Paul Mendez in the middleweight division. Prospects such as Otha Jones III and Junior Younan will also be featured.
Photo Credit: DAZN Boxing USA Twitter Account
The following is a preview of the two title fights on the card.
Maurice Hooker (25-0-3) vs. Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1); WBO Junior Welterweight Title
Maurice Hooker exploded into the boxing scene when he won the WBO Junior Welterweight Title over Terry Flanagan at the Manchester Arena in Manchester.
He has defended the title once since then and looks to defend again against Mikkel LesPierre.
Hooker will have a three inch height advantage over LesPierre. He will also be five years younger than LesPierre, who is thirty four years old.
Both boxers have been relatively active recently. Hooker fought twice in 2018 and in 2017. LesPierre fought three times in 2018 and three times in 2017.
Both boxers had moderate success as an amateur. Hooker was a Dallas Regional Golden Gloves Champion and LesPierre competed as an amateur with moderate success.
Hooker has beaten the likes of Alex Saucedo, Terry Flanagan, Courtney Jackson, Cristobal Cruz, and Ty Barnett. He had draws with Darleys Perez, Abel Ramos, and Tyron Chatman.
LesPierre has beaten nobody of note. His biggest wins to date were against Gustavo David Vittori, Noel Murphy, and Mario Beltre.
This doesn’t appear to be a very competitive fight for Maurice Hooker. Les Pierre turned pro late and has never faced someone on Hooker’s level. Hooker should walk away with the win.
Dmitry Bivol (15-0) vs. Joe Smith Jr. (24-2); WBA Light Heavyweight Title
Dmitry Bivol is considered by many to be the best light heavyweight in the world. The former amateur Russian National Champion will face the heavy handed Joe Smith Jr.
Both boxers are in their prime with Bivol being 28 years old and Smith being 29 years old. Both boxers are also six feet tall. Bivol does have an edge in amateur experience as e was Russian National Champion and Smith was a New York Golden Gloves Champion.
Smith however, had a big edge in power as he had twenty stoppage victories while Bivol has eleven.
However, Bivol appears ready to face the power of Smith. He stated, “I am ready to fight. I hope Joe is ready too. We will make a great fight.”
Bivol has been the more active boxer of the two. Bivol fought three times in 2018 and four times in 2017. Smith only fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and three times in 2016.
Bivol has defeated the likes of Jean Pascal, Isaac Chilemba, Sullivan Barrera, Trent Broadhurst, Cedric Agnew, and Samuel Clarkson.
Smith has defeated the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Andrzej Fonfara, and Will Rosinsky. His losses were to Sullivan Barrera and Eddie Caminero.
Despite the fact Smith has been defeated before, the magnitude of this title fight is not lost on him. He recently stated, “This is what every fighter dreams of, to get a shot at a world title and this is my shot.”
It will be interesting to see how Bivol responds to a power shot from Smith, if he’s able to land one, but Bivol is a very good technical boxer and he should be able to walk away with the decision.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Yarde vs. Reeves, Dubois vs. Cojanu
By: Oliver McManus
Frank Warren kick starts his promotional operations of 2019 at Royal Albert Hall with two cracking British title fights.
There’s a sensational match-up for the British Middleweight title as Liam Williams looks to defend the belt against Joe Mullender. Williams returns to the ring off the back of his peerless victory over Mark Heffron, in December, but is guaranteed to face more fire on the 8th.
In that fight it was the Welshman who dictated the pace of the fight with a lovely jab and sharp footwork to keep Heffron at bay; Mullender will be a far different challenge as he looks to get right in the face of the champion. Smokin’ Joe has made no bones as to the approach he’ll take with the fight, in simple terms, just ‘punch him more than he punches me’. A tactic that the 32 year old has taken throughout his career and one that consistently produces entertainment.
That all out aggression has produced serious results against genuine fighters with two bruising encounters against Lee Markham for the English title, as well as Lee Churcher and Ben Capps over the last two years – though the result of the Churcher bout was later overturned due to an anti-doping violation.
Not looking past Mullender, who will prove to be more than just a plucky puncher, Williams has stated his intentions to drop back down to super-welterweight and re-establish on the world scene at the lighter division. I am eager to see how far he can go at middle, though, with the Ingle Gym fighter a breath of fresh air in the division. Against Smokin’ Joe we’re guaranteed to see a fight that’ll go up in flames.
Drop down to welterweight and Johnny Garton looks to defend his belt against Chris Jenkins. Garton outclassed Gary Corcoran in a bloodied and battered war last October to claim the vacant title. Jenkins, meanwhile, has had mixed fortunes over the last 12 months with two of his three fights resulting in technical decisions.
Likewise with Williams-Mullender there is no chance of this being a quite encounter and I expect Jenkins to actually come out and try to be the more aggressive over the opening couple rounds. We saw against Corcoran the stamina and the work-rate that Garton possesses so you want to get some early rounds in the bag should the fight end up going the distance.
Jenkins, however, has a tendency to cut over the eyes and the skin around that area is getting weaker with every fight. There might be a reluctance, therefore, to fully commit and engage from inside the pocket. Garton, another one who is susceptible to cuts, has really hit his stride over the last five, six fights with the 31 year old starting to produce consistently polished performances at the right tempo.
Now with that consistency it is time to capitalise on the natural ability that Garton has to fight and maximise the rewards for when he finishes his career. Opportunities haven’t always been available for the Peckham-fighter what with, gym-mate and friend, Skeete holding the British belt. Garton now, though, is the man at the domestic scene so let’s see where he goes from here – it’ll be entertaining, that’s for sure.
Away from the Lord Lonsdale fights you have Anthony Yarde facing Travis Reeves in a contest that bears resemblance to the frustrations of last year – yet another opponent that few people will have heard of.
It’s become increasingly clear that while Yarde possesses considerable punching power, he isn’t this one-punch knock-out artist that can end a fight with the turn of a screw. At least not from what we’ve seen so far. Instead he tires out his counterparts, wearing down their bodily resistance and mental resilience throughout a number of rounds. Yes he drops opponents from well timed, accurately placed, shots but rarely do bouts come round to any thunderous conclusion.
Initially set to face Mehdi Amar on February 23rd, the Frenchman withdrew three weeks prior and then the whole show was cancelled, Reeves stepped up to the plate. Two years older than Amar and eleven more than, 27 year old, Yarde, Reeves will enter the ring with a record of 17-3-2. Nicknamed Seveer – purely for the reason it is his surname background – the American intended to turn professional in 2004 with a fight scheduled in Philadelphia. That bout fell through and Reeves’ career fell into extended disarray with the Baltimore man eventually debuting in 2013. Seven fights in a year saw Reeves sitting with a record of 3-2-2 before returning to Baltimore to string some wins together.
By no means a big puncher, Reeves boasts no wins over recognisable names. Indeed his best performance came against Aaron Quattrocchi in November 2016 when the 38 year old knocked his opponent out within two rounds to claim the USBO Light Heavyweight title. Against Karo Murat last March, Reeves struggled to find a foothold in the contest, taking place in Hamburg, before succumbing to a 12th round TKO – a mercy rule finish, if ever there was one.
A fight that could be the straw to break the camel’s back, Yarde needs a performance more than he ever has before.
The final main fight of the card will see Daniel Dubois up against Razvan Cojanu. Having been postponed from December 15th, Dubois will be looking to make up for lost time and, indeed, lost time to his closest rival Nathan Gorman.
Dynamite heads into his 10th professional contest off the back of a disappointing performance against Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson. That contest, back in October, was a case of repetition throughout the 10 rounds with the American reverting to the ropes whilst Dubois fought fairly one-dimensionally. It was, arguably, the first fight where you Dubois’ youth and inexperience came to the fore – you suspect the process coming at such an early stage will stand him in good stead, though.
Cojanu, on the other hand, returns to UK shores for the second time in just under three months with the Romanian having fought Nathan Gorman on December 22nd. In that bout, 12 rounder, Gorman started off sprightly before fading in the latter half of the contest. Cojanu, to give him credit, recovered from a relatively shaky start to hold his own. Well, when I say ‘hold his own’, he didn’t look like getting knocked out but was a comprehensive second-best. Now with a record of 16 and 5, Cojanu’s most recent trio of losses have come to Razvan Cojanu, Luis Ortiz and Gorman. Only Ortiz has stopped him.
Starting off 2019 with a shared opponent, of the calibre of Cojanu, will be a great yardstick for measuring up Warren’s two heavyweight prospects.
It is March 8th that sees the start of Frank Warren’s promotional adventures – a delayed beginning but one that promises excitement. It’s a Royal Rumble but not as you know it…
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Ortiz vs. Hammer, Lara vs. Castano
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will televise a card from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York live on Showtime. Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions and Lou DiBella’s DiBella Entertainment are the co-promoters of this card.
The main event of the evening will be between Brian Castano and Erislandy Lara for Castano’s WBA “Regular” Junior Middleweight Title. The co-main event of the evening will be a heavyweight clash between Luis Ortiz and Christian Hammer.
The undercard will feature prospects and contenders such as Bryan De Gracia, Eduardo Ramirez, Edward Rodriguez, and Antonio Russell.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime Boxing
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Luis Ortiz (30-1) vs. Christian Hammer (24-5); Heavyweight
Luis Ortiz challenged for the heavyweight title in 2018 in an exciting bout with Deontay Wilder but faded at the end and was stopped before the final bell. Since then he has come back to defeat Travis Kauffman and Razvan Cojanu as he attempts to get another shot at a heavyweight title.
On Saturday he’ll be facing Christian Hammer, a fighter who is about 8 years younger than him and about two inches shorter. Hamer fought twice in 2018 and three times in 2017 and has five losses on his record. Ortiz, despite his advancing age, has also been active and fought three times in 2018 and once in 2017.
Ortiz has the edge in most comparable stats. He also has the knockout power edge as he has stopped twenty six of his opponents while Hammer only stopped fourteen of his opponents. Ortiz also had a better amateur career as he was a multi-time Cuban National Champion while Hammer was a former Romanian Amateur Boxing Champion.
Ortiz has defeated the likes of Malik Scott, Tony Thompson, Bryant Jennings, and Monte Barrett. Hammer has defeated the likes of Michael Wallisch, David Price, Erkan Teper, and Kevin Johnson.
However, Hammer has also lost to the likes of Mariusz Wach, Taras Bidenko, Tyson Fury, and Alexander Povetkin.
Ortiz’s age is of concern, but he’s still an elite level boxer with considerable power. Hammer is basically a fringe contender.
Saturday should be a relatively easier fight for Ortiz.
Brian Castano (15-0) vs. Erislandy Lara (25-3-2); WBA Junior Middleweight Title
Erislandy Lara has long been considered a pound for pound great and one of the best boxers in the junior middleweight division. However, he has lost some of his shine since his loss to Jarrett Hurd and his advancing age of thirty five.
On Saturday he will be facing a tough young opponent in Brian Castano, who is six years younger than Lara.
Lara will have a significant edge in height of three inches and reach of seven inches. Lara does have fourteen stoppages on his resume, three more than Castano, but he fought twice the number of fights.
Castano had a good amateur career and was a gold medalist in the South American Games. He also beat current pound for pound great Errol Spence Jr. as an amateur. Lara was a Cuban National Champ and a World Champ as an amateur which gives him the slight edge in amateur experience.
Lara has lost to the likes of Jarrett Hurd, Canelo Alvarez, and Paul Williams. He has defeated the likes of Terrell Gausha, Yuri Foreman, Vanes Martirosyan, Jan Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez, Ishe Smith, and Austin Trout.
Castano has defeated the likes of Cedric Vitu, Michel Soro, Emmanue de Jesus, and Marcus Upshaw. At this point in their careers, Lara has defeated the better fighters.
However, Lara is advancing in age and showed signs of it when he lost to Jarrett Hurd. Castano is known for being an aggressive fighter who throws a high number of punches, a style that will usually give an older fighter fits as the fight progresses to the later rounds.
This writer feels this will be Castano’s breakout fight and will score an upset over Lara.
DAZN Boxing Preview: Rios vs. Soto
By: Michael Kane
Brandon Rios travels to Tijuana to take on local favourite Humberto Soto on Saturday live on DAZN in the U.S and SKY Sports in the UK.
Both are former world champions, Soto a former multi weight champion will be looking to role back the years. The fight is taking place in the junior middleweight division which is some way out from where both fighters had there best days.
Soto (68-9-2, 37 KOs) won an interim featherweight title as well as world super featherweight and lightweight titles, while Rios is a former lightweight champion too.
Soto is on a three fight win streak after losing unanimous decision to Antonio Orozco in 2015. He last fought in August last year beating Edgar Puerta by unanimous decision.
Rios (35-4-1, 26 KOs) has won 4 and lost 4 from his last eight fights. Most recently he defeated Ramon Alvarez by TKO in the 9th in November last year.
The event at the Auditorio Municipal Fausto Gutierrez will be the first show Matchroom have put on on Mexico.
“It feels nice to fight back in Mexico,” said Rios to Matchroom Boxing website. “Especially right now with everything that’s going on, all the politics. Not only that, but it’s good to give the Mexican fans a great show, they get to see me live which is awesome.
“I’m fighting a guy that lives in Tijuana. He’s from Mexico, so I’m pretty sure the crowd’s going to be on his side, 100 per cent, but it feels good to be back out in front of Mexican fans. I’m ready to go and show the world that I’m ready to get back to the top again.
“The main decision for me to come back was when I was watching a fight on TV and j told my wife ‘baby, that can still be me. I can still do that shit. I know I can still do that shit.’ I just had bad camp, bad habits. She told me, ‘I’m going to let you do what you want to do, you’re a grown man but if you come back, you’ve got to promise me to do it right.’ None of the half assed shit with dieting, and all that. So I thought about it for about a day or two, and I had the urge for it.”
Rios has signed a three fight deal with Matchroom, this being the second of that deal and he is looking ahead to being in the mix for a title shot after promising his daughter.
“Nobody was really paying attention to me anymore, and Eddie gave me an opportunity, and I really appreciate that. I’m fighting my second fight with him, and I can’t wait to go again.
“My main target is to get a title shot. I promised my little girl. She does karate. I told her, if you become a black belt you give me that title. When I become a champion again, I give you my belt.
“We made that promise, and I don’t want to break her heart, so that’s why I want to be a champion again before I retire. I keep my word. Every day, I kid you not, she says ‘dad, remember you promised me?’ Every day. I come to the gym today, she’s asking me if I’m bringing back a title. That’s 100 per cent my drive.”
Rios feels with a win over Soto he will be back in title contention soon.
“You know what, it could be soon. It could be my next fight, who knows with Eddie Hearn. For now I’m just concentrating on this guy. I’m ready for whatever falls next.
“Soto is a veteran he’s 38 years old, he knows some tricks, he’s a former three time world champion, so we’ve got to be ready for whatever he brings. That’s why I’m working so hard to correct the mistakes.
“Working with Matchroom Boxing and being on DAZN, they’ve given me fights back to back which is great. I haven’t got that wasted time, rested time, there giving me fights right away. I’m grateful and happy to be a part of the team. I’m ready to get back to the top.
“Its going to be a great fight. You’ve got a three division former champion, Soto comes to fight, very talented and very skillful, he’s a big counter punched. Then you’ve got myself, Bam Bam, who comes to brawl and always gives the fans a good show, but what always makes a perfect fight is a counter and brawler. There’s always going to be punches thrown, always something going to happen.”
Soto said in the press conference “I’m excited to get into the ring once again. I’m really thankful to all my fans, and I’m really happy for the chance to be the main event once again.”
The card, as to be expected is stacked with Mexican fighters. Highlight of which will be the rematch between Jose ‘Gallito’ Quiniro (20-2-3, 9KOs) and Joel Cordoba (7-4-2, 1KO). Both fighters fought in December in an entertaining fight at the same venue that ended in a draw.
Decorated amateur Alexis Espino from Las Vegas makes his professional debut against Diego Pacheco (1-0, 1KO)
2016 former Olympian Joselito Velasquez (7-0, 6KOs), Omar Aguillar (11-0, 10KOs) and Sulem Urbina (8-0, 1KO) will all be looking to continue their unbeaten runs.
UFC Fight Night 145 Preview: Prague on ESPN+
By: Jesse Donathan
The main event of UFC Fight Night 145: Prague features a Light Heavyweight contest between Jan Blachowicz (23-7) vs. Thiago Santos (20-6) on Saturday night, February 23 on ESPN+. For many American fans, this is a Thiago Santos fight against some guy named Jan. Santos is an up and coming pound-for-pound prospect, the hammer tattooed on his chest denounces the kind of fighter that he is. A hammer, a stand-up oriented striker who is going to look to take his opponents out of there unconscious and on a stretcher. The man is a predator in the cage, so the perception going into this fight for many is that this is a Thiago Santos fight, his opponent is all but a formality in the minds of many in this fight.
Jan Blachowicz is a throwback fighter from the golden years of mixed martial arts, though he debuted in 2007, his second, third and forth fights all occurred on the same night at KSW-Elimination on September 15th 2007. The tournament formats were popular in the early UFC’s of the ‘90s and were one of many reasons the sport of no holds barred fighting gained the small, but loyal underground following that carried the sport through some very lean years. Fighting multiple opponents in one night is no easy task, especially in light of the general arrangement of today’s highly regulated mixed martial arts format where some fighters pray to even make it on to the preliminary cards for one fight.
Blachowicz would go on to match that same accomplishment the following year at KSW 9 – Konfrontacja on May 09, 2008 where he defeated Martin Zawada by decision and Antoni Chmielewski and Aziz Karaoglu via submission (armbar). He would also go on to win two fights in one night at the KSW 13 – Kumite the following year in May of 2010, defeating Julio Cezar de Lima via KO and Wojciech Orlowski via rear naked choke. Blachowicz has been fighting multiple opponents on the same night throughout his career, and for this reason alone he makes my All-Violence First Team for being a game fighter despite the majority of his wins coming by way of submission or decision victory.
Simply put, there is a reason Blachowicz is a nine-fight UFC veteran who is enjoying a four-fight win streak. He is a true blue mixed martial arts fighter, someone who is not going to lay down and allow the surging Santos walk right over him. Thiago Santos is going to have a fight on his hands and that is what makes this particular matchup so compelling.
Thiago “Marreta” Santos has fluctuated between 185 pounds at Middleweight and 205 pounds at Light Heavyweight. Santos is currently on his own three-fight win streak, having won seven of his last eight. Fighting out of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Santos has a 70% KO/TKO win percentage, meaning Santos is a head hunter who will be looking to collect Blachowicz’s scalp. Thiago Santos is the kind of fighter the fans want to see, a fighter who will keep their attention by practicing the exact brand of mixed martial arts we all tune in to see. Santos is a real fighter, Blachowicz is a real fighter, this means the probability of the fans getting a good fight is quite high. With last weekend’s stinkers from Bellator and the UFC, mixed martial arts fans will be intently watching to see if UFC Fight Night 145: Prague in the Czech Republic comes through on ESPN+.
The evenings co-main event will feature a Heavyweight bout between the 7-footer Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (28-11) and eight-time UFC veteran “Pezao” Marcos Rogerio De Lima (16-5-1). Struve is on a three-fight losing streak and is in desperate need of picking up a victory Saturday night against a rugged and very tough veteran in “Pezao.” Though the strength of schedule of those three loses is worth noting, coming at the hands of some of the Heavyweight division’s toughest fighters in Alexander Volkov, Andrei Arlovski and Marcin Tybura. Struve will need to fight like his back is up against the wall, the Dutchmen hasn’t picked up a victory since October of 2016 when he fought against Daniel Omielanczuk and won via brabo choke submission.
“Pezao” owns a 69% KO/TKO win ratio and will most certainly look to stand and bang with Struve, though preparing for a fighter of Struve’s size with his kind of length and reach can prove problematic for the ill-prepared. Marcos has also proved susceptible to submissions, something else the long Dutchmen could potentially use to his advantage in creating the kind of torque that only a giant can. At nearly a foot taller than the 6’1” Rogerio De Lima, Struve will be the larger man in the cage which will make this look very much like a David vs. Goliath showdown which are always fan favorites.
Showtime Boxing Preview: DeGale vs. Eubank Jr.
By: Ste Rowen
Two Brits from the South of England, both lay claim to being former World champions – James ‘Chunky’ DeGale with the IBF and Chris Eubank Jr with the suspect IBO; and each with a defeat to George Groves on their record, the pair have seemed to be on a collision course to meet in the ring for a while, even when DeGale was the IBF king at super-middleweight and Eubank was a lowly 160lb challenger.
On Saturday night at London’s O2 Arena, they finally meet.
From the sparring stories to the trash talk, it’s been a bout that’s been a long time coming,
‘‘This is my second coming I promise you.’’ James, 25-2-1 (15KOs), told ITV. ‘‘95% of people think I’m on the decline. I can’t wait for this fight…I know what’s left in myself…He thinks I’m not ready. He thinks he’s gonna get me late on. He’s in for a big surprise.
He came down to spar me, done 6-8 rounds, I can’t even remember…Then the next day he went on social media and said, ‘I schooled James DeGale blah, blah, blah.’ Crazy stuff.
He’s not that good but boy can he fight…I’m too fast, I’m too strong, I’m too big, I’m too smart.’’
This time last year ‘Chunky’ was in preparations to avenge his 2017 decision defeat to Caleb Truax in which he lost the IBF belt he’d held on to for over two years. It also ruined his homecoming as it was his first fight in England for three years. But the Olympic gold medallist bounced back four months later, beating crowd favourite, Truax to settle the demons of their first fight.
DeGale’s recent record might be mixed but his title run from defeating Andre Dirrell to the infamous majority draw with Badou Jack, prove that James has the style and strength to back up his claims that he’s still got it. Although injuries have plagued him, and it was a massive shame for him and the tournament that he was injured before the super-middleweight World Boxing Super Series got going.
Chris Eubank Jr has promised to retire his opponent but although his opponent is almost definitely in the home stretch of his career, Chris is going to need a career best performance to take the win. 27-2 (21KOs), the Brighton-native’s recent career has also been a bit of a mixed bag.
His last five fights have included victories over Renold Quinlan and veteran, Arthur Abraham to win and then defend the IBO 168lb strap. Unlike Saturday’s opponent, Eubank Jr did enter the WBSS, firstly knocking out unbeaten Turk, Avni Yildrim before his fortunes changed and he lost for the second time in his pro career when, in a bloody affair, George Groves got the better of him over twelve rounds.
A comeback victory over JJ McDonagh in September last year meant a quiet end to 2018, but the 29-year-old is as confident as ever,
‘‘He’s got nowhere else to go, I’ve been calling him out for so long and he finally realised ‘I have to fight him.’…I can’t wait to teach him a lesson.’’
The WBSS semi-finalist also has a different view on the infamous sparring stories,
‘‘I beat him up in the 8th round. I vaulted the ropes and he got upset and he kicked me and my dad out of the gym, but in the past he’s said he made me quit.
He has the pedigree, he’s a former world champion. You can’t take that away from him, but at the level that I’m at for this fight he can’t touch me…It’s a redemption fight. I’ve trained for a 12-round fight but I’m stopping this man.’’
There’s no major title on the line this Saturday, other than the vacant IBO, but with Billy Joe Saunders making the move up to super-middle to fight for the recently vacated WBO world title in April, a huge domestic tie for this weekend’s winner should be in sight for later this year.
Saturday Night’s Undercard:
Defending his Commonwealth heavyweight title for the first time since winning it last May, Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce faces off against former WBC world champion, Bermane Stiverne.
The hype around the 9-0 (9KOs), Olympic silver medallist has cooled a little since he made lightwork of Lenroy Thomas nine months ago but victories over journeyman, Ivica Bacurin, career-cruiserweight Iago Kiladze and American Joe Hanks, have kept the winning feeling going and Joyce is once again confident of victory over Stiverne, arguably his toughest opposition to date,
‘‘He is a former world champion that has gone twelve rounds with Deontay Wilder and will give me a real challenge, but my engine and power will be too much for him.’’
Stiverne hasn’t fought since he was knocked out in the first round in a rematch with Deontay Wilder in 2017. Since then, a bout with Alexander Povetkin in Russia fell through due to the Russian failing a drug test, but despite the lengthy layoff, the former world champion feels Joyce has made a big mistake,
‘‘Seven fights and he wants to box me? For me it’s a dream come true but for Joyce it will be a nightmare. I’ll knock out Joe Joyce and step over him to KO Anthony Joshua.’’
Lee Selby vs. Marco Douglas
Also on show on Saturday will be Lee Selby 26-2 (9KOs) in his comeback fight after losing his IBF featherweight belt to Josh Warrington last May. The Welshman takes on American, Omar Douglas, 19-2 (13KOs), in Selby’s first fight at lightweight,
‘‘I’m at a new weight and feeling good. You can expect the best Lee Selby yet.’’
Top Rank on ESPN Preview: Rob Brant vs. Khasan Baysangurov
By: Sean Crose
WBA “Regular” Middleweight Champion Rob Brant, 24-1, will defend his title against the 17-0 Khasan Baysangurov at Minnesota’s Grand Casino on Friday night, headlining a card to be aired lived as part of ESPNs Top Rank Boxing programming. A native of Minnesota himself, Brant will be making his first defense in front of what is essentially a local audience. Brant won his title by besting then-titlist Ryoto Murata last October in Last Vegas. The undefeated Baysangurov will be making his first attempt at a major title. Brant is clearly the Ukrainian fighter’s biggest test to date.
Without doubt, he may have his hands full. For Brant will be making his 12th appearance at the Grand Casino on Friday. Considering the fact that Baysangurov has only knocked out roughly 40% of his opponents (scoring just two stoppages in the six fights he has engaged in during the past two years) he may not be able to rely on a knockout. The Brant-Baysangurov match is scheduled for 12 rounds.
Chicago’s 19-1-1-Joshua Greer Jr will be on the card, as well. The bantamweight will be facing the 19-3 Giovanni Escaner in a scheduled 10 round contest for a stepping-stone belt, the World Boxing Council Continental Americas Bantamweight Title. Escaner, who hails from the Philippians, hasn’t lost since 2014. The only loss on Greer Jr’s record came courtesy of a majority decision being handed to Stephen Fulton in 2015. The man stopped all four of his opponents in 2018, along with three of his four opponents in 2017. This will be Escaner’s fight bout in the US. All of his previous 17 fights have occurred in the Ukraine, Russia, and Azerbaijan respectively.
The first match on the televised card will feature the 9-0 2016 American Olympian Mikaela Meyer, as the Colorado native faces the 13-1-1 Yareli Larios of Mexico in the second defense of her NABF Female Super Featherweight Title, which she won via unanimous decision over Vanessa Bradford last October in Omaha, Nebrasksa.
The televised portion of the card will begin at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, while the preliminaries will be aired live on ESPNs streaming service, ESPN+ starting at 6 PM, Eastern Standard Time. A total of twelve fights are scheduled to go down on the card, which his being presented by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions, which has a lucrative broadcast deal with ESPN.
PBC Boxing on Showtime Preview: Davis vs. Ruiz, Lubin vs. Smith
By: Hans Themistode
Gervonta Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) was supposed to be taking on the toughest test of his young career this Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson California.
Davis was originally scheduled to defend his WBA Regular Super Featherweight title against three weight division champion Abner Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs). Unfortunately the aforementioned Mares suffered a detached retina while training for the fight and was subsequently removed from the card. Mares would go on to have surgery to repair the damaged retina with the hopes of fighting again sometime soon.
Photo Credit: Dave Mandel/Showtime Boxing
The injury to Mares is unfortunate but the show must go on. Davis won’t be given any breaks as he will now be taking on the hard hitting Hugo Ruiz (39-4, 33 KOs) who has also captured two titles in his career. Ruiz won the interim WBA Bantamweight title in 2011 when he stopped Alvaro Perez. In 2016 Ruiz would once again capture another world championship, winning the WBC title in the Super Bantamweight division when he knocked out Julio Ceja in the very first round. Davis will come into this fight as the favorite and rightfully so but Ruiz has the capabilities to create one of the biggest upsets in the early boxing calendar.
Going into his matchup with Mares, Davis had several physical advantages working in his favor. However now that he will be matched up with Ruiz he will now be at a decided disadvantage. Come fight night Ruiz will enjoy both a four inch height and three inch reach advantage over the champion. Ruiz also has the luxury of being much more active than his counterpart. 2018 was a very inactive year for the champion as he only fought one time during the first half of the calendar year. He was last seen in the ring April of 2018 against Jesus Cuellar. Easily dispatching of him in only three rounds.
Ruiz on the other hand fought twice last year picking up a dominant decision win over Dennis Contreras. He then followed that up by stopping Jesus Galicia in the second round of their contest. Ruiz has already began his 2019 boxing campaign with a decision win over veteran Alberto Guevara just last month. Although this is a short notice fight for Ruiz he wasted little time accepting the challenge as he see’s this as a major opportunity for himself. Dethroning Davis will not be an easy task however.
There is a reason why Davis is known as “Tank”. In 20 professional fights he has stopped 19 of his opponents. The champion has a knack for finishing fights early and always has the edge in terms of power over his opponents. Ruiz doesn’t have quite the same amount of knockout power as Davis but he has a ton of pop in his punches as he has knocked out 33 of his 39 opponents. The 32 year old Ruiz will also have the edge in terms of boxing experience over his 24 year old counterpart.
This isn’t the matchup fans were hoping for but we all know the famous saying. Styles make fights. The tall, rangy and explosive Ruiz has the tools to make this a long night for the champion.
Before Davis attempts to defend his title, a former world champion in Ishe Smith (29-10, 12 KOs) and one title challenger in Erickson Lubin (19-1, 14 KOs) will be looking to regain their footing in the Jr middleweight division as they lock horns in the co main event slot.
If it feels as though Ishe Smith has been around forever it is because he has. He first made his debut in the year 2000. 19 years later he is still competing at a high level and itching for another title shot. Smith has faced a who’s who of contenders and champions throughout his long career including the likes of Daniel Jacobs, Erislandy Lara, Sergio Mora and plenty of others.
In 2013 Smith outpointed former IBF Jr Middleweight champion Cornelius Bundrage to secure his first and only world title. Win, lose or draw Smith has always been a tough out. However at 40 years of age and riding a two fight losing streak he can’t afford to lose his third consecutive bout. In order for Smith to put a halt to his current slide he will have to get through the one time title challenger Erickson Lubin who is looking to continue his own comeback trail.
Lubin had a dominant start to his career as he quickly became known for his ability to cause eye catching knockouts. His quickness, sharp boxing ability and of course his knockout power resulted in him receiving the ESPN prospect of the year award in 2016. He would later parlay that achievement into a title shot with then champion Jermell Charlo. The bout was viewed as a 50/50 contest with some giving Lubin the slight edge. What proceeded to happen was unexpected to say the least. Lubin was knocked out cold in the very first round.
Since that loss Lubin has only competed in other bout, stopping veteran fighter Silverio Ortiz in the fourth round. Lubin now has the opportunity to add a major scalp to his resume by defeating the former Jr Middleweight belt holder. A loss for either man would become detrimental to their career aspirations.
Both of these fights are significant to the landscape of their respective divisions. For Gervonta Davis he is looking to once again make a statement and claim another dominant victory while Hugo Ruiz is hoping to once again call himself a champion by nights end. Both Ishe Smith and Erickson Lubin are on the brink of irrelevancy with a loss. A win however for either man could propel them back into the thick of things in the Jr Middleweight division.
Everyone is fighting is for something important and will be hungry to get the victory. This Saturday night we will all see who wants it the most.
ShoBox Preview: Ellis vs. Ware
By: Hector Franco
This upcoming Friday night at the Main Street Armory in Rochester, New York the next edition of Showtime’s ShoBox series will take place. In the broadcast’s main event Lynn, Massachusetts native Ronald “Akeem” Ellis (15-0-2, 10 KOs) will take on DeAndre “Axeman” Ware (12-1-2, 8 KOs) in a ten-round Super Middleweight (168) bout.
Ellis is a 2010 National Golden Gloves champion where he defeated super middleweight contender and 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha in the finals. Standing at over 5’10 with a 77-inch reach, Ellis has some physical advantages over his opponent and will look to a victory to further pursue a goal of winning a world title.
Ellis’s opponent Ware is coming off of the first loss of his professional career. Ware lost a unanimous decision to Germany’s Cem Kilic in September of last year. The bout with Kilic was taken on short notice hindering Ware’s performance. However for Ellis, the Toledo, Ohio native has had a full training camp. Ware has been boxing for less than ten years and currently holds a job as a firefighter in the Toledo, Ohio area.
The bout between Ellis and Ware will be contested for three vacant major regional titles including the NABA, United States Boxing Organization and WBC Continental Americas super middleweight titles.
Ellis will be making his fourth appearance on the ShoBox platform with his most known bout being a draw against Roc Nation’s Junior Younan in February of last year. Both men have much to prove against one another with bigger opportunities awaiting the pugilist who comes out with his hands raised in victory. The two fighters know what’s at stake and are treating the match as the most significant of their respective careers.
The primary supporting fight on the undercard will feature an eight-round Lightweight (135) contest between two undefeated fighters. Cleveland, Ohio’s Thomas “Gunna Man” Mattice (13-0-1, 10 KOs) will take on New York’s Will Madera (12-0-2, 6 KOs).
The bout is taking the place of a scheduled match that featured Hawaii’s Logan Yoon who suffered a knee injury in training camp. Yoon would have faced Mexico’s Richard Zamora in a Super Lightweight (140) contest.
Mattice will be appearing on ShoBox for the fourth time. In his previous two bouts, Mattice faced off with Armenia’s Zhora Hamazaryan. In their first bout, Mattice received a controversial split-decision victory in a match where he was knocked down in the second round. In the rematch, Mattice fought another closely contested bout with Hamazaryan that resulted in a draw. Before stepping in the ring with Hamazaryan, Mattice was on a six-fight knockout streak that he looks to continue against Madera.
Madera is a former three-time New York Golden Gloves champion. After falling to two consecutive draws in late 2017 and early 2018, Madera returned to his winning ways scoring a second-round stoppage over Curtis Niko Morton in September of last year.
Starting the night’s festivities will be an eight-round super featherweight contest between the unbeaten Abraham Nova (14-0, 10 KOs) and Ghana’s Oluwaseun Joshua Wahab (16-0, 10 KOs).
The ShoBox: The New Generation series has been an overwhelming success for Showtime. It gives an avenue for up and coming boxers to work on their craft on a national platform. The telecast will feature three fights between undefeated fighters who will be looking to further their path onto greater ventures. As we saw last year with HBO, these kinds of shows are not guaranteed to last forever. Boxing fans should make sure to tune in to not miss any action.
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).