Joshua Officially Set To Face Pulev In England
By: Sean Crose
“On June 20, I am defending my Heavyweight World Titles,” says WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. “I’m back in my home city after some time away. A spectacular stadium has been built in North London and I’m honored to bring the boxing community from all over the world to witness us make history with the stadium’s first Heavyweight World Title fight. The belts go back up in the air and nothing will stop me from being victorious.”Having regained the Title belts that he lost in stunning fashion to Andy Ruiz last spring (Joshua came back and bested Ruiz in impressive style last December in Saudi Arabia), Joshua is now set to defend those belts this June at Tottenham Hostspur Stadium.
Joshua’s opponent will be longtime contender Kubrat Pulev. The 38 year old Bulgarian battled Wladimir Klitschko for Klitchsko’s IBF belt back in November of 2014. Klitschko ended up winning by fifth round knockout, but Pulev kept plugging. He’s won his last eight fights and will enter the ring to face Joshua with a record of 28-1. “I am happy to have the opportunity to show the world how strong I really am,” Pulev says. “Becoming a Heavyweight World Champion has always been my mission in life and on June 20, 2020 I will fulfill my destiny!”
Joshua, of course, has had quite a year from himself. Last minute replacement Ruiz not only stunned the world by besting Joshua in the Londoner’s American debut at Madison Square Garden last June, he beat the statuesque Englishman up. The 30 year old Joshua came back stylistically and professionally by boxing circles around a heavy Ruiz in December, reestablishing himself as a titlist. The division has changed since that time, however. Fellow Englishman Tyson Fury’s dominating win over Deontay Wilder last month has led many, if not most, analysts to view Fury as King of the heavyweight hill. Joshua may have more titles, but Fury is now essentially the big man to beat.
Before the 23-1 Joshua can attempt to assert himself over Fury (or Wilder, who is set to face Fury for the third time next summer) there is the matter of Pulev to deal with with. Promoter Eddie Hearn actually sees the impending Pulev battle as a big deal in and of itself. “I’m so excited to see Anthony Joshua return to the capital, 70,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is going to be very special,” Hearn says. “2019 was a crazy year that had everything – the only thing missing was a UK fight and as we go into what I believe will be the biggest year of ‘AJ’s’ career so far, all our attention turns to Kubrat Pulev in an absolute must win fight.”
Hearn points out that Pulev isn’t simply a face in the crowd. “Pulev is undefeated in six years,” says Hearn, “and his team and especially Bob Arum really fancy this. I think you are going to see something special from ‘AJ’ on June 20 – a destructive performance on the road to undisputed.”
Anthony Joshua Reportedly Facing Kubrat Pulev In June
By: Sean Crose
Numerous sources are now reporting that 38 year old Kubrat Pulev will be getting another shot at heavyweight glory. The 28-1 Bulgarian contender is set to face WBA, IBF and WBO world titlist Anthony Joshua on the 20th of June in Great Britain. There was talk after Tyson Fury’s brilliant victory over WBC champ Deontay Wilder last weekend that a Fury-Joshua match might go down, with all the major heavyweight titles on the line. Although the battle of British heavyweight kings may indeed transpire eventually, Joshua now appears set to face Pulev first, while Fury seems on his way to facing arch rival Wilder a third time in the ring.
Pulev’s first attempt at heavyweight supremacy occurred in November of 2014, when the then undefeated fighter faced the unquestioned ruler of the division, Wladimir Klitschko at the famed O2 Arena in Germany. It proved to be a rough night for Pulev, who Klitchcko dropped a total of three times before sending Pulev down and out in the fifth. Since that time, Pulev has gone on to face eight opponents, besting each one successively. The fight with Klitschko remains Pulev’s only loss to date in a career that has now spanned the course of ten-plus years.
As for Joshua, the 30 year old Englishman will be making his first defense after winning back his titles from Andy Ruiz last December in Saudi Arabia. Joshua looked to be the heavyweight division’s first among equals a year ago. Fury and Wilder may have also been undefeated, but Joshua was the one with the multiple belts. That all came crashing down at Madison Square Garden last June, when Andy Ruiz stunned the world by taking away Joshua’s undefeated record, as well as Joshua’s titles. No to be deterred, Joshua performed magnificently in the rematch and bested Ruiz via a one sided decision.
“I want to congratulate AJ and Eddie on regaining the title,” Pulev tweeted at the time, “and look forward to facing AJ in his next bout, as the IBF has ordered. The result is going to be different this time, I guarantee it!” Although no official announcement has been made, a match between Joshua and Pulev has been expected for some time now. This will be Joshua’s first fight in England in almost two years. He last fought at home on September 9th of 2018, when he struggled to defeat perennial Russian contender Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium.
Although most fans would probably prefer to watch Joshua engage in a unifier with Fury, Pulev is Joshua’s mandatory, which means Joshua is playing by the rules of the game by giving Pulev another crack at the championship realm. It might also be noted that, although he failed miserably in the rematch, Andy Ruiz proved that anything is possible in the sport of boxing. Fans who look too far ahead regarding Joshua – or any fighter – do so at their own peril.
Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Winner Will Have to Face Pulev and Usyk Next
By: Hans Themistode
The biggest fight left on the boxing calendar for 2019 will take place in less than one month when former unified champion Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) takes on the man who stripped him of his titles in Andy Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs). The match will take place in Saudi Arabia on December 7th, and the entire boxing world has been buzzing.
Both fighters have been fully focused on the other as they close out their training camps shortly.
Although this contest holds plenty of significance, the winner will have no shortage of options for their next fight.
As it currently stands the WBO, WBA and IBF titles will be on the line in this bout. IBF Mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) has been waiting for his crack at the title for well over a year now. He was originally scheduled to face Joshua in 2017 but was forced to withdraw due to an injury.
His unfortunate setback hasn’t slowed him down one bit however as he has won three straight contests. Pulev now waits patiently for the results of December 7th, but he isn’t the only one standing in a mandatory position.
The former undisputed Cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) made his long awaited debut at the Heavyweight division after completely clearing out the Cruiserweight weight class. Usyk stopped late replacement opponent Chazz Witherspoon in the seventh round back in October at the Wintrust Arena, in Chicago, Illinois. He is now waiting in line as the next challenger to the December 7th contest as the WBO mandatory.
Who exactly will get the next shot is where the confusion lies.
For those who are unaware, each sanctioning body is given an order in which a mandatory fight must happen. With the winner of the December 7th, bout possessing three titles, the IBF mandatory is set to be the first in line.
“Kubrat Pulev’s next fight will be for the IBF world heavyweight title,” said Pulev’s promoter. “If the Joshua-Ruiz winner decides not to fight Pulev, his next fight will be for the vacant IBF title.”
Waiting for not only the December 7th, rematch but also for another contest between Pulev and the winner might not sit well with Usyk.
“We’re going to have a problem where Usyk and Pulev both say you’ve got to fight me next,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Some belt could become vacant, because the IBF and the WBO are both going to order their mandatories after Joshua-Ruiz Jr. Unless a deal can be done with someone, you’ve either got to do that, or vacate.”
This would be a nightmarish situation for fans. Finding an undisputed Heavyweight champion hasn’t been done since Lenox Lewis accomplished the feat two decades ago with his victory over fellow hall of famer Evander Holyfield in 1999. If the the WBO or IBF belt is indeed vacated, then it will leave boxing fans waiting even longer before they can see an undisputed Heavyweight titlist.
The thought of sitting back and waiting his turn could be a frustrating one for Usyk. However, he could choose to take on another fighter in the meantime.
There have been rumbles from numerous sources that a showdown between Usyk and Dereck Chisora could take place. The aforementioned Chisora has long been critical of the fighting style of Usyk and believes he would hand him his first defeat.
A bout against Chisora could be a risky one for Usyk. He is already in a mandatory position and Chisora would provide a much sterner test than the one he received from Chazz Witherspoon. Chisora is also on a roll at the moment, winning his past three contest with two of those wins coming via stoppage.
A showdown between them might be viewed as a high risk-low reward type scenario, but Usyk’s team isn’t opposed to the contest taking place.
“We don’t know what happens on December 7,” said Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas. “But if it is possible to fight in between and not to wait for another six months, I think Chisora will be a good fight for Usyk”
As much as Usyk would hate to admit it, he has his hands tied. Pulev will receive his title shot first, which will force the former Cruiserweight champion to wait a bit longer. With that being said, there is a good chance that the winner of the December 7th rematch opts to just vacate the belt. In that scenario, we could see him and Chisora face off for the newly vacated title.
Whether a contest between Usyk and Chisora is for a belt or not, it seems as though we are heading towards a showdown between them in 2020 regardless.
Kubrat Pulev In The Mist Of Sexual Assault Claims
By: Hans Themistode
Heavyweight title contender Kubrat Pulev (27-1, 14 KOs) is coming off a huge win when he knocked out Bogan Dinu at The Hanger in Costa Mesa California. It was the seventh straight win for Pulev since suffering a knockout loss at the hands of former champion Wladimir Klitschko.
We should all be discussing how much of a threat he is to WBC title holder Deontay Wilder, unified champion Anthony Joshua and Lineal champion Tyson Fury. Instead he is currently in the news for reasons other than just boxing.
Shortly after his victory, Pulev was interviewed by Jennifer Ravalo who is also known as Jenny Sushe. There was nothing out of the ordinary about the interview. The questions Ravalo was asking were very professional. After such a dominant performance by Pulev, Ravalo like many of us wanted to know who could be possibly next.
“If Tyson Fury gets through Tom Schartz do you think that you should get a shot?” Asked Ravalo.
Pulev’s reply was a simple one.
With the kind of performance he just had, the thought of a Fury vs Pulev matchup is a tantalizing one. That thought however is the furthest thing from everyones mind at the moment. Shortly after stating that he would be interested in a showdown with Fury, Pulev grabbed the face of Ravalo, leaned in close and gave her a huge kiss on the lips.
Pulev was all smiles afterwards. He even chuckled as he walked off. Ravalo was cheerful as well. She had a huge smile on her face but you could tell that she was uncomfortable with what just happened. When taking a closer look at the kiss, as soon as Pulev releases her she immediately backed away and seemed completely caught off guard.
Ravalo would later reveal that after the interview she walked over to a table to put her items away in her bag to get ready to leave. It was at that moment that she says Pulev came up to her from behind and squeezed her backside. He then walked away without saying anything and laughed.
Determined to not let Pulev’s unprofessional behavior ruin her work experience she attended an after party with the thought of interviewing more fighters while there. Pulev also attended the party. Ravalo stated that he acted as though nothing happened. When the party was finishing up Pulev approached Ravalo and asked if she could delete the footage of what he had done.
“He asked me to remove the kiss from the interview. I did not remove it and instead I posted it because I wanted people to see what he had done to me. I wanted him to be accountable, I didn’t want him to get away with it. What he did to me was disgusting. I felt humiliated. No woman should be treated this way. Mr. Pulev and I were not friends and we are not in a romantic relationship. He had no right to kiss me.”
Ravalo isn’t taking this situation lightly as she has hired known women’s right attorney Gloria Allred. To make matters even worse Pulev was told that he would not be licensed to fight in the state of California until he appeared in front of the California State Athletic Commission. Boxing however should be the least of his concerns at the moment.
What turned into a night that should have resulted in Pulev being praised for his exploits in the ring has turned into a condemnation of what he has done outside of it.
Pulev Defeats Dinu on ESPN
By: Sean Crose
A Bloodied Pulev Conquers Dinu On ESPN Top RankCard
Kubat Pulev literally jumped into the ring at the Hangar in Southern California Saturday night to make himself familiar to American audiences. Although well known among hard core fight fans as a man who challenged, and lost to, Wladimir Klitschko while the Ukrainian was still king of the heavyweight division, the 26-1 Pulev was still essentially obscure in among American sports fans. An impressive performance against the 18-1 Bogdan Dinu in front of ESPN cameras would surely change all that. And so Bulgaria’s Pulev answered the opening bell for ESPN’s live Top Rank broadcast on Saturday night determined to shine.
The scheduled 10 round affair began with both men firing jabs at each other. Pulev, however, quickly, if subtly, established himself as the more aggressive of the two, walking his man down and making Dinu fight off the back foot. An active policeman in his home country of Romania, Dinu was coming off a loss to Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, who will face heavyweight king Anthony Joshua this spring at Madison Square Garden. The 6’5 Dinu hurt his man badly in the fourth round. Sure enough, Pulev, who was bleeding profusely, appeared to look in real trouble. Needless to say, Pulev fought back bravely towards the end of round, perhaps even desperately.
The doctor stepped into the ring at the beginning of the fifth, but Pulev assured him he was okay to continue. Needless to say, ESPN’s broadcast team made it clear that the cut would be very hard to contain as the fight continued. Still, Pulev fought quite effectively throughout the round. Pulev continued to fight hard in the sixth. Pulev then began the seventh in ferocious fashion, sending his man to the canvas less than a minute after the opening bell. The problem was that Pulev landed a hard shot on the back of Dinu’s head after the Romanian had hit the mat.
The ring doctor was called in, but Dinu said he couldn’t get up. The man did indeed get up seconds later, however, after the referee ruled the late blow accidental, and was cleared to continue. Pulev was deducted a point. A few seconds later, Dinu was down again. He got up at the count of nine, but then went down for a third time later in the round. The fight was wisely stopped.
Earlier in the evening, Jessie Magdalano, 26-2, bested the 30-6 Rico Ramos in a ten round featherweight affair via unanimous decision.
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 Results: Pulev Decisions Fury
By: Michael Kane
Bulgarian heavyweight Kubrat Pulev defeated England’s Hughie Fury with an unanimous decision win at the Arena Armeec, Sofia, Bulgaria. The scorecard read 117-111, 118-110 and 115-113.
Pulev (26-1, 13 KOs) now becomes the IBF mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua. Joshua is due to fight in April 2019, time will tell if Pulev gets the chance to face the champion.
It’s back to the drawing board for Fury (21-2, 11 KOs) who never really got going in the contest. Fury won the British title in May and may look to defend that title next.
The first round was a feeling out round, with no major punches landing, the second round was much the same until Pulev landed a jab that cut Fury above the eye.
Fury came charging out in the 3rd, looking as if he was trying to knock Pulev out, possibly concerned about the cut and being able to go the distance. The fourth would see Pulev be more aggressive. Throwing some big punches.
As the fight moved into the middle rounds, it was turning out to be quite a scrappy affair. A lot of holding and pulling went on throughout the fight and wasn’t the most pleasing on the eye.
In the 8th round, Fury landed a big right which made Pulev stumble, this was clearly Fury’s best round. However Pulev came out in the 9th and took back control. Pulev continued to be on top in the 10th.
Fury was now looking tired as the fight moved into 11th, and in the 12th didn’t offer much, Pulev was looking fresh in the final round and it was clear who the winner would be.
Pulev will now be looking to face Joshua for the IBF title in what would be his second world title fight, in what was his only loss against Wladimir Klitschko.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Fury vs. Pulev
By: Michael Kane
Hughie Fury travels to the Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria this Saturday to face local favourite Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) in a 12 round IBF title elimination bout.
Whoever wins will become the mandatory contender for Anthony Joshua’s IBF strap.
Photo Credit: Hennessy Spors Twitter Page
Pulev, 37, has been relatively inactive in recent years, with his last bout coming 18 months ago when he defeated Kevin Johnson by unanimous decision. Pulev’s only defeat was in his title challenge against Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014 when he gamely tried to go toe to toe with the champion, succumbing to a 5th round KO.
The 24 year old, Fury, has only one defeat also, which came in his title challenge against Joshua Parker for the WBO title in September 2017. Fury gave a good account of himself, showing good movement however he didn’t let his hands go enough costing himself the victory.
Fury (21-1, 11 KOs) returned in May this year and took on Sam Sexton for the British title. It appeared Fury had learned a lesson from the Parker defeat as he threw and landed more, winning by TKO in the 5th round.
With the prospect of facing Joshua in a massive fight at Wembley next year, Fury said in a press release, “Those are the kind of fights I want and that fight in particular.
“I’m not looking past Pulev but whenever that Joshua fight is available, I’d take it with both hands. It’s a case of beating Pulev, getting that out the way and then we’ll talk business after that.
“Titles mean a lot more to me than money. I’ve never really been interested in money. I’m focused on one thing and that’s becoming a world champion.
“I feel stronger in myself and I’ve got more hunger, drive and motivation to get the job done. I’ve had disappointments in the past but they helped make me the person I am today.
“I’m looking forward to these fights, taking things one step at a time and following my dreams.”
In the press conference this week, Fury said,”Thank you to the people of Bulgaria for welcoming me. I’ve had a great reception – it’s a pleasure to be here again. It’s a country that I’ve been coming to since I was a teenager and I hope to come again soon.
“I can’t wait for the fight on Saturday. Camp’s been tough but all the hard work’s done now, now’s the easy bit. – the fight. It’s not long now, it’s only three days away. I’ve come over here to win. I’m prepared for whatever he [Pulev] throws at me, and if I have to go the distance to do that so be it. Believe me when I say it’s going to be one hell of a fight.
“I watched him [Pulev] in action at yesterday’s open workout and I don’t see anything to be worried about. I’ve done my preparation and I’ve got Plans A through to Z ready for whatever he comes at me with.”
Pulev said,“This is the first time such a high profile fight has been held in Bulgaria. It’s never happened before. My opponent is very strong and It’s a very serious fight at world level.
“Camp has gone well and I’m well prepared. I’m in a concentrated place. I believe my years of experience has led me to this day where I have the maturity to manage fights to the end. I work very hard and this is what I’ve been doing the last three months with my coach and team. I have developed my strength this past year, not just physically but also mentally. I’m in the best shape I can.
“The arena will be full on Saturday night. I have to win to make the home ground proud. They are incredibly supportive of me.”
With the fight taking place in Bulgaria, Pulev will be the favourite, Fury may have to try and KO the Bulgarian to have a chance of winning, if it goes to a decision, expect a Pulev win.
The fight will be shown on Channel 5 in the UK and ESPN+ in the USA.
Other notable fights on card are:
Vacant EBU European Union Cruiserweight title
Tervel Pulev v Leonardo Damian Bruzzese
Vacant WBA Inter Continental Female Super Middleweight title
Savannah Marshall v Yanina Orozco
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Farmer, Pulev, Fury, Rios, Showtime, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 21st to August 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Kubrat Pulev Promising ‘Fire & Fury’ in IBF Eliminator Against Hughie Fury on October 27th in Sofia, Bulgaria
On Saturday, October 27, “Fire & Fury” will collide, as IBF #2-rated heavyweight contender Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev will face Britain’s IBF #5-rated Hughie Fury in a 12-round elimination bout at the Arena Armeec in Pulev’s hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria.
Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) and Fury (21-1, 11 KOs) will be competing for the right to face the winner of the September 22 showdown between champion Anthony Joshua and challenger Alexander Povetkin.
The event, entitled “Fire & Fury” will be presented by Ivaylo Gotzev and John Wirt’s Epic Sports and Entertainment, together with Fury’s promoter, Hennessey Sports, and will be broadcast live in the UK on Channel 5.
One of the most popular athletes in all of Bulgaria, 37-year-old Pulev is on a five-fight winning streak, including a TKO 3 over former heavyweight champion Samuel Peter. Among his many distinctions, Pulev is a former two-time European and IBF International Heavyweight Champion. He stands 6’ 4 ½” and weighs in around 240 lbs. Pulev’s only career loss came in a challenge for the undisputed heavyweight championship against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. Fury is the fourth opponent scheduled to face Pulev, as Britain’s Dillian Whyte and Americans Jarell Miller and Dominic Breazeale all declined the fight.
Pulev, who will be having his first bout since partnering with Epic Sports and Entertainment, says Fury better not be looking past him while preparing for this fight.
“The fact that Hughie Fury is coming to Bulgaria when many others ran away speaks volumes,” said Pulev. “I understand that he is very motivated because this is an eliminator fight for a chance at the world title. I suggest he stops thinking about the world title for a moment and come prepared for a real battle. I am already in beast mode and I’m hungry for my return in the ring!”
Fury hails from Manchester and is the current BBBofC British Heavyweight Champion and is trained by his father, Peter Fury. The 23-year-old stands 6’ 6” tall and also weighs in around 240 lbs. In September of 2017, Fury suffered his only career loss, a controversial majority decision to Joseph Parker for Parker’s WBO Heavyweight Championship.
“It’s taken a lot of time to make this fight happen and I want to thank all of those involved,” said Hughie Fury. “I want to fight for world titles and to do that I need to beat the guys at the top of the division. Kubrat Pulev is a serious fight for the mandatory position and I know I’ve got to be the real deal to beat him. I believe I’m going to do that in his back yard where others trembled at the thought of it.”
“We want to be involved in these big fight nights and to go up against the big names that lead the division,” added father and trainer Peter Fury. “To become a world heavyweight champion, you’ve got to overcome every challenge that’s put in front of you. And for Hughie that starts in Bulgaria in October.”
“In this day and age, when some promoters and their fighters opt for the safest bets, Hughie Fury has done the opposite,” said Ivaylo Gotzev of Fury, who has faced his own share of delays and disappointments on his way to this eliminator bout. “Fury has decided to step into the Lion’s Den, and fight Kubrat in his home town of Sofia. This matchup is intriguing, as two of the best in the division step up and face one another. We expect a great heavyweight battle – one that will decide one man’s destiny to fight for the most coveted title in the world – the Heavyweight Championship. To all of Team Fury – you are welcome in Bulgaria!”
Hennessy Sports CEO Mick Hennessy, promoter of Fury, said: “First and foremost I’d like to heap praise on my young fighter Hughie Fury. There’s no pantomime and no theatrics. He’s just a young man, full of respect for everyone he faces, and who believes in giving the fans proper fights and value for money. At just 23 years of age Hughie is a massive talent. He’s not perhaps got the plaudits he deserves, so this is his moment to make the boxing world really sit up and take notice of what he’s capable of.”
“I’d also like to thank my counterparts at Epic Sports & Entertainment for making this fight happen. It’s taken a lot to get to this point, but we were determined to give the fans a fight that they deserve. Both teams are excited about this one.”
Uzcátegui and Jerwin Ancajas Headline Oakland Throwdown
IBF super middleweight champion José Uzcátegui, the power-punching boogeyman of the 168-pounders, will face Ezequiel Maderna in the 10-round, non-title main event on Friday, Sept. 28 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
And, in the co-feature, Jerwin Ancajas, the world’s longest-reigning 115-pound world champion, is ready to add another defense to his résumé. The southpaw Filipino sensation will make the sixth defense of his IBF junior bantamweight world title against the hard-charging Alejandro Santiago.
Ancajas-Santiago and Uzcátegui-Maderna will stream live in the United States beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
The undercard will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET and includes a matchup of former 122-pound world champions: Jessie Magdaleno will take on Rico Ramos in a 10-round featherweight bout. Also appearing on the ESPN+ broadcast will be 118-pound contender Joshua Greer Jr. (17-1-1, 9 KOs) making his Top Rank debut in a 10-rounder against Giovanni Delgado (16-7, 9 KOs); the return of Filipino featherweight contender Genesis Servania (31-1, 14 KOs); and 18-year-old featherweight sensation Christopher Zavala (1-0) in a four-rounder.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions and Zanfer Promotions, tickets for this all-action card go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. PST. Priced at $105, $78.75, $52.50, and $26.25, including facility fees, tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at the Oracle Arena box office. The Oracle Arena box office is open Monday-Friday from 12-5 p.m.
“This is my first fight since winning the world title, and I will be representing my country and my beloved Tijuana, Mexico, with pride and guts,” Uzcátegui said. “I will show the world and my opponent why I’m the best super middleweight in the world right now!”
“I am very excited to defend my title in Oakland in front of the great fans there, and I look forward to a great challenge from Santiago,” Ancajas said. “There is a large Filipino community in Northern California, so I expect an incredible atmosphere inside the Oracle Arena. I also want to thank MP Promotions, Sean Gibbons, Top Rank, and Mr. Bob Arum for this opportunity.”
“I want to be a world champion again. I have that fire and that fuel, and I am ready to do whatever it takes to get back there,” Madgaleno said. “I have new trainers, Ismael Salas and Jorge Capetillo, and I feel like it’s been a great move. I feel like I Iacked movement in my last fight, and I felt like I needed to get back to the way I was when I won the world title against Nonito Donaire. Everyone will see a renewed Jessie Magdaleno when I fight Rico Ramos.”
Uzcátegui (27-2, 23 KOs) is coming off the biggest win of his career, an eighth-round stoppage against former world champion Andre Dirrell on March 3. It was a rematch of a controversial 2017 disqualification defeat for Uzcátegui, who was ruled to have knocked out Dirrell after the bell had sounded to end the eighth round. The win over Dirrell earned Uzcátegui the IBF interim title, but he was elevated to full champion after then-champion James DeGale elected to vacate the belt rather than face Uzcátegui. A native of El Vigia, Venezuela, Uzcátegui’s last 10 wins have come via stoppage. Maderna (26-4, 16 KOs), from Buenos Aires, Argentina, turned pro in 2008 and has won three of his past four fights.
Ancajas (28-1-1, 19 KOs) from Barangay Ramirez, Magallanes, Cavite, Philippines, is a southpaw power puncher who has been a world champion since Sept. 3, 2016, when he knocked down McJoe Arroyo in the eighth round en route to a unanimous decision victory. He is one of boxing’s most active champions, having defended his title three times in 2017 and twice in 2018. In his last bout, May 26 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, Ancajas defeated countryman Jonas Sultan via unanimous decision in the first all-Filipino world title bout since 1925. Ancajas is 16-0 with 14 knockouts since his only loss, a 10-round majority decision to Mark Geraldo on March 17, 2012.
Santiago (16-2-4, 7 KOs), a native of Tijuana, Mexico, is riding an 11-bout unbeaten streak dating back to August 2015. He last fought on March 14 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, battling to a spirited draw versus Jose Martinez for the NABO super flyweight title.
Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs) is a former WBO junior featherweight world champion who lost the belt in one of the best fights of 2018. On April 28 in Philadelphia, he knocked down Isaac Dogboe in the first round, but Dogboe rallied to score three knockdowns of his own and knock Magdaleno out in the 11th round of an instant classic. Ramos (29-5, 14 KOs), is a 10-year pro, won the WBA 122-pound title with a shocking, one-punch left hook knockout against Akifumi Shimoda in 2011, but lost the title in his first defense against then-unbeaten Guillermo Rigondeaux on Jan. 20, 2012 in Las Vegas. Ramos has won five in a row since a third-round KO loss against Claudio Marrero in July 2015.
WBC Ambassadors Maureen Shea and Brandon Rios Support the Grand Opening of Virgil Hill’s New Gym Funded by George Lopez
A few months ago, a Simi Valley Boxing Gym lost its owner due to canceR, It didn’t take much for comedian George Lopez and his company Fifty150 (Chasing Dreams – Overcome Obstacles) to step up to the plate and help save the gym the kids loved. This past Saturday, the gym had its Grand Opening ceremony where QuickSilver Hill Sports Academy was presented to the community with Head Coach, Former Champion, Virgil Hill.
In attendance at the Red Ribbon cutting ceremony was Former Champions and WBC Ambassadors, Bam Bam Brandon Rios and Maureen Shea, as well as Golden Boy Boxing’s house DJ Ray and hosting the event was Nancy Rodriguez. The WBC presented Virgil Hill with a WBC Certified plaque, very soon Pepe Sulaiman and team will be going to the gym for workshops and Boxing fundamentals.
The gym had two sparring sessions where both Brandon Rios and Maureen Shea were put in as trainers, which was great to see them in these roles. Many raffles, prizes, photos, autographs from the fighters, free food and drinks for all.
Rios and Shea spoke to the children in attendance and really gave them great advice on following their dreams and never giving up.
On behalf of the WBC, we’d like to congratulate Quicksilver Hill Sports Academy on their Grand Opening and we look forward to seeing them in the Boxing Community.
Showtime to Premiere Cradle of Champions
SHOWTIME has acquired the television rights to CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS, a documentary film that takes viewers through the New York Golden Gloves tournament, one of the most prestigious amateur boxing tournaments in the country. Written and directed by journalist Bartle Bull, the film will premiere Friday, September 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS chronicles three inspiring fighters—James Wilkins, Nisa Rodriguez, and Titus Williams—as they navigate the 10-week tournament and fight their way among 500 boxers from the five boroughs, all vying for the coveted title of Golden Gloves champion. Through the three intertwined yet unique narratives, the film explores the pressures and sacrifices on the arduous journey toward boxing greatness.
Shot in a cinema verité-style with no voice-over narration, the character-driven narrative examines what it means to “fight for your life,” not only for the boxers, but also for their coaches, mentors, teammates and loved ones. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS includes genuine characters and intimate revelations set against the gritty urban landscape of New York City to create a powerful and layered account of the 2015 tournament.
The film follows Williams and Wilkins as they battle through opposite sides of the 132-pound bracket. Williams is the tournament favorite on the brink of professional success. He is mentored by coach Joe Higgins, a retired New York City firefighter suffering from illnesses sustained during rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Wilkins, a Staten Island native who channels his propensity for fighting into an amateur career, aims to beat Williams and establish himself as a prospect to watch as he turns to the professional ranks. Meanwhile, single mother and teacher Rodriquez—a five-time Golden Glove champion and self-proclaimed, “fighting pride of the South Bronx”—attempts to cement her legacy as she sets her sights on the 2016 Olympic Trials.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is Bull’s first endeavor into documentary filmmaking. A New York based author and journalist by trade who specializes in foreign affairs and the Middle East, Bull has appeared on NPR, Fox News, BBC, and other news outlets, and his work has been featured in New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is executive produced by Donald Rosenfeld (Tree of Life, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Remains of the Day) and written and directed by Bull, in association with cinematographer Tom Hurwitz (The Queen of Versailles) and editor Michael Levine (Restrepo). The film was an official selection at the 2017 American Documentary Film Festival, the 2017 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Doc NYC 2017. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS was named Best Feature at the 2017 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.
The Underground Showdown Returns to Atlanta September 15
ATLANTA, GA- Saturday September 15, The Underground Showdown returns to Buckhead Fight Club, presented by Holmes Entertainment . This evening of pro/amateur boxing action will see an action packed card, and promoter Mark Holmes is excited to be back in Atlanta and return to professional boxing promotions. “”This is a great opportunity to see good, local growing talent, so I’m going to put some shows together and try and keep the fighters in all these gyms busy and fighting.”
Underground Showdown is stacked with many of the top Mexican fighters in Atlanta, all ready to battle it out on Mexican Independence weekend. Pro fighters scheduled to appear are: super welterweights Jesus Tavera and Anthony Hill in a 6 round main event; featherweights Deonte Brown and Joe Gibson, 4 rounds; super welterweights Antonio Todd and Jorge Gonzales Rolon, 4 rounds; fly weights Rondarius Hunter and Arrel Love, 4 rounds; Jerson Ramos, super featherweight opponent TBD, and welterweight Sean Charleston and opponent TBD. Amateur bouts will feature Abel Aparicio, Roberto Escalante, Luis Damian, Rafael Castillo, William Hernandez and Andres Leon.
Doors open 6 PM Saturday, September 15 at Buckhead Fight Club/Atlanta Art of Boxing, 3293 Buford Hwy. NE #500, with first bell at 7 PM Sharp. Tickets are available now at Buckhead Fight Club or online at: http://undergroundshowdown3.doattend.com
Former Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz Clashes with Hard-Hitting Brawler John Molina Jr. in Premier Boxing Champions Main Event
Expect fireworks when former welterweight champion “Vicious” Victor Ortiz meets hard-hitting former title challenger John Molina Jr. on Sunday, September 30 in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes live from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature a stacked lineup of undercard attractions leading up to the action-packed main event.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, go on sale tomorrow, August 24 at 12 p.m. PT and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Ortiz (32-6-3, 25 KOs) is an all-action boxer-puncher who comes to fight and is always in exciting battles. The 31-year-old southpaw has one of the best resumes of anyone in the welterweight division having been in against Floyd Mayweather, Andre Berto twice, Lamont Peterson, Luis Collazo and Marcos Maidana. Ortiz, who was born in Garden City, Kansas and now lives in Ventura, California, is coming off a majority draw against Devon Alexander in February.
“We’ve known each other a long time and we’re both always in exciting battles, so fans should expect nothing less on September 30,” said Ortiz. “I had a broken eye socket from an injury in the second round of the Alexander fight, but I’m feeling 100 percent now. I’m ready to take what is rightfully mine, and that’s another world title down the road. It’s going to be a way from round one and I can’t wait.”
Molina (30-7, 24 KOs) has never backed down from a challenge and has been in the ring with some of the best boxers from lightweight to welterweight during his career. The 35-year-old from Covina, California beat a fierce Ruslan Provodnikov by unanimous decision in 2016. Another standout battle from Molina’s career saw him drop former welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse twice before losing on an 11th round knockout. In his last fight he scored a fourth round TKO victory over Ivan Redkach in a back-and-forth bout from December on FS1.
“I respect Victor and everything he’s accomplished in this game, but I know that I have the tools to overcome everything he does,” said Molina. “Everyone knows that I’m in it to win it. We’re both going to be ready to mix it up and throw bombs. There is no way that I see this fight going the distance. It’s going to come down to heart and I’m going to be there until final bell.”
“Victor Ortiz vs. John Molina Jr. has war written all over it and should be another in a long line of memorable battles featuring these Southern California fan-favorites,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports. “These two men are known for leaving it all in the ring and giving the fans incredible action from the opening bell. I have no doubt that this will be another outstanding showdown, with the winner setting themselves up for even bigger things in the star-studded welterweight division. We’re excited to bring this matchup, plus a jam-packed undercard, to the fans in Ontario and watching live on FS1 and FOX Deportes.”
“This is a true crossroads battle between two hardnosed veterans who have fought almost every welterweight of note in the last decade,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The one thing you can be certain of when you get Victor Ortiz and John Molina Jr. in the ring is that a fight will break out. This match should be highly entertaining for the fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena and those who tune in on FS1 and FOX Deportes on September 30.”
Tevin Farmer Pens Multi-Fight Co-Promo Deal with Matchroom Boxing USA and DiBella Entertainment
Tevin Farmer has signed a multi-fight co-promotional deal with DiBella Entertainment and Matchroom Boxing USA.
The newly crowned IBF World Super Featherweight champion will make the first defense of his title live on DAZN in a bout to be announced this week – another step in the remarkable career of the popular southpaw.
Farmer travelled to Australia earlier in the month to land the title in convincing fashion in the backyard of Sydney’s Billy Dib, to claim the IBF strap at the second attempt having been on the wrong end of a controversial split decision against Kenichi Ogawa in Las Vegas in December, a result subsequently change to a no-contest following Ogawa failing a drugs test.
The Philadelphian ace’s win was a sweet moment after recovering from a career-threatening injury when he was shot in the hand in July 2017 – reaching the World title status his undoubted talent has always promised.
Farmer is hunting down unification bouts as soon as possible, with champions Gervonta Davis, Miguel Berchelt and Masayuki Ito all on his radar.
“Winning that belt after everything I’ve been through brought me indescribable joy,” said Farmer. “I always felt that I was a true champion. I just had to go over to Australia, capture the title and prove it, and I did just that. I came home a champion and celebrated, but I got right back in the gym. I want to be an active champion and defend my title. That’s why I’m so thrilled about this deal. It’s a pleasure to work with both DiBella Entertainment and Matchroom Boxing USA and I know that with us working together, big things are going to happen. Ultimately, my goal is to get all the belts and I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m open to fighting anybody to unify. I’m looking forward to showing the world who Tevin Farmer is and what I can do.”
“Through all of Tevin’s hard work, heart and determination, he overcame the odds, achieved his dream, and now he can enjoy the fruits of his labor,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This is a great deal that will help progress Tevin’s career as he begins his championship reign. Starting with his first title defense in October, Tevin will stay active as we work toward getting him the biggest and most meaningful fights available.”
“Tevin Farmer has a great story but more importantly to me the man can really fight,” said Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing USA. “He showed great heart to bounce back from that shocking decision in Las Vegas and go to Australia to win the title – and now the world is his oyster.
“We have a great fight lined up for him in October but the ultimate focus is Gervonta and other unifications. We are going to keep him nice and busy and we look forward to working with Tevin and Lou on this exciting journey.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Joshua, Pulev, Jacobs, USA Boxing, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 19th to September 26th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Sport
Joshua vs. Pulev Heavyweight World Championship Fight to Air Live on Showtime on October 28th
SHOWTIME Sports® will close out a banner year of world-class boxing with back-to-back Saturdays featuring heavyweight world championship fights live on SHOWTIME. The network announced today coverage of unified heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua’s upcoming WBA and IBF world title defense against top-rated mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev on Saturday, October 28 live on SHOWTIME from Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
The October 28 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will be the first of two heavyweight world title fights airing live on SHOWTIME on consecutive Saturdays, with WBC World Champion Deontay Wilder set to defend his title against undefeated contender Luis Ortiz on Saturday, November 4. Both main event bouts will air live on SHOWTIME as the network concludes a robust 2017 boxing campaign that will have featured 22 world championship fights, 16 bouts matching fellow undefeated fighters, three world title unifications, three world title rematches and the emergence of three bright young stars (Errol Spence Jr., Gervonta Davis and David Benavidez) as they earned their first world titles.
With the addition of Joshua vs. Pulev, four of the consensus top-five heavyweights in the world will compete on SHOWTIME in consecutive weeks. Joshua vs. Pulev and Wilder vs. Ortiz will be the ninth and 10th heavyweight world championship bouts to air live on SHOWTIME in the last two years.
“There’s so much to be excited about in the sport of boxing, and it all comes to a fever pitch on consecutive Saturdays this fall on SHOWTIME,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports. “This has been a great year for boxing. More specifically, it has been a great year for SHOWTIME boxing. There’s no better way to end it than with two major heavyweight world championship events. We are proud to be in business with the two biggest punchers in the sport, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, and the rest of the talented and hungry heavyweight challengers of today.”
Joshua, the undefeated British superstar (19-0, 19 KOs), exploded onto the world stage in April when he defeated heavyweight legend Wladimir Klitschko via a spectacular come-from-behind knockout. In the year’s leading Fight of the Year candidate, a bout that aired live on SHOWTIME, Joshua picked up the vacant WBA heavyweight title to go along with his IBF belt. Now, Joshua returns to take on the top-ranked IBF challenger in Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) at the 70,000 seat national stadium in Wales.
Joshua, 27, has remarkably knocked out all of his opponents since turning pro shortly after winning gold in the 2012 Olympics. The Watford, England native won his first title with a second-round KO of defending IBF Heavyweight Champion Charles Martin in April 2016, earning a heavyweight belt in the fewest number of fights in more than 20 years. He has since successfully defended the title three times – against Dominic Breazeale in June of 2016, Eric Molina in December and Klitschko in April.
Pulev, of Sofia, Bulgaria, will be making his second attempt at winning the IBF world championship, having lost to Klitschko in his first try in November 2014. After that, his lone loss, Pulev quickly rebounded and became a two-time European champion with a win over Dereck Chisora. He also holds wins over two former world title foes of Klitschko in Samuel Peter and Kevin Johnson.
Joshua vs. Pulev is promoted by Matchroom Sport. Fewer than 200 tickets remain on sale via www.StubHub.co.uk priced at £300.
Daniel Jacobs Signs with Matchroom Boxing, to Return to HBO
Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing are delighted to announce their first American signing as Brooklyn native Daniel Jacobs, (32-2, 29 KO’s) pens a multi-fight deal as part of Matchroom Boxing’s new venture in the US.
The former Middleweight World ruler will make his debut under the new banner in November live on HBO® as ‘The Miracle Man’ aims to reclaim his World champion status.
Jacobs’ last outing was against fearsome pound-for-pound king Gennady Golovkin in March at a jam packed Madison Square Garden in New York where ‘GGG’ edged the Brooklyn star out on points, and 30 year old Jacobs wants to get back into fights with the likes Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as he kicks-off an exciting new chapter in his career with Hearn and Matchroom.
“I’m truly excited to be joining Matchroom Boxing and HBO,” said Jacobs. “This is a new beginning for my career and I get a chance to showcase my skills to the world. I can’t wait to return to the ring in November, being active and recapturing the World middleweight title.”
“It’s an honour to welcome Danny Jacobs to the Matchroom Boxing team and to join forces with HBO boxing to showcase his fights,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “I believe Danny has proved himself as the top Middleweight in World boxing and has one of the most inspirational stories you will ever see in the sport which must be told. We plan on keeping Danny nice and busy kicking off in November, then back in the spring with the obvious target of the Canelo vs GGG winner.
“This signing marks the first of many in the US market as we look forward to building on our success in the UK, raising fighters’ activities levels and profiles and providing fans with atmosphere and drama from this great sport.”
“Inspiring and electric in the ring, Daniel Jacobs is a true ambassador for boxing,” says Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “Daniel is a force to be reckoned with in the stacked middleweight division. We look forward to watching his exceptionally bright future unfold as part of the HBO family.”
USA Boxing Launches Alumni Association
USA Boxing announced the official launch of the USA Boxing Alumni Association today during a press event in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Alumni Association was created to champion a lifelong, mutually beneficial relationship between USA Boxing and its alumni, including boxers, officials, coaches and boxing fans. The membership, which costs $40/year, allows members to relive amateur boxing experiences with former teammates, opponents, coaches and other members of the USA Boxing community.
“The Alumni Association will be looking to connect generations of champions of the sport,” said Mike McAtee, USA Boxing Executive Director. “This association will bring former boxers that reached all levels of success in amateur boxing, as well as coaches, officials and people who have a love for Olympic-style boxing together.”
“The ability to connect, reconnect and interact with former participants and lovers of our sport is exciting,” stated USA Boxing President John Brown. “This association has been talked about for over 30 years and will allow us to accomplish goals only previously dreamed of.”
The Alumni Association will be open to anyone possessing a love for the sport and looking to stay connected with amateur boxing. Becoming a member will grant members access to a variety of special events hosted by the Alumni Association, including the first annual USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame reception. The reception will be held on December 8 in Salt Lake City during the USA Boxing Elite and Youth National Championships & Junior and Prep Open.
The USA Boxing Alumni Association will begin taking registrations on November 1, with the Alumni Association website launching in the coming weeks.
For more information on the USA Boxing Alumni Association follow USA Boxing Alumni Association on social media (@USABoxingAlumni) or call (719)-866-2778.
Jeff Horn Backs Dennis Hogan to Win World Title
World Boxing Organisation (WBO) number six ranked junior middleweight Dennis “Hurricane” Hogan has received support in his bid for a world title shot from Australia’s only current world champion ahead of the WBO eliminator that could decide his future.
WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn says there is no reason Hogan can’t emulate his performance when he ripped the world championship belt from the waist of eight-division world champion and pound-for-pound stalwart Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane last July.
“Dennis impresses me with his work ethic and his strength as a boxer,” says Horn, who trains alongside “The Hurricane” at coach Glenn Rushton’s Stretton Boxing Club.
“He can definitely emulate what I have done, being ranked number six himself.
“Dennis just needs to fight hard and win every round as it goes. Hard work and belief was my key to success.
“It is extremely important to have a strong team behind you who you can trust.”
But first Hogan is going to have to get past world number seven Yuki Nonaka from Japan who he faces in a decider for the number two spot at the Convention & Exhibition Centre in Brisbane on 14 October.
“Nonaka is a slick, elusive counterpuncher, but I’m used to that style,” says Hogan, who has a professional record of 25-1-1 with 7 knockouts. “I do very well against guys like that so I’m very confident going in.
“As an amateur I was light heavyweight champion of Ireland so I got used to boxing guys taller than me. It’s all about nullifying him, frustrating him, breaking him down and making him do what we want him to do, then we’ll catch him.”
Nonaka comes highly credentialed and is ranked in the top 15 of all four major sanctioning bodies. The Osaka southpaw is undefeated in eight years but he has never fought outside of his native Japan.
“This is one of the biggest sporting events to be held in Australia this year and the second biggest fight behind only Horn and Pacquiao,” says Paul Keegan of DDP Sports Management who are promoting the event.
“We want to bring arena style boxing back to Australia and encourage all sports fans to get along to see what all the hype is all about.
“Dennis is set to be Australia’s next world champ and we want to give Aussie sports fans the chance to see this kid fight live and be part of his journey.”
Hogan says that he has left no stone unturned in his preparation and is looking forward to doing his fans across two countries proud.
“I’ll have youth on my side, I’ll have aggression on my side and I’ll be ready to go all out for the full ten rounds,” says Hogan.
The 32-year-old Hogan moved to Brisbane from Kildare, Ireland seven years ago to pursue a professional boxing career when the Irish economy was tanking due to the fallout from the global financial crisis.
DENNIS HOGAN QUOTES
On training at the Stretton Boxing Club: “We know all the ingredients are there, it’s just about doing everything that we need to do. The gym is structured really well, it’s a really good set-up. You manage to get all the stuff done in a good way and it’s actually enjoyable going up there to train, even though it’s tough work. You can go years smashing out sessions and you very rarely get to see things changing because of the intense nature of the work. But when you get to see big changes on a regular basis and stuff that really works to your advantage when you’re in the ring, you start to realise this stuff is working. It gives you a lot of confidence and more motivation to come back and do it all again.”
On his fight with Jack Culcay for the WBA world title: “I learned a lot about what happens when you’re the away fighter. And what that means is that you can’t leave anything to chance. You have to make sure every little thing is spot on. Even if you’re winning the rounds you can’t relax for a second, you’ve got to stay on for the whole lot and you can’t even give those guys an inch. I used to give people an inch and now I’m working on not giving them nothing. That fact that I’ve been there and done that, now I know I can be there and win that.”
On his Australian and Irish supporter base: “In this fight I’m going to make a statement. And after this people are going to know we mean business. After this I look forward to gaining more momentum with the crowd and hopefully getting more Queenslanders and Aussies behind me, along with the Irish. I have great support from the Irish community here and just want everyone to come together and support me, together we can make it work. I will be the world champion and with the support of those people, it’s only going to help.”
On the keys to success: “If you believe in yourself and keep pushing yourself to keep going, good things will come to you. I really believe that. There were days when you didn’t know whether you were national level, regional level or world level. It seems like it’s so far away, the goal of being world champion. But I kept saying to myself ‘I’m going to be world champion and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get there’. And I showed up every day and put in the work and here I am. I’m on the cusp of it now, I’ve already had a world title fight, I’m close to having one again and I’m here to put it right.”
On a world title shot in Australia: “If we can bring that a world title fight here and in some way replicate the atmosphere and the crowd that Jeff Horn had for his fight with Manny Pacquiao, it would just be phenomenal. It would be phenomenal for me, it would be phenomenal for the fans, and it would phenomenal for the country. It would really bring big time boxing back here. I know it was a dream of Jeff’s before, a dream of Glenn’s, and I want to be a part of that too. That’s another goal of mine too, to make that happen. I’m under no illusion that I have to put in a big performance here if I want to get the support needed to bring a world title fight to Brisbane.”
On moving to Australia: “I boxed on the Ireland amateur team for a few years and travelled the world with them. We came through Brisbane and I met a guy here who had a professional set up and stuff, so three years after that I was starting to think about going pro. Back then I had a bit of an offer from Boston and I had an offer from here. I remembered being here and it was beautiful and I had a cousin living here as well. I thought about the beautiful weather, the beautiful people here, and I just said ‘you know what, I’ll go back there and try that’. I thought it might only be for a year or something, but I just loved it here, I just loved it here and decided to stay. And even when I have had training camps and in Miami and Florida I kept coming back because I love it here.”
Barthelemy-Ramirez Ends in Dubious Draw
A loud chorus of boos rang out as another controversial Las Vegas decision was rendered in tonight’s Leduan Barthelemy vs. Eduardo Ramirez featherweight battle at the Cannery Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Ramirez, of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, seemed to have done more than enough to deserve the nod over a listless Barthelemy in the 10-round featherweight main event of a Premier Boxing Champions “Cuba vs. Mexico” TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAY event, televised nationally on FS1 & BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on FOX Deportes.
After 10 rounds of pounding and chasing the exhausted Cuban around the ring, often landing multi-punch combinations to the head and body, Ramirez and corner rightfully celebrated their well-deserved upset victory… But in Las Vegas boxing, nothing is certain, especially scoring.
While Judge Glen Trowbridge was able to pick the right winner at least (but by too tight a margin) at 96-94, the other two inexplicably scored the lopsided beating (Tim Cheatham) 95-95 and an unbelievable 97-93 Barthelemy from Patricia Morse Jarman.
This controversial scoring is the second time Las Vegas judges have made major blunders on national television in a short time, as it comes less than two weeks after the Canelo vs. GGG scoring debacle.
It is also not the first time Morse Jarman has been involved in controversial and highly questionable scoring.
Her decades of head-scratching scores include having Fernando Vargas ahead of Oscar De La Hoya at the time of De La Hoya’s 11th round stoppage victory, as well as having Beibut Shumenov winning 117-111 in a fight against Gabriel Campillo that Campillo clearly dominated and was robbed. Also among her long list of missteps, Morse Jarman had Marco Antonio Barrera beating Nasim Hamed by a mere three points in a fight regarded by all (except Morse Jarman) as a one-sided beating.
With the “draw” Barthelemy escapes to 13-0-1, 7 KOs. Ramirez undeservedly sinks to 20-0-3, 7 KOs.
Anthony Joshua To Face Kubrat Pulev In Wales
By: Sean Crose
The last time many American fans may have seen heavyweight Kubrat Pulev was when Wladimir Klitschko torched the man in thunderous fashion back in their 2014 heavyweight title bout. It was a major battle, as Pulev was undefeated and deserving of the shot. Still, he proved no match for the long reigning champion that day in Germany. Pulev has been active since that time, however, facing, and besting, the likes of Samuel Peter and Derek Chisora. Now, close to three full years removed from his devastating loss to Klitschko, the 25-1 Bulgarian will once again be challenging for the heavyweight crown.
For Pulev will face none other than Anthony Joshua, the 19-0 reigning heavyweight king, on October 28th in Wales. Many had hoped, or even assumed, that Joshua would be fighting Klitschko himself for the second time, as the Englishman had overcome the former champion in brilliant fashion earlier this year in front of eighty thousand people in England. Klitschko, however chose retirement over facing his conqueror twice. And that left the door wide open for Pulev, who is the number one ranked IBF challenger, to get his second shot at supremacy.
Needless to say, the man will have his work cut out for him. Joshua has won all of his fights by knockout, after all. What’s more, the Englishman proved he could hang with top level competition when he got off the mat to overcome Klitschko last spring. In other words, Joshua is more than just a hard puncher with an Adonis-like physique. He’s a talented new breed supersized heavyweight who has more than simple size and strength in his arsenal. Pulev, though, is no slouch himself. The fighter has an effective, often probing, jab and a strong straight right. Whether or not that will be enough to meet the aggression, underrated footwork and finishing power of Joshua remains to be seen. Joshua, as Klitschko proved, can be sent off his feet.
There’s little doubt, though, that Joshua is THE rising star in boxing right now. He might not be as established as Canelo Alvarez or Manny Pacquiao at the moment, but the fighter is enormously popular in England and appears to be on the cusp of gaining an international fandom. The heavyweight powerhouse has expressed serious interest in the fighting in United States, but for the moment will settle on Great Britain, where he’s known to pack in thousands. Sure enough, 80,000 spectators gathered to see Joshua fight Klitschko in his last title defense. This time the man can possibly fill over 70,000 seats when he meets Pulev at Principality Stadium in the Welsh capital of Cardiff, leaving little room for argument that Joshua is now one of the biggest draws in boxing.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, McGregor, Fonfara, Stevenson, Pulev, Barrios and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, McGregor, Fonfara, Stevenson, Pulev, Barrios and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 17th to April 24th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Dana White Tells Colin Cowherd that McGregor vs. Mayweather is Getting Closer
UFC President Dana White joined The Herd with Colin Cowherd today, April 19, to update everyone on a potential Floyd Mayweather / Conor McGregor fight and said it’s getting really close. Below is a highlight from the interview, as well as a link to the video:
Cowherd: “Has one side agreed to it, or are they both in flux?”
White: “I think we get the McGregor side done in the next couple of days, and then I go lock myself in a room for a couple days with Team Mayweather and see what we can come out with.”
Cowherd: “Is it all about money at this point?”
White: “It’s all about money. Absolutely. Yeah, definitely.”
Cowherd: “What is your projection on total purse for this – all said and done?”
White: “It depends on how much the fight sells. If the fight sells as well as I think it can, Floyd makes a little north of $100 (million) and Conor makes $75 (million).”
Cowherd: “Mayweather is bothered by the split, because he feels what – he should get how much of it?”
White: “He feels he’s the A side and he should get more of it. We haven’t really got into that negotiation yet. I wanted to get McGregor locked in first because McGregor is under contract with me. At the end of the day, does this fight make a ton of sense for me? It really doesn’t, but you know, Conor wants this thing really bad, and I’ve said it many times, this kid has stepped up and saved some big fights for me, man. So I’m in, I’ll figure it out.”
Credit to “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and Foxsportsreadio.com
Andrzej Fonfara to Face Adonis Stevenson in Championship Rematch
WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson will take-on hard-hitting Polish contender Andrzej Fonfara in a rematch of their 2014 slugfest on Saturday, June 3 in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, presented by Premier Boxing Champions, live on SHOWTIME from the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Televised coverage will also include a matchup of top light heavyweights as WBC number-one contender Eleider Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs) faces former world champion Jean Pascal (31-4-1, 18 KOs) with both men looking to get a shot at the winner of the main event next.
Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) and Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs) battled at Bell Centre on May 24, 2014 as Stevenson was able to survive a knockdown late in the fight to win a decision and defend his belt for the third time. Both men threw huge shots all the way until the final bell and will look to pick up where they left off on June 3.
“I’m very excited for this rematch with Fonfara, but it is going to be a short night for him because they don’t pay me for overtime,” said Stevenson. “I’m very happy to be back in the ring for my first fight of 2017. I can’t wait to fight in front of my hometown fans at the Bell Centre. The first time I fought Fonfara was at the Bell Centre in 2014 and now we’re back doing it for a second time. I will put on a great, exciting show for the fans in my hometown, and for the fans on SHOWTIME.”
“I feel good that I’m back here after three years,” said Fonfara. “I’m ready for revenge. I’m a different fighter physically and mentally. I’ve shown in a couple of fights that I’m a better fighter. It’s a great opportunity to get the rematch and be a world champion. The last fight against Chad Dawson gave me experience because it was very technical. But really all the fights since then – Julio Chavez, Jr., Nathan Cleverly and even Joe Smith – have helped me prepare for Stevenson again. I changed my team, got a new coach and a trainer, which makes me physically and mentally where I need to be for this fight. I don’t have a problem fighting in Montreal. I love Montreal. It’s a beautiful city with beautiful people. It will be a great night of boxing and I’m sure that I will be victorious on the night of June 3.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Group Yvon Michel (GYM) in association with Warriors Boxing, are priced from $80 to $350, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Bell Centre box office, on www.evenko.ca, at GYM (514) 383-0666) or at Champion Boxing Club (514) 376-0980.
“This is one of the best shows in Quebec in a long time,” said Yvon Michel, President of GYM. “It’s the kind of event that will inject some adrenaline into boxing in Quebec. We have two fights that could be main events anywhere in the world and on any network. Adonis will defend his title for the eighth time. To be a world champion for four years is exceptional. Fonfara has a style that can give Adonis some problems.’
“In the co-main event we have a former world champion in Pascal who still believes he can be world champion. He will have a tough assignment with Alvarez, a fighter who just proved he belongs with the best in the world with his win over Lucian Bute. If he beats Pascal he will have beaten two of the best stars that Canada has ever produced in back-to-back fights. He will prove to be a threat to anyone in the future.”
“We’re really looking forward to taking on Stevenson at the Bell Centre in Montreal on SHOWTIME,” said Leon Margules, President of Warriors Boxing, Fonfara’s promoter. “Andrzej was just 26-years-old when they fought last time and it was a big step up for him. We believe he’s now ready to win because he has gained a significant amount of experience in matches with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., Nathan Cleverly and Chad Dawson. We’re thrilled to be given the opportunity to fight Stevenson for the world title for a second time.”
Stevenson won the world light heavyweight title in June of 2013 in Montreal, via a sensational 76-second, first-round knockout over the then-undisputed king of the division Chad Dawson. The impressive victory earned Stevenson “Knockout of the Year” and “Fighter of the Year” accolades. From there, Stevenson went on to record stoppage victories over Tavoris Cloud and Tony Bellew in addition to the decision over Fonfara. Born in Haiti, but fighting out of Quebec, Stevenson defended his title twice in 2015 before making the seventh defense of his belt in an exciting firefight with Thomas Williams Jr. that ended with a fourth-round knockout for the reigning champion.
The lineal 175-pound champion trains out of the late Emanuel Steward’s Kronk Gym with his head trainer Sugar Hill.
Now training in Oakland with Virgil Hunter, Fonfara enters this bout coming off of a 10th-round stoppage victory over former world champion Chad Dawson in March at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The fighter out of Warsaw, Poland bounced back from his defeat to Stevenson with a TKO victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and a decision over Nathan Cleverly in a 2015 Fight of the Year contender. The 29-year-old won his first 13 fights after moving up to light heavyweight in 2010 including wins over Gabriel Campillo, Glen Johnson and Tommy Karpency.
A 2008 Colombian Olympian fighting out of Montreal, Alvarez worked his way into the mandatory position for the WBC title with victories over Isidro Ranoni Prieto and Isaac Chilemba in 2015. He followed those up with wins over Robert Berridge and Norbert Dabrowski before his most recent matchup that saw him deliver a sensation fifth round knockout over former world champion Lucian Bute.
Originally from Haiti, Pascal and his family moved to Canada when he was a child and began boxing at the age of 13. He would eventually become one of the most accomplished fighters from Montreal. Pascal became a world champion in 2009 when he defeated previously unbeaten Adrian Diaconu. He would go on to defend the title three times, including a victory over Chad Dawson. After losing his title to Bernard Hopkins, Pascal has picked up victories over Lucian Bute, Yuniesky Gonzalez and most recently Ricardo Ramallo in addition to two challenges of former unified world champion Sergey Kovalev.
Fite TV to Stream Pulev vs. Johnson
FITE TV will stream the April 28th heavyweight clash between a pair of past world title contenders, Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev and Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson, live on pay per view, starting at 2 p.m. ET /11 a.m. PT, from Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria. Encore presentations will also be available to watch.
FITE TV is a Combat Sports Network that features boxing, MMA and wrestling programming. FITE gives viewers the choice to watch the program on line at www.FITE.tv, on their mobile device or on their WiFi connected television using the FITE app. The FITE app can be downloaded for free at Google Play or the iTunes app stores.
“Final Countdown: Pulev vs. Johnson”, promoted by Sauerland Promotions, is available to watch on the FITE app and website for a suggested retail price of $19.99.
Boxing fans may watch the entire card, headlined by the Pulev-Johnson 12-round World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight title fight, simply by downloading the FITE app and then cast the fight to the big screen by using the instant stream-to-TV function. The FITE app works with any Wi-Fi connected television around the world, iOS and Android devices, as well as streaming devices such as Roku, Chromecast and more. Fans may also watch the fights live on the FITE website at www.fite.tv from any computer.
“Pulev versus Johnson is another fine boxing event that FITE is now making available to our North American fan base,” FITE COO Michael Weber said. “FITE continues to grow by leaps and bounds and we are very proud of the growth of world class boxing events to complement our current line-up of MMA and wrestling events.”
The 6′ 4 ½ Pulev, fighting at home in Sofia, Bulgaria, captured the vacant WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title in his last fight this past December, in which former world champion Samuel Peters (36-5) retired after the third round.
Last May, Pulev won a 12-round split decision over Dereck Chisora (25-5) to capture the European heavyweight championship. The 35-year-old Pulev has won four in a row since he suffered the only loss of his professional career, by way of a fifth-round knockout in 2014, to then-International Boxing Federation (IBF) heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko (62-3).
Pulev was a celebrated amateur boxer who represented Bulgaria at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Currently rated No. 9 in the world by the WBA, Pulev can position himself for another world title shot with an impressive victory over Johnson, the battle-tested veteran fighting out of Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA.
“My number one goal is to fight for the World title and on April 28,” Pulev commented, “I will take another step towards achieving this goal. I’m already training hard to prove I am worthy to fight again for the heavyweight crown.
“Johnson is a tough opponent. You must only look at his resume to tell this will be a real challenge. He has shared the ring with many World class fighters like Vitali Klitschko and Anthony Joshua. I know I will need to be at my best to beat him, but with the help of my coach Ulli Wegner and the support of the Bulgarian people, I’m confident my hand will be raised, and we will be able to celebrate another great night for Bulgarian boxing and another step towards me fulfilling my dream of becoming the Heavyweight Champion of the World.’
Johnson, 37, has served as a dangerous “gatekeeper” in the heavyweight division during his 14-year professional career. He’s fought reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua – the only fighter to stop Johnson – former unified world heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury, former world title challenger Manuel Charr and current European champion Christian Hammer.
Johnson’s most notable wins have been against world title challengers Bruce Seldon (TKO5), Alex Leapai (TKO9) and Albert Sosnowski (SDEC3 in Prizefighter Tournament).
In 2009, Johnson lost his lone world title fight by unanimous decision to undefeated WBC champion Vitali Klitschko, extending him the full 12-rounds.
Additional PPV fights are scheduled on FITE TV on a weekly basis.
Beibut Shumenov Injured, Bout with Dorticos Cancelled
Cruiserweight world champion Beibut Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs) suffered an eye injury in training on Wednesday and will not be able to defend his title against Yunier Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) in the main event of a special Saturday night edition of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes, April 29 from Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas.
Shumenov-Dorticos has been postponed until Shumenov has completely healed from his injury. It will be rescheduled as soon as Shumenov is healthy enough to return to training. There is no timetable yet on when he is expected to return from the injury.
WBA Interim Featherweight Champion Carlos Zambrano (26-0, KOs) defending his title against once-beaten contender Claudio Marrero (21-1, 15 KOs) has been elevated to the main event.
Televised coverage will begin at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will feature undefeated Jeison Rosario (12-0, 9 KOs) taking on once-beaten Nathaniel Gallimore (17-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight attraction.
“It is disappointing that Shumenov suffered an eye injury in training. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of boxing,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “We were looking forward to seeing him defend his cruiserweight world title against Dorticos. I hope he makes a full recovery and we can reschedule the match.
“Now, we’re looking forward to Carlos Zambrano making his Mayweather Promotions debut in a scintillating match against a very tough challenger in Claudio Marrero on FS1 and FOX Deportes.”
An unbeaten fighter from Lima, Peru, Zambrano turned pro in 2008 and fought nine of his first 12 bouts in the U.S. He won a South American regional title in 2012 and began moving up the featherweight rankings with a knockout victory over Devis Perez in 2014. He picked up his interim title with a unanimous decision victory over Daniel Ramirez in 2015 and defended the belt successfully against Jose Sanmartin later that year.
A former title challenger who lost a narrow decision to Jesus Cuellar in 2013, Marrero has won seven-straight bouts since then. Most recently, the 28-year-old knocked down Luis Hinojosa four times before stopping him in the fourth round in August 2016. A native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Marrero was an accomplished amateur who will be fighting in Las Vegas for the second time in his pro career.
An unbeaten fighter out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Rosario will make his U.S. debut when he enters the ring on May 16. A pro since 2013, the 22-year-old scored knockouts in his first three starts and won a Domincan welterweight title with a second round stoppage of Jose Vidal Soto in 2014. Rosario’s last three starts have seen him score TKO victories over Euro Gonzalez plus previously unbeaten fighters Carlos Jairo Cruz and Rafael Lorenzo.
Originally from Kingston, Jamaica and fighting out of Evanston, Illinois, Gallimore enters this fight having won his last four bouts, all by knockout. The 28-year-old has fought professionally since 2014 and was unbeaten in his first 14 outings before losing a narrow split-decision last June. He began his 2017 with a third round stoppage of Angel Hernandez in early April.
Mario Barrios Training Camp Quotes
Undefeated rising contender Mario Barrios has wrapped up training camp and is set for a main event showdown against Nicaragua’s Nelson Lara that headlines Premier Boxing Champions TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on FOX Deportes Tuesday, April 25 from the Fitz Tunica Casino & Hotel in Tunica, Mississippi.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features a 10-round matchup of exciting welterweights as once-beaten Oscar Molina (13-1-1, 10 KOs) takes on Georgia’s Levan Ghvamichava (17-3-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round showdown.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, start at $20 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased through the Fitz Gift Shop or Ticketmaster at www.Ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
Here is what Barrios had to say from training camp:
On fighting in his first main event on FS1:
“Fighting in the main event on FS1, on national television, is going to be an incredible blessing. I know it’ll be a tremendous boost to my career. I want to set the pace from the opening bell, and give the fans a night to remember. These are the type of fights I’ve always dreamed of.”
On his recent training camp with Virgil Hunter in the Bay Area:
“Training with Virgil Hunter has been great. This will be my third fight with him as the lead in my corner. We are working tremendously well as a team and I’m happy where my career is at. We got a lot of good sparring in, with a lot of different looks. I feel my punches are sharp and my timing is on point. I’m going to shine in this fight.”
On his matchup with Nelson Lara…
“I really don’t know much about Nelson Lara, except for the fact that he’s coming off a couple of wins. I’m sure his confidence is high, so I’m expecting a tough fight. Also, I know he’s fought at lightweight or super-lightweight for most of his career, so he’s got more experience fighting at this weight. One thing for sure is…I’ll be ready for anything he brings to the ring.”
On moving up two weight classes…
“It’s hard to believe, but I started off my career at super-bantamweight while standing six feet plus. It was getting to make those smaller weights. I was killing myself to make super featherweight, so my team and I felt it was best to skip lightweight, and move to super-lightweight. It’s a big jump, but I feel real strong at this weight. This is where I want to make my run toward a world title, at super lightweight. You’ll see a stronger Mario Barrios.”
On fighting in Mississippi…
“I actually fought out here early in my career but at a different venue. The fans are great and they get loud. A lively crowd is always fun to fight in front of. I plan on giving the Mississippi fans a great night of boxing.”
Coming Soon: Heavyweight Havoc
Coming Soon: Heavyweight Havoc
By: Brandon Bernica
Boxing’s heavyweight division has always been its most glamorized weight class. Maybe it appeals to deep human longings for violence – after all, it’s hard to take your eyes off of, say, a nasty car crash or a blazing forest fire. That’s the guilty pull that thrusts its way into our conscience when it comes to boxing’s big boys, the threat of imminent destruction resting in each of their knuckles. Even at its oft molasses-esque pace, the impending sense of knee-buckling evisceration bound to occur at any moment funnels our greatest anxieties into eye-peeling attention.
The magic of the heavyweight division has simmered to a melancholy halt over the past decade. Both Klitschkos defended every belt during that span with an iron lock as opponents languished at every opportunity against them, baffled by each brothers’ ungodly reach and boxing prowess. With the subsequent rise of welterweight division stars like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather – fighters who blended lighter-class speed with heavy hands – heavyweight acclaim fell victim to any sport’s worst nightmare – predictability. After all, fans watch the sport for the blood-gushing drama that lingers in every round, and as dominant a force as the Klitschkos were, their dominance boxed-out any hope for parity at the weight.
All of this made the toppling of this stale infrastructure that much more pivotal. After Vitali Klitschko pseudo-retired and Tyson Fury upset Wladimir Klitschko last year, the race to heavyweight supremacy was wide open for the first time in years. It’s like a king who’s overthrown by his court of nobles, each hungry to retain their stronghold of authority in a moment of instability. As positions of power are more clearly defined, we’ll find out which fighters are true royalty and which are none more than jesters, playing the public for fools.
Deontay Wilder, who scooped in to capture Vitali’s old WBC belt last year, stands out amongst the heap. His long reach both accentuates him and bodes as his possible downfall. While he can keep smaller fighters at the end of his jab, it remains to be seen whether he will be punished for his windmill punching style by someone with counter punching ability. Wilder’s talent becomes more and more solidified with every victory, but he’s still looking for that defining win to stamp his name at the top.
Meanwhile, Tyson Fury, the man who dethroned Wladimir Klitschko, stands as the inherent ringleader of the heavyweight circus. Not only is he another towering force, he’s a proven one, too. Fury’s large in-ring presence only cowers to his out-of-ring persona, as controversially flawed as it may be. Not only has Fury stopped many past foes, he went the distance with a future hall-of-famer in Klitschko. A face-off with Wilder would be massively appealing.
Underneath the radar, Anthony Joshua of Great Britain lurks as the most potent of the group. As a current world champion in his own right, his skillset has never been the question for the former Olympian. One glimpse of his style, and you’d be hard-pressed to deny his ring savvy, power, and subtle spacing ability. The biggest question for Joshua will be whether his quick ascent to the top tier of the division robbed him of too much vital professional experience. He should be fine if his matchmaking continues to build at a gradual rate.
Below this champion-layer are a variety of contenders eager to shine past the expectations. Luis Ortiz, a Cuban with enormous power, poses danger to anyone in the way of his punches, though exactly how dimensional his game is still needs to be determined. A hidden gem from New Zealand named Joseph Parker also holds much promise, but his talent won’t be acknowledged by pundits until he fights the best as well. Just outside of the picture, veterans David Haye, Kubrat Pulev, and Alexander Povetkin all have fallen to Wladimir Klitschko, yet place hope in the possibility that they match-up better with Wilder, Fury, and Joshua. And don’t forget the old sensei Wladmir Klitschko. All it takes is a rematch win against Fury and he’ll have recovered much of the luster lost in their first fight. Yet as age drains him of more of his physical brawn, he will have to adjust to keep up with the young blood at heavyweight.
Optimism is running rampant at heavyweight today, and for good reason. Besides a collection of worthy challengers, the division seethes with one key ingredient: volatility. Just as the action in the ring often crashes to a perilous halt, the ever-shifting landscape at the weight mirrors that. Unlike most divisions in boxing, the heavyweight picture is comprised of numerous promoters, many without qualms about working with each other. Hopefully this leads to great showdowns in the near future between the figurative and literal titans of the sport.
Anthony Joshua’s Wish List
Anthony Joshua’s Wish List
By: Jordan Seward
After a dominant performance against Dominic Breazeale (17-1-15KO) in his first defence of the IBF crown, Anthony Joshua (17-0-17KO) is looking for a sterner test in his next outing.
The IBF titlist has been mandated to face unbeaten New Zealander Joseph Parker (19-0-16KO), before a November deadline, but has hinted at the possibility of a voluntary defence first.
Joshua, 26, attained the IBF world heavyweight title with a 2nd round knockout of ‘Prince’ Charles Martin back in April at the O2 Arena.
The knockout specialist has been touted as the next big thing in boxing but so far, in his professional career he is yet to be tested.
Arguably, the biggest test to date was when Joshua met bitter rival Dillian Whyte in December last year, but now he is eager to show his credentials against stronger opposition.
Bermaine Stiverne (25-2-1-21KO) has been lined up as a next ideal opponent for the IBF king. Stiverne, has openly admitted to being interested in taking the fight and has started a camp for a potential fight with Joshua.
The former WBC world champion was outlined as a good opponent by the Joshua camp for his durability. The American took heavy hitting Deontay Wilder the full distance in January last year, despite eventually losing by unanimous decision.
Stiverne suffered from severe dehydration throughout the fight with Wilder which seemed to effect his performance. ‘B. WARE’ has hit back at claims that he is just durable and has insisted he still has aspirations on becoming a two-time world champion.
The 37-year-old has not been in the ring since his unanimous decision victory over Derric Rossy in November last year. Nonetheless, if a fight between the pair materialises it is believed Stiverne would present the biggest challenge of Joshua’s professional career.
Another potential opponent for Joshua is Eric Molina (25-3-19KO). Molina, like Stiverne was beaten by Wilder in his first defence of the WBC title. The current IBF inter-continental heavyweight champion was seen as an easy first defence for Wilder, but managed to take the fight 9 rounds before being knocked out.
Wilder was heavily criticised for his performance against Molina, but the victory has since looked better after ‘The Drummer Boy’ defeated Polish heavyweight Tomasz Adamek. Molina was in the running to be Joshua’s first defence of the IBF title and remains a possible option.
Kubrat Pulev’s (23-1-0-12KO) name is also on the list of potential opponents. The Bulgarian recently strolled to victory against England’s Dereck Chisora to claim the vacant European heavyweight title.
Although there is no one of real significance that Pulev has got the better of, aside from Tony Thompson, the only blemish on his record is a defeat to Wladimir Klitschko which came back in 2014.
It’s not clear who will become Joshua’s next opponent, but out of the contenders on his wish list Bermane Stiverne has emerged as the most likely. Whoever it is, Stiverne, Pulev or Molina, they would all be a step up in class from Breazeale and give Joshua his first real test.