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.