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Logic Says Pacquiao Wants This Mayweather Fight Again


By: Rich Mancuso

This is no longer a rumor as reliable sources on Tuesday afternoon were able to confirm that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will meet Manny Pacquiao in the ring again as soon as early or mid December. And if that date is not workable then the rematch would take place early next year.

Though numerous sources at Top Rank, who reportedly still have promotional rights with Pacquiao, are not commenting, sources say that Mayweather and Pacquiao meeting last week was more than talk and reality about staging a second fight.

Details as to where, telecast rights, and the financial aspect to all of this are also far from discussion as more talks with the respective Pacquiao and Mayweather camps are planned in the coming weeks. Mayweather, with his promotion would be a major player here and the other principles involved would be more complicated.

When asked about the status of Manny Pacquiao and his business with Top Rank, a source at the promotion would only say, “As far as we know Manny Pacquiao is still under contract.” Though there are reports still circulating that the eight-division champion is done with Top Rank and with other options.

Pacquiao, reportedly has not signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN the global live and on-demand sports streaming service. Matchroom and DAZN is quickly becoming a major competitor to Top Rank and their ESPN deal and to the PBC and their television deals with Showtime and Fox.

A source at Matchroom Boxing could not be reached for comment. So for the moment it’s wait and see, and it is known that Bob Arum is not enthused about being involved in a possible second Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.

As for the demand to see a rematch, the boxing fans are skeptical after the outcome of their first and anticipated fight in May of 2015 that generated

As one boxing fan said, and what seems to be a majority of the opinion, “If they are fighting again the only reason I would watch it would be to see if Mayweather can get his 50th win against a professional boxer and not against a guy who had boxing shoes on for the first time.”

The reference, and of course to Mayweather getting a record 50th win against UFC star Conor McGregor last August, a fight that rivaled the record income generated from that first Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and became a reality show with shouting, obscenities, and needed minimal hype.
Which leads to questions and to why this fight could happen again, and real soon between two of the biggest draws the sport has seen the last decade.

Those in the Manny Pacquiao camp are not questioning the rationale. With one or perhaps a few more fights before retiring, the 39-year old and future Hall of Famer stopped Lucas Matthysse for the WBA welterweight belt and regained a piece of that title.

Forget about the bitter and controversial defeats to Timothy Bradley and Jeff Horn, two blemishes on a career that Manny Pacquiao would have wanted to end differently. In his mind, and those close to Manny Pacquiao say, redemption and another fight with Mayweather is what keeps him going.

Other than that, there is not much more Manny Pacquiao can achieve with his latest WBA title added to his resume. Floyd Mayweather, on the other hand, it’s all about the money and the spotlight and again it is a matter of specifics as to how much and who will have television rights.

The public on the other hand? That is the prevailing question about this second fight. Will they buy into it, and different from the first time those intrigued and not into boxing, well they will probably opt to skip this one.

Regardless, count on another meeting and soon because Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, a bit older are still wise when it comes to making a dollar.

Comment: Ring [email protected] [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ramirez and Herring Win Convincingly


Jose Ramirez didn’t want the hometown fans to leave unhappy. In front of a crowd of 11,102 at the Save Mart Center on Friday evening, Avenal native Ramirez retained the WBC super lightweight world title with a unanimous decision against fellow unbeaten Antonio Orozco. The scores were 119-107 3X.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

Ramirez (23-0, 16 KOs) knocked Orozco down with a crisp right hand in the fourth round and found success with his left hook throughout the bout. In the eighth round, Ramirez scored a knockdown with a left hook to the liver and nearly finished Orozco at the end of the round.

“This was an excellent fight, and Antonio Orozco is a true warrior,” Ramirez said. “We put it out there, and Antonio was a very tough opponent who gave it his all. A special thanks to all the people in Fresno who showed their support tonight.”

Ramirez won the belt with a hard-fought unanimous decision against Amir Imam back in March. For his first title defense, he took on a previously undefeated challenger in Orozco (27-1, 17 KOs), who on paper represented the toughest test of his career. Ramirez and Orozco went toe-to-toe and produced a championship bout for the ages.

Flanked by his Marine comrades on his way to the ring, 2012 U.S. Olympian and Marine Corps veteran Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (18-2, 10 KOs ) notched the most significant win of his carer, defeating John Vincent Moralde (20-2, 10 KOs) by 10-round unanimous decision (100-90 3X) to win the vacant USBA junior lightweight title.

“I wanted to show that I could not only make 130 pounds, but that I could be strong at the weight as well,” Herring said. “Now, I’m that much closer to a world title shot.”

In his biggest test to date, 18-year-old sensation Gabriel Flores Jr. (10-0, 5 KOs) was undeterred by the big stage and the bright lights. Flores, from Stockton, Calif., survived a first-round knockdown to defeat Roger Gutierrez by unanimous decision in a six-round lightweight bout.

The scores were as followed: 59-54, 59-54, and 58-54.
“I could’ve done better, but I was in there against a tough guy. I have no explanation for it, but my legs locked up in the early rounds. I started moving in the last rounds, and my legs were feeling better. I boxed him and got the victory. All I can do from here is learn from this experience.

“I came back strong. I know l will be better next time out.”

In other action:

Vacant USBA Welterweight Title: Alexander Besputin (11-0, 9 KOs), TKO 9, 1:44, Alan Sanchez (20-4-1, 10 KOs).

Besputin said: “I feel very grateful to be signed by Top Rank, the best promotional company in the world. I now want all of the big names at 135, including the winner of Lomachenko and Pedraza.”

Super Lightweights: Hiroki Okada (19-0, 13 KOs), split decision, 10 rounds, Cristian Cora (27-7-2, 11 KOs). Scores: 95-94 Okada, 95-94 Coria, 95-94 Okada.

* Okada knocked down in the 10th round by Coria right hand.

Lightweights: Bryan Vasquez (38-3, 20 KOs), unanimous decision, 10 rounds, Carlos Cardenas (21-15-1, 13 KOs). Scores: 98-92, 96-94, 96-94 .

Vasquez said: “I feel very grateful to be signed by Top Rank, the best promotional company in the world. I now want all of the big names at 135, including the winner of Lomachenko and Pedraza.”

Featherweights: Isidro Ochoa (6-0, 2 KOs), KO 3, 2:14, Elio De Jesus (2-3, 0 KOs).

Super Bantamweights: Santos Ortega (3-0, 1 KO), unanimous decision, 4 rounds, Sebastian Baltazar (1-2, 0 KOs). Scores: 40-36, 40-36, 40-36.

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Pacquiao Makes Peace with Top Rank, Amir Khan Targets Him Next


By: Sean Crose

My post from the other day,” Manny Pacquiao declared on Instagram on Wednesday, “was a result of miscommunication between my Team and Top Rank. Everything has been clarified. I would like to thank Bob and Top Rank for helping guide my career and for the many great years of working together. We have accomplished so many amazing things together.” And with that, Manny Pacquiao seemed to drop the suit the world learned he was planning to employ in order to get back pay from Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.

The fight world was abuzz earlier this week when Pacquiao, or someone in his rather large camp, posted on Instagram that he was going to sue Top Rank for money owed him from last summer’s victory over Lucas Matthysse. “Congratulations and good luck to @TRboxing and @ESPN on your 7-year partnership agreement,” the post read on Pacquiao’s page. “I know both of you have been very busy finalizing the deal. However, I have not received the US rights payment for my July 15 fight against Lucas Matthysse that was broadcast on ESPN plus. Therefore, I am initiating legal proceedings against Top Rank and all other parties based on the non-payment and attempt to restrict my future rights. Thank you.”

Pacquiao had long been teamed with Arum. Indeed, theirs was one of the most lucrative partnerships in the sport. The veteran promoter Arum led Pacquiao through blockbuster fight after blockbuster fight, guiding his man through one of the most decorated and lucrative careers in all of sports. For his part, the Filipino fighter was gold for Arum, earning Top Rank, Arum’s promotional outfit, vast sums of money over the years. The duo reached their peak in 2015, when a very difficult fight was made with fellow fight icon Floyd Mayweather (who walked out of the ring with a UD win that night).

Things have clearly changed for Pacquiao in recent years, however. Now an active, full time senator in his homeland, the Filipino legend is looking for lucrative (and perhaps not overly challenging) matches to add to his coffers. Reportedly past his peak, Pacquiao didn’t work with longtime trainer Freddie Roach for the first time in ages for the Matthysse fight, and his relationship with Arum is clearly not what it was. The question of money due, however, appears to no longer be an issue, something that certainly comes as a relief to all parties involved.

As for the future, England’s Amir Khan feels he and Pacquiao are on a collision course. “There’s been talks,” Khan told Good Morning Britain. “They are very interested in taking the fight. Manny and me are both in the same position where we are looking for an opponent at the end of the year, start of next year.” So confident is Khan that a big money fight between he and Pacquiao will happen that he told Good Morning Britain that the chances of a contract coming through are between sixty and seventy percent. Khan, who recently bested Samuel Vargas, has been longing for a major welterweight battle for years. It looked like he might land a coveted shot against Floyd Mayweather a while back – but Mayweather opted to face Marcos Maidana instead.

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ESPN Boxing Preview: Ramirez vs. Orozco


By: Ken Hissner

Unbeaten WBC World Super Lightweight champion Jose Carlos Ramirez will defend his title Friday night against No. 3 ranked Antonio “Relentless” Orozco at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California.

This will be the first title defense for Ramirez, 22-0 (16) who won the vacant title in March defeating Amir “Young Master” Imam, then 21-1, at Madison Square Garden, New York.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing

Orozco, 27-0 (17), from San Diego, CA, last fought in March winning an 8 round decision over Mexico’s Martin “El Brochas” Honorio, 33-13-1. He also defeated him back in May of 2014. He has wins over Emmanuel Taylor, 18-3, Steve Forbes, 35-13, Humberto “Little Fox” Soto, 65-8-2, Abner Lopez, 23-5, Ivan Hernandez, 29-3, and Keandre Gibson, 16-0-1.

Prior to the Imam fight Ramirez defeated Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed, then 23-0. The 26 year-old represented the USA in the 2012 Olympics. He lost in the second round. He won five straight US championships and in the 2011 World Championships in Baku, AZE, he lost in the second round to current WBA Lightweight champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Ukraine’s Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko, 16-9. In the 2012 Olympic Qualifier he won a Bronze medal losing to current unbeaten Dominican Wellington Romero, 14-0-1.

As a professional Ramirez won the NABF and WBC Continental Americas titles prior to becoming a world champion. He is trained by Freddie Roach and promoted by Top Rank.

The co-feature has Russian Alexander Besputin, 10-0 (8), living in Oxnard, CA, taking on Mexican Alan Sanchez, 20-3-1, of Fairfield, CA, for the vacant USBA Welterweight title. This has a loaded undercard.
Also, on the card are Japan’s WBO Asia Pacific Super Lightweight champ Hiroki Okada, 18-0 (13), taking on Argentina’s Cristian Rafael Coria, 27-6-2 (11). 2012 USA Olympian southpaw Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring, 17-2 (10), of Cinn., OH, taking on Filipino John Vincent “Mulawin” Moralde, 20-1 (10), for the vacant USBA Super Featherweight title.

Costa Rica’s Super Featherweight No. 4 WBA contender Bryan “El Tiquito” Vasquez, 36-3 (20), takes on Venezuela’s Carlos “El Profeta” Cardenas, 23-14-1 (14), living in Mexico. Vasquez in his last bout won the WBA Fedelatin title. He has wins over Sergio Thompson, 30-3, Jose Felix, Jr., 27-0-1, and losses to Javier Fortuna, for the vacant WBA World Super Feather title and “Sugar” Ray Beltran, by majority decision who in his next fight won the WBO World Lightweight title.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Roy Jones, WBSS, Top Rank, Frank Warren, DAZN


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 4th to September 11th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Top Rank Announced Media Partnership with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions

Top Rank and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions are proud to announce an exclusive, landmark multi-year licensing agreement that will bring the best events from the United Kingdom and Europe to boxing fans in the United States and Canada on ESPN platforms.

“We are committed to securing the biggest and best events from around the world,” said Top Rank President Todd duBoef. “Our long-term objective is to showcase global talent and to expose the next generation of boxing stars. Frank Warren is a legend with a keen eye for building talent, and his elite stable has proven to resonate with North American fans.”

“I am absolutely delighted and honored to announce this landmark multi-year deal with Top Rank that will see my promotions going forward featured regularly on the ESPN platforms in the U.S. and Canada,” Warren said. “This was a very attractive opportunity to us due to the level of exposure our stable of fighters will benefit from by being showcased by one of, if not, the biggest broadcaster in sport. Boxers like Terence Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko appear on ESPN, and our boxers will be sharing a broadcast home with them going forward. The agreement will open doors for them to get their name known coast to coast in North America and eventually become stars there.”

The first show under the agreement will be Warren’s stacked card on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Morningside Arena Leicester in Leicester, England. That main event will feature WBO No. 2 super lightweight contender Jack “El Gato” Catterall (22-0, 12 KOs) against fellow top contender Ohara Davies (18-1, 14 KOs). Two-time Olympic gold medalist Nicola Adams (4-0, 3 KOs) and young heavyweight knockout artist Daniel Dubois (8-0, 8 KOs) will also see action on the bill. Dubois will face his toughest test to date against former world title challenger Kevin Johnson.

Warren, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, has been promoting cards for nearly 40 years and has one of the sport’s deepest rosters. He has helped turn many of the United Kingdom’s biggest stars into fan favorites across the pond. Ricky Hatton, Nigel Benn, Joe Calzaghe, Prince Naseem Hamed, and Amir Khan all fought under the Warren banner.

Gilbert Venegas Remains Undefeated with Dominating Performance in San Antonio

TMB & PRB Entertainment presented “Fight Night at the Scottish Rite 2” a ten-bout card that took place at the Scottish Rite Theatre in downtown San Antonio. In the six-round main event, local fighters, Gilbert Venegas and Armando Cardenas gave the fans a crowd-pleasing showdown.

Cardenas, who had the height and reach advantage, was doing his best to box from the outside, but was getting caught with overhand rights by Venegas. At the end of round two, Venegas dropped Cardenas with a looping right hand. Cardenas wasn’t hurt to bad and came back strong in round three. Venegas then started landing pounding body shots, slowing down Cardenas’ comeback. Another overhand right by Venegas dropped Cardenas for the second time in round four. Venegas followed with a vicious left hook to the body that put Cardenas down once again in round three. Cardenas was badly hurt but made it to the final round. Both fighters went out with a blaze of glory as they went toe to toe in the last seconds of round six. Venegas remains undefeated winning by unanimous decision, improving his record to (10-0, 6 KOs), while Armando Cardenas’ record stands at (9-2, 5 KOs). Scorecards unavailable.

DAZN Adds World Boxing Super Series Ali Trophy Final George Groves vs. Callum Smith
DAZN, the live and on-demand sports streaming platform, announced it will carry the Ali Trophy Final between George Groves and Callum Smith in the Super Middleweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series. The card will stream live in the U.S. on Friday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT from Indoor Sports Hall at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

WBA Super Middleweight tilist Groves (28-3, 20 KOs), back in action after an unanimous decision win against Chris Eubank Jr., will take on the undefeated Callum Smith (24-0, 17 KOs) in the third defense of his belt.

“The World Boxing Super Series has produced some of the best fights over the last year and we’re excited to bring the Groves-Smith final to the U.S.,” said Joe Markowski, DAZN SVP, North America. “When you consider the fact that we offer a one-month free trial to each subscriber, this will be a tremendous fall for combat sports fans.”

Groves vs. Smith is the latest addition to DAZN’s stacked fall lineup of exclusive fights featuring Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 22, Bellator 206 on Sept. 29, Jessie Vargas vs. Thomas Dulorme on Oct. 6, Billy Joe Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade on Oct. 20, among many others. Fans can sign up for DAZN for only $9.99 per month by registering at DAZN.com or by downloading the DAZN app on a wide range of connected devices, including smart TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and game consoles, when the service goes live on Sept. 10.

Earlier this summer, DAZN announced it will bring all 15 fight nights of the World Boxing Super Series’ second season to boxing fans in the U.S. and Canada, featuring the following weight classes:

CRUISERWEIGHT:
Mairis Briedis (Latvia) vs. Noel Mikaelian (Germany)
Yunier Dorticos (Cuba) vs. Mateusz Masternak (Poland)
Krzysztof Glowacki (Poland) vs. Maksim Vlasov (Russia)
Andrew Tabiti (United States) vs. Ruslan Fayfer (Russia)

SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT:
Regis Prograis (United States) vs. Terry Flanagan (England)
Josh Taylor (Scotland) vs. Ryan Martin (United States)
WBA titlist Kiryl Relikh (Belarus) vs. Eduard Troyanovsky (Russia)
Vacant IBF title matchup: Ivan Baranchyk (Belarus) vs. Anthony Yigit (Sweden)

BANTAMWEIGHT:
WBA titlist Ryan Burnett (Northern Ireland) vs. Nonito Donaire (Philippines)
WBO titlist Zolani Tete (South Africa) vs. Mikhail Aloyan (Russia)
Naoya Inoue (Japan) vs. Juan Carlos Payano (Dominican Republic)

Roy Jones Jr. Leads Class of 2018 Inductees into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame

Living legend Roy Jones, Jr., universally recognized as one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all-time, leads a celebrated quintet of Class of 2018 inductees into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame.

The second annual USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame reception, held in conjunction with the 2018 USA Boxing Elite and Youth National Championships and Junior and Prep Open, December 2-8, will be held Dec. 7, at the Radisson Hotel (215 S. Temple St.) in Salk Lake City, Utah.

In addition to Jones, the Class of 2018 also includes two U.S. Olympic gold medalists and world (professional) champions, Andre Ward and Claressa Shields, as well as former USA Boxing National Director of Coaching Emanuel Steward and veteran USA Boxing official Tom Cleary. The latter two will be posthumously inducted.

The charter class inducted last year included Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield, as well as veteran coaches Roosevelt Sanders and Tom Coulter.

“I am honored to be selected for induction into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame,” Jones commented, “especially as a member of this great class with my fellow inductees.

“Amateur boxing gave me the chance to learn life skills as well as face every other possible scenario inside of the ring.”

Jones, ironically, got into boxing at the age of 11 because of Ali. “I saw Ali vs. (Joe) Frazier and just felt as though Ali and I had the same mental concept on life,” Jones explained.

Jones went on to become one of the best amateur boxers in the world, compiling a reported 121-13 record, including gold medal performances at the 1984 National Junior Olympics and 1986 & 1987 National Golden Gloves Tournaments.

At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Jones reached the championship final of the light middleweight division against Park Si-Hun, of South Korea. Jones suffered arguably the worst decision in boxing history, losing 3-2, despite outpunching his opponent, 86 to 32 landed punches, and he was forced to settle for a silver medal. Even his opponent admitted that Jones won their fight, leading the AIBA to later suspend the three judges who selected the hometown fighter as the winner.

How disgraceful was this decision? Jones was selected as the Val Barker Trophy winner as the best boxer of the 1988 Olympics and, due to controversy, the scoring system for Olympic boxing was changed, replacing the 20-point must system with electronic scoring.

“I was angered,” Jones admitted, “yet promoted to prove that I was the best fighter there, and in the world, at that time.”

Jones made his professional debut May 6, 1989, at home in Pensacola, Florida, in a scheduled eight-round bout, in which RJJ stopped Ricky Randall in the second round. His long, glorious journey has produced a remarkable 66-9 (47 KOs) pro record, highlighted by nine major world titles in four different weight classes.

In 2003, Jones defeated John Ruiz by way of a 12-round unanimous decision to become the first former world middleweight champion to become world heavyweight title holder in more than a century.

The possessor of exceptional hand and foot speed, athleticism, movement and reflexes, Jones went undefeated through his first 34 pro fights, 22-3 (14) in world title fights. Against former, present or future world champions, Jones was 19-9 (8 KOs) and included among his victims were greats such as Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Mike McCallum, Vinnie Pazienza, Virgil Hill, Antonio Tarver and Felix Trinidad.

Today, the 49-year-old Jones, technically speaking, is still an active fighter. He also has two promotional companies and gyms, located in Pensacola and Las Vegas, trains several pro boxers and serves as a color commentator for HBO Boxing. He recently opened gyms in South Africa.

For the past two years, Jones has hosted the “Future Stars of Boxing Tournament” in Las Vegas, showcasing some of the best amateur boxers in the world.

“Hosting the tournament in Las Vegas gives me the opportunity to give back to amateur boxing,” Jones explained. “It’s a great experience for the boxers and it reminds them that who they may have or still look up to, are watching them as well.”

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Manny Pacquiao Reportedly Taking Top Rank To Court


By: Sean Crose

Manny Pacquiao and promoter Bob Arum were known as a highly successful team in the fight business for years. It was Arum who arranged the legendary fighter’s top matches, including the enormous payday Pacquiao earned from facing Floyd Mayweather back in 2015. Now, however, the relationship between the Filipino boxer and the octogenarian promoter looks to be close to beyond repair. For Pacquiao’s Instagram page had a message on Monday claiming that Arum’s Top Rank Promotions hadn’t paid Pacquiao for his victory of Lucas Matthysse last summer. The post, presumably penned by Pacquiao, also claimed that the matter was headed to court.

“ Congratulations and good luck to @TRboxing and @ESPN on your 7-year partnership agreement,” the post read. “I know both of you have been very busy finalizing the deal. However, I have not received the US rights payment for my July 15 fight against Lucas Matthysse that was broadcast on ESPN plus. Therefore, I am initiating legal proceedings against Top Rank and all other parties based on the non-payment and attempt to restrict my future rights. Thank you.” While it’s true the fruitful relationship between Pacquiao and Arum looked to many to be heading to it’s inevitable end for some time, posts like the one on Pacquiao’s Instagram page clearly took the fight world off guard.

Pacquiao, it must be noted, has been in a transition period for a while now. A Filipino senator, he only occasionally appears in the ring these days. He’s also widely considered to be past his prime as he pushes 40. Then there’s the matter of longtime trainer Freddie Roach, who Pacquiao refused to employ as trainer for the Matthysse fight. Reports claimed Roach not only heard about the break via the press, there has also been word that Pacquiao didn’t offer condolences to Roach after the passing of Roach’s mother. Relationships, perhaps personal as well as professional, seem to be evaporating in the twilight of Pacquiao’s career.

One thing the public might keep in mind is the fact that Pacquiao surrounds himself with an enormous entourage. At the moment, it’s not even clear if it was Pacquiao himself who left the message on Instagram or if he even supports its
content. While the fighter loves being the center of a crowd, the sometimes chaotic nature of Pacquiao’s public life can often make it difficult to discern fact from fiction.

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Terence Crawford Signs New Multi-Year Agreement With Top Rank; Next Fight Announced


Top Rank is proud to announce that pound-for-pound superstar and the current WBO welterweight world champion Terence “Bud” Crawford has agreed to new multi-year agreement with the company. Crawford, who originally signed with Top Rank in 2011, has captured world titles in three weight classes and won the award for best fighter at the 2018 ESPYS.

“I am the best fighter in the world, hands down. ESPN is the biggest brand in sports and Top Rank is the biggest promotional company in boxing,” Crawford said. “This was a no-brainer for me and my team. All of the super fights that the world wants to see will happen. Mark my words. Like I’ve said before, I want all of the champions in the welterweight division.”

“Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford is the world’s best boxer,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “We will continue our ongoing campaign to establish him as one of the world’s most recognizable athletes.”

“Without a doubt, this is one of the most lucrative deals for an individual fighter in the history of boxing,” said Brian McIntyre, Crawford’s trainer/manager. “The deal that I helped put together with Top Rank and ESPN is unprecedented in the modern boxing landscape. If you think you’ve seen the best of Terence Crawford, you ain’t seen nothing yet. To all the pretenders out there who want a piece of him, you’ll get what is coming. With Top Rank and ESPN in our corner, we are going to make some of the biggest fights in the history of boxing. We will continue to show the world that Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford is one of the greatest fighters to ever lace up a pair of gloves.”

Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), the pride of Omaha, Nebraska, is 11-0 with eight knockouts in world title bouts. He captured his first world title – the WBO lightweight crown – with a unanimous decision against Ricky Burns on March 1, 2014. Less than four months later, he cemented his status as a pound-for-pound elite with a ninth-round TKO against then-unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa in front of nearly 11,000 fans in Omaha. Crawford made one more defense of his lightweight title before moving up to 140 pounds.

Crawford cleaned out the 140-pound division, going 7-0 in the weight class and unifying all four major world title belts with a third-round knockout against Julius Indongo in August of last year. With nothing else to accomplish at 140 pounds, Crawford set his sights on the welterweight division. In his welterweight debut, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Crawford battered the previously undefeated Jeff Horn en route to a ninth-round stoppage victory to capture the WBO title.

Crawford, though, has unfinished business at welterweight. Armed with the backing of Top Rank and the company’s new seven-year deal with ESPN, he is ready, willing, and able to take on the division’s other world champions.

Fight Announcement

Terence “Bud” Crawford will return to the scene of many of his greatest professional triumphs intent on stopping a man who has repeatedly lobbied for a fight. Crawford will make the first defense of his WBO welterweight world title against Jose Benavidez Jr. on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the CHI Health Center Omaha (formerly the CenturyLink Center). Crawford-Benavidez will air live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET with undercards streaming live in the United States at 7 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.

It was Benavidez who challenged Crawford in Corpus Christi, Texas, this past February, accusing him of ducking a potential showdown. Crawford invited Benavidez to “step outside” before cooler heads prevailed. They will settle the score in front of a raucous crowd who will be cheering on their hometown hero.

ESPN’s coverage of the event starts Friday, Oct. 12 with the live Top Rank on ESPN Crawford vs. Benavidez Jr. Weigh-In show. Lineup (ET):

TV:
5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN2 (LIVE, Main and Co-Main Events)

9:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; 1:30 a.m.-2:00 a.m., ESPNEWS (repeat)

Streaming on ESPN+:

5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN+ (streaming LIVE, entire card)

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets to this world championship event go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. CST. Priced at $178, $103, $63, and $38, not including applicable fees, tickets can be purchased at the CHI Health Center Omaha box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com.

“The Crawford-Benavidez fight is an old-time grudge match. These are two elite fighters who don’t care for each other, to put it mildly,” said Bob Arum, Top Rank’s founder and CEO. “They will battle each other at a fever pitch. I can’t wait to watch the action.”

“This fight is the fight he has been calling for, and now he will get the chance to see what it’s like to be in the ring with a real champion,” Crawford said. I’ll happily give him his first L.”

“I’ve been wanting this fight for three years. I know I have what it takes to beat him, and I am going to beat him,” Benavidez said. “Crawford has been running his mouth and saying I’m a nobody. I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) is a three-division world champion, a pound-for-pound elite who was recently named “Fighter of the Year” at the 2018 ESPY Awards. In his first bout of 2018, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, he defeated defending WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn via ninth-round TKO. Crawford did not miss a beat against Horn despite a nearly 10-month layoff due to a hand injury. Prior to dominating Horn, Crawford became only the third fighter of the four-belt era to unify all the belts when he knocked out fellow unified 140-pound champion Julius Indongo in the third round. Crawford has drawn a total of 44,360 fans in four bouts at the CHI Health Center Omaha, including nearly 11,000 when he knocked down Yuriorkis Gamboa four times en route to a ninth-round TKO to retain the WBO lightweight title in one of the best fights of 2014. Five months after the Gamboa win, Crawford cruised to a wide unanimous decision against Ray Beltran, who went on to win that title more than three years later. In his most recent CHI Health Center Omaha appearance, Dec. 10, 2016 against John Molina Jr., 11,270 fans packed the building as Crawford battered Molina before stopping him in the eighth round. Crawford is 11-0 with eight knockouts in world title bouts and is ranked by many boxing experts as the world’s best fighter.

Benavidez (27-0, 18 KOs), a former WBA interim super lightweight champion, turned pro in 2010 following a standout amateur career that included a 2009 National Golden Gloves gold medal at 141 pounds. His road to this career-defining fight has been anything but smooth, as he was shot multiple times in an August 2016 incident in his hometown of Phoenix. After a nearly 18-month layoff, Benavidez returned on Feb. 3, 2018 in Corpus Christi with an eighth-round TKO against Matthew Strode. It was before the weigh-in for the Strode bout that Benavidez confronted Crawford. Benavidez last fought on the Crawford vs. Horn undercard, knocking out the previously undefeated Frank Rojas at 1:23 of the opening round.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Beltran vs. Pedraza, Dogboe vs. Otake


By: Ste Rowen

Ray Beltran vs. Jose Pedraza Preview

On Saturday night at the Gila River Arena, Glendale, Ray Beltran, 35-7-1 (21KOs), makes the first defence of his WBO lightweight title when he takes on former IBF super-featherweight champion, Jose Pedraza.

The Mexican will be hoping to extend his hot streak to 7 victories since his last official loss, when he was taken to school over 12 rounds by a, 24-0, Terence Crawford. The 37-year-old has rebuilt himself since that loss, and the immediate bout that followed; an overturned TKO win over Takahiro Ao, ruled a non-decision due to a failed drug test by Beltran.

Four straight stoppages and a majority decision over Bryan Vasquez led to a February 2018 showdown with Paulus Moses, then 40-3 (25KOs) for the bronze belt, thanks to Terry Flanagan vacating the WBO strap to move up a weight class.

Beltran handily dealt with his Namibian foe, winning a unanimous decision in Reno by consistently beating Moses to the punch. Raymundo was willing, and able to go toe-to-toe with Paulus throughout the 12 rounds, and although Paulus had his bright moments, the Mexican was not to be denied and he obtained world honours, on his 4th attempt.

‘‘This belt represents my family’s future and it’s going nowhere.’’ The Mexican told ‘ESPN’ last month. ‘‘I am very motivated to defend my title and it’s very special to me because I’m fighting in my adopted home. Pedraza is a very skilful fighter and is going to bring his best to take the belt from us.’’

Raymundo also has future plans for unification and is hoping to add another top 10 pound-for-pound fighter to his resume. Speaking to ‘FightHype’ he said,
‘‘I’ve got my own conclusions about Lomachenko’s style. I think I have the advantage of the size and strength…Another thing is that Lomachenko stays in the pocket. He comes and stays close, he gets hit…I’ve got enough power to hurt him.’’

‘Sugar Ray’ Beltran isn’t the only one eyeing up a future bout with the WBA and Ring lightweight champion. Puerto Rican challenger, Jose Pedraza, speaking to ‘BoxingScene.com’, is already talking tactics on how to defeat the Ukrainian,
‘‘I am focused on Beltran but, sure I would love to fight Lomachenko…The key simply is to be in great condition and to match his boxing. Salido used a style…that made Lomachenko very uncomfortable.’’

Pedraza, 24-1 (12KOs) is fighting in his first world title bout since his 7th round stoppage loss to unbeaten super-featherweight, Gervonta Davis last year. Since then Jose took over a year out and, much like Beltran did after his defeat to Crawford, steadily fought his way back into contention; defeating 23-11, Jose Luis Rodriguez and Antonio Moran, 23-2, over 8 & 11 rounds respectively, but ‘Sniper’ recognises the step up he’s about to take again,

‘‘Beltran is a veteran and finally a world champion…It’s going to be a great fight because he will not want to lose the title. I’m 100% prepared for war.’’

Isaac Dogboe vs. Hidenori Otake

Also on Saturday’s card in Arizona, is WBO super-bantamweight champion, Isaac Dogboe of Ghana, who takes on Japanese veteran, Hidenori Otake, in his first defence of the WBO belt proper, won back in April this year.

It’s already been a busy year, for ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe.

At the beginning of 2018, the WBO champ, 19-0 (13KOs), dismantled Cesar Juarez to a 5th round stoppage victory in his native city of Accra. Then, 4 months ago, the 23-year-old was dropped in the 1st round, before going on to stop unbeaten American, Jessie Magdeleno via the 11th round in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate.
‘‘Coming into the fight we did think we could go there and blow Magdaleno out within three rounds and then I found myself on the floor and I wasn’t expecting it.’’ The WBO champ told ‘Sky Sports’ in June.

‘‘I got back up though, unhurt, and kept fighting. I just thought I had to put him back down and wanted to engage…God prepares my hands for war and my fingers for battle.’’

‘‘I’m making my first defence against Otake, a Japanese warrior…I’m not stepping back. We’re on a quest to make this division exciting and great again. We’re shaking up the division.’’
‘‘Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe. You all know I bring lighting and thunder.’’

Otake, 31-2-3 (14KOs), will be hoping to bring a storm of his own. The Japanese fighter hasn’t loss since 2014, when he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to then, WBA ‘Regular’ champion, Scott Quigg. It was Hidenori’s one and only fight outside of Japan so far, not a good sign for Saturday.

The former Japanese super-bantamweight champion is on a 9-fight win streak, but it has come against fairly substandard opposition. Saturday’s fight will be his first fight in his pro career, other than the Quigg loss, not to take place in Tokyo’s Korakuen hall.

But home comforts will be the least of Otake’s problems once the bell rings and Dogboe comes out swinging, as is expected.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Jennings and Hart Win with Convincing Knockouts


By: William Holmes

The Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey was the host site for tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card.

The undercard was packed with local talent. Newark’s Skakur Stevenson, Philadelphia’s Christian Carto, and Millville’s Thomas LaManna were all victorious in their bouts.

The opening bout of the night was between Jesse Hart (24-1) and Mike Gavronski (24-2-1) in the super middleweight division.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Hart has won two fights in a row since losing to Gilberto Ramirez for the WO Super Middleweight Title.

Hart, the taller and longer fighter, kept Gavronski at the receiving end of his jab in the opening moments of the first round. His right cross started landing quickly and he was able to mix it up with some power shots to the body. Gavronski was bleeding by the end of the round and appeared to go down at one point from a right uppercut, but the referee ruled it a slip.

Hart continued on the attack in the second round and was loading up on his punches, which Gavronski was able to avoid with moderate success. When Hart did land, he stunned Gavronski.

Hart came out aggressive in the third round and was able to land a hard straight right hand that sent Gavronski right to the mat. Gavronski was met with a combination from Hart when he got back to his feet that sent him down for a second time.

Gavronski stumbled badly when the referee waived him forward, and rightly waived off the fight.

Jesse Hart wins by TKO at 0:52 in the third round.

Jesse Hart called out Gilberto Ramirez for a rematch for his title in the post-fight interview.

The main event of the evening was between Bryant Jennings (23-2) and Alexander Dimitrenko (41-3) in the heavyweight division.

Dimitrenko came out first and was greeted with boos from the crowd, and Jennings came out second to some cheers while being followed with trainer John David Jackson.

Dimitrenko was the much bigger and taller man, but Jennings has a very large reach. The opening two rounds featured both boxers probing each other with their jabs, but Jennings was landing the stiffer shots.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Jennings was starting to land his lead left hook and straight right hand with more regularity in the third round, which featured Jennings getting warned by the referee after pushing Dimitrenko into a corner.

Dimitrenko was able to score a surprising knockdown in the fourth round with a straight right hand, but replay showed it may have been an illegal punch to the back of the head. Jennings recovered well and was able to avoid the hard shots of Dimitrenko.

Jennings was able to bounce back in the fifth round and landed good body shots when in tight. Jennings continued to land at a higher clip in the sixth round and had re-established control of the fight since the knockdown.

Dimitrenko was able to land some hard straight right hands in the seventh round, but he began to unravel in the eighth. Jennings hurt Dimitrenko with a left hook that forced Dimitrenko to go to his knees. He got back up at the count of eight and was pummeled with combination until he went down for a second time. He was able to survive but looked hurt as the round ended.

The end came in the next round, as Jennings punctuated a dominating ninth round with two right uppercuts that sent Dimitrenko down again. The referee didn’t even bother counting and waived off the fight, much to the chagrin of Dimitrenko.

Bryant Jennings wins by TKO at 1:56 of the ninth round.

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Big Time Boxing Returns to Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino


By: Ken Hissner

Top Rank’s matchmaker Brad Goodman and J Russell Peltz of Peltz Boxing will put on a show that headlines with heavyweights Philly’s Bryant “BY BY” Jennings, 23-2 against Russia’s Alexander Dimitrenko, 41-3. The co-feature has another Philly favorite in Jesse “Hollywood” Hart, 24-1 against Mike Gavronski, 24-2-1, of Tacoma, WA, both a pair of ten round bouts with Hart’s NABF super middleweight title on the line.

This will be seen also on ESPN Saturday night. The undercard is also filled with main event talent as former WBA World Super Featherweight champion Berlin’s Jason Sosa, 20-3-4, returns looking for a title fight as he takes on Dominican Reynaldo Blanco, 14-4, out of PR, over 8 rounds. Another Philly favorite is young Christian Carto, 15-0, a fast rising bantamweight who is a real crowd pleaser in an 8 round bout against Mexican Javier Gallo, 25-15-1, of Bueno Park, CA.

Millville’s Thomas “Cornflake” Lamanna, 25-2-1, looks to get back into the WBO rankings taking on Matthew “Mayhem” Strode, 25-6, of Greensboro, NC, over 8 rounds. USA Olympian Shakur Stevenson, 7-0, of Newark looks to keep unbeaten in taking on Carlos Ruiz, 16-4, of Distrito Federal, Mexico, over 8 rounds.

Heavyweight Olek Sander, 13-0, from the Ukraine takes on Avery Gibson, 9-6-4, of L.A., over 8 rounds. Hard hitting lightweight from Allentown, PA, Joseph “Blessed Hands” Adorno looks to make it 9 straight knockouts in taking on Augustine Mauras, 6-4-3, of Lawrence, Mass, over 6 rounds. “Robert Garcia will be in my corner with my dad,” said Adorno.

This writer was able to get comments Wednesday at the Atlantic City PAL starting with Jennings who said “The time has come again for the world to know who I am. I’m expecting him to come out better than he did in his previous fight. I’m expecting him to have the will to win, wanted to establish his name and his legacy.” Dimitrenko said “It is very important for me to be here, to fight live on ESPN with Jennings. I will do anything to win this fight. I am here to win this fight. I prepared myself very well. It’s an honor to fight here in America. Everybody watching will get a great show. Saturday night can’t come soon enough. I am ready to fight.”

Jesse Hart had this to say: I don’t have anything derogatory to say about him (Gavronski). I think he’s alright. The Atlantic City market is one of the best in the world because it is so rich in boxing history. Mike Tyson fought Michael Spinks here. Before the market went to Las Vegas it was all here in Atlantic City. This is boxing roots. This is boxing heritage.” Gavronski had this to say about Hart: “I’m absolutely ecstatic. A lot of hard work has gone into this, but there’s more hard work to do. I need to keep my head into it, and that’s about it.” In being asked about being the underdog he said, “I don’t even worry about that stuff. I’m just going to stick with what I know and do what I do.”

Unbeaten Carto said “I’m worried about this fight. After that I can sit back and relax, and enjoy the rest of the show. We agreed to come in at 120 instead of 118, and we have had a training camp of 8 weeks. I have a new trainer in Billy Briscoe. I’m fighting a guy who has been around. I’m ready for what he brings. I bring a fan-friendly style into the ring. I know I have a ton full of support from family and friends.” His brother and manager Frankie said “we have known Billy for some time and this has been proven to be most beneficial. He has sparred with former world champ Villoria, Philly’s “Scooter” Fulton, Rommuel Cruz and DC’s unbeaten Alex Marin.”

Stevenson had this to say: “I have a lot of family and friends coming. I plan on putting on a fine show. I feel every time I’m in the east coast, I have my best performances. I’m coming off two straight knockouts, and I’m going to get my third in a row on Saturday night.” I feel I’ve waited my whole life to get a world title. That would be a dream come true. I’m ready to move into the top ten and take on anyone who has a belt.”
LaManna had this to say “It feels great fighting in my adopted home town. They could have put someone else on the card. I’’ glad they recognized all the hard work that me as an individual put into my craft, marketing myself, and the fan base I bring to the table. On Saturday night, I’am going to perform in front of everybody . It’s a big platform. It’s pretty cool getting all of this notoriety, and exposure and stuff, but I learned how to not let the hype get to me. I’m focused on what I have to be focused on, and that’s my fight. I hope to get back into the WBO rankings with a win. Tommy Brooks is my new trainer.” Sosa said “I haven’t been this focused in the past two years and look forward to getting back in the ring.”

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Jennings vs. Dimitrenko, Hart vs. Gavronski


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night at the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey Top Rank Promotions will promote an eight fight boxing card to be televised on ESPN.

The main event and co-main event of the evening will likely have future title bout implications. Bryant Jennings will face Alexander Dimitrenko in a heavyweight showdown in the main event of the evening and Jesse Hart will face Mike Gavronski in the super middleweight division.

The undercard is packed with local prospects and rising contenders which will help bring in fans from nearby areas to Atlantic City. Shakur Stevenson from Trenton, New Jersey, Jason Sosa from Camden, New Jersey, Christian Carto from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Thomas LaManna from Millville, New Jersey are all fighters with local ties that could be up for a title shot in the near future.

The following is a preview of the two main fights of the night.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Jesse Hart (24-1) vs. Mike Gavronski (24-2-1); Super Middleweights

Jesse “Hard Work” Hart is the son of legendary Philadelphia Boxer Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and recently lost a close decision to current WBO Super Middleweight World Champion, Gilberto Ramirez.

Hart, to his credit, has remained active since that loss and is back to his winning ways. He fought twice in 2018, twice in 2017, and twice in 2016. Four of his past five wins have been by KO/TKO.

Gavronski is a good boxer with a decent record. However, he is three years older than Hart and will be giving up about three inches in height and six and a half inches in reach.

He also fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016. Gavronski did not fight yet in 2018.

Jesse Hart also has an edge in power over Gavronski. He has twenty stoppage victories while Gavronski has fifteen. Hart has also never been stopped while Gavronski has been stopped once.

Hart also has the edge in amateur experience. He won the 2011 National Golden Gloves Championship and placed 2nd in the 2012 US Olympic Trials. Gavronski has no notable amateur accomplishments to speak of.

Hart has beaten the likes of Demond Nicholson, Thomas Awimbono, Alan Campa, Andrew Hernandez, and Aaron Pryor Jr. His lone loss was a close decision to Gilberto Ramirez.

Gavronski has beaten the likes of Andrew Hernandez, Thomas Awimbono, and Brian Vera. His losses were to Dashon Johnson and Tureano Johnson.

Dashon Johnson is a man that Hart beat in 2016.

Hart appears to have too much fire power for Gavronski to handle.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Bryant Jennings (23-2) vs. Alexander Dimitrenko (41-3); Heavyweights

Bryant Jennings is a solid heavyweight boxer who previously fought for the title but came up short against Wladimir Klitschko.

He’s fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017 and is looking for another title shot.

Jennings is facing a boxer that many consider to be past his prime in Alexander Dimitrenko.

Jennings, at the age of thirty three, is three years younger than Dimitrenko. He will also be giving up about four inches in height, but Jennings will have a one inch reach advantage. Both boxers aren’t necessarily known for their power. Dimitrenko has twenty six stoppage victories while Jennings has thirteen.

Both boxers have been stopped in their career. Dimitrenko has two stoppage losses while Jennings only has one.

Jennings had a brief amateur career but it was rather successful. He made it to the finals of the 2009 PAL Nationals and was a National Runner Up in the Golden Gloves National Championship. He also defeated former UFC Heavyweight Champion , Stipe Miocic, as an amateur. To this writer’s knowledge, Dimitrenko has no notable amateur accomplishments.

Jennings losses were to Wladimir Klitschko and Luis Ortiz. He has defeated the likes of Joey Dawejko, Akhror Muralimov, Don Haynesworth, Mike Perez, Artur Szpilka, Andrey Fedosov, Bowie Tupou, Steve Collins, Siarhei Liakhovich, and Maurice Byarm,

Dimitrenko fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016 but has yet to fight in 2018. His losses were to Joseph Parker, Kubrat Pulev, and Eddie Chambers. He has defeated the likes of Derric Rossy, Albert Sosnowski, Adrian Granat, and Miljan Rovcanin.

His win over Miljan Rovcanin is contested by many though and that was his last bout. The bout was originally ruled a split draw, but Dimitrenko team protested the result. It was later ruled a win for Dimitrenko because Rovcanin had three points deducted and accordingly he should have been disqualified after the third point deduction.

Jennings experience in fighting a taller elite fighter like Klitschko might prove valuable in Saturday’s fight. Dimitrenko won his last bout, but didn’t look particularly good doing so. Jennings isn’t known for his power, but he should be able to box intelligently and win a decision.

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Top Rank Atlantic City Press Conf Quotes: Jennings, Hart


Boxing is being featured for the first time at the recently opened Ocean Resort Casino (formerly Revel), which is located steps from the Atlantic City boardwalk.

Heavyweights will take center stage on Saturday evening when Philadelphia’s Bryant “B.Y.” Jennings faces Alexander “Sascha” Dimitrenko in the 12-round heavyweight main event. In the co-feature, Philadelphia native Jesse “Hollywood” Hart will defend the NABF super middleweight title in a 10-rounder versus Mike Gavronski. Jennings-Dimitrenko and Hart-Gavronski will be broadcast on ESPN at 10 p.m. ET, with the entire undercard to be shown on ESPN+ beginning at 7 p.m. ET.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Shakur Stevenson (7-0, 4 KOs), the 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist will headline the ESPN+ portion of the card against Carlos Ruiz (16-4-2, 6 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight bout.

The fighters and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum gathered Thursday for the final press conference. This is what they had to say.

Bob Arum

“This is a terrific card because any time you highlight Philly fighters, you’re going to get fights. Philly fighters bring the heat. They’re exciting.”

Bryant Jennings

On whether he still has the hunger: “If you’re not hungry, you don’t eat. And if you don’t eat, then you starve. If you starve, then you die. And I want to live. I’m hungry. I didn’t eat. I need to eat. Just make sure it’s vegan. In fact, it don’t gotta be vegan because Saturday, I’m eating Russian!”

On whether he’s a different fighter following back-to-back defeats in 2015: “Every fight is a different fight. As you grow, things change. You make changes as you grow in your sport and your craft. So, yeah, I’m a different fighter.”

On fighting taller fighters like Dimitrenko: “As a kid, I was told, ‘never tell your secrets.’ You thought I was about to say something {laughing}?”

Alexander Dimitrenko

“This is a great opportunity for me. I’m here to win this fight. I’m 36, and I have big plans. I want to win this fight. I look forward to make this fight and to show what I can.”

Jesse Hart

On his 2017 title loss to Gilberto Ramirez: “I never looked at it as a loss. I always look at it as a lesson. I think I’ve raised my IQ of boxing. It gave me a better outlook on being in that position, and I think it just gave me a lot more to look at toward the sport of boxing, not just the championship of the world. I learned a lot from that fight. That fight taught me a whole lot.”

On his father, perennial former middleweight contender Eugene “Cyclone” Hart: “{Winning a world title for him} motivates me a lot. When I’m up at 4:15 in the morning out there doing my road work, that’s the first thing that comes to my mind, getting a world title for my father. That’s the motivation. I think that’s the motivation for myself, and to be the best.”

Mike Gavronski

On fighting so often in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington: “Because that was the only thing I could do at the time. But, you know, now I’m here, and I’m happy to be here.”

On his fighting style: “A great show. Every time out, I come to perform. I come to fight. One way or another, you’re going to love me at the end of the day.”

On his advantages against Hart: “I don’t know. These are my kind of people. Blue collar workers. The crowd will eventually be on my side. I’m pretty sure. I would hope so. And, you know, we’re running and gunning. That’s all we can do.”

Shakur Stevenson

“When I was younger, I used to come {to Atlantic City} all the time. We used to come here for vacations and stuff, and I came here to watch the {Bernard Hopkins-Antonio Tarver} fight. I don’t know. I’m excited. I can’t wait to fight.”

ESPN, 10 p.m. ET
Bryant Jennings vs. Alexander Dimitrenko, 12 rounds, vacant NABO and IBF International heavyweight titles

Jesse Hart (champion) vs. Mike Gavronski (challenger), 10 rounds, NABF super middleweight title

ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET
Shakur Stevenson vs. Carlos Ruiz, 8 rounds, featherweight

Christian Carto vs. Javier Gallo, 8 rounds, bantamweight

Jason Sosa vs. Reynaldo Blanco, 8 rounds, lightweight

Thomas LaManna vs. Matthew Strode, 8 rounds, super welterweight

Joseph Adorno vs. Agustine Mauras, 6 rounds, super featherweight

Oleksandr Teslenko vs. Avery Gibson, 8 rounds, heavyweight

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ Preview: Billy Dib vs. Tevin Farmer


By: Ste Rowen

Tevin Farmer vs. Billy Dib

Philadelphian southpaw, Tevin Farmer will be hoping it’s second time lucky this Friday when he takes on Australian, Billy Dib in a fight for the vacant IBF super-featherweight world championship, at Redfern’s, Technology Park in Australia.

Farmer, 25-4-1 (4KOs) was last seen in the ring in December when he challenged for the IBF strap vs. Kenichi Ogawa. It was a bout that was controversial on multiple levels. Firstly, the belt was only vacant because Gervonta Davis missed weight before his fight with Francisco Fonseca last August. The matchup between Farmer and Ogawa was then made and though it went the distance, it seemed the Philadelphian had clearly won the bout. Two of the judges begged to differ, returning scorecards of, 115-113, 116-112 and 112-116, handing the Japanese a split decision victory and the IBF belt.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

But the controversy wasn’t over just yet as, in April of this year, it was reported that Kenichi tested positive for two forms of synthetic testosterone and was subsequently banned and stripped of his title, leaving it vacant once again and opening the door for Tevin, #4 in the IBF rankings, to take his second chance at world honours.

‘‘When you go on the road and get it, I think people respect you more.’’ Farmer told ‘FightHype’. ‘‘I had a lot of setbacks in 2017…He’s gonna catch everything I’ve been feeling these past two years.’’

‘‘It goes like this. Beat Billy Dib for the IBF. Next fight Davis for the WBA, then fight Miguel Berchelt for the WBC. I want these fights back to back.’’

Dib, 43-4 (24KOs), a former IBF featherweight champion, was last involved in a world title fight over three years ago when he was knocked out by, then WBC 130lb titlist, Takashi Miura in Tokyo. And the ‘The Kid’ hasn’t fought in a scheduled 10-rounder since July 2016 when he went the distance with Thai, Amphol Suriyo. Since then Billy has fought three times, 11 rounds, including a ‘no-contest’ result where he clashed heads with Yardley Armenta Cruz on the Mikey Garcia vs. Adrien Broner undercard.

Speaking to ‘Fox Sports’ in Australia, the IBF’s ranked #3 said,

‘‘Ever since Jeff Fenech and I teamed up, back in early October, we’ve sort of had our eyes on either Gervonta Davis or Tevin Farmer…Both guys are southpaws, so we’ve been preparing mentally for southpaws and I think it’s gone really well.’’

‘‘With a loss, I’d definitely give my goodbyes to the sport of boxing.’’

The winner will join 130lb belt holders Berchelt (WBC), the recently crowned Masayuki Ito (WBO) and both – yes both – WBA champions, Alberto Machado & Davis; which should make for some interesting unifications, if all parties are willing, and ready to fight.

Tim Tszyu vs. Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus

Also fighting on Friday’s Technology Park card is, Tim Tszyu, son of former super-lightweight unified world champion, Kostya Tszyu. Tim, 9-0 (7KOs) will be up against Indonesian road warrior, Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus, 27-15-1 (14KOs) in Tszyu’s 2nd defence of the WBC ‘Asian Council Continental’ junior-middleweight strap.

Speaking to ‘Fox Sports’, Tszyu was keen to outline his own path, separate from his father’s success.

‘‘Through my ability and my training, I’m showing that I’m taking the right steps forward for my own career, not as the son of Kostya Tszyu…Everyone was born for a certain reason, and I was born for this.’’
‘‘This is the first time I’ve had 8-10 weeks (training) so we’ve had a strength time, a sparring time and now it’s just the finishing touches…I’ve only had 9 fights, so this is only the start.’’

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Diaz to Face Ito for the WBO World Super Featherweight Title


By: Ken Hissner

Top Rank, All Star Boxing and Tuto Zabala, Jr. bring a world boxing title bout along with 8 other bouts at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Florida on Saturday that will be shown on ESPN+.

Unbeaten No. 1 contender Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz, 23-0 (15), of Barranquitas, PR, will be taking on No. 2 contender Masayuki Ito, 23-1-1 (12), of Tokyo, Japan. This is scheduled for 12 rounds for the vacant WBO World Super Featherweight title.


Photo Credit: Peter Amador / Top Rank

Two fights ago, in December of 2017, Diaz defeated US boxer Bryant “Pee Wee” Cruz, 18-2. He stopped him in 3 rounds for the vacant NABO super featherweight title. In his most recent fight, a NABO title defense, he stopped Dominican Braulio “El Chavo” Rodriguez, 19-2, in 4 rounds in March of 2018. He has fought in the US in 14 of his 23 bouts with the rest in PR. Earlier in Diaz’s career he defeated US boxer Ray Ximenez, 13-0, for the vacant WBO Youth Featherweight title in San Juan, PR, in April of 2016.

Ito has held the WBC Youth World Lightweight, OPBF Super Feather and WBO Asia Pacific Super Feather titles. This will be the first time he has fought out of Japan. He defeated Filipino Jeffrey “The Bull” Arienza, 9-1-1, for the WBC Youth World Lightweight title stopping him in 10 rounds. He stopped Japan’s Dai Iwai, 17-3-1, in the tenth round for the vacant OPBF Super Featherweight title. In title defenses he defeated Japan’s Shingo Eto, 17-3-1, stopped Filipino Ernie Sanchez, 15-7-1, in 11 rounds.

Ito defeated Japan’s Takuya Watanabe, 30-6-1 along with winning Watanabe’s OPBF Super Featherweight title by decision over 12 rounds. He defended the OPBF title stopping Filipino Lorenzo “Thunderbolt” Villanueva, 33-2, in 9 rounds in April of 2017. He followed in 2017 stopping Filipino Glenn Enterina, 11-2-1, in 6 rounds and in March of 2018 stopping Filipino Vergil Puton, 17-9, in 9 rounds in his most recent bout.

In the co-feature Welterweight Gabriel “Tito” Bracero, 24-3-1 (5), of Brooklyn, NY, takes on Artemio Reyes, 25-2 (20), of Colton, CA, who is on a 10 fight 8 knockout winning streak over 10 rounds. Bracero has wins over Dmitriy “Star of David” Salita, 35-1-1, in 2013 and knocking out Danny O’Connor, 26-2, in 2015 in the first round.

Middleweight southpaw Esquiva Falcao, 20-0 (14), of Vitoria, BRZ, takes on southpaw Jonathan “Oso” 17-5 (13), of Mexico City, MEX, over 10 rounds.

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Top Rank Boxing On ESPN Results: Regis “Rougarou” Prograis Stop Juan Jose Velasco


By: Ken HIssner

Saturday at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment and Sampson Boxing over ESPN it was the hometown return of interim WBC Super Lightweight champion Regis “Rougarou” Prograis as promised by Top Rank’s Bob Arum.

Interim WBC Super Lightweight southpaw Regis “Rougarou” Prograis, 22-0 (19), out of Houston, TX, stopped WBC Latino Champ Juan Jose “El Pitbull” Velasco, 20-1 (12), of Bueno Aires, ARG, at 1:59 of round 8.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing/Mikey Williams

In the first round Prograis had his way as his hometown fans were cheering for him from his introduction. He was doing plenty of faking but Velasco got his licks in. Prograis in the final seconds of the round rocked Velasco with a combination to the head. In the second round Prograis continued pressing the action. The second round was similar as the first round. At the end of the round Prograis avoided half a dozen of Velasco’s punches and landed a left of his own to the chin of Velasco at the bell.

In the third round Velasco missed four punches but landed the following two to the head of Prograis. There is no respect of Velasco’s punching power by Prograis. At the bell Prograis landed a left uppercut to the chin of Velasco knocking his head back. In the fourth round Prograis rocked Velasco with a lead left to the chin. Halfway through the round Prograis landed a pair of left hands to the mid-section of Velasco.

In the fifth round Velasco got on his bicycle not wanting those body shots that Prograis hit him with last round. A vicious left to the body from Prograis dropped Velasco who barely beat the count of referee Lawrence Cole. He managed to get through the round. In the seventh round the stalking from Prograis continued. Half the punches from Velasco but several got in on Prograis. Prograis landed a left to the body and down went Velasco. He got up with approximately twenty seconds to go in the round and made it to the bell.

In the eighth round Velasco went down from another left to the liver. Velasco got up and fought harder than at anytime until another left uppercut dropped him. Then Prograis drove him into the bottom strand of the ropes before referee Cole waved it off. Referee Cole showed poor judgment in letting the fight go on too long. Finally the corner stepped up and waved it off.

“It was super special. Thanks to everybody in New Orleans. I want to bring back big time boxing to New Orleans. I’m going into the WBSS and hope to win that,” said Prograis.

Lightweight Teofimo Lopez, 10-0 (8), of David, FL, stopped IBO Continental Champion William “Baby Face” Silva, 25-2 (14), of Sao Paulo, BRZ, for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Lightweight title at 0:15 of the sixth round in a scheduled 10.

In the first round Lopez had his way. Lopez missed with a right but with a lunging left hook Lopez dropped Silva who beat the count of referee Bruce McDaniel and had a bloody nose. In the second round Lopez started showboating. He was making Silva look bad. He stunned Silva several times.

In the third round Lopez kept up the showboating knowing the taller Silva who had his hands held high got in a couple of counter left hooks but too few. Lopez rocked Silva with a right, left. He then followed with a lead right uppercut to the chin of Silva followed by a left hook to the head. In the fourth round Lopez landed a combination and added a right hand to the head of Silva. He ended the round with a lead right to the head of Silva.

In the fifth round Lopez continued using head fakes and landing left uppercuts and left hooks to the chin of Silva. The blood continued funning from the nose of Silva. Silva got in the best punch of his fight countering a right to the head of Lopez. With seconds left in the round Lopez drove Silva into the corner with a flurry ending with three left hooks to the head dropping Silva for a nine count as he got up and saved by the bell.

In the sixth round Lopez again dropped Silva within seconds of the round with a double left hook to the head when referee McDaniel immediately waved it off. After winning Lopez did a back flip. “I want to thank God, Bob Arum, Top Rank, Bruce Trampler, Bruce Goodman. I set him up with a jab and played with his mind. I set him up for the left hand. I’m full of blood, his blood. I lost my dog this past Sunday. All I want to do is go home and cry. I love you Leo (dog) He was my best friend,” said Lopez.

Southpaw Mexican Erik De Leon, 18-0-1 (10), out of Detroit, MI, defeated Adrian “Chinito” Young, 25-5-2 (19), out of Sinaloa, MEX, over 10 rounds.

De Leon came off the canvas in the first round but had his way the rest of the way by scores of 97-92 twice and 98-91.

Super welter 2016 Olympian Charles Conwell, 8-0 (6), of Cleveland, OH, stopped Travis “Sweet Feet” Scott, 19-4 (5), of Baton Rouge, LA., in the second round with a body shot in a scheduled 10 rounds.

Unbeaten super lightweight southpaw 2016 Gold Medalist Olympian Fazlidden Gaibnazarov, 5-0 (2), of UZB and living in L.A., CA, had a harder than expect fight defeating Kevin Johnson, 5-1 (4), out of Detroit, MI, over 8 rounds.

Unbeaten featherweight PR’s Jean Carlos “Chapito” Rivera, 14-0 (9), out of Orlando, FL, knocked out Dominican Angel “El Gato” Luna, 11-5-1 (6), in 82 seconds of the first round.

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