Top Rank Events to Proceed Without Fans; Golden Gloves Cancelled
First the NBA season came to a screeching halt. Then the NCAA conference basketball tournaments and the MLB Spring Training games.
Now, Top Rank has announced that their events will proceed without fans in the Hulu Theater.
They released the following announcement today via email:
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and to ensure the health and safety of boxing fans and the fight participants, Top Rank announced today that the March 14 and March 17 events at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden will proceed without spectators. The only individuals granted access to the events will be essential production and support staff, in addition to fighters and necessary team members, and credentialed media. Both events will still be shown live on their respective platforms.
As for future events, Top Rank is consulting with its venue partners and will make a determination in due course.
Full refunds for tickets purchased for the March 14 and March 17 events will be available at the point of purchase.
In addition to Top Rank limiting fans from their events, it has also been announced that the Golden Gloves has been cancelled. Numerous local shows have also been cancelled.
Shakur Stevenson vs. Miguel Marriaga, Magdaleno vs. Lukas Fight Preview
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City will be the host site for a Top Rank Promotions boxing card. This event will be televised live on ESPN starting at 10:30 p.m. ET.
The co-feature of the evening will be a bout between former world champion Jessie Magdaleno and the unbeaten Sakaria Lukas in the featherweight division. The main event will be between US prospect Shakur Stevenson and Miguel Marriaga. Stevenson’s WBO Featherweight title will be no the line.
The undercard will feature boxers such as Edgar Berlanga, John Bauza, Frederic Julian and Matthew Gonzalez.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Jessie Magdaleno (27-1) vs. Sakaria Lukas (23-0); Featherweights
Magdaleno is a former champion, who only experienced one loss in his career to Isaac Dogboe in 2018. He looks to get back into the title picture with a win over the inexperienced Sakaria Lukas.
Magdaleno has eighteen stoppage victories, two more than Lukas. Both boxers have been fairly active in the past three years. Magdaleno fought twice in 2019, once in 2018, and once in 2017. Lukas fought twice in 2019 and three times in 2017.
Magdaleno has a big edge in age over Lukas. He is still in his athletic prime at 28 years old. Lukas is thirty five years old.
Magdaleno also has a significant edge in level of opposition faced. He has defeated the likes of Rafael Rivera, Rico Ramos, Nonito Donaire, Rey Perez, Erik Ruiz, and Roberto Castaneda.
Lukas has no notable wins. In fact, this appears to be his first fight in the United States and only his second fight outside of Namibia. His most notable wins were against Nbodana Ncube, Tello Dithebe, Mudde Ntambi, and Oscar Chauke.
Magdaleno also has the edge in amateur experience. He’s a former US National Golden Gloves Champion. He also comes from a boxing family as his brothers Diego and Marco also box. Lukas has no notable amateur experience.
This is a fight that Magdaleno should win convincingly and impressively. A win by Lukas would be considered a massive upset.
A fight against Stevenson could be on the horizon for Magdaleno if both are victorious on Saturday.
Shakur Stevenson (13-0) vs. Miguel Marriaga (29-3); WBO Featherweight Title
Shakur Stevenson is one of Top Rank Promotions’ most prized prospects. In only his twelfth fight he was able to win the WBO Featherweight title against Joet Gonzalez.
His opponent, Miguel Marriaga, came up short in his three other title shots.
Stevenson and Marriaga are about the same height, and Stevenson will have about a one inch reach advantage over Marriaga. Stevenson is also eleven years younger than Marriaga.
Marriaga does have some knockout power, as he has twenty five stoppage victories on his resume. Stevenson has stopped seven of his opponents.
Marriaga’s losses came to Vasiliy Lomachemko, Oscar Valdez, and Nicholas Walters. All three of these losses came in title matches. He has defeated the likes of Alfredo Mejia Vargas, Ruben Cervera, Guy Robb, Adones Aguelo, and Christopher Martin.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Alberto Guevara, Christopher Diaz, Jessie Rosales, Viorel Simion, Carlos Ruiz, and Roxberg Riley.
Stevenson has been extremely active in the past two years. He fought four times in 2019 and five times in 2018. Marriaga fought twice in 2019, 2018, and in 2017.
Stevenson also has an edge in amateur experience. He was an Olympic Silver Medalist for the United States while Marriaga has no notable amateur accomplishments.
This is a fight that Stevenson should win convincingly. A much more compelling fight between Stevenson and Magdaleno appear to be on the horizon.
Bob Arum Anticipates Over 2 Million Pay Per View Buys For Wilder vs Fury 2
By: Hans Themistode
For a while now, boxing has been considered a sport on the outside looking in. A minor league player if you will.
Baseball, basketball and football are at the forefront of most sports fans minds. Most viewers of those aforementioned sports can identify the biggest names associated with them in a blink of an eye.
Who won the NBA championship last season? Fans would quickly jump up to say the Toronto Raptors. Who is considered the best baseball player in the game right now? Most would say Mike Trout. Who is believed to be the greatest NFL quarterback of all-time? Tom Brady would most likely be the answer.
The point is, in terms of these various sports, fans know exactly who they are and wouldn’t hesitate in terms of a trivia question.
Yet, in the case of boxing, things just don’t seem to go that way. When posed with a boxing question, most fans would have a hard time answering it. In short, boxing has seemingly taken a backseat to its more well known rivals.
It hasn’t always been like this. Knowing who the Heavyweight champion of the world or any other notable boxer was, regardless of his championship status was always thought to be an easy question to answer. Not anymore.
Other sports leagues around the world have seemingly passed boxing by.
But things are about to change.
This Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nevada, WBC Heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder and Lineal champion Tyson Fury will bring boxing back to the forefront. Not just in America, but around the world.
“People are talking about this fight all over the country,” said promoter Bob Arum. “And one of the big topics is how ESPN and FOX are promoting it. … Nobody’s ever seen anything like it. I mean, I’ve been around since the first Super Bowl. There’s never been a commercial for a boxing match in any Super Bowl – ever.”
Simply put, you can’t turn on your television set, nor browse the internet without some sort of ad promoting what many believe, is the biggest Heavyweight championship fight in the last 50 years.
So why exactly is the buzz surrounding this fight so enormous? That’s easy.
Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) has the sort of power that you just can’t teach. Whatever he touches, seems to break into a pile of dust. Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) on the other hand, possesses some of the very best boxing skills that the division has ever seen. Another enticing storyline is what happened the first time these two met.
It was December 1st, 2018, in front of a packed crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California where Wilder and Fury met for the first time. Fury boxed circles around Wilder for much of the contest and was on his way to a clear decision. Yet, out of nowhere, Wilder landed his best shots of the night and dropped Fury in the final round. Still, even as the fight seemed to be over, Fury managed to make it back to his feet.
What resulted was a highly disputed draw. Now with them doing it again and with the backing of both ESPN and FOX, promoter Bob Arum is expecting the rematch to be one of the highest selling pay-per-views of all-time.
“I really believed when I found out early on, before we even had an announcement, how FOX and ESPN were gonna do this, that’s why I predicted two million,” Arum explained. “Now to predict two million, if this was back in the old HBO and Showtime days, that would’ve been crazy. But because of those two networks, I always thought we had a shot to equal or exceed two million buys. And I’m now, more than ever, confident.”
Only four times in boxing history has an event exceeded that many buys. And each time they had one thing, or one person, in common.
2007: Floyd Mayweather vs Oscar De La Hoya (2.4 Million)
2013: Floyd Mayweather vs Canelo Alvarez (2.2 Million)
2015: Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao (4.6 Million)
2017: Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor (4.3 Million)
No, Floyd Mayweather won’t be making an appearance on this card. But he is likely to be in attendance to watch. Nevertheless with the sort of attention and promotion that this event has gotten, Arum could very well be right about his initial assumption.
“Am I anxious about how it’s gonna do? Of course. I’m a businessperson. But I’m saying all the groundwork has been so great, thanks to these two networks and the example that they showed.”
Bob Arum Reportedly Interested In Selling Top Rank
By: Sean Crose
If boxing is a young man’s game, someone forgot to tell Bob Arum. The super promoter has been a noted player in the sport for almost half a century and hasn’t shown a whole lot of interest in slowing down. In fact, the man is one of the major forces behind this weekend’s heavyweight title rematch between WBC champion Deontay Wilder and arch rival Tyson Fury. Yet, while the octogenarian has been known to raise eyebrows over the years with some of his statements, Arum definitely got people’s attention when he told Business Insider recently that he is thinking of selling his company, Top Rank Promotions.
“Anything is for sale,” he’s quoted as saying. Although Arum made it clear that a future sale isn’t a guarantee, Business Insider reports that: “Arum is seemingly courting a similar deal to the one which saw UFC sold to WME-IMG, now known as Endeavor, four years ago.” In other words, Top Rank’s top players would likely remain its top players should the company sell. “Dana White remains at the forefront of the UFC,” Business Insider adds, “while many people with key positions before the sale, continue to fulfill prominent roles for the company today.”
Top Rank would likely prove to be a gold mine for anyone who purchased it. Here, after all, is a company that boasts some of the biggest names in the business, like Fury, Terence Crawford, and Vasyl Lomachenko. It also, as Business Insider points out “has footage of a prime Muhammad Ali and other fight material which it leases.” Arum has apparently revealed that Endeavor, Liberty Global, and the DAZN streaming service have all expressed interest in purchasing Top Rank. A sale to any of these companies, particularly DAZN, might alter the contemporary boxing landscape.
Successful, brash, entertaining and cantankerous, Arum has been a fixture in boxing for as long as many – if not most – fight fans have been alive. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Arum worked for Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department before moving on to boxing. During the course of his long career, he’s worked with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and seemingly countless others. Along with Al Haymon and De La Hoya, Arum remains one of the most powerful men in the sport, one with a long history of major fights and major talent on his resume.
“Big Baby” Miller Signs With Top Rank Promotions
By: Sean Crose
Boxing fans can easily recall last June 1st, when Anthony Joshua stepped into the ring for his American debut at Madison Square Garden, only to be stunned by heavy underdog Andy Ruiz. Although Johsua has since won back the title belts he lost that evening, few will forget the time Ruiz stunned the world. Such things stick in the memory. What may not stick in the memory is the fact that Ruiz wasn’t even supposed to be Joshua’s opponent that night. Brooklyn’s Gerald “Big Baby” Miller the man who had been scheduled to welcome Joshua to America that evening in the Garden. Positive drug tests, however, kept Miller from the fight. The opportunity ended up going to Ruiz.
Now, however, it appears that the 23-0-1 Miller is back on the heavyweight fast track, for it was announced Wednesday that the 31 year old had signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions. “Jarrell Miller is serious about coming back, doing things the right way and becoming heavyweight champion of the world,” said Arum via press release. “He is one of boxing’s most unique and exciting characters, but most importantly, he can fight.” Signing with Arum can open up new doors for Miller. Tyson Fury, the man who many consider to the be the lineal heavyweight champion of the world (the man who beat the man, who beat the man) fights with Top Rank. What’s more, Top Rank fighters are able to fight live in front of ESPNs massive audience.
“Minor setback for a major comeback,” Miller said, referring to the positive drug tests that kept him from facing Joshua. “I’m coming for everything and everyone. No one is safe. Say hello to the bad guy.” It was clear the undefeated heavyweight wanted to stake his claim among the colorful characters that now populate the heavyweight division. “Everyone wants to portray the superhero,” he added. “We don’t live in a sunshine world. I’ll never be the superhero. In my world, the majority of the time, the villain wins.”
Top Rank’s press release referred to Miller as “one of boxing’s most polarizing figures, a combination-punching heavyweight who also went 22-2 as a professional kickboxer.” Having once been one of the highest paid kickboxers in the United States, Miller still has his eyes set on heavyweight dominance. He also now has the backing to get him the kinds of fights that can make that happen.
“I couldn’t be happier that after months of hard work and perseverance, we were able to make this deal a reality,” said Greg Cohen, who now co-promotes Miller, along with Top Rank and Dmitriy Salita. “Since I started promoting Jarrell as a six-round fighter,” said Salita. “I have been saying that he would be the next heavyweight champion from Brooklyn. Working with Top Rank, I am confident he will have the chance to realize that goal.”
“Time,” said Cohen, “for Big Baby to get back in the ring!”
Top Rank stated Miller “will make his Top Rank on ESPN debut in 2020.”
Crawford vs. Kavaliauskas, Commey vs. Lopez Fight Previews
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the legendary Madison Square Garden Arena in New York, New York will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions latest card to be televised live on ESPN.
Terence Crawford will defend his WBO Welterweight Championship against Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the main event of the night. The co-main event will be a IBF Lightweight Championship match between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez Jr.
The undercard is also stacked with talent. Michael Conlan will face Vladimir Nikitin in a featherweight bout that will be a rematch of their 2016 Olympic bout. Other fighters to keep an eye on include Josue Vargas, Julian Rodriguez, Mickey Bey, and George Kambosos Jr.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
<strong> Richard Commey (29-2) vs. Teofimo Lopez Jr. (14-0); IBF Lightweight Title </strong>
Teofimo Lopez is one of Top Rank Promotions’ young guns with an incredibly high ceiling. He’s only twenty two years old and has under fifteen fights as a profressional, but he’s already fighting for a world title.
Lopez is ten years younger than Commey and will be giving up about two and half inches in reach. Lopez has been the more active fighter of the two, as he fought three times in 2019 and four times in 2018. Commey only fought twice in 2018 and once in 2017.
Lopez does appear to have a large edge in amateur experience. He competed in the 2016 Olympics for Honduras and was a US National Golden Gloves Gold Medalist. Commey has no major international accomplishments as an amateur.
Commey has two losses on his record, but they were both by close split decision to Denish Shafikov and Robert Easter Jr. He has defeated the likes of Raymundo Beltran, Isa Chaniev, Alejandro Luna, and Hedi Elimani.
Lopez has yet to taste defeat as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Masayoshi Nakatani, Edis Tatli, Diego Magdaleno, Mason Menard, William Silva, and Vitor Jones.
It will be interesting to see how Lopez handles the reach advantage of tested and rugged veteran. Commey is experienced and will be able to take advantage of any mistakes that Lopez may make. But Lopez is the good fighter with a strong punch.
This writer sees Lopez dominating in the middle to late rounds to win a decision victory.
<strong> Terence Crawford (35-0) vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1); WBO Welterweight Title </strong>
Terence Crawford is one of the world’s best fighters, but he struggles to land big meaningful fights in a talent rich welterweight division.
Crawford is thirty two years old and the clock to get a big name fight in his athletic prime is starting to tick. His opponent isn’t much younger as Kavaliauskas is thirty one years old. Kavaliauskas will have abount a once inch height advantage but Crawford will have a three inch reach advantage.
Both boxers had extensive amateur backgrounds. Crawford was a former PAL Champ and a US National Champ as an amateur. Kavaliauskas represented Lithuania in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
Kavaliauskas has been slightly more active than Crawford. He fought once in 2019, but fought three times in 2018 and in 2017. Crawford fought once in 2019, and twice in 2018 and in 2017.
Crawford has never tasted defeat as a professional and has won rather convincingly in every bout he’s been involved in. He has defeated the likes of Amir Khan, Jose Benavidez Jr., Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andrey Klimov.
Kavaliauskas lone blemish on his professional record was a majority draw with Ray Robinson in Philadelphia. He has defeated the likes of Roberto Arriaza, Juan Carlos Abreu, David Avanesyan, Mahonri Montes, and Prenice Brewer.
Crawford has been angling for a big name fight for what seems like a majority of his career. He deserves it, but beating Kavaliauskas is expected of him and likely won’t add much hype for his chance at a big name fight.
Herring Gets Past Roach In Fresno
By: Sean Crose
Fresno, California hosted Top Rank’s ESPN+ card on Saturday night. First up was a battle of heavyweight contenders. Kubrat Pulev, 27-1, stepped into the ring for a scheduled 10 rounder against the 26-2 Rydell Booker. Although the ESPN broadcast team pointed out Booker’s lack of conditioning, the veteran fighter had himself a solid first round. Pulev controlled the ring in the second. The European fighter began coming in strong behind his jab in the third.
Pulev continued to jab his way along through the fourth. Booker was looking completely ineffective. “He’s ready to quit,” Pulev’s trainer said in between rounds. “But you’ve got to make him quit.” The fight was so one sided that by the fifth round, it was worth wondering why Pulev wasn’t finishing things early. Booker ended up coming alive a bit in the sixth. By the seventh, however, it was back to business as usual. The eighth round essentially saw more of the same. Pulev continued to work away in the ninth, while Booker did little at all. For some reason, though Pulev couldn’t stop his man. Perhaps it was because he continually fought in straight punching, European style. Still, it was enough to wing Pulev the tenth, as well as the entire fight. He walked out of the ring with a UD win.
It was time for the main event. The 20-2 Jamel Herring stepped between the ropes – after a brilliant military entrance – to defend his WBO title against the 19-0-1 Lamont Roach. Former Marine Herring worked the body well with crisp punching in the first. Herring slipped early in the second, but got up and continued to stalk his prey. Herring’s fast, effective punching told the story in the third. Roach started to land in the fourth round, but Herring controlled the fifth.
The sixth round was competitive. Although it appeared that Herring was winning, Roache was definitely in the fight. The seventh saw Herring be able to nullify and avoid Roach’s forward attack. The bout was proving to be a story of speed and accuracy edging solid determination. Things remained close in the eighth. Roache went down in the ninth, though it was ruled a slip. Both men fought well through the tenth round. Herring was able to find his range better in the eleventh…until Roache found and hurt his man at round’s end. The final round saw Roach coming after his man. Herring survived, but the round belonged to Roach.
The judges ruled it for Herring via unanimous decision.
Stevenson Defeats Gonzalez To Win WBO Title
By: Sean Crose
The Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada hosted a night of Top Rank Boxing on Saturday, featuring a card that was aired live on ESPN +. The main event was the battle for the WBO featherweight title between the 12-0 Shakur Stevenson and the 23-0 Joet Gonzalez. Before the main event, however, two other fights were presented for the live ESPN + audience. First, the 21-1-1 Joshua Greer Jr faced off against Cleveland’s 19-2-2 Antonio Nieves. The scheduled 10 rounder was for a couple of minor titles (the World Boxing Council Continental Americas Bantam Title, and the World Boxing Organization NABO Bantam title).
The first round was a tight affair, with neither man allowing himself to truly unload on his opponent. The second round didn’t showcase an inordinate amount of action, either. Things began to pick up in the third, as both fighters began to find their sea legs. Nieves landed a terrific left at the beginning of the fourth, but was unable to capitalize on it. In the fifth, it appeared as if Greer was searching for a big shot that he had yet to land. Still, the fight remained close. Nieves landed well and got aggressive at the end of the sixth.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Greer came out blasting in the seventh, though Nieves was able to survive and engage throughout the rest of the round. Greer landed well in the eighth, before dropping Nieves with a low blow. Yet Nieves ended up closing the round by landing well himself. Greer began to dominate in the ninth of what had slowly become an entertaining match. Greer went down in the tenth, and the two fighters had to be separated at the final bell. Greer was still able to walk away with the UD win.
The next fight saw the 11-0 former Olympian Mikaela Mayer facing the 7-3-0 Alejadra Soledad Zamora for the NABF Female Super Featherweight title. The match was a scheduled 10 round affair. Mayer dropped her opponent in the first. To her credit, Zamora got back to her feet and exchanged throughout the round. Still, the first belonged to Mayer. The second round was exciting, as well, with both women trading shots. Mayer was controlling the fight, but Zamora was brave and game. The bout remained aggressive throughout the third.
The fourth saw Mayer start to beat up her opponent. The skill deficit had started to become obvious. Mayer continued to beat up Zamora in the fifth. The bout was about at the point where it no longer was necessary to continue the proceedings. The sixth showcased more of the same from the previous few rounds. In between rounds, Zamora’s father/trainer wisely and kindly stopped the bout.
It was time for the main event. The first round was basically a feeling out process, though Stevenson was able to jab a bit and throw some straight rights to the body. The second round saw Stevenson continue to do the same while Gonzalez feinted a lot, but didn’t do much else. The third and fourth rounds were identical – with Gonzalez missing his target and Stevenson landing point friendly, Olympic style punches. After five it was clear Gonzalez would have to unleash his inner Marcos Maidana if he hoped to have any chance of winning. Gonzalez had a stronger round in the sixth than he probably had in the previous five rounds, but his skill level was nowhere near that of his foes.
A mauling Gonzalez and a strangely inactive Stevenson told the story of the seventh. Stevenson regained control in the eighth. An aggressive Gonzalez stalked Stevenson in the ninth. Stevenson was no longer as dominant as he had been earlier in the fight – but he was still winning. Still, the rising star’s lack of activity seemed to cost him the tenth. Stevenson regained control in the eleventh, then went on to dominate the twelfth. Needless to say, Stevenson won a wide decision victory, along with a world title.
Fight Preview: Greer vs. Nieves, Stevenson vs. Gonzalez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Night the Reno/Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada will be the host site for a Top Rank Promotions Card that will be televised live on ESPN+.
Former Olympian Shakur Stevenson will be fight for the vacant WBO Featherweight Title as he takes on veteran Joet Gonzalez. The co-main event of the night is a bantamweight fight between Josh Greer and Antonio Nieves.
Other bouts on the card include a female junior lightweight bout between Mikaela Mayer and Alejandra Soledad Zamora.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions Website
Boxers such as Albert Bell, Frank De Alba, Jason Sanchez, Andy Vences, and Mark Bernaldez will be fighting on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Josh Greer Jr. (21-1-1) vs. Antonio Nieves (19-2-2); Bantamweights
Josh Greer is a young prospect that has been extremely active since 2017. He fought twice in 2019, four times in 2018, and four times in 2017. His opponent, Antonio Nieves, is seven years older than him and has not been as active. He fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017…in which he lost both fights in 2017.
They are the same height and Nieves will have about a two and a half inch reach advantage over him. Neither boxer is known for their power, Greer has twelve stoppage wins while Nieves has eleven. However, Greer has won four of his past five fights by stoppage.
Nieves does appear to have an edge in amateur experience, as he was a National Golden Gloves Silver Medalist while Greer does not have any notable amateur titles or medals.
Greer has defeated the likes of Nikolai Potapov, Giovanni Escaner, Daniel Lozano, Glenn Dezurn, and James Smith. His lone loss was to the undefeated Stephen Fulton and he has a draw with Mario Ayala. Both his loss and draw were early on in his career.
Nieves has defeated the likes of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Christian Esquivel, and Alejandro Santiago Barrios. His losses were to Naoya Inoue and Nikolai Potapov.
This should be an intriguing and possibly close fight. Nieves has been in the ring with some very tough opponents and Greer is a young up and coming contender. Greer has to be considered a slight favorite in this fight, and it should help determine if he’s a legitimate challenger or not.
Shakur Stevenson (12-0) vs. Joet Gonzalez (23-0); WBO Featherweight Title
On paper, this looks to be the toughest fight of Shakur Stevenson’s career.
Stevenson will have a two inch height advantage over Gonzalez, but that will be negated by the two inch reach advantage that Gonzalez has. Both boxers are young, with Stevenson being twenty two years old and Gonzalez being twenty six years old. Both boxers are undefeated as a professional and have been fairly active.
Stevenson fought three times in 2019 and five times in 2018. Gonzalez fought twice in 2019 and three times in 2018. It appears that Gonzalez might have a slight edge in power as he has stopped fourteen of his opponents while Stevenson has only stopped seven. But three of the past four fights by Stevenson have resulted in a stoppage victory.
Stevenson does have a significant edge in amateur experience and accolades. Stevenson was a former US National Champion as an amateur and a Silver Medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Gonzalez has no notable amateur championships.
Stevenson is a southpaw and Gonzalez fights out of an orthodox stance. This can often be a problem for less experienced fighters, but for a boxer with the amateur pedigree of Stevenson, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Alberto Guevara, Christopher Diaz, Jessie Cris Rosales, Viorel Simion, and Aelio Mesquita. Every boxer Stevenson has defeated had a winning record at the time.
Gonzalez has defeated the likes of Manuel Avila, Rodrigo Guerrero, Rafael Rivera, and Derrick Murray.
This fight will be a good test for Stevenson as he chases his first legitimate world title. Gonzalez should challenge him, but Stevenson is one of the sport’s brightest prospects and it’s likely he will show the world why on Saturday night.
Artur Beterbiev Bashes Oleksandr Gvozdyk in Round 10 to Unify Titles
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Nearing the end of the broadcast, Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KO) could be seen in the center of the ring holding up two belts—one green, the other red. Yet it was a third title, unseen, abstruse as ever, that mattered most of all. That lineal title, pried from the shaky grip of Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KO) in the tenth round, where referee Gary Rosato could only bear to watch the previously undefeated Ukrainian knocked down three times before signaling the end to the championship bout.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Beterbiev added Gvozdyk’s WBC strap to his IBF belt; the contest also represented light heavyweight lineage: often called the true championship: “the man who beat the man who beat the man.” Gvozdyk unseated Adonis Stevenson last year for the nominal title and now the honor belongs to Beterbiev.
The action was a power struggle until the very end. The champion out of Ukraine, Gvozdyk gained control early behind quick successions of right and left hands. In fact, the bell rang and without a thought of a touch of gloves, Gvozdyk opened the fight with a snapping one-two, quickly setting the tone with a right hand upstairs and then a left to the body of Beterbiev.
Suddenly, in the final seconds of the first round, the giants wrapped each other up, chippy blows reigned down from Beterbiev, and Gvozdyk tipped over. Clearly a slip, the ref initially called a knockdown before it was overturned by the commissioner.
For the next two rounds, Gvozdyk could be seen outlanding Beterbiev, a 34-year-old from Russia who owned a crushing victory over the defending WBC champ back in the amateur circuit. The rounds may have been tallied for Gvozdyk but a couple of cross-counters from his opponent, hurled over Gvozdyk’s straight punches, caught his attention.
In Round 3, Beterbiev was generating incredible amounts of force in close quarters. The short blows chipped away at Gvozdyk’s confidence, ruddying his face in the process.
Gvozdyk, 32, carried on his sharpshooting. Tagging away at Beterbiev with a finely tuned offense: left jabs and right crosses zipping up and down. The Russian bulldozer kept him honest with singular punching, including feinting right uppercuts only to shoot straight left hands.
The rest of the way, Beterbiev was established in the center of the ring. And in the fifth stanza his best shots were a pair of wrecking ball right hands to Gvozdyk’s midsection; they took the air right out of him.
Both men were doing their best to outdo the other. A race to beat the other man to the punch. Exchanges exploded across every inch of the canvas. Coalescing, then rushing to land a shot as they disengaged. The end of the sixth inning was especially great. The opposing champions traded parallel right crosses. Gvozdyk even hit the deck; it was only another slip.
Gvozdyk, though, was on the verge of a real knockdown in the ninth, flustered more than ever. Beterbiev had seek-and-destroy pulsating from his eyes. Clubbing right hands touched up Gvozdyk. A mauling attack ensued consisting of uppercuts and body blows, pausing only to push Gvozdyk away so as to create enough space and leverage for more punishment.
In the fateful tenth period, a slinging right hand landed on Gvozdyk’s temple and sent him to one knee. The Ukrainian puncher stood back up. He tried grappling before jabbing with the Russian predator. Beterbiev’s left hand had no problem busting open the feeble guard of the shaken champion and plugged away for the second knockdown.
Rosato made it clear to Gvozdyk he had one more chance. So when two more right hands forced Gvozdyk onto another knee, it was no surprised the fight was over.
The punch stats revealed a slight edge in activity from Gvozdyk, landing118 of 614 total punches (19 percent) while Beterbiev connected on 161 of 515 total shots (31 percent). Of course it was the power numbers that carried Beterbiev across the finish line and he was successful on 40 percent of his power punches (113 of 283) whereas Gvozdyk landed just 27 percent of his own power shots (94 of 354).
Gvozdyk suffered the only defeat of his professional career. It is just the second for him and his stablemates Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk, who together ran unchecked at the championship level. Usyk, for one, picked up a lineal title of his own at cruiserweight against Murat Gassiev in none other that Moscow, Russia.
Vengeance it could be said is Beterbiev’s and his countryman. Though having transplanted to Canada, he may be a lone wolf. He is as much in the light heavyweight division, by himself—atop them all, their new king.
Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (17-0, 9 KO) def. Luis Collazo (39-8, 20 KO) by decision
Abdukakhorov is still undefeated, scoring a technical decision over Collazo, after a headbutt in the tenth and final round opened up a severe gash over the gutsy veteran’s right eye.
Just a minute into Round 10, Abdukakhorov again found himself cornered, pressured into the ropes by the tattooed, snarling figure in front of him. He zagged diagonally to his right to escape, but Collazo simultaneously threw his weight into an overhand left putting both of their heads on a collision course.
The result was a clash with such force that Collazo tumbled over, hitting the deck. The American southpaw lifted his head to reveal a glowing red split above his eye, blood quickly streaking down his face.
Referee Benjy Esteves immediately sent the fight to scorecards. And all three judges scored the fight in Abdukakhorov’s favor: 98-92, 99-91 and 97-93.
Abdukakhorov, a 26-year-old technician out of Uzbekistan, remains unbeaten since turning professional in 2015.
Collazo, 38, may be longer in the tooth but was still competitive. At least until injuring his right arm halfway into the fight. Abdukakhorov’s pattering punches secured the first round but did nothing to keep the older man off of him. Collazo gladly walked through his opponent’s composite punching in the second frame.
Abdukakhorov was forced to outmaneuver Collazo’s barreling attack the rest of the way. His potshotting served him well. Switching between southpaw and orthodox, the Uzbek stylist repeatedly outjabbed Collazo over the distance.
But the action belonged to Collazo when Abdukakhorov caught himself in any corner of the ring. Sweeping right hand left hooks bounced off the upstart’s face. The American, though, could not keep up the pace: his offense all but limited to one hand in the latter stages and his gas tank depleting as the bout went on.
Abdukakhorov’s flawless record leaves him on the cusp of a world title fight, already the No. 1 contender to Errol Spence Jr.’s IBF belt. He is also world-rated by the WBC and WBO. Collazo saw his three-fight win streak snapped, a resurgent run that dated back to 2017.
Artur Beterbiev vs Oleksandr Gvozdyk is a Can’t Miss Fight
By: Hans Themistode
Big fights come around in the sport of boxing, but not as much as they should.
The anticipation for a huge boxing event is almost like no other. Two star boxers at the peak of their powers going blow for blow to determine who is better, gives chills to the fans who witness it.
This Friday night at the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, IBF Light Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs) will look to prove that he is the best in the division when het takes on fellow champion, WBC belt holder Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs).
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Since the announcement of this contest, the boxing world has been buzzing. It is truly a 50/50 bout between these two champions. With so many great boxers currently in the Light Heavyweight division, these two will be given the chance to prove that they are a step above the rest.
This matchup hasn’t just gotten fight fans excited, but it has also brung joy too long time boxing promoter Bob Arum.
“We’ve had some really good fights this year,” said Arum. “But I think this unification battle between Gvozdyk, the WBC champion and Beterbiev, the IBF champion is something really special. Not only do I think it will be fight of the year but I think it has the capability of being one of the best all-time boxing matches.”
Those are lofty expectations set by Arum, but one that could very well come to fruition.
Throughout the brief career of Beterbiev, he has proven to be a force in the division. His run to the IBF title has been one like no other. He has flat out dominated his competition in every aspect. None of his 14 pro fights have made it the distance. Still, even with a championship belt safely in his possession, he has faced no one of note.
Gvozdyk will prove to be his toughest opposition to date. The WBC titlist has had an impressive run through the division in his own right. His attraction as a true big time fighter began in 2017, when he dismantled former contender Yunieski Gonzalez. Gvozdyk toyed with him that night to the tune of a stoppage win. He would later stop Craig Baker later on that year as well.
The biggest win in the career of Gvozdyk occurred in 2018. He managed to fight his way to a mandatory position against long time champion Adonis Stevenson. In the bout, Gvozdyk stopped Stevenson in the eleventh round to claim his first ever world title.
This contest between these two heavy hitting champions have all of the ingredients to be a special night for the fans.
“I really look forward to a knock down drag out fight,” said Arum.
Gvozdyk is clearly the better boxer but he’s not a bad puncher either. He’s the complete package. Beterbiev is not just a good puncher, he’s a devastating puncher. He puts his opponents to sleep. I wouldn’t be surprised if both guys were on the deck at some point in the fight. Two great fighters, two undefeated fighters, fighting to unify the Light Heavyweight belts.”
With the anticipation for this contest at an all-time high, fans and media alike can’t wait to see the outcome this Friday night.
Fury vs. Wallin, Navarrete vs. Elorde Fight Previews
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada the Lineal Heavyweight Champion of the World, Tyson Fury, will make his return to the Mecca of boxing.
Tyson Fury will be taking on undefeated challenger Otto Wallin on ESPN+. This bout will be promoted by Top Rank Promotions in association with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. Tyson Fury was fighting in Las Vegas in his last bout and has made a quick return to the ring.
The co-main event of the evening is a WBO Junior Featherweight Title Bout between Emanuel Navarrete and Juan Miguel Elorde. Other boxers on the undercard include a junior welterweight bout between Jose Pedraza and Jose Zepeda and a junior bantamweight bout between Carlos Cuadras and Jose Maria Cardenas.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Emanuel Navarrete (28-1) vs. Juan Miguel Elorde (28-1); WBO Junior Featherweight Title
Navarrete exploded into the scene with his back to back victories over former champion, Isaac Dogboe, in convincing fashion.
On Saturday he’ll be facing the grandson of a Filipino Legend, Flash Elorde, in the co-main event of the evening for his WBO Junior Featherweight Title.
Navarrete will be giving up about one inch in height to Elorde, but he will have a significant age advantage as he is eight years younger. Navarrete will also have the power advantage as he has twenty four stoppages on his resume, while Elrode only has fifteen.
Both boxers have been fairly active. Navarrete fought twice in 2019 and four times in 2018. Elrode fought once in 2019 and three times in 2018.
Navarrete has beaten the likes of Francisco De Vaca, Isaac Dogboe (twice), Jose Sanmartin, Glen Porras, and Luis Bedolla Orozco. His lone loss was early on in his career, in 2012, to Daniel Argueta by decision.
Elorde has spent almost his entire career fighting either in the Philippines or Malaysia. He fought once in the United States, and lost to Jerry Guevara in 2011.
Elorde has no big name wins on his record. But his most notable victories include Shohei Kawashima, Ratchanon Sawangsoda, Likit Chane, and Terdchai Doungmontree.
This fight should be an easy victory for Navarrete. Elorde brings a well known name in the boxing community into the ring, but there’s nothing in his resume that indicates he should be a tough fight for Navarrete.
Tyson Fury (28-0-1) vs. Otto Wallin (20-0); Heavyweight Division
Tyson Fury competed in one of the most exciting fights of 2018 when he fought to a draw with Deontay Wilder. Since then he has looked to be in tremendous shape and completed dedicated to the sport of boxing and keeping his undefeated record intact.
However, he has chosen an opponent that not many give a chance at giving Fury the first loss in his career.
Wallin has spent most of his career fighting in Europe and Saturday will be his second fight in the United States.
Fury will have about three and a half inches in height in Wallin and about seven inches in reach. Both boxers have been fairly active recently, Wallin fought once in 2019 and twice in 2018, while Fury fought once in 2019 and three times in 2018.
Wallin does have an edge in age, as he is three years younger than Tyson Fury, who is thirty one.
Wallin doesn’t have a notable amateur career while Fury is a former Gold Medalist in the European Union Junior Championships.
Fury has defeated the likes of Tom Schwarz, Francesco Pianeta, Sefer Seferi, Wladimir Klitschko, Christian Hammer, Dereck Chisora, Steve Cunningham, and Kevin Johnson.
It should be noted that Fury didn’t fight for nearly three years after defeating Klitschko.
Wallin doesn’t have any notable victories on his resume. His biggest wins were against Adrian Granat, Raphael Zumbano, Osborne Machimana, and Irineu Beato Costa Junior.
Fury has possible big money fights against either Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua in the future. It doesn’t appear that Wallin will stop those fights from happening.
What’s Next for Vasily Lomachenko?
By: Hans Themistode
Things may have started off competitive but as is often the case for Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), he only got better as the contest went on against Luke Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) at the O2 arena in the United Kingdom. It’s no secret that Lomachenko wants to add the IBF title to his WBA, WBO and now WBC collection. Lomachenko does have options. He can wait for a unification bout or he can take a busy but dangerous stay busy bout in between.
Richard Commey vs Teofimo Lopez Winner
The one belt that Lomachenko has not picked up just yet is currently being held by Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs). A matchup between the two will have to wait as Commey must defend his belt against the supremely talented Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) in December at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko is sure to keep a close eye on that matchup. Whoever wins is anyones guess but according to Bob Arum, the winner will be next in line to take on Lomachenko.
Robert Easter Jr
The best and most compelling matchup for Lomachenko is the winner between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez. The one issue with that notion however is that it is roughly four months away.
Lomachenko could opt to bide his time on the sidelines while awaiting the winner, or with roughly one third of the year still remaining, he could theoretically speaking, sneak in one more contest before the year ends.
In steps Robert Easter Jr (21-1-1, 14 KOs), a former belt holder in the Lightweight division. He, just like many others have called out Lomachenko on several occasions. On paper, this contest would not appear to be competitive but with Easter possessing so many physical advantages over his man, it could prove too at the very least be an intriguing contest.
Luck hasn’t exactly been on the side of former Super Featherweight champion Javier Fortuna (34-2-1, 23 KOs). He was comfortably winning his 2016 matchup against Jason Sosa before getting brutally stopped in the 11th and relinquishing his title. Soon after, he earned another title shot, this time at Lightweight against then champion Robert Easter jr. Fortuna was seemingly regnant throughout but due to inferior judging, Fortuna was given an unjust wide decision loss.
His next bout against Adrian Granados saw Fortuna settle for a no contest as he was accidentally knocked out of the ring and could not continue the match. As previously mentioned, luck has just not recently been on his side.
With that being said, he is just 30 years of age and extremely skilled. He is also coming off a unanimous decision victory over Sharif Bogere earlier this year. Defeating the man who currently reigns atop most pound for pound list is a tall order but Fortuna deserves his chance.
Luke Campbell’s Chance To Live Up To The Hype
By: Hans Themistode
For as talented as Luke Campbell is, and his talent level is off the charts. It isn’t a stretch to say that he has underachieved so far in his pro career. A professional record consisting of 20 wins with just 2 defeats is more than respectable, but more was expected from Campbell.
His first loss, which was a split decision, at the hands of Yvan Mendy, was unexpected. Campbell made amends for that slip up three years later with a one sided victory over Mendy in their rematch.
In 2017, Campbell loss again. This time to WBA Lightweight champion Jorge Linares. It was a close contest but one that Campbell clearly lost. Since then he has bounced back to win three straight fights. Two by knockout, to place himself in the position he is today.
This Saturday night on August 31st, Campbell will take on Vasyl Lomachenko. A man many believe is the best fighter in the world.
You won’t find anyone outside of the circle of Campbell who are picking him to win that fight. It’s understandable but it is also a bit odd.
Coming up through the amateur ranks, Campbell made major noise. He won the European Championship back in 2008. He also won the 2010 Four Nations Challenge. Campbell capped his career in the unpaid ranks by winning the 2012 gold medal.
From there he turned pro. He’s had his ups and downs but has mostly proven to be an excellent fighter. Sure Campbell had massive success as an amateur, but it pales in comparison to his opponent Lomachenko who suffered only one defeat in 397 contest. He also managed to grab not one but two gold medals along the way. In the pro ranks he has climbed the ranks incredibly fast and now reigns atop the Lightweight division.
The argument can be made that no one in the history of boxing has ever had a better resume through their first 14 professional fights. Lomachenko has defeated the likes of Gary Russell Jr, Nicholas Walters, Jorge Linares and fellow two time gold medal winner Guillermo Rigondeaux. In short, he has been phenomenal.
With so much experience at his disposal, is there anything that Campbell can do that can surprise Lomachenko? Most likely no. With that being said however, it doesn’t mean that he should be completely counted out. Campbell will take with him into the ring a two inch height advantage and an incredible six inch reach advantage as well. It also seems as though Campbell will be the physically stronger man in the ring as he has campaigned at the Lightweight division for a significantly longer time.
The career of Campbell has been a good one but not what many were expecting. He has failed during the biggest moments of his career thus far and now, he will enter the ring on Saturday night against his toughest opponent by far.
A win over Lomachenko won’t only allow him to call himself a champion but he will also erase the poor stigma that is currently surrounding his career.
Navarrete Makes Easy Work of De Vaca, Sets up Quick Turnaround for Fury Undercard
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Super bantamweight champion Emmanuel Navarrete took care of business so efficiently Saturday night, he is already gearing up for a return to the ring next month.
Navarrete (28-1, 24 KO) banged away at Francisco De Vaca (20-1, 6 KO), leaving no doubt to who is the most fearsome 122-pound fighter in the world, taking out his challenger inside of three rounds at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
With a blood spattered across De Vaca’s face, and his countenance sinking—his consciousness soon to fall away too—referee Raul Caiz Jr. was left with no choice but to step between the outgunned man and Navarrete in the latter part of the third round.
The quick knockout was impressive enough to convince Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum to bring him back in time for the undercard to Tyson Fury’s heavyweight battle:
“He is Mexican—he’s proud to be Mexican. Sept. 14 is Mexican Independence Day weekend and the best fighter in Mexico will be there defending his title,” unabashedly promoting his man.
Navarrete was locked and loaded from the onset. His massive 72-inch reach—compared to De Vaca’s 65”—was scary as ever. The challenger got a taste of it in the opening round. But it was in Round 2 where those freakish arms began oscillating from every angle.
The Mexican champion did a great job interchanging uppercuts—an uppercut, always the bigger man’s ideal punch. Even when De Vaca dug deep for short spurts, forcing Navarrete backwards, the taller puncher would sling left uppercuts from seemingly the opposite corner of the ring.
Then under 30 seconds left in the second period, Navarrete dropped De Vaca at the end of a three-punch combo: back-to-back uppercuts followed by a short, crisp right hand.
De Vaca to his credit got up and looked for a scrap in the fateful third inning. But more punishment was all he had to look forward to. Navarrete hurled his weight into long hooks—windmills that would make another heavyweight champion jealous. Punched into the ropes, a verbal warning from the referee could be heard to the backdrop of a stream of punches clinking off De Vaca’s dome.
Never short on heart, De Vaca did take himself off the ropes of a moment or two. But was back on the defensive as Navarrete’s punches refused to let up. Blood permeating along De Vaca’s face, his hands falling, tension rising as a result of a deadly summer in boxing, referee Caiz Jr. waved everything off 1:54 into the third round.
“I want to continue the tradition of Mexican boxing in L.A.” a beaming Navarrete said, celebrating punching in his second title defense. “I want to fill a lot of arenas.”
Next month, he will help fill a bustling T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with Fury fronting the bill.
After that? Bernando Osuna, for one, speculating on ESPN’s post-fight production Navarrete’s future at the super bantamweight limit, citing the champion’s enormous size and what seems to be a daunting weight cut.
For now however he is the best in the class.
Jesse Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KO) def. Rafael Rivera (27-4-2, 18 KO) via technical decision
The classic boxer-brawler mixup between Magdaleno and Rivera came to premature end in the ninth round when an elbow worsened a cut on Magdaleno’s nose that he acquired from a headbutt in the fourth period.
Judges Edward Hernandez and Fernando Villarreal scored the fight 89-81 and Zachary Young had it 88-82, all for Magdanelo.
Magdaleno ran rings around his opponent through the first three rounds, zinging punches up the middle between Rivera’s raised gloves.
Rivera turned the tide in the fourth round, biting down on his mouthpiece—barreling in in such a way that caused a gnarly headbutt—but closed the inning plugging away with right and left hooks.
The pressure continued in the fifth round. But Magdaleno’s feet were back under him for Round 6. And a left uppercut rattled Rivera in the sixth period. Magdaleno might have ended the show there if he didn’t get so overzealous pouring on wild punches.
It was a more sound attack from him in the first minute of the ninth round and a counter left hand put Rivera on the ground. Eventually a dazed attack from Rivera ended in an inadvertent elbow and referee Thomas Taylor again called time.
Consultation with the ringside physician spelled the end and Taylor sent the fight to the cards.
In the post-fight interview, Magdaleno summarized his night well.
“It’s just part of the sport, he’s an aggressive fighter,” he said. “This is boxing. I felt great. I felt strong. I felt better than ever. I took off the ring rust. We knew he was gonna come forward so we put our boxing shoes on and outboxed him.”