Errol Spence, Jr. & Robert Easter Win in New York’s Barclay Center
By: Ken Hissner
At the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, NY, Saturday over Showtime Boxing and PBC, two IBF World champions were featured and promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
IBF Welterweight champion and former Olympian southpaw “The Truth” Errol Spence, Jr., 23-0 (20), of Dallas, TX, stopped former IBF World, WBA Super World Super Lightweight champion and WBA Super World welterweight champion now No. 5 contender Lamont “Havoc” Peterson, 35-4-1 (17), of D.C., who was returning after an eleven month of inactivity, at the end of the seventh round.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
In the first round after half a minute Spence landed a chopping left hand to the chin of Peterson. Spence goes to the body and head with Peterson standing right in front of him defense minded. It was a lopsided round for Spence. In the second round Peterson countered a right hook by Spence to a left to the body. Spence landed a 3-punch combination hurting Peterson with a minute left in the round. Peterson landed his best punch of the round a left hook to the head of Spence with half a minute left in the round.
In the third round Spence started with a right hook and overhand left to the chin of Peterson. Spence continues landing good body shots. Peterson landed left hooks to the head of Spence who complained they were behind the head. Just prior to the bell Spence landed a straight left to the head of Peterson who countered with a left hook to the head of Spence. In the fourth round top Referee Harvey Dock warned Spence of landing a low blow. Peterson and Spence take turns being the aggressor. Spence kept using combinations well. Peterson landed a good right hand countered by a Spence left.
In the fifth round Peterson came charging out landing several punches hand from Spence to the side of the head dropped Peterson. Under a minute left in the round and Spence landed half a dozen punches without return from Peterson. The last 30 seconds both boxers went at it throwing punches.
In the sixth round a lead left from Peterson landed through the defense of Peterson. Spence landed a 3-punch combination. Peterson’s best punch has been a left hook. Peterson started back pedaling for the first time in the fight with a minute left. Peterson’s left eye under the eye brow started swelling. His corner took a good look and didn’t like what they were seeing. The ring physician came in to take a look at that eye.
In the seventh round Spence came out looking for a knockout landing many more punches than the back pedaling Peterson. It was a big round for Spence. The corner of Peterson stopped the fight before the round started in the eighth round.
Julie Lederman, Don Trella and Steve Weisfeld were the judges. This writer had it 70-62 at the end.
“I want to thank Lamont Peterson for taking this fight while others turned it down. He is a tough fighter who still wanted to continue at the end. You are going to see an improved fighter every time I enter the ring. Keith Thurman has to get in there with me,” said Spence. “I don’t question my trainer (Barry Hunter) when he stopped the fight. Spence is the best fighter I have met,” said Peterson.
IBF Lightweight champion Robert Easter, Jr., 21-0 (14), of Toledo, OH, defeated the former WBA Super Featherweight champion and now No. 13 contender southpaw Dominican Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna, 31-2-1 ??? of Braintree, MASS, by split decision in a non-title bout due to Fortuna being over weight.
In the first round used his height advantage using an effective jab and lead right hands to the chin of Fortuna. At the halfway mark Fortuna missed three punches but landed the fourth with a left uppercut to the chin of Easter. In the second round Fortuna held Easter behind the neck while hitting with the left hand three times. Referee Ricky Gonzalez was yelling “stop, stop, stop” instead of getting in quick enough to break them up. Shortly later with Easter‘s head through the ropes Fortuna hit him which cost him a point by Referee Gonzalez who once again got there too late. Easter kept the pressure on Fortuna backing him into the corner landed a good left hook.
In the third round Easter backed Fortuna into the ropes landing a solid right to the chin of Fortuna. Fortuna came back landing solid left hands and roughing up Easter in a close round. In the fourth round it was another close one with Easter pulling it out while Fortuna does too much holding. In the fifth round Easter had Fortuna against the ropes landing a flurry of punches primarily left hooks to the head.
In the sixth round Fortuna did a step around landing a good right hook to the head of Easter. Fortuna continues his dirty tactics of holding and pulling down Easter’s head then leaning on him. Easter landed a long right hand to the chin but Fortuna landed a counter left hand to the chin rocking Easter.
In the seventh round both boxers were talking to one another to “come on!” Easter clearly took the round. In the eighth round Easter used his jab and reach more than at anytime in the fight keeping Fortuna at bay. It was a big round for Easter.
In the ninth round Easter continued out working Fortuna. Easter landing nice lead jabs to the chin of Fortuna. When Easter comes in low that is when Fortuna pulls his head down and ties him up. In the tenth round both let loose with punches at the start of the round unlike previously in the bout. Fortuna lands a good body shot which there was very little of during the fight by both boxers. While on the ropes it was Fortuna out working Easter right up until the bell.
In the eleventh round it continued to have Fortuna on the ropes but landing well. Coming in over weight may be the reason for the back pedaling Fortuna to spend so much time on the ropes. Fortuna came forward and landed a combination that seemed to surprise Easter. Both had words at the bell. Fortuna may have pulled out the round.
In the twelfth and final round inside of the first round Easter rocked Fortuna with a left hook to the chin. Halfway through the final round Fortuna is back pedaling instead of throwing punches. Fortuna continues to come in roughing up Easter inside. Whenever Easter comes in low he gets tied up. Referee Gonzalez warned him about coming in with his head.
Judge Glenn Feldman scored it 114-113 for Easter, John McKaie 114-113 for Fortuna and Kevin Morgan 115-112 for Easter. This writer had it 116-111 Easter.
The best Ring Announcer in the business “It’s Showtime” Jimmy Lennon, Jr. did his usual great job. Fortuna did much too much holding to have won the fight. For some reason Showtime announced future fights on their network along with two of them that have been cancelled in the Danny Garcia fight and the Mikey Garcia fight with their opponents pulling out with injuries.
Light Heavyweight southpaw “Sir” Marcus Browne, 21-0 (15), of Staten Island, NY, stopped Francy Ntetu, 17-2 (4), of Congo and CAN, at 2:15 of the first round.
Heavyweight Adam Kownacki, 17-0 (14), of Lomza, POL, and Brooklyn, NY, stopped Iago Kiladze, 26-2 (18), of Sachkere, GEO, at 2:48 of the sixth round.
Anthony Peterson, 38-1 (24), of Memphis, TN, shut out Columbia’s Louis Eduardo Florez, 23-9 (19) over 10 rounds.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson, Robert Easter Jr., vs. Javier Fortuna
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions will televise one of the first big fights of 2018 on the Showtime Network.
Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. will defend his IBF Welterweight Title against the entertaining and always tough Lamont Peterson in the main event of the night. The co-main event will be between Robert Easter Jr. and Javier Fortuna for the IBF Lightweight Title.
Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
Errol Spence has been calling out all the top welterweights and Lamont Peterson is one of the few to answer his call. A victory for either could lead to a welterweight unification fight with Keith Thurman.
The following is a preview of both televised world title bouts.
Robert Easter Jr. (20-0) vs. Javier Fortuna (33-1-1); IBF Lightweight Title
This bout was supposed to be for the IBF Lightweight Title, but Javier Fortuna came in at 136.8lbs during the weigh ins and had two hours to lose the two pounds for fight for the belt. It appeared unlikely that he will make it.
Easter is twenty six years old and two years younger than Fortuna. He will also have a very large five inch height advantage and a seven and a half inch reach advantage.
Both boxers had a successful amateur career, but Easter was able to become an Olympic alternate for the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Fortuna has the edge in power. He has stopped twenty three of his opponents while Robert Easter only stopped fourteen of his opponents. Easter has been fairly active and fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Fortuna was able to fight twice in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Fortuna has spent most of his career fighting in the super featherweight division so size will be an issue for him. His lone loss was a shocking TKO loss to Jason Sosa in Beijing in June of 2016. He has defeated the likes of Omar Douglas, Marlyn Cabrera, Carlos Velasquez, Bryan Vasquez, Patrick Hyland, Yuandale Evans, and Abner Cotto.
Easter has never tasted defeat as a professional but won a close bout against Denis Shafikov in his last bout. He has defeated the likes of Luis Cruz, Richard Commey, Argenis Mendez, and Juan Solis.
The fact that Fortuna failed to make weight his first time on the scale is concerning, especially since he’s used to competing at a lighter weight class. Robert Easter’s size and reach advantage will be too much for Fortuna to overcome.
Errol Spence Jr. (22-0) vs. Lamont Peterson (35-3-1); IBF Welterweight Title
Errol “The Truth” Spence is one of the welterweight division’s biggest stars. Many consider him to be the next kingpin of the division post Pacquiao and Mayweather. His opponent, Lamont Peterson, is always in a good fight but this may be his last chance at a world title.
Spence is in the middle of his athletic prime at twenty seven and is six years older than Lamont Peterson. They have the same reach and Spence will have a slight one inch reach advantage on Peterson.
Spence has the edge in power and speed. He has stopped nineteen of his opponents, and is currently riding a nine fight stoppage streak. Peterson has only stopped seventeen of his opponents, and only one stoppage victory in his past five fights.
Peterson was a national golden gloves champion and experienced moderate success on the world stage as an amateur. Spence was also a national golden gloves champion, but he also was a member of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Spence has looked sensational recently, but only competed once in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Kell Brook, Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco, and Ronald Cruz.
Peterson has not been so active and fought once in 2017 and twice in 2015. He has defeated the likes of David Avanesyan, Felix Diaz, Dierry Jean, Kendall Holt, and Amir Khan. His losses were to Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, and Timothy Bradley Jr.
Peterson’s biggest issue is his consistency. When he’s aggressive to the body he looks, at times, unstoppable. But as evident in his fight with Danny Garcia, he can be a slow starter and that often hurts him on the scorecards.
Peterson was impressed with Spence’s victory against Kell Brook. “”Errol even taking the Kell Brook fight was impressive to me. Most guys in his position take their time leading up to the first title shot, but he ended up fighting someone in his prime in his country. To will himself to that win was very impressive.”
Spence has looked untouchable and was very impressive in his fight against Kell Brook, in Kell Brook’s backyard.
Even Spence appears to know Peterson is a real challenge. He stated, “”I think it’s going to turn into a war. A lot of people have thought this would be an easy fight for me. But if you follow Lamont Peterson, you know this will be tough. He’s always in great shape and has a lot of skills. IT might be a dog fight and that’s what I wanted. He’s the guy who wanted to fight and I said of course. It’s going to be a rugged fight. Later on in the fights, he always gets rough and stands toe-to-toe.”
Even if Peterson is fighting at his best for all twelve rounds, it’s hard to imagine him beating Errol Spence.
Joshua vs. Takam – The Undercard
By: Ste Rowen
Despite the late change of opponent, the biggest draw on Saturday night remains the main event, with Anthony Joshua taking on Carlos Takam for the WBA, IBF and IBO Heavyweight World title belts. However, hidden gems may lie in the undercard.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Yafai v Ishida
Chief support to Joshua’s bout sees WBA Super Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai take on Sho Ishida in his second title defence. Kal (22-0-0 14KOs) won the vacant WBA belt back in December 2016 from Luis Concepcion, who’d come in over the limit in two attempts at the scales, meaning the only Yafai could win the belt. Then in May this year Kal got his first defence in the bank when he dominated Suguru Muranaka. Yafai was mightily impressive in both bouts, scoring legitimately wide scorecards. He’ll be hoping that this is the stepping stone fight to being included on HBO’s ‘SuperFly 2’ in early 2018. His opponent Sho Ishida’s record is good on paper, 24-0-0 (13KOs) however that does include six debutants including his last two bouts in which Ishida stopped first timers Patiphon Saithonggym and Phetnamnung Sisaketphattana in rounds three and two respectively. This will also be Sho’s first fight outside of Japan, he’ll be hoping to upset the Brit’s party and join his countryman, Naoyo Inoue at the top table of the Superfly division.
Whyte v Helenius
Dillian Whyte (21-1-0 16KOs) is looking to turn up the heat on the current Heavyweight belt holders when he goes up against Robert Helenius. In his most recent outing Whyte made quick work of Malcolm Tann on the undercard of Crawford v Indongo in Nebraska. Though sloppy at times, he made sure his keep-busy fight didn’t last long, dropping Tann for a third time with a body shot in the third round. A stark contrast from his split decision win previous to that, when he fought in a Fight of the Year contender, going all twelve in a heavyweight war against Dereck Chisora. His opponent, Robert Helenius (25-1-0 16KOs) was once the man to beat in the European Heavyweight scene. A sparring partner of Anthony Joshua’s leading up to the Klitschko fight, Helenius was racking up victories including a controversial decision over Chisora in 2011 and knocking out an unbeaten Gregory Tony in 2010. His steady rise took a big hit in 2016 though when he was knocked clean out by a big 1-2 from Johann Duhaupas. He’s on a three-fight win streak and will be looking to take Whyte’s status as a number one contender for the belts.
Sanchez v Taylor
Katie Taylor (6-0-0 4KOs) fights for her first world title in just her seventh fight when she takes on Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA Lightweight belt. It will be Taylor’s second schedule ten round fight, in her second stadium fight, and the omens are good because in that ten-rounder at Wembley Stadium last April, Taylor continued to show her class when she dispatched of unbeaten Nina Meinke in the seventh. In her one fight since, the Irishwoman beat up Jasmine Clarkson for three rounds before the American’s cornerman pulled her out. Anahi Esther Sanchez, as expected should represent Taylor’s biggest challenge yet. Sanchez (17-2-0 9KOs) has previously held a world title when she won the IBF Super Featherweight belt in March 2016. She’s also fought and lost twice in world title fights. Once in December 2016 via a unanimous decision to Nina Wahlstrom for the WBC Super Feather title and again in May this year, when she was given two standing counts and eventually stopped in the fourth for her old IBF title. She bounced back quickly, and in her second fight at the 135lb limit, stopped Cecilia Sofia Mena for the WBA belt, that will be on the line this Saturday.
Cult hero Dave ‘White Rhino’ Allen (12-3-1 9KOs) was looking to exact revenge on Commonwealth Champion, Lenroy Thomas when the two were set to meet for the second time on Saturday night for an immediate rematch of their May 2017 split decision. However, the Jamaican has pulled out due to a virus. Allen is expected to remain on the undercard in a six round keep busy fight before going again for the British and Commonwealth belts.
Buglioni v Richards
Another late change to Saturday’s card sees British Light Heavyweight Champion, Frank ‘Wise Guy’ Buglioni take on Craig ‘Spider’ Richards. Buglioni (20-2-1 15KOs) was due to fight Callum Johnson in a mandated bout but Johnson withdrew last week, leaving the door open for Craig Richards (9-0-0 3KOs), who has been campaigning mainly at Super Middleweight up to this point.
Three of Matchroom’s 2016 Olympic signings will also be on the card. Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (5-0-0 4KOs), taken the distance for the first time in his last fight with Blaise Mendouo. Super Featherweight and Welshman Joe Cordina (4-0-0 4KOs) fighting in Wales for the first time in his pro career. And Light Heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (2-0-0 2KOs) a bronze medallist in Rio, and arguably Britain’s most highly thought of from the class of 2016.
The “Byrd’s” A Good Example Of How Officials Can Ruin an Event
By: Ken Hissner
Have you ever watched a major show and they go to the score cards and you think “what fight were they watching?” A judge and referee can make a big difference in an event.
The first Kovalev-Ward bout with Kovalev the defending champion was a good example how a referee can influence a fight. Ward initiated 46 clinches in their 12 round fight without having a point taken away from him by referee Robert Byrd who has to be the slowest referee to react in the game today.
Byrd’s wife Adalaide a boxing judge in Nevada made news voting for Saul Canelo Alvarez 118-110 over WBA, WBC, IBF, IBO middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin who chased Alvarez for all 12 rounds on September 16th. Byrd has been a boxing judge for some 30 years and should have had the fight much closer than what she did have it. Due to the many complaints from boxing people it’s understood she will be getting some “vacation time!” This writer had it 116-112 for Golovkin.
This writer feels Alvarez has not earned a rematch and should fight Danny Jacobs who gave Golovkin his hardest fight even if Jacobs may have outweighed him by 15 pounds or more. We don’t know since he refused to go to the day of the fight weigh-in. If Golovkin gained ten pounds in 24 hours Jacobs could have gained at least ten pounds more than that.
Golovkin should schedule his next fight as if he was given the decision he deserved and fight the WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders with all the titles on the line. Jacobs is scheduled to make his next appearance in November. The bout with Golovkin must have taken its toll on him to be off some eight months.
Nevada has become a joke for approving the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Conor McGregor bout with Mayweather 49-0 and McGregor 0-0. Roy Jones, Jr. did something similar in AZ fighting someone who had 6 amateur bouts and no professional fights. There should be “no exception” for these mismatches to be approved by these states just to “make money” from them.
New Jersey Boxing Commissioner and Hall of Fame referee Larry Hazzard, Sr., had the following to say: Unfortunately Boxing Judges and Referees can’t afford to have a bad night because most boxers only get one chance at that great moment of winning a world championship and/or captivating a great moment. I don’t buy into this corruption theory that’s espoused by some people but, I do sincerely believe that we don’t buy into this corruption theory that’s espoused by some people but, I do sincerely believe that we boxing administrators have a responsibility to make the necessary changes in the sport of boxing that will hopefully improve and enhance judging methodology.
We just can’t keep using the same judges and referees over and over for the major high profile bouts when there is a multitude of other officials who rarely get opportunities to display their abilities. We need to also, do an in-depth examination of the present scoring system and encourage judges to be more liberal with the numbers to paint a clearer picture of what is taking place round by round. A close round and a not close round, even when a knock down does not occur, is not deserving of the same 10-9 score. The New Jersey Commission has never been afraid to make changes for the betterment of the sport of boxing despite initial criticism. The replacement of the mouth piece and the wearing of rubber gloves by the referee and corner men were initiated here in NJ and criticized when initiated. Now both are standard practices around the boxing world.
Instant replay is another innovation which originated here in NJ.
We intend to explore a judging innovation very soon because if you keep doing things the same way, you will only get the same results.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Guerrero, McGregor, Smith, Shields, Montgomery Brothers, and more
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 11th to July 18th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Mario Serrano
Robert Guerrero Announces Retirement
After giving fans some of the most thrilling fights in boxing, which spanned over sixteen hard fought years, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero is announcing his retirement.
“First, I want to thank God for allowing me to have a wonderful career. I’m a kid from a small town in Gilroy, California, who made it to the mountain top of the boxing world. When I was a young kid growing up, I always believed in myself, but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a small-town kid like myself, would be fighting in front of millions of fans.”
“I was blessed to win multiple world titles in four-divisions. A boxer’s career is a long and tough road. Many tears were shed, lots of blood, and tons of sweat. Many miles were traveled, thousands of rounds sparred, none were easy and nothing was ever given to me. I earned everything I got the old fashion way. I never ducked anyone and fought the best fighters in the world. I fought my way through every obstacle to make sure my fans enjoyed every second, of every round, of my fights.”
“I competed at super-bantamweight (122 lbs.) and won world titles across multiple weight classes, closing my career at welterweight (147 lbs.), fighting the big guys 25 pounds heavier. A good friend always told me I was God’s warrior, born to fight. I enjoyed every minute of every war. I represented my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with the bible verse Acts 2:38 on my trunks. If I reached one person and brought that person closer to Christ, then it was all worth it.”
“I want to thank some very important people in my career starting with the most important person, my wife Casey, who has been with me every step of the way, my soul mate, my sweetheart, the one and only love of my life. My father/trainer Ruben Guerrero Sr. He’s the one who started it all and made me the man I am today, and the champion I was in the ring. He’s one of the best trainers in the world and I hope to be working side by side with him in the future. My mother Marcy Guerrero for being a great mother and supporter. My co-manager Bob Santos for all the sacrifices he made to get me to the top…I will always remember the early days when we made the most with very liitle. He always had my back and looked out for me like I was his brother. His wife Diane Santos who did a lot of secretarial work for me during my whole career. Both my grandparents on Martinez and Guerrero sides for believing in me. My brother’s Sammy, Ruben Jr., Victor, Randy and especially Eric, who has been with me my whole career, my shadow every step of the way, my right-hand man. My mother and father in-law, Shelly and Cary O’neal.
My cutman Ruben Gomez. My good friends, Pastor Mark Wilson, Dave Castro, Pastor Chris Avila, John Mersho, and Albert Guarado. My uncle Russel Sr., Russel Jr., Uncle Ricky, Hector Catano and Greg Amundson. I want to thank my co-manager Luis Decubas Jr. for taking my career to the next level. Santos and Decubas Jr. are more than managers, they are family to me. My publicist Mario Serrano, who has also been with me the whole ride, he is also family to me. All the fans and the community who stuck by my side when my wife was battling cancer…I will never forget the love you showed. There are so many people who have helped me, if I leave anyone off, thank you for everything.”
“In closing, I want to thank the most special man I’ve ever met in my boxing career, and possibly lifetime, a man who always does what’s best for the fighter, a man who has changed the sport of boxing, a man who has helped bless me and my family with a great life, and that person is my advisor Al Haymon. Not only is Al Haymon a spectacular advisor, he is a wonderful human being as well, a great man, and someone who cares. In a sport where most managers, promoters, and trainers turn their back on a fighter, when they no longer can perform, or are no longer beneficial to their interest, Haymon stands tall. Love and loyalty is tough to find in the boxing game, but for any boxer looking for it, you don’t have to look far, reach out to Al Haymon. I want to thank everyone, the fans included. I hope you guys appreciated the guts and glory I left in the ring. God bless you all.” ~ Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero
Claressa Shields Named 2017 ‘Biggest Powerhouse’ in Sports by Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Sports Awards
Budding women’s boxing superstar, community activist, role model and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Claressa Shields has been bestowed with another honor, as she has been announced as the winner of the 2017 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Award for “Biggest Powerhouse.”
In winning the prestigious award, which honors the heaviest hitters, strongest sluggers and unstoppable players in sports each year, Shields beat out a field of such well-known stars as Demarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans), Von Miller (Denver Broncos), David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox) and Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels).
“It is a tremendous honor and great thrill to win the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Award because it comes from the kids,” said Claressa Shields. “I work hard every day to show all children that nothing in life is impossible if you believe in yourself. If this kid from Flint can win Olympic gold medals, boxing world championships, and succeed in life, then you can do it too!”
Shields’ promoter, Dmitriy Salita, says she deserves all the incredible accolades and honors she’s received.
“Claressa is a true champion of the people with her incredible story of overcoming adversity through her own self-belief and determination. Her accomplishments, inside and outside the ring, make Claressa a real-life American hero and an inspiration to every young person.”
22-year-old Shields (3-0, 1 KO), from Flint, Michigan, is currently in training for her first world-title shot on August 4 against German star and WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Nikki Adler (16-0, 9 KOs). The 10-round super-middleweight match-up, will be televised live on ShoBox: The New Generation (10 pm ET/PT), and held at MGM Grand Detroit.
The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards are the only kid-oriented award show focusing on the world’s best athletes and each year’s greatest sports moments. Held at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, this year’s broadcast was once again hosted by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
The winners were chosen predominantly by children’s online voting.
Witness Sports Management Signs Montgomery Brothers
Boxing veterans, Greg Hannely, founder of the Prince Ranch Boxing facility, and Jared Shaw have joined forces, as they are happy to announce the birth of Witness Sports Management (WSM), a boxing management company that will guide the careers of some of the best young fighters in the sport.
The Montgomery Brothers, Maliek, Mikhail, and Michael Jr., out of Macon, Georgia, are WSM’s first signees. The highly touted trio, who were all decorated amateur standouts, are trained by their dad, Michael Montgomery Sr.
“I want to make sure it’s known how excited we are to be signing with Jared and Greg,” said Michael Montgomery Sr. “I’m happy that my boys are going to be represented by some folks that have been involved in boxing for many years. Greg and Jared have been wonderful to work with. My boys and I are very grateful and we are ready to take the boxing world by storm.”
Greg Hannely, is a well-known figure in the sport as he guided the careers of former world champions, Clarence “Bones” Adams and Steven Luevano, back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. His passion for boxing has brought him back to the sport he loves, and he wants nothing more than to build a stable of world champions.
“I’m very thrilled to be back in boxing, especially after signing the Montgomery Brothers.” Greg Hannely said, “Their father, Michael Sr., has been grooming all three boys to fight like professionals. They all have very exciting styles and I believe they will be well received to everyone who witnesses them fight. The Prince Ranch Boxing gym in Las Vegas will be available for the entire Montgomery family. These are good kids with strong family values. Their future is bright.”
Jared Shaw, son of world renowned boxing promoter Gary Shaw, has been around the sport since he was a young child. After spending many years learning from his father, Jared, developed a knack for spotting talent.
“If you like pressure fighters with knockout power, then you’ll love the Montgomery Brothers.” stated Jared Shaw. “Maliek, Mikhail, and Michael Jr., were all great amateurs with over 400 fights combined, but their styles are suited for the pros. All three of them have heavy hands and the ring intelligence to make adjustments on the fly. Greg and I are ecstatic to be working with the entire Montgomery family. This is a fantastic start to our new management company.”
“As co-managers, Greg and I started WSM with the idea of cultivating our fighters,” Shaw continued. “We want to be looked at as more than just a financial asset. We will provide are stable with the needed resources that will help them become better fighters. We will house are guys at “The Prince Ranch” in Las Vegas, getting them the best sparring in boxing. Our goal is to make sure they have no distractions that will hinder their development.”
About Mikhail Montgomery
Nickname – 50Khail
Height – 5’7
Weight – 122 (Super-Bantamweight)
DOB: – December 24, 1996 (Age 20)
Hometown – Macon, Georgia
Amateur Record – (120-12)
Pro Record – TBA
“Jared came to us a few years back and told us he was interested in signing us. The bond started back then and now that we are older, it’s good to look back and see that he’s still with us. He’s a man of his word and kept his promise. I’m excited that WSM is going to take me and my brothers under their wing.”
About Maliek Montgomery
Nickname – Mayhem
Height – 5’8
Weight – 130 (Super-Featherweight)
DOB: – September 17, 1995 (Age 22)
Hometown – Macon, Georgia
Amateur Record – (149-12)
Pro Record – (1-0, 1 KO)
“Signing with WSM has been a blessing to me and my family. Jared has been around for a few years now and we trust that he and Greg will take us to the top. My dad talked about this day for many years, signing with a good management team. Now that it’s here, I’m ready to start knocking out folks.”
About Michael Jr. Montgomery
Nickname – NA
Height – 5’11
Weight – 147 (Welterweight)
DOB: – March 11, 1994 (Age 23)
Hometown – Macon, Georgia
Amateur Record – (150-20)
Pro Record – (1-0, 1 KO)
“I believe everything is going to work out great with Jared and Greg. Fighting in the pros is new to me but I think I’m going to make an immediate impact. I got my first knockout in my pro debut earlier this year and I can’t wait to get back in the ring.”
Petition Demands Budweiser Drop Conor McGregor Over Bigoted Remarks
A Care2 petition is asking Budweiser to drop professional mixed martial artist and boxer Conor McGregor over his history of bigoted comments ahead of his August match against Floyd Mayweather. The petition has gathered over 6,700 signatures.
VIEW THE CARE2 PETITION HERE: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/391/537/851/
McGregor is projected to make $100 million in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August, in what could be the most viewed, highest grossing pay-per-view fight of all time.
But Care2 members are calling him out for his bigoted comments.
Leading up to his 2015 match against Brazilian fighter Jose Aldo, McGregor said:
“If this was a different time, I would invade his favela on horseback and kill anyone that was not fit to work.”
“What I really want to do is turn his favela into a Reebok sweatshop.”
“I think I’m going to have him come and clean up my airplane.”
“These remarks should have caused major brands to drop any association with McGregor long ago. Now that he’s gearing up to cash in on his history of bigoted comments, the time has come,” the Care2 petition reads. “Please sign this petition to ask Budweiser to drop Conor McGregor over his history of bigoted remarks!”
Last week, during a four-day promotional tour for the Mayweather-McGregor match, which takes place in Las Vegas on August 26, Mayweather made a quip using stereotypes about Black men: “A lot of media are saying I’m racist against black people. That’s absolutely f****** ridiculous. Do they not know I’m half-black? Yeeeeeah. I’m half-black from the belly button down.”
McGregor is reportedly worth $35 million.
Joe Smith Jr. Fights Nine Rounds with a Broken Jaw
Popular Long Island light heavyweight contender JOE SMITH JR. (23-2-0, 19 KO’S), gritted his way through Saturday’s ten round battle with SULLIVAN BARRERA (20-1-0, 14 KO’s), after suffering a broken jaw early in the 2nd round. Even with a broken jaw, Smith Jr. dug deep to fire away at the skilled Barrera until the final bell, in which he ultimately fell short by scores of 96-93 and 97-92 twice.
In a fight that had the cheering crowd on their feet throughout, Smith and Barrera went to war from the opening bell. Prior to breaking his jaw, Smith wasted no time showing his sheer power as he drilled Barrera with a hard left hook to the forehead in the opening round sending Barrera sprawling to the canvas. Barrera, hurt from the knockdown, showed his proven grit and determination by rising and finishing the round.
Although having his jaw broken in the second round, Smith continued to fight hard throughout the fight which featured excellent two-way action. Smith showed a great chin and tons of heart as he tried his best to fight through a debilitating injury. Smith landed some heavy blows stunning Barrera on occasion but Sullivan outworked him to grab the decision on the judges scorecards.
“Joe knocked down Barrera hard in the first round but in the second round he sustained a broken jaw,” said JOE DEGUARDIA, CEO and President of STAR BOXING. “It’s a similar injury to the one he suffered five years ago and frankly it’s amazing that he continued to valiantly fight over the next eight rounds and finish the fight.”
In his only other previous loss, Smith also suffered a broken jaw against Eddie Caminero five years ago.
Continued DeGuardia, “After spending part of Saturday night at the UCLA Medical Center, Joe will have surgery later this week in New York and we’ll know more then about a time frame for his full recovery. We congratulate Sullivan Barrera on his victory.”
We at Star Boxing are extremely proud of Joe for fighting this fight under such extreme conditions as are all his fans who came to the fight last night from Long Island and those who watched on HBO. Joe Smith is a true warrior and epitomizes what a real fighter is supposed to be.
PBC on Fox Results: Omar Figueroa, Jr., Marcus Browne & Adam Kownaci Win at Nassau Coliseum
PBC on Fox Results: Omar Figueroa, Jr., Marcus Browne & Adam Kownaci Win at Nassau Coliseum
By: Ken Hissner
PBC on FOX Network featured 3 major fights at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY, Saturday.
In the main event returning after 19 months former champion now at welterweight Omar “Panterita” Figueroa, Jr., 27-0-1 (19), of Weslaco, TX, returning after 11 months stopped southpaw former champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, 33-6-1 (18), of Gilroy, CA, at 1:30 of the second round.
In the opening round Guerrero won the inside fighting over slow starting Figueroa. In the second round Figueroa hurt Guerrero with a left uppercut to the chin. Seconds later Figueroa dropped Guerrero who came back strong only to be dropped again with a short right uppercut to the chin. In the third round Figueroa twice dropped Guerrero forcing referee Ron Lipton to halt the fight. The second knockdown was a questionable border line punch.
“We followed the game plan especially the right uppercut. The fun part of boxing is that he came fighting back between knockdowns. I want to fight at 140 in the future,” said Figueroa. It was an action packed fight.
In the co-feature light heavyweight 2012 Olympian southpaw “Sir” Marcus Browne, 20-0 (15), of Staten Island, NY, halted Seanie Monaghan, 28-1 (17), of Long Beach, NY, at 1:40 of the second round.
In the opening round after 40 seconds a lead left from Browne on the forehead of Monaghan dropped him. Being over anxious Browne landed a slightly low left hook punch giving Monaghan several minutes to re-coup. Browne had his jab continuously in the face of Monaghan. In the second round a solid right hook from Browne to the head started a dozen unanswered punches to the head and body of Monaghan who was up against the ropes defenseless forcing referee Steve Willis to halt the fight.
“I had to do what I had to do. Start with the jab and follow up with the rest. I started with the jab and landed a right hook. I want to thank God for keeping us safe along with Al Haymon. I want to fight Adonis Stevenson next and bring the belt back to New York”, said Browne. It was an ill advised fight for the Monaghan camp to take. He was a easy target setting up Monaghan with his jab and the rest is history.
Heavyweight southpaw Artur “SzpilaThe Pin” Szpilka, 20-3 (15), of Wieliczka, POL and Houston, TX, was stopped at 1:30 of the fourth round by Adam “Baby Face” Kownaci, 16-0 (13), of Lomza, POL, and Brooklyn, NY.
In the first two rounds Kownaci landed the harder and a much larger amount of punches while Szpilka was on the defense though had a bit more hand speed. Kownaci used his lead right well. In the third round Kownaci continues to force the action. A solid left hook .from Kownaci to the ribs of Szpilka got his attention with 20 seconds left in the round. In the fourth round Kownaci dropped Szpilka with a right, left right to the head. Kownaci jumped on Szpilka who had his arms to his side and taking four solid punches to the head starting with a right from Kownaci having Szpilka defenseless forcing referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. to call a halt.
Omar Figueroa Has a Face That Lies
Omar Figueroa has a Face That Lies
by B.A. Cass
In December of 2012, Golden Boy Promotions called up Omar Figueroa Jr.’s dad to say they had a fight for his son. After his dad got off the phone, he came up to Figueroa Jr. and said, “Guess what?” He looked scared, genuinely scared. “Guess who they want you to fight?”
“Who?” Figueroa Jr. said.
“Remember that kid I told you about?”
Figueroa Jr. remembered all right, mainly because his dad was constantly talking up Michael Perez, the Puerto Rican prospect. He liked the way Perez fought and wished his son could fight more like that. On occasion, he would even compare Perez’s artistry in the ring to Michelangelo.
“So what do you think?” his dad said.
“What do you mean, ‘what do I think’?”
“Well, would you fight him?
“Why the hell not?”
“I believe you can,” his dad told him.“But that’s a tough fight. You haven’t really been training.”
Technically, Figueroa had been training. But he had just celebrated his 23rdbirthday, and he was also going out at night and having a goodtime. Figueroa’s dad, who was his trainer at the time, believed in his son’s abilities but was concerned about his conditioning. Add on to this the fact that the proposed fight with Perez was slated for January 6th, only several weeks away.
“Let’s take it,” Figueroa Jr. said. It sounded like a bad ass fight to him.
So Omar Figueroa Sr. called Golden Boy back and then he reached out to Perez’s camp, who used an intermediary to make sure that Figueroa Jr. knew who he was going up against. “They want to make sure that you’re sure about taking the fight,” the intermediary said. “Does Omar know who Perez is?”
The answer was obvious. After all, as Figueroa Jr. says now, “I knew because my dad had been on his nut for the past year.”
“Well, you know, they just want to make sure you knew who he was. They figured you took the fight because you weren’t sure who he was.”
That’s when his father realized the Perez team was just fucking with them. And once the fight was arranged, he said to his son, “Alright, now you got to kick his ass.”
“Yeah, I know,” Figueroa Jr. said. “I’m gonna fuck him up.”
Long before the fight with Perez, Figueroa Jr. had been looking for a place to train because he and his dad weren’t getting along at all. That’s how Joel Diaz came into the picture. Golden Boy Promotions showed Diaz a video of one of Figueroa Jr.’s fights and asked if he would help prepare him. At that time, Diaz was training a couple of young kids who were tough professional fighters. And when he saw those videos of Figueroa Jr., Diaz recalls thinking, “Eh, any of my boys will beat him. I don’t see anything special about him.” But he agreed to meet with them anyway.
And so, two days before Christmas, father and son traveled from Weslaco, their small Texas town on the border of Mexico, and joined Joel Diaz at his training camp in Indio, California. “I’ll never forget it because I still talk about it today,” recalls Diaz. “He came to the gym, and I started working with him. Wow, was I wrong. He has a style that really works for him. He’s very explosive; he has a lot of power, he can hit. From that point on, I was like, OK, I can work with him.” Diaz prepared Figueroa Jr. for a tough fight against Perez, which to the surprise of many he won when Perez’s corner threw in the towel after the 6th round.
According to Diaz, his relationship Figueroa Jr. got better every time, every fight. But in 2014, Figueroa Jr. decided to resume training in Texas with his dad so he could live close to family. A lot has been made of that decision and even more has been made of his year and a half hiatus from the sport. After all, it’s uncommon for such a young fighter to take so much time off. But it wasn’t simply the injuries that forced him to take a break. “I’d been dragging,” Figueroa explains. “It got to the point where I was kind of annoyed. I was starting to dislike what I was doing. I attribute that to the injuries I was having because they weren’t letting me enjoy my job. I mean not being able to train, missing weight, knowing that I wasn’t a hundred percent going into the ring with these guys, it weighed heavily on me. Mentally I was in a very bad place.”
Omar Figueroa Jr.’s last professional fight occurred in 2015 when he faced Antonio Demarco, a fight he won by unanimous decision. For much of the fight, Figueroa overwhelmed his opponent. In the first two rounds alone, Figueroa Jr. threw close to 300 punches. And it took until the end of the 3rd round for DeMarco to finally let his hands go. That’s when he caught Figueroa Jr. with a solid right hook. Figueroa Jr. stepped back and, before coming back in with his left hand, he paused a moment and smiled. We all know boxers taunt each other with their smiles, often using their smile to cover up the fact that a punch has landed and they’ve been hurt. But Figueroa Jr.’s smile wasn’t like that. His smile seemed remarkably innocent, like he was happy, if not just a bit surprised, that a real fight was starting up. Here was a young man who looked like he was having fun.
Figueroa Jr. makes his long-anticipated return to the ring this Saturday in a fight against Robert Guerrero at the Nassau Coliseum in Unionville, Long Island. Guerrero’s been dismissed by many as a fading fighter clearly past his prime, a fighter who has lost four out of his last six fights. Still, Figueroa isn’t taking him for granted and is prepared for a hard ten rounds. “Knowing I’m getting into the ring with someone like Guerrero, it brings the nerves back, a little bit, being out so long,” Figueroa says. “And I know it’s not an easy fight at all. It brings the nerves back, and I miss that feeling.”
Figueroa Jr. might strike some as being too polite to be a fighter—and perhaps a bit too nice looking. Joel Diaz, who has again come on board as his trainer, is the first to admit that his champion has a baby face. “You see the face of Omar Figueroa and you don’t think he has the heart that he has. His face is not suitable for his heart. It’s very deceptive. But he’s never been dropped. The more you hit him, the more he’s on you.” Anyone who has seen Figueroa Jr. fight knows that this is true.
Can we expect to see anything different from Figueroa Jr? Aside from feeling healthy, strong, and rested, Diaz doesn’t think so. “Omar’s never going to change,” Diaz says. “He’s never going to change his style of fighting. His strategy’s never going to change. He’s always going to be the same.” However, Figueroa Jr. believes his time away from boxing has matured him as a fighter. And Diaz admits he’s been working with Figueroa to improve his defense, so we perhaps we’ll get a glimpse of a smarter Figueroa Jr. on Saturday night.
The Figueroa Jr. vs. Guerrero fight might not be the match up of the year, but it will be fun to watch.As Diaz says, “Styles makes fights.” And the style of both these fights is not going to leave room for a lot of space. Diaz doesn’t expecteitherfighter to go back. “They’re both going to be in the ring and crash on the inside,” he says. “They’ll exchange in the middle of the ring from the beginning bell to the end.”
PBC on Fox Preview: Omar Figueroa vs. Robert Guerrero, Marcus Browne vs. Seanie Monaghan
PBC on Fox Preview: Omar Figueroa vs. Robert Guerrero, Marcus Browne vs. Seanie Monaghan
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will return to the Fox network to broadcast a double header live from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island in Uniondale, New York.
Other bouts fighting on the undercard include boxers such as Artur Szpilka, Jamal James, Jo Jo Dan, Eliezer Aquino, and Brandon Figueroa.
Photo Credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
The following is a preview of the two main bouts on the card.
Marcus Browne (19-0) vs. Seanie Monaghan (28-0); Light Heavyweights
This is an intriguing fight between two undefeated New York Light Heavyweights, and it’s a great fight to open up the televised portion of the card from Long Island, New York.
Monaghan, who was born in Long Beach, and Browne, who was born in Staten Island are familiar with each other and bring a local flair to this event.
Monaghan is undefeated, but aging, and is currently thirty five years old. A win against Browne could catapult him to a future title fight, but a loss will likely end any hopes he has of becoming a world champ. Browne is twenty six and nine years younger than Monaghan. He also has about a two and a half inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage on Monaghan.
Monaghan has some success on the local amateur circuit and lost in the finals of the 2009 New York Golden Gloves. Marcus Browne experienced success on the national level and represented the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics. He was also the 2010 Amateur PAL Champion.
Monaghan fought twice in 2016 and three times in 2015. Brown fought once in 2017 and once in 2016, and four times in 2015.
Monaghan is signed to Top Rank Promotions, but has yet to face and defeat a big name opponent. His biggest wins to date have come against Donovan George, Elvir Muriqi, and Anthony Caputo Smith.
Browne has been facing an increasing level of opposition as he’s advanced as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Thomas Williams Jr., Radivoje Kalajddzic, Gabriel Campillo, Cornelius White, Aaron Pryor Jr., and George Blades.
Browne and Monaghan are about equal in power. Browne has stopped fourteen of his opponents while Monaghan has stopped seventeen.
There should be a large number of fans in attendance to watch this bout between two native New Yorkers, but Browne’s physical advantages, age advantage, and amateur pedigree indicates that he should walk away the victor on Saturday night.
Omar Figueroa (26-0-1) vs. Robert Guerrero (33-5-1); Welterweights
Robert Guerrero’s career has taking a sharp downturn since he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. He’s 2-4 in his last six fights and seems far removed from sniffing another world title shot.
He’s facing Omar Figueroa, an undefeated boxer seven years his junior. But Figueroa has been relatively inactive, he hasn’t fought since 2015 and has experienced issues with his hands recently.
Guerrero will have about an inch and a half height advantage but Figueroa will have a two inch reach advantage. Both boxers have eighteen stoppages to their record.
Guerrero has the better amateur accomplishments; he won a gold medal in the National Junior Olympics. Figueroa competed briefly as an amateur but turned pro at a young age.
Guerrero has defeated some good opponents, and they include Yoshihiro Kamegai, Andre Berto, Selcuk Aydin, Michael Katsidis, Joel Casamayor, and Jason Litzau. However, Guerrero has had a rough stretch recently and has lost to many of the top welterweights in the world. His losses were to Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and a loss he later avenged to Gamaliel Diaz.
Most concerning for Guerrero is the fact he lost his last bout to an Argentinean cab driver by the name of David Peralta and he escaped with a lucky decision over Aaron Martinez.
Figueroa has spent most of his career fighting in the lightweight division but holds victories over notable boxers such as Michael Perez, Abner Cotto, Nihito Arakawa, Jerry Belmontes, Ricky Burns, and Antonio DeMarco.
This is a bout between a boxer who’s career has been on a steady decline and a boxer with a bright future. Guerrero’s recent performances have been disappointing and it’s hard to imagine him turning his career around against a young hungry fighter at the age of thirty four.
If Figueroa’s hands aren’t injured he should be able to defeat Guerrero.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Figueroa, Guerrero, Shields, Caballero, Negrete, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Figueroa, Guerrero, Shields, Caballero, Negrete, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 23rd to May 30th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Former World Champions Omar Figueroa and Robert Guerrero to Meet in Welterweight Brawl
A matchup between exciting former world champions Omar “Panterita” Figueroa (26-0-1, 18 KOs) and Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (33-5-1, 18 KOs) headlines an action-packed night of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes on Saturday, July 15 in the first boxing event at the newly-renovated NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Televised coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT from the first boxing event at the Coliseum since Mike Tyson headlined in 1986.
“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and showing fans what I’m known for – exciting fights,” said Figueroa. “I’ve been quietly training and preparing in Indo, California with Joel Diaz and now it’s time. I’m looking forward to a great fight with Robert Guerrero on July 15 in front of a New York crowd. I can’t wait to show everyone at the Coliseum and on FOX and FOX Deportes what ‘Panterita’ is all about.”
“Both me and Omar Figueroa like to bang on the inside, which should make for great entertainment, but Omar is going to find out on July 15 that he’s facing a man who has his back against the wall and is going to leave everything in the ring,” said Guerrero. “I’m going to give the millions who’ll be watching on FOX and FOX Deportes a fight to remember. This is going to be a classic Mexican war and I’m coming out on top.”
The FOX and FOX Deportes broadcast will see unbeaten contender “Sir” Marcus Browne (19-0, 14 KOs) battling undefeated Long Island native and fan favorite Seanie Monaghan (28-0, 17 KOs) in a light heavyweight showdown.
“I have fought more times at Barclays Center than anyone, so it’s exciting to get to fight in a new venue not too far from home,” said Browne. “We might be in Seanie’s immediate backyard, but I’m just down the block, so he really isn’t any more at home than I am. I know he’s a hard-nosed fighter with a come-forward style. I’m preparing for a tough opponent. A win won’t come easy, but we have to take care of business. I am just ready to display my talent on national television and continue my climb toward a world title.”
“It is a dream come true to be fighting at the Coliseum, which is literally right next to the track where I run every day,” said Monaghan. “It is an honor to represent Long Island in the first boxing event held at this venue in 31 years. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time, and I feel that this bout will bring a new chapter in my career. I have a lot of respect for Marcus Browne, but let the best man win. On July 15, I am putting everything on the line.”
Also televised in prime time, Artur Szpilka (20-2, 15 KOs)meets Adam Kownacki (15-0, 12 KOs) in an all-Polish heavyweight showdown that promises fireworks.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring and give my fans another exciting fight,” said Szpilka. “With two Polish heavyweights fighting, you know there will be power and pride on display. I’m training harder than ever to get this victory in front of the great Polish fans in New York. This will be my first step towards getting back to fighting for the heavyweight world title.”
“I can’t wait to fight again,” said Kownacki. “Most of my past fights were at Barclays Center, so fighting at the Coliseum will be a new and exciting experience. I am training very hard. A win on July 15 puts me one step closer to becoming a world champion. Szpilka will not stand in my way.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, start at $50 (not including applicable fees) and are on sale Thursday, May 25 at 10 a.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.nycblive.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the Ticketmaster Box Office at NYCB LIVE beginning Friday, May 26 at noon. Group discounts are available by calling 516-231-4848.
“Boxing’s grand return to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is going to be wall-to-wall action,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “The PBC on FOX and FOX Deportes main event between Omar Figueroa and Robert Guerrero is destined to be a bloody slugfest. The co-featured bout between Staten Island’s light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne and Long Island’s undefeated ‘Irish Rocky’ Seanie Monaghan will bring the heat on a summer night in Long Island. While Marcus and Seanie will bring in a big local crowd, the heavyweight grudge match between Poland’s Artur ‘The Pin’ Szpilka and Polish American Long Islander, by way of Brooklyn, Adam ‘Baby Face’ Kownacki will pack the house with Polish fans. As a Long Islander, I am proud to promote the first fight card at Nassau Coliseum in 31 years. July 15 will be a fun, action-packed night of boxing entertainment from beginning to end; the remainder of the card will be stacked with old-school brawls including local talent.”
“The Coliseum has a rich history in boxing, having hosted notable fights with the likes of Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, and Gerry Cooney, among others,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “We are thrilled to build on the sport’s heritage on Long Island, and to bring boxing back to the venue 31 years later with a major event on network television.”
A high volume puncher with an exciting style, Figueroa has returned to training with Joel Diaz in California leading up to this fight and looks to make his presence felt on July 15. Representing Weslaco, Texas, Figueroa is undefeated since turning pro in 2008 and won a lightweight world title by defeating Nihito Arakawa in a 2013 Fight of the Year standout. He followed that victory up with successful defenses against Jerry Belmontes and Daniel Estrada. The 27-year-old most recently defeated former world champions Ricky Burns and Antonio DeMarco in his last two outings.
Born and raised in Gilroy, Calif., Guerrero is always in exciting contests having gone toe-to-toe with Danny Garcia in a FOX main event in 2016 and Keith Thurman sandwiched around a hard fought victory over Aron Martinez. Prior to 2015, the 34-year-old picked up victories over Andre Berto, Secluk Aydin and Michael Katsidis while winning world titles in multiple divisions. The brawling warrior has been in several “Fight of the Year” candidates throughout his career, including a memorable brawl in Southern California with Yoshihiro Kamegai in 2014, and he also challenged former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather in 2013.
The undefeated Browne enters this fight after an electrifying performance in February that saw him drop former title challenger Thomas Williams Jr. before knocking him out in round six. The 26-year-old defeated previously unbeaten Radivoje Kalajdzic in April 2016 after a big 2015 that saw him defeat veteran contenders Gabriel Campillo, Aaron Pryor Jr., Francisco Sierra and Cornelius White. The 2012 U.S. Olympian fights out of Staten Island, New York after an exceptional amateur career that saw him win the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship at light heavyweight.
One of the most popular fighters representing Long Island, Monaghan looks to solidify his first world title shot when he faces Browne on July 15. Monaghan competed in the 2009 New York Golden Gloves before turning pro, reaching the final before dropping a memorable contest to fellow Long Island-native Joe Smith Jr. He has yet to taste defeat in as a professional while battling a slew of veterans eager to test his championship mettle. Monaghan added two more victories in 2016 as he stopped Janne Forsman in five rounds and beat Fernando Castanedo in December.
The always entertaining Szpilka returns to the ring after a defeat at the hands of heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder in 2016 as he attempts to get back on the path towards world title contention. The aggressive-minded 6-foot-3 Szpilka, had a four-fight win streak entering the Wilder bout as he picked up a 10-round unanimous decision over former cruiserweight world champion Tomasz Adamek in 2014 and stoppage victories over Yasmany Consuegra, Manuel Quezada and Ty Cobb in 2015.
A two-time New York Golden Gloves champion, five of Kownacki’s last six victories have come at Barclays Center and he now hopes to bring that winning mindset to the Coliseum. Originally from Poland but now living in Brooklyn, Kownacki stopped previously once-beaten Joshua Tufte in January of this year after 2016 saw him earn a stoppage of Jesse Barboza in June and a decision over Danny Kelly in January. He will take on the toughest test of his career in his countryman Szpilka.
Undercard Announced for Next Detroit Brawl Show at Masonic Temple Featuring the Return to Michigan of Claressa Shields
The undercard has been announced for promoter Dmitriy Salita blockbuster “Detroit Brawl” on Friday, June 16, 2017, at the Masonic Temple in Detroit and it features an impressive mix of local and international prospects in high-stakes match-ups.
Thus far, five exciting bouts are scheduled in support of the eight-round main event featuring two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields (2-0, 1 KO) of Flint, Michigan, taking on Mery Rancier (7-8-3, 5 KOs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, for the WBC Silver Super Middleweight Championship and the 10-round co-main event between undefeated Detroit cruiserweight Demetrius Banks (9-0, 4 KOs) and Detroit via Russia’s Alexey Zubov (14-1, 9 KOs).
Tickets for “Detroit Brawl” are priced at VIP $200, Box Seats $100, Floor Seating $100 & $55, and balcony seating $40, and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and Ticketmaster.com.
In the night’s main supporting bout, undefeated welterweight pulverizer Bakhtiyar Eyubov (12-0, 10 KOs) of Aktjubinsk, Kazakhstan, will look to stay busy waiting for his next high-profile step, as he attempts to inflict his crowd-pleasing style on always-tough Cesar Soriano (27-35-1, 16 KOs) Iztacalco, Mexico, over six rounds.
In another of the chief supporting bouts, Detroit’s rising talent and “Great Lakes King” Ja’Rico O’Quinn (6-0, 5 KOs) returns to action in a six-round bantamweight brawl against David Martino (2-2, 2 KOs) of San Felipe, Mexico.
Also scheduled is an all-action six-round super welterweight battle between Antonio Urista (7-2, 2 KOs) of Lansing, Michigan, and highly decorated former amateur star Serdar Hudayberdiyev (3-0, 2 KOs) of Turkmenabat, Turkey.
Opening the night will be a six-round super lightweight tilt between Staten Island, New York via Kazakhstan’s Dimash Niyazov (10-0-3, 4 KOs) and Grand Rapids, Michigan, veteran Ramon Guevara (10-24-2, 6 KOs); as well as a four-round welterweight bout between undefeated Jacob Bonas (2-0-1, 1 KO) of Bellville, Michigan, and Clinton Township, Michigan’s Tony Brooks (1-1).
“This is an exciting show from top to bottom,” said promoter Dmitriy Salita. “Every fight has been chosen for its excitement level. I am proud to be presenting it to the boxing savvy fans of Detroit, America’s comeback city and home for world-class boxing.”
More fights, opponents and rounds will be announced shortly. On fight night, doors open at 7:00 pm and the fights begin at 8:00 pm.
Irvin Gonzalez Starting to Make Waves in Super Featherweight Division
New England’s top prospect with 10 pro fights of less, undefeated hometown favorite Irvin Gonzalez, is on a fast track going into his June 10th headline fight in the third installment of the “New England’s Future” series, at the DCU Center (Exhibition Hall) in Worcester, Massachusetts.
“New England’s Future 3” is presented by Rivera Promotions Entertainment (RPE), which is owned and operated by retired three-time, two division world champion Jose Antonio Rivera and his son, Anthonee (A.J.) Rivera.
The 21-year-old Gonzalez (6-0, 6 KOs) takes on Raul Lopez (10-2-1, 5 KOs), of Bronx (NY), in an eight-round main event for the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) All-American super featherweight championship.
Pro boxing returns to the DCU Center for the first time in 11 years, ironically, when promoter Jose Antonio Rivera defeated Alejandro Garcia, by way of a 12-round unanimous decision, for the World Boxing Association (WBA) World super welterweight title.
“I am excited to watch Irvin’s boxing career flourish,” promoter Jose Rivera remarked. “He has all the tools to become a world champion. Fighting for the UBF championship will be the first of many and I am glad that we are able to give him this opportunity. I see big things for Irvin and I hope fans come out Saturday night, June 10th, to support him and the other local boxers.”
“This is a great opportunity for me,” Gonzalez said. “I’m blessed to be fighting in Worcester for my first title. It’s not a big title but it’s like taking baby steps to a world title. Since I started boxing at the Boys & Girls Club, I always wanted to be like Jose, a three-time world champion. Now, it’s my turn, and I’m fighting again in my city.”
Gonzalez has a perfect pro record: six rights, six wins by knockout. However, he’s only had fought a grand total of eight rounds, and June 10th he’s in a scheduled eight-round match. The well-spoken youngster isn’t concerned with the step up in rounds and opposition.
“I’ve been asked about that by a lot of media, trainers and other fighters,” he explained. “I’ve always trained like it’s for a world title fight, 12 rounds, so I’m not worried about going into deep water. I’m in magnificent shape, three weeks before the fight, and even in the amateurs I’ve always gotten stronger as the fight went along. In sparring, I get stronger, so going eight isn’t a problem for me.
“I don’t really know much about my opponent. He won a few national titles but hasn’t fought too often. I’ll see what he brings into the ring and then adjust. I know I’m taller.”
Gonzalez learned a lot when he was a sparring partner for Guillermo Rigondeaux in Florida that was supposed to be a six-week training camp that ended after three weeks due to Rigondeaux’ fight being cancelled.
“I learned a lot about different training methods that I now use,” Irvin continued. “His techniques are phenomenal. I was around a world champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist and I saw his work ethic. After all he’s accomplished, he still has a great work ethic, and I learned from him that a fighter need continue working like he does until the day it’s all over. It’s not all about money, it’s having fun every day, doing what we love.”
Randy Caballero to put NABF Super Bantamweight Title on the Line Against Oscar Negrete
Undefeated NABF Super Bantamweight Champion and Coachella native Randy “El Matador” Caballero (24-0, 14 KOs) will make his first title defense close to home as he takes on Los Angeles’ Oscar “Jaguar” Negrete (16-0, 6 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in a 10-round main event for the June 30th edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.
This marks the 50th show that Golden Boy Promotions has put on at Fantasy Springs.
Former IBF and WBO Featherweight Champion, Mexican actor and circus performer Jorge “El Maromero” Paez (79-14-5, 51 KOs) will be the VIP guest for this June 30th Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN card. Best known for a fight career spanning nearly 20 years and three weight divisions, Paez faced many of the boxing greats in the 1990’s including Oscar De La Hoya, Genaro Hernandez, Rafael Ruelas and Jesus Chavez. As the VIP guest of the night, Paez will be in attendance for the fights and will be on hand to meet fans; sign autographs and take pictures inside the Fantasy Springs Special Events Center before the ESPN broadcast begins. The meet-and-greet is open to the public with the purchase of a ticket to the event.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes at 10 P.M. EST/7 P.M. PST
Caballero, a former IBF Bantamweight World Champion, looked impressive coming back after a long layoff on the inaugural edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN in March, taking a unanimous decision off of a game and rugged Jesus Ruiz. Now, Caballero takes on an undefeated fighter for only the second time in his career.
“I’ve told everyone who will listen that my goal is to regain a world championship belt, and this is another step on that path,” Caballero said. “I know my opponent is undefeated, but he’s never been in the ring with anyone close to my ability, and I’m confident that I’m going to take his “0” on June 30.”
Negrete has built a solid resume culminating with a shutout, unanimous decision over Victor Ruiz on Cinco de Mayo weekend in Las Vegas.
“I’m excited to compete for my first regional belt, especially on ESPN,” Negrete said. “People may overlook me, but after June 30, everyone will know that I am a force in the super bantamweight division.”
In the co-main event, standout amateur and WBC Youth Super Featherweight Champion Lamont Roach, Jr. (13-0, 5 KOs) of Washington, D.C. will defend his title for the first time against a soon-to-be-named opponent in a 10-round scrap.
Hoping to make TV time, heavy-handed Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (4-0, 3 KOs) from San Diego, California, returns to Fantasy Springs for the first time since knocking an opponent clear out of the ring last September. This time, he will take on Miguel Barajas (2-2, 1 KO) from Guadalajara, Mexico in a six-round match-up of super featherweights.
On the non-televised portion of the card, lightweight contender Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin (18-0, 11 KOs) of Chattanooga, Tennessee will bring his unblemished record to the desert in an eight-round fight against a soon-to-be-named opponent.
Welterweight KeAndre “The Truth” Gibson (16-1-1, 7 KOs) will look to come back from the first loss of his career when he takes on Dennis “The Spartan” Dauti (14-2, 7 KOs) of Naousa, Greece in an eight-round affair.
Hot off his professional debut, standout amateur Luis Feliciano (1-0) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and fighting out of Rancho Cucamonga will be back in action for a six-round super lightweight showdown against Baltazar Ramirez (3-2, 3 KOs) of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
And opening up the card, Philadelphia native Damon “No Smilin” Allen (11-0-1, 5 KOs) will put his undefeated record on the line in an eight-round match-up of lightweights against a soon-to-be-named opponent.
Tickets for the event will go on sale Friday, May 26 start at $25 and will be available at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office, by calling 1-800-827-2946, or by purchasing online at www.FantasySprings.com
Don’t Tell Robert “Tito” Manzanarez 15 is Too Young to Turn Pro!
Don’t Tell Robert “Tito” Manzanarez 15 is Too Young to Turn Pro!
By: Ken Hissner
It was 3 months past his 15th birthday when Phoenix, AZ, born (2/17/94) Robert “Tito” Manzanarez turned professional in Los Mochis, Mexico, when he stopped Jose Rosario Lopez in 0:32. At 5:07 he only weighed 110¾ and scored another win just some 8 days later weighing 123¾ but returning to his flyweight weight some 4 weeks later in his third bout.
Manzanarez was 9-0 in 2010 in 4 round bouts. In 2011 he was 7-0 in all 6 round bouts. In July of 2011 he faced his first opponent with a winning record in Cristian Aguilar, 5-1, scoring a first round knockout which was his eleventh bout weighing 122. It was his second scheduled 6 round bout.
Two fights later Manzanarez defeated Edgar Alfredo Martinez, 6-1, over 6 rounds. He would go onto score 8 straight stoppages after this fight before suffering his first career loss to Alejandro Barrera, 21-11, by stoppage in the 4th round of a scheduled 6 round bout. He would defeat 13 straight winning record opponents after this up until his most recent bout including reversing his loss on November 17th in 2012. He was 5-1 in 2012. He had his first scheduled 8 round bout in June of 2012.
In February of 2013 Manzanarez would be back in the ring starting a 6 straight stoppage wins including a third round knockout over Barrera in a re-match on November 16th 2013. In May of 2013 he had his first scheduled 10 round bout in May and going just 4-0 in 2013. In 2014 he also went 4-0.
In August of 2014 Manzanarez faced Ricardo Castillo, 40-11-1, who in 2009 fought for the IBF World featherweight title which ended in a TD3 and Castillo never got a rematch. Manzanarez stopped Castillo in the third round. In his next bout he won a 10 round decision over Hector Velazquez, 56-23-3, in December.
In 2015 Manzanarez only had 3 bouts with 2 by stoppage. He would come in at 140 in one of these bouts which has been his highest weight as of yet. In 2016 he returned some 4 months later in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds. He knocked out Carlos Joan Jacobs, 20-11-1, in the second round. In his previous bout he turned 21. It would be his only bout in 2016.
It would be another 11 months before Manzanarez would fight again and his first bout outside of Mexico, in the US. On February 17th of 2017 he scored a 4th round knockout with a body shot in a scheduled 8 round bout over former super featherweight champion Gamaliel Diaz, 40-15-3, at the Belasco Theater, in Los Angeles, CA.
Manzanarez 35-1 (28), on May 18th defeated Erick Daniel Martinez, 13-7-1 (7), over 8 rounds at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, AZ, his home state for the first time since turning professional after 7 years of fighting. At 22 he is a name to watch!
Robert Easter Dominates, Tops Off Entertaining PBC On Bounce Card
Robert Easter Dominates, Tops Off Entertaining PBC On Bounce Card
By: Sean Crose
Terrell Gausha stepped into the ring in Toledo, Ohio on Friday night with a perfect record of 19-0. His opponent, Luis Hernandez, was 15-3, a slightly less impressive resume. Still, Hernandez took it to his opponent right off the bat in the ten-round middleweight affair. Gausha may have had the better talent and pedigree, but Puerto Rico’s Hernandez had come to win. Indeed, Hernandez was reminiscent of Marcos Maidana as he bulled forward, every part the warrior. Gausha, however, wasn’t simply going to lose in front of his home town. After being dropped in the third, he went on to land thudding shots of his own.
Hernandez truly entered the “Maidana Zone” in the seventh when he started to fight dirty enough to lose himself a point due to low blows. He kept coming, though…and the sharper punching Gausha kept firing back. It was a grinding affair, to be sure. Indeed, the fight was a war. When all was said and done, it was Gausha who walked off with a unanimous decision win.
Next up at the bustling and lively Huntington Center, Rau’shee Warren did battle with Shanat Zhakiyaof for the WBA super world bantamweight title in a scheduled 12 round affair. Warren started with blinding speed and subsequently went through his opponent like a lawnmower through foot long blades of grass. Before the end of the first round, Zhakiyaof was down twice. The Kazakh composed himself better in the second round, but Warren was proving to be an incredibly fast nemesis.
Speed does not equal invincibility, though. By the third round, Warren found himself on the mat. The referee claimed it was a slip, but there was little doubt the man was getting tagged. Blood flowed from Warren’s nose after the round, and it was worth wondering whether or not the nose was broken. Zhakiyaof continued to whack away through the fourth. It was clear the tide had changed, at least for the time being.
Warren seemed to get a second wind by mid fight, using his superior footwork to his advantage. He was never fully able to reassert control however, as the fight raced along its violent path into the later rounds. It was truly hard to tell who was in the lead entering the last portion of the bout, or even if either man would be able to last until the final bell. Indeed, both men made it to the end. It was exceedingly hard to tell who had won the fight, but the judges gave it to Shakiyaof by split decision. For the record, Warren was a gentleman in defeat – always something worth noting.
It was then time for the main event. Rising 18-0 star Robert Easter Junior was defending his IBF world lightweight title against 22-4 Luis Cruz. With the crowd in a terrifically intense state, the two men began to do battle. The fight started in competitive fashion, with Easter still having a clear edge after the first few rounds. After four rounds, however, it became clear that Cruz was not going to lay down and collect a paycheck. The man was there to fight. Indeed, Cruz looked impressive in the fifth.
Yet all the willpower in the world can’t be relied upon to bring about victory. Easter started coming on strong in the sixth and the shots were clearly beginning to take their toll on his overmatched opponent. Easter thundered away in the seventh. Cruz was able to stay on his feet, but the bout was a one-sided affair by that point. And so, the match went on, with Easter maintaining the lead while Cruz gamely struggled. Perhaps Easter realized that Cruz had too strong a beard to try to finish off. Or perhaps he felt it wasn’t yet time. Either way, Cruz no longer seemed in danger of being stopped as the match moved onto its later stages.
Then, as if on cue, Easter took his man down early in the tenth. Cruz got up and, once again, Easter banged away. Cruz was incredibly durable, but it was now clear that he could be folded. By that point, all Cruz was doing was surviving. Barring something short of a miracle, the fight was essentially over. Cruz, simply put, was taking a terrible beating.
To his credit, however, Cruz was still throwing punches in the eleventh. A howitzer from Easter put the man down on the mat yet again. Once again, though, Cruz got up…and was allowed to keep fighting. Cruz decided to run in the twelfth. Easter caught him, however, and laid on more of a beating. A murderous shot sent Cruz down once more. Cruz got up again, though – and, of course, was allowed to continue. Needless to say, a thoroughly thrashed Cruz made it to the final bell, only to predictably lose by a wide decision.
Was it worth it?
Robert Guerrero “My Actions Will Speak Louder Than My Words!”
Robert Guerrero “My Actions Will Speak Louder Than My Words!”
By: Benny Henderson
Former world champion, Robert Guerrero 33-5-1 (18 KO’s) has been in the bang for your buck sport for fifteen years. In that time he has fought some of the biggest names in the boxing world, earned multiple titles, and was recently inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame. And although some may say that it is time for “The Ghost” to disappear, the thirty-three year old ring warrior strongly states that he is by no means ready to hang the gloves up. In fact, instead claiming that he is not done with the sport, he demands that he will prove it. In this exclusive interview, we talk about Robert’s past, present, and future in boxing, as well as other various topics.
Jacobs vs. Mora II and Easter vs. Commey at Santander Arena in Reading, PA, Friday!
Jacobs vs. Mora II and Easter vs. Commey at Santander Arena in Reading, PA, Friday!
By: Ken Hissner
Two World Title fights headline Friday night at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA! King’s Promotions bring’s big time boxing to Reading on SPIKE TV with co-features starting at 9pm. Jacobs-Mora II and Easter and Commey for vacant title should be nothing but fireworks!
Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs, 31-1 (28), of Brooklyn, NY, defends his WBA World middleweight title against former WBC super welterweight champion and No. 15 contender Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora, 28-4-2 (9), of L.A. in a rematch from August of 2015. In December Jacobs scored a sensational knockout over former WBO champion Peter Quillin in the first round. Mora has not fought since August. Several weeks ago on a conference phone call Jacobs said “If he’s saying I didn’t knock him down that caused him to twist his ankle I felt the contact it in my hand,” said Jacobs. “He grazed the back of my head but my ankle was already twisted,” said Mora. Both boxers are managed by Al Haymon. The call ended with “Go F yourself. I’ll see you in two weeks old boy,” said Mora. “Well let’s do it on September the 9th. You already know Sergio I’m coming for you brother,” said Jacobs. There is obvious bad blood between the two since their first fight which should make for a very interesting contest.
In the other co-feature 2012 Olympic alternate Robert Easter, Jr., 17-0 (14), of Toledo, OH, and Richard Commey, 24-0 (22), of Accra, GH, fight it out for the vacant IBF Super lightweight title.
“Yeah I am very excited coming to Reading and fight for the IBF title. I hope Richard Commey is bringing his A game because I will be bringing mine,” said Easter. “I’ve worked very hard to get this opportunity as I’m sure Robert Easter, Jr. has too so it should be a great fight,” said Commey. Commey is No. 3 and Easter No. 4 with both the No. 1 and No. 2 vacant.
There are a dozen bouts on the undercard at this point but several will fall out or the Boxing Director Greg Sirb will see to it you don’t have much more than 7 bouts. In 8 round bouts former IBF welterweight and interim WBC champion Kermit “El Asesino” Cintron, 37-5-2 (28) of Reading continues his comeback. Local favorite super featherweight Frankie De Alba is in an 8. Another local favorite super Heavyweight Travis “My Time” Kauffman, 30-1 (22), of Reading is in a 10.
In a pair of 8 round bouts from Philadelphia crowd pleaser super middleweight Christopher “Ice Cold” Brooker, 10-1 (5) steps up to meet Elvin Ayala, 28-7-1 (12), of New Haven, CT. Light heavyweight Earl Newman, 9-0 (7), of Brooklyn will meet Leo Hall, 8-1 (7), of Detroit. Also scheduled yet without an opponent is Argentina’s Jorge Sebastian Heiland, 27-4-2 (14), who is the No. 1 WBC middleweight contender.
Super welterweight Erik Spring 7-1-1 (1), super welterweight Miguel Martinez, 2-2 (0), and super lightweight Kashon Hutchinson, 1-0 (1) all of Reading are in 6 round bouts. Also, from Philadelphia, the popular super featherweight Thomas “T.J.” Velasquez, 5-0 (4) out of the Danny “Swift” Garcia camp is in a 4 round bout. He is still without an opponent.
“The Preacherman” Cometh Back: Interview with former world cruiserweight champion Robert Daniels
“The Preacherman” Cometh Back: Interview with former world cruiserweight champion Robert Daniels
By: Ron Scarfone
The World Boxing Council (WBC) was the first sanctioning body to recognize the cruiserweight division in 1979 with a vacant world title fight in that weight class. Originally, the weight limit for cruiserweights was 190 pounds. This was later changed to 195 pounds. Currently, the division has a weight limit of 200 pounds. Rocky Marciano weighed between 184-189 pounds when he was the world heavyweight champion in the 1950s. In the 1970s, boxers such as Muhammad Ali usually weighed in the 220-230 pound range. Throughout the years that the cruiserweight division has existed, there has usually been a dearth of talent in that division. Light heavyweight champions such as Virgil Hill and Zsolt Erdei eventually moved up to cruiserweight and were able to win world cruiserweight titles even though they were both past their prime. Talented cruiserweight champions such as Evander Holyfield and David Haye became heavyweights for the money and prestige that the heavyweight division can provide. Holyfield and Haye were able to make a successful transition from cruiserweight to heavyweight and both became world heavyweight champions. There are other cruiserweight champions who have had more success at cruiserweight than in the heavyweight division such as Robert “The Preacherman” Daniels.
Daniels made his pro debut in 1984. Daniels received his first world title shot about five years later. With a record of 17-1, Daniels won the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) cruiserweight title in 1989 after he defeated Dwight Muhammad Qawi by a split decision. Daniels made two successful title defenses in 1990, but lost the WBA cruiserweight title to Bobby Czyz by a split decision in 1991. Daniels would have to wait six more years to become a world champion again. In 1997, Daniels defeated Kenny Keene by a split decision to win the International Boxing Council (IBC) cruiserweight title. In 1998, Daniels defeated Don Poeder by KO in the tenth round to win the International Boxing Organization (IBO) cruiserweight title. In 2000, Daniels moved up to the heavyweight division and faced world-class opposition. Daniels lost to heavyweight contenders Lawrence Clay-Bey and David Tua that year. Daniels later won two titles in the super cruiserweight division: one from the World Boxing Federation (WBF) in 2001 and the other from the International Boxing Association (IBA) in 2003. This division is no longer recognized. In 2003, Daniels lost to Jermell Barnes by unanimous decision in a North American Boxing Organization (NABO) cruiserweight title fight. The NABO is part of the World Boxing Organization (WBO). In 2004, Daniels lost to Dale Brown by a split decision in a North American Boxing Federation (NABF) cruiserweight title fight. The NABF is affiliated with the WBC. In 2005, Daniels won four consecutive fights. In 2007, Daniels fought twice in Sweden against Aldo Colliander. Daniels lost to Colliander by majority decision and unanimous decision. Daniels would not fight again until 2012. Daniels lost by TKO in the third round against Victor Bisbal in Puerto Rico. Four years later, Daniels is making another comeback. Daniels is scheduled to fight 39-year-old Carlos Reyes (7-9-1, 5 KOs) on September 17th in Fort Myers, Florida. Daniels’ official record is 49-10-1, 41 KOs.
At 48 years of age, Daniels’ fight against Reyes will be at an agreed upon weight of 205 pounds. Daniels currently teaches boxing classes at the Fight Fit gym in Pembroke Pines, Florida. This gym was previously known as South Florida Boxing. Former welterweight contender David Estrada used to train for his fights as well as teach classes at South Florida Boxing. Angelo Dundee was one of Estrada’s trainers and was frequently at the gym during that time. I was a member of the gym when it was South Florida Boxing, but was not there during the change to Fight Fit. I knew Daniels had been a trainer at Fight Fit for at least a few years, but never met him until recently. In spite of Daniels’ accomplishments and his victory over Qawi who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Daniels has been overlooked. His win over Qawi does not get much recognition because Qawi was considered to be past his prime. Even in his hometown of Miami, Florida, Daniels has not been popular. I have a KO Magazine from March 1991 which has an article about Daniels. The title of the article: Unknown…Even in His Own Neighborhood. It seems like that has not changed despite the fact that he has won world titles at cruiserweight and will have 50 wins if he is victorious over Reyes. Daniels agreed to be interviewed and I met him at Fight Fit gym.
Boxing Insider: Hello, Robert. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to interview you. I remember when you were WBA cruiserweight champion, but I never saw when you won the title against Dwight Muhammad Qawi by split decision. I also could not find any video of the fight on the Internet. What do you recall about Qawi’s abilities and how you were able to defeat him?
Robert Daniels: Qawi was a very tough, cagey veteran. Of course, he had over 35 fights at that time when I fought Qawi. I had 18 fights at that time, so he definitely had more experience than me. Very cagey, very wise, very crafty, and very slick guy.
Boxing Insider: Regarding his abilities, some people say that he may have been past his prime. How do you feel about that?
Robert Daniels: If you beat someone with a good name, of course some people are going to say he’s past his prime, he’s washed up, or he shouldn’t be fighting. You’re always going to have critics. It doesn’t matter what the outcome is, whether it be good or whether it be bad.
Boxing Insider: I didn’t see the fight. I was a fan in those days, but not every fight was televised. The fight was in France, so maybe it wasn’t televised in America. Qawi was a little older than when he fought Evander Holyfield, but he wasn’t that much older. He was only a couple of years older, so I don’t believe that about his prime. Maybe he was a little bit past his prime, but I don’t think a lot. I think it was still a significant win for you. You won the WBA cruiserweight title and then when you lost the title to Bobby Czyz, it seemed like you were not throwing as much as Czyz and that enabled Czyz to win by a split decision. What are your thoughts on that fight?
Robert Daniels: Going into the Czyz fight, I had a lot of things on my mind. I was in the process of buying my home. I was also in the process of doing other things to get into business. I really let that fight go. I let that fight slip. That’s something that I would never do again. He won the fight. They say he won. I believe I won the fight. That’s neither here nor there. I’m still here.
Boxing Insider: Right. There are not many people fighting at your age and continuing to be active. I think everybody, the champions at that time, are probably retired by now.
Robert Daniels: Of course.
Boxing Insider: I think the oldest one was probably Holyfield and he was 48 years old in his last fight. You won the IBC cruiserweight title from Kenny Keene who had a 38-1 record at the time. That was a grueling and action-packed fight which you won by split decision. That was your third split decision in a world title fight. What do you recall about that fight and why do you think you received split decisions so often in your career?
Robert Daniels: I think basically because I come on at the last part of the fight. Honestly, I’m a 15 round fighter. I prefer 15 rounds. If I fight fewer rounds, it is very hard for me to get started. I have to learn how to start faster and that’s something that I’m doing now.
Boxing Insider: (Writer’s Note: The last 15-round world title fight happened in Bangkok, Thailand on August 29, 1988. Samuth Sithnaruepol defended his IBF minimumweight title against In-Kyu Hwang. Sithnaruepol won by unanimous decision. After this fight, 12-round world title fights have been the standard for men.) Is it because you’re not warmed up enough or do you prefer to come on later in the fight?
Robert Daniels: That’s half of my strategy. Going into this fight here, knowing that it is a 6 round fight, I know that I cannot sit back and wait for 3 or 4 rounds to go by and then try to come on. That’s definitely not going to happen.
Boxing Insider: Yeah. More than half of the fight would be over. What do you recall about that fight against Keene?
Robert Daniels: Kenny Keene, that was a very tough fight. Very grueling. It took a lot of energy out of me. Thank God that, by the grace of God, God allowed me to be victorious.
Boxing Insider: You were both 28 years of age, both in your primes. It was a good match. When you were a heavyweight, you did not have as much success in the ring. In this comeback, are you intending to be a cruiserweight and are you seeking to be a world champion again?
Robert Daniels: I’m seeking not to just come back to make money. That’s not my goal. Of course, I want to make money. My goal is to come back and win a world title again. I feel within myself that I was robbed of some years of my life.
Boxing Insider: Due to what?
Robert Daniels: Due to my former job and things of that nature. I feel that I was robbed of 10 years of my life. It might sound crazy, but I just want to see.
Boxing Insider: I heard from your promoter Ron Rose that you are fighting at a contracted weight of 205 pounds for this fight, but that you will be a cruiserweight after that.
Robert Daniels: Yes. After this fight here, I will be a cruiserweight.
Boxing Insider: What are your thoughts on the cruiserweight division now and what the division was like in the 1990s when you were a cruiserweight champ compared to today?
Robert Daniels: The fighters were definitely a lot better. Not taking anything away from the champion of today because I know he worked very hard to become a world champion. I don’t take that lightly. I don’t take that for granted. My goal is to come back and become a world champion again.
Boxing Insider: Do you follow who the champions are today?
Robert Daniels: To be honest with you, no. I don’t even watch boxing.
Boxing Insider: The best cruiserweight champion today is probably WBO champ Krzysztof Glowacki of Poland. Glowacki defeated Marco Huck and Steve Cunningham who are both top ten cruiserweights. Beibut Shumenov is the current WBA cruiserweight champ which is the title that you held. Do you want to win any world title or is there a certain title that you desire?
Robert Daniels: I basically just want to win a world title whether it is the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO. A world title is a world title to me.
Boxing Insider: I know you won a super cruiserweight title from the World Boxing Federation (WBF). They don’t use that division anymore. The current WBF cruiserweight champion is Zine Benmakhlouf. He is 39 years old and is rated No. 131 in the world, so he probably has the least ability of the world champions. If you were offered a title shot against him, would you be interested?
Robert Daniels: Of course. Of course.
Boxing Insider: You have been an ordained preacher for about twenty years. What do you do in your role as a preacher?
Robert Daniels: Right now, I pretty much backed away from the ministry, but not backed away from God of course. I could never do that. I still attend church. I decided to just get myself some time to focus on what I really want to do.
Boxing Insider: When you were a minister or a preacher, did you do sermons?
Robert Daniels: Yes, I did sermons once every 2 or 3 months. I was an assistant minister to my pastor. Every time my pastor needed someone to stand in his place, he would ask me and I was more than welcome to do it. Right now, I am not in the ministry.
Boxing Insider: Is it because of the time that it takes to make the speeches for the sermons?
Robert Daniels: Putting a sermon together takes a lot of time. People think that a minister can just get up and give a great sermon, but that’s not the case. You have to study. You have to do research. With me, that’s what I do because I don’t want to get up there misleading people and telling people the wrong information.
Boxing Insider: I know from doing speeches that you have to prepare. If you are not prepared, people will know it. How does the spiritual life help with your boxing career?
Robert Daniels: It helps me to basically maintain my humility. Regardless of how many belts I collect, how many belts I win, God always has a way of humbling his servants. Sometimes, we can get out of control. Even us as children of God, we can get out of place and have a big head, so to speak. God always knows how to humble his servants and that’s something that I always ask God to do, just to keep me humble. I could do nothing without the help of God. It is God that is within me who is allowing me and giving me the strength and the ability to do what I do. Without Him, I can’t do anything.
Boxing Insider: You are now 48 years old, but you look at least a decade younger in my opinion. How do you take care of yourself?
Robert Daniels: I go to bed early. I don’t hang out. That was never part of my life even before I got into the ministry, even before I got into the Lord. Hanging out and drinking and smoking and partying, that’s never been a part of my life. Probably about 8 or 9 o’clock the latest, I’m in the bed asleep because I’m normally up by 4 o’clock running every morning. My body has gotten so used to going to bed early that it’s like a clock. When 8 o’clock or 9 o’clock comes, my body shuts right down. Even if I wanted to go out to a club and try to hang out until 12 or 1 o’clock in the morning, my body wouldn’t even allow me to do that because around 9 o’clock, my body already knows it’s time for bed.
Boxing Insider: Yes, sleep is very important. I read an article that you only trained three weeks for your last fight which was a third round knockout loss to Victor Brisbal in 2012. You are scheduled to fight Carlos Reyes who is rated No. 200 on BoxRec at cruiserweight. How is your preparation going for this fight?
Robert Daniels: My preparation is going well. I am having enough time basically to get prepared for this fight and to lose the weight, to focus, and concentrate on what I really need to do. I’ll be ready. Definitely, I’ll be ready for this fight here with no excuses.
Boxing Insider: Do you think you will be inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame after your career is over?
Robert Daniels: I believe so. If I don’t, as long as I make it into The Big House, I’m happy.
Boxing Insider: Qawi who you defeated is in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. What do you think your chances are of getting inducted in there?
Robert Daniels: I really don’t know. I live my life one day at a time. If the powers that be see that I deserve to be inducted, then so be it. Definitely, I’ll accept it.
Boxing Insider: I have this KO Magazine from March 1991. It has an article about you that I want to show you. (The title of the article: Unknown…Even in His Own Neighborhood). Do you feel that you have been overlooked by people in spite of your accomplishments maybe because that you’re not showy or you’re more soft-spoken than other boxers?
Robert Daniels: I believe so and also with me being from South Florida which is basically a Hispanic area, I truly believe that if I was Hispanic, I would have more popularity. It doesn’t really even bother me about popularity. I live a spiritual life. I don’t live a carnal life. If I was seeking to be big, I would do anything. I would go out there and do something crazy, be flashy, be a showboat, but that’s not within my persona. If I did something like that, I would be a hypocrite because that’s not part of who I am. I am not a guy who talks loud saying “Oh, I’m going to knock you out!” That’s what people want to see. I don’t want to make myself look like an idiot. Boxing is a sport where two individuals come together, they compete, and the best man wins, and that’s it. If people want to showboat, they can go to New York. They can go to Broadway. To give the people a good show, a good fight, of course. That’s my job. My job is to put on a great performance. Every time I step in the ring, my job is to perform at top level and to give the people, give the crowd, give the audience what they came to see and that is a good show and, of course, everybody wants to see knockouts and that’s what I like to do.
Boxing Insider: Yeah, and you have a lot of them. (Writer’s Note: Daniels has a new nickname and will be known as “The KO Master” for his fight against Reyes.) You have 41 knockouts in your 49 wins. Now, you’re going for your 50th win later this month. How do you feel about that?
Robert Daniels: That’s a milestone because that’s something that I really want to accomplish: 50 wins.
Boxing Insider: I know BoxRec could be different than the official Fight Fax records, so I actually ordered your Fight Fax record and I saw that it was the same record as on BoxRec. By the way, I wanted to give this (KO Magazine) to you. This is for you because you told me before this interview that you didn’t have that article about you.
Robert Daniels: Thank you.
Boxing Insider: You’re welcome. I read another article about you on the Internet that you were falsely accused of stealing boxing equipment and it was very disturbing. (Writer’s Note: According to the article, Daniels worked for Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation and managed their boxing gyms. He organized events for amateur boxing and helped obtain new equipment. In spite of this, Daniels was fired from his job. Daniels filed a lawsuit for discrimination, unfair dismissal, and loss of earnings. As a result, his former employer made false accusations and stated that Daniels stole boxing equipment. The case went to court, but was dismissed after Daniels was offered only $500 as a settlement. Daniels stated that he lost $100,000 in earnings.) I’m sorry to hear that happened to you and the money that you lost. I have dealt with false accusations a lot in my life and I’m glad that you overcame that.
Robert Daniels: Thank you.
Boxing Insider: You’re welcome. Was that part of the years that you said you were robbed of?
Robert Daniels: Yeah, that was part because working for Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation, I worked for them for 10 years. I helped build up their program. I helped to get them sponsorship and equipment. I’m talking about thousands and thousands of dollars of equipment for free. For them to falsely accuse me saying that I stole boxing equipment, this is no disrespect to anyone else, but they said that I stole TITLE boxing gloves. I said, first of all, I don’t even wear TITLE boxing gloves. I hold no ill feelings against Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation. I don’t hold any ill feelings even though they did me bad. They did me very bad. God teaches you to forgive people when they mistreat you. That’s something that we have to do as Christians, as children of God. It’s very hard to do. It’s very, very hard. When someone lies on you, when someone tries to ruin your reputation, because everyone knows what kind of person I am. If you go around this whole town and ask anyone, you can even go inside there (in Fight Fit gym) and ask anyone what kind of guy is Robert Daniels, they’ll tell you he’s a laid-back guy, he’s quiet, funny. I don’t hold any ill feelings against Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation whatsoever. To be honest with you, if they called me back to go to work for them, I’ll go back to work for them.
Boxing Insider: Really? I read that a cop pulled you over because of it.
Robert Daniels: They did. It was really bad. They harassed me for a long time.
Boxing Insider: It’s hard to forgive. I’m dealing with false accusations in my workplace. I’m a librarian, but not in Miami-Dade. I work for another employer. I said to Human Resources that my manager refused to help two African-American women on the reference desk in two separate incidents. She didn’t help these people. Also, she’s done a lot of other things too. In retaliation, she wrote lies against me. Her and her coworker friends are now against me.
Robert Daniels: Is she Hispanic?
Boxing Insider: No. She’s Lebanese. That’s the way she is: the end justifies the means. She will lie to get what she wants and will ruin someone’s reputation. I have had a hostile work environment for a few years. It caused my health to decline. I am trying to get another job and get out of there. It’s hard to forgive. I don’t forgive yet. I haven’t forgiven her. I don’t know if I ever will. I don’t know if I could be like you to be honest with you.
Robert Daniels: It’s sad because there is so much racism in South Florida. It’s really sad. She’s Lebanese, so she should know how it feels to discriminate or to be racist against another person.
Boxing Insider: Other workers are affected in my library too. When she got promoted from my supervisor to manager, then she was managing the whole library. I warned my coworkers that it is going to be tough for them. She started to criticize people. She just wants to delegate and she wants to find fault with other people. That’s what she does. When she was my supervisor, we only had me, her, and another coworker of mine in our department. She would give me and my coworker almost all of the work. She would hardly do anything. She would read a book in her cubicle and say that she is advising people on what to read. No one else in the library system reads books like she does. They don’t have the time because they’re actually doing work. I complained about the workload and then after I complained, she got the manager against me. The manager retired and then my supervisor became manager. Now, the manager and my new supervisor are against me and it is difficult.
Robert Daniels: Well, you know how you can overcome that?
Boxing Insider: How?
Robert Daniels: The power of prayer. Prayer is powerful.
Boxing Insider: I need to pray more, definitely. I read pastor Joel Osteen’s book Become a Better You. I found 10 grammatical or spelling errors. I sent him a letter and stated the ten errors that were in his book. I wrote that I wasn’t criticizing him and that I just wanted to make him aware of the errors so that maybe he could correct them in a future printing. I stated that even though there are errors in it, the book is still a masterpiece. He sent me a signed copy of the book and he later did a sermon titled You Are God’s Masterpiece. I think he was inspired by my letter. He talked about even though we all have faults, we are still masterpieces in God’s eyes.
Robert Daniels: That’s true. That’s true.
Boxing Insider: Thanks Robert for talking to me.
Robert Daniels: Okay.
Boxing Insider: Good luck in your upcoming fight.
Robert Daniels: Thank you.
Daniels is scheduled to fight on September 17th in Fort Myers, Florida at Six Bends Harley-Davidson. Doors open at 6:00 PM. First bout is at 7:00 PM. The event is titled Return To Macho Time. This is a tribute to Hector “Macho” Camacho. In his heyday, Camacho won world titles at super featherweight, lightweight, and super lightweight. In 2012, Camacho was shot in San Juan, Puerto Rico and died a few days later. Camacho was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016. Christian Camacho is Camacho’s son and he will also be fighting at this event. Christian Camacho has a 3-1 record and is 24 years of age. After losing his pro debut in Mexico, Camacho has won three consecutive fights in the super featherweight division. Nine bouts in total are scheduled for this event. For ticket information, click on this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/live-return-to-macho-time-professional-boxing-event-to-benefit-blessings-in-a-backpack-charity-tickets-26079466386
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ortiz, Ali, Ray Edwards, Gomez, Canelo, Ward, Kovalev, Smith, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ortiz, Ali, Ray Edwards, Gomez, Canelo, Ward, Kovalev, Smith, and more…
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 23rd to August 30th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos
Sadam Ali and Eddie Gomez to Fight on Canelo vs. Smith Undercard
Fans at AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas will be in for a treat on Saturday, September 17, as top welterweight contenders Sadam “World Kid” Ali (22-1, 13 KOs) and Eddie “E-Boy” Gomez (19-1, 11 KOs), make their grand return to the ring in respective 10-round fights. Ali and Gomez will be headlining the preliminary undercard which will start off the action on Mexican Independence Day weekend, ahead of the live Pay-Per-View telecast, on select channels before the pay-per-view event and digitally on HBO Boxing’s YouTube Page, www.GoldenBoyPromotions.com, www.ringtvlive.com and additional websites and outlets where Ring TV is available starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT/3:30 p.m. PT.
Diving head first into the action in the Lone Star State this September will be the pride of Brooklyn, as Sadam “World Kid” Ali makes his grand return to the ring to take on Saul Corral (21-7, 12 KOs) of Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico in a 10-round welterweight fight. The Bronx’s Eddie “E-boy” Gomez will also be participating in a 10-round fight defending his IBF North American Welterweight Title against Mexican fighter Dario “Maczio” Ferman (13-1, 10 KOs).
“The preliminary undercard for Canelo vs. Smith features a string of talented and exciting fighters to watch in the ring from rising welterweight contenders to young, thirsty lightweight and bantamweight prospects,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “On Sept. 17, Sadam Ali is determined to prove that he is still a force to be reckoned with after a difficult loss to Jessie Vargas earlier this year, and Eddie Gomez will show the fans that he is a threat not to be ignored in the hot welterweight division. Additionally, we have some of Texas’s most promising prospects on the card with Vergil Ortiz, Hector Tanajara, Jr. and Joshua Franco and as fight fans know – some of the best fighters in the sport have come from the Lone Star State. In addition to an exciting undercard, Canelo vs. Smith will be an event that celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month with activities to enjoy and celebrate Canelo reclaiming Mexican Independence Day weekend for fight fans.”
Kovalev vs. Ward Tickets On Sale September 2nd
Tickets for the most anticipated fight of the year go on sale to the public on Friday, Sept. 2 at 11:00 a.m. PT. The Saturday, Nov. 19 showdown between No. 2 Pound-for-Pound* and WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) and No. 4 Pound for-Pound* and Two-Time World Champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) will crown the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Tickets start at $55 and are available on axs.com and the T-Mobile Arena box office.
Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound for Pound” is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and sponsored by the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. The championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Luis Ortiz Splits with Golden Boy
Luis Ortiz has split with Golden Boy Promotions and will now be a promotional free agent.
Golden Boy Promotions spokesman Stefan Friedman told ESPN, “Golden Boy Promotions and Luiz Ortiz amicably parted ways. We are proud of the work that Golden Boy and Luis accomplished together culminating in his WBA Heavyweight interim championship victory and subsequent title defense. We wish Luis and his team all the best in the future.”
Former NFL Player Ray Edwards Signs with GH3 Promotions
GH3 Promotions is honored to announce the signing of undefeated heavyweight Ray Edwards to an exclusive promotional contract.
Edwards of Cincinnati, Ohio has a perfect mark of 11-0-1 with seven knockouts.
After a successful seven-year career as a defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League, Edwards has made professional boxing his full-time occupation.
The 31 year-old Edwards actually turned professional May 20, 2011 when the NFL players were entrenched in a lockout.
“Ray has shown that he has the physical tools to become a top heavyweight,” said GH3 Promotions CEO Vito Mielnicki.
“He has a ton of upside and with heavyweights, there is a chance to become a star very quickly here in the States. I think that because he has competed at a high level in the NFL, he has a chance to do that in boxing. We are looking to get him three fights before the end of the year. He is 6’6 255 lbs. and we will move him like like most heavyweights, steady but right and no rush. He will be at the top when it’s time. He is class act, well spoken and when he walks in a room u see his presence.
“I always loved boxing. I started doing in at as an off-season workout and just really enjoyed it,” said Edwards.
In his pro debut, Edwards won a four-round unanimous decision over Tyrone Gibson in Hinckley, Minnesota.
Edwards, who did not have an amateur fight, has increased his level of opposition and is coming off a 2nd round stoppage over Steven Tyner on August 26 in Minneapolis.
“It is a big deal for me to sign with GH3 Promotions,” continued Edwards. “Vito Mielnicki has a good stable with Antoine Douglas and Jerry Odom and this is the type of step I was looking for.”
Because Edwards was known for his prowess on the gridiron, his transition into the ring was not taken seriously.
“I was looked down upon because I was a football player. I have the right team around that will help develop my style. I have been in camp wiith (WBC Heavyweight champion) Deontay Wilder and I held my own, and I have confidence in myself.”
In what he thinks his move from the NFL to boxing can help persuade kids to start boxing, where in the recent past, a lot of the good young athletes have chosen other sports.
“I can help kids be passionate about boxing. Kids haven’t dedicated themselves and learned their crafts. People just see the finished products of fighters. I don’t listen to the negative comments and have good people around me.”
“I just want to stay busy and keep winning. Let me be great. In do time, people will see the finished product.”
In what playing at the highest level of professional sports, he can take into boxing, Edwards notes, “I p
played defensive line and I was focused on the ball. So I have learned to tune things out. It’s that tunnel vision that playing in front of 100,000 people, you learn that. Not to listen to the crowd and stay focused.”
When asked if what his former NFL fraternity thinks of his move to boxing, Edwards stated, “I still get support from my friends in the league. They are always asking when and where I am fighting, so I feel when the fights get higher profile, It will become a really big thing.”
Edwards will fight on September 15 against an opponent to be named in Philadelphia. The bout will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Sampson Lewkowicz Says Peralta No Longer a Cab Driver After Huge Upset Victory Over Robert Guerrero
Sampson Lewkowicz, promoter of suddenly red-hot welterweight David Emanuel “El Pirata” Peralta, says big changes are on the way for his cab-driving Argentinean fighter.
On Saturday night, Peralta (26-2-1, 14 KOs), a 70:1 underdog, came out of retirement to win a surprise 12-round split decision over former world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
The victory, televised nationally on PBC on Spike, has changed 33-year-old Peralta’s fortunes in the talent-rich welterweight division.
“He is no longer a cab driver,” laughed a happy Lewkowicz, post-fight. “David came out of retirement to take this fight when I offered it to him. Now his life will change. He will go back to being a full-time fighter and I will find him another big fight to win.”
Lewkowicz, credited with discovering Manny Pacquiao and Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez among many others, says his Argentinean fighter was taken lightly because he had never fought outside his homeland, but he knew what he could do.
“David is very talented fighter and very tough,” said Lewkowicz. “We knew Guerrero was in a tough battle against him, but no one else did. And I thank the great champion Robert Guerrero for giving him the opportunity. He and his team have our utmost respect.”
Lewkowicz says he will get to work finding Peralta another big opportunity as soon as possible.
“You have to like David. He is very humble and honest and he fought his heart out and now everybody knows his name. He’s a special fighter and I’m very happy to be his promoter. He was only retired because he thought nothing would ever happen in his career. He’s back now and he’ll be in the gym full-time. His cab can wait. I will find him a big fight against another top contender and try to get him in line for a world title shot. Or if Robert Guerrero feels like he wants an immediate rematch, we would give it to him. He gave us the chance.”
Mason Menard Calls Out Terry Flanagan
Coming off another impressive SHOWTIME-televised knockout last Friday, Louisiana-based lightweight contender “Rock Hard Mighty” Mason Menard is setting his sights on WBO Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan.
“I would be more than happy to fight Terry Flanagan,” said Menard. “It would be a great fight. He’s a skillful southpaw, but he is touchable. With my power, that makes for a cat and mouse-type fight. I think sooner or later I would catch up with him.”
Menard (32-1, 24 KOs) of Rayne, Louisiana, was last seen taking out the capable Bahodir Mamadjonov in nine rounds in the co-main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation broadcast from Rochester, New York last Friday night. Before that, the 27-year-old scored a “Knockout of the Year” candidate over then undefeated Eudy Bernardo.
“He’s a star in the making with all the momentum in the world behind him,” said Menard’s promoter, Greg Cohen. “Mason is now the WBO NABO Champion and climbing up their ratings. Now that Felix Verdejo (whom Flanagan was supposed to fight) has been injured, I think Menard stepping in would make for a great match-up.”
However, Menard says he has his doubts that Manchester’s Flanagan will take the bait.
“Let’s just be real, after what I did to the last skillful southpaw (Mamadjonov) with only two weeks’ notice, I doubt he wants these problems.”
DiBella Entertainment Signs Fernandez and Roman
Looking to add to its ever growing stable of young, up-and-coming talent, DiBella Entertainment (DBE) has announced the signing of undefeated Spanish prospect Jon Fernandez and Puerto Rican amateur standout Jose Roman to exclusive long-term promotional contracts. Both Fernandez and Roman will be making their DBE debuts on the upcoming special edition Broadway Boxing card in the Premier Ballroom at the beautiful Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT, next Thursday, September 1. Broadway Boxing is proudly sponsored by Nissan of Queens, OPTYX, Azad Watches, and Christos Steakhouse.
“I am happy to be coming back to Foxwoods with another great card, and to have the opportunity to showcase these two new additions to the DBE roster,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Promoting Sergio Martinez was one of the highlights of my career and I am proud to say that he and I have forged a lifelong friendship. Sergio told me that Jon is one of the best young fighters he has seen in a very long time, and I look forward to helping build the career of Jon Fernandez here in the States with my friend and great champion Maravilla.”
Regarding Roman, DiBella continued, “Jose Roman was a terrific amateur, and gained invaluable experience fighting on the Puerto Rican national team. He was one of the most sought out amateurs on the island and we are thrilled for him to call DBE his home. We are looking forward to featuring him in the US, as well as in Puerto Rico, and building him in front of the huge Puerto Rican fan base here on the East Coast.”
At just 20 years of age, the junior lightweight Fernandez (8-0, 6 KO’s) is one of the most promising young prospects to come out of Spain in years. Standing at 5’11”, Fernandez is extremely tall for the 130lb. division and has devastating power in both hands. Fernandez caught the eye of former middleweight kingpin and future Hall-of-Famer Sergio Martinez when he was still fighting as an amateur. Martinez immediately saw star potential and signed Fernandez to his promotional company, MaravillaBox Promotions, in 2015 and soon after began courting the young Fernandez to his own former promoter Lou DiBella. DiBella and Martinez made things official in June, signing Fernandez to a co-promotional deal at this year’s Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) awards dinner, where DiBella received the James A. Farley award for honesty and integrity in boxing.
“This is a dream come true. I still cannot believe it,” said Fernandez. “I am very grateful to Lou DiBella, one of the most important and prestigious promoters in the United States, for the trust and belief that he has placed in me and to Sergio (Martinez) for the potential he saw in me as a boxer. Boxing is my life and I want to be the best. Following in the footsteps of Sergio and becoming a world champion like him is my lifelong dream.”
“I have been watching Jon fight since his amateur days and truly believe that the sky is the limit for him,” said Maravilla Martinez. “With each passing fight, he continues to show vast improvement and I believe that he has the ability to become not only a future champion but a future star in this sport. Jon has to stay focused and continue to work, to learn and to give everything he has to this sport. For Jon to have the opportunity to sign with Lou at just 20 years old, an opportunity that I did not have until I was already 32, is amazing and he has to take full advantage of it. Jon has to destroy everything that is put in his path and with time, patience and hard work, he will achieve greatness in this sport.”
A native of the boxing rich city of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Roman began boxing at 13 years of age amassing a stellar 124-17 record along the way. Roman joined the Puerto Rican national team in 2012, winning three consecutive national championships from 2013-2015.
“I couldn’t be more excited to get my career underway behind such a great promoter as Lou. DiBella has done tremendous work with so many great fighters over the years, and I am looking forward to growing and shining under the DiBella Entertainment banner. It is every fighter’s dream to fight in the US, and now I have the opportunity to make my pro debut here, and for that I want to thank my manager Ricardo Figueroa and my trainer Emilio Lozado for getting me this amazing opportunity,” said Roman.