Pedraza, Stevenson, Ready To Impress On Horn-Crawford Undercard
By: Sean Crose
“Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza is nearing a title shot,” a Top Rank press release declared on Tuesday, “while Shakur Stevenson is well on his way.” Both Top Rank fighters will now find themselves on the undercard of much anticipated WBO welterweight title bout between Jeff Horn and Terence Crawford. Puerto Rico’s Pedraza will put his 23-1 record on the line by facing the 22-0 Antonio Moran. “I am excited because this will be my first fight in Las Vegas, which everyone knows is the fight capital of the world,” Pedraza claims. “I am determined to give a great performance…I know Moran is a good fighter and coming to upset my plans, but I have worked very hard to make sure that does not happen. I expect to be victorious on June 9 and will continue to show I am a force at lightweight.”
The WBO Latino Lightweight title will be at stake when Pedraza faces Moran on June 9th at the MGM Grand in Vegas. The bout will be aired on ESPN+, along with the Crawford-Horn main event. As for Olympic star, Stevenson, the 6-0 New Jersey native will face the 16-1 Aelio Mesquita in an eight round affair in the featherweight division. “I’ve gotten the chance to fight at Madison Square Garden,” says Stevenson, “and now I’m ready for my Las Vegas debut at MGM Grand on June 9…there have been so many historic fights in that arena and now it’s my turn. It’s always fun to fight on Terence’s undercards. The Crawford family has adopted me, so I’m going to put on a great performance for them and everyone watching at MGM and on ESPN+.”
The 26-0 Jose Benavidez will also be battling that night as he faces the 22-0 Venezuelan Frank Rojas. Having won all but one of his fights by KO, the hard hitting Rojas will present quite a challenge for Benavidez when they meet in a 10 round welterweight affair. “I have 21 knockouts in 22 fights,” Rojas claims. “On June 9, I will add another knockout to my record…I’m coming for you, Benavidez! I’m 100 percent ready to give the fans a great fight. I hope you are ready because I’m going to knock you out. I’m going to rip his head off. Get ready.” As for Benavidez, he appears eager to face the challenge. “”I hope that Rojas trained hard and that he comes well prepared,” he says, “because I’m determined to stop him.”
“Rojas will not touch me at all,” Benavidez adds. “He will not rip my head off because I’m going to rip his head off first.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Groves, Eubank, Barrios, Garcia, Stevenson, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 6th to February 13th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Undefeated Light Contender Mario Barrios Steps Up Elite Training with SNAC System
Undefeated 140-pound contender, Mario “Nino de Oro” Barrios (20-0, 12 KOs) takes his strength and conditioning to an elite level with Victor Conte’s SNAC System. Barrios will face Eudy Bernardo in a 10-round bout on SHOWTIME BOXING on SHO EXTREME Saturday, March 10 from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
In preparation for his homecoming fight, Barrios has begun training with SNAC track coach and living legend Remi Korchemny, one of the world’s best elite performance trainers. Barrios is entering his third week with Korchemny, who’s worked with Andre Ward, Demetrius Andrade and Nonito Donaire to name a few. Korchemny sees significant improvement with Barrios’ speed and explosiveness.
“Barrios is a world class athlete with a tremendous work ethic and I see him getting stronger as we continue our rigorous training methods.” said Victor Conte, CEO/Founder of SNAC Nutrition supplements. “Barrios has really taken the next step to becoming a more explosive fighter. Remi and Mario are working great together.”
“Remi is having me do workouts that I have never done before, and our focus is on speed and explosiveness,” said Mario Barrios. “I am grateful to Victor Conte and Remi Korchemny for providing such top-level training prior to my big fight on Showtime.”
“Remi Korchemny is a world-renowned trainer who helps elite boxers develop more power in their punches.” Victor Conte concluded. “This is next level preparation. Only a select few are able to work with Remi and Barrios is definitely worthy.”
TMB and PRB Entertainment Sponsored by MIkey Garcia Promotions Presents Friday Night Fights
TMB & PRB Entertainment, sponsored by Mikey Garcia Promotions, present “Friday Night Fights”, live professional boxing Friday, March 9, 2018, from the Mi Mercado Event Center in San Antonio, TX. The card will showcase ten fights, all featuring hot prospects in 4-round bouts.
Undefeated featherweight sensation and San Antonio native, Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (4-0, 2 KOs) vs. Jose Casiano (0-1) will serve as the main-event. In the co-feature, Arnold Alejandro (5-0, 4 KOs) battles Christian Santibanez (5-7, 3 KOs).
“We are very excited to be working with TMB & PRB Entertainment,’ said Robert Garcia, who runs and operates Mikey Garcia Promotions. “Mikey and I want to build a great boxing series here with my good friends Rick Morones and Greg Hannley of Prince Ranch Boxing. I know with hard work we can bring a lot of big fights to San Antonio.”
“Mikey and Robert Garcia bring great name recognition to the boxing community here in San Antonio,” said Rick Morones of TMB & PRB Entertainment. “Our local fans are asking for more boxing events and we are delivering. We are thrilled to be working with the Garcia family and March 9th is going to be a great night of boxing.”
Rounding out the card will be super bantamweight’s Angel Alejandro (1-0, 1 KO) vs Jose Elizondo (2-4-1), super middleweights Eddie Hunter Ortiz (5-0-2, 3 KOs) vs. Edward Tigs (4-7-3), lightweight’s Frank “Bloodhound” Brown (3-1-1, 1 KO) vs. Joe Sombrano (2-11-1, 2 KOs), super middleweight’s Tommy Kamara (0-1) vs. Patrick Clarke (Pro Debut), bantamweights Aaron Morales (Pro Debut) vs. Carlos Lopez (Pro Debut), and Featherweight Louie “King” Coria (6-1, 4 KOs) vs. TBA. More bouts to be added on a later date.
Multiple division world champion Mikey Garcia, former world champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, 3-time world champion Abner Mares, and world title contender Josesito Lopez, will all be special guests at the event.
Ringside tickets priced at $100, and general admission $30, are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (210) 449-5599 or (210) 322-9974. The Mi Mercardo Event Center is located at 227 New Laredo Hwy, San Antonio, TX. Doors open at 6:30 PM, first bell at 8:00 PM.
Super Middleweight World Champions George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. World Boxing Super Series Semifinals Airing on Super Channel in Canada
World champions “Sir” George Groves and Chris “Next Gen” Eubank Jr., both fighting out of the United Kingdom, will open World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) semifinals-round action in the super middleweight division, this Saturday at Manchester Arena in Manchester United Kingdom.
The Groves vs. Eubank Jr card, starting at 2 p.m. ET, will air live in Canada, exclusively on Super Channel.
The Groves-Eubank Jr. winner will advance to the WBSS championship final against the winner of the other WBSS super middleweight semifinals bout, Feb. 24 in Germany, between Juergen Braehmer (49-3, 35 KOs) and Callum “Mundo” Smith (23-0, 17 KOs). The two semifinals victors will battle for the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Super Channel acquired the exclusive rights in Canada to broadcast the World Boxing Super Series from MP & Silva, a leading international media company that provides media rights, digital, technology and sponsorship services.
Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) knocked out defending champion Fedor Chudinov in the sixth round to capture the World Boxing Association (WBA) super middleweight title last May. In the WBSS quarterfinals, Groves stopped previously undefeated Jaime Cox in the fourth round. All three of Groves’ pro losses have been to world champions, twice to his fellow countryman Carl Froch and Badao Jack.
“The hype behind this fight is huge,” Groves said. “I hope the fight justifies it. On paper, this is billed as a 50-50 fight with Eubank Jr. maybe even or being made the favorite. I don’t really understand that. I think the form, the history, the experience, the ability all lie in my favor and I’m looking forward to a big night. It’s a semifinal in a tournament I expect to win, so it’s a stepping stone, another step on the way for me.
“Chris Eubank Jr. puts on a façade that he’s able to do everything himself, that’s he’s a one-man band. But it’s very difficult doing stuff on your own, so we’ll see if he starts to make changes and adapts. He’ll have to. Obviously, this is his first really big fight, definitely at super middleweight, and I believe that he is going to fall short in a lot of categories.”
The son of two-time, two-division world champion Chris Eubank, Eubank Jr. was crowned International Boxing Organization (IBO) super middleweight world champion a year ago, when he knocked out Renold Quinlan in the 10th round. He successfully defended his belt last June, taking a 12-round unanimous decision over three-time, two-division world champion Arthur Abraham (46-5). In the WBSS quarterfinal round, Eubank Jr. stopped Avni Yildirim (16-0) in the third round.
“I’ve had many big fights, but this is probably the biggest in terms of profile, the tournament and hype,” Eubank Jr. commented. “But at the end of the day, I always rise to the occasion. The bigger the fight, the better I perform.
George seems to be hung up on what I’ll do. He needs to worry about himself. Thinking about me isn’t going to get him anywhere. I’m a man of my word and George, you will not see the end of the 12th round. He doesn’t have speed, his defense is poor, and his stamina is average, at best. The fact that he’s lacking in those things means he won’t be able to compete with me. I’m not a stepping stone, I’m Mount Everest, and you’re not going to climb me.”
Four potentially explosive fights, including three title matches, are on the “Groves vs. Eubank, Jr.” card, presented by Sauerland Event, airing exclusively in Canada on Super Channel.
The 10-round WBSS Super Middleweight Substitute Fight features undefeated Brit Zach Parker (14-10, 10 KOs) vs. Adasat “Toro” Rodriguez (16-6-2, 10 KOs), of Spain. British middleweight titlist Tommy Langford (19-1, 6 KOs) defends his title against challenger Jack Arnfield (25-2, 6 Kos) in a 10-round bout, and British featherweight champion Ryan Walsh (22-2-1, 11 KOs) takes on unbeaten challenger Isaac Lowe (14-0-2, 5 KOs) in a 12-rounder. Two “swing bouts” could air pending results of the televised bouts: four-round light heavyweight match between pro-debuting Sebastian Eubank and Poland’s Kamil Kulczyk (2-8, 1 KO) and a six-round bout between a pair of British welterweights, Danny Craven (3-1, 1 KO) and Luther Clay (6-1, 3 KOs).
Sullivan Barrera “After Ward, Bivol is My Toughest Challenge
Top light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera is working hard in the second half of his training camp for his March 3rd HBO televised clash against WBA light heavyweight champoin Dmitry Bivol.
The 35-year-old former Cuban amateur standout has been on quite a run. After losing a unanimous decision to the now retired former pound-for-pound king Andre Ward, Barrera has put together a four fight win streak against the likes of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Paul “Pay Per View” Parker, Joe Smith Jr. and the hard hitting Felix Valera.
While that is an impressive list, Barrera knows that none of those opponents are as formidable as the challenge that lies ahead of him on March 3rd at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
“Bivol is a great fighter. He will be the second best fighter I have faced and second only to Andre Ward,” said Barrera. “He has a great amateur pedigree and has been knocking out the majority of his opponents. I know I need to bring my ‘A’ game to beat him.”
Bivol has stopped his previous four opponents and only 2 of his 12 victims have made it to the final bell. Barrera has a lot of respect for his opponent and believes his power is legitimate.
“He has knocked guys out with one punch. I know I have to be careful in there. He is a very confident fighter. He knows he has power and knows how to get in position to use it. That is why I am taking him very seriously,” Barrera explained.
Barrera knows that a victory over Bivol will open a lot of doors as fights against champions like Sergey Kovalev, the Adonis Stevenson-Badou Jack winner and Artur Beterbiev could be available to him but the Cuban refuses to look ahead.
“March 3rd is all that matters. God willing I get the win and then we can talk about future plans but right now I am focused on Bivol. I know I have to concentrate on him and give him all of my attention,” said Barrera.
Olympic Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson Set to Open 2018 in Impressive Fashion in Reno
From 2013 through 2015, 2016 Olympic silver medalist and featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.) (4-0, 2 KOs) opened his competitive year in Reno, Nev. He will return to that tradition in 2018, kicking off the year in an eight-round featherweight contest versus Juan Tapia (Brownsville, Texas) (8-1, 3 KOs) on Friday, February 16 at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino’s Grand Theater.
Competing in Reno has always been a good luck charm of sorts for Stevenson with his run to both Junior and Youth World titles, a Youth Olympic Games gold medal and even his berth in the 2016 Olympic Games all beginning with domestic competitions in the “Biggest Little City in the World.” The Grand Sierra will also be a familiar venue for Stevenson who earned three straight Junior and Youth Open titles in the hotel as a teenager.
It’s only fitting that he prepares for his return to Reno and first eight-round bout at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the new USA Boxing training facility now showcases an action shot of the 20-year-old proudly on the gym wall.
Stevenson is training for his fifth professional fight with coach Kay Koroma and alongside the USA Boxing National Team, which includes three teammates from his home gym, the Alexandria Boxing Club in Alexandria, Va. He even enjoyed a special visit from Olympic gold medalists Andre Ward and Claressa Shields earlier in his training camp and Ward, Stevenson’s co-manager, will be ringside for Stevenson’s bout on February 16.
He looks forward to kicking off 2018 in impressive fashion after scoring four professional wins in 2017, including two TKO victories in New York, near his hometown of Newark. He hopes to be even busier in 2018 as he works toward his goal of becoming a World Champion.
Stevenson and his team will conclude training camp this weekend and travel to Reno on Monday in preparation for his February 16 bout. His fight will take place on the undercard of the Ray Beltran – Paulus Moses World Championship fight which will be televised on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Derrick Webster Earns Win Number 25
Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster (25-1, 13 KOs) was back in action on Saturday night at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, battling gritty opposition in power-puncher Francisco Cordero (38-10, 29 KOs). All but one ringside judge scored it a complete shutout for Webster, who earned the win via counts of 80-72 twice and 79-73.
“He was a tough opponent,” Webster said of Cordero. “He definitely wasn’t as fast as me and couldn’t move with me. I knew he didn’t like the body shots, so I probably should have gone to the body a little more. I was also landing left hooks on him, but he had a strong base. After not fighting since August, I was knocking a lot of ring rust off, but I ultimately came out and did what I needed to come away successfully with another victory.”
Webster was working the jab early in this contest, establishing his range and keeping his hands busy. In the second frame, he began tossing some throwaway jabs that he followed-up with a straight right hand down the middle, something that would be successful for him throughout the evening. He continued to do a nice job of keeping Cordero on the edge of his attack, and he looked to be in complete control by the time the middle rounds arrived.
Cordero had trouble getting inside the 6-foot-4 frame of Webster, as his offense quickly became restricted to a two-punch combination of an attempted jab to the body and a wild overhand right. Throughout the bout, Webster was able to continually read Cordero correctly, and he repeatedly missed with those shots.
In the latter rounds, Webster mixed in flurries while keeping Cordero distanced on the perimeter of his range, which prevented his opponent him from being able to get much offense going. Webster eventually put the exclamation point on the bout with a fast start to the eighth and final frame before finishing off a strategic win that never allowed Cordero to bring his power into play.
The victory stands as the 25th win for the Glassboro, N.J. native, a prestigious mark that was clearly significant to him.
“It means everything,” Webster said of reaching 25 victories. “I’m a student of the game, and I will remain a student of the game so I can keep on growing.”
With his first fight of the year now under his belt, Webster looks to springboard this win into a busy 2018. He hopes to step back into the ring as early as March.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo, Crawford Dazzles in Impressive Performance
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo,
By: William Holmes
The ultra-talented and underappreciated Terence Crawford headlined tonight’s HBO World Championship Boxing Card live from Madison Square Garden in New York City as he took on former Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz.
The untelevised undercard featured some of Top Rank’s best prospects, including gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov and the man many consider to be the best prospect from the US Olympic Boxing team of 2016, Shakur Stevenson.
There were no notable upsets on the undercard.
Unfortunately for Top Rank, Terence Crawford’s ability to draw in New York City appears to be questionable, as the top section of Madison Square Garden was empty and there were numerous empty seats in the lower section of the arena.
The first bout on the televised card was between Jonathan Maicelo (25-2) and Ray Beltran (32-7-1) for the NABF, NABO, WBA International, and in an IBF World Title Elimination Bout in the lightweight division.
Maicelo, surprisingly, had a large number of fans in attendance and they were very vocal during the ring entrance and announcements.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Beltran was clearly the bigger fighter. Beltran pressed forward in the opening round while the crowd loudly chanted “Peru, Peru!” for their boxer Jonathan Maicelo. Maicelo was able to score a surprise knockdown on Beltran from a combination to the body and an accidental head-butt in the first. The clash of heads opened up a cut over the left eye of Maicelo and the left eye of Beltran. Beltran was able to hurt Maicelo with a left hook at the end of the round.
Beltran pressed forward to start the second round and opened up with an early left hook. Maicelo was able to respond with a solid four punch combination followed by a hard shot to the body. Maicelo looked energized and landed another combination on Beltran by the ropes. However, beltran later responded with a vicious left hook that sent the back of Maicelo’s head crashing hard on the mat.
Maicelo was out cold and the referee immediately stopped the bout. Ray Beltran wins by a vicious knockout at 1:25 of the second round.
The main event of the night was between Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz (19-1) and Terence Crawford (30-0) for the WBO and WBC Super Lightweight World Titles.
Crawford, who had a noticeable height advantage, was active with his jab early on and chose to come out in a southpaw stance against the Diaz, who is a natural southpaw. Diaz was short with most of his punches and reached for his left hook while Crawford was active with his jab.
Diaz was able to land a good left hook early in the second round and later fell to the mat with a pushdown afterwards. Crawford was sharp with his jab for most of the second round and landed a sharp double uppercut combination in the middle of the round. Diaz was able to land a hard right hook near the end of the second that caught Crawford off guard.
Crawford hard a commanding third round and opened it up with a crisp counter left uppercut on a charging Diaz. Crawford’s accuracy with his jab continued in the third round and he was able to land several hard two punch combinations on Diaz.
Diaz was warned for a low blow in the fourth round, but more concerning for him was that Crawford’s accuracy showed no signs of letting up while Diaz’s face was beginning to show signs of swelling from Crawfrod’s accurate assaults.
Crawford dominated the fifth round which was punctuated by a left cross right jab combination and a hard left uppercut.
Crawford toyed with Diaz in the sixth round and seemingly touched Diaz with his gloves whenever he wanted to. Diaz was able to land some good punches in the seventh round and they had several good exchanges, but Crawford appeared to get the better of Diaz.
There was some trash talk between both boxers in the eighth and ninth rounds, but Crawford was landing combinations at will and the intensity of his punches showed no signs of slowing down. He had Diaz momentarily stunned in the ninth round with a hard left cross to the temple of Diaz.
Ringside doctors took a hard look at the eyes of Diaz before the start of the tenth round but decided to let him continue. Crawford took no pity on the plight of Diaz and battered him from ring post to ring post in the tenth round and toyed with him, again.
Diaz walked back to his corner at the end of the tenth round looking like a defeated man and his corner wisely decided to call of the fight.
Terence Crawford wins by TKO at the end of the tenth round in an impressive and dominant performance.
Undercard Quick Results:
Steve Nelson (7-0) defeated Gilberto Rubio (7-5) by TKO at 0:36 of the second round in the light heavyweight division.
Henry Lebron (2-0) defeated Johnny Estrada (0-2) by TKO at 0:52 of the second round in the super featherweight division.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (2-0) defeated Agustine Mauras (6-3-3) by decision with scores of 80-72 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.
Konstantin Ponomarev (32-0) defeated Edward Paredes (37-7-1) by decision with scores of 78-74 on all three scorecards in the super welterweight division.
Teofimo Lopez III (5-0) defeated Ronald Rivas (5-6-2) by knockout at 2:21 of the second round in the lightweight division.
Tong Hui Li (9-1) defeated Daniel Calzada (14-17-3) by decision in the super welterweight division with scores of 60-54 on all three scorecards.
Shakur Stevenson (2-0) defeated Carlos Suarez (6-4-2) in the featherweight division wins by TKO at 2:35 of the first round.
Stevenson, Ramirez, Valdez Win In Top Rank’s Saturday PPV Card
Stevenson, Ramirez, Valdez Win In Top Rank’s Saturday PPV Card
By: Sean Crose
Olympic star Shakur Stevenson debuted in winning fashion Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Edgar Brito, who entered the ring with a record of 3-2 was being overwhelmed when a headbutt stopped the fight at the end of the fifth round of the scheduled six round affair. The early stoppage led to a sooner than hoped for judge’s decision. Needless to say, all three judges gave the nod to Stevenson. It may not have proven to be the explosive debut Stevenson or his team at Top Rank promotions had probably hoped for, but it was a win nonetheless.
Next up was Gilberto Ramirez, who, at 34-0, was stepping into the ring to face 34-4-1 Max Bursak for the WBO super middleweight strap. Ramirez appeared sharp in the first, landing effectively. The second, however, looked to be a closer affair. Still, it was obvious that Ramirez was the better of the two fighters. In fact, Bursak’s only true moments of note were when he was deducted points in the fifth and eleventh rounds for holding. Long story short, Ramirez, who has made it clear for a while now that he’d love to fight middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin, won by unanimous decision.
It was time for the 21-0 Oscar Valdez to defend his WBO featherweight strap again the 25-1 Miguel Marriaga in front of the StubHub crowd of over five thousand people. Suffice to say, the fight was close, with Valdez having a slight edge over his opponent most of the time, but with Marriaga always staying in the contest. To be sure, several rounds may have been difficult to judge after the first. It was most certainly an action fight. And it remained one until the very end. Afterwards, Valdez was awarded a unanimous decision win – one that, although fair of the surface of things – may have been a bit too wide in favor of the champion.
The card, which aired on PPV courtesy of Top Rank promotions, certainly won’t break any records. It’s been said that even Top Rank honcho Bob Arum knows this won’t come out a financial barnburner. Still, the entertaining man event made the evening a success. It also added to the allure of the StubHub Center, which now has a reputation for being the home of high octane fights with lots of fireworks. Too bad fans couldn’t watch Saturday’s bouts without digging inside their wallets.
Rio 2016 Boxing Recap
Rio 2016 Boxing Recap
By: Matthew N. Becher
All the medals have been awarded and the Rio Olympics have finally come to a close with last night’s ceremonies. In the Boxing division a lot of great fights took place, future world champions got to display their talents to the masses and controversy still reared its ugly head as it always does in this sport. Here were some of the highs and lows of what took place in the past 2 weeks.
USA captures 3 medals:
The US team won more boxing medals then it has in over a decade. Nico Hernandez was able to win a Bronze medal to start off the pace. Shakur Stevenson lost a heartbreaking split decision to Cuban, and now two time Olympic Gold Medalist, Robeisy Ramirez. Stevenson was awarded a Silver medal and will now most likely look to turn professional. And rounding out the Americans that medaled, the Golden Girl, Claressa Shields took home the gold medal for the second time in two Olympics.
Uzbekistan ruled the podium:
The country of Uzbekistan took home 7 medals in all (3 Golds, 2 Silvers & 2 Bronze). They were represented from the smaller fighters to the bigger, and have now officially cemented their name onto the international scene with the showing in these games.
Hasanboy Dusmatov, the Light Flyweight Gold Medalist, was awarded the Val Barker trophy for the most outstanding male competitor. Dusmatov is also the first of the amateurs competing in this year’s Olympics to sign a professional contract. (He has signed on with South African Promoter Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves)
The Pro’s couldn’t cut it:
In a year that eliminated the head gear, the International Boxing Federation also allowed Professional fighters to compete with the Amateurs for the first time. This was a hot topic throughout the boxing world, with many seeing it an unfair advantage to let a seasoned veteran compete with amateur fighters. It turned out to be a non-topic. As most amateurs were not threatened by the professionals being allowed to compete, they proved themselves right. The two most well-known pros that turned out for the games, Hassan N’Daam of France and former world champion Amnat Ruenroeng could not get passed the first round and the round of 16 respectively. The amateur style was not to their ability and both will now have a difficult time with backlash in their pro careers.
Allegations of Fixed matches, again:
In the history of the games match fixing has been the black eye of the sport. The fights of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Roy Jones are two of the most famous that have ever taken place, and this year saw a few too many fights that seemed to follow suit.
AIBA was forced to take a look at fights that many felt were clearly swayed by dishonest referees and/or judges. AIBA issued a statement that agreed that some negligence may have played a role, but that no evidence could be found in the ‘fixing’ of fights. Several Judges and Referees were excused from the games early (though they were not named) and AIBA did not overturn any of the results. It is a very difficult process to manage the amateur boxing officials, but more thought and efforts need to go into the games. It seems that this happens in every Olympics now, and it is hurting the sport in a great deal.
Claressa Shields becomes history:
Claressa Shields is only 21 and may be the best female boxer on the planet. She capped off her time in Rio, the same way she did in London, with a Gold Medal. Shields became the first US boxer, Male or Female to win two gold medals. She was also awarded the Val Barker trophy for the Most Outstanding Female boxer in the games.
Shields right now is at the top of her sport and has options. She can show up again and go for the three peat, which only 3 boxers have ever done before. Or she can turn pro and try and weave her way through the Female boxing scene, which has historically not been so rewarding to its fighters.
Either way, she is a very bright star in the sport and she will be at the top for a long time.
See you all in four years, 2020, when Tokyo plays host.
2016 Olympics Underway As Americans Look to Seek Gold!
2016 Olympics Underway As Americans Look to Seek Gold!
By: Ken Hissner
The Olympic Games are in Rio, Brazil, with boxing opening up on Saturday but no Americans have fought yet through first 3 rounds.
There are 3 CA boxers and 2 from KS on the 10 man team of the USA. At Super heavyweight is Marlo Moore, of Hayward, CA, light heavyweight is Jonathan Esquivel, of Anaheim, CA, and at lightweight is Carlos Balderas, of Santa Maria, CA. At heavyweight is Cam Awesome, of Lenexa, KS, and at light flyweight Nico Hernandez, of Wichita, KS. At middleweight is Charles Conwell, of Cleveland Heights, OH. At welterweight is Philadelphia’s Paul Kroll. He is the lone Philadelphia boxer.
There were 3 others Philadelphia boxers who have turned professional after not winning a spot. The most talented is now welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis who has won by knockout in all 5 of his fights in 5 months. Moving up a weight class is Christian Carto who has won both of his bouts by stoppage. He will be making his Philadelphia debut August 26th at the Sugar House Casino. At super heavyweight Darmani Rock has won all of his 4 bouts, 3 by knockout in 4 months. 11-0 for the Philadelphia threesome who were Olympic Alternates in 2016.
At light welterweight is Gary Antuanne Russell, of Capitol Heights, MD. One of the boxers favored to get the Gold is Bantamweight Shakur Stevenson, of Newark, NJ. Rounding out the 10 team member is Antonio Vargas of Kissimmee, FL.
In some of the past history of the Olympics there have been 3 boxers who have won 3 Gold Medals. First was Hungary’s Laszlo Papp winning in 1948 in London, 1952 in Helsinki and 1956 in Melbourne. Promoter Lou Lucchese once told me he tried contacting Papp’s people hoping he would come to the US to fight then middleweight champion Joey Giardello out of Philadelphia. Next thing he knew the FBI was at his door. Seems Papp was not allowed to leave Europe per the Communist country of Hungary. After a bout in October of 1964 he was told he wasn’t allowed to fight again by the government and that he could not fight for a world title in 1965. He was 27-0-2 and European champion.
Then came the well-known Cuban heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson winning Gold in 1972 in Munich, 1976 in Montreal and 1980 in Moscow. Most recently Cuba’s heavyweight Felix Savon won Gold in 1992 in Barcelona, 1996 in Atlanta and 2000 in Sydney. Many rumors had Stevenson coming to the US to fight World Champion Muhammad Ali but they were only rumors. There was no way the Castro brothers were allowing Stevenson to come to the US and be exploited by Ali.
In 1904 in St. Louis American Oliver Kirk won Gold medals at 125 and dropped 10 pounds in a week to win at 115. Eddie Eagan (1920) won a pair of Gold Medals in boxing and part of the 4-man Bobsleigh. Cincinnati’s Rau’shee Warren competed in 3 Olympics in 2004, 2008 and 2012 without medaling. The USA team hasn’t won a Gold Medal since 2004 when Andre Ward took Gold at 178. 2000 was Gold empty. 1992 and 1996 brought in a Gold Medal apiece. The 1996 Gold medal went to Philadelphia’s David Reid. Oscar “Golden Boy” De la Hoya of East L.A. won Gold in 1992.
In 1988 there were 3 Gold medal winners. At Heavyweight Ray “Mercilless” Mercer. Kennedy McKinney took the Bantamweight Gold medal. Andrew Maynard won the Gold medal in the Light Heavyweight Division.
In 1984 without Russian, East Germany and Cuba competing the USA team took 9 Gold Medals. They were won by Paul Gonzales, Steve McCrory, Meldrick Taylor, Pernell Whitaker, Jerry Page, Mark Breland, Frank Tate, Henry Tillman and Tyrell Biggs.
The USA 1976 team in this writer’s opinion was the greatest Olympic team ever. They won 4 Gold Medals and all winners went onto win world titles in the professional ranks. They were John Tate, Michael and Leon Spinks along with “Sugar” Ray Leonard. This writer did a story about 1976 vs 1984 with Manny Steward of the Kronk Gym and Joe Clough of the Tacoma Boy’s Club who trained 5 Gold medalists along with this writer as judges. The 1976 team won 8-3.
1956 Heavyweight Gold Medalist Pete Rademacher made his professional debut losing to 1952 Gold Medal Olympian and then World Heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson. Current WBO Super featherweight champion Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko was a two-time Gold Medalist in 2008 and in 2012. He challenged for a world title in his second pro fight losing. Then winning the WBO featherweight title in his third fight. He took his current title in his seventh fight.
There have been numerous Gold Medal winners who would go onto becoming world champions in the professional ranks. Starting with Ray Leonard (1976), and his teammates were Michael Spinks, Leon Spinks and Leo Randolph. Leon would win the world heavyweight title in his 8th fight defeating Muhammad Ali. From the 1984 team were Mark Breland, Meldrick Taylor, Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, Virgil Hill and Frank Tate.
Others were Italy’s Maurizio Stecca (1984), Cuba’s Joel Casamayor (1992), Ray Mercer (1988), Jackie Fields (1924), David Reid (1996), Hungary’s Istvan Kovacs (1996), Andre Ward (2004), Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux (2000 and 2004) won the interim WBA World Super Bantamweight title in his 7th fight and in his 9th fight the WBA World Super Bantamweight tite, George Foreman (1968), Oscar De la Hoya (1992), Fidel La Barba (1924) UK’s Anthony Joshua (2012), Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa (2004), Canada’s Lennox Lewis (1992), KAZ Vassiliy Jirov (1996), Italy’s Nino Benvenuti (1960), Muhammad Ali then Cassius Clay (1960), Argentina’s Pascual Perez (1948) and Joe Frazier (1964) to name a few.
There have been anywhere from 47 to 49 Gold Medals won by USA boxers since 1904. This writer counted 47 in 22 Olympics over a 112 year period. On the women’s team there is Claressa Shields who won a Gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. The other woman is Mikaela Mayer. The 3 men are Gary Antuanne Russell, Shakur Stevenson and Antonio Vargas. All 5 may be long shots but you never know in boxing especially this Olympics there will be no headgear. Let’s root them on!