How Severely Will The Corona Virus Impact Boxing?
By: Sean Crose
It’s doubtful anyone can remember anything like it…at least in North America. Fears of, and precautions for, the Corona virus outbreak have now seeped into every aspect of society. Boxing has been no exception. Although the virus has yet to make a strong impact on the sport, its effects are being felt throughout the fight business. As of press time, this Saturday’s Top Rank card is still a go at Madison Square Garden. How full the arena will be, or if fans will even be able to attend live, remains a question. With the NBA having suspended its entire season, anything seems possible.
“As we speak,” Bad Left Hook quotes Top Rank honcho Bob Arum as saying, “there are no plans to cancel.” The long time promoter is clear that he’ll take his cues from the State of New York.
Saturday’s Premiere Boxing Champions’ card outside of Washington is still, as of press time, a go, both for the fighters involved, as well as for those who wish to attend the James Kirkland headlined event. Both the Top Rank and PBC cards are to be televised. The Top Rank card will be aired live on ESPN, while the PBC card will be broadcast live on Fox Sport’s 1.
Being a sport where events are held before large groups of people, boxing may well be in line for a series of cancellations, or postponements. Aside from the NBA, other major events have been cancelled or otherwise impacted by the Corona virus. The SXSW festival won’t be happening in 2020. The NCAA basketball tournament will be played in empty arenas.
Musicians from Madonna to Pear Jam to Mariah Carey have either postponed or canceled events entirely. At the moment, no fight cards of note have been altered.
Like much of society, boxing’s powers that be appear to be in a state of wait and see. With the threat of a mass outbreak looming, precautions obviously have to be taken. With so much money at stake with upcoming fight cards, however, no one wants to be quick to pull the plug on already scheduled events unless it’s absolutely necessary to. This is especially true of cards featuring high profile boxers such as Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, Dillan Whyte, Sergey Kovalev and Canelo Alvarez (who many expect to face Billy Joe Saunders in early May).
Boxing Insider will keep readers updated as events unfold.
Shakur Stevenson vs. Miguel Marriaga, Magdaleno vs. Lukas Fight Preview
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City will be the host site for a Top Rank Promotions boxing card. This event will be televised live on ESPN starting at 10:30 p.m. ET.
The co-feature of the evening will be a bout between former world champion Jessie Magdaleno and the unbeaten Sakaria Lukas in the featherweight division. The main event will be between US prospect Shakur Stevenson and Miguel Marriaga. Stevenson’s WBO Featherweight title will be no the line.
The undercard will feature boxers such as Edgar Berlanga, John Bauza, Frederic Julian and Matthew Gonzalez.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Jessie Magdaleno (27-1) vs. Sakaria Lukas (23-0); Featherweights
Magdaleno is a former champion, who only experienced one loss in his career to Isaac Dogboe in 2018. He looks to get back into the title picture with a win over the inexperienced Sakaria Lukas.
Magdaleno has eighteen stoppage victories, two more than Lukas. Both boxers have been fairly active in the past three years. Magdaleno fought twice in 2019, once in 2018, and once in 2017. Lukas fought twice in 2019 and three times in 2017.
Magdaleno has a big edge in age over Lukas. He is still in his athletic prime at 28 years old. Lukas is thirty five years old.
Magdaleno also has a significant edge in level of opposition faced. He has defeated the likes of Rafael Rivera, Rico Ramos, Nonito Donaire, Rey Perez, Erik Ruiz, and Roberto Castaneda.
Lukas has no notable wins. In fact, this appears to be his first fight in the United States and only his second fight outside of Namibia. His most notable wins were against Nbodana Ncube, Tello Dithebe, Mudde Ntambi, and Oscar Chauke.
Magdaleno also has the edge in amateur experience. He’s a former US National Golden Gloves Champion. He also comes from a boxing family as his brothers Diego and Marco also box. Lukas has no notable amateur experience.
This is a fight that Magdaleno should win convincingly and impressively. A win by Lukas would be considered a massive upset.
A fight against Stevenson could be on the horizon for Magdaleno if both are victorious on Saturday.
Shakur Stevenson (13-0) vs. Miguel Marriaga (29-3); WBO Featherweight Title
Shakur Stevenson is one of Top Rank Promotions’ most prized prospects. In only his twelfth fight he was able to win the WBO Featherweight title against Joet Gonzalez.
His opponent, Miguel Marriaga, came up short in his three other title shots.
Stevenson and Marriaga are about the same height, and Stevenson will have about a one inch reach advantage over Marriaga. Stevenson is also eleven years younger than Marriaga.
Marriaga does have some knockout power, as he has twenty five stoppage victories on his resume. Stevenson has stopped seven of his opponents.
Marriaga’s losses came to Vasiliy Lomachemko, Oscar Valdez, and Nicholas Walters. All three of these losses came in title matches. He has defeated the likes of Alfredo Mejia Vargas, Ruben Cervera, Guy Robb, Adones Aguelo, and Christopher Martin.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Alberto Guevara, Christopher Diaz, Jessie Rosales, Viorel Simion, Carlos Ruiz, and Roxberg Riley.
Stevenson has been extremely active in the past two years. He fought four times in 2019 and five times in 2018. Marriaga fought twice in 2019, 2018, and in 2017.
Stevenson also has an edge in amateur experience. He was an Olympic Silver Medalist for the United States while Marriaga has no notable amateur accomplishments.
This is a fight that Stevenson should win convincingly. A much more compelling fight between Stevenson and Magdaleno appear to be on the horizon.
Shakur Stevenson: A Left Handed Floyd Mayweather?
By: Hans Themistode
What were you doing at 22 years old?
Most likely you were in school or working at some job that made you feel like your life was in purgatory as you tried to figure things out.
For Shakur Stevenson, at the age of 22 he just won his first world title when he easily outpointed Joet Gonzalez this past Saturday night.
The talent of the former Olympic silver medalist has always been apparent, but now, he has put everything together.
Comparisons in boxing, or any sport for that matter, is a common occurrence. Both the fans and media alike aren’t content with just watching an outstanding athlete dominate. They must place a comparison on them.
Kobe Bryant was always compared to Michael Jordan. Lebron James has continued to hear about the Magic Johnson comparisons. Tom Brady and Joe Montana are seemingly joined at the hip as well.
Comparisons aren’t a bad thing. To the contrary, it can lead to a ton of pressure. Well, that is only if the person allows it. Comparing one former great player to a current one is one of the biggest forms of flattery that can be shown.
Shakur Stevenson is a newly minted world champion in just his 13th professional fight. It really doesn’t make any sense just how phenomenal he is at such a young age. The way in which he dominated Joet Gonzalez, who is by all means a solid fighter in his own right, was downright impressive.
One person who has been around longer than seemingly everyone is Stevenson’s manager, Bob Arum. The one of kind promoter has seen his fair share of great fighters. Comparing them to their past counterparts is something that Arum has done on countless occasions. It comes as no surprise to see Arum compare his young star to another fighter he once had under his stable. Yet, the one he was referring to, did raise a few eyebrows.
“I thought it was a really magnificent performance,” said Arum. “In a lot of ways, it reminded me of a left-handed Floyd Mayweather.”
That’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it? To juxtapose Stevenson and Mayweather this early in his career says a lot about the talent of Stevenson already. Let’s not forget that Mayweather did win multiple titles in five different weight classes to go along with ending his career with a perfect record through 50 fights. If Stevenson can even come close to that than he is destined for the hall of fame.
Arum wasn’t the only notable name who was impressed with Stevenson. Multiple division champion and current pound for pound stalwart Terence Crawford emphasized the growth he has seen in Stevenson from when he first started to where he is now.
“He’s grew tremendously,” Crawford said. “He’s getting stronger. He’s getting wiser. He’s getting more sharper. He’s getting more comfortable in the ring. When I first sparred Shakur, he was just a little kid. You know? And now, we sparring, he’s learning so much in the ring by just sparring me, you know, he’s trying things on me that I do on him on me now. And I look at it and I say, ‘OK, well, he’s not just sparring me now. He’s picking up little bits and pieces of things that I do inside the ring.”
From the moment Stevenson came onto the scene there was no doubting his greatness, but he has made his mark far quicker than anyone could have imagined. If he continues his rapid rise to the top he might, again might, live up to the lofty expectations placed upon him.
Full Circle: From the Trials, to the Olympics, to the Title
By: Kirk Jackson
Roughly four years ago, Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KO’s) was fighting for a spot on the 2016 United States Olympic team roster, facing off against and defeating the talented Ruben Villa to earn his position on the team.
The U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials, held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, was the first glimpse of greatness, audiences were able to witness on national level, for New Jersey native.
After snatching a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, fast-forward to present day with his quick ascension to world champion, the path has come full circle.
Returning to Reno, Nev., this past weekend, Stevenson realized his dream, capturing the WBO featherweight title, defeating Joet Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KO’s) over the course of 12 rounds.
“I came here to Reno, closer to his hometown, and wiped him out,” said Stevenson who went 12 rounds for the first time. “So, it’s an amazing feeling, being that I grinded for this my whole life.”
What makes his performance even more impressive, is the emotional build up leading up to the fight. There was an ongoing clash between the two camps – much pertaining to Stevenson dating the younger sister of Gonzalez.
Along with the drama comparable to Romeo and Juliet, Stevenson’s father recently passed away. To stay locked in and focused, in spite of all of the possible overwhelming emotions, says a lot about the character, resolve and concentration of Stevenson.
During this one-sided affair, Stevenson displayed technical, defensive mastery, similar to previous pound-for-pound greats that dominated (and still dominate) boxing. Greats like the late Pernell Whitaker, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Andre Ward and Terence Crawford.
Perhaps this performance isn’t surprising; as noted previously, the talent and potential was always there. The application of hard work and willingness to learn helps harvest the product we see today.
And as mentioned in previous interviews, Stevenson revealed he studies other boxers and patterns himself after Whitaker, Mayweather and Crawford.
“I watch real defensive boxers who know how to get out of the way of punches and come back,” Stevenson said.
When you have great Skills like @ShakurStevenson does & has great Hall of Fame Quality supporters to follow they footsteps as in @andreward & @terencecrawford .. As long as he focused he will be very hard to beat! Beyond skies the limit!!!
— Eddie Chambers (@champfasteddie) October 27, 2019
Stevenson’s promoter Bob Arum, the CEO of Top Rank Boxing was impressed by the performance, comparing it to that of a fighter who used to fight under his banner.
“I thought it was a really magnificent performance,” Arum told reporters post-fight. “In a lot of ways, it reminded me of a left-handed Floyd Mayweather.”
Heralded as a young prodigy, under the tutelage of his grandfather Wali Moses, Stevenson is meeting benchmark after benchmark and the immediate question after this display of wizardry is what lies ahead progressing forward?
Arum alluded to Stevenson moving up in weight in the near future, as the appears to be the natural progression for guys considered to be top pound-for-pound fighters. “I want him to fight a couple more fights before he moves up,” Arum said.
But before Stevenson moves up in weight, hopefully the current trend of world title unifications continue and Stevenson can compete in unification bouts against the likes of IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington (30-0, 7 KO’s), WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. 30-1, 18 KO’s), WBA (Super) featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KO’s) or against WBA (Regular) featherweight champion Xu Can (17-2, 3 KO’s).
Standing firm as one of the youngest world champions in boxing, along with recently crowned WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (23-0, 15 KO’s), 20-years-old, two-time WBC super-middleweight champion David Benavidez (22-0, 19 KO’s) 22-years-old, and 24-year-old Gervonta Davis (22-0, 21 KO’s), these fighters stand tall as pillars ushering in the new, great generation of talent moving forward.
However, one distinction Stevenson has over the aforementioned fighters, is at age 22-years-old, he is the first male fighter from the 2016 Rio Olympics to win a world title.
The first fighter from the 2016 Rio Olympics to win a world title is Claressa Shields (9-0, 2 KO’s). The current unified (WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF, The Ring champion) and undisputed female middleweight champion was in attendance to support her boxing family.
Also featured on the card, Olympic teammate and fellow Top Rank stablemate Mikaela Mayer (12-0, 5 KO’s), stopped Alejandra Soledad Zamora (7-4, 1 KO) in six rounds to retain her NABF title.
“I am ready for the next challenge. I want a world title,” Mayer said post-fight. “I think for the past two years I have shown that I am ready for a world title. I have shown it by easily dispatching all the fighters that have been put in front of me.”
Another fighter coming “Full circle” of sorts, also featured on the card this past weekend, is JJ Mariano.
Around the time Stevenson was fighting at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Reno, Nev., Mariano was competing and winning two national titles for the University of Nevada Reno, boxing team.
The Sparks-Reno native Mariano, won his second pro fight, defeating Sean Cerveny by unanimous decision in their welterweight bout and improving to (2-0, 1 KO).
Led by former super lightweight world title contender, and longtime trainer Pat “Paddy” Jefferson, along with fellow national champion Jarred Santos, Mariano aims to win world titles and blaze his own path in the boxing world. Much like Shakur Stevenson.
Stevenson Defeats Gonzalez To Win WBO Title
By: Sean Crose
The Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada hosted a night of Top Rank Boxing on Saturday, featuring a card that was aired live on ESPN +. The main event was the battle for the WBO featherweight title between the 12-0 Shakur Stevenson and the 23-0 Joet Gonzalez. Before the main event, however, two other fights were presented for the live ESPN + audience. First, the 21-1-1 Joshua Greer Jr faced off against Cleveland’s 19-2-2 Antonio Nieves. The scheduled 10 rounder was for a couple of minor titles (the World Boxing Council Continental Americas Bantam Title, and the World Boxing Organization NABO Bantam title).
The first round was a tight affair, with neither man allowing himself to truly unload on his opponent. The second round didn’t showcase an inordinate amount of action, either. Things began to pick up in the third, as both fighters began to find their sea legs. Nieves landed a terrific left at the beginning of the fourth, but was unable to capitalize on it. In the fifth, it appeared as if Greer was searching for a big shot that he had yet to land. Still, the fight remained close. Nieves landed well and got aggressive at the end of the sixth.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Greer came out blasting in the seventh, though Nieves was able to survive and engage throughout the rest of the round. Greer landed well in the eighth, before dropping Nieves with a low blow. Yet Nieves ended up closing the round by landing well himself. Greer began to dominate in the ninth of what had slowly become an entertaining match. Greer went down in the tenth, and the two fighters had to be separated at the final bell. Greer was still able to walk away with the UD win.
The next fight saw the 11-0 former Olympian Mikaela Mayer facing the 7-3-0 Alejadra Soledad Zamora for the NABF Female Super Featherweight title. The match was a scheduled 10 round affair. Mayer dropped her opponent in the first. To her credit, Zamora got back to her feet and exchanged throughout the round. Still, the first belonged to Mayer. The second round was exciting, as well, with both women trading shots. Mayer was controlling the fight, but Zamora was brave and game. The bout remained aggressive throughout the third.
The fourth saw Mayer start to beat up her opponent. The skill deficit had started to become obvious. Mayer continued to beat up Zamora in the fifth. The bout was about at the point where it no longer was necessary to continue the proceedings. The sixth showcased more of the same from the previous few rounds. In between rounds, Zamora’s father/trainer wisely and kindly stopped the bout.
It was time for the main event. The first round was basically a feeling out process, though Stevenson was able to jab a bit and throw some straight rights to the body. The second round saw Stevenson continue to do the same while Gonzalez feinted a lot, but didn’t do much else. The third and fourth rounds were identical – with Gonzalez missing his target and Stevenson landing point friendly, Olympic style punches. After five it was clear Gonzalez would have to unleash his inner Marcos Maidana if he hoped to have any chance of winning. Gonzalez had a stronger round in the sixth than he probably had in the previous five rounds, but his skill level was nowhere near that of his foes.
A mauling Gonzalez and a strangely inactive Stevenson told the story of the seventh. Stevenson regained control in the eighth. An aggressive Gonzalez stalked Stevenson in the ninth. Stevenson was no longer as dominant as he had been earlier in the fight – but he was still winning. Still, the rising star’s lack of activity seemed to cost him the tenth. Stevenson regained control in the eleventh, then went on to dominate the twelfth. Needless to say, Stevenson won a wide decision victory, along with a world title.
Shakur Stevenson Fighting For More Than Just a World Title
By: Hans Themistode
Time sure does move fast doesn’t it?
It feels like just the other day, every one associated with the red, white and blue were pulling for Shakur Stevenson to bring home the gold medal in the 2016 Olympics.
Well, 2016 wasn’t that far away now was it?
Just three short years ago, Stevenson was dazzling the crowds in Rio De Janeiro. He made everyone back home in America proud as he brung home the silver medal. There was no need for Stevenson to stay in the unpaid ranks. He proved that he could hang with many of the top boxers in the world.
His decision to turn pro was an excellent one. 12 fights with no defeats provides credence to that statement.
Like other pro fighters, the road to the top was supposed to be a slow one. There was no need to rush him, he was after all, just 18 years of age. Unlike many young fighters who enjoy working there way from prospect, to contender to world champion, Stevenson was impatient.
After two years of fighting easy opposition, Stevenson made a huge statement earlier this year when he outclassed former title challenger Christopher Diaz. It was an eye opening performance. Stevenson gave a glimpse of what the future would be like, but who knew that the future would be coming so soon.
After knocking out Alberto Guevara in just three rounds in his most recent ring appearance. Stevenson had effectively worked his way to the mandatory position in the WBO sanctioning body. He will now fight for the vacant world title when he takes on Joet Gonzalez at the Reno Sparks Convention Center, in Reno, Nevada.
What should be your typical championship level fight, is anything but normal at this point.
Stevenson and Gonzalez have a history together. One that is a bit messy once you dive into it. Stevenson is currently dating Gonzalez’s sister. Jajaira, who is a terrific boxer in her own right, met Stevenson several years ago and developed a bond with him. That bond however, is one that her older brother and Stevenson’s opponent would like to see change.
“I never liked him since the amateurs,” he says, enumerating the ways of his dislike: “Fake-ass handshake… Loud, obnoxious, disrespectful… The way he dresses, half his ass showing. That ain’t no style. I mean, you think that looks cute? Come on, man, pick up your pants.”
Stevenson has since fired back with taunts of his own.
“He’s a bitch,” said Stevenson.
Although the main storyline of this rivalry has been the relationship between Stevenson and Gonzalez sister, there is something else that hasn’t garnered nearly as much attention.
While preparing for the biggest fight of his life, Stevenson suffered a major loss in his life. The death of his father Alfredo Rivera. Their relationship has been a rocky one over the years but Stevenson does hold a broken heart when he enters the ring.
“If I’m being honest with you, I’m bipolar,” Stevenson said of his relationship with his father. “I’m a bipolar type of person. Sometimes me and him would talk, and sometimes he’d reach out to me and I’d kind of shy away from him because I still had some anger inside of me. I’m dealing with it well. I’m hurting because that’s my blood. That’s my Dad and I can’t go and look him in the face, knowing he’s not here no more. At the end of the day, he did love me and with my boxing, he loved what I became.”
What was supposed to be nothing more than a title shot has morphed into a love story and much more. Hopefully the winner of this contest can put everything else behind them. For Stevenson however, that might be much easier said than done.
Fight Preview: Greer vs. Nieves, Stevenson vs. Gonzalez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Night the Reno/Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada will be the host site for a Top Rank Promotions Card that will be televised live on ESPN+.
Former Olympian Shakur Stevenson will be fight for the vacant WBO Featherweight Title as he takes on veteran Joet Gonzalez. The co-main event of the night is a bantamweight fight between Josh Greer and Antonio Nieves.
Other bouts on the card include a female junior lightweight bout between Mikaela Mayer and Alejandra Soledad Zamora.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions Website
Boxers such as Albert Bell, Frank De Alba, Jason Sanchez, Andy Vences, and Mark Bernaldez will be fighting on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Josh Greer Jr. (21-1-1) vs. Antonio Nieves (19-2-2); Bantamweights
Josh Greer is a young prospect that has been extremely active since 2017. He fought twice in 2019, four times in 2018, and four times in 2017. His opponent, Antonio Nieves, is seven years older than him and has not been as active. He fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017…in which he lost both fights in 2017.
They are the same height and Nieves will have about a two and a half inch reach advantage over him. Neither boxer is known for their power, Greer has twelve stoppage wins while Nieves has eleven. However, Greer has won four of his past five fights by stoppage.
Nieves does appear to have an edge in amateur experience, as he was a National Golden Gloves Silver Medalist while Greer does not have any notable amateur titles or medals.
Greer has defeated the likes of Nikolai Potapov, Giovanni Escaner, Daniel Lozano, Glenn Dezurn, and James Smith. His lone loss was to the undefeated Stephen Fulton and he has a draw with Mario Ayala. Both his loss and draw were early on in his career.
Nieves has defeated the likes of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Christian Esquivel, and Alejandro Santiago Barrios. His losses were to Naoya Inoue and Nikolai Potapov.
This should be an intriguing and possibly close fight. Nieves has been in the ring with some very tough opponents and Greer is a young up and coming contender. Greer has to be considered a slight favorite in this fight, and it should help determine if he’s a legitimate challenger or not.
Shakur Stevenson (12-0) vs. Joet Gonzalez (23-0); WBO Featherweight Title
On paper, this looks to be the toughest fight of Shakur Stevenson’s career.
Stevenson will have a two inch height advantage over Gonzalez, but that will be negated by the two inch reach advantage that Gonzalez has. Both boxers are young, with Stevenson being twenty two years old and Gonzalez being twenty six years old. Both boxers are undefeated as a professional and have been fairly active.
Stevenson fought three times in 2019 and five times in 2018. Gonzalez fought twice in 2019 and three times in 2018. It appears that Gonzalez might have a slight edge in power as he has stopped fourteen of his opponents while Stevenson has only stopped seven. But three of the past four fights by Stevenson have resulted in a stoppage victory.
Stevenson does have a significant edge in amateur experience and accolades. Stevenson was a former US National Champion as an amateur and a Silver Medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Gonzalez has no notable amateur championships.
Stevenson is a southpaw and Gonzalez fights out of an orthodox stance. This can often be a problem for less experienced fighters, but for a boxer with the amateur pedigree of Stevenson, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Alberto Guevara, Christopher Diaz, Jessie Cris Rosales, Viorel Simion, and Aelio Mesquita. Every boxer Stevenson has defeated had a winning record at the time.
Gonzalez has defeated the likes of Manuel Avila, Rodrigo Guerrero, Rafael Rivera, and Derrick Murray.
This fight will be a good test for Stevenson as he chases his first legitimate world title. Gonzalez should challenge him, but Stevenson is one of the sport’s brightest prospects and it’s likely he will show the world why on Saturday night.
The Future is Now For Shakur Stevenson
By: Hans Themistode
The fast track is a route that many new fighters are taking. Gone are the days of slowly building a fighter into a championship contender. Nowadays everyone feels as though they are ready for the big leagues.
WBA Featherweight champion Gervonta Davis won his first world title at the age of 21. Former WBC Super Middleweight champion David Benavidez captured gold at the age of 20. Although many of these young fighters are finding success, it doesn’t mean that they should be pushed in that direction.
Some fighters, including the aforementioned Gervonta Davis, David Benavidez and pour-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko elected to move their careers faster then normal. It may have been criticized at first, but those critics have proven to be wrong. The norm however is for a fighter to have to wait his turn before getting his shot at a title. All-time great Carl Froch was 31 years old before he became a world champion. The recently retired Ishe Smith was 34 before he could officially call himself a world champion as well.
What Davis and Benavidez have done is an outlier not the norm.
Another fighter who seems to be following the new trend of spectacular young fighters looking for a shot in the bright lights sooner rather than later is Shakur Stevenson.
Stevenson has star power. Tons of it.
Ask anyone involved in the sport of boxing and they will tell you that Stevenson will be the Floyd Mayweather of his generation. He’s that good.
Everyone remembers Stevenson’s captivating run during the 2016 olympics. He brung America exactly where it belongs. Back in the forefront.
During the 2016 Olympic Games, Stevenson was the talk of the town. Every time he stepped into the ring, he won. It came as no surprise to see Stevenson in the finals with a chance at gold hanging in the balance. He would however come up short in his bid to become the first American boxer since his idol, Andre Ward in the 2004 Athens games.
The loss for Stevenson did nothing to dampen his star. If anything, it enhanced it.
With nothing left to prove for Stevenson he turned pro. It’s only been two years since he has made that decision but he has shown exactly why it was a good one. Because of his willingness to face stiff competition at such an early point in his career, Stevenson has been rewarded with a number one ranking in the WBO sanctioning body. He now is on a collision course with the number two ranked fighter Joet Gonzalez, for the vacant title later on this year.
Everything seems to be moving fast. Just three short years ago Stevenson was fighting for a gold medal. Fast forward to 2019 and he will now be fighting for gold once again, only this time, of another variety.
Some fighters need time, preparation and patience before they are simply thrown into the lions den. For Shakur Stevenson, this is not a step to a bridge too far for him to cross.
He’s a special fighter.
Many thought Stevenson would be the future of boxing. He has other plans. Stevenson wants his future to start right now.
Stevenson Easily Dispatches Guevara, Greer Skates by Potapov
By: William Holmes
The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey was the host site for tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Card.
The undercard was streamed on ESPN+ and the telecast started off with a an IBF Bantam Weight Eliminator between Joshua Greer Jr. (20-1-1) and Nikolai Potapov (20-1-1).
This fight started off slower, with both boxers feeling each other and Potapov using his height to his advantage with sharply timed counters. Greer appeared to have trouble getting to his offense in the second round, and was slightly outlanded by Potapov by the third round.
Greer kept his feet moving in the fourth round and looked like he was gaining confidence and throwing more punches. Greer kept up the high pace in the fifth round and had outlanded Potapov 51-36 punches by this round. Greer was able to land several clear shots to the body.
Potapov was able to land a few good punches in the sixth round, but Greer was still picking off most of Potapov’s punches. Potapov was the aggressor in the seventh round and landed several good straight right hands in the center of the ring.
Potapov looked like he wasn’t deterred by Greer’s alleged power in the eight round and was landing good counters and punches in bunches. The ninth round was close, but Greer was the fighter that was pressing forward.
By the tenth round the fight was still up for grabs, and Greer appeared to hurt Potapov with body shots in this round.
Greer’s corner stressed the importance of winning the final two rounds in order to win the fight, and he appeared to listen to his corner and pressed the action while looking for the knockout.
His late fight surge appeared to have been just enough. The judges scored it 114-114, 116-112, and 115-113 for Joshua Greer Jr.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing
The main event of the night was between Shakur Stevenson (11-0) and Alberto Guevara (27-4) for the NABO Featherweight Title.
Guevara has had great success in Mexico, but little to none outside of it.
Guevara took the fight on short notice and didn’t look like he was in the best of shape. Stevenson opened up the first with a good lead right hook and was pressuring Guevara from corner to corner. Guevara looked scared to exchange with Guevara and spent most of the opening round on his bike.
Guevara was chased again by Stevenson in the second round and took several had punches to the body. One body led to a knockdown, but Guevara was able to get back to his feet. He was pursued by Stevenson again until Stevenson landed a right to the chin of Guevara and sent him down for a second time in the second round.
Stevenson continued to hunt down Guevara in the third round, but landed a left hand below the belt on Guevara and the referee gave Guevara time to recuperate. The fight restarted and Stevenson immediately went on the attack and had Guevara off balance. Stevenson sends Guevara down for the third time in the fight with a combination to the head.
Guevara meekly attempted to get up at the count of nine, but he was badly out matched, and the referee waived off the fight.
Shakur Stevenson wins by KO at 2:37 of the third round.
Shakur Stevenson Isn’t Fazed By Yet A New Opponent
By: Hans Themistode
Undefeated Featherweight contender Shakur Stevenson (11-0, 6 KOs) has grown accustomed to making adjustments. During the 2016 Olympic games, he fought great fighter after great fighter. Each and every time he was forced to make an adjustment. Those in ring adjustments led to the New Jersey born native winning a silver medal.
In Stevenson’s last bout, he once again had to make alterations during a fight. In just his 11th pro bout, Stevenson was matched up against former title challenger Christopher Diaz. The aforementioned Diaz not only won was dominant during his career up to that point, but he also managed to stop five of his past six opponents as well. Stevenson made it look easy as he cruised to a unanimous decision victory.
On July 13th, Stevenson will receive a hometown bout in Newark, New Jersey, at the Prudential Center. The undefeated Hairon Socarras (22-0-3, 14 KOs) was first reported to have taken the bout against Stevenson. Shortly after, for reasons that are still unclear, Socarras pulled himself from the bout.
Socarras, who is known as a boxer puncher, was replaced with the hard hitting Franklin Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KOs). It was a contrast of fighting styles but as previously mentioned, Stevenson had no issues alternating his fight game plan.
With just a few days left til the fight, Manzanilla, for reasons that were also unspecified, pulled out of the fight as well. Stepping in to take his place is former will be former two time title challenger Alberto Guevara (27-4, 12 KOs).
Once again, Stevenson will be tasked with taking on an opponent with a completely different style than what he was preparing for. To the credit of Stevenson however, he hasn’t complained. He is simply focused on putting on a spectacular performance in front of his hometown crowd.
“I give Alberto Guevara credit for taking this fight when so many fighters won’t step into the ring with me,” Stevenson said. “He’s been in there with some great fighters, even world champions, but nothing can prepare him for me. No matter the opponent, I am going to put on a special performance for my hometown and everyone watching on ESPN on July 13.”
Guevara, on the other hand is not intimidated by the Olympic Silver medalist or his fans. He just simply wants to prove that he belongs amongst the best.
“When I was offered this fight, I did not hesitate. I want to fight the best, and Shakur Stevenson is a very good young fighter,” Guevara said. “The hometown crowd will not phase me. I’m coming to shock the boxing world.”
Shakur Stevenson finally has his opponent finalized. It may take an adjustment or two so that he can perform to the best of his ability, but make no mistake about it, he seems ready to put on a show.
Freddie Roach Sizes Up Shakur Stevenson
By: Hans Themistode
Hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach understands what it means to be involved in a big fight. Come Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, Freddie Roach trained fighter, Christopher Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs) will have a stiff test ahead of him. Diaz will take on highly touted and currently undefeated olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs). It’s a contest that came as a bit of a surprise to the public. With just ten under his belt many feel as though Stevenson’s fight against Diaz is coming much too soon in his career. Count Roach as one of those that feels Stevenson might be biting off a bit more than he can chew.
“He’s a good fighter but he’s still pretty young. Only time will tell if this fight is a bit too early for him but I think so.”
Diaz has just one lone blemish on his record, a 2018 loss against Masayuki Ito for the vacant WBO Super Featherweight title. It was a fight that saw Diaz perform extremely well but he ultimately came up short.
Seldom do you see a young prospect take on such a tough challenge so early in their career. Roach believes in the young prospect from Newark, but how exactly does he feel he stacks up in comparison to young fighters such as Devin Haney and Teofimo Lopez?
“I wouldn’t put him in that category but he is 10-0 so he is doing really well, but no I don’t place him in that same category as those other guys.”
The question begs to be asked. Was Roach serious, or is this just a bit of gamesmanship? Stevenson will have the opportunity to prove Roach wrong come fight night. During Stevenson’s portion of his media day workout, he was asked why he wanted this tough assignment.
“I’m just trying to be great.”
If Stevenson wants to be great then he will have his shot on Saturday night. Diaz is the sort of test that will tell us all whether or not Stevenson has what it takes to be the future star that many have pegged him to be.
Shakur Stevenson Brawl Video Surfaces
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson has become known for his terrific run in the 2016 Olympics where he won a sliver medal. Since he’s turned pro he’s amassed an undefeated record through his first ten fights with six of those wins coming by knockout. His exploits in the ring seems to be leading him towards a title shot very shortly.
For as good as Stevenson has been in both his amateur and brief professionally career, that can all be derailed as the details of his transgressions outside of the ring has come to light.
Stevenson was arrested back in 2018 for an apparent brawl he had while out in Miami celebrating his 21st birthday. Video has recently been released showing what took place. Stevenson is seen on tape along with a friend getting into an argument with another group. From there Stevenson is shown attacking a man, it was a pretty severe beating that Stevenson dished out to the unidentified individual.
Stevenson’s friend who was later identified to be boxer David Grayton was shortly pushed by a female in the opposing group. Grayton wasted no time attacking the woman who shoved him. Grayton also attacked another female who appeared to be trying to break up the confrontation.
It is important to state that Stevenson did not touch any of the females. Shortly after he also grabbed his friend as if telling him that he had done enough.
Although he is shown pummeling a man until he was slumped on the ground we all must refrain from simply judging based off the video evidence. It was clear that something provoked this reaction from Stevenson. In the video it also appears that the group Stevenson had an issue with was of another race. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that this could have been a racially motivated dispute.
The video of this group brawl is a horrible look for Stevenson. With such a bright future ahead of him he as apparently placed that jeopardy. There is no excuse for what he engaged in that night but let’s allow more facts to come to the surface before we all continue too judge this young man.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Crawford and Stevenson Deliver Scintillating Knockouts
By: William Holmes
The CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, the hometown of welterweight champion Terence Crawford, was the host cite for tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card.
The main event of the night was between Terrance Crawford (33-0) and Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0) for the WBO Welterweight Title.
But before the main event, undefeated former Olympian Shakur Stevenson (8-0) met Viorel Simion (21-2) in the junior lightweight division.
Stevenson, a southpaw, used a steady jab early in the first and was able to find his range early with his check right hook. Stevenson landed a crisp two punch combination that sent Simion down to the mat in the first half of the round. Simion got back to his feet but on wobbly legs, and Stevenson landed another combination on Simion who fell face forward again.
Simion got back to his feet again and had to try and withstand an onslaught from Stevenson. Stevenson landed another hard combination that ended with a hard left hook that sent Simion spinning to the ground again.
Simion arose on wobbly legs, and the referee waived off the fight as the round came to an end.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account
Shakur Stevenson wins by TKO at 3:00 of the opening round.
Terence Crawford and Jose Benavidez Jr. were involved in a scuffle at the previous night’s weigh ins, and appeared to have some legitimate bad blood leading into the fight
Benavidez entered the ring first to a loud chorus of boos while Crawford had the support of the crowd behind him.
Both fighters came out in an orthodox stance with Benavidez finding some success early on walking Craword down behind his jab. Crawford switched to a southpaw stance before the end of the first.
Benavidez continued with his jab in the second round, but Crawford began to the target the body. Neither boxer took many risks in the second and could have been scored either way.
Crawford began to land his combination both to the body and head of Benavidez in the third round, but Benavidez’s straight right hand was finding it’s home in the fourth round and he briefly caught Crawford off balance as the round came to an end.
Crawford was landing from unique angles in the fifth but Benavidez was landing some stiff straight right hands in the sixth. Both of these rounds were close, though Benavidez looked like eh was beginning to tire.
Crawford had a strong seventh and eighth rounds as he was continuing to get hit less and less while landing at a progressively higher clip. Benavidez wasn’t able to come forward effectively and looked hampered by his right knee.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account
Crawford looked like he was close to knocking Benavidez down in the ninth round and had Benavidez’s back to the ropes in the tenth. Benavidez attempted to lure Crawford into an exchange in the tenth and eleventh rounds with his back to the ropes, but when they did exchange Crawford looked like landed the better and more accurate punches.
Benavidez needed a knockout in the final round to win the bout and pressed forward in an attempt to finish the bout, but he got hit with a vicious right uppercut that sent him crashing to the mat in a violent fashion.
Benavidez somehow got back to his feet, but was hit with several hard combinations before the referee jumped in to stop the fight and award Crawford the TKO victory.
Terrance Crawford wins by TKO at 2:42 of the 12th round.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Shakur Stevenson, Adonis Stevenson, Don Chargin, Johnson, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 25th to October 2nd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Shakur Stevenson-Duarn Vue Headlines Crawford-Benavidez Undercard
Shakur Stevenson, the 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, will face his steepest test as a professional when he takes on Duarn “The Storm” Vue for the vacant WBC Continental Americas featherweight title on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the CHI Health Center Omaha. Stevenson vs. Vue will be televised on ESPN at 10:30 p.m. ET before pound-for-pound great Terence Crawford’s WBO welterweight title defense against Jose Benavidez Jr.
All undercard bouts will stream live in the United States at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ – the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets to this world championship event are on sale now. Remaining tickets, priced at $178, $103, $63, and $38, not including applicable fees, can be purchased at the CHI Health Center Omaha box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com.
“The world is going to see the real Shakur Stevenson on Oct. 13,” Stevenson said. “With my team, Top Rank, and ESPN behind me, I should be world champion in 2019.”
“I am very thankful for this opportunity,” said Vue, who is promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions and Supreme Hits. “Get ready because ‘The Storm’ is coming!”
Stevenson (8-0, 4 KOs) was one of the most highly touted amateurs coming out of the 2016 Olympics, and less than 18 months since turning pro, he has acclimated seamlessly to the paid ranks. He is 4-0 thus far in 2018, including second-round stoppages against Roxberg Patrick Riley and Aelio Mesquita. The Mesquita victory included five knockdowns and came on the undercard of Crawford’s title-winning June 9 stoppage victory against Jeff Horn in Las Vegas. In his most recent bout, Aug. 18 in Atlantic City, N.J., Stevenson scored an eight-round unanimous decision against Carlos Ruiz, who has never been stopped as a professional.
Vue (14-1-2, 4 KOs), from Madison, Wis., is 2-0 since his only defeat, an eight-round unanimous decision loss to Alejandro Salinas. In his last bout, April 28 in Oshkosh, Wi., he notched a 12-round unanimous decision versus former WBA super bantamweight world champion Nehomar Cermeño.
The ESPN+ undercard broadcast is as followed:
• Mikaela Mayer (7-0, 4 KOs) will take on fellow unbeaten Vanessa Bradford (4-0-2, 0 KOs) in an eight-rounder for the vacant NABF super featherweight title. Mayer is coming off a third-round stoppage on Aug. 25 against former world title challenger Edina Kiss.
• Carlos “El Caballo Bronco” Adames (14-0, 11 KOs) will face Josh “Young Gun” Conley (14-2-1, 9 KOs) in a 10-rounder for the vacant NABF super welterweight title. Adames last fought as the ESPN co-feature May 12 on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jorge Linares card, winning a unanimous decision against Alejandro Barrera.
• Former 140-pound world champion Mike Alvarado (39-4, 27 KOs) will look to make it six wins in a row when he faces Robbie Cannon (16-13-3, 7 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight fight.
• Omaha native Steve “So Cold” Nelson (11-0, 9 KOs) will clash with the durable Oscar Riojas (17-10-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-round light heavyweight bout.
• Ismail “Sharp Shooter” Muwendo (19-1, 12 KOs) will look to rebound from his first career defeat against Andre Wilson (15-11-1, 12 KOs) in an eight-rounder at lightweight.
• Welterweight prospect Keeshawn Williams (3-0-1, 1 KO) will fight Ramel Snegur (2-2-1, 1 KO) in a four-rounder.
• Seattle native and amateur standout Jose Valenzuela will make his pro debut in a four-round super featherweight bout.
Statement from Golden Boy Promotions on Passing of Hall of Famer Don Chargin
LOS ANGELES (Sept. 28, 2018): Today, the sport of boxing lost a legend.
For decades, “War a Week” Don Chargin was universally known as a titan of promoting and matchmaking. His events at the Olympic Auditorium were not to be missed, and along with his wife, Lorraine, he was the linchpin of boxing in California and beyond.
But to those of us at Golden Boy Promotions, he was so much more. He was a partner. He was a mentor. And he was a friend. To say Don will be missed doesn’t come close to explaining the sadness we all feel today.
Johnson Inspired by Smith’s Heroics to “Shock the World”
Callum Johnson is targeting a ‘Callum win double’ and follow gym-mate Callum Smith’s World title win with his own stellar triumph at the elite level when he challenges IBF World Light-Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Saturday night (October 6) live on DAZN.
Johnson’s fellow Joe Gallagher-trained banger Smith knocked out George Groves in Saudi Arabia to win the World Boxing Super Series and bag the WBA Super, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight crowns.
Boston banger Johnson (17-0 12 KOs) knows he has to put in the performance of his career against Russian wrecking machine Beterbiev (12-0 12KOs), but after returning to action with a stunning first round KO of Frank Buglioni in his last outing in London in March – and the 33 year old predicts a violent showdown with the champion on Saturday, and another memorable night for Gallagher’s gym.
“Callum’s win has just inspired me even more to win here,” said Johnson. “It was a stunning performance and he’s the number one in the division now, and that’s what I want to become at Light-Heavyweight.
“I’ve dreamt of moments like this since i was a kid. No one else wants to fight him but I can’t wait to get in there with him. I’m living the dream and I genuinely believe I will shock the world.
“I know about him, if I wasn’t confident I wouldn’t be here. We were amateurs around the same time but we never came across each other to fight, but I would have done then and now we are fighting and it’s on a massive stage for a World title so it’s even better.
“He is a strong, powerful beast and he’s a very good fighter, it’s a tough ask, but it’s a challenge that I am up for and I’m full of belief.
“We’re not going to have to look for each other. He likes to KO people and so do I. We’ll meet in the middle of the ring and let the bombs go. There will be thought involved and we can both box, but we both want to take people out with bog shots, so it’s going to be exciting
“I shocked people [against Buglioni] and I don’t really know why. People had forgotten about me, out of sight, out of mind, but I showed them what I am capable of against Frank. I’ve been written off again and maybe rightly so, but I can KO any Light-Heavyweight in the world, and he’s no exception.
“People said ‘he’s never boxed anyone as good as Frank Buglioni’ – no disrespect to Frank, but I could name 20 fighters I’ve boxed that are better than Frank. Yes, it was in the amateurs with headguards, but just because people hadn’t seen me do it in the amateurs, doesn’t mean that I couldn’t. There’s still a lot more to see from me, my best has not come out in the pros.”
Johnson’s battle with Beterbiev is part of a massive night of action in Chicago, topped by the WBC Silver Welterweight title clash between Jessie Vargas and Thomas Dulorme.
Daniel Roman defends his WBA Super-Bantamweight crown against another Brit, second time World title challenger Gavin McDonnell, Brooklyn’s brash Heavyweight star Jarrell Miller meets Polish legend Tomasz Adamek and local favorite Jessica McCaskill can make history as Chicago’s first women’s World champion when she challenges Erica Farias for the Argentine’s WBC World Super-Lightweight title.
Three debutants grace the bill as Team USA talents Reshat Mati, Nikita Ababiy and Nkosi Solomon lace them up for the first time.
Along with these World stars and promising youngsters, Chicago fight fans will be able to back two of their own on the night, with unbeaten Bantamweight prospect Shawn Simpson joining McCaskill on the card.
Tickets for October 6 are on sale now priced $40, $60, $100 and $200 and are available from:
Online at Ticketmaster: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/07005506EDA47F37
Stevenson’s Mandatory Defense Against Gvozdyk for WBC Light Heavyweight Championship on December 1st
Fans of boxing, prepare your agenda: World Boxing Council (WBC) and lineal light heavyweight world title fight between the champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs) and the mandatory challenger, Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk (15-0-0, 12 KOs), will be held December 1 at Videotron Center in Quebec City.
Tickets will be in presale Wednesday and Thursday and general admission go on sale this Friday at Gestev.com.
International Boxing Federation (IBF) super welterweight mandatory challenger Marie-Eve Dicaire (13-0-0, 0 KOs), North American Boxing Federation (NABF) heavyweight champion Oscar Rivas (24-0-0, 17 KOs), WBC International welterweight Mikael Zewski (31-1-0, 22 KOs) and fan-favorite Sébastien Bouchard (16-1-0, 6 KOs) will also take part in this gala event.
Tickets, starting at $50.50, taxes and service fees included, will be on sale at Gestev.com and Ticketmaster.ca, as well as at the Champions Boxing Club (514-376-0980), GYM (514-383-0666) or by calling 1-855-790-1245.
The “Mandatory” event will be broadcast in the United States on a major network and in Canada on pay-per-view via Indigo, Bell TV and Shaw TV. More details will be given Oct. 9 during a press conference in Quebec City, attended by all the participants of this exciting boxing card.
“We are very excited to be returning to the Videotron Center for this fifth Superman world championship defense in Quebec City, more than anyone else in the history of boxing,” GYM President Yvon Michel said. “The challenger is talented and seasoned. The danger is present, but the belt will remain with Quebecers! The challenge is colossal, but the show will be solid and the evening fantastic, an appointment not to be missed,”
“The clash between Adonis Stevenson and Oleksandr Govdzyk will be the third world championship fight in the young history of the Videotron Center and the second for champion Adonis Stevenson,” added Martin Tremblay, Chief Operating Officer of Quebecor Sports and Entertainment Group. “Fans from all over Quebec will appreciate the quality of this gala. The Videotron Center occupies an important place in combat sports with its sixth event in 2018,”
“I am very proud to be back in Quebec City for this mandatory title defense and offer the opportunity to American viewers and on the international scene to rediscover the beauties of Quebec City as well as the hospitality and the Latin passion of the Quebec boxing fans,” Stevenson commented. “I know many believe December would be the end of my reign against this young undefeated Olympic medalist. The message I am prepared to send with this fight is: I am still the No. 1 light heavyweight and I still have several chapters to add to my journey as world champion. December 1st at the Videotron Center is a personal invitation to Quebec fans. You will not be let down, I will win by KO!.”
“I am one of the best boxers in the light heavyweight division and the time has come for me to prove it to the rest of you,” Gyozdyk insisted. “The WBC gave me this opportunity and I am thankful for it. Adonis has been in this position too long. My time is now!”
“Oleksandr has been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time,” Gvozdyk noted. “He respects Adonis Stevenson as a fighter, but make no mistake, his time is now. ‘The Nail’ is going to leave Canada as the new WBC light heavyweight champion.”
“The WBC championship bout between Stevenson and Gvozdyk will be among the best fights of the year, proclaimed Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “It’s a must-see for all boxing fans.”
Recognized as one of the most powerful punchers, pound-for-pound, in the boxing world, Stevenson will attempt to successfully defend his title for the 10th time on December 1st.
In his last outing on May 19 at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, he fought a draw with former WBA light heavyweight and WBC super middleweight world champion, Badou Jack, in a spectacular fight, while Floyd Mayweather Jr watched from ringside.
World champion since his violent knockout over the American Chad Dawson in 2013, “Superman” will try to hammer his mandatory aspirant nicknamed, at the Videotron Center.
Bronze medalist at the London Olympics, Ukrainian-born Gvozdyk moved to Oxnard, California, to begin his professional career in 2014. He has marched forward ever since, racking up 15 wins in 15 bouts, 12 by knockout.
During his last appearance in the ring on March 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York, he defeated Frenchman Mehdi Amar by unanimous decision to become Stevenson’s mandatory challenger, winning the interim light heavyweight WBC title along the way.
Teammates of Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk, Gvozdyk is a talented and dangerous boxer, as evidenced by his victories by referee stoppage over Yunieski Gonzalez, Isaac Chilemba and Tommy Karpency. In addition, he is now trained by the legendary American trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas.
Unbeaten Ruben Villa Fights in Hometown of Salinas, California on October 13th
Promising featherweight prospect Ruben Villa (13-0, 5 KOs) headlines a talent rich card from his hometown of Salinas, Calif. on Saturday, Oct. 13.
Villa, 21, returns to the Salinas Storm House for the second time this year. The talented southpaw faces Mexico’s Miguel Carrizoza (10-3, 2 KOs) in the 8-round “New Blood”main event.
Villa last fought from the Salinas Storm House in April, when he routed fellow prospect Marlon Olea in route to winning the vacant WBO Youth featherweight championship. It was Villa’s first title since turning professional in July 2016.
The two-time national Golden Gloves winner fights for the fifth time this year after registering six wins in 2017.
“It’s incredible how fast I’ve developed,” said Villa, who is managed by Danny Zamora and trained by Max Garcia. “It feels like it was yesterday that I was in four round fights and now I’m routinely headlining shows.”
The lefty, who sometimes conducts training camps in the sparring rich city of Riverside, Calif., decided to stay close to home for this fight. Him and his team have zeroed in on what is required to defeat Carrizoza.
“He fought my stablemate, Michael Dutchover [undefeated junior lightweight], last year so Mike gave me a pretty detailed scouting report on him,” Villa said. “He’s a bruiser. He likes to come forward and get you onto the ropes or just backpedaling. I know how to fight guys like that. I’ve fought against guys like that before and I’ve seen a bunch of them in previous training camps. We are really comfortable in our game plan.”
Villa is promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing.
Tickets for “New Blood” are priced at $40, $75, & $125, and are available for purchase by calling 714-935-0900, or online at ThompsonBoxing.com.
The Salinas Storm House is located at 185 Maryal Drive in Salinas, CA 93907.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. local time with the first bout at approximately 6 p.m.
All fights will be live streamed on our Facebook page.
The livestream starts at 6:00 p.m. PT / 9:00 p.m. ET with Beto Duran as the blow-by-blow announcer and Steve Kim providing expert, color commentary.
“New Blood” is presented by Thompson Boxing Promotions and Banner Promotions and sponsored by Everlast.
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.”