For Boxing Fans Not Interested in the UFC; Streaming with DAZN and ESPN+ is the New Normal
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the number one PPV attraction in combat sports will defend his world title.
I’m not talking about Floyd Mayweather Jr., the past PPV king who has yet to officially announce the details of his next proposed fight.
I’m talking about Conor McGregor, the UFC’s cash cow who’s set to take on undefeated challenger Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
As recently as last year, if a UFC fight card was on PPV and an outlet like HBO or Showtime put on a competing card, you could expect HBO or Showtime to still get decent ratings.
However, the times have changed and HBO is making an exit from broadcasting boxing and will be completely out of boxing by the time 2019 arrives.
The future for boxing fans is streaming, and the future is here.
One of the bigger complaints against HBO Boxing was that you couldn’t watch a fight on their network live via streaming. You could subscribe to a service like HBO GO without a cable television provider or satellite provider, but you could not watch fights live, only on tape delay. Showtime has that option for their subscribers, which reflects the inclinations of the younger generation to cut the chord and stream their programming and also reflected Showtime’s commitment to the sport of boxing.
Showtime would still probably get good numbers if they were to counter program against the UFC, but they even have a streaming option for fights available for their customers.
HBO has a wide array of programming for their subscribers and charges approximately $15 per month. Some of their consumers got HBO solely for boxing, and would shell out additional money per month for their PPV offerings.
The number of fights that HBO put on yearly has been on the decline, as well as their budget. For the same $15 a month, fight fans can get high quality fights on both ESPN+ and DAZN and a much larger number of boxing matches.
DAZN has contracts to televised both boxing and MMA. They plan to televised 16 boxing events in the United States and 16 boxing events in the United Kingdom with Matchroom Boxing per year. They plan to show 15 World Boxing Super Series events per year with 21 tournament bouts. They have a contract with Combate Americas for thirteen events a year. They also have a contract to broadcast some of Bellator MMA’s biggest events, who have named fighters such as Chael Sonnen, Rampage Jackson, Rory McDonald, Gegard Mousasi, and Fedor Emelianenko under contract.
ESPN+ also has plans to put on a large number of MMA and boxing events on their platform. When ESPN originally announced their contract with Top Rank they indicated they will show at least 12 live fight cards from the US and six international cards. They’ve already signed an extension on that deal that will call for 18 cards to air on ESPN, 12 prime-time cards that will stream exclusively on ESPN+, and 24 premium international events to be shown on ESPN+.
While DAZN has Bellator and Combate Americas; ESPN+ has a contract with the UFC, the MMA powerhouse. The deal that ESPN+ has with the UFC is for 10 UFC Fight Night cards on ESPN and 20 UFC Fight Night cards on ESPN+ per year.
In the past boxing fans who were not fans of the UFC would usually turn to their premium networks to watch boxing during a UFC PPV. This weekend, boxing fans have plenty of other options.
On ESPN+ they can watch a bantamweight bout between Luis Nery and Jason Canoy from Tijuana, Mexico and also watch a junior welterweight fight between Jack Catterall and Ohara Davies from Leicester, England in the junior welterweight division.
On DAZN they can watch a welterweight bout between Jessie Vargas and Thomas Dulorme, as well as an IBF Light Heavyweight bout between Artur Beterbiev and Callum Johnson, as well as a WBA Junior Featherweight bout between Danny Roman and Gavin McDonnell.
Additionally, fight fans can also watch on DAZN a WBA Bantamweight Title bout between Naoya Inoue and Juan Carlos Payano as well as a WBA Junior Welterweight bout between Kiryl Relikh and Eduard Troyanovsky. These bouts are part of the World Boxing Super Series and will be broadcast from Yokohama, Japan.
So while all the hype and marketing this week is behind Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, boxing fans still have a chance to see a high quality card from Chicago and Japan on DAZN, and a boxing card from England and Mexico on ESPN+. If you’re already a subscriber you know of the quality and quantity of boxing fights these services offer.
Finally, the streaming services offer viewers an opportunity to watch an entire card, from opening fight to the main fight, and not just the top two or three fights. This will allow fans to get a better look at prospects early on in their career.
For boxing fans, the price of ESPN+ and DAZN combined is about the same price as a monthly subscription to HBO. But the quality and quantity of content is far greater with these streaming services.
If you’re not a fan of the UFC and are looking for other viewing options, might as well sign up with these streaming services for a month and enjoy.
And get used to it, for streaming is the new normal for boxing fans. At close inspection, it appears to be a better normal.
Stephen Espinoza Believes Mayweather vs. Pacquiao 2 Will Happen
By: Michael Kane
Stephen Espinoza, the President of Showtime Sports, has suggested that the Mayweather v Pacquiao rematch is very likely.
Mayweather faced Pacquiao on the 2nd of May 2015 in what was being billed ‘The Fight Of The Century’ and ‘The Battle for Greatness’.
However the event never lived up to the pre match hype and probably came too late in the career of both boxers.
Mayweather (50-0) won an unanimous decision 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110.
Pacquiao (60-7) went on to win the WBO International welterweight title, defeating Timothy Bradley Jr almost a year after the Mayweather fight.
— Boxing Insider.com (@BoxingInsider) October 2, 2018
Pacquiao then added the WBO world title, defeating Jessie Vargas, later in 2016, only to lose that title to Jeff Horn last year.
He currently holds the WBA Regular world title after beating Lucas Martin Matthysse in July 2018.
Mayweather last fought in August 2017 against UFC champion Conor McGregor, winning by stoppage in the 10th round, a fight that moved him to 50-0 and then told the world he was retired.
How much appeal a rematch between the two greats has, can and will be debated.
“Floyd Mayweather is very serious about the fight, from everything I’ve seen and heard Manny Pacquiao is serious about it as well.” Espinoza said in a media scrum today.
“There is a lot that needs to be done, this year would be a big challenge. Not that we haven’t pulled off stuff in a short time. Like we did with Mayweather – McGregor.
“But I do think we will be seeing the rematch, Mayweather – Pacquiao in short order. I understand people doubted it because of the way it was announced, so to speak, in a viral video but I think that was just Floyd taking advantage of an opportunity in marketing and the way he markets things.”
When asked how does 2019 sound.
“2019 sounds perfect. That way I get a little sleep after this event then we go at Mayweather – Pacquiao 2 right away!”
It would seem the fight is a lot closer than people originally thought.
Not A Shock That HBO Had Their Last Punch
By Rich Mancuso
Say goodbye to Jim, Max, Roy, and Harold. HBO, once the premiere network for boxing, has thrown their last punch and it was a matter of time. The network over the past few years saw a roster of fighters go to the other competition with Showtime, ESPN, and the new streaming DAZN Network. Promoters are utilizing the increasing number of vehicles used to stream fights including ESPN with Top Rank and Eddie Hearn with DAZN as a paid platform.
In other words, this was a fight to survive as HBO and their boxing division tried to stay afloat and placed their revenue into alternative programming. It was just a matter of time and the boxing industry expected the inevitable news that became official Thursday afternoon.
So it appears the rematch with Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, televised on HBO Pay-Per-View, that generated a reported 1.1 buys, was a good and final punch. Though HBO Boxing will continue their scheduled commitments and close shop after October 27th.
That night, a championship doubleheader from New York at the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden, includes a middleweight title fight between Danny Jacobs and Sergey Derevyanchenko for the vacant middleweight title.
HBO could have one more telecast in the works and their year end year special as part of the farewell. A sad day at the network division in New York and gone for now, but a revamp down the road and possibly joining the others as another streaming network to showcase the fights has not been discussed.
“Forty-five years of great memories and boxing,” said a source close to the network. “You hear the rumors and now it has hit that the final punches will be thrown and thank all the legendary fighters and great promoters for the memories.”
But this had to occur and not for reasons that the sport is on a continued decline. To the contrary it is the fighters that make a network work. HBO lost the big names over the past few years to other networks. The Hall of Fame champions saw their last punch.
Reaction from the boxing world is a mixed bag with the closure of HBO and boxing. They were the first and original until the competition gave them a good and lasting fight. Though Peter Nelson, the executive vice president of HBO Sports said, “Our audience research informs us that boxing is no longer a determining factor for subscribing to HBO.”
And that does not hold for the other networks. Simply put, HBO was out of the boxing business as they did not have the names. You can’t draw the audience without Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto. And with the Klitschko brothers reign as heavyweight champions at a conclusion, it was difficult for HBO to be a mix in that division.
For Eddie Hearn, Bob Arum, the PBC alliance with Showtime, they have the fighters and of course the digital platforms that HBO failed to pursue. The sport and exposure has gone in another direction and financial backing is a major role that HBO failed to obtain with their boxing division.
They were left with Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin,Jamie Munguia, Dmitry Bivol, Sergey Kovalev, Daniel Jacobs, Roman Gonzalez, and Rey Vargas. Not the household names that are drawn to the other networks and minimal money to be a part of the competition.
Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter? Names and faces of the sport also associated with the PBC and Showtime. Top Rank with their seven- year and lucrative deal with ESPN has shown the ability to develop that new face.
They have achieved that with Jose Ramirez. The 140-pound champion is a rising star and recently defended the title with a possible fight of the year against Antonio Orozco. That fight was tabbed as one of the highest rated on the ESPN televised platforms.
HBO also failed to mention the decline in cable subscriptions at a rapid rate. The consumer is more geared to other means of obtaining premium networks and the cable industry is aware of that concern.
And by all means, the demise of HBO does not mean that boxing is a dead sport. This is just a sign of the times in a digital era.
“As a person who fought on HBO 32 times and worked with the network to televise hundreds of fights under the @goldenboyboxing banner, I know firsthand the debt of gratitude the sport of boxing owes everyone at the company,” Oscar De La Hoya said on his Twitter account.
De La Hoya, promoter of Canelo Alvarez is a part of that HBO history. Combined the two fights with Alvarez and Golovkin did not surpass the 4,6000,00 buys that Mayweather and Pacquiao brought in during their mega fight in May of 2015 that was televised in conjunction with HBO and Showtime Pay-Per-View.
We grew up with HBO Championship Boxing. Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant,Roy Jones Jr. Max Kellerman and the “Fight Judge” Harold Lederman, in between George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Andre Ward, and a cast of others. And of course a parade of champions.
A slow death it was, The history for now and memories will go a long way in the sport.
Logic Says Pacquiao Wants This Mayweather Fight Again
By: Rich Mancuso
This is no longer a rumor as reliable sources on Tuesday afternoon were able to confirm that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will meet Manny Pacquiao in the ring again as soon as early or mid December. And if that date is not workable then the rematch would take place early next year.
Though numerous sources at Top Rank, who reportedly still have promotional rights with Pacquiao, are not commenting, sources say that Mayweather and Pacquiao meeting last week was more than talk and reality about staging a second fight.
Details as to where, telecast rights, and the financial aspect to all of this are also far from discussion as more talks with the respective Pacquiao and Mayweather camps are planned in the coming weeks. Mayweather, with his promotion would be a major player here and the other principles involved would be more complicated.
When asked about the status of Manny Pacquiao and his business with Top Rank, a source at the promotion would only say, “As far as we know Manny Pacquiao is still under contract.” Though there are reports still circulating that the eight-division champion is done with Top Rank and with other options.
Pacquiao, reportedly has not signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN the global live and on-demand sports streaming service. Matchroom and DAZN is quickly becoming a major competitor to Top Rank and their ESPN deal and to the PBC and their television deals with Showtime and Fox.
A source at Matchroom Boxing could not be reached for comment. So for the moment it’s wait and see, and it is known that Bob Arum is not enthused about being involved in a possible second Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
As for the demand to see a rematch, the boxing fans are skeptical after the outcome of their first and anticipated fight in May of 2015 that generated
As one boxing fan said, and what seems to be a majority of the opinion, “If they are fighting again the only reason I would watch it would be to see if Mayweather can get his 50th win against a professional boxer and not against a guy who had boxing shoes on for the first time.”
The reference, and of course to Mayweather getting a record 50th win against UFC star Conor McGregor last August, a fight that rivaled the record income generated from that first Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and became a reality show with shouting, obscenities, and needed minimal hype.
Which leads to questions and to why this fight could happen again, and real soon between two of the biggest draws the sport has seen the last decade.
Those in the Manny Pacquiao camp are not questioning the rationale. With one or perhaps a few more fights before retiring, the 39-year old and future Hall of Famer stopped Lucas Matthysse for the WBA welterweight belt and regained a piece of that title.
Forget about the bitter and controversial defeats to Timothy Bradley and Jeff Horn, two blemishes on a career that Manny Pacquiao would have wanted to end differently. In his mind, and those close to Manny Pacquiao say, redemption and another fight with Mayweather is what keeps him going.
Other than that, there is not much more Manny Pacquiao can achieve with his latest WBA title added to his resume. Floyd Mayweather, on the other hand, it’s all about the money and the spotlight and again it is a matter of specifics as to how much and who will have television rights.
The public on the other hand? That is the prevailing question about this second fight. Will they buy into it, and different from the first time those intrigued and not into boxing, well they will probably opt to skip this one.
Regardless, count on another meeting and soon because Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, a bit older are still wise when it comes to making a dollar.
Showtime Boxing: Garcia-Porter Preview
by: Sean Crose
Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia will meet in a highly anticipated showdown Saturday night for the WBC welterweight title that was vacated by Keith Thurman. The bout will be the featured attraction on a Showtime card that will begin airing live at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time from the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. Both Porter, 28-2-1, and Garcia, 34-1, have lost close bouts to Thurman. What’s more, this is a match which is essentially seen as an even matchup…as well as a step towards a clearer picture of the welterweight pecking order.
Photo Credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
With Thurman still holding the WBA crown, rising star Errol Spence in possession of the IBF title, and Top Rank promoted Terence Crawford owning the WBO strap, the post Mayweather era has been a bit chaotic for the welterweight division. The infrequent ring appearances of many PBC (Premiere Boxing Champions) fighters like Thurman, Spence, Garcia, and Porter, coupled with promotional and network issues between PBC and Top Rank, have made the discovery of a true welterweight king very hard to arrive at. Still, simply knowing who among the top fighters in the division can best who offers at least some sense of clarity. Stylistically, Saturday’s match between the extremely aggressive Porter and the disciplined, sharp punching Garcia, might also make for intriguing viewing.
This weekend’s card will also feature a WBC weltwerweight title elimination bout between the 22-3 Yordenis Ugas and the 34-3-2 Cesar Barrionuevo. Originally from Cuba and now living in Miami, Ugas has been on a hot winning streak since dropping two bouts in 2014. As for Barrionuevo, this will be the Argentine’s first bout on American soil, where he’s hoping to make a good impression on a road to bigger things. On top of the two welterweight battles, Showtime will also be broadcasting a heavyweight scrap from Brooklyn on Saturday night.
The 25-1-1 Charles Martin was briefly in possession of the IBF heavyweight title until he was trounced by Anthony Joshua in 2016. He’ll be on a two fight win streak when he faces the 17-0 Adam Kownacki on Saturday. Kownacki, originally of Poland, will be something of the hometown fighter, as he now resides in Brooklyn and has had numerous fights in the New York area. Having won all 17 of his bouts by knockout, he’s looking to leave his mark on the live television audience. With all but two of his own wins having been by knockout, however, Martin clearly wants re-establish himself as a top heavyweight.
Boxing guru Al Haymon’s PBC has recently signed a three-year extension with Showtime, which means top PBC bouts will be aired on Showtime for some time to come.
Showtime Sports & Premier Boxing Champions Ink Three-Year Agreement
SHOWTIME Sports and Premier Boxing Champions have entered into a three-year boxing programming agreement extending their long-term partnership. The deal calls for a monthly series of events presented by Premier Boxing Champions to air live on SHOWTIME, ensuring the network’s access to the deepest talent pool in boxing and its continued ability to deliver the industry’s leading programming. The agreement also calls for Premier Boxing Champions to deliver content for a significant expansion of live boxing programming from SHOWTIME Sports coming in 2019. The announcement was made today by Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming for Showtime Networks Inc.
Premier Boxing Champions, a live boxing series created by Haymon Sports, LLC, features more than 160 boxers from around the world. Founded in 2014, Premier Boxing Champions boasts the largest collection of world champions from bantamweight to heavyweight, 14 in total and far more than any other entity in the sport.
SHOWTIME and Premier Boxing Champions have collaborated to set the standard for live boxing where the brightest stars in the sport compete in the most compelling and competitive matchups on a consistent basis.
Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
“Over the past seven-plus years, SHOWTIME has developed the most comprehensive slate of boxing programming in the world,” said Espinoza. “We have consistently been recognized for making the most significant contributions to the sport of boxing, both financially and editorially. Building off our industry-leading live event schedule, this long-term deal with Premier Boxing Champions ensures that SHOWTIME will remain the No. 1 destination for the world’s greatest fighters and their passionate and diverse fans.”
“Premier Boxing Champions is pleased to extend our relationship with SHOWTIME and continue our commitment to providing the best boxing events with the biggest stars across the most popular divisions in the sport,’’ said Tim Smith, Vice President of Communications for Haymon Boxing.
In 2018, SHOWTIME is delivering more live boxing than any other network—more than 30 presentations in total by the end of this year. In 2019, anchored largely by Premier Boxing Champions’ events and including content providers from around the world, SHOWTIME will present an even larger schedule with live boxing from virtually every level of the sport—prospects and contenders, to world championship bouts, world title unifications and pay-per-view tent pole attractions.
In addition, SHOWTIME Sports will continue to grow its burgeoning slate of shoulder programming in support of the sport and its athletes including the three-time Sports Emmy Award winning series ALL ACCESS, the cutting-edge talk show BELOW THE BELT WITH BRENDAN SCHAUB, and digital-only series such as SHO REPORT, FIGHT NIGHT and RING RESUME.
By the end of 2018, SHOWTIME will have presented more than 26-world championship fights this year, including four world title unification bouts and 10 bouts pitting top-five rated opponents from around the world. In all, SHOWTIME will have delivered more than 70 live bouts spanning ShoBox: The New Generation, SHOWTIME BOXING: Special Edition, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING COUNTDOWN, SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and SHOWTIME PPV.
The 2018 lineup, hailed as the strongest in boxing, was revealed in January at the inaugural SHOWTIME BOXING UPFRONT, an event that established a top-flight boxing season and a level of organization never before seen in the sport. Planning for the 2019 SHOWTIME boxing schedule is underway, and the first slate of main event matchups will be revealed in January.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Farmer, Pulev, Fury, Rios, Showtime, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 21st to August 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Kubrat Pulev Promising ‘Fire & Fury’ in IBF Eliminator Against Hughie Fury on October 27th in Sofia, Bulgaria
On Saturday, October 27, “Fire & Fury” will collide, as IBF #2-rated heavyweight contender Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev will face Britain’s IBF #5-rated Hughie Fury in a 12-round elimination bout at the Arena Armeec in Pulev’s hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria.
Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) and Fury (21-1, 11 KOs) will be competing for the right to face the winner of the September 22 showdown between champion Anthony Joshua and challenger Alexander Povetkin.
The event, entitled “Fire & Fury” will be presented by Ivaylo Gotzev and John Wirt’s Epic Sports and Entertainment, together with Fury’s promoter, Hennessey Sports, and will be broadcast live in the UK on Channel 5.
One of the most popular athletes in all of Bulgaria, 37-year-old Pulev is on a five-fight winning streak, including a TKO 3 over former heavyweight champion Samuel Peter. Among his many distinctions, Pulev is a former two-time European and IBF International Heavyweight Champion. He stands 6’ 4 ½” and weighs in around 240 lbs. Pulev’s only career loss came in a challenge for the undisputed heavyweight championship against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. Fury is the fourth opponent scheduled to face Pulev, as Britain’s Dillian Whyte and Americans Jarell Miller and Dominic Breazeale all declined the fight.
Pulev, who will be having his first bout since partnering with Epic Sports and Entertainment, says Fury better not be looking past him while preparing for this fight.
“The fact that Hughie Fury is coming to Bulgaria when many others ran away speaks volumes,” said Pulev. “I understand that he is very motivated because this is an eliminator fight for a chance at the world title. I suggest he stops thinking about the world title for a moment and come prepared for a real battle. I am already in beast mode and I’m hungry for my return in the ring!”
Fury hails from Manchester and is the current BBBofC British Heavyweight Champion and is trained by his father, Peter Fury. The 23-year-old stands 6’ 6” tall and also weighs in around 240 lbs. In September of 2017, Fury suffered his only career loss, a controversial majority decision to Joseph Parker for Parker’s WBO Heavyweight Championship.
“It’s taken a lot of time to make this fight happen and I want to thank all of those involved,” said Hughie Fury. “I want to fight for world titles and to do that I need to beat the guys at the top of the division. Kubrat Pulev is a serious fight for the mandatory position and I know I’ve got to be the real deal to beat him. I believe I’m going to do that in his back yard where others trembled at the thought of it.”
“We want to be involved in these big fight nights and to go up against the big names that lead the division,” added father and trainer Peter Fury. “To become a world heavyweight champion, you’ve got to overcome every challenge that’s put in front of you. And for Hughie that starts in Bulgaria in October.”
“In this day and age, when some promoters and their fighters opt for the safest bets, Hughie Fury has done the opposite,” said Ivaylo Gotzev of Fury, who has faced his own share of delays and disappointments on his way to this eliminator bout. “Fury has decided to step into the Lion’s Den, and fight Kubrat in his home town of Sofia. This matchup is intriguing, as two of the best in the division step up and face one another. We expect a great heavyweight battle – one that will decide one man’s destiny to fight for the most coveted title in the world – the Heavyweight Championship. To all of Team Fury – you are welcome in Bulgaria!”
Hennessy Sports CEO Mick Hennessy, promoter of Fury, said: “First and foremost I’d like to heap praise on my young fighter Hughie Fury. There’s no pantomime and no theatrics. He’s just a young man, full of respect for everyone he faces, and who believes in giving the fans proper fights and value for money. At just 23 years of age Hughie is a massive talent. He’s not perhaps got the plaudits he deserves, so this is his moment to make the boxing world really sit up and take notice of what he’s capable of.”
“I’d also like to thank my counterparts at Epic Sports & Entertainment for making this fight happen. It’s taken a lot to get to this point, but we were determined to give the fans a fight that they deserve. Both teams are excited about this one.”
Uzcátegui and Jerwin Ancajas Headline Oakland Throwdown
IBF super middleweight champion José Uzcátegui, the power-punching boogeyman of the 168-pounders, will face Ezequiel Maderna in the 10-round, non-title main event on Friday, Sept. 28 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
And, in the co-feature, Jerwin Ancajas, the world’s longest-reigning 115-pound world champion, is ready to add another defense to his résumé. The southpaw Filipino sensation will make the sixth defense of his IBF junior bantamweight world title against the hard-charging Alejandro Santiago.
Ancajas-Santiago and Uzcátegui-Maderna will stream live in the United States beginning at 10:30 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.
The undercard will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET and includes a matchup of former 122-pound world champions: Jessie Magdaleno will take on Rico Ramos in a 10-round featherweight bout. Also appearing on the ESPN+ broadcast will be 118-pound contender Joshua Greer Jr. (17-1-1, 9 KOs) making his Top Rank debut in a 10-rounder against Giovanni Delgado (16-7, 9 KOs); the return of Filipino featherweight contender Genesis Servania (31-1, 14 KOs); and 18-year-old featherweight sensation Christopher Zavala (1-0) in a four-rounder.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions and Zanfer Promotions, tickets for this all-action card go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. PST. Priced at $105, $78.75, $52.50, and $26.25, including facility fees, tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at the Oracle Arena box office. The Oracle Arena box office is open Monday-Friday from 12-5 p.m.
“This is my first fight since winning the world title, and I will be representing my country and my beloved Tijuana, Mexico, with pride and guts,” Uzcátegui said. “I will show the world and my opponent why I’m the best super middleweight in the world right now!”
“I am very excited to defend my title in Oakland in front of the great fans there, and I look forward to a great challenge from Santiago,” Ancajas said. “There is a large Filipino community in Northern California, so I expect an incredible atmosphere inside the Oracle Arena. I also want to thank MP Promotions, Sean Gibbons, Top Rank, and Mr. Bob Arum for this opportunity.”
“I want to be a world champion again. I have that fire and that fuel, and I am ready to do whatever it takes to get back there,” Madgaleno said. “I have new trainers, Ismael Salas and Jorge Capetillo, and I feel like it’s been a great move. I feel like I Iacked movement in my last fight, and I felt like I needed to get back to the way I was when I won the world title against Nonito Donaire. Everyone will see a renewed Jessie Magdaleno when I fight Rico Ramos.”
Uzcátegui (27-2, 23 KOs) is coming off the biggest win of his career, an eighth-round stoppage against former world champion Andre Dirrell on March 3. It was a rematch of a controversial 2017 disqualification defeat for Uzcátegui, who was ruled to have knocked out Dirrell after the bell had sounded to end the eighth round. The win over Dirrell earned Uzcátegui the IBF interim title, but he was elevated to full champion after then-champion James DeGale elected to vacate the belt rather than face Uzcátegui. A native of El Vigia, Venezuela, Uzcátegui’s last 10 wins have come via stoppage. Maderna (26-4, 16 KOs), from Buenos Aires, Argentina, turned pro in 2008 and has won three of his past four fights.
Ancajas (28-1-1, 19 KOs) from Barangay Ramirez, Magallanes, Cavite, Philippines, is a southpaw power puncher who has been a world champion since Sept. 3, 2016, when he knocked down McJoe Arroyo in the eighth round en route to a unanimous decision victory. He is one of boxing’s most active champions, having defended his title three times in 2017 and twice in 2018. In his last bout, May 26 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, Ancajas defeated countryman Jonas Sultan via unanimous decision in the first all-Filipino world title bout since 1925. Ancajas is 16-0 with 14 knockouts since his only loss, a 10-round majority decision to Mark Geraldo on March 17, 2012.
Santiago (16-2-4, 7 KOs), a native of Tijuana, Mexico, is riding an 11-bout unbeaten streak dating back to August 2015. He last fought on March 14 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, battling to a spirited draw versus Jose Martinez for the NABO super flyweight title.
Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs) is a former WBO junior featherweight world champion who lost the belt in one of the best fights of 2018. On April 28 in Philadelphia, he knocked down Isaac Dogboe in the first round, but Dogboe rallied to score three knockdowns of his own and knock Magdaleno out in the 11th round of an instant classic. Ramos (29-5, 14 KOs), is a 10-year pro, won the WBA 122-pound title with a shocking, one-punch left hook knockout against Akifumi Shimoda in 2011, but lost the title in his first defense against then-unbeaten Guillermo Rigondeaux on Jan. 20, 2012 in Las Vegas. Ramos has won five in a row since a third-round KO loss against Claudio Marrero in July 2015.
WBC Ambassadors Maureen Shea and Brandon Rios Support the Grand Opening of Virgil Hill’s New Gym Funded by George Lopez
A few months ago, a Simi Valley Boxing Gym lost its owner due to canceR, It didn’t take much for comedian George Lopez and his company Fifty150 (Chasing Dreams – Overcome Obstacles) to step up to the plate and help save the gym the kids loved. This past Saturday, the gym had its Grand Opening ceremony where QuickSilver Hill Sports Academy was presented to the community with Head Coach, Former Champion, Virgil Hill.
In attendance at the Red Ribbon cutting ceremony was Former Champions and WBC Ambassadors, Bam Bam Brandon Rios and Maureen Shea, as well as Golden Boy Boxing’s house DJ Ray and hosting the event was Nancy Rodriguez. The WBC presented Virgil Hill with a WBC Certified plaque, very soon Pepe Sulaiman and team will be going to the gym for workshops and Boxing fundamentals.
The gym had two sparring sessions where both Brandon Rios and Maureen Shea were put in as trainers, which was great to see them in these roles. Many raffles, prizes, photos, autographs from the fighters, free food and drinks for all.
Rios and Shea spoke to the children in attendance and really gave them great advice on following their dreams and never giving up.
On behalf of the WBC, we’d like to congratulate Quicksilver Hill Sports Academy on their Grand Opening and we look forward to seeing them in the Boxing Community.
Showtime to Premiere Cradle of Champions
SHOWTIME has acquired the television rights to CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS, a documentary film that takes viewers through the New York Golden Gloves tournament, one of the most prestigious amateur boxing tournaments in the country. Written and directed by journalist Bartle Bull, the film will premiere Friday, September 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS chronicles three inspiring fighters—James Wilkins, Nisa Rodriguez, and Titus Williams—as they navigate the 10-week tournament and fight their way among 500 boxers from the five boroughs, all vying for the coveted title of Golden Gloves champion. Through the three intertwined yet unique narratives, the film explores the pressures and sacrifices on the arduous journey toward boxing greatness.
Shot in a cinema verité-style with no voice-over narration, the character-driven narrative examines what it means to “fight for your life,” not only for the boxers, but also for their coaches, mentors, teammates and loved ones. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS includes genuine characters and intimate revelations set against the gritty urban landscape of New York City to create a powerful and layered account of the 2015 tournament.
The film follows Williams and Wilkins as they battle through opposite sides of the 132-pound bracket. Williams is the tournament favorite on the brink of professional success. He is mentored by coach Joe Higgins, a retired New York City firefighter suffering from illnesses sustained during rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Wilkins, a Staten Island native who channels his propensity for fighting into an amateur career, aims to beat Williams and establish himself as a prospect to watch as he turns to the professional ranks. Meanwhile, single mother and teacher Rodriquez—a five-time Golden Glove champion and self-proclaimed, “fighting pride of the South Bronx”—attempts to cement her legacy as she sets her sights on the 2016 Olympic Trials.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is Bull’s first endeavor into documentary filmmaking. A New York based author and journalist by trade who specializes in foreign affairs and the Middle East, Bull has appeared on NPR, Fox News, BBC, and other news outlets, and his work has been featured in New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is executive produced by Donald Rosenfeld (Tree of Life, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Remains of the Day) and written and directed by Bull, in association with cinematographer Tom Hurwitz (The Queen of Versailles) and editor Michael Levine (Restrepo). The film was an official selection at the 2017 American Documentary Film Festival, the 2017 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Doc NYC 2017. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS was named Best Feature at the 2017 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.
The Underground Showdown Returns to Atlanta September 15
ATLANTA, GA- Saturday September 15, The Underground Showdown returns to Buckhead Fight Club, presented by Holmes Entertainment . This evening of pro/amateur boxing action will see an action packed card, and promoter Mark Holmes is excited to be back in Atlanta and return to professional boxing promotions. “”This is a great opportunity to see good, local growing talent, so I’m going to put some shows together and try and keep the fighters in all these gyms busy and fighting.”
Underground Showdown is stacked with many of the top Mexican fighters in Atlanta, all ready to battle it out on Mexican Independence weekend. Pro fighters scheduled to appear are: super welterweights Jesus Tavera and Anthony Hill in a 6 round main event; featherweights Deonte Brown and Joe Gibson, 4 rounds; super welterweights Antonio Todd and Jorge Gonzales Rolon, 4 rounds; fly weights Rondarius Hunter and Arrel Love, 4 rounds; Jerson Ramos, super featherweight opponent TBD, and welterweight Sean Charleston and opponent TBD. Amateur bouts will feature Abel Aparicio, Roberto Escalante, Luis Damian, Rafael Castillo, William Hernandez and Andres Leon.
Doors open 6 PM Saturday, September 15 at Buckhead Fight Club/Atlanta Art of Boxing, 3293 Buford Hwy. NE #500, with first bell at 7 PM Sharp. Tickets are available now at Buckhead Fight Club or online at: http://undergroundshowdown3.doattend.com
Former Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz Clashes with Hard-Hitting Brawler John Molina Jr. in Premier Boxing Champions Main Event
Expect fireworks when former welterweight champion “Vicious” Victor Ortiz meets hard-hitting former title challenger John Molina Jr. on Sunday, September 30 in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes live from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature a stacked lineup of undercard attractions leading up to the action-packed main event.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, go on sale tomorrow, August 24 at 12 p.m. PT and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Ortiz (32-6-3, 25 KOs) is an all-action boxer-puncher who comes to fight and is always in exciting battles. The 31-year-old southpaw has one of the best resumes of anyone in the welterweight division having been in against Floyd Mayweather, Andre Berto twice, Lamont Peterson, Luis Collazo and Marcos Maidana. Ortiz, who was born in Garden City, Kansas and now lives in Ventura, California, is coming off a majority draw against Devon Alexander in February.
“We’ve known each other a long time and we’re both always in exciting battles, so fans should expect nothing less on September 30,” said Ortiz. “I had a broken eye socket from an injury in the second round of the Alexander fight, but I’m feeling 100 percent now. I’m ready to take what is rightfully mine, and that’s another world title down the road. It’s going to be a way from round one and I can’t wait.”
Molina (30-7, 24 KOs) has never backed down from a challenge and has been in the ring with some of the best boxers from lightweight to welterweight during his career. The 35-year-old from Covina, California beat a fierce Ruslan Provodnikov by unanimous decision in 2016. Another standout battle from Molina’s career saw him drop former welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse twice before losing on an 11th round knockout. In his last fight he scored a fourth round TKO victory over Ivan Redkach in a back-and-forth bout from December on FS1.
“I respect Victor and everything he’s accomplished in this game, but I know that I have the tools to overcome everything he does,” said Molina. “Everyone knows that I’m in it to win it. We’re both going to be ready to mix it up and throw bombs. There is no way that I see this fight going the distance. It’s going to come down to heart and I’m going to be there until final bell.”
“Victor Ortiz vs. John Molina Jr. has war written all over it and should be another in a long line of memorable battles featuring these Southern California fan-favorites,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports. “These two men are known for leaving it all in the ring and giving the fans incredible action from the opening bell. I have no doubt that this will be another outstanding showdown, with the winner setting themselves up for even bigger things in the star-studded welterweight division. We’re excited to bring this matchup, plus a jam-packed undercard, to the fans in Ontario and watching live on FS1 and FOX Deportes.”
“This is a true crossroads battle between two hardnosed veterans who have fought almost every welterweight of note in the last decade,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The one thing you can be certain of when you get Victor Ortiz and John Molina Jr. in the ring is that a fight will break out. This match should be highly entertaining for the fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena and those who tune in on FS1 and FOX Deportes on September 30.”
Tevin Farmer Pens Multi-Fight Co-Promo Deal with Matchroom Boxing USA and DiBella Entertainment
Tevin Farmer has signed a multi-fight co-promotional deal with DiBella Entertainment and Matchroom Boxing USA.
The newly crowned IBF World Super Featherweight champion will make the first defense of his title live on DAZN in a bout to be announced this week – another step in the remarkable career of the popular southpaw.
Farmer travelled to Australia earlier in the month to land the title in convincing fashion in the backyard of Sydney’s Billy Dib, to claim the IBF strap at the second attempt having been on the wrong end of a controversial split decision against Kenichi Ogawa in Las Vegas in December, a result subsequently change to a no-contest following Ogawa failing a drugs test.
The Philadelphian ace’s win was a sweet moment after recovering from a career-threatening injury when he was shot in the hand in July 2017 – reaching the World title status his undoubted talent has always promised.
Farmer is hunting down unification bouts as soon as possible, with champions Gervonta Davis, Miguel Berchelt and Masayuki Ito all on his radar.
“Winning that belt after everything I’ve been through brought me indescribable joy,” said Farmer. “I always felt that I was a true champion. I just had to go over to Australia, capture the title and prove it, and I did just that. I came home a champion and celebrated, but I got right back in the gym. I want to be an active champion and defend my title. That’s why I’m so thrilled about this deal. It’s a pleasure to work with both DiBella Entertainment and Matchroom Boxing USA and I know that with us working together, big things are going to happen. Ultimately, my goal is to get all the belts and I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m open to fighting anybody to unify. I’m looking forward to showing the world who Tevin Farmer is and what I can do.”
“Through all of Tevin’s hard work, heart and determination, he overcame the odds, achieved his dream, and now he can enjoy the fruits of his labor,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This is a great deal that will help progress Tevin’s career as he begins his championship reign. Starting with his first title defense in October, Tevin will stay active as we work toward getting him the biggest and most meaningful fights available.”
“Tevin Farmer has a great story but more importantly to me the man can really fight,” said Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing USA. “He showed great heart to bounce back from that shocking decision in Las Vegas and go to Australia to win the title – and now the world is his oyster.
“We have a great fight lined up for him in October but the ultimate focus is Gervonta and other unifications. We are going to keep him nice and busy and we look forward to working with Tevin and Lou on this exciting journey.”
Showtime Boxing Preview: Ortiz vs. Cojanu, Garcia vs. Easter
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime will broadcast three bouts live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. This fight card will be presented by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
The main event of the night will be between Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter Jr. in a WBC/IBF Lightweight Title Unification Bout. The co-main event of the night will feature the return of heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz as he takes on Razvan Cojanu.
Other boxers on the undercard include Mario Barrios, Jose Roman, Roberto Marroquin, and other prized prospects. The Barrios vs. Roman fight looks likely to be broadcast on Showtime in addition to the Easter-Garcia and Ortiz-Cojanu bout.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
Luis Ortiz (28-1) vs. Razvan Cojanu (16-3); Heavyweights
Luis “King Kong” Ortiz fought a hard battle against Deontay Wilder in his last match but eventually succumbed to Wilder’s power.
He returns on Saturday against Razvan Coajnu, a three loss Romanian heavyweight that should be viewed as a comeback opponent that stands little chance of winning.
Cojanu will have a rather large five and a half inch height advantage, but will still be giving up about three inches in reach. Ortiz is eight years older than Cojanu.
Ortiz has a strong edge in amateur experience. Cojanu has no notable amateur accomplishments while Ortiz was a multi time National Champion in boxing mad Cuba as an amateur.
Ortiz’s age and recent inactivity could be a factor. He only fought once in 2018 and once in 2017 and is pushing 40. Cojanu fought once in 2017 and three times in 2016, but it should be noted that two of his past three wins were against opponents with losing records.
Ortiz has beaten the likes of Malik Scott, Tony Thompson, Bryant Jennings, and Monte Barrett. His lone loss was to Deontay Wilder.
Cojanu doesn’t have any big wins on his resume, but his best wins have come against Zhiyu Wu, Ed Fountain, and Manuel Alberto Pucheta. His losses were to Alvaro Morales, Joseph Parker, and Donovan Dennis.
This fight will likely not be competitive. Ortiz should stop Cojanu within the first six rounds.
Mikey Garcia (38-0) vs. Robert Easter Jr. (21-0); WBC/IBF Lightweight Titles
Mikey Garcia is considered by many to be one of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters. He’s held world titles in four different weight classes spanning from featherweight to the junior welterweight divisions.
Garcia is facing a fellow undefeated fighter in Robert Easter Jr. Garcia is only thirty so he’s still in his athletic prime, but Easter is three years his younger and will have a large four inch height advantage and an even larger seven inch reach advantage.
Garcia does have an edge in power. He has thirty stoppage victories on his resume while Garcia only has fourteen. Garcia has stopped two of his past five opponents while Easter has stopped one of his past five opponents.
Easter had a close win against Javier Fortuna in his last bout. He has also defeated the likes of Denis Shafikov, Luis Cruz, Richard Commey, and Argenis Mendez.
Garcia has enver tasted defeat and has beaten the likes of Sergey Lipinets, Adrien Broner, Dejan Zlaticanin, Juan Carlos Brugos, Roman Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Orlando Salido.
Garcia did have an extended break from boxing from January of 2014 to July of 2016 while he was working out promotional issues, but has been fairly active since then.
Both boxers enjoyed moderate success as amateurs in the national scene. Garcia was a Bronze Medalist in the National Golden Gloves while Easter was a US Olympic Team Alternate.
Technically, Garcia is one of the best in the sport. The height and reach of Easter should give Garcia problems early on, but Easter doesn’t have enough power for Garcia to worried about trying to force his way on the inside.
The opening few rounds should be close, but Garcia should be settled and win a comfortable decision victory when the final bell rings.
Showtime Boxing Results: Claressa “T-Rex” Shields & Christine Hammer Win Continuing on a Collision Course
by: Ken Hissner
Salita Promotions over USA Showtime brought two of the best female middleweights in the world in separate title defenses Friday night at the Masonic Temple, in Detroit, MI.
2-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, 6-0 (2), of Flint, MI, the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight champion came off the canvas in the opening round to win two vacant belts in the IBF and WBA Middleweight division over the WBA and WBO World Female Super Welterweight champion Hanna “La Amazona” Gabriels, 18-2-1 (11), of Alajuela, Costa Rica, over 10 rounds.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
In the first round Gabriels threw a right but was countered with a right to the chin. A clash of heads caused swelling on the left cheek of Gabriels. A right uppercut from Gabriels on the chin of Shields dropped her. She beat the count of referee Garard White at 8. In the second round it was a close round as Gabriels moved well and would attack Shields who had a better second round.
In the third round Gabriels with hands low got hit with a Shields right to the chin. Gabriels came back with a left hook to the head in another close round. In the fourth round Shields continues to load up too much. Gabriels bounced around staying loose. Shields landed to rabbit punches ending the round while referee White warns her after the bell.
In the fifth round Shields countered Gabriels with a right to the head. Shields landed a 3-punch combination with a minute left in the round. Gabriels looks winded at the end of the round. In the sixth round at the halfway mark Shields landed a solid right to the chin driving Gabriels into a neutral corner. With under 30 seconds left in the round Gabriels landed a 3-punch combination. Shields landed a solid pair of right’s to the chin just prior to the bell.
In the seventh round Gabriels landed a right to the ribs followed by a right to the chin of Shields. In the eighth round both boxers slow the action with Shields landing a left hook to the chin of Gabriels. Once again there was a clash of heads. In the ninth round at the halfway point both fighters flurried with the best action of the fight. Shields landed a hard right to the head with seconds to go in the round.
In the tenth and final round Gabriels is forcing the action but Shields is countering her well. The final round was the best round of the fight. Shields landed 3 punches then Gabriels came in with her head. An accidental clash of heads caused a small cut under the left eye of Shields.
Scores were 98-91 and 97-92 twice This writer had it 95-94.
In the co-feature WBC & WBO World Female Middleweight champion Christina “Lady” Hammer, 23-0 (10), born in KAZ, living in Dortmund, Germany, easily defended her title successfully defeating the former IBF and WBC World Female UBF and IBA World Welterweight champion Tori “Sho Enough” Nelson, 17-2-3 (2), of Chase City, VA, over 10 rounds.
In the first round the much taller Hammer used an effective jab. The jab of Hammer has power behind it. The 41 year-old Nelson was too defensive. Best part of the round was a 4-punch combination from Hammer to the head of Nelson. In the second round Hammer continues to dominate the fight with Nelson landing an occasional right hand to the head of Hammer.
In the third round Hammer lands a pair of rights followed by a left to the mid-section. With a minute left in the round Nelson lands a right to the head of hammer who counters her with a flurry of punches. In the fourth round Hammer continues to dominate the much shorter Nelson. Her jab continues to control and she lands enough power punches with her right to win round after round.
In the fifth round Hammer continues to move well keeping the fight in the middle of the ring for the most part. In the seventh round Hammer kept Nelson at bay except for a few rushes to get inside. Hammer pushed Nelson into the ropes as referee Garza just looks on. With half a minute left in the round Hammer landed a good 3-punch combination to the head of Nelson.
In the eighth round Hammer landed a leaf right to the head of Nelson. Hammer rarely leads with her right instead of her jab and would like to score a knockout since Nelson has never been knocked down. In the ninth round Hammer is warned about holding behind the neck of Nelson. Inside the final minute both boxers landed right hands at the same time to each others chin.
In the tenth and final round it’s all Hammer until a minute to go when Nelson lands a lead right to the chin of Hammer. Hammer did more clinching in the final round than at any other time in the fight.
Scores were 100-90 twice and 99-91 while this writer had it 100-90.
“I wanted a knockout but she is a tough fighter and I am still the champ. I want to fight the winner of tonight’s main event,” said Hammer.
“I felt I may have landed more punches but she was too strong. I am still super welter champ,” said Gabriels. “I am the best in the world of all time (her opinion) winning every round after the knockdown,” said Shields. Unfortunately when Hammer entered the ring Shields showed her immaturity yelling and causing an ugly scene with too many people in the ring at the time.
Russian Light Heavyweight Umar Salamov, 21-1 (16), of Henderson, NV, stopped Brian Howard, 13-2 (10), of Atlanta, GA, in the ninth round for the vacant IBF North American Light Heavyweight title.
In the first round it was a battle of jabs. Few right hands were thrown in this “sparring session”. In the second round with a minute left Salamov landed his first combination. With half a minute left in the round the 38 year-old Howard hurt Salamov with a right near the back of the head as Salamov was moving away. Inside with ten seconds to go Howard landed a right uppercut to the chin of Salamov.
In the third round the awkwardness of both fighters looks like a pair of amateurs. The referee is allowing them to do whatever they want hitting behind the head telling Howard not to duck for that is why it’s happening. Salamov also uses an illegal “straight arm” ala Larry Holmes. In the fourth and fifth rounds it’s more of the same.
In the sixth round Salmov landed a slapping roundhouse to the head of Howard at the mid-point of the round. It’s been jab’s, straight arms and rabbit punches. There is very little to say as the fans are getting restless. The Howard corner is trying to get Howard to throw punches. In the seventh round Howard continues to “pose” except inside he lands an occasional right uppercut to the chin of Salmov. Howard continues to pull up on his trunks. With seconds to go in the round Salmov missed with a right and Howard countered with a right hand knocking the head of Salmov back. The rounds are close but Salmov seems to get the edge.
In the eighth round the jabs continue with plenty of misses from right hands. With seconds to go Salmov lands a right and follows with a left to the head of Howard. In the ninth round a chopping right hand from Salmov to the chin with drops Howard as Salmov lands a left as Howard takes the full count.
This writer had it 79-73 for the winner through 8 rounds. Sam Williams was the referee.
Claressa “T-Rex” Shields & Christine Hammer Continue on a Collision Course to Meet
By: Ken Hissner
This Friday Salita Promotions brings USA Showtime fans the two best female middleweights in the world in separate title defenses. Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, 5-0 (2), of Flint, MI, the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight champion drops down to middleweight in quest of two vacant belts in the IBF and WBA Middleweight belts at stake. She will be taking on WBA and WBO World Female Super Welterweight champion Hanna “La Amazona” Gabriels, 18-1-1 (11), of Alajuela, Costa Rica.
“It makes me so happy and it just touches my heart to see four female fighters on the main fight poster. I was so happy that they put them on TV. They have put me on before but it’s always been my goal to put other women on so when they decided to put Tori Nelson and Christina Hammer on women’s boxing is going somewhere,” said Claressa “T-Rex” Shields.
“I would like to say I am excited and grateful to be here, and share the ring with so many great fighters. I think it’s going to be a great fight night for all boxing fans, and after the weigh-in it will be all on us to make the very best out of all the effort and preparation we have had in these past months,” said Hanna “La Amazona” Gabriels.
In the co-feature WBC & WBO World Female Middleweight champion Christina Hammer, 22-0 (10), of KAZ, living in Dortmund, Germany, defends her title against the former IBF and WBC World Female UBF and IBA World Welterweight champion Tori Nelson, 17-1-3 (2), of Ashburn, VA, coming off a loss to Claressa Shields in January.
“US is the hot spot in boxing. It has always been my dream to fight here and show US that I am the champion and the best female middleweight in the world. I had a great final preparation in Florida. In a gym not white collar work out style, but tough, hot, pure and aggressive. I am in the best shape ever and can’t wait to go into the ring and show US my best performance. I am grateful to Dmitriy Salita and Mark Taffet, are giving me this opportunity. It is time to shine,” said Christina Hammer.
Shields and Hammer are on a collision course to unify the middleweight’s four title belts. Shields will be coming down in weight and Hammer up in weight. For Hammer she will be making her US debut.
Showtime Boxing Results: Spence Makes Quick Work of Ocampo, Roman Defeats Flores
By: William Holmes
Errol Spence Jr., the man many consider to be the top welterweight in the world, returned to his home state of Texas in Frisco at the Ford Center to defend his IBF Welterweight Title against his mandatory challenger. The Dallas Cowboys Organization strongly supported Errol Spence’s return to his hometown.
The opening bout of the night was between Javier Fortuna (33-2-1) and Adrian Granados (18-6-2) in the super lightweight division.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Fortuna was former champion in the super featherweight division and is fighting up to two weight classes higher than he normally does. Granados had both a reach and height advantage and it was obvious in the ring.
Grandaos was on the attack early on and landing shots to the body. Fortuna was sharp with his straight left hands and was landing the cleaner shots early on. Fortuna continued to land the cleaner punches in the second round but Granados was using his size to push around Fortuna.
Granados had a good third round and again was using his size to his advantage. Fortuna lost two points this fight for holding, but those points may have been taken away too early.
The fight came to a sudden end in the fourth round when Fortuna was pushed out the ring in between the ropes and may have hit his head on the ring steps on equipment outside. They had to place his neck in a brace and get a stretcher to take him to be evaluated.
The official result of the fight was a no decision due to a fighter getting hurt before the end of the fourth round. The fight was stopped at 2:50 of the fourth round.
The next bout of the night was between Daniel Roman (24-2-1) and Moises Flores (25-0) for the WBA Super Bantamweight Title.
Flores came in overweight at the weigh ins and looked like the significantly bigger man in the ring. Flores was swinging wildly and wide early on and Roman appeared to be more settled. Roman highlighted the opening round with a good lead right hand left uppercut combination.
Roman was focusing to the body for most of the fight and was doubling his left hooks and uppercuts in the second and third round.
Flores kept coming forward in the fourth and fifth rounds, but Roman’s counters were finding his target while he was able to side step around his oncoming opponent. Most of Flores punches bounced off the shoulders and guard of Roman in the sixth round, but he had a good seventh round and may have stolen it.
By the ninth round both boxers had thrown over 1000 punches combined but Roman was landing at a higher clip Roman was lighter on his feet in the tenth round and his body shots had slowed Flores down tremendously.
Flores needed a knockout in the final round to pull out a victory, but he didn’t have enough energy to seriously threaten Roman.
The final scores were 116-112, 118-110, and 120-108 for Danny Roman.
The main event of the evening was between Errol Spence Jr. (23-0) and Carlos Ocampo (22-0) for the IBF Welterweight Title.
This was the first world title fight for Ocampo against the highly talented southpaw Errol Spence. Spence slowly inched forward in the opening stanza and took some surprisingly good body shots from Ocampo. Spence was able to land a good straight left to the chin of Ocampo that slowed him down momentarily, but Ocampo was making a good showing of himself early on.
With time running out in the first Errol Spence landed two blistering hooks to the body of Ocampo that immediately dropped him to his knees.
Ocampo was unable to get up before the count of ten.
Errol Spence wins by knockout with one second left in the first round.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Carlos Ocampo, Roman vs. Flores
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Errol Spence Jr., a man many consider to be the world’s top welterweight and one of the world’s best pound for pound fighters, will be making his mandatory defense of his IBF Welterweight title against Carlos Ocampo. Spence will be returning to his home state of Texas to make his title defense.
This fight card will take place at the Dallas Ford Center.
The co-feature of the evening will be a WBA Junior Featherweight bout between Danny Roman and Moises Flores. Other prospects will also be appearing on the undercard including former world champion Javier Fortuna, Yordenis Ugas, Roberto Marroquin, and Stephen “Scooter” Fulton.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The following is a preview of the televised fights.
Danny Roman (24-2-1) vs. Moises Flores (25-0); WBA Junior Featherweight Title
The opening bout of the night is between Danny Roman and Moises Flores for the WBA Junior Featherweight Title.
Roman is twenty eight years old and three years younger than his opponent, but will be giving up three and a half inches in height and an inch and a half in reach. Roman is also the lesser puncher of the two. Flores has seventeen stoppages in his career compared to the nine stoppages that Roman has.
Neither boxer has a notable amateur career to discuss.
Roman has been more active than Flores. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and four times in 2016. Flores only fought once in 2017, and one round at that against Guillermo Rigondeaux, and once in 2016.
Flores lone blemish on his record was a no contest against Guillermo Rigondeaux, but he was getting badly beaten at the time and the referee actually originally ruled it a stoppage victory for Rigondeaux before it was later reviewed and ruled a no contest due to punches landing after the final bell. Flores has beaten the likes of Paulus Ambunda, Luis Cusolito, and Oscar Escandon.
Roman had to travel to Japan to win the WBA title. He has defeated the likes of Ryo Matsumoto, Shun Kubo, Adam Lopez, and Christian Esquivel.
Flores long layoff, which includes a very brief encounter with Guillermo Rigondeaux, will hurt him against a younger opponent. Roman isn’t known for his power, but his last loss was on 2013 and he has won sixteen fights in a row.
Roman likely won’t win by stoppage, but he should win a decision.
Errol Spence Jr. (23-0) vs. Carlos Ocampo (22-0), IBF Welterweight Title
Errol Spence is one of the top stars in the welterweight division and has held the IBF title since his thrashing of Kell Brook in May of 2017.
He’s looking for a big fight and a matchup with either Terrance Crawford or Keith Thurman is a fight that most fight fans are looking forward to. However, he first has to take on his mandatory challenger, on paper a clearly overmatched Carlos Ocampo.
Spence is a tall, rangy southpaw, and is in the midst of his prime at 28 years old. Ocampo has been relatively unchallenged as a professional and is only 22 years old.
Spence had a highly successful amateur career and competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Ocampo experienced some success on the Mexican amateur circuit, but not on world circuit.
Spence also has the edge in power. He has twenty stoppages on his record, including ten wins in a row. Ocampo only has thirteen stoppages to his record, and only has one stoppage win in his past four fights.
Spence has beaten the likes of Lamont Peterson, Kell Brook, Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco, and Ronald Cruz. Spence fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and twice in 2016.
Ocampo’s biggest victories to date were over Jorge Paez Jr. and Charlie Navarro. He has never fought outside of Mexico. He fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Spence should win this bout relatively easily, and will likely get another stoppage victory.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Cruz vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Trout
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will rematch from a 2015 fight that featured more than 2000 total punches thrown. This rematch will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be televised live on Showtime. Santa Cruz and Mares will be fighting for Santa Cruz’s WBA “Super” Featherweight Title.
The co-main event of the night will be an intriguing bout between the rising Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout, who is best known for defeating Miguel Cotto. This bout will be for Charlo’s WBC Junior Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The undercard is packed with fights such as Karlos Balderas and Pedo Lopez in the junior lightweight division, Arnold Alejandro and Elliot Brown in the Featherweight Division, Jose Balderas and Luis Montellano in the Junior Featherweight division, and Ivan Redkach and Brian Jones in the welterweight division.
The following is a preview of both planned televised bouts.
Jermell Charlo (30-0) vs. Austin Trout (31-4); WBC Junior Middleweight Title
The opening bout will be for the WBC Junior Middleweight Title between Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout.
Trout had previously faced Jermell’s twin brother, Jermall Charlo, and came up short. Charlo is four years younger than Trout and will have about an inch and a half height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
They both have decent power, Charlo has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Trout has stopped seventeen. Trout has only fought once in 2016, 2017, and 2018 while Charlo fought twice in 2017, once in 2016. Trout has struggled recently and went 2-2 the past four fights, Charlo has been on a tear and has never tasted defeated and is currently riding a four fight win streak.
Both boxers had a pretty good amateur career. Charlo was a Junior Olympics Bronze Medalist and Trout was a US Amateur Gold Medalist.
Charlo has defeated the likes of Erickson Lubin, Charles Hatley, John Jackson, Vanes Martirosyan, and Gabriel Rosado. Trout has defeated the likes of Joey Hernandez, Daniel Dawson, Miguel Cotto, and Delvin Rodriguez. He has losses to Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo, and Jarrett Hurd.
Unfortunately for Trout the Charlo brothers are very close and will likely be talking about how to defeat Austin Trout. Trout’s biggest victory of his career was against Miguel Cotto and a win against Charlo might be considered an even bigger upset, but his lack of activity the past three years plus his recent struggles against high level competition makes those prospects unlikely.
Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1) vs. Abner Mares (31-2-1); WBA “Super” Featherweight Title
The first bout between Santa Cruz and Mares was an action packed bout with an abnormally high number of punches. Santa Cruz won a close decision when they first fought and Mares has been itching for a rematch ever since.
Santa Cruz is three years younger than Mares. He also has a three inch height and a three inch reach advantage. He will be the obvious bigger man inside the ring.
Both boxers are known for their ability to throw a high volume of punches and swarm their opponents. But Santa Cruz has been the more active boxer. He fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016, while Mares only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017.
Both boxers come from a successful amateur career. Santa Cruz won a gold medal in the Junior Olympics and Mares competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Santa Cruz has a slight edge in power. He has nineteen stoppage victories while Mares only has fifteen.
Mares has two losses, but was stopped in one of those losses, a mild upset to Jhonny Gonzalez.
Santa Cruz has defeated the likes of Chris Avalos, Carl Frampton, Kiko Martinez, Abner Mares, Cesar Seda, Eric Morel, and Cristian Mijares. His lone loss was to Carl Frampton, and it was a loss he later avenged.
Mares has defeated the likes of Andres Gutierrez, Jesus Cuellar, Jonathan Oquendo, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan. His losses were to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz, and he hopes to avenge his loss to Santa Cruz on Saturday.
Unfortuntely for Mares he’s still fighting a bigger man who’s in the middle of his athletic prime, while Mares is hitting the age that boxers tend to show signs of slipping.
It seems likely that Santa Cruz will get a more convincing victory on Saturday night.
Showtime Boxing Results: Russell Defeats Diaz, Stevenson and Jack Battle to a Draw
By: William Holmes
Showtime has shown no signs of slowing down in putting on competitive fights with a split site double header on their Showtime World Championship Boxing telecast.
The opening bout of the night was between Gary Russell Jr. (28-1) and Joseph Diaz (26-0) for the WBC Featherweight Title. This bout took place at The Theater at the MGM Grand National Harbor in Maryland.
Joseph Diaz entered the ring first and Russell second to a much louder ovation.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Both boxers were southpaws and Diaz looked like the bigger fighter, but Russell established early on that he had the better hand speed. He was active with his jab in the opening round and had a strong start to the fight.
Russell continued with his jab in the early parts of the second round, but Diaz had some moderate success to the body and ended the round strong.
The third round was a closer round, but it looked like Diaz was willing to take a few punches from Russell in order to land one punch of his own. Diaz ended the round with two good straight left hands.
Diaz kept a high guard in the fourth and fifth rounds but Russell landed the higher volume of punches while Diaz landed the harder shots to the body. Diaz had a strong fifth round, but Russell came back in the sixth round with his active jab and high volume output.
Russell was the first man to throw and land in the seventh and eighth rounds and looked like he was beginning to walk away with the fight. Russell hand speed was on full display in the ninth round as Diaz was simply not throwing enough punches.
Diaz had a better tenth round and took more risks than earlier rounds, but was also countered more often by the faster Russell.
The final two rounds featured several fierce exchanges, and Russell looked like he was beginning to fade a little bit in the last round, but Diaz wasn’t able to do enough to get a stoppage.
The Judges scored the fight 115-113, 117-111, and 117-111.
The last fight televised by Showtime was a WBC Light Heavyweight Title Fight between Champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1) and challenger Badou Jack (22-1-2) at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.
Stevenson, a southpaw, and Jack, fighting out of an orthodox stance, had spent the better part of two rounds feeling each other out and tried to find their range. Stevenson was able to land some straight left hands in the second and was more active in the third, but Jack was able to land some counters in the third round.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Jack was able to fire off his punches first in the fourth round but took a good left uppercut from Stevenson with about thirty seconds left. Stevenson was the aggressor in the fifth and sixth rounds while Jack fought mainly out of a tight high guard. Jack was warned for a low blow at the end of the sixth round.
Jack started to come forward in the seventh round and hurt Stevenson with a short right hand followed up by combinations. Jack was snapping the head of Stevenson in the seventh with his uppercuts, but he was warned for a low blow again at the end of the round.
Jack opened up the eighth round with another low blow and Adonis Stevenson was given time to recover. Jack followed up with short right hooks and uppercuts and was able to bust open the nose of Badou jack.
Jack looked like the fresher fighter in the ninth round and had Stevenson stumbling at one point. Stevenson was able to come back and have a strong tenth round when he hurt Jack with a body shot and had Jack peddling backwards.
Stevenson pressed the pace early on in the eleventh round and had Jack in full retreat, but he tired in the middle of the round and Jack re-established dominance in the ring.
Both boxers were able to land some good shots in the final round, but Jack ended the fight strong with a hard combination as the final bell rang.
The judges scored the bout 114-114, 115-113 Jack, 114-114 for a majority draw.
Adonis Steven retains the title with a draw.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Stevenson vs. Jack, Russell vs. Diaz
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime network will broadcast two fights from two separate locations on a split site feature.
One fight will feature a WBC Light Heavyweight Title Fight between current champion Adonis Stevenson and the Swedish fighter Badou Jack. This bout will be taking place in Toronto, Canada at the Air Canada Centre. The other bout will be a WBC Featherweight Title between Gary Russell Jr. and Joseph Diaz Jr.
Photo Credit: Badou Jack Twitter Account
The following is a preview of both televised fights.
Adonis Stevenson (29-1) vs. Badou Jack (22-1-2); WBC Light Heavyweight Title
Adonis Stevenson has often been mentioned as one of the best light heavyweights in the world along with Sergei Kovalev and Andre Ward, but neither of those fights have ever come to fruition and he’s no forty years old and past his athletic prime.
Stevenson will face a very tough opponent in Badou Jack. Jack is six years younger than Stevenson, but has also been more active. He fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016, while Stevenson only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016.
Stevenson will also be giving up about two inches in height to Jack, but he will have a four inch reach advantage. Stevenson will be fighting in his home country which shouldn’t be a big surpise since he has only fought outside of Canada two times. This will be Jack’s first fight outside of the United States since 2010.
Both boxers had successful amateur careers. Stevenson was a Canadian National Champion and Jack was a Swedish National Champion and a competitor in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Andrzej Fonfara, Thomas Williams Jr., Tommy Karpency, Sakio Bika, Tony Bellew, Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson, and Donovan George. His lone loss was the Darnell Boone, which he later avenged.
Jack also has a good professional resume, though his level of competition in recent fights surpasses that of Stevenson. His lone loss was a shocking TKO upset loss to Derek Edwards in 2014. He has two draws against James DeGale and Marco Antonio Periban. He has defeated the likes of Nathan Cleverly, Lucian Bute, George Groves, Anthony Dirrell, and Marco Antonio Periban.
If this fight happened five years ago Stevenson would have to be considered the favorite. But he’s now forty years old and has been fairly inactive recently while Jack has been steadily facing tougher and tougher competition.
If this fight goes to the Judges scorecards Stevenson may have a slight edge since the fight is happening in Canada, but the timing feels right for Jack to pull off a victory.
Gary Russell Jr. (28-1) vs. Joseph Diaz Jr. (26-0); WBC Featherweight Title
Golden Boy Promotions needs to be given credit for their willingness to throw their fighters in the ring with top fighters from other promotions. The Diaz-Russell fight is a good example of Golden Boy taking a risk by putting one of their top guys against an established champion.
Diaz is twenty five and will be four years younger than Russell. However, Joseph Diaz has been very active since 2016. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2017 and four times in 2016. Russell only fought once in 2017, 2016, and in 2015.
Diaz will have about an inch and a half reach height advantage and both boxers have the same reach. They both represented the United States in the Summer Olympics, Russell in 2008 and Diaz in 2012.
Diaz is a southpaw, and the only boxer that Russell lost to, Vasyl Lomachenko, was a southpaw. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Russell has made since he last fought Lomachenko.
Russell represents the biggest test of Diaz’s young career. He has defeated the likes of Victor Terrazas, Rafael Rivera, Manuel Avila, Jayson Velez, and Ruben Tamayo.
Russell has been fairly inactive for a world champion, but has defeated some very good fighters. He has defeated the likes of Oscar Escandon, Patrick Hyland, Jhonny Gonzlaez, and Christopher Martin. His lone loss was the Vasyl Lomachenko, who has since jumped up two weight classes to dethrone Jorge Linares as the Lightweight Champion.
Russell’s inactivity should be of concern to his camp, especially since he’s facing a young, undefeated, challenger who has a strong amateur pedigree.
This fight will be close, but age and activity has this writer giving Diaz a slight edge on Saturday night.