Oleksandr Usyk vs Carlos Takam: Can Usyk Make it as a Heavyweight?
By: Waqas Ali
Former unified world cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk will be making his first debut as a heavyweight against Carlos Takam on May 25th at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, USA.
The bout will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service.
The 32-year-old Ukrainian fighter achieved stardom in the cruiserweight division – holding the WBO, WBA, WBC, IBF and the Ring Magazine titles simultaneously.
Without a doubt, Usyk is one of the best talents in boxing today and brings a variety of skills, styles and techniques that really cluster the meat of his talent.
He is praised by boxing writers, historians and hardcore boxing fans.
He currently boasts a record of 16 wins with 12 KOs.
His last fight was against Briton Tony Bellew in November 2018 whom he knocked out in round eight in front 20,000 fans at the Manchester arena.
Usyk does not deny the challenge and wants to aim high in order to achieve greatness in the heavyweight division.
“It’s a tough first fight,” said Usyk.
“But I need to test myself against world-class opposition on my new road to undisputed.”
His opponent Takam (36-5-1) has competitive opponents in the past such as Tony Thompson, Joseph Parker, Dereck Chisora and hard-hitting, Anthony Joshua.
Takam took Joshua to ten rounds with good shots thrown at him but lost in the end.
However, in regards to Usyk facing him in May, Takam feels highly motivated for the opportunity.
“I can promise that this will be a great fight and I will provide Usyk with a huge test on his heavyweight debut,” he said.
“I have huge ambitions of my own in the division and this fight will provide me with the chance to prove that.”
But can Usyk, a former Olympic champion and former undisputed champion succeed in a division that is known more for power and will than skill and mindset?
One must keep in mind that Usyk had actually fought in the heavyweight division previously as an amateur.
In 2013, Usyk defeated future Olympic Silver medallist Joe Joyce in a five-round battle without the use of handguards at the World Series of Boxing event.
He used his straight left hand to win points and provided exchanges too. As a cruiserweight, Usyk is known for his high activity level and astonishing footwork.
There was little activity rate in the bout with Joyce and more pot-shots were executed.
Many question if Usyk’s footwork will drastically change in 200 plus division and will the speed remain against the bigger fighters.
Fighters such as Evander Holyfield and David Haye both unified the cruiserweight division. Haye won the WBA heavyweight title and defended it twice. Holyfield went on to also unify the heavyweight division.
Roy Jones Jr, one of boxing’s greatest fighters of all time went from winning titles at middleweight, light heavyweight and at heavyweight.
He became the first fighter in 106 years to go from winning a title at middleweight all to the way to heavyweight.
By the numbers, Usyk throws an astounding 41 jabs per round which is double what the average heavyweight (20) throws.
Usyk has landed 19% of his total punches to the body.
In the power punching department, Usyk throws around 28 punches and connects at a rate of 42%. While the average heavyweight throws around 24 and connects at 40%.
Usyk opponents landed 29% of their power punches which is well below the cruiserweight avg (37%).
Takam relies on the power punch. 10 of his 13 landed punches are power shots. His opponents have landed 38% of their power shots.
The numbers indicate that Usyk does lead slightly ahead than what the average heavyweight throws and lands. However, this will all depend on next how well he does against the heavyweights. The activity level could in question. Sometimes when it comes moving up in weight, the activity level can go down. Fighters like Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury weigh a median of 17st 2lbs and a median height of 6 foot 7 whilst Usyk only comes in around 14 stone at 6 foot 3 inches. Even if Usyk comes in a stone up it will be a challenging and a hazardous process to take. Nobody can deny the talent that Usyk brings to the table and no doubt he has made the decision in fighting Takam in order to get a taste of the heavyweight division once again but on a professional level.
Usyk Set to Make Heavyweight Debut Against Takam
By: Sean Crose
“May 25 marks a major moment in my career when I move to the Heavyweight division,” says the16-0 Oleksandr Usyk. “At Cruiserweight I did it all and became the undisputed champion and that is my goal now in the Heavyweights.” The 32 year old Ukrainian fighter is one of the most highly regarded practitioners in the fight game, courtesy of the fact that Usyk took complete ownership of the Cruiserweight division after besting Murat Gassiev last summer in the final bout of the World Boxing Super Series. Since that time, Usyk has been expected to move up to the heavyweight, having no more worlds left to conquer in the division he dominated.
Usyk’s opening bout in the big guy’s division will go down on May 25th at Maryland’s MGM National Harbor and will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. The 36-5-1 Carlos Takam will be Usyk’s first heavyweight opponent. Having given heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua an impressive battle in 2016, Takam (who ended up losing to Joshua in the 10th round) is no one’s tune up fight.
“Usyk has achieved everything in the Cruiserweight division,” Takam says. “I am ready to welcome him to the new world of Heavyweight boxing,” said Takam. “I can promise that this will be a great fight and I will provide Usyk with a huge test on his Heavyweight debut. I have huge ambitions of my own in the division and this fight will provide me with the chance to prove that.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing appears happy with matchup. “Takam is the perfect test for the Heavyweight debut (of Usyk),” he says. “A big strong, all action fighter who will welcome Usyk into the fold with a heavy arsenal.” Yet Usyk is clearly looking beyond his respected foe.
“This is the ultimate challenge,” he says, “and it begins on May 25 against Carlos Takam. It’s a tough first fight but I need to test myself against world class opposition on my new road to undisputed.” The Heavyweight division that Usyk now aims to make his own is dominated by a series of colorful, high level fighters. Aside from Joshua, WBC champ Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury (who many consider to the be the lineal champ) tower above the division’s landscape. At 6-3, Usyk is somewhat small compared to his new peers. His skill set, however, speaks for itself.
“A.J.” Anthony Joshua Stops Carlos Takam in 10 in Wales
By: Ken Hissner
IBF & WBA champion “A.J.” Anthony Joshua, of the UK retained his titles with a stoppage of Carlos Takam, at the Principality Stadium before an indoor record crowd of 78,000 fans, in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, over Showtime.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports
2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, IBF & WBA heavyweight champion “A.J.” Anthony Joshua, 20-0 (20), of the UK, made his fourth defense halting No. 3 IBF contender, Carlos Takam, 35-4-1 (27), of Cameroon living in France, at 1:35 of the tenth round.
In the opening round Joshua stalked Takam using his jab as Takam kept moving his body to avoid being a stationery target. In the second round Takam led with his head banging into the nose of Joshua causing blood. Joshua went right after Takam in anger. With a minute left in the round Joshua landed his first combination to the head of Takam. All of Takam’s punches fell short or were blocked by Joshua. In the third round Joshua landed a lead right to the head of Takam. Halfway through the round Takam landed a stiff jab to the chin of Joshua. With a minute left in the round Takam landed a left hook to the head of Joshua. Joshua landed a short right uppercut to the chin of Takam with seconds to go in the round.
In the fourth round Joshua landed a lead right to the head of Takam. Takam came back with an overhand right to the chin of Joshua. With just over a minute left in the round a right uppercut caused a cut over the right eye of Takam as he was ducking. Takam landed a left hook to the chin of Joshua but was countered by a Joshua left hook that caused Takam’s left glove to touch the canvas. Referee Phill Edwards gave him an 8-count. In the fifth round Joshua opened up with a volume of punches. The referee asked the ring physician to take a look at the cut of Takam. The end of a 3-punch combination by Takam having the first two blocked laned an overhand right by Takam landed on the head of Joshua with a minute left in the round. With half a minute left in the round Takam rushed in landing several punches to the head of Joshua. In the sixth round at the halfway point Takam got inside landing a combination to the body of Joshua. With a minute left in the round Joshua landed a right-left combination to the head of Takam. Joshua landed a four punch combination just prior to the bell.
In the seventh round Joshua landed his jab well but just under the halfway mark Takam landed several right hands to the chin of Joshua. With under a minute left in the round Takam landed a 3-punch combination to the head and body of Joshua. Joshua landed a lead right followed by a right uppercut to the head of Takam just prior to the bell. In the eighth round Joshua controlled with his jab and an occassional right cross. Takam countered a Joshua right to the chin with his own right to the chin. Prior to the start of the ninth round the ring physician held up the start checking the cut of Takam’s. At the halfway mark Joshua landed a combination to the head of Takam. With a minute left in the round Takam started landing several combinations of his own. With half a minute left in the round Joshua took a back step for the first time in the fight.
In the tenth round Joshua and Takam were mixing it up with Joshua landing four punches when the referee stepped in and stopped the fight against the wishes of Takam.
“I want the next fight for a belt and Wilder here in the UK would be welcome. I can’t judge the officials with the stoppage,” said Joshua. His promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed a Joshua-Wilder fight must be made. It was not an impressive win for Joshua who seemed content to take the fight into his predicted tenth round.
In a week WBC champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, 38-0 (37), defends his title against the man he won it from back in January of 2015 Haitian Bermane Stiverne, 25-2-1 (21), living in Las Vegas and the No. 1 contender for Wilder’s title. It will be two years since the only fight Stiverne had since losing the title a win over Derric Rossy on November 14th of 2015. New Zealand’s Joe Parker, 24-0 (18) holds the WBO title and lives in Las Vegas.
Jamaican heavyweight Dilian Whyte, 22-1-1 (16), of the UK, defeated Swede Robert Helenius, 25-2 (16), of Finland, for vacant WBC Silver title.
Khalid Yofai, 23-0 (14), of the UK, retained his title defeating Sho Ishida, 24-1 (13), of Japan, for WBA World Super Flyweight title.
Anahi Esther Sanchez, 1732 (9), of Argentina, lost to Olympian Kate Taylor, 7-0 (4), of Ireland, for the vacant WBA World Female lightweight title.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview : Anthony Joshua vs. Carlos Takam
by Thomas Nicholls
Cardiff’s Principality Stadium will host Saturday night’s heavyweight unification bout between the so far formidable AJ and late replacement Carlos Takam.
Joshua had been in a ten-week training camp preparing for his Bulgarian mandatory, Kubrat Pulev, but a shoulder injury sustained in training has lead to the rough and ready French-Cameroonian filling the daunting task of dethroning Joshua.
When the news broke of Pulev’s injury, matchmaker & promoter Eddie Hearn moved fast to instil Takam as the replacement and the Matchroom chief later revealed that a contingency plan was always in place in preparation for a Pulev pull-out. Hearn said “Four years ago, I don’t think I’d have had the foresight to envisage this, but you learn in this sport – in this role – that it is so easy to get a kick in the nuts, so to speak, at a moment’s notice.”
“I had spoken to Takam and asked him to go into camp eight weeks before this fight. If it didn’t happen, we would offer him a fight in Monte Carlo early in November” said Hearn. “Thankfully, we had him as a replacement.”
Bullish and with an iron chin, Takam like the rest of the division, would’ve spotted the flaws in AJ’s game on that historical night in Wembley back in April. Joshua, perhaps rightfully so, feels an enormous responsibility to perform and give his ever-expanding fan base a night to remember, in turn he is prepared to leave his boxing skills in the locker room and go to war with his opponent. A tactic which hasn’t come back to haunt him so far, but if it wasn’t for his recovery skills and perhaps Klitschko’s hesitance in those middle rounds back in April, the Wembley tale may have been a totally different one.
Once more, the tickets for this fight sold out in a heartbeat, Joshua is a true star and is now perhaps
the most marketable figure in world sport. The Watford man is media savvy, carries a smile and shows an enormous sense of humility whilst being adored by each and every demographic in the UK & beyond. Now carrying the IBF & WBA titles and with a summer showdown against brash American Deontay Wilder in the pipeline, Joshua & mastermind coach Rob McCraken will need to develop a last-ditch game plan to stop Takam and his brave come-forward style.
As always, Joshua has spoken with confidence ahead of his fight this Saturday, despite having just two weeks to adapt his training regime from tackling the 6ft4 Pulev to the 6ft1 Takam, Joshua believes he has the finesse and power in his armoury to stop his mandatory challenger. Joshua said “He is durable. He will become more durable because he’ll be in hostile territory,” Joshua told Sky Sports News. “When you come into that type of environment, what have you got to lose? He’ll say: ‘I’ll give it my all’.”
“People have said: ‘Josh, what round? What round?’ I think we’re going for a 10 to 12 round fight because this guy’s head is like a block of cement.”
Speaking of the tactical adjustments, AJ admitted “With Pulev it wasn’t about whipping him around the body, it was about staying off the line and boxing down the middle. “Carlos is different – he can trade down the middle. My speed will beat his combinations. A good way to beat Carlos is to take his body out, that’s what Alexander Povetkin did to him (late stoppage). I look at each individual fighter, and what their strengths are.”
In an undercard littered with rising and current stars, fight fans at the Principality Stadium are set to enjoy another memorable night in British Boxing as the sport goes from strength to strength here in the UK.
Promising stars Joe Cordina, Lawrence Okolie & Joshua Buatsi are set to feature, as is Katie Taylor, who is fighting for a world title in just her seventh fight.
Here is the rest of the card;
David Allen vs Lenroy Thomas (Commonwealth Heavyweight Title)
Frank Buglioni vs Craig Richards (British & Commonwealth Light Heavyweight Titles)
Dillian Whyte vs Robert Helenius (WBC Silver Heavyweight Title)
Kal Yafai vs Sho Ishida (WBA World Super-Flyweight Title)
In the main event itself, I don’t see Takam causing too much trouble for Joshua in terms of punch volume and hand speed, but as Joshua eluded to, Takam is one tough individual that will go out on his shield.
As the old adage goes “it only takes one punch to change a fight” and yes, Takam does have a puncher’s chance but I predict Joshua to retain his titles with a TKO win in the 9th round.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Dana White, Anthony Joshua, Sosa, Takam, Smith, Williams, Hernandez, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 17th to October 24th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Dana White Says UFC Could Start to Promote Boxing
Dana White recently spoke to the Wall Street Journal at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=V2wbIUSpALY. In this interview Dana indicated that he likes promoting MMA but has an interest in promoting boxing.
He told Jason Gay of “The Unnamed Podvideocast” that, “I could see bringing boxing under our umbrella and trying to see what we could do with that.”
White was observed wearing a shirt that read “Zuffa Boxing” on the promotional tour for the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor bout. Zuffa Boxing could soon become a real thing.
Watch Joshua vs. Takam Heavyweight Title Fight Exclusively on DAZN
Fight fans can watch Anthony Joshua defend his IBF and WBA Heavyweight Titles against Carlos Takam on Saturday, October 28th live on DAZN.
DAZN is a live and on-demand sports streaming service that allows fans to watch their sport, their way, live or on-demand. Fans can watch their favourite teams, leagues and players anytime, anywhere with the ability to play, pause and rewind anytime. Subscriptions are available for $20 a month or $150 annually, with the first month free.
DAZN is also the only way to get unlimited access to every live NFL game this coming season. And with access to the NFL Network 24/7 and NFL RedZone, you’ll never miss another touchdown, field goal or interception ever again. You can also see top European soccer including LaLiga Santander, Ligue 1 and Serie A, plus KHL Hockey, Moto GP, ATP 250 Tennis, PDC Darts and Pro14 Rugby Union – all in HD.
It’s available in Canada on most connected devices including Smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and games consoles – for more information or to sign up, please visit dazn.com.
Olympian Nico Hernandez Fighting for First Pro Title December 2nd
2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez will be fighting for his first professional title on Saturday, December 2, when he takes on Hungarian invader Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai in the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Flyweight Championship, headlining “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
“KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” is a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC., in association with Hartman Arena, and sponsored in part by Twister City Harley-Davidson Metro PCS, Mort’s Cigar Bar and Jimmy Egg.
The action will be taped live for future airing on CBS Sports Network.
The 21-year-old Hernandez (3-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of Wichita, will be fighting in a scheduled eight-round bout for the first time. His three pro fights to date were all scheduled for six rounds and each was held in Kansas, the last two in his second home, Hartman Arena.
In his last fight this past September 23rd, Hernandez was forced to fight late replacement Kendrick “Uprising” Latchman who outweighed the celebrated American Olympian by more than 10 pounds. Hernandez won a six-round unanimous decision by scores of 60-54 and 59-55 twice.
Despite being younger than Hernandez by almost a year to the day, Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs) has already had 28 pro fights, including a full 10-round distance loss by decision last year to two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou, the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight world champion.
“By far, Nico is fighting the toughest opponent of his pro career,” Hernandez’ promoter John Andersen (“KO Night Boxing LLC) said. “Ajtai has much more experience as a pro than Nico, plus he went the distance against a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Zou. Ajtai is a busy fighter with a good knockout ratio (63%). This fight is going to tell us a lot about Nico, especially his power at 112 pounds.
“Nico fighting for a title in only his fourth pro fight proves that all our hard efforts of KO Night Boxing and Team Nico has paid off quickly and we’re grateful that the IBA has given him this great opportunity. I didn’t realize the high quality of champions the IBA has had in the past and we’re proud that Nico can someday join this group. In the flyweight division, Nico may enter world title fight shot discussions earlier than I had originally thought, which was in his third year as a pro. An impressive performance against Ajtai could position him for a world title fight next year with less than 10 fights under his belt.”
“We’re excited to have an American Olympian fighting for our first Americas title,” IBA President J.C. Courreges added. “Nico Hernandez is an Olympic bronze medalist and we’re hopeful that he will develop into an IBA world champion in the not too distant future. His amateur pedigree speaks for itself and we’re very happy to have this young man fighting for the IBA Americas title.”
IBA world champions during the past quarter-century include Hall-of-Famers Oscar de la Hoya, George Foreman, Roberto Duran and Arturo Gatti, as well as stars such as Roy Jones, Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosely, James Toney, Mikkel Kessler, Eric Morales, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver.
Ukranian Olympian Makes Professional Debut on Friday
Olympian middleweight Dmytro Mytrofanov will make his professional boxing debut Friday night in Elk Grove Village against an unbeaten foe.
Mytrofanov, who fought for the Ukraine in the 2016 Olympics, will square off against American Brandon Maddox, who is 7-0, with five knockouts.
The six-round bout will take place at the Belvedere Events Center, 1170 W. Devon Ave., Elk Grove Village.
Mytrofanov, 27, won national titles in the Ukraine in 2008 and 2012, The middleweight was also a bronze medalist at the 2011 European Championships.
He is represented by Andrew Sobko of Natex Boxing Promotions.
The 31-year-old Maddox has won 71 percent of his fights by knockout. The Detroit, Mich. fighter won Golden Gloves titles in Detroit and Chicago. He also posted a 4-2 mark in professional Mixed Martial Arts fights.
Friday’s fight, sanctioned by the Illinois State Athletic Commission, is being promoted by Natex and Hitz Entertainment.
On Friday’s fight card, along with Mytrofanov-Maddox, are:
Super welterweights Anthony Prescott and Anthony Abbruzzese
Undefeated super featherweight Giovanni Mioletti and Tyrome Jones
Undefeated super middleweight Tommy Hughes and Emmanuel Sanchez
Heavyweight Tulagonov Osvaldo, making his professional debut
Undefeated middleweight Osvaldo Vera
Friday’s first bout begins at 7:30 p.m.
VIP tables, which seat 10 people, are $250 per person. General admission is $40.
Tickets can be purchased at www.natexboxing.com
Ishe Smith to Face Julian Williams on November 18th
Former world champion Ishe Smith battles top 154-pound contender Julian “J-Rock” Williams in a 10-round super welterweight clash that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce live from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday, November 18.
In the co-feature, Lionell Thompson clashes with unbeaten prospect Earl Newman in a 10-round light heavyweight bout. Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with unbeaten prospects Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Xavier Martinez going head-to-head in a 10-round featherweight fight.
“This card is going to bring it,” said Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe. “The fans will be presented with variety; veterans and prospects going head-to-head and tough fighting styles meshing come fight night. The main event between Ishe Smith and Julian Williams is going to be an exciting battle! I think Ishe and Julian are going to put on a great show. Both fighters are very tough competitors and fight with everything they have. We also have a great undercard line-up. This is going to be an all-around exciting night of boxing for the fans.”
“This is the kind of show that presents something for every boxing fan,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Ishe Smith is a former champion who still has title aspirations. He’s going up against a young hungry contender on the comeback trail in Julian Williams. Earl Newman will be taking a major step up when he takes on Lionell Thompson in the co-feature and both Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Xavier Martinez will be looking to keep their undefeated records intact. It all adds up to a fun night for boxing fans.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions, are priced at $29, $39, $59, $69, $89 and $149 and are on sale now. Tickets are available at www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com or through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 andwww.ticketmaster.com.
The 39-year-old Smith (29-8, 12 KOs) won his world championship with a majority decision over Cornelius Bundrage on Feb. 23, 2013 to become the first Las Vegas-native to win a world title. He has also challenged top fighters such as Erislandy Lara and Daniel Jacobs and most recently defeated Tommy Rainone and Frank Galarza in his last two bouts.
“I took this fight just like I’ve taken every tough fight over the years,” said Smith. “I constantly challenge myself to the best and I believe Julian Williams is one of the best in the division. If you look at my resume, all I’ve done is fight the best guys, in their prime, so this is nothing new to me. I’ve reached the point where I’ve seen it all. This fight will get me exactly where I need to be, closer to a world title shot.”
Williams (23-1-1, 15 KOs), one of the top young contenders in the 154-pound division, is working his way back into title contention by taking on a tough former world champion in Smith. The 27-year-old Williams of Philadelphia suffered a KO loss to Jermall Charlo in his first title shot in 2016 and returned to the ring with a TKO victory over Joshua Conley in his last fight on June 30.
“We’ve been working hard for months and I’m ready to get back in the ring,” said Williams. “I could fight tomorrow. I know this is an important fight for my career. Ishe is a veteran and he is going to bring his ‘A’ game to try to prove he’s still got it. I’m not going to give him that opportunity. I will be victorious and show that I’m ready to fight the best in the world.”
Rahman Junior Opponent Chickens Out in Ring, Seconds Before Scheduled Fight
The young career of heavyweight contender Hasim Rahman Jr. took an unexpected turn last week, as his scheduled opponent, Joseph Coats, decided not to fight, while in the ring during the introductions and literally left the ring and returned to the locker room.
The four-round Rahman vs. Coats bout was supposed to happen at The Durham Armory in Downtown Durham, North Carolina, last Thursday, October 19. However, the debuting Coats, trained by reputable trainer Don Turner, initially refused to come out of the locker room. Forty minutes later, Coats finally agreed to get on with the fight only to leave Rahman waiting in the ring for nearly 10 minutes while chickening out for a second time.
He now faces suspension.
Event promoter Michelle Rosado (Raging Babe Events) and matchmaker J Russell Peltz (Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc.) were as perplexed as Rahman’s promoter, Greg Cohen, by Coats’ sudden departure.
“Russell told me in his 48 years in the sport, he NEVER saw anything like this,” said Cohen. “A fighter in the ring rethinks his choice and leaves. I’m told he was out of the building before the announcer finished explaining to the crowd what happened.”
Cohen says he already has the next fight scheduled for the promising slugger Rahman Jr., November 4 in Springfield, Virginia, in a co-promotion with Shabazz Brotherz Boxing Promotions.
“Junior showed class and poise in the way he handled this and he’s to be commended. Sometimes in boxing, strange things happen and this is one of those times.”
Jason Sosa to Clash with Robinson Castellanos on November 25th
Two of the most experienced fighters in the stacked 130-pound division will continue the heated Puerto Rico vs. Mexico rivalry when Jason “El Canito” Sosa (20-2-4, 14 KOs) takes on Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos (24-13, 14 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on the televised undercard for Kovalev vs. Shabrankskyy. The event takes place Saturday, Nov. 25 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Although the competition between Puerto Rico and Mexico runs deep in the ring, Latinos and Hispanics come together and support each other in times of need. In light of the natural disasters affecting Mexico and the Caribbean, a portion of the proceeds of the ticket sales form this event will be donated to relief efforts for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the earthquake in Mexico City when ticket buyers use the code LATINOSUNIDOS to purchase their tickets through Ticketmaster.
“With the terrible natural disasters that have impacted Puerto Rico and Mexico recently, it was incredibly important to us that we find opportunities in boxing to give back to those affected,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Though Puerto Rico and Mexico are rivals when it comes to boxing we stand together united to help these communities recover and rebuild their lives.”
The 29-year-old Sosa, of Camden, NJ and of Puerto Rican descent, is the former WBA World Super Featherweight Champion. He earned his title by handing Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna his first loss as a pro with an 11th-round knockout in Beijing, China in June 2016. Sosa successfully defended his title with a 12-round decision win over Stephen Smith in Monte Carlo in November 2016 before returning several months later in a tough fight against Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko in April 2017. Sosa is also known for fighting to an impressive majority draw against former WBA Super World Featherweight Champion Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters and for stopping former world title challenger Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes in only one round. Sosa’s aggressive style should produce fireworks against Castellanos.
“Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico,” said Sosa. “I have been living there for the last few months and I opened a business there. Now to see the destruction and devastation that my people are going through, it breaks my heart. It was very difficult for me to leave and begin my training camp back in New Jersey to get ready for the fight against Castellanos. This fight is important for many reasons. It is the beginning of the road to becoming champion again and it is my way of giving Puerto Rico a reason to smile and be proud. They are my biggest supporters and that little island shows me so much love. I can’t do much but I can show them that this win is for them. I want to thank Castellanos and HBO for this opportunity.”
Castellanos is a battle-tested warrior who is coming off a spectacular performance against current WBA Super World Super Featherweight Champion Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales in July of this year. The 35-year-old native of Guanajuato, Mexico also handed super bantamweight contender and world title challenger Ronny Rios his first career loss, stopping him by TKO in October of 2014. Before challenging for a world title, Castellanos stopped Cuban former unified WBA and IBF Featherweight Champion Yuriorkis “El Ciclon de Guantánamo” Gamboa on the May 5 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN. After having been so close to winning a world title in his last outing, Castellanos will look to make sure that he gets another crack at the top of the division with a victory on Nov. 25.
“What has happened in Mexico and Puerto [Rico] has been devastating,” said Castellanos. But it has also reminded us that we are strong and united. The crisis won’t be resolved from one day to another, but however long it takes we will lift ourselves up. I know little about Jason [Sosa], but I know that he was a world champion. He has already accomplished a dream that I am still looking to accomplish. I know that I’ll need a victory to fight for a world title again. Both of us will have to leave everything in the ring, and I hope that the people in New York really enjoy our fight.”
Joshua vs. Takam – The Undercard
By: Ste Rowen
Despite the late change of opponent, the biggest draw on Saturday night remains the main event, with Anthony Joshua taking on Carlos Takam for the WBA, IBF and IBO Heavyweight World title belts. However, hidden gems may lie in the undercard.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Yafai v Ishida
Chief support to Joshua’s bout sees WBA Super Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai take on Sho Ishida in his second title defence. Kal (22-0-0 14KOs) won the vacant WBA belt back in December 2016 from Luis Concepcion, who’d come in over the limit in two attempts at the scales, meaning the only Yafai could win the belt. Then in May this year Kal got his first defence in the bank when he dominated Suguru Muranaka. Yafai was mightily impressive in both bouts, scoring legitimately wide scorecards. He’ll be hoping that this is the stepping stone fight to being included on HBO’s ‘SuperFly 2’ in early 2018. His opponent Sho Ishida’s record is good on paper, 24-0-0 (13KOs) however that does include six debutants including his last two bouts in which Ishida stopped first timers Patiphon Saithonggym and Phetnamnung Sisaketphattana in rounds three and two respectively. This will also be Sho’s first fight outside of Japan, he’ll be hoping to upset the Brit’s party and join his countryman, Naoyo Inoue at the top table of the Superfly division.
Whyte v Helenius
Dillian Whyte (21-1-0 16KOs) is looking to turn up the heat on the current Heavyweight belt holders when he goes up against Robert Helenius. In his most recent outing Whyte made quick work of Malcolm Tann on the undercard of Crawford v Indongo in Nebraska. Though sloppy at times, he made sure his keep-busy fight didn’t last long, dropping Tann for a third time with a body shot in the third round. A stark contrast from his split decision win previous to that, when he fought in a Fight of the Year contender, going all twelve in a heavyweight war against Dereck Chisora. His opponent, Robert Helenius (25-1-0 16KOs) was once the man to beat in the European Heavyweight scene. A sparring partner of Anthony Joshua’s leading up to the Klitschko fight, Helenius was racking up victories including a controversial decision over Chisora in 2011 and knocking out an unbeaten Gregory Tony in 2010. His steady rise took a big hit in 2016 though when he was knocked clean out by a big 1-2 from Johann Duhaupas. He’s on a three-fight win streak and will be looking to take Whyte’s status as a number one contender for the belts.
Sanchez v Taylor
Katie Taylor (6-0-0 4KOs) fights for her first world title in just her seventh fight when she takes on Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA Lightweight belt. It will be Taylor’s second schedule ten round fight, in her second stadium fight, and the omens are good because in that ten-rounder at Wembley Stadium last April, Taylor continued to show her class when she dispatched of unbeaten Nina Meinke in the seventh. In her one fight since, the Irishwoman beat up Jasmine Clarkson for three rounds before the American’s cornerman pulled her out. Anahi Esther Sanchez, as expected should represent Taylor’s biggest challenge yet. Sanchez (17-2-0 9KOs) has previously held a world title when she won the IBF Super Featherweight belt in March 2016. She’s also fought and lost twice in world title fights. Once in December 2016 via a unanimous decision to Nina Wahlstrom for the WBC Super Feather title and again in May this year, when she was given two standing counts and eventually stopped in the fourth for her old IBF title. She bounced back quickly, and in her second fight at the 135lb limit, stopped Cecilia Sofia Mena for the WBA belt, that will be on the line this Saturday.
Cult hero Dave ‘White Rhino’ Allen (12-3-1 9KOs) was looking to exact revenge on Commonwealth Champion, Lenroy Thomas when the two were set to meet for the second time on Saturday night for an immediate rematch of their May 2017 split decision. However, the Jamaican has pulled out due to a virus. Allen is expected to remain on the undercard in a six round keep busy fight before going again for the British and Commonwealth belts.
Buglioni v Richards
Another late change to Saturday’s card sees British Light Heavyweight Champion, Frank ‘Wise Guy’ Buglioni take on Craig ‘Spider’ Richards. Buglioni (20-2-1 15KOs) was due to fight Callum Johnson in a mandated bout but Johnson withdrew last week, leaving the door open for Craig Richards (9-0-0 3KOs), who has been campaigning mainly at Super Middleweight up to this point.
Three of Matchroom’s 2016 Olympic signings will also be on the card. Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (5-0-0 4KOs), taken the distance for the first time in his last fight with Blaise Mendouo. Super Featherweight and Welshman Joe Cordina (4-0-0 4KOs) fighting in Wales for the first time in his pro career. And Light Heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (2-0-0 2KOs) a bronze medallist in Rio, and arguably Britain’s most highly thought of from the class of 2016.
Ortiz vs. Takam falls through; Malik Scott Possible as New Opponent for “King Kong” Ortiz
Ortiz vs. Takam falls through; Malik Scott Possible as New Opponent for “King Kong” Ortiz
By: Eric Lunger
Boxing fans are looking forward to an action-filled November when Manny Pacquiao comes out of retirement to challenge Jessie Vargas for the latter’s WBO welterweight title on November 5; Sergei Kovalev puts several light heavyweight belts on the line against Andre Ward on November 19; and rising star and WBO junior lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko takes on Nicholas Walters on November 26.
However, one fight that may go under the radar in November features Heavyweight Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (25-0, 22KO’s). The Cuban southpaw was set to step into the ring against Carlos Takam (33-1-1, 25 KO’s) of France on November 12 in Monaco, according to a recent report in El Nuevo Herald. However, negotiations failed at a late stage, according to trainer/manager Juan Jimenez. “Takam pulled out late, even though we had the fight set,” Jimenez told boxinginsider.com on Saturday.
The date and venue are still being retained. “Right now we are looking at Malik Scott,” said Jimenez, but several other fighters remain possible options. Scott, 35, hails from Philadelphia, PA and has a long professional resume (38-2-1, 13 KO’s). He suffered a first round TKO loss to WBC Champion Deontay Wilder in March of 2014, and has been in the ring twice since then, defeating Alex Leapai (30-5-3) and Tony Thompson (40-5), both by unanimous decisions.
Ortiz’s last outing was also against Tony Thompson in March of this year, and Ortiz stopped Thompson in the sixth after a rather lopsided affair. Ortiz has the extensive technical arsenal typical of a Cuban-trained fighter, but he also has wicked power in his left hand. Dynamic and skillful, “King Kong” Ortiz appeals to the aficionado as well as the casual fight fan. In a month of stellar dates, be sure to keep November 12 on your calendar.