Garcia Impresses On Canelo-Kovalev Undercard
By: Sean Crose
Rising welterweight Blair Cobbs improved his record to 13-0-1 on the Canelo-Kovalev undercard at the MGM Grand in Vegas Saturday night. The scheduled 12 rounder was no walk in the park for the Vegas native, though, for the 11-5 Carlos Ortiz was able to drop his man in the 1st. Cobbs was able to get back to his feet and perform well…well enough to drop Ortiz in the 6th. The ring doctor then advised the referee to stop the proceedings in between rounds.
Fans were next treated to a women’s match which featured as much real blood as it did bad blood. Seniesa Estrada, 10-0, was no fan of Marlen Esparza, 7-1. Needless to say, the feeling seemed to be mutual. Although the two fighters gamely traded shots throughout the competitive match, a savage accidental fifth round headbutt changed the entire nature of the bout. With blood streaming down her face, Estrada fought as well as she could. Still, referee Robert Byrd wisely stopped the fight after the ninth, leaving matters in the hands of the judges.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
They gave the nod to Esparza by a wide margin. Even with the win, Esparza refused to speak well of her opponent after the fight. So much for sportsmanship.
The final fight on the undercard saw rising star Ryan Garcia face Romero Duno in a lightweight affair. The 18-0 Garcia was looking to impress, considering his last fight was cancelled. Yet Duno was looking to impress, as well. A win over a rising star, after all, can be a true career booster. Yet Duno was simply not to shock the world on Saturday. For Garcia looked absolutely ferocious in completely wiping out his opponent in the very first round.
At least Garcia was gracious in his post fight interview, in contrast to Esparza after the previous fight. “All respect to Duno,” he said. “He came out to fight. He came in shape.”
Earlier in the evening, Bakhram Murtazaliev, 17-0, bested the 20-2-1 Jorge Fortea via decision.The Russian fighter is now in line for an IBF junior middleweight title fight.
Another junior middleweight made his mark on the undercard when Evan Holyfied, son of heavyweight great Evander Holyfied demolished Nick Winstead, 0-2, in just over 16 seconds He may not reach his father’s Olympian heights, but it was still an impressive debut for young Holyfield.
The entire undercard was covered live by DAZN.
Pacquiao vs. Thurman Undercard Results: Ugas, Nery, and Lipinets Win
By: William Holmes
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s Pay Per View (PPV) Offering by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).
The attendance in the arena was still sparse as the televised portion of the pay per view started. A portion of the undercard was televised on Fox and featured a stoppage win by Caleb Plant over Irish Mike Lee.
The opening bout of the pay per view was between Juan Carlos Payano (21-2) and Luis Nery (29-0) in the bantamweight division.
Both boxers fought out of a southpaw stance, and Payano was winning the early rounds and nearly doubled the output of Nery. Nery was short with his punches going into the third round, but had a strong fourth round and appeared to be gaining confidence.
Nery continued to stalk Payano in the middle rounds and remained the aggressor. Payano was still landing some good shots, but Nery did not appear to be bothered by the punches of Payano.
Nery turned the punch output in his favor by the seventh round and landed some hard blows on Payano by the ropes. Nery continued to land the harder punches and keep Payano on the defensive in the eighth round.
The end of the fight came in the ninth round when Nery landed a left hook to the body that crumbled Payano. Payano was unable to get up by the count of ten and Nery scored an impressive body shot knockout.
Nery wins by knockout at 1:43 of the ninth round.
The next bout was between Sergey Lipinets (15-1) and last minute replacement Jayar Inson (18-2) in the welterweight division.
Lipinets was preparing to face John Molina Jr., but he pulled out three days ago and Lipinets had to adjust his strategy for a southpaw on short notice.
Inson landed two straight lefts early in the first round, but that may have been the only clean punches he landed in the entire night.
Lipinets applied pressure in the opening round and continued that pressure into the second round. Lipinets landed a beautiful left hook on Inson that sent him falling flat on his face.
Inson got up before the count of ten, but he looked to be in bad shape and the referee waived off the fight.
Lipinets wins by TKO at 0:57 of the second round.
The final fight on the undercard was between Yordenis Ugas (23-4) and Omar Figueroa Jr. (28-0-1) in the welterweight division.
Ugas started off strong and crisp counters on the forward moving Figueroa. Ugas scored a knockdown when a punch from him knocked Figueroa backwards with only the ropes to keep him up, scoring Ugas a knockdown.
Ugas continued to land heavy body shots on Figueroa in the second round, and was able to wither the pressure of Figueroa. Ugas out muscled Figueroa, and by the fourth round had outlanded him 62-42. Figueroa had a cut above his eye checked out by the doctor but was allowed to continue.
Ugas lost a point in the fifth round for holding onto Figueroa, and Figueroa had a better round. But Ugas was able to land some hard straight right hands on Figueroa when his back was against the corner in the sixth and reclaim momentum of the fight.
Ugas had an effective body attack in the seventh and eighth rounds, but was warned for a low blow in the eighth.
Figueroa simply was not able to mount an effective offense in the ninth and tenth rounds, as Ugas had him time countered.
Ugas wins the decision with scores of 119-107 on all three scorecards.
Joshua vs. Ruiz Undercard Fighters Press Conference Recap
By: Hans Themistode
This Saturday night on June 1st, Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) will look to defend his Heavyweight titles against Andy Ruiz Jr (32-1, 21 KOs) in Madison Square Garden. Although these two are receiving the lions share of the publicity, this won’t be the only great fight taking place that night as the undercard is filled with intriguing matchups.
WBA Super Middleweight champion Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) returns to the ring after more than eight months off to take on Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (37-3, 21 KOs). For Smith, it will be his first time in the ring since winning the World Boxing Super Series. Smith is more than eager to prove his worth against N’Dam.
“N’Dam is a really good fighter. He’s only been beaten by the top fighters. I feel as though I am the best Super Middleweight in the world and that should be more than enough to beat N’Dam and in spectacular fashion.”
N’Dam is trying to build off of the upset he pulled off in his last contest when he defeated Martin Murray. This will be his first fight at Super Middleweight, but that doesn’t seem to bother him in anyway.
“Fighting at Super Middleweight won’t be a problem for me at all. Also I am very familiar with the fighting style of Callum because we have worked together on several occasions. I will be fully prepared come fight night to achieve my goals.”
Callum Smith and Hassan N’Dam wont be the only championship fight taking place on the undercard. WBA, WBO and IBF Lightweight world champion Katie Taylor (13-0, 6 KOs) will be looking to add the WBC Lightweight title to her collection when she takes on current champion Delfine Persoon (43-1, 18 KOs). To make this contest even more significant, the ring magazine title will be on thee line as well.
During Taylor’s short career she has been flat out dominant. Her contest against Persoon however, will be her toughest yet.
“Persoon is a great champion. She will by far be the toughest challegne of my career. I have had a really good training camp and I will be fully prepared. It wont be easy but I believe I will be able to get it done.”
The stakes are high for these undercard fighters. They have opportunity to be seen on the biggest stage of their careers. Expect them all to attempt to steal the show come Saturday night.
Canelo vs. Jacobs Undercard Results: Diaz and Ortiz Shine with Stoppages
By: William Holmes
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s middleweight showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs on the DAZN Streaming network.
The main card started at 9pm, and the undercard before the main card featured a shocking 13-1 underdog upset by Anthony “Juice” Young of Pleasantville, New Jersey over former junior middleweight champion Sadam Ali by a third round stoppage.
The first fight of the main card was in the super featherweight division Jonathan Oquendo (30-5) and Lamont Roach Jr. (18-0-1).
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Oquendo was pressing forward early and able to land some shots that forced blood to come from Roach’s nose.
Roach was landing some solid hooks on Oquendo in the second round, but Oquendo was banging to the body and applying heavy pressure. Oquendo was warned in the third round for holding Roach and to keep his head up.
Oquendo had Roach hurt badly in the fourth round with some body shots that forced Roach to hold on for most of the round. However, Roach turned the tide back in his favor in the fifth round by landing some heavy shots, though he landed one at a time instead of throwing combinations.
Oquendo’s activity likely won him the sixth round, and he was the more active fighter in the seventh also though Roach did land some hard counters.
Oquendo lost a point in the eight round for an headbutt which was a little bit questionable. The final two rounds played out like most of the fight, with Oquendo pressing the pace but Roach landing the cleaner shots.
The judges scored it 97-92, 97-92, and 96-93 for Lamont Roach Jr.
The next bout of the night was Freddy Fonseca (26-2-1) and Joseph Diaz (28-1) in the super featherweight division.
Fonseca and Diaz both fought out of a southpaw stance, and this was Fonseca’s first fight in the United States.
Diaz looked strong and healthy at 130 pounds, and landed heavy body and head shots early on. By the third round it was clear that Diaz was clearly the superior fighter, and had landed 50% of his power shots by the fourth round.
Fonseca had a decent fifth round, though was still out struck and out landed by Diaz. Diaz brutalized Fonseca in the sixth round and out landed him 30-4 in punches and scored a late round knockdown when Fonseca was forced to take a knee.
Diaz continued to land power shots at will in the sixth round and forced Fonseca’s corner to step up and stop the fight.
Joseph Diaz wins by TKO at 2:07 of the seventh round.
The co-main event of the night was between Vergil Ortiz (12-0) and Mauricio Herrera (24-8) in the welterweight division.
Herrera looked a little soft going into the ring, but he was a rugged veteran who’s been in the ring with some tough fighters.
Ortiz showed off his power early by being patient and solving the jab of Herrera and hurting him with a left hook at the end of the round. Ortiz remained patient in the second round and badly hurt Herrera at the end of the round and forced a knockdown as the round came to an end. Herrera got back to his feet, but was badly hurt as he returned to his corner.
Ortiz came out blazing in the third round and landed a crushing straight right hand that sent Herrera to the mat and forced the referee to stop the bout.
Vergil Ortiz wins by TKO at 0:29 of the third round.
Top Rank PPV Undercard Results: Verdejo, Stevenson, and Lopez Win Impressively
By: William Holmes
The televised undercard of tonight’s PPV featured three fights before the main event between Terence Crawford and Amir Khan.
This event was held at Madison Square Garden and televised live on Pay Per View in a partnership between Top Rank Promotions and ESPN.
The first fight on the undercard was between Felix Verdejo (24-1) and Bryan Vazquez (37-3) in the lightweight division.
Verdejo took control of the center of the ring early on and was landing crisp jabs in conjunction with decent body shots. Vazquez kept a good tight high guard, but he wasn’t very effective when he went on the offensive.
Verdejo landed a good short left hook in the third round but had a small cut under his left eye in the fourth round. Verdejo looked like the fresher fighter in the fifth round and was able to land some good body shots in the sixth.
Vazquez had a strong seventh and eight round and may have stolen them on the judges’ score cards. Verdejo however was the aggressor in the final two rounds and likely took them from Vazquez.
The final scores were 97-93, 97-93, and 98-92 for Felix Verdejo.
The next fight on the undercard was in the featherweight division between Shakur Stevenson (10-0) and Christopher Diaz (24-1)
Stevenson, a southpaw, started off the fight by circling away from the power hand of Diaz and stayed on the outside. Stevenson picked him apart in the second round with a jab and looked to be in good control
Diaz attempted to keep the distance tight in the third and fourth rounds but Stevenson was too accurate of a puncher to be in danger.
Stevenson had a real strong fifth round as his superior hand speed was just taking it over. Diaz had a better sixth round and both fighters crossed feet in the seventh round. Diaz looked like he was reaching for his punches a bit in the eighth round as he was behind on the cards at the time.
Stevenson looked extremely confident going into the final two rounds and coasted to a comfortable victory.
The final scores were 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92 for Shakur Stevenson.
The final fight on the undercard was a lightweight fight between Teofimo Lopez (12-0) and Edis Tatli (31-2) .
Lopez was sharp with his jab early on and landed some good check left hooks in the opening round. He continued to press in the second round and was able to land some good shots to the body.
Lopez continued to press the pace in the third round and had Tatli in full retreat in the fourth round. Lopez went for the stoppage in the fourth as he was winding up on his power shots, but Tatli was able to stay on his feet.
Lopez finished the fight in the fourth round with a vicious body shot that sent Tatli to the mat for the full ten count.
Lopez wins by knockout at 1:32 of the fifth round.
Showtime PPV Boxing Results: Oubaali, Ruiz, and Browne Win Decisions
By: William Holmes
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s pay per view offering by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
Several title fights were on this card in addition to the main event of Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner.
The first bout of the night was between <strong>Hugo Ruiz (38-4) and Alberto Guevara (27-3)</strong> in the featherweight division.
Ruiz was the taller and longer fighter of the two, and he had to face Guevara who had to step in as a last minute replacement, and his body looked like he hasn’t been training heavily in the past few weeks.
Ruiz was able to land two short right hands followed by two short left hooks in the first round that sent Guevara down to the mat, but he was unable to follow up on that and finish the fight early.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Ruiz was throwing a little more power into his shots in the second round, and was able to do good work to the body. Ruiz continued to walk Guevara down in the third and fourth rounds, but he wasn’t throwing enough combinations to seriously hurt or threaten Guevara.
Ruiz was warned for a low blow in the fifth round, but still landed more shots than Guevara despite the action slowing down. Guevara was able to land some counters in the seventh round, but was fighting off his back foot in the eight round and was not throwing enough punches to win an otherwise winnable round.
It looked like Guevara is fighting to just survive and not go for the win. He has to know he’s behind on the scorecards but he didn’t take any risks in the final two rounds of the bout.
Ruiz wins a lackluster decision with scores of 100-89, 99-90, and 99-90.
The next fight of the night was between <strong>Nordine Oubaali (14-0) and Rau’shee Warren (16-2) (</strong> for the WBC Bantamweight title.
Both Oubaali and Warren fought as southpaws, and they previously met in the Olympics when Oubaali was able to defeat Warren.
Warren showed good hand speed early on and Oubaali was a little short with his punches. Warren’s jab was accurate early, and he may have had Oubaali a little hurt in the third round.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Oubaali began to turn the tide of the fight in his favor in the fourth round when he landed a counter left hand near the end of the round, and he had a strong fifth round with some check right hooks and lead right hands.
The sixth round was a close one, but Oubaali may have hurt Warren at the end of the round with a good left hand. Warren unwisely got in a firefight with Oubaali in the seventh round and may have lost the round as a result. Warren, to his credit, continued to exchange with Oubaali in the eighth round.
Warren pressed the pace in the ninth round but got tagged with some good power shots, and Oubaali was more accurate with his counter shots in the tenth round.
Warren likely stole the eleventh round with his activity and pressure, but it appeared to many he needed a knockout in the last round in order to pull out a win.
That knockout didn’t come, but overall there were many close rounds.
The judges scored the fight 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111 for Nordine Ouaali.
The co-main event of the night was between <strong> Badou Jack (22-1-3) and Marcus Browne (22-0) </strong>for the WBA Interim Light Heavyweight Championship.
Browne had the slight height and reach advantage on Jack and was able to use it to his advantage early on. He pressed the pace more in the opening two rounds and kept control of the center of the ring.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Browne was able to land some good shots to the body in the third and fourth round, while Jack was unable to land any notable punches on Browne’s body or head.
Marcus Browne had a very good fifth round, he was able to land a strong left hook that had Jack hurt, but Browne didn’t press the pace and go for the knockdown. Browne looked very confident going into the sixth round, and wasn’t bothered by Jack’s power at all
Browne opened up a cut in the middle of Jack’s forehead after a headbutt and was later deducted a point in the seventh round. Browne was landing clean combinations in the eighth and ninth rounds, as the blood dripped from Jack’s forehead and he appeared to be losing his energy.
Badou Jack was able to make a brief comeback in the tenth round with a flurry of punches on Browne by the corner. Bit he wasn’t able to follow that up with any effective offense.
Jack looked like a defeated fighter going into the final two rounds of the fight, as Browne looked confident he was going to walk away the winner. Browne went in for the kill in the final round as the blood was pouring out of Jack’s cut. The ringside doctor came out to check Jack’s cut, but allowed him to continue. Jack was able to finish out the fight, but he had a crimson mask of blood.
The final scores of the fight were 117-110, 116-111, and 119-108 for Marcus Browne.
Showtime PPV Undercard Results: Hurd, Ortiz, and Joyce Stomp their Competition
By: William Holmes
The Staples Center in Los Angeles, California was the host site for tonight’s Showtime PPV offering between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
The opening bout of the night was between Joe Joyce (6-0) and Joe Hanks (23-2) in the heavyweight division.
Joe Joyce was a silver medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics and has stopped every opponent he has faced as a professional.
Joyce was the taller fighter, but looked a little awkward around the ring and was stunned with some decent combinations by Hanks early on. However, when Joyce connected with a straight right hand it hurt Hanks and had him momentarily stunned. Joyce was able to follow that up with a jab and a left hook to the chin that sent Hanks crashing to the mat.
Hanks struggled to get up by the count of ten and protested when the referee waived the fight off, but he looked badly hurt at the time of the stoppage.
Joe Joyce wins by way of knockout at 2:25 of round one.
The next fight of the night was between Luis Ortiz(29-1) and Travis Kauffman (32-2) in the heavyweight division.
Ortiz is an elite fighter with a deep amateur background and the difference in talent was evident early on. Ortiz had Kauffman backing up early on with a stead streak of jabs and kept it up throughout most of the fight.
Kauffman got hit with a low blow in the third round and got some time to recover, but got tagged with a good combination by Ortiz after his break in what may have been the best shots of the night at that point.
Kauffman continued to get moved corner to corner in the fourth and fifth rounds as he was backwards. Ortiz landed a vicious straight left hand in the sixth round that sent Kauffman to the mat and Ortiz celebrating jumping in the corner. But it may have ben premature as Kauffman got back to his feet.
Ortiz picked Kauffman apart for the remainder of the sixth round and landed some solid straight right hands but wasn’t able to finish Kauffman off.
Ortiz had Kauffman backing up in the seventh round and sent him to the mat again in the eighth round with an overhand right to the temple. Kauffman got back to his feet again and took several more hard shots, including a left uppercut, but was able to survive the round.
Ortiz went for the stoppage in the final two rounds, an landed a low blow and a near knockdown in the ninth round that was ruled a push. He did land a left hand in the tenth and final round to score his third knockdown of the fight, but Kauffman got up to his feet again, only to get tagged with another left hook that had him badly hurt before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
Louis Ortiz at wins by TKO at 1:58 of the tenth and final round.
The final fight on the undercard was between Jarrett Hurd (22-0) and Jason Welborn (24-6) in the super welterweight division.
Welborn was pressing the pace in the opening round and kept his head in the chest of Hurd and fought the fight in close and appeared to do well.
Hurd pressed behind his jab in the second round and appeared to throw a large number of left jabs and hooks. Hurd was rolling well with the punches of Welborn in the third round, but Welborn may have stolen that round with a flurry at the end.
Welborn opened up the fourth round with some heavy shots on Hurd by the ropes and connected with some clean hooks to the head while Hurd’s back was against the ropes. Hurd covered up and took the shots of Welborn before unloading a right uppercut to the body that sent Welborn to the canvas.
Hurd took some heavy shots in the process, but wins by knockout at 1:55 of the fourth round.
Rd 4: Weblron landed some heavy shots on Hurd by the ropes. Some hard combos. Hurt taking on some good shots. Hurd fighting back. Body shot sends him down. For ten. KO!!
DAZN Undercard Results: Taylor Dominates Serrano
By: Sean Crose
DAZNs main undercardcard from Boston’s TD Garden arena on Saturday began with England’s 24-0 Kid Galahad making his US debut against fellow featherweight, Toka Kahn Clary; 25-1, of Rhode Island, in a scheduled 12 round affair.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
The first portion of the bout was surprising in that Clary, trained by Freddie Roach, was landing more effectively than his European adversary. Perhaps even stranger, Galahad never seemed to be able to get into a rhythm with the counter punching southpaw. Galad gained steam at the end, though perhaps not enough to warrant the UD win he was rewarded with.
Next up, the 26-4-1 Tevin Farmer defended his junior lightweight title against the 22-2 James Tennyson in a scheduled 12 round affair. Farmer looked like he was having a hard time with Tennyson’s pressure but then dropped his man with a body blow in the fourth. Tennyson beat the count but it was a surprising turn from Farmer, a man not known for power punching.
Yet Farmer continued to surprise by stopping his man with yet another body shot the following round.
Afterwards, Katie Taylor entered the ring to the loud jubilation of the many Irish fans in the crowd. Taylor, 10-0 was then set to face off against the 27-5-3 Cindy Serrano in a 10 round bout for her lightweight titles.
Taylor easily dominated the first two rounds with sound footwork and effective aggression. Things essentially stayed the same through to the midpoint of the fight. Serrano did so little that by the 7th Taylor literally motioned her forward. Later in the round, Serrano actually threw punches at air, inches away from a relatively stationary target. it was a truly dreadful affair. Taylor couldn’t finish Serrano…and Serrano simply refused to fight.
Taylor walked out with a UD win after the bell mercifully sounded to end the final round.
Golovkin vs. Canelo Undercard Results: Clean Slate of Knockouts for Chocolatito, Lemieux, and Munguia
By: William Holmes
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s HBO Pay Per View Offering featuring a main event between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
Three fights were show on the undercard, and the opening bout was between former champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez(46-2) and Moises Fuentes (25-5-1) in the super flyweight division.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
Fuentes looked like the taller and bigger fighter in the ring, but had to deal with Chocolatito’s jab and good head movement early on. Chocolatito was also able to land some decent left hooks to the body and outland Fuentes 22-6 in the opening round.
Chocolatito continued to rip hooks to the body and combinations in the second round and had Fuentes bleeding from his face as he walked to his corner.
Chocolatito continued to overwhelm Fuentes and had a solid up jab working in the fourth round. Fuentes was able to land a decent combination to the body in the fourth that momentarily slowed Chocolatito down, but he didn’t offer much more than that.
The end came in the fifth round when Chocolatito landed a short right hook to the chin of Fuentes with his back against the ropes, and he went crashing down and did not come close to getting up by the count of ten.
Roman Chocolatito Gonzalez wins by knockout at 1:44 of the fifth round.
The next bout of the night was between Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2) and David Lemieux (39-4) in the middleweight division.
Photo Credit:HBO Boxing Twitter Account
Lemieux outweighed O’Sullivan by about fifteen pounds by the time they stepped in the ring, and the difference in power showed early.
Lemieux was aggressive early and threw good hooks to the body and often tripled up on his jab. Lemieux applied heavy pressure and was landing strong shots, but did get momentarily stunned by an O’Sullivan jab.
Lemieux later responded with a resounding left hook that sent O’Sullivan spinning and crashing to the mat.
Lemieux wins by knockout at 2:44 of the first round.
The next bout of the night was between Jaime Munguia (30-0) and Brandon Cook (20-1) for the WBO Junior Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
Munguia looked a weight class bigger than Cook and started off as the more aggressive fighter, landing combinations to the body and head early on. He was warned early for low blows, but continued to land heavy shots to the body and was pummeling him as the round came to an end.
Munguia took a right cross from Cook early in the second round, but retook control with a solid right uppercut followed by more blows to the body. He boxed more in control during the second round, but ended the round strong again with another barrage of punches.
Munguia opened up the third round with heavy digging hooks to the body, and knocked Cook down after a body head combination, including a punch that landed as Cook was falling to the mat.
Cook was able to get back up, but got obliterated with punches to the body that forced him to cover up. Cook was not fighting back and the referee jumped in to save him from further punishment.
Jaime Munguia wins by TKO at 1:03 of the third round.
Canelo vs GGG 2 Announces Stacked Undercard for PPV
Fans at T-Mobile Arena and millions watching at home will be treated to a stacked undercard featuring current world champions and returning contenders in support of the Sepember 15 fight between Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and WBC/WBA/IBO Middleweight World Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-0, 34 KOs). The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 15 and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at a special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
“This historic rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin can only be supported by an equally great undercard,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “That’s why some of the best champions and contenders from all over the world will be featured on this event of international proportions, while some of our brightest prospects will have the opportunity of a lifetime on this undercard so they can one day headline events of this magnitude.”
In the co-main event, breakout Mexican star Jaime Munguia (30-0, 25 KOs) will make the second defense of his WBO Junior Middleweight World Title against rugged Canadian contender Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook (20-1, 13 KOs) in a 12-round battle.
“I’m very motivated to be in such an important card,” said Munguia. “It will be the most important boxing event of the year. For me it is an honor to be on this card supporting Canelo Alvarez, who is also Mexican, on a date that is so special for Mexico, for me and for all of the people. We will do our best to please the public. I promise to not disappoint, so don’t miss my fight and don’t miss Canelo vs. GGG 2.”
Cook said, “It’s always been a dream for me to fight for a world title. To be on the biggest fight card of the year with two of my favorite fighters is a dream come true. Jaime Munguia is an exciting, young, up-and-coming fighter. He has great punching power in both hands. I’m going to do everything possible to bring that world title back home to Canada. I can’t thank Golden Boy Promotions enough for giving me this opportunity. I have a great team behind me and we will be ready September 15. I’m coming to fight.”
Fernando Beltran, CEO of Zanfer Promotions, said, “It can’t get any bigger for boxing than a Pay-Per-View fight in Las Vegas on Mexican Independence Day. That’s where Jaime Munguia is fighting and that’s where he deserves to fight. He always shows his best on the biggest stages and during biggest moments, so be ready for a spectacular performance from Munguia”
Former IBF Middleweight World Champion David Lemieux (39-4, 33 KOs) of Montreal, Canada and Irish warrior Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 KOs) of Cork, Ireland will go head-to-head in a 12-round middleweight battle that has Fight of the Year candidate written all over it.
Lemieux said, “I’m looking forward to fighting ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan next. I have some unfinished business at 160. We’re going to take one fight at a time. Spike is an action fighter, like me. He’s a tough cookie and comes to fight. This is a fight for the fans. Come September 15, I want to steal the show.”
O’Sullivan said, “This fight is just another step towards fulfilling my ambition of becoming a world champion and providing a good life for my family! David Lemieux is just an object in my way that I fully intend smashing through! Then, I want Canelo or GGG-either one, it doesn’t matter! I’m going to war!”
Former pound-for-pound king and former four-division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua will make his highly anticipated return against experienced Mexican warrior Moises “Moi” Fuentes (25-5-1, 14 KOs) in a 10-round super flyweight battle that will open the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast.
Gonzalez said, “I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to be back in the ring. This will be my second fight in Las Vegas, and I look forward to fighting on this great show. I have been training hard in California and will give a good show for the fans. I respect Moises Fuentes, and he will be a strong challenge for me. I want to thank Mr. Honda of Teiken Promotions, along with GGG Promotions for making this possible for me to be on the biggest show in boxing. I look forward to seeing all of my fans again and promise a good performance in the ring.”
Fuentes said, “This will be a difficult fight because of Gonzalez’s style of fighting. But it won’t be impossible. In boxing, nothing is written. I still have what it takes to do it-a good record and a lot of potential. I’m confident I will win this fight and Gonzalez will be a big trampoline for me to join the highest levels of boxing.”
On the non-televised portion of the card, super lightweight knockout artist Vergil Ortiz Jr.(10-0, 10 KOs) of Dallas, Texas looks to add another stoppage victory to his record as he takes on experienced warrior Roberto “Massa” Ortiz (35-2-2, 26 KOs) of Torreon, Mexico in a scheduled 10-round 140-pound fight.
Rising welterweight prospect Alexis “Lex” Rocha (11-0, 8 KOs) of Santa Ana, Calif. will risk his undefeated record against Carlos Ortiz (10-2, 10 KOs) of Torreon, Mexico in an eight-round welterweight clash.
Undisputed WBC/WBA/IBF/WBO Champion Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs) of Cartagena, Colombiawill defend her titles in a 10-round welterweight fight.
Francisco Esparza (8-0-1, 3 KOs) of Las Vegas will take on a soon-to-be announced opponent in either a four or six-round featherweight fight.
Canelo vs. GGG 2 is a 12-round fight for the middleweight championship of the world presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions. Munguia vs. Cook is a 12-round battle for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Zanfer Promotions. Lemieux vs. O’Sullivan is a 12-round middleweight clash presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of The Tiger Management in association with Murphy’s Boxing. Gonzalez vs. Fuentes is a 10-round super flyweight fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions in association with Teiken Promotions and Zanfer Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate,
“THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle,” O’Reilly Auto Parts, Fred Loya Insurance, Interjet, Venom, and Fathom Events. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at a special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
“24/7 Canelo/GGG 2” premieres Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 11:30 pm (ET/PT) on HBO. Canelo’s fifth “24/7” appearance and Golovkin’s third, “24/7 CANELO/GGG 2” is the latest installment of the acclaimed franchise that began in 2007.
Braekhus vs. Sagaydakovskaya & Undercard Preview
By: Ste Rowen
As Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev are preparing to go at it to claim the status of ‘Undisputed’ cruiserweight champion, the only other current undisputed boxer across the sport, will be in the ring, and no doubt impressing the Moscow crowd, as welterweight queen Cecilia Braekhus, 33-0 (9KOs) defends her WBC, IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO belts against 7-0 (3KOs), Inna Sagaydakovskaya of Russia in 10x2minute rounds.
The self-proclaimed ‘First Lady’ was in the ring just two months ago when she fought on the Golovkin vs. Martirosyan undercard against the former WBC champion Kali Reis. She eventually came out the clear winner with a 10-round unanimous decision victory that night, but she had to weather a few rough rounds late on when she took a knee in the 7th and was visibly shook by a right hand in the 8th. Once again though, she proved her elite credentials by regaining control and comfortably seeing out the final rounds, but the unbeaten 147lber, speaking to ‘ESPN Digital’, insists every fight, is a legacy fight,
‘‘It’s a legacy because it’s not just another fight, it’s a fight that is part of a very important card…For me every fight is harder, but they have made me feel at home and I know I can achieve a clear victory against my rival, who comes from a heavier division to try to dethrone me.’’
Her opponent on Saturday will be Russian, Inna Sagaydakovskaya. The ‘Ice Queen’ has earnt her shot at Braekhus in her last two bouts, defeating former IBF junior middleweight champion, Maria Lindberg over ten rounds, and more recently, stopping Jennifer Retzke in impressive fashion, inside two rounds at Almaty Arena, Kazakhstan.
Speaking to ‘Women of Boxing’, Inna was adamant she’s done more than enough to share the ring with the ‘First Lady’,
‘‘I’ve boxed for the national team for many years. I have a lot of experience and it’s not even about how many fights, but who is more prepared and more ready to win on July 21st.’’
Whether it’s bookie’s favourite, Braekhus, or the home crowd’s favourite, Sagaydakovskaya, whoever emerges the victor will have a host of fellow welterweights circling for their opportunity at all the belts with the likes of, American and WBC #1 Layla Carter, unbeaten Zambian, Lolita Muzeya and IBF #1 and Cecilia’s former foe, Klara Svensson readying themselves to be up next.
Mairis Briedis vs. Brandon Deslaurier
As long as there are no unexpected injuries between now and fight night, World Boxing Super Series semi-finalist and Saturday night’s main event reserve, Mairis Briedis will take on 11-1 (1KO), Brandon Deslaurier of France.
The Latvian and former WBC champion proved himself a worthy addition, even in defeat to Usyk, back in January and his bout this weekend is expected to be a relative walkover for the man most view as the 3rd best cruiserweight in the world. Speaking to the WBSS website earlier this month, Mairis seemed happy enough to be included on the card, and be kept in sight of the winner of Usyk/Gassiev,
‘‘I can’t wait to fight again. I’m looking forward to a quality WBSS event and I am sure that the 21st of July will make a great night of boxing for the fans.’’
Fedor Chudinov vs. Nadjib Mohammedi
Former WBA super middleweight champion, Fedor Chudinov will take on Frenchman, Nadjib Mohammedi for the WBA ‘International’ strap Fedor won back in December.
Chudinov, 17-2 (12KOs) is 3 for 3 since his stoppage lost to George Groves back in 2017, and the Russian, with a victory of course, will be adding his name to the exhaustive list of matchups that can be made at 168lb between champions and challengers.
Speaking to ‘Soviet Sport’ he said,
‘‘It will be a very difficult and beautiful battle. I can say that I am ready now as never before. In the past I was not completely sure but now I clearly know my strength.’’
‘‘This time I was trained in America.’’ Fedor now trains out of Big Bear with Abel Sanchez. ‘‘I saw a different look at boxing in general training…He looks and develops the best qualities in the boxer…We run every day on the mountains for 4 miles. We train 6 days a week.’’
Mohammedi, who’s most significant fights have been at light heavyweight, most notably defeats to Kovalev, Cleverly and most recently Gvozdyk, is unbeaten at the super middleweight limit. He made the move down to 168lb in 2016 and is undefeated in his last three bouts.
Serhii Bohachuk vs. Nikolozi Gviniashvilli
The highly rated Ukrainian Serhii ‘El Flaco’ Bohachuk returns to the ring one month on from his 2nd round KO of Cesar Soriano Berumen at The Avalon in California. Bohachuk, who also trains out of Big Bear, is fighting outside of the US as a pro for the first time as he takes on the 19-11-4 (15KOs) Georgian, Nikolozi Gviniashvilli.
‘El Flaco’ currently 9-0 (9KOs) and fighting at junior middleweight has impressed crowds with each limited opponent put in front of him so far and the hope for the weekend is that the former amateur standout will face a sterner test, whilst still being able to dazzle the Moscow crowd, over 8 rounds against Gviniashvilli.
Magomed Madiev vs. Guido Nicolas Pitto
Fighting for the WBA ‘Asia’ and IBF ‘International’ titles, Magomed Madiev, 11-0 (4KOs) of Russia, comes up against Argentine, Guido Nicolas Pitto, 25-5-1 (5KOs).
Madiev, 23, spoke at the end of last year, after Lomachenko had just stopped Rigondeaux, to ‘Soviet Sport’, of his desire to attempt to replicate Loma’s incredible run of victories in so few fights
‘‘I aspire to this. For me, it will be soon. But not all at once. We’ll catch up with Lomachenko…We plan to do it (Title Fights) in the near future. We will try to organise serious battles.’’
His opponent, Pitto was the first man to beat Jack Culcay in 2013, only to lose the rematch six months later. Since then he’s kept mainly to Argentina fighting for national titles. Magomed’s best measurement of success for this weekend will be whether he can get Guido out of there early.
Konstantin Ponomarev vs. Sergey Vorobiev
Another student of Abel Sanchez will take to the ring when 34-0 (13KOs), Konstantin Ponomarev matches up against fellow Russian, Sergey Vorobiev, 6-0 (6KOs).
Up until last year, Ponomarev was campaigning at welterweight, having twice turned down IBF eliminators against Errol Spence and then Carlos Ocampo. Instead the 25-year-old, jumped up two weight classes to challenge for the Russian middleweight belt, which he won via an underwhelming 10-round decision over Pavel Momontov.
The Moscow crowd will be hoping to see more of the welterweight version of Konstantin when the first bell rings against Vorobiev, who could be a potential banana skin in his Russian foe’s momentum.
Denis Shafikov vs. Jhon Gemino
Just over a month on from his 8-round decision victory over Mexican, Hector Ruben Ambriz Suarez in California, Denis Shafikov, 39-4-1 (20KOs) takes on Philippine super bantamweight, Jhon Gemino in a stated 10 round super featherweight contest.
It’s a strange matchup, even for a supposed stay busy fight for the Russian. Shafikov is a career lightweight, whilst Gemino, 17-10-1 (7KOs) has won only 2 of his 6 fights above 126lb, but maybe as one man moves down, and another jumps up, the stars will align to give us an unexpected undercard barnstormer.
Pedraza, Stevenson, Ready To Impress On Horn-Crawford Undercard
By: Sean Crose
“Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza is nearing a title shot,” a Top Rank press release declared on Tuesday, “while Shakur Stevenson is well on his way.” Both Top Rank fighters will now find themselves on the undercard of much anticipated WBO welterweight title bout between Jeff Horn and Terence Crawford. Puerto Rico’s Pedraza will put his 23-1 record on the line by facing the 22-0 Antonio Moran. “I am excited because this will be my first fight in Las Vegas, which everyone knows is the fight capital of the world,” Pedraza claims. “I am determined to give a great performance…I know Moran is a good fighter and coming to upset my plans, but I have worked very hard to make sure that does not happen. I expect to be victorious on June 9 and will continue to show I am a force at lightweight.”
The WBO Latino Lightweight title will be at stake when Pedraza faces Moran on June 9th at the MGM Grand in Vegas. The bout will be aired on ESPN+, along with the Crawford-Horn main event. As for Olympic star, Stevenson, the 6-0 New Jersey native will face the 16-1 Aelio Mesquita in an eight round affair in the featherweight division. “I’ve gotten the chance to fight at Madison Square Garden,” says Stevenson, “and now I’m ready for my Las Vegas debut at MGM Grand on June 9…there have been so many historic fights in that arena and now it’s my turn. It’s always fun to fight on Terence’s undercards. The Crawford family has adopted me, so I’m going to put on a great performance for them and everyone watching at MGM and on ESPN+.”
The 26-0 Jose Benavidez will also be battling that night as he faces the 22-0 Venezuelan Frank Rojas. Having won all but one of his fights by KO, the hard hitting Rojas will present quite a challenge for Benavidez when they meet in a 10 round welterweight affair. “I have 21 knockouts in 22 fights,” Rojas claims. “On June 9, I will add another knockout to my record…I’m coming for you, Benavidez! I’m 100 percent ready to give the fans a great fight. I hope you are ready because I’m going to knock you out. I’m going to rip his head off. Get ready.” As for Benavidez, he appears eager to face the challenge. “”I hope that Rojas trained hard and that he comes well prepared,” he says, “because I’m determined to stop him.”
“Rojas will not touch me at all,” Benavidez adds. “He will not rip my head off because I’m going to rip his head off first.”
Bellew vs. Haye Undercard Preview
By: Ste Rowen
With domestic dust ups, commonwealth honours and a world title fight, Bellew vs Haye isn’t the only intriguing bout taking place in London on Saturday.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports Boxing Twitter Account
Paul Butler v Emmanuel Rodriguez
First up is a bout for the vacant IBF world bantamweight title, recently dropped by Ryan Burnett. Paul Butler, 26-1 (14KOs) takes on Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez in an attempt to reclaim the belt he previously held in 2014 when he beat Stuart Hall via split decision. Eight months after that fight, Butler had vacated the bantamweight title to fight for the super flyweight version of the IBF. That night, the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ had his first taste of defeat when he was dominated, and ultimately stopped by South African, and currently WBA ‘Super’ bantamweight champion, Zolani Tete. Butler has rebuilt well since then, with a nine-straight win streak including a unanimous decision victory in a rematch with Stuart Hall, and although he heads into Saturday’s fight as the underdog, speaking to Sky Sports, Paul’s not falling for the hype surrounding Rodriguez,
‘When you watch him, you think he’s a special kid, but go through the rounds, watch his mistakes, there’s loads we’ve picked up on. He goes to his left pretty much every time, he’ll take a step to his right and then he’ll come straight back to his left.’
‘We’ve both got pretty similar styles, we both love a left hook to the body, we both love going head to the body…I know I’ve trained hard and I’m physically well, I’m sparring well. I believe under Joe (Gallagher) I can get in there with anyone and win.’
Emmanuel Rodriguez, 17-0 (12KOs) is yet to go the 12-round distance. The furthest ‘Manny’ has gone is 10 rounds, when he came up against Albert Guevara in 2016, earning a clear victory across all three scorecards. This will also be the first time Rodriguez fights outside of North America, with previous matchups taking place in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the US. Though on the surface Butler is showing no signs of concern for the momentum ‘Manny’ has gathered, there’s certainly attributes that will worry him. The Puerto Rican may have been taken the distance by Guevara, but he was teeing off variations of the left hand all night, and he’s not limited to his left. His precision of the right-cross has setup the finish against previous opponents.
Zolani Tete’s record going into the Butler fight wasn’t much to look at, and we saw what happened there. Speaking earlier this week, Rodriguez was eager for fight night to come around,
‘It has been a long road to this fight, but I am ready to win my first world championship. Paul Butler is a good fighter, but nothing can stop me…It doesn’t matter that we’re in his backyard, I’ve done everything right getting ready for this and I look forward to bringing the belt back to my beloved country of Puerto Rico.’
Lenroy Thomas v Joe Joyce
The sole heavyweight bout to grace Saturday’s card sees Commonwealth champion, Lenroy Thomas take on 2016 silver medallist, Joe Joyce.
Thomas, 22-4-1 (11KOs) was last seen in his ill-fated rematch with David Allen in March. That night, the two boxers clashed heads in the first round, cutting Allen enough for the fight to be called a technical draw. The Jamaican is yet to defend his commonwealth title since beating Allen in their first fight last year, fighting just once – discounting the Allen rematch – in an 8-round decision victory over 12-2, Ed Fountain, on the Wilder vs Stiverne 2 undercard.
Much like his fellow 2016 Olympians Filip Hrgovic and Tony Yoka, Joyce, 3-0 (3KOs) is being fast tracked through the rankings with previous bouts including a debut stoppage win over 12-3-1 at the time, Ian Lewison and more recently, a 38 second KO of big talking, big framed, but little fight, Donnie Palmer.
John Ryder v Jamie Cox
John Ryder will take on fellow southpaw Jamie Cox in a domestic showdown that’s sure to get the crowd going before the main event.
Ryder’s last outing was his explosive 5th round knockout of Patrick Nielsen on the undercard of Jamie Cox vs George Groves in October, and the Londoner wasn’t too concerned about having to wait so long for this next fight,
‘There was talk of other fights we were looking at, but they didn’t come off, that’s boxing. It was about picking the right fight, rather than going in there against anyone…I think our styles are geared up for a good fight, it’ll be a real treat for the fans.’
Jamie Cox’s Matchroom career hasn’t exactly set alight since making the switch from Frank Warren’s, Queensberry Promotions back in early 2017. Aside from the stoppage defeat to Groves, Cox has fought four times; 16 rounds against very limited opposition, but he recognises the step up in opponent he’ll be taking this weekend,
‘I’m expecting the best John Ryder. I’m looking forward to mixing it with him…He’s ranked across a couple of the governing bodies and it’s my goal to become a world champion. Beating John will open more doors…He likes to come forward and have a go and I’m always up for the fight.’
With Rocky Fielding vacating the British title, a win for either of these two, puts them firmly in place for the next shot at the Lonsdale belt.
Martin Ward v James Tennyson
With the Commonwealth, EBU and WBA ‘International’ super featherweight titles up for grabs, there’s a lot to play for when Martin Ward and James Tennyson enter the ring.
Ward, 19-0-2 (9KOs) has world honours in his sight heading into Saturday,
‘I’ve gone the traditional route and I’m glad I’ve done that…I want to progress to the world stage now. I’ve won everything there is to win and when I beat James, I want to start working towards world level.’
Tennyson, 21-2 (17KOs) who puts the WBA ‘International’ belt on the line, heads into the bout as the underdog but, speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, ‘The Assassin’ believes his time is now,
‘Within the last year I have won an Irish title and the WBA ‘International’ title and won three 50/50 fights by stoppage…Now I’m going onto the biggest stage, and I can’t wait…Ward is quick and sharp and it won’t be easy, but we have our game plan and I’m ready for 12 hard rounds.’
Anthony Joshua v. Joseph Parker Undercard Preview
BY: Ste Rowen
Controversy, Olympians and a world title fight. Here’s the breakdown of this weekends Joshua vs Parker undercard.
Alexander Povetkin v David Price
The most high profile, and controversial bout of the undercard pits Alexander Povetkin, 33-1 (23KOs) a man who failed multiple drug tests in 2016; resulting in two aborted fights with Deontay Wilder and Bermane Stiverne; vs David Price, 22-4 (18KOs) a man whose 3 of 4 career defeats have come against two men who went on to fail drugs tests in Tony Thompson and Erkan Teper. All three controversial defeats to Price were punishing stoppages, which makes it even more remarkable that Price has offered himself up as some form of sacrificial lamb for the extremely talented, but unbelievably tainted Russian.
Povetkin was last in the ring in December, scoring a whitewash, 12-round unanimous decision victory over the last man to overwhelm David Price to a 7th round stoppage, Christian Hammer. Price’s only fight since the Hammer defeat was a 6-round decision victory over one of Britain’s favourite heavyweight gatekeepers, Kamil Sokolowski.
On paper, this fight is the definition of ‘a puncher’s chance’ for David Price. In reality, it’s a stepping stone bout for Povetkin to attempt to setup a fight with Anthony Joshua in the near future. That is, as long as his consequent drug tests come back negative…don’t count on it.
Ryan Burnett v Yonfrez Parejo
The world title fight on the undercard sees WBA bantamweight champion, Ryan Burnett take on mandatory challenger, Yonfrez Parejo, 21-2-1 (10KOs). Burnett, 18-0 (9KOs) was forced to vacate the IBF strap he won when he defeated Lee Haskins last year, due to an interim bout between Haskins and Emmanuel Rodriguez falling through, meaning Rodriguez’s team called for purse bids with Burnett, after Matchroom had already made a deal for the Parejo bout.
Parejo, currently on a 4-fight win streak, last tasted defeat at the hands of Burnett’s most recent adversary, Zhanat Zhakiyanov, when he lost a 12-round split decision back in 2015. Burnett hasn’t fought since earning a correct, but unjustly wide decision on all three scorecards over Zhakiyanov back in October. He suffered a ruptured ligament in his neck, which scuppered talks of an immediate fight with Rodriguez, and subsequently lost him the IBF belt, but the Northern Irishman didn’t seem too concerned at the thought of dropping a belt back in February,
‘I don’t really get involved in the politics, but we knew that when we faced Zhakiyanov that it was likely we may have to vacate one of the belts because of mandatories, but I’ve unified the division and now we move on to new challenges.’
Josh Kelly v Carlos Molina
One of Britain’s most exciting prospects, Josh Kelly, 5-0 (4KOs) takes on former super welterweight world champion, Carlos Molina.
Kelly, who fought to the last 16 at the 2016 Olympics, defeated by eventual gold medallist, Daniyar Yeleussinov, is being accelerated though the early stages of the pro ranks by trainer, Adam Booth who’s no passenger when it comes to recognizing talent.
Molina is currently on a two-fight losing streak, so it seems like the perfect time for Kelly to step in with someone as experienced as the Mexican. A real statement to the rest of the welterweight scene would be for Kelly to become the first man to stop Molina.
Anthony Crolla v Edson Ramirez
Anthony ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla returns to the ring since earning a competitive decision victory over Ricky Burns in October. Crolla, 32-6-3 (13KOs) takes on Mexican, Edson Ramirez, 18-2-1 (8KOs) in an 8-round contest. The former WBA world champion is aiming to get back into the world title mix at lightweight but, speaking to The Independent, wouldn’t rule out a domestic dustup with Luke Campbell.
‘I need to get out there and get another win and then we can look for a big fight in the summer…Luke Campbell and I both want to win world titles and I don’t think either of us would have a problem fighting the other…I’m not targeting anyone in particular, I just want a world title shot. I’ll take any of the champions.’
Joe Cordina v Hakim Ben Ali
Hometown favourite, Joe Cordina fights for his first professional title when he takes on late stand in, Hakim Ben Ali, 19-5 (1KO) for the WBA International lightweight title.
Cordina, 6-0 (5KOs) hasn’t had quite as an accelerated start to his pro career as his fellow 2016 Olympian, Josh Kelly.
This weekend’s fight will be just the second time he’s stepped in the ring with a fighter holding a wining record. He was originally set to face Andy Townend, 21-4 (14KOs) who had to pull out last week due to injury.
Joshua Buatsi v Bartlomiej Grafka
The third 2016 Olympian on the card, Joshua Buatsi comes up against journeyman, Bartlomiej Grafka, 20-28-3 (5KOs). The real test for Buatsi will be if he’s able get Grafka out early, if not, expect a relative 6-round sparring session for the exciting prospect.
Will Madera: Life on the Undercard
By: Marcus Navarro
Boxing and humility mix like water and oil. Maybe it just comes with the territory; fighters need to think they are the best to be the best. Or perhaps, all the modesty within the sport belongs to Will Madera.
“Ill” Will Madera from Albany, NY had a solid amateur career but turned to professional boxing after a motorcycle accident in 2012.
“I was just being dumb; I was going too fast on a turn,” Madera said. Luckily, he walked away with only a few road rashes and a gash, but it was a turning point. “It was a reality check, man. Anything could happen, and life could be over that quick. It was all about making smart decisions after that.”
He fights at 135 lbs and 140 lbs and has a record of 11 wins, 5 by way of knockout, 0 losses, and 1 draw as a pro. This Saturday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, he’ll attempt to improve to 12-0-1 against an opponent who has never been knocked out, a streak that he hopes to end.
Anyone who talks to Madera will immediately get the impression that he isn’t too interested in talking about himself. Not that he’s shy, but he’s focused and cares little about boasting.
It’s possible that he’s simply too tired to talk, after all, he is a pretty busy guy. A typical day for Will means he takes care of his younger kids in the morning and gets some rest before he picks up his two oldest of six kids in the afternoon. Then he trains at the gym for a few hours before he heads to his overnight shift at the Center for Disability Services. For nearly ten years, Will worked as a residential counselor.
“It’s really tough with the schedule I have, but it’s more mental than anything. Certain days, I don’t even want to come to the gym, but I push myself to do it that way I can stay on top,” Madera said.
His work ethic and drive are centered around providing for his family. One of those smart decisions he spoke of was switching to Schott’s Boxing after feeling stagnated at his old gym, according to his trainer, Andy Schott.
Andy co-trains Will with Kyle Provenzano and the trio have worked together for roughly three years. The setup is a little out of the ordinary, having co-trainers is like having two head coaches for a football team; who’s orders do you follow?
However, it works for Kyle and Andy, who’ve worked together for 19 years. Andy even trained Kyle as an amateur fighter. It works because they are always on the same page and egos don’t get in the way.
“Will is more important than Kyle, and Will is more important than Andy,” Schott said.
The trio’s next challenge is to stay undefeated. Alberto Alejandro Morales Bautista, a Mexican journeyman, stands in the way. Although, it was a frustrating road to get to their March 24th bout in Toronto.
Madera was supposed to fight highly rated prospect, Teofimo Lopez, who signed with Top Rank after his display at the 2016 Olympics. Madera and Lopez were scheduled to fight at Madison Square Garden this month. However, Lopez got cut during his fight in February, where he improved to 8-0. The bout got pushed to April in Las Vegas, but that card got canceled. Talks for a May fight began, but instead, the fight got called off altogether. This fight would have been Madera’s biggest opportunity to take that next step in boxing.
“It’s all about maintaining composure, even though one fight may fall off, another one will come,” Madera said.
Although disappointing, Kyle and Andy decided to take the Bautista fight rather than to wait and try to force the Lopez fight. “Will is an assassin in the ring, we have to be assassins outside the ring,” Schott said.
It’s a frustrating situation and one that Madera has seen before. He had a 14-month layoff because opponents, for one reason or another, kept canceling. However, you must have a short memory.
“It’s a little bit of a let down for him, but we’ve got to focus on this guy now because if we lose to this guy, we don’t get the other one,” Provenzano said. To his credit, Will stays sharp, during that long layoff, he was still in the gym every day.
“A lot of times in this sport your best opportunities are going to come up because you’re ready. If you’re ready and no opportunities come up, that’s okay. But if an opportunity comes up and you’re not ready, that’s a shame, and a lot of fighters lose out because of that,” Schott said.
That is the life of an up and coming fighter. You work hard outside the ring to provide for your family, and you train hard in the gym while waiting for that big chance. Another boxer trained by Schott commutes an hour and a half to work construction and still finds the time to come to the gym.
It’s a hard life, but it’s rewarding when you finally get that shot. Moving up the boxing ranks the hard way is like trying to win the lottery at times, but you need to be prepared to handle that jackpot money.
His maturity shows, and his lifestyle and personality help. “He never gets too high, never gets too low, very even-keeled… he’s a pleasant guy, he’s not on social media acting like an idiot,” Provenzano said.
Madera doesn’t drink or smoke, he’s not a partier, and he doesn’t bring any negativity to the gym. He stays focused. “You can’t be a rockstar and a champion at the same time, you have to be one or the other,” Provenzano said.
Fighters do win the lottery, Albany boxer Amir Imam fought for the vacant WBC World Super Lightweight Title this past Saturday. Imam fought valiantly against undefeated Jose Ramirez and lost a unanimous decision.
Andy Schott has plenty of stories of boxers waiting for their chance and making the most of it. Stories like of Keith Mullins in the late 90’s who took a championship fight against Terry Norris on a week’s notice and won.
Madera is waiting for his big shot, but in the meantime, he needs to translate all the new things he, Kyle, and Andy have worked on in training into the ring. Looking past his Saturday night date with Bautista, all three want Will to keep climbing the ranks.
“I would like Will to find out how good he can really be. I’d like him to get the right fights at the right time… so that Will’s career can go as far as it can go and there are no questions,” Schott said.