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Boxing Insider Notebook: DeMarco, Orozoco, Ramirez, Solomon, WBC, Van Hardeen, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 7th to August 14th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp

Dazn Reaches Three Year Distribution Deal in World Boxing Super Series for Canada

DAZN, the world’s largest dedicated live sports-streaming service, today announced an exclusive, three-year Canadian distribution agreement with World Boxing Super Series (WBSS). The professional boxing tournament, owned by Comosa, has struck a deal to make 15 fight nights available to fans in Canada and the U.S. only on DAZN.

“As a platform built for the fans, DAZN has been mining boxing chats and forums to see how we can bring immediate value to the community,” said James Rushton, DAZN CEO. “We found that Canadians and Americans alike felt left out of the terrific action and thrilling competition on display in the World Boxing Super Series. To that end, we’re happy to announce that we’ll stream every fight of all three tournaments.”

Launched in 2017, the WBSS is a first-of-its-kind annual boxing tournament that brings together the ‘best of the best’ fighters to compete at venues around the world for the Muhammad Ali trophy. The agreement will start with the broadcast of the 2018-19 season this fall and include footage from the initial draft Gala event, announcing the draw for Bantamweight and Super Lightweight divisions.

Three weight classes will feature in Season II of the World Boxing Super Series and the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy. Two weight classes are already announced, super lightweight and bantamweight, and the match-ups are as follows:

SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT:
• ‘Interim’ WBC World Title: Regis Prograis (United States) vs. Terry Flanagan (England)
• WBC Silver Title: Josh Taylor (Scotland) vs. Ryan Martin (United States)
• WBA World Championship: Kiryl Relikh (Belarus) vs. Eduard Troyanovsky (Russia)
• IBF World Championship: Ivan Baranchyk (Belarus) vs. Anthony Yigit (Sweden)

BANTAMWEIGHT:
• WBA World Championship: Ryan Burnett (Northern Ireland) vs. Nonito Donaire (Philippines)
• WBO World Championship: Zolani Tete (South Africa) vs. Mikhail Aloyan (Russia)
• WBA ‘Regular’ World Championship: Naoya Inoue (Japan) vs. Juan Carlos Payano (Dominican Republic)
• IBF World Championship: Emmanuel Rodriguez (Puerto Rico) vs. Jason Moloney (Australia)

A third weight class will be announced soon, for a total of three weight classes and 24 boxers competing in the tournament. TheWBSS’s Season II fight nights will begin in October 2018 and stretch into January and February with finals taking place in summer 2019. Each event will air live on DAZN Canada and be available on demand to Canadians as part of their monthly subscription.

“COMOSA is delighted to meet the massive interest in the World Boxing Super Series and the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy from Canadian boxing fans. Millions can now enjoy the world-class match-ups of Season II, ” said Comosa.

Dadashev-DeMarco and Herring-Moralde Headline Ramirez-Orozoco Undercard

Maxim “Mad Max” Dadashev will defend the NABF super lightweight title against former WBC lightweight world champion Antonio DeMarco on Friday, Sept. 14 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California. The Dadashev-DeMarco bout will serve as the co-feature to Jose Ramirez’s WBC super lightweight title defense against Antonio Orozco.

Ramirez-Orozco and Dadashev-DeMarco will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET, with the entire undercard to be streamed at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

Headlining the ESPN+ broadcast will be 2012 U.S. Olympian and United States Marine Corps veteran Jamel Herring (17-2, 10 KOs) against John Vincent Moralde (20-1, 10 KOs) for the vacant USBA junior lightweight title. Also appearing on ESPN+ will be Hiroki Okada (17-0, 12 KOs), a 140-pound contender who will make his Top Rank debut against Cristian Coria (27-6-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-rounder. And, in a special attraction, Gabe Flores Jr. (9-0, 5 KOs), the 18-year-old phenom from Stockton, California, will see action in a six-round featherweight bout against Roger Gutierrez (7-1-1, 4 KOs).

Dadashev (11-0, 10 KOs) is coming off a 10th-round stoppage against former world champion Darleys Perez on June 9 in Las Vegas, while DeMarco (33-6-1, 24 KOs) most recently knocked out then-undefeated Eddie Ramirez in the first round in October of last year.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Golden Boy Promotions, tickets to this world championship event, priced at $150 (floor), $90, $60, $35, and $25, plus applicable fees, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000, or at the Save Mart Center box office. For more information and box office hours, visit www.savemartcenter.com.

“This is going to be the biggest night in the history of Central Valley boxing, as more than 14,000 fans will pack the Save Mart Center to watch Jose Ramirez defend his world title,” said Rick Mirigian, Ramirez’s manager. “The undercard is a special one, and we can’t wait for the fans in attendance and watching on ESPN and ESPN+ to see what we have in store.”

“DeMarco is a skilled veteran and a former world champion who I have a lot of respect for,” Dadashev said. “I am ready to fight for a world title soon, and DeMarco is in my way. I will put on a spectacular performance for the great fans in Fresno and for everyone watching on ESPN.”

“I’m just honored and excited to be back for this card,” Herring said. “As some may know, Jose and I were Olympic teammates, but we haven’t fought on the same night since our amateur days. It’s great to reunite with a close friend again. I’m really motivated to fight for my first title as a professional. Though it isn’t for a world title, a big win here will catapult me higher in the rankings and a step closer to a world title. I’m also motivated for this fight because Moralde got a victory over one of my training partners {Ismail Muwendo} in his last outing, so I feel as if we must get that victory back. I look at every fight as a title fight, and let’s not forget I’m fighting in front of my Marine Corps family so it’s a must that I put on a great performance!”

“It feels great to be fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend,” Flores said. “This has been the best training camp of my career, so the fans can expect an explosive Gabe Flores Jr.!”

“I’m so excited about signing with Top Rank. I would like to thank Mr. Bob Arum, the greatest promoter in the world, for this amazing opportunity,” Okada said. “Ever since I signed, I’ve been training harder than ever. This is such a great chance, and I am going to do my best to make the most of it.”

In other undercard bouts:
•Welterweight puncher Alexander Besputin (10-0, 8 KOs), coming off a third-round knockout at the Save Mart Center on May 26, will face Alan Sanchez (20-3-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
•Fresno native Isidro Ochoa (5-0, 1 KO) will face Victor Morales (9-0, 5 KOs) in a six-round lightweight contest.
•Former two-time interim world champion Bryan Vasquez (37-3, 20 KOs) will take on Carlos Cardenas (21-14-1, 13 KOs) in a lightweight bout.
•Top 122-pound prospect Santos Ortega (2-0, 1 KO), who last fought July 7 at the Save Mart Center, will fight Sebastian Baltazar (1-1, 0 KOs) in a four-rounder.
•Ruben Rodriguez (3-0, 1 KO), from Indio, California, will fight an opponent to be announced in a six-round super featherweight bout.

WBC World Invitational Tournament Semi-Final Matchup Previews and Camp Notes
CAMP NOTES AND QUOTES
Chris Van Heerden 26-2-1 (12 KOs) – #2 seed representing S. Africa

How do you explain a devout Christian who’s chosen career is a sport that requires you to physically harm your opponent? What can you say about a South African born fighter who prefers to train at a gym in Los Angeles that caters to a celebrity workout crowd? Well if there’s anything certain about Chris Van Heerden it is that he’s one of boxing’s most unique and passionate characters and he’s completely focused on winning the tournament and getting a shot at the WBC welterweight world title.

on Lawson’s reputation as a power puncher…

“His record is 27-1 with 21 knockouts, which is amazing, but do some research and look at who he knocked out. Guys with 10 losses and 4 wins. Gimmies. I take nothing away from him, he’s a good fighter but I am by far his toughest and most experienced opponent. My resume speaks for itself. I’ve been hearing a lot of things, reading a lot of things, Fredrick saying he’s gonna knockout me. Well, good luck with that. I’ve never been knocked out. I take nothing away from him and I respect the guy but he’s in for a surprise.”

on his celebrity following…

“Peter Berg, who is a very good friend and also the owner of Wildcard West where I train, arranged for Charlize Theron to show up on my birthday which got picked up by TMZ. In fact Charlize Theron, Jennifer Garner and Mark Wahlberg all came and saw me in the gym the same week. That’s a pretty good week! I train a few actors like Frank Grillo, Sam Rockwell and Katrina Law. I enjoy personal training. It keeps me in the gym where I love to be and I have been getting a lot of attention from it. Some of them may even come to Toronto to the tournament to support me.”

on the tournament leading to a title shot …

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself but this opens up everything for me. It’s a path to the WBC world title. Winning the tournament will place me in the Top 10 and with Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter fighting for the vacant title, the tournament winner could get the winner of that fight or get an eliminator to become the mandatory. Going into a world title shot with 3 fights of the tournament’s level of competition is exactly what I want and need.”

Fredrick Lawson 27-1 (21 KOs) – #3 seed representing Ghana

A native of Ghana now training in New York City, with over 20 KOs, Lawson is by far the tournament’s biggest puncher and he’s promising to score a knockout in the semi-finals. ‘General Okunka’, as he calls himself, is beyond confident and is hoping to celebrate his 29th birthday with a win in the tournament putting him just a fight or two away from becoming Ghana’s 3rd ever welterweight world champion.

on facing a veteran like Van Heerden…

“I have seen a few clips of him. Enough to beat him. I know Chris is a veteran and looking to go the distance but I will have the perfect strategy to stop him. At this point in my career, I am too strong and hungry for anyone to stand in my way.”

on the tournament’s format and initiatives…

“I like the tournament format and the additional judges and instant replay. I particularly like the choice of venues. From an arena and now to an outdoor amphitheater, the venues have been amazing. I am looking forward to giving the fans in Toronto a great night.”

Brad Solomon 28-1 (9 KOs) – #5 seed representing USA

You could make a case that Brad ‘King’ Solomon is the most overlooked boxer in the entire welterweight division. With only one loss that was a debatable split decision, Solomon, who was a decorated amateur, is the definition of an in ring technician using fast hands and slick footwork to befuddle his opponents. Solomon feels the tournament is finally his chance to make sure the boxing world no longer ignores his talent.

on being overlooked despite his record…

“I think that people who know boxing, know me. It’s just on me now to finish the job and go to the next level where I deserve to be.”

on his close win in the quarter finals…

“I felt good in there. I got knocked down in the first round but the shot was behind my head. I wanted to get the momentum back right away but I kept my composure and didn’t get discouraged. Won all the later rounds and got the decision.”

on come forward fighters like Santana being the ideal opponent for his style…

“With my movement, any fighter that comes straight forward, that’s gonna be my fight. You just put the punches out there and they run into them.”

Francisco Santana 25-6-1 (12 KOs) – 8th seed representing Mexico

Francisco ‘Chia’ Santana originally entered the tournament as an alternate by way of an online fan vote. When a fighter dropped out, the ultra friendly, battle tested veteran who works a full time job on a ship to support his family, seized the opportunity and scored a shocking upset of the tournament’s #1 seed, Olympic Gold Medalist, Felix Diaz. Having faced multiple current and former world champions, on August 25th, he’s hoping to continue his Cinderella run in the tournament.

on being given no chance to upset Feliz Diaz in the first round…

“It doesn’t matter if no one gives you a chance as long as you give yourself a chance.”

on being the underdog again despite his experience…

“People either don’t know or remember but I’m the only fighter to ever hurt Jermell Charlo. I went toe to toe with Sadam Ali in a close fight at The Garden. I fought Julian Williams to a draw. I’ve upset undefeated prospects like Eddie Gomez. Long before Adalaide Byrd did GGG dirty, she robbed me in Vegas against Jose Benavidez. I just upset an Olympic Gold Medalist. I was the underdog in everyone of those fights. I’m used to it. When someone tells me I can’t do something, I’m gonna prove them wrong.”

on the tournament’s use of 5 judges…

“As a fighter who has been on the wrong end of two straight, in my opinion, bad decisions, one which led to my promoter dropping me and leaving me without a fight for a year, I think 5 judges should be mandatory for every fight. Bad decisions don’t hurt the stars as much as it hurts fighters like myself whose career could be ruined from them. It’s a change the sport desperately needs and everyone from fighters to fans to promoters to commissions to the media should be supporting it.”

Solomon Makes Pro Debut on October 6th
Nkosi Solomon will make his professional debut in the first Matchroom Boxing USA show live on DAZN at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago on October 6.

The 23 year old amateur star from Brownsville, Brooklyn is billed as a future star in the Heavyweight division by promoter Eddie Hearn, and the former Team USA man and number one amateur in the States is thrilled to be joining the paid ranks in the Windy City on a stellar undercard to Jessie Vargas’ clash with Thomas Dulorme.

“My dream is right in front of me, right there, I just have to grab it,” said Solomon. “Nkosi Solomon is the only and greatest challenge I have to overcome when it comes to this boxing thing.

“I’m conquering my mind because once I do that, nobody, and I mean nobody in this world, can stop me.

“I have a dream to accomplish and I’ll be damned if I am going to let another man get in there and have his will beat my will.

“It’s a surreal feeling. I’ve been chasing this dream for so long, to become the undisputed Heavyweight champion of the world, as you get steps closer it feels amazing. The support I’ve had already is amazing and I just cannot wait to get started in Chicago and show what I’ve got.

“The talent in the gym allows me to be better as a man and a fighter. I’ve been in there for five years and I’ve been working hard every day.

“I’ve got an educated style – I’m a boxer-puncher, I want to be out there being smart and using my mind, don’t get me wrong, I like to fight, but the point of this game is to hit and not get hit – but I will be exciting to watch, believe me.”

Solomon will take his spot under the bright lights as Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN usher in a new era in boxing in America.

There are two great World title clashes between IBF World Light-Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev against Briton Callum Johnson and WBA World Super-Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman defending his crown for the third time against Britain’s Gavin McDonnell.

Solomon’s fellow Brooklynite Jarrell Miller is right in the mix for the big fights in the Heavyweight division and he takes on Poland’s Tomasz Adamek, the former two-weight World champion who picked up and defended the Polish title in his last two fights in his homeland.

Along with these World stars, Chicago fight fans will be able to back two of their own on the night, with former World Lightweight title challenger Jessica McCaskill in action on the bill along with unbeaten Bantamweight prospect Shawn Simpson.

Tickets for October 6 are on sale now priced $40, $60, $100 and $200 and are available from:
Online at Ticketmaster: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/07005506EDA47F37
Phone: (312)791-6900
In person: Wintrust Arena Box Office, 200 E. Cermak – Monday-Friday 11am-6pm [email protected]

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