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Boxing Insider Notebook: Shumenov, Verdejo, Ortiz, Wilder, Fox, and more….


Boxing Insider Notebook: Shumenov, Verdejo, Ortiz, Wilder, Fox, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 31st to February 7th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

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Former WBA Interim Heavyweight Champion Luis Ortiz to WBC Champ Deontay Wilder: Stop Making Excuses

Responding to WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder’s recent public statements, former WBA Interim Heavyweight Champion Luis Ortiz would like to let him know: “I signed up for the WBC/VADA Clean Boxing Program last September. Stop using that excuse to avoid fighting me!”

The undefeated Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs), of Camaguey, Cuba, now living in Miami, has been trying to get Wilder into a boxing ring for quite a while, as Wilder has chosen to face a string of what many would label second-tier opponents to defend against.

“He’s scared!” said Ortiz of Wilder. “The more he can use my failed test against me he will. He and (promoter Lou) DiBella are saying he won’t fight me because of that. That was years ago, and since that unfortunate incident, for which I was punished, I have tested a dozen times clean. Now he’s trying to say I haven’t signed up for VADA Clean Boxing… guess what Wilder? I signed up last September when I was notified that all WBC contenders need to be part of their new Clean Boxing Program. I filled out the paperwork and my trainer submitted it to the WBC. He can stop using that excuse to avoid me. I have nothing to hide and do not have to prove any longer to anyone that I am clean. Wilder is nothing but a paper champion who happened to be at the right place at the right time against the right opponent with, most importantly, the right promoter. That’s all he is.”

Ortiz’s trainer, Herman Caicedo of Caicedo Sports Training Center of Miami, Florida, also says Ortiz’s failed drug test in 2014 is no longer a factor.

“Since failing his test years ago, Luis has been tested over a dozen times, voluntarily and mandatorily in fights. He has made it very clear that he never wants that to happen again and I wouldn’t work with a fighter I even suspected wasn’t clean. There’s too much involved in how I train fighters. We all put a lot of blood sweat and tears into training for a failed drug test to derail the entire process. I do my own drug panels and steroid checks before I take fighters. And those that do not wish to willingly participate, I will not train.”

Ortiz says sooner or later, Wilder will run out of excuses to avoid him or be run out of boxing.

“My mentality was always to beat whoever was the best fighter in my division, period. I don’t handpick my opponents. This is all weird and new to me. He can’t run for much longer though. I assume he will try to unify or vacate before he has to fight me. He can’t unify with the Joshua/Klitschko winner because I am the mandatory above any unification fight, and I will not be jumped over. So, he can try to beat up (New Zealand-based contender Joseph) Parker after his next fight. Then retire the paper champion he is.”

“I am very confident about the outcome if Ortiz and Wilder ever do fight,” continued Caicedo. “Ortiz will knock him out within 10 rounds. Luis has a level to his approach that I haven’t seen in quite some time. He is a throwback, old-school heavyweight boxer. He has incredible poise, precision, and ring generalship. He’s accurate with this punches and defensively very sound. If they ever do fight, Wilder will be exposed. But, he will probably retire a legend in his own mind without ever fighting anybody.”

Ortiz says no matter what happens with Deontay Wilder, he is happy and comfortable with his life.

“I would like to thank my team: Jay, Javier and my trainer Herman for the support they give me throughout all this uncertainty, as well as my fans and, most important to me, my wife and three children. I never thought I would be fighting to make a living. Boxing was always what I did because I loved it. I fought for pride. I fought for bragging rights!! I have already achieved one dream and that was to be here in the United States with my family. I am a United States citizen and very proud. Now to be able to box for a living, make money and potentially become world champion… that, to me, is priceless.”

Mykal Fox Believes Tre’Sean Wiggins is a Dangerous Opponent

Undefeated junior welterweight prospect, Mykal “The Professor” Fox will take on hard-punching Tre’Sean Wiggins in the eight-round main event of a big night of boxing on This Saturday night, February 11th at the Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, Maryland.

The show is promoted by King’s Promotions.

Fox, 21 years old of Forestville, Maryland is coming off a good 2016, where he went 4-0 and became a main event fight in the Maryland area.

The 3-year pro is coming off a 7th round stoppage over Juan Rodriguez on November 5th in the same venue.

Fox is wrapping up training camp in the D.C. area, and he believes that Wiggins could be the toughest test of his young professional career.

“Training camp has been great. It has been another good camp,” said Fox.

“Wiggins is a dangerous opponent. I have fought opponents that may have had more experience, but Wiggins has a lot of power in both hands. He is left handed like I am.”

Fox has been progressing up the ladder, and now he is considered to be on some prospects lists on the East Coast. A win over the heavy handed Wiggins would solidify his status as 2017 progresses.

“I think fighting him is the next step in my progression. I wanted to be tested, and Wiggins is a guy who has power. I am not looking to take those punches, bit if I do, I will be ready for what he has.”

Fox doesn’t have to look far for motivation, as he brother, talented middleweight Alantez Fox has a bout on February 25th for the NABF title, and the two train side by side with each other under the guidance of their trainer, who also happens to be their father, Troy Fox,

“We are both very motivated. We are there for each other. We feed off each other in the gym and it is a great motivator to train next to him every day.”

A win over Wiggins will keep Fox moving towards his short term goal for 2017.

“I am looking to get in a few more eight-round bouts, and then be able to get some some television bouts. As long as I continue to stay busy, I see that happening.”

Wiggins of Newbergh, New York has a record of 7-2 with six knockouts.

The 26 year-old southpaw scored knockouts in his first three bouts by knockout which was highlighted by a 1st round destruction of current WBA Super Featherweight world champion Jason Sosa.

The 7-year professional is coming off a six-round split decision defeat to Benjamin Whitaker on April 15, 2016 in Verona, NY.

Oliver Flores Strong Performance Against Felix Verdejo Embodies Spirit of Havoc Boxing

Nicaraguan lightweight Oliver “Trombita” Flores’ strong performance this past Friday evening against undefeated, No. 1 ranked Felix “El Diamente” Verdejo, fought in front of more than 7,000 fans in Verdejo’s hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico, truly embodied the spirit of Flores’ promoter, Havoc Boxing.

Known throughout boxing for its flashy, totally unique looking boxing “uniforms” – trunks and jackets – that are famously worn by present and past world champions such as Danny “Swift” Garcia, Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs, Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi and others, Havoc Boxing is also a boxing promotional company on the rise.

While Havoc Boxing may not be a major player, at least not right now, it does feature a growing stable of gifted boxers such as Flores, the former world super featherweight title challenger who many fell deserved a far better fate than his controversial 10-round decision loss (94-96, 91-99, 92-92), which was turned in by the three Puerto Rican judges at ringside.

Flores (27-3-2, 17 KOs) was a live underdog who gave prohibitive favorite Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs) all he could handle and much more. Verdejo even drew the wrath of his hometown fans for not engaging Flores, who came on strong in the second half of the fight, bloodying the 2012 Puerto Rican Olympian’s nose in the eighth round and seriously hurting him in the 10th. The World Boxing Organization (WBO) Latino lightweight champion left the ring at Roberto Clemente Coliseum to a chorus of boos.

Headlines describing the fight used phrases like “escaped with victory” and “struggles to win” to describe Verdejo’s tainted victory. One boxing writer had Flores winning six rounds to four, claiming Verdejo simply didn’t do enough to win any other rounds.

“We’re so proud of Oliver,” Havoc Boxing CEO Rob Diaz said. “We thought he won the fight but it’s tough fighting a national hero in his backyard with three of his countrymen as judges. Those who made excuses for Verdejo claiming he wasn’t at his best because of his eight-month layoff, we reminded that Oliver hadn’t fought in more than a year because a few fights we had lined up fell out. After the fight, so many Puerto Rican fans congratulated us, saying Oliver was robbed, and that he deserved a rematch. Verdejo is looking for an opponent for his Puerto Rican Day eve fight (June 10) at Madison Square Garden. We’re certainly open to a rematch but I doubt they’ll risk fighting Oliver again.

“Flores is what Havoc Boxing Promotions is all about. We’re still building our stable of fighters but people in the boxing industry should know by now that our fighters come to fight. They’re all willing to fight anybody, anytime, anywhere, as long as it’s a fair deal for us.”

In addition to Flores, Havoc also promotes 22-year-old Dominican Republic featherweight prospect Yohan “La Fiera” Vasquez (19-1, 16 KOs), who is ranked No. 14 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), as well as a pair of Colombian fighters, super bantamweight Wilner Soto (16-1, 8 KOs) and cruiserweight Santander “Cha Cha” Silgado (27-4, 21 KOs), who fought for the WBA world title in Russia and was ranked among the top 15 in the WBA and World Boxing Council (WBC) a few years ago.

“We’re rebuilding the Havoc Boxing brand to also showcase our promotional division,” Diaz continued. “We have some talented, hungry fighters who we keep as busy as possible, moving them into position for major fights, like Flores versus Verdejo, including two world title shots so far. We’re getting close to crowning our first world champion. Havoc Boxing is much more than boxing’s best design and merchandising company. The future is Havoc!”

Former Interim Cruiserweight World Champion Youri Kalenga Added to “Battle of Casablanca” Card

Former Interim cruiserweight world champion Youri “El Toro” Kalenga will provide chief support February 18 for pro-debuting Moroccan amateur boxing sensation Mohammad Rabii on the “Battle of Casablanca” card, presented by Nowhere2Hyde, at Complexe de Sportif Mohammed V Arena in Casablanca, Morocco.

Kalenga (22-3, 15 KOs), fighting out of France by way of The Congo, is currently rated No. 12 by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and No. 16 by the World Boxing Council (WBC). The knockout artist takes on Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson (17-11-1, 9 KOs), of Philadelphia, who is a former United States Boxing Association (USBA) and North American Boxing Federation (NABF) champion.

In 2014, Kalenga captured the WBA Interim title with a 12-round split decision over 32-1 Mateusz Masternak in Monaco, followed with a successful title defense in Canada against 12-0 Denton Daley by way of a 12th round technical knockout.

Kalenga has never been in a dull fight. Two of his three career losses have been to current WBA Super cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (26-2), who Kalenga dropped in the fourth round, by way of a 12-round unanimous decision in Russia, and last June he was stopped for the first time in his seven-year pro career by 20-0 Yunier Dorticos in Paris for the Interim WBA strap.

The 23-year-old Rabii defeated 2016 Olympic gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov in the welterweight division championship finale of the 2015 AIBA World Amateur Championships to capture a gold for his native Morocco. Rabii won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, dropping a highly-disputed decision (0-3) in the semifinals to Uzebek boxer Shakhram Giyasov, the eventual silver medalist.

The ultra-charismatic Rabii has reached “rock star” status in Morocco, testament by an average of 6-million Moroccans viewing each of Rabbi’s Olympic matches on Arryadia Television. “We are very excited to work with our television partners, Arryadia, on our February 18th show as the first of five shows in 2017 featuring Mohammed Rabii,” promoter Gary Hyde said. “Rabii has the entire nation of Morocco behind him and he will be challenging for top welterweight honors in no time at all.”

Rabii will take on veteran Hungarian boxer Adam “Bad Boy” Mate (24-10, 17 KOs) in the six-round main event.

Caribe Promotions Loses Rights to Shumenov-Dorticos WBA Cruiserweight Title Fight

The World Boxing Association (WBA) has notified WBA cruiserweight world champion Beibut Shumenov and WBA Interim cruiserweight title-holder Yunier Dorticos, as well as their representatives, that Caribe Promotions has lost its rights to promote the WBA mandated Shumenov vs. Dorticos title fight.

Dorticos’ promoter, Caribe Promotions, originally won the Shumenov vs. Dorticos title fight rights last November with a winning purse bid of $350,001, which required a fight date within 90 days. Although rumored to be held in mid-February in either Miami or Las Vegas, Caribe’s ability and willingness to actually promote the fight came into question in January, 2017. The WBA demanded that Caribe confirm its intentions and even granted Caribe additional time to respond, but Caribe failed to file confirmation of a fight date with the WBA. Because Caribe was unable to confirm its intentions, the WBA had little choice but to award rights to the second-highest purse bidder, Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions.

“I last fought May 21st and I have been in the gym since June because I was supposed to fight Lebedev in September,” said a terribly frustrated Shumenov. “But he backed out of the fight with me once again and I have been ready to fight since then. I signed a bout agreement to fight Dorticos on February 11th in Miami, but Dorticos and his promoter disappeared after I signed. They’re full of it; all they do is talk. I can’t wait to knock him out. I am waiting on my manager to call me right now to tell me the new fight date with TGB.”

Caribe Promotions has been forced to also forfeit its $35,000 purse bid deposit with 10-percent off the top going to the WBA and remainder ($31,500) distributed to Shumenov and Dorticos, respectively, on a 75-25 percent basis due to its failure to promote the fight.

Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs), fighting out of Las Vegas by way of Kazakhstan, fought last May 21, when he stopped 15-1-1 Junior Wright in the 10th round of their Las Vegas fight for the vacant WBA World cruiserweight title. The WBA had ruled that the Shumenov-Wright winner would be the mandatory challenger for its “Super” champion, Lebedev, within 90 days, however, it later allowed unified cruiserweight titlist Lebedev (against Shumenov’s strong objections) to fight his International Boxing Federation (IBF) mandatory defense against challenger Murat Gassiev, effectively mandating an eliminator between Shumenov and Dorticos with that winner to fight the winner of Lebedev-Gassiev. Only days prior to the Lebedev-Gassiev title fight, Lebedev was inexplicably allowed to fight Gassiev without defending his WBA title, as only his IBF belt was on the line. Gassiev (24-0) defeated Lebedev (29-3) by way of a 12-round split decision in Moscow to become the IBF cruiserweight world champion and Lebedev remains the WBA Super cruiserweight world champion, at least for now. The WBA is expected to rule on Shumenov’s objections to Lebedev’s fight against Gassiev, Lebedev’s status and whether Lebedev will remain champion having lost his last fight.

Dorticos has made false claims in the media that Shumenov, who had been waiting for the WBA to rule on his petitions to force Lebedev to fight him without further delay, had been avoiding him. It is ironic now that Dorticos’ own promoter first sought to delay and has now defaulted on the long-awaited confrontation by failing to promote the Shumenov-Dorticos title fight within the WBA deadline.

A former WBA Super light heavyweight world champion, the 33-year-old Shumenov is the first two-division world champion from a Soviet-bloc country.

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Verdejo’s Path to Glory


Verdejo’s Path to Glory
By: Brandon Bernica

Felix Verdejo stepped into the ring Saturday night with weight on his shoulders. After beginning his career with astounding knockouts and little resistance, he began to plateau in the eyes of many fans. He coasted to decision victories in his last two fights, both outings featuring more questions and less action than we’re used to seeing from the Puerto Rican prodigy. Fans and pundits curiously watched, hoping to verify whether Verdejo really is the island’s next boxing icon.

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Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

He didn’t disappoint. In against a hard-charging Mexican named Juan Jose Martinez, his counterpunching and explosiveness perfectly foiled Martinez’s attack. By the 5th round, Verdejo’s overwhelming ability imposed itself on Martinez. His barrage of fists rained on Martinez’s slumped frame until the referee called the bout. It was the result most fans prayed for coming into the fight, yet the rounds leading up to the knockout left more questions than answers on the table.

Verdejo’s timing remains a major area of needed improvement. In certain exchanges, he waited a half-second too long to unload, stifling himself from firing fluid combinations. This contributed to a slowed pace, which diminished Verdejo’s margin of victory each round and limited fan-pleasing punch trading. Shuffling on the back foot throughout the night, Felix should have been comfortable. Instead, he failed to plant his feet and throw the punishing punches that punctuated many of his early-career wins. He even got tapped a couple times by an outgunned challenger.

But many would argue that these observations are simply over-analytical critiques overshadowed by a terrific performance. Verdejo unfurled a quick jab that, if used properly, can be a potent set-up tool for his offense in the future. Another impressive attribute from his win was the ability to adjust his arsenal to the opponent on the fly. When the overhand right began to land with consistency, he stuck with it. When he recognized his mobility advantage, he pivoted and threw uppercuts while Martinez was on the ropes. In flashes, we began to see the dynamic, assertive Verdejo reemerge. And while he dangerously teetered the edge of punching himself out at the end of the fight, he harnessed the ferocity and focus that might put his skillset over the top in the years to come.

With both positives and negatives from his victory presented, which side paints a better picture of the truth? Yes, Verdejo is an unfinished product, but that’s alright. He’s 23 years old with 22 fights, all against outclassed opposition. It’s clear that adapting to the pace of the pro game is still a necessity. Molding his style around his strengths is still a work in progress. But the last outcome Verdejo needs is to be rushed into championship fights without the proper refining. Growth comes when faced with adversity, and great fighters rise to meet those conditions. Make it a priority to match him with high-level foes that stress his weaknesses and force him to improve.

Verdejo’s development speaks to a larger trend in boxing: excessive scrutinizing of top-tier talent. We look at fighters who lack the same expectations with optimism, impressed by their good qualities. When we judge fighters who project highly, we break down every flaw instead of allowing them the same maturation process as everyone else. People forget that Verdejo exhibited a wealth of ability in the amateurs. His talent is unquestionable. He carries his country’s flag into a new era, adding heaps of pressure on top of him. Plus, two or three average outings are not a career but merely a sample size. Boxing’s game rewards consistency in regimen, team, and focus. Allow Verdejo time to discover what works before giving up on him.

For Verdejo, the game plan consists of one concept: tune out the noise. As the bandwagon lightens and opinions fly from every angle, it is easy to find value in the many who don’t know much about the sport, especially with the propagation of social media. Only he can rise to the occasion. If Verdejo slows himself down, analyzes his mistakes, and remains honest with himself, that’s all he needs. It appears he’s on the path to validating his early promise. If he resists feeding into the capricious nature of hype, these past flubs will fall into the dust of a successful career.

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HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Lomachenko and Verdejo Shine with Stunning Knockout Victories


HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Lomachenko and Verdejo Shine with Stunning Knockout Victories
By: William Holmes

The Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City has long been a venue to showcase upcoming boxers that are on the cusp of stardom.

Tonight was no different as Puerto Rican boxer Felix Verdejo and two time Olympic Gold Medalist Vasyl Lomachenko competed in two separate fights on the HBO televised portion of the card.

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Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

The annual Puerto Rican Parade was held today and as is customary for Top Rank Promotions, they promoted a card that featured several fighters of Puerto Rican decent. Zou Shiming, Christopher Diaz, and Julian Rodriguez highlighted the undercard with easy wins against over matched opponents.

The first televised bout of the night was between Felix Verdejo (21-0) and Juan Jose Martinez (25-2) for the WBO Latino Lightweight Championship.

Verdejo, as expected, had most of the fans in attendance supporting him and was greeted warmly by the crowd.

Verdejo was sharp with his jab in the first round and the crowd was boisterous in their support of him. Both boxers showed good upper body movement in the first round, but Verdejo had the quicker hands and was able to move Martinez when he landed his jab.

Martinez was pushing forward in the second round, but was unable to get inside and land any effective punches. Verdejo was beginning to throw more combinations in the second round with moderate success.

Verdejo looked very sharp in the third round and was able to land some hard counter right hands. He was also able to open up a cut by the right eye of Martinez. Verdejo focused more to the body in the fourth round and
was able to out maneuver his opponent.

Verdejo employed his lead left hook as a counter in the fifth round to keep Martinez at bay. He badly hurt Martinez with a combination that ended with a right cross that sent him stumbling back towards the ropes. He unleashed a flurry of punches on Martinez, who did not throw any punches back, and forced the referee to jump in and stop it.

Felix Verdejo remained undefeated with a TKO stoppage win at 2:40 of the fifth round.

A touching tribute to Muhammad Ali was shown in between the end of the co-main event of the beginning of the main event, and it brought the crowd to it’s feet.

The main event of the night was between Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-2) and Vasyl Lomachenko (5-1) for the WBO Junior Lightweight Championship.

Lomachenko was the favorite entering the bout and the crowd was evenly split between supporters of Lomachenko and supporters of Martinez. The theatre was extremely loud during the fighter introductions.

Lomachenko, a southpaw, was pressing the action in the opening round and was able to sneak in a few straight left hands. He was showing good head movement and Martinez was fighting while moving backwards in the opening round.

Martinez was able to land some good body shots and straight right hands in the second round, but Lomachenko’s amazing footwork was on full display in the second round as he was able to land combinations and quickly circle out of danger before Martinez could counter effectively.

Lomachenko’s superior footwork enabled him to land hard straight left hands and uppercuts in the third round, and he finished the round with a crisp straight left to the face of Martinez. Lomachenko’s dominance continued in the fourth round, except for this time his straight left hands were snapping the head of Martinez backwards.

Martinez pressed the action in the fifth round but Lomachenko made him pay dearly with a hard right hook that sent him to the mat and knocked him out.

Vasyl Lomachenko put on an amazing performance with a knockout at 1:09 of the fifth round.

Undercard Quick Results:

Juan Carlos Rivera (7-0) wins by TKO at 0:49 of the sixth round over Heriberto Delgado (11-5-1) in the featherweight division.

Michael Reed (19-0) defeated Abraham Cordero (13-3-1) in the super lightweight division by TKO at 2:29 of the sixth round.

Julian Rodriguez (13-0) defeated Adam Mate (18-10) in the welterweight division by first round TKO at 2:27.

Christopher Diaz (17-0) defeated Neftali Campos (11-2) by TKO in the featherweight division at 2:33 of the eighth round.

Jose Gonzalez (3-0-1) fought to a majority draw with Sean Acosta (0-2-1) by scores of 39-37 Gonzalez, 38-38 on the other two cards.

Zou Shiming (8-1) defeated Jozsef Ajtai (15-3) by decision with scores of 100-89 on all three scorecards for the WBO International Flyweight Championship.

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HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Lomachenko vs. Martinez, Verdejo vs. Martinez


HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Lomachenko vs. Martinez, Verdejo vs. Martinez
By: William Holmes

Top Rank Promotions has a tradition of putting on a boxing card in New York City during the weekend of the Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade, and on this Saturday they will put on a card at the Theatre in Madison Square Garden.

HBO will televised this card live on their Boxing After Dark broadcast.

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Two bouts will be shown. The first bout will feature fast rising Puerto Rican prospect Felix Verdejo against Juan Jose Martinez in the lightweight division. The main event will feature amateur legend and former Olympic Gold Medaliast Vasyl Lomachenko bumping up a weight class to face Puerto Rican boxer Roman “Rocky” Martinez for Martinez’s WBO Junior Lightweight Title.

The following is a preview of both of the televised fights.

Felix Verdejo (21-0) vs. Juan Jose Martinez(25-2); Lightweights

Many felt Felix Verdejo would carry the Puerto Rican fan base for Top Rank Promotions when Miguel Cotto left the company, but Verdejo has lost some of his luster after his less than impressive performance in his last two bouts.

However, Verdejo remains undefeated at the age of twenty three and has stopped fourteen of his opponents. Martinez is seven years older than Verdejo and has stopped seventeen of his opponents.

Verdejo competed for Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympics and lost to Lomachenko, who is competing in the main event, as an amateur. Martinez has no notable amateur experience on the international circuit.

Verdejo has won two of his last five fights by stoppage, and fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016. Martinez has fought once in 2016 and four times in 2015.

Verdejo has defeated the likes of Jose Luis Rodriguez, William Silva, Ivan Najera, and Marco Antonio Lopez. Martinez has defeated the likes of Emanuel Lopez, Jairo Lopez, and Edgar Puerta.

Martinez has fought mainly in Mexico during his career, but has traveled as far as the United Arab Emirates to compete.

Martinez has two losses on his resume, and they were to Rey Bautista and Daniel Santillo in his second fight of his career.

Verdejo will need to be impressive if he wants to fight on HBO again, and Martinez appears to be the perfect type of opponent for him to look good against.

Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-3) vs. Vasyl Lomachenko (5-1); WBO Junior Lightweight Title

Lomachenko is one of the most decorated amateur boxers to ever step foot inside the ring as a professional. He won the gold medal in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the Ukraine, and he was a gold medalist in the 2009 and 2011 World Championships.

He has an amateur record of 296-1 and he was able to avenge his lone loss twice.

Martinez does not have the amateur accomplishments of Lomachenko, but he is a three time world champ and is battle tested.

Martinez will have a one inch height advantage and about a two inch reach advantage. However, he will be five years older than Lomachenko, and more importantly he has been in some brutal wars inside the ring and his in-ring age is much older.

Martinez received a gift split decision against Orlando Salido in his last bout, and he also has a split draw with Juan Carlos Burgos. His two losses were to Ricky Burns and Mikey Garcia. Garcia was able to stop Martinez.

Martinez has been able to defeat the likes of Orlando Salido, Diego Magdaleno, Miguel Beltran Jr., and Nicky Cook.

Lomachenko’s lone loss was to Orlando Salido in a foul filled affair and many feel he would be the favorite if they were to rematch. Lomachnko has defeated the likes of Romulo Koasicha, Jose Ramirez, Chonlatarn
Piriyapinyo, and he absolutely dominated the previously undefeated Gary Russell Jr.

The last time Lomachenko was in the ring with a crafty rugged veteran he had some difficulties, but Martinez does not have the power of Salido and Lomachenko’s footwork should give him issues.

This should be an easy twelve round decision victory for Lomachenko, and it’s hard to envision a scenario where Martinez walks out the victor.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Thurman, Porter, Lomachenko, Guzman, Chisora, Shumenov, and more…


Boxing Insider Notebook: Thurman, Porter, Lomachenko, Guzman, Chisora, Shumenov, and more…
By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 26th to May 3rd, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime
Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime

Keith Thurman/Shawn Porter Press Conference Quotes

Welterweight world champion Keith Thurman and former champion Shawn Porter recently held a press conference to discuss their upcoming matchup on June 25th, live on Showtime, from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Below are some quotes from that press conference.

KEITH THURMAN

“I made you wait. But it’s worth it. This is a tremendous fight. Arguably the best matchup of the year. We’re going to work our butts off to make it the Fight of the Year.

“Our two teams go way back. This is the most beautiful moment of my professional career and I’m about to compete with somebody I grew up with. I’m happy for my success and I’m happy for Shawn’s success. We come from the same boat. When you’re a young kid in the gym training and then you’re here today, that takes a special kind of person. Shawn and I are both that kind of person.

“We took six weeks off after my accident, with three days a week of physical therapy. I was relaxing at home. I didn’t like it. As a fighter, I wanted this fight as bad as the fans wanted this fight.

“This isn’t just the biggest fight of my career. But it’s the most anticipated fight of my career. Sometimes it pays to add some drama to the game. It wasn’t our intention, but I think it worked out.

“Barclays Center makes this a big fight. We get to promote here in New York City. New York is a fight town. My favorite fighter of all time, Mike Tyson, is from Brooklyn. This just happened to work out for the best.

“I anticipate most of the welterweight division being in attendance on June 25. The situation that division is in right now is that we’re all in a frenzy. Everyone wants the spotlight and everyone wants to be the top dog. We all have that opportunity.

“I want to have two titles by the end of this year. People talk about replacing Floyd Mayweather, but you can’t become the man without beating all the people in front of you. One fight at a time. I want to stay at the top by grabbing another belt. I’m going to show that I’m the big dog at 147 pounds.

“June 25, my friend is about to become my enemy. I’m going to treat him like any other enemy.

“Get your tickets. Get your seats. Get your popcorn. Whatever you need to do. This is going to be a fight you don’t want to miss. This is going to be a knockout you don’t want to miss. I love you Shawn, but I’m doing my best to put you to sleep.”

SHAWN PORTER

“I’m very excited about this fight. I’m blessed to have this opportunity. Not only to go for this title but to be a part of a record-breaking show at Barclays Center. This night is going to be memorable.

“Keith Thurman is bringing out the competitiveness in me to a level I’ve always wanted. It’s a level I expect. I have a guy next to me who is challenging me more than ever. Me and Keith Thurman are going to put on a show. Everything you talked about, you’re going to get it.

“It is amazing to be a part of something great like this. I’ve always considered myself to be a very good fighter and a very good athlete, but I’ve always wanted something like this and to have it is very humbling.

“I wasn’t surprised that Keith said he would knock me out. He has to pump himself up and be confident. When he looked at me I think he was trying to convince me that he was being real and I was looking at him to find out if he was convinced. He thinks he’s going to knock me out, I say he’s not. I’m going to do everything it takes to beat him and make it look easy.

“This is forming to be a big fight, one of those fights that we’ve looked forward to since we were kids.

“This is my second time fighting at Barclays Center. I’m 1-0 with a championship so now I’m looking for another one. I’ve been to some of the other fights at Barclays too and it is really an electric atmosphere. People are coming out to see something great and that’s what I’m going to give them.

“I’m not changing anything in camp because of how familiar Keith and I are with each other. I have to do it at the right time in the ring. We’re going to do everything we do to prepare for a world championship fight.

“Thurman is a little unorthodox at times so we’re prepared for that. It’s about going 12 rounds or less and looking good doing it. We’ve done a little sparring as pros but nothing as competitive as I’m expecting on June 25.

“I have a feeling Keith is going to say he’s knocking me out a lot. I want to know if he believes that. He’s a cutthroat kind of fighter. I know that. The hands will be up, the defense will be taken care of, and we’re taking care of business.”

Tickets to Martines v. Lomachenko/Verdejo and Zou US Debut On Sale

Three-time world champion ROMAN “Rocky” MARTINEZ and World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight world champion VASYL LOMACHENKO will go mano a mano for Martinez’s WBO junior lightweight world title and the boxing gem of Puerto Rico, FELIX “El Diamante” VERDEJO, will risk his WBO Latino lightweight crown, undefeated record and No. 2 world rating against JUAN JOSE MARTINEZ in the co-main event of a championship doubleheader Saturday, June 11 — one day before the famed Puerto Rican Day Parade — at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The two bouts, scheduled for 12 and 10 rounds, respectively, will be televised live on HBO beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. The non-televised undercard will feature the U.S. debut of two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Amateur Champion ZOU SHIMING from The Peoples Republic of China in a 10-round flyweight bout.

The five gladiators boast a combined record of 87-6-3 (53 KOs) — a winning percentage of 91% with over 60% of their victories coming by way of knockout.

“I feel very happy returning to New York to fight, and even more on a special date like the Puerto Rican Day Parade. I know that a lot of Puerto Ricans will be there and I’ll be ready, as always, to give it my all,” said Martinez. “About Lomachenko I can say that he is a boxer with a lot of accomplishments as an amateur and even though he became champion in just a few professional fights, it isn’t the same in amateur as in professional boxing and we are working hard to take the victory on June 11.”

“Thank you to Top Rank! Thank you to my manager, Egis Klimas!. And thank you to HBO for believing that I can headline its telecast in the main event of the evening,” said Lomachenko. “It is a big opportunity for me. It is a chance to set a new record by becoming a two-division world champion in the shortest period — my seventh professional fight — a record that currently stands at eight fights. On June 11, at Madison Square Garden, I’m going to do my best to reach a new career pinnacle.”

“I’m more motivated than ever for this fight on HBO and performing in front of my people in New York,” said Verdejo. “I recognize that my focus for my last couple of fights hasn’t been at its best. I feel that my last performances haven’t been close to what has been expected of me and that has motivated me to show my supporters that the Felix Verdejo they have been rooting for will be at The Garden on June 11 and for a very long time after.”

“This is the first time in boxing history which two fighters on this card each won two Olympic gold medals,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “Vasyl Lomachenko and Zou Shiming accomplished iconic feats in the sport of boxing and Felix Verdejo himself is a former Olympian and one of the top amateur boxers.”

Sampson Lewkowicz Ordered to Begin Negotiating Guzman vs. Wake Fight for IBF Super Bantamweight Title

Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz has been given the go-ahead to begin negotiating a world-title fight between his fighter, Dominican Jonathan Guzman, and the promoters for Japan’s Shingo Wake.

The IBF ordered Lewkowicz, representing Guzman, the IBF #2 Super Bantamweight, and Kyoei Promotions, the IBF #1 Super Bantamweight, to begin negotiations immediately and have them completed no later than June 2 of this year.

Guzman (21-0) just defeated Daniel Rosas in Atlantic City while Wake (20-4-2) decisioned Thailand’s Mike Tawatchai last June.

The IBF rules state: “Any boxer who is contracted with a promoter, a network, or a state, tribal or national commission to take another fight, or who is ill, injured, under a legal impediment which could prevent the bout from taking place in the opinion of the IBF/USBA, or on suspension at the time the Championships Chairman and the President order a bout under this rule shall be considered unavailable. We would then move to the next available contender. Neither fighter can take another fight until this fight for the vacant title is concluded.”

In the event the camps cannot reach an agreement by June 2, the IBF will call for purse offers to be held to determine who will promote the bout, when and where it will be held. Per IBF rules, neither boxer may compete in another match until they face each other.

Pulev-Chisroa Title Clash Added to Crolla-Barroso Lightweight Title Telecast

This Saturday, a heavyweight contest between former world title challenger Kubrat Pulev and Dereck Chisora has been added to the telecast that will feature WBA Lightweight Champion Anthony Crolla defending his title against the hard punching Ismael Barroso that will be shown live on AWE-A Wealth of Entertainment.

The Pulev – Chisora European Heavyweight title clash will originate from Hamburg, Germany and will precede the Crolla – Barroso bout from Manchester, England.

“We are ecstatic to add this important heavyweight fight to our world title broadcast. The winner of this fight will be at the head of the line to get their second world title opportunity and these are big heavyweights, so we expect an explosive fight,” said AWE President, Charles Herring.

Rances Barthelemy to Face Mickey Bey on June 3rd

Undefeated lightweight world champion Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy (24-0, 13 KOs) will make his first title defense against former world champion Mickey “The Spirit” Bey (22-1-1, 10 KOs) in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Spike Friday, June 3 at the Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/PT as unbeaten Puerto Rican prospect Emmanuel Rodriguez (14-0, 10 KOs) takes on hard-hitting Mexican Victor “Pitufo” Proa (28-1-2, 21 KOs) in a 10-round bantamweight affair.

“There were rumors that a fight between me and Mickey Bey was on the brink of happening prior to my fight against Denis Shafikov, so now that it is here, I know it was destined to happen,” said Barthelemy. “I’m not a rookie anymore. I’m not going into this worried or nervous about it being my first title defense at 135. I’m comfortable enough now to see every fight as just another challenge I need to execute my game plan the most effectively and with the least amount of errors.”

“Barthelemy won my title, I had to vacate it due to a hand injury, so all he is doing is keeping it warm for me,” said Bey. “Training camp is going great. I have been training hard for over a month. I have the best team in the business, with the most knowledgeable trainers. I’m looking forward to the challenge with him being undefeated and a two-time world champion. We both have a lot of skills, so it will make an entertaining fight for sure.”

“I want to challenge all of the bantamweight champions to fight me so they can see a real athlete in the ring,” said Rodriguez. “I have been training hard. This is a lifestyle for me. I have been training since December and on June 3, I am going to deliver a knockout.”

“I’m excited about this opportunity against a good young fighter,” said Proa. “I’ve been training hard and feel like this is my time. I’m going to come forward and see what this guy can do.”

WBA Interim Cruiserweight World Champion Shumenov Protests WBA “Regular” World Cruiserweight Title Fight

World Boxing Association (WBA) Interim cruiserweight world champion Beibut Shumenov (16-2, 10 KOs), the only Kazakhstan-native to hold world titles in two different weight classes, is disputing the WBA’s sanctioning of the WBA “regular” cruiserweight world championship fight, May 20 in Paris, between two lower-ranked WBA fighters, No. 2 Yunier Dorticos and No. 5 Youri Kalenga (recently upgraded to No. 3).

Last July, Shumenov defeated B.J. Flores by way of a 12-round unanimous decision to become the mandatory challenger for WBA “regular” cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev, who was later elevated to “Super” champion.

Lebedev hasn’t fought a mandatory defense in one year, ironically, when he won a 12-round decision over Kalenga, who had earned his world title shot, like Shumenov, by becoming WBA Interim world champion. The WBA granted Lebedev an extension in terms of his due mandatory defense because of the Russian’s unification fight May 21 in Moscow against International Boxing Federation (IBF) title-holder Victor Emelio Ramirez.

“I’m very disappointed the WBA is sanctioning Dorticos-Kalenga for its ‘regular’ cruiserweight title, when I am the No. 1 ranked and current WBA Interim champion,” Shumenov said. “I repeatedly informed the WBA through emails, texts and verbally that I was ready to fight back in January. I preferred to fight Lebedev but I was willing to fight Dorticos or anybody else in the top 15. For the past few months, I’ve been laboring over what I believe is a very bad decision, letting two lower-ranked fighters, the No. 2 and No. 3 guys, fight for the WBA ‘regular’ title. I am shocked and bewildered and do not understand the WBA’s rationale to have either of these fighters declared the WBA ‘regular’ champion without first defeating either Lebedev or me, the Interim champion and No. 1 rank contender.

“I appealed the decision but, so far, the WBA has done little in response to my appeals other than delay and stall before finally ruling that I will fight the Lebedev-Ramirez winner months from now, yet, ignoring my appeal to stop the regular title status of Dorticos-Kalenga and still sanction a fight between them, its No. 2 and No. 3 rated fighters, for the WBA ‘regular’ title. This is unfair to fans, who deserve to watch the best fighting the best, especially when a world championship is at stake! We now have this odd situation where there will be three separate WBA cruiserweight fights in May, all for a different version of WBA world title I just don’t feel anyone should get the WBA ‘regular’ title without first defeating a champion or at least the top-ranked fighter in the division. The WBA knew I was and am ready to fight. Its decision makes no sense and, in my opinion, diminishes the prestige and meaning of the title. I have respect for Dorticos and Kalenga but I think the legitimacy of any world title resulting from a fight between the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked contenders, when the No 1 mandatory contender who already holds the WBA Interim champion is ready and available, to say the least, is highly questionable.

“The WBA told me and announced to the media that it was working to have only one world champion in each division. While I’ve been sitting out the last four months waiting to fight, the WBA has decided to allow six different guys to fight for three WBA cruiserweight world titles, practically on the same day, instead of crowning only one WBA cruiserweight world champion. I look forward to returning to the ring and my manager, Al Haymon, has advised me that I will fight in May and we will announce next week. I want to thank everyone for their support and I apologize to my family, friends, fans and my country, Kazakhstan, for this chaos the WBA has caused that has damaged and delayed my professional boxing career. I will move forward and continue to fight inside the ring, letting my attorneys and manager fight this unfair situation outside the ring.”

UFC Fighter Paige VanZant Says Tyson Fury Deserves an Ass Whooping

UFC fighter Paige VanZant recently told TMZ Sports that Tyson Fury’s sexist comments about women are completely disrespectful, and that he needs to get his ass kicked.

Fury stated in a December interview that “A woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back.” Wladimir Klitschko stated that Fury was a disgrace to the sport of boxing, and VanZant is following suit.

You can read more at http://www.tmz.com/2016/04/28/paige-vanzant-tyson-fury-wladimir-klitschko-sexist/

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Broner, Kovalev, Wilder, Berto, Verdejo, and more…


Boxing Insider Notebook: Broner, Kovalev, Wilder, Berto, Verdejo, and more…
By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 19th to April 26th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Adrien Broner Tells TMZ Sports that People Sent Him Money In Jail

TMZ Sports reported that Adrien Broner said he did get letters from pen pals while he was spending ten days behind bars in an Ohio jail, and that some people even sent him money.
Broner was also seen joking about his pending bowling alley assault charges against him, which Broner denies happened. He also told TMZ that he has the same jeweler as Fetty Wap.
Read more at http://www.tmz.com/2016/04/25/adrien-broner-money-jail-bowling-fetty-wap/

Kovalev to Return to Russia on July 11th Against Chilemba

WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) returns to his home country of Russia to defend all three of his belts against Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KOs) on Monday, July 11 in Ekaterinburg. The fight will take place on the opening night of the International Industry Trade Fair “INNOPROM-2016” at the DIVS Palace of Sports and is sponsored by Russian Copper Company and Igor Altushkin and presented by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with German Titov Promotions.

Ranked as one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Kovalev, 33, a native of Chelyabinsk, Russia has not fought in his home country since 2011. Sergey earned his WBO belt in 2013 when he knocked out then-undefeated champion, Nathan Cleverly, in Cleverly’s backyard of Cardiff, Wales.

After three consecutive successful title defenses, all knockouts, Sergey faced the legendary Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins in 2014 and unified his WBO belt with the WBA and IBF belts. After his unanimous decision win over Hopkins, Krusher had three more successful title defenses, all knockouts, of his three unified belts, including two knockouts of former WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion Jean Pascal. This will be his first title defense in Russia.

According to Krusher, “I am so excited to fight in my home country of Russia. It gives me great pride to bring my titles home at last. I would like to thank my manager, Egis Klimas, my promoter, Kathy Duva and Igor Altushkin of Russian Copper Company for making this dream of mine a reality. Chilemba is a tough opponent and I will be ready for him on July 11.”

Chilemba said, “First of all I thank God for the blessings and opportunities. I thank my manager, Jodi Solomon, for standing up for me whether I’m on the top or at the bottom. I thank Main Events for yet another opportunity for me to redeem myself and I thank my trainer Buddy McGirt for believing in me. I have met a lot of obstacles and every time I think I’ve got it right, I fall again, but I know my goals and I never stop following my dreams. When I received a call from Jodi regarding this opportunity, I was over the moon. I thank Sergey and his team for putting their titles on the line to face me, all I want to say to them is: they are in for a surprise, they gave the wrong guy an opportunity. I’ll work my ass off and I’m in to win it! Russia here we come!”


Vasyl Lomachenko, Rocky Martinez, and Felix Verdejo to Take Part in Puerto Rican Day Parade Weekend Title Fights

World champions VASYL LOMACHENKO and ROMAN “Rocky” MARTINEZ, the boxing gem of Puerto Rico and undefeated No. 2 world-rated lightweight contender FELIX “El Diamante” VERDEJO, and Hall of Fame promoter BOB ARUM will host a New York press conference Next Thursday! April 28, at Madison Square Garden’s Chase Square.

The participants will be announcing a Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend championship card on Saturday, June 11, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko (11-1, 3 KOs), of Ukraine, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight world champion, will be moving up to challenge Martinez (29-2-3, 17 KOs), a three-time world champion from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, for his WBO junior lightweight world title. Verdejo (21-0, 14 KOs), of San Juan, Puerto Rico, will be defending his WBO Latino lightweight title. Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Puerto Rican Best Boxing Promotions, both fights will be televised live on HBO®, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Deontay Wilder Media Workout Quotes

Deontay Wilder (36-0) will defend his title against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin (30-1) on May 21st in Moscow, Russia. Wilder recently spoke to the media during a workout and offered the following:

(On his expectations going to Russia…)

“My expectation is, of course, to win. To come back with that victory for America. This is a big fight, not just for myself, for America. It’s like Russia vs. America. I’ve been getting nothing but positive feedback from fans all over. Even if they weren’t a fan of Deontay Wilder they are now for this very fight. Hopefully I can win them over to stay a fan of Deontay Wilder after this fight. I think it’s a great fight. I think it’s a great thing that we’re going over to Russia defending my title in somebody else’s backyard.

“Like I said before, it’s easier for me to fight here in American but that’s not what it’s all about to me. When I have a title that says the heavyweight champion of the world, I want to travel all over the world to defend my title. I’m living my dream, I’m getting an opportunity to do that with this fight.
I’m looking forward to Russia and I want to tell Russia,’Here I come.’ ”

(What it means to be the first heavyweight champion to fight in Russia…)

“It means a lot. It makes me even closer to my faith. God doesn’t make mistakes in lives. He doesn’t make a mistake in my life, your life or anybody else. Things happen for a reason and they happen at the right time in your life. Things may not come when you want it, but when they come it’s right on time. The things that have been accumulating throughout my career, it’s been amazing. How I’ve been able to make history, beat other records, and continue to make history. It’s amazing. I just want to know what else he has in store for my life. If it’s continuously history being made, what’s next? I’m excited.
“I can’t wait to see how my life unfolds at the end of my career. What happens at the end of Deontay Wilder when it’s time for him to say I’ve done all I’ve done in this sport and I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to see how much ground I can cover for those that have come before me.”

(How you predict the fight going…)

“I predict the fight as being a punishment in the first round and then knocking him out. All heavyweights want to knock somebody out so we have to say we’re going to knock them out. This is the cream of the crop division. The heavyweights. The hard-hitters. The heavy hitters, as they say. When we step in that ring, nothing is acceptable but a knockout. And I’m looking to knock him out.”

(On if he’s reached his peak…)

“Not at all and that’s the scary part about it. I haven’t even reached my peak yet and I’m still learning on the way up. I want to always learn. Each and every fight brings experience to me. It brings something that I’ve taken away from that fight and that I’ve added to the next fight. Looking forward to being very crisp and very good in this fight and showing people a little bit more of what Deontay Wilder is capable of. Especially those who haven’t seen anything thus far yet, stay tuned to this fight. This is one you don’t want to miss.”

(On unifying the titles in the future…)

“Most definitely. I really feel when I say that I will be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, I don’t just say it to say it, but I also feel it inside me, deep inside me that I will be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and add my name to the few undisputed champions that have come before me. My name will be placed in history on that. Why wouldn’t it? All the things I’ve done up to now, that will be the icing on my cake to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. I won’t stop, no matter how many hours I have to put in. No matter how many fights that I have to take. No matter how many countries I have to visit to defend my title. I will be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”

(On concerns about going to Russia…)

“I don’t have any concerns. I don’t let my brain sit back and think about if I don’t knock him out or are they going to rob me, or anything like that. I just don’t want my mind to be on that when I’m in a fight. I want to have a clear mind. I want to go in there and do what Deontay is capable of doing. Like I said, all things are in God’s hands and if it’s in his will for me to win, it’s going to happen. If not then, I don’t stop there. My legacy is not going to stop there. But I’m very confident in what I’m about to do and what I’m going to do, and we all know that if we knock him out then we don’t have to worry about that. So of course that’s going to be my priority on my list – to knock him out.”

Canelo vs. Khan Closed Circuit Tickets on Sale

Tickets for the closed circuit telecasts of Canelo vs. Khan are priced at $60, not including applicable fees. All seats are general admission and are ON SALE NOW at each individual property’s box office outlets or by phone with a major credit card at 866-431-7111.

Additionally, the premier of Canelo v. Khan 24/7 took place on April 23rd with Part 2 to take place on April 30th.

Andre Berto Training Camp Notes for Bout with Victor Ortiz

Andre Berto recently gave some statements during his training camp in preparation for his upcoming bout with Victor Ortiz.

On his improvements since his first fight against Ortiz:

“I’ve improved tremendously. Mentally and all the way around the board. There was so much that went into that fight and that camp the first time. I shouldn’t have fought that fight, but being who I am, I wanted to get in there. I was just a young fighter who didn’t take the fight seriously. I overlooked my opponent. Now I’m a much more mature fighter. I’ve pushed myself for this camp.

This fight has always been on my mind. Even when I tried to move on, other people continued to remind me about it. Everyone said I needed to get him back. That’s the fight everyone has wanted to see and that everyone deserves. I’m going to give everyone the fight they deserve.

“I believe that coming back from my shoulder surgery that I’ve been more motivated and improving as a fighter. Everyone has seen the improvements. We’re definitely ready for anything he wants to bring. If he’s aggressive we’re ready and everyone knows I can stand there and punch”

On this training camp with Virgil Hunter:

“Everything is going great. It’s been a long, tough camp. I’m excited and ready to close it all in. We’ve done all the work. We’re in great shape. No stone was left unturned. It’s been a great eight or nine week camp.”

On sharing training camp with Amir Khan and Andre Ward and the motivation it provides:

“We all feed off of each other. All of us have pretty much been in camp together leading up to and through all of our fights. Even now Andre is there to watch us spar and work. It’s great motivation for all of us to be there. We’re all pushing each other to get better every day.”

On how Virgil Hunter has helped him improve as a fighter:

“I call Virgil the professional because he’s a teacher. He works you mentally. Each and every day. It’s like being in school. He drills it in your head over and over. He doesn’t let you go through the motions. You have to stay on track mentally to work on all of the things that you’ve been working on. He’s more of a teacher than a trainer.”

On what he learned from his fight against Floyd Mayweather:

“A lot of people can’t handle the atmosphere and the buildup of that magnitude. I got the chance to really find out how to handle it all. I think I surprised a lot of people around me with how easy I was taking it. I think Floyd was surprised too, he thought I would get shaken like other guys. But I felt like I was supposed to be there. I wasn’t going to be the guy who stands there in shock.”

On preparing for Ortiz:

“You have to be prepared for whatever he brings to the table. You don’t know how Victor is going to fight and if he’s going to do his extra stuff. Or if he’s going to try to box. Who knows? Maybe you hit him two or three times and he feels like he doesn’t want to be there. I’m prepared for the Victor of five years ago.”

On Ortiz’s claim that he will knock out Berto:

“That’s what he said the first time. I’ve made it evident as well that I’ll finish him and finish this chapter. I want it to be over. Still for some reason my name comes up. People continue to cross us together. I just want to finish this chapter and finish in style.”

On what fans can expect Saturday night:

“The fans should expect an exciting fight. They might see the start of round 13 from the first one. It’s going to be extremely exciting. I doubt it’s going the distance. This is the fight the people deserve.”

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