Robert Easter Jr. vs. Rances Barthelemy and Viktor Postol vs. Mohamed Mimoune Fight Preview
By: Hans Themistode
After suffering his lone defeat to Mikey Garcia in his last bout, Robert Easter Jr (21-1, 14 KOs) will have a chance to bounce back. The former IBF Lightweight champion will return to action at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday April 27.
Easter won’t be getting an easy comeback fight as he will be taking on former two division champion Rances Barthelemy (27-1, 14 KOs). The stakes for this contest has been raised as both the vacant IBF and WBA titles will be on the line.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
Easter will have several advantages over his opponent come fight night including, a once inch height advantage to go along with a four inch reach advantage as well. The question for Easter is, will he be able to use his advantages. Many of Easter’s opponents come into the ring at a height and reach disadvantage but Easter seems to have issues making his opponents pay.
The physical gifts have never been in question for Easter, but his discipline to use those tools have been. Take his last bout against Mikey Garcia for example. Easter dwarfed the much smaller Garcia, but time and time again he was outboxed and outclassed.
If Easter wants to Regain his status as champion he will have to show that he has grown mentally as a fighter. Those improvements will be needed as his opponent Rances Barthelemy not only has boxing ability but he also has the power to make it a short night as well.
Since suffering his lone defeat last year at the hands of Kiryl Relikh, Barthelemy bounced back with a third round stoppage of Robert Frankel in his last ring appearance.
Both of these fighters are in desperate situations as a loss could spell the end of their tenure hovering around the top of the weight class.
The main event between Robert Easter Jr and Rances Barthelemy have a ton at stake but the co-main carries plenty of significance as well.
Former WBC Super Lightweight champion Viktor Postol (30-2, 12 KOs) will make his first appearance of 2019 when he takes on current IBO belt holder Mohamed Mimoune (21-2, 2 KOs).
To say that Postol has been going through a rough patch of late would be putting it lightly. Since knocking out Lucas Matthysse for the WBC belt, Postol has lost two of his past four fights. In addition to picking up those two losses he has also been very inactive as well. He has fought just once in both 2016 and 2017. He did manage to get back in the win column in his last contest but he looks far from the man who seemed to be on the verge of stardom only a few short years ago.
Mohamed Mimoune may not be known to the public but his track record speaks for itself as he hasn’t lost a fight since 2013. He has also defeated respectable competition such as Sam Eggington, Emliano Rodriguez and Nabil Krissi. Not exactly world beaters but they are decent names on his resume. Postol will undoubtedly present him with his stiffest test to date.
In reality, this is Postol’s do or die moment. A loss to the relatively unknown Mimoune, would place his career in jeopardy.
The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada will present these former and current champions with the platform to flourish under the bright lights. Just who exactly seizes the moment will be determined on April 27th.
Josh Taylor Beats Postol in Glasgow
By: Oliver McManus
JOSH TAYLOR’s rampant rise up the rankings in the super-lightweight division showed no sign of slowing on Saturday night as he fought Viktor Postol, in Glasgow, in a WBC final eliminator.
Promoted by Cyclone Promotions and live on free-to-air television in the United Kingdom, Taylor was in the toughest fight of his 13 bout professional career and against a granite-chinned Ukrainian, The Tartan Tornado would need to be on the top of his game in order to out-box the shrewd Iceman.
Postol was performing in only his second clash over the course of the last 24 months but there’s little doubting the quality of the 34 year old – now living in California – with the former WBC World champion claiming his crown via 10th round knockout against Lucas Matthysse; against Terence Crawford he extended the pound-for-pound great to the full 12 rounds but did little to threaten the reputation of Bud. Taylor, then, represents an immediate path back to world honours as The Iceman Cometh… to Glasgow, he cometh to Glasgow.
The fight started off with the Scottish southpaw and the orthodox-stance Ukrainian circling in the middle of the ring, Taylor punching high with his right jab – against an opponent taller than him – whilst Postol searched in an aggressive fashion, looking to land lunging punches.
Postol found moderate success with some round-the-guard right hands but nothing too concerning for the fans packed into the SSE Arena, left hands from Taylor were finding the body and into the second round, Postol lost his balance from a heavy-shot resulting in him momentarily on one leg.
These early stages of the fight witnessed a plethora of aggressive intent, promising intent, but an unpolished end-product.
Footwork was good from Taylor, keeping his lead left on the outside of Postol’s foot, allowing him the freedom of movement not often allowed to southpaws and the target was clear from Taylor. He was intent on working the body.
Towards the end of round two a cut opened up on the eye of Viktor Postol but it had very little impact going into the rest of the opening third with the continuous trade of punches occurring in the centre of the ring – Postol’s jab popped out less frequently but the pair landed a flurry of good punches each.
A HUGE left jab in the third round sent the crowd into ecstasy but the impact seemed relatively minimal on his experienced counterpart.
Both fighters looked to target the inside of one another, trying to fatigue the bodies but neither boxer was extended to discomfort with both men having periods of success, big shots landed by both with styles meshing to produce an aesthetically attractive fight.
A high tempo with heavy pressure bore great success transitioning into the second stanza of the fight, scampering towards Postol, switching stances and finding considerable success with his jab.
The Ukrainian, former champion, was working well himself, though, fighting from distance and keeping the threat of the, theoretical, challenger at bay. Taylor landed a fierce uppercut, followed by a sweeping left-hook, to render Postol visibly hurt and the first real sign of power-punching came from the home-favourite.
Confidence started to flow from Josh Taylor’s corner but the fight was still being taken at a pulse-shattering pace, and Postol began to emerge back into the contest with a continual jabbing presence as well as acute angle work ensuring that you couldn’t discount the Ukrainian.
Taylor began to look a bit nervous, Postol pushing the Scot back onto the ropes and landing big right hands of his own, snapping the head back of Josh. Both fighters were showing grit, each finding pockets of success.
The final quarter beckoned and the pace didn’t slow but the better work came from Viktor, working a nice short, chipped uppercut to keep Taylor in check. Postol looked tense but had a good work-rate.
Taylor, on the other hand, seemed more relaxed his posture and stance, more patient, and when he managed to open up the body of the Ukrainian he capitalised with punch after punch.
Into the ninth round Josh Taylor resumed his role as the aggressor with a serious of shots landing to the body of Postol – thrown with the full conviction of the Scotsman who twisted his whole body into each and every punch.
An unbelievable right hand connected from Josh but Viktor took it as though it was nothing, Taylor dropped down to the body, landing two, three right hands to the liver of Postol, landing with ease in front of a home crowd and leading the Ukrainian to resort to holding.
Overhand lefts with Postol in the neutral corner got the crowd on the feet and it seemed to hurt Viktor and Josh’s movement proved far superior, toying with his opponent, forcing his man onto a huge counter-hook.
Taylor took to the centre of the ring in the championship rounds, rallying off his previous success, and controlling the pace of the bout; both fighters returned to the jab looking to gain the final rounds on the judges’ scorecards.
A gigantic left hand in the 10th round sent Postol down to the canvas for the fourth time in his last two fights and he looked shocked, his legs began to betray him as Taylor showed superior stamina – despite never having been to 10 rounds before – a straight left hand to the temple of his opponent secured a 10-8 round.
This was the Josh Taylor that British fans have got used to and with that knockdown under his belt there was an air of belief from Josh but Postol returned with solid left hooks in the 11th round before returning to the middle of the ring, pawing left hands being thrown repeatedly before exploding to life with scintillating combination shots.
Taylor started the 12th round like his life depended on it, coming out all guns blazing and looking the fresher of the two men, landing body shot after body shot towards the sides of Postol and Taylor continued to hunt his prey, despite Postol’s best efforts to get away.
The jab of Josh looked like it would be the winning component for him as we entered the final minute and with both fighters continuing to trade the bell sounded to signal the end of the fight – 12 rounds in a final eliminator sanctioned by the WBC – with the crowd fully aware that they had seen one hell of a fight.
To the scorecards we went… 117-110, 118-110, 119-108 all in favour of the new MANDATORY challenger, Josh Taylor who retained his unbeaten ledger, stretching that to 13 fights, 11 knockouts and both eyes firmly on the world title.
Scotland best keep hold of their hats because a tornado’s incoming…
Crawford Dominates Over Postol
Crawford Dominates Over Postol
By: Sean Crose
Things started on Saturday’s pay per view card at the MGM Grand in Vegas with undefeated Ukrainian light heavyweight Oleksandr Gvozdyk (10-8) facing off against Tommy Karpency (26-5-1) in a ten rounder. Karpency, who had lost to big names like Adonis Stevenson and Nathan Cleverly, stunned a great many people by dropping and hurting Gvozdyk in the first. Gvozdyk composed himself well, however – working his man efficiently from there on in and wrapping things up with a knockout win – via body blow – in the 6th.
That bout was followed with Francisco Santana (24-4-1) and Jose Benavidez Jr. (24-0) facing of in a 10 round welterweight affair. Needless to say, Benavidez, who had burned away some good will, came out looking magnificent the first several rounds. His shots were so hard and sharp, they almost hurt to watch. The fight didn’t continue going that way through. For Santana kept coming…and coming…and coming. Benavidez, on the other hand, was hot and cold throughout the bout, spending much time on the ropes.
In the end, however, it was Benavidez who did enough to pull off the unanimous decision win. Why one judge gave Benevidez a score of 100-90, however, is flabbergasting.
Moving on with the festivities, 20-0 Matias Rueda next stepped into the ring to meet 19-0 Oscar Valdez for the WBO Featherweight title. Valdez moved in like a terror, chopping away at his opponent. Rueda, a tough, game guy, survived the round. Needless to say, he didn’t make it through the second. A body shot took him down first. Then another body shot took him down again. The fight, which was simply Tysonesque, was then wisely stopped.
It was finally time for the main event. Omaha’s Terrence Crawford (28-0) met the Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (28-0) to unify – at least a large portion of – the junior middleweight titles (the WBC and WBO, respectively). The crowd was clearly pro Crawford and rather electric for a fight that was somewhat under the radar of casual fans. Sure enough, the atmosphere had risen to the occasion.
The first quarter of the fight was fairly even. Postol dominated the distance for the most part, but when Crawford was able to land, it was impressive. The fifth, however, began with a flash knockdown of Postol. Crawford was on fire and knocked Postol down again. The round was all Crawford’s. Postol ended up on his feet, but the Nebraska native’s shots were proving to be too fast and hard. Postol did a bit better in the 6th, but Crawford was still in control.
The second half of the fight made it clear that it was essentially an easy night at the office for Crawford. Indeed, the bout became completely one sided. Crawford was so fast, hit so hard, and employed such effective lateral movement that Postol looked like he wished he was someplace else, so confused and overwhelmed was he.
Sure enough, that was all there was to say. It was an absolutely dominant performance from Crawford. Some may say Viktor Postol was over-rated (like many top fighters, Crawford is accused of being hyped) but that’s nonsense. Postol is an excellent fighter. Crawford is simply a great fighter. That’s why he earned a well-deserved unanimous decision victory on Saturday.
HBO PPV Boxing Preview: Valdez vs. Rueda, Crawford vs. Postol
HBO PPV Boxing Preview: Valdez vs. Rueda, Crawford vs. Postol
By: William Holmes
Terence Crawford is one of boxing’s best talents and one of Top Rank’s most prized assets. Continued success will likely lead to future and bigger pay per view bouts, but Saturday night will be the first time that he’ll test the waters of pay per view. He will take on Golden Boy Promotions’ Viktor Postol, a credible challenger and a current undefeated title holder, for the WBC and WBO Junior Welterweight Title.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Promotions
Top Rank tried to place WBO Super Middleweight Champion Gilberto Ramirez in the co-main event of the evening in an effort to attract Mexican fans, but an injury to his middle finger on his right hand forced him to withdraw.
However, two time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez will fight in the co-main event when he takes on Argentinian Matias Adrian Rueda for the WBO Featherweight Title and is one of Mexico’s best young fighters.
The following is a preview of both of the world title fights on the HBO Pay Per View Card, televised live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Oscar Valdez (19-0) vs. Matias Adrian Rueda (26-0); WBO Featherweight Title
Oscar Valdez was electric in his victory over Evgeny Gradovich in his last bout. He took on, an easily and badly defeated the former world champion in only four rounds.
He has seventeen stoppage victories and has stopped four of his past five opponents.
Rueda is also known for his power and has stopped twenty three of his opponents and is currently riding a ten fight knockout streak.
Neither boxer should have a significant edge in either reach or power. Valdez, however, has a much deeper and successful amateur backgroundValdez is a former bronze medalist in the World Amateur Championship and a Gold Medal Winner at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships. He also qualified for the Olympics in 2008 and in 2012.
Valdez also has the better profressional resume. He has defeated the likes of Evgeny Gradovich, Chris Avalos, Ruben Tamayo, Jose Ramirez, and Alberto Garza. He has also been active and fought four times in 2015 and this will be his second fight in 2016.
Rueda has also been active and fought four times in 2015 and this will also be his second fight in 2016. However, his professional record is void of any impressive wins. This will only be the second time he has fought in the United States and has beaten a large list of unknown boxers in Argentina.
Oscar Valdez was very impressive in his last bout and he will likely steamroll through Matias Adrian Rueda.
Terence Crawford (28-0) vs. Viktor Postol (28-0); WBC/WBO Junior Welterweight Title
This is the best fight that could be made in the junior welterweight division. Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Promotions put aside their differences to match up their two best junior welterweights.
Terence Crawford dominated the lightweight division before jumping up to the junior welterweight division, and the difference in size will likely show as he will be giving up three inches in height and three and a half inches in reach to Postol.
Both boxers were successful on their respective national circuits in the United States and in the Ukraine, but neither experienced major success on the international amateur stage.
Crawford fights out of an orthodox stance, but also switches stances constantly while fighting and confuses his opponent while doing so. Postol fights out of an orthodox stance and has been improving in using his reach to hurt his opponents.
Postol’s best wins were against Lucas Matthysse and Selcuk Aydin. He has also beaten Henry Lundy and DeMarcus Corley.
Postol is good enough to beat most junior welterweights, but this writer does not think he is good enough to beat Crawford. Crawford will have to be slick and get within range while avoiding the jabs of Postol, but Crawford has shown his in-ring savy and intelligence are the best weapons he has.
As long as Crawford remains focused and doesn’t look past Postol towards a possible fight with Pacquiao, he should emerge victorious.
Boxing Insider Interview with Terence Crawford
Boxing Insider Interview with Terence Crawford
By: Francisco Martinez
July 23rd in Las Vegas, Nevada a unification bout is set to take place and the winner is to be considered the best 140 pounder in boxing along with a good push up the pound for pound rankings. Terence Crawford perceived by many as the next big thing in boxing now that Floyd Mayweather Jr. & Manny Pacquiao have retired (for the time being) hosted a media day at the famed Fortune Boxing Gym in Hollywood BoxingInsider was preparing to talk to Crawford alongside two Filipino media news members whom also awaited their turn and as Crawford approached us he looked to his left to get a quick glimpse of the 2 individuals waiting to get their turn.
P.R. guy of Manny Pacquiao fame Fred Sternburg informed Terence Crawford that the two individuals waiting for their turn were reporters from the Philippines and as Crawford smiled Sternburg ask him “guess what they’re gonna ask you?” Crawford just smiled it off. So BoxingInsider ask Crawford to play a game of wild guess “take a wild guess, what would they ask you?” and Crawford replied “am I interested in fighting Pacquiao…” we asked “Are you?” he said “Not right now”.
Terence Crawford responded to all media members with the exact same answer. His focus is on Viktor Postol and nothing else. The replies are genuine, Terence Crawford is not overlooking Postol. Rightfully so as Postol if we recall correctly is the first time Crawford is facing someone who’s attributes favor him from height to reach. Something new for Crawford to overcome.
BoxingInsider: Has it set in that you’re headlining your first PPV already?
Terence Crawford: Yeah but I don’t really look at it like that. I just look at it as a main event. I don’t look at it as I’m fighting on HBO PPV and it’s something different because at the end of the day it’s all the same. You still got to get in that squared circle and fight.
BoxingInsider: What do you think he brings to the table that’s going to complicate things for you?
Terence Crawford: I don’t know, I don’t know. I really can’t say because I’ve never been in the ring with him. So it’s hard to go in there blind thinking he might do this, he might do that and he doesn’t even do it or he’s not affective doing it, so I don’t know.
Terence Crawford is aware the winner will not only become the unified 140 pound champion but will be considered the best at 140lbs “You got the one and two (top fighters) you got the lineal title on the line, the W.B.C. with the W.B.O. so it’s a lot at stake” also expresses becoming the unified Jr. Welterweight champion “means a lot. It’s what we’ve been working hard towards…”
BoxingInsider: Do you reflect a little bit on how far you’ve come from (your hometown of) Omaha, Nebraska?
Terence Crawford: I think about it a lot from when I was little I always said I wanted to be a world champion. I wanted to be the best boxer and now that it’s becoming a reality it makes me work that much harder to continue to be that world champion boxer that I’m destined to be.
As Top Rank promotions president, The Godfather of boxing Bob Arum spilled the beans on Manny Pacquiao’s return being more than possible although the gig outside of the ring will be one to make things a little complicated in the sense of when Manny Pacquiao can return and in what weight division as Arum expressed that the return has to coincide with Pacquiao’s senator position in the Phillipines without disrupting his political duties to his country.
With a win Terence Crawford finds himself in the mix for an opportunity against the 8 division world champion as he did in what was considered Manny Pacquiao’s 3rd and final career fight with Timothy Bradley Jr. Bob Arum has stated October, 29th & November, 5th as possible return dates for Manny Pacquiao. Although Crawford finds himself in the mix again and is aware of it he doesn’t think much of it “I’m not worried about it. I don’t even think about it being that I’m not fighting him. I’m fighting Viktor Postol so that’s my main priority right now. I’m not worried about if Pacquiao is coming back or who he’s gonna fight next. That’s his business, that’s not my business yet. Until we got a contract signed saying we fighting then that’s when it’ll be my business. I’m not even worried or thinking about Pacquiao”
July, 23rd on HBO PPV Terence Crawford vs Viktor Postol is set to take place in a unification bout between to primed fighters. Something that we rarely see in boxing nowadays. Use #CrawfordPostol to follow all our coverage of the fight throughout social media.
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Terence Crawford’s Stepping Stone Pay-Per-View?
Terence Crawford’s Stepping Stone Pay-Per-View?
By: Brandon Bernica
Whenever I watch Terence Crawford step through the ropes, I get this feeling. It’s a sensation that resides in the pit of my stomach telling me I’m about to witness an extraordinary talent at work. His slick counterpunching and punctual knockouts affirm that belief – Terence Crawford’s ceiling truly knows no bounds.
Of course, the equation in boxing that encompasses the journey from prospect to star features many variables. Not only is talent essential but personality, promotional backing, activity in the ring, and luck all play roles in defining the faces of the sport. Most fighters maintain little control over these factors, paving a challenging road to bright lights and notoriety.
Terence Crawford is unquestionably gifted. He headlines his first PPV Saturday night against fellow belt holder Viktor Postol. The thing is, sales for the fight are projected to be low. While much of the blame for that prediction can be attributed to a weak undercard, it does point to Crawford’s stardom being far from a finished product.
Crawford suffers from boxing’s long-term struggle to cultivate stars out of potential. Very few fighters actually rise to “household name” status. Bob Arum – Crawford’s promoter – has said the desert is bleached with the bones of failed promoters; in the same way, many fighters’ careers flounder in obscurity due to failed promise. What makes matters worse is that the system often rewards fighters who are less-skilled but come from backgrounds or have stories that are more marketable.
Arum’s biggest challenge is to usher Crawford in as Top Rank’s new centerpiece. Since Manny Pacquiao’s retirement, a massive void remains as to which fighter will now carry the banner for the company. Crawford is the logical choice for this role, but is Saturday really the first step in that direction for his career?
Crawford holds a large following from his town of Omaha, Nebraska. Fight after fight, he’s sold very well in that city, galvanizing the hometown faithful with spectacular performances. The challenge with Crawford is to build his brand outside of that region. He doesn’t demean his opponents enough to market him as a heel. Still, he portrays the hard-working, underdog nature of the Midwest, which could hit a demographic that has historically supported boxing for years.
Crawford’s style backfires on himself, as well. You could categorize him as a counterpuncher with excellent power and timing. Usually, he knocks his opponents out with accurate blows, but there are times where the build up to those KO’s is slow and measured. If he desires the spotlight, he will need to consistently finish his fights in style. While it may seem unfair to hold him to such a high standard, it’s unfortunately the game boxing has devolved into, prioritizing style over substance.
If there is anything to expedite Crawford’s rise, it’s a good foil. Postol will undoubtedly test Crawford Saturday night, but Crawford’s true ascent will require a Goliath. Perhaps Manny Pacquiao comes out of retirement to fight him or Timothy Bradley finally agrees to a match with his close friend Crawford. These established fighters hold the esteem that Crawford wants. Which adds to why the PPV might flop: stars are not conceived from the ashes but enthroned by victory. Crawford just hasn’t had that opportunity yet, and it isn’t his fault. While Saturday might not be his coming-out party, it will serve as one last filter until we (hopefully) see him match up with the adversary he needs. For the sake of this talent, let’s hope someone steps up to the plate.
Terence Crawford: The Quiet Man
Terence Crawford: The Quiet Man
By: Sean Crose
Boxing is looking for a big star – one that can fill the void left by Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Sure, those guys may return to the ring in some form or other, but the truth is that their best days are most likely behind him. Someone has to step up and be the new face of boxing. People had said the throne was Canelo Alvarez’ to sit on, but Canelo has been on the fast track to a diminished reputation as of late. As for middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin – well, he’s got a major fight with Kell Brook coming up, but many in GGGs weight class are clearly unwilling to face the guy in the ring.
One of the more unlikely contenders to be boxing’s top attraction, however, is a junior welterweight from Nebraska. He’s undoubtedly one of the more talented of boxing’s rising stars, but the young man’s quiet personality may keep him from being the kind of celebrity modern America craves (mouthy Adrien Broner and equally mouthy Tyson Fury fill that bill nicely). Yet it’s good to remember that there have indeed been fighters who weren’t blabbermouths who still managed to capture the public’s attention. Jack Dempsey comes to mind – as does early era Mike Tyson.
And Terence Crawford, who possesses the WBO super lightweight title, along with a sterling 28-0 record, might have the makings to be one of boxing’s great quiet men. For while the 28-year-old is soft spoken, his fists are loud as cannons. Just ask Yuriokis Gamboa, who gave the cornhusker a hell of a fight. Just ask Ricky Burns, who Crawford travelled to across the ocean to beat in Burns’ home country of Scotland. Just ask Henry Lundy, Crawford’s last opponent, who was stopped in no less an iconic location than New York’s Madison Square Garden.
And just ask Viktor Postol, the extremely capable Ukrainian who Crawford will face on a pay per view event in Las Vegas on July 23’d. Like Crawford, Postol boasts a perfect 28-0 record. Postol also has enough of a skill set that it’s no guarantee that Crawford will pull off the victory this time. Make no mistake about it, Crawford-Postol is an excellent matchup. It’s doubtful the fight will be a big pay per view hit, however. Why? Because in all honesty, this bout would be better served on regular HBO. Neither Crawford nor Postol has reached pay per view levels of popularity, after all. The winner may well be on his way to reaching that pinnacle, though…which means the quiet man may indeed make it big solely by virtue of letting his gloved fists do the talking.