Boxing Insider Notebook: Klitschko, Berto, Alexander, Diaz, Monaghan, Ortiz, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 4th to July 11th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Klitschko Backs Police to Protect Animals from Abuse in Kyiv, Ukraine
For the first time ever, police in Kyiv are receiving training on how to fight crimes against animals and the alarming connections between the abuse of children, vulnerable adults and animals.
Animal-loving Vitali Klitschko (Mayor of Kyiv and former Professional Boxer) gives the project his full support, and states:
“Mistreating animals is cowardly and cruel, and I find it abhorrent that it goes on in our city. I am proud that so many Kyiv Police Officers are participating in this pioneering training programme and hope animal abuse cases will no longer be overlooked as a low-priority. Thank you to the British animal welfare NGOs for providing this vital training.”
Increasing research and clinical evidence suggests people who abuse animals may also abuse vulnerable people. It is understood that children who witness abuse within the home, either towards animals or people, are more likely to become violent themselves later in life.
Knowledge about these links will go a long way to help police protect victims, both animal and human.
The training also includes what constitutes evidence at animal abuse crime scenes, and how to use Ukrainian animal protection legislation to prosecute cases.
The training programme mirrors that being applied in other western countries.
Kyiv Police are aiming for more than 2000 officers to receive the training.
The first phase of the training programme took place in March where senior members of the Kyiv Police department attended a full day’s workshop. That same week, local animal welfare NGOs and the Kyiv Municipality received training on how to work with police and provide usable evidence that will assist with prosecutions.
Head of Kyiv Patrol Police Public Relations Department, Sergiy Bezpalchuk, says: “The training was very helpful, clearly demonstrating how to investigate cases of animal abuse. It was also useful to learn about the link between animal cruelty and abuse towards people. I’d like to thank the organisers and trainers, and look forward to further cooperation to train more officers in the future.”
The intention of the training programme is to assist with building a collaborative framework within which animal welfare groups, police, prosecutors and the municipality may address animal cruelty together, reducing victims of animal crime and bringing suspected offenders to justice.
The training is being delivered by UK animal welfare charity, Naturewatch Foundation, in collaboration with Mark Randell, a retired senior Police Officer and Animal NGO Director from the UK.
For over twenty-five years, Naturewatch Foundation has run projects in Ukraine to protect animals from abuse and suffering.
Naturewatch Foundation Campaign Director, Jennie Rudd, says: “By taking the initiative to tackle animal abuse and recognise the link between violence towards vulnerable people and animals, Kyiv police are developing a culture of compassion towards all living beings that future generations will benefit from.
“International organisations responsible for promoting the link between animal and human violence in Europe and America are impressed that Kyiv Police are taking on board this training as part of their development, and look forward to seeing how the programme develops.”
Jesus Rojas to Defend WBA Featherweight Title Against Joseph Diaz on Golden Boy Fight Night on Facebook Watch
Golden Boy Promotions’ partnership with Facebook will kick off with a bang as Jesus Rojas (16-1-2, 19 KOs) defends his WBA Featherweight World Title against Joseph Diaz, Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) in the main event of the inaugural edition of Golden Boy Fight Night at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. The action will be streamed live on Saturday, August 11 beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. Fans can catch all the fights by clicking here.
Rojas is a 31-year-old puncher who is coming off a seventh-round knockout against former interim WBA Featherweight World Champion Claudio Marrero. During his time off, Rojas was elevated to world champion status, and he’ll be making the first defense of this title against Diaz, Jr. The native of Caguas, Puerto Rico is an experienced champion as he has taken on the likes of former world champion Jorge “El Travieso”Arce and featherweight contenders Jorge “El Pilón” Lara and Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez.
“I’m ready to come back after almost a year off,” said Jesus Rojas. “I’ll defend my title for the first time on a very important Golden Boy card which will start a new association with Facebook. Diaz Jr. is tough, intelligent and fast, but I have the power and the experience to score a spectacular win against him. We’ll see you all this August 11 in Hollywood.”
Diaz Jr. is a 25-year-old southpaw who represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic games in London. Immediately after, Diaz Jr. signed with Golden Boy Promotions and began a stellar career that has earned him a spot at the pinnacle of the featherweight division. Diaz Jr.’s first title opportunity was against Gary Russell Jr. in May of this year. Though he did not win, Diaz Jr.’s impressive efforts earned him an immediate title shot but this time against Rojas.
“I’ve always said that I’m going to be a world champion.,” said Joseph Diaz Jr. “I learned from my last fight, and now I know the adjustments I need to make in order to have a world title around my waist. I’m going to make a big statement in the 126-pound division. It’s also an honor to be the main event of the first-ever Golden Boy show with Facebook. It shows the faith my promoter has in me to be a leading name in the new era of boxing.”
In the co-main event, Ferdinand “Lucky Boy” Kerobyan (9-0, 5 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. will battle across a scheduled six-rounds of welterweight action. Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (4-0, 3 KOs) of Monaghan, Ireland will participate in a four-round welterweight fight.
Opponents for these two fighters will be announced shortly.
Luis Ortiz to Take on Razvan Cojanu in Co-Feature Bout of Garcia vs. Easter
Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz returns to action to face former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu in a 10-round bout on Saturday, July 28 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) will open with unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario “El Azteca” Barrios takingon hard-hitting Jose Roman in a 10-round showdown. The event is headlined by lightweight world championship title unification bout between WBC Lightweight World Champion Mikey Garcia and IBF Lightweight World Champion Robert Easter Jr.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit AXS.com.
After having heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder nearly out on his feet in their March classic, Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) eventually succumbed to the power of the unbeaten champion. Now, Ortiz looks to get back to world title contention on July 28. Originally, from Camaguey, Cuba, now residing in Miami, Fla., Ortiz will fight in Los Angeles for the first time as a professional. Ortiz quickly became one of the most avoided men in boxing with victories over Bryant Jennings, Tony Thompson and Malik Scott on his way to the memorable showdown with Wilder.
“I’m looking to make a statement on July 28 and get back to challenge for the heavyweight championship of the world,” said Ortiz. “I’m excited to be back in the ring. I am thankful to have this opportunity. To all the fans in Los Angeles, don’t miss this great card at STAPLES Center. ‘The Real King Kong’ is coming to LA!”
A native of Romania and fighting out of Burbank, Calif., Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) challenged then WBO heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker for the title in May 2017. Cojanu took the New Zealand champion the distance but lost via unanimous decision in the champion’s home country. Standing over six-foot-seven, Cojanu scored three straight knockout victories in 2016 to earn the title shot and will return to the ring for his first fight in the U.S. since January 2016.
“I’m proud and confident to know that I will be stepping into the ring against a worthy opponent on July 28,” said Cojanu. “Luis Ortiz is a world-class fighter with a lot of experience, which will give me the opportunity to show my skills to all the fans at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and watching on SHOWTIME.”
The 23-year-old Barrios (21-0, 13 KOs) has been impressive since moving up to 140 pounds last March. He’s scored stoppage victories over Yardley Cruz, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Naim Nelson and most recently a second-round destruction of Eudy Bernardo. The five-foot-ten Barrios of San Antonio had previously campaigned at 130 pounds before making the move to the higher weight class that has helped unlock his power.
“I fought on SHOWTIME EXTREME but making my debut on SHOWTIME has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” said Barrios. “Now, the time has come to show why I’m here. I’m ready to keep showing why I’m going to become a star and one of the sport’s next great fighters. Come July 28, everyone should tune-in for a great night of fights. It’s ‘Azteca’ time.”
Fighting out of Garden Grove, Calif., Roman (24-2-1, 16 KOs) scored knockouts in nine of his first 11 pro fights and has won 10 of his last 11 leading up to July 28. The 30-year-old most recently dropped a decision to Wilberth Lopez last September after a run of defeating veteran fighters and will look to put himself back on the path to a world title with a victory over Barrios at STAPLES Center.
“I’m very excited to have this great opportunity,” said Roman. “Barrios has been on a roll, but I have the experience to take him out. Both of us bring pressure and I know he’s going to be hungry to keep his record perfect. I’m more motivated than I’ve ever been for this fight. I can’t wait to put on a show in my backyard for all the great fans in Southern California.”
Barrera vs. Monaghan Set for August 18th
Former WBC International Light Heavyweight world champion Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) returns to the ring to regain his standing as one of the world’s top Light Heavyweights. Barrera faces top five Light Heavyweight Contender “Irish” Seanie Monaghan (29-1, 17 KOs) in the 10-round main event at the Sands Bethlehem Casino and Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Saturday, August 18, 2018. The event is promoted by Main Events and World of Boxing and will be streamed live via Facebook Watch as part of the Golden Boy Fight Night series. Fans can catch all the fights by clickinghere.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, July 13.
Barrera vs. Monaghan is the second live card of the recently announced Facebook series, a collaboration between Golden Boy Promotions, Facebook and Main Events, offered to fans around the world via live online streaming.
Barrera, 36, a native of Cuba who defected to the United States after fighting for the Cuban National Team, now lives and trains in Miami, Florida. He makes his return to the ring after taking WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol deep into the 12th round of their title fight in November 2017 before being stopped, by far the most difficult opponent of Bivol’s professional career. The WBC ranks Barrera fourth in the competitive Light Heavyweight division.
Monaghan, also 36, is a Long Island, New York native with proud Irish roots. He began his professional boxing career at the late age of 28 but quickly made up for lost time. After his first and only loss as a professional in 30 fights to Marcus Browne in July 2017, Monaghan started his comeback quest with a win in November 2017, and intends to make up for lost time against Barrera.
“Thank you to my team, my coach Derik Santos, my promoter Main Events, my manager Luis Molina, and thanks to Seanie Monaghan for taking this fight,” said Barrera. “As always, I’m willing to face the top guys in my division. This is another tough fighter. I look forward to August 18 and I’ll give the fans a great show. They will see me start to climb my way back up to facing the very best light heavyweights in the world.”
Barrera’s trainer, Derik Santos, said training is already underway for the fight. “We are working, and are dedicated as usual. Thank you to manager Luis Molina and our promoter Main Events. Sullivan has gone into tough fights over the years, and has consistently shown himself to be one of the toughest light heavyweight contenders in the division.”
Despite the pressure on them, Barrera and Santos maintain the same confidence and positive attitude that led Barrera to the top. “Train well and overcome, has been the directive since day one,” declared Santos. “Our expectations are the same today.”
Barrera is no stranger to Seanie Monaghan, and he’s looking forward to the match-up. “This fight is do or die for both of us. I’ve been going back and forth with Barrera on Twitter for a couple of years now. This will finally be our chance to settle it in the ring, no more talking,” said Monaghan.
Monaghan recently lost his father, and has plans to bring the late Davy Monaghan’s ashes back to his hometown of Navan in Ireland someday while wearing a title belt around his waist. His fight with Barrera is as much for his father as it is for himself.
In the ultra-competitive Light Heavyweight division, the talent pool is deep, and virtually every fighter ranked among the Top 15 contenders is a threat to the current titleholders. Main Events’ CEO and Barrera’s promoter, Kathy Duva, selected this high-stakes fight as a perfect fit for the first Main Events-promoted card in the Golden Boy Fight Night series. “We have delivered the best in boxing entertainment to the fans for 40 years,” said Duva. “What better way to start our next 40 years in business by expanding access to our fan-friendly fights around the world with online streaming technology.”
Duva promised: “Technology has changed a lot in this world, but one thing will never change about Main Events: our determination to make the best matches and feature amazing athletes in the ring. I know Sullivan Barrera and Seanie Monaghan will give everything they’ve got for their legacy, and for the fans.”
Andre Berto and Devon Alexander Set to Square Off on August 4th
Former 147-pound world champions Andre Berto (31-5, 24 KOs)and Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs)will battle in a 12-round showdown that headlines a stacked night of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes live in prime time on Saturday, August 4 from NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The telecast begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT with former world champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (33-1-1, 23 KOs)facing 168-pound contender J’Leon Love (24-1-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Also in action will be former amateur standout and fast-rising unbeaten prospect Joey Spencer (3-0, 3 KOs) in a super welterweight match.
The exciting night of fights begins with a special edition of PBC on FS2 & FOX Deportes at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT with unbeaten light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne (21-0, 16 KOs) taking on once-beaten Lenin Castillo (18-1-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round match. The FS2 & FOX Deportes telecast will begin with a welterweight showdown between former world champion Luis Collazo (37-7, 20 KOs) against Bryant Perrella (15-1, 13 KOs).
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, go on sale Friday, July 6 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.nycblive.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the Ticketmaster Box Office at NYCB LIVE beginning Saturday, July 7 at noon. Group discounts are available by calling 516-231-4848.
“This is an outstanding card from top to bottom with matches that figure prominently in the 147-pound, 168-pound and 175-pound divisions,” said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions. “Berto and Alexander are two former champions who are fighting to get back into the crowded welterweight title picture. The Peter Quillin and J’Leon Love winner factors heavily in the super middleweight championship mix. It’s compelling action for the fans at Nassau Coliseum and the ones tuned in to FOX in prime time.”
“I’m happy to bring another action-packed event back to NYCB Live on Long Island,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Headlining the FOX and FOX Deportes telecast, former world champions Andre Berto and Devon Alexander meet in a high-stakes crossroads battle with the winner emerging one step closer to another shot at the welterweight crown. Former middleweight champion Peter Quillin continues his comeback facing the talented J’Leon Love and Staten Island’s unbeaten light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne also appears on the card. Long Island boxing fans will want to arrive early for a tremendous undercard, with local talent as well.”
An exciting and accomplished fighter from Florida, Berto returns to the ring after dropping a contest last April to Shawn Porter. Berto represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympics and picked up his biggest recent triumph on FOX in April 2016 as Berto scored a fourth-round knockout of former champion Victor Ortiz in their high-octane rematch.
Berto previously challenged retired legend Floyd Mayweather in September 2015 and has engaged in numerous Fight of the Year-worthy bouts, including a 2012 war with Robert Guerrero and his first fight with Ortiz. He has twice held a welterweight title, first the WBC belt, which he successfully defended five times between 2008 and 2011, plus the IBF crown he picked up in 2011 with a victory over Jan Zaveck.
“This is a great fight that has been a long time coming,” said Berto. “We share some common opponents, but we have different styles of fighting and styles make fights. I’ve had a lot of success with southpaws. I’m looking forward to seeing him in front of me and capitalizing on what I’m working on now.”
Alexander returned to the spotlight in February after only fighting once since 2015 while he sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers. He looked sharp in his first big fight in years, displaying similar speed and skills that had made him a two-weight champion before being given a controversial draw against former champion Victor Ortiz on FOX, in a fight most thought Alexander had won.
The 31-year-old emerged onto the scene with a unanimous decision victory over Randall Bailey to add the welterweight crown to the 140-pound title he had won three years prior. Originally from St. Louis, but now training in Florida with longtime coach Kevin Cunningham, Alexander has defeated the likes of Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse and Jesus Soto Karass throughout his accomplished career.
“I’m very excited about this fight. Berto and I have history going back to the amateurs,” Alexander said. “I know him very well, but we’ve never fought. I have to show that I’m still one of the best in a stacked division. This is all business for me, because at this point in my career, I’m approaching every fight as if it’s my last. This is prime time for me.
“My mentality is that Berto is still the killer that he was 10 years ago. So I’m looking at him like he’s lost nothing. I’ve got one mission, and that’s to beat Berto. I’ll be technically sound and 100 percent focused on accomplishing that task.”
A Brooklyn-resident who has made the borough home for his whole career, Quillin returned to the ring last September when he defeated Dashon Johnson by unanimous decision. The former middleweight champion made three title defenses after winning his title from Hassan N’Dam in Brooklyn and his only loss came at the hands of former champion Daniel Jacobs.
“I’m excited to be back at home in New York in front of my fans and people I love so dearly,” Quillin said. “I’m coming back more polished and more seasoned and a man of God. I’ve definitely always been a guy who steps out and does what people think I can’t do. I know J’Leon is looking to make a splash. He needs a name on his resume. I have to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. Either he’s going to have to learn a hard lesson or give me a hard lesson.”
The 30-year-old Love enters this fight unbeaten in his last seven contests after most recently defeating Jaime Barboza in May. The Michigan-native who now trains and lives in Las Vegas had previously defeated a slew of contenders and will look to move closer to a world title shot with a victory over Quillin on August 4.
“I think this is a really good matchup,” said Love. “Peter Quillin is a very talented fighter and a former world champion who is always in great shape. He’s someone you have to train very hard for and that you definitely cannot take lightly. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to fight a spectacular fighter like him. We’ll put on a great fight.”
Browne has put together three-straight impressive knockout victories to continue his rapid rise up the highly competitive 175-pound division. The 27-year-old southpaw has sandwiched knockouts of Thomas Williams, Jr. last February and Francy Ntetu this January around a second-round destruction of then unbeaten Seanie Monaghan in the inaugural boxing event at Nassau Coliseum on a FOX primetime telecast last July. The 2012 U.S. Olympian will look to put himself in position for a world title fight with a convincing win on August 4.
“I feel good about fighting close to home in New York,” said Browne. “Lenin Castillo is definitely a good, hungry, up-and-coming fighter who has one loss to Joseph Williams. I’m not overlooking him, but right now I’m trying to keep my top position in order to vie for a title, so I have to destroy him.”
The 29-year-old Castillo fights out of his native Dominican Republic and enters this bout with three straight victories by stoppage. Castillo’s recent wins followed his first professional loss, a majority decision defeat to unbeaten Joseph Williams last February. Castillo has fought professionally since 2010 and was unbeaten in his first 12 fights. The only other blemish on his pro resume was a majority draw in Brooklyn against then unbeaten Travis Peterkin in 2015.
“Marcus Browne is a boxer I’ve been following a long time because we were both Olympians,” said Castillo. “This is a good style matchup that I think will make a fun fight for the fans. We’re looking for the victory. Both of us know that a win here can take us to a world title shot and I’m not planning on wasting my opportunity.”
Collazo is a former world champion hailing from Brooklyn who has fought top welterweights from Berto and Shane Mosley to Keith Thurman and Ricky Hatton. His most recent fight saw him score a sensational knockout victory over Sammy Vasquez in February 2017. He returns to the ring after recovering from injuries sustained during training and will face Perrella of Fort Myers, FL. The 29-year-old defeated Alex Martin in his home state in December via a unanimous decision in his last outing.