Boxing News Stories and Recent Press Releases from the Boxing Twins

Boxing News Stories and Press Releases from

The Boxing Twins

 

For Immediate Release:

Split-T Management’s Undefeated Prospects Diego Pacheco & Otha Jones III Ready for Action TONIGHT in Mexico City
 
NEW YORK (OCTOBER 23, 2020)– Tonight in Mexico City, two of Split-T Management’s undefeated prospects, super middleweight Diego Pacheco and junior lightweight Otha Jones III will be in action on a card that will be streamed live on DAZN (7 PM ET).
Pacheco (9-0, 7 KOs) of Los Angeles battles Juan Antonio Mendez (12-2-2, 8 KOs) of Mexico, while Jones (5-0, 2 KOs) battles fellow undefeated Kevin Monitel (6-0, 3 KOs) of Mexico.  Both bouts are scheduled for six-rounds.
Pacheco, still just 19 years-old continues his upward ascension as he continues to take on quality opposition.  He was wins over four undefeated foes, and is coming off a win over 34-fight veteran Oscar Riojas on February 29th.
Pacheco is under the guidance of Tim VanNewhouse.
Pacheco was 167.2 lbs at Thursday’s weigh-in.  Mendez was 164.9 lbs
Mendez, 33 years-old, has wins over two undefeated fighters and undefeated in his last four outings.  He is coming off a win over Rafael Rocha Merino on November 19th.
The 20 year-old native of Toledo, Ohio, Jones, who was a 21-time National Amateur Champion, looks to raise his mark to 6-0 as he battles an undefeated opponent.
Jones is coming off an impressive 2nd round stoppage over Juan Santiago on January 30th in Miami.   
Montiel, 21 years-old, who has wins over Cesar Ramos (4-1) and Pedro Ivan Bernal (2-0), is coming off a Angel Enrique Leal Pacheco on November 16.
Both Jones and Montiel were 130 lbs, at Thursday’s weigh-in.
Jones and Pacheco are promoted by Matchroom Boxing.
Photos by Ed Mulholland / Matchroom USA

Undefeated Greek Boxer
Andreas Katzourakis Back in America

Training Under Legendary Coach Abel Sanchez at the Summit Gym

NEW YORK (OCTOBER 22, 2020)– Undefeated Greek boxer Andreas Katzourakis (5-0, 4 KOs) has returned to the United States to begin training under legendary coach Abel Sanchez at the historic Summit Gym in Big Bear, California. Sanchez, who is well known for developing fighters such as Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, Terry Norris, and Lupe Aquino, among many others, has been impressed with what he has seen from the Athens-native. 

“Andreas is a very strong kid. He’s smart and has high expectations of himself – he’s doing all of the things he needs to do to grow as a fighter,” said Sanchez.
Despite having a limited amateur background in which he went undefeated in 21 bouts in Greece, Katzourakis has been tested tough early in his pro career – facing opposition with a combined 50 victories and a 70% win percentage. Thus far, he’s passed with flying colors. In his second career fight, Katzourakis handed the rugged Christian Aguirre (8-3) his first knockout loss and in only his fourth fight swept a crafty veteran in the former NABA and IBA Champ Walter Wright (17-5) in a 6-round UD victory. 
Katzourakis recently signed with Split-T Boxing to advance his career. Split-T’s David McWater, who also manages the Undisputed Lightweight Champion of the World Teofimo Lopez, said of his new signing, “I was impressed at how advanced Andreas was for his age. Most of the foreigners that come here and move up quickly do so because they’ve had extensive amateur careers. Andreas is very young and has a lot of room for growth.” 
Katzourakis is well aware of the unique opportunity he has to bring Greek boxing to the forefront.
“I have been waiting for this opportunity since I started boxing and competing globally. I have sacrificed a lot to be where I am today and I will keep working hard every day until I achieve my goals. I want to thank Split-T Boxing for giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills on bigger stages and also thank my coach Abel Sanchez for accepting me in his training camp and believing in me,” said Katzourakis.
Split-T’s Brendan Segalas stated that, “As a Greek-American, working with Andreas is a dream come true. Although he only just turned 23, Andreas already has the look of a complete fighter. He’s compact with a lot of punching power and strong defensive abilities and reflexes. Working with Abel will take him to the next level. Andreas has the ability – and determination – to become the first Greek World Champion.
 
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Split- T Management’s DeAndre Ware Awarded Key To The City in his Native Toledo, Ohio
NEW YORK (October 9, 2020) – On Thursday, Split-T Management Super Middleweight DeAndre Ware was awarded the key to the city in his native Toledo, Ohio.
Ware, who is a Toledo Fire Fighter, got the well-deserved honor because of his heroic effort when he saved the life of longtime Top Rank coordinator Pete Susens after Susens fell ill and collapsed just before weigh-in on September 4th in Las Vegas.
Ware was in Las Vegas to fight undefeated Steven Nelson the following evening at the MGM Grand.  
Ware jumped into action and used his talents of being an EMT to perform CPR until medical personnel arrived.
“It was unexpected, and a bit of a surprise,” said Ware.  “I am so honored to receive this.  This is the biggest honor that a city can give to someone.  I actually did think that one day, I would get a key to the city, but I thought it would be for winning a world title.  In a way it did come from boxing though as this happened at one of my fights, so it is the best of both worlds.”
Photo By Toledo Blade
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Undefeated Super Bantamweight Dimas De Leon Getting Good Work With Shakur Stevenson
Promotional Free Agent working on Craft with some of the world’s best
Beverly Hills, CA (September 30, 2020)–Undefeated super bantamweight prospect Dimas De Leon has not been sitting on his hands as he waits for his next fight.
De Leon, who is managed by No Limit Mindset LLC has been working with undefeated former WBO Featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson as De Leon waits for the call for his next outing.  The two have been working in Houston, Texas.
  
De Leon, 21 years-old of Mission, Texas, has impressed in his young career that has seen him reach a perfect record of 10-0 with eight knockouts.
No Limit Mindset CEO, Shane Shapiro has been busy as word is spreading about the undefeated prospect.
“People are starting to take notice on Dimas, and in the same breath, there have been several of the big promoters reaching out to me.  Right now we are weighing our options, and going to get the right fit for Dimas.  He is a terrific young prospect, who at age 21, has a world of potential.  The work he is getting with Shakur is so valuable.  He is also working with Joshua Greer, so we will see even more improvement when he gets back in the ring,” said Shapiro.
“It is truly a blessing to be working with top talent fighters like Shakur Stevenson,” said De Leon. “Being only 21 years old with 10 pro fights, and being able to hold my own against someone like Shakur has given me a lot of confidence. I have confidence that my manager Shane Shapiro is moving me the right way and will get me the right opportunities to make me a world champion.”
De Leon had three wins in 2019, which included his 6th round stoppage of Manuel Gloria on December 5th in Mexico.
DeLeon is scheduled to fight October 30th in Houston, Texas against David Alfaro.
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Undefeated  Santiago Dominguez  

New NABF welterweight champion  

COCORIT, Sonora, Mexico (September 29, 2020) – Undefeated, world-rated Santiago “Somer” Dominguez (23-0, 18 KOs) defeated Jose Rosario Cazarez (19-6-1, 10 KOs), by way of a third-round technical knockout, last Saturday night to capture the vacant North American Boxing Federation (NABF) welterweight title last night in Cocorit, Sonora, Mexico.  

Dominguez, 28, added the NABF crown to his growing collection of hardware, which had already included the World Boxing Council (WBC) FECARBOX and USNBC (United States) straps.  

“I sensed fear from my opponent in the beginning stages of the fight,” Dominguez said after the fight.  “I was not going to be denied.”  

Saturday night’s card, presented by De La O Promotions, was headlined by the tremendous power-punching Dominguez, who is rated No. 14 by the World Boxing Council (WBC).  

“We’re excited about Santiago’s potential,” added his promoter,  Roy Jones, Jr. Boxing CEO and co-founder Keith Veltre. “Now, he’s champion of three organizations, and climbing the ratings towards a world title fight, hopefully, in 2021.  He’s the best welterweight in Mexico, rated number 14 by the WBC, and improving each fight.”    

Cazarez, who had been unbeaten in his previous seven fights (6-0-1) when he entered the ring to fight Dominguez, had been previously stopped only once four years ago.  

Santiago has been one of the most active fighters having been in action twice within four weeks, August 25th and September 26th.  

“I’m taking a two-week vacation and then start camp in the United States to improve my skills through better sparring,” Dominguez concluded.  “My job is to fight and take care of my family.  My manager (Terry Hollan) finds me the opportunity, my team prepares me to win.”  

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October 17: Alex Saucedo-Arnold Barboza Jr. & Edgar Berlanga-Lanell Bellows Confirmed for Vasiliy

Lomachenko-Teofimo Lopez Telecast LIVE on ESPN 

Titanic tripleheader to air on ESPN & ESPN Deportes beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

LAS VEGAS (September 24, 2020) —The most anticipated fight of the fall — the Oct. 17 lightweight unification showdown between WBC Franchise/WBA/WBO world champion Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko and IBF kingpin Teofimo Lopez from the MGM Grand Las Vegas “Bubble”— now has a two-course televised appetizer befitting the occasion.

In the 10-round junior welterweight co-feature, former world title challenger Alex Saucedo will fight unbeaten contender Arnold Barboza Jr.

The televised opener will see super middleweight knockout sensation Edgar Berlanga test his perfect record against veteran Lanell Bellows in an eight-rounder. Berlanga (14-0, 14 KOs) has won all 14 of his professional fights by first-round stoppage.

Lomachenko-Lopez, Saucedo-Barboza and Berlanga-Bellows will be televised live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“Lomachenko-Lopez promises to be a classic, and the rest of the ESPN-televised card will set the table,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Barboza and Saucedo are players in the deep junior welterweight division, and both men are ferocious competitors. The winner is ready to challenge for a world title. As for Edgar Berlanga, every time he steps in the ring, he impresses me more and more. I haven’t seen a young puncher like him in quite some time.”

Saucedo (30-1, 19 KOs), the thunderous slugger from Oklahoma City, has won a pair of fights since falling short to Maurice Hooker in a November 2018 bid for the WBO junior welterweight world title. He is entering his third bout with head trainer Pedro Neme, a union that has paid dividends thus far. Saucedo knocked out Rod Salka in the first round last November and made his “Bubble” debut June 30 with a one-sided decision over Sonny Fredrickson.

Barboza (24-0, 10 KOs), from South El Monte, Calif., is a seven-year pro who is ranked in the top 10 by the WBO and WBC at 140 pounds. He graduated from prospect to contender with victories over the likes of Mike Reed, Mike Alvarado and William Silva. He last fought Aug. 29 as the co-feature to the Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol junior welterweight world title bout and cruised to a one-sided decision over Canadian veteran Tony Luis.

“Arnold is a very versatile fighter, so we are preparing for everything,” Saucedo said. “I know it will be hard to steal the show from Lomachenko-Lopez, but I’m coming in to put on a memorable fight for the fans. I feel like people still doubt me from the Maurice Hooker fight, and I can’t wait to show everyone all of my tools.”

“This fight, and fighting on such a significant card, means the world to me,” Barboza said. “It’s time to put the 140-pound division on notice. I respect Saucedo, but he’s in my way as I strive to earn a world title opportunity.”

Berlanga has combined flash with unique power to earn headlines despite not having seen the second round as a pro. The record for consecutive first-round knockouts to begin a career is 21, held by the late Ali Raymi. Berlanga made his “Bubble” debut on July 21 and stopped Eric Moon in 62 seconds, which equaled the fifth-shortest outing of his career. Bellows (20-5-3, 13 KOs) has never been stopped as a pro and has made his bones testing young prospects. He is coming off a fourth-round stoppage over Malcolm Jones, who entered the fight with a 15-1 record.

“I’m dedicating this fight to my family and Puerto Rico. I want to continue to shine like a bright star and carry the flag on my back,” Berlanga said. “Bellows has never been stopped, but I intend to be the first man to stop him. He’s a strong fighter, and I hope to get some rounds in. I want to show that I’m a versatile boxer and not just a puncher. One thing I will guarantee is another explosive performance.”

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Ruben Villa to take on Emanuel Navarrete for the WBO World Featherweight Title on Friday, October 9th
PHILADELPHIA, PA/ / ORANGE, CA. (Sept. 21, 2020) – On Friday night, October 9th, undefeated WBO number-two ranked featherweight contender Ruben Villa (18-0, 5 KOs) gets his much deserved world title shot when he takes on former WBO super bantamweight world champion, and WBO number-one ranked contender, Emanuel Navarrete (32-1, 28 KOs), in a battle for the WBO World Featherweight title.
Navarrete is undefeated in the last eight-years, which spans 27 fights.

 

The fight will take place at “The Bubble” inside the MGM Grand Conference Center, and will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
“I have been working my butt off since I was a little kid for this opportunity, and I just can’t wait to get in there and fight for the title,” said Villa, who is promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing. “Navarrete is a real aggressive Mexican fighter. He is coming to win. He was a former champion, and I am the underdog, but I have the style to beat him. We have kept the camp the same. We just treat it like it’s every other fight, just that this fight is for a world title.  All my hard work is paying off. I am honored and excited to represent everyone who has supported me and my journey to become a world champion, and I plan on bringing the world title back to my home city of Salinas, California.”

 

“This is what we envisioned for Ruben when we signed him out of the amateurs, to be fighting for a world title,” said Artie Pelullo, President of Banner Promotions. “That opportunity has now arrived, and we expect Ruben to put on a great performance on October 9th and win the WBO Featherweight World Title. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Stephen Espinoza and Gordon Hall of Showtime for all their help with the development of Ruben’s career, by showcasing him on ShoBox that has helped get him ready for this fight.”

 

“Ruben Villa is a terrific fighter and has the ability to make his dream to become a world champion a reality. The hard work that Banner Promotions and us at Thompson Boxing have put on his career will surely pay off,” said Ken Thompson, CEO of Thompson Boxing. “Navarrete is a terrific champion and it will be a huge challenge for our fighter, but I’m sure Ruben will rise up to the occasion and make us all proud.” 
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The Crossroads: Jose Pedraza and Javier Molina Ready for Junior Welterweight Showdown

Pedraza-Molina and Efe Ajagba-Jonnie Rice heavyweight battle to headline Saturday evening show LIVE on ESPN+ (7:30 p.m. ET)

LAS VEGAS (September 17, 2020) — Junior welterweight contenders Jose Pedraza and Javier Molina have shared history. Both were 2008 Olympians in Beijing, with Molina representing the United States and Pedraza fighting for Puerto Rico. As professionals, Pedraza has won world titles at junior lightweight and lightweight, while Molina has taken a more circuitous route to a main event.
 
Pedraza and Molina will square off in the 10-round headliner Saturday evening from the MGM Grand “Bubble” (ESPN+, 7:30 p.m. ET), with the winner positioned for a potential world title opportunity.
 
Pedraza is a little more than two months removed from a lopsided decision win over Mikkel LesPierre, while Molina has won four fights since signing with Top Rank in early 2019. Molina, following a pair of defeats, took more than two years off from the ring and worked the overnight shift at a Southern California warehouse to pay the bills. Following an upset win over Amir Imam on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury II undercard, he now faces the most accomplished fighter of his 11-year pro career.

Two days before their “Bubble” main event, Pedraza and Molina met the media for a Zoom press conference. This is what they had to say.
 
Javier Molina

“I’m cool with being the underdog. There is a reason I’m seen that way, and it’s because I haven’t shown my full potential. Fans haven’t seen all I can do in the ring. Like I said, I’m alright with being the underdog. I’m going to surprise a lot of people on Saturday.
 
“There were some tough times where I thought about not fighting anymore, but I have so much to give in the sport. That’s why I decided to turn my career around. I have dedicated myself to the sport, and that’s why I’m this position right now.
 
“By beating Pedraza, I put myself in a good position to challenge for a world title. I know that a victory against a great name like Pedraza will bring me closer to that opportunity to become a champion.
 
“We have answers for anything he brings. I can adapt to whatever he does the ring. If he wants to brawl, we’re going to brawl, and if I have to box and move around, that’s what I will do to win the fight.
 
“Pedraza looked good against LesPierre, but I’m not LesPierre. He is flatfooted and I’m not. We have been studying all his recent fights and my game plan is similar to what Lomachenko and Zepeda did against him. If they think I’m going to be outgunned this Saturday, they are in for a big surprise.” 

Jose Pedraza

“I have my sights set on a world championship at 140. My goal is to join the select club of three-division world champions from Puerto Rico. That’s why this fight against Molina is so important. I know that a big win on Saturday will put me a step closer to that opportunity of challenging for a world title in the junior welterweight division. It’s a must-win for me.
 
“I know that I’m very close to a world title opportunity, but my total focus is on the fight I have in front of me. I know Molina is a good fighter. I have never overlooked him. I have prepared with that in mind and that’s why I have trained very hard for this fight. I’m ready to send a message to the two champions and all the contenders in the division.
 
“He says he’s “El Intocable'”(The Untouchable), but I’m the ‘Sniper’ and I come with great precision to erase the nickname “El Intocable” that Javier Molina has. This will be another chapter in the historic rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico. It will be a great fight.

“From my end, I have never overlooked him. He is a great fighter. With that in mind, I have prepared myself for a tough opponent. I know he believes he’s the underdog, but I know he’s a great fighter.”
 
Use the hashtag #PedrazaMolina to join the conversation on social media. For more information, visit www.toprank.comwww.espn.com/boxing; Facebook: facebook.com/trboxing; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxingtwitter.com/ESPNRingside. 

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Rise of the Mean Machine: Kavaliauskas KOs Zewski

Joet Gonzalez dominates Miguel Marriaga

LAS VEGAS (September 12, 2020) — Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas is a top welterweight contender once again. In his first fight since losing to pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford last December, Kavaliauskas knocked out Canadian veteran Mikael Zewski in the eighth round. 

Kavaliauskas (22-1-1, 18 KOs) knocked down Zewski (34-2, 23 KOs) with a combination to close out the seventh round, then charged out of his corner to finish things off in the eighth. Following the second knockdown of the fight, referee Kenny Bayless immediately waved off the bout.

Zewski was leading on two of the judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage.

Kavaliauskas said, “I was controlling the fight. I was never in danger. I was never hurt.
 
“I wanted to knock him out faster, but it happened this way. You can never count on the knockout. I was working. I was putting pressure on him. I saw him slowing down round by round. I saw him getting weaker and weaker. I was just blocking his punches and not feeling his power.
 
“I don’t think Crawford has any other choices at welterweight. I can ask his team, with all due respect, to give me a rematch because these guys have no opponents yet.”

Gonzalez Topples Marriaga

In the featherweight co-feature, Joet Gonzalez picked up the WBO Intercontinental belt with a one-sided unanimous decision (99-91 2x and 97-93) over three-time world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (29-4, 25 KOs). Gonzalez (24-1, 14 KOs) had not fought since losing a one-sided decision to Shakur Stevenson last October for the vacant WBO featherweight world title.

Gonzalez said, “This puts me back in the position I want to be. I wanted to be back in with tough guys. I told my manager, Frank Espinoza, and my team at Golden Boy that I didn’t want no tune-up fights. I wanted to show people that I could compete with the top guys and be in with heavy hitters and boxers and compete for another title real soon.
 
“I want another world title shot. I think I’ve earned it.”

In undercard bouts:

Featherweight: Aleem Jumakhonov (9-3-2, 5 KOs) KO 3 Jorge Ramos (7-3-1, 4 KOs). Jumakhonov rebounded from a July decision defeat inside the “Bubble” to notch his first stoppage win since 2018. 

Bantamweight: Manuel Flores (9-0, 6 KOs) TKO 5 Jonathan Rodriguez (8-1, 3 KOs). In a battle of unbeatens, Flores staggered Rodriguez with a combination in the fifth, forcing referee Robert Hoyle to stop the bout. Flores scored a knockdown in the third round and was leading on two of the judges’ cards.

Junior Lightweight: Anthony Chavez (9-1, 3 KOs) UD 6 Adan Gonzales (5-4-2, 2 KOs). Scores: 58-55 3X. Chavez came back from his first career defeat, knocking down Gonzales in round three and sweeping the last four rounds on two of the judges’ cards.

Lightweight: Eric Puente (4-0) UD 4 Luis Norambuena (4-6-1).
Scores: 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37. Puente, from San Diego, prevailed in his second “Bubble” appearance in three months.

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Yordenis Ugás wins the vacant WBA welterweight title over Abel Ramos by split decision

By Alexander R. Rinaldi

September 6 – Los Angeles CA. On the night before Labor Day, Cuban-born Yordenis Ugás captured the regular version of the WBA welterweight title by laboriously defeating Abel Ramos over 12 rounds at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

As an amateur Ugás won a gold medal at the 2005 World Championships and a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics, both in the lightweight division.

Five years later, in March 2010, Ugás relocated from his home in De Santiago, Cuba, to America in the hope of beginning a professional career. Little did he know at the time, that the quest for a world title would take him ten long years to capture.

But capture he did.

Yordenis Ugás (R) clocks Abel Ramos (L) with a hard right to win the vacant WBA welterweight title.

Over the course of twelve rounds, Ugás  (26-4, 12 KOs) jabbed and double-jabbed and counter punched his way to win a split decision over the gritty Ramos, who appeared to come just a bit short of establishing an all-out offensive, which might have swayed the fight more in his favor. Instead, he showed the urgency of a starfish, that is content to slowly roam the floor of the ocean in search of clams, scallops and oysters. But unlike the starfish, Ramos’ lack of urgency cost to him come up empty. For when the fight ended, the title belt was not strapped around him, but wrapped securely around the waist of Ugás.

Judges Zachary Young and Edward Hernandez had him up by the score of 115-113, while Lou Moret had Ramos on top 117-111.

Like a man on a mission, Ugás   took control of the fight from round one and appeared to never lose ground. He was methodical, perhaps too methodical at times, fighting with that sappier left hand of his that shifted with some left hooks to the body and right hands to the head.

The problem was that he never upped his tempo, and in turn, never looked that exciting during the whole span of the match. Even the cardboard crowd appeared bored.

Not that Ramos was much more a thrill seeker.

Although he carried with him a pretty hard punch, as evidenced in the last round when he staggered the Cuban, Ramos should have cut the ring off better and thrown more punches in bunches, rather than stand at arm’s length and deliver punches as random and as often as a mailman on a desert island.

Still, Ramos (26-4-2, 20 KOs) did connect well with some left hooks and rights to the stomach and ribs along with the occasional combos to the head. It was just that it was simply not enough to capture the win and with it the WBA welterweight title.

“I set a goal when I was a child back in Cuba to become a world champion and I accomplished that goal tonight,” Ugás said. “I’m so grateful to everyone who helped me along the way. Ramos was a very tough opponent and I knew it was not going to be easy, but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip away.”

Ugás  out-landed Ramos 233 to 109 in terms of total punches, 160 of them being the jab, which set the table for him all night. All in all, it was a great story and a great win for the Cuban fighter.

Yordenis Ugás the new WBA Welterweight Champion.

“I came into this fight in the best shape of my life and it showed,” Ugás  said. “Now that I’m a world champion, I want all the big names in the welterweight division.”

And big names there are.

The 34-year-old Ugás may be the new WBA champ, but his place among the talent-laden welterweight division may considered as the 6th best fighter of the division’s “big six.” With the WBC/IBF champion Errol Spence Jr and Danny Garcia setting up to battle in November and  and WBO champ Terence Crawford probably  fighting Kell Brook, there only leaves remaining WBA “super” welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao , and former champ Keith Thurman, both of whom have no fights scheduled on the horizon.

Ugás has already faced Shawn Porter, the former two-time welterweight world champion who held the IBF title from 2013 to 2014 and the WBC title from 2018 to September 2019, whom Ugás lost a controversial split decision to.

Therefore, it seems that only Paquiao and Thurman are his only probable upcoming foes, and most will think that both of them would defeat Ugás  .

But that is what makes boxing so great. For anything can happen inside the ring, especially when it features the likes of any of the great fighters who form part of the “welterweight six” which Ugás  is now a proud member of.

Other Results on the Fight Card

  • Omar Juarez UD-8 Dakota Linger
  • Jesus Ramos TKO-2 Esteban Garcia
  • Cody Crowley UD-10 Josh Torres
  • Leduan Barthelemy TKO-3 Recky Dulay
  • Batyr Akhmedov TKO-1 Rey Perez
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September 19: Jose Pedraza-Javier Molina Junior Welterweight Battle to Stream Live and Exclusively on ESPN+ Inside the MGM Grand Las Vegas “Bubble”

ESPN+ stream to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET

LAS VEGAS (September 3, 2020) — Former two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza continues his quest for another world title against 2008 U.S. Olympian Javier “El Intocable” Molina in a 10-round junior welterweight main event Saturday, Sept. 19 from the MGM Grand Conference Center.
 
Pedraza-Molina will headline a night of fights live on ESPN+ beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the co-feature set to begin at approximately 10 p.m. ET.
 
“Pedraza and Molina asked us for a meaningful fight, and we believe the winner is in excellent position for a world title opportunity,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.
 
Pedraza (27-3, 13 KOs), a former junior lightweight and lightweight world champion, returns to the MGM Grand “Bubble” a little more than two months after he dominated former world title challenger Mikkel LesPierre over 10 rounds. Pedraza had an inauspicious junior welterweight debut when he lost a decision to Jose Zepeda last September, but the LesPierre performance established his place among the division’s top contenders. Molina (22-2, 9 KOs) is 4-0 since signing with Top Rank in early 2019, reviving a career that stalled following a pair of decision defeats. Last November, he knocked out the normally durable Hiroki Okada in 65 seconds. He followed up the Okada KO with an upset victory over Amir Imam in February on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury II undercard.
 
Pedraza and Molina were scheduled to fight on the Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol undercard on May 9, but the event was scrapped due to COVID-19. The Ramirez-Postol bout finally happened August 29, and now Pedraza and Molina will headline a show of their own.
 
Pedraza said, “I’ve been looking for a fight against Javier Molina for a long time. I also had him on my radar because we were supposed to fight earlier this year, but the whole situation with the pandemic changed those plans and the fight was postponed. I kept training hard to keep improving and I ended up fighting against another opponent and had a great performance.
 
“This fight will bring me even closer to a world title opportunity. My goal is to become a three-division world champion, and Javier Molina will not stop me from achieving my dream.”
 
Molina said, “Going into this year, I had big expectations for myself. I know what I’m capable of, and I’m here to make a statement against Pedraza. I haven’t received the respect or recognition I feel I deserve but getting a win over Pedraza will put my name out there. It’s a huge opportunity, and I plan on taking advantage of it.”
 
Use the hashtag #PedrazaMolina to join the conversation on social media. For more information, visit www.toprank.comwww.espn.com/boxing; Facebook: facebook.com/trboxing; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxingtwitter.com/ESPNRingside. 

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Stockton’s Finest Boxers on Display on Saturday, September 5th in Tijuana, Mexico
Manuel Jaimes, Wade Jones III and Giovannie Gonzalez to see action on Internet Pay- Per-View
Toscano Promotions Presents Futuros Campeones II Live on Bestinboxing.com
Stockton, CA (September 1, 2020) – Three of the best boxers in Stockton, California will be featured on an internet Pay-Per-View on September 5th in Tijuana, Mexico.
In the six-round co-feature, undefeated Manuel Jaimes will battle Francisco Rubio in a six-round lightweight bout.
Jaimes, 20 years-old of Stockton, California has a record of 9-0 with eight knockouts is not afraid to take on good competition as he is coming off a 3rd round stoppage over Lorenzo Antonio Juarez (5-0) on June 26th in Tijuana.  Jaimes, who is an action fighter, is a machinist in the ring.  He grinds his opponents down.  He has been promoted by Toscano Promotions since debuting. 
Giovannie Gonzalez (10-5, 8 KOs) of Stockton, California battles undefeated Brandon Cortez (5-0, 4 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico in a lightweight fight.
Gonzalez is known for his huge heart, and his crowd pleasing style.
Wade Jones III (4-0, 2 KOs) of Stockton, California will take on Francisco Parra in a lightweight fight.
Jones is budding star, who has gifted ability, and will be looking to step up.
Toscano Promotions will present a great night of professional boxing when they present “Futuros Campeones II” from the Historic Jai Alai Palace Forum Entertainment Center in Tijuana, Mexico.
The outstanding show be will streamed live all over the world on bestinboxing.com
The free undercard will begin at 9 PM ET / 6 PM PT With the main card beginning after the four-fight undercard.  The main card can be seen for $9.99
The Free undercard will be hosted by Emmy-Award winner Courtney Perna, and can be seen on Fight Hub TV on You Tube, Abrams Boxing on Youtube, Best in Boxing on Facebook; Best in Boxing on Youtube ; Global Sports Streaming on Periscope / Twitter as well as globalsportsstreaming.com and bestinboxing.com
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  • Justin “Crazy Train” Rolfe crowned  N.E. heavyweight champion 

    Larry Smith records 1st win in 9 years 

    OFFICIAL RESULTS FROM N.H. 

    Justin “Crazy Train” Rolfe (L) punched his way to the N.E. heavyweight title 

    DERRY, N.H. (August 30, 2020) – Two regional title bouts, supported by several stay-busy fights, highlighted Granite Chin Promotion’s first pro boxing event since this past November, ‘Return to Derry,” last night (Sat., Aug. 29), in front of a near capacity crowd at New England Sports Center in Derry, New Hampshire. 

    Two world champions were in attendance to support the fighters, undefeated reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) middleweight champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade and “El Gallo” Jose Antonio Rivera, the retired 3-time, 2-division title holder.   

    “I’m glad that tonight we took as step forward towards normalcy,” promoter Chris Traietti commented.  Sports help to bring people together and tonight we had a packed house with people of all races, religions, and creeds.  I’m happy these Americans enjoyed themselves here tonight.” 

    Justin “Crazy Train” Rolfe was crowned New England heavyweight champion by way of an 8-round unanimous decision over Tracey “Titan” Johnson in the main event. 

    Rolfe vs. Johnson II was a rematch of a 6-round majority draw last November in Quincy, Massachusetts. A lot more was at stake in the rematch, though, because the N.E. heavyweight title was on the line. Boston southpaw Johnson, the half-brother of Andrade, methodically boxed, while Maine-resident Rolfe came forward throwing bombs, and their contrast of styles made for a entertaining fight. 

    The elusive Johnson started finding his range in the fourth round, connecting with combinations as Rolfe appeared to tire, but he got his second wind and continued to be aggressive, often pinning Johnson on the ropes.  The two evenly matched fighters went back and forth in the latter half of the fight, although Rolfe pressed the action and Johnson countered.  Neither appeared to be hurt at any point during the bout., Both let loose in the eighth and final round, leaving nothing in the tank.  Rolfe’s non-stop attack and turned out to be the difference in this match-up. 

    Ryan DiBartolomeo captured the vacant New Hampshire welterweight title, taking a 6-round split decision over Kris Jacobs, in the co-featured event.  “I live in Massachusetts, but all my fights (3-0-1) have been in New Hampshire and I train in Nashua (NH),” DiBartolomeo said after the fight. “Fighting in New Hampshire is like fighting at home and now I’m the New Hampshire welterweight champ.” 

    DiBartolemeo quickly came out of the corner and soon dropped Jacobs for an 8-count.  Jacobs made it through the opening round, but he was unable to avoid the free-swinging DiBartolemeo’s strong right hand, peppering his opponents head, in round two. Jacobs settled down in the third, picked-up the pace in the fourth, and started letting his hands go more in the fifth,  landing more effectively on his aggressive foe. The two fighters went at it toe-to-toe in the final round and DiBartolemeo closed the show.   

    New England middleweight champion Kendrick Ball, Jr., fighting light heavyweight Tahuk Taylor, displayed his skill set to the maximum, blasting his opponent to the mat with a sweet straight right, again with a beautiful left hook, and he was about to close the show when referee Jackie Morell mercifully ended the fight with 13-seconds left in round one.  

    Popular junior welterweight Mike “Bad Man” OHan, Jr. did just about everything but stop gritty DeWayne Wisdom, who was penalized two points and officially floored once. But he survived, albeit losing a lop-sided 6-round unanimous decision to Ohan.   

    New England Golden Gloves champion Francis “Frank The Tank” Hogan dismissed Rashan Wisdom, who went down on the canvas twice before his corner threw in the towel.  Hogan is a tall, lanky southpaw who is well schooled and now 2-0 (2 KOs).  

    In a spirited fight, undefeated light heavyweight Edet “Papito” Mkpanam (4-0, 3 KOs) was relentless against a game Saul “Spider” Almeida, one of the top mixed-martial-arts fighters in New England.  Mkpanan dropped Almeida in the first two rounds on his way to a tough 4-round unanimous decision. 

    Promising Boston lightweight prospect Jonathan Depina outclassed Theo “The Unholy Truth” Desjardin, flooring him early and finishing him off soon after with a blistering shot, to improve to 2-0 (2 KOs).  

    Middleweight Anthony Concepcion won by way of a third-round disqualification when his opponent, pro-debuting Caleb Denham, ignored the referee’s instructions to continue fighting. 

    Middleweight Larry “Slomoshun” Smith, fighting out of Dallas, recorded his first victory in more than nine years, taking a 4-round unanimous decision from Jesus “The Juice” Cintron.  The 41-year-old Smith, 0-39-2 during his winless streak, dropped Anderson in the first round. 

    Larry Smith celebrated after his first win in 9 years 

    Texas light heavyweight Bryan Vera knocked out Mike Anderson with a big right hand early in round one.  Referee Leo Gerstel immediately waved off the count right after Anderson hit the mat.  Vera, who is known for his participating in The Contender reality television show, has defeated world champions Sergio Mora (twice), then-undefeated Andy Lee and Serhiy Dzinziruk during his 16-year pro career. 

    Veteran junior middleweight Cliff “Magician” McPherson had no tricks for Tyrone “Hands of Stone” Luckey because he was disqualified in the second round by referee Morrell for repeated holding. 

    Opening the night was a cruiserweight match between Larry “Hitman” Pryor and Francisco Neto.  It didn’t take long for Pryor, whose cousin was the late, Hall of Famer Aaron “Hawk” Pryor, put down Neto with a nicely placed left hook.  Neto beat the count but stood on wobbly legs, leading referee Gerstel to halt the fight at the 35-second mark of the opening round. 

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Split-T Management’s Javier Martinez Posts 2nd Consecutive Shutout Victory
Top Middleweight Prospect defeats Rance Ward in Las Vegas
NEW YORK (August 31, 2020)–Touted middleweight prospect Javier Martinez made it two wins in a row to begin his career, as he won a six-round unanimous decision over Rance Ward at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Martinez, 25 years-old of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is managed by Tim VanNewhouse of Split-T Management, and is promoted by Top Rank.
Martinez boxed very well as he worked behind a nice southpaw jab, and focused on some solid body shots.
Martinez won by 60-54 scores on all three judges scorecards.  

“I feel like I dictated the whole fight,” Said Martinez.  “At the last minute they moved it to a six-round fight.  I feel that I made better adjustments from my 1st fight.  I learned from my pro debut, and I made the adjustments that I needed to.  I was more relaxed for this fight, and I feel that I did well for my 1st six-round fight, but I am not satisfied, and I am only going to get better with every fight.  Hopefully, I can get back in there in October.”

“I went in there to box.  I am good at what I do, and that is boxing.”
Martinez was the 2020 Olympic Trial Champion at middleweight.  He was also a five-time National Champion, and the number-one ranked fighter at 165 pounds in the USA Boxing Rankings, Martinez’s selection as an Olympic alternate despite his victory at the trials and various international experience caused shock-waves through the amateur system. 
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September 12: Mean Machine-Mikael Zewski & Miguel Marriaga-Joet Gonzalez Set for Action-Packed Doubleheader Live From MGM Grand “Bubble”
Exclusively on ESPN+

LAS VEGAS (August 27, 2020) — The Mean Machine is ready to rise again. Welterweight contender Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas, a two-time Lithuanian Olympian coming off a valiant effort last December against Terence “Bud” Crawford, will face NABO welterweight title-holder Mikael Zewski in a 10-rounder Saturday, Sept. 12 from the MGM Grand Conference Center.
 
In the 10-round featherweight co-feature, three-time world title challenger Miguel Marriaga will fight recent world title challenger Joet Gonzalez.
 
Kavaliauskas-Zewski and Marriaga-Gonzalez will stream live on ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.  The undercard, also on ESPN+, starts at 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT.
 
“Mean Machine proved he’s a top welterweight with his performance against Terence Crawford. He’s itching to get back into championship contention, and Zewski should give him a tough challenge,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Viewers will get a high-energy, action-packed fight with the Marriaga-Gonzalez bout.”
 
Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17 KOs) is a seven-year pro who earned a mandatory shot at Crawford with wins over the world-rated David Avanesyan, Juan Carlos Abreu and the previously unbeaten Roberto Arriaza. The Crawford bout headlined the post-Heisman Trophy ceremony telecast on ESPN last December, and Kavaliauskas was competitive with the pound-for-pound great until a pair of knockdowns ended things in the ninth round. He is still ranked in the Top 15 by the WBO and WBC and hopes a win over Zewski (34-1, 23 KOs) moves him closer to a second world title opportunity. Zewski, from Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, is 8-0 with 3 KOs since a 2015 decision loss to Konstantin Ponomarev in Las Vegas.
 
Kavaliauskas said, “I am excited to return to the ring, as I still have unfinished business. I still believe I have what it takes to become a world champion, and that journey resumes against a tough opponent in Mikael Zewski.”
 
Zewski said, “This is the fight I’ve been waiting for. Kavaliauskas is a fast and extremely powerful boxer, but I have all the tools to win. The stakes are high, and a win will propel me into a world championship fight. This is my ninth fight in Las Vegas. I’ll feel right at home.”  
 
Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs) is itching to return after his July 16 ESPN main event was canceled when Mark John Yap missed weight by nearly nine pounds. The Colombian slugger has won four in a row by knockout since challenging Vasiliy Lomachenko for a junior lightweight world title in August 2017. Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KOs) last fought in October 2019, dropping a unanimous decision to Shakur Stevenson for the vacant WBO featherweight world title. With Stevenson having vacated the title to campaign at junior lightweight, Gonzalez’s path to a second world title shot goes through Marriaga.
 
Marriaga said, “I was disappointed after what happened with Yap, but Joet Gonzalez always comes to fight. It’s going to be a toe-to-toe battle. I believe my experience and power will be the difference. I will not underestimate him, as I must win to move forward in my career.”
 
Gonzalez said, “It’s a real privilege to be coming back at this time. I want to thank my manager, Frank Espinoza, and my promoter, Golden Boy, for making this possible. Marriaga is a very tough fighter. He’s been in the ring with Nicholas Walters, Oscar Valdez and Vasiliy Lomachenko, so this will give everyone a good indication of where I stand in the division. I plan to make the most of this opportunity and score a big win so I can show everyone that I deserve to be at the top of the division.”
 
In undercard action: 

  • Genaro Gamez (10-1, 7 KOs), who scored a first-round knockout inside the “Bubble” on July 7, will fight Puerto Rican veteran Anthony Mercado (13-4, 11 KOs) in an eight-rounder at junior welterweight.
     
  • Undefeated featherweight prospect Angel Alejandro (9-0, 4 KOs), from Dallas, Texas, will face fellow Lone Star State native Jorge Ramos (7-2-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
     
  • In a six-round bantamweight tilt, Manuel Flores (8-0, 5 KOs), from Coachella, Calif., will fight Jonathan Rodriguez (8-0, 3 KOs).
     
  • Lightweight prospect Eric Puente (3-0), who is training out of the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Riverside, Calif., will fight an opponent to be named in a four-rounder.
     
  • Thomas Wu will make his professional debut in a four-round junior welterweight bout against an opponent to be named.
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September 26: Josh Taylor to Defend WBA/IBF Junior Welterweight World Titles Against Apinun Khongsong LIVE From London on ESPN+

(August 24, 2020) — WBA/IBF junior welterweight world champion Josh Taylor will make his return to the ring from BT Sport Studio in London against IBF No 1 contender Apinun Khongsong on Saturday, Sept. 26, live on ESPN+ in the United States and BT Sport in the UK. This will be Taylor’s first fight since signing with MTK Global and Top Rank earlier this year.
 
Promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions and Top Rank, “The Tartan Tornado” will make his first appearance in the ring since his triumph in the World Boxing Super Series in London, where he defeated the previously unbeaten Regis Prograis to add the American’s WBA title to his own IBF version, while also claiming the WBSS trophy and the coveted Ring Magazine belt.
 
Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) became world champion during the series when he defeated the then-unbeaten Ivan Baranchyk via unanimous decision in Glasgow, Scotland.
 
Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs), from Bangkok, worked his way into mandatory position by winning the IBF Pan Pacific and IBF Asia titles. He has knocked out his last six foes, including former world title challenger Akihiro Kondo last February.

Taylor said, “I’m excited to be back in the ring after a long layoff. The coronavirus had put everything on hold for a few months, so it’s been nice to be in the gym again and back to some normality.

“I didn’t want a warm-up fight, so getting straight back in there against my mandatory challenger is great, as it’s kept me fully focused. I want big fights in my career, so this is an important fight with my belts on the line.

“Training has been going well and I’m feeling fit and strong. I’ve watched a fair bit of my opponent and I’ve seen his strengths and weaknesses, and I’m very confident going into this fight. I can’t wait.”
 
“Josh Taylor is on a collision course to a fight for the undisputed title, but he must first get past a very tough Thai fighter in Khongsong,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We are delighted that Josh’s talents will be shown live to ESPN+ and BT Sport viewers, and I expect a spectacular performance come Sept. 26.”
 
Jamie Conlan, VP of MTK Global, Taylor’s management company, said, “I am delighted to see the best fighter in the 140-pound division back in action. Josh has used the pandemic to his own advantage, using the layoff to spend more time with his new coach, Ben Davison, and building a relationship together. 
 
“Khongsong provides a real tough test as he’s the mandatory for a reason, undefeated and a big puncher. Josh really needs to be on his game to keep the big fight with Jose Ramirez in the pipeline.”
 
Undercard details will follow in due course.

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Joe’s KO: Smith Knocks Out Alvarez
Rob Brant returns with a TKO victory

LAS VEGAS (August 22, 2020) — Joe “The Beast” Smith Jr. once again lived up to his moniker. The Long Island native, nearly four years since he knocked Bernard Hopkins through the ropes, knocked out Eleider “Storm” Alvarez in the ninth round of a WBO light heavyweight world title eliminator.

A right-left combination sent Alvarez (25-2, 13 KOs) through the ropes, and he could not beat the count.

Smith (26-3, 21 KOs), who was leading on all three judges’ cards (80-72 and 79-73 2X) at time of the stoppage, has won two in a row since losing to WBA world champion Dmitry Bivol via decision.

Smith said, “Coming into this camp, I knew I had to work on my boxing. I wanted to be sharp, throw a lot of straight punches. I watched his fight with {Sergey} Kovalev, and Kovalev kind of set the way to beat him. So we watched that and worked off of it. I knew coming in today I had to box a little more because he’s got that great right hand. He caught me with it a couple times, but I can take a punch, too.
 
“Every time he hit me, I wanted to come and stop him in his tracks, and I did that. I stuck to my game plan, and it was a great fight.

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Split-T Management’s Money Powell IV and Morris Young Jr. Register Stoppage Wins
Powell Takes out Patrick Pierre
Young Wins Pro Debut Over Jader Alves De Oliverira
NEW YORK (August 24, 2020) -Two members of the Split-T Management stable posted emphatic stoppage wins over the past four days.
On Thursday night, Morris Young Jr. made a successful pro debut by stopping Jader Alves De Oliveira in the 2nd round of their welterweight bout at Detroit’s famed Kronk Gym.
On Saturday in Fort Payne, Alabama, middleweight Money Powell IV needed just 58 seconds to take out Patrick Pierre.
Young hurt Oliveira to body as he landed a couple of crushing blows before the bout was stopped at 1:59.
Young was a 2019 National Golden Glove Champion. The Saginaw, Michigan native  is a relentless-pressure fighter.  His style is considered fan-friendly, and is poised to be the next future star that comes out of the Split-T stable.
Powell returned to his home state of Alabama, and stopped Patrick Pierre.
The bout,  saw Powell land a vicious three-punch combination that sent the 14-fight veteran back to the ropes.  A follow up flurry on the ropes hurt Pierre which forced the referee to stop the fight just 59 seconds into the contest.
With the wins, Powell improves to 11-1 while notching his 7th knockout.
Powell had a distinguished amateur that saw him win three United States Championships & Ringside World Championship.  He was also a Member of the 2016 United States Travel Team that competed in Russia.

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“I feel this one is a big one. I really needed it. I wanted to prove I’m not just a knockout guy. I proved my boxing ability, too, and I showed that tonight.”

Brant is Back

Former middleweight world champion Rob “Bravo” Brant returned from a layoff of more than a year to knock out Vitaliy Kopylenko (28-3, 16 KOs), who remained on his still following the conclusion of the fifth round. Brant (26-2, 18 KOs) suffered a torn biceps in training late last year, which came off the heels of his shocking knockout loss to Ryota Murata in July 2019. 

This was Brant’s first fight with head trainer Brian McIntyre.

Brant said, “My punch output was high, but I felt like I threw a lot of quality shots, especially with a veteran like Vitaliy. I’m not going to try and pronounce his last name out of respect, but he’s a crafty veteran. He’s been around for a long time.
 
“I spent a lot of time in camp with them. It’s been a three-month camp with them. Between the advice they have given me and being around Terence Crawford and Jamel Herring, it teaches you to relax a little more.”

— Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez (20-0, 13 KOs) notched the most significant win of his career, knocking out the previously undefeated Anthony Laureano (13-1, 4 KOs) in the opening round of a scheduled 10-round junior welterweight bout.

Rodriguez returned in 2019 from a shoulder injury, which kept him out of action for nearly two years.

“Previous to the shoulder injury, I was more of a brawler,” Rodriguez said. “I was coming in with bigger shots, but once I noticed the arm wasn’t holding up in that way, it forced me to focus more on my footwork, using my jab, and more of a different style. Now I feel like I have all the tools.”

— The Clay Collard train continues to roll on. The one-time UFC fighter improved to 5-0 on the year with a second-round TKO over Maurice Williams (7-2, 3 KOs). Collard (9-2-3, 4 KOs) started the year with three wins over previously undefeated prospects and has now won two in a row by knockout. Boxing’s newest folk hero is making his case to be the 2020 Prospect of the Year.

“I’m just a fighter. I like getting out there as often as possible and entertaining the fans. I appreciate all the love and support from the fans, and I enjoy putting on a show for them,” Collard said. “Listen, I’ll fight as often as possible. I love fighting on these Top Rank shows, and I look forward to the next one. This has been quite the ride.”

— Featherweight Duke Ragan’s professional debut was flawless, as the Cincinnati native knocked out Luis Alvarado (1-2) with a single right hand in the opening round. Alvarado rose to this feet, but he was in no position to continue, and referee Jay Nady stopped the contest. 

— Bantamweight prospect Robert “Biggie” Rodriguez (9-0-1, 5 KOs) made quick work of Abel Soriano (10-1, 7 KOs), dropping the Nebraska native three times before referee Russell Mora called off the bout at 2:59 of the opening round.

— In a six-round battle of unbeaten junior welterweights, Israel Mercado (8-0, 7 KOs) defeated Adrian Valdovinos (5-1-1, 4 KOs) by unanimous decision (60-54 2x and 59-55).

— Wendy “Haitian Fire”Toussaint (12-0, 5 KOs) bested Detroit native Isiah “Loco” Jones (9-3, 3 KOs) via unanimous decision in an eight-round middleweight bout. The judges scored it 80-72 and 79-73 2x.

 

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August 26: Jeff Horn-Tim Tszyu Down Under Showdown Headlines Week of International Cards Exclusively on ESPN+ 

Horn-Tszyu stream begins at 5 a.m. ET/2 a.m. PT for a special Aussie edition of Breakfast and Boxing 
Lewis Crocker-Louie Greene welterweight battle tops MTK Global show Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET
MTK Global-promoted show from Kazakhstan to stream Sunday starting at 12 p.m. ET

(August 21, 2020) —Australia’s most anticipated fistic showdown in years has an American streaming home.
 
Former welterweight world champion and Manny Pacquiao conqueror Jeff “The Hornet” Horn will face Tim Tszyu in a 10-round junior middleweight bout Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville, Australia. A socially distanced crowd of more than 16,000 fans are expected for Horn-Tszyu, which will headline a special edition of Breakfast and Boxing exclusively on ESPN+ (5 a.m. ET/2 a.m. PT).
 
Horn (20-2-1, 13 KOs), from Brisbane, toppled Pacquiao in July 2017 via unanimous decision to win the WBO welterweight world title. Horn-Pacquiao, the Top Rank on ESPN series premier, peaked at 4.4 million viewers. Horn defended his title once before losing via ninth-round stoppage to Terence “Bud” Crawford in June 2018. He is 2-1 since the Crawford loss, most recently splitting a pair of action classics against countryman Michael Zerafa in 2019.
 
Tszyu (15-0, 11 KO), the Sydney-born son of legendary former world champion Kostya Tszyu, returns from a nearly nine-month layoff. He graduated from prospect to contender in 2019, closing out the year in December with a fourth-round TKO over Jack Brubaker that streamed live on ESPN+. 
 
“In my career, what I’ve accomplished and what I’m doing, my dad doesn’t play much of a role. I do my own stuff,” Tszyu told ESPN recently. “He taught me one thing and that’s work ethic, because of that I am who I am. If you want to succeed you have to put in the work.
 
“I’m proud of what my dad achieved. He’s the greatest boxer in Australian and Russian sports history. I do everything that he’s done. There’s a blueprint. If I could do half of what he did, I’m going to be a great in this sport.”
 
The Horn-Tszyu stream will also include unbeaten junior lightweight prospect Liam Wilson (6-0, 4 KOs) against Jackson Woods (4-1-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-rounder, former Australian 154-pound champion Joel Camilleri (18-6-1, 8 KOs) versus Adam Copland (5-1, 3 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight bout, and Australian middleweight prospect Issac “The Headsplitter” Hardman (6-0, 5 KOs ) against seven-year veteran Jamie Weetch (12-3, 5 KOs) in a six-rounder.
 
Lewis Crocker-Louis Greene Headlines #MTKFightNight Following Horn-Tszyu
 
The action continues Wednesday on ESPN+ at  2 p.m. ET, as MTK Global returns with a closed-door card from Production Park Studios in Wakefield, England. In the 10-round main event, Belfast’s Lewis “The Croc” Crocker will battle Louis Greene for the vacant WBO European welterweight title.
 
Crocker (11-0, 6 KOs) is making his headlining debut in his first scheduled 10-round assignment. He last fought Feb. 1 at Belfast’s historic Ulster Hall, where he notched an eight-round decision over John Thain. Greene (12-1, 7 KOs) has won three fights in a row since a unanimous decision defeat to Larry Ekundayo for the IBF European welterweight title.
 
In other action on the Crocker-Greene stream, British and Commonwealth bantamweight champion Lee McGregor (8-0, 6 KOs) moves up to junior featherweight to fight Ryan Walker (11-1, 2 KOs) in a 10-rounder; junior welterweight prospect Gary Cully (10-0, 5 KOs) takes on Craig Woodruff (10-5, 4 KOs) in an eight-round junior welterweight tilt; middleweight Fearghus Quinn turns pro in a six-rounder against Robbie Chapman (6-3, 0 KOs); and Darren Tetley (20-0, 9 KOs) fights Liam Taylor (21-1-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-round British welterweight title eliminator.
 
August 23: Kazakh Amateur Superstar to Make Pro Debut at Cruiserweight

MTK Global presents a special Sunday show live from Almaty, Kazakhstan, which will showcase the professional debut of former Kazakh amateur superstar Kamshybek Kunkabayev. The two-time World Championships silver medalist (2017 & 2019), will make his professional debut in an eight-round cruiserweight bout against Issa Akberbayev (20-1, 15 KOs). Kunkabayev also won a pair of Asian Championships silver medals, while Akberbayev, a 6-foot-3 puncher who currently resides in Almaty, hopes to rebound from his first career defeat.
 
The scheduled five-fight stream kicks off on ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT and also includes:

  • Lightweight contender Viktor Kotochigov (11-0, 4 KOs), who defended the WBC International belt last December, will fight Belarusian veteran Andrei Isayeu (30-17, 9 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
  • In an eight-round junior middleweight bout, 2019 Asian Championships gold medalist and 2019 World Championships bronze medalist Tursynbay Kulakhmet will make his pro debut against former amateur star Sagadat Rakhmankul (6-1, 4 KOs), who has won three consecutive fights since his lone pro defeat.
     
  • In an eight-round clash of undefeated middleweights, Abay Tolesh (5-0, 3 KOs) will take on southpaw Saparbay Aidarov (4-0, 2 KOs).
     
  • Nurtas Azhbenov (9-0, 4 KOs), who has won three of his last four via first-round stoppage, will fight Shovkat Khalilov (7-2, 1 KO) in an eight-rounder at junior welterweight.
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Puerto Rican Amateur Superstar Omar Rosario Signs Promotional Contract with Top Rank

Rosario to make professional debut Friday in Kissimmee, Florida

(August 20, 2020) — Omar Rosario, a six-time Puerto Rican national amateur champion who won the 2020 Olympic Trials at 152 pounds, signed a multi-year promotional contract with Top Rank.
 
Rosario, 22, will make his professional debut as a junior welterweight Friday evening in a four-round bout at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla.
 
“My dream has always been to be promoted by Top Rank, and I am excited that my dreams are coming true,” Rosario said. “I worked extremely hard to get here, and this is a testament to the hard work we do in and out of the ring. I am ready to conquer the boxing world and become Puerto Rico’s next superstar.”
 
Said Tim VanNewhouse, Rosario’s manager, “Omar is an outstanding talent and I’m happy I could fulfill his expectations of aligning him with Top Rank. Although I had big Olympic hopes for him, I know he is going to have a promising future in the pros.”
 
Rosario hails from Caguas, the same city that produced Miguel Cotto. As a young man, he was trained by Cotto’s father, Miguel Cotto Sr. He compiled a 175-34 record in the unpaid ranks and is currently trained by Joe Santiago, the Puerto Rican national team coach who was Cotto’s head trainer for his bouts against Joshua Clottey and Manny Pacquiao. A 5-foot-10 boxer-puncher, Rosario excels in the classroom as well. He is a junior at Universidad Ana G. Méndez, where he majors in marketing and finance.

 

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Body Shot Boom: Carl Frampton KOs Darren Traynor in 7

Michael Conlan Stops Sofiane Takoucht in Co-Feature

LONDON (August 15, 2020) — Carl Frampton had a late replacement opponent in Darren Traynor and a lot to lose with a junior lightweight world title bout against Jamel Herring looming.

Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs), a former two-weight world champion, stopped Traynor with a body shot in round seven of a scheduled 10-round lightweight fight. It took a few rounds for Frampton, who hadn’t fought in nearly nine months, to find his rhythm. 

Traynor (16-4, 7 KOs) accepted the fight on about a week’s notice after Frampton’s original opponent, Vahram Vardanyan, pulled out due to visa issues. 

Said Frampton, “I’m happy to get the win, obviously. Far from my best, but I suppose people talk about rounds. I don’t think it’s going to harm me doing the rounds. If I had the chance to take him out in the first round, I would’ve done that.

“It was a better opponent for Herring than the original opponent because I think he was about my height, maybe even a little bit shorter. Darren isn’t a southpaw, but the dimensions are similar. I know I need to be a lot better for Herring. It’s good to get the rounds done. My hands are fine. No issues there. Onward and upward.”

Conlan Remains Unbeaten

Featherweight Michael “Mick” Conlan, in his final bout before a planned move to junior featherweight, knocked out Sofiane Takoucht in the 10th round. Conlan (14-0, 8 KOs) had a pair of points deducted for low blows, but he dominated the action and stunned Takoucht (35-5-1, 13 KOs) with an overhand left early in the 10th.

A follow-up flurry prompted Steve Gray to call off the fight and give Conlan his second knockout in three bouts.

Following the bout, Conlan, who has campaigned at featherweight since turning pro in 2017, maintained his desire to shave four pounds to fight at junior featherweight. Conlan is ranked third at junior featherweight by the WBO and has his sights set on the winner of the upcoming title bout between champion Angelo Leo and No. 1 contender Stephen Fulton.

In other action:

— World-rated junior lightweight Archie Sharp (19-0, 9 KOs) scraped past former sparring partner Jeff Ofori (10-3-1, 3 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight bout. Referee Marcus McDonnell, the lone judge, scored the fight 96-95.

— Troy Williamson (15-0-1, 11 KOs) bested Harry Scarff (8-2, 1 KO) by 10-round unanimous decision to retain his IBF European junior middleweight title. Williamson prevailed by razor-thin margins of 97-94, 96-94 and 96-95, as he saw his six-bout knockout streak come to an end.

— Top Rank-signed welterweight prospect Paddy Donovan (4-0, 3 KOs), a 21-year-old from Limerick, Ireland, knocked out Des Newton (8-16, 2 KOs) at 1:31 of the opening round with a right hook to the body. 

  • ___________

Carl Frampton & Michael Conlan: The Belfast Boys Return Saturday Afternoon LIVE on ESPN 

Closed-door event will take place in London (ESPN, 4 p.m. ET)
Undercard bouts to stream live on ESPN+ (2:30 p.m. ET)

LONDON (August 14, 2020)   The Belfast Boys, former two-weight world champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton and unbeaten featherweight Michael “Mick” Conlan, participated in a Zoom press conference Wednesday in advance of their co-headlining bouts Saturday on ESPN from London (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT). Conlan will face recent world title challenger Sofiane Takoucht, while Frampton, who is currently campaigning at junior lightweight, will make a pit stop at lightweight against Scottish veteran Darren Traynor.
 
The ESPN opener features world-ranked junior lightweight contender Archie Sharp against Jeff Ofori in a 10-rounder. 

Here is what Frampton, Conlan and Top Rank chairman Bob Arum had to say.

Carl Frampton
 
On the late opponent switch and fighting at lightweight rather than junior lightweight
 
“Obviously, it was a disaster, the whole lead-up regarding opponents. I have to give MTK Global credit. They assumed there could’ve been {an issue} because of the current situation that the whole world is facing. It turned out Corona didn’t affect anything, but the issue was visa problems for {Vahram} Vardanyan, the original opponent. I think Traynor has been paid by MTK for the last four or five weeks on the chance that this fight may have come about. So, Traynor has been training for me for five weeks. I’ve been training for him for one week.”
 
On fighting as a lightweight for the first time
 
It hasn’t really affected me, to be honest. I’ve enjoyed this fight week more than any other because I’ve been doing the weight OK.
 
“Although I’m short in stature, I walk around about 150, 148 anyway. {Traynor} is probably doing me a favor as well.”
 
On the Jamel Herring fight
 
“That’s the fight that I want. We kind of had a date agreed — June 13 was the proposed date, and I think everything was pretty much set to go and the fight was going to happen. And I supposed with it kind of falling away that he wouldn’t be as keen anymore or maybe Top Rank wouldn’t be as keen to make the fight, or the governing body. But everyone seems on board. I want the fight. Jamel wants it. Top Rank and Bob Arum want it. I think that is the plan, to have that fight next.”
 
On a potential third Leo Santa Cruz fight
 
“I don’t see that fight ever happening. I think Leo did promise that, but I think, to be honest, he’s full of sh*t. The fight could’ve happened if he wanted it to happen. It never has, and it’s a shame.”
 
Bob Arum
 
On the status of Herring vs. Frampton
 
“If Jamel is successful {Sept. 5 against Jonathan Oquendo}, and if Carl is successful on Saturday, I have a date picked out in November where they’ll fight for the title. That’s done. Everyone is on board. One thing I can’t control is the virus, but we’re going to do that fight in November. It may very well be another ‘Bubble’ fight.
 
“If both guys win these interim fights, you can count on a world title fight between Herring and Frampton in November.”
 
Michael Conlan
 
On fighting in an empty arena
 
“This is something I’ve wanted to do. It’s going to be a challenge, something different, something I haven’t experienced as a fighter, boxing in an arena with no one there. It’s exciting me to hear those winces and the pounding of the breath, everything about it. It’s something that’s lit a spark under me in training camp. I’ve been sparring with no music on.”
 
On moving down junior featherweight after Saturday’s fight
 
“I came out of this pandemic lighter than I’ve ever been. I think it’s just the reset button on me, myself, and I’ve kind of refocused myself. I can make 122 tomorrow if I really needed to. That’s why the decision was made.

“We’ll fight Takoucht at 126, and then after that, we’ll move down.
 
“I would love a {world title shot} in my next fight. I know it may not be possible the way things stand with the WBO, but 100 percent I’d be happy to challenge for the WBO title next.
 
“I’d be confident in facing any of {the champions now}. If that was the case, it’d be no problem. But we’ll get this one out of the way Saturday and then 122, here I come.”
 
On fight week during a pandemic

“If I’m being honest, it’s the most relaxed and chilled fight week I’ve had. Usually, we have the hoopla, the hyperbole, everyone around, having to go here and there to do interviews. It’s been chilled at the hotel, chilled out with the team, having fun. This time I actually brought my PlayStation and I’m playing some “Call of Duty.”
 
On fighting an opponent who recently fought world champion Josh Warrington and equaling what Warrington accomplished (second-round stoppage win)
 
“It’s different situations. Warrington was coming off three great wins against three really top-class opponents, and he faced Takoucht, who is relatively unknown, in his own backyard in front of 20,000 of his fans. I think {Takoucht} froze in front of the headlights. I would be stupid and reckless if I were to go out and try and blast this guy out like Warrington did, but I definitely will be going in to make a statement. I’ll do it in my own way. I don’t need to live up to anybody’s expectations or compare myself to Josh Warrington. I’m Michael Conlan.”

  • ___________

DAVID BENAVIDEZ VS. ALEXIS ANGULO
SHOWTIME 

CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® PRESS WEBINAR QUOTES

Plus, Rolando Romero, Jackson Mariñez, Otto Wallin and Travis Kauffman
This Saturday Night Live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on SHOWTIME®
UNCASVILLE, CONN. – August 14, 2020 – Undefeated WBC Super Middleweight World Champion David Benavídez joined his main event opponent, Alexis Angulo, and the rest of the fighters on this Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader in a virtual press webinar on Wednesday in advance of their respective bouts that will take place live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The card is presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The co-main event features rising lightweight Rolando “Rolly” Romero taking on fellow unbeaten Jackson Maríñez in a 12-round battle for the interim WBA Lightweight Title, while heavyweight contenders Otto Wallin and Travis Kauffman square off in a 10-round showdown.
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions and Sampson Boxing. The Romero vs. Maríñez bout is co-promoted by Mayweather Promotions.
FLASH QUOTES:
DAVID BENAVIDEZ
“I feel amazing. Our preparation has been very good and everything has gone smoothly. We had private sessions in our gym, so we had sparring and everything we needed. I’m very close to weight right now and I’m ready to defend my title on Saturday.
“Moving to Seattle was really good for me. I just bought a house out there and it’s a beautiful place. I’m there to figure out what I really want in life and dedicate myself to boxing. I’ve hit a different stage in my life and career and I’m just ready to keep winning.
“I’ve seen Angulo’s style in some of my previous opponents. I’d compare him to ‘Porky’ Medina, but Angulo is a little fresher because he hasn’t been through the wars like Medina. Angulo is very heavy handed and he wants to win. He’s coming off of an upset win and I think that has him motivated to believe he can beat me.
“I’m ready for whatever he brings to the ring. I just have to be patient. I can’t just try to knock him out and leave myself open. I have confidence in my abilities, and if I do everything right, I believe the knockout will come. I’m ready to give a great show to all my fans around the world.
“I’ve just been working on every aspect of my game. My defense, the jab, body shots and keeping the distance especially. I think Angulo is the perfect opponent to display everything I have. This is going to be a rugged and tough fight but that’s what I expect for every fight from now on. As long as I prepare myself correctly, I think I’ll be fine. This is the level I wanted to be at, and now that I’m here, I want to take full advantage of that.
“Angulo is a tough fighter. He hurt Gilberto Ramirez a couple times in their fight. I have to go in there and be alert. Everything has to be perfect. When I get on the inside, I’m going to attack the body and throw combinations.
“I think this is going to be a different fight than my last fight. I don’t think Angulo will utilize the ring like Anthony Dirrell did. I want to start the fight off well, find my rhythm and ultimately break him down.
“I want to fight [IBF Super Middleweight Champion] Caleb Plant next. All the super middleweight champions have to take risks and fight each other. I want those other belts. I want to take the chances now and show everybody, including myself, that I’m the best.
“I feel like this is just the beginning for me. I want to be a unified champion and be known as the best super middleweight of my generation. I have time on my side and I’m hungry and competitive. The sky’s the limit for me.”
                                  
ALEXIS ANGULO
“The [COVID shutdown] has helped me tremendously. I’ve been able to prepare better, and not just physically, but also spiritually and emotionally. I’m more prepared than I’ve ever been and this is really the best thing that could have happened to me. I know the coronavirus has affected many people negatively, but for me it’s been the total opposite. It’s just given me a lot more time to train.
“I hear that they are predicting Benavidez will knock me out in the seventh round, but that is just people’s opinion. I’m going to show on Saturday night that the people who are predicting that will be proven wrong.
“When I fought Anthony Sims Jr., he was a good fighter, but Benavidez is on another level in the boxing game. I’m going to show people that I belong on the same level as Benavidez.
“Benavidez is a warrior, but I don’t see him having any big advantages over me. In my only pro loss to Gilberto Ramirez, it was really just the experience factor. The biggest change for me since that fight is more personal, and just my mindset. I’m just stronger now, emotionally too. That’s the biggest change I’ve experienced.
“I know I have to be more aggressive in this fight – just more effective and smarter on Saturday. I don’t have a game plan. I’m going to adjust to the fight as it comes to me. I know I can adjust to anything Benavidez throws at me.
“I don’t know if this is my toughest fight to date. All my fights are difficult, some more than others. I’m prepared, I’m ready and on Saturday you will get to see if this is my toughest fight.”
ROLANDO ROMERO
“This is a big opportunity for me. This is a way for me to show that I belong in there against the top fighters in the division. I’ve sparred with all of them before, but this will show I’m ready to face any of them in a real fight.
“I’m not worried about going 12 rounds for the first time. I’m not trying to let it go 12, but I’m prepared from sparring 15 rounds at a time in camp. It’s not going to be hard to have more left in the tank in the later rounds.
“Floyd Mayweather taking time to work with me in camp says a lot about him. He’s got a lot of other things he could be doing, so it’s already a blessing. He always tells me to work my jab and focus on my boxing ability. We’ve worked a lot together in camp for this fight.
“When I signed with Floyd. I asked him what I should work on and he told me to work on my jab. About four or five fights in I started to really use that advice and it’s the best advice that he could have given me.
“I’ve never relied on just my power. I use my skill set and when I land a punch, the power is what floors them. I’m just a heavy-handed fighter.
“I’ve been asking for tough fights like this and to step up against the better competition. If it turns out it was too soon, then it’s only because I asked for it. But that’s not happening. I’m going to end up on top.
“I don’t think his experience is going to be a problem for me. My boxing ability and power is going to be way too much for him. I don’t think he’ll be able to do anything to me. I think I’m going to win with an early round knockout. It’s going to be a really bad knockout.
“I think I’m the best in the world, but that’s just me. I think I’d stop every single fighter at 135-pounds.
“I’m already defined as a puncher, but I’ve yet to really show my boxing ability. That’s only because I haven’t needed to yet. As I get into tougher and tougher fights I think I’m going to blow through the 135-pound division. When I move up to 140 and 147 pounds, I’ll be ready to show my boxing ability more. I started this sport at 17 and I’m 24 now. I feel like I have nothing but room to grow.”
JACKSON MARIÑEZ
“I’ve been training with the Garcia team for over a year. I’ve learned so much from them. The Mexican boxing style is very different than the Dominican one – working with Robert and his team has helped me combine them both.
“Romero’s overconfidence and lack of experience will give me the edge on Saturday. I’m clearly the more experienced fighter, and I guarantee you, he’s never been in a ring with a boxer like me. My style is very different to what he’s used to. He’s in for a surprise. 
“I give Romero merit for his power, he’s a good athlete, but I’m not intimidated by him. I know I will get the win come Saturday night.
“Every boxer dreams of becoming a world champion from the moment they first try on a pair of gloves. I’m no different. I’ve dreamt of this moment my entire life. Winning this fight will bring countless opportunities and will change my life.
“I believe everything is possible if you work hard enough. I’m a man of a few words, but my hard work will show in the ring on Saturday night.
“My fellow Dominican, [Jeison] ‘Banana’ Rosario has filled the Dominican people with hope. I want to follow his footsteps.”
OTTO WALLIN
“Yes, it has been quite different [training during COVID]. In the spring, when New York shut down, we were training a lot in my apartment and in Central Park. I pretty much had to build a gym in my apartment. I bought a bike, a bench press, and some other weights. Then for the last couple of months we had a private gym that we were working out of.
“It is not so much about proving that the Fury fight wasn’t a fluke. It is about me going out there and being myself and taking care of Kauffman. He’s a good fighter, so I have to be alert at all times, but I feel like I am just a better fighter so as long as I go out and preform, no one will be saying it is a fluke and that I am for real.
“Hopefully I will get a title shot soon. I did better against Fury than anybody has, so you can take that and see that I am one of the top guys. I think that I am one of the top guys and I am happy to be fighting again so I can show that. The champions are tied up with themselves, so we will see what happens, but I feel like after the Fury fight people know that I am in that mix. Fury seems to always be calling people out, but he never mentions my name.”
“I would like to fight the champions, of course, and that is Fury and Anthony Joshua. Wilder is a top guy, so that is an option when he comes back, but a Fury rematch or a fight with Joshua is what I really want. It is important for me to take care of Kauffman and stay busy, then get back in the ring quick.
“It feels great that I am finally going to fight. It has almost been a year since my last fight. It is great to train, but I do not want to train all the time, I want to fight. I have been on lockdown in New York, so finally I get some action.”
“When you fight the best, you see what you do well, and you see what you need to work on. I have been watching the Fury fight, and I have been studying it. Being in there with Fury, and trading rounds with the champion like that, there is nothing better. I need the experience, so that was great for me. I am sure I learned a lot that I do not even know of yet. I feel like improved after that fight, but we always need to improve.”
TRAVIS KAUFFMAN
“My life has always been full of challenges. With every fight and every camp there have been challenges. With the passing of Brother Naazim Richardson, who I’ve known since I was nine and who’s trained me for the last six years, it hurt. I didn’t expect him to pass away because he’d already overcome so much. It truly hurt me, but it also motivated me. I was unable to leave training camp, because all I could think about was that Brother Naazim would not have let me leave. He was truly a great mentor to me.
“When we knew Naazim wouldn’t be here, we decided to go back to what I knew best, which was working with my dad Marshall Kauffman. I knew that I should go back to the person who taught me everything I know.
“I turn 35 next Friday so it would be a great birthday present to beat this guy up before that. Every time I go to fight, I don’t get the nerves that people talk about. It’s another day at the office. This is a way to provide for my family. There’s always a lot on the line. If I win, it puts me in position to make life changing money.
“I have everything on the line because I know I have what it takes to beat Wallin. His claim to fame is losing to Tyson Fury. That’s all they know him for. I won’t take anything away from him, but he’s trying to prove that it wasn’t a fluke. It’s my job to stop him and I believe I have what it takes to do that.
“I’ve seen some flaws from Wallin and I’ve seen him do some great things. He’s got youth on his side, but I have the experience. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years. I’ve been in there with some of the best heavyweights in the world. I don’t underestimate anybody in the ring. I’m coming here to bang and may the best man win. I believe I’m the better man.
“I always want to make a statement but winning is the number one statement. No matter how I win, I have to win. I don’t want to look good and lose. I can’t lose. I want to win and get another big opportunity.
“The passing of Brother Naazim has been a motivator these last couple of weeks especially. I kept hearing Brother Naazim’s voice in my head and it’s helped push me through the toughest days and made me even more motivated heading into this fight.”
  • ___________

August 22: Rob Brant-Vitaliy Kopylenko and the Return of “Cassius” Clay Collard Set for Eleider Alvarez-Joe Smith Jr. Card Exclusively on ESPN+

Brant-Kopylenko to serve as co-feature beginning at 10 p.m. ET

Julian Rodriguez-Anthony Laureano and Collard-Maurice Williams to headline undercard at 7:30 p.m. ET

LAS VEGAS (August 13, 2020) — Former middleweight world champion Rob “Bravo” Brant’s comeback begins in a Las Vegas “Bubble.” Brant, who lost his belt to Ryota Murata last July and had a January return scrapped due to a torn biceps, will fight Vitaliy Kopylenko in a 10-round middleweight tilt Saturday, August 22 from the MGM Grand Conference Center.
 
Brant-Kopylenko will serve as the co-feature to the Eleider-Alvarez-Joe Smith Jr. light heavyweight world title eliminator live and exclusively on ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET).
 
The undercard stream (ESPN+, 7:30 p.m. ET) features the return of boxing’s newest cult hero, “Cassius” Clay Collard, the former UFC fighter who is the leading contender for 2020 Prospect of the Year.
 
“We have a can’t-miss main event and the highly anticipated returns of Rob Brant and Clay Collard. What a night at the fights inside the ‘Bubble,’” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Rob is rejuvenated and ready to begin his ascent towards another world title. As for Clay, whenever he fights, he delivers.” 
 
Brant (25-2, 17 KOs) upset the odds in October 2018, defeating Murata by unanimous decision to win the WBA world title nearly one year removed from his loss to Jürgen Brähmer. He defended his world title once, then traveled to Murata’s home country of Japan intent on repeating the deed. Instead, Murata turned the tables, knocking out Brant in the second round of a slugfest that saw 354 punches thrown in 334 seconds of action. Following the Murata defeat, Brant hired a new trainer in Brian McIntyre, who is best known for his work with pound-for-pound king Terence “Bud” Crawford and WBO junior lightweight world champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring.
 
Kopylenko (28-2, 16 KOs), from Vasylkiv, Ukraine hopes to rebound from a May 2019 split decision loss to Steven Butler. Prior to the Butler loss, he’d won six consecutive bouts. A 12-year pro, Kopylenko advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 “Boxcino” middleweight tournament, which aired as part of the ESPN “Friday Night Fights” series.
 
“I have worked extremely hard, even though the current climate through the pandemic has been a bit hectic,” Brant said. “After physical therapy, I stayed focused on my nutrition, thanks to my wonderful wife, Tiffany, and began doing a lot of distance running until I was cleared to start punching again. I have been in camp for close to three months now and feel very strong and confident. Kopylenko is talented with a great body attack. I am very confident, but I respect his skill set and will prepare like this is a world title bout. I’m back!”
 
Collard (8-2-3, 3 KOs) will face Maurice Williams in a middleweight bout scheduled for eight or six rounds, his third “Bubble” appearance since June 18. Collard is 4-0 in 2020, including three victories over previously undefeated prospects. Williams (7-1, 3 KOs) has won five in a row since a fifth-round TKO loss to Dennis Knifechief in November 2016. He has since avenged his loss to Knifechief twice, including a third-round TKO victory.

“I just look at this as another fight. Nothing’s really changed other than the attention I’m getting,” Collard said. “I’m loving all of this. I’m just training and getting ready to do what I love.
 
“I didn’t know how I’d like fighting without fans and being quarantined, but I enjoy fighting for Top Rank in the ‘Bubble.’ I’m just blessed to be part of this experience.”

In other undercard action:

  • In a 10-round duel of unbeaten junior welterweights, Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) will take on “Action” Anthony Laureano (13-0, 4 KOs). Rodriguez, a seven-year pro from Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., went 3-0 in 2019 following a nearly two-year layoff. 
     
  • Star Boxing-promoted prospect Wendy Toussaint (11-0, 5 KOs) will take on “Bubble” veteran Isiah Jones (9-2, 3 KOs) in a middleweight fight scheduled for eight or six rounds. Jones, who went 1-1 inside the “Bubble” in June, is coming off a majority decision victory June 30 over the previously unbeaten Donte Stubbs.
     
  • In scheduled six-round contests, Robert Rodriguez (8-0-1, 4 KOs) will fight Abel Soriano (10-0, 7 KOs) at bantamweight, while knockout artist Israel Mercado (7-0, 7 KOs) will battle fellow California native Adrian Valdovinos (5-0-1, 4 KOs) at junior welterweight.
     
  • Former U.S. amateur star Duke Ragan, from Cincinnati, will make his long-awaited professional debut against Luis Alvarado (1-1) in a four-rounder at featherweight.
  • ___________

August 15: Darren Traynor Steps Up to Face Carl Frampton Live on ESPN 

Undercard bouts to stream live on ESPN+

(August 13, 2020) — Carl “The Jackal” Frampton will fight Scottish veteran Darren “Trayn-Wreck” Traynor in a 10-round lightweight bout this Saturday, August 15. Frampton was supposed to face Vahram Vardanyan, but visa issues forced Vardanyan to pull out of the fight last week.

In the 10-round co-main event, featherweight contender Michael “Mick” Conlan (13-0, 7 KO) will face former world title challenger Sofiane Takoucht (35-4-1, 13 KOs).

The Frampton-Traynor and Conlan-Takoucht bouts will be televised live in the United States on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. Undercard bouts, including the return of Top Rank and MTK Global welterweight prospect Paddy “Real Deal” Donovan (3-0, 2 KOs), will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

“The show must go on, and Carl needed a fight after a pretty long layoff,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “His goal is to become Ireland’s first three-weight world champion, and after he’s victorious on Saturday, we will do everything we can to give him that opportunity.”

Said Frampton, “I’m delighted to get an opponent over the line. I have to credit MTK Global for seeing there could have been issues with the original opponent getting into the country, and they have been paying Darren Traynor for a number of weeks to train.

“He’ll be in decent shape and will be up for it as well. There is no pressure on him, but it is up to me to look good. I want to be taking this guy out and then moving on to think about Jamel Herring.

“I can’t be complacent in the slightest. I know I’m the big favorite in the fight, but I want to win and want to look good, and I want to win by knockout.

“I feel like he’s a better opponent as he’s fought at a higher level than Vardanyan, and he’s coming in at lightweight. I haven’t made my debut at junior lightweight yet and I’m already jumping in at lightweight, so that’s obviously a little bit in his favor, but I’m looking forward to not having to struggle at all in fight week and then putting on an explosive show.”

“Carl is gunning for a third world title at a third different weight and cannot afford any mishaps on Saturday night,” said Frank Warren, who co-promotes Frampton. “Darren Traynor is ready to step in and fully prepared to give Carl the competitive fight he needs before heading into a WBO world championship battle against Jamel Herring, hopefully, later this year.” 

“Unfortunately, Vahram had visa issues, which was something that we had envisioned as a possible scenario. We reached out to Darren Traynor and his team to be ready in case this situation had come out this way,” said MTK Global Vice President Jamie Conlan.

Traynor (16-3, 7 KOs), from Aberdeen, Scotland, is a nine-year pro and former two-weight Scottish champion who once challenged for the British super featherweight title. He had been training as a potential fill-in opponent, so when the call came to fight a Frampton, he did not hesitate. He’s split his last four bouts, most recently winning a decision over veteran Des Newton at lightweight.

___________

Jose Ramirez to Defend Unified Junior Welterweight Championship at MGM Grand Against Viktor Postol August 29 LIVE on ESPN+

Arnold Barboza Jr.-Tony Luis confirmed for all-action junior welterweight co-feature
ESPN+ doubleheader to begin at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

LAS VEGAS (August 6, 2020) — Ramirez-Postol, Take 3! The long-awaited showdown between WBC/WBO junior welterweight world champion Jose Ramirez and former world champion and WBC mandatory challenger Viktor “The Iceman” Postol will take place at the MGM Grand Conference Center Saturday, Aug. 29.
 
Ramirez and Postol were set to fight February 2 in China and May 9 in Fresno, Calif., but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both were subsequently canceled. This time, they will enter the “Bubble.
 
In the 10-round junior welterweight co-feature, unbeaten contender Arnold Barboza Jr., from South El Monte, Calif., will fight Canadian veteran Tony “Lightning” Luis in his toughest test to date. Ramirez-Postol and Barboza-Luis will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 10 p.m ET, with undercard action to stream live at 7:30 p.m. ET.
 
“Jose has stayed in the gym with his great trainer, Robert Garcia, throughout the pandemic,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “I have no doubt we will see the best version of Jose Ramirez, a wonderful young man and one of the world’s best fighters. He will need to be on his game because Postol is a worthy contender who has proven himself at the world-class level.”
 
Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) enters the fight coming off a career-high 13-month layoff. Last July, he knocked out Maurice Hooker to unify the WBC and WBO titles and stake his claim as the world’s best 140-pounder. Since winning the vacant WBC title against Amir Imam in March 2018, Ramirez defeated the previously undefeated Antonio Orozco, top contender Jose Zepeda and Hooker. The Orozco and Zepeda title defenses took place in front of more than 10,000 fans at Fresno’s Save Mart Center, a short drive from his hometown of Avenal.
 
During the early stages of the pandemic, Ramirez teamed up with Central Valley community leaders to assist the region’s agricultural workers. With Ramirez leading the way, they donated essential supplies and more than 1,000 wellness boxes, which included N95 masks, paper towels, toilet paper, rice, masa, beans and hand sanitizer. Ramirez now turns his focus to Postol (31-2, 12 KOs), a former WBC world champion whose only two losses have come against current IBF/WBA junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor and pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford. Postol has won two bouts since the Taylor defeat, most recently topping Mohamed Mimoune via decision last April in Las Vegas.
 
“I’m excited to finally be back. It’s always an honor stepping into the ring, fighting a guy like Postol and defending my belts,” Ramirez said. “God knows that my goal is to become the undisputed champion, and this gets me one step closer to my goal.”
 
Postol said, “I’m just looking forward to fighting. I’m coming to win those world titles. I have been training since this fight was first announced, so I’m focused and ready to go.”
 
Barboza Jr. (23-0, 10 KOs) makes his 2020 debut following a 2019 campaign that saw him climb the world rankings with three statement-making wins. He knocked out former world champion Mike Alvarado on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Anthony Crolla undercard at Staples Center, stopped veteran Ricky Sismundo in four rounds at Banc of California Stadium, and scored a body shot knockout over William Silva last November in Las Vegas. Barboza is currently ranked eighth by the WBC and 10th by the WBO at 140 pounds. 
 
“Tony Luis is as tough as they come. He won’t lay down for me. He sees this as a big opportunity, and I can’t let him take it,” Barboza said. “To be honest, the whole no fans thing, I’m more curious than anything. I’ve fought in front of limited fans deep on undercards before. Once you’re in the ring, there’s no difference. I am happy to be part of this ‘Bubble’ experience because it will go down in history.”
 
Luis (29-3, 10 KOs), from Cornwall, Canada, is a volume puncher with a knack for upsetting undefeated fighters. Since 2014, he has taken the ‘0’ from three then-unbeaten prospects, including a nationally televised decision over Karl Dargan in January 2015. Luis has won 10 consecutive fights since an April 2015 decision loss to Derry Matthews for an interim lightweight world title in Matthews’ hometown of Liverpool, England.
 
Luis said, “I want to thank Top Rank and my promoter, Liveco Boxing, for this amazing opportunity. I’m proud of myself for not giving up throughout all the uncertainty over the past several months. I knew this pandemic would be a test of character, and I forced myself to stay dedicated, knowing that if an opportunity arose, I’d be ready to strike. I have not lost in over five years, I’m in the best shape in my life, and I feel that Arnold Barboza Jr. is the perfect opponent to showcase my skills and take my career to the next level. Everyone dreams of fighting in Las Vegas. On August 29, my dream will come true, and I plan to make the most of this opportunity. For a small-town kid, we proved a lot of people wrong. Let’s get it on.”

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Undefeated WBC Super Middleweight World Champion David Benavídez Defends Title Against Former Title Challenger Alexis Angulo Headlining Premier Boxing Champions Event Saturday, August 15 Live on SHOWTIME
Rising Contender Rolando Romero Takes on Fellow Unbeaten Jackson Maríñez for WBA Interim Lightweight Title
&
Heavyweights Go Toe-to-Toe as Otto Wallin Battles Travis Kauffman On Telecast Beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT

NEW YORK – August 5, 2020 – Undefeated WBC Super Middleweight World Champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez will defend his title against former world title challenger Alexis Angulo in a Premier Boxing Champions event Saturday, August 15 live on SHOWTIME from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and also features rising lightweight Rolando “Rolly” Romero taking on fellow unbeaten Jackson Maríñez in a 12-round battle for the interim WBA Lightweight Title, while heavyweight contenders Otto Wallin and Travis Kauffman square off in a 10-round showdown.
“David Benavídez will look to keep his perfect record intact, continue to display his superstar potential and further cement his positioning in the stacked 168-pound division,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “As an undefeated world champ, Benavídez can expect a strong challenge from Alexis Angulo, which should create an action-packed main event on SHOWTIME. Combined with a battle of hungry unbeaten lightweights in ‘Rolly’ Romero and Jackson Maríñez, plus a heavyweight slugfest between Otto Wallin and Travis Kauffman, this shapes up to be another can’t miss night of high-stakes action.”
“It’s going to be great to be in the corner of David ‘El Bandera Roja’ Benavídez on fight night,” said Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing, who is recovering from a recent surgery. “I feel so good and so strong and I truly can’t wait to be there to support the youngest super middleweight champion in history.”
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions and Sampson Boxing. The Romero vs. Maríñez bout is co-promoted by Mayweather Promotions.
The 23-year-old Benavídez (22-0, 19 KOs) defends his belt after defeating two-time super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell in September, stopping him in nine rounds. Benavidez is trained by his father José Sr., alongside his brother and former title challenger, José Jr. In 2017, he became the youngest super middleweight champion in boxing history by defeating Ronald Gavril on SHOWTIME at just 20 years old. Representing his native Phoenix, Ariz. Benavídez went from a 15-year-old prodigy sparring with Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin, to world title contender with a 10-fight knockout streak from 2015 through 2017, including a highlight-reel knockout of Rogelio Medina with a seven-punch combination that earned him his first championship fight.
“It’s been almost a year since the last time I fought, so I’m very eager to get back in the ring and give the fans a great fight,” said Benavídez. “Training camp has been amazing. Fortunately, my dad opened his own gym just before the pandemic, so we’ve had private training and been able to safely bring in sparring partners to help me work. I’m facing a very tricky and rugged fighter, so I’m taking him very seriously. I feel like I can take advantage of some openings in his defense and look for the knockout like I do every fight.”
Born in El Bordo, Colombia and now fighting out of Miami, Fla., Angulo (26-1, 22 KOs) enters his second world title opportunity on a three-fight winning streak, including two triumphs over previously unbeaten fighters. Angulo stopped Reinaldo Gonzalez in 2018 in his first fight since losing a decision to then-super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez earlier that year. He scored a decision victory this January over Anthony Sims Jr. to put himself in position to again challenge the best in the division. 
“I’m ready for anything that happens in the ring on August 15,” said Angulo. “This is going to be a great fight for the fans because of the style I bring to the ring. Benavidez is a strong champion, but my style will be too much for him and I will have my hand raised on fight night.”
Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev., Romero (11-0, 10 KOs) added three knockout victories to his tally in 2019 before his 2020 debut saw him stop previously unbeaten Arturs Ahmetovs in February. A fast-rising prospect in the Mayweather Promotions stable, the 24-year-old is ranked No. 10 by the WBA and will look to extend his six-fight knockout streak on August 15.
“It feels great to return to the ring and to be fighting for such a great opportunity,” said Romero. “This has been the best camp of my career, and I’ll just say this, if a pandemic is holding you back from training, then you don’t want it bad enough. I already believe I should be here with the top guys, but the world will actually get to see that I am who I say I am. I’m confident in my abilities as a fighter and I have the best in the business, Floyd Mayweather, behind me. I think this fight will end fairly quickly, but you will get to see the growth in me as a fighter. This is another fight that will further prove I’m here to stay. Sign up for KO’s!”
“This is a big step up for Rolando, and he’s been waiting for the opportunity to showcase his talent,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “He has a big test ahead to prove himself. This is going to be another one that you don’t want to miss, so tune-in to SHOWTIME on Saturday, August 15.”
The 29-year-old Maríñez (19-0, 7 KOs) holds the WBA’s No. 6 ranking, which he earned with victories over Rolando Giono and Kenin Betancourt while picking up eight wins between 2018 and 2019. Representing his native Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Maríñez was successful in his U.S. debut in December of last year, stopping Yardley Armenta Cruz in two rounds.
“I’ve had a great training camp for this fight,” said Maríñez. “I’ve been sparring with Vergil Ortiz and Jose Ramirez, plus other fighters in Robert Garcia’s gym, and it’s gotten me ready to step into the ring. I know that Romero is a tough and durable fighter, so it won’t be easy, but I’m going to do anything I can to bring the title back home.”
Wallin (20-1, 13 KOs) will return to the ring for the first time since he nearly defeated Tyson Fury in September 2019, when he opened up a gruesome cut over Fury’s right eye with a legal punch that nearly halted the fight. While the 29-year-old lost a decision, he proved his mettle as a potential future heavyweight champion. Representing his native Sundsvall, Sweden, Wallin trains in New York with former champion Joey Gamache.
“I’m very happy to finally be back in the ring,” said Wallin. “It’s been a long and crazy year in many ways and it feels great to be getting ready to step back into the ring. I’ve been training steady since the Fury fight and I feel like I’ve developed my game in a lot of ways. Kauffman is a tough veteran that can both come forward or box if he wants to. He’s a fan friendly fighter and I have to be ready at all times. We have a great game plan as always and I’m in excellent shape. I know I have all the tools to beat Kauffman.”
A veteran of the heavyweight landscape, Kauffman (32-3, 23 KOs) owns a ledger that includes challenges of top heavyweights including Luis Ortiz, Chris Arreola and Amir Mansour, amongst others. The Reading, Pennsylvania native lost his most recent bout to Ortiz, following a 2018 triumph over Scott Alexander.
“This is my first training camp in seven years without Brother Naazim Richardson, but I know that he wouldn’t want me to leave camp and he’d want me to stay focused,” said Kauffman. “Having him pass away while I was in camp was one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with, but there’s adversity in every camp I’ve had. I wouldn’t feel right if there wasn’t adversity to overcome. My father, Marshall, stepped back in as my head trainer. We know we’re facing a young, hungry fighter, but I have more experience than him and I don’t think he can last 10 rounds with me when I’m at 100% like I’ll be on August 15.”
Additional non-televised action will include super middleweight contender Alantez Fox (26-2-1, 12 KOs) battling Ghana’s Habib Ahmed (27-1-1, 18 KOs) in an eight-round attraction.
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Undefeated Heavyweight Destroyer Efe Ajagba Signs Promotional Pact with Top Rank 

Ajagba to make debut under the Top Rank banner in 2020

Aug. 5, 2020 — Top Rank announced today the signing of undefeated heavyweight knockout artist Efe Ajagba to a long-term promotional agreement. 

Ajagba, 26, the Nigerian-born former soccer player, turned pro in 2017 after a decorated amateur career that included a berth at the 2016 Rio Olympics. A three-year professional, he has risen the ranks of the young heavyweights and is already rated in the top 15 by two of the major governing organizations. 

Ajagba will make his Top Rank on ESPN debut in 2020 on a to-be-determined bill. He has also enlisted the services of manager James Prince and head trainer Kay Koroma.

“I made this decision to become a better boxer and to advance my career. That’s why I signed with James Prince and Top Rank,” Ajagba said. “When I return to the ring soon, you will see a new Efe Ajagba. Kay Koroma and I are working on my head movement and defense, as I seek to become a more well-rounded fighter.”

“Efe Ajagba is one of the most gifted young heavyweights I’ve seen in quite some time,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He has immense physical tools and a great work ethic. I have the utmost confidence that we’re looking at a future heavyweight champion.”

At 6-foot-6 and 240-plus pounds, Ajagba (13-0, 11 KOs) is one of the division’s most intimidating physical specimens, a natural puncher with six-first round knockouts on his ledger. He holds the record for the fastest victory in boxing history when, in August 2018, Curtis Harper walked out of the ring one second after the opening bell sounded. The disqualification win ended Ajagba’s string of knockouts, and he would score four more knockouts before being taken the distance for the first time in his career. Ajagba last fought March 7 in Brooklyn, knocking out former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu in nine rounds.

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5: Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan Co-Headline Blockbuster Card LIVE on ESPN 

Closed-door event will take place at BT Sport Studio in London
Undercard bouts to stream live on ESPN+

(July 23, 2020) — Two of Belfast’s pugilistic heroes, junior lightweight contender Carl “The Jackal” Frampton and featherweight contender Michael “Mick” Conlan, are joining forces. Frampton and Conlan will co-headline a special BT Fight Night card in separate 10-round bouts Saturday, Aug. 15, behind closed doors at BT Sport Studio in London.

Frampton (27-2, 15 KOs) will fight the hard-hitting Vahram Vardanyan (21-1-1, 14 KOs) while Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) faces former European champion and recent world title challenger Sofiane Takoucht (35-4-1, 13 KOs).

The Frampton-Vardanyan and Conlan-Takoucht bouts will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, Saturday, August 15, beginning at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. Undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

“What a tremendous opportunity for fight fans to see Mick and Carl fight on the same card,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Carl and Mick are closing in on world title opportunities, and I expect spectacular performances from both men.”

Frampton returns following his dominant 10-round decision over the previously undefeated Tyler McCreary last November in Las Vegas. Vardanyan has won six in a row since the lone defeat of his career, and Frampton must prevail to earn a shot at WBO junior lightweight world champion Jamel Herring. Frampton’s goal is to become the first Irish boxer to win world titles in three weight classes.

“I’m excited to get back in the ring, especially as I was unsure at the start of this lockdown about whether I’d get the chance to fight this year at all,” Frampton said. “The Jamel Herring fight was meant to happen in the summer but got ruled out, so this is a fight that keeps me busy and keeps me active. Hopefully, I get the win here, and then we can have the Herring fight for the world title later this year or in early 2021.”

In Conlan’s last outing, he avenged his bitter defeat from the 2016 Olympic quarterfinals, notching a unanimous decision win over Vladimir Nikitin at Madison Square Garden. A planned St. Patrick’s Day return to New York was called off due to the ongoing pandemic, but Conlan will stay active against Takoucht, who in his most recent contest challenged Josh Warrington for the IBF featherweight world title. Before the Warrington fight, Takoucht had won eight in a row. 

“I’m delighted to be back boxing again. I haven’t stopped training throughout lockdown, so I’m coming in prepared, and I expect to put on a big performance,” Conlan said. “I’m interested to see how it will be fighting in front of no fans, but I’ve done it before in the amateurs, so experiencing that again is something I’m looking forward to.

In undercard action on ESPN+:

  • Dennis “The Menace” McCann (6-0, 4 KOs), the 19-year-old prodigy from Kent, England, will face an opponent to be named in a scheduled eight-round junior featherweight bout. The southpaw stylist turned pro last year and has yet to lose a round.
     
  • Troy “Trojan” Williamson (14-0-1, 11 KOs) will make the first defense of his IBF European junior middleweight belt against an opponent to be named.
     
  • Paddy “Real Deal” Donovan (3-0, 2 KOs), a Top Rank-signed prospect from Limerick, Ireland, will see action against an opponent to be determined in a six-round welterweight tilt. Donovan is trained and managed by former middleweight world champion and Limerick native Andy Lee.

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Oscar Night: Valdez TKOs Velez 
Edgar Berlanga extends first-round KO streak to 14


LAS VEGAS (July 21, 2020) — Oscar Valdez was not interested in a distance fight. The former featherweight world champion, in his second fight as a junior lightweight, knocked out Jayson Velez (29-7-1, 21 KOs) with 37 seconds remaining in the 10th and final round Thursday evening at the MGM Grand Conference Center — Grand Ballroom.

Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs) knocked down Velez in the fifth round and twice more in the 10th before the referee called it off. A former world title challenger, this was the first KO defeat of Velez’s career.

Valdez, the WBC No. 1 contender at 130 pounds, now has his sights set on countryman and longtime champion Miguel Berchelt.

“Miguel Berchelt is the fight I want. He has the WBC title at 130 pounds. I want the WBC title. Miguel and I would make for a great fight,” Valdez said. “Velez was everything I expected, a tough warrior who fought his heart out. I commend him for a great performance and a great fight.”

— Oops, he did it again. Super middleweight destroyer Edgar Berlanga (14-0, 14 KOs) scored his 14th consecutive first-round knockout, obliterating the usually durable Eric Moon (11-3, 6 KOs) in 62 seconds. A pair of overhand rights sent a dazed Moon to the canvas, and referee Kenny Bayless  had seen enough.

“It was another step-up fight for me. We prepared to go rounds, but I got him hurt and got him out of there,” Berlanga said. “I still have so much room to grow as a fighter. The power is there, but I will show everyone that I am a well-rounded fighter. The knockout streak is cool, but there is more to me than first-round knockouts.”

— The Isaac Dogboe comeback is in motion. The former WBO junior featherweight world champion, coming off back-to-back defeats to Emanuel Navarrete, dominated Chris Avalos via eighth-round TKO in a statement-making performance at featherweight. Dogboe (21-2, 15 KOs) had not fought in more than a year, but he shook off the ring rust in short order, using a steady body attack to break down the two-time world title challenger.

“I was off for 14 months. This was a long time coming. I felt great with my new trainer, Barry Hunter. We’re only getting warmed up,” Dogboe said. “I wanted to show everyone that Isaac Dogboe never went away. I’m still here, and I am only getting better.”

— ESPY winner Kim Clavel (12-0, 2 KOs) was victorious in her ESPN debut, as she defeated the previously undefeated Natalie Gonzalez (6-1, 1 KO) by unanimous decision (80-72 3x) in a light flyweight bout. Clavel made a triumphant return to the ring, as she worked as a nurse in Montreal elder care facilities on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. Her contributions earned her the 2020 Pat Tillman Award for Service last month at the ESPYs.

“I knew it would be a hard fight because she’s a good fighter. She had a good amateur background,” Clavel said. “This was my first time here. I had some pressure, but with every round, I felt better and better in the ring with my coach. We won all the rounds. This is what we wanted.

“I would love to stay active and fight again before the end of 2020. I want to be the best in the light flyweight division.”   

— Junior welterweight prospect Elvis “The Dominican Kid” Rodriguez (8-0-1, 8 KOs) notched his second “Bubble” knockout in 19 days, icing Dennis Okoth (4-4-1, 2 KOs) with a single left cross in the second round. Rodriguez has won six straight by knockout since a technical draw in his third pro fight.

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Puerto Rican Power: Felix Verdejo Stops Will Madera in 1 Round

LAS VEGAS (July 16, 2020) — Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo entered, and then conquered, the MGM Grand “Bubble.” The Puerto Rican star knocked out the previously undefeated “Ill” Will Madera in the opening round of a scheduled 10-round lightweight bout Thursday evening.

Verdejo (27-1, 17 KOs) pinned Madera (15-1-3, 8 KOs) to the ropes and unloaded with a series of power shots. Madera slumped to the canvas, and referee Robert Hoyle called off the bout at 2:59 of the first round. 

Verdejo, who represented the island nation at the 2012 Olympics, has now won four straight bouts and is in the thick of the lightweight title picture.

“I am proud of the work I put in with my trainer, Ismael Salas. The hard work is paying off,” Verdejo said. “Madera is a good fighter, but when I had him hurt, I knew I could finish him.

“As for what’s next, Vasiliy Lomachenko is the top guy at lightweight. We have unfinished business from when he beat me in the Olympics. That’s the fight I ultimately want.”

— Heavyweight prodigy Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson (5-0, 5 KOs) made quick work of Hector Perez (7-3, 3 KOs), knocking him out with an overhand right at 1:45 of the opening round. Anderson, from Toledo, Ohio, has four first-round stoppages on his ledger.

That was too quick! I got him out of there and implemented what I’ve been working on in the gym. I want to return as soon as possible. I leave that in the hands of my promoter, but when they give me a date, I’ll be ready,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me. Any of these guys who have fought in the ‘Bubble,’ I’ll fight them.”

— Martino Jules (10-0, 2 KOs) left Las Vegas with his unbeaten record, as the featherweight prospect topped Aleem Jumakhonov (8-3-2, 4 KOs) by majority decision (76-76, 78-74 2x). 

— In the four-round lightweight opener, Kenny Davis Jr. (3-2-1) edged Eduardo Sanchez (2-3) by majority decision (37-37, 38-36 2x). Sanchez was knocked down with a body shot in the third round, while Davis had a point deducted in the fourth for spitting out his mouthpiece. 

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July 21: Junior Lightweight title fight between Oscar Valdez and Jayson Velez headline fight card featuring KO Artist Edgar Berlanga and ESPY Winner Kim Clavel  Inside MGM Grand “Bubble”

Valdez-Velez, Berlanga-Eric Moon and Clavel-Natalie Gonzalez  televised LIVE on ESPN & ESPN Deportes beginning at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT

LAS VEGAS (July 14, 2020) — The first run of Top Rank on ESPN shows inside the MGM Grand “Bubble” will conclude with a certified boxing action hero ready for another toe-to-toe tussle.
 
Former featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez, ranked No. 1 by the WBC and WBO at junior lightweight, will face former world title challenger Jayson Velez in the 10-round main event Tuesday, July 21, inside the MGM Grand Conference Center.
 
In the eight-round co-feature, super middleweight knockout sensation Edgar Berlanga (13-0, 13 KOs), who has knocked out 13 consecutive foes in the first round to begin his pro career, will look to extend the streak against Eric Moon (11-2, 6 KOs).
 
The card also will highlight the long-awaited return of Kim Clavel, the undefeated light flyweight who won the 2020 Pat Tillman Award for Service at the ESPYs for her work as an elder care nurse in Montreal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clavel, who is promoted by Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM), will fight fellow unbeaten Natalie Gonzalez in an eight-rounder.
 
Valdez-Velez, Berlanga-Moon, Clavel-Gonzalez, and undercard bouts will be televised live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
 
“Oscar Valdez wants to fight WBC world champion Miguel Berchelt, and I know Miguel wants nothing more than to fight Oscar,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Oscar knows Jayson Velez is a serious challenge that he cannot overlook. This is a great main event, and an incredible deep card, to close out our first round of shows inside the ‘Bubble.’”
 
Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) has won three fights since his March 2018 war of attrition against Scott Quigg, when his jaw was shattered in the fifth round of a 12-round championship bout. He took nearly one year off following the Quigg fight and moved up to the junior lightweight ranks last year. In his last outing, November 30 in Las Vegas, he survived a second-round knockdown to knock out Adam Lopez in the seventh.
 
Velez (29-6-1, 21 KOs), from Juncos, Puerto Rico, nearly won the IBF featherweight world title from Evgeny Gradovich in November 2014, but he was held to a controversial draw. He has fought from featherweight to lightweight in recent years and March 2018 knockout victory over former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez. Velez was one half of a Fight of the Year Contender in February, as he knocked down Jaime Arboleda in the 12th round, only to lose a split decision verdict by a single point on two of the judges’ scorecards. He has never been knocked out in a career that’s spanned nearly 13 years.

Valdez said, “I’m ready for the best of the division. I want to be a two-division world champion, and the only way to do that is to beat tough fighters like Jayson Velez, who has challenged for a world title and possesses a lot of experience. Also, I’m very thankful to be fighting during this critical time where the sport of boxing is getting attention again.”

“We know there have been discussions about me challenging Miguel Berchelt for his WBC super featherweight world title, but Velez is first. I need to beat Velez first if I want to fight Berchelt, and I’m expecting a very tough fight. I want to dedicate this fight to all of the nurses and doctors who are working hard on this pandemic and to my father, Top Rank, and my manager, Frank Espinoza. I can’t wait to return to the ring.”

Said Velez, “Oscar Valdez is the greatest name I have ever had the opportunity to face. He is a young, undefeated fighter who was already a world champion and is hungry for another world title. At this stage of my career, I see each fight as if it were the last chance to achieve my dream. It’s now or never. We are going to make that dream come true.”
 
Berlanga, the brash Brooklynite nicknamed “The Chosen One,” took care of Cesar Nunez in 2:45 last December on the Terence Crawford-Egidijus Kavaliauskas undercard at Madison Square Garden. Moon has won four of his last five and has been knocked out only once since turning pro in July 2016. He has fought eight or more rounds five times.
 
Said Berlanga, “I’ve not really changed much about training because of the knockout streak. Training is all about improving as a boxer. I had a good amateur career, and that comes from being a good technical boxer. My focus in training has been to continue to improve my skills under my trainer, Andre Rozier, and Team Havoc.”
 
Clavel (11-0, 2 KOs) is coming off a career-best win last December, a decision over Esmeralda Gaona Sagahon that earned her the NABF light flyweight belt. The belt won’t be on the line against Gonzalez (6-0, 1 KO), a native of New Rochelle, New York, who was a two-time New York Golden Gloves champion as an amateur.
 
In undercard action:
 
Former junior featherweight world champion Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe (20-2, 14 KOs), on the comeback trail following back-to-back defeats to Emanuel Navarrete, will face two-time world title challenger Chris “The Hitman” Avalos (27-7, 20 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight battle.
 
Elvis “The Dominican Kid” Rodriguez (7-0-1, 7 KOs), who is coming off a highlight-reel first-round KO July 2 against Danny Murray, will face Kenyan veteran Dennis Okoth (4-3-1, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder at junior welterweight.
 
Italian heavyweight destroyer Guido “The Gladiator” Vianello (7-0, 7 KOs) will aim to make it eight knockouts in as many fights against an opponent to be named in a six-rounder. Vianello, a 2016 Olympian, knocked out Don Haynesworth in one round June 9.
 
Raphael “Trouble” Igbokwe (14-2, 6 KOs), winner of two straight bouts, will fight Genc Pllana (8-1-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-round super middleweight bout originally scheduled for July 16. 

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Oorah! U.S. Marine Veteran Jamel Herring to Defend Junior Lightweight World Title Against Jonathan Oquendo July 14 at MGM Grand “Bubble”

Female fighting sensation Mikaela Mayer to return against Helen Joseph in 10-round co-feature
Boxing cult hero “Cassius” Clay Collard to make second “Bubble” appearance 

LAS VEGAS (July 9, 2020) — Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring and Mikaela Mayer, both of whom are healthy following recent positive COVID-19 test results that delayed their fights, are primed for their “Bubble” debuts.
 
U.S. Marine veteran Herring will make his second world title defense against Puerto Rican challenger Jonathan “Polvo” Oquendo on Tuesday, July 14, at the MGM Grand Conference Center — Grand Ballroom.
 
In the co-feature, undefeated 2016 U.S. Olympian Mayer will fight former world title challenger Helen Joseph in a 10-round junior lightweight showdown. 
 
The undercard will feature the anticipated “Bubble” encore of “Cassius” Clay Collard, who will fight LT “Smash” Nelson in a six-round middleweight bout. Collard, 3-0 in 2020 (all against previously undefeated fighters), took the “0” from highly decorated prospect David Kaminsky on June 18.
 
Herring-Oquendo, Mayer-Joseph, Collard-Nelson, and additional undercard action will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. 
 
“Jamel and Mikaela wanted to come back as soon as possible, and we were happy to oblige them,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “They are healthy and ready to put forth tremendous performances.”
 
Herring (21-2, 10 KOs) makes his 2020 debut following a banner 2019 that saw him upset Masayuki Ito to win the title, and outpoint Lamont Roach Jr. in front of more than 7,000 fans at an outdoor baseball stadium in Fresno, Calif. Herring and Oquendo were set to fight July 2 but Herring’s COVID-19 results delayed the fight 12 days. Herring, the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team captain, is 5-0 since inking a multi-fight deal with Top Rank. 
 
Herring said, “I am back, healthy and 100 percent ready to defend my world title. Oquendo is a tough opponent who realizes this is his last chance to win a world title. He’s coming for what I have and I’m not going to cut any corners. I will return home to celebrate with my family and my belt.”

Oquendo (31-6, 19 KOs), from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, challenged Jesus Cuellar for a featherweight world title in December 2015 and is 5-1 since moving up to junior lightweight. He earned the title shot following last November’s shutout decision win over Charles Huerta, which came off the heels of a controversial decision loss to Roach Jr. 
 
Oquendo said, “We know Jamel is a slippery, tall, left-handed fighter who has an advantage in range, but we are working for that and we know that we will have no problems. My company knows how hard I fight and how hard I train. Fans like Jonathan Oquendo because he makes for great fights.”
 
In less than three years as a professional, Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs) has become one of the faces of female boxing. She closed out her 2019 campaign last October with a sixth-round stoppage over Alejandra Soledad Zamora. The Los Angeles native is on track for a world title shot this year, but she must defeat Joseph (17-4-2, 10 KOs), a native of Lagos, Nigeria, who is coming off a competitive decision loss to former lightweight champion Delfine Persoon.
 
Mayer said, “After having two fights canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am relieved and excited to be back and grateful to Top Rank for getting me back on a card so quickly. I’m not the fighter you last saw in October. I’ve had three camps to peak myself and grow as an athlete. A whole new fighter is stepping in that ring on July 14, so I hope Helen is ready.” 
 
In undercard action:
 
Puerto Rican featherweight prospect Luis Melendez (8-1, 6 KOs) will take on Edward “Kid” Vazquez (7-0, 1 KO) in an eight-rounder. Two of Vazquez’s last three wins have come against previously undefeated opponents, while Melendez has won six in a row since the lone defeat of his career.
 
Colombian puncher Ruben “El Tigrillo” Cervera (11-2, 10 KOs) will fight Clay “3rd Degree” Burns (9-8-2, 4 KOs) in a six-rounder at lightweight. Cervera was stopped by Miguel Marriaga last May, but he returned with a knockout win over Luis Carlos Lugo in October. Burns made a notable “Bubble” impression on June 25, losing an action-filled split decision to Reymond Yanong.
 
Unbeaten junior lightweight prospect William Villa (4-0) will face Eduardo Sanchez (2-2) in a four-rounder.

LAS VEGAS (July 7, 2020) — The boogeyman of the junior welterweight division kept on rolling Tuesday night. Two-time world title challenger Jose “Chon” Zepeda (32-2, 25 KOs) outboxed Kendo “Tremendo” Castaneda (17-2, 8 KOs), rolling to a unanimous decision victory (98-92 2x and 97-93) at the MGM Grand Conference Center — Grand Ballroom.

Zepeda, from La Puente, California, is 2-0 with a no contest since his controversial majority decision loss to world champion Jose Ramirez. He is currently ranked in the top 5 by the WBC and WBO.

“He was a late replacement, but he was tough in there. I didn’t take Kendo lightly because I knew what he was capable of. He had only one loss by decision coming into tonight,” Zepeda said. “Anybody with a belt at 140 pounds is who I want to fight. A championship fight is my goal, and that is what I am working towards.”

Lopez Upsets Vences

Luis Alberto Lopez (21-2, 11 KOs) authored the most significant win of his carer, edging longtime junior lightweight contender Andy Vences (23-2-1, 12 KOs) via 10-round split decision. A Lopez uppercut early in the sixth round stunned Vences, but he was able to weather the onslaught and survive the stanza.

Vences appeared to rally in the bout’s latter stages, but it was too little, too late.

“I felt I won the fight with my pressure. It was a close fight, but I was confident I did enough after the final bell sounded,” Lopez said. “Credit to Vences. I thought he was knocked out earlier in the fight, but he came back like a warrior.”
 
Said Vences, “I thought I won a close fight, but I am not going to complain about the decision. It was a good, close fight. No excuses. I prepared well for 10 hard rounds.”

—Lightweight prospect Andres Cortes (13-0, 7 KOs) survived a fourth-round knockdown to top Alejandro Salinas (10-4, 9 KOs) by eight-round unanimous decision. The scores were as follows: 79-73, 77-74 and 76-75. Cortes swept the last three round on all of the judges’ cards.

Gabriel Muratalla (4-0, 3 KOs), the fighting preschool teacher from Fontana, California, bested Las Vegas native Sergio Lopez (4-6-3, 0 KOs) by unanimous decision (40-36 2x and 39-37) in a four-round bantamweight bout. Muratalla was making his second “Bubble” outing following his first-round stoppage over Fernando Robles on June 11.

Genaro Gamez (10-1, 7 KOs) rebounded from his first career defeat with a first-round knockout over Reymond Yanong (11-6-1, 9 KOs) in a welterweight contest.

— Lightweight prospect Eric Puente (3-0) edged Diego Elizondo (2-2-2) via majority decision by scores of 38-38 and 39-37 2x.

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OK, Jose! Pedraza Dominates Mikkel LesPierre

Former Champion Jose Pedraza (R) slams Mikkel LesPierre (L)

 

LAS VEGAS (July 2, 2020) — Former two-weight world champion Jose Pedraza’s quest for a title in a third weight class is alive and well. Pedraza, from Cidra, Puerto Rico, toppled Mikkel LesPierre via unanimous decision (100-88 and 99-89 2x) Thursday night in a junior welterweight bout.

Pedraza and LesPierre were scheduled to fight June 18, but the bout was postponed after LesPierre’s manager tested positive for COVID-19. Pedraza returned to the MGM Grand “Bubble” in fine form, blunting his southpaw opponent’s offense.

Pedraza (27-3, 13 KOs) knocked down LesPierre (22-2-1, 10 KOs) in the fifth round and showed his class down the home stretch. Another knockdown the 10th was the exclamation point on a nearly flawless performance. For Pedraza, it was a much-needed win, as he was coming off a decision loss to Jose Zepeda last September on the Tyson Fury-Otto Wallin undercard.

“Mikkel was a tough opponent, but I stuck to my game plan. I wanted the knockout, but he stayed strong in there. I give him a lot of credit,” Pedraza said. “I would like to fight any of the world champions, but we have to see what happens next. I proved I belong with the top guys in the 140-pound division.”

— Revenge was officially served. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez (4-1, 3 KOs) dominated Adan Gonzales (5-3-2, 2 KOs) over six rounds in a featherweight rematch of their August 2019 bout, won by Gonzales via split decision. All three judges scored the bout 60-54, as Ramirez officially closed the chapter on his nightmarish professional debut.

“I wanted to put our first fight behind me, and I did that. Ever since our first fight, I wanted the rematch. I am glad this chapter of my career is behind me now,” Ramirez said. “A couple more rounds and I could’ve scored the knockout. But I’ll take the win and continue to work hard on my craft. I have the best trainer in Ismael Salas.”

— Toledo native and junior lightweight contender “Prince” Albert Bell (17-0, 5 KOs) outboxed Mark “Machete” Bernaldez over 10 rounds, claiming a unanimous decision by scores of 100-90 3x. 

— A straight right hand was all she wrote, as Dominican sensation Elvis Rodriguez (7-0-1, 7 KOs) knocked out Danny Murray (5-4) at 2:17 of the opening round of a junior welterweight bout.

— In a six-round heavyweight rumble featuring a pair of 280-plus-pound heavyweights, Kingsley Ibeh (5-1, 4 KOs) won his second “Bubble” bout in a week, edging Patrick Mailata (4-1, 2 KOs) by majority decision (57-57 and 58-56 2x). 

— In a 10-round featherweight slugfest, Jose Enrique Vivas (19-1, 10 KOs) defeated Carlos Jackson (16-1, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 97-93, as Vivas swept the last three rounds on two of the judges’ cards to clinch the win.

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Alex the Great: Saucedo Defeats Sonny Fredrickson by Decision

AS VEGAS (June 30, 2020) — The fighting pride of Oklahoma City put forth a clinic in Las Vegas. Junior welterweight contender Alex Saucedo, fighting for the second time since falling short in a world title bid, bested Sonny Fredrickson by unanimous decision Tuesday evening at the MGM Grand Conference Center — Grand Ballroom. 

The scores (100-90, 99-91 and 98-92) were lopsided in favor of Saucedo (30-1, 19 KOs), who used sustained pressure to pile up the points.

According to CompuBox, Saucedo outlanded Fredrickson, 318-172. 

Fredrickson (21-3, 14 KOs), from Toledo, Ohio, dropped his second fight in a row.

“We worked on a lot of things in the gym. It was important for me to get the rounds in, and Sonny was a tough opponent,” Saucedo said. “I am ready to take over the 140-pound division. Whatever opportunity comes my way, I will take advantage of it. Most importantly, I got rid of the ring rust and went 10 hard rounds.”

— Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas hit Salvador Briceno with everything, including the kitchen sink. After 10 rounds, Briceno was still standing, and Vargas earned a unanimous decision by scores of 100-90 2x and 99-91. Vargas (17-1, 9 KOs), a rising junior welterweight contender, extended his winning streak to 11. Briceno (17-6, 11 KOs) fell to 2-3 in his last five outings.

— Junior welterweight prospect John “El Terrible” Bauza (14-0, 5 KOs) returned from a nearly yearlong layoff, besting “Lethal” Larry Fryers (11-3, 4 KOs) by eight-round unanimous decision (80-72 2x and 79-73).

— Two weeks after a decision loss inside “The Bubble,” Detroit native Isiah Jones (9-2, 3 KOs) rebounded to defeat the previously undefeated Donte Stubbs (6-1, 2 KOs) via majority decision in a six-round middleweight bout. Jones, the first Bubble returnee, prevailed by scores of 57-57, 58-56 and 59-55.

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Mexico City Fight Night: Miguel Berchelt Stops Eleazar Valenzuela in 6
WBC super featherweight world champion Berchelt prevails in lightweight non-title bout

MEXICO CITY (June 27, 2020) — WBC super featherweight world Miguel Berchelt shook off the ring rust Saturday evening, stopping the rugged Eleazar Valenzuela in the sixth round of a lightweight non-title bout at TV Azteca Studios.

Berchelt (38-1, 34 KOs) knocked down Valenzuela (21-14-4, 16 KOs) in the opening round, then continued with a body-head assault until the referee stopped the contest.

It was a furious, sustained offensive output for Berchelt, who landed 201 of 321 power blows (62.6 percent connect rate). Valenzuela landed only 37 of 305 total punches. For Berchelt, he can look ahead to the potential all-Mexican title showdown against Oscar Valdez, the former featherweight world champion who is the WBC’s No. 1 contender at super featherweight. 

“Now what follows is the expected fight against Oscar Valdez,” Berchelt said. “Every fan wants to see that fight, and we are ready for that war.

“I felt great, but the altitude Mexico City hit me a little bit. It is not easy to fight in Mexico City, but thank God we got the victory. Eleazar is a tough fighter. He endured everything I threw at him. He gained my respect. My experience as world champion pushed me forward.”

In other action:

Junior Featherweights: Alan David Picasso (14-1, 5 KOs) UD 8 Florentino Perez Hernandez (14-6-2, 9 KOs). Scores: 80-72 3x 79-73, 79-74, 78-74.

Junior Welterweights: Omar Aguilar (18-0, 17 KOs) TKO 1 Dante Jardon (32-7, 23 KOs).

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Abraham Nova Remains Undefeated with Unanimous Decision over Avery Sparrow

NEW YORK (June 26, 2020) –  World-Ranked Abraham “Super” Nova remained perfect by pounding out a 10-round unanimous decision over tough Avery Sparrow in a junior lightweight bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Nova, 26, who is managed by Split-T Management, took his time and eased into the fight.  Over the first half of the fight, Sparrow showed his mettle, and fought on even terms with the world-ranked Nova.

Abraham Nova (R) smashes Avery Sparrow (L) with a hard right.

Abraham Nova (R) smashes Avery Sparrow (L) with a hard right.

Nova really started to pick up momentum as the fight reached the halfway point, and put his foot on the gas in round eight.
In that round, Nova started to push the action and land some hard combinations.  Nova was the boss in the fight over the final five rounds and won by scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94 to to raise his mark to 19-0.
The native of Albany, New York, who is ranked number-six by the WBA and number-seven by the WBO out-landed Sparrow 112-60, which included a 20-7 advantage in round eight and 73-36 over the last five frames.
“Sparrow was slippery in there and tough to hit. I had to be patient and search for my openings. In the last few rounds, I began to time him, and that won me the fight,” Nova said. “Listen, this was a learning experience. I’ll be ready for the top guys in the 130-pound division very, very soon.” 

Abraham Nova (R) lands a hard right to the jaw of Avery Sparrow (L) .

“The fight was satisfying.  Abraham followed the game-plan perfectly.  He got ring experience.  The game-plan was to box more and not rely on his power.,” said Hector Bermudez, Trainer of Abraham Nova.
  
“Although Sparrow had a good ring IQ, and a difficult Cutie style, Nova made the proper adjustments to win the fight. I knew it was an ugly match-up from the beginning, and far from complimentary to Nova’s ESPN debut. However, we all knew he’d come out victorious. He’s still developing and he will continue to improve in the gym. I have big plans for him in the fall,” Said Tom VanNewhouse of Split-T Management.
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Down Under Thunder: Jason Moloney Stops Leonardo Baez
The unbeaten Abraham Nova defeats Avery Sparrow in tactical co-feature

LAS VEGAS (June 25, 2020) — Two days after bantamweight contender Jason Moloney watched his identical twin brother, Andrew, lose his super flyweight world title, he evened the Las Vegas score. Jason Moloney defeated Leonardo Baez by TKO Thursday evening after Baez’s corner stopped the bout following the conclusion of the seventh round.

Moloney (21-1, 18 KOs) has won four in a row since an October 2018 split decision loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF bantamweight world title. Currently ranked in the top five by all of the major sanctioning organizations, title shot number two may be around the corner.

Baez (18-3, 9 KOs), from Mexicali, Mexico, had won six in a row and was stopped for the first time since 2016.

At the time of the stoppage, all three judges had Moloney ahead (69-64 2x and 68-65)

“That was the greatest moment of my career. It was tough watching my brother the other night, but I knew I had a job to do,” Moloney said. “Thank you to my team. I sacrificed so much for six weeks, leaving my fiancée and my baby. I’m just over the moon.
 
“My brother told me he loved me and that he was proud of me. He’ll be back better than ever. Trust me.”

Nova Slips Past Sparrow

Abraham Nova (19-0, 14 KOs) was faced with the toughest test of his career in Avery Sparrow (10-2, 3 KOs), a savvy veteran schooled in the gyms of Philadelphia.

In a mostly tactical 10-round junior lightweight bout, Nova kept his unbeaten record in tact with a unanimous decision by scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94. Nova is ranked in the top 10 by two of the major sanctioning organizations and hopes a world title shot is in his near future. 

Sparrow was slippery in there and tough to hit. I had to be patient and search for my openings. In the last few rounds, I began to time him, and that won me the fight,” Nova said. “Listen, this was a learning experience. I’ll be ready for the top guys in the 130-pound division very, very soon.”

— Rising featherweight prospect Orlando Gonzalez (15-0, 10 KOs) scored a pair of knockdowns, but Luis Porozo (15-3, 8 KOs) made him work for all eight rounds. Gonzalez ultimately prevailed via unanimous decisions by scores 76-74 and 77-73 2x, as the knockdowns in the second and seventh rounds sealed Porozo’s fate.

— Welterweights Vlad Panin (8-1, 4 KOs) and Benjamin Whitaker (13-4, 3 KOs) fought a close one for six rounds, but Panin received the majority decision nod by scores of 57-57 and 58-56 2x. 

—In a six-round welterweight battle, Reymond Yanong (11-5-1, 9 KOs) outpointed Clay “3rd Degree” Burns (9-8-2 4 KOs) via split decision. Yanong closed the fight strong and is back in the win column after being knocked out in his last fight.

— Kingsley Ibeh (4-1, 4 KOs) knocked out Waldo Cortes (5-3, 2 KOs) in the fourth round of a heavyweight rumble. It was a rematch of a 2019 bout that Cortes won via split decision.

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Split-T Management’s World-Ranked and undefeated Abraham Nova battles Avery Sparrow TONIGHT in Las Vegas

NEW YORK (June 25, 2020) – TONIGHT at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, world-ranked and undefeated junior lightweight Abraham “Super” Nova takes on tough Philly-based Avery Sparrow in the co-feature bout of a Top Rank promoted card on ESPN (8 PM ET / 5 PM PT)
Nova, 26, of Albany, New York has a record of 18-0 with 14 knockouts.
The four-year pro is currently ranked number-six by the WBA and number-seven by the WBO, will be making his 2nd start of 2020.  He is coming off a 4th round stoppage of 57-fight veteran Pedro Navarrete on January 18th in Verona, New York. 
Nova has wins over Martin Nicolas Matamala (9-2), Andres Zapata (7-1), Hassan Nourdine (9-2); He won the NABA Super Featherweight title with a unanimous decision over Suliman Segawa (11-1).
He also defeated  Brian Pelaez (8-2), Mario Lozano (18-2-1) and Luis Ronaldo Castillo (20-3).
Sparrow of Philadelphia is 10-1 with three knockouts. Sparrow has some impressive wins as he defeated Anthony Burgin (10-2), Isaelin Florian (6-0), Joey Laviolette (6-0), Jose Lopez (19-1-1), and his last bout when he won a majority decision over crosstown rival and former world title challenger Hank Lundy (29-7-1) on March 15, 2019 in Philadelphia.
At Wednesday’s weigh-in, Nova was 131.9 lbs.  Sparrow was 131.5 lbs.
Nova is co-promoted by Top Rank, Murphy’s Boxing and 12 Rounds Promotions

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 Joshua Franco Upsets Andrew Moloney to win Super Flyweight Title

Christopher Diaz decisions Jason Sanchez in featherweight co-feature

 LAS VEGAS (June 23, 2020) — According to the oddsmakers, it was an upset, but Joshua Franco (17-1-2, 8 KOs) was not surprised. Franco defeated Andrew Moloney via unanimous decision to win the WBA super flyweight world title Tuesday evening by scores of 115-112 and 114-113 2x.Franco dominated down the stretch, knocked Moloney down in the 11th round and swept the 12th on all three judges’ cards to secure the victory.

“After the fourth round, I gained the momentum and figured him out. I always knew this was possible,” Franco said. “I wasn’t nervous when the decision was being read. I knew I’d done enough to win this fight. My coach, Robert Garcia, had me ready. I’m going home with the belt.”

Moloney (21-1, 14 KOs), from Melbourne Australia, was making his American debut.

“It just wasn’t my night tonight,” Moloney said. “This was not the best version of Andrew Moloney, but full credit to Joshua Franco. He deserved to win the title with his effort. He closed the fight strong, like a true champion.
 
“I’ll be back. One loss won’t define me.”
 
Diaz Decisions Sanchez

Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz (26-2, 16 KOs) is back in the world title picture. Diaz, from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, bested Jason Sanchez (15-2, 8 KOs) via 10-round unanimous decision (98-92 2x, 97-93) in a crossroads featherweight fight.

Diaz has now won two in a row since an April 2019 decision loss to Shakur Stevenson. He has his sights set on a world title opportunity at either featherweight or junior featherweight.

“I can fight at featherweight, or I can make 122 pounds. Whatever Top Rank wants, but I’m ready for a big fight in either weight division. I am a completely different and improved fighter from the one who fought Shakur Stevenson last year,” Diaz said. “I worked on my power in the gym. My coaches, Nelson Rodriguez and Freddie Roach, got me ready for tonight.”
 
— In a six-round battle of unbeaten junior welterweight prospects, Miguel Contreras (11-0, 6 KOs), from Bakersfield, California, bested Rolando Vargas (5-1, 5 KOs) by unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 58-56.

— In a six-round heavyweight bout, Helaman Olguin (8-3, 3 KOs) upset the previously undefeated Adam Stewart (8-1-1, 5 KOs) via majority decision by scores of 57-57 and 58-56 2x. 

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)
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Split-T Management fighter Giovani Santillan Remains Perfect With Majority Decision Over Former World Champion Antonio DeMarco

Giovani Santillan Remains Perfect With Majority Decision Over Former World Champion Antonio DeMarco

Giovani Santillan Remains Perfect

NEW YORK (June 17, 2020) -Split-T Management welterweight Giovani Santillan remained undefeated as he showed his grit by winning a 10-round majority decision over former world champion Antonio DeMarco on Tuesday night at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Giovani Santillan Remains Perfect With Majority Decision Over Former World Champion Antonio DeMarco

Giovani Santillan (L) slams Antonio DeMarco (R) with a left hook to the jaw.

The bout was the co-feature bout of a Top Rank promoted card.
It was a battle that was fought mostly at close-quarters, with Santillan getting credit for lading the more telling blows, and he was able to take the victory by scores of 96-94 twice and 95-95 to raise his perfect mark to 26-0.
“I knew it was a close fight, but I felt like I did enough solid work in there to pull out the win,” Santillan said. “He never hurt me at any point in the fight, but he used his experience in there. He’s a former world champion who has been in there with the best of the best. I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible and use this experience to my advantage.” 
The bout was the co-feature bout of a Top Rank promoted card.
It was a battle that was fought mostly at close-quarters, with Santillan getting credit for lading the more telling blows, and he was able to take the victory by scores of 96-94 twice and 95-95 to raise his perfect mark to 26-0.
“I knew it was a close fight, but I felt like I did enough solid work in there to pull out the win,” Santillan said. “He never hurt me at any point in the fight, but he used his experience in there. He’s a former world champion who has been in there with the best of the best. I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible and use this experience to my advantage.” 
Santillan is co-promoted by Thompson Boxing and Top Rank.
Photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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Jim Strickland, National Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee, Exits the Ring. Famed Boxing Cutman Passes at 90

Jim Strickland, who had successful careers in pharmacy and boxing, passed away at the age of 90 due to complications from Coronavirus at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, IL on June 3rd.  Jim, known as “Strick” in the boxing world, led a unique life by building a reputation in a corner of boxing that few people outside of the ring are familiar with, a cutman.

In his hometown of Kansas City, KS, Jim Strickland learned about the sweet science of boxing as a teenager under the tutelage of Golden Gloves Hall of Fame trainer Arrington “Bubble” Klice.  When Jim traveled to Chicago to box in amateur matches, he fell in love with the alluring buzz of the Windy City.  After graduating from Kansas University in 1954 with a degree in pharmacology, Jim moved to Chicagoland and worked as a pharmacist apprentice at the Joslyn Family Clinic in Maywood, IL.  Soon, he met Don Williams and the pair became the first two Black pharmacists in Maywood and lifelong friends.  In 1968, Jim opened his own business, Strickland Drugs, on Chicago’s southside at 47th and Prairie.  He later opened other pharmacies at 79th and Cottage Grove and 79th and Michigan.  In order to provide children with medical care and revive 47th Street, he orchestrated the opening of the Prairie Place Medical Clinic in 1973.

Jim Strickland

Jim Strickland

Jim had endless energy to pursue his passions.  While managing three pharmacies and acting as the Board of Directors’ Vice Chairman of the Chatham Business Association, he actively advocated for the African American community.  Karen Yarbrough, daughter of Don Williams and Cook County Clerk, remembers him stating, “A giant has fallen.  Jim and Don stood up for justice and equality for African Americans through their work with the NAACP in the Proviso school system in the 60s.  They were responsible for getting Fred Hampton involved with the NAACP in the fight for equality for all.”  When Don became the mayor of Maywood, Jim helped him to bring friends and families together in the community by acting as the Chairman of Special Events of the Maywood Family Fun Fest.  Although Jim had moved with his family to Oak Park, he sought to stimulate community pride in Chicago’s southside.  He envisioned the creation of a mural at 4701 S. Prairie and co-sponsored the work, along with the Community Arts Foundation and Chicago Public Art Group.  Artist Carol Yasko and students from the Dr. Martin Luther King Art Workshop brought Jim’s idea to life.  When no White boxers from Chicago qualified for the National Golden Gloves, the Chicago Tribune Charities pulled their sponsorship of the event for the first time in 43 years.  Acting quickly, Jim spearheaded a team to raise the funds necessary for their trip.

Through the years, Jim never forgot his first love, boxing.  Pursuing his dream, he learned the trade from legendary trainer Eddie Futch.  Jim then began his second career as a boxing manager, trainer and cutman, the latter being the corner person who enables the fight to continue by tending to bloody noses, lacerations or facial swelling. Jim soon trained Chicago boxers Wayne Lynum, Orlando Johnson, Randy Smith and Michael Brothers, all of whom won number 1 rankings and national tournaments.  The first world champion Jim trained was Lee Roy Murphy, who won the 1979 National Golden Gloves.  Murphy went on to win the 1980 Gold Cup International Boxing Tournament (which was held for countries boycotting the Summer Olympics in Moscow) and the 1984 IBF World Cruiser Weight title.

Due to his outgoing and caring nature, Jim formed friendships in the boxing community that spanned decades.  Jim kept in touch with numerous boxers including Michael Brothers, Lee Roy Murphy, Montel Griffin, Mike Garcia, Alfonso Ratliff and Willie McDonald, as well as boxing promoters, managers and doctors such as Bob Arum, Bob Foley, Emanuel Steward, Cedric Kushner and Dr. Glenn Bynum.  Chicago boxing trainer and gym owner Sam Colona says that when he thinks of Jim, “The first thing that comes to my mind is how caring a person he was.  Jim would treat everybody equally and go out of his way to make sure that he would make your life easier.  He loved what he was doing and was a father figure to many young men.”

As Jim’s career in boxing took off, he closed his three drugstores one by one to dedicate himself fully to boxing.  He worked as the Golden Gloves head trainer for 10 years and trained a second world champion, William Guthrie, who won the IBF Light Heavyweight Title in 1997.  In 2001, he began to manage and train his third world champion, Chicago’s “Dangerous” David Diaz.  Diaz held the WBC lightweight title from 2007 to 2008 and fought against Pacquiao in 2008.  Jim and David formed a lasting and close bond that they both cherished.  David fondly remembers Jim stating, “Strick was more than just a coach.  He made me a better boxer, a better husband and a better man.  A lot of who I am today is due to him.”

Jim stayed in the ring well into his 80’s, travelling across five continents to work the corner for 25 world champions, 75 world title fights and hundreds of boxers including: Michael Spinks, Cory Spinks, Leon Spinks, Andrew Golotta, David Tua, Mike McCallum, and Jeff Lacy.  When Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear during the infamous “Bite Fight,” Jim was working Holyfield’s corner as his cutman.  With the support of his friend Ernest Brown, American Boxing Organization Board Member, Jim was inducted into the Illinois Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016 and the National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2019.  That same year, Sam Colona awarded Jim the Golden Gloves Lifetime Achievement award for his 50-year commitment to boxing.

Deanna Strickland, Jim’s wife of 51 years, remembers him lovingly.  “Jim was a unique, multifaceted man.  He enjoyed taking the family to boxing matches as much as he enjoyed taking us to plays!”  Jim was an avid theatregoer, often gathering friends and family to enjoy dramas and musicals at the ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Goodman, Steppenwolf and Court theatres. His love of music led him to visit the city’s many jazz and blues clubs and take family trips to Interlochen National Music Camp in Michigan to enjoy classical music.  As all his friends know, he had an encyclopedic knowledge of restaurants across the country long before YELP existed.  He delighted in discovering new restaurants and revisiting his favorites such as Manny’s, The Berghoff, Lem’s, MacArthur’s and Al’s Beef in Chicago, Brennan’s in New Orleans, the Stage Deli in New York and Gates Barbecue in his hometown of Kansas City, KS.

Jim Strickland with his beloved family.

Jim Strickland with his beloved family.

Jim Strickland will be dearly missed by his wife, Deanna, his four children: Jay, Jeffery, Deanna (Williams) and Dori, granddaughter, Crystal, three great-grandchildren, and all of his family members and friends.  There will be a quiet emptiness in the corners of boxing rings around the globe where he used to stand, bucket and towel in hand, ready to ensure that the fight will go on.

The above piece was written by Dori Strickland, daughter of Jim Strickland.

https://chicagodefender.com/jim-strickland-national-boxing-hall-of-fame-inductee-exits-the-ring-famed-boxing-cutman-passes-at-90/?fbclid=IwAR2lI1QUGcPNeA8WfX37rLcgnuFx4rKVaaMMNPawk8xgkalFDd9kJpEqZFE

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Top Rank on ESPN: Joshua Greer Jr., Jose Pedraza and Emanuel Navarrete to Headline at MGM Grand and TV Azteca Studios 

Greer-Mike Plania, Pedraza-Mikkel LesPierre and Navarrete-Uriel Lopez to top Week 2 cards LIVE on ESPN & ESPN Deportes

LAS VEGAS (June 12, 2020) — Don’t blink. Top Rank on ESPN’s summer schedule resumes with a trio of shows, commencing Tuesday, June 16, with the return of bantamweight contender Joshua “Don’t Blink” Greer Jr. in a 10-rounder against 23-year-old Filipino upstart Mike Plania at the MGM Grand Conference Center – Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas. 
 
The action continues from MGM Grand Thursday, June 18, when former two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza will face former world title challenger Mikkel LesPierre in a 10-round super lightweight showdown.
 
Week 2 concludes Saturday, June 20, at TV Azteca Studios in Mexico City, when WBO junior featherweight world champion Navarrete will fight Uriel “Yuca” Lopez in a 10-round featherweight bout. Navarrete-Lopez will headline one of two June cards from TV Azteca Studios, which will be promoted by Top Rank in association with Zanfer Promotions.
 
All three Week 2 events will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (in Spanish), with start times to be announced shortly.
 
“It is exciting to see these great fighters back in action and in fights that promise to be action-packed,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Greer and Pedraza have tough opponents in front of them, but if they are victorious, we could see them in world title fights before the end of the year. Navarrete is the king of the 122-pounders, a throwback fighter who wants to stay as active as possible.”
 
June 16
MGM Grand Conference Center – Grand Ballroom
 
Main Event
Joshua Greer Jr. (22-1-1, 12 KOs) vs. Mike Plania (23-1, 12 KOs)
10 rounds, Bantamweight
 
Greer, the Chicago product who taunts potential KO victims with custom-made pillows, is knocking on the doorstep of a world title shot. He has won 19 fights in a row and is currently the WBO No. 1 contender at bantamweight. Plania, meanwhile, has won eight straight bouts since a March 2018 decision loss to Juan Carlos Payano, a fight that propelled Payano to a world title shot against pound-for-pound great Naoya Inoue.
 
“Whoever the opponent is, it doesn’t matter. I prepare the same,” Greer said. “Every fight is a world title fight for me. I’m ranked number one in the world, so I have to take advantage of this opportunity. ‘Mr. ESPN’ is back!”
 
Co-Feature
Antonio DeMarco (33-8-1, 24 KOs) vs. Giovani Santillan (25-0, 15 KOs)
10 rounds, Welterweight
 
Former lightweight world champion DeMarco, who is coming off a competitive decision loss to top contender Jamal James, represents a quantum leap in class for the 28-year-old Santillan. A native of San Diego who has stopped his last four opponents, Santillan hopes to become the first man to knock out DeMarco in nearly eight years. In his last bout, he overcame a nearly 19-month layoff to knock out Wilfrido Buelvas in two rounds.
 
Undercard
 
Nikoloz Sekhniashvili (5-0, 4 KOs), a 26-year-old who hails from the nation of Georgia, will make his 2020 debut against Detroit native Isiah Jones (8-1, 3 KOs) in a six-rounder at super middleweight. Sekhniashvili, trained by Javiel Centeno, is part of a deep stable of fighters that includes Puerto Rican phenom Xander Zayas and lightweight contender George Kambosos Jr.
 
Super featherweight prospect Edward Vazquez (7-0, 1 KO), from Fort Worth, Texas, will face an opponent to be named in a six-rounder.
 
Puerto Rican-born heavyweight Hector Perez (6-2, 3 KOs) will fight southpaw spoiler Juan Torres (5-2-1, 2 KOs), from Cypress, Texas, in a six-round bout. Torres has won two straight and has never been knocked out in a professional match.
 
June 18
MGM Grand Conference Center – Grand Ballroom
 
Main Event
Jose Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) vs. Mikkel LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KOs)
10 rounds, Super Lightweight
 
Pedraza, who won world titles at junior lightweight and lightweight, is taking another run at the super lightweight division following last September’s decision loss to Jose “Chon” Zepeda. His opponent LesPierre challenged Maurice Hooker for a world title last year, dropping a unanimous decision. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brooklyn resident received deliveries and assisted doctors and nurses at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in Manhattan.
 
“I am very excited to finally return to the ring after this long break. During quarantine, I made adjustments and trained hard from home, Pedraza said. “Despite everything that is happening in the world, my team and I have had a great training camp. I have done many runs up the mountains in Cidra, Puerto Rico. I am now focused on giving the fans a great show on June 18 against Mikkel LesPierre. We know he is a world-class fighter, but I am, too, and I am determined to return to the top once again.”
 
“I’m excited and blessed to be a part of the first round of televised sports as we navigate through this pandemic,” LesPierre said. “Jose Pedraza is a good fighter and a former world champion, but I feel that I have the tools to beat him. It will be a great fight and an opportunity for me to take my career to the next level. The Maurice Hooker fight was just a taste of what the elite level is all about. I’m determined to get back to title contention. This fight is the first step toward that goal. I’m ready to go.” 
 
Co-Feature
Gabriel Flores Jr. (17-0, 6 KOs) vs. Josec Ruiz (21-2-3, 14 KOs)
10 rounds, Lightweight
 
The 20-year-old Flores, fresh off a win on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury 2 undercard, returns in his first scheduled 10-rounder. Flores, the Stockton, California native who signed with Top Rank when he was 16 years old, packed more than 10,000 spectators into the Stockton Arena last May to establish himself as one of the sport’s top regional ticket-sellers. Ruiz is unbeaten in his last 16 bouts.
 
Undercard
 
David “The Lion of Zion” Kaminsky (6-0, 3 KOs) will face noted spoiler Clay Collard (6-2-3, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder at super middleweight. Collard, who also is a veteran MMA pro, has defeated unbeaten prospects in his last two fights.
 
In four-round bouts each, Puerto Rican super featherweight Frevian Gonzalez (2-0, 1 KO) will fight an opponent to be named, while super lightweight Victor Rodriguez (2-0, 1 KO) will face Justin Horsley (0-1).
 
June 20
TV Azteca Studios
 
Main Event
Emanuel Navarrete (31-1, 27 KOs) vs. Uriel Lopez (13-13-1, 6 KOs)
10 rounds, Featherweight
 
Boxing’s most active world champion, Navarrete defended his title five times (all by KO) in nine months, most recently knocking out Jeo Santisima on the Wilder-Fury 2 Pay-Per-View undercard. Navarrete is fighting as a featherweight for the first time in nearly three years in what will be his sixth bout in 13 months. Lopez has a 2016 knockout victory over longtime Japanese contender Ryo Matsumoto.
 
Undercard action will feature Carlos “Chinito” Ornelas (25-2, 14 KOs), who will take on Edwin “Pupo” Palomares (12-3-1, 3 KOs) in a 10-rounder at featherweight. Featherweight prospect Sergio Chirino Sanchez (14-1, 8 KOs) will look to extend his winning streak to six against Gustavo Alan Pina (8-2, 5 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
 
Former interim world champion Silvia Torres (20-2-2, 7 KOs) will face 21-bout veteran Edith de Jesus Flores in an eight-rounder at light flyweight.
 
Mexico City-based flyweight prospect Ivan Armando Garcia (5-0, 3 KOs) will fight Roberto Palomares (5-4-1, 1 KO) in his first scheduled six-rounder.

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Boxing is Back: Shakur Stevenson Stops Felix Caraballo

Jared Anderson, Guido Vianello and Robeisy Ramirez also notch victories @ MGM Grand in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (June 9, 2020) — Boxing is back, and Shakur Stevenson put on a show. The WBO featherweight world champion, who was making his super featherweight debut, knocked out Puerto Rican contender Felix “La Sombra” Caraballo in the sixth round of a scheduled 10-rounder at MGM Grand Conference Center—Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas.

Stevenson showcased his talents in the first major boxing card in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

A body shot spelled the end for Caraballo (13-2-2, 9 KOs), who had won five in a row before tonight. For Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs), the sky remains the limit. 

Shakur Stevenson Stopping Felix Caraballo

Shakur Stevenson Stopping Felix Caraballo

Everything about this fight week was different. After my last fight was canceled, I was happy to showcase my skills for all of the boxing fans,” Stevenson said. “He hit me with a couple shots, more than I’m used to, a couple jabs here and there. He was a tough guy, but I felt great in there after my training camp in Houston.”

Said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum: “What a magnificent performance by Shakur Stevenson. He keeps on getting better, and rest assured, he is a future pound-for-pound superstar.”

Winner and still champion – Shakur Stevenson

— Heavyweight sensation Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson (4-0, 4 KOs) wore down Johnnie Langston (8-3, 3 KOs) before a furious barrage ended things at 1:55 of the third round. Anderson was extended past the first round for the first time in his career.

“He took some good shots. He was a tough opponent. I did what I wanted to. I did some stuff I didn’t want to do. I got caught with a good shot. It didn’t hurt me, but I definitely got caught with it,” Anderson said. “I know a different opponent could hurt me with a shot like that. We’ll go back to the drawing board and see what I did wrong.
 “This wasn’t what I expected, but it was a great experience. I’m happy I got the opportunity to showcase my talents on ESPN at such a young age.”

Guido “The Gladiator” Vianello (7-0, 7 KOs) knocked out Don Haynesworth (16-4-1, 14 KOs) in the opening round, the fourth first-round stoppage of Vianello’s young career. A right hand knocked Haynesworth down, and referee Jay Nady stopped the bout.

Shakur Stevenson (R) slamming Felix Caraballo with a hard right to the jaw.

“It was an interesting experience. I spent three days relaxing in my hotel room, but everything went according to plan,” Vianello said. “I knew the right hand would be there, so I worked to set up that shot. I could not have asked for anything more.”

— Two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez (3-1, 3 KOs) notched his third consecutive win, knocking out Yeuri Andujar (5-4, 3 KOs) in the opening round. Referee Tony Weeks called a halt to the contest after Andujar was knocked down for a second time.

Jared Anderson

“It was an honor to be the first fight back, and I am proud of the performance I gave tonight. My pro debut is long behind me, and I am progressing with every fight. I hope to return shortly,” Ramirez said. “I have a great trainer in Ismael Salas, who continues to add dimensions to my game. He is the man to lead me to a world title.”

Jared Anderson (R) pounding Johnnie Langston

Jared Anderson (R) pounding Johnnie Langston

Quatavious Cash (12-2, 7 KOs) rolled to a six-round technical decision over Calvin Metcalf (10-4-1, 3 KOs) after an accidental head clash opened a cut over Metcalf’s eye. The scorecards read 60-54, 60-55 and 59-55.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/ Top Rank)

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Former Amateur Great Vince Shomo is gravely Ill
By Henry Hascup
June 1 – I just received this from Sparkle Lee
 
Hello Sparkle. This is Sean , Vince Shomo’s Son. I pray this message finds you well. I wanted to inform you that my Dad has been battling Dementia and Cancer and his condition is worsening. He may not have much longer. I wanted to know if you can reach out to any of his boxing buddies and give them my and my Sister’s numbers? Also please feel free to contact us for more details.
 
Thank you. Sean Shomo (443) 722-7818 Shevaun Shomo (570) 856-1983

Vince Shomo had an Amateur Boxing Record of 651-4 with most of his wins coming by knockouts. He use to box every week and sometimes 2 or 3 times a week.

Vince Shomo won four New York Daily News Golden Gloves Championships. Shomo won the 1956 featherweight Sub-Novice title, and the 1957, 1959 and the 1960 lightweight Open championships. Shomo trained at the City Youth Organization Gym in New York City. In 1957 he won the New York Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions at lightweight, by decision over Billy Copeland, also in 1957 he was on the short end of a decision to Billy Braggs for the Intercity Golden Gloves lightweight championship. In 1958 he won an Intercity Golden Gloves lightweight title over Billy Braggs. In 1959 he won the New York Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions at lightweight, by first round ko over Darrell Powell, also in 1959 he won the Intercity Golden Gloves lightweight championship by stopping Fred (Rocky) Davis in the second round, video. In 1960 he won the New York Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions, by first round ko over Leonard Thomas, also in 1960 he decisioned Brian O’Shea for the Intercity Golden Gloves championship at lightweight. Shomo was also the National AAU Light Welterweight champion in 1957, 1958, and 1960.

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Split-T Management Signs Puerto Rico’s Olympic Trials champion Omar Rosario 

NEW YORK (May 28, 2020) – Split-T Management has announced the addition of a second top amateur prospect this week, as 2020 Olympic hopeful Omar Rosario of Puerto Rico has signed with the company.  
Rosario, of Caguas, PR, is the Puerto Rican Olympic Trial Champion at 152 lbs., and was the island’s favorite to win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However after many conversations with his coaches and family surrounding the uncertainty of the Olympic games due to postponement of the games due to COVID-19, Rosario has decided to make the transition to the pro ranks under the guidance of Split-T’s Tim VanNewhouse.
Rosario will campaign in the junior welterweight division. 
“Although I am disappointed I won’t be able to compete for Puerto Rico in the Olympics this year, I feel that I am better able to represent my country in the pros. Puerto Rico is looking for their next superstar, and I am that guy,” said Rosario with a smile. 
Rosario, 22, has come a long way since he began boxing at the age of seven after being inspired by the success of fellow countryman and fellow Caguas-native Miguel Cotto. Rosario has followed in Cotto’s footsteps ever since – winning six Puerto Rican National Championships and representing the National Team in various international competitions. In fact, Cotto’s father, Miguel Sr., was Rosario’s first trainer and Rosario describes him as being “like a second father” to him growing up.
“I am ready and working hard every day to build a great legacy in boxing and I know that Tim and the whole Split-T family will help me do that. I just want to make the people of Puerto Rico proud.”
Rosario’s current  trainer, Joe Santiago, the coach of the Puerto Rican National Team and Miguel Cotto’s trainer for multiple world title bouts, commented that, “The Olympics are a myth right now and we are going to take advantage of this time to begin Omar’s journey into the pros. He has all the right tools and physicality to become a multi-divisional World Champ.”
According to VanNewhouse, Rosario is a complete fighter with good fundamental skills – honed by over 200 amateur bouts – with a particular fondness for attacking the body like his idol, Cotto. 
“I’m really excited about adding Omar to our growing roster of young talent. He’s from a deep boxing culture in Puerto Rico that has great love and pride for the sport. Omar’s an outstanding talent and he can easily be described as a boxer-puncher with a beautiful, precise left hook – similar to Cotto’s when he was an amateur. With Omar’s ability and experience he has a maturity about him that should help him make a flawless transition to the professional ranks,” stated VanNewhouse. 
Rosario enjoys a strong support system at home that includes his brother Jose, a 2015 Pan-Am Games Bronze medalist boxer for Puerto Rico, and is in the process of completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing & Finance at Ana G. Méndez Universidad. 
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Split-T Management Signs United States Olympic Trials Champion Javier Martinez

NEW YORK (May 27, 2020) – Split-T Management is pleased to announce the signing of highly coveted amateur Javier Martinez.
Martinez, 23, was the 2020 Olympic Trial Champion at middleweight, but has decided to turn professional under the guidance of Split-T Management’s Tim VanNewhouse. A five-time National Champion, and the number-one ranked fighter at 165 pounds in the USA Boxing Rankings, Martinez’s selection as an Olympic alternate despite his victory at the trials and various international experience caused shock-waves through the amateur system. 
“Being a casualty of the new Olympic selection process just makes me that much more determined. I am going to show, time and time again why I was deserving of that spot. That said, I am excited to turn professional, and this is the perfect situation. Tim came at me with a good plan for my future and I have a great feeling about him and the whole Split-T family,” said Martinez.  
The son of Mexican immigrants from Palos Altos, Jalisco, Martinez began boxing at the age of eight after following his older brothers into the gym. 
“I want to make something big out of boxing, and provide a better life for myself and family – especially my son.  At this point of my life, I feel that Split-T will move me the right way and guide me into becoming a world champion.” 
A Milwaukee-native, Martinez is now training in Las Vegas, Nevada under the tutelage of  renowned trainer Jorge Capetillo, and is expected to make his debut at Super Middleweight within the next couple of months. 
“Javier has good physical attributes as he stands 6’1″. He has a fan-friendly, pressure style, who stalks his opponents behind a tight defense with well-selected combinations. He enjoys investing in the body, and shows a nice blend of aggression and power. Javier is a fundamentally complete fighter with balance, power and mobility.   That is why there were so many people trying to recruit him. Javier’s the type of athlete that will be placed on a fast track and debut in a six-round bout. He will soon be paired with one of the best promoters in the world, and I can’t wait to see him on TV soon,” said VanNewhouse.
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Undefeated boxing prospect Lamont Powell Escaped 36-bullet shooting without a scratch Founded “Gloves Up, Guns Down” charity

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (May 5, 2020) –  Undefeated super welterweight prospect Lamont “The Blessed One” Powell, based on a near death experience 2-½ years ago in Providence, could easily have “Lucky” as his nickname.

The 26-year-old Powell was a three-time Silver Mittens champion, who compiled a 45-4 amateur record, prior to turning two years ago.  He is 5-0 (1 KO) as a professional but, due to the pandemic, he hasn’t fought since last August, when he won a 4-round unanimous decision over 14-7-1 Ricardo Garcia.

Lamont Powell

Lamont Powell

Back on that near fatal night in 2018, Lamont and his uncle were sitting in a car in front of Powell’s home, when another vehicle suddenly and surprisingly stopped near them. Two unidentified young men jumped out and starting firing automatic weapons in Powell’s direction. Thirty-six rounds were shot, one hit Powell’s uncle in the leg, but Powell somehow miraculously escaped without a scratch.

“No bullets hit me,” Powell confirmed.  “I’m blessed and the reason for that is God and my mother – we lost her (Melissa) when I was 3 – who is my guardian angel.  We were just sitting in a car, when two kids got out of a car and starting shooting our car.  They had extended clips, but I don’t know who they were, and neither do the police to this day.  My uncle was taken to the hospital and I had to start watching myself closer.”

Powell’s grandparents – Phillip Copper and Mary Ann Powell – brought him up, because his mother had passed away and his father was in and out of his life.  His grandmother is his legal guardian and his grandfather has been like a father since he was a baby.

Naturally, after his surreal experience, Powell dramatically changed his lifestyle.  Instead of running the streets and ending up like many people he knew, dead or incarcerated, Powell dedicated himself to boxing and created a charity for high-risk kids, Gloves Up, Guns Down, sponsored by Big Six Boxing Academy in Providence, where he trains with his grandfather as head coach, as well as having former U.S. Olympian boxer Jason “Big Six” Estrada in his corner.

After the shooting somebody who had been shot in the head reached out to Powell.  They met to talk about what they’d been through and soon created Gloves up, Guns Down, which “blew up” overnight, according to Powell.

“Gloves Up, Guns Down” offers at-risk youngsters an opportunity to try boxing as part of an after-school program aimed to keep kids active and out of trouble.  Kids are supplied with boxing equipment and taught valuable lessons through boxing with proper coaching and support.

“I started boxing when I was eight years old,” Powell added.  “Boxing kept me off of the streets and busy.  This is a sport outside of school that everyone can get involved in.”

Powell is promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Sports and Entertainment (CES).  Burchfield clearly remembers the first time he saw Powell, because he was so impressive running a hilly 2 ½ mile course around a pond at Lincoln Woods State Park.

“I walk there often, and I’ve watched everybody struggle running those hills, including top athletes,  but I saw this kid running the hills without a problem,” Burchfield remembered.  “I later found out that he was a boxer and knew I’d never have to worry about him being in top shape. 

“Lamont came to see me with his grandfather, who has been such a big part of his life, and later Roland Estrada joined us.  I was impressed because Lamont had a full-time job, yet, he trains so hard.  I learned that he came from one of the toughest areas of Providence and ran the streets as a kid. One day, he called and asked if I would go with him to the Met School, where he was going to be speaking to about 150 kids and teachers.  He spoke about running the streets and admitted that he had done it all.  He said to me that if he could impact the lives of one or two of those kids, he’d feel happy, and that brought tears to my eyes.  He was going speak at other schools, but this pandemic has put that on hold for now. His program is No. 1 in his life, helping at-risk kids so they don’t repeat what Lamont did when he was younger.”

In the ring, Powell displays a stiff jab and, of course, tremendous conditioning.  And like most boxers, he believes that he’ll be a champion someday.

“Everything is going as planned with CES,” Powell concluded.  “My grandfather has been my head coach since day one, Jason also coaches me, and Doc. Estrada is my adviser.  Boxing came naturally to me.  I just needed to put in the hard work.  Someday I will be a champion and I can’t wait to see my grandfather in the ring holding the belt over his head, because nobody deserves that more than him.”

Burchfield has been a boxing promoter for nearly 30 years, and he agrees that Powell will be a champion someday.  “He’s definitely is on a mission to be a champion,” Burchfield added,  and he has everything needed to make that happen.  This kid has a really good story.  He can be a champion and continue helping at-risk kids have better lives.  What’s better than that?”

Powell, who also gave-away toys to children in need last Christmas at Big Six Boxing Academy, is on the boxing journey of his career that he believes will climax someday with him being crowned world champion. 

In short, Lamont Powell is the total package, in and out of the ring.  And lucky to be alive!

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Emanuel Navarrete Looks Ahead to Future at 122 and 126 Pounds

Watch as world champion Emanuel "Vaquero"  Navarrete talks fighting Naoya Inoue, unification fights & his possible move to featherweight. 

Watch as world champion Emanuel “Vaquero”  Navarrete talks fighting Naoya Inoue, unification fights & his possible move to featherweight. 

(April 20, 2020) — WBO junior featherweight king Emanuel Navarrete is the world’s busiest world champion, a 25-year-old pressure fighter who is proud to represent his Mexican heritage at the sport’s highest level. From May 2019 to February 2020, when he knocked out Jeo Santisima on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury II card, he defended his world title five times.

The activity kept him sharp and in the spotlight, but with the COVID-19 pandemic and the recovery process from an injured right had, Navarrete is taking a breather.

From his home in Mexico, the “Mexican Iron Man” recently spoke with Lupe Contreras. This is what he had to say.

On dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic
 
“This is really complicated for me. Like you just mentioned, I’m constantly working and fighting, and all of a sudden, the pandemic arrives, and we had to put the brakes on because I was used to fighting every two months. Right now, I would’ve been in the hardest stage of my preparation for my next bout, but we are dealing with the pandemic. I haven’t let it affect me that much because I fought like 15 to 20 days before the pandemic started, but the way I was fighting, it was going to be complicated to stay as active. Like I said, at this moment I would’ve been in the final stage of my preparation, and it’s just not that way. Right now, everything is very calm. I’ve installed a few machines just to have a gym at home. I’m maintaining my conditioning, so I can be ready whenever we get back to the ring. I’ll be ready to face any fighter.”
 
On fighting underneath the Wilder-Fury II main event
 
“It was a dream come true for me. It was always one of my goals to fight in an event that big. I still think that I could be the co-main event to an event like that, but taking into consideration that I only have been champion for a year, and I’ve already been part of such a big event as Wilder vs. Fury II, I think it puts me in a great position in boxing. I feel happy because, like I said, one of my goals was to fight in an event like that, and I did after just a year as champion. That was iconic. I feel happy because that was my fifth title defense, and I did it on a PPV. That was personally a special moment in my journey as champion. We feel very proud, happy and satisfied of what we have represented in my time as a champion.”
 
On the status of his injured right hand
 
“Look, the truth is I couldn’t perform at 100 percent like I’m used to. I couldn’t perform as well, but thanks to God, everything came out well. We did the work. We won the fight. I believe that chasing the knockout, even in that condition, it personally gave me the confidence. Maybe I thought that I couldn’t do it, but I did it. The recovery was a little bit complicated because going to therapy and being in recovery, I don’t like it that much. It’s tough because I rarely get injured, but this time I got injured, and it was a little bit more severe because I had to go to therapy. It was complicated.
 
“Look, I really didn’t have anything scheduled, but even if I had something, I would’ve declined any event after the fight because of the injury. This is something that is a priority because I depend on my hands to keep on boxing and to perform well the way I’ve been doing it. There is no point in going into a fight while I’m injured. That’s why I would’ve declined to fight in any event after my last fight.”
 
On proving people wrong when he defeated Isaac Dogboe to win the title

“The only ones that have always really believed in me and motivated me were my team. That is my head coach, his son who is my second trainer, my mom, and my dad. All the others thought that it was great that I was going to be fighting for a title, but I felt that they didn’t believe in me 100 percent. The key was that I always trained for a victory. I never thought that I was going to lose or that it was good that I was going for a title. A lot of them told me that I was going to the United States but that I was going there to lose. ‘You are going for the world title. You are going to enjoy it, but you are going to lose.’ The answer or the comment always was that, ‘You are going to lose, they are going to rob you, or whatever, but you are going to lose,’ and I told them that I was going to win. My team always thought that we were coming for a victory. We never thought that I was going to lose. My preparation gave us a lot of confidence. I prepared in Tijuana, and the time I was there, I was focused and always thinking about a victory. We never thought negatively. We were always positive. I enjoyed winning that way because I showed a lot of people that were saying that I couldn’t do it, that I did do it, and I brought the world title to Mexico.”
 
On his confidence as a world champion
 
“I knew that obviously we work hard for certain things and certain goals. The moment that Bob Arum mentioned I felt like one of the stars in boxing or one of the most important champs in boxing… because representing my country on such an iconic date and in Las Vegas, it’s something a lot of people can’t say that they have done. When they gave me the opportunity to do it, it helped me a lot with my confidence because I knew that they were trusting me, that they wanted to see me for a reason. It gave me confidence because I have always thought that I must put on a good show for the people. They are the ones that choose who are the stars.”
 
On his rapid rise through the boxing ranks
 
“I believe that we have done a lot of good things in a short amount of time. I see it that way. The fans are used to watching me fight because I’ve been fighting constantly. I did five title defenses in nine months. That’s fighting every month and a half or every two months at the most. Seeing me fight constantly created that connection and love with the fans. That’s what I think. Also, I have said it, and I keep saying it because it takes me a lot. There are times that I have the fight figured out, and it becomes easy for me to get the victory. I could cruise like we say in boxing, but I’m always going for the knockout. Always! It doesn’t matter if my hands are hurt. It hasn’t happened yet, but even if I suffer a cut, or talking negatively, having my worst moment in a fight, I would still be looking to drop my opponent and go for the knockout. I believe the fans appreciate that even if I could cruise to get a victory, I always try to knock out my opponents.”
 
On the support from the fans and his promoters

“I’ve always wanted to unify titles, and you have seen that I’ve never declined any fight. I have always tried to make the unification fights happen. They haven’t happened, but it’s not because I don’t want them, or that I don’t have the interest, or that I couldn’t do them. It really is because there are a lot of things in between. And I’m OK with that because I have looked for those fights. If the unification fights haven’t happened, it’s because the other parties don’t want them. The other sides have never reached out to me, and there has never being any interest on their part.”

On the future

 
“If we get through this {pandemic} quickly, and there is interest from the Japanese fighter (Naoya Inoue), I believe it will be easier to make a fight with him than with any other fighter at 122. But it’s like I just mentioned. There is no interest from their part. He really did what he wanted at 118 and then he sent out a release saying that he was going to move up to 122, my division. When he did it, I saw the possibility of fighting him because he signed with Top Rank, but after that, he said he was going to face Johnriel Casimero. They were supposed to face each other in April. I don’t know if it will happen, but if it happens, it will have to be right after we get through the pandemic. It would have to happen right away because the truth is that I’m seriously thinking of moving up to 126, and the only thing that could keep me at 122 would be a big fight against Inoue or a possible unification against one of the champions. That is the reality of why I would stay around at 122. If it’s not that way, I will move up to 126.”

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Former Top Ranked Welterweight Contender and NY State Boxing Hall of Famer Dickie DiVeronica dies at 82

By Ron John Rinaldi

It was a sad day when the final bell tolled on former world top-ranked world welterweight fighter Dickie DiVeronica at the age of 82 after a brief illness.

Dickie DiVeronica with his family at the IBOF in 2018.

In a career that spanned three decades from 1958-1972, Veronica posted a highly respectable record of 44-13-1 (13 KO’s), including three Madison Square Garden wins against William Viera (March 20, 1959), Tommy Tibbs (October 23, 1959), and Tommy Garrison (March 20, 1964). The same ring that he fought on in Madison Square Garden now sits inside The International Boxing Hall of Fame, in Veronica’s hometown of Canastota, New York.

At one point in his career, Dickie was ranked as high as #8 in the world.

Former Top Ranked Welterweight Contender and NY State Boxing Hall of Famer Dickie DiVeronica in training.

“Dickie DiVeronica was as tough as they come and, with his crowd pleasing style, made Canastota proud every time he stepped into the ring,” released the Hall of Fame. “He was an integral part of Canastota’s long and storied boxing history, which led the village to establish the International Boxing Hall of Fame to honor the entire sport. The Hall of Fame joins Canastota and the boxing community in mourning the loss of one of our own.”

He was also one of the friendliest faces and nicest fighters in Canastota and was a major fan favorite. I personally remember seeing him for years at the Hall of Fame as a child and he always signed autographs and spoke kindly to the fans that assembled there.

DiVeronica was born in 1938 and participated in football and wrestling at Canastota High School. He began his professional boxing career in 1958 and so great was his start that he won his first 20 bouts, many of them in Syracuse. His first loss came in 1960 by decision to Jackie Donnelly in Buffalo.

Unfortunately in the prime of his career, DiVeronica was drafted into the Army in 1961, but returned to boxing in 1964.

He fought many great fighters, including Emile Griffith who stopped DiVeronica in the seventh round of a fight in Syracuse in 1969

DiVeronica was inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame in 2019, and was a frequent guest at the annual Induction Weekend at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota.

He will be greatly missed.

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International Olympic Committee Press Release concerning the rescheduling to 2021

April 16, 2020. IOC and Tokyo 2020 Joint Statement – Framework for Preparation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Following their Postponement to 2021

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) met today for an Executive Project Review via teleconference.

IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates and Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi joined Tokyo 2020 President MORI Yoshiro and CEO MUTO Toshiro for the meeting. During the productive discussion, Tokyo 2020 and the IOC agreed on the following framework, that will govern preparations for the postponed Games: 

Governance

  • The process to deliver the Games in 2021 is overseen by a Joint Steering Committee which is led by IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates and Tokyo 2020 President MORI Yoshiro. The Committee will include Tokyo 2020 CEO MUTO Toshiro and IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi.
  • The meetings of the Joint Steering Committee will be held whenever necessary, in order to ensure permanent coordination and efficient decision-making.
  • Supporting this Joint Steering Committee, Tokyo 2020 and the IOC will each have their own respective task forces: the “Here we go” Task Force on the IOC side, and the “New Launch” Task Force on the Tokyo 2020 side.

Principles

  • The key elements of the planning for 2021 should replicate the existing Games Delivery Plan for 2020. Particular focus will be placed on the venues and the competition schedule, which were originally agreed by all stakeholders as the best plan for the 2020 edition. On this basis, the Japanese side including Tokyo 2020 will request that each planned venue owner organises the Games according to this schedule on the new dates in 2021. The Japanese side will also seek understanding for these preparations.
  • On the basis of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and all Olympic and Paralympic Movement stakeholders, in conjunction with Japanese side including the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, will explore all opportunities to optimise and streamline the scope and service levels at the Games, and reduce the costs that have been caused by the postponement. The IOC and the Japanese side, including the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, will continue to assess and discuss jointly about the respective impacts caused by the postponement.
  • A number of measures addressing the potential impact of COVID-19 will be incorporated into the Games Delivery Plan for the Games in 2021.

Timeline

  • The details of planning for Tokyo 2020 in 2021 are being examined this month with a view to establishing a new roadmap for the Games by May 2020, in order to then align resources and priorities accordingly. 

Speaking after the meeting, IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said, “Since the postponement of Tokyo 2020 to 2021 was agreed a few weeks ago, the strong spirit of collaboration between the IOC, the IPC, the Olympic Movement, Tokyo 2020 and the Japanese authorities has already allowed us to bring some clarity and certainty to athletes, fans and stakeholders around the world. The principles outlined today will allow us to continue in this spirit, and to answer the many questions that remain, in as efficient a manner as possible.

We believe that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times, and that the Olympic flame can be the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. The Joint Steering Committee will give its all to ensure that this is the case.”

Tokyo 2020 President MORI Yoshiro commented, “Soon after the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games on 24 March 2020, Tokyo 2020 established a ‘New Launch’ Task Force on 26 March and we have been working since then to create a structure capable of overcoming these unprecedented challenges. We believe that today’s new step is an important achievement in advancing over the coming year what we have prepared over the past five to six years. We will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure the success of the Games.”

###

The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.

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Miguel Berchelt Ready For All-Mexican Showdown Against Oscar Valdez

CLICK HERE to watch full Q&A with Lupe Contreras

(April 15, 2020) — His message is crystal clear. WBC super featherweight world champion Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) wants all the big names. Whether it’s fellow Mexican action star Oscar Valdez, IBF champion Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, WBA champion Rene Alvarado, WBO champion and promotional stablemate Jamel Herring, or lightweight standouts Vasiliy Lomachenko and Gervonta Davis, Berchelt is itching to get back to action.
 
The Cancun native, who has made six defenses of his world title, recently spoke with Lupe Contreras. This is what he had to say.
 
On what he’s been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic
 
“We are still staying home and protecting ourselves from this bad virus that has knocked out a lot of people.
 
“We are taking care of ourselves by staying home. We are trying to stay active. We know that we have to take all the necessary precautions because we are high-performance athletes and we got to be careful.”
 
On training for a fight without knowing when he will fight again
 
“Well, it’s very difficult. Thankfully, we have the opportunity of having a stationary walker at home. I tried to run a little bit, and I do a little bit of shadowboxing, abs, push-ups. But it’s basically that. I believe it’s not the same as training in the gym, but we got to remember that we live off of staying in shape, and because of that, we must stay active.
 
“Nobody really knows when this pandemic will be over. But we have spoken to Top Rank President, Todd duBoef, and he has been giving us updates. We hope that this will be over soon. They have been thinking about all the alternatives, and one of them could be having fights without the public. I think that could be a big accomplishment because all fighters are standing by. A lot of us make a living by just boxing. I also believe that the TV networks are looking for content because they are running low on content right now. We hope for this to end soon so we can make the {Oscar Valdez} fight happen.”
 
On Oscar Valdez and his trainer, Eddy Reynoso
 
“Yes, of course I believe Oscar is a great fighter. I respect him a lot, but now we must face each other. I think Eddy Reynoso has come to add a lot of good things to his corner. He has also done a good job with Canelo Alvarez and Ryan Garcia. Now he is doing it with Oscar Valdez. It’s an excellent team, but on my side, I’m the champion and I also have a great trainer in Alfredo Caballero. It will be a great fight between Mexican fighters and Mexican trainers.”
 
On whether Valdez’s aggressive style will work against him
 
“No, I think they will have to come up with a good strategy. It’s worth noting that Oscar has already suffered an injury on his jaw. If I’m not mistaken, it happened in his fight against Scott Quigg. He broke his jaw. That’s why I believe they are going to try to fight a smart fight. He is also moving up in weight, and I don’t think he should be trading punches with me.”
 
On fighting Shakur Stevenson
 
“Of course! He is also a great fighter. Shakur Stevenson is a former Olympian and trains alongside Terence Crawford. I believe he is a fighter with a lot of ability and is one of the best fighters that Top Rank has right now, but like I mentioned, we are waiting for the fight with Oscar. I think he is still campaigning at 126. But when he gets to 130, I would like to face him. I think he is a great fighter, and I believe the fans want to see ‘El Alacrán’ Berchelt against the best.”
 
On his change once he became champion
 
“Well, it is a great responsibility. Everyone wants to be where you are. Now you become the target, and they are coming after you. Everyone wants to literally rip your head off. They want the crown. They want the belt. You realize that you have more responsibilities by having the belt, and you got to keep showing why you are the champion. That is why I’m still the champion after three years and six title defenses. We are going to keep walking this road. Losing my unbeaten record taught me a lot, and it didn’t only make me a better fighter, but it also made me a better person.”
  
On if he wants to unify the titles
 
“Of course! I would love to. JoJo Diaz was recently crowned as IBF champion. Also, Jamel Herring and Rene Alvarado. There are some great champions in the division, but right now, all I have on my mind is to face Oscar, be victorious on this seventh title defense, and after that, whoever comes, comes for Miguel Berchelt.”
 
On fighting Vasiliy Lomachenko
 
“Of course! Right now, he is one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world. I think he is only behind Canelo Alvarez. I would like to. Right now, my focus is getting through this situation of the pandemic. Then I will begin training and returning to all activities so I can face Oscar Valdez. After that, we can talk moving up to 135 to face someone like Vasiliy Lomachenko. He is a fighter that I have always wanted to face, or Teofimo Lopez.”
 
On fighting Gervonta Davis
 
“There are a lot of good fights to be made, but without a doubt, I would love to face Gervonta Davis. He is a very dangerous fighter and a lot of people would like to face him, but his promoter, Floyd Mayweather, protects him too much.”

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World Champion Jose Ramirez and Central Valley Community Leaders Join Forces to Assist Agricultural Workers 
GoFundMe page has also been set up to benefit the Central Valley’s agricultural workers

FRESNO, Calif. (April 15, 2020)— California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 last month, declaring a state of emergency ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home “except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”
 
Agriculture is considered one of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors, with agricultural workers critical to keeping our daily lives functioning. The hardworking members of the Central Valley who work in the fields, packing houses, processing plants, dairies, animal farms, and other supporting industries make up this critical infrastructure.
 
Unified super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez and his team are partnering with area farmers, packing houses, farm labor contractors, Dr. Juan Bautista and Dr. Ignacio Guzman, County Supervisor Richard Valle, Nisei Farmers League, Waste Management, Fresno State, Super Mercado, and Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino to provide these unsung heroes with appreciation boxes that include essential household items such as toilet paper, facial tissue, detergent, cleaning supplies, other non-perishable items, and preventative health items and educational information. 

Ramirez and his team have committed to a minimum of 1,000 boxes and have a goal of producing at least 5,000 boxes. In addition, 10,000 face masks have been secured for workers and their families. 

“Agricultural workers are our neighbors, friends and the glue that holds our communities together. Without their essential work, life would be very difficult during this COVID-19 pandemic. They are at work while stores run out of toilet paper and other essential items,” Ramirez said. “These workers are fighting hard for us night and day to keep food on the shelves. They are risking everything, and we want to fight for them right now and show our support.”
 
Over the next 14 days, donations will be accepted for the appreciation boxes. Ramirez and others will be giving these boxes to the workers in person to show their appreciation and support. Also included will be a signed picture from Ramirez with a personal note and a pair of free tickets to his next fight in the Central Valley. 
 
“The Central Valley is a special place full of dedicated men and women who are out in the fields helping to sustain Americans through this trying time,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Ramirez’s promoter. “Jose and community leaders across the Central Valley are rallying together for a wonderful cause.”
 
If you are a large or small business and wish to join this amazing cause by donating items for the creation of these appreciation boxes, please e-mail Rick Mirigian at rmirigian@gmail.com or call (559) 614-5686. 
 
For monetary donations, a GoFundMe page (Ag Workers Support Fund) has been created by The Bautista Foundation, or they can be given directly to The Bautista Foundation. No gift is too small, and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the agricultural workers risking their health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Unified Super Lightweight World Champion Jose Ramirez Wants All The Belts

CLICK HERE FOR FULL INTERVIEW with Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher

(April 14, 2020) — WBC/WBO super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez is staying ready. The 2012 U.S. Olympian has not fought since knocking out Maurice Hooker last July in a title unification bout. He was supposed to fight Viktor Postol Feb. 2 in China (Feb. 1 prime time in the U.S.), but it became the first major bout to be impacted by COVID-19. The May 9 makeup date in Fresno also fell by the wayside. 
 
Ramirez is self-quarantining with his family in California’s Central Valley, but he is awaiting the call for the third — and hopefully final — Postol fight date.
 
He recently spoke with Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher. This is what he had to say.
 
CP: How have you dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic?
 
JR: “Obviously it’s the second time my fight gets postponed. There’s a lot of frustration there because of the sacrifices we go through. I’ve been training for the same fight since November. I trained through the holidays, which is always difficult.
 
“Me having my boy, I want to spend as much time with him now that he’s getting older by the second. It’s hard. I had a plan for 2020, just like any other fighter. I had a plan to fight three times. I was happy that I was going to start early and hopefully move to the {welterweight} division next year. It throws me off. It sets me back. Everything happens for a reason, I believe. Right now, we just have to stay safe. We have to go through this crisis.”
 
CP: How do you keep yourself from feeling defeated after going through two training camps {without a fight}?
 
JR: “I’m just staying focused. I’m staying optimistic with everything, with doctors, with everyone, the first responders. I think everyone is working hard to get together to go through this fast and get everything back to normal. Right now, I believe this is something that requires everyone to be on the same page, to really practice {self-isolation} so we can stop the spread of this virus.
 
“I do know that my fight will be one of the first fights back when all this is over.”
 
CP: Once the Postol fight is rescheduled, would you like to try and stay at 140 pounds and get more belts or is a move up to 147 imminent?
 
JR: “I owe it to myself to fight for all the belts just because if I were to go up to the next weight class, people will still doubt who the best 140-pounder is, just because there is another guy with two belts (WBA/IBF world champion Josh Taylor}. There are some other fighters that I didn’t get to face at 140. I really want to prove a lot of people wrong. I want to do it for myself. I know I can be the best 140 in the world. I know I can see myself with all four belts. It’s just a matter of time, and once I do that, I think that’s going to put my name more out there worldwide. It’s going to definitely make a stronger impact when I do move to 147 knowing that the undisputed champion at 140 is moving up to 147. I think that’s going to make more noise.”
 
CP: Any interest in WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford?
 
JR: “I’ll take any route that leads me to fight for a world title. Crawford is an excellent fighter, so yeah, I would definitely be honored to share the ring with him. I think I’ll show him something new. I think I’ll bring something out of him. By the time I do make that decision to move to 147 and put that extra muscle on me, on my body, I’ll be a much stronger Jose Ramirez. I can see myself developing into a better welterweight than super lightweight. I do have the height. I do have the body frame. I think once I put the extra seven pounds on, it’s going to be a huge difference in a very positive way.
 
“After Crawford, I plan to stay in the welterweight division for quite a while, definitely fight all the top names out there and see how I do. I think I have what it takes to stay at this level of competition for a long time.”
 
CP: Would you ever be up for a fight with Regis Prograis down the line?
 
JR: “Definitely. I think if the fight with Regis takes place, it might take place at 147, though, because I have (super lightweight} fights lined up. I really want to move up after that.”

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RIP – NEVER FORGET! 

40th anniversary of tragic airplane crash in Poland 

22 members of Team USA Boxing perished

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 14, 2020) – One of the darkest days in American sports history occurred 40 years ago today, when Polish Airlines flight #7 that had departed John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City crashed a half-mile from Okecie Airport in Warsaw, Poland.

All 87 passengers died, including 14 boxers and eight officials on the USA Boxing team, due to a disintegration of a turbine disc in one of the plane’s engines that ultimately failed.

Team USA was traveling to Poland to compete in two international amateur boxing dual events.  The average age of the 14 boxers was only 20 ½, ranging from 27-year-old Walter Harris to 16-year-old Byron Payton.

In 1984 a statue was dedicated to the USA Boxing Team members who died in Warsaw was placed on the training grounds in Colorado Springs.  Names of the 23 members of Team USA are inscribed on the memorial.

In 1984 a statue was dedicated to the USA Boxing Team members who died in Warsaw was placed on the training grounds in Colorado Springs.  Names of the 23 members of Team USA are inscribed on the memorial.

The potential Olympic dreams of the 14 boxers were destroyed in the horrific accident.  Although most of the boxers were still in their developmental stage, outside of prospective medal challenger Lemuel Steeples, each member aspired to represent the United States in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.  (The United States eventually led a boycott of the 1980 Olympics because of the Soviet-Afghan War.)

“I remember coming home from my boxing gym on March 14, 1980 and hearing the news of the plane crash on the evening news,” stated USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee. 

“As an aspiring Olympic-style boxer I was shocked and felt a sense of loss like every American boxer, coach and official. Today we are reminded that life is precious, and every day is a blessing.  On behalf of USA Boxing’s Board of Directors, 48,000 boxers, coaches and officials and the national office staff we remember the 1980 USA Boxing Team Members and Staff.  Please keep them, their families and the worldwide Olympic-style boxing family in your thoughts and prayers.”

 “Down But Not Out… Lost But Not Forgotten”

USA Boxing Head Coach Billy Walsh remembers the crash to this day. “I remember it well, as I was a 16-year-old dreaming of the Olympics,” said Walsh. “It was massive news in Europe, a big tragedy with some of the world’s best boxers and staff wiped out. We lost a generation of great fighters, and most importantly loved ones.”

Patricia Chavis was only seven years old when she learned her father, Sgt. Elliott Chavis, had perished in the crash.  She was playing outdoors with friends when she noticed a lot of people crying as they entered and left her home.  Her mother called her inside, sat her down with people watching, and said that her father wasn’t coming back because he had been killed in a plane crash.

“She asked me if I understood and I did, because we had recently lost my great grandmother and paternal grandfather,” an emotional Patricia explained.  “I went back outside and told my friends.  They were a little older and they didn’t understand why I hadn’t stayed inside with family. It didn’t really hit me that my dad wasn’t coming home until my teenage years.  I remember sitting in bed and writing letters to him.

“Every year still affects me every March.  We usually have a family dinner with my mom and grandchildren.  They listen to stories about a man they never met.  He’s buried in South Carolina and we’ve laid flowers on his grave.  Every year on March 14th it brings back memories and we celebrate his life.”

Sgt. Chavis, who died at the age of 25, was stationed at Ft. Bragg (N.C.), where he learned to box. He was a member of the 118th Military Police Company and during his boxing career, the light heavyweight was All-Army and All-Southeastern.

“My parents married young,” Patricia continued.  “My mom told me he was always athletic.  He played football and was a pole vaulter on the track team in high school.  But I didn’t know anything about his boxing until we went to a reunion at Ft. Bragg.  Around the 30th anniversary I got in touch with some of his Army buddies when I saw on Facebook that they were having a reunion.   I went there with my mom and listened to stories they told me about his boxing career.  I found it so interesting because I hadn’t known about that.  There are quite a few memorials I’ve seen on Facebook and I try to get in touch with other family members (of her father’s teammates who died in the crash).  We’ll never forget!”   

Below is a complete list of the 1980 U.S. Boxing Delegation who died in the aforementioned plane crash in Warsaw:

 

 

The 1980 United States Boxing Delegation to Warsaw, Poland, March 14, 1980

 

BOXERS

 

Kelvin Anderson                               Heavyweight                           Hartford, CT

Elliott Chavis                                     Light Heavyweight                  U.S. Army / Ft. Bragg, NC

Walter Harris                                     Light Heavyweight                  San Francisco, CA

Andrea McCoy                                  Middleweight                           New Bedford, MA

Byron Payton                                    Light Middleweight                  Troup, TX

Chuck Robinson                               Light Middleweight                  Port Townsend, WA

Paul Palomino                                   Welterweight                           Westminster, CA

Lemuel Steeples                               Light Welterweight                  St. Louis, MO 

Byron Linsay                                     Light Welterweight                  San Diego, CA

Gary Tyrone Clayton                        Lightweight                              Philadelphia, PA

Jerome Stewart                                 Bantamweight                         U.S. Navy / Norfolk, VA

George Pimentel                               Flyweight                                 Elmhurst, NY

Lonnie Young                                    Flyweight                                 Philadelphia, PA

David Rodriguez                               Light Flyweight                        Pomona, CA

 

OFFICIALS

 

Joseph F. Bland                                Team Manager                       High Point, NC

Col. Bernard Callahan                      Referee/Judge                        Carlisle, PA

Thomas “Sarge” Johnson               Head Coach                            Indianapolis, IN

John Radison                                    Referee/Judge                        St. Louis, MO

Junior Robles                                    Assistant Coach                     National City, CA

Steve Smigiel                                    Interpreter                               Boca Raton, FL

Delores Wesson                                Team Assistant                       Ocean Springs, MS

Dr. Ray Wesson                                Team Physician                      Ocean Springs, MS

           

 Go to www.USABoxing.org to watch a short video tribute

Memorial messages and letters of condolence were sent from friends and boxing organizations from around the world, including U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Executive Director Col. F. Don Miller, Montana AAU, Oklahoma Boxing Association, Amateur Basketball Association of the USA, Salina Boxing Team, South Texas AAU, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Diving, U.S. Swimming, Wisconsin AAU, Wrestling Division of AAU, National AAU Boxing Committee, National AAU, Florida Boxing Commission, Hawaii AAU, U.S. Soccer Federation, Jacksonville (FL) Sports and Entertainment Commission, Georgia Amateur Boxing Association, WSOC Television, Alleghany Mountain Association, U.S. Olympic Training Center, Mack Truck, Inc., Southwestern AAU Boxing Commission, U.S. Olympic Committee, West Nally Group, Charlotte Motor Speedway, AAU Regional Coordinator, Council of Social Work Education, National Rifle Association of America, and Davidson County Department Boxing Team,

Also from the Greek Boxing Federation, Mexican Boxing Federation, New Zealand Boxing Association, Canadian Amateur Boxing Association, Nova Scotia Branch of Canadian Amateur Boxing Commission, Ontario Boxing Association, Ambassador of Poland, Polish Boxing Association, AIPS Boxing Commission, Canadian Amateur Boxing Association, Heretaunga Boxing Club of New Zealand, International Bobsled and Tobogganing Federation, Italian Boxing Federation, LOT Polish Airlines, La Crosse Amateur Boxing Club, Polish Olympic Committee, AIBA, Champion D’Afrique Magazine, African AIBA Board and Tunisian Boxing Federation, Venezuelan Boxing Federation, German Amateur Boxing Federation, Amateur Boxing Federation of England, Israel Sports Federation, Portuguese Amateur Boxing Federation, Romanian Boxing Federation, Rotunda A.B.C., Amateur Boxing Federation of Thailand, National Advertising Benevolent Society, Turkey Boxing Federation, AIBA France, El Salvador Boxing Federation, German Democratic Republic Boxing Association, Danish Amateur Boxing Union, Guatemalan Amateur Sports Federtion, Israel Olympic Committee, Oceana Boxing Federation, Nigeria Boxing Association, Old Actonian Association Amateur Boxing Club, Seychelles Amateur Boxing Federation, Council of Ministers of Cuba, Hungarian Boxing Federation, Norwegian Amateur Boxing Association, International Amateur Boxing Association, Claridad, Peru Amateur Boxing Association, Dominican Republic Department of Education, Health and Recreation, Panamanian Boxing Federation, Head of the Cuban Interests Section.

In 1984 a statue was dedicated to the USA Boxing Team members who died in Warsaw was placed on the training grounds in Colorado Springs.  Names of the 23 members of Team USA are inscribed on the memorial.

Fresno Fisticuffs: Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol Set for Save Mart Center Super Lightweight Title Showdown May 9 LIVE on ESPN 

Special edition of Top Rank of ESPN to begin at 10 p.m. ET
Jose Pedraza-Javier Molina super lightweight fight will open ESPN telecast

FRESNO, Calif. (March. 9, 2020) — It took a little longer than expected, but WBC/WBO super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez, the pride of California’s Central Valley, is set to return. Ramirez will defend his titles against mandatory challenger and former world champion Viktor “The Iceman” Postol Saturday, May 9 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, a short drive from Ramirez’s hometown of Avenal. Ramirez and Postol were set to fight Feb. 1 in China, but the bout was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Ramirez-Postol and a 10-round super lightweight battle between former two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza and surging 2008 U.S. Olympian Javier “El Intocable” Molina will be televised LIVE on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10 p.m. ET, with the undercard bouts scheduled to stream in English and Spanish on ESPN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET.
 
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with TGB Promotions, tickets priced at $206, $131, $96, $66 and $31 go on sale Tuesday, March 10 at 10 a.m. PT and can be purchased at the Save Mart Center box office, Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.
 
“We are pleased that Ramirez and Postol will finally fight May 9 from the great city of Fresno,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Viktor is a worthy mandatory challenger who earned his title shot, and Jose will be fully prepared to make a statement. And for Jose, this could be his last fight in Fresno for a long time, so I expect the Central Valley faithful to fill up the Save Mart Center for a special evening.”
 
Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) is one of two unified junior welterweight champions. He won the WBC world title in March 2018, prevailing via 12-round shootout against Amir Imam in New York City. He defended that belt twice before stepping up to fight Maurice Hooker in a highly anticipated title unification bout. In one of the best fights of 2019, Ramirez knocked out Hooker in six rounds. A 2012 U.S. Olympian, Ramirez has headlined at Save Mart Center five times previously and has drawn a total of 65,794 fans through the arena’s turnstiles. Last time he fought at Save Mart Center — February 2019 against Jose Zepeda — he drew a career-high turnout of 14,034.
 
“It is always a blessing to fight at Save Mart Center in front of my loyal fans,” Ramirez said. “I prepared for Postol once, and I will be in top form May 9. My trainer, Robert Garcia, will have me ready for whatever he brings to the table. He is a former world champion who I cannot underestimate.” 
 
Postol (31-2, 12 KOs) has spent the majority of his 12-year career as a super lightweight and nearly a decade at, or near, the top of the division. He stunned the boxing world in October 2015 when he dethroned Lucas Matthysse via 10th-round KO to win the WBC world title. In his next fight, he was blunted over 12 rounds by Terence Crawford in a unification bout. He is 3-1 since the Crawford defeat, dropping a 2018 decision to Josh Taylor, who is now the division’s other unified champion. He earned the WBC’s mandatory shot at Ramirez in April with a unanimous decision over Mohamed Mimoune.
 
“I am glad the new fight date is set. I’m already in gym, and camp is going really well,” Postol said. “I was ready to fight on Feb. 1 and now I’m focused on May 9. The fight is taking place in his hometown, but that does not bother me because I have the experience to fight on away soil. I am looking forward to become a champion again.”
 
Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs), from Cidra, Puerto Rico, held the IBF junior lightweight world title from 2015-2017 and then upset Ray Beltran in August 2018 to capture the WBO lightweight world title. He came up short in a valiant effort against Vasiliy Lomachenko in a toe-to-toe unification bout in December 2018 before knocking out Antonio Lozada Jr. in nine rounds the following May. Pedraza then moved up to 140 pounds last September and was outboxed by southpaw spoiler Jose Zepeda. He’s taking another shot as a super lightweight, this time against Molina (22-2, 9 KOs), a native of Norwalk, Calif. Molina, winner of five in a row, is coming off a pair of signature victories.

Last November, he knocked out Japanese veteran Hiroki Okada in just 65 seconds in an ESPN-televised co-feature. He followed that up with gritty eight-round decision over Imam on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder II undercard.
 
“This May 9 fight against Javier Molina will be crucial for my career. This is a crossroads fight, and I will do everything in my power to return to the winning route against a world-class opponent,” Pedraza said. “I know Molina very well. I saw him fight while we were at the 2008 Olympics in China. He is coming off a couple of big wins and is looking for a world title shot at 140. I’m also looking for a world title shot at super lightweight, and that makes this fight a significant and interesting one. I’m working extremely hard because I know that to get a world title opportunity, I can’t have another loss on my record. I will get a big win against Javier Molina on May 9, and after that, the ‘Sniper’ will aim for a world title at 140.”
 
“I’m happy to get right back in the ring with another tough opponent. With a win over Pedraza, I feel like it should definitely set me up for a title shot next,” Molina said. “I’m excited to be on ESPN once again and continue to get that exposure. I’m just ready to go. 2020 will be my year.”

 

Shakur Stevenson and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka Team Up to Inspire “Brick City” Youth

Stevenson to defend WBO featherweight world title Saturday against Miguel Marriaga LIVE on ESPN (10:30 p.m. ET) from Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden

(Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

NEWARK, N.J. (March 12, 2020) — WBO featherweight world champion Shakur Stevenson was born and bred in Newark, a.k.a. “Brick City,” the oldest of nine children who dreamed of one day becoming a world champion and using his platform to give back to his community.

Stevenson, who won the title last October, will defend his belt for the first time Saturday from Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden against Miguel Marriaga (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). He joined forces with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka on Wednesday at the city’s Rotunda Recreation & Wellness Center to talk to a large group of local children about his journey from hometown kid to Olympic silver medalist and world champion.

Stevenson autographed posters, took photos, and gave each child an official Team Stevenson headband. Three days before his bout against Marriaga, Stevenson was all smiles and laughs, a champion embracing his celebratory homecoming.
 
“When I was younger, I didn’t have anyone to come and do something like this for me,” Stevenson said. “This means a lot to me. That’s why I enjoy coming here, and I will always try to come back to where it all started. You all make me feel good, and when I do something good, I do it for Newark.”
 
“Shakur Stevenson is a Newark native who has brought honor, Olympic glory, and a world championship to our city,” Mayor Baraka said. “Now he is bringing an inspiring message of hope, good sportsmanship, and empowerment to Newark’s youth, as a role model and exemplar. He defines the strength of Newark, and we are proud of him.”

UNDEFEATED HEAVYWEIGHT PROSPECTS ELVIS GARCIA AND SAHRET DELGADO BATTLE IN CO-FEATURE TO PHILLY SPECIAL

AT 2300 ARENA ON FRIDAY, MARCH 27

 Garcia photo credit:  DiBella Entertainment     Delgado photo credit:  Daryl Cobb

Bout will be aired Live on Impact Network

PHILADELPHIA, PA —Unbeaten heavyweight prospects Elvis “Semental” Garcia, of Jalisco, Mexico, and Sahret “The Hammer” Delgado, of Humacao, Puerto Rico, square off in an attractive eight-round co-feature on the Philly Special fight card, scheduled for Friday, March 27, at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia.

The Raging Babe card is topped by the highly anticipated Philly vs. Philly matchup: Stevie Ortiz vs. Damon Allen, in a 10-round bout for Ortiz’ Pennsylvania State Lightweight Title. The card will be televised live on the Impact Network. Garcia vs. Delgado is presented in association with DiBella Entertainment.

“I’m excited to announce that we’ve added a great co-feature to Raging Babe’s Philly Special, in association with DiBella Entertainment. Mexican American Elvis Garcia takes on Puerto Rican Sahret Delgado in a rare clash of rising, unbeaten heavyweight prospects. Both fighters are coming in with stellar amateur backgrounds,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Prior to this training camp, Elvis worked as one of Anthony Joshua’s chief sparring partners for the Andy Ruiz rematch and Delgado has a great corner behind him, lead by coach Chino Rivas, who also trains Stevie Ortiz and Tevin Farmer.”

The 30-year-old Garcia, now living in Indio, CA, is 8-0, 5 KOs, as a pro. Trained by Joel Diaz, Garcia returns to the ring following a victory against Hugo Trujillo in Hollywood, CA.

Garcia also gained invaluable experience working as the “secret weapon sparring partner” that promoter Eddie Hearn referred to with regard to Anthony Joshua’s preparation for his rematch against Andy Ruiz last year. Joshua went on to decisively defeat Ruiz to regain his world title belts.

Prior to turning pro nearly three years ago, Garcia was an outstanding amateur with a record of 85-10, 42 KOs. After winning gold at the Washington State Golden Gloves, as well as a silver and two bronze medals at the USA National Tournaments, Garcia moved to Tijuana, Mexico, where he won the Mexican National Championships and the Mexican Golden Gloves Tournament twice.

The 25-year-old Delgado, living in Berlin, NJ, is 8-0, 7 KOs, as a pro. In his last fight on October 4, at the 2300 Arena, Delgado outpointed Joel Caudle over four rounds. Now trained by Chino Rivas, Delgado is a stablemate of headliner Steven Ortiz and former junior lightweight world champions Tevin Farmer and Jason Sosa.  

Delgado was a standout amateur in Puerto Rico with over 215 bouts as part of his six-year term with the Puerto Rican Olympic Team. He was the country’s National Youth Champion for three straight years and also won gold at international tournaments in Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Trinidad & Tobago.

The card kicks off at 7:30pm ET on Friday, March 27. Tickets, priced at $50, $75 and $125, are on sale now, and can be purchased by visiting 2300arena.com or by calling (267) 273-0945.

March 17: Top Prospects Josue Vargas, Julian Rodriguez, Paddy Donovan and Christopher Zavala added to Michael Conlan’s St. Patrick’s Day Garden Party

Undercard to stream LIVE on ESPN+ at 5 p.m. ET.

Tickets on sale NOW 
Sign up and view on ESPN+ at ESPNplus.com or in the ESPN App

NEW YORK CITY (March 8, 2020) — Before Irish sensation Michael “Mick” Conlan enters the ring against Colombian slugger Belmar Preciado in front of a raucous St. Patrick’s Day crowd at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET), many of the sport’s brightest young stars will look to steal the holiday spotlight.
 
Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas will make the first defense of his IBF North American 140-pound belt Tuesday, March 17 against Salvador Briceno in a 10-rounder. Vargas (16-1, 9 KOs), from the Bronx, N.Y., has won 10 consecutive bouts since an October 2016 disqualification defeat. Briceno (17-5, 11 KOs), from Guadalajara, Mexico, has won two of three since pushing undefeated prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. the distance last June in Reno, Nev. 
 
Vargas-Briceno, along with the returns of top prospects Julian “Hammer Hands” RodriguezPaddy “Real Deal” Donovan and Christopher “The Boy” Zavala, will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 5 p.m. ET.
 
“I’m excited to be fighting in my hometown on such a stacked card,” Vargas said. “It’s an honor to defend my belt in front of my friends, family and biggest supporters. I can’t wait for another spectacular fight night and to put on a show for everyone who will be watching on ESPN+.”
 
Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs), the fighting pride of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., will face former top prospect Dannie Williams (24-3, 18 KOs) in an eight-rounder at super lightweight. Rodriguez fought three times in the last five months of 2019 after nearly two years out of the ring due to assorted injuries. Williams, from Saint Louis, returned to the ring last April following more than five years away from it. He last fought in January, notching a 10-round decision over Andre Keys (12-1 at the time).
 
Donovan (3-0, 2 KOs), a 13-time national amateur champion from Limerick, Ireland, will be making his American debut in a six-round welterweight contest against Gregory Young (4-3, 1 KO). Donovan is trained and managed by former middleweight world champion Andy Lee.
 
“I can’t wait for my U.S. debut. I learned so much from training alongside Tyson Fury recently,” Donovan said. “I’m taking that experience into this fight. Thank you to Top Rank for putting me on this card. Conlan’s St. Patrick’s Day cards are always exciting, and I’m happy to be part of the festivities.”

Zavala (6-0, 3 KOs), a 20-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., will fight Rennard Oliver (7-2-3, 0 KOs) in a six-rounder at super featherweight. Oliver has never been knocked out as a pro and is coming off a draw against Raul Manrique Jr. (4-0 at the time).

In other action on the undercard stream:

  • Feargal McCrory (11-0, 5 KOs), one of Ireland’s top young prospects, will make his United States debut against the durable Juan Tapia (9-3, 3 KOs) in a six-rounder at super featherweight. Tapia, who has fought the likes of current WBO featherweight world champion Shakur Stevenson, has never been knocked out as a pro.
     
  • Matthew Tinker (2-0, 2 KOs), from Scarborough, England, will face Esai Herrera (2-1, 1 KO) in a four-rounder at light heavyweight. Tinker has scored a pair of first-round knockouts to begin his career. 

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets priced at $200, $100, $70, $40 and $30 (not including applicable fees) are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.MSG.com.
 
For more information, visit www.toprank.comwww.espn.com/boxing; Facebook:facebook.com/trboxing; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing and twitter.com/ESPNRingside; IG:instagram.com/espnringside/

 

Son of Sandman Jarel Pemberton added

to “Fight Night In Framingham” card 

Fighting Life  charity event,

 March 20th at Sheraton Hotel

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (March 2,  2020) – The son of Sandman, Jarel “Sandman” Pemberton, returns to the ring for the first time in nearly two years on the “Fight Night In Framingham” card, presented by Shearns Boxing Promotions (SBP), March 20, at Sheraton Framingham Hotel in Framingham, Massachusetts.

“Fight Night In Framingham”, the first pro boxing event ever in Framingham, is being held for the benefit of Fighting Life, an after-school youth boxing and academic empowerment program, available 100-percent free of charge, to students beginning in elementary school through high school education. 

The 28-year-old super middleweight Pemberton (3-0, 1 KO), fighting out of Revere, MA, is the son of one of New England’s all-time favorite boxers, Scott Pemberton (29-5-1, 24 KOs), the former NABF and IBU World super middleweight champion.  Pemberton was a blood-and-guts, highly entertaining type fighter best remembered for a pair of Fight of the Year candidates versus Omar Sheika.

Scott named his son, Jarel, after Superman’s father, but he never forced him into boxing.  “Me boxing had a lot to do with him,” Jarel said, “but he never pushed me into boxing.  I did go to a lot of his fights when I was young. 

“Dad saw a Superman movie and named me Jarel after Superman’s father.  I think it’s a great name, it kind of shaped my life because I’m a real comic-book nerd today.”

Jarel played football and basketball at Dartmouth (MA) High, where two of his teammates went on to play in the National Football League, Jordan Todman and close friend Arthur Lynch.  Jarel joined the U.S. Marines and he did two tours in Afghanistan as a machine gunner.  He didn’t start boxing until after he was honorably discharged, turning pro at 27.

“I wish I started boxing when I was a kid,” he added, “but I didn’t box until after I got out of the military.  People tell me I hit hard; I do have natural power.”

Pemberton, who is on the permanent reserve list to become a Revere Firefighter, is ready to get back in the ring on a regular basis, especially after being out of the ring nearly two years.

“I’m back in boxing for the long run,” he admitted.  I’d like to fight a few times in the next few months.  I’m getting in top shape for this fight and that’s a lot better than getting beat up in training by (22-0, 14 KOs welterweight from Lynn, MA) Rashidi Ellis.  I’m bigger than him but he’s so fast.”

Pemberton is matched against veteran Texas fighter Larry “Slomoshun” Smith (10-43-1, 7 KOs) in a 4-round bout.

Two unbeaten pro “graduates” of the Fighting Life Boxing Program, super featherweights Timmy Ramos (5-0-2, 5 KOs) and Nelson “Chino” Perez (2-0, 2 KOs), are fighting in the main event and co-feature, respectively. 

Ramos, fighting out of Framingham, was a two-time New England Golden Gloves champion as an amateur. He is in the 6-round, main event against super  Carlos Marrero, III (2-3-1), of Bridgeport, Connecticut. 

 Perez, who comes from nearby Marlboro, is another New England Golden Gloves champion. He faces an opponent to be determined in the 6-round co-featured event. Perez faces Indianapolis lightweight DeWayne Wisdom (7-52-2, 3 KOs).

Boston heavyweight Tracey Johnson (4-7-6), whose brother is past Olympian and reigning WBO super middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade, faces Larry “Hitman” Pryor (11-22-5, 5 KOs) in a 6-round bout.

A pair of quality MMA fighters, Albania-born super middleweight Kastriot “Slaughterhouse” Xhema, fighting out of Greenwich, CT, makes his pro boxing debut against Framingham favorite, Brazilian-born Saul “The Spider” Almeida (0-10-3, 20-11 in MMA) in a 4-rounder.  

Also fighting on the undercard, all in 4-round bouts, is Southbridge, MA welterweight Wilfredo “El Sucaro” Pagan (6-1, 3 KOs) vs. Tyrone “Hands of Stone” Luckey (9-12-4, 7 KOs),  Worcester, MA super featherweight Ranse Andino (1-1) vs. Henry Garcia (0-5-1), of New Bedford, MA, and pro-debuting Hartford, CT super flyweight Angel Gonzalez, Jr. vs. Steve Lopez (1-4) of Philadelphia.  Gonzalez is a decorated amateur boxer who is a three-time New England Golden Gloves, two-time Ringside National and 2014 National PAL champion

All fights and fighters are subject to change.

Tickets prices are $75,.00 ringside (rows 1-3), $60.00 (seated), $45.00 standing room, and VIP tables (of 10) for $1000.00 and may be purchased HERE, at UpperKuts gym, or from any of the local fighters on the card.   

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET, first fight at 7 p.m. ET.

Street Light Ventures is the presenting sponsor.  Other sponsors include Bernardi Auto Group, East Coast Herbalist, Tecate, Ashwood Advisors LLC and A Affordable Insurance.

 

 

Ruben Villa Closing In on Title Shot as He is Now Ranked #2 By The WBO
PHILADELPHIA, PA / ORANGE, CA- March 2, 2020 – The accolades continue to come in for undefeated featherweight Ruben Villa (18-0, 5 KOs) as he is now ranked #2 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO).
The new position has the Salinas, California native inching ever closer to a world title opportunity against amateur rival Shakur Stevenson.  Villa and Stevenson split four bouts in their amateur career.
“Now to be ranked #2 by the WBO shows that the hard work is paying off. I am looking to face any champion.  I am just being patient, and when my time comes, I will be ready for that opportunity,” said Villa.
Villa is co-promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing.

For regular updates on our fighters, events, and promotions, please like the  Banner Promotions Facebook Page, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter@BannerBoxing.

Photo by Emily Harney / Banner Promotions

DEONTAY WILDER VS. TYSON FURY II FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES & PHOTOS

WBC Heavyweight World Champion Wilder & Lineal Champion Fury Square Off Before Highly Anticipated Rematch This Saturday, February 22 Headlining Historic Mega PPV Event Live from the 
MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

Click HERE for Photos from Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Click HERE for Photos from Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

LAS VEGAS (Feb. 20, 2020) — Unbeaten WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and undefeated lineal heavyweight champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury nearly came to blows at a heated final press conference Thursday as they previewed their highly anticipated rematch headlining a historic mega PPV event this Saturday, February 22 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
 
Wilder and Fury exchanged words and shoves on stage, just two days before they reignite their rivalry in the ring for the most eagerly awaited heavyweight showdown in decades.
 
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at www.mgmgrand.com or www.axs.com. The event is promoted by BombZquad Promotions, TGB Promotions, Top Rank and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. A Premier Boxing Champions presentation.
 
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Wednesday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena:
 
DEONTAY WILDER
 
“I truly realized my power during my current knockout streak. I looked at my record and realized I was running through guys and knocking them out. You don’t just go in and knock a human out based on will, you really have to have the power to do so, and through that I realized I had something different. I am just applying my service to my greatness and I am going to use my power up until I can’t use it anymore.”
 
“My power is God-given; I don’t have to do anything at all. I don’t have to lift weights or do a special type of cardio; it’s born with me. It’s an amazing feeling to have it and to be in this position, out of all the things I could be doing, God placed me in this position. As fighters, we are free in this sport, we say as we please with less consequences, so when I use my platform, I use it well. If people see what I do in my occupation and see that I bring the greatness out of myself, then that will translate to people that look up to me.”
 
“Anything is possible in the ring, but it comes down to if he can back up his words. That is where your preparation for the fight comes out. One thing for sure, though, I am a great fighter on my back foot. That’s when I’m able to really time you and set you up, and have you run into my own traps. He has a lot of things going on in his camp so that tells you how nervous he is.”
 
“I don’t believe anything Fury says. I think he is just trying to butter me up and use a lot of mind games. He did that in the first fight to try and steal rounds, so we were lucky that we had experienced judges that weren’t influenced by that. I am not concerned with what I says, I am more focused on what he does. I am a man of action.”
 
“I am planning for everything, but I think when coming forward doesn’t work for him, he will resort to what he knows. He may try to come forward at first, but once he feels my power, that will stop quickly.”
 
“Round 12 has been in his mind since day one, that’s why he ran away from the rematch. In the back of Fury’s mind, he will think about how I gave him a concussion and how he had no idea how he even got on the ground.  So, I do believe that round is in his head, and if he says otherwise, he is lying.”
 
“I deserve to be here because of the talent I have and what I am able to do.  I have been knocking guys out for 12 years, so this is nothing new to me.  I mean what I say, and I say what I mean, and I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”
 
“You can see that we’re both emotionally invested in this. We both want to give you all the best of us. Come Saturday night, we’re going to release all of our energy in the ring and it’s going to stay there.
 
“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, and I’m sure he’s been waiting as well. There are so many odds looking in and helping to put the heavyweight division on notice. This division has had tremendous action these last few years. Our first fight was amazing, and this is going to be an even more intense.”
 
TYSON FURY
 
“Wanting to go head to head with him is a bold move, but we fight fire with fire. When I went at him in the first fight, though, he could not contain me. If I start doing that in round one, then he will be gassed by round five and hanging on for dear life, if he even gets that far.”
 
“The 12th round of our first fight was a good round, and credit to Wilder, he got me with two of the best punches I have ever seen thrown in a 12 round heavyweight fight. As we have seen, that has become very famous, the ole’ knockdown of the Gypsy King was very active online and all over the world. But the thing Wilder must be thinking is, I hit that guy with my hardest punch in round 12, and he got up. What do I have to do to keep him down?”
 
“The biggest puncher who ever lived should have to problem opening my cut up.  He could not keep me down in the 12th round, so now I want to see if he is able to get up off the floor.  I don’t think he has the guts to get up.”
 
“I gave Wilder the biggest payday of his life and brought him to the biggest stage. Deontay owes me everything, I brought him to this level, and this is his second fight at the top.”
 
“He’s going to try to and the right hand. If I’m stupid enough to get hit with it, I deserve to lose. I hit the floor last time, but I showed that I’m truly a fighting man. If he can’t finish me, I’m going to eat him up.
 
“Kenny Bayless is a top referee; he has refereed me before and he did a good job. I have no objections with the referees and judges, whoever they are they are, they will do a good job.”
 
“It’s been no secret that I’m looking for a knockout. That’s why I hired SugarHill and went back to Kronk. He gets you to sit down on that big right hand, and that’s the game plan.”
 
“What I did last time clearly was not good enough, and what better club to go to than Kronk? I know they can bring out of me exactly what I need for this fight.”
 
JAY DEAS, Wilder’s Co-Trainer
 
“We don’t worry about weight. We don’t even use the scale at the gym. As long as he’s training hard and eating well, which he always is, the weight just is what it is. He’s a freak of nature, so we’re not worried about what the other guy brings as far as his weight. Deontay has always been the lighter guy. It’s normal for us. It’s usually advantageous for us.”
 
“Sugar is a great trainer, so we are ready for the best Tyson Fury. When Deontay wins this fight, he will get the credit for beating Tyson at his absolute best. I don’t want any talk about anything else. I want both guys at their best, and I think that’s what we’ve got.”
 
“Its fight week, this is what is supposed to happen. This is what happens when you have the two best heavyweights in the world, both undefeated and highly motivated. I wouldn’t expect anything less than this type of energy.
 
SUGARHILL STEWARD, Fury’s Trainer
 
“Tyson Fury is a very tall heavyweight, so we believe that he can carry more weight, along with his power. He’s a big, strong heavyweight and extra weight won’t hurt him. He still moves around just like a super middleweight. Plus, he still has the ring IQ to set things up. We’re just adding some punching power to his arsenal.”
 
“I am excited watching the fighter’s reactions today. Up until now it has been quiet and subtle.  Today you saw the mood swings, and all the hard work the fighters have put into their training camps. Emotions are going up, and emotions are going down, but this is what big-time boxing is.  Both of these fighters have a chip on their shoulder and are expressing themselves as they should.”
 
“I feel as if I have done everything he asked for. He wanted to be better technically, more aggressive, and be a big dominant heavyweight.”

# .#  #

 ABOUT DEONTAY WILDER VS. TYSON FURY II
Wilder vs. Fury II will see the highly anticipated rematch between unbeaten WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and undefeated lineal champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury as they headline a historic, mega PPV event Saturday, February 22 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
 
The Wilder vs. Fury II PPV begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features former heavyweight world champion Charles Martin squaring off against former title challenger Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington for a 12-round IBF Heavyweight Title eliminator in the co-main event. WBO Junior Featherweight World Champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete, a.k.a. “The Mexican Iron Man” will defend his title against Filipino contender Jeo Santisima in the PPV featured bout. Plus, in the PPV opener, super welterweight sensation Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora will face 2016 Australian Olympian Daniel Lewis in a 10-round battle of unbeatens.

 

Atlantic City Favorites Anthony “Juice” Young Plus DeCarlo Perez as well as undefeated Thomas Velasquez added to Huge Fight card on Saturday, March 7th at Ballys Atlantic City Hotel and Casino
Derrick Webster takes on Gabriel Pham in a South Jersey Super Middleweight Showdown in the main event 

Atlantic City, NJ (February 20, 2020)– Some more local flavor has been added  to an already terrific night of boxing that will take place on Saturday, March 7th at

Ballys Atlantic City Hotel and Casino.
Atlantic City natives in welterweight contender, Anthony “Juice” Young plus super middleweight DeCarlo Perez pas well as undefeated super featherweight Thomas Velasquez will be added to an impressive lineup that will be headlined by a eight-round South Jersey Super Middleweight Showdown between Derrick Webster and Gabriel Pham.
Young has a record of 21-2 with eight knockouts.  The 32 year-old Young is a nine-year professional who has wins over Jose Javier Calderon (4-1) and his last bout when he burst into contendership when he stopped former junior middleweight world champion Sadam Ali (27-2) in three rounds on May 4th in Las Vegas.
Young will be making his 13th appearance in Atlantic City.
Perez has a record of 17-6-1 with five knockouts, will be competing in a six-round super middleweight bout.  The 28 year-old Perez is a 10 year-professional who has wins over Shamone Alvarez (21-5), Dante Moore (8-0-2), Jamar Freeman (9-1-2), Marcus Willis (13-3-2), Tyrone Bruns (22-2-1), Jesse Nicklow (24-5-3), Juan Ubaldo Cabbrera (23-0), Lanell Bellows (16-1-1),.  In his last bout, Perez won an eight-round unanimous decision over cross-town rival Antowyan Aikens on September 8, 2018 in Atlantic City.
Perez will making his 10th hometown start.
Velasquez of Philadelphia has a record of 9-0-1 with five knockouts.  The 24 year-old Velasquez is a five year professional, has  Grashino Yancy (1-0).  In his last bout, Velasquez battled to a draw with Tyrome Jones on September 19, 2017 in Bethlehem, Pa.
Opponents for Young, Perez and Velasquez will be announced shortly
Besides those four aforementioned bouts, Isiah Seldon (13-3-1, 4 KOs) of Atlantic City fights Darryl Bunting (4-6-2, 2 KOs) of Asbury Park, NJ in a six-round super middleweight fight. 
Jeremy Cuevas (12-1, 9 KOs) of Philadelphia takes on an opponent to be named in an lightweight bout.
Christian Tapia (10-0, 9 KOs) of Coamo, Puerto Rico fights Carlos Colon (5-2, 2 KOs) of Hatillo, Puerto Rico in a super featherweight contest.
Jan Carlos Rivera (4-0, 4 KOs) of Philadelphia takes on an opponent to be named in a super lightweight contest.
In four-round bouts:
Benny Sinakin (5-0, 3 KOs) of Philadelphia takes on Francisco Neto (1-8, 1KO) of Woburn, Mass. in a light heavyweight contest.
Jeff Lentz (5-1, 1 KO) of Lanoka Harbor, NJ takes on an opponent to be named in a middleweight fight.
Tickets are on sale now for $100 for VIP, $65 for Ringside and $50 for VIP and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com  and at The Caesars Box Office.