Current USA BOXING NEWS Stories and Press Releases
For Immediate Release:
Rio Revenge? Michael Conlan to face Olympic Nemesis Vladimir Nikitin August 3 in Belfast
Conlan-Nikitin to stream LIVE in the United States on ESPN+
BELFAST (May 14, 2019) —Michael “Mick” Conlan’s amateur career ended in controversy and a pair of middle fingers. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Conlan appeared to have bested Russian standout Vladimir Nikitin in the 56-kilogram quarterfinals. The judges disagreed, and Conlan responded with a memorable double middle-finger salute.
Almost three years to the day since Conlan flashed those digits, the Olympic rivals will run it back in the paid ranks, this time on Irish soil.
Conlan will face Nikitin in a 10-round featherweight bout Saturday, Aug. 3 in a massive outdoor fight at Falls Park in his home city of Belfast. Conlan-Nikitin will take place as part of the annual Féile an Phobail, Europe’s largest community festival.
Conlan-Nikitin will stream live in the United States beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, on a special international edition of Top Rank on ESPN.
“This is the opportunity for Mick Conlan to right what most observers felt was an injustice,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “That being said, Nikitin is a real aggressive fighter, and he believes that a victory over Conlan in August would cement the one he was given in the Rio Olympics.”
“I am delighted that I will be fighting Vladimir Nikitin in front of 10,000 fans,” Conlan said. “This is literally home turf for me and it is absolutely huge. I am West Belfast and Falls Road born and bred so this means everything to me. Vladimir Nikitin and I have unfinished business from the 2016 Olympics, and I can’t wait to set the record straight.”
“When I turned professional last year, the man I wanted to fight most was Michael Conlan,” Nikitin said. “Michael has said a lot of things since the Olympics about how he was robbed of a medal. Well, I am coming to his hometown during their biggest festival to show everyone my Olympic victory was not a fluke. This is going to be repeat, not revenge. Conlan will regret pushing for this fight. I beat him twice in the amateurs and will do the same as a pro. It will feel even sweeter to beat him in his hometown. Belfast, here I come!”
“The fight with Vladimir Nikitin has been talked about for a long time now, and MTK Global and Top Rank have worked extremely hard along with Féile an Phobail to make it happen,” said Jamie Conlan, Professional Development Manager, MTK Global. “Michael Conlan is coming home for one of the biggest fight nights Belfast will have ever seen.”
Conlan (11-0, 6 KOs) entered the pro ranks as one of Ireland’s most beloved sporting figures, having earned an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 and gold medals at both the European and World Championships in 2015. He was favored to win Olympic gold in 2016, but Nikitin and the judges thwarted those plans. “The Conlan Revolution” turned pro in front of a sold-out Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden crowd on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. He won the vacant WBO Intercontinental featherweight belt last December in Manchester, England, besting Jason Cunningham via unanimous decision. In his last bout, in front of a raucous St. Patrick’s Day crowd at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Conlan defeated Ruben Garcia Hernandez over 10 rounds.
Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs) did not turn pro immediately following the 2016 Olympics, electing to fight as an amateur throughout 2017. He signed a professional contract in 2018 with Top Rank, in large part because he wanted to face Conlan as a pro. Nikitin’s come-forward style has translated to the pro ranks, as he’s won a trio of clear-cut unanimous decisions. He has fought on the same card as Conlan twice as a professional. The message was clear: Conlan and Nikitin were destined to meet again.
It will finally happen, in front of more than 10,000 of Conlan’s rowdiest supporters. Will it be Rio Revenge or another shining moment for Nikitin?
June 28: Richard Commey to Defend Lightweight World Title Against Former Champion Ray Beltran
Live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes from Pechanga Resort Casino
Carlos Adames-Patrick Day 154-pound clash to serve as co-feature
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
TEMECULA, Calif (May 16, 2019) — Something has to give. IBF lightweight world champion Richard Commey is one of the division’s biggest punchers. For his first title defense, he’ll face a rugged ex-champion who hasn’t been knocked out in more than a decade.
Commey will defend his belt against former WBO lightweight world champion Ray Beltran in the Top Rank on ESPN main event Friday, June 28 at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California. In the 10-round co-feature, undefeated Dominican puncher Carlos “Caballo Bronco” Adames will defend his NABO and NABF 154-pound belts against Patrick Day.
Commey-Beltran and Adames-Day will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The undercard will stream live on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with DiBella Entertainment, tickets for this world championship event priced at $149, $129, $79, $59, and $29 are on sale now and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or in person at the Pechanga Resort Casino box office.
“I’m honored to be headlining an ESPN show as a world champion and to be fighting former world champion Ray Beltran, whom I have the utmost respect for,” Commey said. “This is an opportunity for me to show the American public that I’m here to become the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. The path is set, and come June 28, I’ll be ready to rock ‘n’ roll.”
“I’m excited about this fight with Richard Commey. I’ve been the WBO champion, and I intend to be the IBF champion on June 28,” Beltran said. “I expect a tough fight, but that’s the kind of fight I like. We are both very experienced, so it will come down to who is willing to lay his heart on the line that night. After losing my title to Jose Pedraza, I think some people thought I was done, but I always come back and prove that I belong. I’m excited to announce that Freddie Roach is back in my corner after all these years. When I was working with Manny Pacquiao, I saw what Freddie can do, both in camp and in the corner. I’m grateful to Top Rank and ESPN for having me back. The only thing I want for my birthday (July 23) is the IBF world title.”
“Richard Commey, the pride of Ghana, is a physically imposing, hard-punching lightweight champion,” said Lou DiBella, Commey’s promoter. “We’re thrilled that his first defense will be a high-profile fight against tenacious former world champion Ray Beltran. Richard wants to be a unified champion and a star. On June 28, he has an opportunity to raise his profile worldwide.”
Commey (28-2, 25 KOs) blew away Isa Chaniev via second-round TKO Feb. 2 in Frisco, Texas, to win the vacant IBF world title. He had previously challenged Robert Easter Jr. for that belt, dropping a razor-thin split decision in September 2016. His only other loss came via split decision less than three months later to Denis Shafikov in Shafikov’s home country of Russia. Since then, he has won four in a row and is fully recovered from a right knuckle injury suffered during the Chaniev fight. A proud native of Accra, Ghana, Commey hails from the same neighborhood that produced former world champions Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey, David Kotey, Alfred Kotey, Joseph Agbeko and the legendary Azumah Nelson.
Beltran (36-8-1, 22 KOs), the former sparring partner to the stars, realized his world championship dreams in February 2018, besting Paulus Moses by unanimous decision to win the WBO lightweight world title. His title reign was short-lived, as he was defeated by Jose Pedraza via unanimous decision last August. Beltran rebounded from that setback, returning in February to knock out then-unbeaten 140-pound contender Hiroki Okada in the ninth round.
Adames (17-0, 14 KOs) has won three straight bouts by knockout since electing to campaign at 154 pounds. A former amateur star from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Adames grew up with 35 siblings and turned to the sport at the age of 12 after an older brother took him to a gym. In his last bout, April 20 on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan undercard, he blew away perennial contender Frank Galarza in four rounds. Day (17-2-1, 6 KOs), from Freeport, New York, has won six in a row, including two wins against previously unbeaten fighters. He made a statement Feb. 2 in Frisco, Texas, outboxing Ismail Iliev (11-0-1 at the time) over 10 rounds.
“This fight represents a big step in the right direction for me and my career,” Adames said. “I am thrilled with this opportunity, and as I have always promised to my people of the Dominican Republic, I will be the next world champion from the island and the new face of Dominican boxing.”
“Time to show the world who Pat Day is,” Day said. “These are the fights I dreamed of on my way to top 10 contention. Now that I am here, I intend to advance to a world title. I respect what Carlos brings to the table, but he has never fought a guy like me. I am focused on winning and looking good doing it.”
The action-packed ESPN+ stream will include the following bouts:
- Saul “Neno” Rodriguez (23-0-1, 17 KOs) will take on Miguel Angel “Miguelito” Gonzalez (24-4, 21 KOs) in a super featherweight bout scheduled for 10 rounds. Rodriguez has notched a pair of knockout wins since returning from a nearly two-year layoff.
- Middleweight prospect Tyler Howard (17-0, 11 KOs) will face the upset-minded Manny “Shake Em’ Up Woods (16-8-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
- Ruben Rodriguez (6-0, 2 KOs), a 22-year-old super lightweight prospect from Indio, California, will fight Vicente Morales (2-2-2, 1 KO) in a six-rounder.
- Raymond Muratalla (7-0, 5 KOs) will look to extend his knockout streak to three against Javier Martinez (4-6, 3 KOs) in a lightweight fight scheduled for six rounds.
- Super featherweight sensation Christopher “The Boy” Zavala (4-0, 2 KOs) will fight Prisco Marquez (4-0-1, 1 KO) in a four-rounder.
- Middleweight prospect David “Lion of Zion” Kaminsky (4-0, 2 KOs), an 18-year-old from Israel, will face veteran Osbaldo Gonzalez (6-4, 4 KOs) in a four-rounder.
- 2016 Australian Olympian Daniel Lewis (1-0, 1 KO) will see action in a six-round middleweight contest in his Top Rank debut.
- Super lightweight prospect Elvis Rodriguez (2-0, 2 KOs) will face an opponent to be named in a four-rounder.
Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sanchez, and Carlos Castro to see action in separate bouts
LIVE on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT
TUCSON, Ariz. (May 1, 2019) — Fazliddin “Fayzi” Gaibnazarov is on the fast track to world title contention. Gaibnazarov, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist for his native Uzbekistan, will face the toughest — and tallest — test of his career against the 6-foot-3 Mykal “The Professor” Fox in a 10-round super lightweight showdown from the Tucson Arena. Fox will have a roughly nine-inch height advantage over Gaibnazarov.
Gaibnazarov-Fox will headline an action-packed slate of fights on ESPN+ — the leading multi-sport streaming service — beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
The main card, dubbed “Twice as Nice,” will feature a pair of world championship rematches and will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. ET. WBC super featherweight champion Miguel “El Alacrán” Berchelt will make the fifth defense of his belt against Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas in a rematch of their 2017 Fight of the Year contender, won by Berchelt via 11th-round knockout. In the co-feature, WBO junior featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete will look to repeat the deed against Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe in a rematch of their Dec. 8 bout, won by Navarrete via unanimous decision.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Peltz Boxing Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions, tickets priced at $102, $77, $52 and $27 can be purchased at any Ticketmaster outlet, online at www.Ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 745-3000, or at the Tucson Convention Center ticket office.
“I want the best fighters at 140 pounds, and I want them soon,” Gaibnazarov said. “Fox is a step up for me, but I always rise to the occasion as my opposition gets better. I fought and beat the world’s best fighters as an amateur, and I will do the same as a professional. 2019 is going to be my year.”
“Most guys would take a step down in competition after a loss, but there is nothing to gain from that. Gaibnazorov is not to be taken lightly but neither am I,” Fox said. “I’m looking to secure a win and get back on the ball. An undefeated Olympian is a hell of a choice to try and do that with, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Plus, the list of guys who will fight me, despite losing, is very short. I’m grateful and looking forward to doing battle with an Olympian.”
Gaibnazarov (7-0, 4 KOs) turned pro in 2017 following a storied amateur career that included a pair of Olympic berths, the gold medal in 2016 and victories over the likes of current promotional stablemate and WBC super lightweight champion Jose Ramirez. He turned pro in scheduled eight-rounders and has yet to be seriously challenged in the paid ranks. After going 3-0 in 2018, he made his 2019 debut on Jan. 19 in Verona, New York, stopping Ricardo Garcia in four rounds.
Fox (19-1, 5 KOs), a native of Forestville, Maryland, has befuddled most of his professional opponents with his long southpaw jab. In his last outing, Feb. 15 in Mulvane, Kansas, the upset-minded Fox was on the short end of a 10-round unanimous decision to top prospect Shohjahon Ergashev. Despite a pair of 98-92 scorecards, many ringside observers believed Fox did enough to earn a draw.
In other action on ESPN+:
- Albuquerque native and top featherweight prospect Jason Sanchez (14-0, 7 KOs) will face former world title challenger Adeilson Dos Santos (19-6, 15 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
- Phoenix native Carlos Castro (22-0, 9 KOs) will defend his WBC Continental Americas super bantamweight belt in a 10-rounder against Mario Alberto Diaz (18-2, 7 KOs). Castro is coming off an upset win over former world title challenger Genesis Servania in February.
- Three-time world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (27-3, 23 KOs) returns to action in an eight-round featherweight bout against Naciff Martinez (23-10-3, 9 KOs).
- Super lightweight prospect Miguel Parra (16-1-1, 11 KOs) hopes to make it eight wins in a row versus David Morales (13-10, 13 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
- Tucson-based middleweight prospect Manny Guajardo (4-0, 0 KOs) will look to impress the hometown fans in a four-rounder against Jonathan Espino (2-3, 2 KOs).
- In a four-round welterweight rematch featuring a pair of local favorites, Nogales’ Judas Estrada (1-1-1, 1 KO) will face Tucson’s Christopher Gonzalez (3-0-1, 0 KOs). Estrada and Gonzalez fought to a draw last November in a crowd-pleasing brawl.
- Phoenix native Carlos Velasquez (1-0, 0 KOs) will face an opponent to be named in a four-rounder at lightweight.
For more information, visit: www.toprank.com, www.espn.com/boxing; Facebook:facebook.com/trboxing; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing.
Use the hashtags #BercheltVargas2 and #NavarreteDogboe2 to join the conversation on social media.
Former Unified Bantamweight World Champion Ryan Burnett Joins Top Rank Stable
Burnett to make ring return May 17 against Jelbirt Gomera on ESPN+
(April 29, 2019)— Top Rank is proud to announce the signing of former unified bantamweight world champion Ryan Burnett to a multi-fight promotional pact in what is the latest collaboration between Top Rank and Burnett’s management group, MTK Global.
Burnett (19-1, 9 KOs) will make his ring return May 17 against Jelbirt Gomera in a 12-rounder for the vacant WBC International super bantamweight title in his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Burnett vs. Gomera will headline a card that will stream live and exclusively in the United States on ESPN+.
Burnett plans on campaigning as a super bantamweight moving forward and has his sights set on becoming a two-division world champion before the end of the year.
“It is a dream come true to sign with Top Rank,” Burnett said. “I’ve spent years learning and perfecting my craft, becoming world champion and then unified world champion. On May 17, I begin my quest to become world champion again. Teaming up with the biggest players in the game in Top Rank, ESPN and MTK Global will only strengthen my drive and determination to achieve this.
“With these guys behind me, there’s only one way ahead for me, and that’s straight to the top.”
“We’re proud and excited to be part of another huge deal involving Top Rank and ESPN, and this is something Ryan deserves,” said Jamie Conlan, Professional Development Manager, MTK Global. “As the boxing world already knows, Ryan has a special night upcoming when he headlines an #MTKFightNight in his home city of Belfast, live on ESPN+ on May 17. It’s great the partnership won’t stop there. As someone who’s already unified a division, we believe we’re talking about an elite fighter, and elite fighters should fight on elite platforms. This agreement ensures that happens, and once again, MTK Global are delighted to play our role.”
Said Adam Booth, Burnett’s trainer/manager: “I am relieved and excited that on May 17 Ryan will start his journey back to being world champion. It was essential for us to look at the options and which relationships would maximize the opportunity for him to achieve this. That’s why Ryan is now working with Top Rank, MTK Global and ESPN.”
Burnett turned pro in 2013 and won the British bantamweight title in November 2015 with a shutout 12-round unanimous decision over Jason Booth. He captured the IBF bantamweight title on June 10, 2017, with a unanimous win over Lee Haskins. Four months later, he added the WBA super world bantamweight title to his collection, outclassing Zhanat Zhakiyanov over 12 rounds.
Burnett’s world championship run ended last November under freakish circumstances against four-division champion Nonito Donaire, when he suffered a torn oblique while throwing a right hand and was forced to retire on his stool following the fourth round.
Split-T Management’s Diego Pacheco Destroys Guillermo Maldonado in 1st round
Tyson Fury vs. Tom Schwarz Event Tickets On Sale NOW!
LAS VEGAS (April 24, 2019) — Here comes the “Gypsy King.”
Tickets for the Las Vegas debut of lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury — Saturday, June 15 at MGM Grand Garden Arena — will go on sale TOMORROW, April 25 at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST/6 p.m. GMT.
Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs), who defeated long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to win the crown, will defend his title against unbeaten German contender Tom Schwarz (24-0, 16 KOs).
Fury-Schwarz will be available live in the United States exclusively on ESPN+ — the leading multi-sport streaming service – beginning at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST.
The event will be promoted by Top Rank, in association with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions and SES Boxing.
Tickets priced at $500, $300, $100 and $50 can be purchased online through axs.com, charge by phone at 866-740-7711 or in person at any MGM Resorts box office.
Richard Sturm, President of Las Vegas Live Entertainment and Sports, said, “We look forward to hosting the Fury-Schwarz heavyweight fight at MGM Grand on June 15. These two exciting fighters, known by boxing fans worldwide, will be sure to put on a blockbuster event this summer.”
Fury will be making his first ring appearance since a draw last December 1 versus WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. Despite being knocked down twice, including the 1-2 combination felt around the world in the 12th round, most ringside observers believed Fury did more than enough to win the fight.
Schwarz, the WBO No. 2 heavyweight contender, is one of Europe’s leading heavyweights and has not gone the distance in his last six fights. He has fought all but two of his bouts in his native Germany and will be making his United States debut against Fury. In his last fight, March 2 in Magdeburg, Germany, he knocked out Kristijan Krstacic in two rounds.
To subscribe to ESPN+, visit www.espnplus.com.
RIDDICK BOWE CONFIRMED FOR 5TH ANNUAL
BOX FAN EXPO, DURING CINCO DE MAYO
WEEKEND, SATURDAY MAY 4, IN LAS VEGAS
Box Fan Expo is the ultimate fan experience event that gives boxing fans the opportunity to meet-and-greet top fighters, current and former world champions, boxing celebrities and industry people in an up-close personal setting.
http://boxfanexpo.eventbrite.com/Bowe will make his 2nd appearance at this years’ Expo and will be signing gloves, photos and personal items for his fans to enjoy. Boxing Fans will have an opportunity to also take pictures with this Boxing Legend also Known as “Big Daddy”.
Riddick Bowe is an American former professional boxer. He reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion in 1992, and as an amateur he won a silver medal in the super heavyweight division at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
The American Boxing Association also known as the “ABA”, was created in 2012 by founder Dean Smith, who created the only “Made in the USA” National governing and Sanctioning body, that support’s American Fighters. The ABA allow American fighters to fight and defend a national title, with a sense of National pride. For more info go to: http://Ababoxing.us
Box Fan Expo is the ultimate boxing fan experience event, which allows fans to meet-and-greet boxing superstars of today, current and former world champions, legends of the sport and other boxing celebrities. Fans can expect to experience various interactions such as autograph and photos sessions, FaceOff with your favorite boxers, pictures with the Ring Card Girls, Live DJ Music, chance to win prizes, purchase merchandise and memorabilia from different booths Exhibitors, “ALL UNDER ONE ROOF”. You won’t want to miss this must-attend Expo! Box Fan Expo has been a huge success with fans and boxing industry people. Many boxing stars have attended the last four Expos such as Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, Marco Antonio Barrera, Roy Jones Jr., Andre Ward, Mikey Garcia, Marcos Maidana, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Errol Spence Jr., Sergio Martinez, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Tim Bradley, Deontay Wilder, Amir Khan, Shawn Porter, Fernando Vargas, Zab Judah, James Toney, Jessie Vargas, Vinny Pazienza, Mia St.John, Leo Santa Cruz, Badou Jack, Terry Norris , Riddick Bowe , Earnie Shavers, Leon Spinks, Danny Jacobs, Abner Mares, Jorge Linares, Brandon Rios and many more…
Telephone number: (514) 572-7222 or Las Vegas Number (702) 997-1927
For any inquiries please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For More information on Box Fan Expo visit: http://www.boxfanexpo.com
Follow Box Fan Expo on Twitter and Instagram: @BoxFanExpo
Follow Box Fan Expo on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/BoxFanExpo
May 25: Masayuki Ito-Jamel Herring Junior Lightweight Title Showdown Headlines Memorial Day Weekend Card on ESPN
Live from Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida
Jose Pedraza-Antonio Lozada Jr. to serve as lightweight co-feature
Coverage begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (April 25, 2019)— Masayuki Ito won the WBO junior lightweight title last July in Kissimmee, Florida. For title defense number two, he’s returning to the city of his greatest triumph.
Ito, who recently signed a long-term co-promotional contract with Top Rank, will defend his title against 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team captain and U.S Marine Corps veteran Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring Saturday, May 25 at Osceola Heritage Park. Ito-Herring will headline a special Memorial Day weekend edition of Top Rank on ESPN beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. In the 10-round lightweight co-feature, former two-division world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza looks to get back in the win column against Antonio Lozada Jr.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with All Star Boxing and Teiken Promotions, tickets to this world championship event go on sale Friday, April 26 at 10 a.m. ET. Priced at $100 (ringside) and $50 (general admission), including all taxes and facility fees, tickets may be purchased online via ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800.745.3000 or in person Osceola Heritage Park box office (open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. and on event days). For more information: www.ohpark.com.
“I am excited to return to the United States to defend my world title,” Ito said. “I will be at my best, as I know Herring is a tough and experienced fighter. While I ultimately want to unify the 130-pound division, Herring is the task at hand. There is no sense in talking about the future until I take care of business on May 25.”
“I need to thank my management team and Top Rank for this opportunity,” Herring said. “Not only is this fight landing on Memorial Day weekend, but May 25 would’ve been my daughter Ariyanah’s 10th birthday. She passed away from sudden infant death syndrome, and I am dedicating this fight to her.
“I have tremendous respect for Ito, but I plan on being his most difficult challenge. I don’t want to release too much of the game plan, but I won’t be bullied like his last two opponents once the bell rings.”
Ito (25-1-1, 13 KOs) claimed the vacant WBO junior lightweight title with an upset decision win over Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz at the Kissimmee Civic Center. The Diaz fight marked Ito’s United States debut and the first time he’d fought away from his native Japan. He returned home for his first title defense on Dec. 30, scoring a seventh-round TKO over Evgeny Chuprakov.
Herring (19-2, 10 KOs), who served two tours of duty in Iraq as a field electrician, turned pro in December 2012 and won the first 15 bouts of his career. He lost a pair of fights as a lightweight, including a razor-thin decision to Ladarius Miler in August 2017. Following the Miller defeat, Herring signed on with Top Rank, hired trainer/manager Brian McIntyre and moved down to 130 pounds. Since then, he is 3-0, including an ESPN-televised decision victory over John Vincent Moralde last September on the Jose Ramirez-Antonio Orozco card in Fresno, California. In his last bout, Dec. 14 in Corpus Christi, Texas, he notched a clear points decision over Adeilson Dos Santos.
Pedraza (25-2, 12 KOs) won the IBF junior lightweight title in 2015 and made a pair of title defenses. Following a 2017 TKO loss to Gervonta Davis, he moved up to the lightweight division. In his third bout at lightweight, he won a unanimous decision over Ray Beltran to claim the WBO title. Less than four months later, he faced off against WBA champion Vasiliy Lomachenko to unify world titles. He was competitive, but Lomachenko scored a pair of 11th-round knockdowns to secure the unanimous decision. Lozada (40-2-1, 34 KOs) burst onto the world stage last March, knocking out highly touted prospect Felix Verdejo in the 10th and final round. Since then, he is 1-0-1, including a disputed draw versus Hector Ambriz.
“I feel very happy because on May 25 I will be fighting in a big world championship event where I will be facing a great Mexican warrior like Antonio ‘Cañitas’ Lozada in front of my people in Kissimmee,” Pedraza said. “I know I will get all that affection and support of all the Puerto Rican fans. They can’t miss this great card. I want them to enjoy it and leave the venue happy.
“I’m more than ready to get back in the picture for a world championship opportunity.”
The entire undercard will stream live in the United States exclusively on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and will showcase a host of prospects in competitive matchups.
- In a 10-round crossroads bout featuring a pair of one-loss featherweight prospects, Adam Lopez (12-1, 5 KOs) will face off against Puerto Rican puncher Jean Carlos Rivera (15-1, 10 KOs). Lopez has won four in a row, while Rivera is looking to rebound from a unanimous decision loss last October to the unbeaten Jason Sanchez.
- Jeyvier Cintron (10-0, 5 KOs), one of the sport’s fastest-rising 115-pound prospects, will face his toughest test to date against former interim flyweight world champion and one-time super flyweight world title challenger Koki Eto (24-4-1, 19 KOs) in a 10-rounder. Cintron represented his native Puerto Rico at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, becoming the first two-time boxing Olympian in his nation’s history.
- Steve “So Cold” Nelson (13-0, 10 KOs), a stablemate of pound-for-pound king Terence “Bud” Crawford, will take on Victor “The Spartan” Darocha (8-4-1, 6 KOs) in an eight- round super middleweight bout.
- NABO junior welterweight champion Yomar “The Magic” Alamo (16-0, 12 KOs) will defend his belt in a 10-rounder against an opponent to be determined.
- Antonio Vargas (10-0, 4 KOs), who represented the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will fight Jose Maria Cardenas (16-4, 13 KOs) in an eight-round bantamweight bout.
- Middleweight dynamo Edgar “Pachanga” Berlanga (10-0, 10 KOs) will look to make it 11 first-round KOs in as many fights against Hungarian veteran Gyorgy Varju (7-4, 4 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
- Super featherweight prospect Henry “Moncho” LeBron (8-0, 6 KOs) will seek to extend his knockout streak to three versus Luis Ruiz LizarragaJr. (6-12-1, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder.
Use the hashtag #ItoHerring to join the conversation on social media.
PAUL KROLL TO BE NAMED “2018 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR” AT BRISCOE AWARDS
Terence Crawford successfully defends WBO welterweight title after Amur Khan surrenders after low blow
STORY BY JOHN RINALDI
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALEXANDER RINALDI
April 20 – New York City, NY. Top Rank, Inc. led by Bob Arum, demonstrated once more that after over half a century of promoting, they are still a dominating force in pugilism. On Easter Weekend in New York City, an impressive crowd of 14,091 fans turned out to see a Nebraska fighter take on an English adversary.
WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, of Omaha, Nebraska, appears to be heading up the steps of super stardom. He first arrived on the big stage when he outpointed the popular Ricky Burns on March 1, 2014 for the WBO World Lightweight Championship. After two successful title defenses, Crawford bludgeoned Thomas Dulcimer on April 18, 2015 to win the vacant WBO World Super Lightweight crown. Terence then defended his laurels six more times, also scooping up the WBC Super Lightweight title belt in the process, before he moved up to TKO the conqueror of Manny Pacquiao, Jeff Horn, on June 9, 2018 to capture the WBO World Welterweight Championship.
Crawford is a busy fighter and four months later he stopped Jose Bedridden Jr. in a barn burner on October 13 to retain his 147-pound belt for the first time.
The problem Crawford has faced, however, is that he had not beaten many household names to enhance his reputation. He needed a known opponent to take him up another rung of the ladder. That unlikely foe turned out to be Amur “King Khan” Khan, the former super lightweight king.
At one time, Khan, of Bolton, Lancashire, UK, was a hero in Great Britain. He defeated the great Marco Antonio Barrera on a technical decision (due to a clash of heads) on March 14, 2009, and four months later outpointed Andriy Kotelnik to win the WBA Super Lightweight Championship. Over the next three years he defended his belt five times against tough characters as Dmitiy Salita (TKO-1), Paulie Malignaggi (TKO-11), Marco Maidana (W-12), Paul McCloskey (TD-6) and Zab Judah (KO-5 and also capturing the IBF World Super Lightweight Crown) before being dethroned by Lamont Peterson on a 12-round split decision on December 10, 2011.
The loss to Peterson was a disputed one, but when he was destroyed in four rounds by Danny Garcia in his next outing on July 14, 2012, it appeared to be the end of Khan’s rising boxing star.
After two points wins over Luis Collazo (wining the WBA Int’l Welterweight Title and vacant WBC Silver Welterweight Belt) and Devon Alexander in 2014, Khan inexplicably moved all the way up to the middleweight division to take on the power punching WBC World Middleweight king Saul Alvarez, where he was punished and KO’d in the sixth round.
Once more Khan tried to rise from the ashes and captured a pair of wins over Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas in 2018 to place himself in the #2 position in the WBO World Welterweight Rankings.
Although most believed that Khan was in way over his head against the likes of Crawford, there were still some believers out there (mostly in Great Britain) that Khan’s once vaulted punching power could pull off a miracle. Sadly miracles are in short supply in New York City boxing rings.
The two fighters entered the ring in Madison Square Garden in top shape, but right from the outset, the difference in the two fighters’ power was obvious. Crawford, 146.4, appeared to hurt the challenger with every punch he landed. Khan fought cautiously, while Crawford pounded away with both fists. Suddenly in the opening frame, the champion smashed a mighty right to the head of Khan that froze him for a brief millisecond before a left hook to the face send him toppling to the canvas.
Bravely rising, Khan appeared okay as he moved away from the walloping shots of Crawford. Amir tried to land a few lefts and rights to hold off the champion, but was tagged at the end of the frame with a crunching right hand that staggered him.
After the beating in the opening round, Khan appeared to have removed the cobwebs from his rattled brain and attacked with jolting combinations. Crawford, however, would then retaliate with a barrage of leather with punches coming from all angles possible, battering away at the Brit’s arms, body and head. Khan, 146.6, kept his composure and managed to score with some telling shots. Near the end of the session, Amir rocked Crawford with a vicious right hand that knocked the champion into the ropes. The right hand wallop was the best punch of Round 2 and won the round for the Brit on one of the judges’ scorecards.
The third round was another close frame as it appeared the champion was biding his time and content to counter off the Brit’s crackling combinations. Khan was still quite cautious, but scored well with some solid blows. This was another frame where one judge awarded the stanza to the challenger.
Rounds four and five saw Crawford land effectively with his southpaw right jab and hammered away at the challenger’s ribs and head. Khan would lunge in with a three-punch combination, but then the champion would open with both fist flailing and drive Khan across the ring.
Going into the sixth round the scorecards had Crawford ahead by tallies of 49-45 (twice) and 50-44. Early in Round 6, Crawford swung for the fences with a mighty left hook. Unfortunately his blow landed too far south and crashed into the groin of Khan, which sent the Englishman collapsing to the canvas. Amir then managed to make it to his feet, wearing of mask of pain on his face.
As referee David Fields questioned Khan and offered to give him time to recover, the challenger first adjusted his protective cup, and then made a comment that he was unable to fight. Because Khan refused a respite to recover, and instead decided he could not longer continue, Fields had no choice but to declare Crawford the winner by a 6th-round TKO at the 0:47 mark.
The Garden erupted in boos with the apparent surrender by Khan. Up until the low blow, Crawford may have been in control, but it was a rather enjoyable scrap.
“I feel like I was touching him [Khan] more and I was picking up the intensity,” said Crawford (35-0, 26 KO’s). He was looking for a way out. I hit him on top of the leg and he got his way out and his coach stopped the fight.”Khan (33-5, 20 KO’s) remarked, “I want to apologize to all of the fans. The fight was just getting interesting. I could feel the pain in my stomach and legs, and said, ‘I can’t move’ to the referee and my corner. There was no point taking five minutes out, I could not continue. I am not one to give up. I was hit by a hard shot below the belt. I couldn’t continue as the pain was too much.”
At the press conference, Crawford clearly thought that Khan had quit. When the following exchange took place:
Crawford – “You didn’t quit? Tell everything – the truth!”
Khan – “No, I didn’t.”
Crawford – “Then what happened?”
Khan – “I was hit with a low blow.”
Crawford – “Your leg?”
Khan – “In the leg? It was in the balls! I’ve not seen the video of it, but it was a low blow.”
Crawford – “It was low.”
Khan – “If you guys think I quit, no problem. I never quit from a fight. It was a great fight and Crawford beat me.”
The challenger’s trainer Virgil Hunter explained, “The crowd will always be bloodthirsty and want to see a dramatic ending, but you have to look out for the safety of the fighter. He’s not the kind of fighter to make things up. I believe he was incapacitated.”
The problem is that Hunter was not one of those fans in attendance who paid from $56 to $606 to view the fight. Khan refused to take advantage of a five-minute rest in an effort to recover from the low punch. Instead, he waved the white flag and that was it for the evening.Regardless, the crowd witnessed an impressive performance from Crawford who thrilled the fans with a great first-round knockdown, along with incredible power shots throughout the battle. Khan, 32, may be through with his time in the big-time spotlight, while Crawford, 31, has many exciting challenges ahead.
Crawford expressed a desire to take on IBF World Welterweight King Errol Spence Jr. in the near future.
The undercard featured the following:
Bantamweight Lawrence Newton (12-0, 7 KO’s), of Deerfield, FL, oupointed Jonathan Garza (7-3, 2 KO’s), of Eagle Pass, TX, over six rounds.
Super Welterweight Vikas Krishan (2-0, 1 KO), of Haryana, IND, won a unanimous 6-round decision over Noah Kidd (3-2-1, 2 KO’s), of Jefferson City, MO.
Super Lightweight Larry Fryers (10-1, 3 KO’s), of Clones, IRL, decisioned Dakota Polley (5-3, 2 KO’s), of St. Joseph, MO.
Power punching, undefeated middleweight Edgar Berlanga (10-0, 10 KO’s), of New York City, NY, made short work of veteran Samir Barbosa (37-16-3, 26 KO’s), of Rio Grande, BRA, with a first-round TKO at the 0:46 mark.
In a battle for the vacant NABF/NABO Super Welterweight Title, Carlos Adames (17-0, 14 KO’s) bludgeoned Frank Galarza (20-3-2, 12 KO’s), of Brooklyn, NY, in four rounds after dropping Galarza with a whipping left hook.
Lightweight Felix Verdejo (25-1, 16 KO’s), of San Juan, PR, defeated Bryan Vasquez (37-4, 20 KO’s) over ten rounds.
Former Olympic Silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (11-0, 6 KO’s), of Newark, NJ, easily outboxed Christoper Diaz (24-2, 16 KO’s), of Barranquitas, PR, to win the IBF Intercontinental and NABO Featherweight Title Belts by scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. The southpaw Stevenson a a crafty, cocky and slick fighter that surely has a bright future. “I want to fight all the champions,” said Stevenson. “I’m the smartest boxer in boxing today.”
The popular NABF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KO’s), of Brooklyn, NY, KO’d former two-time EBU European Union Lightweight king Edis Tatli (31-3, 10 KO’s), of Helsinki, FIN, with a wicked left hook to the ribs that sent the challenger down and out in the fifth round.
All in all, Top Rank put on a fun night of boxing by having girls shoot t-shirts to the fans with air guns, provide games where audience members adorned with boxing gloves had to put on a Top Rank shirt the fastest to win, and also trivia contests given to some fans with Top Rank t-shirt prizes.