Andrew Cancio joins Top Rank roster crowded with big names at 130

Andrew Cancio joins Top Rank roster crowded with big names at 130
Former WBA super featherweight title holder Andrew “El Chango” Cancio, the working man's hero, has signed a multi-fight promotional contract with Top Rank. Cancio, who still holds down a full-time job at Southern California Gas Company, is expected to make his Top Rank on ESPN debut in April. “Andrew Cancio is one of the very best fighters at 130 pounds, a hard-working young man who deserves another opportunity to fight at the sport’s highest level,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He was a free agent, miraculously, and we didn’t hesitate to make a deal with him and his team."
 
"I'm very grateful to begin the next chapter of my career with Bob Arum and the entire Top Rank team in my corner,” Cancio said. “I look forward to returning to the ring in front of my army of supporters and am fully prepared to fight my way towards becoming a world champion again. Thanks very much to my team, particularly my manager, Ray Chaparro, who has always believed in me and has been incredibly supportive of my career and instrumental in the success I've achieved."
 
Said Chaparro: "Andrew and I are honored to join Top Rank as we move forward towards the rest of his career. I've known for a long time that Andrew is a world-class fighter and am very happy to begin working with Bob Arum and his outstanding team on our march towards another world title. I'd specifically like to thank Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman, who has worked diligently to welcome us to Top Rank. We both look forward to working closely with him in the future."
 
Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KOs), from Blythe, Calif., knocked out Alberto Machado last February in four rounds to win the WBA super featherweight world title. Four months later, he repeated the deed, this time stopping Machado in three rounds. Cancio’s title reign ended last November when Nicaraguan veteran Rene Alvarado knocked him out in seven rounds.
 
Cancio is one of the sport’s top regional ticket-sellers, as he routinely draws sold-out crowds to the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif., a 90-minute drive from Blythe. After the Alvarado defeat, Cancio was released by his previous promoter, paving the way for him to sign with Top Rank. WBO world champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring, WBC world champion Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt, former title holder Oscar Valdez, former two-weight champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton and former champion Masayuki “The Judge” Ito are Top Rank-signed fighters who currently campaign at 130 pounds, leaving Cancio with a plethora of options as he resumes his career.
 
 

Russ Anber talks about working Felix Verdejo's corner

Russ Anber talks about working Felix Verdejo's corner
Ivan Montiel: First of all, congratulations on your work in Felix Verdejo's corner [last weekend, Verdejo defeated Manuel Rey Rojas via unanimous decision to improve to 26-1].  
 
Russ Anber: I have known Verdejo since his amateur days. I have called his fights in the past.  Verdejo came to my office in Montreal when team Puerto Rico trained in Montreal.  Verdejo is a nice kid, and it was an honor to work his corner.  I am glad that Verdejo’s trainer Ismael Salas asked me if I could assist working their corner. It was a pleasure doing working with them.  As far as his performance goes, I believe this is an adjustment period for Verdejo.  This is his first fight with Salas, and I think Salas wanted to implement his own methods in order to change a few things. Verdejo responded well to his instructions.  Verdejo is not going to be perfect overnight but Salas did what he wanted to do with him.  Salas looked very happy in the corner, he was happy with the way Verdejo was boxing.  Verdejo stayed behind his jab.  We spoke after the fight and if the one thing that Verdejo must do is put combinations together.  Verdejo looked very good, he carries very good power working well with his jab by putting his punches together.  Verdejo can fit in the lightweight division once again.
 
IM: I agree but I must say, there are many people saying Verdejo is not the same fighter any more and that he’s not ready for a world title shot.
 
RA: You know what Ivan, I have not spent much time around him to be able to make that assessment.  I don’t know what his body language is like.  I don’t know what some of the signs are.  I don’t know what it was like before.  It’s difficult for me to give you an honest assessment.  I could see that Verdejo was focused trying to follow Salas' instruction.  His strategy being able to execute when Salas wanted it, I saw that in him.  I am going to have to be around him longer in order to determine what the body language means. For example, is Verdejo responding to instructions, how much is he learning?  I talked to the guys from [Verdejo's promoter] Top Rank after the fight. They felt Verdejo’s performance was better than they had witnessed in the past but not where it should be.  I think Top Rank still sees potential in Felix Verdejo.  I think Top Rank is expecting a little more from Verdejo.
 
IM: Do you think perhaps Verdejo’s loss against Antonio Lozada Torres in 2018 took something away from him?  Maybe Verdejo just doesn’t have that same confidence he once had?  Many people were already looking at this kid as becoming the next Puerto Rican star!
 
RA: It’s funny you say that since that’s the first thing I thought of going into this past weekend’s fight.  I didn’t spend much time in Verdejo’s dressing room since I had to wrap Eleider Alvarez's hands [on the same show].  I wasn’t able to see what Verdejo’s confidence was in that dressing room.  The first thing that I thought was Verdejo not seeming to have that confidence, that maturity, that cockiness that we would expect from him.  Verdejo was very focused trying to execute what Salas was saying.  I don’t want to be critical because once again I have not had enough time and don’t know what they are working on in order to make adjustments.  I don’t want to come off like every other boxing expert who thinks that they have the answer.  It’s more than just seeing Verdejo in one fight.  We have to see an evolution.  I said that about Teofimo Lopez going into his fight against Ricard Commey.  People said Lopez looked terrible in his fight against Masayoshi Nakatani, so there’s more to it than that!  These guys don’t get to this level based on just one fight.  I don’t want to be critical without knowing the facts first.
 
IM: That makes sense. However I am thinking maybe Verdejo should fight Antonio Lozada Torres once again in order to erase that loss.  I think it’s the best thing to do before going into a world title shot.
 
RA: Top Rank mentioned Verdejo suffering damage to his orbital bone.  I told them that there’s nothing to be concerned about.  I wasn’t aware of any injury.
 
IM: Let’s not forget that motorcycle accident in 2016.
 
RA: You know even that type of accident shows you that it doesn’t necessarily have to do with boxing but that type of accident can shake you up.  You can get set back by anything whether it be a motorcycle accident or even a car accident.  As far working Verdejo’s corner I sure hope I can work with him again!
 
IM: I guess let’s wait and see what happens with a world title shot for Felix Verdejo.
 
TOMORROW: Anber talks about Eleider Alvarez
 

Shinard Bunch: first boxer with two fights this year

Shinard Bunch: first boxer with two fights this year
This Saturday night at The Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton, New Jersey, a seven-bout card will take place featuring Shinard Bunch in his second fight of the year.  A local welterweight, Bunch will fight Fabian Lyimo (23-11-2 with 15 KOs) in a six-round contest. Bunch has a record of 6-1 with five KOs.  The 20 year-old Bunch has won three straight bouts and is jumping right back in the ring after a sixth-round stoppage win over Dennis Okoth on January 11th in Atlantic City. The 37 year-old Lyimo is from Tanzania and is a 13 year pro coming off a loss to undefeated Jose Roman on October 24th. In the Trenton main event, former National Golden Gloves champion Mike Hilton will take on Baldimir Hernandez in an six-round cruiserweight bout.
 
Hilton of Trenton, has a record of 9-0 with seven knockouts.  The 33 year-old Hilton is a four year-professional, who will be fighting in his hometown for the third time. He is coming off a technical decision win over Hector Perez on March 10, 2018 in Atlantic City.
 
Hernandez of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico is a veteran who has a record of 20-14 with 18 knockouts. The 34 year-old Hernandez is a 14 year-professional who won his first 14 fights.  He has a win over Jose Luis Cruz (37-4-2), Carlos Lira (1-0) and is coming off a loss to Siarhei Novlkau on August 31, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
 
ADDITIONAL BOUTS
 
Also in six-round bouts:
 
Frederic Julan (11-0, 9 KOs) of Brooklyn takes on Fidel Munoz (39-21-1, 31 KOs) of Barranquilla, Colombia in a light heavyweight bout.
 
Chris Thomas of Beachwood, NJ (14-1-1, 9 KOs) battles Engleberto Valenzuela (12-16, 3 KOs) of Sonora, Mexico in a light heavyweight bout.
 
In four-round bouts:
 
LaQuan Evans (2-1, 1 KO) of Philadelphia fights Alberto Delgado (1-9-4, 1 KO) of Roanoke, VA in a middleweight bout.
 
Mike Moore (1-1) of nearby Bristol, PA takes on Jakub Sowirko (1-0) of Trenton in a cruiserweight bout.
 
Quaseem Carter (2-0, 2 KOs) of Orange, NJ takes on an opponent to be announced.
 

Showtime announces three-fight preliminary stream

Showtime announces three-fight preliminary stream

Showtime announces three-fight preliminary stream

Showtime Sports will live stream three undercard bouts featuring a trio of undefeated boxers as part of the undercard action on Saturday, January 25th from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The streams can be viewed on Showtime Sports' Youtube and Facebook accounts. Prior to the Showtime telecast, undefeated 140-pounder Patrick Harris (18-0, 9 KOs), of Washington, D.C., will take on Clay Burns (8-6-2, 4 KOs) of Alexandria, La., in the live stream, which begins at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. In another eight-round attraction, Keeshawn Williams (6-0-1, 2 KOs) of District Heights, Md., will face Gaku Takahashi (16-10-1, 8 KOs) of Japan.  In a six-round opening bout of the streaming coverage, Baltimore middleweight Lorenzo “Truck” Simpson will take on Kansas City’s Antonio Louis Hernandez.

The main Showtime broadcast will be headlined by former  two-division champion Danny Garcia against Ivan “El Terrible’’ Redkach in a WBC welterweight title eliminator. In the co-feature, former WBA/ IBF 154-pound champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd returns against all-action Francisco “Chia” Santana in a ten-round contest, plus super bantamweight Stephen “Cool Boy Steph’’ Fulton faces undefeated Arnold Khegai in a WBO super bantamweight title eliminator to open the telecast.
 
The 25-year-old Harris turned professional after a highly successful amateur career in 2014 and has steadily increased his level of opposition while building his undefeated resume. The nephew of former champion Lamont Peterson and his brother Anthony, Harris comes from a boxing family. His father, Patrice “Boogie” Harris, is a well-known trainer at Headbangers Gym in Washington, D.C. The slick southpaw was active in 2019, fighting four times. He is coming off a TKO victory over Joaquim Carneiro in November and in March, he won via shutout decision in an event that was headlined by his uncles.
 
Williams, a 22-year-old out of Maryland, has won five consecutive bouts since a split draw in just his second pro fight. Williams will return to Barclays Center for his second straight fight, after he dismantled Mario Alberto Perez Navarro in a first-round TKO on the undercard of Adam Kownacki vs. Chris Arreola in August.
 
The 19-year-old southpaw Simpson has been an active young pro since his debut in December of 2018 as he picked up five victories in 2019. A stablemate of undefeated two-time super featherweight and current WBA regular lightweight title holder Gervonta Davis, Simpson was a 12-time National Champion and six-time Silver Glove Champion as an amateur. He honed his skills at the Upton Boxing Center in West Baltimore under the watchful eye of his trainer Ford.
 
Rounding out the undercard attractions are Staten Island, New York’s Kenny Robles (7-1, 3 KOs) in an eight-round junior welterweight fight against Patterson, New Jersey’s Rickey Edwards (12-4, 3 KOs)... heavyweight Steven Torres (1-0, 1 KO) from Reading, Pennsylvania taking on Williamsville, New York’s Dakota Witkopf (1-1, 1 KO) in a four-round bout... and the pro debut of East Orange, New Jersey’s Rajon Chance in a four-round super bantamweight duel versus Rockville, Maryland’s Akihiro Nakamura (1-0). 
 
 

ShoBox returns with four fights on Feb. 14th

ShoBox returns with four fights on Feb. 14th
Lightweight Thomas Mattice will face hard-hitting Isaac Cruz Gonzalez in the ten-round main event of ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, February 14 at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.  The four-fight telecast is the third of four ShoBox presentations over six weeks. In the co-feature on February 14th, Las Vegas super bantamweight Raeese Aleem (15-0, 9 KOs) will take on San Antonio's Adam Lopez (19-3-2, 9 KOs) in an eight-round 122-pound bout. In a matchup of undefeated junior welterweights, Cleveland's Montana Love (12-0-1, 6 KOs) returns to ShoBox in an eight-round showdown with New Orleans' Jerrico Walton (16-0, 7 KOs). In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated junior middleweights Derrick Colemon Jr. (11-0, 8 KOs) of Detroit and Joseph Jackson (15-0, 12 KOs), of North Carolina, will square off in an eight rounder. 
 
Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.2300arena.com
 
Cleveland's Mattice (15-1-1, 11 KOs) is coming off his most significant win to date, an eight-round TKO of previously undefeated Michael Dutchover last September on ShoBox. The fight was stopped due to a deep gash on Dutchover caused by a clean right hand from Mattice. The judges' scorecards were split at the time of the stoppage. Mattice will be making his sixth start on the prospect developmental series, including a close loss to Will Madera in 2019, a split decision win and a split draw with Zhora Hamazaryan in 2018, and a knockout of Rolando Chinea. The 29 year-old hopes a convincing win over the top-10 ranked Gonzalez will move him closer to a world title shot. 
 
"A win would be huge for my career and put me in a great position," Mattice said. "It would put me in the conversation with the top dogs of the division. I have to put on a great performance and let all those top fighters know that I'm here and ready to fight anyone. It's a must-win for me, but it's a big fight for both of us. He is ranked No. 7 by the IBF so this has the feel of a big fight. I think a win would put me in the top-10."
 
Gonzalez (18-1-1, 14 KOs), from Mexico City, has scored knockouts in 11 of his last 14 fights since suffering only loss of his career in just his sixth professional fight. The 22-year-old owns a career-best knockout of Jose Felix Jr. in 2018. Gonzalez made his U.S. debut in December on the non-televised undercard of the Jermall Charlo vs. Dennis Hogan event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn last December. 
 
"I am excited to be fighting in the United States and I am thrilled for my fight to be shown on Showtime," said Gonzalez. "So many fighters started their career on ShoBox and have become World Champions."
 
Aleem compiled a 65-10 record as an amateur and was a five-time Golden Gloves State Champion in Michigan. He finished third at the National Golden Gloves in 2010 and 2011 before turning professional in 2011. The 29 year-old recently relocated his training camp to Las Vegas, where he has sparred with Jessie Magdaleno, Nonito Donaire and Jhack Tepora. Aleem, who is trained by Terry Markowski, will face the toughest test of his career in the veteran Lopez. 
 
"All my hard work is paying off and now I get to show it on the big stage," Aleem said. "I am looking forward to earning new fans and staying on a roll. I know Lopez is a really tough fighter with something to prove. He's been here before so I know he's ready for the challenge. This is a steppingstone to ultimately get where I want to be, and that's fighting for a world title, bigger paydays and more exposure. Ultimately, I don't just want to win, I want to dominate. Winning isn't good enough - I also have to look good while doing it."
 
Lopez was an accomplished amateur who won six national titles and held a #1 ranking, but he has had an up and down career as a pro. The 29 year-old started his career with 15 straight victories yet he has suffered a few setbacks as his level of opposition has dramatically increased. Lopez was undefeated and one win away from challenging for a world title before losing to current unified 122-pound champion Daniel Roman in a title eliminator in 2017. Lopez, who will break his own record of ShoBox appearances when he steps into the ring for the eighth time, will face his sixth undefeated opponent on the series as he looks to get his career back on track.
 
"Aleem is a pretty good fighter, but I think my experience is going to be a factor," Lopez said. "He hasn't fought top-tier guys with the exception of Marcus Bates. I have been in the big fights and this is his first time doing this. I am on a three-fight winning streak and I have rededicated myself to the sport. I have a new trainer, Chato Martinez, and a whole new camp. I can't wait to show that I am back."
 
The flashy Love was an amateur who compiled a 174-13 record. The 25 year-old southpaw will return for his third test on ShoBox as he seeks a convincing victory. In his first bout on the series, he won a majority decision over Samuel Teah in 2018 and followed that up with a split draw a few months later against Kenneth Sims Jr. Love, who has sparred with Adrien Broner and Robert Easter Jr., will face what should be his most dangerous opponent in the fellow-undefeated Walton.
 
"Walton is a decent fighter, but I feel he is still green and he doesn't have that much experience," Love said. "I know he is tough, but I am taking this to the next level. He's just a stepping stone. It's exciting to fight under the bright lights. Some guys fold, but I was made for this. I am not looking past him, but this will take my career to the next level. We are both undefeated and not many guys take risks like this, but this shows I am a true fighter. My name is Montana "Too Pretty Love" and I am fighting on Valentine's Day, so I will be giving a lot of love out on February 14."
 
The 29 year-old Walton was born and raised in New Orleans, where he rescued his mother and sister from the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina when he was just 13 years old. Left homeless, the family relocated to Houston, where Walton competed as an amateur. Walton turned professional in 2014 and has been perfect through his first 16 fights, including a career-best win over former super bantamweight title holder Victor Terrazas in 2019. The boxer-puncher, who is trained by Bobby Benton and fought six times last year, will face the first undefeated opponent of his career in Love.
 
"I have seen Montana fight before. I know he is flashy in the Adrien Broner mode, but other than that I do not know too much about him," Walton said. "This opportunity is a blessing. The world is going to get to see me and hear my story. I'm from New Orleans and it was a struggle for me growing up, so this is a great opportunity. I never in a million years thought that I would be in this position. I just need to seize the moment and get the victory."
 
Just 20 years old, Colemon started boxing at the age of 4 and honed his craft at the original Kronk Gym under Emanuel Steward until his passing in 2012. Colemon had a 135-fight amateur career and was a four-time national amateur champion in the junior division. He turned professional when he was 18 years old and has eight knockouts in his first 11 professional fights. Colemon, who is trained by Marlon Thomas, will face by far the toughest test of his career in Jackson, a fellow undefeated boxer. 
 
"I am physically and mentally prepared more than I ever have been," Colemon said. "I know Jackson is undefeated and tough, so I know I'm in for a big test. This is the next step in my career, and I feel that I will be not only the next great champion that has fought on ShoBox, but the next great fighter out of Detroit. I am ready to show the world my talents. February 14 will put my name in the minds of boxing fans all over the world."
 
The 31 year-old Jackson got a late start as a professional yet has been active, including three fights in 2019 and three in 2018. He has 12 KOs in 15 fights, including knockouts in seven of his last eight bouts. The Greensboro native will fight outside of North Carolina for the first time in his career when he takes on the undefeated Colemon. 
 
"I know Colemon is tough, and he had a long amateur career," Jackson said. "He will come to fight, but I prepare for anything. That is what this sport is all about. I am looking forward to showcasing my talent to the world."
 
 
 
 
 

Spotlight on Fulton-Kegai

Spotlight on Fulton-Kegai
This Saturday, at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, NY, the Showtime Championship Boxing telecast will open up with a super bantamweight bout betwwen Stephen Fulton and Arnold Khegai. Fulton, from Philadelphia, is 17-0 and the IBO champion, while Khegai, from the Ukraine, is 16-0-1. [Fulton was 2-1 in additional pro bouts in the World Series of Boxing, while Khegai was 0-1.] The bout will also be a WBO eliminator. Here is what the two boxers had to say at an open workout on Wednesday:
 
STEPHEN FULTON
 
“A win on Saturday means everything to me. This is another undefeated fighter that I’m going up against. This is going to be the start of my stardom and this is going to boost my level all the way up.  
 
“I’m going to end his winning streak on Saturday. I’m going to get the win for Philadelphia on Saturday. You’re going to see a little bit of everything Saturday. I’m going to put on a show and perform. 
 
“People think they can pressure me and take me out of the fight. But I’m a mentally strong fighter first. I know that my opponent will bring a lot of aggression, but that alone will not beat me. He needs to show more if he wants to beat me. 
 
“I’m knocking on everyone’s door. The whole super bantamweight division can come out and play. I’m putting them all in time out. 
 
“This is the first time I really brought my weight down well ahead of a fight. I feel great and I have a lot of energy left to do everything I need. That aspect of my camp has been great. 
 
“Philadelphia boxing is coming in full effect. I feel like we’re all working together in our own ways to lift each other up. We’re always in the gym and Saturday is another great opportunity to display our talents.”
 
ARNOLD KHEGAI
 
“I believe that I can land my power shots against Fulton. I can land the punch that will change the fight and I can do it in any moment. We’ll find out if he can stand up to the power on Saturday night.
 
“Fulton is a good fighter, but so am I. We’re both undefeated and very hungry. I think it should make this a great fight for the fans.
 
“I might be considered the underdog, but this is boxing. Anything can happen. We’re going to fight. It’s just the two of us in the ring, man vs. man. No one’s opinion matters.
 
“I trained for the first time in California with Marvin Somodio ahead of this fight. It was a great training camp and I learned a lot. I’ve been following all of his instructions and learned about the strategy it takes to win a 12 round fight.”
 

Top Rank reveals full Feb. 1st undercard for China

Top Rank reveals full Feb. 1st undercard for China

Top Rank reveals full Feb. 1st undercard for China
Undefeated Brazilian Esquiva “La Pantera” Falcao will look to turn back China's Ainiwaer Yilixiati in a ten-round middleweight fight Saturday, Feb. 1st at Mission Hills Haikou in Haikou, Hainan, China. Yilixiati (17-1, 12 KOs) has won seven in a row, including a pair of victories since moving down to the middleweight ranks. Falcao vs. Yilixiati will serve as the co-feature to the WBC/WBO junior welterweight championship defense by Jose Ramirez against former WBC title holder Viktor “The Iceman” Postol (ESPN, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).  The undercard will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
 
“We’ve promoted Falcao since the beginning of his career, and this is his opportunity to showcase his tremendous ability in front of a large audience on ESPN,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.
 
“2020 is the year I challenge for a world title, but my journey continues in China against a very tough opponent,” Falcao said. “This is a chance to show I can compete with all the middleweights, and at 30 years of age, I am in the prime of my career. My amateur career took me all over the world, and I can’t wait to travel to Haikou to put on a show for the Chinese people, my fans back home in Brazil and everyone watching on ESPN.”
 
Falcao (25-0, 17 KOs), a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, turned pro following a 215-15 amateur run that also included a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships and a gold medal in 2012 at the prestigious Cheo Aponte Tournament. He turned pro under the Top Rank banner in 2014. A southpaw boxer-puncher, Falcao went 3-0 in 2019 with knockout wins over Manny Woods and Jesus Antonio Gutierrez, in addition to a decision win in Brazil against Jorge Daniel Miranda. 
 
UNDERCARD
 
China's Yongqiang Yang (13-0, 10 KOs) will face Filipino veteran Jhon “The Disaster” Gemino (21-12-1, 11 KOs) in a junior lightweight twelve rounder. In July 2018, Yang knocked out the big-punching Harmonito Dela Torre in two rounds, and he most recently stopped JR Magboo in two rounds at lightweight...
 
Chinese Jianhao Diao (2-0, 2 KOs) will take on Eduardo "The Nightmare" Mancito (18-10-2, 9 KOs) in a six-rounder...
 
Korean super middleweight Sung Jae Jo (11-0, 8 KOs) will fight Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (12-2-1, 8 KOs) in a ten-rounder.
 
 
 

Boxingtalk Interivew: Ja'Rico O'Quinn

Boxingtalk Interivew: Ja'Rico O'Quinn
Justin Hackman: Ja’Rico, congratulations on your victory this past Friday night on ShoBox. You fought a rugged guy in Oscar Vasquez with only two previous losses [now (15-3-1, 3 KOs], who hadn’t been stopped.  He was put in front of you to see if you were good enough to step up in competition.  And you showed the approach of a veteran, like you’ve been there before.  Ja’Rico O’Quinn: Thanks very much I appreciate it, but I didn’t have my best night. I got hit a lot. I must have left my defense at home I guess.  But I use it as a learning experience, something to make me better.  Overall it was a sick performance really because I didn’t do my best and I swept the fight minus a round (*official scores: 79-73 on all three cards) but I wanted to stop him. 
 
[Author's note: O’Quinn improved his pro record to14-0-1 with 8 KOs; official scores were 79-73 on all three cards].
 
JH: So does that mean you are not satisfied?
 
JO: On one hand, I know it was a good victory, and I won clearly.  But I wanted to win and make a big statement doing it.  I don’t feel like I did that—I wanted to get him out of there.  Also, I’m happy that the Showtime commentators were happy with the performance, and that it was exciting to them, as well as the viewers. 
 
JH: But I think any boxing fan watching could tell that a guy like Vasquez might have ended any number of other young prospects dreams that night.  He took what you gave him and never stopped coming forward.
 
JO: Thank you, but I expect more of myself.  I know I could’ve gotten him out of there had I just started earlier.  I am going to go back to the gym and work on utilizing the three-minute round more effectively.
 
JH: Your win was beyond convincing, but you did get hit a lot.  Something tells me that you were OK taking those shots because you knew you could take it and hopefully find your opening.
 
JO: Yeah exactly.  I felt what he had right away, and I wasn’t worried about taking his shots.  I just wanted to catch him with a good one and get him out of there.
 
JH: Clearly you were never wobbled or hurt, but at any point did you feel his punches?
 
JO: He caught me clean more than a few times, but it was nothing.
 
JH: Was Vasquez your toughest opponent so far?
 
JO: He was the most durable, definitely.  I knew he was a tough guy always coming forward.  So I prepared for that test well.  Bottom line is, my desire to improve and be a champion is higher than ever.  I know I will have to face guys that take my shots and continue to come forward.  That’s where a lot of young prospects get tripped up.  It made me feel great to fully conquer a guy like that.
 
JH: What’s next?
 
JO: I want to get back in the ring in the coming months.  I walk around not too far from my fighting weight, and I’m heading back into the gym almost immediately.  I’ll take time for myself and my family, but otherwise I’ll be eagerly waiting for the call on my next fight.
 
JH: Good luck, Ja’Rico, and we’ll be in touch before your next fight.
 
JO: Thank you and take care.
 
 

Wilfredo Mendez schedules ridiculously easy title defense

Wilfredo Mendez schedules ridiculously easy title defense
WBO minimumweight champion Wilfredo “Bimbito” Méndez will defend his title for the second time when he faces Ecuador's Pedro Villegas on Saturday, February 8th at the El Panama Hotel, in Panama City. Villegas is 12-0 but has only fought one opponent with a winning record-- and that boxer had lost 14 of his last 15 prior to fighting Villegas. Also, Villegas has never fought outside of Ecuador, has never fought a twelve rounder and has fought only one ten rounder.
 
The Puerto Rican Méndez, on the other hand, has a 15-1 record, with 5 KOs. He won the title in August of last year, when he defeated the Filipino Víctor Saludar by unanimous decision. In October, he defended the crown against Axel Aragón Vega of Mexico.
 
The announcement was made on Tuesday in the Topascio Room of the Hotel El Panama, in Panama City, where the President of the WBO, Francisco “Paco” Valcárcel was present, along with the representatives of the promoters who join forces for this event: G&V Enternainment and Spartan Boxing of Panama, together with PR Best Boxing of Puerto Rico.
 
 
 

Q&A: Luke Keeler

Q&A: Luke Keeler

Q&A: Luke Keeler
Luke Keeler can complete an extraordinary turnaround when he challenges WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade next week. Miami, where the fight will take place, is a far cry from Keeler’s upbringing and even just a few years ago when he labored to an Irish title win, "Cool Hand" wasn’t remotely certain of continuing as a professional boxer. Now, having beaten highly-rated American Luis Arias in Belfast last summer, Keeler can become WBO middleweight king in front of a huge American audience and the Sky Sports cameras. So what changed?  
 
Q: Well Luke, let’s start off with the big question: Are you the most improved fighter in the world?
 
Luke Keeler: Well, that’s a big statement. I suppose I’m a completely different fighter to what I was before I fully committed to the sport and joined up with my trainer Peter Taylor. The Luke Keeler who struggled in an Irish title fight in June 2017 would get stopped by the Luke Keeler I am now, so that tells its own story. I fell back in love with the sport thanks to Pete and I owe him a lot for this turnaround in my career. He’s a joy to work under and with each camp he’s improving me as a fighter so it’s exciting for me to stay in the gym these days. I really feel the sky is the limit now.
 
Q: Were you close to actually giving up boxing after you’d won the Irish title?
 
A: I was struggling with a shoulder injury which I needed surgery to repair, I was in the process of moving to a new house with my two young twin boys and as a result, I was under a lot of pressure with work. I was thinking about setting up my own company in the building industry, which was booming in Dublin. I realized I’d have regrets if I didn’t fully focus on boxing and give it my all. The choice was to either retire from boxing and focus on working and home life or take a huge leap of faith and commit to boxing properly for the first time in my life. Huge thanks to MTK Global. I was lucky enough to sign with the them and be guaranteed regular fights with a clear plan ahead. It would’ve been hard to give up a well-paid job without that. I had a start-stop career in my first four years as a pro but since I signed with them, it’s been plain sailing.
 
Q: Sounds like you were pretty good as a builder?
 
A: I always worked on building sites when I was young during the summer holiday. That was with my uncle Liam and I earned some good money. Then, after college, I took up full-time work with Building Services – an engineering company – and I worked with them for the next eight years before I went into boxing full-time. In those years, I did well and was able to save enough money to buy my house. I also travelled to places like Texas for work, so the whole thing was a great experience.
 
I was lucky in that my secondary school gave me a grant of a couple of thousand euros for having the highest level of results that year. I split it with my brother and I went to college to study structural engineering while he stayed back to get enough points to study architecture. He is now an architect and has his own business. It doesn’t matter where you come from; if you put education, hard work and discipline together on any path in life then it’ll lead to success.
 
I’ve always known the value of hard work since I was young. My first job was in the local pub Downey’s when I was 14. I collected the glasses, took drinks orders and learned some lessons about money. I made good tips but I remember I’d lied about my age – I said I was 15 and was then caught out when telling them I’d won an Under-14s boxing title!
 
Q: What about your childhood – presumably you fought from a young age?
 
A: My uncle Stephen boxed for St Saviour’s Boxing Club and he was my idol growing up. My Da would’ve had gloves around the house and even from a young age, me and my brother Tony would use them to punch the heads off each other! I then joined St Matthew’s Boxing Club when I was just eight years old and I haven’t stopped since.
 
I had a great childhood in the Ballyfermot neighborhood. My older brother Tony was like a second father to me – he kept me out of trouble. Ballyfermot is a close-knit community and it was very safe because everyone used to look out for each other. People would babysit each other’s kids, there’d be keys left in doors and it was generally a group of people who really trusted one another. As for fighting in the playground and all that stuff, I wouldn’t say I was a tough kid. I was friendly and happy but if I’m honest, I loved fighting even then! I hated any bullying though. We’d always fight after school to see who the best fighter was and I came out on top despite being outweighed by most of the kids.
 
Q: How has your motivation for winning fights changed over the years?
 
My motivation was always to win a world title. I have dreamed of that since I first started boxing at the age of eight. Now, getting to this level of the game, becoming financially free is another motivation because using these pay-days and investing them wisely can secure my family’s future. I know winning this fight brings life-changing money and I look forward to being able to provide for my family and those closest to me. It’s a big inspiration to have such a close family. I always wanted to make my uncle Stephen proud and now my twin boys Alphie and Archie have come along, giving them a comfortable life is another big factor.
 
 
 

Matchroom signs lightweight James Tennyson

Matchroom signs lightweight James Tennyson
Northern Irish lightweight James Tennyson [ranked #19 in the world by Boxingtalk] has signed a multi-fight promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. He'll target a shot at the British title after stopping Craig Evans in their Eliminator bout in November. Tennyson called time on a blossoming amateur career at 18 to pursue his dream of becoming a pro champion and has since won European and Commonwealth super featherweight titles before moving up to lightweight.  A six-fight unbeaten streak at super featherweight saw the hard-hitting Belfast man earn a title shot against IBF ruler Tevin Farmer at the TD Garden in Boston in October 2018.
 
‘The Assassin’ made the decision to move up to lightweight after falling short against Farmer and has carried his knockout power into the new division, having finished all four of his contests at the weight inside the distance.
 
“Over the last couple of years, I have had a good relationship with Matchroom and all the big titles I have fought for and won have been on Matchroom shows,” said Tennyson. “Without the opportunities they have given me I wouldn’t be where I am today and I feel this move will bring me back to world level boxing which is where I want to be. 2020 is going to be a big and busy year for me and I look forward to being involved in some big fights. I have always been a puncher and I feel with my power I can mix it with anyone in this Lightweight division. Matchroom is at the top of the sport and I believe that with this deal I can be up there as well. I want to fight for world titles, and I am confident Matchroom will take me to where I want to be. This is a huge opportunity for me and will bring me some huge nights. In time, I would love to bring some big nights to Belfast so at the moment I am just buzzing for the future.”
 
“I’m excited to add hard-hitting Belfast Lightweight talent James Tennyson to our ranks,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “James has been on an electric KO run since making the move up to Lightweight after his brave World Title challenge against Tevin Farmer in 2018 but in truth he is a different animal at 135lbs. The Lightweight division is on fire at the moment and James has what it takes to throw his name back into the World Title mix.”
 
“Both James and I are delighted to finally put pen to paper for Matchroom Boxing after impressing on all his appearances for them over the last three years,” said Mark Dunlop, Manager of Tennyson. “James has always looked up to Eddie for the wonderful opportunities he has bestowed on him in recent years.
 
“James is a dedicated and talented young man and will stop at nothing until he achieves his goal of becoming a World Champion. At 26 James has an incredible CV having done everything the hard way – he has built up a tremendous resilience and will to succeed and I’m excited for the next chapter of his career.”
 
 

Finland's Eva Wahlstrom books next title defense

Finland's Eva Wahlstrom books next title defense
WBC super featherweight champion Eva Wahlstrom will clash with Britain`s Terri Harper, on February 8th at the Sheffield Arena in the United Kingdom. Wahlstrom's title defense will be part of the card where Kell Brook will make his long-awaited return to the ring against Mark DeLuca, which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and DAZN in the USA. Wahlstrom (23-1-2, 3 KOs) is coming off a non-title win in her native Finland, easily defeating Kenya's Consolata Musanga. Harper, who remains undefeated in 9 bouts, bested Brazil’s Viviane Obenauf by decision in her last outing. 

WBO orders four-man tourney for vacant light heavyweight title

WBO orders four-man tourney for vacant light heavyweight title

WBO orders four-man tourney for vacant light heavyweight title

According to Gustavo Olivieri,attorney for the WBO, the sanctioning organization is planning a four-man tournament for its light heavyweight championship. The title was recently vacated by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, the world middleweight champion who made boxing history by jumping up two weight classes to knock out Sergey Kovalev for the WBO 175-pound title. Canelo Alvarez has not announced his next fight yet, but apparently intends to compete at super middleweight or middleweight in his next bout. To fill the vacancy, the WBO has ordered two fights so far: Umar Salamov vs. Maxim Vlasov and former IBF super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez vs. former WBO light heavyweight champion Eleider Alvarez.

The first fight seems easy enough to make, as both Salamov and Vlasov are promoted by Dmitriy Salita. The second fight does not seem likely to happen, as Eleider Alvarez is expected to fight Joe Smith next, and Ramirez is known to be feuding with his promoter, Top Rank. Smith is rated #5 by the WBO, so if Ramirez passes, or is unable to take the fight, Eleider Alvarez vs. Joe Smith could become the other semi-final.  Boxingtalk will continue to follow this story as it unfolds.

Dorticos predicts he will KO Briedis in WBSS final

Dorticos predicts he will KO Briedis in WBSS final
IBF cruiserweight champion Yuniel Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs) has touched down in Riga, Latvia for the kickoff press conference ahead of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight Ali Trophy final. Dorticos will be defending his IBF title against Mairis Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) on March 21st at the Arena Riga. Briedis will enjoy the home advantage. “I’m excited to be here and be welcomed by the people of Latvia once again,” said Dorticos, who entered the tournament as the #2 seed.
 
The Miami-based Cuban surprised the boxing world and the crowd in Riga in June by stopping previously unbeaten Andrew Tabiti in the tenth round of his semi-final, and now he is intent on doing the same against Briedis, the tournament #1 seed. “I’m gonna knock him out,” said Dorticos, nicknamed the "KO Doctor". He said, “I feel great and I can’t wait, come fight night and do what I do. I’m honoured and humbled to be fighting for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, I’m going to dedicate it to his memory by winning it and go down in history.”
 
Mairis Briedis and Yuniel Dorticos will face off tomorrow at the kickoff press conference in Latvia’s capital. Tickets for the Ali Trophy showdown are currently on presale and will go on General Sale at 11am (Riga time) tomorrow (Wednesday, January 22) via bilesuserviss.lv and WorldBoxingSuperSeries.com.
 

British news: Haskins ready for 122-pound bout vs. Joyce

British news: Haskins ready for 122-pound bout vs. Joyce
Former IBF bantamweight champion Lee Haskins of Great Britain has identified the one key area which he feels will make the difference when he takes on David Oliver Joyce in less than two weeks’ time. Now fighting at super bantamweight, Haskins (36-4, 14 KOs) faces Joyce (11-1, 8 KOs) at the Ulster Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland on February 1st – live in the US on ESPN+  and worldwide on IFL TV. Joyce is looking to bounce back following his Golden Contract quarter-final with Leigh Wood in October, but Haskins feels that bout may have revealed a weakness about the Irishman.
 
Haskins said: “I’m very excited about the fight and it is another chance for me to win another title. As I’m getting older I want to see what else I can do to add to my legacy. Training has been going really good and I’m in a happy place and enjoying it again. After the two years out I think I needed a good break to get the hunger back. I hear David Oliver Joyce likes to come on strong and he walks on to a lot of shots, so I believe that could work in my favor. He got stopped in his last fight and I think he would have learnt from his stoppage, as if he’s going to continue in the professional ranks he’s definitely going to need to learn from mistakes. I believe my skill over the years and my knowledge really could help me in this fight, but take all that away I still believe it’s going to be a hard fight so that’s why I’ve pushed myself.”
 
Elsewhere on the card, Sean McComb faces Mauro Maximiliano Godoy, Gary Cully takes on Joe Fitzpatrick for the BUI Irish lightweight title, unbeaten Lewis Crocker collides with John Thain, plus many more bouts.
 

Sims-Angulo added to packed DAZN show on Jan. 30th

Sims-Angulo added to packed DAZN show on Jan. 30th

Sims-Angulo added to packed DAZN show on Jan. 30th
Anthony Sims Jr. meets Colombia's Roamer Alexis Angulo in a super middleweight contest on Thursday January 30th at the Meridian in Island Gardens in Miami, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK. From the state of Indiana, Sims Jr (20-0, 18 KOs) secured three wins in 2019, finishing the year with a stoppage win in Chicago in October after going the ten-round distance for the first time in April in California. Angulo (25-1, 22 KOs) represents a stiff test for Sims' aspirations with the Miami-based Colombian having only none blemish on his record, coming against Gilberto Ramirez when he challenged the Mexican for his WBO title in June 2018.
 
Sims said, “I’ve been ready for this step up for some time and I will prove that I am ready to mix it with the best with a devastating performance on January 30th – it’s time to bring the funk!”
 
Angulo countered, “I am always well prepared when I step in the ring, On January 30, my opponent will be facing the most difficult test of his young career. I will do everything I can so that he fails. I hope many of my fans and fellow Colombians living in Miami will come out to see me give my all.”
 
Sims Jr and Angulo clash on an action-packed night of boxing in Miami, topped by WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (28-0 17 KOs) defending his crown against Irish challenger Luke Keeler (17-2-1 5 KOs)... Tevin Farmer (30-4-1, 6 KOs) defends his IBF super featherweight title against JoJo Diaz (30-1, 15 KOs)... IBF/ WBA super bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10 KOs) defends against Murodjon Akhmadaliev (7-0, 6 KOs) and YouTube stars Jake Paul and AnEsonGib clash in their pro debuts.
 

Kenya Enriquez easily handles unqualified foe

Kenya Enriquez easily handles unqualified foe
Kenya Enriquez W10 Chaoz Minowa... Tijuana, Mexico's Kenya Enriquez (23-1, 9 KOs) defended WBC interim 105-pound title, defeating Chaoz Minowa of Japan by a wide unanimous decision. There were over 5000 fans present in the Tamazula Convention Center, Jalisco.  From the beginning of the fight both fighters went out to throw their best combinations, but it was the Mexican who connected the most solid blows, which the Asian could not be removed in the rest of the fight. Minowa is now 6-3 with 5 KOs, but there are so few woemn boxing in these light divisions, she will continue to get opportunities despite only six pro wins. In the fifth round, Enriquez threw a perfect straight right which sent her opponent into, causing the referee to issue a count. In round ten, an Enriquez combination caused Minowa to visit the canvas\. All told, Enriquez beat her opponent round after, leading to three scores of 100-88. source: wbc

Marvin Cordova Jr. launches new campaign at super middleweight

Marvin Cordova Jr. launches new campaign at super middleweight
Marvin Cordova Jr. TKO4 Hector Velazquez... Fighting for the first time since 2017, CES Boxing's newest acquisition, Marvin "Much Too Much" Cordova Jr., returned over the weekend with a tune-up victory in his hometown of Pueblo, CO.  Cordova Jr. (23-2-1, 12 KOs) stopped Mexico's Hector Velazquez (56-31-3) with a series of body shots in the fourth round of a super middleweight contest. [Cordova had not fought since 2017; Velazquez had not fought since 2017 and had not won a bout since 2015]. CES Boxing and Cordova Jr. agreed to terms on a multi-year promotional agreement in 2019.
 
Even with Saturday's win, Cordova Jr. has fought just twice since 2010, but CES believes the 35 year-old remains an intriguing prospect in the sport based on his track record. Cordova Jr. fought 242 times as an amateur, which included a bronze medal in the 2002 U.S. U-19 Championships and a quarterfinal appearance in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. He won his first 12 fights as a pro and 20 of his first 21 with the only blemish a draw against former world champion Victor Ortiz. Cordova Jr. also went the distance in his losses to Josesito Lopez and Dennis Laurente. 
 
"Marvin Cordova is the best-kept secret in boxing," CES Boxing president Jimmy Burchfield Sr. "When the opportunity came to work with such a remarkable, dedicated talent, there was no hesitation on our end to join forces with Cordova and his team. There is no doubt in my mind he will back one top of the boxing world in no time and we're excited about him bringing a world title back to Colorado." source: ces press release

Boxingtalk's lightweight rankings as of Jan. 20, 2020

Boxingtalk's lightweight rankings as of Jan. 20, 2020

Boxingtalk's lightweight rankings as of Jan. 20, 2020
 1.  Vasiliy Lomachenko - The top spot at 135 pounds is not up for debate. The Ukrainian superstar has had four fights at lightweight, three against top competition. Next up, he faces young gun Teofimo Lopez for the IBF belt, the only major title missing from Loma's collection.
 
2.  Teofimo Lopez - While Lomachenko is the indisputable sheriff in town, Lopez is the clear-cut #2 at the moment. The 22 year old IBF champion from New York City had a phenomenal 2019: four big wins capped by easily mugging Richard Commey for the IBF title. If you miss Lomachenko-Lopez this spring, don't bother calling yourself a boxing fan.
 
3. Gervonta Davis - The former 130-pound champion has had only two fights at 135 pounds- a win over Francesco Fonseca in 2017 when he failed to make the super featherweight limit, and more recently, a solid win over the still top 20 Yuriorkis Gamboa. The WBA title Davis holds is a secondary one, as Lomachenko holds top recognition with the WBA, WBO and WBC. A fight against the Lomachenko-Lopez winner might be tough to make due to promotional rivalries, but at least Lomachenko has mentioned Tank's name for later in the year, should he get by Lopez. 
 
4.  Devin Haney - Undefeated, with top-shelf talent, Haney has beaten a couple of top twenty types, but no one who can really be called a top contender. Haney will likely miss the first half of 2020 due to shoulder surgery. The WBC belt he holds is purely a paper title, but hopefully he will return by the summer to continue his rise towards the top.
 
5. Javier Fortuna - Had two solid wins in 2019, but more importantly, Fortuna deserves a top ten ranking based on a 2018 split-decision loss to then-undefeated, then-IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter. 
 
6. Richard Commey - The loss to Lopez will follow this warrior from Ghana because it was his most publicized fight, but the second-round loss does not erase the good work Commey did earlier in 2019 (wins over Isa Chaniev and Rey Beltran). He deserves another big fight.
 
7. Rances Barthelemy - The Cuban held the  IBF title in 2015-2016 and then moved up to junior welterweight. He came back to 135 to face Robert Easter and fought to a draw. That was in April, and Barthelemy hasn't fight since, so his spot in the top twenty is at risk if his inactivity stretches more than a year.
 
8. Luke Campbell - 2012 Olympic champion exceeded expectations with a reasonably competitive distance loss to Lomachenko in August.
 
9. Emmanuel Tagoe - He is based in Ghana, where it is nearly impossible to attract top-tier opposition, but after losing his pro debut, Tagoe has beaten everyone put in front of him, so he has clearly earned his opportunity. He is 31-1 with his only pro loss coming in 2004... get this man a big fight, stat!
 
10. Lee Selby- Former IBF featherweight champion lost his title to Josh Warrington in 2018, and promptly jumped up two divisions. In 2019, Selby beat Omar Douglas and former title holder Ricky Burns. This Welshman can legitimately call himself a lightweight contender. 
 
11.  Edis Tatli - Not gonna lie, its very hard to separate the next three boxers, all Europeans. From Finland, Tatli's key results are a loss to Tefimo Lopez, a win over Yvan Mendy and a split of two fights vs. Francesco Patera.
 
12.  Yvan Mendy - The French Mendy split two fights with Luke Campbell, lost to Tatli, defeated Francesco Patera and had two quality wins in 2019.
 
13.  Francesco Patera - From Belgium, Patera is the reigning European champion and is on a run of four quality wins. However, he's lost to Mendy and split with Tatli. 
 
14. Diego Magdaleno -This Mexican warrior is just shy of a year's inactivity following a loss to Teofimo Lopez, but he's got a fight scheduled for next month vs. Austin Dulay. A loss likely drops him from the top 20.
 
15. Ryan Garcia - Just 21 years of age, and a social media favorite, Garcia is just a little light in the resume in terms of opposition level. His February opponent, Frnacisco Fonseca, is another careful selection.
 
16. Gustavo Daniel Lemos- He's a 24 year-old with a 24-0 record but has yet to venture outside of his native Argentina.
 
17. Roberto Ramirez - Mexican defeated former title holder Dejean Zlaticanin in 2018 but has been marking time since then.
 
18. George Kambosos - Australian up-and-comer cracked the top twenty with a split-decision win over former title holder Mickey Bey in December.
 
19. James Tennyson - Northern Irishman lost a 2018 title shot in the 130-pound division to Tevin Farmer but moved up with four wins in 2019, including two quality wins to close out the year. He seems to have carried his punching power (26-3 with 22 KOs) up to lightweight, as all four wins came inside the distance.
 
20. Jon Fernandez - He came to the USA in 2018 from his native Spain, and lost to O'Shaquie Foster at 130 pounds, but he's been unbeaten since making the jump to lightweight.
 
Others:  Yuriorkis Gamboa, Masayoshi Nakatani, Ricky Burns, Pavel Malikov, Xolisani Ndongeni, Roman Andreev, Hector Tanajara, Daud Yordan, Felix Verdejo, Simpiwe Vetyeka (inactive),  Zaur Abdullaev, Elnur Samedov
 
Biggest Disappointment - Gervonta Davis moving up from junior lightweight without seeing Tevin Farmer or featherweight Gary Russell.

Twitter Chatter

Twitter Chatter
Julian Williams on losing his IBF/ WBA junior middleweight championships to Jesion Rosario: "I been here before I’ll bounce back even better... congrats to Rosario for putting on a great performance."
 

Dan Azeez added to London show on March 20th

Dan Azeez added to London show on March 20th
Dan Azeez will meet challenger Andre Sterling for the English light heavyweight title on the Golden Contract bill at London's York Hall on March 20th. Azeez (11-0, 7 KOs) shot to prominence last year with an emphatic stoppage win over Charlie Duffield and now defends his national crown against Sterling (10-2, 4 KOs), who was edged out of the Golden Contract tournament at the quarter-final stage. [Sterling has lost two straight].
 
Azeez said: “I like to keep things traditional and winning and defending these titles is a way of proving myself. Andre and I train in the same gym and we’re from the same area so I know a lot about him already. The British title is the logical next step after the English one. If I win that, I’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment because it’s a very prestigious title. Beyond that, there are stages bigger than the British scene and ultimately, that’s the direction I want to be heading in.”
 
Azeez won the title with an assured victory over the previously-undefeated Lawrence Osueke on the undercard of the Golden Contract quarter-finals back in December. That same night, Sterling suffered defeat to Liam Conroy having been previously outpointed by world-ranked Craig Richards.
 
Four light-heavyweights in Conroy, Hosea Burton, Ricards Bolotniks and Serge Michel, battle it out for places in the Golden Contract final on the same night.
 

It will be Brackin vs. Freiberg in Toowoomba

It will be Brackin vs. Freiberg in Toowoomba

It will be Brackin vs. Freiberg in Toowoomba
In an all-Australian junior welterweight bout, Stanthorpe's Chris Brackin will battle Brisbane's Kyle Freiberg on March 14th. Brackin the former amateur star, has a perfect record of eight fights, eight wins. Brackin said, "With reward comes risk and no doubt Kyle Freiberg is the biggest test of my career but I feel I'm ready to step up." Freiberg will travel to Toowoomba to spoil the party. Like Brackin he is one of the young guns leading the next generation of fighters coming through the Queensland ranks. Freiberg is 5-1 and is coming off his lone loss, a majority decision against Shiva Mishra. 
 
"I'm confident in my preparation, so to me it doesn't matter where I'm fighting or who, I'm there to get the job done and I will get the job done," Freiberg said. "It's a big fight, I'm not a trash talker and always have respect for my opponent. He will be putting in the hard work to win I'm sure. Everyone will have to buy a ticket and come watch a great fight to find out how it plays out."  
 
This one promises to be a fans fight. Both fighters have a big following and passionate supporters. "Styles make fights and Chris Brackin and Kyle Freiberg make for an all action, fast and furious fight," promoter Brendon Smith said. "Both fighters deserve this title shot, March 14 we find out who will seize the opportunity. This is a clash between two of the best young prospects in the country."
 
 

Cunningham: Rosario-Lubin makes all the sense in the world

Cunningham: Rosario-Lubin makes all the sense in the world
World class trainer Kevin Cunningham wasted no time to make it clear to Boxingtalk that he'd love a fight between Erickson "Hammer" Lubin and newly minted WBA, IBO and IBF junior middleweight champion Jeison Rosario. "Hammer beat (Nathaniel) Gallimore, Gallimore knocked out Rosario, Rosario just knocked out (Julian) Williams, so Rosario vs. Lubin sounds good to me," said Cunningham. 

Undercard results from Philadelphia

Undercard results from Philadelphia
Joey Spencer W6 Erik Spring... On the PBC card in Philadelphia, junior middleweight Joey Spencer (10-0, 7 KOs) took the patient approach and won a mundane six-round decision over skinny southpaw Erik Spring (13-3-2, 1 KO). The most action in the fight came in the final five seconds, when Spencer rocked Spring with a left to the chin, knocking Spring back to the ropes. It was academic for the judges, who all scored it 60-54 for Spencer. Spring landed 18 punches over six rounds. “I was in there with a cagey, long southpaw,” Spencer said. “And to be honest, when a guy is fighting as cagey as he was, it’s really hard for a guy with my style to just pull something out of nothing. He was a real defensive guy.  “I’m glad to get the six rounds in. Experience is everything. You’re only as good as your next fight. I’m happy to get in there and get some good experience and I did my thing and got the shutout.”
 
Jorge Cota TKO5 Thomas LaManna... On the FS1 portion of the card, junior middleweight southpaw Jorge Cota (30-4, 27 KOs) took apart lanky, local Thomas LaManna (28-3-1, 10 KOs) in the fifth round. From the opening bell, Cota waded into the light-punching LaManna with uppercuts. By the third round, a small cut had opened over LaManna’s right eye. LaManna showed great courage, though was taking a thorough beating. Finally, at 1:22 of the fifth round, LaManna’s corner wisely ended it.
 
MORE RESULTS
 
Highly touted 17-year-old welterweight Vito Mielnicki Jr. (4-0, 3 KOs) went the distance for the first time, winning a four-round decision over Preston Wilson (6-4-1, 4 KOs). “This was a great experience against a guy who really didn’t want to fight,” Mielnicki said. “He was on a bicycle. I have to work on little things, like cutting off the ring. I think I learned to keep my composure against a guy who didn’t want to fight. “If it was a longer fight than four rounds, I would have gotten him out of there. My amateur background helps against a guy like that. It comes with the game. I’m happy with what happened.”
 
Bantamweight Miguel Angel Román, Jr. made his pro debut with a four-round decision over Antonio Lucaine (0-3).
 
Heavyweight Norman Neely (5-0, 5 KOs) stopped Larry Knight (4-23-1, 1 KO) at 1:21 in the first round of a scheduled four-rounder.
 
Philadelphia junior middleweight Paul Kroll (7-0, 6 KOs) scored a fourth-round TKO at :49 over Marcel Rivers (7-3, 4 KOs) in a scheduled eight-rounder.
 
Middleweight Kyrone Davis (15-2, 6 KOs) stopped Antonio Todd (7-3, 4 KOs) at 2:28 of the fourth in a scheduled eight-rounder. source for all results: pbc press release
 

Undercard results from Verona, New York

Undercard results from Verona, New York

Undercard results from Verona, New York

Christopher Diaz W8 Adeilson dos Santos... In a bout between two junior lightweight title challengers now competing at featherweight, Christopher "Pitufo" Diaz (25-2, 16 KOs) shut out Adeilson dos Santos (19-8, 15 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight bout. All three judges scored it 80-72. "I am very happy to have returned to the winning route," Diaz said. "I showed that I don't only know how to brawl. I also know how to box very well. Before, what I wanted was to give fans wars to entertain them, but I learned that I can also give good, entertaining fights by boxing well."

Devin Vargas W8 Victor Bisbal ...In a heavyweight fight featuring a pair of 2004 Olympians, Devin Vargas defeated Victor Bisbal by disqualification in the eighth and final round. Referee Mike Ortega, who had taken a pair of points from Bisbal earlier in the fight, ended the proceedings after Bisbal landed a low blow. Vargas led on all three scorecards at the time the fight was stopped: 67-63 (twice) and 66-64.

MORE RESULTS

Lightweight Abraham "El Super" Nova (18-0, 14 KOs) had a winning Top Rank debut, knocking out Mexico's Pedro Navarrete (30-25-3, 19 KOs) in round four of a scheduled eight-round bout. Nova has now won four in a row via stoppage. "I knew I had to be patient in there because he's a tough, awkward fighter. I also wanted to be patient because I hadn't fought in a bit and wanted to get some rounds in," Nova said. "I could've taken him out a little earlier, but I needed the rounds. When my trainer told me to knock him out, I went out there and ended the fight."

In a back-and-forth super bantamweight battle, former title holder Jonathan Guzman (24-1, 23 KOs) survived a second-round knockdown to KO Rodolfo Hernandez (30-10-1, 28 KOs) with a left hook to the body in the third.

Heavyweight Jared "The Real Big Baby" Anderson (3-0, 3 KOs) scored the third straight first-round stoppage to begin his career, knocking down Andrew Satterfield (5-4, 3 KOs) twice en route to the TKO victory. source for all results: top rank 

Jeison Rosario stops Julian Williams for two junior middleweight titles

Jeison Rosario stops Julian Williams for two junior middleweight titles

Jeison Rosario TKO5 Julian Williams... A huge upset has occurred in Philadelphia as little-known Jeison Rosario of the Dominican Republic punished Julian Williams in Williams' hometown to win the WBA and IBF junior middleweight championships. Williams was unable to handle Rosario's punching power, and a cut on his left eyelid sustained in round two only made matters worse. The cut was caused by Rosario's jab. Williams went down in round five in what was ruled a slip, but Williams had a hard time standing up because his legs were so unsteady. A few seconds after the action resumed, Rosario landed the finishing combination, a damaging right uppercut followed by a left hook that convinced referee Benji Estevez to award the technical knockout to Rosario. The uppercut caused Williams' eyes to roll back. Punchstats had Rosario outlanding Williams, 65 punches to 58, but it was the power of Rosario, not the volume of punches that made the difference. As the belts were put on Rosario, the new champion broke down in tears. Williams was classy in defeat, refusing to blame the loss on his cut. Williams also said he has a rematch clause with Rosario and intends to exercise it.  source: fox

Eleider Alvarez wins by spectacular knockout

Eleider Alvarez wins by spectacular knockout

Eleider Alvarez KO7 Michael Seals... At the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, former WBO light heavyweight champion Eleider Alvarez returned from nearly a year of inactivity with a spectacular knockout of Michael Seals. Inactive since losing his title to Sergey Kovalev last February, the Colombian looked plenty rusty for six rounds of a dull fight. In the seventh round, however, Alvarez erased the bad taste from the fans' mouths with a single right hand that put Seals to sleep. The punch is the year's first entry into the knockout of the year sweepstakes. Alvarez is now 25-1, while the 38 year-old Seals falls to 24-3. This fight was essentially a Joe Smith eliminator, with Alvarez now slated to fight the New Yorker in his next outing. (Smith defeated Jesse Hart last week). source: espn

Colbert tops Corrales for WBA trinket

Colbert tops Corrales for WBA trinket

Chris Colbert W12 Jezzrel Corrales... Junior lightweight Chris Colbert (14-0) captured the interim WBA title with a one-sided victory over Panama's Jezzrel Corrales (22-4). It was a tactical boxing match from the opening bell, Colbert (14-0 with 5 KOs) fought like a pugilist who knew he had plenty of time to operate while Corrales, a former WBA champion, used every veteran trick in the book to make it to the final bell. Corrales' brightest moment came in round four when he appeared to buzz Colbert with a left hand. The talented New Yorker was able to mask how badly he was hurt incredibly well. He would finish the round and continue to operate. Official scores were 116-111 and 117-110 (twice). Boxingtalk scored it 117-110 for Colbert. It was a good win for Colbert but the WBA interim title he acquired is a paper title behind WBA belts that belong to Leo Santa Cruz and Rene Alvarado. Why Corrales, who was coming off a loss, was given the chance to fight for a vacant title is unjustifiable. Source: Fox

BWAA names Floyd Mayweather fighter of the decade

BWAA names Floyd Mayweather fighter of the decade
Floyd Mayweather has been rewarded by the Boxing Writers Association of America as the first Joe Louis Fighter of the Decade recipient by going 10-0 through 2010-2019. Mayweather (50-0, 27 knockouts) beat out Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao for the honor, two fighters he defeated in the last 10 years. The list of nominees also included Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitschko. In addition to Alvarez and Pacquiao, Mayweather's decade consisted of wins over Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero, Miguel Cotto, Marcos Maidana (twice), Andre Berto and UFC star Conor McGregor, in a fight “Money” hardly trained for. That’s one current Hall of Famer (Mosley), and three likely future Hall of Famers (Pacquiao, Cotto and Alvarez).
 
“Thank you to the Boxing Writers Association of America for voting me Fighter of the Decade,” Mayweather said in a statement. “I am honored to be recognized by the media who covered my career throughout its’ many decades. Boxing has been a part of my life since I was two years old and I dedicated my life to it and gave it my all. I trained hard, showed up for every one of my fights and did my job successfully each and every time. To retire undefeated and achieve what I did in the sport is not only a gift to myself, but to the fans and most importantly, my team and family. I certainly didn’t do it alone and I appreciate anyone who played a part in it. Hard work and dedication, something I did for my entire career. I am grateful and humbled by this honor. Thank you so very much.”
 
Alvarez was Mayweather’s biggest threat in the voting. In 2015, Mayweather beat Pacquiao by scores of 118-110 and 112-116 (2). In 2013, he outpointed BWAA 2019 Fighter of the Year Alvarez. It’s why the BWAA has chosen Floyd Mayweather Jr., the only two-time BWAA Fighter of the Year in the 2010s (2013 and 2015), as the Joe Louis Fighter of the Decade.
 
BWAA Press Release written by Joe Santoloquito
 
 The full list of 2019 BWAA award winners [more coverage to follow tomorrow]:
 
Joe Louis Fighter of the Decade winner: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
 
Sugar Ray Robinson Award Fighter of The Year 2019 winner: Canelo Alvarez
 
Muhammad Ali – Joe Frazier Award Fight of the Year 2019 winner: Naoya Inoue-Nonito Donaire
 
Eddie Futch Award Trainer of the Year 2019 winner: Eddy Reynoso
 
Cus D’Amato Award Manager of the Year 2019 winner: Keith Connolly
 
Marvin Kohn Good Guy Award 2019 winner: Norm Frauenheim/Tim Smith
 
Sam Taub Award Excellence in Broadcast Journalism 2019 winner: Andre Ward
 
Barney Nagler Award Long and Meritorious Service 2019 winner: Bob Canobbio
 
John McCain-Bill Crawford Courage Award 2019 winner: Marc Abrams/Adonis Stevenson
 
Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism 2019 winner: Graham Houston
 

 

BWAA names Canelo Alvarez fighter of the year

BWAA names Canelo Alvarez fighter of the year
If there was any doubt as to who the face of boxing was entering 2019, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez answered it. The 29 year-old Mexican beat two quality opponents last year, outpointing Daniel Jacobs to defend his world middleweight championship in May, then jumping up two weight classes to stop WBO light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev in November. So naturally, Alvarez was the overwhelming choice of the Boxing Writers Association of America as the 2019 Fighter of the Year, joining Ring, ESPN, The Athletic and Sports Illustrated in that selection.
 
This is the first time Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) is the BWAA’s Fighter of the Year. It also marks the first time in 32 years that a Mexican fighter won the award since Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez won the honor in 1987.
 
Team Alvarez achieved another victory with Eddy Reynoso being selected as the Trainer of the Year. Reynoso is the second Mexican to earn the distinction, joining Abel Sanchez (2015 TOY). One special feature the Alvarez-Reynoso combination will receive is the first all-Mexican fighter-trainer team to be chosen in the same year in the BWAA’s 94-year history.
 
Alvarez, who garnered 81% of the vote, closed 2019 as the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to the BWAA, Ring and ESPN. In the BWAA’s election, he beat out Naoya Inoue, Manny Pacquiao, Errol Spence Jr. and Josh Taylor.
 
“This is a great honor and privilege, and something that I'm very proud to accomplish,” Canelo said. “It's something I've waited for a while to achieve. I'm so happy to be a part of history as the second Mexican to win this. I'm overwhelmed with the news that Eddy received Trainer of the Year. I've worked with Eddy since I was at a young age. All of the hard work and sacrifices got us to this point. I'm happy that we've accomplished this together.”
 
In December, the BWAA announced that Katie Taylor was the 2019 Female Fighter of the Year. In 2019, Taylor extended her unbeaten record to 15-0 (with 6 knockouts), successfully defended three lightweight titles in March, unified all lightweight titles with a majority-decision victory in June over fellow pound-for-pound member Delfine Persoon, then followed that up with a 140-pound title in November, making her a two-division champion.
 
Taylor, 33, from Bray, Ireland, becomes the third recipient of the BWAA’s Christy Martin award, following Cecilia Braekhus (2017) and Claressa Shields (2018).
 
The Christy Martin award is chosen by a select group of women’s boxing experts. “I’m honored and delighted to be receiving this,” Taylor said. “This is one of the more prestigious awards in boxing. To receive it at the end of an amazing year is an even bigger honor.”
 

Verdejo tops Rojas by decision

Verdejo tops Rojas by decision

Felix Verdejo W10 Manuel Rey Rojas... At Verona, New York's Turning Stone Casino, Puerto Rican lightweight Felix Verdejo turned in an unspectacular but clearly winning performance against Manuel-Rey Rojas of Texas. Verdejo, a former Olympian once touted as a can't-miss future champion, improved to 26-1 but still has work to do before it can be belt season for him. He won easily, getting the wide unanimous decision by scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 98-92. By way of comparison, Rojas (18-4) was stopped by junior lightweight Andy Vences in 2015. Rojas had one significant win since then, vs. Wang Zhimin. Punchstats clearly favored, Verdejo 164 punches to 100. Verdejo gave himself a C grade afterwards. source: espn

Super featherweights: Quigg vs. Carroll on tap for March in Manchester

Super featherweights: Quigg vs. Carroll on tap for March in Manchester
Super featherweights Scott Quigg (35-2-2, 26 KOs) and Jono Carroll (17-1-1, 3 KOs) will meet in a huge England vs. Ireland clash at Manchester Arena on Saturday March 7th, shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.  Quigg  held a WBA secondary title and made five defenses before losing out to Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena in 2016. He was outpointed by Oscar Valdez in an attempt for the Mexican’s WBO featherweight title in March 2018 but Quigg has since moved up another weight division. Carroll is on the hunt for a second shot at world honors after losing in March against IBF king Tevin Farmer. Carroll returned to action with a win over Eleazer Valenzuela in Mexico.
 
“I’m looking forward to making my return after having 16 months out the ring due to the injury I suffered early last year,” said Quigg. “Unfortunately the injury reoccurred before the Saudi Arabia show but the arm is fully healed now and I’m already in great shape about to start camp. This is a fight I’m really excited about. I’m looking forward to getting in there and taking him apart and showing that despite being out the ring for over a year and the injury, there is still a lot left in the tank.
 
“I’ve got everything fully focused on March 7 to put in a career best performance! It’s great to be back fighting and headlining at Manchester Arena again and for my supporters to be able to see me back fighting on UK soil. It’s a great platform for me to launch my career forward again and get my name back in the mix for a world title shot.”
 
Carroll said, “I haven’t necessarily learned anything extra about Scott Quigg since we were first due to fight, but I have learned more about myself – how much I want this life and what I’m willing to give up in order to accomplish my dreams and goals. I understand I need to be ready all the time and so does my partner, so I was training the day before Christmas and then I jumped on a plane out to America to help Tevin Farmer prepare for his fight the day after Christmas. I love Christmas and I just bought my first house in Spain, so it was quite special to wake up in my own home on Christmas morning and appreciate what’s around me. Now it’s time for the next step. I know my worth as a person and as a boxer. I won’t let Quigg beat me no matter what type of fight it has to be. I’m good at adapting so I will see what he’s good at and then take that away from him.”
 
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “It’s brilliant to be back in Manchester as Scott Quigg and Jono Carroll, two all-action fighters, meet in a must-win crossroads clash. We’ve followed Scott’s exciting journey, while Carroll still believes he can succeed at the highest level following a courageous loss to IBF champion Tevin Farmer. It’s going to be another breathless battle between Quigg and Carroll, with more big names to be added to the bill in the coming weeks.”
 

Ergashev gets 92-second KO on ShoBox

Ergashev gets 92-second KO on ShoBox
Shohjahon Ergashev KO1 Adrian Estrella ... In the ShoBox co-feature in Sloan, Iowa, junior welterweight Shohjahon Ergashev (18-0, 16 KOs) lived up to his reputation as a hard hitter with a 92-second knockout. The Uzbekistani southpaw knocked out Adrian Estrella (29-5, 24 KOs) in the first round with a devastating body shot. Writhing and yelling in pain, Estrella was unable to stand up before the count of ten. “I just saw the window to the body, so I threw the shot,” said Ergashev, who is ranked in the top-15 in three of the four major sanctioning bodies. “I wasn’t planning to knock him out in the first round. I wanted to get some rounds in. The guy is durable and experienced, so I thought I would, but when I saw that opening, I had to take it. I knew it was over the second it landed though. I knew he would not get up from that. No one could. That was a message to the super lightweight division. It’s Shoh Time! No matter where I fight, it is always Shoh Time.”
 
After Ergashev landed the knockout blow, Estrella of Fort Worth, Texas, went down writhing in pain from the left uppercut to the liver and unable to continue. “I started moving and tried using my jab, but he was very quick with that punch,” Estrella said. “He just punched me very hard in the stomach and I was paralyzed on the canvas. I tried to stand up, but I couldn’t hear the referee counting. I couldn’t hear anything, and I couldn’t move. It was a hell of a shot.” source: showtime press release
 
 
 

More ShoBox results: wins for Shishkin, O'Quinn

More ShoBox results: wins for Shishkin, O'Quinn
Vladimir Shishkin W10 Ulises Sierra ... On Friday at WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa, 28 year-old super middleweight Vladimir Shishkin (10-0, 6 KOs) prevailed in a battle of unbeatens, dominating Ulises Sierra (15-1-2, 9 KOs) of San Diego over ten rounds. Shishkin won by scores of 100-90 and 99-91 (twice). Shishkin said afterwards that he fought with an injured left bicep and left elbow. “It was a much tougher fight than I thought it would be because I fought with one hand for most of the fight,” he said. “I was surprised he could take my punches, but I couldn’t move his hand out of the way with the left to hit him with the right. That affected me a lot because I use that a lot.” 
 
Shishkin is trained by Javan Hill a/k/a SugarHill Steward, the nephew of the legendary trainer Emanuel Steward. 
 
Sierra didn’t have an answer for Shishkin’s body shots as Shishkin connected on 65 body shots to 28 for Sierra. “He was sharp and he was strong,” said Sierra, who became the 189th boxer to lose his undefeated record on ShoBox in the 19 years of the series. “But I was also hurt with a sprained hand a month before this fight and haven’t hit the bags since then.”
 
Ja’Rico O’Quinn W8 Oscar Vasquez... In the ShoBox telecast opener, former #1-ranked U.S. amateur at bantamweight, Ja’Rico O’Quinn (14-0-1, 8 KOs) outclassed a game Oscar Vasquez (15-3-1, 3 KOs) via unanimous decision. The three scorecards all read 79-73.  O’Quinn worked the body effectively throughout the eight-round fight connecting on 83 body shots to 40 for Vasquez of Reno, Nev. O'Quinn outworked Vasquez with an average of 88 punches per round to Vasquez's 59.2. “I give this performance a six, to be honest,” said O’Quinn. “I want to fight bigger and taller people, that’s what I’m used to. I’m not taking anything away from Oscar. No matter what I will always come out on top. Even when things can get ugly, I know how to win beautiful.”
 
Showtime analyst Steve Farhood called the bout a “highly competitive, one-sided fight.”
 
Added O’Quinn: “I went into this fight knowing Oscar Vasquez was a tough guy. I knew he would be coming forward to make it ugly, so my game plan was to box him but if I had to, stand there and trade with him. I knew I’d be stronger than him and be able to take his punch. It was hard to land my shots with him leaning on me. I couldn’t turn him like I wanted and cut off angles, but we came, we conquered and I got the win.” source for both results: showtime press release
 
 
 
O’Quinn, who overcame a slow start losing the first round, ended round seven emphatically with a series of punches that rattled Vasquez, who stayed on his feet and didn’t give up. “I think I did amazing,” said Vasquez, a 32-year-old crane operator. “It was a very close fight. I thought I was winning the first five rounds. He hurt me once in the seventh round and that took a lot out of me. He was a better fighter tonight.”
 

PBC books heavyweight tripleheader for March 7th

PBC books heavyweight tripleheader for March 7th
Undefeated Polish heavyweight and Brooklyn native Adam Kownacki will headline a night of heavyweight showdowns when he takes on Robert Helenius in a 12-round WBA title eliminator headlining Fox PBC Fight Night on Saturday, March 7th from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The heavyweight action begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features Cuba's Frank Sánchez against Philadelphia's Joey Dawejko in a ten-round attraction. The third fight will feature Efe Ajagba against an opponent to be named later.
 
Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs) has been progressing towards a world title shot with knockouts in five of his last seven fights. The 30 year-old Kownacki, who was born in Lomza, Poland and moved to Brooklyn when he was seven, was an accomplished amateur in New York City before turning pro. He most recently bested Chris Arreola in an action-packed fight in August. His previous two fights had seen him score a unanimous decision victory over former IBF champion Charles Martin in 2018 and a devastating knockout victory against Gerald Washington in January 2019. This will be his fifth straight and tenth overall fight at Barclays Center, where he has routinely brought out the area's passionate Polish sports fans.
 
"It's great to be fighting in Barclays Center for the tenth time," said Kownacki. "The last nine bouts ended in victory for me, and March 7 won't be any different. I'm happy that FOX is showcasing the fight on free television like it was back in the old days, and with the action my fights bring, it's definitely must-watch TV. I know Helenius will be looking to pull an upset and take my place in the rankings, but I won't let that happen. I'm already in camp with my trainers Keith Trimble and Chris Carlsen getting ready. After this fight, I want the winner of Wilder vs. Fury II."
 
A winner in three of his last four fights, Helenius (29-3, 18 KOs) will fight in the U.S. for the second time on March 7th, after establishing himself in Europe. Born in Sweden and fighting out of Mariehamn, Finland, Helenius knocked out Erkan Teper in September 2018 to rise up the rankings before dropping his U.S. debut to Gerald Washington in July 2019. Prior to the Washington fight, the 36-year-old had won six of his last seven fights, with his lone blemish coming against Dillian Whyte. He most recently stopped Mateus Roberto Osorio in November 2019.
 
"This is the fight I have been waiting for," said Helenius. "All of the years of training and fighting will pay off when we fight on March 7th. Kownacki is about to feel the strength of Thor's hammer. I respect him for taking this fight, but he chose the wrong opponent. This is not going to be a fight; it's going to be a war. I will be the last man standing."
 
Nigeria's Ajagba (12-0, 10 KOs) has increased his opposition in his recent fights and passed those tests by getting off the canvas to stop Iago Kiladze in December and defeating fellow 2016 Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen by ten-round unanimous decision in July. The 25 year-old Ajagba gained notoriety in August 2018 when his opponent, Curtis Harper, walked out of the ring after touching gloves to start the first round. Ajagba won the fight without throwing a punch as Harper was disqualified. Living in Stafford, Texas and training with Ronnie Shields, Ajagba will make his 2020 debut and third career appearance at Barclays Center on March 7th, after four victories in 2019.
 
A former amateur standout from Cuba, Sánchez (14-0, 11 KOs) now lives in Miami, trains in San Diego with Eddy Reynoso and is unbeaten since turning pro in 2017. The 27 year-old scored knockouts in his first six pro fights, and picked up nine victories in 2018. In 2019 he added four more triumphs, including three stoppages and his first ten-round victory when he bested Jack Mulowayi in October to win by unanimous decision.
 
Dawejko (29-7-4, 11 KOs) has been tested against a slew of tough contenders in his career that dates back to 2009. Fighting out of Philadelphia, he has crossed paths with perennial contenders while establishing himself in the heavyweight division. The 29-year-old most recently defeated Rodney Hernandez in July.
 
"Heavyweights always bring excitement and on March 7th fans are going to get non-stop hard-hitting action from these fighting giants," said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. "Adam Kownacki has established himself as a fan-favorite at Barclays Center and with each victory he puts himself closer and closer to becoming the first Polish heavyweight champion in history. He'll be given all he can handle by the tough and experienced Robert Helenius. Highly regarded rising contenders Efe Ajagba and Frank Sánchez will share the stage with Kownacki and look to continue to show off their credentials as future heavyweight champions. You're not going to want to blink when these heavyweights step into the ring in primetime on Fox and Fox Deportes." Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com and barclayscenter.com. Tickets are also available for purchase now at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center.
 
 

Tonight on Fox: Williams vs. Rosario

Tonight on Fox: Williams vs. Rosario
IBF/WBA 154-pound champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) is coming home to Philadelphia to make the first defense of his belts, but hard-hitting Jeison “Banana” Rosario (19-1-1, 13 KOs) hopes to spoil the champion’s homecoming party. Tonight (January 18th), live from Temple University's Liacouras Center, the two will clash in a twelve-round title bout atop a Fox PBC Fight Night and Fox Deportes card (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). 
 
For the first time since 2011, Philly fighter Julian Williams fights in his hometown and brings with him the title belts won in May against Jarrett Hurd. With the return home, the 29 year-old faces all of the distractions associated with fighting in front of friends, family, and hardcore fans. The level-headed new champ, however, claims to be focused only on Saturday’s fight.
 
Rosario, meanwhile, is looking to continue his trend of upsetting highly-regarded talents. The native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is not a household name, but already holds decisive victories over high-end prospects such as Justin DeLoach, Mark Anthony Hernandez, and Jamontay Clark. Even in his lone defeat, he managed to shake up the more seasoned Nathaniel Gallimore in 2017 before being stopped in the sixth round. 
 
Rosario, who is undefeated in eight bouts since the Gallimore loss, hopes to do to Williams what Williams did to Hurd—upset the defending champ in the champ’s own home town. 
 
The Stakes:  Williams’ WBA and IBF super welterweight titles are on the line and, also, the money and prestige that go along with them. For both Williams and Rosario, the world championship represents the pinnacle of success as prizefighters. The challenger wants to push for this ultimate career goal—the reward for a lifetime of hardship, hard work, and self-sacrifice. The champion wants to keep what he’s achieved by working through his own struggles and hardships. 
 
The Matchup:  Williams’ masterful title-winning performance against Hurd may have surprised some who wrote him off after his fifth-round KO loss to Jermall Charlo in 2016, but it was hardly shocking to most knowledgeable boxing people.  
 
J-Rock is a well-schooled boxer-puncher under the guidance of trainer Stephen “Breadman” Edwards. He possesses a diverse and solid skill set and does just about everything well. Offensively, he has good balance, is always in position to throw something meaningful, and can deliver solid power with either hand. He can be equally effective on the inside or from the outside. At his best, he works behind a solid jab which he uses to control the pace and space of a fight. 
 
On the downside, Williams has shown some defensive lapses, especially in the heat of battle. When things get going, he can and does get hit.
 
The 24-year-old Rosario is a tenacious, heavy-handed stalking puncher bursting with self-confidence and a flair for the dramatic who is always looking to land a big shot. Dangerous from opening bell to closing bell, “Banana” is all about making impact and everything he throws is delivered with bad intent.
 
Rosario’s penchant for loading up in search of a fight-ending punch, however, leads him to fall off balance when he can’t connect and that makes him vulnerable to counters. 
 
The Words
 
Julian Williams:"Rosario brings ambition to the table. I think he’s an ambitious kid. And I don’t think it’s a difficult fight (for me), to be quite honest...I just think it’s a matter of being focused and on top of my game, and I think I’ll take care of him. I don’t think it’s difficult, though. He’s a decent fighter. We’re not going to make him out to be Ray Robinson.
 
"He has put together a good string of wins, and he’s tough and he’s coming to win. So that’s more important than anything. He has the ambition to win, so you can’t underestimate him."
 
Jeison Rosario: "I really have been working for years towards this fight. All the training I have done since I began my pro career was a step towards this goal. I trained hard. I made sacrifices. I sacrificed my family. And it's all for this fight. God's timing is perfect and this is my time. The public sees it as an easy fight for Williams. When the bell rings, the public's jaws will drop...I'm going to win. Julian is a great champion. I thank him for the opportunity, but my job is to go in and take his titles from him. I have to do it and I will."
 
The Breakdown:  Williams is the more skilled fighter in this contest, but it’s probably not in his DNA to box his way to a safe decision, especially against someone like Rosario who’s there to be hit. Most likely, the defending champ will box just enough to position himself to land big counters against his aggressive young challenger.
 
Rosario is no mystery. He’ll be looking to come forward all night, pushing to land something big and willing to fail spectacularly for the chance to lay hands on the champ. He’s not the same fearsome fighter when backed up and that’s something likely to be used against him.
 
Williams will have to earn Rosario’s respect by hurting him early and then using that earned respect to stay a half-step ahead the rest of the night. It’s definitely within his ability to do just that and walk away with a decisive win, but it’ll take just one punch for Rosario to turn everything around—and that will make every moment of this homecoming bout a dangerous endeavor for the defending champ.
 

Blair Cobbs to face Samuel Kotey on Valentines' day

Blair Cobbs to face Samuel Kotey on Valentines' day
Welterweight  Cobbs (13-0-1, 9 KOs) faces Samuel Kotey (23-2, 16 KOs) of Ghana in a ten-round bout on February 14th. It will be part of the of Ryan Garcia vs. Francisco Fonseca card at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA, which will air live on DAZN at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT. Kotey was inactive for more than three years until he returned with a low-level win in October. "I am excited to return on such a great card," said Cobbs (pictured). "I have been training very hard and know that all my hard work is about to pay off. My body feels great and I'm looking sharp in sparring. I'm ready to take this dude out."
 
"We're thrilled with how Blair Cobbs' career is progressing" stated Greg Hannely, Cobbs' manager. "He has an incredible resume and has defeated some of the best unbeaten fighters already.  He keeps getting better and better with each fight.  I expect big things from Cobbs this year, and it all starts on Valentines day."
 
In 2019, Cobbs defeated unbeaten fighters Ferdinand Kerobyan and Steve Villalobos as well as Robert Redmond Jr and Carlos Ortiz Cervantes. Cobbs' last four opponents have had a combined record of 40-5-3.
 
"Blair has all the tools to be a world champion," stated Brandon Woods, Cobbs' trainer, "He has defeated great opponents and done it in a style that is very entertaining.  I see Blair accomplishing some incredible goals in 2020, and I know he's done everything in the gym to be at his best come fight night."
 
"I love what I do," Cobbs continued. "I am ready to have another great year and continue to put on a great, entertaining show for the fans. It's Blair "The Flair" time baby, WOOOO!
 

Toronto to host Broadway Boxing on January 28th

Toronto to host Broadway Boxing on January 28th
DiBella Entertainment will debut its Broadway Boxing series north of the border on Tuesday, January 28th at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, Canada. The 113th edition of Broadway Boxing will be live streamed on UFC Fight Pass. Headlining will be hometown favorite Steve Rolls (19-1, 10 KOs) who will battle Shady Gamhour (12-0, 9 KOs), of Pensacola, FL, over ten rounds in the super middleweight division. Rolls is returning to battle following his loss to Gennadiy Golovkin in June 2019, his first loss in nine years as a professional. The 29 year-old Gamhour, a native of  Sweden, trained by all-time great Roy Jones Jr., looks to kick off 2020 in style following two stoppage victories last year, which included a fourth-round knockout of Joshua Weems in October.
 
Co-featured in a scheduled welterweight ten-rounder in which Montreal's Custio Clayton (17-0, 11 KOs) enters the ring against Diego "El Chacarero" Ramirez (21-3, 6 KOs), of Argentina. The 25 year-old Clayton is coming off a 2019 that included a sixth-round stoppage of former champion DeMarcus Corley and a ten-round decision win over Johan Perez on June 29th.
 
Following a five-fight winning streak, the 25 year-old Ramirez looks to rebound following a hard-fought ten-round decision loss to Maximiliano Veron on November 2nd in Buenos Aires. Promotions. 
 
UNDERCARD
 
Light heavyweight contender "Hot Rod" Radivoje Kalajdzic (24-2, 17 KOs), of St. Petersburg, FL, returns to the ring following his failed IBF world title challenge against Artur Beterbiev on May 4th 2019. He will face Juan Carlos Raygosa (15-16-3, 6 KOs), of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, in a scheduled eight-round bout at cruiserweight.
 
Junior middleweight Hurshidbek "Hershey" Normatov (listed as 9-0 but more accurately 14-2 considering the World Series of Boxing), of Brooklyn, NY, clashes with Uriel "El Muneco" Hernandez (13-5, 7 KOs) of Mexico. A native of Uzbekistan where he had an amateur career with a 190-40 record, the 27-year-old southpaw Normatov hits the ring following an eight-round decision against Walter Wright on August 29, 2019, at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, CT. 
 
 
Hernandez has twice previously ventured up to Canada, taking local undefeated prospects, Jessie Wilcox and Jordan Balmir, the distance in close losses. 
 
Opening the broadcast, Amanda Gale (3-0), of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, faces off against Shelly Barnett (4-2-2), of Toronto, CA, in a scheduled eight-round junior featherweight bout. Gale, who was a three-time National champion as an amateur, won all three of her professional bouts in 2019 by four-round unanimous decision. Barnett, a former Canadian bantamweight champion, looks to stop the Gale train, coming off an eight-round split decision loss to Noemi Bosques on September 7, 2019, in Milwaukee, WI. This bout is promoted in association with Lee Baxter Promotions.
 
Local Toronto favorite Nick Fantauzzi (9-0, 5 KOs) battles Aaron Crawley (6-3, 1KO), of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, in an eight-round light heavyweight clash. 
 
Junior welterweights will see action as Will Madera (14-0-3, 7 KOs), of Albany, NY, battles heavy-handed veteran Edgar Ramirez (17-15-1, 14 KOs), of Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, in a scheduled six-rounder. 
 
Rounding out the card in a four-round cruiserweight clash, the popular Salar Gholami (3-0, 2 KOs), of Toronto hits the ring against Mateusz Kubiszyn (3-2, 2 KOs), of Rzeszow, Poland. 
                                                                                                                                                               
Now in its 17th year, Broadway Boxing is presented by Nissan of Queens, Azad Watches, OPTYX, Christos Steak House and Gagliardi Insurance.
 
 

Introducing North Philadelphia junior lightweight Shakhzod "Shak" Atoev

Introducing North Philadelphia junior lightweight Shakhzod "Shak" Atoev
Junior lightweight Shakhzod Atoev, from Uzbekistan. is known as "Shak." He will makes his pro debut Friday evening, Jan. 31th, when he faces North Carolina's Juan Ibarra (0-2) in a four-round contest at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA. The 22-year-old Shak came to the USA in 2008 and lives in the Somerton section of Northeast Philadelphia. He had seven amateur fights in Uzbekistan and continued his amateur career here while attending Washington High School. Because he goes back yearly to Uzbekistan, Shak had trouble moving up through the ranks of amateur boxing, thus his decision to turn pro after fighting 17 times in the USA as an amateur, "He doesn't have the number of amateur fights that you normally see," said trainer Mike Cassell, "but don't let that fool you. The skill level and the pedigree is there."
 
Two of Shak's brothers were national champions back home. "I have no limits as a pro," said Shak. "If I want a shot at being great, it's up to me. Where I come from made me who I am and will not hinder my advancement with my professional career."
 
Shak currently attends Bucks County Community College while working multiple jobs and training nights and on weekends. 
 
 
 

Jalisco, Mexico to host Enriquez-Minowa tonight

Jalisco, Mexico to host Enriquez-Minowa tonight
Mexico's Kenia Enriquez, who holds the WBC interim light flyweight title, will defend against Japan's Chaoz Minowa on Saturday when they clash on a card presented by Zanfer and that will be broadcast on Azteca 7. The  two women showed their potential and talent, during a public training display in the main square of Tamazula, Jalisco. Enriquez (22-1-0, 9 KOs) will make the fourth defense of her crown, while Minowa, backed with the foundation of a distinguished amateur career, has had a pro career of 6-2-0 with 5 KOs. [To show you how few world-class women boxers exist today, Minowa is 6-2 but has already lost two world title shots].
 
During the public training, both warriors trod lightly, sticking to technique, so as to  reserve their full power for Saturday’s contest. Kenya Enriquez`s  fast blows, carried  speed, class, great precision and rhythm, especially with the  combinations. Chaoz Minowa showed that she is the classic Japanese warrior who fearlessly comes  forward, who likes to fight in close and has the willpower to rally toe to toe.