Judge finds "weight of evidence against Verdejo is strong"

Judge finds "weight of evidence against Verdejo is strong"

A brief hearing was held in Puerto Rico on Tuesday for Felix Verdejo, the former Puerto Rican Olympic boxer who stands accused of carjacking and kidnapping resulting in death, crimes punishable by the death penalty. Present on Verdejo's behalf were three attorneys. Verdejo, in custody for eight days now, was present by video and assisted by a court interpreter. He had waived his right to appear physically at the hearing and consented to proceed via video. Verdejo was found competent to understand the proceedings. He waived the reading of the indictment and entered a plea of not guilty as to all counts. The Government was given seven days to produce certain evidence and the defense has 14 days thereafter to file motions against such evidence being admitted at trial. The case was referred to U.S. District Judge Pedro A. Delgado for further proceedings. The Government moved to keep Verdejo in detention pending trial. After hearing the parties, the court ordered Verdejo to remain in detention pending further proceedings. Included in the court's reasoning for keeping Verdejo detained were findings that the "weight of evidence against the defendant is strong" and that Verdejo is "subject to lengthy period of incarceration if convicted." 

May 3rd update: Félix Verdejo surrendered to federal authorities in connection with the death of Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz. This development occurred shortly after an arrest warrant was issued against him. The FBI accused the former Puerto Rican Olympian of carjacking and kidnapping resulting in death, crimes that are eligible for the death penalty. Verdejo was also charged with intentionally killing an unborn child (Ortiz was pregnant, possibly by Verdejo, who is married to someone else). The New York Times spoke with the victim's mother, who said her daughter and Verdejo were involved in an affair that resulted in her pregnancy.

May 2nd update:  Amid reports that the missing Puerto Rican woman linked to boxer Felix Verdejo has been found dead, Verdejo's promoter issued the following statement: "Top Rank's thoughts and prayers are with Keisha Marlene Rodríguez Ortiz’s Family and friends, and with all those in mourning.  We are deeply disturbed by the news reports, and we will continue to monitor developments in the case as it progresses." Boxingtalk sends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Keisha Marlene Rodríguez Ortiz.
 
April 30th update: Puerto Rican lightweight, once considered a future superstar, is being questioned by law enforcement authorities in San Juan over the disappearnace of a 27 year-old woman identified as Keishla Marlen Rodríguez Ortiz. The news was reported in El Nuevo Dia, which identified Verdejo as a “person of interest.” The report said Verdejo showed up for questioning with two attorneys who said Verdejo would not be making any public comment on the matter. The report said the woman was believed to be alive but possibly kidnapped. Verdejo is 27-2 as a pro, but lost his last fight in December. Remember, Verdejo is presumed innocent at this time.

Saunders' eye injury puts Dubois back in spotlight

Saunders' eye injury puts Dubois back in spotlight
After a whirlwind few days where young heavyweight Daniel Dubois [pictured] has been unexpectedly thrust back into the media spotlight, Dubois says it is “time to move on.” He was last seen in the ring on November 28th when he suffered a bad eye injury at the hands of Joe Joyce. In the wake of that defeat, some people criticized Dubois for taking a knee and end the bout. One such figure was Billy Joe Saunders, who was vociferous in his criticism of the 23 year-old Dubois. Saunders' remarks would come back to haunt him last weekend when he lost to Canelo Alvarez. Saunders sufferied a very similar injury and did exactly what he criticized Dubois for-- retiring from the fight for understandable safety reasons.
 
Daniel says he understands why the fans and press alike have jumped on this ironic twist of fate but has insisted it is time to move on. The ever-classy Dubois said: “I understand why everyone has wanted to make comparisons between me and Billy, but it’s time to move on now.”
 
Saunders underwent surgery in Dallas and Dubois says it’s time to give him space to recover and regroup. “Billy has had his injury, people have said what they’ve had to say but now it’s time to let him rest, heal and be with his family. It’s important for me to move on too. I’ve got a fight on June 5th with Bogdan Dinu that I need to get ready for.”
 
The heavyweight collision with Romania’s Bogdan Dinu will be Dubois’ first taste of action since suffering his injury and he is keen to put the memories of that fateful night behind him. “Over six months of frustrations are ready to come out. You are going to see the best version of Daniel Dubois in that ring on June 5th. I will beat Bogdan Dinu up and knock him out.”
 
The WBA interim title will be [corruptly on the line as Dubois is coming off the loss and Dinu is unqualified to compete for such an honor]. 
 
Dubois said, “Dinu is a decent test. He does some things very well. He has fast hands and can move... He’ll see this as a chance to get a title.”
 
Whilst Dubois is keen to move on from both the events of this past weekend in Texas and his own defeat in November last year, he understands that the only way to truly do that is deliver something spectacular in the ring. “I need to do what I do, show people why they called me ‘Dynamite’ in the first place” Dubois said, “It’ll be a devastating performance, I promise you. A huge knockout to put myself back on the map.”

Danny Roman: "I know in my heart I will become a champion once again”

Danny Roman: "I know in my heart I will become a champion once again”
Former unified super bantamweight champion Danny Román will look to take one step closer to regaining his champion status against Ricardo Espinoza Franco on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) this Saturday, May 15th in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The 31 year-old Román (27-3-1, 10 KOs) made his ring return after losing his unified titles in January 2020 last September, when he bested ex-118 pound title holder Juan Carlos Payano via unanimous decision. The Los Angeles native captured his first title with a 2017 stoppage of Shun Kubo, before unifying belts with a triumph over T.J. Doheny in 2019. He eventually lost the belts via decision against Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Here is what Román had to say about his training camp, his matchup Saturday and more:
 
On his recent training camp: “The final days of camp are wrapping up now before we head to the bubble. As always, the sparring we got was top notch. My coach Eddie González and I have relentlessly been working every day to get me in the best shape of my life. These last two months have been demanding, but I know all the hard work will all pay off on fight night.”
 
On fighting near his Southern California home: “Everyone knows Southern California is a breeding ground for boxers and the fans always show support for their hometown fighters. Showtime has had some tremendous fights showcased out here and I plan to keep that tradition going strong. I plan to put on an entertaining fight for the fans by being explosive with my effort.”
 
On his matchup with Ricardo Espinoza Franco: “This is not going to be an easy fight because I know my opponent is a tough fighter from Tijuana who is coming with everything he’s got. He’s got a lot of power, so I must be smart on how I throw my combinations. I believe my experience in big fights is going to be the difference on May 15. I’m expecting a rough fight and I’m ready for an intense battle.”
 
On his quest to become a champion once again:  “Everything I do in boxing from here on out is to regain my status as a world champion. I’ll do whatever it takes to put me back in that position. A victory on May 15th will get me one step closer to that goal. I know in my heart I will become a world champion once again.”
 

Two weeks out: Ramirez is 146.1 pounds, Taylor 147.2

Two weeks out: Ramirez is 146.1 pounds, Taylor 147.2

Two weeks out: Ramirez is 146.1 pounds, Taylor 147.2
WBC/WBO champion, José Carlos Ramírez, will face IBF/WBA champion Josh Taylor on Saturday, May 22nd in Las Vegas, presented by Top Rank and broadcast on ESPN. The winner will become the second four-belt world 140-pound  champion, joining Terence “Bud” Crawford. Both boxers submitted their fourteen-day pre-fight weigh-ins to the WBC. Ramirez weighed 146.1 pounds, while Taylor posted 147.2 pounds.
 
 

Joshua Buatsi training camp report

Joshua Buatsi training camp report
British light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi hopes to showcase his improvements under new trainer Virgil Hunter when he boxes unbeaten Frenchman Daniel Blenda Dos Santos at the AO Arena in Manchester this Saturday May, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the US and elsewhere.  Buatsi (14-2 including the World Series of Boxing) came through the toughest test of his career as he stopped Marko Calic in seven rounds last October. The 28 year-old has since travelled to San Francisco to team up with renowned coach Hunter, who guided the career of pound-for-pound star Andre Ward.
 
“In my last fight I found out that if I have to dig deep because it’s not going my way, I’m capable of doing it,” said Buatsi, a 2016 Olympian. “That’s in the bank now. Before that fight I thought it was in the bank, I was convinced it was in the bank, but I’d never been tested. Now that I have been tested and I had to show a bit of guts, I know it’s there. I met Virgil Hunter at the first Joshua vs. Ruiz fight in New York in 2019. I went over to him to introduce myself and he told me he knew who I was. I told him I was going to come and train with him one day, and he said the door to his gym was open whenever I was ready. After my last fight in October I said, ‘I’m out of here’. I’ve come out here to learn more and add things to my game. It’s totally different living out here. It’s great, it’s nice and the views are amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it, but I’m here just for boxing. The main goal is purely to come out here to gain experience and learn as much as I can. It’s going really well so far."
 
Buatsi continued, “I wasn’t really watching a lot of professional boxing in the amateurs. I started to watch it when I was about 17 or 18. I came across Andre Ward and started watching his fights, listening out for what he was being told in the corner and stuff like that. I knew then Virgil was a good trainer. I said at the time I’d love to be trained by Virgil, but I didn’t ever think in a million years I’d be in the States training with him. Sometimes in the corner, it’s not really even boxing advice that he’s giving me, it’s just something totally different. It’s linked to boxing, so I’ll do it and I’ll be like, ‘cool that worked’. It’s a whole different spin and approach from him but I’m really enjoying it. As always, I look to go in there, and I look to handle business. I don’t really go too much into reading about opponents and their previous fights, because how they boxed someone else is not how they’re going to box me. I’ll be there listening to the instructions that Virgil is going to give me. I’m very excited. I’m looking forward to showing people what I’ve been learning out here. Ultimately, I’m fighting to win. However it looks, my primary goal is to always win. We’ll be stepping up. Whoever they put in front of me, I’ll look to get rid of them and to keep building and learning. I’ve got older heads around me to guide what I’m doing. You have to consider what they’ve got to say because they’ve been there and done it.
 
Buatsi vs. Dos Santos tops a huge night of boxing in Manchester,  three European Title fights feature on the bill with Gamal Yafai (18-1, 10 KOs) defending his 122-pound title for the first time against Jason Cunningham (28-6, 6 KOs)...  Tommy McCarthy (17-2, 18 KOs) defending his cruiserweight crown against Romania’s Alexandru Jur (19-4, 7 KOs)... and Lerrone Richards (14-0, 3 KOs) taking on Italy’s Giovanni De Carolis (28-9-1, 13 KOs) for the vacant 168-pound strap.
 

Day/night double show booked for June 5th in Philly

Day/night double show booked for June 5th in Philly
On Saturday June 5th, King's Promotions will present a day/night doubleheader at The 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. The start times are 3 PM and 8 PM ET. In the afternoon main event, undefeated super middleweight Devar Ferhadi takes on Blake Mansfield (7-3-1) in an eight round contest. Capping off the night portion of the card will be an eight-round super middleweight clash featuring Brandon Robinson against Genc Pllana.
 
Ferhadi of Frederick, Maryland, has a record of 8-0 with seven knockouts. Ferhadi came to the United States from Iraq, and is also a medical doctor. Ferhadi is coming off a fifth-round stoppage over previously undefeated Vincent Baccus (4-0-1 at the time) in December 2019.
 
Mansfield of Burlington, North Carolina has a record of 7-3-1 with four knockouts. The 32 year-old Mansfield is a six-year pro with a win over Antowyan Aikens (10-2-1). In his last outing, Mansfield lost to Aaron Casper (6-4-1) on November 7th.
 
Robinson of Upper Darby, PA has a record of 15-2 with 10 knockouts. The 32 year-old Robinson is a five-year professional. Robinson has wins over Ernest Amuzu (25-3) and Martez McGregor (8-2). Robinson, who has won four in a row, is coming off an early stoppage over Josue Obando on March 7, 2020.
 
Pllana of Hagerstown, Maryland by way of Kosovo, has a record of 8-3-1 with four knockouts. Pllana, 27 years-old is a four-year professional known as "The Sexy Albanian" and has wins over Jason Bell (3-0) and Kevin Newman II (11-1-1). Pllana is coming off a loss to Raphael Igbokwe on November 28th in Houston, Texas.
 
Filling out the rest of the day-time card:
 
In six-round bouts: Greg Outlaw (8-0, 3 KOs) of Bowie, Maryland takes on Andrew Rodgers (4-9-2, 2 KOs) of Elkhart, Indiana at 140 pounds...
 
Joseph Jackson (16-0, 12 KOs) of Greensboro, NC fights Terrence Williams (5-4-1, 1 KO) of York, PA in a junior middleweight clash...
 
Kashon Hutchinson (7-5, 1 KO) of Reading, PA fights undefeated Edgar Torres (8-0-1, 4 KOs) of Woodbridge, VA in a welterweight contest.
 
In four-round bouts: Yahu Gavriel Blackwell (3-1, 2 KOs) of Baltimore fights Nicoy Clarke (2-6) of Jersey City in a heavyweight bout...
 
and bantamweight LeAnna Cruz of Allentown, PA fights Marissa Messer Belenchia (1-1) of East Haven, Connecticut.
 
On the evening show:
 
In six-round bouts: Rasheed Johnson (7-3, 3 KOs) of Philadelphia fights Rafiq Muhammad (4-0, 2 KOs) of Richmond, VA in a welterweight clash...
 
Jonathan Rodriguez (8-1, 3 KOs) of Bethlehem, PA takes on Sebastian Baltazar (1-4) of Tacoma, WA in a bantamweight fight...
 
Khainell Wheeler (4-1, 4 KOs) of Bethlehem, PA will fight Vincent Baccus (4-2-1, 3 KOs) of Okmulgee, OK in a super middleweight fight...
 
In four-round bouts: In a battle of undefeated lightweights James Bernadin (3-0-1, 2 KOs) of Lancaster, PA fights Osvaldo Morales (4-0, 2 KOs) of Harrisburg, PA...
 
Elijah Morales (7-0, 4 KOs) of Trenton, NJ fights Andres Abarca (2-4) of Normandy Park, WA in a welterweight contest...
 
and Eric Monroe of Philadelphia will make his pro debut against Roudly Lolo (0-0-1) of Camp Hill, PA in a super middleweight affair.
 
Both cards will be streamed live on BXNGTV.com. Tickets can be purchased by calling 610-587-5950 or at Pivott Boxing (2807 North 6th Street in Philadelphia, 215-398-5766)
 

A few words with Tyler “Short Fuse” Tomlin

A few words with Tyler “Short Fuse” Tomlin

A few words with Tyler “Short Fuse” Tomlin
Tennessee lightweight Tyler “Short Fuse” Tomlin (10-0, 6 KOs) will face New Jersey's Tyrone “Hands of Stone” Luckey (13-13-4) over eight rounds on May 14th in Murfreesboro. With under a week left until fight night, Tomlin gives his thoughts on training camp, making his DiBella Entertainment debut, fighting in front of this home state fans, and more. 
 
On his recent training camp: “All the hard work is done and now it's time to get a lot of rest during this final week of training camp. This camp has been very vigorous, but after today, I’ll be in recovery mode till fight night. In sparring, my timing is right on, and I’m feeling strong. I got some good rounds in with Austin Dulay, and I’m in great shape.”
 
On opponent Tyrone Luckey: “Luckey has been in the ring with some big names like Ryan Garcia and Tevin Farmer. He’s also fought a lot of guys with undefeated records, so I know he’s coming to fight. My father has a great game plan that we’ve been executing during camp. I’m going to stay disciplined to that strategy and make adjustments as the fight goes on. If I get him hurt, I’m taking him out.” 
 
On making his DiBella Entertainment debut: “This is a big deal for me and my family. All we wanted was a promoter to believe in us and help build my brand in our home state of Tennessee. Lou DiBella stepped up and presented a deal that we couldn’t refuse. As soon as we signed, he put me in as the main event bout for this upcoming card. I’m ready to take the next step in my career with a seasoned promoter who knows the business.”
 
On fighting in front of his home state fans: “Because I’ll be the final bout of the evening, all my hometown fans will be able to see some good action fights from the ladies. This is going to be a fun event, a big party, and I’m happy to be the special attraction. I’m expecting a lot of family, friends and sponsors to be in attendance. I can’t wait to put on a great show.”
 
Matt Young of Tri-Star Boxing Promotions is the co-promoter of this event and Tomlin is advised by Peter Fernandez, of Tampa, Florida. 
 
Tomlin vs. Luckey will be the rare-non-relvised main event on an otherise televised show. Tomlin’s bout will not be streamed on UFC Fight Pass, which will be showcasing only women’s fights, so local fans wishing to see his fight are encouraged to buy tickets well in advance to ensure entry.  Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at Broadway Boxing Tickets.
 

Introducing Ukrainian-born featherweight Valeriy Zagrafov

Introducing Ukrainian-born featherweight Valeriy Zagrafov
Silver Bow has signed 18 year-old Ukrainian amateur standout Valeriy Zagrafov to a multi-year promotional agreement. Zagrafov recently escaped the war-torn Crimean peninsula in order to find a safe home in the birthplace of boxing, Athens, Greece. Before he left Crimea, Zagrafov won gold medals at 56 kg (123 pounds) in several tournaments in Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and now in Greece. "It is my job and my hobby. It's what I love to do. All I do is train and fight," said Zagrafov.
 
"There really is something special about Valeriy. I feel he will do major things in the sport," said Bill Halkias of Silver Bow.
 
"It is with great honor and joy that our athlete Valerios is about to commence his journey in the world of professional boxing. After a great amateur career, Valerios will take on the professional rankings with great ambition and aspirations to become a top contender in his division. As a manager, I am very proud and honored for him and for the agreement with the prestigious promotion of Bill Halkias," stated Giannis Moustakas, Zagrafov's manager.
 
Said trainer Nikos Gidakos,"after nine years of hard work, patience and dedication, we are delighted to have one of our best athletes Valerios Zagrafov on his way to the US, the Mecca of boxing and sports! Valerios is a virtuoso of the sport, with great fighting spirit and great character! I am extremely enthusiastic, and it means the world to me that Valerios will be given the chance to showcase his boxing ability on the world boxing stage. I am also honored, and I’d like to warmly thank Bill Halkias for his contribution to the agreement, and we are looking forward to our cooperation! It is a great feeling as a coach to see our athlete achieving his goals and fulfilling his dreams and we will be beside him always!"
 
Zagrafov plans to come to the USA this summer for sparring and to discuss his pro debut on Silver Bow's ChampBox Boxing Series. 
 

Jose Ramirez OK with underdog status

Jose Ramirez OK with underdog status
The countdown is on, and WBC/WBO junior welterweight world champion Jose Ramirez is 12 days away from a legacy-defining undisputed showdown against Josh Taylor, Scotland’s IBF/WBA kingpin. It’s business as usual for Ramirez, the 2012 U.S. Olympian from California’s Central Valley who hopes to become the first four-belt undisputed champion of Mexican descent. He’s spent the better part of two months training in Riverside, California, with Robert Garcia, who has guided his career inside the ring since after his March 2018 title-winning effort over Amir Imam.
 
With fight week approaching, Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) is the prohibitive underdog for the first time in his professional career, as Taylor (17-2 including the World Series of Boxing) is a more than 2-to-1 favorite at most sportsbooks. Ramirez is aware of public perception, but it doesn’t faze him as he enters the sixth world title fight of his career. Taylor unified his two belts with his October 2019 decision over Regis Prograis, but on May 22nd, the sport’s loftiest prize will be on the line.
 
As training camp winds down, this is what Ramirez had to say:
 
“I’ve always been the underdog. That’s my mentality. I am fighting for my place in boxing history. No boxer of Mexican descent has ever held all four world title belts. I’m aware that most people are picking against me, but that only fuels me further.”
 
“In my mind, I’m supposed to win this fight. I don’t let the outside noise get to me. No matter what you do, or who you beat, there’s always going to be somebody else out there. At this moment, that person is Josh Taylor.”
 
“We both wanted the fight, and I respect him for taking on the challenge. Josh and I are out to make history, and I know I will be the better man on May 22.”
 
"The odds are what they are, but the best junior welterweight, the undisputed champion, will be crowned May 22nd."
 
About Ramirez vs. Taylor
Promoted by Top Rank, Ramirez vs. Taylor is a twelve-round showdown for the undisputed junior welterweight world championship, which will take place Saturday, May 22nd at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The event will be broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (and simulcast on ESPN+) at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT.  The telecast will also feature a ten-round junior welterweight battle between Jose “Chon” Zepeda and “Hammerin” Hank Lundy, in addition to an eight-round junior welterweight tilt between knockout artist Elvis “The Dominican Kid" Rodriguez and Kenneth “Bossman” Sims Jr.

Tyson Fury salutes Billy Joe Saunders in defeat

Tyson Fury salutes Billy Joe Saunders in defeat

Tyson Fury salutes Billy Joe Saunders in defeat
WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on his friend Billy Joe Saunders' loss to Canelo Alvarez in Texas this weekend: "People love to hate on others willing to chase [their] dreams. Billy Joe Saunders tried to be great last night! It wasn’t his night but at least he had the bottle to follow his dreams and heart. He will always be my bro... we go back to 15/16. What a night to remember in 30 years in Dallas."
 

Kieron Conway assesses his loss

Kieron Conway assesses his loss
British junior middleweight Kieron Conway has vowed that Saturday’s loss to Souleymane Cissokho has already made him a better fighter and allowed him to learn more about himself. Conway came up short in a split-decision defeat to Cissokho at the AT&T Stadium in Texas over the weekend. Conway did score the fight's only knockdown. While he did get his hand raised, Conway loved the experience of fighting on a huge event, and has promised that he’ll be back for more. Conway said: “I didn’t get the result I went for but I have learned a hell of a lot of about myself. What an incredible experience it was. From the couple of days I got in Texas doing the media, to the performing in front of 60,000 amazing fans in the stadium. It was an eye opener for me and this loss will not define me, it has already made me a better fighter. I lost my title but I’m coming back for more! Don’t call it a comeback!"
 
Conway added, “I want to specially thank all of the fans and supporters, the crowd were amazing and I met a lot fantastic people in the arena. Huge thanks to MTK Global, Matchroom, Eddie Hearn, Canelo, and DAZN for giving me the opportunity, and a big thank you to my loyal sponsors.”

Introducing British junior middleweight Ellis Hopkins

Introducing British junior middleweight Ellis Hopkins
Female junior middleweight Ellis Hopkins will make her highly-anticipated professional debut when she competes on this week’s Matchroom card in Manchester. The event takes place at the AO Arena on Saturday, May 15th and will be broadcast on Sky Sports and DAZN, as Hopkins finally gets the chance to enter the paid ranks when she goes up against Borislava Goranova (11-64-4). Hopkins is set to make history as the first woman from the traveller community to make the move from amateur to professional, following a successful amateur career.
 
Hopkins represented England for a number of years and won numerous accolades such as the Youth National Championship and a Tri Nations Silver medal in 2017, and is now delighted to be making her pro debut on such a big stage.
 
Hopkins said: “I’m really excited to make my professional debut. It’s been a long time coming with delays due to COVID, but it’s been worth the wait as I now get to make my debut on a Matchroom show and you can’t really get any better than that, so a huge thanks to Matchroom and MTK Global for allowing it to happen.
 
“The last year has been so hard to keep focused, especially when I’ve had four or five fight dates that all got cancelled due to COVID, so now I can’t wait to get in the ring and get started.
 
“When I first started boxing, women’s boxing wasn’t really a thing. There weren’t any girls in the gym and now nearly every card has a women’s bout on. The women’s fights are usually more exciting than the men’s fights, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
 
“It’s a very proud achievement to be the first woman from the travelling community to turn professional. When you compare it to the amateurs, there isn’t a lot of traveller boys that turn over, so to be the first ever girl to do it is a massive thing for our community, and I hope more travelling girls can follow in my footsteps.

Hearn: Saunders will undergo facial surgery today

Hearn: Saunders will undergo facial surgery today

Hearn: Saunders will undergo facial surgery today
Eddie Hearn, the promoter of ex-WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (pictured), tweeted the following update about Saunders' medical condition in the wake of Saunders' TKO loss to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Saturday: "Just at hospital in Dallas. Saunders stayed in overnight. Suffered multiple fractures to orbital area and will undergo surgery this afternoon."
 

Alvarez uppercut closes Saunders' eye, leads to corner retirement

Alvarez uppercut closes Saunders' eye, leads to corner retirement
Canelo Alvarez TKO8 Billy Joe Saunders... After eight competitive rounds in Arlington, Texas, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez added Billy Joe Saunders' WBO title to the WBA and WBC super middleweight championships he already owned. Towards the end of round eight, Alvarez landed a big uppercut as Saunder bent low that closed Saunders' left eye. Saunders completed the round but decided not to come out for the ninth, ceding his title to Alvarez by technical knockout. It was an anti-climatic end to a good eight rounds of fighting. Saunders was taken to the hospital to determine whether his orbital was broken. At the time of the stoppage, Alvarez lead on all three cards by scores of 78-74 (twice) and 77-75, but it was a competitive encounter, with Saunders using the 22-foot ring to his advantage and landing punches from different angles. Afterwards, Alvarez called out IBF title holder Caleb Plant for a four-belt unification fight in September. 
 
Attendance was 73,126, a record for an indoor fight in America. source: dazn

Soto retains title when ref stops bout prematurely

Soto retains title when ref stops bout prematurely
Elwin Soto TKO9 Kastunari Takayama ... In the other world title fight in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Mexico's Elwin Soto defended his WBO 108-pound title for the third time, stopping Japanese legend Kastunari Takayama in the ninth round. Unfortunately, referee Laurence Cole stopped the fight far too soon, with the Japanese warrior taking some shots but still firing back and on very steady legs. Takayama, who held all four major titles at 105 pounds over multiple reigns, showed Cole up afterwards, showing he was fine by throwing rapid punches in the middle of the ring for about thirty seconds as the American fans showed their respect. source: dazn

Frank Sanchez wins as Nagy Aguilera takes an apparent dive

Frank Sanchez wins as Nagy Aguilera takes an apparent dive

Frank Sanchez wins as Nagy Aguilera takes an apparent dive
Frank Sanchez W6 Nagy Aguilera... Cuban heavyweight Frank Sanchez got an unsatisfying win when Nagy Aguilera appeared to take a dive. Sanchez was dominating Aguilera when he threw a hook that glanced off Aguilera's shoulder and brushed the back of his neck. Aguilera went down, claiming he was hit behind the head. The replay was quickly shown and when 70,000 fans started booing the evidence that Aguilera was not really hit behind the head, Aguilera began complaining he could not move his shoulder. The referee called it an unintentional foul and sent the bout to the scorecards, where Sanchez won a shutout technica decision by three scores of 60-54. source: dazn
 

Souleyman Cissokho gets quality win in Texas

Souleyman Cissokho gets quality win in Texas
Souleyman Cissokho W10 Kieron Conway ... France's  Souleyman Cissokho survived a knockdown to defeat Great Britain's Kieron Conway by split decision in a junior middleweight bout on Saturday that was part of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders undercard in Texas. Cissokho appeared to be comfortably ahead as the bout entered the closing stages. That nearly changed in round nine when Conway landed a huge shot which sent the Frenchman crashing to the canvas, before he was able to get back up to his feet deep in the count. The fight went the distance, and it was Cissokho who rightfully secured the points win. The judges scoring it a ridiculous 97-92 Conway, 96-93 Cissokho and 95-94 Cissokho. source: dazn

Elina Tissen wins in Germany

Elina Tissen wins in Germany
Elina Tissen W10 Overline Odero... Featherweight Elina Tissen defeated Kenya's Overline Odero by unanimous decision in Tissen's hometown of Warendorf, Germany. Southpaw Odero gave the local favorite plenty to think about, but Tissen was the main aggressor and landed the cleaner shots. According to the WBF, the ten rounder was scored a landslide but the fight was actually close. Tissen got the official verdict by 100-90 (twice) and 99-91. The WBF reports that Tissen was a deserved winner, but the fight was much more evenly contested than the scores indicate. Born in Russia, but now a German resident, Tissen took her professional record to 24-2 while Odero drops to 10-10-2. source: wbf

Do you know boxing better than a 14 year old?

Do you know boxing better than a 14 year old?

Do you know boxing better than a 14 year old?
Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders (WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight championships)... Prediction: Alvarez by decision
Saunders will be competitive the first half of the fight but then the action will sway in Canelo’s favor after the midway point.The 22-foot ring will work to Saunders' advantage, making the fight slightly more competitive. I can envision scores of 115-113 and 116-112 for Alvarez.
 
Elwin Soto vs. Katsunari Takayama (WBO junior flyweight championship)... Prediction: Soto by decision
Soto vs. Takayama should make for a fun 108-pound fight but at the end of the night, youth will be served.  At age 24, Soto is too young and strong for the 37 year-old Takayama, who has had several reigns as a 105-poud titleholder.  I can see a late stoppage, but most likely Soto will work his way to a wide unanimous decision.
 
Frank Sanchez vs. Nagy Aguilera (heavyweights)... Prediction: Sanchez by late KO
Sanchez will have his footwork on display and will showcase his combination of speed and power. I don’t think Aguilera will have an answer and we'll likely see a dominant night for Sanchez, ending in a standing stoppage between rounds six to ten.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fourteen year-old Michael Borao Jr. has been around the boxing business before he could walk. His Youtube channel, MB BoxingOfficial is off to a big start, so Boxingtalk invited Borao to share his predictions for major fights. We'll keep track of the results.
 
 

Weigh-in report from Arlington, Texas

Weigh-in report from Arlington, Texas
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders both successfully made weight for tonight's huge super-middleweight unification at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN, as  WBC and WBA champion Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) looks to add the WBO belt currently held by Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) to his multi-division collection. The weigh-in took place on Friday, with Saunders coming in at a ready 167.8 pounds; Canelo was almost identical at 167.4. For the WBO junior flyweight championship bout, champion Elwin Soto made 108 pounds safely at 107.8, with challenger Katsunari Takayama coming in at 107.6.
 
Elsewhere on the card, Great Britain's Kieron Conway (16-1-1, 3 KOs) weighed for a junior middleweight bout against Senegal-born Souleymane Cissokho (14-0 including the World Series of Boxing). Conway weighed in at bang on 154, while Cissohko was slightly lighter at 153.6.
 
Saunders said: “I have the belief, the spirit and the winning mentality. I don’t come here to lie down, I come here to win. Canelo hasn’t fought someone with as much determination as me. I’ll take all of these titles and take them by storm. I’m 30-0 and unbeaten. He has to do something differently to beat me. The key to this fight is I’ve got to be on my A-game and bring my best to the table, as long as I bring my brain, I’ve got it. The fans will push me to win. They’ll be cheering for Canelo, but on the way out they’ll cheer for me.”
 
Conway said: “I’m here to win. I will put on a good show and I’m here to really bring the heat. I don’t want easy fights like the rest of the division, I want fights that get people interested and I will show what I’m about. I’m fit, ready and stronger than ever. Everything is in place and it’s going to really show what I’m all about. I’m really excited, there are good fans and we’re fighting in a good arena, so let’s go.”
 

Felix "Tuto" Zabala 1937-2021

Felix "Tuto" Zabala 1937-2021
Promoter Felix “Tuto” Zabala, founder of the All Star Boxing company and promoter of Latin boxing, died Thursday night in Miami. Born on October 18, 1937 in Pinar del Río, Cuba, Zabala was amajor figure in the Florida boxing scene. He organized important and memorable evenings with champions such as Daniel Zaragoza, Miguel “Happy” Lora, Wilfredo Vázquez Sr, among many more spectaculars. Sadly, Felix’s career ended in January 2001, when he suffered a stroke, which led to further health problems for the next 20 years. His legacy is carried on by his son, Felix, Jr. Boxingtalk joins the WBC in sending its deepest condolences to the family and many friends of “Tuto.” 

Results from Russia: Kurbanov edges Smith

Results from Russia: Kurbanov edges Smith

Results from Russia: Kurbanov edges Smith

Magomed Kurbanov W12 Liam Smith... Ex-WBO 154-pound title holder Liam Smith suffered a tough road defeat to Magomed Kurbanov in Ekaterinburg, Russia on Friday. According to Smith's management team, Smith appeared to drop Kurbanov in the first round, but the referee decided not to score it as a knockdown. In the end, the judges scored it 117-112 and 115-113 (twice) in Kurbanov’s favor. Kurbanov is now 22-0, 13 KOs, while Smith remains relevant at 154 or 160 pounds but drops to 29-3-1 with 16 KOs. Kuranbov and Smith entered the fight rated #19 and #22 respectively in Boxingtalk's rankingssource: mtk

Mukhammad Shekhov W10 Evgeny Liashkov... On the same show, junior featherweight Mukhammad Shekhov (9-0-1) defeated Evgeny Liashkov (8-2) via split decision. Scorecards were 96-94 (twice), overruling a 97-93 card in Liashkov's favor. source: wbo

 

Acosta tops Rosa for second win in last month

Acosta tops Rosa for second win in last month
George Acosta W10 Gadwin Rosa... According to LatinBoxSports, junior lightweight George “El Yuyu” Acosta (12-1, 1 KO) outpointed Puerto Rican-born Gadwin “El Abayarde” Rosa (11-2, 9 KOs) over ten rounds on Friday night at the Osceola Heritage Park Events Center in Kissimmee, Florida. Promoted by Thompson Boxing, Acosta now has two wins in the last month. 

Alvarez-Saunders poised to break Ali-Spinks II attendance record

Alvarez-Saunders poised to break Ali-Spinks II attendance record
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders are set to smash the record for the biggest indoor attendance for a boxing event in America as they prepare to meet in a super middleweight unification battle at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday May 8th. Alvarez and Saunders already broke the pre-sale records for their clash on Saturday night and with over 65,000 tickets now sold with limited remaining, their tasty battle is set to overtake the rematch between Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks at the Superdome in New Orleans in 1978 that drew 63,352 fans.
 
Promoter Eddie Hearn is thrilled to be putting boxing under the best of spotlights on Cinco de Mayo weekend. “It’s one of the biggest events I’ve ever been involved in and this morning, we officially broke the record for the biggest indoor crowd in American boxing history,” said Hearn. We will have 70,000 people in the AT&T Stadium on Saturday night – I am absolutely buzzing for this, I think this could be the best atmosphere we’ve ever seen. The numbers for this fight are tracking great, and I think that this is just great for everyone – the biggest live event since the pandemic struck, and boxing has done that. It just shows that when you get it right, we have a monstrous sport on our hands. Boxing is being showcased on Saturday. We can be as proud as peacocks on the night as everyone around the world will be watching, they will see the atmosphere and say ‘wow, this is boxing!’ People have to tune in to watch this atmosphere and product and say, ‘this is the place to be’. And everyone watching on Saturday will be in awe of it – the event, the fight, the ring walks, everything. I’m excited for Billy to be able to go out there and show what he’s said he’s always been able to do, and I am excited for Saul because the atmosphere for him is going to be incredible – so may the best man win.”
 
Hearn has been the driving force behind some of the biggest crowds in British boxing history, starting with Carl Froch and George Groves at Wembley Stadium in London, and then heavyweight ruler Anthony Joshua filling the same stadium against Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin and also the Principality Stadium in Cardiff where Joshua was matched against Joseph Parker and Carlos Takam.

ESPN to drop Taylor-Ramirez documentary, part one, on Sunday

ESPN to drop Taylor-Ramirez documentary, part one, on Sunday

ESPN to drop Taylor-Ramirez documentary, part one, on Sunday
After May 22nd, there will be only one world junior welterweight champion. WBC/WBO champion Jose Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) will battle IBF/WBA king Josh Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) for division supremacy that day (ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 8:30 p.m. ET) at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Before they go toe-to-toe, ESPN will take fans behind the scenes of both training camps with "Blood Sweat & Tears: Ramirez vs. Taylor,” a two-part documenary chronicling the build-up to this cross-continental showdown. Part 1 premieres this Sunday, May 9th at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on ESPN2, while Part 2 drops on ESPN2 the following Sunday, May 16th at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Immediately after the debut of each episode, they will be available for replay on-demand in the ESPN App and on ESPN.com.
 
Ramirez, the pride of California’s Central Valley, has been a champion since March 2018. He unified his two titles in July 2019 with a knockout of Maurice Hooker and is coming off last August’s majority decision over former titlist Viktor Postol. The all-access cameras caught Ramirez at training camp in Riverside, California, and in the Central Valley as he led the charge with community leaders to make the COVID-19 vaccination readily available to the region’s agricultural workers.
 
Taylor, from Edinburgh, Scotland, hopes to become only the second undisputed champion in Scottish boxing history, following lightweight legend Ken Buchanan. “The Tartan Tornado” reached the division’s apex with title-winning efforts in 2019 over Ivan Baranchyk and Regis Prograis. The cameras followed Taylor from the start of training camp in London to the finishing touches in Las Vegas. Taylor’s head trainer, Ben Davison, helped guide heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s return to the ring in 2018 after a prolonged absence.
 

Rashiem Jefferson headlines Philly show tonight

Rashiem Jefferson headlines Philly show tonight
Undefeated featherweight Rashiem Jefferson Jr. takes a step up in competition when he takes on upset-specialist Diuhl Olguin in a six-round bout tonight (Saturday) at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.  The eight-bout show can be streamed live on BXNGTV.com. Ticket inquiries can be made by e-mailing RDR Promotions at rricerivew@yahoo.com. Jefferson, still just 19 years old has been a professional for one year, and defeated Nathan Benichou in pro debut on March 7, 2020. Now 5-0, Jefferson is coming off a his first pro stoppage, a win over Darel Harris on March 6th.
 
Olguin of Guadalajara, Mexico has a record of 15-16-4 with 10 knockouts. The 32 year-old is in the thirteenth year of his pro career, and has upset wins over Horacio Garcia (32-2-1), Kevin Rivers Jr. (14-1) and his last bout when he stopped top-rated prospect David Navarro in six-rounds on March 10th in Uncasville, Connecticut.
 
In the co-feature, Edgar Cortes of Millville, New Jersey takes on undefeated Alexander Castellano at bantamweight. Cortes is 7-6-1 with one knockout. The 26 year-old is an eight-year professional, and is coming off a TKO win over Michael Stoute on March 6th.
 
Castellano of Tornawanda, New York is 4-0 with two knockouts. The 28 year-old is a two-year professional and is coming off a first-round stoppage over Raymond Locker on February 20th.
 
UNDERCARD:
 
In six-round bouts:
 
 
Donald Smith (11-1, 7 KOs) of Philadelphia takes on Jonathan Lecona Ramos (18-20-5, 6 KOs) of Mexico City in a featherweight bout. 
 
Shinard Bunch (14-1, 12 KOs) of Trenton, NJ takes on Diego Vicente Perez (13-12-1, 12 KOs) of Buenos Aires, Argentina in a junior welterweight bout. 
 
Mark Dawson (7-0-1, 3 KOs) of Philadelphia battles Rodrigo Solis (4-6-1, 2 KOs) of Cancun, Mexico in a welterweight bout. 
 
Also seeing action in a four-round bout will be undefeated featherweight Rasheen Brown (7-0, 4 KOs) of Philadelphia against Nathan Benichou (2-3, 2 KOs) of Pueblo, Mexico. 
 
In four-round bouts:
 
Christian Bermudez (1-0, 1 KO) of Brooklyn, NY takes on Joseph Santana (0-3) of Providence, Rhode Island in a junior welterweight contest. 
 
Welterweight Tahmir Smalls (3-0, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia, against David Vera Pena (0-4-1) of Annapolis, MD 
 

Alvarez: "Boxing is my life and I am here to win"

Alvarez: "Boxing is my life and I am here to win"
Billy Joe Saunders and Canelo Alvarez exchanged words as they went head to head at their final press conference on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s super middleweight unification showdown. The event takes place at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas this weekend and will be broadcast live on DAZN, as unbeaten WBO super middleweight champion Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) faces WBC and WBA champion Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs). The two men had plenty to say to each other during the final press conference, and Saunders is in a confident mood ahead of the battle.
 
Alvarez said simply: “I’m really thankful with the response of the people. Boxing is a sport that brings everything back to normal, and I’m ready for this fight. Saunders is a great fighter and has a lot of abilities and he’s also a southpaw, but I’m not the same fighter from six or seven years ago and on Saturday I will show that. I’ve been involved in a lot of big fights and this is just another day at the office. Boxing is my life and I am here to win.”
 
Saunders said: “I’ve been boxing all my life since I was five. I’m here for no other reason other than to win. This is not about fame or publicity for me. Canelo has not had somebody come to win for a long time. He’s had people fly in, collect thier checks and fly out, but nobody has had the heart, soul and the IQ that I will bring to the ring. Canelo has done brilliant things for boxing. He’s a good champion but there’s a time in life where you get tested. Sometimes in life you forget where you’ve come from and forget what’s brought you to here, and he’s bumping into the wrong man on Saturday. We’re happy with the judges, so we just want it all to be fair. I’m looking forward to a good fight and most definitely getting the win. I’ve been up against the crowd before. I travelled as an amateur to the Olympics at 18, and there is no bigger pressure than that. There is added pressure for both of us, as none of us want to go home the loser. We’ll get it rocking and rolling, and this is for all of the Gypsies and everybody in the UK.”
 
 

Logan Paul claims he's going to re-retire Floyd Mayweather

Logan Paul claims he's going to re-retire Floyd Mayweather
2020 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Floyd “Money” Mayweather (50-0) and social media sensation Logan “The Maverick” Paul (0-1) met face-to-face Thursday at a media event to preview their special exhibition match that headlines a pay-per-view event on Sunday, June 6th. Mayweather and Paul gave their initial thoughts on the showdown and traded trash talk during the event that took place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. After the formal portion of the press event, a scuffle between the two camps ensued following an incident between Mayweather and Logan’s brother, Jake Paul. “It’s one thing to sell a fight, and people can say what they want, but one thing no one is going to do, is disrespect me,” said Mayweather.
 
“Floyd came out of retirement, just to get re-retired,” said Paul. “I’m about to beat the greatest fighter of all time.”
 
Thursday’s event also included former NFL star wide receiver Chad Johnson, who will be making his boxing debut in an exhibition match against an opponent to be announced on the pay-per-view undercard. The pay-per-view begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and will also include a pair of intriguing professional boxing showdowns, as WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal and two-division world champion Badou Jack meet in a 12-round rematch in the co-main event. Plus, former unified super welterweight champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd returns to the ring to face Luis Arias in a 10-round bout.

Weigh-in report from Ekaterinburg, Russia

Weigh-in report from Ekaterinburg, Russia
Liam Smith and Magomed Kurbanov successfully made the junior middleweight limit for their clash today (Friday). Former WBO champion Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs) faces Kurbanov (21-0, 13 KOs) in Ekaterinburg, Russia with the event to be broadcast in the USA and Canada on ESPN+, and on Fite TV for the rest of the world. The two men took part in their weigh-in on Friday, with Smith coming in at a ready 69.6kg (153.4 pounds), while Kurbanov was slightly heavier at 69.85kg (154lbs). Smith is looking to continue his good run of form, having picked up three straight victories over Roberto Garcia, Mario Alberto Lozano and Sam Eggington in the past two years.
 

Terri Harper hurts hand; unification off

Terri Harper hurts hand; unification off
WBC super featherweight champion Terri Harper (11-0-1, 6 KOs) was scheduled to face WBA champion Hyun-Mi Choi (18-0-1, 4 KOs) next Saturday, May 15th at the AO Arena, Manchester, England. Unfortunately, Harper suffered a training injury that will prevent her from getting into the ring. Harper said on social media: “I am absolutely devastated to announce that in my last spar of camp I have damaged my hand again. Myself and my team have worked so hard over the last five months to ensure I had the best recovery and had a full training camp without problems with my hand. Thank you to all involved in this bout for the opportunity and sorry for let you down. An ever a bigger sorry to Hyun Mi Choi and her team. Hopefully, this fight will happen before the end of the year,”
 
Harper knocked out Norway’s Katharina Thanderz in nine rounds to retain her WBC last November. Prior to that, she fought an exciting draw with Natasha Jonas at Matchroom Fight Camp in August retaining her world title.
 
Choi became a world champion by defeating Siriwan Thongmanit, in May 2014, making several successful defenses since then.

 

Conway-Cissokho presser quotes

Conway-Cissokho presser quotes
Kieron Conway is determined to prove he is the best 154-pounder in Britain when he battles France's Souleymane Cissokho this weekend. The two men spoke at the final press conference ahead of the massive Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders event that takes place at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, and will be broadcast worldwide on DAZN. Conway (16-1-1, 3 KOs) is confident that a win over Cissokko (14-0 including the World Series of Boxing) will show that he’s the cream of the crop in the UK.
 
Conway said: “If I didn’t believe I would win I wouldn’t be here. It’s good to finally be here, and we’re going to get the job done and look to put a performance on Saturday that really impresses. It’s about taking the opportunity. I’m not nervous, this is my job. I’ve got nothing to be nervous about as this is what dreams are made of. I came from small hall boxing making no money and now I’m here. There is no pressure on me. I’m here to put a real solid performance on and come out with the win. The other guys domestically are looking for the easy route and the comfortable route. I’m here to test myself against a very good fighter and show that I’m the best in the division.”
 
Cissokho said: “I’m really excited. I am taking this fight very seriously. He’s a good fighter but I am confident and I’m ready to go. I’ve been in camp with Joshua Buatsi, and we’ll both get good wins over the next two weeks. I’m going to be fighting in front of 70,000 people, and that’s amazing. It’s a blessing for me to be on a huge card and I’m happy to be here.”

Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul official announcement

Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul official announcement
2020 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Floyd “Money” Mayweather will make his return to the ring as the undefeated five-division champion squares off in an exhibition bout against social media sensation Logan “The Maverick” Paul (0-1), headlining a Showtime pay-per-view broadcast on Sunday, June 6th. Still no details on the weight limit or length of the exhibition. The event will take place at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The pay-per-view telecast will begin live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Sunday, June 6th.  Tickets for the live event will go on sale next week.
 
Mayweather, who was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020, has a 50-0 record with 27 knockouts. He racked up world titles in five weight divisions during his illustrious career that spanned three decades. His resume includes wins over Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya and Canelo Alvarez. During his career, he was named the world’s highest paid athlete multiple times by Forbes, Fortune and Sports Illustrated. Mayweather has accumulated numerous “Fighter of the Year” awards, including five ESPY Awards and two Boxing Writers Association of America awards. His 2015 showdown with Pacquiao shattered the all-time pay-per-view television record with 4.6 million buys, a record that still stands. Mayweather last fought in a boxing exhibition on New Year’s Eve 2018 in Japan.
 
His last professional boxing match was his 2017 stoppage win over Conor McGregor, the second biggest pay-per-view event in television history.  
 
As Mayweather dominated boxing en route to a perfect professional record and international stardom, Paul rose to fame on the internet. Paul, 26, welcomed the world into his life on various social media platforms including YouTube, where he has amassed more than 20 million subscribers. His legions of devoted fans supported him as he stepped into professional boxing in 2019 and sold out the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in his six-round debut, a controversial loss against fellow YouTube star KSI. The Ohio native is a former high school wrestling standout and has been training for more than two years. Now, he readies himself to face an undefeated boxing legend. While Paul stands six inches taller than Mayweather and owns an 18-year age advantage, the social media sensation will be challenging the best boxer of his generation, in his arena.
 

Jean Pascal and Badou Jack rematch booked for Mayweather undercard

Jean Pascal and Badou Jack rematch booked for Mayweather undercard

WBA regular light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (pictured) will face former WBC supermiddleweight title holder Badou Jack in a twelve-round rematch on Sunday June 6th. Pascal-Jack will serve as the pay-per-view co-feature to the Floyd Maywaether-Logan Paul exhibition main event at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Also on the pay-per-view broadcast, former unified 14-pound champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd returns to the ring to face Luis Arias in a ten-round bout. As previously reported, the show will also include former NFL star wide receiver Chad Johnson a/k/a Chad Ochocinco making his boxing debut in an exhibition match against an opponent to be announced.  

Pascal (35-6-1, 20 KOs) earned a narrow split-decision victory over Jack in their December 2019 title showdown that saw both men hit the canvas. Prior to that fight, Pascal captured the WBA  interim title by handing Marcus Browne the first defeat of his professional career. Pascal scored four knockdowns in that fight, eventually earning a close technical decision when a cut suffered by Browne on an accidental head butt stopped the fight after eight rounds. The 38 year-old has been in the ring with the top fighters of his era, including Bernard Hopkins, Sergey Kovalev, Carl Froch, Lucian Bute, and Chad Dawson. Pascal, who was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and now lives in Laval, Quebec, won his first light heavyweight world title with a unanimous decision over Adrian Diaconu in 2009. 
 
Jack (22-3-3, 13 KOs) will look to avenge the narrow defeat he suffered to Pascal in their first match. Jack mounted a rally on the scorecards that nearly turned the match in his favor. Born in Stockholm, Jack (who represented his father’s home country of Gambia in the 2008 Olympics) now lives in Las Vegas. Jack won the WBC 168-pound world title with a majority decision against Anthony Dirrell in 2015 and successfully defended the belt three times before being handed a hard-fought majority draw against James DeGale in one of 2017’s best fights. In his first bout at 175 pounds, Jack stopped Nathan Cleverly to pick up the WBA regular light heavyweight title before fighting to a majority draw against then WBC champion Adonis Stevenson in May 2018. In his most recent outing, Jack won a unanimous decision over Blake McKernan in November 2020. 
 
The 30-year-old Hurd (24-1, 16 KOs) unified the WBA and IBF 154-pound titles in 2018, dropping longtime champion Erislandy Lara in the final round to win a close decision in a fight that was the unanimous 2018 Fight of the Year. The Accokeek, Maryland native lost the titles in one of 2019’s best fights, dropping a decision to Julian Williams. Hurd first became champion in February 2017 when he stopped former champion Tony Harrison in the ninth round, before going on to defend the title against another former champion in Austin Trout. Most recently, Hurd scored a unanimous decision victory over Francisco Santana in January 2020. 
 
Born in Milwaukee, Arias (18-2-1, 9 KOs) will return to the ring for the first time since August 2019 when he takes on Hurd on June 6. The 30-year-old has faced some of the best in the middleweight division, including going the distance with former middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs in a 2017 duel. Arias racked up wins in his first 18 pro fights after turning pro in 2012 and is now training in Las Vegas as he prepares for this fight. 
 

Saunders: "this fight is all about the brain"

Saunders: "this fight is all about the brain"
WBO 168-pound title holder Billy Joe Saunders says he has the boxing brain to dethrone pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez in their unification battle on Saturday night (May 8th), live worldwide on DAZN and TV Azteca in Mexico and Latin America. Saunders (30-0, 18 KOs) puts his WBO strap on the line for the third time against the Mexican star and is aiming to add Alvarez's WBC and WBA belts to his mantle. Saunders says he has the ring smarts to hand Canelo his first defeat in eight years. “This fight is all about the brain,” said Saunders, age 31. “Not about power, muscle or skill, it’s the brain and the game plan, and being able to execute that game plan. I brush opinions off because I know what goes through my head and my mind, and what I have done in my career is through the will and want to win, and the day I lose that, I won’t put a pair of gloves on again."
 
He continued, “I can only control what I am in control of and that myself, not what is outside the ring. It’s going to be a great fight it’s one I’ve wanted for years and it’s finally landed. There’s a lot at stake for both of us. Would I like my fans there? Yes. Would I like UK media there? Yes. If the fight was moved to the Mexican border I wouldn’t care. I have my own way of approaching the fight and Canelo will have too, he’s done this nearly 60 times. I’ll get in there as the best that I can be and that’s all I can control. I’ve been the underdog before, I’ve been the away fighter before, it’s not a new position, but I’m just in with a better opponent this time. If I go in there and I win, I’m not going to run and say never again, I’ll fight him again, I’ll fight anyone, anywhere, it doesn’t bother me. It’s good for boxing sometimes when the underdogs come through, and I don’t just mean me here, because it puts the sport on a higher platform to be watched. I’m at the top of the tree where I’ve done it all as an amateur, I’ve had 30 fights, I’m unbeaten, won every title coming through, two-weight World champion – I can sit back at night and say I’m top of the pile fighting the pound-for-pound king.”

Lerena to face Merhy in July

Lerena to face Merhy in July
IBO cruiserweight champion Kevin Lerena of South Africa will be taking on WBA regular title holder Ryad Merhy, at the 91 year-old Roi Baudouin Stadium in Bruxelles, Belgium on July 17th. Should Lerena win, he will become only the second South African WBA cruiserweight champion after Piet Crous, who won the title back in 1984 when he outboxed Ossie Ocasio. It is easier said than done, though. The athletic Merhy, who was born on the Ivory Coast, will be in familiar territory. He had almost all his fights in Belgium, where he is wildly popular. With 24 knockouts included in his 29-1 record, Merhy can certainly crack. Like Lerena, he has quick hands for a big man. Add to that a busy jab, as well as a sneaky left hook and he is clearly the biggest threat Lerena has faced in years.
 
Merhy's only defeat occurred at the hands of undefeated current WBA super champion, Arsen Goulamirian, who stopped him on his feet in eleven rounds back in 2018. He has since won five fights, capturing the WBA interim world title (later upgraded to regular status) in his last fight in October of 2019 when he knocked out undefeated Imre Szello in seven rounds.
 
Lerena (26-1, 13 KOs) will give up home field advantage, but will have activity on his side. He saw action twice in 2020, scoring two stoppages over ancient former WBA champion, Firat Arslan, in Germany and Patrick Ferguson at home. His awkward southpaw style, as well as the fact that it will not be his first fight abroad (besides Germany, he has also fought in Denmark and Azerbaijan) should serve him well.
 
There is a lot at stake. A win will give Lerena’s career a big boost, whereas a loss would certainly be an unwelcome setback at this stage. It has always been Lerena’s ambition to become an undisputed champion, and there are some mouth-watering potential matchups in the division with the likes of IBF champion Mairis Briedis, WBA super champion Arsen Goulamirian, WBC champion Ilunga Makabu or WBO beltholder, Lawrence Okolie. For any of those fights to become a reality, Lerena must get past Merhy first.
 
Promoter, Rodney Berman, has big plans. “For Lerena to be fighting for the WBA title at this time is fortuitous for South African boxing. As a cruiserweight world champion, you have the potential to
get big international television coverage. That would give us the opportunity, if Kevin wins, to have them on board. My objective would then be to give him a big December homecoming fight.”
Will Merhy be able to take what Lerena dishes out? Will Lerena be able to keep a busy Merhy from stealing rounds? What will happen if the Belgian cracks him with one of those left hooks? How will the inactivity effect Merhy? All those questions will soon be answered.
 
Local fans will not be left in the dark either. Supersport will broadcast the Lerena-Merhy clash live from Belgium.
 

Alvarez: "Saunders has made plenty of excuses"

Alvarez:  "Saunders has made plenty of excuses"
WBA/WBC 168-pound champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez met the media at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, where he will face WBO counterpart Billy Joe Saunders in a unification fight on Saturday night (May 8th), live worldwide on DAZN and on TV Azteca in Mexico and Latin America. Alvarez (55-1-2 37 KOs) and Saunders (33-0 14 KOs) lock horns at the home of the Dallas Cowboys on Cinco De Mayo weekend, and the Mexican told reporters he is laser focused on the task ahead against the unbeaten Brit. “He thinks he’ll give me a boxing lesson?,” said Alvarez. “We’ll see. I am not the same guy I was five or six years ago. I have experience, I am a more mature fighter. So he can say whatever he wants, on Saturday night, he is in a different level of fight. I hope that I don’t need the judges on the night.
 
Alvarez added, “We have always been open about what are short and long term plans have been. I want to unify the 168-pound division, and Caleb Plant would be next in line to secure that short term goal if successful against Billy Joe Saunders The goal is to be undisputed at 168 and then we’ll see. I think I could stay at super middleweight until the end of my career. I think I have about seven years left until I retire, but I’m listening to my body and when it tells me to quit, I’ll quit Nothing frustrates me, I am just focused on winning on Saturday. He has to fight me on Saturday, that has to happen, it’s not a problem. I don’t care about anything; I am just going to go in there and do my job. Saunders has come up with other excuses, he’s had plenty of excuses, but I am just going to go in there and do what I have to do.”
 
“We have faced everyone, lefties, righties, champions, former champions, so to us this is nothing new,” added trainer Eddy Reynoso.
 
Alvarez and Saunders clash on a huge night of action in Texas with a stacked undercard in support of the mammoth main event, with Elwin Soto (18-1 12 KOs) defending his WBO World Light-Flyweight title against Katsunari Takayama (32-8 12 KOs).
 

Lomachenko comeback set for June 26th in Vegas

Lomachenko comeback set for June 26th in Vegas
Top Rank announced the comeback date and opponent of former three-weight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, last seen losing the world lightweight championship to Teofimo Lopez in October. Lomachenko (20-2 including the World Series of Boxing) will come back on June 26th at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas against a very tough opponent, Masayoshi Nakatani of Japan. Nakatani is 19-1 with the lone loss coming by way of twelve-round decision to Lopez in 2019, just prior to Lopez winning a world title. Nakatani rebounded from the loss with a thrilling, come-from-behind destruction of Felix Verdejo in December. Lomachenko-Nakatani will be a twelve rounder. 
 
Top Rank announed a four-show run on ESPN boxing, all from Las Vegas’ newest casino resort, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The other three main events are: a four-belt world junior welterweight championship fight between Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez on May 22nd, Shakur Stevenson vs. Jeremiah Nakathila on June 12th with the WBO interim 130-pound belt at stake, and a June 19th bantamweight fight in which Naoya Inoue defends his two bantamweight world titles against Michael Dasmarinas.

Luis Nery training camp report

Luis Nery training camp report
Two-division champion and current WBC 122-pound champion Luis “Pantera” Nery will meet Brandon “Heartbreaker” Figueroa in a battle of unbeatens on Showtime this Saturday, May 15th, at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. in a Premier Boxing Champions event. The 26 year-old Nery will be making the inaugural defense of his WBC crown. Fighting out of Tijuana, Nery has been training in his hometown just across the U.S.-Mexico border prior to relocating to Los Angeles this week. Now under the tutelage of his trainer Ismael Ramirez, Nery is confident ahead of this career-defining title fight which will set up a unification bout with WBO champion Stephen Fulton, Jr. on September 11th, also on Showtime. Nery shared his thoughts on training camp, the magnitude of his fight against Figueroa and more:
 
On what he’s done different in this camp: “A lot has been different in this training camp. I am sparring against opponents that are very similar to Figueroa’s style. I am running more often. I am eating right. I am preparing in a very conscious manner. My knockout streak came to an end because I wasn’t fighting in my style. I am being more myself now like I was during my knockout streak. I have been loving how we have prepared for this fight as we continue on the road to success on May 15.”
 
On his mentality: “My mentality is simple: It’s either me or him. I don’t get in the ring thinking of getting to the final bell and potentially losing because of the judges. I am not leaving anything in the hands of the judges.  I am going to be aggressive and I will be myself. I plan to win fighting in my style.”
 
On his respect for Brandon: “I have a lot of respect for Brandon, but inside the ring, I am going to be the rudest person he’s ever met. Respect goes out of the window inside that ring. I am going to do everything to get the win.”
 
On his sparring: “I have not sparred with anyone that the general public would probably know but I have a lot of great competition with local guys here in Tijuana. They are very tough kids, very strong kids. They are probably stronger than the big name fighters.”
 
On Brandon’s reach advantage: “Figueroa has long arms but I have fought against many fighters with long reach before. I have plenty of experience there. I will find opportunities and I will use those to my advantage.”
 
On the belief that Brandon is a ‘Pretty Boy’: “I don’t care about how pretty his face is. I don’t care if he’s a sex symbol or if he’s someone who is very ugly. To me, bottom line, he is a threat. He is a threat to my career. He is a threat to my future plans. I need to eliminate that threat. Regardless of what he looks like or how pretty he might be, I am going to defeat him. I am not underestimating him in the least.”
 
On Stephen Fulton, Jr. sitting ringside ahead of a Sept. 11th unification bout with the winner: “I really could not care less about Fulton being ringside on May 15. He’s a blabbermouth anyway. What I am focused on is beating Brandon Figueroa. The time will come to worry about Stephen Fulton. But for right now, I do not care about him.”

A few words with Liam Smith

A few words with Liam Smith
Liam Smith is confident that he would defeat Magomed Kurbanov ten times out of ten ahead of their showdown in Russia on Friday. Former WBO 154-pound champion Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs) is in Russia to face Kurbanov (21-0, 13 KOs) this week. A victory for the Liverpool boxer would see him move a step closer to another crack at world honors, and he’s certain that he will get his hand raised. Smith said: “If you throw a challenge at me I’ll take it with both hands. This fight was offered to me, so I watched a clip of Kurbanov and thought that if I turn up I’ll beat him ten times out of ten."
 
Smith added, “We’ve all been going through the pandemic and there haven’t been many offers coming in, so this was a fight I thought I’d take. Everything made sense to me and it’s a good fight that people are talking about. Kurbanov can punch a bit, and it’s a fight that has made me sit up, take notice and get my teeth into. I’m in very good shape and I can’t wait to be back. I’m in the last part of my career now, but I haven’t been in many wars and I live a good, clean lift at home. I’m ticking all the boxes and performing well in the gym, so I can’t wait to be back under those lights. I’m happy with what I’ve been doing in the build up, and I’m confident of beating Kurbanov. I’m not looking past him, but if I beat him then the doors are wide open for some big fights.”
 

Segolene Lefebvre books May 28th comeback fight

Segolene Lefebvre books May 28th comeback fight
French super bantamweight Segolene Lefebvre will return to the ring against an old foe on May 28th when she faces former IBF flyweight champion Gabriela Bouvier in Salle Gayant, Douai, Nord, France. Lefebvre (13-0, 1 KO) will be competing for the first time since October 2019. Her last fight came when she defeated Ana Maria Lozano. The 27 year-old already holds a win over Bouvier from earlier in her career, picking up a unanimous decision victory over her back in April 2018. The Uruguayan Bouvier (15-10-1, 3 KOs) reigned as IBF flyweight title champion from 2013 to 2014, while she has also challenged for world honors at super-flyweight and bantamweight during her career. She too has been inactive since 2019 but at least has won two in a row.