Catterall tops Taylor in rematch

Catterall tops Taylor in rematch
Jack Catterall W12 Josh Taylor... After 27 months of debate, Jack "El Gato" Catterall finally got his revenge. Catterall defeated Josh Taylor by unanimous decision in their twelve-round junior welterweight rematch on Saturday at First Direct Arena in Leeds, England.  It was a far more fan-friendly affair than their first encounter, which Taylor edged by split decision to retain his undisputed junior welterweight title. The rematch was also a tight contest, but Catterall prevailed by scores of 117-111 (twice) and 116-113.
 
“It’s bittersweet tonight. No world titles. I won the fight. We can close that chapter with Josh Taylor," Catterall said. “Listen, I believe I won the fight. I took more risks this time. Josh is an elite operator, {former} undisputed world champion. We knew we were up against it, but I went through the gears, boxed with my smarts, and even in the second half of the fight, the rounds that I was more reserved, I was controlling the pace and wasn’t getting hit with big punches. And I was landing clean.”
 
“I thought it was a great fight. Fair play to Jack. He was a better fighter than the first fight," Taylor said. "But, listen, I thought I just nicked the fight, to be fair."
 
Catterall (29-1, 13 KOs) pressed the action in the early rounds, using an educated jab and crisp left hands to keep Taylor (19-2, 13 KOs) at arm's length. In round five, he had one of his best moments when a left hand pushed Taylor into — and nearly over — the ropes. Taylor rebounded with a big seventh round, digging ferocious body shots into Catterall's midsection.
 
When it appeared Taylor was regaining the momentum, Catterall stunned him in the 11th with a counter left hand. The 12th round was a back-and-forth stanza, but Catterall had banked enough early rounds on the scorecards. After cries of robbery following their February 2022 showdown, Catterall had evened the rivalry—one apiece.
 
Taylor said, "If he wants to go and challenge for bigger fights, he deserves it. But it’s one apiece, so let’s do it. Let’s do a trilogy.”
 
UNDERCARD RESULTS
 
Cruiserweight Cheavon Clarke (9-0, 7 KOs)  won the British cruiserweight title, knocking out Ellis Zorro (17-2, 7 KOs) in the eighth round...
 
Welterweight Paddy Donovan (14-0, 11 KOs) stopped Lewis Ritson (23-4, 13 KOs) in round nine...
 
Lightweight Gary Cully (18-1, 10 KOs) defeated former European champion Francesco Patera (29-5, 11 KOs) via ten-round unanimous decision. Official scores were 98-92 and 96-94 (twice).
 

WBA issues confounding bridgerweight ruling

WBA issues confounding bridgerweight ruling

On November 28, 2023, the WBA  approved Evgeny Tishchenko and Leon Harth to fight for the newly created [224-pound] WBA bridgerweight title. On December 9th, Tishchenko and Harth fought in Dubai, with Tishchenko winning by sixth-round technical knockout and gaining recognition as the champion, recognition that would prove to be unearned and short-lived. Two months later in Russia, Zhaoxin Zhang of China won an elimination bout to become Tischchenko's mandatory challenger. But on March 30th of this year, the Middle East Professional Boxing [Commission in] Dubai, United Arab Emirates notified the WBA that Tishchenko's “A” urine sample from December had tested positive for a banned substance, 2-Amino-5-Methylhexane. The result of the title fight was changed to a no contest.

At the time, Tischenko had the right to dispute the positive test and he continued to be listed as the champion by the WBA. Tishchenko and his promoters RCC Boxing were afforded the opportunity to have the “B” sample tested, and RCC did so at its own expense. But on April 5th, the test on the “B” sample was completed, and like the "A" sample, it tested positive. On May 9th, Harth, through his attorneys Rainer Cherkeh and Kurt Emhoff, requested that the WBA apply its rules and strip Tishchenko of championship recognition and reinstate Harth to his previous position, the #2 ranking, in the WBA rankings.

Harth only received a portion of the requested relief. Tischenko was stripped, but Harth was not put back in the same place. On May 22nd, the WBA ruled as follows: "Due to Tishchenko’s positive test for a prohibited substance, his title and recognition are vacated." However, the WBA advised Harth it was not going to follow its own written procedures because, "this is a vacant title of a recent[ly] created division, therefore, the purse bid protocol cannot be applied."

There is no wiggle room under the WBA rules for newly created divisions. Appendix A,  Article 13 of the WBA rules provide that "if the world champion wins the fight or retains the title in a tie, and his test results are positive, the title shall be declared vacant and the challenger (whose anti-drug result is negative) shall fight against the leading available contender for the vacant title." Substituting the names of the affected boxers into the rule, the result should be that "Harth (whose anti-drug result is negative) shall fight against Zhang for the vacant title." Harth's attorneys point out that the rule uses the word "shall" not "may" and therefore the WBA should have no discretion to dictate a different result other than the two leading available contenders contesting the vacant title.

Despite the rule, on May 21st, the WBA ordered Zhang, the #1 contender, to fight for the vacant title against Muslim Gadzhimagomedov, the WBA's #7 rated contender. The fight was ordered to take place between 45 and 90 days. Harth was reinstated to the #2 position that he occupied in the November ratings. However, since he is being skipped over for the vacant title fight, he was not being given the same rights that a #2 contender should enjoy. 

Besides Zhang and Harth, the other boxers affected by this result are those who have appeared above Gadzhimagomedov in the last two months, namely Julio Cesar La Cruz, Evgeny Romanov (who was KO's by Zhang), Roman Fress, Ryad Merhy (just beaten by heavyweight Jared Anderson) and former two-division champion Badou Jack.

Watch: Mbilli continues super middleweight run

Watch: Mbilli continues super middleweight run

Christian Mbilli KO1 Mark Heffron... In Shawnigan, British Columbia, Canada, super middleweight contender Christian Mbilli annihilated Mark Heffron in less than a minute with a debilitating body shot. Mbilli, based in Canada but born in Cameroon, is 27-0 and avoided like the plague by most super middleweight contenders. Sergey Derevyanchenko could be next for him. Heffron, a former British champion, drops to 30-4-1. 

Watch: Makhmudov returns with big KO

Watch: Makhmudov returns with big KO

Watch: Makhmudov returns with big KO
Arslanbek Makhmudov KO2 Miljan Rovcanin... Heavyweight Arslanbek Makhmudov, a Russian fighting out of Canada, returned from defeat with a second-round knockout of Serbia's Miljan Rovcanin. In both rounds, Rovcanin (27-4) was knocked down and practically through the ropes. The second time he did not beat the count.Makhmudov is listed as 19-1 but plenty of paid bouts in the World Series of Boxing make 32-4 a more accurate record. Last time out, Makhmudov was comprehensively beaten in Saudi Arabia by Agit Kabayel. 
 

Wasserman's June 14th show changes venues

Wasserman's June 14th show changes venues
 Abass Baraou’s maiden defense of the EBU European junior middleweight title on Friday, June 14th will take place at a new venue. Baraou faces Macaulay McGowan, live and free on UK's Channel 5 next month, with the contest originally due to be held at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester. But circumstances outside the control of Wasserman Boxing mean the stacked night of action is moving to the nearby Toughsheet Community Stadium in Bolton. The June 14th date remains the same, all tickets purchased for the original venue will remain valid in Bolton, and the bout lineup is unaffected by the change in event location. Germany's Baraou once again goes into the lion’s den against Manchester favourite McGowan, having won the vacant belt in a Fight of the Year contender against Sam Eggington in Telford, earlier this year.
 
Supporting bouts on the undercard:
 
Former IBO super middleweight champion Lerrone Richards takes on the battle-hardened Steed Woodall...
 
Ryan Kelly and Gerome Warburton promise fireworks in their middleweight collision...
 
Dan Toward, is back in action after a big KO win last time out and...
 
Darlington’s Ben Marksby, Leeds debutant Ellis Price and Liverpool's Mikie Tallon also form part of the undercard in Bolton on June 14th.

Okolie smashes Rozanski for WBC bridgerweight belt

Okolie smashes Rozanski for WBC bridgerweight belt
Lawrence Okolie TLO1 Lukasz Rozanski ... Lawrence Okolie knocked down Lukasz Rozanski three times in the opening round to win the WBC bridgerweight (224-pound) world title in Poland on Friday night. The fight was not really of world-level quality as Rozanskio looked out of shape and generally awful, but the win technically makes Okolie a two-weight world champion. The British Okolie (20-1) reigned as the WBO 200-pound champion from 2021-2023. Keep in mind, the undisputed world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk weighed 223 pounds when defeating Tyson Fury last week, so there is really no dispute who is the world's best 224-pound boxer.
 

BOXINGTALK'S BRIDGERWEIGHT DIVISION TIMELINE

MAY 19, 2024.. Although not a bridgerweight fight, Oleksandr Usyk was 223 pounds, below the bridgerweight limit, when he made boxing history by becoming the first undisputed world heavyweight champion of the century. The Ukrainian Usyk outboxed Great Britain's Tyson Fury, although it was ruled a split decision. Boxingtalk scored it 115-112 for Usyk, who remains undefeated as a professional. Usyk was trailing at the midway point but turned the momentum back his way and knocked Fury down towards the end of round nine. Usyk added Fury's WBC heavyweight title to the WBA, WBO and IBF versions he previously owned.  An Olympic gold medal winner as well as undisputed world champion at cruiserweight and now heavyweight, Usyk has to be considered an all-time great For those following the new bridgerweight division, Usyk must be considered the world's best.

FEB. 10, 2024... Unheralded Zhaoxin Zhang of China delivered a spectacular knockout against Evgeny Romanov on Saturday to win a WBA elimination bout in the bridgerweight (224-pound) division. Fighting on hostile turf in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Zhang  ended the bout in only two rounds after a combination sent the Russian to the canvas in very bad condition. The referee did not allow the favored Romanov to continue despite him beating the ten count. But the fight was not easy for Zhang, who was punished from the first bell and looked vulnerable in the beginning of the fight. Zhang was knocked down by Romanov but he overcame that plus several cuts to his face to fight back and pull off the upset with a dramatic victory. Zhang now becomes the mandatory challenger to another Russian, Evgeny Tishchenko. Zhang puts himself on the boxing map with a record of 12-2-1 with 7 KOs. Romanov lost his undefeated record and is now 19-1 with 12 KOs.
 
WBA / DEC. 12, 2023: Evgeny Tishchenko is now recognized as the first WBA bridgerweight champion after he defeated Germany's Leon Harth this weekend at the Agenda Arena in Dubai. **NOTE: As of May 2024, Tishchenko was stripped of his title due to a positive doping test.** The Russian Tischenko  finished the fight in the sixth round against Harth to join South Africa's Kevin Lerena as the two recognized champions in the nascent 224-pound weight class. Tishchenko dominated the bout, winning every round and getting a knockdown in the second round. The fight ended when Harth took a ten count after a hard body shot. Tishchenko's most accurate pro record is 21-3 including the World Series of Boxing. Harth falls to 22-6-1. 
 
WBC / NOV. 27, 2023:  In a 224-pound fight held in South Africa on Saturday, Kevin Lerena outclassed rugged Senad Gashi, landing powerful accurate blows throughout the twelve rounds of the fight. Lerena diminished Gashi’s condition round by round. Gashi never stopped fighting and trying to win, but Lerena remained focused on his fight plan to tilt the fight in his favor. Gashi was penalized a point in the final round after hitting Lerena with a low blow. The South African took revenge for this action by knocking down Gashi seconds before the end of the last round. The judges scored the fight in favor of Lerena, declaring him the new WBC interim bridgerweight champion. He now looks forward to facing champion Lukasz Różański, who is expected to fight two-time world champion Badou Jack first. 
 
WBC / APRIL 23, 2023: Poland's Lukasz Rozanski became the second WBC bridgerweight champion, winning the vacant 224-pound title by knocking out Croatia's Alen Babic in the very first round at the G2A Arena in Rzeszow, Poland. Rozanski didn’t give Babic an opportunity to get comfortable because as soon as the bell rang in the first round, the wild-swinging Pole attacked the visiting Croatian with power, sending him to the canvas. Babic got to his feet, but Rozanski connected with a powerful right hand that again put Babic in bad shape, and then Babic was battered with all kinds of combinations. The referee Guadalupe García decided to stop the fight because Babic was receiving too much punishment. With this victory, Rozanski established himself as the WBC bridgerweight champion, succeeding Oscar Rivas, whose career ended due to eye problems. Rozanski improved his record to 15-0 with 14 knockouts. Babic, who had his manager, English heavyweight Dillian Whyte in his corner, fell to 12-2 (including the World Series of Boxing).
 
WBC / JAN. 7, 2023: Oscar Rivas is now the first-ever bridgerweight champion in recess. The WBC clarified that Rivas has not been stripped of his bridgerweight championship, but instead has been demoted to champion in recess until he confirms his decision about his boxing future. Rivas suffered a detached retina and will not be able to fight his contracted bout with Lukasz Rozanski of Poland. The WBC Board of governors has voted in favor of the following resolution to immediately address the status of the new 224-pound weight division: Alen Babic and Rozanski will fight for the vacant title with a 50-50 purse split if a purse bid is needed. The winner must commit to comply with two mandatories, the first one against the winner of a final eliminator between Ryad Merhy vs. Kevin Lerena. 
 
WBC / APRIL 27, 2022: Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM), Probellum and Global Jabes 77 held a joint press conference in Bogota, Colombia, to announce WBC bridgerweight champion Oscar “Kaboom” Rivas (28-1, 19 KOs) will make his first title defense on August 13th at home against Poland's Lukasz Rozanski (14-0, 13 KOs) at the Estadio Olimpico Pascual Guerrero stadium (40,000 capacity) in Cali, Colombia. **The fight would never take place after it was revealed that Rivas had a detached retina and could not fight anymore.** 
 
WBC / OCT. 23, 2021: Colombian transplant Oscar Rivas emerged from an all-Canadian slugfest as the first bridgerweight world champion. Rivas defeated Ryan Rozicki in a phone booth-type fight by scores of 115-112 (twice) and 116-111 to win the inaugural WBC 224-pound honors. An exhausted Rivas bloodied Rozicki's nose and brow but had a point deducted in round twelve for excessive holding. Rozicki took the fight on barely three weeks’ notice after Bryant Jennings refusal to get the coronavirus vaccine barred him from fighting in Canada.
 
 
 

Boxingtalk's Saturday fight predictions

Boxingtalk's Saturday fight predictions

Boxingtalk's Saturday fight predictions
Here are Boxingtalk's Saturday fight predictions:
 
Josh Taylor (19-1) vs. Jack Catterall (28-1) II (junior welterweights) … prediction: Catterall by decision;
 
Dina Thorslund (21-0) vs. Seren Cetin (11-0) (WBC & WBO bantamweight titles) … prediction: Thorslund by unanimous decision;
 
Christian Mbilli (26-0) vs. Mark Heffron (30-3-1) (super middleweights) … prediction: Mbilli by early to mid-round knockout;
 
Arslanbek Makhmudov (18-1) vs. Miljan Rovcanin (27-3) (heavyweights) … prediction: Makhmudov by early knockout;
 
Cheavon Clarke (8-0) vs. Ellis Zorro (17-1) (British cruiserweight title) … prediction: Clarke by mid to late knockout;
 
Paddy Donovan (13-0) vs. Lewis Ritson (23-3) (welterweights) … prediction: Donovan by late knockout; and
 
Gary Cully (17-1) vs. Francesco Patera (29-4) (lightweights) … prediction: Cully by unanimous decision.
 

Chaney vs. Hunter pre-fight quotes

Chaney vs. Hunter pre-fight quotes

Ahead of his “Fists of Fury” event on Friday, June 7th at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, promoter Don King, and the two heavyweights who fight each other that night, Cassius Chaney and Michael “The Bounty” Hunter, addressed the media. Chaney (23-2, 16 KOs) of Connecticut, will battle Hunter (21-1-2, 15 KOs) of Las Vegas, on a stacked card of co-featured fights. [Although not widely reported, Hunter is coming off a loss last month, vs. Artem Suslenkov]. Here is what King and the heavyweights had to say:
 
Don King

“I am very, very happy to be here to talk about this great heavyweight fight. The WBA approved this title fight, featuring Cassius Chaney and Michael Hunter. Cassius is an honorable guy with great integrity. He is coming off a knockout victory over Trevor Bryan, which was just terrific, and I congratulate him on that. Michael Hunter is the former number one heavyweight contender, and is ready to take on Chaney. We have a great card, all with co-features. Every fight is a championship fight in itself. We don’t use the word undercard in this situation. There is no such thing as an undercard.”
 
“Blair 'The Flair' Cobbs will return to the game of boxing when he takes on Adrien “The Problem” Broner for the people’s championship. As you know, Broner is a former four-division champion with a tremendous background in boxing. Everyone is telling me not to test this man; he is taboo. Don’t give this man a chance because he won’t show up. Broner showed up at the press conference, so I believe this will be a tremendous fight, and “The Flair” won every fight except one when he took it on two weeks’ notice.”
 
Cassius Chaney

“I saw the Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk fight, and I thought it was really good for the sport of boxing, and the right guy won off of one round. It was close, and I think Usyk sealed it with that one round. It was great, but now I’m looking forward to my fight.”
 
“My knockout over Trevor Bryan was so long ago, so now I am just looking forward to getting back into the ring. It was a statement because I was out of the ring for a while before that fight, so I’m looking forward to getting back to it. Stylistically, Hunter is a much different matchup for me, so I am looking forward to that.”
 
“The heavyweight energy is high right now because people are realizing we will fight anyone. This is a huge fight coming up, and thank you to Don King for putting us in this position. I look forward to getting back in there and showcasing my abilities. I have grown a lot this past year, been boxing constantly, and been around different fighters. I have structured my team for me with people I trust. I am more at ease with my training because I trust the people I am with. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are with a great trainer but don’t trust them because it makes it hard to do certain stuff. My last win is behind me, so this a whole new challenge, and I’m looking forward to it.”
 
Michael Hunter

“The fight Tyson Fury and Oleksandr fight was good. I think the right man won, but I’m not here to focus on that fight. I’m here to focus on my fight because that is what’s in front of me.”
 
“It’s been kind of tough because I’ve been out of the ring for quite some time, so I had to get myself busy. Politics did get the best of me, but I plan to get back to the number one position, and I’m excited to take this fight on and this challenge. Don King has done such a beautiful job getting me this opportunity. I cannot thank him enough. He’s done a lot of hard work and vouched for me. I think this is just a great opportunity for me. I want to thank Don again for getting me my position back.”
 
“The energy for this fight has been going around, and the energy is right where it’s supposed to be, with the heavyweights. We’re the big guys. That’s why we call it the heavyweights because there aren’t bigger and tougher men than that. This is a great thing for us because we have the throne again, and I think it’s very beneficial for us.”
 

Jermaine Franklin stops Devin Vargas

Jermaine Franklin stops Devin Vargas

Jermaine Franklin Jr. TKO6 Devin Vargas... Jermaine “The 989 Assassin” Franklin Jr. kept his hopes for another run at the heavyweight title alive on Thursday by scoring a sixth-round TKO over a durable, but under-powered Devin Vargas at Wayne State Fieldhouse in Detroit. Fighting in the ten-round main event of Salita Promotions’ “Big Time Boxing USA” event, Saginaw, Michigan’s Franklin (23-2, 15 KOs) was forced to work harder than expected against a rugged Vargas (22-11, 9 KOs), fighting out of Toledo, Ohio, who came to win and landed his share of counter shots throughout the entertaining six rounds. 

However, Franklin’s punches were far more powerful and impacted with a thud whenever he launched an assault. Vargas was down in round four from an accumulation of shots and again from the same in round six. He capitulated after the second knockdown and elected not to come out for round seven. The official verdict was a TKO for Franklin at 0:00 of the seventh round.
 
“It was a great fight for me, but I felt like I made it harder than it needed to be,” admitted Franklin, post-fight. “I was trying too hard to land power shots. I’m not going to lie. Once I landed the first power punch, I just got happy. I was trying to calm down. It looked like I was letting him get off, but I had to calm down to refocus. I got outside my game plan, but I still got the job done.”
 
Franklin says he feels his work rate and stamina are what make him a threat to any top heavyweight. “I’m more of a volume punching heavyweight,” he explained. “There are only a couple of us. My greatest aspect is that a lot of guys have the strength early, but don’t have it later on. If I can outpunch you and you can’t match my output, you will slow down and slow down. I want to stay as busy as possible. I want to fight four times a year if I can. I’m not ducking no smoke. If the business makes sense, I’m ready to go.” 
 
“I believe Jermaine is rated in the WBO, so Joseph Parker is the WBO Heavyweight World Champion,” asserted Franklin’s promoter, Dmitriy Salita. “I think it’d be a great fight. Both guys fought Dillian Whyte, and both guys fought Anthony Joshua. That’s the fight we’d like to go for.”
 
Salita added that if Franklin doesn’t get a big phone call right away, he can still accommodate his heavyweight in the meantime. “We’ve been having discussions with different players in the boxing business to get Jermaine a significant fight. I believe it’s a matter of time and if he doesn’t’ get it, we’ll keep him busy on Big Time Boxing USA. Jermaine is still a top American heavyweight. He showed his skills tonight. He’s explosive, young, and powerful. My respect to Devin Vargas for taking a licking and keep on ticking. What a fighter!”
 

More results from Detroit: Ali Akhmedov wins early

More results from Detroit: Ali Akhmedov wins early

More results from Detroit: Ali Akhmedov wins early
Ali Akhmedov TKO2 Encarnacion Diaz ... In Thursday's opening televised bout from Detroit, super middleweight Ali Akhmedov (21-1, 16 KOs) of Kazakhstan cut his scheduled ten rounder against San Francisco’s Encarnacion Diaz (18-5, 11 KOs) short by stopping him at 2:14 of round two. It was one-way traffic in the bout, as Akhmedov’s body shots and straight punches to the head were too much for the outgunned Diaz, who tried switching stances and throwing haymakers to no avail.  Trained by Detroit’s own Johnathon Banks, Akhmedov kept his skills sharp while he waits for another opportunity to climb the rankings.
 
Joshua James Pagan W8 Roger Hilley... In a bruising and bloody eight-round co-feature, Michigan junior weltwrweight Joshua James Pagan (10-0, 4 KOs) stayed undefeated but endured a tough battle to do it against Tennessee’s Roger Hilley (13-1, 8 KOs). Pagan fought through a free-flowing left-eye cut he suffered from an accidental head butt in round one to outwork the durable Hilley for a majority of rounds. To his credit, Hilley came out smoking and looking to bang Pagan’s body from both sides, but Pagan righted the ship quickly and put his amateur pedigree to work by slipping uppercuts and right hands between Hilley’s attempted outbursts.  As the rounds wore on, the better conditioning of Pagan showed through, and he was beginning to pull away late in the fight.  The scores were 78-74 from all three judges. 
 
“I’m feeling great,” said Pagan, post-fight. “That was my first eight rounder and it was against an undefeated guy, but I trained hard for this and definitely earned it.”
 
Pagan said that the cut in round one was a bit of a distraction, but he used his experience as a pro and former amateur champion to will his way through the obstacle. “I knew if I got butted or cut, to just stay calm. I’ve been cut before, and I know how to adjust and fight through it. I learned as I went on to fight smarter and not get hit in the eye. I felt like he was trying to back me up and I’ve always heard you have to bully the bully, so I decided to stand my ground and that made him hesitant. So, then I started using my boxing ability to keep him outside and fight my fight.”
 
Josiah Shackleford W4 Ja'Shar Banks... In a four round all-Detroit middleweight fight that served as a TV swing bout, Josiah “Mighty Joe” Shackleford (2-1, 2 KOs) of Detroit and pro debuting foe Ja'Shar Banks (0-1) put on an entertaining scrap with Shackleford coming out victorious by unanimous decision.  Shackleford had too many weapons for the tough Banks, but Banks refused to give in and kept throwing back to the bitter end. Shackleford may have tried for a knockout too hard, giving Banks the opportunity to duck under the potentially finishing blows.  The scores were 40-36 from all three judges.
 
 
 

Weigh-in report from Leeds, England

Weigh-in report from Leeds, England
Here are the weigh-in results for the three featurd bouts on Saturday's ESPN+ broadcast from the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England:
 
Josh Taylor 139.6 pounds. vs. Jack Catterall 139.8 (twelve rounds)
Referee: Kevin Parker; Judges: Kieran McCann, Mark Bates and Lee Every;
 
Cheavon Clarke 199.3 vs. Ellis Zorro 198.6
(vacant British cruiserweight title— twelve rounds); and
 
Paddy Donovan 145.4 vs. Lewis Ritson 146.8 (ten rounds).
 
ESPN+ broadcast begins at 3:15 p.m. ET/12:15 p.m. PT

Boxingtalk's Friday fight predictions

Boxingtalk's Friday fight predictions
Here are Boxingtakl's preiction for Friday's biggest bouts:
 
Lukasz Rozanski (15-0) vs. Lawrence Okolie (19-1) (WBC bridgerweight title) … prediction: Okolie by early knockout;
 
Fiodor Czerkaszyn (23-1) vs. Jorge Cota (31-6) (middleweights) … prediction: Czerkaszyn by unanimous decision;
 
Jan Czerklewicz (12-1) vs. Paul Valenzuela (28-11) (super middleweights) … prediction: Czerklewicz by decision;
 
Ihosvany Garcia (12-0) vs. Lukasz Plawecki (7-1-2) (light heavyweights) … prediction: Garcia by unanimous decision; and
 
Aleksei Papin (16-1) vs. Isaac Chilemba (27-9-3) (cruiserweights) … prediction: Papin by late knockout.
 

Batirzhan Jukembayev stops Ivan Redkach

Batirzhan Jukembayev stops Ivan Redkach

Batirzhan Jukembayev stops Ivan Redkach
Kazakhstan's Batirzhan Jukembayev got a significant win in the junior welterweight division, scoring a fifth-round technical knockout win over Ivan Redkach on Wednesday night at the Whitesands Events Center in Plant City, Florida. Jukembayev showed his dominance from the start of the bout and was cruising, with the entire fight in his favor from early on. He landed punches to both the head and to the body to reach his fifth straight win. The 33-year old has not lost since 2021 when he succumbed to Subriel Matias, who is now the IBF champion. Jukembayev’s record now stands at 23 wins, 1 loss and 17 knockouts, while Redkach lowers his record to 24 wins, 7 losses, 1 draw and 19 knockouts.

Emiliano Vargas to step up to eight rounders

Emiliano Vargas to step up to eight rounders
Junior welterweight Emiliano Fernando Vargas is ready for more rounds. The son of former champion Fernando Vargas will fight in his first scheduled eight-rounder against Jose Zaragoza (9-8-2, 3 KOs) on Friday, June 21st, at Fontainebleau Las Vegas.  Vargas-Zaragoza will support a card headlined by the WBO featherweight title fight between Rafael "El Divino" Espinoza and Sergio Chirino and the junior lightweight co-feature between Andres "Savage" Cortes and Abraham "El Super" Nova. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions, the card will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. and on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland.
 
"I am steadily progressing toward fulfilling what God has written for me. I am inching closer to my destiny of becoming a world champion," Vargas said. "It's not just a dream; it's my destiny, and I'll continue to show it fight by fight."
 
Vargas (10-0, 8 KOs) is coming off a sixth-round stoppage over Angel Varela last Saturday in San Diego. “El General” is 3-0 with three second-round knockouts when fighting in Las Vegas. Zaragoza , from Jalisco, Mexico, is a five-year pro who has tested a host of top prospects, including Keyshawn Davis and Ernesto Mercado. He has not been stopped in over two years and is coming off an eight-round draw last November against 36-fight veteran Victor Betancourt Jr.
 
Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.com.

Spotlight on Adames vs. Gausha

Spotlight on Adames vs. Gausha
Recently elevated to WBC middleweight champion after making two defenses of his interim belt, Carlos Adames of the Dominican Republic will step in to make the first defense of his newly minted title when he faces former Olympian Terrell Gausha in a Las Vegas matchup that kicks off PBC's pay-per-view show on Saturday, June 15th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Adames (23-1, 18 KOs) is looking to establish himself as number one in the historic weight class. [Erislandy Lara holds the WBA title while Zhanibek Alimkhanuly is the unified WBO and IBF champion]. The 30-year old’s last outing saw him earn a ninth-round TKO of former unified 154-pound champion Julian Williams in June 2023. Prior to that, Adames bested perennial contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko in December 2021 and followed that up by knocking out Juan Macias Montiel in the third round to capture his interim belt in October 2022.
 
Adames was born in Comendador, Dominican Republic, lives in Washington Heights, New York and trains in Las Vegas. He established himself as a contender with a slew of victories over the likes of former 140-pound title holder Carlos Molina, plus Frank Galarza, Joshua Conley and Alejandro Barrera, Adames' only defeat coming by narrow decision in a 2019 154-pound title fight against Patrick Teixeira.
 
“I’m very excited to be back fighting in Las Vegas on a mega fight card, especially making the first defense of my WBC Middleweight World Championship,” said Adames. “Terrell Gausha has a lot of experience fighting at the top level in the pros and in the amateurs. I know this is a tough fight and that makes me focus even more in training. Right now my mind is right, my body feels great and I’m going to be able to put on a spectacular performance for everybody watching on June 15. I’m going to defend my title with everything I’ve got.”
 
ADAMES OPEN WORKOUT QUOTES
 
“I’m very excited to be stepping into the ring once again. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the ring, but I’ve been in the gym for a long time getting into the best shape possible mentally and physically. I want to make a really big statement. Not just for me, but for my supporters. I owe it to everyone who helped me get here. I made a commitment to be on top and I like to keep my promises.
 
“I’m not concerned about Gausha’s resume or who he’s fought, because I’m the best fighter he’s gonna face. I’m the best fighter in the 160-pound division, so he better be ready for what he’s coming up against. I’m not underestimating anyone, but I’m not worried about his experience.
 
“June 15th is going to be full of spectacle and fireworks, because I’m relentless in the ring. My opponents know everything is on the line when they step in against me. I’m definitely going to show I’m the best middleweight in the world.
 
“Gausha has the reputation of a guy who’s hard to knock down, but he hasn’t felt my power yet. I’ll tip my hat to him if he can go the distance. Either way, I’m not focusing on the knockout. I’m making sure I’m ready for anything that happens in the ring.  
 
“I was truly happy to be elevated to world champion on my birthday. That news was just the cherry on top of my birthday. What I really wanted was for Jermall Charlo to fight me, but he made his choice.”
 
                                                ***
 
A member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, Gausha (25-3-1, 12 KOs) was born in Cleveland, Ohio but now fights out of Encino, Calif. and is trained by Manny Robles. He enters this fight having won his last two bouts as he knocked out Brandyn Lynch in March of last year before winning a decision over KeAndrae Leatherwood in September. Gausha has faced top competition throughout his career, having fought former champion Austin Trout to a draw in 2019 in addition to decision losses against former champions Erislandy Lara and Tim Tszyu and top contender Erickson Lubin.
 
“I’ve been training since way before this fight was signed and I’m feeling ready for the challenge,” said Gausha. “Adames is a good fighter, but so am I. I’m confident that I’m gonna come out on top on June 15th. My experience and my skill set are gonna be huge factors that help me get this victory.”
 
GAUSHA OPEN WORKOUT QUOTES
 

“I’m very confident and blessed to be in this position. I’m one of the type of guys that you can’t just run over. I’m the easiest person to make a fight with, because I don’t fear anybody.  
 
“Carlos Adames is a very solid fighter who brings a lot to the table. Everyone has holes and I’ve been watching him since I moved up to middleweight. I know he brings the action and I’ve been preparing for a fight like this.
 
“I’m more comfortable now at middleweight. I can just focus on training, because I’m already on weight. I don’t make any excuses, but getting down to 154 put more wear and tear on my body.
 
“I fight the best. That’s what I do. We’ll see come June 15 who the best is. Styles make fights. I don’t fear him and he doesn’t fear me. That’s gonna make it an exciting fight for the fans.
 
“I’m just ready to get what’s mine. I’m here for a reason. I don’t take this opportunity lightly. There’s no pressure for me. I’m just looking to go put on a great show.
 
“I feel confident coming into this fight. We’re putting the work in. I never cut corners and I’m a true professional. I’m coming to get the win. I have a great team behind me and we’re prepared for sure.”
 

Golden Boy signs  junior lightweight Joshua Garcia

Golden Boy signs junior lightweight Joshua Garcia

Golden Boy signs  junior lightweight Joshua Garcia

Golden Boy Promotions has announced on social media that it has signed undefeated junior lightweight Joshua "El Americano" Garcia to a promotional contract. From Moreno Valley, California, Garcia is 21 years old and has a pro record of 8-0 with 4 KOs. He was inactive in 2023 but has two wins in his 2024 campaign, a knockout over Eric Argueta Lozada and a split decision wn over veteran Diuhl Olguin.

Taylor: "It's music to my ears" to hear Catterall predict a KO

Taylor: "It's music to my ears" to hear Catterall predict a KO
The tagline for Josh Taylor-Jack Catterall II is "Hate Runs Deep," but for Taylor, the former undisputed world 140-pound champion and Catterall, who many feel was robbed in their first fight, winning is the primary mission. More than two years after they dueled for twelve rounds in Taylor's home country, Scotland, Taylor (pictured) and Catterall will meet in a highly anticipated rematch this Saturday at First Direct Arena in Leeds, England. Taylor (19-3, 13 KOs including the World Series of Boxing) prevailed by a roundly criticized split decision in their first fight, while Catterall (28-1, 13 KOs) and his supporters insist he deserved the verdict and Taylor's undisputed title. After multiple postponements, the grudge match will be settled, putting to bed two-plus years of debate. Taylor-Catterall II and select undercard fights will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+ starting at 3:15 p.m. ET/12:15 p.m. PT. Here's what the main event fighters and their trainers said at Thursday's press conference.
 
Josh Taylor
 
"Look at the history of boxing. All the great fighters of the past have taken defeats and come back and won world titles again. Just because you take one defeat doesn't mean you're a finished fighter. I think that's where boxing has taken a turn for the worse because when a fighter takes a loss, everyone goes, 'Ah, he's finished,' and stuff like that. In the UFC, there are fighters with 20 fights and 10 losses, and they are still at the top of the game. Just because you take a loss doesn't mean you're a bad fighter. I still feel like I'm at the top of the game, and on Saturday, I'll take care of business, and I'll be back in the picture to recapture my titles."
 
"The last fight was a stinker for both of us. Jack did a lot of holding and spoiling and slowing the pace down. I was very poor as well. So, I believe the two of us can be a lot better. It will be a better fight for the fans. Expect that on Saturday as well. I feel it's going to be a great fight and a barnburner. The arena — I was in there on Monday — and, wow, I got a bit of a surprise. The fans are right on top of you, so it's going to be a great experience and a great atmosphere in there. I'm looking forward to it."
 
On Catterall predicting a stoppage between rounds 7-9: "Good. Let him think that. If he wants to do that, great. Absolutely fantastic. Music to my ears."
 
"I don't really care how I win this fight, whether it's by points or stoppage. The way I've been performing in the gym, the shots I've been throwing and catching people with... if I catch him with these shots, it will be over. It will be devastating for him. But we'll see what happens. It's just a win for me."
 
Joe McNally (Taylor's trainer)
 
"It's one of the biggest shows of this year, and I'm expecting a magnificent contest, a vintage Josh Taylor performance, a good victory. I just hope and pray that there is no controversy."
 
"I hope they both get to show the best of their abilities and give a fantastic performance for the fans. I can see nothing but Josh Taylor turning up Saturday night and coming away with that nice victory."
 
Jack Catterall
 
"We've had the delays, the setbacks, but it's fight week. We're here in Leeds. It's exciting, and I've done all the hard work. We're two days now from fighting, so it's very real, and I'm very much looking forward to it."
 
"We both know what stands in front of us now. We're fighting on Saturday. All the talking is done. We've had the buildup. The fight is sold. Obviously, we don't see eye to eye. I think we're ready to make weight and fight."
 
"It's a must-win Saturday. That's what all my energy is focused on. I don't want to talk about what's after this. I know you've got a great division at 140. There's a lot of big fights to be made. And that's an exciting prospect, but right now, all I can think about is beating Josh on Saturday."
 
Jamie Moore (Catterall's Trainer)
 
"My confidence is in Jack Catterall. I'm not really concerned with anything else because I know what he's done. I know how he's prepared. He's ready to go."
 
"This is what boxing is all about. There's nothing I love more than a British rivalry."
  
 
 

JC Martinez vacates title to campaign at 115

JC Martinez vacates title to campaign at 115
Mexico's Julio César “Rey” Martínez has notified the WBC that he will vacate its flyweight championship in order to move up to the super flyweight division. Martínez (21-2-2, 15 KOs) won the title in 2019 and made seven successful defenses of his crown. He fought his most recent bout on March 30th, vanquishing the previously unbeaten Angelino Cordova of Venezuela. During his 112-pound reign, Martinez ventured up to 115 pounds once, losing to Roman Gonzaez in 2022.
 
Rey, a popular and charismatic champion, commented: “After careful reflection, I vacated the flyweight title to pursue new opportunities at super flyweight. This step will allow me to continue growing as a boxer and face new challenges. I am very grateful to the WBC for their support throughout my career.”

Cruiserweight update: European title now vacant

Cruiserweight update: European title now vacant

Cruiserweight update: European title now vacant
Isaac Chamberlain will face Jack Massey for the vacant European and Commonwealth cruiserweight titles on Saturday, June 15th at South London’s Selhurst Park stadium, live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland and Peacock in the USA. Chamberlain was set to challenge Poland's Michal Cieslak for the European championship, but Cieslak has withdrawn from the contest due to injury and has chosen to vacate his European title, thus giving Massey a golden opportunity to step in and fight Chamberlain. On the same card, Chris Billam-Smith defends his WBO cruiserweight championship vs. Richard Riakporhe. 
 
Massey (21-2, 12 KOs) is a former IBO champion. He tried his hand at heavyweight in 2023, losing to ex-WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker. Massey returned to cruiserweight for a win over Steve Eloundou Ntere in January.
 
Chamberlain (16-2, 8 KOs) was named mandatory challenger for the European crown following a dominant points victory over London rival Mikael Lawal for the British and Commonwealth titles  in October 2023.
 
Boxxer CEO and founder Ben Shalom said: “We now have another cruiserweight battle of Britain confirmed for our historic event at Selhurst Park as Isaac Chamberlain and Jack Massey clash for the European and Commonwealth Titles. We’d like to wish Michal Cieslak a speedy recovery. He’s been a great champion and we’re sure he will be back and in more big fights soon. This is a massive fight for both men with huge rewards for the winner and a very big addition to June 15th.”
 
ADDITIONAL BOUTS
 
Fans attending the show will be part of history as boxing returns to Selhurst Park in its centenary year. 
 
Ben Whittaker faces undefeated rival and press conference crasher Ezra Arenyeka at light heavyweight... another 175 pounder, ight star Dan Azeez returns to action and bantamweight Francesca Hennessy is also slated to compete. 
 
A percentage of every ticket sold will be donated to the Palace For Life Foundation, the official charity of Crystal Palace F.C, which has been working with the community for over 25 years, helping young people grow through the power of sport, inspiring them to find a better path in life and to lead a healthier life.This event is presented in association with official partners bet365, Integritas Property Group and HELL Energy. 
 
RECENT CRUISERWEIGHT DEVELOPMENTS
 
WBC / MAY 23, 2024: WBC cruiserweight champion Noel “The Dark Horse” Mikaelian (27-2, 12 KOs) has been forced out of his world title defense against Canada's Ryan “The Bruiser” Rozicki (20-1, 19 KOs) due to a cut near his eye. Mikaelian suffered the injury while preparing for his June 7th showdown. Although disappointed, Mikaelian says that he will be ready for Don King’s next show: “I’m sorry to my fans and the boxing community. I’ll be ready to return to action and defend my world title in time for Don King’s next massive event.”
 
IBF / MAY 19, 2024: In the chief supporting bout in Riyadh, Jai Opetaia (25-0, 19 KOs) defeated former two-time champion Mairis Briedis (28-3, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision in a bruising battle that saw both men finish with possible broken noses. Briedis rallied late but lost by scores of 117-111 and 116-112 (twice). Opetaia regained the IBF cruiserweight world title that the IBF basically forced him to vacate. This was a rematch.  In July 2022, Opetaia, a 2012 Australian Olympian, overcame an injured jaw to claim Briedis’ IBF cruiserweight championship. Briedis was considered the top 200-pounder in the world since Oleksandr Usyk moved up to heavyweight but Opetaia bloodied and defeated the Latvian favorite by unanimous decision. Official scores for the first bout were 116-112 (twice) and 115-113, all in favor of Opetaia, who improved to 22-0 with 17 KOs. He joined Usyk as the only man to defeat Briedis, who is now 28-2.  In December 2023, Opetaia vacated the IBF cruiserweight championship to move forward with a bout in Saudi Arabia against Great Britain's Ellis Zorro. Opetaia was ordered to grant Briediis a rematch by the IBF but when Briedis got injured, Opetaia sought to sneak in a lucrative voluntary defense on the huge show in Riadh. Reportedly, Briedis had no objection to the voluntary, but the IBF rigidly refused to budge, so Opetaia moved on without the belt and KO'd Zorro in one round.

WBC / NOV. 4, 2023:  There is a new WBC cruiserweight champion as Noel Mikaelian (27-2, 12 KOs) stopped the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ilunga Makabu (29-4, 25 KOs) one minute into the third round. After flooring Makabu in the second round, Miami’s Mikaelian, by way of Armenia, flustered the former champion with a barrage of punches. The title was recently vacated by Badou Jack. Mikaelian said about his knockout victory: “I didn’t expect the knockout so early, but I knew my hand would be raised (in victory) at the end of the night. I’m so happy. I waited two years. I was so close to winning that belt and this time I didn’t want to leave any doubts.” Mikaelian noted the significance of his win: “I had a great camp…I’m the first German to win a world championship on American soil in 90 years, since Max Schmelling.”

WBA / OCT. 12, 2023: The WBA Championships Committee has ordered a 200-pound title bout between champion Arsen Goulamirian and his mandatory challenger, Yuniel Dorticos. Goulamirian is 27-0 but has only fought once since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. A former IBF champion, Dorticos is 26-2 but has fought only once per year for the last four years. The WBA gave the boxers a thirty-day negotiation window which began this Tuesday, October 10th and will end on November 10th. Both parties received the formal notification signed by Carlos Chávez, president of the championships committee. In case both parties do not reach an agreement, the WBA may call for a purse bid under the WBA rules.
 
IBF / SEPT. 30, 2023: IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia made a successful first title defense in London, stopping previously unbeaten Jordan Thompson in the fourth round. The end came with a left-right combination from Opetaia's southpaw stance. Opetaia returns home to Australia with his belt plus a record of 24-0. Thompson is now 15-1.
 
WBO / MAY 28, 2023..In a crazy fight in Bournemouth, England, Chris Billam-Smith won the WBO cruiserweight champion from his fellow Brit, good friend and former sparring partner Lawrence Okolie. Billam-Smith scored thee knockdowns and Okolie was penalized two points for non-stop holding. But the championship rounds saw Okolie furiously pressing for a knockdown and Billam-Smith dealing with a bad cut over his left eye. Despite Okolie's late rally, when the final bell sounded, the three knockdowns and two point deductions seemed impossible for the champ to overcome, but there was one more plot twist to come. When the first score was read by the ring announcer, Billam-Smith was shocked to hear 112-112. Sanity prevailed as the other two judges favored Billam-Smith by 116-107 and 115-108. As the majority win was revealed, Billam-Smith broke down in tears and described how he was sick during the week. He also dedicated the win to his mother who was battling breast cancer. During his post-fight interview, Okolie acknowledged his loss but revealed that he had a rematch clause that he planned to invoke.
 
WBC / FEB. 26, 2023: Badou Jack (28-3-3, 17 KOs) is now a two-division world champion.* The 39-year old scored a technical knockout victory over Ilunga Makabu (29-3, 25 KOs) to capture the WBC cruiserweight world title. Jack boxed an intelligent fight, mixing footwork and counterpunching to consistently find a home for his right hand. Makabu, on the other hand, seemed too cautious and had trouble putting his punches together. In the fourth round, Jack dropped Makabu with a right hand, and he repeated the knockdown in the eleventh. In the final round, Makabu was clearly worn out from Jack’s offense, and Swedish standout only needed an additional right hand and a brief fusillade of shots to force referee Mark Lyson to stop the fight.
 
*Some list Jack as a three-division champion because he won the WBA regular light heavyweight title in 2017. Boxingtalk does not recognize that as a legitimate world title because Sergey Kovalev was recognized as WBA super champion at that time.
 
WBA / NOV. 22, 2022... Arsen Goulamirian retained his WBA cruiserweight championship this weekend against Aleksei Egorov with a unanimous decision victory at La Palestre in Le Cannet, France. The Armenian native and French national came off a nearly three-year layoff and came away with a win on the cards by scores of 116-112 and 117-111 (twice). Inactive since 2019, this was Goulamirian's mandatory fight. Goulamirian (27-0) went from strength to strength in the bout and improved as the rounds went by. He faced a very active opponent in the early rounds but was able to figure out his Russian foe to come on strong at the end of the bout. Egorov’s record stands at 16 wins and 3 losses including the World Series of Boxing. [Goulamirian would remain inactive for more than a year].
 
IBF / JULY 3, 2022: 2012 Australian Olympian Jai Opetaia overcame an injured jaw to claim Mairis Briedis’ IBF cruiserweight championship. Briedis was considered the top 200-pounder in the world since Oleksadr Usyk moved up to heavyweight but Opetaia bloodied and defeated the Latvian favorite by unanimous decision on Saturday in Broadbeach, Australia. Official scores were 116-112 (twice) and 115-113, all in favor of Opetaia, who improves to 22-0 with 17 KOs. He joins Usyk as the only man to defeat Briedis, who is now 28-2. 
 
WBO / MARCH 21, 2021: Lawrence Okolie crushed Krzysztof Glowacki to be crowned the new WBO cruiserweight champion in just his sixteenth fight at The SSE Arena, Wembley. Okolie unloaded a huge finishing punch to drop Poland’s Glowacki heavily in the sixth round and referee Marcus McDonnell waved off the fight to confirm the coronation of Britain’s newest champ.  [The WBO title was vacant coming in after Mairis Briedis vacated it in order to pursue the IBF title in the World Boxing Super Series final]. The unbeaten 28 year-old from Hackney had emulated the likes of Tony Bellew, David Haye and Johnny Nelson, who previously held world crowns in the weight class.
 
IBF / SEPT. 27, 2020: Season II of the World Boxing Super Series came to its conclusion on Saturday with Latvia's Mairis Briedis taking home the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy and the IBF championship by defeating Yuniel Dorticos in Munich. The WBSS cruiserweight Final, contested behind closed doors, was a close battle. Briedis repeatedly troubled the Cuban Dorticos with powerful counter-punches during a commanding performance. Dorticos was never far behind, and one judge scored it a draw, 114-114, while the other two handed in wide verdicts of 117-111 for Briedis. The Latvian Briedis would only defend the title once in 2021 before losing to Jai Opetaia in 2022.
 
WBC / FEB. 1. 2020: Ilunga "Junior" Makabu is the new WBC cruiserweight champion, having won the vacant title by defeating Poland's Michal Cieslak via twelve-round decision.  The judges’ scores were Omar Mintum 114-112, Carlos Flores 115-111 and Humberto Olivares 116-111, all in favor of Makabu.  The fight took place in Makabu's home nation, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Makabu is now 27-2, while Cieslak is 19-1.
 
WBO / NOV. 26, 2019: The WBO cruiserweight championship has been declared vacant as part of a months-long legal battle arising from Maris Briedis' foul-tainted victory over Krzysztof Glowacki last June. That fight was part of the World Boxing Super Series. Briedis landed a deliberate foul, an elbow to the jaw of Glowacki, that hurt him badly but went unpunished by referee Robert Byrd. A few seconds after Glowacki got up from the foul, Byrd allowed the boxers to continue fighting well after the bell sounded to end round two, leading to Glowacki suffering a hard knockdown about ten seconds after the bell rang. Again, Byrd did nothing. Briedis admitted in his post fight interview that the elbow was deliberate and that he heard the bell but kept fighting anyway. Glowacki protested to the WBO, and after an arbitration was held in Puerto Rico, the WBO ordered Briedis to give Glowacki an immediate rematch. Briedis refused, intending to fight IBF champion Yuniel Dorticos in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series, although that fight still has not been scheduled. Glowacki will now await the WBO to name the co-challenger for the vacant title. NOTE: Glowacki was represented in the arbitration by Scott Shaffer, the author of this article.
 
WBO / JUNE 15, 2019: In a wildly entertaining and controversial bout in Riga, Latvia, Mairis Briedis took advantage of horrendous refereeing by Robert Byrd to become the new WBO cruiserweight champion. Fighting in his home nation, Briedis committed a blatant foul that led to a third-round technical knockout win over Kyrzysztof Glowacki. The win advanced Briedis to the World Boxing Super Series finals, where he will meet newly minted IBF cruiserweight champion Yuniel Dorticos. In round two, Glowacki twice hit Briedis on the back of the head during a clinch as Byrd yelled stop. The second time, Briedis decided to use self help, throwing a nasty, deliberate elbow that caught Glowacki flush on the jaw and sent the Polish man to the canvas. Byrd took a point away, but Glowacki was not fully recovered when the action resumed. Briedis pressed the action and the knocked Glowacki down with about nineteen seconds left in the round. Glowacki beat the count, but was foggy eyed, and definitely needed the minute rest between rounds. As the action resumed, one of Briedis' cornermen jumed up on the ring apron, which is grounds for disqulaification. Then, the bell sounded to end round two, but Byrd did not hear it, and the the boxers engaged in a wild slugfest, with Briedis again knocking Glowacki down. The knockdown came a full ten seconds after the bell. In his post-fight interview, Briedis smiled and admitted he heard the bell but kept fighting. To recap round two, Glowacki was down three times: once from an illegal elbow, once from a legal blow while still buzzed from the illegal elbow, and once from a punch that landed well after the bell sounded. In round three, the boxers engaged in a wild slugfest, but it was clear Glowacki was fighting at a diminished capacity. He was knocked down again, hard, with his arms flailing, and beat the count, but was in no shape to continue. Byrd, who put in a terrible performance tonight, stopped the fight, to the delight of the Latvian audience. Note: Briedis has the WBO title only, as the WBC threw a hissy fit and pulled the sanction. The WBC cruiserweight title remains vacant. 
 
IBF / JUNE 15, 2019: In Riga, Latvia, Cuba's Yuniel Dorticos got a career-changing win, landing a hard right hand that put previously undefeated Andrew Tabiti to sleep in round ten of the World Boxing Super Series semi-final bout. The win was doubly significant because, in a surprise move, the IBF announced earlier in the day that the winner would be recognized as the IBF cruiserweight champion (Oleksandr Usyk formally vacated the belt in furtherance of his heavyweight campaign). Dorticos was ahead on points, but had to deal with a bad cut over his right eye. Dorticos will await the winner of the other semi-final, a WBO title fight in which Kryzysztof Glowacki defends against former WBC titlist Mairis Briedis. An emotional Dorticos shed tears of joy in the ring. He's now 24-1, with the only loss to Murat Gassiev in last years World Boxing Super Series. The disappointed Tabiti heads home to the United States with a 17-1 record.
 
WBO / JUNE 6, 2019: The WBO promoted its interim cruiserweight champion, Krysztof Glowacki of Poland, to its full champion in the 200-pound division.  According to WBO social media, "With Oleksandr Usyk moving to the heavyweight division, interim champion Krysztof Glowacki is now recognized as the new WBO champion and will face Mairis Briedis in a voluntary defense on June 15th in Riga, Latvia" [as part of the World Boxing Super Series]. Glowacki (31-1) previously held the WBO title from 2015-2016, but lost it to Usyk in 2016. Briedis (25-1) held the WBC version of the title from 2017-2018, also losing his belt to Usyk.
 
WORLD / NOV. 11, 2018: World champion Oleksandr Usyk said goodbye to the 200-pound division with yet another road win to add to his resume. Fighting in his opponent's coutry, Usyk stopped Tony Bellew, who had earned this shot with an impressive run of five quality wins. After seven hotly contested rounds, Usyk knocked out Bellew with a left hand to Bellew's jaw that violently sent him crashing to the canvas. Promoter Eddie Hearn nearly cradled Bellew's head as he made his way to his feet. Bellew might have been able to beat the count, but the referee did the right thing by stopping the fight. After uifying all four major titles, Usyk will campaign as a heavyweight in the future.
 
WORLD / JULY 22, 2018: In Moscow, cruiserweight Oleksandr Usyk of the Ukraine put on a master boxing class to become only the fifth boxer in history to gain undisputed world championship recognition from the IBF, WBO, WBC and WBA. Usyk accomplished this by defeating Murat Gassiev of Russia by unanimous decision. The win also made Usyk the winner of the World Boxing Super Series eight-man tournament. Official scores were for Usyk 120-108 and 119-109 (twice). Seeing Usyk draped in the Ukraine flag with four championships belts wrapped around him and the Ali Trophy raised over his head was quite an impressive ending to a fantastic tournament pulled off by Comosa AG. Usyk joins Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor, Cecilia Braekhus and Terence Crawford as the only boxers to hold all four major belts since the WBO gained recognition in the early 1990s. (In the cruiserweight division, the great Evander Holyfiled conquered all three championships in 1988 prior to the emergence of the WBO).  Both men were undfeated coming into this bout, and Gassiev, if not Usyk as well, will likely move up to heavyweight.
 
WBA / MARCH 26, 2018: Arsen Goulamirian got a significant win, plus a paper title in Marseille, France, defeating Ryad Merhy via eleventh-round technical knockout. The win gives Goulamirian the WBA regular cruiserweight title (Murat Gassiev is recognized as WBA super champion and Denis Lebedev as  WBA champion in recess). A combination of many consecutive unanswered blows to Merhy forced the referee to stop the fight. Goulamirian, an Armenian living in France, is 23-0 while Merhy, from the Ivory Coast and living in Belgium, is now 24-1. Goulamirian would go on to inherit the WBA full title, emerging from a mess of WBA corruption involving Denis Lebedev, Murat Gassiev and Beibut Shumenov who repeatedly switched title designations as part of machinations of the WBA.
 
WBO & WBC / JAN. 28, 2018: Fighting in Latvia, his opponent's home country, Oleksandr Usyk defeated Mairis Briedis to add the WBC cruiserweight championship to the WBO version he already held. The Ukrainian Usyk, a 2012 Olympic champion, won by majority decision, with scores of 115-113 (twice) and 114-114.  The unification bout was part of the World Boxing Super Series, and Usyk now qualifies for the finals, which will be held in Saudi Arabia. Usyk will face the winner of the bout between Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos, which will be contested next week in Sochi, Russia. 
 
IBF & WBA / DEC. 4, 2016… In an all-Russian cruiserweight battle, Murat Gassiev defeated Denis Lebedev to become the IBF cruiserweight champion, and, along with WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk, one of the top two cruiserweights in the world. Gassiev, a 23 year-old trained by Abel Sanchez, knocked the Freddie Roach-trained Lebedev down in round five and went on to win by split decision. Scores were 116-111, 116-112 for Gassiev and 114-113 for  the 37 year-old Lebedev. In the very worst of boxing politics, Denis Lebedev will retain the WBA cruiserweight title because his promoter “convinced” the WBA that the title should not be on the line against an IBF mandatory. 
 
WBO / SEPT. 18, 2016: A professional boxing star was born as Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk dethroned WBO cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki (26-1, 16 KOs) by twelve-round unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland.  The official scores were 119-109 and 117-111 (twice). Undefeated as a pro, Usyk was the 2012 heavyweight gold medal champion and also holds the distinction of being the 2011 World Amateur Champion at heavyweight and  2008 European Amateur Champion at light-heavyweight. 
 
 

Mikaelian out of title defense due to sparring injury

Mikaelian out of title defense due to sparring injury
WBC cruiserweight champion Noel “The Dark Horse” Mikaelian (27-2, 12 KOs) has been forced out of his world title defense against Canada's Ryan “The Bruiser” Rozicki (20-1, 19 KOs) due to a cut near his eye. Mikaelian suffered the injury while preparing for his June 7th showdown. Although disappointed, Mikaelian says that he will be ready for Don King’s next show: “I’m sorry to my fans and the boxing community. I’ll be ready to return to action and defend my world title in time for Don King’s next massive event.”
 
“This is why we have so many fights on the card,” said King. “June 7th’s Fists of Fury will still have multiple [fights] on the line for boxing fans, and Mikaelian will be back to defend his title as soon as possible.”
 
Featured on the “Fists of Fury” event taking place at the Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL, will be a clash between one of the sport’s most decorated fighters, former four-division champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner (35-4-1, 24 KOs) taking on Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (16-1-1, 10 KOs). This bout marks Broner’s journey back to a world title opportunity while Cobbs returns to the ring for the first time in nearly two years.
 
A heavyweight special attraction title bout will spotlight Cassius Chaney (23-1, 16 KOs) of New London, CT who will battle Michael “The Bounty” Hunter (21-2-2, 15 KOs) of Las Vegas.  American Championship belt.
 
Recently added to the show is a cruiserweight attraction featuring Sarasota, FL’s Johnnie Langston (11-3, 4 KOs) squaring off against Mike Perez (29-3-1, 20 KOs) of Cuba.
 
New Jersey middleweight Ian “The Young General” Green (18-2 with 12 KOs) will be in against Ohio’s Roy Barringer (10-4, 6 KOs). The fan-favorite Green enters this bout on the strength of six straight victories.
 
Lightweight Antonio Perez (9-0, 5 KOs) of Harrisburg, PA, will challenge local favorite Antonio Williams (16-0-1, 7 KOs) of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
 
In addition, Newburgh, NY’s Tre’Sean Wiggins (16-5-3, 9 KOs) will collide against Chicago’s own Semajay Thomas (11-1, 8 KOs) in a welterweight attraction.
 
The fight card will be broadcast on Pay Per View via Triller TV, DonKing.com and Itube247.com. 
 
 

ESPN+ to stream Taylor vs. Caterall II

ESPN+ to stream Taylor vs. Caterall II

ESPN+ will broadcast the highly anticipated rematch between former world junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor (pictured) and Jack Catterall this Saturday, May 25th at 3:15 p.m. ET/12:15 p.m. PT exclusively in the U.S. The event takes place at First Direct Arena in Leeds, England.  Since the controversial split decision in February 2022, when Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs) protected his unbeaten record to retain his undisputed junior welterweight title, he and Catterall (28-1, 13 KOs) have been engaged in a heated war of words. The fierce rivals will go head-to-head again in Saturday’s twelve-round junior welterweight contest in an eagerly anticipated rematch. Calling the action will be Hall of Famer Timothy Bradley, Jr. and Bernardo Osuna, who was recently inducted into the National Boxing Hall of Fame. ESPN UK’s James Regan will be on the ground in Leeds, providing the latest news from the pre-fight press conference, weigh-in, and fight night.

Here is Saturday's ESPN+ line-up, starting at 3:15 p.m. ET/12:15 p.m. PT: 

Josh Taylor vs. Jack Catterall 2, twelve rounds, junior welterweight;
 
Cheavon Clarke vs.  Ellis Zorro, twelve rounds, vacant British cruiserweight title; and
 
Paddy Donovan vs. Lewis Ritson, ten rounds, welterweight.

Elvis Rodriguez rejoins the Top Rank family

Elvis Rodriguez rejoins the Top Rank family

Elvis Rodriguez rejoins the Top Rank family
Junior welterweight Elvis Rodriguez (15-1-1, 13 KOs) has signed a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank, the company that guided him from 2019 to 2021. Rodriguez is scheduled to fight in a ten-rounder on Saturday, June 29th on the Teofimo Lopez-Steve Claggett undercard at James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida. “Elvis Rodriguez is a supreme talent, and we are thrilled that he’s decided to re-join the Top Rank family,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum. “There are many great fights for Elvis at 140 pounds, and if he fights up to his potential, he will be a world champion one day.”
 
“It truly feels great to be back home. I have always felt like a Top Rank fighter," Rodriguez said. "Top Rank made me a star, and they will make me a champion. I am looking forward to June 29th. Elvis will finally be back in the building! It’s been a long layoff, the longest of my career, but I am 100 percent focused on June 29th.”
 
“We are very excited and happy to be back with Top Rank. Elvis is such an exciting fighter, and he brings much-needed excitement to the sport,” said Benny Lieblein, Rodriguez’s manager. “We are looking for an opportunity at the top guys in the division, and we believe Top Rank can get us those fights. All these guys have been choosing the path of least resistance. With Top Rank keeping him active and using their promotional power, they won’t be able to avoid us much longer.”
 
Rodriguez, trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, emerged in the sport inside Top Rank's Las Vegas Bubble during the pandemic. From July 2020 to February 2021, he went 5-0 with four knockouts, demonstrating power from the southpaw stance. His momentum temporarily stalled after being upset by Kenneth Sims Jr. in May 2021. Since his Top Rank departure, Rodriguez has gone 4-0, including a February 2023 decision verdict over Joseph Adorno. He made a serious statement that July, stopping former champion Viktor Postol in seven rounds, but has not fought since then.
 

French update: Riviere to face Sangue for third time

French update: Riviere to face Sangue for third time
French lightweight Anthony Riviere (12-6-1 with 2 KOs) will be looking to close a chapter on a domestic rivalry when he fights his countryman Alain Sangue (14-9-2 with 3 KOs), in a rubber-match on June 7th in his hometown of Blagnac. Riviere defeated Sangue by split decision in a non-title fight in March of last year but in June, Riviere lost a rematch by split decision. Riviere then came up short again in December, dropping a majority decision to Khalil El Hadri.
 
Born in Cameroon, Sangue, at age 23, is the younger man by four years, and enters his third clash with Riviere with momentum, having won their most recent bout. Before that he had sandwiched the loss to Riviere between victories over Nathan Laib (9-0) and Kodjo Yetongnon (11-5-3). As previous results show, this is such an evenly matched fight that its anyone's guess who will emerge as the winner, but its safe to say that both will, again, do everything they can to win.
 

ProBox presents another strong main event tonight

ProBox presents another strong main event tonight

Batyrzhan Jukembayev will face Ivan Redkach on tonight's (May 22nd) junior welterweight main event on ProBox TV. The bout is set to headline a night of 50-50 fights, beginning at 8 PM EST in Plant City, Florida. Jukembayev, who holds a record of 22-1 with 16 knockouts, is currently on a four-fight win streak. Originally hailing from Kazakhstan, Jukembayev aims to achieve the most significant win of his career in this upcoming fight. His sole defeat came at the hands of IBF champion Subriel Matias.

Redkach, possessing a 24-6-1 record with 19 knockouts, now resides in Los Angeles, although he is originally from Ukraine. Redkach returned to the ring last July after a two-year hiatus. Having previously faced top-tier opponents such as Regis Prograis and Danny Garcia without securing a victory, Redkach is determined to alter his fortunes against Jukembayev.

The co-feature will spotlight a junior lightweight contest between Jonhatan Cardoso (16-1, 15 KOs) of Brazil, and Adam ‘Blunose’ Lopez (17-5, 6 KOs) of Glendale, California, set for ten rounds. This bout promises to be a thrilling encounter between two highly skilled pugilists with the winner advancing in the division.

Additionally, junior welterweight Charles Harris (8-1, 7 KOs) will continue his comeback journey against Kyle Erwin (7-1, 3 KOs) of Oceanside, California. Both fighters, with similar records, are looking to solidify their positions in the division.

The event will open with cruiserweight Adrian Tillman making his professional debut against undefeated Jayleen Bullock (1-0, 1 KO) of Wilson, North Carolina, in a four-round contest.
 

Joe Joyce to face Derek Chisora

Joe Joyce to face Derek Chisora

Joe Joyce to face Derek Chisora
London heavyweights Joe Joyce (pictured) and Derek Chisora will headline at The O2 on Saturday July 27th, live on TNT Sports. It is a domestic collision that appears to have been on the table for some time, with Joyce (16-2, 15 KOs), the former WBO interim champion, having been calling out the man nicknamed "War" since 2019. Tickets for Joyce vs Chisora are on O2 Priority presale today (Wednesday), venue presale tomorrow (Thursday) and on general sale at 5pm on Friday, May 24th from axs.com and ticketmaster.co.uk.
 
Two-time world title challenger Chisora (34-13, 23) rebounded from his stoppage defeat to Tyson Fury in late 2022 with a decision victory over Gerald Washington in August of last year. Names such as Carlos Takam, Dillian Whyte, Senad Gashi, Artur Szpilka, Oleksandr Usyk, Joseph Parker and Kubrat Pulled have featured on the Finchley man’s resume since 2018.
 
Joyce has also mixed in strong company, recording victories over Takam, Daniel Dubois and Joseph Parker before coming off second best in back-to-back WBO Interim title fights against the Chinese giant Zhilei Zhang. The Putney man got his name back in the win column in Birmingham back in March when he defeated Kash Ali via tenth-round KO.
 
Both fighters are striving to return to the buoyant top end of the world heavyweight division that is currently dominating the landscape in fight sports.
 
“This is a proper old school heavyweight fight that seems to have been a long time in the making,” said promoter Frank Warren. “I remember it being talked about strongly even before we teamed up with Joe and it has always struck me as a natural and obvious fight to make.
 
“Two top London heavies fighting it out for a place back at the top table promises to deliver a cracking scrap. The winner is right back in business, with no real place to go for the loser.”
 
The full undercard including Dennis McCann, Henry Turner, Archie Sharp, Sean Noakes and Aadam Hamed plus more will be announced in the coming weeks.
 
 

New dates for Prizefighter tourney announced

New dates for Prizefighter tourney announced
The return of Prizefighter has officially been confirmed for Monday, July 15th and it will be shown live on DAZN (excluding Asia). The champion of the eight-man 2024 Prizefighter series will pocket $1 million. The quarter-finals of the Japanese version of the tournament will be held at Osaka’s Yamato Arena with OPBF middleweight champion Kuzuto Takesako replacing Anauel Ngamissengue in the line-up. Takesako (16-1-1, 15 KOs) will be boxing in front of his home fans in his native Osaka when he collides with Britain’s Mark Dickinson (6-0, 2 KOs).
 
The Japanese middleweight title will be on the line in a rematch as all-action Riku Kunimoto (11-1, 5 KOs) defends his title against Eiki Kani (8-4-3, 4 KOs). The pair squared off back in March, with Kunimoto victorious thanks to a sixth-round stoppage in Nagoya.
 
Britain’s Kieron Conway (20-3-1, 5 KOs) will kickstart his quest for glory when he faces a tough opponent in China’s Ainiwaer Yilixiati (19-1, 14 KOs) when the series kicks off.
 
And Aaron McKenna (18-0, 9 KOs) will be out to establish his world-level credentials with ’The Silencer’ out to make a big impression in Japan. Ireland’s McKenna will face unbeaten, 23-year-old American-Puerto Rican Jeovanny Estela (14-0, 5 KOs).
 
The quarter-final draw was made back in January at a launch press conference in Tokyo, alongside Matchroom Boxing’s event partners Never Say Never (NSN) and Rakuten Ticket, Inc. The three companies have committed to staging three major, world-class events per year over the next three years, featuring some of the best domestic and international fighters with the opening event of the competition hosting four bouts over ten rounds.

Jermaine Franklin: "I’m just trying to get back to the top fights"

Jermaine Franklin: "I’m just trying to get back to the top fights"
Some of the boxers scheduled for battle on Thursday's “Big Time Boxing USA” event showed off their skills at a media workout today at the Kronk Gym in Detroit before the Salita Promotions event. The fights will take place at the Wayne State Fieldhouse in Detroit and stream live on DAZN (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). Featured during the workout were American heavyweight Jermaine Franklin Jr. (pictured, 22-2, 14 KOs), who will appear in the ten-round main event against former U.S. Olympian Devin Vargas (22-10, 9 KOs), Joshua James Pagan (9-0, 4 KOs) of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who will face fellow undefeated Roger Hilley (13-0, 8 KOs) of Tennessee at junior welterweight, and late addition Ali Akhmedov (20-1, 15 KOs) originally from Kazakhstan, who takes on Encarnacion Diaz (18-4, 11 KOs) of Costa Rica, in an eight rounder. Akhmedov’s trainer, Detroit-born Johnathon Banks was also on hand to take questions, as well as Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein, who is part of the night’s broadcast crew. Former WBC Welterweight Champion and Kronk hero Milton McCrory was also in attendance to offer his support.
 
Here is what the group had to say:
 
Jermaine Franklin
 
Fighting in my home state again feels great. I love the energy. It’s like an aura and it feels great. What I learned in those two fights in Europe is that everything isn’t fair and don’t look to the refs to clean up everything. Fight to the best of your ability and don’t pay attention until he stops you. I was already mentally tough, but those two fights over there brought out a new ferociousness in me. Not a lot of stuff can get to me anymore. If the ref doesn’t stop me, you better get out of the way. I still want my rematch with Joshua, but we’re chasing belts. Hopefully I can go after one of these top contenders like Daniel Dubois or Phillip Hrgovic or Cassius Chaney or Michael Hunter.
 
I only saw bits and pieces of Fury vs. Usyk, but I think my punch output would be a lot higher than those guys. Usyk can punch and move against the big heavyweights, he’s got real nice feet, but I think my punch output could keep up with him a lot better than most other heavyweights could.
 
I know Vargas was a great boxer in his time, and he went to the Olympics. He has a punch-and-move type style, so I’ll beat him at his own game and cut the ring off – force him to engage. I don’t do predictions, but he’s going to end up on his ass.
 
Fighting to the level of my opposition has been a real problem for me in the past. I really can’t explain why the better the opponent, the better I fight. We’ve been working on pushing the pace and pushing our intensity in the gym, so we don’t get stuck in that comfortable space anymore and fight to my limit every time. I still see myself as a top guy and I’m just trying to get back to the top fights. Mentally and physically I’m ready to take the call for the next big fight.
 
Joshua Pagan
 
It feels great to be back. I was supposed to fight in February and March, and it didn’t go through, so I’m happy to be back. It was frustrating a lot to train and not fight, but I just call it God’s timing. I’m ready to go and I can’t wait to bring the belt home.
 
I know he’s a crafty southpaw. I’ve seen a couple of his fights and I know what he brings to the table, but I know what I bring to the table, too, and I’m ready to go. I’m determined and I trained hard for this, and I know I will win. I’m ready to execute the game plan.
 
I knew I would get to the level of a televised co-feature eventually, but not this quickly. I’m very blessed and excited to be getting this opportunity. Thanks to my promoter, Dmitriy Salita.
 
Johnathon Banks
 
We’ve been having fun since the first day we worked together. We met when I started training Gennady Golovkin about five years ago.
 
This is a homecoming for me. Ali is able to fight in Detroit for the first time and I’m able to work at home for the first time in a long time.
 
The Kazakh style of boxing is similar to the Kronk style because they do a lot of movement. The only difference is the late, great Emanuel Steward taught us to do rhythm along with our movement and we punch off that rhythm and punch off that movement and that’s what we’ve worked on a lot – moving and punching at the same time because that’s what Emanuel was all about.
 
The [Gabriel] Rosado fight was a tough test for Ali and coming into the 12th round, I looked into his eyes and said we’ve been here before and we’re here again. Listen to everything I tell you this time and you will have no worries. He said ‘Johnathon, I believe you,’ and he kissed my forehead. Then he went out there and won the title. He listened and did everything he was supposed to do, and it worked out.
 
Ali Akhmedov
 
I’m very happy to work with Johnathon. We have a very good connection. He understands me and I believe in him. I’ve learned a lot from Johnathon. He’s taught me a lot about moving around the ring better. Of course, I knew about Kronk Gym when I lived in Kazakhstan. All fighters around the world know about Kronk Gym. This is my first time training here and it’s a thrill.
 
 

Johnny Fisher to fight Alen Babic on July 6th

Johnny Fisher to fight Alen Babic on July 6th
Romford, England heavyweight Johnny Fisher will take on Croatian knockout artist Alen Babic at the Copper Box Arena in London on Saturday July 6th, shown live worldwide on DAZN. The big punching Fisher, age 25, is quickly establishing himself on the domestic scene with an explosive record of 11 fights and 10 knockouts since making his professional debut against Matt Gordan back in February 2021. Fisher capped a memorable 2023 in August, taking out Harry Armstrong in seven rounds. He was named the 2023 Best Young Boxer of the Year by the prestigious Boxing Writers’ Club before kicking off a big 2024 in style by wiping out Dmytro Bezus in one round on his US debut at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas in February.
 
Zagreb’s hard-hitting Babic (13-2, 11 KOs including the World Series of Boxing) racked up a ten-fight knockout streak before being taken the distance for the first time in his career against Adam Balski in May 2022. ‘The Savage’ lost his unbeaten record when he was taken out by Poland’s Lukasz Rozanski in a challenge for the WBC bridgerweight world title at the G2A Arena in Rzeszow last year before returning to winning ways by halting Newcastle’s Steve Robinson in six rounds earlier this year.
 
‘The Romford Bull’ is enjoying a six-fight knockout streak of his own and a match-up against all-action Babic, who is mentored by former World Title challenger Dillian Whyte, is guaranteed to produce fireworks as both men target title action in the second half of 2024.
 
“I have no words other than I am locked in and ready for the hardest fight of my life,” said Fisher.
 
“Johnny and his dad have definitely over-ordered this time in picking me for his next fight……I am going to enjoy teaching this posh boy some very Savage lessons,” said Babic. “I look forward to the fight but no university education can give Johnny the appetite for what’s coming his way!”
 
“The time has come for the step up and for Johnny and his incredible support to have their own night in London, and what a fight to do it in,” said Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn. “Johnny ‘The Romford Bull’ Fisher against Alen ‘The Savage’ Babic promises to be an explosive all-action Heavyweight WAR that will have fans on the edge of their seats on July 6th. The Copper Box Arena will be jumping as The Bull Army takeover to watch their man step up against Croatian knockout artist Babic in the toughest test of his career to date.
 
“Babic brings entertainment both inside and outside of the ring every time and the heavy-handed puncher is determined to inflict a first loss on Fisher. We’re building a bumper undercard to support this main event and we’ll have news on that and ticket details soon. Watch it live around the world only on DAZN.”
 
Babic’s promoter, Mike Ofo of Platform Sport said: “This is guaranteed to be a barnstorming brawl and we fully expect Alen to emerge the victor. Alen is extremely motivated and has vowed to press the action from the opening bell. For Alen it’s not about if, but when, Fisher goes down”.
 
“What a fight this is and a huge step up for Johnny!” said Alfie Sharman, VP DAZN. “Babic is a throwback fighter – someone who will always leave everything in the ring and if Johnny can get through this, then it should prepare him for the bigger punchers in the division! Watch this all-action fight, live and exclusive, only on DAZN.”
 
An announcement on ticket details will be made soon.
 
 
 
 
 

Spotlight on Russell vs. Puello

Spotlight on Russell vs. Puello

PBC's June 15th pay-per-view event lineup will feature Gary Antuanne Russell, from the fighting Russell family, stepping in for a twelve-round showdown against former WBA champion Alberto Puello, who was stripped for doping violations. The 140-pound clash will be contested for the WBC's interim title. Fighting out of his native Capitol Heights, Maryland, Russell (17-0, 17 KOs) will carry on the legacy left by his late father Gary Sr. A member of one of the sport’s preeminent fighting families, Russell trains alongside his older brothers, former WBC featherweight champion Gary Jr. and bantamweight contender Gary Antonio. The 27-year old has yet to allow an opponent to make it to the final bell since turning pro in 2017. He also represented the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Russell defeated his most accomplished foes to date in 2022, stopping former champion Viktor Postol in February before a TKO win against former two-division champion Rances Barthelemy in July. Most recently, he blasted out the previously undefeated Kent Cruz in one round last August.
 
“Being at the top is only meant for one person, but the journey is always meant to have an audience,” said Russell. “Make sure you watch this pay-per-view on June 15, because everyone knows what I bring when fight night comes.”
 
Puello (22-0, 10 KOs) returned to action last December, his first bout since winning his world title, as he scored a unanimous decision victory over the previously unbeaten Ector Madera. Puello captured the WBA championship with a victory over Batyr Akhmedov in August of 2022. A native of San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, Puello now resides and trains in Las Vegas. He first shot up the rankings in July 2019, when he bested the previously unbeaten Jonathan Alonso via unanimous decision to capture an interim title. The 29-year old also owns a unanimous decision triumph over VeShawn Owens in his U.S. debut that came in July 2021. He lost his title in 2023 after testing positive for a banned substnace.

“It’s a great honor to be fighting on this platform on June 15th,” said Puello. “I’ve been waiting patiently for a fight like this and now is the time to show the world that I’m worthy of the opportunity. Gary Antuanne Russell is exactly the type of opponent I want right now, because I know what a victory will do for my career. There’s a belt on the line and I’m coming to win it by any means necessary.”

PRIOR BOXINGTALK COVERAGE

MAY 10, 2023:
The WBA has demoted Alberto Puello of the Dominican Republic from junior welterweight champion to the temporary designation of champion in recess. The reason is that Puello tested positive for a banned substance according to the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA). The WBA also announced that this weekend's fight between Rolando Romero and Ismael Barroso will replace Puello as the WBA 140-pound champion. As for Puello, a final decision on his status will be made after May 17th, when he attends a Nevada Athletic Commission hearing and/or if a VADA report indicates a negative result on the B test of the original urine sample.

The winner of the Romero-Barroso bout will be ordered by the WBA to face Ohara Davies of the United Kingdom no later than 120 days after May 13th. In the event that Romero-Barroso ends in a draw or no decision, the WBA will reconsider the 140-pound case and issue a new ruling pending the outcome of Puello’s hearing with the Nevada Commission and the possibility of testing the B sample.


 

Introducing Indian welterweight Faizan Anwar

Introducing Indian welterweight Faizan Anwar
Indian welterweight Faizan Anwar (17-0, 9 KOs) will be showcased this Saturday in the fourth edition of the Rising Stars Arabia (RSA) series at Space 42 Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The show is promoted by AAM Seddiqi Sports and hosted in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism. The 22 year-old Anwar, whose goal is to be India’s first world champion in pro boxing, faces France's Murali Erdogan (15-2, 1 KO) in a ten-round main event. A slick boxer who was the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in his native India, Anwar moved to Dubai five years ago to enhance his prizefighting career as a valued member of Round 10 Boxing.
 
He started boxing in 2007, primarily to lose weight and be healthy, but the “Sweet Science” became his passion, and now he’s positioning himself to become the greatest India-born male boxer of all-time. “I came to Dubai in 2019,” Anwar explained. “Coming to Dubai was always one of my dreams because there are more opportunities in Dubai for professional boxers than for me at home in India. Middle East countries have become the hub of boxing and other combat sports.
 
“I was proud to be the No. 1 pound-for-pound pro boxer in India. It was amazing to see my name at the top of that list with some veterans behind me who I looked up to when I was an amateur. My target isn’t just to be No. 1 in India, but to be on top globally, and soon it will be. I want to be the first Indian (male) to be world champion (in pro ranks).”
 
Vijender Singh, arguably India’s #1 male boxer, is somebody Anwar modeled himself after as well as a major influence during his boxing career. “He (Singh) was a role model for me in boxing,” Anwar said. “I remember watching him on television in the Olympics (2008 bronze medalist). I was influenced by that, and I said to myself, one day, I would represent India on a big platform.”
 
Fighting on the “Rising Stars Arabia” series is an invaluable experience for Anwar, who knocked out Abdumonem Said in the opening round this past March in RSA3, and the slick southpaw is looking forward to extending his unbeaten streak to 18 in a row with a victory over Erdogan. “If (RSA series) is an amazing platform,” Anwar remarked. “It’s great for us young fighters to showcase our talents worldwide. I’m happy to be part of it. Me and my coaches have watched videos of Erdogan’s fights. I’m not underestimating him. He is strong, fast and technical. We have a plan for him that everyone will see May 25th. This will be a classic boxing match that may go the distance but, if a knockout happens, good, and if not we will keep it simple.”
 
Anwar vs. Erdogan is one of four matches to be streamed live, starting at 8 pm UAEST (9 am ET), on DAZN and ESPN Knockout, which will include a pair of Arab boxers, lightweight Bader “The Master” Al-Dherat (10-0, 8 KOs) and super flyweight Sultan Al Nuami (11-0, 7 KOs), who are driven to extend their undefeated streaks and their respective legacies.
 
Al-Dherat, 23, was the first pro boxer in his native Jordan, but he also relocated to Dubai to improve his training and sparring. He headlines RSA4 in the 10-round main event versus Orlando Mosquera (13-2-1, 2 KOs).
 
Al Nuaimi, representing the United Arab Emirates, is matched against Muhsin Kizota (20-4, 12 KOs), of Tanzania, in a ten-rounder. Al Nuaimi was a two-time national champion as an amateur and he also became the first boxer in UAE history to win a bout in the Asian Games.
 
In the ten-round, co-feature, Moroccan super featherweight Moussa Gholam (21-1, 13 KOs) plans to continue his march into title contention against a Chinese opponent, Lingjie Xia (9-0-2, 2 KOs).
 
Super featherweight Fahad “Kid Emirati” Al Bloushi (14-1, 3 KOs), the UAE’s most experienced pro boxer, rides a 13-fight win stream into his eight-round bout with Tanzania’s Ibrahim “The Puncher” Makubi (11-2-1, 6 KOs).  
     
Egyptian welterweight Marwan Mohamad Madboly (3-0, 2 KOs) faces a more experienced rival, Filipino brawler Rimar “Terminator” Metuda (17-8-1, 11 KOs), in a six-round fight. Madboy’s fellow countryman, super featherweight Mostafa Mohammad Fahmi Komsan (2-0, 2 KOs), meets Hamza Rguibi (2-1, 1 KO), of Morocco, in another six-round confrontation.
 
Two other six-round bouts are on tap as Ugandan lightweight “King “ Fahad Mulindwa (7-4, 3 KOs) fights Mohamed Salah Abdelghany (4-4, 0 KOs), of Egypt, and Lebanese super middleweight Nadim Salloum (12-2, 6 KOs) clashes with C Lalhruaitluanga (7-1, 3 KOs), of India.
 
Also fighting on the undercard in four-round matches is Kuwaiti junior middleweight Eissa Eidan (1-0, 0 KOs) vs. Pakistan’s Shahzada Sohail (0-4), and Syrian heavyweight Kenan Marai (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Afghanistan’s pro-debuting Ahmadzai Abdulahi (1-1, 1 KO).
 

Lyndon Arthur to face Liam Cameron in June

Lyndon Arthur to face Liam Cameron in June
Lyndon Arthur (23-2) will battle Liam Cameron (23-5), live and free-to-air on the UK's Channel 5 on Friday June 21st. The former IBO title holder returns to the ring this summer, fighting for the first time since his loss vs. WBA champion Dmitry Bivol in Saudi Arabia last December. Arthur faces ‘Cannonball’ Cameron at Horwich, England's Toughsheet Community Stadium and ‘King Arthur’ is laser-focused on getting back into contention as soon as possible. The 32-year-old Arthur emerged from his twelve-round showdown against Bivol with credit and hopes to show everyone that he is one of the leading 175-pound fighters on the planet.
 
But Arthur must overcome the highly motivated Cameron, who wants to make up for lost time after ending a five-year absence from the ring, late last year. And the Sheffield fighter, a former national amateur champion, faces Arthur in destructive form having KO’d his last two opponents in the first round.
 
 Arthur said: “On June 21st, I make my return and I’m ready to start getting back into the title picture. Cameron is hungry for this, and coming to ruin my plans, but I simply won’t allow him to restart his career with a win over me.  It’s just not happening.” 
 
Cameron said: “Everybody knows what I have been through, but the struggle will be all worth it, when I cause a huge upset on June 21st. A win over Lyndon Arthur will take my career to a whole new level and opportunities as good as this one don’t come around very often, so I am going to make the most of it. This will be a life-changing night for me.”
 
Promoter Kalle Sauerland, Head of Global Boxing at Wasserman, said: “Boxing fans will witness a new, and improved, more confident, vicious, and devastating Lyndon Arthur on June 21, mark my words.Over the past 12 months, Lyndon reinforced his position as one of the very best light heavyweight fighters in the world, winning the IBO world title in dramatic fashion, which set up his huge Saudi showdown with Bivol last year. Next month, he launches a campaign to be king of the division once again and while Cameron comes into this h

California's Fight Club OC to offer summer boxing camp

California's Fight Club OC to offer summer boxing camp

California's Fight Club OC will take its name and reputation and affix it to a new project….. a summer youth fight camp. Fight Club OC and SOCA Fights promoter Roy Englebrecht announced today the Inaugural Fight Club OC summer youth camp in California. Set for July 22nd to August 2nd, this two-week camp will be held at the Raw Talent Boxing gym in Santa Ana, California and will be for youngsters 8 to 13 years of age. “What a great opportunity for kids to have fun….build confidence….and learn the basics of boxing,” said Englebrecht. “And with two experienced trainers in Erin Toughill and Jesus 'Chuy' Guitirrez to teach them, I know it will be a great two weeks for the campers." Interested parents can go to www.socafights.com to learn all about the camp and to register their youngster for the two-week camp that will cost $1,500. The camp fee will cover all lunches, snacks, drinks, boxing gloves, hand wraps, mouthpiece, t-shirt, and a ticket to the August 29th Fight Club OC show where campers will come into the ring to be introduced.

Zayas to be honored in Puerto Rican Day parade

Zayas to be honored in Puerto Rican Day parade
The Puerto Rican Day Parade Committee has selected junior middleweight Xander Zayas as the recipient of its "Sports Star" honor for the 2024 Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. The 21 year-old Zayas has shown talent, dedication and unwavering commitment to representing Puerto Rico thus far in his career. Born and raised in San Juan, he aims to become a beacon of inspiration for youth at home and across the globe. With a pro record of 18-0 including 12 KOs. Zayas hopes to follow in the footsteps of Puerto Rican legends such as Wilfredo Gomez, Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto. He will face his toughest challenge to date on Saturday, June 8th on the eve of the parade, in an ESPN-televised main event against former WBO champion Patrick Teixeira at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
 
"Being named the 'Sports Star' of the 2024 Puerto Rican Parade in New York City is an incredible honor that will drive me to work even harder for my dreams and continue raising our flag and making it shine in and out of the ring. That is my sacred commitment to my people," Zayas said. "Representing Puerto Rico on such a grand stage fills me with pride and gratitude.”
  
"We are thrilled that Xander Zayas is being honored as this year's 'Sports Star' of the Puerto Rican Day Parade," said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum, Xander’s promoter. "His extraordinary talent, determination, and pride in his Puerto Rican heritage make him a shining example for all aspiring athletes. We proudly celebrate his achievements and look forward to watching him soar to even greater heights."

Bivol gets undefeated opponent for June 1st

Bivol gets undefeated opponent for June 1st

With three-belt champion Artur Beterbiev on the sideline due to injury, WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (pictured) has a replacement opponent for the June 1st show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. While Bivl will not be fighting in a career-defining world championship unification bout as planned, he will be in against a quality opponent eleven days from now. Bivol will defend against undefeated, Libyan-born Malik Zinad at the Kingdom Arena. Zinad is 22-0 and has beaten two straight previously undefeated foes. His last win came very recently, April 24th, a decision win over Jermoe Pampellone in an IBF eliminator held in Australia. Prior to that, Zinad defeated Mickael Diallo. Bivol is listed at 22-0 but pro bouts in the World Series of Boxing make 25-1 a more accurate record.

 

Queensberry announces July 20th show in UK

Queensberry announces July 20th show in UK
Liam Davies will defend his IBO super bantamweight title against Shabaz Masoud and Nathan Heaney will rematch Brad Pauls for the British middleweight title as part of another Magnificent Seven production to be staged at the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham, England on Saturday, July 20th. Tickets are on sale now from: theticketfactory.com. Also featuring on the Queensberry show will be former champion Chantelle Cameron, English heavyweight titlist Sol Dacres up against David Adeleye, welterweight Owen Cooper taking on Ekow Essuman, British and Commonwealth bantamweight champion Ashley Lane defending against Liverpool's Andrew Cain and a return to the ring for light heavyweight Ezra Taylor.
 
Defending the IBO title he won in spectacular fashion against Erik Robles Ayala in March is Telford favourite Davies (17-0, 8 KOs), who enters into a domestic duel against fellow unbeaten Masoud (12-0, 4 KOs), who is from Stoke.
 
British champion Heaney (18-0-1, 6 KOs) will play it again against the Newquay Bomb Pauls (18-1-1, 10 KOs), with the pair having fought to a captivating draw at the same arena in March with over 2,000 fans from Stoke in attendance. 
 
The vacant WBC interim junior welterweight championship will be on the line for the Queensberry debut of former undisputed world champion Cameron (18-1, 8), who makes her return to the ring after being edged out in a majority decision in her rematch against Katie Taylor in Dublin in November of last year, having defeated the Irish legend in May.
 
Local heavyweight favorite Dacres (8-0, 2 KOs) will defend his English title for a second time against British title challenger David Adeleye (12-1, 11 KOs), who was unsuccessful in his championship challenge against Fabio Wardley over in Riyadh in October of last year. It promises to be a fascinating heavyweight collision where both fighters will be bidding to nudge themselves towards the leading pack of the division.
 
English welterweight champion Cooper (10-0, 4 KOs) from Worcester, fresh off a breakthrough stoppage of previously undefeated young rival Eithan James in March, takes on the challenge of the hugely experienced former British and Commonwealth champion Ekow Essuman (19-1, 7 KOs), who made four successful defenses of the Lonsdale belt he won by defeating Chris Jenkins in July 2021.
 
A brutal encounter will be anticipated at bantamweight when British and Commonwealth champion Lane (18-10-2, 3 KOs) from Bristol defends his titles against the Liverpool knockout specialist Cain (11-1, 10 KOs), who returned to the ring earlier this month after recovering from a severe fracture to his hand. Lane, age 33, comes into the fight following two brutal stoppage victories over English champion Jordan Purkiss and Chris Bourke.
 
Also featuring will be Nottingham’s light heavyweight Taylor (8-0, 6 KOs) plus three-time National champion Dan Kerrigan making his professional debut over four rounds at junior welterweight.
 
“The depth and quality of this fight card in Birmingham is unrivalled in this country,” stated promoter Frank Warren. “The Magnificent Seven concept is proving hugely popular and getting stronger each time.
 
“The lucky fans who snap up the tickets for the Resorts World Arena on July 20th will be treated to seven seriously meaningful title fights with so much on the line for our Queensberry fighters.
 
“Nathan Heaney rightly jumps back in with Brad Pauls following their hugely entertaining encounter last time out, which was declared a draw, with Liam Davies defending his IBO world title in a cracking domestic scrap against the highly-skilled Shabaz Masoud.
 
“We’ve got three really tasty scraps to feast our eyes on with Sol Dacres and David Adeleye looking to make some serious noise at heavyweight and Owen Cooper vs Ekow Essuman has the makings of a welterweight barnstormer. Ashley Lane against Andrew Cain has, quite simply, got fight written all over it.
 
“We will also get the chance to welcome one of the most exciting female fighters in the business, Chantelle Cameron, to the Queensberry ranks, plus the charismatic light heavyweight star in the making Ezra Taylor taking his next step towards stardom.
 
“This is a fight night you really shouldn’t miss.”
 
 

Caterall's chance for revenge vs. Taylor is here

Caterall's chance for revenge vs. Taylor is here

Jack Catterall (pictured) believes that a win over arch-nemesis Josh Taylor at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England this Saturday will springboard him towards a long-awaited world title shot in the competitive junior welterweight division. The bitter rivals finally rematch in a huge showdown this weekend, shown live on DAZN in the UK and around the world and exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S., and Chorley’s Catterall (28-1, 13 KOs) says that a comprehensive win over former undisputed world champion Taylor will prove that he belongs on the big stage. “I think we’ve had two years since the fight where I’ve matured in and out of the ring,” said Catterall. “I’ve been doing a lot of developing and I think it’s my time now to prove that I do belong in these big fights. Once I beat Josh I’ll go on and win a world title."

Caterall continued, “I want to prove myself and fight the best, if this is the fight and victory that I need to put myself one step closer to the World Titles, then game on. I want to be involved in big fights and this is a big fight. It would have been the cherry on top if we could have got it for a World Title, I have ambitions to go on and win a World Title, but this fight is worthy of a World Title, and it gets me up for it.”

The enemies have been embroiled in a heated war of words since February 2022 when they met on an unforgettable night at The OVO Hydro Arena in Glasgow. Intense debate has raged in the aftermath of their first fight, when Taylor protected his unbeaten record with a hugely controversial split decision points win.

“Do I think Josh Taylor ever avoided me? Of course. Josh doesn’t want to fight me. Since the first fight we’ve had the fight rescheduled maybe four times now. He’s looking for any way out. He’s in a position where he has to fight me. I think he’s been forced into this position. When you look at the landscape, the fights that are there and the fights that aren’t there, this fight makes a lot of sense. Do I think he wants it? No. Does he have to take it? Yes.

“He didn’t want this, he had great plans to go to 147 and challenge for world titles up there. He cemented 140 but unfortunately for him, his biggest fight is me. I know that he’s my biggest fight, I can accept that, but for him I think it’s frustrating that he can’t go up and fight Crawford etc, because it stinks still so he’s got to fight me.”

In what is one of the most eagerly anticipated rematches in modern British boxing history, the fierce rivals will go head-to-head once more in a twelve-round 140-pound contest on neutral territory – and after over two years of waiting, Catterall admits that he can’t wait to get his hands on Taylor again.

“He’s not my type of person,” said Catterall. “I don’t think we would go out for a coffee or a beer. I just don’t like him. I can’t wait to stop talking about him. I want to beat him in every way possible. I want to make it slow and painful, but I also want to knock him out cold. He should enjoy this, it’s probably going to be his last fight. There’s no room to hide Josh. Rival, enemy – Josh Taylor is that to me. The judges can’t save him. I can’t f***ing wait.”

 

Super middleweight Ali Akhmedov added to Thursday's Detroit show

Super middleweight Ali Akhmedov added to Thursday's Detroit show

Salita Promotions has made a significant late addition to the televised lineup of “Big Time Boxing USA” fights this Thursday night (May 23rd), as super middleweight Ali Akhmedov will take on  Encarnacion “Demoledor” Diaz in a ten-round bout at Wayne State Fieldhouse in Detroit to be shown live on DAZN (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). Akhmedov (20-1, 15 KOs), originally from Kazakhstan, and Diaz (18-4, 11 KOs), from Costa Rica via Nicaragua, will meet in support of the heavyweight ten-round main event between Jermaine Franklin Jr. (22-2, 14 KOs) and ex-U.S. Olympian Devin Vargas (22-10, 9 KOs).

Promoted by GGG Promotions, Akhmedov’s biggest career win so far came in late 2022 when he defeated veteran Gabriel Rosado by dominant ten-round decision in Las Vegas. Akhmedov’s most recent ring appearance was a quick second-round knockout of Venezuela’s then 26-3-1 Carlos Rivero in April of this year.
 
Making the first US ring appearance of his nearly eight-year pro career, Diaz will already be having his third fight this year. In January, he decisioned Edwin Vargas over eight rounds and then in March, he needed just two rounds to dispatch Nicaragua’s Celso Ocampo. After losing his pro debut, Diaz has gone on to win 18 of his next 21 contests, beginning in the welterweight division and going as high as light heavyweight.
 
“This is an excellent addition to an already packed night of boxing,” said event promoter Dmitriy Salita. “Thanks to GGG and Tom Loeffler for their cooperation in making it happen for the fans in attendance and around the world. The addition of this fight just further demonstrates our willingness, and fulfills my personal promise, to work with all promoters to make the best and most important fights in boxing. I believe this is best for the fighters’ careers and for the sport of boxing. This week’s card is the biggest and best BIG TIME BOXING USA event yet!”

In the eight-round co-feature, former national amateur champion Joshua James Pagan (9-0, 4 KOs) of Grand Rapids, Michigan battles fellow undefeated Roger Hilley (13-0, 8 KOs) of Chattanooga, Tennessee at junior welterweight


 

Undercard details for Top Rank's June 29th show in Miami

Undercard details for Top Rank's June 29th show in Miami
On Saturday, June 29th at James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida, Teofimo Lopez will defend his world junior welterweight championship against Canada's Steve Claggett. In the ten-round featherweight co-feature, former title holder Robeisy Ramirez returns against Mexico’s Brandon Leon Benitez. The six-round televised opener sees middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh attempt to avenge his only pro defeat in a rematch against Sona Akale. Teofimo-Claggett, Ramirez-Benitez & Ali Walsh-Akale II will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. 

 Ramirez (13-2, 8 KOs), a two-time Olympic gold medalist, won the WBO featherweight world title by defeating Isaac Dogboe in April 2023. The 30-year-old traveled to Japan for his first defense, battering hometown hero Satoshi Shimizu en route to a fifth-round TKO in the July 2023 co-feature to the Naoya Inoue-Stephen Fulton main event. Ramirez lost the title via majority decision against Rafael Espinoza, dropping the Mexican in the fifth before himself visiting the canvas in the 12th round of a Fight of the Year contender. Benitez (21-2, 9 KOs) looks to capitalize on a seven-fight win streak. His last defeat was against Saul Sanchez in May 2019. His wins since then include a split decision upset over former world champion Xu Can in October 2022 and a body shot knockout over Rigoberto Hermosillo in December.
 
Ramirez said, “Last December, we put on an action-packed battle, a worthy ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. While the result was unexpected, we also proved to the boxing world just how amazing a Miami crowd can be. On June 29, I will begin my quest to recapture my world title and return to the top, where I know I belong. It’s Cuba vs. Mexico again, and I’m excited to have the loyal support of the Cuban community of Miami.”
 
Benitez said, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to show that I belong among the best of the division. But I want Robeisy Ramirez to know that this is nothing new to me. I know what it’s like to go on enemy turf against a tough former world champion. Like I did with Can, I’m going to make it a tough night for Ramirez. I respect him as a fighter, but as soon as I get in the ring, I’m not going to stop throwing punches until my hand is raised."
 
Ali Walsh (10-1, 5 KOs) went 8-0 before suffering his first pro defeat against Akale last August in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The grandson of “The Greatest” bounced back with a points triumph over Noel Lafargue last December in Conakry, Guinea, and made his 2024 debut with a six-round unanimous decision win against Charles Stanford in March. Ali Walsh thrived in the lone rematch on his dossier. In August 2022, he knocked out Reyes Sanchez in two rounds after edging him by majority decision the previous December. Akale (9-1, 4 KOs) heads into the rematch after decisioning Tray Martin across six last December.
 
“I’ve had a rematch before. I know how to right my wrongs,” Ali Walsh said. “I appreciate Akale for not running from the rematch, but on June 29, I’ll leave no doubt.”
 
Akale said, “I’m excited and thankful for the opportunity to fight again for Top Rank on ESPN. I'm going to prove my first win over Nico was no fluke. After this fight, everyone will know I’m the real deal.”
 
In scheduled undercard action, streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+:
 
Junior welterweight Rohan Polanco (12-0, 7 KOs), who represented the Dominican Republic at the Tokyo Olympics, returns in an eight-rounder against Mexico's Luis Hernandez (23-4, 20 KOs). Polanco thrilled the South Florida fans last December with a sixth-round TKO over Keith Hunter in Pembroke Pines.

Middleweight Euri Cedeño (8-0-1, 7 KOs), an Olympic teammate of Polanco’s, looks to increase his winning streak to three in an eight-rounder against Colombian southpaw Dormedes Potes (14-6-1, 10 KOs).

Yan Santana (11-0, 11 KOs) of the Dominican Republic seeks his twelfth straight knockout in a ten-rounder against tough Brandon Valdes (15-4, 7 KOs), who is coming off a decision loss to Ruben Villa last September.

South Florida-born heavyweight Lorenzo Medina (10-0, 9 KOs) fights Baltimore native Colby Madison (11-7-2, 7 KOs) in a six-rounder. The 19 year-old Medina has won three straight bouts by knockout, including December’s sixth-round stoppage over Joshua Temple.

Puerto Rican middleweight Bryan Polaco (6-0, 4 KOs) faces fellow unbeaten Richard Acevedo (6-0-1, 5 KOs) in a six-rounder.

 

Undercard details for Taylor vs. Caterall II

Undercard details for Taylor vs. Caterall II

Leeds, England is hosting a huge British fight on Saturday, the rematch between former world junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor and Jack Caterall of Wales. Most feel Caterall was the victim of bad judging and deserved to win the first encounter in 2022. On the undercard, Gravesend cruiserweight Chev Clarke (8-0, 6 KOs) takes on Bromley’s Ellis Zorro (17-1, 7 KOs) for the vacant British title. Zorro is coming off a failed shot at current IBF champion Jai Opetaia... Limerick’s, Ireland's fast-rising welterweight Paddy Donovan (13-0, 10 KOs) meets former British champion Lewis Ritson (23-3, 13 KOs)... Naas lightweight Gary Cully (17-1, 10 KOs) fights Belgium’s former European champion Francesco Patera (29-4, 11 KOs)... Aldershot lightweight Giorgio Visioli (2-0, 2 KOs) looks to make it three knockouts in three fights against Austria’s Sergio Odabai (6-3-1, 3 KOs) over six rounds...  Billericay middleweight George Liddard (6-0, 3 KOs) squares off with Limerick’s Graham McCormack (9-3-1, 1 KO) over eight rounds and... Newham junior middleweight Leli Buttigieg (3-0, 1 KO) kicks off the action against Belgium’s Anas Isarti (4-2).

 

PBC adds two fights to Tank's June 15th show in Vegas

PBC adds two fights to Tank's June 15th show in Vegas
A pair of title showdowns will round out PBC's June 15th pay-per-view event on Prime Video. Previously announced were two co-headline bouts featuring Gervonta “Tank” Davis and David “El Monstruo” Benavídez in separate fights. Now added to the shwo, which is booked for MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas are Gary Antuanne Russell vs. former WBA title holder Alberto Puello for the vacant interim WBC 140-pound title ans newly minted WBC middleweight champion Carlos Adames battling Terrell Gausha in the pay-per-view opener at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Headlining the show is the undefeated Davis defending his WBA lightweight championship against unbeaten Frank “The Ghost” Martin, while Benavídez is set to make his 175-pound debut against former WBC champion Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk in a match-up for the interim WBC title.
 
Tickets for the live event are on sale now and are available through www.axs.com.  The event is promoted by GTD Promotions, Sampson Boxing, TGB Promotions and Man Down Promotions.
 
“June 15th will deliver a lineup truly stacked with the best talent in the sport from start to finish,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Already featuring Gervonta Davis and David Benavídez in intriguing showdowns, the card will also include the powerful Gary Antuanne Russell, as he makes his claim as the future of the 140-pound division against an undefeated Alberto Puello, while Carlos Adames can stake out his spot as the world’s top middleweight with another victory, this time against the always tough Terrell Gausha. This monumental display of talent is truly worthy of the 100th championship fight night at the historic MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.”