Keegan Grove inks with Thomas Williams Jr

Three time DC Golden Gloves Champion signs with Thomas “Top Dog” Williams Jr. as he seeks to get his career more active. With an outstanding amateur career with a record of 98-7 and a professional record of 2-0 Grove is ready to get back in the ring after a year layoff. Grove is looking to become more active in the near future and upcoming years. Keegan Groves is trained out of West Virgina by his father, Alfred Grove. At the age of 17 Grove hung up his head gear with his eyes on turning professional. He has been in the ring for sparring with the likes of Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Dusty Harrison. Williams is “excited about Keegan’s future in the sport of boxing. I believe with his heart, determination and skills he can reach the highest levels possible. It is my job to guide him all the way to top.”

Vazquez-Payano set to clash on Porter-Ugas undercard

Undefeated bantamweight prospect Damien Vazquez battles former world champion Juan Carlos Payano in an eight or 10-round attraction while unbeaten welterweight prospect and 2016 Lithuanian Olympian Eimantas Stanionis will face once-beaten Sammy Figueroa in an eight-round fight on Premier Boxing Champions Prelims on FS1 Saturday, March 9 live from Dignity Health Sports Park, formerly StubHub Center, in Carson, California.
Prelims begin at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and lead into a PBC on FOX and FOX Deportes show that's headlined by WBC Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter making his first title defense in primetime against mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at AXS.com.
Born in Colorado and training in Las Vegas, Vazquez (14-0, 7 KOs) is the younger brother of former three-time champion Israel Vazquez. The 21-year-old has fought professionally since 2013 and picked up two wins in 2018. He most recently won his first 10-round fight with a unanimous decision over then unbeaten Luis Gollindano last April.
Payano (20-2, 9 KOs) became a world champion in 2014 when he defeated Anselmo Moreno by technical decision before defending and then losing the title in a pair of exciting fights against Rau'shee Warren. Originally from the Dominican Republic, but training in Miami, Payano put together three-straight victories before losing a title challenge to unbeaten Naoya Inoue last October.
After representing his native Lithuania at the 2016 Olympics, Stanionis (7-0, 5 KOs) relocated to Southern California where he has trained while compiling his unbeaten record. The 24-year-old took a step up in competition last time out and dominated tough veteran Levan Ghvamichava to earn an eight-round unanimous decision last August on FS1.
The 28-year-old Figueroa (11-1, 4 KOs) returns to action for the first time since defeating Ismay Eynullayev in March 2017. The Puerto Rican fighter had picked up wins over previously unbeaten foes Javontae Starks and Fernando Paliza before suffering his only defeat to Miguel Cruz in May 2016.

Q&A: Joel Djejko

On February 22nd, next Friday, Belgium born cruiserweight JOEL "BIG JOE" DJEKO will be making his New York debut at The Paramount in the main event of the critically acclaimed STAR BOXING series, "Rockin' Fights". Djeko will be taking on Italian SIMONE "TYSON" FEDERICI in what is set to be an all-world cruiserweight showdown between two stellar fighters, looking to lay roots in the United States.
Star Boxing sat down with Djeko, to learn more about his life, inspirations, and career goals:
Q: When were you born and where did you grow up?
DJEKO: I was born on July 30th, 1989, in Brussels, Belgium. I am of Congolese and Cuban parents. I grew up in this European capital and did all my education in schools for people with disadvantaged backgrounds.
Q: Have you done any community work for the impoverished communities you speak about?
DJEKO: For 7 years I am an ambassador of Change ASBL. This association fights against exclusion and its consequences, but also for equal opportunities. It offers opportunities for these impoverished young people to stay on the right path by taking different actions. I regularly give my time to this youth group to give them a positive outlook on life. I encourage them to get by and advise them in their choices when they need it.
Q: What was life like where you grew up?
DJEKO: Life was not easy. I grew up in a poor environment and had to fight every day to get by.
Q: How did you begin boxing?
DJEKO: I started with Thai boxing, but wanted to improve my fighting technique with fists so I started boxing. I fell in love with this sport and I never lost it again. I trained many years in the famous boxing club of Brussels with coach Leon Nzama. I owe him a lot for teaching me his old school boxing. Then I trained with Donald Turner in his Bootcamp in Atlanta which also gave me a lot of basics. Today I train at Fitzroy Lodge ABC gym in London held by Mark Reigate and Linton Aymer, because I moved to London in August of 2018 to further my training.
Q: Who is your favorite fighter(s)? Is there any fighter you try and emulate in the ring?
DJEKO: My favorite fighter has always been Thomas "Hitman" Hearns. But if I had to give active fighters that I try to emulate I would say, without hesitation, Andre Ward and Bernard Hopkins. They are geniuses of boxing for whom I have great respect after all of the belts they have won in different categories.
Q: What motto/quote do you live by?
DJEKO: I prefer to live 1 day as a hero than 100 days as a coward.
Q: What are your accomplishments in both amateur and professional boxing?
DJEKO: On the amateur side, I have been national champion. As for my career as a professional, I am the former IBA Intercontinental Champion, and current IBO Continental Champion. Today I am ranked 47thin the world.
Q: Do you have a family?
DJEKO: I have a sister and three brothers. I am married and have a pretty 6-year-old daughter.
Q: What is your life like now?
DJEKO: My very good international ranking allowed me to get sponsors, which allows me to live on only boxing. I spend all my time at the gym to improve myself more and more.
Q: How do you feel about fighting in New York?
DJEKO: I am excited for this fight, I can't wait for the day to arrive. This stage is for me the opportunity to show myself to the real public of boxing and to unlock big fights that will arrive thereafter.
Q: How do you feel about signing with distinguished promoter Joe DeGuardia and his world renown promotion company, Star Boxing?
DJEKO: I'm super excited to be boxing under the banner of Star Boxing Inc. and I know that it's with Joe DeGuardia that big fights with a global opportunity will arrive, very soon
Q: What are your career goals?
DJEKO: After this fight, I will go directly to boot camp to prepare my May 4th fight against Matty Askin (ranked 13thin the world and 2nd in the UK) for the IBO Intercontinental belt. This Victory will open doors for a World Championship, which is my goal. What I want above all is to refresh boxing by bringing him a new face. I was boycotted and people always put sticks in my wheels. Coming up people wanted me to be a journeyman, but I knew I have the ability to be a world champion. Today I believe that I am at the same stage as the boxers who have always been promoted and protected. I have the rage, I'm not here to play. I come to take my place, that of world champion.
So, what I'm going to do is bring the world of boxing a new energy, mine and as General Big Joe, warlord, I intend to train my army and to know my fans.
I am a leader who attracts the public. Some boxers do it for the national level, I'm international and that's why my audience comes from everywhere. Moreover, my English, Belgian and French fans do not stop contacting me to know how to see this fight of February 22nd.
Q: What do you want fans to know about you?
DJEKO: I'm trying to create my story in the history of boxing. Now is the time to start following me. Know that there is only one throne and crown and it is for me. I invite all fans of boxing in search of thrills and challenges to join me in my quest today. I will realize your expectations because I will break the doors of failure by the fists of Victory.
I am a pirate in the soul, I do not represent any Flag but my fans. And I pay special attention to all those people who come from underprivileged backgrounds, who are boycotted and set aside. I fight every day to show them that we must hang on and not fall into delinquency, I fight for these future generations to have the same chances of succeeding regardless of their social background. Know that nobody is condemned to failure and that no one can stop you if you have decided to not let them.
Thanks to all my fans, I'm waiting for you on February 22nd at The Paramount, in NY.

Justin's Jab Journal- Edition #1

Boxing is a sport that forces you to an emotional crossroads. It demands constant visceral responses and creates a rare sympathetic esteem for the fistic painters who toil in blacks and blues, and of course every shade of red. Boxing evokes an undeniable passion from die-hard boxing fans like us. You’re reading this on Boxingtalk so we already know your distinguished boxing palate precedes you. I want to get weekly conversations going about this past weekend’s fights, not just my thoughts but your responses too. What you’ll read here in this first entry are varied thoughts I had while watching the Fox network's most recent boxing telecast headlined by Leo Santa Cruz vs Rafael Rivera, a Premier Boxing Champions event. These thoughts might range from mini essays to one-liners. Today’s thoughts resemble the former. I will be sharing these with you in hopes that we begin ongoing Boxingtalk discussions. Think of these entries, that I’m going to call Justin’s Jab Journal, as a mailbag starter. Let’s get the dialogue going that requires more than handles and hashtags. Feel free to respond even for nothing else than to bash my opinion. I can take it. So let’s get it started...
1) Listening to Kenny Albert muscle his way through this telecast, one thing was abundantly clear to me: I adored HBO Boxing. They were the major leagues. Before HBO mothballed boxing late last year, it set the industry standard for production quality. Their on-camera talent was unparalleled. Say what you will about Larry Merchant, who often took a lot of heat from fans for being boring, but I loved him. He was unique. In a profession plagued with an over-abundance of wasted words, ridden with clichés and hyperbole, Larry Merchant knew less was more. He didn’t insult our intelligence and he spoke with honesty. He would deliver poetic lines before the first bell of every big fight. It would be a simple and powerful narrative hook--something to watch for, something to feel. Before the Hopkins/Trinidad fight in the weeks following 9/11, Merchant gave us “The fight to survive and thrive has always made New York a fight town, now more than ever. Bernard Hopkins and Felix Trinidad personify that spirit.” A commentator’s words should epitomize the narrative layers that make up boxers and their craft. This is what commentators should do. I don’t want to be the recipient of some walking, talking ego’s verbal vomit; I don’t want to listen to an uncontrolled eruption every time a knockdown occurs. After all, we know what we’re watching; we don’t need someone’s words to validate the action we witness. In fact, some of the best Jim Lampley moments came when he knew that speaking could only butcher the raw beauty of the calamitous spectacle unfolding before us, and would instantly put a cap on that moment’s beauty. Even in the final seconds of one of the greatest action fights of all time, the first Micky Ward/Arturo Gatti fight, Jim simply let the action play out in its bare beauty. He knew, as the blow-by-blow man, that talking could subvert his role’s sole purpose, and he wisely knew when to stay silent. And then there was Max Kellerman: boxing’s prodigy and professor. When he came on full time to HBO Boxing to replace Merchant, it was akin to the Yankees picking up yet another superstar. His passion for boxing was apparent, and his eloquent phrasing often encapsulated perfectly what we all felt in that moment sans a single extraneous word. Like his predecessor, he was a poetic observer with sincere fervor.
Let’s hope that the new front-runners of boxing programming can take a page out HBO’s book and acknowledge the qualities that made them the best. But it’s not looking great. PBC’s Lennox Lewis drove home that notion unmistakably with his version of a Larry Merchant First Bell Gem this past Saturday. Looking at the freakishly tall and lanky 6’7” junior middleweight, Sebastian Fundora, whose waist was as wide as his gloves, against a man five or six inches shorter who was already incredibly tall for his division, the anticipation for what we were about to witness was fascinating; if this guy Fundora had the amount of talent god gave a ground squirrel, he’s gonna be darn tough to beat. And for his opponent, the 6'1" Donnie Marshall, who was used to looking down on his foes himself, how would he react and what would be his approach? What will be the dynamic here? What sort of insight would Lennox give us who was himself a tall champion in his day. Lennox’s big moment came as the first bell rang:
“Major height difference in this fight.” Lewis' level of insight was crippling. OK, I concede that he was a long-time commentator for HBO. But even Muhammad Ali missed his target once or twice. I miss HBO. Its broadcast team was the greatest.
2) Speaking of announcers, I will say that I think Joe Goossen is fantastic. He made me laugh out loud a few times with his witticisms. The first of which came in regards to the aforementioned 6’7” Fundora. “Marshall is a tall guy himself, and Fundora could eat soup off his head.” The visual was unavoidable. Great line from Joe. Another came just minutes later at the bell to end Round 1: “Fundora is like a soup sandwich; he’s all over you.” Another great line that really hammered home the point: Joe Goossen really loves soup. He loves it so much that he’s thinking of eating it off shorter guys’ heads. And he’s always thinking of ways to successfully put it between two slices of bread. I can only imagine what the post-production meeting entailed: “Kenny, we forgot to give you this book entitled Boxing 101, read it over and email us this with any questions like 'why don’t the referees have striped shirts and whistles?'" “Lennox, try to take your height observations one step further next time.” “And Joe...Joe, put down the spoon, I'm trying to talk. Great job, but moving forward, we are limiting your soup references to one per three minutes.”
3) Omar Figueroa is one of my favorite fighters (especially since I interviewed him twice). I considered him a wide favorite against John Molina. Omar has a confidence about him that says “I know the difference between thinking I can, and knowing I can.” He’s an incredibly competent and capable fighter. So by the middle of the fight when it was clear that Omar had his work cut out for him, it made me think, “Geez Omar, slip a punch or three.” But he just likes it. He felt Molina’s power early, he knew he could take it, and chose not to waste the energy required to duck. Which is fine if he’s not feeling it, but the judges don’t know that. I really thought Molina might’ve gotten the decision when it was all over. And if Omar’s not careful, the next time he is in a fight like that, he might see his “0” go.
4) How many times must we hear a score of 99-91 in a close ten-round fight and say “No way! That’s a travesty. What are these judges watching!?” before we realize that the horridly flawed 10-point must system lends itself to this type of judging disparity. Judges hand in their cards after every round--cards that basically ask them to declare one winner and one loser every three minutes, no matter the margin by which it was won. So can you not end up with a 120-108 score in an incredibly close fight for all 12 rounds? The scoring system must change.
5) Who is on board for bringing back 15-round fights? Think about it: how often is 12 rounds just not enough? I know, it heightens the risk level for a fighter’s health, but isn’t that why we have ringside doctors? Referees? Cornermen? These are all lines of defense for the fighters. Just walking into a ring is a health hazard, whether it’s one round or fifteen. We don’t question a fight’s duration when a guy is getting battered by the fifth round, do we? There are fair and unbiased people (well, except for Texas maybe) who are in and out of the ring whose job it is to watch out for the health of the fighters whether it be the first round, or the thirteenth, fourteenth or fifteenth. I’m for longer fights. What’s your take? **this will never happen unfortunately though, not so much for the health of the fighters, but because the money makers out there won’t allow anything to diminish their fighter’s longevity i.e. monetary opportunities. But hey, a boxing fan can dream, can’t he?
6) Consider Fox just another network to sell their souls to the sanctioning bodies. They put a belt-shaped “C” next to the fighter’s name on the graphic who holds a belt, as though they are trying to reel in the average Saturday Night Arm Chair Surfer. Boxing doesn’t need embellished drama. Don’t insult us. We know who the real champions are, belts or not. Don’t get me wrong, I'm not against the concept of belt holders and champions. But I just wish there was one belt per division. That would indeed give the idea of a champion additional cache. But as it stands, there are more “champions” per division than there are dirty soup bowls right now in Joe Goosen’s dishwasher.

Spence-Garcia presser quotables

Unbeaten IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (pictured) and undefeated four-division champion Mikey Garcia went face-to-face at a press conference in Arlington, Texas on Tuesday as they previewed their pay-per-view showdown set for Saturday, March 16th from AT&T Stadium. Spence and Garcia were joined by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at the same stadium where they will battle for the IBF welterweight title. Here is what the press conference participants had to say Tuesday:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
"This is a dream come true. This is something that still hasn't really hit me yet. I try not to get caught up in the moment, but this is my favorite team that I've watched since I was sitting on my dad's lap.
"Every time I see Mikey I get excited and anxious and want to go to the gym and spar. On Sunday, I sparred 18 rounds because of the whole press conference and face off on Saturday. Looking into Mikey's eyes, I can see how hungry he is and that's motivating me.
"Mikey is very difficult because of how me places his punches. He's always thinking and he has a high ring IQ. But I've been clicking on all cylinders. I'm strong mentally and physically and prepared for anything he brings to the table. A win here can definitely catapult me and I'm ready to make it happen.
"Any athlete would love to have their home team supporting them. It just so happens I have the most popular team in the world right here in Dallas. It means a lot because they don't have to do that. I'm very humbled and it feels great to represent Dallas. I always support my people here.
"I'm 100 percent prepared and focused on Mikey Garcia. I'm hungry and I'm already on weight. I can't wait to put on another show. March 16, you have to make sure you don't miss it. It's going to be a legendary night."
MIKEY GARCIA
"This fight deserves a home like this. This fight deserves this type of atmosphere and energy. I was a Cowboys fan myself growing up and now I'm here in their home about to have the biggest fight of my career. It's unbelievable, but here we are. I'm excited to make this a memorable night. This is history in the making.
"I'm very excited for what's coming in a few weeks. This is a fight that I really wanted and it's definitely the biggest challenge of my career. To fight the best welterweight in the division is no easy task. Errol Spence Jr. is going to bring the best out of me.
"I'm sure Errol is getting ready for the biggest fight of his career just like I am. That's what's going to make this interesting. That's the recipe for a tremendous fight. It's not very common to see two of the pound-for-pound best, still undefeated and fighting each other in their prime.
"We've been implementing techniques that will help me improve my speed, explosiveness and reaction time, while also adding a little bit of mass. I think all of that is going to be beneficial to me on fight night. I feel very happy with the results.
"If I don't take these risks, then I won't be rewarded. I want to be recognized as one of the greatest and the best of this generation. How can I achieve that if I don't take these risks? That's why I'm taking the biggest fight available."
DERRICK JAMES, Spence's Trainer
"I'm very happy to be here. It's been a really good ride with Errol and myself. This is our 10th year working together and this is a beautiful place for everything to culminate. Mikey is a true fighter and he has a phenomenal trainer in his brother and father. We're prepared for him and in shape right now. We're ready to go."
ROBERT GARCIA, Garcia's Brother & Trainer
"We've had a great training camp and our sparring partners are doing a great job preparing us for a very tough challenge. By the time the fight comes, you're going to see what Mikey is all about. Everyone who watches this fight is going to enjoy a great night of boxing."
JERRY JONES, Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager
"I don't know if we've ever had an event here that has this kind of stature and the combination of two men standing in there on their own, and at the very best stage of their career. This is two champions meeting and that is something very rare for fans.
"When we built this stadium I thought a lot about boxing. The Dallas Cowboys constituency is particularly into boxing. We have a fantastic Mexican and Hispanic fan base and when we have fights at this stadium, there is a great affinity for boxing. When there is a fight of this caliber at this stadium, then we know we're doing something very special.
"These two fighters are uniquely associated with this stadium and the Cowboys. Errol Spence Jr. literally lives next door and is from this particular area. The last night he had at The Star, he had his Cowboys gear on and made our players and myself so proud.
"Our home away from home, Oxnard, California is where Mikey Garcia used to watch the Cowboys practice. We have a lot of kinship with these two fighters and our fans are in for a tremendous treat.
"These two fighters are worthy of this stadium. Their skill level and ability to compete is worthy of this stadium. This is a special event that will be taking place on March 16."
TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions
"Errol Spence Jr. vs Mikey Garcia is one of the most intriguing fights of the year. It's a fight that will determine who is pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world.
"We're thrilled to be at the home of the best professional franchise in sports, in the Dallas Cowboys. This is the perfect place for this event that features two unbeaten champions in their primes, putting their records on the line. Mikey and Errol are destined to walk out of that tunnel and into that ring to engage in a battle that will never be forgotten."
Tickets can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.

Joshua Greer on Monster Inoue: He's just another guy to me, I just want a title fight

Greg Leon: Congrats on last weekend's victory over Giovanni Escaner [19-4]. Can you give us some thoughts on your performance? Joshua Greer: "I feel like I had a good performance and everything went as planned. We knew he was going to be tough because most guys who come from the Philippines are tough fighters. With me getting some good body shots in, with me having a good coach and sticking to the game plan everything worked out."
GL: Was there anything about Escaner that surprised you?
Joshua Greer: "Not really. I knew he was going to be tough and I knew he didn't go all thay way just to lay down. I wasn't too surprised with how tough he was."
GL: I would imagine that you were surprised when you found yourself on the deck at the bell.
JG: "That's a mistake on mistake on my part. I'm definitely learning and that comes with experience. I'm definitely learning and I got too relaxed when the bell was about to ring and it was a mistake on my part. I got up and I wasn't hurt at all and stuck to the game plan and did my job."
GL: You knew he was going to be tough, but did you expect him to fight you so aggressively?
JG: "No. I knew what I was getting myself into. The guy pulled some upsets before and I knew he beat a Japanese fighter in Japan, but I worked hard and I could adapt to anything. We made the adjustments and adapted and I was able to pull through."
GL: Were you going too hard for the knockout in the early rounds?
JG: "He was so easy to hit and I was getting too greedy for it in the beginning. Instead of hitting him with some good shots, I was staying in there longer than I should. My coach told me to relax and calm down because we would get him in the later rounds and that's exactly what happened."
GL: You consider yourself the best bantamweight in the world right now, but there's a guy in this division who calls himself the Monster, Naoya Inoue. Is that the fight you want to make the most?
JG: "I want to fight whoever has a belt. It doesn't matter to me who it is. I feel like I'm going to be able to make the adjustments and outclass any of them. I am the best 118 pounder in the division right now." [Editor's note: Inoue is a three-division champion but has not yet won a major title at 118]
GL: I brought Inoue up specifically because he's the only bantamweight who's on everybody's pound-for-pound list right now. That's why I assumed he'd be the mark.
JG: "Yeah, but it's never about one special person. It's about whoever got the belts, it's about the world title for me because I don't care who I'm fighting, I'll beat any of them. If you have a belt then you're a target."
GL: When will you be fighting for a belt?
JG: "Sometime this year for sure."
GL: Do you know when your next fight will take place yet?
JG: "Not yet, but I'm just enjoying my family right now. Later this week I'll be going to Houston to have a sitdown with J. Prince, we'll get Bob (Arum) on the horn and take it from there."
GL: When would you like your next fight to take place? April? May? June?
JG: "It really doesn't matter. I'm going to right back in the gym this week so it doesn't matter, April or May is fine with me."
GL: Any closing thoughts for the fans?
JG: "I want to thank everybody who tuned into ESPN on Friday night. I hope I put on a great show for everybody. I want to thank everyone for their support. 2019 is my year, I will become world champion so Don't Blink."

Mykquan Williams in action on February 28th

Greg Leon: How's everything going in preparation for Andre Byrd [7-4-2] on February 28th? Mykquan Williams: "Things have been good, it's the same old. I'm working to perfect my craft and I'm improving every day on the little things I need to be improving on. I'm feeling good right now."
GL: After three straight first round KOs, you've gotten sixteen rounds under your belt in your last two fights. Do you feel these rounds helped you more than the early nights? How have those rounds helped you?
Mykquan Williams: "They show me more of what I need to work on. In my last fight at Foxwoods, I know there's some things I could have done different to make that fight easier and I've been working on those things ever since. It's about learning more and more about what the hell I need to do while I'm in there."
GL: Most of your fights have been on the east coast, why are you going to Dallas for this one?
MW: "My manager (Jackie Kallen) is being honored out there and she asked if I could fight on the card as well and it all worked out."
GL: What are your plans for 2019?
MW: "Just stepping up in a big way and making smart moves like always. I want to get my rankings way up there."
GL: This will be your fourth eight rounder. When will you have your first ten?
MW: "One or two more maybe, I don't know. I feel like I'm ready for it now, but it's not really up to me. I just got to keep performing the way I need to and continue to prove that I'm ready for the step up."
GL: The TV time will probably come in your first step up bout. When do you want that to happen?
MW: "Whenever they bring it to my attention. I'm always in the gym and always training, I just basically leave that up to my team to tell me when it's time."
GL: Closing thoughts for the fans.
MW: "I want to thank the fans for their support and you for reaching out. Stay tuned!"

Twitter Chatter: Andre Ward weighs in on Tyson Fury's ESPN signing

Andre Ward: "Top Rank signing Tyson Fury is not bad for boxing, it’s great to see any fighter make decisions like this to secure his or her future. When fighters make bad business decisions, their ridiculed to no end. We have to make up our minds... Now, for those who think the Wilder fight can’t be made...that doesn’t have to be. If both fighters want the fight (which I think they do) there should be no reason for it not to get done. A good negotiation is when both parties leave not fully satisfied. Give & take."

JaRico O'Quinn excited to be on Shields-Hammer card, hoping for TV time

Greg Leon: Congrats on your recent win over Alex Rangel [17-9-4]. Can you give us some thoughts on your performance? "Thank you very much I appreciate it. I think I had a great performance actually. This is one of the first fights where I felt really comfortable and relaxed in so it felt great to get that win. My conditioning was A1 so there's nothing I could complain about."
GL: And you got the stoppage (third-round TKO) too. That's always nice. Now you're going to be right back on the April 13th Claressa Shields vs. Christina Hammer unification bout. Do you know who you're going to be fighting yet?
JaRico O'Quinn: "I don't know who I'm fighting yet, but whoever I'm fighting I'm going to be looking to get them out of there but prepared to go the distance."
GL: Will your fight be a part of the telecast?
JO: "Hopefully. It's about that time for me I think."
GL: What else do you think it's about that time for?
JO: "It's about that time for the world to get to see who I am. I want everybody to know that I'm going to be here to stay and I'm going to be a top contender and world champion soon."
GL: I'm sure you're always happy to fight in front of the hometown fans, but are you also happy to be fighting in a place with a rich boxing history like Atlantic City?
JO: "Yes. I feel like my fan base has grown a lot in my hometown, but I feel like it's time for me to broaden my fanbase and let people in other states know who I am. I'm happy about that and I'm looking forward to putting on a great show in Atlantic City, New Jersey."
GL: You're going to have two fights out the way by April 14th. How active do you plan to be this year?
JO "If it's up to me I'll fight every other month. I want to stay as busy as possible and fight four or five more times this year after April."
GL: Do you want this next fight to be the step up fight? The on TV opportunity versus somebody better than what you've faced thus far?
JO: "I feel like that's just what I need. I'm ready for whatever."
GL: This will be your fourth straight eight rounder. When do you plan on fighting 10's?
JO: "I've been hearing that this one could be a ten rounder, but if it's not I'll be cool with it. I know all of that is coming soon. I haven't been the full eight yet, so it would be nice if somebody I'm trying to put out can take me the distance."
GL: I know you're riding with Claressa over Hammer in the main event so I'm not even going to ask about that, but how do you feel about being a part of arguably the biggest women's fight ever?
JO: "I know that it's going to be a great event with a lot of important people in the building. I know it's going to do numbers at the arena and on TV. I'm really happy to be a part of it because me and Claressa go all the way back to the amateurs when we first started. We won multiple National Tournaments together and we've made history together before too, so I'm happy to be keeping that going in the pros."
GL: Closing thoughts.
JO: "I fight for y'all so keep tuning in and giving your support, I appreciate it. We're going to do big things this year!"

German update

German super middleweight Leon Bauer (15-0-1, 9 KOs) has signed a contract extension with promoter Sauerland Event, and the 20 year-old is booked for action on April 6th at the CongressPark in Wolfsburg, Germany. The two featured bouts for that 6th show were previously announced: Patrick Wojcicki (12-0-1, 4 KOs) continues to face good opposition, and is matched against Marcelo Fabian Caceres (18-3, 13 KOs), and Denis Radovan (11-0-1, 5 KOs) rematches Ronny Mittag (30-3-3, 15 KOs) following a draw in December. Both of the featured bouts are in the middleweight division.
Sauerland Event is very high on the career chances of Bauer, who made his pro debut at just 16 years of age. “Leon is a great boxer, who has a lot of experience for a fighter of his age,” said promoter Nisse Sauerland. “We look forward to working with him, his father Bernd, who is also his trainer, and his management, to ensure he fulfills his potential. We’re positive Leon has a very exciting future ahead of him.”
Bauer said, “It is important to have a strong promoter behind you for planning and security, And I am happy I can now fully concentrate on the future. Of course, I want to win titles as quickly as possible, but everything has to fit, and working in close cooperation with my promoter, we will take those next steps.”
Bauer's last ring appearance was a unanimous points win over Jorge Silva (16-7) on December 8th.
“We are pleased that we can continue our cooperation with Team Sauerland, and we look forward to celebrating many more successes together," adds Bauer’s coach and father Bernd.
Wojcicki returns to his hometown arena following a win over previously undefeated domestic rival Sven Elbir on October 26th. The 26 year-old has vowed to deliver another ‘explosive performance’ for his fans in Wolfsburg. “It feels fantastic to be boxing at home again,” says Wojcicki. “I’d like to thank my promoter Team Sauerland for making this possible. Caceres is a strong opponent, but I will train intensely with my coaches Antonino and Antonio Spatola, so that I can rekindle the incredible atmosphere we had last time, and I will deliver another explosive performance to keep the belt in Wolfsburg.”
Meanwhile, Radovan is eager to set the record straight having been held to a draw by Mittag on December 1st. Having teamed up with Cuban trainer Pedro Diaz, the Cologne-based boxer is looking forward to kick-starting 2019 with a win. “Thanks to Team Sauerland for arranging the rematch so quickly,” he says. “I’m looking forward to the great atmosphere in Wolfsburg. I’m confident this time I will leave the decision in no doubt – this year, I will make my breakthrough.”
Promoter Nisse Sauerland is anticipating another ‘spectacular’ show in Wolfsburg, headlined by '50-50 fights' for Germany’s rising middleweight stars.
”We had a great event last weekend, and with other great shows already announced, here comes another highlight,” says Sauerland. “We have two 50-50 fights already confirmed for the card. Patrick and Denis must both bring their best performances to win, and the fans in Wolfsburg can look forward to a spectacular event with more exciting fights set to be announced.”
Tickets for the Team Sauerland event at the CongressPark in Wolfsburg on April 6th will be available at www.eventim.de and other known ticket agencies.

South African update

South African featherweight Thembani "Baby Jake" Mbangatha (9-0) is in for a test on Friday February 22nd at the Wynberg Military Base in Cape Town. Mbangatha will test himself against former South African flyweight champion Doctor Ntsele (22-11-1). While Mbangatha has less than five years in the professional game, Ntsele has been a pro for almost fourteen years. He's boxed 231 rounds in 34 bouts, compared to Mbangatha's 39 rounds of action in 9 outings.

Mbangatha, who outside of boxing works as a police officer in Cape Town, defeated Mayihlomo Mjonono in November of 2017, boxing the last three rounds of the fight with a dislocated shoulder. He only returned to action once in 2018.

The show will be promoted by Kalakoda Promotions and televised live by Kwesé Sports. The undercard will feature light heavyweight Nicolas Radley and welterweight Antonio Mayala in non-title fights. source: wbf

Popeye Rivera returns to North Carolina

Richard "Popeye The Sailor Man" Rivera returns to the South this Saturday night (Feb. 23rd) in another stay-busy fight on a Christy Martin Promotions show at Centerstage@Noda in Charlotte, North Carolina. Last November 30th, Rivera (9-0, 8 KOs) fought in Charlotte for the first time, knocking out Joshua Robertson in the sixth round. On Feb. 23 he will face Mexico's Jose Humberto Corral (20-23, 12 KOs) in a scheduled six-round bout to be contested at a 187-pound catch-weight.
The Puerto Rican-American fighter didn't have many supporters last time around but, based on his previous performance, he won some fans over to his side, and he fully intends to add more this trip. "Fighting there the first time was an interesting experience," Rivera said. "I had some mixed emotions, but the fans there showed me a lot of love. People came up to me after the fight saying how much they enjoyed watching me fight. It was a good experience for me. I beat up a local fighter, but they want me back, and I'm going there to get the job done again.
"The plan is for me to have more fights this year to increase my ring experience. I feel more confident each fight. All I'm lacking is experience in big fights and that's coming. The more confident I become in the ring helps me focus better on what I'm doing in there.
"I've had a few obstacles along the way, but I love boxing and fighting as 'Popeye'. I wake up every morning ready to go."
Rivera, who normally competes at light heavyweight, is part of a trio that formed Hartford Boxing Promotions (HBP) last year, which also includes Rivera's manager/head trainer Tony Blanco and their other partner, Michael Tran.
Blanco noted that this fight for Rivera has added importance. "We're talking to a big promoter about a deal to co-promote Richard," Blanco explained. "So, he has to look good February 23rd in Charlotte. He has the right combination of talent and marketability that fans love.
"Going to Charlotte to fight the first time was a good experience. They liked and respected him so much that he's heading back by popular demand. We really love Christy, to be honest. She has already asked if Richard would fight on a card that she's promoting in March in Jacksonville, Florida."
Martin feels the same way about Team Rivera. "He's an awesome kid," she added. "He's talented, a solid pro in the ring, and very charismatic outside the ring. Fans here love him as a fighter and person. I've been saying 'Popeye' is coming back and fans here are excited.
"And now he's stepped out of his comfort zone, fighting outside of New England, in front of different crowds, and against fighters with different styles The sky's the limit for him. I think he's the real deal."

Cusumano overcoming alcohol abuse to campaign at heavyweight

Sicilian heavyweight Juiseppe Cusumano breezed through his amateur career undefeated and promised his coach and mentor,Robert Matney he'd one day win a world title. When Matney, a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, died unexpectedly in 2014, Cusumano's career took a turn for the worse. The promising heavyweight struggled with alcohol abuse and sat on the shelf for more than two years, the victim of a manager who Cusumano alleges robbed him of most of his earnings without booking him any fights. There were days Cusumano struggled to get out of bed. Friends and family urged him to give up boxing a find another career. But Cusumano refused to throw in the towel. He had a promise to keep. Saturday at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island, Cusumano (17-2, 15 KOs) will face Brendan Barrett (7-1-2, 5 KOs) of Ventura, Calif., in an eight-round showcase.
Reunited with trainer Marcus Luck, Cusumano continues to get stronger and leaner with each fight camp, shedding the excess weight from his year-long layoff between 2016 and 2017. He has implemented new techniques into his training regimen and enters next weekend in the best shape of his life as he aims for his 16thwin in his last 17 fights.
"With CES signing me [in 2017] it's really helped me out because they have watched the process of me growing back into the fighter I should be," said Cusumano, who has fight eight times in the last 17 months since joining forces with CES Boxing president Jimmy Burchfield Sr. "Even though I'm not 100 percent there yet, you can see the process. Each time, I'm getting better and better and my body is getting better.
"I'm learning things, too, because I'm older. I'm 30 years old, so I can't train like I was when I was 20, but I had to learn that after a few fights because I did feel a little heavy in the [2018] fight with Bernardo Marquez, so I was like, 'OK, I did something a little wrong here,' because I shouldn't have felt that heavy. Now it's more about being in fight shape already. I should be in shape weeks before the fight. Not work harder, but work smarter, like Floyd [Mayweather] says."
Cusumano struggled early in that fight with the southpaw Marquez before extending his then twelve-fight win streak with a fourth-round knockout, but his run came to an unexpected halt less than a month later when he lost to the slick and surprisingly-elusive Robert Simms by unanimous decision. Cusumano still feels he won that fight, but admits the awkward 5-foot-11 Simms frustrated him by landing quick shots to the body, then holding on for dear life, not allowing the 6-foot-4 Sicilian to use his height and reach to his advantage.
His opponent next weekend is the same height as Simms, which may initially raise eyebrows, but Cusumano insists there are several differences between Barrett and Simms, many of which may play into his favor on the 23rd. "Simms was a little slicker. He was very flexible for his weight," Cusumano said. "With Barrett, he's a little more stiff and more hard-headed. He's a hard-headed guy that likes to throw bombs and likes to keep his head and come forward. That's not going to be a very smart thing to do with me, especially with the shape I'm in."
Cusumano and Barrett have combined for 20 knockouts in their careers, 15 for Cusumano and five for his opponent. Neither have been knocked out. Cusumano is confident he can use his jab more effectively than he did against Simms and use it to set up his knockout punch -- the "bang-bang, night-night," as he calls it -- similar to the way he finished Marquez in May after three sluggish rounds.
"If he doesn't get knocked out," Cusumano said, "he's going to have a serious headache the very next day."
On the same card, twenty-two-year-old Worcester, Mass. native Jamaine Ortiz (9-0, 4 KOs) faces 21-year-old Ricardo Quiroz (10-0, 5 KOs) from Oxnard, CA in an eight-round lightweight bout.
Headlining is female featherweight Shelly Vincent (23-2, 1 KO) of Providence, R.I., by way of New London, Conn., who faces Budapest veteran Edina Kiss (15-9, 9 KOs) in an eight-round rematch of their 2015 bout, won by Vincent by majority decision.
Tickets are available online at www.cesboxing.com or www.showclix.com or by phone at 401-724-2253/2254. Next weekend's event also makes history as part of the world's first ultra-high definition, high dynamic range -- also known as 4K -- event streaming live via ViveE Network TV. The Vive app is available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Play (Android TV), iOS, Roku and all smart TVs. Visit https://tickets.vivetv.network to purchase. Vivie will stream two bouts for free on Facebook beginning at 8 before the 4K televised pay-per-view main card kicks off at 9. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Also on the main card, female super bantamweights Marcia Agripino (3-1-1) of Ledyard, Conn., and Boston's Amanda Pavone (6-0, 2 KOs) face one another in an eight-round bout for the vacant New England Championship...
Taunton, Mass., welterweight Marqus Bates (5-2, 3 KOs) faces Jair Ramos (5-2-2, 2 KOs) of Waterbury, Conn., in a six-round bout...
140-pound Nicholas Briggs (2-0, 2 KOs) of Worcester puts his unbeaten record on the line against Andy Aiello (1-1-1) of Bridgewater, Mass in a four-round bout...
Rhode Island super featherweight Ricky Delossantos (6-0, 1 KO) returns in his toughest test to date against U.S. Army National Guardsman Javar Jones (7-1, 2 KOs) of Indianapolis...
Providence junior middleweight Victor Reynoso (2-0, 2 KOs) battles 1-0 John Williams of Baton Rouge, La., who scored a knockout win in his pro debut in August...
Junior middleweight Lamont Powell (2-0, 1 KO) of Providence faces 29-year-old Kenneth Chery (1-1, 1 KO) of Montreal Quebec...
Providence lightweight Michael "Bling Bling" Valentin (4-0, 1 KO) returns from a one-year layoff to face Philadelphia's Christopher Burgos (1-3-1, 1 KO) in a four-round bout...
Decorated New York City amateur Arnold Gonzalez makes his long-awaited professional debut in a four-round junior welterweight bout against Falls Church, Va., veteran Stacey Anderson (0-4).

Tyson Fury, Frank Warren enter into Top Rank Alliance; Wilder Rematch In Danger

Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and his current promoter Frank Warren have joined forces with Bob Arum on a joint deal to promote Fury's career. Fury, who many believe should be the reigning WBC champion after getting robbed against Deontay Wilder, will have his future bouts co-promoted by Arum's Top Rank and Warren's Queensberry Promotions and shown on ESPN inthe United States. The announcement throws the heavyweight division into turmoil and certainly comes as a shock to Deontay Wilder and Showtime, which appeared to be on the verge of signing a pay-per-view rematch for Wilder-Fury II. The ESPN/ Top Rank press release did not mention the rematch between Wilder and Fury.
The announcement already appears to have given Fury serious leverage in negotiations with Wilder. With Wilder tied to Showtime, Warren cast serious doubt on Wilder-Fury II happening unless Showtime allowed Wilder to fight on ESPN. The British promoter said in a Seconds Out / Radio Raheim interview this morning: "Why shouldn't Wilder come on ESPN and fight Tyson? Tyson's not tied into anybody, but now we've done a deal with ESPN and Top Rank. I'm in the Tyson Fury business, I don;t give a sh*t what anybody else thinks. I'm in the Tyson Fury business and I have to do what's best for him. The best thing for Fury is to build his profile in the [United] States. He's got a great platform to do it on."
Warren's new partner, Arum, seemed to be leaning away from an immediate rematch, telling the Los Angeles Times, “we envision this [rematch] can reach 1 to 2 million homes. The only way to do that is to allow the general sports fan to really get to know these guys.”
Meanwhile, Wilder's people did not seem adverse to working something out with ESPN. Wilder's co-manager, Shelly Finkel told ESPN.com, "We are hoping to make the fight and figure out how, with this new relationship they have with ESPN, that it can be done. I would want to try to make it with Showtime and ESPN (working together). Wilder co-manager Al] Haymon wants to make the fight and that whatever is realistic will get done."
If not a Wilder rematch, Warren already has a plan B in place for Fury. A BT Sport television appearance by Frank Warren this morning tap danced around the subject of a Wilder rematch, only saying that Fury was going to fight again soon. Top Rank signed long-time contender Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria in December, and Pulev is being rumored as a possible next foe for Fury if the Wilder rematch is canned.
While it is true the WBC has ordered a Wilder-Fury rematch based on the controversial decision Wilder received in their 2018 fight, Fury is not a WBC titleholder and thus will face little to no consequences from the WBC if he refuses the rematch.
BT Sport will continue to be the television home in the United Kingdom for all of Fury’s fights. Top Rank, Fury’s management team MTK Global and Queensberry Promotions, worked seamlessly to close this shocking deal.
“Top Rank is very excited to enter into the promotional arrangement along with Queensberry Promotions for the [former] lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury,” Arum said in the initial press relase. “He is a generational heavyweight talent at the peak of his powers. We also look forward to our growing relationship with MTK Global, which represents so many world-class fighters.”
‘I’m delighted that Frank and Queensberry Promotions have teamed up with Top Rank to promote my fights in America,” Fury said. “With ESPN and BT Sport behind me, the biggest sports platforms in the world are now linked up with the best heavyweight in the world!”
“This is a great move for Tyson Fury and a great move for Queensberry Promotions,” Warren said. “By partnering up with ESPN and Top Rank in America, we’re giving our boxers, including Tyson, the opportunity to perform on the biggest and most powerful platforms on both sides of the Atlantic and become truly global stars.”
“MTK Global are thrilled to have played a role in what can only be described as a monumental partnership, no doubt the biggest one in the boxing industry, and we’re looking forward to working more closely with the teams at Top Rank and ESPN well into the future,” said Sandra Vauaghan, CEO MTK Global.
Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) won the lineal heavyweight title in November 2015 with a unanimous decision over Wladimir Klitschko, who at the time had made 18 title defenses during a nearly decade-long reign. While never losing inside the ring, Fury relinquished the WBA, IBF, and WBO belts while dealing with well-documented mental health and substance abuse issues. After more than two-and-a-half years away from the ring, Fury, whose weight had ballooned to more than 400 pounds, returned in June of last year.
A pair of wins over Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta set the stage for one of the most dramatic heavyweight title matches in boxing history. Against WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder on Dec. 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Fury put forth a boxing masterclass and survived a hellacious twelfth-round knockdown to, seemingly, do enough to defeat Wilder. The judges, however, ruled the bout a split draw, which nearly everyone disagreed with.

Saunders to face Isufi for vacant WBO super middleweight title

Former WBO middlleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders [who lost that title due to performance enhancing drugs] will bid to become a two-weight champion when he challenges [little-known] Shefat Isufi for the vacant WBO super middleweight title against Shefat Isufi at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday April 13th. The title became vacant when Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez decided to move up to the light heavyweight division. Isufi, a Serbian who fights out of Germany, holds a record of 27-3-2 with 20 KOs. [The 29-year-old Isufi has losses to Dariusz Sek, Tasos Berdesis and Dennis Ronert. Though Isufi has few notable wins, he has not lost since 2015 and is 3-0 at super middleweight after spending most of his career at light heavyweight. Somehow, the WBO has Isufi ranked #1, so blame the WBO, not Saunders or his promoter if you don't like this match-up].
Saunders was an undefeated WBO champion at middleweight, having won the belt in December 2015 with a points victory over former champion Andy Lee. Successful defences followed against Artur Akavov, Willie Monroe jr and, most notably, a career-best performance against David Lemieux. The 29 year-old was set to make a further defense last October against Demetrius Andrade, but eventually opted to relinquish his title after the Massachusetts commission refused to licence him to fight in Boston after an adverse finding in a VADA test. [Andrade went on to win the vacant title].
Saunder argues he would have been clear to defend under the rules of the British Boxing Board of Control, as well as the UKAD and WADA agencies that govern doping protocols, [but nonetheless, he relinquished his title rather than fight for his rights].
Still undefeated at 27-0, Saunders returned to the ring in December in a keep busy exercise against Charles Adamu. Saunders will now break new territory by moving up to 168 pounds and seeking to reign at a second weight class.
“It is a brilliant opening for me,” said Saunders on his shot at a second world title and went on to explain his reasoning for passing up his mandatory status at middleweight.
“You’ve got these rumours that Andrade is going for shoulder surgery, as well as the financial side of it with the split – it all doesn’t add up.
“Me winning this super middleweight title will put me in a great position for unifications with the likes of Callum Smith, while we’ve got Chris Eubank boxing James DeGale at the weekend.
“There are a lot of big, big fights at this weight, but my real home of homes is middleweight, so I can move down at any time I want and be back as mandatory for my middleweight title and then become a three-time world champion.
“So I am really looking forward to it and Isufi comes as a really stiff test. He is very, very strong and you have to be really switched on and calculating with this sort of opponent. He is one of those who, with what he does, he does very, very well when the bell goes.
“He has boxed at light heavyweight and cruiserweight so he is going to be a big, big lump and I need to make sure I am on it and stay away from those big bombs.”
Saunders went on to acknowledge that the winning of another world title will afford him the licence to remain active and not be left waiting where big fights are concerned.
“Boxing has its ups and downs, so when you get a world title opportunity it is hard to turn it down,” he considered.
“I have to take my hat off to Frank Warren because he has delivered for me after we were finding it hard to make the Andrade situation happen at this time.
“It will 100 per cent happen in the future, not on their terms, but on mine because I am the bigger name and have beaten the better men. I will prove it by going up a weight, winning another world title and take it from there.
“If the big fights at middleweight come along then fine, but if not I am giving myself another gate to walk through. I have been stuck in one room where I have been looking around and none of these big middleweights want to fight. I have put myself on offer to them and even when I was world champion it wasn’t happening.
“I am opening another door now and giving myself a little bit more variety when it comes to opponents.”
Promoter Frank Warren added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Bill to become a two-weight world champion. He has operated at middleweight for a long time and reached the pinnacle, so we both now believe the time is right for him to step up and prove himself at super middleweight.
“If he is successful against Isufi – and nobody is taking the threat he presents lightly – the possibilities are huge, with unifications and great fights all out there for him.
“I am sure the fans will get behind Bill in their numbers and support him in bidding to become a world champion once again.”
An announcement will be made soon on when tickets can be purchased for this event.

Jarrell Miller: "There's No Saving Anthony Joshua Now"

Greg Leon: Congrats on getting the Anthony Joshua fighjt [June 1 in New York City]. What was going through your mind when you first heard the news that it was official? Jarrell Miller: "We'd been talking about it for a while, but I'm a big believer in pen and paper. What can I say? It's a long time coming and I'm ready to knock his ass out. I'm not the kind of person to get overly excited about anything, I just go in there and do work and after I knock him out I'll break a big smile. Maybe that's when I'll get excited."
GL: You seemed pretty excited on your "I'm going to f**king kill him" Instagram video.
Jarrell Miller: "I put that up because it was a moment like yeah, it's time to let these motherf**kers know what's going on. It wasn't an overly excited thing, it was just my first post after the announcement and I just wanted to let everybody know that I'm going to kill this motherf**ker. People love my realness and it was a moment for me to let the people know that it's on."
GL: You're talking about knocking him out, are there any specifics to that prediction?
JM: "I think it's going to be seven or eight rounds and I'm going to get his ass. I'm going to get him OUT OF THERE, I mean OUT OF THERE. I know we're fighting in my city, but I've been in enough close calls already and I don't want none of that bullcrap. He gotta go."
GL: What do you think will shock AJ more, your workrate or having Miller time leaning on him.
JM "Everything. Everything. Everything. Even when I fought Johan Duhaupas I put enough weight on him, but I didn't put enough. I've been improving every fight and I've been changing certain things up. When I fought Adamek I wanted to just pick my shots, when I fought Bogdan I took my time with it because I knew the shot would come. For this fight I'm going to be on him the whole entire time and I'm talking like he just took my girlfriend and my plate of food. He's got no idea."
GL: So you're walking out of there with four belts [WBA, INF, WBO, IBO] on June 1st.
JM: "Man I'm not going back to the hood with no L's. I'm going to win, period. They're extra cocky, a lot of the British fans, but I know some real gritty Brits who come from the slum and know what I'm talking about. A lot of these posh mofos, they don't know man. He has no idea man, that's all I could tell you."
GL: Did you have to give him a rematch clause to get the fight?
JM: "I had to, but once I knock him out the first time it's going to be even easier the second time."
GL: Dillian Whyte is backing you in this fight with Joshua. Your thoughts on that?
JM: "I never really had no beef with Dillian Whyte. It was just always competitive competition and he's a shit talker like me. He's real, so he's going with the grittier guy. That should tell you how boxing is sometimes, people want to see realness in there. I appreciate it though and I ain't going to let anybody around me down plain and simple. One day you can be enemies and the next day you can be friends, that's just how this sport is. When I signed that contract though, that ass is mine. This is dog eat dog, period. When I get in that ring with AJ ain't nothing going to save him. Period."
GL: Closing thoughs for the fans.
JM: "If you f**k with Big Baby Miller you need to be in the building. If you don't f**k with me then you still need to be in the building. If you're from New York City, New Jersey, if you don't get yourself a ticket and allow these Brits to outnumber us in our own hometown that's some BS. Your ass better in the building to see Big Baby Miller take out Anthony G-String Johsua.

DeGale-Eubank media workout quotes

British rivals James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr. worked out in separate media workouts ahead of their super middleweight bout Saturday, February 23rd live on Showtime from The O2 in London. Former IBF champion DeGale (25-2-1, 15 KOs) and Eubank (27-2, 21 KOs) will settle their long-running score when they go toe-to-toe in front of the excitable hometown London crowd in the all-British affair. In the co-feature, rising heavyweight Joe Joyce (listed at 7-0, 7 KOs but more accurately 21-2 due to World Series of Boxing professional bouts) battles former WBC title holder champion Bermane Stiverne (25-3-1, 21 KOs) in a twelve-round heavyweight clash.

Here’s what the main event fighters had to say from their respective media days at Stonebridge ABC in Wembley and at Brighton and Hove ABC in Kings Esplanade:

James DeGale:

Come February 23rd the smile will be wiped off his face. He’s all show. If I’m honest, if his surname was Smith, you wouldn’t know who he was. He’s riding off his dad’s name. There are levels in boxing and I’m on a level above him. Come fight night, it’s going to be a schooling. Eubank Jr is gonna get schooled. I’ve dubbed this a “retirement” fight. When he loses, he’s finished, he’s done. This will be his last fight.

I’m so excited about this fight. I’ve been training for a long time and I’m feeling great, feeling focused and ready to do battle. The last couple of years, injury wise, have been very frustrating for me. But now, I can honestly say that I’m feeling great. I’m going to put in a fantastic performance against Chris. Come February 23rd it’s going to be a fantastic night and a fantastic victory for me.

I’m a London boy through and through. I was raised in Harlesden and I’m proud of my city, proud of where I’m from. So, it will be good to go back to The O2 and put on a fantastic performance for the fans. I can’t wait.

it’s been a successful and enjoyable career for most of the time. I’ve lived the dream and done everything in boxing but sometimes it feels like I don’t get the credit I deserve. Look at my career; from being the 80-1 underdog at the Olympics and winning gold through to becoming British champion, European champion, and then becoming the first in Britain to win a gold medal and a world title.

Chris Eubank Jr.:

He’s the type of fighter who rises to the occasion. If he’s got someone he doesn’t respect or fear, then that shows in his performance. He respects me and knows what is coming, so he is going to be on form.

He’s had some hard fights, that’s for sure. It is one of those things - a fight like this especially against me - could be career ending.

I don’t stop. Volume, speed, power, it is all a dangerous combination, and he knows that. But the fact he knows that is why we’re going to see the best James DeGale we’ve seen for a long time.

He knows I’m a livewire and that I’m dangerous; he knows being ill-prepared is dangerous for his health. I don’t think he’s going to put himself in that position.

On his new McLaren car: I had a Bentley last year and the McLaren this year. I guess I just needed something faster this time around. I always said I would learn how to try one of giant trucks my dad drove but, for now, a sports car is more my style. i am not thinking about losing, it is going to go my way. Boxers should not be compared to footballers, to fight for a living is the hardest and most noble and tough way to earn a living. I think we earn the right to enjoy life. Anyone who works hard should be able to buy what they want but you must be smart with it.

Boxingtalk's Monday Mailbag

What’s happenin G! What do you think about Tank Davis [pictured] vs. Teofimo Lopez? This would be a battle of who hurts who first! They could market it like a battle between Godzilla vs Mothra lol -Joe S G. Leon's Response: That's a fight I'd pay good money to see. Unfortunately it won't happen anytime soon, and may never happen since [rival promoters] Floyd Mayweather and Bob Arum operate on opposite sides of the fence [Mayweatherhas Davis, Arum's Top Rank has Lopez]. In the meantime, it looks like Top Rank is building towards a mega-fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez, and that one could potentially be for all of the marbles at lightweight. In my opinion, Tank and Teofimo will be more realistic in a few years when both guys are at 140 pounds.
So I wanted to touch on something else I read from your tweets yesterday. You said it is pretty obvious Devon Haney is with Haymon since he will be on the undercard of the rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. But I wouldn't be too sure of that. It could be a fight by fight basis type of deal like Mikey Garcia has with Haymon. Haney is fine doing his own thing but I think he understands he will need a bigger backing to get to the next level. Haymon obviously provides him that but he keeps himself free of any promotional/advisor deal. Also, can you interview Jaron Ennis and ask him what he plans on to do in the future concerning his promotional contract? He is with Cameron Dunkin, but eventually like Haney, he will need to get with a bigger player. Since he is a WW, you would think he would align himself with Haymon, but I don't remember the last fighter with Dunkin that signed with Haymon. I don't know, just curious to hear his thoughts of his future plans. If this doesn't really interest you, no problem. -Brad
Leon's Response: Barring something out of the ordinary happening between now and the official announcement, Devin Haney will be a PBC fighter and it won't be on a fight by fight basis. There's plenty of possibilities for Haney to become a superstar with the PBC, specifically if he's fighting in front of millions of people on Fox or a major PPV on Showtime like Wilder-Fury II, which will do a million or so buys. Cameron Dunkin is a promoter now, and as a veteran in this game he's quite capable of forming a co-promotional situation whenever he feels like it. Boots Ennis has pound for pounder written all over him though. It would totally inappropriate for me to make any promotional suggestions to a fighter when he's under a valid promotional contract. Cam is the one who set the interview up for me and I've never been much of a hand biter.
I see this [Vasiliy Lomachenko] Loma-Lopez fight is getting some heat behind it on Boxingtalk. Do you really think it will happen? Lopez has looked awesome but who is he really fighting? Knocking out regular fighters and getting in there with Loma ain't the same game. I will feel bad for Teofimo if they make that fight because Loma will ruin him. -Igor
Leon's Response: It's Loma-Fimo get it right Igor. Yes I think it will happen and I think it'll happen either in December of this year or very early in 2020. Lopez is fighting the guys they put in front of him and he's going to have to pass a much stiffer test than he's seen thus far to get to Loma. That could be a fight for the WBC title, that could be a fight for the IBF title against Richard Commey [currently injured]. We'll see, but he's definitely going to be in another step up fight over the summer.

Post Fight Interview: Mykal Fox

Greg Leon: The decision didn't go your way [Fox lost to Shohjahon Ergashev by decision on ShoBox over the weekend] but do you feel like you won the fight? What are your thoughts on this performance? Mykal Fox: "There's always a lot of things that I could do better, but I feel like I was landing the cleaner shots. I could've been smarter in there with some of the things that I did, but when this dude is throwing his big left left and I'm ducking it every time, but he's riding my head. I don't think that I got as many chance to capitalize off making his miss like that as I wanted to, but there's things for me to learn from this fight."
GL: He tried to bum rush you out of the ring in the first round. Is that what you expected?
Mykal Fox: "I did. I was trying to side-step and counter but he came out with some explosive shots. I knew he was going to try to come out fast though."
GL: Why didn't you counter more effectively with an uppercut on the inside when he was falling into you after missing?
MF: "If was missing so bad that he was damn near jumping on my head, that's why I picked him up in that one round. I couldn't counter with him on top of my head and the referee warned about this like ten times and did nothing about it."
GL: I was surprised he didn't lose a point after receiving a last warning in the second or third round. I'm not saying the ref was right by giving the last warning so early into the fight, but since he did do you feel Ergashev should have lost a point?
MF: "Yes. If you're saying it from round one to round ten then yes. At one point he was trying to make it my fault. I'm not going to sit there and take it."
GL: I had you up on the cards 5-3 going into the last two rounds, but scored the fight a draw. Did you tire down the stretch?
MF: "I think the ninth round was close. In the tenth round he caught me with a hook that busted my nose, and that made the round look a lot worse and sealed the tenth round for him. If we're going by cleaner shots I landed those. He may have landed harder shots, but I landed more clean blows. It's all good though, I'll be back in the lab."
GL: What do you feel you learned about yourself in this fight?
MF: "I already knew I could compete at this level, I already knew I could take a punch, so I didn't learn much about myself. Now hopefully after this loss somebody is going to want to step up and fight me, because I'm going to be better next time."
GL: This is the best guy you fought so far and I think you should you were able to stick to a plan even while under pressure from a very highly regarded up and comer.
MF: "I appreciate that. I can't deviate from the plan, all I could do is make adjustments while I'm in there."
GL: Closing thoughts for the fans.
MF: "I want to thank everyone who tuned in and I hope I gained some new fans. I want to thank the fans who have been here since day one and shout out to Boxingtalk."

Fox, PBC blow it big time by failing to show world title fight with insane ending

Deejay Kriel KO12 Carlos Licona... Shame on Fox and and its broadcast partner PBC for not showing the IBF 105-pound championship fight last night. Fox and PBC aired three other fights but could not find room for Deejay Kriel vs. Carlos Licona, which turned out to have an insane ending. Kriel, the challenger, was hoplessly behind on the scorecards going into the last round. Not known as a knockout puncher, Kriel dropped Licona three times in round twelve to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Licona (14-1) was knocked to his knees the third time, but looked like he was seriously hurt as he laid down and did not move until he was taken straight to the hospital. Kriel returns home to South Africa with a 15-1-1 record and a world title belt. source: business live south africa

Roy Jones sets next UFC Fight Pass Main Event

Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions heads to the great Northwest for the first time, presenting its third event live-streamed on UFC Fight Pass, on Thursday, February 28th, from the Event Center at Legends Casino Hotel in Toppenish, Washington. Ray Ximenez, Jr. (18-1, 4 KOs) squares off with Mexico's Luis Alberto "El Venado" Lopez (16-1, 8 KOs), in the ten-round featherweight main event.
Riding a five-fight win streak, Dallas,Texas' Ximenez (18-1, 4 KOs) was a standout amateur boxer, compiling a 120-9 record, highlighted by three gold-medal performances, both in the National P.A.L. Championships and Ringside World Championships. A six-time Dallas Golden Gloves champion, Ximenez started boxing at the age of 10 and also captured gold at the 2009 Silver Gloves National Championships and Junior Olympic National Championships. He represented and captained Team USA at the 2009 Youth World Junior Olympics.
The 25-year-old Ximenez, who is the former Texas State featherweight champion, won a ten-round unanimous decision in his most recent action against 111-fight veteran German Meraz (61-52-2) last July.
Lopez has won four in a row. His most notable career win was a ten-round unanimous decision over 10-1 Christian Bielma, on October 28th, He will be fighting outside of his native Mexico for the first time in his 3-1/2-year pro career.
"I feel very motivated for the opportunity to fight on UFC Fight Pass against such a great fighter like Ray Ximenez," Lopez commented. "I took this fight because I am 100-percent confident that I can defeated Ximenez and become the new WBO International featherweight champion. I want to thank Legends Casino Hotel for inviting us and Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions for the opportunity."
Also scheduled to fight on the card, all in four-round matches, are OR light heavyweight John Peak (3-0, 1 KO) vs. Tacoma, WA's Juan Jackson (1-0), Kent, WA junior welterweight Shae Green (3-0-1, 1 KO) vs. Medford, OR's Gerardo Esquivel (0-1), Fairbanks, AK light heavyweight Taylor Shirley (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Vancouver, WA''s Luis Iniguez (1-1-1), Bonney Lake, and Pasco, WA light heavyweight Roman Avetisyan (0-1) vs. Moldova-native Alex Cazac (0-2), fighting out of Portland, OR, and Roman Avetisyan (7-0. 5 KOs) vs. Antonio Neal (4-0, 3 KOs), of Granger, CA, in a battle of unbeaten prospects.
Tickets are available to purchase on site at the Legends Gift Shop, or by going online https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/LRikCgJ7EXtR0RKcNfITS.

European championship update: Patera, Ngabu retain titles

Francesco Patera W12 Marvin Petit. ... At a sold-out Salle Omnisport de la Prealle in Herstal, Belgium, Francesco Patera retained the European lightweight championship by defeating France's Marvin Petit. Fighting in his home country, Patera won by unanimous decision: 115- 113 (twice) and 117-112. Patera is now 21-3, and made the first defense of the vacant title he claimed against Lewis Ritson last year. He is expected to look for a fight on the world level next. Petit, who disputed the decision and felf he deserved the title, falls to 24-2-1. source: rtl sport belgium
Yves Ngabu W12 Micki Nielsen ...It was a good weekend for Belgian boxing as Yves Ngabu also retained a European championship. In Roeselare, Belgium, Ngabu turned back the challenge of Denmark's Micki Nielsen (25-2). The judges favored Ngabu 117-112 and 117-111 (twice). After a year of inactivity, the 30 year-old Ngabu is now 20-0. He's been champion since picking up the vacant title vs. Tamas Lodi in 2017. source: focus-wtv
PARTIAL EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP SITUATION
Heavyweight:Germany's Agit Kabayel (18-0) has reigned since 2017, including a defense against Dereck Chisora. He's booked for a March 2nd defense against Ukrainian veteran Andriy Rudenko (32-3).
Cruiserweight: Belgium's Yves Ngabu (20-0) picked up the vacant title in 2017 but has not been very active. Hopefully his successful February 2019 defense against Micki Nielsen will change that.
Lightweight: After Finland's Edis Tatli vacated in mid-2018, Belgium's Francisco Patera (21-3) claimed the vacant title against Lewis Ritson, then turned around with a quick defense over Marvin Petit. Reports from Belgium had Patera considering vacating the title to compete on the world stage. If so, Petit deserves one of the two slots in the vacant title fight.

Long Island fights to be streamed for free by FightNight Live

Collaborating with Star Boxing for the fourth time, FightNightLive will return to Long Island, New York for the first time in more than a year to stream boxing from the Paramount in Huntington for free on February 22nd. In the main event, Italian cruiserweight Simone "Tyson" Federici (14-1-1) make his American debut at The Paramount against Belgium's Joel Djeko (14-2-1).
Also on the show, Huntington's own Johnny Hernandez (9-4, 1 KO) battles Marquis Hawthorne (6-9, 1 KO) in the co-feature. Hawthorne is coming off a big upset win, having handed Ronnie Austion (10-1) his first pro loss.
"I am looking forward to another exciting night of 'Rockin' Fights' at the Paramount," said Star Boxing's Joe DeGuardia."We should have another thrilling night of fights and it's great that fans that can't make it to the Paramount will be able to watch on Facebook FIGHTNIGHT LIVE."

Post-fight interview: Omar Figueroa talks about the weight issue, hand injury

Last night in Los Angeles, Omar Figueroa, Jr. defeated John Molina, Jr. in a welterweight bout by unanimous decision. Despite scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 widely favoring Figueroa, the fight was competitive and difficult. Boxingtalk's Justin Hackman spoke to Figueroa in the hours after his win and got some very candid comments from Figueroa about showing up over the weight limit.
Justin Hackman: Hey Omar, congratulations on the victory in an incredibly entertaining fight.
Omar Figueroa: Thank you.
JH: At the final bell, you threw your arm down in disgust. What was that about? Did you not perform the way you wanted to?
OF: Well, no obviously not, but I hurt my right hand too... in the second or thirrd round. I let my coach know as soon as I hurt it.
JH: How did you feel physically before the first bell? I know you had issues with the weight.
OF: I felt good, I hydrated well, everything went according to plan or so we thought. And after things fell apart, we did damage control at that point.
JH: When we spoke last month, you said you were going to stay at 140 for a while. So given what happened, is it 140 or 147 for you now?
OF: I’m not sure, I gotta get back and talk with my team and my coach about it and see what we’re gonna do. Everything was going according to plan up until 3 days before weigh in. It has happened before and we are going to try to pinpoint what it is because I’m not screwing around and I’m not looking to give up a chunk of my paycheck. This is my career, my life, and I take it with 100 percent seriousness. We need to look back and see what we need to do to fix it
JH: So you were on pace up until the last few pounds?
OF: Yeah that’s the thing, and that’s why it’s so frustrating. I’m not out partying and it’s not for lack of trying. That’s what I feed my kids with, it’s what I pay my bills with, I need that, I rely on that, so it’s frustrating. It’s not something I do on purpose, it’s very disrespectful to my sport and to my opponent. I hate that. It hurts. I don’t like doing that to my opponent because I know he takes it with as much seriousness as I do. Boxing is not a joke. A lot of fighters get hurt, have lost lives, I know that. We’re gonna really sit down and see what we can do: nutritionist, maybe someone to help with insomnia.
JH: Insomnia, that’s gotta be killing you--you need a good night’s rest to perform at the level you’re competing at.
OF: That’s it.
JH: How do you feel about John Molina after going ten tough rounds with him?
OF: Great warrior. Incredibly durable. He took some great shots, but obviously I wasn’t putting everything behind the right hand anymore. But I’m disappointed overall. I feel like I could’ve finished it but I didn’t want to put that stress on my body. He’s a strong guy and he could’ve hurt me if given the chance so at one point I thought, “My hand is hurt, I don’t wanna hurt my other hand, I know Molina is no joke, and no matter how many times I hit him I know he’s not going anywhere” so I decided to play it safe and drag it on for the ten rounds.
JH: When he was absorbing those shots, and it looked like he’s not going anywhere, do you as a fighter still feel that a KO might come or were you confident that it wouldn’t?
OF: Yes, I knew I couldn’t knock him out any point. I hurt him almost every round and he was still there. So as a fan, they’re watching from afar, they have no idea what is going on between us two guys. I promise you there’s no way in hell Molina thinks he won more than one round in that fight. That was such an easy fight. I don’t know how else to put it. I was in control the whole fight, every second. It was a waiting game, just to go those ten rounds and get the victory.
JH: Did he hurt you at any point?
OF: No. I think it was in the first round that he hit me with a right hand and I was just curious to see how strong he was, and even my coach told me “that’s your wake up call.” My coach hates it but I like to feel the power of the other guy. I feel like I have to. So I let him hit me. It’s something I feel I have to do in order to move forward accordingly in my approach.
JH: There was a Molina right hand power shot in the latter rounds that kinda sent you into the ropes a bit, and it was a punch that might’ve put many other fighters to sleep for the night. That didn’t affect you?
OF: No. After the first or second round I felt his power and knew I was in complete control.
JH: Were you nervous when it took an exceedingly long time for the scores to be read?
OF: Yes and no. Yes because it’s happened before that there is a bad decision after a delay like that, and no because I didn’t think he was at all close to winning the fight. But obviously to the fans and announcers they thought it was a lot closer than I did. I don’t know what fight they were watching, but it’s different for us than outside the ring. But I can tell you from my view, and he knows too that there was no way he was even close to winning that fight.
JH: Well that’s a really interesting point. Because I can say from watching on TV, “OK, Omar hasn’t been buckled, he’s not hurt, but Molina’s shots are landing. Hard shots that look like they hurt." So I can see where some announcers and even judges might give it to either guy in a fight like that, but I also understand what you’re telling me--only the two guys in the ring truly know who is in control and who is not in control.
OF: Exactly.
JH: Who do you want to see in the ring next?
OF: Like I said in our last interview, when it comes to opponents, I don’t care. To me everything is the same. Right now we have bigger issues at hand. We gotta figure out how to fix the weight issue, or whatever issue it is. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to: I’m eating exactly what I’m supposed to eat, I’m training exactly how I’m supposed to, so we don’t really know what the real problem is. I apologize to John Molina, I apologize to the fans, I apologize to PBC, I apologize to my coach…you know, I make everyone look bad when I do that. My most sincere apologies to everyone. I take my job seriously as a true professional and so it’s frustrating that this keeps happening. We’re gonna fix it; I’m gonna make it right.
JH: Have you thought about getting right back in the ring? Maybe you can chalk it up to ring rust. Your body hasn’t been used to it for so long [inactive since 2017].
OF: I was thinking about that too. Obviously I want to be more active, but now I have the hand injury to deal with again too. I hope it’s little more than a bruised knuckle but we can work around that.
JH: Omar congratulations again, thanks for the interview.
OF: Yes sir, thank you take care.

Abass Baraou making moves in Germany

Abass Baraou W12 Carlos Molina ... Abass Baraou (5-0, 2 KOs) claimed a unanimous points decision against ex-IBF 154-pound champion Carlos Molina (29-11-2, 8 KOs) last night in Koblenz, Germany. Molina provided a test for the 24 year-old German, whose work rate and punch selection earned him a hard-fought victory. Two judges scored the fight 115-112 in favour of Baraou, while the third had him ahead 118-109. “I was expecting a very good fight, a tough fight, and that is what I got,” said Baraou. “I went through hell training for this fight, but it was worth it. To win this title so early in my career is a great honour for me. I can’t believe it!”
“That was a remarkable performance from Abass,” said promoter Nisse Sauerland, having witnessed the 2017 European Championship Gold and World Championship Bronze Medallist capture the WBC International belt. "He really showed his class in there. To defeat Molna, a former World Champion, like that in just his fifth professional fight is really something special." source: sauerland event

Q&A: Simone Federici

On Friday, February 22nd, Italian-born Simone "Tyson" Federici will be making his American debut at The Paramount against Belgium's Joel Djeko at the Paramount in Huntington, Long Island), New York. Promoter Star Boxing spoke with Federici ahead of his big fight, to learn more about his life, inspirations, and career goals:
Q: When were you born and where did you grow up?
A: I am 25. I was born on July 7th, 1993, in Corcolle, Rome.
Q: What was life like where you grew up?
A: My neighborhood is the neighborhood where I live now. It is a suburb, not very big. Working a few steps from home, in the family bar, I am quite well known.
Q: How did you begin boxing?
A: I started thanks to my uncle, an established boxer. Together with my cousin, we expressed a desire to learn to take the first steps. We started, and my uncle is still my coach, I have great respect for him. And it is thanks to him that I am now a step away from my debut in the United States, a new and very important experience for me.
Q: Who is your favorite fighter(s)? Is there any fighter you try and emulate in the ring?
A: My favorite boxer is definitely Mike Tyson, from whom I took my fighter nickname.
Q: What are your accomplishments in both amateur and professional boxing?
A: I had about 40 bouts as an amateur and was twice champion of Italy, some other titles and various fights with the Italian national team. As a professional, I first won the Italian title in 2017, defended my tittle twice in 2018 and also won [a regional title] in 2018.
Q: Do you have a family?
A: Ihave a 28-year-old sister named Cristina, and my fiancée is named Ilaria, she is my age.
Q: What is your life like now?
A: I am a bartender, but I want to realize my full potential in this sport and have a family.
Q: How do you feel about this fight?
A: Djeko is a good boxer who is taller than me, but I cannot miss this opportunity. For us Italians this chance does not pass so often ... we will win!
Q: What are your career goals?
A: I want to become a world champion.
Q: Do you have any other comments?
A: I thank my trainer Franco Federici, [promoter] Joe DeGuardia, Luigi Camputaro, as well as America and New York for this great opportunity. Also, Armando Bellotti, who was the real director.

Leo Santa-Cruises to an easy victory

Leo Santa Cruz W12 Rafael Rivera... In Los Angeles, WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz retained his title with a wide unanimous decision over Mexico's Rafael Rivera. Although there was not a ton of drama in the fight, Santa Cruz gave a champion's effort and was credited with throwing a total of 1273 punches over the twelve rounds. Rivera has no claim for winning the fight, but he was competitive, and his performance was very respectable being that he agreed to this fight on three-weeks notice when original challenger Miguel Flores was injured. All three official scorecards read 119-109. Rivera had only gone twelve rounds once vefore, a 2017 loss to Jo Jo Diaz. Santa Cruz is now 36-1-1 while Rivera falls to 26-3-2. Hopefully, Santa Cruz can ubify vs. his WBC counterpart Gary Russell Jr. in his next fight. source: fox

Fonfara calls it a career

Polish light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara (30-5, 18 KOs) has announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 31. “There is no more enthusiasm, there is no motivation and there is no desire to go to the ring to fight. I am healthy, everything is fine, but I have no heart for boxing, I have decided to retire," Fonfara said in a statement published by the WBC. Fonfara began his career in 2006. He twice challenged for a world title, falling short against Adonis Stevenson both times. But he had several wins over forer champions: Julio César Chávez Jr., Glen Johnson, Chad Dawson, Nathan Cleverly and Gabriel Campillo. Boxingtalk joins the WBC in wishing Fonfara a rewarding and successful retirement.

Yigit returns with a win in Germany

Anthony Yigit W8 Mohamed Khalladi ... On the undercard in Koblenz, Germany, junior welterweight Anthony Yigit (21-1-1) got back to winning ways, outpointing Mohamed Khalladi (10-8-1). Yigit was coming off an October loss in the World Boxing Super Series vs. Ivan Baranchyk, which also had the vacant IBF world title at stake. The Swedish Yigit was stopped vs. Baranchyk due to a grotesquely swollen eye. “It’s good to be back,” he said. “We got the win after a pretty dirty fight. He was a awkward fighter who he hit me more with his head than his fists.”
MORE RESULTS
Leon Bunn extended his unbeaten run with a one-sided points win over Viktor Polyakov (13-6-1). “I don’t want to make any big predictions, but I hope I’ll be fighting for big titles soon,” said the light heavyweight, now 13-0...
17 year-old amateur star Sophie Alisch started her professional career in style, stopping Sopo Kintsurashvili (4-3-1) in the opening round at the CGM Arena. “It was awesome,” she said. “The feeling of being up there in the ring was unbelievable. I would like to thank everybody who came to support me.”...
Also on the card was a 154-pound rematch between Jama Saidi (15-0) and Arman Torosyan (19-6-1). Saidi won the junior middleweight contest, dropping Torosyan with a heavy shot in the second round on his way to claiming a comfortable points victory. source for all results: sauerland event

Yesenia Gomez squeaks by Japanese softie in hometown title defense

Yesenia Gomez W10 Erika Hanawa... In Cancun, Yesenia Gomez retained her WBC light flyweight title against Japanese challenger Erika Hanawa, whom she defeated by majority decision. Official scores were 95-95 and 97-93 (twice). Hanawa (10-4) had her best success in the middle rounds but it was not enough to unseat the champion. The challenger was unqualified for a world title shot, having lost to a boxer with a 9-6 record a few months ago. Gomez is now 15-5-3. source: wbc