Spotlight on Top Rank's June 9th show

Spotlight on Top Rank's June  9th show
Top Rank on ESPN returns Tuesday, June 9th, when WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson will take on Puerto Rico's Felix “La Sombra” Caraballo in a non-title, ten-round super featherweight bout. Stevenson-Caraballo will kick off Top Rank's June boxing lineup, which will include multiple cards each week on the ESPN family of networks. Specifics on ESPN platforms and tune-in times to be announced soon. “I would like to thank MGM Resorts and the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their assistance in helping to bring back world-class boxing,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We are all looking forward to a spectacular summer of live boxing across ESPN platforms. Shakur is among the best young talents I’ve ever promoted, and he is going to put on a show on June 9.”
ESPN’s Top Rank play-by-play commentator, Joe Tessitore, will be calling the action from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios.  Andre Ward (analyst), former #1 pound-for-pound two-division world titleholder and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Tim Bradley (analyst), former two-division world titleholder and boxing insider Mark Kriegel, will join from their home studios. Boxing reporter Bernardo Osuna will be on-location in Las Vegas. 
June 9th  - MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom
Main Event
Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) vs. Felix Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs)
10 rounds, Super Featherweight
2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Stevenson, the pride of Newark, New Jersey, is testing the waters at super featherweight following his featherweight title-winning effort over Joet Gonzalez last October. He went 4-0 in 2019, flashing the skills and athleticism that have some experts pegging him as a future pound-for-pound superstar. Caraballo has won five fights in a row and will be fighting for the first time away from Puerto Rico.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring and return live boxing to ESPN,” Stevenson said. “I was really disappointed when my fight got canceled in March, and I said then that I wanted to be one of the first fights back. I stayed in shape so when that call came, I was ready. The atmosphere might be different on June 9, but I’ve fought in unique situations all over the world before so it won’t affect me. Regardless of who’s in the building, you’ll see another great performance, and I’ll remind everyone why I’m the best young fighter in boxing.”
Mikaela Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs) vs. Helen Joseph (17-4-2, 10 KOs)
10 rounds, Super Featherweight
Mayer, Stevenson’s 2016 Olympic teammate, is a Los Angeles native on track for a world title shot this year, but she must first defeat Joseph, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, who is coming off a competitive decision loss to former lightweight queen Delfine Persoon.
“I'm incredibly grateful and excited to be fighting on the first boxing card since the pandemic shutdown,” Mayer said. “I was set to travel to New York City for a fight March 17, but the quarantine went into effect the day before I was supposed to fly out. So, despite having a long, hard 10-week camp, I was unable to perform and showcase the work I had put in. I feel like I’ve leveled up my skill set, and I'm eager to show that on June 9 and capture my 13th win. It’s also great to see ESPN and Top Rank having a woman headline their first card back. I have been in camp with Shakur, and we’re ready to bring boxing back to television with exciting wins.”
Undefeated heavyweights Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson (3-0, 3 KOs), from Toledo, Ohio, will face Johnnie Langston (8-2, 3 KOs) in a six-rounder. Anderson recently served as Tyson Fury’s chief sparring partner for the Deontay Wilder rematch.
Guido “The Gladiator” Vianello (6-0, 6 KOs), a 2016 Italian Olympian, will fight Don Haynesworth (16-3-1, 14 KOs) in a six-rounder at heavyweight.
Robeisy Ramirez (2-1, 2 KOs), the two-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba who bested Stevenson in the 2016 gold medal match, will seek his third straight win as a pro in a six-round featherweight bout against Yeuri Andujar (5-3, 3 KOs).
In a middleweight tilt set for six or four rounds, Calvin Metcalf (10-3-1, 3 KOs) will face Atlanta native Quatavious Cash (11-2, 7 KOs).

Spotlight on Top Rank's June 11th show

Spotlight on Top Rank's June  11th show
The action will continue Thursday, June 11th when former WBO junior featherweight champion Jessie Magdaleno faces Dominican puncher Yenifel Vicente in a featherweight ten-rounder. The event, Top Rank's second in three days at the same Las Vegas venue, will be closed to both the public and the media, as only essential fight camp members and event staff will be permitted on site. Magdaleno won the WBO 122-pound title in 2016 by defeating future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire. He made one defense in 2017 then dropped the title to Isaac Dogboe.
June 11th - MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom
Main Event
Jessie Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) vs. Yenifel Vicente (36-4-2, 28 KOs)
10 rounds, Featherweight
Top-ranked featherweight contender Magdaleno has defeated veterans Rafael Rivera and Rico Ramos since moving up from the junior featherweight ranks. The Las Vegas native will be fighting in his hometown for the first time since he dethroned four-weight kingpin Nonito Donaire in November 2016. Vicente, the author of numerous highlight-reel knockouts, is 11-1 with 11 knockouts in his last 12 fights.
“It feels great to be one of the first fighters back,” Magdaleno said. “I’m excited to get back in the ring, especially after my last fight was canceled. I didn’t get discouraged. I am even more ready now. I can’t wait to showcase my talent to the ESPN audience. What better way to show that the champ is back?”
Adam Lopez (13-2, 6 KOs) vs. Louie Coria (12-2, 7 KOs)
10 rounds, featherweight
Lopez, a native of Glendale, California, is back following his seesaw throwdown against Oscar Valdez last November, a bout he took on a day’s notice after Valdez’s original opponent missed weight. Despite a 3.5-pound weight disadvantage, he knocked down Valdez in the second round before being stopped in the seventh. The “Glendale Gatti” will have a tough task in Coria, a Robert Garcia-trained fighter who has won three straight since a split decision loss at super featherweight.
“I will put a show on for all the fight fans around the world and show them what I’m made of,” Lopez said. “The Valdez fight was an incredible experience. I’m ready to get what’s left of 2020 going and move toward a title shot.  The whole team is working hard and preparing well. Tune in. I’m going to put on a show.”
Bryan Lua (5-0, 2 KOs), from California’s Central Valley, will return following a more than two-year layoff against Dan Murray (5-3, 0 KOs) in a six-rounder at lightweight.
Bantamweight Gabriel Muratalla (2-0, 2 KOs) will make his 2020 debut in a four-rounder versus Fernando Robles (2-2, 0 KOs).
In a battle of unbeaten California-based lightweights scheduled for six or four rounds, Eric Mondragon (3-0, 2 KOs) will face Mike Sanchez (6-0, 2 KOs).

Twitter Chatter: O'Shaquie Foster claims Abraham Nova ducked him

Twitter Chatter: O'Shaquie Foster claims Abraham Nova ducked him
Junior lightweight O'Shaquie Foster (17-2) says he just got ducked by Abraham Nova (18-0): "I got a call today to fight Abraham Nova. I accept immediately! His team came back and said 'Nova won't fight Foster.' Top Rank [Nova's promoter] is willing to put on big fights, what's up Supa Scared Nova? The public needs to make some noise. I want all the smoke."  Editor's note: On Xavier Porter's Super Five, Nova denied he ever received an offer to fight Foster, and is reportedly fighting Toka Khan-Clary (27-2), who is on the same level as Foster.

Ex-champ Carlos Molina headlines Mexican show this Saturday

Ex-champ Carlos Molina headlines Mexican show this Saturday

Ex-champ Carlos Molina headlines Mexican show this Saturday
Former IBF junior middleweight champion "King" Carlos Molina is bringing back live boxing in the age of the pandemic with a live, no-spectator event this Saturday June 6th in Mexico that will be shown live on the FightNight Live Facebook page (9pm ET/6pm PT) for a fee of just $5. Presented by Molina’s King Carlos Promotions, the still-active Molina (31-11-2, 10 KOs) will face Michi "El Matador" Munoz (27-10-1, 18 KOs), of Leon, Mexico, in the ten-round junior middleweight main event. In the ten-round co-feature, Alejandro "Pajaro" Davila (19-1-2, 7 KOs), of Mexico City will face Nestor Fernando "La Chispa" Garcia, (23-20-1, 17 KOs), of Queretaro, Mexico. 
Headlining the undercard will be Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico’s Denilson Jair Valtierra (10-0, 5 KOs) taking on Patzcuaro, Mexico’s Aurelio Hernandez (8-4-1, 1 KO) in an eight-round lightweight bout... 
Also, in action will be Mexico City super middleweight Elio German Rafael (15-3, 9 KOs) in an eight-round showdown against San Luis Potosi, Mexico’s Luis Acuna Rojas (2-8-1). 
In the opening bout, Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico’s Cristián Martín Medina García will make his four-round featherweight debut against an opponent to be announced. 

Sampson Boxing keeping its roster stocked

Sampson Boxing keeping its roster stocked
Sampson Boxing announced the re-signing of featherweight Eduardo “Zurdito” Ramirez and junior middleweight Jorge “Demonio” Cota, both of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, to exclusive long-term promotional contracts. Ramirez (23-2-3, 10 KOs) is a 27 year-old southpaw with fast hands and super defense. He was last seen stopping formerly undefeated Cuban Leduan Barthelemy in four rounds last November. The pair had previously fought to a controversial draw, but this time Ramirez left no doubt. Cota (30-4, 27 KOs), also 27, has punching power and a hard-nosed relentless free-swinging style. Cota's last fight was a stoppage win over popular Thomas LaManna on the undercard of promotional stablemate Jeison Rosario’s title-winning stoppage of Julian Williams in January of this year.
Both fighters are trained by Pedro and Eduardo Montiel and managed by Manuel Montiel Jr., brothers of five-time world champion Fernando Montiel. 
“I have been given many good opportunities in my career and look forward to many more with Sampson Boxing,” said Ramirez. “Sampson told me if I work hard and do my job, he will get me in the right fights and we have both kept our word.”
“I am happy to continue to fight under the Sampson banner,” said Cota. “Sampson never gave up on me. I will continue to fight hard and work to win a world championship for my team.”
Lewkowicz says he’s happy to be continuing his promotional relationship with both Mexican warriors. 
“Both of these fighters are from the toughest parts of Mexico and they work everyday for more for themselves and their families. I am honored to remain part of their team and helping them fight their way to better lives. They are both good men who always show up to fight. They are both coming off big victories in their careers and when boxing starts up again, they will both see good opportunities to come.”

Top Rank sets six shows for June!

Top Rank sets six shows for June!
Top Rank will be the first major boxing promoter to hold live boxing events since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March. Top Rank president Bob Arum tweeted, "Kudos to our entire team, who has worked so hard behind the scenes for weeks to get our boxing programming up and running again. The public will benefit from having live fight action, starting June 9th on ESPN. We have some big official fight announcements coming next week." Top Rank has not formally announced the match-ups, but here is ESPN's listing of the featured bouts:
(Except as noted below, the shows are expected to take place in Las Vegas with coverage on the ESPN family of networks)
June 9th: Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) vs. Felix Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs) (Stevenson, the WBO featherweight champion is in a non-title bout); Mikaela Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs) vs. Helen Joseph (17-4-2, 10 KOs)
June 11th: Jessie Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) vs. Yenifel Vicente (36-4-2, 28 KOs) (Magdaleno, a former 122-pound title holder, is in a featherweight bout); Adam Lopez (13-2, 6 KOs) vs. Luis Coria (12-2, 7 KOs);
June 16th: Joshua Greer Jr. (22-1-1, 12 KOs) vs. Mike Plania (23-1, 12 KOs) (bantamweights); Antonio Demarco (33-8-1, 24 KOs) vs. Giovanni Santillan (25-0, 15 KOs) (Demarco is a former lighweight title holder).
June 18th: Jose Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) vs. Mikkel LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KOs) (Pedraza is a former lightweight title holder now campaigning at 140 pounds); Gabe Flores Jr. (17-0, 6 KOs) vs. Josec Ruiz (21-2-3, 14 KOs);
June 20th (TV Azteca Studios in Mexico City): Emanuel Navarrete (31-1, 27 KOs) vs. Uriel Lopez (13-13-1, 6 KOs) (Navarrete, the WBO 122-pound champion, but this will be a ten-round non-title bout). 
June 23rd: Andrew Moloney (21-0, 14 KOs) vs. Joshua Franco (16-1-2, 8 KOs) (Maloney is a secondary title holder at 115 pounds); Christopher Diaz (25-2, 16 KOs) vs. Jason Sanchez (15-1, 8 KOs).

Curtis Cokes, 1937-2020

Curtis Cokes, 1937-2020

Curtis Cokes, 1937-2020

Curtis Cokes, who unified the world welterweight championship and put the city of Dallas on the boxing map, passed away from heart failure, according to the Dallas Morning News. Cokes, a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, was 82 years old. He came of age in a time and place when his black skin meant many doors were closed to him under Texas' Jim Crow laws. For example, during Cokes' time as an amatuer, blacks were not allowed to compete in the Dallas Golden Gloves. Cokes overcame these disdavatanges by developing an athletic, defensive style. Despite his defense-first mentality, Cokes possessed devastating power in his right hand. He turned pro in 1958. When Emile Griffith vacated the world welterweight title in 1966 in order to campaign at middleweight, Cokes was selected for a WBA tournament and defeated future hall of famer Luis Rodriguez and Manny Gonzalez to win the WBA title. In 1967, he unified the world championship by beating France's Jeran Josselin for the vacant WBC title (Josselin also claimed the South African version of the world championship). 

Cokes lost a non-title bout to one of the great unsung Philadelphia heroes, Gypsy Joe Harris, but held onto the world title until 1969, when he ran into the great Jose Napoles. Cokes lost a rematch to Napoles but fought on until 1972, retiring with a record of 62-14-4. Cokes became a successful trainer, working with middleweight title holder Quincy Taylor, and heavyweight contenders Ike Ibeabuchi and Curtis Cokes among others. Boxingtalk salutes the great Curtis Cokes and sends it condolences to his friends and family.

Introducing British junior welterweight Daniel Egbunike

Introducing British junior welterweight Daniel Egbunike
Things may not be ideal for everyone, but British junior welterweight Daniel Egbunike is making  business moves during the coronavirus pandemic. Egbunike (6-0, 3 KOs) recently made his first business venture, opening up his own cleaning services company—named Fresh Fog Services—as the demand for cleanliness and sanitation continues to rise up amidst the pandemic. [Egbunike is thirty years old but stepped up his competition level with three solid wins in 2019. From London, he has not fought so far in 2020].
The reigning Southern Area champion said: “This wasn’t planned. It just came to my mind what can be a good business. I guess it’s also good timing as well. I just knew it’s going to a time when other people are going to need something. I just have to think about what they’re going to need.
“A lot of people are calling in so obviously our services are definitely needed. Not only that, we’re also doing our services a lot cheaper than other companies. Like the other companies, we are actually joining the fight against COVID-19 in terms of maintaining cleanliness at homes and offices.
“I’m running more. I’m waking up early and doing my thing with my dog. I’m still getting to work and doing the best way that I can to stay in shape.”

Ivan Baranchyk vs. Jose Zepeda on for July 7th

Ivan Baranchyk vs. Jose Zepeda on for July 7th
Former IBF 140-pound champion Ivan Baranchyk (pictured) will face Jose Zepeda on a July 7th Top Rank show in Las Vegas. The fight was confirmed by Top Rank executive Carl Moretti on social media. Baranchyk is 20-1, and won the vacant IBF title in 2018 against Anthony Yigit. His first defense was a loss to Josh Taylor, who know holds two of the four major titles at 140. Zepeda is 31-2 and lost a title fight to Jose Ramirez, who holds the other two 140-pound titles. ESPN is expected to televise. 

Jermall Charlo suspected in Texas assault

Jermall Charlo suspected in Texas assault

Jermall Charlo suspected in Texas assault

Details are very slim but according to television station KTRK in Houston, WBC regular middleweight champion Jermall Charlo is a suspect in an assault investigation. It should be stressed that Charlo has not been arrested or even charged with a crime yet, but the investigation is ongoing. The alleged assault took place at Charlo's mansion in Missouri City, Texas. Jermall Charlo and his twin brother Jermell both hold WBC title, although Jermall's WBC title is a a secondary one because Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is still recognized by the WBC. Charlo previously held a junior middleweight title but moved up in weight and, at age 30, he still has not been in a signature fight despite his 30-0 record.

Tonight's boxing cancelled in Dominican Republic

Tonight's boxing cancelled in Dominican Republic
[According to the WBA,] the boxing event scheduled to take place on Saturday in the Dominican Republic was cancelled at the last minute following the recommendations of the government, according to Shuan Boxing Promotion. The WBA stated, "It is very important to respect the political and health authorities in the midst of the Covid-19 situation, so it was decided to follow the indications and suspend the event. Two regional titles of the WBA were going to be at stake, however, we will wait for the right moment to carry out the event.
It is worth mentioning that before the cancellation all the necessary measures had been fulfilled, supported by the safety protocol published by the WBA a few weeks ago. The fighters had already undergone rapid tests of the Covid-19 with negative results, while the venue of the event, the Carlos Teo Cruz Coliseum, had been sanitized.
The WBA supports the decision of the authorities, who know the situation first-hand, and hopes that the boxing card can be set up in the future under the ideal conditions complying with all health measures.

Introducing British lightweight Adam Azim

Introducing British lightweight Adam Azim
MTK Global announced the signing of British amateur star Adam Azim ahead of his plans to turn professional. Azim will be entering the paid ranks when he turns 18 in July, leaving behind an amateur career which saw him win ten national titles, a European championship and a European silver medal. He also managed the superb achievement of winning every national title from Schoolboys to Youths, and was the number one ranked Youth Amateur in the world at welterweight.
Azim now joins his brother Hassan Azim at MTK Global, and he is extremely excited about what the future will hold with his new team.
Adam Azim said: “I am very excited by the opportunity to be working with MTK Global who will be managing my next stage of my career.By signing a management deal with MTK Global, I have sacrificed an amateur career with Team GB and would have been a favourite for the Paris Olympics in 2024, but I feel I have exhausted my time as an amateur and I am ready for the professional ranks.
“There is no better management organization to manage me and to take me to the world titles at lightweight. I want to fight the best lightweights in the world and to be the best you have to be with the best in MTK Global. My brother has already signed with MTK and I feel I’m keeping it within the family by signing with MTK Global. I look forward to a fruitful relationship with MTK Global.”
MTK Global Vice-President Jamie Conlan said: “We are honoured to be welcoming Adam Azim to the team. He had an illustrious amateur career and we’re extremely confident he will replicate it as a professional. He joins his brother Hassan in the MTK Global stable, and it is going to be very exciting watching these two fantastic boxers develop their careers over the coming years.”
News on when Azim will be making his professional debut will be announced in due course.

WBA re-elects Gilbert Mendoza Jr. through 2025

WBA re-elects Gilbert Mendoza Jr. through 2025

WBA re-elects Gilbert Mendoza Jr. through 2025
The WBA assembly has voted Gilberto Jesús Mendoza to continue his position as president of the sanctioning body through the year 2025. Following the proposal of the election process in accordance with the end of the present 2015-2020 term of office, the full assembly agreed to exhaust the statutory limits and re-elect Gilberto Jesús Mendoza by acclamation. The WBA has been working non-stop and has come up with an online mechanism, such as GoToMeeting, to enable its members on five continents to discuss different topics of interest to the entity, despite the distance. During the Assembly, the electoral commission, made up by Francisco Piña, Jesper Jensen and Renzo Bagnariol, was convened. Since no additional nominations were made for the position, the members were called to vote and unanimously elected Mendoza for a new term, who had a great performance at the head of the WBA in the 2015-2020 term.
The 10 voting members agreed to conduct the vote online this Thursday morning. Renzo Bagnariol, from Nicaragua, Gustavo Padilla, from Panama, Carlos Chávez, from Venezuela, Shivana Inalsingh, from Trinidad and Tobago, George Martínez, from Canada, Mariana Borissova, from Bulgaria, Francisco Piña, from Colombia, Julio Quintero, from Venezuela and Luis Pabón, from Puerto Rico, voted for the continuity of the current president’s project. In addition, 25 directors with voice, seconded the motion and gave their support to Mendoza, with the novelty that for the first time in history there was participation of Mexican members, Miguel Torruco and Alfredo Polanco.
“I reiterate my gratitude to all those who give me this vote of confidence, to all those who stick to the work plan of the last five years. There is still a lot of work to do. We will keep on moving forward in things like getting closer to the athlete and the systematic development”, Mendoza assured to all the directors after his ratification.
The president recalled the words of his father and president emeritus of the organization, Gilberto Mendoza: “I believe that my father’s word fits, we can do it, let’s do it, let’s do it together. This is how I have wanted to act. We must remain united”.
“I am thankful to you for allowing me to be part of something historical. It is complex, we have done productive things. Thanks to the doctors, the officials, the academy; I want to tell you that you will continue to be the pillars of my management. Now we want to put effort into IT, among other things, but regardless of any system we have, human quality and the people who accompany us are very important. Thank you very much to the directors. I have to thank all of you, you are very important”, Mendoza said.
The current President of the World Boxing Association was ratified thanks to the great work he has done over the past five years. Under his administration, the WBA has had achievements never seen before like the creation of the WBA Academy for the systematic development of the sport, the approach with countries like China, Russia and Mexico, the transformation of the entity into a professional and amateur organization to make its contribution and help rescue boxing in all areas, besides the use of new communication tools to carry out the work efficiently and adapted to the times.

Cecilia Braekhus eyes 25th title defense

Cecilia Braekhus eyes 25th title defense
World welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus says she wants to continue to break new ground ain women's boxing. Braekhus (36-0 9 KOs) has dominated the welterweight division for 11 years now, and should her proposed clash with Jessica McCaskill (8-2 3 KOs) go ahead when boxing returns, the Norwegian will break Joe Louis record of 25 consecutive world title defenses, with the 38 year-old’s record stretching back to her first title fight in her 11th pro outing in March 2009.
"The First Lady" still holds the same ambitions from when she first became a world ruler, and having changed the face of the sport in her home country, Braekhus told Matchroom Boxing’s podcast The Lockdown Tapes about her eagerness to get back into action and tick off further goals. “From when I started to now has been incredible for woman’s boxing,” said Brækhus. “We are on every show, headlining bills, fighting in the Olympics and it’s incredible and such a big difference from how it once was. Being a part of it makes me feel incredibly lucky and I feel when I retire, I will be able to say I have played my part.
“I am talking to Eddie Hearn and my team and following the guidelines. The McCaskill fight looks likely to be taking place in July and I am hoping this is the case as I can’t stay in Big Bear forever! I don’t care where the fight takes place because I have been fighting all over the world since the beginning of the career. Wherever the fight is I will be ready.
“I would love to fight in the UK. I went to Joshua vs Klitschko and I still get goosebumps thinking about it. Even though there were 90,000 people watching, the fight overshadowed everything, it was amazing.
“I became a champion and had a bigger media profile. People would watch my fights in both Germany and Denmark because I couldn’t box in Norway and they started questioning how strange it was to have a champion who couldn’t fight in their home country. It was on live TV in Norway so people began coming to conclusions that this law was crazy!
“When the new government came in, we began to work together. My team, my team in Norway and the politicians began to analyze things and when we broke the sport down we found out that a lot of the arguments making the sport illegal were out of date.
“I was actually voted Sportsperson of the Year in Norway when professional boxing was illegal! It was a crazy situation.
“I think about life after boxing a lot and the good thing is that athletes can go on for longer due to the improvements in sports science, training and nutrition! Age isn’t a massive concern for me yet, but I am working hard on some other big projects which are keeping me busy.”

Javier Fortuna sticking with Sampson Boxing

Javier Fortuna sticking with Sampson Boxing
Promoter Sampson Boxing has announced the signing of lightweght contender Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna to an extension of Fortuna's promotional contract. From La Romana, Dominican Republic, Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KOs) has fought under the Sampson Boxing banner from his pro debut and has gone on to have a career that has seen him win secondary titles at 126 and 130 pounds. The 31-year-old is currently in light ti face England’s Luke Campbell, for another secondary title, the WBC interim lightweight championship. The winner of that match will go on to face current regular champion Devin Haney. [Vasiliy Lomachenko is the WBC's top champion at 1235 pounds and also holds two other major titles].
“If I were to die and be born again, I would re-sign with Sampson to do it all over again,” said a happy Fortuna. “I will become the first three-division world champion soon and I have my promoter Sampson to thank for all the opportunities he got for me throughout my career.”
Lewkowicz, best known for having helped discover and bring Manny Pacquiao to the United States, currently handles WBC super middleweight champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez, 6’ 7” junior middleweight Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora and unified WBA and IBF junior middleweight champion Jeison “Banana” Rosario, among others.
“I have been working with Javier Fortuna since his pro debut and he has always been a joy to work with him and his team,” said Lewkowicz. “Soon he will wear the championship belt in his third division and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of all his success. My fighters are like sons to me and I laugh and cry with them through the good times and the bad.”

Impact Network planning live shows for July

Impact Network planning live shows for July

Impact Network planning live shows for July
Live televised boxing events are being scheduled on the Impact Network in mid-July. Negotiations for fights in Las Vegas, Detroit, Chicago, and Florida for the Bahamas, are all underway as particular cities reopen up for business amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  With social distancing guidelines still in effect, Impact will stage these live boxing shows without fans in attendance. Impact is planning two-hour broadcasts.  Impact senior management Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, Terry Arnold, and Royal Jackson agree with their programming partner, Steven Marcano, that it’s time to return to work.
“I’m very excited about the return of boxing programming to Impact Network,” said Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, CEO, and president of the Impact Network. “Our network is growing immensely, and boxing will be a stable of our channel for years to come. These young men are eager to get back in the ring and we can’t wait to showcase their talent. In July we’ll be broadcasting our next live boxing event on Impact.”
“We are seeing great success with our “Stars and Champions” programming and we believe that momentum will continue forth when we resume live boxing events to Impact in July,” said Royal Jackson, Impact executive producer. “I’m excited about what the future holds for boxing on the Impact Network.”
“We are ready to resume live boxing events and programming on the Impact Network,” stated Steve Marcano of SMM Boxing, whose company is responsible for Impact’s admittance into the sport. “Right now, we are working closely with city officials to bring boxing back in certain states as the COVID-19 lockdown loosens up. If all goes as planned, we will have our next show back on Impact in July.”
“Our next card is being planned for July with several undefeated fighters set to make their Impact debut,” said Rick Torres, head of business and legal affairs for SMM Boxing. “Showcasing rising young stars in the sport is a feature we plan on emphasizing as we march forward with Impact.”
The Impact Network airs across all major cable, satellite, and digital channels. Impact is now broadcasting 24-hours a day, seven days a week, on DIRECTV’s Channel 380 or Channel 268, DISH Network’s Channel 268, Fios TV Channel 787, and Comcast’s Xfinity TV’s Channel 400. In addition, Impact Network can be viewed digitally on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft, and Sling. All live boxing events can be viewed on the Impact Network website and mobile app. Please check local listings in your area for more information.

Karlos Balderas processes his first pro loss

Karlos Balderas processes his first pro loss
Following a shocking loss, lightweight Karlos Balderas says he’s back—and better than before. Balderas admits that the first few days were hard for him. He sat there in a surreal state, numb to everything around him. He never lost before—not like this. Family and friends would show up with bread and praying in his parlor like someone died. Balderas greeted everyone. He wanted to uphold a lesson his grandfather imparted to him: “Always be a man.” That meant in good times—and bad.
That’s what happens when you lose for the time, especially when you’re a promising 23-year-old lightweight from Santa Maria, California, like Balderas. After starting his career 9-0, he was trying to wrap his mind around a stunning sixth-round TKO loss to Rene Tellez Giron on December 21st, in Ontario, California.
It happened on national TV. It happened after Balderas won every second of every round, except for two mistakes in the third and sixth rounds, which led to his undoing.  
He tried pleading with referee Ray Corona that he could continue. Still, it didn’t stop Corona from rightfully waving it over at 2:59 of the sixth. Instead, Balderas believes he’s going to come out better because of it.
Young, talented fighters like Balderas have two choices when they endure stunning setbacks at this early stage of their careers: Accept what went wrong and correct it, or stay in denial and never go any farther.  
Balderas took the courageous, bold route. He’s looked down into the abyss. He’s not afraid anymore. His willingness to face what happened is refreshing, especially in which the “everyone-gets-a-trophy” culture millennials have been raised in.
“I know guys my age that run from their mistakes,” Balderas said. “That’s them. It’s not me. It’s not how I was raised. I learned. I remember those first few days after I lost.
“My house was filled, and I mean filled with people coming in and out, like I died. But my grandfather told me and my brother to always be and act like a man; be strong. When you win, you step up and take everything in. When you lose, you hear this and that.
“I had no other choice—I faced it.”
Against Giron, Balderas was not exactly himself. He was dehydrated. His punches weren’t crisp. Mostly, every time he threw his right hand, it came with pain. “That’s my fault, I should have said something,” Balderas admitted. “I had a bunch of people message me after the fight that it wasn’t me at my best during that fight. If I was 100-percent of who I am—and I lost—I would have a tough time dealing with that.”
Balderas was never dropped before facing Giron, who is 14-1 (8 KOs) and whose one loss came against a very good fighter in Michel Rivera (18-0, 12 KOs) in his previous outing. “In some ways, I underestimated him,” Balderas said. “That’s something I have to learn from, too, and Giron is not a bad fighter. He’s a good fighter. I just don’t think he’s a better fighter than me, that’s for damned sure. Me and my team overlooked a lot of things in my camp. I weighed 134 the night of the fight, when I usually go up to 141, 142 during fight night. If I had one strong piece of advice to any young kid coming up, make sure that you’re 100-percent when you get into that ring.”
Balderas had broken his right hand in a seventh-round kayo victory over Robert Frankel in July 2019.
Balderas’ corner learned a valuable lesson. The team spoke about what happens if he gets in trouble again. Trained by his father, Zenon, and his uncle, David, Balderas was a 2016 Olympian who saw every style imaginable.
He was one of the most sought-after Olympians coming out the Rio de Janeiro games in Brazil. He wound up signing with Richard Schaefer and Ringstar Promotions.
“What attracted me to Carlos was his character and his family,” Schaefer said. “He has all of the right attributes and we were obviously all shocked by his loss. Things like that happen in boxing, and the question is what he makes out of it.
“He needs to make adjustments and grow. Many great fighters have lost early in their careers, and the one that comes to mind is Bernard Hopkins (who lost to Clinton Mitchell in his pro debut before embarking on his Hall of Fame career). Carlos has the right attitude and the right people around him to do that.”
David Balderas, Carlos’ uncle and main trainer, said he, too, could improve from the experience.
“I panicked in the corner after Carlos got knocked down in the third round,” David said. “We’re a team. Carlos didn’t spar during training camp getting close to the fight. When someone loses, the team loses and everyone has to be accountable.
“If you have people pointing fingers at each other, no one benefits. No one gets better. Carlos needs to listen what we’re telling him, and we need to think clearly, and calm down in the corner. I didn’t like the way I responded. 
“We’re honest people. We’re not going to lie to ourselves. Maybe because it was my nephew, my blood that I was thinking of protecting Carlos, being scared for him than giving him any kind of aggressive instruction. He was down and I panicked. Carlos is so good, he’ll be back. This whole experience will make him a better fighter.”
PBC press relase written by Joe Santoloquito

A victim of USA boxing politics, Javier Martinez to turn pro

A victim of USA boxing politics, Javier Martinez to turn pro
Split-T Management announced the signing of Javier Martinez [who was controversially denied a spot on the USA team for the next Olympics, scheduled for Tokyo next year]. Martinez, 23, was the 2020 Olympic Trial Champion at middleweight, but has decided to turn professional under the guidance of Split-T Management's Tim VanNewhouse. Editor's note: Martinez beat Joseph Hicks two out of three times at the US Olympic trials, but the coaches selected Hicks for the Omympic team].
A five-time National Champion, and the number-one ranked fighter at 165 pounds in the USA Boxing Rankings, Martinez's selection as an Olympic alternate despite his victory at the trials and various international experience caused shock throughout the amateur system.  "Being a casualty of the new Olympic selection process just makes me that much more determined. I am going to show, time and time again why I was deserving of that spot. That said, I am excited to turn professional, and this is the perfect situation. Tim came at me with a good plan for my future and I have a great feeling about him and the whole Split-T family," said Martinez.  
The son of Mexican immigrants from Palos Altos, Jalisco, Martinez began boxing at the age of eight after following his older brothers into the gym.  "I want to make something big out of boxing, and provide a better life for myself and family - especially my son.  At this point of my life, I feel that Split-T will move me the right way and guide me into becoming a world champion." 
A Milwaukee-native, Martinez is now training in Las Vegas, Nevada under the tutelage of  renowned trainer Jorge Capetillo, and is expected to make his debut at Super Middleweight within the next couple of months.  "Javier has good physical attributes as he stands 6'1". He has a fan-friendly, pressure style, who stalks his opponents behind a tight defense with well-selected combinations. He enjoys investing in the body, and shows a nice blend of aggression and power. Javier is a fundamentally complete fighter with balance, power and mobility.   That is why there were so many people trying to recruit him. Javier's the type of athlete that will be placed on a fast track and debut in a six-round bout. He will soon be paired with one of the best promoters in the world, and I can't wait to see him on TV soon," said VanNewhouse.

Jose Ramirez will be next guest on Impact Network

Jose Ramirez will be next guest on Impact Network

Jose Ramirez will be next guest on Impact Network
WBC/WBO 140-pound champion Jose Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) will be the featured guest on this week’s edition of Stars and Champions, airing this Friday, May 29th, on the Impact Network. Veteran boxing writer Dan Rafael will host the thirty-minute broadcast beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT. Ramirez, who is promoted by Top Rank, captured the WBC title when he defeated Amir Ahmed Imam (22-3, 19 KOs) in March of 2017. He defended twice in 2018, winning by unanimous decision against Antonio Orozco (28-2, 17 KOs) and by majority decision against Jose Zepeda (31-2, 25 KOs). In 2019 he won a unification bout against WBO champion Maurice Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs). 
The Impact Network will air “Stars and Champions” across all major cable, satellite, and digital channels. Impact is now broadcasting 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and can be viewed on DIRECTV’s Channel 380 or Channel 268, DISH Network’s Channel 268, Fios TV Channel 787, and Comcast’s Xfinity TV’s Channel 400. In addition, Impact Network can be viewed digitally on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft, and Sling. “Stars and Champions” can also be viewed on the Impact Network website and mobile app. Please check local listings in your area for more information.

Charlie Edwards leaves Matchroom for Queensberry Promotions

Charlie Edwards leaves Matchroom for Queensberry Promotions
Former WBC flyweight champion Charlie Edwards has signed a multi-fight deal with Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren. Edwards (15-1, 6KOs) will be moving up from flyweight to either bantamweight or superflyweight. Charlie vacated his WBC world crown after being severely weight-drained for his defense against Julio Cesar Martinez last August that ended in a no-contest. [Edwards was fortunate to escape with a no contest because he was about to get stopped when Martinez hit Edwards while Edwards had a nee on the canvas]. He joins his brother Sunny in the Queensberry Promotions camp and believes it’s only a matter of time before "The Croydon Klitschkos" are fighting in world title contests on the same bill.
Edwards, 27, said: “I was with Eddie Hearn for six years and I needed to freshen things up. I feel this is the next chapter of my career. I have seen what Frank has done for my brother Sunny. He has done very well for him from the start. Frank really looks after his fighters as well. I felt I was taken for granted and I am looking forward to getting started with Frank as my promoter.I have chatted to Frank at Sunny’s fights and the timing was right.  My management MTK sorted the deal, my adviser thought it was best for me and the offer is great.”
He added: “The next fight is likely to be a gauge to see where I’m at regarding my best weight. The main thing is keeping my world ranking at super flyweight [115 pounds] for now. I look at the bantamweight champions. I’m not deluded and say,  ‘I’m world level’ at that weight because that would be stupid. If I go to Bantamweight I wont be rushing to get in with world level fighters. It will be building up over a few fights. I have Frank behind me and he is not going to chuck me in at the deep end. It’s going to be building into the world title picture.”
Edwards insists he is more than happy to box on one of the behind closed doors extravaganzas Warren has planned this summer. His big hope is to fight on the same bill as his brother Sunny, who also has serious world title aspirations at super flyweight.
Charlie who trains alongside his brother under Grant Smith in Sheffield said: “Just mentioning me and my brother fighting for world titles on the same bill gives a tingle down my spine. “I did a bucket list some time ago. Sunny and myself fighting on the same show has always been there. That was another thing that made it perfect sense to join Frank because it can happen. We still try to outdo each other when we train. That is the beauty of it. We’re brothers, we have ultimate love and want the best for each other. We want to beat each other whether we’re sparring or on the track. We have progressed because we always push each other.”
Warren said: “I am absolutely delighted that Charlie has joined our team and we will work out a plan for him to become a two-weight champion. We have often spoke at my shows when Sunny has been boxing. We always got on well and shared a joke. The two brothers fighting for world titles on the same show isn’t a pipe-dream. We deliver and It is a realistic prospect.”
Charlie turned professional in January 2015. In September 2016 he fell short against high class Filipino John Riel Casimero in a IBF Flyweight title challenge, his only professional defeat.
Seven months later, Edwards outpointed Iain Butcher to become British Super-Flyweight champion, a crown now held by his younger brother, Sunny.
Charlie upset defending champion Cristofer Rosales on points to become WBC Flyweight title holder in December 2018. He made one successful defence three months later in a points decision against Angel Moreno.

Catching up with Robert Easter

Catching up with Robert Easter
Toledo, Ohio, is much like every other medium-sized city in the USA, indeed the world, battling the scourge of the coronavirus pandemic. The Glass City has been struggling to open back up after much of its business community and citizens have been shuttered the last few months. Toledoans are restless and weary of watching old movies and old sporting events on a TV landscape barren of live sports competition at any level. Ohio is one of those states that absolutely needs its sports. Football, basketball, baseball, hockey . . . and boxing.
One of the city’s most well-known and beloved athletes is a boxer, and a former IBF lightweight champion, the only fistic champion the city has produced. But like most every other athlete in Ohio and across the nation, Robert Easter Jr. (22-1-1, 14 KOs) has been kept from pursuing his profession by the nationwide stay-at-home order. It’s been seven months since “E-Bunny” has been in a ring competitively, and Lord knows the next time he will set foot in one.
Easter Jr. and his father and trainer, Robert Easter Sr., are champing at the bit waiting for someone, anyone, to give them the signal to move forward. Meanwhile, they’re doing all they can under the circumstances. “It’s been very tough, but we’ve been doing what we can do, and that’s running, shadow boxing, hitting the mitts and we got a bag we can hit on, too,” says Robert Sr., himself a former professional boxer. “So we’re doing pretty decent, as far as that goes.”
Easter Jr. agrees on the tough part, but adds, “We’re sticking it out. I’ve been hanging with a lot of family and friends at the house, for the most part trying to stay out of the way, trying [not] to get yelled at by my dad every couple days, if he sees me out doing stuff. But mostly I’ve been sticking to it.”
A typical day for E-Bunny, when he’s not working out, goes something like this: “I’ll be chilling at the house, playing with my (nearly three-year-old) son (Robert Easter III), have a few of my friends over, sitting around watching movies. I go out for a drive sometimes (in his Dodge Ram Special Edition truck) because I can’t stand just being in the house. But I’m always in thought. Always.”
And trying to stay safe and healthy, right? “I don’t like wearing masks, I really don’t,” Easter Jr. admits. “My dad gets on me about that. But I take a lot of vitamins and stuff to keep my immune system up. Just being prepared.”
So how tough is it to get motivated to work hard and stick to it during the pandemic, not knowing when things will start rolling again? Not that tough, says the trainer. “Truthfully, it’s more motivating like this because we (so badly) want to get back at it.” 
Easter Sr., who has trained his son since he started boxing at age 9, has been back as Junior’s head trainer for their last two fights following a failed experiment that ended with Robert’s first and only loss and the loss of his lightweight belt to then-undefeated Mikey Garcia nearly two years ago.
Robert Sr. didn’t really want to let his son head to Florida to train with noted trainer Kevin Cunningham for the July 2018 title unification bout, but gave it his blessing, though he was around from start to finish. “I was there giving instructions and talking to my son every day of the camp.”
Was it the wrong decision? “It was very wrong,” Easter Sr. claims, “that was the wrong time to be doing something different, because there was nothing wrong with what we (had been) doing. That’s my son, he’s my fighter and fighters like to try to do something on their own and make decisions, good or bad. That being said, I wasn’t the type of person that said, ‘I told you so.’  The fight was over and that was it. Done deal, nothing more to talk about.” 
Says Robert Jr., simply: “I went [down] there and things didn’t work out. So the bond just got stronger with my dad and we went to work” (with the help of another Ohio trainer, Cincinnati’s Mike Stafford, who had long worked with the Easters before the Cunningham experiment).
Two more fights followed, resulting in a split draw against Rances Barthelemy for the vacant WBA lightweight title, then a move up to 140 pounds to fight Adrian Granados, who was coming off a KO loss to Danny Garcia, in a ten-round, non-title fight last October. Easter Jr. finally got back in the win column by unanimous decision. He was underwhelmed by his performances in the trio of fights.
“It was difficult taking my first loss, but I stayed motivated, stayed hungry. The draw against Barthelemy was frustrating because I believe I edged it out. He’s a counter-puncher, I’m a counter-puncher, but I feel like I was the aggressor, and I felt I should’ve won that,” the 29-year-old, 5-foot, 11-inch fighter says. “Then I decided to move up, because I felt like making that weight (135 pounds), it wasn’t hard, but once I got down there, I could just feel it in my body. So I decided to move up and feel stronger.”
Now the Easters work out at a private gym in Toledo and wait for the call. Not knowing when he will get back in the ring weighs on Junior’s mind. “Yeah, I do (worry about it), but I spoke with Al (Haymon), and he told me to just stay busy, stay training, and things will be opening back up pretty soon. We’re going to continue to work and be patient until things get back to normal.”
When that happens, the Easters have their minds on some of the big names at 140 pounds. Champions such as Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez, and others, like Regis Prograis and PBC stablemate Mario Barrios, were some names raised. “Very good fighters, they make tough fights, tough opponents, so yeah, all the top guys at 140 I’m interested in,” Easter Jr. says. “Not one specific guy, but any of the top fighters.”
Papa Easter says that they will look at one, possibly even two warmup fights before going full throttle. “It all depends on how the (first) warmup goes. If this pandemic wasn’t happening it would have been a different story,” the trainer insists. “I’ll just leave it at that, that we’re going for a warmup fight then something else might be made.”
When boxing does resume, it will likely be without fans in the stands, at least for a while. That scenario will all but do away with the advantage of fighting in one’s hometown, and could mean large, expensive venues will be bypassed for smaller, cheaper venues. 
“We like fighting in front of a crowd, and hearing them cheer,” Easter Jr. says. “But I guess with things like that, hopefully we’ll just have to make the ratings go up, and I think they will because a lot of people at home are going to be watching.”
Adds the trainer: “Just know that we’ll be back soon.”
PBC press release written by Bob Velin

Boxing returns to Dominican Republic on May 30th

Boxing returns to Dominican Republic on May 30th

Boxing returns to Dominican Republic on May 30th
Boxing returns to the Dominican Republic on Saturday, May 30th. Promoter Shuan Boxing is organizing an event to be broadcast by ESPN KnockOut. The event will be held behind closed doors and all measures will be taken to safeguard the health of the participants. The main event will feature the charismatic Norbelto “Meneíto” Jiménez (29-9-5) against Eliézer “Campeoncito” Aquino (21-4-1). The two men fought to a technical draw early in their careers. Jimenez recently dropped a WBA 115-pound title challenge to Khalid Yafai, butt he is best known for a draw in a 2014 world title challenge against Koheio Kono in Kono's home country, Japan. The chief support will be a 140-pound contest between Juan Carlos Cordones (14-2) and José Luis Salazar (13-0).
Local authorities have approved the program, and the WBA Safety Protocol created by the WBA Medical Committee will be used as a guideline. According to the WBA, the athletes and their teams who will be fighting on Saturday night are already in preventive isolation separately. They will wait until Wednesday to undergo the serological test to determine if they are free of Covid-19. Only after testing negative they will be able to go to the host hotel.
On Thursday, the gym will be completely disinfected, using previously authorized products and following the recommendations of the relevant institutions. The weigh-in ceremony on the 28th will have all the necessary precautions, including the use of an acrylic guard to separate the fighters when they go face to face, while all the staff will carry implements such as a mask, an antibacterial gel and everything included in the security kit previously sent by the WBA.
The day of the fight, only essential personnel will be allowed into the ring, meaning only the fighters and referees, while the technical personnel will have the necessary distances between them to be around the ring. The announcer will do his job in a platform far from the ring; and the round girls will also be in a remote area, not in the ring.
Athletes will be transported separately in individual cars. Since there will be no public, there will be plenty of space in the venue, so no one will share dressing rooms, every team will have their own spaces. Except for the fighters, everybody in the place will use masks and all the necessary gear to maintain safety. 
Gilberto Jesús Mendoza, president of the WBA, said in a press release, "the WBA is focused on getting the activity back on track and for that reason we are supporting several promoters around the world. However, the most important thing is that boxing returns in a safe way. That is why we created the most complete health protocol to serve as a guideline for those who have the possibility of doing boxing. Most importantly, the well-being of the athlete is paramount, and that is where all our efforts are focused on.”
Meanwhile, Bélgica Peña, from Shuan Boxing, talked about her team’s motivation: “Everything came up after watching an interview of Gilberto Jesús Mendoza with ESPN KnockOut where we saw that we had the opportunity to develop it in our country. Before getting the permissions, we put the boxers to work in isolation, we organized a careful health protocol which we shared with the WBA and they strengthened it in order to ensure the safety of the boxers and everyone involved”.

Toowoomba, Australia planning to go live on JUly 11th

Toowoomba, Australia planning to go live on JUly 11th
Coronavirus restrictions remain in Australia, but on July 11th, TGW & Smithy's Promotions is turning up the lights in Toowoomba for a fully catered, full broadcast studio set-up with two pro bouts, and two exhibitions mixed in wth boxing films. "The main event will be Steven Spark against Mick Whitehead and we will see the emergence of an outstanding prospect Jake Wyllie who will make his debut," promoter Brendon Smith said. "I believe Steven Spark is a future champion so this is an important step against Mick Whitehead who has everything to gain and nothing to lose and Jake Wyllie is the pride of Warwick and off the back of an outstanding amateur career is ready to flourish in the pros. The junior welterweight bout looks to be competitive as Spark is 9-1, compared to 7-3-1 for Whitehad.
There will also be studio interviews re-living some of the great fights hosted in the Garden City over the years. Smith continued, "In addition to the live boxing action we are also going to celebrate the legends of the sport in the Garden City. We've had so many amazing fights here in Toowoomba and many - the footage has never been seen so we want to use this opportunity to re-live some of the legendary battles that have taken place here.
"We might be down but we're not out, coronavirus may have taken round one but we're fighting back in round two," Smith said. "The lockdown restrictions we are all facing has brought a halt to a lot of events but I always believe there is a positive out of a negative so we've come up with this innovative idea.
"We will have a small audience locked into our venue at Smithy's TGW Gym - which will be transformed into a television studio -  and we'll be turning the lights up and broadcasting it to the World on through local broadcasting companies Digital Dynamics and Tanner Smith Videography and we'll have James O'Shea and Joel Stower from the Semi-Pros hosting it.
"Outside the Ring" is a regular feature centered on the charitable efforts of PBC fighters. Learn more about what motivates these boxers and the causes they support outside the ring.
"From Michael Katsidis' journey from Charlton to the bright lights of Vegas, Kris George rising through the ranks knocking out Ozan Craddock in one of the most anticipated Queensland title fights ever staged as well as the first ever Commonwealth title fight held in Toowoomba against Cameron Hammond, Iron Will Young and his legendary battles for the Aussie title against the likes of Luke Jackson and Ben Warburton, who could forget the epic matches between Herman Ene-Purcell and Will Nasio.
"It doesn't end there, the list goes on - we want to get these guys in the studio and re-live some of these great fights with James O'Shea and Joel Stower from the Semi-Pros.
"The event will be fully catered by De Dutch Cafe.
"I'm really excited by this proposition, it's going to be a great event."  
The event will feature two professional bouts including an IBF Australasian title contest as well as two exhibition bouts as well as in studio interviews re-living some of the great fights hosted in the Garden City over the years.
"The main event will be Steven Spark against Mick Whitehead and we will see the emergence of an outstanding prospect Jake Wyllie who will make his debut," Smith said. "I believe Steven Spark is a future champion so this is an important step against Mick Whitehead who has everything to gain and nothing to lose and Jake Wyllie is the pride of Warwick and off the back of an outstanding amateur career is ready to flourish in the pros.
Smith continued, "In addition to the live boxing action we are also going to celebrate the legends of the sport in the Garden City. We've had so many amazing fights here in Toowoomba and many - the footage has never been seen so we want to use this opportunity to re-live some of the legendary battles that have taken place here.

Shawn Porter to guest on Impact Network talk show

Shawn Porter to guest on Impact Network talk show
Two-time welterweight champion, Shawn Porter (30-3-1, 17 KOs), who fights under the PBC (Premier Boxing Champions) banner, will be the featured guest on “Stars and Champions”, airing tonight (Friday May 22nd) on the Impact Network. The 30-minute weekly show on the state of boxing during the COVID-19 pandemic, hosted by Dan Rafael, begins at 10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT.   The Impact Network will air “Stars and Champions” across all major cable, satellite, and digital channels. Impact is now broadcasting 24-hours a day, seven days a week, on DIRECTV’s Channel 380 or Channel 268, DISH Network’s Channel 268, Fios TV Channel 787, and Comcast’s Xfinity TV’s Channel 400. In addition, Impact Network can be viewed digitally on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft, and Sling. “Stars and Champions” can also be viewed on the Impact Network website and mobile app. Please check local listings in your area for more information. 

Broner: "I'm a rapper now"

Broner: "I'm a rapper now"

Broner: "I'm a rapper now"

In a video posted on social media by ESPN, former four-division champion Adrien Broner says his proce for a comeback has not been met, so he will not pursue a fight at this time. Broner said, "I aint heard from [Showtime Boxing chief] Stephen Espinoza. Me and Al [Haymon] we talk everyday but ain't nobody talking abut that ten million [the purse Broner wants for a comeback fight]. So I'll take that as, I'm still retired. So what I'm going to do is just focus on my album. I'm just a rapper. I'm a rapper now." Broner (33-4-1) has not fought since a poor performance in a loss to Manny Pacquiao in January 2019.

World Boxing Super Series talks season three, but silent on Dorticos-Briedis season two finale

World Boxing Super Series talks season three, but silent on Dorticos-Briedis season two finale
Andreas Benz, CEO of Comosa, the promoter of the World Boxing Super Series: As everybody knows we are living in special times. Times where we can all use the qualities boxers and the referee’s advice to them before they go into battle: “Protect yourself at all times”. Keep safe so you don’t get caught with an unpleasant and surprising hit. This is what all of us are asked to do now in our daily lives when keeping distance, wearing face masks, and rubber gloves. Not only to protect ourselves but each other.
The World Boxing Super Series team is using this time ‘undercover’ to prepare the course for the time after the lockdown. We are constantly planning exciting things and we will inform you fans about them regularly, once a month. In the past weeks, we have let some of the biggest names in boxing compete against each other in our eWBSS legends tournaments which saw the electronic versions of Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Robinson win their respective competitions simulated in the EA Sports ‘Fight Night Champion’.
Friday, May 8th, we brought the legendary English pub quizzes online with our first edition of ‘Kalle’s Big Fat Sports Quiz’ presented by Kalle Sauerland, our Chief Boxing Officer. You can watch it here and expect the next quiz on Friday (May 22nd).
In addition, we have a number of other plans, but we are particularly looking forward to arranging exciting bouts when the external circumstances allow us again. Here too, our virtual ambassador, Muhammad Ali, serves as inspiration. As he once said: “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
We are planing and refining a third season of the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy for you and look forward to when the ‘lights’ described by Ali come on again and the dance continues in boxing rings around the world.

Twitter chatter: Top Rank gym reopens in Las Vegas

Twitter chatter: Top Rank gym reopens in Las Vegas
Top Rank tweet: In the freshly sanitized Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas, [bantamweight] twins Andrew Moloney and Jason Moloney today were the first two fighters to enter back through the doors to train, maintaining proper safety protocols in the process. 

Prograis lashes out at the haters

Prograis lashes out at the haters

Regis Prograis on Twitter: "I bought a brand new house in New Orleans for my mom for $305K cash and I hear people talking sh*t. Please people mind y’all f---ing business. Jealousy is a bitch. Don’t hate on me cause you’re not in my leauge. I’ve surpassed a lot of y’all in life and I’m just starting out. "


Top Rank requests permission for shows on June 9th and June 11th in Vegas

Top Rank requests permission for shows on June 9th and June 11th in Vegas
The Nevada State Athletic Commission will hold a meeting on Wednesday, May 27th. On the agenda will be requests from Top Rank for permits to hold two shows in June. The agenda states that the Commission has received a request from Top Rank, Inc. for a program permit to promote a professional boxing event to be held on June 9, 2020 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, to be televised on ESPN or ESPN+. The second request from Top Rank is for a program permit to promote a professional boxing event to be held on June 11th, also at MGM Grand, and also be televised on ESPN on ESPN+.

Boxingtalk salutes Anthony Dirrell for striving to make Flint, Michigan a better place

Boxingtalk salutes Anthony Dirrell for striving to make Flint, Michigan a better place
A child who grew up in poverty never forgets what it’s like. Many use it as a source of motivation and fight for a better life. Those who attain that will often give back to the ones going through a similar experience. Two-time super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KOs) is such a person. He and his five siblings (including fellow boxer Andre Dirrell) grew up in Flint, Michigan, where Anthony still resides. "My granddaddy (Leon ‘Bumper’ Lawson) took over as young boys and gave my mom a break," Dirrell said. "It was a well-deserved break and I respect him for that. We didn’t have much. We wasn’t down on the bottom, we were just getting by. But we made it out and we made a name for ourselves. That’s what it’s all about."
Dirrell is now in a position to help others experiencing circumstances similar to the ones he encountered growing up. Between fights, he dedicates much of his time to showing others, particularly children, that there is a way out. "With all the things I’ve been through, from where I grew up in poverty, not having much, and now, seeing kids the same way—I just wanted to make a change,” said Dirrell. “That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to change a kid’s life. Even if it’s just one little kid, that one kid can inspire other kids, when he gets older, to do the right thing. That’s the plan."
In 2006, at the age of 21, Dirrell was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Forever a fighter, he continued to train between treatments that lasted two years. Thankfully, he recovered fully. The experience prompted Dirrell to create the Dirrell's Chance Foundation to help others fighting similar battles. "I grounded it in things I wanted to do. The purpose of the foundation is to help find a cure for cancer, to stop bullying, and help kids with their education too,” Dirrell explained. “I give out turkeys every year, Christmas gifts, and just do charitable things throughout the year because that’s the type of person I am. I just want to give back and make people smile. If I can make someone smile then I’ve done my good deed for the day.” 
During the holiday season last year, Dirrell performed random acts of kindness for strangers daily for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Whether he was in Flint or happened to be somewhere else like Los Angeles, he continued the campaign and posted about it on social media to inspire others to give. “Around the holidays, it’s hard times, so if I can take some stress off someone else, I’ll do it,” said Dirrell. “I went to Target and gave people gift cards. If I saw someone I’d just pay for their stuff right then and there. That’s what that season is about, giving and not looking for something in return.”
On May 9th, Dirrell hosted a virtual "Flint Fight Night" event where various athletes faced off by playing UFC 3 on PlayStation 4. The event was free to watch, but viewers were encouraged to donate to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint. The athletes who took part included Anthony’s brother Andre, Errol Spence Jr., Claressa Shields, Adrien Broner, [Adam] 'Pacman' Jones, Kyle Kuzma, Eddie Jones, Josh Smith, Joey Spencer, and Brandon Carr.
“These are the same people who give back in their communities also,” said Dirrell. “It was a blessing that they committed to it. It’s a good cause—we are 100% for the kids. This is a new generation coming up, and we have to teach them right from wrong. With the Boys & Girls Club, you can go there if you’re tired of being at home, if you need help with your homework, if you just want to sit there and talk to somebody, or if you just want to go.”
Dirrell’s aspirations don’t end there. “I’m trying to open a second Boys & Girls Club [in Flint]. We only have one, and some kids can’t get to that one [on the other side of town].” 
The funds raised for the Boys & Girls Club of Flint from the virtual Fight Night event will provide water, food, educational work packets and more for the people of Flint who are simultaneously dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic on top of the longstanding Flint Water Crisis. 
The water crisis began in April 2014, when the city changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewage Department water to the Flint River. City officials neglected to apply corrosion inhibitors to the water, and the result was lead—a heavy metal neurotoxin—leaking from aging pipes into the water supply. 
“For this to be going on since 2014 without clean pipes, it’s an issue,” said Dirrell. “I want to spread awareness to the world, to the US, that this is an issue in Flint, Michigan, in your country, in your state. And now because of COVID-19 they tell you to wash your hands, but you can’t wash your hands with dirty water.
Dirrell believes the water crisis will be fixed—but only if those who are in a position to fight for those who are not do so. 
“We’ll get it resolved,” Dirrell declared. “That’s the thing about Flint, Michigan. We stick together and we act as one whenever we go through something. We’re still going through it but we’re still staying strong.”. 
Anyone can donate to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint, whose mission is “to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”
PBC Press Release written by Caryn A. Tate

WBA develops (unreleased) protocols for the return of boxing

WBA develops (unreleased) protocols for the return of boxing
The WBA has developed its safety protocol for the gradual return to training and boxing events in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. A 19-page document, written by qualified specialists who are members of the WBA Medical Committee, gives guidelines on how to return to boxing activity safely. The document is being distributed to  promoters and commissions. According to the WBA, the protocol explains the phases that fighters must complete before they can box again and includes how their training must be depending on their environments and the internal regulations of their countries. It also explains all the relevant safety measures for the boxers, the technical staff and all those involved in the sport. It contains details of all the measures that must be followed in order to protect the health of the main actors of boxing at press conferences, reading of rules, weigh-in ceremonies, boxing gyms and, of course, at events with or without an audience.
Nina Radcliff, graduate of Biomedical Sciences from the University of California; Jorge Ramirez, Physical Education professors from the Institute of Physics, Culture and Sport, Kiev, Ukraine; Joseph Estwanik, Orthopedic Surgeon and member of the Carolina Hall of Fame; Shivana Inalsingh, Certified in Anatomy and Physiology from the American College of Health Sciences; Karanjeet Singh, a member of the ASBC Medical Commission, and Saul Saucedo, a doctor from the Autonomous University of Mexico with extensive experience in sports, were in charge of working for weeks on this pro-boxing protocol.

Introducing British amateur Khalid Ayub

Introducing British amateur Khalid Ayub

MTK Global announced of the signing of British amateur Khalid Ayub to a management contract as he turns professional. From Halifax,Ayub achieved plenty of success as an amateur, winning a number of national and GB titles and also representing England, and he’s excited to now be entering the paid ranks alongside MTK Global. Ayub said: “I’m very happy and feel so proud to have joined with MTK Global. They are the best management in the world and I’ve seen how they have helped other fighters and know this is the right platform for my career to progress in the right way. I’m very glad to have signed a deal with them and look forward to working together.

“To know that I’m in the same team as the likes of so many world champions and other world level fighters is a dream come true. I’m honoured to be a part of this team and they are great inspirations and I hope to achieve what they have too.
“I’m from Halifax and have been into boxing from a very young age. I was first introduced at three years old as my dad was a former boxer and had my first bout at 10. In my amateur career I’ve won four national titles, 2 GB titles and also represented England internationally as well.
“With a team like MTK Global, I want to achieve the best things in boxing and I hope to be a world champion one day. At the moment I’m only young and there is still a very long time for my game to develop but I know that I need the right guidance and with MTK Global I have that and I just can’t wait to get my journey started in the professional ranks with my new team.”
News on Ayub’s professional debut will be announced in due course.

Salita building an impressive YouTube fight library

Salita building an impressive YouTube fight library
Salita Promotions continues to expand its free, online library of fights by acquiring license rights to the boxing video libraries of former prominent boxing promotions firms Cedric Kushner Promotions (CKP) and America Presents. The flicensed fights will be added to Salita' Promotions YouTube Channel. The massive CKP library, contains more than 1000 hours of premium bouts previously aired on the world's leading television networks, including HBO, ESPN, and EuroSport.  In his hall-of-fame career as a manager and then promoter, Kushner worked with a lineup of well-known heavyweight champions and contenders including Hasim Rahman, Shannon Briggs, Oleg Maskaev, Chris Byrd, Corrie Sanders, Ike Ibeabuchi and David Tua.
"Cedric was a wonderful individual and in my opinion a hall-of-fame boxing promoter,” said Steven Heid, Vice President of the library’s keepers, ACH Services. “It is an honor and a great pleasure to be able to bring many historic fights back to the public for their viewing pleasure, especially during these tough times.”  
The America Presents collection, from the archives of the company formerly run by late hall-of-famer Dan Goossen, covera a time period from the mid-1990s to 2002. America Presents has more than 300 hours of exciting action featuring the likes of Joel Casamayor, Hector Camacho, Wayne McCullough, David Reid and David Tua, among others.
The extensive collection comes in addition to the Salita Promotions library and previously announced Warriors Boxing fights already available on the Salita Promotions YouTube Channel featuring former heavyweight champions Wladimir Klitschko, Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer, Sultan Ibragimov, Samuel Peter, and Shannon Briggs and Ray Mercer. Other stars represented on the channel include Hector “Macho” Camacho, Joel Casamayor, Kelly Pavlik, Vic Darchinyan, Edison Miranda, Juan Urango, Celestino Caballero, Andrzej Fonfara and Tomoki Kameda, plus women’s superstar Claressa Shields and many of today’s most exciting up-and-comers. 
“I am excited about giving boxing fans historic fights and fighters from decades past,” said Dmitriy Salita. “ Fight fans can relive some of the best moments in boxing history on our YouTube Channel available to all around the world.” 

ESPN2 to air Leonard-Hagler plus four other controversial decisions

ESPN2 to air Leonard-Hagler plus four other controversial decisions
Wednesday, May 20th will be a night of boxing on ESPN2 when the network airs five consecutive hours of big fights that ended in controversial decisions. The most interesting fight will air at 10 p.m. ET when Sugar Ray Leonard (pictured) is shown battling Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1987. In addition to the linear telecast, all these fights are also available on ESPN+. Exclusively available to subscribers, ESPN+ features a library of hundreds of the most important fights in boxing history. Here is Wednesday's five-fight line-up:
Oscar De La Hoya vs Félix Trinidad (7 P.M. ET): The two long-reigning welterweight champions and pound-for-pound greats met in the "Fight of the Millennium" on Sept. 18, 1999,  with De La Hoya defending his WBC title and Trinidad defending his IBF title.  De La Hoya landed 97 more punches (263 to 166), but after 12 tensely fought rounds, Trinidad was controversially declared the winner by majority decision. The bout set the pay-per-view record for a non-heavyweight fight with 1.4 million buys, a mark that stood until it was broken by De La Hoya-Mayweather on May 5, 2007.
Oscar De La Hoya vs Shane Mosley II (8 P.M. ET): In a rematch of their first bout in June 2000 — won by Mosley via split decision — De La Hoya put his WBA and WBC super welterweight world titles on the line against the former welterweight and lightweight world champion. According to CompuBox, De La Hoya landed more punches (221-127) and was the more accurate puncher (36%-26%). Despite De La Hoya winning in the eyes of most boxing experts, Mosley was declared the winner in a controversial unanimous decision.
Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Márquez III (9 P.M. ET): The only fight of the four between them not to feature a knockdown, Pacquiao and Márquez once again went to a decision in this WBO welterweight title fight. Pacquiao was making the third defense of his title and landed more punches (176-138), but Márquez was the more accurate of the two fighters, according to CompuBox (32%-30%). The bout generated 1.4 million pay-per-view buys in the United States, which was Pacquiao’s best pay-per-view total until his 2015 mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard (10 P.M. ET): Longtime middleweight champion Hagler had made 12 successful defense of his world title before facing the returning Sugar Ray Leonard, who had not fought in almost three years. Leonard, who was attempting to win a world title in a third weight class, built an early lead, but Hagler came on strong late. Ring Magazine named Hagler-Leonard the 1987 Fight of the Year, and the split decision victory for Leonard cemented a comeback for the ages.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. José Luis Castillo I (11 P.M. ET): After eight successful defenses of his super featherweight title, Mayweather moved up in weight for his lightweight debut against Castillo, who was making the fourth defense of his WBC title. According to CompuBox, Castillo outlanded Mayweather 203-157. HBO’s ringside judge, the late Harold Lederman, scored the fight for Castillo by four points. The official judges, however, scored it unanimously in Mayweather’s favor.
ESPN+ features a library of hundreds of the most important fights in boxing history, as well as recent Top Rank on ESPN fight cards for replay, all streaming on demand. The historic fights on ESPN+ include legendary heavyweight showdowns like Ali vs. Frazier III, Ali vs. George Foreman, Joe Louis vs. Billy Conn, Tyson vs. Holmes, Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney, Max Baer vs. James J. Braddock, Ali vs. Sonny Liston I & II, Wilder vs. Fury II and many more.
Time (ET) Matchup Platform (All fights are also available streaming on demand on ESPN+)
7:00 PM Oscar De La Hoya vs. Félix Trinidad ESPN2
8:00 PM Oscar De La Hoya vs. Shane Mosley II ESPN2
9:00 PM Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez III ESPN2
10:00 PM Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard ESPN2
11:00 PM Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. José Luis Castillo I ESPN2

Walter Matthysse Jr. ready to turn pro

Walter Matthysse Jr. ready to turn pro
Sampson Boxing has announced the signing of Argentinean middleweight Walter Ezequiel Matthysse Jr. to a multi-year co-promotional contract, along with Argentina-based Tello Box.  His father, Walter Matthysse Sr., challenged Kermit Cintron for the IBF welterweight championship. The 21 year-old Matthysse is also the nephew of hard-punching former 140-pound title holder Lucas Matthysse.  A decorated amateur in his native Argentina, Matthysse started boxing at age 11 and has an outstanding amateur record of 59-3-1 (30 KOs). 
Matthysse will turn professional in Argentina at the conclusion of the pandemic with the goal of becoming the latest new star on the live-boxing television series Premier Boxing Champions in the United States.  “I’m very happy and proud that a company like Sampson Boxing has noticed me and I promise to give my best in this new stage of my career," said the young Matthysse.
Matthysse is trained by his uncle, Mario “Mauko” Narvaez, the brother of two-time world champion Omar Andres Narvaez and husband of two-time female world champion Edith Soledad Matthysse.  “We chose Sampson Boxing and Tello Box because I have known them for a long time and they give tranquility and security in the way they work,” said Narvaez. 
New co-promoter Lewkowicz says his newest fighter will be relocating his base of operations after making his high-profile debut at home.  “As soon as the pandemic allows it, Walter Jr. will make his professional debut live on TyC Sports in Argentina,” said Lewkowicz. “He will then be moving to Coachella, California, to train with Freddy Fundora after that, together with our great Uruguayan prospect Amilcar Vidal and one of the world’s best [154 pounders], Sebastian ‘Towering Inferno’ Fundora.”
“I am happy that Walter has signed with Sampson and Tello,” sad former middleweight world champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez. “Walter can trust his new team because he is surrounded by the best. It was a blessing that god put my career in the hands of Sampson.”
“This young fighter is from Argentinean boxing royalty,” continued Lewkowicz. “His father was a boxer. His uncle was a boxer. His grandfather was a boxer. His aunt was a boxer. I am very happy to be working with this future world champion and his family and team. Argentina will soon have another of its sons to fight on PBC and ShoBox and wear the world championship belt.”

Congolese welterweight Jonathan Kumuteo to turn pro despite rare skin disease

 Congolese welterweight Jonathan Kumuteo to turn pro despite rare skin disease
African-born welterweight Jonathan Kumuteo is set to turn pro under the promotional guidance of Frank Warren and Queensberry Promotions. The 24 year-old was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will enter the pro ranks working from the Bushey, England base of trainer Josh Burnham.  Kumuteo, who describes himself as an aggressive counter-puncher enjoyed success in the amateur ranks with victory in the London Novice U20 championships and was a finalist in the National Novice championships, clocking up 28 fights as an amateur.
However, his amateur experience was punctuated by the suffering of Hidradenitis Suppurativa, (HS), which is a chronic inflammatory skin disease, for a little over four years.⁣
The condition affected his ability to compete in tournaments, as well as his availability to accept international recognition by both England and the the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“I started boxing in 2012 and it affected me for over half of my amateur career,” explained Kumuteo, who hails from Finchley. “I had three operations, the most recent being in November 2018, which I have fully recovered from.
“The first operation was minor, but the second was a particularly depressing time where I lost all my strength and literally had to rebuild from scratch. I remember first going back to the gym when I couldn’t even bench-press ten reps with no weights.
“I still boxed and lost in the London Alliance finals before following up with my dermatologist to determine the best course of action with regards to boxing again. The skin around my under arms was very weak and would always tear open.
“Sometimes I could train and sometimes I couldn’t. In my opinion I should have had at least 60-plus bouts in the amateurs but wasn’t able to due to all the time out.
“I was then advised I would need skin graft surgery if I wished to pursue a boxing career. I recovered for three months and have been in the gym ever since February 2019 training for my professional debut.
“When having to go through the pain I had to go through and still boxing for four years I found there were people going through similar situations and winning with it. When I found this out I stopped complaining and got on with everything.
“Now I am completely healed and free from medication I feel I am going to be unstoppable because if I can win the London Novice championships taking heavy medication every day, what would I have been like now that I am good?”
It was a similar will to win and an insatiable competitive streak that first led him to lacing up and stepping into the ring in the first place.
“As a youngster I was always highly competitive and if there could be a winner – in whatever it was – I always wanted to win.
“A friend of mine challenged me to spar him down at the local boxing club and initially I wasn’t interested. I decided to give it a go after a few more challenges and I fell in love with sport instantly and joined Finchley ABC.”
When he is not boxing, Kumuteo, who enjoys a sizeable following on social media thanks in no small way to sharing his experience of HS, likes to turn his hand to creative forms of media to share with his followers.
“I put that down to being creative and always thinking outside of the box. I am actually interested in photography and videography and I like to cast myself as being creative. I am always studying anything to do it, whether it be in sport, fashion and whatever.
“My own Instagram page is unlike anyone else’s and I call it a seamless feed because all my images connect. No matter image I upload, it is almost like a collage and whatever the size the images all connect one by one.
“I hope my boxing is seamless as well,” he continued, adding in a career goal for good measure.
Preparing to embark on his professional journey working hard in solitary at his gym, Kumuteo insists the launch of his career and continued development couldn’t be in better hands. In his first interview as a Queensberry fighter, Kumuteo spoke to Dev Sahni here. “It means a lot because signing with Queensberry and Frank means I am with one of the biggest companies in the UK and Europe. To have the platform and backing is a dream come true.”
“I know I can perform and I have the potential. With the right team, like Frank Warren and Queensberry, I believe I can go all the way.
“I have been training and the bag has become my best friend during lockdown. I am ready to go.”

Callum Johnson plots path back to second title shot

Callum Johnson plots path back to second title shot
British light heavyweight Callum Johnson, best known for knocking down Artur Beterbiev in a failed title bid, believes that a huge domestic clash with rising Joshua Buatsi is inevitable down the line. Speaking with Chris Lloyd in the latest episode of Matchroom Boxing’s podcast The Lockdown Tapes, Jo0hnson sais, "the Buatsi fight is going to happen. It’s the easier fight to make and whether it happens next or the one after I believe it will and it’s a good fight that will generate a lot of interest with the British fight fans. Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs) was due to meet Russia’s Igor Mikhalkin for the vacant EBU European championahip on the undercard of Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin at Manchester Arena on May 2nd before the event was postponed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A win over Mikhalkin would have bolstered Johnson’s chances of securing a second world title shot after his sole career loss to Artur Beterbiev for the IBF belt in 2018, but Johnson remains fully focused on European glory and a potential meeting with Matchroom stablemate Buatsi once it is safe for boxing to resume. “It may be tough to get a world title shot but if the European title clash happens then that will put me right back up there in contention. If I am European champ, I feel the promoters can make it happen but it’s also down to getting the opportunities.
“I have got to focus on getting that European belt as it is a good one for the collection and I’d have British, Commonwealth, European then go for the World. When things do get back to normal I will be ready. I’m training really hard and consistently and I think I’m in the best shape of my life. I have another two or three good years in me that I think a lot of people are going to enjoy. I am 34 going on 25! The improvements I have made in the last seven weeks have been exciting and I can’t wait to get back in there.”
As well as speaking about a potential showdown with Buatsi and his European and World Title ambitions, Johnson reflects on winning Gold at the 2010 Commonwealth games in Delhi, his Olympic regrets, his World Title shot against Artur Beterbiev, fighting behind closed doors and more.

Some overdue recognition for Moruti Mthalane

Some overdue recognition for Moruti Mthalane
South Africa superstar South Africa superstar Moruti Mthalane has been rewarded for his incredible run of form in recent times – after receiving a special achievement award from the IBF.
Mthalane (39-2, 26 KOs) won the IBF flyweight title back in 2018, and has defended it on three occasions since then, with the most recent coming in December when he earned a superb stoppage victory over Akira Yaegashi.
His hard work has now been recognised, with the IBF commending him for his efforts by handing him the special achievement award.
Mthalane told Sowetan Live: “I did not expect this. I feel proud to have flown the South African flag higher. I am looking forward to making another defence.”
MTK Global’s Colin Nathan added: “Moruti has given me my finest and memorable moments in boxing. When he joined me in 2015 some people said I was wasting my time because of his age.
“But he went on to win the IBF belt and has defended it against three top challengers in their backyards. I will be shocked if he does not win BSA’s Boxer of the Year Award, and I have no doubt he will inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in New York.”
has been rewarded for his incredible run recent times. after receiving a special achievement award from the IBF. [Mthalane, age 37, is undefeated since a 2008 loss to Nonito Donaire. He's had two reigns as a flyweight champion, getting stripped of his first world title for events beyond his control]. Mthalane (39-2, 26 KOs) won the IBF flyweight title for the second time in 2018, and has defended it on three occasions since then, with the most recent coming in December when he earned a superb stoppage victory over Akira Yaegashi.
His hard work has now been recognised, with the IBF commending him for his efforts by handing him the special achievement award.
Mthalane told Sowetan Live: “I did not expect this. I feel proud to have flown the South African flag higher. I am looking forward to making another defence.”
MTK Global’s Colin Nathan added: “Moruti has given me my finest and memorable moments in boxing. When he joined me in 2015 some people said I was wasting my time because of his age.
“But he went on to win the IBF belt and has defended it against three top challengers in their backyards. I will be shocked if he does not win BSA’s Boxer of the Year Award, and I have no doubt he will inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in New York.”

Twitter Chatter: Prograis shifts talk from Hooker to Ritson

Twitter Chatter: Prograis shifts talk from Hooker to Ritson
Former WBA 140-pound champion Regis Prograis (pictured) on the possibility of fighting England's Lewis Ritson in his next fight: That is a perfect fight for me to come back to the UK. I would absolutely love that fight, no matter if its Maurice Hooker next or Lewis Ritson next, it makes sense for me. I will definitely come back to the UK. I know he has a big crowd over there, and I kinda have a popular name over there in the UK now. If [Matchroom promoter] Eddie Hearn can make that fight happen, I'll be down for it and come back to the UK. Two fights back to back in the UK, that sounds good to me.
Lewis Ritson: 110% mate, we can make this straight away, all the best in lockdown, hopefully you and family are safe... Eddie Hearn, let’s make this happen.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Prograis' last fight was a loss in a unification fight to Josh Taylor which took place in the UK. He was scheduled to come back vs. former WBO title holder Maurice Hooker on April 17th, but based on the current talk, Prograis-Hooker may be off for the immediate future.

Bivol willing to drop down to 168 for shot at Smith

Bivol willing to drop down to 168 for shot at Smith
WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol says that he is willing to drop down to super middleweight to face WBA champion Callum Smith and become a two-weight champion. [Editor's note: everyone seems to be calling out Smith because Smith looked bad in his last fight, a debatable win over John Ryder.] Bivol plots his future in the latest episode of Matchroom Boxing’s Podcast ‘The Lockdown Tapes’.  Bivol (20-0 including the World Series of Boxing) has held the WBA crown for over two and a half years with six successful defenses over that time.
The 29 year-old Bivol’s preference is to remain at 175 pounds and unify the division first, but he’s considering the super middleweight division, asserting that he could make the weight with ease. “I watch a lot of fights in my division,” said Bivol. “I know that Beterbiev is one of the more dangerous fighters because he is really strong. If I were to fight Beterbiev I would like it to be in the USA because more people can see this fight than if I fight in Russia.
“Canelo Alvarez at super middleweight is also a big fight but everyone wants to fight him. He is just a man, he is just a boxer. You can earn money with him and it is a good opportunity to show your boxing skills to the whole world because of his massive fan base. I would prefer the fight at 175 as it’s my weight but I could move down to 168, that’s not a big problem for me. I had breakfast before my last fight on weigh-in day and think I have the reserves to come down.
“I boxed Callum Smith in Hungary as an amateur and to be honest I don’t remember this fight at all! At the time, he was just a tall guy, with good skills from Great Britain and I had to beat him. I think in the pro’s if we were to fight now it would be great for the British and Russian fans. It is a good fight for boxing because he is a champion at 168 pounds and I am a champion at 175 pounds. I want to fight the best in the world and he is now one of the best.”