Don King Productions makes "fraudulent" request to strip Charr and let Stiverne fight for WBA title

Don King Productions makes "fraudulent" request to strip Charr and let Stiverne fight for WBA title

Don King Productions has applied to the WBA asking that regular heavyweight champion Mahmoud Charr be demoted to "champion in recess" so that Trevor Bryan and Bermane Stiverne can fight for the vacant title on Firday in Florida. The request was immediately ripped by Charr's attorney, Patrick English. "This is a fraud. Don King knows Charr is available. Charr signed the contract but DKP never sent it back [countersigned]. DKP never arranged for any flights for Charr even though the contract he signed required it."  Boxingscene reports that Charr has obtained a visa to come to the United States, but it was unclear at the moment whether he will be getting on a plane.

Don King personally signed an application to the WBA asking for "sanctioning of the bout between [Trevor] Bryan and Bermane Stiverne for the WBA world heavyweight championship, while placing Mahmoud Charr as champion in recess for his unavailability or in the alternative removing his designation as world champion."

The idea of Bermane Stiverne fighting for any kind of a title, even this secondary one, is abhorrent to any fan of boxing. Stiverne has not won a professional boxing match since 2015, and since then, he has been knocked out twice, looking so dreadful in those losses that it is debatable whether he should even be licensed to box. 

Neither Bryan nor Charr are active either. Bryan's last fight was a 2018 win over BJ Flores in which he became the WBA's interim, or third-tier title holder. Charr's last fight was a 2017 win over Alexander Ustinov in which he became athe WBA's regular, or second-tier title holder (Besides Bryan and Charr, the WBA also recognizes Anthony Joshua as the super champion).

PRIOR COVERAGE:

JAN.  14, 2020: A very amateurish 100-second video posted to Don King's website promised that a Mahmoud Charr vs. Trevor Bryan heavyweight bout will take place on Friday, January 20th at the "Hard Rock Casino" [presumably the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida]. The video said the fight will be shown on pay-per-stream at donkingtv.com. For the undercard, the announcer mispronounced Beibut Shumenov's name, promising that "Babeat Shoe" will be facing Raphael Murphy. The pay-per-stream card will also feature Don King reminiscing about some great fights of the past, such as Holmes-Cooney. Let's just say the video did nothing to convince the many doubters that King has no intention of actually going through with the card. In fact, Vada, the drug-testing organization tweeted that, "Don King Promotons has asked VADA to not enter Raphael Murphy & Beibut Shumenov into our program at this time."

                          ***

JAN. 7, 2021: According to his website, Hall of Famer Don King is planning a boxing show for January 29th in south Florida (no specific venue named). The main event, if the show comes off, will be WBA regular champion Mahmoud Charr (31-4) vs. WBA interim titlist Trevor Bryan. Charr (sometimes called Manuel Charr) has not fought since 2017 and has reportedly tested positive for illegal performance enhancing substances since then.  Bryan (20-0) has not fought since 2018. The reported co-feature has Beibut Shumenov (18-2) defending his WBA regular cruiserweight title against Raphael Murphy (14-1). Shumenov has not fought since 2018, while Murphy is completey unworthy of a title shot of any kind. The third fight listed is former WBC heavyweight title holder Bermane Stiverne, who looked completely shot in his last two fights (both KO losses), against Christopher Lovejoy, an unknown but undefeated heavyweight. No television deal has been announced for the show, and with Don King in his late 80s and little, if any, staff left at his company, it is questionable whether this show will actually happen.

                          ***

DEC. 1, 2020 story: Manuel Charr is the WBA regular heavyweight champion even though he has not fought in three years. Trevor Bryan is the WBA interim heavyweight champion even though he has not fought in two years. The WBA finally got around to ordering them to fight each other in the next 60 days, likely because it wants to strip them both and let Deontay Wilder vs. TBA and Robert Helenius vs. Adam Kownacki fill the two vacancies. Here is what the WBA ordered:  "the heavyweight title fight between champion Mahmoud Charr and the mandatory challenger Trevor Bryan will have to be held by January 29th, 2021, according to a statement issued by the WBA Championships Committee, and signed by Carlos Chávez.

"The [WBA] requested Don King Promotions to send the contracts signed by both boxers as soon as possible with details on the fight venue and date. The bidding for this mandatory fight took place last March 2nd in Panama City and according to the organization’s rules, specifically rule D.11: Purse Offer Contracts, The Promoter winning the Purse Bid shall have all bout contracts properly signed and delivered to the Championships Committee Chairman no later than twenty (20) days from the date on which the winning bid is awarded. However, in this case, the pause in boxing due to the [coronavirus] pandemic prevented such procedure from being carried out normally, so it was put on hold. Now that most countries have opened their borders and boxing is taking place around the world in a considerable volume, it is a good time to resume the process. Should any or both fighters (Charr – Bryan) fail to sign the contract, he or they will lose their position as champion or/and mandatory challenger."
 
The communication, which was sent to all parties via email, also highlights that the bout shall be conducted under the rules of the WBA, with the respective appointment of officials. It also states that that the laboratories to be used for anti-doping tests should be certified by VADA/WADA in order to be accepted. The WBA is waiting for a response from Don King Promotions and wishes that the fight can be carried out as arranged in the bidding.
 
                                   ***

MARCH 3, 2020 story: [In a fight that may very well never happen], Don King Productions won the purse bid to promote a WBA regular heavyweight championship fight between Syria’s Mahmoud Charr a/k/a Manuel Charr and America’s Trevor Bryan. The purse bid took place on Monday morning at WBA offices in Panama City and was directed by Panamanian Aurelio Fiengo. Don King Productions bid $2,000,000, earning the right to promote the fight, while Global Management submitted a losing bid in the amount of $1,020,000.00. The purse distribution will be 75% for Charr and 25% for Bryan [who holds the meaningless WBA interim title]. [Both men have been missing in inaction. Charr has had PED issues and hasn't fought since 2017; Bryan has not fought since 2018].

King listed the first option is Las Vegas or New York on May 23rd. The second option listed is Kinsasha, Congo, on May 30th, while the third possibility would be Qatar or Saudi Arabia also on May 30th. [King recently won and then defaulted on a WBA purse bid involving Beibut Shumenov]. King is now required under WBA rules to submit the contracts stipulating the date and site of the fight, duly signed by both fighters, within 20 days, which means that the document must be submitted to the WBA office by March 22nd.

 

Did McGregor's loss open the door for Pacquiao-Garcia?

Did McGregor's loss open the door for Pacquiao-Garcia?

Over the weekend, in UFC 257, Dustin Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor in the second round. Normally Boxingtalk does not cover mixed martial arts, but this result has an effect on the boxing world. Had McGregor won, there was a good chance he would have returned to boxing to fight Manny Pacquiao (pictured). Pacquiao still holds the WBA welterweight title despite 18 months of inactivity). Instead, the defeated McGregor will remain in the UFC. McGregor tweeted after the loss that he intended to pursue a rematch with Poirier: "Thanks for the support everyone! [It] was not my night/morning in there but a great contest to improve on. I’m excited at the blockbuster trilogy I now have on my hands. Dustin is a hell of a competitor and I look forward to going again." With McGregor now off the table as a potential opponent for the 42 year-old Pacquiao, it is now reported that he and Ryan Garcia are in preliminary discussions on a potential bout. Garcia is a 135 pounder and Pacquiao has been at 147 pounds for a while, but it seems like 140 or 142 pounds would be a decent meeting place. For the kind of money that bout would generate for each boxer, such differences could be worked out.

Garcia previously had been talking about fighting Gervonta "Tank" Davis. News of a potential Pacquiao-Garcia fight predictably did not sit well with Garcia's peers. Davis complained, "He about to do an exhibition wit Manny... definitely don’t want the fight no more! I’m on to the next."
 
To which Devin Haney replied, "For once... we could agree."
 

 

Introducing undefeated lightweight Wilfredo “El Bravo” Flores

Introducing undefeated lightweight Wilfredo “El Bravo” Flores
Greg Cohen Promotions announced the signing of Puerto Rican-born lightweight Wilfredo “El Bravo” Flores (8-0, 4 KOs) to a promotional contract. “I feel confident,” said Flores of the signing. “I’m hoping to get things moving and make a huge impact this year. I always knew I had the talent and dedication, but I haven’t been happy with my career progress. I’ve been a professional for over five years and I’m only 8-0. I just needed the right push to make a mark in the lightweight division and now that I’m with GCP, I’m ready to take over.” Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and raised in Dunkirk, New York, Flores is the son of the late professional fighter Abimelic “El Bravo” Vega, who faced a long list of prospects and contenders before his untimely death in 2000 when Flores was just 10 years old.
 
The younger Flores started training at age three by following his father to the gym and, by the time he was five, would often be invited to show off his burgeoning skills by shadowboxing for the enjoyment of fans at his older brother’s amateur fights. Flores went on to have over 100 fights, losing just 12 and winning several regional tournaments including the Silver Gloves Junior Golden Gloves and Brampton Cup. However, stricken by grief after his father’s passing, Flores took an extended break from boxing to play NCAA Division III college basketball for Medaille College and Fredonia State and then find work, before returning to the gym with Buffalo-based PAL trainer Hector Alejandro at the insistence of his fiancé. Flores now works with trainer Juan De Leon.
 
“My father’s passing took a toll on me, so I quit for a long time. But then I was working full-time and it was very stressful. I knew something was missing. I met my fiancé, and she brought the spark back for me. She said, ‘You’re wasting your talent,’ so I quit my job and went back. From there I turned pro and now I’m undefeated and signed to GCP.”
 
An ambidextrous natural southpaw who can switch stances effortlessly, Flores is a technical boxer with accurate, deceptively fast hands that give him an explosiveness opponents find overwhelming. “Boxing led me to happiness,” continued Flores, “I’m a family man and I live by the motto ‘work hard, stay disciplined and do what you love.’ My goals in life are to be a great husband, future father and world champ. With Greg Cohen Promotions, I’m looking forward to finally achieving my goals.”
 
Cohen says he’ll get to work immediately on moving Flores up the talent-heavy lightweight division. “Wilfredo is a hidden gem at 135 pounds,” said Cohen. “He has tremendous talent and skill and just needs the right fights to get him where he belongs in the rankings. We are going to be taking an aggressive fight-schedule approach with him to cover a lot of career ground in a short time. A year or two from now, Wilfredo Flores will be a player in a division already packed with many of the best fighters in boxing.”
 

Darren Tetley to face Samuel Antwi on Feb. 19th

Darren Tetley to face Samuel Antwi on Feb. 19th

Darren Tetley to face Samuel Antwi on Feb. 19th
Darren Tetley will take on Samuel Antwi for the vacant English welterweight title on February 19th at the University of Bolton Stadium. The  MTK Fight Night show will be broadcast live in the US on ESPN+ and worldwide on IFL TV. Tetley (20-1, 9 KOs) is straight back in a tough bout, following his loss in a Fight of the Year contender against Liam Taylor in August. He now turns his attention to Antwi (12-1, 5 KOs), who holds wins over the likes of Jez Smith and Siar Ozgul. Tetley-Antwi joins two previously announced fights ton the show, as Liam Walsh faces Paul Hyland Jr. for the vacant British lightweight title, and DP Carr and Dean Dodge collide at welterweight title, with the winner likley gettingthe Tetley-Antwi winner next.
 
The card will also see, in separate bouts, Paddy Donovan (5-0, 3 KOs) and Elliot Whale (3-0, 1 KO), while there is a professional debut for Paul Ryan.
 
MTK Global Promoter Lee Eaton said: “We’re delighted to add Darren Tetley vs. Samuel Antwi to February’s MTK Fight Night. We already had two brilliant title fights on the card, and by adding a third this event definitely can’t be missed. Tetley and Antwi are both known for their exciting styles and I’m expecting a tremendous battle. We also have Paddy Donovan, Elliot Whale and Paul Ryan all in action too, so fans will be seeing some incredible talent that look destined for big things.”

Results From Tijuana, Mexico

Results From Tijuana, Mexico

Carlos Díaz TKO6 Eleazar Valenzuela ... Mexican junior welterweight Carlos “Chuko” Díaz improved to 29-1 by stopping Eleazar Valenzuela in round six in Tijuan Mexico over the weekend.  In round six, Diaz landed at least eight unanswered blows, opening up a gas on the right cheekbone of Valenzuela (26-11). As Diaz moved in to finish off his opponent, Valenzuela's corner, in a wise manner, asked the referee to stop the action. 

Carlos López TKO2 Marcos Muñiz... Bantamweight  Carlos "Mini" Lopez (14-0) overcame a difficult first round to stop Marcos Muñiz (14-2) in round two. Towards the middle of the second round, Lopez hit Muñiz with a left to the abdomen and fa right to the jaw, to send Muñiz to the canvas. Referee Fernando Renteria started the count, but observing Muñiz's lost gaze, he called the fight off and signalled for a technical knockout win for López.

Paulette Valenzuela W8 Margarita Ángeles... In a women's super bantamweight fight, Paulette Valenzuela swept to a unanimous decision win over Margarita “Explosiva” Ángeles (6-7). After eight rounds, Valenzuela improved to 10-1 with all three official scorecards reading 80-72. source for all results: zanfer promotions
 

MTK filling out Dubai undercard

MTK filling out Dubai undercard
Three fights have been added to MTK Global's Dubai show on February 6th. The two mainn bouts previously announced are Lee McGregor challenging Karim Guerfi for Guerfi's EBU bantamweight title, and Sean McComb and Gavin Gwynne collidig for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title. The three new fights are Dublin's Pierce O’Leary (5-0, 2 KOs) against Irvin Magno (5-3-1, 1 KO), Mark McKeown (3-0, 1 KO) vs. Brad Daws (6-0, 2 KOs), and local Dubai boxer Hasibullah Ahmadi (10-0, 3 KOs) against Haidari Mchanjo (12-8-5, 5 KOs).
 
MTK Global Promoter Lee Eaton said: “It’s fantastic to add even more star power to next month’s sensational card in Dubai. It was already a stellar line-up with two title fights, and now we have some incredible prospects also in action. Pierce O’Leary and Mark McKeown both have very dangerous tests against Irvin Magno and Brad Daws respectively, and the pair of them deserve immense credit for their willingness to jump in at the deep end and test their skills. We’ll also see Hasibullah Ahmadi get the chance to fight on the big stage, and he is a talent to watch out for from Dubai, so we can’t wait to kick off 2021 with a bang next month.”

New champion alert: Philadelphia's Fulton takes Leo's title away

New champion alert: Philadelphia's Fulton takes Leo's title away

New champion alert: Philadelphia's Fulton takes Leo's title away
Stephen Fulton Jr. W12 Angelo Leo ... In the long-delayed battle between unbeatensuper bantamweight, Stephen “Cool Boy” Fulton Jr., captured the WBO title via unanimous decision over Angelo Leo in the main event of 2021’s inaugural Showtime champion boxing telecast at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) turned in a masterful performance as he bested New Mexico’s unbeaten Leo (20-1, 9 KOs) to end Philadelphia’s world title drought. With his win over Leo, the 26-year-old Fulton has now toppled eight undefeated fighters in his young professional career. The ringside judges scored the fight 119-109 (twice) and 118-110.
 
An accidental clash of heads in the opening round opened a cut over the left eye of Leo but it ultimately did not play much of a role in the fight. The two fighters combined to throw 1,993 punches throughout the back-and-forth 12-round fight which was fought largely at close range in the middle of the ring. Fulton threw 913 power punches which ranks third all time in the junior featherweight division’s rich history.
 
“It feels good,” said Fulton following the biggest win of his professional career. “I told you that I would engage more in this fight. I boxed a little but I engaged more to show him that I’m better than him at what he does best. I’m used to dealing with fighting inside the gym, inside the ring. Everyone I’ve fought tried to bully me. This time I did to them what they try to do to me. And I got the job done.”
 
Fulton added, “I wore him down by attacking his body and pushing him back. I had to change the whole narrative, push him back and dropping those uppercuts in. That’s how I got the job done. From like the fifth round, that’s when I knew I was going to take off. I never got tired from engaging.
 
“After a year off, I feel I did a good job but I could be a lot better, a lot sharper. I want [WBC champion] Luis Nery, Brandon Figueroa. I want all the champions. I want to be undisputed.”

Aleem knocks down Pasillas four times

Aleem knocks down Pasillas four times
Ra’eese Aleem TKO11 Victor Pasillas ... In the Showtime co-feature at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Casino, Ra’eese Aleem (18-0, 12 KOs) handed Victor Pasillas (15-1, 8 KOs) his first professional loss with an eleventh-round technical knockout in thesuper bantamweight division. Aleem, age 30, captured the vacant interim WBA world super bantamweight title with his win over Pasillas. It was the seventh straight stoppage victory for the Michigan native, who now lives and trains out of Las Vegas, and hopes to get a world title shot in 2021. Only down twice in his career prior to this fight, Aleem sent Pasillas to the canvas four times en route to the stoppage in the penultimate round.
 
The two fighters combined to throw 1,212 punches throughout the fight with Aleem outlanding Pasillas 185 to 143. Aleem controlled the pace throughout the fight with an onslaught of body shots (64) which totaled 34% of his total punches landed.
 
“I was dominant,” said Aleem. “I wanted to put an exclamation point with this performance. It feels absolutely amazing. It just confirms what I knew in my head, that I have elite power. He’s one of the top fighters in the division so to knock him out, it means I’m a true threat. I think a lot of people were sleeping on me and my power. I wasn’t surprised that I stopped him, I didn’t think he’d be able to go the distance with me. I think a lot of the fighters in this division should really be on notice. It doesn’t matter who I fight next. I’m ready to fight any world champion. Whether it’s [WBO champion] Stephen Fulton or [WBA/IBF champion] if Murodjon Akhmadaliev wants to come out of hiding. Any current world champion that’s willing to fight, I’m ready. I’ve got the pen, send the contract.” source: showtime
 

Romero punishes Sparrow

Romero punishes Sparrow
Rolando Romero TKO7 Avery Sparrow ... In the opening bout of Showtime's broadcast, Rolando Romero (13-0, 11 KOs) remained unbeaten against late replacement Avery Sparrow (10-4, 3 KOs). Romero, who holds the WBA interim lightweight belt, dominating the action until Sparrow’s corner called an end to the fight in seventh round. All three judges had the fight scored 60-51 at the time of the technical knockout, as did Showtime’s unofficial ringside scorer Steve Farhood. Romero, 25, set the tone early in the fight sending Sparrow to the canvas with a well-placed left hook within the first minute of the first round.
 
Born and bred in Las Vegas, and fighting under the Mayweather Promotions banner, Romero landed 86 of his 175 power punches which more than doubled Sparrow’s total punches landed in the fight (40). In the closing minute of the sixth round, Sparrow went down with an apparent knee injury and upon the return to action referee Johnny Callas deducted two points from Sparrow for an intentional low blow. Sparrow’s corner confirmed that Sparrow’s knee injury was the reason for stopping the fight.
 
“Sparrow had a month to prepare because he was [Showtime's designated] replacement,” said Romero [although Sparrow did not know for sure he was going tofight until Friday]. “I was very disappointed, I really wanted to fight Justin Pauldo [who was overweight and failed a physical]. But things happen—at least I had another opponent. I fought a dirty fighter. He hit me with a dozen, if not more, low blows, back of the head, trying to wrestle but it is what it is. I got the victory. I dropped him with that hook in the opening round. I thought it would be over but he’s slick – he knows how to survive. His corner did the right thing by stopping it. In that last moment before they stopped the fight, he was hurt again and there was a lot of time left in the round. He’s lucky they stopped it. source: showtime
 

Ex-boxer arrested for role in U.S. capitol riot

Ex-boxer arrested for role in U.S. capitol riot

Ex-boxer arrested for role in U.S. capitol riot

Former New Jersey heavyweight Scott "Wildman" Fairlamb has been charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer during the riot in the United States' capital two weeks ago. Supporters of then-outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. capitol, home of the legislative branch of the government.  According to the New York Post, Fairlamb's assault of federal officer was captured on video, while the boxer also tweeted photos of himself (since deleted) inside the Capitol. According to Boxrec, Fairlamb was 5-0-1 from 2000-2007, and then transitioned to MMA, where he is listed as 0-1. He is currently a gym owner in New Jersey.

Plant and Truax discuss their upcoming Fox main event

Plant and Truax discuss their upcoming Fox main event
IBF super middleweight champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant and one of his predecessors, Caleb “Golden” Truax. previewed their world title showdown on a media conference call Thursday before they headline Fox PBC Fight Night and on Fox Deportes, Saturday, January 30th from Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles. In the co-feature, Michael Coffie and Darmani Rock clash in a ten-round battle of unbeaten heavyweights. Young junior middleweight Joey Spencer takes on Isiah Seldon in an eight rounder to open the telecast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Here is what the conference call participants had to say Thursday:
 
CALEB PLANT
 
“I can honestly say this is one of my best camps. I’ve had great sparring. I haven’t had any restrictions as far as COVID-19 goes when it comes to sparring partners or strength and conditioning or being in the gym. So I’ve been really focused on what I need to do and I’m just ready to go in there and handle business.
 
“It’s hard to say where Caleb Truax ranks in terms of past opponents. I have to get in there with him. Styles make fights so after January 30, I’ll have a better idea. I know he’s a veteran, has a lot of experience and is a former world champion who has upset people before, so he has to be taken seriously.
 
“I’m fully focused on January 30 and when that bell rings so I can do what I do best. I’m not looking past him, but I am looking through him. I’m looking to end this fight early. I don’t see it going 12 rounds, so whether they throw in the white towel, I throw in the white towel for him or the ref steps in to do his job, I’m looking for a stoppage. This ends with me getting my hand raised in spectacular fashion.
 
“I know what I need to go in there and do. At the end of the day, I can have a game plan but that may not be how the fight is going to go. So I’ll have to make adjustments as needed and I feel that’s one of the things I’m best at. Whatever is needed for the job, I can pull it out of my toolbox and put it to work.
 
“Me against Jose Uzcategui, they had me the underdog and they had it wrong. So I don’t pay attention to numbers, betting odds—that’s not how I became a world champion and how I’m going to stay world champion. My job is to go in there fully focused on the task at hand. I could care less what the odds say, I know what I need to go in there and do because betting odds don’t win or lose fights.
 
“I feel like there are unification fights to be made and I feel like they will happen. But as of now, January 30 has my full attention. After that, we’ll have a better understanding of how the cards will fall in the super middleweight division and we’ll be ready to make our next move.
 
“I think people tend to forget I only have 20 fights. So within 21 fights to not only win a world title from a champion but then have another former world champion under my belt, I feel like I’m off to a great start in my career and I think there are big things ahead.
 
“I love the team that I have around me. I know that my team has supreme confidence in what I can do in this sport. Not only am I betting on myself, but I know for a fact the rest of the team is betting on me as well. And we’re betting big. We’re not looking to jump on something quick for a quick payday and ride off into the sunset. We’re looking to take this thing all the way to the top and sometimes that requires patience. I know in due time, after I handle business on January 30, when those fights do happen, everything will come to fruition just like we imagined.
 
“Like most boxers, I don’t come from much and I wanted more than I had. I wanted a better life for the loved ones around me. So I set my mind on a mission and when I put my mind to something, no matter what it is in life, when I say I’m going to do it, I do it. And when I say I want something, I get it. So it doesn’t matter what life tosses my way, it doesn’t matter what I’m up against, once I set my mind to it, I assure you it will get done. I’m fully motivated for this fight, fully focused and, again, I can’t wait to get in there.
 
“It was a goal to become world champion but it’s not the goal. I’m still far from where I want to be. I’m still far from everything I want to accomplish and to keep that hunger, that motivation, you have to be honest with yourself about who you are and where you’re at. I know where I’m at in my career and how much farther I want to go so it’s no time for me to let my foot off the gas. I need to keep my foot on their necks and I need to keep pushing because, as I’ve said, I’m looking to become the first undisputed world super middleweight champion of all time and you can’t do that with just one world title.”
 
CALEB TRUAX
 
“I’m very grateful and fortunate to be in this spot. I’m feeling fantastic. Everything is going as planned as far as camp. I’ve had some great sparring over the past five or six weeks. I’m feeling healthy for the first time in a couple years. I was talking to my trainer this morning when we were working out and I’m almost paranoid that something is going to go wrong in the last nine days. I’m feeling so good right now. I’m just excited and ready to take on this challenge.
 
“I didn’t have my greatest performance in my last fight but the most important thing I took from it was that my Achilles was healthy after eight or nine months of recovery. It held up perfectly and that was the most important thing. I’m ready to move forward.
 
“I’ve had some elbow problems the past couple years and that has seemed to have cleared up. My Achilles is healthy as I said before and I’m just feeling really good. I’ve been feeling great in sparring. I’m getting paranoid that I’m feeling too good almost but, I’m focused, feeling great and ready to put on a great performance.
 
“It’s hard to say if Plant is the toughest opponent of my career until we get in the ring. He’s not the most experienced guy, he’s not the most highly-vaunted guy that I’ve fought. Probably Danny Jacobs was and even James DeGale. So that’s to be determined until we get in the ring and mix it up.
 
“I’ve always been the underdog and I embrace that role. I fight my best when I’m in that spot and I look forward to proving all the naysayers wrong again.
 
“At my age, at 37, there is no telling when I’ll be able to get a world title fight again. So I’ve been approaching it as if this is my last shot. I’ve been very focused in camp and just determined to leave it all in the ring and get my belt back.
 
“I’m going to win because I’m the most experienced and the best fighter that Plant has ever faced. I believe my experience, my pressure, my conditioning and just my determination will be the factor in getting the win and I expect to do so on January 30.
 
“I’m so used to training through the holidays after doing it for 14 years that it doesn’t affect me too much. The only challenges this time around was that we had a one month shutdown of my gym due to COVID-19. Thankfully it’s a semi-private gym and I have a key to it so I was able to have access. This winter in Minnesota has been very mild so I’ve been able to get some roadwork in and chop some wood without freezing my a— off so it’s been pretty easy to get stuff done.
 
“Everything has gone great. Preparing for Caleb Plant is a little different than normal; trying to get good boxers with real good speed and just trying to find sparring partners to emulate his strengths. We got a couple guys in, got some really good rounds in. I’ll have my last sparring session tomorrow then I’ll taper down next week and get ready for the fight.
 
“My hard-working mentality is my character. My mother was a single mother working her butt off to provide for my sister, my brother and I. But I also started my career late in boxing. I had to mitigate the experience my opponents had over me and I had to do that through hard work.
 
“I go in there and give it my all and fight hard and try to put on the best performance I possibly can for the fans and come out with the win. In a perfect world, it’s a slugfest, a crowd-pleasing fight and I get the win in a 12-round decision. Actually, in a perfect world I go out there and knock him out with the first punch. But we all know that’s not going to happen. He’s a good fighter so I expect to go 12 rounds and just get the job done.”
 
TOM BROWN, promoter
 
“Thank you for joining us on this call, for the battle of the ‘Caleb’s: Caleb Plant versus Caleb Truax for the 168-pound championship of the world. The 168-pound division is quickly becoming one of the hottest in the sport. I know both guys very well, I was involved in promoting both of their professional debuts. Caleb Truax back in 2007 at the Target Center in Minneapolis and Plant’s pro debut in May 2014 at the USC Galen Center. So it’s been a lot of fun watching them develop into world champions.
 
“Caleb Plant put the boxing world on notice with his exciting, title-winning performance in January 2019 and has established himself as the force in the division going into his third title defense. He’s on a mission to be the first undisputed super middleweight champion in boxing history.
 
“We all know what he has to go through to in order to make that happen. He has a stiff test in front of him in the upset-minded Caleb Truax, whose super middleweight glory came back in 2017 when he traveled overseas and pulled off a huge upset over James DeGale for the same IBF belt. He has vast experience against some of the best at 168 pounds: Jermain Taylor, Danny Jacobs, Anthony Dirrell, James DeGale—and Caleb, I thought you won both fights—Peter Quillin, so it’s going to be an exciting, can’t-miss night of primetime boxing on FOX.”
 
 

DAZN picks up Thai show featuring Sor Rungvisai

DAZN picks up Thai show featuring Sor Rungvisai
Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai a/k/a Wisaksil Wangek, the former two-time WBC super flyweight champion, is set to get back into the ring on March 13th (in Thailand) against former WBA 105-pound champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng a/k/a Ekkawit Songnui. The fight will be will shown live on DAZN globally (excluding Thailand) on March 12th in the US, 9.30 pm ET/ 6.30 pm PT. Sor Rungvisai (49-5-1, 42 KOs) has already been named a mandatory challenger for the WBC title. In December last year, the WBC officially ordered the winner of the unification bout between Juan Francisco Estrada and “Chocolatito” Roman Gonzalez to defend against Rungivisai next within August or September this year. In the meantime, Rungvisai will have to win this upcoming fight against Sithmorseng to maintain that opportunity.
 
“I cannot wait to fight against the winner of Chocolatito and Estrada later this year to show the world that I am the top fighter in Super Flyweight. I would like to thank WBC and Eddie Hearn for committing to make this happen next.
 
“I will show the world in this fight against Kwanthai Sithmorseng that I am more than ready to face either Chocolatito or Estrada for the third time. I know that Kwanthai is very experienced. He is a former World Champion and also the current Thailand’s champion in Super Flyweight. He cannot be taken lightly, but I will be impressive and I will win by KO.
 
“It is exciting to be fighting on the same day as Chocolatito vs Estrada as it will be a great set up for our next fight. Thank you Matchroom, DAZN, and WP Boxing for this great opportunity.” said Rungvisai.
 
Sithmorseng (50-7-1, 27 KOs) is current Thailand champion. He is a highly experienced boxer who fought at the world level, including fa loss to current WBO 115-pound champion Kazuto Ioka. He said, “Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is the best fighter in Thailand, and he has done a great job for putting Thailand on the global boxing map by knocking out the legendary Roman Gonzalez. I have much respect for him, and I also realize that this is such a great opportunity for me to be back at the world stage. This can be a life changing opportunity for me. If I beat Rungvisai in this fight, I can get a chance to fight against the top guys in the division in World Title fights. I will do whatever it takes to make that happen. I was a champion once myself and I have much experience in the ring, so Rungvisai cannot intimidate me. I will train very hard to shock the world.” 
 
In the co-feature, Pungluang Sor Singyu a/k/a Panya Uthok, a former WBO bantamweight champion, faces “Rock Man” Chainoi Worawut a/k/a  Thattana Luangphon. “Rock Man” is considered a rising star in Thailand. “This is such a great opportunity for me to fight on DAZN and to show the world who I am. I have established my name in Muay Thai since I was young, and my goal now is to become a World Champion in Boxing.
 
Pungluang Sor Singyu said, "this is my time now. I want to show the world that I am ready for world title fights. My goal is Luis Nery for his WBC super bantamweight title. Or if I can impress Eddie Hearn in this fight and get him interested in having me fight Murodjon Akhmadaliev, I will be up for that too. I am ready for anyone at 122." Pungluand Sor Singyu (54-9-0, 36 KOs) had two reigns as WBO champion.
 
“Watch out for me. I want the world to remember “Rock Man” after this fight,” said “Rock Man” Chainoi Worawut. “Chainoi Worawut is a great up and coming boxer. He has an incredibly entertaining fighting style. However, I am much more experienced than him. I have traveled the world fighting the best. He has never fought anyone like me. I will win by KO and use this opportunity to get myself back to world title fight,” said Punglung Sor Singyu.
 
The fight between ‘Rock Man’ Chainoi Worawut vs. Pungluang Sor Singyu is expected to be a war since both fighters have aggressive style and heavy punching power. This matchup can be a real test for ‘Rock Man’ Chainoi Worrawut.
 
“It is always a great honor to be working with Matchroom and DAZN. We are extremely excited to show our WP Boxing event and the best of the boxing scene in Thailand to boxing fans around the world.
 
“Phongsaphon Panyakum vs Karoon Jarupianlerd at super flyweight will also be a very exciting and competitive fight. Karoon Jarupianlerd is a former World Title challenger of “The Monster” Naoya Inoue. He went ten rounds with The Monster, and he was the last man apart from Nonito Donaire that gave Inoue trouble. Phongsaphon Panyakum is an up-and-coming star with an exciting aggressive style. Both fighters expect to get an impressive win and enter the scene of Super-Flyweight as a top contender in the division,” said Bank Thainchai Pisitwuttinan, Promoter of WP Boxing series.
 

Hiroto Kyoguchi to make US debut on March 13th

Hiroto Kyoguchi to make US debut on March 13th

Hiroto Kyoguchi to make US debut on March 13th
New Matchroom signing Hiroto Kyoguchi will make it a world title triple header, defending his WBA light flyweight title against Axel Vega (14-3-1 8 KOs) . Kyoguchi (14-0 9 KOs) makes his third defense of the WBA crown having stopped Heikke Budler for the strap in December 2018 to become a two-weight World ruler and then seeing off the challenges of Tanawat Nakoon and Tetsuya Hisada in June and October of 2019. In December, Matchroom announced a multi-fight promotional deal with the Japanese star, working with Clase Y Talento and manager Eddy Reynoso, and that relationship kicks off with his clash with Vega.
 
Kyoguchi fights for the first time in the States against the 20 year-old Mexican who gunning for a world title in his second attempt having challenged for the WBO minimumweight strap in October 2019.
 
“I’m very happy to make my debut in the US under the guidance and management of Eddy Reynoso and with my promoter Eddie Hearn and Matchroom,” said Kyoguchi. “I want to thank them for the chance to prove that Japanese boxing is the best in the world. I am very grateful to them and we will put everything into becoming a star in the boxing world.”
 
“I’m very happy to receive this world title shot,” said Vega. “Kyoguchi is a great champion but I’m a hungry young contender and will conquer the championship on March 13. I want to thank my promoter Tuto Zabala Jr. (All Star Boxing) for turning around so quickly, one week after signing and here is my chance, also to my manager Joe Gonzalez and to Eddie Hearn.”
 

Matchroom loads up March 13th show in Dallas

Matchroom loads up March 13th show in Dallas
World champion Jessica McCaskill and Cecelia Braekhus will rematch for the four-belt world welterweight championship on a stacked card on March 13th at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The DAZN broadcast will be topped by the WBC 115-pound championship rematch between Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez. New Matchroom signing Hiroto Kyoguchi will make it a world title triple header, defending his WBA light flyweight title against Axel Vega (14-3-1 8 KOs).
 
McCaskill (9-2 3 KOs) ripped the belts from the Norwegian star on the streets of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma in August. She handed Braekhus her first pro loss via majority decision to become a two-weight champion in just her 11th pro fight. Braekhus (36-1 9 KOs) was denied a record-breaking night with McCaskill preventing her from recording her 25th consecutive successful title defense, but she activated the rematch clause and will now go for revenge in the Lone Star state against the Chicagoan.
 
“I’m very focused on regaining all of my undisputed belts on March 13th in the rematch against Jessica,” said Braekhus. “It will be a very special night in Dallas for my supporters and for all of my worldwide fans who can watch the fight on the DAZN.”
 
“This is a huge night of boxing in Dallas,” said Hearn. “Cecilia and Jessica will put it all on the line in their rematch for the undisputed Welterweight title and Hirotu is a fighter that I am excited to see explode onto the big stage under the guidance of his manager Eddy Reynoso and Matchroom.
 
“With a brilliant main event in the rematch between Estrada and Chocolatito and plenty of young talents to be added to the card, this is an unmissable feast of fights for the fans in Dallas and on DAZN.”
 
 
 

Showtime weigh-in report from Connecticut

Showtime weigh-in report from Connecticut
Here are the boxers' weights, list of officials and final quotes for Sautrday's Showtime broadcast from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut:
 
WBO junior featherweight championship – 12 Rounds
Angelo Leo – 121 ½ pounds -vs.- Stephen Fulton, Jr. – 122 
Referee: David Fields (N.J.); Judges: Frank Lombardi (Conn.), Waleska Roldan (N.Y.), Steve Weisfeld (New Jersey);
 
Interim WBA Super Bantamweight Title – 12 Rounds
Ra’eese Aleem – 121 ½ -vs.- Victor Pasillas – 122 
Referee: Danny Schiavone (Conn.); Judges: Glenn Feldman (Conn.), John McKaie (N.Y.), Don Trella (Conn.);
 
Lightweights – 12 Rounds
Rolando Romero – 134 ¼ -vs.- Avery Sparrow – 136  
Referee: Johnny Callas (Conn.); Judges: Tom Carusone (Conn.), Waleska Roldan (N.Y.), Steve Weisfeld (N.J.)
 
Note: Romero was originally scheduled to defend his interim lightweight title against Justin Pauldo, who exceeded the 135-pound limit. Avery Sparrow will take Pauldo’s place in the bout. Romero’s title will not be on the line.
 
Here is what the fighters had to say during Fight Week:
 
Angelo Leo
 
“Training at Mayweather’s Gym has really helped me just for the fact that you get so many different fighters coming in from all over the world, and you see so many different styles and different looks. So it’s great for me. It really pushes me. It's a great experience for any fighter to train there.
 
“The one thing Floyd told me is that he was going to make me a champion in two years. He kept his word, two and a half years or less I became a world champion. He wasn't as present for this camp, but at my last camp he deeply impacted me with tips on how to approach the fight with Fulton and his style. Tips that carried over into this camp.
 
“Fulton’s a good fighter. He’s got his style down pat. He likes to use his jab and control the distance. You can’t take anything away from him. He was out for a year, so I'm taking advantage of that.
 
“My advantages are my pressure, my work rate and my boxing IQ. I think a lot of people underestimate that about me. 
 
“It means a lot to be the first champion from Albuquerque since Johnny Tapia. I looked up to Tapia and Johnny Romero, so to be the next is an honor. Albuquerque is a fight town, but it's not the biggest city so there's a lot of unseen talent there.
 
“The 122-pound division is stacked with a lot of talent. There're a lot of fighters who are still undefeated, and I just want to fight the best. This fight against Fulton has taught me a lot already; it’s a huge fight for me. I know that winning this already solidifies my spot. Then, I can focus on who is the next big fight.”
 
Stephen Fulton Jr.
 
“Some of the fighters I like are Bernard Hopkins, [Joe] Frazier, and Meldrick Taylor. They mean a lot to me, and to the sport of boxing and the history of Philadelphia. I watched the guys who were leading and now I’m leading. It’s just a big accomplishment to say you’re trying to lead the new era for your city.
 
“I don’t think much of Angelo Leo. I wasn’t impressed with his last fight. Just pressure. That’s about the only thing he brings. There are things he’s probably never seen before. I come with angles and my ability to punch off angles.
 
“Not fighting back in August kind of pushed me. It didn’t have a bad effect. It made me push myself to the limit in training just knowing that it was all taken away that first time.
 
“I would like to get past this and unify. Fights like against Leo and [Luis] Nery are easy fights for me. Their styles and my styles are tailor-made for each other. What they both do fits my style perfectly.” 
 
Ra'eese Aleem
 
“My previous manager wasn’t doing much as far as getting me fights, so I had to take matters into my own hands, and that’s when I decided to leave Michigan for a new life in Las Vegas. I had $3,000 in my pocket with no family or friends. I just had faith in myself and started to make my own way. It was rough in the beginning, but I made it work, and now I’m a better man, and a better fighter because of that decision. It forced me to be responsible, hence me being more mature. There was not time for games in my plan.  
 
“Fighting an undefeated fighter like Pasillas is what great fighters do. I want to fight the best now, and Pasillas is one of the best fighters in the division. I’m not ducking or dodging anyone. I’m going to be a world champion by all means necessary. Once I beat Pasillas, I’m coming for [Murodjon] Akhmadaliev, then all the other champions. 
 
“Fighting in the bubble was something new, but this is COVID time, so we have to get used to it. To me it’s not a problem. I’m a fighter and I don’t care if fans are there or not. I’m just ready to dominate. 
 
“As far as the main event fighters, neither of them will be able to hang with me. I’m the best fighter in the division period!”
 
Victor Pasillas
 
“Representing East Los Angeles means everything to me because I have so many people back home in East L.A. who believe in me. When I was coming up in the amateurs, I always had a big crowd attending my fights. East L.A. has always been a city known for its great boxers, and I want to continue that tradition. 
 
“I’ve always been a monster in the weight room. I’m just a gym rat who loves to work out. My whole life outside of home is in the gym, either boxing or in the weight room. My power has improved as I’ve grown into my man strength, and right now I think I’m at my peak as a man. Everyone will definitely see some serious power coming from me on fight night. 
 
“I don’t know much about [Aleem] personally, but I know he’s a good fighter who is ranked higher than me. We both have the same Prince Ranch Boxing manager in Greg Hannley, but I’ve never met him. 
 
This is my second fight in the bubble. I actually love fighting in the bubble. I get so much rest, it’s very refreshing. Usually, I have my wife and kids with me, but to be honest, I need that peace and quiet and being in the bubble forces you to be by yourself, and in return I get great rest. As far as no fans in attendance, I like that as well, because I can hear my coach’s instructions. I feel I can concentrate more and relax better when there are no fans. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like fighting in front of a big crowd as well. I was built for this, fans or no fans.  
 
“By far this is the biggest fight of my career because I’m right around the corner of becoming a world champion. Once I get that strap, I’m going to unify all the belts and do the same at featherweight, super featherweight and maybe even bantamweight. All I know is I’m coming for everyone.  
 
“I don’t want to give up my game plan but best believe I’m going to do whatever it takes to win this fight. If he wants to bang, then we’ll bang, if he wants to box, we’ll box. I’ve seen so many different styles in the amateurs, there is nothing that he brings that I haven’t seen. My power is what he’s going to have to deal with.”
 
Rolando Romero
 
“To those that think the scorecards were off in my last fight [a controversial win over Jackson Marinez, I’d say watch the fight again without any commentary and then see what they’d say. 
 
“It’s simple, I like knocking people out. Fans wanna see a knockout. I don’t think it hurts my chances at landing the big fights in the future, but I know there are fighters in the division who don’t want to step up. 
 
“I’ve remained focused. I know what I want in life. I’m not a weak-minded sheep that needs an outside force to make me want something. I’m ranked No. 1 by the WBA and I know I’m looking up at champions Gervonta Davis and Teofimo Lopez. But I’m still No. 1, pound-for-pound.”
 

Ronald Johnson says he's fighting on DKP undercard

Ronald Johnson says he's fighting on DKP undercard

Ronald Johnson says he's fighting on DKP undercard
American Dreams Presents announced that it has arranged to add a heavyweight fight to Don King's January 29th pay-per-view [which many believe will never happen]. The event will [supposedly] take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The card is headlined by a heavyweight showdown pitting [WBA regular champion] Manuel Charr who has not arrived in the USA yet] against Trevor Bryan.  In the co-feature bout Beibut Shumenov and Raphael Murphy will fight for the WBA regular cruiserweight title. American Dream Presents says its CEO Ronald Johnson (17-1) will appear on the pay-per-view portion of the undercard against veteran heavyweight Raphael Zumbano (39-17-1).
 
"I want to face the winner of Charr-Bryan and what better way to get ready for that fight than to be on this undercard. I don’t really care who wins but may the best man win and give me my shot next," The heavyweight veteran stated. 
 
In order for a title fight to become a possibility, Johnson knows he must take care of the task at hand and is 100% focused on his upcoming opponent.  "Zumbano is a guy who has been in with most of the top heavyweights and I know he is going to come right after me.  He’s known for being very durable and tough. I plan on putting on a show for all the fans that will be tuning in,” said Johnson. This is just the first step.  We are taking it one step at a time and we won't stop until we win a world title," Johnson explained.
 
Both Johnson and Love have been out of the ring since 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic. He plans on making up for lost time with a big year in 2021.  
 
This will also be Don King's first event in several years and Johnson said it has been great working with him. "Don King is one of the greatest promoters of all time.  He has promoted several of the top names in the sport over the past 50 years. It is a pleasure doing business with him. January 29th can't come soon enough. I can't wait until I get my hand raised," Johnson stated.
 
“My long time partner Ron Bailey built me my gym and has always been behind everything I do. I have to thank him for his continuous support. He’s always talked highly of Mr. King and he approved of me doing business with Mr. King.”
 

JAN.  14, 2020 STORY: A very amateurish 100-second video posted to Don King's website promised that the much-ridiculed Mahmoud Charr vs. Trevor Bryan heavyweight bout will take place on Friday, January 20th at the "Hard Rock Casino" [presumably the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida]. The video said the fight will be shown on pay-per-stream at donkingtv.com. For the undercard, the announcer mispronounced Beibut Shumenov's name, promising that "Babeat Shoe" will be facing Raphael Murphy. The pay-per-stream card will also feature Don King reminiscing about some great fights of the past, such as Holmes-Cooney. Let's just say the video did nothing to convince the many doubters that King has no intention of actually going through with the card. In fact, Vada, the drug-testing organization tweeted that, "#Don King Promotons has asked VADA to not enter Raphael Murphy & Beibut Shumenov into our program at this time."

 

JAN. 7, 2021 story: According to his website, Hall of Famer Don King is planning a boxing show for January 29th in south Florida (no specific venue named). The main event, if the show comes off, will be WBA regular champion Mahmoud Charr (31-4) vs. WBA interim titlist Trevor Bryan. Charr (sometimes called Manuel Charr) has not fought since 2017 and has reportedly tested positive for illegal performance enhancing substances since then.  Bryan (20-0) has not fought since 2018. The reported co-feature has Beibut Shumenov (18-2) defending his WBA regular cruiserweight title against Raphael Murphy (14-1). Shumenov has not fought since 2018, while Murphy is completey unworthy of a title shot of any kind. The third fight listed is former WBC heavyweight title holder Bermane Stiverne, who looked completely shot in his last two fights (both KO losses), against Christopher Lovejoy, an unknown but undefeated heavyweight. No television deal has been announced for the show, and with Don King in his late 80s and little, if any, staff left at his company, it is questionable whether this show will actually happen.

 

DEC. 1, 2020 story: Manuel Charr is the WBA regular heavyweight champion even though he has not fought in three years. Trevor Bryan is the WBA interim heavyweight champion even though he has not fought in two years. The WBA finally got around to ordering them to fight each other in the next 60 days, likely because it wants to strip them both and let Deontay Wilder vs. TBA and Robert Helenius vs. Adam Kownacki fill the two vacancies. Here is what the WBA ordered:  

The heavyweight title fight between champion Mahmoud Charr and the mandatory challenger Trevor Bryan will have to be held by January 29th, 2021, according to a statement issued by the WBA Championships Committee, and signed by Carlos Chávez.
 
The [WBA] requested Don King Promotions to send the contracts signed by both boxers as soon as possible with details on the fight venue and date. The bidding for this mandatory fight took place last March 2nd in Panama City and according to the organization’s rules, specifically rule D.11: Purse Offer Contracts, The Promoter winning the Purse Bid shall have all bout contracts properly signed and delivered to the Championships Committee Chairman no later than twenty (20) days from the date on which the winning bid is awarded. However, in this case, the pause in boxing due to the [coronavirus] pandemic prevented such procedure from being carried out normally, so it was put on hold. Now that most countries have opened their borders and boxing is taking place around the world in a considerable volume, it is a good time to resume the process. Should any or both fighters (Charr – Bryan) fail to sign the contract, he or they will lose their position as champion or/and mandatory challenger.
 
The communication, which was sent to all parties via email, also highlights that the bout shall be conducted under the rules of the WBA, with the respective appointment of officials. It also states that that the laboratories to be used for anti-doping tests should be certified by VADA/WADA in order to be accepted. The WBA is waiting for a response from Don King Promotions and wishes that the fight can be carried out as arranged in the bidding.
 

MARCH 3, 2020 story: [In a fight that may very well never happen], Don King Productions won the purse bid to promote a WBA regular heavyweight championship fight between Syria’s Mahmoud Charr a/k/a Manuel Charr and America’s Trevor Bryan. The purse bid took place on Monday morning at WBA offices in Panama City and was directed by Panamanian Aurelio Fiengo. Don King Productions bid $2,000,000, earning the right to promote the fight, while Global Management submitted a losing bid in the amount of $1,020,000.00. The purse distribution will be 75% for Charr and 25% for Bryan [who holds the meaningless WBA interim title]. [Both men have been missing in inaction. Charr has had PED issues and hasn't fought since 2017; Bryan has not fought since 2018].

King listed the first option is Las Vegas or New York on May 23rd. The second option listed is Kinsasha, Congo, on May 30th, while the third possibility would be Qatar or Saudi Arabia also on May 30th. [King recently won and then defaulted on a WBA purse bid involving Beibut Shumenov]. King is now required under WBA rules to submit the contracts stipulating the date and site of the fight, duly signed by both fighters, within 20 days, which means that the document must be submitted to the WBA office by March 22nd.
 

 

WBA orders Argumedo-Rojas at 105 pounds

WBA orders Argumedo-Rojas at 105 pounds
The WBA ordered Mexico’s Jose Argumedo to face Nicaragua’s Byron Rojas for its vacant regular minimumweight title. The WBA recognizes Thammanoon Niyomtrong a/k/a Knockout CP Freshmart as super champion in the weight class. While the title will be bogus, Argumedo-Rojas will be a good fight. Argumedo (23-4-1) is a former IBF champ who lost his title to Hiroto Kyoguchi in 2017. Rojas 27-4-3 is a former WBA champion with two of his losses to Knockout CP Freshmart. The WBA notified both teams that they must initiate the thirty-day free negotiation period, which started on January 20th and will close on February 19th. The WBA Championships Committee may call to purse bids if the teams do not reach an agreement within the established time, with the distribution of the purse to be 50% for each party as established by WBA rule D.19.

Avagyan-Nunez: desire for rematch is mutual

Avagyan-Nunez: desire for rematch is mutual

A bitterly disappointed Aram Avagyan says he’s willing to do a rematch of his exciting showdown with Jose “Magnifico” Nunez, but this time things have to be a bit different. Nunez is already on record as wanting a rematch. The two undefeated super featherweights, Avagyan (10-0-2, 4 KOs) and Nunez (11-0-2, 4 KOs), fought to an exciting eight-round majority draw on Wednesday's ShoBox at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut But Avagyan, who was facing his fourth consecutive undefeated opponent, takes great exception to the outcome and feels the scores of judges Tom Carusone and John McKaie, who both scored it 76-76, and especially Judge Peter Hary, who had it 77-75 in favor of Nunez, were way off base. Showtime's Raul Marquez saw it for 77-75 for Avagyan[, while Steve Farhood unofficially judged it for Nunez].

“I was shocked,” said Avagyan from his adopted home in Los Angeles. “I thought I only lost round four and the last round. That’s all I give him, and I have 20 years’ experience in boxing. I know when I’m winning or losing.”

Avagyan says Panama’s Nunez must have been getting credit for punches that didn’t land throughout the fight. “He didn’t hit me clean once!” Avagyan continued. “Every punch he threw, I blocked and then countered, and I caught him with clean power shots throughout. All he did was his slapping punch on my right arm over and over. The fight wasn’t even close. My coach told me don’t stop in the last round, but I said to myself that if I’m winning the fight, I don’t want to take a lot of risks because this is boxing. One lucky punch can end everything, so I just enjoyed myself for the last three minutes, knowing I had already won.”

Still stinging as he spends quality time with his family, Avagyan says he’d like the rematch with Nunez, but only under different circumstances with different officials. “If the rematch is going to be like that, forget it. Were the judges watching my fight or another fight? The one who gave him 77-75 – was he just learning how to judge? I even knocked him down and they didn’t count it. It’s ridiculous.”

Avagyan’s promoter, Dmitriy Salita, says the fight was close in his eyes, but his fighter should have gotten the nod. Salita says if Team Nunez want to do it again, things will have to be a bit different. “It was a highly competitive fight, but I thought Aram pulled it out,” said Salita. “I had it 77-75 for Aram, same as Raul Marquez. It’s great for boxing when two undefeated fighters face each other, so if the boxing fans and his team want to do it again, we are willing as well. But this time, it should be scheduled for 10 rounds, not eight. Then we’ll know who the real winner is, and I know it will be Aram.”

 

 

Martin Bakole enters advisory deal with MTK

Martin Bakole enters advisory deal with MTK

Martin Bakole enters advisory deal with MTK
MTK Global announcedit has entered into an advisory deal with heavyweight Martin Bakole (16-1, 12 KOs). Bakole raised his status on the world level following his unanimous decision win over Sergey Kuzmin back in December. [He is currently rated #23 in the world by Boxingtalk]. The 27 year-old Congolese star is based in Scotland working under respected trainer Billy Nelson, and the duo are confident of going all the way to the top after teaming with MTK Global. Bakole said: “I’m really pleased to be signing an advisory deal with MTK Global. I know that they have what it takes to help me achieve my dreams of becoming world champion. The big fights at heavyweight are what I want, and I am certain that MTK Global will be able to secure them for me.”
 
Nelson said: “We’re thrilled to be joining forces with MTK Global. They’re the biggest management company in the world and we’re convinced that they’ll do what is best for Martin Bakole. Martin has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and now with somebody as big as MTK Global backing him, we are all looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish.”
 
MTK Global Vice-President Jamie Conlan added: “We’re delighted to welcome Martin Bakole to the team. He’s a great addition to MTK’s stable. The heavyweight division is the strongest it’s been in years and Martin Bakole is right in the mix. Together with Billy Nelson we believe Martin will become world champion. There are some big nights ahead for Martin which has everyone at the team excited for the future.”
 
News on when Bakole will have his first bout as an MTK Global fighter will be announced in due course.
 

Avery Sparrow to face Rolando Romero on Saturday

Avery Sparrow to face Rolando Romero on Saturday
We have a late change in Saturday night's Showtime line-up: Rolando Romero (12-0) was originally scheduled to defend his WBA interim lightweight title against Justin Pauldo, but Pauldo exceeded the 135-pound limit so Philadelphia's Avery Sparrow (10-2) will take Pauldo’s place. Romero’s title will not be on the line. Sparrow said, “I knew this opportunity would come to me, so I have been staying well prepared. I was already on weight. I didn’t need to struggle to make weight this week. I came in here well prepared in case they needed me. Nothing was out of the ordinary for me as I prepared for this. I had a full camp. I was already in the gym and they called me about three weeks ago. My manager was talking to me about a fight in February so I was preparing for that. I have been getting ready to fight. I only had to cut about seven to 10 pounds over the last three weeks. I am strong, I am solid, and I am mentally prepared. Justin Pauldo was an easier fight for Romero but now I am here and it’s my turn. Rolly is a solid fighter but he makes a lot of amateur mistakes. He relies on his power. He lost his last fight, I believe, but the politics of boxing let him proceed with the victory. It’s in the back of our minds that we need to take over the fight to win on the scorecards. I am so blessed and grateful for this opportunity. The universe is working in my favor and I believe that if I win the fight in the ring then I will be awarded the right decision. I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity. I lost a tough decision against Abraham Nova in June that I thought really went my way, but I won’t cry over spilled milk. The fight was on TV so everyone saw what happened. I put seven rounds in the bank that night. But I am going to put on a great show for Showtime. “I am going to step to Rolly Romero and definitely try to knock him out. I am going out there looking for the knockout. Philly is going to have a big night between me and Stephen Fulton.”

NBC Sports Network-- home of Ring City-- to shut down this year?

NBC Sports Network-- home of Ring City-- to shut down this year?
According to Sports Business Daily, NBC is planning to shut down its NBCSN sports channel by the end of the year. Currently RIng City airs its boxing shows on that platform. Sports Business Daily reports that NHL, NASCAR and EPL will move to USA Network. While the report says, "smaller properties, like car shows, dog shows and some motorsports, will have to find new linear TV outlets," Boxingtalk understands Ring City's spot on NBCSN is secure for the remainder of 2021 with the possibility of moving over to regular NBC after that.
 

Lopez Jr. and Sr. win BWAA awards

Lopez Jr. and Sr. win BWAA awards

Lopez Jr. and Sr. win BWAA awards
Teofimo Lopez Jr. (pictured) won the Sugar Ray Robinson Award as the Boxing Writers Association of America's 2020 Fighter of the Year. In 2020, Lopez proved he could beat the best, with his electrifying October victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko, making him the undisputed lightweight world champion. Fight fans around the world noticed. So, too, did the boxing media. Lopez beat out a class that included Canelo Alvarez, Gervonta Davis, Tyson Fury, Errol Spence Jr. and Joe Smith Jr. Lopez also became the first American to win the BWAA Fighter of the Year award since Floyd Mayweather in 2015.
 
“I’m very appreciative of this,” Lopez said. “It’s been a long journey and this is just the beginning. What I can say is this is a true big win for us. It’s surreal. Sometimes I still think this is a dream for us, but we turned that dream into reality. Every fighter that I look down on the list of past BWAA Fighter of the Year award winners are in the Hall of Fame, or going into the Hall of Fame. Now I’m a part of that group and that history. It’s something no one can take away from me. There is so much more that we can do.”
 
Lopez’s selection is the crowning moment for Team Lopez, which won the BWAA’s coveted triple crown by winning the BWAA’s fighter, trainer and manager of the year awards for 2020. It was once a rare occurrence, though with Lopez chosen as Fighter of the Year, Teofimo Lopez Sr. chosen as Trainer of the Year and David McWater of Split-T Management selected as Manager of the Year, the BWAA triple crown has been achieved for the third time in the last four years.
 
“I never expected this,” Lopez Sr. said. “This is a tribute to all of the hard work that we put in. I was thinking about my son. I wasn’t thinking about any awards, so to get this from the BWAA makes me a part of history and I’ll be in the boxing books forever. It’s a great honor and I don’t plan on letting anyone down.”
 
Lopez Sr. was selected over a distinguished list that included Robert Garcia, Sugar Hill, Derrick James and the BWAA 2019 Trainer of the Year Eddy Reynoso.
 
“Getting this award is pretty exciting and very vindicating,” McWater said. “It involved a lot of hard work, and it’s especially sweet because I felt last year Keith Connolly (the 2019 BWAA Manager of the Year) deserved it so much, which I felt gave the award more credibility than in the past. It’s a tribute to our whole company at Split-T. Everyone at Split-T has so much to be grateful about for Teofimo and his father. Their awards couldn’t be more deserving.” McWater won out over a distinguished class that included Connolly, Peter Kahn, Rick Mirigian and Reynoso.
 
 

Zepeda-Baranchyk named as BWAA fight of the year

Zepeda-Baranchyk named as BWAA fight of the year
The Jose Zepeda-Ivan Baranchyk junior welterweight fight was a landslide winner as the Boxing Writers Association of America Fight of the Year. The October classic featured eight combined knockdowns. Zepeda was knocked down twice in the first, once in the second and once in the fifth. Baranchyk was down once in rounds two, three, four and five. Finally, Zepeda ended it at 2:50 of the fifth.
 
“This is very exciting, because I know now that this will be part of boxing history,” Zepeda said. “I’m glad that I was able to be in a fight like that, and I’m happy for me and Ivan, because both of us gave up everything in there. It’s why we’re part of boxing, because we gave it our all. It’s double the pleasure, because it’s Fight of the Year, and I won. I think a lot of good things can happen for me this year, because of that fight. I know fans want to see that fight again. I think our second fight could be even better than our first fight.”
 
Anyone who saw it won’t forget it, and anyone who didn’t see it made sure that they watched it later. “This is great,” Baranchyk said. “I saw the fight one time with my trainer, that was it. I went back over the fight to fix my mistakes to be ready for the rematch. I would like to fight Jose again.”
 
The candidates for Fight of the Year included Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz, Carlos Gongora-Ali Akhmedov, Juan Francisco Estrada-Carlos Cuadras II and Masayoshi Nakatani-Felix Verdejo.
 
The 2020 John McCain-Bill Crawford Courage Award goes to the Magomed Abdusalamov family, who have been taking care of the Russian heavyweight after he suffered severe brain injuries during his fight with Mike Perez on November 2, 2013, at Madison Square Garden.
 
Mark Breland, Prichard Colon, Derrick James and Jose Santa Cruz were the other considerations in that category. 
 
BWAA 2020 Award Winners:
 
Sugar Ray Robinson Award Fighter of The Year 2020 winner: Teofimo Lopez Jr.
 
Nominees: Canelo Alvarez, Gervonta Davis, Tyson Fury, Teofimo Lopez Jr., Errol Spence Jr., Joe Smith Jr.
 
Muhammad Ali – Joe Frazier Award Fight of the Year 2020 winner: Jose Zepeda-Ivan Baranchyk
 
Nominees: Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz, Carlos Gongora-Ali Akhmedov, Juan Francisco Estrada-Carlos Cuadras II, Masayoshi Nakatani-Felix Verdejo, Alexander Povetkin-Dillian Whyte, 
Jose Zepeda-Ivan Baranchyk
 
Eddie Futch Award Trainer of the Year 2020 winner: Teofimo Lopez Sr.
 
Nominees: Robert Garcia, Sugar Hill, Derrick James, Teofimo Lopez Sr., Eddy Reynoso
 
Cus D’Amato Award Manager of the Year 2020 winner: David McWater
 
Nominees: Keith Connolly, Peter Kahn, David McWater, Rick Mirigian, Eddy Reynoso 
 
John McCain-Bill Crawford Courage Award 2020 winner: Magomed Abdusalamov family
 
Nominees: Magomed Abdusalamov family, Mark Breland, Prichard Colon, Derrick James, Jose Santa Cruz
 
 

Panama's Jose Nunez wants immediate rematch vs. Aram Avagyan

Panama's Jose Nunez wants immediate rematch vs. Aram Avagyan
Sampson Lewkowicz, promoter of Panamanian super featherweight Jose “Magnifico” Nunez (11-0-2, 4 KOs), says a rematch must happen between his fighter and Armenia’s Aram Avagyan (10-0-2, 4 KOs). The fought to an action-packed, eight-round majority draw on Wednesday’s edition of ShoBox: The New Generation at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Judge Peter Hary had it 77-75 in favor of the Panamanian, but was overruled by Tom Carusone and John McKaie, who saw it even at 76-76. Showtime’s unofficial scorer Steve Farhood scored it 77-75 in favor of Nunez.
 
Lewkowicz, who places no blame at the feet of the judges, says there’s only one way to establish who is the better fighter between the two warriors… they have to do it again. “I don’t blame the judges,” said Lewkowicz, “it was a close fight and difficult to score, but after his tremendous performance, my fighter deserves another chance for a victory,” said Lewkowicz. “A draw leaves no clear winner, so they must fight again.”
 
According to Lewkowicz, Avagyan and his team have an open invitation to do it again on any of his upcoming televised shows. “It was a great fight and I congratulate both fighters, but I want to do this again as soon as possible,” said Lewkowicz, “The fans deserve to see them put on another great show and the only way to solve who is better is by doing a rematch.” Lewkowicz added that he hopes Team Avagyan have the same mindset and looks forward to beginning negotiations with them.
 

Alvarez and Matchroom have a two-fight deal

Alvarez and Matchroom have a two-fight deal

Alvarez and Matchroom have a two-fight deal
Saúl "Canelo" Álvarez will defend his WBC / WBA super middleweight titles against Avni Yidirim on Saturday February 27th at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, live on DAZN in over 200 countries (excluding Mexico). Following December's win over Callum Smith, Alvarez decided to continue his relationship with Matchroom and Eddie Hearn by entering into a two-fight deal starting with the Yildirim fight. [Boxingtalk's guess is that Alvarez's second fight will be against Billy Joe Saunders or possibly Gennadiy Golovkin]. Hearn says he is excited to develop the relationship with Canelo and celebrated trainer / manager Eddy Reynoso. “It is an absolute honor to promote the pound-for-pound number one and I’m so excited to head to Miami and the home of the Dolphins at the Hard Rock Stadium,” said Hearn. “Even in a pandemic, Saúl is looking to be more active than ever and in his plan to be undisputed he must overcome his mandatory challengers to keep his belt. Yildirim is the first of those challenges who will be attempting to dethrone the king on February 27th. We look forward to a huge night of boxing on DAZN and the start of a huge year for Canelo.”
 
DAZN's Ed Breeze added, “How many fighters at this level return to the ring after two months? Canelo’s love for boxing and his fans is truly unique. We’re thrilled to deliver our fifth consecutive Canelo fight to DAZN subscribers across the world.”
 
“We are excited to work with Canelo Alvarez, Matchroom and Eddie Hearn to bring world class boxing to Hard Rock Stadium for the first time in history with Canelo vs. Yildirim,” said Todd Boyan, Senior Vice President of Stadium Operations for the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium. “Canelo is one of the top athletes in the world and this live event in a socially distanced setting will be a special night for boxing fans.”
 
Canelo (54-1-2 36 KOs) cemented himself as the consensus number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world and the top dog in the 168-pound division with a dominant win over previously unbeaten Callum Smith in San Antonio, Texas in December with the WBA and vacant WBC belts on the line. The Mexican star declared after the fight his desire to become the undisputed champion at super middleweight, but before targeting the remaining belts, he agreed to deal with WBC mandatory Yildirim at the home of the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes.
 
“Avni Yildirim is a good boxer and I know we will put on an exciting fight,” said Canelo. “I’m very glad that we are able to bring this event to Miami, a short distance from where my hero, Muhammad Ali, trained. February 27th will be a great night for the sport.”
 
“On February 27th, we take the next step in our journey to unify the super middleweight division,” said Reynoso, Sport and Talent director at Canelo Promotions and Canelo’s trainer. “We will be facing our WBC mandatory opponent, Avni YildirIm. We are very happy with the alliance we have with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom to put on this bout together, especially in a new venue for us.”
 
Yildirim (21-2 12 KOs) has been biding his time to fight for the WBC title once again, having been [inactive for nearly two years and losing] his last outing when his clash for the vacant crown with Anthony Dirrell in Minnesota in February 2019, with the clash ending in a technical decision win for Dirrell after he suffered a cut over his eye.
 
The 29 year old challenger will be aiming to shock the world two years on from that disappointment and does so in his third fight in the States and second in Miami, having beaten the ‘Road Warrior’ Glen Johnson in August 2015, and the Turkish star returns to the Sunshine State for the biggest night of his career.
 
“I am honored as a mandatory to fight again for the big green belt – thank you to everyone who is involved,” said Yildirim. “I always give my all – and everybody should be ready to see a war. I am coming to make my country proud – I am representing the whole of Turkey.”
 
 

Philadelphia's Anthony Fletcher to be released after 28 years in prison

Philadelphia's Anthony Fletcher to be released after 28 years in prison
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, former lightweight / junior welterweight contender Anthony Fletcher, will be released from prison very soon. Fletcher, who fought professionally from 1980-1990, has been incarcerated for 28 years. He was convicted of murder but maintained he acted in self-defense. Recently, a judge ruled that Fletcher's attorney was an ineffective counsel for not pursuing the self-defense aspect diligently. As a result, the conviction was vacated and Fletcher pled guilty to third-degree homicide as part of a deal to be released for time served. From Philadelphia, the now 63 year-old Fletcher compiled a pro record of 24-4-1, including two wins over men who went on to become champions, Freddie Pendleton and Livingston Bramble. Fletcher lost his final two fights in 1990. Boxingtalk wishes him well in his return to society.
 

MTK schedules three shows for Dubai

MTK schedules three shows for Dubai
D4G Promotions in association with Round 10 Boxing Club and MTK Global announced it will promote three shows in Dubai in February, March and April. They will be broadcast live in the US on ESPN+  and worldwide on IFL TV. The featured bouts for the first two shows are already set. On February 6th, Lee McGregor challenges Karim Guerfi for the European bantamweight title and Sean McComb faces Gavin Gwynne for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title. On Friday March 12th, Tyrone McKenna meets undefeated Zhankosh Turarov in a junior welterweight bout, Lewis Crocker is in a welterweight bout against Deniz Ilbay, and Gary Cully and Viktor Kotochigov collide at lightweight. Some of Dubai’s best local stars will also be featured on the cards- Hasibullah Ahmadi and Faizan Anwar are due to compete, while additional will be revealed in the coming days.
 
Ahmed Seddiqi of D4G Promotions said: “We’re delighted to be working with Round 10 Boxing Club and MTK Global to bring these three sensational events to Dubai. The events are taking place thanks to the superb work from the Dubai Government and the Dubai Sports Council, with their proactive approach to safety measures and protocols making them a shining example of how things should be done on the international stage. Their tremendous dedication has seen Dubai become one of the global leaders in this department, and these events will follow all of the essential safety measures to ensure it is as safe as possible. Each card will feature some of the very best fighters in the world, along with a number of Dubai’s highly-rated up and coming stars, so we can’t wait to get started. I’ve worked in this region for many years to bring boxing here, and now I feel like it is really coming together. I’m looking forward to the future because it is going to be very bright. We want the Middle East to be one of the major powers in boxing. That’s our goal and our plan to help build up grassroots boxing in the region.”
 
MTK Global CEO Bob Yalen said: “With the cancellation of boxing in the UK in January, the team were forced to re-think the upcoming schedule for 2021, and after speaking with Ahmed Seddiqi of D4G Promotions, we came to a fantastic solution by deciding to move three of our next four shows to Dubai. These three shows in Dubai will feature some of the most exciting prospects and future stars on the MTK roster, and we’re excited to kick off 2021 in style.”
 
Everlast Group Head of Operations David Al-Mudallal added: “We’re delighted to be supporting the return of boxing to Dubai. As a brand synonymous with professional boxing and worn by all of the greats, it’s important to Everlast that we support events like these and the opportunities they afford to professional fighters across the world and the boxing fans that will tune in.”
 

Nietes planning April return

Nietes planning April return
The third of three shows planned by MTK Global in Dubai (in association with D4G Promotions and Round 10 Boxing Club) will take place on Saturday April 3rd and is likely to have a  Filipino flavor. Nothing is set in stone but the plan is for four-weight champion Donnie Nietes (pictured) to return to action. Nietes (42-1-5) has not fought since the last day of 2018, when he defeated Japan's Kazuto Ioka by split decision to win the WBO 115-pound title. That win looks even better now that Ioka regained the title and later entered pound-for-pound lists with a recent win in a Japanese superfight vs. Kosei Tanaka. Also preparing for April 3rd action is  Albert Pagara, another Filipino. Pagara is a 33-1 super bantamweight. MTK hopes to announce Nietes' and Pagara's respsective opponents shortly.

Beterbiev once again rescheduled, this time for March 20th

Beterbiev once again rescheduled, this time for March 20th
\WBC/IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) will fight Adam Deines in a special Russian homecoming Saturday, March 20th at Megasport Arena in Moscow. Beterbiev represented Russia at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and moved to Montreal to begin his pro career in 2013. Nearly eight years after turning pro, he will fight in Russia for the first time, and for the first time since unifying two titles in October 2019 with a tenth-round knockout over Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Patriot Promotions, Beterbiev-Deines will air live on an ESPN platform, with additional details to follow.
 
“At long last, Artur Beterbiev will defend his world titles as he looks to kick off his 2021 campaign in devastating fashion,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We have big plans for Artur, but he must first take care of business in Moscow.”
 
Beterbiev said, "I am excited to finally have a date for the fight. Now that COVID-19 and the injury are behind me, I am able to prepare well and put on a great show for boxing fans."
 
Beterbiev and Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs), who is ranked No. 6 by the IBF, have been scheduled to fight twice before. A proposed Oct. 23 date was scuttled after Beterbiev suffered a rib injury in training, and the Jan. 30 makeup date was postponed after Beterbiev tested positive for the coronavirus. Deines, who turns 30 on Feb. 8th, has won a pair of bouts via stoppage since the lone loss of his career, a June 2019 unanimous decision to Meng Fanlong in Macau, China.
 

Dmitriy Salita to represent WBC in Israel

Dmitriy Salita to represent WBC in Israel
The WBC Board of Governors has appointed boxer-turned-promoter Dmitriy Salita as its representative to Israel. Salita will be working alongside the Middle East Boxing Council, which Amir Khan successfully leads as president of this WBC affiliated continental boxing federation. [Khan defeated Salita when they were both active boxers]. As the WBC’s representative in Israel, Salita will carry out projects in collaboration with the WBC, as well as the Middle East Boxing Council. Their shared goal is to continue developing boxing in this region.
 
Salita commented: “Sports is a universal language that connects people from different cultures and parts of the world. I am honored to work with the WBC and Amir Khan in bringing grass roots and championship boxing to the Middle East and the land of Israel with the goal of making it one of the important hubs of professional boxing”.
 
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said, “Dmitriy Salita is a great addition to the Middle East Boxing Council, as a fighter he understands the importance to have a solid platform to help kids find a right path in life and we are greatly exited to find inclusion, diversity and specially human equality with these exemplary icons of our sport like Salita and Khan."
 
“ I will work hand by hand with my brother Dmitriy and will make the world proud to see how we can work together and have boxing unite all countries for the benefit of our future generations," said Khan.
 
The WBC family wishes our friend, Dmitriy Salita success with this appointment, as we are certain that a great future lies ahead.
 
 

Twitter Chatter: ShoBox turns 20

Twitter Chatter: ShoBox turns 20

Stephen Espinoza, the president of Showtime Sports, tweeting on the 20th season of ShoBox:  "Congratulations and thank you to the many talented people who have worked tirelessly to make ShoBox a lasting success, especially our Core 4 - executive producer Gordon Hall, producer Rich Gaughan, director Rick Phillips and analyst Steve Farhood - who have each been here since day one."

Introducing British lightweight Mo Gharib

Introducing British lightweight Mo Gharib
MTK Global announced the signing of Islington, England lightweight Mo Gharib (6-1). Gharib has been a professional since 2017, and is a regular on the London boxing scene, with all seven of his fights in the paid ranks taking place at York Hall. He also had a successful amateur career, with nearly 100 fights and boxing for England, and he’s looking forward to taking the next step in his career alongside MTK Global. Gharib said: “I’m really excited to join MTK Global. It will give me the platform that I need to shine and get where I need to get to. It feels amazing to be part of the same team as the likes of Tyson Fury, Billy Joe Saunders, Josh Taylor and more. It’s a real privilege to be signing and I’m very happy. I’m ready for any opportunities that come my way. In 2021 it’s all about getting back in the ring and I’ll defeat anybody that gets in there with me.”
 
MTK Global Promoter Lee Eaton added: “It’s great to welcome Mo Gharib to the team. He looked to be on the verge of challenging for Area and English titles before COVID hit, so we’ll look to get him out as soon as we can and help him get back to where he needs to be.” News on when Gharib will have his first bout as an MTK Global fighter will be announced in due course.
 

Alvarez locks down Feb. 27th fight date vs. Yildirim

Alvarez locks down Feb. 27th fight date vs. Yildirim
Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, will return to the ring on February 27th at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami to face Turkey’s Avni Yildirim in defense of Alvarez's WBA/WBC super middleweight championships. Álvarez announced that he will fight again only a little more than two months after his most recent bout, a December 19th win over Callum Smith in Texas that saw Alvarez successfully move down from light heavyweight to capture two of the four major super middleweight titles. Alvarez said on social meia that he intends to have three fights in 2021. The fight will be broadcast on DAZN in most countries and will be promoted by Matchroom Boxing. Yildirim has a record of 21 wins, 2 losses, and 12 KOs, with a loss to Anthony Dirrell in his last fight, which was in early 2019. Yildirim also has a loss to Chris Eubank.
 
BOXINGTALK'S SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT RANKINGS: 

1. Canelo Alvarez - There can be no dispute as to who deserves the #1 spot following Canelo's destruction of Callum Smith to claim Smith's WBA and the vacant WBC titles. Before Smith, Alavarez KO'd Sergey Kovalev for the WBO title at light heavyweight and the four-division champion performed even better moving down to 168 pounds.

2. Billy Joe Saunders - This will not be a popular choice for the #2 spot because of Saunders' frustrating attitude and inconsistent performances, and the ranking does not mean we would favor Saunders to defeat Benavidez if they ever met. Ranking Saunders #2 is more of a criticism of Benvidez, who, though undefeated, has lost the WBC title twice, once due to missing weight and once due to drug use. And some credit is due to Saunders, who performed well last time out, retiring perennial contender Martin Murray in a WBO title defense.

3. David Benavidez - Last time out, he lost his title on the scales but defeated Roamer Angulo to reach 23-0. The 23 year-old says he wants to remain at super middleweight, but  losing the title twice outside the ring is definitely a "Red Flag." His best wins are Anthony Dirrell and Ronald Gavril (twice).

4. Danny Jacobs - Despite the lack of a world title around his waist, Jacobs had a strong case to be ranked ahead of Caleb Plant... until his lackluster performance in a debatable win over Gabriel Rosado. We need to see Jacobs' next fight in order to accurately assess where he stands in the division and in his career. 

5. Caleb Plant - His IBF championship run has not been awe inspriring: Jose Uzcategui, Mike Lee and Vicent Feigenbutz. Next up is Caleb Truax, which is only a little step up from the last two. Plant seems content to bide his time until a Canelo fight falls in his lap. 

6. Callum Smith - The comprehensive punishment he suffered against Canelo Alvarez does not totally negate the good work he did in winning the World Boxing Super Series. But that could have been career-altering punishment he suffered in losing to Canelo.

7. John Ryder - Some felt this British southpaw deserved the decision when he challenged Callum Smith in late 2019. Ryder stayed busy with a 2020 win over Mark Guy. He deserves at least an eliminator to show whee he really stands in the division. Next: probalby David Morrell.

8. Anthony Dirrell -The current state at 168 is pretty weak when your #8 contender hasn't won a fight in nearly two years, but as the say, it is what it is. Dirrell has a win over Avni Yildirim in early 2019, a semi-recent win over Caleb Truax, and a stoppage loss to David Benavidez.

9. Lionell Thompson - Didn't fight in 2020 but ended 2019 in big fashion, with a win over ex-title holder Jose Uzcategui. Thompson has five losses, but deserves an eliminator vs. someone like John Ryder.

10. Fedor Chudinov - Since losing to George Groves in 2017, this Russian has put together seven straight wins over decent competition, maybe the best current run in the division. His only fight in 2020 may have ended the career of Umar Saadiq. Put Chudinov in the mix with Ryder and Thompson for an eliminator.

11. Aidos Yerbossynuly - After stopping previously unbeaten Issah Samir in December, this Kazakh is now 15-0 against solid opposition.

12. David Morrell - Forget about the bogus WBA belt he has, it means nothing. The Cuban Morrell is a huge prospect but is only 5-0 (including the Wolrd Series of Boxing). Still, his win over previously undefeated Lennox Allen is meaningful. Next: John Ryder seems likely next for Morrell.

13. Carlos Gongora - Ecuador's finest is riding high after winning the IBO title by stopping previously unbeaten Ali Akhmedov.

14. David Lemieux - Ex-IBF middleweight title holder moved up to 168 and had one fight in each of 2019 and 2020. He's a big puncher but seems to be waiting for a cash-out fight.

15. Gabriel Rosado - He has 13 losses, but his surprisingly strong performance in a split-decision loss to Danny Jacobs resurrected the Philadelphia warrior's career. 

16. Caleb Truax - Former IBF champion's finest moment - a split-decision win over James DeGale- is now three years behind him. His upcoming fight vs. Caelb Plant is likely his last shot at the big time.

17. Vladimir Shishkin - 12-0 Russian doesn't have the flashy KO streak like Edgar Berlanga, but at this moment, he has fought slightly tougher opposition.

18. Edgar Berlanga -16-0 with 16 first-round KOs... who doesn't want to see more of this guy?

19. Bektemir Melikuziev  - From Uzbekistan, "Bully" lost a great chance to jump up to the world level when ex-light heavyweight champion Serey Kovalev tested postitive for PEDs, causing their fight to get cancelled. We'll have to see what weight class Melikuziev decides to campaign in going forward. 

20. Zach Parker - Former British champ is 19-0 but avoided a rematch with Darryll Williams after squeaking out a split-decision win. (In fairness, Williams hasn't fought since). Had a quality win over Rohan Murdock in March 2020, but hasn't fought since.

21. Jose Uzcategui - Ex-IBF champ from Venezuela lost his last fight, to Lionell Thompson in December 2019 and hasn't fought since.

22. Andre Dirrell - Lost to Jose Uzcategui in early 2018, took more than a year and a half off but stopped Juan Cabrera in December 2019.

23. Steven Nelson - Undefeated Nebraskan had two decent wins in 2020 - Cem Killic and DeAndre Ware, and that's enough for the top 25 in this weight class.

24. Stephan Haertel - German is 19-1 overall, 3-0 in this weight class, including a win over Robin Krasniqi, whoi is now a rated light heavyweight.

25. Ievgen Khytrov  - Russian has a strong amateur background. He moved up from middleweight at the end of 2018 and had two decent wins in 2019 but no fights in 2020.

26-40: 26.Ronald Ellis, 27. Juergen Braehmer, 28. Aslambek Idigov, 29. Rocky Fielding, 30. Tyrone Zeuge, 31. Ronald Gavril, 32. Roamer Angulo, 33. Erik Bazinyan, 34. Evgeny Shvedenko, 35. Felix Sturm, 36. Ali Akhmedov, 37. Istvan Szili, 38. Vladimir Hernandez, 39. Sherzon Khusanov, 40. Petro Ivanov.

41-51: 41. Kevin Sadjo, 42. Giovanni DeCarolis, 43. Billal Akkawy, 44. Leon Bauer, 45. Rowan Campbell, 46. Maksym Bursak, 47. William Scull, 48. Christian Mbilli, 49. Steve Rolls, 50. Lennox Allen, 51. Demond Nicholson.

INELIGIBLE LIST: Avni Yildirim (inactivity) 

 

Warrington vacates IBF featherweight title

Warrington vacates IBF featherweight title
Josh Warrington has vacated his IBF featherweight championship after the IBF refused to sanction his proposed unification fight in April. Warrington is booked to face Mauricio Lara on February 13th [and it appears that will go ahead as planned]. Earlier this month, a proposed unification fight with WBA title holder Xu Can was delayed with a new working date of April 24th. Matchroom will now look to finalize Warrington-Xu or match Warrington vs. WBC king Gary Russell. Both the Can and Russell fights could be for the Ring Magazine belt. [The IBF ratings would have two Brits, Kid Galahad vs. James "Jazza" Dickens fight for the vacant title].
 
“It’s so important for Josh to be in a mega fight after Lara on February 13th,” said Matchroom's Eddie Hearn. “He has his heart set on the Ring belt and it’s up to us to make the Can or Russell fights for April or early May. I’ve been working hard with Robert Diaz of Golden Boy to close Xu Can and also had several conversations with Luis De Cubas regarding a Gary Russell bout – both fights are Fight of the Year contenders. ”
 
“It’s disappointing we couldn’t have the IBF title on the line, but I can’t let those decisions stand in the way of me going down in British boxing history by facing the very best in the division,” said Warrington. “I’ve always dreamt about winning the Ring belt, for me it leaves no doubt who the king of the division is. Right now, my mind and focus is on Lara for February 13th and then I’m looking to pick up that beautiful [Rig] belt.”
 
 
 

Josh Taylor believes four-belt unification will happen this year

Josh Taylor believes four-belt unification will happen this year
WBA / IBF junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor has revealed that his confidence is at an all-time high – and he believes he will knock out WBC / WBO counterpart Jose Ramirez when they have their expected four-belt world championship showdown later this year. Taylor (17-2 including the World Series of Boxing) looks set to collide with WBC and WBO super-lightweight champion Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) in a massive battle this summer. Both are confident of victory, but Taylor has explained just why he is so certain that he will get his hand raised. He told IFL TV: “I’ve got my dream fight, and it’s about winning the fight more than anything else. I really do believe I’m going to beat him and knock him out."
 
Taylor continued, “My confidence is through the roof since my last three fights. Without getting big-headed, I feel like I’m unbeatable at the moment. I think it’s going to take a real special fighter for me to get beat, or I’ll just have to have a really bad night. Ramirez is up against it as well. He’s up against a man that is hungrier than him, and I feel like I’m a better fighter, who is more skilful and more spiteful. He is a unified world champion and a good fighter, but I just believe I’ve got the beating of him in every department.”
 

Mykquan Williams defeats Yeis Solano on ShoBox

Mykquan Williams defeats Yeis Solano on ShoBox
Mykquan Williams W10 Yeis Solano.. Junior welterweight Mykquan Williams earned a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Yeis Solano on Wednesday night’s edition of ShoBox: The New Generation from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.. The event marked the beginning of ShoBox’s 20th anniversary year as the premier boxing series aimed at developing prospects into contenders and world champions. Williams (16-0-1, 7 KO) extended his undefeated record by toppling the first unbeaten foe of his career in Solano (15-1, 10 KOs), who was often the aggressor throughout the ten-round affair. In his home state of Connecticut, Williams neutralized Solano’s onslaught with superior speed and head movement throughout the fight, and outlanded the Colombian by 53 total punches. Two ringside judges saw the fight 96-93 with the third judge seeing it 97-92 in favor of the 22 year-old. 
 
 Solano, who returned to ShoBox following a win in June 2019, was effective when fighting Williams on the inside with 50 of his 147 total punches landed connecting to the body. It was in the eighth round that Williams sealed his victory with a right hand that sent Solano to the canvas for the first time in his six-year professional career.
 
 “The judges definitely got it right,” said Williams. “I thought I landed the bigger, sharper shots for sure. I let him do a little too much though. He was shooting that straight left a lot, but I was catching most of them. He didn’t land too much. I would give myself a seven or eight out of ten. I could have done a lot more. The first couple rounds were good but in the middle of the fight, I kind of let him back in. But I adjusted and picked it back up and got my second wind in the latter rounds.”
 
 Williams acknowledged the significance of winning his debut fight on ShoBox: The New Generation, what it means for his career and the experience of fighting without fans for the first time in his career. “It was definitely important not to just get the win but to look good doing it,” said Williams. “I’ve been off for 15 months and this is a big platform to fight on. It’s my first televised fight so I thought it was important to look good and showcase my skills. It was a little weird fighting in front of no fans. I could hear a little bit of what the announcers were saying which was different. But I think it allowed me to focus a little more, to be honest. Not hearing the crowd and playing to the crowd helped me in the end.” source: showtime
 
 

No one's 0 had to go in Nunez-Avagyan co-feature

No one's 0 had to go in Nunez-Avagyan co-feature
Jose Nunez D8 Aram Avagyan...  In the ShoBox opener, Panama’s Jose Nunez (11-0-2, 4 KOs) and Armenia’s Aram Avagyan (10-0-2, 4 KOs) kept their undefeated records intact following a majority draw in an exciting eight-round super featherweight fight. Two of the three judges ringside scored the fight 76-76, while a third judge saw it in favor of Nunez at 77-75. Showtime’s unofficial ringside scorer Steve Farhood also saw it 77-75 in favor of the Panamanian southpaw. Avagyan applied pressure throughout the fight with his come-forward style, but Nunez controlled the tempo with a heavy dose of work to the body where he landed 53 punches over the course of eight frames compared to just 19 body shots landed from Avagyan. Both fighters relied heavily on power punches with Nunez landing 112 and Avagyan landing 118, while the two fighters combined for just 28 landed jabs. It marked the second draw of each fighter’s career.
 
 “There was no justice tonight,” said Nunez. “It’s not fair. I won the first four rounds and closed out the last one as well. I executed the game plan really well. I knew he was a tough opponent, so I needed to slow him down by attacking the body and that’s exactly what I did. I’m not interested in a rematch if it’s going to be another draw. It was a tough fight, but I already proved that I’m the better fighter. He was not the toughest opponent I’ve faced because the truth is that I feel like I won. At the very least, I very clearly won five rounds.”
 
 “I definitely did enough to get the win,” said Avagyan. “It doesn’t make sense to me. He never hurt me. I got hit with some body shots, but I blocked everything. Every big shot he threw he missed. I thought I fought a good fight and deserved the win. I’m not interested in a rematch if it’s going to be judged like that. If it’s going to be fair, then yes, I would fight him again.” source: showtime
 
 

Berchelt-Valdez update

Berchelt-Valdez update
The eagerly awaited fight between WBC super featherweight champion Miguel “Alacrán” Berchelt and the undefeated former WBO featherweight champion, Oscar Valdez, will take place on February 20th. Both boxers sent in their thirty-day pre-weigh-ins, showing their great commitment and professionalism. Berchelt weighed 142.8 pounds, while Valdez posted 142.6 pounds, both within the WBC limits for the time frame. Berchelt, age 28, with a record of 37-1 with 33 knockouts, has made six defenses of the title that he won against another Mexican, Francisco Vargas, in January 2017. Valdez, 29, 27-0 with 21 knockouts, moved up to the super featherweight division in 2019, after a successful campaign at 126 pounds that saw him make six defenses of his own.
 

ShoBox books four-fight broadcast for Feb. 17th

ShoBox books four-fight broadcast for Feb. 17th
Welterweight Janelson Figueroa Bocachica will meet fellow undefeated Mark Reyes, Jr., in a ShoBox: The New Generation main event bout Wednesday, February 17th at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Bocachica vs. Reyes headlines a four-fight card promoted by Salita Promotions that features eight young boxers with a combined record of 119-4-1, five of whom are undefeated. Detroit’s Figueroa Bocachica (16-0, 11 KOs) is following up on his dominating performance in his ShoBox debut in October when he faces the power-punching Reyes (14-0, 12 KOs) from Tampa, in a ten-round bout. The co-feature matches Russian super middleweight Vladimir Shishkin (11-0, 7 KOs) against Ghana’s Sena Agbeko (23-1, 18 KOs) in another ten rounder. In addition, Alejandro Guerrero (12-0, 9 KOs) of Texas returns to ShoBox to face Mexico’s Abraham Montoya (19-2-1, 14 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout... Another Russian based in Detroit, Timur Kerefov (9-0, 4 KOs), will battle middleweight Argenis Espana (15-1, 14 KOs) of Venezuela in the eight-round telecast opener.
 
 “I am delighted to promote an exciting night of boxing, featuring some of the best young talent in boxing in opposing corners,” Salita said. “The February 17th card features possibly the best new talent in four different weight divisions in pick ‘em fights. Middleweight Timur Kerefov, fighting with trainer SugarHill Steward in his corner, is looking to quickly climb up the ladder. Super featherweight Alejandro Guerrero is fighting his toughest test against Abraham Montoya. Super middleweight Vladimir Shishkin is looking for a breakout performance against the hungry Sena Agbeko, who is looking to make a name for himself. This show may also be the crowning of one of the best new welterweights in the world with an exciting match-up between undefeated prospects, Janelson Figueroa Bocachica and Mark Reyes, Jr.”
 
Steward, who legally changed his name to SugarHill Steward to honor his late uncle Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, calls Kerefov, “One of the best middleweights in the world right now,” and that there is no limit to how far the 30-year-old can go. “We don’t have long conversations because of the language barrier, but I’m impressed how Timur is able to process the information I tell him, and quickly get better in the short time we’ve worked together,” said Steward, who is also training Anthony Dirrell at Big Time Boxing and Fitness in Boca Raton, Fla. “The Russians who come to Detroit are here to work and not run the streets, which I like. They have families and know that boxing in the United States is the mecca. So, they take it very seriously.”
 
 
 

Mark Kriegel extends contract with ESPN

Mark Kriegel extends contract with ESPN
ESPN announced it has re-signed renowned sports broadcaster and author Mark Kriegel to its boxing announcer team. Kriegel, who joined ESPN in 2017, will continue to serve as an essayist, commentator and reporter on Top Rank on ESPN events. In addition to his on-air boxing duties, Kriegel will continue to do long-form story-telling, and video and print features and columns, on a wide array of subjects.  His work will continue to be featured across all ESPN platforms.
 
“Mark has the ability to lift us up and take us places never imagined through his masterful storytelling,” said Mark Gross, ESPN senior vice president, production and remote events.  “His video essays have become a signature part of our boxing broadcasts.  We are honored to continue to have Mark on our boxing commentator team.”
 
“Fighters risk everything when they step into that ring, and I’m honored to be able to do these stories,” said Kriegel. “Working with our crew – everyone, from the production assistants to the talent – has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”
 
Last April marked the third consecutive year that Kriegel took home top honors in the annual Boxing Writers Association of America Writing Contest. He won first place in three different categories: “Event Coverage” for “What Maxim Dadashev Was Fighting For,” a piece on Dadashev, who died from brain injuries suffered in a fight in 2019; Short Feature for his story on WBO junior lightweight champion, “Why Marine Jamel Herring Keeps Fighting”;  and Long Feature for “Why Joet Gonzalez wants to beat up Shakur Stevenson, his sister’s boyfriend.”
 
Kriegel is an Emmy Award winning television broadcaster and journalist. As a general assignment reporter at the Daily News, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He also wrote the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers, Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich, Namath: A Biography and The Good Son: The Life of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. The Los Angeles Times called his novel, Bless Me, Father, “mesmerizing.”