Posts Tagged ‘Boxing’

Superfly2PC_Hoganhotos5

Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/360 Boxing Promotions

LOS ANGELES — Local media descended on downtown L.A. yesterday to attend the opening press conference for the HBO’s Superfly 2 card, set for February 24 at The Forum.

The card is the first promotion being solely handled by Tom Loeffler’s 360 Boxing Promotions. Loeffler, who also manages middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, anticipates adding a fourth high-level bout to the event.

“Since we announced this event, the excitement from the fans and media has been tremendous,” said Loeffler. “This is a great media turnout and we’re very thankful to be able to for the press’ involvement in helping us promote this event.

From top to bottom this will be one of the best shows this year, we’ve already announced three outstanding matchups and we’ll be announcing another terrific fight shortly.”

Superfly 2 is headlined by a title fight with Pound 4 Pound implications with Juan Francisco Estrada facing WBC title-holder Sor Rungvisai, who’s coming off two victories over former Pound 4 Pound #1 Roman Gonzalez. The fight is Estrada’s first title shot since moving up to super flyweight in 2016.

“I’m very happy for the opportunity and can’t wait for February 24 to become a world champion again” said Estrada. “I know this is a tough fight, Sor Rungvisai is the best super flyweight in the world. I know I have the style to beat him. On February 24 you will see a lot of great fights and hopefully the Superfly series will continue with many great fights to come.”

 The co-main event features a crossroads bout between Carlos Cuadras and McWilliams Arroyo. Cuadras dropped a close decision in his last fight against Estrada, and also dropped an entertaining decision to Gonzalez in a 2016 Fight of the Year contender. With two losses in his last three bouts, Cuadras has enlisted a new trainer in Abel Sanchez (Golovkin, Sullivan Barrera) to refine his game.

“I’m very happy to be up in Big Bear with such a great trainer like Abel Sanchez, learning about the training methods he uses for Gennady Golovkin,” he stated. “I’m training very hard and thrilled to be up in Big Bear for the first time.

I know Arroyo very well, he’s a great fighter. It’s Mexico vs. Puerto Rico which is always a great fight. I have to beat Arroyo and then I want to fight Estrada again. I have the medicine in my fist to beat them both.  I’m fast and strong and very, very handsome.”

Sanchez’s first order of business was improving Cuadras’s stamina. He believes his new fighter is not far from returning to the title picture should Cuadras post an impressive victory next month.

“This is my first-time training Carlos. I’ve asked a lot of thing of him, discipline, dedication and he’s training very hard,” Sanchez revealed. “Maybe he’s been a little undisciplined in the past with his conditioning.  With the extra’s I can add I believe he will be better. McWilliams Arroyo is a very good fighter, the winner of this fight deserves a world title opportunity.

“I thank Carlos Cuadras for taking the fight, it’s a great opportunity for both of us,” added Arroyo. “It’s my first fight at 115 and I’m going to take advantage of it. I’m training very hard and I’ll be ready to beat Carlos Cuadras on February 24. Not only my fight but all of these fights will make for an excellent night of boxing. “

Brian Viloria is going for his fifth title when he faces off against Artem Dalakian for the vacant WBA world flyweight title. The match is Viloria’s first title shot since losing by TKO to Roman Gonzalez in November 2015. Viloria posted two comeback wins before earning a shot at the belt vacated by a retiring Kazuto Ioka.

‘It seems like yesterday that I won my first world title, and now I’m fighting for my fifth world title,” Viloria reflected. “It’s an honor for me to fight for this title and I’m honored to have been able to stay in the game this long. Superfly 1 was an amazing show but Superfly 2 will even surpass that. Superfly 1 was the best card I’ve ever fought on and this card will be even better. It’s a great thing for the little guys to have such a big stage to fight on.”

 Superfly 2 will air on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.

Advertisements

Heavyweight supremacy is one step closer to reality. Anthony Joshua, unified IBF/WBA titleholder, and Joseph Parker, WBO titlist, will face off on March 31 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

Negotiations had been ongoing for several months, with Parker’s team being vocal about holding out for a “fair split” of the purse proceeds. Although financial figures have not been disclosed, Joshua took to social media to confirm the fight with a video.

Joshua is coming off a high-profile 2017 that saw him retire Wladimir Klitschko with an 11th round TKO last April in the consensus Fight of the Year. His last bout in October was a one-sided 10th round TKO over Carlos Takam. Parker also posted two victories last year over Razvan Cojanu (UD12) and Hughie Fury (MD12).

Joshua’s last fight at Principality Stadium was against Takam and drew over 78,000, breaking an indoor attendance record previously held by Muhammad Ali.

***

Despite Parker’s protests about money the last few weeks, we knew this was inevitable. This was Parker’s biggest possible payday and it gives AJ the chance to add a third belt to his collection. Not only is it a credible fight between two undefeated young heavyweights with knockout power, it further cleans up the title picture and brings us one step from the first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis. And for AJ, it gives him further contract leverage over rival and WBC title-holder Deontay Wilder, who faces Luis Ortiz on March 3.

As for the fight, I see another Joshua KO. Parker’s momentum is low considering his lackluster showings against his best opponents in Hughie Fury and Andy Ruiz. Parker likes to barrel in with wide lead hooks and rarely works behind the jab. I see Joshua’s jab befuddling Parker and keeping him in range for right hands and left hooks. I also see the smaller Parker taking lots of damage from AJ’s lethal uppercut. Look for a middle-rounds stoppage that puts the hype even higher for Joshua-Wilder in late 2018.

 

IsaacDogboe_title

The first title-winner of 2018 is a young lion from Ghana. Before his countrymen last night at the Bukom Boxing Arena, 23-year old Isaac Dogboe scored two knockdowns off left hooks to capture the WBO interim super bantamweight title.

MAKING THE VISITOR UNCOMFORTABLE: Many of you will remember Juarez for his Fight of the Year-level battle with Nonito Donaire back in 2015. He’s highly durable, a relentless stalker and bruising body puncher. Dogboe made a statement in the opening minute by starting fast and backing Juarez up with heavy left hooks and blows to the body. The phone-booth fighting stunned Juarez and made him give ground.

Dogboe couldn’t maintain this the entire opening round, but he didn’t need to. He imprinted o Juarez’s psyche that he could hurt him and it made the Mexican slugger a more hesitant when he got inside. That allowed the faster Dogboe to control the action from the backfoot and time counter left hooks.

EXPLOITING THE DEFENSIVE HOLES: The left hook counter hit paydirt in the second. Juarez was dropping his right hand when throwing left jabs and hooks, and Dogboe detonated a left hook on the jaw for the first knockdown. Juarez was hurt but able to withstand Dogboe’s follow-up shots.

The pattern replicated for the next three rounds with Juarez continuing to come forward, but unable to trap the Ghanian long enough to work the body and slow him down.

The end came in the fifth when Dogboe launched a perfect left hook on an incoming Juarez. The Mexican fighter had a delayed reaction and staggered aimlessly before crashing to his back. Juarez beat the count, but his dazed demeanor prompted referee Tony Weeks to halt the contest.

THE LION OF GHAHA: The win gives Dogboe the interim WBO super bantamweight title and makes him the mandatory for Jessie Magdaleno, who is looking for an opponent on a March 10 card at California’s StubHub Center. Dogboe wasted no time in the post-fight interview in declaring his availability for that date.

“Jessie Magdaleno, I’m coming for you, baby!” Dogboe vowed. “I know you’re gonna run, but the Lion of Ghana is here! The Pound 4 Pound king is here!”

The fight is a no-brainer in terms of excitement; it’s pitting two undefeated guys in their athletic primes together. However, I’m not sure if the money can be put together to get this done by March. Also, I could see Magdaleno, who last fought in April scoring a second-round TKO over Adeilson Dos Santos, wanting a tune-up before facing a hard-punching dynamo like Dogboe.

Saunders_Lemieux1

You might not care for Billy Joe Saunders’s mouth, but the respect is likely there after last night’s virtuoso performance against slugger David Lemieux. Saunders exploited Lemiuex’s limited offensive arsenal with a southpaw jab, feints and movement to score a unanimous decision win and clear the path as a potential opponent for the winner of the Canelo-Golovkin rematch.

NO CONTEST FROM ROUND ONE: I’ll admit it — Lemieux fooled me once again. Having covered his career since he was a hot prospect and been ringside for several of his fights, I thought he might have finally turned the corner. The win over Hassan N’Dam made me think he’d finally figured out how to intelligently cut off the ring and break down elusive fighters.

But I quickly discovered within the first minute that at the highest level, Lemieux is missing the versatility to compete. Saunders rendered Lemieux’s massive power impotent with his movement and made him pay with stinging counters. Lemieux wasn’t just missing his power shots by inches. At times he was several feet out of range and clumsily fell off balance. Saunders even mocked him by looking into the crowd to see where Lemieux was punching at.

NOT A RUNNER: Despite getting a few rounds from his hometown judges, you can argue this was a complete shutout. Lemieux looked embarrassed afterward and tried to characterize Saunders as a runner. The retort to that claim was written in the bruises on Lemieux’s face and the blood that was splattered all over the canvas. Lemieux was a bloody mess from Saunders’ jab and straight left halfway through the fight, and the only reason he wasn’t KO’d is due to the champion not possessing a big knockout punch.

NEW OPPONENT OPPORTUNITIES: This was the masterclass performance Saunders needed for fans to take him seriously again. His inactivity and lackluster performances since defeating Chris Eubank had many looking at him like a title placeholder rather than a legit champ. Now, you can see him posing problems for other HBO fighters like Danny Jacobs, Demetrius Andrade, and yes, even the cash cows Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. With the latter two likely to rematch this May, I could see Saunders targeting Jacobs despite the Eddie Hearn/Frank Warren promotional riff. It could do well in the UK, and it’s a much more fan-friendly fight stylistically than Andrade.

But if Saunders had his way, he’d be facing Golovkin. He claimed Golovkin only wanted him last year because he saw him as an easy mark. Now that Saunders is training under Brenden Ingle, he feels he’s at the peak of his powers. We might not see a GGG showdown, but I love the confidence and last night’s bout shows that a focused Saunders won’t be an easy night for anyone.

***

UNDERCARD RESULTS

GARY “SPIKE” O’SULLIVAN TKO7 ANTOINE DOUGLAS: This one was tough to watch once you realized what was happening. At his best, Douglas was a solid technical boxer with a good punch. O’Sullivan realized that and made it an attrition fight, constantly invading Douglas’ range with a counter right hand and hammering him on the ropes. Douglas’ defense was extremely disconcerting as O’Sullivan clocked him with right hand after right hand. As early as the first round, commentator Roy Jones spoke on how Douglas was the making a fatal mistake of leaving his jab out there and not protecting against the right hand.

The punishment culminated to a frightful end in the seventh when O’Sullivan brutalized a defenseless Douglas. He took about 3-4 unnecessary flush shots before falling to the canvas. Although he’s only 25, Douglas would be wise to consider hanging up the gloves. He was left in there too long against Avtandil Khurtsidze last year, and that fight appears to have done permanent damage, not to mention last night’s beating doing no favors.

***

ULYSSE JR. UD10 CLETUS SELDIN: The HBO investment in Cletus Seldin has hit a pothole right out the gate. After an entertaining beatdown on Robert Ortiz last month, Seldin sought to have a quick turnaround last night against relative unknown Yves Ulysse Jr. It was supposed to be a showcase for the Hebrew Hammer, who instead got an Erislandy Lara type schooling to the tune of three suffered knockdowns and a lopsided decision loss (88-99 across the board).

It wasn’t always pretty as Ulysse moved a lot and shunned engagement in the middle rounds. But when he did stand his ground, he either put Seldin on his backside with counter shots or forced him to retreat. Ulysse showed smart strategy in walking the bullish Seldin into uppercuts or clocking him with overhand rights.

Matched correctly, Seldin can still be an opening card attraction. And I’m sure HBO is grateful to have this early exposure before investing significant money.

 

 

 

DeGale_Selby

This afternoon, you can stream the entire Frank Warren card headlined by the return of IBF super middleweight titlist James DeGale defending his belt against Caleb Truax. The co-main event features Eduardo Ramirez challenging IBF title-holder Lee Selby. Also spotlighted is the U.S. tv debut of light-heavyweight prospect Anthony Yarde (13-0, 12 KOs).

The card begins at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Lomachenko_Rigondeaux

The weights are in for Saturday night’s Pound 4 Pound showdown between WBO super featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Both fighters were chiseled with the champion coming in at 129 pounds and the challenger at 128.25.

PREDICTION: I’ve gone back and forth on this fight since it was announced. Rigo’s sublime skills make him a hard night for any opponent, not to mention his underrated power and nimble footwork. However, this is the first fight where I feel there is a perfect storm that will lead to his first defeat.

Rigondeaux is 37 years old (allegedly), jumping two weight classes and has fought only three rounds in the last year. I would feel uneasy about those facts if he were fighting a lower Top 10 super featherweight, let alone going after the #1 guy at the weight in Lomachenko. Having fought and broken the will of bigger punchers in Nicholas Walters and Manuel Marriaga, I see Lomachenko being able to handle Rigo’s stinging shots and forcing a higher pace in the later rounds. Because Rigo sometimes squares up out of clinches, there’s an outside chance that Lomachenko could score a flash knockdown ala Donaire and Amagasa.

Expect a good start from Rigondeaux due to his counter punching with Lomachenko’s size and activity being the difference in the second half to earn a close but clear unanimous decision.

Pascal_Elbiali

If Jean Pascal is calling it a career, the former light-heavyweight champion is going out with a decisive win. What was supposed to be a launch-pad for Ahmed Elbiali turned into a slugfest with the stronger Pascal stopping an exhausted Elbiali in the sixth round.

The deciding factor was Pascal’s sustained body attack. Elbiali’s was content to hold while Pascal fired off haymaker hooks downstairs. From range, Pascal relied on his usual haymaker potshotting. He finally hit paydirt in the sixth with an overhand right that hurt Elibiali, who was too worn out from the body shots to hold or retreat. Pascal continued to tee off with the right until Elbiali’s corner threw in the towel at the 2:06 mark.

If Pascal’s retirement sticks, he finishes his career with a 32-5-1 (19 KOs) record.