Caterall's chance for revenge vs. Taylor is here

Caterall's chance for revenge vs. Taylor is here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Super middleweight Ali Akhmedov added to Thursday's Detroit show

Super middleweight Ali Akhmedov added to Thursday's Detroit show

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Undercard details for Taylor vs. Caterall II

Undercard details for Taylor vs. Caterall II

Undercard details for Taylor vs. Caterall II

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

 

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

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

Teofimo Lopez to stay busy against Steve Claggett

Teofimo Lopez to stay busy against Steve Claggett
Teofimo Lopez will defend his world junior welterweight championship against Canada's Steve Claggett on Saturday, June 29th, at James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida. In the ten-round featherweight co-feature, former champion Robeisy Ramirez returns against Mexico’s Brandon Leon Benitez. The six-round televised opener sees middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh attempt to avenge his only pro defeat in a rematch against Sona Akale. Teofimo-Claggett, Ramirez-Benitez & Ali Walsh-Akale II will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Sky Sports will broadcast the event in the UK & Ireland. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Eye of The Tiger, tickets go on sale Wednesday, May 22 at 2 p.m. ET via Ticketmaster.com.
 
“Teofimo Lopez is among the most electrifying fighters in the sport, and I know he’s motivated to put on a show against a very tough challenger in Steve Claggett,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum. “Robeisy Ramirez wants to become a two-time world champion, and the road back starts in his adopted hometown. Nico Ali Walsh has been asking for the Akale rematch from the moment the judges’ decision came back after their first fight, and he now has a chance for revenge.”
 
Lopez (20-1, 13 KOs), a two-weight lineal champion who grew up in South Florida, captured the IBF lightweight world title with a second-round knockout against Richard Commey in December 2019. The following year, he triumphed over pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko to claim the other three belts and the true world championship. He lost the belts in an upset to George Kambosos Jr. in November 2021. The 26-year-old made his junior welterweight debut in August 2022, registering a seventh-round TKO versus Pedro Campa before tallying a points verdict over Spanish southpaw Sandor Martin that December. In June 2023, Lopez upset former undisputed champion Josh Taylor to capture the world and WBO titles. He defended his crown with a unanimous decision over former amateur rival Jamaine Ortiz in February. 
 
Lopez said, "I have always wanted to fight in South Florida, where I grew up and developed as a fighter. I never thought it would happen, but now, on June 29th, I get the opportunity to do so not just as a world champion but as the lineal world champion of my division. This has been one of my goals since turning pro, and I’m motivated to showcase my talent there in front of my Honduran fans and the entire Latino community. This is like a Rocky Balboa story for Steve Claggett. I'm very much looking forward to what kind of style I'm going to see. There were no other fighters who were interested in fighting me, and I felt like he would give not just me, but the fans as well, a great fight to watch."
 
Claggett (38-7-2, 26 KOs), a native of Calgary, Canada, is a 15-year veteran who hasn’t lost a fight since 2021. The 34-year-old went 4-0 with two knockouts in 2023. In March, he stopped Rafael Guzman Lugo in seven. He regitered a third-round TKO against former 130-pound title holder Alberto Machado in June before decisioning Carlos Sanchez in September and Miguel Madueño in November. He kicked off his 2024 in January by dispatching Marcos Gonzalez Barrera in two. 
 
Claggett said, “I have worked my entire life for this opportunity, and I intend to make the most of it. I am more motivated than ever before, and I’m ready to give it everything I’ve got.”
 
 

Bridgerweight action this week: Rozanski defends vs. Okolie

Bridgerweight action this week: Rozanski defends vs. Okolie

Bridgerweight action this week: Rozanski defends vs. Okolie
Former cruiserweight title holder Lawrence Okolie (19-1) has his sights set on becoming a two-weight world champion later this wwek when he faces WBC bridgerweight champion Lukasz Rozanski (15-0) in Poland. The fight will take place on Friday at the Podpromie Arena in Rzeszow Sky Sports will broadcast the fight in the UK, a U.S. broadcaster has not been announced at the time of writing. The 6'5" Okolie was previously the WBO world cruiserweight champion before losing to Chris Billam-Smith last May. Okolie has been out of the ring since then.  This fight will be Rozanski's first defense after stopping Alen Babic to claim the vacant title last year in what was his fourteenth knockout victory in the professional ranks. 
 
 

Denys Berinchyk wins a pro championship in banner weekend for Ukraine

Denys Berinchyk wins a pro championship in banner weekend for Ukraine
Denys Berinchyk W12 Emanuel Navarrete ... This was a historic boxing weekend for the Ukraine Republic. On the same day Oleksandr Usyk captured the undisputed world heavyweight championsip, Usyk's 2012 Olympic temmate, Denys Berinchyk defeated Mexico's Emanuel Navarrete by split decision to win the vacant WBO lightweight world title Pechanga Arena in San Diego. Berinchyk became a champion at the advanced age of 36.  Berinchyk (listed as 19-0 with 9 KOs) prevailed by scores of 116-112 and 115-113, while Navarrete won on the third card, 116-112. Navarrete (38-2-1, 31 KOs) failed in his attempt to become a four-division champion.
 
At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Berinchyk defeated Anthony Yigit and future pro champion Jeff Horn but in the final he lost to Roniel Iglesias. Bernichyk's long road to a pro championship included going 3-2 in the World Series of Boxing and winning a bareknuckles fight in 2021, 
 
Navarrete began by launching forward with wild shots, often leading with uppercuts or left hooks from the outside. Berinchyk responded by using his footwork to find his distance and pepper the Mexican with quick counterpunches. 
 
Berinchyk's offense didn't hurt Navarrete, but they were enough to prevent him from implementing a sustained body attack in the early rounds. 
 
Urged by his corner, Navarrete upped his offense in the last half of the fight, but the 36-year-old Olympian continued to make him miss before connecting with compact, effective punches.  “This is great, my friend. This is great. Great boxing," Berinchyk said. "Great fight. Navarrete, muchas gracias.”
 
Navarrete said, “It was something new for me. Like I always said, it would be difficult. Denys is a great fighter. He made me struggle a lot. And you saw what happened. But I’m happy with how I fought. I know that I need to improve.
 
“I’m not sad. I know it was a test. I needed to do more, but I know that I can do more. So, I congratulate him on his win. I’m happy because I tried things out at 135 pounds, and I know I will be strong at this division.”
 

Brian Norman claims interim title

Brian Norman claims interim title
Brian Norman Jr. W10 Giovani Santillan .... Brian Norman Jr. (26-0, 20 KOs) captured the WBO interim welterweight title with a tenth-round knockout over hometown favorite Giovani Santillan (32-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday's ESPN broadcast from San Diego. Santillan was the aggressor, but Norman’s quick counters and clinching nullified his offense. Santillan tried to make the most of it by punching inside the clinch, but this provided the openings for Norman to counter.
 
In the eighth, Norman hurt Santillan with a left hook. This changed the tide decisively to Norman’s favor, as he rallied with combinations in the following stanza. In the 10th, Norman landed a counter uppercut that dropped Santillan, who rose off the deck to be dropped by another, more devastating uppercut that floored him and ended the fight.
 
Norman was ahead on all three scorecards, 89-82, 88-83 and 86-85. Norman said, “He was pressing but not hitting s**t. I made him miss and made him pay. I like going to other people’s hometowns and taking what they have. Whoever they have next for me, I’m ready for the challenge."

Undercard results from San Diego

Undercard results from San Diego

Undercard results from San Diego
Richard Torrez TKO5 Brandon Moore.... U.S. Olympic silver medalist Richard Torrez (10-0, 10 KOs) faces his stiffest test to date and passed with flying colors. The 24-year-old southpaw heavyweight scored a fifth-round TKO win against  Brandon Moore (14-1, 8 KOs) in San Diego. After an early feeling-out process, Torrez began to connect with jabs to the body before unloading his straight left. Moore tried to prevent his forward attack with footwork and a stiff jab, but Torrez often countered with a right hook and found his way in. After dropping him early in the fifth, Torrez began to pummel Moore, forcing referee Thomas Taylor to halt the contest at 1:39.
 
Torrez said, “I give Moore a lot of respect. Anyone who goes toe-to-toe like that deserves my respect. I expected a lot from him, but I followed the game plan and got the job done. He took some really good shots, but at the end of the day, you can only take so much."
 
ADDITIONAL BOUTS
 
Junior welterweight Emiliano Fernando Vargas (10-0, 8 KOs) battered Angel Varela (10-3, 7 KOs) en route to a sixth-round stoppage. Vargas was much quicker, countering frequently and switching to southpaw to land even more offense. After too many unanswered shots from the 20-year-old phenom, referee Ray Corona halted the bout at 1:01.
 
Team USA standout Jonny Mansour (1-0) made a successful pro debut in the lightweight division by outpointing Anel Dudo (3-6-1) across four rounds of action. The San Diego native won with three scores of 40-36.
 
Junior welterweight Alan "Kid Kansas" Garcia (13-0, 11 KOs) earned an eight-round points win over Wilfredo Flores (10-3-1, 5 KOs). All three official scores were 80-72.
 
Junior lightweight Jonathan Lopez (15-0, 11 KOs) notched an eighth-round TKO win over Edgar Ortega (14-3-2, 7 KOs). The time of the stoppage was 2:39.
 
Welterweight: Art Barrera Jr. (5-0, 4 KOs) went the four-round distance for the first time in his pro career, defeating Levy Garcia Benitez (3-2-1, 2 KOs) via unanimous decision. The three scorecards were 40-35 shutouts.

Oleksandr Usyk conquers Tyson Fury to make boxing history

Oleksandr Usyk conquers Tyson Fury to make boxing history

Oleksandr Usyk W12 Tyson Fury... In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oleksandr Usyk made boxing history by becoming the first undisputed world heavyweight champion of the century. The Ukrainian Usyk pretty clearly outboxed Great Britain's Tyson Fury, although it was ruled a split decision. Boxingtalk scored it 115-112 for Usyk, who remains undefeated as a professional. Usyk was trailing at the midway point but turned the momentum back his way and knocked Fury down towards the end of round nine. Usyk added Fury's WBC title to the WBA, WBO and IBF versions he previously owned. Should Fury want a rematch to avenge his first pro loss, he has the contractual right to do so in October.  An Olympic gold medal winner as well as undisputed world champion at cruiserweight and now heavyweight, Usyk has to be considered an all-time great.

                                        ***

Top Rank, Fury's co-promoter wrote: "It looks like the two will do it again, as a rematch is tentatively planned for October. Usyk said, "Yes, of course. Rematch. I am ready!”
 
Fury said afterwards, “I believe I won that fight. I believe he won a few of the rounds. I thought I won a majority of them, and I believe it was a — what can you do — these are the decisions in boxing. We both put on a good fight, the best we could do. We go back, have a little rest up, spend some time with our families, and get it back on in October.”
 
Fury succeeded in the early rounds, peppering Usyk with right hands to the body. Just as it looked like Fury would add another notch to his Hall of Fame belt, Usyk stunned Fury with an overhand left in round nine that sent him reeling into the ropes. A series of power shots, punctuated by another sweeping left, sent Fury staggering near a neutral corner. Referee Mark Nelson called it a knockdown, and Fury rose gingerly to his feet as the bell sounded to end the stanza.
 
Fury somehow recovered, but the tide had turned. The 223-pound Usyk was pushing the pace against the 262-pound behemoth, winning the 10th and 11th rounds on two of the scorecards to secure the victory. Fury rebounded to win the 12th on all three cards, but it was too late. Usyk, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, is now king of the heavyweight division.

Opetaia regains IBF crown in tough fight with Briedis

Opetaia regains IBF crown in tough fight with Briedis
Jai Opetaia W12 Mairis Briedis ... In the chief supporting bout in Riyadh, Jai Opetaia (25-0, 19 KOs) defeated former two-time champion Mairis Briedis (28-3, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision in a bruising battle that saw both men finish with possible broken noses. Briedis rallied late but lost by scores of 117-111 and 116-112 (twice). Opetaia regained the IBF cruiserweight world title that the IBF basically forced him to vacate.
 
This was a rematch.  In July 2022, Opetaia, a 2012 Australian Olympian, overcame an injured jaw to claim Briedis’ IBF cruiserweight championship. Briedis was considered the top 200-pounder in the world since Oleksandr Usyk moved up to heavyweight but Opetaia bloodied and defeated the Latvian favorite by unanimous decision. Official scores for the first bout were 116-112 (twice) and 115-113, all in favor of Opetaia, who improved to 22-0 with 17 KOs. He joined Usyk as the only man to defeat Briedis, who is now 28-2. 

In December 2023, Opetaia vacated the IBF cruiserweight championship to move forward with a bout in Saudi Arabia against Great Britain's Ellis Zorro. Opetaia was ordered to grant Briediis a rematch by the IBF but when Briedis got injured, Opetaia sought to sneak in a lucrative voluntary defense on the huge show in Riadh. Reportedly, Briedis had no objection to the voluntary, but the IBF rigidly refused to budge, so Opetaia moved on without the belt and KO'd Zorro in one round.

CRUISERWEIGHT TITLES OVERVIEW

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

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

New champion alert: Anthony Cacace wins title at age 35

New champion alert: Anthony Cacace wins title at age 35

New champion alert: Anthony Cacace wins title at age 35

Anthony Cacace TKO8 Joe Cordina... Junior lightweight Anthony Cacace (22-1, 8 KOs) is now the IBF champion after stopping Wales' Joe Cordina (17-1, 9 KOs) in round eight in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia. Cacace, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, became a world champion at the advanced age of 35. Punchstats credited Cacace with outlanding Cordina, 282 punches to 113. Cacace was breaking down Cordina against the ropes when the referee delcared the bout over and Cacace the new champion.

Agit Kabayel knock out Frank Sanchez

Agit Kabayel knock out Frank Sanchez

Agit Kabayel KO7 Frank Sanchez... In a WBC heavyweight eliminator held on the big Riyadh, Saudi Arabia show, Agit Kabayel (25-0, 17 KOs) made his second straight huge career move forward, stopping the favored and previously undefeated Frank Sanchez (24-1, 17 KOs)  in round seven. Kabayel defeated Sanchez with a strong body attack. The normally mobile Sanchez fought with a brace on his right knee. Kabayel is Kurdish but lives in Germany.

In December, Kabayel went from the fringes of the heavyweight division to a legitimate top fifteen contender by stopping the monstrous but lumbering Arslanbek Makhmudov in four surprising rounds, also in Saudi Arabia.Though significantly shorter and lighter than the 6'6" Makhmudov, Kabayel used superior moverment and fought bravely and aggresively against the huge-punching Russian. Kabayel began imposing his will on Kabayel in round three, hurting Makhmudov to the body. He scored three knockdowns in roud four, all thanks to body work, and got the stoppage victory to remain undefeated. Makhmudv was favored going in, and this was the biggest win of Kabayel's career by far, eclipsing his 2017 majority decision win over Derek Chisora. 

ADDITIONAL RESULTS FROM RIYADH:
 
Heavyweight hopeful Moses Itauma (9-0, 7 KOs) stopped Ilja Mezencev (25-4, 21 KOs) in round two. This was Itauma's first scheduled ten rounder, but he needed less than two sessions.
 
Lightweight Mark Chamberlain (16-0, 12 KOs) got a first-round technical knockout over Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab (23-2, 16 KOs), 2:42. Chamberlain wins vacant WBC Silver Title.
 
A former champion's career may have come to an end as cruiserweight Robin Sirwan Safar (17-0, 12 KOs) won a unanimous ten-round decision over former world heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (35-5-1, 29 KOs). The officiak scores favored Safar by 99-90, 97-92 and 95-94.
 
In the light heavyweight division, Daniel Lapin (10-0, 4 KOs) knocked out Octavio Pudivitr (9-2, 4 KOs) in round one. Lapin is a protege of world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk. 
 
In the featherweight division, Isaac Lowe (25-2-3, 8 KOs) defeated Hasibullah Ahmadi (16-2, 5 KOs) via ten-round decision. The referee scored the action 97-92.

Boxingtalk's Saturday fight predictions

Boxingtalk's Saturday fight predictions
Here are Boxingtalk's predictions for a historic Saturday:
 
Oleksandr Usyk (21-0) vs. Tyson Fury (34-0-1) (world heavyweight championship ubification) … prediction: Usyk by decision;
 
Joe Cordina (17-0) vs. Anthony Cacace (21-1) (IBF / IBO jr. lightweight titles) … prediction: Cordina by unanimous decision;
 
Jai Opetaia (24-0) vs. Mairis Briedis (28-2) 2 (vacant IBF cruiserweight title) … prediction: Opetaia by late knockout;
 
Emanuel Navarrete (38-1-1) vs. Denys Berinchyk (18-0) (vacant WBO lightweight title) … prediction: Navarrete by decision;
 
Giovani Santillan (32-0) vs. Brian Norman Jr. (25-0) (vacant WBO interim welterweight title) … prediction: Santillan by decision;
 
Agit Kabayel (24-0) vs. Frank Sanchez (24-0) (WBC heavyweight title eliminator) … prediction: Sanchez by unanimous decision;
 
Sergey Kovalev (35-4-1) vs. Robin Safar (16-0) (cruiserweights) … prediction: Safar by mid to late knockout; and
 
Richard Torrez Jr. (9-0) vs. Brandon Moore (14-0) (heavyweights) … prediction: Torrez Jr. by mid to late knockout.

Weigh-in report from San Diego

Weigh-in report from San Diego

Weigh-in report from San Diego
Here are the weigh-in results for Top Rank's show from Pechanga Arena from San Diego, California:
 
vacant WBO lightweight title - twelve rounds
Emanuel Navarrete 135 pounds vs. Denys Berinchyk 134.8;
 
WBO interim welterweight title - twelve rounds
Giovani Santillan 146.4 lbs vs. Brian Norman Jr. 146.5 lbs
 
ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT)
the following fights will be shown ESPN+, 7:10 p.m. ET/4:10 p.m. PT)
 
Richard Torrez 229.9 vs. Brandon Moore 229.4 (eight rounds);
 
Jonny Mansour 134 vs. Anel Dudo 130.8 (four rounds);
 
Emiliano Fernando Vargas 139.6 lbs vs. Angel Varela 140 (six rounds);
 
Alan Garcia 137.8 vs. Wilfredo Flores 136.9 (eight rounds);
 
Jonathan Lopez 127.1 lbs vs. Edgar Ortega 127.6  (eight rounds);
 
Art Barrera Jr. 146 lbs vs. Levy Garcia Benitez 143.9 (four rounds)
 
*The Charlie Sheehy-Manuel Jaimes bout was canceled due to Sheehy coming in overweight. 
 

Usyk protege opens the show in Riyadh today

Usyk protege opens the show in Riyadh today
Today (Saturday), Ukrainian Daniel Lapin and Mozambique's Octavio Pudivitr will fight at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in a light heavyweight bout.  It will be one of the preliminary bouts of the Ring Of Fire card, which features Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk and British Tyson Fury for all the heavyweight titles. The tall and lanky Lapin, 6'5" and age 26 years, comes into this bout on behalf of Usyk-17 Promotions. He is a slight favorite based on his punching power and longer reach. Lapin is undefeated in 9 fights, the last three of which he won by knockout.  Pudivitr, who fights out of Portugal, will have to work hard for the win. With a smaller stature (just under six feet) and 36 years old, he'll be in his second fight outside his home Portugal. He was unlucky in his first international outing, losing a unanimous decision to his opponent in Germany almost a year ago. It was his only setback in 10 fights.
 

Weigh-in report from Riyadh: Fury 262; Usyk 233.5

Weigh-in report from Riyadh: Fury 262; Usyk 233.5
Here are the complete weigh-in results for Saturday's huge card fat the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The pay-per-view broadcast will stream live on at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT.
 
Undisputed world heavyweight championship - 12 rounds
Tyson Fury 262 pounds -vs.- Oleksandr Usyk 233.5; 
 
Vacant IBF cruiserweight title — 12 rounds
Jai Opetaia 198.1 -vs.- Mairis Briedis 199.1;
 
IBF junior lightweight title — 12 rounds
Joe Cordina 130 -vs.- Anthony Cacace 129.8;  
 
WBC heavyweight eliminator — 12 rounds
Frank Sanchez 238.5 -vs.- Agit Kabayel 238.5;  
 
Moses Itauma 239.1 -vs.- Ilja Mezencev 232.1 (ten rounds);
 
Mark Chamberlain 134.2 -vs.- Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab  132.1 (twelve rounds);
 
Sergey Kovalev 194.2  -vs.- Robin Sirwan Safar 194.1 (ten rounds); and
 
Daniel Lapin 174.7  -vs.- Octavio Pudivitr 173.7 (ten rounds).

 

Zepeda to face Cabrera in lightweight thriller

Zepeda to face Cabrera in lightweight thriller

Zepeda to face Cabrera in lightweight thriller
DAZN's website reports that Mexican lightweight William “El Camarón” Zepeda (30-0, 26 KOs) will return to the ring against Chicago's Giovanni Cabrera (22-1, 7 KOs) in a twelve rounder on Saturday, July 6th at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California. It will be broadcast around the world on DAZN. Zepeda is coming off a knockout victory of Maxi “Maximus” Hughes last March. “I have but one goal and that is to become a world champion, and every fight gets me closer to that goal,” said Zepeda. “Cabrera's only defeat is at the hands of a current world champion, and when two Mexican boxers enter the ring, fireworks can be expected. I hope we can give the fans a great show at the Toyota Arena. We have worked very hard and we are going to have a victory for my town of San Mateo Atenco and all of Mexico. Nothing will stop me from achieving my dreams of becoming the best in the world!” 
 
A fan-friendly fighter, Zepeda is known as “El Camarón” and had a breakout performance was against former champion Joseph “JoJo” Diaz in October 2022, where he broke three CompuBox records at lightweight (total punches thrown, jabs attempted in a round, and total attempted jabs). He was last seen steamrolling through former Hughes, whose corner threw the towel at the conclusion of the fourth round in an IBF and WBA world championship eliminator fight.
 
“I want to make great fights; Zepeda vs. Cabrera is a great Mexican fight,” said Cabrera. “No one’s ever heard of a Camarón beating a Cabrón. July 6th he is going down!” 
 
With a unique and awkward fighting style, Cabrera has the natural good looks that match the equally natural talent. Cabrera was discovered by Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach and has been under the tutelage of the seven-time trainer of the year for most of his career. Under the mentorship of Roach, Cabrera honed his skills, cultivating a strategic approach to the ring. Roach's guidance proved instrumental in shaping Cabrera, who was last seen on the unfavorable side of a split decision victory against current 140-pound champion Issac Cruz last July 2023. 
 
“With every fight, the relentless ‘El Cameron’ has gotten even more aggressive, skilled and destructive — and this time he is facing someone whose sole defeat came at the hands of a current world champion,” said chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya. “Just a few months after delivering an absolute drubbing of contender Maxi Hughes, Zepeda is looking to make yet another statement and position himself for world championship gold before the end of the year. Don’t blink, this fight is going to be an absolute barnburner.”
 

Austin Brooks to duel Aram Avagyan

Austin Brooks to duel Aram Avagyan
Toro Promotions, Inc., in association with Whitfield Haydon Boxing, returns June 15th to the Emerald Queen Casino (EQC) in Tacoma, Washington. California super featherweight Austin Brooks (12-0, 5 KOs) faces Armenian Olympian Aram “Warrior” Avagyan (11-1-2, 5 KOs) in an ten-round main event. Brooks, age 28, knocked out previously unbeaten Jose Manuel Izaguirre in the seventh round this past February 10th in Long Beach, California. Brooks, a southpaw, has fought only once at EQC, which ended in a six-round technical knockout of Anthony Chavez (11-3-1) on August 26, 2023.
 
Avagyan, now living in Burbank (CA), was a two-time bronze medalist in the European Championships as an amateur, in addition to representing his country at the 2016 Olympics. His most recent fight, after nearly three years of inactivity, was on April 12th in Colorado, in which his opponent, Juan Santiago, was unable to continue after three rounds. 
 
In the heavyweight co-feature, 2020 Ukraine Olympian, Tsotne Rogava (7-0, 7 KOs), a 6’ 5”, 270-pounder takes on battle-tested Jon Bolden (10-13-1, 7 KOs) of Seattle over eight rounds. A champion kickboxer who has so far successfully transitioned to boxing, the Georgia-native and Ukraine-raised Rogava has won his last four fights via first-round stoppages, and he’s only fought a grand total of nine rounds in seven pro bouts to date. Rogava now resides in Marina del Rey, California and is trained by Hall of Famer Joe Goossen.
 
Heavyweight Kingsley “The Black Lion” Ibeh (12-1, 10 KOs) will also be in action on the June 15th show. Ibeh, who is a native of Nigeria who now resides in Phoenix, is a cousin of the retired, infamous heavyweight boxer Ike Ibeabuchi. The 6’ 4”, 300-pound Ibeh played football in college (Washburn U.) as well as professionally in the Canadian Football League. Veteran mixed-martial-arts fighter Juan Torres (11-6-1, 4 KOs), the former Texas heavyweight champion, will challenge Ibeh in the eight-round attraction.  
 
Nicaraguan super featherweight prospect Nilo Guerrero (8-0, 1 KO), a 2016 Nicaragua Youth National Champion who lives in Coachella (CA), faces 60-fight veteran Diuhi “Elegante” Olguin (16-37-7) in a six-round match. Guerrero, 23, skillfully uses his abnormal 6’ 1” height (and length) to a tremendous advantage thus far in the super featherweight division.  
 
Also scheduled to fight on the undercard in four-rounders are Hoquiam (WA) super welterweight Nathan “Superman” Stolen (1-0, 1 KO), another MMA fighter who has fought in the highly respected Bellator, vs. Julio Munoz, Jr. (0-0-1), of Tucson, and Auburn (WA) lightweight Agustin Tovar (1-0) vs. Robert Jimenez (0-2), of Nampa, Idaho.
 
Tickets are on sale online at https://emeraldqueen.com/boxing/
 

Conor Benn back on suspension over 2022 positive doping test

Conor Benn back on suspension over 2022 positive doping test
The British Boxing Board of Control (“BBBoC”) reports that British welterweight Conor Benn is back on suspension in the United Kigndom for a 2022 doping violation. Despited these lingering issues, Benn has fought twice in the United States while the lawyers battled out whether he should remain suspended for a positive drug test or excused for allegedly eating too many eggs.  Last week, the BBBofC said, "UK Anti-Doping (“UKAD”) has stated [and] the BBBoC can confirm that Conor Benn is subject to a Provisional Suspension prohibiting him from participating in any capacity (or assisting another Athlete in any capacity) in a Competition, Event or activity that is organised, convened, authorised or recognised by the BBBoC or any other World Anti-Doping Code-compliant sport. UKAD and the BBBoC were successful in their respective appeals of a decision handed down by a tribunal of the independent National Anti-Doping Panel in July 2023, and Mr. Benn’s Provisional Suspension was reimposed by the appeal tribunal following those successful appeals. As Mr Benn’s case remains before the independent National Anti-Doping Panel and the case will now progress in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules, the BBBoC is not able to make any further public comment at this time.’
 
PRIOR BOXINGTALK COVERAGE:
 
AUG. 8, 2023: As of July 28th, British welterweight Conor Benn has been free to return a boxing ring despite prior issues with a failed test for banned performance enhancing and/or masking substances. Benn (21-0) was suspended just prior to a scheduled October British super fight vs. Chris Eubank, Jr.  On July 28th, a spokesperson for the United Kingdom Anti-Doping authority issued the following statement that Benn’s suspension was over: “In April 2023, UKAD took the exceptional step of publicly disclosing details of Mr. Conor Benn’s provisional suspension and charge following reports from the media and comments made by Mr. Benn himself. UKAD’s statement also confirmed that the case would follow the Results Management process in accordance with UKAD’s own rules. [However,] Mr. Benn has made further public comments [on July 28th] regarding proceedings before the independent National Anti-Doping Panel. UKAD can confirm Mr. Benn is no longer provisionally suspended under the UK Anti-Doping Rules.”

UKAD’s statement conclude, “The UK Anti-Doping Rules detail limited circumstances in which UKAD is able to make public disclosures about ongoing cases.  They also set out a clear process within which cases can be heard and decisions can be handed down by the independent National Anti-Doping Panel. Where case decisions are handed down by a panel, the Rules provide all relevant parties with a right of appeal.  Under the Rules, UKAD has 21 days from the date of receipt of a decision to file any appeal. UKAD carefully reviews all decisions in its cases before deciding whether to exercise its right of appeal. UKAD is not able to make any further public disclosures in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules at this time.”
 
FEB. 23, 2023: The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) is not buying Conor Benn's excuse that eating a large number of eggs caused him to fail a doping test. Quite contrary to the WBC's enabling of future cheating, the BBBoC issued a statement saying it will maintain a strict liability policy towards doping violations. Here is the BBBoC statement:  "The BBBoC is aware that the WBC has considered two positive findings in relation to Conor Benn who, at the time the relevant samples were taken in 2022, was a license holder with the BBBoC. The BBBoC has not been party to the review conducted by the WBC and has not been provided with any evidence submitted on Benn’s behalf. The BBBoC is aware that the WBC has concluded its own review into at least one of the two positive findings and reached its own decision, published on February 22nd. For clarity, whilst the BBBoC wishes to make clear that it respects the WBC, the WBC is a sanctioning body and not a governing body. The BBBoC was the governing body with whom Benn was licensed at the material time, and as such any alleged anti-doping violation shall be dealt with in accordance with its rules and regulations. The BBBoC has adopted the UK Anti-Doping Rules published by UK Anti-Doping, and those formed part of the rules to which Benn was bound. As such, the decision of the WBC does not affect the ongoing implementation of the BBBoC’s rules (and those of UKAD).The UK Anti-Doping Rules make clear what conduct constitutes an Anti-Doping Rule Violation as defined in those rules (and in the World Anti-Doping Code) and specifically set out the circumstances in which such violations can be committed by way of strict liability."
 
FEB. 22, 2023: The WBC has issued a statement regarding Conor Benn's 2022 failed doping test. It has decided to restore Benn to the WBC rankings, finding the violation to be inadvertent. Late last year, Benn relinquished his British boxing license rather than dispute the positive test through the British Boxing Board of Control. Instead, he found a much friendlier forum at the WBC, who ruled today that Benn's positive test for banned substances was caused by the large number of eggs he had been eating prior to his scheduled fight vs. Chris Eubank, Jr. (That fight was ultimately cancelled.) Here is the full WBC statement, lightly edited for readability: Conor Benn completed his enrollment process in the WBC Clean Boxing Program (CBP) in February of 2022.  Enrollment is mandatory for all fighters rated in the top 15 by the WBC. Benn was enrolled in the CBP’s out-of-competition anti-doping testing in July 2022, when the collection of his samples took place. On August 23, 2022, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) notified Benn and the WBC that his urine A Sample, collected on July 25, 2022 yielded an adverse analytical finding for Clomiphene and its hydroxymetabolites MI and M2. These are banned substances at all times under the WBC CBP.  Clomiphene is a metabolic modulator which promotes testosterone production and boost testosterone levels while burning fat. 
 
On August 30, 2022, the WBC notified Benn of the adverse finding and requested information and materials necessary to investigate the circumstances.  The WBC did not receive a substantive response until December 2022. Benn denied at all times the intentional or knowing ingestion of any banned substances. His defense centered on allegations of potential laboratory analysis failures and irregularities in connection with the analysis of his samples and of the results of the samples’ testing. The WBC consulted several experts in anti-doping laboratory analysis, including an expert consultant with over 30 years of experience in WADA and IOC accredited laboratory settings. The WBC concluded that there was absolutely no fault attributable to the laboratory that analyzed the samples. Further, the WBC reaffirms the unquestionable integrity of VADA and the sample collection agencies and laboratories which services VADA uses in connection with the CBP.
 
It was not until early January 2023, that the WBC Results Management Unit undertook a full, substantive analysis of Benn`s arguments and defenses. On January 26th, that unit held an inquiry session with Benn and his legal team. In early February, Benn’s team for the first time provided a detailed breakdown of Benn’s diet and supplement consumption that could have directly affected the adverse finding. The WBC then availed itself of the services of an expert nutritionist.
 
The WBC Board of Governors issued a ruling based on: (1) the facts known at the time of the ruling; (2) any extenuating circumstances; (3) WBC rulings in precedential anti-doping violation cases; (4) the unbiased, common-sensical and just analysis and recommendations of the WBC Results Management Unit; and (5) credible and reliable health-related and scientific literature.
 
The WBC found that: (1) there was no conclusive evidence that Benn engaged in intentional or knowing ingestion of Clomiphene; (2) there were no failures in the procedures related to sample collection, sample analysis, or violations of Benn’s B Sample rights that would justify questioning or invalidating the adverse finding; and (3) Benn’s documented and highly-elevated consumption of eggs during the times relevant to the sample collection, raised a reasonable explanation for the adverse finding.
 
The WBC Nutrition Committee will work with Benn’s team to design a nutrition program geared to avoid the risk of a future adverse finding caused by nutritional factors. Benn shall be subjected to regular anti-doping testing to monitor the effect of the WBC-ordered nutritional program. The WBC will include Benn in its ratings during the period immediately following the issuance of its ruling. Benn’s position in the WBC Ratings shall be based solely on his merit and the customary factors the WBC Ratings Committee apply to rating boxers.
 
The WBC will establish a line of communication with WADA regarding the WBC’s concern about Clomiphene as a food contaminant and the potential of false positives caused by ingestion of contaminated food.
 
​OCT 26, 2022: Disgraced drug cheat Conor Benn relinquished his British boxing license by failing to dispute his positive test for a banned substance. The British Boxing Board of Control confirmed this news in the following statement issued today: "By a notice dated 17th October 2022, Benn was called by the Board of the BBBofC to attend a hearing to deal with allegations of misconduct pursuant to Rule 25.1.1. The hearing took place on 21st October 2022. On the morning of the hearing, Benn voluntarily relinquished his license with the BBBofC. In accordance with its Rules and Regulations, the Board determined the allegations following the hearing at which Benn was legally represented. The allegations of misconduct against Mr. Benn were upheld.
 
Days before Benn's scheduled British super fight against Chris Eubank, Jr., event promoters Wasserman and Boxing and Matchroom issued a joint statement saying: "We have been made aware that a random anti-doping test for Conor Benn conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association returned an adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of a fertility drug." That fight was cancelled shortly afterwards.
 
OCT. 6, 2022: This weekend's British super fight between Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn will NOT take place due to Benn's positive test for a banned substance. Here is the cancellation statement from Wasserman Boxing, who promotes Eubank: "After discussions with various parties, we have taken the decision to formally postpone the battle between Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn. It is undeniable that the British Boxing Board of Control's decision to withdraw their sanctioning was procedurally flawed and without due process. That remains a legal issue between the promoters and the Board, which we intend to pursue. However, whilst there are legal routes to facilitate the fight taking place as planned, we do not believe that it is any fighter's interest for those to be pursued at such a late stage, or in the wider interests of the sport. As promoters, we take our obligations and duties very seriously, and a full investigation will now need to take place. We will be making no further comment at this time in News for ticket holder refund will follow."

                                                                        ***

The British Board of Boxing Control will not allow this weekend's British super fight between Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Conor Benn to take place due to a positive test for a banned substance by Conor Benn. Here is the commission's brief statement: "On the evening of October 4th, the Board of the British Boxing Board of Control Limited resolved that the contest between Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn scheduled to take place on October 8th is prohibited as it is not in the interests of boxing. That was communicated to the boxers and promoters involved on the morning of October 5th."

While it remains possible, thanks to European Union law, that the fight could proceed under the sanction of an alternate commission, such as Luxembourg's, lead promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom said in a tweet on Thursday that he would not take that route: "Let’s see what today brings but to make one thing clear, I will not be promoting this fight with a foreign commission or alternative governing body on Saturday night."
 
                                                                          ***
 
On Wednesday, as the news of the positive test broke, promoters Wasserman and Boxing and Matchroom issued a joint statement on Eubank vs. Benn fight. Here is the release: "We have been made aware that a random anti-doping test for Conor Benn conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association returned an adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of a fertility drug. The B sample has yet to be tested, meaning that no rule violation has been confirmed. Indeed Mr. Benn has not been charged with any rule violation, he is not suspended, and he remains free to fight. Mr. Benn has since passed a doping control test conducted by the UK anti-doping agency, the anti-doping authority to which the British Board of Boxing Control has delegated it’s open control testing for the belt. Mr. Benn has passed all doping control tests conducted by UKAD (the British testing authority) Both fighters have taken medical and legal advice and are aware of all relevant information and they wish to proceed with their bout this Saturday."

 

Fury-Usyk undercard and PPV details

Fury-Usyk undercard and PPV details

Fury-Usyk undercard and PPV details

ESPN and Top Rank, together with DAZN, will bring the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world between WBC champion Tyson Fury and WBO / IBF / WBA ruler Oleksandr Usyk to ESPN+ pay-per-view. The event is available for purchase on ESPN+ PPV in the United States, in addition to DAZN PPV, and takes place Saturday, May 18th, live at 12 p.m. ET/ 9 a.m. PT from Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. ESPN+ subscribers can purchase the $69.99 PPV here, separate streaming subscription required. New subscribers can sign up for ESPN+ here. ESPN+ is available on ESPN.com and the ESPN App for mobile and connected TV devices. Fury vs. Usyk is the most significant heavyweight battle of the millennium, as the winner will become the division’s first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis claimed the throne in 1999.

Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) returns following last October’s closer-than-expected decision over former UFC king Francis Ngannou in Riyadh. He became world champion by upsetting Wladimir Klitschko via unanimous decision in November 2015 but then took a lot of time off . Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs), an Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, hopes to become the second man, following Evander Holyfield, to achieve undisputed status at both cruiserweight and heavyweight.

The pay-per-view action also includes the following match-ups:
 
•    Lineal cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) battling former two-time champion Mairis Briedis (28-2, 20 KOs) in a rematch for the vacant IBF world title.
 
•    Joe Cordina (17-0, 9 KOs) defending his IBF junior lightweight world title against Belfast native Anthony Cacace (21-1, 7 KO).
 
•    Unbeaten heavyweights Frank Sanchez (24-0, 17 KOs) and Agit Kabayel (24-0, 16 KOs) locking horns in a twelve-round WBC title eliminator.
 
•    British heavyweight hopeful Moses Itauma (8-0, 6 KOs) stepping up versus Ilja Mezencev (25-3, 21 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
 
•    British lightweight Mark Chamberlain (15-0, 11 KOs) fighting the big-punching Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab (23-1,16 KOs).
 
•    Former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (35-4-1, 29 KOs) aiming for his second win as a cruiserweight in a ten-rounder against Robin Sirwan Safar (16-0, 12 KOs).
 
•    Polish-born light heavyweight Daniel Lapin (9-0, 3 KOs) seeking to go 10-0 against Octavio Pudivitr (9-1, 4 KOs) in a ten-rounder.

 

Nakatani to defend against Astrolabio

Nakatani to defend against Astrolabio
Undefeated WBC bantamweight champion Junto Nakatani, will make the first defense of his title on July 20th at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, against the mandatory challenger, Filipino Vincent Astrolabio. A three-division champion, Nakatani (27-0, 20 KOs), comes into this fight after winning the WBC bantamweight title by defeating Alexander Santiago last February. Astrolabio (19-4, 14 KOs), promoted by Manny Pacquiao, comes into this fight after defeating the tough Thai Navapon Khaikanha via technical knockout in the eleventh round of an eliminatory bout in August. Astrolabio filed in a WBO title bid last year vs. Jason Moloney.
 
PRIOR BOXINGTALK COVERAGE
 
Feb. 24, 2024...  Japan's Junto Nakatani is now a three-division champion and makes a very strong case for top ten pound-for-pound status. In Kokugikan, Japan, Nakatani stopped Alexandro Santiago and took the Mexican's WBC bantamweight championship. Nakatani got the stoppage when he floored Santiago twice in round six. Santiago beat the count both times, but was glassy eyed and cut. Now 27-0, Nakatani held the WBO 115-pound title last year and the WBO 112-pound title from 2020-2022. Santiago is now 28-4-5. In his prior fight, he defeated future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire for the vacant WBC title.
 

Fulton trying to lock down a fight date

Fulton trying to lock down a fight date
Former two-belt junior featherweight champion Stephen "Coolboy Steph" Fulton (pictured) tweeted: "Two opponents fell out, so I’m fighting in July now. I was supposed to go on June 15th. SMH."
 
Contender Raeese Aleem responded: "Hey, Coolboy Steph, two opponents fell out?? You really trying to fight anybody but me. Send the contract and let’s make it happen!"

CBN Promotions returns on June 22nd

CBN Promotions returns on June 22nd

CBN Promotions returns on June 22nd
CBN Promotions returns with another night of boxing as Tayden “The Butcher” Beltran (8-0, 4 KOs), is set to square off against Cesar Villarraga (10-9-1, 5 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight clash. All the action will take place at Thunder Studios in Long Beach, California, on Saturday, June 22nd. The entire event will be broadcast live on Fubo Sports, Fox Deportes, Stadium, Gray TV, and tape delayed on Estrella TV.  "We're thrilled to offer another electrifying night of boxing, showcasing some of the best undefeated prospects in Southern California,” said Alex Camponovo, President of CBN Promotions. “In addition and prior to the ring action, everyone will have the opportunity to watch a great soccer game between Mexico vs. Jamaica for the Copa America 2024 for what will be a truly exciting family event,” continued Camponovo. “Inside the ring fans will see a lineup of highly skilled fighters and evenly matched bouts, this show guarantees an unforgettable experience for boxing fans in Long Beach and beyond.”
 
"We anticipate another great show for all our fans watching live on television and those in attendance.” Rolando Nichols, President of Thunder Studios said. “We extend a warm invitation to the Long Beach community and neighboring areas to join us. It's a lively, atmosphere for the entire family where everyone can enjoy thrilling boxing matches."
 
UNDERCARD BOUTS
 
In a battle undefeated super bantamweights, Hector Lopez (4-0, 3 KOs) of Compton, CA, will face Nestro Varala (4-0, 2 KOs), from Lindsey, CA  over four rounds...
 
In the six-round co-feature, junior welterweight Juan Sanchez (7-0, 6 KOs) puts his unblemished record on the line against an opponent to be announced. Sanchez is known for his one-punch knockout power...
 
Junior welterweight Leonardo Rubalcava (6-0, 2 KOs) from Jurupa Valley, CA, will face an opponent to be announced over four rounds...
 
Super bantamweight Jose Bravo (3-0, 3 KOs), from Los Angeles, CA, will battle an opponent to be announced over four rounds...
 
Featherweight Jared Hermosillo (ProDebut), from Los Angeles, CA, vs. an opponent to be announced over four rounds...
 
Opening up the show will be super middleweight Aristides Garcia (Pro Debut), from Los Angeles, CA, vs. Ratavious Thrasher (0-2), from Mobile, AL
 
 

Two bouts added to Tyson vs. Paul undercard

Two bouts added to Tyson vs. Paul undercard
Most Valuable Promotions has announced two additions to the big Mike Tyson vs. Jake Paul show scheduled for July 20th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. One of the new bouts will be between two undefeated prospects, Ashton "H2O Sylve" and Floyd Schofield. The two lightweights are 11-0 and 17-0 respectively. The second bout will see former WBC middleweight title holder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. against Darren Till. Chavez reigned as the WBC title holder in 2011-2012 but since then has suffered through personal and mental health issues that derailed his career. He has not fought since 2021. Till is a British mixed martial artist who will be making his boxing debut. Till's MMA record is 23-5-1. Previously announced as part of this show is a rematch between female boxing legends Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano. Taylor, naturally bigger than Serrano, won their thriling first encounter by split decision in 2022. 

Turki Alalshikh: Usyk-Fury is now sold out

Turki Alalshikh: Usyk-Fury is now sold out

Turki Alalshikh, the Saudi government official who controls Saudi boxing and has a seemingly unlimited budget, tweeted today that aturday's big show in Riyadh is now sold out. Alalshikh, addressed as "His Excellency" wrote: "All tickets for the legendary Ring of Fire showdown have been sold out. Get ready for an epic showdown at Kingdom Arena." The main event. of course, is the four-belt, world heavyweight championship unification fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury.

 
 

Welcome to Fury vs. Usyk fight week

Welcome to Fury vs. Usyk fight week
WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) and WBO / IBF / WBA counterpart Oleksandr Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) will battle for the undisputed world heavyweight crown this Saturday at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The winner becomes the division's first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis accomplished that feat in 1999. On Tuesday at Boulevard Riyadh City, the main event combatants and undercard fighters made their grand arrivals. The pageantry was befitting one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights in modern memory, a long-simmering rivalry that will play out in four days. Fury is coming off last October's [very close] decision over Francis Ngannou in Riyadh. Usyk survived a tough challenge before knocking out Daniel Dubois in the ninth round last August in Poland. After a Fury cut suffered in sparring scuttled their original Feb. 17th fight date, the world's top heavyweights are finally in the same location. The Fury-Usyk card is available on Top Rank on ESPN+ PPV in the United States beginning at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. 
 
The pay-per-view undercard features a pair of world title fights. In the co-feature, uncrowned cruiserweight king Jai Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) is in against Mairis Breidis (28-2, 20 KOs), the man he dethroned for the IBF world title in July 2022. The vacant IBF world title will be at stake in this rematch. The fighting pride of Wales, IBF junior lightweight champion Joe Cordina (17-0, 9 KOs), defends his strap against Belfast native Anthony Cacace (21-1, 7 KOs).
 
At Tuesday's grand arrivals, this is what Fury, Usyk, and Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum had to say:
 
Tyson Fury
 
“It feels absolutely fantastic to be in the great Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I’m feeling fantastic. I can’t wait to put a good show on. There’s so many people coming. It’s such an event. All the big stars are here. It’s going to be epic. I can’t wait for Saturday night.”
 
“If I was fighting an old dosser on Saturday night who had five fights and lost them all, it would be very important to me. Every fight I’ve ever had is important to me. Every little fight along the way was important to me. I believe that every left and right turn I’ve ever taken in my life, every time I’ve fallen over, and every time I’ve climbed up was all leading to this moment. It’s destiny.”
 
"I predict that somebody's '0' has got to go. And it's going to be that team over there, unfortunately for them. Oleksandr Usyk is a great fighter. Olympic gold medalist, cruiserweight world champion, heavyweight world champion. But, unfortunately for him, he has to come against the great Tyson Fury in the era of me. I'm really looking forward to Saturday night.”
 
“Even if he had 20 million people screaming his name, they cannot fight for him on the night. And when there's two men in there on the night, it's going to be very daunting when he has the undertaker in the ring with him."
 
Oleksandr Usyk
 
"I feel good. I'm very happy to be here. Saturday is a special day because I will have the opportunity to become undisputed for a second time. It's great. It's very good for me. It's very important for my country. I like that."
 
"I have a plan. It's a better plan. And it's a great plan."
 
"I really appreciate the support from my fans and Ukrainian soldiers. I love my fans."
 
Bob Arum
 
"Unfortunately, we don’t see enough of these events in boxing. The undisputed heavyweight championship of the world occurs so infrequently that it’s almost like a blue moon coming. And now, on Saturday night, we will have the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world here in Riyadh. And that means that after this fight, there is one 'Baddest Man on the Planet,' the undisputed heavyweight champion. That means everything in the sport of boxing. That means everything for fans who love boxing."
 

Lauren Price wins world welterweight championship

Lauren Price wins world welterweight championship
Lauren Price W9 Jessica McCaskill... Fighting in her home country, Lauren Price was crowned the new world welterweight champion after outpointing Jessica McCaskill by a ninth-round stoppage on Saturday at the Cardiff International arena in Wales. Price won the WBA and IBO belts, but also the true lineal championship as she defeated McCaskill who defeated the previous world champion, Cecilia Braekhus. McCaskill had owned the crown since August 2020 and this was her fifth defense.  McCaskill, from Chicago, used an aggressive style, but advtanges in time, distance and accuracy favored Price. 
 
There was a hard head butt during the fourth round that resulted in a pronounced swelling over McCaskiil's left eyelid. That accidental injury grew over the rounds until after the medical review in the ninth round when referee Michael Alexander announced the end of the action. The scorecards were consulted and a unanimous technical decision was awarded to Price, with all three tallies reading 90-82 in her favor. 
 
Price won gold medals in 2019 at the World and European Games, and then gold in 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics. By June 2022, she made the leap to the pro game and is now 7-0 with 1 KO. McCaskill fall to 12-4-1 with 5 KOs. The other welterweight title holders are Natasha Jonas (IBF), Ivana Habazin (WBC) and Sandy Ryan (WBO).

WBA orders mandatory defense for Alaniz

WBA orders mandatory defense for Alaniz
The WBA Women’s Championships Committee ordered a mandatory flyweight title bout between champion Gabriela Alaniz (pictured) of Argentina and the official challenger of the category, Jacky Calvo of M exico (21-8-2).  In Alaniz’s case, she won the belt on April 27, 2024 and for that reason, the WBA wants her next mandatory fight should take place no later than August 27th of this year. A thirty-day period to negotiate the fight is already in process since last May 4th when it was communicated to the parties and it will end next June 4th.  In case no agreement is reached by June 4th, or if any of the parties refuses to negotiate, the WBA may call for a purse bid with a split of 75% for the champion and 25% for the challenger.
 
PRIOR BOXINGTALK COVERAGE
 
MAY 1, 2024 ... In a very close fight that took place last weekend at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California, Argentina's Gabriela “La Chucky” Alaniz became the new WBO, WBC and WBA flyweight champion, defeating Marlen Esparza of the United States by split decision. This was a rematch, with the first fight being won by Esparza last July via majority decision. Like their first battle, there were ten rounds full of action. On this occasion, Alaniz landed the best punches and emerged win a split decision win, overcoming a 98-92 card in Esparza's favor with tallies of 97-93 and 96-94. Alaniz is now a two-time champion with a 15-1 record, but this time holds three of the four major titles. Esparza left the ring with a record of 14-2, with 1 knockout.
 

Carto wins early in Philly

Carto wins early in Philly
Christian Carto TKO3 Jesus Martinez ... This weekend at Live! Casino and Hotel Philadelphia, popular bantamweight Christian Carto won his fifth consecutive bout with a third-round stoppage of Jesus Martinez in their scheduled eight rounder. Carto of Philadelphia, once again brought a large fan base to cheer him on and they were not disappointed. He registered two knockdowns and the bout was stopped at 1:06. Carto's record improves to 22-1 with 15 knockouts. Martinez of Miami is 35-21-1.
 
ADDITIONAL RESULTS
 
Light heavyweight Atif Oberlton remained perfect by stopping Juan Barajas in the opening round of their eight-round bout. Oberlton dropped Barajas twice before the fight was called off at 2:59. Oberlton of Philadelphia is now 10-0 with eight knockouts. Barajas of Mexico is 8-2.
 
Bree Howling kept her undefeated mark intact with an eight-round unanimous decision over former 105-pound title holder Nancy Franco in a bantamweight contest. From Calgary, Howling won a shutout by scores of 80-72 and is now 7-0. Franco of Guadalajara, Mexico is now 19-20-2.
 
Stephanie Han remained undefeated with a six-round unanimous decision over Michaela Nogue in a junior lightweight contest. Han of El Paso, Texas won by scores of 60-54 on all scores and is now 8-0. Nogue of Egg Harbor, NJ is 2-5-1.
 
Muhammad Robinson stopped David Thomas in round five of their six-round welterweight bout. The time of the stoppage was 40 seconds of round five for the Baltimore native who is now 7-1 with three knockouts. Thomas of Orange, Texas is 6-7-1.
 
David Whitmire stopped Breydon Glaude in 92 seconds of their four-round welterweight fight. Whitmire, 19 years-old of Washington, DC is now 5-0 with four-knockouts. Glaude is 0-2.
 
Ibraheim Robinson took a hard-fought six-round unanimous decision of Demarcus Layton in a junior middleweight affair. Robinson of Baltimore, won by scores of 59-55 and 58-56 twice and is now 7-1-1. Laytom of Little Rock, Arkansas is 9-7-1.
 

WBO orders Buatsi vs. Yarde for interim title at 175 pounds

WBO orders Buatsi vs. Yarde for interim title at 175 pounds

SUMMARY OF WBO RULING: On May 3rd, Top Rank confirmed via official press release that WBO / IBF / WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev suffered a ruptured meniscus in training and had to postpone the scheduled undisputed world light heavyweight championship contest against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol on June 1st in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  According to the press release, the Beterbiev-Bivol bout will be rescheduled before the end of 2024. On May 8th, the WBO issued an interim medical certification notice to Beterbiev's promoter, Top Rank, requesting a detailed medical explanation of Beterbeiv's injury, recovery prognosis and his physician’s opinion as to when will he be physically and medically cleared to compete and return to active competition.

In compliance with the WBO's order, on May 8th, Top Rank provided the medical certification contents on a confidential basis. However, according to that document, Beterbiev’s scheduled recovery time for active competition shall be in September or October 2024.

Therefore, because of Beterbiev’s unavailability due to injury and required recovery time, the WBO determined that is in the best interests of boxing and the contenders that a WBO interim championship is justified for the light heavyweight division subject to specific provisions that will terminate the interim championship in accordance with the WBO's policy of only one champion in each weight class.

Therefore, the WBO ordered WBO #1 rated Joshua Buatsi and WBO #3 rated Anthony Yarde, who are the highest two available contenders in the division, to commence negotiations for the WBO interim light heavyweight championship. (Oleksandr Gvozdyk is rated #2 by the WBO but is committed to fighting David Benavidez for the WBC interim light heavyweight championship on June 15th and is therefore unavailable). The WBO added the following conditions: (i) the camps are granted 10 days to negotiate and reach an agreement as ordered; (ii) failure to reach an accord within the period outlined herein will result in the WBO ordering purse bid proceedings... Any of the parties involved may request a purse bid proceedings at any time during the negotiation process; and (iii) the WBO reserves its right to issue all further rulings deemed necessary.

Inoue to visit NYC to receive boxer of the year award

Inoue to visit NYC to receive boxer of the year award
World junior featherweight champion Naoya Inoue, recognized by many as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, has confirmed that he will be attending the 99th Boxing Writers Association of America awards dinner at the 583 Park Avenue venue in Manhattan, New York, on Thursday, June 6th, beginning at 6 p.m. Inoue will receive the Sugar Ray Robinson Award as the 2023 BWAA Fighter of the Year, making history as the first Japanese fighter to win one of boxing’s most prized honors, which dates back to Jack Dempsey. Amanda Serrano is the 2023 Female Fighter of the Year, earning that award for the second time in three years. Fights of the Year, Manager, Trainer, Broadcaster, Journalism, and Courage awards will also be presented.
 
The glittering evening in a landmark venue on Park Avenue will include cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, open bar, dinner, silent auction and a gift bag for every attendee. A very limited number of VIP tickets are available with premium seating and additional special gift. Tables are quickly filling up and the BWAA awards dinner journal deadline is approaching. Go to the website at bwaa.org for further information.

Baraou to defend European title in Manchester

Baraou to defend European title in Manchester

Germany's Abass Baraou (15-1) returns to the ring to defend his European junior middleweight championship against Macaulay McGowan at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester, England on June 14th, live on Channel 5 in the UK. It will be Baraou's first title defense, just two months on from his win over Sam Eggington. McGowan (20-4-2) will have the home field advantage as he was born in Manchester. He's won three in a row but against a very low level of competition.

On the undercard,  Ryan Kelly (19-4) and Gerome Warburton(14-1-1)  face off at middleweight... Dan Toward, looks to continue his unbeaten start to his professional career and... the exciting Ben Marksby is back for his first fight of 2024.



 

Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal moved to July 6th

Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal moved to July 6th
Fanmio announced a new date for the pro boxing showdown between mixed martial arts stars Nate Diaz and Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal. The fight wil now take place on Saturday, July 6th at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. {The previous date was June 1st in Los Angeles]. “He won the first fight [in MMA], but I’m back for more. So that’s what’s popping,” said Diaz. “This is a new fight and I’m here to win. That’s what it’s all about. I’ll fight anyone in any combat sport. We got a fight and we have to figure this all out on July 6th.”
 
"Our new date July 6th gives me more time to train and do what I was going to do before, beat Nate's ass," said Masvidal. "Fighting on July Fourth Weekend is great for the fans. Lots of fireworks in and out of the ring. My shots will be just like them, blasting off in Nate's face. I am going to destroy him that night, just you wait and see."
 
“The new Saturday, July 6th date puts the event on a historical and patriotic weekend at Honda Center in Anaheim, California for all fight fans to enjoy during this great holiday,” said Fanmio CEO Solomon Engel. “Nate Diaz vs Jorge Masvidal I will be a very competitive and exciting sequel as both fighters are training hard in their camps to write a definitive next chapter in their rivalry. Fight fans will not be disappointed.”
 
PRIOR BOXINGTALK COVERAGE
 
APRIL 19, 2024: Mixed martial arts stars Nate Diaz and Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal continued their publicity tour on Wednesday in Masvidal’s hometown of Miami before they meet in the ring on Saturday, June 1st headlining a pay-per-view show presented by Fanmio from The Kia Forum in Los Angeles. Two huge personalities, Diaz and Masvidal will square off in a ten-round professional boxing light heavyweight showdown marking the first time two true MMA stars will go toe-to-toe in a boxing ring. Masvidal is 1-0 as a boxer, having won a very low-level fight in 2005. He defeated Diaz in MMA in 2019. Diaz is 0-1 as a boxer, having lost to Jake Paul on August 5, 2023 in Dallas, Texas. Paul defeated Diaz via unanimous decision over ten rounds via scores of 98–91 (twice) and 97–92.
 
Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday from Pier 5 at Bayside Marketplace:
 
NATE DIAZ
 
“If the last fight would of continued and gone to the end, this would be my city.
 
“He won the first fight, but I’m back for more. So that’s what’s popping. This is a new fight and I’m here to win.
 
“I expect him to do what he’s gotta do in there. He’s got a good coach and he’s doing what he’s supposed to do training, but I’ve been doing this a long time. We’ll see how it goes for him.
 
“I’m preparing for a way tougher fight from Jorge than I had against Jake Paul. 100%. Jorge is as experienced as it comes, so I’m ready for what he’s bringing. But having those rounds helped for sure.
 
“All I know is that we’ve been trying to make this rematch happen for a long time. He was the biggest opportunity in the game.”
 
JORGE MASVIDAL
 
“I respect what Nate’s done in his career, but that goes away when we step in that ring. I only have one thing on my mind. I’m gonna put an end to this rivalry.  
 
“I owe it to this city more than anything to go out with a W, and several of them. I’m in a really good place now and have to come back and get those W’s for this place right here. Do or die.
 
“I want to take the judges and referees and doctors out of it and leave it up to my hands and get him out of there Kimbo Slice style. Dade County style. These people here want that violence.
 
“It’s a badge of honor to face someone who’s willing to put it all on the line. That being said, I’m gonna end this guy on June 1.
 
“This BMF belt shows that if you get after it, you can get it done. It doesn’t matter who you are, you just gotta put aside the nonsense.”
 

Kambosos reflects on loss to Lomachenko

Kambosos reflects on loss to Lomachenko
Former world lightweight champion George "Ferocious" Kambosos Jr. reflected on Saturday's eleventh-round technical knockout loss to Vasiliy Lomchenko. Kambosos wrote: "Gave it my all, never cherry picked always stepped to the best & hardest challengers. And Loma will go down as one of the best in history. I’m safe I’m healthy & I tried my hardest to win for every second. Thank you to all the fans that support me through it all, dared again."
 
Kambosos' effort was criticized by Ryan Garcia, who is coming off a big win over Devin Haney that is under serious questioning due to Garcia's positive test for abanned substance. Garcia tweeted, "George kambozo sucks I’m sorry."
 
To which Kambosos, the conqueror of Teofimo Lopzez, responded, "[I] won more belts than you’ll ever win, princess, the clean way. [You] cheating dog, I rather go out on my shield against the best and lose like a man than cheat with weight advantages and enhancements like you did. Let’s have a street fight then fuck the ring!! Use all the [drugs] you want."
 
 
 
 

Junior Younan ready for bigger fights at super middleweight

Junior Younan ready for bigger fights at super middleweight

Junior Younan 12 KO1 Ricardo A. Luna... Junior Younan (20-0-1 with 12 KOs) scored a highlight-reel knockout over Ricardo Adrian Luna (26-12-2 with 7 KOs) over thr weekend. The knockout came at 2:53 in the first round of a super middleweight bout on a show in Huntington, New York. Younan, a Brooklyn, New York native, now seeks to fight the top names in his weight class after recently signing with Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing.

ADDITIONAL RESULTS

Irish wetlerweight Ryan O'Rourke (11-0, 3 KOs) returned to the ring after a year-long, injury filled layoff and had to work very hard to take the unanimous decision against determined Michal Bulik (6-7, 2 KOs) of Poland. The official scores were 59-55, 59-56 and 58-56.

Yeuri Andujar and previously undefeated Ronny Reyes engaged in an exciting junior lightweight battle. The boxers went toe-to-toe for the entire six rounds, each taking a turn having his way. In the end, the Dominican Andujar (7-6-1 with 4 KOs) scored the upset majority decision over Reyes(4-1, 1 KO) by scores of 57-57, 58-56 and a seemingly unfair score of 60-54 by judge John Basile, for Andujar.

The opening fight of the night was an engaging super middleweight battle between pro debuting John McDonagh and Tevin Terrance. The fight was an all-out slugfest. The fittingly appropriate end result was a split draw, 39-37 for each fighter and 38-38 on the final scorecard. Terrance is now 1-1-2 and McDonagh 0-0-1. Both men were winners



 

Lomachenko back in the high life again with TKO of Kambosos

Lomachenko back in the high life again with TKO of Kambosos
Vasiliy Lomachenko TKO11 George Kambosos Jr. ...vAfter losing his unified crown nearly four years ago, Vasiliy Lomachenko is once again a world champion.vLomachenko (18-3, 12 KOs) captured the vacant IBF lightweight world title by defeating hometown hero "Ferocious" George Kambosos Jr. (21-3, 10 KOs) via 11th-round TKO on Sunday afternoon at RAC Arena in Perth, Western Australia. Though the 36-year-old two-time Olympic gold medalist hadn't fought since last May's undisputed title bid (a close loss to Devin Haney), it took just three rounds for him to figure out Kambosos. After absorbing an early body attack, the Ukrainian legend began peppering Kambosos with his signature short punches in round four, seemingly looking to end things early.
 
The onslaught continued into the fifth as Kambosos’ face began to reflect Lomachenko’s nearly 50 percent connect advantage. In round eight, Kambosos suffered a cut above his right eye as Lomachenko continued to tag him. In round 11, Lomachenko landed a left that dropped Kambosos, who rose off the deck only to be dropped again with another left, but this time to the body.
 
Lomachenko said, "It looked like a knockout today, not ‘No-Mas-Chenko.’ But, you know, we trained hard for this moment. I want to thank my opponent. He is a strong man and a true warrior.
 
"My plan was to adjust to my opponent. This is what I did during the fight. I knew I needed to finish strong. And in the last three rounds, I was trying to find his body.
 
I never ran around during my boxing career. I always take fights. Right now, I want to come back to my home, spend time with my family, and after I rest a little bit, we can talk about my future.”
 
Kambosos said, "He’s a true champion. He’s a legend of the sport. I give him the utmost respect. We knew what we are coming up against, and I tried my best. But it wasn’t enough today.
 
He’s one of the best fighters in history. So, I’m not ashamed. I wanted to finish the fight on my feet. I wanted to finish the rounds like I always do. But there’s no shame in losing to a man like Lomachenko.”
 
Guevara Upsets Moloney on Aussie Soil
 
Pedro Guevara (42-4-1, 22 KOs) promised to give Mexico a new champion today, and he delivered in hostile territory.
 
Guevara won a disputed split decision verdict over Andrew Moloney (26-4, 16 KOs) to claim the WBC interim junior bantamweight world title.
 
Moloney boxed from the outside, stepping in and out to land punches on a rangier Guevara. The 34-year-old Mexican responded with counters, especially the left hook to the body.
 
In the third round, Moloney gained momentum with close-range combos, which set the tone for the middle rounds. And by the eighth, the Australian former world champion landed hard as Guevara tried to change the tide of the fight.
 
As they entered the championship rounds, Guevara’s body shots began to make a difference as Moloney became more cautious with his offense.
 
Two judges scored the bout 115-113 in favor of Guevara, overriding a 116-113 card for Moloney.
 
“I really want to come back here. It’s amazing here," Guevara said. “I’d have no problem giving him a rematch.”
 
Moloney said, “I felt in total control. I did what I had to do in there tonight to get the win. I don’t want to make excuses, but I went into this fight with a torn biceps, so I couldn’t throw the left hook unless I needed to. I didn’t feel like I needed to throw it because I was in total control. "
 
 
In other results:
 
Bantamweight: Cherneka Johnson (16-2, 6 KOs) MD 10 Nina Hughes (6-1, 2 KOs). Scores: 95-95, 96-94 and 98-92. Johnson captures the WBA bantamweight world title.
 
Light Heavyweight: Imam Khataev (7-0, 7 KOs) TKO 6 Ricards Bolotniks (20-8-1, 8 KOs). Time of stoppage: 1:34.
 
 

Adames to make first title defense vs. Gausha

Adames to make first title defense vs. Gausha
Newly minted WBC middleweight champion Carlos Adames of the Dominican Republic will defend his title against Terrell Gausha of the United States on June 15th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Adames was handed the WBC championship this week when notoriously inactive Jermall Charlo was finally stripped after an arrest for driving while intoxicated. The WBC announced that it "has decided to confirm Carlos Adames as the current WBC middleweight champion as he is being elevated from interim champion to WBC world champion... Carlos Adames has supported in an exemplary manner every action taken by the WBC in support of his colleagues throughout this time, for which we congratulate him."
 
Gausha, age 36 is 24-3 with 12 KOs but until his very last fight, he was a junior middleweight, not a middleweight. Gausha was a 2012 U.S. Olympian, and won his most recent fights against Brandyn Lynch and KeAndrae Leatherwood, after losing a twelve-round unanimous decision to Tim Tszyu in March 2022.The other two losses for Gausha, a 14-year-old professional, were against Erickson Lubin in 2020 and Erislandy Lara in 2017. 
 
 

Introducing teenage junior lightweight Kaipo Gallegos

Introducing teenage junior lightweight Kaipo Gallegos
Boxlab Promotions and Shuan Boxing announce the signing of a co-promotional agreement with junior lightweight Kaipo Gallegos (4-0-1, 3 KOs), a southpaw from Las Vegas. The two promoters have big plans for Gallegos and plan to keep him busy for the remainder of 2024 and thereafter. His next fight is scheduled for May 31st, live on DAZN from the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando, Florida. At only 18 years old, Kaipo Gallegos, who was an 18-time national champion in the amateurs, is already making a name for himself in the super featherweight division. While training in the mecca of boxing, Gallegos is well known for having sparred with some of the best fighters in boxing, which include Shakur Stevenson, Keyshawn Davis, Devin Haney, Alberto Puello, Jorge Linares and Robeisy Ramirez to name a few. His impressive skills have caught the eyes of both fans and experts alike.
 
Kaipo is trained by his father, Jayson Gallegos, who co-manages his son with Marcelino Castillo. Gallegos, a Filipino-Hawaiian-American, hopes to make a significant impact on the boxing landscape in the years to come. "I'm incredibly excited to join forces with Boxlab Promotions and Shuan Boxing, who has been with me since I turned professional,” stated Gallegos. “This is a huge step forward in my career, and I can't wait to show the world what I'm capable of with their support behind me. I have two of the best promoters working on my behalf, and that makes me feel good."
 
"We are delighted to announce the signing of Kaipo Gallegos to a co-promotional agreement with Boxlab Promotions and Shuan Boxing," said Amaury Piedra, President of Boxlab Promotions. "Kaipo is a rare talent with immense potential, and we believe that this partnership will provide him with the platform and opportunities he needs to fulfill his aspirations in the sport. Together with Shuan Boxing, we are going to be strong!"
 
President of Shuan Boxing Promotions, Bélgica Pena, also expressed her enthusiasm about the collaboration. "Kaipo has been part of the Shuan Boxing family since his pro debut. His skills and determination are truly exceptional, and we are committed to supporting him every step of the way as he continues to rise through the ranks of the super featherweight division. We feel blessed to be uniting with Boxlab Promotions to help further Kaipo’s growth and development."