Spence on top fighters at 147: ‘Whoever ends up on top from this group, will end being a Hall of Famer’

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. is considered, by some, to be one of the best welterweights in boxing, but to be considered the best, he is going to have to beat some of the top guys in the division.

Some of those top guys include WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter, and WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman. While those guys are belt-holders at 147, there a few other names out there that are tops in the division, including Manny Pacquiao and Danny Garcia.

According to Spence(24-0, 21 KOs), who will battle four-division world champion Mikey Garcia(39-0, 30 KOs) on March 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the best at 147 need to fight each other.

“The welterweight division has always been one of the strongest divisions in the sport, and it is like that now,” Spence said on Saturday at a press conference to promote his fight with Garcia.  “We just need to fight each other. I’m ready to fight any of them. Whoever ends up on top from this group, will end being a Hall of Famer. That’s how you become an all-time great.”

Credit should go to Mikey Garcia for his willingness to fight Spence; credit should also go to Amir Khan who is stepping up to fight Crawford in April.

Sadly, the politics of boxing might prevent Top Rank’s Crawford from fighting PBC’s Thurman, Spence, and others. However, not many PBC fighters have been willing to step up and face Spence, which is why what Garcia is about to do should be applauded.

Ultimately, the top guys at 147 do need to fight each other. It’s good for the sport, and it according to Spence, it could mean a spot in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Photo: Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions

 

Spence on Garcia: ‘I thought he was just chasing my name when he was calling me out’

Unbeaten welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. and undefeated four-division champion Mikey Garcia previewed their upcoming showdown and faced-off live on FOX at a press conference in Los Angeles Saturday as they near their battle for pound-for-pound supremacy that headlines a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event on Saturday, March 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Spence and Garcia were joined on stage at the press conference by a living legend, Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, who won titles in five weight divisions and fought Sugar Ray Leonard in one of the most memorable welterweight fights in history.

Many were surprised that Garcia was willing to face one of the most feared fighters at 147 in Spence, including the IBF welterweight champion.

“At first, I thought he was just chasing my name when he was calling me out,” Spence said. “Once it became real, I saw how serious he was. At that point, I was very confident it would happen.

“I’m not the bully here because Mikey really pushed for the fight. The other champions weren’t available at the time, plus Mikey is the only top fighter who called me out. I knew this was a fight I wanted.”

While Spence believes his size advantage will help him fight night, he also believes his skills will be a factor as well.

“Mikey is undefeated, has a great skill set and has won a title at 140-pounds,” Spence said. “I don’t see him as that small a fighter. He has a technical style that’s very traditional. He likes to use angles to set his opponent’s up.

“Size always matters, but when you get in there, at the end of the day, it’s about skills and intelligence. I’m not going to rely on size. I’m going to focus on my talent. If I can roll through him, then I’ll show my killer instinct and try to get him out of there. I’m going to use my ability to break him down.”

Tickets for the March 16 event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now and can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.

Photos from Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions
 

 

Rob Brant on Canelo: ‘I’d love a fight with him’

Rob “Bravo” Brant crashed the world boxing scene last October with a dominant decision over Ryota Murata to win the WBA middleweight title. For title defense number one, he returned to his home state and sent the partisan crowd home happy.

Brant (25-1, 16 KOs) cruised to an 11th-round TKO over Khasan Baysangurov (17-1, 7 KOs) Friday evening at the Grand Casino Hinckley, a short drive from Brant’s hometown of St. Paul.

A sold-out crowd of 2,225 watched as Brant overwhelmed Baysangurov with consistent, effective pressure. In the 11th, Baysangurov, who was knocked down in the second round, could not keep Brant at bay. A knockdown and a follow-up attack, punctuated by a right hand, forced referee Mark Nelson to stop the fight.

This is what Brant had to say in the ring after he retained the title.

“Today, I feel like a true champion. I was happy with my performance. I had some cramps later in the fight, but this shows I can carry my power later in fights.”

“Middleweight is one of the deepest divisions in boxing. There are fights to be made. We just have to keep pushing forward. Canelo Alvarez is recognized by many as the champion at middleweight, and I’d love a fight with him down the road.”

“{Baysangurov} had a good jab. I started a little sloppy, and my trainer (Eddie Mustafa Muhammad) told me in the corner to relax. I waited for the opportunity to come, and it came in the 11th round.”

Photo: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Photos: Bellator 216 weigh-in

Bellator 216: MVP vs. Daley takes place tomorrow Saturday, February 16, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The event will air live on DAZN at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Complete Bellator 216 Weigh-in Results:

Welterweight World Grand Prix Matchup: Michael Page (170) vs. Paul Daley (170)

Heavyweight Co-Main Event: Mirko Cro Cop (234.5) vs. Roy Nelson (259.5)

Heavyweight Main Card Bout: Cheick Kongo (236) vs. Vitaly Minakov (240.5)

Welterweight Main Card Bout: Yaroslav Amasov (169.75) vs. Erick Silva (170)

Women’s Flyweight Main Card Bout: Valerie Loureda (123.5) vs. Colby Fletcher (122.25)

Preliminary Card:

Heavyweight Preliminary Bout: Tyrell Fortune (246.25) vs. Ryan Pokryfky (250)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Patrick Casey (155.75) vs. Nekruz Mirkhojaev (154)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius De Jesus (171) vs. Rodolpho Barcellos (169.5)

165-Pound Catchweight Bout: Kemran Lachinov (166) vs. Kastriot Xhema (165)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Reginaldo Felix (185) vs. Justin Sumter (185.5)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Jesse Kosakowski (168) vs. Rodolfo Rocha (170.5)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Demetrius Plaza (169.5) vs. Andrews Rodriguez (169.5)

Photos/courtesy: Bellator

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Hearn on Joshua-Miller: ‘We are building a huge event on June 1’

Anthony Joshua’s World Heavyweight title clash with Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden is already the hottest ticket in New York after becoming the highest grossing pre-sale for a boxing event at the famous arena.

Joshua defends his WBA Super, IBF, WBO and IBO crowns against Miller on June 1 in the Big Apple, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK – and fight fans showed their appetite to see the Briton make his American debut in the backyard of the unbeaten Brooklynite, breaking the highest grossing pre-sale in MSG boxing history inside two hours of the midday on-sale.

Tickets go on general sale at midday on Tuesday February 19 following Monday’s pre-sale for Matchroom Fight Pass members, and fans hoping to snap up the chance to see the World’s premier Heavyweight lock horns with the dangerous ‘Big Baby’ should move fast on Tuesday to avoid missing out on this blockbuster night.

“We know that AJ is a huge box office hit in the UK but to break the pre-sale record at the iconic Madison Square Garden is astounding,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “We are building a huge event on June 1 and we look forward to the all the build-up beginning with next Tuesdays press conference in New York.”

“We are thrilled with the early excitement for tickets,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Marquee Events. “Anthony Joshua versus Jarrell Miller will be an epic event at Madison Square Garden and we encourage fans to purchase tickets now because this fight will sell out.”

Mikey Garcia on Spence: ‘This is a match that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time’

Mikey Garcia is striving to put together a legendary career and is aggressively pursuing that goal. He has won world championships at featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight, and junior welterweight.

The 31-year-old Garcia first reached the championship ranks by blitzing through the featherweight and junior lightweight division, defeating Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez, Roman Martinez, and Juan Carlos Burgos to establish himself as a star in the sport. Garcia has been on a fast track since ending a nearly 2-1/2-year hiatus with a knockout victory over Elios Rojas in 2016. After the win over Rojas, Garcia scored a KO victory over Dejan Zlaticanin for the WBC lightweight championship in January 2017, before defeating four-division champion Adrien Broner in July and then captured a title at 140-pounds by dropping and defeating Sergey Lipinets last March.

Garcia unified the IBF and WBC Lightweight World Championships in his last bout by scoring a unanimous decision victory over Robert Easter, Jr. on July 28.

However, what Garcia is going up against on March 16 is going to be the biggest test of his career. Garcia will battle IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and will be televised on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View.

“In my career, I’ve always sought to fight the best in boxing, and this fight against Errol Spence Jr. is just that,” said Garcia. “I want to be known as one of the all-time greats and what better way to do that than to win a welterweight title and become a five-division world champion. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Errol and what he’s accomplished, but I fully expect to leave the ring at AT&T Stadium with the welterweight world title. This is a match that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and I plan on giving the fans a performance they’ll never forget.”

Is Garcia biting off a little more than he can chew? Maybe, however, greatness requires risks, and Spence is a risk Garcia is willing to take on March 16.

 

Benavidez-Love, Arreola-Augustin, Nery-Arroyo announced for Spence-Garcia undercard

Unbeaten IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. defends his title against undefeated four-division champion Mikey Garcia in a highly anticipated and historic showdown for pound-for-pound supremacy that headlines a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event on Saturday, March 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The four-fight pay-per-view card will also see unbeaten former super middleweight world champion David Benavidez taking on veteran contender J’Leon Love in a 10-round showdown, undefeated former 118-pound champion Luis Nery battling former champion McJoe Arroyo in a 10-round attraction and fan-favorite Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola facing unbeaten Jean Pierre Augustin for 10-rounds of action.

The 22-year-old Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) became the youngest fighter to ever win a super middleweight title in 2017 when he defeated Ronald Gavril at just 20-years-old. Fighting out of Phoenix, Benavidez’s older brother Jose is also a pro fighter who challenged Terrence Crawford last year. Benavidez most recently won a rematch against Gavril last February, and as WBC “Champion in Recess” he will look to reclaim his belt against the winner of the Anthony Dirrell vs. Avni Yildirim bout for the vacant title on February 23.

Born in Detroit but fighting out of Las Vegas, Love (24-2-1, 13 KOs) has long been amongst the top contenders at super middleweight and most recently lost a decision to Peter Quillin in August. The 31-year-old had been previously unbeaten in seven bouts heading into the contest against Quillin.

Currently riding a nine-fight knockout streak, Nery (28-0, 24 KOs) will look to get one step closer to a fight to regain a bantamweight title when he steps into the ring March 16. The 24-year-old from Tijuana, Mexico twice traveled to Japan and stopped Shinsuke Yamanaka in WBC title fights. In 2018 he stopped Jason Canoy and Renson Robles heading into his U.S. debut against Arroyo.

A 2008 Olympian for his home country of Puerto Rico, Arroyo (18-2. 8 KOs) captured a 115-pound championship with a technical decision over Arthur Villanueva in their 2015 clash. After dropping decisions against Rau’shee Warren and Jerwin Ancajas, the 33-year-old most recently defeated Sander Diaz last June.

An exciting brawler inside the ring, Arreola (37-5-1, 32 KOs) is well-known for challenging the best heavyweights in the sport throughout his career, and for becoming a popular attraction in and around his native Los Angeles for his fighting style and persona. The 37-year-old faced the likes of Vitali Klitschko, Tomasz Adamek, and Bermane Stiverne, before challenging Deontay Wilder for his title in 2016. After a brief retirement, Arreola returned to stop Maurenzo Smith last December.

Unbeaten and fighting out of Louisville, Augustin (17-0-1, 12 KOs) will face his toughest and most experienced test to date in Arreola. Born in Haiti, Augustin turned pro in 2014 and has steadily climbed up the heavyweight rankings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

76ers’ Justin Patton: ‘I bring an edge to the game, length, versatility'(VIDEO)

When the 76ers acquired Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves, many people were unsure about the second player that came over in the deal. That second player was Justin Patton. The second-year center was the 16th pick out of Creighton by Chicago(pick traded to Minnesota in Jimmy Butler trade) in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Patton had a tough first year in the NBA. He broke his left foot and would spend most of the season in the G League playing for the Iowa Wolves. In September 2018, Patton had a another surgery, this time to repair a broken right foot, but now he is back on the court. The 7-foot Patton made his debut last week with the Delaware Blue Coats, who is the 76ers’ G League affiliate, and in five games with Delaware, Patton is averaging 10.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks. While playing most of his first season in Iowa was tough for Patton, he believes it made him a better person.

“It was really difficult. It was just me finding my way,” Patton told goforitradio.com about his first season in the NBA. “I didn’t really have a lot of guidance. I had a couple of guys: Jamal Crawford, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson those guys helped me out a little bit, but I was stuck down in Iowa for so long, so I didn’t really have the correct guidance every step of the way. So, it was a little bit of trial and error, and I learned… I’m probably a way better man than I would be if I went through the path of least resistance.”

The 21-year-old Patton does have decent skills, which he feels can help the 76ers.

“I just bring an edge to the game, length, versatility. and just being able to guard different types of ball-screens, and also being long,” Patton said. “That’s what the Sixers like to do. Now, we probably got the most length in the league, and me being on the team is going to add another factor to that, and also just another 7-footer who can launch threes.”

Patton expects to be called up by the 76ers sometime after the All-Star break. However, due to the recent addition of center Boban Marjanovic, who came over from the Clippers in the deal for Tobias Harris, Patton probably won’t get much time this season for the 76ers. Before he was dealt to the 76ers, Minnesota declined Patton’s third-year option, so he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Listen to our complete interview with Patton as he discussed his return from injury, his game, and how he will help the 76ers when he joins the team:

Josh Lambo re-signs with Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars have re-signed K Josh Lambo to a contract extension, the club announced today. Lambo was set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13 at 4 p.m. ET.

“I’m not quite sure it has set in yet. This whole NFL journey has been a little wild and very unexpected,” Lambo said. “Now that I’ve gotten to the point where I can sign an extension with this club, it’s really special, and it’s a great day for myself and [my wife] Megan and our dogs and our whole family.”

Lambo, 28, has appeared in 55 career games, including 23 games for the Jaguars, since being signed as an undrafted rookie by the then-San Diego Chargers on May 12, 2015. Following a 32-game stint with the Chargers, Lambo signed with Jacksonville on Oct. 17, 2017. Lambo set Jacksonville’s franchise record for consecutive made field goals, converting 24 straight from Nov. 19, 2017 to Nov. 11, 2018.

Since joining the Jaguars, Lambo has made 38 of 41 field goals, and his 92.7 pct. field goal conversion rate is the highest in franchise history among players with at least 10 field goal attempts. In 2018, Lambo made 19 of 21 field goals (90.5 pct.), becoming the first player in franchise history to post back-to-back seasons with a field goal rate of at least 90.0 pct.

Gvozdyk-Ngumbu set for March 30 in Philly

WBC and lineal light heavyweight champion Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk will make the first defense of his world title against Doudou Ngumbu on Saturday, March 30 at the 2300 Arena. In the 10-round co-feature, Gvozdyk’s stablemate, top welterweight contender Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas, will take on Philadelphia native Ray Robinson.

Gvozdyk-Ngumbu and Kavaliauskas-Robinson will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The undercard, including the IBF welterweight title eliminator between Kudratillo “The Punisher” Abdukakhorov and Keita Obara and an appearance by Philadelphia-born heavyweight prospect Sonny Conto (1-0, 1 KO), will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Peltz Boxing, tickets priced at $125, $75, and $50 go on sale Thursday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at 2300arena.com, the 2300 Arena box office at (267) 758-2173, or by calling Peltz Boxing at (215) 765-0922.

“It was a long journey for me to become a world champion, and I plan on showing everyone why I am the best light heavyweight in the world,” Gvozdyk said. “Ngumbu is a tough fighter who I cannot afford to overlook. My goal in 2019 is to unify with the other champions, but before I can do that, I have to take care of business on March 30.”

“It is a great opportunity to face arguably the best light heavyweight fighter in the world. After 12 years and 46 fights in my career with serious opposition, I get my first shot at a major world title,” Ngumbu said. “I have the utmost respect for Oleksandr Gvozdyk, a great champion who took the WBC title in a war against Adonis Stevenson. It is not going to be easy, but I believe I am much more experienced as a pro and I intend to use that to my advantage.”

Gvozdyk (16-0, 13 KOs) captured an Olympic bronze medal for his native Ukraine in 2012 as part of a national team that included two-time gold medalist and future promotional stablemate Vasiliy Lomachenko. He climbed the rankings with dominant wins over the likes of Nadjib Mohammedi and Yunieski Gonzalez and won the WBC interim light heavyweight title last March with a unanimous decision against Mehdi Amar. As the mandatory challenger, he traveled to Quebec City and, behind on two of the three judges’ scorecards, knocked out longtime champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson in the 11th round. Ngumbu (38-8, 14 KOs) is coming off perhaps the most significant win of his career, a 12-round majority decision over then-unbeaten Yoann Kongolo in May of last year. A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo who is now based in France, Ngumbu will be making his first attempt at a world title.

Kavaliauskas (21-0, 17 KOs) is universally regarded as one of the welterweight division’s top contenders, a massive puncher who rolled through then-beaten Roberto Arriaza in three rounds last November in Oklahoma City. He has knocked out five of his last six foes and is the WBO’s top contender for the belt currently held by pound-for-pound great Terence “Bud Crawford. Robinson (24-3, 12 KOs) is a rangy southpaw boxer who rebounded from back-to-back losses early in his career to Shawn Porter and Brad Solomon to win 13 in a row. In his last bout, Feb. 17, 2018 against Yordenis Ugas, he saw that winning streak come to an end when Ugas scored a seventh-round stoppage.

“I know a lot of Robinson’s fans will be in Philadelphia to cheer him on, but they will leave the 2300 Arena disappointed,” Kavaliauskas said. “This is the year that I fight for, and win, a welterweight world title. I am ready for anybody, including the Crawford-Khan winner. I will show everyone in Philadelphia and watching on ESPN what the ‘Mean Machine’ is all about.”

“I am always excited to come home and put on for my city,” Robinson said. “Every fight is a risk, but the higher the risk, the bigger the reward.”

Abdukakhorov (15-0, 9 KOs), a native of Uzbekistan who now lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, went 2-0 in 2018, including a convincing 12-round unanimous decision over Laszlo Toth in defense of his WBC silver welterweight belt. Obara (20-3-1, 18 KOs), who hails from Tokyo, is one of the division’s heaviest punchers. He knocked out Alvin Lagumbay in three rounds last August, a measure of revenge over the man who knocked him out in two rounds less than four months earlier.