Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas was born in Isabel, Puerto Rico, and idolized the great Felix “Tito” Trinidad. For the first time in his professional career, he’ll have a building full of Puerto Rican fans cheering him on. Vargas will fight Willie Shaw in a 10-round junior welterweight bout Saturday, April 24 at a sold-out Silver Spurs Arena in the Puerto Rican enclave of Kissimmee, Florida.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with All Star Boxing, Vargas-Shaw will highlight a loaded undercard showcasing Puerto Rico’s top young talent streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT. Following the undercard, Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete defends his WBO featherweight world title against Puerto Rican contender Christopher Diaz, and super middleweight Edgar Berlanga (16-0, 16 KOs) seeks to score his 17th consecutive first-round knockout against Demond Nicholson (ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
“It is time to show the world who ‘The Prodigy’ is,” Vargas said. “Fighting in Kissimmee is like fighting in Puerto Rico. After this fight, the Puerto Rican fans will talk about me. I am going to put on a show. I’ve seen some videos of Shaw on YouTube. I’m not going to take anything away from him, but he doesn’t have skills like I do. I have more experience than him. It’s time for me to break him down and show the world I’m a contender.”
Vargas (18-1, 9 KOs) had a breakthrough performance last October on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Teofimo Lopez undercard, dominating contender Kendo Castaneda via unanimous decision. He made headlines last June when he conducted his post-fight interview on ESPN after Salvador Briceno knocked out a pair of his upper front teeth. Despite the dental mishap, Vargas nearly shut out Briceno. Vargas has won 12 consecutive fights since a controversial disqualification loss.
“I’ve shown my intelligence in the ring. I barely got touched against Castaneda,” Vargas said. “I threw more than 800 punches in 10 rounds. It showed me that I belonged with higher-level fighters. I was letting him survive. That was me being nice. This time, I’ll apply more pressure and get the stoppage.”
Shaw (13-2, 9 KOs), from Oakland, California, enters the lion’s den as an experienced road warrior, having fought six times in Mexico since turning pro in 2017. Last August, Shaw pushed top prospect Omar Juarez before losing a six-round decision. He rebounded in January with a second-round stoppage in Tijuana.
In other undercard action:
Joseph Adorno (14-0-1, 12 KOs) vs. Jamaine Ortiz (14-0, 8 KOs)
8 Rounds, Lightweight
Adorno returns from a nearly 16-month layoff hoping to return to the win column following his January 2020 draw against Hector Garcia. He has a chance to advance from prospect to contender against the unbeaten Ortiz, who is coming off last November’s seventh-round knockout over Ugandan veteran Sulaiman Segawa on the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. undercard.
Orlando Gonzalez (16-0, 10 KOs) vs. Juan Antonio Lopez (15-8, 6 KOs)
8 Rounds, Featherweight
Puerto Rican southpaw stylist Gonzalez makes his 2021 debut against Lopez, a Texas resident who has upset a few undefeated prospects during his nearly nine-year pro career. Gonzalez went 162-16 as an amateur and inked a promotional deal with Top Rank in 2019.
Xander Zayas (7-0, 5 KOs) vs Demarcus Layton (8-1-1, 5 KOs)
6 Rounds, Welterweight
Puerto Rican prodigy Zayas, an 18-year-old who signed with Top Rank at 16, makes his third pro appearance in Kissimmee. He last fought Feb. 20 in Las Vegas and was pushed the six-round distance by James Martin. Zayas, who won 11 national titles as an amateur, recently spent time in his Florida training camp sparring Gervonta Davis and former world champions Adrien Broner and Robert Easter Jr. Layton is unbeaten in three bouts since a 2019 TKO loss.
Jeremy Adorno (4-0, 1 KO) vs. Ramiro Martinez (2-0-2, 1 KO)
4 Rounds, Junior Featherweight
Adorno, a 2017 U.S. Youth National Championship gold medalist, turned pro under the Top Rank banner in March 2019. The younger brother of Joseph Adorno, he’ll fight for the first time since a January 2020 decision win on the Joe Smith Jr.-Jesse Hart undercard in Atlantic City. Martinez, who fights out of Hurst, Texas, fought last November and won a one-sided decision over the 1-0 Tevin Moore.
Jaycob Gómez (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Mobley Villegas (3-1, 2 KOs)
4 Rounds, Junior Lightweight
Gómez is a 19-year-old upstart from Caguas, Puerto Rico, the same city that produced Miguel Cotto. He turned pro last October and scored a sensational first-round knockout. Villegas has never stopped as a professional.
SHOWTIME Sports and Premier Boxing Champions today unveiled a loaded five-month boxing schedule of nine high-stakes world championship events beginning Saturday, May 15, live on SHOWTIME. The schedule delivers two events per month through August. Thirteen matchups have been announced thus far with no less than seven world title fights, and 12 fighters defending undefeated records. The lineup features many of boxing’s best young fighters taking on career-defining challenges in their primes. All fights on the schedule will take place before a live audience, keeping with applicable local COVID-19 safety protocols.
The sizzling summer run features the dynamic Charlo twins as undefeated electrifying champion Jermall Charlo defends his WBC middleweight world title against Juan Macias Montiel in a special Juneteenth homecoming in Houston on Saturday, June 19, live on SHOWTIME.
The following Saturday, June 26, unbeaten Mayweather Promotions star Gervonta “Tank” Davis moves up two weight classes for a chance to become a three-division world champion when he takes on fellow undefeated champion Mario Barrios for his super lightweight world title in what will be Davis’ second pay-per-view showdown.
The next month, WBC, WBA and IBF 154-pound charismatic world champion Jermell Charlo looks to make boxing history when he takes on WBO junior middleweight world champion Brian Castaño in a mega-fight to crown the first four-belt 154-pound world champion. The World Championship Unification bout takes place on Saturday, July 17, live on SHOWTIME.
The SHOWTIME boxing schedule features eight editions of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and one premier SHOWTIME PPV event, all presented by Premier Boxing Champions:
- MAY 15 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Luis Nery vs. Brandon Figueroa, WBC Super Bantamweight World Title Fight
- Danny Roman vs. Ricardo Espinoza Franco, Super Bantamweight Fight
- Xavier Martinez vs. Abraham Montoya, WBA Super Featherweight Fight
- MAY 29 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Nordine Oubaali vs. Nonito Donaire, WBC Bantamweight World Title Fight
- Subriel Matias vs. Batyrzhan Jukembayev, IBF Super Lightweight Title Eliminator
- JUNE 19 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Jermall Charlo vs. Juan Macias Montiel, WBC Middleweight World Title Fight
- JUNE 26 – SHOWTIME PPV
- Gervonta Davis vs. Mario Barrios, WBA Super Lightweight World Title Fight
- Erickson Lubin vs. Jeison Rosario, WBC Junior Middleweight Title Eliminator
- JULY 3 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Chris Colbert vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa, WBA Super Featherweight Interim Title Fight
- JULY 17 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castaño, Undisputed IBF, WBA, WBC & WBO Junior Middleweight World Title Unification Fight
- AUGUST 14 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. John Riel Casimero, WBO Bantamweight World Title Fight
- AUGUST 28– SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- David Benavidez vs. Jose Uzcategui, WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator
- SEPTEMBER 11 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Stephen Fulton, Jr. vs. winner of Nery-Figueroa, Super Bantamweight World Title Unification Fight
The boxing action begins on SHOWTIME on Saturday, May 15 with the highly anticipated WBC super bantamweight world championship fight between Luis Nery and Brandon Figueroa. The battle of two unbeaten champions who have been on a collision course for supremacy in the 122-pound division headlines a three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast. Rounding out the May 15 event, former unified super bantamweight world champion Danny Roman faces the tough, hard-hitting Ricardo Espinoza and super featherweight rising contender Xavier Martinez takes on the experienced Abraham Montoya.
Two weeks later on Saturday, May 29, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will present the long-awaited title tilt between Nordine Oubaali and future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire for the WBC bantamweight world championship. The undercard will feature Subriel Matias taking on undefeated Batyrzhan Jukembayev in the stiffest test of their professional careers as they meet in an IBF super lightweight title eliminator.
This summer, the thrilling Charlo twins will headline separate SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING events to defend their titles.
In a Juneteenth Day celebration on Saturday, June 19, in his hometown of Houston, unbeaten WBC middleweight world champion Jermall Charlo takes on the power-punching Juan Macias Montiel. After claiming a championship in the 154-pound division, Charlo moved up in weight and has been just as dominant. The battle against Montiel will be Charlo’s fifth defense of his 160-pound title. Charlo is coming off a career-defining victory over Sergey Derevyanchenko in September.
On Saturday, June 26, current two-division world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis looks to become a three-division world champion when he returns to headline his second SHOWTIME PPV event. Davis, 26, will jump up two weight classes from his last contest to face unbeaten super lightweight world champion Mario Barrios. Davis is coming off a career-best victory over world champion Leo Santa Cruz. The co-main event that evening will feature a high-stakes WBC junior middleweight world title eliminator between Erickson Lubin and former unified 154-pound world champion Jeison Rosario.
Then, on Saturday, July 17, one month after his brother’s fight, Jermell Charlo looks to make boxing history when he defends his WBC, WBA and IBF junior middleweight world titles against undefeated WBO world champion Brian Castaño in one of the most highly anticipated and important matches of the year. Charlo aims to achieve something that has never been done in boxing history by becoming the first fighter to be undisputed champion at 154 pounds in the four-belt era. Charlo has held the WBC title since 2019 and added the WBA and IBF titles with a stunning knockout victory over Jeison Rosario in his last fight in September.
Also in July, undefeated rising star Chris Colbert of Brooklyn, N.Y. will defend his WBA super featherweight interim title against three-division world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in a crossroads bout on Saturday, July 3. The 24-year old Colbert is coming off a career best victory, a knockout win over Jaime Arboleda in December 2020. The Cuban-born Gamboa seeks to reassert himself by moving back down to super featherweight where he has excelled throughout his career.
August will feature another pair of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING events. On Saturday, August 14, two of the best bantamweights in the world will meet when former unified world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux faces John Riel Casimero for Casimero’s WBO bantamweight world title.
Two weeks later, on Saturday, August 28, undefeated two-time former super middleweight world champion David Benavidez will face former super middle champion Jose Uzcategui in a fight that will put the winner one step closer to a world championship opportunity. Benavidez, 24, made boxing history when he became the youngest super middleweight world champion at age 20 with a victory over Ronald Gavril in 2017.
On Saturday, September 11, the red-hot 122-pound division will take center stage once again on SHOWTIME as the WBO junior featherweight world champion Stephen Fulton, Jr. will make the first defense of his title against the winner of the May 15 clash between undefeated champions Nery and Figueroa. The unification fight will be the main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers(20-34) got a glimpse of what this team could be when they are entirely healthy. Cleveland got Larry Nance Jr. and Jarrett Allen back against the Charlotte Hornets(27-27), and while they were missing their leading scorer Collin Sexton(Left groin strain), it did not matter.
The Cavaliers got a game-high 25 points from Taurean Prince off the bench. Kevin Love and Darius Garland had 17 points apiece, and Jarrett Allen chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds as Cleveland defeated the Hornets on the road 103-90.
Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 22 points.
Cleveland had 27 assists on 37 made field goals, led by Garland’s seven assists.
“It was fun for me,” Garland said after the game. “I was just making different reads and making plays.”
Cleveland moved to two games behind the 10th-seeded Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
According to Allen, who returned after missing eight games due to a concussion, the Cavs will do whatever they can to get into the play-in tournament.
“We have 18 games to go, and we’re going to fight to get into that play-in game,” Allen said.
Garland added: “I think you will see the best basketball from us as we try to make a playoff push.”
At this point, it should be interesting to see what the Cavs look like at full strength, and they will pretty much be at full strength when Sexton returns.
After Thursday’s showdown against the Warriors, Cleveland will have an interesting eight-game stretch, which will include games against Bulls(2x), Wizards(2x), and the Raptors. The Bulls are the 10th seed, Washington is the 12th seed, and the Raptors are the 11th seed, so these games are an excellent opportunity for Cleveland to move up the Eastern Conference standings.
However, no matter what happens, it will be good for this young group to be involved in playoff-caliber basketball, which could help the young players going forward.
Nance Jr. returned after missing seven games due to illness. He scored five points in 20 minutes off the bench against the Hornets.
Love recorded his 8,000th career rebound on Wednesday night. He is just the fifth player in NBA history with 13,000 points, 8,000 rebounds, and 1,000 three-point made field goals, joining LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Antawn Jamison and Jason Kidd.
Sometimes in life and the NBA, it’s better to be lucky than good. On Wednesday night, luck was on the side of the Dallas Mavericks against the Memphis Grizzlies.
First, with the Mavericks down 113-111 with 02.2 seconds to go, Memphis’ Grayson Allen, a 91% free throw shooter, had an opportunity to put the game away. However, Allen missed both free throws, which gave Luka Doncic and the Mavericks an opportunity.
With 01.8 seconds left, Doncic hit a one-foot, three-point shot at the buzzer to give the Mavericks a 114-113 win on the road.
Doncic finished with 29 points, nine assists, and five rebounds. Kristaps Porzingis poured in 21 points. The Grizzlies were led by Allen, who had 23 points.
After the game, Doncic discussed the game-winning shot.
“I was kind of falling down,” Doncic said. “So, it was kind of lucky. We’ll take it.”
This was a big game for both teams, and Wednesday’s game had a playoff-like atmosphere. The eighth-seeded Grizzlies(27-26) were looking to get closer to the seventh-seeded Mavericks(30-24), and both teams are trying to catch the sixth-seeded Blazers(31-23) to avoid the play-in tournament.
However, this game was all about the greatness of Doncic.
“You expect him to make those shots,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. “The fact that he was running, off the wrong foot. In the context of Luka and what he’s capable of, these are shots that he makes all the time.”
If there is a big shot, Doncic is willing to take it, and it appears he’s always going to make it, and he did that on Wednesday night.
Dallas will now start a five-game homestand on Friday night against the New York Knicks. After New York, they have the Kings, Pistons, and a two-game set against the Lakers, which will probably be without LeBron James, so these games are very winnable for Dallas and a great chance to get that sixth seed in the West.
Watch as Carlisle reacts to the greatness of Doncic:
The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Lamar Stevens to a multi-year contract, the team announced on Wednesday.
According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, it’s a four-year deal. The contract is non-guaranteed for the next three seasons, and there’s a team option attached to the final year.
The 23-year-old Stevens, who went undrafted in 2020 coming out of Penn State, signed a two-way contract with Cleveland last November.
Stevens has appeared in 37 games for the Cavaliers this season with averages of 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13.1 minutes. The rookie forward has scored in double figures on three occasions. Against San Antonio on March 19, Stevens posted his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds in 17 minutes, becoming the first player in Cavaliers history to record those totals in under 18 minutes of play.
He also made the game-winning basket with 4.1 seconds remaining in Cleveland’s 112-111 victory over Atlanta on February 23.
Stevens has been a sparkplug for the Cavs off the bench and has given the team defense, energy, and hustle. He proved that he can score in college and remains second on Penn State’s all-time scoring list with 2,207 points and holds the record for field goals made (801) and starts (135), so as we go forward, we might see that side of his game with the Cavaliers.
The Dallas Mavericks get back at it on Wednesday night when they travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies. Dallas has taken four of the last five meetings between the two teams, including the first meeting in February at the American Airlines Center.
Dallas is coming off two straight losses at home, including losing to the Philadelphia 76ers 113-95 on Monday night. Dallas, who was without Kristaps Porzingis(rest), had no answers for Joel Embiid, who scored 36 points in 26 minutes.
Porzingis is expected to play on Wednesday night.
The seventh-seeded Mavericks are 1.5 games ahead of the eighth-seeded Grizzlies and 1.5 games behind the sixth-seeded Blazers. Teams 7-10 will be involved in the Play-in Tournament.
Mavericks star Luka Doncic is not a fan of the Play-in Tournament and hopes to avoid it.
“I mean, obviously, (we’re trying) to get the sixth seed,” he said on Monday night. “I don’t understand the idea of playoff play-in (tournament), in playing two games to get in the playoffs, then maybe lose two in a row, and you’re out of the playoffs. I don’t see the point of that. We’re just trying here to get to the sixth spot, and I think that’s our goal right now. Maybe even more than sixth spot.”
Dorian Finney-Smith thinks it’s essential to get back on track against Memphis.
“We’ve got to) go back to the drawing board and figure out what we’ve got to do,” he said. “It’s a long season; we’ve got to try to get this game in Memphis.”
Regarding the Play-in Tournament, it makes something that is meaningless, meaningful. Basically, not many care what happens at the bottom of the playoff standings. With the Play-in Tournament, people care a little more, so it should stay.
After this game against Memphis, Dallas has five straight at home. However, they have been better on the road(16-12) than at home(13-12), but having five consecutive games in your building is an opportunity for Dallas to move up in the Western Conference’s standings. We’ll see if they take advantage of it!
Sensational unbeaten contender Sebastián “The Towering Inferno” Fundora will look to strengthen his case as an elite up-and-coming Mexican-American contender when he takes on Jorge “El Demonio” Cota in FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View action Saturday, May 1 from Dignity Healthy Sports Park in Carson, California.
“It definitely motivates me to have PBC put me on such a big card with all of these Mexican and Mexican-American matchups and to be grouped with fighters of this caliber,” said Fundora. “I want to be looked at as part of the next generation of great Mexican-American fighters. Being in that class gives me a lot of pride, but I don’t necessarily feel any added pressure because of it. I just have to do my job on May 1 and the rest will come.”
Fundora and his father and trainer, Freddy Fundora, have been deep in training in their Coachella, California home as they near Fundora’s first fight of 2021. Fundora will look to build off of his 2020 campaign, which saw him score a unanimous decision victory over Daniel Lewis and stoppage wins over Nathaniel Gallimore and Habib Ahmed.
“This training camp is going great,” said Fundora. “Sparring has been really strong and I feel sharp. We’re covering all our bases so that we’re as ready as possible on May 1. I’m always training, so it’s really just a seamless transition from one camp to the next. We know we have to make sure that we do everything that we can to get this win.”
For the 23-year-old Fundora, his focus remains on each fight in front of him, instead of projecting about how his improvement may look fight-by-fight.
“I really try to take everything one fight at a time,” said Fundora. “Everything depends on how this fight unfolds. As soon as the bell rings, we’ll see what adjustments we need to make, if any, and go from there.”
Despite his patient approach, Fundora still has his sights set on making a big statement in his own unique way on May 1.
“I’m not like the other fighters Cota has faced,” said Fundora. “I want to make my own statement in the ‘Towering Inferno’ way. I expect him to come 100% ready for me, but his past experience won’t help him. This is a totally different fight for him.”
Fundora will be able to measure himself against past Cota opponents that include unified super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo, former unified champion Jeison Rosario and top contender Erickson Lubin. This past experience makes Cota perhaps Fundora’s toughest test to date, a fact that will do nothing to deter Fundora’s confidence heading into this showdown.
“I always consider it a tough fight, but I understand why the perception is that this is my toughest fight yet,” said Fundora. “I have faced a lot of fighters like Cota who like to come forward and engage on the inside. Cota is certainly one of the bigger names I’ve faced, but this is nothing different for me stylistically.”
Liam Williams says he has the power and the heart to knock out WBO World Middleweight king Demetrius Andrade at Hard Rock Live at Hard Rock Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Fl. on Saturday April 17, live worldwide on DAZN and in association with Queensberry Promotions.
Williams (23-2-1 18 KOs) has settled in Florida having completed his training camp at the famous Ingle Gym in Sheffield, and the 28 year old is counting down the days to his long-awaited first full World title fight against the unbeaten Andrade (29-0 18 KOs).
Williams and Andrade have traded barbs on social media and the Welshman, who could become his country’s 13th World champion with victory, thinks the tools in his bag will be enough to take the crown from the unbeaten champion.
“I don’t think he has the same intensity as me,’ said Williams. “I wear my heart on my sleeve. I can punch harder than him. I have a better engine than him. I’m going to bring it all on the night and I don’t think he has the answers.
“He’s a clown. I don’t think he’s wired up right, he’s got a screw loose. His mannerisms, the way he acts and talks on his interviews, he’s just a little bit strange and I can’t put my finger on it. He’s an oddball.
“It’s a risky fight for both of us. He’s the champion and I’m the number one contender. If he loses, the belt goes and that’s his status gone, but the same for me, I’m back to the bottom of the pile, there’s a lot at stake and neither of us will take a backwards step and that’s what will make it a great fight.
“The outcome is me winning, whether that’s over the distance or inside the distance, it doesn’t matter to me. As long as I take that belt back to Britain, I have no doubt about it, I’m super confident and I don’t think there’s any way that he beats me. I think I can knock him out.
“I’ve had setbacks, I’ve had injuries, I’ve been told to retire, so getting my opportunity is a real achievement, but in saying that, this is the beginning of things for me with more massive step-ups and I’m not willing to stop here.”
Williams’ clash with Andrade is part of a stacked night of action in Florida as Carlos Gongora (19-0 14 KOs) defends his IBO World Super-Middleweight title against Christopher Pearson (17-2 12 KOs).
Heavyweight Mahammadrasul Majidov (3-0 3 KOs) is back in action and looking for a fourth straight KO win against Andrey Fedosov (31-3 25 KOs), Otha Jones III (5-0-1 2 KOs) returns to the ring in a rescheduled eight round clash with Jorge Castaneda (13-1 11 KOs), Arthur Biyarslanov (7-0 6 KOs) faces fellow unbeaten man Israel Mercado (9-0 7 KOs), Alexis Espino (7-0 5 KOs) returns quickly over six rounds against unbeaten Florida man Ty McLeod (6-0 6 KOs) and Florida native Aaron Aponte (2-0 1 KO) returns at the same speed for his third fight over four rounds against Javier Martinez (4-7 3 KOs).
The New Orleans Pelicans signed forward James Nunnally to a two-way contract, the team announced on Monday.
In a related move, the Pelicans waived two-way player Will Magnay.
Nunnally, 30, most recently played for the February 2021 USA Basketball Men’s AmeriCup Qualifying Team. He played in both games during the AmeriCup Qualifying February 2021 window, averaging 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 23.0 minutes per game.
Nunnally has played internationally in Greece, Puerto Rico, Spain, Israel, Italy, Turkey and China. Throughout his international career, Nunnally has shot better than 45% on more than 500 3-point attempts.
In 2019-20, he played for Fenerbahçe (Turkey) and the Shanghai Sharks (China). He helped Fenerbahçe to back-to-back EuroLeague Final Four appearances in 2016-17 and 2017-18, including winning the championship in 2017. Nunnally earned Italian League MVP honors following the 2015-16 season after averaging 18.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in40 games for Sidigas Avellino.
Undrafted in 2012 after his senior season at UC Santa Barbara, Nunnally has appeared in 28 career NBA games with Atlanta, Philadelphia, Minnesota and Houston.