Lara: ‘This is one of the better camps I’ve had the last few years’

Former super welterweight world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara will look to reclaim a piece of the 154-pound crown when he challenges WBA champion Brian Castaño on Saturday, March 2 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

“Brian Castaño is coming into this fight with an undefeated record, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before,” said Lara. “This will be my third fight in a row versus an undefeated fighter. I’m taking this very seriously.  Stylistically, I feel I’m the superior fighter, but he’s a very strong champion. I will be prepared to take back a title in this great division, then look to the biggest fights that are out there.”

One of the big fights that could be out there for Lara is a rematch with unified 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd. Lara dropped a split-decision to Hurd in a unification showdown on SHOWTIME that was the consensus 2018 “Fight of the Year”, having been recognized by the BWAA, ESPN and Sporting News, amongst others.

“The fight against Hurd was a great fight for the fans, but I felt I won seven or eight rounds that night,” said Lara. “To be on the wrong end of another close decision left a bad taste in my mouth. That fight being recognized as ‘Fight of the Year’ shows my versatility as a fighter. I was on the ballot before with Alfredo Angulo, so it was good to get recognized for being a warrior, not only a craftsman. I will always give the fans my all and come March 2, it will be no different.”

Lara is continuing to to work with longtime trainer Ronnie Shields in Houston, where Lara has prepared for his matchup with sparring that includes going up against top prospects in 18-year-old Joey Spencer and 24-year-old Eimantas Stanionis.

“Ronnie and I are working great together, and we have an excellent game plan in place.,” said Lara. “This is one of the better camps I’ve had the last few years.  Having young fighters like Spencer and Stanion is in camp with me is refreshing because I know they are hungry.  When we spar, I feed off their energy, because I know they are trying to take take their game to the next level, which makes me better. This is a demanding sport and they are definitely pushing me.”

March 2 also gives Lara a chance to share the stage with another one of Cuba’s best fighters, as Luis Ortiz is set to take on Christian Hammer in the co-main event, making the night a celebration of Cuban boxing.

“Luis Ortiz and I go way back and I’m happy that my brother is fighting on the same card as me,” said Lara. “We’ve gone through a lot since leaving Cuba to pursue our dreams of becoming world champions here in the U.S. Like myself, I know he’s going to be ready to entertain the fans on fight night and make this a memorable night for Cuban boxing!”

Photo: Hosanna Rull/Team Lara
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Anthony Joshua: Mayweather, Ward don’t get the respect they deserve(VIDEO)

Floyd Mayweather and Andre Ward are all-time greats in the sport of boxing. Both fighters ended their careers undefeated, and both fighters ended their careers on top. Ward dominated the “Super Six Tournament” and  defeated  Sergey Kovalev twice, and Mayweather beat such great opponents like Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, and Miguel Cotto.

While bother fighters were great, it seems that they don’t get the respect they deserve, so says unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua

“Look at Mayweather, he doesn’t get the respect that he deserves,” Joshua said on Wednesday at the press conference to promote his fight with Jarrell Miller. “Andre Ward, he doesn’t get the respect he deserves.”

You can nitpick and say that Ward was given a favorable decision against Sergey Kovalev, in their first fight, or Mayweather ducked fighters throughout his career or waited until fighters were past their prime, but in the end, both fighters were tremendous and they deserve the utmost respect for their accomplishments in the ring.

Right now, Joshua is trying to carve out a legacy for himself, and at this point, he is going to have to conquer America to make that happen, It starts June 1 when he battles Big Baby Miller at MSG.

Listen below as Joshua talks about getting respect in boxing:

Tyson Fury, Queensberry Promotions agree to co-promotional deal with Top Rank/ESPN

Tyson Fury, one of the world’s most dynamic and popular heavyweight boxers, and Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren are joining forces with Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank. The agreement will mean that Fury will be a headline part of the boxing lineup under the historic, long-term Top Rank on ESPN relationship.

Fury, the undefeated lineal heavyweight champion, will have his bouts co-promoted by Top Rank and Queensberry Promotions. The deal calls for a minimum of two bouts per year in the United States.

You wonder if this will have an impact on Wilder-Fury 2, being that Wilder is with PBC, and Fury is now with Top Rank/ESPN, but I guess, we’ll have to wait and see.

Since announcing the landmark Top Rank on ESPN agreement in 2017, and expanding it in August 2018, the comprehensive alliance has showcased blockbuster Top Rank fights and content across ESPN networks and ESPN+, the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer streaming service in the U.S.

All the parties will work closely to set and announce the details of Fury’s debut soon.

BT Sport will continue to be the television home in the United Kingdom for all of Fury’s fights.

Top Rank, Fury’s management team MTK Global and Queensberry Promotions, worked seamlessly to close the groundbreaking deal.

“Top Rank is very excited to enter into the promotional arrangement along with Queensberry Promotions for the lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury,” Arum said. “He is a generational heavyweight talent at the peak of his powers. We also look forward to our growing relationship with MTK Global, which represents so many world-class fighters.”

‘I’m delighted that Frank and Queensberry Promotions have teamed up with Top Rank to promote my fights in America,” Fury said. “With ESPN and BT Sport behind me, the biggest sports platforms in the world are now linked up with the best heavyweight in the world!”

“This is a great move for Tyson Fury and a great move for Queensberry Promotions,” Warren said. “By partnering up with ESPN and Top Rank in America, we’re giving our boxers, including Tyson, the opportunity to perform on the biggest and most powerful platforms on both sides of the Atlantic and become truly global stars.”

“MTK Global are thrilled to have played a role in what can only be described as a monumental partnership, no doubt the biggest one in the boxing industry, and we’re looking forward to working more closely with the teams at Top Rank and ESPN well into the future,” said Sandra Vauaghan, CEO MTK Global.

Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) won the lineal heavyweight title in November 2015 with a unanimous decision over Wladimir Klitschko, who at the time had made 18 title defenses during a nearly decade-long reign. While never losing inside the ring, Fury relinquished the WBA, IBF, and WBO belts while dealing with well-documented mental health and substance abuse issues. After more than two-and-a-half years away from the ring, Fury, whose weight had ballooned to more than 400 pounds, returned in June of last year.

A pair of wins over Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta set the stage for one of the most dramatic heavyweight title matches in boxing history. Against WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder on Dec. 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Fury put forth a boxing masterclass and survived a hellacious 12th-round knockdown to, seemingly, do enough to defeat Wilder. The judges, however, ruled the bout a split draw. Fury, still just 30, retained his status as lineal champion and realized an against-all-odds comeback story.

 

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.