Jessie Vargas expects his fight against Soto to be a classic

Two-weight World champions Jessie Vargas and Humberto Soto collide on Friday night at The Forum, Inglewood, and Vargas believes their clash will steal the show live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.

Vargas (28-2-2 10 KOs) is targeting World title glory at 154 pounds having ruled the World at Super-Lightweight and Welterweight, and the first step to landed a belt and becoming a three-weight champ starts against Mexican veteran Soto on Friday night.

Soto (69-9-2 37 KOs) enters the bout on the back of a spirited win over Brandon Rios in Tijuana, Mexico in February, claiming an incredible 69th victory in 81 pro fights against ‘Bam Bam’. The 38 year old can take a giant step to a World title shot with a 70th career victory against Vargas, and the Las Vegas man expects their styles to gel to create a classic.

“Humberto is one of those tough Mexican fighters that never stops coming forward,” said Vargas. “He fights to the end a lot like me, so we’ll put on a great fight on a brilliant card – it could be the fight of the night. His fight with Brandon was a good fight, one Humberto had control of and was able to get the win. He called me out straight after the win and I was happy to accept the fight.

“He’s a two-division World champion, he knows how to box and how to brawl. It’s about picking the right moments against a fighter like that. Knowing his tricks and what will work against a fighter of his caliber and with his experience, I know I need to be switched on for every second of the fight and that’s what we’re training hard for.

“He has speed in his favor as a fighter moving up but so am I, we’ve been working on speed too. I feel I’m the more powerful fighter and stronger fighter physically, I also think that I am faster than him – he is fast but I think that I am more explosive and sharper.

“I’m very intelligent in the ring and very versatile, it’s about me making sure I follow and execute the game plan and stay on my toes, as you cannot give Humberto any chances as he will take advantage.”

Vargas and Soto clash on a blockbuster night of action topped by two mouth-watering World title tussles as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1 41 KOs) puts his WBC and Ring Magazine Super-Flyweight titles on the line in a rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3 26 KOs) and WBA Super-Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (26-2-1 10 KOs) and IBF king TJ Doheny (21-0 15 KOs) meet in a unification bout.

Unbeaten Anthony Sims Jr (18-0 17 KOs) targets Super-Middleweight belts this year and faces Vaughn Alexander (14-2 9 KOs) over ten rounds, hotly-tipped Uzbek standout Shakhram Giyasov (7-0 6 KOs) meets Baltimore’s Emanuel Taylor (20-5 14 KOs) in a ten-rounder and his fellow countryman Murodjon Akmadaliev (5-0 4 KOs) faces Mexican Carlos Carlson (23-5 14 KOs).

Two of Matchroom Boxing’s brightest talents showcase their skills as 18 year old Diego Pacheco (2-0 1 KO) fights on home soil against Guillermo Maldonado (1-0) and Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams makes his highly anticipated pro debut against Joe Guevara (3-4-1 2 KOs).

Two of Golden Boy Promotions stars feature on the card in important battles as Argentinian Olympian Alberto Melian (4-0 3 KOs) fights for the second time in 2019 and second time in the States against Isaac Zarate (16-4-3 2 KOs) and former World title challenger Ronnie Rios (29-3 13 KOs) looks to return to winning ways against Daniel Olea (13-7-2 5 KOs).

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Statement from Gennady Golovkin on the firing of Abel Sanchez

Statement from Gennady Golovkin on his decision to hire a new trainer:

I would like to announce that I have made a major decision for myself and for my career.  I want to build on what I have already achieved and continue to better myself.  Therefore, I will not be training with Abel Sanchez.  This was not an easy decision for me and it is not a reflection on Abel’s professional abilities.  He is a great trainer, a loyal trainer, and a Hall of Fame trainer.

I will be announcing my new trainer at a later date.  But today, I want to thank Abel for the lessons he taught me in boxing.

Golovkin is scheduled to return on June 8 at MSG against Steve Rolls.

Barthelemy to Easter: ‘If he wants a war, we’ll have a war’

Former two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy continued preparations for their respective showdowns at a media workout in Las Vegas Tuesday before they step into the ring this Saturday, April 27 live on SHOWTIME from The Chelsea inside of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Barthelemy faces off against former lightweight world champion Robert Easter Jr. for the vacant WBA Lightweight title in the main event.

Here is what Barthelemy had to say Tuesday from the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas:

“The key thing for me to get back to the top, is to get back to my roots. It’s about using what made me a champion and getting back to that. We’ve gone back to our Cuban roots in training with Joel Casamayor and left any distractions behind. You’ll see all of that in my performance on Saturday night.

“Easter and myself are both on the road to redemption coming off of our first defeats. I expect the same Robert Easter Jr. that I’ve seen on tape. He comes forward and tries to fight it out. There’s nothing overly impressive about him to me.

“I’m ready for whatever Robert Easter Jr. wants. If he wants a war, we’ll have a war. Everyone knows I’ve never backed down, but I’m going to win this fight with the intelligence that made me a world champion.

“Casamayor comes from the same streets as me, he knows my style, how I think and how I need to work. We identify with one another a lot so we don’t have to confront each other. With a simple look, I know what he’s trying to tell me. Between him and my brother, Yan, I feel blessed to have two Olympians in my corner.

“To the Cuban people, this will be my best fight and and a strong performance for the Cuban boxing community. I’m going to focus and work hard like us Cubans always have since we were born. I had to grow up through hardships and I’ve worked to show that anything is possible coming from Cuba.”

Photo: Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions

Crawford’s trainer on Khan: ‘He probably needs to go find a job’

WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) proved once again why he is one of the pound-for-pound best after stopping Amir Khan in the sixth-round after Crawford landed an accidental low blow and was ruled the victor after Khan said he was unable to continue. Crawford nearly knocked out Khan (33-5, 20 KOs) out in the opening, knocking him down with a crisp overhand right that was followed by a left hook.

This fight was an opportunity for the 32-year-old  Khan to prove that he still was a factor in the welterweight division, but after his performance on Saturday, Khan days as one of the best at 147 are probably over, and according to Crawford’s trainer/manager, Brian McIntyre, Khan should think about retirement.

“I’m going to tell yall, and no disrespect to him, he probably needs to go find a job,” McIntyre said after Crawford’s victory on Saturday night. “He needs to maybe be a commentator for Sky Sports. So, if you get that job, you better give me my cut mother fu****.”

Khan can still make some decent money in boxing, especially if he fights his British rival, Kell Brook. Outside of that, Khan s basically an opponent at this point of his career, and with Khan’s shaky chin, he might want to think about his future.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Steve Rolls on GGG fight: ‘Make no mistake, this isn’t a tune-up. I’m coming to fight’

Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and undefeated Top-10 world-rated contender STEVE ROLLS kicked off their coast-to-coast media tour with a New York press conference April 22, at Madison Square Garden.

Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, will formally announce that he is bringing his Big Drama Show back to the “Mecca of Boxing” on Saturday, June 8, in a 12-round rumble with Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs), who hails from Toronto. The fight will be contested at a maximum weight of 164 pounds and streamed live on DAZN.

Golovkin vs. Rolls kicks off the exclusive six-fight, three-year global partnership between GGG Promotions and DAZN, the world’s fastest-growing sports streaming platform.

Boasting a resume that includes a record 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses (18 by way of knockout), Golovkin has consistently drawn packed houses to the five previous events he has headlined at The Garden, dating back to 2013.

Rolls(19-0, 10 KOs) who has stopped four of his last seven opponents, has vowed to ice the middleweight legend with his version of a Canadian cold front.

“Make no mistake; this isn’t a tune-up. I’m coming to fight,” Rolls said at a press conference on Monday. “With everybody getting to know me now, after June 8th, you won’t forget me. I got much respect for Gennady Golovkin, but I’m coming to shock the world.

If the 35-year-old Rolls does find a way to beat Golovkin, he will turn the middleweight division upside down, and of course, he would shock the world. He is undefeated, but obviously, he has not fought anybody as good as Golovkin. Anything is possible, but a Rolls’ victory would be absolutely stunning.

Garcia: ‘I hope I didn’t scare Manny Pacquiao away’

Former two-division champion Danny “Swift” Garcia(35-2, 21 KOs) dropped Adrian Granados (20-7-2, 14 KOs) three times before stopping him in round seven Saturday night in a welterweight showdown that headlined Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

“I’ve said it before, when Danny Garcia is at his best, nobody can beat him,” said Garcia. “I had gotten a little comfortable in the past, but I put my 110 percent into this fight and when I do, I beat everyone.”

Garcia got his offense started early, deflecting a right hand from Granados in round two and throwing a perfect left hook counter that dropped Granados for the first time in the fight. Granados continued to push and tried to change the tide, but an overhand right at the end of an exchange by Garcia sent Granados down for the second time in round two.

“It felt good landing that big left hook,” said Garcia. “I was proud of my performance. I thought I did a great job tonight.”

“He was very sharp in the exchanges,” said Granados. “That’s where he was catching me. I knew that’s what I had to avoid. But the toughness in me is always ready to go. I was willing to engage.”

Granados tried to find ways to slow Garcia’s momentum, but while trying to crowd Garcia he was too often caught with power punches on the inside. Round four saw Granados begin to bleed heavily from the nose and in round five Granados was dropped for the third time, this time from a combination Garcia delivered while he had Granados on the ropes.

“The way to make a statement tonight was to stop him,” said Garcia. “The game plan was to break him down. I have too many tools. I couldn’t let him hang around with me.

“He wanted to get closer to me and make it a dogfight. But I surprised him when I stood with him and banged to the body. Then I started making him miss and that’s when I stopped him.”

In round seven, Garcia landed 48% of his power punches according to CompuBox, and after buzzing him several times, unleashed a flurry while Granados was on the ropes that forced referee Thomas Taylor to stop the bout 1:33 into round seven.

“He caught me with some good shots but I really thought I was fine,” said Granados. “I think the referee was a little over-protective. I had a plan to go the whole fight and they stopped me on my feet. I was still catching him with shots. I was still dangerous and looking for a big shot to change the fight. The referee had to do his job though and I understand it.”

With the win, Garcia will look for more big fights with fellow elite welterweights.

“I hope I didn’t scare Manny Pacquiao away,” said Garcia. “I’d love a rematch with Shawn Porter or Keith Thurman, or a fight with Errol Spence Jr. I’m back!”

 Photo: Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions

Dillian Whyte-Oscar Rivas set for July 20

Dillian Whyte will face Oscar Rivas for the number one Heavyweight spot in the WBC at The O2 in London on Saturday July 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Whyte (25-1 18KOs) holds the number one slot with the WBC and puts that on the line as the hard-hitting ‘Body Snatcher’ continues to blast his path to a World title shot. The Brixton banger put Derek Chisora away in devastating style in his last outing, the pair thrilling the Greenwich crowd in their rematch in December – before icing Del Boy in the 11th round.

The 31-year-old Briton will be gunning for a tenth straight win against Rivas, with wins over Joseph Parker, Robert Helenius and Lucas Browne sandwiched between his two wins over Chisora. Whyte has become a must-watch fighter since rocking old foe Anthony Joshua in their battle at The O2 in December 2012, and yet again takes on a high-risk challenge as he cements his spot as the leading Heavyweight contender in the world.

Rivas (26-0 18KOs) is yet another dangerous customer for Whyte to risk his number one rankings with, and the Colombian comes into the bout on the back of his biggest win in the paid ranks. Rivas travelled to Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY in January and KO’d former World title challenger Bryant Jennings in the final round of their clash, underlining his dangerous potential to World titlists and fellow contenders, with ‘Kaboom’ ranked at number ten with the WBC, seven in the IBF and a lofty five with both the WBA and WBO.

The Canadian-based 31 year old carried an impressive amateur record into the paid ranks, beating Kubrat Pulev in the 2008 Olympic Games a year after landing silver in the Pan-American games – and with 18 KOs in 26 fights since turning over, July 20 promises to be an explosive war between two in-form big-punchers, with huge stakes on the line.

“I am very happy to be fighting again at The O2 in July,” said Whyte. “Oscar Rivas is undefeated and ranked in the top 10 across the board of all the governing bodies. He has been one of the most avoided heavyweight fighters in the last few years.

“His KO victory over Bryant Jennings sent shockwaves through the division and Tyson Fury just turned down ESPN/Top Rank’s offer to fight him. I am over the moon that he has accepted the fight. He has a great amateur and professional record, including a win over Kubrat Pulev.

“I am more than happy to carry on fighting top 10 fighters like Rivas until I get my well-earned shot at Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua.

“I can’t wait until July 20 to fight again at The O2 which is one of the best venues in the world for boxing.”

‘‘I have waited for this opportunity for a very long time,” said Rivas. “Dillian Whyte is an excellent boxer, a World class fighter and the number one contender. He deserve all my respect for his accomplishments and I am grateful for the opportunity he is giving me.

“This is exactly the kind of challenge I was hoping to get. I am undefeated, I am planning to keep my perfect record after July 20 in my quest to get the ultimate opportunity to become World champion.”

“This is a great fight with both men coming off explosive late knockouts,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Rivas is undefeated and looking to take Dillian’s number one spot but as we know, The O2 has become a fortress for him of late and this is set to be another war. We are planning a huge night of boxing on July 20 with a monster card topped by the brilliant heavyweight headliner.”

“First I would like to thank Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing who made a proposal impossible to turn down,” said Yvon Michel, President of Groupe Yvon Michel. “Oscar Rivas was willing to step up and face Anthony Joshua for June in New York and representations were made.

“It might not be his turn now but instead he is extremely happy, to be earning an eventual World title opportunity, by proving he is the best amongst the contenders against the outstanding Dillian Whyte. On July 20 a new star will be born!”

Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Dillian Whyte is risking it all again as he battles the dangerous Oscar Rivas at The O2, which has become a happy hunting ground for ‘The Body Snatcher.’

“Dillian has already delivered exciting wins over Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora at the same venue, but he could have his hands full against Rivas, the unbeaten Colombian with his own world ambitions.

“Expect another enthralling showdown when Whyte returns in the summer, and we expect to have a stacked card before a sizzling main event.”

Tickets for Whyte vs. Rivas are priced £40, £60, £80, £100, £150, £200, £300, £500 and £1,000 VIP.

Tickets are available to purchase for O2 Priority customers on Tuesday 23 April at midday via The O2 (www.theo2.co.uk) and go on sale to Fight Pass members on Wednesday 24 April at midday via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk)

Photos: Crawford, Khan make weight

Here are the weights for all the fighters on the Crawford-Khan fight card:

• Terence Crawford 146.4 lbs vs. Amir Khan 146.6 lbs
(Crawford’s WBO Welterweight world title – 12 Rounds)

• Teofimo Lopez 135 lbs vs. Edis Tatli 134.8 lbs
(Lopez’s NABF Lightweight title – 12 Rounds)

• Shakur Stevenson 125.8 lbs vs. Christopher Diaz 125.6 lbs
(Stevenson’s IBF Intercontinental and vacant NABO Featherweight titles – 10 Rounds)

• Felix Verdejo 135 lbs vs. Bryan Vasquez 135.4 lbs
(Lightweight – 10 Rounds)

ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes (6 p.m. EST)

• Carlos Adames 154 lbs vs. Frank Galarza 153.4 lbs

(Adames’ NABF and vacant NABO 154-pound titles – 10 Rounds)

• Edgar Berlanga 163.8 lbs vs. Samir Barbosa 160 lbs
(Middleweight – 8 Rounds)

• Larry Fryers 140 lbs vs. Dakota Polley 139.6 lbs
(Super Lightweight – 6/4 Rounds)

• Vikas Krishan 154.2 lbs vs. Noah Kidd 153.2 lbs
(Super Welterweight – 6 Rounds)

• Lawrence Newton 118.2 lbs vs. Jonathan Garza 119 lbs
(Bantamweight – 6 Rounds)

Photos:
Weigh_In_StageTerence_Crawford_vs_Amir_Khan_wide_faceoffTerence_Crawford_vs_Amir_Khan_poseTerence_Crawford_vs_Amir_Khan_faceoffTerence_Crawford_shadowboxingTerence_Crawford_flex
PAmir_Khan_flex
Photos: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Gary Russell Jr.-Kiko Martinez added to Wilder-Breazeale card

WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. will defend his title against former world champion Kiko Martinez in the co-feature to Wilder vs. Breazeale on Saturday, May 18 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will also feature unbeaten super lightweight contender Juan Heraldez squaring-off against former world champion Argenis Mendez in a 10-round attraction. The event is headlined by WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder as he makes the ninth defense of his title against mandatory challenger Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale.

The 30-year-old Russell (29-1, 17 KOs), who was born in Washington, D.C. and now lives in Capitol Heights, Maryland, will make the fourth defense of his featherweight world title on May 18 and his second career appearance at Barclays Center. Russell won his title by knocking out Jhonny Gonzalez in 2015. After stopping Patrick Hyland and Oscar Escandon, he most recently defeated previously unbeaten Joseph Diaz Jr. last May. Russell, who is trained by his father, Gary, Sr., is part of a boxing family. Two of his younger brothers, Gary Antonio and Gary Antuanne, are currently unbeaten professionals.

A native of Comunidad Valenciana, Spain, Martinez (39-8-2, 28 KOs) has faced the best names in and around the featherweight division throughout his career. He won a super bantamweight world title in 2013 by stopping Jhonatan Romero and has faced the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton, Josh Warrington and Scott Quigg. The 33-year-old is unbeaten in his last four contests, including most recently defeating Marc Vidal for a European featherweight title in October.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murat Gassiev signs with Matchroom Boxing, moves to heavyweight

Murat Gassiev has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA, Ural Boxing Promotion and Warriors Boxing – and will move up to Heavyweight in June as he prepares to fight on DAZN.

The 25 year old is moving up from Cruiserweight where he landed the IBF World title in June 2016 after beating Denis Lebedev in Moscow, defending it with a third round KO of Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in New Jersey in December 2017 in the quarter-final of the World Boxing Super Series and then adding the WBA crown with a dramatic final round stoppage of Yunier Dorticos in February 2018.

That victory led Gassiev to a final with Usyk in a grand unification battle in Moscow which the Ukrainian won over the distance, and Gassiev has mirrored moves made by his last opponent, Oleksandr Usyk, in teaming up promotionally with Matchroom Boxing USA and with streaming giant DAZN as his US broadcast platform.

“I am very happy to announce the beginning of cooperation between my promoters, URAL and Warriors with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN,” said Gassiev. “I am confident that this cooperation will bring great results. I want to make all my fans around the world happy and realize my full potential in the exciting Heavyweight division.”

“I’m delighted to welcome Murat to the team,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Having unified the division at Cruiserweight, I feel Murat is a very exciting addition to the Heavyweight division and what a fantastic time to join it. We have lots of fights ready made for him and I can’t wait to see him fighting at Heavyweight very soon.”