Persoon: ‘I’m very excited to compete on an undercard for Floyd Mayweather’

A women’s 10-round championship fight has been added to the inaugural edition of “The Global Titans Fight Series,” headlined by the ring return of Floyd “Money” Mayweather facing “Dangerous” Don Moore “in the skies of Dubai” on Saturday, May 14, as former unified champion Delfine Persoon of Belgium will take on France’s undefeated Elhem “The Diamond” Mekhaled for the vacant Female WBC Silver Super Featherweight Championship.

Persoon (46-3, 19 KOs) and Mekhaled (14-0, 2 KOs) will meet in one of the supporting bouts when Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) returns to face Moore (18-0-1, 12 KOs) in an eight-round, main-event exhibition matchup, outdoors on the helipad of Dubai’s opulent Burj Al Arab Hotel.

Presented by FrontRow in association with Mayweather Promotions, the event will also feature world-famous combatants such as UFC legend Anderson Silva facing fellow Brazilian fighting star Bruno Machado in an exhibition bout, as well as a sanctioned bout between former two-division world champion Badou Jack (25-3-3, 15 KOs) and Hany “Egyptian Hurricane” Atiyo (16-4, 12 KOs) from Dubai via Egypt.

Perhaps best known for her two-fight series against top pound-for-pound fighter Katie Taylor, Persoon, of Roeselare, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, held the Women’s WBC Lightweight Championship for five years and made nine successful defenses before losing a nationally televised controversial decision to Taylor for the undisputed lightweight championship at Madison Square Garden in 2019. The rematch with Taylor was held in 2020 and Persoon again lost a razor-thin decision.

Persoon, who works as a railway policewoman in her homeland, started professional boxing in 2009 after competing in judo. Ranked among the best female fighters on the planet, Persoon also held the IBF female lightweight title in 2012.

“It’s great to be back in the ring and I’m very excited to compete on an undercard for Floyd Mayweather,” said Persoon. “My opponent has a good record and I respect her taking this challenge, but I’m going to show her I’m at a different level. Just like I did against Katie Taylor, I’m going to bring the action from start to finish and do everything I can to have my hand raised.”

The undefeated Mekhaled hails from Vaulx-en-Velin, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France. In her five-year career, she has held the WBC interim female super-featherweight title, which she captured in March 2019 by defeating Spain’s Danila Ramos via 10-round unanimous decision, as well as the French and European Championships.

The fight against Persoon will be Mekhaled’s second outside her native France. The 31-year-old was last seen scoring a first-round knockout over Bosnia And Herzegovina’s Pasa Malagic to successfully defend her EBU (European) belt in September 2021.

“I’m on the path to a world title and this victory is going to catapult me toward my goal,” said Mekhaled. “It’s an honor to be fighting on a big card like this with Floyd Mayweather, and I’m planning to show everyone watching that I’m ready to become world champion.”

The pay-per-view event, which will begin at 9:30 p.m. GST (1:30 p.m. ET) and be broadcast live by LIVENow.

Berlanga-Angulo, Zayas-Hudaynazarov set for June 11 in NYC

KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA – APRIL 24: Edgar Berlanga celebrates as he defeats Demond Nicholson at the Silver Spurs Arena on April 24, 2021 in Kissimmee, Florida. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

On the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, the island nation’s brightest stars are coming to throw down. Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga, the flashy super middleweight knockout artist, will defend his NABO belt in the 10-round main event against two-time world title challenger Alexis Angulo.

In the eight-round junior middleweight co-feature, Xander Zayas, the fistic prodigy from San Juan, steps up in class against Uzbekistan-born veteran Ravshan Hudaynazarov.

Berlanga-Angulo and Zayas-Hudaynazarov will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.

“Boxing events at Madison Square Garden on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade are always special, and we have sensational young talents in Edgar Berlanga and Xander Zayas topping the bill,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “They are each stepping up in class, and I expect them to perform in a big way in front of a raucous, sold-out arena.”

Berlanga (19-0, 16 KOs), at 24 years old, is already one of the biggest ticket-sellers in New York City. In March, a sold-out crowd of 5,158 packed the Hulu Theater for his step-up fight against Steve Rolls, which he won by unanimous decision. Berlanga burst onto the scene with 16 consecutive first-round knockouts to start his career, a ferocious run that captured the imagination of fight fans. The streak ended in April 2021, although Berlanga sent Demond Nicholson to the canvas four times in eight rounds. He survived a gut check that October, overcoming a torn biceps and a trip to the canvas to defeat Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Berlanga is currently the WBO No. 7-ranked super middleweight contender and can edge closer to a world title shot with a victory over Angulo.

“I’m so pumped to be headlining my second main event at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden,” Berlanga said. “Get ready for another sold-out crowd! This one will be special because this will be my first main event during the festivities of the Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, just like my idols Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad and Miguel Cotto did. I’m following in the footsteps of greatness, but also continuing the legacy of bringing my people together on a beautiful weekend.

“For this fight, we decided to do the training camp on my Island, and it has been a great decision. It has been a great training camp in Puerto Rico. At the beginning of training camp, I met with ‘Tito’ Trinidad, and he gave me some very encouraging and motivating advice. He is my hero! I’ve been working very hard and I can’t wait to fight on June 11 to show what I’m made off. I will raise the Puerto Rican flag up high and represent for all my Boricuas around the world.”

Angulo (27-2, 23 KOs), from Patia, Colombia, received his first crack at the brass ring when he challenged Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez for the WBO super middleweight title in June 2018. He lost a unanimous decision to Ramirez, bouncing back with a major upset over then-unbeaten prospect Anthony Sims Jr. in January 2020. Less than seven months after the Sims triumph, he fought David Benavidez for the IBF super middleweight crown, falling via 10th-round TKO. In his lone outing of 2021, Angulo knocked out Carlos Galvan in five rounds. He hopes to upset the apple cart once against Berlanga.

Angulo said, “I look forward to getting back in action at the legendary Madison Square Garden and putting on a great show for all boxing fans, the Colombian fans, Puerto Rican fans, and the Latino community that will show out and support. I have proven to be a skilled, experienced, gritty, and valiant fighter. I intend to bring the same into the ring on June 11 against Edgar Berlanga.”

Zayas (13-0, 9 KOs) has been on the fast track since signing with Top Rank at 16 years old. From first-round knockouts in his first two pro fights in 2019, to a spotless 6-0 run in 2021, Zayas has lived up to the billing. This will be his third consecutive fight under the Madison Square Garden lights, less than three months removed from a one-sided eight-round decision over Quincy “Chico” LaVallais. Hudaynazarov (19-5, 14 KOs) has only been stopped twice in a 14-year professional career and has won two of his last three bouts.

Zayas said, “For me, fighting at Madison Square Garden is always a great opportunity. It fills me with emotion because the fans always bring very positive and motivating energy. This coming June 11, I know it will not be the exception, as this will be my first fight on the weekend of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. I assure you that this will be the first of many. I want to continue bringing glory to Puerto Rico and Madison Square Garden, and I will continue to work hard to write my name in the history books as Cotto and Trinidad did.”

The undercard — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ — features the following Puerto Rican standouts in separate bouts:

Henry Lebron (15-0, 10 KOs), 8 rounds, junior lightweight — Lebron, from Aguadilla, stood out on the Berlanga-Rolls card with a seventh-round TKO over the usually durable Josec Ruiz. Before turning pro, he won Puerto Rican amateur national titles in 2015 and 2016.

Carlos Caraballo (15-1, 14 KOs), 8 rounds, junior featherweight — Co-promoted by Miguel Cotto, the native of Guayanilla survived a gut check versus Luis Fernando Saavedra on March 26, edging a majority decision. Caraballo won his first 14 pro bouts by stoppage before a close unanimous decision loss to Jonas Sultan last October temporarily blunted his momentum.

Josue Vargas (20-2, 9 KOs), 8 rounds junior welterweight — Born in Isabela and raised in the Bronx, Vargas returns to the Hulu Theater, site of his first-round knockout loss to Jose Zepeda last October. Vargas regrouped to edge Argentina’s Nicolas Pablo Demario by unanimous decision in March.

Armani Almestica (5-0, 5 KOs), 6 rounds, lightweight — Born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in Orlando, Florida, Almestica broke through on the Berlanga-Rolls card with a third-round stoppage over Luis Valentin Portalatin. The all-action Almestica had a 117-7 amateur record and was on the Puerto Rican national team. He elected to turn pro after the Tokyo Olympics was postponed.

Orlando Gonzalez (17-1, 10 KOs), 8 rounds, featherweight — It is an evening of redemption for Gonzalez, who is coming off a 10-round decision loss to Robeisy Ramirez on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III undercard. The Aguadilla native spent much of his early career fighting in Puerto Rico and will make his Madison Square Garden debut June 11.

Omar Rosario (6-0, 2 KOs), 6 rounds, junior welterweight —A six-time Puerto Rican amateur national champion from Caguas, the 24-year-old fights for the first time since January’s decision win over Raekwon Butler.

Frevian Gonzalez (4-1, 1 KO), 6 rounds, junior lightweight — A stablemate of Puerto Rican two-weight world champion Jose Pedraza, the Cidra native looks to bounce back from last June’s decision defeat to Bryan Lua.

Christina Cruz (2-0), 4 rounds, flyweight – Cruz, an eight-time U.S. national amateur champion, turned pro last summer. Born to Puerto Rican parents, Cruz was raised in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan.

Ennis willing to fight Spence, Crawford at 147 or 154

Undefeated rising welterweight star Jaron “Boots” Ennis reiterated his intention to “take over” the star-studded 147-pound division ahead of his IBF Welterweight Title Eliminator showdown against fellow unbeaten Custio Clayton in the co-main event of action this Saturday, May 14 live on SHOWTIME from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

“I’m looking to make a big statement come May 14,” said Ennis. “I’m coming to win in dominating fashion and get the knockout. I’m ready to take over this division.”

Trained in his native Philadelphia by his father “Bozy” Ennis, the 24-year-old Ennis has continued to push his already renowned training habits ahead of his upcoming fight and has added elite sparring against a collection of noteworthy fighters including unbeaten U.S. Olympian Charles Conwell and rising contender Paul Kroll.

“I’m feeling great,” said Ennis. “Camp has been going very well and I can’t wait to shine on May 14. I’m ready to rock and roll. We’ve been running a lot more sprints this camp and focusing a little more on conditioning each day, about a half an hour more every session. A lot of it are the normal things we do, like the underwater treadmill and chopping wood, we’re just working ten times harder.”

After a 2021 campaign that saw him knock out former champion Sergey Lipinets in a headlining bout on SHOWTIME in April, before stopping the normally durable Thomas Dulorme in one round in October, Ennis believes that he can shine even brighter and show an even greater range of abilities as the strength of his opposition increases.

“I feel like I’m getting better at taking my time and being more relaxed in the ring,” said Ennis. “I believe that the better the competition I face, the better I’m going to be. We’ve been working on jabbing more and being even more alert and sharper.”

In Clayton, Ennis will be up against an undefeated fighter with considerable pedigree, having competed for his native Canada at the 2012 Olympic games. While Ennis chooses not to focus on studying his opponent, he knows that he’ll have to be ready for a multitude of scenarios  to achieve his desired result  on fight night.

“I don’t watch tape on people that I fight,” said Ennis. “I let my team focus on that. We’re prepared all the way around. I don’t prepare just one way, because you don’t know how a fighter is going to fight you. So we just prepare for everything.

“This fight is everything to me. This is a big stage and it’s time for me to shine. From here on out, it’s only getting bigger and better. After I do my thing on May 14, we’re just going to keep going up and up. I’m looking to show everyone everything that I’m capable of. My speed, power, defense, ring IQ and footwork. At the end of the night, I’m coming for the knockout. That’s what the fans are coming to see. I’m going to show them what I can do and close the show with a knockout.”

As he continues his ascent up the welterweight rankings, Ennis has his sights set squarely on the division’s two stalwarts, unified WBC, WBA and IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBO champion Terence Crawford. Even if a potential Spence-Crawford undisputed title fight comes to fruition first and eventually leads to Ennis fighting for vacant 147-pound titles, he believes those big fights will eventually become a reality.

“It doesn’t matter to me if Spence and Crawford decide to stay in the division and face me,” said Ennis. “I’d love to take the belts away from the champion, but if I have to fight for a vacant belt, I’ll see Spence and Crawford at 154 pounds. They can’t go too far.

Bivol: ‘I’m glad I proved myself’

Undisputed 168-pound world champion Canelo Alvarez dared to be great, and over the past three years, he went to 175 and won and went through the 168-pound division and became an undisputed champion.

Alvarez continued to take risks as he battled undefeated WBA 175-pound champion Dmitry Bivol Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Bivol proved to be too much for Alvarez as he dominated the fight from start to finish to defeat Alvarez by unanimous decision.

Bivol(20-0, 11 KOs) won on all three scorecards, 115-113, to get the victory.  

May 7, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol during their WBA light heavyweight championship bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

This was Alvarez’s(57-2-2, 39 KOs) first loss since 2013, when he dropped a majority decision to Floyd Mayweather.

The fight was not as close as the cards indicated. Bivol had a great mix of jabs and combinations that frustrated the Mexican superstar. 

Alvarez had no answers for what Bivol brought to the table, and it showed. According to CompuBox, Bivol outlanded Alvarez in every round. Overall, Bivol threw more punches and outlanded Alvarez(152/710 to 84/485).

“I’m glad I proved myself today, I’m the best in my division, and I keep this belt,” Bivol said.

After the fight, Alvarez, who has a rematch clause for this fight, said he would exercise the rematch clause and would look to run it back.

“It doesn’t end like this,”  Alvarez said.

It appears that 175 is too big for the 31-year-old Alvarez, and Bivol would seem to be a difficult proposition for Canelo in the rematch. This was not a close fight.

If I were Canelo, I would continue with my plans to fight Gennadiy Golovkin next and stay at 168. However, Canelo is a competitor, so I see him fighting Bivol in the rematch, and based on how close the scorecards were in this fight(which is crazy), he would have to be just a little better to defeat Bivol in the rematch.

Photos: Devin Haney’s media workout

Devin Haney’s “dream” is less than a month away. The WBC lightweight world champion, Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) is set to battle unified champion George Kambosos Jr. (20-0, 10 KOs) for the undisputed world title Saturday, June 4, at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.

Haney and his trainer/father, Bill, conducted a media workout Thursday at the Top Rank Gym. Haney is making the fifth defense of his world title and attempting to become king of the lightweights at only 23 years of age.

Below are photos(Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images) from Haney’s workout:

Stanionis: ‘My contract means I am next in line to fight Spence’

WBA 147-pound regular champion Eimantas Stanionis says Conor Benn is being ‘protected’ from facing him and has laughed off claims a fight between them would not sell many tickets.

Stanionis dethroned the ‘regular’ welterweight title holder Radzhab Butaev in Dallas last month to create history by becoming Lithuania’s first ever professional world champion.

The 27-year-old won the WBA crown a few hours after Britain’s Benn had stopped Chris van Heerden in two rounds and following that contest, his promoter Eddie Hearn was asked about pitching his charge in with Stanionis.

Hearn praised the 2016 Olympian as a “really good fighter” but said the welterweight champion had “zero profile” and they would only sell 5,000 tickets for that contest at a venue in London.

Stanionis has now responded to those claims by saying: “I heard what Eddie Hearn said.

“They don’t want the fight and that’s why he said that nobody knows me.  I just laughed when I heard it, but he is just protecting his guy, it’s his job.

“He is promoting a guy for the future, and he knows it would be a very tough fight with me.

“But I was just laughing because there is a big, big community of Lithuanians in England and many people would fly over from my home country for that fight too, so we would sell a lot more than 5,000 tickets.

“Conor is a good fighter, he can bang, and he has power, but he has never fought anyone who would pressurise him like I would, he’s been fighting inactive guys.  But a fight between us would be a lot of fun!”

Stanionis’ victory over Butaev has made him the mandatory challenger for Errol Spence, who holds the WBA’s ‘Super’ title at 147lbs.

Spence also has the WBC and IBF welterweight belts and could yet agree to fight WBO king Terence Crawford – but Stanionis’ wants to be his next opponent.

“My contract means I am next in line to fight Spence, so I will wait for that opportunity,” said Stanionis.

“It would be cool if I could fight him for three belts because when you achieve one goal, you have to create new ones and I want the other belts.  I like a challenge; I want to see where I stand and want to see how deep I can dig and how far I can go through the fire.

“I don’t know if Spence will fight Crawford next.  I am a sports fan too and so I would love to see that fight but I am also a young, hungry fighter who wants the biggest fights.

“I am contracted to fight Spence next so maybe he gives up the belts and I will fight somebody else.”

Beterbiev-Smith unification bout set for June 18 at Hulu Theater at MSG

Three belts and light heavyweight supremacy will be at stake when WBC/IBF world champion Artur Beterbiev meets WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. in a highly anticipated unification showdown Saturday, June 18, at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Beterbiev, boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout rate, hopes to pick up another strap against “Cinderella Man” Smith, a Long Island native who grew up about 70 miles from Madison Square Garden.

In the 10-round featherweight co-feature, two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy “El Tren” Ramirez will battle the unbeaten Abraham “El Super” Nova. Beterbiev-Smith and Ramirez-Nova will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs), a two-time Russian Olympian, has spent his nine-year pro career based in Montreal, Canada. He has been a world champion since knocking out Enrico Koelling for the IBF strap in November 2017. He’s won five title fights inside the distance since then, including an off-the-deck victory over Callum Johnson and a title unification classic versus Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2019. Beterbiev went 2-0 in 2021, capping the year with December’s brutal ninth-round stoppage over longtime contender Marcus Browne.

“I look forward to the challenge ahead of me. Joe Smith Jr. is a worthy champion, but I am coming to Madison Square Garden to add another world title to my collection,” Beterbiev said. “This fight will get me one step closer to becoming undisputed champion.”

Smith (28-3, 22 KOs) earned mainstream recognition with his 2016 knockout of living legend Bernard Hopkins and scored standout wins over Jesse Hart and Eleider Alvarez in 2020. In his second world title attempt, he outlasted Maxim Vlasov in a 2021 Fight of the Year Contender. Smith successfully defend his world title in January with a ninth-round stoppage over late replacement Steve Geffrard.

Smith said, “I am extremely excited and focused on this task I have ahead. Facing Beterbiev is huge. It is going to be a fight that fans remember forever, with two of the biggest punches in boxing today facing off. This opportunity is a dream of mine to accomplish. Fighting with three titles on the line is one step closer to becoming undisputed.”

Ramirez (9-1, 5 KOs) has been on a sterling run since a shocking loss in his August 2019 professional debut. An Olympic champion in 2012 and 2016, Ramirez is coming off one-sided victories over the unbeaten Orlando Gonzalez and Irish veteran Eric Donovan. Nova (21-0, 15 KOs), who spent much of his career at junior lightweight, has been flawless since moving up to the featherweight ranks. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Albany, New York, Nova knocked out William Encarnacion in eight rounds on the Smith-Geffrard undercard in January.

The undercard, which will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+, is scheduled to feature many of the sport’s rising superstars. In six-round bouts, Brooklyn-born featherweight puncher Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (3-0, 2 KOs) and Long Island welterweight Jahi Tucker (7-0, 4 KOs) hope to extend their unbeaten records. U.S. Olympian Troy Isley (5-0, 3 KOs), fresh off his knockout win on the Oscar Valdez-Shakur Stevenson undercard, returns in a six-round middleweight bout. Featherweight Kurt Walker (2-0, 1 KO) and junior middleweight Kieran Molloy (1-0, 1 KO), both of whom starred for the Irish national team as amateurs, will make their respective U.S. debuts.

Castaño on first fight with Charlo: ‘I felt like I won by two points’

WBO World Champion Brian Castaño held a Los Angeles media workout on Tuesday as he prepares to face unified WBC, WBA, and IBF World Champion Jermell Charlo in a rematch of one of 2021’s most significant fights when they each seek undisputed status at 154-pounds once again on Saturday, May 14 live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The Charlo vs. Castaño rematch will come nine months after they went toe-to-toe for 12 grueling rounds in July 2021, with both men appearing hurt during the action before the bout was eventually ruled a split draw. 

Here is what Castaño had to say Tuesday from Knockouts Boxing Gym:

BRIAN CASTAÑO

Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

“I’m very happy to be fighting in front of the Latino fans in Southern California. My message to the fans is that I’m going to leave it all in the ring. We’re going to be lifting up all four belts on fight night.

“I do believe that I won the first fight. It might have been by a small margin, but I won it. This time, we’re going to try everything to make sure we don’t leave the fight in the hands of the judges.

“I was training with one hand for quite a few weeks after the arm injury. But right now I really feel better and stronger than ever.

“I come to do my job. He can come in yelling and screaming, but I don’t really care. I’m focused on the task and just doing what I need to.

“We had a lot to learn from the first fight with Charlo. One of the biggest things that I learned is to be more cautious at times while I’m in the ring. He’s powerful, but I’m going to bring my power too. We learned from the first fight and we’re going to correct any errors we made.

“I’m always going to fight whoever the fans want me to face. Give me the name, and I’m ready to go. I want to fight the best. Elite opponents are what motivate me.

“Our press conference was intense and our exchanges definitely motivated me a lot. He saw a different fight than I did, if he saw himself winning eight rounds. I don’t know what he saw, because I felt like I won by two points.”

 

Ogawa-Cordina set for June 4

Kenichi Ogawa will defend his IBF 130-pound title against Joe Cordina at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff on Saturday June 4, live worldwide on DAZN.
 
Welshman Cordina (14-0, 8 KOs), a former British and Commonwealth Champion at Lightweight, dropped down in weight to Super-Featherweight after handing his compatriot Gavin Gwynne a first loss at The O2 in London in August 2019. 
 
‘The Welsh Wizard’ captured the WBA Continental 130 pound title against Mexico’s Mario Enrique Tinoco at the Casino de Monte-Carlo in November 2019 before suffering a hand injury that kept him out of the ring throughout 2020.
 
Determined to make up for lost time, the now 30-year-old stacked up three wins in an active 2021 – including a stunning first round knockout victory over Chicago’s Joshua Hernandez at Matchroom Fight Camp in the summer – and now sits at No.3 at Super-Featherweight with the IBF. 
 
Japan’s Ogawa (26-1-1, 18 KOs) claimed the vacant red and gold 130 pound World Title by overpowering the dangerous Azinga Fuzile in a wide points decision at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, New York, last November, dropping the South African in rounds five and twelve.  
 
The 34-year-old from Tokyo is on the hunt for unification fights and represents a sizable step up in class for Rio 2016 Olympian Cordina, having only tasted defeat once in 29 professional bouts – a stoppage loss at the hands of Yuki Miyoshia at Korakuen Hall back in August 2012.
 
On the undercard, Manchester’s Zelfa Barrett (27-1, 16 KOs), who is ranked at No.2 with the IBF, looks to build on his impressive win over Australia’s Bruno Tarimo on the Parker vs. Chisora 2 undercard when he challenges European Super-Featherweight Champion Faroukh Kourbanov (19-3, 3 KOs) – a former opponent of Cordina. 
 
“I’ve dedicated my entire life to boxing and to putting myself in this position,” said Cordina. “Now it all comes down to this opportunity, my World Title shot.
 
“It’s a lifelong dream of mine to become a World Champion and a stepping stone to securing my family’s future and making all of the times missed with them worth it.
 
“I’ll be taking this opportunity with both hands; I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to win and be crowned the new IBF World Super-Featherweight Champion. Be ready to see the best Joe Cordina come fight night as I put my name at the top of the division.”
 

 

Kovalev: ‘I just can’t wait to get inside the ring and show the world who is the best cruiserweight on the planet’

Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (34-4, 29 KOs), living in Long Beach, CA, will fight Tervel Pulev in his cruiserweight debut on Saturday, May 14 at The Kia Forum in Inglewood, CA and will be streamed live on Triller and Fite.tv.

Kovalev is being trained by Buddy McGirt and his strength and conditioning coach is Teddy Cruz.  They are the duo that reinvented Arturo Gatti.

“Buddy was a real smart boxer and a real smart trainer and coach. Sometimes a good boxer can’t be a good coach and sometimes a coach wasn’t a good boxer. But Buddy has it both ways – good boxer and good coach. He does what he needs to do to get me prepared the best for the fight.  Buddy gives me tactics and sound techniques and strategy. Together we are working towards getting another world title, this time in the cruiserweight division and become champion for the fourth time.”

For this eight-week training camp Sergey is staying in a hotel in close to the park where he runs and his boxing gym is a twenty minutes away in Van Nuys.  “The most difficult part of my career right now is being away from my family,” said Kovalev. “Ten years ago it was just me, now I have a wife and two kids.  To be away from them for two months is tough.”

Kovalev hits the boxing gym at 5 pm daily.  He spars three days a week and is off on Sunday.

An evening sparring would last about 1.5 hours and go as such: (1) Jump rope 4 rounds (2) Shadow box 4 rounds (3) Spar 7 rounds (4) Neck exercises.

A non-sparring evening workout would be technical training and some game plan.  

The Krusher arrives at the fitness gym early morning – every day except for Sunday – with strength and conditioning coach/extraordinaire Teddy Cruz. They will do a workout depending on how much boxing workout he does the evening prior.

The morning after a sparring day would be a low intensity 45-minute session and include: (1) Warm up stretch for 5-10 minutes (2) Squats combined with shoulder presses – 20 reps with 25 lb. dumbbells (3) Step lunges with torso twisting with 10 lbs. medicine ball for 20 reps, (4) Static lunges with curls for 20 reps with 25lbs dumbbells (5) Abs for 600 reps 

The morning after light boxing training would be a more intense workout such as: sprints for the legs and punching sprints for the arms, “or he can go run 5 miles.”

This will be Kovalev’s first fight since November 2, 2019.  “When you don’t fight for a long time you lose boxing skills. On the other hand the time off has helped me rest and get rid of all of my injuries – it’s like a renewal.

“My first two weeks of sparring I couldn’t touch my opponent (laughing) mostly because I was heavy, about 210 pounds. But then by week three, I had lost some weight and my boxing skills came back. By May 14, I will be at 187 pounds and there will be no rust. 

“I don’t really study my opponents.  I will watch one or two rounds from his last couple of fights so I can see what style he likes – does he like to fight inside or from a distance then I can prepare. I just can’t wait to get inside the ring and show the world who is the best cruiserweight on the planet.

Kovalev was initially preparing to fight Fanlong Meng but then “Egis (Klimas, manager) called me and said, “you have a new opponent – it is Pulev.”  I said “Pulev?  He is a heavyweight,” and Egis said “no, he has a brother that is a cruiserweight,” so I said “OK, Let’s go.”

“The only difference in the opponent change to me is we were initially training for a southpaw, now we are training for a rightpaw.