Three more exciting matchups have been finalized for the highly-anticipated Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley SHOWTIME PPV fight card. Former world champion Ivan Barancyhk will compete along with U.K. stars Daniel “Dynamite” Dubois and Tommy “TNT” Fury making their U.S. debuts in separate bouts on Sunday, August 29 from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio.
The five-fight SHOWTIME PPV telecast will begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and be headlined by renowned content creator and undefeated professional boxer Jake “The Problem Child” Paul taking on the toughest challenge of his young career in the former UFC champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley. The card also features the previously announced world championship showdown between Puerto Rican star and WBC/WBO Featherweight World Champion Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano and super bantamweight world champion Yamileth Mercado of Mexico, which will serve as the co-featured bout.
A former junior welterweight world champion, Baranchyk will step into the ring to face the unbeaten Cleveland-native Montana Love in a 10-round showdown on the pay-per-view. Baranchyk seeks another run at the 140-pound title, while Love looks to score a career-best win.
The hard-hitting heavyweight Dubois, who is ranked No. 1 by the WBA, will face Joe Cusumano in a 10-round matchup, and Fury, the younger brother of heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury, will square off against combat sports veteran Anthony “Pretty Boy” Taylor in a six-round, 180-pound catchweight fight to open the pay-per-view telecast.
Additional action at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse includes top-10 ranked junior middleweight and 2016 U.S. Olympian Charles Conwell taking on Lucas Bastida of Argentina in a 10-round fight. Paul, Love and Conwell will be fighting critical bouts in front of their hometown fans at the Cleveland arena.
The Belarusian Baranchyk now fights out of Oklahoma and will look to move closer to another world title opportunity with a win August 29. Sporting a 20-2 record with 13 knockouts, the 28-year-old returns to the ring after fighting in the 2020 Fight of the Year against Jose Zepeda last October. The two fighters combined to score a staggering eight knockdowns in the instant classic won by Zepeda. Baranchyk became a world champion in 2018 by stopping then unbeaten Anthony Yigit in seven rounds. He steps in against Love, a graduate of the ShoBox: The New Generation series who owns a 15-0-1 record with seven knockouts. A highly accomplished amateur, Love will be fighting in his hometown of Cleveland for the second time in his career.
“This is a big step for me,” said Baranchyk. “I am grateful to get back in the ring with someone like Montana after my loss. I want to show everyone that I’m back, I’m stronger, and I’m a new version of myself. I want to thank my fans for the support you’ve always given me. On August 29, it’s SHOWTIME, baby!”
“I know Ivan is a strong young fighter, but he has some ugly habits,” said Love. “We’re having a grueling camp right now and I’m going to keep it ‘Too Pretty’ on fight night. Cleveland deserves the show I’m about to put on.”
A promising heavyweight contender at 23 years old, Dubois has compiled a 16-1 record with 15 knockouts since turning pro in 2017. Dubois had an impressive amateur career as a five-time British junior national champion. A London-native, Dubois’ lone professional loss came against top heavyweight contender Joe Joyce in November 2020. Dubois rebounded quickly with an emphatic second-round knockout of Bogdan Dinu in June to capture the Interim WBA Heavyweight Title. Now, he takes on the 33-year-old Cusumano, who has won four of his last five bouts with all of those victories coming by stoppage. With a record of 19-3, his 17 knockouts give him an impressive 77% KO ratio. Fighting out of Danville, Virginia, Cusumano most recently knocked out Gregory Corbin in November 2020.
“I am ready now to push on and build on the WBA interim title I won in my last fight,” said Dubois. “I am thrilled to take the show on the road and look to win the American public over. I am told the American public love heavyweight boxing, so it is time to introduce them to Daniel Dubois. I will make sure it is a name they won’t forget.”
Already a crossover star after his runner-up finish on the hit U.K. reality TV show “Love Island”, Fury will look to follow in the footsteps of his boxing-rich family and establish his own championship legacy. The 23-year-old from Manchester is 6-0 with four knockouts, having most recently earned a unanimous decision over Jordan Grant in June. Fury will be opposed by Alameda, California’s Taylor, an experienced MMA competitor who dropped his sole pro boxing appearance in 2017 by split-decision. The 32-year-old’s MMA experience includes five Bellator fights and a 7-5 overall record with wins in his last five fights. Taylor is currently training in Puerto Rico and is a regular sparring partner of Jake Paul as he prepares for his bout against Woodley.
“American fans can, as always with me, expect a big dirty knockout,” said Fury. “That is what I say and that is what I try to bring. I want to put on a masterclass performance and show levels again and show how much I am improving. This is another step on my journey to world titles.”
Heavyweight Jonnie Rice (14-6-1, 10 KOs) got a big opportunity at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, when he stepped in for Gerald Washington(COVID-19) to score a technical knockout over previously unbeaten Michael Coffie (12-1, 9 KOs) in the main event on Saturday night(FOX).
Referee Eric Dali called a stop to the action at the 2:19 mark of the fifth round after Rice was tagging Coffie in the corner.
Rice had lost two straight fights before battling Coffie on Saturday night, including a unanimous decision loss to Efe Ajagba last September, but he fought inspired against Coffie and dominated the fight from start to finish.
While Rice was a late replacement, according to him, he was ready.
“I wasn’t a late replacement,” Rice said. “I was waiting for an opportunity. We replaced someone, but we weren’t late. We were right on time. I was training every day. I was training with Michael Hunter. I did 20 rounds, 10 and 10, last Friday before I got the call. So when I got the call, I was ready.”
Rice was surprised by how Coffie fought. He expected Coffie to be more of the aggressor. However, it was the opposite. Rice was the one dictating things in the ring. In his mind, it was like Deontay Wilder versus Luis Ortiz, and he was Wilder.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect to overwhelm Coffie like that,” Rice said. “I knew Michael Coffie from his fights, but not because he had a great record but because he was a sparring partner for Deontay Wilder. In my head, I played the little game that I was Luis Ortiz’s sparring partner for his second fight against Wilder. So technically, it was Luis Ortiz’s vs. Deontay Wilder’s sparring partners. We’re going to see what happens. I was playing with that in my head. I had to fight a little bit like Deontay Wilder and then a little bit different.”
The 34-year-old did not call out anybody after the fight, but at this point, the goal for Rice is to be a world champion and make a bunch of money doing it.
“I want it all. I want what every boxer wants,” he said. “I want to be world champion. I understand that my record doesn’t say that, but I want the world to watch my progress. I’m not in the right mind to be calling people out. I’m just going to be ready for the opportunity, and when it comes, I’m going to answer the call. I’m going to get as much money for it as I can. And you know one thing, I’m going to put on a show.”
Coffie did not look good on Saturday night, but all the credit goes to Rice; he was well-prepared and fought a great fight. Now, maybe more significant opportunities are on the way.
Mielnicki dominates Kidd
In the co-main event on FOX, New Jersey native Vito Mielnicki Jr. (9-1, 6 KOs) knocked out Noah Kidd (6-4-2, 5 KOs) in the second round of their welterweight contest. Mielnicki scored a knockdown in the opening frame, causing the crowd at Prudential Center to erupt with cheers for the hometown favorite.
Mielnicki continued to batter Kidd in the second round, forcing Kidd to take a knee. Referee Eric Dali had seen enough at that point and stopped the action at the 2:32 mark of the second round.
“Kidd was fading fast,” said Mielnicki. “That’s why I started to pick up the pressure. He was starting to wilt. I learned in my past performance that when you have someone hurt you have to finish the job.”
Mielnicki was supposed to compete in a rematch against James Martin, but Martin missed weight. Kidd was originally scheduled to fight on the non-televised portion of the undercard, but filled in as Martin’s replacement against Mielnicki.
“There were no issues with the change of opponent,” added Mielnicki. “I trained for a more technical fighter. Kidd was more awkward than Martin. We got the job done in front of my hometown fans, so I’m happy.”
Having noticed the tremendous amount of support at Prudential Center, Mielnicki concluded, “This is my home and these are my people. Whenever we fight in Jersey this is where we’re doing it. I’m looking forward to many more fights here.”
Dirrell stops Brooker
In FS1 action, veteran contender and Olympic bronze medalist Andre Dirrell (28-3, 18 KOs) got a technical knockout win over Christopher Brooker (16-8, 6 KOs) in their light heavyweight bout. Referee Richard Gonzalez stopped the fight at the 2:58 mark of the third stanza.
The FS1 co-main event featured unbeaten heavyweight Norman Neely (9-0, 7 KOs) defeating Juan Torres (6-4-1, 3 KOs) by unanimous decision (60-54, 60-54, 60-52).
The FS1 opener showcased super lightweight contender Karl Dargan (20-1, 10 KOs) knocking out Ivan Delgado (13-4-2, 6 KOs). Referee Harvey Dock called a stop to the action at the 1:09 mark of the third round.
Photo/credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX
Unbeaten two-time world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez will square off against former champion Jose Uzcategui in a WBC Super Middleweight title eliminator as Benavídez returns to his hometown of Phoenix for the first time in six years in the SHOWTIME main event on Saturday, August 28 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Footprint Center – home of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will feature the much-awaited return of longtime contender Jose Benavídez, the older brother of David Benavídez, facing Argentina’s Francisco Emanuel Torres in the 10-round super welterweight co-main event. Kicking off the telecast is undefeated contender Carlos Castro taking on former title challenger Oscar Escandon in a 10-round super bantamweight bout. The Benavídez brothers and Castro hail from Phoenix and have their sights set on impressing their hometown fans.
Still just 24-years-old, Benavídez (24-0, 21 KOs) enters this fight having knocked out his last four opponents, including a September 2019 knockout of two-time super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell. Most recently, he earned stoppage victories over Roamer Alexis Angulo in August 2020 and Ronald Ellis in March of this year. Benavídez is trained by his father José Sr., alongside his brother and former title challenger, José Jr. In 2017, he became the youngest super middleweight champion in boxing history by defeating Ronald Gavril on SHOWTIME at just 20 years old. Representing his native Phoenix, Ariz., Benavídez went from a 15-year-old prodigy sparring with Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin, to world title contender with a 10-fight knockout streak from 2015 through 2017, including a highlight-reel knockout of Rogelio Medina with a seven-punch combination that earned him his first title opportunity.
“I’m super excited to fight in front of my hometown fans,” said Benavídez. “It’s a dream come true for me to come back home as a two-time world champion. I’m training for Uzcategui like he’s a world champ because he has a lot of experience and he’s a hungry fighter. I know that he needs this win, but I won’t let that happen. I’m staying dedicated and motivated to win on August 28 on SHOWTIME and I want to look impressive doing it in order to get even bigger and better fights in the future.”
Born in Venezuela and fighting out of Tijuana, Mexico, Uzcategui (31-4, 26 KOs) captured a 168-pound world title in March of 2018 by stopping veteran contender Andre Dirrell after eight rounds. The 30-year-old put himself in position to fight for a title with four-straight stoppage victories from 2015 through 2016, including a win over then-unbeaten Julius Jackson. Since losing the title to unbeaten champion Caleb Plant in January 2019, Uzcategui has rebounded to win three of his last four fights, including knockout wins in 2021 over Jaime Hernandez Lopez and Josue Obando.
“I’m excited to be back on the big stage for this fight,” said Uzcategui. “I know what I’m up against with Benavídez. He’s a great fighter, and that’s my biggest motivation. This is going to be a war and I can’t wait to give the people a great fight. Both of us come to brawl, so this is going to be a classic on August 28.”
The 28-year-old Benavídez (27-1, 18 KOs) is the older brother of main event headliner David and returns to fight in his hometown of Phoenix for the first time in six years. A long-established contender, Benavídez will return to action for the first time since dropping a 147-pound title showdown to Terence Crawford in October 2018. Benavídez had previously earned wins over contenders such as Mauricio Herrera, Francisco Santana and Frank Rojas on his way to that world title opportunity.
“I’m really excited to be back in the ring after being out for a while,” said Benavidez. “I feel more mature, motivated and stronger than ever. Fighting alongside my brother and in my hometown is really a dream come true. I’m really looking forward to making a tremendous comeback. It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me, I guarantee that I’m going to take them out. No one is going to want to miss this night, because me and my brother are bringing the fireworks.”
A native of boxing-rich Buenos Aires, Argentina, Torres (17-3, 5 KOs) enters this fight the winner of his last nine contests dating back to 2018. The 31-year-old will fight in the U.S. for the third time on August 28, having scored stateside victories over Cleotis Pendarvis in August 2020 and Louis Hernandez in February of this year. Torres most recently won a unanimous decision over Alexi Rivera in June as he prepares for his toughest fight to date against Benavídez.
“I’m very pumped up for this fight,” said Torres. “I want to thank my whole team for this opportunity to participate in such an important fight. This is a great chance for me to go to the next level against a great fighter who’s had an exceptional career. I will work very hard to get the victory on August 14 and raise high the flag of Argentina.”
Castro (26-0, 11 KOs) has climbed the rankings since turning pro in 2012 as he seeks a shot at a super bantamweight championship. The Phoenix-native added two victories in 2020, defeating Jesus Ruiz in February before stopping longtime contender Cesar Juarez in four rounds in July. Castro was coming off a 2019 campaign that saw him score three victories, including 10-round unanimous decision triumphs over former title challenger Genesis Servania and veteran contender Mario Diaz.
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity to fight an excellent opponent in Oscar Escandon,” said Castro. “I’m very motivated to put on a great performance in front of my hometown fans. On August 28, I’m going to be ready to showcase all of my skills and hard work in the ring so I leave with my hand raised.”
A native of Ibague, Colombia, Escandon (26-5, 18 KOs) has faced a slew of top contenders and champions including featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. and super bantamweight champion Brandon Figueroa, plus hard-hitting contender Tugstsogt Nyambayar. Escandon captured an interim title in 2016 when he knocked out Robinson Castellanos to earn his world title shot against Russell. Most recently, Escandon scored a first-round knockout over previously unbeaten contender Jhack Tepora in December of 2019.
“I’m very focused on training for this fight because I know a win can lead me back to another world title opportunity,” said Escandon. “Castro is a good young fighter who has a solid jab and can move. But I think he’s the perfect opponent for me. There are a lot of things we can do to win this fight and I can’t wait to go in there on August 28 and show it.”
Avni Yildirim has brushed off his defeat at the hands of pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez and is ready to launch his quest at a new weight when he takes on Jack Cullen on the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday July 31, live worldwide on DAZN.
Yildirim (21-3 12 KOs) took on Canelo in Miami in February, challenging the Mexican star for the WBC and WBA World Super-Middleweight Titles at the home of the Miami Dolphins, but the Turk was unable to dethrone the champion and was pulled out after the third round by then-trainer Joel Diaz.
The 29-year-old previously challenged Anthony Dirrell for the vacant WBC strap in February 2019, losing via a controversial split decision in Minneapolis, and now Yildirim has chosen to drop down to 164lbs in a catchweight clash with Cullen and to also team up with a new coach in Pedro Diaz.
“The Canelo fight is old news,” said Yildirim. “I am looking to open a new page on my career down at Middleweight. I have a new trainer in Pedro Diaz, it’s a new start and I have a new lease of life, everything feels good.”
Diaz is one of the world’s finest trainers, having worked with the vaunted Cuban teams in four Olympics and guiding the Dominican Republic in another, before switching to the pro game and working in the corners of modern greats like Miguel Cotto and Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Yildirim will be looking to absorb his years of experience in this new chapter.
Yildirim’s first assignment under Diaz sees him take on ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ over ten rounds at the second instalment of Matchroom’s Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex. Cullen fights for the second time in the unique setting having drawn with Zak Chelli last summer and added a fine win over John Docherty to his CV in November.
A clash with Yildirim came out of leftfield for both men and has been well received by pundits, but Yildirim is not focusing on his British foe, but looking to make a statement in the Middleweight division and warn the belt-holders that he is gunning for their hardware.
“I’m in a new gym, new atmosphere,” said Yildirim. “Pedro is one of the best trainers in the world and a great guy, and I think that he can make me a World Champion at 160lbs, and I’m telling the champions – I am coming for you.
“I know what I want to be, a great champion at Middleweight, and Pedro believes in me and says that I can do it. My motivation is so high, and my body and my mind are both in a great place.”
Yildirim vs. Cullen is part of a huge night of action as Fight Camp returns with a bang, rising Welterweight star Conor Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) puts his WBA Continental Title on the line against Adrian Grandos (21-8-3, 15 KOs), WBA Featherweight World Champion Xu Can (18-2, 3 KOs) defends his Title against Nottingham’s Leigh Wood (24-2, 14 KOs), Tommy McCarthy (18-2, 9 KOs) and Chris Billam-Smith (12-1, 10 KOs) collide in a massive showdown for the European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles, Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (14-1, 11 KOs) promises to build on his huge third-round knockout win over Jorge Fortea when he takes on Rico Mueller (28-3-1, 19 KOs), Manchester Lightweight Campbell Hatton (2-0) continues his young journey in the pro ranks against Jakub Laskowski (4-4-1, 2 KOs) and former amateur star Sandy Ryan makes her highly-anticipated professional debut at Super-Lightweight against Kirstie Bavington (3-1-2, 2 KOs).
At age 48, “The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya is ready to return to the sport of boxing when he battles former UFC star Vitor Belfort on September 11 at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Triller PPV.
The fight was initially supposed to be an exhibition fight, but unlike Mike Tyson-Roy Jones, this is a sanctioned bout.
“These exhibitions that we’re seeing are becoming a circus; I want no part of that,” De La Hoya said at a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday. “And that’s why this fight is a real, sanctioned fight and not an exhibition. Everybody who knows me, I’ve never been in a boring fight. I go out there and fight. An exhibition isn’t us; Vitor and I have too much at stake. When I see Belfort, I can see in his eyes how proud he is of his legacy, and I feel the same way too, and I respect that.”
De La Hoya last fought in 2008 when he was stopped by Manny Pacquiao. That was a one-sided affair, and it was 13 years ago, but to De La Hoya’s credit, he’s never run away from a challenge in his career, which he discussed on Tuesday.
“I’ve been in top challenges all my life; I’ve basically been fighting since I was five years old,” he said. “I’ve had every challenge in the book, and I’ve fought the very best, from Pacquiao to Mayweather to Hopkins to Julio Cesar Chavez. I wanted a different challenge, and that’s what Vitor Belfort presents. A challenge that’s going to take my training and my mentality to a whole new level.”
If De La Hoya’s comeback is real, he should have no issue with the 44-year-old Belfort. However, 48 is 48, and De La Hoya has been out of the ring and inactive for a long time, so who knows what will happen at Staples Center on September 11.
Here’s for sure, if De La Hoya looks good against Belfort, maybe a fight with the man he once promoted and one the pound-for-pound best in Canelo Alvarez could be in his future.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but a fight against Canelo is big if it does happen.
Photo: Chris Farina – Triller Fight CluB
Rising unbeaten heavyweight Michael Coffie will face Jonathan Rice in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes, this Saturday, July 31 from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Coffie was originally scheduled to face former title challenger Gerald Washington, who was forced to withdraw after a positive COVID-19 test.
The FOX broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and will also see James Martin battle welterweight prospect and New Jersey-native Vito Mielnicki Jr. in an eight-round rematch in the co-main event and unbeaten prospect Joey Spencer take on Dan Karpency in an eight-round showdown.
At 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT following the FOX broadcast will be FS1 PBC Fight Night topped by veteran contender and Olympic bronze medalist Andre Dirrell competing for the second time at light heavyweight as he faces Philadelphia’s Christopher Brooker in a 10-round fight. The FS1 telecast also features unbeaten featherweight prospect Maliek Montgomery dueling Ángel Contreras in a 10-round attraction and top welterweight prospect Paul Kroll squaring off against Justin DeLoach in a 10-round showdown.
The non-televised undercard will feature unbeaten Patterson, New Jersey-native Norman Neely (8-0, 7 KOs) in a six-round heavyweight attraction against Texas’ Juan Torres (6-3-1, 3 KOs), Philadelphia-born super lightweight contender Karl Dargan (19-1, 9 KOs) battling Los Angeles-native Ivan Delgado (13-3-2, 6 KOs) in an eight-round attraction, Maryland’s Keeshawn Williams (7-0-1, 2 KOs) taking on Missouri’s Noah Kidd (6-3-2, 5 KOs in a six-round welterweight tilt and Newark’s own Michael Anderson (20-3-1, 14 KOs) in a six-round welterweight bout facing Tennessee’s DeMarcus Rogers (14-3-1, 5 KOs).
Rounding out the night of action is Denville, New Jersey’s Nicky Vitone looking to remain unbeaten in a four-round welterweight fight against Jordan Rosario, unbeaten Philadelphia-born prospect Quadir Albright taking on Jared Tallent in a six-round super welterweight tilt and the pro debut of Avenel, New Jersey’s Malik Nelson in a four-round super featherweight duel versus Alejandro Ramirez.
A Marine Corps veteran who picked up boxing after returning from overseas, Coffie (12-0, 9 KOs) quickly impressed in amateur tournaments enough to earn sparring assignments with Deontay Wilder and Adam Kownacki. The 35-year-old was born in the Bronx, but now trains in Orlando, Florida. Coffie broke through in 2020 by stopping previously unbeaten Luis Pena in the fifth round of their August matchup before earning a TKO over Joey Abell in November. Coffie added a highlight-reel knockout over previously unbeaten Darmani Rock in January of this year.
Born in South Carolina and now fighting out of Los Angeles, Rice (13-6-1, 9 KOs) won six of seven fights from 2018 through 2019. The 34-year-old will look to bounce back from a pair of losses in 2020 against unbeatens Efe Ajagba and Demsey McKean. In a pro career that dates back to 2014, the blemishes on Rice’s records have all come against previously unbeaten fighters as he looks to offer a stiff test to the so far undefeated Coffie.
An accomplished veteran contender in the 168-pound division, Dirrell (34-2-1, 25 KOs) returns to the ring for the second time at light heavyweight after a successful debut in December 2021 in which he knocked out Juan Ubaldo Cabrera in round five. The Flint, Michigan native and brother of two-time champion Anthony, Dirrell won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and lost narrow decisions in world title fights against Carl Froch and James DeGale. Dirrell will be opposed by the 30-year-old Philadelphia-native Brooker (16-7, 6 KOs), who has scored a pair of victories so far in 2021. Prior to those two triumphs, Brooker’s previous two outings saw him drop a June 2019 contest to Michael Seals and defeat Lanell Bellows in September 2018.
The 25-year-old Montgomery (10-0, 10 KOs) turned pro in 2017 after an impressive amateur career that included two national Golden Gloves titles and victories over recognizable names such as Edgar Berlanga, Keeshawn Williams and Joseph Adorno, to name a few. The Macon, Georgia born fighter has stopped all 10 of his opponents inside of the distance in his pro career to date. He will face the 27-year-old Contreras (10-4-2, 6 KOs), who most recently fought unbeaten prospect Jalan Walker to a draw in April. The Monterrey, Mexico native’s previous outing had seen him drop a narrow split-decision against super bantamweight contender Ramon Cardenas in February.
A decorated U.S. amateur from the fighter-rich city of Philadelphia, Kroll (8-0, 6 KOs) turned pro in August 2018 with a first-round stoppage of DeAngelo Alcorn. The 26-year-old ended his first four fights inside of two rounds before going the distance and beating then unbeaten Shinard Bunch in August 2019. Most recently, Kroll’s 2020 campaign saw him score a TKO victory over Marcel Rivers in January and a unanimous decision over Luke Santamaria on FS1 in October. He will be opposed by DeLoach (19-5, 10 KOs), who will look to return to the win column after dropping his last contest to unbeaten welterweight Eimantas Stanionis in November. The 27-year-old from Augusta, Georgia put together an impressive run in 2017, defeating three-straight unbeaten fighters in Dillon Cook, Junior Castillo and Domonique Dolton, before knocking out Christopher Pearson in 2017.
Photo: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions
Adrian Granados says he will “humble” Conor Benn when they collide for the WBA Continental Welterweight Title at the top of Fight Camp Week 1 in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday July 31, live worldwide on DAZN.
‘Tigre’, a 33-fight veteran who is no stranger to boxing’s biggest platforms, has gone the distance with former two-time Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter and former multi-division World Champion Adrien Broner in losing efforts – and the 31-year-old believes he is on another level to the opponents Benn has faced.
Benn produced dominant performances in his last two outings against Sebastian Formella and Samuel Vargas – leading to many in the sport labelling him as one of the new stars of the thriving 147lbs division – and Granados says that he will need to stop the 24-year-old Essex native if he is to come away with a victory.
“I want to beat Conor Benn and get closer towards a World Title shot of my own,” said Granados. “I’m not worried about whatever Conor Benn is saying. He’s saying he’s going to stop me. He’s saying he’s going to do this and do that. You know what? I don’t talk, I just show up, and that’s what I’m going to do.
“Confidence is good. That’s what we all have. I’m a confident fighter. I’m confident in my abilities. I just don’t talk the way he does. Some of the things he said about me, it’s like, ‘alright boy you’re going to find out now’. Don’t be talking all that mess because you’re going to get humbled real quick.
“I’m not anybody else you ever fought. He’s making it seem like he’s going to dismantle me, he’s going to destroy me. It’s like bro, you ain’t nobody. I didn’t even know who he was until recently. I’ve got respect for the Benn name. I respect him because he’s a Benn. It’s from his dad and what his dad has done.
“I’m going to have to stop him because I’m fighting England’s new golden boy in England. I’ve got to stop him. I know everyone was impressed with his fight with Samuel Vargas but he just kind of jumped on Sammy and Sammy wasn’t expecting all that. It was a great win for him, but I’m not Samuel Vargas.
“I kind of see myself as a loveable loser because I just can’t get a decision. I can’t get a win at the big stage. I give hell to whoever I fight. Have they looked at my losses and think I’m the right fight to take? My career could look so much different if the right decisions were made in my fights. I know that I’m going to show the heart that I’ve got and the balls that I’ve got.
“I’ve asked questions of much better fighters than Conor Benn and I’m not coming to the U.K. to make up the numbers. This is a big opportunity for me against a fighter I know they’re hyping to be the next big thing. They’ve made a mistake in picking me. This is a big moment for me and I’m taking it.”
Benn vs. Granados tops a huge night of action as Fight Camp returns with a bang, WBA Featherweight World Champion Xu Can (18-2, 3 KOs) puts his Title on the line against Nottingham’s Leigh Wood (24-2, 14 KOs), Tommy McCarthy (18-2, 9 KOs) and Chris Billam-Smith (12-1, 10 KOs) collide in a massive showdown for the European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles, former World Title challenger Avni Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) aims to bounce back from his loss to pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez when he takes on ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ Jack Cullen (19-2-1, 9 KOs), Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (14-1, 11 KOs) promises to build on his huge third-round knockout win over Jorge Fortea, Manchester Lightweight Campbell Hatton (2-0) continues his young journey in the pro ranks against Jakub Laskowski (4-4-1, 2 KOs) and former amateur star Sandy Ryan makes her highly-anticipated professional debut at Super-Lightweight against Kirstie Bavington (3-1-2, 2 KOs).
Unbeaten rising heavyweight Michael Coffie will look to continue his ascent up the heavyweight rankings when he takes on former title challenger Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington on Saturday, July 31 in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
“I’m looking to make a big statement,” said Coffie. “I want people to look at this fight and see my calmness. I want it to look like I’m the veteran and he’s the prospect. If he has belief in himself in the beginning of the fight, he’s going to start fast. It’s my job to take that away from him. “
In his last fight, Coffie scored an explosive knockout over previously unbeaten Darmani Rock live on FOX. The triumph was Coffie’s best win to date as a pro, a feat he will look to repeat as he steps up again against Washington.
“I showed in the Rock fight that regardless of the amount of years of experience that someone has over me, you can’t count me out,” said Coffie. “I definitely displayed poise and calmness and I’ve shown that I can put you down with any shot.”
Coffie has continued to train under the guidance of his head coach Josue Aguilar, as the two have put in the work in Orlando, Florida to continue to show improvement fight after fight. For this fight, Coffie has used some new techniques, combined with lessons learned from days sparring Deontay Wilder and Adam Kownacki, to hopefully put on his best performance to date.
“We’ve been working on strategy and how we’re going to expose Washington’s tendencies,” said Coffie. “We’ve been adding pool training and focusing a lot on breathing and explosiveness. I’ve been sparring with young, fast guys to work on my reflexes. I’m combining that with what I learned from Wilder and Kownacki, who really helped me with my range and distance, plus showing me the importance of conditioning.”
The 35-year-old Coffie got a late start into the sport after serving in the U.S. Marines prior to a successful amateur career that saw him put on standout performances at the New York Golden Gloves and Metro Championships. Coffie believes that his unorthodox entry into the sport will actually be a benefit as his pro career continues to burgeon.
“The biggest obstacle I’ve faced as a pro has been that people keep talking about my age,” said Coffie. “That has nothing to do with your boxing ability. If you keep yourself in shape, age is not a big thing. I’ve taken less damage at this point than other people my age who’ve gotten to this point. I also have a strong mentality and I know when it’s time to lock in for a fight. Life experience in general has shown me what I can become.”
As he enters this latest challenge, Coffie will look to take advantage of the opportunity headlining on FOX and deliver the fans a great fight in the style of some of the sport’s all-time greats.
“It’s still surreal to be in this position,” said Coffie. “When I decided to start boxing, I did not know that this would be happening so fast. I’m going to show the fans a piston jab. I want to give the feel of Sonny Liston, Larry Holmes and George Foreman. This is a combat sport, so expect blood and big shots on July 31.”
WBC super featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez authored a title-winning knockout for the ages in February over Miguel Berchelt. For his encore — and the first defense of his title — the undefeated two-time Mexican Olympian will make his desert homecoming.
Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs) will look to make it 30 for 30 against undefeated 2016 Brazilian Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceição on Friday, Sept. 10 from the AVA Amphitheater at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.
A native of Nogales, Mexico, Valdez moved to Tucson as a young child and spent his elementary school years there before returning to Mexico.
In the 10-round co-feature, undefeated junior lightweight star Gabriel Flores Jr., from Stockton, California, will fight Mexican veteran Luis Alberto Lopez. Valdez-Conceição and Flores Jr.-Lopez will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
“Oscar Valdez is coming off a career-best performance and wants to put on a spectacular showing in front of the great Tucson fans,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Conceição has been waiting for this shot ever since he turned pro, and having promoted him for his entire career, I know he’ll be at his very best. We have a great co-feature, as the young Flores wants to prove he is a contender to watch, and he can do that by beating a tough Mexican in Luis Alberto Lopez.”
Valdez cemented his status as one of the faces of Mexican boxing with his 10th-round knockout over longtime champion Berchelt. He is 8-0 in world title fights, including six defenses of the WBO featherweight world title he won in July 2016. Valdez and Conceição fought as amateurs in the gold medal match of the 2009 Pan American Games, with Conceição prevailing by a single point. Valdez turned pro nearly four years before Conceição (16-0, 8 KOs), who made history as the first Brazilian boxer to capture Olympic gold. A native of Bahia, Conceição made his pro debut in November 2016 on the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas undercard and knocked out four of his first five foes. Last October, he survived an early knockdown to edge Louie Coria by unanimous decision. He last fought April 10 in Tulsa and knocked out Jesus Antonio Ahumada in the seventh round.
“I am very excited to fight in my second home, Tucson, Arizona, where I will have my first defense of the WBC super featherweight world title,” Valdez said. “It motivates me to know that I will defend the title in front of my friends and my family, and I will be willing to put it on the line as in all my fights. I’m coming to give a great show to my people, and I can’t wait to see you on Sept. 10.”
Conceição said, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this opportunity, and that’s why I’m training with great determination. I will represent my family and Brazil. I already won a gold medal for my country and now I will bring home a world title. With great determination, I will deliver a great performance. It will be a true spectacle!”
Flores (20-0, 7 KOs) made history in 2017 when, at 16 years old, he became the youngest fighter ever to sign a promotional contract with Top Rank. He went 3-0 in 2020, including a shutout decision over Matt Conway on the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury II undercard. Flores performed three times inside the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble, punctuated by a sixth-round stoppage over former world title challenger Jayson Velez in February. Lopez (22-2, 12 KOs), from Mexicali, Mexico, has won five straight bouts since a 2019 decision loss to Ruben Villa. He notched his signature win last July with a split decision over Andy Vences.
“This is the next step in my journey towards a world title, and I will convincingly defeat Lopez,” Flores said. “I’m going to prove once again that I’m ready for the next level.”
Lopez said, “I appreciate matchmaker Brad Goodman and Top Rank for the opportunity to fight Gabriel Flores Jr. I know he’ll be prepared to give everything on Sept. 10, but so am I, and I guarantee nothing but my very best. I’m a man of few words, and I’ll let my actions do the talking inside the ring.”
The undercard, streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+, will feature Japan’s undefeated WBO flyweight world champion Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16 KOs) defending his title against Puerto Rican former world champion Angel “Tito” Acosta (22-2, 21 KOs). Nakatani, who has never fought outside of Japan, knocked out Filipino contender Giemel Magramo in eight rounds last November to win the vacant world title. A former Japanese flyweight champion, Nakatani has won four straight bouts by stoppage. Acosta, who made three successful defenses of the WBO light flyweight crown, has won two fights since a debated 12th-round stoppage at the hands of Elwin Soto. Acosta was leading on all three scorecards when he was stopped on his feet early in the round.
The ESPN+ undercard will also see undefeated Puerto Rican sensation Xander Zayas (9-0, 7 KOs) in a six-round junior middleweight bout against an opponent to be named and lightweight sensation Raymond Muratalla (12-0, 10 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
Also scheduled to appear in eight-round bouts: 2016 Mexican Olympian and junior welterweight prospect Lindolfo Delgado (12-0, 11 KOs), rising junior lightweight René Telléz Girón (15-1, 9 KOs) and Mexican junior welterweight knockout artist Omar Aguilar (21-0, 20 KOs).