Vargas-Soto to battle on April 26

Former two-weight World champions Jessie Vargas and Humberto Soto will clash in a vital showdown for their World title ambitions on a blockbuster bill at The Forum, Los Angeles on Friday April 26, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Vargas and Soto will meet at 151 pounds as they both look to add a third weight class to their World title CVs later in the year at Super-Welterweight.

Vargas (28-2-2 10 KOs) kicked-off the live American shows on DAZN in an entertaining Welterweight showdown with Thomas Dulorme in Chicago in October, with the fight ending in a draw. The Las Vegas man has now identified World honors at 154lbs as his next target, with Mexican talent and WBO ruler Jaime Munguia top of the hitlist as he defends his title against Dennis Hogan two weeks before Vargas and Soto meet, live on DAZN.

Soto (69-9-2 37 KOs) breathed new life into his career with a great win over Brandon Rios in a tear-up in his hometown of Tijuana, Mexico in February. The 38 year old is chasing the 70th pro win of his remarkable career, and could force his way into a clash with fellow countryman Munguia.

“I’m excited for my return to the ring on April 26,” said Vargas. “Humberto Soto is the opponent and I’m preparing accordingly with my coaches to give my fans an entertaining fight as always.

“Soto is an experience World class fighter who challenged me immediately after his win over Brandon Rios. The challenge has been accepted and on April 26, I plan to come out victorious.”

“The odds were against me in my last fight against Brandon Rios and I know that this fight will not be any different,” said Soto. “This gives me extra motivation to prove everyone wrong again and to add a third loss to Vargas’ record.

“I am extremely happy for this new chapter in my career and I am not going to waste this great opportunity! Like I said before, this is a do or die fight!”

“Vargas vs. Soto completes a huge card in LA on April 26,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Soto was outstanding in defeating Brandon Rios a few weeks back in Mexico and goes into this fight full of confidence attempting to upset the odds again.

“Jessie will take this fight at 151 pounds as he makes the transition to 154 pounds and can’t afford an upset as he targets Jamie Munguia later this year. With Rungvisai vs Estrada, Roman vs. Doheny and now Vargas vs. Soto, this is a show fight fans do no not want to miss.”

Vargas’ clash with Soto is part of a huge night of action on Matchroom Boxing USA’s first show in Los Angeles, topped by two massive World title fights as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1 41KOs) and Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3 26KOs) meet in a rematch for Rungvisai’s WBC and Ring Magazine titles and WBA Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman and IBF king TJ Doheny meet in a unification battle.

It’s Vargas’ first fight under hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach, who will see his charge Scott Quigg (35-2-2 26KOs) continue his path to becoming a two-weight World champ.

Unbeaten Super-Middleweight talent Anthony Sims Jr is set for a breakout year and will fight for his first title on the bill. Sims (17-0 16 KOs), who is in action in Peterborough, England on Saturday night live on DAZN and Sky Sports, clocked three stoppage wins in the second half of 2018, and will look to convert that momentum in style in first the UK and then in LA.

Shakhram Giyasov (7-0 6KOs) and Diego Pacheco (2-0 1KO) landed wins in Tijuana, Mexico this weekend and will fight on the bill, while Eddie Hearn’s latest addition to his blossoming stable of young USA talents, Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams, will make his pro debut on the card.

Tickets are on sale now prices from just $25 – to charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.fabulousforum.com or www.ticketmaster.com, and also at the Forum Box Office.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

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Garcia: ‘I know there is a lot more to my game that you guys still haven’t seen’

Usually, when a fighter goes up in weight, he likes to test himself against lesser opposition. Then, after that initial introduction, a fighter may go after the best in the division, but not Mikey Garcia. The four-division world champion is making his welterweight debut against maybe the best 147-pound fighter in the world. That fighter is IBF welterweight champion, Errol Spence Jr.

Garcia will battle Spence this Saturday at AT&T Stadium(FOX Sports PPV) in Arlington, Texas.

For Garcia, it is not what he saw in Spence, but what he saw in himself that made him want to take this fight. Recently, on a conference call with the media, Garcia spoke about the moment he realized he wanted to fight Spence:

“Look, I was watching him fight Kell Brook, and I saw him really turn the fight around and showed to everybody why he’s the world champion and why he deserves all the credit,” Garcia said.

“And then I saw him fight Peterson. And we were watching with my dad and my brother, and I told Robert my brother and my dad that after a fight or two I want to fight Spence. And they all thought I was crazy and just joking, but I was serious. I told them, “I’m going to move into welterweight because I’m coming I’m moving to welterweight. I will fight and challenge Spence.

“I saw his fight with Peterson, and even though he did great, I just feel like there is a lot more that I can do. People keep asking me what did I see in him. Was there a particular fight? Something that I saw in his game? Some holes in his game? No. It’s not even about that.

“It was just what you guys haven’t still seen in me, and I know what I can do and what I’m capable of, and that’s what I’m betting on. That’s exactly why I took this fight because I know there is a lot more to my game that you guys still haven’t seen.”

Garcia has a lot of skills, but we’ll size matter come Saturday night in Texas?

We’ll find out soon…

Farmer: ‘I am ready to fight anyone’

BF World Super-Featherweight champion Tevin Farmer has told the other champions at 126lbs to ‘put up or shut up’ ahead of his title defense against Jono Carroll on Friday night (March 15) at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Farmer defends his crown for the third time inside five months as he fights at home in Philly for the first time as a World champion, and as fight week kicked off with the media work out today, the champion had to field more questions over a future unification bout with Gervonta Davis.

Farmer has long wanted to face the WBA Super champion from Baltimore in what we be a mega showdown – but it’s a fight that is in the distance rather than a reality – and Farmer has grown tired of talking about fights that aren’t happening as he remains one of the most active World rulers in the game.

“Everybody is talking about who the best is in the division – there’s only one way to tell,” said Farmer. “I am ready to fight anyone. My promoters Eddie Hearn and Lou DiBella are ready to make a fight with anyone so whomever has a belt out there – it’s time to put up or shut up.

“It’s my third defense in five months, I’m the most active male World champion in the world and I want it to continue like that. I like working with Eddie, Lou and DAZN and I hope that we can keep doing business for the rest of my career.

“I’m fighting more than anyone and I’m winning. I’ve probably defended my title more times since winning it than some champions that have had the belt for two years.”

Farmer’s clash with Carroll is part of a huge night of action in Philadelphia as Irish sensation Katie Taylor (12-0 5 KOs) looks to unify the Lightweight division once again, putting her IBF and WBA straps on the line against Brazil’s WBO champion Rose Volante (14-0 8 KOs).

Philadelphia Middleweight warrior Gabriel Rosado (24-11-1 14 KOs) faces Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (27-1 11 KOs) for the WBO International title and a likely World title shot at Demetrius Andrade, Philly Lightweight’s Hank Lundy (29-7-1 14 KOs) and Avery Sparrow (9-1 3 KOs) battle for local pride, Olympic gold medal pair Luke Campbell MBE (19-2 15 KOs) and Daniyar Yeleussinov (5-0 3 KOs) and silver medalist John Joe Nevin (11-0 4 KOs) taste their first action of 2019, unbeaten Super-Middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (19-0 12 KOs) faces Victor Fonseca (17-9-1 14 KOs) while exciting New Jersey amateur star Raymond Ford makes his pro debut.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing/Ed Mullholland
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Loma: ‘If you have a belt, you can come in the ring, and I’ll fight with you’

WBA/WBO lightweight world champion Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko and WBO super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez came to Fortune Gym in Hollywood on Monday for a media workout as they prepare for their respective bouts, April 12 at Staples Center.

Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound Picasso, will defend his world titles in the main event against the hard-charging Anthony “Million Dollar’ Crolla, while Ramirez will dip his toe in the light heavyweight waters versus veteran Tommy Karpency in the co-feature.

Lomachenko-Crolla and Ramirez-Karpency will stream exclusively April 12 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on ESPN+

In front of a packed media contingent, here is what Lomachenko had to say.

On his weight

Right now, I am a lightweight, but lightweight is not my ideal weight category. My goal now is to unify all four titles, and then, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll move back down to 130 pounds and win world titles there for a second time.

On Anthony Crolla as a fighter

“I don’t know too much about him. I know him from his two fights with Jorge Linares. I do know he is an aggressive fighter, and I like to fight guys who come forward.”

On preparing for Crolla

“I prepare like always. We are training hard. I’ve been training for a couple months already and will put on a great performance for my fans in Los Angeles and on ESPN+. I will show everyone my best style and hope everyone enjoys it.”

On future opponents

“I want to fight the best. But now, Crolla is the best choice. He is the mandatory challenger and wanted to fight me. That is why I accepted this fight.”

On whether he thinks he’ll dominate Crolla

“I don’t know. I can’t see in the future. It depends how he fights. We’ll see.”

On Teofimo Lopez

I’m ready for everyone. I need the belts. If you have a belt, you can come in the ring, and I’ll fight with you.”

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Devon Alexander returns 5/25; Roy Jones Jr. will be his new trainer

According to a press release from Devon Alexander’s management team, the three-time world champion is expected to return to the ring on May 25 against an opponent to be determined.

For this upcoming fight, Alexander(27-5-1, 14 KOs) will have a new trainer. The 32-year-old Alexander has hired the great Roy Jones Jr., who will take over for Kevin Cunningham. Alexander had been with Cunningham since the start of his career, but now, he feels it’s time for a change.

“I made the change because I just felt like it was time for me to try something different, and when I talked to Roy Jones Jr., a future Hall of Famer and living legend, he said he can help me with my comeback,” Alexander said. “I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to see what we can do together.

“After speaking to him(Jones Jr.), I really felt like it was a perfect match. He truly understands what it’s like for a fighter, like myself, who is making a comeback at this stage of his career.”

Alexander will train in Pensacola, Fl and Big Bear, CA for his fight on May 25.

The St. Louis native is coming off a close decision loss to Andre Berto last August in New York.

Photo: Douglas Defelice/Premier Boxing Champions

 

Hearn: Winner of Rosado-Sulecki likely for Andrade

The Middleweight clash between Gabriel Rosado and Maciej Sulecki on Friday night (March 15) at the Liacouras Center, Philadelphia live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK, has extra spice added to it as promoter Eddie Hearn announced that the winner is likely to face WBO kingpin Demetrius Andrade in June.

Rosado and Sulecki promised to be a war from the get-go when the fight was announced in January, but now the WBO International title will be on the line, and with that, a likely shot at Rhode Island star Andrade in the summer.

Rosado (24-11-1 14 KOs) is back in action following his closely fought draw with Luis Arias in Mulvane, Kansas in November – another contentious fight for the Philly favorite who will now be chasing a third World title shot in his first fight on home turf in seven years.

Sulecki (27-1 11 KOs) is hunting a first World title shot having returned to winning ways in November with a second round stoppage of Jean Michel Hamilcaro in his native Poland. The 29 year old gave Daniel Jacobs a stern test in April before the Brooklyn man moved on to become a two-weight World ruler, and Sulecki will believe that experience will serve him against Rosado.

WBO ruler Andrade defended his title live on DAZN in January against Artur Akavov at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the streaming giants rubber-stamped their status as the home of the elite Middleweights by adding Kazakh star Gennady Golovkin to the phenomenal roster of 160lbers, with Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs clashing in a unification blockbuster on DAZN on May 4 in Las Vegas.

“I’m pretty sure that the winner of Saturday’s fight will be the next opponent for Demetrius in June,” said Hearn. “It’s a massive fight for Gabe and Maciej – we know that DAZN is the home of the Middleweights and these two have the opportunity on Friday to unlock the door to the big time.

“I expect an absolute war between both men, I think it could be fight of the night and on this card,  that’s saying something!”

Rosado’s clash with Sulecki is part of a huge night of action in Philadelphia on St Patrick’s weekend topped by a World title double-header as Philly’s Tevin Farmer (28-4-1 6 KOs) comes home to defend his IBF Super-Featherweight title against Ireland’s Jono Carroll (16-0-1 3 KOs), and Irish sensation Katie Taylor (12-0 5 KOs) looks to unify the Lightweight division once again, putting her IBF and WBA straps on the line against Brazil’s WBO champion Rose Volante (14-0 8 KOs).

Philly Lightweight’s Hank Lundy (29-7-1 14 KOs) and Avery Sparrow (9-1 3 KOs) battle for local pride, Olympic gold medal pair Luke Campbell MBE (19-2 15 KOs) and Daniyar Yeleussinov (5-0 3 KOs) and silver medalist John Joe Nevin (11-0 4 KOs) taste their first action of 2019, unbeaten Super-Middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (19-0 12 KOs) faces Victor Fonseca (17-9-1 14 KOs) while exciting New Jersey amateur star Raymond Ford makes his pro debut.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

Ugas: ‘I showed tonight that I belong with the elite fighters at welterweight’

While WBC Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter was able to retain his title with a close split-decision victory over Yordenis Ugas on Saturday night, from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, Ugas definitely elevated his status at 147, and he knows it.

“I showed tonight that I belong with the elite fighters at welterweight,” said Ugas. “All I can say is that I’m ready to fight any of the top names in the division. I’ll be back.”

One judge saw the fight 117-111 for Ugas, which was overruled by scores of 116-112 and 115-113 for Porter. Ugas thought he did enough to get the victory.

“There’s no doubt about it, I was robbed tonight,” said Ugas. “After the first round, I figured him out and dominated the fight. He had no answer when I was pushing him back. I dominated the fight in my opinion.”

According to CompuBox, Porter was more active on a per round basis, throwing 42.9 punches per round to 37.4 from Ugas. The 32-year-old Ugas held the advantage in body punches landed at 57 to 34, while the two fighters each landed 79 power punches.

Ugas almost scored a knockdown in the final round, but it was ruled a slip by referee Jack Reiss. If it was ruled a knockdown, Ugas wins the fight.

Here is the good thing for Ugas, he will probably get another crack at a title at 147, which means more chances to make decent money moving forward.

Photo: Frank Micelotta/ FOX Sports

Bivol: ‘If someone has a belt in Super-Middleweight or Light-Heavyweight division, I would be glad to fight them’

Dmitry Bivol could open the door to mega-fights at Super-Middleweight as he prepares to defend his WBA World Light-Heavyweight title against Joe Smith Jr on Saturday March 9 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

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Bivol (15-0 11 KOs) puts his crown on the line for the fifth time against Long Island’s Smith Jr (24-2 20KOs), who fights in his first World title bout. The champion has long stated his desire to unify the 175-pound division, but the unbeaten Russian has cast his eyes on the Super-Middleweight division and is excited by the prospect of potentially becoming a two-weight World champion.

“I’m not a big guy for Light-Heavyweight, and I can make Super-Middleweight, and I said many times that I want the big fights,” said Bivol. By that I mean that I want to fight for belts. If someone has a belt in Super-Middleweight or Light-Heavyweight division, I would be glad to fight them.

“I know Callum Smith has a belt, and I would like to fight him if he wants to, and if our promoters can make this fight. I am open for every fight for the belt now. There are many names who have belts. To the top ten from Light-Heavyweight and Super-Middleweight: I’m ready to fight.

“Boxing is a different sport to something like running. In running, you just have good speed. In boxing, you could have good speed, but this doesn’t mean you can win. I’m not the hardest puncher, I’m not the quickest fighter, but I have something that helps me to be a winner. I have enough speed, I think many speed from Light-Heavyweight have enough speed, the same power as me, maybe more power. I love this sport, because you don’t need to be the quickest or the strongest, I don’t know. I’m just one of the best. I have the best team, I have the best coach, maybe it’s because I believe in my skills.”

Smith Jr’s clash with Bivol is part of a huge night of action at Turning Stone Resort Casino with a second mouthwatering World title fight on the bill in the shape of Maurice Hooker (25-0-3 17 KOs) defending his WBO World Super-Lightweight title against Brooklyn’s Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1 10KOs).

Callum Johnson (17-1-0 12KOs) and Sean Monaghan (29-2-0 17KOs) will both have a keen eye on the Bivol-Smith Jr. clash as they battle in a crunch fight in the 175lbs division, Uzbek amateur star Israil Madrimov (1-0 1KO) defends his WBA Inter-Continental Super Welterweight title against Frank Rojas (24-2-0 23 KOs),  World-ranked heavyweight contender Sergey Kuzmin, (14-0 11 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Russia will battle Philadelphia based veteran Joey Dawejko, (19-6-4 11 KOs) and Otha Jones III makes his pro debut on the card.
 

Garcia: ‘I cannot wait to get back in the ring and put on the Danny Garcia show’

Former two-division world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia will battle hard-hitting veteran Adrian Granados in a 12-round welterweight bout that will headline the live prime time event presented by Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes on Saturday, April 20 from Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly StubHub Center) in Carson, California.

Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs) has fought and defeated many of the most formidable opponents at 140 and 147-pounds spanning two generations-Erik Morales, Zab Judah, Kendall Holt, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, Paulie Malignaggi and Lamont Peterson among them. Six of his seven opponents in the welterweight division were former or current world champions and 12 of his last 16 opponents overall carried the same distinction. Included in that run was a headlining performance live on FOX in January 2016, when he defeated Robert Guerrero to capture his welterweight title in Los Angeles. Representing the fighting city of Philadelphia, the 30-year-old most recently lost an exciting and narrow decision to Shawn Porter in their September title fight.

“I cannot wait to get back in the ring and put on the Danny Garcia show once again,” said Garcia. “Granados was talking a big game when we first announced the fight and I plan on proving him wrong on April 20. The Southern California fans have always treated me right and I’m excited to give them a great fight.”

Fighting out of Cicero, Ilinois, Granados (20-6-2, 14 KOs) has made a name for himself by delivering tough, action-packed fights against top fighters in the sport, including Shawn Porter and Adrien Broner. The 29-year-old burst onto the scene by shocking then unbeaten Amir Imam via a stoppage victory in their 2015 clash. After a fight last June against Javier Fortuna that ended in a no contest, Granados picked up two-straight knockout wins heading into this matchup.

“This is a huge fight for me and definitely one of the most important in my career,” said Granados. “I’m looking to dominate, look impressive and control the fight. I’ve fought in Southern California before and I’m looking to take advantage of the great Mexican crowd. This is Mexico versus Puerto Rico and Chicago vs. Philadelphia. It’s territorial on a lot of levels and you can expect us to leave it all in the ring.”

Heavyweight contender Andy Ruiz Jr. takes on Alexander Dimitrenko in a 10-round bout in the co-feature and unbeaten contender Brandon Figueroa battles Venezuela’s Yonfrez Parejo in a 12-round match for the WBA Interim Super Bantamweight title that opens the primetime FOX broadcast that begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Malignaggi to compete in Bare Knuckle Boxing

Former two-division world champion boxer and boxing commentator Paulie Malignaggi has signed an exclusive deal to compete for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC). Malignaggi is expected to make his BKFC debut in June 2019 at a location yet to be determined.

“This is great signing for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship,” said BKFC Founder and President David Feldman. “At this time in our company’s growth, we needed to add a legitimate and well-established world champion boxer to our roster, and I believe with Paulie’s ability and personality we’ve done just that. Paulie is the perfect fit for us.”

“BKFC is the new wave in combat sports. They’re doing great things and I’m very excited to be a part of this organization,” said Malignaggi. “I’ve accomplished some big things in boxing career, and I look forward to what this next phase brings. After a long boxing career, it’s easy to miss the limelight and the rush that combat brings. I look forward to getting back in action and the new challenge of fighting for BKFC.”

Malignaggi, a 38-year-old native of Brooklyn, NY, battled some of the top names in the super lightweight and welterweight divisions as a professional boxer. In June 2007, Malignaggi defeated Lovemore N’dou by unanimous decision to capture the IBF Super Lightweight Title. Malignaggi defended that title twice before losing the belt to Ricky Hatton in November 2008. In April 2012, Malignaggi won his second world title, defeating Vyacheslav Senchenko by technical knockout to secure the WBA Welterweight Title. He successfully defended the WBA title once before suffering a split decision loss to Adrien Broner in June 2013.

During his professional boxing career, Malignaggi amassed an impressive record of 36 – 8, with seven of his victories coming by way of knockout. A winner of three out of his last four boxing contests, Malignaggi last fought professionally in March 2017 in a loss to Sam Eggington. In mid-2017, Malignaggi worked briefly as a sparring partner for Conor McGregor as McGregor prepared to face undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather later that year.