Budd-Cyborg set for January 25

Bellator is set to deliver one of the most anticipated bouts in the history of women’s MMA on Saturday, January 25 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. when reigning champ Julia Budd (13-2) defends her world featherweight title against Cris “Cyborg” (21-2, 1 NC) in the main event.

Bellator: Budd vs. Cyborg will stream live exclusively on the DAZN app at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com, DAZN and globally on the Bellator Mobile App. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.

Fighting out of Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada, Budd will enter the Bellator cage in January for the fourth time since claiming the inaugural Bellator women’s featherweight world title in 2017. Currently riding a winning streak of 11 bouts, including seven straight fights since joining forces with Bellator in 2015, “The Jewel” has her eyes set on a fourth consecutive world title defense when she finally has the opportunity to challenge “Cyborg.” Since knocking off Dutch legend Marloes Coenen for the 145-pound strap at Bellator 174, the Gibson MMA-product has since collected victories over top contenders Olga Rubin, Arlene Blencowe and Talita Nogueira. With seven of her 13 career wins coming by way of knockout or submission, the former kickboxing standout will look to derail the Bellator debut of “Cyborg.”

On the heels of signing the largest contract in women’s MMA history, Cris “Cyborg” will enter the Bellator cage for the first time on January 25, with the opportunity to lay claim to Bellator gold. Just like her upcoming opponent, “Cyborg” too was an inaugural champion, winning the inaugural Strikeforce Featherweight Championship in 2009 after defeating Gina Carano. The 34-year-old Curitiba, Brazil-native’s Bellator tenure follows a three-year run in UFC,  multiple world title and a 20-fight unbeaten streak that includes notable victories against Holly Holm, Tonya Evinger, Marloes Coenen and Leslie Smith.

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Canelo on Kovalev: ‘He’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like’

Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 34 KOs), the face of boxing and the king of the middleweight division, will take on a new challenge as he moves into the 175-pound weight class in a 12-round bout against champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 28 KOs) for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 2 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will be streamed exclusively live on DAZN in all of its nine markets, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.

Canelo, the 29-year-old native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, became the face of boxing by taking on some of the biggest names in the sport. At 154 pounds, Canelo captured several world titles and defeated the likes of Austin “No Doubt” Trout, Sugar Shane Mosley, Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo, Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara and Liam “Beefy” Smith.

At 160 pounds, Canelo defeated Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs to establish himself as the king of the middleweight division. And, shortly after signing a groundbreaking partnership with global sports streaming giant DAZN, Canelo moved into the 168-pound division by stopping Rocky Fielding in three rounds to become the WBA Super Middleweight World Champion.

Canelo will now look to make history once again by becoming the second Mexican boxer to hold a world title in the light heavyweight division, a feat only done by Julio Cesar Gonzalez in 2003. The pound-for-pound king will at the same time join an elite group of four-division world champions from Mexico.

“The second phase of my career is continuing just as we had planned, and that’s why we are continuing to make great fights to enter into the history books of boxing,” said Canelo Alvarez. “That’s also why I’ve decided to jump two weight classes against one of the most feared champions of recent years. Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, and he’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like to face.”

On November 2nd, Kovalev, 36, will participate in his 17th consecutive world title bout and the most lucrative fight of his career against the biggest star in boxing. A Russian knockout artist and three-time light heavyweight world champion, “Krusher” is no stranger to fighting in hostile territory. He captured the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title in 2013 when he traveled to Wales and scored a stunning knockout of Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev traveled to Atlantic City to meet future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins near his Philadelphia home to unify the WBO, WBA and IBF titles with a lopsided unanimous decision victory in 2014. As unified champion, “Krusher” successfully defended his titles twice against current WBA Interim Light Heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal in Pascal’s hometown of Montreal, scoring a stoppage victory both times.

Kovalev suffered two controversial losses to former Olympic Gold medalist Andre Ward (in 2016 and 2017) and a surprise upset to Eleider Alvarez last year, but quickly regained his WBO Light Heavyweight Title each time. In August, the road warrior finally got the chance to fight in his own hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, stopping undefeated mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde in a sold-out arena.

When asked about this fight, Kovalev said, “In order to be the best you have to beat the best. I have always tried to fight the toughest opponents in my division, but many have ducked me throughout my career. Canelo wanted to fight me; to step up to higher weight and challenge for my belt. I will be ready on November 2nd. Thank you, Main Events, Kathy Duva, Egis Klimas, DAZN and Canelo for making this fight happen.”

Complete card announced for Bellator 221

A total of 15 bouts for the anticipated Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull have been confirmed, as Bellator MMA returns to the “Windy City” and the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. this Saturday, May 11 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT for an event streamed exclusively on DAZN.

The star-studded card is headlined by a lightweight world championship bout pitting current 155-pound titleholder Michael Chandler (19-4) against Bellator featherweight world champPatricio “Pitbull” (28-4) in a heated grudge match, as Chandler attempts to become the first fighter ever to defeat both Pitbull Brothers, while Patricio attempts to become a rare simultaneous two-division champion.

In addition, the co-main event features former two-time Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima (30-7) and undefeated British phenom Michael “Venom” Page (14-0) in a Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix semi-final matchup that carries them into the finals and a chance at a hefty one million dollar bonus for the tournament winner.

Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull will stream live exclusively on DAZN, the fastest-growing sports streaming service in the world, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and globally on the Bellator Mobile App at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. Limited tickets remain available at the Allstate Arena box office, as well as Ticketmaster.com and Bellator.com.

Also competing on the main card is top featherweight prospect A.J. McKee (13-0), as he prepares to face the promotion’s former 145-pound champion Pat Curran (23-7) on the Crystal Lake, Illinois-fighter’s home turf. Also, former WWE champion Jake Hager (1-0), previously known as “Jack Swagger,” is set to make his second Bellator appearance, as he looks to build on his early dominance when he meets T.J. Jones (1-1). Rounding out the main card will be the always-entertaining Tywan Claxton (4-0), who looks to remain undefeated against James Bennett (4-1) of Milwaukee.

Preliminary action for Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull begins at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and will see a featherweight contest that pits Chicago’s Adil Benjilany (5-1, 1 NC) against submission specialist Cris Lencioni (4-2), as well as the promotional debut of Greco-Roman wrestling prospect Chris Gonzalez (1-0).

Complete Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull Main Card:

Lightweight World Title Bout: Michael Chandler (19-4) vs. Patricio “Pitbull” (28-4)

Welterweight World Grand Prix Semi-Final: Douglas Lima (30-7) vs. Michael “Venom” Page (14-0)

Featherweight Main Card Bout: A.J. McKee (13-0) vs. Pat Curran (23-7)

Heavyweight Main Card Bout: Jake Hager (1-0) vs. T.J. Jones (1-1)

Featherweight Main Card Bout: Tywan Claxton (4-0) vs. James Bennett (4-1)

Preliminary Card:

Featherweight Undercard Bout: Adil Benjilany (5-1, 1 NC) vs. Cris Lencioni (4-2)

Lightweight Undercard Bout: Chris Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Charlie Radtke (2-1)

Bantamtweight Undercard Bout: Bryan Bautista (1-0) vs. Rob Fenicle (1-0)

Lightweight Undercard Bout: Adam Ward (18-11) vs. Amartuvshin Khuukhenkhuu (9-4)

Bantamweight Undercard Bout: Jose Leon (Pro Debut) vs. Christian Rodriguez (Pro Debut)

Bantamweight Undercard Bout: Askar Askar (9-0) vs. Taylor Moore (9-4)

Light Heavyweight Undercard Bout: James Bochnovic (9-4) vs. Robert Morrow (28-24-1, 1 NC)

Heavyweight Undercard Bout: Dave Latoria (Pro Debut) vs. Jason Belyew (0-1)

Featherweight Undercard Bout: Joey Diehl (12-9) vs. Jesse Bazzi (9-6)

Welterweight Undercard Bout: Scott Writz (2-0) vs. Josh Streacker (5-2)

 

Devin Haney signs with Matchroom Boxing

Matchroom Boxing USA and Eddie Hearn are delighted to announce the signing of Lightweight star Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney.

Haney (21-0 13 KOs) has raced to the top of the Lightweight rankings and is on the cusp of fighting for his first World title ahead of turning 21 in November.

‘The Dream’ has rattled off 21 wins since turning pro in Mexico in 2015 at 16 years of age following a stellar amateur career that saw him crowned junior amateur champion seven times and plunder 130 wins.

The Las Vegas-based talent now sits at number three in the WBC rankings where the Lightweight title is now vacant, five in the WBA, eight in the WBO and ten in the IBF – and Haney will look to make a big statement on his debut with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN when he takes on Antonio Moran (24-3 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25.

“I’m excited about my multi-million dollar partnership with Matchroom Boxing.  All this hard work is finally paying off. This is a huge chapter in my career. I have a co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing, Eddie Hearn is the perfect guy for me to go in business with.

“While Matchroom will provide the infrastructure, together we will select the best opponents to showcase my talents in the sexiest cities in the world.  I’m the future of the sport, and without a doubt in my mind… I’m going to continue to set the boxing world on fire.  Matchroom and DAZN now have another superstar… ME!”

“Antonio Moran is a tough fighter with a lot of experience.  He has been in the ring with good opposition.  He fought Jose Pedraza to a decision last year, so I know he comes to fight.  I expect nothing less from him on May 25.  I’ve been in the gym working hard.  Everyone knows that I stay ready and May 25 can’t come soon enough.  On fight night the world will see I’m ready for anyone.”

“Devin Haney is a superstar – no two ways about it,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “At just 20 years old he has already racked up 21 victories, untouched as a pro and has become one of the most talked about fighters in America.

“The big fights are right in front of him, he is ready for anyone and we look forward to a wonderful partnership together. DAZN has another exceptional talent on their platform and we look forward to his Matchroom and DAZN debut on the huge Usyk vs. Takam card May 25 at MGM National Harbor.”

Haney’s clash with Moran is part of a huge night of action in Maryland as Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk moves up to Heavyweight after dominating the Cruiserweight division, and takes on former World title challenger Carlos Takam.  In addition, rising Heavyweight Croatian talent Filip Hrgovic takes on Gregory Corbin in his US debut, and WBA World Super-Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill looks to unify the division against WBA champion Anahi Sanchez.

GGG: ‘I am very excited to be returning to the ring and bringing the Big Drama Show back to MSG’

It’s a whole new ballgame for boxing’s pound-for-pound superstar attraction GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN!  Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, brings his Big Drama Show back to the “Mecca of Boxing” — Madison Square Garden for the first time in over two years in his eagerly-awaited DAZN debut on Saturday, June 8.

Golovkin, whose resume includes a record 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses (18 by way of knockout), has consistently drawn packed houses to the five previous events he has headlined at The Garden, dating back to 2013.  He will rumble with undefeated Top-10 contender and Kronk Gym alumnus STEVE ROLLS (19-0, 10 KOs), from Toronto, Canada, in a battle, scheduled for 12 rounds, at a maximum weight of 164 pounds.  Golovkin vs. Rolls kicks off the exclusive six-fight, three-year global partnership between GGG Promotions and DAZN, the world’s fastest-growing sports streaming platform.

A two-city press tour, featuring both fighters, will take place next week, starting at Madison Square Garden on Monday, April 22, and concluding in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 23.  Details on those events will be forthcoming.

Notably, this will be the second of two major boxing events The Garden will host on back-to-back boxing weekends – both of which will be live exclusively on DAZN.  England’s Anthony Joshua will make his United States and Madison Square Garden debut in a defense of his unified heavyweight title against Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller on June 1, just one week before Golovkin’s highly anticipated return on June 8.

“I am very excited to be returning to the ring and bringing the Big Drama Show back to Madison Square Garden.  The Garden’s fans are fantastic,” said Golovkin.  “I love boxing and I promise to bring the best of me to everyone who will be watching me in an all-action fight with Steve Rolls.  I am very happy that GGG Promotions has a new home at DAZN.”

Golovkin, 37, has reigned supreme in the Middleweight Division for nearly a decade.  Eighteen of his record 20 title defenses came by way of knockout — a 90% ratio — which is sure to remain the division’s highest knockout percentage for a world champion.  Golovkin’s tenure as champion ended when he lost a hotly disputed majority decision in a rematch with Canelo Alvarez last September.

A dominant amateur standout and Olympic Silver Medalist before turning professional in 2006, Golovkin’s career has been on a historic trajectory, including a 23-fight victory-by-knockout streak and unifying the WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO World Middleweight Titles.  Golovkin has also proven himself to be box office gold.  He has sold out the most iconic arenas of the world, including Madison Square Garden, T-Mobile Arena, O2 Arena, The Fabulous Forum, and StubHub Center.

Rolls, 35, making his debut at The Garden, will be looking to ice Golovkin with his version of a Canadian cold front.  In his most recent fight, he won the vacant USBA middleweight title last December, via unanimous decision, over KeAndrae Leatherwood.  World-rated No. 9 rated by the IBF, Rolls has stopped four of his last seven opponents while keeping his record perfect.

Katie Taylor: I can become the greatest

Katie Taylor believes that she can become the greatest female fighter ever as she meets Rose Volante in a World Lightweight unification clash at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA on tonight (March 15), live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

IBF and WBA ruler Taylor (12-0 5 KOs) looks to unify for a second time against the Brazilian WBO champion Volante (14-0 8 KOs) having added the IBF strap to her WBA belt in April in Brooklyn, New York beating Victoria Bustos and now places those belts on the line for the fourth time.

The Irish favorite can take a step closer to her goal of becoming the undisputed champion on St. Patrick’s weekend, with a summer showdown with WBC ruler Delfine Persoon on the cards to enable Taylor to own all four belts at 135lbs – with promoter Eddie Hearn saying this week that that clash could take Taylor back to Madison Square Garden, New York on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s World Heavyweight title showdown with Jarrell Miller on June 1.

The 32 year old has targeted mega fights later in the year with seven-weight World ruler Amanda Serrano and undisputed Welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus – the types of fights that could make Taylor go down in history as one of the true greats.

“I want to be an undisputed champion, I want to make history in the sport, leave behind a legacy and be known as the best of all time for years and years to come,” said Taylor.

“I wake up every day so blessed and grateful to be able to do something that I love, even on those days that I am not in the mood to train, and I do have those days, we all do.

“The biggest challenge is to change people’s perception of the sport. There are still a lot of people that don’t agree with women’s boxing but I think that is definitely changing and people are seeing the best of women’s boxing right now.

“I’m very lucky to have been given this platform to perform on these big stages and giving women’s boxing the showcase that it deserves. People hadn’t seen the best of the sport before but with Sky Sports and DAZN backing us, we’re on a high – it’s a golden era.

“You are seeing the Olympians turning over to the pros now and that’s huge for the sport, the strength in depth really is there now, especially around Lightweight – there’s a stack of new stars in the sport and that’s why it’s great that there are big fights out there for me.

“I would love to fight at MSG again, it was incredible to box there on the Canelo card, it was phenomenal. I just fight wherever I am told.

“Anyone in the opposite corner is big competition for me but the public want to see the Amanda Serrano fight – it’s one of the biggest in boxing right now, not just in the women’s game but in general, but I am well aware that we both need to keep winning to make it happen and all that is on my mind right now is Rose Volante tonight, I have to get past that.”

Taylor’s clash with Volante is part of a massive night of action as local hero Tevin Farmer (28-4-1 6 KOs) defends his IBF World Super-Featherweight title against Ireland’s Jono Carroll (16-0-1 3 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

TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW PRICED FROM $40 FROM THE LIACORAS CENTER WEBSITE

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

Canelo-Jacobs set for May 4

 Boxing’s biggest star will take a step closer to becoming undisputed champion as Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) defends his WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Titles in a 12-round unification fight against IBF Middleweight World Champion Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) during the celebratory weekend of Cinco de Mayo. The champion-vs.-champion event will take place Saturday, May 4, 2019 and will be streamed exclusively live on DAZN.

Additional details for the event, including venue and ticket information, will be announced shortly.

Canelo is a 28-year-old native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico who became the top man in the sport by facing the best competition and making the best fights for the fans. At 154 pounds, Canelo captured several world titles and defeated the likes of Austin “No Doubt” Trout, Sugar Shane Mosley, Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo, Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara and Liam “Beefy” Smith. However, Canelo scored his most significant victory yet at 160 pounds, where he defeated Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in their highly anticipated rematch in September 2018 and established himself as the WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion. Canelo then made history by signing the most lucrative sports contract for an athlete in history to begin a groundbreaking, exclusive partnership with global sports streaming platform DAZN that saw the last king of pay-per-view boxing step into a new era as the new king of sports streaming.

In his debut performance, Canelo became a three-division world champion by knocking out Rocky Fielding in three rounds to capture the WBA Super Middleweight World Title in December 2018. Canelo will return to middleweight for this fight as he continues to clean out the 160-pound division.

“I’m happy to announce my next fight during the festive weekend of Cinco de Mayo,” said Canelo Alvarez. “I will unify my middleweight titles against Daniel Jacobs on one of the two most important dates that belong to me. I have no doubt that I will be victorious and that I’ll be one step away from becoming the undisputed middleweight world champion. And what better way to watch it than on as tremendous a platform as DAZN.”

Jacobs is a 31-year-old native of Brooklyn, New York who is widely considered as one of the best middleweights of this era. Despite being away from the sport for 19 months, due to a form of bone cancer that he courageously overcame, Jacobs rose up the middleweight rankings to win the WBA Middleweight World Title against Jarrod Fletcher in 2014. Jacobs made several successful defenses, including a thunderous first-round knockout of Peter Quillin the following year. Despite losing to Gennady Golovkin in a very close fight in 2017, Jacobs has remained undefeated since his return, defeating former amateur champion and middleweight contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko to capture the IBF Middleweight World Championship. Jacobs will look to capture more middleweight hardware in the biggest fight of his career.

“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for. The opportunity to achieve greatness inside the ring,” said Daniel Jacobs. “I have always believed I can beat Canelo, and on May 4 live on DAZN, I will get my chance to play it out. It’s been nearly four years since Canelo has faced an American challenger. It’s going to be a huge event where I believe I will cement myself as the best middleweight in the division.”

“Canelo Alvarez wants the best fights and the biggest challenges,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “That’s what he did as the 154-pound champion, and that’s what he’s doing now as the king of the middleweight division. We are also proud to demonstrate to boxing fans that this new partnership with DAZN means that fans will get pay-per-view level fights without the cost of pay-per-view. Golden Boy Promotions is continuing its promise to make the sport as accessible as possible by putting this champion-vs.-champion fight on the platform.”

“What a fight! I can’t tell you how happy I am that Danny Jacobs gets this opportunity to fight Canelo on Cinco de Mayo in a massive unification fight,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport. “Victory would cap one of the most incredible, inspirational boxing stories of our generation, and Danny and the team will be putting everything in place to lead him to victory. Respect to Canelo and Golden Boy for accepting this challenge, and congratulations to DAZN and their subscribers for getting this incredible fight with no extra cost. Let’s go May 4! Let’s go Daniel Jacobs!”

Bivol signs with Matchroom Boxing; Bivol-Smith to happen in March

Dmitry Bivol and World of Boxing have signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA and the Russian will defend his WBA World Light-Heavyweight title against Joe Smith Jr live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK in March.

Bivol makes the fifth defense of his belt against Smith Jr after moving to 15-0 (11KOs) in November, with a comprehensive to a points win over former unified champion Jean Pascal in New Jersey. Bivol’s win over the Canadian was the latest impressive name on his growing CV, following a points triumph over Isaac Chilemba, a final round stoppage of Sullivan Barrera and a highlight real first round KO of Trent Broadhurst.

The Russian star will meet a stern test of his ambitions to unify the division in the shape of Smith Jr. (24-2 20KOs) the Long Islander who famously stopped Bernard Hopkins in the Philadelphia legend’s last pro fight in December 2016 and destroyed Andrzej Fonfara inside the opening round of their clash in Chicago six months earlier.

Eddie Hearn presents Bivol vs. Smith Jr in association with World of Boxing, Star Boxing and Main Events – and both fighters and their teams predict fireworks when the pair clash in March, with the date and venue to be confirmed at a press conference in New York this Friday.

“I am glad to finally meet Joe in the ring,” said Bivol. “I saw his fights against Fonfara and Hopkins live and always wanted to test my skills against him! Thank you to World of Boxing, Matchroom Boxing USA, and DAZN – I hope to put a great performance for everybody!

“Very happy to be working with Eddie Hearn, it’s a pleasure!” said World of Boxing’s Andrei Ryabinskiy. “We look forward to a great event together with Matchroom and DAZN.”

“Bivol was supposed to fight Joe back in November, it’s a very exciting fight,” said Bivol’s manager Vadim Kornilov. “Both Dmitry and Joe have a lot of power. I guess this fight was meant to happen and we look forward to a building relationship with Eddie Hearn and DAZN!”

“I am very excited for the opportunity to fight Bivol for the World championship,” said Smith Jr. “Everything I’ve worked for in and out of the gym was to better myself and become a World Champion. All the hard work and my determination will pay off come fight night.”

“Joe Smith Jr. is one of the hardest punching fighters out there,” said Smith’s promoter Joe DeGuardia. “His exciting style and humble background has made him a real fan favorite. I am pleased he will be getting this opportunity to fight for the World Championship. Joe has been anxiously waiting for this opportunity and I look forward the fight.”

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

Rosado on Arias: ‘I want to smash this clown and then meet the top middleweights’

Gabriel Rosado has pleaded with Luis Arias to go to war on Saturday night as they clash in a must-win Middleweight battle at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, KS, live on DAZN.

Rosado and Arias can lay claim to challenging the World champions in 2019 with victory in Kansas, and Arias has promised to KO Rosado to bounce back from his sole pro defeat against Daniel Jacobs last November.

Jacobs was crowned as the new IBF champion the day that Arias and Rosado met in a press conference for this weekend’s clash in October, joining Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Demetrius Andrade as rulers at 160lbs.

Rosado has twice challenged for World Middleweight titles and after over a year out of action, the Philadelphia ace wants a show-stealing and fan-friendly fight with Arias to show he’s ready for a third crack at the big prize.

“He ran in his last fight, remember that,” said Rosado. “He doesn’t know what he’s got coming. I like that all the Middleweight titles are with DAZN – congratulations to Demetrius Andrade for his win, that’s a fight I’d love, Daniel Jacobs too and Canelo – I want to smash this clown and then meet the top Middleweights.

“It’s been a long time since my last fight but in that time, I’ve been able to re-group, focus, get back with my original trainer and I’m looking forward to this opportunity. Luis has said a lot about my losses, but win, lose or draw, everybody respects me.

“I don’t know Luis personally, I guess he feels he has to hype himself up. I’ve fought the best, but not only that, I’ve fought them back to back to back, champion after champion. You have to put that into perspective, that’s a hard schedule for anybody, that level of competition.

“I took some time off and I’m healthy, strong and you are going to see a wiser, smarter Gabe Rosado that’s still hungry. I’m not worried about him wearing a mask or talking about bets, it’s a business and it’s a fight.

“Everybody has their path and that was mine. I’ve never had that promoter behind me saying ‘let’s push Gabe Rosado, let’s protect him and build him up to become World champion’. I was thrown to the wolves and being the man I am, I take these fights, I’m not supposed to turn anything down but my collar.

“Through all those tough fights I was able to gain knowledge – it’s either going to make or break you. I think most fighters would be broken by now and would have hung them up, but you see me in the Martin Murray fight, I looked good. I controlled the pace against Glen Tapia and I am going to keep that momentum going and you will see a skilled Gabe Rosado.”

Rosado’s clash with Arias is part of a huge night of action in Kansas in association with KO Night Boxing with a host of stars and local talents in action.

Brooklyn’s Heavyweight star Jarrell Miller meets fellow unbeaten big-hitter Bogdan Dinu in a crunch clash at the top level of the division, while chief-support provided by the brilliant two-weight World ruler Claressa Shields who looks to add the WBC Middleweight strap to her WBA and IBF crowns against tough Scottish challenger Hannah Rankin.

There’s an all-Mexican clash and a homecoming for Brandon Rios against Ramon Alvarez, brother of ‘Canelo’’, as both men look to make a splash at Welterweight.

Team USA 2016 Olympic bronze medal man Nico Hernandez has raced to 5-0 (4KOs) – the Wichita talent fights for the third time in the Kansas Star Casino and Arena since debuting there in March 2017, unbeaten Wichita Super-Middleweight and police officer Manny Thompson looks to improve his 7-0 record and Las Vegas’ Jeremy Nichols meets Wichita’s Jeremiah Page at Middleweight.

Unbeaten contender Anthony Sims Jr. makes a move to Super-Middleweight and Brooklyn’s exciting newcomer to the Middleweight scene Nikita Ababiy, fresh from a first round KO on debut in Chicago earlier in the month, is also in action.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing