Colbert: ‘Gervonta Davis, Leo Santa Cruz and Jamel Herring would all be great fights for me’

Unbeaten interim WBA Super Featherweight Champion Chris “Primetime” Colbert will look to make a statement in his first nationally televised main event as he faces hard-hitting Jaime Arboleda live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, December 12 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

“I always knew I was going to get here,” said Colbert. “It’s all God’s plan. This is just going to be another day for me and I’ll show everyone why I’m one of the best 130-pounders in the world.”

The 24-year-old Colbert has shot up the rankings of the 130-pound weight class and believes that a victory on Saturday night will lead to bigger opportunities in the jam-packed division.

“This is one of the most stacked divisions in boxing and I love competing in it,” said Colbert. “It’s great to be getting noticed in a division that has this much talent, and hopefully it’ll lead to me getting the big fights that I need. I don’t feel like there’s any certain fighter I’m targeting, but Gervonta Davis, Leo Santa Cruz and Jamel Herring would all be great fights for me. Beating them would help me become ‘the guy’ in the division.”

Colbert‘s rise continued in his last fight, as he scored a 10th-round knockdown against former champion Jezreel Corrales on his way to a decision win while showing an impressive array of skills against a fighter determined to slow the action through holding and other veteran tricks.

“Against Corrales I learned not to rush,” said Colbert. “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I can’t just go rush in there and expect everyone to get knocked out. I had to take my time, do what I do best and stick to my game plan.”

In the 26-year-old Arboleda, Colbert will be presented with another rising 130-pound contender with his own sights set on emerging amongst the elite in the division. Arboleda has won five of his last six fights by stoppage and most recently dropped Jayson Velez on his way to a decision victory in February on SHOWTIME.

“Come December 12, I’m ready for whatever he brings,” said Colbert. “I expect him to bring pressure and ‘try’ to make me tired because that’s the only chance he has. He can’t outbox me. That’s not happening. But I love to bang inside and I’m ready for whatever he does. I hope he doesn’t run or clinch me because I’d love to get the knockout and get him out of there early.”

The Brooklyn-native Colbert has continued to work with his longtime coach Aureliano Sosa in his hometown through the difficulties of the pandemic. Those difficulties have led to Colbert sparring with larger welterweight and super welterweights in camp, which Colbert believes could help him with the power Arboleda will bring into the fight.

“Training camp has been going great for the most part,” said Colbert. “It’s just been a little hard finding sparring partners. But because it’s been difficult to find fighters at my weight I’ve actually been sparring with 147 and 154-pound fighters. I honestly love that because it prepares me better, and who’s to say that Arboleda won’t have power like them? I’m on weight now, though, and ready to put on a show on December 12.”

Hitchins: ‘Floyd(Mayweather) helped me tremendously while I was back in Las Vegas

Unbeaten rising prospect Richardson Hitchins shared details of his training camp, including pointers and motivation he received from Floyd Mayweather and Gervonta Davis, ahead of his super lightweight showdown against former world champion Argenis Mendez live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, December 12 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

“Floyd helped me tremendously while I was back in Las Vegas,” said Hitchins. “I already have the fundamentals as a fighter, but he showed me little things here and there and workouts that I have taken back home with me while I train for this fight. I’m not shy about my ability as a fighter, because I truly believe I am the best up and coming fighter in the game, so these are the kind of fights I need in order to show the world who Richardson Hitchins is.

“Gervonta has been instrumental in past fight camps as well, and he’s the type of person you need. He pushes you to go harder. We go head-to-head in trying to outdo each other, and that’s the type of competition that’s needed in order to really be the best.”

Despite training throughout the pandemic, Hitchins has been able to remain on task and on track throughout his camp that began in Las Vegas before ending in his native Brooklyn under the guidance of his head coach Lenny Wilson.

“The thing about me is, I’m focused no matter what,” said Hitchins. “I don’t take ‘off’ after my fights. I stay in shape all year round; I don’t need to get ready in terms of conditioning or getting my body back in shape because this is my job. I take my job very seriously. The discipline Floyd has had throughout his career is the same discipline I have. I have watched my idols and taken things from them so that I can put myself in a position to win.

“I don’t think the pandemic or the holidays necessarily altered my training. I still have access to my gym. There’s nothing that’s going to stand in my way of becoming great. The pandemic doesn’t slow me down, it’s just another roadblock to test my dedication to the sport.”

The 23-year-old Hitchins represented Haiti at the 2016 Olympic Games and will return to the ring after debuting in 2020 with a 10-round decision victory over Nicholas DeLomba in February. It was Hitchins’ second 10-round decision win after his previous fight saw him best Kevin Johnson following 10 rounds in November 2019.

“I often think back to my fight against Kevin Johnson, he’s a tough fighter and he’s the one who I can confidently say brought the best out of me,” said Hitchins. “Those are the fights that make me look back and watch closely the things I need to work on. That fight also showed me that no one should be overlooked, so going into this fight against Mendez, I’m not overlooking him.”

Mendez presents the most accomplished opponent of Hitchins’ young career. The 34-year-old former champion most recently fought Juan Heraldez and Anthony Peterson to draws in 2019, and scored victories over Eddie Ramirez and Ivan Redkach prior to that. For Hitchins, the strong resume of his opponent is something he relishes as a measuring stick for his progress.

“He’s a veteran, he’s been in there with a lot of tough guys and he’s a former world champion, so he clearly has a skill set that I think I need to face at this point in my career,” said Hitchins. “I need those big fights. He’s older now, but I feel like him in his prime still couldn’t touch my skillset. It’s my job to prove that.

“I know this won’t be an easy fight, but I’ll be prepared for whatever he brings. My motivation is to be more than ordinary. I will fulfill my goals when this is all said and done, and honestly, I’m just waiting for this fight to come so I can show that. Whether it’s Mendez, or whoever, the conviction I have and how I feel about myself is stronger than anything standing in front of me in that ring.”

Photo: Mayweather Promotions

Gervonta Davis, Leo Santa Cruz make weight for their showdown on Saturday night

One of the biggest storylines leading up to the fight between WBA 135-pound regular champion1 Gervonta Davis, and 130-pound WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz, is whether Davis would make the 130-pound weight limit for this fight, and on Friday, he answered that question. Davis weighed in at 129.8 pounds, and Santa Cruz came in at 129.5 pounds.

The two combatants will battle it out on Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas(Showtime pay-per-view). Both belts will be on the line in this fight. Davis is the favorite, but expect Santa Cruz to be very competitive.

Here are photos(Esther Lin/SHOWTIME) from the Davis-Santa Cruz weigh-in:

Mayweather: ‘I know ‘Tank’ is ready for pay-per-view because his fan base is really growing’

For WBA(regular) 135-pound champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis(23-0, 22 KOs), October 31 will be an opportunity to make a statement when he battles WBA 130-pound champion Leo Santa Cruz(37-1-1, 19 KOs) at the Alamodome in San Antonio and Showtime pay-per-view. 

Both belts will be on the line in this fight, and October 31 will be Davis’ first time headlining a pay-per-view, so it will be an opportunity to prove that he can be a pay-per-view attraction.

Davis has drawn huge crowds in his past few fights. The 25-year-old Davis recently drew large crowds in Baltimore and Atlanta, which according to his promoter, Floyd Mayweather, means Davis is ready to be a pay-per-view star.

“When ‘Tank’ was very young, I told him that at some point he’d be on pay-per-view and now we’re here,” Mayweather said on Tuesday at a virtual press conference. “I’ve always been a fan of Leo’s as well. Both fighters deserve this, the fans deserve this, and I want to see these fighters at their best on fight night. Go out and give the fans what they want to see.

“I know ‘Tank’ is ready for pay-per-view because his fan base is really growing. The demographic that follows him is getting bigger. With Leo being popular on the West Coast and in Texas, he’ll bring a huge following as well. This fight can only be on pay-per-view, in my opinion.”

Fortunately for Davis, he will have Mayweather in his corner, who knows a lot about what it takes to be a pay-per-view star. Mayweather was apart of the top three highest-grossing pay-per-views in boxing history.

“Floyd’s been there coaching me through what comes with having my first pay-per-view main event fight,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of pressure on me, and you have to live up to fighting on pay-per-view so you can fight on pay-per-view again. When I’m down or anything like that, he’s able to push me, because he’s been there before. There are things that only Floyd can tell me about because he has that experience.”

Mayweather added: “In the gym, Calvin Ford(Davis’ trainer) and I work hand in hand. I’m just there to give pointers and help ‘Tank’ understand how pay-per-view works. If a fighter is in a gym working hard all day, sometimes he doesn’t want to do the things you have to do that are part of being on pay-per-view.”

The undefeated Davis has stopped 22 of his 23 opponents, but according to Mayweather, we have not seen the best out of the three-time world champion.

“You haven’t seen the best Gervonta Davis yet,’ Mayweather. “He had so many different looks in training. He had big guys, small guys, combination punchers, pressure fighters. He was boxing everything from middleweights to featherweights. All of this is going to play a big part in his career.”

Is the best yet to come for Davis, or will Santa Cruz spoil Tank’s pay-per-view party? We’ll find out on Halloween.

Photo: Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions

 

 

 

 
 

 

Tank Davis on fight with Santa Cruz: ‘We are just a few weeks away, and I’m already in great shape’

Three-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis and four-division world champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz will square off in a Halloween thriller for the WBA Super Featherweight and WBA Lightweight Championships live on SHOWTIME PPV Saturday, October 31 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The four-fight pay-per-view card will be the first major boxing event with fans in attendance since COVID-19 forced a halt to U.S. sports in March.

The stacked undercard will feature unbeaten San Antonio native and WBA Super Lightweight Champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios defending his title against hard-hitting Ryan “Cowboy” Karl in the co-main event and former super lightweight world champion Regis “Rougarou” Prograis will take on unbeaten contender Juan Heraldez in a 10-round showdown. In the telecast opener, lightweight contenders Isaac Cruz and Diego Magdaleno will battle in an IBF title eliminator bout.

The highly anticipated main event will be contested at 130-pounds and will be fought for both Santa Cruz’s 130-pound title and Davis’ 135-pound title, which they each won in their previous fight. Two crowd favorites with massive followings, Davis vs. Santa Cruz is an all-action style matchup, with Davis owning a .957 knockout rate, while Santa Cruz is long established as one of the busiest punchers and best pressure fighters in the sport.

Davis vs. Santa Cruz will be a rare clash in boxing history in which world titles in two weight classes will be at stake. Other notable instances in recent boxing history are the 1988 Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Donny Lalonde fight for the light heavyweight and super middleweight titles, and the 2014 Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana rematch for the super welterweight and welterweight championships.

“I’m looking forward to showing the world how hard I’ve been working in camp,” said Davis. “We are just a few weeks away, and I’m already in great shape. Headlining on pay-per-view has always been a dream of mine since I started boxing. I can’t wait to put on a spectacular performance against multiple division world champion Leo Santa Cruz. Thank you to my team, SHOWTIME, Mayweather Promotions, GTD Promotions, and all my fans worldwide. Keep supporting me and I’ll fight for you.”

“October 31 is going to be the biggest fight of my career,” said Santa Cruz. “I’m going to fight a very tough opponent, maybe the toughest opponent of my career. Two titles are going to be on the line, and this will be my first time headlining a pay-per-view. So I’m going to do everything that I can to put on a good show. Davis is known for his power. But I think with my experience and ring IQ I can break him down. He’s probably going to be very aggressive in the early rounds. But if I do what I’m supposed to, and execute our game plan, I will win.”

The event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions, GTD Promotions and Santa Cruz Boxing Club.

Tickets will go on sale Monday, October 5 at 10 a.m. CT and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. This is the first major boxing event with fans in attendance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. in March. The Alamodome has implemented a comprehensive health and safety plan to protect against the spread of the virus. All fans attending the event will be screened upon entry and are required to wear a mask, as well as follow social distancing guidelines. Tickets will be distributed in seat blocks known as “pods” to maintain distance between groups not from the same party. For more information, visit Alamodome.com.

“The Alamodome is excited to host the Davis vs. Santa Cruz SHOWTIME PPV event and to bring these athletes to San Antonio,” said Steve Zito, General Manager, Alamodome. “Not only is this a great platform for these athletes and their fans, but the event will also spotlight San Antonio through nationally televised matches and generate economic impact for our community during these challenging times.”

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) burst onto the scene with an explosive knockout victory over Jose Pedraza to win the IBF Junior Lightweight World Title in a star-making performance on SHOWTIME® in January 2017. At the time, he became the youngest world champion in boxing at age 22. In the ring, Davis blends controlled aggression with blazing hand and foot speed, eye-catching power and sublime boxing skills. The dynamic combination of skills has made Davis a fan-favorite who filled arenas in Atlanta, Ga., and his hometown of Baltimore, Md., last year. 

The 25-year-old began his 2019 with a knockout of Hugo Ruiz in February, before scoring a second-round stoppage of Ricardo Núñez in his homecoming fight in July. Davis closed out the year by capturing his lightweight title via 12th round TKO of former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in December. Davis also owns a title-winning performance in which he dominated former champion Jesus Cuellar to capture the WBA 130-pound belt in 2018. Under the guidance of Mayweather Promotions, Davis will look to further improve his impressive portfolio with another title-winning performance in his first pay-per-view main event.

Fighting out of Los Angeles, Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) made his debut at super featherweight last November by defeating Miguel Flores to capture the WBA title. Santa Cruz has made his name in the sport by engaging in numerous Fight of the Year contenders, including two thrilling featherweight title duels against four-time champion Abner Mares and two-division champion Carl Frampton each. He lost his featherweight title in his first match against Frampton in 2016, but reclaimed it in their rematch the following year.

The 32-year-old has competed in title bouts in 17 of his last 19 fights, while picking up belts at 118, 122, 126 and 130-pounds. The 130-pound title made Santa Cruz just the fifth fighter of Mexican descent to win titles in four weight classes, joining Oscar De La Hoya, Erik Morales, Jorge Arce and Mikey Garcia. Santa Cruz was introduced to the sport and trained throughout his career by his father Jose, along with his brothers Jose Armando, a former lightweight contender, and Antonio. Santa Cruz will look to become a five-division champion in his first pay-per-view headliner.

The 25-year-old Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) will be making the first defense of his world title in his hometown of San Antonio. Barrios captured his 140-pound title in his last fight in September 2019, earning a hard-fought unanimous decision over then-unbeaten Batyr Akhmedov, dropping him twice and fighting through a cut suffered on a head butt. Barrios trains in Oakland, Calif. under the guidance of renowned coach Virgil Hunter. The five-foot ten-inch Barrios debuted as a super bantamweight in 2013, eventually moving up to 140-pounds full time in 2017 where he is 8-0 with seven knockouts.

“The long layoff is finally over and fans can expect to see me go to war with Ryan Karl, who I know is coming to bring an aggressive fight to the table,” said Barrios. “I’ve stayed in great shape during this past year, so now it’s time for me to keep giving boxing fans exciting fights. I’ll be representing my city of San Antonio and as always, everyone can expect to see me as explosive as ever. On October 31, all the fans watching on pay-per-view will watch me make a statement as I defend my title.”

Born in Milano, Texas and now trained in Houston under the tutelage of top trainer Ronnie Shields, Karl (18-2, 11 KOs) will step in for his first title opportunity on October 31. The 28-year-old enters this fight on a three-bout winning streak, with all three wins coming in 2019, including a knockout of Kevin Watts to avenge one of his losses in an immediate rematch. Karl also owns victories over Kareem Martin and then-unbeaten Jose Felix Quezada during his pro career that dates back to 2014.

“I’ve been training for this my whole life and I’m not going to let it slip away,” said Karl. “We’re working hard in training camp to put on the best performance of my career. We know what we’re up against in Mario Barrios, but I’ve come too far not to take full advantage of this opportunity on October 31.”

A staple of the 140-pound elite, Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) returns to the ring after losing his title in an exciting unification clash via majority decision last October against Josh Taylor. The 31-year-old won his title by defeating Kiryl Relikh by TKO in April 2019 and has also earned stoppage victories over former unified champion Julius Indongo, and then-unbeaten contenders Joel Diaz Jr. and Juan Jose Velasco. Prograis was born in New Orleans but lives and fights out of Houston.

“This is a huge fight and I’m very thankful to PBC for giving me this opportunity,” said Prograis. “I haven’t fought in a year and since then I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and moved from L.A. back to Texas. I’m more focused than I’ve ever been and I can’t wait to get back to my number one spot in the super lightweight division. I have to be a world champion again and I won’t stop until that happens.”

The 30-year-old Heraldez (16-0-1, 10 KOs) can vault himself into the top tier of 140-pound contenders with a career-best victory over Prograis on October 31. Born in Northridge, Cal. and training out of the Mayweather Promotions gym in Las Vegas, Heraldez most recently fought to a majority draw last May against former champion Argenis Mendez. Heraldez’s pro career has also seen him score victories over previously unbeaten Jose Miguel Borrego and tough contender Eddie Ramirez.

“It’s been a crazy year, but I took this opportunity to spend time with my family and sharpen my skills inside the ring,” said Heraldez. “There’s been a lot of great sparring happening at the Mayweather Boxing Club that I’ve taken advantage of. I have a tough opponent in front of me, and that’s my only focus right now. I trust in my ability as a fighter and I trust my team to get me over the finish line with a victory on October 31. I’m thankful to Mayweather Promotions for putting me on such a large platform for this fight.”

Fighting out of his native Mexico City, Mexico, Cruz (19-1-1, 14 KOs) is unbeaten in his last 15 fights since dropping his sixth pro fight by decision. The 22-year-old knocked out 10-of-13 opponents between 2016 and 2018, before making his U.S. debut in December 2019. That contest saw Cruz earn a unanimous decision over Miguel Perez, which he followed up in February of this year by defeating Thomas Mattice by decision on ShoBox: The New Generation.

“Since I started boxing, it has been my dream to fight on this stage in the United States,” said Cruz. “I know that Diego Magdaleno is a very tough and experienced fighter, but it’s my time on October 31. The fans will see that I have what it takes to be world champion when I beat Magdaleno and announce myself as one of the best lightweights in the world.”

Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) enters this fight coming off of an impressive victory over contender Austin Dulay in February that saw him drop Dulay on his way to a unanimous decision. The 33-year-old has challenged Roman Martinez for a 130-pound title and Terry Flanagan for a lightweight crown, while also battling lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez in February 2019. A Las Vegas native, Magdaleno has won four-of-five fights entering October 31, including a 10-round decision over Artyom Hovhannisyan.

“I’ve been super eager to get back into the ring since my last performance,” said Magdaleno. “That win sparked a fire in me and got me as motivated as I’ve ever been. Now that I’m in a title eliminator, I’m even more excited to return to action. I’m facing another young lion, but he’s lacking the experience that I have. Training with Bones Adams has made a world of difference in my career. I’ve made a transition to being more composed and smarter in the ring. I’m here to make a statement and claim what’s mine. I’m never going to back down until I get that world title.”

Photo: Amanda Westscott/Showtime

Barrientes Twins discuss their sparring sessions with Gervonta Davis

Twin boxing phenoms Angel “AK-47” Barrientes (3-0, 3 KOs) and Chavez “The Beast” Barrietes (3-0, 3 KOs) detailed their recent sparring sessions with three-time, two-division world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) as they prepare for their televised debuts this Saturday, October 3 in FS1 PBC Fight Night action and on FOX Deportes from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

The two Las Vegas-natives shared several sparring sessions with Davis ahead of the Baltimore native’s showdown against four-division champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz. Both fighters have been asked to come back and continue their development and continue sparring with Davis after their fight this Saturday.

FS1 PBC Fight Night begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is headlined by unbeaten featherweight contender Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo taking on hard-hitting Rigoberto Hermosillo in a 10-round showdown. Also featured is top welterweight prospect Paul Kroll squaring off against rising prospect Luke Santamaria in the 10-round co-main event.

The event will be promoted by TGB Promotions and will take place without fans in attendance at the Microsoft Theater, an AEG venue, in downtown Los Angeles.

Ángel will battle Fernando Ibarra in a six-round featherweight attraction, while Chávez will face Ivan Varela, also in a six-round featherweight bout. Here is what the brothers had to say about the valuable experience they gained from sharing the ring with Davis:

CHAVEZ:

“The experience has been crazy. Gervonta Davis is a world champion and to have the privilege to share the ring with him is simply amazing, I’m very thankful. Tank has years of experience, knowledge and great skills, all of the ingredients a great fighter requires. It’s a great feeling knowing we held out own with him, especially after seeing him stop top level welterweights.”

“I think this experience is a great for my career. Just knowing that I was able to share the ring with Tank and learn from the best, is great for my confidence. I am ready to see where this experience takes me. I am always training to get to that next level. Sparring Davis has definitely helped us get there. So far this has been a huge accomplishment. This experience has given my brother and I great exposure being that we performed exceptionally in front of Floyd Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe. It’s helped put our name out there. Sharing the ring with a champ and learning a different fighting style, it can’t get better than that.”

“I am always trying to find things to work on and get better at. We’re both learning off each other, I am finding different ways to get in and not get hit. Tank is more of a brawler and I’m more of a boxer because I’m longer. I feel like I’ve already learned a lot from sparring him. One of the main things I’ve been working on is keeping my distance and trying not to get hit with big punches.”

“It’s been a great experience having Floyd watching us spar his fighter. Being able to showcase my talents in front of a boxing legend has been a ride in itself. He’s going against us; he’s basically watching us spar against his fighter. It does get a little nerve-wracking, walking into Floyd’s gym, because you know you’re walking into a doghouse, where only the strong survive. I just remember to stick to the game plan and stay composed. It’s great exposure just to let people know we were in there with one of the best fighters in the world right now, and we are holding our own.”

ANGEL:

“I think this is a great for us! Sparring Tank has been a great experience. He’s one of the best fighters in boxing. Davis does a lot of things that you’re not comfortable with, but he definitely helps me stay on my toes. He’s fast and strong. This experience is helping me stay disciplined and focused on doing what I gotta do. Learning from him has been really beneficial to our boxing development.”

“We both learn off each other. Not everybody’s on that world champion level like him. So, we’re learning a lot of new things. I’m learning how to stay calm, stay disciplined, keep my distance, stick to my game plan and do what I do best. Tank is great fighter and you just gotta stay focused and not fall for his veteran tricks.”

“This experience is going to be great for us. No one that we are fighting soon is going to be on Tank’s level. So, the experience is great, we couldn’t ask for better work.”

“Floyd Mayweather is one of the best boxers. Having him in the gym watching us spar is really cool. Sparring in front of him and showcasing my talents has been a dream come true. He actually came up to us and gave us a couple of pointers. It’s a great feeling, he had good advice. Learning from the best after I sparred his fighter; you can’t beat that.”

“After this experience, I hope to take a little bit of everything I learn and apply it to my boxing game. I am just thankful to be able to share the ring with a champion like Gervonta Davis, he’s a great fighter.”

Berchelt on Tank Davis: ‘Floyd Mayweather protects him too much’

His message is crystal clear. WBC super featherweight world champion Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) wants all the big names. Whether it’s fellow Mexican action star Oscar Valdez, IBF champion Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, WBA champion Rene Alvarado, WBO champion and promotional stablemate Jamel Herring, or lightweight standouts Vasiliy Lomachenko and Gervonta Davis, Berchelt is itching to get back to action.

The Cancun native, who has made six defenses of his world title, recently spoke with Lupe Contreras. This is what he had to say.

On what he’s been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic

“We are still staying home and protecting ourselves from this bad virus that has knocked out a lot of people.

“We are taking care of ourselves by staying home. We are trying to stay active. We know that we have to take all the necessary precautions because we are high-performance athletes and we got to be careful.”

On training for a fight without knowing when he will fight again

“Well, it’s very difficult. Thankfully, we have the opportunity of having a stationary walker at home. I tried to run a little bit, and I do a little bit of shadowboxing, abs, push-ups. But it’s basically that. I believe it’s not the same as training in the gym, but we got to remember that we live off of staying in shape, and because of that, we must stay active.

“Nobody really knows when this pandemic will be over. But we have spoken to Top Rank President, Todd duBoef, and he has been giving us updates. We hope that this will be over soon. They have been thinking about all the alternatives, and one of them could be having fights without the public. I think that could be a big accomplishment because all fighters are standing by. A lot of us make a living by just boxing. I also believe that the TV networks are looking for content because they are running low on content right now. We hope for this to end soon so we can make the {Oscar Valdez} fight happen.”

On Oscar Valdez and his trainer, Eddy Reynoso

“Yes, of course I believe Oscar is a great fighter. I respect him a lot, but now we must face each other. I think Eddy Reynoso has come to add a lot of good things to his corner. He has also done a good job with Canelo Alvarez and Ryan Garcia. Now he is doing it with Oscar Valdez. It’s an excellent team, but on my side, I’m the champion and I also have a great trainer in Alfredo Caballero. It will be a great fight between Mexican fighters and Mexican trainers.”

On whether Valdez’s aggressive style will work against him

“No, I think they will have to come up with a good strategy. It’s worth noting that Oscar has already suffered an injury on his jaw. If I’m not mistaken, it happened in his fight against Scott Quigg. He broke his jaw. That’s why I believe they are going to try to fight a smart fight. He is also moving up in weight, and I don’t think he should be trading punches with me.”

On fighting Shakur Stevenson

“Of course! He is also a great fighter. Shakur Stevenson is a former Olympian and trains alongside Terence Crawford. I believe he is a fighter with a lot of ability and is one of the best fighters that Top Rank has right now, but like I mentioned, we are waiting for the fight with Oscar. I think he is still campaigning at 126. But when he gets to 130, I would like to face him. I think he is a great fighter, and I believe the fans want to see ‘El Alacrán’ Berchelt against the best.”

On his change once he became champion

“Well, it is a great responsibility. Everyone wants to be where you are. Now you become the target, and they are coming after you. Everyone wants to literally rip your head off. They want the crown. They want the belt. You realize that you have more responsibilities by having the belt, and you got to keep showing why you are the champion. That is why I’m still the champion after three years and six title defenses. We are going to keep walking this road. Losing my unbeaten record taught me a lot, and it didn’t only make me a better fighter, but it also made me a better person.”

On if he wants to unify the titles

“Of course! I would love to. JoJo Diaz was recently crowned as IBF champion. Also, Jamel Herring and Rene Alvarado. There are some great champions in the division, but right now, all I have on my mind is to face Oscar, be victorious on this seventh title defense, and after that, whoever comes, comes for Miguel Berchelt.”

On fighting Vasiliy Lomachenko

“Of course! Right now, he is one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world. I think he is only behind Canelo Alvarez. I would like to. Right now, my focus is getting through this situation of the pandemic. Then I will begin training and returning to all activities so I can face Oscar Valdez. After that, we can talk moving up to 135 to face someone like Vasiliy Lomachenko. He is a fighter that I have always wanted to face, or Teofimo Lopez.”

On fighting Gervonta Davis

“There are a lot of good fights to be made, but without a doubt, I would love to face Gervonta Davis. He is a very dangerous fighter and a lot of people would like to face him, but his promoter, Floyd Mayweather, protects him too much.”

Loma talks Mayweather, Tank Davis, Haney, Lopez, more

Unified lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko is riding out the COVID-19 pandemic in his native Ukraine, but the three-weight kingpin is chomping at the bit to get his hands on the division’s leading names, including IBF world champion Teofimo Lopez, WBC world champion Devin Haney and Gervonta “Tank” Davis.

Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) has not fought since last August’s unanimous decision victory over Luke Campbell in London. He has sat back and taken notice of Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs), the Brooklyn-born prodigy who has been outspoken in his desire to fight the pound-for-pound Picasso.

This is what Lomachenko had to say in an exclusive interview with Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher.

On the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine

“The situation as of this moment is from Monday, there will be very limited time to go outside. You will have to be in your house. You can’t gather more than two or three people. The situation is like you can only take your dog out for a walk or go out for something very serious. Other than that, you have to sit at home. You can’t even walk with your kids outside. Everyone will be on lockdown. This will go on until April 24 starting on Monday.”

On staying in shape at home in Ukraine

“I have a gym {at my house}, and of course I’m still training because it’s my job. Nobody knows when we can start. I always have to be in shape. I have to be ready always.”

On his feelings when he found out the tentative date of May 30 for the Lopez fight was postponed

“Of course, I was disappointed a little bit, but everything that’s happening {with self-quarantines} is happening for the better. The most important thing is for all the people on this planet to get back and get healthy and everything will go back to normal.”

On whether he thinks Lopez is ready for the sport’s elite

“I really think he’s a good boxer. He’s a top fighter. He’s young, he’s hungry, he has big power, and I want this fight. He’s a world champion, and he holds my belt. It’s IBF title.”

On whether he sees the Lopez fight ending in a knockout

“Nobody knows. It’s very unpredictable. Nobody can predict what is going to happen, how it’s going to happen. And the people are talking about which round they are going to knock somebody out or stop somebody. I am getting very, very interested. Now, I want to see {the fight}.”

On what makes the Lopez matchup interesting

“The interesting thing for me, it will be to look into his eyes and his father’s eyes and see their reaction {after the fight}.”

On his most memorable moment from fighting Luke Campbell in London

“The most exciting moment I remember from my trip to the UK is probably when we went on the top of the O2 Arena, and I saw all of London. I could see it and then the very next day I was the champion of that arena. That was the most memorable moment for me.”

Word association when Lomachenko hears the following names:

Teofimo Lopez Sr.

“I can’t say that. It wouldn’t look good. I was raised differently.

“{He is a} good father.”

Oleksandr Usyk

“Best friend.”

Gervonta “Tank”  Davis

“Power.”

Floyd Mayweather

“Boxing IQ.”

Bob Arum

“Best promoter.”

Fan Questions

Any concern over the long layoff?

“Yes, of course. You have to be active all the time. You have to be training a lot in the downtime between fights. Right now, I am relaxing more. I will need to spend more time training. I will need to spar more and do more work.”

If you could fight any boxer from any era to give you the best fight, who would you want to fight?

“Of course I would like to fight somebody who is undefeated, who has a good history, who has a big name. I think the most interesting name for me to fight would be Floyd Mayweather.”

What do you think of Teofimo’s shoulder roll and catch-and-shoot counterpunching style?

“It is not an easy type of fighting. It is not an easy style. It is easier to fight attacking fighters who are coming forward. It’s much easier. This type of counterpuncher is more difficult to fight. The winner will be who has the better boxing IQ. But that style with the shoulder, I think I know what I have to do to win.”

Do you think that Gervonta Davis will fight you?

“Right now, I don’t think he’s going to fight me. He might want to fight me, but his promoters are not going to let him. Aside from him, that weight class is getting very interesting. We have a lot of good names in the weight class. Not {just} the champions, but they are in the rankings. So I think it’s a hard weight division.”

Do you want to stay at lightweight?

“It’s unpredictable. If we are going to be sitting here for one year longer, who is going to be coming out and in what weight class will they be?”

What about the Instagram back-and-forth with Devin Haney?

“Yes, DAZN posted something about Haney, and he said he would knock me out. So that is why I answered him, ‘Hey, listen, are you serious?’ He has not fought anybody and now he is saying he is going to knock me out? I said, ‘No problem, let’s do it.’ Then he answered me right away saying, ‘Yes, we can do it.’ I said, ‘OK, I am ready.’ He knows I am ready. I think he is ready, and we can give the fight for the fans that everybody wants. That is why I mentioned before that this is a very interesting weight class with big names and good names coming to the weight class.”

 

Photo: Top Rank Boxing

Russell on Tank Davis: ‘He definitely don’t have the skills that it takes to mess with me’

On Saturday night at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA, WBC 126-pound champion Gary Russell Jr.(31-1, 18 KOs) continued his winning ways with a unanimous decision over Tugstsogt Nyambayar. 

Now, the 31-year-old Russell wants bigger fights, and he is willing to move up to 135 pounds to do it.

After his victory over Nyambayar, Russell expressed his desire to fight Gervonta “Tank” Davis, who made his 135-pound debut in December with a win over Yuriorkis Gamboa in Atlanta. Russell wants the fight and has no problem doing that fight next.

“I’m not gonna say he’s a great fighter,” Russell said about Davis on Saturday night. “I do take my hat off to him because I watched him come up in the amateurs. I’m glad that he had the opportunity to provide a sense of financial stability for his family and friends, and all. But he definitely don’t have the skills it takes to mess with me. That’s the reason why he’s choosing, with his team and Floyd(Mayweather), and everybody else is choosing to keep him away from me.

“They handpick who they wanna fight. I don’t handpick who I fight. I fight whoever says they wanna fight me. Let’s make the fight happen.”

Davis, who is from Baltimore, MD, and Russell, who represents D.C., would sell big in the DMV, and Russell agrees.

“The fight would sell,” Russell said. “We could fight in D.C. Everybody and their mother and their grandmother would come to that fight, so let’s make the fight happen.”

I think this would be a great fight and a fight that would excite a lot of people. Davis brings power, but Russell brings the speed, so this fight could be very compelling Currently, Davis has a legal situation to handle after he was recently charged with simple battery, so who knows how much that would impact him moving forward, but for now, let’s hope they can make this fight happen!

Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME