Jaron Ennis calls out Spence after big win over Clayton

In what was supposed to be the toughest test of his career, Jaron “Boots” Ennis again made a mockery of pre-fight expectations, stopping the previously undefeated Custio Clayton via a second-round stoppage in an IBF welterweight title eliminator in the telecast co-feature in another scintillating performance from the Philly fighter.

After pushing Clayton back with jabs, Ennis, 24, landed a sweeping right hand to the top of Clayton’s head behind his ear that caused the Canadian to crumple to the canvas. Clayton, a former Olympian known for his durability, tried to get up but was still dizzy from the punch and fell back down again. He finally managed to get to his feet and beat the count, but stumbled into the ropes, causing referee Ray Corona to mercifully wave the fight off at 2:49 of the second round.

Photo: STEPHANIE TRAPP/SHOWTIME

Following the match, Ennis called out unified champion Errol Spence Jr., who was ringside. Ennis improved to 29-0 with 27 knockouts while Clayton suffered his first defeat, dropping to 19-1-1 with 12 knockouts.

“Anybody can get it right now,” Ennis said. “But I’m the IBF No. 1 contender and I think ‘Mr. Big Fish’ is here himself, so it’s time to go fishing,” he said referencing Spence’s nickname.

Spence responded, smiling as he commented on another dominant and electric performance from Ennis and another unsuccessful showing from an Ennis opponent.

“He’s doing what he’s supposed to do,” Spence told Jim Gray of SHOWTIME. “He’s supposed to call me and everybody out and say I want to fight them. If he wasn’t hungry like that, like the guy he just fought. I don’t feel like he was hungry. I don’t feel like he wanted to fight.

“Ennis can fight,” Spence went on. “I’m very high on him. He’s got the right attitude. He’s got the right team behind him with him and his dad. He’s going to go a long way. But I heard him say he wants to reel me in. You might catch something you don’t want so don’t try too hard trying to reel me in.”

Ennis, who previously stopped veteran contender Thomas Dulorme in the first round back in October, took control from the opening bell, unleashing a steady diet of jabs to Clayton’s face and body. With Clayton moving backward for the entire round, unable to respond, frozen by Ennis’ speed, the 24-year-old began to open up with rights and lefts while switching from righty to lefty as Clayton covered up.

“He had a high guard, so I was trying to come around with the right hook,” Ennis said. “He leaned down and I just threw an overhand. I thought he was going to get up. He’s a durable, tough guy. Nobody has ever stopped him. I thought he was going to get up, but I saw he fell again, so I was like, ‘this is over.’”

Ennis dedicated the fight to Jackson Ramirez, a 7-year-old who lives just outside of Pittsburgh and has a genetic disease called IPEX syndrome, which requires a bone marrow transplant for his only chance of survival.

Because of his mixed ethnicity – white and Mexican – finding a match for a marrow transplant for Ramirez is a challenge. After reading about the boy, Ennis reached out to his family and is now in close contact with Ramirez, speaking to him and making it one of his goals to raise awareness about the boy’s situation to find a match and to increase donor diversity.

Ennis willing to fight Spence, Crawford at 147 or 154

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ennis: ‘I want the top guys: Spence Jr., Ugas, Porter, Crawford, Thurman

In the co-main event, rising welterweight star Jaron “Boots” Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs) scored an explosive first-round knockout over former title challenger Thomas Dulorme (25-6-1, 16 KOs), the 12th first-round knockout of Ennis’ young career.

“It was a good knockout,” said Ennis. “You know me, I wanted to show my skills and abilities. I’m just thankful for this opportunity. Now it’s on to the next. Let’s get the big names.”

With the dominating performance, the Philadelphia-native Ennis became the first fighter to stop the durable Dulorme since Terence Crawford accomplished the feat in 2015. Ennis found his opening with a big overhand right that caught Dulorme and sent him down for the first knockdown.

“We got it early, that’s OK by me,” said Ennis. “We don’t get paid for overtime. I knew it was over after that first knockdown. I just had to take my time and not rush anything. Everything I did today we worked on in the gym.

Dulorme was able to get to his feet, and tried to turn the tide throwing big power punches after the knockdown, but was quickly met with a punishing one-two punctuated by a right hook that sent him down again. Dulorme was unable to beat the count as referee Mike Ortega halted the fight just 1:49 into the round.

Now, Ennis wants the best at 147.

“I’ve been ready for a world title two years ago,” said Ennis. “I want the top guys: Errol Spence Jr., Yordenis Ugas, Shawn Porter, Terence Crawford, Keith Thurman. I’m ranked No. 3 in the IBF, so Errol Spence Jr. is who I want next.”

Photo: Nabeel Ahmad/Premier Boxing Champions

Ennis on 147: ‘I’m just ready to take over the entire division’

Exciting unbeaten welterweight sensation Jaron “Boots” Ennis will look to make it 26 knockouts in 28 fights when he faces veteran contender Thomas Dulorme in the 10-round co-main event live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) Saturday, October 30 from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs), who has steadily risen in the ranks since his pro debut in 2016, faces another tough welterweight opponent in Dulorme after previously stopping former champion Sergey Lipinets in April. Dulorme, a 147-pound contender and former 140-pound title challenger, has amassed a solid resume in his career, climbing into the ring with world champions Yordenis Ugas, Jessie Vargas and Terence Crawford.

Named the 2020 Prospect of the Year by Ring Magazine, Ennis is trained by his father Bozy Ennis at Bozy’s Dungeon in his hometown of boxing-rich Philadelphia, Pa.

“My dad has me working on some new things to get better,” said the 24-year-old who boasts sublime boxing skills and power in both hands. “We’re working on having me be more relaxed in there and just staying sharp and alert, using my jab and going to the body a lot more. I never look for the knockout. I just go in there and do what I’m supposed to do and I let the knockout come to me, which it usually does.”

Ennis is currently ranked IBF No. 3, WBO and WBA No. 5 and WBC No. 8 at 147 pounds, and he believes that a title shot isn’t far away. He sees his latest opponent as just another obstacle in the way of reaching his ultimate goal.

“Dulorme is a good fighter and I don’t take anything away from him,” Ennis said. “He’s fought a lot of great guys, world champions, but I’m on a different level right now. I’m coming to take over the welterweight division and he’s in my way. He’s got to go. I’m coming for all the belts.”

With Ennis’ last three fights, including the no-contest against Chris van Heerden, all coming inside “The Fight Sphere” at Mohegan Sun, he is excited to fight out west for the first time in the Boxing Capital of the World as a profesional. Ennis does have fond memories of the city, however, having won Gold at the 2015 National Golden Gloves in Las Vegas.

“That’s a really fun memory, especially because I won the whole tournament,” he said. “I love Vegas. It’s the home of boxing, but honestly, I have so many fans from Philly coming out to this fight that it’s going to feel like I’m fighting at home. I would love to keep fighting in Vegas, bring my Philly people out, and make it like a second home.”

As the next in line amongst future Philadelphia-born world champions, Ennis takes great pride in his hometown and sees lots of boxing potential brewing in the City of Brotherly Love. “I definitely see a lot of other great prospects in Philly. There are even some amateurs that are about to turn pro that are great prospects. Philly has a lot of firepower and great guys coming up in the ranks right now. I feel like Philly is going to take over the boxing world.”

Ennis made his SHOWTIME debut in 2018 on ShoBox: The New Generation, scoring a third-round TKO over Armando Alvarez. Ennis has continued his progression on SHOWTIME, including in his last fight in April, when Ennis passed the most significant test of his career with flying colors, becoming the first fighter to stop Lipinets. Still, the rising star isn’t satisfied.

“It’s wonderful that I’m getting more and more recognition, but that’s not what I do this for. I’m just ready to take over the entire division. I promise this is just the start for me.”

Photo Credit: Justin McGinnis

James-Butaev, Ennis-Dulorme set for 10/30 in Vegas

WBA Welterweight Champion Jamal “Shango” James will defend his title against unbeaten contender Radzhab Butaev in a 12-round duel that headlines a night of action live on SHOWTIME Saturday, October 30 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features rising welterweight star Jaron “Boots” Ennis in a 10-round showdown against veteran contender Thomas Dulorme in the co-main event. Kicking off the telecast, exciting unbeaten lightweight contender Michel Rivera faces Argentina’s Matías Romero in a 10-round attraction.

Minneapolis’ James (27-1, 12 KOs) returns to action after his previous outing saw him earn an interim title by defeating Thomas Dulorme in August 2020, before later being upgraded to the “regular” championship. The 33-year-old is riding a seven-bout winning streak that includes triumphs over Abel Ramos, Diego Gabriel Chaves and Antonio DeMarco, with four of those matchups coming in his hometown, where he has grown a rabid fan base. With a win on October 30, James moves nearer to a potential rematch of his first and only defeat against WBA Welterweight World Champion Yordenis Ugas.

“Training is and has been at 100%,” said James. “I’m excited to finally get back in the ring and defend my title. This will be the fight where I show everyone why I’m elite in this profession and should be recognized as one of the best.”

The 27-year-old Butaev (13-0, 10 KOs) will finally square off against James in a long-awaited matchup ordered by the WBA. Butaev turned pro after approximately 400 amateur bouts in 2016 and reeled-off KOs in six of his first seven outings. Originally from Russia and now fighting out of Brooklyn, N.Y., Butaev returned to the ring in December 2020, stopping previously unbeaten Terry Chatwood in the third round.

“We’ve been working hard for a year leading up to this fight,” said Butaev. “Everything is going really well in camp and we’re excited to finally get in the ring against James. I’ve seen how James fights and it’s definitely going to be a clash of styles. I can just promise that I’m going to bring the war and make this an exciting fight. I’m going to start writing my history on October 30.”

Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs) is the latest in the pantheon of outstanding Philadelphia fighters, combining sublime boxing skills with natural power in both hands. After numerous appearances on ShoBox: The New Generation, the 24-year-old Ennis graduated to headlining his first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast in his last outing in April, as he became the first fighter to stop former world champion Sergey Lipinets. The knockout victory gave Ennis 17 KOs in his last 18 fights, with the only blemish being a no-decision in the first round against Chris van Heerden in December 2020.

“I’m glad to be back in the ring October 30 on SHOWTIME in Las Vegas,” said Ennis. “This is another step towards becoming world champion! They haven’t seen nothing yet. It’s time for me to continue to shine and be great. I can’t wait to show out and have some fun.”

The 31-year-old Dulorme (25-5-1, 16 KOs) has amassed a solid resume at 140 and 147 pounds during his career, climbing into the ring with world champions Yordenis Ugas, Jessie Vargas and Terence Crawford. Born in Marigot, Guadeloupe but representing Carolina, Puerto Rico, Dulorme rebounded from a loss to Crawford for a 140-pound title by scoring back-to-back knockouts, followed by a narrow decision loss to Ugas. The world title challenger is coming off solid efforts in back-to-back decision losses against Jamal James and Eimantas Stanionis.

“I think in the Stanionis fight I demonstrated that I am still at the top level,” said Dulorme. “A lot of people told me I won that fight and I thought I did too. I’m excited to face Ennis because he’s a good fighter, but he hasn’t fought anyone like me. The fans can expect another great performance from me on SHOWTIME.”

Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and now fighting out of Miami, Fla. Rivera (21-0, 14 KOs) burst onto the scene in 2019, making his U.S. debut with a victory over Juan Rene Tellez. The 23-year-old continued his ascent in 2020, adding a stoppage win against Fidel Maldonado Jr. and a unanimous decision triumph against lightweight contender LaDarius Miller. Rivera has continued his dominance with a pair of knockout victories in 2021, stopping Anthony Mercado in February before most recently delivering a highlight-reel knockout of Jon Fernandez in July on SHOWTIME.

“Romero made a big mistake taking this fight,” said Rivera. “What he’s seen from me in the gym, is not the same thing that he’s going to see on fight night. He is far from a fight night fighter. He folds under pressure or runs. He is a good fighter, but he’s not at my level. I won’t let him go the distance like Isaac Cruz did. On October 30, I’m going to give him the beating of his lifetime.”

Romero (24-1, 8 KOs) made his stateside debut in March, dropping a competitive decision to top lightweight contender Isaac Cruz on SHOWTIME. Previously, the Cordoba, Argentina native picked up a pair of victories in 2020, winning a 12-round decision over Javier Jose Clavero in November, while stopping Gabriel Gustavo Ovejero in March. A pro since 2015, the 25-year-old will look to bounce back from his first defeat and move into title contention against another elite 135-pound opponent.

“Rivera and I have the same promoter and I personally requested for Sampson Lewkowicz to let me fight him when I saw he had no opponent,” said Romero. “I am willing to step in because I know I can beat him. We have trained at the same gym, but never sparred. His style is perfect for my style. This is going to be another victory for me to add to my collection.”

Ennis on win over Lipinets: ‘I think I graduated’

Jaron “Boots” Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs) finally got his big test on Saturday night, and he passed it with flying colors. Ennis scored a sixth-round knockout win over former world champion Sergey Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs) in the main event from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.(Showtime)

Before the stoppage, Ennis was in complete control and dropped Lipinets in the fourth round. It was Lipinets’ second time being knocked down in his career. As he has done often throughout his career, the 23-year-old switched effortlessly between an orthodox and southpaw stance and exhibited tremendous power from both sides. 

“I’ll always be hard on myself when I look back at my performance,” said Ennis. “My goal is to keep getting better, sharper, faster, and stronger so I can become world champion. As long as I keep fighting top guys, I’m happy. I feel like I will be world champion by the end of this year or beginning of next year. Patience is the key, though.”

In the sixth round, Ennis poured it on Lipinets from all angles as he beautifully assembled combinations. He has yet to go past the sixth round in his professional career and registered in 17th consecutive stoppage victory.

“I think I graduated tonight,” stated Ennis. “It’s on the up and up now. It’s onto bigger and better fights now.”

Ennis is a dangerous fighter, and because of that, he will have a difficult time getting the top guys at 147 in the ring. At this point, Ennis is high risk, low reward, so he’s going to have to keep beating guys until he becomes a mandatory challenger for one of the belts, so while some believe he’s ready for a title shot now, don’t be surprised if it does not happen in 2021.

Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Ennis on fight with Lipinets: ‘It will be the start of me being a pay-per-view star’

Undefeated rising welterweight star Jaron “Boots” Ennis(26-0, 24 KOs) has been the talk of the boxing world. Ennis clearly has a lot of talent and a lot of ability, which will be tested on Saturday night when he faces former world champion Sergey Lipinets(16-1, 12 KOs) in a 12-round welterweight clash at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.(Showtime)

Despite Lipinets being a former world champion, the 23-year-old Ennis, who has a 16-fight knockout streak, is not concerned.

“I’m not worried about what Lipinets is talking about,” he said. “At the end of the day, he still has to get in the ring with me on Saturday night. And we’re going to see. They don’t know what I’m going to bring. I’m an all-around fighter. You don’t know how I’m going to fight. I can fight several different ways. He just needs to know he’s gotta be ready.”

According to Ennis, Lipinets is the type of opponent he’s been waiting to fight for a long time. 

“I’ve been trying to get these types of guys in the ring for about two-and-a-half years,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get former world champions and top ten guys. It just didn’t happen. I finally got my chance, and you guys are going to see a whole different animal. A whole different beast. It’s time for me to do my thing. I’m real excited.”

If he gets by Lipinets, which he believes he will, Ennis wants the big boys at 147 pounds.

“After I do my thing on Saturday night and I do it with a big statement, it’s only up from there,” he said. “On to bigger and better things. The elite fighters and the top three guys and then maybe a world title by the end of the year. This fight is just going to elevate my ranking, my superstardom, and it will be the start of me being a pay-per-view star.

Look, Ennis appears to have the goods, and if he looks spectacular on Saturday night, he might have a difficult time getting the big names in the ring, but he can worry about that later. Lipinets should test him, and we’ll see if Ennis can ace it.

Ennis: ‘I don’t think I have my man strength yet’

Undefeated welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis will look to cement his status as a rising star in the welterweight division when he takes on rugged former world champion Sergey Lipinets in a 12-round battle that headlines action live on SHOWTIME Saturday, April 10 from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The 23-year-old Ennis will be facing the toughest competition of his career in Lipinets, as he enters the ring in his first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event. Representing the fighting city of Philadelphia, Ennis has used sublime boxing skills and power in both hands to make his claim as the city’s next great champion.

Ennis put together a 16-fight knockout streak that included becoming the first person to stop Juan Carlos Abreu when he blasted out the longtime challenger in the sixth round in August 2020. Ennis was unable to extend that streak in December 2020, when his fight against Chris van Heerden was declared a no-contest after round one due to a clash of heads causing a severe cut on Van Heerden’s forehead.

Trained by his father Bozy Ennis, Ennis shared his thoughts on training camp, Lipinets and more below:

On headlining his first Showtime Championship Boxing card: 

“It has made my schedule a little crazier. Being in the main event on SHOWTIME brings more attention, but I like it. I like being in the spotlight. I like to shine, so it’s nothing new to me. Now it’s fight time. I am locked in and ready to rock and roll.”

On training camp:

“We always do four-minute rounds in camp. I’ve been doing that since I was a baby. That’s another reason why I don’t sit down when I fight, because I am so used to the four-minute rounds. The three-minute rounds go by real fast on fight night. One thing we added this camp was the underwater treadmill work.”

On his final preparations: 

“The week before the fight, we are winding it down and sharpening up. It’s been a great training camp. I have been getting better and better each and every day, and I can’t wait to perform next Saturday.”

On facing his first former world champion: 

“He’s a good fighter, but it doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s just another day in the office. He’s a regular person just like anyone else.”

On Sergey calling him a ‘typical Philly fighter’:

“I guess he knows I’m tough, gritty and I’m ready to rumble. I’m coming there to take a win home to Philadelphia and look good doing it, by any means.”

On his knockout power:

“I don’t think I have my man strength yet. I feel it will be one or two more years until I fully have my man strength. The crazy part is, I feel like in a fight, I still haven’t thrown a real power shot and really sat down on a punch yet. Everything I’ve been knocking guys out with has been all natural strength.”

On how he views his knockout streak:

“Some people might look at a knockout on April 10 as the 17th consecutive knockout, some might view it as the start of a new knockout streak. For me, I don’t really care as long as I come out victorious. That’s all that matters to me. I’m not looking for a knockout but I’m going to take it if it comes.”

Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Ennis on fight with Lipinets: ‘This is the type of fight I’ve been waiting for’

Rising welterweight star Jaron “Boots” Ennis faces his most difficult test in pursuit of a world title shot as he headlines his first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® against former world champion Sergey Lipinets. These formidable contenders meet in a 12-round, crossroads fight with welterweight world title implications on Saturday, April 10 live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature, a pair of hard-hitting welterweights square off as Eimantas Stanionis takes another step up in class as he faces former world title challenger Thomas Dulorme in a 12-round WBA Welterweight Title Eliminator. The telecast opener features IBF Junior Bantamweight World Champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas defending his title against Jonathan Rodríguez in a 12-round bout.

Ennis (26-0, 24 KOs) is the latest in the pantheon of outstanding Philadelphia fighters, combining sublime boxing skills with natural power in both hands. After numerous appearances on ShoBox: The New Generation, the 23-year-old Ennis has graduated to headlining his first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast. Heading into his last bout against Chris van Heerden, Ennis was riding a streak of 16 consecutive knockouts. That streak ended when the fight was stopped after the first round due to an accidental clash of heads that opened a severe cut on the forehead of Van Heerden.

“I’m excited to be back April 10,” said Ennis. “This is the type of fight I’ve been waiting for. I can’t wait to perform and put on a beautiful show. Y’all will see something special out of me come fight night. I’m excited to be the main event. It’s time for me to shine!”

The 31-year-old Lipinets (16-1-1, 12 KOs) established himself as a force at 140 pounds when he won the IBF world title with a victory over Akihiro Kondo in 2017. He lost the title to four-division world champion Mikey Garcia in 2018 and then moved up to welterweight in 2019. He served notice that he would be a contender at welterweight when he scored an impressive stoppage victory over two-division champion Lamont Peterson in 2019. Born in Kazakhstan and representing Russia, Lipinets now lives in Woodland Hills, California and is trained by renowned trainer Joe Goossen. Lipinets is coming off a hard-fought majority draw against undefeated Custio Clayton in October 2020.

Stanionis (12-0, 9 KOs) has put together a string of impressive victories as he has climbed up the ranks from prospect to contender. He enters the match against Dulorme with four consecutive knockout victories. The 26-year-old from Lithuania, who now lives and trains in California, looked impressive as he picked up three solid victories in 2019, beating Samuel Figueroa via unanimous decision and scoring early stoppages against Julio Cesar Sanchez and Evincii Dixon. The undefeated welterweight has put the division on notice with back-to-back dominating main event performances in November and December 2020, when he notched ninth-round knockouts over Justin DeLoach and Janer Gonzalez respectively.

The 31-year-old Dulorme (25-4-1, 16 KOs) has amassed a solid resume at 140 and 147 pounds during his career, climbing into the ring with world champions Yordenis Ugas, Jessie Vargas and Terence Crawford. Born in Marigot, Guadeloupe but fighting out of and representing Carolina, Puerto Rico, Dulorme rebounded from a loss to Crawford for a 140-pound title by scoring back-to-back knockouts, followed by a narrow decision loss to top welterweight Yordenis Ugas. The world title challenger is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Jamal James in his last fight in August.

“I’m very excited for this fight on April 10,” said Dulorme. “I came up short in my last fight for the title, but a win against Stanionis will put me right back into the position I want. He’s young and strong, but I have a lot more experience and I will show it in the ring and it will lead me to victory.”

Representing the Philippines, Ancajas (32-1-2, 22 KOs) was only 15 years old when he was spotted by boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. The young fighter blossomed with Pacquiao’s guidance, becoming the first world champion under Pacquiao’s promotional banner when he outpointed McJoe Arroyo for the IBF World Junior Bantamweight title in September 2016. The 29-year-old southpaw hasn’t lost since and will be making the ninth defense of his title when he faces Rodríguez. In his most recent outing in December, Ancajas stopped Miguel Gonzalez in six rounds.

“I am really looking forward to returning to the ring on April 10 for my first fight on SHOWTIME,” said Ancajas. “Everybody knows the great rivalry between the Philippines and Mexico, and I look forward to adding another explosive fight to that history. Fight fans know where all the action fights are right now, and that’s the 115-pound division. I’m thankful for this opportunity and I plan to make the most of it.”

Mexico’s Rodríguez (22-1, 16 KOs) was given the nickname “Titan” because of his prodigious power. Since suffering a disputed split-decision loss to Jose Martin Estrada Garcia in March 2018, the 25-year-old has won six straight, including a first-round knockout victory over Julian Yedras last December. He will be making his U.S. debut against Ancajas.

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me,” said Rodríguez. “When I started boxing, it was my dream to fight for the world title and win it. On April 10, all of my dreams and hard work will come true when I hear ‘and the new IBF champion of the world.’”

Rodriguez on Gaballo: ‘It was a good fight, but he only won about two or three rounds’

 Undefeated bantamweight Reymart Gaballo scored a controversial split-decision victory over former world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez in the main event of Saturday night’s SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions. With the victory, Gaballo picked up the vacant interim WBC Bantamweight Title.

Saturday’s headliner in the last SHOWTIME BOXING event of 2020 was competitive from the opening bell. In only three of the twelve rounds were Rodriguez and Gaballo separated by more than three landed punches. Overall, Gaballo (24-0, 20 KOs) threw 148 more punches than Rodriguez (19-2, 12 KOs), but still managed to connect on 16 fewer power punches. The punches of the 28-year-old Rodriguez seemed to be cleaner, as he wobbled the Filipino Gaballo on more than one occasion. However, two of the judges favored Gaballo’s aggression over Rodriguez’s ring generalship.

SHOWTIME’s unofficial scorer Steve Farhood scored the fight 118-110 in favor of Rodriguez and SHOWTIME analyst and former world champion Raul Marquez was dismayed by the judges’ decision.

“There’s no way Gaballo could have won that fight,” said Marquez. “In the worst-case scenario, you could have maybe given him three rounds. I gave him no rounds.”

“I am very happy and blessed to win this belt,” said the 24-year-old Gaballo. “I was always moving forward and controlling the pace, so I thought it was a close fight that either of us could have won.

“I’m waiting for my team to tell me what they have planned for me next. I’m going to keep training hard so I’m always ready for the opportunity when it comes.”

“It was a good fight, but he only won about two or three rounds,” said Rodriguez. “There were two punches from me for every punch he landed. He knows he lost. Everyone knows we won.  My team told me to go out and keep boxing him in the late rounds. We knew he needed a knockout in the twelfth round. That was his only chance to win.”

In the co-main event, Philadelphia’s undefeated welterweight sensation Jaron Ennis (26-0, 24 KOs) saw his impressive 16-fight knockout streak come to a disappointing end after an accidental headbutt in the first round caused a brutal cut to the forehead of his opponent, Chris van Heerden (28-2-1, 12 KOs). Watch the clash of heads HEREhttps://twitter.com/ShowtimeBoxing/status/1340495823474442240

With only two minutes and thirty-nine seconds inside the ring to showcase his skills, Ennis was still able to flash glimpses of his championship potential as he landed 22 of 57 punches, 19 of them power shots as he appeared destined to stop the South African van Heerden and keep his KO streak alive before the clash of heads.

“Before the headbutt I had already cut him and I felt strong,” said a disappointed Ennis. “I knew he was ready to go. I feel like I’m getting better and better. Now I’ll just get back in the gym. As you could see from the first round, I was handling him easily. I feel like everyone is still sleeping on me, but I’m ready for anyone. Bring on the big names.”

In the telecast opener, bantamweight contender Gary Antonio Russell (18-0, 12 KOs) kept his unblemished record intact with a technical decision victory over former world champion Juan Carlos Payano (21-5, 9 KOs). After an accidental headbutt caused a bad cut to the left brow of Payano, referee David Fields stopped the fight after the sixth round at the advice of the ringside physician. The fight went to the scorecards, where Russell led on all three cards (58-56, 59-55, 59-55).

Before the injury, Russell and Payano were engaged in a scrappy brawl that saw multiple exchanges of power punches. In the closing seconds of the sixth, and ultimately final round, Russell caught Payano with a counter-shot that hurt Payano. Russell landed 86 of 243 punches while Payano landed just 58 of 268 punches. Russell flashed excellent body work throughout the fight, out landing Payano 40 to 17 on body shots.

Photo: Amanda Westscott/SHOWTIME