Unbeaten rising star Jesus “Mono” Ramos and veteran welterweight contender Abel Ramos held a media workout in Phoenix, Ariz., on Wednesday as the Casa Grande-natives prepare for their respective showdowns on the David Benavidez vs. Caleb Plant SHOWTIME PPV® undercard on Saturday, March 25 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Jesus, Jr., will battle fellow unbeaten Joey Spencer in the 10-round super welterweight co-main event, while Abel will take on undefeated Cody Crowley in the pay-per-view telecast opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
At just 21-years-old, Jesus, Jr., (19-0, 15 KOs) has compiled an impressive record and achieved contender status by displaying potent power and boxing acumen heading into perhaps his toughest test to date against the unbeaten Spencer. For his uncle Abel (27-5-2, 21 KOs), March 25 is another opportunity for him to score a signature upset, having stopped former champion Omar Figueroa, Jr., in May 2021 in addition to a final round KO of Bryant Perrella in February 2020, turning the tide in a fight Abel trailed at the time of the stoppage.
Here is what Jesus Jr. and Abel had to say Wednesday from Central Boxing Gym in Phoenix:
JESUS RAMOS JR.
“This is a huge opportunity for me. I feel like so far in my career I’ve taken big steps and faced tough opponents, and this won’t be an exception. It’s going to be a great fight.
“I feel like I do a lot of things well. My reach, my conditioning, the body shots that I throw, it’s all going to be important on fight night.
“I’ve been working hard with my strength and conditioning coach. We’re working on being more explosive and throwing more punches. We want to really increase the pace of the fight.
“I feel even stronger now than before my last fight. We’ve had time to make the necessary adjustments, so my focus is better than ever. I’m ready for this.
“I do feel like I’ve fought on some big stages getting to this moment, but no matter what, I can’t let the size of the moment get to me. This is my childhood dream. Now it’s become a reality and on March 25 I’m going to enjoy every moment of it.
“Representing Arizona means a lot. There’s not a lot of athletes or big names coming out of Casa Grande. If I can bring a world title back to Casa Grande, that would mean everything to me. That’s the main goal. I want to pave the way for the next generation, not necessarily just in boxing, but whatever they dream of.
“This is going to be fireworks, and we’re here to win. Whatever it takes. We’re winning on the night. Ideally, it’s going to be a stoppage in the later rounds.
“I’m here to make the best fights, and the most entertaining fights as well. I’m here to stay.”
“I’m feeling really good. Training has been going great and I’m in top condition. We’re getting into those last couple weeks and getting everything sharpened up for the ring.
“I hope the fans get to see all the hard work that we put in here in Arizona pay off on March 25. I hope they appreciate the work ethic that we have and the excitement that we bring to boxing.
“Jesus, Jr., and I motivate each other. We’ve been training together for a long time and we motivate each other every day.
“We give each other pointers, but Jesus, Jr., is a kid who works hard. He doesn’t need much to get him going.
“The key for this fight is going to be to use the experience that I have and every trick that I know. I’m expecting an exciting fight.
“I’ve fought everybody since the beginning. I have a lot of rounds inside of the ring and I just have to make sure that I use everything I know in this fight.
“I really think that my resume and the opposition that I’ve fought, compared to Crowley, is going to be the biggest factor. I’ve got way more experience and it’s going to show on March 25. I’m predicting a win however it comes.”
Photos: Rhonda Costa/SHOWTIME
Three high-stakes showdowns will put young stars and unbeaten contenders in the toughest tests of their careers to date, all as part of a jam-packed night leading up to the highly anticipated SHOWTIME PPV main event between super middleweight stars and former world champions David “El Bandera Roja’’ Benavídez and Caleb Plant taking place on Saturday, March 25 live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
In the co-main event, unbeaten rising stars Jesús “Mono” Ramos and Joey Spencer will go toe-to-toe in a 10-round super welterweight scuffle, as each fighter looks to make their claim as the future of the 154-pound division. The action will also see rising lightweights Chris “Primetime” Colbert and Jose “Rayo” Valenzuela meet in a 10-round duel, while unbeaten welterweight contender Cody Crowley faces the hard-hitting Abel Ramos in the telecast opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
A strong southpaw who at 21 has yet to come close to hitting his ceiling as a fighter, Ramos (19-0, 15 KOs) is the nephew of welterweight contender Abel Ramos but has forged his own path toward stardom since turning pro in 2018. Jesús Ramos added two victories to his ledger in 2022, blasting out Vladimir Hernandez in round six in February before dominating Luke Santamaria in May to earn a unanimous decision. A native of Casa Grande, Ariz., Ramos also owns back-to-back 10-round unanimous decisions over Brian Mendoza and Javier Molina in 2021. Overall, the youthful Ramos has gained recognition with highlight-reel KOs, stopping six of his last nine opponents, showcasing a desire to end his fights early.
“I’ve been in the gym for months now getting ready for this opportunity and everything has been great,” said [Jesús] Ramos. “I’m expecting the best version of Joey Spencer on March 25. I know I have what it takes to beat him because of the preparation we’ve been putting in, my dedication, my skills and my will to win. I’m excited to be part of one of the biggest cards of the year thus far, and I know we will give the fans an exciting fight!”
The 22-year-old Spencer (16-0, 10 KOs) turned pro in February 2018 and immediately caught the eye of fans and pundits with his combination of speed, power and athleticism. Spencer’s most recent outing saw him earn a career-best triumph as he controlled the action throughout and scored a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Kevin Salgado in September 2022. The Linden, Mich., native has remained busy since debuting as a pro, including two knockouts out of three victories in his 2021 campaign. Prior to the Salgado fight, Spencer dispatched of Ravshan Hudaynazarov via unanimous decision in March 2022.
“It’s not that often that fans get to see fights between two undefeated rising fighters like [Jesús] Ramos and I’m thankful to be a part of it,” said Spencer. “This is the fight I asked for, and for it to take place on one of the biggest cards of the year is very special. I’m training to put the rest of the division on notice come fight night.”
Representing his native Brooklyn, N.Y., Colbert (16-1, 6 KOs) will look to impress in his lightweight debut after dropping a hard-fought contest to super featherweight world champion Hector Luis Garcia in February 2022. After a decorated amateur career, Colbert turned pro in 2015 and took out three undefeated fighters in his first eight bouts. Since then, he took care of a slew of former champions and contenders including Jezzrel Corrales, Jaime Arboleda and Tugstsogt Nyambayar to establish himself as a potential future world champion. He will now seek to reach that goal at 135-pounds.
“I’m happy to be back,” said Colbert. “Training camp is going amazingly for this fight. Like I’ve said before, there’s no pressure on me. I bring the pressure. It’s ‘Primetime’ on SHOWTIME®! I’m back baby!”
The 23-year-old Valenzuela (12-1, 8 KOs) trains as a stablemate of unbeaten two-time world champion Benavidez and will look for a big bounce back victory after dropping a September 2022 contest to Edwin De Los Santos. Valenzuela, who turned pro in 2018, was sensational prior to the loss, including a first-round knockout of former world champion Francisco Vargas in April 2022. Born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, Valenzuela rode a five-bout knockout streak before earning his first 10-round decision in a victory over Deiner Berrio in September 2021.
“I’m extremely motivated for this fight and have been training really hard,” said Valenzuela. “The difference with this camp is that I was in shape when camp started, so it’s giving me a head start on my preparation. My strength and conditioning are at a whole new level and I can’t wait to show everyone what I’m capable of in this fight.”
Representing his native Ontario, Canada, Crowley (21-0, 9 KOs) returns to the ring after a pair of impressive victories that have catapulted him up the 147-pound division. In December 2021, he took care of the previously unbeaten Kudratillo Abdukakhorov with a unanimous decision, and most recently he turned back the streaking Josesito Lopez with another unanimous decision in April 2022. The 29-year-old had previously defeated Josh Torres in September 2020 following a 2019 run that saw him win a Canadian super welterweight title with a 12-round decision over Stuart McLellan in February.
“After years of hard work and dedication, I’m thrilled to be fighting back on the big stage for this fight,” said Crowley. “I have succeeded in overcoming obstacles and adversity, and Abel Ramos will not be able to stop me from achieving my dream of becoming world champion. I’m dedicating this fight to my father’s memory and to all of those who have worked diligently to help me succeed against all odds.”
Ramos (27-5-2, 21 KOs) is part of a boxing family out of Casa Grande, Ariz., which includes his nephew, rising star Jesús Ramos, who he shares a card with for the fourth-straight time. The 31-year-old has built a reputation as a hardnosed boxer who doesn’t back down from a fight and gives as good as he gets. He turned the tables on Omar Figueroa, Jr., when he went toe-to-toe and forced Figueroa to quit on his stool in May 2021. He also owns a split-decision defeat over former welterweight world champion Yordenis Ugas, and has shown a flair for the dramatic when he scored a TKO victory over Bryant Perrella in the waning seconds of their fight in 2020. Ramos will look to bounce back from a decision loss against Luke Santamaria in his last fight in February.
“I’m having a great training camp and I can’t wait until it’s time to get into the ring,” said Ramos. “I’m prepared to take on Crowley and show off everything I’ve been working on in camp. I’m facing a strong opponent, but I believe that my experience in these big fights will get me the victory on March 25.”
Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
Unbeaten super welterweight Joey Spencer will battle Mexican contender Kevin Salgado in a 10-round showdown highlighting PBC action live on FOX and FOX Deportes beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on September 4 during Labor Day Weekend from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
Prior to the FOX broadcast, undefeated top super bantamweight contender Ra’eese Aleem takes on Mike Plania in a 10-round attraction live on FS1 and FOX Deportes beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
These two exciting matchups will lead up to a stacked FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT which is headlined by the highly-anticipated heavyweight clash between former unified heavyweight world champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. and hard-hitting top contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz meeting in a WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator.
The 22-year-old Spencer (15-0, 10 KOs) turned pro in February 2017 and immediately caught the eye of fans and pundits with his combination of speed, power and athleticism. Following an impressive 2020 campaign, the Linden, Michigan native added three more victories to his ledger in 2021, including his first eight-round fight as he earned a unanimous decision over James Martin in July. Most recently, Spencer kicked off his 2022 with another unanimous decision victory, this time besting Ravshan Hudaynazaro in March.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring on September 4,” said Spencer. “I’m training extremely hard and I’m in amazing shape. This is a great opportunity for me to shine on a big stage and really show what I’m capable of. I’m looking forward to bringing the fans lots of excitement!”
A native of Mexico City, Salgado (14-0-1, 9 KOs) is the younger brother of former super featherweight champion Juan Carlos Salgado and now fights out of San Antonio, Texas. The 24-year-old turned pro in late 2016 and delivered knockouts in six of his first nine outings. After scoring three-straight knockouts between September 2019 and February 2021, Salgado returned to the ring in October 2021 to defeat Ricardo Banuelos Cernas by unanimous decision before most recently fighting Bryant Perrella to a split-draw in his U.S. debut in April.
“Training camp has been great and I’m way ahead of schedule heading into this fight,” said Salgado. “I know I’m facing a solid fighter who’s a good counter puncher, but I’m preparing to counter that style. This is going to be a very interesting fight, because I’m training to deliver a knockout and win in tremendous fashion.”
Owning a top-10 ranking at 122-pounds from multiple sanctioning bodies, Aleem (19-0, 12 KOs) put on the most impressive performance of his career in January 2021 to capture the interim WBA title. Aleem dominated in a battle of unbeatens, dropping Victor Pasillas four times before eventually stopping him in round 11. Raised in Michigan and training out of Las Vegas, the 31-year-old Aleem had stopped his past seven opponents inside the distance before most recently earning a decision victory over Eduardo Baez in November 2021.
“The time is now to take that next step in my career toward a world title shot and I know that a win in this fight will put me on the right path,” said Aleem. “I’ve been waiting for the chance to show everyone why I’m the best super bantamweight in the world. I’m never in a boring fight and you can expect fireworks once again on September 4. I’m going to let my hands send a message to the rest of the division.”
The 25-year-old Plania (26-1, 13 KOs) dropped Joshua Greer twice in their June 2020 clash on his way to a career-best decision victory, which he followed up in April 2021 by defeating Emmanuel Mogawa, before stopping Ricardo Nunez in November. A native of General Santos City in the Philippines, Plania has put together an 11-fight winning streak since a 2018 decision loss against former champion Juan Carlos Payano. Plania has fought professionally since 2014, with five of his last six outings taking place stateside.
“Ever since I beat Joshua Greer to put myself in the world rankings, I have been looking for an opportunity to fight the best at 122 pounds and to secure a world title shot,” said Plania. “On September 4, I will show everyone I deserve to fight for the title. I want to thank my whole team for putting me in this position and I can’t wait to get in there and show what I can do.”
Unbeaten rising prospect Joey Spencer will battle Ravshan Hudaynazarov in an eight-round middleweight attraction that highlights the non-televised undercard lineup on Saturday, March 26 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from The Armory in Minneapolis.
Top super welterweight contender and rising star Tim Tszyu will make his long-awaited U.S. debut in the main event when he takes on U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha in a 12-round showdown live on SHOWTIME.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature rising undefeated lightweight contender Michel Rivera dueling fellow unbeaten Joseph “Blessed Hands” Adorno in the 10-round co-main event, plus hard-hitting super lightweight contender Elvis Rodríguez faces Juan José Velasco in the 10-round telecast opener.
The undercard lineup will also include super welterweight contender Brian Mendoza (19-2, 13 KOs) squaring off against San Antonio’s Benjamin Whitaker (15-7, 3 KOs) for eight rounds of action, undefeated Australian heavyweight Joseph Goodall (7-0-1, 6 KOs) facing Matthew McKinney (8-4-2, 5 KOs) in an eight-round fight and unbeaten super welterweight contender Bakhram Murtazaliev (19-0, 14 KOs) in a 10-round bout against Ahmad Cheikho (18-7, 13 KOs).
Rounding out the card are a trio of unbeaten prospects as 21-year-old Travon Marshall (4-0, 3 KOs) takes on fellow unbeaten Timothy Parks (3-0, 2 KOs) in a six-round super welterweight tilt, 25-year-old Michael Angeletti (4-0, 3 KOs) steps in for a six-round super bantamweight contest against Angel Luna (15-9-1, 8 KOs), and 19-year-old lightweight Breeon Carothers (1-0, 1 KOs) battles Deljerro Revello (0-2) in a four-round attraction.
The 21-year-old Spencer (14-0, 10 KOs) turned pro in February 2017 and immediately caught the eye of fans and pundits with his combination of speed, power and athleticism. Following an impressive 2020 campaign, the Linden, Michigan native added three more victories to his ledger in 2021, including his first eight-round fight as he earned a unanimous decision over James Martin in July. Most recently, Spencer delivered a sensational Christmas Day knockout of Limberth Ponce in the fifth-round of action.
A native of Uzbekistan, Hudaynazarov (19-4, 14 KOs) now fights out of Las Vegas as 12 of his last 14 bouts have taken place stateside. The 37-year-old was unbeaten in his first 17 pro fights before suffering four defeats from 2018 to 2020. Hudaynazarov bounced back to win his last two fights, stopping Eduardo Ayala in April 2021 before most recently winning a decision over Sergio Sarabia in June 2021.
Undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant successfully defended his title with a masterful unanimous decision victory over former champion Caleb “Golden” Truax in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night on Saturday night from the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
Using blazing hand speed, a stiff jab and punches from multiple angles, Plant battered Truax and kept him off balance over the course of the 12 rounds. It was a game effort from Truax, but Plant proved to be too much to handle. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Plant 120-108, a 12-round shutout.
Plant sought the knockout but hurt his left hand early in the fight, forcing him to be less aggressive and more hesitant on offense.
“I felt great. I dominated every round. I hardly got touched. He wasn’t giving me much either,’’ Plant said. “I felt like, early on, he was just looking to survive and move away. Then a third of the way into the fight, I hurt my hand. It’s kind of swollen. I felt something similar before. I’ve got to sit down and get it checked out but we’ll see. I don’t think it will hinder any upcoming fights.
“A champion can adjust to anything. It’s about staying focused, staying disciplined and sticking to the game plan. Maybe the injury hindered me here and there but I felt I used it well – I got a dominant victory, a shutout on all three cards.”
The 28-year-old Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) had scored back-to-back stoppage victories on FOX in his two title defenses, beating then undefeated Mike Lee in July 2019 before most recently turning away Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz in a homecoming event last February in Nashville, Tennessee.
The victory over Truax (31-5-2, 19 KOs) was the third successful title defense for Plant, who captured the title in 2019 with a victory over Jose Uzcategui. Plant, who is from Nashville, Tennessee but now lives and trains in Las Vegas, was the underdog coming into the Uzcategui fight, before turning the tables with two early knockdowns on his way to a unanimous decision. There wasn’t nearly as much drama in the fight against Truax as Plant took control from start to finish, never allowing Truax to get into the fight in any measureable way.
“I wanted the stoppage. I’m a little disappointed that my hand got hurt early in the fight. But I feel like I put on a good performance,’’ Plant said. “I feel like I’m the best super middleweight champion in the world. I want to become the first undisputed super middleweight champion. I’m ready for whoever, whenever. You line ‘em up and I’ll knock ‘em down.”
For the 37-year-old Truax, the fight against Plant represented his last real chance to rejoin the world championship ranks. Truax had his championship-winning victory in December 2017 as he traveled to James DeGale’s native U.K. to wrest the title away from DeGale in one of the year’s biggest upsets. Truax, who fights out of Saint Michael, Minnesota, dropped a narrow decision to DeGale in their 2018 rematch. Plant never allowed him to get close to his championship belt.
“I’m a little disappointed. I wanted to put pressure on him and make it a dogfight, but he was elusive. He was able to escape out the back door. I wasn’t able to put a glove on him,” Truax said. “I knew he was going to be quick, but he was a little more elusive than I expected. It wasn’t a fast paced fight and credit to him for that. I wanted it to be a fast paced fight and put pressure on him, but he controlled the pace and he was very elusive.
“I was never buzzed or hurt. I felt like my conditioning was very good the whole fight. He just jabbed the heck out of me. I’m going to go home and talk to my family and see what the next step is. I still feel like I have something to offer the game.”
In a battle between young, undefeated heavyweights. Michael Coffie (12-0, 9 KOs) kept his record unblemished with a powerful third-round knockout victory over Darmani Rock (17-1, 12 KOs).
Coffie, a 34-year-old Marine Corps veteran from The Bronx, N.Y., took a couple of rounds to figure out Rock of Philadelphia. When he did, it was lights out for Rock. Coffie went to work in the third round, dropping Rock with a left uppercut. Rock was able to make it to his feet to beat the count of referee Jack Reiss. A few seconds later, Coffie clipped Rock again with a short left hook that sent him to the canvas a second time. Reiss waved off the action at 0:59 seconds of the round, giving Coffie the victory and handing the 24-year-old Rock the first loss of his professional career.
“He had quick hands we knew that, but timing beats speed,” Coffie said. “They said he shuffles his feet and drops his hands. They told me to wait for him to shuffle his feet and then drop that left hand on him.”
“I don’t want to sound like I’m jumping the gun or anything like that or downplaying the need for experience. But I don’t think I’m that far off. I think I have power, movement, and I think just my style of fighting that can really contend with anybody.”
Unbeaten super welterweight prospect Joey Spencer continued his fast rise up the ranks with an impressive first-round KO victory over Isiah Seldon (14-4-1, 5 KOs). In a bizarre sequence of events, the 20-year-old Spencer (12-0, 9 KOs) dropped Seldon with a hard right hand. Seldon rose at the count of eight. When action resumed, Seldon unleashed several punches to the back of Spencer’s head, prompting referee Jerry Cantu to deduct two points for the fouls. It didn’t take long for Spencer to bring a conclusion to matters. He landed another right hand that sent Seldon to the canvas again. This time Cantu didn’t bother counting, waving off the fight at 2:15 of the first round.
“I just knew that I was going to put hands on him, and that’s how I was going to retaliate. I definitely put in the back of my mind that maybe I’d punish him a little further if I would have gotten a chance. But I didn’t. The ref stopped him, and that’s the way it ended,’’ Spencer said. “My man strength is coming. I’m only 20. I turn 21 in March. I’m getting stronger and stronger. I’m getting a lot more confident because people aren’t able to take my punches in the same way.”
In other undercard action, Rances Barthelemy (28-1-1, 14 KOs) scored a unanimous 10-round decision over All Rivera (21-5, 18 KOs) in a super lightweight bout. Barthelemy, a two-division world champion from Cuba, put together a workmanlike performance against Rivera, who hails from Bobon, Philippines. The 34-year-old Barthelemy has won world titles at 130 and 135 pounds.
“After almost two years of being out of the ring, it was hard making sure we stuck to the game plan to make sure we didn’t get anxious or desperate,” Barthelemy said. “I felt we controlled the fight from start to finish and that’s exactly what we wanted to do. I’m looking at Alberto Puello next, going after that 140 WBA belt and hoping that sets us up for bigger opportunities before the end of the year.”
Middleweights Brandyn Lynch (10-1-1, 8 KOs) and Mark Hernandez (14-4-2, 3 KOs) fought to an eight-round draw. In a light heavyweight bout, Atif Oberlton (1-0, 1 KO) pounded out a victory in his pro debut, stopping Nathan Sharp (4-3, 4 KOs) via TKO at 0:48 seconds of the third round.
Photo: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions