Berchelt stops Valenzuela in Mexico

WBC super featherweight world Miguel Berchelt shook off the ring rust Saturday evening, stopping the rugged Eleazar Valenzuela in the sixth round of a lightweight non-title bout at TV Azteca Studios.

Berchelt (38-1, 34 KOs) knocked down Valenzuela (21-14-4, 16 KOs) in the opening round, then continued with a body-head assault until the referee stopped the contest.

It was a furious, sustained offensive output for Berchelt, who landed 201 of 321 power blows (62.6 percent connect rate). Valenzuela landed only 37 of 305 total punches. For Berchelt, he can look ahead to the potential all-Mexican title showdown against Oscar Valdez, the former featherweight world champion who is the WBC’s No. 1 contender at super featherweight.

“Now what follows is the expected fight against Oscar Valdez,” Berchelt said. “Every fan wants to see that fight, and we are ready for that war.

“I felt great, but the altitude Mexico City hit me a little bit. It is not easy to fight in Mexico City, but thank God we got the victory. Eleazar is a tough fighter. He endured everything I threw at him. He gained my respect. My experience as world champion pushed me forward.”

In other action:

Junior Featherweights: Alan David Picasso (14-1, 5 KOs) UD 8 Florentino Perez Hernandez (14-6-2, 9 KOs). Scores: 80-72 3x 79-73, 79-74, 78-74.

Junior Welterweights: Omar Aguilar (18-0, 17 KOs) TKO 1 Dante Jardon (32-7, 23 KOs).

Photo: Zanfer Promotions

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.”

Valdez on Berchelt: ‘That’s the one I want to fight’

Former featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez’s super featherweight debut was a doozy. Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) got off the deck to stop late replacement Adam Lopez in seven rounds in a barnburner of a main event in front of a packed house at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Valdez was knocked down in the second round, only to come back to knock down Lopez (13-2) with a left hook in the seventh. A follow-up barrage caused referee Russell Mora to stop the bout with seven seconds remaining in the round.

As this was a WBC world title eliminator, Valdez is now in line to face champion Miguel Berchelt, who was seated ringside.

Lopez took the bout Friday afternoon after Valdez’s original opponent, Andres Gutierrez, missed weight by 11 pounds.

“I was very surprised. I take my hat off to Adam Lopez. He’s a great fighter, great warrior, just like his father {the late Hector Lopez} was,” Valdez said. I just got hit. This is boxing. I prepared myself for two, three months for Gutierrez, but that’s no excuse. This kid is a warrior.

“Berchelt is a true champion inside the ring and outside the ring. Fans love him. That’s the one I want to fight. He has that WBC belt, and he’s trying to take it back home.”

Photo: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Herring on Berchelt: ‘In order to be the best, you have to keep testing yourself’

Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, retained his WBO junior lightweight world title with a Veterans Day Weekend unanimous decision (115-113 and 117-111 2X) win over top contender Lamont Roach Jr. in front of 7,412 fans at Chukchansi Park.

Herring controlled the action early, but Roach landed a hellacious right hand at the end of the 11th that nearly sent Herring through the ropes. Roach pressed the action in the 12th, but it was too little, too late, as “The Fighting Marine” made his first successful title defense.

“I won {the title} on Memorial Day Weekend and I defended it on Veterans Day Weekend, so it definitely means a lot to all of our troops out there defending our country and still in harm’s way,” Herring said. “This is for ya’ll. I couldn’t lose it on our weekend. It means a lot to still be a world champion.

“Like I said, Miguel Berchelt is considered number one, the best super featherweight in the world. In order to be the best, you have to keep testing yourself.”

Said Roach: “We knew we had to dig down. When I hurt him, all that was on my mind was finishing him. I’m coming into unchartered territory.”

Photo: Top Rank Boxing/Mikey Williams

Berchelt on Valdez: ‘If he wants this belt, come and get it’

Miguel Berchelt defended his WBC super featherweight world title for a sixth time, stopping the game but overmatched former world champion Jason Sosa in the fourth round at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) knocked down Sosa (23-4-4, 16 KOs) in the second round and kept the pressure coming, ultimately forcing a corner stoppage with four seconds left in the fourth.

Berchelt has his eyes on lucky defense number seven, and former featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez is on his radar.

“It was a great performance. I want to congratulate Jason,” Berchelt said. “He came to put on a great fight, and I have a lot of love for him.

“I want to wait until Valdez fights on Nov. 30. If he wants this belt, come and get it.”

Said Sosa: “He’s a great champion. He’s defended it six times. He has serious power.”

Molina KOs Okada

Javier Molina (21-2, 9 KOs) seized the moment. The 2008 U.S. Olympian knocked down Hiroki Okada twice and scored the knockout only 65 seconds into the scheduled 10-round super lightweight fight. Molina knocked down Okada (19-2, 13 KOs) with a left hook in the opening minute, then finished things off with an overhand right.

Molina-Okada was elevated to co-feature status Thursday after Jonathan Rodriguez’s visa issue forced the cancellation of his junior bantamweight title challenge against IBF kingpin Jerwin Ancajas.

“I caught him early. When I had him hurt, I jumped on him,” Molina said. “Whoever’s next, we want to go for a world title. I showed everyone what I’m made of. This was my moment.”

— The return of super lightweight Alex “El Cholo” Saucedo (29-1, 19 KOs) was a triumphant one, as the former world title challenger knocked out Rod Salka (24-6, 4 KOs) with a left hook to the body in the opening round. This was the first fight for Saucedo since falling short to then-champion Maurice Hooker nearly one year ago.

“It was great to be back. I wanted to get some rounds in, but the knockout came, so it is what it is,” Saucedo said. “I hope to be back in the ring very soon.”

— Crowd favorite Raymond “Danger” Muratalla (9-0, 7 KOs), from nearby Fontana, Calif., knocked out fellow Californian Arnulfo Becerra (7-3, 5 KOs) in the fifth round of a lightweight fight.

— Australian prospect Daniel Lewis (5-0, 3 KOs) cruised to an eight-round decision over Alexis Gaytan (6-5, 2 KOs) in his American debut. Scores for the middleweight bout were as followed: 80-72 2X and 79-73.

— In a fight featuring a pair of unbeaten super lightweights, Abram Martinez (8-0, 6 KOs) dropped Ruben Rodriguez (9-1, 3 KOs) twice in the third round en route to the stoppage.

— Freddie Roach-trained welterweight prospect Gor Yeritsyan (12-0, 10 KOs) defeated Shoki Sakai (23-11-2, 13 KOs) by eight-round unanimous decision (80-72, 79-73 and 77-75).

— Elvis “The Dominican Kid” Rodriguez (5-0-1, 5 KOs) opened the evening in fine fashion, knocking out Chilean veteran Luis Norambuena (4-5-1, 0 KOs) in the fourth-round of a scheduled six-round super lightweight bout.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Berchelt: ‘Lomachenko is another fight I’d gladly accept’

Three days before they launch punches at Dignity Health Sports Park, WBC super featherweight world champion Miguel Berchelt and challenger Jason Sosa joined forces Wednesday afternoon for a WBC Cares event at The Rock Boxing Gym along with super lightweight contender Alex Saucedo.

A group of local children were in attendance, as the fighters showed them basic boxing techniques, signed autographs, and gave them each a ticket to Saturday’s event.

After the boxing exhibition, the fighters and the children participated in a special Día de Los Muertos celebration, where they each wrote the name of a loved one they wanted to memorialize on a giant boxing glove.

“I feel very happy,” Berchelt said. “It’s very nice for me to teach the kids how to be disciplined so they can go far in this sport.”

“It’s a great feeling to spend time with the kids and show them what we do,” Sosa said.

Said Saucedo: “A lot of them already knew how to fight, how to box. It’s awesome to come and work with them.”

Berchelt-Sosa will headline a world championship doubleheader (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), as Jerwin Ancajas will defend his IBF junior bantamweight world title against Jonathan Rodriguez in the co-feature. Saucedo will take on Rod Salka in an eight-rounder (ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET) in his first bout since being knocked out by Maurice Hooker in a bid for the WBO 140-pound world title last November.

As Berchelt prepare for Saturday’s outdoor fistic extravaganza, this is what he had to say:

“This will be the next classic in the Mexico versus Puerto Rico rivalry. We are two fighters who always bring excitement to the ring, and this Saturday will be no different. There are many great fights for me in the future, but I know I need 100 percent focus to beat a great former world champion like Sosa.”

“The fans who watch this fight will be the winners. When you have two warriors in the ring, great things happen. I refuse to disappoint the fans. I fight for them.”

“I had a great training camp in Hermosillo, Mexico, with my trainer, Alfredo Caballero. We prepared to fight the very best version of Jason Sosa. After the fight, we can discuss the future.”

“It is no secret that Oscar Valdez is a fight I want. He is at 130 pounds now, and if we both win our next fights, let’s make it happen. There is no hesitation on my end. Lomachenko is another fight I’d gladly accept. I’m a fighter, and I want to fight the very best.”

Stevenson-Gonzalez, Berchelt-Sosa, Herring-Roach Jr. highlight Top Rank’s Fall Schedule

Three world title bouts and a highly anticipated light heavyweight unification fight are on the docket for Top Rank’s fall schedule, which will be unveiled TODAY at 12 p.m. PT at a special kickoff press conference at the MGM Grand’s KA Theatre.

The fall schedule will kick off October 18 with the previously announced light heavyweight unification bout between IBF champion Artur Beterbiev and WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET). The entire undercard will stream on ESPN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

“This is a tremendous lineup of fights that Top Rank is bringing to ESPN and ESPN+ in the fall,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “You have young superstars and established champions in the toughest fights of their careers. It doesn’t get better than that. When it’s all said and done, new superstars are going to emerge.”

October 26: Stevenson and Gonzalez to Battle for Featherweight World Title

Shakur Stevenson is only 22 years old and 12 fights into his pro career. For his first world title shot, he’ll return to the sight of many of his greatest amateur accomplishments. Stevenson will face Joet Gonzalez for the vacant WBO featherweight title Saturday, October 26 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada.

Stevenson and Gonzalez are the WBO’s top two contenders for the belt vacated by Oscar Valdez, who is now campaigning at 130 pounds.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Let’s Get It On Promotions and Golden Boy, Stevenson-Gonzalez and a co-feature will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The entire undercard will stream on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.

“I have been working for this moment my entire life, and no one is going to stop me from becoming a world champion,” Stevenson said. “I had some of my biggest amateur moments in Reno, and I can’t wait to win my first world title there. This is my time to show the world that I am the best young fighter in boxing. The Shakur Stevenson era will officially begin on October 26.”

“It’s about time I got my world title shot,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve been asking for this opportunity for a long time. Thanks to my promoter and manager, it is finally here. Shakur Stevenson has done a lot of talking. But I’ll do my talking in the ring with my fists on October 26.”

Stevenson (12-0, 7 KOs), the fighting pride of Newark, New Jersey, turned pro in April 2017 following a standout amateur career that included a 2016 Olympic silver medal for the United States. He is familiar with Reno, having won four national titles in “The Biggest Little City in the World” from 2013-2015, including his triumph at the Olympic Trials. Stevenson returned to Reno as a pro, shutting out Juan Tapia over eight rounds in February 2018 to improve to 5-0. He has fought three times thus far in 2019, including a career-best performance April 20 against former world title challenger Christopher Diaz on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan pay-per-view undercard. He followed up the unanimous decision over Diaz with a triumphant return to Newark, where more than 5,000 fans packed the Prudential Center for his third-round stoppage over Alberto Guevara.

Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KOs) is a seven-year pro who has the edge in experience, and at 25 years old, is three years older than Stevenson. Like Stevenson, he had a storied amateur career, nearly qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics and winning a U.S. Junior Olympics title. Gonzalez has won three consecutive bouts by knockout since a split decision victory over former world title challenger Rafael Rivera. He last fought July 13 in Carson, California, capturing the WBO Global and WBA Continental America featherweight titles with a sixth-round stoppage over Manuel Avila. Immediately following the Avila bout, he expressed interest in fighting in Stevenson, and the two have since been engaged in a social media back-and-forth. The talking will stop — and the fight will start — on October 26.

November 2: Miguel Berchelt Set to Defend Super Featherweight World Title Versus Jason Sosa

WBC super featherweight world champion Miguel Berchelt will defend his world title for the sixth time against former world champion Jason Sosa in a can’t-miss battle Saturday, November 2 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Berchelt, who has won four in a row by stoppage, is the division’s longest-reigning world champion and is ranked No. 1 by both ESPN.com and Ring Magazine.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions and Peltz Boxing, Berchelt-Sosa and a world title co-feature will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT. The undercard will stream on ESPN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT

“On November 2, there will be another classic war between a Mexican and a Puerto Rican warrior,” Berchelt said. “I will prove once again that I am the best and most spectacular super featherweight in the world. This title ain’t going anywhere.”

“I can’t express how happy and grateful I am to Top Rank and Russell Peltz for once again working together to give me another shot at becoming world champion,” Sosa said. “I am training harder than ever. I want this so bad, and I am not going to let anything stop what God has planned for me. We are incredibly focused knowing the importance of this fight. Berchelt is a strong opponent, and we are not taking his talents lightly. We both throw a lot of punches so expect an action-packed fight that will be the next chapter in the Mexico versus Puerto Rico rivalry. It’s a rivalry that’s been ongoing for years, and I plan on making my island very proud. On November 2, I plan on becoming a two-time world champion.”

Berchelt (36-1, 32 KOs) has reigned as WBC super featherweight king since January 28, 2017, the evening he dethroned Francisco Vargas via 11th-round knockout in a Fight of the Year contender. He has maintained his reputation as an all-action star, besting Miguel Roman and Takashi Miura in dominant title defenses. He last fought May 11 in Tucson, Arizona, battering Vargas in their rematch until Vargas retired on his stool following the sixth round. A native of Cancun, Mexico, Berchelt has won 15 consecutive bouts and hopes a win over Sosa will move him closer to a world title unification bout.

Sosa (23-3-4, 16 KOs), from Camden, New Jersey, is in the midst of a career revitalization following a two-bout skid in 2017. Sosa has reeled off three consecutive wins since a controversial decision loss to Yuriorkis Gamboa in November 2017, and he is now ranked in the top 10 by two of the major sanctioning organizations. He last fought August 10 in Philadelphia, knocking out Lydell Rhodes in seven rounds to earn his shot at the title.

November 9: Jamel Herring Set for Ballpark Title Defense Versus Lamont Roach Jr. in Fresno

Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring, the U.S. Marine veteran who upset Masayuki Ito in on Memorial Day weekend to win the WBO junior lightweight title, is set to honor his comrades by returning on Veterans Day weekend.

Herring will make his first title defense against the undefeated Lamont Roach Jr. on Saturday, November 9 at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, home of the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. This is a return engagement for Herring, who fought at Fresno’s Save Mart Center last September and had more than 1,000 active, retired and aspiring service members in the crowd cheering him on.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Golden Boy, Herring-Roach and a co-feature will stream live beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on ESPN+. The undercard will stream on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.

“Our camps have gone back and forth, and I’m just ready to get to work,” Herring said. “I have a great team, and Terence Crawford will also be in camp to make sure I’m at my best. Overall, the night means much more than trash-talking, since it’s the weekend of both Veterans Day and the Marine Corps birthday.

“I’m glad to be back in Fresno. I had a huge crowd supporting me last time I fought in the area. I know a victory here will lead to bigger and better things.”

“I know Jamel very well and he knows me,” Roach Jr. said. “I’m super excited, and I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire life. This victory will be only the beginning of my legacy. I’m here for a reason, and I can’t wait to show the world why! I will be the WBO junior lightweight world champion on November 9.”

Herring (20-2, 10 KOs) served two tours of duty with the Marines in Iraq and captained the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team. His pro career stalled with a 1-2 skid from 2016-2017, but after signing with Top Rank and moving down to 130 pounds, he won three straight fights to earn the title shot against Ito. His September 2018 fight against John Vincent Moralde was a particularly special occasion, as dozens of Marines lined the Save Mart Center walkway as Herring made his entrance. He shut out Moralde as the ESPN-televised co-feature, and now he returns to California’s Central Valley ready to put on a clinic under the lights.

Roach (19-0-1, 7 KOs) is one of the best young fighters to emerge from the boxing hotbed of Washington, D.C. in recent years. His only hiccup as a pro — an April 2018 draw against Orlando Cruz in Cruz’s home country of Puerto Rico — was a minor speed bump in what has been an otherwise sterling run up the ranks. He is 3-0 since the Cruz fight, winning a pair of regional belts and putting forth his best performances on high-profile cards. He last fought May 4 on the Canelo Alvarez-Danny Jacobs undercard in Las Vegas, scoring a 10-round unanimous decision over former world title challenger Jonathan Oquendo. Roach is trained by his father, Lamont Roach Sr., who has been the head man in his corner for his past five bouts.