Matias-Ponce to headline card on February 25 in Minneapolis

Top super lightweight contenders will square off  as popular knockout artist Subriel Matías meets undefeated Argentine Jeremías Ponce for the vacant IBF 140-pound World Championship to decide one of the kingpins of the red-hot super lightweight division on Saturday, February 25 live on SHOWTIME from The Armory in Minneapolis headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features the return of Minneapolis-native Jamal “Shango” James in the 10-round welterweight co-main event as he battles 2016 Argentine Olympian Alberto Palmetta. Kicking off the telecast, exciting super lightweight contender Elvis Rodríguez duels the hard-hitting Joseph “Blessed Hands” Adorno in a 10-round attraction.

“The 140-pound division is one of the hottest in boxing and a new champion will be crowned at the weight when Subriel Matías and Jeremías Ponce meet in an anticipated clash on Saturday, February 25,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “One of the sport’s most powerful punchers, Matías will have to be at his best to turn away the unbeaten and highly-motivated Ponce. In addition to a second 140-pound clash between Elvis Rodríguez and Joseph Adorno, The Armory’s fan-favorite Jamal James will step back into the ring, as he looks to begin another run to the title against Alberto Palmetta. This is a jam-packed lineup that fans in Minneapolis or watching on SHOWTIME will want to make sure they catch from start to finish.”

The 30-year-old Matías (18-1, 18 KOs) has a seek-and-destroy style that is easy on the eyes and hard for his opponents. He has early and late KO power with all 18 of his victories coming via stoppages – his last six in the fifth round or later. The lone loss of his career came against Petros Ananyan via 10-round unanimous decision in 2020 and was later avenged. Matias, of Farjado, Puerto Rico, faced two unbeaten boxers after the loss, defeating Malik Hawkins and Batyrzhan Jukembayev by stoppage. In the rematch he stopped Ananyan by ninth-round TKO, methodically wearing his opponent down and exhausting him before dropping him and ending the action.

“I’m very grateful that there is now a date for this fight so that I can finally realize my dream and become world champion,” said Matías. “I’ve been away from my family for 10 months in Mexico, just preparing and getting ready until the time came to step into the ring. Now that it’s in my sight, there’s nothing that is going to stand in my way.”

Ponce (30-0, 20 KOs) will be making his U.S. boxing debut when he meets Matias in what has all the earmarks of an immovable-force-versus- unstoppable object-type matchup. The 26-year-old Ponce of Buenos Aires, Argentina hopes to be included in the long lineage of  legendary Argentine boxers who preceded him. He put himself in position to fight for the IBF title with a resounding 10th-round TKO victory over Lewis Ritson in June 2021. He has kept himself busy in anticipation of the title match and stopped Michel Marcano via second round KO in November 2021 before most recently earning a TKO victory over Achiko Odikadze in April of last year.

“I promise that I’m coming into this fight prepared to do whatever it takes to reach my dream and become a world champion,” said Ponce. “In my mind, this is my fight, and that title is already mine. Anyone who’s standing in my way is going to see why I’m undefeated and why I’ve earned this position that I’m in.”

Minneapolis’ James (27-2, 12 KOs) will return to the ring for the first time since dropping a 2021 slugfest to  then unbeaten Radzhab Butaev, which snapped James’ seven-fight winning streak. The 34-year-old returns to fight at The Armory for the fifth time in his career, having won four straight bouts there between April 2018 and July 2019. That run for James included triumphs over fellow contender Abel Ramos and former Champion Antonio DeMarco. James also owns victories over veteran contenders including Javier Molina and Wale Omotoso, with his only other blemish coming against former world champion Yordenis Ugas.

“Training is going well and I’m working hard as usual,” said James. “I’m very excited to be getting back in the ring after such a long layoff, especially since it’ll be in my hometown. I think Palmetta will do his best, but it won’t be enough. I am determined to win and to let it be known that my name should be listed as one of the top five welterweights of this era.”

A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Palmetta (18-1, 13 KOs) represented his home country at the 2016 Olympics before turning pro in November 2016. The 32-year-old has won his last 12 fights, with 11 coming by stoppage dating back to 2017. In addition to an impressive run that saw him knock out the previously unbeaten Erik Ortiz and veteran contenders Tre’Sean Wiggins and Saul Corral, Palmetta also defeated Yeis Solano by decision in October 2021 and most recently blasted out Thomas Mendez in three rounds last November.

“This is a great opportunity for me and I’m training hard in Las Vegas to take full advantage of everything that’s in front of me,” said Palmetta. “I’ve represented my country in the ring for years, including in the Olympics, and I’m going in there on February 25 to make everyone in Argentina proud. I know I’m going into James’ hometown, but that’s just going to motivate me even harder to have my hand raised.”

Rodríguez (13-1-1, 12 KOs) has bounced back from his first career defeat, a majority decision loss to Kenneth Sims Jr., to knock out his last two opponents. His most recent fight came at The Armory, when he dispatched Juan Jose Velasco in the seventh round of their March 2022 clash on SHOWTIME. The 27-year-old burst onto the scene with knockout victories in 10 of his first 11 fights and totaled an impressive five wins in 2020. Originally from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Rodríguez now lives and trains in Los Angeles, Calif.

“I can’t wait for February 25,” said Rodríguez. “I’ve been in camp waiting and preparing for an opportunity like this to display my skills. Adorno is a very talented fighter, but he’s in my way. Simple as that. I hope to get a title shot this year and in order to do that, I need to make a big statement in this fight.”

Adorno (17-1-2, 14 KOs) enters this fight having won three-straight bouts, including a unanimous decision victory over  previously unbeaten Hugo Alberto Roldan in September 2022 in the main event of SHOBOX: The New Generation®. His current winning streak comes after dropping a March 2022 decision against then-undefeated Michel Rivera on SHOWTIME, which followed an April 2021 draw against Jamaine Ortiz. The 23-year-old was born in Union City, N.J., and now resides in Allentown, Pa., and is trained by respected coach Raul “Chino” Rivas. Adorno turned pro in 2016 at the age of 17 after a standout amateur career where he amassed a 178-22 record and beat Shakur Stevenson twice. He has scored knockout victories in nine of his first 10 pro fights.

“I’m training hard and putting in the work to make this my crossover fight,” said Adorno. “I’m the real A-side, the higher-ranked fighter and have more experience. My stablemate Kenny Sims dominated Rodriguez and I’m going to do the same. They took the wrong fight. He can have the A-side billing. Look at my credentials. I am the more skilled, more talented and more powerful fighter.”

Barrios-Santiago, Pero-Faust added to undercard of Vargas-Foster

Undefeated two-division world champion Rey Vargas will battle top 130-pound contender O’Shaquie Foster for the vacant WBC Super Featherweight World Championship in a showdown that headlines action live on SHOWTIME Saturday, February 11 from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas topping a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and also features former champion and all-action San Antonio-native Mario “El Azteca” Barrios, now trained by top trainer Bob Santos, returning to the ring in a 10-round welterweight duel against Jovanie Santiago that serves as the co-main event. Kicking off the action, hard-hitting unbeaten heavyweights go toe-to-toe as Cuba’s Lenier Pero takes on Ukraine’s Viktor Faust in a 10-round attraction.

“One of the best fighters representing Mexico in the sport today, Rey Vargas will look to continue to add to his resume in a tough fight against O’Shaquie Foster for the vacant WBC Super Featherweight World Title,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Vargas has continued to pass every test put in front of him, and he’ll hope to do so once again on Saturday, February 11 on SHOWTIME. San Antonio is one of the best fight towns in the country, and with their hometown star Mario Barrios in the co-main event, plus an explosive clash of unbeaten heavyweights as the telecast opener, there’s no doubt fight fans will want to be out in full force at the Alamodome.”

Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs) is a former WBC 122-pound world champion and current WBC Featherweight World Champion who will compete in his third weight division since 2019 when he faces Foster for the vacant WBC crown. A master of distance with every punch in the book at his disposal, Vargas captured his 126-pound world title in his last bout with a decision victory over Mark Magsayo at the Alamodome on SHOWTIME last July. That marked his second outing at featherweight after the 32-year-old returned from a layoff due to injury to score a near shutout decision victory over Leonardo Baez in his featherweight debut in November 2021. The product of Otumba, Mexico went on the road to the United Kingdom to capture his super bantamweight title in 2017, winning a decision over previously unbeaten Gavin McDonnell, before racking up five successful title defenses. He has fought in the United States seven-straight times since picking up the 122-pound title.

“The Alamodome is definitely a beautiful venue and a place where I have wonderful memories, and we’re coming back to do it again on February 11,” Vargas said. “I want to thrill the fans so Foster can come at me with whatever he has. Let’s give the fans what they want. I’ve fought all kinds of styles, so nothing really surprises me. I have a hunch that Foster is going to come forward and be aggressive. If he fights me tactically, then I’ll be ready for that too.”

Following an extensive amateur career, Foster (19-2, 11 KOs) turned pro in September 2012, winning his first eight bouts. The 29-year-old, who has fought four times on SHOBOX: The New Generation®, bounced back from decision losses in 2015 and 2016 to put together his current nine-fight winning streak. A native of Orange, Texas, who now trains in nearby Houston, Foster scored a 2018 victory over the previously unbeaten Jon Fernandez that set him on his path toward the top of the WBC super featherweight rankings. Foster solidified his spot with a knockout of veteran former title challenger Miguel Roman in November 2020 and followed that up with a 12-round unanimous decision over the previously undefeated Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov in March of last year.

“I appreciate Vargas for coming up and challenging me for the world title,” Foster said. “I’ve had to take a lot of ‘0’s’ lately and Vargas is going to be another one on the list. I’m looking to become the first world titlist to come out of my city so that I can make history for Orange, Texas and raise the bar for the next generation. I’m ready to show the world that I’m one of the top fighters.”

The 27-year-old Barrios (26-2, 17 KOs) returns to the ring after challenging former unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman in February 2022, dropping a decision in a hard-fought clash. The San Antonio-product, who now trains with Santos, a top coach, in Las Vegas, became a 140-pound world champion in September 2019, using his aggressive style to edge out Batyr Akhmedov and earn a unanimous decision. Barrios lost the super lightweight title in another action packed, highly competitive bout, as he was defeated by three-division and five-time world champion Gervonta Davis in June 2021.

“Everyone knows I come with everything I got when I step into the ring, and I’m excited to be back for this big opportunity on SHOWTIME,” said Barrios. “I’m even more motivated knowing that I get to fight back at home in San Antonio and give my people a great fight. Everyone is going to see pure boxing entertainment as I’ll be putting my skills on display with bad intentions. I’ve proven that I’m a warrior every time I get into the ring and I’m bringing that same energy for Santiago.”

Born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and now residing in Dorado, Santiago (14-2-1, 10 KOs) impressed in his U.S. debut in February 2021 despite losing a competitive decision against four-division champion Adrien Broner on SHOWTIME. The 31-year-old followed that up in May challenging top 140-pound contender Gary Antuanne Russell in a bout he lost by sixth-round stoppage. Prior to those fights, Santiago had won four of five contests by knockout, a streak that followed a 10-round decision triumph over DeMarcus Corley in 2017. Santiago’s only blemish before the Broner fight was a majority draw in just his third pro contest.

“This is going to be a very exciting fight,” said Santiago. “I’m ready to go in there and throw a lot of punches. Barrios and I are both looking to bounce back from losses and show that we’re elite fighters. That’s going to make this an action-packed fight and I know that I have everything it takes to leave with my hand raised. The fans in San Antonio can expect us to give it our all from start to finish.”

A 2016 Olympian from Camaguey, Cuba, Pero (8-0, 5 KOs) had an extensive and highly successful amateur career that spanned over 100 fights, including multiple victories over countryman Frank Sanchez and efforts against heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, heavyweight prospect Filip Hrgovic and Olympic Gold Medalist Bakhodir Jalolov. The 30-year-old now fights out of Miami, Fla., and made a successful U.S. debut on New Year’s Day 2022, defeating then-unbeaten Geovany Bruzon. He’s added two more victories since then, most recently knocking out Joel Caudle in August.

“I’m really looking forward to making my SHOWTIME debut on February 11,” said Pero. “Ever since I started boxing, I’ve been working toward my goal of becoming the first Cuban heavyweight world champion. Faust is a good opponent, and this is by far the biggest fight of my career. A victory will skyrocket my career and put me in a great position. I’m going to seize this moment and bring home a victory for my people in Cuba.”

Faust (11-0, 7 KOs) returns to fight in the U.S. after his last stateside outing saw him engage in one of 2022’s most unpredictable and fast-paced slugfests. The 30-year-old squared off with Iago Kiladze in January 2022 with both men hitting the canvas an astonishing five times combined in less than five minutes of action before the Ukrainian closed out the action in round two to earn a TKO. Faust has followed that up with decision wins over veteran title challenger Kevin Johnson in August and Franklin Lawrence in December before he returns to fight in the U.S. for the third time.

“This is a great opportunity for me to show off my talents in the U.S.,” said Faust. “I’m especially happy to be back against a great opponent like Pero. He was a good amateur, and I know we’ll both be very confident heading into this fight. I’m going to win and show everyone that I’m ready to do everything possible to reach my goal and become world champion.”

Davis: ‘I’m ready for the fight with Ryan Garcia’

Gervonta “Tank” Davis(28-0, 26 KOs) has done it again; he sold out another arena(19,731 fans), Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., and he got another stoppage, as he stopped WBA featherweight champion Hector Luis Garcia(16-1, 10 KOs), who moved up to fight Davis at 135, in the ninth round Saturday night(Showtime PPV/PBC).

The 28-year-old Davis, who retained his WBA(secondary) 135-pound strap, started slow, took his time, and ultimately got to Garcia.

In the eighth round, Davis landed a hard left hand, and Garcia was hurt as he walked back to his corner; he complained to his corner that he could not see. Garcia’s trainer, Bob Santos, advised referee Earl Brown to call off the fight. 

The official stoppage came 13 seconds into round nine.

“When I got the shot to my head in the final round, that’s when I couldn’t see from my eye,” Garcia said. “I didn’t know where I was when he hit me with that shot. My vision is back, but my head still hurts. I couldn’t see from my right eye. It was going well up until that point. I was picking my shots.”

Davis added: “I was a little surprised he didn’t come out,” said Davis. “But I knew he was hurt bad, but he’s a fighter, and he didn’t want to show it. I knew he was hurt, though.”

At the time of the stoppage, Davis led 79-73 on two cards and 78-74 on the third, which were all very wide scores. The fight was a little closer than the cards indicated. 

According to Compubox, Garcia threw more(345-239), but Davis landed more(99-55), and according to Davis, who landed only four power punches in the first three rounds but connected on 69 in rounds four through eight, him not throwing much was all apart of the plan.

“I wasn’t throwing a lot of shots in the beginning because I was trying to beat him mentally,” Davis said. “I was trying to trick him with my hands and my eyes and things like that because he’s a tough fighter. I had to bait him.”

With Hector Luis Garcia out of the way, Davis can now focus on Ryan Garcia. The two sides have a deal (not official) to fight sometime in April.

“God willing, I’m ready for the fight with Ryan Garcia,” Davis said. “It’s scheduled for April. I’m here. He’s been training. He’s been talking. And let’s see who’s really about that.”

Davis had a lot going on outside the ring before his win over Garcia. He was arrested last week and charged with domestic violence after being accused of striking the mother of one of his daughters, which she later recanted.

Next month, Davis has another legal situation he has to deal with in his hometown of Baltimore. Davis will stand trial for an alleged hit-and-run that happened in November 2020.

Hopefully, he can get these things behind him and go forward with his career. 

Davis is a star; at this point, the only thing that could stop him is him.

Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Garcia: ‘A victory against ‘Tank’ will solidify me as one of the best fighters in the world’

Unbeaten world champion Héctor Luis García shared insights into his training camp as he prepares to take on boxing superstar and five-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis on Saturday, January 7 in the SHOWTIME PPV main event from Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The stacked four-fight pay-per-view telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and is topped by Davis defending his WBA Lightweight Title against Héctor Luis García, who seeks to become a two-division champion after earning the WBA Super Featherweight World Championship this year.

A 2016 Olympian for his native Dominican Republic, Garcia (16-0, 10 KOs) burst onto the scene in 2022 with a triumph over Chris Colbert that many recognized as boxing’s Upset of the Year. The 31-year-old followed that up with a dominating decision victory over Roger Gutierrez to capture the 130-pound title in August, making him a top contender for 2022 Fighter of the Year. Here is what Garcia had to say about training camp in Las Vegas with top trainer Bob Santos, facing Gervonta Davis, and more:

On his recent training camp:

“Training camp for this fight has been something special as I’ve been taking all my strength and conditioning to another level. I’m running in high elevation, getting the proper sparring and everything has come together perfectly. I’ve had plenty of time to prepare for Gervonta Davis, so I’ll be the best version of myself on fight night. Bob Santos, my head trainer, is not only a masterful strategist, but he’s also controlling my diet, so my body is feeling great, and my weight is on point. The team I have around me right now is the best one I’ve had in my whole career.”

On his matchup with Davis:

“Davis in my opinion is a top pound-for-pound fighter and one of the biggest punchers in boxing, so I know going into this fight that I’m an underdog. Not a lot of people are giving me a chance in this fight, but that’s what motivates me. I was in the same situation going into the Colbert fight, but this time I had a real training camp. I believe my style will give ‘Tank’ problems. I’m a southpaw with many tricks and I will be using all of them when I step in the ring on January 7.”

On what a win does for his career:

“A victory against ‘Tank’ will solidify me as one of the best fighters in the world. I already believe that in my own mind, but the world will realize how good I am after this fight. I didn’t get here by myself. I want to thank my team for all their support. Getting this fight has changed my life forever, but winning it will do wonders for everyone on my team.”

On fighting for his countrymen back home in the Dominican Republic:

“Everyone back home will be watching this fight, so I want to make them proud with a great performance. Right now, the Dominican Republic is making big news in boxing. (WBA Super Lightweight World champion) Alberto Puello is a world champion and Carlos Adames will be soon. All of us are family and we love the support we get from our people back home. Fighters from the Dominican Republic are on the rise and we are here to stay.”

Photo: Ryan Hafney/PBC

Michael Rivera, Frank Martin preview big fight!

Top lightweight contenders Michel “La Zarza Ali” Rivera and Frank “The Ghost” Martin went face to face on Thursday before they meet in a scintillating WBA Lightweight Title Eliminator headlining action live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, December 17 in a Premier Boxing Champions event at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

The press conference also featured fighters competing on the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The action will see former world champion José Uzcátegui return to action against unbeaten former amateur standout Vladimir Shishkin in a 12-round IBF Title Eliminator, while bantamweight contenders face off as Vincent Astrolabio and Nikolai Potapov meet in a 12-round IBF Title Eliminator that kicks off the telecast.

Rivera vs. Martin will pit unbeaten top 135-pound contenders against each other in one of boxing’s most loaded divisions. The matchup is widely considered a step up for both fighters, as the Dominican Republic-native Rivera duels the Derrick James-trained Martin to determine who will be next in line for a world title shot.

Here is what Rivera and Martin had to say Thursday from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas:

MICHEL RIVERA

Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

“We know that Martin is a good boxer with abilities, but I’m the guy. I’m bigger and stronger. He’s strong and confident too, but I’m more confident. This is my time and I have to do everything to win this fight.

“This fight is everything. I believe that I’m more talented, but I like that he’s confident. For me, this is the best fight of the year. Nobody should miss this fight.

“I’ve really done a lot of work for this camp. This is my first main event and I have to make this my time. I’m dedicated and motivated. On Saturday, everyone will see a new superstar in the ring.

“It’s not normal for two undefeated guys to put their records on the line. I’m telling everyone, you can’t miss this fight. This is going to be amazing.

“He’s a southpaw, but that’s nothing new. I’ve been fighting with guys more experienced than him for a while. We know he’s got Errol Spence Jr. behind him, but that doesn’t mean anything in the ring. I’m one hundred percent confident that I’m winning this fight.

“Everyone knows I’m a confident fighter. That’s because of how hard I work in the gym with Herman Caicedo and my whole team. I’m not going to quit and I’m going to keep pushing and be ready for anything Martin brings.

“I’m so excited to be fighting again on SHOWTIME. I know that with a win on Saturday, I’m going to have the really big fights all set for me.

“Everyone knows me. I’m different. I’m the guy. I will win this fight. We’re going to talk in the ring.”

FRANK MARTIN

“We definitely believe in ‘Man Down’. Protect yourself at all times. Because I can get you up out of there at any moment in the fight.

“Come fight night, we’ll see who’s stronger and faster. He may have more length, but we’ll see who dominates and who hits the hardest on Saturday.

“I’m ready and I’m prepared. I put in all the hard work in the gym. Everything is done. Come fight night, I’m ready to put it all on the line. I know that I’m coming out with the victory because of all the overtime I put in while training.

“I’m coming to dominate. He’s a good fighter, but on Saturday night, I’m here to show him exactly what kind of fighter I am.

“This is the fight that’s going to get me to the next level. I’m not looking past Rivera, but my main thing is just to get in there and capitalize off the game plan and get the victory. Then we’ll keep going up from there.

“Rivera is a good, balanced fighter. He can punch, he can counter-punch, and he’s got some finesse to him.

“He’s got a game plan and so do we. We’re going to be ready to adjust. No matter what he comes with, we’re going to have something for him. We’ve got all the answers.

“This is gonna be an action-packed fight. We’re two undefeated fighters that are super hungry. You’re going to see a lot of hunger in that ring. We’re going to come out and do what we do.”

Jermell Charlo: ‘Nobody is ready for me in my division’

Undisputed Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo(35-1-1, 19 KOs) and unbeaten contender Tim Tszyu(21-0, 15 KOs) previewed their highly-anticipated showdown during a virtual press conference before they rumble for real live on Saturday, January 28, from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas headlining a Premier Boxing Champions Event(SHOWTIME).

Tszyu comes from good stock as his father, Kostya Tszyu, was an undisputed world champion. Interestingly enough, Kostya fought for his first world title in Las Vegas on the same date 27 years ago that Tim will now face Charlo in his first championship bid.

“I don’t underestimate anyone, but Tim Tszyu is not the same caliber as I am,” Charlo said. “His father has done things in boxing, but my pedigree is strong. My pedigree is proven and has been destined for many years.

“Tszyu is young and hungry, but I’m young and hungry as well. I’m in the prime of my life, and I’m going to challenge myself on January 28.”

Since his first and only loss to Tony Harrison in 2018, Charlo has been dominant. Four of his last five fights have ended by stoppage. However, according to Charlo, he doesn’t get the respect he deserves.

“I’m very humble at the end of the day because we all come to win,” he said. “There’s much respect to any boxer who comes into that ring. But I’m different. I’m different than anybody else in the pound-for-pound list. I still don’t get the respect that I deserve, but I don’t worry about it. I keep that same energy.”

In the end, Charlo feels no one, including Tszyu, is on his level at 154 pounds.

“Nobody is ready for me in my division,” he said. “Everybody is training and says they’re ready. We’re just going to go in there and entertain the people.

“I can stay in this division for my whole career. I can’t predict the future, but I’m ready to get it on as fast as y’all are ready to see it. I make this weight easily. Boxing is a lifestyle for me. We’re going to enjoy it later.”

Charlo-Tszyu set for January 28 in Vegas

Undisputed Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo will defend his four titles against unbeaten No. 1 contender and aggressive puncher Tim Tszyu live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, January 28 from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in a Premier Boxing Champions Event.

One of the most anticipated matches of 2023, Charlo vs. Tszyu pairs two hard-hitting boxer-punchers in a high-stakes bout with Tszyu attempting to dethrone the best 154-pounder in the sport. Charlo earned his position as undisputed champion by stopping Brian Castaño in May and unifying all four titles. He will look to add another name to his pound-for-pound resume against the Australian star Tszyu, who hopes to join his father Kostya Tszyu as an undisputed world champion.

The last time we saw Tszyu, he stopped Terrell Gausha in March. This should be a lot fun!!

Davis: ‘I just want to go in the ring and shut them all up’

Gervonta “Tank” Davis(27-0, 25 KOs) is back home again as he battles WBA 130-pound champion Hector Luis Garcia for Davis’ WBA(regular) lightweight title on Saturday, January 7, from Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C(SHOWTIME PPV.

The Baltimore native is happy to fight in front of a partisan crowd.

“It feels good to be back home,” Davis said at a press conference on Monday. “All the greats have fought here, and now I get to come back home and put on a great event. I love getting everyone together to have a party. That’s what it is. We grind in the gym, and a lot of people don’t see that, so when the big event comes, it’s time to show up.”

Davis is expected to fight Ryan Garcia next if he gets by Luis Garcia, but Davis knows he can’t overlook the undefeated Luis Garcia(16-0, 10 KOs).

“We’re gonna go back into training camp right after today because we’re not sleeping on this guy. I know we have two fights lined up, but I’m only focused on this one. I’m ready to go through everybody that’s in my way…

“I’ve always been the guy who stays focused and knows that whoever is in front of me is a threat,” Davis said. “We know that Garcia is coming. I’m watching him a lot. I know what they’re doing day in and day out.”

There’s been a lot of chatter of late from Shakur Stevenson and undisputed 135-pound champion Devin Haney about their desires to fight Davis. Of course, Ryan Garcia has been very outspoken about fighting Davis, and at this point, Davis wants to shut them all up.

“I’m just ready to shut everyone up,” Davis said. “All the talking that’s going around, I just want to go in the ring and shut them all up.”

Davis is right; he can’t overlook Garcia and has to be sharp. Plus, he’s fighting in his backyard, and he has Ryan Garcia looming, which may add some pressure on him. Expect an exciting night of boxing on January 7 in D.C.

Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Barthelemy: ‘I showed I can compete with the best young fighters in boxing’

After a week to digest his disputed early stoppage to Gary Antuanne Russell (16-0, 16 KOs), Rances Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs), feels his latest performance will garner him another fight against a big name in the super lightweight division.

The fighters threw within five total punches of each other per round across the bout, including combining to throw 361 power punches out of 515 total thrown. At the time of the stoppage, the score totals were 49-46 twice and 48-47 in favor of Russell.

“Although I thought my fight against Gary Antuanne Russell was stopped early, I feel I gave the fans an exciting fight.” Barthelemy stated. “I was letting my hands go and I almost got him out of there in the opening round. Orlando Cuellar is my new trainer and he has me fighting in a more aggressive style. I know I have power and I know I can still compete at the championship level. I’m seeking another big fight by the end of the year.”

Barthelemy’s loss to Russel took place July 30th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on the undercard of Danny “Swift Garcia vs. Jose Benavidez Jr. live on SHOWTIME, a Premier Boxing Champions event.

“I love this sport and I will always have respect for the referees that work our bouts,” continued Barthelemy. “I just feel that Murdaugh made a suspect decision by stopping this fight. I showed I can compete with the best young fighters in boxing, and I just want an opportunity to close out my career with honor, without any controversy.”

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

Benavidez: ‘This is going to be the end of the ‘Danny Garcia Show’

 Two-division world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia and exciting contender Jose Benavidez Jr. went face-to-face at a final press conference on Thursday and gave verbal clues of the explosive action they plan to dish out  in a super welterweight clash set for this Saturday, July 30 headlining live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

Also squaring off on Thursday at the press conference were Polish star and Brooklyn’s all-action Adam Kownacki and Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen, who battle in the heavyweight co-main event, plus unbeaten rising star Gary Antuanne Russell and former two-division champion Rances Barthelemy, who duel in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®  telecast opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Thursday’s event also featured rising prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr., who faces tough veteran Jimmy Williams as part of the SHOWTIME BOXING COUNTDOWN show streaming live on the SHOWTIME SPORTS YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

Here is what the press conference Garcia and Benavidez had to say Thursday from Barclays Center:

DANNY GARCIA

Photos: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

“It’s been 19 months since I’ve been in the ring and I’ve been enjoying my life in and out of the ring. I’ve spent time with my family, but I’ve still been staying in the gym the whole time. I trained with young guns Chris Colbert and Stephen Fulton Jr. To be honest, it feels like I never left.

“We had a tremendous training camp in Philly. We’ve done everything we were supposed to do and my body feels great. I knew that I was coming up to 154 pounds, so I built more muscle. But most importantly I feel good mentally.

“Once Danny Garcia is mentally and physically strong, no one can touch him. I’ve proved that before. I’m just excited to be back at Barclays Center.

“I’m excited to be on this card with a lot of young fighters. It’s tremendous and I can’t wait. The ‘Danny Garcia Show’ is back. I definitely feel good and come Saturday night you better make sure you get your tickets or tune in on SHOWTIME.

“It feels good to be back. I’m back because I love to fight. I’m a fighter and I love boxing. I knew once I took that break, that I’d come back at 154 pounds. A lot of people don’t know how I’ve been squeezing my body down. I think people will be surprised about how strong I am.

“I want to chase a new dream. I want to be a three-division champion. I have the skill and I have the will and I’m not going to let anyone take it away from me.

“Nothing ever comes easy against Danny Garcia. Don’t try too hard, because you might knock yourself out (to Jose Benavidez Jr.).

“I’m going to go out there and have fun and do what I do best. I’m going to find a way. It’s going to be the same thing you always see. I’m going to get this ‘W’.”

JOSE BENAVIDEZ JR.

“I’m ready. I feel strong and I’m happy to be here. It’s exciting to be fighting in this big arena. I’m ready to show the world that I’m the one at 154 pounds.

“I’m the bigger guy at this weight. I’m confident, I’m strong and I’m ready. This is a new and improved me. Nobody is going to touch me.

“I don’t have to look impressive. I’m going to show what I am. I’m a beast. I know where my talent is and I’m going to make it look easy.

“This is going to be a good fight. It’s going to be fireworks. I respect Danny Garcia, but his dad talks too much. I’m thankful for the opportunity, but we’re going to let the fists talk.

“I’m done with the trash talk. I’m happy and I’m excited. I can’t wait to get it on Saturday night.

“They can think what they want to think. I know what I’m capable of and I’m going to prove it on Saturday. I’m only focused on my work ethic and I’ve been training hard for this fight.

“To me, the talk is just a game. I respect everyone. I’m more mature now. I’ve grown and I only care about what I’m going to do on Saturday.

“This is going to be the end of the ‘Danny Garcia Show’.”