Stanionis: ‘My contract means I am next in line to fight Spence’

WBA 147-pound regular champion Eimantas Stanionis says Conor Benn is being ‘protected’ from facing him and has laughed off claims a fight between them would not sell many tickets.

Stanionis dethroned the ‘regular’ welterweight title holder Radzhab Butaev in Dallas last month to create history by becoming Lithuania’s first ever professional world champion.

The 27-year-old won the WBA crown a few hours after Britain’s Benn had stopped Chris van Heerden in two rounds and following that contest, his promoter Eddie Hearn was asked about pitching his charge in with Stanionis.

Hearn praised the 2016 Olympian as a “really good fighter” but said the welterweight champion had “zero profile” and they would only sell 5,000 tickets for that contest at a venue in London.

Stanionis has now responded to those claims by saying: “I heard what Eddie Hearn said.

“They don’t want the fight and that’s why he said that nobody knows me.  I just laughed when I heard it, but he is just protecting his guy, it’s his job.

“He is promoting a guy for the future, and he knows it would be a very tough fight with me.

“But I was just laughing because there is a big, big community of Lithuanians in England and many people would fly over from my home country for that fight too, so we would sell a lot more than 5,000 tickets.

“Conor is a good fighter, he can bang, and he has power, but he has never fought anyone who would pressurise him like I would, he’s been fighting inactive guys.  But a fight between us would be a lot of fun!”

Stanionis’ victory over Butaev has made him the mandatory challenger for Errol Spence, who holds the WBA’s ‘Super’ title at 147lbs.

Spence also has the WBC and IBF welterweight belts and could yet agree to fight WBO king Terence Crawford – but Stanionis’ wants to be his next opponent.

“My contract means I am next in line to fight Spence, so I will wait for that opportunity,” said Stanionis.

“It would be cool if I could fight him for three belts because when you achieve one goal, you have to create new ones and I want the other belts.  I like a challenge; I want to see where I stand and want to see how deep I can dig and how far I can go through the fire.

“I don’t know if Spence will fight Crawford next.  I am a sports fan too and so I would love to see that fight but I am also a young, hungry fighter who wants the biggest fights.

“I am contracted to fight Spence next so maybe he gives up the belts and I will fight somebody else.”

Spence after win over Ugás: ‘I want Terence Crawford’

IBF and WBC welterweight champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. showed his greatness against WBA champion Yordenis Ugás, battling back from early adversity to stop Ugás in the tenth round on SHOWTIME PPV live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event before an announced crowd of 39,946. 

After the win, Spence, who now owns three belts at 147, made it clear who and what he wants next, and that’s WBO 147-pound champion Terence Crawford.

“Everybody knows who I want next,” Spence said. “I want Terence Crawford. That’s the fight that I want. That’s the fight everybody else wants. Like I said, I’m going to get these straps, then go over there and take his too. Terence, I’m coming for that belt!”

It wasn’t smooth sailing for Spence. In Round 6, Ugás appeared to hurt Spence, knocking his mouthpiece out with an uppercut. Ultimately, Spence was knocked against the ropes, and you could argue that Ugás could have been awarded a knockdown. Eventually, referee Laurence Cole interrupted the action with 1:32 left in the frame to allow trainer Derrick James to replace the mouthpiece.

Spence survived, and he put it on Ugás for the rest of the fight.

Spence’s work rate was overwhelming Ugás, and by the tenth round, Ugás’ right eye was completely shut when Cole stopped the contest for the second time to allow the ringside physician to inspect the eye, and the doctor advised Cole to stop the bout at 1:44 of the tenth round, giving Spence (28-0, 22 KOs)

Spence, who survived a horrific car accident in 2019 and was out of the ring for 17 months after surgery to repair his retina last summer, said his parents are the reason he can survive all the adversity that has come his way.

“I believe that you’re going to go through trials and tribulations,” Spence said. “I went through a lot of trials. I got tested, and I passed the tests due to my upbringing. My mother and my father always telling me not to quit and not to give up, and just believing in myself and my family. I wanted to prove them wrong, and I knew that I could come back. Why would I quit now?”

Ugas(27-5, 12 KOs), who took advantage of Spence’s eye injury and stepped in on late notice to defeat Pacquiao last summer, believes he could have won the fight in the sixth round.

“I feel sad,” Ugás said. “I trained really hard for this fight. All my respect to Errol Spence. He’s a great champion. I’m just sad about what happened tonight. The referee stopped the fight, but I wanted to keep going to the end. I definitely had a chance to win the fight in the sixth round, but he recuperated well. Congratulations to him and his team.”

According to ESPN’s Mike Coppinger, Ugás was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, to have his right eye examined.

Now, the focus has to be on Spence-Crawford. Two undefeated fighters who are at the top of many people’s pound-for-pound list, with all the belts on the line, would be exciting. 

It’s the best fight that can be made in boxing. Let’s hope we see it at some point in 2022.

Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

Porter: ‘He’s (Crawford) the best out of everybody I have been in the ring with’

For nine rounds on Saturday night, in front of a sold-out crowd of 11,568 at Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, we had a very close fight between Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter, but in the 10th round, it turned when Crawford dropped Porter twice, and ultimately, Porter’s father and trainer, Kenny Porter, decided to stop the fight.

With the win, Crawford retains his WBO welterweight world title 

Mikey Williams /Top Rank via Getty Images

Porter(31-4-1, 17 KOs) was Crawford’s (38-0, 29 KOs) best opponent at 147, and after five rounds, Porter, who appeared to give Crawford trouble, led 48-47 on all three scorecards.

However, according to Crawford, he figured Porter out very early.

“(I figured him out in) Round 1,” Crawford said. “I figured that I had the reach, and he had to take chances, and he did what he normally does. He tried to maul and push me back, but I used my angles, and I pushed him back at times as well. Shawn Porter is a slick fighter. He was doing some things in there and made me think.”

According to Porter, who lost to Errol Spence Jr., Crawford is the best fighter he’s ever faced.

“My timing was off, and he wouldn’t allow me to get my rhythm,” Porter said. “He’s (Crawford) the best out of everybody I have been in the ring with.”

Despite the knockdowns, it appeared Porter could continue, but his father decided otherwise, which he explained why after the fight.

“He didn’t prepare like I wanted him to prepare,” Kenny Porter said. “So that makes me say, ‘You know what? I don’t want him in that situation.'”

Crawford and Porter are friends, so this was not a fight Crawford wanted to make, which Crawford discussed after the win.

“I love him. Shawn Porter is a real good friend of mine,” Crawford said. “I didn’t really want to fight him. We always said we would fight each other when the time was right, and I guess the time was right for this fight to happen. I tried to fight the other champions in the division, and that didn’t happen, so I went to the next best thing.”

At the post-fight press conference, the 34-year-old Porter announced his retirement from boxing. Boxers retire often in the sport and come back, so we’ll see if Porter stays retired.

Regarding Crawford, whose contract with Top Rank is done, he could move to the PBC side and go after Spence, who was in attendance on Saturday night. Spence-Crawford is the biggest fight at 147 and maybe the biggest fight in boxing, so let’s hope it happens sometime in 2022.

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

Crawford: ‘I’ve been calling out the top welterweights since I moved up to 147’

Terence “Bud” Crawford has called out the welterweight superstars for years.  His long wait for a legacy-defining fight is now over. Crawford will defend his WBO welterweight world title and unbeaten record Saturday, Nov. 20 against two-time welterweight champion and WBO No. 1 contender “Showtime” Shawn Porter at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with TGB Promotions, Crawford-Porter will be a Top Rank PPV exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

“I’ve been calling out the top welterweights since I moved up to 147 in 2018, and I’m excited that Shawn stepped up,” Crawford said. “This fight will bring out the best in me and showcase parts of my game that the world hasn’t seen yet. On November 20, I will silence my doubters and prove that I am the best welterweight in the world.”

Porter said, “I’ve wanted this fight for a long time and now my patience has paid off. Throughout my career, I’ve taken on the best and proven myself as a man who gives 100 percent in everything I do. Terence Crawford is a great, versatile fighter who is very athletic just like myself. We are the two best welterweights in the world, and on November 20, we get a chance to prove who is the best. Fight fans can expect a great show that night and, with this victory, I will cement myself as the best welterweight of this era.”

Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), the three-weight world champion from America’s heartland, Omaha, Nebraska, has made four defenses of his world title since knocking off Jeff “The Hornet” Horn in June 2018. A mainstay near the upper rungs of the mythical pound-for-pound rankings, Crawford has been a world champion since March 2014. He defeated WBO lightweight world champion Ricky Burns on enemy soil in Scotland and made his first title defense in front of the Omaha faithful with a ninth-round stoppage over Yuriorkis Gamboa. Crawford became the first man in the four-belt era to become the undisputed junior welterweight champion, and he is 4-0 with four knockouts since moving up to welterweight. His knockout streak of eight dates back to July 2016, when he notched a one-sided decision over Viktor “The Iceman” Postol at MGM Grand Garden Arena to unify two of the junior welterweight world titles. Crawford is coming off last November’s fourth-round knockout over Kell Brook inside the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble.

Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), a 13-year pro from Akron, Ohio, first tasted championship glory in December 2013 when he outfought the previously undefeated Devon Alexander to win the IBF welterweight title. He knocked out two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi in his first title defense before Brook edged him by majority decision in August 2014. Over the next seven years, Porter continued fighting the welterweight elite, becoming a two-time world champion in 2018 when he toppled Danny Garcia to win the WBC welterweight title. He defended that title against future Manny Pacquiao conqueror Yordenis Ugas before taking Errol Spence Jr. to the limit in a September 2019 title unification tilt. After dropping a split decision to Spence, Porter regrouped with a one-sided decision over Sebastian Formella in August 2020 to set up the Crawford showdown.

Spence: ‘I’m not worried about Terence Crawford’

After coming off a horrific car accident, unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. made a triumphant return to the ring with a unanimous decision victory over Danny Garcia in front of a sold-out crowd at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday night. 

It was an impressive win for Spence after being out of the ring for over a year. Last October, Spence was involved in a single-car accident in Dallas, where he was ejected from his vehicle. Fortunately for Spence, he survived, and on Saturday, the DeSoto, Texas native, proved that he’s still one the best at 147. 

“I give my performance a B,” Spence said after the fight. “I think I had a little bit of ring rust. But I was in such great shape and took everything seriously in training so that I would not be discouraged by that. I worked my jab and used my angles because that was my best move.”

The 30-year-old Spence expects to return to the ring next summer, and it should be interesting to see who is next. The one guy many want to be next is WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, who was in attendance last night to watch Spence. 

After the fight, Spence discussed Crawford being at his fight against Garcia.

‘He’s gotta live up to his words,” Spence said. “If he said he’s not worried about me, then, what was he doing here? I probably wouldn’t go to none of his fights, so I’m not worried about Terence Crawford.”

It was surprising to see Crawford at the fight on Saturday night, and you wonder if this is a hint at future events. According to reports, Crawford, who is signed to Top Rank, can become a promotional free agent in October 2021. Once a free agent, the 33-year-old Crawford can sign with PBC, which means the fight between him and Spence can easily be made. However, at this point, Crawford is still with Top Rank, and Spence is still with PBC, so a fight might be difficult to make. Therefore, if the two sides can’t come together, we will not get to see this fight until the end of next year or sometime in 2022. 

Let’s hope we can get the politics out the way and get this fight sooner than later!

Photo: Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

Crawford-Brook was a ratings hit!

Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN saw Terence Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) retain his WBO welterweight world title with a fourth-round TKO over former welterweight world champion Kell Brook, in a main event from the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  The fight delivered big on viewership, ranking as the top boxing telecast across all TV networks since January 2019.

Top Things to Know

  • Crawford vs Brook averaged 1,758,000 viewers, making it the most viewed boxing telecast across on all TV networks since January 2019

  • The main event was also the most viewed boxing telecast on cable since December 2018 (Lomachenko vs. Pedraza on ESPN: 1,889,000)

  • The fight rating peaked during the 11:45 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET quarter hour with 2.1 million viewers

  • Through seven Saturday night telecasts on ESPN so far this year, Top Rank on ESPN has averaged 1,033,000 viewers, up 44% from 11 Saturday night telecasts in 2019

  • Adults 18-49 are up 54% year-over-year

  • Crawford vs. Brook ranked No. 1 as the most socially engaged boxing telecast across TV over the last two years, with over 306,000 total social interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

  • Crawford vs. Brook had a strong performance on social media, becoming the most socially engaged telecast across TV over the last two years, with over 306,000 social interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

  • Lomachenko vs. Lopez and Crawford vs. Brook have been the most socially engaged boxing telecasts across TV in consecutive months over the last two years.

Source: Nielsen, Nielsen Social Content Ratings

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank/Getty Images

Crawford: ‘I want Pacquiao’

For the first three rounds, Kell Brook(39-3, 27 KOs) was fighting well and was effectively using his jab against WBO 147-pound champion Terence Crawford. However, before you knew it, the fight was over. Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) exploded was a right jab that forced Brook into the ropes for a knockdown. Crawford would finish Brook off with a combination that prompted referee Tony Weeks to stop the fight, and Crawford would win by fourth-round TKO to retain his belt at the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble on Saturday night.

 “Never in my career, nobody has ever done that to me in sparring or anything,” Brook said after the fight.

Crawford added: “Kell is a tremendous talent. He came, and he tried to take my title. He was in shape. He made the weight. There were no excuses to be put on the table. He came off of three wins.”

According to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, Crawford, who has now won eight straight fights by knockout, is the best welterweight in the world.

“Terence Crawford showed, once again, why he is the best welterweight in the world,” Arum said. “It was a dominating performance over a very good fighter in Kell Brook. Terence ranks up there with all the great welterweights I’ve promoted.”

After the fight, Crawford made it clear that he wants WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, next.

“I already said who I want {next}. I want Pacquiao. I want to revisit that fight,” Crawford said. “That was a fight that should’ve happened right now. But being that the pandemic happened, and they weren’t going to allow fans in the Middle East, they had to put a hold to that. Everything was 95 percent done. We had the venue. The money was almost there. It wasn’t quite there. That was the only thing we were waiting on.”

What happens next for Crawford should be interesting. There have been talks that Crawford is not happy with his situation at Top Rank. According to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger, Crawford’s deal with Top Rank expires in October 2021. If the 33-year-old Crawford is fighting Pacquiao next, which he mentioned was a possibility, that’s an opportunity to get a nice payday and a big name at 147. However, if Crawford wants the other big names at 147, like Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, or Danny Garcia, all of who fight under the PBC banner, he’s going to have to probably sign with PBC, and if that gets him the big fights, it’s a great move.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Brook on Crawford: ‘I stop him, or he quits on the stool’

At age 34, former world champion Kell Brook(39-2, 27 KOs) is running out of time. On Saturday night, Brook will have an opportunity to become a champion again when he battles WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford(36-0, 27 KOs) at the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble.

The last time Brook fought in the United States was in 2014 when he earned his first title by defeating then IBF 147-pound champion Shawn Porter. According to the UK native, he knows what it takes to come to America and win a belt.

“I’ve been here before. I’ve been on this stage,” Brook said via a Zoom call on Monday. “I’ve been in there with pound-for-pound top fighters like Golovkin and Errol Spence. I took the title away from Shawn Porter in America. I know what it takes to be champion.

“He’s going to have a rude awakening; I’ll tell you that. He’s going to have a rude awakening Saturday night when he gets in there.

“I hope he’s {overlooking me}. I hope he is because I’m coming with force. Trust me.”

There is nothing like winning your first title, but Brook, who lost his title to Spence in 2017, thinks winning his second title would mean more to him. 

“I think {winning this fight} would rank above Shawn Porter given everything I’ve been through, everyone writing me off,” Brook said. “I think you gotta put it up there because this is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. You’ve gotta put him as number one. Nobody has done that in history from Britain, and I’m glad that all the fans will be able to see it on Premier Sports. They’re going to stay up and enjoy me become two-time world champion.”

Not only does Brook, who is on a three-fight win streak, expect to beat Crawford, but he also expects to do it in devastating fashion.

“I stop him, or he quits on the stool,” Brook said. “I’m fully focused. I’ve never been ready for a fight like this before. Looking forward to whatever Terence brings because I can match him. I’m ready for a war.”

This is Brook’s last stand. If he can find a way to beat one of the pound-for-pound best in Crawford, it would be his greatest accomplishment as a pro. Brook was very competitive against Spence and Golovkin, so there’s a good chance that he will be very competitive against Crawford. Based on the way Brook’s talking, we should get an excellent fight on Saturday night.

Kavaliauskas wants Crawford rematch

Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas is a top welterweight contender once again. In his first fight since losing to pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford last December, Kavaliauskas knocked out Canadian veteran Mikael Zewski in the eighth round.

Kavaliauskas (22-1-1, 18 KOs) knocked down Zewski (34-2, 23 KOs) with a combination to close out the seventh round, then charged out of his corner to finish things off in the eighth. Following the second knockdown of the fight, referee Kenny Bayless immediately waved off the bout.

Zewski was leading on two of the judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage.

Kavaliauskas said, “I was controlling the fight. I was never in danger. I was never hurt.

“I wanted to knock him out faster, but it happened this way. You can never count on the knockout. I was working. I was putting pressure on him. I saw him slowing down round by round. I saw him getting weaker and weaker. I was just blocking his punches and not feeling his power.

“Mean Machine,” who was stopped by Terence Crawford in December, would like a rematch with Crawford in near future.

“I don’t think Crawford has any other choices at welterweight. I can ask his team, with all due respect, to give me a rematch because these guys have no opponents yet.”

Gonzalez Topples Marriaga

In the featherweight co-feature, Joet Gonzalez picked up the WBO Intercontinental belt with a one-sided unanimous decision (99-91 2x and 97-93) over three-time world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (29-4, 25 KOs). Gonzalez (24-1, 14 KOs) had not fought since losing a one-sided decision to Shakur Stevenson last October for the vacant WBO featherweight world title.

Gonzalez said, “This puts me back in the position I want to be. I wanted to be back in with tough guys. I told my manager, Frank Espinoza, and my team at Golden Boy that I didn’t want no tune-up fights. I wanted to show people that I could compete with the top guys and be in with heavy hitters and boxers and compete for another title real soon.

“I want another world title shot. I think I’ve earned it.”

In undercard bouts:

Featherweight: Aleem Jumakhonov (9-3-2, 5 KOs) KO 3 Jorge Ramos (7-3-1, 4 KOs). Jumakhonov rebounded from a July decision defeat inside the “Bubble” to notch his first stoppage win since 2018.

Bantamweight: Manuel Flores (9-0, 6 KOs) TKO 5 Jonathan Rodriguez (8-1, 3 KOs). In a battle of unbeatens, Flores staggered Rodriguez with a combination in the fifth, forcing referee Robert Hoyle to stop the bout. Flores scored a knockdown in the third round and was leading on two of the judges’ cards.

Junior Lightweight: Anthony Chavez (9-1, 3 KOs) UD 6 Adan Gonzales (5-4-2, 2 KOs). Scores: 58-55 3X. Chavez came back from his first career defeat, knocking down Gonzales in round three and sweeping the last four rounds on two of the judges’ cards.

Lightweight: Eric Puente (4-0) UD 4 Luis Norambuena (4-6-1).
Scores: 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37. Puente, from San Diego, prevailed in his second “Bubble” appearance in three months.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing