Cyborg-Holloway added to Crawford-Avanesyan undercard

Legendary MMA superstar, Cris Cyborg, will be making her highly anticipated return to the boxing ring on December 10, when she battles Gabrielle Holloway on the Terence Crawford vs. David Avanesyan BLK Prime PPV showdown. Cyborg vs. Holloway, a scheduled 4-round bout in the lightweight division, will serve as a special feature attraction.

Crawford vs. Avanesyan, a 12-round WBO welterweight world title clash, will stream live on BLK Prime. The telecast will begin at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

Cyborg, Ultimate Fighting’s only Grand Slam Champion, comes from a world-class mixed-martial-arts background. From Brazil, Cyborg makes her return to the boxing ring to continue her quest to establish herself as the greatest female fighter in any combat sport ever. In her boxing debut earlier this year, Cyborg defeated Simone Silva by a convincing unanimous decision – throwing clean right hands, pressing forward and unloading punches with Silva against the ropes. Her debut in the boxing ring established Cyborg as a looming championship contender, this next bout will prime her for that eventual opportunity.

“This is a great opportunity for me to make a splash in the boxing world, especially on a card with Terence Crawford, the best boxer in the world,” stated Cyborg, who will be making her USA debut in the squared circle. “Boxing has always been a big part of my training and I feel I can compete at the highest level. I’m expecting Holloway to be in great shape, and I know she’s coming to win. That said, I’m taking this fight very seriously. I feel confident, and I can’t wait to showcase my boxing skills to the world.”

Holloway also comes from an MMA background. Recently fighting in the Bellator system, she joins the undercard of Crawford vs Avanesyan to establish her place in boxing – taking on a universal women’s fighting icon in Cyborg.

“Looking forward to testing my skills against a legend in Combat sports, I’m coming fully prepared, conditioning is on point, we are going to steal the show, we are the real Main Event.” said Holloway.

Crawf0rd: ‘I have taken control of my career’

Welterweight superstar and current pound-for-pound king, Terence “Bud” Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) will make his triumphant return to the ring when he battles WBO #6 ranked David Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs) at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Neb. on December 10, 2022. The 12-round bout will air live on BLK Prime PPV, with Crawford’s WBO welterweight title on the line.

“We have seen player empowerment movements in other sports, and now we are starting to see it in boxing,” said Crawford. “I have taken control of my career and my December 10 fight on BLK Prime is the start of my next chapter.”

Crawford chose to bring his latest world title fight back to his hometown of Omaha, Neb. He hasn’t fought in front of the always raucous Nebraska crowd since a TKO victory over Jose Benavidez in October of 2018. “My hometown fans deserve another big fight, and we are going to pack the CHI Health Center once again on December 10.”

Crawford is looking to extend his nine-fight knockout streak, one that has gone under-appreciated from boxing fans and media. December 10 will mark Crawford’s sixth defense of his WBO welterweight title and his 17th straight world title fight across three weight divisions.

“I am an exciting fighter and the best closer in the sport. I have knocked out every fighter I have faced since 2016,” continued Crawford. “I’m going to put on another entertaining fight on December 10 and continue my knockout streak. David Avanesyan is a tough opponent who is riding a strong knockout streak of his own. He’s upset some really good fighters and has nothing to lose. That makes for something that the fans will want to see.”

A former WBA interim champion, Avanesyan enters this welterweight title bout on a six-fight stoppage streak dating back to 2019, when he captured the European welterweight championship. He defended that title five times before he recently decided to vacate and challenge Crawford for his WBO crown. Considered by many boxing connoisseurs as a legitimate welterweight contender, Avanesyan is ranked top ten by three of the recognized sanctioning organizations. His will to keep his winning streak intact is not to be discarded and will certainly bring forth an entertaining fight.

Crawford-Avanesyan set for December 10 in Omaha

Terence Crawford will return to the ring on December 10 as he faces not unified 147-pound champion Errol Spence but current European Champion and WBC No. 4-ranked David Avanesyan at CHI Health Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

The fight will be on pay-per-view and be streamed by BLK Prime; the pay-per-view price is $39.99. 

This will be BLK Prime’s first streaming of a professional boxing event.

Crawford and Spence were in negotiations for a mega fight, but at this point, the two sides could not come to an agreement. Spence reportedly could fight Keith Thurman or Eimantas Stanionis next.

“I’m excited about this opportunity,” Crawford told ESPN’s Mike Coppinger. “I was really looking forward to the Errol Spence fight. I started communicating with [boxing manager] Al Haymon and PBC back in June. And unfortunately, they represent a fighter in Errol Spence who didn’t want the fight as bad as I did.

“I agreed to all of their [B.S.] and they’ve been dragging their ass for months. Spence was nowhere to be found while I was trying to make the deal,” Crawford continued. “I explained to Al Haymon and Errol that I was going to fight before the end of the year. … David Avanesyan is a very tough task. He’s knocked out his last six opponents and this guy is dangerous. Once I’m successful against Avanesyan, my plan is still the same: Whoop Errol Spence’s ass.”

For this fight against Avanesyan, according to Coppinger, Crawford will earn a career-high eight-figure payday. 

The 35-year-old Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) is widely considered the No. 1 pound-for-pound star in the sport, topping the rankings on major publications including ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Yahoo Sports. Known for his exceptionally fast hand speed, ring IQ, counter-punching abilities, defense, and ability to switch naturally from orthodox to southpaw, Crawford won his first world title at lightweight in 2008.

More recently, Crawford has been a force in the welterweight division, disposing of world champions Jeff Horn, Amir Khan, Kell Brook, and Shawn Porter. His last time out, Crawford became the first fighter to stop Porter, putting him down twice in the 10th round.

The 34-year-old Russian native Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs) biggest win of his career took place in 2016 when he scored a unanimous decision against former world champion Shane Mosley to retain his title while also making his United States debut. Avanesyan is currently riding a six-fight knockout streak and is considered an okay opponent.

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