Mikaela Mayer made history in July 2020 as the first female boxer to headline a Top Rank on ESPN main event. Now the WBO junior lightweight world champion, Mayer is ready to break another barrier.

Mayer will fight longtime IBF world champion Maiva Hamadouche in a title unification showdown Friday, Nov. 5 at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of Curio Collection by Hilton, with the vacant Ring Magazine title also at stake. Mayer-Hamadouche is the first female world title main event in the four-plus year history of the Top Rank on ESPN series.

In the 10-round co-feature, rising middleweight contender Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly hopes to continue his rapid rise up the rankings against former world champion Hassan N’Dam.

Mayer-Hamadouche and Alimkhanuly-N’Dam will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ starting at approximately 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing and OPI Since 82, tickets starting at $25 (not including fees) are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting AXS.com.

“Mikaela Mayer is quickly becoming the face of female boxing, and it’s fitting that she’s part of the first Top Rank on ESPN female world championship main event,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “From the moment she won her world title, she asked for unification fights and the biggest challenges. Hamadouche certainly fits that criteria, and she’s not coming from France to give up her title without one heck of a fight.”

Mayer (15-0, 5 KOs), ranked No. 5 on the ESPN.com pound-for-pound list, rocketed to stardom following her appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Less than two years after her August 2017 professional debut, she shined on the Tyson Fury-Tom Schwarz undercard. In July 2020, Mayer blanked Helen Joseph by unanimous decision in the first female main event since the newest incarnation of Top Rank on ESPN boxing premiered in July 2017. On Halloween evening 2020, she dominated longtime champion Ewa Brodnicka to earn the WBO title. She made her first title defense in June at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and turned back two-weight world champion Erica Farias over 10 rounds.

Mayer said, “This is the big fight I have wanted and the fight that I’ve been working so hard for. My prior fights were all important because I needed those wins to get me in this position. But THIS is the fight that will rocket my career or set me way back, and I have no intention of going back. The stakes are high, but I’ve worked hard, and I am fully prepared to capitalize on this opportunity to become a unified world champion.”

Hamadouche (22-1, 18 KOs, from Albi, France, has held the IBF title since November 2016, a run that’s included six successful title defenses and a recent appearance for her home nation at the Tokyo Olympics. She’s the third longest-reigning world champion in female boxing and returns to the pro game coming off a nearly 11-month layoff. Hamadouche knocked out Italian contender Nina Pavlovic last December in Milan, Italy, extending her knockout streak to four.

Hamadouche said, “I will arrive with my belt and leave with hers. My promise is to give Mikaela Mayer a war. She better start preparing to mourn the loss of her title.”

Boxing’s consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, Mexican superstar and Unified WBO Super Middleweight World Champion Canelo Álvarez and undefeated IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant met for an intense stare down that turned into a scuffle Tuesday at a press conference previewing their historic and highly anticipated undisputed super middleweight championship showdown.

During an extended face-off that kicked off the event, the fighters exchanged words and threw glancing blows before their respective teams rushed the stage to separate the combatants, escalating a rivalry that will culminate on fight night in just over six weeks.

Canelo and Plant will battle on Saturday, November 6, live on SHOWTIME PPV at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in a Premier Boxing Champions event, with the winner stamping his name in the history books as the first undisputed 168-pound world champion of the four-belt era.

Tickets for the live event are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com. The event is promoted by Canelo Promotions and TGB Promotions and sponsored by Hennessy and Value.

Eddy Reynoso, Canelo’s trainer and manager, and Justin Gamber, Plant’s trainer, joined their fighters on stage at the event in Beverly Hills. Here is what the press conference participants had to say Tuesday:

CANELO ÁLVAREZ

“You are not on my level and you will see on November 6. You don’t want to fight now, I promise you.

“We come from nothing and we worked hard to be here. For somebody to lie and talk trash about us, that upset Eddy. It is what it is though. We just have to show everyone who we are on November 6.

“Caleb might be on the same level as Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith, but he’s not on my level. I respect that he isn’t here to back down. You can see from today that this is definitely going to be a good fight.

“I know what I need to do and I know a lot about him. He’s a good fighter but I know my skills. My experience is going to give me the edge in the fight. I have faced similar styles to Caleb’s against Floyd Mayweather, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout and Saunders.

“He’s an insecure person and that’s why he came with a lot of excuses about lots of things. I don’t care about it though. I’m just going to do my best on November 6 and win the fight.

“To be undisputed is history for Mexico and for everyone on my team. To be the undisputed champion is just a great thing for my career.

On the on-stage scuffle: “You can say whatever to me, but not to my mom. I’m going to fight anyone who says something about my mom. And he swung first. I just pushed him. He swung first, and I do what I do. He crossed the line.

“It will be over in eight rounds or less. I’m going to knock out this guy. Easy.”

CALEB PLANT

“I know only one thing better than proving people right, and that’s proving people wrong. I’ve been doing that my whole life. As soon as I stepped on the stage, people started talking about what I can’t accomplish and what I can’t do. Where I come from, there is no boxing community. There was no other pro I could look to and say that if he can do it, then I can do it. All I had was my mind and my heart.

“I don’t do this to be famous or to get attention. When I first started, it was just me and my dad. No one thought I’d be standing here today. I can remember him and my grandfather scrounged up a little bit of money to open a little boxing gym. There was just one heavy bag hanging in the corner. But when you really want something, you don’t need all the fancy things. You just need your mind and your heart.

“I know that people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m winning on November 6. All those people who tell me that I can’t do something, you live believable lives and you do believable things. I promised myself that I was going to run this all the way to the top, with no problem crashing and burning along the way. I set out to live an unbelievable life and accomplish unbelievable things. Those people who doubt me are the very reason that I’m here.

“Miguel Cotto’s brother can make you do the chicken dance but I can’t? Okay. Mark my words, on November 6 you will hear the words, ‘And the new undisputed super middleweight champion,’ but you will also hear the words, ‘and still undefeated.’

“Being undisputed would mean a lot. I’ve sacrificed so much to this sport and I’ve been doing this a long time. All that work would come down to one moment. I want my name in those history books and that’s the only reason that I’m here.

On the on-stage scuffle: “We just had some normal back-and-forth banter up there and then whatever happened, happened. It’s none of my concern though. I’m focused and locked in on November 6.”

EDDY REYNOSO, Canelo’s Trainer and Manager

“I think this is going to be a great fight, one where we unify the 168-pound division. As we do with every fight, we’re going to work hard in the gym. We’ve always worked hard in the gym.

“I’m a little upset by how things turned out today, but in the end we will settle things in the ring on November 6.

“The offensive language is what offended us the most. We are respectful people, and we move forward from this with our heads held up high. Now we are going to train well, win the fight and see what comes next after that.

“There are a lot of people who say things on social media but then they don’t show up. Some people want to take down a whole country and a great athlete that represents his country. They talk a lot of trash. You need to work hard though. You need to have guts to work as hard as we do.”

JUSTIN GAMBER, Plant’s Trainer

“I want to thank our whole team for believing in us and getting us this fight that we wanted and this opportunity to make history. It’s been blood sweat and tears, literally, to get here. It’s been a long journey. This fight is not about money, it’s about legacy.

“In 1996, when I was 15-years-old, my favorite fighter was the IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Roy Jones Jr. Every fan back then craved an undisputed champion at 168-pounds and now I train the IBF champion and we’re going to be fighting for all of the marbles.

“Tune in on November 6 and you will see the first undisputed super middleweight champion of the world and he’s from Tennessee. Anything that happened today at this press conference is going to drive us and give us more hunger.

TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions

“It took a couple of tries, but here we are today with the undisputed super middleweight championship on November 6. It’s a real pleasure to be working with our network partners at SHOWTIME for this event. SHOWTIME has a long history of being involved in the sports’ biggest and most important events and that continues with this fight.

“It’s an honor to be working with the pound-for-pound king Canelo Álvarez, Eddy Reynoso and everyone with Canelo Promotions. I’m also thrilled to be back working with everyone on team Plant. I promoted Caleb’s pro debut in 2014 and it’s great to see him up here today in this position.

“Canelo holds three titles, while Caleb owns the fourth title in the 168-pound division. They’ll battle to become the first undisputed champ in the four-belt era. History will be made on November 6 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.”

STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President, SHOWTIME Sports

“2021 has been a phenomenal year for SHOWTIME Boxing. It’s one of our most prolific years in recent memory. SHOWTIME has delivered 17 live boxing events so far this year, with several more to come. Eight world championship fights, multiple world title unifications and now two fights for the undisputed title as a very good year for SHOWTIME becomes a great year for SHOWTIME. SHOWTIME is the home of big fights. It’s the most trusted and longest-tenured network in boxing. There is no other network making a more meaningful or more significant commitment to the sport of boxing. We are the home of boxing’s biggest and best fights.

“We are proud to welcome Canelo Álvarez back to SHOWTIME. We also welcome Caleb Plant for his SHOWTIME debut. It was almost nine years ago – September 15, 2012 – that Canelo made his debut on SHOWTIME in a thrilling fight against Josesito Lopez. Nine years is a long time. That was a very young Canelo Álvarez and a very young Eddy Reynoso. That started an impressive run of fights in which Canelo demonstrated his willingness, desire and demand to take the toughest fights available. Together back in 2013, we set a record at the time for the biggest pay-per-view of all time as we helped launch Canelo as boxing’s newest pay-per-view star. Now nine years later, we are proud to welcome him back for this mega fight.”

Photos by Amanda Westcott / Showtime

Boxing’s consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, Mexican superstar and unified WBO Super Middleweight World Champion Canelo Álvarez will face undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant in a historic showdown on Saturday, November 6, live on SHOWTIME PPV at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

Canelo, a four-division world champion, will look to capture undisputed status for the first time in his Hall of Fame-caliber career as he returns to SHOWTIME where he made his pay-per-view main event debut in September 2013. The unbeaten and supremely talented Plant attempts to earn a career-defining victory and keep his perfect record intact as he makes his fourth world title defense. The winner of the November 6 bout will stamp his name in the history books as the first undisputed 168-pound world champion of the four-belt era.

“This is the most highly anticipated fight of the year and rightfully so,’’ said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Canelo Álvarez has proven to be one of the best boxers in the sport today and he is seeking to become the first ever undisputed super middleweight champion. And Caleb Plant, who is a skilled technician in the ring and extremely confident in his abilities, wants to make history and not become a footnote. Both men will bring fire and determination into the ring and the eyes of the sports world will be focused on the action at MGM Grand on the evening of November 6.’’

“We are very happy to have been able to reach an agreement for this fight as we look to make history in becoming the first undisputed champion of Mexico or Latin America, and just the sixth man in the history of boxing,” said Canelo’s manager Eddy Reynoso. “We are going to train very hard, focus on growing the sport of boxing and plan to lift up the name of Mexico.”

“In one of our most prolific years to date, SHOWTIME has delivered 17 live boxing events in 2021 so far with several more to come. None more significant, however, than November 6,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, SHOWTIME Sports. “We are proud to welcome Canelo Álvarez back to SHOWTIME, now as the consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world and the sport’s biggest draw. We also welcome undefeated world champion Caleb Plant to the network as both men chase a historic, undisputed world title in the most anticipated fight of the year.”

Tickets for the live event are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com. The event is promoted by Canelo Promotions and TGB Promotions and sponsored by Hennessy and Value.

Having already captured world titles at 154, 160, 168 and 175-pounds, Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs) has amassed a Hall of Fame resume at just 31-years-old. The fighting pride of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Canelo began his quest for the undisputed super middleweight championship in December 2020 by defeating then unbeaten Callum Smith to capture the WBA and WBC titles. Most recently, Canelo added the WBO belt via a stoppage victory over previously undefeated Billy Joe Saunders in May. November 6 will be Canelo’s first attempt at an undisputed title.

Under the guidance of Reynoso, his renowned coach, Canelo has faced and triumphed over a long list of elite fighters since turning pro at just 15-years-old in 2005. Shane Mosley, Gennadiy Golovkin, Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto and Sergey Kovalev are among them. Canelo’s lone professional defeat came against undefeated legend Floyd Mayweather in September 2013.

“At the end of the day, this is what I want to do with my career, make history,” said Canelo. “These things, like becoming the first to be the unified champion at 168 pounds, is making history. To potentially be one of the few who holds this prestigious honor in any weight class makes me very happy. For my country, this would be a huge accomplishment. I want to be remembered as one of the greatest in the history of the sport.”

The 28-year-old Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) captured his world title and burst onto the 168-pound scene by defeating Jose Uzcategui in January 2019. Plant was the underdog coming into the Uzcategui fight. He quickly set the tone scoring two early knockdowns on his way to a clear unanimous decision victory. It was an emotional night for Plant, who had dedicated his championship win to the memory of his late daughter, Alia, who passed away in 2015.

A native of Ashland City, Tennessee, Plant now lives and trains in Las Vegas, guided by his trainer Justin Gamber, along with his father and co-trainer Richie Plant. Caleb has successfully defended his title three times, dominating Mike Lee to earn a third-round stoppage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in July 2019. He then earned a TKO victory over Vincent Feigenbutz in a homecoming bout in Nashville in 2020. Most recently, Plant bested former super middleweight world champion Caleb Truax, winning a unanimous decision in their January clash.

“On November 6, the world will witness boxing’s first ever crowned undisputed super middleweight champion,” said Plant. “When my hand is raised in victory, the world will know then, that I’m the new face of boxing. Everyone should order the PPV now and get their popcorn ready, because I’m about to put on a performance that will go down in history as one of the best ever. This man is in trouble.”

Congratulations to Unified WBO Super Middleweight Champion Saúl ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs), who defeated Billy Joe Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) by 8th-round TKO @ AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas.

Canelo was gaining ground from the seventh round, after a very competitive first half of the fight, against a capable Billy Joe Saunders, before 73,126 crazed fans.

At the end of the fight, Canelo was winning on the three judges’ scorecard, with points of 78-74 (Feldman), 77-75 (Cheatham) and 78-74 (DeLuca).

#AndStill Congratulations to WBO Jr. Flyweight World Champion Elwin ‘Pulga’ Soto, who defeated Katsunari Takayama, via 9th-round TKO @ AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas.

Champion Elwin Soto had to work hard to deal with the fine and experienced boxing of 38-year-old Takayama, who was rising in the ranks, after reigning five times as the minimum world champion.

Takayama received numerous highly committed power shots to the head and body, but he always stayed in the fight, shooting from different angles, with constant speed and movement.

 


MAIN CARD LIVE ON DAZN FROM 7PM CT

10 x 3 mins Heavyweight contest

Frank Sanchez 237.6lbs        vs. Nagy Aguilera 238.2lbs
Guantanamo, Cuba                       Houston, TX

Followed by

10 x 3 mins WBA Intercontinental Super-Welterweight title

Kieron Conway 154lbs          vs.     Souleymane Cissokho 153.6lbs
Northampton, UK                               Bagnolet, France

Followed by

12 x 3 mins WBO World Junior-Flyweight title propionato testosterona ciclos combinados

Elwin Soto 107.8lbs     vs.     Katsunari Takayama 107.6lbs
Baja California, Mexico            Osaka, Japan

Followed by

12 x 3 mins Unified WBO Super-Middleweight Clash

Canelo Alvarez   167.4lbs    vs.     Billy Joe Saunders 167.8lbs
Guadalajara, Mexico                        Hatfield, UK

UNIFIED WBO SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT CLAAH CANELO VS. SAUNDERS QUOTES FROM FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE

 
Canelo Alvarez
 
“I feel really thankful with the response of the people and that boxing is a sport that brings everything back to normal. I’m ready for this fight.”
 
“He’s a great fighter, he has a lot of ability and he’s a southpaw. I’m not the same fighter I was six or seven years ago, this Saturday I will show that.”
 
“I’ve been involved in a lot of big fights and this is just another day at the office. I come to win, like I said boxing is my life and I come here to win.”
 
Eddy Reynoso
 
“It’ll be a great fight, two of the best middleweight fighters in the world in front of 70,000 people – especially after the pandemic. It gives me a lot of joy and honour to be there as a Mexican in the ring.”
 
“He’s a great fighter, he’s a two-time champion for a reason. He has a good trainer, he knows how to defend, he moves around really well. We know it’s going to be a good fight on and off the ring.”


 
Billy Joe Saunders
 
“I’ve been boxing all my life, I’ve been boxing since I was five years old, I’ve dragged up – on the gypsy camps. We can all have the rough, tough talk growing up as kids. I’m here for a reason, there’s no other reasons for me to be here apart from to win. Not about fame or anything else, to win.
 
“I don’t think we’ve had somebody come to win for a very long time. We’ve had a lot of people turn up, collect cheques and fly out but we haven’t had the heart, soul and IQ that I’ll bring to the ring on Saturday night to win.
 
“I can’t talk what he’s done down, he’s done brilliant things for boxing. He’s a good champion but like I said, there’s a time in life where you get tested, sometimes when you forget where come from and forget all those hard things that’s brought you to where you’re at sometimes that can make it difficult on yourself. I think he’s going to be bumping into the wrong man Saturday night to be going home with titles. I’m looking forward to a very good fight but most definitely the win.
 
“I think I’ve been up against the crowds before; I’ve travelled as an amateur to the Olympics game at 18, there’s no bigger pressure on someone’s shoulders when they’re stepping in front of millions of people there.
 
“There’s added pressure coming for both of us for this fight because both of us don’t want to go home the loser. At the end of the day, half the Mexican people like him, half don’t, so hopefully half that don’t like him will be supporting the Gypsy boy, we’ll get it rocking and rolling. This is for all the Gypsies back home, everyone in the UK, plus half the Mexicans, get behind me.”
 
Tom Saunders
 
“He’s been boxing since he was five years old, he’s amateur pedigree is second to none. Everything is there and we’re ready for the job.
 
“This is what we’ve been waiting for, he’s trained all his life for it. We’ve left no stone unturned and on fight night you’re going to see something special. There’s only one winner, that’s Billy Joe Saunders.
 
“I’ve been speaking to a lot of people back home and the UK’s right behind him. There’s a lot of gypsy magic in this fight, there’s a spell been cast so we’ll definitely see something special.”
 

WBO JR. FLYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION Elwin Soto
 
“I’m very happy for this opportunity, he’s a really good fighter and we’re going to come out here and try to do a good job.”
 
“It’s a great emotion inside, it’s a great opportunity that was given to be and I have to take advantage. I’m very happy inside.”
 
“I want to come out victorious this Saturday and after that maybe think about unify at 108 pounds and continue to move forward.”
 
Katsunari Takayama
 
“First of all, thank you for giving me this great opportunity. On Saturday, I look forward to giving back the title from two different divisions.
 
“Soto is a very angry and aggressive fighter, very strong punches. I’m ready to fight on Saturday.” 
 

WBO Champion Billy Joe Saunders says he has the boxing brain to dethrone pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez in their blockbuster Super-Middleweight unification battle on Saturday night (May 8), live worldwide on DAZN and distributed by TV Azteca in Mexico and Latin America.

Unbeaten Briton Saunders (30-0 18 KOs) puts his WBO strap on the line for the third time against the Mexican star and is aiming to add the WBC and WBA Super belts held by the Mexican sensation.

Saunders has been widely regarded as having the ring smarts to be the man to hand Canelo a first defeat in eight years and be the man to take the next step to being undisputed at 168lbs – and the 31 year old says fighting Canelo on Cinco de Mayo weekend holds no fear.

“This fight is all about the brain,” said Saunders. “Not about power, muscle or skill, it’s the brain and the game plan, and being able to execute that game plan.

“I brush opinions off because I know what goes through my head and my mind, and what I have done in my career is through the will and want to win, and the day I lose that, I won’t put a pair of gloves on again.

“I can only control what I am in control of and that myself, not what is outside the ring. It’s going to be a great fight it’s one I’ve wanted for years and it’s finally landed. There’s a lot at stake for both of us. Would I like my fans there? Yes. Would I like UK media there? Yes. If the fight was moved to the Mexican border I wouldn’t care.

“I have my own way of approaching the fight and Canelo will have too, he’s done this nearly 60 times. I’ll get in there as the best that I can be and that’s all I can control.

“I’ve been the underdog before, I’ve dianabol steroide been the away fighter before, it’s not a new position, but I’m just in with a better opponent this time.

“If I go in there and I win, I’m not going to run and say never again, I’ll fight him again, I’ll fight anyone, anywhere, it doesn’t bother me. It’s good for boxing sometimes when the underdogs come through, and I don’t just mean me here, because it puts the sport on a higher platform to be watched.

“I’m at the top of the tree where I’ve done it all as an amateur, I’ve had 30 fights, I’m unbeaten, won every title coming through, two-weight World champion – I can sit back at night and say I’m top of the pile fighting the pound-for-pound king.”

Alvarez and Saunders clash on a huge night of action in Texas with a stacked undercard in support of the mammoth main event, with Elwin Soto (18-1 12 KOs) defending his WBO World Light-Flyweight title against Katsunari Takayama (32-8 12 KOs).

Demetrius Andrade wants his fellow champions to step-up after he defended his WBO World Middleweight crown on points against the spirited challenge of Liam Williams on Saturday night, live worldwide on DAZN.

Andrade made it an unblemished 30 wins from 30 in the paid ranks against the Welshman, getting the win 118-109 twice and 116-111 on the scorecards, and the 33 year old and his promoter Eddie Hearn said it’s time for fellow champions Jermall Charlo (WBC), Gennadiy Golovkin (IBF) and Ryota Murata (WBA) to make unification fights.

“At the end of the day I am a champion,” said Andrade. “I am undefeated. I shouldn’t have to inspire anyone to get in the ring with me for a belt, an undefeated record and a whole lot of money on the table.

“Whenever we can sit down and make something happen, I’m willing to risk it all. I am ready to show that I am the best and to do that, I want to step in with those champions and they have to do the same thing as well.

“I have to go back and watch the fight but listen, Liam is a hell of a fighter, tough, strong, comes to fight and that’s type of fight that people want to see me in. I showed out, I performed the way I needed to do to get the W, and my hat goes off to Liam all day.

“I already know he was tough but getting back up in the second round and showing me he wanted more, it wasn’t a surprise, he’s a dog. He came here to win; he didn’t lay down. I got hit with some hard shots too, we showed me are tough guys that can take shots and give shots and that’s what we did.”

“It was a great fight, massive props firstly to Liam Williams,” said Hearn. “Demetrius has done his job, it’s not his responsibility to convince other champions to fight him. Champions are supposed to fight champions.

“Charlo vs. Andrade is a massive fight, why don’t the champions want to fight Demetrius? He was hurt tonight, he was tired tonight, he can’t make 160lbs forever. If I am GGG or Charlo, I am looking at him and thinking ‘I can beat him’, so why not step-up?”

“Demetrius is a very good fighter, better than I thought,” said Williams. “More slippery than he appears on TV. I couldn’t really get going and get my combinations off because I’d hit him once, and I feel I hurt him a couple of times, but then he would be gone, and I couldn’t capitalize on it.

“I know I am tough, everyone does, and I can take a shot. When I went down, I took a clean shot and taken the best he’s got. He didn’t keep me down, so I had nothing to fear. I don’t feel I am going to take a step back; I am going to stay at world level. Demetrius is the best in the world other than Canelo, I have to give him credit, I gave him some stick in the build-up, but I have nothing but respect for him, he’s quality.”

A textbook one-two down the pipe put Williams on the canvas late in the second round, the exclamation mark on a strong opening for the champion who started like a train. Williams beat the count and weathered a storm, and began to work his way into the fight, having successes of his own towards the halfway point, but Andrade began to land his uppercut in the sixth, a signature shot throughout the bout.

Into the ninth round, Williams had his best moment as he appeared to buzz Andrade but the champion was elusive and the Welshman was unable to capitalize. The Rhode Island star was able to reassert his authority and stretch his lead in the championship rounds and retain his title.

Joe Smith Jr., the small business owner and former union construction worker from Long Island, just wants to fight. Smith, who operates Team Smith Tree Service with his father, hopes to chop down Maxim Vlasov and win the vacant WBO light heavyweight world title Saturday evening at Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma (ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN, 10 p.m. ET).

Smith and Vlasov were scheduled for a pre-fight press conference once before, Feb. 11 in Las Vegas. Vlasov tested positive for COVID-19 that day, and their scheduled Feb. 13 fight was temporarily derailed. Vlasov recovered, went home to Russia, and then finished training camp in Las Vegas.

Smith got married, but he delayed his honeymoon to focus on the task at hand. Instead of the bright lights of Las Vegas, they will do battle in the Sooner State in front of a sold-out crowd.

Before fight night, this is what both fighters had to say.

Joe Smith Jr.

“I was 100 percent ready to go back in February, but it’s OK. I had time to enjoy my wedding day and now I’m just ready to go once again.”

“I know what I’m going up against. He is a busy and aggressive guy with a lot of experience, but I have prepared well and I’m going to give 100 percent of myself to come out victorious.”

“Becoming world champion and hearing the words, ‘and new!’ it’s going to be an amazing feeling. This is everything I have been working for since I was 15 years old.”

Maxim Vlasov

“I’m sure that you will see no ring rust at all this time. I’ve been preparing well. I’ve been sharpening my skills, and I’m ready to give it my all, 100 percent.”

“I feel the same as a younger boxer who is less experienced because this is a great chance for me. This is a great responsibility, a great risk. I am very excited and motivated for this fight.”

“I have taken preparation seriously, watched many of his fights, and learned some things. I don’t like to talk about his weakest or strongest points or divulge any strategies or plans related to the fight.”

SATURDAY, April 10, 2021

ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Joe Smith Jr. vs. Maxim Vlasov, 12 rounds, Vacant WBO Light Heavyweight World Title

Efe Ajagba vs. Brian Howard, 10 rounds, heavyweight

ESPN+, 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT

Jared Anderson vs. Jeremiah Karpency, 8 rounds, heavyweight

Albert Bell vs. Manuel Rey Rojas, 8 rounds, junior lightweight

Robson Conceicao vs. Jesus Antonio Ahumada, 8 rounds, junior lightweight

Trey Lippe Morrison vs. Jason Bergman, 8 rounds, heavyweight

Duke Ragan vs. Charles Clark, 6 rounds, featherweight

Sonny Conto vs. Waldo Cortes, 4 rounds, heavyweight

Jeremiah Milton vs. Jayvone Dafney, 4 rounds, heavyweight

SMITH JR. WOULD BECOME FOURTH EVER LONG ISLAND BORN WORLD CHAMPION WITH APRIL 10 VICTORY

When Long Island’s, JOE SMITH JR. (26-3 21KO’s) takes on Russian veteran, MAXIM VLASOV (45-3 26KO’s) for the WBO World Light Heavyweight Championship on April 10, on ESPN in Oklahoma, he has the opportunity to engrain his name among Long Island boxing royalty.

Long Island, compromised of just two counties, Nassau and Suffolk, has a strong home-grown boxing population. Boxing gyms are scattered across the island breeding both amateur and professional talent. However, only 4 Long Island born boxers have ever held an elusive World Championship.

In 1988, BUDDY MCGIRT (73-6-1 48KO’s) became the first Long Island born world champion. Hailing from Brentwood, Long Island, McGirt would go on to have a hall of fame career, becoming a three-time world champion.

In 2011 Star Boxing started its critically acclaimed Long Island series, “Rockin’ Fights.” As a result, just 5 years from the series inception, but 38 years after McGirt’s championship, Long Island had its second World Champion when Star Boxing’s CHRIS ALGIERI (24-3 9KO’s) won the WBO Super Lightweight World Title at the Barclay’s Center. In an incredible effort, Algieri got off the canvas to beat the “Russian Rocky” Ruslan Provodnikov in 2016 to secure the World Championship.

The effort to build Long Island boxing continued when, in 2019, Coram Long Island born Marine, JAMEL HERRING (22-2 10KO’S) won the WBO Super Featherweight World Title against Japans, Masayuki Ito. Also, while not usually counted among Long Island born and bred Champions, recognition must be given to former world champion, Jake Rodriguez, who resides in Central Islip Long Island, but was born in Puerto Rico.

Now, this Saturday, 2021 could bring the biggest bang for Long Island fight fans. With a win on April 10, Smith Jr. will join the Mount Rushmore of Long Island boxing royalty. “Bringing that title back to Long Island is everything I have worked for” said Smith Jr. “It will be a big accomplishment for me, and it will lead to bigger and better fights.”

In “Common Man” fashion, this fight has not come without its hurdles. Originally scheduled for February 13, but later postponed due to Vlasov testing positive for COVID-19, Smith has found his silver lining, “I am putting in the work and I should be in even better shape than I was the first time. I have been through a lot of up and downs in my career, but I believe this is going to be the time that I win the World Championship. It’s going to be a great night.”

“We have had tremendous support from Long Island boxing fans and it is very rewarding to see the World Championship belts here again. Joe Smith Jr is a thrilling fighter and we look forward to having another home-grown Long Island World Champion. Be sure to watch ESPN on April 10th and support Joe Smith Jr. in his quest to win the World Championship.” stated JOE DEGUARDIA, the President of Star Boxing.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, the Smith-Vlasov World Championship card will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on April 10 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders will clash in front of over 60,000 fans in a World Super-Middleweight title unification blockbuster at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday May 8, live worldwide on DAZN. Pre-sales for the blockbuster fight will start on Tuesday March 23 with general sale beginning on Friday March 26 at SeatGeek.com.

Mexican superstar Canelo puts his WBC, WBA Super and Ring Magazine titles on the line at the Home of the Dallas Cowboys on Cinco de Mayo weekend, as British favorite Saunders brings his WBO strap across the pond and looks to extend his unbeaten pro record against the pound-for-pound king in front of the biggest sporting crowd for over a year in the US.

“We are proud to host a boxing match of this magnitude as we welcome back Canelo Alvarez to AT&T Stadium to take on Billy Joe Saunders,” said Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager Jerry Jones. “AT&T Stadium was built to house the greatest sporting events on the planet, and we feel we have another incredible boxing event on the horizon with this matchup taking place in Arlington on May 8th.”

Saunders is the fourth Briton to face the Mexican star and the second to do so at AT&T Stadium, after Canelo defeated Liam Smith there in September 2016. May 8 will also be the fifth stadium show for Canelo in the Lone Star state having fought twice at the Alamodome in San Antonio and at Minute Maid Park, Home of the Houston Astros.

“It’s an absolute honor to bring this huge event to the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on May 8,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport. “Last year Canelo missed out on his historic Cinco De Mayo fight, and to bring over 60,000 fans together at this iconic stadium this year is a dream come true.

“This fight is the biggest of 2021 so far with Canelo looking to unify the division once more against undefeated two-weight World champion Billy Joe Saunders. We want to thank Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys and AT&T Stadium for their efforts to bring this global event to their stunning facility and we look forward to giving the fans a momentous occasion and a Cinco de Mayo celebration they will never forget.”

“For 2021’s biggest boxing event to date, it’s hard to imagine a better place than AT&T Stadium,” said DAZN EVP Joseph Markowski. “We look forward to delivering a world-class event from this world-class venue to DAZN subscribers across the globe.”

Tickets go on pre-sale on Tuesday March 23 from 10am CT, with tickets starting from just $40 (plus fees. Pre-sale ends at 10pm CT on Thursday March 25, and tickets then go on general sale at 10am CT on Friday March 26 at SeatGeek.com

About AT&T Stadium:
AT&T Stadium is one of the largest, most technologically advanced entertainment venues in the world. Designed by HKS and built by Manhattan Construction, the $1.2 billion stadium features two monumental arches, the world’s largest HDTV video board cluster, an expansive retractable roof and the largest retractable end zone doors in the world. Features of the stadium include seating for 80,000 and expandability for up to 100,000, over 300 luxury suites, club seating on multiple levels and the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop, open to the public year-round. The stadium is also home to a world-class collection of contemporary art, made up of over 50 pieces from an international array of curated artists displayed on the walls and in the grand public spaces of the venue. In addition to being the Home of the Dallas Cowboys since opening in 2009, the stadium has hosted Super Bowl XLV, the 2010 NBA All Star Game, the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship Game and the annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. The venue has also played host to high school and college football, concerts, championship fights, international soccer matches, and other special events. For more information, go to www.attstadium.com.

Demetrius Andrade will defend his WBO World Middleweight title against mandatory challenger Liam Williams at Hard Rock Live at Hard Rock Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida on Saturday April 17 in America, live worldwide on DAZN – with the main event set for 6pm ET/11pm GMT.

Andrade (29-0 18 KOs) defends his title for the fourth time. ‘Boo Boo’ became a two-weight World ruler when he picked up the vacant strap against Walter Kautondokwa in October 2018 in Boston, and has since seen off Artur Akavov, Maciej Sulecki and Luke Keeler in title defenses.

Williams (23-2-1 18 KOs) fights for his first full World title against Andrade, having met Liam Smith for the interim WBO strap at Super-Welterweight in April 2017, with the Welshman moving to Middleweight after his rematch with Smith and becoming British champion at 160lbs before stopping Andrade’s old foe Alantez Fox in five rounds in December 2019.

“Liam Williams, you got what you wanted,” said Andrade. “You ran your mouth, got your rating up and here we go. April 17 your career ends. Or maybe you go back to headlining small club shows in the UK I don’t know. What I do know is that you’re getting beaten badly and then I’m on to much bigger fights and bigger nights in my career.

“It’s no secret, this isn’t the fight I wanted, but now it’s here and I will be taking care of business, taking care of Liam Williams in spectacular fashion come April 17. Then it’s whoever wants it. Canelo. GGG. Saunders. Charlo. Plant. I’m here. Undefeated. Two division World champion. Current middleweight champion of the world. I dare one of you to say my name.”

“I’ve been quite vocal saying I’ll smash him, and I actually am going to,” said Williams. “I’ve waited for this for too long now, I’m not going to let it slip through my fingers, I’ll grab the opportunity with both hands.

“I just think he’s a complete weirdo, a very strange man – I’ve watched him for some time, I used to be a bit of a fan of him back then, now I get the chance to share a ring with him and punch his face in and I can’t wait to do it. I’m going to punch lumps out of him, nonstop.

“The first couple of rounds could be tricky, but I believe that I will get on top of him and start beating him up.

“I think he might overlook me, possibly. To be honest, maybe he has deserved to get a fight with Canelo, GGG, he’s been World champion for a long time, a two-weight and three-time champion, so he’s probably deserved those fights, but his time is up now and once I deal with him, I’ll get those fights.

“Have you ever seen me going into my shell in a fight? I don’t think he’s going to have enough in him to make me do that, and let’s not forget, he’s not fought anyone like me. When I start hitting him and hurting him, no-one really knows what he’s going to do. Who’s to say he’s not going to go into his shell?”

“This is a really good fight,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “In America, people don’t realize it’s as good a fight as it is. Liam is a big step-up from Demetrius’ recent opposition, and I think this is the fight ‘Boo Boo’ needs. I like Liam, he’s going to come in with real confidence and swagger and he’ll put it on Demetrius in the build-up, he’s a tough man and he will not take a backwards step against Demetrius, who will need to be at his best to prove he’s the number one Middleweight in the world.”

Early undercard information will be released soon, and no public tickets will be on sale for the show. Open the Canadian casino website and play free online slots or poker.

EN VIVO DESDE PUERTO RICO – Ring City USA se transmitirá en:

NBC Sports Network – 9 pm ET (10 pm PR) – Cartelera principal

NBC Puerto Rico (canal 2.3) – 9 pm ET (10 pm PR) – Cartelera principal

Twitch – 7 pm ET (8 pm PR) – Undercards

ESPN Latin America Cartelera principal – 6pm PT (8 pm México)

KHABAR (Kazakhstan) Cartelera principal – March 5th, 8 am (hora local)

PESAJE OFICIAL: Ring City USA – Puerto Rico

WBO NABO JR. MIDDLEWEIGHT Fight – 10 Rounds

Serhii Bohachuk – 153.8 lbs.

Brandon Adams – 153.8 lbs.

Referee: Ramón Peña

Judges: Chris Flores, Steve Weisfeld, Luis Ruiz

WBO NABO Junior Welterweight Fight – 10 Rounds

Danielito Zorrilla – 139.6 lbs.

Ruslan Madiyev – 139.6 lbs.

Referee: Janny Guzman

Judges: Chris Flores, Steve Weisfeld, Gerardo Martinez

OTHER FIGHTS:

Featherweight Fight – 8 Rounds

Bryan Chevalier – 127.4 lbs.

Carlos Zambrano – 127.0 lbs.

Referee: Ramón Peña

Judges: Ramon Solis, Luis Ruiz, Gerardo Martinez

Super Middleweight Fight at 163 lbs. – 4 Rounds

Fernando Vargas, Jr. – 159.8 lbs.

Salome Flores Torres – 162.0 lbs.

Referee: Janny Guzman

Judges: Ramon Solis, Luis Ruiz, Gerardo Martinez

Super Lightweight Fight – 4 Rounds

Harold Laguna – 135.2 lbs.

Darwin Álvarez – 138.8 lbs.

Referee: Ramón Peña

Judges: Ramon Solis, Luis Ruiz, Gerardo Martinez

Welterweight Fight – 4 Rounds

Jorge Díaz – 146.0 lbs.

Felipe Muñoz – 143.0 lbs.

Referee: Janny Guzmán

Judges: Ramon Solis, Luis Ruiz, Gerardo Martinez

Canelo Alvarez will clash with Billy Joe Saunders in a World Super-Middleweight WBO unification blockbuster on May 8, live worldwide on DAZN (except Mexico)

Canelo Alvarez dismantled WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim in three rounds at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and next he takes a giant step in his quest to become undisputed by facing the WBO king Saunders at a venue to be announced soon.

Alvarez’s win over Yildirim followed hot on the heels of his dominant triumph over Callum Smith in San Antonio, Texas to win the belts he defended this evening, and now another Briton enters the fray to take on the pound for pound king.

Saunders (30-0 14 KOs) will be putting his WBO strap on the line for the third time, after recently sending Martin Murray into retirement following his comprehensive points win over the British stalwart, and the Briton puts his belt and unbeaten record on the line in what promises to be a mouth-watering occasion.

“We want to unify the division, he’s a world champion, we want to go for it and we need to go for it,” said Canelo. “He’s a very difficult fighter and has a championship, the WBO.

“People talk but I’m a very mature fighter and I know how to control myself. All I need to do is go into the ring, win and make history.”

“It’s because it hasn’t been done, no one has done it in Latin America. In the world only a few fighters have done it, the best. I want to make history and be one of the best in the world.”

“Canelo, I’m ready to rock and roll,” said Saunders. “You have to dare to be great and you aren’t going to be a great if you don’t beat the greats.

“I believe I am the only one with the footwork, knowhow, skillset, mindset and brain to unlock that door in Canelo.

“He’s the main man in the sport and the face of boxing. You have to give him respect, he hasn’t ducked anyone, he’s beaten good names, but nobody is unbeatable, and I believe I have got the tools to beat him if I use them properly and if the gamelan comes off that I believe works.

“I am looking at the golden ticket to cement my legacy, and that’s how you have to go in there to beat him. I’ve won everything from Southern Area to World titles, I could say ‘I’ve won it all, been to the Olympics, I’m unbeaten – I’ll see you later’. But I’ve only just turned 31, I’ve got no miles on the clock, haven’t taken any punishment – I believe he’s been in harder fights than me and has more miles, so I want to cement my legacy and beat him.”

“This is one of the biggest fights in the sport of boxing,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “The pound-for-pound king on the road to undisputed against the unbeaten champion who has long believed he can overcome him. After missing a chance to fight and celebrate on Cinco de Mayo last year this is going to be very special, we look forward to welcoming you for this momentous event.”

“Canelo vs. Saunders is a fascinating matchup of champions with massive international appeal,” said Ed Breeze, DAZN EVP, Rights. “From what we expect to be a fiery promotion to the competition in the ring, we’re thrilled to deliver this fight to DAZN subscribers across the world.”

Jessica McCaskill and Cecilia Brækhus ramped up their rivalry in a fiery e-press conference ahead of their rematch for the Undisputed WBO World Welterweight title at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday March 13, live worldwide on DAZN.

TICKETS FOR ESTRADA VS. CHOCOLATITO ARE ON SALE NOW FROM TICKETMASTER – TICKETS START AT $35 (PLUS FEES)

McCaskill (9-2 3 KOs) ripped the titles from Brækhus (36-1 9 KOs) on the streets of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma in August as Matchroom returned to action in the US, and now it’s McCaskill putting the belts on the line and Brækhus is looking to avenge her first pro defeat.

Promoter Eddie Hearn sat them down as the date ticked over to under a month to go to the rematch, and after Hearn’s initial questions to both fighters, tensions rose and the Chicagoan and Norwegian could have been back in the ring as the traded verbal blows back and forth to light the blue touch paper ahead of the return bout.

“I feel the last fight was the last one of her career,” said McCaskill. “Once someone shows that weakness, shows they are not in it and alludes to retirement, that shows that they are mentally out of the game.

“We’ve never been given a whole lot, we’ve taken really big risks and they have gotten us to those higher places, I haven’t been given anything, I don’t want to take on anyone else’s legacy, I’m building my own and making history every step of the day and that’s what I want to continue to do.

“I feel great – every time I have had to fight for a belt, it’s been from a champion, Cecilia, you have fought for vacant titles, I’ve had to take mine from everyone I fought from, I’ve never just fought for a vacant title and it’s heads or tails on who is going to win it.

“I’m not saying I don’t get the credit for my last fight, but over the time that I’ve fought and the different hurdles that I have crossed, that’s what I don’t think I get the credit for, that’s not to make excuses. Everything I say is the truth, I don’t talk trash.”

“I felt I won’t the fight, it was very close, I could have got the decision,” said Brækhus. “A lot of people thought I won and it’s not the way to lose your belts.

“I know I am a better fighter than Jessica, I had a bit of an off day, but I feel I did what I needed to do to retain my belts, but I was not at home I was on her home turf and she got the belts.

“She says that people are hating on her because of the way she got the belts, they aren’t hating but people aren’t satisfied because that’s not the way anyone should become an undisputed champion, it should be harder than that. I don’t think she has a good feeling the way she won the belts.”

McCaskill and Brækhus clash on a massive night of action in Dallas with a triple header of World title action.

Topping the bill is another mouth-watering rematch as Juan Francisco Estrada (41-3 28 KOs) and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (50-2 41 KOs) finally meet for the second time eight years after their first bout, this time in a unification for the WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine World Super-Flyweight titles.

There’s a Matchroom debut on the card for Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0 9 KOs) as he defends his WBA and Ring Magazine World Light-Flyweight titles against Axel Vega (14-3-1 8 KOs).

Joe Smith Jr is ready to take on #3 WBO Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) this Saturday night on February 13th for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The start time for the telecast is at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.

This will be the second time for Smith (26-3, 21 KOs) to be fighting for a world title. Two years ago, Smith was outclassed by WBA 175-lb champion Dimitry Bivol, losing a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision against the Russian fighter.

Smith’s opponent, 34-year-old Vlasov, doesn’t possess nearly the same kind of talent that Bivol, so it’s a fight that Joe has an excellent chance of winning.

However, he’s not likely to win by his customary route of victory, as Vlasov has got a rock-iron chin, and he’s been in there with bigger punchers than Smith.

In the long-awaited battle between unbeaten junior featherweights, Stephen “Cool Boy” Fulton Jr., captured his first world title via unanimous decision over Angelo Leo in the main event of 2021’s inaugural SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast, live on SHOWTIME from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) turned in a masterful performance as he bested Albuquerque, New Mexico’s unbeaten world champion Leo (20-1, 9 KOs) to end Philadelphia’s world title drought. With his win over Leo, the 26-year-old Fulton has now toppled eight undefeated fighters in his young professional career. The ringside judges scored the fight 119-109, 119-109 and 118-110.

“It feels good,” said Fulton following the biggest win of his professional career. “I told you that I would engage more in this fight. I boxed a little but I engaged more to show him that I’m better than him at what he does best. I’m used to dealing with fighting inside the gym, inside the ring. Everyone I’ve fought tried to bully me. This time I did to them what they try to do to me. And I got the job done.”

An accidental clash of heads in the opening round opened a cut over the left eye of Leo but it ultimately did not play much of a role in the fight. The two fighters combined to throw 1,993 punches throughout the back-and-forth 12-round fight which was fought largely at close range in the middle of the ring. Fulton threw 913 power punches which ranks third all time in the junior featherweight division’s rich history.

Fulton added, “I wore him down by attacking his body and pushing him back. I had to change the whole narrative, push him back and dropping those uppercuts in. That’s how I got the job done. From like the fifth round, that’s when I knew I was going to take off. I never got tired from engaging.

“After a year off, I feel I did a good job but I could be a lot better, a lot sharper. I want Luis Nery, Brandon Figueroa. I want all the champions. I want to be undisputed.”

Photos by Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME

UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Angelo Leo (20-0, 9 KOs), the WBO junior featherweight champion weighed 121.4 lbs and challenger Stephen Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) weighed 122 lbs in for their 12-round, 122-pound title fight. The last hurdles Fulton and Leo must overcome are their final COVID-19 tests, which were administered after they made weight for the main event of a Showtime tripleheader Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena (9 p.m. EST; 6 p.m. PST).

FULL WEIGH-IN:

Kazuto Ioka has retained his WBO Junior Bantamweight title in an absolute war with Kosei Tanaka in the final title fight of the year.

The pair slugged it out but the 31-year-old Ioka showed just why he is the champ having won in an eighth round TKO as he knocked Tanaka out on his feet.

Tanaka had been knocked down twice before in the fifth and sixth round but a massive left hook left the challenger in la la land as Ioka defended his title for the second time.

Both men came into the fight as world title winners at multiple weights with the 25-year-old Tanaka fighting to become the fastest fighter to win four weight divisions have held the WBO mini-flyweight title from 2015 to 2016, the WBO junior-flyweight title from 2016 to 2017 and the WBO flyweight title.

Incredibly, he still has seven more fights to beat Oscar de la Hoya’s record but his 15-0 record now has its first loss.

Tanaka was a massive favorite in the fight but despite both men copping punishment, it was Ioka who withstood best, with three brutal knockdowns from left hooks giving him the belt.

Ioka for the knockout was at 6-1 odds according to Fox boxing reporter Mike Ortega which was stunning for the defending champ.

Ioka has trod the ground ahead of Tanaka, having won the mini-flyweight, light-flyweight, flyweight and super flyweight titles.

It appeared an even fight to start off with both men dishing out punishment, but late in the fifth, Ioka hit Tanaka with a right before coming over the top with what the commentator called “a picture perfect” left hook that floored the challenger.

In the sixth, another left hook left Tanaka on the canvas again as he went looking for the KO as Ioka smelled blood.

With his back against the wall, Tanaka came out swinging to finish the round.

He swung until the end with Ioka waiting for the right time before his left knock Tanaka out only to be caught by the referee.

By Andrew McMurtry, news.com.au

The UK and Latin America have easy access, while American viewers will need to pay a few bucks extra.

2020’s last big fight also figures to be one of its best. This Thursday morning at 4:00 AM Eastern, 25-year-old Kosei Tanaka attempts to become a WBO four-division champion against countryman and current WBO Jr. Bantamweight World Champion Kazuto Ioka, who became the first male Japanese boxer to achieve the feat last year. The bout airs live on Japanese channel TBS, but luckily for us gaijin, there are a few ways to tune in.

USA: Unfortunately, no American network or streaming service has acquired broadcast rights at the time of writing. That doesn’t mean piracy is the only option, though: Asian Boxing has a guide on how to subscribe to iSakura, which allows access to TBS and other local channels. Conveniently, iSakura offers a three-day trial, which you don’t have to manually cancel afterwards, for $2.50. Just be sure to order by the end of the day; going by the website, it can take a while to process your payment.

UK: BoxNation has you covered.

Latin America: ESPN KnockOut provided a handy country-by-country breakdown.

By Patrick L. Stumberg / BadLeftHook.com

LAS VEGAS (September 8, 2020) — Four belts, one champion. A universally recognized lightweight king will be crowned Saturday, Oct. 17, live on ESPN from MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Unified WBO Lightweight Champion Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound “Boxing Baryshnikov” from Ukraine, will fight unbeaten IBF world champion Teofimo Lopez, the knockout artist from Brooklyn who has lobbed verbal haymakers at Lomachenko for more than two years. The two will fight from the MGM Grand Conference Center aka the “Las Vegas Bubble.”

Promoted by Top Rank, Lomachenko-Lopez (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET) headlines a can’t-miss month of boxing on the ESPN family of networks, which also includes the long-awaited return of Japanese pound-for-pound superstar Naoya “Monster” Inoue, who will defend his WBA and IBF bantamweight world titles on Halloween evening, Saturday, Oct. 31, against Australian contender Jason “Mayhem” Moloney.

“Lomachenko-Lopez is the best fight that can be made in boxing, and we are delighted that it will be available to fans for no extra charge live on ESPN,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Teofimo and Vasiliy demanded the fight, and we are glad we could make it happen. Vasiliy has never backed down from a challenge since he turned pro under the Top Rank banner, and Teofimo is a fearless young champion daring to be great. This has all the makings of a modern boxing classic.”

Lomachenko said, “Teofimo Lopez can talk all he wants. He’s very good at talking. He has done nothing but say my name for the past two years. I am a fighter, and my goal is to win another world title. Good for Teofimo. When we fight in Las Vegas, he will eat my punches and his words. I will be the better man, and four world titles will come home with me to Ukraine.”

Egis Klimas, Lomachenko’s manager, stated, “Nobody has seen Lomachenko at 100 percent inside the ring. If Teofimo can push Loma to at least 80 percent, it means Teofimo is the best opponent Loma has faced.”

Lopez said, “I will beat up Lomachenko and take his belts. Simple as that. I’m coming to Las Vegas to make history. I don’t like the guy, and I’m going to have fun as Lomachenko’s face is beaten and marked up by my hands. The Takeover is here, and the reign of Lomachenko, the little diva, is coming to an end.”

Added Matt Kenny, Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions, ESPN: “Boxing has long been part of the fabric of our company and we could not be more excited for the October schedule on ESPN platforms, which includes the highly anticipated lightweight title bout between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez on October 17. Top Rank was one of the very first organizations to safely stage live events during the pandemic and as the calendar turns to fall, ESPN will be home to fights that will excite boxing enthusiasts and capture the attention of casual fans.”

Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) enters this bout coming off a scintillating decision win over British star Luke Campbell last August in front of a sold-out O2 Arena in London. A two-time Olympic gold medalist who went 396-1 in the amateur ranks, Lomachenko tied a boxing record by winning a world title in his third pro fight. He is a former featherweight and junior lightweight world champion who won the lightweight crown in May 2018 with a body shot knockout over Jorge Linares. In seven years as a pro, Lomachenko is 13-1 with 9 knockouts in world title fights and is ranked by many pundits as this generation’s most accomplished pugilist. From 2016-2017, he made four consecutive fighters quit on their stools, earning him the “No-Mas-chenko” moniker.

Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs), the brash Brooklynite who initially gained attention because of his post-fight “Fortnite” dances and backflip celebrations, soon emerged as boxing’s most charismatic young superstar following his 2016 pro debut. He was the consensus 2018 Prospect of the Year, a campaign punctuated by a one-punch, first-round knockout over Mason Menard on the Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza undercard. Following the Menard knockout, he donned the jersey of Kyler Murray, who’d won the Heisman Trophy earlier that evening. Lopez climbed the rankings in 2019 with wins over Diego Magdaleno, Edis Tatli and Masayoshi Nakatani.

Last December, Lopez knocked out Richard Commey in two rounds to win the IBF world title. Sitting ringside was Lomachenko, who entered the ring during the post-fight pandemonium. Arum waved him over to take a photo with the newly crowned champion. The stage had been set. #LomaLopez was going to happen.

The lightweight unification battle is only the tip of the Top Rank on ESPN boxing iceberg. Here’s what else is in store in October.

Friday, October 9
Emanuel Navarrete (32-1, 28 KOs) vs. Ruben Villa (18-0, 5 KOs)
MGM Grand Las Vegas
12 Rounds, Vacant WBO Featherweight World Title
ESPN & ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

After five defenses of his WBO junior featherweight world title, Navarrete is ready to conquer the featherweight division. The “Mexican Iron Man” and boxing’s most active world champion, Navarrete fought six world title bouts in just over 14 months (December 2018 to February 2020). He last fought a non-title bout against Uriel Lopez on June 20 in Mexico City, scoring a sixth-round TKO. The WBO No. 1 featherweight contender, Navarrete has won 27 consecutive bouts, including 14 of his last 15 by stoppage. Villa, from Salinas, Calif., has defeated contenders Alexei Collado, Jose Enrique Vivas and Luis Alberto Lopez in his last three bouts to earn the world title shot.

Friday, October 23
Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) vs. Adam Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs)
Moscow
12 Rounds, Beterbiev’s WBC/IBF Light Heavyweight World Titles
ESPN & ESPN Deportes, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT
Undercard: ESPN+, 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT

In the ESPN-televised co-feature, a WBO light heavyweight world title eliminator, No. 1-ranked contender Umar Salamov will face No. 2-ranked contender Maxim Vlasov, with the winner expected to fight Joe Smith Jr. for the vacant world title. Both Salamov and Vlasov recently signed promotional contracts with Top Rank.

Photos by M. Williams / Top Rank

The California State Athletic Commission passed emergency regulations Friday with an eye to resuming combat events in the summer months.

The commission met via video conference Friday morning and its guidelines were sent to the California Office of Administrative Law.

“When that process is finished, we’ll start,” said Andy Foster, the CSAC’s executive director.

Among the key parts of these regulations, according to Foster, is that, “the fighters will be tested between two and three weeks before their event for the COVID-19 virus. If they’re clear, we’ll accept them on the bout card and we’ll approve the fights if they meet the other criteria.

“Then two days before they travel, they’ll fill out a questionnaire and when they get to the hotel, they’ll be isolated and tested again with their fight camps. Everybody involved in the promotion will be tested on that day,” continued Foster. “Anybody that the promoter deems ‘essential’ to their promotion — and we approve them to be there, and that could be media — anybody that is in that building that’s part of the promotion is going to need to be tested.”

Foster acknowledged that weighing heavily on the committee’s minds was Jacare Souza, who was scratched from the UFC 249 card in Jacksonville, Florida, on the weekend of May 9 for testing positive for the coronavirus.

“We learned from that event, and I want to be clear, that’s not to put down the UFC one bit, they had a great plan and everything,” he said. “We learned by watching that, just how contagious this virus could be. So we want to mitigate that risk.”

Everyone working corners will be forced to wear a mask and surgical gloves at ringside, but there will be no limit on how many people can be in the facility on fight night.

“I don’t plan on doing that,” said Foster, who explained, “because there’s a financial interest. I mean, every person that the promoter puts in there, they are responsible for testing, the promoters are paying for the testing and for the accommodations. So you’re talking about a lot of money for each person. So they’re going to have a vested interest to run with only ‘essential’ personnel.”

It’s not clear who will have the first show in California, but Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, told ESPN, “Our plan, right now, we would like to go July 4th, and we’re working towards that. We’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure that all the right guidelines and protocols are going to be followed, and that the commission is going to be satisfied with all our efforts.”

Gomez, whose company is looking to do a show at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, is looking at other possible states to stage cards, but for Los Angeles-based Golden Boy, California makes the most logistic sense.

“Production-wide, it’s easier, it helps us because we’re not hauling stuff all over the country and there’s a lot of production companies here in California,” Gomez said.

Smaller outfits like Thompson Boxing, which has been running club shows since 2001, say they are ready to resume operations with these new rules.

“The moment that they say ‘go’ — we’re ready,” Thompson vice president Alex Camponovo said. “We’re going to run shows without the public most likely at Omega Products [in Corona, California] indoors, with all the guidelines and procedures that we have to do.”

Foster pointed out that, “these particular regulations will go away when the state of emergency ends. So the commission can vote to make it go away, and it will end.”

Boxing has been at a standstill throughout the world since mid-March. Foster says he has received numerous calls during the past couple of months from those in the business wondering when they could start scheduling shows.

“We’ve got to do something for the industry, we’ve got to get it up and rolling,” Foster said. “But we’ve got to do it in a safe away. We’ve got to do that in a thoughtful way, and we did that today by passing a regulation package where at least it fits the ‘Phase 3’ resiliency road map, where sports can resume without live audiences.

“This is a way for that to happen.”

By Steve Kim/ ESPN.com

Sergey Kovalev made weight at 175 pounds on his second weigh-in attempt for his title defense of his WBO light heavyweight title against Saul Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Initially, Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) weighed in one-quarter pound over the limit at 175.25 lbs. He stripped naked in a failed attempt to make weight on the spot, but it was no use. After quickly going back to his dressing room, Kovalev returned moments later and successfully weighed in at 175 lbs. For his part, the 29-year-old Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) weighed in at 174.5 lbs. Canelo looked good at the weight. He obviously isn’t going to pack on too much more weight overnight before the secondary weigh-in on Saturday morning.

Via boxingnews24.com

On Saturday, November 2, Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 34 KOs) will take on a new challenge as he moves into the 175-pound weight class in a 12-round fight against Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) for Kovalev’s WBO Light Heavyweight World Title. This highly anticipated bout and its co-featured fights will be broadcast live from MGM Grand in Las Vegas to big screens across the nation.A full undercard will be shown prior to the main event.

Tickets for “Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev” can be purchased online at www.FathomEvents.comor at participating theater box offices now.

The live broadcast of “Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev” presented by Fathom Events, Golden Boy, Main Events and Krusher Promotions is set for Saturday, November 2 beginning at beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 8:00 p.m. CT/ 7:00 p.m. MT/ 6:00 p.m. PT/ 5:00 p.m. AK/ 4:00 p.m. HI. Boxing fans throughout the U.S. can watch the event in more than 500 select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). A complete list of theater locations is available on the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

Canelo, the 29-year-old native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, became the face of boxing by taking on some of the biggest names in the sport. At 154 pounds, Canelo captured several world titles and defeated the likes of Austin “No Doubt” Trout, Sugar Shane Mosley, Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo, Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara and Liam “Beefy” Smith. At 160 pounds, Canelo defeated Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs to establish himself as the king of the middleweight division. In the 168-pound division, Canelo became the WBA Super Middleweight World Champion by stopping Rocky Fielding in three rounds.

Canelo will now look to make history again by becoming the second Mexican boxer to hold a world title in the light heavyweight division. The pound-for-pound king will at the same time join an elite group of four-division world champions from Mexico.

On November 2, Kovalev (36) will participate in his 17th consecutive world title bout and the most lucrative fight of his career against the biggest star in boxing. A Russian knockout artist and Three-Time Light Heavyweight World Champion, “Krusher” is no stranger to fighting in hostile territory. He captured the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title in 2013 when he traveled to Wales and scored a stunning knockout of Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev traveled to Atlantic City to meet future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins to unify the WBO, WBA and IBF titles with a lopsided unanimous decision victory in 2014. As unified champion, “Krusher” successfully defended his titles twice against current WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal in Montreal, scoring a stoppage victory both times.

In August of this year, Kovalev finally got the chance to fight in his own hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, stopping undefeated mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde in front of a sold-out crowd.

“We are proud to partner again with Golden Boy to bring boxing’s biggest star, Canelo Alvarez back to cinemas nationwide,” said Ray Nutt, Fathom Events CEO. “Fight fans will want to see all the action up on the big screen as Canelo takes on Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev.”

The undercard for this event will feature a full night of action. Rising superstar Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs) of Victorville, Calif. will face “Ruthless” Romero Duno (21-1, 16 KOs) of Cotabato City, Philippines in the 12-round co-main event..

The WBO World Light Heavyweight Championship Clash Canelo vs. Kovalev undercard will be brimming with action as it features the returns of Ryan Garcia, Bakhram Murtazaliev, Seniesa Estrada, Marlen Esparza and many others. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively as one of the most anticipated events this fight season on DAZN.

“We have put a lot of thought into this long-awaited night, and we’re eager to deliver one of the best undercards of the year,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “This event will feature some of our brightest talents taking on the toughest fights of their careers. With Ryan Garcia, we have a huge star in the making, but he’ll need to get past a tough, hard-hitting contender in Romero Duno to secure his path for a world title. We also have Seniesa Estrada and Marlen Esparza, who will look to final end their rivalry in a fight for the Interim WBA Flyweight Title. So, whether in person or live on DAZN, a new chapter in boxing’s history will unfold on November 2.”

As announced previously, rising superstar Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs) of Victorville, Calif. will look to defeated WBO NABO Lightweight Champion “Ruthless” Romero Duno (21-1, 16 KOs) of Cotabato City, Philippines in the 12-round co-main event to Canelo vs. Kovalev WBO World Title Duel. This will be a fight between two of the hardest-hitting lightweights in the Golden Boy stable.

“This is a big moment for me,” said Ryan Garcia. “These opportunities don’t come often. It’s my chance to show what I’m capable of on the biggest stage in boxing. I’m not going to let this opportunity slip. I’m fighting against Romero Duno, the opponent I wanted since the beginning, so I’m going show that I’ve reached another level on Nov. 2.”

“This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for,” said Romero Duno. “I’m so excited to be part of a such a big night as the co-main event of Canelo vs. Kovalev. This fight has been building up for some time. I’ve had my eye on Ryan Garcia for a while now. I promise to do everything it takes to beat him on Nov. 2 and take home a big victory for the Philippines!”