Mexican star Jaime Munguia (36-0, 29 KOs) retained his WBO Intercontinental Middleweight Championship by defeating Tureano Johnson (21-3-1, 15 KOs) of Nassau, Bahamas at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and live on DAZN. The fight ended in abrupt fashion after an uppercut from Munguia caused a severe cut on Johnson’s lip, which earned him the knockout win at the send of the sixth round.

“I’m delighted to get the victory,” said Jaime Munguia. “He surprised us early in the fight. He has a style that makes one very uncomfortable. But my corner told me to adjust and find my distance. Then I found the right uppercut. I saw that he had gotten cut from it, and then it was just a matter of time. I am ready for all the best fighters of my division.”

Elwin “La Pulga” Soto (18-1, 12 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico retained his WBO Junior Flyweight World Title against Carlos Buitrago (32-6-1, 18 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua via 12-round unanimous decision. Soto won with scores of 115-113, 117-111 and 119-109.

“I’m very happy to walk away with the victory,” said Elwin Soto. “I tried pressure as much as I good to score a win. These are the kind of tough fights you are in when a world title is at stake. His style was difficult for me, but I felt I did enough to win.”

For the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Super Middleweight Championship Bektemir Melkuziev (6-0, 5 KOs) defeated Alan Campa (17-5, 11 KOs) via 3rd-round KO.

Photos by Tom Hogan / Golden Boy Boxing

Usyk-action_Rose-BongartsOleksandr Usyk (left) exchange punches with Ben Nsafoah during their cruiserweight fight at Koenig-Pilsner Arena on April 26, 2014 in Oberhausen, Germany. Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Vital Statistics:
Hometown: Simferopol, Ukraine
Weight class: Cruiserweight
Height / reach: 6-3 (190 cm)/ 75 inches (193 cm)
Amateur record: 335-15
Turned pro: 2013
Pro record: 4-0, 4 knockouts
Trainer(s): James Bashir, Sergey Vatamanyuk (assistant)
Manager: Alexander Krassyuk
Promoter: K2 Promotions Ukraine
Twitter: @OleksandrUsyk

Best night of pro career: Since turning pro Usyk has moved relatively quickly, fighting two scheduled six rounders followed by two eight rounders, with all four fights ending inside the distance.

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist is happy with all of his fights to date but picks out his most recent fight as the one that he feels was his best so far.

“I like all four,” Usyk told through Yulia Diachenko of K2 Promotions Ukraine. “Maybe my last fight against Argentinean Cesar David Crenz was the best ’cause I precisely followed all directives of my coaches James Ali Bashir and Sergiy Vatamanyuk during whole fight.

“As a result I brutally finished Crenz by perfect body punch in the fifth round and that was exactly such outcome as we planned before the fight.”

Worst night of pro career: 
With four wins against steadily improving competition it’s hard to find fault with any of the big southpaw’s performances at this point.

“I think everyone of my pro-fights was decent so far ’cause I put all my heart into every fight when I came into the ring,” said Usyk.

Next fight: 
Usyk isn’t wasting time. He steps up to the 12-round distance when he faces South African puncher Daniel Bruwer (24-5-1, 21 knockouts) for an intercontinental cruiserweight title on Saturday.The bout takes place outdoors at the Arena Lviv Stadium, where an estimated 30,000 fans are expected to attend the event.

“I saw a couple of Bruwer’s fights,” said the 27 year old. “My future opponent is a big and physically strong guy who has a fine record and some boxing skills. I think that he is a decent rival.”

His trainer James Ali Bashir, who was the assistant trainer to Emanuel Steward at the Kronk gym for 17 years, is respectful of Bruwer.

“Daniel Bruwer is a guy that’s coming to fight, that’s coming to win and I respect his ability,” said Bashir. “I’ve observed his fights and he’s durable and he’s going to try to win. So we’re preparing for the best possible Daniel Bruwer that anybody could possibly bring.

“We’re looking to stop Bruwer, we don’t anticipate it’ll be easy but we’ll find a way.”

Why he’s a prospect: 
The gifted Ukrainian entered the pro game following a stellar amateur career that culminated in winning gold at the 2012 Olympics in London in the heavyweight (201-pound) class.

Usyk also won gold at the 2011 world championships as well as the 2008 European championships.

The amateur standout fought in the WSB (World Series of Boxing) for the Ukrainian team “Ukraine Otamans” as a super heavyweight. He became vice-champion in the third WSB season, winning all his fights, going 6-0, scoring 2 knockouts.

Usyk holds amateur wins over Clemente Russo, Artur Beterbiyev, Tervel Pulev (Kubrat Pulev’s younger brother) and Teymur Mammadov amongst others. AIBA picked Usyk as the best boxer in the world in 2012.

Last year his manager Alexander Krassyuk brought Usyk to Wladimir Klitschko’s training camp for a few days. After working with Usyk, Bashir was so excited at the prospect of working with him he told Krassyuk “I would even fly to the moon to work with this guy and make his a champion.”

Bashir would later say at a press conference announcing Usyk’s fight with Bruwer “In my mind Oleksandr is the next best thing in boxing, especially in the cruiserweight division.”

Despite Bashir and Usyk not speaking the same language they are able to understand each other and work well together.

Former heavyweight champion, Vitali Klitschko, one half of the K2 Promotional company expects big things from the fighter.

“I’m sure that Oleksandr has huge charisma and great boxing skills to make Ukrainian people and boxing fans all over the world enjoy his fights for a long time,” the elder Klitschko said in a prepared statement. “His fervour, energy and purposefulness will definitely bring him to the top of the world in pro boxing.”

Why he’s a suspect: At this stage there appear no obvious weaknesses. Usyk has taken to the professional game like a duck to water. However, it will be interesting to see how he deals with the pace of a 12-round fight against the more seasoned Bruwer. It’s not something that he appears unduly concerned about.

“Physically I’m ready to go not even 10 but 20 rounds,” said Usyk.

As with every boxer, Usyk knows he needs to work on the subtleties and nuances of the pro game.

“Right now we try to increase power and the amount of my punches,” he said. “And improve the work of right hand (He’s a southpaw). Also we work on my footwork to improve my ability to cut the space off during my attacks.”

Story lines: Usyk was born in Simferopol City (the capital of Crimea), Ukraine, and still lives there with his family. He took up boxing at 15.

“Before my first visit to a boxing gym I played soccer and was good in that sport,” he commented. “But soccer equipment was too expensive in my country so my family wasn’t rich enough to continue to support me playing soccer.”

He needed something to do and traded in his football boots for boxing gloves.

“I decided to go into boxing gym soon ’cause you don’t need too expensive equipment for being a boxer,” said Usyk. “On the other hand, I previously knew that I definitely can fight because of many winning street fights which I was involved in during my boyhood.

“So I started to visit boxing gym and realized soon that I definitely have huge potential to be successful in this sport.”

When Usyk decided to turn pro, he travelled the globe with fellow Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko, the two spoke with many promoters. While Lomachenko signed with Top Rank, Usyk elected to go with K2 Promotions.

The extremely popular Usyk is thought of as the heir to the Klitschkos’ throne. He has sponsorship with MTC (one of two biggest Ukrainian mobile companies) and was the brand face of Gillette Fusion Proglide.

He shares a birthday with his favorite boxer Muhammad Ali.

Roughly one month after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation Usyk declared (on April 28) he would never exchange his Ukrainian citizenship for a Russian one and that he still considered Crimea a part of Ukraine.

He’s married to Yekaterina (Catherine in English), who he has known since their school years. They have two children Yelizaveta (Elizabeth in English) who’s five and Kirill who was born last year. Usyk has tattoos of their names on the shoulders.



Dec.14- Epifanio Mendoza – TKO4

Nov. 9 – Felipe Romero – TKO5


May 31 Cesar David Crenz – KO4

Apr. 26 Ben Nsafoah – KO3


Por Carlos Costa en Macao, China, –

MACAO, China –  Andy Ruiz Jr., el joven peso pesado mexicano, oriundo de Mexicali, Baja California, registro en la balanza 254.40 lbs (115,40 kilos), mientras que su peligroso oponente norteamericano Joe Hanks marco 236 lbs (107 kilos) para su combate de mastodontes mañana Sábado aquí en el el lujoso Venetian Resort Cotai Arena en China.

El primero en subirse a la romana fue Hanks (21-0, 14 KOs), oriundo de Nueva Jersey, quien se noto fortísimo, sonriendo confiadamente ante la prensa especializada en boxeo y los aficionados presentes en el evento de pesaje realizado en el dia de hoy (Viernes).

Luego, subió a la romana el Mexicano de 23 abriles apodado “El Destroyer”.  Aun con cara de niño, Andy se vio fuerte aunque quizá con unas cuantas libras de mas y un fanático chino lo confundió con Butterbean.

Pero no nos equivoquemos.   Andy Ruiz es rápido y demoledor y desde el primer round va hacia adelante tirando bombazos y no da cuartel.

En su últimos cinco combates, el invicto Andy Ruiz (19-0, 13 KOs) ha reventado a sus oponentes propinándoles palizas y finiquitandolos por nocaut.

Podrá masacrar tambien al mas alto y corpulento Joe Hanks?

Todos los latinos eso esperamos, pero quizá no sea tan fácil.   Hay que ver el combate.

Tanto el mexicano como el estadounidense están ranqueados mundialmente: Ruiz de doce en la AMB y Hanks de doce en la OMB.  El interesante combate, que sera transmitido por Unimas TV, es valido por el campeonato Intercontinental pesado de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB).

El ganador subirá en los rankings y podría en un futuro cercano disputar el titulo mundial pesado, hoy en dia en poder de la dinastía Klitschko.

Presentes en la entretenida ceremonia de “weight-in” aquí en Macao, China, estuvo el presidente de la OMB Paco Varcarcel, acompañado de oficiales de la organización con sede en la Isla del Encanto.

El promotor cubano Felix “Tutico” Zabala de All Star Boxing también estuvo mirando el pesaje, el cual estuvo bajo la batuta de los maestros de ceremonias Lupe Contreras y Michael Buffer.

WBO #4 cruiserweight B.J. Flores (27-1-1, 17 KO’s) says he has turned down an offer by K2 Promotions to face #1 ranked Ola Afolabi (18-2-3, 8 KOs) on March 3rd for the WBO interim world title in Germany on the Wladimir Klitschko-Jean Marc Mormeck heavyweight title card.

“I want this fight,” Flores said, “I have been very active lately and ready for this type of challenge. But on twenty-six days notice? And having to go to Germany? This is a very serious fight for a very serious title and I demand my full 45 days of preparation, especially considering I just fought last Saturday. It’s only fair. I have worked very hard for this opportunity and combine that with a very very low $25,000 offer, it doesn’t seem like they really want this fight.”

He continued, “This is a great chance for the cruiserweight division to put on a great fight and they want to stick it on an undercard where no one will see it, for very low money with only 26 days’ notice and I would have to travel to Germany. I have just had three successful shows in Springfield, Missouri and with the cash streams we can generate, we could do the fight there and bring in a network TV station and both of us can not only make more money but it could re-energize the cruiserweight division in the States. This fight deserves to be on TV and I deserve the regulated 45 day preparation time as I am the highest rated contender. Ola, I will pay you more money than you have offered me and we can definitely get American TV to cover this event. I demand the proper amount of time and I want everyone in America to see this fight as it is good for the division. Fighting on the undercard in Germany is with 25 days notice is not the right way to win a world title Have your promoter get in touch with Don King and we can set this up easy. I want this fight!”

Everything is falling into place for WBO Intercontinental flyweight champion Milan “El Metodico” Melindo of the ALA Boxing stable. Last weekend, Melindo raised his record to a spotless 25-0 with his tenth knockout, this one over an unpredictable Juan Esquer. This lines Melindo up for a world title shot.

“The title fight will come, God will grant me that eventually,” Melindo said. “We will just follow the plan and have one or two more fights before we think about that.”

Melindo seems to have really found his identity as a boxer. He moved up in weight in 2010, and stuck to his technical, deliberate style with great success. He even changed his monicker from “Milenyo” to “El Metodico” or “Method Man” to fit. After all, he didn’t fight like a storm, and didn’t want to grab the name of a typhoon that devastated a great part of the country.

Meanwhile, though Esquer has had an up and down career the last few years, he did not come with a flimsy resume.In fact, “Panterita” or little panther has fought six opponents who would become world champions, beating future WBO minimumweight champion Kermin Guardia and drawing with eventual WBC light flyweight king Gilberto Keb Baas. He also said he didn’t care whose territory he was fighting in, he was there to knock Melindo out.

Even before the fight, you could see the contrast between the two. Melindo was reserved, just loosely moving about in his corner, while Esquer, clearly nervous, was bouncing around the ring as if he had just had a gallon of coffee. Fans did not expect a quick knockout because that was not Melindo’s style. But nobody expected the bizarre ending, either.

Melindo started off at his normal pace, bringing the fight to the Mexican, using his left jab to great effect, repeatedly forcing the Mexican back. The jittery challenger was throwing a messy variety of punches mostly off the mark. Some time in the second round, Esquer started complaining of low blows from Melindo, even ones that barely grazed his hip. Melindo was throwing an impressive mix of hooks and uppercuts with machine-like precision that clearly bothered his opponent.

A couple of round later, Melindo threw a body shot that went barely south of Esquer’s beltline. The punch was not even a real power shot. Ater a split second, Esquer decides to crumple to the canvas as if he had been castrated. He squirmed, grimaced, frowned, howled, squealed, and put on a really big show. Even his cornermen were laughing. Referee Danrex Tapdasan gave him time to recover, and sent Melindo to a neutral corner with a second warning.

Esquer pretended to stand thrice, then slumped back to the canvas squirming in faked pain. After more than three minutes, he got up, shaking his head as if still hurting, and the fight continued.

“He was trying to do something because I could feel he was getting tired,” Melindo told this writer in the vernacular after the fight. “It was a matter of time before I would beat him.”

The crowd at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu was howling, booing, yelling invectives at the challenger. When the fight continued, Esquer tried to show that the champion’s blows weren’t bothering him. Then at close quarters in the seventh round, it was Esquer that threw a clear low blow. Melindo complained, but since the referee hadn’t stepped in, kept fighting. The Filipino hit Esquer in the chest, and Esquer went down, writhing in pain and claiming it was a low blow. His own chief second asked Tapdasan to stop the fight. Esquer quickly left the ring to a mix of boos and jeers.

“My focus was really to follow the plan, look foropenings,” admitted Melindo. “I tried not to mind his antics, but stay focused on doing my job.”

Melindo’s humility, focus and patience are also born of lessons learned, like the time his stablemate AJ Banal, then 19, stepped into the ring against Rafael Concepcion in 2008 for the interim WBA world super flyweight title. At the time Banal, now WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight king, had overtrained, and ran out of gas by the eighth round. He was knocked out in the tenth. It is still Banal’s only defeat to date.

Milan Melindo is biding his time. Whether it’s against WBO flyweight champion and countryman Brian Viloria or someone else, he knows he will be ready. He wants to get there and stay there for a very long time.


By: Bill Velasco


WBO Intercontinental flyweight champion Milan “El Metodico” Melindo of the famed ALA Gym pulverized Mexico’s rugged Juan Esquer to win by a 7th round TKO before a huge crowd at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu.

Fight fans learned that boxing was more fun in the Philippines when they were treated to a ridiculous acting job by Esquer who got hit with a left that was on the lower end of his high-rise trunks in the dying seconds of the sixth round, went down, crawled all over the canvas in a show of agony, got up and fell down more than once as the crowd booed the Mexican who has a history of such antics in the ring, lustily.

Given a mandatory five minute break to recover, the Mexican came charging back in the final seconds of the round much to the delight of the fans and belying the pretense that he was badly hurt.

Early in round seven Esquer caught Melindo with a clear low blow that appeared to be intentional and then when he realized it was a lost cause and Melindo caught him with a left to the chest, he feigned a low blow before his corner decided to call it quits and referee Danrex Tapdasan ended the contest at 2:16 of the 7th round.

It was as classic a display of skill as the technically sound Melindo used his hand-speed, rapier-like jab and cracking double left hooks to the head and body alongside flurries of accurate punches to wear down the tough Mexican and retain his title.

The impressive win set Melindo who is ranked No.1 by the WBO on a collision course against countryman Brian Viloria unless ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer is able to get Melindo a title shot against any of the champions from the other world organizations such as WBC champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, WBA champion Hernan Marquez and IBF champion Moruti Mthalane.

ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told the Manila Standard that for Melindo to earn a mandatory crack at Viloria’s title he would have to fight a top-ten ranked fighter in his next bout which is what WBO president “Paco” Valcarcel told him at the last WBO convention in Puerto Rico. He also disclosed that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum had asked him about Melindo after we mentioned his name to Arum and Manny Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz and they are exploring the possibility of Melindo seeing action against a top ten contender on the undercard of Pacquiao’s scheduled June 9 fight in Las Vegas.

Aldeguer said “you can’t hide from fighting Viloria if that’s what has to happen. It would be unfair to Melindo and to fight fans.” He cited the example of Mexico pointing out that Mexicans fight against each other for regional and world titles. That’s the nature of boxing.

Aldeguer also plans to send Melindo along with AJ “Bazooka” Banal to train under Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire’s accomplished trainer Robert Garcia in preparation for his US debut.

The 23 year old Melindo improved his unbeaten record to 26-0 with 10 knockouts while Esquer dropped to 27-10-2 with 21 knockouts.

Melindo set the tone of the fight in the opening round when he caught Esquer with double left hooks and ended the round with a solid right hook. Another left hook in round two stunned Esquer and a cracking right uppercut ended another excellent round for Melindo.

In an action-packed third round Melindo marked by some furious exchanges Esquer connected with a low blow which referee Tapdasan apparently didn’t see. Melindo was warned for a low blow in round four while Esquer kept shaking his head after getting caught by Melindo’s combinations as though to say the punches didn’t hurt.

Melindo was called for another low blow in round five although referee Tapdasan didn’t deduct a point despite his previous warnings. Esquer connected with three straight jabs even as he continued to complain about imaginary low blows and went into a series of highly exaggerated acts while rolling on the canvas .

Melindo suffered a small cut on his right eyebrow following a head-butt before Melindo drove Esquer to the ropes and decided to forget the body shots which were called low and instead went to the head with vicious flurries that rocked the Mexican.

After connecting with an obvious low blow and receiving a left to the chest, Esquer claimed he was hit by a low blow prompting his corner men to step into the ring forcing referee Tapdasan to call a halt.

In fact it was Esquer who was disqualified in the 7th round for repeated low blows in his last bout against Ricardo Nunez for the Latino flyweight title. In a post fight interview with TV commentator Bill Velasco of ABS-CBN which telecast “Pinoy Pride XI” on Channel 2, said “He knew he was going to lose. His body was weak and I would knock him out.”


By Ronnie Nathanielsz

WBO #1 flyweight Milan “El Metodico” Melindo of the Philippines kept his Intercontinental crown via a 7th round TKO over a game but outclassed Mexican Juan “Panterita” Esquer Saturday night at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu. Melindo, 23, peppered Esquer with stiff jabs, uppercuts and punishing 4 to 5-punch combinations, all in precision manner. In round five Esquer got floored with a low blow that saw the Mexican wince in pain and rolled around the ring. Esquer tried to stand up at least six times but fell each time. After a few minutes Esquer continued fighting and survived the round.

In the 7th canto Esquer trapped Melindo in the neutral corner but threw a clear low blow. Referee Danrex Tapdasan came in for a momentary halt but Esquer surprisingly fell down and claimed he was hit by a low blow. Replays through a wide screen inside the venue however showed Esquer not being hit by any punch. Tapdasan waived off the fight after Esquer refused to stand up. Official time was 2:16.

With the win Melindo improves to 26-0 with 10 knockouts while Esquer drops to 27-10-2 with 21 KO’s.

In other bouts of this fight card dubbed “Pinoy Pride XI: Philippines vs. The World”, WBO #5 Lorenzo “Thunderbolt” Villanueva floored Mexican Diego Ledesma twice with thundering left straights en route to a first round stoppage. Villanueva ups his record to 23-0, 22 KO’s.

Super flyweight Mar Jhun Macahilig kayoed Kaichon Sor Vorapin in the second round while OPBF minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo scored a hard-earned 8-round verdict over Sofyan Effendi of Indonesia.

Super featherweight Joseph Von Minoza completed a 5-0 shutout for Team Philippines as he decisioned Yoo Shim Kim of Korea in their own 8-round battle.


By Dennis Principe

Cebu City – Juan “Panterita” Esquer of Mexico surprised everyone when he spoke in Cebuano to Milan “Metodico” Melindo.

“Tumbahun tika” which means “I will knock you out.”. Only two words, but it was enough to elicit applause from the sportswriters who attended the press conference held Thursday noon at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel.

It was Melindo who started throwing verbal jabs, saying that “He should try to knock me out early, If not, I will knock him out.”

“If he is wiser than me, he can beat me,” Melindo added. “If not he can beat me in his dreams.”

“I am prepared,” Esquer said, “I am confident and I came here to win in your house. You will see on Saturday how Melindo will fall down.”

“I prepared for this fight but for a world title fight. This will be an easy fight for me.” Melindo retorted.

“His words do not shock me,” Esquer countered, “I have faced many world champions. To me he (Melindo) is a newbie. I hope the judges will not help him. I hope this fight will not be stolen from me like what happened with Ivan Calderon.”

ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldeguer is looking for a world title shot for Melindo, who is defending his WBO Intercontinental flyweight title.

“We will look at the offers,” Aldeguer said, “We will keep fighting and prepare him for the title shot.”

ALA Gym trainer Edito Villamor predicted a knockout ending for the main event of Pinoy Pride XI.

In the main supporting bout, fans will get to see if Lorenzo “Thunderbolt” Villanueva’s power and 90 percent KO rate is for real when he squares off against tough Mexican Diego “Tyson” Ledesma.

Villanueva said his strength and punching power is something that came naturally for him but he feels he needs to improve on a lot of things like his foot work.


By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.

CEBU CITY—Even the holiday season and the recent Sinulog festival did not stop unbeaten Milan Melindo from preparing for his Jan. 28 fight against Mexican Juan Esquer.

“I trained continuously. I shouldn’t be complacent,” said Melindo, who resisted the temptation of eating too much during the holidays, in Filipino.

Melindo’s training is now in its final phase at the ALA boxing gym here as he gears up for his 12-round bout against Esquer, the main event of “Pinoy Pride XI: Philippines vs The World” to be held at Cebu City Waterfront Hotel and Casino.

Melindo, a 23-year-old native of Cagayan de Oro, will be bringing with him an unbeaten record of 25-0 (with 9 KOs) when he meets his 25-year-old opponent from Sonora, Mexico.

Esquer has a 27-9 (win-loss) record, including 21 knockouts, and once challenged for the World Boxing Organization light flyweight title against Ivan Calderon of Puerto Rico, losing a unanimous 12-round decision.

“He’s a strong puncher so we shouldn’t get overconfident,” said Melindo, the reigning WBO Intercontinental flyweight champion.

As part of the promotional built up for the fight presented by Ala Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports, Melindo and other boxers seeing action in the undercards, conducted a public workout at the SM City here Friday afternoon. Also in attendance were Lorenzo Villanueva, Joseph Von Minoza, reigning Orient Pacific Boxing Federation champion Merlito Sabilo and Mhar Jhun Makahilig.


ALA Boxing Promotions is offering 23-year-old WBO Intercontinental flyweight champion Milan “El Metodico” Melindo a mandatory bout this year if he surpasses another tough test against former WBC and WBO Latino flyweight champion Juan Esquer in the main event of the Pinoy Pride XI on Jan. 28 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Melindo, who sports a 25-0 (win-loss) record with nine knockouts, is one of the brightest bets for a world crown in the flyweight division after scoring a lopsided win over Mexican Francisco Rosas last year.

“His reputation in the boxing world is very high,” said ALA Boxing Promotions president Michael Aldeguer during yesterday’s official launching of the event at the PAGCOR Casino Filipino theater at the Waterfront. “A lot of champions want to fight Milan and we are ready for that. He just needs to win every time and we are planning to follow mandatory bouts for him.”

Fellow Filipino Brian Viloria reigns as the WBO flyweight champion and a fight against him seems possible according to Milendo’s camp. But they said other options are being considered to prevent an all-Filipino duel.

As for now, Milendo’s eyes are set on Esquer as he defends his WBO intercontinental title.

“I viewed his tapes and his style is very fit for me because he is a slugger. I’ll just have to find a way to beat him,” said Milendo.

Esquer’s latest bout ended up in disappointment after he was disqualified against Ricardo Nunez last November during their WBO Latino flyweight bout for excessive low blows in the seventh round.


Meanwhile, former Braveheart stable pug and WBO Oriental featherweight champion Lorenzo “Thunder Bolt” Villanueva (21-0-20 KOs) will fight Mexican Diego “Tyson” Ledesma (18-4-2 12 KOs) in a non-title bout in the undercard.

Also to be featured in the undercard is Mhar Jhun “Astig” Macahilig (13-1-7KOs), who will be facing Thai veteran Kaichon Sor Vorapin (25-10-9KOs). Bacolod’s reigning OPBF minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo will also go up against Indonesian journeyman and Indonesia Boxing Commission minumumweight champion Sofyan Effendi (11-11-2 9KOs).

Former ALA fighter and RP No. 1 featherweight contender Joseph Von Minoza returns to his original stable to fight Korean Yoo Shin Kim in the 128lbs division.

Another attraction will be the bout between Jojo “Flash” Entor against Crispin Barba while Mark Acub and Samuel Galinato will fight in the 126lbs division. Ivor Lastrilla faces Jicky Gaco in the opening bout.

Weslaco’s Omar “Panterita” Figueroa, the WBO intercontinental lightweight champion, will return to the ring on March 17, his father Omar Figueroa Sr. confirmed Wednesday.

The fight for the Golden Boy Promotions boxer will take place in the Rio Grande Valley at a site to be determined and will be televised by Telefutura, Figueroa Sr. said.

Figueroa (14-0-1, 11 KOs) won the WBO intercontinental championship last week by defeating Michael “Mikey” Lopez by TKO in Indio, Calif.

Omar Figueroa (14-0-1), trained by Coachella’s Joel Diaz, overcame a slow start and overwhelmed Michael Perez (15-1-1) before the fight was stopped by the corner after the sixth round for a TKO victory.

Figueroa claimed the vacant WBO intercontinental youth title in the lightweight division.

Perez controlled the fight during the first two rounds, moving on the outside and sticking Figueroa at will.

Midway through the second, Perez slowed down, and Figueroa began to turn it on.

“It was my legs. I didn’t have any legs after the second round. I had no power,” Perez said. “I’m really disappointed. I thought it was even, but I had no power.”

And apparently Perez had no endurance either.

Figueroa, who was two pounds overweight at Thursday’s weigh-in, looked fresher despite having to lose two pounds at the last minute.

After the second, Figueroa controlled each round and finished each round strongly. By the fourth, Figueroa had Perez hurt and on the ropes before the bell.

“I was a little disappointed,” Figueroa said. “I hit him with my best shot, but he didn’t go down. But I was confident. I didn’t think I would lose.”

In the fifth, Perez hurt Figueroa with a body shot, but Figueroa shook it off and finished strong again. In the sixth round, it was more of the same.

After the sixth, Perez’s corner indicated he had enough and the fight was stopped.|newswell|text|Frontpage|s

Kevin Mitchell will be forced to wait for his highly-anticipated comeback fight, but vowed to win a world title in 2012 after pulling through a nightmare year.

Mitchell was set to take on Stephen Ormond in a WBO Intercontinental Lightweight title bout in February, but the unbeaten Irishman pulled out of the fight, leaving Mitchell to look for a new challenge. Despite the setback, Mitchell says he is ready for whichever boxer decides to take him on after overcoming personal issues in the past 12 months.

“I think they know I’m in good shape and I’ve been back in the gym,” Mitchell told iFilm London. “Word’s probably got out that I’ve not had a drink over Christmas and that I mean the business. That’s probably put the fear factor into [Ormond].

“I’m ready. I’m prepared for anyone and I’ll be prepared for whoever they put out in front of me. It doesn’t matter who it is.

“I’ve been in very good shape so, whoever it is, I’ll deal with it in a great fashion. I knock anybody early, I can knock them out late – I’ve proven that in fights.

“I’ve given up drinking. I’ve given up messing around. I’m serious and I want to do a big job this year and turn into a superstar. It’s what I’ve always dreamed about. This year I’m going to smash it. Watch.”

Promoter Frank Warren has been in discussions with Mitchell about a July fight at Upton Park against Scotland’s WBO interim lightweight champion Ricky Burns as the 28-year-old plans the next step of his comeback.

Kevin Mitchell has promised to win a world title this year after a nightmare 2011.

The Dagenham Destroyer returns to action on Friday 10th February to defend his WBO Intercontinental Lightweight title at London’s York Hall.

Unbeaten Irishman Stephen Ormond pulled out of the fight and promoter Frank Warren is looking at a new challenger for Mitchell.

The 28-year-old had well documented problems outside of the ring last year despite his sensational eighth round stoppage win over rival John Murray in July.

Mitchell said, “I was on a downward spiral and could have ended up in prison because of my drinking, but I’ve had a good kick up the backside and I realise that I want to become a world champion,”

“I lost it last year even though I had a great win over Murray, but I’m looking forward to returning to the York Hall with my home crowd behind me,”

“I’m not a playboy anymore and from now on I’m serious about winning the world title and making plenty of money to secure my future,”

Warren is aiming to get Kevin a world title shot that could see him in a Battle of Britain with Scottish WBO World Champion, possibly a return to West Ham United’s ground where he lost to Michael Katsidis in 2010.

Also, Warren has spoken to American promoter Bob Arum about a possible fight with WBA title-holder Brandon Rios who beat Murray in December.

“The obvious fight would be Ricky Burns in the summer with West Ham’s ground being an option,” said Warren.

“My relationship with Kevin went off the rails towards the end of last year, but I’m delighted to say that we are back on track and we’re both working towards the world title,”

“This is about Kevin going back to basics, his problems are behind him now and it’s all about moving forward and achieving what I believe he can achieve.”

“I’m really disappointed that Ormond pulled out of the fight for whatever reason, he was training for a fight in December that fell through and we lined him up with Kevin so he would have been ready.”

Mitchell added, “I’d love Ricky Burns at West Ham which would be an absolute dream to return to the stadium again,”

“Although if Rios was offered to me I’d fancy doing a number on him, in fact I reckon I’d knock him out,”

“To me he’s sluggish and one dimensional and if I got him in the ring it would be like a cat playing with a mouse.”

Gavin withdrew from last month’s WBO inter-continental welterweight clash with Frank Haroche Horta after walking out of training.

Promoter Frank Warren met with the former world amateur champion on Thursday and told the 26-year-old to get his life back on track.

Gavin has won all 11 of his professsional fights but his career has not taken off as expected.

“In my opinion he’s not ready to fight and I won’t put him on anywhere until I we get to the bottom of whatever the problem is,” said Warren.

“He’s got a lot of issues outside of boxing that he must overcome before he gets involved in the dangerous sport that he’s involved with.

James DeGale will continue playing the pantomime villain if it sells tickets, but insists the act fails to reflect his true personality.

DeGale’s feud with super-middleweight rival and former amateur stablemate George Groves rages on with the fighters both renewing hostilities on Thursday.

They met at a press conference called to announce that they will both appear on Frank Warren’s bill at ExCeL London on December 9, facing as-yet unnamed opponents.

Eventually they are expected to meet for a second time in a professional ring – Warren wants to make the fight as soon as possible – when DeGale will seek to avenge the points defeat he suffered in May.

Groves won the popularity contest as well as prevailing in the ring and has seen his profile grow since that night at the O2 Arena.

Aware that he will always be cast as the bad guy, DeGale insists Groves brings out the worst in him.

“Anyone who’s not a boxing fan thinks I’m arrogant and too big for my boots,” said the European champion, who will be challenging for the WBO intercontinental title on December 9.

“It hurts me a little bit because everyone who meets and knows me sees that I’m a genuine and humble boy.

“But boxing needs this. It needs the rivalry and the personalities. People see me on TV and say ‘look at him, he’s arrogant’.

“But as long as people keep buying the tickets it doesn’t matter.

“It’s the role I’ll have to continue playing, especially with Groves, because I’ve been made out to be the villain.

“I read a letter in a magazine saying that I’m a control freak, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was crazy.

“Sometimes part of me wants to go on a bit of a charm offensive. In my last fight I was humble and respectful.

“But with George…..I can’t do it.. He’s so smug and horrible. He winds me up.

“There’s real history there and it’s good for boxing. I feel confident around him, he doesn’t feel the same.

“You can feel the tension and it’s not coming from me, I’m cool with it.”

The enmity is based on personality as much as their rivalry in the ring.

The two are vastly different characters, DeGale noisy and self-assured yet affable in a way that is at odds with his public image, while the equally likeable Groves is more thoughtful and grounded, with a quick wit.

Groves believes their contrasting outlooks ensure friendship will always be impossible.

“I’m trying not to be the good guy. I reckon that if I went down the street kicking children I’d still be seen as the good guy!” he said.

“James is himself. You have to let him off the leash and be himself. Let people decide what sort of person he is.

“I just try to be myself, not a goody-two-shoes or a saint.

“I’m sarcastic and like to make fun of people and it’s easy to make fun of James DeGale.

“I don’t think we’ll ever be friends. He’s not my cup of tea. I don’t like who he is, the things he says, the way he acts.”

DeGale craves a rematch as early as possible, but Groves would rather wait to maximise the financial rewards.

“I want that cash cow (DeGale) to keep winning. He’ll be my pension fund one day,” said Groves.

“I got paid a reasonable amount for the first fight and I could get paid a life-changing amount for the second fight.”

In action on December 3 will be WBO & WBA Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion Robert Helenius (16-0, 11 KOs), who takes on an opponent to be announced. Ever since knocking out three former world champions – namely Lamon Brewster, Samuel Peter and Siarhei Liakhovich – Helenius is a superstar in Finland. “It´s a small country,” he said with a smile. “But the people love sports, especially boxing. It will be a great pleasure to fight in front of my hometown fans again. I know it will be very loud at Hartwall Areena on December 3.”
Helenius had already visited Helsinki last Thursday to attend a packed press conference before returning to Berlin to resume practice. On Monday afternoon, he joined Alexander Povetkin on the podium in the German capital. “It will be a great night of boxing in Helsinki,” coach Ulli Wegner said. “The fact that Robert has already knocked out three former world champions speaks volumes about his class. He will make his hometown fans very proud on December 3 – just like Cecilia Braekhus, who is the best female boxer out there.”
The WBO/WBC/WBA Female Welterweight Champion (18-0, 4 KOs) will make another defence of her title collection on December 3, taking on Kuulei Kupihea (7-1, 2 KOs). “It will be great to fight in Helsinki again,” she said. “My management regularly picks opponents from the top ten. I am happy to prove myself against the best challengers out there. I will continue my winning streak in Helsinki.”

Unbeaten WBO Intercontinental heavyweight champion Robert Helenius (16-0, 11 KOs) says his time is now. “I am ready for the Klitschkos,” proclaims the 6’6 star of the Sauerland stable. Helenius returns December 3 against an opponent to be named in Helsinki, Finland. According to his promoter, negotiations are ongoing with “two top people” and ‘Mister X’ will be announced in the coming days. “For me, it’s no problem,” says Helinius. “I just need a couple of weeks to adjust myself for each opponent.” Helinius has KO’d three former heavyweight champions and has stopped ten of his last eleven opponents.


A fight between Alexander Dimitrenko (32-1, 21 KO’s) and unbeaten WBO Intercontinental heavyweight champion Robert Helenius (16-0, 11 KO’s) is rumored to be in the works for the December 3rd undercard of the title fight between WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin and 42-year-old challenger Cedric Boswell in Helsinki, Finland.

The Helenius-Dimitrenko fight would be perfect for the card, as Helenius comes from nearby Sweden and he can pull in fans from there as well as Finland. The fight card certainly needs something to attract interest from fans because the fight between Povetkin and his number #14 ranked contender Boswell is a hopeless mismatch and no one is even remotely interested in seeing this title milking fight for Povetkin.

Helenius, 27, is ranked #1 WBO, #3 WBA, #3 IBF and #8 WBC, is considered one of the best contenders in the division as of now. He could have gotten a title shot against one of the Klitschko brothers but he and his management feels he needs a little more time before he’s thrown out there with the much better skilled Klitschkos.

Putting Helenius in with Dimitrenko would be a great transition fight for him, though, because Dimitrenko has a style very similar to Wladimir, albeit without the handspeed, power or the crushing jab. In part it would give Helenius an idea of what he’ll be up against when and if he ever faces Wladimir.

Dimitrenko is tall at 6’7″, and this would be a fight where the 6’6 1/2″ Helenius would be facing someone bigger than him for the first time in his career. It’s a risk for him because he’s been able to dominate at a distance against shorter foes and he won’t be able to do this with Dimitrenko, who has a four inch reach advantage over the big Swede. Helenius has the much better power, but he mostly throws with big power in close. If Dimitrenko keeps the fight to the outside this could be a very difficult fight for Helenius to win.

By Eric Thomas:

Robert Helenius (16-0, 11 KOs) is the new top-ranked challenger in the latest World Boxing Organization (WBO) Rankings. The Nordic Nightmare, who holds the WBA & WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Titles, most recently completed his KO hat-trick of former world champions. He has now knocked out Lamon Brewster, Samuel Peter and Siarhei Liakhovich.

“I am thrilled to be the top-ranked challenger with the WBO,” Helenius said. “That´s fantastic news and shows that my performances inside the ring have not gone unnoticed in the world of boxing. I am very ambitious and there is a lot more to come.”–

FRANKIE GAVIN will return to the ring on October 28 against Frenchman Frank Haroche Horta.

The fight is Gavin’s first since leaving trainer Anthony Farnell and relocating to East London to work with brothers Jimmy and Mark Tibbs.

And the WBO Intercontinental welterweight champion is determined to make it a night to remember at Manchester’s Bowlers Exhibition Centre.

Funtime Frankie, who is undefeated in 11 bouts, said: “I’ve been working on new and different things in the gym with Jimmy and Mark and I’m looking forward to putting on a great show.

“This will also be my debut on new fight channel BoxNation so I’m looking to make a big impression with the viewers as well.

“My trainers have been working me hard in the gym and now it’s up to me to perform on the night and show that I’m the best young talent out there.”

Gavin, 26, added: “Horta looks likes a tough fighter. I’ve seen some clips of him on the internet but I think I’ll have his measure after a few rounds and take him out.

“He’s never been stopped in 39 fights so it’s a massive incentive for me, but I won’t be rushing in and being careless.”

Southpaw Horta, 31, is a former French welterweight champion and IBF International light-middleweight champion


Erfurt, Germany – Rising heavyweight WBO Intercontinental champion Robert Helenius (16-0, 11KOs) knocked out former WBO champion Sergei Liakhovich (25-4, 16KOs) in the ninth round. At the time of the stoppage, Helenius was winning on the official cards by way of a split decision, with scores of 77-74 and 76-75 for Helenius and 76-75 on the third for Liakhovich.

Liakhovich did not arrive to Germany to lay down. He gave it his all, swelling the face of Helenius in the early rounds and digging to the head and body. Liakhovich was having problems breathing with a possible broken nose, with Helenius taking over the fight with hard punches to the former champion’s face.

In the eight round, Helenius began to batter Liakhovich with hard punches to send him down to his knees in the final twenty seconds. Liakhovich made it up before the bell.

At the start of the ninth, Helenius unloaded on Liakhovich with massive shots to send him down for a second time. The referee stopped the fight as Liakhovich’s corner threw in the towel at the same time.

By Alexey Sukachev

Former WBO heavyweight champion Siarhei Liakhovich (25-3, 16 KO’s) faces young heavyweight contender Robert Helenius (15-0, 10 KO’s) in two weeks on August 27th at the Messehaille, Erut, Thuringen, Germany. Helenius, 27, ranked #2 WBO, #3 IBF, #9 WBA, #13 WBC, is quickly moving up the heavyweight rankings after an impressive 9th round TKO win over Samuel Peter on April 2nd. Helenius beat Peter even more impressively than world champion Wladimir Klitschko did in beating Peter last September.

Helenius has good size at 6’6″ 240 lbs, and is hard to hit because of his long reach and ability to fight on the outside. He doesn’t hit as hard as the Klitschkos, but he’s got good enough power to worry any heavyweight in the division. It’s interesting that Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko haven’t gone after him yet, because he’s easily the best option available in the heavyweight division right now. He would be a very tough fight for either of the Klitschkos. Although I think they’re both too good for him right now, this could change in the near future if he continues to improve.

Liakhovich, 35, hasn’t done much since losing his World Boxing Organization title to Shannon Briggs in 2006. For some reason, Liakhovich has fought only three times since that defeat, losing another fight to Nikolay Valuev two years later in February 2008, and then beating a couple of B level fighters in Jeremy Bates and Evans Quinn to get to this fight. It goes without saying that Liahovich has really wasted a lot of time with his career. He easily should have fought at least 14 times since the loss to Briggs, and it’s mind boggling how much time and money he’s lost out on by being so inactive. At 35, it’s hard to see Liakhovich having much of an impact on the heavyweight division. However, it’s possible if he can somehow win this fight that he could find himself in against one of the Klitschko brothers to get a nice payday.

Helenius will probably be too big and powerful for the 6’4″ Liakhovich in this fight. It really depends on which Liakhovich shoves up for the fight. If he fights like he did in beating Lamon Brewster by a 12 round decision to capture the WBO title in April 2006, then I can see him possibly beating Helenius. However, if Liakhovich fights the same way he did against Valuev by fighting passively, then it’s going to be an easy win for Helenius.

By Jason Kim

Helenius vs. Liakhovich will be a war while it lasts

Maxim Pediura (13-2-1, 11 KOs) is one of the sparring partners for rising heavyweight giant Robert Helenius (15-0, 10 KOs), who trains hard in camp for his upcoming fight on August 27th in Germany, when he fights for the WBO intercontinental belt against former heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich (25-3, 16 KOs).

By Wilhelm Springer,–42614

Ola Afolabi, WBO Intercontinental Cruiserweight Champion, is scheduled to make his second title defense as the co-feature of the huge Vitali Klitschko vs Tomasz Adamek show September 10 in Wroclaw Poland.

Afolabi is 17-2 and rated #2 in the WBO, #3 WBA, #7 WBC and #7 in the IBF. He was scheduled to fight undefeated Polish cruiserweight star Pawel Kolodziej, 28-0. This was a great matchup of two top cruiserweights that are rated in the top ten of every sanctioning body.

“Everybody was excited about this fight,” stated Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, promotional company of Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. “We signed Ola one year ago and he is now a completely different fighter since he has started working with Vitali’s trainer, Fritz Sdunek. “K2 has featured Ola on their last 3 shows and he has responded with great results. Afolabi was born in London and his fan base in the UK is very strong from impressive KO wins over two fellow Brits, Enzo Maccarinelli and Terry Dunstan. Afolabi’s last fight was on July 2 with a first round KO over Terry Dunstan, the UK Cruiserweight Champion. This was on the same show where Wladimir Klitschko added the WBA championship to his collection of titles when he dominated David Haye over every round.

Andrew Wasilewski of 12 Round Knockout Promotions, Promoter of Kolodziej, was very dejected when he found out the news. “We regret very much that Pawel will not be able to fight Ola Afolabi September 10 in Wroclaw. This will be the biggest boxing event in Polish history and Pawel wanted to be a part of it. He was involved in a car accident, he is ok, but the doctor said that he could not train properly for the fight because of the injuries that he suffered.” Wasilewski’s company also promotes WBC Cruiserweight champion, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk.

K2 is currently looking for a replacement opponent and offered the fight to Mateusz Masternak, 23-0, who is also an undefeated Polish cruiserweight and is scheduled to fight on the same show. “I thought this was the perfect solution,” said Loeffler, “but Masternak’s people turned down the fight because of short notice, even though he has been training to fight on the same show. Ola is like Vitali and at a point in his career where he will fight anyone, even accepting two undefeated Polish fighters in their home country.”

The historic event will be held in the brand new 42,000 seat soccer stadium in Wroclaw, Poland. The show will be broadcast in over 110 countries and on pay per view in Poland starting at 9pm. The Klitschko vs Adamek main event will be shown live on HBO in the US at 5pm EST and also live in Germany on RTL at 11pm.