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PONCE, PUERTO RICO – Alberto ‘El Explosivo’ Machado is risking his NABO, the regional organization affiliated with the WBO, in the stellar clash of the world class billboard presented by Miguel Cotto Promotions at the modern Ponce Feria Complex on Saturday, April 1 live on DIRECTV channel 161.

With a record of 16-0 and 14 KOs, Machado, the Monte Hatillo knockout artist, is facing the experienced Mexican fighter Juan Jose ‘Piquet’ Martinez (26-3 and 18 KO’s) in the 10-round scheduled bout in a co-promotion with H2 Entertainment, that will be part of the DIRECTV Boxing Nights series.

“This fight is extremely important for Machado, not only for his hand to get raised high but also his NABO crown and he is classified within the first ten in the world at 130 pounds. We know that Machado has the potential and the skills but we must not lose sight that he has a great Mexican fighter in front of him, ” commented Héctor Soto.

In the co-feature, also over ten rounds, Jose ‘Chiquiro ‘Martinez (18-0-1 and 11 KOs), from Las Marías, will face Miguel’ El Loco ‘Robles (12-5-2 and five KOs), from Cataño, in another big match.

“We are very happy, we have a great event on a world-wide level in Ponce this Saturday and we hope everyone will tune in to DIRECTV. We expect full house in Ponce,” said Soto.

As a special attraction, also in the third fight as a professional, the former member of the national team, Danielito Zorrilla (2-0 and two), of Toa Baja, will take part in a four round bout at 142 pounds with Arnaldo Montalvo (0-1) from Arecibo.

Zorrilla, who debuted as a professional on the same stage last November 12, is coming back from knocking out Onyx Curras in the first round on February 11 at the Roger L. Mendoza Coliseum.

Zorrilla spent several weeks training with Miguel Cotto in Los Angeles under coach Freddie Roach when he was supposed to see the action on the Feb. 25 undercard in Texas that was canceled because of an injury to James Kirkland, the opponent of the five-time Puerto Rican champion.










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By Jeff Zimmerman
Photos by Stacey Verbeek

From the hardscrabble streets of Dallas, Texas to the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada NABO Junior Welterweight Champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (21-0-2, 16 KOs) is well on his way to hitting the proverbial jackpot. Guided by his manager Arnie Verbeek, owner of Maple Ave Boxing Gym in Dallas and promoter Roc Nation, Hooker will make his PPV debut as the lead in fight to Kovalev-Ward when he fights former world champion Darleys Perez (33-2-1, 21 KOs) on Saturday, November 19th.

For Hooker, with his slender build and powerful right hand and of course his signature lollipop that he brings into the ring and enjoys post-fight, the path to this point has been anything but easy. Nothing has been handed to Hooker and every fight to date has been an important stepping stone to get to this stage of his career. Perhaps that is why he seems unfazed of the moment and the fortunes that potentially lie ahead.

“It’s another fight, another big fight. It’s still a ring, I still go in there and do my thing. I try not to let anything get to me, just another fight.” 

His trainer Vincent Parra is also a calming influence on Hooker.

“We try to make sure he knows and he does, it’s just him and the other guy in the boxing ring we have been training in. The people get blanked out when you’re focused and the only thing you can see is Darleys Perez, that’s where the focus comes in,” stated Parra.

This will be Hooker’s third fight under the Roc Nation banner as well as fighting alongside promotional stablemate world champion Andre Ward. Like past camps, he has trained and sparred with super lightweight champion Terence Crawford and also added the young but talented lightweight Devin Haney to the mix.

“Sparring with Crawford I learn a lot. We talk after sparring. He tells me what I am doing wrong and what I am doing right. I had to be patient sparring with him. Sparring with Devin, it was good. He brings a lot of energy and is very quick. He reminds me of myself when I was sparring Miguel Cotto. I think he is the next up and coming. He is young and willing to learn the game.”

At 27, Hooker is still relatively young, far from his prime and still learning but with a breakout performance preceding this year’s biggest fight in Kovalev-Ward, this could be the fight that truly launches his career. Roc Nation must hope so by putting him in this position, but Hooker takes it all in stride.

“No, I don’t feel any pressure, this is what I do for living, just another big fight for me. It’s just another big fight for me, my fight before that was a big fight for me, my fight before that was a big fight for me. I’m just moving up one fight at a time. I see Darleys Perez, he’s beatable. I see my skills can beat him. No pressure on me, I’m just ready to fight, this is what I do for a living.”

Don’t expect Hooker to look past Perez either even though an impressive win could line him up for big fights in 2017.

“I am not worried about that, right now I am just worried about Perez. After this fight we’ll see, but right now I am just worried about Perez. He’s a dangerous little guy and I just don’t want to lose focus and look to far down the road, I’m just focused on him right now.”

Parra is not taking any chances with his prized pupil and knows that Perez is a dangerous fighter and will have Hooker prepared.

“There’s the obvious thing, we are bigger, he’s moving up to Mo’s division, we have the reach advantage which he does on most guys and he’s a pure puncher, but with that being said this is boxing and anything can happen. We just keep it in perspective that he was a world champion and he made it to that point and not a lot of guys do and we have to respect that,” explained Parra.

Parra added, “I just expect if Maurice fights Maurice fight, he’s definitely the better all-around fighter. Maurice has to fight his fight and if he does that I think we are going to take care of business and move on to the next.”

Hooker also takes great pride of being a part of an exciting crop of fighters hailing from Dallas that include Errol Spence Jr., Charles Hatley and Samuel Clarkson just to name a few.

“It’s a good feeling. I hope everyone makes it from Dallas. It’s a good feeling that Dallas is coming up but everyone has their own pace and I wish all of them the best. Right now I am just worried about me, but it’s a good feeling. We are coming up.”

Hooker is ready to test Perez early.

“I will go in there and box him, just look for an exciting fight, I am going to box him. I am going to test his chin early and see what he’s made of coming up from 135. He has been hurt a couple of times and I am going to test his chin. Go in there box, stay relaxed and take my time with him.”

Parra just wants Hooker to be himself.

“Just be Mo, if you watch us, we approach every fight the same. Mo will go out to the middle of the ring and meet him and either he will go out and meet Mo there or he’ll start dancing and go from there. We like to plan on guys having a plan for us, we are not worried about what he’s going to do, and we are more focused on what we are going to do. Maurice is going to fight his fight and make Perez fight his fight.”

Parra continued, “The plan is to be himself. Mo is going to come up and fight at range and look for opportunities and if there is blood in the water I send him at him. Everything is going to be done very methodically. Like Mo said, he’s going to take his time. You can plan all you want, but fights play out and act out and do what we want to do and see how Perez can handle and how he can adjust.”

Although Hooker and Parra are 100% focused on their fight, both weighed in on the Kovalev-Ward mega matchup.

Hooker stated confidently, “Ward is going to outbox him, he is going to make Kovalev adjust to him, and he has ring smarts. Andre Ward is just a good fighter. I see Andre Ward winning.”

Parra expects a great fight and sees it as a toss-up.

“If you’re a fight fan, it’s a fight fan’s fight, it’s going to be interesting. For me, it’s a 50-50 fight, I’m a fan of both guys. Obviously we are stablemates of Andre Ward but on the other side John David Jackson is one of my really good friends and I have been following him and Sergey for a lot of years so for me it’s just a hard fight to dissect because both guys do so many things well. Both guys have very good camps. I look forward to a great fight I think it’s going to be tremendous, it’s very hard for me to pick at this point.”

Hooker, as always, will look to steal the show with his one punch knock out power. And although he is taking the right approach and sees this as just another fight, it is far from it. An impressive performance could put him on a “fighters to watch list” in 2017. So far for Hooker, his manager and promoter have made all the right moves. A big win next Saturday could lead to those potential jackpots that only fighting in Las Vegas could bring. But don’t expect Hooker to be blinded by the bright lights.

“I have no pressure, I am always looking for the knockout, it’s going to be a very good fight and I am going to take it to him.”

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NABO Junior Welterweight Champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (21-0-2, 16 KOs) and Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields co-hosted a media workout in Las Vegas ahead of their undercard appearances on Kovalev-Ward “Pound For Pound” taking place Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photos by Hoganphotos.


Shields, making her professional debut against American rival Franchon Crews, will be featured on the freeview telecast beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT on the Pay-Per-View events channel prior to the official telecast, and through livestreaming on HBO Boxing’s YouTube channel.

Hooker, who will be defending his NABO title against veteran Darleys Perez (33-2-1, 21 KOs), will be featured during the televised undercard leading up to the main event on HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Titles, takes place Saturday, Nov. 19, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. “Pound for Pound” is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Rosneft and Corona Extra.

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By Karl Freitag
Photos: Mikey Williams / Top Rank –

In a clash of featherweight contenders, WBO #3 Miguel Marriaga (24-1, 20 KOs) scored a sixth round KO over #14 rated Guy Robb (18-2, 8 KOs) on Saturday night’s “Rural Rumble” at the Churchill County Fairgrounds in Fallon, Nevada. Marriaga connected with a series of right hands, finally dropping Robb in round six. Referee Russell Mora waved in off at 2:06. Former world title challenger Marriaga claimed the vacant North American Boxing Organization (NABO) featherweight title. Robb had his eleven-fight win streak snapped.

WBO #3 lightweight Jose Felix Jr. (34-1-1, 26 KOs) scored a punishing sixth round TKO over game journeyman “Red Hot” Rob Frankel (34-17-1, 7 KOs). A barrage of shots finished Frankel at 2:23 of round six.

Unbeaten featherweight prospect Jose ‘El Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (5-0-1, 2 KOs) outpointed Gelacio Cruz (2-4-2, 1 KO) in a four-round fight. Scores were 40-36 across the board.

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Centro De Convenciones, Rosarito, Baja California –  Former world champion Antonio Margarito (40-8, 27 KOs) won a ten round split decision over Ramon Alvarez (23-5-2, 15 KOs), the older brother of Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, to capture the vacant NABO Jr. Middleweight championship. The scores were 95-94 Alvarez, and 97-92, 97-92 for Margarito.

Alvarez started off by working the jab and landing some good counters. He was pushing the pace with Margarito, who seemed to be very cautious and taking his time. Alvarez was outworking him in the first round and landed some very good head shots.  Margarito was throwing his own jab in the second round. It didn’t seem to be very hard and was more of a range finder to set up other punches. Margarito was getting off with some very hard shots to the body and doing better defensively to make Alvarez miss. Alvarez continued to throw a lot of fast punches, with some landing.

Margarito started coming forward and pushing Alvarez back in the third round. This time it was Margarito pushing the pace, getting Alvarez to the ropes and letting his hands go. Alvarez stayed dangerous with counters that would catch Margarito when he walked in unprotected.

Alvarez was back on the attack at the start of the fourth, landing good counters to the head and now allowing Margarito to do his work. It wasn’t until the final thirty seconds when Margarito was able to get some body shots in. Things were tightening up in the fifth and sixth. Margarito was doing some very good work and landing hard shots on Alvarez, who had bruising and swelling around the right eye.

Margarito continued to push the pace in the seventh, coming forward and making it a fight. Alvarez was still landing good counters, with Margairto making it easy due to a lack of defense. During the eight round, Margarito had his best work and scored a knockdown after a series of shots to make the crowd erupt. Alvarez beat the count and took punches until the close of the round.

Alvarez seemed to get a second wind in the ninth and landed a big overhand bomb that Margarito walked right through and kept coming with punches of his own. Alvarez, sensing he was behind on the cards, showed urgency in the tenth and final round by head-hunting for something big to put Margarito on his back. He landed a few good right hands, but not enough to do serious damage or score a knockdown. Margarito was playing it safe, pawing with his jab and appeared to be coasting for the most part until the final bell.

This was Margarito’s second fight since breaking his retirement in March, when he won a ten round decision over Jorge Paez Jr. In that contest Margarito was knocked down and seemed to be seriously hurt. He survived that near disaster to pull off the win. Prior to the March bout, Margarito retired in December 2011 after getting stopped in his rematch with Miguel Cotto.

Coming into this contest, Alvarez had not lost in his last 10 outings in the ring, including nine victories, eight of them by knockout, and one no-contest after a head clash. Alvarez prepared hard for this fight with the help of his younger brother, Canelo.–107691?print_friendly=1


Written by Hector Sanchez / Photos by Stacey Verbeek –

Super Lightweight champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (21-0-2, 16 KO’s) from Dallas, Texas returned to Oakland and rocked Ty Barnett (23-5-1, 15 KO’s) with a stiff right hand in the opening moments of the first round to the thunderous applause and excitement of the boxing fans in attendance at the ROC NATION/HBO fight card at Oracle Arena this past Saturday night.


As the first round continued, Barnett was moving to his left with his back to the corner, and Mighty Mo tagged him with a stiff left hand jab that snapped his opponent’s head back. As they moved in the middle of the ring, the champion landed his signature straight right hand that buckled Barnett’s legs and he retreated to the ropes.

Mighty Mo then moved forward and landed two lightning left hooks that backed his opponent up and then he landed a powerful left hook that buckled Barnett who landed against the ropes and attempted to hold onto the champion to save himself from going down.


In the next second, Mighty Mo landed another huge left hook and a right hand that put Barnett down to the canvas that brought the audience to their feet around the Oracle Arena. Barnett took a knee as the referee made the count and then the fight continued.

As he danced around the ring waiting for the eight count to end, and sensing an early finish, Mighty Mo stayed composed as the fight continued. He quickly and cautiously went after Barnett and landed numerous left hooks and several overhand rights right in front of Bernard Hopkins who was a ringside commentator for HBO, along with Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman. After several more stiff jabs Mighty Mo landed a huge right hand that snapped Barnett’s head back against the ropes and the referee stepped in to stop the fight with the official KO at 2:17 of the first round.


I was told before the fight by Mighty Mo that it would not go past five rounds and another prediction rang true. Because of his long training camp, he came into this fight with exceeding confidence and continued his undefeated winning streak and the defense of his WBO/NABO Super Lightweight title for his return to Dallas, Texas.


At ringside, when I asked him, “How did you feel when you first touched him in the first round, he laughed and said “I knew it was over with, and he was in trouble.” He went on to say “I stayed relaxed and knew my knockout was coming and I am ready for anybody.”




Orlando ‘El Fenómeno’ Cruz se apuntó una fenomenal victoria el viernes en la noche en Kissimmee, Florida, y se puso en dirección a un posible combate ante el monarca interino de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB), el mexicano Miguel ‘El Alacrán’ Berchelt quien primero tendrá la encomienda de salir por la puerta ancha el sábado en el Polideportivo Soraya Jiménez, de Los Reyes de La Paz en su natal país.

El púgil boricua cumplió su palabra y con un sólido triunfo rindió tributo póstumo a las víctimas de la reciente masacre de la discoteca Pulse de Orlando al vencer por la vía rápida a los dos minutos del séptimo asalto al mexicano Alejandro Valdez en la estelar del cartel presentado en el Kissimmee Civic Center por la empresa promotora All Star Boxing.

Cruz, que mejoró su récord a 24-4-1 y 12 nocauts, y que también retuvo su corona de las 130 libras de la North American Boxing Organización (NABO), filial de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB), subió al ensogado vistiendo los colores alusivos a la organización LBGTT, de donde es uno de los principales portavoces. Cuarenta y tres campanazos antecedieron el choque en honor a los caídos.

El púgil que hace unos años se convirtió en el primer boxeador profesional en la historia en aceptar abiertamente su homosexualidad, abrió con fuerza su duelo ante Valdez, un peleador natural de Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, México.

Cruz derribó una primera vez a Valdez en el séptimo con una combinación de ‘upper’ de izquierda y gancho de derecha, y luego terminó la contienda enviándolo por segunda ocasión a la lona con similar ataque para poner fin a las hostilidades.

La victoria permitirá que Cruz, quien actualmente está quinto en el ranking de las 130 libras de la OMB, ascienda próximamente camino a una oportunidad mundialista. Actualmente, es el ucraniano Vasyl Lomachenko el campeón en propiedad en esa división. Berchelt, que tiene marca de 29-1 y 26KO’s, es el campeón interino, y defenderá el sábado ante el excampeón tailandés Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, quien en el 2014 cayó por decisión a manos de Lomachenko.

Valdez, que durante su carrera ha enfrentado a excampeones del mundo como el mexicano Cristian Mijares, vio caer su marca a 26-8-2 y 20KO’s.

“Fue una buena victoria. Ahora es cuestión de seguir escalando. Tengo un equipo de trabajo excepcional y no tengo prisa en llegar a mi oportunidad titular”, expresó Cruz tras el triunfo.

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“Fue una noche especial. La abrimos con esos 43 campanazos. Luego demostré que aún con 35 años, todavía queda mucho boxeo. No he perdido mi fuerza, mi poder y mi pegada. Creo que todo es cuestión de tiempo y aquí estamos, esperando la oportunidad”, sostuvo.

Cruz adelantó que podría estar de vuelta al ensogado entre los meses de agosto y octubre. En octubre podría formar parte de un evento antesala de la celebración en Orlando de la Parada Gay el día ocho de ese mes.

Cruz venía de vencer por decisión unánime a Rómulo Koasicha el pasado mes de marzo en Tampa, Florida.

“Un ascenso es lo que esperamos y que también peleé por un título mundial”, añadió Zabala, promotor de Cruz. “Nos gustaría mucho una pelea con el campeón interino Miguel Berchelt, pero hay que esperar primero a ver que pasa en su pelea de mañana (sábado) en donde defenderá su corona interina. Pero también hay que ver lo que dice la OMB. Creo que Orlando hizo su trabajo, demostró una vez más que está aquí para pelear con los mejores”, sostuvo.


miller By Jim Dower: –

Undefeated hard hitting WBO #11, WBA #12, IBF #15 heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller (17-0-1, 15 KOs) kept his unbeaten record intact on Friday night in destroying an over-matched Nick Guivas (12-4-2, 9 KOs) in a 2nd round knockout at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, New York.

The 283-pound Miller used heavy shots to the body of Guivas to knock him down four times in the fight. Two of the knockdowns came in the 1st round, and the last two in the 2nd round. The fight was halted after the second knockdown in round two.

Referee Dick Pakozdi stopped the fight officially at 1:26 of the 2nd round. In winning the bout, the 6’4” Miller captured the vacant WBO NABO heavyweight title.

In the 1st round, Miller dropped Guivas with a hard left to the body. Moments later, Miller knocked Guivas down with a grazing right hand to the head.

Miller knocked Guivas down twice body shots in the 2nd round. Guivas couldn’t stand up to the body attack from Miller.

If there was one area where Miller looked vulnerable it was on defense. Guivas hit Miller with some hard left hooks to the head in round one. Miller took the shots without any problems, but you could tell that the shots got his attention. Had it been a harder puncher than Guivas in there with Miller last night, it might have been a different story.

After the fight, Miller called out Wladimir Klitschko, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. Miller wants to fight all four of those guys. Miller is going to need to tighten up his defense first before he gets in the ring with those guys. Miller also needs to lose a little more weight. His best fighting weight is in the low 260s. Last night, Miller was 283. He fought well at that weight, but he was slow on his feed and plodding around the ring. If Miller wants to compete against the top heavyweights, he’ll need to make an effort to drop another 20 pounds without losing his power in the process.

“Nothing is ever easy,” said Miller after dispatching Guivas. “He caught me with a couple of shots, but I like that kind of stuff. Wladimir Klitschko – Tyson Fury, ain’t nobody wants to see a 12 round hump-fest again, but listen, I’d gladly take the winner of that fight. If you don’t call my name, let’s go to Povetkin and Wilder. I can see it right now, New York vs. Alabama, North vs. South. He’s a bum and I’m going to knock your lights out. I’m not forgetting about Anthony Joshua either. He’s talking a lot of smack about [Dominic] Breazeale over there. Breazeale ain’t got no heart, but I bet you won’t talk to me like that. I’d make you swallow your teeth. Call my name. Anlot of these guys ain’t fighting top prospects or top opponents. You’ve got Deontay Wilder; he’s fighting a washed up Chris Arreola. So these guys are just going for payday. You don’t want to fight no top prospects. I dare you to call my name. At the end of the day, it’s soon going to be my time, and they’re going to have to fight me, and I’ll break their jaw,” said Miller.

donaire-alvarez-20160320_ADAFBC0E0C7A44799F5E3F3601445CA2  UPSET WIN. Joebert Alvarez poses with trainer Nonito Donaire Sr after stopping Jonathan Gonzalez in Puerto Rico. Photo from Donaire’s Facebook –

Alvarez scores a 6th round technical knockout over the former amateur star in Puerto Rico to earn the biggest victory of his career.

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxer Joebert Alvarez scored the biggest win over his career, stopping Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez in 6 rounds at the Coliseo Mario ‘Quijote’ Morales in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico on Sunday, March 20.

Alvarez (15-1-1, 7 knockouts) of General Santos City, Philippines knocked Gonzalez (18-2-1, 12 KOs) down in round two before a combination put him down for the last time 4 rounds later, Alvarez’s trainer Nonito Donaire Sr tells Rappler.

The win earned Alvarez the vacant WBO NABO and WBC FECARBOX flyweight titles, regional belts which could position Alvarez for a world ranking with those organizations.

Gonzalez, a former amateur star in Puerto Rico, had been unbeaten in his last 6 fights following his lone career defeat, a fourth round knockout loss to former champion Giovani Segura in 2013.

Alvarez, 26, had shown hints of his potential in his previous fight in December of 2014, when he went the distance with WBO/WBA flyweight titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada in a non-title fight.

Donaire Sr says Alvarez’s promoter All Star Boxing has plans of putting Alvarez on a fight card on July 9 against an opponent to be determined.



Recent world title challenger Romulo Koasicha (25-5, 15 KOs) of Mexico challenges NABO junior lightweight champion and former world title challenger Orlando “El Fenomeno” Cruz (22-4-1, 11 KOs) from Puerto Rico. The bout is scheduled for 10 rounds and will be aired on “Boxeo TELEMUNDO Ford.” The site of the fight will be the A La Carte Pavillion in Tampa, Florida.

Koasicha debu’ed on Telemundo last July where he defeated Guillermo “El Borrego” Avila. The victory positioned him for a showdown with WBO featherweight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko this past September. Koasicha was unsuccessful in his challenge but feels he will only get better from the experience. He plans to show this versus Cruz tonight. 

When you last spoke with®, you were getting ready for your Telemundo debut last July. How surprised were you that you landed a world title fight your very next fight?

I was totally surprised. Some fighters never get an opportunity to fight for a world title. I trained hard and I did the very best I could.

What did you take from the opportunity even though you were not victorious?

It was all positive for me. I also gained some very valuable experience against a very elite fighter. I am confident it will help me alot in my fight tonight.

How familiar are you with Orlando Cruz?

He is a very good fighter. I have a lot of respect for him. I will definitely have to be at my absolute best to defeat him and I have trained this way accordingly.

Do you expect any trouble with the Cruz’ southpaw style?

I have fought southpaws but Cruz has a very unique style. I have had alot of southpaw sparring for this fight. Keep in mind my last fight was a with a southpaw in Lomachenko. It doesn’t get more complicated than that.

You have fought your career at 126 for the most part even though this fight is at 130. Is the plan to stay at this weight class? 

126 is my best weight. I wanted to take this fight for the opportunity and for the activity. The plan is for me to return to 126 after this fight but for a real good opportunity I can fight at 130 with no problem.

What kind of fight should the fans expect tonight?

Two determined fighters wanting to get back to the world title fight. The fact that it’s a Mexican fighter vs a Puerto Rican sets the expectations that much bigger.

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Bethlehem, PA (June 29, 2015)–On Friday, July 17 at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Derrick Webster (19-0, 10KO’s) of Glassboro, New Jersey will take on Arif Magomedov for the NABO Middleweight title which will serve as the co-feature of a big quadruple-header that will be televised live on SHOWTIME’s award winning ShoBox: The New Generation.

The fight is scheduled for 10-rounds.

The bout is promoted by GH3 Promotions, Greg Cohen Promotions and Main Events and will support the 10-round Middleweight main event event between undefeated fighter’s Antoine Douglas (17-0-1, 11 KO’s) of Burke, VA and Istavan Szili (18-0-2, 8 KO’s) of Frenkendorf, Switzerland. In another title clash, Adam Lopez (12-0, 6 KO’s) of San Antonio, Texas will take on Eliecer Aquino (17-0-1, 11 KO’s) of Higuey, Dominican Republic in a 10-round Super Bantamweight bout for the WBA FEDELATIN and WBC Interim Latino titles. The opening bout will pit Super Middleweight’s Jerry Odom (13-1, 11 KO’s) of Washington, DC and Samuel Clarkson (14-3, 8 KO’s) of Ceder Hill, TX in a bout scheduled for 8-rounds.


It’s been 37 years since I covered my last fight.

It’s been 47 years since the city of Dallas hosted its last title fight.

I figured Friday night was a good time for both of us to end our droughts.

So I wandered over to Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center to watch Maurice Hooker, a local kid, win the North American Boxing Organization’s junior welterweight title with a sixth-round TKO over Eduardo Galindo. It was the first title fight in Dallas since Curtis Cokes, another local kid, defended his welterweight title against Willie Ludick in 1968.

Both fighters entered the ring without defeats, but the night ended with Galindo sitting on his stool after five rounds with blood gushing from a cut over his right eye. The ring doctor stopped the fight.

Hooker improved to 18-0-2 while Galindo fell to 10-1-1. Hooker brought 13 knockouts into the ring and Galindo seven and the first round was a showcase of two fighters who could punch. Heavy blows were landed by both fighters. But Hooker focused on his boxing in the second round and took control of the fight.

Galindo came into the fight heavy at 151 pounds – 11 more than Hooker – and wanted to showcase his power. A frustrated Galindo twice challenged Hooker to stand there and fight, once in the second round and again in the fourth, but Hooker picked his spots and landed all the punches of consequence over the final four rounds.

The victory guarantees Hooker a spot in the world rankings. I doubt I’ll go 37 more years again before I see my next fight.

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_DSC7226 Photos by: Stacey Verbeek


Photos: Chris Farina / Top Rank –

Junior middleweight contender Glen Tapia (22-1, 14 KOs), of Passaic, NJ, works out with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach at the Venetian Macao for his upcoming 10 round NABO junior middleweight title match against Daniel Dawson (40-4-1, 26 KOs), of Perth, Australia on the Zou Shiming – Amnat Ruenroeng card from Macau,China.

Promoted by Top Rank® and Sands China Ltd., in association with Tecate, SECA, Kreerin Promotions, Sampson Boxing and Foreman Boys Promotions, the Zou Shiming – Amnat Ruenroeng World Flyweight Championship fight will take place Saturday, March 7, at The Venetian® Macao’s Cotai Arena and televised via same-day delay on HBO2®, beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET/PT. Tapia will open the HBO2 telecast.

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Alexis Santiago x NABO

Por Hugo Laveen

La noche del 20 de marzo, en la ciudad de Glendale, Arizona –que ya se avisora como capital de los grandes espectáculos deportivos–, tendrá lugar un combate de campeonato mundial, en el que un pugilista de Phoenix disputará a un mexicano el cinturón de los pesos gallo de la organización de Boxeo de Norte América (NABO, por sus siglas en inglés).

El phinitense Alexis ‘Beaver’ Santiago (17-3-7 KO), quien ha mantenido una racha ganadora de seis peleas consecutivas, disputará el título vacante de los gallos de NABO, a Antonio Tostado García (15-4-6KO), el favorito de Jamay, Jalisco, México.  La fogosidad de un combate que hará historia, haciendo vibrar de emoción a la afición, cuando los puñetazos demoledores cimbren el encordado.

El evento, que incluirá siete peleas profesionales y dos amateur para despertar los ánimos, será el bautizo de fuego para la empresa boxística Fighthard Promotions, que salta al mundo del deporte de los puños con un acontecimiento que dará mucho de que hablar.

Fighthard Promotions, surge en el Sonny’s Boxing Gym de Goodyear, Arizona, con la sociedad de Sonny Gutiérrez, quien no olvidemos que fue un gran boxeador que aún tiene huellas de los golpes que encaró y acusó durante 17 años como profesional; y el reconocido empresario Rigoberto Ledezma, que también practicó este viril deporte durante su juventud; y quienes hace dos meses se registraron en la Arizona Boxing Comision y la Arizona Corporations, sacando su licencia como promotores.

Sonny Gutiérrez, quien es originario de Phoenix lleva el boxeo en la sangre.  Empezó a pelear a los seis años y tras 17 de carrera profesional, se retiró el 2003; aunque ya desde 1998 se iniciaba como entrenador, después de abrir su propio gimnasio en Avondale, en un local de 800 pies cuadrados; más tarde pasó a uno más amplio con instalaciones en 2000 pies cuadrados y desde hace tres años abrió el actual, en 8000 pies cuadrados y equipado extraordinariamente.

“Ahora, como promotor y dueño de mi propio gimnasio, veo mis mayores sueños realizados”, dijo Sonny Gutiérrez, quien hace 12 años se retiró invicto, durante la entrevistra con Prensa Hispana.

Rigo Ledezma, exitoso empresario del Valle, y amante del boxeo hasta el extremo, decidió asociarse con Sonny y juntos dar forma a Fighthard Promotions, sin temor a perder su popularidad y su dinero, montando una primera cartelara a lo grande; porque con la pasión y la experiencia de ambos, y la trayectoria de honestidad, lealtad y rectitud que los caracteriza, los riesgos se difuminan.

La primera cartelera de Fighthard Promotions, en la que la feroz pelea entre ‘El Tostado’ y ‘Beaver’ Santiago será por el título mundial, este 20 de marzo, tendrá como sede el Renaissance Hotel Westgate de Glendale, Arizona.

En Fighthard Promotions no pueden dejar de mencionarse dos valiosos elementos que han sumado su capacidad y experiencia para sacar adelante con éxito sus espectáculos deportivos: don Ernesto ‘Neto’ Payán y el licenciado Julio Laboy.

La pelea estelar a diez rounds entre Alexis Santiago y Tostado será seguida en importancia por otro gran combate, donde los guantes arizonenses serán defendidos por el invícto Abel Ramos.

En el tercer encuentro de esta cartelera, donde los boxeadores que se enfrentan evidentemente están muy parejos, para deleite de los fanáticos; Keenan Carvajal se medirá con Jair Quintero.

En un cuarto combate profesional Vicente Cano, uno de los pupilos de Sonny peleará en la división super pluma contra Héctor Carranza.

En otra pelea de la misma división, Mario Esparza combatirá contra Jordan Espinoza.

Para el sexto combate ya ha sido contratado el peso ligero Paul ‘Ziggy’ Romero; aunque en su caso, como en el de la séptima pelea de la noche donde ya está confirmado Brandon Riddell, la empresa todavía les está buscando rival.

Rigo Ledezma anunció que además de estos siete combates en la velada tendremos entre las doce cuerdas dos peleas amateur, donde ya confirmó la mexicana Zulema Urbina, quien ganó para el vecino país las medallas olímpicas de plata y bronce, aunque también le están buscando una rival de su mismo nivel.

Sin duda que Rigo Ledezma y Sonny Gutiérrez sabrán cumplir sobradamente su compromiso de traernos un show espectacular, en una región donde el boxeo está teniendo mucho auge.



By David Finger \ Photos: Joel A. Colon/WBO\

The third and final day of the 27th annual WBO Convention kicked off yesterday morning, and as anticipated, the open forum of the championship and ratings committees was not without fireworks. The day began with a short video presentation of the charitable work done by both the WBO and numerous WBO champions to promote the WBO “Kids Drug Free” program.

The second order of business came when Vice President John Duggan proposed a resolution that clarified that the position of “vice president of the China Zone” is now vacant and that the China commission is not to use any trademarks or logos. The resolution would also transfer this over to the Asia Pacific region. The resolution would be passed unanimously.

There then followed a brief discussion of the 2015 budget and a proposed amendment to the budget, which passed as well. Following this budget discussion, Joe Cortez briefly spoke of the role of instant replay in Nevada. “Instant replay in Nevada has been in play for two years,” Cortez said, “but it hasn’t been used.” Cortez noted that in Nevada only a referee has the discretion to overturn his or her decision, before adding that the “door was open” to any adjustments that needed to be made in regards to the rule as it stands in Nevada.

From there WBO junior welterweight champion Chris Algieri spoke of the importance of being a role model as a champion.

“Being a champion is a world wide title,” Algieri said, “there are a lot of eyes on you. A lot of young eyes. As a champion you want to present yourself to the world as a champion. As a role model.” Algieri was subsequently presented the WBO Gordy Volkman Man of the Year Award for Outstanding Community Service.

Following the presentation of the Gordy Volkman Award to Algieri, the discussion then turned to where to host the 2015 WBO Convention. Although the Philippines had been the early front runner, having been named in 2013 as the location of the 2015 convention, it was passed over for Florida. Citing concerns over the recent typhoon in the Philippines, and the impact that had on the feasibility of hosting the event there, President Valcarcel accepted a recommendation for the 2015 WBO Convention to be held in Orlando, Florida. Puerto Rico was named as a backup location. President Valcarcel, however, indicated a strong desire to eventually have the WBO convention in the Philippines in the near future.

A brief video fallowed in which highlights of the 2013 WBO Convention in Budapest was shown. Heavyweight Charles Martin was awarded the NABO fighter of the year award at that time as well as several other special recognition awards to journalist Pedro Fernandez, Ulf Steinforth, and Wladimir Klitschko. Wilfried Sauerland was given an award after having been named “European Promoter of the Year” as well.

From there the ever contentious championship and ratings committee kicked off with their session.

This started in the mini-flyweight division, where Japanese matchmaker Ulysses Sato pushed to have his fighter enter the WBO rankings.

There were no requests at junior flyweight and only one at flyweight (to move an undefeated European champion into the WBO ranks). However, the relative lack of controversy in the lowest weight classes was not a harbinger of what would follow, as the discussions became more intensive starting with the junior bantamweight division. Representatives for #5 ranked Paul Butler requested a move to #1 or, in the alternative, to have the winner of the Paul Butler-Jamie Conlan fight be named the mandatory challenger. Conlan is ranked #7 by the WBO. Although Frank Warren’s request to have the winner of the Butler-Conlan fight named “interim champion” was denied, the committee and President Valcarcel did agree to name the winner of that fight as mandatory challenger for champion Omar Narvaez.

At bantamweight several promoters made arguments to have their fighters move into the top ten, most notably #13 ranked Pungluang Sor Sinyu and #14 ranked Lee Haskins.

At junior featherweight the executive committee did acknowledge the difficulties that Guillermo Rigondeaux was having finding opponents willing to take him on. Hedi Taouab Mohammed initially pushed to have his fighter, #4 ranked Zsolt Bedak, move up in the rankings before President Valcarcel inquired about a possible matchup between Bedak and #2 ranked Genesis Servania.

At featherweight a compelling argument was put forth by representatives of King Sports to have undefeated Colombian banger Miguel Marriaga move into the top ten. A proposed fight between #8 ranked British bomber Mark McCollough and #5 ranked Polish fighter Kamil Laszczyk was also discussed, as well as the possibility of the winner of that fight moving up into the top four. Ulysses Sato made a push to have Filipino Mark Gil Melligen, the #13 ranked WBO Oriental champion, move into the top ten.

A familiar name was brought up in the junior lightweight discussions as Main Events pushed to have Edner Cherry return to the top ten on the basis of his nine fight winning streak. President Valcarcel seemed open to the proposal.

At lightweight it appeared highly likely that Juan Diaz might move up from #3 to #1 after the current #1 contender, Ray Beltran, fights the WBO champion Terence Crawford. The prospect of the #1 slot opening up brought out numerous other requests, including one from representatives of #4 ranked Anthony Crolla. However, that request was immediately challenged by Frank Warren, who reminded the executive committee that Crolla “never fought anyone in the WBO top 15” before offering his fighter, #9 ranked Terry Flanagan as a strong candidate to move up.

At junior welterweight the recognition that the title may be at play in the coming months also led to a contentious and colorful discussion. Ruslan Provodnikov’s camp made an argument to have him leapfrog #1 ranked Lucas Matthysse. Several fighters had representatives push to have them move into the top ten, including Emanuel Taylor and veteran Paul Spadafora.

In the welterweight division several promoters jockeyed to have their fighters move up, with the most notable being undefeated Canadian prospect Mikael Zewski, undefeated Fredrick Lawson, and the winner of the upcoming Jeff Horn-Robson Assis fight. Horn, the WBO Oriental Champion, is ranked #11 while Assis, the WBO Latino champion, is ranked #12.

In the junior middleweight division Frank Warren pushed to have #10 ranked Liam Smith move up while representatives of #13 ranked Sirimongkol Singwancha also pushed to have the Thai based fighter move into the top ten.

In the middleweight division the biggest news came when the WBO championship and rating committee voted unanimously to name the winner of a proposed four fighter elimination as the top middleweight. The first fight, between #4 ranked Andy Lee and #1 ranked Matt Korobov, would then face the winner of the Billy Saunders –Chris Eubank fight. Saunders is currently ranked #2 while Eubanks is ranked #9. Also noteworthy in the discussions regarding the middleweight division were proposals to move Abraham Han into the world rankings as well as a push to have Willie Monroe Jr. move up in the rankings.

In the light heavyweight division several fighters received pushes to move up the rankings including #11 ranked Isidro Ranoni Prieto, who already is emerging as arguably the most popular fighter ever from Paraguay.

In the cruiserweight division a second four fighter elimination looks likely as the winner of the upcoming Tony Bellew-Nathan Cleverly fight would fight either #1 ranked Krzysztof Glowacki or #3 ranked Nuri Seferi with the winner being named the mandatory for WBO Champion Marco Huck. Bellew is currently ranked #4 while Cleverly is currently ranked #5.

In the heavyweight division the discussion revolved around Wladimir Klitschko and who his next mandatory challenger would be, as well as when he would be required to fight that fighter. After some discussion, it became apparent that the winner of the upcoming Tyson Fury-Dereck Chisora fight would be named mandatory challenger to the WBO champion, although the timetable of that mandatory defense was still not set in stone.

Rounding off the event was the gala banquet in which the family of the recently deceased Dan Goossen was presented with an honorary WBO belt. Several other awards were handed out, including WBO Promoter of the year (Bob Arum), WBO Fight of the year (Crawford-Gamboa), WHO female fighter of the year (Carolina Duer), WBO fighter of the year (Sergey Kovalev), Spanish Network of the year (Telemundo), and an award to Vasyl Lomachenko, who was given an award for being the WBO champion with the brightest future. Rounding off the gala banquet was a touching and moving ceremony where both Joe Calzaghe and Oscar De La Hoya were awarded lifetime champion awards by the WBO. Both Calzage and De La Hoya gave moving speeches about their ties to the WBO, and how important the WBO belt had meant to them as fighters.

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wboconvday1-680By David Finger \ Photos: Joel Colon/WBO

The World Boxing Organization 27th Annual Convention kicked off in full force this morning at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas as members from around the world introduced themselves and we subsequently treated to a video presentation highlighting last year’s convention in Budapest. The first order of business for the executive committee was the Championship Committee report, which highlighted the strong position of the WBO in regards to participating in championship fights. In 2011-2012 the WBO made a strong statement to the boxing world as they had an impressive 38 championship fights. However, as that number dipped to 32 in 2012-2013, the WBO was keen on making a strong statement and to bounce back. The Championship Committee was happy to report that the WBO more than exceeded expectations here.

“This year we came back fierce and strong,” commented Luis Batista Salas, chairman of the Championship Committee. “We came back with 40 championship fights. We had more championship fights than the other organizations together.” Batista Salas also commented on the growth, and strength, of WBO Women’s boxing. “We have 25 champions in the female division, and we only began three years ago with female championship fights.”

Perhaps most noteworthy for the Championship Committee was the prominent role that mandatory defenses played in WBO championship fights. “Mandatory fights are something we take very seriously,” Batista Salas added, “(The WBO) had 32 mandatory fights! This is also a record. That is also something to be proud of.”

From there President Valcarcel announced that the President’s Report would be postponed until after lunch to allow him to speak at length about some issues, including his planned announcement for the second day of the convention, in which the WBO will petition Senator John McCain and the ABC to propose amendments to the Muhammad Ali Act, proposals that would strengthen the bill and impose harsher penalties for violations. He then took a jab at the other organizations, and in particular the recent summit of boxing organizations in Cancun, Mexico that was hosted by the WBC.

“I wasn’t there to waste time in Cancun for some public relations stunt where nothing gets done,” Valcarcel said to the Executive Committee, “there were two of them in the past and nothing got done. We didn’t intend to go and waste our time.”

Valcarcel indicated a desire to continue working with local commissions and the ABC to promote safety and proposed rule changes, noting that local laws will always trump the WBO rules, and therefore it was important to work closely with these commissions. He also added that he will be meeting with the chairman of the IBF tomorrow, as the chairman will be visiting with the WBO in Las Vegas.

The Grievance Committee report followed, and in what could considered a “short and sweet” summary, the Grievance Committee chairman Alberto Rodriguez was happy to announce that there were no complaints submitted to the committee in 2014. He then discussed the process for a party to submit to the grievance committee.

A short video followed featuring WBO women’s bantamweight champion Carolina Duer, followed by Ms. Duer thanking the WBO and expressing her appreciation for the WBO. “Since I’ve been a world champion I’ve always been only a WBO champion,” Duer said to the executive committee, “I am very proud to represent this organization.”

The next order of business was the regional vice presidents report, starting with Istvan “Koko” Kovacs and WBO Europe. Kovacs was pleased to report a very successful year for the WBO Europe. “We had the pleasure to organize the second WBO congress (in Budapest) in 2013 and according to the feedback and your comments, it was very successful. Already after the 2009 (WBO Congress) we saw an increase in the nonetheless already significant activities of WBO Europe. But I must admit that I did not expect to have such extraordinary accomplishments (in 2014).”

WBO Europe increased overall, and although WBO International saw a slight decrease, much of that was attributed to tighter restrictions and higher standards. “We tightened the requirements for the belt,” Kovacs said, “we had less fights but there is higher prestige to the belt.”

However, any drop in activity to WBO International was more than made up by the increase in activity from the WBO European titles. It went from 11 fights in 2013 to 27 in 2014. The number of WBO regional titles in Europe nearly doubled from 29 in 2013 to 53 in 2014, Kovacs then discussed the increase in activity across the board for the WBO in Europe, citing the increased number of fights from the WBO Youth (from 4 to 9) and WBO female championships (from 5 to 9). In 2014 there were also 10 WBO championship fights in Europe, which was the same number as in 2013.

Kovacs then discussed the overall history of the WBO European title since 2009, noting that they have had 92 championship fights, with 54 champions, of which 13 would go on to fight for the title, and of which 3 world champions would emerge. Kovacs then discussed the financial situation with WBO Europe, noting that since 2009 the WBO Europe brought in $95,600 for the WBO in 2014 alone, thus making it the most successful year ever for WBO Europe. Since 2009 WBO Europe has collected over $325,000 in sanctioning fees for the WBO. Kovacs then took a few moments to discuss the ways in which WBO Europe took part in the WBO Kids Drug Free program.

From there WBO Asia Pacific Vice President Leon Panoncillo took the floor to discuss both the state of boxing in Asia and in Africa.

“Asia Pacific has shown positive growth, with 17 sanctioned fights since last year’s convention,” Panoncillo said. He also added that WBO Asia Pacific brought in $28,011.57 in revenue since the last convention and that he expected to sanction five more fights before the end of the year.

He then discussed the WBO Oriental title, adding that since the last convention he sanctioned 30 Oriental Championship matches, collecting a total of $44,250 in revenue since the last convention. The impressive increase in activity marked a dramatic rise in activity for the WBO Oriental title, making 2014 one of the most successful years in the history of WBO Oriental and in striking range of being the most successful year ever for the title. Panoncillo then went on to discuss the WBO Africa, noting that WBO Africa has sanctioned 16 total championship fights since the last convention and that it has raised $21,400 in revenue. Panoncillo then closed out with a discussion of the state of affairs with WBO Asia Pacific Youth, noting that the WBO sanctioned three youth titles and subsequently raised $2,525 in revenue for the WBO since the last convention.

From there WBO first vice president John Duggan discussed the China Zone development, and his hopes to see the WBO continue to grow in the region.

After Duggan’s discussion of China the WBO handed out several awards, with Marco Huck being the most notable. Huck was recently named a WBO Super Champion, and although he did not have a Super Championship belt yet, he was awarded a plague commemorating his accomplishment.

“This is a very rare and great honor,” Huck said after receiving the award, “I am very proud to be named Super Champion after 13 title defenses.”Also given awards were Osvaldo Rivero, who was named Latin America promoter of the year by the WBO. Also given an award was Patrick Teixeira, who was awarded the OMB Latino Champion of the year.

From there Jorge Molina presented his report on WBO Latino, noting that he still embraced the philosophy that “the sky’s the limit” when considering the future of the organization. Since the last convention, Molina noted that the WBO has sanctioned 30 championship fights, an increase from 25 in 2013. Of those 30 fights, 10 were held in Argentina, 10 were held in Brazil, six were held in the United States, 3 were held in Mexico, and 1 was held in Puerto Rico. Five fights were in the welterweight division, five were in the junior bantamweight division, and four were in the junior middleweight division. Molina then discussed the proud history of the OMB Latino championship, noting that the WBO Latino held an astounding 526 title fights since 1996. Of those who fought for the WBO Latino title, 134 would go on to fight for the world title, while 41 would go on to win world championships. Molina then added that since the last convention three OMB Latino Champions have gone on to win world titles as well. Molina then closed out with a video presentation that highlighted some of the greatest moments of WBO Latino, highlighting some legendary champions like Michael Carbajal and Ener Julio.

The executive committee took a short recess for lunch, and upon returning from lunch, resumed with the treasurer’s report. WBO CPA Jaime Ceballero advised that the strength of the WBO financial situation, adding that the WBO had $1,242,724 in savings, an increase in revenue of 302%. The increase in revenue was the largest ever in the history of the WBO. He then added that the WBO accounts included nearly $2,000,000 when added with the accounts of all of the regional organizations. He then added that, if the WBO were to pay off all of their debts today, they would still hold in excess of a million dollars. The positive report prompted President Valcarcel to ask if the WBO could spend more money on the WBO Kids Drug Free program. Unfortunately there was one area where regional organization in which WBO didn’t have tremendous success initially in 2014: the NABO.

The NABO had recently changed leadership in February of 2014 after reporting substantial losses in 2013 and early 2014. New NABO Vice President Jose Izquierdo, however, had done much to turn that ship around since taking over. One area of strength was the increase in fights on “important” cards such as the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley PPV card, or the recent Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana PPV in 2014. Since taking over the helm at NABO, Izquierdo has sanctioned 12 NABO title fights and 14 Inter-Continental title fights, helping fuel a dramatic turnaround for the NABO financially.

“There is a dramatic decrease in the amount owed,” Izquierdo said, “over 46% decrease. And a 790% increase for cash on hand.”

Izquierdo has taken a much more inclusive approach to spearhead the NABO’s sudden resurgence. “I’ve called local commissions to have them recommend fighters to be considered and become part of the rankings of the NABO,” Izquierdo said.

The positive changes in the direction of the NABO prompted vice president Luis Batista Salas to sing Izquierdo’s praises during his presentation. “He has changed the face of the NABO,” Batista Salas said of Izquierdo.

From there President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel presented the WBO President’s Report, and as expected, he took time to again discuss a topic that has become his cause belle: the proliferation of titles in boxing. Valcarcel first commended Jose Izquierdo on scoring a knockout with WBO’s presence on social media like and Twitter. Noting how WBO’s Facebook page went from 7,000 followers to 334,996 followers in only one year, he commended Izquierdo for helping turn WBO boxing into one of the most popular boxing pages on the internet.

“It is the fastest way to get resolutions out and give the public an outlet (to communicate with us).” Valcarcel said.

Valcarcel then spoke time to speak about the WBO champions, noting that “the WBO is very lucky, because we have the money makers. We have the best champions around the world.”

He then took a jab at a rival organization, noting that former WBO middleweight champion Peter Quillin was making more money in his title defenses than a rival organizations champion who had become a regular fixture on television. He also noted that at the bantamweight weight class, the WBO recently received a $600,000 purse bid from a promoter for a title fight and that Marco Huck is highly successful in the cruiserweight division, earning tremendous paydays as a cruiserweight. Valcarcel then took another jab at the rival organizations and the proliferation of numerous “copper, platinum, silver, and aluminum” titles.

“We have the WBO (world) champion and that’s it! We call Klitschko a Super Champion and that’s it. We don’t have anyone (other champion) behind him. I want to be polite, but I have to speak the truth. Who cares about Alex Povetkin? The champion is Klitschko!”

Explaining the difference between the WBO and some of the other sanctioning organizations in how they recognize champions.

“We have regional titles, but others, they have 3, 4, 5 titles.” Valcarcel added. “We only have one Latino Champion…that means the WBO Latino title carries prestige. We want to keep it that way. We don’t want to have a bunch of titles.”

From there discussions turned to recent litigation involving the WBO, including a case in Puerto Rico that threatens the tax-exempt status of the WBO.

“Our financial success has attracted the attention of inland revenue in Puerto Rico,” WBOs legal counsel associated with the case told the commission, “due to new tax laws in Puerto Rico and the recession in Puerto Rico, and the degradation of Puerto Rican bonds. Puerto Rico has imposed further taxes to cover this.”

Although the WBO is a recognized non-profit according to the United States federal government, the government of Puerto Rico has refused to give full faith and credit to this designation, and their decision had initially been upheld by the Puerto Rican court of appeals. Although the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico initially refused to hear the case, the WBO remained confident that they still had a strong appeal.

Jose Izquierdo made a motion to give the President the authority to unilaterally name a committee to take on this issue at his discretion, a motion that was passed unanimously.

The second issue discussed was the issue of a trademark registration in Europe, and a fraudulent company that sent an unsolicited letter demanding payment to “register” the WBO trademark. This letter was disregarded when the WBO European Council assured the executive committee that the WBO trademarks are registered for the next several years.

Closing out the first day of the meeting, President Valcarcel again discussed the issue of the WBO’s refusal to take part in the joint summit of boxing sanctioning organizations held in Cancun earlier this year.

“We can work with other commissioners regarding safety,” Valcarcel said, “that doesn’t mean we have to meet up (with rival organizations) for it. I never heard of Coca-Cola and Pepsi having a meeting together. You have your own flavor, we don’t have to meet anyone, we don’t have to go anywhere because we are very busy. We are busy working with kids, enhancing the image of the sport. We had a meeting in 2011 and we talked about the same issues. We are doing much more than other organizations. Did you hear of other organizations doing as much for kids?”

WBO European member Markus Aslani then chimed in, “We stick to our rules and we don’t take part in the inflation of titles.”

“I think the main problem in boxing is that you have more than one champion in each division,” Valcarcel added.

“One organization that shall remain unnamed had 41 champions in 17 weight classes,” Jose Izquerdo added.

“We have the support of the most respected boxing writers of the world,” Valcarcel added, “I think in boxing, honesty is the best policy. If we are recognized as the honest organization, we are going to have success.”

From there President Valcarcel added that he will discuss proposals to Senator John McCain and Harry Reid in regards to amendments to the Muhammad Ali Act, and that the WBO would “not tolerate corruption in its ranks.”

Rounding off the opening day was a presentation on the still developing China Zone, which discussed its plans for 2015. The event closed off with a cocktail party that evening, and is set to resume tomorrow at 8:30 AM.

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GamalierRgdez_300x200_1004 Foto suministrada                        Gamalier Rodríguez se impuso por nocaut técnico.

Por Carlos Narváez Rosario –

ORLANDO — A Vasyl Lomachenko, campeón peso Pluma ucraniano, se le sumó el sábado un nuevo retador a su lista.

El puertorriqueño Gamalier Rodríguez, tercer clasificado de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) y actual campeón de la NABO, superó al mexicano Martin ‘Marciano’ Cardona por nocaut técnico en el segundo asalto para así colocarse más cerca de esa oportunidad mundialista.

Rodríguez y Cardona se enfrentaron en la coestelar del cartel presentado en el Bahia Shrine Temple de Orlando, estelarizado por el combate entre el prospecto Félix ‘El Diamante’ Verdejo y Sergio Villanueva, ante poco más de dos mil fanáticos.

El boricua no perdió tiempo en el combate y marcó a su rival con el ‘jab’ en el primer asalto y luego lanzó un corto gancho de derecha que rápidamente derribó a Cardona obligando la primera cuenta del referi.

En el segundo asalto, Rodríguez abrió con más fuerza y acertó otros dos volados de derecha a la cabeza del mexicano; el referi a cargo del pleito puso fin a las hostilidades.

“Puerto Rico puede contar con un futuro campeón mundial”, dijo un satisfecho Rodríguez luego de la victoria.

“Mi esquina me dijo que siguiera usando el ‘jab’ y que mantuviera la distancia y así lo hice. Estamos listos para ir por un campeonato mundial”, aseguró el ganador.

El púgil venía de vencer por decisión unánime a Orlando ‘El Fenómeno’ Cruz en abril en la misma arena.

“En el mismo primer asalto me percaté de que ya (Cardona) estaba lastimado y fuimos a hacer el trabajo”, apuntó.

Rodríguez mejoró a 25-2-3 y 17 nocauts. Para Cardona fue apenas su tercera derrota profesional y dejó su foja en 17-3 y 12 anestesiados.

El boricua será ascendido pronto en el escalafón de las 126 libras. Lomachenko defenderá el 22 de noviembre en Macau, China, su cinturón ante el tailandés Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo.



Report/photos by Boxing Bob Newman –

Three months after it began, the Boxcino tournament reached its climax on Friday night in Verona, New York at the Turning Stone Casino. The finals of the lightweight and middleweight categories were won in contrasting styles as Petr Petrov rocked Fernando Carcamo from pillar to post to snag the lightweight belt, while Willie Monroe, Jr. outslicked Brandon Adams to clinch the middleweight bauble.

Opening the broadcast was the middleweight final featuring the two least likely contestants in least experienced Brandon Adams (Los Angeles, CA) going in against Willie Monroe, Jr. (Rochester, NY).

Adams entered the tourny a relative unknown at 12-0, 8 KOs, but crushed Daniel Edouard via TKO4 and dominated Raymond Gatica in a easier-than-the-scores-showed split decision win over eight rounds five weeks ago. Monroe scored distance wins over the more experienced Donatas Bondarovas and tourny favorite Vitalii Kopylenko to secure his spot in the finals.

As expected, Monroe, Jr. utilized his speed and reach right from the get go, working off the jab at every opportunity. The shorter Adams was relegated to lunging and one shot at a time in an effort catch the slick Monroe, Jr. In the sixth, it appeared Adams may have had a moment as a right hand seemed to stagger “El Mongoose” into a neutral corner, but perhaps sensing his foe wasn’t hurt, Adams didn’t try to capitalize. Monroe, Jr. later admitted the punch actually caught his glove and he tripped over his own feet while trying to back pedal away, thus stumbling into the corner post. Adams did manage to legitimately sting Monroe, Jr. on a couple occasions, and the two stood toe-to-toe, a strategy which favored Adams and elicited cheers from the crowd. But the smarter Monroe, Jr. knew that distance and speed would win the day and maneuvered out of harm’s way each time. Adam’s corner plead for their fighter to press the issue as the later rounds approached, but his efforts weren’t enough as the ring-wise mongoose worked his plan to near perfection. In the end, all three judges Tom Schreck, Don Ackerman and Don Trella agreed at 99-91 for Monroe, Jr., now the Boxcino, NABO and NABA middleweight champion. With the win, Monroe, Jr. moves to 18-1, 6 KOs, while Adams tastes defeat for the first time at 14-1, 9 KOs. Incidentally, Monroe, Jr. said in the post fight press conference that he is headed back to 154 lbs. and ceded the middleweight division to his friend Brandon Adams. It remains to be seen if the middleweight dollars will dictate otherwise.

In the highly anticipated lightweight finals, the oldest participant in the tourny, Petr Petrov (Madrid, Spain by way of Russia) forced his will upon lanky Fernando Carcamo (Ciudad, Obregon, Mexico) over eight one-sided rounds, scheduled for ten. While Carcamo looked on paper to be the bigger puncher with thirteen of his seventeen wins coming via stoppage, it was Petrov who’s punches seemed to do all the damage. Petrov had no problem negating Carcamo’s massive height and reach advantage in landing whatever he wanted, especially his lead overhand right. It didn’t take long for most keen observers at ringside to opine that Petrov’s punches would have some major impact, perhaps sending Carcamo down and even out. Carcamo would have brief spurts of energy, deciding to move forward and throw punches, but those punches seemed to have no effect as they did on earlier Boxcino foe Samuel Kotey Neequaye (TKO2). Besides his punches not serving him well, neither did his legs in moving him out or harm’s way. In the seventh, Petrov landed some blistering combos and upper cuts on the taller man that snapped Carcamo’s head back. It seemed referee Dick Pakozdi might stop it, but as Carcamo reeled across the ring, the bell saved the day, or rather prolonged the inevitable. While in the corner, Carcamo’s trainer Joel Diaz seemed to decide matters were over, first telling his charge so, then waving to Pakozdi that the fight was finished. Then inexplicably, Diaz did an about face, and gave Carcamo one more round. Pakozdi called in the ringside physician who took a good look at the beaten fighter. He advised Pakozdi to end matters if any more serious punches were landed. At :40 of the eighth, the ref did just that, saving Carcamo from any further punishment. The completely depleted Carcamo almost seemed relieved, making no protests over the stoppage. Petrov also picked up the NABO and NABA belts along with the Boxcino lightweight belt. He now moves to 35-4-2, 17 KOs, while Carcamo slides to 17-6, 13 KOs.

Opening up the night were super lightweights Jeremy Graves (Niagara Falls, NY) and Sam Teah (Philly, PA). Teah handled everything the aggressive Graves tried and employed his skill and will over four rounds to post a unanimous 40-36 win. Teah moves to 4-0, 1 KO while Graves drops to 0-3.

In a big upset, crafty but unsung Marcus Hall (Rochester, NY) squeaked out a huge win over previously undefeated Cesar Vila (Brooklyn, NY) over four rounds. The slippery southpaw Hall moved, used awkward counters and avoided just enough punishment to befuddle the ever-forward-moving Vila. Wynn Kintz saw it even at 38-38, while Don Trella tabbed it 40-36 and Don Ackerman had it 39-37 for the majority decision winner Hall, now 8-6-1, 2 KOs. Vila drops his first at 6-1, 2 KOs.

In a reverse “somebody’s ’0′ has got to go” bout, winless heavyweights Eric George (Niagara Falls, NY) and Raymond Santiago (Albany, NY) looked to erase the “0″ from their respective win columns. It was a fan friendly bout, with both combatants slugging away from bell to bell. Santiago’s nose bled from round one onward as his defense was non-existent, but his heart was nearly as big as his 232 lb. body. The smaller (202 lb.) George had a bit more speed and endurance, which led to his 40-36 across the board win. George enters the win column at 1-6, while Santiago loses his first at 0-2-1.

Being chosen in your pro debut as the opponent for a young Brazilian K.O. artist who is trained by one of Brazil’s greatest K.O. artists- Acelino “Popó ” Freitas, is probably as scary as it gets. But Buffalo, New York’s Jr. Lightweight Michael Jackson hoped he’d have the moves of his namesake to pull off a “Thriller” of an upset. It was not to be as Brazil’s Vitor Jones de Oliveira stalked, bloodied, and knocked down Jackson over the four round distance. Though unable to finish his fleeing foe, de Oliveira did what he had to in notching a comprehensive 40-35 shutout to move to 3-0, 2 KOs. Jackson starts out at 0-1.

In a walkout bout featuring two undefeated welterweights, Oscar Torres (Anaheim, CA) imposed his will over Cornelius Whitlock for four rounds. Torres scored a knockdown in the opening frame, but couldn’t seal the deal as the cagey Whitlock tried to keep his own unblemished record intact. Torres would have none of it though, stalking Whitlock, landing more punches and overall impressing the judges. Scores were 40-35 straight across the board as Torres improves to 3-0, 1 KO, while Whitlock drops his first to slink to 3-1-2, 2 KOs.

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By Rocky Morales and Miguel Maravilla at ringside –

“Prince” Charles Martin (16-0, 14 KOs) impressively dismantled and knocked out previously undefeated Alexander “The Great” Flores (14-1, 12 KOs) to win the vacant NABO heavyweight title on Wednesday night at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, California. Martin was in command from the beginning and dropped Flores hard at the end of the third round with a straight left cross. Martin then finished Flores off with a hard left cross to the body followed by a right hook that crumpled Flores to the canvas where he was counted out at 1:14 of the fourth round.

Former WBA/WBO middleweight titlist, Hassan N’Dam N’Jimkam (30-1, 18KO) used his superior hand speed and footwork to win a unanimous decision victory over three time world title challenger, Fulgencio Zuniga (26-9-1, 23KO). Zuniga proved to be a tough customer but the Colombian also showed every bit of his 36 years of age in dropping the fourth of his last five bouts. N’Dam N’Jimkam, meanwhile, wins his third fight in a row following losing his middleweight title to Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin. All three judges scored the bout 100-90 in favor of the Cameroonian fighter, N’Dam N’Jikam.

In an All-African ten round welterweight affair, it was South Africa over West Africa as southpaw Chris “The Heat” Van Heerden (21-1-1, 11KO) won a workmanlike split decision over Ghana native, “Sugar” Ray Narh (26-5, 21KO). Narh was simply unable to cope with the busy punching and forward charging Van Heerden. Although Van Heerden seemed to be the clear cut victor, he had to settle for the split decision as judges saw the bout 96-94, 96-94 and an inexplicable 93-97 (in favor of Narh).

Yunier “The Knockout Artist” Dorticos (17-0, 17 KOs) lived up to his nickname by destroying former world challenger, Eric “Danger” Fields (24-3, 16 KOs) by way of a crushing knockout at 2:58 of the fourth round. Both fighters were down in the first round, Dorticos from a looping right hand and Fields from a straight right cross. Dorticos then went into stalking mode for the remainder of the bout and had Fields on the run until finally catching him with a perfect 1-2 combo, with the right hand dropping Fields for the count. With the victory, Dorticos retains the interim WBA Fedelatin cruiserweight title and wins the vacant USBA cruiserweight title.

In opening bout action, a scheduled eight round middleweight bout, Louis Rose (10-1-1, 3 KOs) controlled the action in a competitive bout and finally got a dramatic TKO victory at 2:58 of the final round over tough as nails Emmanuel Ledezma (12-2-2, 2 KOs). A double right hand staggered Ledezma and a left hook dropped him against the ropes. The referee deemed Ledezma unable to continue and wisely waved off the bout with just two seconds remaining.

The fireworks began before the first bout even began as the crowd was treated to a performance by the UCLA Marching Band and the National Anthem performed by the guitarist from the iconic punk rock band, The Sex Pistols, Steve Jones.


Por Aleudi Rosario Cotto, OMB –

El miembro del Salón de la Fama del Boxeo Internacional, Joe Cortez, uno de los árbitros más reconocidos en el pugilismo, se unió a la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) como nuevo Asesor del presidente de la North American Boxing Organization (NABO), Richard De Cuir.

Así lo dio a conocer el presidente de la OMB, Francisco “Paco” Valcárcel, quien le dio la bienvenida al ya retirado oficial de boxeo a esta entidad y elogió las capacidades de Cortez.

“Estamos sumamente orgullosos de contar con Joe Cortez, un gran profesional y una gran persona, en la familia de la OMB y la NABO. Sabemos que la gran experiencia de Joe será de gran ayuda para este organismo y para la NABO”, indicó Valcárcel. “Bienvenido Joe Cortez a la familia de la OMB”.

Nacido en Nueva York, de padres puertorriqueños, Cortez fue boxeador, ganando los Guantes Dorados varios años en el aficionismo y luego acumuló marca como profesional de 18-1 antes de retirarse a los 24 años. Cortez comenzó como árbitro a finales de la década del 70 y en su carrera como tercer hombre en el cuadrilátero trabajó en más de 170 combates de título mundial, destacándose siempre por su rectitud.

Por su gran labor como árbitro mundial, Cortez fue exaltado al Salón de la Fama del Boxeo Internacional en 2011, entrando a este recinto el mismo año que Mike Tyson, Julio César Chávez y Kostya Tszyu.


Story and photos by David Finger

The 26th Annual WBO Congress in Budapest, Hungary came to a conclusion yesterday with the ever popular final day event: the Championship and Ratings committee meetings.

The final day’s events kicked off as President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel and the board entertained motions from the floor from various promoters in regards to their fighters. Although there was little movement in regards to the lighter weights President Valcarcel confirmed that mini-flyweight champion Merilito Sabillo of the Philippines is slated to fight #1 ranked Carlos Buitrago of Nicaragua in Dubai in November. At 108-pounds it was confirmed that junior flyweight champion Donnie Nietes of the Philippines is cut and will be sidelined for a short period of time. #1 ranked Moises Fuentes of Mexico is slated to fight for a International title, a move that will certainly position him for the mandatory slot when Nietes recovers from his cut. At flyweight President Valcarcel and the board confirmed that Mexican champion Juan Francisco Estrada will need to fight a mandatory defense in his next fight. Promoter Fernando Beltran requested that the winner of the November 7th matchup between #1 ranked Giovani Segura and #2 ranked Hernan Tyson Marquez, both of Mexico, declared the mandatory challenger for the champion. The board unanimously agreed.

At junior bantamweight champion Omar Narvaez of Argentina, who is coming off a split decision victory over #1 ranked Felipe Orucuta of Mexico is slated to fight in February. No word on if it will be a rematch of his war with Orucuta, who looks poised to remain at #1. Dean Powell pushed to have Paul Butler (the #13 ranked fighter) move into the top ten after his next fight on September 21st. Butler is slated to fight undefeated Miguel Gonzales for the vacant WBO Intercontinental title. The board seemed receptive to the idea of Butler moving into the top ten if he were to defeat Gonzales. At bantamweight President Valcarcel confirmed that new champion Tomoki Kameda would have six months to fight his mandatory defense as he only recently won his title.

At junior featherweight the discussion was in regards to champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and his first defense. Jesse Magdaleno (the #8 ranked NABO Youth champion) and the #1 contender Chris Avalos (the NABO champion) were both mentioned as Top Rank pushed to have their fighters positioned into a title fight. A big round of applause followed for former world champion Barry McGuigan, who was there to represent undefeated British prospect Carl Frampton (16-0). Frampton, who is ranked #14, now looks poised to enter the top ten.

At featherweight the big discussion was over the fight between #1 ranked Orlando Cruz and #3 ranked Orlando Salido. That fight, which is scheduled to take place on October 12th for the vacant world title. There was a push to introduce Oscar Gonzalez (23-2) into the world rankings based on his impressive win over Rico Ramos as well as a push for undefeated Filipino prospect Jun Doliguez (16-0) to move up the ranks. Doliguez is ranked #9. The next discussion was over a fighter who is quickly becoming the most talked about rookie in recent memory: debuting amateur standout Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko, who is slated to fight tough Jonathan Oquendo in his first pro fight, now will be fighting Oquendo for the vacant WBO International title. Despite some concern over allowing a debuting fighter to fight for a WBO belt, the board was nearly unanimous in recognizing what a unique and special talent Lomachenko is.

“Thank God there was no Lomachenko in my division at the time,” former Olympic gold medalist Istvan “Koko” Kovacs said, “I never saw a fighter like him before.”

The board approved Lomachenko for the title fight, making his planned world title fight in his second professional fight a more realistic scenario assuming he can get past the seasoned Jonathan Oquendo. Representatives for #5 ranked Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo of Thailand asked to have their fighter move up the ranks after the planned clash between the # and #3 ranked contenders.

At junior lightweight the WBO confirmed it was issuing a letter to champion Roman Martinez of Puerto Rico, informing him that he now has 30 days to begin negotiations for a fight with #1 ranked Miguel Angel Garcia.

In the lightweight division it was confirmed that champion Ricky Burns would fight #6 ranked Raymundo Beltran on September 7th. From there the board confirmed that Burns would need to begin negotiations with Terrence Crawford, the #1 contender, by December. Undefeated Denis Shafikov of Russia looked poised to move up as well from the #3 slot. In a bit of a shocker, promoter Fernando Beltran told the board that #12 ranked junior welterweight Jose Zepada was now moving down in weight to campaign at lightweight.

In the junior welterweight division the board voted to approve allowing Juan Manuel Marquez to enter the ring against Tim Bradley as WBO champion on October 12th. Mike Alvarado would then be declared the full champion after October 12th. A request to move #3 Serhiy Fedchenko up also came from the floor.

In the welterweight division Dean Powell asked to have #8 ranked Frankie Gavin move up in the ranks as he is slated to fight on September 21st for the European title. In junior middleweight some controversy arose over the next fight of #4 ranked Brian Rose. Both Charlie Ota of Japan (who is ranked #11) and Javier Maciel of Argentina (who is ranked #5) appeared to have an fight against Rose at the same time. After a round of phone calls it was confirmed that Rose would be fighting Maciel and not Ota in his next fight. Fernando Beltran also asked to have Omar Chavez, son of Julio Cesar Chavez, enter the world rankings. Dean Powell asked to have Liam Smith, who is challenging for a British title, move into the world rankings as well.

At middleweight it was confirmed that #1 ranked Brian Vera (the NABO champion) was slated to fight #2 ranked Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on September 28th. Champion Peter Quillin is slated to fight on October 26th. Several promoters moved to have their fighters positioned for an elimination fight as the Vera-Chavez fight created an opening for other fighters looking to move up in the rankings. #4 ranked Lukas Konecny of the Czech Republic and #5 ranked Max Bursak of the Ukraine look poised to emerge as the frontrunners to take part in an elimination fight. #15 ranked Patrick Neilsen of Denmark looks poised to crack into the top ten as well.

At 168-pounds there was a push to move Paul Smith into the rankings. #4 ranked Arthur Abraham looks poised to move into the #1 slot off the basis of his win last week. WBO champion Robert Stieglitz is slated to fight in October, and may end up fighting a rubber match with Abraham after that. When asked is Stieglitz would be willing to fight Abraham in a mandatory, Hedi Taouab indicated he would be.

“It’s for the WBO to decide,” Taouab said, “we are ready to negotiate and talk.”

Arthur Abraham was subsequently voted into the #1 ranking by the board.

At light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev has 120 days to defend his title. #13 ranked Erik Skoglund of Sweeden is slatefd to gfight #14 ranked Dominic Boesel of Germany in a rare WBO youth unification fight. At cruiserweight Marco Huck is slated to fight #1 ranked Firat Arslan on September 14th. #7 ranked Mateusz Masternak of Poland is slated to fight #14 ranked Grigory Droz of Germany on October 5th and wants to move up in the rankings as well. At heavyweight the discussion was over WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko’s 27-month gap since he fought a WBO mandatory challenger. With Klitschko fighting Alex Povetkin on October 5th, there was an issue over the fact that, according to President Valcarcel, the top ranked contenders of the WBO didn’t meet the “criteria for a mandatory”. #1 ranked Denis Boytsov is now slated to fight #11 ranked Christian Hammer. With #2 ranked Bermane Stiverne now the WBC mandatory for Klitschko it did look likely that Boytsov’s long wait may be over and the WBO may award him the mandatory slot if he emerges victorious over Hammer. There was a push to have #5 ranked Deontay Wilder fight for the vacant NABO title as well, and a push to have #13 eanked Andy Ruiz move up into the top ten. Dean Powell also pushed to have #15 ranked Dereck Chisora move up into the top ten on the basis of his knockout win over undefeated Malik Scott.

“His losses have been only at the highest level,” Powell said, “and some are very controversial.”

WBO Vice President Leon Panoncillo pushed to have Alex Leapai versus Andy Ruiz for the WBO Asia Pacific and WBO Oriental championship in Macao in November as well.

From there several awards were handed out, with Liam Welch being awarded the European fighter of the year award, Tia Yi being awarded the matchmaker of the year for China, and the Sports Management Group being awarded the Promoter of the Year. The Japan Boxing Association presented a letter to the WBO and Mario Margossian was awarded a special recognition award. The location of the 2014 and 2015 conventions were decided as well, with Las Vegas, Nevada being the host to the 2014 convention, with Puerto Rico as the backup. In a bit of a surprise, the Philippines will be the location of the 2015 Convention , with Cebu and Manila as the most likely venues.

Rounding off the 26th annual convention was the gala dinner, held at the Udvarhaz restaurant. Hungarian President János Áder attended the event, speaking to the crowd about Hungary’s proud (and at times) tragic history of great boxers. Ader’s moving tribute to Lazlo Papp brought many of the attendees to their feet as they applauded the Hungarian head of state. Rounding off the evening were the remaining awards which were handed out. Frank Warren was awarded the European promoter of the year while Dominic Boesel was awarded the WBO Youth fighter of the year. Robert Stieglitz was awarded the Gordy Volkman Award for outstanding humanitarian qualities. Poriyakoon Ratauasuban was awarded the WBO Oriental Promoter of the year while Michael Aldesguer was awarded the WBO International Promoter of the year. Felix Zabala was awarded the WBO Latino promoter of the year while Ulf Steinforth was awarded the WBO European promoter of the year as well as the European female fighter promoter of the year. Dean Powell was named matchmaker fo the year while Eddie Hearn was awarded a WBO Intercontinental special recognition award. Wilfried Sauerland was awarded a special recognition award as well. Hungary’s three most noteworthy former champions: Istvan Kovacs, Zsolt Erdei, and Karoly Balzsay were each awarded special recognition awards while Don King was awarded a “Greatest Legend in Boxing History” award. Rounding off the ceremony, Wladimir Klitschko was named WBO fighter of the year.

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Story and photos by David Finger

The 26th Annual WBO Congress officially kicked off Tuesday morning at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Budapest as boxing insiders from around the world came to celebrate some of the exciting developments in the World Boxing Organization in 2013. The event kicked off with roll call, followed by an invocation. After approving the prior minutes from the 2012 Convention, the congress moved forward with the regional Vice President’s reports. Starting off was Vice President Mark Reels, who did reports from the NABO and the WBO Intercontinental. Although the NABO and the WBO Intercontinental both saw a slight drop in activity it still was a productive and profitable year for the regional organizations.

The NABO held an impressive 12 championship fights (with revenue of $46,760) while the Intercontinental held 20 championship fights (with a revenue of $68,560). Reels also discussed the success of the WBO in developing world class fighters. Reels discussed how the NABO has seen 54 of the 262 fighters who fought for the belt subsequently fight for the WBO title. Although Reels downplayed the statistic, expressing a desire to see that number rise, it nonetheless impressed many at the table, with President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel calling it “impressive.”

“Our issue is with quality over quantity,” Reels said during his presentation, “we have criteria for a fighter who is able to fight for a title.” Reels, however, did want to see some leniency on the issue of fighters getting sanctioned for NABO and WBO InterContinental fights, noting some good fighters who technically fell short of the high standards set by the WBO in regards to qualifications. President Valcarcel expressed concern over the idea.

Still, with all 15 NABO championship fights since last year’s convention being televised by a major TV network, Reels had an impressive year by nearly any standard. “As far as activity levels go, it is low,” Reels added, “but we really are recognized the world over.” Reels then discussed the revenue of the Intercontinental, confirming that the WBO Intercontinental collected over $40,000 of the $68,560 income in 2013.

From there Vice President Istvan “Koko” Kovacs presented his report on the WBO Europe. Although he admitted it was a “quiet year” he still was happy to announce that it Iwas still a productive year for the European continent. There were 13 Intercontinental title fights, with 9 taking place in Europe. There were also 14 International title fights, with 9 taking place in Europe, as well as 11 WBO European title fights. There were 6 WBO Youth title fights, with 4 taking place in Europe, 21 female title fights, with 5 taking place in Europe, and 32 world title fights with 10 taking place in Europe. Overall the WBO had 29 fights in Europe, a drop from 38 the previous year. WBO Europe’s revenue in 2013 was $40,500. Kovacs also commented on the previous issue with the British Boxing Board, commenting on how the WBO no longer has any problems working with the BBB. The BBB refused to recognize the WBO in previous years.

Next was Vice President Jorge Molina’s report on the WBO Latino. Molina admitted it had been a “hard year” for the Latino, with “only 25 Latino title fights in 10 months.” Still, Molina was able to point to the WBO Latino’s proud tradition and was able to proudly say that the WBO Latino continued that tradition in 2013. “#7 WBO Latino Champions became world champions,” Molina said, “and four of our WBO Latino champions have become world title holders (this year).” The WBO Latino raised $26,000 in the 25 title fights since the last convention, with 13 planned title fights to round out the year.


From there a short video on the WBO’s widely successful WBO Kids Drug Free program was shown.

Next was Andrew Smalle’s WBO Africa regional report. Smalle admitted it was a slow year, with 7 WBO Africa fights since the last convention. From November of 2012 to December of 2012 there were three title fights, with revenue of $5,050. From January of 2013 to August of 2013 there were 4 WBO Africa title fights with revenue of $4,800. However, Smalle confirmed that additional income was expected as some sponsorship allocation was expected to kick in before the end of the year. Smalle also commented on the WBO’s commitment to high standards for the quality of the fighters who compete for the WBO African belt. Smalle’s commitment to the highest standards for WBO title fights has resulted in a lower number of championship fights, but also of a growing reputation in the continent.

“It’s been a challenge but I don’t see it as a negative at all,” Smalle admitted, “it can only go up from where it’s at now. We are a young organization, and one of our proudest moments was one of our fighters winning a championship earlier this year.” Smalle noted that despite the low activity, the WBO Africa’s high standard has resulted in it being the only regional African organization that has seen all of its champions ranked in the world rankings after winning a regional belt.

Next came Leon Panoncillo’s report from WBO Asia. Similar to the other organizations WBO Asia saw a slight decline in revenue, but it has continued its commitment to quality. Since the last convention the Asia-Pacific held 14 championship fights, raising $27,700. Panoncillo also anticipated holding 10 more fights before the end of the year. The WBO Oriental title had 5 fights, with 8 more planned for the end f other year. The WBO Asia Pacific Youth title had three title fights, raising $3,750. Although Panoncillo admitted that the Youth title has “not taken off” he was optimistic that a major Filipino television network was interested in partnering up with the WBO Asia-Pacific to award a youth belt to the winner of a “Contender” like reality series involving young prizefighters in the Philippines. Panoncillo’s biggest coup came with the exciting developments of his newest title: the WBO International championship. In just one year the WBO International title has become a highly prestigious belt, with Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios fighting for the vacant belt in Macao on November 24th. Panoncillo confirmed that the WBO has custom made a new belt for the winner of that fight.

The next report came from Zhang Tao on the China Zone. Although the WBO China Zone held only 7 fight shows, the WBO is still making headway into the world’s largest market, and Tao informed the board that he looked forward to hosting the WBO in China. Joe Hernandez then spoke of the Cuban boxing scene, and his desire that the situation in Cuba would soon open up. “When it (Cuba) does come free, the WBO will be at the forefront.”

Markus Aslani followed with his report on female boxing in the WBO. He proudly announced that the WBO had a good year, with an emphasis on quality in regards to female championship fights.

After lunch there was a brief discussion on ratings by Luis Perez, followed by a report by Luis Bautista Salas, which not only focused on “loyalty” but also discussed the successful year of the WBO, with 54 total championship fights (33 men’s championship fights and 21 female championship fights). There was a brief discussion on the growth of the WBO in the British boxing scene.

“We have good working relations and we want to see how we can continue this in the future,” President Valcarcel said.

A discussion from representatives from the Japan Boxing Commission followed, which was a clear sign of the WBO’s success in breaking into a new market. At the last congress in Budapest in 2009 there was a controversy over the WBO’s inability to operate in Japan. The growth in Japan since then was a clear victory for the WBO as it moved forward in Japan.

Next came the legal report, in which the WBO legal representatives discussed several pending legal issues. Several issues regarding trademark registration was discussed, with several brands extended into 2018. They then followed up with a discussion on the recent litigation in Puerto Rico. Some confusion emerged in 2012 in regards to the administrative level, with the Puerto Rican Department of treasury moving forward with legal action against the WBO in regards to its tax exempt status.

“It’s confusion over what we actually do,” one of the legal advisors for the WBO said, “It’s a lack of knowledge of the working issues of the organization.” Although the WBO is confident that they will prevail, several members understood that even if they do not prevail in litigation, it will have little major impact on the WBO. If there is an issue we will simply change the way we disperse funds,” one legal advisor of the WBO said.

Rounding off Day One, WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel gave a special shout out to WBO Asia Vice President Leon Panoncillo over the impressive developments in Macao and the Philippines.

“We control Asia from A to Z,” Valcarcel said, “everything that occurring Asia is very important to us.”

Rounding off the night, boxing insiders visited the Lázár Lovaspark, where they were delighted by a traditional Hungarian horseshow as well as a traditional Hungarian dinner.

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NABO and WBC International Heavyweight Champion Johnathon Banks gets dressed before holding a public workout at Ecorse high school in Ecorse, June 11, 2013. The event was in preparation for his rematch against Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, June 22. (David Guralnick / The Detroit News) –

By:  Josh Katzenstein –

At Kronk Gym, boxers learned to go for knockouts.

And when Detroit heavyweight Johnathon Banks puts his NABO and WBC titles on the line Saturday night against Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell of Brandywine, Md., Banks will try to knock out Mitchell a second consecutive time.

“I can’t do anything but expect a knockout,” said Javan “Sugar” Hill, Banks’ trainer. “That’s what we train for every time.”

As usual, Banks will wear gold Kronk shorts when he fights at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.. But in his second match since Kronk’s legendary trainer Emanuel Steward died last October, Banks’ preparation has been different.

For the first time in his career, Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) trained in Traverse City, where Steward trained Tommy “Hitman” Hearns before his 1981 welterweight title fight against Sugar Ray Leonard.

Banks also enters this bout with more experience since taking over training duties for world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

“Being able to teach while you’re still learning and active yourself I think it’s a little extra bonus in there,” Banks said. “It gives you almost a better overall picture of how everything’s going.”

Everything went fairly well last time Banks fought.

In November 2012, he knocked out Mitchell in the second round in Atlantic City. The rematch originally was scheduled for last February, but Banks had to withdraw because a broken thumb.

Now, back at 100 percent, Banks said he’s ready to protect his titles — on his birthday, no less. But he’s not drawing extra confidence from his previous knockout of Mitchell.

“All my experience in the ring, out of the ring, around the great Emanuel Steward have given me all the confidence one man could have as far as I’m concerned,” Banks said.

And even though he was knocked out, Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs) remains confident, too.

“If Johnathon Banks would’ve out-boxed me for six or seven rounds or outclassed me, of course the fighter in me would’ve wanted a rematch, but I wouldn’t have taken the rematch right away,” Mitchell said in a release. “I believe that I’m a better fighter than him and I didn’t show everything that I’m capable of.”

Of course, Banks’ camp wanted to keep finding ways to improve, and one method was to move camp to Traverse City.

“Everything was fresh in Traverse City,” Hill said.



Detroit’s Johnathon Banks is putting his NABO and WBC heavyweight titles on the line Saturday when he faces Seth Mitchell in Brooklyn, N.Y. David Guralnick/Detroit News

Canadian light heavyweight Adonis Stevenson also trained with Banks in Traverse City before his first-round knockout of South Carolina’s Chad Dawson on June 8.

And since he was training in Michigan, Banks held a public workout at Ecorse High last week to see some people he grew up with. Banks went to Western International High in Detroit, but lived in Ecorse until eighth grade.

“It’s just nice to be home, nice to be in Michigan at a place that you could train and you have a very, very good environment,” Banks said.

A few months at home also provided some time relax for Banks, whose job as Klitschko’s trainer has taken him around the world. Klitschko’s fight in May was in Germany and his camp was in Florida.

Although some people in the boxing world are surprised he’s training the Ukrainian heavyweight, Banks said all his experience learning from Steward has made him a confident teacher.

“(Klitschko) is so picky about who he talks to and who he listens to and the fact that he listens to everything I say, No. 1 is a compliment to myself,” Banks said. “No. 2 it just shows how this man trusts me. He trusts me with his career. He believed in me and he chose me, and we’re continuing our success.”

And while Saturday’s fight has kept Banks from thinking about his future, he eventually wants to carry on Steward’s legacy by opening a gym in downtown Detroit.

“My goal is to be able to open up a gym to where the kids can come to — that’s what Emanuel wanted,” he said. “After this fight — obviously I’m planning on winning; I’m getting ready for the fight so I can’t give a pitiful performance — I’m hoping to do something in the city.”


By Jeff Zimmerman
Photo: Joel Colon/PR Best

Undefeated WBO Featherweight Champion Mikey Garcia and former 2X world champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez along with Hall of Fame Promoter Bob Arum and former Heavyweight Champion George Foreman took center stage at the final presser for this Saturday’s mega fight at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas and also shown live on HBO.

The usual cheery Juanma, though, wanted to set the record straight about his career and the caliber of talent he has faced compared to Mikey. He believes everyone is so focused on his losses to Salido and how Mikey demolished Salido that he therefore has no shot in this fight. He made it very clear that this is not his first rodeo.

“If you go by Salido, Mikey should beat me by knockout. I knocked out Concepcion in 2 rounds and he beat him in 8 rounds. Salido was a great fight [against Mikey], but Salido was on his way out.”

All this Salido talk has really started to bother Juanma.

“Yea it bothers me because they don’t look at my whole work and I have been a 2x world champion. I have beaten some guys; he went 12 rounds with Lontchi and I knocked him out. There are other guys in there that you should be looking up besides that one fight.” Juanma also believes he has had the superior career to date.

“I believe that, I believe that I have fought better opponents. I have been a world champion longer and fought a lot of tough fights as a champion, so I do believe that I have faced tougher guys than he has.”

Juanma added, “My world championship fight will be #12 on Saturday, this is only going to be his 2nd fight as world champion.”

Juanma is aware of Mikey’s versatility as a boxer and puncher.

“You know, he’s a boxer but he’s also a puncher if he needs to be, he’ll trade with you. I am not afraid of trading with him. I know that will happen during the fight – he will trade with me sooner or later. It’s the question of making my fight, making him adjust to my fight.” Juanma, though, has no doubt he is bringing the title back to Puerto Rico.

“Mikey wants to keep the title and I want to get something that was once mine.” “One time I saw Mikey in New York and told him don’t worry, you will have an opportunity and become world champion. I hope he is in great condition and willing to die in the ring, because come Saturday it will be the toughest fight of his career. I come to take the title back to Puerto Rico Saturday night.”

Mikey displayed his usual classy self and respect for his opponent but with the utmost confidence in his ability.

“I know my opponent is a tough guy. He is experienced and has been a champion twice. I don’t take him lightly. When you are champion there are no easy fights,” stated Mikey. Mikey responded to Juanma’s frustration with the Salido comparison and Juanma’s comment about Concepcion.

“That’s the truth. It’s the truth, he did take Concepcion out in round 2, but he was also almost knocked out in the 1st round by Concepcion and I didn’t even get touched by Concepcion. So you can’t really compare the fighters, it’s not really a fair comparison, really.”

“The fans and media keep pushing something like that, the Salido fight or whatever, but it’s not fair, because you catch them at different times in their career. I can actually have a better Juanma this time around then when he fought Salido, until Saturday night we’ll find out.”

Was Salido a finished fighter when you fought him?

“I don’t think so. I just made it my fight, if I stand toe to toe with Salido and I make it an interesting fight and it’s a close fight and give him opportunities. If I stay on the outside and box my way around him, it’s easy for me.” Mikey is confident.

“I think I am a better fighter overall, just a better fighter, whether it’s punching power or boxing ability, speed, whatever. I think I’m the better fighter and that’s why I will win.” “This is another opportunity to show everybody that I truly am the best featherweight in the world.”

Arum sees a slugfest in the making and puts in historic fashion, comparing it to the to the classic Salvador Sanchez vs Wilfredo Gomez. “Absolutely it will [be a classic] and somebodies winning by a knockout. I would not be surprised if both of them go down.”

Arum also compared his former Heavyweight Champion to these Featherweights.

“There wasn’t a bigger puncher than George Foreman, but these featherweights pack a good punch as well.”

Arum continued, “Everyone is really excited about the main event. You have a former champion from Puerto Rico, who has a record of sensationally knocking guys cold. Guys couldn’t get out of first round with him and then they went on fighting other people and won a world championship.”

“A Mexican American kid from Oxnard, California coming from a family steeped in boxing, his father was a trainer, his brother a trainer and former champion so a family that has lived and breathed boxing and whose has had a sterling record as a professional.”

Arum added, “This match is very, very exciting, when you put a great Puerto Rican fighter vs a great Mexican, Mexican American fighter, there is no other rivalry that stirs the blood like that rivalry does.”

Co-promoter of Juanma, Peter Rivera of PR Best Boxing echoed Arum’s feeling when Mexicans and Puerto Ricans square off. “Mexicans and Puerto Ricans make great fights, one of the most tremendous fights you can see in boxing. We are confident Juan Manuel will be champion again…we have no doubt about that.”

WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel also weighed in on the matchup.

“It’s a pleasure to be here with my favorite champ [George Foreman]. We have 2 big weapons fighting each other in this fight. You will see a great fight on Saturday.”

George Foreman, along with his sons is co-promoting with Bob Arum and Top Rank and is glad to a part of it.

“I’m happy to be here, especially in Dallas. We call it the big city next to Houston”, stated Big George. “You won’t have to go out of the country to see a great fight. Once the bell rings there is no champion so sit back and get ready for a good show.”

Big George can’t wait for fight night.

“Each fight, all fights are as equally exciting to me. That’s the advantage I have over most people, they are looking for a big fight, and I’m just looking for any fight. I love fighters and I love action and this I am looking forward to.”

Big George does give Juanma a puncher’s chance but loves Mikey’s left hook.

“When the bell rings, the title is vacant. There aren’t any champions, that title is vacant. You have no winners until the first punch is thrown, anybody can walk out of there with the crown.

“I’m looking for this Mikey Garcia. I call him the best left hooker to never come out of Philadelphia.”

* * *

Arum is very high on the co-main event as well that puts Alejandro Sanabria (33-2, 30KO’s) against Terrence Crawford (20-0, 15KO’s) for the NABO Lightweight Championship.

“This is a very good competitive match, the kind of match that is extremely fan friendly. People will be on the edge of their seats watching,” stated Arum.

Sanabria was happy to introduce himself to America.

“I come here with a desire to prove to the American public my talent and going out there Saturday night. This is a great opportunity in my career. I know I have trained very hard.”

Arum tells the story how they discovered Crawford after fighting on several of Top Rank’s undercards and then suddenly becomes a last minute replacement to fight Breidis Prescott and beats him handily.

“This is a true story of how boxing works, it’s not a Cinderella story, it’s a story,” stated Arum. “This is how Lou Gehrig replaced Wally Pip. He got the opportunity. For those of you that don’t remember, Wally Pipp was the 1st baseman for the Yankees and Lou Gehrig was a rookie and Pip got injured and Gehrig came in and replaced him and never relinquished the 1st base position until he had set all kinds of records for consecutive games played.”

“So Terrence stepped in, he was the Lou Gehrig of boxing of our time and here he is performing on the big stage as a HBO fighter in what should be a tremendous fight.”

The Gehrig / Pipp comparison was probably lost on the 25 year old Crawford, but he was definitely glad to be there.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank god for blessing me with the opportunity to be here and HBO / Top Rank for having me again. I trained really hard for this fight, I never overlook an opponent and I am just ready to go out on Saturday to display my talent once again and to show everybody that I was no “one hit wonder.”

Both Big George and Bob Arum are expecting the beginning of great things together in Big D starting with Juanma vs Mikey, but understand it doesn’t happen overnight. “Yea, it’s a process. We have done it all over Texas. I don’t why we can’t do it here in Dallas,” Arum said.

Added Big George, “You are just going to have to see when they walk up, but it’s a hard thing when you say HBO, everybody thinks you are supposed to stay at home and watch it on TV, but I want to show them it’s more exciting going out to a live match then you would ever get on television.”

Below photos by Chris Farina / Top Rank

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VERONA, NY (JANUARY 24, 2013)—On Thursday evening, all the fighters for the ESPN Friday Night Fights championship boxing card weighed in for the card that will take place at the Turning Stone Resort Casino.

In the main event, Sergiy Dzinziruk takes on Brian Vera for the NABO Middleweight championship.  The co-feature will pit undefeated Tony Luis against Jose Hernandez in a ten round Jr. Welterweight bout.