QUINCY, Mass. (April 8, 2021) – Granite Chin Promotions is bringing old-time, local rivalry pro boxing back Saturday night, April 17, with the presentation of the “Crossroads” day-night doubleheader, featuring seven regional and local title fights, at New England Sports Center in Derry, New Hampshire.
Former New England middleweight champion Kendrick “Peppa” Ball (15-1-2, 11 KOs) steps up in terms of competition against Texas veteran Bryan “The Warrior” Vera (28-16, 18 KOs) in the 8-round main event for the vacant WBC USNBC (U.S.) Silver super middleweight title
Fighting out of nearby Worcester, Massachusetts, Ball is 11 years younger than Vera, who needs to win or retire, and riding a 6-fight win streak with a 3-inch height and reach advantages.
Fighting out of Austin, the 39-year-old Vera was originally known for his participation in the first season of The Contender, Reality Television series. He went on to defeat a trio of world champions – Andy Lee, Sergio Mora (twice) and Serhiy Dzinziruk – capturing five regional titles including the NABO middleweight crown.
Ball vs. Vera, the evening headliner of the day-night doubleheader (separate admissions), is co-promoted by Ball’s promoter, Classic Entertainment and Sports (CES).
“Events like this is what local boxing is all about,” Granite Chin’s Chris Traietti said. “’Crossroads’ is more than just the name for this event. It’s a reality for a lot of guys on this show. It is time to find out if some of these young up-and-comers are really as good as the hype, as well as learning if some of the veteran fighters have hit the end of the road. Our two shows offer a ton of boxing for fans to watch. On top of all the boxing, we will have live music from The Freight during the afternoon show.
“For the last 6-7 years, I have been learning, absorbing and, at times, failing to figure out how to make Granite Chin work. We hit our stride about 1 ½ years ago and not even a pandemic has been able to slow us down. This is only the beginning of a bright Granite Chin future. Thank you to everyone who has been supporting Granite Chin to allow us to grow to this point.”
In the co-featured event, New Hampshire welterweight champion Ryan Dibartolomeo (3-1-1, 1 KO) faces title challenger Marquis Bates (7-4, 5 KOs) in a 6-round bout.
Larry Pryor (13-23, 7 KOs) takes on Scott Lampert (1-1, 1 KO) for the vacant New Hampshire cruiserweight crown in a 6-rounder. Undefeated prospect Francis “The Tank” Hogan (4-0, 4 KOs), of Weymouth, MA, meets veteran Larry “Slo Mo” Smith (12-45-2, 8 KOs) in a 6-rounder for the vacant New Hampshire junior middleweight championship, and undefeated Schenectady, NY junior middleweight Jahyae Brown (8-0, 7 KOs) fights Dormedes Potes (12-2-1, 9 KOs) in an 8-round brawl for the vacant ABF Atlantic junior middleweight strap.
Former New England heavyweight champion Justin “Crazy Train” Rolfe (4-2-1, 3 KOs) squares off against Alfredo “Choncho” Trevino (9-8-1, 1 KO) in 6-round bout.
Also fighting on the evening’s undercard is unbeaten Holyoke, MA welterweight Denzel Whitley (3-0, 3 KOs) vs. Aquilando Brandao (0-3), and Fall River, MA welterweight Dustin Reinhold (5-4, 2 KOs) vs. pro-debuting Anthony Andreozzi.
Julien Baptiste (1-0, 1 KO), of Woburn, MA, and pro-debuting Holyoke junior middleweight Carlos Castillo are in separate 4-round bouts against opponents to be determined.
UBO All-America welterweight champion Brandon “The Cannon” Berry (20-5-2, 12 KOs) headlines the afternoon segment of “Crossroads” in an 8-round title defense versus challenger Gael Ibarra (5-2, 4 KOs).
Heavyweights Mike “Fly” Marshall (4-1, 3 KOs) and Tracey Johnson (4-9-6) throwdown in in the 8-round co-feature.
Canadian cruiserweight Yan “Wild Thing” Pellerin (10-1, 4 KOs) meets Steve “The Spoiler” Walker (26-36, 18 KOs) for the vacant ABF Atlantic cruiserweight title in an 8-round encounter.
In a pair of scheduled 8-round bouts, Danbury, CT junior welterweight Omar Bordoy, Jr. (10-1, 3 KOs) stays busy against Dewayne Wisdom (7-55-2, 3 KOs), while New England welterweight champion Mike “Bad Boy” Ohan, Jr. (11-1, 5 KOs) stays busy against Rynell Griffin (8-45-2, 2 KOs) in a non-title fight.
Also fighting on the afternoon undercard in 4-rounders are Jimmy Torney (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. pro-debuting Justin Velmure in battle of Boston heavyweights, Weymouth, MA pro-debuting welterweight Eric Goff vs. Jader Alves (0-4), and the pro debut of Demek Edmonds vs. Francisco Neto (1-11).
On Saturday, April 24, Universum Box-Promotion and Salita Promotions will co-host the inaugural event of their ambitious new partnership by presenting a mammoth 14-fight night of boxing at the Universum Gym in Hamburg, Germany, and streamed live on BILD +.
In the 12-round main event, former 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, BDB German International and IBO Continental Super Lightweight Champion Artem “The Original” Harutyunyan (9-0, 6 KOs) of Hamburg, Germany via Yerevan, Armenia, will face WBA #9 and former world title challenger Oliver “Trombita” Flores (30-3-2, 19 KOs) from Leon, Nicaragua, for the WBA International Lightweight Championship.
In the 10-round co-main event, former IBF International Welterweight and EBU European Union Super Lightweight Champion Timo Schwarzkopf (20-4, 12 KOs) from Stuttgart, Germany via Mleqan, Kosovo will face Sochi, Russia via Yerevan, Armenia’s former WBC International Lightweight Champion Vage Sarukhanyan (20-2-2, 4 KOs).
Also appearing on the livestream will be an intriguing eight-round showdown between undefeated light heavyweights, as Essen, Germany’s Rostam Ibrahim (6-0-1, 3 KOs) takes on Stuttgart’s Altin Zogaj (7-0, 5 KOs).
In an eight-round women’s special attraction, undefeated 20-year-old Phannarai “Fai Phannarai” Netisri (7-0, 4 KOs) of Schwabach, Bayern, Germany via Bangkok, Thailand will take on once-beaten 23-year-old Cheyenne “Pepper” Hanson (8-1, 6 KOs) of Augsburg, Bayern, Germany, for the WBC Youth Female Super Bantamweight Championship.
A six-round heavyweight battle is also scheduled for broadcast between southpaw Senad “GachineGun” Gashi (20- 3, 20 KOs) of Marbella, Andalucía, Spain via Pec, Kosovo and undefeated German KO specialist Dominic Vial (6-0, 5 KOs) of Moenchengladbach, Nordrhein-Westfalen.
In a six-round super middleweight bout, former World Boxing Federation World Super Welterweight World Champion Rafael “Karibik Tiger” Bejaran (26-5-1, 12 KOs) of Hamburg, Germany via Esperanza, Dominican Republic will take on Altoetting, Bayern, Germany’s Florian Wildenhof (30-6-1, 11 KOs).
To open the broadcast, undefeated Cuban lightweight Frank Zaldivar will face an opponent that is TBA in a six-rounder.
“We are very happy to be able to present a very international fight card worldwide on April 24,” said Ismail Özen-Otto, CEO of Universum. “In the main fight we have two elite athletes, Artem Harutyunyan the Olympic bronze winner of the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 against WBA #9 contender Oliver Flores from Nicaragua. The winner of this fight could soon be a world championship challenger.”
“I am excited about working with Universum CEO Ismail Özen- Otto and matchmaker Flavio Oleaga Mirabal and all their world-class fighters,” added Dmitriy Salita, President of Salita Promotions. “On April 24, boxing fans will get a chance to see some of the best international talent on the planet in competitive, match-ups.”
Oleaga Mirabal, who put the card together, says he’s happy about the exposure the Universum fighters will receive from the partnership with Salita. “The fight card is very exciting. We will stream it in Germany with our media partner Bild + and thanks to our US partner Salita Promotions, we will also broadcast it internationally with other media partners,” he said. “This is a great start to our collaboration.”
A further seven fights will be held on the untelevised portion of the undercard, featuring several of Germany’s next wave of boxing talent in career-building challenges.
The April 24 broadcast will begin at 7:30 German time (1:30 pm ET in the US).
Hard-punching light heavyweight fan favorite Ahmed Elbiali says he can’t wait to show off the new skills he’s developed while working with trainer and former world super bantamweight champion Clarence “Bones” Adams.
Cairo-born Elbiali (20-1, 17 KOs) relocated from his adopted home in Miami three years ago to work with Adams at his private gym in Las Vegas and, at first, things didn’t go as well as hoped.
“Bones’ style took some getting used to,” admits Elbiali. “He’s very direct and it used to hurt my feelings sometimes, but now I know he’s a very realistic guy who just tells it like it is to help you improve. The whole environment in Vegas is different. People in Vegas are not as happy as people in Miami. Everyone who shows up to the gym in Vegas is grumpy. In Miami, the skies are always blue. You go outside in Vegas and its straight smog and heat. Now I get it.”
Once acclimated, Elbiali says the improvements in his technique were astonishing. “I think Bones is a great coach and he’s helped me to improve a lot as both a fighter and a person. We started over from the basics and everything is different now. Bones helped me realize a lot of things. I’m really excited to come back because I have so many new skills to show.”
30-year-old Elbiali, who was last seen demolishing former NABO champion Bryan Vera by sixth-round TKO in December 2019, says he’s living a clean life and working hard to reach his goal of becoming boxing’s first Egyptian-born world champion.
“Being a fighter in Vegas is the best. All these great fighters are helping me. I’ve been sparring with undefeated Russian cruiserweight, Andrey Mangushev, and learning a lot. The whole environment is great.”
With the pandemic sure to wind down eventually, boxing will go back to business as usual with live fans and fight cards all over the world every weekend. Elbiali, who is hoping to return to the ring in June, says he’s just biding his time until he can unleash his new-and-improved fists on the 175-lb division.
“I really love what I do. I can’t wait to get back in there. I am going balls to the walls from now on and leaving nothing to the judges. Like a lot of fighters, I just want to fight. Fighting is our profession, so when we don’t make money we struggle mentally. It doesn’t feel nice as a man to not be where you want to be in life. I can’t say its all about the money though. I want to prove myself and show how much I love what I do.”
Elbiali will be back in the ring soon with date and details to be announced shortly.
Ryan Roach’s Fighter Locker has signed 2016 Olympic silver medalist Yuberjen Martinez to an exclusive managerial contract. The 29-year-old Colombian light flyweight has a 7-0 (2 KOs) record in the World Series of Boxing.
“After having a beautiful amateur career,” Martinez announced, “we have decided to go pro and signed a managerial contract with Fighter Locker. I still plan to represent my country again at the Olympics this year in Tokyo. It is a pleasure for me to sign with Fighter Locker and Ryan Roach, who comes from a boxing family of tradition. I am sure that this new career change will be successful.
“I want to thank all those who have supported me as an amateur boxer and member of Team Colombia. I have learned a lot and put the name of country, Colombia, at the top through discipline. I will continue to count on their continued support throughout my professional career.”
Martinez lost in the championship final of the 2016 Olympics on points to Hassanboy Dusmatov, of Uzbekistan, in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
In addition to winning a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, Martinez was a bronze medalist at the 2017 World Amateur Championships in Hamburg Germany. His other amateur boxing highlights include a gold medal at the 2018 South American Games, silver at the 2019 Pan American Games in Brazil, and gold and silver, respectively, at the 2018 and 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games.
“I have signed a good number of top amateurs in their respective divisions, but none as decorated as Yuberjen,” Martinez’ new manager Ryan Roach said. “This is a unique opportunity as he heads back to the Olympics and is favored to medal once again. He truly is a special fighter: fast, strong, and relentless. Once he finishes the Olympics, we will get right to work and focus on the professional ranks. I think it speaks volumes of my company and my reputation to sign such an outstanding fighter who could have previously signed with other managers. He’s a great addition to our fight family at Fighter Locker.”
Fighter Locker’s growing stable of gifted boxers include California super flyweight Rocco “So Cal Kid” Santomauro (21-1, 6 KOs), Troy, NY ABF American West super lightweight Ray Jay “The Destroyer” Bermudez (12-0, 9 KOs), Toronto, Canada welterweight West Haven, CT super welterweight Jimmy “Quiet Storm” Williams (16-5-2, 5 KOs), super middleweight “The Amazing” Shawn McCalman (7-0, 4 KOs), U.S. Army super bantamweight Daniel Bailey, Jr. (3-0, 2 KOs), lightweight Leonel de los Santos (2-0, 2 KOs), a 2-time Dominican Republic Olympian, Boston featherweight Troy Anderson, Jr. (1-0, 1 KO), pro-debuting Dominican Republic welterweight Juan Solano, and Salt Lake City, Utah brothers, super lightweight Ignacio Chairez (8-0-1, 5 KOs) and lightweight Gabriel Chairez (3-0-1, 2 KOs).
Not all fairytale stories in boxing have a happy ending. Some chapters close long before they’re expected to, and others benefit from a much-needed plot twist along the way, but the defining characteristic in boxing’s most appreciated narratives is the fighter’s never-ending will to succeed.
The story of “Much Too Much” Marvin Cordova is similar to many you’ve probably heard in the past, but with its own unique peaks and valleys. One third of the way through 2021, the 36-year-old Colorado native is steadily preparing for a year he expects to be the official relaunch of his career, one in which he can bury his past for good and set sail toward much greener pastures.
Cordova (23-2-1, 12 KOs) hasn’t fought since January of 2020 – a victim, like many, of COVID-19’s crippling effect on the industry – and only twice since 2010, the longer layoff stemming from two separate trips to prison totaling eight years during the prime of his career, the result of what he calls “bad decision-making” in his early 20s.
Teamed with living legend Jimmy Burchfield Sr., longtime promoter and CES Boxing president who is often lauded for his knowledge, wisdom, and relationships in building world champions, Cordova is confident the best is yet to come.
“Before I took on this project, I wanted to make sure Marvin was serious about this comeback,” Burchfield said. “Once I heard that passion in his voice, I was all in. He has a beautiful wife and two beautiful daughters. Now the team is all set to go.”
With his deep-rooted amateur background and experience as a pro, it’s not inconceivable for this lifelong journey to feature a Hollywood ending. Cordova could be the next real-life Rocky Balboa – a story that will pique the interest of network executives and boxing media alike.
The way he sees it, he has “six good years” left in the tank, which gives him plenty of time to achieve his dream of winning world titles in multiple weight classes. Whoever stands in his way, he intends to mow down, whether it’s the Charlo brothers – unified light middleweight champion Jermell and WBC middleweight title-holder Jermall – or even Rhode Island’s Demetrius Andrade, reigning WBO middleweight champ.
“I can compete with any of these guys,” said Cordova. “I’m going to be on top of the boxing world for a long time, and it’s going to be a great story along with a great run.”
The journey began decades ago when Cordova, the great grandson of the late Rafael Garcia – longtime cutman for Floyd Mayweather Jr. – thrived on the amateur circuit, fighting 242 times with wins over two-time middleweight world champion Daniel Jacobs, 31-fight vet Willie Nelson, and former WBA 154-pound champ Austin Trout. He won a bronze medal in the 2002 U.S. U-19 Championships and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, competing mostly in the 152-pound range.
After turning pro in 2004 at the age of 19, Cordova won his first 12 fights, including eight by knockout, and 16 of his first 17 with the only blemish a draw against eventual welterweight world champion Virgil Ortiz, a fight that was stopped early due to an accidental head butt. He lost hotly-contested battles with Filipino sensation Dennis Laurente and world-title challenger Josesito Lopez in 2009 and 2010, respectively, before his legal troubles began in 2012.
An extended period of time away from the sport would deter many fighters, especially those in their mid- to late 30s, but Cordova remains optimistic knowing the worst is behind him. He draws inspiration from the great Bernard Hopkins, who spent six years in prison, turned pro at 23, lost his first fight, and still went on to win multiple world titles in two weight classes in addition to becoming the oldest fighter to capture a world title at the age of 49, breaking his own record twice.
Time may not necessarily on Cordova’s side, but his health and wellbeing are; with seven years off between 2010 and 2017, the 5-foot-9 right-hander has not sustained as much damage as most fighters his age, which he believes will be beneficial as he continues his second comeback later this year. Older athletes succeeding late in their careers is not unprecedented, as Cordova points out; the iconic Manny Pacquiao upended Lucas Martin Matthysse, Adrien Broner, and Keith Thurman between the ages of 39 and 40, and NFL legend Tom Brady just won his seventh Super Bowl ring at 43. Why not Cordova?
“I’m faster now than when I was younger,” Cordova said. “I’m wiser in the ring, and I’m just as hungry as I’ve ever been. I don’t have a lot of wear and tear. I’m going to prove a lot of people wrong. My ring generalship is second to none.”
Assembling the right team was the first priority. In 2019, Cordova joined forces with Burchfield, who has a strong reputation throughout the sport for bringing fighters to the top of the mountain and taking a gamble on what some would consider reclamation projects. As a father figure to many boxers, Burchfield brings a calming influence and an air of confidence unmatched by most promoters. Cordova affectionally refers to him as “Uncle Jimmy.”
“I love him,” Cordova said. “I’m so happy to be signed by CES, and thankful for this opportunity. He always tells me, ‘Just dedicate yourself your craft, and every time you fight, it’s your time to go out and shine. The only thing he can’t do for me is go out in the ring and fight.’ He will take care of the rest.
“Our goal is to win these titles, get this money, and set myself up for the long haul. There’s no way we can lose.”
Cordova also has the undying support of his wife, Lori, who’s also his manager and a former Golden Gloves champion from her own amateur days. The two have been together since they were 16 years old and now have two daughters together, 14 and 15 years old. Everyone in the family except Marvin caught COVID-19; his daughters came down with it last summer and Lori had it roughly three months ago. To make matters worse, Marvin and Lori were forced to shut down their gym during the pandemic, which is a major source of their income. Like many families, they dealt with the physical and financial effects of COVID, which brought them closer together and forced them to rethink their priorities.
Now, with his family and promoter in his corner, a strong team in the gym that includes head trainer and strength coach Paul Andrada and assistant Arron Bencomo, and several sponsors – A to Z Towing in Pueblo, Randy Lopez CDL Training & Testing, Arlene’s Bail Bonds, among others – Cordova already feels like he’s conquered the hardest part of the climb. The rest comes naturally.
The last time he stepped in the ring, his CES debut more than a year ago, he stopped former world-title challenger Hector Velazquez within four rounds. He was well on his way to a busy 2020 before the pandemic struck. Even though the past year and a half has forced him to hit the reset button, the goal remains the same; campaigning in the 160-pound range, Cordova is confident he can compete either at middleweight or junior welterweight – wherever “the money is right” – and he also hasn’t ruled out dropping back to 147, where he campaigned during the prime of his career between 2005 and 2007.
“Much Too Much” remains as confident as ever, one of many champion hopefuls aiming to emerge from this long pandemic to recapture past glory and write new chapters in their ever-evolving sagas. With the right script, Cordova may someday be the one fighters look up to for inspiration, delivering a powerful message of perseverance against all odds.
“As long as you keep pushing and keep working hard, anything can happen,” he said. “Hard works makes easy work.”
WASSERMAN ACQUIRES BOXING GIANTS TEAM SAUERLAND
DEAL SET TO BE A MAJOR STATEMENT IN THE BOXING WORLD
30th March 2021; London, UK: Wasserman has announced the acquisition of Team Sauerland, one of the world’s leading boxing promoters. The deal also catalyzes the creation of WASSERMAN BOXING, an exciting new boxing focused marketing and promotions offering within Wasserman’s industry leading global sports’ company.
This addition is also a major statement of intent by Wasserman within the Boxing industry, thereby supplementing its internationally acclaimed representation business. At present Wasserman comprises 2000 plus clients across 42 different sports including renowned names such as Steven Gerrard, Russell Westbrook, Rickie Fowler, Megan Rapinoe, Marshawn Lynch and Jamie Vardy.
Team Sauerland, founded in 1978 by Hall of Fame legend Wilfried Sauerland, is led by brothers Kalle & Nisse Sauerland, and has been a leading presence in world boxing for over five decades. They have promoted more than 50 world champions across multiple weight classes. Their history within the sport is unrivalled having promoted thousands of championship events worldwide, breaking box office records in Europe, Asia, Africa, the US and Latin America. During this time that have worked with top fighters such as David Haye, Evander Holyfield and Mikkel Kessler as well as current stars that include World Champion Mairis Briedis, Filip Hrgovic and Chris Eubank Jr.
This new announcement has greatly enhanced the reputation of Wasserman’s current Boxing division, having successfully represented a number of leading athletes including former super middleweight world champion George Groves and London 2012 medalist Anthony Ogogo.
Casey Wasserman, Chairman and CEO of Wasserman, said, “We are delighted to welcome Kalle, Nisse and their team to Wasserman. Their expertise and history within the sport is unrivalled and we are incredibly excited about the formation of Wasserman Boxing. We believe that together we can make a positive contribution to the boxing industry with plans to deliver world class promotions and shows to fans around the world”.
Kalle Sauerland said “We believe Wasserman is the ideal company to not only develop what we’ve achieved at Sauerland but take it to the next level. My brother Nisse and I have been big admirers of what they do, quite simply, they’re the best. The thought of having the power of Wasserman and our Boxing expertise should excite the fighters, the TV companies and most importantly, the fans, in what is going to be an adventurous future for the sport. We are going to take this to a whole new level.”
Nisse Sauerland: We are extremely excited to be joining forces with Wasserman. They are industry leaders, unmatched in the marketing and representation of the biggest names and events in the world of sport. Working together, through Wasserman Boxing, we will provide fighters with life-changing opportunities, and boxing fans with unforgettable fights and events.”
Dean Baker, EVP and Managing Executive, Global Football and Boxing said “When the opportunity presented itself to expand our Boxing business it seemed a very appealing prospect, I’m extremely proud of what we’ve achieved in Boxing at Wasserman within a relatively short period. I’ve personally known and worked with the Sauerland brothers for a number of years. Their hard work, commitment, combined with their experience in Boxing and ability to put on spectacular events is unparalleled. I look forward to adding what we can deliver at Wasserman to create another exciting chapter for Boxing, particularly in the UK”.