Author: Daxx Khan

Munguia and Machado Successful in first title defenses on HBO Double Header

Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada on HBO a world title double header co-promoted by Golden Boy, Queensberry and Don King promotions broadcast on HBO. The headliner would be undefeated WBO Super Welterweight title holder Jamie Munguia against once beaten veteran Englishman Liam Smith. As the co-feature undefeated Albert Machado would be defending his WBA regular super featherweight title against little known undefeated Rafael Mensah.

In the main-event, Munguia started out with “Guns Blazing” very much like he had against Sadam Ali last May when he won the title. He threw every punch with bad intentions but failed to land many cleanly, challenger Smith tested Munguia and his willingness to stand his ground  while not much more successful did show superior boxing ability. Over the next several rounds, Munguia applied constant pressure that had Smith moving backwards, Smith looked to slow the champion down by landing counter punches and while he did land often he failed to deter Munguia from coming forward.

There would be a knockdown scored by Munguia in round six after landing several vicious body shots to the ribs of Smith. Once getting up, Smith used his footwork to avoid the ongoing attack of Munguia. In rounds seven and eight, Smith boxed smartly making Munguia miss big uppercuts inside by using head movement that momentarily caused Munguia to slow his attack.

The ninth round would be a non-stop assault from Munguia, despite landing 49 of his 91 power punches, the champion failed to fulfill his prediction of stopping Smith. There would actually be a moment where Smith used a veteran tactic of “Playing Possum” to draw Munguia in so he could unload his own offensive rally.

That ninth round assault of Munguia would be his last “Full on Attack”, while he continued throwing punches until the final bell he appeared “Arm weary” and his punches became sloppy. His fatigue allowed Smith to mount his own offense and avoid the swooping power punches which were so damaging earlier on in the fight. When the final bell sounded both men were throwing punches and the crowd on their feet in appreciation, official scores read 116-111, 119-110 and 119-108 all in favor of Jaime Munguia who improved to 30-0 (25), after only his second career loss Liam Smith now stands at 26-2-1 (14).

While successful in his first title defense, despite not getting the stoppage win he craved Jaime Munguia gained something even more important than the title belt on his waist. He learned his capabilities of being able to go a full twelve rounds with a veteran fighter like Smith. When having gone only ten rounds once before and steam rolling every opponent afterwards, young fighters in that situation can become over confident in step up bouts. A fighter like Munguia at twenty one years old, gaining over twenty pounds from the official weigh-in to unofficial that gets hit often can be derailed quickly should the trend continue.

In my opinion Munguia has all the skills needed to be a superstar, he is at a crucial stage in his career where changes in his style and possibly division he campaigns at need to happen sooner than later. If these changes are not made, the physical toll between what happens inside that ring on top of taxing training camps could end a brilliant career before nearing its potential.

The co-feature between WBA Super Featherweight title holder Alberto Machado and little known undefeated Rafael Mensah was a one sided affair. It was apparent from the opening moments, Machado despite having eleven less bouts was the vastly superior boxer in every aspect physically.

With a five inch reach and four inch height advantage, Machado peppered Mensah with his jab then punished him with a follow up left hand. In round one, Mensah appeared all but down after being blinded by a combination that sent him to the mat, once up his legs appeared like rubber even on his way to the corner.

There would be no moments of success for Mensah, unlike Munguia who tired late in his bout against Liam Smith, no such luck would be had for Mensah whose face had become grossly swollen by the mid-way point.

At any point after the mid-way mark, in no way could I see anyone of reasonable mind arguing with referee Tony Weeks calling a halt to the contest. The corner of Mensah gave absolutely no instruction at any point in time. His trainer Stacey McKinley admonished Mensah who was horribly outclassed rather than looked out for Mensah and his long term career. While Mensah never stopped giving it his all and lasted until the final bell, he took more punishment than needed. There was never a moment, Mensah showed any ability be it skill or with power to that could have turned momentum in  his favor.

When all was over, the final scores read 120-107 on all three judges cards in favor of Alberto Machado who along with retaining his belt improved to 20-0 (16) while Rafael Mensah suffering his first defeat now stands at 31-1 (23).

 

We have a winner – Usyk becomes inaugural Ali Trophy Champion!

Kalle Sauerland Lonnie Ali and Celestino Ruiz with WBSS Cruiserweight winner Usyk

Ukrainian Aleksandr Usyk made history by beating Russian rival Murat Gassiev by a unanimous decision to become the first man to hold the Muhammad Ali Trophy and all four world cruiserweight titles.

The pair went the distance in front of 24,000 spectators at the Olimpiyskiy Sports Complex in, Moscow but it was Usyk who had the edge.

Gassiev landed some heavy body shots in the beginning but started to tire and the Ukrainian was by far the most dominant in the later rounds.

Usyk promised before Saturday’s final ‘a beautiful fight’ and for Usyk, it was indeed a showcase of skills with the victory establishing him among the best fighters in the world.

“Usyk fought an amazing fight and I think that Usyk today is the best pound for pound boxer in the world and a worthy winner of the Muhammad Ali Trophy,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer.

“Moscow, 2018. Bang! Daddy’s in the building,” said an ecstatic Usyk after the fight.

The judges scored the fight – 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109 for Usyk, who happens to share the same birthday, Jan. 17, with Ali.

“To win all four belts and the Muhammad Ali Trophy is a dream coming true. It is no secret that Muhammad Ali is my biggest idol so this is a great honour,” said Usyk after the fight.

“I’m not a superstar, stars are in the sky. Just an ordinary guy, who is doing something well.”

“My team made me look like I looked in the ring. This is our victory. I will keep this trophy at a special place in my home because my beloved wife, Katarina, has already prepared a special place for it.”

Usyk and Gassiev embraced warmly after the fight with broad smiles on their faces.
“I had the best opponent in my professional career,” said Gassiev.

“I did my best, but today it was Aleksandr’s day. Aleksandr was the favorite, and he proved it. This was a very good experience for me.”

Lonnie Ali, the wife of the late heavyweight icon Muhammad Ali, was guest of honour while watching Usyk-Gassiev live at the Olimpiyskiy Sports Complex and after the fight, she revealed and awarded the winner with the Muhammad Ali Trophy, The Greatest Prize in Boxing.

Lonnie Ali to present Muhammad Ali Trophy in Moscow

Lonnie Ali WBSS

Lonnie Ali, the wife of the late heavyweight icon Muhammad Ali, will present the winner of the World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight Final with the Muhammad Ali Trophy, The Greatest Prize in Boxing.

“Since this is the first Ali Trophy ever presented and as a part of Muhammad’s legacy in boxing, I am proud to be here to represent the Ali family, WBC and its president Mauricio Sulaiman,” said Lonnie Ali.

The tournament awards the winner with the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy, and this Saturday sees the first ever Ali Trophy champion crowned in what is being touted as a potential Fight-of-the-Year candidate.

Lonnie Ali will be guest of honour while watching the historic Usyk-Gassiev final live at the Olimpiyskiy Sports Complex and after the fight reveal and award the winner with the trophy.

“Muhammad would have been proud to see one of these champions being rewarded with the trophy that carries his name,” said Ali.

Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer:

“Muhammad Ali being our ambassador is the greatest honour of all, having his wife present the first Ali Trophy in Moscow will make this ceremony one of the most emotional moments ever seen in a boxing ring.”

Muhammad Ali died 3 June 2016, but his ideals in and outside the ring are a standard to live by, and the World Boxing Super Series has been designed to honour Ali, his accomplishments, and legacy.

Crowning new champions each year and celebrating boxer’s skills serves as a fitting reminder as to how much Muhammad Ali contributed to the sport.

The Ali Trophy Cruiserweight Final is guaranteed to produce fireworks with the winner becoming the first boxer ever to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy and unify the cruiserweight titles in the four belt era.

The belts on the line will be the WBO, WBC, IBF and WBA Super and RING Magazine’s vacant cruiserweight championship strap.

20,000 spectators are expected for the final and over 250 journalists from all over the world will cover the event.

Season Two Ali Trophy quarter-finals set at Draft Gala in Moscow

The quarter-finals for Season II of the World Boxing Super Series were set for the tournament’s Super-Lightweight and Bantamweight brackets at a Draft Gala Friday night at the Rossiya Theatre in Moscow.

With all sixteen participants in attendance, the fighters came face-to-face live on stage, with the seeded fighters picking their quarter-final pairing from the remaining four, except when predetermined by mandatory challenges.

The Draft Gala began with the Ali Trophy’s Super-Lightweight contenders taking to the stage. With number three seed Kiryl Relikh mandated to defend his WBA World title against Eduard Troyanovsky and number four seed Ivan Baranchyk ordered to fight Anthony Yigit for the vacant IBF strap, it was down to the top two seeds Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor to chose from the two remaining unseeded fighters.

As the tournaments top seed, WBC World Champion Regis Prograis had first pick and selected former WBO World Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan as his quarter-final opponent. Leaving hotly-tipped Scottish talent Josh Taylor to face fellow undefeated fighter Ryan Martin.

The drama at the Rossiya Theatre continued with the star-studded bantamweight bracket. A mandatory challenge determined IBF World Champion Emmanuel Rodriguez’s selection with the Puerto Rican set to face Australia’s unbeaten Jason Maloney.

Number one seed Ryan Burnett, who holds the WBA World title, selected ‘The Filipino Flash’, former four-weight world champion, Nonito Donaire. Second seed Naoya Inoue, the WBA ‘Regular’ Champion, chose Juan Carlo Payano as his quarter-final opponent. Meaning WBO World Champion Zolani Tete with begins his quest for the Ali Trophy against Mikhail Aloyan.

“These are sensational match-ups and I would hate to have to pick a winner in any of them,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer. “Season II of the World Boxing Super Series and the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy is going to be a truly global sporting competition and we can’t wait to get going.”

“We will soon announce our third and final weight class and I can assure that boxing fans will be in for a treat.”

WBSS Super Lightweight Quarter Finals

SUPER-LIGHTWEIGHTS:

Regis Prograis Vs. Terry Flanagan WBC 140 lb title

WBC World Championship: Regis Prograis vs. Terry Flanagan

Regis Prograis: “We are fighting for the Ali Trophy and Ali is a legend. He fought the best of the best and I want to fight the best of the best. Flanagan is a former world champion and that’s why I made this decision.”

Terry Flanagan: “You have to fight the best to win the tournament and I am here to win the tournament. I am confident in winning this fight.”

Ryan Martin and Josh Taylor

Josh Taylor vs. Ryan Martin

Josh Taylor: ”I am here to win this tournament so it doesn’t matter who I face in the first round. My boxing brain, speed and power I believe will give me the edge over my opponents in this tournament.”

Ryan Martin: “I am very confident and this is what I have been preparing my whole career for. Josh is clearly one of the best in the division so I’m excited!”

Kiryl Relikh vs. Eduard Troyanovski WBA 140 lb title

WBA World Championship: Kiryl Relikh vs. Eduard Troyanovski

Kiryl Relikh: “I am looking forward to the fight. I want to win this tournament. The winner will become a super-star in the game.”

Eduard Troyanovski: “I am very happy to take part in the tournament and I feel confident in beating Kiryl. I am ready to take his belt.”

Ivan Baranchyk Anthony Yigit IBF 140 lb title

IBF World Championship: Ivan Baranchyk vs. Anthony Yigit

Ivan Baranchyk: “I am ready to fight and I will win this belt! I show everyone that I am the best in the division.”

Anthony Yigit: “It’s a great opportunity for me to show everyone what I am going up for. I want to entertain the crowd and I will take this home!“

WBSS Season Two Bantamweight Quarter Finals

BANTAMWEIGHTS:

Ryan-Burnett-vs-Nonito-Donaire-WBA Super world Bantamweight title

WBA World Championship: Ryan Burnett vs. Nonito Donaire

Ryan Burnett: “He has been an amazing champion and he is a great fighter. I believe Nonito can bring out the best in me.”

Nonito Donaire: “I am very excited. I know that Ryan got what it takes so I am going to be at my best.”

Zolani Tete Mikhail Aloyan WBO Bantamweight title title

WBO World Championship: Zolani Tete vs. Mikhail Aloyan

Zolani Tete: “I am looking forward to fighting the best fighters and the best fighters are here. I am looking forward to fight Mikhail.”

Mikhail Aloyan: “I am very proud that I have such an opportunity fight the best fighters in this tournament. I feel very confident that I have what it takes.”

: Naoya Inoue vs. Juan Carlo Payano WBA ‘Regular’ World Bantamweight Championship

WBA ‘Regular’ World Championship: Naoya Inoue vs. Juan Carlo Payano

Naoya Inoue: “It is an honour to be able to participate so I am excited. I am very confident that I will win this tournament.”

Juan Carlo Payano: “I am excited to fight Inoue and I am going for the win!”

Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Jason Maloney IBF Bantamweight title

IBF World Championship: Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Jason Maloney

Emmanuel Rodriquez: “I am happy for this fight and confident in defending my belt. I will do my best to win the tournament.”

Jason Moloney: “I am very confident that I can beat Emmanuel. He is a very good fighter as everyone in this tournament is. This is my time to shine. I’m ready!”

World Boxing Super Series announces seeding for Ali Trophy season II

World Boxing Super Series announces seeding for Ali Trophy season II

The World Boxing Super Series is delighted to announce the seeding for two of the weight categories that will feature in the second season of the Muhammad Ali Trophy.

The hotly-anticipated Draft Gala on Friday, July 20 at the Rossiya Theatre at Pushkinskaya Square, Moscow at 9pm local time (8pm CST/1pm CT) will be broadcasted in multiple territories and also be streamed live on WorldBoxingSuperSeries.com and on our YouTube and Facebook pages.

WBSS Season two Bantamweight entrants

Bantamweight:

1. Ryan Burnett – WBA World Bantamweight Champion
2. Naoya Inoue – WBA World ‘Regular’ Champion
3. Zolani Tete – WBO World Bantamweight Champion
4. Emmanuel Rodriguez – IBF World Bantamweight Champion

Jason Moloney – mandatory challenger
Nonito Donaire – former four-time world champion
Juan Carlos Payano – former bantamweight world titleholder
Mikhail Aloyan – undefeated contender

WBSS season two Super Lightweight entrants

1. Regis Prograis – Interim WBC World Champion
2. Josh Taylor – WBC mandatory
3. Kiryl Relikh, WBA World Super Lightweight Champion
4. Ivan Baranchyk, IBF mandatory

Anthony Yigit, European Champion and IBF mandatory
Terry Flanagan, former world champion
Eduard Troyanovsky, WBA mandatory
Ryan Martin, undefeated challenger

Usyk and Gassiev hit the scales in Moscow

Aleksandr Usyk (89,9 kg 198.1 lbs) and Murat Gassiev (89,9 kg 198.1 lbs) made weight ahead of Saturday’s Ali Trophy Final at the Olimpiyskiy Sports Complex in Moscow.

Usyk and Gassiev weighed in facing hundreds of Ukrainian and Russian fans in front of the Rossiya Theatre at the Pushkinskaya Square in the Russian capital.

Murat Gassiev 89.9 kg 198.1lbs

“Thanks to everyone who came today for this weigh-in and to all fans who support me and the greatest sport in the world,“ said Gassiev.

“I am very excited for my next fight. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow night, I can’t see the future. I expect a hard fight and a good fight for all fans.”

Aleksandr Usyk 89.9 KG 198.1lbs

Aleksandr Usyk: “My birthday is the same as Muhammad Ali’s and when I heard about this tournament I thought I would betray myself if I didn’t participate. Now I am looking forward to the final!”

The Ali Trophy Cruiserweight Final is guaranteed to produce fireworks and the winner of Usyk-Gassiev will be the first boxer ever to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy and unify the cruiserweight titles in the four-belt era.

The belts on the line will be the WBO, WBC, IBF and WBA Super and RING Magazine’s vacant cruiserweight championship strap.

“SUPERBOX LIVE: Rise Up” live on Super Channel July 28 live from Powerade Centre in Brampton, Canada

EDMONTON, Canada (July 19, 2018) – Super Channel, the destination network for Canadian boxing fans, has announced the second installment of its new live boxing series, “SUPERBOX LIVE’, airing Saturday night, July 28, presented by Lee Baxter Promotions, at Powerade Centre in Brampton, Canada.
 
International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior welterweight champion Petros Ananyan (13-0-2, 6 KOs) will defend his title against Canadian fan-friendly Steve “The Dragon” Claggett (26-5-1, 17 KOs) in the 10-round main event.
 
To watch “SUPERBOX LIVE: Rising Up” live in Canada, showcasing some of Canada’s top professional fighters, as well as more exciting boxing to come in 2018, fight fans can contact their local cable provider to subscribe to Super Channel and all that it offers, including premium series, movies and much more, for as low as $9.95 per month.
“SUPERBOX LIVE: Rising Up,” starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, will also be aired on delay via BoxNation in the United Kingdom, as well as Match TV in Russia.
 
Protocol Sports Marketing Ltd has been named exclusive representative for international rights for SUPERBOX LIVE.
 
Armenia-native Ananya, now residing in Moscow, captured his title last October, when he upset 30-1 defending champion Luca Giacon, who was fighting at home in Spain, by way of a six-round technical decision.
 
The reigning North American Boxing Association (NABA) USA junior middleweight title holder, Claggett upset highly-touted prospect Yves Ylyssee, Jr. (14-0) last October in Montreal, by way of a 10-round decision for the IBF North American title.
 
“I am excited to work with SUPERBOX LIVE for the first time,” promoter Lee Baxtercommented. “I think this can be the beginning of a great platform for Canadian fighters to show their skills and also build international fights right here in my hometown!”
“SUPERBOX LIVE is excited to be working with Lee Baxter Promotions,” said Mike Garrow, who is the co-creator of SUPERBOX LIVE. “Not only has Lee Baxter staged a number of great events here in Canada, he has elevated a number of athletes who have competed on the world stage in a short period of time. This is exactly what we are looking for in SUPERBOX LIVE events.”
 
In the eight-round co-feature, Indian welterweight and Bollywood star, Neeraj “Gangster” Gorat (9-2-2, 2 KOs) makes his second World Boxing Council (WBC) Asian title defense, against an opponent to be determined.
 
Canadian featherweight prospect Ross Mylet (2-0), fighting out of Oakville, Ontario, faces Francisco “Relempago” Ubiet (6-3, 2 KOs) in a four-round match.
 
In the televised opener, Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) super featherweight champion Sandy “Lil Tyson” Tsagouris (16-2, 7 KOs), defends the title she won March 18, 2017 for the first time in a 10-round bout against her Mexican challenger, Guadalupe Solis (5-2, 2 KOs).
 
All fights and fighters subject to change. 
About Super Channel
 
Super Channelis a national premium pay television network, offering subscribers exceptional entertainment value with four diverse channels – Super Channel Fuse, Super Channel Heart & Home, Super Channel Vault and GINX Esports TV Canada – plus, access to Super Channel On Demand where available by service provider.
 
Super Channel’s mission is to entertain and engage Canadian audiences by providing a unique and exclusive entertainment experience.  With a core foundation of integrity and accountability, we dedicate ourselves to implementing innovative programming strategies and unparalleled team work that provides viewers with exceptional value and variety.
 
Super Channel is owned by Allarco Entertainment 2008 Inc., an Edmonton-based media company.
 
Super Channel is currently available on Bell TV, Shaw Direct, Rogers Anyplace TV, Shaw Cable, Cogeco Cable, Access Communications, Bell Alliant TV, Source Cable, SaskTel, MTS, Novus, EastLink, TELUS, Videotron, Westman Communications and other regional providers.
 

3-time, 2-division World Champion “El Gallo” Jose Antonio Rivera Returns to ring for first time in 7 years on “Homecoming” card

WORCESTER, Mass. (July 19, 2018) – Granite Chin Promotions (GCP) and Rivera Promotions Entertainment (RPE) hosted a press conference yesterday at The Ballot Box in Worcester, Massachusetts, to make a major announcement, as well as introduce local fighters on the August 17th pro boxing card at The Palladium in Worcester.

Three-time, two-division world champion “El Gallo” Jose Antonio Rivera (41-6-1, 24 KO’s) is making his return in the “Making History” main event, in large part because he wanted to fight on the same card as his son, A.J. Rivera, who was to become the first pro boxer who was born with Spina Bifida. A.J., who is a rising matchmaker in New England, was unable to get medically cleared in time and he will not be fighting Aug. 17.

The event has been renamed, “Homecoming”, because six of the competing fighters, including Jose Antonio Rivera, live in Worcester.

“Unfortunately,” announced promoter Chuck Shearns, who co-promotes Granite Chin Promotions with Chris Traietti, “A.J. isn’t fighting on this show because he couldn’t get medically cleared in time.”

“I trained hard and was within five or six pounds of my contract weight,” a disappointed A.J. Rivera explained. “I passed all of the medical tests except for the CAT-SCAN. I fought the doctor a little and said I wanted a second opinion. Those results won’t be in time, so I can’t fight on this card.”

“The reason I’m coming back was to make history with my son,” Jose Antonio Rivera added. “We had talked about it a long time but, unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be for A.J. for this card. He’s already part of history already as the only fighter born with Spina Bifida who fought as an amateur. I feel bad, but everything happens for a reason and as a father, my son’s safety always comes first. He will continue to be an important part of our team to make our company a success. People are thrown curve-balls in life like this and we’ve regrouped to turn this into a positive. We’re still fighting for the cause (Spina Bifida).”

Now 45 years old, Rivera has already lost more than 30 pounds, and he is within eight of his contracted weight for his eight-round fight against Ruben “Modern Day Warrior” Galvan (27-26-4, 10 KOs).

In 1997, Rivera captured the International Boxing Organization (IBO) World welterweight title, stopping Gilberto Flores in the second round. Six years later, he traveled to Germany to take on undefeated, hometown favorite Michel Trabant (38-0) for the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) World Welterweight Championship, in which Rivera won a 12-round decision and the belt.

Two fights later, in front of nearly 10,000 hometown fans in Worcester, Rivera won a 12-round unanimous decision in 2006 over defending champion Alejandro Garcia (25-1) for the WBA World super welterweight title.

Middleweight Kendrick Ball, Jr. (9-1-2, 6 KOs) and junior middleweight Khiary Gray (15-4, 11 KOs), both promoted by CES Boxing, will be making their pro debuts at home in Worcester. Ball faces an opponent to be determined in the six-round co-featured event, while Gray (15-4, 11 KOs) meets Antonio Chaves Fernandez (9-33, 4 KOs), of Brockton, MA, also in a six rounder.

Undefeated light heavyweight prospect Richard “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera (8-0, 7 KOs), fighting out of Hartford, CT, is slated to fight in a six-round bout vs. TBA, as well as his stable mate, two-time New England Golden Gloves champion “The Chosen One” Sharad Collier (1-0, 1 KO), who takes on his Mexican opponent, Emmanuel “Pollo” Valadez (5-4, 4 KOs), in a four-round match.

Also scheduled to fight on the undercard in four-round bouts are Springfield, MA welterweight Jose Angel “KO” Ortiz Jose Angel “KO” Ortiz (4-13-1, 1 KO) vs. Seth Basler (0-8) and pro-debuting featherweight Joshua Orta vs. Worcester’s Edwin Rosado (1-7-1, 1 KO), Southbridge, MA welterweight Wilfredo “El Sucaro” Pagan (4-0, 2 KOs) vs. TBA, Worcester lightweight Francisco Irizarry (4-0, 2 KOs) vs. TBA, Worcester’s pro-debuting lightweight Eslih Owusu.vs. Mexican Engelberto “Guarura” Valenzuela (11-14 (3 KOs).

PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Joe Antonio Rivera: “I want to thank everybody for coming. Tomorrow is four weeks to the weigh in. It’s an important date because fighting is easy, making weight isn’t. I want to thank Granite Chin Promotions

“Four Worcester fighters (Ball, Gray, Irizarry and Owusu) on this card have never fought here. It’s huge having Kendrick and Khiary on this card and I’d like to thank CES Boxing for allowing them to fight here. I’m proud of Kendrick and Khiary and excited to have them fighting on this show. Chuck and Granite Chin are running this show, I’m only focused on my opponent.

“I’m excited to have an opponent who is coming to fight. He’s my third opponent, but that’s part of boxing. I’m training hard, passed my medicals, and it’s like I’m hungry again. I haven’t fought in years, but I’ve taken good care of my body. I didn’t visualize doing this at 45. I’ve also heard that, after August 17th, there’s a possibility of a title for me by the end of this year.”

Chuck Shearns (GCP co-promoter): “I’m honored to be involved in this show. Jose and I have been friends for years. Months ago, this all started with a text conversation (Chuck, Jose and A.J.). A week later, it started getting serious, and then we had Jose and A.J. fighting on this card. Unfortunately, A.J. isn’t fighting on this card, but the show will go on.”

Jimmy Burchfield (CES promoter): “What’s important is that Jose Antonio Rivera is fighting on this card and that’s why I’m allowing ‘Pepper’ (Ball) and Khiary to fight on this card. I’ve had a good relationship with Chuck and I’ve known Jose and A.J., who worked for me, for a long time. Nothing was happening in Worcester boxing for years, until Jose and A.J. started promoting here, but Worcester has always been a good fight town.  All the fighters here will be proud of your victory. This is beautiful! They’ve been around him and know what he’s accomplished in life. Jose has never abused his body, he’s taken good care of himself.

“We (CES Boxing) had an event scheduled August 17th at Twin River (Lincoln, RI), but we moved from that date, and now everything is focused August 17th on Worcester. How could I not have my Worcester fighters on Jose Rivera’s comeback card? ‘Pepper’ and Khiary really wanted to fight on this card. These kids (fighters seated at head table) look up to Jose for what he’s done and in life and his comeback is a really big story. I know what ‘Pepper” and Khiary are going to do and I know what Jose is going to do because he’s a veteran. I believe this will be a sell out!”

Kendrick Ball, Jr.: “I want to thank my promoter, Jimmy Burchfield, for giving me the okay to fight on this card. I also want to thank Granite Chin Promotions and Rivera Promotions Entertainment. I’ve waited for this a long time. This fight will give me a chance to redeem myself and show why I’m the next great middleweight to come out of Worcester. I’m ready to get it on.”

Khiary Gray: “I want to thank Rivera Promotions Entertainment, CES Boxing and Granite Chin Promotions for giving me a chance to fight at home for the first time. This is a rematch for me. I stopped him in the first round, but there was some controversy. I know he’s coming to fight.”

Eslih Owusi: “I just graduated from high school and I wasn’t going to turn pro until after that. Fighting as a pro will be much more exciting than in the amateurs.”

Jose Angel Ortiz: “I’m very excited. I haven’t fought in two years. I was supposed to return before, but things didn’t work out. I never left boxing because I’m in the gym all the time working out or training other fighters. Jose and I are both in our forties. We’re going to show everybody that we can still fight.”

Edwin Rosado: “I will try and put on the best show I can.”

Joshua Orta: “I’m very happy about my first pro fight. I’ve dreamed of this day. Everybody is going to see an exciting card. I love this sport and always train hard.”

Murat Gassiev Trainer Abel Sanchez predicts- Usyk on his back before nine

Murat Gassiev’s coach Abel Sanchez has studied Aleksandr Usyk ahead of Saturday’s Ali Trophy Final in Moscow and predicts problems for the Ukrainian if he doesn’t improve from his performance in the semi-final against Mairis Briedis.

“Usyk got skills, he is a very good fighter,” said Sanchez, known for creating and training world class fighters in Big Bear, California.

Russian Murat Gassiev is one out several champions who have been under the wings of the Mexican legend and his training methods.

“Dorticos, Usyk, Briedis, any of those guys, they are all very physical themselves so we have to be more physical. And I feel that our exercises and system make us a little stronger, a little better, a little faster than most guys,” said Sanchez.

He has studied Usyk in detail ahead of the final and believes he has seen a chink in the armor of the first seed in the cruiserweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series.

“You can’t allow a fighter to be the one he wants to be and I believe Murat will be able to break Usyk down. Briedis allowed Usyk to move, allowed him to be first and when Briedis came close he was not effective.”

“But Usyk also allowed himself to be trapped and to be hit. If Usyk fights Murat the same way he fought Briedis he will be on his back before nine.”

“I always train my fighters to be the best they can be. It doesn’t matter what the other guys bring. How Usyk fought Briedis doesn’t mean he will fight Murat the same way. What you look for though is tendencies of what he likes to do and what he does after certain combinations. We have prepared Murat to be Murat and now Usyk will have to deal with him.”

The winner of Usyk-Gassiev at the Olympic Sports Complex will be the first boxer ever to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy and unify the cruiserweight titles in the four belt era.

The belts on the line will be the WBO, WBC, IBF and WBA Super and RING Magazine’s vacant cruiserweight championship strap.

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