The World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight Final will be held in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia in May 2018 following an agreement signed in London between World Boxing Super Series organiser and owner Comosa AG and The General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia. The date and venue for the Final will be announced in due time.
The Muhammad Ali trophy will be awarded to the winner of the contest in the final stage of the inaugural season of the World Boxing Super Series, which has seen growing worldwide attention and broadcast coverage across more the 60 countries since its launch and Gala Draw in Monaco back in July.
Turki Al-Alsheikh, President of The General Sports Authority: “This agreement is part of our broader commitment and work to develop the sport of boxing in Saudi Arabia. Having the first final of such a high profile and groundbreaking tournament take place in Saudi Arabia is a key milestone for us, and will be one of many major sports events to take place in the Kingdom next year.”
“The interest in boxing amongst the young generation is there and growing rapidly, which is why the GSA is also working to form a grassroots partnership with one of the largest international boxing federations to promote the sport. Our involvement in the Muhammad Ali trophy is the perfect way to step up our engagement in boxing, given how popular and well respected this great sporting athlete has always been.”
Roberto Dalmiglio, CEO of Comosa: “This is fantastic news, not just for World Boxing Super Series but for boxing and for the sport in Saudi Arabia. We have seen huge and growing interest in the World Boxing Super Series from fight fans, broadcasters, commercial partners and venue owners from the major boxing markets around the world. The competition to host the cruiserweight final has been fierce, and we are delighted to be able to announce the winner.”
“I am sure that Saudi Arabia will lay on a fitting finale to the first year of the WBSS and first award of the Muhammad Ali trophy! We are proud to be working with the Saudi General Sports Authority on what will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the 2018 sporting calendar in Jeddah.”
Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer: “The Muhammad Ali trophy is going from strength to strength and, with the cruiserweight division featuring all four federation world champions, the undisputed champion will be crowned next May. We will also feature local fighters on the undercard to help promote the sport locally.“
“The Muhammad Ali name and legacy is so revered in Saudi Arabia, and Ali himself fought his greatest battles (‘The Thriller in Manila’ and ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’) in locations not normally associated with boxing, so it is fitting to bring big-time boxing to Jeddah in the name of the Greatest of All Time.”
The first fights of the World Boxing Super Series took place in September and three of the four quarterfinals in the Cruiserweight division has already taken place. 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist and current WBO World Champion Aleksandr Usyk kicked off the cruiserweight tournament by spectacularly stopping Marco Huck, a former record-breaking World Champion himself, in the 10th round in Berlin.
WBA World Champion Yunier Dorticos defeated number one ranked Dmitry Kudryashov with a sensational second-round knockout in San Antonio. Finally, hometown hero Mairis Briedis outpointed Cuba’s Mike Perez in Riga to retain his WBC world title belt and set up a semi-final clash with Aleksandr Usyk.
Next up is Russia’s IBF World Champion Murat Gassiev against Poland’s former world champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday, with the winner to face Yunier Dorticos. The venues of both semi-finals, which are expected to take place in the second half of January next year, will be announced in due course.
Mikaela Laurén (29-4, 13 KOs) believes her power could prove too much for Cecilia Brækhus (31-0, 8 KOs) when she challenges for the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO World Welterweight titles on Saturday at the Oslofjord Convention Center in Stokke, Norway.
The Scandinavian rivals meet in a repeat of their 2010 World title contest, and Laurén, the former WBC Super Welterweight Champion, is confident she can hurt the female pound-for-pound number one and put an end to her 31-fight unbeaten streak.
“Cecilia is a very arrogant person but when she feels my power she won’t be so cocky. She might be confident now, but once I hit her, it’s going to wake her up. It’s going to scare her and then I’m going to get her respect,” said Laurén.
“She’s been in the ring with some strong fighters before like Anne Sophie Mathis and Oxandia Castillo, and in those fights you can see she’s not comfortable when she gets caught with heavy punches. I’ve got heavy punches but I’ve also got better technique than both those girls. I’m going to be cleverer in the ring.
“Cecilia has never been down before but if anyone can do it, it’s me. Klara Svensson shook her in their fight, and Klara’s not even a big puncher. She landed the heaviest punch of the fight and you could tell Cecilia was hurt.
“I’ve spoken to Klara and she’s given me some advice. She’s on my side and she thinks I can beat Cecilia. I won’t mention everything she told me but she did say that Cecilia doesn’t really punch hard, and that shows on her record. She has hardly any knockouts.
“I think she is underestimating me. Maybe she thinks I’m still the same fighter I was seven years ago, but I wouldn’t even call myself a boxer back then. I was a novice. I’ve developed so much since our first fight. I’m a completely different fighter now and she is going to see just how much I’ve improved on Saturday.
“I know it will be tough but I’m used to doing it the hard way. Cecilia has had it much easier than me. She’s had a silver spoon in her mouth. She had a big promoter behind her from her first fight. I didn’t get a promoter until after my thirtieth. I’ve had to do everything on my own, and that’s made me hungrier and even more determined to win.
“She’s said I talked myself into this fight but I deserve it, and she knows it. I’ve been waiting a long time for this opportunity. This is my Olympics, and I will do everything I can to win. No one is unbeatable. Look what happened to Klitschko who she has been working with. Anyone can fall from the throne.”
Team Sauerland and Sport1 GmbH have signed a ground-breaking three-year-deal to lift boxing to the next level in Germany. From 2018 onwards, Team Sauerland will exclusively deliver boxing content to SPORT1, Germany`s leading 360° sports platform, which each year will broadcast at least 20 events with German participation and a total of roundly 100 fights live and exclusive on free-TV and its digital platforms.
“Team Sauerland has been continuously on Free to Air Television in Germany since 1992. We are delighted to continue that tradition and provide the sport with a huge free-to-air presence over the next three years,” said promoter Kalle Sauerland. “With a total of at least 60 free-to-air events with German participation until 2020 we now have a perfect platform for our current stars and the next generation of boxing heroes.”
Olaf Schröder, CEO of Constantin Medien and Chairman of the Management of Sport1 GmbH: “Thanks to this extensive and exclusive partnership with Team Sauerland, SPORT1 is set to become the new home for all boxing fans in the German-speaking countries. Together with Team Sauerland, we are opening the next chapter for boxing in Germany. As the leading sports dedicated platform, we will showcase this popular sport with its present and future stars, not only with extensive live broadcasts on free-TV but also on all digital platforms, giving it even more of the spotlight.”
The deal will also change the way boxing is viewed in Germany. SPORT1 will exclusively broadcast “Team Sauerland Championship Boxing” as well as “Next Generation Boxing” and “International Boxing Nights.” Prior to all big fights, there will be exclusive countdown programming – all available on free-TV. On top of that, SPORT1.de, Germany’s leading sports platform, will sync its boxing channel with Team Sauerland´s webpage, boxen.com, to expand the digital boxing coverage in the Online, Mobile and Social Media sector.
Said promoter Nisse Sauerland: “This 360-degree approach on free-to-air television will help boxing win many new fans and make sure it stays where it belongs: among the top three TV sports in Germany. Team Sauerland’s young talent pool has never been so strong. This historic deal with SPORT1 will give our fighters never-seen-before exposure and the unique chance to fight their way to the top and win the hearts of the public.”
Mikkel Kessler has been forced to delay his comeback after contracting Lyme Borreliosis – a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. The former five-time World Champion had announced his plans to come out of retirement earlier this year and was expected to make his long awaited return to the ring in November.
However, the Danish boxing icon was struck down by a mystery illness whilst in training camp, and was later admitted to hospital where following multiple tests it was revealed that he had Lyme Borreliosis. Kessler has since been released from hospital and is currently completing a course of antibiotics. The 38 year-old is close to making a full recovery, but still suffering from symptoms including fatigue, he is yet to resume training.
“I started to feel ill around 4 weeks ago. I was tired, my muscles were aching and I was unable to train,” reveals Kessler. “At that point, I still had no idea what was causing it. I had blood tests, which showed nothing, and it wasn’t until I had a spinal fluid test that the doctors were able to identify the problem. “I’m not sure exactly when or where I was bitten by the tick, but I’m just thankful the bacteria was caught early and hopefully there will be no long lasting effects.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed to have to delay my comeback. I want to thank my fans for their support and patience. I hope to be ready to return to the ring early next year, and I promise to repay their support with a great victory!”
“I’ve had fighters suffering from many different injuries and illnesses in the past but this is a first for me,” said promoter Kalle Sauerland. “I know Mikkel is bitterly disappointed, but his health must come first. We are now set for March and will announce venue and opponent in the coming weeks. It will take more than a tick to stop The Viking Warrior!”
WBA super champion George Groves defeated fellow countryman Jamie Cox in the Ali Trophy quarter-final with a fourth-round knockout and paved the way for a British superfight semi-final with Chris Eubank Jr.
“We have an opportunity to put on a mega fight. I can’t wait, it’s going to be epic!” said Eubank Jr. after facing off with Groves.
Groves ended Cox’s unbeaten record Saturday night as he delivered a stunning right hook body shot to floor Cox.
“I was landing big body shots on Jamie, in the end it was a right hook to the body, it’s a crippling shot – I don’t blame him for not getting up,” said Groves now looking forward to fighting Eubank Jr.
“It’s going to be a great fight. Eubank has always been all-action. He has improved over the years but he hasn’t boxed anyone on my level. I know if I boxed like I did tonight, he doesn’t stand a chance.”
Cox worked furiously and fought with intensity from the first bell, but in the end he could not handle Groves’ greater power.
“He placed the shot greatly and he’s a very good champion. He prepared well, I made a mistake and he made me pay. It was a great fight until then,” said Cox.
“It was an honour being a part of this great tournament.”
Saturday night at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports co-promoted a PBC double header. Headlining was WBA Super world featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz defending that title against Chris Avalos co-featured by Abner Mares defending his WBA regular world featherweight title against Andres Gutierrez.
The first of two world title fights was between WBA regular featherweight champion Abner Mares and Andres Gutierrez. It looked like a refreshed and improved version of Mares from opening bell, he threw punches in five and six bunch combinations confusing Gutierrez who tried to remain calm and weather the storm. As Gutierrez moved forward hoping to find an opening or possibly see Mares slow down he became target practice and returned to his corner bleeding from his left eye. A cut that referee Jack Reiss claimed at that time was from a Mares punch.
As rounds wore on, Gutierrez attempted to land big counter punches in hopes one would connect and slow Mares assault down for those attempts he was punished with barrages of varied combinations. The rounds became nothing more than a showcase for Mares skillset and at anytime after round seven someone could have halted the affair with no complaints on an early stoppage. The face of Gutierrez started looking distorted, his eye quickly swelling shut and his corner unable to relieve that swelling between rounds. In round ten referee Jack Reiss finally called in the ringside doctor who advised a halt to the contest. It appeared as though Mares had won by TKO but it was later decided Gutierrez cut was caused by a head butt. They would got to the official cards which read 100-90 and 99-91 twice all in favor of Abner Mares who improved to 31-2-1 (15), the record of Andres Gutierrez drops to 35-2-1 (25).
When Leo Santa Cruz stepped in to defend his WBA Super world featherweight title against well traveled Chris Avalos, fans in attendance seen a glimpse of Santa Cruz many have not in previous fights. While Santa Cruz as always used a high volume punch output as his defense and offense, he threw punches with “bad intentions” early looking to either halt Avalos quickly or take any desire to fight out of him while he dazzled viewers. He stunned Avalos early and often landing six and seven punch combinations.
It was a non-stop one sided beating from Santa Cruz for eight continuous rounds, Avalos on occasion attempted to mount an offense but in return was peppered with combinations. In round eight finally referee Thomas Taylor took mercy on Chris Avalos and halted the contest. A tough but game Avalos never had a moment of success against Santa Cruz who was relentless from start to finish. With the win Leo Santa Cruz improved to 34-1-1(18), Chris Avalos now stands at 27-5 (20).
The televised opener was a welterweight contest between former world champion Antonio DeMarco and undefeated prospect Eddie Ramirez. This was supposed to be a coming out party of sorts for Ramirez, a win over DeMarco on television could have placed his name in main stream discussions as a prospect to look out for. That memo did not reach the desk of Antonio DeMarco.
It started with Ramirez moving forward and attacking the body of DeMarco possibly hoping to wear Tony down for later rounds. A single counter punch in-between Ramirez attack from DeMarco sent Eddie backwards and DeMarco capitalized on that moment. He jumped all over the inexperienced Ramirez and ended the affair seconds later. With the win Antonio DeMarco improved to 34-6-1 (24), Eddie Ramirez in his first defeat now stands at 17-1 (11).
In Undercard action–
Lightweight- Roberto Marroquin 27-4-1 (20) def. Ruben Tamayo 26-11-1 (18) via TKO 5.
Welterweight- Eimantas Stanionis 4-0 (3) def. Todd Manuel 14-15-1 (3) via UD 8.
Middleweight- Misael Rodriguez 4-0 (2) def. Cesar Hernandez 3-3 (1) via UD 6. 6rds
Super Featherweight- Jerry Perez 3-0 (2) def. Juan Sandoval 7-19-1 (4) via UD 4.
Super Bantamweight- Jose Vargas 3-0 (2) def. Jose Perez 1-1 (1) via KO2.
Super Featherweight- Percy Peterson 3-14-3 (1) def. Luis Coria 4-1 (3) via UD4.
Bantamweight- Antonio Santa Cruz 6-3 (3) def. Jesus Godinez 2-2(2) via KO3.
Bantamweight- Jose Balderas 2-0 def. Victor Torres 2-6-1(1) 4rds
Saturday October 14th at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York a 154lb world title fight triple header took place headlined by WBA Super and IBO champion Erislandy Lara defending his belt against Terrell Gausha. In the co-features IBF title holder Jarrett Hurd faced former world champion Austin Trout and WBC title holder Jermell Charlo faced Erickson Lubin. In all the combined record of the six fighters was an impressive 141-5-2.
In the main event WBA Super champion Erislandy Lara put on a master class clinic in his defense over Terrell Gausha. While the crowd in attendance was not happy and most were unable to appreciate how easily Lara was able to handle Gausha he did so without threat. The straight left hand and angles of Lara left Gausha confused and without answers on how to mount an offense of his own. In the twelfth and final round Gausha managed to have some success but that success came too late. The final scores read 116-111 twice and 117-110 all in favor of Lara. With the win Erislandy Lara improved to 26-2-2 (14) after his first defeat Terrell Gausha stands at 20-1 (9).
The anticipated battle of punchers between WBC belt holder Jermell Charlo and undefeated Erickson Lubin was a short affair. On paper it appeared to be an exciting matchup but the inexperienced 22yr old Erickson Lubin was over anxious and sloppy from the start. He leaned in to land punches, Charlo capitalized with a counter right that landed behind the ear of Lubin stopping him in round one. One the punch landed Lubin fell unable to get up and was counted out in round one. With the win Charlo improved his record to 30-0 (15), suffering his first career defeat Erickson Lubin now stands at 18-1 (13).
In the third co-feature, IBF belt holder Jarrett Hurd and former world champion Austin Trout put on the nights most exciting bout. It would be Trout using experience and superior ring generalship to win early rounds. The combination punching of Trout and constant movement kept Hurd off balance early on. It was a dominate performance by Trout through six rounds as he moved, unleashed combinations then avoided any return fire from Hurd. As the rounds wore on, Hurd slowly took advantage of his reach and started landing punches at a distance swelling Trouts right eye. It would be all Jarrett Hurd from rounds eight through ten, imposing his size and targeting the swollen eye of Austin Trout until completely shut. In between rounds ten and eleven the corner of Trout decided to halt the contest due to his eye saving him for another night. It was a good performance for Hurd despite a tough start, it’s a learning experience that should make him a smarter fighter in future bouts and hopefully he takes advantage of his massive reach earlier if he can manage to do so Hurd could become a dominate title holder.
In Undercard action–
Middleweight-Tony Harrison 25-2 (20) def. Paul Valenzuela Jr 20-6 (14) via UD 8.
Featherweight- Cindy Serrano 27-5-3 (10) def. Edina Kiss 14-6 (8) via SD 8
Super Welterweight- Chordale Booker 8-0 (4) def. Malcolm McAllister 9-1 (8) via UD 8.
Heavyweight-George Arias 9-0 (5) def. Mario Heredia 14-6 (12) via TKO 5.
Welterweight- Julian Sosa 10-0-1 (3) def. Erick Daniel Martinez 14-10-1(8) via UD 4.
Welterweight- Richardson Hitchins 3-0 (1) def. Jordan Morales 2-3 (2) via UD 4.
Friday night on ESPN Deportes Golden Boy promotions hosted an event from the Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio in California. The televised co-features would be two ten round junior welterweight contest, opening the card would be former WBA 140lb interim title holder Pablo Cesar Cano taking on experienced but little known Marcelino Nicolas Lopez. In the main event well traveled Fidel Maldonado Jr faced off against former WBA interim lightweight belt holder Ismael Barroso.
The main event between Fidel Maldonado Jr and Ismael Barroso was at minimum disappointing. The bout began with Fidel Maldonado Jr using movement trying to box from a distance while Barroso swung wild power shots. They both seemed to have abandoned the jab, wild misses of Barroso allowed Maldonado Jr to edge out the first two rounds. In round three as Barroso came closer to landing with his hooks, Maldonado Jr became heisitent to commit with his own offense and was sent to the canvas by a Barroso left hand. One that first big punch of Barroso connected, Maldonado Jr jumped on his bike and back peddled offering nothing in return. It became ugly was clinches started happening regularly, Barroso swung wild and Maldonado Jr ran hoping to avoid being caught by another lunging hook.
There would be another knockdown scored by Barroso in round five that caused the eye of Maldonado Jr to swell shut almost instantly. In round six a determined Barroso in ugly fashion chased Maldonado Jr with wild hooks missing most, once Barrose was able to land a punch Maldonado Jr folded and did not attempt to rise off the mat. It would be the first time since facing Amir Imam in 2015 Maldonado Jr was halted in a contest, his record dropped to 24-4-1 (19) while Ismael Barroso improved to 20-1-2 (19). The unwillingness of Maldonado Jr to even throw let alone commit to his punches is signs of a fighter who has lost his desire to compete. The wild lunging style of Barroso is ugly and despite his nineteen stoppages out of his twenty wins the power of Barroso is average at best. I personally would not be disappointed if neither were televised again.
In the opening bout, Pablo Cesar Cano and Marcelino Nicolas Lopez both entering off a loss, needed not only to win but impressively. In April on an ESPN broadcast main event from the Turningstone casino Lopez lost a split decision to Michael Perez. With all three of his previous bouts going the distance Cano was 1-2, losing to Fidel Maldonado Jr and Alan Sanchez winning narrowly against Mauricio Herrera. It started with neither fighter doing much but Cano slightly busier opened a cut over the eye of Lopez just before round one ended. At the start of round two, Cano circled looked for distance to land punches and capitalize on the cut of Lopez. With perhaps feeling a sense of urgency due to the cut, Lopez pressured Cano and as Pablo circled towards the ropes Lopez landed a clean overhand right left uppercut combination. The combination instantly dropped Cano in a fahion that gave referee Edward Hernandez Sr no reason to count halting the affair at 27 seconds of round two. With his win Marcelino Nicolas Lopez with the win improved to 32-3-1 (18), suffering his first stoppage loss since 2014 Pablo Cesar Cano drops to 30-7-1 (21).
In Undercard action
Lightweight– Oscar Duarte 12-0-1(8) def. Juan Jose Montes 25-6-2 (15) RTD 4.
Super Welterweight– Marvin Cabrera 6-0 (5) def. Hector Velazquez 57-30-3 (39) Via TKO corner threw in towel
Featherweight– Francisco Javier Martinez 4-0 (3) def. Ricardo Arias 1-2-1 UD 6.
Welterweight– Ruben Rodriguez 2-0 (1) def. Israel Villela 6-7 (2) UD 4.
WBA Super World Super Middleweight champion George Groves (75,8 kg) (26-3, 19 KOs) and Jamie Cox (76,1 kg) (24-0,13 KOs) are ready for Saturday’s Ali Trophy quarter-final clash at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London.
“I have worked hard all my life to become a world champion,” said Groves.
“Now I will work hard to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy. I am in great shape, I have great experience and I know exactly what it takes to win this tournament. I can’t wait for Saturday night.”
Jamie Cox has been confident in the build up for the fight and says he is ready to cause a stir against the number one seed in the super middleweight division of the World Boxing Super Series.
“I am relaxed,” said Jamie Cox.
“I have got my team, my friends, my family and my fans here. I am ready to go, I have trained hard for this.”
“It is obviously my first world title fight and I am ready for the occasion. When I looked into George’s eyes a saw a scared man. I am predicting a great, great win.”
WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES FIXTURES & RESULTS
09/09/17 – Cruiserweight Quarter-Final:
Oleksandr Usyk vs. Marco Huck (WBO World) – Usyk Won (TKO 10)
Max-Schmeling-Halle, Berlin, Germany
16/09/17 – Super Middleweight Quarter-Final:
Callum Smith vs. Erik Skoglund (WBC Diamond) – Smith Won (UD)
Echo Arena, Liverpool, United Kingdom
23/09/17 – Cruiserweight Quarter-Final:
Yunier Dorticos vs. Dmitry Kudryashov (WBA World) – Dorticos Won (KO 2)
Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA
30/09/17 – Cruiserweight Quarter-Final:
Mairis Briedis vs. Mike Perez (WBC World) – Briedis Won (UD)
Riga Arena, Riga, Latvia
07/10/17 – Super Middleweight Quarter-Final:
Chris Eubank Jr vs. Avni Yildirim (IBO World) – Eubank Jr. Won (KO 3)
Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle, Stuttgart, Germany
14/10/17 – Super Middleweight Quarter-Final:
George Groves vs. Jamie Cox (WBA Super)
The SSE Arena, Wembley, London, United Kingdom
21/10/17 – Cruiserweight Quarter-Final:
Murat Gassiev vs. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (IBF World)
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey, USA
27/10/17 – Super Middleweight Quarter-Final:
Juergen Braehmer vs. Rob Brant
Sport- und Kongresshalle, Schwerin, Germany
WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES AT A GLANCE
Number of participants: 16
Number of belts: 7
Number of world champions: 6
Number of former world champions: 3
Number of undefeated fighters: 9
Combined Record of participants: 423 wins, 17 losses, 294 KOs