The European boxing qualifier for Tokyo 2020 was officially suspended on Monday after two days of fighting. However, the tournament, which began last Saturday in London, had to be stopped in a momentous decision by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Boxing Task Force (BTF), decision the World Boxing Association (WBA) applauds.
The American qualifier, which was supposed to be rescheduled in May, has also been suspended, the IOC explained in a statement.
The various measures taken around the world to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic forced a halt to the competition. The IOC assured in the document that the intention is to allow the participants from over 60 countries to adjust their travel plans and return home and carry out quarantine.
The BTF will continue to evaluate the situation daily, aiming to complete the distribution of the remaining Tokyo 2020 boxing quota places in May and June. The BTF’s priority remains the qualification of athletes on the field of play, and it will inform all stakeholders as soon as more information is available
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 14, 2020) – One of the darkest days in American sports history occurred 40 years ago today, when Polish Airlines flight #7 that had departed John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City crashed a half-mile from Okecie Airport in Warsaw, Poland.
All 87 passengers died, including 14 boxers and eight officials on the USA Boxing team, due to a disintegration of a turbine disc in one of the plane’s engines that ultimately failed.
Team USA was traveling to Poland to compete in two international amateur boxing dual events. The average age of the 14 boxers was only 20 ½, ranging from 27-year-old Walter Harris to 16-year-old Byron Payton.
The potential Olympic dreams of the 14 boxers were destroyed in the horrific accident. Although most of the boxers were still in their developmental stage, outside of prospective medal challenger Lemuel Steeples, each member aspired to represent the United States in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. (The United States eventually led a boycott of the 1980 Olympics because of the Soviet-Afghan War.)
“I remember coming home from my boxing gym on March 14, 1980 and hearing the news of the plane crash on the evening news,” stated USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee.
“As an aspiring Olympic-style boxer I was shocked and felt a sense of loss like every American boxer, coach and official. Today we are reminded that life is precious, and every day is a blessing. On behalf of USA Boxing’s Board of Directors, 48,000 boxers, coaches and officials and the national office staff we remember the 1980 USA Boxing Team Members and Staff. Please keep them, their families and the worldwide Olympic-style boxing family in your thoughts and prayers.”
“Down But Not Out… Lost But Not Forgotten”
USA Boxing Head Coach Billy Walsh remembers the crash to this day. “I remember it well, as I was a 16-year-old dreaming of the Olympics,” said Walsh. “It was massive news in Europe, a big tragedy with some of the world’s best boxers and staff wiped out. We lost a generation of great fighters, and most importantly loved ones.”
Patricia Chavis was only seven years old when she learned her father, Sgt. Elliott Chavis, had perished in the crash. She was playing outdoors with friends when she noticed a lot of people crying as they entered and left her home. Her mother called her inside, sat her down with people watching, and said that her father wasn’t coming back because he had been killed in a plane crash.
“She asked me if I understood and I did, because we had recently lost my great grandmother and paternal grandfather,” an emotional Patricia explained. “I went back outside and told my friends. They were a little older and they didn’t understand why I hadn’t stayed inside with family. It didn’t really hit me that my dad wasn’t coming home until my teenage years. I remember sitting in bed and writing letters to him.
“Every year still affects me every March. We usually have a family dinner with my mom and grandchildren. They listen to stories about a man they never met. He’s buried in South Carolina and we’ve laid flowers on his grave. Every year on March 14th it brings back memories and we celebrate his life.”
Sgt. Chavis, who died at the age of 25, was stationed at Ft. Bragg (N.C.), where he learned to box. He was a member of the 118th Military Police Company and during his boxing career, the light heavyweight was All-Army and All-Southeastern.
“My parents married young,” Patricia continued. “My mom told me he was always athletic. He played football and was a pole vaulter on the track team in high school. But I didn’t know anything about his boxing until we went to a reunion at Ft. Bragg. Around the 30th anniversary I got in touch with some of his Army buddies when I saw on Facebook that they were having a reunion. I went there with my mom and listened to stories they told me about his boxing career. I found it so interesting because I hadn’t known about that. There are quite a few memorials I’ve seen on Facebook and I try to get in touch with other family members (of her father’s teammates who died in the crash). We’ll never forget!”
Below is a complete list of the 1980 U.S. Boxing Delegation who died in the aforementioned plane crash in Warsaw:
The 1980 United States Boxing Delegation to Warsaw, Poland, March 14, 1980
Due to the global spread of COVID-19, Team Sauerland and Universum Boxpromotion have cancelled their upcoming night of boxing on April 4th in Hamburg.
For both promoters, the health and safety of the athletes and everyone else present is the top priority. Even an event without spectators exposes them to unnecessary risks.
We thank everyone for their understanding and we will work with our partners to determine when and in what form the event can be rescheduled.
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (March 13, 2020) — “Fight Night In Framingham”, scheduled to be held (Mar. 20) at Sheraton Framingham Hotel in Framingham, Massachusetts, has been postponed indefinitely due to growing safety and health concerns associated with the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
“We had been working with the venue very closely to insure the best possible controlled environment,” Shearns Boxing Promotions president Chuck Shearns explained, “but at this point the right thing to do is to take no chances. Health and safety are our top priorities. We have followed suit with other promoters and indefinitely postponed this event.
“This is truly a postponement for Shearns Boxing. Our intent is to reschedule this event, the first pro boxing event ever held in Framingham, as soon as there are no health issues and all restrictions are lifted, along with state sanctioning, of course, and venue availability.”
All tickets sold in advance may be refunded at point of purchase, either online at EverBrite.com, or through the individual fighters.
WORCESTER, Mass. (March 11, 2020) – Fresh off his sensational hometown debut last month, Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz (13-0, 7 KOs) is in the middle of a developmental process that is, hopefully, headed to the top of the 135-pound division by 2022.
The 23-year-old Ortiz, who will abdicate his World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth World lightweight title next month when he turns 24 because he’ll be overage, headlined a Classic Entertainment and Sports (CES) show February 28th at the famed Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Despite fighting for the first time in six months, Ortiz showed no signs of rust, forcing Mexican knockout specialist “Loco” Luis Ronaldo Castillo (22-6, 17 KOs), a former WBC FECOMBOX lightweight champion, to take a knee after landing a crisp uppercut and then finishing him off later in the second round with three overhand rights.
Ortiz, rated No. 16 by the North American Boxing Federation (NABF), gained invaluable exposure headlining the CES event, which was streamed live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports.
“There was no reason of any rust,” Ortiz explained. “I had been working hard in the gym for several months, where I always do my best. Maybe the bright lights (fighting at home for the first time) affected me a little? It was a little different going through the fans (on his ring walk) to get to the ring (on stage). I picture much bigger things in my future, so I can’t let small stuff like that put me off my game. But I settled in quickly and felt comfortable.
“I hit him with a good uppercut to the jaw. I figured he’d get up, because he had a late reaction when he went down, but I knew it was over when I hit him with three overhand rights. I really hurt him with the last punch as he was going down. I didn’t say it publicly, but I told some people that I would knock him out in the second round, and I did what I said I’d do. I knew early that it was only going to be a matter of time.”
Ortiz displayed his lightning quick hands and feet, also switching effortlessly from orthodox to southpaw, Jamaine plans to return to work next week as a union carpenter and he’s already started running before he gets back in the gym.
A decorated amateur who had an impressive 100-14 record, highlighted by consecutive New England Golden Gloves titles in 2015 & 2016, as well as a silver medal at the 2015 National Golden Gloves Tournament (he lost to current IBF World lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez in the championship final) and reaching the semifinals of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, Ortiz is a potential star on the rise.
Because he’s only 23 there is no legitimate reason to push Ortiz at this stage of his young pro career when his developmental process is in gear. First up is his initially scheduled 10-round fight, possibly for a regional title, likely against an accomplished, experienced opponent who will give Jamaine invaluable rounds (he only has 52 rounds under his belt).
In 2021, the dream is for Ortiz to headline a major show at home in Worcester with world-ratings implications, at the new home of the Boston Red Sox’ AAA organization at Polar Park, which is being constructed now for an estimate construction cost of $100-million.
If all goes according to plans, Ortiz will challenge for a world title in 2022, at the latest.
The Ortiz Process has commenced with the goal of eventually developing him into a world titlist. Patience, though, is the key to building a champion!
Sampson Boxing proudly announces the signing of super lightweight knockout puncher Roiman “Flaco de Oro” Villa to a promotional contract.
26-year-old Villa (21-1, 21 KOs) hails from Baranquita, Venezuela. He started boxing at age six and went on to compile an amateur record of 138-9 and was a five-time national champion.
Villa says he first noticed his sensational power as a youngster.
“In the amateurs in Venezuela, I noticed the different effect my punches had compared to the other fighters. I’m gifted with a lot of power. That’s why I fight going forward all the time. I’m always looking for the knockout opportunity.”
Villa turned professional in 2015 and has been blasting out his South American competition. His lone trip to Mexico to fight led to him dropping a controversial decision to a Mexican fighter and to a desire to find solid promotional representation.
“Sampson is a promoter with hard-to-find values,” said Villa. “We are sure that his remarkable experience is critical to my dream of giving boxing fans a real show in the United States and becoming world champion. That’s the reason I’ve worked hard my entire career.”
“The boxing world will not know what hit them when Villa makes his US TV debut this year,” said Sampson Lewkowicz. “He is an exciting and fearless puncher who can knock out anyone he can hit. His style is made for television and the fans in America are going to love him.”
Lewkowicz says fans’ first look at the Venezuelan bomber will be announced shortly.
Team Sauerland’s exciting contender Abass Baraou (9-0, 6 KOs) will defend his WBC International Super Welterweight title against his countryman Nick Klappert (28-3, 15 KOs) at the Work Your Champ Arena on April 4th in Hamburg, Germany.
Baraou’s tenth professional contest will be the first under the guidance of his new trainer Adam Booth, having moved from Berlin to the UK to link up with the highly regarded coach at the new Boxing Booth Gym in Surrey, England.
The 25-year-old will be headlining in Hamburg for the second time this year having topped the bill against Abraham Juarez on January 25th where he delivered a devastating performance that saw the Mexican retire on his stool after four brutal rounds.
“I am very happy to be boxing again in Hamburg and also live on SPORT1,” said Baraou. “I want to claim my tenth victory in my tenth fight, and I will remain undefeated. My opponent is of course experienced, but he won’t stop me on my way to the top! Everyone can definitely look forward to a great fight.”
Klappert enters the ring off the back of a career best performance in Hamburg in November that saw him overcome Antonio Hoffman to pick up the IBO Continental Super Welterweight title, and will be hoping to build on this success as he goes in search of his twenty-ninth professional win.
“I’m working hard and I’ve had excellent preparation for the fight,” said Klappert. “We don’t underestimate anyone but I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and fighting in Hamburg.”
Chief support on April 4th at the Work Your Champ Arena in Hamburg comes from IBF European Middleweight Champion Denis Radovan (13-0-1, 6 KOs). 18-year-old Sophie Alisch (5-0, 1 KOs) is also in action as she looks to build on a fantastic debut year, and James Kraft (17-0-1, 9 KOs) challenges Dimitar Tilev (11-0, 7 KOs) for the IBF Junior World Super Middleweight title.
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (March 11, 2020) – Mixed-martial-arts fighter Kastriot “Slaughterhouse” Xhema, fighting out of Greenwich, Connecticut, will make his pro boxing debut against another MMA fighter, Brazil-native Saul “The Spider” Almeida (0-10-3, 20-11 in MMA), Friday night, March 20, on the “Fight Night In Framingham” card at Sheraton Framingham Hotel in Framingham, Massachusetts.
The first pro boxing event ever in Framingham, “Fight Night In Framingham” is a presentation of Shearns Boxing Promotions (SBP), for the benefit of Fighting Life, an after-school youth boxing and academic empowerment program, Fighting Life, which is available 100-percent free of charge, to students beginning in elementary school through high school education.
The son of Albanian immigrants, Xhema has a 3-4 MMA record, mostly in top-rated Bellator competition. His route into combat sports was the result of the courts sending him into an anger management program.
“I got into a lot of street fights when I was young and then I went away to prison,” Xhema explained. “When it was time for me to get out a close friend kept encouraging me to try MMA at a local gym. I got out, started training, and began MMA fighting. Fighting is humbling. I’m hurting people all the time (in MMA and boxing), so there are no reasons to street fight anymore.
“I grew-up boxing but got into MMA because it’s the closest to street fighting. I still plan to do MMA. I just had back-to-back MMA fights that resulted in me breaking both hands. I needed surgery. The smaller gloves (in MMA) are different. I hit hard but I can’t hit as hard with MMA gloves. (Tyson) Fury, (Deontay) Wilder and others got me excited again about boxing.”
Xhema’s opponent, Almeida, is a popular, experienced New England-based MMA fighter (20-11) who will be fighting in front of his hometown friends and family from Framingham. He is winless in 13 pro boxing matches with three draws.
“I don’t know my opponent, but I respect him,” Xhema said. “I don’t care about records or what people say. They don’t matter It’s going to be a fun night and I’m definitely excited. I can’t wait to get in there and do what I love. Hey, I get excited going to spar.
“For a short time, I did kick boxing. I just love to fight!”
Framingham super featherweight Timmy Ramos (5-0-2, 5 KOs), a two-time New England Golden Gloves champion, faces Carlos Marrero, III (2-3-1), of Bridgeport, CT, in the 6-round main event.
Nearby Marlboro, MA lightweight Nelson “Chino” Perez (2-0, 2 KOs), another former N,.E. Golden Gloves champion, has a new opponent in battled-tested “Relentless” Agustine Mauras (6-7-3, 3 KOs), of Lawrence, MA, in a potentially explosive 6-round, co-featured event.
Boston heavyweight Tracey Johnson (4-7-6), whose brother is past Olympian and reigning WBO super middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade, meets Larry “Hitman” Pryor (11-22-5, 5 KOs) in a 6-round bout.
Revere, MA super middleweight Jarel “Sandman” Pemberton (3-0, 1 KO), also a N. E. Golden Gloves champion, takes on his Brazilian opponent, Leandro Silva (2-3, 2 KOs), in a 4-round match.
Also fighting on the undercard in a pair of 4-round fights is Southbridge, MA welterweight Wilfredo “El Sucaro” Pagan (6-1, 3 KOs) vs. Tyrone “Hands of Stone” Luckey (9-12-4, 7 KOs), and Worcester, MA super featherweight Ranse Andino (1-1) vs. Henry Garcia (0-5-1), of New Bedford, MA.
All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Filip Hrgović (10-0, 8 KOs) will face Jerry Forrest (26-3, 20 KOs) on April 17 at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland as the fast rising Heavyweight star looks to continue his climb up the World rankings with a victory over the hard-hitting Louisianan, live on DAZN in the US and RTL in Croatia.
Hrgović, currently ranked No. 8 with the IBF, No. 9 with the WBC and No.15 with the WBO, is back in the ring following an emphatic third round knockout win over former two-time World title challenger Eric Molina at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia, which ended a successful year for the big punching Croatian.
The 27-year-old returns to happy hunting ground in Maryland having blasted out Gregory Corbin inside 60 seconds when making his American debut at MGM National Harbor in May, the first of three KO wins for ‘El Animal’ in 2019.
His opponent Forrest is a seasoned contender, who has previously gone the distance with top US heavyweights Michael Hunter and Jermaine Franklin. The active 31-year-old has five wins from six fights in the last 12 months, and will be hoping to continue this run of form to halt Hrgović’s meteoric rise.
“I am looking forward to getting back in the ring,” said Hrgović, who will be defending his WBC International Heavyweight title. “I have good memories from fighting at the MGM National Harbor. This is where I made my American debut when I knocked out Gregory Corbin in the first round, and I’ve been training hard to give the fans another exciting performance on April 17.
“My opponent Jerry Forrest is a good boxer. He is a southpaw with a good record, and I’m expecting a tough fight, but I’m confident I will beat him.
“2019 was a great year for me. I fought in America, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. I had three fights against three strong opponents and got three knockouts wins. This year will be even better. My goal has always been to become World Champion, and I’m now closing in on this goal. I’m coming for belts!”
Promoter Nisse Sauerland said: “Filip is in fantastic shape and ready to start his 2020 campaign in style. Last time out at the MGM National Harbor he introduced himself to the American fight fans with an explosive first-round knockout, and they can expect a similar display this time round. Whenever Filip steps into the ring you’re guaranteed excitement. He is the future of the heavyweight division and it’s only a matter of time before he’s fighting for World honors.”
“Filip is a big problem for the Heavyweight division,” says Eddie Hearn. “The Croat is gaining valuable experience with every camp and fight, and all eyes will be on the 27 year old in Maryland as he looks to make another statement in boxing’s glamour division.”
Hrgović-Forrest is part of a blockbuster bill at the MGM National Harbor headlined by former Super Lightweight World Champions Regis Prograis and Maurice Hooker. An action-packed undercard also features Undisputed Welterweight World Champion Cecilia Braekhus vs. Jessica McCaskill and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov against former World Champion Julius Indongo.