MANCHESTER, Conn. (December 3, 2019) – If everything goes according to plans, 2020 will be a breakout year for unbeaten prospect “Marvelous” Mykquan Williams (15-0-1, 7 KOs), the World Boxing Council (WBC) United States super lightweight champion.
Williams, fighting out of East Hartford, CT, is arguably one of the most gifted 21-and-under fighters in the world, and he won’t turn 22 until April 6.
In 2019, he won two of three rights with a questionable draw in his last fight in October against Tre’Sean Wiggins (11-4-3, 6 KOs), in the “Broadway Boxing” main event held at Generoso Pope Athletic Complex on the campus of St. Francis College in Brooklyn.
The highlight of 2019 was capturing his title belt last May with a 10-round unanimous decision victory against Ricky Edwards (12-2) at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Overall, Williams was happy with 2019 performances, although he only fought three times as opposed to four the previous two years, and failed to register a knockout.
“I kept my belt (he retained it vs. Wiggins),” Williams spoke about 2019. “I probably would have fought four times again, if the dates were spread out a little more having my first fight in February and last in November. Quality is more important than the number of fights.
“I always look at knockouts as a bonus, if it comes, good. Not everybody goes down. I’m happy winning and looking good. I do know that my opponents felt my power and were stunned in all of my fights this year.”
Williams’ head trainer, Paul Cichon, believes his rising star is on schedule. “He’s only 21 and still has a lot to learn,” he explained. He’s right on schedule. The more experience, obviously, the better he gets. His last fight opened some eyes. He’s normally a slow starter, but now he knows that he has to start quicker. The number of fights he has is , in part, determined by who he fight and how far it goes. It could be a 10-rounder, or he could stop his opponent in three, four rounds. His last was 10 a tough, good fight.”
Williams and Cichon are looking forward to making a splash in 2020. “This coming year is going to be big for me,” Williams commented. “I’m going to be stepping up against opponents in terms of quality. I’d like to get more television exposure, too. But I’m happy with the way my career is going with 16 fights in four years.
“A lot of people forget I’m 21; they think I’m 22-23. I have no regret turning pro (rather than staying in the amateurs to try and make the USA Olympic Boxing Team) because I’ve been around for four years. Everything is going on schedule with 16 fights in three-plus years. I’d like at least three fights in 2020, one against a rated fighter, and a fight for another title by my last fight of 2020.”
Williams manager, Jackie Kallen, wouldn’t be happier with the way Williams has progressed this year and she’s looking forward to more in 2020.
“Everything is going right on schedule,” she remarked. “Mykquan has a solid team behind him and this coming year should be a stellar one. He has grown with each fight and has learned something new from each opponent. This has prepared for him for whatever lies ahead in 2020. He remains involved in his community and finds ways to give back whenever possible. He is a positive role model and a well-rounded fighter. I could not be prouder.”
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (December 2, 2019) — New England’s most powerful puncher and one of the area’s most popular pro boxers, undefeated RICHIE “POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN” RIVERA (15-0, 12 KOs), returns to the ring Friday, December 13 on “New England Explosion”, presented by JOE DEGUARDIA’S STAR BOXING, at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“New England Explosion,” sponsored by MGM Springfield, will air live for the first time on New England Sports Network (NESN), starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. The home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox, NESN is available nationally on a sports subscription basis.
Rivera will be fighting near his Hartford, Connecticut home (25-minute drive) for the first time in 1 ½ years. The charismatic Rivera, whose “Popeye” persona has endeared him to fans everywhere, has already fought six times in 2019, expanding his growing fans base in Mexico, Florida, and New York (two fights in each), plus North Carolina.
“I’m thrilled to be fighting in my backyard again,” Rivera said. “To get the job done I take each fight like it’s my hardest. I feel like this will be an exciting victory for me.
“I believe that I’ll be just as busy in 2020 as I’ve been this year. I want to keep fighting a lot for fans to think of me as one of the most active fighters in the game.”
Rivera will take on cruiserweight “MIGHTY” JOE JONES (11-1, 8 KOs), fighting out of Leesburg, Virginia, in the 8-round, co-featured event. Rivera was able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, because he’s fighting as a full-fledged cruiserweight (200 lbs.), rather than in his natural 175-pound light heavyweight division, or the 185-pound catchweight he’s fought at so many times.
“I’m going up in weight,” he noted, “so I didn’t have to hold back on turkey. I figure that the light heavyweight division is slowly picking up, but that the cruiserweight division is on a dying cycle. I’m going to make a name at cruiserweight before dropping down to my regular weight (light heavyweight) and I can out-punch any light heavyweight. I’ll continue to train hard and eat well, as always, but still bring my power to cruiserweight.”
“This is a huge fight for Richie,” his head trainer Tony Blanco commented. “Fighting a good, quality opponent who is a natural cruiserweight will be his toughest test to date. Jones is a solid pro, young (24), and he packs a good punch. An impressive victory for Richie will open doors for him to make a big splash in 2020. We’re right there at the door.
“I think Richie will be able to climb the ladder (ratings) faster as a cruiserweight than light heavyweight. He’s going to bring excitement to the cruiserweight division and make his mark there before easily going back to light heavyweight.”
“Richie Rivera is an exciting prospect and I look forward to his fight on December 13th at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The fans are in for an exciting fight in the ring, and his ‘Popeye’ persona is also entertaining”, stated Joe DeGuardia, President of Star Boxing.
The Rivera vs. Jones bout will be co-promoted by Hartford Boxing Promotions, which is owned and operated by Rivera, Blanco and Michael Tran.
Blanco and Rivera agree that “Popeye” has gained invaluable experience sparring the past year with his stablemate and one of the stars of Star Boxing, union worker and former WBC International light heavyweight champion JOE SMITH, JR. (Mastic Beach, Long Island, 24-3, 20 KOs), who is training for his January 11th showdown in Atlantic City versus JESSE HART (26-2, 21 KOs) on ESPN.
“I love working with Joe,” Rivera added. “He has tremendous power. Joe’s a light heavyweight who definitely has pop. If I can take Joe’s punches, I can’t think of a better way for me to get ready to fight a good cruiserweight. Every time I spar with Joe – right now, about once a week – it’s a learning experience for me.”
Rivera is part of a Nutmeg State triple-header in Springfield. East Hartford super lightweight “ACTION” ANTHONY LAUREANO (12-0, 4 KOs) returns home in an 8-round tilt against ANGEL”AZTEC WARRIOR (17-14-2, 11 KOs), while Danbury lightweight OMAR “THE BEAST” BORDOY (9-1, 3 KOs) steps up to take on Dublin, Ireland’s undefeated “SLICK” VICTOR RABEI (8-0, 2 KOs) in what will be Bordoy’s first scheduled eight-round bout.
WORCESTER, Mass. (December 2, 2019) – Undefeated World Boxing Youth World lightweight champion Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz (12-0, 6 KOs) is on a mission to become the first Worcester-native to become world champion.
The second-largest city in New England, Worcester is located in Central Massachusetts, and it has a rich boxing history dating back nearly a century: two-division world champion Lou Brouillard, a Canadian import and International Boxing Hall of Famer, 1928 Olympic bronze medalist Leo Sawicki and, more recently, three-time, two- division world champion “El Gallo” Jose Antonio Rivera, plus Worcester-born fighters Sean “The Irish” Express” Fitzgerald, four-time national amateur champion Bobby Harris and Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez, a two-time national champion.
Ortiz started boxing when he was only six years old at the Worcester Boys and Girls Club, under the expert guidance of National Golden Gloves Hall of Fame trainer Carlos Garcia, who has directed the boxing program there for nearly 40 years.
Garcia is on record saying the best boxer he’s ever worked with, including Rivera, is the naturally gifted Ortiz, who had an outstanding 100-14 amateur record, highlighted by a silver medal at the 2015 National Golden Gloves Tournament, losing to Teofimo Lopez (14-0,11 KOs) in the championship final. Ortiz turned pro after he lost to Gary Russell in the semifinals of the 2016 Olympic Trials. Lopez, incidentally, challenges International Boxing Federation (IBF) World lightweight champion Richard Commey on December 14 at Madison Square Garden.
“I was a big fan of Jose, Bobby and Edwin,” the 23-year-old Ortiz said. “I just want to prove it (best in Worcester) by becoming world champion soon, to be called (the best) that, not only by people close to me, but by people around the world.
“Right now, I believe I’m the best, not only in Worcester, but one of the top fighters in the New England area, no doubt about it.
Rivera and Fitzgerald are two of his most ardent supporters.
“Jamaine Ortiz is a future world champion,” Rivera predicted. “Boxers come up through different paths; some rely on pure talent, others through hard work and a lot of heart. Some may be more defensive, others are all offense, or those relying on their conditioning to get them to the top. Jamaine is the total package! At only 23, he is still learning and growing. When you combine his hunger, determination, hard work, talent, brains and heart, you have the recipe for a special champion.”
“The sky is the limit for Jamaine,” Fitzgerald added. “He has great ring awareness with fast hands. The best thing about Jamaine is that he is a great kid, well respected, and he doesn’t run the streets. It’s tough to win a world title, but I believe he has the best chance of doing it. I’m looking forward to seeing him reach the top of the mountain.”
Today, Worcester hosts a minor league hockey and indoor football teams. The city is changing rapidly and in 2021, it will be 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.
The Worcester dream for Jamaine’s promoter, Jimmy Burchfield (Classic Entertainment and Sports), co-advisers Richard Shappy and Eddie Imondi, and all of Worcester is for Jamaine Ortiz to capture or defend his world title right there at home in Polar Park.
Unbeaten super-middleweight Charlie Shane moved up to 8-0 with another points win at the York Hall on Friday, November 29 on a Hellraiser Promotions show.
Signed to Joe Elfidh’s Boxing Connected promotions, the 28-year-old from Chatham defeated debutant Tom Barrett (0-1), who was cut and bruised under his right eye by Shane, but he wasn’t completely happy with his performance still.
“I won on points, but I felt a bit rusty, to be honest, but I’ve got that out of the way and now its onwards to something else,” he said.
The ring rust was to be expected after his first fight in 13 months, due to minor injuries keeping him out of the ring. His next fight is scheduled for February 29 at Mote Park in Maidstone and has ambitions to challenge for a Southern Area title very soon after.
“I said I’d be looking for a title after this fight or possibly an eliminator for a title. I want to be a Southern Area or English champion next year, that’s the goal.”
The Kent-based southpaw recently signed a new contract with manager Joe Elfidh to keep him at Boxing Connected – formerly JE Promotions – for another three years. He explained his reasons for putting pen to paper with Elfidh again, “Because I trust Joe a lot and I’ve known him for a long time now, before I turned pro.”
Elfidh confirmed that he is looking to guide his super-middleweight talent towards an Area title next, “We’re going for the Southern Area title after this fight. He’s ready to be let off the leash now, still only 28 and raring to go.”
The Southern Area super-middleweight title has just been vacated by Frank Warren’s prospect Zak Chelli (7-1), who freed the belt to fight for the English crown in his next fight against Jamal LeDoux (8-1).
Now Swindon’s Sam Smith (8-2) and Londoner Germaine Brown (7-0) lock horns for the vacant strap today, on November 30.
Nicknamed ‘The Animal’, Shane said, “I’m definitely looking at the winner of that fight. With our fights being on the same weekend, whoever wins will have the same time to prepare as me, so I’ll be staying ready.”
The emerging 168-pounder is trained by Ray Askew and Sam Latham at the thriving Invicta Gym in Sheerness.
Shane debuted in March 2016 at Medway Park in Gillingham and claimed the British Challenge belt in his fifth fight at Mote Park in Maidstone against experienced veteran Lewis van Poetsch (6-52-1).
As an amateur, Shane won 25 from 30 fights, representing Medway clubs Brompton ABC, Golden Gloves, and St Mary’s, and reached the semi-finals of the prestigious Haringey Box Cup.
He originally trained under the guidance of former world champion Johnny Armour when he first turned professional.
Former WBC World Heavyweight Title Challenger and WBA International Heavyweight Champion Johann Duhaupas has compared Filip Hrgović (9-0, 7 KOs) to legendary three-time World Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko.
The experienced Frenchman has been in Miami sparring Hrgović, alongside undefeated British heavyweight prospect Fabio Wardley and top Belgian cruiserweight Joel Tambwe Djeko, ahead of his WBC International Title clash with Eric Molina (27-5, 19 KOs) on December 7th at the purpose built Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia.
Duhaupas, who first encountered Hrgović at a Wladimir Klitschko training camp in Austria, says he has been impressed with the fast rising Croatian star, and states his ‘style and ability’ are similar to the elder Klitschko brother Vitali.
“I first met Filip at the Klitschko camp in Austria and he impressed me,” said Duhaupas. “He has a good right hand, fast and strong, and you can see he aims to become a World Champion. I smell it in him. His style and ability are similar to Vitali Klitschko.
Duhaupas is renowned for fighting some of the heavyweight division’s elite talent having faced the likes of Deontay Wilder, Alexander Povetkin and Jarrell Miller, and believes Hrgović is now ready to face similar big names.
“Deontay is a killer, but Filip already has a good right hand and maybe in one year with more muscle and power he could punch as hard as Wilder,” says Duhaupas. “With good mental and physical preparation, I believe Filip could win by KO against Miller or Povetkin.”
Hrgović must first overcome two-time World Title Challenger Molina from Texas, USA. A challenge Duhaupas believes the Olympic Bronze Medalist is ready for.
“It’s a really big opportunity for him,” he says. “When you are a good boxer with a good team you don’t care about travel, you only care about winning your fight. Filip wants to fight and he knows what he wants to achieve, I am very happy to train with him because his mentality is similar to mine.”
Hrgovic-Molina features on the undercard of the unified World Heavyweight Championship fight between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua which tops a stacked event at the Diriyah Arena, Saudi Arabia.
A proud world champion once again, two-time WBC Super Middleweight Titleholder David “El Bandera Roja/Red Flag” Benavidez says he’s a stronger, wiser version of himself and has his sights set on the division’s other big names.
Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs), from Phoenix, says he watched WBA Champion Callum Smith’s recent defense against fellow UK scrapper John Ryder and is licking his lips at the thought of facing his counterpart.
“He looked like he was having a really hard time with a guy who had lost to Rocky Fielding and been knocked out,” said Benavidez. “I thought he was going to look really impressive, but that’s not what happened. I’m obviously a better fighter than him and he’d be a perfect opponent for me. I saw things in his style I could really work with.”
22-year-old Benavidez is currently working hard in the gym with father/trainer José Benavidez Sr., waiting for his next fight to be announced. After sitting out a one-year suspension, he regained his WBC title in his last fight, a KO 9 last September in Los Angeles over interim champ Anthony Dirrell.
“It was a long road being out for a year and seeing my title get won by Dirrell and then getting back in there and winning it back,” said Benavidez of his year off and subsequent redemption. “I learned to be disciplined more than anything. I learned that everything can be taken away at any moment if I make the wrong decisions. Sitting out made me hungrier as well. Seeing everybody in there fighting, knowing I was up there with the best of them.”
Another foe the young champion says would end up a signature victory is current IBF boss Caleb Plant.
“I don’t feel like he’s true super middle,” said Benavidez of Plant. “I think he weighs 170 walking around. Once he gets in with a tough fighter like me, he won’t be able to keep me off of him. All I need is one punch and I don’t think he’d be able to keep me from landing it for 12 rounds. He’s a good boxer, but it’s a fight and I’m the bigger guy naturally and I hit a lot harder. That’s a fight we can make happen in a heartbeat.
A win over Smith or Plant, said Benavidez, would pave the way for his ultimate showdown.
“And then you have (multi-time world champion Saul) Canelo (Alvarez), the big dog. That’s my main goal right now. I want to be great in my sport and be the best of my generation. Beating him would take me a long way toward that. That’s what keeps me working hard every day. All I have to do is stay on track and I will make it all happen.”
To every bad experience, there is a positive side and Benavidez says he’s a much better fighter for having gone through all of it.
“The positive of all of it is the experience I gained. You can’t teach experience. I’ve had a lot of big fights and been in the spotlight and I’ve been on the sidelines having lost it all. You have to live through that yourself and be in those circumstances to know how important it is to do the right things.”
Benavidez’s promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, says he’s proud of the young champion’s ability to come back from adversity.
“It was a hard time when he got suspended,” said Lewkowicz. “As a team we all had to pull together and make a plan to come back better than ever and now here we are, stronger and wiser than before. David has a long, historic career in front of him and I’m honored to be helping him achieve it.”
LAS VEGAS (November 27, 2019) — History will be made on Saturday, December 7, when RJJ Boxing Russia presents its first professional boxing event streamed live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, starting at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT from RCC Martial Arts Academy in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Living legend and RJJ Boxing Promotions co-founder, Roy Jones, Jr., is wildly popular in Russia, and RJJ Boxing Russia will officially launch Dec. 7 with the inaugural RJJ Boxing Russia on UFC FIGHT PASS.
“Roy is in Russia half the year promoting what we are doing there,” CEO and co-founder Keith Veltre said. “Roy has been in Russia for a while promoting our December 7th show. As a USA promoter, conducting business there is extremely rare and a privilege. We will be working with our partners to bring Russian fighters to American soil, so that they can compete at the highest level. We plan to promote multiple shows in Russia throughout the year on UFC FIGHT PASS, which will also be televised in Russia on UFC TV Russia.”
Undefeated Russian cruiserweight prospect Alexey Egorov (9-0, 7 KOs) will be showcased in the 10-round main event against his Ukrainian opponent, Sergey Radchenko (7-4, 2 KOs). Egorov, the European and Russian National amateur champion, stopped two-time, two-division world title challenger Lateef Kayode (21-3) last year in his most notable clash.
In the 8-round, co-featured event, undefeated Ukraine-native Mukhamad Shekhov (6-0, 3 KOs) takes on Panamanian veteran Juan Aaron Suarez (15-6-3, 4 KOs), a former World Boxing Association (WBA) Fedecentro titlist, for the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) Intercontinental Cruiserweight Championship.
In a rematch that ended in a majority draw last February, Russian super featherweights Ruslan Kamilov (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Evgeniy Shirnov (13-0-3, 3 KOs) throwdown in a 10-round bout.
Russian light heavyweights Ali Izmaylov (2-0, 1 KOP) and Mark Chemidov (5-6-2, 2 KOs) open the UFC FIGHJT PASS stream in a 6-rounder.
New York, NY (November 27, 2019) Training over the long Thanksgiving weekend, three of the top boxers on the upcoming DiBella Entertainment Broadway Boxing card shared their thoughts on the family holiday as they prepare for battle on Thursday, December 5, at Terminal 5 in Manhattan, NY. The 112th edition of Broadway Boxing will be live streamed exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, beginning at 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT. Broadway Boxing is presented by Nissan of Queens, Azad Watches, OPTYX, Christos Steak House and Gagliardi Insurance.
Headlining the event, world ranked contender O’Shaquie “Ice Water” Foster (16-2, 10 KOs), of Houston, TX, will defend his WBC Silver Super Featherweight Title in a 10-round clash against Alberto “The Transformer” Mercado (16-3-1, 3 KOs), of Humacao, Puerto Rico.
“Thanksgiving is all about family,” said the 26-year-old Foster. “I am thankful for the family that I have. We never had much growing up, but they’ve always been very supportive of my boxing career from my very first bout starting as an amateur.
“I am also thankful for my team that supports me in and out of the ring. We have been working hard the last few years through each Thanksgiving and every holiday and it’s definitely paying off. I’m getting a great deal more recognition from the fans and media, but they haven’t even seen half of what I can do.
“I am also thankful just to be alive. There was a dark time when things were going the wrong way quickly. I was into all sorts of things I had no business doing; I wasn’t exactly obeying the law. But I’m happy for the man I am today. I formed my own team and they have had my back ever since. The future seems very bright and I’m going to keep shining on Thursday, December 5. Wishing everyone the very best family Thanksgiving.”
Co-featured in a 10-round women’s bout on December 5, former World Champion Ana Laura “La Monita” Esteche (14-5-3, 2KOs), of Buenos Aires, Argentina, faces former world title challenger “Merciless” Mary McGee (25-3, 13 KOs), of Gary, IN, for the vacant IBF Super Lightweight World Title.
“Thanksgiving means being thankful to my promoter Lou DiBella and my manager Brian Cohen for believing in me and providing me with the opportunity to win the IBF 140lb. title,” said McGee. “I’m very thankful that this will position me to provide a better life for my son.
“Training on the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, is something I’ve always done throughout my career. I’ve always understood the challenges it takes to be a world champion and this is something I’ve dreamed about since I started boxing. Thursday, December 5, will be the culmination of all my hard work and truly be the best holiday season for me. Wishing everyone a joyous Thanksgiving. Tune in on UFC FIGHT PASS to watch me win the world title.”
Undefeated heavyweight prospect Stephan “Big Shot” Shaw (12-0, 9 KOs), of St. Louis, MO, also spoke about Thanksgiving prior to his fight on December 5 against Gregory “Bad News” Corbin (15-2, 9 KOs), of Dallas, TX, in a scheduled 10-round bout.
“I’m very thankful to be alive, healthy, pursuing my dreams and making them a reality with each fight,” said the 27-year-old Shaw. “I’m thankful for my wife and two sons, my family means the world to me. Thanksgiving to me also means being thankful for my parents raising me the right way. I’m thankful for God’s grace and mercy. I’m overall thankful for the life God has given me.
“Finally, I’m very thankful to Lou DiBella for taking me under his wing and continuing to help me build my career. Being part of his team has allowed me to be more focused on training and preparing for each fight.”
Two tremendous undercard bouts will also be part of the UFC FIGHT PASS stream on December 5. Popular Puerto Rican lightweight prospect Victor “El Turu” Padilla (6-0, 5 KOs), of Berlin, NJ, will face Fredric Bowen (6-3-1, 3 KOs), of Jackson, TN, in a six-round tilt.
Also, former world title challenger Mikkel “Slikk Mikk” LesPierre (21-1-1, 6 KOs), of Brooklyn, NY, clashes with Roody Pierre “Rude Boy” Paul (16-5-2, 6 KOs), of Terrebonne, Quebec, Canada, in an eight-round super lightweight bout.
Other top prospects seeing action in separate bouts on the stacked card include lightweight Christian Bermudez (1-0, 1 KO), of Brooklyn, NY, light heavyweight Frederic Julan (11-0, 9 KOs), of Brooklyn, NY, cruiserweight newcomer Matthew Tinker (1-0, 1 KO), of Long Island City, NY, and undefeated welterweight prospect Mathew Gonzalez (9-0, 6 KOs), of Ridgewood, NY. More information on these bouts will be announced shortly.