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WBA Announces will wait for new studies before pronouncing on Canelo case

The WBA will wait for new studies before pronouncing on Canelo case- 

The World Boxing Association (WBA) will wait for all the necessary protocols for the clarification of the case of Mexican Saúl Canelo Álvarez, who tested positive for Clenbuterol in the sample taken by the VADA during the procedures prior to his rematch with Kazakh Gennady Golovkin.

Álvarez has shown integrity and honor throughout his career, which is why the body will wait until the situation is resolved. The boxer said that the consumption of contaminated meat has been the cause of such a positive result, a situation that is not new in the world of Boxing and much less in Mexico, where there have been several unintentional cases.

“My first reaction is that I believe in Canelo’s innocence. He has a long career in professional boxing and has always proven to be a clean athlete”, said the body’s president, Gilberto Jesús Mendoza. “It seems that the issue of Clenbuterol is already a common case in Mexico. On previous occasions, fellow organizations have had to study this cause and therefore they know more about it, but I know that the sample is at the levels expected from the consumption of meat. He already said he will submit to all the protocols that are required and, while that happens, the WBA will continue to stand with Canelo, as it has always done”, he continued.

The President is confident that the fight between Alvarez and Golovkin will not be affected by this situation and that everything will continue as expected for May 5: “This is going to add a bit of drama to the fight, but I know that the fight will continue. The organizations will work to add additional protocols, although this procedure is endorsed by the VADA, an organization that has had a very positive experience in this fight against banned substances”.


NEW YORK (March 7, 2018) A stellar off-TV three-fight undercard has been added to this Friday’s SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT from Deadwood Mountain Grand in Deadwood, S.D., and presented by DiBella Entertainment.

In a scheduled six-round junior middleweight clash, undefeated 2016 United States Olympian Charles Conwell (6-0, 5 KOs) will look to continue his hot streak as a professional. Just 20 years old, Conwell returns to battle following a sensational hometown performance in Cleveland, winning a dominant six-round decision versus Roque Zapata on November 10, 2017, in his first nationally televised bout on SHOWTIME.

Son of former heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison, Tulsa, Okla. knockout artist Trey Lippe Morrison (13-0, 13 KOs) is determined to forge his own path to heavyweight stardom and will compete in a six-round bout. Fully recovered from a hand injury that required surgery in April 2017, Lippe Morrison is excited about his return to the ring where the charismatic prospect has thrilled boxing fans throughout his home state of Oklahoma.

Rounding out the undercard, Matt “Sharp Shooter” Remillard (26-1, 15 KOs), of Hartford, Conn., continues his rise in the junior lightweight division with a scheduled 10-rounder against Sonora, Mexico’s Jesus “Chuito” Valdez (22-3-1, 11 KOs). The 31-year-old Remillard has won three fights in a row since losing to world champion Mikey Garcia, most recently stopping Yardley Armenta Cruz in the fourth round, on October 28, 2017.

The 25-year-old Valdez finished 2017 with two third-round knockouts in Agua Prieta, Mexico, and will be fighting for the second time in the United States. On June 30, 2017, Valdez fought a hotly contested 10-round battle against undefeated prospect Lamont Roach in Indio, Calif., losing a decision.

SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT is headlined by a 12-round clash between undefeated 140-pound contender Regis Prograis (20-0, 17 KOs), of Houston, Texas, and former unified world champion Julius Indongo (22-1, 11 KOs), of Windhoek, Namibia, now based out of Omaha, Neb., for the interim WBC Super Lightweight World Championship.

Co-featured on the telecast, undefeated 140-pound contender Ivan Baranchyk (16-0, 10 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., faces former world title challenger Petr Petrov (38-5-2, 19 KOs), of Madrid, Spain.

Opening the SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION telecast, undefeated heavyweight Junior Fa (13-0, 8 KOs), of Papakura, New Zealand, squares off against Craig Lewis (14-1-1, 8 KOs), of Detroit, Mich., in an eight-round bout.

Undefeated Former Olympian Mytrofanov to Face Hernandez at The Chicago Rumble’ Returns on April 14 i

Undefeated Former Olympian Mytrofanov to Face Hernandez as Natex Boxing’s
‘The Chicago Rumble’ Returns on
April 14 in Northlake, IL
On Saturday, April 14, Chicago’s newest promoter, Andrew Sobko, CEO of Natex Boxing Promotions, will return to the Midwest Conference Center in Northlake, Illinois, for his next instalment of “The Chicago Rumble.”

A night of action-packed professional boxing featuring local and international talent in competitive match-ups, the night’s main event will pit Oxnard, California’s (via Chernigov, Ukraine) undefeated dynamo, and 2016 Olympian, Dmytro Mytrofanov (2-0, 1 KO) taking on dangerous Mexican spoiler Vladimir “24K” Hernandez (10-2, 6 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight showdown.


In the night’s six-round light heavyweight co-main event, undefeated Rustam Tulaganov (1-0) of Oxnard, California (via Tashkent, Uzbekistan) will face capable Chicago-based slugger Martez McGregor (5-1, 4 KOs).

In addition to his Olympic appearance two years ago, 28-year-old Mytrofanov, won Ukrainian national amateur titles in 2008 and 2012 and a bronze medal at the 2011 European Championships. He turned professional late last year and now trains at Oxnard’s Boxing Laboratory (formerly Robert Garcia Boxing Academy) under former Robert Garcia protegee Marco Contreras.

Denver (via Mexico’s) Hernandez is no easy challenge for any fighter, especially one with just two pro fights. In just the past year, Hernandez slapped highly rated prospect Danny Valdivia with his first two career losses (now 14-2) via deserved decisions.

“I’m very happy to be going back to Chicago to fight,” said Mytrofanov. “I’ve been training very hard for this fight in Oxnard for the last weight weeks with world-class sparring partners. I’m in terrific shape and looking forward to a great win. I don’t know much about my opponent, but I will make adjustments in the ring because I’m ready for anything anyone brings.”

I’m very excited about this show,” said promoter Andrew Sobko. I have been following boxing since my father was a Ukrainian boxing champion. I grew up in the boxing industry. I am honored to be able to bring this great event to the boxing-rich city of Chicago and its great fans. My matchmaker, Jerry Alfano, is doing a wonderful job of making sure every fight will be an action-packed war.”

IWBHF Announces 2018 Inductees

The International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame has announced the 2018 inductees. The eight honorees include five retired boxers, a referee, a boxing judge and a journalist. The fighters include Myriam Lamare, Belinda Laracuente, Jessica Rakoczy, Mary Jo Sanders and Vonda Ward; the boxing judge is Julie Lederman, the referee, honored posthumously, is Belle Martell and the journalist, the first male ever so honored, is Bernie McCoy.

The 2018 inductees bring the five-year IWBHF total to thirty-seven. The Hall was conceived and founded in 2014 by Sue Fox, publisher and editor of WBAN, the longtime site of record for the sport of Women’s boxing. WBAN, for over two decades, has spotlighted and brought awareness to the sport of female boxing and five years ago, Fox crystallized that focus with the establishment a Hall of Fame, centered solely on the sport.

The five boxers being honored represent headline fighters from the past two decades in the sport and represented an era when the best of the female boxers, more often than not, were matched with other top fighters in their weight class. The five inductees represent countries ranging from France, Puerto Rico and Canada and include two U.S. athletes, an indication of the burgeoning international flavor into which the sport has evolved.

Myriam Lamare epitomized the noun “fighter.” She had one gear, “all out” and knew only one direction, “straight ahead.” It is not an overstatement to call her two bouts with Anne Sophie Mathis fights that served to ignite interest in the sport of female boxing in Europe. Lamare fought 177 rounds over her career and was in the ring with every top boxer in the sport, ranging from Mathis to Holm to Braekus.

Belinda Laracuente set the bar high for a “go anywhere, fight anyone” reputation. The Puerto Rican born boxer fought every good fighter in the sport, including Christy Martin, Sumya Anani and Holly Holm in this country and Myriam Lamare in France, Esther Phiri in Zambia, Duda Yankovich in Brazil, Jelena Mrdjenovich in Canada and Emiko Raika in Japan. It was said that Laracuente, in the ring, had every move in the book along with some that were only in rare editions.

Jessica Rakoczy came out of Hamilton, Ontario and followed the pattern of the other inductees in looking up the rankings for opponents, fighting Layla McCarter, Jenifer Alcon and Jane Couch. But it was her 2007 loss to Ann Marie Saccurato that is often talked about when the subject is “best fights, ever,” in the sport. For Rakoczy, the bout was a text book example of the ring adage that even in defeat, the “good ones” often bring out the best in themselves and their sport.

Mary Jo Sanders had twenty-five wins over a sterling career coming out of the quintessential fight town of Detroit. She also had a loss and a draw on her record, both against the “face” of the sport, at the time, Holly Holm. The Holm bouts were the highlights of a career for a very fundamentally skilled fighter who had big wins against Layla McCarter and Chevelle Hallback.

Vonda Ward might well be considered the best all-around female athlete ever to box professionally. She was an outstanding high school basketball player in Cleveland before matriculating to the University of Tennessee to play for legendary coach Pat Summitt. In the ring, Ward compiled an estimable 23-1 record, beating heavyweight fighters such as Carleton Ewell, Martha Salazar and Marsha Valley, losing only to highly regarded Ann Wolfe.

Julie Lederman grew up in a boxing household. As such, it is fair to assume she was probably exposed to the sport from a young age. Those two circumstances may have had something to do with her gravitating to the sport as a boxing judge. Those two circumstances have nothing to do with her becoming one of the top officials in the NYSAC. Similar to the fighters honored by the IWBHF, she is a very good boxing judge, not a very good female boxing judge; she is also not a very good judge with a well- known last name. She is a very good judge well worthy of induction into the IWBHF.

Belle Martell, who is honored with induction posthumously, was the first female referee licensed in California in April,1940. She continued, along with her husband, Art, to be a factor in boxing for the following two decades serving also as an active promoter in the state’s amateur ranks along with being a highly-sought after ring announcer.

Bernie McCoy began writing while in the Army, serving with the Armed Forces Press Service. Upon discharge, he alternated between advertising (copywriting for the Reynolds Tobacco and Coca-Cola accounts) and the newspaper business (sports writing in St. Louis, New Orleans and various New York suburban papers) before retiring from two decades as part of the Media department at Pepsi Cola. Subsequently, he has written extensively about Women’s boxing for a number of Internet sites, most notably, WBAN. Founder and publisher, Sue Fox remarked “while always a staunch advocate and strong supporter of the sport, (McCoy) never pulled his punches in his writing.”

While the fifth class of the IWBHF may be slightly more diverse than previous groups, including three “non-participant” inductees, this ground breaking enterprise continues to forge ahead with its focus and mission, to provide recognition to a sport and it’s integral figures, past and present, who have contributed to the progress thus far achieved  and to the future growth of the sport and it’s athletes.

Claressa Shields and Mary J Blige Appear as Superheroes in Commercial Aired During Sunday’s Oscars Broadcast

WBC and IBF World Super Middleweight Champion, and two-time US Olympic gold-medal winner, Claressa Shields, appeared with music legend and fellow female superstar Mary J. Blige in a special 60-second short film that aired during Sunday’s worldwide broadcast of the 90th Academy Awards.

Directed by Dee Rees and sponsored by Walmart, the film was inspired by Walmart delivery boxes and featured Shields and Blige as superheroes.

A world-famous singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress, Blige is a nine-time Grammy Award winner, a three-time Golden Globe nominee and the first woman to receive multiple Academy Award nominations in the same year (for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song). She has sold 75 million records worldwide.

In addition to being the current unified WBC and IBF World Super Middleweight Champion, Flint, Michigan’s Shields won gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, becoming the first American boxer-female or male-to win consecutive medals. In just her first full year as a professional, Shields was named USA Today: Female Fighter of the Year, Yahoo Sports: Female Fighter of the Year, WBAN: Hottest Rising Star and WBAN: Most Inspirational.

Shields (5-0, 2 KOs) is currently hard at work, preparing for her next fight in April on SHOWTIME.

Four-Division Champion Adrien Broner to Face Former Champion Jessie Vargas

BROOKLYN (March 5, 2018) – Four-division champion Adrien Broner will battle former welterweight world champion Jessie Vargas in the 12-round main event of a SHOWTIME tripleheader on Saturday, April 21 in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.

Former champion Omar Figueroa suffered a shoulder injury in training that forced him to withdraw from his previously scheduled showdown against Broner.

Undefeated former world champion Jermall Charlo clashes with once-beaten Hugo Centeno, Jr. for the interim 160-pound world title in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature. Also featured on the telecast, which begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, are former champions Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Jesus Cuellar as they square off for the WBA 130-pound Super World Championship.

“The April 21 card features Adrien Broner, Jermall Charlo and Gervonta Davis – three of boxing’s “must-see” attractions – in highly competitive matchups against top contenders,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.  “Adrien Broner is once again proving that he’s willing to take on the toughest available opponent in consensus top-10 welterweight Jessie Vargas. Hugo Centeno Jr. represents another tough challenge for knockout artist Jermall Charlo as he continues his quest to become a two-division champion. Gervonta Davis vs. Jesus Cuellar is another great matchup, with two power-punchers facing off for the 130-pound world title.”

Broner (33-3, 24 KOs) is one of the most gifted boxers in the sport, having won world titles in four different weight classes by the age of 28. The Cincinnati, Ohio native has won championships at 126, 130, 135 and 140 pounds while facing top competition across the various divisions. In his last fight, Broner lost a unanimous decision to Mikey Garcia on July 29 at Barclays Center after previously defeating Adrian Granados earlier last year.

“I’m feeling really good and I’m excited that this is an even bigger fight than Figueroa,” said Broner. “I had to switch up some sparring partners but everything is going great in camp. We’re fighting at 144 pounds, so he’ll have a slight weight advantage, but it won’t matter. I’m going to be in great shape for this fight. Coach Kevin Cunningham is my head coach for this camp, but I did not fire Mike Stafford. I just added to my camp, because I needed the help. I know what I have to do at the end of the day to get back on top where I belong.”

Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs), a 28-year-old former welterweight champion who was born in Los Angeles and now lives in Las Vegas, is always up for a challenge. His only two losses have come in welterweight title matches against pound-for-pound greats. He lost a controversial fight to Timothy Bradley, Jr. and dropped a unanimous decision Manny Pacquiao in a world title defense. Vargas won the welterweight title with a TKO victory over Sadam Ali in 2016 prior to the Pacquiao fight. Vargas is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Aaron Herrera in December as he works toward another world title opportunity.

“This is a fight that should garner a lot of attention from boxing fans and they deserve a fight like this,” said Vargas. “We are two entertaining fighters who come in and give it their all. This is a fight that will have a lot of fireworks. I respect Broner and his skills, but he’s very beatable. The fight was presented to me and I didn’t think twice about taking it.. We as fighters and entertainers have to give the fans what they want. We had a fantastic fight on Saturday in Brooklyn and we’ll have another one in April. I will have my hand raised and let everyone know I’m still a danger to anyone I face.”

Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) won his super welterweight title with a dominant knockout of Cornelius Bundrage in 2015 and eventually achieved the distinction of holding a world title in the same weight class (154 pounds) as his twin brother after Jermell won a title in 2016. After successfully defending his 154-pound title three times, Charlo of Houston, Texas, made the move to 160 pounds with the goal of becoming a d-division world champion. In his debut at 160-pounds, the 27-year-old scored a TKO victory over Jorge Sebastian Heiland at Barclays Center on July 29. Charlo vs. Centeno was originally scheduled for March 3 before being rescheduled due to a rib injury suffered by Centeno.

“I really love fighting in Brooklyn and at Barclays Center,” said Charlo. “The fans in Brooklyn always show me a lot of love. Since my last fight I’ve had a chance to work on my patience and work on improvements to my game. Before the injury to Centeno, I was having the best camp of my life. I’ve got the same feeling that I had before I won my first world title. I want to be a champion at 160 more than I did the first time at 154. Centeno is a tough fighter. He’ll be a hard test but he’s someone who isn’t at my level. I’m not taking anything away from him. But he’s just another fighter that’s in my way.”

The 26-year-old Centeno (26-1, 14 KOs) caught everyone’s attention when he scored a stunning knockout of Immanuwel Aleem in his last fight on Aug. 25. It was enough to springboard Centeno into middleweight title contention. Centeno of Oxnard, Calif., successfully rebounded from a tough TKO loss to Maciej Sulecki on June 18, 2016 with a victory over Ronald Montes before his match against Aleem. Centeno expects to be 100 percent healed and ready for the challenge by fight night.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” said Centeno. “I was really devastated when we had to reschedule the fight, but I know I have to be 100 percent for this challenge. I think my last outing had a lot to do with me getting this fight. It helped to put me in this position. Charlo is a great fighter with a lot of talent. I feel like we have similar statures. It’s going to be an interesting fight. I think it’s going to come down to who is the smarter fighter that night and who has more left in the tank toward the end. This is a life-changing, career-changing fight for me that could lead to bigger and better things. I’m coming to win.”

Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) is a proof that dynamite can come in a 130-pound package. The 23-year-old, of Baltimore, fought three times last year and ended all of his fights by stoppage. He won the 130-pound world title with a TKO victory over Jose Pedraza in a star-making performance at Barclays Center on Jan. 14, 2017. He traveled to London for his first title defense and stopped Liam Walsh by TKO on his home turf to retain the title on May 21, and most recently scored a knockout victory over Francisco Fonseca on Aug. 26 on the Mayweather vs. McGregor PPV undercard. Davis look to recapture a title in the 130-pound division after failing to make weight prior to the Fonseca fight.

“I’m the most exciting and skilled fighter on television and in 2018 I plan to show it,” said Davis. “On April 21 I’ll be back in the ring, live on SHOWTIME. Jesus Cuellar is arguably my toughest opponent to date. He is rough and tough, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m more than happy to be fighting at Barclays Center where I won my first world title. Brooklyn is very close to Baltimore, so all of my people will be there to witness me become a world champion again.”

Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) is seeking to win a world title in a second weight class when he takes on Davis. A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the 31-year-old Cuellar won a featherweight world title with a TKO victory against Vic Darchinyan on June 6, 2015. Six months later he made a successful defense by winning a unanimous decision against Jonathan Oquendo before losing the belt to Abner Mares by split decision on December 10, 2016.

“The time I’ve had off since the Mares fight has refreshed me for this new opportunity,” said Cuellar. “It took a lot out of my body to make 126 pounds for all of those years. Now I feel fresher and hungrier than ever before. I’ve been offered fights against lesser opponents in the last year but I’ve preferred to wait a little longer so that I can get a chance to fight the best. Gervonta Davis is one of the best in the world, so he’s the one I want to face and beat. Davis has never faced a fighter like me and he will see me at my very best on April 21.”


NEW YORK (March 6, 2018) – Undefeated 140-pound contender Ivan Baranchyk will now face former world title challenger Petr Petrov this Friday, March 9, in the co-featured bout on SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT from Deadwood Mountain Grand in Deadwood, SD. The contest will be an eliminator for the No. 2 position in the IBF junior welterweight world rankings.

Petrov replaces Anthony Yigit, who has withdrawn due to illness.

Also added to the SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION tripleheader is a heavyweight matchup featuring undefeated prospect Junior Fa taking on once-beaten Craig Lewis in an eight-round bout to open up the telecast at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

In the previously announced 12-round main event, undefeated 140-pound contender Regis Prograis will face former unified world champion Julius Indongo for the Interim WBC Super Lightweight World Championship.

“Baranchyk and Petrov are both known for their all-action styles and are never in a bad fight. It is a tremendous addition to this card and I’m thrilled we were able to put the bout together on short notice. The fact that Petr was training for another fight once again made it possible to create a superior fight under difficult circumstances,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “New Zealand heavyweight prospect Junior Fa made a huge statement in his last appearance on SHOWTIME and he’ll look to keep that momentum going this Friday at Deadwood Mountain Grand against the tough Craig Lewis. Boxing fans will remember Fa’s two amateur victories against Joseph Parker, who will attempt to unify heavyweight title belts against Anthony Joshua on SHOWTIME on March 31.”

Sporting a record of 38-5-2 with 19 KOs, the 34-year-old Petrov, of Ryazan, Russia, and based in Madrid, Spain, will look to bounce back into the win column following a hotly contested 12-round decision loss to WBO Lightweight World Champion Terry Flanagan on April 8, 2017, in Manchester, England. Prior to the loss to Flanagan, Petrov was on a six-bout winning streak, including victories over Michael Perez, Marvin Quintero and Gamalial Diaz. Over the last 10 years, Petrov’s only other losses have come against world champions Marcos Maidana and Dejan Zlaticanin.

The Baranchyk (17-0, 10 KOs) vs. Petrov bout is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, in association with Fight Promotions Inc., Holden Productions, Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing.

The 28-year-old Fa made an astounding statement in his U.S. network debut, stopping Fred Latham in the first round on November 10, 2017, in Cleveland on ShoBox: The New Generation. Prior to turning professional, the New Zealand native defeated current WBO Heavyweight World Champion Joseph Parker twice in the amateurs.

Fighting out of Detroit, Mich., Lewis (14-1-1, 8 KOs) returns to battle following a second-round knockout of Galen Brown on August 12, 2017. He was undefeated through the first 15 fights of his professional career and was the 2014 National Golden Gloves Bronze Medalist at heavyweight.

Salita Signs Promotional Deal with Undefeated Ukrainian Junior Featherweight Arnold Khegai

Dmitriy Salita of Salita Promotions proudly announces the signing of undefeated Korean Ukrainian junior featherweight prospect Arnold Khegai.

From the town of Razdelnoye in the region of Odessa, in the Ukraine, Khegai (11-0-1, 8 KOs) was last seen ripping away the undefeated record of then 11-1 Russian prospect Valery Tretyakov via last-second tenth-round KO.

“I really want to win over the audience in the US with my exciting style and my physical strength and endurance,” said the 25-year-old Khegai. “I am ready and willing to fight the best fighters in my weight class; anyone who stands in my path of getting a world title belt.”

Khegai switched over from being a world champion Thai boxer to a professional boxer in 2015 and has torn through a stiff level of domestic competition along the way.

Married with a degree from the Institute of Food Academy, Khegai says the deal with his promoter will set all of his dreams in motion. “I am very excited about signing this deal with Salita,” he continued. “Now that I have time to properly prepare, my goal is to fight my way through the 122-lb division and become undisputed world champion.

“Arnold is a proud member of the small Korean community in the Ukraine,” said Dmitriy Salita. “He is incredibly strong and powerful and will be a challenge for anyone in the division. I am excited to have him make his debut on American soil on my show on April 20. I have no doubt he will quickly become a fan favorite and world champion.”

Kovalev and Bivol Both Remain Champions with KO Victories

New York, NY: Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) of Russia delivered another trademark crushing performance with a seventh round stoppage of Igor Mikhalkin (21-2, 9 KOs) of Russia at The Theater at Madison Square Garden to retain his WBO World Light Heavyweight Championship.

Despite their friendship, there was no love lost between Russian countrymen as Kovalev made Mikhalkin feel the heat from the opening bell. Through the first six rounds, Kovalev out landed Mikhalkin 145 to 25 punches, according to CompuBox.

Nevertheless, Mikhalkin is a world champion, and stayed in Kovalev’s face. A cut opened below Mikhalkin’s right eye, and as Kovalev continued to punish him, referee Steve Willis stepped in to have the ringside physician examine Mikhalkin. He determined Mikhalkin could not continue, delivering a TKO victory to Kovalev at 2:25 of the seventh round.

“It was better work for sure than the last fight,” said Kovalev of his win over Mikhalkin. “This might maybe have looked easy, but it definitely was not. He doesn’t hit the hardest, but I could feel his punches and he has a lot of movement and he is a great boxer.”

Asked about what’s coming next, Kovalev said “I’m always ready for a big money fight … I read on the internet that the Badou Jack fight would be a big fight – if he beats (Adonis) Stevenson.” As to the potential of a third fight with the now retired Andre Ward, Kovalev said, “I don’t think about this right now. I want to fight the fights that the fans want to see. For you, for myself, because I love boxing.”

In the exciting co-feature, WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs) of Russia battled Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba down to the final round before scoring a TKO victory at 1:41 of the twelfth.

Bivol found a home for his powerful right hand at several points throughout the bout, but the resilient and dangerous veteran fighter Barrera stayed competitive until the moment he could not continue. At the time of the stoppage, all three judges’ scorecards were overwhelmingly in favor of Bivol.

“He was a really great opponent,” said Bivol. “Sullivan Barrera showed me a lot of things tonight I need to work on when I go back to the gym. So thank you, Sullivan, for that.”

Bivol said he held some of his effort in reserve until he felt confident. “As a matter of fact for the first few rounds, I was a little bit reserved while planning the rest of the fight. I was thinking how much I needed to go the rest of the fight. But by the 12th round, I knew I could knock him out. I stepped on the gas, and the knockout came.”

As to his future, “I’ve got the goods to be the best light heavyweight in the world, but I’ve got a lot of work to do to be the best in the division. I have to fight the best in the division and prove I’m the best,” said Bivol. As to who it might be, Bivol said, “You can be the best only when you fight the best. I’m not going to attack anybody. I have a belt, whoever wants it can come and get it.”

Vaughn “Da Animal” Alexander(12-0, 8 KOs) of St. Louis, Missouri remained undefeated in his second appearance at Madison Square Garden, 14 years after his original 2004 victory. Alexander won a ten-round unanimous decision over a tough as nails Devaun Lee(10-3-1, 5 KOs) of Brooklyn, New York, who took the fight on barely two days’ notice.

The tough middleweights traded to the body from early in the bout. Alexander snapped Lee’s head with shots, but due credit to the local favorite for hanging tough. “It was good to put in the rounds. I got the victory, I’m looking forward to fighting again.”

The 32-year-old Alexander picked up his career where he left off after serving an 11-year prison sentence. “It was good to be here as a more mature, experienced fighter.”

Brooklyn’s own Frank “Notorious” Galarza (19-2-2, 11 KOs) battled a determined Norberto Gonzalez (24-11, 14 KOs) of Monterrey, Mexico in an eight-round junior middleweight contest. The local hero delivered a unanimous decision victory by scores of 80-72, 79-73, and 78-74.

Galarza, 32, traded shots with Gonzalez, but was in control of the action and directed the path of the fight throughout as his devoted fans cheered him on. The veteran Mexican, 36, took the fight on short notice and acquitted himself well with his effort.

“We knew we would get the rounds in. We knew he was a counterpuncher, so we utilized that,” said Galarza. “I was able to show my ability, my boxing ability, my ring intellect, being smart in the ring. Compared to my last fight, overall we brought a lot more to the table.”

Galarza thanked all the fans who came to The Garden to see him.

“I love my fans, they always come and support, that’s the beauty of it. Ain’t no better place to be, Madison Square Garden, that’s where all the classics are, all the greats.”

akhram Murtazaliev (12-0, 10 KOs) of Grozny, Russia extended his knockout streak to eight, stopping Kenneth McNeil (11-4, 8 KOs) of Birmingham, Alabama, in the first defense of the IBA Super Welterweight World Title he won at The Garden in November. Murtazaliev let out a roar of satisfaction as referee Danny Schiavone halted the contest at 1:08 of the fifth round.

“I imagined the fight would go a little bit differently,” said Murtazaliev. “My opponent didn’t fight, he was running all around, always running. With an opponent like this, it’s super hard to fight.” Trainer Abror Tursunpulatov had confidence his fighter would prevail. “We knew Bakhram was going to win by KO or TKO in the last rounds.”

“For all my team, Egis (Klimas), for Kathy Duva, for all the team, they helped me a lot. My goal is to make you happy, every fight,” added Murtazaliev.

McNeil had never been stopped before, giving Murtazaliev, 25, the most significant test of his career to date. It was the Russian’s third fight under both the Krusher Promotions and Main Events banners.

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