USA Boxing Announces
USA vs. Ireland Northeast Boxing Tour
Top amateur boxers to compete in three cities throughout March
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (January 29, 2018) — USA Boxing announced today the three cities that will host the 2018 USA vs. Ireland Northeast Boxing Tour.
Boston, Manchester (NH) and Springfield (MA) will welcome two of the world’s top amateur boxing teams for friendly duals. Each city will showcase up to 12 bouts, that will all be live streamed, free of charge, on USA Boxing’s website.
The tour will kick off March 12 at Boston’s Royale Entertainment Complex, followed by matchups on March 15 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass. Manchester will close out the duals on March 21 at The Manchester Downtown Hotel. Boxing will begin at 7:00 p.m. EST in all three cities, and tickets will be made available for purchase in the coming weeks.
The American delegation will be led by Head Coach Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, CO), who represented Ireland at the 1988 Olympics before becoming the head of the Irish boxing program for over 10 years.
Headlining Team USA’s roster will be 2017 World Championship bronze medalist Troy Isley (Alexandria, VA). USA Boxing’s team will also include a number of up-and-comers such as 2016 Youth World Champion Marc Castro (Fresno, CA), who is making his highly anticipated international elite debut this year.
Other American’s include 2016 Youth World Champion and 2017 Elite Continental Championships silver medalist, Delante Johnson (Cleveland, OH), 2017 USA Boxing Heavyweight National Champion Jared Anderson (Toledo, OH) and 2016 Youth World Championship bronze medalist and 2017 USA Boxing Super Heavyweight National Champion, Richard Torrez (Tulare, CA). A full roster for each city will be released closer to the start of the tour.
The Irish team, which will be under the guidance of former world champion and head coach Bernard Dunne, will announce their boxers at the conclusion of its National Championships in February.
USA vs. Ireland Schedule
March 12: Royale Entertainment Complex, Boston, Mass.
March 15: MassMutual Center, Springfield, Mass.
March 21: The Manchester Downtown Hotel, Manchester, N.H.
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (January 29, 2018) – Two-division World Boxing Association (WBA) World Champion Beibut Shumenov announced his comeback today at a press conference held in his native Kazakhstan.
“I thought a very long time before making this decision,” Shumenov explained. “Having weighed all the pros and cons, in addition to consulting with my family and team, I have firmly decided to return to professional boxing. Ahead is a lot of work but our goal is obvious. I want to express my thanks to all those who’ve supported me. I will keep everyone up to date with more news and details of my return to the ring.”
The Las Vegas-based Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs), a 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian, retired last June due to an eye injury., forcing him to relinquish his WBA cruiserweight world title.
“I want to tell you why I decided to interrupt my career.” Shumenov announced at today’s presser conference. “The trauma of my eye affected my decision. Fatigue and emotional tension accumulated. I just needed a break. Now, I have recovered, and I am going to resume my boxing career. Negotiations are now underway for my next fight.
Shumenov also revealed that he is working with a Kazakh group to develop a domestic pro boxing program in Kazakhstan for young children in Kazakhstan to help them reach their heights.
In only his 10th pro fight, Shumenov established the fewest-fights record for the light heavyweight world champion 10 years ago, when he decisioned Gabriel Campillo in Las Vegas.
Shumenov became the only two-division world champion from Kazakhstan in his last fight, when he stopped Junior Wright in the 10th round of their May 2, 2016 title fight, capturing the WBA Cruiserweight World Championship.
During the 34-year-old Shumenov’s professional career, he has defeated four world champions (Campillo, Byron Mitchell, William Joppy and Montell Griffin), as well as seven world title challengers (Epifanio Mendoza, Vlacheslav Uzelkov, Danny Santiago, Enrique Ornelas, Tamas Kovacs, BJ Flores and Wright).
Rising female star, Elena Gradinar of Saint Petersburg, Russia, will compete for the first championship belt of her professional career when she takes on former world champion Olivia “The Predator” Gerula for the IBF Intercontinental Featherweight Championship.
The 10-round Gradinar vs. Gerula battle will take place on Saturday, March 24, at the Energia Sport Hall in Narva, Estonia.
The undefeated 27-year-old Gradinar (8-0, 2 KOs) went 73-8 as an amateur, winning numerous national and international amateur tournaments. Gradinar has also attained the designation of Sport Master of Russia.
A well-respected and accomplished professional, Gerula, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is the former WBC World Female Super Featherweight Champion and made two successful defenses. She has also held the well-respected WIBA World Championship.
“I am very glad to fight for IBF Intercontinental belt against former WBC World Champion Olivia Gerula,” said Gradinar. “We will bring for boxing fans a dramatic and exiting clash between us. I am very proud that I will represent my country Russia and I hope that IBF Intercontinental belt will find residence in the glorious Russian city of St. Petersburg!”
“I am very excited about what’s to come. I look forward to visiting Estonia and soaking up some of its culture while proudly representing Canada,” said Olivia Gerula. “I know Elena has an impressive amateur record and an undefeated professional record, but I don’t believe she has ever been in the ring with a fighter of my quality and experience, so I expect to shake things up.”
Gerula’s co-promoter Dmitriy Salita, along with Russian-based Alexander Nevskiy Promotion Group, says the Gerula fight will prove a lot about Gradinar’s transition to the professional ranks.
“This will be the toughest test of Elena’s young career,” said Salita. “Olivia Gerula has fought and beaten many top-level female fighters in the division. I am looking forward to a great fight and, with a victory, the continued development of our future world champion.”
Saturday night from the Forum in Inglewood, California a WBA world title double header co-promoted by Golden Boy and Teiken Promotions was broadcast on HBO. In the main event WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares placed his title on the line against Mercito Gesta. The nights co-feature would be Lucas Matthysse facing Tewa Kiram for the vacant WBA regular welterweight championship.
In the main event Jorge Linares put on a world class dominate display of boxing ability against Mercito Gesta. As is not his custom to begin quickly, Linares used the first two rounds to gauge the speed and timing of Gesta before entering his own rythm. Once he began to find his groove, Linares peppered Gesta with combinations to both head and body while using superior footwork to keep Gesta from closing the distance.
There would be moments of offensive success for Gesta but he could not keep up with Linares pace or time his movement. When the bout was over, Judges scored it 118-110 twice and 117-111 all for Jorge Linares who retained his title and improved to 44-3 (27), despite a solid effort Mercito Gesta drops to 31-2-2 (17).
In my opinion Mercito Gesta would do himself favors by losing a small amount of muscle mass and drop a weight class to capitalize on his natural ability. As for Jorge Linares near future, the divisions WBC champion Mikey Garcia has an upcoming title opportunity at 140lbs against IBF belt holder Sergey Lipinets on March 10th, should he be successful or fail in capturing that title and decide to remain at 135 lbs, the WBC has ordered purse bids between Garcia and Linares to begin on March 12th.
When former 140 lb world champion Lucas Matthysse stepped in against little known Tewa Kiram for the vacant WBA regular welterweight title, there were questions being asked of both fighters. One of course “Who is this Tewa Kiram”? There was little footage of the undefeated former Thai fighter despite a 38-0 (28) boxing record which was built mainly against even lesser known competition. The second was “Can Matthysse who has fought only once, since being dominated and stopped by Viktor Postol in 2015 deal with a larger, younger opponent in a division past his most effective.?” When same day weights were announced and Kiram stepped on the scale as a “Middleweight” he became the betting favorite.
In the early going it looked as though Kiram, though a very basic fighter would wear Matthysse down using nothing more than his “One Two” combinations. The former champion lacked speed, accuracy and power behind his punches.
The tempo of the fight never changed, Matthysse moved forward landing an occasional punch that showed no visible effect while Kiram plodded and let loose an occasional combination. In between rounds four and five the commission viewed Kiram inhaling a substance from a glass bottle, they seized the bottle for further investigation but allowed the fight to continue. Once the fifth began Kiram seemed even slower than in earlier rounds and punches of Matthysse despite his pace or effort improving were showing to have more of an effect.
In round eight, Kiram would go down from what appeared no more than glancing blows and be counted out cold. With his win and new world title Lucas Matthysse improves to 39-4 (36), suffering his first career loss Tewa Kiram now stands at 38-1 (28). The ending of this fight, mystery bottle and performance by both men tarnish the event. In
no way is Lucas Matthysse despite scoring a stoppage win and winning a world title ready for this divisions upper tier. As for Tewa Kiram no matter whats found in that bottle by the California state commission will more than likely not be fighting in the United States again anytime soon.
In Undercard action-
Super Lightweight- Marcelino Nicolas Lopez 34-2-1 (19) def. Breidis Prescott 30-12 (22) via KO 5.
Lightweight- Romero Duno 16-1 (14) def. Yerdley Armenta Cruz 22-10 (12) via KO 1.
Featherweight- Francisco Esparaza 7-0-1(3) def. Tenochtit Nava 7-1 (1) via KO 6.
Featherweight- Ferdinand Kerobyan 8-0 (4) def. Lucius Johnson 4-2-1(3) via UD 6.
Featherweight- Francisco Javier Munoz 5-0 (3) def. Danny Flores 15-12-1 (8) via UD 6.
Super Welterweight- Daquan Arnett 17-1 def. Osbaldo Camacho Gonzales 6-2 (4) via UD 6.
Fighting out of Danbury, Connecticut, Bordoy (3-0, 1 KO) faces Puerto Rican-born opponent, Alexander “El Bravo” Picot (2-4-1), in a four-round bout. “My opponent is tough, and he always comes to fight,” Bordoy said. “He keeps coming forward and that’s going to make for an exciting fight.”
The 22-year-old Bordoy is the typical example of a volatile teenager who found his way in boxing. He was a high school football player who started boxing at the age of 17. Bordoy had an abbreviated amateur career, highlighted by his winning performance at the New England Golden Gloves as a novice boxer.
“I was a bad hot head as a kid,” Bordoy admitted. “One day, my cousin Edgardo, invited me to his gym after football practice and he beat me up. I was knocked down a few notches. I got into boxing and enjoyed watching Miguel Cotto and Mike Tyson. I even have some of Cotto’s tattoos. Now, I’m more of a boxer, like a Pernell Whitakeror Floyd Mayweather, Jr. I’m a come- forward boxer who can still brawl. I’m working on my defense and feel that making adjustments in the ring is what I do best.”
Bordoy, Jr. credits Team Bordoy — manager A.J. Galante, head trainer Bennie Little, cut-man Luis Marichal, strength-and-conditioning coach Chris Mulfalmi and Dave McDonough – for his success.
“I’m pleased to be with the right people to bring me to the top and I’m willing to do what’s needed to get there,” Bordoy added.
Bordoy, who works fulltime as a repair technician, made his pro debut last May and he fought a total of three times in 2017, his most recent last October in Worcester on an RPE-promoted show, in which he stopped 34-fight veteran Bryan Abraham in the fourth round.
“We enjoy working with Team Bordoy,” promoter Jose Antonio Rivera remarked. “I am proud of Omar and his accomplishments so far. He is a young, throwback fighter with a lot of potential. I see big things in his future and I am glad to see he is being guided in the right direction by his team.”
In the eight-round main event, undefeated Hartford (CT) light heavyweight Richard “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera (5-0, 4 KOs) takes on Kevin “The New England Bully” Cobbs (10-2, 4 KOs), fighting out of South Boston (MA), for the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) New England title in the eight-round main event.
Worcester’s two-time national amateur champion Bobby “BH3” Harris, III (2-0) faces Brazilian super middleweight Saul Almeida (0-8-1) in the four-round co-featured event. Hartford super middleweight Jose “Rated R” Rivera (4-1, 3 KOs) meets Troy “Omar KO Artist” Artis (4-7-1 (3 KOs), of Danbury (CT) in a six-round bout.
Fighting on the undercard, all in four-round matches, are Southbridge (MA) junior welterweight Wilfredo “El Sucaro” Pagan (3-0, 1 KO) vs. pro-debuting Nick Peralta, of Lawrence, undefeated Springfield (MA) light heavyweight Ray “Bazooka” Graceski (5-0, 3 KOs). vs. Hartford’s pro-debuting Pawel Bansiak, Springfield welterweight Derrick “Bad Boy” Whitley (2-0) vs. Roger Blankenship (1-2), undefeated Puerto Rican super middleweight Jelame Garcia (6-0, 6 KOs) vs. Brazilian Rodrigo Almeida 1-7), Bridgeport’s (CT) pro-debuting welterweight Joseph Goss vs. Seth Basler (0-3), and Hartford junior lightweight vs. Bridgeport’s Carlos Marraro, III (0-1).
All fights and fighters are subject to change.
NEW YORK (Jan. 22, 2018) – Friday night fireworks are in store for fans on Facebook as FIGHTNIGHT LIVE partners with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing for its first show of the New Year. Fight fans from across the globe can catch all the action beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET live from Long Island, on any device wherever Facebook is available, as the combat sports platform opens 2018 with an eleventh show on the nine month-old platform.
“We’ve been extremely pleased with the growth of the series, and Friday’s show will be incredible with the addition of a mystery commentator. The FIGHTNIGHT LIVE series has a chance to reach its 1,000,000th view in only 11 shows and we want to thank fight fans everywhere for their support,” said Mark Fratto, Principal of Linacre Media. “On Friday, fans from all over Long Island and all over the world will be able to tune in to catch some excellent matchups via the Star Boxing Facebook page and our FIGHTNIGHT LIVE page.”
“It is going to be a thrilling night of boxing. Fans will see several undefeated prospects and Anthony Karperis, who is always in fan friendly wars. Fights from the Paramount are reminiscent of the old days at the Blue Horizon— thrilling fights, upsets and enthusiastic fans,” said Joe DeGuardia, CEO and President of Star Boxing. “It is great that the whole world will be able to see this on Facebook. The world is changing so much and for boxing it’s great that fans can tune in from anywhere and be a part of the action. Yes, the Paramount will be sold out Friday night– but you can still see the fights by tuning into Facebook.”
In the main event on Friday night, Long Island’s Anthony “Showtime” Karperis (14-3, 5 KOs) fights for the 17th time at The Paramount while looking for his 13th victory at the venue, taking on Nicaragua’s Nelson Lara (17-9-4, 9 KOs). Undefeated fighters Tyrone “Pretty Boy” James (6-0, 3 KOs), Wendy Toussaint (7-0, 2 KOs) and Michael Stoute (2-0) will look to impress the Long Island crowd and Facebook audience, and fight fans will witness the pro debut of Huntington’s own Shaun Kennedy, plus musical performances and more.
Over the first eight months of programming, the numbers on the 10-show FIGHTNIGHT LIVE series have showed promise and potential for the new platform with an average of more than 93,000 fight fans tuning in per event and nearly one-million fans served. The Sept. 9 “Real Deal Promotions: Empire State” from Resorts World Casino (225,000), the August CES “Super Saturday” from Foxwoods (203,000), the Sept. CES “Twin River Twinbill” from Lincoln, R.I. (157,000) all topped 150,000 views, and collectively the 10-show series saw a total of almost 17,000 total hours of Facebook video consumed by 930,933-plus users across all devices.
In addition to the raw viewership numbers, the fully-interactive, fan-friendly productions have seen more than 130,000 collective live post engagements (13,000-plus per show), including more than 91,000 “likes” or “loves,” more than 16,000 comments and 4,900-plus shares.
FIGHTNIGHT LIVE broadcasts are viewed by 76 percent men, 24 percent women. The top demographic is comprised of males ages 25-34, which encompasses approximately 30.0 percent of the audience, on average.
The Sept. 9 “Real Deal Promotions: Empire State” set a new bar with 224,658 views and the Sept. 15-16 DiBella-CES doubleheader carried the series to three-quarters-of-a-million views in just over four months. The Aug. 26 Foxwoods “Super Saturday” show stands out individually with 3,336 live hours of content viewed, while the Sept. 15 DiBella card saw more than 40,000 viewer interactions including almost 39,000 “likes” or “loves.”
PARK CITY, Kansas (January 22, 2018) – 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and hometown hero Nico Hernandez has fully recovered from an injury that postponed his December 2nd fight to Saturdeay, February 10, versus Hungarian champion Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai in the the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight title, headlining the “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” card, at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
“KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” is a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC., in association with Hartman Arena, and sponsored in part by Park City (KS), Twister City Harley-Davidson and Metro PCS.
The action will be taped live for future airing on CBS Sports Network.
The 22-year-old Hernandez (3-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of Wichita, suffered an undisclosed injury that forced him to withdraw from the Dec. 2nd fight. Neither Hernandez nor his promoter, John Andersen (KO Night Boxing, LLC), have revealed any details about Nico’s injury to avoid giving his opponent any possible advantage to target in the ring.
“I feel good, ready to fight,” Hernandez commented. “We wanted to make sure that I was injury free and I am 100-percent. I’m going to do whatever is needed to win this fight. Fighting for my first title means a lot to me. I didn’t think it would happen this fast. I want everybody to see that I can be competitive with the best in my division. A win February 10th will get me there a lot closer.
“My opponent like to runs a lot and he’s quick, so I need to have my legs under me. Other than that, though, I should be okay. He has fought some good guys. I can’t wait to get in the ring in front of my fans.”
Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs), who is one year and six days younger than Hernandez, has already fought in five title fights. He also went the full 10-round distance, albeit in a loss by decision in 2016, to two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou, the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight world champion. Fighting in his opponent’s hometown isn’t a problem for Ajtai, who has vast road experience having fought as a pro in the USA, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia.
“Nico will not know where I will be in the ring,” Ajtai predicted. “When he looks to the left for me, I will go to the right; when he tries to find me on the right, I will be on the left. When he wants to rest, I will come forward punching; when he wants to punch, he won’t find me.
“I have a plan for this fight and I’m sure he does as well. But, in the ring, only one fighter’s plan can succeed. It’s going to be a good fight, but I can’t promise the public that Nico will be the winner.”
“I’m excited that Nico is 100-percent healthy for this fight,” Andersen said. “We couldn’t be happier to bring this great fight, and many more as we move forward, to the great city of Wichita.”
In the six-round co-featured event, Minneapolis welterweight Javonte Starks (13-2, 7 KOs), a former Future Stars National Champion as an amateur, takes on veteran Mexican fighter Cesar Soriano (28-36-1, 17 KOs), the former FECARBOX lightweight titlist.
Promising Milwaukee junior middleweight prospect Akeem Black (3-1, 1 KO) faces pro-debuting Derrick Clayton, fighting out of Bakersfield (CA), in the four-round televised opener.
Wichita middleweight Jeff Sturm (1-0) meets cross-state rival Brian Clements (0-0-1), of Toledo, in the four-round TV swing bout.
Also fighting on the under card is Washington D.C. heavyweight Maurice “Freight Train” Byarm (13-2-1, 9 KOs) battles 300-pound Kansas City (MO) foe Richard “Silverback” Carmack (15-12-1, 12 KOs) in a six-round match. A pair of four-rounders find undefeated Bakersfield junior welterweight prospect Miguel Contreras (5-0, 4 KOs) throwing-down with his Georgia opponent, Archie Wey (2-9), and California junior welterweight Chazz Macias is slated to make his pro debut against an opponent to be determined.
On January 14th 2017, the years first major fight card standard for the years remainder would be set when Badou Jack and James DeGale met at the Barclays Center looking to unify their super middleweight crowns. This past Saturday, once again at the Barclays Center a years first major fight card would take place and bar of standards for its remainder when Errol Spence Jr took on Lamont Peterson for Spence’s IBF welterweight world title. This would be the first title defense for Spence since winning his belt last spring when he stopped Kell Brook in England and he was looking to make a statement. The champion wanted to silence critics who had been stating “Spence beat Brook who entered off a severe injury suffered against middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin, can he beat an uninjured elite caliber opponent in that same fashion?” He would answer that question with exclamation marks behind it!
The opening round was slow as both me looked to gauge their distance, Spence slightly more active while no telling blows landed edged the round. Once round two started both men started to open up, Spence applying pressure landing hard body punches while Peterson jabbed and circled the ring. They would both step up the pace in round three, Peterson circling away from Spence power while landing his jab, Spence slowly closing the gap throwing
landed hard thudding punches which moved Lamont Peterson’s entire body when landed. In the fourth, Errol Spence gained complete control as his pressure and power punches made Peterson hesitate to unleash his own offense.
It looked as though Spence would score a stoppage in the fifth after dropping Peterson with a combination, yet Peterson the champion he is would rise and trade with Spence for the rounds remainder. Over the next two rounds, Spence with accurate punching and relentless pressure broke Peterson down swelling his face around both eyes. While Peterson attempted to land his own offense and did land an occasional clean hard blow he still could nor deter Spence who answered those punches with his own harder more telling blows.
When the bell ended for round seven, Lamont Peterson with both eyes swollen, his body battered and looking defeated argued with head trainer Barry Hunter who stated “I am going to stop this, you had enough” then even attempted to walk past Hunter to resume fighting. While his heart was determined to to quit, Barry Hunter wisely knew Peterson had enough and informed referee Harvey Dock he was halting the contest despite Peterson wanting to fight on. It would end officially at one second into round number eight due to the sixty second interval between rounds having expired. With his first world title defense Errol Spence jr improved to 23-0 (20) while Lamont Peterson now stands at 35-4-1 (17).
In his post fight interview, Spence thanked Peterson for taking the fight staing “He took the fight when no one else would he is a warrior and I respect him for that”, when asked about who he wanted to face next, only one name came up unified belt holder Keith “One Time” Thurman.
“Thurman is coming back in the spring, he needs a warm-up or tuneup fight whatever. I have been calling him out since I was 15-0, lets sign the fight but we know how “Sometime” responds when called out.” In the post fight interview of Peterson, he also thanked Spence for the opportunity and when asked acknowledged that Errol Spence Jr is the best fighter he has faced to date.
The nights co-feature would be a lightweight affair between IBF title holder Robert Easter Jr and former two division world champion Javier Fortuna. This was originally scheduled to be the third defense of Easter Jr’s IBF title, with Fortuna missing the lightweight limit, there was no title on the line. It started as a feel out round of sorts, Easter moving forward while Fortuna gauged the real estate around him, it would be the only round of limited action.
Over the next twelve rounds, Javier Fortuna other then a point deduction in round two for hitting behind the head out boxed and made Easter Jr look amateurish. The belt holder lunged with punches, missed wild hooks and the rounds outside the second he did win were ones Fortuna spent moving backwards making Easter miss while not making him pat for those misses.
The best punch of the night for Easter Jr landed towards the closing of round six, it was returned with a Fortuna counter that shook the legs of Easter Jr who went to his corner looking unsteady. The bout closed with both men throwing punches, Easter over all threw more pounces but none other than one in round six landed with any meaning. When the official scores were read they were announced 114-113, 115-112 for Robert Easter Jr and 114-113 in favor or Javier Fortuna. The difference being the second round point dedication and rounds Fortuna made Easter look foolish while not making him pay doing do. With his suspect victory Robert Easter Jr improved to 21-0 (14), Javier Fortuna now stands at 33-2-1 (23).
In Undercard action
Light Heavyweight-Marcus Browne 21-0 (16) def. Francy Ntetu 17-2 (4) via TKO 1.
Heavyweight- Adam Kownacki 17-0 (14) def. Iago Kiladze 26-2 (18) via TKO 6.
Super Lightweight- Anthony Peterson 38-1 (24) def. Luis Eduardo Florez 23-9 (19) via UD 10.
Welterweight- Ivan Golub 14-1( 12) def. Fidel Monterrosa Munoz 38-16-1 (30) via TKO 3.
Middleweight- Mathew Gonzalez 3-0 (2) def. Alexander Serna 1-2 (1) via UD 4.
Scores read 40-36 on all three cards in favor of Gonzalez.
Welterweight- Keyshawn Williams 1-0-1 (1) drw. Denis Okoth 1-0-1 (1) DRW 4.
WBO World Champion Aleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) talks about his upcoming semi-final against WBC World Champion Mairis Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs) at the Arena Riga on January 27.
The Ukrainian superstar went to Berlin in September last year and opened the first season of the World Boxing Super Series by producing a spectacular display at the Max-Schmeling-Arena to stop former world champion Marco Huck in the 10th round.
Usyk’s training camp before the biggest unification fight in years in the cruiserweight division took place in Bukovel, on the ridge-lines of the Carpathian Mountains under the guidance of his trainer Sergey Vatamanyuk.
Now the 2012 Olympic gold medallist is traveling to Riga – to the backyard of the Latvian hero Mairis Briedis.
How are you looking forward to fighting in Riga?
“Let Briedis think about that, not me. All I know is that there will be a lot of my countrymen coming to Riga to support me.”
How big is the fight against Briedis when you look at your career?
“It is a big fight and it is going to be a big day in my career. It’s a unification fight. The fight for the Muhammad Ali Trophy is about the best fighting the best. I have the WBO belt and he has WBC – I like the colour green and the WBC belt is green so I can’t wait to get that belt.”
What do you think of your opponent?
“I have nothing bad to say about Briedis. His style is a bit boring, but I respect him. Briedis is a world champion so he has to be good.”
Why do you respect him?
“In principle, I respect all of my opponents. I even respect Marco Huck who spoke bad about me and pushed me at a press conference. I know what fighters are going through in order to be able to enter the ring. It takes a lot of training, a lot of work and I will always respect that.”
WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES FIXTURES
27/01/2018 Cruiserweight Semi-Final:
Aleksandr Usyk vs. Mairis Briedis (WBO World & WBC World)
Riga Arena, Riga, Latvia
03/02/18 Cruiserweight Semi-Final:
Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos (IBF World & WBA World)
Bolshoy Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia
17/02/18 Super Middleweight Semi-Final:
George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr (WBA Super World & IBO World)
Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK
24/02/18 Super Middleweight Semi-Final:
Callum Smith vs. Juergen Braehmer (WBC Diamond Belt)
Arena Nürnberger Versicherung, Nuremberg, 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 (at start): 423 wins, 17 losses, 294 KOs