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DSH Boxing Notebook: Pacquiao juggles two careers, Olympian Claressa Shields to make pro debut

This week's version of The Daily Sports Herald's Boxing Notebook examines boxing legend Manny Pacquiao as he approaches perhaps the final bout of his career while simultaneously working in politics in his home country.  In addition, we will take a look at some the sport's other top upcoming fights, among other stories.  Check out the latest news below in the sweet science:

Manny Pacquiao juggles two careers

As the current Philippine Senate session draws to a close, political science will morph into the sweet science for boxing's only eight-division world Champion Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs).

Pacquiao, who was elected to the Philippine Senate in May, began phase two of his training camp this past week at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, as he prepares for his bout with World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight world champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs).

Pacquiao will be looking to become a three-time WBO welterweight champion, as well as the first senator to win a world title.

"I have been training Manny for 15 years and even after all this time he still amazes me," said seven-time Trainer of the Year and Hall of Famer World-Famous Freddie Roach.  "He's pushing 38 and he still outworks every fighter I've ever worked with.  He's had a killer schedule during this training camp but it's been really productive.  You'd have to see it to believe it."

Prior to his arrival in Los Angeles, a typical work/training day for Pacquiao began with a 5 a.m. wakeup call and a multi-mile morning run one hour later.  His run was followed by grueling strength and conditioning work with Justin Fortune.  After that, it was a shower, a daily reading of the Bible and breakfast before he headed off in business attire to the Senate for a full day of legislative duties.

Pacquiao usually would arrive at the gym between 5 and 6 p.m. where he would work out for three hours with Roach and his sparring partners.  The day would end with dinner at home, followed by a game of chess and a deep sleep.  True to his promise to the electorate, Pacquiao did not miss one senate session.

"It is all about discipline and time management," said Pacquiao.  "Boxing is my passion and public service is my calling.  I will continue to travel both roads as long as I can do both effectively.  I dedicate the fights I take on to my fans and my countrymen.  They have kept me in their prayers.  I fight to bring glory to the Philippines whether I'm wearing boxing gloves or standing on the floor of the senate."  

Pacquiao versus Vargas takes place Saturday, November 5, at the Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"Manny is the only person I know who you can read about in the sports section and the national news section of the same newspaper on a daily basis," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.  "When Manny is inducted into the Hall of Fame, his plaque will say he was boxing's only eight-division world champion, but that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what makes him so special.  He is literally a national treasure who has brought great honor to the sport and to his country.  He's the amazing Manny."

In addition to training for his fight, Pacquiao's political "to do" list has been filled to the brim.  Since June, he has been on a number of committees and has filed multiple bills:

15 Senate Committees Senator Pacquiao serves

Chairmanship Public Works
Chairmanship on Sports
Membership Commission on Appointments
Membership on Education
Membership on Tourism
Membership on Public Services
Membership on Agricultural
Membership on National Defense
Membership on Environment and Natural resources
Membership on Energy
Membership on Labor and Employment
Membership on Civil Service
Membership on Blue Ribbon
Vice Chairman and Urban planning, Housing, and Resettlement
Committee on Ethics

The following links are the bills filed by Sen. Pacquiao

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Jesus Cuellar and Abner Mares to fight on December 10 in LA

Hard-hitting featherweight world champion Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) is set to take on former three-division world champion Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) in a world title showdown that headlines a Premier Boxing Champions event on Saturday, December 10.

“I’m excited to get back in the ring and win my fourth world title,” said Mares. “I’m 100 percent healthy and ready to go. I’m looking forward to showing that to my fans and the entire audience on December 10. Los Angeles is my town. This is a fight that I’ve wanted and I’m glad to be giving the fans a great show at the end of the year. Come watch me on December 10 and see what a warrior looks like.”

Mares won his first title in 2011 when he beat Joseph Agbeko to capture the bantamweight crown. He continued to rise in the pound-for-pound list with victories over Anselmo Moreno and Daniel Ponce De Leon to win world titles at super bantamweight and featherweight. The 30-year-old won three straight fights leading to a massive showdown with Leo Santa Cruz last August. Mares showed the same explosiveness that made him a multiple-division world champion in a thrilling “Fight of the Year” candidate which he lost by majority decision.

The always-exciting Mares will enter the ring for the first time under the tutelage of renowned trainer Robert Garcia and strength coach Luis Garcia as he seeks to capture another world title.

The exciting doubleheader will be live on Showtime from USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles.

A fast-rising star out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cuellar is working toward his 12th consecutive victory when he gets in the ring to defend his 126-pound title against Mares. His power in both hands has helped him deliver seven knockouts in his last 10 victories, including an eighth-round knockout of former world champion Vic Darchinyan in June 2015. The 29-year-old won his world title with a unanimous decision over Claudio Marrero in his U.S. debut in August 2013. He went on to defend his title against Rico Ramos, Juan Manuel Lopez and Ruben Tamayo.

“This is the most important fight of my career as Mares is one of the best in this loaded featherweight division,” Cuellar said. “We had to wait very long for this fight to happen, but everything happens for a reason and I’m grateful that the time is almost here. I know that this fight will be a war. I’ve been working hard with Freddie Roach and I’m excited to show what I’ve learned and get my frustration of waiting off my chest. I am more motivated than ever to keep my title and prove who is the best in the division.”

The event begins with super welterweight world champion Jermall Charlo (24-0, 18 KOs) meeting top-ranked contender Julian “J-Rock” Williams (22-0-1, 14 KOs) in a highly anticipated matchup of undefeated stars.

Twin brother of fellow 154-pound world champion Jermell, Jermall Charlo will be making the third defense of the super welterweight crown he won last September with a dominant stoppage  over Cornelius Bundrage. The 26-year-old is coming off of a career-best, hard-fought decision over crafty former world champion Austin Trout in May in Las Vegas. Training with Ronnie Shields in Houston, Charlo will look to silence Williams and stake his claim as the best in the division.

“Camp for me started a month after I defeated Austin Trout,” said Charlo. “From that point on, I've been in the gym working and I got my vision corrected, so I'm feeling great. I'm looking forward to putting my clearer vision to the test and I'm so prepared and ready for this fight. This is everything I've ever wanted. It's the best fighting the best. Julian brings an undefeated record to the table and I know he's watched a lot of my past fights because we always knew we would fight one day. So who's the best? We'll find out, but I know I'm ready to rumble.”

The action-packed doubleheader features two evenly matched showdowns as all four men, firmly in the top 10 in their division, will enter the ring believing that they will be the one leaving with a belt around their waist. Cuellar and Mares look for supremacy in a crowded featherweight division brimming with contenders, while Charlo and Williams each look for a career-defining performance to boost their burgeoning profiles.

David Lemieux defeats Argentina's Christian Fabian Rios

Hard-hitting middleweight contender David Lemieux (36-3, 32 KOs) delivered a solid victory in front of his hometown crowd in Montreal, earning a unanimous 10-round decision over Argentinian fighter Christian Fabian Rios (21-8-3, 6 KOs).

"With this win, David Lemieux has once again demonstrated himself to be a dynamic and resilient fighter," said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "This additional victory will open new doors for Lemieux, and we can't wait to see what the next chapter in his boxing career will bring."

In the opening bout at the Bell Center, rising Super Middleweight prospect D'mitrius Ballard (15-0, 11 KOs) kept his undefeated record intact, dominating Gergo Harvath (9-2-1, 5 KOs) throughout the early moments of the fight. In the second round, the Maryland-born Ballard knocked Harvath down three times before the referee waved off the fight.

JuanMa Lopez and Wilfredo Vasquez get ready to brawl on Saturday

A near brawl broke out between former world champions Wilfredo Vázquez, Jr. (24-6-1, 19 KOs) and Juan Manuel "JuanMa" López (34-5, 31 KOs) at their fight presser this week.  Things seem to have become personal between the two fighters in this crossroads bout, as each man is hoping to use the fight as one last springboard to a title bout.

"JuanMa Lopez and many people have belittled me," said Vasquez.  "They have disparaged my sacrifice, the food that I put on the table for my family, but Saturday I will hurt him.  I have a Maciavelli plan to destroy him so he will respect me. I respect everybody that has had a rough time."

Lopez and Vasquez will fight this Saturday at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Vázquez Jr., the son of three-division world champion Wilfredo Vázquez, is fighting out of Bayamón, also home of the late Hall of Famer Héctor "Macho" Camacho.  Vázquez became the vacant WBO super bantamweight world champion in 2010, knocking out previously unbeaten Marvin Sonsona (14-0-1) in the fourth round.

The 33-year-old López, fighting out of Caguas, Puerto Rico, is a former World Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight and featherweight world champion.  "JuanMa" was one of the top pound-4-pound fighters in the world from 2008 to 2010, but he hasn't fought in two years.

"I have discipline," Vázquez, Jr. added, "which many fighters lack.  I am a better fighter than him and I also have a punch, So, what he lacks, I have extra.  I do not know how much he has left in him. I don't care about that stuff but I do not underestimate him. I will do what I've prepared  This fight is about who is more intelligent in the ring.  I will use my head to to produce a work of excellence.  I am very clever in the ring and I will do what's needed to win.  There will be fireworks, as well, no doubt about it."

JuanMa had his own take on the beef between the two fighters.

"Vasquez was interrupting at all times during the press conference," said Lopez.  "He was singing out loud and during the face-to-face picture he tried to kiss me and I did not permit.  I understand that he's afraid and what a better moment than in front of everybody including the press to release his emotions."

Promoter Carlos Maldonado, chimed in as well, not missing an opportunity to hype the confrontation is even more.

"Security will be tripled for Friday's weigh in so everybody can feel at ease and secure including the press," said Maldonado.

In other fights on the card, former world title challenger Jonathan Oquendo (26-5, 16 KOs) takes on Mexican rival Gustavo Molina (23-13, 9 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature.

Puerto Rico Olympian Jantony Ortiz (5-0, 3 KOs) faces fellow Puerto Rican bantamweight Luis Hernandez in a 6-round match to open the PPV action.

Curtis Stevens to fight on Ward-Kovalev PPV telecast

The Kovalev-Ward HBO Pay-Per-View telecast on November 19 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will now include the 10-round middleweight showdown between Curtis "The Cerebral Assassin" Stevens (28-5, 21 KOs) and James De La Rosa (23-4, 13 KOs).

The fight was previously scheduled to be on the non-televised portion of the card.

Stevens fought earlier this year on the Canelo-Khan HBO Pay-Per-View telecast and scored a spectacular second-round upset knockout of then-undefeated Brazilian Patrick Teixeira.

When asked about the upgrade to the televised card Curtis replied, "I know it is Kovalev-Ward, but now it is Kovalev-Ward-Stevens. Time to show out!"

De La Rosa was in a similar situation when he defeated former title contender Alfredo Angulo on the undercard of Mayweather-Maidana. He said, "Déjà vu all over again. The same thing happened when I fought Angulo. I am happy to fight on the PPV telecast. I need this win so I'll leave it all in the ring come November 19."

Talkin' Smack

Promoter Bob Arum:
"In the 51 years I have been in the sport I have never seen the quantity of terrific fighters that I see today – not only from the United States but from all over the world.  From the four corners of the world – from New Zealand, to Kazakhstan, to Russia, the Philippines, China, Brazil, to Ireland – all over the world." 

Manny Pacquiao, on his promoter Arum suggesting a Golovkin matchup:
 "Bob, I hope you are joking about. Golovkin!"

Pacquiao on fighting at welterweight:
"Remember my minimum weight is – I can still make 135.  I can still make 135 and my natural weight is 140.  When I move up into the higher weight divisions it changes my preparation – I eat a lot to make 147.  Where I may gain a pound of two between the weigh-in and the fight, my opponent may be a lot heavier.  I am not saying that I cannot do that, but what I am trying to do in every fight I try to do my best.  It just so happens that my opponent is tough and bigger than me.  But I am still trying to do my best to get a knockout in the fight." 

Trainer Freddie Roach on Pacquiao:
"We have never ended a workout early.  We never end a workout early.  That just doesn’t happen.  Manny Pacquiao comes into the gym and he works his ass off every day no matter how late we started. When he is in session -- if we begin at 8 p.m. -- we work out until the workout is over.  We have not taken one minute off because of that.  He is a Senator and he works very hard to do all of the stuff he has to do at that job.  He is busier than usual but he always likes a full plate and he has a full plate right now."
Manny Pacquiao:
"I enjoy politics because I do not have a hidden agenda.  I serve honestly.  That’s a good thing for me because I’m not ashamed to tell the truth. I’m not ashamed to rebuke someone if they are doing wrong.  Government is for serving the people, not for serving oneself.”

Wilfredo Vázquez Jr. on his upcoming fight with JuanMa:
"There is super real animosity.  I cannot stand him; he repulses me. He has always undervalued and disparaged me.  He's never given me my proper place.  This is the first time in my career that I make a prediction: I will knock him out!"

Bernard Hopkins, on his final fight:
"This is history, we have been here many times where history has been made. This is obviously different than everything I have ever done, because it is the Final 1. To be able to have the Final 1 in LA, where the city of stars are trying to be stars, however you cut it, it couldn't have been  better with the history placed in the DNA that the Forum has produced.
It is fitting that the end of a twenty-nine year career, since 1988 is in a historic place at the Forum in Inglewood, CA. This is something that came as an opportunity to be here. I couldn't tell you that it would be in this arena-it just happened, and here I am against an incredible opponent."

David Lemieux:
"In the ring, I become a robot. I am no longer human. I have to destroy what is in front of me. There are no hard feelings if I hurt my opponent. If I have trained to do it on a punching bag, I will do it to the human in front of me in the ring. My opponent is thinking the same thing - he has trained to fight me, hurt me, and try to defeat me, and that's why I am on my toes from start to finish. Business is business."

Bob Arum, on Jessie Vargas' next fight after Pacquiao:
"Every fighter, deep down, wants to beat up on his promoter.  I’m 85 years old, but Jessie had a promoter before me named Floyd Mayweather and maybe Jessie will take the opportunity, if Floyd is ready, to beat up on Floyd."
Trainer Freddie Roach on Pacquiao:
"He has been very aggressive in his sparring – throwing combinations and he seems to be getting back to the old Manny – really quick combinations, in and out, flurries and very hard punching.  He has been hurting me while on the mitts.  My shoulder is a little messed up.  Buboy’s hand and shoulders are messed up.  We’ll hang in there … but holding the mitts for Manny is not the most fun thing in the world to do – it’s hard, hard work.  If he carries that over into the fight I think he will knock somebody out."  

Abner Mares:
“This is going to be a smarter Abner Mares. I’ve been learning a lot with Robert Garcia. They gave us a year to train and learn together. He’s a knowledgeable coach. He’s not just a guy who works mitts. This is the real deal. He gets you better and I’m really happy with him.
Trainer Dewey Cooper on increasing Jessie Vargas' power:
"I am not going to give you guys the secrets – the game is to be sold not told.  You will see it.  But I will give you one key word and I told Max Kellerman and Bernard Hopkins and Jim Lampley this and after the Ali fight they laughed at me.  One word – Hips – H I P S – that’s all you need to remember, hips guys.  That’s all I am going to say and I shouldn’t have given you the million dollar clue but that’s what it’s about and you guys will continue to see that and continue to see Jessie Vargas be great."
Manny Pacquiao:
“I want to prove that I am still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters.  I feel I still have a lot to prove.  I am not done with boxing.  I will continue to keep fighting as long as I love boxing and boxing still loves me. I do not feel old.  I feel like I am still 27.
Jessie Vargas:
"I’ve been waiting for this moment since I was eight years old.  This moment is not so big.  It’s here an I am going to take full advantage of it.  When you envision something in your head over and over again it’s like a movie placing you in that position and once you are there you’re ready.  That’s the way I see it.  I am so ready for this.  I am in the best shape of my life.  I have never felt this strong or this powerful.  I mean there’s no…I am going to win this fight, that’s how good I feel about it."

Showtime announces exciting upcoming fight schedule

Showtime will present seven marquee boxing matches pitting top-10 rated champions in the prime of their careers against fellow top-10 rated challengers over four consecutive months beginning in December.

The lineup includes two long-awaited championship matchups, Jesus Cuellar versus Abner Mares, and Jermall Charlo versus Julian Williams.

There is also the can’t-miss featherweight rematch between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz, and a welterweight unification blockbuster between undefeated champions Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia.  All four of these anticipated bouts will be presented in association with Premier Boxing Champions.

All bouts will air live on Showtime with the exception of Garcia-Thurman, which will either air live in Primetime on CBS or live on Showtime.

Seven of the 14 fighters are undefeated, while the champions and challengers in the six world title fights boast a combined 313 wins versus just six losses.  Below is the fight schedule:

December 10:            Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) vs. Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs)*
                                    Jermall Charlo (24-0, 18 KOs) vs. Julian Williams (22-0-1, 14 KOs)*

January 14:                Badou Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) vs. James DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs)**

January 28:                Carl Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs)*
                                    Dejan Zlaticanin (18-0, 11 KOs) vs. Mikey Garcia (35-0, 29 KOs)*

February 11:              Adrien Broner (32-2, 24 KOs) vs. Adrian Granados (18-4-2, 12 KOs)

March 4:                     Danny Garcia (32-0, 18 KOs) vs. Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs)**

                                    *World title bout
                                    **World title unification bout

Olympic Star Claressa Shields to make pro debut on Ward-Kovalev undercard

While America's men have struggled in Olympic boxing in recent years, female star Claressa Shields has flourished, winning two gold medals in 2012 and 2016.

Now the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and the Women's Sports Foundation's Sportswoman of the Year will be making her much anticipated professional debut during the lead-off freeview telecast of Kovalev-Ward "Pound For Pound" on Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"After working hard for so many years and having the honor to represent my country at two Olympic games, I am thrilled to take the next big step in my career, fighting professionally and leading the rise of women's boxing worldwide," said Shields. "There is no better place to begin the journey than to join the biggest fight of the year, Kovalev vs Ward, and to fight alongside my idol and fellow U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward.  I can't wait to entertain the fans on Nov.19!"

The freeview telecast which includes the live Claressa Shields bout will begin at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT and will be available on cable, satellite, and telco channels.

Shields is set to face an opponent to be announced in a four-round middleweight bout, with each round timed at two-minutes.

As an amateur, Shields achieved unprecedented Olympic success as an American athlete. She is the only boxer in U.S. history, male or female, to successfully defend a title, winning back-to-back Gold medals at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio games.

The 21-year-old Flint, Michigan native and four-time USA National Champion has merited accolades at every level of international competition, earning Gold medals in the Pan American Games, two World Championships and two-time AIBA Female Boxer of the Year honors.

The pride of a nation, Shields looks to break boxing's glass ceiling and engage a new generation of fight fans with her move into the professional ranks.

"Claressa Shields is a uniquely talented and special young woman. At just 21 years old, she is a once-in-a-lifetime type athlete whose talent inside the ring and charisma outside of it gives her the potential to be a trailblazer for women's boxing and for all of boxing for years to come," said Mark Taffet and Jamie Fritz, co-managers of Claressa Shields. "We are proud to be part of Claressa Shields's team and are thrilled she will be part of the year's marquee event, Kovalev vs Ward, on Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas."

Following her first Gold medal summer, Shields ( became the first in her family to graduate from high school and is enrolled in online college classes to pursue her academic goals and competitive aspirations simultaneously.

Reynaldo Blanco defends belt on November 18 at Knockout Night at the D

"Knockout Night at the D" returns Friday night, November 18, airing live (9 p.m. PT / 12 a.m. ET) on CBS Sports Network from inside the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center tent, located in the heart of the downtown Las Vegas casino district, one block away from the world famous Fremont Street (200 S. 3rd St.) when North American Boxing Association (NABA) United States lightweight champion Reynaldo Blanco (13-2, 7 KOs) makes his first title defense against challenger Demond "Body Shot" Brock (12-3, 4 KOs) in the 10-round main event.

The 29-year-old Blanco, fighting out of the Dominican Republic by way of Puerto Rico, captured his NABA US title belt this past January, taking an 8-round unanimous decision from previously unbeaten Angel Luis Ocasio (8-0-2).  In his last fight in July, Blanco stopped another undefeated challenger, 14-0 Mario Beltre, in the second round for the Dominican Republic lightweight championship.

New Orleans-native Brock, who learned how to box serving a 15-year prison sentence, defeated Chuy Gutierrez (14-0-1) in the June 10th "Knockout Night at the D" show to retain his World Boxing Council (WBC) United States lightweight title in his first title defense.  Brock, 35, originally captured his title belt in 2015, by way of an 8-round unanimous decision over Oscar Valenzuela (9-1-1).

In the 8-round co-feature, Puerto Rican junior middleweight Daniel "El Duro" Cruz (11-1, 10 KOs) takes on former Mexico welterweight champion Norberto Gonzalez (22-8, 13 KOs).

The "Knockout Night at the D" series, presented by the D Las Vegas and Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, is promoted by Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions.

ShoBox to have local Southern California card on November 4

World ranked lightweight contender Xolisani Ndongeni (21-0, 11 KOs) and top-tier featherweight prospect Ruben Villa (2-0, 2 KOs) highlight the November 4 ShoBox undercard from the Omega Products Event Center in Corona, Calif.

Undefeated 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist Taras "Real Deal" Shelestyuk (14-0, 9 KOs) will face upset-minded Jaime Herrera in the 10-round welterweight main event.

Ndongeni, ranked number two by the WBA, will make his U.S. debut against Juan Garcia Mendez (19-1-1, 12 KOs) of Mexicali, Mex. in a fight scheduled for 10-rounds. Ndongeni, a native of South Africa, has won numerous regional titles. He will find himself in unfamiliar territory on Nov. 4, as he has fought all of his professional fights in his home country.

Villa, a southpaw with a terrific amateur pedigree, will fight fellow youngster Aaron Lopez (4-0, 2 KOs) of Mexico in a 4-round fight. Villa, who hails from the Northern California farming town of Salinas, has started his professional career in electrifying fashion. He came out of the gate with back-to-back first round knockout wins in July and September.

"I don't approach any fight with the idea that I have to win by knockout," said Villa, who turned professional after an elite amateur background that saw him win consecutive National Golden Gloves Championships. "I just stay focused on the game plan and try to make my opponent uncomfortable."

In the co-feature, undefeated cruiserweights Constantin Bejenaru (11-0, 4 KOs, 0-1-1 in World Series of Boxing), of Catskill, N.Y. by way of Moldova, and Stivens "Superman" Bujaj (16-0-1, 11 KOs), of New York, will collide in a 10-rounder for the vacant WBC International and WBC  Continental Americas titles.

In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated lightweight Vitor Jones Freitas (12-0, 1 ND, 6 KOs), of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, will be opposed by local fan favorite Manuel Mendez (12-1-2, 8 KOs), of Indio, Calif., in an eight-round bout.  The 23-year-old Freitas is the nephew of popular former two-time lightweight world champion Acelino "Popo" Freitas.

Isaac Chilemba to train with Roy Jones Jr.

As former light heavyweight title contender Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2, 10 KOs) gears up to face Ukrainian prospect Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0, 9 KOs) on the Kovalev-Ward undercard, he will be training with former four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr.

Chilemba, 29, is coming off the toughest fight of his career. On July 11, this road-warrior traveled to WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey Kovalev's home country of Russia to face the champion in front of a sold-out crowd in his own backyard.

Despite the unanimous decision loss, Chilemba's performance against Kovalev raised a lot of eyebrows in the boxing community. Chilemba managed to go the distance against the "Krusher" a distinction held only by one other fighter, future Hall of Famer Bernard "The Alien" Hopkins.

For a number of years, Chilemba had worked with trainer James "Buddy" McGirt but when McGirt was unable to make the trip to South Africa to train Chilemba for Kovalev, he needed to find another trainer.

The Kovalev fight gained the attention of former four-division world champion and Chilemba's childhood hero, Roy Jones Jr., who suggested the two work together going forward. Roy invited Chilemba to his gym in Pensacola, Florida, to discuss the opportunity of training together.

"It wasn't just that fight against Kovalev that made me want to work with him," Jones said.  "I have been watching Chilemba for some time. After that fight I said I would love to work with him. I saw Chilemba the first time he came to the United States and I realized he was emulating my exact style but he has never had a person who could fully explain it to him. Now he is shocked and amazed that he is able to integrate the nuances of my style. His opponent, Gvozdyk is a very good fighter. It is never easy to beat a fighter like him because he is a very smart guy. He was such a great amateur fighter. We do have our hands full but I am looking forward to seeing how Isaac takes the things that I teach him and uses them to break him down."

Chilemba grew up watching Jones fight on television in Malawi and has tried to mirror Jones' style throughout his own career. Chilemba is excited to work with his hero one-on-one now.

"For years I have been watching him and trying to learn some of his moves to make them to my own," said Chilemba.  "Now I am very happy that I get to work with him. Jones is my favorite fighter of all time. Working with him is like a dream come true. When I was a kid growing up in Malawi, I used to watch him and try to fight like him. Now working with him is amazing. It is even better than what I expected. Roy Jones Jr. is a master and now I get to work with him and understand why he does what he does. I have always watched him fight and tried to copy him from watching him on the screen. Now I get to work with him in person. It is amazing!"

David Lemieux spotlight

David Lemieux gave an exclusive look into his life in the ring, his humble beginnings, and a survey of what is to come for the future.

Here is what Lemieux had to say:

What got you started into boxing?
"I fostered a love for boxing at such a young age. One day my neighbor, who was a fighter himself, was smoking a cigar on the balcony across from mine. We were both nine years old and he invited me to the gym because he knew that I loved to fight. Looking back, he saved me from a lot of run-ins with the police and kept me out of trouble. Ever since then, I have been unable to leave the sport. "

What do you love the most about boxing?
"I love the respect and the feedback when you work hard in the sport. I love how there is no way to cheat. In the sport, everything you do in the ring has to be done perfectly, or else everyone can start to see the mistakes. It's just you in the ring - no one else."

What is it like working with Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions?
"Working with Oscar and Golden Boy Promotions is a great motivation in my career and where I want to go. Oscar was the hero boxer growing up.  I was obsessed with him growing up. Working alongside Golden Boy, and seeing all the great things they are doing in the boxing business, and me being a part of it is a big motivation, and I am proud to have them in my corner."

How does it feel like to be fighting in front of large crowds?
"Excitement. A fighter wants to be known, a fighter wants to be seen. The bigger the crowd, the higher the energy, and that hypes me up.  The crowds are the fuel in the ring, and I feed of their energy."

Canadian Thanksgiving day has just been celebrated in your home country. Are there any things you are extra thankful for?
"Absolutely, I am thankful to God for everything. I am thankful for what I have to leave my mark in this world -- the kids, the family and the friends that surround me so that I can achieve what I have to achieve and what I want to accomplish. I have all that I need to make it in this world, and I am so thankful for that."

What do you do to get in your zone before a fight?
"I'm already in my zone when its fight time. I have a weird way of dealing with things. Sometimes it's not even relevant to the fight that is before. It could be as simple as a distant memory or certain spaces and environments where I just can pull myself together. By the time I get in the ring I am where I need to be mentally."

Looking back, what are some highlights to your career?
"Winning big - for sure the Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam fight which was personally one of my best fights. I also loved fighting against Gabriel Rosado, I thought he was a great fighter and it was the first time I fought on US soil on HBO. Also, winning against Guerrero was a huge win for me. I would also consider jumping into the ring with Golovkin as a highlight because it was a different type of fight. Although I didn't get the result that I wanted, I got a ton of experience and learned what I had to do to get what I wanted. Because of that fight, we are in the process of taking what we learned and applying it to my career. I'm heading back to the top.

LaRon Mitchell defeats Scott Alexander in heavyweight bout

LaRon Mitchell (15-0, 13 KOs) claimed the vacant NABF Jr. Heavyweight Championship on Friday night over Scott Alexander (12-2-2, 6 KOs) in a tightly contested fight that was a lot closer than the scorecards would indicate.

The judges scored the bout for Mitchell, 97-92, and 98-91 twice.

"It wasn't very pretty," said Mitchell after the fight. "But I'll take an ugly win over a pretty defeat any day of the week."

Mitchell, who has showed an increasing level of comfort fighting in close quarters, pressured Alexander onto the ropes for most of the fight. Alexander kept a high guard to minimize punishment and countered nicely to keep Mitchell honest. Mitchell, however, would not be denied in his first career title fight.

Alexander would fight from behind early due to an accidental slip in the third that was ruled a knockdown. Mitchell took full advantage and never allowed Alexander to slip into his normal routine of boxing from the outside to set up power shots.

"I knew I had to take the fight to him because of his jab," Mitchell said. "Our game plan worked and now I go home with the NABA title."

Top Rank to debut its new "ALL IN" fight video series

Top Rank (@trboxing) debuted its new and innovative video series, "ALL IN: Pacquiao-Vargas," on October 24.  

Daily episodes will be released exclusively on Facebook ( and Twitter (

Viewers will be given an inside look into each fighter's daily preparations, where they will see and hear the trainers, fighters, media and fans interact.  In the days before the big rumble, a special edition of the series, "ALL IN: Pacquiao-Vargas: Fight Week," will debut Tuesday, November 1, and will also be available exclusively on social media.

Fans can expect to hear interviews with the fighters and their trainers and get a behind the scenes look into fight week events including media workouts, the final press conference, the official weigh-in, and more.

Thompson Boxing Promotions signs prospect Michael Dutchover

Thompson Boxing Promotions teamed up with Philadelphia-based Banner Promotions this week to sign elite amateur Michael Dutchover (1-0, 1 KOs) out of Midland, Tex.

"I felt an overwhelming amount of joy when I was signing my contract," said Dutchover, who is trained and managed by Danny Zamora. "I've been doing this since I was eight years old. This is just the beginning. I'm going to work hard to become a world champion. That's all I want."

Dutchover, 18, will campaign as a junior lightweight. The Texas native won numerous regional tournaments as an amateur and was a runner up at this year's National Golden Gloves competition in the 132-pound division. He enters the professional ranks well prepared having gone 130-17 in the unpaid arena.

"We are very pleased with the addition of Michael Dutchover," said Ken Thompson, president at Thompson Boxing. "Michael brings a dynamic fighting style to the ring. He looked incredible in his pro debut last week. It's going to be exciting watching his career take off."

Dutchover appeared on the most recent Thompson Boxing card last Friday, Oct. 21. Dutchover started his career with a third round knockout over Cesar Partida.

He worked off an effective jab that allowed him to land crisp power shots. In the third, he connected on a crushing combination that resulted in the fight's only knockdown. Partida survived the round, but was not allowed to come out for the fourth and final round.

"Partida was a tough opponent," said Dutchover after the fight. "He took a lot of quality punches. I was able to drop him in the third and I knew he was hurt. It feels great to start my career with a knockout win."

Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Sullivan Barrera to fight on December 16

Los Angeles-based undefeated Vyacheslav "Lionheart Chingonskyy" Shabranskyy (17-0, 14 KOs) will look to continue his impressive run up the light heavyweight ladder, as he takes on Cuban standout Sullivan Barrera (17-1, 12 KOs) in a 10-round bout for Shabranskyy's WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight title on HBO Latino Boxing on Friday, December 16, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.

Shabranskyy is coming off of victories inside the distance in his last seven of eight fights.

"My goal is to win a world championship in the light heavyweight division, and Barrera is just another stepping stone on that path," Shabranskyy said. "I am excited to make my second appearance on HBO Latino, and look forward to fans seeing me get ready to take on any upcoming challenges in the ring."

Barrera is a standout Cuban boxer/puncher, now living in Miami. His only blemish is a hard-fought loss against top five pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward. Barrera's main challenge has been finding opponents willing to step into the ring against him.

"I'm looking forward to December 16. My respect to Shabranskyy for agreeing to fight me," said Barrera. "This will be a great fight for the fans!"

"Anyone who has heard me talk about Slava over the last few years knows that I'm extremely bullish on him winning a world championship in his next few fights," said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions."He can do anything in the ring - he's got power in both hands, he moves incredibly well for a tall fighter and he has an incredible capacity to learn from his mistakes. With a win against Barrera, Slava will position himself for some very big things in 2017.

In the televised co-main event of the night, Bronx-born IBF North American welterweight titlist Eddie "E-Boy" Gomez (19-1, 11 KOs) will put his title on the line in a 10-round fight against undefeated Rashidi "Speedy" Ellis (16-0, 11 KOs) of Lynn, Massachusetts.

Gomez is coming off of three straight victories including a May win in this last appearances over Jon Karl Sosa that earned Gomez the IBF North American welterweight title.

Ellis has never tasted defeat in this three-year career and has held the WBA Fedecentro welterweight title and the interim WBC Latino Welterweight championship. He has fought at the junior middleweight and middleweight limits during his last two fights, but returns to welterweight for his showdown with Gomez.

Rounding out the HBO Latino card, WBC Silver featherweight titlist and Santa Ana-born Ronny Rios (26-1, 11 KOs) will seek to grow his three-fight winning streak - including a solid victory against the then-undefeated Jason Velez to earn the belt -- against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

Main Events Promotions to start "Rising Stars" series

Mohegan Sun and Main Events announced the pilot event of a new boxing series entitled "Mohegan Sun's Rising Stars Boxing Series" which will debut on November 26 at the Uncas Ballroom at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. The series will feature boxing prospects from New England and around the world. 

This venture will highlight up-and-coming prospects who are looking to be the next big boxing superstar. 

According to Main Events' CEO Kathy Duva, "For the past couple years it has been difficult for promoters to find a platform to showcase their young prospects. Mohegan Sun has a strong tradition of hosting great boxing. It seemed like a perfect marriage to bring this exciting club-style series to the fans at Mohegan Sun. We look forward to showcasing many talented young fighters looking to be the next big thing in boxing. This first event will be a bit of a test run, so we hope to announce more details and a real schedule for the series in the near future."

The debut event will feature local prospects, including Cassius Chaney, a heavyweight from New London, CT; Kevin Asmat a featherweight from Union City, NJ; and Reinaldo Graceski a light heavyweight from Springfield, MA; and international talent such as Enriko Gogokhia a junior middleweight from Ukraine, and Madiyar Ashkeyev a junior middleweight from Kazakhstan. 

By Staff of and news services

This post first appeared on TheDailySportsHerald, please read the originial post: here

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DSH Boxing Notebook: Pacquiao juggles two careers, Olympian Claressa Shields to make pro debut


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