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DSH Boxing Notebook: Top Rank signs Olympian Shakur Stevenson, Thomas Hearns leads 2017 Nevada HOF class



Our latest Boxing Notebook examines the recent Baranchyk-Ramos war, and also looks at the 2017 Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame class.  For these stories and more news on the sweet science, read below:

Baranchyk defeats Ramos in slugfest

Undefeated super lightweight powerhouse Ivan Baranchyk and a game Abel Ramos brawled in an absolute slugfest that featured three knockdowns in the ShoBox main event, as local favorite Baranchyk won a 10-round unanimous decision.

The back-and-forth firefight was much closer than the judges’ scorecard indicated.  And while the fight was scored wide – 97-92, 99-91, 97-93 – the two-way war is still perhaps an early contender for Fight of the Year.

Ramos (17-2-2, 12 KOs) raced to an early statistical lead with a razor-sharp jab in the first two rounds that kept the hard-charging Baranchyk at bay until a sensational third round in which the fighters traded knockdowns.

Baranchyk (14-0, 10 KOs) floored Ramos with a flush overhand right with one minute left in the third, then Ramos responded and dropped the local favorite just seconds later with a counter shot in the final seconds.

The back-and-forth action continued in the fourth.  Ramos appeared to have Baranchyk hurt after a series of body shots, but the Belarus-native floored Ramos again with a left hook to the head.  Ramos got up, but the round was scored 10-8.

Both fighters traded blows toe-to-toe in an unbelievable sixth round, and then the power shootout appeared to shift tides in the second half of the fight.  Baranchyk’s superb conditioning was evident as the fight progressed and he battered Ramos, who soldiered on with a bloody and battered face until the closing bell.

Both Baranchyk and Ramos landed over 50 percent of their power shots, an astounding number for a 10-round fight.

“I think my conditioning and the experience of going 10 rounds in my last two fights was the difference in the second half of the fight,” Baranchyk said.  “I was surprised he could take it, but I knew he was a tough fighter.  I took a little too much punishment, but I’m happy that the fans enjoyed the fight."

Ramos' frequent but lighter punches enabled him to retain his statistical leads for the fight (350-314 overall punches landed and more than double his opponent in jabs), but Baranchyk's heavier shots in the second half were the difference.

“I thought it was much closer than the judges had it, but it was a great fight all-around,” Ramos said.  “He kept coming in and pressuring me.  I didn’t tire, but I couldn’t keep him off me. I’d like to fight him again.  I think I earned the chance.”

CompuBox records indicate that Baranchyk (314) and Ramos (350) combined to land 664 total punches.  As a point of reference, the epic first encounter between Micky Ward (268) and Arturo Gatti (350) featured 618 combined total punches landed.

In the co-feature, undefeated light heavyweight prospect Joseph“Mack” Williams won a close, majority decision over previously undefeated Dominican Olympian Lenin Castillo.  The fight was scored 76-76, 78-74 Williams, and 77-75 Williams.

The fight was hard to score from the opening bell.  Williams (11-0, 7 KOs) was the busier fighter – he threw 373 total punches compared to just 280 for Castillo – and was more effective on the inside against his taller opponent.

Castillo (15-1-1, 10 KOs) dictated range with his long jab in the first three rounds, but Williams closed the gap and landed the consistently harder shots in the trenches, where Castillo spent much of the time clinching instead of punching.

Top Rank signs 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson

Top Rank announced the signing of 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson to a promotional deal.

"Top Rank is the best there is in boxing," said Stevenson.  "Look at their champions -- great champions -- like Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko. This is where I want to be."

Stevenson will make his pro debut as a featherweight .  The date and site of his pro debut will be announced at a later time.

"He's young, he has charisma, reminds me of a very young Sugar Ray Leonard and our matchmakers Bruce Trampler and Brad Goodman say Shakur can fight," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.  "He will box as a featherweight, the same weight division as Michael Conlan, our Irish Olympian."

Initially, Stevenson was projected to sign with Mayweather Promotions, as Floyd Mayweather courted Stevenson during the Rio Games.  However, other outlets reported that Mayweather did not follow up regularly with Stevenson after the Olympics, prompting Stevenson to look elsewhere.

"Top Rank has a rich history in building superstars," said boxing star Andre Ward, who now is part of Stevenson's management team.  "We thought Top Rank would be the best fit."

Stevenson, 19, is from Newark, New Jersey, and is the oldest of nine children.  He is named after the late rap star, Tupac Shakur.

During the 2016 Olympics, Stevenson sailed though every stage of the competition before losing a close split decision in the bantamweight championship fight to 2012 flyweight Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba.  It was the best finish for an American male boxer since Andre Ward captured the gold medal in the Athens Games of 2004.

Ramirez swept the judges' scorecards in Round One with Stevenson returning the favor in Round Two.  In the third and final round, the closest of the three, two of the three judges gave the round, and the gold, to Ramirez by the slimmest of margins.

Erislandy Lara becomes American citizen

WBA and IBO super-welterweight champion, Erislady "The American Dream" Lara, is truly living the American dream since he has now completed all the eligibility requirements to become a U.S. citizen.

Erislandy, along with his wife Yudi, took an oath of allegiance to the United States this week, solidifying their citizenship.

"When I arrived in the United States in 2008, my main goal was to become a citizen of this great nation." said Erislandy Lara.  "It brings me great joy to know that I am now a legal citizen of the United States of America.  It's been a long journey to get where I'm at today, and I couldn't have done it without my beautiful wife Yudi.  Together, we fulfilled all the legal requirements that were mandated to become a U.S citizen."

Lara, who made his U.S. boxing debut in Primm, Nevada, in January of 2009, is elated about gaining his U.S. citizenship.

"Living in here in the States has been a tremendous blessing to me and my family." Lara continued. "With hard work, and the help of many good people around me, I've been able to provide for my loved ones.  My goal is to continue my boxing career with my core team, and someday, God willing, become a Boxing Hall of Famer."

Vasyl Lomachenko to fight Jason Sosa on April 8

Two-division world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko and WBA super featherweight world champion Jason Sosa will battle for Lomachenko's WBO junior lightweight world title, Saturday, April 8, at The Theater at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD.  The fight between the two world champions will be televised live on HBO.
     
"I would like to thank Jason Sosa, who unlike the other champions,  agreed to take this fight to determine the best in this weight division, even though everyone knows I am the division's Papi," said Lomachenko.  "I moved up to 130 pounds hoping champions in this division were not cowards like those at 126 pounds.  It looks like I was wrong.   To all the other 'champions' in the 126 pound and 130 pound divisions,  I say this to you, 'You are not champions, you are businessmen.  Bad businessmen.  By avoiding risks, you cheat the boxing fans and that is bad business.'  I came to this sport to prove to myself and others that I am this big and loud champion.  So, while all of you continue to hide from me, I am going forward to achieve my goals."

Sosa is looking forward to the challenge.

"We understand that this is the most difficult fight of our career due to the fact that we are fighting the best fighter - Vasyl Lomachenko - in the history of amateur boxing," said Sosa.  "The beauty of all of this is that I only had three amateur fights and will prove to the world that we are by far the better fighter."    

Talkin' Smack

Vasyl Lomachenko, on if he sees the top pound-for-pound fighter when he looks in the mirror: 
"It is very hard to answer the question because when I look in the mirror I don’t think about who the pound-for-pound fighter is. I am usually working on my hair at that moment."

Adrien Broner, on his recent stint in jail:
“I made it the best that I can make it. But, you know, when I was in there. I used to be by myself. I used to try to be by myself as much as possible. But, I told them to put me in general population—because they wanted to put me in protective custody. I can’t do 30 days like that… I helped the whole unit…I just made it a better place at the time. If somebody needs something to eat, I gave them something to eat.”



Vasyl Lomachenko, on opponent Jason Sosa:
"At this point I am happy to fight one of the best in the division and he is the one that took this opportunity. The other champions were running like rats from a sinking ship and not coming into the ring. Nowadays it’s not about the sport – all of the boxers have become businessmen and they are looking just to get the money and not the glory."

Danny Garcia:
"I’m the sharper, more patient and more battle-tested fighter. I’ll prove it on March 4."

Jason Sosa, on opponent Vasyl Lomachenko:
"He is the closest fighter to perfection in boxing."

Adrian Granados:
“I’m definitely dedicating this fight to my little brother Ed Brown. I think about him every day. He’s got the best seat in the house up in heaven and I’m going to put on a great performance for him."

Angel Garcia, Danny Garcia’s father and trainer:
“Thurman is undefeated but just because they call him ‘One Time’ doesn’t mean he’s going to do that to Danny. My son has a great chin. We don’t know about Thurman’s chin. He hasn’t fought a guy like Danny. This is a good fight for Danny to take into even bigger successes.  Danny has power just like Keith. We’re not scared of him. This is the hurt game. You know you’re going to get hit. We just don’t know if he can take a punch."

Bob Arum:
"Vasyl Lomachenko is history in the making.  He is the greatest fighter in the world.  Vasyl is the total package -- power, balance, skills, and tricks."

Lamont Peterson:
“You never know what the right time is to move up in weight, but the time is now for me to move up to welterweight and I’m happy about it. Making 140 pounds was getting tough. I think it hampered my performances a bit and that let us know it was time."



Adrian Granados: 
“I wasn't intimated by Broner when we sparred and I'm not intimidated by him now. I know I belong in this fight, at this level."
Vasyl Lomachenko, on the inability to get a rematch with Orlando Salido:

"Yes I was a little disappointed because as far as I knew everything was moving along and everything was agreed to then all the sudden they turned around and said he wasn’t going to fight. But, you know, such is life."

Artur Beterbiev to fight Sullivan Barrera on April 21

On April 21 in Miami, Artur Beterbiev (IBF #2 - 11-0-0, 11 KOs) will take on Cuban-born Sullivan Barrera (IBF #7 - 18-1-0, 13 KOs) for the mandatory challenger position for the IBF light heayvweight world title held by American Andre Ward (31-0-0, 15 KOs).  Beterview will earn $188,250 to $62,750 for Barrera.

Because Barrera could not cross the Canadian border, where Beterbiev currently resides, the fight is taking place in the U.S.

Beterbiev was impressive in his most recent outing, last December 23 at the Lac Leamy Casino in Gatineau, stopping Paraguayan slugger Isidro Ranoni Prieto (26-1-3) in opening round (2:44).

Barrera also displayed tremendous skills during his most recent performance, this poast Dec. 16 in California, shattering the previously undefeated Vyacheslav Shabranskyy with a spectacular TKO victory in the seventh round.

Antonio Orozco to face KeAndre Gibson on April 1

Someone's "0" must go, as undefeated and WBC number one ranked Super Lightweight Antonio Orozco (25-0, 16 KOs) from San Diego, faces one of his toughest tests to date on April 1 when he goes head-to-head with highly touted prospect KeAndre Gibson (16-0-1, 7 KOs) out of St. Louis, Missouri.

ESPN Deportes will transmit the fights live from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST with ESPN2 airing it at 11 p.m. EST.

"This 50/50 main event will help determine the future of the super lightweight division," said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "I expect the winner of this fight will be positioned for world championship titles in the near-future and the loser will find himself back in the pack of the division. Everything is on the line for both of these fighters."

Bute-Alvarez winner will become mandatory challenger for Adonis Stevenson

Lucian Bute plans to parlay his February 24th showdown with undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver light heavyweight champion Eleider Alvarez into his 14th world title fight later this year.

The 36-year-old Bute (32-3-1, 25 KOs) is challenging Colombia-native Alvarez (21-0, 10 KOs) for his WBC Silver title belt in the 12-round main event.

"I expect a technical fight," said Bute. "Alvarez is gifted and he has a good jab, but my experience and speed will make the difference. I will definitely win."

Bute also hopes to become the first Romanian-born boxer to capture world titles in two different weight classes as the Bute-Alvarez winner in this final WBC eliminator will become the mandatory challenger for reigning WBC and lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (28-1-0, 23 KOs).

Now ranked No. 7 by the WBC, Bute is as hungry as he's every been for one more world title shot opportunity.

 "I am fighting an undefeated Olympian who is the No. 1 ranked light heavyweight," Bute said. "A win will conform that I deserve a 14th world championship fight. It means everything to me. I took this fight because it's the shortest road for me to get a world title shot.

Hitman Hearns headlines 2017 Nevada Hall of Fame class

Former world champion Thomas Hearns, who along with Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, and Roberto Duran dominated boxing in the 1980's and became known collectively as “The Four Kings,” headlines a 14-person class of inductees into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, Hall CEO/president Michelle Corrales-Lewis announced.

“We are very proud of this class of inductees, and it contains some of the greatest fighters who ever lived,” Corrales-Lewis said. “I’m looking forward to our gala dinner when we can honor these richly deserving people and allow their fans to say hello.”

Hearns was chosen in the non-Nevada resident boxer category, along with Michael Spinks, Erik Morales, Michael Carbajal, women’s boxing star Lucia Rijker, and Salvador Sanchez.  Elected in the Nevada resident boxer category was Ken Norton, Leon Spinks, and Richie Sandoval.

Chosen in the non-boxer category were referee Davey Pearl, public relations specialist Debbie Munch, promoter Mel Greb, trainer/cut man Rafael Garcia, and Nevada Athletic Commission chair Dr. Elias Ghanem.

Norton, Sanchez, Greb, and Ghanem will be inducted posthumously.

The members of the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame’s star-studded fifth-induction class will be honored at a gala dinner at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Saturday, August 12.

Hearns was one of the standouts during the 1980s and participated in a series of great bouts in Las Vegas with Leonard, Hagler, and Duran. His 1985 bout with Hagler at Caesars Palace is still regarded by many as the greatest fight in boxing history.

The Spinks brothers, Michael and Leon, become the first set of brothers inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. Both won gold medals for the U.S. at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and then went on to win world titles in the pros.

Norton, known primarily for a series of close bouts with the legendary Muhammad Ali, also competed in one of the great heavyweight title bouts ever. He lost the WBC title by a razor-thin decision to Larry Holmes in 1978, among the finest heavyweight championship fights ever held.

Pearl was among the best referees of all-time and worked more than 70 championship bouts. He was the referee for both Leon Spinks’ shocking 1978 upset of Ali as well as for Leonard’s dramatic 14th-round knockout of Hearns in 1981.

Inductee Bios 

Michael Carbajal – Best known as the first junior flyweight to earn a $1 million purse, Carbajal won world titles at junior flyweight and flyweight. Known as “Little Hands of Stone” for his punching power, Carbajal was 49-4 with 33 KOs.

His rivalry with Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez was one of the best of the early 1990s and their 1993 fight was The Ring Magazine Fight of the Year. In 2004, The Ring named Carbajal as the best junior flyweight in history.

He was 98-10 as an amateur and won a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

Thomas Hearns – Hearns, 58, won recognized world titles at welterweight, super welterweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight during a career in which he went 61-5-1 with 48 KOs.

He’s most remembered for his savage three-round battle with Hagler in 1985, but he participated in many of the decade’s biggest and most electric bouts. He fought in Las Vegas 16 times, going 11-4-1 with nine knockouts.

Erik Morales – One of the most exciting fighters of the early part of the 2000s, Morales is best known for his series of outstanding fights with arch rival Marco Antonio Barrera. Morales went 52-9 with 36 knockouts but is best known for his trilogy with Barrera, two of which were named Ring Fight of the year.

Morales won major world titles at super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight and super lightweight, becoming the first Mexican born fighter to win titles in four weight classes.

He also engaged in a spectacular trilogy with Manny Pacquiao, beating him in the first and dropping the last two.

Ken Norton – Though he was the heavyweight champion before losing his belt to Larry Holmes in one of the great title bouts ever, Norton was best known for his three fights with the legendary Muhammad Ali. Norton defeated Ali in 1973 in San Diego in their first bout, breaking Ali’s jaw.

Ali won the two subsequent bouts, including a 1976 match at Yankee Stadium for the title. Some observers believe Norton deserved to win all three fights.

The Holmes fight was sensational and the two men stood in the center of the ring at Caesars and slugged it out in the 15th and final round.

Lucia Rijker – Rijker is regarded as one of, if not the best, women boxers in history. She was 17-0 with 14 knockouts in boxing and was 37-0-1 with 25 knockouts as a kick boxer.

In her boxing career, she scored dominant wins over the likes of Jane Couch, Marcela Acuna and Chevelle Hallback.

She later appeared in the Oscar-winning film, “Million Dollar Baby.”

Salvador Sanchez – Sanchez tragically died in an auto accident in Mexico at just 23 years old, robbing the world of one of the elite fighters in history well before his time. Sanchez was 44-1-1 with 32 knockouts and was the lineal featherweight champion from 1980 until his death in 1982.

He won the title by knocking out Danny “Little Red” Lopez, but is best known for a dominating eighth-round stoppage of Wilfredo Gomez. Gomez was 33-0 with 32 knockouts but was no match for Sanchez.

Leon Spinks – Spinks is most known for upsetting Muhammad Ali  in 1978 in just his eighth pro fight to win the heavyweight championship. He lost the title in a rematch and failed in two other attempts to win a title. He was stopped by Larry Holmes in a heavyweight title fight in 1981 and lost a cruiserweight title challenge in Reno to Dwight Muhammad Qawi in 1986.

A colorful figure known as “Neon” Leon, he was an acclaimed amateur who was 178-7 with 133 KOs and the light heavyweight gold at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

He finished his professional career with a 26-17-3 mark and 14 KOs.

Michael Spinks – Spinks was 31-1 in his career and won both the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles. He moved up from light heavyweight to defeat Larry Holmes at the Riviera in 1985, denying Holmes the opportunity to go 49-0 and match Rocky Marciano’s record.

He won the light heavyweight title in his 17th pro fight in 1981 at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas when he bested the much more experienced Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. Spinks held the light heavyweight title for four years, before giving it up to move to heavyweight to fight Holmes.

A 1976 Olympic gold medalist, Spinks’ only pro loss came in his final fight when he was knocked out by Mike Tyson in a bout for the undisputed heavyweight title.

Rafael Garcia – Garcia, 87, is best known for his cap he wears festooned with pins and for working as Floyd Mayweather’s hand wrapper. But he had a long career as both a cut man and a trainer and was outstanding at both. He worked with elite fighters such as Mayweather, Roberto Duran, Alexis Arguello, and Wilfredo Gomez.

Claressa Shields to headline Showtime card on March 10

Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields will make her professional television debut on ShoBox on Friday, March 10, from MGM Grand Detroit Event Center in Detroit, Michigan.

“Women’s boxing in America has its best chance of revival because of the emergence of Claressa Shields," ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood said.  "Women’s boxing is pretty big in certain countries, but it really hasn’t been a factor in the United States since Laila Ali and, before her, Christy Martin. Being the only U.S. boxer to win two gold medals, Claressa has instant credibility and star appeal and those two things are going to lead to wide exposure.  She has a great back story, she’s an exciting fighter to watch and she’s instantly likeable.”

Shields (1-0) is facing Hungary’s Szilvia Szabados (15-8, 6 KOs), a former world title challenger, in the first women’s boxing match to headline on premium television.  The fight will take place down the road from Shield’s hometown of Flint, Mich.

Shields is the most accomplished amateur boxer in U.S. history – male or female – and the only American boxer to capture back-to-back gold medals at the Olympic Games.

“It is a dream come true to be the first woman to headline a boxing card on premium television,” said Shields.  “March 10 will be a historic night for boxing and all of the women who give so much to advance our sport.  I am proud to be fighting for the NABF title in my second pro bout."

Shields won her first Olympic Gold when she was 17 years old in the inaugural women’s boxing competition at the London Games in 2012.  She defended her title at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, becoming the only American boxer to defend amateur sports’ premier championship.

Simply put, Shields found solace in boxing to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges in her childhood.  She’s become a vocal advocate for many social causes, including the ongoing water crisis in her hometown of Flint, women’s rights, and campaigning against sexual assault.  An inspirational figure and motivational speaker, Shields represents a beacon of hope for a working-class city that struggles with violence, poverty, and everyday essentials.

The 21-year-old Shields cruised to a 77-1 amateur record before turning professional last November, winning her first bout via unanimous decision on a non-televised undercard in Las Vegas.  She now returns home as a headliner to take on the veteran Szabados in a six-round middleweight bout.

Szabados said, “Fighters always say their next fight is the most important one of their career, but you get an opportunity like this, and it really is. This is an unbelievable dream.  I am very happy to be receiving this opportunity.  I know this fight is important for Claressa also, and I don’t really know what will happen in the ring.  We both want to win.  Claressa has more amateur experience, but I have more experience as a professional.  It’s going to be an exciting night.”

Szabados challenged for a world title in July 2015 in her ninth professional fight, losing a decision to undefeated WBC Super Middleweight Champion Nikki Adler in Germany.  The native of Miskolc, Hungary has faced two former world champions, Mikaela Lauren and Noni Tenge, and has won via knockout in three of her last five victories.

Andrzej Fonfara to fight Chad Dawson on Thurman-Garcia undercard

Andrzej Fonfara (28-4, 16 KOs) will meet former world champion Chad Dawson (34-4, 19 KOs) in a 10-round light heavyweight attraction as part of an exciting night of non-televised undercard bouts on Saturday, March 4 from Barclays Center.

The March 4 event is headlined by the welterweight world title unification showdown between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia.

A popular Polish-fighter who has fought out of Chicago for most of his career, Fonfara will make his New York debut in front of the many Polish fans in Brooklyn. Now training in Oakland with Virgil Hunter, Fonfara will look to bounce back from a defeat to Joe Smith Jr. and work his way towards a second world title opportunity.

The 29-year-old has scored impressive recent victories over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and current light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly.  In the Cleverly bout, the fighters broke Compubox records in the division for number of punches landed (936) and thrown (2524) in a fight.

A former world champion at light heavyweight, Dawson returns to the ring looking to earn another world title shot. The 33-year-old owns victories over former world champions Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver, and Tomasz Adamek, and is coming off of victories over Shujaa El Amin last year.

The New Haven, Connecticut-native has fought professionally since 2001 and was unbeaten in his first 21 pro fights on his way to becoming a two-time world champion. His victory over Hopkins in 2012 made him a three-time champion and he will now work his way towards a chance to become a four-time world champion.

Fonfara using VADA testing, training with Virgil Hunter

In preparation for his upcoming fight with former world champion, Chad Dawson (34-4, 19 KOs), Andrzej Fonfara (28-4, 16 KOs) is in full swing with his mandated VADA testing.

"Today I had my mandatory VADA testing and I feel good about it," said Andrzej Fonfara, the current WBC #9 rated contender. "I think it's very important that all fighters be tested for PED's.  We all put our lives on the line when we step in the ring and everyone knows boxing is a very dangerous sport.  People die in the ring and for someone to have an advantage by taking drugs, should not be tolerated.  I believe cleaning up the sport of boxing is a good thing, one that all fighters should applaud."

Fonfara is enjoying his time with his new coach, BWAA 2012 trainer of the year, Virgil Hunter.  The two have been working together at for the last few months and Fonfara says he's learning new training methods with Hunter that are helping him improve his game.

"Virgil is a great coach and I feel this was the right move to take my career to the next level," said Fonfara. "Right now, Hunter has me doing some crazy drills and I can see how its making me better in the ring."

The Dawson bout will be his first fight in 2017, a match he's looking forward to, since losing his WBC International light heavyweight title to Joe Smith Jr.

"Against Smith, I got caught with a good punch." Fonfara continued. "It can happen to anyone.  I feel I've learned a lot since then and I'm confident that'll I'll be able to march forward to a world title opportunity.  I'm going to take it one fight at a time.  With Virgil in my corner, I feel I can beat anyone that is put in front of me.  In March, everyone will see an improvement in my fighting style."

Giovani Santillan improves to 21-0 with win over Omar Tienda

Junior welterweight Giovani Santillan (21-0, 11 KOs) remained unbeaten during Friday's "Path to Glory" main event from the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calf.

The steely southpaw from San Diego thoroughly outpointed Mexico's Omar Tienda (18-4, 11 KOs) through 8-rounds, sweeping all scorecards 80-72.

"At times, he was difficult to hit because he bent down at the waist," said Santillan, one of Thompson Boxing's most promising prospects. "In the end it didn't matter because I found angles on him every round and he never really frustrated me."

Santillan relied on his jab to control the tempo and later worked in the pocket to land power shots that consistently slowed down Tienda.

"I was able to do what I wanted," Santillan said. "It was a solid win."

Roy Jones Promotions announces first card in California on April 15

Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions announced their first show in California at the Marriott Burbank Convention Center on Saturday, April 15th.  Headlining will be the WBA #1 Super-Featherweight Contender Bryan "Tiquito" Vasquez (35-2) from San Jose, Costa Rica.

Vasquez is a former two-time WBA "Interim" Super-Featherweight  Champion who has defeated the likes of Jose Felix (35-1) and Sergio Thompson (30-5).  He most recently lost a decision  to former WBA World Champion Javier Fortuna (31-1) on May 29, 2015.

Vasquez is looking to stay active as he prepares for a showdown with current WBA "Super" Champion Jezreel Corrales (21-1) later this year.  Corrales is coming off two very impressive wins over Takashi Uchiyama (24-2), who was reigning WBA World Super-Featherweight Champion for over five years.  Corrales scored an "Upset of the Year" KO victory over Uchiyama back on April 27, 2016, and then followed it up just eight months later with a split decision over Uchiyama.

"WBA deserves to be represented by the best" stated Bryan Vasquez,  "Jezreel Corrals step into the ring with me, you have something that belongs to me."

No opponent has been officially names for Vasquez on April 15th, but one should be finalized and announced later this week.

Manzanarez defeats Diaz at LA Fight Club

In his United States debut, Roberto Manzanarez (34-1, 28 KOs) conquered opponent Gamaliel Diaz (40-16-3, 19 KOs) in true Mexican fighting style in the main event at LA Fight Club from the Belasco Theater.

With speed and skill, Manzanarez dominated Diaz, who struggled to keep pace. Attempting to block Manzanarez's punches, Diaz lost his balance and fell to the mat in the first and third rounds. By the 2:23 mark of Round Four, Manzanarez hit Diaz with a left body shot, earning himself a knockout victory.

"I am very happy with this win, and I'm glad I stopped him early," said Manzanarez. "I know I have to go back into the gym to work on everything, and I need to be in better form physically and mentally. There's a big difference between fighting in the U.S. and in Mexico, fighting here was a dream come true of mine, and I hope I get more opportunities to do so."

Olympic 2016 bronze medalist Nico Hernandez to make pro debut 

Olympic 2016 junior flyweight bronze medalist Nico Hernandez will make his professional boxing debut headlining at home on Saturday, March 25 (9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT) on CBS Sports Network.

"I reached the highest-level I could in my amateur career and it was time for me to turn pro," Hernandez said.  "I've always wanted to make my pro debut in my hometown, Wichita.  My plan is to do it like Terence Crawford has done in Omaha.  I'm hoping it works out as well for me.  I signed with Knockout Night Boxing because they're really going to work with me and I like what they want to do."

The 21-year-old Hernandez' long anticipated pro debut will be against flyweight Patrick Gutierrez (0-2) in the six-round main event.

Hernandez was a highly-decorated amateur boxer (94-5) whose accomplishments, in addition to capturing a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, include eight-time Ringside World Championships and six-time consecutive Silver Gloves National Championships winner, as well as 2014 National Golden Gloves gold medalist.

Golden Boy signs 2016 Olympian Raul Curiel Garcia

Golden Boy Promotions announced a multi-fight agreement with 2016 Olympian Raúl Curiel Garcia, a Mexican junior middleweight who previously won the 2015 World Series of Boxing.

"I am extremely proud and excited to belong to a company as important as Golden Boy Promotions, and by the vote of confidence given by Oscar De La Hoya, Eric Gomez and Frank Espinoza, and I will defend with all the colors of the company and with the goal of becoming a world champion," said Raúl Curiel. "This is a very important step in my personal and boxing life and I promise that I will go forward with the help of all, especially my idol Oscar De La Hoya, and follow in the footsteps of a great sportsman like Canelo Álvarez."

Curiel was born in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas México, and began his impressive amateur trajectory at the age of 15.  The "Cugar" made his way to the international boxing scene, securing some of the most prized distinctions including Gold in the AIBA World Championships in 2012, the Gold medal in the 2013 Olympic Cup Championships in Puerto Rico, and Gold in Washington, D.C's Golden Gloves Tournament in 2013.

Curiel's outstanding performance in the 2015 World Series of Boxing secured his spot on Mexico's 2016 Olympic team, where he competed in the men's light welterweight division in Rio de Janeiro.

Erickson Lubin to fight Jorge Cota on Thurman-Garcia undercard

Undefeated rising star Erickson Lubin will take on once-beaten knockout artist Jorge Cota in the co-feature bout to the March 4 Thurman-Garcia main event.

"I'm very excited that I have the opportunity to showcase my skills on CBS, especially on one of the most anticipated fight cards in boxing," said Lubin. "I'm facing a tough, rugged fighter in Jorge Cota, who I know is coming to fight. He's got a lot of heart and fans are going to witness a great battle between two warriors who are going to leave everything in the ring.  This will be my New York debut at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and I can't wait to give the fans a great performance."

Lubin and Cota will open the broadcast with an elimination bout for the WBC Super Welterweight World Championship held by undefeated champion Jermell Charlo, who is due a mandatory bout against No. 1 contender Charles Hatley.  The highly regarded Lubin (17-0, 12 KOs) will face his toughest opponent to date in Cota (25-1, 22 KOs) as both men vie for their first world title shot.

"I've been waiting for this opportunity for over a year and I am looking forward to becoming the mandatory for the championship on March 4," said Cota. "Lubin has never faced a crafty fighter like me. Lubin has some experience, but I will be his first real challenge. Don't be surprised if I knock him out."

Since bursting onto the scene in 2013 at just 18-years-old, Lubin has impressed with his exciting style, power and ability to finish opponents with both hands. The 21-year-old fights out of Orlando and concluded a big 2016 by being named ESPN's "Prospect of the Year."

The 29-year-old Cota scored two knockdowns and won an entertaining 10-round battle with Cuban Olympic silver medalist Yudel Jhonson in his U.S. debut in 2015. Fighting out of Sinaloa, Mexico, Cota enters this bout having won nine bouts in a row, including six that ended inside of the distance. Sporting an 85 percent knockout rate, Cota scored knockout victories in his first 16 pro fights.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services


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