Andre Ward to fight Brand on August 6
Two-time world champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, August 6, for another 12-round light heavyweight tune-up fight when he takes on power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) at Oracle Arena in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, California. The event will be televised live on HBO.
“We can get it on, right now,” said Ward. “August 6th, I will be ready, so come out to Oracle Arena or tune in live on HBO. Don’t miss it.”
Ward and Brand were slated to face each other last November on the undercard of Miguel Cotto versus Canelo Alvarez, but a leg injury forced Ward to withdraw from participation in the event.
“It will be a great honor to face Andre Ward on August 6 and better yet in his own backyard,” said Brand. “Fighting somebody with such an illustrious career, facing a guy that perhaps hasn’t lost a round in his entire life, is even more thrilling. We were set to face each other last November, but he was forced to pull out of the fight with an injury. Now the time has come to fight him and I can’t wait to derail his future plans. I’ll work hard to spoil them.”
Ward, 32, is getting adjusted to the light heavyweight division as he prepares for an eventual showdown with the powerful Sergey Kovalev in the fall. Ward recently made his successful 175-pound debut against Cuba’s undefeated contender Sullivan Barrera with a unanimous decision.
Bogota, Colombia native Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) turned professional at the relatively late age of 32 following a long and accomplished amateur career that saw him tally over 400 wins. He burst on to the professional scene in 2009, scoring knockout wins in his first 12 fights and winning 15 of his first 17 bouts inside the distance. His first and only professional setback came via an eight-round split decision loss to current WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Badou Jack in a 2012 fight that many ringside observers thought Brand had won. Since that fight, Brand, 39, has notched eight consecutive victories.
Francisco Vargas earns 2015 Fight of the Year honor
WBC Super Featherweight World Champion Francisco Vargas was honored with the Boxing Writers Association of American Muhammad Ali - Joe Frazier Fight of The Year Award for his 2015 war against former world champion Takashi Miura on November 21, 2015.
"I'm very grateful to recieve this award and I only hope to continue to give great fights to all the fans, " said Francisco Vargas.
Serving as the co-main event to the Cotto-Canelo bout, Miura versus Vargas stole the show and received unanimous Fight of the Year nods from Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com, The Bleacher Report, USA TODAY's Boxing Junkie, The Sweet Science, and Boxing Scene. The action packed fight featured knockdowns, great performances and a lot of heart from two of boxing's' most respected warriors.
Vargas eventually was able to claim the WBC Super Featherweight World Championship via ninth-round technical knockdown over Takashi Miura after suffering a knockdown during the fourth round himself. ESPN.com called the fight "the most dramatic comeback since the late Diego Corrales used a legendary 10th-round rally to stop Jose Luis Castillo and unify lightweight titles in 2005."
Check out the latest quotes from the sweet science:
"The fight with Matthysse was my most challenging and memorable because it was my first world championship fight and I was fighting for the title against one of the strongest punchers in the division. The importance of this fight for my career and my life was not lost on me. It was all I thought about during training camp at Wild Card. It's all I ever wanted since I started boxing in a gym outside Kiev as a 12-year-old boy. I followed Freddie's game plan from beginning to end. Even the last combination I landed -- right uppercut, left hook -- we worked on daily. It was a reflex to throw them when he charged in at me. He was perfect for that punch. Freddie Roach had me well prepared for that fight. My trainers made me a champion and helped me realize a dream I have had for a very long time. Every time I look at that green belt I will think of Freddie and everyone at Wild Card who helped me become a champion. I loved showing it off to all my friends, family members and fans in Ukraine. I am very proud to represent my country as a world champion."
"I'm not worried if I am being avoided by anyone as long as I get to fight the best out there. In this business if you don't fight you don't eat. And the fans are smart enough to know a good fight. They are not about to settle for anything less. Why should they? They work hard for their money too. So if other fighters want to go hungry because they are looking for easy fights, that's their business. But that's not for me. I love this sport too much and I owe a lot to the fans who pay to see me fight. They deserve to see the best fight the best, which is why I am fighting Postol. We are two undefeated champions risking our world titles and our undefeated records to fight each other to determine the best fighter in the division. It's the ultimate test. We both want to know who the best junior welterweight is and on July 23 we are going to find out."
"It was a very good performance. We were in charge of the fight the whole time. Viktor followed the game plan perfectly. I remember before the last round I told our corner that Matthysse was very tired and ready to go out. He was coming in with his head leaning down. We told Viktor, 'Now is the time for a right uppercut and a left hook. Viktor took him out when he was ready to take him out. He is a good student of the game. Viktor deserved that victory. I've never had a fighter work harder in training camp than he did. I was so happy for him when the fight was stopped. I just knew that a lot of doors would be opening for him now that he was a world champion and because of how he won that fight. This was, really, one of the greatest wins of my career as a trainer."
Sergey Kovalev Prepares for Isaac Chilemba in Armenian Mountains
WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev recently completed the first phase of his training camp in the mountains of Armenia as he prepares to face Isaac Chilemba on July 11 in his first fight in his home country of Russia since 2011.
The champ will return to the DIVS Sports Palace in Ekaterinburg, Russia to defend his three titles as part of the opening night ceremonies for the International Industry Trade Fair "INNOPROM-2016." The event will be televised in the United States at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT exclusively on HBO.
This is the first time Kovalev has trained outside the United States since he won his first WBO crown against Nathan Cleverly in 2013. For his much-anticipated Russian homecoming, the 33-year old from Chelyabinsk, Russia, opted to change-up his training camp in preparation for Chilemba.
According to Sergey, "I try to look for mountainous regions which provide the right elevation and terrain for my conditioning training (biking, running). Armenia is well-known for their mountains and terrain, plus it was also a good opportunity to get away from the attention, to focus solely on training."
Kovalev was not alone in Armenia.
"The Russian Boxing Olympic team had their training camp in the same area (Tsaghkadzor, Armenia) as well, so I had good company around me, the right training mentality and focus level," said Kovalev. "Help from the local trainers and Russian national team boxers was quite handy with finding the new trails for my runs and biking."
Although Sergey changed the location of training camp, his team and routine remains the same.
"I am known for sticking with my plans, for adhering to the established system that works for me," said Kovalev. "New places, but old routines. I will have my trainer, John David Jackson, joining me in Ekaterinburg's sport base "Kurganovo," along with my long-time friend and training assistant Eduard Abzalimov from Chelyabinsk and massage therapist. I will have my sparring sessions (will have three partners for that) and mitt work."
It has been a long-time dream of Sergey's to return to Russia and bring his belts home to his fans. He is grateful to those people who helped make his dream a reality.
"It truly feels as if the entire country is behind my back in this fight," said Kovalev. "I can tell I'm fighting at home. This support means a lot for me."
Mikey Garcia returns to ring on July 30
Undefeated former featherweight and super featherweight world champion Mikey Garcia will return to the ring after a two-and-a-half-year layoff on Saturday, July 30, to fight former world champion Elio Rojas in a 10-round bout in the Showtime co-feature of the Leo Santa Cruz versus Carl Frampton event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
“I expect to pick up right where I left off,” Garcia told reporter Jim Gray last Saturday on CBS. “I was a world champion, I was undefeated, and I still am. I didn’t leave because I was injured. I think I’ll come back even better. I’m hungrier now than I was before."
Garcia (34-0, 28 KOs), of Ventura, Calif., is 28-years-old and in the prime of his career. Once considered one of the top young boxers pound-for-pound in the world, he will make his first ring appearance since he retained the WBO 130-pound title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Burgos on Jan. 25, 2014.
“I just have to get one fight in," said Garcia. "This first fight with Elio (Rojas) will be somewhere between 135 and 140 pounds, but I want to fight at 135 and win a title there. I want to win a title there and keep going after champion after champion. Now that all that (uncertainty) is behind me I look forward to the next stage of my career. This next stage of my career will be what people remember me for.”
Garcia, the brother of renowned trainer Robert Garcia, has been victorious by knockout in 10 of his last 12 fights and holds impressive victories over Roman “Rocky” Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez, Orlando Salido, and Bernabe Concepcion.
Rojas (24-2, 14 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, won the WBC featherweight world championship in 2009 with a 12-round unanimous decision over defending titleholder Takahiro Ao in Japan. The 33-year-old successfully defended the title against Guty Espadas Jr. in 2010, before losing the belt via unanimous decision to Jhonny Gonzalez in April 2012. Since the loss to Gonzalez, Rojas moved up to lightweight, where he defeated Robert Osiobe in August 2014.
“Mikey Garcia is a great fighter,” Rojas said. “I want to thank him for this opportunity. We are both former WBC World Champions and I expect a great fight. However, all of the talk surrounding this fight has been about Mikey's comeback and his future plans. I am no tune-up. This is also about me coming back and fighting again. He may be looking past me, but I am fully focused on him and securing the victory. I will do whatever I have to do to win, so I can move on and regain my world championship.”
In the opening bout of the telecast, once-beaten 154-pound contenders Tony Harrison and Sergey Rabchenko will meet in a 12-round IBF Junior Middleweight Eliminator. Harrison and Rabchenko will square off for the No. 2 mandatory challenger spot to IBF champ Jermall Charlo, who successfully defended his crown on May 21, and undefeated contender Julian Williams, who earned the No. 1 mandatory position on March 5.
“I'm thrilled to return to the ring on this big stage for my first fight in Brooklyn, and I'm ready to put on a show,” said Harrison. “Fighting for a world title is my dream and I know that I have a challenge in front of me. I'm working hard in camp to get another knockout and to make my mark on the division.”
At just 25-years-old, Harrison (23-1, 19 KOs) has showed tremendous promise. He manufactured a 10-fight knockout streak from 2013 to 2015 and proved he could recover from a loss when he dominated Cecil McCalla for 10 rounds in October 2015 and stopped Fernando Guerrero in impressive fashion in March.
Fighting out of Belaraus, Rabchenko (27-1, 20 KOs) is looking to put himself squarely into world title contention when he makes his U.S. debut on July 30. The 30-year-old is coming off stoppage victories over Walter Calvo in May 2015 and Miguel Aguilar in February.
“This is the start of realizing my dream,” Rabchenko said. “America is the Mecca of boxing so it is a huge privilege for me to be asked to fight there. American fans like to see knockouts and I like to knock people out so I think they will like what they see. I think I can build a fan base there. I am hungrier than ever. I have not seen much of Harrison, but I am ready for anyone. People say he is a very good fighter with good power. I’m not worried. I have good power as well and I think I will have too much for him.”
An all-Brooklyn showdown between welterweight technicians Paulie Malignaggi and Gabriel Bracero highlights the undercard action in a 10-round bout.
“I feel truly blessed to have yet another opportunity to fight in Brooklyn,” Malignaggi said. “I have known Tito a long time and I know he always comes to fight. We will give the Brooklyn fans a great appetizer before the terrific main event later that night in Barclays Center.”
A former world champion at 140 and 147-pounds, the 35-year-old Malignaggi (35-7, 7 KOs) will return to the ring to fight at Barclays Center for the fifth time. He has faced a slew of big names throughout his career and has been victorious over the likes of Zab Judah, Vyacheslav Senchenko and Pablo Cesar Cano. Born and raised in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, “The Magic Man” was victorious twice fighting in his birth country of Italy last year after unsuccessfully challenging unbeaten Danny Garcia in August.
Another Brooklyn-native, Bracero (24-2, 5 KOs) comes off of a sensational one-punch knockout of rival Danny O’Connor in their rematch last October. The 35-year-old owns victories over Dmitry Salita and Pavel Miranda in addition to his first triumph over the previously unbeaten O’Connor in 2011.
“I'm looking to make a statement by winning this fight,” said Bracero. “Paulie and I have been friends since the amateurs and I'm thankful to have this opportunity, but he's had his run. Now it's time for me to have mine. This fight is going to change my life.”
Another 10-round clash on the card will be between once-beaten lightweight Ivan Redkach and streaking Tevin Farmer, a winner of 14 straight.
“I am extremely happy to be back in the ring on a big show in New York,” Redkach said. “There are so many Ukrainian fans in New York and I am thrilled to have their support and will put on a great show for them. I want to thank Leo Santa Cruz and his team for having me in their camp as we both prepare ourselves to put on tremendous performances come July 30.”
Born in Ukraine but fighting out of Los Angeles, Redkach (19-1-1, 15 KOs) began boxing at the age of six and has put together an impressive career since turning pro in 2009. The 30-year-old owns victories over Tony Luis, Sergey Gulyakevich and Yakubu Amidu. Most recently, Redkach knocked out Erick Daniel Martinez in October 2015 and fought to a draw with Luis Cruz in April.
Representing the fighting city of Philadelphia, Farmer (24-1-1, 5 KOs) has won 14 bouts in a row since losing to unbeaten world champion Jose Pedraza in 2012. The 25-year-old has come on strong in recent years, upsetting previously unbeaten fighters such as Emmanuel Gonzalez, Angel Luna and Camilo Perez. Farmer dominated veteran Gamaliel Diaz in March and will make his Barclays Center debut on July 30.
“I couldn't be more excited about this fight,” Farmer said. “This is my Barclays Center debut and it is going to be a spectacular performance. I have called out anyone and everyone in the 130- pound division to no avail, so now I'm moving up to 135 to take on Redkach, one of the most feared punchers in the division. Redkach is an aggressive guy and I know he is coming to fight, but there is no way I leave that ring without my hand being raised. This is a fight where I can and I will make a major statement. I'm willing to fight whoever they put in front of me to inch closer to a world title opportunity and July 30 is another step in that direction. I tip my hat off to Redkach for giving me this fight, but this is my time to shine.”
Rosa-Hinojosa bout ends in "no contest"
The main event between undefeated New Haven super bantamweight Luis Rosa, Jr. and former world title challenger Luis Hinojosa ended in a "no contest" after one round in the latest installment of Broadway Boxing at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Rosa (22-0, 10 KOs), rated No. 10 by the IBF and No. 12 by the WBC, was terribly disappointed by the stoppage decision, which was the result of a serious cut over Dominican Hinojosa's right eye, ruled from an unintentional head butt.
In the opening round, Rosa dominated with powerful body punches, and it appeared to be only a matter of time before Hinojosa (28-9, 17 KOs) went to sleep.
"I felt that I dominated the fight and it was going to end sooner or later," Rosa noted in his post-fight interview. "I hit him with a right hand (causing the cut) and I don't agree with the decision (that it was from a head butt). He quit! I want to fight the best, whoever my promoter (Lou DiBella) chooses to put me in with next."
UBF super featherweight champion Jennifer Salinas (19-3, 5 KOs), stopped Angel Gladney (9-12-1, 6 KOs) in the fourth round of their non-title fight. Salinas, who now fights out of Providence, defeated Gladney for the third time in three fights. She broke-down her opponent with her aggressive attack and Gladney finally wilted as referee Callas ended things in the fourth.
"She hurt me with two or three punches, Angel has got pop," Salinas commented.
Teenage sensation "Marvelous" Mykey Williams (2-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of nearby East Hartford, showcased his vast skills on his way to a third-round stoppage of Puerto Rican junior middleweight Abdel Vera-Clemente (0-4).
The 18-year-old Williams, a decorated amateur who won as 3-time Ringside World Champion, displayed quick hands and poise in the ring well beyond his years. He consistently ripped crisp combinations to Vera-Clemente's body and head, hurting him with a right in the second. The onslaught continued as referee Johnny Callas stepped in to stop the action in the third round.
"This was a good experience," Williams said after the fight. "I enjoyed showcasing my skills and look forward to doing it again. I'm confident in my skills and did all of the hard work in the gym. I think I put on a good show for the fans."
Worcester, MA super lightweight Irvin Gonzalez (1-0, 1 KO) made the most of his brief pro debut, dropping Gilvan Santos (0-3) with a sharp left on the chin only a minute into the opening round. Santos beat the count but damage had already been done and referee Eddie Claudio wisely waved off the fight.
New Haven light heavyweight Charles Foster (11-0, 6 KOs) remained unbeaten, pounding outclassed opponent Willie "For Real" Williams (14-12-2, 4 KOs) from the opening until referee Claudio halted the fight midway through the opening round.
Complete results below (winners listed first for each fight result):
Charles Foster (11-0, 6 KOs), New Haven, CT
Willie Williams, Baltimore, MD (14-12-2, 4 KOs)
Mykey Williams (2-0, 2 KO), East Hartford, CT
Abdel Vera-Clemente (0-4), Carolina, Puerto Rico
FEMALE SUPER LIGHTWEIGHTS
Jennifer Salinas (19-3, 5 KOs), Providence, RI
Angel Gladney (9-12-1, 6 KOs), Columbus, SC
Irvin Gonzalez (1-0, 1 KO), Worcester, MA
Gilvan Santos (0-3), Framingham, MA
Luis Rosa, Jr. (22-0, 10 KOs), New Haven, CT
No Contest (after 1 round due to an unintentional head butt)
Luis Hinojosa (28-9, 3 KOs), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Jarrell Miller to fight Fred KassiUndefeated heavyweight Jarrell Miller claims he’s America’s top heavyweight prospect. “Big Baby” will get a chance to back up his boast when he faces his toughest test to date in veteran Fred Kassi on Friday, Aug. 19.
“This is an amazing opportunity. I’m in the main event going against a tough opponent, and he’s definitely game to fight,” Miller said. “I’m ready to put his lights out like I do everybody else. I know he’s durable and a little older than me. He’s a tough guy and he can take a beating. So far, he’s only been stopped once. I’ll be the second.
The menacing Miller, a 6-foot-4 Brooklyn, N.Y. native, is a consensus top 15 heavyweight – he’s ranked No. 8 in the WBO, No. 9 in the WBA and No. 14 in the IBF. The 27-year-old former professional kickboxer has knocked out six consecutive opponents as he’s risen through the rankings as one of America’s top heavyweight hopes. Prior to Miller’s knockout of Nick Guivas on May 27, his previous two fights were on ShoBox – a third round destruction of Akhror Muralimov last October and a knockout of Donovan Dennis in January in which he was pushed to the seventh round for the first time.
The confident and hard-hitting Miller (17-0-1, 15 KOs), and the durable and vastly experienced Kassi (18-5-1, 10 KOs) will headline a tripleheader live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT from the outdoor soccer venue Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, N.Y.
“I’m going back to basics in this camp," said Miller. "I’m an advanced fighter, but there are a couple of things I’ve wanted to work on. It’s easy for heavyweights to rely on power and forget about technique. You see what happened to Dominic Breazeale against Anthony Joshua? His power didn’t mean jack because there was no technique behind it. I want to be the kind of fighter who puts his technique first and power last.”
Kassi has been in with some of the most recognizable names in the heavyweight division, including Amir Mansour, Dominic Breazeale and Hughie Fury. The 36-year-old fought to a disputed majority draw with three-time world title challenger Chris Arreola last July on PBC on CBS in which most ringside observers, including ShoBox analyst Steve Farhood, had Kassi winning by a wide margin. The New Orleans resident has been stopped just once – in 2014 by Mansour – and stands as an excellent barometer for Miller’s progression as a legitimate contender.
Kassi has his own ideas about how the fight will play out.
“I approach Jarrell like all young fighters,” Kassi said. “I’m a seasoned pro that has fought top-tier opponents. Jarrell will have to bring his ‘A game’ against me. He's got size and power, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen. I'm tired of getting robbed by judges like in El Paso (against Chris Arreola), and in Alabama (against Dominic Breazeale). That should have been me fighting Anthony Joshua in The O2. Against (Hughie) Fury, the cut saved him. Another round or two and he would have been done. Then we heard what we always hear, ‘oh, Fury had a bad night, so did Breazeale, so did Arreola.’ They all seem to have ‘bad’ nights when I'm in the other corner. I'm hoping to actually get some credit when Miller has a ‘bad’ night too. I’m a heavyweight boxer, that’s boxer underlined. I move my feet, I use angles, I hit and don’t get hit. That’s boxing and it’s my art. Boxing fans are going to have a great time watching me dismantle a giant.”
Two undefeated young bantamweight prospects will square off in the ShoBox co-feature as world-ranked Nikolay Potapov (14-0-1, 6 KOs) and Antonio Nieves (16-0-1, 8 KOs) meet in a 10-round bantamweight bout.
In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated welterweight knockout artist Bakhtiyar Eyubov (10-0, 10 KOs) will face battle-tested veteran Karim Mayfield (19-3-1, 11 KOs) in a 10-round match.
DiBella signs Mykquan Williams
DiBella Entertainment has announced the signing of Connecticut 18-year-old welterweight prospect Mykquan "Mykey" Williams (1-0, 1 KO) to an exclusive promotional contract.
"Signing with DiBella was the best move for me," Williams commented. "I'm excited to be fighting under the DiBella banner now. He's a great promoter who will help me get to the world-class level in this sport. I'm just happy that the ball is finally rolling!"
Williams, who is currently finishing his junior year at A.I. Prince Technical School in Hartford, was a decorated amateur boxer with a 45-13 amateur record, highlighted by three gold-medal performances at the Ringside World Championships, in addition to winning the PAL Tournament and Silver Gloves Championships.
"I am thrilled to sign such a hungry, young prospect like Mykey Williams," said Lou DiBella. "Williams is an accomplished amateur and Jackie Kallen certainly has an eye for spotting great talent. He already has a growing fan base in the New England area and I am confident that he will quickly develop into a rising prospect."
Williams has already overcome tremendous obstacles during his young life, including the shooting murder of his father when Mykey was only one week old, and then his house burned down 10 years later.
Paul Cichon, a 2014 Conn. Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, has trained Williams since he was seven.
"If anybody had a reason to go the wrong way, it was Mykey," Cichon added. "But he's a great kid who is a hard worker and is always happy with a positive attitude. He's a boxer who can punch and when he sets up his opponent, watch out, because he's in big trouble. Mykey is a great finisher who moves well and has good defense. He's a left-hander who goes to the body to breakdown his opponent. Mykey's slick and hard to hit, but he's also unique because he's a naturally gifted athlete who could have excelled at any sport he chose."
Although Williams made his successful professional debut on April 16th at Foxwoods Resorts Casino in a card promoted by DiBella Entertainment, he will make his DiBella Entertainment debut this Thursday night (June 30) at Foxwoods in a four-round bout.
"I haven't been this excited about a fighter since I signed James Toney in 1989," famed boxing manager Jackie Kallen exclaimed. "Mykey Williams is the real deal. His future is unlimited and we are thrilled to partner up with DiBella Entertainment to make it all happen."
Antonio Orozco to fight on July 30
On Saturday, July 30, as two of SoCal's undefeated top rising stars return to the ring, as undefeated welterweight Antonio Orozco (24-0, 16 KOs) of San Diego is set to participate in 10-round main event, while Golden Boy Promotions stablemate and undefeated NABF Featherweight Champion Joseph Diaz, Jr. (20-0, 11 KOs) of South El Monte, Calif. will be featured in the 10-round co-main event. Both fights will be televised on HBO Latino Boxing.
Opponents for Orozco and Diaz will be announced shortly.
Opponents for Orozco and Diaz will be announced shortly.
With Orozco ranked as number one by the WBC and in the top 10 by all major world sanctioning bodies and with Diaz crashing the WBC, IBF and WBO rankings, the stakes have never been higher as world-class boxing returns to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif.
"Antonio Orozco and Joseph Diaz, Jr. are two fighters quickly rising to the top in Golden Boy's stable of talent, with both poised to become world champions in the near-future," said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "This card will be action-packed, making for an exiting summer event that fans should not miss on July 30 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and HBO Latino Boxing."
Orozco, 28, has defeated former world champions Humberto "La Zorrita" Soto and Steve "2Pound" Forbes, and hot prospect Emmanuel "Tranzformer" Taylor, and in his most recent bout on March 25, Orozco made another statement with a first round knockout of Miguel "Aguacerito" Acosta that thrilled the fans at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
A member of the 2012 United States Olympic team, Joseph "JoJo" Diaz, Jr. has been seen as a future world champion for years, and now the NABF Featherweight Champion is closing in on that dream. Currently ranked third in the world by the WBC and ninth by the IBF and WBO, the 23-year-old southpaw has steadily moved through all opposition at 126 pounds, including Rene "Gemelo" Alvarado, Ruben "Canelito" Tamayo and Hugo "Guerrero" Partida. But it was in his March 26 win over highly-regarded Jayson Velez that Diaz announced his arrival to the world stage.
Undefeated heavyweight LaRon Mitchell continued his knockout winning streak by taking out rugged veteran Epifanio Mendoza in the third round of his recent bout from the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif.
The stoppage win extends Mitchell's (13-0, 13 KOs) consecutive KO win tally to thirteen.
"It's not something that I think about," said Mitchell, based in San Francisco and trained by Jimmy Ford. "I just try to get better with each and every training camp and each fight."
Mendoza (42-23-1, 36 KOs), by far, was the most experienced opponent Mitchell has encountered in his young career. The Colombian's approach was to fight in close quarters, thus eliminating Mitchell's height and reach advantage. In the third, Mitchell strung a couple of combinations together and connected with a left hook to the body. Mendoza crumbled to the floor and was counted out at the :52 mark.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services