Fightful Boxing Newsletter (2/22) Table Of Contents:
- Latest On April 14 ESPN PPV (Page 2)
- World Boxing Super Series: George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr. Review (Page 3)
- PBC on FOX/Showtime February 17 Review (Page 4)
- Top Rank Boxing On ESPN February 16 Review (Page 5)
- WBC Welterweight Tournament Details (Page 6)
- Results From The World Of Boxing (Page 7)
- Fightful Boxing Rankings (Pages 8-9)
- News And Notes From The World Of Boxing (Page 10)
- Q&A Interview With Sullivan Barrera (Page 11)
Latest On April 14 ESPN PPV
Although not officially announced, Top Rank essentially has its top three fights billed for the upcoming April 14 ESPN pay-per-view event in Las Vegas.
We’ve known for quite some time that the card will feature the WBO welterweight title fight between champion Jeff Horn and mandatory challenger Terence Crawford, and perhaps more notably, the return of eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, who has not fought since losing the WBO title to Horn last summer.
In an effort to further boost pay-per-view buys and make the April 14 card the first boxing supercard ESPN has shown in 2018, Jessie Magdaleno vs. Isaac Dogboe for Magdaleno’s WBO super bantamweight title is expected to be added to the card. It’s likely that one more fight, a non-title bout, will be added to the pay-per-view portion of the card as boxing pay-per-view broadcasts typically have four fights. The only other fight that was announced is a lightweight bout between highly-touted prospect Teofimo Lopez against an opponent to be named later.
This would be the first major pay-per-view Top Rank has held since Pacquiao’s WBO title win over Jessie Vargas back in November 2016. Top Rank did have a pay-per-view on April 22, 2017 with Magdaleno fighting in one of the three main event fights, but that event was never expected to hold a high buyrate and simply used so that Magdaleno, Gilberto Ramirez and Oscar Valdez can get experience fighting on pay-per-view.
The card was looking like it was headed to Madison Square Garden in New York City, but Arum recently said the card was heading back to its original location of Las Vegas. The change in locale was due to Arum not wanting to compete with Showtime and HBO who are also holding major boxing events in the city on April 21 and 28, respectively. Arum had always intended to hold the ESPN pay-per-view, its first since the two sides signed an exclusive broadcast contract last year, in Las Vegas and only considered New York in case he wasn’t able to secure a venue in Las Vegas. In regards to finding a venue in Las Vegas, negotiations between Arum and a couple of venues, mainly the Mandalay Bay and T-Mobile Arena, are still ongoing with some progress being made, but nothing that won’t be completed within this week at the earliest.
The other thing that’s still being negotiated is Pacquiao’s opponent. The current favorite is Mike Alvarado as he’s been the only name that’s been considered by Arum. Pacquiao had wanted to fight WBA “regular” welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse, which would have been a more interesting matchup and a more attractive pay-per-view bout. Arum shot down Matthysse as Pacquiao’s April opponent, but not as an opponent for Pacquiao down the road. It’s a similar instance to when Pacquiao was trying to make a fight with Amir Khan last year after Pacquiao vs. Horn had already been signed on and Arum completely shot down the possibility of Pacquiao fighting Khan last year.
As for what the expectations in terms of buyrate are concerned, one would think that ESPN is hoping for a buyrate that is at least better than the November 2016 Top Rank pay-per-view, which did about 300,000 buys. A more respectable number would be somewhere between 400,000-500,000, which is what Pacquiao’s bouts against Brandon Rios, Chris Algieri and the third bout against Timothy Bradley did. Although Pacquiao no longer has the drawing power he once had from 2008-2015, he still is one of the sport’s best draws. Even having a pay-per-view buyrate as low as 300,000 would probably be one of the three-highest selling boxing pay-per-views in the United States in 2018 and that number is greater than or equal to several of the past UFC pay-per-views in the past 14 months.
One would think that with the low viewership numbers with the Top Rank Boxing cards in 2018 that the same would happen to the April 14 pay-per-view. This should not be a major concern since ESPN doesn’t do a great job at marketing Top Rank boxers not named Pacquiao, Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko. ESPN will pull out the stops for this April card because both Pacquiao and Crawford are fighting in major fights on the same ESPN card (Pacquiao vs. Alvarado itself is not a big fight, but it’s on the marquee spot of a pay-per-view). Part of the plan for Pacquiao in 2018 has Pacquiao fighting, and presumably beating, Alvarado, build up Pacquiao’s momentum and fight on of three boxers: the Horn vs. Craw0ford winner, Matthysse or Lomachenko.
The Horn vs. Crawford winner is a fairly safe fight to make no matter who walks out of Las Vegas as the WBO welterweight champion. If Horn retains the title against Crawford, then you have the long-awaited rematch between Horn and Crawford which could end up being the highest-viewed boxing fight on free television in 2018. If Crawford wins the title from Horn, then getting Crawford to agree to fight Pacquiao is easy since Crawford has stated for months that he always wanted to fight Pacquiao after beating Horn. The one issue could be getting Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach to sign off on his fighter going toe-to-toe against Crawford even if it is for a world title. However, if Arum wishes to make Crawford vs. Pacquiao happen, then there really isn’t anything truly stopping him from making it happen.
The Matthysse fight is also very possible and it could happen around November. Both Pacquiao and Matthysse are interested in making the fight happen and if Matthysse still holds the title by the end of the year, then it’s possible to make that an ESPN-televised main event and could do extremely strong numbers. On HBO, Matthysse has been an underrated television draw and if paired with the right opponent, Matthysse can produce a really exciting fight, not unlike the poor fight that was Matthysse vs. Tewa Kiram for the vacant WBA title back in January.
The wild card in all of this is Lomachenko. Lomachenko’s name has been thrown around by Arum and Roach as Pacquiao’s November opponent if Pacquiao wins his April bout, but nothing has been set in stone. Lomachenko is scheduled to fight on an ESPN card at Madison Square Garden in May, most likely at lightweight against WBO champion Raymundo Beltran. Now if the fight between Pacquiao and Lomachenko is possible, then the fight would most likely be contested at a 140-pound catchweight.
The April pay-per-view will set the tone for ESPN’s Top Rank Boxing schedule for 2018 and likely decide the immediate fight future for several of the company’s best boxers. Pacquiao is at the end of his boxing career and depending on how Arum plays his cards, ESPN could get some of the best boxing viewership numbers on television with the future Hall of Famer as the network’s biggest name.
World Boxing Super Series: George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr. Review
When the super middleweight portion of the World Boxing Super Series was first unveiled, there was really one fight that attracted fans’ attention: the WBA “Super” and IBO super middleweight title unification between George Groves (the WBA champion) and Chris Eubank Jr. (the IBO champion). In terms of hype surrounding all-British boxing fights in 2018, Groves vs. Eubank would probably be in the top three.
And the fight delivered on that hype.
With a spot in the first ever WBSS super middleweight finals on the line, Groves and Eubank delivered an early Fight of the Year candidate (though I figure this fight won’t make it to the top 10 fights at the end of the year) that left both fighters’ bodies in rough shape. Groves successfully defended his WBA title while capturing the IBO title by soundly beating Eubank by unanimous decision (117-112, 116-112, 115-113).
The fight itself was an excellent boxer vs. brawler bout that saw Groves dictate the pace and use his longer reach and jab to win the early rounds and keep Eubank trying to come up with a gameplan to beat Groves.
Eubank struggled in the early going and got a bad cut near his right eye in the third round due to an accidental clash of heads. The fight continue to be a massive back and forth battle that saw
To a lot of people, this fight essentially was the finals as whoever would have this bout would be considered the favorite in the finals over the winner of the other semifinal matchup between Callum Smith and Nieky Holzken on February 24.
Juergen Braehmer, who was originally competing in the WBSS’ final four in the super middleweight tournament, is suffering from influenza and will not be able to fight on his scheduled February 24 bout against Callum Smith.
“I have been battling a feverish infection since Sunday. Unfortunately, a fight in this state is out of the question. It is not possible for me to go into the ring like this and I would like to apologize to my fans. I was well prepared and looking forward to fighting Callum,” Braehmer said in the press release.
The fight itself has not been canceled and taking Braehmer’s place in the semifinal bout is Holzken. Holzken was already been named a reserve fighter in case either Smith or Braehmer is unable to compete before the announcement took place. Holzken was scheduled to face Dmitrii Chudinov on the undercard. Holzken won the vacant BeNeLux super middleweight title last year.
The winner of the February 24 fight would be considered the underdog, but now that seems to be debatable The major story coming out of the fight is the status of Groves’ left shoulder, which was injured towards the end of the fight. It’s suspected that Groves may have briefly dislocated his shoulder, but got the arm checked out on February 19. Currently, there is no news of any major damage done to Groves’ shoulder and Groves has said that he is not feeling much pain in the area anymore. If Groves is able to fully recover, then he would still be considered a favorite against whoever the other finalist is.
WBSS Super Middleweight Semifinal Results:
George Groves defeats Chris Eubank Jr. via unanimous decision to unify the WBA “super” and IBO super middleweight titles: Groves outboxed Eubank from the start, finding his range early because of his jab and quickly won the first few rounds. Eubank tried to attack Groves with short, power punches, but Eubank got too close to Groves in one exchange in the third round caused an accidental clash of heads, creating a bad cut on Eubank. Eubank's gameplan of attacking Groves with power punches did not change one bit, even as he was losing rounds during the fight. This essentially made Groves' job much easier: defend against Eubank's power punches and utilize the jab to win rounds. Eubank was able to make the fight close from the eighth round onwards, hurting Groves on a few occasions thanks to some speedy right hands that split Groves' guard.
Fight rating: 4/5
PBC on FOX/Showtime February 17 Review
While Manchester had the World Boxing Super Series, the United States had two nationally-televised Premier Boxing Champions cards a few hours afterwards. FOX had a three-fight television card in El Paso, Texas with the main event being a welterweight bout between Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander. Showtime, which aired its own live PBC card as the Ortiz vs. Alexander fight was ending, had a world title fight and two title eliminators, one of them being Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios, was the main event.
On the FOX slate, the opening bout was an IBF super middleweight eliminator that saw Caleb Plant easily beat Rogelio Medina to move into the No. 2 position in the IBF rankings. The co-feature was a short four-round fight between 2016 Olympic boxer Carlos Balderas and Jorge Rojas that had Balderas soundly beat Rojas in the short fight by unanimous decision.
The main event of the FOX, a fight between two past-their-prime welterweights, delivered a better-than-expected action fight that was soured by a head scratching majority draw. The fight was scored 114-114, 114-114 and 115-113 Ortiz with many, including the FOX announcing team, firmly believing that Alexander not only won the fight, but won by a wide margin. Many people saw Alexander win at least eight rounds with some seeing Alexander winning as many as nine or 10 rounds in the fight.
Ortiz started the fight off decently well in the first round, but was clearly outboxed and overpowered by Alexander for most of rounds two to 10. The fight itself was not a title eliminator, but the result could have dictated the short-term future of both fighters. Had Alexander won, not only would Alexander have been on a short list of fighters to challenge for the IBF welterweight title against Errol Spence Jr. in June, but then serious questions would have been raised about Ortiz possibly retiring. Now with a draw, both fighters seemingly took a step forward and a step back.
If you’re looking at the result itself, Ortiz and Alexander could theoretically still challenge for the IBF title as there is no clear cut challenger. Alexander deserves the title shot more than Ortiz, but with Spence’s next title defense taking place in Texas, one has to wonder about the possibility of making the main event as market friendly as possible. If that were the case, Ortiz could be given the nod instead Alexander. In either case, if either of those two boxers get a chance to fight Spence for the title, they would come in as a big underdog. Spence has clearly shown that he has the potential to be a megastar and is already among the three best welterweights in the world, with some already crowning him the best welterweight today.
According to ratings released by Nielsen Media Research on February 21, the main event attracted a peak audience of 1,530,000. The entire telecast averaged 1,136,000 viewers for FOX, which overall aren't terrible numbers, especially since the show had to compete with Winter Olympics coverage, but these numbers represent the best case scenario for a main event between two boxers who have not been in a relevant fight in years. The viewership, in theory, should have led to a fairly strong viewership for the Showtime Boxing card that would start as the FOX card was ending.
The Showtime card, which emanated from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, was a significantly better television card than the FOX card. The main event was a WBC welterweight title eliminator between Danny Garcia and Brandon Rios. Garcia got the win with a hard counter right jab to Rios which knocked him down in spectacular fashion and forced the referee to stop the fight even after Rios got back up.
The real story of the Showtime card was the after-fight verbal skirmish between Garcia and Shawn Porter, with Porter interrupting Garcia's post-fight interview with Jim Gray. Porter came to the ring to rekindled their seemingly one-sided feud that started early last summer. Porter was there to challenge Garcia to fight where the winner would be the sole mandatory challenger to Keith Thurman's WBC welterweight title as both Porter and Garcia are technically mandatory challengers. The WBC did previously order a fight between the two last year with an interim title on the line and the winner being the mandatory challenger, but the fight fell through.
The triangle feud between Thurman, Garcia and Porter has now turned into a pro wrestling-style feud with Thurman turning from a babyface, good-guy champion into a cowardly heel champion with his constant comments about not fighting an elite boxer in his first fight back coming up in May. Porter is coming off here as a good-guy challenger who has essentially been getting his mandatory challenge ignored for the better part of the past 10 months and Garcia, the cocky heel fighter who has an even cockier father by his side (think WWE's Randy Orton when he was aligned with his father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton, during Randy's feud with the Undertaker), being Porter's last obstacle before getting his long-awaited rematch against Thurman.
The verbal exchange between Porter and Garcia probably did a better job at promoting a potential fight than most boxing fights nowadays. Porter is smart by going out of his way to issue a challenge to Garcia because although he knows he is the first person in line to get a title shot from Thurman, Porter knows he won't get that fight anytime soon. Garcia is the next best option and a fight between the two would attract a big audience whether that fight be on Showtime or FOX.
The main event of the Showtime card averaged 516,000 viewers, peaking at 558,000 viewers, which is much lower than the January 20 Showtime main event, Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson. Spence vs. Peterson average 637,000 viewers, peaking at 695,000.
FOX TV Results:
Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander fight to a majority draw: A surprisingly good fight was soured due to a controversial majority draw in a fight that many believed Alexander to be the winner. If we're looking at the stats, Ortiz was technically the busier fighter, but none of his punches seemed to have hurt Alexander badly. Meanwhile, Alexander landed a stiff right hand early in the fight that caused Ortiz's left eye to swell up. Alexander outboxed and outlanded Ortiz and feels like Alexander was robbed of a win and a potential IBF welterweight title fight against Errol Spence Jr.
Fight rating: 3/5
Carlos Balderas defeats Jorge Rojas via unanimous decision: Balderas, a 2016 Olympic boxer, made his presence felt early when he landed several power punches on Rojas' jaw. The fight only went four rounds with Balderas convincingly winning the first three. The fourth round was the only round where we saw Rojas fight back and land a strong right hand to Balderas, but at that point, it was too little, too late. It was the first time Balderas fought past the first round and gained some valuable experience fighting in relatively deeper rounds in the pro ranks.
Fight rating: 1.75/5
Caleb Plant defeats Rogelio Medina via unanimous decision: This fight was an IBF super middleweight title eliminator where the winner would move to the vacant No. 2 position in the IBF rankings. Medina was overweight the day before and was thus ineligible to win the eliminator. Plant was dominant from the beginning, outlanding punches left and right. Medina was extremely sluggish, always reacting perhaps a second after Plant landed punches. This somehow didn't deter Medina, who was able to go the distance against Plant, but put up no resistance against a younger, faster, stronger opponent in Plant.
Fight rating: 1.75/5
Showtime TV Results:
Danny Garcia defeats Brandon Rios via TKO: Garcia had some early struggles in trying to shake the ring rust from not fighting in the past 11 months as Rios landed some good punches on the former WBC welterweight champion. Garcia was the more consistent fighter throughout the bout and got better looks as the fight progressed. The bout culminated in the ninth round when Garcia landed a counter right jab to Rios' jaw, which rattled his head as he was sent to the canvas. Although Rios got back up before the end of the 10-count, the referee did not believe Rios had truly recovered from the knockdown.
Fight rating: 3.25/5
David Benavidez defeats Ronald Gavril via unanimous decision to retain the WBC super middleweight title: A rematch from their first fight last year for the then-vacant title, Benavidez crushed Gavril from the start of the fight. The first fight was a close fight, but the rematch was a completely different story. What many thought was going to be another competitive fight ended in Benavidez abusing his right hand by continuously landing power punch after power punch after power punch to the point it was originally feared that Benavidez hurt his hand. Gavril spent the majority of the fight with a bloody face and busted up nose and was nothing more than a moving target for the young Benavidez. Gavril did fight back throughout the bout and was never knocked down, but he never posed a significant threat to Benavidez. Benavidez connected 315 of 942 total punches (37 percent) while Gavril managed to land 176 of 757 punches (23 percent).
Fight rating: 2.75/5
Yordenis Ugas defeats Ray Robinson via TKO: Opening the Showtime Championship Boxing card in Las Vegas in what was perhaps the best fight in the United States that evening, Ugas scored perhaps the biggest win of his career by Robinson in the seventh round to move into the second spot in the IBF welterweight rankings. Ugas dominated Robinson en route to his sixth straight win, all of which came after Ugas returned from a long break in the sport and started fighting in the welterweight division. With the win, Ugas could have an IBF welterweight title fight sometime this year. Errol Spence Jr., the current champion, is scheduled to defend his title against an opponent to be determined in Texas this June
Fight rating: 3.5/5
Top Rank Boxing On ESPN February 16 Review
ESPN’s second Top Rank Boxing card of 2018 provided possibly one of the feel good stories in boxing in the past few years. Raymundo Beltran, who for years has been trying to get a green card in the United States and avoid deportation to Mexico, won the vacant WBO lightweight title in the main event. Beltran defeated a very game Paulus Moses by unanimous decision.
According to Showbuzz Daily, the February 16 Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card with a main event of Raymundo Beltran vs. Paulus Moses for the vacant WBO lightweight title averaged 703,000 viewers, making it the least-viewed Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card in primetime since the relationship between Top Rank and ESPN began last summer.
The 703,000 viewers for the February 16 card down from the 741,000 viewers the February 3 Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card drew. The main event for that card was Gilberto Ramirez defending his WBO super middleweight title against Habib Ahmed.
The network was hurt by Winter Olympics coverage, but did provide coverage of the NBA Celebrity All-Star game, which went on before Top Rank Boxing. The Celebrity All-Star game, which feature Top Rank boxer Terence Crawford, did 1.689 million viewers, which means more than 50 percent of viewers tuned away from boxing when NBA coverage ended. That's more than a 50 percent drop from the Celebrity All-Star game to the boxing telecast.
Viewership may be down from the February 3 card, but in the all-too important 18-49 demographic, the ratings actually had a slight increase. The February 3 card had a 0.21 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which was good for #33 on cable for the night, but the February 16 card drew in a 0.26 rating, good for #20 on cable for the night which is notable considering the aforementioned Olympics coverage on the NBC networks.
ESPN TV Results:
Raymundo Beltran defeats Paulus Moses via unanimous decision to win the vacant WBO lightweight title: The fight was a tough one for both Beltran and Moses, but especially Beltran in the early going. Although Beltran had dictated the pace in most of the early rounds, Beltran suffered a cut first near his left eye and then near his right eye later on. Moses, who came into the fight as a heavy underdog, managed to get some momentum in the middle rounds by landing several combinations, some of which seemed to have hurt and stifled Beltran's offensive rhythm. It wasn't until a massive effort by Beltran in the 10th round where the fight started to tilt in the Mexican's favor for good, but Moses did provide more of a challenge to Beltran. On the stats sheet, the fight was fairly close, with Beltran outlanding Moses in total punches. Beltran landed 197 out of 678 punches (29 percent) and Moses landed 159 out of 622 punches (26 percent) according to Compubox.
Fight rating: 3.25/5
Egidijus Kavaliauskas defeated David Avanesyan via TKO, round 6, 1:55 to retain the NABF welterweight title: Avanesyan looked like he was a step slower than Kavaliauskas and the NABF champion kept using the jab well and land power punches with his right hand whenever it was truly needed. Avanesyan was rocked in the third round, but it wasn't until the sixth round where Kavaliauskas hurt Avanesyan with a mean right hand that split through Avanesyan's guard. What followed was Kavaliauskas landing at least two dozen punches uninterrupted which prompted referee Tony Weeks to put a stop to the fight. In a post-fight interview, Kavaliauskas said he wanted Terence Crawford next. That fight could be made, but Kavaliauskas would be a massive underdog against Crawford depending on if he wins the WBO title in April and how he looks fight as a welterweight for the first time in his pro career.
Fight rating: 2.25/5
Shakur Stevenson defeated Juan Tapia via unanimous decision: This fight was essentially a 24-minute squash match for Stevenson to further add experience. For starters, he looked solid fighting in his first eight-round bout in his professional career. Tapia was tough, but he barely landed any solid punches in the first six rounds. It wasn't until the seventh round where Tapia landed a couple of good, hard left hands on Stevenson. Regardless, Stevenson looked comfortable fighting in longer fights and Stevenson probably will be expected to have similar fights such as these as he looks to become a title contender for 2019 and beyond.
Fight rating: 2/5
WBC Welterweight Tournament Details
The upcoming welterweight tournament promoted by Bernard Hopkins’ Real Deal Sports and Entertainment and by the World Boxing Council has unveiled its eight-man roster for the Jose Sulaiman Tournament.
The eight fighters are: Felix Diaz, Chris van Heerden, Fredrick Lawson, Radzhab Butaev, Brad Solomon, Timo Schwarzkopf, Derrieck Cuevas and Baishanbo Nasiyiwula. Already this is a far more impressive field of fighters than what many initially predicted/feared.
Four alternates have also agreed to participate in the case of injury to one of the participants including Mauricio Pintor, Paddy Gallagher, Sergiy Lubkovich and Francisco Santana.
The biggest name of those eight boxers is Felix Diaz, who challenged for the junior welterweight titles held by Terence Crawford. The actual field combines unbeaten prospects with a couple of world ranked fighters, making for a far better eight-man tournament.
Boxing fans can vote to decide on the first-round matchups at The Real Deal Boxing website, TheRealDealBoxing.com right now with the voting ending on February 26 at 12:00 p.m. EST. First round matchups will be announced at the tournament’s kick-off press conference on February 28.
This tournament will experiment with several new ideas mostly untested in the professional ranks. For starters, fights in the first two rounds will be 10-rounds, and five judges will be scoring the bout: four at ringside and a fifth one watching the fight via television monitor with that judge not being able to listen to any audio commentary. If the fight goes the distance and it is still declared a draw, then an 11th round will be contested to declare a winner.
Other features in the tournament will be open scoring to let fighters know if they are winning or losing the bout mid-fight. Aside from the extra judges and open scoring, there will be a standardized scoring process that clearly defines how the judges should score every fight.
The purse winnings for each round are the following:
- Each fighter in round 1 will receive a purse of $15,000.00, with the winner of each bout receiving a victory bonus of $7,500.00.
- Each fighter in round 2 will receive a purse of $30,000.00, with the winner of each bout receiving a victory bonus of $15,000.00.
- Each fighter in round 3 (finals) will receive a purse of $75,000.00, with the winner receiving a $25,000.00 victory bonus.
The tournament is expected to start in April, but a location has not been decided nor has the number of first round matches taking place on that first card been determined.
Results From The World Of Boxing
February 17: Arena, Ludwigsburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
- Vincent Feigenbutz defeated Ryno Liebenberg to unify the Global Boxing Union Intercontinental and IBF Intercontinental Super Middleweight Titles via TKO
- Nina Meinke defeated Vissia Trovato to unify the interim Global Boxing Union and vacant Women's International Boxing Federation World Featherweight Titles via UD
- Denis Radovan defeated Mattia Scaccia via TKO
- Leon Bunn defeated Maurice Possiti via UD
- Patrick Rokohl defeated Mika Joensuu via UD
- Kem Ljungquist defeated Igor Mihaljevic via UD
- Ufuk Temur defeated Ata Dogan via UD
February 17: WIT Arena, Waterford, Ireland
- Mike Perez defeated Pablo Matias Magrini via TKO
- Rohan Date defeated Jade Karam via TKO
- Craig McCarthy defeated Teodor Lozanov via PTS
- Eric Donovan defeated Ignac Kassai via TKO
- John Joyce defeated Ferenc Jarko via PTS
- Barry Barnes defeated Przemyslaw Binienda via PTS
- Graham McCormack O'Shea defeated Jozsef Takacs via PTS
- Keane McMahon defeated Filip Rzadek via PTS
February 17: Teatro Principe, Milan, Lombardia, Italy
- Maxim Prodan defeated Manuel Largacha via TKO
- Samuel Nmomah defeated Santos Medrano via PTS
- Joshua Nmomah defeated Srecko Janjic via KO
- Leonardo Faretina defeated Aleksandar Naumovski via KO
February 17: Palenque de Gallos, Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico
- Luis Solis defeated Nery Saguilan to win the vacant World Boxing Federation World Super Lightweight Title via TKO
February 17: Gimnasio Usos Múltiples UdeG, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
- Arely Mucino defeated Monserrat Alarcon to win the WBO World Female Flyweight Title via MD
February 17: Arena Coliseo, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
- Mariana Juarez defeated Gabriela Bouvier to retain the WBC World Female Bantamweight Title via UD
February 17: Gimnasio de Box, Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico
- Naylea Sanabia Gil defeated Dulce Galaviz via UD
- Genaro Rodriguez defeated Luis Martinez via UD
- Julian Rodarte defeated Jose Luis Leal via KO
- Juan Villegas defeated Ricardo Arce via TKO
- Alfredo Hernandez defeated Dario Medina via UD
- Carlos Apodaca defeated Cesar Partida via SD
- Issac Camarillo defeated Marcos Isaac Morales via KO
- Alberto Fuentes defeated Jonathan Cruz via TKO
- Norberto Martinez defeated Guillermo Borboa via KO
- Saul Hermosillo defeated Fernando Fontana via TKO
- Alejandro Almada defeated Gerardo Humaran via TKO
February 17: Gaisano City Mall, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines
- Edward Heno defeated Merlito Sabillo to retain the OPBF Light Flyweight Title via SD
- Rey Loreto defeated Arnold Garde via KO
- John Michael Zulueta defeated Bonjun Loperez via TKO
- Paolo Sy and Elmer Liboon fight to a majority draw
- Ryan Lumacad defeated Brian Diano via RTD
February 17: Tropical Club, Golebiewo Srednie, Poland
- Damian Mielewczyk defeated Andrei Dolhozhyieu via PTS
- Patryk Kowoll defeated Bartosz Szwarczynski via PTS
- Eryk Cieslowski defeated Adam Pior via TKO
- Hubert Benkowski defeated Oskar Jerzy Borkowski via TKO
February 17: Coliseo Ecuestre Municipal, Fajardo, Puerto Rico
- Alfredo Santiago defeated Juan Jose Montes via UD
- Subriel Matias defeated Daulis Prescott via TKO
- Jose Villaran defeated Jose F. Leon via UD
- Patrik Cora defeated Fernando Semidey via TKO
- Jonathan Lopez defeated Kenny Julian Agosto via RTD
- Darrell Rivera defeated Carlos Diaz via TKO
- Oscar Omar Marrero defeated Christian Santos via TKO
February 17: La Coruna, Galicia, Spain
- Juan Hinostroza defeated Moncho Miras to win the vacant Spanish Flyweight Title via KO
February 17: San Clemente de Llobregat, Cataluña, Spain
- Guido Nicolas Pitto defeated Miguel Aguilar via UD
- Alejandro Moya defeated Felix Matamoros via TKO
February 17: Polideportivo Municipal, Colmenar de Oreja, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
- Cristina Garrobo defeated Claudia Ferenczi via UD
February 17: Gimnasio Metropolitano, Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
- Juan Leon and Gadatamen Taylor fight to a draw on PTS
February 17: Restaurant Glatthof, Glattbrug, Switzerland
- Labinot Xhoxhaj defeated Jozsef Darmos via MD
- Ramadan Hiseni defeated Nodar Robakidze via TD
February 17: Manchester Arena (formerly M.E.N Arena), Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom
- George Groves defeated Chris Eubank Jr. to retain the WBA "Super" and IBO World Super Middleweight Titles via UD
- Ryan Walsh and Isaac Lowe fight to a split draw. Walsh retains the BBBofC British Featherweight Title
- Tommy Langford defeated Jack Arnfield to retain the BBBofC British Middleweight Title via UD
- Zach Parker defeated Adasat Rodriguez via TKO
- Luther Clay defeated Danny Craven via PTS
- Mikael Lawal defeated Adam Williams via TKO
- Simon Vallily defeated Blaise Mendouo via TKO
- Sebastian Eubank defeated Kamil Kulczyk via PTS
- Gabriella Mezei defeated Belinda Skinner via PTS
February 17: Holte Suite, Villa Park, Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom
- Ryan Kelly defeated Christian Hoskin Gomez via PTS
- Emmanuel Moussinga defeated Carl Dickens via PTS
- Tommy Silcox defeated Andrew Ponsford via KO
- Marcus Ffrench defeated Liam Richards via PTS
- Lee Gunter defeated Naheem Chaudhry via PTS
- Sean Daly defeated Jordan Grannum via PTS
- Gary Reeve defeated Reiss Taylor via TKO
February 17: Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
- Danny Garcia defeated Brandon Rios via TKO
- David Benavidez defeated Ronald Gavril to retain the WBC World Super Middleweight Title via UD
- Yordenis Ugas defeated Ray Robinson via TKO
- Edwin Rodriguez defeated Lionell Thompson via UD
- Ladarius Miller defeated Carlos Padilla via TKO
- Andres Cortes defeated Fatiou Fassinou via UD
- Sulaiman Segawa defeated Brian Gallegos via SD
- Jonathan Esquivel defeated Cameron Burroughs via TKO
- Joey Spencer defeated Uriel Gonzalez via TKO
February 17: Don Haskins Convention Center, El Paso, Texas, USA
- Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz fight to a majority draw
- Caleb Plant defeated Rogelio Medina via UD
- Jennifer Han defeated Lizbeth Crespo to retain the IBF World Female Featherweight Title via UD
- Humberto Velazco Torres defeated Thomas Williams Jr. via KO
- Austin Trout defeated Juan De Angel via UD
- Mark Anthony Hernandez and Jeison Rosario fight to a split draw
- Tony Harrison defeated George Sosa via TKO
- Carlos Balderas defeated Jorge Rojas Zacazontetl via UD
- Jonathan Gabriel Pachado defeated Josh Ross via UD
- Wesley Diana defeated Rynell Griffin via TKO
February 17: Orlando Live Event Center, Orlando, Florida, USA
- Craig Duncan defeated Daniel Najera via RTD
- Vitalii Kopylenko defeated Jonathan Batista via TKO
- Robert Burwell defeated Gundrick King via TKO
- Gadwin Rosa defeated Tom Mills via TKO
- Amron Sands defeated Kendrick Houston via KO
- Mike Sawyer defeated David Ratliff via TKO
February 17: Alzafar Shrine, San Antonio, Texas, USA
- Kendo Castaneda defeated Pedro Amigon via RTD
- Dagoberto Nevarez defeated Roberto Lara via UD
- Greg Ritcher and Juan Torres fight to a draw on points
- Jorge Hernandez defeated Jose Guerra via TKO
- Joseph Dubard defeated Yail Eligo via SD
February 17: JK Northway Center, Kingsville, Texas, USA
- Randy Fuentes defeated Justin Williams via UD
- Oscar Cantu defeated Manuel Rubalcava via UD
- Jorge Ramos defeated Jahaziel Vazquez via UD
- Alberto Navarro defeated Andrew Lee Gomez via UD
February 16: Estadio F.A.B., Buenos Aires, Distrito Federal, Argentina
- Diego Ramirez defeated Martin Ezequiel Bulacio via UD
- Fernando Daniel Cancino defeated Eduardo Javier Abreu via TKO
- Eduardo Estela defeated Roberto Carlos Torres via UD
- Daniel Alejandro Combi defeated Carlos Sebastian Anaya via TKO
February 16: Sindicato de Mecánicos y Afines del Transporte Automotor (SMATA), Villa Mercedes, San Luis, Argentina
- Esteban Miguel Stodulski defeated Miguel Leonardo Caceres via UD
February 16: Asociación Vecinal Fisherton, Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina
- Melisa Dozo and Lorena Moreyra fight to a majority draw
February 16: Las Flores, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Carlos Daniel Cordoba defeated Damian Ariel Guzman via TKO
February 16: Club Sportivo Alfredo Guzmán, San Miguel, Tucuman, Argentina
- Fernando Sebastian Bravo and Jose Miguel Lopez fight to a split draw
February 16: Coliseo Julio Borelli Viteritto, La Paz, Bolivia
- Franklin Mamani defeated Juan Carlos Pedrozo via TKO
- Humberto Santos Mamani and Orlando Marcelo Colque fight to a no contest
February 16: Novotel Convention Centre, Lami, Fiji
- Sebastian Singh defeated Praphruet Chanthon via TKO
- Franco Frazer defeated Malakai Marama via PTS
- Jim Nalawa defeated Rahul Aoron Kumar via TKO
- Krishna Mudaliar defeated Paula Sau via TKO
- Robin Richard Hazelman defeated Luke Namajila via TKO
- Junior Wahid Khan defeated Nitin Lal via PTS
February 16: Salle la Soucoupe, Saint-Nazaire, Loire-Atlantique, France
- Jordy Weiss defeated Aitor Nieto to win the vacant EBU-EU (European Union) Welterweight Title via UD
- David Papot defeated Romain Garofalo to retain the France Super Welterweight Title via UD
- Olivier Vautrain defeated Antoine Boya via TKO
- Anderson Prestot defeated Jeremy Bougamont via UD
- Melvin Wassing defeated Steven Bloyer via SD
February 16: Sporthall Budakalász, Budakalász, Hungary
- Imre Szello defeated Denis Grachev via UD
- Shefat Isufi defeated Rafael Sosa Pintos to retain the WBO Inter-Continental Super Middleweight Title via UD
- Ferenc Berki defeated Laszlo Fazekas to retain the Hungary Super Welterweight Title via MD
- Renato Egedi defeated Mark Krammerstodter to win the vacant Hungary Super Middleweight Title via RTD
- Balazs Bacskai defeated Meshack Mwankemwa via TKO
- Mate Kis defeated Ermin Avdic via RTD
- Gabor Gorbics defeated Zoltan Kispal via SD
- Uensal Arik defeated Edis Dzambas via RTD
February 16: Palasport V.le Tiziano, Roma, Lazio, Italy
- Orial Kolaj defeated Mustafa Chadlioui to win the vacant EBU-EU (European Union) Light Heavyweight Title via UD
- Diego Di Luisa defeated Bakar Gelenidze via PTS
- Jonny Cocci defeated Tamaz Izoria via RTD
February 16: Puerto Salvador Allende, Managua, Nicaragua
- Ramiro Blanco defeated Moises Olivas via TKO
- Jordan Escobar defeated Juan Munguia via UD
- Jose Varela defeated Pablo Mendoza via KO
- Danny Calero defeated Wesling Polanco via MD
- Luis Lacayo defeated Juan Centeno via KO
- Jonathan Blas defeated Hernan Martinez via UD
February 16: Hala MOSiR, Geodetow 45, Wyszków, Poland
- Nikodem Jezewski defeated Taras Oleksiyenko via KO
- Piotr Podlucki defeated Krzysztof Twardowski via UD
- Mateusz Tryc defeated Levan Shonia via UD
- Pawel Zochowski and Jan Klimek fight to a split draw
- Rafal Grabowski defeated Aliaksandr Abramenka via TKO
February 16: City Hall, Komárno, Slovakia
- Nicolas Holcapfel defeated David Bednarik via KO
- Zoltan Lepsenyi defeated Lubomir Rusnak via KO
- Andrej Moravek defeated Karoly Lakatos via UD
- Jozef Kusmirek defeated Attila Tibor Nagy via UD
February 16: Gallera del López Socas, Las Palmas, Islas Canarias, Spain
- Alejandro Mostazo defeated Marcos Ortega via TKO
February 16: York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom
- Freddy Kiwitt defeated Jumanne Camero via PTS
- Joe Joyce defeated Rudolf Jozic via KO
- Willy Hutchinson defeated Eric Mokonzo via PTS
February 16: Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, Grand Theatre, Reno, Nevada, USA
- Raymundo Beltran defeated Paulus Moses to win the vacant WBO World Lightweight Title via UD
- Egidijus Kavaliauskas defeated David Avanesyan to retain the NABF Welterweight Title via TKO
- Alexander Besputin defeated Wesley Tucker via RTD
- Shakur Stevenson defeated Juan Tapia via UD
- Bryant Jennings defeated Akhror Muralimov via KO
- Robson Conceicao defeated Ignacio Holguin via UD
- Sagadat Rakhmankulov defeated Noel Esqueda via TKO
- Ricardo Lucio Galvan defeated Kenny Guzman via TKO
February 16: Doubletree Hotel, Ontario, California, USA
- Isaac Zarate defeated Christian Ayala via UD
- Ruben Villa defeated Juan Sandoval via UD
- Saul Sanchez defeated Pedro Melo via UD
- Zhora Hamazaryan defeated Sergio Ramirez Martinez via UD
- Mario Hernandez defeated Jorge Careaga via KO
- Ruben Torres defeated Anthony de Jesus Ruiz Sanchez via RTD
February 16: Sportsmans Lodge, Studio City, California, USA
- Jessy Martinez defeated Richard Hargraves via KO
- Steven Pichardo defeated Estevan Payan via PTS
- Vlad Panin defeated Jonathan Espino via KO
- John Ward defeated Albert Leyva via TKO
- Robert Ochoa defeated Jesse Adame via TKO
- Art Hovhannisyan defeated Francisco Medel via TKO
- Rodolfo Gamez defeated Ronnie Jerome Biggers via KO
- Canton Miller defeated Ivan Ortiz via UD
Fightful Boxing Rankings:
- Terence Crawford
- Vasyl Lomachenko
- Gennady Golovkin
- Canelo Alvarez
- Mikey Garcia
- Naoya Inoue
- Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
- Errol Spence Jr.
- Ryoichi Taguchi
- Sergey Kovalev
- Anthony Joshua
- Deontay Wilder
- Joseph Parker
- Luis Ortiz
- Alexander Povetkin
- Kubrat Pulev
- Jarrell Miller
- Andy Ruiz Jr.
- Dillian Whyte
- Carlos Takam
- Oleksandr Usyk
- Murat Gassiev
- Krzysztof Glowacki
- Denis Lebedev
- Firat Arslan
- Mairis Briedis
- Yunier Dorticos
- Andrew Tabiti
- Marco Huck
- Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
- Sergey Kovalev
- Badou Jack
- Adonis Stevenson
- Oleksandr Gvozdyk
- Dmitry Bivol
- Sullivan Barrera
- Artur Beterbiev
- Eleider Alvarez
- Marcus Browne
- Joe Smith Jr.
- Gilberto Ramirez
- George Groves
- David Benavidez
- Anthony Dirrell
- Andre Dirrell
- Caleb Truax
- James DeGale
- Jose Uzcategui
- Chris Eubank Jr.
- Tyron Zeuge
- Gennady Golovkin
- Canelo Alvarez
- Daniel Jacobs
- Billy Joe Saunders
- Jermall Charlo
- Ryota Murata
- Demetrius Andrade
- Andy Lee
- David Lemieux
- Sergiy Derevyanchenko
- Erislandy Lara
- Jermell Charlo
- Jarrett Hurd
- Demetrius Andrade
- Julian Williams
- Austin Trout
- Sadam Ali
- Liam Smith
- Maciej Sulecky
- Kell Brook
- Errol Spence Jr.
- Keith Thurman
- Terence Crawford
- Danny Garcia
- Shawn Porter
- Jeff Horn
- Manny Pacquiao
- Lamont Peterson
- Jessie Vargas
- Lucas Matthysse
The rest of the rankings are in the next page.
- Julius Indongo
- Viktor Postol
- Antonio Orozco
- Sergey Lipinets
- Terry Flanagan
- Eduard Troyanovski
- Isaac Dogboe
- Regis Prograis
- Rances Barthelemy
- Kenichi Ogawa
- Mikey Garcia
- Jorge Linares
- Robert Easter Jr.
- Anthony Crolla
- Raymundo Beltran
- Luke Campbell
- Dejan Zlaticanin
- Denis Shafikov
- Ricky Burns
- Javier Fortuna
- Vasyl Lomachenko
- Miguel Berchelt
- Francisco Vargas
- Jezreel Corrales
- Alberto Machado
- Robinson Castellanos
- Miguel Roman
- Orlando Salido
- Jason Sosa
- Jhonny Gonzalez
- Leo Santa Cruz
- Gary Russell Jr.
- Abner Mares
- Lee Selby
- Oscar Valdez
- Carl Frampton
- Scott Quigg
- Jesus Cuellar
- Joseph Diaz
- Claudio Marrero
- Guillermo Rigondeaux
- Jessie Magdaleno
- Nonito Donaire
- Moises Flores
- Rey Vargas
- Danny Roman
- Hugo Ruiz
- Marlon Tapales
- Julio Ceja
- Yukinori Oguni
- Jamie McDonnell
- Luis Nery
- Ryan Burnett
- Juan Carlos Payano
- Shinsuke Yamanaka
- Zolani Tete
- Lee Haskins
- Zhanat Zhakiyanov
- Takoma Inoue
- Liborio Solis
- Naoya Inoue
- Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
- Jerwin Ancajas
- Khalid Yafai
- Juan Francisco Estrada
- Carlos Cuadras
- Roman Gonzalez
- John Riel Casimero
- Rau'shee Warren
- Luis Concepcion
- Kazuto Ioka
- Donnie Nietes
- Daigo Higa
- Juan Carlos Reveco
- Kosei Tanaka
- Sho Kimura
- Moruti Mthalane
- McWilliams Arroyo
- Francisco Rodriguez Jr.
- Zou Shiming
- Ryoichi Taguchi
- Ken Shiro
- Wanheng Menayothin
- Hiroto Kyoguchi
- Knockout CP Freshmart
- Milan Melindo
- Angel Acosta
- Tatsuya Fukuhara
- Hekkie Budler
- Jose Argumedo
News And Notes From The World Of Boxing
1. A trio of Japanese standout amateurs have passed B licensing tests and are now going to turn pro: Eri Matsuda, who signed, with Team 10 Count, Seiya Tsutsumi, who has signed with the Watanabe gym after an 84-17 amateur record as a light flyweight, and Shu Utsuki, who also signed with the Watanabe gym.
2. On the February 20 boxing card at Korakuen Hall, a special retirement ceremony for former OPBF and Japanese middleweight champion Makoto Fuchigami was held there. The fan favorite fighter from the Hachioji Nakaya gym is of course best known for losing to Gennady Golovkin in a WBA world title fight though was a popular fighter on the Japanese scene and retired in the wake of his loss to Tomohiro Ebisu at the end of 2016.
3. There has been some discussion as to who would fight Raymundo Beltran for the WBO lightweight title in Beltran's first title defense. Although it is rumored that Beltran could fight Vasyl Lomachenko in May in New York, another name is being thrown around: Nihito Arakawa, the WBO's No. 4 lightweight. Some circles in the Japanese boxing media believe that the two could be facing each other at some point later this year and with Beltran's injuries from the fight against Moses, he might not be able to recover in time to face Lomachenko in May, leaving the door open for Beltran to face Arakawa in the summer or in the fall.
4. Korakuen Hall will be holding a special card on March 8 called "Victoriva Vol. 1" where the attraction are multiple women's national and world titles being at stake. The first three title bouts set for the card include were a Japanese bantamweight title bout between Miyo Yoshida and Kai Johnson, a Japanese flyweight title bout between Yuki Koseki and Yumemi Ikemoto and a Japanese atomweight title fight between Sana Hazuki and Nanae Suzuki. There is also an OPBF minimumweight title fight between Saemi Hanagata and Erika Hanawa. As for the world title fights, the vacant WBO light flyweight title will be fought between Chaoz Minowa and Tenkai Tsunami. The other world title fight is Kayoko Ebata vs. Ji Hyun Park for Ebata's WBO minimuweight title.
5. It's been long rumored that Naoya Inoue would vacate his WBO super flyweight title to challenge for a bantamweight world title. Conventional wisdom would say that Inoue would fight the winner of the Zolani Tete vs. Omar Narvaez WBO bantamweight title fight later this year as Inoue would likely be automatically inserted as the WBO's mandatory challenger. Instead, it is looking like Inoue will fight WBA "regular" bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell. Eddie Hearn has told Sky Sports that he hopes a deal can be reached by the end of the week.
1. Rocky Fielding has relinquished the British super middleweight title. Fielding will fight in an eight-round contest on the undercard of Kell Brook’s return against Sergey Rabchenko on March 3 but will not be bringing his British title for the fight. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said the plan for Fielding will be unveiled once he gets this upcoming fight out of the way.
2. Bradley Skeete's quest to win the vacant EBU welterweight title will see him travel away from the United Kingdom to Spain. MGZ Promotions won the rights to stage his fight against Spain’s Kerman Lejarraga and the fight will take place in Lejarraga’s hometown of Bilbao, Spain on March 24.
3. Danish prospect Frederik Hede Jensen, who most recently fought on the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight quarterfinal bout between Oleksandr Usyk and Marco Huck, already has his first fight of 2018 set. Jensen will fight Brian Pelaez in a four-round super featherweight fight on the undercard of the WBC Women's super bantamweight title bout between Dina Thorslund vs. Alicia Ashley. The fight will take place in Struer, Denmark on March 10.
1. Former heavyweight contender David "Nino" Rodriguez, former boxing manager Ivaylo Gotzev and boxing historian Arturo Ortiz have announced the formation of Lone Star Boxing Promotions, LLC. Lone Star Boxing Promotions will present its first event on April 7, at the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas, featuring former multiple-time world champion Ricardo Mayorga taking on hometown veteran Rodolfo "Cobrita" Gomez Jr. in a 10-round super middleweight fight.
2. Another world title fight has been added to the March 3 Showtime Championship Boxing card in Brooklyn, New York. Alicia Napoleon and undefeated Femke Hermans will compete for the vacant WBA Women's super middleweight world title, further bolstering a card that is quickly becoming arguably the best boxing card of 2018 thus far, with HBO's upcoming "Superfly 2" card.
3. Speaking of the Superfly series, Tom Loeffler, who is credited with coming up with the concept, recently said there is a good chance that the young, but highly successful series would likely make a return next fall, although did not comment on if such a show would strictly have super flyweight fights on the television portion like in the first one or also mix in fights from the flyweight division, which is what the second show will have.
4. Kay Koroma has been promoted to USA Boxing National Assistant Coach after serving as the organization's Resident Coach at the Olympic Training Center since early 2016. Koroma has played an integral role in preparing the United States' top boxers for every international competition during his tenure, including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
1. Telemundo Deportes kicks off the 2018 spring season premiere of “Boxeo Telemundo Ford,” the No. 1 Spanish-language boxing program in the United States on February 23, live from the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida. The season will open with an event featuring Ricardo Rodríguez vs. Jonathan Gonzalez fighting for the WBO Latino flyweight regional title.
2. Patrick Teixeira will be fighting Davi Eliasquevici for the WBO Latino super welterweight belt on an event in Jundiai, Sao Paulo Brazil on April 7, according to the information given by the IBG – International Boxing Group, which is Teixeira’s management company.
3. There has been some unsubstantiated reports by Nicaraguan media that Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez will make his return to the ring in June and face Donnie Nietes for the WBO super flyweight title as Naoya Inoue is no longer champion after moving up in weight. Gonzalez's manager, Carlos Blandon, has denied those reports, saying that the plan is still to have Gonzalez return to the ring in May and that a fight against Nietes in June has perhaps a "0.01 percent" chance of happening.
4. Mariana Juarez successfully defended her WBC bantamweight world title belt on February 17, defeating Gabriela Bouvier by unanimous decision (98-92, 98-92, 97-93) in front of more than 6,000 fans at the Arena Coliseo in Mexico City.
5. The WBA has extended a purse bid originally scheduled for February 29, between super featherweight champion Alberto Machado and mandatory challenger Rafael Mensah and will instead happen on March 2 in Panama City, Panama. The minimum for this purse bid is $120,000 with 75 percent in favor of the champion, while the challenger will receive 25 percent.
Q&A Interview With Sullivan Barrera
With the upcoming March 3 HBO boxing card at Madison Square Garden, Sullivan Barrera talked to Fightful earlier this month about his upcoming fight against Dmitry Bivol for the WBA light heavyweight world title. Below is the full interview where Barrera talked about his training, what he’s doing different and the reason a fight against WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev fell through.
Fightful: How are you feeling less than three weeks until you take the ring against Dmitry Bivol?
Barrera: I feel really good. So far, so good, everything has been going great both physically and mentally.
Fightful: You recently got Chris Algieri to help as your nutritionist. How has Algieri helped you as a nutritionist and how did that relationship start?
Barrera: We called him up to help me with the diet and so far he’s been great and the diet has been working at 100 percent. We’re good on the weight at this point.
Fightful: Being 35 years old, when have you thought about hiring a nutritionist to help you not just with your upcoming fight but to also better take care of yourself and extend your career?
Barrera: This is the most important fight of my life and that’s why I made this decision to bring in Chris as part of our group. My focus is on this fight for now.
Fightful: Bivol may be the world champion, but you have more experience and faced Andre Ward in the past while Bivol hasn’t necessarily fought someone of Ward’s caliber. How will that experience help with this fight in terms of fighting a big name opponent and knowing what to expect?
Barrera: Well, all boxers are different, but for me, I have the advantage of fighting the bigger name fighters. Aside from my talents and skills, that’s certainly something I got going for me.
Fightful: Speaking about that Ward fight, what have you learned from that loss and how is today’s Sullivan Barrera different from that Sullivan Barrera?
Barrera: When I face Andre Ward, I only had about 17 fights and in about 13 of those 17 fights, I didn’t face a name fighter. Now, I’m definitely more of a name fighter who’s faced a guy like Andre Ward, you start to learn to take the positives from fights such as these. I can have all the talent in the world but the important thing is to learn from each fight.
Fightful: When Bivol was named full WBA champion last year, you were the highest-ranked available challenger but you didn’t get to fight Bivol in his first title defense. Did you think then that Bivol was avoiding a fight with you and if so, does that add a little more fuel to the fire heading into this fight?
Barrera: I don’t know how the governing bodies work, but I do know that Bivol never fought to win that (full) world title. He was an interim champion and then ascended to “regular” (now full) world champion. I’m happy for Dmitry but that’s not a title earned nor a title fought and won. Those types of things motivate me, makes me mentally stronger. On March 3, I’ll show him that I’m the true world champion.
Fightful: What does it mean for you to get to this point, potentially win a world title?
Barrera: For me, not just because I’m a Cuban athlete, the goal for any pro athlete is to win a world title and get to the top. Getting that world title would be a dream come true.
Fightful: How did you get into boxing?
Barrera: What got me into boxing when I was eight years was that I had a neighbor who was a boxer with a big name in Cuba. He helped put boxing gloves on me for the first time and I loved the feeling of it. From that point on, I kept practicing and working hard to improve my skills through the amateur ranks, which in Cuba is very different than in other countries all over the world. I kept climbing the ranks until I became an amateur world champion and became a part of the Cuban national team.
Fightful: You and Sergey Kovalev are both signed to Main Events and there’s been on and off negotiations of you two fighting. From your perspective, what really went wrong during negotiations? Was it money or simply Kovalev wanted to go in another direction for his first WBO title defense?
Barrera: For me, the money offered to me was too low for my liking, but that might be an intentional strategy (getting that low offer) just so that I back off from the deal and not take the fight. The money just wasn’t there for me.
Fightful: Should you beat Bivol, would you make Kovalev your next fight or would you by then just be looking at the division and see what fight can be made?
Barrera: At that point, we’re just looking to keep fighting at the highest level and we’re ready for anyone, be it Sergey or anyone else really? We’re ready and this is a business, we understand that. Every now and then, if the right deal is there, if the purse amounts are good, everything is mutually agreed upon, I’ll fight anyone so long as we get the business side of it all worked out.
Fightful: Going back to the Bivol fight, there’s been some discussions regarding VADA testing from Bivol allegedly not accepting it at first. Looking at that aspect as a boxer, do you get a sense that not everything may be on the up and up when it comes to drug testing given how much of an issue it is in sports?
Barrera: In regards to that, one would immediately think something’s not right when someone at such a high level gets offered to enroll in drug testing and their first response is no. There’s also the fact that he’s a fighter coming from Russia and we all know about Russian athletes and their problems regarding drug testing. The vast majority of Bivol’s fights are in Russia and this fight isn't taking place in Russia. It’s in the United States of America. Here, things operate differently. I’m a high-caliber athlete and I have no issues getting tested for drugs so why not you? It makes you think real hard when someone like him says no to drug testing.
Fightful: When you’re not training for a fight, do you do anything to sorta rest or take your mind off of boxing?
Barrera: I’m actually a pretty big fan of cycling. Ever since maybe the Joe Smith fight, I’ve been riding bikes and that’s been my hobby outside of boxing. I just like exercising and taking care of my body and so I love doing sports so cycling has been a thing I’ve been doing when I’m not boxing.
Fightful: Lastly, I know you’ll say you’ll win, but how do you see this fight going? You both are strong punchers, so do you think it’ll end with a knockout or are you solely prepared to go the distance?
Barrera: Like I’ve said in the past, one thing I’ve learned from fighting Andre Ward is that when you go into the ring, you go out and have fun. Since that fight, I’ve kept trying to have fun and I’m going to enjoy myself heading to that ring on March 3. I won’t try to look for the knockout, but if it comes, that’s great, but I’m preparing myself to go 12 rounds and fight a war.