Fightful Boxing Newsletter (1/18): Spence vs. Peterson Preview, Joshua vs. Parker, Wilder vs. Ortiz, WBC

2018 will kick off with a big Showtime Boxing card in New York with two world title fights being featured. The main event of the January 20 boxing card is Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson for the IBF welterweight world title.

Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder have agreed to fight Joseph Parker and Luis Ortiz, respectively. These two fights, scheduled to take place in March, have essentially laid the groundwork for the potential four-belt unification that could take place later this year.

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Also in Japan, the annual Champions Carnival is set to take start soon with all Japanese titles to be defended over the course of the first 5 months of the year. Even though these fights don't seem to have much importance, they do actually set the stage for some of these boxers to eventually challenge for world titles, so it is worth following some of these fights if only for the fact that the Champions Carnival provides some hidden gems when it comes to the quality of these fights.

In the WBC, more chaos surrounding the light heavyweight title and mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez has ensued. After what it seemed like the organization has finally resolved its issue of getting champion Adonis Stevenson to fight his mandatory challenger, Alvarez pulled out of a planned four-man tournament that would result in Stevenson either fight his mandatory challenger in the finals or lose his title to Badou Jack in the semifinals. Alvarez withdrew from the tournament, putting the state of the mandatory challenger into question.

But this isn't the first time the mandatory challenger to the WBC 175-pound title has gone against the wishes of the governing body and this week's newsletter provides a long look at the state of the WBC title and its mandatory stemming all the way back to when Stevenson won the title in 2013.

Fightful Boxing Newsletter (1/18) Table of Contents:

  1. Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson Full Preview (Page 2)
  2. Update On WBC Light Heavyweight Title Tournament (Page 3)
  3. Latest On Negotiations For Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin 2 (Page 4)
  4. Champion Carnival Fights Are Announced (Page 5)
  5. Heavyweight World Title Fights Set In March (Page 6)
  6. Results From The World Of Boxing (Page 7)
  7. Fightful Boxing Rankings (Pages 8-9)
  8. News And Notes From The World Of Boxing (Page 10)

Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson Full Preview

The first major boxing card of 2018 is similar to last year's first big card: a Showtime Championship Boxing card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The main event sees Errol Spence Jr. defend his IBF welterweight world title against two-division world champion Lamont Peterson in Spence’s first title defense.

The intrigue of the main event stems from Spence’s status as the top welterweight in the world. One year ago, the conversation as to who is the best boxer at 147 pounds lied in Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Manny Pacquiao. Since then, Garcia and Pacquiao lost their respective world titles, and Thurman has been sidelined with an elbow injury since last spring. Right now, the debate as to who is the best welterweight in the world is between Thurman and Spence.

There’s also the storyline of Spence’s past relationship with Peterson. Peterson has helped mentor Spence in the past and Peterson knew early on in Spence’s pro career that he would be a great boxer. What’s more interesting is that Peterson said he knew the two of them would eventually have to fight, calling it a fight years in the making. In a way, this is the perfect first test for Spence as the IBF champion. Peterson is a veteran who makes every fight of his competitive and is able to push Spence to his absolute best. How Spence performs against Peterson will give fans and pundits an idea of how good Spence can be. There’s no doubt that the champion is perhaps the best welterweight in the world and a potential top 10 boxer, but in some ways, it still feels somewhat premature.

Although Spence did beat Kell Brook last year to win the belt, there were a lot of questions surrounding Brook. Brook was coming off a broken orbital bone from his last fight against Gennady Golovkin and there had been legitimate concerns that Brook was not the same boxer he was when he first won the world champion. That’s not to take anything away from Spence’s performance last year, but this fight against Peterson should provide an idea at where he stands among the elite in his weight class.

A unification fight between Thurman and Peterson would be one of the best welterweight boxing matches in quite some time, but it’s unlikely that the fight will happen in 2018. As previously mentioned, Thurman is recovering from elbow surgery and will need to eventually fight WBC mandatory challenger Shawn Porter and then the winner of the Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios fight next month before moving forward with the unification fight. In the meantime, this gives Spence a couple of opportunities to improve his resume and start building up angles for what could undoubtedly be one of the top three boxing matches of 2019.

Peterson, on the other hand, has never really been considered to be an elite boxer at 147 pounds, even after winning the WBA “regular” welterweight title last year. He’s always been considered a good, not great, boxer, but that shouldn’t stop people from thinking he can’t defeat Spence. Despite an inconsistent fight schedule (10 fights since 2010), Peterson has always been in the ring against quality opponents. Peterson is coming off a near year-long layoff since his last fight, but Peterson has been preparing for this type of fight for several months, and ring rust should not be an overall issue for him.

Tale of the tape:

Errol Spence Jr.:

Record: 22-0 (19 KO)

Age: 28

Height: 5'9.5"

Notable fights: Kell Brook, Chris Algieri, Samuel Vargas

Titles won: IBF Welterweight

Lamont Peterson:

Record: 35-3-1 (17 KO)

Age: 33

Height: 5'9"

Notable fights: Felix Diaz, David Avanesyan, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, Victor Ortiz, Danny Garcia

Titles won: WBC United States Junior Welterweight, WBO-NABO Junior Welterweight, Interim NABF Junior Welterweight, Interim WBO Junior Welterweight, IBF Junior Welterweight, WBA "Super" Junior Welterweight, WBA "Regular" Welterweight

Where to watch:

Showtime will broadcast at least the two world title fights, which can also be seen online on the Showtime App. Showtime's YouTube and Facebook will feature some of the key undercard fights, including the bouts of undefeated fighters Marcus Browne and Adam Kownacki.

The full broadcast schedule has not been unveiled, but here is the fight card as of January 17. As always, the card is always subject to change.

  • Errol Spence Jr. (c) (22-0) vs. Lamont Peterson (35-3-1): IBF Welterweight Title Bout
  • Robert Easter Jr. (c) (20-0) vs. Javier Fortuna (33-1-1): IBF Lightweight Title Bout
  • Marcus Browne (20-0) vs. Francy Ntetu (17-1)
  • Adam Kownacki (16-0) vs. Iago Kiladze (26-1)
  • Anthony Peterson (37-1) vs. Luis Eduardo Florez (23-8)
  • Ivan Golub (13-1) vs. Fidel Monterrosa Munoz (38-15-1)
  • Richardson Hitchins (3-0) vs. Preston Wilson (4-2-1)
  • Mathew Gonzalez (2-0) vs. Alexander Serna (1-1)
  • Desmond Jarmon (3-0) vs. Charles Clark (1-4-1)
  • Keyshawn Williams (1-0) vs. Denis Okoth (1-0)
  • Dylan Price (4-0) vs. Nestor Ramos (7-7-1)

Prediction: Ideally, the best result for Spence is to have a similar ending to his last fight against Brook (minus breaking the orbital bone). Spence has tremendous speed and power and is capable of knocking out Peterson. Peterson does have the necessary savvy to make any fight competitive, but he doesn’t have a granite chin and has been knocked down a few times throughout his career. What makes Peterson dangerous in this fight is his ability to bounce back from a knockdown. We saw that when Peterson was knocked down in the first round by Amir Khan a few years ago and Peterson still managed to bounce back and win.

Of course, in this instance, Peterson is much older and Spence at this point is much better than Khan was when he fought Peterson. Peterson will make this fight competitive, but given the number of wars he’s been a part of and his overall skill level, he just doesn’t quite possess what it takes to make him a confident pick to win.

Spence Jr. by unanimous decision.

Latest On WBC Light Heavyweight Title Tournament

The WBC light heavyweight title seemed headed for a four-man tournament for 2018, but Eleider Alvarez has resigned from the tournament, no longer wishing to wait longer for a title opportunity.

Alvarez revealed that he would no longer take part in the impromptu tournament. Alvarez has been the WBC's mandatory challenger to the light heavyweight title for several years, currently held by Adonis Stevenson, but never fought for the title. On numerous occasions the WBC ordered Stevenson to fight Alvarez, but on every instance a deal that would allow Stevenson to take an optional defense before fighting Alvarez was made.

The four-man tournament would have pitted Stevenson against former WBA light heavyweight champion Badou Jack and the winner of that fight would face the winner of Alvarez vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Alvarez vs. Gvozdyk would have been for the vacant interim WBC light heavyweight title.

The promotional rights for the bout were scheduled to be auctioned to the highest-bidding promoter on January 12 at the WBC offices in Mexico City, with Alvarez in line for 60 percent of the winning bid. The WBC released this statement announcing Alvarez's withdrawal.

Eleider Alvarez has officially notified the WBC that he is withdrawing from the WBC-ordered Interim World Championship fight against Oleksandr Gvozdyk. The WBC Board of Governors will now look into the effect of Mr. Alvarez’ decision on the overall status of the division and will produce an official ruling thereabout in the following days.

The organization has said that it will try and resolve the issue within the coming days. The long title reign by Stevenson has been one of bizarre decisions in regards to who the champion elected to fight. Stevenson complied with a mandatory defense when he defeated Tony Bellew in 2013. In 2014, Jean Pascal, the WBC's mandatory challenger at the time, decided to fight then-unified champion Sergey Kovalev and so the WBC ordered Stevenson to fight the winner of Kovalev vs. Pascal. Kovalev defeated Pascal, but Stevenson never fought Kovalev.

In fact, the title has been in a state of disarray for years now, highlighted by many changes to the position of mandatory challenger and several fights being called off.

2013:

May 25: Tony Bellew becomes mandatory challenger with a unanimous decision vs. Isaac Chilemba.

June 8: Adonis Stevenson wins the WBC title by knocking out Chad Dawson in the first round.

September 28: Stevenson defeats Tavoris Cloud in a voluntary defense.

November 30: Stevenson defeats Bellew in a mandatory defense.

*2013 WBC Convention ruling: Jean Pascal must fight Lucien Bute with the winner becoming the next mandatory of the division of the division for November 2014.

2014:

January 18: Pascal defeats Bute by unanimous decision and becomes mandatory contender.

May 24: Stevenson defeats Fonfara in a voluntary defense. Stevenson requests a voluntary defense with a commitment that the winner would fight mandatory challenger Jean Pascal next.

October 25: Eleider Alvarez defeats Ryno Lindberg with a seventh-round stoppage and wins the WBC Silver title. Mandatory challenger Jean Pascal withdraws from his WBC mandatory challenger position and signs to fight Sergey Kovalev.

December 19: Stevenson knocks out Dmitry Suhkotskiy in a voluntary defense.

*2014 WBC Convention ruling: The WBC mediated to have an unprecedented ruling mandating WBC champion Stevenson to fight the winner of Kovalev vs Pascal which would comply with his mandatory title defense obligations.

2015:

March 14: Kovalev knocks out Pascal to win the WBC diamond belt and becomes the mandatory challenger for Stevenson.

April 14: Stevenson defeats Sakio Bika in a voluntary defense. After several months of negotiations, Kovalev withdraws from fighting Stevenson so the division is left without a mandatory challenger.

August 10: The WBC orders Chilemba to fight Fonfara as the final elimination for the mandatory position. Fonfara would later withdraw from the fight.

August 15: Alvarez defeats Isidro Ranoni, defending his WBC Silver title in the process. WBC orders Chilemba vs. Alvarez as a final eliminator to the title 10 days after Alvarez's win over Ranoni.

September 11: Stevenson knocks out Tommy Karpency in a voluntary defense of his world title.

November 28: Alvarez defeats Chilemba earning him the mandatory challenger position for the title.

*2015 WBC Convention ruling: Chilemba vs. Alvarez final elimination to determine mandatory contender. During the Convention, Kathy Duva and Yvon Michell confirmed they were still having discussions for the Stevenson vs Kovalev Superfight and the WBC confirmed its support if that fight materialized.

2016:

July 11: Stevenson knocks out Thomas Williams in four rounds in a voluntary defense.

August 11: WBC orders free negotiations for Stevenson vs. Alvarez. One month later, the purse got canceled after the two sides agreed to terms on a fight. Strangely afterwards, Alvarez requests the WBC to accept his fight vs. Bute as a WBC Silver title defense and also to be a final elimination with the winner being the mandatory challenger for the title

*2016 WBC Convention ruling: WBC accepts Alvarez’s request to fight Bute with the winner becoming the division’s mandatory challenger. Stevenson is free to do a voluntary defense because the mandatory contender is not available.

2017:

February 24: Alvarez knocks out Bute in the fifth round of his fight, reaffirming his mandatory challenger status.

February 26: WBC orders a free negotiation period for Stevenson vs. Alvarez.

March 24: Alvarez informs the WBC that he has agreed to step aside to allow Stevenson to fight a voluntary defense. The WBC Board rules in favor of ordering another final elimination fight to have a second mandatory contender.

June 3: Stevenson defeats Fonfara in a voluntary defense. Alvarez also defeats Pascal to keep his mandatory challenger status.

June 19: WBC orders another free negotiation period for Stevenson vs. Alvarez. The WBC would later be informed that there is an agreement in place and that the fight will happen in December at the latest.

*2017 WBC Convention ruling: Stevenson is scheduled to make a mandatory defense against No. 1 ranked Eleider Alvarez in December. Oleksandr Gvozdyk, ranked No. 2 in the rankings will face No. 4 ranked Marcus Browne as a final eliminator

The ruling ultimately proved futile as several changes soon occurred.

Stevenson requested to fight former WBA champion Badou Jack and Alvarez reportedly agreed to step aside. Browne withdraws from the fight against Gvozdyk and so the WBC ordered Gvozdyk to fight Sullivan Barrera as a final eliminator, but Barrera would soon withdraw from the fight as he accepted a fight against Dmitry Bivol for the title.

December 8: The WBC Board of Governors made a new ruling on the division which was:

  • To allow Stevenson vs. Jack with the winner committed to fight the mandatory challenger next.
  • To order Alvarez to fight Gvozdyk for the interim WBC title and mandatory challenger position.

2018:

January 10: Alvarez withdraws from participating in the WBC light heavyweight tournament, leaving Gvozdyk without an opponent to fight for the mandatory position.

Latest On Negotiations For Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin

A misleading report by Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times caused quite a stir when many thought that a fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin has been agreed upon and is official when it fact, negotiations are still ongoing. The report said Alvarez's camp has agreed to the fight, planned to take place on May 5, but a venue hasn't been determined yet. The one thing that is notable in Pugmire's reporting is that there is no language in the contract that would signify that a rematch clause is in play, unlike the contract in the first fight.

The lack of a rematch clause is significant in the sense that conspiracy theorists among pundits within the sport now believe that if the rematch goes the distance, then dubious judging could give Alvarez the edge. The theory goes that the judges are more likely to give Alvarez, who is by far the bigger draw and star, the decision. In a way, that’s how we got to this point in the first place. It was Adalaide Byrd’s 118-110 score in favor of Alvarez that resulted in the fight ending in a split draw. It’s fair to say that no reasonable person would have scored the fight that way. With no rematch clause, what’s to say that another Adalaide Byrd type of score would be the tipping point in giving Alvarez the win. No rematch clause would rule in favor of Alvarez’s camp and Golden Boy Promotions, who continues to push Alvarez as the top boxing star in the world.

Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez did confirm to the Los Angeles Times on January 11 at a Lucas Matthysse workout in Indio, California that there is no rematch clause.

"It's going to be another great fight, so it'll likely be a natural to do another rematch, but it's not in the agreement. We want to concentrate on getting this [second Alvarez-Golovkin fight] done and then we can talk about a third fight later. I know Canelo's going to win. I think Canelo figured him out in the last three rounds. Look at that fight. Canelo handled [Golovkin] those last three rounds. And this time around, Canelo's going to have an easier time with him. Not an easy fight, but he has the experience now and he wants this fight," Gomez said.

Although Alvarez's camp has seemingly agreed to a deal, Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's promoter, said his side has yet to agree to the rematch clause or to the fight. At this point, it still seems like it is a question of when, not if, the rematch will happen. After all, the negotiations have developed far enough to the point where any result other than the fight planned for May 5, 2018 taking place would seem ludicrous. There's also the fact that the WBC ordered a rematch and so the fight, in theory, must happen.

Of course, the lack of a rematch clause doesn’t outright mean that a third fight wouldn’t happen. If interest is high enough, a third fight can and should happen. Long has it been since boxing enjoyed a truly riveting rivalry engulfed the sport since Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez had their four-fight series from 2004-2012.

While the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, site of the first encounter between the unified WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight champion and The Ring and lineal middleweight champion, is presumably the favorite to host the rematch, two other venues are still in the running.

AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, and Madison Square Garden in New York City are also strong candidates to host the middleweight superfight. One could consider AT&T Stadium as the second choice with Madison Square Garden being a relatively distant, but realistic third place.

There's still some parts of the contract that need to be ironed out, but I wouldn't be surprised if they managed to get the paperwork signed by the end of the month and then have an official announcement sometime in Febraury.

Heavyweight World Title Fights Set In March

All four major world heavyweight title fights could be unified by the end of the year given the recent announcements that champions Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder will be defending their respective world titles with Joshua fighting in another heavyweight unification bout.

Joshua will unify his WBA “super,” IBF and IBO heavyweight titles with Joseph Parker’s WBO heavyweight title while Wilder will defend his WBC title against Luis Ortiz, both fights taking place in the month of March.

The bout between Joshua and Parker will pit two of the biggest stars at heavyweight is now official, taking place on March 31 in Cardiff, Wales, the site of Joshua's last fight back in October. The fight will unify Joshua's WBA "super," IBF and IBO titles with Parker's WBO titles with the winner presumably being the front runner to fight WBC champion Deontay Wilder later this year to unify all four world titles. Below is promoter Eddie Hearn officially confirming the fight on Twitter.

Parker won the WBO title in late 2016 in front his home country fans in New Zealand when he defeated Andy Ruiz by majority decision. Parker last fought in September, retaining his title when he beat Hughie Fury by majority decision.

Joshua won the IBF title in 2016 when he knocked out Charles Martin and then proceeded to win the then-vacant WBA title when Joshua knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in front of a record-setting crowd at Wembley Stadium. That fight would later go on to win Fightful's "Fight of the Year" award for 2017. Joshua has only fought once since beating Klitschko, defeating Carlos Takam at Principality Stadium in Cardiff on October.

The three major world title belts that will be in play on March 31 previously belonged to Tyson Fury, who is mounting a comeback and has been trying for months to get a fight with Joshua. Fury still holds the lineal heavyweight championship as well as The Ring Magazine's heavyweight title although he is in danger of having that title stripped.

Joshua and Parker have a combined professional record of 44-0 with 38 knockouts. According to Hearn, it is the first time in history that two reigning world heavyweight champions fight each other in Great Britain.

Wilder vs. Ortiz is a long-awaited matchup of undefeated, consensus top-five fighters facing off in the resurgent heavyweight division and marks Wilder's third appearance at Barclays Center. Wilder returns to the venue after most recently scoring a sensational first round knockout of Bermane Stiverne on November 4, 2017 and previously delivering a knockout of Artur Szpilka in January 2016.

The fight will likely be shown either on Showtime or on FOX, given how the buildup to this fight in March actually began when Ortiz fought on FS1 last December and Wilder and Ortiz had a staredown after the fight.

The two were actually supposed to have fought on November 4, but Ortiz violated the WBC's Clean Boxing Program weeks before the fight, causing the bout to be called off. But when it seemed like Joshua would be fighting Parker, Wilder set his sights on getting a fight with Ortiz, who didn't really suffer any major consequences by his Clean Boxing Program violation. As for the undercard, nothing has yet been revealed, but we should get an idea of what it will look like fairly soon.

Champion Carnival Fights Are Announced

Unbeknownst to no one except for hardcore Japanese boxing, the first six months of the new year is the Champion Carnival, a time where all the national champions defend their titles against their respective mandatory challengers.

In the west, national titles do not have much value to fans, but in places such as the United Kingdom and Japan, national titles do hold some relevancy. In Japan, becoming a national champion, especially if you're a boxer in the lower weights, usually meant that you would be on the fast track to challenging for a world title fairly soon.

World champions from Japan such as Ken Shiro won the Japanese light flyweight on December 2015 and then defended the title in the 2016 Champion Carnival, which put Shiro on his way to a WBC world title shot 13 months later. Tatsuya Fukuhara also won a national title in late 2015, defended his title at the 2016 Champion Carnival and won the interim WBO minimumweight title 11 months later. Since then, he's challenged for both the WBO and WBC minimumweight titles. Sho Ishida got a world title opportunity as a super flyweight last year after winning his fights in the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Champion Carnival. Yukinori Oguni was the Japanese super bantamweight champion heading into the 2015 Champion Carnival and later won the IBF world title on the New Year's Eve show in 2016 when he defeated Jonathan Guzman. I could spend the next few paragraphs giving out more examples, but I think the point has been proven.

Starting out in the minimumweight division, Ryoki Hirai and Shin Ono will fight for the title, which got vacated by Reiya Konishi. The fight will take place in Kobe on April 22. Konishi, who won the belt in the 2017 Champion Carnival, vacated the title so he can focus all his efforts on challenging for a world title. The question is at what weight will he go to. Konishi is ranked at No. 5 and 6 in the WBO and WBC minimumweight rankings, respectively, while he is ranked No. 2 in the WBA light flyweight rankings.

Tetsuya Hisada, who has fought in last year's Champion Carnival, will defend his title against Koji Itagaki in what could be Itagaki's last chance to win a domestic title. The fight is currently scheduled to take place in Osaka on April 19. Hisada is a big favorite to win this fight as this could be Itagaki's last chance at a domestic title.

The flyweight Japanese title fight between Masayuki Kuroda and Katsunori Nagamine had already been known for quite some time. The fight, which will be Kuroda's third defense of the title and first Champion Carnival fight as a champion (he won the interim flyweight in last year's Carnival), will take place on March 3. This will likely be Kuroda's last Champion Carnival for the time being as a win could soon propel him to a title fight. Kuroda is ranked in the top 11 on all four major governing bodies' official rankings at 112 pounds. Although fights against WBC champion Daigo Higa and WBO champion Sho Kimura sound like strong matchups for the New Year's Eve show at the end of 2018, but Kuroda has a better chance at landing a WBA world title shot since the title is vacant and he is ranked No. 4 in the WBA rankings.

Hiroyuki Kudaka and Go Onaga will have a rematch, only this time it will be for the super flyweight title. The rematch currently does not have a date or venue, but I would point to it likely happening in April or May. Kudaka and Onaga fought to a technical draw last December when the fight ended in the third round due to numerous head clashes, a disappointing end to what could have been a very good fight. In terms of matchups, this fight might be one of the best bouts on this year's Carnival.

The Japanese bantamweight title fight will kick off this year's Carnival. Headlining the January 20 card at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Ryo Akaho will defend his title against Yusuke Suzuki. That fight will be televised on the G+ station in the region of Kanto in what could be an early contender for best fight of the Carnival.

Ryo Kosaka replaces Yasutaka Ishimoto, who is currently injured, as the challenger to challenge Yusaku Kuga and his super bantamweight title. That fight will take place at Korakuen Hall on March 27. Kuga has looked great in his last few fights, knocking out three of his last four opponents and winning a tough 10-round fight against Ryoichi Tamura last July.

Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi will defend his title against Taiki Minamoto on April 7 in Korakuen Hall. This will be Ohashi's first title defense after winning the title last December in a bizarre finish to his fight against Kosuke Saka. Saka turned his back to Ohashi thinking he had heard the bell, and got knocked out by Ohashi in the final seconds of the fifth round.

Masaru Sueyoshi will defend his Japanese super featherweight title against Ken Osato on February 3. Sueyoshi is ranked as the No. 10 super featherweight in the WBO rankings with the champion being Vasyl Lomachenko. Even with a successful title defense, it's hard to envision Sueyoshi getting a world title shot sometime soon, especially with big names such as Masayuki Ito, Miguel Roman, Christopher Diaz and Francisco Vargas being ranked higher than Sueyoshi.

The lightweight title will be defended at Korakuen Hall on February 8. Shuichiro Yoshino, the champion, will make his first defense when he fights Masaki Saito. Yoshino has been fighting since 2015, but has only fought six times, winning all of those fights. Yoshino may be limited in terms of experience, but he has fought against veteran boxers and has the potential to be a big name in Japanese boxing.

Takeshi Inoue, who is the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific junior middleweight champion, will defend his national title against former welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo. The fight will take place at Korakuen Hall on April 26. Inoue is ranked in the top 12 in the IBF and WBO rankings.

The junior welterweight title fight between the champion Valentine Hosokawa and Vladimir Baez will be a fight between two of the most experienced boxers in terms of total pro bouts fought. Baez is an early favorite to win the title as Hosokawa will make his first title defense. The fight will take place at Korakuen Hall on May 7.

The middleweight Japanese title will be defended by Hikaru Nishida on March 3 when he faces unbeaten Kazuto Takesako. On paper, this fight could end being a slugfest similar to the Shawn Porter vs. Adrian Granados fight at the Barclays Center last year (to give fans in the west an idea of what to expect in this bout). Nishida is a solid No. 2 middleweight in Japan, but unlike WBA "regular" champion Ryota Murata who is by far the best Japanese middleweight boxer today, Nishida still doesn't have the knockout power or the consistency to be a world title contender. Nishida is more of a pressure fighter, but is prone to getting hit a lot at times and that could work in Takesako's advantage, who's a very strong boxer and has knocked out all seven of his opponents A win in the Carnival could serve to raise Nishida's stock outside of Tokyo, but Takesako winning wouldn't be a major shock either.

Results From The World Of Boxing

January 17: Star City Hotel & Casino, Pyrmont, New South Wales, Australia

  • Anthony Mundine defeated Tommy Browne to win the vacant WBO Oriental Middleweight Title: TKO, Round 2
  • Jai Opetaia defeated Benjamin Kelleher to retain the Australian Cruiserweight Title: TKO, Round 3
  • Kye MacKenzie defeated Emiliano Martin Garcia: TKO, Round 4
  • Troy O'Meley defeated Dillon Bargero via SD
  • Ben Sila defeated Richie Fa'aoso via UD

January 15: Barangay Tablon Gymnasium (Covered Court), Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Philippines

  • Jesse Espinas defeated Elias Joaquino to win the vacant Philippines Mindanao Professional Boxing Federation (MinProBA) Light Flyweight Title via UD
  • Gerpaul Valero defeated Jonathan Francisco: TKO, Round 7
  • Roland Jay Biendima defeated Mike Kinaadman via SD
  • Ulysses Lagos defeated Joas Apericio: KO, Round 2
  • Delfin de Asis defeated Michael Javier via TKO
  • Ian Donaire defeated Jason Francisco: TKO, Round 3
  • Sagar Narwat defeated Ryan Maano via MD
  • Sachin Dekwal defeated Roldan Malinao via PTS
  • Fateh Singh defeated Lobert Bayo via KO

January 13: Estadio Parque Central, Neuquen, Neuquen, Argentina

  • Leonardo Fabio Amitrano defeated Mauro Maximiliano Godoy to retain the South American Super Lightweight Title via MD

January 13: Club Social y Deportivo Mar de Ajó, Mar de Ajo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Jonathan Jose Eniz defeated Maximiliano Ricardo Veron to retain the interim WBC Latino Super Lightweight Title: KO, Round 2
  • Miguel German Acosta defeated Carlos Andres Chaparro via UD
  • Ignacio Perrin defeated Ernesto Franzolini via UD
  • Franco Maximiliano Ocampo defeated Victor Manuel Oscar Padilla via UD
  • Braian Nahuel Suarez defeated Osvaldo Ismael Acuna: KO, Round 1

January 13: Monaco Hotel & Resort, Villa Carlos Paz, Cordoba, Argentina

  • Alexis Rodolfo Veronesi defeated Adrian Marcelo Sasso via UD
  • Jose Acevedo defeated Oscar Nahuel Retamoso via UD
  • Jose Antonio Villalobos defeated Paulo Marcelo Milla: KO, Round 3
  • Lucas Pereira defeated Maximiliano Suarez via UD
  • Emiliano German Vivas defeated Lucas Sebastian Galarza via UD
  • Martin Orlando Rocha defeated Mauro Barrios via SD

January 13: Galveston site, Ghent, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium

  • Kevin Vanderheyden defeated Zoran Cvek via UD

January 13: Xuzhou Olympic Sports Center, Xu Zhou, China

  • Sen Chen defeated Taweechai Juntarasuk via UD
  • Ruslan Khamikoev defeated Dennis Laurente via SD
  • Xiangxiang Sun defeated Nelson Tinampay: TKO, Round 8
  • Biegezhati Suosailehan defeated Chaiwat Mueanphong via UD
  • Lili Xie defeated Suchaya Bualuang: TKO, Round 4
  • Hongguang Liu defeated Jiechao Chen via UD
  • Shidong Cai defeated Litian Zhang via UD
  • Duancai Tian defeated Yangyang Li
  • Yuqing Yu defeated Jiadong Zhuang: TKO, Round 3
  • Shuxin Gao defeated Saitibatihali Jumatai: TKO, Round 3

January 13: Beijing, China

  • He Zhang defeated Esmaeil Shakeri to retain the World Boxing Foundation Asia Pacific Welterweight Title: TKO, Round 8
  • Mingcun Chen defeated Daichi Yoshikawa to retain the World Boxing Foundation Asia Pacific Light Heavyweight Title: TKO, Round 2
  • Maierdan Siyiti defeated Dechapol Seesang via UD
  • He Zhang defeated Ali Tariyousefkhani: KO, Round 1
  • Ziqiang Huo defeated Sukhmyagmar Purevdorj via MD

January 13: Living World Mall, Tangerang Selatan, Indonesia

  • Galih Susanto defeated Louis Loemoli to retain the Indonesia Boxing Association (ATI/IBA) Bantamweight Title: TKO, Round 5
  • Yopi Sialana defeated Jeffrey Batok via KO
  • Carlos Obisuru defeated Muhammad Supandi via PTS
  • Yeret Tildyuir defeated Fransiscus Silalahi via KO

January 13: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

  • Rikki Naito defeated Jeffrey Arienza to win the vacant OPBF Super Lightweight Title: TKO, Round 9
  • Carlo Magali defeated Masatoshi Kotani to retain the OPBF Super Featherweight Title: TKO, Round 10
  • Coach Hiroto and Ryo Hino fight to a split draw
  • Hironori Mishiro defeated Shuya Masaki via UD
  • Yoshiki Tatsukami defeated Yuta Teruya via MD
  • Shoji Matsumoto defeated Ryota Sato via MD

January 13: Theater de Borenburg, Voerendaal, Netherlands

  • Ricardo Snijders defeated Erik Nazaryan to win the vacant BeNeLux Cruiserweight Title: TKO, Round 3
  • Bryan Nisia defeated Bo Delbressine: TKO, Round 3

January 13: Club Saga Heredia, Malaga, Andalucía, Spain

  • Samuel Molina defeated Franklin Varela via PTS
  • Juan Francisco Ruiz defeated Marcos Figueras via PTS

January 13: Singmanassak Muaythai School, Pathum Thani, Thailand

  • Suntorn Panhom defeated Panya Kaewmak via UD
  • Nikhom Hongthong defeated Teerawut Tipsuna via UD
  • Phongsathon Sompol defeated Pakphum Khampiranon via UD

January 13: Midwest Event Center, Northlake, Illinois, USA

  • Dmytro Mytrofanov defeated Marcus Willis via UD
  • Giovanni Mioletti defeated Tyrone Harris via UD
  • Shady Gamhour defeated Jauvan John: TKO, Round 3
  • Martez McGregor defeated Scott Futrell via PTS
  • Thad Berkhousen defeated Ricard Chavez via PTS

January 13: Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Huntington, West Virginia, USA

  • Josh Fisher defeated Melvin Russell via MD

January 12: Plaza Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Achiras, Cordoba, Argentina

  • Juan Jose Balmaceda defeated Gabriel Alejandro Funes via UD

January 12: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

  • Tatsuya Takahashi defeated Keita Nakano via SD
  • Yuki Beppu defeated Charnsuk Lookmuangpong: KO, Round 1
  • Yuichiro Kasuya defeated Katika Saithonggym: KO, Round 1
  • Kohei Namai defeated Yusuke Marutani: TKO, Round 2
  • Yosuke Ida defeated Hiromu Murota via SD

January 12: Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, USA

  • Claressa Shields defeated Tori Nelson to retain the IBF and WBC Female Super Middleweight Title via UD
  • Jesse Angel Hernandez defeated Ernesto Garza III via SD
  • Shohjahon Ergashev defeated Sonny Fredrickson: TKO, Round 3
  • Alexey Zubov defeated Lamont Capers via MD
  • Franchon Crews Dezurn defeated Tiffany Woodard via UD
  • Apti Davtaev defeated Garrett Wilson via UD
  • Bakhtiyar Eyubov and Maurice Chalmers fight to a no contest

January 12: Emerald Queen Casino, Tacoma, Washington, USA

  • Manuel Perez defeated John Jackson via UD
  • Walter Wright defeated Rafael Valencia via UD
  • Fatlum Zhuta defeated Eddie Hunter: KO, Round 1
  • Carlos Villanueva defeated Alex Cazac via SD
  • Anthony Zender defeated Jorge Linares via UD
  • Eduardo Torres defeated Chris Varner: KO, Round 1

January 12: Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Huntington, West Virginia, USA

  • Luke Lyons defeated Dell Long via MD

January 11: Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, Lemoore, California, USA

  • Vladimir Hernandez defeated Danny Valdivia via UD
  • Calvin Metcalf defeated Joe Louie Lopez via MD
  • Victor Morales Jr. defeated Edgar Cantu: RTD, Round 5
  • Edgar Martinez defeated Javier Rodriguez via UD
  • Bryan Lua defeated Mario Aguirre via UD
  • Isidro Ochoa defeated Gabriel Rodriguez via UD
  • Angel Cordon Jr. defeated Johnny Estrada: TKO, Round 3

Fightful Boxing Rankings

Pound-for-pound

  1. Terence Crawford
  2. Vasyl Lomachenko
  3. Gennady Golovkin
  4. Canelo Alvarez
  5. Mikey Garcia
  6. Naoya Inoue
  7. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
  8. Keith Thurman
  9. Ryoichi Taguchi
  10. Sergey Kovalev

Heavyweight

  1. Anthony Joshua
  2. Deontay Wilder
  3. Joseph Parker
  4. Luis Ortiz
  5. Alexander Povetkin
  6. Kubrat Pulev
  7. Jarrell Miller
  8. Andy Ruiz Jr.
  9. Dillian Whyte
  10. Carlos Takam

Cruiserweight

  1. Oleksandr Usyk
  2. Murat Gassiev
  3. Krzysztof Glowacki
  4. Mairis Briedis
  5. Marco Huck
  6. Yunier Dorticos
  7. Firat Arslan
  8. Denis Lebediev
  9. Andrew Tabiti
  10. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk

Light heavyweight

  1. Sergey Kovalev
  2. Badou Jack
  3. Adonis Stevenson
  4. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
  5. Dmitry Bivol
  6. Sullivan Barrera
  7. Artur Beterbiev
  8. Eleider Alvarez
  9. Marcus Browne
  10. Joe Smith Jr.

Super middleweight

  1. Gilberto Ramirez
  2. George Groves
  3. Anthony Dirrell
  4. Andre Dirrell
  5. Chris Eubank Jr.
  6. David Benavidez
  7. Caleb Truax
  8. James DeGale
  9. Jose Uzcategui
  10. Tyron Zeuge

Middleweight

  1. Gennady Golovkin
  2. Canelo Alvarez
  3. Daniel Jacobs
  4. Billy Joe Saunders
  5. Jermall Charlo
  6. Ryota Murata
  7. Demetrius Andrade
  8. Andy Lee
  9. David Lemieux
  10. Sergiy Derevyanchenko

Light middleweight

  1. Erislandy Lara
  2. Jermell Charlo
  3. Jarrett Hurd
  4. Demetrius Andrade
  5. Julian Williams
  6. Austin Trout
  7. Sadam Ali
  8. Liam Smith
  9. Maciej Sulecky
  10. Kell Brook

Welterweight

  1. Keith Thurman
  2. Errol Spence Jr.
  3. Terence Crawford
  4. Danny Garcia
  5. Shawn Porter
  6. Jeff Horn
  7. Manny Pacquiao
  8. Lamont Peterson
  9. Jessie Vargas
  10. Lucas Matthysse

The rest of the rankings are in the next page.

Light welterweight

  1. Julius Indongo
  2. Viktor Postol
  3. Antonio Orozco
  4. Sergey Lipinets
  5. Terry Flanagan
  6. Eduard Troyanovski
  7. Isaac Dogboe
  8. Regis Prograis
  9. Rances Barthelemy
  10. Kenichi Ogawa

Lightweight

  1. Mikey Garcia
  2. Jorge Linares
  3. Robert Easter Jr.
  4. Anthony Crolla
  5. Luke Campbell
  6. Dejan Zlaticanin
  7. Raymundo Beltran
  8. Denis Shafikov
  9. Ricky Burns
  10. Richard Commey

Junior lightweight

  1. Vasyl Lomachenko
  2. Miguel Berchelt
  3. Francisco Vargas
  4. Jezreel Corrales
  5. Alberto Machado
  6. Robinson Castellanos
  7. Miguel Roman
  8. Orlando Salido
  9. Jason Sosa
  10. Jhonny Gonzalez

Featherweight

  1. Leo Santa Cruz
  2. Gary Russell Jr.
  3. Abner Mares
  4. Lee Selby
  5. Oscar Valdez
  6. Carl Frampton
  7. Scott Quigg
  8. Jesus Cuellar
  9. Joseph Diaz
  10. Claudio Marrero

Light featherweight

  1. Guillermo Rigondeaux
  2. Jessie Magdaleno
  3. Nonito Donaire
  4. Moises Flores
  5. Rey Vargas
  6. Danny Roman
  7. Hugo Ruiz
  8. Marlon Tapales
  9. Julio Ceja
  10. Yukinori Oguni

Bantamweight

  1. Jamie McDonnell
  2. Luis Nery
  3. Ryan Burnett
  4. Juan Carlos Payano
  5. Shinsuke Yamanaka
  6. Zolani Tete
  7. Lee Haskins
  8. Zhanat Zhakiyanov
  9. Takoma Inoue
  10. Liborio Solis

Light bantamweight

  1. Naoya Inoue
  2. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
  3. Jerwin Ancajas
  4. Khalid Yafai
  5. Juan Francisco Estrada
  6. Carlos Cuadras
  7. Roman Gonzalez
  8. John Riel Casimero
  9. Rau'shee Warren
  10. Luis Concepcion

Flyweight

  1. Kazuto Ioka
  2. Donnie Nietes
  3. Daigo Higa
  4. Juan Carlos Reveco
  5. Kosei Tanaka
  6. Sho Kimura
  7. Moruti Mthalane
  8. McWilliams Arroyo
  9. Francisco Rodriguez Jr.
  10. Zou Shiming

Light flyweight/Strawweight

  1. Ryoichi Taguchi
  2. Ken Shiro
  3. Wanheng Menayothin
  4. Hiroto Kyoguchi
  5. Knockout CP Freshmart
  6. Milan Melindo
  7. Angel Acosta
  8. Tatsuya Fukuhara
  9. Hekkie Budler
  10. Jose Argumedo

News And Notes From The World Of Boxing:

United Kingdom:

1. The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) had warned of the potential loss mandatory status for the John O’Donnell vs. Tamuka Muchapondwa fight. The fight will indeed take place on February 16 at the Indigo at the O2 Arena. The Board approved the fight to a be an eliminator for the British welterweight title, currently held by Bradley Skeete. O’Donnell will take home 60 percent of the purse as he will also defend his English welterweight title against Muchapondwa.

2. The British super featherweight title has been relinquished by Martin Joseph Ward, who made three successive defenses to keep the belt before winning the European title last December. The title will now be contested by Sam Bowen and Maxi Hughes after being put out to purse bids.

3. Isaac MacLeod has been named to face Conor Benn in an eliminator for the English welterweight title, held by O'Connell. The fight has been put out to purse bids and must take place by the end of May.

4. Matty Askin’s British cruiserweight title defence against Stephen Simmons is set to happen on March 17 after David Haye, who is getting more involved as a boxing promoter as his own boxing career is starting to wind down, won the purse bids to stage the fight at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London.

5. Luke Watkins, the Commonwealth cruiserweight champion, pulled out of a fight against Tommy McCarthy in a final eliminator for the British crown. The fight had been sent to purse bids and the Board stated that it must have taken place by the end of April.

6. Dillian Whyte will face former WBA heavyweight titleholder Lucas Browne on March 24 the O2 Arena in London with the WBC Silver Heavyweight title on the line. No other fight has been announced, but the winner of the fight will figure to be in line for a potential WBC heavyweight title fight in 2019. Sky Sports will broadcast the card, which only has the main event confirmed for now.

Asia:

1. WBA "regular" minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart will face Toto Larendo as his next title defense. The fight will take place March 4 and the bout will be televised on Thai Channel 7 with more details, venue and under-card for example, being released close to fight day. Freshmart and Larendo were actually going to face off late last year but the fight got scrapped and so Freshmart then tried to secure a fight with Xiong Zhao Zhong in China, but that fight also got called off.

2. According to ESPN Deportes, WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka return to the ring on March 18 when he takes on exciting Moises Calleros in what will be Yamanaka's first defense of the title. The fight itself will take place in the region of Kobe, Japan. The fight hasn't been made official with little about the bout being said around the Japanese media, but with ESPN and Calleros talking as if the fight is a done deal, one would expect an announcement to come fairly soon.

3. Top Japanese amateur boxer Daisuke Sugita had a pro-test fight against veteran super flyweight Hayato Kimura. The scrimmage was open to the public, which is somewhat rare to do, and the fight went for just three rounds in order to give Sugita some much needed experience against pro boxers. Sugita reportedly won 110 out of 147 amateur bouts and Watanabe Gym, who now handles Sugita, is expected to have the boxer make his pro debut sometime this year. Sugita is not someone Watanabe Gym view as a long time project and will likely push him into fighting for major titles inside a couple of years when he makes his pro debut.

4. OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani confirmed on Instagram that he would be back in action on February 24 in his latest fight. Little was given away by Nakatani, but there are rumors that the bout will take place at the Edion Arena Osaka, in Osaka on a show promoted by Ioka gym. So far, no names have been thrown around as a possible opponent for Nakatani.

5. Julius Julianis reported that the WBO light flyweight title fight between Angel Acosta, the champion, and Ryuji Hara, is set. The fight will reportedly take place on April 7 at the Jose Miguel Agrelot stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Acosta, who is one of a few world champions since Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto last won a world title back in August, won the title on the undercard of Cotto's retirement fight against Sadam Ali on December 2 at Madison Square Garden. The fight will presumably headline the card, promoted by Cotto.

6. Ryuichi Funai has vacated his Japanese super flyweight title. Funai is ranked in the top 15 in the IBF and WBA rankings, meaning the title vacancy could just mean Funai will be focusing on trying to fight for a world title in the near future.

7. There are a lot of rumors surrounding a potential superfight between Manny Pacquiao and Vasyl Lomachenko. This stemmed from an interview Pacquiao conducted recently where he stated that he isn't retiring (which isn't really news as it was expected that Pacquiao would at least fight once more) and that he's currently negotiating a fight with Lomachenko. Lomachenko's team has strongly denied any negotiations taking place. For as big a matchup as this is (it would be a strong No. 3 fight for this year behind Canelo vs. GGG 2 and Joshua vs. Wilder), some do not think a fight between Lomachenko, who's the WBO world champion at 130 pounds and Pacquiao, a fighter currently competing at 147 pounds, would be possible due to the weight differences.

It's not unrealistic to believe such a fight could happen. Pacquiao could move down in weight to 140 pounds for this fight and Lomachenko, who has talked about moving up in weight in the past, wouldn't have that much of a problem going up to 140 pounds for this fight. It would be a great fight and a win over Pacquiao would be really good for Lomachenko's momentum after beating Guillermo Rigondeaux last December, but the timing for this fight seem a little off. If this fight were to happen, then it would most likely take place at the end of the year at the earliest.

Mexico:

1. WBC super bantamweight world champion Rey Vargas said he likely wouldn't be back in the ring until perhaps May or June. In an interview with ESPN Deportes, Vargas explained that his long layoff was due to the fact that doctors advised him to allow a number of cuts suffered in his last fight against Oscar Negrete to heal. For now, Rey said that he will start working out in the gym stay in shape, but without doing any sparring sessions. He also said that he intends to continue working with Hall of Fame trainer Nacho Beristain, after having had some communication problems a few weeks before the fight against Negrete.

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