Tapia's return; Soliman-Taylor site

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
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A few notes from the boxing world:

• Junior middleweight Glen Tapia (21-1, 13 KOs), 24, of Passaic, New Jersey, will be back in action to face Donatas Bondorovas (18-5-1, 6 KOs), 34, of Chicago, in a scheduled 10-round bout on Oct. 4 in the main event of a non-televised Top Rank card at Bally’s in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com. Tapia, now training with Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, is eyeing his second win in a row since a rough sixth-round knockout loss to James Kirkland on HBO in December.

Tapia was scheduled to fight July 26 in New York on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Geale undercard, but was denied a license by the New York State Athletic Commission the day before the fight because of an issue over a pre-existing blood condition, one which he has fought with for his entire career. Tapia is licensed already in New Jersey. He fought there in June. Bondorovas participated in ESPN2’s Boxcino middleweight tournament, losing a six-round decision to Willie Monroe Jr. in the quarterfinals in February.

• Middleweight titlist Sam Soliman’s first defense against former undisputed champion Jermain Taylor (32-4-1, 20 KOs), which is on Oct. 8 (ESPN2), will take place at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules, who is co-promoting the card, told ESPN.com. Taylor, 36, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was middleweight champion from 2005 to 2007. In 2009, he suffered a small brain bleed in a 12th-round knockout loss to Arthur Abraham. Taylor was off for 26 months, but after extensive medical testing, all of which he passed, he was licensed and has won four fights in a row. Soliman (44-11, 18 KOs), of Australia, will be making his first title defense since outpointing Felix Sturm in Germany in May.

• Talks are ongoing for a junior middleweight bout between contenders Vanes Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs), whose lone loss was a decision to Demetrius Andrade for a vacant world title in November, and Willie Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KOs), who has won seven fights in a row. Lou DiBella, Nelson’s promoter, said if a deal is made the fight could land on Showtime on Oct. 4 on the same card expected to feature junior lightweight titlist Rances Barthelemy’s defense against Fernando Saucedo at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
“It’s a very good fight, a tough fight between real contenders,” DiBella said. “It’s not done, but we’re working on it.”

• Former lightweight and junior lightweight titlist Ricky Burns (36-4-1, 11 KOs), 31, of Scotland, plans to move up to junior welterweight for his ring return on Oct. 4 at First Direct Arena in Leeds, England. Burns, who will face an opponent to be determined, will fight on the undercard of the vacant European featherweight title bout between Josh Warrington (18-0, 2 KOs), who is from Leeds, and Davide Dieli (15-3, 5 KOs) of Italy. Burns is looking to shake a two-fight losing streak, a decision loss to Terence Crawford that cost him his lightweight world title in March followed by a major upset split decision loss to Dejan Zlaticanin on June 27.
For decades, major boxing pay-per-view cards have started at 9 p.m. ET. But many recent pay-per-views have had main events begin later and later, often well after midnight on the East Coast as drowsy-eyed viewers struggled to stay up for the main event.

That will change for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana welterweight championship rematch on Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Showtime PPV, Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions have decided to move the start time up one hour to 8 p.m. ET, which should mean a main event that begins well before midnight -- good news for those in the Eastern and Central time zones, which make up nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population.

"Pay-per-view boxing events have changed, and we think it's time the scheduling changed, too," Showtime Sports executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza said in making the announcement. “Along with our partners at Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions, we have been presenting compelling four-fight cards with multiple 12-round world championship bouts. As a result, we've seen the start of the main event coming later and later into the night which is not an ideal viewing experience for viewers in the Eastern and Central time zones. No other major sport makes a significant portion of their audiences wait until well past midnight for the peak of the event. Showtime PPV will no longer be one of the exceptions."

This is a welcome change and one HBO PPV should also consider.

Chavez Jr. fading away

August, 25, 2014
Aug 25
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Bryan Vera, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.Soobum Im/USA TODAY SportsJulio Cesar Chavez Jr., left, hasn't fought since his decision win against Bryan Vera in March.

Super middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who has fought just once this year, a decision win against Bryan Vera in their March rematch, just doesn’t seem in the mood to get into the ring. That is certainly Chavez’s prerogative, but he’s leaving a lot on the table in his snit with promoter Top Rank and apparent disinterest in boxing.

The negotiations for a January fight with titleholder Carl Froch are going nowhere and very well could be dead as Froch is instead looking at a mandatory defense against British countryman James DeGale because Chavez seems so reluctant to make a deal.

And now Chavez (48-1-1, 32 KOs), who fought just once in 2013 and will fight only once this year, is also passing up the opportunity to win a super middleweight title against Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1, 22 KOs), who claimed the belt on Aug. 16 as he outpointed Sakio Bika in a rematch of their draw. Chavez is Dirrell’s mandatory challenger and not inclined to take that undeserved title opportunity either.

The WBC announced on its website on Monday that Chavez has notified the organization that he will not exercise his mandatory status against Dirrell. The WBC, therefore, said it has approved Dirrell to make a voluntary defense of his title in his next fight while the organization figures out the mandatory challenger.

Keep in mind that Chavez now has not only rejected two different super middleweight title opportunities but also declined to face middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin in a fight that was being put together for July at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

Golovkin had agreed to all terms and would have moved up in weight, but Chavez could not work out his end of the deal with Top Rank, which had already come to an agreement with Golovkin promoter K2 Promotions as well as HBO PPV.

So since Chavez trained all of about a week for his shot against then-middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in September 2012 -- and then failed a postfight drug test and served a nine-month suspension -- he has fought all of twice, both times against Vera, including the first fight which he failed to make weight for and deserved to lose.

Tyson promoting Moreno-Payano

August, 25, 2014
Aug 25
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions announced that it is headed to the Mesquite Arena in Mesquite, Texas, for a show Sept. 26 that will be headlined by bantamweight titlist Anselmo Moreno of Panama defending his belt for the 13th time when he takes on Juan Carlos Payano (15-0, 8 KOs), a 2004 and 2008 Olympian from the Dominican Republic. The only fight Moreno (35-2-1, 12 KOs) has lost in 12 years was a decision challenging then-junior featherweight titlist Abner Mares for his belt in 2012.

“The state of Texas is the home to some of the toughest fighters and best boxing fans in the country. I’m thrilled to promote my first event there,” Tyson said. “With the highly anticipated bantamweight world title fight and a host of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s finest boxers, local fight fans are set for an outstanding evening of entertainment.”

The card will also feature middleweight Charles Hatley (23-1-1, 16 KOs) and featherweight Robert Marroquin (23-3-1, 16 KOs), the former junior featherweight title challenger and one-time top prospect recently released by Top Rank.

• Great news for fight fans. During Saturday night’s broadcast of the Antonio DeMarco-Lanardo Tyner fight, beIN Sports Espanol announced it would televise notable fights from Mexico for the next four consecutive Saturday nights (11 ET), including the much-anticipated fight between unified flyweight titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada against former junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura on Sept. 6.

Also on the beIN Sports Espanol upcoming schedule: David Sanchez defending his interim junior bantamweight belt against Anuar Salas on Aug. 30; Omar Chavez (brother of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.) taking on Ramon Alvarez (brother of Canelo Alvarez) on Sept. 13; and former featherweight titlist Orlando Salido taking on Terdsak Kokietgym for a vacant interim junior lightweight belt on Sept. 20.

• Junior welterweight Pablo Cesar Cano (27-4-1, 20 KOs), due to face Juan Pablo Lopez (25-3, 21 KOs) in Cancun, Mexico, on Saturday night in the “Golden Boy Live” main event (Fox Deportes), has dropped out of the fight because he broke a finger in training.
There could be a lot of boxing activity outside the ring on Sept. 12 in Las Vegas, and it will have nothing to do with the next day's big fight, the rematch between unified welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. and former titlist Marcos Maidana.

Since much of the boxing world will be gathered at the MGM Grand for Mayweather-Maidana II, Sept. 12 is the date for a pair of potential WBC purse bids.

The organization has ordered two mandatory fights, heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne's first defense against Deontay Wilder and junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia's sixth defense against Viktor Postol. The camps were all notified that they should begin negotiating the fights but if the Stiverne and Wilder camps and Garcia and Postol camps don't negotiate deals then purse bids will take place on that date.

The fight between Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) and Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs) has been anticipated since Stiverne knocked out Chris Arreola in their rematch on May 10 to win the belt Vitali Klitschko vacated upon his retirement in December.

With Stiverne nursing a hand injury, Wilder took a stay-busy fight on Aug. 16 and knocked out Jason Gavern in the fourth round in the final hurdle before the title bout, which is expected to take place in November or December.

Many hoped that Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs), who drilled no-hope lightweight Rod Salka in the second round on Aug. 9 in a gross mismatch, would next face titleholder Lamont Peterson -- who defended his belt on the undercard in a similar mismatch against Edgar Santana -- in a unification fight next. That appears out the window, and the Aug. 9 card even more pointless (if that is even possible) now that the WBC has ordered Garcia's mandatory defense against Postol (26-0, 11 KOs).

Postol gained the mandatory position on May 17 by knocking out Selcuk Aydin in the 11th round of an impressive performance on the Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado undercard in the return of boxing to the refurbished Forum in Inglewood, California.
Alfredo AnguloAP Images/Eric JamisonAfter two consecutive defeats at junior middleweight, Alfredo Angulo will try his luck at 160.

Alfredo Angulo has long been a fan favorite because he’s generally in exciting fights. But he is also coming off back-to-back knockout losses and looking to get back on track.

After Erislandy Lara busted up Angulo’s face and forced him to quit in the 10th round of their vacant interim junior middleweight title bout in July 2013 -- a hellacious fight in which Angulo dropped Lara twice -- Angulo returned in March to face former titleholder Canelo Alvarez in a match that promised similar fireworks.

Instead, it was a dud because Alvarez kicked Angulo’s rear end all over the ring in an utterly one-sided beatdown until referee Tony Weeks mercifully called off the carnage in the 10th round.

Angulo showed absolutely nothing in the fight other than the ability to take a beating and stay on his feet.

That fight was at a contract weight of 155 pounds, but as Angulo makes his return from the back-to-back losses, he is moving up to middleweight. His next fight will actually be at a maximum weight of 162 pounds, two over the division limit, when he faces fellow Mexican James De La Rosa (22-2, 13 KOs), 26, in one of the featured bouts on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana II undercard on Sept. 13 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The 32-year-old Angulo (22-4, 18 KOs) said he had a tough time making weight for the Alvarez fight and that it was time to move up to the next division.

[+] EnlargeAlfredo Angulo and Erislandy Lara
Holly Stein/Getty ImagesAlfredo Angulo was forced to quit against a relentless Erislandy Lara in 2013.
“I think this is a good fight for my weight,” Angulo said during a teleconference with reporters this week to promote the pay-per-view. “I've been getting my weight and my body ready for the next weight class. I cut a lot of weight before the last fight and I think my body will be better at middleweight.

“I've come up early to the camp [with trainer Virgil Hunter in the Bay Area] and I'm working on a lot of things that are going to put me in top form by September.”

Angulo said that the moving up in weight will suit him and that he will be able to be more aggressive because he won’t be so worn out from making weight.

“Basically I've been saying it all along I was going to stay at 154 up until my body said otherwise,” Angulo said. “It's not a struggle. I can still make 154 but not comfortably, so that's why the jump to 160. You know, I think I'm going to feel more comfortable. I'm going to be the ‘Perro’ that you all know.

“As far as the Lara fight, I learned a lot. It was a great experience. I showed the people that gave me no chance that Perro is always going to be here and give great fights. Honestly, in the Canelo fight I can't tell you I learned anything, because I wasn't there. It wasn't me. It wasn't the one you all know, and I didn't feel the strength and I wasn't able to put on the performance that I would've wanted.”

How Angulo’s power will translate to the next weight class will be a mystery until he is in action.

“I don't know,” he said when asked about his power at 160. “Honestly, I think you'll know come Sept. 13 if I have the same or even more going into the new division. We'll let you guys decide.”

Power or not, the fight is critical to Angulo’s hopes for a shot at another world title.

“Alfredo knows that this is a very important fight because if he's going to be considered for future world title fights fighting the elite fighters in boxing he's got to get past James De La Rosa,” Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez said. “This is a very dangerous fight for him but, obviously, something a little bit different for Alfredo Angulo. He's debuting as a middleweight.”

Abraham-Smith heats up

August, 22, 2014
Aug 22
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Arthur Abraham, Robert StieglitzRONNY HARTMANN/AFP/Getty ImagesArthur Abraham won the super middleweight title by defeating Robert Stieglitz in 2013.

When super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham of Germany defends his belt against England’s Paul Smith on Sept. 27 at Sparkassen-Arena in Kiel, Germany, Abraham will, of course, be the heavy crowd favorite.

But supposedly Smith (35-3, 20 KOs) has already sold some 2,000 tickets to British fans who intend to make the trip for the fight and, if you know British fans, they sure can make their presence known.

“It’s great that Smith is bringing so many fans to Kiel," Abraham, 34, said at Thursday’s kickoff news conference, where he came face to face with Smith at the arena. “English fans always create a good atmosphere -- even when they know their fighter will lose. This will be my fourth fight in Kiel and my fourth victory. Anybody who wants to celebrate with me on Sept. 27 should get their tickets now before they sell out.”

Said promoter Kalle Sauerland, who represents Abraham, “British boxers always have a great fighting spirit. Smith will try to get at Arthur from the opening bell and put him under pressure. Arthur will be aware of this and will be ready for whatever Smith has to offer. I think we could be in for a spectacular finish and another successful defense for King Arthur."

Abraham (40-4, 28 KOs) will be making his second defense since regaining the title by split decision against Robert Stieglitz in their third fight in March. A victory against Smith could set up a potential fourth match with Stieglitz, which would still be a big event in Germany.

The 31-year-old Smith has won four fights in a row since being knocked out by George Groves in the second round in a 2011 fight for the British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles.

This will be Smith’s first shot at a world title, and he is happy that he will have a cheering section in Kiel.

“It’s a dream come true to finally get my chance to fight for a world title,” Smith said. “I would like to thank Team Sauerland and my promoter, Eddie Hearn, for making this happen. I have a lot of fans traveling over to watch me become world champion, and they won’t be disappointed."

Hearn has reason to be confident in Smith’s chances to beat Abraham.

“I have worked with Kalle on two big fights recently,” Hearn said of Carl Froch-Groves II and Froch-Mikkel Kessler II, both won by Froch. “On both occasions my fighters have come out on top. It will be no different on Sept. 27."
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Former two-time welterweight titlist Andre Berto's opponent is set for his Sept. 6 ring return in Cincinnati. Berto, coming back from a 14-month injury-related layoff, will face Steve Upsher Chambers in a 10-rounder at a maximum weight of 149 pounds. The fight will open a Showtime tripleheader that also includes junior welterweight Adrien Broner facing Emanuel Taylor in the main event and junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse against Roberto Ortiz in the co-feature.

Berto (28-3, 22 KOs), of Winter Haven, Florida, who turns 31 the day after the fight, is trying to end a two-fight losing streak and return from major shoulder surgery to repair an injury he suffered in a 12th-round knockout loss to Jesus Soto Karass in July 2013. Upsher Chambers (24-3-1, 6 KOs), 29, of Philadelphia, has also lost two fights in a row, an eight-round decision to former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo (whom Berto holds a close win against) and a fourth-round knockout to prospect Eddie Gomez.

• Former lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco (30-3-1, 23 KOs), now campaigning at a junior welterweight, returns to action against Lanardo Tyner (31-10-2, 20 KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder on Saturday night (beIN Sports Espanol, 11 ET) in Tecate, Mexico. DeMarco, 28, of Mexico, is looking for his third win in a row since losing his lightweight belt by eighth-round knockout to Adrien Broner in November 2012. Tyner, 39, of Detroit, took the fight on just a few days' notice. He has lost two fights in a row, both by decision.

• Last Saturday's Showtime card was not a hit with viewers. The tripleheader from Carson, California, averaged just 514,000 viewers, down 11 percent from the network's average audience for the year (578,000) for "Showtime Championship Boxing." Kell Brook's decision against Shawn Porter to win a welterweight title in the main event averaged 661,000 viewers, 26 percent below Porter's last fight in April (also on Showtime). That bout, against Paulie Malignaggi, averaged 897,000 viewers. Anthony Dirrell's decision over Sakio Bika to win a super middleweight title in a rematch in the co-feature averaged 574,000 viewers, which was up 29 percent from the 446,000 viewers drawn by their December first fight on Showtime. The opener between lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa Jr. and Daniel Estrada averaged 341,000 viewers, down 37 percent from the 545,000 viewers Figueroa's last fight on Showtime, against Jerry Belmontes, drew in April.

Mares joins Haymon stable

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
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Abner MaresCarlos Delgado/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsFormer three-division titlist Abner Mares is looking for a return bout in November or December.
Abner Mares, who has won world titles in three weight classes, is the latest fighter to join the ever-growing stable of manager/adviser Al Haymon.

"I'm really excited and to be part of his team. I'm thrilled," Mares told ESPN.com. "The talks we had before I signed and the talks we had about the future ahead of me were great. I can't wait. I'm looking forward to it."

Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs), 28, has won world titles at bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight. Last August, he was upset via first-round knockout by Jhonny Gonzalez, losing his featherweight title. Mares returned July 12 in Las Vegas, outpointing Jonathan Oquendo, and he is on track for another title opportunity.

"Any fight, Al and myself are open to," Mares said. "The one thing I like about Al and respect is before we made it official, we did talk to [Golden Boy Promotions] president Oscar [De La Hoya] and let him know we are working together. Oscar is open to work with us for any fight. You know me, my record speaks for itself. I'm not scared of anyone."

Mares said he remains under contract to Golden Boy until November, but that he will fight again this year.

"We're working on a date for November or December, but for sure another fight before the end of the year," Mares said.

Will it be with Golden Boy?

"It all depends on what we work out," said Mares, a 2004 Mexican Olympian, who has been with Golden Boy for his entire career and was the promotional company's first home-grown world titleholder.

Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) said he plans to stay at featherweight for the time being.

"My purpose now is to capture a world title again in this division," Mares said. "The way I lost, I feel pressure and obligated to myself to get that title back. Once I accomplish that, my intention is to move up and win another world title."

Mares said that he would like to face Gonzalez in a rematch but is open to fighting any of the other titleholders at 126 pounds. Those fights, however, could be difficult to make because Haymon and Top Rank do not work together, and the other titleholders, Nonito Donaire, Vasyl Lomachenko, Evgeny Gradovich and Nicholas Walters, are all promoted by Top Rank.

Whomever Mares will face next, he said he is doing some light training in Los Angeles, where he lives, but would make his way to the Bay Area next week for a two-week stay with trainer Virgil Hunter to work on some things.

Haymon has around 100 fighters in his stable, including many top fighters, such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Marcos Maidana, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, Shawn Porter, Lamont Peterson, Deontay Wilder, Peter Quillin, Daniel Jacobs, Leo Santa Cruz, Devon Alexander, Chris Arreola, Rances Barthelemy, Andre Berto, Sakio Bika, Jermell Charlo, Jermall Charlo, Luis Collazo, Chad Dawson, Andre Dirrell, Anthony Dirrell, Omar Figueroa Jr., Andrzej Fonfara, Robert Guerrero, Amir Khan, Tomoki Kameda, Erislandy Lara, Josesito Lopez, Paulie Malignaggi, Beibut Shumenov, Adonis Stevenson and Austin Trout.

Mares joined Haymon after a five-year run with manager Frank Espinoza, who guided him to his three world titles.

"I hear people say I'm a traitor, that I sold," Mares said of leaving Espinoza. "I was with Frank for five years and the contract expired. We had success together, and we went our separate ways. I didn't do anything to get out of the contract. I completed my five years. I was a free agent and best deal wins, and the best move for myself was going with Al Haymon."

Thompson, Solis set for rematch

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
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On March 22, veteran heavyweight contender Tony Thompson pulled an upset when he outpointed Odlanier Solis by split decision in Turkey, the home country of Solis promoter Ahmet Oner, whose considerable juice there obviously didn't help his man get the nod on the scorecards.

[+] EnlargeTony Thompson
Alex Livesey/Getty ImagesVeteran heavyweight Tony Thompson will look for his second straight victory over former Cuban Olympic gold medalist Odlanier Solis.
Thompson (39-5, 26 KOs), 42, of Washington, D.C. -- who has twice been knocked out in challenging champion Wladimir Klitschko -- lost his next fight in France to Carlos Takam, who has emerged as a solid contender himself in the past year.

Solis, 34, the former Olympic gold medalist from Cuba who now lives in Miami, has not fought since the defeat but will face Thompson in a rematch in October, Oner announced this week.

"The contracts are signed, we're ready to go," Oner said. "Now Solis has to show what he's made of. I am sure that he can beat Thompson. But their first bout showed that he needs the right attitude and a lot of stamina to do so. This is the last chance for both men. It's do or die. After beating Solis, Thompson lost to Carlos Takam. Still, both men are rated in the WBC top 15, so the winner can move up the ratings and get in line for another world title shot. The loser should probably just retire."

Solis (20-2, 13 KOs) lost his only world title shot, blowing out his knee, which caused a first-round knockout loss to then-titlist Vitali Klitschko in 2011. After a lengthy layoff because of surgery, Solis won three fights in a row before the loss to Thompson.

The exact date is not set yet. Thompson adviser Mike Borao told ESPN.com that the contract states the fight will be Oct. 11, but it might shift to Oct. 26.

"Ahmet has been pretty easy to work with, so we're being flexible," Borao said. "One thing about Tony, he accepts everything without complaint."

Thompson, who twice knocked out David Price in upsets in 2013 but then lost a decision to Kubrat Pulev with a mandatory shot at Klitschko at stake in August 2013, is looking forward to the rematch.

"Solis is a gold medalist with a great record, so I am not looking past him," Thompson said. "I beat him once and I'll do it again, only this time I am knocking him out. Nothing is going to stop me from my mission of winning a world title."

Hearn: Brook-Khan discussions begin

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
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Newly crowned welterweight titlist Kell Brook is getting a hero's welcome in his hometown of Sheffield, England.

Brook won a well-deserved majority decision against Shawn Porter on Saturday night in Carson, California, to claim a 147-pound world title and thrust himself onto the world stage.

The 28-year-old Brook (33-0, 22 KOs) is set to address fans and media Friday at the Winter Garden in Sheffield. Members of Team Brook will be greeted by Councillor Peter Rippon, who is the mayor of Sheffield, at town hall before Brook, trainer Dominic Ingle and promoter Eddie Hearn will address the media and fans. Brook will also sign autographs.

“I am so proud to be bringing the title back to Sheffield,” Brook said. “The people have always supported me so passionately from day one, and I am sure that they all stayed up to see me win the title. I am looking forward to thanking them on Friday, and I hope there’s a great turnout.”

While Brook basks in the glory of the title victory, Hearn is already making plans for his first title defense. He said it will take place Dec. 6 in Sheffield against an opponent to be determined.

“He came of age in that ring, and great things lie in wait for him, including [a fight with countryman] Amir Khan,” Hearn wrote in his Daily Mail column. “I am looking at next spring or summer in a fight, maybe at Wembley, that will be just as big as [Carl] Froch-George Groves. I’ve started talks on it.”

Hearn said that Khan, a former unified junior welterweight titlist now at welterweight, is interested in the fight and “we are, too. People from Showtime, who show Khan’s fights in the U.S., came into the dressing room after Kell won and said ‘Let’s talk.’ Other U.S. broadcasters have also been on -- it’s exciting times.

“I think this [Brook-Khan] fight can be made, but people have to put arrogance and ego to one side. Before, when we offered Khan 3 million pounds to fight, he didn’t fancy it. Kell had a reasonable name and no title. He has a huge name and a world title now. That changes the negotiating position a lot, but this is such a big fight, everyone can do well out of it. So long as Khan doesn’t demand an unrealistic split, we should make it happen. I want to make this fight, and I think it will be huge. Maybe Floyd Mayweather will feature down the line. Kell is certainly in that reckoning now.”

Hearn said that besides Khan, other names he has in mind as possible opponents for Brook on Dec. 6 include former titlist Andre Berto (if he wins on Sept. 6), Juan Manuel Marquez, Brandon Rios and Josesito Lopez.

“[They] are all names being thrown in the pot, but it is very early days,” he said. “We will talk over the options and go from there. Kell has a great future and I am so happy for him.”

Brook is in a great position in that he is not aligned with HBO, Showtime, Top Rank or Al Haymon, which means a Brook fight against any top welterweight faces no impediments since Hearn is able to make a deal with any of those entities.

Hernandez ordered to face Afolabi

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
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Cruiserweight titlist Yoan Pablo Hernandez (29-1, 14 KOs) won a split decision against former titlist Firat Arslan (34-8-2, 21 KOs) to retain his title for the fourth time on Saturday in Germany and the next day was ordered by the IBF to begin negotiations for his mandatory defense against Ola Afolabi (21-3-4, 10 KOs).

According to the organization, the fight must take place by Dec 31.

Afolabi, who is from England and living in Los Angeles, was supposed to face Pawel Kolodziej of Poland in a title eliminator to earn the shot. But when Kolodziej pulled out of their July 26 fight that was scheduled for the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Geale undercard in New York, Afolabi instead smashed substitute Anthony Caputo Smith in the third round. That fight was not an eliminator but Afolabi is getting the shot because Hernandez’s mandatory defense is due and Afolabi is the IBF’s leading available contender.

“I’m thrilled to be challenging for the IBF world title,” Afolabi said. “[K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler] and K2 have done a great job promoting me and putting me in this position and I will take the title from Hernandez.”

Said Loeffler: “We’re excited that Ola is now the mandatory challenger. Ola has proven to be one of the best cruiserweights in the world and we strongly believe that he will bring home the IBF world title in this fight.”

The fight will be Afolabi’s fourth shot at a world title. He is 0-2-1 against Marco Huck fighting for another organization’s belt.
Welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao, junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri and their teams are about to embark on a trip that makes me ill to even think about.

In an effort to promote Pacquiao’s defense against Algieri on Nov. 22 (HBO PPV) at the Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena in Macau, China, the fighters, Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach, Algieri trainer Tim Lane, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, Algieri co-promoters Joe DeGuardia and Artie Pelullo, Ed Tracy (president and CEO of Sands China Ltd., which owns the Venetian Macao), publicists Fred Sternburg and Lee “Harv” Samuels and support staff will travel 27,273 miles over 12 days to six cities in two countries on a media tour.

The promotional tour kicks off with a news conference Monday at the Venetian Macao. Then they will fly to Shanghai for another news conference Tuesday, as well as an appearance at a card Top Rank is promoting that night at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. It is headlined by Randy Petalcorin against Walter Tello for a vacant interim junior flyweight title.

Then everyone heads to the United States for a series of events Aug. 29 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The schedule includes a news conference, a photo opp with the San Francisco Giants, a Q&A with fans and a pregame ceremony.

On Aug. 30, the group will be at the Venetian in Las Vegas for a private event the casino is putting on. Then it’s off to Los Angeles. Pacquiao will throw out the first pitch for the game between the Dodgers and Washington Nationals on Sept. 1. On Sept. 3, there will be a Los Angeles news conference.

Then it’s cross-country to New York for a news conference Sept. 4, as well as other media appearances. They will close the tour by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 4.

Then it’s off to training camp.

Golovkin-Rubio up next?

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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• The leading candidate to land an Oct. 18 HBO fight against middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin is interim titlist Marco Antonio Rubio of Mexico, who would have to vacate the interim belt he holds from a competing organization. Rubio has said he signed for the fight, but Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions told ESPN.com that the Golovkin side has not even sent them any paperwork yet, although they have been negotiating. More likely, Rubio signed an agreement with his own promoter, Oswaldo Kuckle. Golovkin’s next fight is ticketed for the Los Angeles area.

“Rubio is a strong option for Gennady to fight,” Loeffler said.

Another possible opponent is Bryan Vera, who fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. twice at middleweight, as long as Vera comes through his Big Knockout Boxing fight against Gabriel Rosado on Saturday night.

• The junior middleweight non-title fight between former titlist Canelo Alvarez and reigning titleholder Erislandy Lara on July 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas generated about 300,000 buys on Showtime PPV, according to industry sources. Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions have declined to release the total, but at 300,000 buys -- perhaps slightly more -- the fight grossed around $17 million in U.S. television revenue (although roughly half of that figure goes to the cable and satellite providers). Alvarez won a split decision.

• Former unified lightweight titlist Juan Diaz (39-4, 19 KOs), who headlines a “Solo Boxeo” card on Sept. 6 (UniMas) at the Laredo Energy Center in Laredo, Texas, will face Carlos Cardenas (21-8-1, 14 KOs) of Venezuela, Top Rank announced. The fight will be Diaz’s fifth since ending a three-year retirement in April 2013. Welterweight Brad Solomon (22-0, 8 KOs) is also on the card in a 10-rounder against former title challenger Freddy Hernandez (30-7, 20 KOs).

• Light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara (25-3, 15 KOs), who is from Poland and based in Chicago, has signed with adviser Al Haymon. Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules, who promotes Fonfara, told ESPN.com that the Polish fighter signed on Thursday. Fonfara, due back on a Nov. 1 card in Chicago, is coming off a decision loss challenging world champion Adonis Stevenson -- who is also with Haymon -- on May 24. Fonfara survived two knockdowns in the first half of the fight to mount a huge rally and drop Stevenson in the ninth round of a brutal fight that almost resulted in an upset.

Stevenson left with no big fight

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Adonis StevensonAP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jacques BoissinotAdonis Stevenson has a light heavyweight belt, but can't find a top opponent to defend it against.

Light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson could've faced titleholder Sergey Kovalev in a much-anticipated unification fight on HBO in the fall. But Stevenson ran for cover to Showtime, where he struggled to a decision win against Andrzej Fonfara on May 24 in a fight that was instead supposed to set up a fall unification fight with Bernard Hopkins.

However, Hopkins could not wait for the Stevenson camp, which was dragging its feet, to close the deal. So Hopkins took his belts and went back to HBO and made a deal to unify his titles with Kovalev, which is a big-time fight.

Stevenson was due to return to headline a Showtime card Sept. 27, but with Kovalev and Hopkins out of the picture for the fall -- and a fight with former champion Jean Pascal also now off the table -- his date has been postponed until October or November, according to French Canadian sports website RDS.

Once Hopkins paired off with Kovalev, the obvious opponent for Stevenson was Pascal, a fellow Montreal fighter. But Yvon Michel, Stevenson’s promoter, told the website that Stevenson-Pascal would not happen this year.

Pascal, a bigger name and bigger draw than Stevenson is in Quebec, was seeking a 50-50 deal, which seemed appropriate. However, the Stevenson camp turned that down, leaving Stevenson with no fight.

So instead of an A-level match with Kovalev or Hopkins, or even a B+ match with Pascal, Stevenson is down to discussion of second-rate opponents for his next fight: former titlist Gabriel Campillo (24-6-1, 11 KOs), who upset Thomas Williams Jr. in a fifth-round knockout win on Aug. 1, and Humberto Savigne (13-1, 10 KOs), who polished off the remnants of former super middleweight titlist Jeff Lacy in two rounds on July 10.

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