Dan Rafael: Jonathan Romero

Dulorme regroups despite setback

August, 16, 2013
8/16/13
12:13
PM ET
Thomas Dulorme, Carlos AbeguCourtesy of HBOAfter losing to Luis Carlos Abregu, right, in October, Thomas Dulorme is trying to get back on track.
There is no doubt that welterweight Thomas Dulorme took a big step backward when Luis Carlos Abregu knocked him out in the seventh round in October.

At the time, Dulorme was a red-hot prospect. He had been scoring big knockouts and had the attention of the media and HBO, which put on the Abregu fight and was super interested in him.

Since the loss, Dulorme and his team have regrouped, and he is being moved a bit slower. At 23, there is no hurry. He needs to be developed properly and not rushed into a fight he isn’t ready for, which is what happened with Abregu.

Since the loss, Dulorme (18-1, 13 KOs) has won both of his fights against modest opposition, a first-round knockout of Eddie Brooks in Puerto Rico, where Dulorme lives, followed by an eight-round decision against Ben Ankrah in April.

Dulorme’s rebuilding will continue against New York’s Frankie Figueroa (20-5-1, 13 KOs) on Saturday night at the Revel Casino-Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., on the undercard of Daniel Geale’s middleweight title defense against Darren Barker.

While Geale-Barker will air live on HBO along with the junior featherweight title bout between Jonathan Romero and Kiko Martinez, Dulorme-Figueroa will be taped and air on HBO Latino immediately following the conclusion of Geale-Barker, at approximately 12:30 a.m. ET.

"I'm just excited to get back into the ring,” Dulorme said. “Staying busy keeps me focused and motivated. My head is never clearer than when I am preparing for a fight. It takes a toll on most fighters, but I'm centered and very relaxed. I owe the fight game a lot, and I am doing this for my fans, the people who believe in me. I want to show my supporters that their belief in me is based on actual ability, and when I am on top, I will share that moment with those who stuck by me, especially my promoters Gary Shaw, Javier Bustillo and Lou DiBella.”

Even with the setback against Abregu, Dulorme said he believes he can still win a world title.

“If you're not in the sport to become champion, then what's the point? I have every intention on winning a title one day, and I know that it is a real goal, one that I have control of accomplishing,” he said. “I have a strong support group and plenty of people in my corner that believe in me, but from this point on, I must make believers out of everyone else. Come fight night, I will make believers out of anyone who may still have doubts.”

Shaw said he believes Dulorme can regain the form that made him such a dynamic prospect.

“Thomas is a young fighter and young guys are always finding themselves, but he is special because he is so far ahead of his age group,” Shaw said. “The maturity level he displayed after his setback was tremendously inspiring. He will challenge for a world title, and he has the potential to be one of the best fighters in the division period.”

Romero focused on title defense

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
4:55
PM ET
Junior featherweight titlist Jonathan "Momo" Romero worked hard to win his belt. But as focused as he was on reaching his goal of winning it, he said he is just as focused on keeping it.

"This is what boxers work towards," Romero, of Colombia, said through a translator. "We all want to be champions, but defending what we worked so hard for is the best kind of challenge to embrace. I have the same motivation and focus going into this fight as I have had for others, but getting this victory will prove to everyone that I have staying power in the junior featherweight division."

Romero will make his first title defense against former European champion Kiko Martinez on Saturday night (HBO, 9:45 ET/PT) at the Revel Casino-Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., in the co-feature of the card headlined by middleweight titlist Daniel Geale's defense against Darren Barker.

The big break for Romero to fight for a title came after Nonito Donaire vacated a version of the 122-pound world title last fall. Eventually, the 26-year-old Romero (23-0, 12 KOs) squared off with Mexico's Alejandro Lopez for the vacant belt. They met Feb. 16 in Tijuana, Mexico and Romero, despite being on the road, won a split decision.

Now he faces Martinez (28-4, 20 KOs), 27, of Spain, the former three-time European champion, whose third reign came to an end via ninth-round knockout loss to Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland on Feb. 9.

Martinez -- promoted by middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (no relation) -- rebounded from the loss to Frampton by scoring a second-round knockout of Damian David Marchiano on April 27 in Argentina on the undercard of Sergio Martinez's homecoming defense against Martin Murray.

"I know he has a lot of power in either hand so we will have to watch out for that," Romero said of Martinez. "He's a worthy opponent that is looking to knock me down, but I'm not going to let that happen."

Romero to defend belt on Aug. 17

July, 5, 2013
7/05/13
1:25
PM ET
Junior featherweight titlist Jonathan Romero (23-0, 12 KOs) of Colombia, who outpointed Alejandro Lopez in February to win a 122-pound belt that Nonito Donaire vacated, will make his first defense Aug. 17 (HBO) at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. The opponent isn't set, but the leading candidate is Spain's Kiko Martinez (28-4, 20 KOs), a former European champion who is promoted by middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.

Whomever Romero faces, the fight will be the co-feature on the card headlined by middleweight titlist Daniel Geale (29-1, 15 KOs) of Australia, who will be making his American debut in a defense against England's Darren Barker (25-1, 16 KOs), whose only loss came by 11th-round knockout against Martinez in a 2011 championship fight in Atlantic City.

Welterweight prospect Thomas Dulorme (18-1, 13 KOs) of Puerto Rico will also be on the card, and his bout will be televised on HBO Latino. Dulorme was being lined up to face former lightweight titlist Paul Spadafora (48-0-1, 19 KOs), who has been fighting at junior welterweight and welterweight for the past several years. However, according to HBO, after going far down the road on a deal, Spadafora ultimately rejected the fight. Dulorme's team is still searching for an opponent.

• Assuming Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. gets his visa issues worked out and his planned fight with Brian Vera goes on as planned at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, Top Rank and HBO are planning for Las Vegas welterweight Jesse Vargas (22-0, 9 KOs) to be in the televised co-feature. HBO and Top Rank want to match him with Luis Carlos Abregu (35-1, 28 KOs), but Vargas' team has so far balked at the match, according to Top Rank.

• Ryota Murata, the heralded 2012 Olympic middleweight gold medalist from Japan, will make his pro debut Aug. 25 in Tokyo. He'll face Akio Shibata (21-7-1, 9 KOs) in a scheduled six-rounder. Murata recently signed a co-promotional contract with Akihiko Honda's Teiken Boxing, the No. 1 promoter in Japan, and Top Rank, which will handle any of his bouts outside of Japan. Murata's gold medal was the first for a Japanese boxer in the Olympics since Takao Sakurai claimed one at the 1964 Tokyo Games. Murata is also the first Japanese fighter to win an Olympic medal in a division other than bantamweight or flyweight.

• Puerto Rican flyweight prospect Jonathan "Bomba" Gonzalez (13-0, 11 KOs) is stepping up his level of opposition in a major way. He will face former junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura (29-3-1, 25 KOs) of Mexico on Aug. 17 in a 10-rounder in Carolina, Puerto Rico. Promoter Peter Rivera said that the winner could face flyweight titlist Juan Francisco Estrada, who will first defend against Milan Melindo on July 27 (HBO2) in Macau, China.

"Segura beat two times our champion Ivan Calderon, and the fight is a fight that Bomba always has told us he wanted since he started his professional career," Rivera said.

• Middleweight titlist/knockout artist Gennady Golovkin is steadily building his name and audience. According to Nielsen, Golovkin's vicious third-round body-shot knockout of Matthew Macklin on Saturday drew 1.1 million viewers, the biggest audience of GGG's three HBO fights. It was a 35 percent increase over his January undercard fight against Gabriel Rosado, which drew 813,000 viewers -- a nice increase over his HBO debut last year against Grzegorz Proksa, which drew 685,000 viewers for a main event. What it means is that Golovkin is clearly gaining an audience with each successive fight.

• British lightweight contender Kevin Mitchell (33-2, 24 KOs), 28, was blown out in his most recent fight, getting stopped in the fourth round by titleholder Ricky Burns in September. Mitchell will return Saturday in London against Sebastien Benito (10-6, 3 KOs) of France for what should be a routine destruction. The scheduled 10-rounder is designed to get Mitchell back in the ring so that he can shake off some rust and move back in the direction of another title shot.

"It's a great division, and I want to get back up there," Mitchell said. "Where do I see myself in it? I want to be a world champion. I'm not here to mess around and play games, be second best and get stopped in four rounds. I'm in it for the long haul and I want to beat the top boys. Anthony Crolla just beat Gavin Rees [last Saturday], and they both interest me, and I'll be keeping a close eye on the Derry Mathews and Tommy Coyle fight next week. There are some big British dust-ups out there, and I love those fights as much as the fans and TV do. I want to correct the loss against Ricky for the world title and become a world champion. I've been out of the ring for too long and it's time to get back in there. I feel a lot of relief, really, as I feel like I've got something to work."

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