Dan Rafael: Kell Brook

Gavin signs with Hearn, targets Brook

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27
4:10
PM ET
British and Commonwealth welterweight champion Frankie Gavin wasn’t a free agent for long.

Released last week by promoter and manager Frank Warren after they didn’t see eye to eye on coming to terms to various fight offers, Gavin on Tuesday signed with British rival Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.

Gavin (21-1, 13 KOs), a 29-year-old southpaw and former world amateur champion, had been with Warren since turning pro in 2008.

For his first fight with Matchroom Boxing, Gavin has been added to the March 28 card at Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England, that is being headlined by welterweight world titleholder Kell Brook’s first defense, which will come against mandatory challenger Jo Jo Dan. Gavin’s opponent has not been determined.

If all goes well for Gavin, Hearn also announced that he will headline a May 9 card at the Barclaycard Arena in his hometown of Birmingham.

“I can't wait to get going with Matchroom,” said Gavin, who will be moving from being televised on BoxNation to Sky Sports, which has an exclusive deal with Matchroom Boxing. “I don't think many people have seen me fight recently but I am back in Birmingham and back on Sky Sports and the sky is the limit.

“The fight against Kell Brook is the aim for me. I am No. 5 in the IBF rankings and he is the champion. Hopefully, by the end of the year or the start of 2016 I can fight him for the title.”

Said Hearn: “Firstly to Frankie Gavin -- welcome to the team. Frankie has long been one of the most talented fighters in the country and now it's time to shine. I haven't seen him smile for a long time and now it's ‘Funtime,’ time to enjoy his career, the exposure and the big lights. I have lost count of the number of tweets and messages I have had asking us to come to Birmingham and now the waiting is over.”

Hearn also announced that former three-time middleweight world title challenger Matthew Macklin (31-6, 20 KOs), 32, also of Birmingham, will appear on the May 9 undercard. Macklin is coming off a brutal 10th-round knockout loss to Jorge Sebastian Heiland on Nov. 15 in a world title eliminator.
Welterweight titlist Kell Brook will make his first defense on March 28 at the Motorpoint Arena in his hometown of Sheffield, England, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Monday.

But Hearn likes the slow build so he only announced the date and venue on Monday. If you want to know the opponent Brook will face, that will be another announcement, which will come at a news conference in Sheffield (and by press release) on Thursday.

Brook (33-0, 22 KOs), who was the mandatory challenger, outpointed Shawn Porter in Carson, California, to claim the title in August. Brook’s first defense was initially slated to take place late last year, but was canceled after Brook, 28, suffered a stab wound while on vacation in Spain in September.

Verdejo, Brook plan ring returns

January, 13, 2015
Jan 13
3:49
PM ET
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Puerto Rican lightweight Felix Verdejo, the 2014 ESPN.com prospect of the year, will make his 2015 debut on Feb. 28 in Tampa, Florida, in the main event of a UniMas-televised card, Top Rank’s Carl Moretti told ESPN.com on Tuesday. The 21-year-old Verdejo (16-0, 12 KOs) will fight in a scheduled eight-round bout against an opponent to be determined. Moretti said that 20-year-old junior welterweight prospect Julian Rodriguez (8-0, 7 KOs), of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, will open the telecast in an eight-rounder against an opponent to be determined.

• Welterweight titlist Kell Brook and promoter Eddie Hearn will host a news conference on Monday in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England, to announce his first title defense. They are not yet divulging the opponent or date; they've only said it will at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield in March, although it likely will be March 28. Brook (33-0, 22 KOs) outpointed Shawn Porter in Carson, California, to claim the title in August. However, a defense late last year was canceled after Brook suffered a stab wound while on vacation in Spain in September.

• Super middleweight prospect Luis Arias (10-0, 4 KOs), a 24-year-old from Milwaukee who recently had a falling out with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and was released by Mayweather Promotions late last year, has signed with advisers Rick Torres and Gaby Penagaricano (who is best known as the attorney for Miguel Cotto and Timothy Bradley Jr.).

Notes: Kell Brook plans March return

November, 20, 2014
11/20/14
9:20
AM ET
Kell Brook and Shawn PorterStephen Dunn/Getty ImagesKell Brook, right, captured Shawn Porter's welterweight title in August by majority decision.
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Welterweight titlist Kell Brook (33-0, 22 KOs), forced to call off his first defense scheduled for Dec. 6 after being stabbed in the leg while on vacation in early September, said his injury has healed and he is making plans for a ring return. "I'm back training, having no problem with the leg," he said. "I'll be back in the boxing ring defending my world title in March."

England's Brook, 28, won a majority decision against Shawn Porter to win a world title on Aug. 16 at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California.

• The Saturday afternoon live HBO broadcast of heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko's dominant fifth-round knockout of mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev averaged 620,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The fight peaked at 694,000 viewers. Combined with HBO's midnight replay, the fight averaged 1.20 million viewers, which is not bad considering that HBO did not announce that it would carry the fight until a week earlier, when it finalized a three-fight contract with Klitschko.

• Blue chip featherweight prospect Oscar Valdez (13-0, 12 KOs), who knocked out former title challenger Alberto Garza in the seventh round of a strong performance on Saturday night, will make a quick return. He has been added to Top Rank's Dec. 20 UniMas-televised card in the co-feature, manager Frank Espinoza told ESPN.com. Valdez, a two-time Mexican Olympian, will face an opponent to be announced at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix on the undercard of heavyweight Andy Ruiz's next bout.

Stevenson pumps up fight with Sukhotsky

November, 6, 2014
11/06/14
8:09
AM ET
Showtime announced Thursday that its Dec. 19 card headlined by light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (24-1, 20 KOs), who will make his fourth title defense when he faces Dmitry Sukhotsky (22-2, 16 KOs) at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, will be a televised quadrupleheader.

The co-feature will involve super middleweight Andre Dirrell (23-1, 16 KOs) against an opponent to be determined.

Also, welterweights Jo Jo Dan (33-2, 18 KOs) and Kevin Bizier (23-1, 16 KOs) will meet in a rematch of Dan’s 2013 split-decision victory. The winner of the 12-round eliminator will become the mandatory challenger for world titleholder Kell Brook.

Opening the telecast will be light heavyweight sensation Artur Beterbiev (6-0, 6 KOs), a two-time Russian Olympian coming off a second-round destruction of former titlist Tavoris Cloud in September, against Jeff Page Jr. (15-0, 10 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

Stevenson is coming off a surprisingly difficult decision win in May against Andrzej Fonfara, who survived two early knockdowns to drop Stevenson and close strong only to lose a decision. Stevenson was supposed to face Fonfara on HBO and then meet titleholder Sergey Kovalev this month to unify their titles. Instead, he bolted from HBO to Showtime, where he would face Fonfara in a tuneup fight before facing Bernard Hopkins to unify their belts.

But Stevenson’s team dragged their feet on making the Hopkins fight, so Hopkins surprised everyone by going back to HBO, where he will meet Kovalev on Saturday night.

Stevenson wound up with neither major fight and instead is facing the little-known and unaccomplished Sukhotsky. Still, Stevenson is the lineal champion and touted himself as the true world champion at 175 pounds.

“I know I'm the king of the light heavyweight division and I know that everyone wants to take my belt. I'm going to train very hard,” Stevenson said on Wednesday at the kickoff news conference in Montreal. “Sukhotsky is a tough guy and he’s hoping to surprise me. I'll prepare, my hands will be perfect and it will be a short night.”

Stevenson claimed that his less-than-stellar performance against Fonfara was due to a hand injury.

“My hand has healed from the injury when I fought Fonfara. I'm healthy and I'm ready to go,” he said. “Going 12 rounds was a good experience for me. I train for 12 rounds in the gym. Sometimes it’s good to go the distance and get the experience. Everybody brings their A-game because I'm the champ.”

Hearn: Brook-Khan discussions begin

August, 21, 2014
8/21/14
9:28
AM ET

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.
Omar Figueroa and Daniel EstradaCarlos Delgado/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsOmar Figueroa, right, defends his lightweight title against Daniel Estrada on Saturday.

Lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa Jr. is one of boxing’s most exciting performers. He loves to rumble, rarely takes a backward step and throws tons of hard punches.

But one thing that has hampered him is hand problems, something that often takes its toll on powerful punchers.

Although Figueroa says his hands are fine as he heads into his second title defense when he faces mandatory challenger Daniel Estrada (32-2-1, 24 KOs), 29, of Mexico, on the undercard of the Shawn Porter-Kell Brook welterweight title bout Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET with preliminary bouts on Showtime Extreme beginning at 7 ET/PT) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, he knows that anything can happen at any moment with his fragile hands.

"My hands will always be an issue,” Figueroa said. “We will find out how long they last me on Saturday. I hope they last me long enough to get rid of my opponent. If not, then I will have to suck it up.”

Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KOs), 24, of Weslaco, Texas, has sucked it up before, one of the things that makes him such a fan favorite.

When he battled Japan’s Nihito Arakawa in an interim title fight in 13 months ago, Figueroa won a decision in one of the most savage fights of the year. Making Figueroa’s victory even more impressive was the fact that he injured both his hands in the bout.

The injury kept him out of the ring for nine months before he returned April 26 to make his first defense, a split decision against Jerry Belmontes, his amateur rival.

Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya, Figueroa’s promoter, knows what it’s like to have hand injuries. He had his share during his Hall of Fame career.

De La Hoya was fortunate that his hand problems never became severe enough to seriously hamper his career and he is hoping the same thing for Figueroa.

“He’s a terrific fighter and he loves throwing punches, but when you go in the ring with an AK-47 but with no bullets, it’s a big problem. He can continue to fight but the next step is to get him with the right doctors.

“Many fighters have had problems with their hands but when you get them with the right doctors it can help the situation. It’s a matter of making sure he does the right therapy and is going to the right doctor. Maybe he hasn’t done the therapy on his hands the right way. It could be a problem with the wrapping of his hands. We have to sit down with him after the fight and figure out the problem, but he has a bright future if his hands hold up.”

To train for the fight with Estrada -- who will have close adviser and future Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez working in his corner -- Figueroa did not train in California with Joel Diaz, as he had been.

"The reason why I moved back home and started training with my dad [Omar Sr.] was mainly because I wanted to be close to my daughter. I missed her terribly when I wasn't home,” Figueroa said. “I wasn't able to take advantage of the things that were presented to me by training with Joel Diaz because of my [sore] hands, so I decided to just stay home. If I wasn't able to get the world-class sparring and training, then what was I doing being away from my family? Leaving Joel Diaz had nothing to do with him, I love him. It was solely a personal decision.

"My dad grinds my gears. It can be a bit rocky. But with the knowledge I brought over from training with Joel Diaz it can make me grow as a boxer and my dad will grow as a trainer.”

Ruiz to face faded Liakhovich

August, 14, 2014
8/14/14
9:35
AM ET
A few notes from the boxing world:

" Heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz Jr. (22-0, 16 KOs), 24, will headline a card on Sept. 20 (UniMas) in Phoenix against former world titleholder Sergei Liakhovich (26-6, 16 KOs), who lives in Arizona. Although Liakhovich is the first name opponent of Ruiz’s career, he is badly diminished. The 38-year-old, who is originally from Belarus, has lost three of his last four fights with each defeat coming by knockout, although he won his most recent fight by eight-round decision against the unknown Chad Davis, who was 5-11. When Liakhovich faced Deontay Wilder last August, Wilder knocked him out so severely in the first round that Liakhovich was on the canvas convulsing.

" Although there is no opponent set yet, the HBO target date for middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin’s next fight is Oct. 18. Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) retained his title for the 11th time on July 26, destroying former titlist Daniel Geale by third-round knockout.

" HBO announced that “The Fight Game With Jim Lampley,” a 30-minute boxing studio show that covers the top fights and issues in the sport, will return for a four-show run beginning Sept. 16 with additional episodes on Oct. 28, Nov. 18 and Dec. 23.

“I am excited to hit the ground running in September and deliver four more shows during what promises to be a robust time in the boxing season,” said Lampley, HBO’s blow-by-blow commentator. “We will continue to explore hot-button issues, sprinkle in some entertaining elements, and deliver comprehensive unfiltered discussion and analysis of the sport on this platform.”

" One week after claiming a vacant secondary middleweight title on Showtime, Daniel Jacobs, who knocked out Jarrod Fletcher in the fifth round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, will be ringside to serve as a guest analyst for the network’s tripleheader topped by the mandatory fight between welterweight titlist Shawn Porter and Kell Brook from the StubHub Center in Carson, California, on Saturday night (9 ET/PT).

“How cool is that? Fighting one week on one coast on Showtime and then announcing the fights the very next week on Showtime from the other coast,” said Jacobs, who will sit in for regular analyst Paulie Malignaggi, who will miss the card for family reasons. “I love this. I think announcing fits me. To be able to do something like this, to be in this position, is very important to me. Other fighters have done it as well, of course, but for me to be able to follow in their footsteps is an honor. It shows that we can not only announce fights, but we can be good at it."

Welterweight titlist Shawn Porter has a tough assignment in mandatory challenger Kell Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) of England on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

But if Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) prevails, one of the best fights that could be made in the division would be to match him vs. interim titleholder Keith “One Time” Thurman.

Thurman (23-0, 21 KOs) is sidelined at the moment nursing a shoulder injury, but he is expected back in action in October, not against Porter.

But if Porter wins Saturday (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET with preliminary bouts on Showtime Extreme beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT) and Thurman comes through his October fight, a Porter-Thurman showdown in early 2015 would be something to get excited about.

Both are in the vast stable of adviser Al Haymon, so the fight could be made easily. And you can bank on this: Showtime would be an interested buyer.

So what about it? Porter was enthusiastic about the possibility of facing Thurman.

“I'll fight ‘One Time’ two times,” Porter said. “I don't look past what's in front of me. Again, we've seen it all over the internet, all over the media wavelengths -- everybody wants that fight. I think it'd be an exciting fight, and it's a fight that I wouldn't turn down.”

Dan Birmingham, Thurman’s trainer, recently told ESPN.com that he thinks the fight will eventually happen. Like everyone else, he thinks it would be a good one.

“I think that fight is inevitable,” Birmingham said. “We know those guys, Shawn and his dad [Kenny Porter]. We have had Shawn in our camp before and we’re friends with them, but this is also business. We all know they might have to fight. When they do, it’ll be a great fight.”

Wilder, Linares in very soft fights

August, 8, 2014
8/08/14
11:20
AM ET
Heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder and lightweight contender Jorge Linares now have opponents for their fights on the Aug. 16 Shawn Porter-Kell Brook undercard at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs) is staying busy in anticipation of a mandatory heavyweight title shot against Bermane Stiverne and taking no gambles.

Wilder, a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, who has faced extremely soft opposition throughout his career, will face gargantuan underdog Jason Gavern (25-16-4, 11 KOs), 37, who has won four of his last five fights following a seven-fight losing streak. He has been knocked out in seven of his losses. In his last fight, Gavern lost a three-round decision to Michael Sprott in a “Prizefighter” tournament final in England in November after winning a three-round decision against the totally shot James Toney in the semifinals earlier in the evening.

Linares (36-3, 23 KOs), a former featherweight and junior lightweight world titleholder, will face club fighter Ira Terry (26-11, 16 KOs), who is 2-9 with a no contest in his last 12 bouts. He has been knocked out in seven of his defeats. Linares is staying busy in anticipation of a possible shot against the winner of the fight between lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa and mandatory challenger Daniel Estrada, which is also on the card.
Heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder and lightweight contender Jorge Linares have both been added to the undercard of welterweight titlist Shawn Porter’s mandatory defense against Kell Brook on Aug. 16 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Wilder is the mandatory challenger for heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne, who knocked out Chris Arreola in May to win the belt vacated by Vitali Klitschko upon his retirement late last year. Stiverne-Wilder is supposed to take place before the end of the year, but with Stiverne nursing a hand injury it is unclear when the fight will take place because even if his hand is good to go in the next month or two, the camps are still likely headed to a purse bid, which means at least another 90-day wait following a bid.

Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz told ESPN.com that the Aug. 16 fight, a scheduled 10-rounder against an opponent to be determined, is simply to keep Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, active and sharp before he fights for a world title.

Linares (36-3, 23 KOs), a former featherweight and junior lightweight world titleholder, will fight an eight-rounder against an opponent to be determined on the card, which also will feature lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa in a mandatory defense against Daniel Estrada and super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika in a rematch against Anthony Dirrell.

By virtue of his decision win against Nihito Arakawa on March 8, Linares is in line to be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Figueroa-Estrada bout. By having Linares fight on the card, Diaz said it will keep his schedule in line with the winner’s so that they could possibly meet before the end of the year.

Showtime is televising the three title bouts on the card, and though the network has not announced anything yet, it seems likely that the Wilder and Linares bouts would be part of the Showtime Extreme coverage of the preliminary bouts.
Shawn Porter Rob Carr/Getty ImagesShawn Porter will defend his welterweight title on Aug. 16 against Kell Brook in Carson, California.
Unless a promoter is being paid a site fee for a fight -- typically by a casino -- the promoter usually will look to hold the card in a venue where he can sell the most tickets and, thus, maximize revenue.

That's why, for example, Miguel Cotto fights in New York's Madison Square Garden so often, why Top Rank took lightweight titlist Terence Crawford home to Omaha for his first defense last month and why Golden Boy loads up its cards at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with New York fighters.

So when Golden Boy announced that its excellent Aug. 16 Showtime tripleheader would be at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, I was a bit surprised.

Don't get me wrong -- StubHub Center is one of the best boxing venues in the country. There have been numerous great fights there in its relatively short history.

But the Aug. 16 card features welterweight titlist Shawn Porter (from Akron, Ohio) against Kell Brook (England), super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika (Australia) against Anthony Dirrell (Flint, Michigan) and lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa (Weslaco, Texas) against Daniel Estrada (Mexico).

They are all solid and worthy matchups, but not a single bout has any local tie to Southern California and none of the fighters is a remotely notable ticket seller in the region.

So I asked Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya why he put the show in a place that didn't seem to make much sense given the composition of the card. I was not surprised when De La Hoya made the case for the StubHub Center, which is an outdoor tennis arena that holds about 8,000 for boxing.

"The StubHub Center was a perfect fit for this type of card," De La Hoya said. "As you know, StubHub Center has the reputation of staging some of the best fights in recent years. We saw [Robert] Guerrero and [Yoshihiro] Kamegai, which was a tremendous, tremendous fight [on June 21]. When putting this event together, the StubHub Center was the first choice. The fact that you have no local fighters does not matter.

"I feel that the fans in Los Angeles who will be attending are just accustomed to watching some great fights no matter where they're from, and the fact that the fighters will be performing at the StubHub Center, there's a bit of added pressure for every single fighter because you must perform. It reminds me kind of like the 'Thunderdome' movie with Mel Gibson. I mean, you have to fight there, you have to. The atmosphere is great. The fans are expecting great fights and I believe this is what Kell Brook and Shawn Porter and every fighter on the card will give us -- a tremendous, tremendous fight."

Indeed, the StubHub Center has been home to some modern classics besides Guerrero-Kamegai. It has also hosted such great fights as Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez I and III (the 2008 fight of the year), Timothy Bradley Jr.-Ruslan Provodnikov (the 2013 fight of the year), Lucas Matthysse-John Molina (a strong 2014 fight of the year contender), Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado I, Erislandy Lara-Alfredo Angulo and Marcos Maidana-Josesito Lopez (on the same card in June 2013) and Paul Williams-Antonio Margarito.

Here's hoping at least one of the fights on Aug. 16 joins that list.
When welterweight titlist Shawn Porter and mandatory challenger Kell Brook agreed to their fight they also agreed to undergo random drug testing -- blood and urine -- that would be overseen by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

However, neither fighter had been tested as of last week, raising questions about what was going on for a fight that is scheduled for Aug. 16 (Showtime) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Even Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya and Porter were a bit confused about what was up with the testing when they spoke to the media on a teleconference about the fight last week, and I asked about the drug testing protocol.

“Well, the drug testing was handled through [Golden Boy vice president] Eric Gomez and through [Porter adviser] Al Haymon,” De La Hoya said. “There is a drug testing in place, which the fighters should already have been taking, and going through the process.”

Porter, however, said he had not yet been tested and was expecting it.

“Well, boxing, you roll with the punches. ... I just know that we are supposed to be testing,” Porter said.

Gomez explained what happened in an email, saying the issue happened because the fight was originally scheduled for Sept. 6 but was moved up to Aug. 16. He also assured that there would be testing over the final few weeks before the fight.

“In order to use USADA, they need at least six weeks to get all the required documents and testing done,” Gomez said. “When the date changed to Aug. 16, there wasn’t enough time. We then, collectively [Golden Boy and Brook promoter Matchroom Boxing], agreed to have the California State Athletic Commission handle the testing. The UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, through the [California] Department of Consumer Affairs, will handle the testing for us. They start testing this week.”

Gomez said the testing would include blood and urine, although he was unsure if it would follow the exact protocol that USADA uses.

Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs), 26, of Akron, Ohio, will be making his second defense when he faces Brook (32-0, 22 KOs), 28, of England.
Welterweight contender Kell Brook isn’t the only British fighter headed to the StubHub Center in Carson, California, to fight on Aug. 16.

Two of his Matchroom Boxing stablemates -- lightweight Luke Campbell and super middleweight Callum Smith -- will be joining him, promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Friday.

Brook, the mandatory challenger, will face world titleholder Shawn Porter in the main event of the Showtime card.

Campbell (6-0, 4 KOs), 26, a 2012 London Olympics gold medalist, and Smith (12-0, 9 KOs), 24, two of England’s best prospects, will both face opponents to be determined.

"I’m delighted to be able to get Luke and Callum their first taste of action in America as pros," Hearn said. "I believe both fighters will be a real hit with both fans and pundits across the pond, and I expect that they will both return there in the future in world-title fights.

"It's all part of the development of our great, young fighters. New experiences, new atmospheres, all part of making them the finished articles. It’s also a great bonus for Kell’s traveling fans to see two rising stars from Britain perform on such a massive stage."

Golden Boy is promoting the card, but undoubtedly part of the deal to avoid a purse bid was for Hearn to get some spots for his fighters on the undercard.

In addition to Porter-Brook, there are two other world-title bouts on the card. Omar Figueroa defends his lightweight belt against Daniel Estrada, and super middleweight titleholder Sakio Bika meets Anthony Dirrell in a rematch of their draw.

World title tripleheader Aug. 16

July, 7, 2014
7/07/14
2:48
PM ET
Shawn PorterElsa/Golden Boy/Golden Boy/Getty ImagesWelterweight titlist Shawn Porter returns Aug. 16. to face mandatory challenger Kell Brook.

The StubHub Center in Carson, California, which has become one of boxing’s great venues, will host a world title tripleheader on Aug. 16. Although Showtime will televise the event, neither the network nor the promoter, Golden Boy, has made an official announcement of the card yet.

But here is what is on tap:

" Welterweight titlist Shawn Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) will face mandatory challenger Kell Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) in the main event. It’s a fight that has been moved all over the summer calendar but is now locked in. The IBF, which is sanctioning the fight, has confirmed the date and venue.

The fight will be Porter’s second title defense. He knocked out former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi in the fourth round on April 19. Brook has been a mandatory contender for some time and was supposed to challenge then-titlist Devon Alexander, but the fight was called off multiple times due to injuries to both fighters. Brook is coming off an eight-round knockout of Alvaro Robles on March 15.

" Lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KOs) will make his mandatory defense against Daniel Estrada (32-2-1, 24 KOs) in the co-feature. The sides made a deal for the fight last month and avoided a purse bid, and Golden Boy had been looking for a spot to put it. Figueroa will be making his second title defense after winning a split decision against Jerry Belmontes on April 26. Estrada has not lost since 2010 and is riding a nine-fight winning streak.

" Super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika (32-5-3, 21 KOs) will make his second title defense when he meets Anthony Dirrell (26-0-1, 22 KOs) in a rematch in the opener. They first met in December 2013 and fought to a split draw in a tremendous action fight. Neither man has fought since.

Bika’s camp has announced the fight. He said he was inspired to accept the rematch with Dirrell after attending fellow titleholder Carl Froch’s rematch with George Groves at Wembley Stadium in London on May 31.

“I was impressed by the way Froch handled his unfinished business with George Groves and now I want to do the same with Dirrell,” Bika said. “I felt I won the first fight with Dirrell, and I'm happy my management team has been able to organize a rematch. Dirrell was very lucky to get the draw. I was the busier fighter, throwing and landing the most punches and I dropped him with a body shot which was counted as a low blow. I will be in the best shape of my professional career in August and will show boxing fans around the world that ‘The Dog’ is all bark and no bite. And then I am going after Froch.”

SPONSORED HEADLINES