Dan Rafael: Omar Narvaez

Inoue moving up to challenge Narvaez

November, 10, 2014
Nov 10
A few notes from around the boxing world:

•  Japanese prodigy Naoya Inoue (7-0, 6 KOs) won a junior flyweight world title in his sixth pro fight in April and defended the title in September. Inoue, 21, is jumping up two weight classes to challenge longtime junior bantamweight titleholder Omar Narvaez (43-1-2, 23 KOs) of Argentina on Dec. 30 in Tokyo. Inoue announced he has vacated his 108-pound title because he can no longer make weight. Narvaez, a longtime flyweight titleholder before moving up in weight, will be making his 12th junior bantamweight title defense. It’s a very ambitious fight for Inoue, but Narvaez is 39 and has been shaky in some recent fights. He could be ready to go, especially facing such a young, fresh opponent brimming with confidence.

“I’m happy to be able to exchange punches with such a great champion as Narvaez,” Inoue said in translated remarks. “I’ll do my best to win over him.”
The card will also include Inoue’s younger brother, 19-year-old junior flyweight Takuma Inoue (3-0, 1 KO), in an eight-rounder versus Nestor Daniel Narvaez (20-2-2, 9 KOs), 32, a former flyweight title challenger.

•  Middleweight Willie Monroe Jr. (18-1, 6 KOs) and lightweight Petr Petrov (35-4-2, 17 KOs), who won the 2014 Boxcino tournaments in their weight divisions, will return to co-headline the Jan. 16 edition of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, Banner Promotions announced. Both will face opponents to be determined in their first bouts since winning the Boxcino tournament in May.

"We are excited to start the year with Willie and Petr on ESPN,” Banner Promotions chief executive Artie Pelullo said. “They are coming back to the same venue where they won their titles. This is going to be a big year for both of them, and on Jan. 16 they will continue their quests to become world champions.”

•  Last year I had a chance to see “Tapia,” a documentary on the late, great former three-division titleholder Johnny Tapia, who died at age 45 in 2012. The film, which featured promoter Lou DiBella and rap star/promoter Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as executive producers , was the talk of several film festivals. Now the masses will have a chance to see it as HBO has acquired the film -- and put its own imprint on it, including the addition of narrator Liev Schreiber. The one-hour documentary debuts on Dec. 16 (11 p.m. ET/PT). “Tapia” includes first-person narration and archival footage to explore Tapia’s career and well-chronicled personal demons that resulted in drug addiction, multiple suicide attempts and jail time.

“This is not a boxing film, but a film about tragedy, triumph, demons and redemption,” DiBella said. “Johnny gives us an honest assessment of his strengths and frailties. He reminds us of the power and resiliency of the human spirit.”

•  Junior welterweight prospect Bradley Saunders (10-0, 8 KOs), 28, of England, has signed a promotional agreement with Matchroom Boxing, promoter Eddie Hearn announced. Saunders’ first fight of the deal will be in an eight-rounder on the Nathan Cleverly-Tony Bellew II undercard on Nov. 22 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. “I am thrilled to be joining Eddie Hearn and fighting on Sky Sports,” Saunders said. “I had plenty of options and I definitely chose the best one for me. It's a new chapter and I am raring to go. I am looking for big things. I don't want anything less than being a world champion. I played at the game in the amateurs, but it is serious now.”
The 27th annual WBO convention wrapped up on Thursday at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The most significant activity at any sanctioning body convention comes on rankings and mandatory day, which is when the floor is open for promoters to make their cases for their boxers to receive favorable rankings. The organizations also will typically go over each division's title status and make any necessary rulings.

Here's an update with a few notable items from the convention, division by division:

• Super middleweight: Although the WBO declined to order a mandatory rematch between titlist Arthur Abraham and Paul Smith in the wake of Abraham's controversial decision win on Sept. 27, it said the fighters likely will face off in an optional rematch in February. It's no secret that their promoters have been in talks.

• Middleweight: The Nov. 29 fight between Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr. was sanctioned as the final eliminator to produce the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Dec. 13 vacant title bout between Matt Korobov and Andy Lee.

• Welterweight: Former welterweight titlist Shawn Porter, who held another organization's belt, and former junior welterweight titlist Mike Alvarado requested to rankings in the welterweight division, which are likely to be granted.

• Junior welterweight: In a surprise move, the WBO announced that titleholder Chris Algieri, who challenges welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 22, will have his belt vacated with the commencement of the fight with Pacquiao -- rather than be able to pick a division to defend in should he win or have the ability to return to junior welterweight to defend if he loses.

• Junior lightweight: Titleholder Orlando Salido may go to Russia to defend against Andrey Klimov, but whomever he fights he expects to defend in February or March.

• Junior featherweight: The organization said it would sanction a bout for the vacant interim title. Full titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux had been ordered to face mandatory challenger Chris Avalos. Rigondeaux's team won a purse bid, but Avalos, also mandatory in the IBF, elected to go that route for a bigger fight with titlist Carl Frampton. So the WBO wants the winner of the interim title bout -- participants TBA -- to face Rigondeaux in a mandatory fight. It's pretty silly to sanction the interim title bout if that's the reason. The WBO should either go down its rankings until it finds somebody willing to accept the mandatory assignment against Rigondeaux or it should order the top contenders to fight and call it a title eliminator, not an interim title bout.

• Junior bantamweight: Titleholder Omar Narvaez will defend in December, but no date or opponent was specified.

• Junior flyweight: Titleholder Donnie Nietes will defend his belt against Carlos Velarde on Nov. 15 in the Philippines, but after that Nietes plans to go up to flyweight, which would leave the junior flyweight belt vacant.

Narvaez-Orucuta rematch is on

June, 30, 2014
Jun 30
O.R. Promotions, which represents junior bantamweight titlist Omar Narvaez, won the rights to promote his mandatory defense (and rematch) against Felipe Orucuta at a purse bid at WBO headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Monday.

O.R. Promotions bid $401,500 to top an offer of $301,000 made by Tutico Zabala's All Star Boxing and said the fight would take place either Aug. 30 or Sept. 6 at a location to be determined in Argentina, Narvaez's home country.

Based on the WBO's formula for figuring the split of the purse, Narvaez is entitled to 74.72 percent of the winning bid ($300,001) and Orucuta gets 25.28 percent ($101,499).

Narvaez (42-1-2, 23 KOs), 38, who made 16 defenses of his flyweight belt before vacating to move up in weight, will be making his 11th junior bantamweight defense. He won a split decision against Orucuta (29-2, 24 KOs), 28, of Mexico, in Buenos Aires in May 2013.