Dan Rafael: Vanes Martirosyan

Demetrius Andrade, Brian Rose Ed Diller/Star BoxingJunior middleweight contender Demetrius Andrade, right, will have his next fight on Showtime.
Goodbye, HBO. Hello, Showtime.

Junior middleweight Demetrius Andrade, one of the most talented young titleholders in boxing, is making the move from one network to the other, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.

It is unclear if the agreement is for multiple fights, but Andrade’s move comes just a couple of weeks after junior middleweight star Canelo Alvarez traded in his Showtime gear for an exclusive deal with HBO.

Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs) will make his second title defense on Showtime on a date to be determined in December -- either the 6th or 13th -- and likely will face one of the Charlo twins, Jermall or Jermell, both 154-pound contenders. Which brother will get the shot has apparently not been determined.

Andrade, 26, of Providence, Rhode Island, has had his last two fights on HBO, winning his world title against Vanes Martirosyan in November and making his first defense in June, a seventh-round knockout of mandatory challenger Brian Rose, a fight in which Andrade looked spectacular against an overmatched opponent.

But with Andrade’s co-promoters Artie Pelullo and Joe DeGuardia -- neither of whom wanted to talk about the Showtime move -- unable to get anywhere on a fall date for Andrade on HBO (meaning a major difference of opinion on the money), they negotiated the deal with Showtime. HBO holds matching rights to Andrade’s next bout, but it has not pressed the issue and seemingly will allow Andrade to walk across the street without interfering.

Initially, the promoters and HBO explored the possibility of Andrade facing Matt Korobov for a vacant middleweight belt on the Dec. 13 Timothy Bradley Jr.-Diego Chaves undercard in Las Vegas. HBO liked the idea of Andrade moving up in weight to join the fray at 160 pounds, where it does a lot of fights. But when the money couldn’t be agreed on, Andrade’s camp decided he would remain at 154 pounds for the time being. With no significant fight in that weight class to be made, HBO’s interest waned. While HBO probably would have found a spot for him, even at junior middleweight, it was not in the same ballpark on the money.

HBO and Showtime both declined to comment.
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Beating junior middleweight contender Willie Nelson is important to Vanes Martirosyan if he wants to work his way back to a second world title opportunity. But Martirosyan is going into their 10-round bout Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET/PT) at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, with additional motivation.

He wants to win for Dan Goossen, his late promoter who died Monday at age 64 after a short bout with liver cancer.

Martirosyan, who signed with Goossen in January, did not know how ill Goossen was because the news was purposely kept away from him during his training camp.

Joe Goossen, Dan’s brother, is Martirosyan’s trainer -- he’ll be in the corner just five days after his brother’s death and three days before the funeral -- and hid it from his fighter to make sure he could fully focus on being prepared for the fight.

That became impossible once Dan passed away, but now that Martirosyan knows, he is using it as motivation.

“We’ve been heartbroken since we’ve heard the news, especially because they kept it away from me the whole training camp. It was a big surprise to us,” Martirosyan said Friday. “The second we heard it, we all, my wife, my mother, we all started crying. But in a way, we’re happy that we get to fight Saturday night and dedicate this victory to Dan Goossen.

“It gives me more motivation to fight and make him proud because I know he’s going to be looking down on us. On Saturday we get to thank him.”

When Martirosyan was let go by Top Rank after losing a decision to Demetrius Andrade for a vacant world title in November, Goossen signed him, strongly believing he would someday win a world title, and helped match him with his brother to train him.

“I think this will make me stronger,” Martirosyan said. “The last thing, boxing-wise, that Dan said to Joe was ‘Make sure Vanes wins.’ I’m taking that in the ring with me. He’s going to be watching me from above, so we’re going to put on a good performance for him.”

Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs) said he is planning to get a knockout against Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KOs), whose chin has long been suspect.

“We have a good game plan put together with Joe. We’re ready to box or brawl if we need to. We’ll just take it from there," Martirosyan said. "We’re ready for whatever he brings, and we’re just going to be on top of him the whole fight. I’m going to win by knockout.”

Said Joe Goossen: “We trained very hard, even if it was under impossible circumstances. Dan brought it up. He said, ‘Just make sure Vanes wins Saturday night.’ That was Dan. Always thinking about boxing and business up until the very end. Dan was concerned about Vanes like he would be at any other time.

“We didn’t miss a minute in the gym, and that’s the way he would want it. If anything, it motivates me. The gym is probably the only place where I can go to forget everything.”

In the main event, junior lightweight titlist Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs) defends against Fernando David Saucedo (52-5-3, 8, KOs). Former light heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs) faces Tommy Karpency (23-4-1, 14 KOs) in the opener.
You know that quadrupleheader on Showtime on Saturday night at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut? Well, now it’s down to a tripleheader.

Middleweight prospect Dominic Wade (16-0, 11 KOs) of Largo, Maryland, who was due to open the card programmed by adviser Al Haymon against KeAndre Leatherwood (14-2-1, 10 KOs) of Birmingham, Alabama, injured his back. That bout has been canceled.

There are still three other fights: junior lightweight titleholder Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs) against Fernando Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs) in the main event; a junior middleweight bout between Vanes Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs) and Willie Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KOs) -- that has potential to be a decent fight -- and former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs) in a blatant mismatch against club fighter Tommy Karpency (23-4-1, 14 KOs).

Middleweight Wade added to Oct. 4 card

September, 26, 2014
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The final televised fight of the Al Haymon-engineered Oct. 4 Showtime quadrupleheader was announced on Thursday and it should come as no surprise that the slot goes to another fighter in the massive stable of the powerful adviser.

It goes to middleweight prospect Dominic Wade (16-0, 11 KOs) of Largo, Maryland, who is not signed to any promoter. He will square off with KeAndre Leatherwood (14-2-1, 10 KOs) of Birmingham, Alabama, in a 10-rounder that will open the card, which is being co-promoted by Haymon operatives Lou DiBella and Leon Margules, at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Also on the card are the previously announced main event of junior lightweight titleholder Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs) against Fernando Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs); a junior middleweight bout between contenders Vanes Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs) and Willie Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KOs); and former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs) in an overt mismatch against club fighter Tommy Karpency (23-4-1, 14 KOs).

Barthelemy, Martirosyan, Dawson and Wade are all with Haymon.
Promoter Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing is working on a pair of quadrupleheaders -- Oct. 4 and Nov. 1 -- that will air on Showtime.

Although the cards are not finalized, some of the fights are. Margules told ESPN.com that the Oct. 4 card at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, will be headlined by junior lightweight titlist Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs), a Miami-based Cuban defector, in his first defense against Argentina’s Fernando Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs). The fight was made three weeks ago.

Also on the card will be 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.

A third bout will feature former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs), who scored a first-round knockout of journeyman George Blades on June 21 in Dawson’s first fight since losing the title by first-round knockout to Adonis Stevenson in June 2013. Dawson-Blades was contracted at 179 pounds, but an out-of-shape Dawson weighed in at 182 but promised to be better conditioned for his next bout.

The fourth fight on Oct. 4 has not yet been determined.

The Nov. 1 card, which will take place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, will be headlined by light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara (25-3, 15 KOs), a popular Polish fighter who lives in Chicago and is one of adviser Al Haymon’s newest signees. Fonfara, whose opponent is not set, gave champion Adonis Stevenson a very tough fight on May 24 but lost a decision in a grueling fight in which Fonfara survived two knockdowns in the first half of the fight to mount a huge rally and drop Stevenson in the ninth.

Also on the Nov. 1 card, bantamweight titlist Tomoki Kameda (30-0, 19 KOs) of Japan will make his mandatory against Alejandro Hernandez (28-10-2, 15 KOs) of Mexico. Margules does not promote either boxer, but won an Aug. 8 purse bid for the right to promote the bout.

The two other fights will feature welterweight Roberto Garcia (36-3, 23 KOs) and middleweight Caleb Truax (24-1-2, 14 KOs) in separate bouts against opponents to be determined, according to Margules, who has both dates thanks to his close relationship with Haymon, with whom he has been working closely of late.

Barthelemy, Martirosyan, Dawson, Fonfara, Kameda, Garcia and Truax are all with Haymon, who has been on a signing binge this year and whose stable is now around 115 fighters, which is around the same number as promoters Top Rank and Golden Boy have combined.
Vanes MartirosyanChris Farina/Top RankJunior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan was among the latest fighters to align with Al Haymon.
Lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez and junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan are the newest fighters to sign with adviser/manager Al Haymon, whose right-hand man Sam Watson told ESPN.com.

Vazquez (34-3, 13 KOs), 27, of Mexico, won a vacant 135-pound title by lopsided decision against Ji-Hoon Kim in 2010 and has been dominant in six defenses. But his fighting style is not crowd-pleasing and he has found it difficult to get on American television. Now that he's with Haymon, you can probably bank on him getting TV time.

In his last fight, Vazquez outpointed mandatory challenger Denis Shafikov on Feb. 22 in Macau on a Top Rank card. Vazquez is promoted by Fernando Beltran's Zanfer Promotions, which is very close to Top Rank (a promotion which does not do business with Haymon). According to Zanfer, Vazquez's promotional agreement expires in October.

Haymon also has lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa in his stable but it would be surprising to see him match them against each other. Despite Figueroa’s growing popularity and crowd-pleasing style, he has difficulty dealing with slick boxers.

Haymon is also deep in the junior middleweight division with champion Floyd Mayweather in his stable along with titleholder Erislandy Lara and former titlist Austin Trout.

It's the third major change for Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs), 28, of Glendale, California, this year.

After losing a decision to Demetrius Andrade for a vacant world title in November, Martirosyan, a 2004 U.S. Olympian, was released by Top Rank, which had promoted him for his entire career. He signed with promoter Dan Goossen in January and changed trainers, going with Joe Goossen, Dan's brother.

The only other blemish on Martirosyan's record is a ninth-round technical draw with Erislandy Lara in their November 2012 title elimination fight.

Haymon continues to sign fighters left and right, adding Vazquez and Martirosyan to a growing stable that also includes, among others, Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse, Adonis Stevenson, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Robert Guerrero, Amir Khan, Peter Quillin, Chris Arreola, Deontay Wilder, Devon Alexander, Adrien Broner, Andre Berto, Lamont Peterson, Anthony Peterson, Gary Russell Jr., Sakio Bika, Leo Santa Cruz, John Molina, Beibut Shumenov, Chad Dawson, Jermain Taylor, Edwin Rodriguez, Errol Spence Jr., Paulie Malignaggi, Luis Collazo, Josesito Lopez, Rances Barthelemy, Marcus Browne and Dominic Wade.

Junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan has been added to the undercard of the Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola rematch for a vacant heavyweight world title on May 10 at the Galen Center on the USC campus in Los Angeles, promoter Dan Goossen announced on Monday.

Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs), 27, of Glendale, Calif., will face an opponent to be determined in an eight-round bout, his second since signing with Goossen. In his first appearance, he won a unanimous 10-round decision against Mario Lozano on March 21. That fight was Martirosyan’s first since losing a split decision to Demetrius Andrade for a vacant world title in November.

"Vanes made it very clear upon signing he wanted to stay busy and grow his fan base here in California. The added benefit is his desire to work in the gym under his new trainer, Joe Goossen,” said Goossen, Joe’s brother. “The combination of learning new things with Joe, and staying busy, will allow Vanes to better utilize improved skills in real action.”

The Stiverne-Arreola main event headlines the ESPN telecast. There will be a televised undercard, but Martirosyan’s match is not scheduled to be part of the broadcast.

"My last fight was the first time I felt like a pro," Martirosyan said. "It's amazing even to me. I said being with Joe for only three weeks, he had me understanding the need to work harder and developing some of my other offensive weapons."

Said Joe Goossen, "It's important now, at only 27 years of age, that we prepare Vanes to the fullest of his potential and not allow another opportunity for the world championship to fall through his grip. Activity in the gym and the ring can only help us."

HBO calls off April 26 plans

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Gennady Golovkin and Curtis StevensJoe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsWith Gennady Golovkin not fighting April 26 following the death of his father, the card was canceled.

A few notes from the boxing world:

• HBO had planned to have a boxing card April 26 but now will go dark. The initial plan was for a card at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York headlined by middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin against Andy Lee. The co-feature was supposed to be junior middleweight James Kirkland against Willie Nelson. But two weeks ago, Golovkin withdrew following the death of his father in order to attend to family business in Kazakhstan. HBO was still planning to go forward with a card, but when it could not line up a suitable main event, the network said on Tuesday it was pulling the plug on boxing that day. That means it will also not televise Wladimir Klitschko’s heavyweight title defense against Alex Leapai from Germany. There was discussion that HBO would add a tape delay of Klitschko’s fight from earlier in the day to its prime-time telecast.

“With Gennady unavailable to us, HBO is moving off the date,” an HBO spokesperson said. “We will move on to our other boxing programming initiatives for the spring and early summer.”

• Lightweight Anthony Peterson, the younger brother of junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson, will make a rare ring appearance when he faces Marco Jimenez (20-4, 13 KOs) on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” on March 21 at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif., promoter Dan Goossen announced. The 10-round fight will be the co-feature on the card headlined by junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan facing Mario Lozano.

Once a highly regarded contender, Peterson (32-1, 21 KOs), 28, of Washington, D.C., has been inactive in recent years. Since being knocked down and then disqualified in the seventh round for repeated low blows against Brandon Rios in a September 2010 light title eliminator, Peterson has fought just twice against low-level opponents, once in 2011 and once in 2013.

• Hall of Famer Azumah Nelson of Ghana, a former featherweight and junior lightweight champion, has been released from the hospital after a car accident with a taxi last week, according to media reports in Ghana. Nelson suffered a gash on his head and was taken to the hospital.

Martirosyan faces Lozano on FNF

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Vanes MartirosyanAP Photo/Eric GayVanes Martirosyan, left, will make his debut with Goossen Promotions on "Friday Night Fights."
In early February, Luciano Cuello of Argentina accepted a fight with junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan. Then Cuello quickly pulled out of the bout, unhappy with the purse, leaving matchmaker Tom Brown looking for a new opponent.

On Tuesday, Martirosyan officially got his new foe for the March 21 main event on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights.” He will face Mario Alberto Lozano in a scheduled 10-rounder at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif. The fight will be Martirosyan’s first since parting ways with careerlong promoter Top Rank and signing with Dan Goossen.

Lozano (28-4, 22 KOs), 26, of Mexico, has won nine of his last 10 fights, although he is coming off a decision loss to former amateur standout Charles Hatley in November. Lozano knocked Hatley down in the first round but lost the 12-round decision.

"Lozano brings the ability to end a fight with one punch," Goossen said. "With [22 of 28] victories by knockout, you know he will be trying to add Vanes to his KO victims list."

Martirosyan (33-1-1, 21 KOs), 27, of Glendale, Calif., is coming off a disappointing performance in November, when he looked awful in a decision loss to Demetrius Andrade for a vacant world title.

Martirosyan starting over

January, 29, 2014
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Released by Top Rank earlier this month, not long after suffering his first career loss, junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan signed on Tuesday with promoter Dan Goossen.

Martirosyan, 27, had been with Top Rank for his entire pro career since signing with Bob Arum’s company after representing the United States in the 2004 Olympics. But the relationship had simply run its course, especially after Martirosyan turned in disappointing performances in two of his last three fights: a ninth-round technical draw with Erislandy Lara in a November 2012 title eliminator, and a decision loss to Demetrius Andrade for a vacant world title in November 2013.

Now Martirosyan (33-1-1, 21 KOs) is starting over with Goossen.

"I'm really excited about signing with Goossen Tutor Promotions," exclaimed Martirosyan, a resident of Glendale, Calif. "I see a very bright future ahead of us. I do want to thank Bob for all his support the last seven years. I am very grateful and wish them the best of luck."

Martirosyan’s first fight under his new contract will take place March 21 on ESPN2 at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif. The opponent has not been determined.

"This is a very exciting signing for our company," Goossen said. “What we look for in our fighters is talent and the desire and willingness to overcome every obstacle, and we know Vanes has all the tools to do just that. He's ready to start with renewed vigor and said one simple thing to me upon signing: 'I'll fight anybody.’”

Martirosyan said getting over his first defeat has been tough.

"Having tasted defeat for the first time really woke me up, and I never want that bitter taste in my mouth again," Martirosyan said. "Words can't express how I've felt over the last few months, but my performance in the ring from this point on will give everyone an idea. This loss has ignited a fire in me that had almost faded through the long years it took me to get to that title fight. I'm hungrier than ever and simply can't wait to get back in the ring. I am working hard and will be ready to face anybody in the 154 division. I'm on a mission to become a world champion."

Patient Andrade's title shot at hand

November, 5, 2013
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Demetrius AndradeEd Diller/MPsportimages.comDemetrius Andrade, right, will finally get his first crack at a world title against Vanes Martirosyan.
Through two different opponents and three scheduled dates, Demetrius Andrade has stayed patient waiting for his shot at a junior middleweight world title. And now the time is upon him.

A 2008 U.S. Olympian and a 2007 world amateur champion, Andrade will face 2004 U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan for a vacant 154-pound belt in the opening bout of a tripleheader on Saturday night (HBO, 9:30 ET/PT) at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Andrade was originally supposed to travel to Kiev, Ukraine to challenge then-titlist Zaurbek Baysangurov on July 6. But Baysangurov suffered a back injury in training and pulled out of the fight. Since he was going to be sidelined for an extended period, Baysangurov was stripped of the title (as per the terms of the purse bid), which left Andrade to face the next leading available contender, which was Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs).

The fight was scheduled to take place Sept. 7 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Brian Vera undercard. But when Chavez-Vera was postponed for three weeks because of a Chavez cut, Andrade's title shot was delayed again and moved to Saturday's undercard.

The 25-year-old Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs), a technically gifted southpaw from Providence, R.I., has taken the delays in stride.

"I was supposed to fight for the world title in July but I believe everything happens for a reason," Andrade said. "I've had more time to work with my dad [Paul Andrade]. I'm stronger, faster and this camp has been better organized and structured than any I've had in the past. I'm growing and developing all the time."

With a victory, Andrade would become the first member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxing team to win a world title, something that is meaningful to him.

"I just want to show the boxing world that I am the No. 1 light welterweight in the world and why I will be for years to come," he said. "I'm just beginning my legacy. I'm growing in stature and a lot more people are going to know me after Nov. 9th."

Although Andrade is not known as a puncher, he has designs on finishing Martirosyan, a 27-year-old from Glendale, Calif.

"My job is to go in and stop him," Andrade said. "You never want to leave the fight in the hands of the judges. I learned that lesson the hard way in the Olympics.

"I've trained hard to be fully prepared for this fight. I'm in 15-round shape for a 12-round fight but it's not going the distance. Once I get in the ring, I'm going to do whatever I need to win. I am going to beat him and the knockout will come. I'm coming to win every round decisively until it ends in a KO. I am going to beat him down for three minutes of every round. I am going to make a statement that I'm the best 154-pound fighter in the world."

In the main event, junior lightweight titlist Rocky Martinez (27-1-2) defends against former featherweight titlist Mikey Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs) while 2012 fighter of the year Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs), coming off a decision loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux in an April 13 junior featherweight title unification fight, is moving up to featherweight and will meet former two-division titleholder Vic Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KOs) in the co-feature. That fight is a rematch of Donaire's 2007 knockout victory to win a flyweight world title. Darchinyan is also moving up in weight.

Looks like January for Pascal-Bute

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A few notes from the world of boxing:

• When former super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute suffered a left hand injury and needed subsequent surgery to remove bone fragments, his showdown with former light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal scheduled for May 25 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, where they are both stars, was postponed.

Then came the announcement that it would be delayed for quite some time -- either until Dec. 7 or Jan. 25, depending on the schedules of HBO and the venue. Now it looks like the fight is going to take place in January, according to Pascal promoter Yvon Michel.

“Most likely it will be in January as there are no longer Saturdays available at Bell Centre in December because of the Canadiens of the NHL,” Michel told ESPN.com.

Pascal (27-2-1, 16 KOs) has not fought since easily outpointing Aleksy Kuziemski in a 10-round fight on Dec. 14, and it will have been 13 months since his last fight by the time he faces Bute. Bute (31-1, 24 KOs) lost his title by fifth-round knockout to Carl Froch in May 2012 and has fought just once since, struggling to a decision win against Denis Grachev in November. He will have gone 14 months between fights.

• Michel also said that he is expecting to receive a signed agreement in the coming days from former light heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud and his promoter, Don King, which would finalize a deal for Cloud to challenge champion Adonis Stevenson on Sept. 28 (HBO) at the Bell Centre. Stevenson won the title with a sensational 76-second knockout of Chad Dawson on June 8. Cloud lost his version of the 175-pound title in his last fight, losing a clear unanimous decision to Bernard Hopkins on March 9.

• Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. faces Bryan Vera in a super middleweight fight and Demetrius Andrade and Vanes Martirosyan square off for a vacant junior middleweight belt in the featured bouts Sept. 7 (HBO) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but Top Rank is putting a number of its best fighters on the untelevised undercard (although, fortunately, most of them will be streamed live on Top Rank’s website). According to Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti, the card will also include bouts involving blue-chip junior lightweight prospect Oscar Valdez, middleweight rising contender Matvey Korobov, newly signed junior welterweight contender Karim Mayfield, junior lightweight contender Diego Magdaleno (in his first bout since losing a split decision to world titleholder Rocky Martinez in April) and junior lightweight Jose Felix.

Andrade stoked for title shot

August, 6, 2013
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Demetrius Emily Harney/Fightwireimages.comDemetrius Andrade will face Vanes Martirosyan for a junior middleweight vacant belt.
Junior middleweight contender Demetrius Andrade is pumped up to be fighting for a world title. He gets to face Vanes Martirosyan for a vacant belt on Sept. 7 (HBO) on the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Brian Vera undercard at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“I am looking forward to this fight and have been waiting for this fight ever since I walked into the gym at age 7,” Andrade said. “I always wanted to be champion of the world, and on Sept. 7th, I will be crowned champion.”

Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs) was supposed to travel to Ukraine to challenge Zaurbek Baysangurov for his 154-pound belt on July 6, but Baysangurov suffered a back injury, withdrew from the bout and was eventually stripped as per the terms of the purse bid that had taken place a couple of months earlier.

That left Andrade, 25, of Providence, R.I., to face Martirosyan, the next leading available contender, for the vacant belt.

Andrade was a star amateur who won a gold medal in the 2007 world amateur championships and was also a 2008 U.S. Olympian. But in Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs), Andrade will be facing another fighter with a strong amateur background. Martirosyan, 27, of Glendale, Calif., was a 2004 U.S. Olympian.

“I wanted to win an Olympic gold medal, and since they took that from me, I am going to take this world title,” Andrade said. “I was a 2008 Olympian, and he made it in 2004. I will show him that if I was around in 2003 and 2004, he would not have made the team.”

Martirosyan-Andrade in Macau?

July, 18, 2013
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Junior middleweights Vanes Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs) and Demetrius Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs), due to meet for a vacant world title, most likely will do so in Macau, China, on the HBO PPV undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios fight on Nov. 23, according to Cameron Dunkin, Martirosyan's manager.

Dunkin said the deal isn't done yet, but that it's being finalized.

He also said that middleweight prospect Matt Korobov (20-0, 12 KOs), who was so impressive in destroying durable veteran Ossie Duran in the third round on June 15, will be back Sept. 7 in Los Angeles on the undercard of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Brian Vera fight, assuming Chavez gets his visa and the card takes place. "Korobov will fight on the Chavez undercard and then we hope to bring him back to be on HBO in the fall," Dunkin said.

Big plans ahead for Top Rank

July, 10, 2013
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Nonito Donaire and Vic DarchinyanCourtesy Marty Rosengarten for Ringsidephotos.com Nonito Donaire could be headed toward a rematch of his 2007 knockout win against Vic Darchinyan.
After talking with Top Rank chairman Bob Arum on Tuesday about the Orlando Salido-Orlando Cruz vacant featherweight title bout that will be on the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez HBO PPV undercard Oct. 12, we discussed several other fights he has in the works. Here's an update:

• Former junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs), who lost his belt by decision to Guillermo Rigondeaux in an April 13 unification bout, will be back in November.

"HBO is giving him a date in November and we're talking about a rematch with [Vic] Darchinyan," Arum said. "That's the fight Darchinyan wants and that's the fight that [Donaire manager] Cameron [Dunkin] wants."

Arum said the bout would be at junior featherweight, even though Donaire talked about moving up to featherweight after the April loss. In 2007, Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KOs) was a big favorite when he faced Donaire in defense of his flyweight title, but Donaire scored a ferocious fifth-round knockout to win the title and there has been on and off talk about a rematch since.

• Although Rigondeaux (12-0, 8 KOs) defeated Donaire, Arum said HBO has shown no interest in his next fight. "Every time I mention him, they throw up," Arum said. Rigondeaux, while immensely talented does not make for exciting fights.

"So I have to figure out who I could put him in with," said Arum, adding that he didn't think it was right that HBO pushed for him to match Donaire with Rigondeaux and now has turned its back on the winner.

• The date for interim junior welterweight titlist Mike Alvarado's return is Oct. 19 (HBO) in a fight that would take place in his hometown of Denver. Arum said he's close to finalizing a deal with Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions for Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs) to face Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs), who gave Bradley such a tough fight in March only to lose a close decision, despite nearly knocking Bradley out at least three different times in the action-packed fight.

• Arum said that even though HBO said it isn't interested in the vacant junior middleweight title bout between Vanes Martirosyan, who is with Arum, and Demetrius Andrade, who is co-promoted by Pelullo and Joe DeGuardia, he's talking to Pelullo about a deal. "If I have to do it myself without HBO, so be it. The fight will happen before the end of the year," Arum said. "I owe it to Vanes." The fight is a match of undefeated former American Olympians. Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs) was on the 2004 team and Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs) was on the 2008 squad.

• If two-time Chinese Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming wins his second pro fight against Jesus Ortega, a six-round flyweight bout July 27 (HBO2) in Macau, China, Arum said Zou would advance to an eight-rounder for his third pro bout, which would take place on the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios HBO PPV card in Macau on Nov. 23.

• With Top Rank having reunited with Miguel Cotto for his Oct. 5 bout -- opponent not set, but likely to be Delvin Rodriguez -- Arum plans to put rising lightweight contender Terence Crawford (21-0, 16 KOs) on in the HBO co-feature. There is no opponent yet, but Arum said, "I'd like to make him with [interim titlist Yuriorkis] Gamboa." He said he is talking to Gamboa promoter Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson about the fight. Arum said Jackson is interested, but it remains to be seen if Gamboa is.

• Arum said he has met with super middleweight contender James DeGale (16-1, 11 KOs), a 2008 British Olympic gold medalist, and is interested in signing him. "He's a very nice guy and he wants to sign with us," Arum said. "I'm interested but I'm not interested in buying a lawsuit." Arum said he is still doing his due diligence to see if DeGale is still under contract to British promoter Mick Hennessy but that if he is a free agent, he'd like to sign him. "He's a very good fighter, but I know he's not the most exciting guy in the world. He'd certainly be a good opponent for [champion] Andre Ward. There's a lot you can do with him."

• Former featherweight titlist Mikey Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs) could return on the same November HBO card with Donaire, Arum said. Garcia, who knocked out Juan Manuel Lopez on June 15 but was stripped of his featherweight belt for not making weight, likely would move up to challenge junior lightweight titlist Rocky Martinez, Arum said. However, Arum said he's hopeful he can work something out with HBO to have Donaire and Garcia each headline their own show. If that happens, Arum said he would use the televised undercard slots to feature featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich and heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz if they both look good in their bouts in Macau on July 27 (HBO2).

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