Dejan Zlaticanin predicts knockout of Mikey Garcia on Dec. 10 at Galen Center

Dejan Zlaticanin

Dejan Zlaticanin/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Dejan Zlaticanin of Montenegro won the lightweight world title with a third-round stoppage of Franklin Mamani of Bolivia in June in Verona, N.Y. It made him kind of a big deal in his homeland.

“To be the first world champion from Montenegro is historic,”  Zlaticanin said. “I think it’s made me a national hero in the country and I’m honored. The people in my country love me and I love them back.”

Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 KOs)  wants them to love him even more and he figures a successful title defense over someone like Mikey Garcia will do just that. The two square off Dec. 10 at Galen Center (on Showtime) underneath the main event between Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens and featherweight champion  Jesus Cuellar of Argentina.

“When I beat Mikey Garcia, that will make me an even bigger star,” Zlaticanin said at Thursday’s news conference in Los Angeles. “I think Mikey is a good puncher, and he has good timing, but I can hit him easily and I’m planning to knock him out.”
Garcia (35-0, 29 KOs), of Oxnard, has won world titles at featherweight and super featherweight. He relishes the chance to win one in a third.
“I’m really happy to have been given this opportunity to claim a world title in a third division,” Garcia said. “This is going to be an amazing fight. He’s a hungry world champion. He’s very dangerous. These are the kind of fights that I want. This is what I need to prove myself.”
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Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton exchange pleasantries at L.A. news conference promoting their rematch

Leo Santa Cruz

Leo Santa Cruz/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Trash-talking is part of the sweet science. Heck, it’s part of every sport. But it’s always nice when there is none because there’s nothing wrong with athletes showing some class.

Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights and Carl Frampton of Belfast, Northern Ireland on Thursday played host to a Los Angeles news conference promoting their Jan. 28 rematch at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime). The two squared off on July 30 at Barclays Center in New York City, Frampton taking Santa Cruz’s featherweight world title via majority decision in a close, and terrific, fight.

“I think the rematch with Leo Santa Cruz is going to be an amazing fight,” Frampton said to reporters and fans outside the Los Angeles Central Public Library. “The first one is considered one of the fights of the year. I don’t think it’s going to be any different. I think we’re kicking off 2017 with a bang, and Leo is an amazing fighter.”

Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) thanked Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs) for giving him the shot in July, and that he was only too happy to give him the rematch as quickly as possible.

“These are the type of fights I want to be involved in,” said Frampton, 29. “If you want people to remember you in 20 or 30 years time, when you thank boxing, you need to be thanking guys like Leo Santa Cruz. I respect him a hell of a lot, I respect him and his team.”

Santa Cruz, 28, was equally kind.

“Carl Frampton is a great fighter and you guys saw, he got the respect from you guys because he showed that he’s a great fighter, a great champion,” he said. “And I know it’s going to be a pretty even fight this time, too, a pretty close fight because we both are world champions and we both train really hard for our families, for you guys, for the fans – to give them great shows.”

Santa Cruz a couple of days earlier at a news conference in Belfast said that he’s looking forward to this training camp because for the first fight his father’s health was weighing heavily on him.

Promoter Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Spors announced at the news conference that Jose Santa Cruz’s cancer is in remission. A big round of applause followed.

Schaefer said more than half of the 13,000-plus tickets available for this were sold on the first day. They are priced $54, $104, $204, $304, $404 and $504.

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Jesus Cuellar confident ahead of his Dec. 10 defense against Abner Mares

Jesus Cuellar/Photo courtesy of BoxRec.com

 

There is a lot to be said for confidence. Featherweight champion Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) of Argentina appears to have that ahead of his Dec. 10 defense against Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) of Hawaiian Gardens at USC’s Galen Center (on Showtime). But he knows no matter how good he feels about himself, he has to perform when the bell rings.

“This is an important fight that I’ve wanted for a long time,” Cuellar said Tuesday at City of Angels Boxing Club in Los Angeles. “It’s an important fight for my career and to prove to everyone how good I am.
“Abner Mares is a high-level fighter. I have to beat him to reach the next level of this sport. That’s what I’m preparing to do. You’re going to see everything I’ve learned on Dec. 10. I love to train hard and I’ve improved greatly as a fighter. I’m going to put it all together in the ring.”
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Abner Mares believes champion Jesus Cuellar is ‘strong competition’

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Abner Mares/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

Abner Mares on Tuesday talked a lot about having trainer Robert Garcia on his team for the first time. The two will combine talents Dec. 10 when Mares challenges Jesus Cuellar of Argentina for his featherweight world title at USC’s Galen Center (on Showtime).

But when we asked Mares to size up Cuellar, the hard-hitting champion with a record of 28-1 and 21 knockouts, Mares said very little.

“I think he’s strong competition,” Mares, of Hawaiian Gardens, said at the City of Angels Boxing Club in Los Angeles. “That’s it.”

Cuellar is going to be the hardest puncher Mares has faced since he was knocked out in the first round by Jhonny Gonzalez in August 2013 at StubHub Center.

Mares, who turned 31 on Monday, is 29-2-1 with 15 knockouts. He has won world titles in three weight classes.

Cuellar, 29, will be looking to make his second successful defense.

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Vasyl Lomachenko makes his case for No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter

AP Photo

Vasyl Lomachenko celebrates after defending his super featherweight title with a 7th-round TKO of Nicholas Walters on Saturday in Las Vegas/Associated Press photo by John Locher

 

Making a fighter like Nicholas Walters quit is ultra-impressive. That’s what Vasyl Lomachenko did Saturday when Walters did not answer the bell for the eighth round of their super featherweight title fight at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

Did Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) make his case for best pound-for-pound fighter in the world? Perhaps. The two-division champion wants that recognition.

“I had my plan,” said Lomachenko, of Ukraine. “I knew it would take four rounds and then I went to work on him. Walters said he would do this and that he would do that throughout training camp, and in the end, he just quit.  I would like to fight (fellow super featherweight champion) Francisco Vargas next.  My goal is to be the No. 1 pound for pound fighter.”

Prior to the fight, The Ring had Lomachenko No. 7 in its pound-for-pound rankings. With his tremendous performance Saturday, it figures he’ll move up. Heck, it would be difficult to say any other fighter should be ranked ahead of him.

 

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Abner Mares believes nearly a year with Robert Garcia will benefit him Dec. 10

Abner Mares/Associated Press photo by Isaac Brekken

 

Abner Mares wants to again be a world champion in the worst way. Mares, who has won titles in three weight classes, parted ways with longtime trainer Clemente Medina and hired the more famous Robert Garcia to help fuel that endeavor.

That was 10 months ago. In the opinion of Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs), that makes this trainer change different than most. That was evident when he was asked Monday during a conference call to explain how he might have changed under Garcia.

“I know once you get a new coach they tend to get a fight right away, and they tend to fight the next six to eight weeks, and you don’t see much of a difference,” said Mares, who Dec. 10 will challenge Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) of Argentina for his featherweight title at Galen Center (on Showtime). “Why? Because you only have that small period of time to train and get to know each other. And I just mentioned a whole year with Robert and not only a whole year with Robert, a whole year of getting ready for this fight against a southpaw.
“And you guys know what type of coach Robert is. Not only does he bring  education to your boxing skills, but also that motivation. It’s always good to have that motivation, knowing that you have one of the best in your corner. So, you will see a different Abner and I think the best way to answer your question is you will just see a more mature fighter in me.”
 Mares has not fought since losing a majority decision to Leo Santa Cruz in a fight for a vacant featherweight title on Aug. 29, 2015.
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Vasyl Lomachenko realizes what he’s up against in Nicholas Walters

Vasyl Lomachenko, left, of Ukraine, punches Roman Martinez, of Puerto Rico, during the fourth round of a WBO junior lightweight title boxing match Saturday, June 11, 2016, in New York. Lomachenko stopped Martinez in the fifth round. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Vasyl Lomachenko, left, lands a punch to the head of Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez during the fourth round of their super featherweight title fight in June at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko won via 5th-round TKO/Associated Press photo by Frank Franklin II

 

As good as Vasyl Lomachenko is, as much as his promoter Bob Arum touts him as the greatest he’s seen since a young Muhammad Ali, Lomachenko knows he is in for a real nasty time of it Saturday when he defends his super featherweight belt against hard-hitting Nicholas Walters. The two will square off at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

“This is a very important bout for me because many boxing experts and many people in boxing rank Walters as the highest-rated fighter in our division,” Lomachenko said. “He is a very hard puncher and a very good boxer and for me it’s a very important thing to me to fight the best and it’s very important for me because everyone says he is a very good fighter.”

As for the Ali comparison, here’s what Arum told reporters during a conference call: “I would like to say this; that Vasyl Lomachenko is technically the best fighter that I have seen since the early Muhammad Ali. There is nobody that I have seen, and there have been a lot of great technical fighters that I have seen – Alexis Arguello was one, Floyd Mayweather certainly, Manny Pacquiao – but there has been nobody with the skills that Vasyl Lomachenko has.”

Lomachenko, of Ukraine, is 6-1 with four knockouts. The two-time Olympic gold-medal winner has also held a major world title in the featherweight division.

Walters, of Jamaica, is 26-0-1 with 21 knockouts.

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Bob Arum: If Vasyl Lomachenko beats Nicholas Walters, he should be candidate for Fighter of the Year

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo: TV Fight Time, Date and Live Stream

Vasyl Lomachenko will defend his title Saturday against Nicholas Walters in Las Vegas/Photo by Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

 

Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) of Ukraine on Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas will put his super featherweight world title on the  line against Nicholas Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs), a mean, hard-hitting hombre from Jamaica.

Not only does this fight have tremendous potential for great excitement, it could be absolutely vicious.

Promoter Bob Arum explained the reasoning during a conference call Monday.

“Well, they call Walters the ‘Axe Man’ for a reason,” Arum said. “I mean, he searches and destroys, you know, he’s a tremendous puncher. And he’s in with a technician who has enormous ability in boxing not only defensively, but offensively. So I mean, this is a
can’t miss fight and I want people to realize that not only do I believe that it will be a Fight of the Year candidate, I believe that if Vasyl Lomachenko is successful, he should be right up there in the consideration for Fighter of the Year.”

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Virgil Hunter believes mental toughness will make Kovalev-Ward ‘a great fight’

Andre Ward/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports

 

It’s possible Saturday’s light heavyweight title fight between champion Sergey Kovalev of Russia and Andre Ward of Oakland at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas could be a terrific fight. It could be the opposite if Ward looks to box all 12 rounds in crafty mode, frustrating Kovalev and fans alike.

During a sit-down with the respective trainers Wednesday, Virgil Hunter – Ward’s trainer – told reporters one reason why he believes this bout will be worth every cent fans spend.

“Do I believe that Ward will exhibit mental toughness? Yes, without a doubt,” Hunter said. “Do I believe that Kovalev will exhibit it? I’m sure he will as well. And that’s the making of a great fight.”

Ward is 30-0 with 15 knockouts. Kovalev is 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts. Their bout – and three others – will be available on HBO pay-per-view.

 

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Richard Schaefer confirms his Ringstar Sports will co-promote Frampton-Santa Cruz rematch in Las Vegas

Carl Frampton celebrates his win after defeating Leo Santa Cruz in the 12 round WBA Super featherweight championship bout at Barclays Center on July 30, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough in New York City. (Photo by Anthony Geathers/Getty Images)

Carl Frampton celebrates his victory over Leo Santa Cruz on July 30 in New York City/Photo by Anthony Geathers, Getty Images

 

Promoter Richard Schaefer on Wednesday confirmed that his new company – Ringstar Sports – will co-promote the Jan. 28 rematch between featherweight champion Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland and Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. RingTV.com reported this on Friday.

Schaefer is the former CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. He recently founded Ringstar, and his first order of business will be to co-promote the Dec. 10 fight between another featherweight champion – Jesus Cuellar of Argentina – and Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens at USC’s Galen Center (on Showtime).

Frampton took Santa Cruz’s belt via majority decision in July.

 

 

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