Carl Frampton knows he’s fortunate to have the McGuigans in his corner

Carl Frampton/Photo courtesy of


When Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) of Northern Ireland challenges Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) for his featherweight world title Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime), he’ll bring with him a team that includes former featherweight champion Barry McGuigan of Ireland and his son, Shane.

To Frampton, this is an undeniably strong team, with the elder McGuigan as his manager and his son as Frampton’s trainer.

“Well, he brings a lot,” said Frampton, when asked what Barry McGuigan brings to the team. “He brings a lot of wisdom. Obviously, he’s been there and he’s done it. Barry’s my manager now and I think we have a great team. It’s his son, Shane McGuigan, who actually trains me. Shane is the one I listen to and comes up with a plan and the tactics.

“But everyone has a bit of an input. And, obviously, it would be silly for us not to take the advice of Barry considering he’s been there and he’s done it. So it’s great that we got people like this on our team who have taken punches in the head, who know what it’s like at the very top level of the sport. Of course, you’re just going to soak it all in.”

In other words, when the McGuigans speak, Frampton takes heed.

“And when someone like that gives you advice,” Frampton said, “you listen.”



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Elio Rojas will be eager to show he still has ‘elite’ ability when he fights Mikey Garcia underneath Santa Cruz-Frampton

Elio Rojas/Photo courtesy of


Elio Rojas of the Dominican Republic is a former featherweight world champion. But he doesn’t believe he was ever afforded the proper appreciation for that, so that’s one reason why he decided to accept a fight with former two-division world champion Mikey Garcia.

The two will tangle Saturday underneath the featherweight title fight between champion Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights and Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime).

“I’m taking this fight because I mean to show the world I’m an elite fighter, and the only way to show it is to beat the elite fighter, which is Garcia,” Rojas said. “That’s why I need to show the world that I’m able to be on top with the big names. I deserve this opportunity because the public never gave me the respect that I deserved.”
Garcia (34-0, 28 KOs), of Oxnard, is a former featherweight and super featherweight champion. He has not fought for 2 1/2 years because of a contract dispute with his now-former promoter, Bob Arum.
Rojas (24-2, 14 KOs) has had a long layoff, as well. He lost his title to Jhonny Gonzalez via decision in April 2012, took more than two years off, came back and won an eight-round decision over journeyman Robert Osiobe of Nigeria in August 2014 and has not fought since.
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‘Handsome’ Carlos Caudras discusses defense against ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez

Carlos Cuadras/Photo courtesy of Teiken Promotions


Apparently, Carlos Cuadras of Mexico is quite a character.

Cuadras was on hand Monday at the Fabulous Forum for a news conference promoting his Sept. 10 super flyweight title defense there against Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicarauga, who is considered by some to be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

When it was his turn to speak on the dais, Cuadras showed us his personality.

“I want to remind everybody that this fight will provide fireworks,” Cuadras said. “It’s going to be a war, and that title’s coming back to Mexico. I can assure you that.”

Cuadras paused and took a bottle of chocolate milk out of his coat pocket and began to drink it as “Chocolatito” watched and smiled.

“I want to remind everybody that I’m good, I’m fast … and I’m handsome, baby,” Cuadras said.

It was all good fun. But these two will be very serious come the fight. For Gonzalez, he is trying to become a world champion in yet another weight class. He has already won titles at minimumweight, light flyweight and flyweight and is again moving up in weight.

“My biggest motivation is getting my fourth title,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a blessing to receive that opportunity.”

Gonzalez, 29, is 45-0 with 38 knockouts. The way he goes about his business in the ring is a beautiful thing.

Cuadras, 27, is 35-0-1 with 27 knockouts.

Cuadras-Gonzalez will tangle the same night middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin will defend his three titles against Kell Brook in London. HBO will televise that fight live during the day, then show it on tape later that night as a prelude to Cuadras-Gonzalez.

The semi-main event to Cuadras-Gonzalez will be a rematch between junior middleweights Jesus Soto-Karass of Mexico and Yoshihiro Kamegai of Japan. They fought to a 10-round draw in April at Belasco Theater in Los Angeles.

Ticket prices for Cuadras-Gonzalez are $25, $50, $100, $200 and $300 and can be purchased at the Forum box office and through Ticketmaster.

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Oscar Valdez explosive in knocking out Matias Rueda in second to win title

Oscar Valdez/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


Oscar Valdez, a highly touted featherweight out of Mexico, is now a world champion after knocking out Matias Rueda of Argentina at 2:18 of the second round to win the title recently vacated by Vasyl Lomachenko.

The bout was the semi-main event to the junior welterweight title-unification fight between Viktor Postol and Terence Crawford won by Crawford via wide decision.

Valdez (20-0, 18 KOs) came out swinging and laid some serious leather on Rueda (26-1) in the first round. Valdez then decked Rueda with an absolutely vicious left hook to the body in the second round, Rueda tasting the canvas after a second delay.

Rueda rose at about nine seconds, but Valdez was on him again and landed several shots to the head before again decking Rueda with a body shot. The bout was waved off right then and Valdez ran around the ring in celebration.

“The best day of my life,” Valdez said. “It’s what my father and I have dreamed of since I started boxing.”

Rueda was simply overmatched, his record coming in notwithstanding.

“He caught me with a good (punch) in the second round and that was it,” Rueda said. “I could never recover from that.”

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Oleksandr Gvozdyk gets off canvas to knock out Tommy Karpency in 6th

Oleksandr Gvozdyk/Photo courtesy of


When Tommy Karpency decked Oleksandr Gvozdyk in the first round of their light heavyweight fight Saturday, it appeared their bout scheduled for 10 rounds could be over quickly. However, Gvozdyk (11-0, 9 KOs) recovered nicely and eventually knocked out Karpency with a body punch in the sixth round. The time was 2:21.

The fight was underneath the junior welterweight title-unification fight between Viktor Postol and Terence Crawford at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

It appeared Karpency could have gotten up, but he stayed on his knee and took the 10-count. He was pointing to his right eye after he was counted out.

“It was a great right to the body,” said Gvozdyk, of Ukraine. “It went deep. It felt good.”

Karpency (26-6-1), of Adah, Pa., was bleeding from a cut on the bridge of his nose. By the time the fight was over, his white trunks were partially covered with blood.

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Viktor Postol, Terence Crawford make weight for their showdown Saturday

Terence Crawford/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


All four fighters for Saturday’s two main fights at MGM Grand in Las Vegas made weight Friday.

Viktor Postol weighed 139 1/2 pounds and Terence Crawford came in at the 140-pound limit for their junior welterweight title-unification bout (on HBO pay-per-view).

Postol, of Ukraine, is 28-0 with 12 knockouts. Crawford, of Omaha, Neb., is 28-0 with 20 knockouts.

The semi-main event will feature a vacant featherweight world-title fight between Oscar Valdez (19-0, 17 KOs) of Mexico and Matias Rueda (26-0, 23 KOs) of Argentina. Valdez weighed in at the 126-pound limit, Rueda came in a pound light at 125.


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Viktor Postol brimming with confidence ahead of bout with Terence Crawford

Viktor Postol/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


Confidence is a force that can do wonders for a fighter. If Viktor Postol has as much as it sounds like he has, Terence Crawford could be in trouble Saturday night.

The two will square off in a junior welterweight title-unification bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). Postol, of Ukraine, is 28-0 with 12 knockouts. Crawford, of Omaha, Neb., is 28-0 with 20 knockouts. It’s just the type of fight that can be won by the fighter more sure of himself during the vital moments.

Postol was asked recently to explain what’s different about Crawford compared to others he’s fought. Postol mentioned all of Crawford’s fine points, such as his technical skills and his ability to successfully change stances. Then Postol spoke in very self-assured tones.

“But that does not mean he is the best I have fought,” Postol said. “I think Lucas Matthysse is a higher-level fighter than Crawford and everyone knows how my fight with Matthysse ended, with him knocked out and the WBC belt around my waist.”

Postol won a vacant title with a 10th-round knockout of the hard-hitting Matthysse this past October at StubHub Center.

“And that is exactly where the WBC belt will remain after my fight with Crawford,” Postol said. “Just above the WBO belt (currently held by Crawford). I am looking forward to destroying Crawford, destroying his perfect record and destroying his reign as world champion.”

Wow. This dude sounds serious.

Crawford actually likes Postol’s spirit, even if he doesn’t agree with everything he said.

“He is supposed to say he is going to destroy anybody that he is going to step in the ring with,” Crawford said. “But to my knowledge, I don’t care what he says because come (Saturday) he is going to have to show me; he is not going to just be able to tell you.

“He knew who to fight. He had the option of fighting either me or Matthysse and he thought Matthysse was the easier fight because he knew if he was going to fight Terence Crawford, he knew what was going to happen.”
Oh, yeah, this could be a good one.

Although Crawford has more knockouts, Postol has knocked out two of the three fighters he’s faced under the guidance of trainer Freddie Roach. Postol is also three inches taller and has a reach advantage of 3 1/2 inches.

Since Postol has a nice left jab, that could be a big weapon for him. Roach thinks so.
“Viktor has a height advantage and a little bit of a reach advantage,” he said. “He sets things up real well with his left hand.”

Crawford scoffs.

“It’s funny how all of the people are giving Postol all of the credit for his jab, but nobody is talking about how good my jab is,” Crawford said. “So I’m loving it.  I’m loving it.”

Those in attendance and watching on TV figure to be loving this fight. It’s a tough one to pick, but the feeling here is Crawford will prevail in a tough one.

The winner could get a shot at Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 5. But it’s doubtful these two will be thinking about that during what should be a tremendous back-and-forth bout with each boxer having big moments.

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Oscar Valdez ready for first title shot

Oscar Valdez is back in ring after short break, looking for first title; Photo by Mikey Williams, Top Rank

Oscar Valdez is back in ring after short break, looking for first title; Photo by Mikey Williams, Top Rank

The quick turnaround isn’t anything new for Oscar Valdez. He’s had shorter breaks, but if he’s successful Saturday, the sacrifices will be worth it.

Valdez, 25, a two-time Mexican Olympian, has finally arrived at his first title shot when he faces Matias Rueda, from the MGM Grand, Saturday for the WBO featherweight title.

The title was vacated after Vasyl Lomachenko moved to 130 pounds. Lomachenko recently stated this week that he’s staying at 130 pounds.

“I kind of knew after I fought (Evgeny) Gradovich,” Valdez said of possibly having a short turnaround. “Bob Arum went into the ring and asked if I wanted to take a long break or if I wanted to get right back at it because he had a fight for me soon.”

Valdez (19-0, 17 KOs) had an easy answer.

“I was fresh, didn’t have any cuts, I felt like I was in perfect condition,” Valdez said. “I took a couple of days off and went back to gym.”

Valdez said he started training camp at The Rock in Carson with trainer Manny Robles close to weight, allowing him more time to study the style and technique of Rueda.

“I study everybody, either in my weight class or close to it, because I know it is possible we might end up fighting,” Valdez said. “Once I got his name, I went back to find videos. He’s a typical Argentinean, like Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana. He’s a hard-hitter, 26 fights, 23 knockouts. I don’t care about his record and style. One thing my trainer Manny (Robles) is always telling me, don’t worry about what he’s doing, worry about yourself and what you’re doing to prepare.

“This is my shot. This might be my dream come true.”

Valdez competed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games for Mexico and quickly turned professional following the London Games.

His ascent has been quick, but he knows there’s more to learn as his career progresses.

“In boxing, you never stop learning,” Valdez said. “That’s the good thing about this sport. You can never get tired of learning. I love boxing, this is my passion. I don’t take much vacation time because I always want to get back in the gym.

“I feel like I still have a lot to improve on, nobody’s perfect.”

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Viktor Postol’s wife, Olga, delivers their twin sons a bit earlier than expected

Viktor Postol/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

Viktor Postol’s wife, Olga, was expected to deliver their twin sons at the end of this month. They came a bit early, however, with that blessed event taking place Tuesday.

Postol said at Wednesday’s final news conference promoting his junior welterweight title-unification bout Saturday against Terence Crawford at MGM Grand in Las Vegas that he was stoked his wife delivered before the fight.

“As you know, my wife gave birth to twin boys last night,” Postol said. “It made me very happy. It relieved a certain worry before this fight.”

Postol had promised his wife that when their sons were born, he would have a championship belt for each of them – meaning his and Crawford’s. Now they’ll be five days old if, and when, their father gets the second belt.

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Gennady Golovkin on hand for funeral services for boxer/trainer Gabe Lira

Gabriel L. Lira's Profile Photo

Gabe Lira, left, and his father Ben


Several hundred people turned out Thursday at Rose Hills Memorial Park for the funeral of former boxer/trainer Gabe Lira of Whittier. Lira succumbed July 13 after a 10-month battle with a fungal brain infection that eventually led to heart failure.

Speakers eulogizing Lira talked about his gregarious personality, how he joked with family and friends and was always smiling.

Lira went 7-3-1 with four knockouts in the 1980s. A parks and recreation worker, he helped his father train fighters out of the Teamsters Youth Boxing Club in South El Monte. Lira was 54.

On hand were middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and his trainer, Abel Sanchez. Lira’s father, Ben Lira, is Golovkin’s assistant trainer.

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