Viktor Postol is playing psychological games with Terence Crawford

Viktor Postol/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


Viktor Postol is coming off a 10th-round knockout of hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse this past October at StubHub Center. Postol is now just eight days from a junior welterweight title-unification bout against Terence Crawford on July 23 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

It sounds like Postol is trying to get into Crawford’s head by suggesting that Matthysse is a better fighter than Crawford, who has won titles in two weight classes and possesses a record of 28-0 with 20 knockouts.

It is my subjective opinion, but it is my opinion from what I have seen and from the opposition that Matthysse has had before he fought me and the opposition that Crawford has had,” Postol said this week during a conference call. “I think that Matthysse is a better fighter and more experienced fighter.”

Postol (28-0, 12 KOs) won his title with the win over Matthysse.


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Former boxer/trainer Gabe Lira dies at 54 after 10-month battle with illness

Gabriel L. Lira's Profile Photo

Gabe Lira, left, with his father Ben

Gabe Lira, a former boxer and trainer from Whittier, died Wednesday following a 10-month battle with a fungal brain infection. Lira, just 54, succumbed after his heart gave out at Pomona Valley Hospital.

Lira helped his father, longtime area trainer Ben Lira, train boxers out of the Teamsters Youth Boxing Club in South El Monte. Gabe Lira was also a parks and recreation worker and his father learned during the ordeal that made him more susceptible to a fungal brain infection by being around eucalyptus as well as bird and pigeon droppings.

Gabe Lira, who attended Pioneer High in Whittier, boxed professionally from 1982-86. He went 7-3-1 with four knockouts as a featherweight and super featherweight.

Details on his services are pending.



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Freddie Roach has threatening message for Terence Crawford and his team

Viktor Postol/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach on Thursday had some rather threatening words for the Terence Crawford camp. Crawford and Viktor Postol, who is trained by Roach, will tangle in a junior welterweight title-unification bout July 23 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

During a conference call, Roach intimated Team Crawford might be taking a victory for granted.

“I think this is a great opportunity,” Roach said. “I think that maybe they (Team Crawford) are underestimating us a little bit. But they’ll pay for that.”

Crawford, 28, is from Omaha, Neb. He is 28-0 with 20 knockouts. Postol, 32, is from the Ukraine. He is 28-0 with 12 knockouts.

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Chris Arreola not concerned about Deontay Wilder’s hometown advantage

Chris Arreola

Chris Arreola/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions


When Chris Arreola challenges Deontay Wilder for his heavyweight world title Saturday from Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala., he’ll be doing so in front of Wilder’s fans as Wilder is from Tuscaloosa, Ala.

That would seem to make Arreola even more of an underdog than he already is, but he claims he’s not worried about that part of his task.

“I expect him to have a lot of fans and he’s very deserving of that,” Arreola said of Wilder. “He’s made things happen in this state and this state is lucky to have a fighter like him. But no one can get in there with him. The fans can’t fight for him. I love the fans, but they’re just there to watch. It’s just me and Wilder in there Saturday.”

Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs), of Riverside, will be trying for the third time to become the first fighter of Mexican descent to win a major heavyweight title. He was stopped inside the distance by Vitali Klitschko in 2009 and by Bermane Stiverne in 2014.

Wilder is 36-0 with 35 knockouts and will be looking to make his fourth successful defense.

Arreola-Wilder will be televised live on Fox.


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Deontay Wilder believes Chris Arreola is tailor-made for his KO power

Deontay Wilder

Deontay Wilder/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions


Deontay Wilder is 36-0 with 35 knockouts. To say he has been a knockout artist, would be an understatement. In Wilder’s mind, Chris Arreola  (36-4-1, 31 KOs) is tailor-made for him in this regard.

“When it comes to Deontay Wilder, people look for the knockouts and I deliver,” said Wilder, who will defend his heavyweight world title against Arreola on Saturday from Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. (on Fox). “What separates me from other heavyweights is the fashion in which I knock guys out. I don’t just knock you out, I really put you out.
“Arreola definitely has a style prone to a knockout. He’s a pressure fighter who will come forward all night. That plays to my style. I love pressure fighters who give me a challenge. They keep me moving and thinking. I love the sweet science and the art to it.”
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Sammy Vasquez Jr. knows road to title in welterweight division a rough one

Sammy Vasquez Jr.

Sammy Vasquez Jr./Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions


Sammy Vasquez Jr. is ranked as high as No. 8 in the world by one governing body. But it’s in the welterweight division, which is loaded with talent. The champions are Keith “One Time” Thurman, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook and Jesse Vargas and two of the contenders are Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter.

Vasquez therefore knows it won’t be easy getting to the promised land that is a world championship.

“The division is loaded with great fighters,” said Vasquez, of Monessen, Pa. “With the exception of Jesse Vargas, all the champions are undefeated. The road to get to the top is very tough because everyone in the top 10 is an exceptional fighter.  I think it’s the toughest division in boxing.”

Vasquez is 21-0 with 15 knockouts. He’ll take on Felix Diaz (17-1, 8 KOs) of the Dominican Republic on July 16 at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. They will tangle underneath the heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Chris Arreola (on Fox).

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VIDEO: Check out trailer of ‘Bleed For This,’ movie on life of Vinny Pazienza

Vinny Pazienza/Photo courtesy of BoxRec


Vinny Pazienza had quite the career, winning major world titles in the lightweight and junior middleweight divisions before sustaining a broken neck in a car accident shortly after he stopped Gilbert Dele in the 12th round to win the junior middleweight championship in October 1991.

Pazienza was told he might not ever walk again. Not only did he walk, he came back and boxed over 10 more years. It’s the stuff movies are made of, so the movie of Pazienza’s life – entitled “Bleed For This” – will be released in November. Playing Pazienza will be Miles Teller. Martin Scorsese is one of the film’s executive producers. Check out the trailer.

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Undefeated junior lightweight Andy Vences needs to step on the gas a bit



Andy Vences/Photo courtesy of BoxRec


Andy Vences of San Jose turned pro in October 2012, when he was 21. Nearly four years later, he is 15-0 with 10 knockouts. But he’s 25, so if he’s ever going to really make a run at something of substance, he’s going to have to step on the gas a little bit because he’s still fighting eight-rounders.

Vences will try to take a step in that direction when he takes on Moises Delgadillo of Mexico in the junior lightweight semi-main event July 9 at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore (on UniMas). It’s still just an eight-round fight, but he’s slated to fight again on Sept. 10 at the same venue, which would give him three fights in 2016 with the ability to have at least one more before 2017.

Vences said the focus in training camp has been to get stronger and faster, and he’s anxious to display the progress he’s made in those areas.

“This fight is very important to me,” Vences said. “I want to do well and show my improvements. I felt that we worked harder and with more intensity for this fight and it will show in the ring.”

What Vences would seem to need to do after this fight – assuming he’s victorious – is tangle with better opposition. Delgadillo is just 15-15 -2 with eight knockouts. Still, Vences is taking Delgadillo seriously.

“I looked at some videos of Delgadillo and he is a come-forward, high-volume puncher that likes to go toe-to-toe in the ring,” Vences said. “We have worked on some things specifically for him, like putting and landing more combinations on him. I know he is very hungry and will come to win, so I have to be at my best to win this fight.”


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Brooklyn heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller knows technique is vital

Jarrell Miller

Jarrell Miller/Photo courtesy of Salita Promotions


Jarrell Miller of Brooklyn is looking to make a name for himself in the heavyweight division. Although he has a record of 17-0-1 with 15 knockouts against very mediocre competition, he apparently realizes that this game is about a lot more than just power.

This past Saturday’s heavyweight title fight between champion Anthony Joshua of England and Alhambra’s Dominic Breazeale showed Miller that, if he didn’t already know it.

“I’m going back to basics in this camp,” said Miller, who next will take on journeyman Fred Kassi on Aug. 19 at Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. (on Showtime). “I’m an advanced fighter, but there are a couple of things I’ve wanted to work on. It’s easy for heavyweights to rely on power and forget about technique. You see what happened to Dominic Breazeale against Anthony Joshua?  His power didn’t mean jack because there was no technique behind it.  I want to be the kind of fighter who puts his technique first and power last.”

Breazeale was 17-0 with 15 knockouts when he stepped into the ring with Joshua, and Joshua stopped Breazeale in the seventh round. Breazeale’s lack of technique – he didn’t don the boxing gloves until he was 23 – was evident, especially when compared to Joshua’s.

Miller, 27, is ranked as high as No. 8 in the world by one governing body and No. 9 by another. He stands 6-foot-4.

Kassi is 0-3-1 in his past four bouts. But the losses were to Amir Mansour, Breazeale and Hughie Fury; the draw was against contender Chris Arreola. Kassi (18-5-1, 10 KOs) seems unfazed by Miller’s accomplishments.

“I approach Jarrell like all young fighters,” said Kassi, 36, of New Orleans.  “I’m a seasoned pro that has fought top-tier opponents. Jarrell will have to bring his ‘A’ game against me. He’s got size and power, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen.”


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Big opportunity for Norwalk’s Oscar Molina foiled in TKO loss to Jarrett Hurd

Oscar Molina, left, takes a right cross from Jarrett Hurd during their fight Saturday in Brooklyn/Photo by Ryan Greene, Premier Boxing Champions


It was good for Oscar Molina of Norwalk to get some national television exposure. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t take advantage of it.

Molina this past Saturday faced another undefeated junior middleweight – Jarrett Hurd – underneath the welterweight title fight between Keith “One Time” Thurman and Shawn Porter, won by Thurman via narrow decision at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS).

A victory would have been the biggest of Molina’s career, but he was stopped in the 10th round by Hurd. Molina didn’t agree with the stoppage. But he was well behind on the scorecards, so he wasn’t going to win, anyway, unless he somehow managed to stop Hurd in that final round.

“I felt like Hurd was throwing a lot of punches in the 10th round, but they weren’t really hurting me,” Molina said. “He was staying busy, but he was never really hurting me.”

Molina was decked in the first round. He said he wasn’t in trouble then, either.

“I went low and I had my head down and he caught me with that uppercut in the first round,” said Molina, 26. “He got me with a shot I wasn’t expecting, but it was definitely a flash knockdown. I wasn’t hurt.”

Molina blamed himself for not being able to figure out Hurd’s defense, thus resulting in Molina smothering his own punches. He vowed to return in better form.

“This was a big opportunity for me and I felt like I fought a good fight,” he said. “I’m going to come back stronger. We’re going to work on a lot of things and get back in there.”

Molina is now 13-1-1. Hurd, of Accokeek, Md., is 18-0 with 12 knockouts.


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