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.

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

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.”

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

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.

 

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

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.

 

 

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Maurice ‘Mighty Mo’ Hooker looking to make like Aaron ‘The Hawk’ Pryor

Maurice Hooker/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports

 

Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker is another in a long line of fighters hopeful of becoming recognizable figures in the boxing world. Hooker will have a tremendous chance to do that Saturday when he takes on former interim lightweight champion Darleys Perez in the junior welterweight semi-main event Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

They will tangle underneath the light heavyweight title fight between champion Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward (on HBO pay-per-view).

Hooker, of Dallas, is 21-0-2 with 16 knockouts. He has a solid knockout ratio of 70 percent. It sounds like his idol is Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor (39-1, 35 KOs), the late Hall of Fame junior welterweight champion whose knockout ratio was an amazing 88 percent.

“Aaron Pryor is one of the best,” Hooker said. “He brought a lot of knockouts. He was a great fighter whom a lot of people dodged. Like him, I’m coming into this fight with people dodging me. They are afraid because they don’t know what I can do. This fight means a lot … an opportunity to show them who I am. I am going to bring the knockout just like ‘The Hawk’ would.”

Hooker actually put his intentions regarding Perez into more, well, colorful words.

“My prediction for Saturday is a knockout,” he said. “I love knockouts. I am always going for the knockout. With every punch that I throw, even the jab, I am going to try to take Darleys Perez’s head off.”

Hooker, 27, is ranked as high as No. 9 in the world by one organization.

Perez, 33, is from Colombia. He is 33-2-1 with 21 knockouts.

 

 

 

 

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Claressa Shields ultra-confident about her boxing skills ahead of pro debut

Cleraa Shields (r.) beat Dutch fighter Nouchka Fontijn by unanimous decision.

Claressa Shields, right, celebrates her gold-medal victory over Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands in Rio De Janeiro/Photo by  Alex Livesey, Getty Images

 

Claressa Shields does not lack confidence, nor should she. Shields won back-to-back gold medals for Team USA in the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games. Now she’s on the brink of turning pro.

Shields on Saturday will take on Franchon Crews in a super middleweight bout underneath the light heavyweight title fight between champion Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Shields worked out for reporters Monday in Las Vegas. She touched on many subjects, including her decision to take her talents to the professional ranks rather than go for a third gold medal.

“When deciding to go pro, I thought about my legacy,” said Shields, 21. “I didn’t want to disappear for four years and win another gold medal, but have people not know my name or what I look like or how I box.”

Shields also discussed her talents, and her words demonstrated how self-assured she is about them.

“Expect to see a really good fight, a very skilled fight from me, this Saturday,” said Shields, of Flint, Mich. “The world is going to see a level of boxing that no woman boxer has ever shown before. I’m a smart fighter. I’m an entertaining fighter. I throw everything well and have great combinations.”

Crews, of Baltimore, will be making her debut as well.

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Danny Garcia, Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman ready to unify welterweight division

View Danny Garcia Profile

Danny Garcia/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Now that Danny Garcia has dispatched Samuel Vargas – not that there was any real chance he wouldn’t – his welterweight title-unification bout with Keith “One Time” Thurman can take place March 4 as planned. (A site is still to be determined).

The trash-talk has already started. Thurman was part of the Spike broadcast team for Garcia’s seventh-round stoppage of Vargas this past Saturday at Liacouras Center in Garcia’s native Philadelphia. Afterward, the two spoke inside the ring and had a few choice words for one another.

“I just had to tell Keith that he’s next,” Garcia said. “I’m going to beat him down. There’s not much more to say. Keith is going to get what he asked for and now he’s going to face a big dog.”

Said Thurman: “You have two big punchers meeting on March 4. I don’t see how the fight can go 12 rounds. I see myself as the best competition that Danny has ever faced.”

Garcia, 28, is 33-0 with 19 knockouts. Thurman, 27, is from Clearwater, Fla. He is 27-0 with 22 knockouts.

This should be a terrific fight.

 

 

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Danny Garcia says he’ll show Keith Thurman what he has in store for him

 

Danny Garcia, left, throws a punch at Robert Guerrero during their WBC championship welterweight bout, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Danny Garcia, left, lands a short left hook to the jaw of Robert Guerrero in January at Staples Center. Garcia won a vacant welterweight title with a unanimous decision/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill

 

Welterweight world champion Danny Garcia on Saturday will take on Samuel Vargas (25-2-1, 13 KOs) of Colombia in a non-title fight at Liacouras Center in Garcia’s native Philadelphia (on Spike).

Assuming Garcia wins – and he will – he will next take on Keith “One Time” Thurman in a highly anticipated title-unification bout March 4 at a site still to be determined.

The best thing about Saturday’s bout is that Thurman will be part of the broadcast team. Garcia was asked about that Wednesday.

“He (Thurman) will just get an up close and personal look at what will happen to him in March,” Garcia said. “I hope he’s paying attention.”

Never one to be left out of trash talk, Angel Garcia – Danny’s father and trainer – echoed that sentiment.

“Thurman may be on the outside looking in on Saturday, but he’s going to see what he has in store for him in March,” he said.

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Jessie Vargas believes a victory over Manny Pacquiao will make him a star

Welterweight champion Jessie Vargas works out with trainer Dewey Cooper for his fight Saturday against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. (Photo by Gene Blevins)

Jessie Vargas works with trainer Dewey Cooper/Photo by Gene Blevins

 

Jessie Vargas is a welterweight world champion, but he’s not exactly a household name even though he’s from Las Vegas, the fight capital of the world. If he beats Manny Pacquiao on Saturday at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, that will change.

“It would definitely put me on the worldwide stage, make me that boxing star that I have been looking forward to being,” Vargas said. “I have been waiting for this for a long time and I’m glad it’s here and I am going to take advantage of it.

“The only fighters to beat Manny Pacquiao have become legends themselves. So I plan to become one of the few to beat Manny Pacquiao and also become one of the legends.”

Bob Arum, whose Top Rank Inc. is producing the ($59.95) pay-per-view feed for the card, promotes both fighters. He agrees Vargas could alter how he is viewed by the boxing world.

“He becomes not just a champion, but a superstar,” Arum said. “I will deny to him that I said that because I will have to negotiate his next fight (laughing). He would be a superstar, there is no question about that, if he were to beat Manny Pacquiao. He has a hell of a shot to do that.”

Pacqujiao, 37, is 58-6-2 with 38 knockouts. Vargas, 27, is 27-1 with 10 knockouts.

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Taras Shelestyuk says he has learned a lot from ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley

Taras Shelestyuk, left, and Jaime Herrera square off after Thursday’s weigh-in/Photo by Carlos Baeza, Thompson Boxing

 

“Sugar” Shane Mosley may be 45, but the future Hall of Famer showed in May he’s still a decent fighter when he went the distance with David Avanesyan before losing a unanimous decision. It’s therefore not surprising to hear Mosley has been sparring with welterweight contender Taras Shelestyuk ahead of Shelestyuk’s fight Friday night against Jaime Herrera at Omega Products International in Corona (on Showtime).

Mosley likes what he sees from Shelestyuk (14-0, 9 KOs), who recently moved to Los Angeles from his native Ukraine.

“He’s on that championship path, that level,” Mosley said.

Shelestyuk, who won a bronze medal for Ukraine in the 2012 London Games, is soaking up all Mosley has to offer.

“Sparring with Shane Mosley has been huge for me,” Shelestyuk said. “He’s such a great fighter. When I was younger, I’d watch his fights. Now we spar. He’s older but still very good. He knows all the tricks and gives me a lot of advice that helps me in and out of the ring. Everything he’s said to me, I’ve tried to apply.”

Herrera, of Franklin Park, Ill., is 15-3-1 with eight knockouts.

 

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail