USA’s Charles Conwell loses his first bout at Rio Games and is eliminated

Charles Conwell .jpg

Charles Conwell/Photo courtesy of USA Boxing


Charles Conwell’s stay in the Rio Games was a short one. The Team USA middleweight out of Cleveland on Tuesday lost a unanimous decision to Krishan Vikas of India and has been eliminated from competition.

Conwell, 18, was classy in defeat.

“I thought I pulled out the victory,” said Conwell, who graduated from Cleveland Heights High just two months ago. “He’s a good competitor, a good, tough guy. But I thought I did enough to pull it out. I can always do better. I’m a fighter, so I’m used to going out there and trying to get the feel and go off the momentum of the fight. I wish nothing but the best to my opponent and I hope he keeps pulling out victories.”

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USA lightweight Carlos Balderas now in quarterfinals with another win in Rio

2016 Team USA Media Summit - Portraits

Carlos Balderas/Photo by Harry How, Getty Images North America


Team USA now has two boxers in the quarterfinals at the Rio Games, thanks to a victory Tuesday by Carlos Balderas of Santa Maria. Balderas won a unanimous decision over Daisuke Narimatsu of Japan in the lightweight division.

“The guy was physically a lot stronger than me,” Balderas said. “He kept coming and I noticed that he was taking all of my punches; he has a good chin, so I couldn’t just tap and move. I had to find my way off of him or he would have been on me the whole fight. I just used more of my experience.”

Balderas, just 19, will next face Lazaro Alvarez of Cuba in Friday’s quarterfinals. Alvarez won a bronze medal in the 2012 London Games.

“It makes me happy because USA is getting really far, like I said they would, and now it’s time to enjoy this victory and I’ll be back on Friday against the Cuban,” Balderas said.

Balderas’ teammate, Nico Hernandez, on Wednesday will take on Ecuador’s Pilataxi Quipo in the quarterfinals of the light flyweight division.


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USA’s Nico Hernandez out-boxes No. 2-seed Vasilii Egorov of Russia in Rio

Nico Hernandez/Photo courtesy of USA Boxing


Nico Hernandez of Team USA on Monday won his second bout in the Rio Games, and his latest was an upset of No. 2-seeded Vasilii Egorov of Russia in the light flyweight division.

Hernandez, of Wichita, Kan., won by unanimous decision. He will next box Wednesday in the quarterfinals against Ecuador’s Pilataxi Quipo. A victory in that one would guarantee Hernandez a medal.

Hernandez defeated Manuel Cappai of Italy in the first round Saturday.

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Rancho Cucamonga’s Daniel Franco stays unbeaten with KO of Gallardo

Daniel Franco/Photo courtesy of


Daniel Franco of Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday remained unbeaten when he knocked out Marcello Gallardo at 44 seconds of the fifth round of their scheduled eight-round featherweight bout at Oracle Arena in Oakland. They tangled underneath the light heavyweight fight between Andre Ward and Alexander Brand, won by Ward via wide decision.

Franco, 24, decked Gallardo in the first and fifth rounds. Franco is now 14-0-3 with nine knockouts.

“I felt great right from the start,” Franco said afterward. “Everything we worked on in training camp came together tonight. I’ll take a short time off and it will be back in the gym to get ready for my next fight.”

Gallardo, of Renton, Wash., is 7-4-2.


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Nico Hernandez, Carlos Balderas will box Saturday for Team USA in Rio

Nico Hernandez/Photo courtesy of USA Boxing


Light flyweight Nico Hernandez and lightweight Carlos Balderas will be in action Saturday when boxing begins at the Rio Games.

Balderas, of Santa Maria, will take on Kazakhstan’s Berik Abdrahkhmanov in the morning session at Riocentro Pavilion 6. Balderas, of Wichita, Kan., will square off with Manuel Cappai of Italy in the evening session.

There are six American males and two females competing for Team USA.

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Shelly Vincent, Heather Hardy can’t wait to punch each other in the face

Heather Hardy/Photo courtesy of DiBella Entertainment


Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent don’t like each other. On Aug. 21 – they’ll get the chance to do something about that mutual discord when the undefeated contenders square off in a 10-round featherweight bout from Coney Island in New York City (on NBC Sports Network).

Hardy, of Brooklyn, is 17-0. Vincent, of Providence, R.I., is 18-0. Their unblemished records are on the line, but that doesn’t seem to be the most important thing to them. Rather, that would be teeing off on the other.

“I really can’t wait to punch Shelly right in the face,” Hardy said this week. “… Shelly started her career a little bit before me. She started showing up at my fights with all these antics from almost my pro debut and talking about wanting to fight me.

“It was inappropriate at the time, but then she signed with (promoter) Lou (DiBella) and we’ve both developed in our careers. Hats off to her, it worked. I’m ready to brawl.”

Vincent is equally anxious to throw down with her rival.

“I can’t wait to get in there and hit Heather,” she said. “She thinks there’s no pop in my punches, but she’ll be surprised on fight night. Heather and I really just don’t like each other. I’ve tried to make this fight for years and she wouldn’t take the fight.

“I’ve seen her lose some of these fights. I don’t believe she’s undefeated. I feel like she’s avoiding me.”

Hardy is ranked No. 1 by the WBC at super bantamweight. Vincent is No. 7 at featherweight. They will square off underneath the welterweight main event between Errol Spence Jr. (20-0, 17 KOs) and Leonard Bundu (33-1-2, 12 KOs), which will be on NBC.

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Andre Ward believes Alexander Brand could be dangerous on Saturday

Andre Ward/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports


Alexander Brand of Colombia has 26 professional fights, with all but four of them taking place in his homeland. Three were in the States, but none on a big stage. The other was in the Dominican Republic.

Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) is therefore nothing close to a known commodity. But Andre Ward, who Saturday will tangle with Brand in the light heavyweight main event at Oracle Arena in Oakland (on HBO), says he knows what he needs to know about the 39-year-old Colombian.

“I know enough about Brand,” said Ward, a former super middleweight champion. “He’s got everything to gain and nothing to lose. He swings for the fences with every punch. He’s a dangerous guy to fight.”

Brand has a knockout ratio of 73 percent. Ward’s, at 29-0 with 15 knockouts, is 52 percent. But Ward is so much better, that disparity won’t mean much when he squares off with Brand.

A victory for Ward will mean he’ll next challenge Sergey Kovalev for his light heavyweight title Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.


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Alexander Brand says he’ll have something for Andre Ward on Saturday

Alexander Brand works the mitts at Tuesday’s workout in Oakland/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports, Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos


Alexander Brand of Colombia is just days away from the biggest opportunity of his seven-year pro career. That will be Saturday when he takes on undefeated former super middleweight champion Andre Ward at Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland (on HBO). A Brand victory, though highly unlikely, would be an upset of huge proportions.

Brand knows that, so it was not surprising to hear about one of his comments during a workout Tuesday from King’s Gym in Oakland.

“I didn’t want to show too much at this media workout, but I’ve got something in store for the day of the fight,” said Brand, 39.

Let’s face it, this is nothing more than a tune-up for Ward, who has a Nov. 19 fight scheduled with light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, providing he beats Brand. To Brand, that works in his favor.

“Ward still has 12 rounds to fight before he can think about Kovalev,” he said.

Everything is against Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) for this one. Not only is he not nearly as talented as Ward, he has to try and hang with Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) in Ward’s neighborhood.

“It doesn’t really matter that the fight is in Ward’s hometown, it’s going to be a fight,” Brand said. “Wherever it is, whether it’s in his backyard or anywhere else, I’m coming to fight and that’s the most important thing.”



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Andre Ward claims he has only one opponent on mind – Alexander Brand

Andre Ward/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports


When unheralded Abner Lopez gave top-ranked junior welterweight Antonio Orozco all kinds of grief this past Saturday at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio before Orozco emerged victorious, it made one wonder if perhaps Orozco was looking past Lopez to a world-title shot that figures to come sooner rather than later.

Well, we’ll be looking at a similar situation this Saturday when Andre Ward takes on Alexander Brand, a relative unknown out of Colombia at Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland (on HBO).

Ward has a Nov. 19 fight scheduled with ferocious light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev of Russia at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. A loss by Ward would mess that up, as unlikely as that would be to happen. Still, it wasn’t surprising to hear Ward’s response recently when he was asked if he had watched Kovalev’s victory over Isaac Chilemba on July 11 in Kovalev’s native Russia.

Ward’s response was telling.

“No, I did not watch it,” Ward said. “He’s not my next opponent. It is, obviously, the end game and what we’re trying to get. But I didn’t watch it. I have to compartmentalize what I have to do right now. That’s just kind of how I operate and how I stay focused. I don’t want to juggle two opponents right now. I have to focus on one guy and that’s Alexander Brand on Aug. 6.”

Ward vows he won’t take a victory over Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) for granted.

“I will not take him lightly,” said Ward, a former super middleweight champion with a record of 29-0 and 15 knockouts.. “If I’m not successful Aug. 6, there is no fight down the road with me and Kovalev, and I’m very clear that it’s not just a fight for me.”

Ward said he holds himself and his team to very high standards, so just defeating Brand is not good enough.

“I have a certain amount of pressure on myself to go out there, perform and, hopefully, look good doing it,” Ward said. “So my team has looked at it (Kovalev-Chilemba), they are doing their due diligence. But, no, I personally have not looked at it.”



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David Benavidez says he won’t take a victory over Denis Douglin for granted

David Benavidez

David Benavidez/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions


One might think that David Benavidez (15-0, 14 KOs) is a heavy favorite to defeat Denis Douglin (20-4, 13 KOs) in the super middleweight main event Friday at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia (on ESPN), based on their respective records.  But Benavidez is only 19, Douglin is a southpaw and the New Jersey native is much closer to home than Benavidez, of Phoenix, will be when they square off.

Benavidez won’t be taking Douglin lightly, though, and that’s the right attitude to take into any fight.

“This is going to be a tough fight,” Benavidez said. “I know Douglin is hungry to give me my first loss. He’s coming off three wins in a row, so I’m taking this fight very seriously. Being that he’s a southpaw, I’ll have to do some things a little different.  We worked on all that stuff in camp, so I know I’m going to be ready for anything he brings to the ring.”
It’s true that Douglin has won three in a row, by knockout. But the combined records of the three opponents was 44-64-7.


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