Luke Campbell to challenge Jorge Linares on September 23 in the US

28/07/2017 10:26

Three-weight world champion Jorge Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) will defend his WBA lightweight title against British challenger Luke Campbell (17-1, 14 KOs) on September 23 at the Forum in Los Angeles, USA.

Linares, 31, will also put his WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine belts on the line when he meets 2012 Olympic gold medallist Campbell, 29, who has racked up five victories since a points defeat to Yvan Mendy in 2015, stopping all of his last three opponents.

“It’s an honour to be fighting Jorge Linares for the WBA World title, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine titles in one of the biggest fights in the division,” said Campbell.

“I’ve worked my way from Olympic champion to the number 1 spot in the WBA and WBC rankings, and I feel now is the time to take my chance.

“All the pressure is on Jorge headlining back in the States on HBO and I am so confident I am going to leave with all three belts – I have tremendous respect for Jorge and this is going to be an unbelievable fight but this is the opportunity I have been waiting for as a professional and I must and will take it on September 23.”

Venezuela’s Linares, who will be fighting a British fighter for the fourth time after beating Kevin Mitchell and Anthony Crolla twice, is looking forward to fighting in the US for the first time since 2014, and topping a major card.

“I am excited to make my return to the United States and to headline an HBO show for the first time,” Linares said.

“I know Luke Campbell is a tough competitor with an incredible amateur and professional background, but I am confident that I will emerge victorious on September 23.”

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George Groves-Jamie Cox set for October 14 at Wembley Arena

24/07/2017 18:21

WBA super middleweight champion George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) will meet unbeaten contender Jamie Cox (23-0, 13 KOs)  on October 14 at Wembley Arena, for their quarter-final fight in the World Boxing Super Series.

When the competitors in the eight-man 168lbs tournament attended the draft on July 8 in Monte Carlo, the top four seeds picked their opponents from the unseeded boxers.Top seeded Groves opted to fight fellow Brit Cox.

Groves will also defend his WBA belt, which he claimed with a sixth round stoppage win over Fedor Chudinov in May, against his countryman.

”I’m really looking forward to getting started and it’s great to have a date set so early to give you something to strive for,” said Groves.

“I’m already in the gym plugging away and I’ve got plenty of time to prepare. The SSE Arena, Wembley Arena has always been a happy hunting ground for me. I’ve had many good nights there, and I’m looking forward to fighting there again.

”I’m happy with my choice of opponent. I know there are no easy fights in this tournament and there are no easy fights at world level, but Jamie is the guy I know the most about.

“I know about his background, I know how he trains, I know who he trains with, but most importantly, I know the things you need in this tournament, such as composure and experience at the highest level, he’s lacking. I’ve got them in abundance, but he’s brand new, he’s a total novice.

“I don’t think he’s even headlined his own show yet and he’s getting flung in the deep end with me. This is a big pressure fight for him and I think he’ll struggle to cope.”

Cox, a 30-year-old southpaw,  will be taking a huge step up in competition but is excited to be part of the tournament and ready to cause an upset.

“I’m glad George picked me, I was prepared for anyone but I was hoping for a UK fight so I can’t wait,” said Cox.

“George is a tough opponent. He has some good attributes but I’m prepared to shock everyone. This is what I’ve been working towards all my career, and to be a part of something this big is amazing.

“Now I’m here, I’m ready to capitalise on it and win my first World title and progress to the semi-finals.”

The first super middleweight quarterfinal is scheduled for September 16 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, where hometown fighter Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) will face Sweden’s Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs).

The other two quarter-finals – Chris Eubank Jr (24-1, 19 KOs) vs Avni Yildirim (16-0, 10 KOs) and Juergen Braehmer (48-3, 35 KOs) vs Rob Brant (22-0, 15 KOs), still need to be scheduled.

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Callum Smith to fight Erik Skoglund in Liverpool in World Boxing Super Series opener on September 16

20/07/2017 12:12

Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs)  will fight Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs) on September 16 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, in the opening bout of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament.

In both the super middleweight and cruiserweight eight man elimination tournaments, the winner of each could earn as much as $10 million (£8 million) for the final and will receive the Muhammad Ali trophy.

The top four seeds selected their opponents at the tournament draft on July 8 in Monte Carlo.

Number two seed Smith selected unseeded Skoglund, and will be given a hometown advantage, having been seeded in the draw.

“A ring is a ring no matter where it is but, of course, I’m happy to be fighting in Liverpool,” said Smith.

“This is my home, and this is where all my best performances as a professional have been. I like fighting in Liverpool, and with the crowd behind me, I will have an added advantage on September 16.

“There are no easy fights in this tournament. It’s the best fighting the best, but I believe I made the right decision in Monte Carlo.

“That’s not to say Skoglund is not a good fighter. I think he is a very good fighter. His record speaks for itself, but I think stylistically, he was the right choice for me. It will be a tough test.

“On paper, Skoglund is probably the best fighter I’ve ever faced, and I will need to be at my best to beat him. But every time I’ve been up against it in my career and every time there’s been that fear factor, it’s brought out the best in me and I’m hoping for the same on Sept. 16.”

The 27-year-old Brit was due to face Anthony Dirrell for the vacant WBC title in September, but instead opted to enter the World Boxing Super Series.

Sweden’s Skoglund, 26, has no problem traveling to Smith’s hometown, having previously boxed in Finland, Denmark and Germany, and is now excited for the opportunity to fight in the tournament.

“This is a huge opportunity for me to prove myself at the highest level,” said Skoglund.

“Callum Smith is a top-level fighter and one of the tournament favorites. This is what the World Boxing Super Series is all about — the best fighting the best. That’s why I entered, and that’s why I’m really looking forward to this fight.

“For me, it’s no problem fighting in Liverpool. Of course, I am always thankful for the opportunity to fight in front of my fans in Sweden, but I’m happy not having that pressure on my shoulders for this fight, and I will enjoy being the underdog for once.”

The three other super middleweight quarterfinals are due to take place in September and October.

Specific dates and locations still need to be determined.

The match-ups are, George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) vs Jamie Cox (23-0, 13 KOs), Chris Eubank Jr (24-1, 19 KOs) vs Avni Yildirim (16-0, 10 KOs), and Juergen Braehmer (48-3, 35 KOs) vs Rob Brant (22-0, 15 KOs).

The semifinals are scheduled for early 2018 and the final in May 2018.

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Terry Flanagan pulls out of title defence against Felix Verdejo due to leg injury

17/07/2017 20:47

WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs) has pulled out of his title defence against mandatory challenger Felix Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs) on September 16 at the Copper Box Arena in London, after suffering a leg injury in training.

Flanagan’s promoter Frank Warren informed Top Rank on Monday that the fight will need to be pushed back due to the injury.

“They’re claiming that Flanagan has a leg injury. Frank sent an email to Bob (on Monday) morning,” said Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti. “He said that Flanagan sustained a leg injury and that they will get back to us shortly on rescheduling the fight.”

The September 16 card still features WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) defending his title against Willie Monroe Jr (21-2, 6 KOs).

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Eubank hammers Abraham en route to points win

16/07/2017 07:31

IBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr (25-1, 19 KOs) scored a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision over former two-weight world champion Arthur Abraham (46-6, 30 KOs) on Saturday night at the SSE Arena in London, England.

Eubank, 27, was not able to land the knockout punch, but unloaded heavy blows on the battle-hardened Abraham, 37, throughout and won by scores of 120-108 and 118-110 twice.

The Briton connected with a series of solid shots in the early rounds as the Armenian-born German-based Abraham backed away.

Abraham, who needed three attempts to make weight, continued to cover up on the ropes, perhaps hoping his younger opponent would tire out. But he didn’t.

Eubank sustained the high volume of punches into the second half of the fight, putting Abraham under intense pressure in the seventh round and rocking Abraham with hooks.

Abraham was throwing the occasional single shots and did catch Eubank in the 11th with a big left, but Eubank responded with another barrage of blows.

It was a one-sided fight but Abraham finished it on his feet to once again prove his toughness.

Eubank retained his IBO title which he won when he defeated Renold Quinlan 10th round TKO in February.

Next Eubank joins fellow Britons George Groves, Jamie Cox and Callum Smith in the World Boxing Super Series, an eight-man tournament which is due to start in September. He will face Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (16-0, 10 KOs) in the quarter-final.

Also on the card, IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby (26-1, 9 KOs) retained his title with a 12 round unanimous decision over former WBA champion Jonathan Victor Barros (41-5-1, 22 KOs).

The Welshman controlled the bout with his speed and movement from the start.

Selby overcome a cut over the right eye from a head clash in the fifth and continued to get the better of the Argentine, dropping Barros with a left hook in the final round before winning with scores of 119-108 and 117-110 twice.

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Vasyl Lomachenko to meet Miguel Marriaga in world title defence on August 5

13/07/2017 18:18

WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs) will defend his title aganist Colombian challenger Miguel Marriaga ( 25-2, 21 KOs) on August 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.

The Ukrainan boxer had hoped to avenge his only pro defeat in a rematch with three-time featherweight world champion Orlando Salido, but the Mexican turned down the fight.

“Of course, I wanted to fight Salido but that’s not happening,” said Lomachenko. “Now I must deal with Marriaga, who had the courage to take this fight.

“Every fight is important for me. My goal is to be the best fighter in the world.”

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko, in only his second pro fight, challenged Salido for the WBO featherweight title, but lost a close split-decision in March 2014. Salido failed to make weight the day before the fight and was stripped of his world title.

Lomachenko went on to win the same world title in his following bout when he outpointed Gary Russell Jr in June 2014. He made three successful defences before moving up to 130 pounds and knocking out Roman Martinez to claim his second world title.

In his most recent fights, Lomachenko scored dominant stoppage wins over Nicholas Walters and Jason Sosa, and he now meets Marriaga, who is attempting to win a world title for the third time, previously losing points decisions at featherweight to Walters in June 2015, and Oscar Valdez in April in his last outing.

“I am in boxing to fight in the biggest fights. There is nothing bigger than fighting Lomachenko,” said Marriaga. “I am going into the ring to win this fight. No one is unbeatable, not even Lomachenko.

“I have respect but no fear of Lomachenko and I cannot wait to fight for his world title.”

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Denis Lebedev defeats Mark Flanagan to defend WBA cruiserweight belt

10/07/2017 07:39

WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (30-2, 22 KOs) defeated Australia’s Mark Flanagan (22-4, 15 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision on Sunday night at the DIVS in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Lebedev floored Flanagan in the ninth round on the way to retaining his title by scores of 119-108, 119-108 and 120-107.

The Russian fighter was always in control, increasing his punch rate as the fight progressed, while Flanghan threw just enough punches to keep him in the contest.

 Lebedev dropped the visitor with a hard left to the body in the ninth. But when Flanagan got up, Lebedev never pushed for the stoppage.

Lebedev lost the IBF belt to contryman Murat Gassiev by decision last December, but his WBA title wasn’t at stake.

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Terry Flanagan to fight Felix Verdejo on September 16

07/07/2017 12:29

WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs) will fight mandatory challenger Felix Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs) on September 16 at the Copper Box Arena in London, England.

Flanagan, 28, will be making his sixth world title defence since winning the vacant WBO belt in a 5th round injury stoppage win over Jose Zepeda in July 2015. The fight was stopped in the secondd round after Zepeda suffered a dislocated left shoulder. The Englishman went on to defeat Diego Magdaleno, Derry Mathews, Mzonke Fana, Orlando Cruz and Petr Petrov.

Puerto Rico’s Verdejo, 24, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Oliver Flores in February, in his first fight back since a motorcycle accident last summer which left him in hospital for five days with numerous cuts and bruises. The injuries sidelined Verdejo for the remainder of 2016.

In fighting Flanagan, Verdejo will be taking a step up in competion, but also, Verdejo will be the best fighter Flanagan has come up against.

The winner of Flanagan-Verdejo looks set for unification fights against fellow 135 pound world champions Jorge Linares, Mikey Garcia or IBF Robert Easter Jr.

Also on the card, WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) will defend his title against American contender Willie Monroe Jr (21-2, 6 KOs).

The British southpaw was initially scheduled to fight mandatory challenger Avtandil Khurtsidze on July 8 in London, but the fight was canceled after Khurtsidze was arrested for charges relating to a Russian organised crime gang.

Saunders, 27, has not fought since his points win over Artur Akavov six months ago, in his first defence of the WBO belt he won when he outpointed Andy Lee in December 2015.

Monroe, 30, also a southpaw, has won two fights in a row since Gennady Golovkin stopped him in the sixth round of his previous world title challenge in May 2015.

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Horn dethrones Pacquiao by controversial decision

02/07/2017 07:36

Underdog and hometown fighter Jeff Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) dethroned WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) by a controversial 12 round points decision on Sunday at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Many of the rounds were close and could of gone either way, but most observers felt Pacquiao had done enough to retain his 147 pound title. However the judges saw it differently with scores of 117-111 115-113 twice, all for Horn.

Little known Horn, 29, who previously worked as a PE teacher, started well, fighting aggressively and took the fight to Pacquiao in the first round. But the Filipino came on strong in the following rounds.

Pacquiao, 38, boxing’s only eight-division world champion, cut Horn over the right eye in the third as he started to land some hard shots.

An accidental head clash in the sixth opened a cut on Pacquiao’s hairline, and then Horn landed some solid punches of his own, rocking Pacquiao with a right hand.

There was another accidental head clash in the seventh, and it cut Pacquiao again, this time near his left eye.

This appeared to give Horn confidence as he piled on the punches , which got the crowd excited.

Pacquiao upped his aggression in the eighth and he had a huge ninth, battering the Australian with numerous brutal shots.

At the end of the round, referee Mark Nelson went to Horn’s corner and told him he had to “show me something” in the 10th or he would stop the fight.

Horn showed his toughness and fought back well, exchanging blows with Pacquiao for the remainder of the fight.

Pacquiao, who has not scored a stoppage win since 2009, tried to land the KO blow but Horn also fought hard until the final bell, which controversially proved enough for the juges to award Horn the upset win.

“He was a tough opponent, I didn’t expect that tough” said Pacquiao. “I tried to knock him out in the ninth round, but he survived.

“That’s the decision of the judges, I respect that.”

Pacquiao, who was making the first defence of the title he won by a one-sided points decision against Jessie Vargas in November, also said he will exercise his contractual right to a rematch against Horn.

“I thought I was coming forward more and landing the cleaner blows, said Horn. “That’s just my opinion.

“I managed to get the decision. It was close.”

Also on the card, IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (27-1-1, 18 KOs) retained his title with a seventh round TKO over Japan’s Teiru Kinoshita (25-2-1, 8 KOs).

The Filipino fighter took control of the fight when an overhand left opened a cut along Kinoshita’s right eye.

Ancajas busted up the challenger with more hard shots before a body shot dropped Kinoshita in the seventh round.

Kinoshita got up but the referee saved him from further punishment at 1:53 of the round.

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Easter battles hard to points win over Shafikov

01/07/2017 07:41

IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter (20-0, 14 KOs) defeated Russian challenger Denis Shafikov (38-3-1, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision on Friday night at he Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio, USA.

Both fighters had their moments and exchanged blows throughout the fight, although two of the judges awarded Easter every round with scores of 120-108, while the third scored it 116-112 for the unbeaten champion.

Easter won rounds when he used his height and reach advantage to land jabs and hard right hands. But Shafikov’s non-stop pressure fighting forced the American to trade punches at close range for many of the rounds.

“I rate myself a B-minus. I could have done a lot better,” said Easter. “Shafikov is a tough opponent, but we got the job done.”

Easter was making the second defence of his 135-pound belt. Shafikov was attempting to win the world title for a third time after losing points decisions to Rances Barthelemy in 2015, and Miguel Vazquez in 2014, in lightweight bouts for the same IBF belt.    

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