Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Devil is in the Details: Wilder Returns to Showtime May 18th

By Luis A. Cortes III

To say that the rumors swirling around the next fight for WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1)(39 KOs) were too many to count would be an understatement.  The biggest rumor circulating was that DAZN and Matchroom Boxing USA had offered a three fight deal worth upwards of $100 million to the Wilder camp.  When it became apparent that Wilder, who is a promotional free agent and is managed by the legendary Shelly Finkel, would not take the large offer, outcry against the champion began to occur from many boxing insiders and fans throughout the world of social media.

Involved in the proposed deal was $20 million for a first fight in May against a top contender and his mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale (21-1)(18 KOs), as well as two fights against the unified WBA/WBO/IBF champion Anthony Joshua (22-0)(21 KOs), with a reported $40 million for the first fight and a subsequent rematch being offered.  What was not accounted for was the fact that while the numbers were high and there were guarantees from the streaming service DAZN, the fights against Joshua would determine who the best heavyweight in the world is and would be tantamount to the largest business that the sport.  It would be the type of financial gain that would make past super fights like Lewis vs. Tyson look small.  These super fights between the two champions would no doubt equal a huge bump in terms of paid subscriptions to DAZN.  Something that Wilder in this first offer would not have any percentage of.

Guarantees from DAZN, while large, do not account for all the other revenue that would be generated.  Revenue from things like sponsorships, possible percentages from the purchases of pay-per-view buys, as well as the live gate.  While $80 million for two fights with Joshua sounds like a no brainer, in terms of where Wilder is as a brand name as the only current American heavyweight champion, the possibility to make more money and upwards of $50-$75 million for a single fight with Joshua, if it were broadcasted on pay-per-view, would make any fighter consider alternate routes.

DAZN, for their part will continue to broadcast title defenses from Joshua. However, until a business model is created where fighters who are not signed to Golden Boy Promotions or Matchroom Boxing can reap benefits from the revenue generated aside from a guarantee, such as the possibility of a percentage from new subscriptions generated from the announcement of the mega fight, or the monthly fee being raised from $9.99 a month to $25-$30 for the months that a Wilder-Joshua fights would be scheduled for, they will struggle to attract talent like Wilder.

With the monthly cost returning to its original $9.99 once the fights and months they are scheduled for are completed, these suggestions are just food for thought at this point and are things that will be kicked around by the brass and decision makers.  One thing is clear though, top tier champions and independent fighters like Wilder will continue to compete away from signing to streaming services if the details of super fights are not ironed out.  Wilder for his part is making it clear that like several past big named champions in the sport (Sugar Ray Leonard, Mikey Garcia, and Floyd Mayweather) is adamant that he will retain his independence from any promotional outfit, electing instead to continue to work with established relationships (PBC), unless an offer is made that he can’t refuse.

This brings us to the announcement today from Brooklyn that Wilder will indeed return to the ring on Saturday, May 18th against Breazeale.  While this seems to be a fight that can turn out to be entertaining, Breazeale, unlike Wilder's last opponent Tyson Fury does not carry a name large enough for the fight to be carried on pay-per-view.  As a result, and to the credit of Wilder, a deal was struck for the fight to be broadcasted live on Showtime.  Details of this deal have not been released, but it proves that Wilder is once again banking on himself as the premier heavyweight name (especially in America) as he continues to build his name and brand.  It’s a gamble on himself that if he continues to be victorious can pay off in the end when the eventual negotiations between the Wilder camp and Matchroom Boxing, the promoter of Joshua, start up again after Joshua’s title defense in June.

How this all plays itself out will be interesting to see.  One thing is for sure though, however this type of mega business is done to satisfy all parties involved could lead to a trickledown effect that will benefit boxing and its fans.  Other less lucrative super fights in the sport, such as Crawford-Spence or Lomachenko-Garcia, could in turn be figured out by the parties involved based off how Wilder-Joshua is eventually made.    

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Mikey Garcia Reaches for Greatness

Throughout the promotional build up for the mega showdown between IBF Welterweight Champion Errol Spence (24-0)(21 KO’s) and current WBC Lightweight Champion Mikey Garcia (39-0)(30 KO’s), the common theme has been that Garcia is simply put too small to contend with Spence.  Granted Garcia, while going for a world championship in a fifth weight class, will be jumping up two weight classes from where he currently holds a championship.  Garcia has fought at the 140-pound limit before, winning the IBF version of the championship, and while Spence will indeed be the biggest natural fighter that Garcia has ever faced, he is an experienced fighter that has been across the ring from every type of fighter that you can think of stylistically.

It’s this type of experience that Garcia believes will guide him to victory over the supremely talented Spence.  Six years ago, while still fighting under the Top Rank promotional banner, Garcia took on Juan Manuel Lopez for a portion of the featherweight title.  Garcia was defending his title but wound up losing his title on the weight scale when he failed to make weight.  While the fight went on (ironically in Dallas), Garcia wound up re-hydrating 14 pounds over night and entered the ring the much larger man at 142 pounds.  Since that fight, over the next six years, Garcia has consistently taken on tough challenges as his career continued to rise both in the pound-for-pound rankings and heavier weight divisions. 

Having flirted with the welterweight division before competing against a couple of naturally bigger fighters at 140 pounds, Garcia recognized an opportunity to fight the current welterweight champion that many within the boxing industry have dubbed the next great champion.  Spence presents not just the biggest challenge in terms of physical size, but it’s also the type of challenge that will plant Garcia atop the pound-for-pound tree of the best fighters in the world.

For this challenge, Garcia enlisted the help of SNAC (Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning) to help his body, gain the proper type of strength for this monumental challenge.  “We had to build more mass, a little more muscle, leading up to this fight.  But we don’t want to compete against Errol with just size and muscle.  I want to use my other talents.  I want to use my other attributes, like my speed, reaction time, my explosiveness,” Stated Garcia during a recent phone interview.  It’s that type of skill set that has gotten Garcia to this point in his career. 

Garcia throughout his career has established himself as a fighter with some of the best timing during a fight.  He may not have the most powerful jab, the fastest jab, but he knows exactly when to throw it.  His foot movements along with the jab have helped him to control both the pace of the fight and the range.  The fact that he has been able to do this against every style he has faced thus far makes it even more impressive.

“We want to make sure that we kept all of my feet and muscle work and I feel very good with the results.  We had a great training camp and I don’t think the size is what I’m going to be using.  So that’s what we have focused on and making sure that everything else was done in the right way,” stated Garcia.  This is what makes this fight such an intriguing matchup.  We will find out just how much all of the work with SNAC in order to truly gain the right type of size to compete with Spence will translate into the actual fight. 

“We had to make adjustments, we had to figure out how to use my range and my timing against a bigger guy, against a left-handed fighter.”  Garcia also went on to mention that before the boxing training took over this camp, and he was still working with SNAC, his weight got up to 160 pounds.  It was the work back at his brother's boxing gym that helped him to shed the extra pounds of muscle and to get his weight back to the welterweight division.  While Spence will be taking fight week to make weight getting the extra pounds off and re-hydrating once the limit is met, Garcia will most likely only gain a couple of pounds between the weigh-in and the start of round one.     

Granted, Errol Spence is indeed the biggest fighter Garcia has ever faced when they fight.  However, size doesn’t always mean victory.  Even if the size is accompanied by a tremendous body attack and the type of power that any fighter would love to possess, skills and a high ring I.Q. also have their place in boxing, especially when you are dealing with fighters on this, the highest level of the sport. 

Garcia will look to establish the range against Spence with his well-timed jab.  It’s his jab along with a hard-right hand after he pivots to his left to avoid the return punch from Spence that Garcia will use early to score and warm up in the fight.  If he can land his hard jab consistently on Spence, whom for his part has never really shown that he naturally moves his head as he moves forward, he may be able to start to lock up Spence’s neck and this can have the same effect on an opponent that a vicious body attack can.

If Garcia sees this working in his favor and he is controlling the range and dictating the pace of the fight, look for him to start trying to get inside of the longer arms of Spence and once on the inside rip power punches on angles.  It’s the common opinion of many experts and boxing insiders that Spence’s body attack, hard left hands, and good right jab will not allow any of this to play out in Garcia’s favor.  Although this may be the case, the whole world of boxing agrees about one thing:  Garcia reaching out to take on this challenge to cement his legacy in the sport is something that makes the sport so unique from every other one.  It’s the reason why people are true fanatics of the sport, because we all enjoy witnessing when a fighter like Garcia reaches for greatness. 

Errol Spence Jr. vs Mikey Garcia - Live Updates

By Milo Taibi, Ringside

Image result for spence garcia

PBC/Magna Media: Unbeaten IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol "The Truth" Spence Jr. defends his title against undefeated four-division champion Mikey Garcia in a highly anticipated and historic showdown for pound-for-pound supremacy that headlines a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event on Saturday, March 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Weigh-In will be ringside at AT&T Stadium providing live updates and results! Stay tuned here for undercard and main card action from Arlington, TX.

Jose Valenzuela vs Christian Velez 
  • Walkout bout time! Thanks to the slew of early stoppages tonight, only one of 17 bouts will follow the main event. Valenzuela secured a knockdown in round one, Velez looking unsteady entering the next frame. Valenzuela floored Velez again 1:40 into the 4th round, and the referee waved off the contest. Jose Valenzuela improves to 3-0, which caps an action-packed evening in Arlington, TX.
Errol Spence Jr vs Mikey Garcia 
  • Feel-out round to open things up. Mikey has his moments in the second frame, but we've got two evenly matched rounds entering the third. Spence targets the body with more frequency in the third, he holds a 2-1 lead on my scorecard entering the 4th. 5-1 Spence at the halfway mark. Errol was really busting up Mikey in the 6th, and could run away with the fight unless Garcia switches up strategy. The pro-Mikey contingent has fallen silent at AT&T Stadium, as Garcia's getting picked apart. 6-1 Spence entering the seventh, with "The Truth" showing no signs of wearing down. We reach the final bell, and judges render 120-107, and 120-108 x2 scorecards for Errol Spence Jr. Dominant performance, but let's see Spence against a guy of his caliber next time...preferably a welterweight. 
David Benavidez vs J'Leon Love
  •  J'Leon Love and David Benavidez come out cracking in this 10-round co-feature. Biggest shot of the round was a left hook that wobbled Love. Benavidez (21-0) whales away on Love (24-3-1) to open the second round, and the fight is stopped 1:14 into the frame. Grumblings of an early stoppage on press row, but Love had nothing for the younger Benavidez- likely time for J'Leon to consider hanging 'em up.
Lindolfo Delgado vs James Roach 
  • This bout was added to the PPV after a string of early stoppages. 2016 Olympian Lindolfo Delgado (9-0) continued this trend, stopping Roach (5-2) at 2:59 of the first round. Wipeout from the opening bell.
Luis Nery vs McJoe Arroyo
  • The long, lean southpaw Nery makes his PBC debut after a controversial run in Japan. Arroyo and Nery feel one another out in the opening round. Arroyo is knocked down in the second round. He beats the count, but Nery inflicts further punishment before the bell rings. All Nery entering the third round. Arroyo was knocked down again in the third, and the former titleholder is facing an uphill battle to win on points. Arroyo is floored by another Nery flurry in the 4th, and this has turned into a blowout. He beats the count, but hits the canvas again shortly after. Referee Laurence Cole lets Arroyo continue, but his corner does the right thing by stopping the fight between rounds. Luis Nery improves to 29-0 in his US and promotional debut.
Chris Arreola vs Jean Pierre Augustin
  • Augustin comes out in a southpaw stance. He's looking to tangle up and frustrate Arreola, who would prefer to slug it out. Jean Pierre hits the canvas during the first round but it's ruled a slip. Augustin out-landed Arreola through two rounds, but ate a straight-right from Arreola to open the third round, and was staggered badly. Arreola secured a knockdown shortly after, and then stopped Augustin standing up when the fight resumed. Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola improved to 38-5-1, proving he still has gas left in the tank. 
Charles Martin vs Gregory Corbin
  • Martin busting Corbin up through the first two rounds. The 38-year-old Corbin is resilient, but plodding as he maneuvers the ring. Corbin has a point deduced for low blows in the fourth round, no warning given. Another point deducted from Corbin in the 5th round, he's getting routed and almost certainly will need a knockout to win tonight. Corbin has a THIRD point deducted for low blows in the 6th round. The most recent infraction could have been a DQ, Corbin's facing an insurmountable deficit on scorecards. Through seven rounds, Corbin had landed 24 punches...woof. Good grief, Corbin goes low again in the 8th, and this fight is mercifully stopped. Charles Martin (26-2-1) picks up a much-needed W, albeit a painful one. Corbin had three points deducted for low blows and landed 26 total punches over 7+ rounds...shameful performance.
Marsellos Wilder vs Mark Sanchez
  • Mark Sanchez (0-3) provided little resistance in a 90-second TKO loss to Marsellos Wilder (4-1). Marsellos, Deontay Wilder's little brother, needed a get-back win after his January upset loss to William Deets. 
Fernando Garcia vs Marlon Olea 
  • Fernando Garcia (12-0) remains undefeated with a TKO win over Marlon Olea (14-5). Stoppage came 2:50 into round five. Olea now on a 2-5 skid over his last seven bouts.
Amon Rashidi vs Gabriel Gutierrez 
  • Gutierrez was down three times in a TKO loss to Amon Rashidi (6-0). Stoppage came 24 seconds into the sixth round. 
Jesse Rodriguez vs Rauf Aghayev
  • Rodriguez (9-0) picks up a TKO after Aghayev was unable to continue in the third round. 
Thomas Hill vs Limberth Ponce
  • Thomas Hill (8-2) beat Limberth Ponce (17-4) via split decision. Scorecards were 60-54 Hill, 59-55 Ponce, 58-56 Hill. Very entertaining scrap between the two super welterweights.
Aaron Morales vs Fernando Robles
  • Morales scores a 2nd round knockdown. Robles beats the count, and makes it through the round. Morales (6-0) would go on to pick up a wide decision with 60-53 x2, 59-54 scorecards. Robles (2-1) gritted it out to hear the final bell.
Adrian Taylor vs William Deets 
  • Nebraska native William Deets (7-13) scored an upset TKO of Marsellos Wilder in his last outing, but had no such luck against Adrian Taylor (9-1) tonight. Taylor picked up a UD win with 40-36, 39-37 x2 scorecards. 
Luis Coria vs Omar Garcia
  • Garcia dropped in the first round by the heavy-handed Coria. Omar hits the canvas again early in the second round, and the referee waves the bout off. Luis Coria improves to 11-2 with a TKO 53 seconds into the second round. 
Burley Brooks vs Randy Mast
  • Randy Mast, whose nickname is "The Exterminator," gets dropped by a body shot early in the fight. Mast writhed in pain on the mat, and was quickly stopped on his feet when the action resumed. Burley Brooks (1-0) picks up a win 1:16 into the first round of his debut.
Robert Rodriguez vs Fernando Ibarra De Anda
  • The 2-0 Rodriguez fights out of a southpaw stance, with "BIGGIE" emblazoned on his trunks. Rodriguez outclassed Ibarra en route to a unanimous decision; 39x37, and 40x36 scorecards twice.

Farmer Punishes Carroll over 12 Rounds in St. Patrick's Day Showdown

By Luis A. Cortes IIIRingside

The opening two rounds between Tevin Farmer (29-4-1)(6 KO's) and Jono Carroll (16-1)(3 KO's) were a bit slow as Farmer tried to get a feel for the type of fighter Carroll was.  In the third round, both fighters opened up as Farmer started to counter punch Carroll moving from side to side in order to avoid the punches from Carroll's high work rate.  These heated exchanges continued into the fourth round, but Farmer started to move away from Carroll until they started to exchange on the inside again.  

Farmer had a big fifth round landing clean counter punches that were powerful.  At one point, Farmer knocked the mouth piece out of Carroll's mouth.  The follow-up rounds saw Carroll bring a lot of activity to the fight, but he was constantly getting hit by the more accurate counter shots from Farmer.  Round eleven saw Carroll get beaten up by Farmer around the ring.  A huge right hook that Carroll didn't see rocked him, and he was a few more shots from being dropped.  

After twelve rounds of action all three judges scored the fight for the champion Farmer, 117-111 twice and 117-110.     

Taylor adds another belt to her impressive resume 

Unified featherweight champion Katie Taylor(13-0)(6 KO's) of Ireland and Rose Volante (14-1)(8 KO's) started fast as Taylor was able to land a short straight right that dropped Volante.  Following the knockdown, Taylor was able to control the early rounds with her skillful combination punching and footwork.  She caused a cut on the nose of Volante and punished her to the body with a left hook that stopped Volante's movement.  

Taylor came out in both rounds eight and nine throwing fast combinations in order to put a hurting on Volante.  She kept landing a beautiful left hook to the body that clearly was taking a lot out of Volante.  At the 1:40 mark of the ninth round, the referee stopped the fight.  With the victory, Taylor is now the unified WBA/WBO/IBF Featherweight Champion, and continues to move up the pound-for-pound ranks.    

Sulecki beats Rosado after he wars back in ten round battle

Things started out slow between Gabe Rosado (24-12-1)(14 KO's) and Maciej Sulecki (28-1)(11 KO's), until Sulecki caught Rosado bending down with a right to the ear that dropped him and wobbled the Philly native.  Rosado rose to his feet and finished the round, but as was the case in the second round,  Sulecki controlled the tempo and range of the fight with the harder punches.  In round three, Rosado was able to find a home with an overhand right that allowed him to control the round. 

Several of the next set of rounds started off with both fighters trying to use their jabs to establish control.  With the fight getting close in terms of the fighters exchanging winning rounds,  Rosado came out in the eighth round to try and get control of the fight.  As he threw a pair of power shots, Sulecki countered with a powerful left hook right hand combination that dropped Rosado.  Although he got up, Rosado was dazed and wobbled into a corner where he did his best to avoid power punches and make it out of the round.  

Round nine set the Liacouras Center on fire, as Rosado connected with a huge right hand that dropped Sulecki.  Rosado jumped all over his hurt opponent and mugged him with punches until he went down a second time.  They both warred in the tenth round, but it was Rosado landing upper cuts in close range that came away with the last round.  Sulecki was awarded the decision 95-91 twice and 95-93.  It was a great fight, that once again showed Rosado's warrior heart by making it an interesting ending.     

2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Luke Campbell (20-2) (16 KO's) stopped Adrian Yung (26-6-2) (20 KO's) in the fifth round, after overpowering him with a great body attack.  

Former amateur standout Raymond Ford (1-0) won his professional debut over Weusi Johnson (3-11) with all three scoring the contest 39-36.  Ford landed a big left hand that floored Johnson in the first.    

Daniyar Yeleussinov (6-0) (3 KO's), the Olympic champion, remained unbeaten by beating rugged veteran Silverio Ortiz (37-24)(18 KO's).

Sparrow wins majority decision over Lundy in grudge match 

In the Philadelphia grudge match between lightweights Hank Lundy (29-8-1)(14 KO's) and Avery Sparrow (10-1)(3 KO's), it didn't take long for the action to heat up.  Lundy had a good first round, landing a big left hook that stopped Sparrow in his tracks and shook up his back leg to win the round.  Sparrow answered with a huge second round, by landing powerful over hand rights.  Lundy's glove touched the canvas for the first knockdown.  The second knockdown came from a fierce right during an exchange that dropped Lundy flat on his back.  He rose to his feet and finished the round.  

Rounds three, four, and five saw the pace slow down a bit, as Lundy turned a war into a boxing match.  It was back to exchanging bombs at the end of the sixth round, with both fighters landing big right hands.  After six rounds, the fight was close in terms of rounds won by each fighter.  However, Sparrow had the huge second round.  

Rounds seven and eight was a return to a boxing match.  With the fight entering the final two rounds, the fight was closer than the second round would have suggested it would be.  After the ten rounds of good action, the decision would be up to the three judges.  One judge scored the fight 94-94, while the other two scored it 96-92, and 95-93 in favor of Avery Sparrow.  

D'Mitrius Ballard (20-0) (13 KO's) stopped Victor Fonesca (17-10-1)(14 KO's) in the fifth round of a super middleweight fight to start the show.

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Primal Fight Promotions Fight Night 3

By Chris Mealey

The Robbinsville High School was roaring with energy and the need for combat as a near packed house of spectators filled the gymnasium for the third event hosted by Primal Fight Promotions. Six bouts, all of which were contests by promising amateur mixed martial artists. A story of each meeting will be told, ending with the extraordinary title fight that left the fans more than satisfied.

*Samir Zaimi vs Jarrod Musko (161 class)

Embarking on the night was the first contest between lightweights, kicking off with Musko charging in early and grappling which eventually led to a war on the ground. Each round had a close start, but it was Zaimi who scored the most points on top, landing body blows on the ground as well - cruising to a unanimous decision victory.

Seth Pattserson vs *Charles Lamantia (147 class)

Tactical start as both fighters patiently made their moves. Patterson displayed solid generalship around the cage and took chances on the outside, as Lamantia closed the distance. From the second round on to the end of the fight, Lamantia had maintained enough points through striking and ground control to earn himself a unanimous decision victory.

*Aram Monokian vs Damion Gilleo (147 class)

Both men showed no interest in backing down during this bout and for a brief time, each fighter scored on the outside through striking. A significant takedown by Monokian in the first round, with Marshall surviving with ground defense until the sound of the bell. With another big takedown in the second round, projected a similar display and almost looked like a repeat of the first. The successful wrestling by Monokian would pay off, and what looked to be the game plan from the start, was finding and securing the Arm Bar - causing Gilleo to tap out towards the end of the final round.

Chauncey Rudolph vs *Francis Marshall (168 class)

Two of the biggest warriors of the night to fight at welterweight competed in the shortest bout, that ended in a dramatic fashion. Marshall displayed brilliant ground control and did not let off after securing his leverage on the canvas. Pinning Mosley near the corner of Marshall's, would lead to constant advice in aiming for a seemingly huge target for the North/South choke, and the coaching payed off as that submission transitioned, causing Rudolph to pass out forcing the referee to stop the fight.

*Robert Mosley vs Jonathan McNatt (175 class)

Leading off with tight grappling for the first minute turned into a small brawl on the inside, as well as adequate striking on the outside by each Fighter. The first round was close and hard to score due to one take down a piece and the competitive exchanges on their feet. The second round appeared to be just as close until Mosley found huge success with the triangle choke, submitting McNatt at 1:25 of the round.

(TITLE FIGHT) Josue Del Rios vs *Adam Prieto (130 class)

Primal Fight Promotions main event was electrifying from the minute ring announcer Steve Peacock rallied the crowd, introduced the fighters, and from the time the first and final bells rang. Rios and Prieto  crash into each other,  throwing bombs for punches in the first round, with relentless tenacity that any fan would appreciate for a main event/title fight. The PFP Featherweight Title was on the line, and the warriors showed their grit continuing the action, with Prieto having the slight edge in the close, yet decisive rounds. There was a good balance of striking and ground tactics, leading to a unanimous decision victory for Adam Prieto, with one judge scoring the bout 29-28 and the other two judges both scoring the fight 30-27.

Ring Announcer and TWI Contributor Steve Peacock with Adam Prieto. Photo: Anthony Certa

Primal Fight Promotions will be holding their next event Fight Night 4 on April 27th.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Frank Bartolini on Joey Dawejko

By Frank Bartolini

A foot of snow rests on roofs, mountains, and naked corn fields. Ambient wind chill temperatures tap dance around zero degrees. The Turning Stone Resort and Casino might as well be in Siberia. It is here, where Philly native Joey Dawejko squared off against Russian Sergey Kuzmin. Stout and fit Dawejko stepped off the scale at two hundred fifty pounds. Massive from the size of his feet to his oversized cranium, Kuzmin weighed 248.5 pounds.

Make no doubt Dawejko was brought here to be a stepping stone. A gauge to evaluate Kuzmin, now and in the future.

Not adhering to the script, Dawejko did everything a boxer deserving a decision needed to do. Dawejko was casted as Rocky Balboa opposite Kuzmin as Drago. Poor judging kept the Russians record spotless.

Most of the fans in attendance were not familiar with Dawejko and thought he was fodder for the Main Events promoted prospect. By the end of the second, Dawejko had won the crowd's favor and hearts. Kuzmin looks mean but fights soft. After Dawejko scored a booming right hand off the side of Kuzmin's head in round five, the Russian became apprehensive. The next couple of heats, Dawejko was in control scoring well with rights to the body. Seasoned and adapt defensively, Dawejko’s left uppercuts to Kuzmin's gut proved to be effective. Possessing superior hand speed, Dawejko appeared to have the edge even though his face was a bit banged up. Maintaining a better pace, Joey, had the fight wrapped up after eight stanzas. Sensing he was about to lose, Kuzmin out-hustled Dawejko for the last six minutes of the contest.

Cat calls and boos from the seats responded to David Diamante's announcement of Kuzmin's majority decision victory by scores 95-95 and 96-94 twice. All of press row had Dawejko winning. This scribe saw it in Dawejko's favor 97-94, 6-3-1 in rounds. In disgust, Dawejko quickly left the ring with his dapper dressed manager Mark Cipparone in tow. With this questionable loss, Dawejko is now 19-7-4 (11 KO’s). Still having to prove that he is a worthy prospect, Kuzmin stays undefeated 15-0 (11 KO’s)

This fight was delivered by Matchroom Promotions and streamed live on the DAZN.

Joey Dawejko - Photo BoxRec.com

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Garcia vs. Spence: Fight Predictions

By Luis A. Cortes III

With the big fight between two of the top pound-for-pound ranked champions taking place this weekend in Dallas, TWI reached out to different members from the world of boxing to get their take on what is going to go down in the Lone Star state. 

Ray McCline – Atlantic City Hall of Fame
I love Mikey, but I just think Spence is going to be too big for him.  Spence does get hit, to try and counter with his excellent body work.  Mikey will score on Spence and it will be a close fight, but I think the size and power of Spence gets him the win. 

Joey Eye – Cutman
For some reason I like Mikey in this fight.  Garcia on points. 

Bozy Ennis – Trainer
Its not going to be easy for Errol and people are counting Mikey out.  Not me, he has a real good chance even though people are looking at the size factor.  I think Mikey can pull it out. 

Stitch Duran – Cutman
I don’t like to make predictions.  I’m horrible at it and as a cutman, I look to see who has the possibility of getting cut or swollen.  I think both fighters will be okay, and it shouldn’t be a problem in the fight. 

Stephen Bird – Lineal TV (England)
Mikey by decision

Catherine Lebron – Kings Promotions
50/50 fight, but I’m going with Spence.  Mikey is flat footed; Spence is going to aggravate him with his skills.  Spence by unanimous decision. 

Jeremy Cuevas – Lightweight
I think Garcia can outbox and outsmart Spence.  Make him miss and make him pay.  Garcia on points. 

Kelly Pavlik – Former middleweight King
I got it a 50/50!  This is one of them fights I just want to chill and watch.

Jason Gonzalez – Writer
Errol wins by decision

Gene Pantalone – Writer
A good big guy beats a good smaller guy, unless he is another Duran.  Should be a great fun fight to watch.  Spence wins by decision.

Thomas LaManna – Jr. Middleweight
Mikey has underrated footwork and timing.  He creates the space very well, in a way that people don’t notice.  I think Spence is very slow and Mikey will use his size disadvantage and turn it into an advantage.  So, I’m going with Garcia, size matters, but skills pay the bills. 
Frankie Carto – Manager
I think I’m going to have to go with Spence.  I really like Mikey’s skill set, but I feel the size difference may be too much to overcome. 

Joey Dawejko – Heavyweight
I got Errol winning this one by decision.

George Hanson – Writer
Spence wins by TKO.

John DiSanto – Writer
As skilled as Garcia is, I think Spence is just too big and too good to lose this one. 

Matthew Ward – Editor in Chief of TWI
A lot of fans and analysts are writing off Mikey.  You can’t do that with a talented guy like that.  Spence is a great fighter, but Mikey has proven himself too.  This is going to be a great main event with an average undercard.  Fights like this are great for our sport though!  All I ask is that the judges don’t screw it up.  With that said, realistically both fighters can win... I’m sticking with Mikey though. Garcia wins by UD. 

James Dominguez – Writer & Co-host of the Punchline w/ Kelly Pavlik
I’m going to take Mikey by split decision.

Luis Cortes III – Feature Writer of TWI
Feature story on the fight and why I’m picking Mikey to win on points coming tomorrow. 

Adam Weiner – Low Cut Connie
I’m going to go with Spence by unanimous decision.  Mikey ends on his feet but loses a clear decision.  Should be a great fight.  I love Mikey, but I think Spence will be too much. 

Jerome Conquest – Lightweight
Spence wins this one by TKO

*After surveying 18 different people, Spence pulls out to get the most votes.  Could the fight on Saturday night be just as close and full of action?  We here at TWI sure do hope so.  Enjoy the fight - from the TWI family! 

Spence: 10

Garcia: 8

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

When Irish Eyes Smile on Philadelphia

By Luis A. Cortes III

This Friday night from the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University marks the return of big-time boxing to the city of Brotherly Love.  Last April, Top Rank Promotions and ESPN put on a big show at Liacouras Center that featured plenty of hometown fighters in key matchups.  This year, while there have already been some compelling local shows that have all had great attendance, it’s time for Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN to host a show in the city. The upstart streaming application that has taken the boxing world by storm, will broadcast their first show from Philadelphia on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  Granted the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has come and went in the city, this Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day, which means that the city will be a buzz with plenty of festivities for Philly to indulge in.  A Friday night at the fights is the perfect way to kick things off.

Since signing a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA, IBF Junior Lightweight Champion Tevin Farmer (28-4-1)(6 KO’s)(1 NC) has gotten what he has asked for, an active schedule.  Eddie Hearn has made good on his promise to Farmer that if he did sign with Matchroom, barring any injuries, he would constantly get him fights.  Which means that when he defends his championship in the main event on Friday night, it will be his fourth fight in seven months and his third title defense.  What makes this title defense interesting for Farmer is not only will he be fighting for the first time as champion in his hometown, he will be facing the tough and rugged challenge of undefeated Irishman Jono Carroll (16-0)(3 KO’s).  On a weekend like the one approaching, it’s the perfect sell for a main event.  Hometown champion versus the tough challenge of a native Irishman during the city’s celebration of the latter’s heritage.

This is a huge fight for Farmer, even though it may seem that Carroll may not have the same experience to really test Farmer.  Carroll is in fact a durable fighter that has had to fight his way from the bottom to reach this opportunity.  Both fighters have exchanged barbs over social media, calling each other everything in the book.  Farmer has stated his pleasure with fighting under the Matchroom banner and has also let it be known that after this fight he would love the chance to unify the division titles in a fight against the WBA champion Gervonta Davis.  This is the fight that most hardcore fight fans have been asking for a couple of years already from a stylistic standpoint would be fun to witness.  Although the future looks bright for Farmer with a victory on Friday night, nothing by any means is guaranteed in terms of a victory.  Carroll for his part is planning to spoil those future plans as well as reach a point in his career that he has admitted only he dreamed could happen.

In the co-main event, WBA and IBF unified featherweight queen Katie Taylor (12-0)(5 KO’s), looks to add the WBO title to her growing collection when she battles Brazilian Rose Volante (14-0)(8 KO's).  Taylor, an Olympic Champion from the 2012 London Games, is quickly working her way up the pound-for-pound rankings in women’s boxing.  She already retains celebrity status in her native Ireland, and having fought already in Boston and New York, adding Philadelphia to her resume will continue to add to her rising popularity.  If she were to get by Volante, she already has stated that she would love to battle Amanda Serrano, a fellow pound-for-pound ranked fighter in a super fight.  Taylor is open to fighting the best in the world and along with Carroll, her fellow countrymen, adds yet another Celtic flavor to the fight card.

On the undercard two matchups look to shine a spotlight on the world of Philadelphia boxing.  Middleweights Gabriel Rosado (24-11-1)(14 KO’s) of Philadelphia and Maciej Sulecki (27-1)(11 KO’s) will battle in a pivotal matchup for both men.  Earlier this week, Eddie Hearn went on the record and stated that the winner of this matchup would be in line for a world title shot against WBO Middleweight Champion Demetrius Andrade.  That statement put an added incentive to the already motivated mind of Rosado, who will be fighting in front of his hometown crowd for the first time in several years.  During the pre-fight promotion, Rosado’s trainer Billy Briscoe stated that he was indeed impressed with the skills of Sulecki and in no way was Rosado going to take this fight with anything but a serious approach.  This is a solid fight that should please both the crowd in attendance and the fans watching at home.

Lightweight Hank Lundy (29-7-1)(14 KO’s) will take on his fellow Philadelphian Avery Sparrow (9-1)(3 KO’s).  Although both fighters are from Philadelphia, believe me when I tell you there is no love lost between these two fighters.  Both are no stranger to speaking their minds, which was the case during the kick-off press conference.  Lundy told TWI that he expects to capture his 30th victory of his veteran professional career and feels that a win on this type of show and platform in his hometown could launch his career towards at least one more run towards a world championship at lightweight.  With a career that has seen Lundy face some of the best fighters of the past generation at both lightweight and super lightweight, it is this experience that he believes will be the difference maker in the fight.  Sparrow is looking to use a victory of Lundy to jumpstart his career and put in on a path towards championship glory.  Sparrow is the younger fighter, that has shown glimpses of raw natural talent that has made him a fighter that not many lightweights want to risk their padded records against.  Both hometown fighters are coming to fight, and it should be interesting while it lasts.

A pair of former Olympians round out the undercard.  John Joe Nevin (10-0)(4 KO’s) is a thirty year old super featherweight from Ireland.  He captured the Silver medal at the 2012 Olympic games in London.  Over the past seven years, his career has not taken off the way some of the other Olympians from that year have.  But Neven, who has fought in Philadelphia before, would like to use this chance to start being more active.  Luke Campbell (19-2)(15 KO’s) is a lightweight fighter from England, that won the Gold medal for his home country during the 2012 games.  Like his fellow 2012 Olympian, Nevin, Campbell is trying to gear his career towards the next level that has so far eluded him in the professional ranks.  Also, Raymond Ford an amateur standout from across the river from Philadelphia, Camden, New Jersey will make his professional debut. 

Tickets for this great night at the fights in Philadelphia are still available. You can purchase them by visiting liacourascenter.com.  Of course, if you can’t make it out to the fights, which I suggest you do,  DAZN will begin their broadcast at 7pm.    

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Hank Lundy Interview

By Luis A. Cortes III

"Hammerin Hank" Lundy (29-7-1, 14 KOs) sat down with me to discuss his upcoming all Philadelphia lightweight bout with Avery Sparrow (9-1, 3 KOs) on March 15, 2019. The fight is part of a great night of boxing presented by Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. The card is headlined by a super featherweight contest between Tevin Farmer (28-4-1, 6 KOs) and Jono Carroll (16-0-1, 3 KOs) for Farmer's IBF World Super Featherweight Title.

Check out our interview on iTunes and SoundCloud:

Hank Lundy Interview with Luis Cortes on iTunes

Hank Lundy Interview with Luis Cortes on SoundCloud

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