In the opening bout, undefeated, world-ranked rising star Abner Mares (20-0-1, 13 KOs), of Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico, will face two-division world champion Vic “Raging Bull Darchinyan (35-2-1, 27 KOs), of Sydney, Australia, by way of Armenia.
Then, former IBF 118-pound champ Joseph King Kong Agbeko (27-2, 22 KOs), of Bronx, N.Y., by way of Ghana, Africa, will try to earn back the title from the man that won it from him, current IBF champ Yonnhy “El Colombiano Perez (20-0-1, 14 KOs), of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., by way of Colombia.
With a win over Darchinyan, Mares could earn a rematch against Perez, who he fought to a disputed majority draw last May 22, or face the hard-hitting Agbeko. If Darchinyan wins his semifinal bout, he could face the last man to beat him, Agbeko, who won a close, unanimous decision in July 2009.
Regardless of the scenarios, storylines and matchups, each boxer starts the tournament on Dec. 11 with the same chance to make, and win, the Final – and ultimately earn bragging rights as the best Bantamweight in the world.
All fighters in The Bantamweight Tournament are guaranteed two fights within the tournament structure - Semifinals and Finals. The winners of each Semifinal will fight for the Bantamweight Tournament Championship with the losers fighting in the consolation fight on the same night. In the event of a draw in the Semifinals, SHOWTIME will determine the Championship opponent based on tournament performance.
Highlights of what the fighters had to say on Thursday:
(Note, Mares and Darchinyan participated in the first half of the call, followed by Perez and Agbeko.
PEREZ-AGBEKO OPENING COMMENTS:
PEREZ: “I want to thank all the media and SHOWTIME for making this possible. I can’t wait for December 11th, I can’t wait for this fight. This is the best thing that SHOWTIME could have done. I can’t wait for the bell to ring on December 11th.
AGBEKO: “I am really excited for this fight and I am so happy to come back and fight. I was a champion for some time and now I am going into the ring not as the champion and I think it is less pressure for me.
Discuss the experience of fighting someone as hard hitting as Darchinyan.
AGBEKO: “I respect Vic a lot and I am confident in my boxing. I am looking forward to this upcoming fight.
Do you have an advantage coming into this tournament since you have already fought two of the other participants?
AGBEKO: “I really respect all the fighters, we are all great fighters in tournament. I feel that this is a tournament where I can prove that I am the best. I believe I will come out of this tournament the winner.
Joseph, why do you expect to win this fight? What happened in the first fight with Yonnhy? What has been happening in the last year since that fight?
AGBEKO: “I am in a competition with myself, I was the champion and I lost it to Yonnhy Perez and I have really been working hard for this fight. It is the fight of my life, the fight of my career. I have to win this fight to become a champion again. I believe I am going to win this fight. Everything was going well in the last fight, but because of the head butt I lost. I wasn’t embarrassed. In the last year, I was supposed to fight a guy but the fight the fight didn’t happen. How will this fight be different than the first fight with Joseph?
PEREZ: “I know this is going to be a great war just like the first one was. I know how good of a fighter Agbeko is, I saw and felt him in the ring. I know he is prepared technically and he will try to take the belt, but I have prepared myself to keep the belt - no one will take it away from me. My preparation is a key for this fight. It is going to be a terrific event and a very good fight.
You were a bit disappointed with the first bout and scorecards. When you watched the fight on tape did you see anything you could do differently in this fight to get a better edge?
AGBEKO: “Looking at the old fight, which I watched a couple of times, the only thing I shouldn’t have done when it happened is me stopping, I should have continued after the head butt.
How is your gameplan different?
AGBEKO: “Yonnhy is a good fighter, very tough and good conditioning. This time it is going to be a different fight all together. He throws a lot of punches, he is a very good fighter and this time it is going to be a different fight all together. Physically, I am very prepared for this fight. Yonnhy is a very busy fighter, and this is going to be a war, because I am coming ready for war. I know he is tough and can punch and that is what I am coming with as well.
Perez, do you see yourself as the favorite in the tournament?
PEREZ: “It’s really something that is not important to me, what people say and think of me. The only person that I have to show and demonstrate to is myself. If people have forgotten about Yonnhy Perez, they have forgotten the champion of this tournament, but that doesn’t make a difference to me. All I have to prove is that I can be the best in my division and they will realize who I am.
Can you talk about what Agbeko said about the last fight?
PEREZ: “I know very well who was doing the head butting the night of October the 31 (2009). I know Agbeko was a great fighter, but I want him to stop complaining about the head butting. The one who had the eyebrows that needed to be stitched was Yonnhy Perez. Ask Vic as well, he (Agbeko) didn’t bust his face because of his punches, he busted his face because of his head. I wish that he stops complaining about the head butting that night. I only ask that he gets prepared because we gave the fans a great fight. I am ready he is ready, and lets do it again.
AGBEKO: “I don’t agree with that, but this fight is going to be a different fight. When we get into the ring, we are going to know who the best fighter is. He has had my belt for a year and I am going to get my belt back.
What are your thoughts about the other fight on this telecast?
PEREZ: “I really haven’t put too much though into it. I am really just focused on my fight about Agbeko. My main concern is the guy who is going to be in front of me, Agbeko. I respect all the fighters and I am willing to fight anyone because after I beat Agbeko it will be a war with anyone else.
AGBEKO: “I think it (Darchinyan-Mares) is going to be a very strong and beautiful fight. I have a fight in front of me on the same night, may the best fighter win and face me in the finals.
DARCHINYAN-MARES OPENING COMMENTS:
DARCHINYAN: “I am training well, I am in LA now, been here for the last 20 days. I am very focused on the fight. This is the first time I have been training for this long. He will fight me and I will be very good, fast and strong. He is going to remember me.
MARES: “Thank you everybody for being on this call. I am really grateful for SHOWTIME and Golden Boy. I have been training hard because I know Vic is a tough, strong fighter and he is a champion. You have to train really hard and win and look good winning against the champion.
Vic, you have gone between bantam and super flyweight, how comfortable are you at fighting at bantamweight?
DARCHINYAN: “I was looking for a match at super flyweight. When I fought I was inpatient before, I just wanted to knock him out, but I am comfortable at any weight. I can lose as much weight as I want or I can put on as much as I want. It is going to be my show, my tournament. I am going to prove to everyone that I am very skillful and a good puncher. I am very prepared and confident.
Abner, how do you plan to approach Vic?
MARES: “Vic has proven that he is a power puncher and strong fighter. I think speed is my advantage. I am ready for a slugfest or boxing match. I have trained really hard and this is going to be a great fight.
Since Agbeko beat Darchinyan and Yonnhy beat Agbeko, does that make you the less experienced fighter?
MARES: “Styles make fights, those styles were perfect for those fights. I am a boxer and I can do both, but the other fighters only have one dimensional fighting styles.
How do you plan on overcoming Vic’s experience?
MARES: “Vic is a great champion with great experience, but fighting fighters with great experience just makes me strong and a good fighter.
Richard, talk about how big a young fighter like Abner could be in Mexico and worldwide:
RICHARD SCHAEFER (Golden Boy Promotions): “He has 13 KO’s and you put all of that together and you look at the history of the bantamweight division in Mexico, you can see that they have been looking for the next big star. If he wins the tournament, he could be that next young star. So all of Mexico is going to be looking very closely at this tournament and I am sure the rest of the world will as well.
Vic, how much of a relief is it to be in this tournament?
DARCHINYAN: “I am very excited about this tournament. I am prepared and all the guys are good. I have fought great champions and great guys, this is a great division. I am proving that I have come back better. I am going to show everyone that I am much stronger. I am going to be faster and stronger and I am going to out-school Abner. I am going to be much stronger and win this tournament easily.
Abner, talk about what it meant to get invited to this tournament.
MARES: “I am really honored and excited. When the decision (against Perez) was done and they said that there was a draw, I thought it was bad. But now you see it was good. I showed a lot of heart against the champion and I think that is what got me in this tournament. I am grateful for those who put me in this tournament. I belong at this level, I am excited and this is what I do.
Vic, are you rooting for Agbeko to revenge your loss?
DARCHINYAN: “Yes I would love to have a rematch with him because there is unfinished business. But it doesn’t matter if he wins or losses I just want to be in the finals. I would love to meet him. I think Agbeko does
a lot of work with his head and I will be careful next time and not let him get too close to me. It is a very complicated fight between Perez and Agbeko and I think it is a very good fight.
MARES: “There is no easy fight, they are both good fighters. I drew against Yonnhy so I would love to fight him. But if Agbeko beats Yonnhy then he is the better fighter and I will fight him. I think the one who stops throwing first will lose. I think it will be a great fight. I think the one who gets tired faster will lose.
Theyve said all that of the man, but those that knew him, when the cameras were off, when there was no fight or fighter to sell to the public, saw another side to King. They saw him doting on his wife Henrietta, who he called Henry and who longtime employees of Don King enterprises sometimes referred to as the General, for her obvious leadership qualities, and for the fact that she was the boss in the King household.
Dons wife of almost 50 years died on Thursday night, from stomach cancer, at age 87. Shed had surgery to get the cancer five years ago, which went well, but her faculties dimmed in the last few years, and then the cancer returned.
Ive lost my best friend, said King when she expired, the bombast, the sparkle in his eye that we know so well, absent.
A couple years ago, King shared in a fight program some of what he loved about her, and what made their union stick. She was his consigliere, he said, able to dispense sage advice about the latest Ali negotiation, the latest Tyson promotion, the latest prosecutorial flurry. It may be no coincidence that King has been less busy in the business, that his influence has dimmed, as her condition worsened.
King, now 79, was tender with her, and would chuckle when shed assert herself. Business at their mansion was a no-no, and she went ballistic when the Don entertained a client their while she was out of town, and she found out. Her voice rose to the roof, and he gave that Santa Claus chuckle of his, but there were no more client meetings after that. When Henry spoke, Don listened, and for the most part, obeyed.
TSS send sincere condolences to Don, her children Eric, Carl and Debbie, and other family and friends of Henrietta.
On October 29th, 2,117 fans streamed through the doors of the home of the legendary Montreal Canadiens for the first FAST AND FURIOUS event to witness David Lemieuxs crushing KO victory over Hector Camacho Jr.
This time around, the main event will feature a long awaited grudge-match between Montreal-area rivals Sébastien Double Trouble Demers (31-3-0, 11KO) and Renan St-Juste (21-2-1, 14KO) as they battle for the NABO Super Middleweight Title. Both fighters held world rankings before hitting unexpected roadblocks in their last outings. These 2 proud warriors know each other well and have built up a real animosity in the 3-year lead-up to this fight. The winner of this bout is guaranteed to be back in the mix on the world stage, and there is no question that they will give it everything theyve got to take home the belt.
In the co-main event of the evening, WBC International Champion and knockout specialist David Lemieux (24-0-0, 23KO), ranked #3 in the world, will be back in the ring for the 5th time in 2010 as he faces off against Grandville, Michigans Purnell Knock You Out Gates (18-1-0, 13KO). Lemieux, of Laval, Quebec, is closing in on a championship eliminator against the dangerous Mexican Marco Antonio Rubio (48-5-1, 41KO), but he must first get by Gates, who would surely love nothing more than to derail Lemieuxs train to glory in their scheduled 10 round bout.
Rounding out the already stacked television portion of the card will be another North American Championship, as undefeated prospect Arash Usmanee (9-0-0, 5KO) will fight once again in his new hometown of Montreal, this time against the tough-as-nails Mexico City native Pedro Navarrete (25-9-3, 14KO) for the NABA Super Featherweight Title over a scheduled 10 rounds. This fight marks an important step-up in Usmanees career, as he comes off a big win over hometown hero Anthony Flores (9-2-1, 6KO) on October 8th in Philadelphia.
Like all content on www.boxingchannel.com this live webcast is free of charge and requires no registration. Enjoy live boxing on the new boxingchannel.com.The boxingchannel.com webcast will be blacked out in Canada, however Super Channel will be televising the card across Canada in Vivid HD.
Launched this month, boxingchannel.com provides coverage of major boxing matches, features and interviews with boxings biggest names. The channel is also the exclusive home of the library of fights from Forum Boxing, with great matches dating from 1983 to 2000.
About Super Channel
Super Channel is Canadas only national English pay television network, consisting of two HD channels, four SD channels, and Super Channel On Demand.
When Arum, one of boxing’s greatest promoters, was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999 he took himself and his long-time rival Don King to task for the way they had done their business in recent years. He said they had become part of the problem in boxing because their thinking was too often short term and most often fixated simply on making the most money rather than acting for the good of the sport that had made them both millionaires.
Boxing is the only sport that has no one looking out for it. There is no David Stern, no Roger Goodell, no commissioner of any sort with final say over anything. It is and always has been the Wild, Wild West. At times that is part of boxing’s charm but as it more and more slipped into second class citizenship on the sporting landscape the reasons why were many but one of the most damning was that, as Arum said that day, boxing’s most influential men too often acted in ways that did not help or honor their sport.
This brings us to Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent.
Assuming that is not Floyd Mayweather, Jr., the best fight from the sport’s perspective is a third one with Pacquiao’s long-time nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez. That is frankly beyond dispute, even by Arum if he’s feeling honest.
They fought twice, in 2004 and 2008, and both were brilliant displays. The first ended in a draw. The second ended with a split decision going to Pacquiao. Both results were controversial and there are many knowledgeable boxing people who believe Pacquiao has yet to beat Marquez, which would only add to the allure of a third fight at a time when Marquez is aging at 37 and Pacquiao appears to be at the height of his powers.
Marquez reasserted his right to that third fight by stopping Michael Katsidis last week six months after undressing Juan Diaz. Both fights were for the lightweight title, but even thought Pacquiao now fights around the welterweight limit of 147 Marquez said immediately that, “Obviously, Pacquiao is my priority. I’ll go up to 140 (to fight him). It’s no problem.’’
No, Arum is the problem.
Pacquiao said in Manila he was willing to do a third fight but then downplayed the possibility, claiming fans might not be interested. Who is he kidding?
Arum knew better than that so he’s saying the problem with that fight is only boxing fans want to see it and he’s looking for something bigger. Then he mentioned Andre Berto and Shane Mosley and blew that position.
“Look, Marquez is a wonderful fighter,’’ Arum conceded, “but the casual fan doesn’t know Juan Manuel Marquez from Juan Manuel Lopez.’’
They don’t know Andre Berto from Andrei Sakharov either. Which one plays piano again? Andre Berto or Andre Previn?
Under that argument then Arum is left with a 39-year-old, fast fading Shane Mosley, who never could draw even when he was the best lightweight in the world and the two-time conqueror of Oscar De La Hoya. Arum is arguing that the casual fan knows Shane Mosley. Perhaps but if so most of the time they haven’t been willing to pay to watch him.
That fact is compounded by another – Mosley is 0-1-1 in his last two fights, one a dreadful beat down at the hands of Mayweather and the other an unwatchable, boring draw with Sergio Mora. If a fight is made with Pacquiao next spring it would have been more than two years since Mosley last won while Marquez is coming off two straight wins, has won eight of his last 10, his only defeats coming against Mayweather, who was simply too big for him, and by split decision to Pacquiao.
Of the three, you tell me, Bob, which fighter has EARNED the fight?
Of the three, you tell me, Bob, which fighter truly deserves the fight?
Of the three, you tell me, Bob, if Berto is better known than Marquez or if Mosley has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning?
Arum has said he needs only two numbers from the three fighters – what guarantee they’re looking for and how much per home above a certain number they want to sign – to make a decision.
Antonio Margarito, Pacquiao’s last victim, had a $3 million guarantee and earned $3 per home over 700,000 buys. When Marquez fought Mayweather he received a $4 million guarantee but got only $1 a home for everything above one million buys. What that tells me is a financial deal is doable unless Arum doesn’t want any part of having Pacquiao face the many problems Marquez poses.
Then there’s the issue of weight. Arum is insisting the fight be at 147 pounds, the welterweight limit, even though in Pacquiao’s last fight he refused to allow Antonio Margarito to fight at the super welterweight limit of 154 even though that was the title they were allegedly fighting for.
That left him struggling to make 150 and a landing strip for Pacquiao’s punches.
The fact is Marquez is best at 135 pounds and certainly is no welterweight, as Mayweather taught him. Pacquiao, on the other hand, weighed 144 ½ for the Margarito fight and could easily make 140 if he wanted to. That is the fair weight and it would not benefit either of them. It would be what boxing seldom is these days – a level playing field.
“The weight is 147,’’ Arum said recently, “because I’m sick and tired of the weight discussions when it’s not to his benefit.’’
How about what’s to boxing’s benefit? How about what’s the right thing to do? How about giving the guy who has EARNED the fight by his performances getting the fight instead of a guy who hasn’t won in two years or a guy who has yet to fight a single top shelf opponent?
In the end, that decision will be made by Pacquiao but if Arum really meant what he said at his Hall of Fame induction in 1999 this is an opportunity to back it up with his actions. He can’t make Manny Pacquiao grant Juan Manuel Marquez a well-deserved third fight but he can certainly urge him to do so and make those feelings known.
Around the Balticcoast however, the real story was emerging heavyweight contender RobertHelenius, 14-0 (9) of Finland. Helenius, the Nordic Nightmare blasted out decently experienced Attila Levin in the 2nd sessionof theirEurobelt encounter.
Helenius stole the Super Six show with a big performance against a big foe who may have lacked true world class skills but still looked formidable. Call gigantic but soft spoken Helenius the Super six footand a half.
Helenius still adheres to that oldphilosophy in which one prefers thattheir actions speak for themselves.Maybe that has something to do with why fans around an expanding radius in central Europe are mentioning the name Heleniusmore and more as a rising star.
Helenius has already grown into quite a local celebrity in these parts. Althougha large percentage of the people in Hartwall Arena tookextended smoke breaksand chose to watch on concourse monitorsduringother Finnish fighters matches.When Helenius made his way to the ring most patrons scurried into the buildings cave like coreso there were over 5,500watching, and they were more boisterous than when the crowdgrew to approximately 7,007 for the main event an hour later.
The faithful didnt have to wait long foranother intermission puff. Considering Finlands uneasy history with Levins homeland Sweden, there was probably some easily exaggerated hype about the rivalry. The pair both appeared entirely professional during weigh-in proceedings at central Helsinkis well known club The Tiger, where it was nice to see four round fighters get a chance to chill on velvet roped-off, rooftopsofa type table areas usually known for catering to famous lounge lizards with nameslike Paris.
One of Heleniuss few apparentconcerns that day was bumping his head on the faux tree branches that hung as decorations over the booths. Levin, 34-4 (27), showed up in shape and dropped a heavy limb or two on Helenius the next evening, but any well laid plans of deterring Heleniuss looming assault definitely never got a chance to branch out. Tim-ber.
Round one was tentative as the fighters tested each others strength behind respectable trades.
At 65 Levin wasnt really shorter than Helenius. Levin attempted to advance quickly behind multipleinside shots and scored the first punches up and down, but Helenius stayed consistent with a deceivingoutside jab then chopped to the ribs with both hands.
In the second session Helenius calmly marched in behind strong, straight armed crosses and droppedhis willing but outgunned opponentwith a bigright counter after Levin landed a big lead of his own. Levin managed toconnect withanother solid shot as Helenius charged back in to finish it, but if Helenius felt the desperate leatherhe sure didnt show it. Helenius soon drove him back into the ropesLevin staggered and dazed and when Helenius landed a pair offinishingrights to the chin and earthe pounding was waved off.
Levin or his seconds didnt protest the stoppage, and he still looked dazed for minutes afterward. The crowd clapped and stomped their snow boots in unison as the time of 1:20was announced.
Besides convincing Levin, Helenius made a further impression on both fellow fighters and fans. After a brief holiday break, Heleniuslooks to be back in action by springtime.
Boxing is still a very popular, major TVsport sport throughout much of Europe, and there were broadcasting crews filming throughout the arena as if they were cruise ships floating throughout the arena as if they were cruise ships floating into the heavily trafficked bay nearby.
I got a really good reception from the people here, said a low key Helenius in improving Englishafter the fight as he signed ticket stubs and programs for food stand workers,security guards and a few fans that loitered with hopes of a glimpse.That was really nice. I thought the first round was not easy, but in the second round I noticed that he has got no guard in the left hand and my right hand was perfect to come overthe opening.
As you can see, he needs to fight with more confidence, which he did in the second round, said trainer Ulli Wegner. I am pleased with this performance. After more training we will get even closer to our goals, when we fight for a heavyweight world championship. Today was a step in the right direction.
Ive watchedRobert getting better fight after fight, I think he throws one of the biggest right hands of all heavyweights these days, said promoterWilfred Sauerland. Ive never seen anybody knocking people down like this with one single punch. He still needs some time, hes just 26. ButI think in couple years he will be right at the top of the division and I think he can achieve his big goal.
In this context, fringe is defined as ready to break into the top twenty. A big step up means a match against somebodymost reasonable observers would agree is not too far removed from the top ten.
Who belongs where in the rankings is an ongoing debate, butalmost every non-partisan party lists the Klitschkos alone at the top, with a universalneed for more new blood than a Twilight Twitterfest.
There is nothing light-handed about Helenius, as he proved againlast August in Erfurt, Germany with an efficient imploding ofGregory Tony. The win got Heleniusone of thoseEU title belts, but mainly it got him more experience against a rugged foe who came to fight.
Speculation onwho will be the next legitimate challengercarried on more and more as semi-contenders clash. Most of those have been eliminated or reckon they would be, so they bide time until maybe a Klitschko gets elected or injured. Meanwhile some keep fighting amongst themselves, ulterior motives on their ring robe sleeves.
You might not be familiar with the name Robert Helenius, buthes probably going to change that. Heleniuss biggest victory remains the 8th round TKO over Lamon Brewster that derailed Brewsters comeback last January. Yes it could be alleged that Sauerland promotions signed Brewster knowing hed make a decent notch on Heleniuss resume. You could even pretend they put something in Brewsters water.
The truth is that something does get put into Heleniuss extra large gloves, mainly honest knockout power.
Despite Tomasz Adamek earning most of the good,realistic press lately and David Haye blabbing on and onabout becoming the next big thing, Helenius could be laying the groundwork for the mostserious assault on the Klitschko empire. In the wide regional scope of German television, Helenius has moved toward the front of theEuropean pack. Thats where the action is above 200 pounds, and if his rise continues Helenius could emerge as a gloved up global factor.
It doesnt seem likely Haye will ever fight Helenius unless he absolutely has too, since Heleniuswill probablyneverbe a worthwhile risk/reward.
It figures that unless Adamek gets shocked by Vinnie Maddalone, he and the winner of Odlanier Solis versus Ray Austin will move to the front of the Klitschko sweepstakes.
The most logical, easy to make match with considerable subsequentcontender status attached is against the winner of the Alexander Dimitrenko- Albert Sosnowski bout this weekend.
Helenius has at least an even shot against any those potential title challengers.
If you can get any decent odds on Helenius against the likes of Denis Boytsov or Cristobal Arreola it wouldnt be the worst play to make.
Facing off against almost every other heavyweight except the very best, meaning the Klitschkos, Helenius is positioning himself as a favorite with audiences and odds.
Nor would a certain screenwriter meet an aspiring prizefighter had a historic strike not occur in Hollywood.
Doors open and now Steve Feder manages Kayode (14-0, 13 KOs) who defends the NABO cruiserweight title against Ed Perry (18-4-2, 11 KOs) on Friday Dec. 3, at Chumash Casino. Gary Shaw Productions and Showtime will televise the event.
“I’ve been with him from the start,” said Feder, a screenwriter by trade. “I was at a gym in West Hollywood. I was training to keep in shape from the writer’s strike when I met him.”
Feder saw Kayode working out and soon discovered the lean African fighter was looking for a manager and trainer. It didn’t take long for Feder to realize something special about the boxer.
“I brought him to the Wild Card for sparring. Freddy (Roach) was impressed with Power. He was very green and raw. Typical of an amateur he was a headhunter,” said Feder about Kayode’s first day sparring at the Hollywood gym located on Vine Street. “I had the feeling when I saw him no matter what sport he took he would be an amazing athlete. The fact that he loves doing what he does I thought it was a pretty good risk to take. Once Freddie took him I knew we had something.”
Though two inches past six-feet in height, Kayode’s highest recorded weight has been only 208 pounds. Back in the 1960s that would have been satisfactory but nowadays that’s a cruiserweight. The heavyweights weigh an average of 230.
“He wants to be a heavyweight but we can work our way to that division,” says Feder, a screenwriter for 17 years. “No sense bulking him up just to get to the heavyweight division.”
The Wild Card Boxing gym has long been a haven for actors, writers and producers since its inception. Mickey Rourke was the first owner of the boxing establishment and it was turned over to Roach. Hollywood people frequent the upstairs gym daily.
When Kayode began working out routinely at the Vine Street gym it was apparent that he had great fighting tools. Sparring sessions with heavyweights became the norm but Feder did not want too much exposure.
“He’s constantly in with world class fighters,” says Feder who also manages Vanes Martirosyan, Jamie Kavanagh and Kingsley Ikeke. “The first real experience before pro was preparing Ola Afolabi. He had three weeks notice. He met with Lateef and a friend from Nigeria offered to prepare Ola. Once I saw Lateef spar with Ola, I knew Lateef was special.”
In 13 pro fights Kayode has blitzed through monster heavyweights and lightning quick cruisers with a combination of speed and muscle. One way or the other the Nigerian boxer has prevailed.
Despite his nickname “Power,” a moniker given to him on the streets of Nigeria, Kayode walks around the gym with a constant smile.
“When I came to New York I didn’t know where to go or how to get a train ticket. I didn’t know how to look for a manager or promoter. People didn’t believe I was a good boxer,” said Kayode about his first arrival in the United States.
Promises to land a promoter and visa went unfulfilled. A venture to Georgia proved to be a dead end. Finally, an offer to go to California proved to be the lifesaver needed.
Kayode was discovered by Feder, which led to hiring Roach, and now the African cruiserweight is fighting on television.
Though Kayode has been in California for two years he’s barely getting the hang of American food. It’s not easy.
“I had to tell my manager can you take me to an African restaurant,” says Kayode, 27, adding that he’s adjusted and can now eat American food like turkey, fish and vegetables.
Feder knows the drill.
“No matter where we are Lateef will find a place that has African food. In Detroit, in DC, in Maryland, he’ll find someone. One night it was a taxi driver who took him to a place and they kept the restaurant open for him,” said Feder who has slowly learned the different types of African food too. “Sometimes before a fight he has to get some good goat meat. I’ve eaten with him before. It’s little heavy.”
It’s all been a learning process for fighter and manager as Kayode deals with moving up the cruiserweight division rankings. Eventually he’ll be a heavyweight. But right now, the Nigerian prizefighter looks to make an impact on behalf of his countrymen.
“I want to say hello to the president and to the chief coach of Nigeria’s national team Obisia Nwankpa,” Kayode said. “I want to say how I’m happy for all the people supporting me. I love my country and want to make my country proud.”
Another door has opened and Kayode is powering his way through.
So when Lewkowicz touted DiBella on Javier Fortuna, describing the young junior welterweight as “the best prospect to come out of the Dominican Republic, the promoter might have thought he was full of beans, but he was still obligated to listen seriously, which is pretty much how Fortuna wound up, sight unseen, in the co-featured bout on Wednesday night’s Broadway Boxing card at B.B. King’s.
“Sampson said we could match him tough, so we did, said DiBella, who threw Fortuna in against fellow unbeaten Victor Valenzuela for his American boxing debut.
Brooklyn junior welter Gabriel (Tito) Bracero might have had the crowd and the nominal headline role, but Fortuna utterly stole the show right out from under him with a spectacular first-round knockout that left press row buzzing.
Fortuna and Valenzeula came out with both guns blazing, throwing bombs at one another from the opening bell, but a minute into the fight Fortuna caught his foe with a savage left, and Valenzuela was out before he even hit the floor. Referee Arthur Mercante immediately waved off the count, but suffice it to say Valenzuela’s unconsciousness lasted longer than had the fight itself.
“The kid is a beast, marveled DiBella after watching Fortuna improve to 13-0 with the KO. Valenzuela is 8-1-1.
The Fortuna win also capped a pretty good 11-day stretch for Spanish trainer Gabriel Sarmiento, whose work in the Dominican’s corner was even briefer than the two rounds Martinez took to dispatch Paul Williams on Nov. 20.
Bracero is also undefeated, and was once again attended by a happily vociferous contingent of Brooklyn fans for his main event against Californian Hector Allatore. Bracero isn’t a knockout puncher (one kayo in 13 fights), and Allatore isn’t a guy who gets knocked out, so the result – an eight-round decision in which Bracero won every round on every card – was somewhat predictable, as Larry Hazzard Jr., Ron McNair, and Kevin Morgan all returned 80-72 verdicts. There were no knckdowns.
Tito advanced his record to 13-0 with the win, while the game but overmatched Allatore is now 16-13.
New York heavyweight (and former Penn State footballer) Tor Hamer is reportedly on Evander Holyfield’s short list of prospective opponent following a one-sided but uninspiring win over Michigan journeyman Demetrice King in their featured undercard bout. Hamer (now 13-1) didn’t lose a round, but neither could he budge an opponent who plainly wouldn’t have minded an early trip home. King, 15-19, has been known to be a spoiler, but not on this night. Luis Rivera, McNair, and Hazzard, Jr. all scored it another shutout at 80-72. It was pretty hard to argue with that score.
The evening’s other heavyweight bout saw Sonya Lamonakis, a/k/a the Big Fat Greek Heavyweight, outlast North Carolinian Tiffany Woodward to win a close but unanimous decision in an entertaining six-round slugfest that seems likely to produce a rematch – particularly if DiBella makes good on his threat to make the BFGH his first female signing. Rivera and Morgan both favored Lamonakis, 58-56, while McNair had it slightly closer at 58-57. Lamonakis, a New York public schoolteacher in her day job, is now 3-0, Woodward 3-4.
Another undercard bout was meant to showcase DiBella’s latest signee, unbeaten New Jersey welterweight Alex Perez, but somebody forgot to tell Doel Carrasquillo. Carrasquillo, a gnomish Puerto Rican welter now domiciled in Pennsylvania, is one of those guys it’s extremely difficult to look good against – particularly when he makes a face and squeals “Wooo! whenever you do hit him. In addition to is disdainful reponse to Perez’ southpaw onslaught, Carrasquillo added insult to injury in the fifth round when he caught Perez with his hands down and dropped the embarrassed favorite with a solid left-right combination. Rivera and McNair both scored the bout 78-72 for Perez, now 13-0, while Hazzard had it 78-73 -- as did The Sweet Science. Carrasquillo’s career mark is now 14-17-1.
Durable Idaho middleweight David Lopez (3-3-3) became the first opponent to go the distance with Steven Martinez, but dropped a unanimous decision to the 20 year-old Bronx fighter, now 7-0. Martinez battered Lopez with a ferocious body attack over the first five rounds, but the final stanza saw Lopez mount a furious rally that saw him win the round on the cards of all three judges. Rivera, Hazzard, and Morgan all scored it 59-55, as did TSS.
Ecuadorian junior middle Eberto (Tito) Medina seemed to spend as much time spitting out his mouthpiece as throwing punches, and lost a unanimous decision to unbeaten Brooklynite Delen Parsley (4-0). Hazzard, McNair, and Morgan all scored it 39-37 as Medina fell to 5-5-1.
In an opening bout that could have been a tough-man contest for the 43 seconds it lasted, Yonkers light-heavy Carlito Gonzalez leveled his record at 2-2 when Mercante rescued his Astoria opppnent Borngod Washington. Borngod remains winless at 0-7.
* * * BROADWAY BOXING BB KING’S BLUES CLUB NEW YORK, N.Y. December 1, 2010
JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTSS: Gabriel Bracero, 141, Brooklyn, NY dec. Hector Alatome, 140, Tulare, Calif. (8)
JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS: Javier Fortuna, 128, La Romana, Dominican Rep. xxx Victor Valenzuela, 123 ½, Passaic, N.J. ()
HEAVYWEIGHTS: Tor Hamer, 221. New York, N.Y. dec. Demetrice King, 277, Jackson, Mich. (8)
Sonya Lamonakis, 221, New York, N.Y. dec. Tiffany Woodard 198, Wilson, N.C. (6)
Alvarez, recently sat down to talk about his upcoming bout, the loaded welterweight division, and where he sees himself in the coming years.
Q: Shamone, how has this training camp been?
SA: Training camp has been how it usually is, trying, intense, and I'm always learning. I'm always looking to improve and looking at what part of my game I need to focus more on. I feel great and I am more than ready to go Saturday night.
Q: What do you know about your opponent?
SA: I know my opponent is a tough guy and that he definitely is not coming to lSTAR BOXINGose. He has busy hands overall and I expect him to be ready to go.
Q:In your last fight you showed that you have some serious power, knocking out your opponent with one shot. Is this something new to your arsenal or do you think you have always had this power?
SA: I believe I always possessed knock out power, it's just the life trials I have had that kept me a little more focused on going in and doing what should be done. I'm on a mission now and you can expect to see more performances like my last from here on out. I just had a new baby girl about 9 months ago, and it has made me more focused and hungrier than ever to succeed in this game.
Q: You fight in a very loaded division, how do you think you match up against some of the other top guys out there? Is there anyone on your direct hit list?
SA: Yes the division is loaded but not only do I feel, but I know that I can hang with all of them. There is no one in particular at 147 I will avoid or not step up against. I'm ready, willing and able to go in with whoever my promoter Star Boxing puts inSTAR BOXING front of me.
Q: Give us your perfect 2011?
SA: Well first I must win this fight and pick up the IBA belt. Then I would like to defend my title and work my way back into a Title Elimination and by the end of the year I would like to be fighting for a World Championship.
Q: Thank you for sitting down with us, is there anything you want to say in closing?
SA: I just want to thank everyone for their continued support and look forward to having everyone come out and show their support this Saturday night at Bally's. A lot of people counted me out after the Joshua Clotty fight and then most definitely after the Delvin Rodriguez fight. But so everyone is aware, I have learned how not to let things slip past me anymore. I'm the same with my focus, I just know what I have to do it to get the W. So for all those people who did count me out, remember I'm still here. I made some noise this year and plan to make even more in 2011. Remember GOD is all that matters in life and let him know you know every once and a while. Peace.
Tickets are currently on sale and are being priced at $75, and $50 with a few limited 1st Row VIP Packages also available ($150). Tickets can be purchased by visiting any ticketmaster location, or simply by CLICKING HERE:. Tickets may also be purchased by calling Star Boxing at (718)823-2000 or visiting www.starboxing.com. Bally's Atlantic City, is located at Park Place and the Boardwalk (1900 Pacific Ave.) Atlantic City, NJ 08401. For more information call (609) 340-2000.
“One guy broke his shoulder, another got the flu, he said at a press conference to hype the PPV attraction, which was to be topped by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr-Pawel Wolak.
Chavez, it is said, has the flu, so Wolak, who stepped in after Alfonso Gomez pulled out because of an injured shoulder, will fight a fill in. The Nonito Donaire-Wlad Sidorenko fight will be the headline attraction at the Honda Center and the Urbano Antillon-Humberto Soto title clash is a solid co-feature. Arum, as is his way, which makes sense, because his way is the only way to ensure longevity in a business notable for the regularity in which speedbumps appear to mess up the road to fruition, didn’t seem down as he talked about the card. He said he didn’t consider pulling the plug on the production, as it would not have been fair to all the men who trained so hard.
Arum said that for the last 1 ½ years, he’s been trying to get HBO to do lighter weight dates. He said he’s happy that HBO is onboard, as they’re putting on a Feb. 19 show, with Fernando Montiel versus Nonito Donaire. He said that the cabler will show more lighter guys, once they see how action-packed the bouts are, and how the fans lap it up. Arum said HBO knows it’s possible that Wlad Sidorenko upsets Donaire, and HBO has agreed to put Wlad on against the 24-1 Montiel (WBO, WBC bantam champ) if Wlad gets the upset win on Saturday. “He’s coming make no mistake about it to win this fight, because he knows what it means to him, Arum said of the Russian.
Sidorenko (22-2, just 7 Kos). Wlad said in Russian that he’s 100 percent ready to go.
Co-promoter Fernando Beltran said that Montiel is geared up for the Donaire clash. You’ll recall he was hurt in a dirtback accident in October, but his leg is on track to heal properly.
Donaire thanked Arum for not pulling the plug on the show. He promised “fireworks in the Wolak-Pinzon and Soto-Antillon bouts, and said his own bout will also be fan friendly. “This is the best so far of what you’ll see of the Filipino Flash, he said. “I want to make a statement in this fight…Hopefully we can make it happen with Montiel. He better be at his best because I’m going to be at my best, but Sidorenko is first.’
Arum said the winner of the Urbano Antillon-Humberto Soto fight, for Soto’s WBC lightweight championship, will get a date on Showtime, on Feb. 26 versus Brandon Rios. The No. 6 WBC Antillon (28-1), a bomber, said he’s had the best training camp ever and is confident he’ll get the Rios gig. “I’m going to bring it on Saturday and take home that crown, he said. Soto (58-7) thanked the media for covering the event, and said the fans will be the winner, that the bout will be a goodie.
The promoter said of the middleweight fight pitting Wolak against 19-1 Mexican Jose Pinzon, “I’m convinced this will end up the fight of the card. Pinzon, trained by Guty Espadas, said that he foresees a tight clash, and that this is the opportunity of his young career. Arum called the Pole Wolak (27-1) “one of the hardest working fighters in the game. “He is a real treat to watch because he never stops throwing punches. Wolak said, in Polish, that he wanted to thank his boss at his construction job. “I work with some of the toughest people, guys that make stuff with their hands, real men, he said. He admitted that he’s been frustrated that the fight with Chavez fell through, but that he respects Pinzon, and is looking forward to the tangle.
Arum talked about the Olivier Lontchi-Mikey Garcia (23-0) fight. Garcia is trained by his brother Robert Garcia, Antonio Margarito’s trainer. The Oxnard fighter said he didn’t know much about Lontchi, but he realizes that whoever wins this bout gets a title shot, so he’s not looking to let Lontchi (18-1) get the nod.
TSS Universe, please drop your predictions on these bouts here, now!
Coverage will begin with the December 3rd weigh-in and also include full post-fight coverage. BoxingChannel.com executive producer and host Al Bernstein will anchor the coverage and be joined by Hollie Dunaway, a four-time world champion in womens boxing and a sought-after model and spokesperson who appeared in the June, 2010 issue of Penthouse.
We are delighted to have Hollie join our coverage team, she is emerging as a multi-media personality of the highest magnitude all around the world, as a model, spokesperson, television personality, and athlete, stated Al Bernstein. Bernstein added: The best part of all of this is that shes a skilled and clever boxer who really understands the sport and can communicate her knowledge very well. Thats what sets her apart. For more information on Hollie Dunaway go to: www.hotstuffhollie.com.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Dozens of world championship matches have now been rolled-out for free- viewing at www.boxingchannel.com. These include the great trilogy of Daniel Zaragoza vs. Paul Banke, labeled by most boxing experts as one of the most exciting and well fought trilogies in the history of the sport. Other champions in great matches include Oscar De La Hoya, Chiquita Gonzalez, Genaro Hernandez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez and Israel Vasquez.
These matches are just several of over 1200 fights that constitute the Forum Boxing Library. BoxingChannel.com has the exclusive rights to these matches and each week will be making more matches available on the channel for free viewing.