Boxing Insider Notebook: Russell, Juarez, Andrade, Cancio, USA Boxing, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 21st to January 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Robert Elizondo/Team Juarez
Omar Juarez Training Camp Quotes
Unbeaten rising prospect Omar “El Relampago” Juarez will look to put on a show in the ring this Super Bowl weekend when he battles Mexico’s Angel Hernandez this Saturday, February 1 in FS1 PBC Fight Night action and on FOX Deportes from Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.
“This is another great opportunity for me to shine on the big stage,” said Juarez. “The Super Bowl is like a holiday for all sports fans. Everyone will be hanging out watching sports all weekend and I want to give them something to remember.”
The 20-year-old Juarez (6-0, 4 KOs) returns to the ring after an outstanding 2019 where he picked up five wins, including four by knockout. He most recently knocked out Kevin Shacks in November after his previous fight saw him score a sensational finish on FS1 over Gino De La Paz in August.
“I’m so grateful that my management team and FOX believe in me by continuing to showcase me to the masses,” said Juarez. “All I want to do is perform to my best ability and continue to give the fans watching on TV a spectacular performance.”
The Brownsville, Texas native held the early portion of his training camp in Brownsville before going to San Antonio to finish camp there and spar with WBA Super Lightweight Champion Mario Barrios, experience that will surely help him as his young career progresses.
“I started training camp in my hometown as I always do, but then headed out to San Antonio to finish off the last few weeks,” said Juarez. “I got really good sparring with a world champion and somebody I admire. I’m a big fan of Mario Barrios. He’s an incredible fighter and I learned a lot from being in the ring with him. As I’m getting older, I can feel my body getting stronger. I’m having a great training camp to say the least.”
Juarez will be opposed by the most experienced and accomplished opponent of his career in the 20-year-old in Hernandez. The Mexicali, Mexico native has won 10 of his 11 fights and will be making his U.S. debut on February 1.
“Angel Hernandez is a fighter with real power and a man who is coming to take me out,” said Hernandez. “All of his victories have come by knockout, so I feel I’m in the toughest fight of my career. He’s a tough gritty Mexican fighter with bad intentions on his mind.
“Unfortunately for Hernandez, I’m in the best shape of my life, and he’s stepping into the ring with a man on a mission. This will be an exciting night of fights and I plan to steal the show with a knockout.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at the Beau Rivage Theatre box office and through Ticketmaster.com.
Undefeated 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell & Unbeaten Bantamweight Contender Antonio Russell Compete in Separate Attractions Highlighting Undercard Lineup Saturday, February 8 from PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania
Undefeated 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell will take on Mexico’s José Marrufo in a 10-round super lightweight bout, while unbeaten bantamweight contender Antonio Russell steps in the ring for a 10-round fight highlighting the non-televised undercard Saturday, February 8 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The card is headlined by the older brother of Gary Antuanne and Antonio, as undefeated WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. will defend his 126-pound crown against unbeaten mandatory challenger Tugstsogt “King Tug” Nyambayar live on SHOWTIME.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will see former world champions Guillermo Rigondeaux and Liborio Solís battle for the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title in the co-main event, plus Jaime Arboleda meeting Jayson Vélez in a 12-round bout WBA Super Featherweight Title eliminator in the opener.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Kings Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through www.pplcenter.com/events (direct link HERE).
Undercard action will also see super welterweight contender Jamontay “The Quiet Assassin” Clark (14-1-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round showdown against Mexico’s Vladimir Hernández (10-4, 6 KOs) and Springfield, Massachusetts native Anthony Velázquez (8-0, 8 KOs) in a six-round welterweight duel against Reading, Pennsylvania’s Kashon Hutchinson (7-5, 1 KO).
Rounding out the lineup is Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Torres (7-0, 3 KOs) taking on Mexico’s Edson Eduardo Neri (3-4, 2 KOs) for six rounds of bantamweight action, and a six-round battle of unbeaten welterweights as Bowie, Maryland’s Marlon Bolen (3-0, 2 KOs) squares off against Miami’s Osmel Mayorga (2-0, 1 KO).
The 23-year-old Gary Antuanne Russell (12-0, 12 KOs) has yet to allow an opponent to make it the distance against him since turning pro in 2017 following his run representing the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics. Russell added five more stoppage victories in 2019 and will be opposed by the 28-year-old Marrufo (12-9-2, 1 KO), who was born in Sonora, Mexico but fights out of Phoenix, Arizona. Marrufo split a pair of fights against then unbeaten Willie Shaw in 2019, defeating him in March before dropping a decision in the rematch in August.
Antonio Russell (16-0, 12 KOs) trains alongside his brothers Gary Antuanne and Gary Jr., with their father and head trainer Gary Russell Sr. in their Capitol Heights, Maryland hometown. The 26-year-old is unbeaten since turning pro in 2015 and picked up four wins in 2019, including his first 10-round fight, when he bested Francisco Pedroza in July, and most recently a first round stoppage of Samuel Gutierrez in November.
USA Boxing Announces 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Qualification Team
USA Boxing announced today the 13 boxers who will represent Team USA at the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games Tokyo Boxing Qualification Events, as well as the 13 alternates. A full list can be seen below.
The team was announced following the two-stage qualification process that began in December at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing in Lake Charles and concluded at the recent 2020 Strandja Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. The full athlete selection procedure can be seen here.
“First of all, this was a very difficult decision,” stated USA Boxing Head Coach Billy Walsh. “Some of these boxers were neck and neck between training camp and the 2020 Standja Tournament.”
“We feel the 13 boxers that earned their place on the Olympic Qualification Team will be the best team to represent Team USA at the upcoming qualifiers, as well as have the best opportunity to qualify a full team to the 2020 Olympic Games Tokyo.”
All 13 boxers will have two chances to punch their ticket to Tokyo. The first will take place at the America’s Qualification tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 26 – April 3. Boxers who do not qualify in Argentina will have one final opportunity at the World Qualifier in Paris, France, May 13-24. Click here for more information on how boxers qualify
The boxers, as well as several training partners, will return to the United States Olympics and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Feb. 5 for their next training camp.
Follow USA Boxing on social media to stay up to date on training and news of the Olympic Qualification Team.
USA Boxing Olympic Qualification Team
51 kg: Virginia Fuchs, Houston, Texas
52 kg: Anthony Herrera, Los Angeles, Calif.
57 kg: Andrea Medina, San Diego, Calif.
57 kg: Bruce Carrington, Brooklyn, N.Y.
60 kg: Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass.
63 kg: Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va.
69 kg: Oshae Jones, Toledo, Ohio
69 kg: Delante Johnson, Cleveland, Ohio
75 kg: Naomi Graham, Fayetteville, N.C.
75 kg: Joseph Hicks, Grand Rapids, Mich.
81 kg: Rahim Gonzales, Las Vegas, Nev.
91 kg: Darius Fulghum, Houston, Texas
91+ kg: Richard Torrez Jr., Tulare, Calf.
USA Boxing Olympic Qualification Team Alternates
51 kg: Christina Cruz, Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.
52 kg: Abraham Perez, Albuquerque, N.M.
57 kg: Lupe Gutierrez, Sacramento, Calif.
57 kg: David Navarro, Los Angeles, Calif.
60 kg: Amelia Moore, Alexandria, Va.
63 kg: Ernesto Mercado, Pomona, Calif.
69 kg: Briana Che, Madison, Wisc.
69 kg: Freudis Rojas Jr., Dallas, Texas
75 kg: Morelle McCane, Cleveland, Ohio
75 kg: Javier Martinez, Milwaukee, Wisc.
81 kg: Atif Oberlton, Philadelphia, Pa.
91 kg: Jamar Talley, Camden, N.J.
91+ kg: Antonio Mireles, Des Moines, Iowa
Yordenis Ugas Training Camp Quotes
Top welterweight Yordenis Ugas shared his thoughts on training camp and previewed his upcoming showdown against Mike Dallas Jr. before he steps into the ring this Saturday, February 1 in the FS1 PBC Fight Night main event and FOX Deportes from Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.
“We are in the final days of a great training camp and I couldn’t feel any better going into this fight,” said Ugas. “Me and my trainer Ismael Salas are working on a great strategy that we believe will be successful. My timing is right on point and every round of sparring has been unbelievable. It’s been an outstanding camp in Las Vegas and I’m ready to go!”
Ugas will look to put on a performance worthy of his headlining slot the night before Super Bowl LIV, and further cement himself as a force to be reckoned with at welterweight.
“This is a huge weekend for sports fans,” said Ugas. “It’s very exciting to be in the main event one day before the Super Bowl. You know that when I get in the ring, you’re going to see action and great skill from start to finish. I always come to put on a great performance.”
Ugas will be challenged by the veteran Dallas, who has faced quality competition throughout his career and enters this matchup the winner of four of his last five bouts, with the only blemish a split draw in 2016 against Dusty Hernandez Harrison.
“Mike Dallas Jr. is a very skilled fighter who’s been in the ring with some very good opposition,” said Ugas. “He’s a crafty veteran who I know is coming to fight with all his heart. His only losses have come against top fighters. I’m taking this fight very seriously and I’ll have to be on my game to really make a statement.”
The Cuban-born Ugas believes that a statement on Saturday will put him back in position to challenge one of the welterweight elite for a second shot at a world title. In March 2019, Ugas came up just short of becoming champion, dropping a narrow decision to then WBC titlist Shawn Porter. Ugas returned to action for a WBC title eliminator in July 2019, and he performed impressively, dropping Omar Figueroa and handing him the first loss of his career.
“My lifelong dream ever since I first laced up a pair of gloves was to win a world title,” said Ugas. “I’ve come so close to accomplishing that dream, but for some reason I’ve come up short. I’m determined to be the best fighter I can be, and I know in my heart that I’m one of the best welterweights in the world. My goal is to become a world champion in 2020.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at the Beau Rivage Theatre box office and through Ticketmaster.com.
Ruben Villa Camp Notes
Undefeated featherweight and world-ranked Ruben Villa (17-0, 5 KOs) is winding down his training for his 10-round showdown with Cuban knockout artist Alexei Collado (26-2, 23 KOs), this Friday night at the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport, Louisiana. The bout will headline a three-fight telecast on ShoBox: The New Generation and live on SHOWTIME (10 PM ET/PT).
Villa has been working hard just outside of his native Salinas, California.
“Training camp has been good. I have been training in Prunedale which is a little bit outside of Salinas, but its close enough, so in a way I am home, but I am not at home.
In Collado, he is facing a tough veteran, who has an impressive knockout ratio.
“Collado is a real strong aggressive guy. He is a veteran. I have to be cautious because of his power and play it very smart on our end.”
With a winning performance on January 31st, Villa can see himself in the middle of the featherweight title chase as he looks to improve on his number-five ranking by the WBO.
“I feel like I’ve proven myself with the last couple of fights. I feel like I belong in the top-five if not higher. I feel that a win will set me up for bigger and better things.
Villa has been more them grateful to accelerate from prospect to contender on the series that has showcased more than 75 world champions.
“Another main event on ShoBox. I am excited to showcase my talents in Louisiana again. It’s motivation to prove myself to people that I should be the main event.
“I am usually just real focused. I know the featherweight division is stacked, but I am really just focused on what is in front of me and focused for the fight. After we are finished on January 31st, my team and I can figure out what is next; however, I feel that I am close to competing for a world title.”
Villa is promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing.
Undefeated Ukrainian and 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Taras Shelestyuk (17-0, 10 KOs) meets Argentina’s Luis Alberto Veron (18-1-2, 9 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight matchup in the co-featured bout. The televised opener features an eight-round lightweight bout pitting ShoBox veteran Zhora Hamazaryan (9-1-1, 6 KOs) of Armenia against Sulaiman Segawa (13-2, 4 KOs) of Uganda.
The event is promoted by Banner Promotions, Thompson Boxing and Bishop Promotions LLC. Tickets can be purchased at www.Bishoppromotions.com and prices are $20-$100.
DAZN to Present 40 Days: Jake Paul vs. Gib
DAZN Originals will present the latest edition of its training camp series, 40 DAYS: JAKE PAUL VS. GIB, an in-depth look at YouTube stars Jake “The Problem Child” Paul and “7-Figure Gibber” AnEsonGib ahead of their Jan. 30 professional boxing debuts, which will serve as the co-main event to a special Thursday night edition of world class boxing, exclusively on DAZN.
40 DAYS: JAKE PAUL VS. GIB will debut on each fighter’s YouTube channel today, Jan. 23, one week before the two settle the score in Miami prior to the big game. The 25-minute episode will also be available on the DAZN platform in addition to DAZN and Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channels.
This edition of 40 DAYS provides a revealing look at each fighter and their road to the Jan. 30 grudge match. DAZN takes viewers from Jake Paul’s rise to stardom via Vine and YouTube through to his training camp at California’s Big Bear Mountain where he is escaping his fame to prepare with three-division world champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Meanwhile, Gib’s high-energy antics and his path to overcoming obesity are detailed as he trains in Las Vegas with professional fighter and KSI’s head trainer Viddal Riley.
“Big Bear is high altitude and no distractions, you can’t escape thinking about boxing there,” said Jake Paul. “Training with Shane Mosley, just everything clicked, and everything felt right. Gib is definitely a stepping stone but you have to step on that stone to get to the next one. I don’t think Gib has ever been punched in the face by someone who is pissed off and has been locked away in the mountains when I could be in LA doing fun shit.”
“You lot won’t be seeing this Jake Paul vs. KSI fight,” said Gib. “Jake is getting peppered. He does not know what he is in for on Jan. 30.”
Jake Paul has made his intentions clear in the promotion of his fight against Gib: If he emerges victorious in his pro debut on Jan. 30, he wants to avenge Logan Paul’s 2019 loss against KSI later this year.
“I don’t like Jake and I think the whole world doesn’t like Jake,” said KSI. “If he does manage to get past the Big Gibber then yes, I will fight Jake. 100%. But that’s not going to happen, I don’t think he’s ready for Gib at all and that’s going to show on Jan. 30. I think Gib wins this hands down and that will be the end of the Paul brothers.”
“Losing to KSI wasn’t easy but in many ways, it has given Jake an opportunity to no longer be the little brother,” said Logan Paul. “Jake took my loss harder than I did. It hurt because seeing my younger brother more affected than I am by something that wasn’t even his ordeal. I think it says a lot about Jake’s character.”
“Even the most public figures have a story to be told,” said Deirdre Fenton, DAZN Director, Original Programming. “The world may think they know all there is to know about Jake Paul and Gib but we have tried to peel back the layers to deliver a comprehensive look at both fighters before they settle their differences on Jan. 30.”
Top Rank Signs Andrew Cancio
Former WBA super featherweight world champion Andrew “El Chango” Cancio, the working man’s hero who reached the pinnacle of the sport, has signed a multi-fight promotional contract with Top Rank. Cancio, who still holds down a full-time job at Southern California Gas Company, is expected to make his Top Rank on ESPN debut in April.
“Andrew Cancio is one of the very best fighters at 130 pounds, a hard-working young man who deserves another opportunity to fight at the sport’s highest level,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He was a free agent, miraculously, and we didn’t hesitate to make a deal with him and his team.”
“I’m very grateful to begin the next chapter of my career with Bob Arum and the entire Top Rank team in my corner,” Cancio said. “I look forward to returning to the ring in front of my army of supporters and am fully prepared to fight my way towards becoming a world champion again. Thanks very much to my team, particularly my manager, Ray Chaparro, who has always believed in me and has been incredibly supportive of my career and instrumental in the success I’ve achieved.”
Said Chaparro: “Andrew and I are honored to join Top Rank as we move forward towards the rest of his career. I’ve known for a long time that Andrew is a world-class fighter and am very happy to begin working with Bob Arum and his outstanding team on our march towards another world title. I’d specifically like to thank Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman, who has worked diligently to welcome us to Top Rank. We both look forward to working closely with him in the future.”
Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KOs), from Blythe, Calif., knocked out Alberto Machado last February in four rounds to win the WBA super featherweight world title. Four months later, he repeated the deed, this time stopping Machado in three rounds. Cancio’s title reign ended last November when Nicaraguan veteran Rene Alvarado knocked him out in seven rounds.
Cancio is one of the sport’s top regional ticket-sellers, as he routinely draws sold-out crowds to the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif., a 90-minute drive from Blythe. After the Alvarado defeat, Cancio was released by his previous promoter, paving the way for him to sign with Top Rank. WBO world champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring, WBC world champion Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt, former featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez, former two-weight world champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton and former world champion Masayuki “The Judge” Ito are Top Rank-signed fighters who currently campaign at 130 pounds, leaving Cancio with a plethora of options as he resumes his career.
Andrade Signs Four Fight Extension with Matchroom
Demetrius Andrade has signed a four-fight extension to his contract with Matchroom Boxing USA.
Andrade (28-0 17 KOs) defends his WBO World Middleweight crown for the third time against Luke Keeler in Miami on January 30 live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
‘Boo Boo’ landed the vacant title in Boston in October 2018 with a win over teak-tough African Walter Kautondokwa and followed that win by stopping Artur Akavov in the final round of his first defense in New York in January 2019.
The Rhode Island ace went home for his second defense and thrilled his hometown fans at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence in June by putting Maciej Sulecki on the deck in the opening round en-route to a shut-out win over the Pole.
Irishman Keeler (17-2-1 5 KOs) travels to Miami in a bid to shock the world in his first World title fight, but Andrade wants to hold onto his title in style before attacking the big guns and fellow World rulers at 160lbs.
“I’m delighted to have signed an extension to my deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing USA,” said Andrade. “We have had a great 18 months and we’ve got plans to have an even bigger 2020 and 2021.
“I’ve matured in the ring as I’ve been more active and sometimes I think, if these guys had fought me before they might have had a better chance against me, but now they are giving me the time to sign with Eddie and DAZN, get active and fight four times, sharpen the tools and get the ring rust off. So, when it comes their time, it’s going to be hell for them!
“As long as I am building my legacy, performing the way I need to perform and people are loving my style and the things I am doing, I am not worried about anything else as the fans are going to start demanding that these guys fight me.”
The two-weight World ruler was one of the first fighters to team up with promoter Eddie Hearn in July 2018 as he expanded the Matchroom Boxing empire to America with a billion-dollar deal with DAZN, and Hearn expects the Rhode Island ace to have a big year in 2020.
“I am thrilled to have signed an extension to Demetrius’ deal with Matchroom Boxing USA,” said Hearn. “Demetrius is one of the best 160lb fighters in the world and now is the time to deliver him the fights against the other elite Middleweights in the division, live on DAZN.”