February 8, 2016
February 8, 2016
Mikaela Mayer

Annemarie Blanco/USA Boxing

TEAM USA’s elite athletes put on an impressive performance tonight in a battle with southern neighbor Mexico at the Miccosukee Sports & Entertainment Dome in Miami on February 6. The USA Knockouts squad bounced back from a week one loss with a 4-1 victory over the Mexico Guerreros in World Series of Boxing action. Female flyweight Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) and lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) both won unanimous decision victories before the WSB action began in Miami.

“I think we did really well. It’s been a short time together with the men. The women were excellent, really really good. Some of the performances today were world class. We’re building towards being a world class team and trying to compete at a world class level,” said coach Billy Walsh. “I’m very happy with the performances tonight, it’s been a really great improvement over the last couple of weeks. I know in a month’s time we’ll be at an Olympic qualifier in Buenos Aires but today we’re in a good state for that quest.”

2016 Olympian Carlos Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.) and 2015 Pan American Games silver medalist Lindolfo Delgado were chosen to close the night’s action in a lightweight division battle. The contest was a rematch from the 2015 Pan American Games where Delgado eliminated Balderas in preliminary action. Yet the second contest between the two talented boxers told a very different tale. Balderas came out on a mission, landing strong combinations and effective body shots throughout the bout. He sent Delgado to the canvas in the first and third rounds on his way to a unanimous decision victory and the fourth USA Knockouts win of the night. “I trained a lot harder and a lot smarter [than the last time.] I’d like to thank my family and my team for pushing me not just physically but mentally. The fight is won more mentally than physically,” Balderas said. “I want to thank everyone for supporting me and give a shout out to Santa Cruz for giving me great sparring. The styles are very different unlike in the United States where everyone is a little more planted.”

2015 Pan American Games champion Antonio Vargas (Kissimmee, Fla.) made his World Series of Boxing debut in a flyweight contest with the Mexico Guerreros’ Orlando Huitzil. The Florida resident put on a show for his home state fans, dominating the match from bell to bell. He showed the skills that earned him Pan American Games gold, peppering Huitzil with combinations from every angle and flooring him to the delight of the crowd. Vargas won the bout by a wide unanimous decision, taking all five rounds on every judges’ scorecard in a highly successful WSB opener. “It was an easy fight. I was having fun and out there doing my thing,” Vargas said. “I think it’s great preparation for Rio. It’s a little bit new with five rounds but overall it was a great experience.”

Light heavyweight Jonthan Esquivel (Anaheim, Calif.) competed in his first WSB bout in a showdown with Pan American Games bronze medalist Rogelio Romero. Esquivel didn’t take long to get comfortable in his World Series of Boxing debut, dictating the pace and controlling his match throughout all five rounds. He extended the winning streak he started at the Olympic Trials, taking a 3-0 victory and sweeping every on the official scorecards.  “I feel blessed to be on the WSB stage and blessed to represent the USA and I did it on my first fight,” said Esquivel. “This is definitely good preparation for Rio because we’re facing the top guys.”

Brandon Lynch (Albany, N.Y.) was the first USA Knockout to compete in Friday’s competition, taking on former USA Boxing National Championships medalist Elvis Garcia who’s now representing the Mexico Guerreros. Lynch claimed the first victory of the night for his USA Knockouts, winning a 3-0 victory in the super heavyweight contest. “It was the first time I went five rounds in a fight and it was pretty interesting. After the third round, it was like a new territory but I toughed it out,” Lynch said. “It’s my first international competition against Mexico. I’ve seen that guy fight before in the Olympic qualifiers and he was great then and he was great now. He’s a heavy hitter so thank God I was blocking those shots or I would’ve gotten knocked out if I didn’t. I’d like to say thanks to all the people that trained me in Colorado Springs, they’re expertise is world renown.”

Welterweight Paul Kroll (Philadelphia, Pa.) suffered the lone loss of the night for the United States in a razor-close bout with the Mexico Guerreros’ Fernando Armenta. The two battled in a close contest over five rounds with each boxer enjoying their share of strong moments. At the end of the five rounds, Armenta was named the winner by split decision.

The two American women competing in Friday night’s action set a winning tone for their male counterparts in the two opening bouts at the Miccosukee Sports and Entertainment Dome. Fuchs faced off with Mexico’s top flyweight Sulem Urbina in the first match of the night on Friday. Fuchs entered the bout on quite a run having put on gold medal performances at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro. Fuchs continued her winning streak in her 2016 opener, claiming a unanimous decision victory over Urbina and giving Team USA their first win of the night. “It was really exciting being on a WSB card, it was a first for women. I was very happy with my performance,” Fuchs said. “I listened to my corner really well and I performed really well. It was really good practice for the qualifiers and I know I’m ready for it.”

Mayer’s competed in a lightweight match-up with 2015 Pan American Games bronze medalist Victoria Torres of Mexico in the battle of neighboring nations. The American lightweight utilized her boxing skills to outwit Torres over their four round bout. She notched victory two of the night with a 3-0 victory over Torres to send the men in to the ring with strong American momentum. “I think the bout went pretty good, I felt in control. She’s a pretty aggressive fighter and I had a few tangled up moments but for the most part I feel like I won every round,” Mayer said. “I’m hoping to fight on more WSB cards. I know they’re looking to put the women in so hopefully that’ll happen soon.”

Coaches Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.), Kevin Greene (Ozark, Ala.), and Joe Guzman (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led the American squad in week two World Series of Boxing competition on Friday.

The USA Knockouts will return to action in an away match with the Morocco Atlas Lions on February 19 in Casablanca, Morocco.

Results
114 lbs/male: Antonio Vargas, Kissimmee, Fla./USA dec. Orlando Huitzil, Mexico, 3-0 (50-45), (50-44), (50-44)
132 lbs/male: Carlos Balderas, Santa Maria, Calif./USA dec. Lindolfo Delgado, 3-0 (49-46), 49-46), (49-46)
152 lbs/male: Fernando Armenta, Mexico, dec. Paul Kroll, Philadelphia, Pa./USA. 2-1(48-47 x 2 for Armenta), (48-47 for Kroll)
178 lbs/male: Jonathan Esquivel, Anaheim, Calif./USA  dec. Rogelio Romero, Mexico, 3-0 (50-45), (50-45), (50-45)
201+ lbs/male: Brandon Lynch, Albany, N.Y./USA dec. Elvis Garcia, Mexico, 3-0 (49-46), (49-46), (48-47)
112 lbs/female: Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas/USA dec. Sulem Urbina, Mexico, 3-0
132 lbs/female: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif./USA dec. Victoria Torres, Mexico, 3-0

February 8, 2016
February 8, 2016
klitschkofuryart

THE CHAMPION

DON’T let the sanctioning bodies fool you, there is only one king here. Britain’s Tyson Fury’s win over Ukraine’s long-term leader Wladimir Klitschko was a true passing of the torch moment in the division’s history. His short-term future – besides fending off the ferocious British media – appears to be tied up in an immediate rematch with the ageing former champion. Win that, and a world of opportunity and riches opens up before him. Despite his recent coronation, his fluent yet unorthodox skills remain underrated, and the WBA Super and WBO champ, still only 27, should be made favourite over anyone.

BELT HOLDERS

WBC boss Deontay Wilder, 30, notched two entertaining but flawed defences following the Alabama slugger’s belt-winning effort over Bermane Stiverne last year. He defended his belt with a mammoth knockout against Poland’s Artur Szpilka on January 16… On the same bill, Charles Martin beat Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov for the vacant IBF strap that was stripped from Fury… The WBA’s spurious ‘regular’ titlist, 37-year-old Uzbek Ruslan Chagaev, defends against Aussie Lucas Browne in March… Cuba’s 36-year-old Luis Ortiz is threatening, but his Interim WBA bauble carries little value.

TOP CONTENDERS

WHAT does Wladimir Klitschko have left at 39? Logic would say not much, but plenty of fading stars have turned in one last great showing to cement legacies. Don’t bet against the studious Klitschko doing just that… Former WBA ‘regular’ champion Alexander Povetkin is arguably the most skilled in the division, carries hellacious power when in range, and even
at 36, is a danger to all… Kubrat Pulev, 34, was made to look ordinary by Klitschko in 2013 yet the Bulgarian, though lacking worldwide appeal, would represent an excellent scalp for any names above him.

LEADING PROSPECTS

BRIT Anthony Joshua is arguably the most promising heavy starlet since the 1990s, yet the 26-year-old’s second-round stumble against Dillian Whyte proved he is not invincible… Like Joshua, New Zealand’s Joseph Parker is ranked highly by the governing bodies, carries serious power, and at 23, is improving rapidly… Despite his lofty family ties, Hughie Fury largely flies under the radar, but his skillset is admirable and the 21-year-old looks set for a big future… Swedish banger Adrian Granat, 24, is feasting on ageing names, and California’s 26-year-old Andy Ruiz’s nimble boxing belies his hearty frame.

GATEKEEPERS

THE division is loaded with fringe contenders clamouring for one last shot at the big time, and as a consequence, they remain dangerous. Philadelphia’s “Fast” Eddie Chambers is perhaps the most talented, and ambitious, but at 33 probably lacks the youth, and power, to be a factor… Californian Chris Arreola, 34, will soon be fed to a rising prospect, though his efforts could prove fun… Hard to forgive Philly’s 35-year-old Malik Scott for his farcical 2014 loss to Wilder, but his recent win over perennial contender and fellow American Tony Thompson, 44, allowed him to regain some relevance.

WILDCARDS

THOSE with longer memories would have raised their eyebrows when Ike Ibeabuchi – a true terror in his prime – announced his plans to return to the ring at the age of 42. The Nigerian has been out of the ring since 1999, and spent most of that time imprisoned… 35-year-old Brit David Haye has a far better chance of regaining his former standing, but success is not guaranteed after three-and-a-half years out… Injury-ravaged EBU champ Robert Helenius, 32, remains unbeaten, but the Finn has a long way to go to fulfil early promise.

BRITISH BULLDOGS

THE Sauerlands have two faltering British big men they retain hope for: Finchley’s Dereck Chisora, 32, has won four since he was trounced by Fury in their 2014 rematch (made almost respectable by Tyson’s rise to the top), and can be a factor at European level at least; Liverpool’s David Price’s future is less secure but news that Erkan Teper was doping before knocking him cold last year offers the heavy-handed 32-year-old a route back… Let’s not forget Brixton’s Dillian Whyte, 27, who proved against Joshua he has the potential, if managed correctly, to join his conqueror on the world scene.

DINOSAURS

BROOKLYN’S Shannon Briggs, 44, has been trying to goad a lucrative opponent into a contest for years – his latest target is Fury after Wilder and Klitschko ignored him – but has done nothing, bar the odd entertaining social media post, worthy of attention… A professional since 1986, hammered by Tony Tucker, Michael Moorer, and Frans Botha in the 90s, and coming in at over 300lbs, Arizona-born 51-year-old “Bronco” Billy Wright has somehow secured a top 20 ranking with the WBC. If boxing wasn’t such a dangerous sport, his presence would be laughable.

This article was first published in the January 14 issue of Boxing News

1. Download the FREE Boxing News magazine app using one of these links – Boxing News UK (Apple), Boxing News International (Apple), Boxing News UK (Android), Boxing News International (Android).

2. Click ‘Install’ then, once the installation process is complete, ‘Open’, before going through the on-screen information.

3. Either buy a single issue by clicking first on the issue cover then the price tag, or sign up to a subscription by clicking ‘Free trial’ – the first 30 days are free with Apple, 14 with Android and the trial can be cancelled at any time within the period.

February 8, 2016
February 8, 2016
Joseph Parker

Photosport

BIG-PUNCHING prospect Joseph Parker has been steadily making waves in the heavyweight division. Most recently in January, the 18-0 (16) New Zealander dispatched tough Pittsburgh southpaw Jason Bergman in eight rounds in Samoa, dropping the American three times along the way.

Following this eye-catching victory, 24-year-old Parker – who is next scheduled to compete in April in his home country – declared his intention to face the big names in the division in the near future, including fellow unbeaten prodigy Anthony Joshua.

Speaking exclusively to Boxing News in a wide-ranging interview, the Las Vegas-based Auckland native described how his past experience of sparring some top heavyweight talent will hold him in good stead ahead of the important fights to come.

“I sparred Wladimir Klitschko early last year in Florida, when he was still heavyweight champion of the world,” Parker recalls. “It was a great experience to see first-hand how a dominant champion prepares. I took great confidence from holding my own in the ring with him. I’ve also sparred Bermane Stiverne, who’s a former WBC champion, plus Any Ruiz Jnr, who’s a great prospect.”

For the full, four-page interview with Parker, check out this week’s issue of Boxing News, available to download on Tuesday February 9, and in stores on Thursday February 11.

February 8, 2016
February 8, 2016

Video: Manny Pacquiao

February 8, 2016
February 8, 2016
Frank Bruno age

Action Images/Lee Smith

FRANK BRUNO has conceded a return to competitive boxing is far fetched. In a television interview he had said he wanted to make a comeback but now, in an open letter published by the Sunday Mirror, he writes: “Any champion will tell you it is very hard to turn off those feelings when you leave the ring. I am human and I spoke from the heart. But I know deep down the days of me fighting for world titles are gone.”

There was widespread concern when the 54 year old declared his desire to return. Bruno is a much loved national hero who hasn’t boxed in almost 20 years, since a second defeat Mike Tyson ended his career. He has been struggling with a well documented bi polar disorder.

But Bruno does intend to campaign to raise awareness to help those suffering with mental health issues. He has still been boxing training, and looks in great shape for a man of his age, but explains in the Mirror article that exercise is a way of dealing with his mental condition.

Intriguingly one of the findings of a report soon to be published by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Boxing addresses the beneficial effects training in a boxing gym has on mental health, helping attention, focus, concentration and social interactions.

Annemarie Blanco/USA Boxing

Annemarie Blanco/USA Boxing