Brandon Figueroa to Put WBC & WBA Titles On Line Against Stephen Fulton in November

Brandon Figueroa is putting his titles on the line…

The 24-year-old Mexican American professional boxer, who currently holds the WBC and WBA super bantamweight titles, will face Stephen Fulton on November 27 at Park MGM in Las Vegas, according to Premier Boxing Champions.

Brandon Figueroa

The Showtime main event was set for September 18 but was postponed after Figueroa tested positive for COVID-19.

Murodjon Akhmadaliev, ESPN’s No. 1 boxer at junior featherweight, holds two titles. After Fulton and Figueroa fight — assuming there’s no draw — there will be just two champions at 122 pounds, clearing the path for an undisputed title fight next year.

Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) won the WBO version of the title in January with a unanimous decision victory over Angelo Leo. The 27-year-old Philadelphian, ESPN’s No. 2 junior featherweight, threw 1,183 punches in the breakthrough win.

Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) won the WBC junior featherweight title with a seventh-round KO of Luis Nery in a career-best performance in May. The volume puncher from Weslaco, Texas, and ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 122 pounds is the younger brother of former title contender Omar Figueroa Jr.

The bout, which features two volume punchers, seems like a can’t-miss action fight.

The undercard is topped by Ra’eese Aleem, ESPN’s No. 7 boxer at 122 pounds, against Eduardo Baez. Aleem is coming off a career-best win, an 11th-round stoppage of Vic Pasillas in January. Gary Antonio Russell, the younger brother of Gary Russell Jr., meets Alejandro Barrios in the 118-pound opener.

Vince Velasquez Signs Minor League Contract with San Diego Padres

Que padre(s)! Vince Velasquez is heading back to the mound…

The 29-year-old Latino professional baseball pitcher, a right-hander, has signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres.

Vince Velasquez

Velasquez, who was released by the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, is expected to be added to San Diego’s active 28-man roster this weekend in St. Louis and make a start during the three-game series against the Cardinals, the Padres said.

A seven-year veteran, Velasquez, 29, is 3-6 with a 5.95 ERA this season.

He previously played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies.

Ozuna Reveals Next Single Will Feature DJ Snake, Megan Thee Stallion & BLACKPINK

Ozuna is going global with his next single…

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican singer, who performed at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards alongside a bunch of dancing teddy bears during a high-energy showcase of his new single “La Funka,” Ozuna revealed that he’s calling on two global stars to perform on his latest track.

Ozuna

Speaking to MTV News on the red carpet of the show, Ozuna revealed that his next single will feature DJ Snake, Megan Thee Stallion and BLACKPINK.

“It’s coming up next,” Ozuna said excitedly of his reconnection with French DJ/record producer Snake, who also backed him up on the hit 2018 single “Taki Taki featuring Selena Gomez and Cardi B.

At press time no further details were available about the song title or release date.

After releasing Los Dioses, his collaborative project with Anuel AA, in January, Ozuna recently released the uptempo single “La Funka” and appeared in the Fast & Furious franchise’s ninth film, F9.

This year he also became the first artist to score a large-scale partnership with the Call of Duty mobile game. Ozuna’s partnership with Call of Duty: Mobile includes an official skin (meaning an outfit for player avatars) and other in-game content, which was timed to the release of the game’s seventh season, “Elite of the Elite,” on August 25.

That same day, he also released an original song, titled “A La Buena El Mejor,” to serve as the season’s official theme.

HBO Max Renews Zion Moreno’s “Gossip Girl” for Second Season

There’s more gossip in Zion Moreno’s future…

HBO Max has renewed its Gossip Girl reboot, starring the 26-year-old Mexican American actress/model, for season 2 ahead.

Zion Moreno

The news comes ahead of the release of the second part of its debut season, which is set to premiere in November.

Gossip Girl is a reboot of a CW original series of the same name which is set 9 years after the original website went dark.

The new iteration of Gossip Girl, written by showrunner Joshua Safran, is based on the book by Cecily von Ziegesar and the original show, developed by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, which ran from 2007-2012.

The HBO Max series follows a new generation of New York private school teens who are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The series explores just how much social media — and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years.

In addition to Moreno, season one also stars Jordan Alexander, Eli Brown, Thomas Doherty, Tavi Gevinson, Emily Alyn Lind, Evan Mock, Whitney Peak, and Savannah Lee Smith with Todd Almond, Adam Chanler-Berat, Johnathan Fernandez, and Jason Gotay.

Executive producers include Schwartz and Savage of Fake Empire and Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo of Alloy Entertainment. Lis Rowinski of Fake Empire serves as co-executive producer.

The reboot was hailed by the steamer as its most-watched original series over the first weekend of availability. It also saw record viewership over the first four days of availability. The first episode opened to viewers in 555,000 U.S. households, per Samba TV.

The first six episodes of the first half of season 1 are currently available to stream via HBO Max.

Vanna White to Continue Hosting “Wheel of Fortune” Through 2024

Vanna White’s Wheels (and tiles) will keep on turnin’…

The 64-year-old half-Puerto Rican television personality and game show letter-turner and her Wheel of Fortune co-star Pat Sajak have on to continue hosting the show through the 2023-2024 season.

Vanna White

As part of the deal, Sajak has added consulting producer to his responsibilities.

Jim Thornton, who will mark his 10th anniversary as Wheel of Fortune announcer, will get an expanded on-screen presence in the new season, which premieres September 13. At the open of each episode, he will be featured at a new podium on stage as he introduces Sajak and White.

Here are some other changes in store for the upcoming season:

  • In the game show’s digital space, Maggie Sajak, Pat’s daughter, will be joining the show as Social Correspondent across all of Wheel of Fortune’s channels including: http://www.wheeloffortune.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
  • The set and music have been refreshed for the new season. The Wheel of Fortune theme song, “Changing Keys,” which will return this season with a modernized arrangement.
  • Sajak will no longer do the “Final Spin” of the game. Instead, the contestant in control of the Wheel at the time will spin to determine the amount each consonant is worth during the speed up round.
  • More money will be up for grabs in Season 39 with the removal of the “Free Play” wedge from the Wheel, which was replaced by an $850 wedge. Also, a $4,000 bonus is being added to contestants who solve all three puzzles in the Triple Toss Up Round, making the round worth $10,000. And finally, the minimum amount that can be won on the Bonus Wheel has been upped to $39,000, in honor of the show’s 39th season in syndication.
  • Returning is the show’s annual “Secret Santa Holiday Giveaway.” This popular sweepstakes gives Wheel Watchers Club members the chance to win everything a contestant wins, up to the million-dollar grand prize.

“If you think about it, by doing the “final spin” I, as host, had an impact on the outcome of the game and that has always bothered me because it just didn’t feel right,” said Sajak of the change in play of the game. “With this change, only the contestants determine the outcome of the game and the host does not impose themself in any way.”

After Wheel of Fortune hostess Susan Stafford left the show in October 1982, White was selected as one of three substitute hostesses (along with Vicki McCarty and Summer Bartholomew) to co-host the show. On December 13, 1982, White became the regular hostess. And the rest is herstory.

Alfred Molina to Star in Amazon’s Police Drama Series “Three Pines”

Alfred Molina is pining for a new project…

The 68-year-old half-Spanish actor will star in the Amazon police drama series Three Pines, from The Crown producer Left Bank Pictures.

Alfred Molina

The former Spider-Man star will play Chief Inspector Armand Gamache in the Canadian original.

The eight-part series has begun production in Montreal and rural Quebec. It will film through to December and launch on Amazon in a number of territories including Canada, the U.S. and UK.

Based on Louise Penny’s book series, Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is a man who sees things that others do not: the light between the cracks, the mythic in the mundane, and the evil in the seemingly ordinary. As he investigates a spate of murders in Three Pines, a seemingly idyllic village, he discovers long-buried secrets and faces a few of his own ghosts.

The cast also includes Rossif Sutherland, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Tantoo Cardinal, Clare Coulter, Sarah Booth, Anna Tierney, Julian Bailey, Frédéric-Antoine Guimond, Pierre Simpson, Tamara Brown, Marie-France Lambert, Frank Schorpion, Marcel Jeannin, Georgina Lynn Lightning, Crystle Lightning, Isabel Deroy-Olson, and Anna Lambe.

The series is written by Emilia di Girolamo, who adapts the novels as lead writer, and Catherine Tregenna will pen two additional episodes.

Sony Pictures Television will handle international sales.

Cardi B Earns Seventh No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart with Lizzo Collaboration “Rumors”

All the rumors are true… Cardi B has another chart-topper on her hands.

The 28-year-old half-Dominican American rap superstar’s collaboration with Lizzo, “Rumors,”has debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart dated August 28.

Cardi B x Lizzo

The track also begins as the genre’s top-selling tune of the week.

With the leading entrance, Lizzo posts her third No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. “Rumors” follows “Truth Hurts,” which reigned for 11 nonconsecutive weeks in 2019 before it surrendered to her own “Good as Hell,” a four-week nonconsecutive champ.

Cardi B, meanwhile, obtains a lucky seventh leader thanks to the No. 1 debut.

Here’s a look at her collection:

Bodak Yellow (Money Moves),” six weeks at No. 1, beginning Sept. 16, 2017
Finesse,” with Bruno Mars, one, Jan. 20, 2018
I Like It,” with Bad Bunny & J Balvin, July 7, 2018
Please Me,” with Bruno Mars, one, March 16, 2019
WAP,” feat. Megan Thee Stallion, 10, Aug. 22, 2020
Up,” four, Feb. 20, 2021
“Rumors,” with Lizzo, one (to date), Aug. 28, 2021

In addition to Cardi B claiming her own seventh champ, the team of Lizzo and Cardi B marks only the ninth instance of women solo acts combining forces for a No. 1 since Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs became an all-encompassing genre tally in 1958; notably, almost half have reigned since May 2020.

The full list of such leaders:

Brandy & Monica, “The Boy Is Mine,” 13 weeks at No. 1 in 1998
Whitney Houston feat. Faith Evans & Kelly Price, “Heartbreak Hotel,” seven, 1999
Keyshia Cole feat. Missy Elliott & Lil Kim, “Let It Go,” three, 2007
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy,” 13, 2014
Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora, “Black Widow,” five, 2014
Doja Cat feat. Nicki Minaj, “Say So,” two, 2020
Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé, “Savage,” two, 2020
Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion, “WAP,” 10, 2020
Lizzo & Cardi B, “Rumors,” one (to-date), 2021

Thanks to “WAP” and “Rumors,” Cardi B is the third person to appear on the above list twice, after Iggy Azalea and Megan Thee Stallion.

Elsewhere, “Rumors” races to a No. 1 debut on the Hot Rap Songs chart and a No. 4 launch on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.

“Rumors,” released August 13, starts strong in both the sales and streaming realms. On the former, the collaboration kicks off at No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales chart through 17,900 downloads in the week ending Aug. 19, according to MRC Data. (Including physical products, the song sold 25,200 copies overall in its first frame.) In the streaming sector, “Rumors” debuts in the runner-up slot on R&B/Hip-Hop Streaming Songs thanks to 20.9 million U.S. streams in the same period.

Initial radio airplay numbers for “Rumors” are highly encouraging, with action in multiple formats. The mainstream pop radio format leads the reception, with “Rumors” advancing 26-19 on the Pop Airplay chart after its first full week of tracking, which ended Aug. 22. The tune also closes in on the top 20 on Rhythmic Airplay, where it surges 32-21, again, after its first full week of availability to radio programmers. And while the aforementioned formats are its current biggest advocates, the single also registers on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart at No. 34, retaining its position from the prior week.

From its performance across all formats, “Rumors” debuts at No. 21 on the all-genre Radio Songs chart. The entrance secures both Lizzo and Cardi B the highest starts of each’s career, surpassing the No. 40 bow of “Good as Hell” and the No. 33 arrival of “Please Me,” respectively.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler to Star on Season Two of ABC’s Drama Series “Big Sky”

The (big) sky’s the limit for Jamie-Lynn Sigler

The 40-year-old half-Cuban American actress and former The Sopranos star will appear on the second season of ABC’s popular drama series Big Sky.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Sigler, who will appear in a key role, will appear alongside cast newcomers Madelyn Kientz, Troy Johnson, Lola Reid, Jeremy Ray Taylor, TV Carpio and Arturo Del Puerto (Camping).

In Season 2 of the David E. Kelley series based on the books by C.J. Box, when private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) reunite to investigate a car wreck outside of Helena, Montana, they soon discover that the case might not be as straightforward as it seems. As they unravel the mystery of the accident, their worlds will collide with a band of unsuspecting teens, a flirtatious face from Jenny’s past and a vicious outsider hellbent on finding answers.

Cast also includes series regulars Janina Gavankar, Brian Geraghty and Dedee Pfeiffer as well as Omar Metwally and Anja Savcic, who have been promoted from recurring to regulars for Season 2, and Jesse James Keitel, a series regular in season 1 who will recur in Season 2.

Sigler will play Tonya, who works as a waitress at a local diner. She and her boyfriend have big plans, that is until he mysteriously disappears. Tonya hires the services of Dewell & Hoyt to find her boyfriend, but she is withholding some secrets of her own. Like all of the women in this town, it would be unwise to underestimate Tonya.

Del Puerto will play T-Lock, Rachel’s ne’er-do-well boyfriend, oozing with entrepreneurial self-confidence, especially when it comes to his myriad of “get-rich-quick” opportunities. Though he can be a loose cannon, and leeches money off a begrudging Max behind her mother’s back, T-Lock genuinely loves Rachel.

Big Sky, produced by 20th Century Fox Television and A+E Studios, is moving production to Rio Rancho, NM, for Season 2 from Vancouver, where the first season was shot.

Sigler, known for her role as Meadow Soprano in HBO’s The Sopranos, was recently seen in Lifetime movie The Neighbor In The Window, and will next be seen on the big screen in a starring role in Sonia Sebastian’s The Virgin of Highland Park. She also recently voiced Rebeca on Disney Jr.’s Elena of Avalor.

Del Puerto was recently seen in HBO’s limited series Camping opposite Jennifer Garner, Juliette Lewis, and David Tennant, and also was recently seen in Apple’s For All Mankind. His film credits include Independence Day: Resurgence, Universal’s Ride Along 2 and CHIPS.

PBS to Premiere Documentary “Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It,” About Rita Moreno’s Life, in October

Rita Moreno’s life story is heading to the small screen…

As she prepares for her upcoming 90th birthday, the Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer is readying for the PBS debut of a new documentary about her life.

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It, directed by Mariem Pérez Riera, will premiere as part of PBS’ Emmy-winning American Masters series on Tuesday, October 5.

With startling candor, Moreno explores every aspect of her career as a Puerto Rican immigrant to America possessed of extraordinary ability to sing, dance and act and a burning desire for stardom. But as a young woman of color, she was generally cast as random “ethnic” types in “accent” roles—playing Thai, Polynesian, Native American, generic Latina, often with makeup smeared on to darken her skin.

Speaking about the documentary, Moreno recalled a moment of reckoning about the work she was offered for so long.

“I suddenly realized, ‘Wait a minute. Why do I always have to speak with an accent? Why do I always have to wear dark, dark, dark makeup, which is not my skin color? Why am I letting these people tell me who I am?’” she remembered thinking. “But that didn’t happen until much, much later. I can take full blame for accepting much of that for way too long. But I had no mentors, I had nobody to guide me.”

Not only were most of the parts unfulfilling—until a supporting role in 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain playing a non-Latina, and the role of Anita in West Side Story that would win her an Oscar a decade later—but Moreno recounts being constantly subjected to sexual harassment by powerful Hollywood men, and being raped by her agent. And she does not hold back on her years with Marlon Brando, a romantic relationship so turbulent that it prompted her to attempt suicide.

“If I was going to do this project, it was important for me that I was going to make a promise that I would be as honest and truthful as possible. And that never changed, that objective,” Moreno said. “I think it’s probably one of the reasons, if not the reason, that this documentary has gotten such praise, because there’s no bull poop… I knew that was very, very important for me, for my own self-respect. I didn’t want on record for the rest of my life or the rest of my recognition as an actor to have on record that I lied about something deliberately. And I think it had a marvelous effect. I think people were surprised and delighted.”

With Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, set for release on December 10, the day before Moreno turns 90, in a sense the star’s career comes full circle.

She plays Valentina, a newly-conceived character who is the widow of the original film’s “Doc,” the kindly man who ran the corner store where Anita is nearly raped. Playwright Tony Kushner wrote the new version of the film.

“You are in for one of the great experiences of all time,” Moreno promised. “This is a great film. This is a great story… It was probably one of the most thrilling times of my life. Also let’s not forget, because I certainly can’t, that I’m an executive producer on that film. That was a big, big surprise. I didn’t expect anything like that and Steven [Spielberg] offered it and I couldn’t understand why but I said, ‘Oh, okay…’ Damn, it’s a marvelous movie.”

Moreno said the new West Side Story improves upon the 1961 film directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise that earned 10 Oscars.

“Many of the things that were not exactly right or real about the original have been corrected with a vengeance,” she noted. “And that has a great deal to do not only with Steven but with Tony Kushner… He has clarified a lot of the things in that film that weren’t clear, that were fuzzy… I can only tell you are in for the treat of your life.”

In the meantime, fans are in for a treat with the documentary, which premiered at Sundance.

“When I was interviewing Rita I often felt very related to what she was saying,” Pérez Riera commented. “I [thought] that if I could feel that way, any woman could feel that way, so that was the idea. It was also to show, through Rita, what it means to be a woman, period. And what it means to be a woman, especially Latina, and if you’re an immigrant in Hollywood and in the United States.”

Moreno says the film sends a message.

“I think we tell women that we have value. And it’s something that’s very, very difficult for women to understand because they’ve been mistreated for so long and particularly women of color and women from other countries,” Moreno said. “But all women, it’s so important to understand that we really do have value, no matter how—I hate to say the word—men, have treated us or perceived us.”

“I see Rita as a pathfinder and a groundbreaker who was fighting the #MeToo and #TimesUp fight for decades before those sayings and those organizations emerged,” noted American Masters EP Michael Kantor. “And it’s just hugely inspirational.”

Moreno said she agreed to the documentary with a few stipulations.

Tito Ortiz to Fight Anderson Silva in Cruiserweight Boxing Match Next Month

Tito Ortiz is preparing to fight a fellow MMA legend… But it won’t be in a cage.

The 46-year-old half-Mexican American mixed martial artist will fight Anderson Silva in an eight-round cruiserweight boxing match on September 11.

Tito Ortiz

Ortiz and Silva will participate in the co-feature before Oscar De La Hoya faces Vitor Belfort in the pay-per-view main event, Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh tells ESPN.

The Triller PPV will take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will feature two other boxing matches: former heavyweight champion David Haye vs. Joe Fournier and Andy Vences vs. Jono Carroll in a battle of 130-pound fringe contenders.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity, along with my team, to get in the ring against Tito Ortiz on September 11 with Triller Fight Club, who are really shaking things up in the combat sports world,” Silva said.

The Silva-Ortiz and Haye-Fournier fights will be sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission, meaning they will be real bouts, not exhibitions. Silva and Ortiz will fight eight two-minute rounds, and Haye and Fournier will fight eight three-minute rounds.

“Big” John McCarthy, a former longtime UFC referee, will officiate Silva-Ortiz.

Silva scored an upset over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June, just his third pro boxing match, then entered negotiations for a fight with YouTube personality Logan Paul.

Silva is a former UFC middleweight champion and holds the record for longest title reign in promotion history at 2,457 days. He’s one of the most recognizable draws in MMA history, with 18 headline appearances on UFC PPV. He suffered a fourth-round TKO defeat to Uriah Hall in October — his seventh loss in his past nine appearances in the Octagon — and was released by the UFC one month later.

Ortiz was also one of the UFC’s most bankable stars. He’ll make his pro boxing debut at 46, nearly 10 years after his final UFC fight.

“I am excited to be taking on a new challenge and compete against another great fighter in Anderson Silva,” said Ortiz, a long-reigning UFC light heavyweight champion who made his debut at UFC 13 in 1997. “As a patriot, fighting on Sept. 11 means a lot to me.”