Ryan Garcia Reaches Final Agreement to Fight Luke Campbell for WBC Interim Lightweight Title

It’s official! Ryan Garcia will be fighting for a title…

The promoters for the 22-year-old Mexican American boxer and Campbell have officially reached an agreement for a WBC interim lightweight title fight to take place in November. Both parties had tentatively agreed to the fight earlier this month.

Ryan Garcia

Matchroom Sports, which promotes Campbell, and Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Garcia, made the announcement on Wednesday, just minutes before a WBC purse bid was to be held for the right to promote the bout.

Last week, the two sides had requested a seven-day extension believing they were close to a deal.

The venue has not been finalized, but Golden Boy president Oscar de la Hoya said it will take place in California.

“We’re very happy that Ryan Garcia will be fighting here in the U.S. in California,” De La Hoya said. “It’s a very difficult fight, and again, we have to give it to DAZN, we have to give it to [Matchroom promoter] Eddie Hearn for making this happen, and we’re looking forward to it.”

The WBC recently ordered this bout to be for their interim title, putting the winner a step closer to a shot at champion Devin Haney. Vasiliy Lomachenko is the WBC “franchise” champion.

Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) will arguably be the toughest opponent of Garcia’s (20-0, 17 KOs) young career. He won a gold medal in the 2012 London Games and put a good effort in decision losses to Jorge Linares in 2017 and Lomachenko in 2019.

de la Hoya said he believes Garcia, the 2017 ESPN prospect of the year, is ready to face a fighter of Campbell’s caliber.

“Absolutely, 1,000 percent,” De La Hoya said. “We strongly believe that once and for all, Ryan Garcia will be able to shut up the critics, prove to everyone that he’s the real deal. It doesn’t get any bigger or more dangerous than Luke Campbell, being an Olympic gold medalist, being tall, strong, and this is going to be Ryan’s time to shine.”

Garcia and Golden Boy haven’t always been on the same page, but with this fight now being made, it seems as though they are a united front.

“Everything is wonderful,” de la Hoya said. “As Ryan has always said, and the way I’ve always expressed it, we’re a family. Families sometime have their differences, but at the end of the day, we’re still family.”

Esparza Launches Pro Career with Multi-Year Golden Boy Promotions Deal

Marlen Esparza is heading to the big leagues…

The 27-year-old Latina boxer, won the bronze medal in the women’s flyweight division at the 2012 London Games, has decided to go pro, signing a multi-year promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions on Wednesday.

Marlen Esparza

Esparza, one of the world’s top female amateur boxers will make her professional debut in early 2017, Golden Boy president Eric Gomez said.

“I recently told my fans that I was going pro, and I am happy to announce that it will be the world’s best promotional company — Golden Boy Promotions,” Esparza said. “I am excited to get back into the ring as soon as possible and start climbing the ladder towards winning a professional world title.”

Esparza is the first female fighter signed by Golden Boy, which plans to become much more involved in women’s boxing.

“We really want to jump into women’s boxing,” Gomez said. “We feel she is someone who can revolutionize women’s boxing in the U.S. and bring awareness and excitement. Women’s boxing has been very successful around the world but we’re a little behind in the U.S. She is a smart young woman and she can fight.”

Esparza, who had around 200 amateur fights and lost about 12, won 12 consecutive U.S. national amateur championships and the flyweight gold medal at the 2014 world amateur championships.

She said she wants a world title as a professional and is very confident she will achieve her goal.

“This is a profession and a career for me but could I win a world title tomorrow? I could,” she told ESPN. “I could win it tomorrow but I want to do things correctly and fight my way to the top and do things the way they are supposed to be done, move my way up. I want to earn what I get. What I see myself doing is winning a world title when the time is right and when my team says it’s OK.

“I’m kind of for the first time feeling I’ve arrived. I’ve done so many things, but this (signing with Golden Boy) is something I feel I deserve. I am so ready for this. I’m not scared, I’m ready.”

She said she plans to get back into training right away and will go to England to train over the holidays with her good friend Nicola Adams, who won flyweight Olympic gold medals for Great Britain in 2012 and 2016.

Beyond her ring success, Esparza will come into the pro ranks already having established herself commercially. She has an endorsement deal with CoverGirl cosmetics and has appeared in Spanish-language television ads for Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, among others.

“Before she ever steps foot into the ring as a professional, Marlen Esparza has already established herself as a rising star,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. “At Golden Boy Promotions, we pride ourselves on developing fighters and transforming them into the best of the best. We look forward to doing the same with Marlen.”

Santos & His Brazilian Teammates Claim Gold in Men’s Volleyball at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Sérgio Santos is back at the top of the medal podium…

The 40-year-old Brazilian volleyball player, the only Olympian ever to reach four finals in a row in Men’s Volleyball, helped lead his team past Italy to reclaim the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games.

Brazil Men's Volleyball Team

Brazil beat a strong Italian team in straight sets, 25-22, 28-26, 26-24, on Sunday for the home team’s first Olympic title in 12 years since a championship at the 2004 Athens Games.

As the delirious home crowd hung out to watch the medal ceremony, fans danced in the stands and chanted “Campeao! Campeao!”

Sérgio Santos

“It’s really special, especially winning in our own home it leaves a really good taste,” Brazil’s William Arjona said. “It’s a whole life of work and this is our result. We are very happy for this.”

At the very end, Santos grabbed the microphone and expressed his gratitude to thousands inside and millions elsewhere, thanking the adoring crowd and telling all the fans how much he cherishes wearing Brazil’s yellow shirt on his chest.

Then, he and the champion Brazilians took a victory lap and celebrated some more. They capped the final day of the 2016 Summer Olympics with a memorable, emphatic volleyball victory.

Brazil’s men avenged a loss to Russia in the 2012 London Games gold-medal match with a straight-set victory Friday night, then carried that momentum — and rode the energy of their huge crowd — to the top spot of the Olympic podium.

The Brazilians reached their fourth straight Olympic title match and finally came out champions once more. Even sweeter to reach the gold-medal match by knocking down the Russia team that beat them for gold in London.

The Brazilians then grabbed Santos and tossed him in the air, time and time again. The fitting gesture for a national team treasure and beloved libero in what likely was his last Olympics.

Coloma Claims Bronze in Men’s Cross Country at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

The third time’s the charm for Carlos Coloma

The 34-year-old Spanish mountain biker, participating in his third Olympics, won the bronze medal in the Men’s Cross-Country competition in mountain bike cycling at the 2016 Rio Games.

Carlos Coloma

Coloma finished the race with a time of 1:34:51, just shy of Switzerland’s Nino Schurter, who claimed the gold with a time of 1:33:28 and the Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Kulhavý, who finished just ahead of Coloma at 1:34:18.

In his first Olympics, Coloma finished in 28th place at the 2008 Beijing Games. Four years later, he moved up to 6th place at the 2012 London Games.

Gasol & His Teammates Give Spain a Men’s Basketball Bronze at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

They may not be this year’s Golden boys, but Pau Gasol and his Spanish teammates still have reason to celebrate.

The 36-year-old professional basketball player, who will be heading to the San Antonio Spurs this upcoming NBA season, scored 31 points in what could be his Olympic farewell, as Spain collected the bronze medal in Men’s Basketball at the 2016 Rio Games on Sunday with an 89-88 win over Australia.

Paul Gasol & Spain's Men's Basketball Team

Sergio Rodriguez made two free throws with 5.4 seconds left and the Spaniards, who captured silver at the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games, got the defensive stop they needed as Australia fumbled the ball away on its last possession.

Gasol, who hasn’t committed to playing at the 2020 Tokyo Games, and his teammates celebrated by piling on top of each other near center court.

Paul Gasol & Spain's Men's Basketball Team

It wasn’t the medal they wanted, but after losing their first two games in Brazil, it beats nothing.

“Unbelievable,” forward Rudy Fernandez said. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

It’s a feeling Gasol wishes could last. He isn’t ready to shed his España jersey.

“I’m getting older and at some point I’m not going to be able to play,” said Gasol. “So when that day comes, I’ll accept it. It’ll be hard, but I had an incredible run. I can’t ask for anything else. Everything I gave, everything I lived as a basketball player, it’s a plus. It’s a gift.

“I’m just enjoying the ride.”

Sanchez Claims Silver in Men’s Individual 10m Platform Final at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

It’s another silver for Germán Sánchez

The 24-year-old Mexican diver, nicknamed “Duva,” claimed the silver medal in the Men’s Individual 10m Platform diving final at the 2016 Rio Games.

Germán Sánchez

China’s Chen Aisen emerged from a tightly contested field to claim the gold medal with 585.30 points.

Sanchez won the silver with 532.70 points and USA’s David Boudia, the reigning Olympic champion, totaled 525.25 to claim bronze.

The Guadalajara native won his first individual medal at the Olympics following his second-place showing at the 2012 London Games four years ago.

Along with Ivan Garcia, Sanchez won the silver in the men’s 10-meter synchronized platform jump at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Ramirez Wins Second Straight Boxing Gold at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

He may have switched divisions, but Robeisy Ramirez is still an Olympic champion…

The 22-year-old Cuban amateur boxer out-pointed Team USA’s Shakur Stevenson at the 2016 Rio Games to decide the first Olympic gold medal fight between the two boxing powerhouses in 20 years.

Robeisy Ramirez

The two nations are the most successful in Olympic boxing history yet had oddly avoided each other with the top prize on the line until Ramirez beat Stevenson via split decision to settle the bantamweight gold.

Ramirez, one of the most technically proficient punchers at the 2016 Summer Olympics, has become just the third boxer in history to win two Olympic golds in separate weight divisions.

He was the reigning flyweight champion after success at the 2012 London Games.

Neymar Leads Brazil’s Soccer Team to Its First Olympic Gold Medal

2016 Rio Games

Neymar kicks his way into Brazil’s history books…

The 24-year-old Brazilian soccer star helped lead Brazil’s Olympic soccer team to victory against Germany in the gold medal match at the 2016 Rio Games.

Neymar

Neymar, who had to settle for a silver at the 2012 London Games after losing to Mexico in the gold medal match, scored the winning goal in a dramatic shootout that ended with a score of 5-4, following a 1-1 draw in regulation.

All around him, 70,000 Brazilians inside the vast Maracana Stadium chanted his name, expecting — no, demanding — their nation’s biggest soccer star deliver a historic success at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Neymar paused, gathering his thoughts as he stuttered towards the ball, almost grinding to a halt before stroking his penalty kick high to the left of Germany’s goalkeeper Timo Horn.

Neymar also scored in the 27th minute as Brazil took a 1-0 lead.

Max Meyer scored the equalizer for Germany in the 59th minute.

For Brazil, this was a landmark victory over a country that had inflicted a humiliating 7-1 defeat on it two years ago, in the semifinal of its own World Cup.

It’s the first Olympic victory for Brazilian footballers in a country obsessed with the game.

“This is one of the best things that have happened in my life,” the Barcelona forward said. “That’s it.”

Craviotto Wins Bronze in Men’s Kayak Single 200m at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Saul Craviotto has pulled a double…

For the first time in his three Olympic appearances, the 31-year-old Spanish canoeist has claimed two Olympic medals in one Games.

Saul Craviotto

Craviotto, who won the gold in the final of the Men’s Kayak Double 200m, took home the bronze in the Men’s Kayak Single 200m competition at the 2016 Rio Games.

It’s the fourth Olympic medal in his career.

Saul Craviotto

Craviotto won the gold in the Men’s Kayak Double 500m competition at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Four years later, he took home the silver in the Men’s Kayak Single 200m competition at the 2012 London Games.

Bednarczuk & Seixas Take Home the Silver in Women’s Beach Volleyball at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

It was close, but no cigar for Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas

The Brazilian beach volleyball players, the reigning FIVB Beach Volleyball world champions, lost to Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst in the gold medal match on Copacabana Beach at the 2016 Rio Games.

Agatha Bednarczuk & Barbara Seixas

The 21-18, 21-14 victory gave Germany its first medal in women’s beach volleyball, just four years after the German men took the top spot on the Olympic podium at the 2012 London Games.

Bednarczuk and Seixas’ loss comes on the heels of their victory over April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings, who was gunning for her fourth straight Olympic gold in beach volleyball.

In that semifinal match, Bednarczuk and Seixas overcame a two-point deficit in the first set and scored points on two significant rallies in the second set to defeat the Americans.

Seeded second in the competition, Bednarczuk and Seixas had posted a 2-0 (22-20, 21-18) win in 48 minutes over the third-seeded Americans in the fifth international meeting between the two teams.  Ross and Walsh Jennings had won the previous two matches and led 3-1 heading into the Rio semifinal.