Julio Cesar Martinez to Fight Flyweight World Titleholder Charlie Edwards

Julio Cesar Martinez is ready to take on the champ…

The 24-year-old Mexican boxer is set to fight flyweight world titleholder Charlie Edwards on August 31 at the O2 Arena in London, as Edwards makes his mandatory title defense, according to Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn.

Julio Cesar Martinez

The bout, Edwards’ second title defense, will be part of the card headlined by pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenkodefending his unified lightweight world title — and an attempt to claim a vacant belt as well — against England’s Luke Campbell.

Martinez (14-1, 11 KOs) earned the title shot by knocking out then-undefeated Andrew Selby, of Wales, in the fifth round on March 23 in Mexico.

“He’s a very tough Mexican who can bang with both hands,” Edwards said of Martinez. “His record shows that he’s a massive puncher and we saw that in his last fight against Andrew Selby. He got him out of there in the fifth round and was hurting him on a number of occasions. He’s coming to bring it and he’s going to try and rip that WBC title off me. This is his World Cupfinal.

“He’s going to put it all on the line. He’s going to be coming hard and fast from early to try and put me under pressure, but I believe my boxing skills and the experience that I’ve gained throughout my short pro career will see me through. I expect to have a punch-perfect performance. I believe that he will bring out the very best in me.

“Timing is everything. I believe this is my era. I have arrived at my destination at the right time and I’m loving the journey. To fight your mandatory challenger on one of the biggest cards in British boxing this year is brilliant because it showcases my skills around the world.”

Edwards (15-1, 6 KOs) took a 112-pound world title by unanimous decision from Nicaragua’s Cristofer Rosalesin London in December and made his first defense, also in London, by unanimous decision against Spain’s Angel Morenoon March 23.

“I can’t wait to challenge for the WBC flyweight world title in London,” Martinez said. “I’ll be taking that famous green-and-gold belt back to Mexico with me. I have already knocked out one Brit and on August 31 I will make it two.”

The card also will include a heavyweight fight between contenderHughie Furyand former secondary titlist Alexander Povetkin, a bout that Hearn announced Wednesday.

Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic Tour Tops $129 Million in Ticket Sales

Bruno Mars is makin’ major magic… and money…

The 32-year-old part-Puerto Rican Grammy-winning singer/songwriter has topped $129 million in ticket sales so far from the ongoing tour in support of 24K Magic, his third studio album released in November of 2016.

Bruno Mars

The most recent report of box office activity from the tour’s producer, Live Nation, includes $76 million in revenue from the pop star’s current trek through North American cities that runs through November 11.

Sales from this trek through the U.S. and Canada earn Mars a third-place slot on Billboard’s weekly recap of Hot Tours.

The 24K Magic Tour launched earlier this year in Europe with a slate of arena dates through 34 cities that stretched from March 28 until June 15. The North American leg followed a brief four-week break, beginning with a July 15 performance at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Through the tour’s Oct. 10 performance at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia (the last show included in this week’s report), a total of 659,190 sold tickets at 42 concerts in 32 cities produced the $76 million North American gross.

Nine venues on the trek hosted Mars for two performances, but only Chicago’s United Center booked the tour for three nights. With sellouts at each show, the Windy City arena logged a total of 47,942 fans in attendance on Aug. 16, 18 and 19 with sales hitting $6.3 million. It is the singer’s highest-grossing North American engagement this year and ranks second among all the dates reported worldwide since the tour began in the spring. Only London’s O2 Arena logged a higher gross with £5.1 million ($6.6 million) earned at four performances in April.

Now nearing the end of his first run stateside, Mars is set to wrap the 17-week jaunt with a four-show stint at The Forum in Los Angeles on Nov. 7, 8, 10 & 11.

Shows in Latin American markets are booked for the remainder of 2017 and early next year, followed by a trek through Australia and New Zealand.

Rafael Nadal Partners with Roger Federer in Laver Cup Doubles Win

Rafael Nadal has found an unlikely doubles partner…

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis star joined forces with longtime rival Roger Federer to win a doubles match in the new Laver Cup on Saturday.

Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal Laver Cup

Nadal and Federer teamed up for the first time to defeat Sam Querrey and Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 10-5 in the team event between Europe and the rest of the world.

“It was unbelievable,” Nadal said.

The inaugural Laver Cup is taking place at Prague’s O2 Arena on an unusual black hard court.

Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych also form the European team.

John Isner, Nick Kyrgios, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe play for the world.

Europe needs two more victories from Sunday’s four games to win.

Marrero & Verdasco Take Down the Bryan Brothers to Clinch ATP World Tour Finals Doubles Title

The first time’s the charm for David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco

Following their unexpected win in the semifinals at their first-ever ATP World Tour Finals, the Spanish tenistas upset the top-seeded Bryan brothers to win the doubles title at the O2 Arena.

David Marrero & Fernando VerdascoDavid Marrero & Fernando Verdasco

The sixth seeds had never even qualified for the year-end tournament before and had lost all three of their previous matches against the world No 1 partnership. But they triumphed in a stellar match 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 10-7.

They saved four set points in the first set, Verdasco recovering from 0-40 down at 4-5, and the left-hander, still one of the most dangerous customers on the singles circuit, was the key man in a gripping contest.

David Marrero & Fernando Verdasco

In the next game, Mike Bryan double faulted at 15/30 to gift two break point opportunities to Marrero and Verdasco. He saved the first with a fine backhand crosscourt winner, but Verdasco clinched the game when his stinging forehand was too much for Bob Bryan, who could only volley long.

And the Spaniards clinched the next game to win the first set.

Verdasco’s forehand, one of the most devastating and feared shots on the men’s tour, got the Spaniards out of trouble time and time again. But the American twins – who had won the title three times before – hit back to level it up by winning the second set on the tiebreak.

There was just one mini-break in the deciding Champions tiebreak and it was set up by another sensational Verdasco forehand down-the-line winner.

On match point Bob Bryan could only chip a Verdasco serve long and the sixth seeds could celebrate becoming the third all-Spanish pair to win the title after Juan Gisbert and Manuel Orantes in 1975 and last year’s champions Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.

The Bryans finished No 1 for a fifth straight year and a record ninth time overall. They have won 11 titles this season, including the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.

Granollers & Lopez Claim First ATP World Tour Finals Doubles Title

Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez have claimed their first ATP World Tour Finals doubles title…

The 26-year-old and 30-year-old Spaniards beat India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna 7-5 3-6 10-3 in a dramatic final at the O2 Arena to win the title.

Marcel Granollers & Marc Lopez

“We finished here winning the title, so it’s incredible for us. We try to play as best as we can always; I think we have very good relationship. So, I think, that’s one of the key of our success,” said Granollers after the victory. “Marc is one of my best friends. To win here with him is very special. Thanks to the ATP for a great tournament and to Barclays for supporting our sport.”

In their debut as a team at the year-end tournament, Granollers and Lopez – the first Spanish duo to play at the ATP World Tour Finals since Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez in 1994 – became the first Spaniards to win the coveted trophy since Juan Gisbert and Manuel Orantes in 1975.

Marc Lopez & Marcel Granollers

“It’s always tough playing them,” said Bhupathi. “They’re not a conventional doubles team. They make it very, very difficult in more ways than one, no matter who they play. We were expecting that. We fought hard to stay in the match. [We] got ourselves again into a match tiebreak. This time I think we just played a bad tiebreak. That sums it up.”

It’s the third title of the year for the Spaniards, seeded sixth out of the eight doubles teams at the ATP World Tour Finals. They also won in Rome and Gstaad.

The pair, who ends the season with a career-high ranking of No. 6 in the world, will next compete for Spain in next week’s Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic in Prague.