Amanda Serrano Signs with Jake Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions

It’s a Most Valuable moment for Amanda Serrano

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler has signed with Most Valuable Promotions, as Jake Paul expands his footprint in the boxing world by signing one of its top female fighters.

Amanda Serrano

Serrano, one of the best women’s fighters in the history of boxing, signed the promotional deal with Paul, the YouTube-star-turned-prizefighter, and his adviser, Nakisa Bidarian, who founded Most Valuable Promotions earlier this year.

Serrano is a seven-division boxing champion who has held nine titles from 115 pounds all the way up to 140 pounds. She holds the Guinness record for most boxing world championships held in different weight classes by a woman. ESPN has her ranked No. 3 among women boxers on its pound-for-pound list.

“They’re such a powerful team,” Serrano said. “I’ve seen what they’ve done in the last two years — what Jake has done, what Nakisa has done for Jake. I’m looking forward to what they can do for me.”

Amanda Serrano

Paul described Serrano as the “greatest Hispanic female athlete of all time” and said he believes she has a “massive, massive future.”

Amanda Serrano, left, became a seven-division world champion with a 2019 victory over Heather Hardy. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

“Without really much help she’s gotten this far, with just her skills,” Paul said. “She hasn’t had someone with a big platform really put her on. She’s so marketable. And really the sky’s the limit, and that’s what we do at MVP. There’s a new era of boxing and there’s a new way about promoting these fights and there’s a new way to become a big fighter. So, she already has the skills, and now we’re going to add our secret sauce into the equation.”

One of the goals, they said, is to secure Serrano with a highly anticipated matchup with Katie Taylor, ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound women’s boxer. It would be one of the biggest fights ever in women’s boxing.

Bidarian said talks are ongoing with Taylor’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, and they are targeting Taylor vs. Serrano for the second quarter of 2022 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Serrano will likely fight next on Paul’s undercard, potentially before the end of the year, and then move on to the blockbuster bout with Taylor.

“The only reason it wouldn’t get done is if the right deal isn’t presented for Amanda, and that’s Jake and I’s job to make sure that’s not the case,” Bidarian said of the Taylor fight.

Bidarian is the former CFO of the UFC and has been instrumental in helping guide Paul from being a famous YouTuber to one of the most talked about fighters in combat sports.

“I think the other part of it that we’ll be able to help [Serrano] with is negotiating the right deals, getting her the right positions for someone of her stature — whether it’s in the ring, whether it’s outside the ring, whether it’s a brand partnership, consumer products,” Bidarian said. “She should be one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world. We’re going to make sure that’s the case.”

Serrano (41-1-1) beat Yamileth Mercado in the co-main event of the card Paul headlined against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley on August 29.

A Puerto Rico native who fights out of Brooklyn, she is the unified women’s featherweight champion, holding the WBC, WBO and IBO titles in that weight class.

Serrano has won 27 straight fights, a streak that dates back to 2012. She is also 2-0-1 in mixed martial arts.

“Even this last fight, I’ve gained so much followers, I’ve gained so much attention,” Serrano said. “A lot of people, they know who I am. A lot of people know me now because of Jake.”

Paul has more than 17 million followers on Instagram, and 40% of them are women. He said after his bout with Woodley that his female followers were buzzing the most about Serrano.

“Major priority of mine [is] to push for equality in all aspects of the sport,” Paul said. “I think she’s inspiring females and creating female boxing fans, which is awesome.”

When asked if he would be bringing more boxers in via Most Valuable Promotions, Paul said potentially, but they would have to be the right fit.

“For us, it’s quality over quantity,” Paul said. “We want our fighters to be the biggest. I think there will be more. We’re not in any rush. We want to take our time and our focus right now is just on Amanda.”

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.

Oscar Valdez Defeats Robson Conceicao to Retain WBC Super-Featherweight Title

Oscar Valdez is keeping his title…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer retained his WBC super-featherweight title with a unanimous points victory over Brazil’s Robson Conceicao.

Oscar Valdez

Valdez had been cleared to fight despite failing a drug test.

Judges at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, awarded the fight to Valdez 117-110, 115-112, 115-112.

Former Olympic champion Conceicao, 32, took the fight to the man he had beaten as an amateur and started the stronger.

But as he tired, Valdez started to take the upper hand and judges decided he had done enough to win.

Some have questioned whether the fight should have gone ahead at all after Valdez failed a test for the banned substance phentermine, a weight-loss drug, but was cleared to fight by a gaming commission.

Valdez insisted he was a clean fighter and believed he had accidentally ingested it via an herbal tea, while WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said phentermine was not a performance enhancer.

WBC Orders Jaime Munguia to Face Sergiy Derevyanchenko in Middleweight Title Eliminator

Jaime Munguia has been assigned his next opponent…

The 24-year-old Mexican boxer has been ordered to face Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a middleweight title eliminator by the WBC.

Jaime Munguia

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told ESPN that if no deal is struck by September 17, a purse bid will be ordered.

Munguia had been on a collision course with Gabe Rosado for a fall fight before the WBC made the announcement.

If the fight takes place, the winner would become the mandatory challenger to Jermall Charlo, the WBC champion at 160 pounds. However, there’s no guarantee Munguia (37-0, 30 KOs) will go through with the fight.

“Munguia just found out [about the Derevyanchenko possibility],” Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN. “He’s going to circle back with us early next week.”

Munguia, a former 154-pound champion, is 3-0 (with three knockouts) since moving up to 160 pounds in January 2020. Despite his experience, Munguia is still raw. He’s clearly improving, though, as he raises his level of competition.

Munguia packs plenty of power and applies nonstop pressure. ESPN’s No. 4 middleweight is also big and strong for the division. If he fights Derevyanchenko, a longtime 160-pounder, Munguia will still easily be the bigger man.

Derevyanchenko (13-3, 10 KOs) has lost two in a row and three of his past four. However, all three losses came against elite competition. The Ukrainian dropped a split decision to Daniel Jacobs in a 2018 middleweight title fight. The following year, Derevyanchenko fought Gennadiy Golovkin in a brutal title bout, one of the best action fights of 2019. GGG won via unanimous decision, but the verdict was disputed by many.

Against Charlo, ESPN’s No. 6 middleweight wasn’t all that competitive. The 35-year-old hasn’t competed since that September 2020 outing.

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. Defeats Javier Fortuna to Claim Vacant WBC Interim Lightweight Title

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. is celebrating his good fortuna

The 28-year-old Mexican American professional boxer delivered the most impressive performance of his career on Friday in Los Angeles, scoring a unanimous decision over Javier Fortuna to claim the vacant WBC interim lightweight title.

Joseph "JoJo" Diaz Jr.

Scores were 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112. ESPN also scored it 115-112.

In his lightweight debut, Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) showed he could absorb heavy shots from a dangerous puncher and carry his own power, too. He wobbled Fortuna toward the end of the 10th round of a fight that featured some brutal exchanges on the inside, often waged at a frenetic pace.

“I can fight all the top guys at 135 pounds,” said Diaz, who entered the bout as ESPN’s No. 5 boxer at 130 pounds. “I want Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney. Let’s make this s— happen.

“I’ve been sparring 160 pounders. I’ve always worked with bigger guys my whole life.”

Despite fighting for his first world title at 126 pounds (a close decision defeat to Gary Russell Jr.) before capturing a championship at 130, 135 appears to be Diaz’s most natural weight class. He looked stronger than ever, and without the tough weight cut, showed off energy down the stretch to unleash four- and five-punch combinations against a crafty contender.

The 2012 Olympian was forced to deal with adversity yet again. He suffered a cut over his left eye in Round 3 following a clash of heads — a gash in the same area he bled from in his title-winning effort vs. Tevin Farmer in January 2020.

The following frame, Diaz was penalized one point by referee Raul Caiz Jr., for hitting behind the head, a point deduction that seemed borderline. Diaz argued that he was hitting Fortuna on the side of the head to no avail.

Fortuna, ESPN’s No. 8 fighter at 135 pounds, pressed the action in Rounds 5 and 6, beating Diaz to the punch with power shots. But the 31-year-old couldn’t sustain.

Fighting in front of a hometown crowd at Banc of California Stadium, Diaz ratcheted up the pressure and began to dig away at Fortuna’s body with a two-fisted attack that stunted the Dominican’s momentum.

Diaz simply landed the cleaner, flusher shots in the exchanges down the stretch, winning the favor of the judges in a bout that featured many tit-for-tat rounds. Fortuna threw 761 punches — 240 more than Diaz — yet landed 10 less shots.

With the convincing victory, Diaz set himself up for a career-high payday in one of boxing’s most star-driven divisions. Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia all reside at lightweight.

The easiest matchups to make are with Haney and Garcia, both of whom also compete on DAZN. Haney and Garcia also are available; they each have no fights scheduled. But it’s the Garcia fight in particular that is more appealing for many reasons.

Garcia was actually set to fight Fortuna (36-3-1, 25 KOs) on this night before he withdrew from the bout to seek treatment for his mental health. When he pulled out, Diaz quickly lobbied for the opportunity to step in, looking for redemption after losing his title at the scales in February before settling for a majority draw against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.

Now that Garcia is back in training with Eddy Reynoso at Canelo Alvarez’s gym in San Diego, a bout between Diaz and the social media sensation is a natural. They’re both Mexican Americans from Southern California who are promoted by Oscar De La Hoya. Stage the fight this fall in L.A., and they can practically guarantee a windfall at the box office.

“JoJo once again showed a lot of guts, a lot of courage and a big heart,” De La Hoya said. “His first fight at 135 was not too shabby. I think he did a great job against a guy who’s been avoided for years.”

Anderson Silva Defeats Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by Split Decision

Anderson Silva has taken down a boxing champion…

The 46-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, a former UFC middleweight champion who made a career out of doing the impossible, defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. via split decision (75-77, 77-75, 77-75) in a shockingly impressive boxing performance on Saturday night at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Anderson Silva

A heavy underdog, Silva hadn’t competed in boxing since 2005 and had just two pro boxing matches coming in. Chavez Jr., the son and namesake of Mexico’s most popular boxing superstar, is a former WBC middleweight champion.

“I love fighting,” Silva said in his postfight interview. “Boxing was my dream for many years. I needed to show my respect for boxing. I need to come here and do my best.”

The bout was contested at 182 pounds with eight three-minute rounds. Chavez Jr. missed weight by 2.4 pounds Friday, forfeiting $100,000 of his purse to Silva. The event was dubbed “Tribute to the Kings” with the headliner pitting Chavez Sr. against Hector Camacho Jr., the son of his biggest rival, in an exhibition boxing match.

Silva’s fight against Chavez Jr. started slow, but Silva started to gain confidence in the third round and looked like the vintage version of the MMA all-time great. He started dropping his hands and taunting Chavez Jr. in the third round, a stunning display, considering the enormous gap in boxing experience. Silva carried that confidence and started hurting Chavez Jr. in the fourth round with combinations and a long, straight left. Silva, a southpaw, showed off a solid, snapping jab as well.

Chavez Jr. had some moments with body shots and left hooks, but never really hurt Silva. In the seventh, Silva opened up a cut near Chavez Jr.’s right eye, which started bleeding worse in the eighth round.

“I think it could have been a draw,” Chavez Jr. said. “I failed to throw more punches. He didn’t do much damage. There were a few rounds that went back and forth.”

Silva outlanded Chavez Jr. 99-53 in total punches and 60-41 in power punches, per CompuBox. Afterward, Canelo Alvarez, the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer, came up to Silva and gave him a “salute,” Silva said.

“I don’t believe it,” Silva said. “Canelo come talk to me. I’m so happy.”

Silva has been talking about doing a boxing match for a decade or so, but had been under contract with the UFC. Silva always said a boxing bout with Roy Jones Jr. was a dream and goal of his. Maybe now it can happen at both of their advanced ages.

Silva (2-1) is one of the greatest champions in MMA history. The Brazil native held the UFC middleweight title for seven years, the longest reign in promotion history. “The Spider” owns the longest winning streak in UFC history (16) and the most finishes in UFC title fights (nine). Silva asked for his release from the UFC last November, and it was granted. He has just one MMA victory since 2012.

Chavez Jr. (52-6-1) has lost four of his past six fights. He is indefinitely suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission for refusing to take a drug test before a fight with Danny Jacobs in 2019.

Chavez Jr., 35, has never quite lived up to the lofty family expectations, though he does own wins over Marco Antonio Rubio and Andy Lee. He has dropped high-profile bouts to Canelo Alvarez and Jacobs.

Oscar Valdez Agrees to New Multi-Fight Deal with Top Rank

Oscar Valdez is ready for the next chapter of his boxing career…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer and WBC junior lightweight champion has signed a new multi-fight contract with Top Rank, including his first defense of that belt this fall.

Oscar Valdez

Valdez won the title in his last fight, upsetting Miguel Berchelt on February 20. He is 29-0 with 23 knockouts, including winning four of his past five fights by knockout or technical knockout.

“I want to thank Bob Arum and Todd duBoef for their confidence in my abilities,” Valdez said in a news release announcing the deal. “I will not let them down. I also want to thank my manager, Frank Espinoza, for securing a great deal for me. This is a wonderful moment in my career, and I’m grateful to God for my blessings.”

Prior to his junior lightweight crown, Valdez held the WBO featherweight title from July 23, 2016, when he knocked out Matias Rueda, until his unanimous decision victory over Jason Sanchez on June 8, 2019, for a total of six title defenses.

“I have been very fond of Oscar from the moment we signed him,” Top Rank chairman Arum said in a statement. “And I am proud of everything he has accomplished.”

Teofimo Lopez Agrees to Restructured Contract with Top Rank Promotions

Teofimo Lopez has a new contract…

The 23-year-old Honduran American professional boxer and current unified lightweight world champion and Top Rank Promotions are back on good terms after agreeing to a restructured contract, according to ESPN.

Teofimo Lopez

In the new agreement, Lopez will have his minimum purses raised from the previous amount of $1.25 million and will have the opportunity for pay-per-view bouts on ESPN+, a source confirmed.

The deal comes on the heels of an acrimonious negotiation for Lopez’s upcoming title defense against George Kambosos on June 19. Top Rank and Lopez failed to come to an agreement on his salary for that fight, and the bout went to a purse bid. Triller, an upstart streaming service, easily won the rights with a $6 million bid, with Lopez getting around $3.9 million.

Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is making his first title defense since beating Vasiliy Lomachenko last year to win three of the four major belts in the 135-pound division. Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) is the IBF‘s mandatory challenger for its version of the title.

Lopez is also looking for a major opponent on October 2 if he successfully defends his titles, sources confirmed to ESPN. Devin Haney (26-0, 15 KOs), the WBC lightweight champion, has repeatedly expressed his desire to face Lopez. In a Twitter post issued Saturday, Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler said Lopez also wants that fight but that Haney has “contractual issues to resolve.”

Brandon Figueroa Knocks Out Luis Nery to Capture WBC Title

Brandon Figueroa is officially a WBC titleholder…

In a career-best effort, the 24-year-old Latino boxer knocked out Luis Nery in the 7th round to become a legitimate titleholder in the 122-pound division.

Brandon Figueroa

Their two-belt title fight ended with Figueroa putting Nery down for the count in their Showtime main event on Saturday evening at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

A right uppercut followed by a left to the body forced Nery to the canvas via delayed reaction knockdown, with referee Thomas Taylor counting him out at 2:18 of round seven.

“It feels amazing,” Figueroa stated after claiming Nery’s WBC 122-pound title while defending his secondary WBA belt. “It’s a dream come true that I’ve had since I was seven years old. Now I’m here living it.”

The pair of unbeaten junior featherweights did their best to live up to lofty pre-fight public expectations of a slugfest. As much was expected by Nery and Figueroa from the moment they posted wins in separate bouts on the September 26 Showtime Pay-Per-View event in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Tijuana’s Nery became a two-division titlist that night, outpointing countryman Aaron Alameda to win the WBC junior featherweight strap. Figueroa tore through Damien Vazquez in a 10th round stoppage to defend his secondary WBA title to pave the way for a showdown with Nery.

Figueroa—born and raised in Weslaco, Texas—improves to 22-0-1 (17KOs). The unbeaten titlist landed 177-of-648 total punches (27%), including 173-of-533 power punches (32%). None were bigger than the left hand that put Nery down and done for the night.

“I know everybody doubted me, but it’s all hard work,” Figueroa noted. “We did our homework. We took our time and just took it to him. Joel (Diaz, Figueroa’s trainer) kept telling me to pressure him, that he wasn’t going to last. I did just that.”

Figueroa was ahead 58-56 on the scorecard of Zachary Young at the time of the stoppage, while Dr. Lou Moret had it 59-55 in favor of Nery. Edward Hernandez Sr. saw the action even at 57-57, with Figueroa ultimately taking it out of the judges’ hands.

The win comes two weeks after older brother Omar Figueroa suffered a knockout loss to Abel Ramos in this very venue. The younger Figueroa also came through for his family in August 2019, scoring a 4th round knockout of Javier Chacon at home which came one month after Omar suffered his first career defeat.

This arena holds a special place in Figueroa’s heart, having won the WBA interim junior featherweight title in an 8th round knockout of Yonfrez Parejo in April 2019. He was eventually upgraded to “World” champion though still secondary to WBA “Super titlist Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0. 7KOs).

Figueroa now holds the WBC belt and has a chance to add the WBO strap when he faces defending champ Stephen Fulton (19-0, 8KOs) on September 11. Fulton will be the favorite heading into the bout, though Figueroa is already used to that as the majority of industry insiders pegged Nery to prevail.

Ibeth Zamora to Defend WBC Women’s Flyweight Title Against Marlen Esparza

Ibeth Zamora is ready to rumble north of the border…

The 32-year-old Mexican professional boxer is set to defend her WBC women’s flyweight world title on June 19, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

Ibeth Zamora

Zamora, commonly known as “La Roca,” will face off against 31-year-old Latina former Olympic medalist Marlen Esparza (9-1, 1 KO) in a 10-round bout.

The event will be held at the Don Haskins Center at the University of Texas at El Paso.

“I am very excited to be defending my title against Marlen Esparza,” said Zamora. “It will be my first time fighting in the United States, and therefore it is a great opportunity to show everyone what I am capable of fighting on a massive stage. I am proud to bring my title and defend it against an experienced fighter like Esparza. I am sure that my skills will help me to come out with victory, and I am going to show everyone why I am the current WBC flyweight champion and the best in the division, ”highlighted‘ Roca ’through a statement.

“I want to thank you and offer my thanks to the WBC and Golden Boy for the opportunity to fight for the world championship. It has been a dream and a vision to represent the WBC. I want people to see a great fight. I am proud to be back. in this type of scenario in front of a great fighter. I know there are a limited number of important fights for women’s boxing, and so it is an honor to have this opportunity. I am training hard and I am going to bring my best. I can’t wait to hear the first bell,” said the challenger.

Zamora is 32-6 with 12 KOs.