Teofimo Lopez Becomes Youngest Four-Belt Champion in WBO History After Defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko

There’s a new lightweight king… And his name is Teofimo Lopez.

At just 23 years old, the Honduran American professional boxer has became the undisputed lightweight champion of the world by dethroning Vasiliy Lomachenko over 12 tense rounds inside the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Teofimo Lopez

Lopez becomes the youngest fighter to become a four-belt champion since the WBO was founded in 1988.

After a strong start, Lopez overcame a late Lomachenko rally to win by the scores of 116-112, 119-109 and 117-111.

The bout was dominated early by the boxing of Lopez, who controlled the center of the ring by using his educated left hand and then hit Lomachenko with well-placed body shots that had the smaller boxer backing up.

Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) built a big lead on the scorecards as he was able to neutralize the graceful movements of Lomachenko (14-2, 10) behind that jab. For most of the first half of the fight, Lomachenko just moved around the ring and did very little offensively. It was clear the technical acumen and poise of Lopez was vastly underrated. For long stretches of the bout he was actually outboxing the master boxer.

Yet Lomachenko didn’t give up without a fight. As the fight entered the late stages, Lomachenko, sensing he was behind, began to ramp up the pressure and started to close the gap on Lopez. He struck him with quick, laser-like left hands that slowed the momentum of Lopez. To his credit, Lomachenko put together a late rally in the championship rounds.

“I think the first half of the fight he got more rounds than I did, but in the second half of the fight I took over,” Lomachenko said. “I was much better.”

But if a late statement was needed by Lopez, it was made in the 12th and final round. Despite Lopez’s father saying he had the fight won entering the last round, Lopez kept the pressure on and got his hand moving, landing several significant power shots that halted Lomachenko in his tracks. Only a clash of heads that caused a gash over Lopez’s left eye stemmed the tide.

“I’m a fighter,” Lopez said after the fight regarding the 12th round. “I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I didn’t know if they had him up on the scorecards or not, and I love to fight. I can bang, too. I don’t care, man. I’ll take one to give one. That’s what a true champion does. I find a way to win.”

This round was a late exclamation to what was a sterling performance by a young man who fulfilled the destiny of his outspoken father, who prophesied that not only would his son win a world title by his 15th fight, but he would topple a boxer many consider the best in the sport by his 16th.

Dusty Hernández-Harrison to Fight WBO Middleweight Champ Demetrius Andrade in November

Dusty Hernández-Harrison is taking on a champ…

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer will fight WBO middleweight champ Demetrius Andrade in a 10-round non-title fight on November 27 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Dusty Hernández-Harrison

The card, which also features former two-time titlist Daniel Jacobs vs. Gabe Rosado, will take place without fans in attendance due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) is fighting for the first time since he stopped Luke Keeler with a ninth-round TKO in January.

The undefeated Harrison (34-0-1, 20 KOs) sees this as a chance to stamp himself as a world-class fighter.

“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for my entire life,” Harrison said. “This is why I started boxing. All of the time I have dedicated to this sport, I finally get my opportunity to show the world who I am and what I am capable of. … Demetrius talks a big game and says he is the boogeyman of the division, but who has he fought?”

Harrison said he isn’t impressed by Andrade.

“He goes out, fights whoever it is, runs around the ring, picks up a win and goes back to running his mouth,” Harrison said. “He says that he is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. OK, so be it. On November 27, I take his spot.

“I know that people are going to doubt me going into this fight, and that is fine. That fuels my energy. Keep doubting me. Andrade doesn’t know what he got himself into. He better be ready when we step into that ring because I’m coming for him.”

Emanuel Navarrete Claims WBO Featherweight Title with Unanimous Defeat of Ruben Villa

Emanuel Navarrete is as a new title…

The 25-year-old Mexican boxer defeated Ruben Villa by unanimous decision to win the vacant WBO featherweight title on Friday night at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Emanuel Navarrete,

Navarrete, a former junior featherweight world titlist, was able to win the fight on the strength of two knockdowns — in the first and fourth rounds — by the scores of 114-112, 114-112 and 115-111.

Navarrete (33-1, 28 KOs) had a decided edge in strength and power. And while the southpaw Villa (18-1, 5 KOs) was effective in spots by moving around the ring, the difference in punching prowess was obvious. At the end of the fight, Navarrete had outlanded Villa 131-58 in power punches.

Navarrete clipped Villa with a long left uppercut that sent him down for the first time at the end of the first round. To his credit, Villa got up and was effective in the next two rounds, but in the fourth another long, lashing left hand from Navarrete sent Villa down for the second time. Without these two knockdowns, this bout would’ve been a majority draw.

Navarrete is not a classic stylist, or the most fundamentally sound fighter you’ll see. He often makes fundamental errors, but he more than makes up for it with his relentlessness and activity. At times he simply swarms his opponents to a point where they get overwhelmed. Villa was the more sound boxer, but he lacked the pop to truly get Navarrete’s respect or ever hurt him.

“I knew that Villa was a fighter that moved a lot and I knew that he was going to move even more once he felt my power,” Navarrete said after the fight. “I didn’t get the knockout, but I got the victory.”

Villa had some good moments in the second half of the fight where he boxed effectively, but he didn’t do enough to turn the tide of this contest.

“I’m very happy with this championship. It’s a reflection of all the sacrifices and all the hard work I put in,” Navarrete said. “I conquered my second weight class because of all that hard work.

“I have my sights set on all the world champions at 126. I would love to face [Josh] Warrington. I think that our styles will make for a great fight.”

Alex Saucedo to Fight Arnold Barboza Jr. in October

Alex Saucedo is ready for a major rumble…

A junior welterweight battle between 26-year-old Mexican professional boxer, a former title challenger, and unbeaten fighter Arnold Barboza Jr. has been finalized for October 17.

Alex Saucedo

The fight is part of the undercard for the Vasiliy LomachenkoTeofimo Lopez lightweight unification fight at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Saucedo (30-1, 19 KOs) faced Maurice Hooker in November 2018 for the vacant WBO title, losing by seventh-round TKO. Since then, Saucedo has changed trainers, and has defeated Rod Salka by first-round knockout last November and Sonny Fredrickson by unanimous decision in June.

Saucedo is currently ranked No. 6 by the WBO.

Barboza (24-0, 10 KOs), who defeated Tony Luis by unanimous decision on August 29, is rated No. 7 by the WBC and WBO.

Jose Ramirez Defeats Viktor Postol to Retain WBC & WBO Junior Welterweight World Titles

Jose Ramirez is still a titleholder…

The 28-year-old Mexican American boxer has retained his WBC and WBO junior welterweight world titles in a close battle against Viktor Postol.

Jose Ramirez

Postol’s tactical boxing style made Ramirez strategically uncomfortable throughout this weekend’s fight, and neither man ever truly took control of the action.

But, it was Ramirez who ultimately got the majority decision win by the scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 116-112 at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

With the victory, Ramirez kept alive his chances of fully unifying the 140-pound division against Josh Taylor, who holds the WBA and IBF world titles.

Ramirez, a frenetic pressure fighter, was kept at bay for much of the fight by the long reach of Postol, who worked the perimeter of the ring adroitly for long stretches of the fight.

While many of the rounds were close, Ramirez generally appeared the busier fighter. He was able to stun Postol a few times with left hands in the seventh and eighth rounds.

But Ramirez was never truly able to impose his will on the always-composed Postol. Unfortunately for Postol, his game plan wouldn’t be enough to capture the two belts.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this bout had been canceled twice prior. Both fighters had not fought in more than a year.

Ramirez said the long layoff and the crowdless environment affected his performance.

“I went in there a little too cold, you know?” Ramirez said after the fight. “I impressed myself. I’m much stronger than most guys think. I just gotta not lose confidence in myself and stick to what I do best and box, let my hands go and not hesitate too much. I think there was a little bit of hesitation throughout the fight.

“I felt like I was just in a sparring session. I think I could’ve made the fight a lot easier in my favor, but we live and we learn. This was an amazing experience. I’m just happy I got the win.”

Ramirez cleared a significant hurdle in his quest to become the first fighter of Mexican heritage to capture all four major belts in a division.

Ramirez’s attention now turns to September 26, when Taylor faces his IBF mandatory challenger, Apinun Khongsong. A victory by Taylor could set up a title unification bout with Ramirez.

Oscar de la Hoya Says He’s Coming Out of Retirement & Resuming Boxing Career

Oscar de la Hoya is ready to rumble once again…

The 47-year-old Mexican American former professional boxer and boxing/mixed martial arts promoter says he’s planning to return to the ring.

Oscar De La Hoya

Twelve years after his last fight, the 11-time titlist confirmed he’s ready to end his retirement.

“The rumors are true, and I’m going to start sparring in the next few weeks,” de la Hoya said.

de la Hoya (39-6 30 KOs) added that he won’t be engaging in an exhibition fight like fellow retired champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.

“It’s a real fight,” he said. “I miss being in the ring, I love boxing. Boxing is what gave me everything I have today, and I just miss it.”

After winning a gold medal for the United States at the 1992 Barcelona Games, de la Hoya had a meteoric rise in the professional ranks, winning the WBO junior lightweight title by stopping Jimmi Bredahl in 10 rounds in 1994, in only his 12th professional bout.

de la Hoya would eventually win major world titles in six different weight classes.

During this stretch, “The Golden Boy” was considered one of the best fighters in boxing and its biggest pay-per-view and gate attraction. He was as marketable outside the ring as he was good inside of it. There are very few fighters who can appear on the cover of Ring Magazine and Newsweek.

de la Hoya’s career came to an ignominious conclusion when he quit on his stool after the eighth round of a fight against Manny Pacquiao in December 2008. A few months later at age 36, de la Hoya announced his retirement.

“Look, my last fight with Pacquiao, I weighed in at 145 and obviously that was a shell of myself,” said de la Hoya of his ill-fated decision to move down to welterweight to face Pacquiao after seven years of campaigning at junior middleweight.

Now, as he’s set to return, de la Hoya understands that many will question his decision.

“Look, it’s been a long time, yes,” said de la Hoya, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014. “But actually my jab feels faster than ever. I have to make sure that my conditioning is perfect, my health is good. And that’s going to take place in the next few weeks. So we’ll see.”

de la Hoya, who has battled drug and alcohol addiction in the past, said he started to get back into shape a couple of months ago, and as he began to feel better and better, the old itch came back.

de la Hoya said he looked around the current landscape of boxing and didn’t like what he saw.

“All these fighters are not of the level that was 15, 20 years [ago], all these fighters are demanding so much money, all these fighters are demanding the moon,” said de la Hoya. “And they’re forgetting that you must train hard, you must work hard. So that’s a huge advantage for me because I know what it takes to train hard, I know how to train smart. I know how to fight smart in the ring.

“These guys are in it just for the money — that’ll be the big difference. I will fight for the glory, and these guys only fight for the money. And guess what? The glory will always win.”

For now, the plan is to compete between 154-160 pounds. As for who he will be targeting?

“Any top guy, any top guy out there,” said de la Hoya.

Andy Ruiz Jr. Agrees to Fight Against Chris Arreola

Andy Ruiz Jr. has a new challenger…

The 30-year-old Mexican American boxer, a former unified world titleholder, will battle against former title challenger Chris Arreola in a heavyweight bout.

Andy Ruiz Jr.

No date and venue have been announced, but the fight is supposed to take place later this year.

“It’s a planned fight. They pretty much know that the plan is to fight each other. We don’t have a set date for that or know what show we’re going to put it on yet,” a source at Premier Boxing Champions tells ESPN.

The Athletic first reported the news.

Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) was the Cinderella story of boxing in 2019 after shocking the world by stopping Anthony Joshua by seventh-round TKO to win the WBO, IBF and WBA world titles at Madison Square Garden in New York. Ruiz then lost the belts by unanimous decision in a rematch with Joshua six months later at the Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

After coming in at 268 pounds for the first encounter, Ruiz weighed in at 283.5 pounds for the rematch and was soundly criticized for his training habits leading into that fight. Ruiz replaced his head trainer, Manuel Robles, with Eddy Reynoso, best known for his work in developing Canelo Alvarez.

The 39-year-old Mexican American Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs) has been a fixture in the heavyweight division for years. He has gotten two shots at the world title, against Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder.

After getting stopped by Wilder in eight rounds in 2016, he took nearly a year and a half off from the ring but returned to score stoppage victories against Maurenzo Smith (TKO in 6th) and Jean Pierre Augustin (TKO in 3rd) before losing a unanimous decision to Adam Kownacki last summer.

Danny Garcia Has Reportedly Agreed to Fight Errol Spence Jr. This Fall

Danny Garcia has lined up his next opponent…

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, the former junior welterweight and welterweight titlist, has agreed to fight unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in a fall pay-per-view event, according to ESPN.

Danny Garcia

The bout — which needs a negotiation of final contract numbers — is expected to take place in November at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, according to sources. 

But, Premier Boxing Champions, which promotes both fighters, has put holds on other venues around the country as it monitors the coronavirus pandemic and the guidelines in place for each state.

The Athletic first reported the agreement.

Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) was a unified champion at junior welterweight and a world titlist at welterweight. In his most recent fight in January, Garcia outpointed Ivan Redkach over 12 rounds.

Spence defeated Shawn Porter by 12-round split decision on September 28 in a tough fight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Spence, who came into the bout as the IBF titlist, earned the WBC belt with the win. He was involved in a horrific one-car accident a few weeks later near Dallas, Texas, and suffered serious injuries, including facial lacerations and a broken jaw.

Before the accident, there was talk of Spence facing Garcia in late January 2020.

Spence is ranked No. 1 at welterweight in ESPN‘s divisional rankings, and Garcia is No. 6. Manny Pacquiao (WBA) and Terence Crawford (WBO) are the other titleholders in the division.

Jose Ramirez Likely to Defend Title Against Viktor Postol in August

Could the third time be the charm for Jose Ramirez’s challenge bout?

A fight between the 27-year-old Mexican American unified WBC and WBO light welterweight titleholder and Viktor Postol, his WBC mandatory challenger, will take place the last week of August, according to Top Rank president Todd duBoef

Jose Ramirez,

The bout will be broadcast live on an ESPN network.

There’s no exact date yet for the fight, according to duBoef, but Top Rank is working with the sports network to add the bout to its programming calendar.

“We’re being as flexible as possible with ESPN,” duBoef said. “They’re going to see how the NBA schedule comes out, the MLB schedule, all the other sports that are supposed to be back in August. They’re formulating their schedule.

“We’re basically telling [fighters], ‘Hey, you’ll be this week in August. You’ll be this week in August.’ Then we’re honing in on a date.”

Ramirez-Postol was originally scheduled for February 1 in China, and then May 9 in Fresno, California. Both times the fight was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramirez last fought on July 27, 2019, when he stopped Maurice Hooker in six rounds to unify the WBC and WBO junior welterweight titles. 

Postol, who once held the WBC 140-pound belt, last fought on April 27, 2019, scoring a 10-round unanimous decision over Mohamed Mimoune.

Jose Zepeda Beats Kendo Castaneda by Unanimous Decision to Bolster World Title Hopes

Jose Zepeda has bolstered his world title hopes…

The 31-year-old Mexican American junior welterweight title contender earned a unanimous decision Tuesday night over Kendo Castaneda after easily outpointing his opponent over 10 rounds in a clinical performance inside “The Bubble” at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Convention Center.

Jose Zepeda

Zepeda (32-2, 25 KOs) kept his focus and won by scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 98-92. He was sharp in the early going, boxing out of his southpaw stance as he established his right jab and then alternated planting straight lefts to the body and head of Castaneda (17-2, 8 KOs) — boxing freely at his own pace.

Castaneda was a step behind Zepeda from the start, and he failed to find a consistent answer for Zepeda’s variety of punches with great speed and precision. Castaneda eventually had some moments in the sixth and seventh rounds, but Zepeda quickly reasserted control in the eighth and cruised to victory through the last few rounds.

“I think it was good,” Zepeda said of his performance. “Since he hasn’t been on the big stages, nobody knows anything about him. But today I noticed that he can get hit. He can [take] some punches. It was a good performance, [but] I can do better. Every time the level goes up, I go up, too.”

Zepeda was originally slated to face fellow junior welterweight contender Ivan Baranchyk, who pulled out of the fight due to an injury suffered in training. Zepeda has been angling for a world title fight against one of two fighters who each hold two belts — Jose Ramirez, to whom Zepeda dropped a close split decision loss, or Josh Taylor.

“Like I said before, I have four names in mind — WBC,WBOIBF and WBA,” Zepeda said.

Zepeda challenged for the WBO lightweight title in 2015 and the WBC light welterweight title in 2019. He’s currently ranked as the world’s fourth best active light welterweight by BoxRec, eighth by The Ring and ninth by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.