Hernandez to Make Professional Boxing Debut in December

Nico Hernandez is turning pro…

The 20-year-old Latino boxer, who claimed a light flyweight bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Games in August, will make his professional debut on December 10 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, on the undercard of unified junior welterweight world champion Terence Crawford‘s hometown title defense against John Molina Jr.

Nico Hernandez

Hernandez, who doesn’t have an opponent for his four-round bout yet, will fight as a 115-pound junior bantamweight after competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics as a 108-pounder.

Hernandez said he and his father/trainer Lewis Hernandez discussed the possibility of remaining amateur and trying to improve on his performance in Rio, but Nico said he really wanted to go the professional route.

“I made the decision because financially it would be better as a pro,” Hernandez told ESPN. “If I’m getting punched in the face, I might as well get paid for it. Now they’re letting pros go to the Olympics (as of the Rio Games), so there’s really no point in being an amateur boxer anymore since the goal is to make it to the Olympics.”

At the Rio Games, Hernandez ended the medal drought for Team USA’s male boxers, who had not won an Olympic medal since heavyweight Deontay Wilder claimed a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games. Hernandez won a three-round decision against Ecuador’s Carlos Eduardo Quipo Palaxti in the quarterfinals to clinch a bronze.

Hernandez wasn’t considered a medal favorite when the Rio Games began, but his Cinderella run ended with a decision loss to eventual gold medalist Hasanboy Dusmatov, of Uzbekistan, in the semifinals. Two bronze medals are awarded in boxing.

Hernandez, who began boxing at age 9 and was approximately 122-13 as an amateur, returned home to Wichita as a hero. He was feted at a parade, and Wichita State University bestowed him with a four-year, full-ride scholarship.

Hernandez went 3-1 during the Olympics and became the first American light flyweight to win a medal since Michael Carbajal — who went on to have a Hall of Fame professional career — claimed silver in the 1988 Seoul Games. Hernandez said he plans to work toward a degree while boxing professionally.

“I definitely want something [to] fall back on,” Hernandez said.

But he is anxious to start his pro career.

“I can’t wait to go pro. I’ve been wanting to for a while,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez Throws Acrobatic First Pitch at New York Mets Game

Laurie Hernandez is flipping for the New York Mets

The 16-year-old Puerto Rican gymnast, who helped lead Team USA to the gold medal in the Women’s Gymnastics team competition at the 2016 Rio Games, tossed out the first pitch on Saturday at Citi Field.

Laurie Hernandez

But Hernandez, who took home an individual silver medal on the balance beam during the 2016 Summer Olympics, wasn’t about to throw a traditional first pitch before the Mets’ game against the Washington Nationals.

Instead, the soon-to-be competitor on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars went for a little extra style, throwing in aerial cartwheel on the grass before tossing the ball to home plate.

“As soon as I found out I was throwing the first pitch, I was just like, ‘Oh, I’ll throw a flip in there,’” Hernandez told SportsNet New York.

Hernandez to Compete on Season 23 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”

Laurie Hernandez is heading from the beam to the ballroom…

The 16-year-old Puerto Rican gymnast, who helped lead Team USA’s Women’s Gymnastics team to gold at the 2016 Rio Games, has joined ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for Season 23.

Laurie Hernandez

Hernandez, who won an individual silver medal for her balance beam routine at the 2016 Summer Olympics, will be paired with professional dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

But Hernandez isn’t the only Hispanic celebrity hitting the dance floor this season…

Controversial Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, will compete this season. The 32-year-old half-Cuban American swimmer and 12-time Olympic medalist, who said he made a “very big mistake” when he claimed to have been held up at gunpoint during the Rio Games, will be paired with professional dancer Cheryl Burke.

Meanwhile, former The Fosters star Jake T. Austin will also make a bid for the Mirror Ball trophy. The 21-year-old part-Puerto Rican, Argentine and Spanish actor will be paired with professional dancer Jenna Johnson.

Other celebrity competitors set to foxtrot their way onto the show include Former Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Indy race car driver James Hinchcliffe, Brady Bunchs Maureen McCormick, actress Marilu Henner, Amber Rose, rapper/reality star Vanilla Ice, R&B singer Kenneth “Babyface” EdmondsLittle Women: LA’s Terra Jole, and country music singer/actress Jana Kramer.

Season 23 will see the return of pros Derek and Julianne Hough, who last appeared in 2015. Derek, a six-time Dancing champ, will be back as a dancer, while Julianne will serve as a judge.

Also returning is pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy, He last appeared in 2014 when he and Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis won the mirror ball trophy in Season 18. And Burke is back, after leaving the show in 2014.

Julianne Hough, a former pro dancer on the show, is expected to be joined at the judge’s table by Carrie Ann InabaBruno Tonioli and Len Goodman, who judged with Hough the past two iterations of the ballroom dance competition series.

Here are the new season’s dance pairings:

Cheryl Burke with Ryan Lochte
Maksim Chmerkovskiy with Amber Rose
Valentin Chmerkovskiy with Laurie Hernandez
Emma Slater with Rick Perry
Derek Hough with Marilu Henner
Artem Chigvintsev with Maureen McCormick
Sasha Farber with Terra Jole
Witney Carson with Vanilla Ice
Lindsay Arnold with Calvin Johnson
Jenna Johnson with Jake T. Austin
Allison Holker with Babyface
Sharna Burgess with James Hinchcliffe
Gleb Savchenko with Jana Kramer

The new season of Dancing With The Stars premieres on Monday, September 12.

Kobra’s Olympic Feat: Creating the World’s Largest Street Mural by One Artist

Eduardo Kobra has accomplished an Olympic-sized record…

The 39-year-old Brazilian street artist has painted a massive mural dedicated to the 2016 Rio Games, which wrapped up on Sunday. It’s now considered the world’s largest street mural created by one artist, according to Guinness World Records.

Eduardo Kobra's Olympic Mural

The work of art stands at 15.5m tall and 170m long, and nearly 3,000 square meters in size.

The mural, entitled “We Are All One,” shows five faces representing five main ethnic groups from five continents.

It aims to resemble the official Olympic symbol – the five Olympic rings – says the Sao Paulo born muralist.

Eduardo Kobra's Olympic Mural

To accomplish the mural, it took 180 buckets of acrylic paint and 2,800 cans of spray paint as well as seven hydraulic lifts, according to Guinness World Records.

The mural by Brazil’s most renowned street artist has became another attraction of the Olympic Boulevard.

Kobra began this work in early July with three team members and finished the gigantic mural on August 2, three days ahead of the opening ceremony of the 2016 edition of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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.

Lopez Claims Boxing Gold at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

It’s a golden moment for Arlen Lopez

The 23-year-old Cuban boxer, the current world champion, beat Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev on a unanimous points decision to win the Olympic middleweight title on Saturday, Cuba’s third boxing gold medal of the 2016 Rio Games.

Arlen Lopez

Azerbaijan’s Kamran Shakhsuvarly and Mexico’s Misael Rodriguez, his country’s first medalist in the division since 1968, took the bronze medals as losing semi-finalists.

Fighting half an hour after compatriot Robeisy Ramirez had won bantamweight gold, Lopez ensured Cuba won two of the day’s three finals by taking the opening rounds before easing off slightly in the third.

The top seed coming into the tournament, Lopez always looked the more polished fighter in what was a repeat of the 2015 world championship final and he closed out the draw with a 3-0 win.

Lopez caught Melikuziev with his arm in the third round, leading to a brief pause while the Uzbek had medical attention for a gash above his eye.

Cuba have now won middleweight gold five times, equaling the United States and Britain.

“There was some information from people in the stands through signals that I was ahead and that encouraged me and I knew the victory was in my hands,” said Lopez, who celebrated with a forward roll on the canvas.

Japan’s Ryoto Murata won the title in 2012 and then turned professional.

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, 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.”

Queiroz: First Brazilian to Win Three Medals in an Olympic Games

2016 Rio Games

Isaquias Queiroz ends his first Olympic appearance with a historic bang…

The 22-year-old Brazilian sprint canoeist partnered with Erlon de Souza to claim the silver in the Men’s Canoe Double 1000m competition with a time of a 3:44.81 at the 2016 Rio Games.

Isaquias Queiroz & Erlon de Souza

Germany’s Sebastian Brendel and Jan Vandrey, who trailed for most of the race, took the lead from Queiroz and  de Souza in the final seconds to win the gold with a time of 3:43.91.

With the roar of the crowd behind them, the Brazilian duo set sail and led for most of the race. A tight field trailed Queiroz and de Souza for most of the race, but in the end it was Germany who prevailed.

Queiroz, who already won silver and bronze at the 2016 Summer Olympics, added one more piece of hardware to his collection. He has now become the first Brazilian to win three medals in an Olympic Games.

Queiroz overcame a hard-fought childhood which included close brushes with death and a kidnapping attempt, and has become a fan favorite in his home country.

Rodriguez Earns Mexico’s First Medal at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Misael Rodriguez has ended his country’s drought…

The Mexican boxer couldn’t counter strong counterattacks from Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev, losing his bout in the semifinals of the Men’s Middle 75 kg competition at the 2016 Rio Games, so he had to settle for the bronze medal.

Misael Rodriguez

But there’s a silver lining…

Rodriguez earned the first medal for Mexico at the 2016 Summer Olympics, instantly becoming a national hero in Mexico.

Rodriguez began with power in the first assault, but he looked hurt by the Uzbek fighter. It appeared the cards were in Melikuzievs favor.

With a mission to finish his opponent, Rodriguez started the third chapter, under pressure to get the knockout, but his opponent’s experience proved to be too much. The fight ended in favor of the Melikuziev in a unanimous decision.

But earning any medal is meaningful to Rodriguez.

Less than a year ago, he was panhandling for spare change to gather funds to qualify for the Olympics.

Rodríguez had to beg not because Mexico is broke, but because of a power struggle between the federal agency that oversees sports, known as CONADE for its Spanish acronym, and the country’s various sporting federations.

The spat stems from an anti-corruption crusade started by CONADE’s director, former state prosecutor Alfredo Castillo, last year. Alleging irregularities, his agency cut funding to some of the sport federations. But the strategy hasn’t cleaned Mexico’s undeniably flawed sports system, commentators say. Instead, it’s resulting in one of Mexico’s most embarrassing Olympic performances in years.

But Rodriguez isn’t pointing fingers though, at least not publicly. News agency EFE quotes Rodríguez as saying, “Medals after begging taste sweeter.”