Jaime Munguia to Fight Maciej Sulecki in June

Jaime Munguia will be heading back to the ring in June…

The 24-year-old Mexican professional boxer will now face Maciej Sulecki in a middleweight battle set for June 19, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

Jaime Munguia

The fight between Munguia and Sulecki was originally scheduled for April 24 at the Don Haskins Center at the University of Texas at El Paso, but Sulecki suffered an injury and was forced to pull out of the event. D’Mitrius Ballard was named as a replacement opponent, but Ballard was also injured before the fight. Now, with Sulecki recovered, the original fight will go on.

According to Golden Boy, strict COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place and capacity will be down to 40%. The fight will air on DAZN.

Munguia (36-0, 29 KOs) won the WBO junior middleweight title against Sadam Ali in 2018 and defended the belt five times before moving up in weight in January 2020. He has TKO victories over Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan and Tureano Johnson at middleweight.

“I feel very excited to be returning on June 19,” Munguia said via a news release. “I know it will be a tremendous fight against Maciej Sulecki. I think he is a great fighter, and I will make sure to deliver a great fight to all the fans.”

Sulecki (29-2, 11 KOs), 31, of Poland, has won three of his past four fights. He lost a unanimous decision to Demetrius Andrade when he challenged for the WBO middleweight world title in June 2019.

“There have been many changes, but I am happy that things will take place as planned,” Sulecki said. “I know that a victory against Jaime Munguia will put me on the path to challenge for a world title. That’s why securing this fight was very important to me. I feel great, and I am totally ready to show the world that I can compete against the best in the division.”

Juan Francisco Estrada Edges Past Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez to Win WBA, WBC and The Ring Magazine Junior Bantamweight Titles

Juan Francisco Estrada has proved that revenge is a dish best served cold.

The 30-year-old Mexican professional boxer edged past Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez by split decision in an extremely close fight at Dallas’ American Airlines Center on Saturday to win the WBA, the WBC and The Ring magazine junior bantamweight titles.

Juan Francisco Estrada x Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez

The victory comes eight years after Estrada (42-3, 28 KOs) and Gonzalez’s first action-packed bout, which was won by Gonzalez (50-3, 41 KOs).

This bout could’ve gone either way. The two combined for 2,529 punches — a junior bantamweight record — and landed 705, according to CompuBox. They combined for 2,133 punches in their first bout.

The scorecards Saturday night read 115-113 Gonzalez, 117-111 Estrada and 115-113 Estrada. The 117-111 score was shockingly wide, but the two 115-113 scores were representative of a fight with two boxers putting on a nonstop show.

Immediately afterward, sensing there was unfinished business with their rivalry split at 1-1, Estrada called for a trilogy fight to settle it all.

“I think I did enough to win. Chocolatito is a great fighter, and I think he deserves a trilogy,” Estrada said on the DAZN broadcast. “I knew it was a close fight. I didn’t know if I was up or down, but I knew I had to close out the fight in the last two rounds.”

Gonzalez was gracious and emotional in defeat, saying, “Whatever happened, happened, but I gave it a great fight.” The four-division champion said the result was what “God wanted” and that he would welcome a third bout with Estrada.

“It was a better fight than the first one,” Estrada said. “I felt strong, and I felt like I won. In the last round, I gave it all. It was a great round.”

Estrada’s win could set in motion the conclusion of a set of trilogies. Estrada noted after the fight that his mandatory challenger is Srisaket Sor Rungvisai — a man he also has split two bouts with over the past few years. Rungvisai won the first bout by majority decision in February 2018, with Estrada winning the rematch by unanimous decision in April 2019.

Rungvisai, who also has two wins over Gonzalez, stepped aside to let Estrada-Gonzalez 2 happen. Now, Rungvisai will likely want his shot at settling the trilogy fight with Estrada.

Gonzalez, who despite starting a bit slow was the aggressor for much of the fight, had the advantage over Estrada in every CompuBox category Saturday night except body punching (89-31 Estrada). The 90 power punches landed in Round 12 (51 by Gonzalez, 39 by Estrada) is a single-round junior bantamweight record, per CompuBox.

The hope is that Part 3 of this must-see thriller happens far sooner than the eight-year wait for Part 2.

Vergil Ortiz Jr. to Fight Maurice Hooker in March

Vergil Ortiz Jr. is ready to rumble…

The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer, an undefeated rising welterweight star, will step up his boxing game as he’s set to face fellow contender Maurice Hooker in a bout that’s still being finalized, according to ESPN.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.

The fight is expected to take place on March 20, according to ESPN sources. The firm date is the final step to be completed before an announcement of the bout, which is expected to take place in Dallas and air on DAZN.

Ortiz (16-0, 16 KOs) was ESPN’s and Ring Magazine‘s 2019 Prospect of the Year. His knockout power and impressive skill put him among a handful of young fighters competing for prime billing in the years to come. With Canelo Alvarez‘s departure, Ortiz has become one of Golden Boy Promotions‘ most promising fighters.

Ortiz is coming off a seventh-round TKO victory over veteran Sam Vargas in July — the first pro bout in Ortiz’s career that has lasted beyond six rounds.

But he’ll be facing his stiffest competition yet in Hooker, who after having issues making weight is moving up from junior welterweight to take this bout.

Hooker (27-1-3) has a significant experience and length advantage over Ortiz, helping make the bout an intriguing test. Hooker, 31, hasn’t fought since a December 2019 first-round TKO over Uriel Perez. Before that, he suffered his lone loss to junior welterweight unified champion Jose Ramirez by sixth-round TKO.

Canelo Alvarez Reportedly Planning to Fight Mandatory Challenger Avni Yildirim in February

Canelo Alvarez isn’t waiting long to get back in the ring…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, the sport’s biggest star, will return to the ring on February 27 versus mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, according to sources.

Canelo Alvarez

The fight will be broadcast on DAZN and other PPV cable platforms everywhere except Mexico.

It will be a stay-busy title defense for Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs), who is coming off a dominant unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated champion Callum Smith on December 19 to win the WBA, WBC and the Ring magazine super middleweight titles.

 

The Athletic was the first to report the Alvarez fight date.

“Canelo is in the gym, and he has been working and training, waiting for the date,” Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, said. “And to take advantage of the preparation we had for most of last year without fighting.”

After a deal with Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, Alvarez is on track to fight again on May 8, the weekend following Cinco de Mayo, against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. That bout is not official yet, but it is expected, with IBF champion Caleb Plant as a secondary option.

Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) has plans to unify the super middleweight division, with Saunders and Plant as the two other belt holders in the division.

Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) hasn’t fought since a February 2019 split technical decision loss to Anthony Dirrell. He has been Alvarez’s WBC mandatory challenger since before the Alvarez-Smith bout.

“Obviously it’s a very big fight for me. It makes me very proud to be on a stage like this, representing the Turkish people,” Yildirim told ESPN on Wednesday. “I know my opponent well. Of course, Canelo is one of the best in the world. But I know my value, and now the entire world will see who Avni Yildirim is.”

Alvarez and Reynoso wanted to fulfill their commitment to the WBC by fighting Yildirim before continuing their pursuit through the super middleweight champions.

“Yildirim is a strong fighter. He is a fighter who has earned his place in boxing to get to where he is as the No. 1 challenger in the world,” Reynoso said. “He had a fight against Anthony Dirrell, which seemed to me they took away from him, and gave it to Dirrell due to a cut. It was a world title fight, and [even with a loss], he became an official challenger. He is a guy who has worked honestly to be there, and he is dangerous, strong, has a good punch and very reliable.”

This will be Alvarez’s first bout in Miami, a place he has long enjoyed. Fans can be in attendance up to the COVID-19 pandemic capacity allowed at Hard Rock Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes play their home football games.

Ryan Garcia Survives First Career Knockdown to Claim TKO Victory Over Luke Campbell

Ryan Garcia is living up to the hype…

The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer survived an early knockdown to notch a stunning, seventh-round, TKO victory over Luke Campbell on Saturday night.

Ryan Garcia

In front of roughly 6,000 fans at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Garcia won the interim WBC lightweight title with a left hook to the body that sent Campbell to his knees. Campbell attempted to get to his feet by the end of the count, but referee Laurence Cole waved the fight off to give Garcia the TKO win.

For most of his career, Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) has been known for a social media following that has overshadowed his ring credentials. With the victory, he said he showed he was more than an internet sensation.

“You’re not who people tell you [you] are,” Garcia said in his postfight interview on DAZN. “You’re who you choose to be. And I chose to be a champion tonight. I wasn’t going to let nothing stop me.”

Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs), a former title challenger and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was billed as the toughest test of Garcia’s young career, and the British boxer lived up to that.

In the second round, Campbell dropped Garcia with a looping left hook that caught him on the chin. Garcia said it was the first time he had been knocked down in his career.

“I think I got a little too excited over the moment,” said Garcia, who was carried into the ring seated on a throne while wearing a gold crown.

But “King Ry” responded in the third round, regaining his bearings and nearly ending the fight in the fifth. Garcia hit Campbell with a left hook at the bell that sent Campbell staggering into the ropes. Two rounds later, Garcia picked up the most significant win of his career.

Campbell had never been stopped in his pro career, even in title fights against Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jorge Linares. Garcia and Campbell both noted that following Saturday’s bout.

“That was the hardest shot I was ever hit with,” Campbell said. “I tried and tried to get up, but I couldn’t. I felt him coming on, and I was moving back, and when you move back, my body relaxed a little bit, and that’s the exact time he hit me.”

Garcia added, “I showed today that I’m special.”

Campbell agreed with that, saying of Garcia in a tweet afterward, “Well done and a massive future ahead for him. I wish him all the best.”

Garcia joined the ranks of young, promising fighters in the lightweight division. Teofimo Lopez, 23, won three of the four belts in the 135-pound division when he beat Lomachenko in October 2019. Devin Haney, 22, holds the WBC‘s top belt.

But the fighter Garcia said he wants the most is Gervonta “Tank” Davis, 26, who holds one of the WBA’s secondary belts and is coming off an impressive knockout victory over Leo Santa Cruz in October.

“I really want to be a man of my word,” Garcia said. “I really want to fight Tank. I know people are worried about it [happening], but I’m ready for it.”

DAZN to Debut “Club Ibiza: The Sessions” Documentary, Featuring UD Ibiza President Amadeo Salvo, on Christmas

Amadeo Salvo is opening up about his club days… 

Sports streamer DAZN has unveiled its latest original: Club Ibiza: The Sessions, a documentary going behind the scenes of Ibiza soccer club Unión Deportiva Ibiza, which features interviews with the 53-year-old Spanish entrepreneur and the side’s current president.

Amadeo Salvo

The documentary will take a look at UD Ibiza’s dreams of making it all the way to La Liga.

In addition to interviews with Salvo, the five-part series also features interviews with Italian soccer star Marco Borriello, who played for UD Ibiza.

The show’s exclusive title track was produced by DJ Carl Cox and features new music by Anna Tur and Manu Gonzalez. 

Club Ibiza: The Sessions is a DAZN Originals production in association with Cielo Azul.

John Alex Dennis and Best co-direct.

DAZN’s SVP of originals Best said: “This is the most beautiful football docu-series ever made, simply because its set on Ibiza. We know Ibiza as the dance music capital of the world but now football has become another reason to pay attention. No other series has captured the ambition and passion of football, with world famous DJs and these stunning landscapes.”

Club Ibiza: The Sessions will premiere on December 25 around the worl

Canelo Alvarez Becomes Mexico’s First Unified Champion in Super Middleweight History

Canelo Alvarez is making history…

The 30-year-old Mexican professional boxer, the sport’s biggest superstar, put on a dominant display on Saturday night to end the 2020 major fight slate, cruising to a unanimous decision win over previously undefeated champion Callum Smith and winning the WBA, WBC and The Ring magazine super middleweight titles.

Canelo Alvarez

The scorecards read 119-109, 119-109 and 117-111, all for Alvarez.

In the process, Alvarez became the first unified champion from Mexico in super middleweight history.

In front of 15,000 fans (20% capacity) at the San Antonio Alamodome, Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) stalked Smith (27-1, 19 KOs), punishing him with an array of consistent jabs, uppercuts and hooks for 12 rounds.

“I’m the best in the world,” Alvarez said on the DAZN broadcast via an interpreter. “In the first round, I tried to see what he brings, the skills or whatever, but like you can see, I showed what I am.”

By the later rounds, the intrigue of the fight shifted from who would win to whether Smith would survive Alvarez’s devastating blows and go the distance.

The 6-foot-3 Smith had a 7-inch height advantage and an 8-inch reach advantage over the 5-foot-8 Alvarez. But it didn’t matter, as Alvarez was the big bully, eliminating the distance that Smith prefers and consistently pounding punches off the British boxer’s head and body.

“He was the better fighter tonight,” Smith said. “He’s smart. He’s clever. He sets you little traps and keeps you thinking. Before you know it, he’s closing the ground. He’s a good fighter, but I’m just a little disappointed with myself. His jab was really good. It surprised me a little bit. His defense was really good.”

Alvarez has now defeated two Smith brothers — knocking out older brother Liam Smith as a junior middleweight in 2016 and defeating Callum Smith on Saturday.

Alvarez — universally considered one of the top two pound-for-pound boxers in the world, boxing’s best-selling fighter, and already a four-division champion — now has won The Ring magazine title in three different weight classes.

He landed 43% of his punches and 57% of his power punches on Saturday, per CompuBox, in a complete performance in which his defense also shined. Smith landed only 18% of his punches and 24% of his power punches.

It was Alvarez’s first fight since parting ways with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN after contractual disputes, and he returned to the ring for the first time in 13 months as his own promoter with little in-ring rust.

“I’M BACK!” he wrote as part of a Twitter post early Sunday morning.

https://twitter.com/Canelo/status/1340544290003533829?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1340544290003533829%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.espn.com%2F

Ryan Garcia’s WBC Title Bout Against Luke Campbell Moved to January 2021

Ryan Garcia will have to wait a month to get back in the ring…

A date has been finalized for the rescheduled vacant WBC title bout between the 22-year-old Mexican American boxer and Luke Campbell. The two will fight on Saturday, January 2, DAZN has announced.

Ryan Garcia

Garcia and Campbell were scheduled to fight on December 5 in Los Angeles, but the fight was postponed after Campbell tested positive for COVID-19 on November 10.

“My mindset going into this fight hasn’t changed, and my training hasn’t stopped,” Garcia said. “I’m excited we have a new date and can finally bring this to the fans. I’m here, and I’m ready to ring in the new year with a victory … let’s go!”

Campbell, who has resumed training back in England, doesn’t seem too concerned about the short delay. “New date, new year, same result,” said Campbell. “I’m fully back in training and have never felt better. What a way to start 2021. This is going to be with a clinical Luke Campbell win.”

Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) hasn’t fought since a first-round KO victory over Francisco Fonseca in February. Garcia trains with Eddy Reynoso, who also trains middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, junior lightweight contender Oscar Valdez and former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr.

Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs), 33, lost a unanimous decision challenging then lightweight unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko in August 2019.

Devin Haney is theWBC lightweight titlist and Teofimo Lopez Jr. is the WBC “franchise” champion.

Canelo Alvarez to Fight Callum Smith Next Month in Texas

Canelo Alvarez is heading back to the ring…

Following months of conflict between the 30-year-old Mexican boxer, his promoters and his broadcast partners, Alvarez is finally ready to rumble.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez will meet Callum Smith in Texas this December to unify WBA super middleweight titles, according to ESPN. This will be Alvarez’s first appearance since his 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.

The target dates for the fight are December 18, 19 or 20.

Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) faces “Mundo” Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) after he announced himself as a free agent last week. His first business partner will be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. It’s very possible that DAZN, the broadcaster partner Alvarez was working with before severing ties with longtime promoter Golden Boy Promotions, could carry the fight in the U.S.

The fight — targeted for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas — will come a year after a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, spent a few minutes with Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, to tell him about his interest in an Alvarez-Smith fight.

Smith, 20, is seven inches taller than Alvarez and has about eight inches reach advantage. Smith, like Alvarez, hasn’t fought since last November when he scored a contested unanimous decision victory over John Ryder.

Smith is the WBA “super” super middleweight world titlist, and Alvarez has the WBA “regular” belt, but the fight could also be for the WBC super middleweight title that was left vacant when David Benavidez missed weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in August and was stripped of the belt.

Alvarez starts a new era as his own promoter with a title fight against a legit opponent. Smith is considered one of the elite fighters in the division, and is ranked No. 1 by ESPN.

Canelo Alvarez Officially a Free Agent After Release from Golden Boy Contract

Canelo Alvarez is officially a free agent.

After several days of negotiations, representatives for the 30-year-old Mexican boxer and four-division world champion, the sport’s most lucrative fighter, and Golden Boy Promotions have reached an agreement to release him.

Canelo Alvarez

In September, Alvarez filed a lawsuit in federal court citing a breach of contract on an 11-fight, $365 million deal signed in 2018. A subsequent mediation situation between all parties failed, and the suit was refiled after a technical error.

Alvarez has not fought since November 2019, when he defeated light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev via DAZN. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alvarez, Golden Boy and DAZN were unable to agree on Alvarez’s next opponent and the salary for that fight.

“After extended discussions between the parties, DAZN offered to pay Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions a fraction of the contracted $40 million license fee in cash and some DAZN stock in advance of a potential IPO,” according to the initial lawsuit filed in California. “However, the entire value of the package — for a bout against another World Champion — was substantially less than Alvarez’s contractual guarantee.”

When Alvarez initially signed with DAZN, it was a massive moment for the business of boxing. Alvarez had agreed to fight on the streaming platform that opted for a monthly subscription over the traditional pay-per-view model used in boxing in recent decades. DAZN also signed Gennadiy Golovkin, whom Canelo has defeated once and drawn with in two controversial outcomes.

However, a third fight to complete the trilogy has become less likely in the wake of Alvarez’s release from his promotional contract.

Court filings show that Alvarez’s lawsuit was refiled October 8 and an additional motion was submitted by the defendants that said the lawsuit should be settled via arbitration, which Alvarez’s side disagreed with. In a statement Friday afternoon, Golden Boy chairman Oscar De La Hoya said both sides had come to an amicable solution.

“The lawsuit was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction and we wish Canelo the best going forward,” De La Hoya said in the statement. “In the strong partnership with DAZN, we will continue showcasing our wide array of talent, including rising superstars like Ryan Garcia, Jaime Munguia and Vergil Ortiz Jr., all of whom have the talent and potential to become the next biggest star in our sport.”