Seniesa Estrada Signs Multiyear Deal with Boxing Promotional Company Top Rank

Seniesa Estrada is switching promotional teams…

The 30-year-old Mexican American boxer, the WBA strawweight and WBO junior flyweight champion, has left Golden Boy and signed a multiyear deal with Top Rank.

Seniesa EstradaEstrada is the second female fighter to sign with Top Rank, joining Mikaela Mayer, who signed a three-year contract extension earlier this year.

“It’s awesome,” Estrada told ESPN. “It’s like, I’m excited to get back in the ring.”

Estrada’s first Top Rank fight will be later this year, with the possibility of being in November. She said her contract is similar in finances to that of Mayer, who signed a deal for seven figures over the length of the agreement.

Estrada said she and Mayer talked a lot about the financial side of their contracts — a first for Estrada in speaking with another fighter — and it gave her comfort in what she was asking for.

Mayer and Estrada have become friendly in recent months — Mayer even convinced Estrada to join Twitter in April — and now the two will be the main women’s faces for the same boxing promotion.

Money, Estrada said, was part of this. Golden Boy had been her initial high-level promoter and she had done well there, reaching a 22-0 record with nine knockouts — including a seven-second knockout of Miranda Adkins on July 24, 2020 that was the fastest in women’s boxing history.

Estrada, originally from East Los Angeles, had been an active fighter for much of her pro career other than longer breaks during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Estrada had hoped to be in the ring earlier this year — she was going to fight in August — but terms couldn’t be agreed upon.

Estrada said part of the reason for her departure from Golden Boy was “I wanted more money, what I felt I deserved.”

Estrada said she also spoke with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom Boxing when she sought a new promoter and almost went with the United Kingdom-based boxing promotion.

Hearn had given her a competitive offer, Estrada said, and the chance to main event and co-main event on DAZN cards. But Estrada said the Top Rank offer made more sense for her — in part because of the platform her fights would be on due to the deal between Top Rank and ESPN.

“Just the whole platform wise and exposure wise would be so much better for me so besides them giving me what I was happy with,” Estrada said. “Yeah, I’m looking forward to that. I’m excited about it.”

Estrada is also the rare women’s fighter who has fought a three-minute round fight as a professional — her technical decision win over Marlen Esparza on November 2, 2019 was a 10-round, three-minute-per-round contest that was stopped after the ninth round due to a cut Esparza suffered as part of an accidental head butt.

Estrada said Top Rank has told her she will often be the main event or co-main event on cards she is on. She also offers the promotion another chance to build fights in Los Angeles, where the No. 6 pound-for-pound fighter in ESPN’s ratings is a draw both because of her Mexican American heritage and because she grew up in and still lives in the area. The 5-foot-2 Estrada has fought 17 of her fights in California.

“That’s definitely something that they want, so I’m happy with that,” Estrada said. “Especially in L.A., they want to put on more shows here in L.A. and knowing that I’m from here, they are hoping I can be able to sell.

“…In L.A., definitely, yeah. I would like to get the chance to show that. That would be great.”

Pedri Wins Golden Boy Award, the Prize Given to Best Young Player in Europe

Pedri is having a golden moment…

The 18-year-old Spanish soccer player, a Barcelona midfielder, has been named the winner of the 2021 Golden Boy award, seeing off competition from Borussia Dortmund and England‘s Jude Bellingham.

Pedri

 

Pedri becomes the first Barca player since Lionel Messi in 2005 to win the prize given to the best young player in Europe.

He succeeds Erling Haaland, who won it last year, with Joao FelixMatthijs de Ligt and Kylian Mbappe also listed among the recent winners.

Italian newspaper Tuttosport, which hands out the award, revealed that Pedri’s winning margin was the biggest ever.

The Spain international collected 318 points from 40 voting journalists, 199 more than second-placed Bellingham.

“I want to thank Tuttosport for this trophy which makes me so proud,” he told the newspaper. “Thanks also to the members of my team and the fans who have always supported me throughout a 2021 which for me has been simply incredible.

“Of course, I want to thank Barcelona, the national side, my family, my friends and everyone who has been with me day-in-day-out without whose help I would not have been able to win the Golden Boy award.”

Pedri has enjoyed a remarkable year. He joined Barca as a 17-year-old from Las Palmas in the summer of 2020 but quickly established himself as a key fixture in the Catalan club’s midfield.

He made 52 appearances in his first season at Camp Nou, winning the Copa del Rey, and playing a major role in Spain’s run to the semifinals at Euro 2020, where he was named Young Player of the Tournament. He made his international debut in March.

A month after the Euros, he was also part of the Spain under-23 team that reached the final of the 2020 Tokyo Games, losing to Brazil after extra time.

Injuries have delayed his progress this season, though. He has made just four appearances for Barca thanks to a thigh problem and is expected to remain sidelined for the next few weeks.

Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez to Make Golden Boy Debut Against Sullivan Barrera

Gilberto ZurdoRamirez is ready to make his Golden (Boy) debut…

The 29-year-old Mexican professional boxer, a former super middleweight world titlist, will face former light heavyweight title contender Sullivan Barrera on July 9 in Los Angeles, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez

Ramirez (41-0, 27 Kos), of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, will make his Golden Boy debut after signing with the promotion in February.

Ramirez, who became the first fighter from Mexico to win a world title at 168 by defeating Arthur Abraham by unanimous decision in 2016 to win the WBO belt, defended the title five times before jumping up to light heavyweight. Since then, he has TKO victories over Tommy Karpency and Alfonso Lopez.

“I’m excited to be headlining this show in Los Angeles with Golden Boy Promotions,” Ramirez said via news release. “It’s going to be a great night of boxing with fans back in the stands. I’ve always enjoyed fighting here, and I can’t wait to put on a show to continue my hunt for the light heavyweight championship.”

Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs), 39, of Guantanamo, Cuba, lost his only attempt to win a world title against WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol in 2018. He has fought twice since then, a decision win against Sean Monaghan in November 2018 and a decision loss to Jesse Hart in June 2019. “I know that my opponent is a former world champion with a lot of experience and that he will come very much prepared,” Barrera said. “However, I feel that I have faced much better opposition. I’ve also spent my entire career in the light heavyweight division, something that will be totally new for him. It will be a difficult fight, but I will walk away with my hands raised in victory.”

Jose Ramirez In Talks to Face Josh Taylor in 140-pound Unification Fight

Jose Ramirez could possibly be fighting the biggest battle of his career in May…

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has reserved the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 8 for a long-awaited 140-pound unification fight between the 28-year-old Mexican American boxer, the WBC and WBO champion, and IBF and WBA champion Josh Taylor (17-0).

Jose Ramirez

Canelo Alvarez will fight WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders — also in Las Vegas — on either May 1 or May 8, sources confirmed to ESPN on Thursday, but the Taylor-Ramirez date will not change, according to Top Rank.

Arum said he’s “looking forward” to having fans in attendance “in accordance with strict standards imposed by the state of Nevada.”

Arum said Taylor is already working on a obtaining a visa and that the purses between the two ex-Olympians will be equal.

“From our side of the table, we are happy moving forward with Taylor-Ramirez,” said Jamie Conlan, vice president of MTK Global, which advises Taylor and also has a relationship with Ramirez’s manager, Rick Mirigian.

Mirigian, however, said deal isn’t yet locked up with his client.

“I’m optimistic, but negotiations continue,” Mirigian said. Another interested party is undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez, who has said he wants to fight the winner to become the only undisputed four-belt champion at both 135 and 140 pounds.

On Thursday, Arum hosted a lunch at his Beverly Hills home with Golden Boy‘s Oscar De La Hoya and Eric Gomez. Among the subjects discussed was a possible mega fight between Lopez and Garcia.

Garcia’s team was not at the lunch

The idea, according to Arum, was for Lopez to defend against his IBF mandatory challenger, and Garcia to fight Javier Fortuna, then meet in a mega fight.

“It would have to be this year,” Arum said. “Because after that, Teofimo is going up to fight the winner of Taylor-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.

Ryan Garcia Agrees to Fight Luke Cambell for WBC Interim Lightweight Title

Ryan Garcia is ready to rumble…

The proposed bout between the 22-year-old Mexican boxer and Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC interim lightweight title has been agreed upon.

Ryan “Kingry” Garcia 

A purse bid for the contest had been scheduled for Tuesday, but a seven-day extension was granted to Golden Boy Promotions, Garcia’s promoter, and Matchroom Sports, who promotes Campbell, to work out the final details.

“The WBC is pleased to confirm that the respective camps have agreed to the material terms of the Luke Campbell vs. Ryan Garcia bout for the WBC interim lightweight world championship,” the WBC said in a statement Tuesday.

The promoters are still working on a date and venue for the fight.

“The date we’re looking at is in November, and there’s going to [be] provisions in the agreement for the fight taking place in the U.K., or in the U.S.,” Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN.

When asked if the ability to have a live audience would be a determining factor in where this fight lands, Gomez said they will cross that bridge when the time comes.

“Right now, we haven’t discussed that,” said Gomez about the availability of fans. “It really depends on protocols and obviously travel restrictions because of COVID.”

Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) is the WBC second-rated lightweight, and Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) is No. 3.

It’s an interesting clash of styles, with the flashy Garcia, who has fast hands and a lethal left hook, against Campbell, a technically sound southpaw who has an Olympic gold medal to his credit and has had great battles against Jorge Linares and Vasiliy Lomachenko in recent years.

Currently the WBC lists Lomachenko as its “franchise” champion and Devin Haney as its “regular” titleholder.

Jorge Linares to Fight Javier Fortuna in August

Jorge Linaresis heading back to the ring this summer…

The 34-year-old Venezuelan professional boxer and three-time world champion will fight Javier Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KOs) on August 28 at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casinoin Indio, California.

Jorge Linares

After Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) dispatched Carlos Morales in four rounds on February 14, a showdown with the undefeated Ryan Garcia was heavily rumored for the summer. That fight never materialized, and Linares and his representatives shifted their focus to another fight.

“We wanted that fight [with Garcia], Jorge wanted that fight more than anybody,” said Jose de la Cruz, who manages Linares. “I guess their camp is not being reasonable with Golden Boy.”

In regard to the potential July 4 fight, Garcia representative Lupe Valencia said, “What they offered Ryan was not acceptable. We can’t just accept it if we know it’s not reasonable.”

Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, told ESPN, “Fortuna was willing to fight pretty much anybody, he was available. So we made the offer to Linares, and he took it right away.”

Gomez said there is a chance that this bout could be contested for the WBC interim lightweight title.

“It was a no-brainer,” said de la Cruz. “I think it’s the right time for Jorge to fight for a world title, and to stay active, number one. He’ll be 35 by the time he fights. How many fights does he have left? We all want to know.”

Linares, who is ESPN’s No. 6 lightweight, has had a memorable career, filled with substantial victories and mind-boggling defeats. 

He’s captured world titles at 126, 130 and 135, but never had a long title run with any of those belts. Linares has victories over the likes of Oscar LariosKevin MitchellAnthony Crolla and Luke Campbell, and gave Vasiliy Lomachenko his toughest test to date as a professional. 

But Linares has also been knocked out in all five of his losses, the latest of which was when he was stopped in the first round by Pablo Cesar Cano in an ill-fated experiment at 140 at the beginning of 2019.

The 31-year-old Fortuna, who is ESPN’s No. 8 lightweight, once held the WBA 130-pound title and had a strong showing as he knocked out a faded Jesus Cuellar in two rounds last November. 

Fortuna, a southpaw from the Dominican Republic presents a formidable challenge for Linares with his above-average power. Should Linares overcome the challenge of Fortuna, he’ll be in line for even bigger fights.

“There’s [DevinHaney,” said De La Cruz, mentioning the current WBC lightweight titleholder as one option. ”If Golden Boy can make the Ryan Garcia fight, if the virus doesn’t affect us late in the year, everything goes well, we want a championship fight or a big fight at the Staples Center. That’s what Golden Boy wants.”

The August 28 Golden Boy card is scheduled to be the promotion’s second of the summer, following a July 24 show headlined by Vergil Ortiz and Samuel Vargas.

Vergil Ortiz Officially Set to Fight Samuel Vargas in Golden Boy’s First Post-Coronavirus Fight Card

Vergil Ortiz is officially ready to rumble…

As previously expected, the 22-year-old highly regarded Mexican American welterweight will face veteran Samuel Vargas on July 24 in Golden Boy‘s first fight card since the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to boxing events across the world in mid-March.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.

The card will take place at the Fantasy Springs Casino Resortin Indio, California.

“We’re just excited, happy to be back with our fighters,” said Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions

“Especially a guy like Vergil who was scheduled to fight before the shutdown. He was 10 days out from fighting, so I’m just happy he gets to fight again, and we’re back at it.”

For the time being, Golden Boy’s cards in California will be held without an audience.

Ortiz (15-0, 15 KOs) is considered one of boxing’s best young fighters. The Grand Prairie, Texas native has stopped everyone he has faced thus far as a professional. In 2019, Ortiz stopped Mauricio Herrera in three rounds, and then Antonio Orozco in six.

Ortiz and Vargas were originally scheduled to clash on March 28 at The Forumin Inglewood, California, before that card was canceled.

“I’m very thankful and excited to be headlining the first Golden Boy event after the quarantine,” said Ortiz, who has been training with Robert Garcia in Riverside for the past few weeks. “I’m happy that it’s still with the same opponent, so basically we’re picking up where we left off. It’s going to be a tough fight, and it’ll be a great way to kick off the year for me.”

Ortiz is facing a seasoned veteran in Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KOs), who has faced Amir KhanLuis CollazoDanny Garcia and Errol Spence over the course of his career.

“I think that everything happens for a reason,” said Vargas, who has been in Las Vegas in recent weeks, preparing for this bout. “I think this time off benefited me. I’m ready to upset the world. I believe I can come out with the win. The world is a weird place right now. The show will be different. There will be no fans, but I have no doubt I’m going to win.”

As Golden Boy officials began to put this card together, they found a rather limited pool of options to draw from, in terms of selecting boxers.

“There’s a lot of guys that just weren’t ready,” Gomez said. “They hadn’t been to the gym because [gyms] were closed, they didn’t train, do road work, sparring or anything. Now it’s a little better, but we’re not in the clear yet.”

The co-feature scheduled for July 24 is a 10-round lightweight contest between Hector Tanajara (19-0, 5 KOs) and Mercito Gesta (32-3-3, 17 KOs). Other fights include an eight-round middleweight bout between Shane Mosley Jr. (15-3, 9 KOs) and Jeremy Ramos (11-8, 2 KOs), a women’s junior flyweight fight between Seniesa Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) and Jacky Calvo(12-5-2, 1 KO), and a clash between prospects Hector Valdez and Evan Sanchez.

There’s no indication when spectators will be allowed back into any sporting events, and from Golden Boy’s perspective, the hope at this point is just to try to get the first few cards off the ground smoothly.

“It’s hard to say. It’s scary. You’ve seen the numbers, they’ve been rising again,” Gomez said. “There have been surges in Florida, here in California. I don’t know what the governor is going to decide. I just hope we don’t get shut down again.”

Alejandro Cast as Series Regular on Fox’s Comic Book Drama “Lucifer”

Kevin Alejandro has earned a devilish role…

The 39-year-old Mexican American actor has been cast as a series regular on Fox’s comic book midseason drama Lucifer.

Kevin Alejandro

Alejandro, who appeared on True Blood and Arrow, replaces Nicholas Gonzalez who played the role in the pilot, written by Tom Kapinos and directed by Len Wiseman.

Based on the characters from the DC Entertainment’s Vertigo, the series, from Warner Bros. Television and Jerry Bruckheimer Television, centers on Lucifer (Tom Ellis) who, bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the gorgeous, shimmering insanity of Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals.

Alejandro will play Dan, a gruff LAPD homicide detective who is wary of Lucifer’s involvement with his wife and daughter.

Alejandro just recently became available, coming off the A&E drama The Returned. He previously was a regular on Southland and Golden Boy.

Navedo to Star in the CW’s Pilot “Jane the Virgin”

Andrea Navedo has landed the mother of a role…

The Latina actress, who rose to acclaim on the soap operas One Life to Live and Guiding Light, has joined the cast of the CW’s pilot Jane the Virgin, starring Gina Rodriguez and Jaime Camil.

Andrea Navedo

Based on the successful Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, the project centers on Jane (Rodriguez), a hardworking religious girl who, due to a series of outrageous events, is accidentally artificially inseminated.

Navedo will portray Xiomara, Jane’s mother, who is fiercely devoted to her daughter.

Navedo’s previous television credits include Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Golden Boy, White Collar and How to Make It in America.

She most recently appeared in indie film Last I Heard and will next appear in the feature Superfast.