The 23-year-old Honduran American boxer will make his first title defense as the undisputed lightweight champion against George Kambosos Jr. on June 19 at Miami’s loanDepot Park, Triller Fight Club has announced.
The card will be co-headlined by a women’s super middleweight bout between Franchon Crews-Dezurn and Elin Cederroos, with all four world championship belts on the line.
Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), 23, who became the undisputed champion last year by taking four belts from Vasiliy Lomachenko, is No. 5 in the ESPN pound-for-pound rankings.
He’s No. 1 in the ESPN lightweight rankings, while Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs), the mandatory IBF challenger from Australia, is ranked 10th.
Triller is a relative newcomer to the boxing promotion business. The tech company made headlines in November by promoting the exhibition between former champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr., and in February it won the right to promote the mandatory defense of Lopez, one of boxing’s rising stars.
The 69-year-old Panamanian former professional boxer, known as “Manos de Piedra,” will be among four high-impact boxers featured in the Showtime docuseries The Kings.
In addition to Durán, who held world championships in four weight classes: lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight, the docuseries will also feature Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns.
The first of the show’s four episodes will premiere on Sunday, June 6, at 8:00 pm ET/PT on linear and streaming, the ViacomCBS premium network announced.
Nicknamed the Four Kings during their remarkable, overlapping careers, the quartet contested nine championship fights among them from 1980 to 1989. Their distinct styles and vivid personalities helped spark a renaissance in the sport of boxing, which had endured a downturn after Muhammad Ali’s storybook run concluded.
The backdrop of the series is the 1980s, a go-go decade marked by pronounced socioeconomic and political upheaval in the U.S. as President Ronald Reagan left his mark.
Hagler died last month at age 66.
“These four men defined an era in boxing,” said Stephen Espinoza, president of Showtime Sports, in a press release. “Their individual stories, forever linked by the spectacular battles they waged, reflect a tumultuous period in American culture and history. The Kings takes the viewer beyond the glorious action of some of history’s most memorable prizefights to illuminate each man’s dramatic journey and the societal context that made them stars of sports and popular culture.”
Leonard’s first fight with Durán came in 1980 and kicked off years of tightly contested battles in the ring and surging global popularity outside of it. The four boxers, joined in the latter years of the 1980s by the up-and-coming Mike Tyson, became some of the biggest names in sports and popular culture.
The Boxing Writers Association of America voted each of the four Fighter of the Year every year but one from 1979 to 1985. The Ring magazine named three of their title bouts Fight of the Year and picked Round 1 of Hagler-Hearns as Round of the Year.
The show is premiering during a year that marks the 45th anniversary of Leonard’s Olympic gold medal win and the 40th anniversary of a high point for the Four Kings: Leonard vs. Hearns.
The Kings is produced by Box To Box Film in association with Ingenious Media.
The 47-year-old Mexican American former professional boxer and boxing/mixed martial arts promoter says he’s planning to return to the ring.
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.
Ronaldinho is kicking his acting career into high gear…
The 36-year-old Brazilian soccer star, a two-time FIFA world player of the year winner, has joined the high-flying cast of the martial arts action film Kickboxer: Retaliation.
Directed by Dimitri Logothetis and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, the film centers on a man brought forcibly back to Thailand to fend for his life against a new formidable foe, a fighter named Mongkut (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson).
Ronaldinho will portray Ronaldo, an imprisoned expert martial arts kicker who shows Van Damme’s character Moussi how to refine his deadly kick.
He joins several notables from the sports world, including boxer Mike Tyson and UFC star Paige VanZant, in the movie that’s currently in production.
Retaliation is the second installment in a trilogy reboot of the hit action film Kickboxer.
Zulay Henao is ready to Meet you at your local theater…
Freestyle Releasing has acquired horror-comedy Meet The Blacksstarring the 36-year-old Colombian actress and Mike Epps.
Deon Taylor wrote, directed and produced the film, which spoofs the 2013 Ethan Hawke–Lena Headey hit The Purge.
In addition to Henao and Epps, the film’s cast also includes George Lopez, Mike Tyson and Bresha Webb. Watch a teaser above.
“Meet the Blacks takes spoofing to a new level and is pure cinematic fun for audiences who just want to laugh,” says Taylor. “This movie assembles a very diverse comedy all-star team that delivers on this promise – in a big way. We truly feel it has all the ingredients for a breakout hit.”
Freestyle Releasing, the company co-founded by Mark Borde and the late Susan Jackson, was acquired by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios in October.
Freestyle Releasing has set an April 29 theatrical release for Meet the Blacks.
The 41-year-old half-Cuban American actress will appear during Jimmy Kimmel’s primetime editions of Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night.
For the seventh consecutive year, in conjunction with the NBA Finals, ABC will air the late night talk show host’s primetime specials, which will air every night of the NBA Finals beginning with Game 1 on Thursday, June 5.
Broadcasts will feature basketball editions of Kimmel’s signature comedy bits Mean Tweets and Lie Witness News.
In addition to Diaz, guests for these shows include Jason Segel, Tracy Morgan, Mila Kunis, Martin Lawrence, Snoop Dogg, Psy, Ice Cube and more.
Previous JKL: Game Night guests include President Barack Obama, Adam Sandler, David Beckham, Liv Tyler, Magic Johnson, Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey, Ashton Kutcher, Drew Barrymore, Chris Rock, Danny DeVito and Denzel Washington.
Previous JKL: Game Night specials have premiered comedy pieces featuring Mike Tyson, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Dwyane Wade.
It looks like the New Year will bring Argenis Mendez some Friday Night Fights…
The 27-year-old Dominican boxer, the reigning junior lightweight titlist, will defend his title against Rances Barthelemy on January 3 as the new season of ESPN2‘s Friday Night Fights kicks off with the first of 26 cards, said Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules.
The Mendez-Barthelemy bout will take place at Minneapolis’ Target Center and feature an appearance by card co-promoter Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight champion.
Mendez (21-2-1, 11 Kos) won the title in March by knocking out Juan Carlos Salgado in the fourth round.
In his first defense, Mendez retained the belt, escaping with a majority draw against Arash Usmanee on Aug. 23.
Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs), a 27-year-old Cuban defector living in Miami, knocked out Thailand’s Fahsai Sakkreerin in the second round in a June 21 title elimination fight to earn the mandatory title shot against Mendez.
“Iron Mike Productions is excited to be hosting the first ESPN Friday Night Fights show of 2014,” Iron Mike Productions chief executive Garry Jonas said. “We closed the 2013 ESPN Friday Night Fights season with an exciting championship fight [Mendez-Usmanee], and now we’re opening 2014 with an exciting championship fight.”
Margules, who promotes Barthelemy, won the purse bid for the fight in October, offering $51,000 as the only bidder. That bid entitles Mendez, as the titleholder, to 75 percent of the money ($38,250) with Barthelemy getting the remaining 25 percent ($12,750).
“This will be Rances Barthelemy, my fighter’s, first world title shot, and I’m very excited for him and his chances to bring the belt home,” Margules said.
Mario Lopez is beefing up his resume with more producing credits…
The 38-year-old Mexican American actor and Extra host has lined up a number of series projects as a producer.
Lopez, the host of MTV’s dance completion American’s Best Dance Crew, has a 10-episode commitment at MTV Tr3s for Golden Boys, a docu-series following some of the world’s top young Latino boxers. Lopez is executive producing with boxing star Oscar De La Hoya.
Lopez also has a series commitment for Conversations with Mario at Comcast’s Latin-driven channel NuVo. The series takes an in-depth look at some of the most influential Latino celebrities in the world.
At ABC Family, Lopez is the man behind Back To Badass, a pilot for a reality series that aims to take former star athletes back to the top of their game.
Lopez’s latest projects are in addition to the upcoming Mario Lopez And Courtney Mazza Wedding Special, a two-hour special for TLC chronicling the preparations leading to Lopez and Mazza’s December wedding.
In addition, Lopez is working in post on an untitled boxing documentary he’s producing and appearing in, along with Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington and others. And, Lopez’s Los Angeles radio show, On With Mario Lopez, has just gone national.