Ibeth Zamora to Defend WBC Women’s Flyweight Title Against Marlen Esparza

Ibeth Zamora is ready to rumble north of the border…

The 32-year-old Mexican professional boxer is set to defend her WBC women’s flyweight world title on June 19, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

Ibeth Zamora

Zamora, commonly known as “La Roca,” will face off against 31-year-old Latina former Olympic medalist Marlen Esparza (9-1, 1 KO) in a 10-round bout.

The event will be held at the Don Haskins Center at the University of Texas at El Paso.

“I am very excited to be defending my title against Marlen Esparza,” said Zamora. “It will be my first time fighting in the United States, and therefore it is a great opportunity to show everyone what I am capable of fighting on a massive stage. I am proud to bring my title and defend it against an experienced fighter like Esparza. I am sure that my skills will help me to come out with victory, and I am going to show everyone why I am the current WBC flyweight champion and the best in the division, ”highlighted‘ Roca ’through a statement.

“I want to thank you and offer my thanks to the WBC and Golden Boy for the opportunity to fight for the world championship. It has been a dream and a vision to represent the WBC. I want people to see a great fight. I am proud to be back. in this type of scenario in front of a great fighter. I know there are a limited number of important fights for women’s boxing, and so it is an honor to have this opportunity. I am training hard and I am going to bring my best. I can’t wait to hear the first bell,” said the challenger.

Zamora is 32-6 with 12 KOs.

Laurie Hernandez to Appear in Peacock’s Women’s Gymnastics-Themed Docuseries “Golden”

Laurie Hernandez is golden

The 20-year-old Puerto Rican Olympic gold medal gymnast and Dancing with the Stars champion will appear on Golden, a docuseries about women’s gymnasts vying for a spot on the U.S. team heading to the Tokyo Olympics.

Laurie Hernandez

The six-episode series, which hails from Peacock and LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Uninterrupted will track five hopefuls competing for four spots on the U.S. Olympic team.

A premiere date hasn’t yet been confirmed for the show, which is part of a broad array of live and on-demand Tokyo programming heading to NBCUniversal platforms.

In addition to Hernandez, the series also features Morgan HurdSunisa LeeKonnor McClain, and MyKayla Skinner.

A major theme will be the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the postponement of the Games from 2020 to 2021 and also dramatically altered athletes’ preparations and training.

Each hour-long episode of Golden will center on one of the individual gymnasts, with storylines of the other competitors woven into the narrative.

Hernandez is known to Olympic viewers for winning a gold medal as a member of the “Final Five” team and an individual silver on beam at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The series will cover a five-month span and milestones like national team training camps, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, and the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which start June 24.

Three-time Olympian Dominique Dawes is executive producing, along with James, Carter and Uninterrupted’s Jamal Henderson and Philip Byron.

“When I look back, I remember the tremendous sacrifice it took me to achieve my own Olympic pursuits,” Dawes said. “Similarly, these gymnasts have and will continue to endure physical, emotional and mental hurdles that most cannot fathom. The millions of viewers who watch the Summer Games are accustomed to witnessing the short-lived glory of the podium without truly understanding the demands these young female athletes face.”

Roberto Durán to Be Featured in Showtime’s Docuseries “The Kings”

Roberto Durán is returning to the limelight…

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.

Roberto Durán

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.

Oscar de la Hoya to Return to the Ring in July

Oscar de la Hoya is officially coming out of retirement…

The 48-year-old Mexican American former professional boxer and boxing legend has a date in mind for his previously stated plan to return to the ring.

Oscar De La Hoya

At a news conference for the upstart promoter Triller Fight Club, de la Hoya took the stage alongside Snoop Dogg at the Venetian and suddenly announced that he’d be making his boxing comeback on July 3.

De La Hoya said last August that he would be coming out of retirement, but now there is a date for his return. And he will be promoted by the new fight promotion launched by Triller, the social media app.

Ryan Kavanaugh, the CEO of Triller parent company Proxima Media, told ESPN that he and de la Hoya are “dear friends” and the two have been discussing his return for “a long time.” Kavanaugh said the card will take place in Texas — possibly AT&T Stadium — and the promotion is targeting a “big” UFC name for de la Hoya’s opponent.

“He has been [training] and in his own words, he’s stronger and better than ever,” Kavanaugh said of De La Hoya.

Sources told ESPN that de la Hoya has a multifight deal with Triller and this will not be a one-off bout.

de la Hoya, a former six-division boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist, has not fought since a 2008 loss to Manny Pacquiao. He’s one of the best drawing boxers in the sport’s history. The news conference was held Friday to promote Triller Fight Club’s April 17 card, which is headlined by YouTube star Jake Paul and former UFC fighter and wrestling Olympian Ben Askren.

Catarina Macario Signs Two-and-a-Half Year Deal with Lyon

Catarina Macario is future Lyon queen

The 21-year-old Brazilian soccer player and USWNT prospect, who recently announced plans to leave Stanford and go pro, has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Lyon, the club has announced.

Catarina Macario

Macario announced on Friday that she’d forego the final year with Stanford in favor of turning professional.

ESPN reported on Monday that Lyon were leading the race for Macario with a contract on the table but that both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were also still interested in the midfielder.

“It’s an honor to have signed with such a fantastic club,” Macario said in a tweet.

“I can’t wait to get started and to continue to build on its legacy of success. Allez l’OL!”

Sources told ESPN that Macario was attracted to Europe rather than the National Women’s Soccer League as she wants to win the Champions League while competing in the Olympics and World Cup.

Macario scored 63 goals in 68 games for Stanford and contributed 47 assists.

She won the MAC Hermann Trophy twice and an NCAA College Cup in her three seasons at Stanford.

She became a United States citizen in October and has joined every USWNT camp since, including their ongoing January camp.

However, Macario is still waiting on approval from FIFA to allow her to play games with the national side.

She’ll travel to France after the USWNT training ends on January 22.

Andres Perea Granted Permission to Represent United States

Andres Perea is switching (international) sides

The 20-year-old professional soccer player and Orlando City SC midfielder has been granted a one-time switch from Colombia to represent the United States.

Andres Perea

Perea, a Tampa, Florida native, moved to Colombia at an early age, rising through the club ranks at Atletico Nacional. He went on to represent Colombia at the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2017 and U20 World Cup two years later before joining Orlando City on loan last season.

Perea, who’s at the January camp with the U-23 U.S. men’s team, received the news on his switch from senior side coach Gregg Berhalter. Because Perea played for Colombia in official competition, Perea wasn’t able to take part in the USMNT‘s 6-0 win against El Salvador last December.

“It was a very important decision for me. Colombia is my country as well, but it’s an honor for me to represent the United States as I did Colombia in the past,” Perea said.

The players of the U23 side — which will represent the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics this summer — are training alongside 12 members of the senior group in Bradenton, Florida, with reports of a friendly match against Serbia in the works.

“Andres we find to be a really, really interesting holding midfield player for us,” U.S. U23 coach Jason Kreis said during a conference call. “The amount of ground that he’s capable to cover defensively, I think it’s a little bit different level than some of the other guys that we have in our pool. His processing of the ball, he’s still learning a little bit about that.”

Kreis anticipates men’s Olympic soccer qualifying for North and Central America and the Caribbean will take place during late March in Guadalajara, Mexico, where the CONCACAF tournament last spring was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kreis said he anticipates it will be difficult to access top Europe-based Americans for qualifying. FIFA does not require that clubs release players to under-23 teams. FIFA extended the age limit by a year, keeping the group for qualifying limited to players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997.

Each team reaching the games in Japan can supplement its roster with three players over the age limit. Top Americans are not expected at qualifying, with clubs expected not to make available Christian PulisicWeston McKennieTyler AdamsJoshua Sargent and Giovanni Reyna. All are regulars in league play this season.

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.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Among the Real-Life Heroes Celebrated in DC Comics’ “Wonder Women of History” Graphic Novel Anthology

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is getting illustrated

DC Comics has unveiled the new young adult graphic novel anthology Wonder Women of History, which celebrates real-life heroes, including the 30-year-old Bronx-born Puerto Rican politician who currently serving as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez, or simply AOC, as she’s known, drew national recognition when she won the Democratic Party‘s primary election for New York’s 14th congressional district in June 2018, defeating Democratic Caucus chair Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent, in what was widely seen as the biggest upset victory in the 2018 midterm election primaries. She defeated Republican opponent Anthony Pappas in the November general election.

Taking office at age 29, Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. She has been noted for her substantial social media presence relative to her fellow members of Congress

Female and non-binary writers and artists tell 17 stories of those “who take up Wonder Woman‘s iconic mantle” in their respective fields of science, sports, entertainment, politics, social justice and more, according to the DC Comics blog. 

New York Times bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson edited the collection after recently writing the original graphic novel Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed.

In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, Wonder Women of History also spotlights singer-actress Janelle Monáe, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Iskwew Air CEO and Founder Teara Fraser, LGBTQ+ rights activist Edith Windsor, transgender activist and Stonewall uprising figure Marsha P. Johnson, Parkland shooting survivor and gun control advocate Emma Gonzalez, disability rights activist Judith HeumannNASA‘s first Hispanic female astronaut Ellen Ochoa, deputy director of Wuhan Institute of Virology and China’s “Bat Woman” Dr. Shi Zhengli, 23-time Grand Slam winning tennis player Serena Williams, stand-up comic Tig Notaro, actress Keiko Agena, and the first African American gymnast to win an individual Olympic medal Dominique Dawes.

The graphic novel will officially hit bookstore shelves everywhere on December 1. The anthology will also include portraits of illustrators Weshoyot Alvitre, Colleen Doran, Agnes Garbowska, Bex Glendining, Ashley A. Woods, and Safiya Zerrougui.

Wonder Women of History is already available for pre-order here.

Justina Machado to Compete on ABC’s Upcoming Season of “Dancing With The Stars”

Justina Machado’s ready to paso doble her way into your hearts…

The 47-year-old Puerto Rican actress, who currently stars on PopTV’s One Day at a Time, will compete on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars this season.

Justina Machado

Machado will compete against Tiger King’s Carole Baskin, rapper Nelly, Selling Sunset’s Chrishell Stause and NBA legend Charles Oakley among others for the coveted DTWS mirrorball trophy.

The ABC celebrity ballroom dancing competition series, based on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, will premiere on September 14 with new host Tyra Banks.

This season’s other competirors include Monica Aldama, star of Netflix’s Cheer, Disney Channel actress Skai Jackson, The Real’s Jeannie Mai, Catfish’s Nev Schulman, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, Super Bowl champion Vernon Davis, Anne Heche, Backstreet Boys member AJ McLean, and The Bachelor’s Kaitlyn Bristowe.

This season’s professional dancers include Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Sharna Burgess, Cheryl Burke, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Daniella Karagach, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Pasha Pashkov, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater and Britt Stewart.

In addition to hosting, Banks will also serve as an executive producer this season. She replaces Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews as the show’s host in season 29.

One of the challenges for this season is to ensure that the production adheres to COVID-19 protocols, a trickier move for a dance competition format than many other productions. Details of the health and safety protocols and other format refreshes are expected imminently.

Ryan Garcia Reaches Final Agreement to Fight Luke Campbell for WBC Interim Lightweight Title

It’s official! Ryan Garcia will be fighting for a title…

The promoters for the 22-year-old Mexican American boxer and Campbell have officially reached an agreement for a WBC interim lightweight title fight to take place in November. Both parties had tentatively agreed to the fight earlier this month.

Ryan Garcia

Matchroom Sports, which promotes Campbell, and Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Garcia, made the announcement on Wednesday, just minutes before a WBC purse bid was to be held for the right to promote the bout.

Last week, the two sides had requested a seven-day extension believing they were close to a deal.

The venue has not been finalized, but Golden Boy president Oscar de la Hoya said it will take place in California.

“We’re very happy that Ryan Garcia will be fighting here in the U.S. in California,” De La Hoya said. “It’s a very difficult fight, and again, we have to give it to DAZN, we have to give it to [Matchroom promoter] Eddie Hearn for making this happen, and we’re looking forward to it.”

The WBC recently ordered this bout to be for their interim title, putting the winner a step closer to a shot at champion Devin Haney. Vasiliy Lomachenko is the WBC “franchise” champion.

Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) will arguably be the toughest opponent of Garcia’s (20-0, 17 KOs) young career. He won a gold medal in the 2012 London Games and put a good effort in decision losses to Jorge Linares in 2017 and Lomachenko in 2019.

de la Hoya said he believes Garcia, the 2017 ESPN prospect of the year, is ready to face a fighter of Campbell’s caliber.

“Absolutely, 1,000 percent,” De La Hoya said. “We strongly believe that once and for all, Ryan Garcia will be able to shut up the critics, prove to everyone that he’s the real deal. It doesn’t get any bigger or more dangerous than Luke Campbell, being an Olympic gold medalist, being tall, strong, and this is going to be Ryan’s time to shine.”

Garcia and Golden Boy haven’t always been on the same page, but with this fight now being made, it seems as though they are a united front.

“Everything is wonderful,” de la Hoya said. “As Ryan has always said, and the way I’ve always expressed it, we’re a family. Families sometime have their differences, but at the end of the day, we’re still family.”