Kiko Martinez to Reportedly Fight Josh Warrington in March

Kiko Martinez it preparing for a massive rematch…

The 35-year-old Spanish professional boxer, who has held the IBF featherweight title since November 2021, will fight Josh Warrington for a featherweight title on March 26 in England, according to ESPN sources.

Kiko Martinez

The rematch is one of two 126-pound title bouts Matchroom Boxing‘s Eddie Hearn will promote on DAZN in the U.K. that month. On March 12, Leigh Wood defends his title against Michael Conlan.

The pair of bouts could lead to a unification later in the year.

Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KOs) scored a highlight-reel sixth-round TKO of Kid Galahad in November in one of the year’s biggest upsets.

When they met in 2017, Warrington (30-1-1, 7 KOs) scored a majority decision victory over Martinez. The fighters were moving in different directions; Warrington, an Englishman, went on to win a featherweight title and scored wins over Carl Frampton, Galahad and Lee Selby. Martinez, meanwhile, suffered losses to Gary Russell Jr., and Zelfa Barrett.

But the 2021 campaign drastically altered their trajectories. Warrington, 31, suffered a stunning ninth-round TKO loss to Mauricio Lara in February in a brutal beating before the September rematch ended in a technical draw after two rounds due to an accidental clash of heads that left Lara with a gruesome cut.

Martinez was an afterthought heading into this bout with Galahad, https://www.hispanicallyyours.com/indian-singles-dating/.

Now Martinez and Warrington will meet again, and surprisingly, it’s the elder man who has the title and all the momentum.

Vergil Ortiz, Jr. to Reportedly Train with Eddy Reynoso

Vergil Ortiz, Jr. is making a big change…

The 23-year-old Mexican professional boxer, one of the fastest rising stars in boxing, has a new trainer.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.

The undefeated welterweight, who has long been with former trainer of the year Robert Garcia, will be under the guidance of Eddy Reynoso as he prepares for his first bout of 2022.

Ortiz will train with Reynoso at Canelo Alvarez‘s San Diego gym, according to ESPN.

Ortiz denied Friday that the change to Reynoso is happening. Garcia, meanwhile, posted a YouTube video in which he confirmed that Ortiz told him last month that he was opting to leave Garcia’s camp.

Reynoso is best known for training Canelo, the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world. Along with Alvarez, Reynoso is the trainer of star lightweight Ryan Garcia, former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr., 130-pound champion Oscar Valdez, heavyweight Frank Sanchez and 112-pound champion Julio Cesar Martinez.

Coming off a Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year campaign, Reynoso now adds Ortiz.

Ortiz makes the change on the heels of the biggest year of his career. He stepped way up in competition with a seventh-round KO of former champion Maurice Hooker in March and then topped that performance with an eight-round TKO of Egidijus Kavaliauskas in August.

Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) is now eyeing a January return with Reynoso in his corner.

Canelo Alvarez Defeats Caleb Plant to Become Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion

Canelo Alvarez has a new title…

For the first time in his career, the 31-year-old Mexican professional boxer can call himself an undisputed champion.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez, the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world and the sport’s biggest attraction, promised to punish Caleb Plant, and on Saturday he did just that with an 11th-round TKO victory at a sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena to unify all four 168-pound titles.

A left hook followed by a brutal right uppercut sent both of Plant’s gloves to the canvas in the penultimate round. He never recovered. On unsteady legs, Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) attempted to escape danger, but Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) sensed the moment. He closed in with a barrage of shots that dropped Plant a second time as referee Russell Mora halted the bout at 1:05 of Round 11.

“It means so much to me, for the history of Mexico, to be an undisputed champion,” said Alvarez, who earned a guaranteed $40 million. “My respect to Caleb Plant. He’s a very difficult fighter with a lot of ability. I do respect the fighter.

“We’re men at the end. He wanted to continue. I said, ‘There’s no shame. We had a great fight today.'”

Plant, who earned a career-best $10 million, was transported to University Medical Center for observation, according to a PBC spokesperson. He was behind on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage: 96-94, 98-92 and 97-93. ESPN scored it 98-92.

Alvarez broke Plant down with relentless pressure and a dedicated body attack, a strategy he has used time and again on his way to the top of the sport. The entire left side of Plant’s body was red early in the fight as Alvarez continued to dish out blows to the midsection. Plant used a strong jab and deft footwork to keep Alvarez at bay and make him miss, but he rarely made Alvarez pay.

According to CompuBox data, Alvarez landed 102 power punches to 59 from Plant.

Plant, a 29-year-old native of Nashville, Tennessee, is regarded for his defensive ability, not his power, and it showed. The punches never gained Alvarez’s respect, who swarmed, round after round, even as his elusive opponent glided around the ring.

The pressure mounted, and Alvarez didn’t stop coming. It was simply a matter of time. The elusive fourth belt would soon be his.

“He was making things a little difficult, but [trainer] Eddy [Reynoso] told me, ‘Let’s keep with the game plan in the last two rounds here,'” Alvarez said. “And in the end, I got him. That’s the way it had to finish. He was already hurt, and I went in for the kill.”

He also got what he has long searched for: undisputed status. Alvarez won two super middleweight titles with a December victory over Callum Smith and picked up a third when he shattered Billy Joe Saunders‘ orbital bone in May. After that victory, it was clear whom he wanted next: “I’m coming, my friend,” Alvarez warned Plant then.

And Alvarez never stopped coming once he lured Plant into the ring. The outcome was never in doubt, though Plant boxed well over the first few rounds. His use of feints, an educated jab and smooth footwork allowed him to stay off the ropes and, mostly, out of harm’s way. But Alvarez is known for being a methodical starter, and Plant has a reputation for slowing down late in fights.

The matchup was originally being eyed for September 18, but at the 11th hour, the deal fell apart. Alvarez then entered talks for a light heavyweight title challenge from Dmitry Bivol, but before a deal could be completed, Alvarez decided to delay his return until November so he could chase the fourth super middleweight title, which belonged to Plant.

When they finally faced off at a promotional event in September, chaos ensued. After Plant hurled insults at Alvarez, Alvarez responded with an open-handed left hand. Plant went after Alvarez too but emerged with a small cut under his right eye. Alvarez was left with deep personal disdain for Plant, who disrespected his beloved trainer, Reynoso, and called Alvarez a cheater.

The accusation was a reference to Alvarez’s positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol that postponed his May 2018 rematch with Gennadiy Golovkin and led to a six-month suspension. Alvarez blamed the adverse finding on tainted meat consumed in his native Guadalajara.

After Saturday’s fight, Alvarez, after four fights in 11 months, said he envisions a May return to allow his body time to properly recover. Canelo usually fights on Cinco De Mayo weekend.

Plant, ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 168 pounds, is the first champion in Al Haymon‘s PBC stable to earn a crack at Alvarez, but he might not be the last. The deal between Canelo and PBC is for one fight, but there’s reason to believe Alvarez will continue to face off against Haymon’s boxers. David Benavidez, ESPN’s No. 2 super middleweight, is aligned with PBC, as is Jermall Charlo, the middleweight champion who plans to jump to the 168-pound division in the near future.

A third meeting with Golovkin, though, is the biggest fight of all. They clashed twice for the middleweight championship after Alvarez unified titles at 154 pounds. He also won a title at 175 pounds, where he could seek a bout with Artur Beterbiev.

It’s less clear where Plant is headed after his first career loss. He won the title with an upset decision victory over Jose Uzcategui in January 2019 and defended it three times against light opposition. The fight with Alvarez was a quantum leap in competition. He fared well early, but in the end, Alvarez was too much.

It’s a familiar story since Alvarez lost to Floyd Mayweather in 2013, and at this point, there doesn’t appear to be anyone on the horizon who can dethrone him.

Oscar Rivas Defeats Ryan Rozicki to Claim Inaugural WBC Bridgerweight Title

Oscar Rivas is a new champion…

The 34-year-old Colombian professional boxer defeated Ryan Rozicki on Friday in Montreal to become the inaugural WBC bridgerweight champion.

Oscar Rivas

Rivas, at 222¼ pounds, dished out punishment on the undersized Rozicki over 12 rounds en route to the unanimous decision victory via scores of 116-111, 115-112 and 115-112.

Rozicki, at 203 pounds, applied pressure and sought to work on the inside but was repeatedly countered and outworked on the inside by the more experienced fighter.

The 224-pound weight class was introduced by WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman last year to sit between cruiserweight and heavyweight.

The WBC now has 18 divisions, the most in boxing; so far, the other three major sanctioning bodies haven’t adopted the bridgerweight division.

Rivas (28-1, 19 KOs) was originally set to fight Bryant Jennings, whom he defeated via 11th-round TKO in a January 2019 heavyweight fight. However, Jennings couldn’t enter Canada because he is unvaccinated and was forced to withdraw.

Since that win over Jennings, Rivas has competed just twice, most notably a July 2019 points loss to heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte.

Rivas now resides in Montreal and enjoyed the hometown advantage over Rozicki, a fellow Canadian from Nova Scotia.

Rozicki (13-1, 13 KOs) has competed at cruiserweight his entire career. He and Rivas both fought the same opponent in their previous outings: journeyman Sylvera Louis.

The 26-year-old Rozicki had never faced an opponent of note before Rivas.

Patricky “Pitbull” Freire to Fight Peter Queally for His Brother’s Vacated Bellator Men’s Lightweight Title

Patricky “Pitbull” Freire is hoping to keep it in the family…

The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist is set to fight Peter Queally on November 5 in Ireland for the Bellator men’s lightweight title.

Patricky “Pitbull” Freire

The announcement comes on the heels of news that Patricky’s brother Patricio “Pitbull” Freire has vacated his lightweight title, according to Bellator president Scott Coker.

Coker announced the news on The MMA Hour.

Patricio dropped his featherweight title to AJ McKee on July 31. Patricio said on The MMA Hour that he will now turn focus to getting the McKee rematch at featherweight, which opens the door for his brother to become lightweight champion.

“First thing is, I lost the featherweight division,” Patricio said. “For me, it doesn’t make sense to be a champion in the lightweight division. If I lost at 145 pounds, I can’t be the champion at 155.”

Queally (13-5-1), an SBG Ireland product, is coming off a second-round TKO (doctor’s stoppage) over Patricky “Pitbull,” a result that Freire’s team disputed at the time. Patricky (23-10) has dropped two straight.

Charles Oliveira to Face Off Against Dustin Poirier for Lightweight Championship at UFC 269

Charles Oliveira has a new opponent…

The 31-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist (31-8) will face off against Dustin Poirier for the lightweight championship at UFC 269 on Dec. 11.

Charles Oliveira

The matchup had been in talks for weeks, and Poirier told ESPN late last month there was “a good chance” it would happen. The 32-year-old lightweight mixed martial artist wrote on social media that the bout is now official.

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” Poirier wrote on Twitter.

Representatives for Poirier confirmed to ESPN he has officially agreed to the December title fight.

A win against Oliveira would cap off an amazing year for Poirier, who has been fighting professionally since 2009. The Louisiana native kicked off 2021 by knocking out Conor McGregor in January at UFC 257. He followed that up with another TKO win against McGregor at UFC 264 in July, a fight that ended when McGregor suffered a serious leg injury at the end of the opening round.

UFC 269 will mark Poirier’s second attempt at an undisputed UFC championship. He challenged former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in September 2019, and lost via submission. Poirier is a former interim UFC champion, but has never held the undisputed title.

Oliveira, 31, captured the vacant UFC title by knocking out Michael Chandler in May. Fighting out of Brazil, Oliveira is riding a nine-fight win streak that includes eight finishes.

Thiago Santos Outlasts Johnny Walker to Win by Unanimous Decision at UFC Fight Night

Thiago Santos is celebrating another victory…

The 37-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist edged Johnny Walker via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Thiago Santos

The fight featured two of the most explosive knockout artists in the UFC light heavyweight division, but it never got out of first gear.

A big overhand left from Santos in the fifth round likely sealed the victory in the close contest.

Santos to win by decision was +650, according to the Caesars Sportsbook. Neither man landed more than 11 significant strikes in a single round.

“I tried to do my best,” Santos said in his post-fight news conference. “I tried to knock him out, but it’s hard to get close to him. He’s big, but he moves fast.”

ESPN has Santos ranked No. 10 in the world at light heavyweight and Walker was trying to ascend the ladder. Both men were born in Brazil, but live and train elsewhere.

Santos competes out of Florida’s American Top Team and Walker trains at Dublin’s SBG Ireland, the home gym of Conor McGregor.

Santos said in his post-fight interview on ESPN+ that he next would like to face top Czech Republic light heavyweight Jiri Prochazka.

Walker held a 4-inch height and 6-inch reach advantage, so it made it hard for the smaller Santos to get inside where he’s so effective with his hard hooks. But Walker also wasn’t very active offensively. The best techniques of the fight were Santos’ kicks to the legs and body of Walker.

Walker had a solid first round with leg kicks, keeping Santos at bay. Santos landed some hard kicks to the body and legs of Walker in the second round. In the third, Santos had his best head shot to that point, a left that wobbled Walker off a Walker kick. Walker got back some momentum in the fourth round with some kicks and a right hand, his best punch of the night.

Santos, though, cemented the win in the fifth. He landed two hard left hands and big body kick. Walker didn’t show much urgency down the stretch and the bout went to a decision.

Santos (22-9) came in tied for the second most KO/TKOs in UFC history with 11. “Marreta” snapped a three-fight losing streak with the victory. One of those losses came against then-champion Jon Jones in a 2019 UFC light heavyweight title fight in which Santos blew out both of his knees. Santos earned his first win Saturday since that surgery. He was coming off a unanimous decision loss to Aleksandar Rakic at UFC 259 in March.

“I come from a tough injury on my knees,” he said in his postfight interview. “It’s so tough to recover. … I was sure this fight I was going to do 100% better than my last fights. And I did. I’m going up, not down.”

Walker (18-6) was coming off a huge first-round knockout over Ryan Spann in September 2020. This was only the third time he’s been to a decision in his pro career. He has won all four of his UFC bouts via finish. Walker, 29, was considered an outstanding prospect before back-to-back losses to Corey Anderson and Nikita Krylov in 2019 and 2020. Now, he has lost three of his past four.

Cris Cyborg Defeats Leslie Smith by TKO to Defend Bellator Women’s Featherweight Title

Cris Cyborg is keepin’ her title..

The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial, whose real name is Cristiane Justino Venâncio,

Cris Cyborg 

defended her Bellator women’s featherweight title, beating Leslie Smith by TKO at 4 minutes, 51 seconds of the fifth round in the main event of Bellator 259 on Friday night at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.

It was a rematch of a 2016 bout that Cyborg finished via TKO in just 1:21.

Known for her violent, quick finishes, Cyborg previously had been deeper than the third round only three times in her career. Smith is only the second fighter to take Cyborg into the fifth round, joining former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm.

ESPN has Cyborg ranked No. 3 on its women’s MMA pound-for-pound list. Her only loss since her pro debut in 2005 came against Amanda Nunes, the UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion.

In their first fight at UFC 198 five years ago, Smith disputed the stoppage as being too early. She got some measure of vindication Saturday night, but the outcome wasn’t really ever in doubt.

Cyborg dominated every round, landing big combinations and several impactful suplexes that sent Smith hard to the mat. Cyborg dropped Smith in four out of five rounds with punches. Many of Cyborg’s former opponents have folded after feeling her power, but Smith didn’t until the closing seconds.

“I knew she’s tough,” Cyborg said in her postfight interview. “I knew. I’ve met her before. I know her. I really respect her. She’s a real fighter.” With time expiring in the fifth round, Cyborg landed a crushing right hand that dropped Smith. She then followed up with big punches on the ground. Smith turned over and covered up, but Cyborg continued the onslaught, and referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in and waved it off.

Afterward, Cyborg called out former UFC title challenger Cat Zingano for her next title defense. Zingano is 2-0 in Bellator and coming off a finish last month.

Cyborg (24-2, 1 NC) picked up her second Bellator title defense Saturday night. The Brazil native, who trains out of Southern California, has won four straight overall. She has 19 career wins via KO/TKO in 24 victories. Cyborg is the only fighter in MMA history to win titles in four major promotions: UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce and Invicta FC.

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.”

Charles Oliveira Defeats Michael Chandler via TKO to Become UFC Champion

Charles Oliveira is finally a UFC champion.

The 31-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist finished Michael Chandler via TKO at 19 seconds of the second round on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 262 at Toyota Center. With the victory, Oliveira captured the vacant UFC lightweight title.

Charles Oliveira

“I told you I was going to knock him out, and I came and knocked him out,” Oliveira said in his postfight interview through an interpreter. “I proved to everybody I’m the lion of lions.”

In the opening seconds of the second round, Oliveira dropped Chandler with a left hook and then poured it on with strikes on the ground. Chandler tried his best to get away, but he could not. Oliveira landed until referee Dan Miragliotta pulled him off, ruling it a TKO.

Oliveira quickly climbed out of the cage to celebrate after the finish and came right up to UFC president Dana White.

At the postfight news conference, White said Oliveira told him, “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Tonight was the biggest opportunity for my life.”

“That was an incredible main event,” White said. “Both guys had an unbelievable performance in that fight. Oliveira pulled it out.”