Canelo Alvarez Defeats Billy Joe Saunders to Claim WBO Super-Middleweight Belt

Canelo Alvarez has expanded his belt collection….

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer added the WBO super-middleweight belt to his growing collection, defeating Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday night in front of a record-breaking 73,126 crowd inside Texas’ AT&T Stadium.

Canelo Alvarez

The attendance figure set an all-time record for an indoor US boxing event — breaking the previous record set in 1978 when Muhammad Ali beat Leon Spinks in front of 63,352 at the Louisiana Superdome — and marked the largest crowd at a sporting event since the pandemic began.

Alvarez dominated the opening seven rounds, leading on all three judges’ scorecards, before a brutal uppercut in the eighth caused a deep cut under Saunders’ right eye and left the Briton unable to come out for the ninth round.

Saunders was reportedly taken from the venue by ambulance straight after the fight to have the extent of his injuries assessed.

“As I said beforehand, the fight was going to develop by the seventh or eighth round,” Alvarez told broadcaster DAZN. “That’s what happened, but it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. That’s where I take note that my preparation is good and I improve day by day.

“The fight I was winning round by round. I told you, my fight would develop after six or seven rounds, but I started getting adjusted quickly. I knew that this round (the eighth) was going to be the final round. I knew it. I think I broke his cheek and I knew he wasn’t going to come out. That was it.”

Alvarez, widely considered one of the best boxers in the world, said “the plan” now was to unify the super-middleweight division by claiming the IBF belt held by American Caleb Plant.

“I’m coming. I’m coming, my friend,” he said.

The hugely popular fighter delighted what appeared to be a largely Mexican crowd, raising his arms at one point during the fight to encourage the already raucous arena to make more noise.

“It’s difficult to explain,” Alvarez said of their support. “I don’t have the words. All the emotions I feel, they give me the motivation to continue on.”

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.”

Elwin Soto to Defend WBO Flyweight World Title Against Katsunari Takayama

Elwin Soto is going on the defense…

The 24-year-old Mexican professional boxer will defend his WBO flyweight world title against former strawweight champion Katsunari Takayama on the Canelo AlvarezBilly Joe Saunders undercard on May 8 at AT&T Stadium, according to ESPN.

Elwin Soto Elwin Soto

Soto (18-1, 12 KOs) will be making the first defense under the Matchroom Boxing banner, after agreeing to a co-promotional contract on April 9. Soto is also promoted by Zanfer Promotions. 

Soto won the title in 2019 with a 12th-round KO of Angel Acosta. He has made two defenses of the belt, including a unanimous decision victory over Carlos Buitrago last October.

Takayama (32-8, 12 KOs), 37, of Japan, is a five-time strawweight titlist. He moved up in weight in December in a six-round unanimous decision victory over Reiya Konishi in Osaka.

Amanda Serrano Notches 30th Career Knockout Against Daniela Romina Bermudez

Amanda Serrano has done it again…

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, defeated Daniela Romina Bermudez via knockout in the ninth round on Thursday night.

Amanda Serrano

While many of Serrano’s fights go only a short distance, Bermudez, her opponent for the WBC and WBO featherweight titles, handled Serrano’s opening attack well.

Bermudez often would try to give some response of her own, too, at least until the ninth round, when Serrano still appeared fresh and powerful, leading to the body shot combination that stepped Bermudez back toward the ropes and then down, where she wouldn’t get up, giving Serrano the win 1:33 into Round 9.

“I knew I was going to be able to walk her down,” Serrano said on NBCSN after the fight.

It was the 30th career knockout for Serrano (40-1-1, 30 KO), who defended the WBC and WBO world featherweight titles and added an IBO world featherweight title, too. It was also the most recent knockout of Serrano’s career.

Bermudez (29-4-3, 10 KO) had taken powerful punches by Serrano all night. But the combination of body shots with Serrano’s right and left fist to Bermudez’s body gave her a little bit of pause. Then Bermudez started walking back and fell down.

Serrano continues a massive streak. She hasn’t lost since 2012, when she lost a unanimous decision to Frida Wallberg. Next, she said she’d like to try and become undisputed in her division after winning Thursday’s fight. It was Bermudez’s first loss since April 26, 2014, when she lost a unanimous decision to Yesica Yolanda Bopp.

Jose Ramirez to Fight Josh Taylor in Junior Welterweight Unification Title Bout

Jose Ramirez is ready to expand his belt collection…

The junior welterweight unification title bout between the 28-year-old Mexican American boxer and Josh Taylor will take place on May 22 at a to be determined Las Vegas venue.

Jose Ramirez

Ramirez, the WBC and WBO champion, and Taylor, the IBF and WBA champion, had initially been planning to fight on May 8, but the fight was moved as to not conflict with the Canelo AlvarezBilly Joe Saunders title fight. Instead, they’ll fight later in the month, headlining a card on ESPN and simulcast on ESPN+.

“This is the best boxing has to offer, two elite fighters in the prime of their careers colliding in a legacy-defining matchup for the undisputed championship of the world,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said in a news release. “It’s a true 50-50 fight, one that the fans and both fighters demanded.”

Ramirez (26-0, 17 KO) last fought in August, winning a majority decision over Viktor Postol in his first defense as both the WBC and WBO titleholder. He has held the WBC belt since March 17, 2018, when he beat Amir Imam and the WBO belt since July 27, 2019, when he TKO‘d Maurice Hooker in the sixth round.

Taylor (17-0, 13 KO) won the IBF title in a May 2019 decision over Ivan Baranchyk and the WBA belt in a majority decision win over Regis Prograis in October 2019. Taylor, 30, last fought in September 2020, knocking out Apinun Khongsong in the first round.

Both Taylor and Ramirez fought as lightweights in the 2012 London Games, each losing in the quarterfinals in a division won by Vasiliy Lomachenko. On the same side of the bracket, they would have met up in the semifinals had they kept winning. Now, they’ll fight to unify a professional world title instead.

Terence Crawford was the last fighter the unify the division, a feat he accomplished in 2017. Crawford then vacated the titles with a move up to 147 pounds.

Triller to Promote Teofimo Lopez’s Next Fight

Teofimo Lopez is looking to trill in his next fight…

Triller has just thrown its name into the ring to promote the next fight of the 23-year-old Honduran American boxer, one of the sport’s rising stars.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.

The upstart tech company won the rights to promote Lopez’s lightweight title defense against George Kambosos with a bid of more than $6 million, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

Triller, which was founded in 2015, beat out established boxing outfits like Matchroom and Top Rank, Lopez’s current promoter, in a purse bid hosted by the IBF on Thursday.

The rights to promote Lopez’s mandatory defense hit the open market after Lopez and Top Rank failed to reach an agreement on a purse. Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) became the unified lightweight champion after beating Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020 to win the IBF, WBA and WBO belts in the 135-pound division.

“I love ESPN and the platform and everything they have done for Team Lopez and The Takeover. However, I am very thankful that my team and I stuck to our guns,” Lopez said in a statement to ESPN’s Mark Kriegel. “We knew what we were being offered was disrespectful, and we expected the open market would value us differently. And it showed today. The $6 million from Triller, right there, says that Top Rank doesn’t value the best fighter on their roster. I look forward to my title defense against George Kambosos. Stay tuned for the fight date.”

Triller made headlines when it promoted the exhibition bout between former heavyweight champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr as a pay-per-view attraction. According to reports, the fight generated more than 1.6 million buys.

Because of the IBF’s purse-split rules that give the champion 65%, Lopez’s share will be just under $4 million. Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) is set to receive $2.1 million in his third fight in the United States. The Australian is coming off a split-decision victory over Lee Selby last October in London.

Ryan Kavanaugh, the CEO of Proxima Media, the company that owns Triller, said that Lopez vs. Kambosos will “probably be a co-main event” on a Triller card in May paired with an “influencer-celebrity-type event.”

“We don’t view them as an undercard. It’s just a matter if we have a co-main [event] that brings a different audience than them or not,” he said.

Kavanaugh said Triller would be open to bid for more fights in the future.

“If it’s an attractive purse bid like this where it’s for a significant title with well-known talent and people that we think will attract the right audience, then absolutely,” he said.

Top Rank president Todd duBoef said the agreement means “at the end of the day, everybody wins.”

“If Teofimo comes out successful and has a successful defense against Kambosos, terrific,” he said. “If they do a bunch of promotion and he gets bigger on the social platform, terrific and we have a long career together going forward.”

Oscar Valdez Scores Knockout of the Year Against Miguel Berchelt to Claim WBC Junior Lightweight Title

Oscar Valdez has scored the knockout of the year…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, a former WBO featherweight titleholder and a two-time Olympian, took down Miguel Berchelt at the MGM Grand on Saturday night to claim the WBC junior lightweight title.

Oscar Valdez

Valdez’s upset win came after he rocked Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) with a left hook in the final second of the 10th round in an immediate favorite for knockout of the year.

Many expected Saturday’s fight between Berchelt and Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs)

to be a back-and-forth bout between two Mexican fighters. But, the violence was mostly one-sided.

Oscar Valdez

“There’s nothing better in life than proving people wrong,” said Valdez, who entered the fight as a plus-240 underdog, according to Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. “I have a list of people who doubted me. My idols doubted me. Boxing analysts doubted me. They said Berchelt was going to knock me out. I have a message to everybody: Don’t’ let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do.

Berchelt, whose only other professional loss came via TKO in 2014, remained on his back on the canvas for several minutes but was eventually able to sit and stand with assistance.

He was taken to a hospital afterward, and Top Rank president Todd DuBoef told ESPN that he underwent a CT scan that came back clear. Berchelt was expected to be released from the hospital Saturday night.

The stunning walk-off shot might have overshadowed the fact the much smaller Valdez dominated the fight. He scored knockdowns in the fourth and 10th rounds and was well ahead on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the finish.

Judges had Valdez, who was born in Mexico but grew up in Arizona, ahead by scores of 89-80, 88-81 and 87-82.

“Oscar Valdez proved he is one of the great Mexican champions,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “An absolute masterpiece in the ring tonight.”

Valdez outlanded Berchelt 149-99 in total punches and 103-64 in power punches, according to CompuBox.

The victory, which is Valdez’s third consecutive appearance at 130 pounds, could set up a junior lightweight title fight between Valdez and Top Rank’s Shakur Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs), who was in attendance inside the “bubble” on Saturday and has expressed interest in taking on Valdez. Top Rank president Todd DuBoef said he would love to set up a fight between the two undefeated junior lightweights.

“I want to take this belt home, and I’m happy for that. Any champion out there … I heard Shakur Stevenson wants to fight,” Valdez said. “Let’s do it. I just want to keep on fighting and give the fans what they want.”

Teofimo Lopez Jr.’s Next Likely Opponent: George Kambosos Jr.

Teofimo Lopez Jr. has an idea on who his likely next opponent will be.

The 23-year-old Honduran American professional boxer, a lightweight star, is focused on keeping all five of his lightweight titles as he gears up for his next fight.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.

Mandatory IBF challenger George Kambosos Jr. is the front-runner to fight Lopez next, in a bout that would likely take place in the early spring in the United States, sources told ESPN.

Top Rank, which manages Lopez, is in talks with Kambosos’ team on a deal. There was early talk of this fight being in Kambosos’ homeland of Australia, where there could be a larger crowd, but the intention now, according to sources, is for the bout to take place in the U.S. due to COVID-19 restrictions and quarantine requirements in Australia, among other things. New York has been mentioned as an early location option.

Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) became the IBF mandatory challenger after defeating Lee Selby by split decision in October.

Lopez is coming off the biggest win of any boxer in 2020, defeating former ESPN No.1 pound-for-pound fighter Vasiliy Lomachenko in October to win the IBF, WBO, WBA, WBC franchise and The Ring magazine titles. He’s the supreme belt holder in an extremely exciting lightweight division that also features young undefeated stars Ryan Garcia, Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Devin Haney.

 

Lopez told ESPN his ideal plan for 2021 is fighting Haney at lightweight before moving up to the junior welterweight division to face the winner of the May 8 Jose RamirezJosh Taylor undisputed title bout. That could still be in store as the year goes on, but he knows Kambosos is likely next.

“The only thing that is holding it up is my mandatory. I have to pay my respect to that guy. He fought his way up, the same way I had to fight my way up to be IBF lightweight world champion before I got to the point where I fought Vasiliy Lomachenko,” Lopez told ESPN. “I’ll deal with that process first, negotiate, see what happens, and if they agree with all the terms, that will have to be the guy. It’s not because it’s who I want but because it’s my mandatory. A lot of people say I’m ducking a lot of people, but I’m not. I got to go through the process — that’s just part of the game. If things go south, Devin Haney is the next guy, and hopefully we can make that fight happen without him trying to overprice himself.”

“I’m a true champion. I’m not letting go of any of my belts.”

If Kambosos’ team doesn’t agree to a deal this week, the IBF will send a letter for a purse bid Saturday. Approximately a week and a half after the letter is sent, a purse bid would be set to lock in the pay structure of a fight. If Kambosos still doesn’t accept the purse bid deal, Lopez and Top Rank will seek to move on to other, more appealing options.

Coming off a banner year in which he was named Fighter of the Year by multiple outlets, Lopez plans to continue to be in big 50-50 bouts and add to his large collection of titles.

Lopez told ESPN he is at about 70% coming off foot surgery after the Lomachenko fight. He shed a walking boot and has begun running. He plans to get back into the ring by the end of the month and expects to be 100% by his next fight date, which is currently expected to be in late April or May.

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.”

Teofimo Lopez Becomes Youngest Four-Belt Champion in WBO History After Defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko

There’s a new lightweight king… And his name is Teofimo Lopez.

At just 23 years old, the Honduran American professional boxer has became the undisputed lightweight champion of the world by dethroning Vasiliy Lomachenko over 12 tense rounds inside the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Teofimo Lopez

Lopez becomes the youngest fighter to become a four-belt champion since the WBO was founded in 1988.

After a strong start, Lopez overcame a late Lomachenko rally to win by the scores of 116-112, 119-109 and 117-111.

The bout was dominated early by the boxing of Lopez, who controlled the center of the ring by using his educated left hand and then hit Lomachenko with well-placed body shots that had the smaller boxer backing up.

Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) built a big lead on the scorecards as he was able to neutralize the graceful movements of Lomachenko (14-2, 10) behind that jab. For most of the first half of the fight, Lomachenko just moved around the ring and did very little offensively. It was clear the technical acumen and poise of Lopez was vastly underrated. For long stretches of the bout he was actually outboxing the master boxer.

Yet Lomachenko didn’t give up without a fight. As the fight entered the late stages, Lomachenko, sensing he was behind, began to ramp up the pressure and started to close the gap on Lopez. He struck him with quick, laser-like left hands that slowed the momentum of Lopez. To his credit, Lomachenko put together a late rally in the championship rounds.

“I think the first half of the fight he got more rounds than I did, but in the second half of the fight I took over,” Lomachenko said. “I was much better.”

But if a late statement was needed by Lopez, it was made in the 12th and final round. Despite Lopez’s father saying he had the fight won entering the last round, Lopez kept the pressure on and got his hand moving, landing several significant power shots that halted Lomachenko in his tracks. Only a clash of heads that caused a gash over Lopez’s left eye stemmed the tide.

“I’m a fighter,” Lopez said after the fight regarding the 12th round. “I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I didn’t know if they had him up on the scorecards or not, and I love to fight. I can bang, too. I don’t care, man. I’ll take one to give one. That’s what a true champion does. I find a way to win.”

This round was a late exclamation to what was a sterling performance by a young man who fulfilled the destiny of his outspoken father, who prophesied that not only would his son win a world title by his 15th fight, but he would topple a boxer many consider the best in the sport by his 16th.