As the date of Gennady Golovkin’s title fight in Monte Carlo looms, Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman has issued a stark warning to the WBA and IBO middleweight champion: “Underestimate Nobuhiro Ishida at your peril.”
Unbeaten Golovkin makes his seventh title defence against the Japanese, who is considered an underdog against one of the world’s best fighters, in Monaco on March 30.
Berman’s fighters have a remarkable knack of upsetting the odds, none more impressive than Corrie Sanders who stopped heavy favourite Wladimir Klitschko in two rounds for the WBO heavyweight title 10 years ago.
The late Sanders was a prohibitive underdog, but he stunned the doubters with the performance of his life.
Berman also promoted the heavyweight championship fight when Lennox Lewis was knocked cold by unheralded Hasim Rahman inside five rounds in 2001.
One of Berman’s earliest world championship promotions saw unbeaten Olympic champion Kennedy McKinney derailed by little-known South African Vuyani “The Beast” Bungu for the IBF super-bantamweight title. Ring Magazine named it 1994’s Upset of the Year.
“I must admit, it’s a bit freakish, which is why I learned long ago never to underestimate anyone in boxing,” said Berman. “Some of the least likely boxers go on to do great things.”
Another such example occurred in 1996 when Sugarboy Malinga, who had lost nine fights, was matched with ferocious puncher Nigel Benn for the WBC super-middleweight title. Few gave Malinga a chance, but he captured a split decision in Benn’s UK backyard.
Berman was again the mastermind when former lightweight champion Dingaan Thobela knocked out Glenn Catley to win the WBC super-middleweight title 13 years ago. It was an extraordinary upset that demonstrated Thobela’s power.
Africa’s greatest promoter was again on hand when low-key Phillip Holiday challenged vaunted Miguel Julio for the vacant IBF lightweight title in 1995. The Colombian was on a run of 27 stoppages, but this time it was Holiday who inflicted the stoppage, winning by TKO in the 10th against every expectation.
Ratanopol Sor Vorapin had made 10 defences of his IBF minimumweight title when he faced Zolani Petelo, another Golden Gloves star, in 1997.
Yet the tiny South African overwhelmed him, inflicting a fourth round stoppage.
“Complacency is every boxer’s biggest enemy – let this be a warning to Golovkin. Ishida will do him no favours,” said Berman.
Golovkin versus Ishida is the headliner on the “Monte Carlo Million Dollar Super Four” tournament that features four of the world’s best super-middleweight and light-heavyweight boxers, plus a clash for the European junior-middleweight title.
LUCAS BROWNE WANTS TO KO BRITAIN'S BEST
Australian puncher Lucas "Big Daddy" Browne is aiming for a hat-trick of British knockouts.
The undefeated 33-year-old has boxed twice in the UK already and says he is prepared to get his passport out again if fights with the country's best heavyweights can be arranged.
"I would like to fight Audley Harrison, David Price and Tyson Fury, in that order," Browne stated.
"I don't know much about Harrison other than he's getting old and the majority of the UK public want me to bash him into retirement.
"As for Price, I've heard his chin was a little soft in the amateurs. In saying that, I won't know for myself until I hit it, but against Tony Thompson he did go down from what looked like a soft punch."
If Browne was to beat Liverpool's Price for the Commonwealth title, it would make him the first Aussie heavyweight to hold the crown since the legendary Peter Jackson back in 1892.
But he says he's not one for history and just wants to focus on becoming the best he can be.
"For me the major incentive is to get better and learn more," Browne explained.
"My focus is to be world champ and to provide for my family, the Commonwealth title is a step in that direction."
If a showdown with the aforementioned Brits cannot be made, then Browne will look to assert his dominance down under.
The Perth-native has already been the Australian champion, but knows he'll have to face Alex Leapai if he is to truly establish himself as his country's best.
He said: "Alex is a gentleman in and out of the ring, but I want to be known as number one in Oz and to do that I need to show the public how my skills have progressed by beating him.
"It's a fight that the whole of the Aussie public have been waiting for and I think my style, size and power will be too much for him.
"He is strong but only in the early rounds. He doesn't have an affective jab and throws wild punches. I will outbox him."
Katie Taylor - The Road To Rio
Having practically raised the roof at the Excel Arena during last year's Olympic Games Katie Taylor is hoping that Irish fans can repeat the trick on home soil for her bouts in Dublin and Castlebar later this month.
The Irish fans famously topped the charts at last years games as the atmosphere for Taylor's fights reached fever pitch with a sound level of 113.7 decibels recorded at the Excel Arena in London's docklands. It was the highest decibel level recorded at the games and fell just short of the noise created by a jet engine. Now Taylor's fans will get the opportunity to recreate that atmosphere when she returns to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin on Friday, March 22nd before heading West on Sunday, March 24th for a bout at the Royal Theatre in Castlebar.
The Olympic Gold medallist tackles Ukrainian champ Yulia Tsiplakova in Dublin before facing old rival, Denista Eliseeva – the last boxer to have secured a victory over Taylor, in Castlebar. Having already fought in front of a packed house at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre last month with a comprehensive win over German champion Maike Klueners promoter Brian Peters believes fans will raise the roof for their hero once again.
"Obviously it's pretty hard to recreate the emotion and tension from the Olympics but the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre certainly lived up to it's name last month," said Peters. "It was rocking for Katie's fight so we're going to measure the decibels there on Friday week and then again on Sunday in Castlebar to see how they compare to the Olympics.
"If anyone's worth making a lot of noise for it's Katie Taylor. She was terrific against Klueners and the frightening prospect for her competitors is that she still seems to be improving. Despite having won five European Championships, four World titles and an Olympic Gold medal the hunger she still has is unbelievable."
Taylor is relishing the prospect of another two fights in quick succession as part of her preparations for the upcoming European Union Championships which will take place in Hungary in early July.
"It was like the Excel Arena all over again stepping into the ring at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. I got a huge reception from the fans and it really lifts you. I was happy with my performance but I'm always looking to improve and it's those little improvements that can be the difference when it comes to the major championships."
Katie's father and trainer Pete is keen to stress how seriously they are approaching this months bouts. "I don't think people realise just how seriously Katie and her opponents are taking these bouts," said Pete. "Katie's approach is to treat every fight as if it's an Olympic final and to never look beyond her next fight. For the opponents it's a massive opportunity for them to take on a reigning Olympic Champion on a big show so they all raise their game because of that. Katie is the girl they all want to beat now so it's a lot of pressure on Katie but she handles it brilliantly."
Taylor's opponent in Castlebar, Denista Eliseeva is the last women to have had her hand raised against Taylor. Eliseeva was awarded a controversial points win over Taylor just over two years ago in a multi nations tournament in her native Bulgaria and there was little doubt that it was a hometown decision.
"Whenever people say that she is the last girl to beat Katie I always correct them and say she was the last to get a decision over her," explained Pete. "Nobody in the arena outside of the judges thought that Katie lost that fight. Katie has avenged every defeat she’s ever had and she beat Eliseeva later that same year so we're looking forward to meeting her again in Castlebar."
Joining Taylor in action on the March 22nd Bord Gáis Energy Theatre bill will be the 2012 Olympic team captain and European Silver medallist Darren O'Neill.
While in Castlebar the bill will also feature local hero and European Champion Ray Moylette and Taylor's Olympic and Bray boxing club team mate, Adam Nolan in separate bouts along with a host of local talent.
Tickets for Katie Taylor’s bout at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin on Friday, March 22nd are priced from €40 (with discounted tickets available for Under 14's from €25) and are available from Ticketmaster.ie (0818 719 377) or the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre box office.
Tickets for Katie Taylor's bout at the Royal Theatre, Castlebar on Sunday, March 24nd are priced from €25 and available from Ticketmaster.ie or the Royal Theatre Box Office (0818 300 000). A booking fee may apply.
WHPPIANY, NJ - This Friday night at the beautiful Birchwood, Manor in Whippany, New Jersey Light Heavyweight contender Elvir “The Kosovo Kid” Muriqi will take on Paul Vasquez in an eight round main event of a great night of boxing promoted by GH3 Promotions and Greg Cohen Promotions.
Muriqi of New York City has a record of 39-5 with 24 knockouts and he knows a win over Vasquez will put him on the road to a big a fight.
“I feel good and excited”, said Muriqi
Muriqi is coming off a fifteen month layoff but has had a good camp and is not looking past Vasquez
“I haven’t fought in a while and he has nothing to lose. I am excited to be back and especially to fight in front if my fans in the New York / New Jersey area”
Muriqi will look to get a big win and start the journey to a possible title opportunity with a specific titlist in mind.
“I do not know much on Vasquez. A win will hopefully keep me active which should get me a shot at the top guys and I would love to fight WBA champion Beibut Shuemneov.
That fight is the main event of a stacked card that will feature undefeated prospects and action packed fights
In what will most certainly be an six round Heavyweight slugfest, John Lennox (10-2, 5 KO’s) of Carteret, NJ will take on Patrick Farrell (8-1-1, 4 KO’s) of Jersey City, NJ
In a four round Jr. Welterweight affair, Danny Gonzalez (1-0) takes on Carlos Nieves (0-1) of New York
In a four round super featherweight fight, Glenford Nickey (1-0) battles Anolan Rigal (1-3-1) of Johnson City, NY
In a four round Welterweight, new GH3 Promotions signee, Anthony “Juice” Young (6-0, 2 KO’s) of Atlantic City, NJ takes on Ronnie Jordan (1-1-1) of Ohio
In a four round Heavyweight bout, Tyrell Wright (1-0) of Jersey City, NJ will box Moses Marshall (0-0-1) of Springfield, MA
Popular Jr. Welterweight, Vinny O’Brien (3-2, 2 KO’s) of East Hanover, NJ takes on Anthony Smith (1-1) of Brooklyn, NY
Rounding out the card will be the pro debut of New York’s Ricky Edwards as he fights Moses Molina (1-3, 1 KO) of Bridgeton, NJ in a four round Lightweight bout.
Tickets are priced at $150 (VIP Ringside—which includes a cocktail hour and tickets in the 1st two rows—WHICH BEGINS AT 5:30); $100 Ringside and $50 for General Admission and can be purchased by going online at www.gh3promotions.com; www.eliteheatgym.com or calling Elite Heat Gym at 862-772-2532