WBA#14 Brian "The Beast" Minto (37-5) is looking for another world title shot in 2013. A former WBO world title challenger, Minto is targeting WBA champ Denis Lebedev (25-1) and IBO kingpin Danny Green (33-5). Minto states, "After several fights last year and coming from wins, I feel that I am ready for the very best in the cruiserweight division; I match up stylisticly and size-wise very well with Green and Lebedev."
A 10 year pro, Minto compiled an 18-0 record in the first 20 months of his career. He came to fame in 2004 on ESPN with a "Knockout of Decade" candidate victory over Vinny Maddalone who was 21-1 at the time (Minto KO'd Maddalone a second time in their rematch on HBO PPV). He became a mainstay on ESPN earning victories over other American prospects Billy Zumbrun, Danny Batchelder (24-1 at the time) and John Poore who was 20-2. In 2006, Minto brought his skills to Germany by knocking out former IBF title Challenger Axel Schulz (26-4) before dropping a close 12 round decision to Luan Krasniqi (29-2) in 2007.
Minto rebounded with 7 straight regional heavyweight title victories culminating in 2009 with a 4th round stoppage WBO NABO title victory over previously undefeated heavyweight contender Donnell Holmes, 31-0 at the time. With the wins, Minto earned another HBO fight as a heavyweight contender; he dropped a 4th round TKO loss to Chris Arreola who was 27-1. Since then, Minto moved to the cruiserweight division and failed in 2010 in his bid to capture the WBO title from Marco Huck, 28-1 at the time. Thereafter, Minto rebounded with a WBC Continental cruiserweight title victory over Aussie Cruiser Pierre Karam (18-3), and he also captured the WBA NABA-US title this past August.
UNBEATEN Australian banger Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne believes he’s on course to challenge British heavyweight hope David Price for his Commonwealth title at some stage this year.
Price’s promoter Frank Maloney recently claimed that the world’s big men are running from the 6ft 8in Liverpudlian, but Lucas says he’ll be more than happy to face him once he’s got a little more experience under his belt.
“If I have a few more fights and if I prepare myself correctly I will have a good chance of beating him,” Browne, 33, said.
“I’m not silly enough to think I’m unbeatable, but at the same time neither is he.
“Like every well-managed fighter, Price has been tested enough for his skill level at the time and think that he now needs to go up against a big hitter and show that he can also take a hit as well as he can dish one out.
“With a little more experience under my belt, the right fitness, and a good training camp, my power will be too much for him.
“Either way, it will get people talking, and also shut a few people up.”
Browne’s manager Matt Clark added: “We certainly respect David Price. He's been exceptional since turning professional. He's yet to have his chin tested yet, though, and Lucas Browne will certainly do that.
“Price has the Commonwealth title and it's something that we want."
Browne was due to engage in a Commonwealth title eliminator with Sheffield’s Richard Towers in Hong Kong last month. However, Towers had to sadly pull out after suffering an ear complaint in training.
It is likely that the pair will need agree to face each other again in order for one of them to earn a shot at Price.
Chicago's "Merciless" Mike Mollo (20-3-1, 12 KOs) knows what the script says: Even though he's in his own hometown, he's being brought into to lose to fast-rising Polish heavyweight prospect Artur "The Pin" Szpilka.
However, Mollo says that's NOT the way it's going to go.
The two will meet on the undercard of the ESPN Friday Night Fights-televised "King" Carlos Molina vs. Cory "The Next Generation" Spinks 12-round IBF Junior Middleweight Title Eliminator on February 1 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
Presented by 8 Count Productions, Round 3 Productions, Warriors Boxing and Blue Wave Boxing in association with Don King Productions, the exciting night of boxing will also feature a 10-round welterweight battle between two-time former world champion Jose Luis "EL Temible" Castillo (64-11-1, 55 KOs) and Florida's Antwone "The Truth" Smith (22-4-1, 12 KOs) as the televised co-main event.
"I made a few bad business decisions, especially promotional-wise, and I've had three huge fights fall through on me on short notice, but what the boxing world may not know is that I haven't been sitting around drinking beer and eating pizza. That's not the case. I've been training the whole time for these fights. I'm in top shape and ready to go. I'm not some guy coming in for a payday."
Mollo says he's watched Szpilka in action and remains a lot less impressed than most.
"I don't think he's everything they say he is. We're going to find out February 1. He's fast and can hit a little, but I don't think he's the beast that he thinks he is. If they're looking for an easy opponent, they should keep looking. I'm in great shape. I've put in a lot of hard work and all I have to do is hit him, which I'm going to. I'm going to explode on him. We'll see how he takes it. I have never been down in my life. 25 professional fights and never hit the canvas. I know he's been down, so we'll see what he's made of. I already know what I'm made of. I'm all guts and heart."
Mollo, training at Go Time Boxing in Chicago and sparring with former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski and undefeated heavyweight David Latoria, says February 1 is going to be a great night for Chicago boxing.
"It's going to be mobbed. He'll probably have the Polish community out to watch him. And I have people renting buses to come watch me. It's going to be awesome. I know it'll be on Polish TV. I'm definitely TV worthy. I've proved myself."
So if he's not going to follow the pre-written script, how does Mollo think the fight will go?
"I'm just going to go in and do what I do, which is fight my fight and do what I'm capable of. I think it will work and so does my team. I'm going to cut the ring off and not follow him around everywhere and we'll see what he does when a determined heavyweight is walking him down all night."
The colorful Szpilka, who enters the ring in a jail uniform, has been known to be unpredictable in and out of the ring. Is Mollo worried about Szpilka's antics becoming a factor at the weigh-in or press conference?
"I highly recommend he not do that. I got a lot of friends in this neighborhood who won't put up with any of that stuff. He should keep the peace."
Undefeated Jr. Welterweight, Chris Algieri (15-0 7 KOs), is preparing to face off against Jose Peralta (10-1 6 KOs) in a junior welterweight showdown on February 23rd live from The Paramount Theater in Algieri's hometown of Huntington, NY. The bout, scheduled for 10 rounds, will be the televised main event on NBC Sports Network's Fight Night.
This will mark Algieri's 5th consecutive performance in front of his hometown crowd at The Paramount Theater, where he enjoys a tremendous reception. Successful ticket sales aren't the only benefactor from being a draw for Algieri, who admits his confidence level receives a boost when he is in front of his family, friends, and fans.
"I'm always excited to fight in front of my hometown crowd because it's a sense of familiarity and it helps me stay in my comfort zone, which in turn adds to my performance in the ring. I think it really is a win-win situation because I get their support and they get the performance that comes from their support. I always want and look to impress, but in front of my people I get a heightened sense of awareness that usually translates into something special," Algieri said.
Peralta as an opponent will bring the confidence of an 8 fight win streak into the ring and the experience of upsetting a highly touted prospect in one of his previous outings. This is a tough test for Algieri, but he insists that he relishes in the challenge and knows a win could put him in the driver seat for even more lucrative opportunities.
"I want this. I want to fight good fighters. It will make me perform up to my potential. It is time for me to step up and this is the kind of step up that will make me shine!"
NBC Sports Network has put on some of the best televised cards since their premier in 2012 and the reputation has only grown since then. Algieri can benefit from being on a network known for action fights and competitive bouts.
"I'm looking to capitalize on this television appearance. I'm excited about the opportunity to be on TV and a win under the spotlight could really open doors. People have a thing for compelling TV and boxing as a sport is as compelling as any. With boxing, there are situations that entice you to watch even if you aren't familiar with the sport. You don't have to know the fighters when the fight starts, but it's up to the fighters to make them remember when it's over. They'll remember me after February 23rd."
Humberto Romero, who co-manages Algieri with Damian Ramirez added, "Chris has worked very hard to get into the position he's in. The fact that he's fighting on national television is exactly what he needs to take his career to the next level. He's got all the ingredients to become a star in this sport and his golden opportunity has arrived."