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News: Davis-Gamboa, Conlan-Nikitin II, Golden Contract, More

More tickets are now available for the December 28 event at the award-winning State Farm Arena that is headlined by boxing’s hottest attraction Gervonta “Tank” Davis taking on former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in the first world title fight in Atlanta since 1998.

 

Good tickets are still available through www.ticketmaster.com. All tickets start at $54 and $104.

 

Former super middleweight world champion José “Bolivita” Uzcátegui will return to battle Lionell Thompson in a 10-round fight that opens the action live on SHOWTIME as part of a special year-end Premier Boxing Champions event.

The main event will see the two-time super featherweight champion Davis as he moves up in weight to battle the former unified champion Gamboa for the vacant WBA Lightweight Title in a show promoted by Mayweather Promotions, GTD Promotions and TGB Promotions. 

The special holiday SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will feature a co-main event pitting WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal against two-division champion Badou Jack in action that starts at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

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The 28-year-old Uzcátegui (29-3, 24 KOs) captured the Interim IBF 168-pound world title in March 2018 by stopping top contender Andre Dirrell after eight rounds of their rematch on SHOWTIME and was elevated to full champion shortly after the bout. Originally from Venezuela but now fighting out of Tijuana, Mexico, Uzcátegui bounced back from a decision loss to Caleb Plant in his first world title defense in January by knocking out Roberto Valdez in September. Prior to defeating Dirrell, he put together a four-fight winning streak after suffering his first career loss, including an explosive knockout of then unbeaten Julius Jackson. 

“Everyone will see the real ‘Bolivita’ on December 28 in Atlanta,” said Uzcátegui. “I’m very excited for this fight announcement and I’m thankful to everyone involved in making this happen. I’m going to be 100 percent ready for anything that my opponent brings and show the best version of myself. I’m ready to finish this year on a high and positive note with a win against Thompson.”

Born in Buffalo, New York and now fighting out of Las Vegas, Thompson (21-5, 12 KOs) has won back-to-back fights by stopping Scott Sigmon in September and winning a 10-round decision over Derrick Findley in 2018. The 34-year-old owns victories over tough prospects Earl Newman and Steve Lovett and has come up short in tough fights against stiff competition including Sergey Kovalev, Edwin Rodriguez and Radivoje Kalajdzic.

"This is a huge opportunity for me and I'm thankful my team got me this fight,” said Thompson. “Some people told me I'm too small for light heavyweight, so I made the decision to come down to 168. The only real fight I see is to make weight the right way. They say he's a big puncher, but I can punch too. I've hung in there with the best of the best again and again. It's the guys who come to fight that really bring the best out of me so if he comes to fight, this will be a great fight for the fans.”

There were some surprise match-ups that have blown things wide open as the #GoldenContract light-heavyweight tournament draw was made today.

The groundbreaking competition returns on Saturday as eight of the best light-heavyweight stars from around the world compete at the Brentwood Centre, live on Sky Sports in association with Matchroom Boxing and on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank.

It features Hosea Burton, Steven Ward, Liam Conroy, Tommy Philbin, Bob Ajisafe, Andre Sterling, Serge Michel and Ricards Bolotniks, with the eight fighters each picking a ball from the velvet bag.

There were four blue balls and four red balls, with those who picked a blue ball able to select their opponents from those who picked red balls. The blue balls were numbered one to four to decide in which order they can choose.

Tommy Philbin, Steven Ward, Andre Sterling and Bob Ajisafe selected the balls numbered one to four respectively, while Serge Michel, Ricards Bolotniks, Liam Conroy and Hosea Burton picked red balls.

It meant that the draw has seen Philbin pitted with Michel, Ward going up against Bolotniks, Sterling taking on Conroy and Ajisafe facing off with Burton.

Here's what they all had to say...

Tommy Philbin vs. Serge Michel

Philbin: "I didn't expect to get a blue ball! I picked Serge Michel as he has the same experience as myself, so I'm happy."

Michel: "It feels good to have this fight. He has made a wrong pick, I'll show that on the night."

Steven Ward vs. Ricards Bolotniks

Ward: "He's highly-ranked and a good fighter. It's a good challenge for the first fight and I'm looking forward to it."

Bolotniks: "This is a very good fight and I'm happy. I wanted to fight him the most out of everyone and I'm ready for him."

Andre Sterling vs. Liam Conroy

Sterling: "It's a good match up. We have an equal amount of experience so I'm excited."

Conroy: "I'm just buzzing to have been picked as it took the pressure off me not having to choose anyone. I'm ready for anyone."

Bob Ajisafe vs. Hosea Burton

Ajisafe: "It's unexpected to have this fight, but we've just got to crack on and get ready."

Burton: "This is basically the final. I can beat any of these, and Ajisafe can beat any of them. We're ruling the competition, but at least I'll still be going through."

"NONE but ourselves can free our minds," sang Bob Marley in Redemption Song, one of his few hits without the signature one-drop reggae backbeat from Wailers' drummer Carlton Barrett.
 
Michael Conlan's rematch with Russia's Vladimir Nikitin at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night is being touted as a redemption fight.
 
The two-time Irish Olympian is using the redemption word, as are fans, promoters and social media ahead of a clash with a nemesis who holds two decisions over the Belfast native in the amateur ranks.

It's also a redemption fight for Nikitin who claimed bronze at Rio 2016 after controversially beating Conlan in the last eight.

Speaking at Dublin's National Stadium at a Round Robin tournament - where he lost to Galway's Pat Mongan (Olympic BC) in 2017 - the Russian feather remarked that the Rio bout was close, which is one way of putting it.
 
He wasn't pleased when asked if the bronze medal secured after winning the quarter-final  – he had to pull out of the semi-finals because of the injuries he sustained – was devalued.

The Russian, who has won three fights in the pro ranks, will be aiming for a hat-trick over Conlan at the Garden.
 
"I beat him twice in the amateurs and will do the same as a pro," said the 29-year-old who outpointed Conlan in the 2013 Worlds but lost to John Joe Nevin the same year.
 
Unbeaten Conlan holds no grudge against Saturday's opponent but has vowed to record an inside the distance win and improve to 13 victories.
 
"It doesn't go past seven rounds; I'll take him out. I'll completely outsmart him. I'm too strong, too experienced for him. I'm a different animal than I was. I don't see him getting past the seventh round," he said.

Meanwhile, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who promotes Conlan, is also playing the redemption card in the lead up to the weekend's rematch.

"Mick has been asking for Nikitin since the day he signed with Top Rank.I know he wants to correct the tremendous injustice of the Rio Olympics," he said.

But for all its treasure, professional boxing cannot afford Olympic medals or titles.

Pro titles are won and lost, but Muhammed Ali, Michael Carruth and Katie Taylor will eternally be the Rome 1960, Barcelona 1992 and London 2012 champions and Nikitin will always be an Olympic bronze medalist.

The Conlan versus Nikitin Rio quarter-final is unredeemable, and victory on Saturday night will not advance Conlan to within two wins of becoming an Olympic champion.

That, ultimately, is the travesty of the judging that scandalised boxing at the 32nd Olympiad and no pro fight can ever redeem.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by anonymous2.0 on 12-12-2019

GAmboa looks like an old guy trying on a young man's haircut

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