JOHNNY GARTON WILL make a first defence of his British welterweight title against Chris Jenkins at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Pexican collected the treasured Lonsdale belt following a thrilling encounter with Gary Corcoran in October - stopping the Wembley man in the 11th round - and he now faces the tough Welshman on March 8 when boxing makes its return to the historic South Kensington venue.
Jenkins, 30, has twice before challenged for the British title at super lightweight. As a then unbeaten fighter in July 2015, he took on Tyrone Nurse for the vacant title and an exciting fight was declared a majority draw by the judges.
The pair rematched four months later and Nurse prevailed in another closely contested bout.
The 20-3-2 Jenkins has subsequently added a further four wins to his record, but has also suffered the misfortune of severe cuts curtailing two of his fights against Akeem Ennis-Brown and Darragh Foley.
"There were rumours that I would be fighting Chris and now it is confirmed," reacted the champion to news of his defence being booked in. "I think it is a good tough fight and I am looking forward to it.
"We both cut easily so I would put my money on a bit of blood being spilt on the canvas!"
"Chris is a very tough man and he has been down here at our gym sparring before when Liam Williams also came down. It was a very good spar between us, very hard, and I expect the same on the night.
"He is very energetic and a bit of a crazy fella - it is going to be good," added the Alan Smith-trained Garton, who claims he will employ some technical boxing to add to his typical marauding style.
"We are always working on technique because I can't keep plodding forward like I have done in my last couple of fights. I need to work on things and I think you might see something different from me in this fight."
Elsewhere on the show at the Royal Albert Hall, Nicola Adams OBE will look to make history and be the first female crowned World Champion at the venue as she challenges for the WBO World Flyweight Title against Arely Mucino on International Women’s Day. Daniel Dubois follows in the footsteps of British heavyweight greats to fight at the Hall and takes on Razvan Cojanu in his tenth fight. Liam Williams puts his newly won British Middleweight Title on the line against Brentwood bruiser Joe Mullender. Lucien Reid will fight Indi Sangha in what will be his toughest test to date, while GB Flyweight Harvey Horn and Cruiserweight talent James Branch feature.
Kai Robin Havnaa (13-0, 11 KOs) has signed a contract extension with Team Sauerland as the rising Norwegian star prepares for his toughest career test against Rad ‘Thunder’ Rashid on March 2 at the SØR Amfi in Arendal.
“I’m very pleased to be signing a new contract with Team Sauerland,” said Havnaa. “I believe you shouldn’t change a winning team. We’ve had successful relationship for the last four years, and I’m looking forward to continuing our work together as we enter an exciting new chapter in my career.”
Havnaa is the son of Norway’s only male World Champion, Magne Havnaa, and has made no secret of his desire to follow in his father’s footsteps. With Team Sauerland, the 30 year-old believes he has the right promoter to take him to top, and is excited to continue this journey in his hometown on March 2.
“Team Sauerland have the experience and power to take me to the top,” he adds. “They have made many champions from the start of their careers, and that says it all. By signing this contract extension, I hope to achieve great things for many years to come, starting with another great show in my hometown.”
“We’re delighted to extend our promotional contract with Kai Robin Havnaa,” said promoter Nisse Sauerland. “We have worked with Kai from his first professional fight, and look forward to continuing our long and successful relationship. Kai has the potential to go all the way. Our aim is to make him Norway’s next World Champion. The hard work continues on March 2 as he takes his next steps towards a title against his toughest opponent to date!”
Kai Robin Havnaa returns to the SØR Amfi in Arendal on March 2 to headline his hometown arena against Rad 'Thunder' Rashid.
Katharina Thanderz provides chief support with a super featherweight contest against Rachel Ball, Hadi Srour is back in the professional ring to meet Zoltan Szabo, and Kristiansand’s Jamshid Nazari takes on Ivica Gogosevic.
Tickets are available via www.ticketmaster.no or by calling (+47) 22 82 81 97.
Highly-rated Scottish super-welterweight Michael McGurk (11-0-KO3) is determined to shine on the MTK Global show in Glasgow on March 22 – live on iFL TV.
The former WBC world youth champion ended a year out of the ring in November with a clinical victory and with the ring rust now gone, he’s keen to prove himself one of the best 154lb fighters in the UK.
McGurk said: “I really enjoyed getting back in the swing of things at the back end of last year but I know I can improve massively on that performance.
“This time around, I’ll be sharper, more powerful and generally better so the fans who show up will be getting their money’s worth.
“I’ve really been enjoying my sparring and my training and I’m looking forward to putting on a good performance at the Emirates Arena, which has already become a key venue for Scottish boxing.
“After the past couple of years I’ve had – involving lots of frustration, I’m just dying to get out and fight more regularly to make some serious statements to the rest of the division.”
Joining Uddingston’s McGurk on a busy night of boxing are MTK Global team-mates Kieran Smith, who defends his WBC ranking title against Adam Harper and Iain Butcher, who challenges Scott Allan for the BBBofC Celtic bantamweight title.
Also on the show are other local talents such as Lewis Benson, David Brophy, Reece McFadden and Jack Turner.
Hard-punching welterweight prospect Derrieck Cuevas says he’s not bothered by the number of fans his upcoming opponent Ed “The Lion” Paredes of Pembroke Pines will have in-house for their showdown.
Cuevas (18-0-1, 14 KOs), originally from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and now living in Miami, will face popular long-time Florida resident Paredes (38-7-1, 25 KOs) on Friday, March 1, in the 10-round main event of The Heavyweight Factory’s, in association with All Star Boxing, “Rumble at the Rock IV” at the Hard Rock Event Center at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., and live on Boxeo Telemundo.
Tickets for “Rumble at the Rock IV” cost $60, $100, $150, $250 and $500 and are available through ticketmaster.com.
“It doesn’t bother me,” said Cuevas of Paredes’ fan following. “At the end of the day, it’s only me and him, and they can’t fight for him. I look forward to giving him a world-class beating in front of all his fans.”
Cuevas, 24, is coming off an impressive, unanimous decision victory over respected gate keeper Breidis Prescott last November, but says Paredes represents his biggest fistic challenge. Paredes, 33, is a 14-year pro, who once held the WBC Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE), WBO Latino Welterweight, WBA-NABA Welterweight and WBC Youth World Welterweight Championships.
“Paredes is the toughest fighter I’ve faced in my career. He’s a savvy veteran who has never been knocked out. But I’m coming to represent Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican boxing fans. Come March 1, I plan to be the first man to knock Ed Paredes out.”
Working hard to make that happen, Cuevas is working with trainer Jesse Robinson, a former Emanuel Steward protege.
“He’s been teaching me a lot of new things,” said Cuevas. “My explosivity and body punching will be really different for this fight. Jesse knows how to get the most out of a fighter’s strong points.
Director of Boxing for The Heavyweight Factory Henry Rivalta says Cuevas’ performance against Paredes will reveal a lot about the young prospect’s future in the sport.
“Paredes is someone only great fighters can get past,” said Rivalta. “He’s never been knocked out and he’s beaten lots of very good fighters. Plus, he’s coming in well-rested and free of injury. If Derrieck can look good against him, or be the first to knock him out, we will know he has a very bright future in professional boxing. This is truly a midterm exam for this up-and-coming fighter.”
On fight night, the Hard Rock Event Center doors open at 6 p.m., and the action starts at 7 p.m. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is located at 1 Seminole Way in Hollywood, Fla.