Category Archives: Boxing

Ex-titleholder Andy Ruiz cuts ties with trainer Manuel Robles

Former WBO, IBO, WBA, IBF heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz has parted ways with head trainer Manny Robles.

Robles led Ruiz to one of the biggest upsets in the history of the heavyweight division, when the Mexican heavyweight stopped heavily favored Anthony Joshua in seven rounds to conquer the unified crown at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

But the December rematch was a complete tragedy.

After winning the first bout, Ruiz partied for two months. He started training camp way too late – and entered the rematch out of shape with a bloated 283.5-pounds on the scale.

He was unable to put his punches together, he was much slower in the ring, and all of that let Joshua to easily reclaim his titles with a lopsided twelve round decision.

Since that defeat, Robles had barely any contact from Ruiz.

So the veteran coach was not surprised when Ruiz’s father reached out on Wednesday night to advise him that his son was going in another direction.

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“I’ve seen it coming, I’ll be honest with you,” Robles said to Steve Kim of ESPN. “I’ve seen it coming during camp. I saw it coming, Andy was just doing whatever the hell he wanted to do. The dad, obviously with him being the manager, he just had no control over his son. None of us had control of him, for that matter.

As per Robles, he was told by Ruiz’s father that Al Haymon made the final decision for a trainer change. Ruiz is advised Haymon and fights under Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions banner.

“They apparently told them that they didn’t want the same thing to repeat itself, again,” Robles said. “It is what it is, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me. I’m sure it’s not the first time it’s happened to other coaches. It happens time and time again. We always end up getting the short end of the stick. But it is what it is, you keep moving forward.”

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Astros interview Buck Showalter and John Gibbons for managerial vacancy

The Houston Astros have interviewed Buck Showalter for their managerial vacancy, ESPN has confirmed.

The Astros interviewed Showalter on Wednesday, two days after they released manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.

The Astros also will interview former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Showalter has 20 campaigns of major-league managerial experience under his belt. The three-time Manager of the Year also interviewed earlier this offseason for the manager job with the Phillies, who lastly hired Joe Girardi.

Showalter, 63, last managed in 2018 with the Orioles, who went 47-115 and parted ways with him after the season. He owns a career record of 1,551-1,517.

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Gibbons, 57, is 793-789 over parts of 11 seasons in two different stints with Toronto. He managed the Blue Jays to back-to-back appearances in the ALCS in 2015 and 2016 but did not return to the club after going 73-89 in 2018.

The laid back Gibby who usually appears calm and collected could be just what the doctor ordered for a Houston squad seeking new leadership.

Gibbons was in the Manager’s chair when Astros closer Roberto Osuna went through his legal troubles following a domestic abuse allegation while a member of the Blue Jays in 2018.

Owner Jim Crane in his press conference stated the team needs to move forward with a clean slate and always do the right thing. Gibby’s undeniable character and ability to manage players from all walks of life may be just what Crane and company need to build the Astros back up.

Hinch and Luhnow were released Monday after being suspended by Major League Baseball for the Astros’ illicit use of electronics to steal signs during Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season.

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Rising star Garcia to face Fonseca on Feb. 14

Golden Boy and DAZN will present a special night of boxing on Valentine’s Day as rising star Ryan Garcia (19-0, 16 KOs) defends his WBC Silver Lightweight Title in a 12-round fight versus rugged contender Francisco Fonseca (25-2-2, 19. KOs). The event takes place Friday, Feb. 14 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.

“Golden Boy is proud to present the biggest rising talent in the sport of boxing,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “Ryan Garcia silenced all the skeptics by knocking out a tough contender in Romero Duno, and he did it in just one spectacular round.

Garcia is a 21-year-old contender who has quickly developed into one of boxing’s most popular young athletes. After a decorated amateur career, Garcia debuted as a professional and later signed with Golden Boy in 2016.

Since then, he’s passed every tough test put in front of him, including victories versus “Ruthless” Romero Duno, Carlos “The Solution” Morales and Jason “La Maravilla” Velez. Now, he’ll look to put himself on the path towards the highest levels of the sport with a win at the same venue where Canelo Alvarez became world champion for a first time in 2011.

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On the other hand, Fonseca represents a recent wave of young talent from Managua, Nicaragua who have recently had much success in the sport.

With fighters such as Felix Alvarado and Rene Alvarado becoming world champions within the past 18 months, Fonseca feels inspired to build off that momentum and upset Garcia. The 25-year-old will return after a tough draw versus Alex Dilmaghani for a vacant title.

“Nicaraguan boxing is a the very top right now because we have two world champions representing us right now,” said Francisco Fonseca.

“That’s why I will not let my country down. When I face Ryan Garcia, I will expose him on his own territory, and I will deliver him his first professional victory. My manager Rosendo Alvarez and I have been waiting for. We’ve dreamed of fighting Ryan Garcia, and we have the antidote to defeat him.”

“From rising stars to crafty veterans, the lightweight division is poised for a huge year in 2020,” said Joseph Markowski, DAZN EVP, North America.

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Chelsea consider Moussa Dembele transfer from Lyon in January

If a transfer window can slam shut then it can also spring open. There’s no such thing as New Year’s Day signalling a dry January in the heady world of football transfers. This is where the party starts for 31 days of signing-on fees, yellow tickers and term sheets with agents and ITKs hammering the WhatsApp like thunder.

Now that the revoking of Chelsea’s transfer ban means he is able to open Roman Abramovich’s cheque book, Frank Lampard fancies rolling back the years to the club’s glory days and spending like Viv Nicholson. Frank sees Moussa Dembélé – once of Fulham and Celtic, now of Lyon – as a potential new Didier Drogba, which may be bad news for Tammy Abraham. Another option as a forward is the CSKA Moscow striker Fyodor Chalov who would cost around £20m.

Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud’s desire for first-team football before Euro 2020 and Wilfried Zaha’s permanent state of being the subject of transfer speculation has led to talk of some kind of swap deal, with the Frenchman heading to Crystal Palace and Zaha joining Frank’s entertainers on London’s fashionable Kings Road.

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Also for the Chelsea off may be Emerson Palmieri, who is wanted by Antonio Conte at Internazionale.

And on the opposite side of the defense, Chelsea are willing to pay £30m to sign Ricardo Pereira from Leicester, with Tottenham also interested.

Emerson’s availability may be a prelude to Chelsea showing real interest in Ben Chilwell, though Manchester City’s long-term courting of the Leicester left-back remains undiminished in its ardour.

This January could see the opening skirmishes of a running battle between José Mourinho and Daniel Levy over transfer policy, and the Tottenham manager wants three players to come in. Firstly, a centre-half: that may be one of Bournemouth’s Nathan Aké or West Ham’s Issa Diop.

Next, Serge Aurier’s ears may be burning with the suggestion that a right-back is being targeted: Napoli’s Elseid Hysaj and Marseille’s Hiroki Sakai are two names in the offing beyond Pereira. And, with Christian Eriksen entering the limbo of being able to sign a contract with a new club from 1 January, an attacking midfielder is desired. Gremio’s Everton Soares fits that bill.

When Snyder announced he had fired team president Bruce Allen, he said Washington would “reevaluate our team leadership, culture and process for winning football games.”

If anyone can reshape that in Washington with Snyder still owning the team, maybe it’s Rivera. It’ll be a big job, and he’s reportedly going to bring in the big guns to get it done.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Rivera is expected to target Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator, who has proven results in defensive improvements when he was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos.

Washington went 3-13, which wasn’t fun, but it means they get the second pick of the 2020 draft. Expect that to be Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young, who looks like a phenomenal prospect. The rest of the roster has a few interesting players. A key is if 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins can develop at quarterback.

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Wilder- Fury rematch set for MGM Grand in Las Vegas

The February 22 rematch between World Boxing Council heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, promoters stated on Saturday.

Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions said tickets for the highly anticipated fight would go on sale on Saturday, now that the venue has been confirmed.

“I’m happy and I’m excited that the rematch is finally happening,” said Wilder, who will make his 11th title defense. The American is coming off a seventh-round knockout of Luis Ortiz on November 23 in Las Vegas, a win that saw him improve to 43-0.

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“I want to give the fans what they want to see. I’ve been doing it with my last three outings — Fury, (Dominic) Breazeale and Ortiz,” he said. “They’ve been spectacular events — from my ring walks, where I gather all the energy of the people, to my uniforms that I wear to help spread that energy. Then I give them what they all come for — the knockouts, and my knockouts have been amazing.”

Wilder and Fury fought to a split decision draw last December in Los Angeles.

Former world champion Fury was leading on the scorecards before he was knocked down by the American in the 12th round. The big Briton beat the count, but a second knockdown helped cost him a victory.

“I proved myself the first time and I’m ready to do it again,” Wilder said. “It was a very controversial fight. I promise my fans that there won’t be any controversy with this one. I’m going to finish it.”

Fury, who survived two severe cuts to defeat Otto Wallin by unanimous decision in September, said he was looking forward to taking care of “unfinished business” versus Wilder.

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Alvarez gives up WBO light heavyweight belt

Canelo Alvarez knocked out Sergey Kovalev six weeks ago to acquire the WBO light heavyweight belt. Now, he’s vacating the title.

There are no shady dealings or wrongdoing. Alvarez is voluntarily relinquishing the title to comply with the World Boxing Organization’s rules, which prohibit champions like Alvarez from holding titles in multiple weight classes from other boxing organizations.

Since Alvarez currently holds the middleweight and secondary super middleweight titles with the World Boxing Association, he had to give up his light heavyweight belt with the WBO. Alvarez is getting something in return, though. 

According to ESPN, the WBO agreed to allow Alvarez to be the designated mandatory challenger to any WBO titleholder in any division he wants to fight in. So Alvarez doesn’t have any hard feelings about giving up the belt — in fact, he’s looking at it as an opportunity.

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“I know that my accomplishments in the ring have brought pride to my fans and my country,” Alvarez said in a statement, via ESPN. “I have long enjoyed my relationship with the WBO and appreciate all they do to preserve and enhance the sport of boxing. This agreement allows the WBO to have its light heavyweight title contested regularly and allows me to pursue bouts against the best opponents, regardless of weight class.”

Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, was similarly positive about Alvarez’s future.

“We completely support the decision made by Canelo Alvarez and the WBO,” De La Hoya told ESPN. “Canelo made history by stopping Sergey Kovalev in impressive fashion to become a four-division world champion. Not only did he show that he is a real threat at 175 pounds, but he also demonstrated that he is fully capable of moving across several divisions to look for the most exciting fights for the fans.”

Alvarez, who is 29 years old and 53-1-2 with 36 KOs, has acquired belts in four divisions overall and in three different divisions over the past 12 months.

In December 2018 he knocked out Rocky Fielding to claim the super middleweight title while also being the reigning middleweight world champion.

Alvarez is set to fight again in May 2020, but has yet to decide between middleweight or super middleweight.

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Tyson Fury splits with trainer ahead of Wilder rematch

Tyson Fury has split with his coach Ben Davison just two months before his rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

Davison had been Fury’s coach for the last two years but he revealed on Sunday that they have decided to part ways.

With the Briton’s clash versus Wilder looming on Feb. 22, Fury moved quickly to hire Javan Hill as his new coach.

Davison confirmed the split on Twitter and insisted he remained friends with Fury while taking a swipe at Wilder.

“Obviously it’s not gonna stop until there’s an answer, Tyson and myself had to both make decisions for our careers, which resulted in our working relationship coming to an end,” he wrote.

“However, we remain friends and he will smash the dosser!!”

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The 12-round encounter in Las Vegas had seen the Swedish southpaw open up a sizeable cut above Fury’s right eye in the third round, before Fury fought back to clinch victory by unanimous decision despite his impaired vision.

Hill is the nephew of the late trainer Emmanuel Steward, who had previously worked with Fury out of the Kronk gym in Detroit.

Fury used social media to post a picture of them both, along with Hill and former world champion Andy Lee, with the caption: “Getting the old team back up and running.”

Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs), 31, of England, has won two fights since the draw, both in Las Vegas as part of his new co-promotional deal with Top Rank to fight on ESPN platforms.

Fury blew away Tom Schwarz in the second round in June and won a very hard-fought unanimous decision versus Otto Wallin in September in a fight in which Fury suffered terrible cuts over his right eye.

After the bout with Wallin, John Fury, Tyson’s father, said publicly that he thought his son should fire Davison because of his son’s lackluster performance.

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Anthony Joshua wins rematch by unanimous decision

Britain’s Anthony Joshua defeated Andy Ruiz Jr on a unanimous points decision in Saudi Arabia on Saturday to seize back the heavyweight world championship belts he lost to his Mexican-American opponent in a shock upset last June.

The Clash on the Dunes in Diriyah was for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles and Joshua dictated the pace from the beginning with a measured approach that showed he had learned from the mistakes of the past.

Going into the 12th and final round, Ruiz needed a knockout to pull off another upset but it never came.

The judges scored the fight 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109 to the 30-year-old Briton.

“It was his night, man,” said Ruiz as his six-month reign came to an end, calling also for a third encounter that Joshua seemed to welcome. “If you heard, we’re going to do it a third,” said the taller and more athletic Briton.

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California-based Ruiz had stopped the previously undefeated champion in the seventh round at New York’s Madison Square Garden last June.

Joshua described that shock defeat, to a flabby-looking opponent drafted in as a late replacement, as no more than a ‘minor setback’ and he was happy to make light of it again in victory.

“Man, the first time was so nice, I had to do it twice,” he told the crowd.

“I’m used to knocking guys out but last time I realised ‘hang on a minute, I hurt the man and I got caught coming in’.

“I gave the man his credit. I said to myself I’m going to correct myself and come again.” Another loss in the early hours of Satuday would have sent the 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight champion’s career into freefall, with some saying already after the last fight that the Briton was finished.

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Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua rematch preview

Three of the four recognized heavyweight titles will be at stake on Saturday when Andy Ruiz Jr. looks for a second straight upset of former unified champion Anthony Joshua.

Eight months after Ruiz’s epic knockout at New York’s Madison Square Garden in Joshua’s U.S. debut, the stage shifts to Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, and the makeshift outdoor Diriyah Arena as the British superstar looks to regain his WBA, IBF and WBO titles.

The 30-year-old Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs), a native of California, became the first heavyweight champion in boxing history of Mexican descent when he floored Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), 30, three times en route to a seventh-round TKO in April.

“I’m confident about the rematch, but I don’t underestimate any fighter. I know AJ’s going to come stronger and more focused but inside the gym, like Mike Tyson says, everyone has a plan until they get hit.”

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“I’m sure everybody was trying to look for an excuse and reason why he didn’t perform and why he lost. I think it was down to the style. Styles make fights and I’ve been calling AJ out for a while. I knew his style was perfect for me and that’s why I plan to do the same thing.” Stated Ruiz.

“It’s about how you come back. I have a different challenge in my head. When you’ve walked the road once, you can do it again.”​ 

“I am looking at myself in the mirror and saying I know I’m better than that [losing last time round]. Andy is still the same person. He will come game and I’ve got to change some of my bits and bobs.”​ Stated Joshua when asked about fighting Ruiz for the second time.

Both boxers’ game plans could be significantly different for the rematch, though, Ruiz said. And despite his increased prominence in the boxing world as a result of his victory, Ruiz said he hasn’t lost his fire.

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Deontay Wilder KO´s Luis Ortiz in heavywaight rematch

Undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s power is nothing short of legendary, which Luis Ortiz found out for the second time on Saturday.

Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) broke open a one-sided fight in which he was being outboxed in Round 7 with one straight right hand that finished Ortiz via devastating knockout in their pay-per-view rematch at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The 34-year-old Wilder made the 10th defense of the title he won in 2015 and kept alive plans for a February 2020 rematch versus undefeated lineal champion Tyson Fury by scoring a second stoppage beat over the often avoided Ortiz (31-2, 26 KOs).

A single right cross from Wilder split the guard of Ortiz and dropped him against the ropes.

Ortiz was able to crawl to his knees and rose at the count of 10 as referee Kenny Bayless waved off the fight at 2:51 after looking into Ortiz’s eyes.

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“You can see why no other heavyweight wants to fight Ortiz,” Wilder said. “He’s very crafty in the ring and he moves strategically. I had to play around with him and measure him in certain places. I had to go back and go forward. My intellect is very high although I don’t get credit for it. I finally found my measurement and I took the shot and I hurt him.”

Wilder, 34, was thought to have taken an unnecessary opportunity by accepting a rematch against such a dangerous contender when he didn’t need to, especially with the Fury fight signed and only three months away.

The 40-year-old Ortiz nearly finished Wilder in Round 7 of their first fight in March 2018 before Wilder rallied to finish him.

“Ortiz is one of the best in the world and that’s why I gave him this opportunity,” Wilder said. Wilder found more success in the two rounds leading up to the stoppage and picked his spots for landing the perfect blow. He’s also the sixth heavyweight champion to make at least 10 title defenses.

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