Mikey Garcia Knocks Out Dejan Zlaticanin To Become Three-Division World Champion; VIDEO: http://s.sho.com/2kGcUC9
An Encore Presentation of Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Telecast Will Air Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME
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LAS VEGAS (Jan. 28, 2017) – Leo Santa Cruz reclaimed the WBA Featherweight Championship, executing a brilliant game plan to dethrone Carl Frampton in a rematch of their epic first fight in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Saturday in front of 10,085 raucous fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
With the scores 114-114 draw, and 115-113 twice, both fighters now own a majority decision and promised to settle the score in a trilogy.
The fight picked up where the champions left off last July in Brooklyn with tremendous action and back and forth exchanges, but it became immediately evident that Santa Cruz had adjusted his game plan. The three-division world titlist worked off the jab, fought with patience at range and picked his spots perfectly. The brawler out-boxed the boxer.
Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) was more aggressive in the second half of the fight and attacked on the inside, but his aggression opened him up to effective counter shots from Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs).
Santa Cruz, who has made a living with trademark aggression and high volume output, was clearly more patient in the second fight. He threw 884 punches, well below his division-leading average, including over 400 jabs. Frampton, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, managed to throw nearly 600 punches, but he connected at just 22 percent.
As was the case in the first fight, the rematch was fought at times at a blistering pace, especially in the second half. Frampton and Santa Cruz combined to throw 193 punches in the final round, 90 of which were thrown by Frampton, the most he threw in any round of the fight.
“Before the fight, I said I wanted revenge and I wanted to work hard,” said the 28-year-old Santa Cruz. “I went to the gym and I worked hard and I did what I had to do.
“My head was telling me to go forward and pressure him, but my dad and corner were telling me to box him. That’s what I had to do. I always fight for the fans, but tonight I fought for myself too.”
Leading into the rematch, it became evident that Santa Cruz and Frampton were perhaps forever linked. Santa Cruz had promised to earn back his title and grant Frampton a rematch, while Frampton didn’t shy away from expressing his desire to make their rivalry a trilogy. VIDEO: http://s.sho.com/2jDj48u
“Of course I want the rematch,” Santa Cruz said after the fight. “I’m a man of my word and I said if I won I would give him the trilogy. Carl Frampton is a good fighter. Let’s make a third fight.”
The two-division titlist Frampton, who was the consensus 2016 Fighter of the Year, told SHOWTIME Sports reporter Jim Gray that Santa Cruz deserved the decision.
“It was a very tough fight,” said Frampton, who turns 30 years old next month. “Some of the rounds were close. I really think Leo deserved it. He told me what he was going to do. The brawler was out-boxing the boxer. My fault. I’m sorry. We will have to do it again. We have to do it again.
“He was very clever and he used his reach. I think he deserved it. I’m being honest. But it was a very good fight. I think I can perform slightly better. No excuses.
“Let’s do it again. I hope he’s a man of his word and comes to Belfast. I hope he does.”
MIKEY GARCIA KNOCKS OUT DEJAN ZLATICANIN
Mikey Garcia became a three-division world champion with a vicious third-round knockout of previously undefeated defending WBC Lightweight World Champion Dejan Zlaticanin in the co-main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
The rousing and definitive victory marked Garcia’s return to boxing’s elite. The Oxnard, Calif., native was an undefeated two-division champion when he entered a two-and-a-half year layoff due to promotional issues. He returned last July on SHOWTIME with an impressive performance and made a statement on Saturday by capturing a title in a third weight class in just his second fight in three years.
Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) kept Zlaticanin off balance and out of range with his jab, setting up powerful rights that repeatedly backed up his opponent. The 29-year-old hurt Zlaticanin with a flush right uppercut in the final minute of the third, followed by a punishing and perfectly timed right that immediately knocked the Montenegrin out cold. Zlaticanin remained on the canvas for several minutes before returning to his feet as a concerned Garcia paced the ring.
It was the first time Zlaticanin (18-1, 11 KOs), the most avoided fighter at 135 pounds, was ever hurt or knocked down.
“I’m thankful Dejan, my opponent, is okay now,” Garcia said. “We never wish any bad on anyone in this sport and I’m glad he was able to get up and be OK. I wished him a great career still, and he said thank you. I told him he’s still a champion. Once a champion, always a champion.
“He kept coming in and I saw the opportunity for the uppercut. He was hurt. When he turned back to look at me I knew he was hurt and I went for the overhand right. I saw it in his eyes. It was just the perfect time and perfect distance.
“I think the layoff allowed me to reignite my fire and my passion and bring back that love for the sport. And in that two-and-a-half year layoff I always had the support of my loyal fans.”
Garcia now sets his sites on unifying the lightweight division. WBA Lightweight World Champion Jorge Linares and former titlist Anthony Crolla will fight in a highly anticipated rematch on March 25 live on SHOWTIME from Manchester, England. The WBC, the belt Garcia picked up on Saturday, has mandated that the winner of Linares vs. Crolla II must face the winner of Zlaticanin vs. Garcia.
“I’m available to unify any titles. If we can get the organizations to come together and unify titles we would love that. Maybe move up to 140 pounds by the end of the year.”
Zlaticanin, who was the first champion in the history of Montenegro, was frustrated with his performance and inability to execute his game plan.
“I was just getting ready to pick it up a little bit and I got between the ropes and then he hit me with a good, hard punch,” Zlaticanin said.
“Mikey is a good fighter without a doubt. I never was able to get into the fight. I was pressuring and trying to break him down in the early rounds.”
SHOWTIME BOXING ON SHOWTIME EXTREME RESULTS
Ivan Redkach outclassed Demond Brock, utilizing effective uppercuts and body shots en route to an eighth-round knockout victory (2:30) on SHOWTIME BOXING on SHOWTIME EXTREME.
Once a highly-touted prospect, Redkach (20-2-1, 16 KOs) was looking to get back to his winning ways after entering 1-2-1 in his last four bouts. He stamped his return by closing the show in impressive fashion in the eighth and final round, flooring Brock with two big left hooks with little more than one minute left in the fight. Brock (13-4-1, 4 KOs) beat the count but was on unsteady legs and defenseless against a barrage of combo shots, forcing referee Jay Nady to step in and halt the contest with just 30 seconds left on the clock.
“I’m very excited. I couldn’t be happier,” Redkach said. “I want to thank Team Santa Cruz. They are my family. We had a great camp and I can’t wait to see Leo fight. I’m just so happy I won the fight.”
Highly-regarded super middleweight prospect David Benavidez made quick work Sherali Mamadjanov, knocking down the previously once-beaten fighter twice en route to a second round TKO (1:04).
The 20-year-old Benavidez (17-0, 16 KOs) floored Mamadjanov (14-2, 7 KOs) with just seconds left in the first round with a vicious left hook to the stomach followed by a straight right. It was the first time the Uzbekistan native had touched the canvas in his professional career. Benavidez connected with another big left hook to the body one minute into the second, Mamadjanov got up but was clearly unsteady and Russell Mora immediately halted the contest.
The Phoenix native connected on 55 percent of his power shots, while Mamadjanov landed just one power punch.
“I am a little disappointed because I wanted to give the crowd a spectacular knockout,” Benavidez said. “This is my first time fighting at MGM Grand and I will never forget it. The atmosphere here is amazing. This fight week has been the best experience of my life.
“I want to continue to fight as much as I can. I want to perfect my craft, train as hard as I can and be the best that I can be.”
Super lightweight prospect Josh Taylor won a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over a game Alfonso Olvera, scored 79-72, 78-73 twice, in the opening bout of SHOWTIME BOXING on SHOWTIME EXTREME. Taylor, who entered the bout with a perfect record of 7-0 with seven knockouts, was extended past the fifth round for the first time in his career.
Taylor (8-0, 7 KOs) broke down Olvera (8-3-1, 3 KOs) with a steady diet of body shots, a sharp jab and effective counter punching. The 2012 Olympic representative for Scotland landed 57 percent of his power shots and 43 percent of his total punches, while Olvera connected at just a 17 percent clip.
“I wasn’t surprised he didn’t go down,” Taylor said. “I wasn’t looking for the knockout. Just wanted to get the win.
“He was very awkward. I couldn’t get going like I wanted to, but I did get some shots off and felt like I hurt him at times.”
Taylor’s trainer Shane McGuigan said, “I’m happy with his performance. It wasn’t his best, but he did enough to win. He is young. He is still a novice. I’m looking forward to continuing to see his progress and what he will do moving forward.”
The fight was promoted by Ringstar Sports in association with Cyclone Promotions and TGB Promotions and was sponsored by Corona La Cerveza Mas Fina.
CARL FRAMPTON VS. LEO SANTA CRUZ
DEJAN ZLATICANIN VS. MIKEY GARCIA
“It will be a spectacular night”
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Fight night has arrived! Watch this behind-the-scenes video from fight week in Las Vegas as Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz prepare for their highly anticipated WBA Featherweight World Title fight tonight live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) from MGM Grand in Las Vegas. In the telecast’s opening fight, the WBC Lightweight World Championship will be contested between champion Dejan Zlaticanin and the challenger Mikey Garcia.
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ABOUT FRAMPTON VS. SANTA CRUZ II:
Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz II is a world championship rematch of the 2016 Fight of the Year candidate featherweight showdown. The 12-round bout headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING action on Saturday, Jan. 28 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In the co-main event, lightweight world champion Dejan Zlaticanin will meet former two-division champion Mikey Garcia in the opening bout on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports in association with Cyclone Promotions and TGB Promotions, are priced at $504, $404, $304, $204, $104 and $54, and are on sale now. Tickets are available at www.AXS.com.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING & SHOWTIME EXTREME Action This Saturday, January 28 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
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Premier Boxing Champions
LAS VEGAS (January 25, 2017) – Fight week officially kicked-off Wednesday with fighter grand arrivals and media workouts before the Premier Boxing Champions event this Saturday, January 28 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and live on SHOWTIME.
Headlining the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING card and Wednesday’s workout were featherweight world champion Carl Frampton and former three-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz, who meet in a rematch of their July Fight of the Year candidate. Televised action begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT with undefeated lightweight world champion Dejan Zlaticanin battling former two-division world champion Mikey Garcia.
Also participating in the workout were a pair of fighters who will be featured on SHOWTIME EXTREME beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Featherweight world champion Lee Selby defends his title against former champion Jonathan Victor Barros while undefeated rising star David Benavidez takes on once-beaten Sherali Mamadjanov.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports in association with Cyclone Promotions and TGB Promotions, are priced at $504, $404, $304, $204, $104 and $54, and are on sale. Tickets are available at www.AXS.com.
Here is what the participants had to say Wednesday from MGM Grand:
“I think I’m going to get another win. I feel like I’ve been improving during training and I feel like I’m getting stronger and punching harder. If I have to go into the trenches again, I’m prepared to do that.
“This is my second fight at featherweight, so I think I’m getting more used to the weight. I feel more comfortable overall this time. Going into this fight, I have the psychological edge. I’m relaxed, excited and happy about boxing again.
“Leo and myself are both very motivated. I want to prove that the first fight wasn’t a fluke and that I’m a better fighter. I’m going to show that the awards I picked up last year are justified.
“I think if you look at Leo’s style, it’s exciting and it’s made him a three-weight world champion. The whole way through his career he’s fought with aggression. He has a high work-rate and he tries to bully opponents. I don’t think he’s going to do a lot different this time.
“If I can get a lead on the scorecards and make him desperate, that’s where I’m really going to capitalize.
“I believe that if I hit anyone in these weight divisions clean on the chin, they can go down and out.
“I believe that I’m going to face a very tough Leo Santa Cruz, as always. This is going to be another difficult fight, but if I make the adjustments I’ve had to in the gym, I’ll win the fight more convincingly.
“It’s great to see people already out here supporting me, but there are more coming. Most people arrive tonight or tomorrow. This is just a fraction and it’s going to be really exciting on fight night.
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“I’m very excited and happy to be here. I know that this is going to be another tough fight. This is what we want. We want to give the fans great fights and I think this is going to be another war. I’m looking to go in there and get my belt back.
“It’s a dream come true to be fighting back at MGM Grand. I’ve wanted to fight here since I was a kid. I never thought it would come true, but now that it is, I’m honored and excited to be fighting in the main event.
“It was very hard to lose for the first time. I was disappointed in myself and I knew I had let my fans down. I got a lot of great support thought and I felt a lot better. It motivated me to get to this fight.
“I have to be smarter in this fight. I need to be more patient. Frampton is a great counter-puncher so I think I need to counter the counter puncher. I’ll use my reach and do a little bit of everything to get the win.
“I think this will be even better than the first one. I’m more determined and hungrier this time and I think Carl Frampton is too. We’re going to come with everything we’ve got.
“I look at Carl Frampton and I see myself because I know that he is doing this for his family. This is what we do. Once we get in that ring, it’s all business. We respect each other outside of the ring.
“I can feel that it’s going to be a great atmosphere. This is where we want to be and these are the kinds of fights we want to be in.
“I know a lot of Irish people will be out to support Carl Frampton and I know the Mexican fans will be here to support me. That’s what I want. We both deserve support because we’re going to give a great fight for the fans.
“We want a trilogy. If I get the win, I will happily give him a third fight and make this a great rivalry that goes back-and-forth.
“Since I started boxing, I’ve been throwing a lot of punches. The kids couldn’t take my pressure and they said I destroy them like an ‘earthquake.’ That’s where ‘Terremoto’ comes from.”
“I’m very happy to be here for this huge event at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. I’m very grateful to my team for making this fight possible. We’re striving to be the best. I’m a world champion and I’m going to leave the ring a champion. Mikey can try and take away my belt, but he’s not going to be able to do.
“I’m going for a knockout. I’m the kind of fighter who is going to be aggressive. I always want to impress the fans and give them excitement.
“If Mikey stands in the pocket with me, it will be a short night. If he wants to box, it will take a little longer. But My goal is still to knock him out.
“It’s going to be hard in Las Vegas to get a decision against a Mexican icon like Mikey Garcia and this is why I’m trying to make it exciting and bring the fight to him.”
“I love to jab and use it to set up other big punches. It’s a foundation for everything, even defense. A lot of fighters don’t use it, but I could use it for an entire fight. All of those big punches can change a fight, but the jab sets everything up.
“This fight is a great opportunity for me and I’m going to take advantage of it. This is a new division for me and I believe I’m facing the toughest guy in the division. This is going to be a great division for me. I feel fast and strong and really believe you will see the best Mikey Garcia at lightweight.
“Had I been fighting during my layoff; I would probably be close to retiring by now. The time allowed me to go enjoy life and my family and come back to the sport with a new mindset and ready to work.
“There are still a lot of things that I want to accomplish in this sport. This would be my third division with a world title. I would obviously want to unify titles or go after title at 140-pounds. I’m going to do whatever it takes to elevate myself in this sport.
“This is a great fight. Dejan is going to come to win. I’m coming to take his title. It’s going to be a great show but I feel that I’m going to win a world title in my third-division.
“If I could get the winner of the Jorge Linares-Anthony Crolla rematch, and claim supremacy in the division, that would be great. I’ll go anywhere in the world to do it and I definitely want these challenges.
“I think this is going to be a great fight but I do believe that I’m going to become the new world champion on Saturday night.”
“This is massive for where I came from. To build myself up to this moment is amazing and I’m excited to be here.
“I think every boxer dreams of fighting in Las Vegas, especially in the U.K. We’ve watched Floyd Mayweather fight here for years and we want to emulate that. It’s not an unrealistic dream now.
“My opponent is a big physical guy with a lot of experience. He can definitely punch and he’s going to try throw shots from an unorthodox position. Hopefully my angles will help me be successful.
“I think people have been overlooking my fight. It’s going to be a very tough battle. I don’t think it’s going to be an easy fight, but if I can come through okay it would be a massive fight against Carl Frampton next. I think it would be one of the biggest in the U.K.
“Having already fought in the U.S. is valuable because it helps me know what to expect. But fighting in Las Vegas will be different. Carl Frampton has brought a lot of fans over and we’ll see whether they cheer or boo me. Either way it’ll be a good atmosphere.
“It was hard to pick a winner between Frampton and Santa Cruz in the first fight and I was sitting ringside. I’m rooting for Carl Frampton this time so we can make that huge unification fight.
“This is a great opportunity for fans to see two international stars like Carl and myself in-person and we’ll certainly put on a great show.”
“I trained really hard for this fight. I have a strong, tough opponent but I’m going to go in there and prove to everybody that I can be the best.
“I’ve always wanted to prove to my older brother (unbeaten welterweight Jose) that I could do this just like him and make a name for myself in the sport. I’m looking to be part of a new generation of fighters.
“This is a good fight for me on my way to a world title shot. I’m just working hard to get better every day so that I can earn my spot in the ring with the top guys.
“I think my time is coming. If I can keep performing and taking advantage of these opportunities, my goals are in reach.
“I think I’m going to be at 168-pounds for a while. I make the weight comfortably. I’m hoping to get a world title opportunity in that weight class first.
“I just want to be an exciting fighter. I want to be a fighter that everyone gathers around the television to watch. I always want to give the fans a great fight. I think I can do that while becoming one of the best fighters in boxing.”
ABOUT FRAMPTON vs. SANTA CRUZ 2
Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz 2 is a world championship rematch of the 2016 Fight of the Year candidate featherweight showdown. The 12-round bout headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING action on Saturday, January 28 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In the co-main event, lightweight world champion Dejan Zlaticanin will meet former two-division champion Mikey Garcia in the opening bout on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Featherweight world champion Lee Selby will fight for the second time in the United States when he battles former world champion Jonathan Victor Barros in action on SHOWTIME EXTREME beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT
For more information visit www.SHO.com/Sports, www.premierboxingchampions.com and www.mgmgrand.com, follow on Twitter @ShowtimeBoxing, @SHOSports, @PremierBoxing @LeoSantaCruz2, @RealCFrampton, @MikeyGarcia, @DinamitDejan1 and @Swanson_Comm or become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SHOSports and www.Facebook.com/PremierBoxingChampions. PBC is sponsored by Corona, La Cerveza Mas Fina.
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Carl Frampton-Leo Santa Cruz II Fight Week is officially here and SHOWTIME Sports® kicks it off with this video as both fighters reflect on their thrilling firefight last July and their plans for the eagerly anticipated rematch this Saturday, Jan. 28, live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) from MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Frampton, the consensus 2016 Fighter of the Year, narrowly outpointed Santa Cruz to become a two-division titleholder last July on SHOWTIME.
“You always need a dance partner, and Leo Santa Cruz could be mine,” Frampton said.
“Hopefully, that night it goes my way and we get the third fight and we make it a trilogy,” Santa Cruz said.