Tag Archives: Julius Indongo

 Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo; FIGHT WEEK TRANSCRIPT 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (Aug. 17, 2017) – Super Channel is airing this Saturday night’s World Junior Welterweight Unification Championship between undefeated world champions, Terence Crawford andJulius “Blue Machine” Indongo, starting at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT, live from Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The winner of Crawford-Indongo will hold all four-major junior welterweight world titles – WBC, WBO, WBA & IBF – plus The Ring magazine’s prestigious strap.
Three exciting fights on the loaded “Crawford vs, Indongo” card, promoted by Top Rank, will air exclusively in Canada on Super Channel.
MAIN EVENT
WBO, WBC, WBA, IBF & The Ring Junior Welterweight World Championships (12 rounds)
TERENCE “Bud” CRAWFORD (31-0, 22 KOs, WBC, WBO & The Ring Champion, Omaha, NE
JULIUS “Blue Machine” INDONGO (22-0, 12 KOs), WBA & IBF Champion, Windhoek, Namibia
CO-FEATURE
NABO & NABF Light Heavyweight Championships (10 rounds)

OLEKSANDR “The Nail” GVOZDYK (13-0, 11 KOs), Champion, Kharkiv, Ukraine

CRAIG “El Gato Negro” BAKER (17-1, 13 KOs), Challenger, Baytown, TX
Featherweights (6 rounds)
SHAKUR STEVENSON (2-0, 1 KO), 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist, Newark, NJ
DAVID PAZ (4-3-1, 0 KOs), La Plata, Argentina
(All fights and fighters subject to change. Additional fights recorded earlier may be added as needed to fill purposes. All fights will be proceeded by a “coming up graphic”.)
 
(WBC & WBO Jr. Welterweight Champion Terence Crawford with his Trainer Brian McIntyre and
Top Rank President Todd duBoef / IBF & WBA Jr. Welterweight Champion Julius Indongo with his co-promoter and manager Nestor Tobias and Matchroom Boxing’s Frank Smith.) 

TODD duBOEF:  It is going to be an exciting night on Saturday.  This will be our third event going live on ESPN and what a way to start with Pacquiao, Lomachenko and now the title unification of Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo.  We are going to be in Lincoln, Nebraska this time as Lady Gaga is in Omaha.  We are looking forward to Lincoln, as that’s where the Cornhuskers are.  This is an incredible thing to be able to do.  A lot of time people talk about seeing good fights – guys fight guys that are accomplished – then there’s other guys that want the challenges.  Julius Indongo and his promoter, Matchroom Boxing, have come up in a meteoric rise in the past 18 months and Julius has performed great.  Terence Crawford has exploded onto the boxing scene – going to Glasgow, Scotland and winning the lightweight title and coming back to Omaha in his first defense against Gamboa and winning in sensational fashion. This will be Terence’s ninth consecutive world title fight over two weight divisions.  It is unique in that is a highly-anticipated unification.  Only the second time in the four-belt era that two world champions have fought each other to unify the titles with the winner emerging as the division’s undisputed world champion.

FRANK SMITH:  It is great to be here in Omaha with Top Rank and we are really looking forward to this fight – it is great when fighters want to take challenges.  Julius has traveled all around the world – going to Russia where he won by first round knockout and then taking on Ricky Burns in Scotland in front of a huge crowd.  Julius has been spending the last few days in Omaha – I know he is very calm and very relaxed and really looking forward to the challenge.  It’s great to be involved in a fight like this with all the belts on the line, which doesn’t happen very often.  I know Julius is very confident to go back home with all of the belts in hand.  Terence Crawford is a great fighter and has shown it on many occasions and Julius is very calm and relaxed and looking forward to showing what he does and he has no concerns with the traveling.  He’ll go anywhere to take on a challenge.

NESTOR TOBIAS:  We are really excited.  Julius has trained very hard for this fight.  He is very focused and very comfortable in Omaha.  We spent some time before we came to Omaha training at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club
.
JULIUS INDONGO:  Thank you very much for this opportunity.  I know Crawford is a very good and tough fighter and this is a big event.  On Saturday night, I will give everything I have and my focus and my game plan and everything is in position.  Just waiting for the weigh-in.  I try and not say too much before the fight, which is something that I am used to.  I prefer to do it in the ring when my opponent is standing in front of me so I can do my work.  I have been in boxing for a long time and not many people know me.  I believe this is the time for me to show the world that a boxer from Africa from Namibia can beat a guy fighting in his home in front of his people.  This is the best way to do it.  I am confident in my styles and techniques that I have learned from years ago.  On Saturday night, it is going to be boxing – I am not sure if there is going to be a knockout but I know I can do that if I have to.   I can say now that I have trained hard and my trainer is always there.
TODD duBOEF:  I also want to thank the organizations for accommodating this match because there was everyone trying that had fighters that had mandatories working behind the scenes to help put this unification together.  We are all appreciative of everybody working together to help bring this match with the participants with all four titles of the organizations.  We are very appreciative of them assisting Matchroom and Top Rank.
JULIUS INDONGO:  Yes. I would like to also thank the organizations and Top Rank and Matchroom for pushing this fight and helping the negotiations to make this fight happen – for making it all possible.
You have two titles now, but what is your view of the possibility of having all four titles?

JULIUS INDONGO:  My view of this is that I have not focused much on that since I have been busy in the gym.  I have not focused on anything but making sure of my performance on Saturday night.  My focus has been in the gym to make sure my game will be the best ever.  No one will ever forget about this fight.  The organizations were involved in making this fight happen and I appreciate that but I won’t think much about having four titles until the fight is over.

How will it feel walking out of the ring with four belts?

JULIUS INDONGO:  It’s going to mean a lot to me – it will mean all of the hard work and determination got that achievement and it will create more opportunity for me.  I will travel the world with the four titles.  I will take them back to Africa – to my country.  I am going to be very, very happy
.
How hard was it to get the organizations to go along with this?
TODD duBOEF:  It was very difficult.  We had to work hand in hand with Matchroom because obviously Matchroom and Indongo had two belts and Top Rank and Crawford had two belts and there were mandatories and everything that was coming into play.  There were people that we had to appeal to and we said, “Hey, this is a rare opportunity that we are able to do this.  Let’s try and work together and have a positive solution for the sport of boxing and I think we delicately managed it.
How long do you think the winner will be able to hold onto those titles?

TODD duBOEF:  I think we should ask that question to the winner, not before we have a winner.  (A), we don’t know who is going to win – Indongo thinks he is going to win and Crawford thinks he is going to win.  Then at that point we will have to see what the order is, who has the mandatory, what order of fights and if all of the organizations can get together and if they can great and if they can’t it will be up to the fighter to make the decisions.  And up to the promoters.  I think it is premature to discuss that right now.

How has your life changed since you won the two titles?
JULIUS INDONGO:  The thing that has really changed is – I do still live in my town in Namibia – and I try to stay focused and try do the right thing in the public.  When someone becomes known to the whole country, most importantly I try not to roll with the wrong friends.  I try and stay home and go to church after work and I do my training program twice a day.   That’s the only way that I could say it can be done.
Do you live in the same place?
JULIUS INDONGO:  Yes, that is where I am staying and where I train.  All of the people are very friendly.  We don’t have too much of a division within the people of everyone in the country, especially in the city.  There is nothing that can distract me wherever I stay or whatever I do – everyone will know in Namibia.
How much better is Crawford than Ricky Burns or Troyanovsky?
JULIUS INDONGO:  I cannot really say much on that because when I fought Troyanovsky and Ricky Burns they were both easier fights than I fought in the last fight, that I fought from home.  The two world title fights that I challenged in were the best training that I have trained.  I had never been as focused with the best game plan so it made it the easiest fights for me.  They were both easier than we ever thought they would be because of the focus on them and the game plan.

Why were you able to focus more for those two fights?

JULIUS INDONGO:  The other fights were happening at home and we used to be too much like let a lot of people in the camp – we used to share invitations – for the two last fights anyway.  The fight was for the championship so there was something that we needed to achieve and change and to improve our image (if we want) to be known in the world.  We had to have focus only on me and the potential and that’s the only way the world was going to get to see me.  The promotion had known what was happening with me and letting everyone else know.  So now everyone was going to see something new again, I know. I have no doubt.  I know.  All I can say is just only if maybe knockout come it may be late.  But waking up, the day of fight, be skillful and focused – everything is in position.  The crowd or the fans, or Terence’s home crowd won’t intimidate me – that is nothing, I cannot afford it, so I travel the same way – it is always the same.

Since you won in the hometowns of the last two titles fights how much confidence does that give you?

JULIUS INDONGO:  Actually, they are different conditions. I don’t particularly mind because it is already past.  My focus is that it is a blessing from God to keep me and not to let me wander in a sense, and to ask for a provision for myself, my president and my commander in the office that wherever I travel I will be representing all of Namibia.  It’s like I have the whole country of Namibia on my shoulders issued by my president so I have to rely on the game plan and that is the confidence that I rely.  So, if I am stepping there I know that my country and Africa is on my shoulders and when the team travels from Namibia to the fight I can only focus on the fight so it motivated me a lot.  So, I have to focus only on this fight.

Where did you train for this fight?
JULIUS INDONGO:  When I saw Crawford requested to fight the winner of the fight between me Troyanovsky, which is when I started training for this fight because we don’t have any power and the only way to rely on the big guns when they are requested for it.  So, when they gave us the offer we had to go for it so that’s when I started training.  I trained at home in Namibia – where I have always been training. (He came to the States early and trained in Freddie Roach’s gym in Hollywood).

What have you noticed in the viewership of the fights on ESPN?

TODD duBOEF:  One thing I am looking forward to on Saturday is Kurt Warner just finished his [Hall of Fame induction] speech so we won’t have to deal with that on Saturday.  This is all part of a long-term game plan of making these fighters come alive to the sports fan.  Obviously there has been an incredible amount of promotion before the Pacquiao fight and mirrored with an incredible amount of promotion for the Lomachenko fight on August 5th and ESPN will be flipping the switch this weekend, taking the weigh-in live and doing all of the same consistent promotion and this is wonderful for the people that are interested in boxing.  Everything has been terrific and to get two of the top guys in front of people that are watching the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball are able to see the highest level of fights is just a positive step for the sport.

Has there been a change in demographic of who is watching the fights?

TODD duBOEF:  I don’t think there has been a change in demographic I think the perception of the boxing demographic in the United States has been unfortunately tight-capped – an older demographic.  We are looking at these numbers and obviously 18-49 is the number that everybody wants and even with Kurt Warner and the rest of the Hall of Fame going on we went straight up against UFC that night and beat them in both 18-49 and 18-34 which are the most important demos.  And I think additionally, for ESPN that week, we were the second highest rated 18-49 program with the Lomachenko broadcast and in fact over 50% of our audience was 18-49 where baseball was about 32%.  We think that the story that it is an old sport and old people don’t care about it, which was largely spun out by UFC years ago and I think to a certain point there was some truth to it – older demos were on premium channels – the fact is this is very positive, young, multi-cultural through the roof and we are excited to put this on this broad platform.

Is it easy to focus and do what you need to do in your homeland?

JULIUS INDONGO:  I don’t think I have an issue with the fans or the population because it is already something I am aware of.  All I have is to train and just be focused on Crawford and my game plan and do good on my preparation.
Indongo has come so far – a year ago no one knew who he was and now he is on this huge platform…

TODD duBOEF:  This is not an outlier – this is boxing.  This is what happens with boxing.  This is no different than Azumah Nelson coming over on 10 days-notice and suddenly getting in the ring and making a name for himself in the United States.  People can change the tide very quickly in the sport of boxing and that happens because of their performances and we have to recognize that his is a global sport.  This is not the Premier League or the NFL or the NBA and we are relatively isolated to a small pool.  Indongo is a very talented fighter who has probably worked his whole childhood figuring out how to master a trade.  And that’s Julius Indongo and what he did was, the door of opportunity opens and he steps through it, and that is the story of boxing.  There are countless stories like that and I think this is not a miraculous one but really goes back to what makes boxing so special.  People that take advantage of those opportunities and suddenly a diamond in the rough is discovered.

What do you have to say about this activity – this is your 4th fight in just over a year?

JULIUS INDONGO:  It really means a lot not only to me but also to my promotion where I train.  When I began they weren’t planning to produce such an event or any opportunity like this or even that matches I had back home.  It is something big and something huge and something useful and it is an appreciation for what Top Rank and Matchroom has put together and I appreciate these opportunities.

TODD duBOEF:  We have given Terence all of the accolades about how great of a fighter he is, which we all know, but I didn’t know he was an internet sensation now.  You have to talk about the Internet sensation!  I thought this was the Brian McIntyre internet sensation in the last fight from “Camp Life,” but at the press conference tomorrow you’ve got to show me your McGregor Challenge.

TERENCE CRAWFORD:  It means a lot to me being it will be the first time that all four belts will be on the line at one time in the division’s history and it has only been done twice in boxing.  I’m just ready for the moment and fight time this weekend.

Prior to Indongo’s 1st round KO in Russia, had your team ever heard of him?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  No, we never heard of Indongo and we never saw him fight other than the fight he had in Russia.
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  Well, we wanted the Troyanovsky fight but he decided to go with Indongo so when we heard that he got knocked out, we looked at the replay and looked at the fight – that’s when we first took notice of who Indongo really was.
When he fought Ricky Burns who you are familiar with having beaten for the lightweight title, did you think you could make it happen or was it something Top Rank brought to you?

TERENCE CRAWFORD:  We wanted the Ricky Burns fight at 140 as well but they didn’t want to take the fight so they wanted to take the fight with Indongo and perhaps later on in the year we could do the fight between me and Ricky Burns again but Indongo beat Ricky Burns, that’s when we took notice and said well he’s the guy with the other two titles so let’s see if we can make a fight with him and unify.

What do you feel about him traveling anywhere to anyone’s hometown to fight for titles?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  It shows a lot about his character and his confidence and his ability in the ring.  Him being a two-time world champion in that short amount of time shows that he has a lot of confidence but at the same time he is a little older so he’s at the end of his career coming along so he doesn’t have a lot of choices for what he wants to do.  He can’t wait around.

What do you think of Indongo as a fighter?

TERENCE CRAWFORD:  Indongo is a good fighter.  He is a good boxer – he’s got good legs and he seems like he can punch.  He doesn’t let his opponent get on the inside and do a lot of damage to him.
TODD duBOEF:  Do you find any similarities between him and Postol?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  The only comparison I see is the height.  They have two different styles.  Postol was more straight up and down.  Indongo is a little more elusive.  I think Postol was a little more technical.  Indongo can get a little wild at times.
Do you think Postol is better than Indongo?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  I can’t say that because I haven’t been in the ring with Indongo but I have been in the ring with Postol.  You can see from the outside but once you get in the ring with somebody it can be a totally difference look so after the fight I can tell you.

What do you think about fighting on ESPN broadening you fan base?

TERENCE CRAWFORD:  It can broaden the fan base it will give more people the opportunity to see who Terence Crawford really is.  To display my talent and my skills to more people – I am just ready for Saturday to come so I can show more people who Terence Crawford really is.

BRIAN McINTYRE:  I am just ready for us to get out there so Terence can show what he’s been working on in camp.  I want him to unify and make history and the 140-pound division.  We can also silence all of the critics that have been saying that his resume is not as good as some fighters.  Not only me but also the whole entire team is excited.  I know he is excited to, to get out there and show ESPN what everybody has been hearing – that he is a great boxer and a damn good puncher and how he can switch from both sides.  So, I am excited.  I’m excited for the kid and I’m excited for his family.  I am excited for everybody.

The winner will have all four belts, which is historic.  Will that fighter also be considered pound-for-pound champion?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  Of course, I think I have been doing a lot in the sport of boxing and I have had my name mentioned in the top three.  I will be looking forward to being the top one, or maybe two after this fight.  It just depends on how people look at it.  In my eyes, I think I am top two already, so.
Has it been frustrating to you that you haven’t gotten credit that you deserve?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  I try to not think about that.  I can’t worry about what the person thinks about me or says about me.  At the end of the day I’m the one that has to go in there and take the punches.  A lot of people criticize me for who I am fighting because maybe I am not their favorite fighter or maybe I am doing better than their favorite fighter, or there is a fighter that they want to see me fight and the fight doesn’t happen or it does happen then I beat them.  Then they say, ‘oh the only reason Terence won was because he is short’ or ‘he won because he was basic’ – there is always going to be an excuse with those types of people.
TODD duBOEF:  We are in a sport that gets dissected constantly by people that are haters, people that have agendas and at the end of the day when you have a kid like Terence Crawford who is brilliant in the ring, we just let the people decide what it is.  We are going to be sold out in Lincoln, Nebraska and we just did 10,000 people in New York – we are not going to chase the game of people and bloggers and things like that that want to be hating because you will never win that game.
How many will Pinnacle hold?
TODD duBOEF:  It is going to hold just over 10,000.
What are your thoughts fighting in Lincoln?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  I am excited about it being that it’s our state capital and where the Nebraska football team plays.  It is a nice arena and I always wanted to fight in there.  They brought me down there to watch a couple of games and I was always imagining it would be a nice arena to fight in.  Everyone around there always welcomed me with open arms telling me ‘you need to come fight here, you need to come fight here.’  So I am excited that I was able to make that happen.  It’s about a 45-minute drive from Omaha.
TODD duBOEF:  Just imagine, between a 45-minute drive you’ve got Lady GaGa in Omaha and Terence Crawford in Lincoln – not a bad entertainment night in a small area.  Brian are you going to the fight or Lady GaGa?
BRYAN McINTYRE:  Well I am going to go to GaGa as soon as we knock this dude off.  I know her personally.
CARL MORETTI:  Terence is probably boxing’s most active champion at this moment.  His last defense was three months ago against Felix Diaz and he fought in December before that and June before that.  So, if you look just before he won the lightweight title it may be eight title defenses in 27 months.  I don’t think you can find a more active champion that has gotten better in the ring defending his title more than Crawford.
How important is it to be active?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  It is very important.  I am trying to get my name out there and trying to get the recognition that I deserve.  I’m still young and in my prime.
What does it mean if Terence is able to knock out Indongo on Saturday night.

BRIAN McINTYRE:  That would be lovely – to do it in good fashion like that, you can’t ask for nothing better.  You know if you look for a knockout it’s not there.

If you win you have all of the belts – would you rather stay there or move up?
I am at 140 now and come Saturday that is my main focus is Julius Indongo.  We’ll see how the fight goes and after that double back around and see what the next move will be.

How is it when you have quick turnaround to training camp?  Is it easier?

TERENCE CRAWFORD:  Training camp is never easy.  It’s always hard but at the same time, I just had a fight and getting back into the gym and back in the groove of everything.  It’s tougher when you have a long period of time off because this time I was somewhat in shape.

It seems like you were having fun in camp.  Is that normal?

TERENCE CRAWFORD:  We like to have some fun in training camp.  Training camp is always hard work but have fun, hard work, have fun, hard work – if you don’t love what you are doing then you need to get a difference job.  We are dancing every single training camp that we had and play around – that is the different types of things that we do.  In “Camp Life” it might be the first time that people actually got to see that outer Terence Crawford.
Is that important to you to get that out?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  It’s important for my brand but at the same time it is just I.  I am not into publicizing my every move – make a video and say, ‘oh this is what I do for a living,’ I just go with the flow.
If you consider yourself Number 2 pound for pound, who do you say is Number 1?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  Andre Ward.
Where were you when you first saw McGregor do his warm-up?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  I was coming from the gym and everyone was watching a video and I asked what it was, then I said I am going to try that.  A couple of days passed then I got everyone together to do the McGregor Challenge.
What’s the best response you’ve gotten since that video went up?
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  I’ve been getting all kinds of response – I have been getting hate response, prejudice response, I’ve been getting a lot of positive response.  People are telling me McGregor will beat me up.  I just laugh – we are just having fun with it.
Super Channel has recently aired major boxing events live like Brook vs. Spence Jr., Pacquiao-Horn, Eubank, Jr. vs. Abraham, and Lomachenko vs.Marriaga.
To see the “Crawford vs. Indongo” live, as well as more exciting boxing to come, fight fans in Canada can contact their local cable provider to subscribe to Super Channel and all that it offers, including premium series, movies and much more, for as low as $9.95 per month.
INFORMATION:
Twitter: @SCSportsTV
Instagram: @SuperChannelTV
Facebook: /SuperChannel
AIRING LIVE IN CANADA THIS SATURDAY
EXCLUSIVELY ON SUPER CHANNEL

Super Channel to air Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo card

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Live this Saturday night in Canada
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (Aug. 15, 2017) – Continuing its strong efforts as the television destination for viewing world-class boxing in Canada, Super Channel subscribers will be able to watch this Saturday night’s World Junior Welterweight Unification Championship between undefeated world champions, Terence Crawford and Julius “Blue Machine” Indongo, starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, live from Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The winner of Crawford-Indongo will hold all four-major junior welterweight world titles, plus The Ring magazine’s prestigious strap.
Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs), fighting out of nearby Boise (NE), is a two-time champion who has won six of his last eight fights by stoppage. The 2014 Fighter of the Year, Crawford is the reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) and The Ring magazine world champion.
Terrence Crawford
(photo courtesy of Top Rank).

In his 2017 debut this past May 30 at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden, Crawford successfully defended his crowns by way of a 10th round knockout over former Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz.

Arguably one of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world today, Crawford unified the world titles July 23, 2016, winning a 12-round unanimous decision over then undefeated WBC super lightweight titlist Viktor Postol.
His triumph against Postol also earned Crawford The Ring title and designated him as the 140-pound division lineal champion. Crawford has also defeated John Molina, Jr., Thomas Dulorme, Hank Lundy, Ricky Burns,Yuriokis Gamboa and Ray Beltran among the more notables.
Namibia-native Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs) has become a unified world champion — International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) – the most difficult way as a true road warrior. He captured the IBF title by knocking out defending champion Eduard Troyanovsky in the opening round of their December 3, 2016 title fight in Russia, and he unified the world titles this past April 15, when he took a dominant 12-round unanimous decision over Ricky Burns in Scotland.
The 34-year-old Indongo was a 2008 Namibia Olympian.
 
Three exciting fights on the loaded “Crawford vs, Indongo” card, promoted by Top Rank, will air exclusively in Canada on Super Channel.
Super Channel has recently aired major boxing events live like Brook vs. Spence Jr., Pacquiao-Horn, Eubank, Jr. vs. Abraham, and Lomachenko vs.Marriaga.
Other fights on the Crawford-Indongo card also airing live on Super Channel include a 10-round light heavyweight clash between unbeaten North American Boxing Federation champion Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk (13-0, 11 KOs), ranked No. 2 by the WBC, and upset-minded Texan Craig “El Gato Negro” Baker (17-1, 13 KOs). Gvozdyk is a former Ukrainian amateur standout who lives and trains in Oxnard, California.
The televised opener on Super Channel will feature 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (2-0, 1 KO), fighting out of Newark (NJ), against Argentinian featherweight David Paz (4-3, 0 KOs) in a six-round bout.
Bouts and order are subject to change. Additional fights recorded earlier may be added as needed to fill purposes. All fights will be proceeded by a “coming up graphic.
To see the “Crawford vs. Indongo” live, as well as more exciting boxing to come, fight fans in Canada can contact their local cable provider to subscribe to Super Channel and all that it offers, including premium series, movies and much more, for as low as $9.95 per month.
INFORMATION:
Twitter: @SuperChannel
Instagram: @SuperChannelTV
Facebook: /SuperChannel

GARY RUSSELL JR. DEFEATS OSCAR ESCANDON IN FRONT OF HOMETOWN CROWD FROM MGM NATIONAL HARBOR, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

 
Andre Dirrell Wins Via Disqualification Stoppage, Rances Barthelemy Earns Hard-Fought Decision Win
 
Gervonta Davis Stops Liam Walsh to Retain IBF Junior Lightweight Title from Copper Box Arena in London
 
Catch The Encore Presentation of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®
 on Monday, May 22 at 10 p.m. on SHO EXTREME
 
Click HERE For Photos
Photo Credit: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
 
Click HERE To Watch Gary Russell Jr.’s TKO
National Harbor (May 20) – From the MGM National Harbor “Mr.” Gary Russell Jr., (28-1, 17 KOs) had a successful homecoming in front of a nearly sold out crowd as he defended his WBC Featherweight World title with a seventh-round stoppage against the very tough, strong-willed Columbian Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17 KOs) in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
Russell Jr. took control of the action from the outset, peppering the shorter Escandon at will and dropping him in the third.
However, the brave Escandon fought his way back into the fight in the fourth and fifth stanzas, but Russell stormed into the seventh, battering the hurt Escandon and dropping him early, causing referee Harvey Dock to stop the fight at the 0:59 mark of the round (Click HERE to watch the TKO).
About the victory, Russell Jr. said, “First and foremost, I want to say happy birthday to my father. Secondly, I’d like to tell all the fans that came to support me: I love you all. Thank you.
“I fought a tough competitor. I knew Escandon wanted to come and bring his best. I knew he was going to come forward. I was ready for him. We are warriors.
“I want Lomachenko [next], that’s a no-brainer. I don’t want to do it for the fans or for the media, I want to do it for myself. And I want to do it twice. I’ll knock him out the first time and then, he’ll want me to fight him again.
“I’d love to unify against all the other guys in the featherweight division. I’d like Leo Santa Cruz, Lee Selby, Oscar Valdez.”
About the knockout loss, “I was getting my rhythm going and I felt like Gary was getting tired. I didn’t see him coming with the big punch he threw at the end and that was it. I went down and was hoping to get a 10 count, but the referee didn’t give it to me and he stopped the fight.
“I knew that Gary was going to go fast from the first to the fifth round and it was part of my strategy to let him do that and get tired. It didn’t work unfortunately.
“Now we need to go back to the drawing board to rest and see what my manager has planned for me.”
Said trainer and father Gary Russell Sr., “I’m ecstatic. I’m really happy. I got three wins. Three stoppages. It’s my birthday. I’m 15 minutes from home and I can go home and relax.
“We prepared fully for Mr. Escandon. We knew he was going to do what he did – come forward. I don’t want to diminish or take anything away from Mr. Escandon. He really is a hard, rough fighter. Throughout the course of the fight, I instructed Gary to hit him with some good shots. Some hard shots. It is a brutal sport.”
Co-featured on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING in a 12-round clash for the IBF Interim Super Middleweight Title, Flint, Michigan’s Andre Dirrell, (26-2, 16 KOs), was declared the winner after round eight as Jose Uzcategui, (26-2, 22 KOs) of Merida, Venezuela, was disqualified for a punch after the bell sounded to end the eighth round.
Uzcategui started fast, battering Dirrell from the opening round, cutting off the ring and slamming away with body and head shot through the first three rounds. Dirrell saw success starting in the fourth round, countering Uzcategui and scoring
well.
Over the next four rounds, the contenders traded even as the fight became more hotly contested. At the end of the eighth round, with Dirrell backed into a neutral corner, Uzcategui let loose with a three-punch combination, the last left hand hitting the southpaw after the bell as he fell to the combination.
Following a delay to allow medical personnel to attend to Dirrell, referee Bill Clancy declared that Uzcategui was disqualified with Dirrell being declared the winner.
Said referee Bill Clancy about his decision, “The bell rang to stop the round. The round was over and Andre [Dirrell] was knocked out with an illegal punch. So therefore, Dirrell will win this fight by disqualification.
“That’s a blatant foul. Earlier in the fight, I had warned Uzcategui. I warned him. Dirrell wins the fight, he was clearly unable to continue.”
About the ending, Dirrell said, “All I remember was him [Uzcategui] throwing a shot at me at the same time the bell rang. After that everything was blurry. I remember a shot and then all went fuzzy.
“I forgive Uzcategui. I forgive his camp. I don’t want to win a championship like this. I wanted to win fair and square. But I forgive him.
Following the decision, Dirrell’s trainer and uncle Leon Lawson punched Uzcategui in the corner, sparking a brief altercation in the ring that was quelled by MGM National Harbor security and local police.
“I’m sorry for what my coach has done. My coach is my family, my uncle, and he was worried. He cares for me. He loves me. Please forgive him.
“I’m going to stand up like a man. I didn’t win like I wanted to, but I’ll be back. I’m going to come back as soon as they let me.”
Stated a very disappointed Uzcategui, “I felt very good. I was hurting him the entire fight. I felt like I could hurt him anytime I wanted. Nothing he hit me with hurt me.
“I was throwing a three-punch combination and I didn’t hear the bell. I didn’t mean to hit him. The third punch wasn’t that hard of a punch. I was surprised he stayed down.
“He did the same thing against Abraham that he did against me tonight. He quit against me and he quit against him. I deserve to be the winner.”
The live televised fights in The Theater kicked-off with two-division world championRances Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs) winning a 12-round unanimous decision over valiant Kiryl Relikh, (25-3, 16 KOs), of Baranovichi, Byelorussia. Scores in the WBA Super Lightweight eliminator were 116-110, 115-111 and 117-109.
The opening two rounds of the fight featured excellent action with both fighters attempting to impose their will.  In the third round Relikh suffered a low blow resulting in a two-minute delay, however, no point deduction was made by referee Kenny Chevalier. Following the low blow, the shorter Relikh became much more aggressive.
With the undefeated, blue-haired Barthelemy switching stances often in the fourth stanza, he was able to score at will against Relikh.
However, Relikh came out charging in the fifth, battering away against Barthelemy who was caught against the ropes and scoring a knockdown when the ropes held the Cuban up from a barrage of hard punches.
Recovering nicely in the sixth and seventh, Barthelemy badly hurt Relikh with a multitude of body shots from both hands.
In the eight round Barthelemy truly turned the tide for good in the ninth, drilling Relikh to the canvas with a blistering left hook to the body. Through the championship rounds it was all Barthelemy who finished strong against the game but outgunned Relikh.
Said the victorious Barthelemy, “It feels great to be going forward. The 11-month layoff really took a toll on my body and I felt it in the ring.
“I knew it was a close fight but knew I should get a unanimous decision.
“Relikh was a hard hitter. He surprised me with a right hook in the 5th round and I hit the canvas, so I knew I had to be careful going forward. I knew I had lost that round and had to come back stronger.
“I took the sixth round to take a breather and then I came back to work the body. Once I knocked him down, I saw that he was hurt and protecting himself upstairs a lot more so I knew I was going to have to be more strategic to come out victorious.”
Replied a very disappointed Relikh, “Of course I thought I won. Even TV thought I won. The referee did his job when he called it a knockdown in the fifth. I thought it was over.”
“The two low blows definitely affected me. It takes the wind out of you. This is boxing not MMA.”
Hot super bantamweight prospect Gary Antonio Russell improved to 8-0 with six knockouts with a dominating performance and knockout stoppage of Puerto Rico’s Jovany Fuentes, (7-9, 6 KOs). Following knockdowns in the second and third stanzas, the bout was called to a halt at 0:22 of round three.
Making his pro debut, super lightweight Gary Antuanne Russell, (1-0 1 KO) wasted no time dropping Joshua Ross, (2-4-4) of Monroe, LA to the canvas three times enroute to a stoppage victory at the 2:25 mark of the initial stanza.
Gervonta Davis went on the road in the first defense of his IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship and made a statement with an emphatic third-round TKO of previously undefeated local favorite Liam Walsh in the opening bout of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING from Copper Box Arena in London.
The southpaw Davis (18-0, 17 KOs) set the pace from the opening bell, connecting seemingly at will with a strong left hook.  In the third round, America’s youngest world champion floored Walsh with a strong left after a series of brutal connecting combos on the inside.  Walsh got up, but the onslaught continued seconds later and referee Michael Alexander stopped the championship bout at 2:11, with Walsh defenseless and on unsteady legs.
“Tonight we were in the groove,” Davis said.  “I think he was hurt pretty bad.  The ref did his job and it was just a matter of time.  I used my boxing IQ tonight and picked my shots, and when I picked my shots I got him out of there.
“I’m still on the rise.  I became a champion super-fast, but I’m still rising and there’s more to come.”
Promoter Floyd Mayweather was ringside in London to support his fighter, who he’s christened “the future of boxing.”
Walsh (21-1, 14 KOs), who entered the bout as the No. 1 challenger and the decided local favorite at Copper Box, was disappointed with the stoppage.
“He’s very fast, very active, but that was too quick,” Walsh said.  “He won fair and square, but sometimes they stop the fight too early.  I never got an opportunity.  I’m not saying the result would be different, but give me a chance.
“I’d love to fight him again.  I’d fight him for next to nothing.”
# # #
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will re-air on Sunday, May 21 at 9 a.m. on SHOWTIME and on Monday, May 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.  The telecast will be available on SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and SHOWTIME ANYTIME®.

GERVONTA DAVIS & LIAM WALSH MAKE WEIGHT FOR IBF JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY ON SHOWTIME® FROM LONDON

 

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Tomorrow/Saturday at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT

 

Click HERE For Photos; Credit Mark Robinson/SHOWTIME

 

LONDON (May 19, 2017) – America’s youngest world champion, Gervonta Davis, and undefeated No. 1 contender Liam Walsh both tipped the scale at the 130-pound limit during Friday’s official weigh-in at the 133-year-old Theatre Royal Stratford East for Saturday’s IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship on SHOWTIME.

 

On Saturday at the sold-out Copper Box Arena in London, the 22-year-old “Tank” Davis (17-0, 16 KOs) will attempt to become the first American to successfully defend his title on British soil in nearly a decade.  The 30-year-old Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs) will aim to dethrone a man labeled by Davis promoter Floyd Mayweather as “the future of boxing” in the first defense of his IBF crown. 

 

The referee for Davis vs. Walsh is Michael Alexander, and the judges are Howard Foster (England), Robin Taylor (United States) and Deon Dwarte (South Africa). 

 

With fans chanting “Walsh is gonna get you” as Davis stepped on the scale, the Baltimore native narrowly missed the 130-pound limit by two ounces.  Per IBF rules, Davis was given two hours to shed the extra ounces and successfully made weight approximately 90 minutes later

 

“I feel good,” Davis said.  “I’m ready.”

 

After the weigh-in, Walsh downplayed the tense stare down and words exchanged during the faceoff.

 

Tomorrow we’ll lay hands on each other for real and the best man will come on top.  I’m gonna win.  I’m going to give every last ounce of what I’ve got.”

 

Davis vs. Walsh is part of a split-site, four-fight SHOWTME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast that begins on Saturday, May 20, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.  In the main event, Gary Russell Jr. will make his second featherweight title defense and long-awaited homecoming against mandatory challenger Oscar Escandon live from MGM National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C. 

 

For more information visit www.SHO.com/Sports follow on Twitter @ShowtimeBoxing or become a fan on Facebook atwww.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing. To become a fan on Facebook atwww.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing.

Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon Final Press Conference Quotes & Photos

 
 
Featherweight World Championship Showdown Headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING This Saturday, May 20from MGM National Harbor in Maryland
 
Click HERE for Photos Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
 
NATIONAL HARBOR (May 18, 2017) – Featherweight world champion Gary Russell Jr. and top challenger Oscar Escandon went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before they square-off in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING this Saturday, May 20 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
Also in attendance at Thursday’s press conference and competing in action on SHOWTIME were super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and JoseUzcategui, who battle for the IBF Super Middleweight World Championship, plus two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy and former title challenger Kiryl Relikh, who meet in a 140-pound title eliminator. The telecast begins at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT with Gervonta Davis putting his IBF Jr. Lightweight Title on the line against Liam Walsh from Copper Box Arena in London.
Tickets for the live event at MGM National Harbor, promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50, and are now on sale. To purchase tickets go tohttp://mgmnationalharbor.com/.
Russell Jr. was joined by his brothers, 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell and unbeaten prospect Gary Antonio Russell, as the trio of brothers look to pick up a hat trick of victories in their hometown Saturday night and on the birthday of their father and trainer, Gary Russell Sr.
Here is what the participants had to say Thursday from MGM National Harbor:
GARY RUSSELL JR.
“I never magnify an event, even though it’s at home. The end objective is still the same. But I think it’s cool that everyone in our neighborhood has the opportunity to be in the arena and see what we do.
“I’m 100 percent physically and mentally ready for the challenge and I’m on top of everything I can be.
“When you get caught up in the hype, it’s a deficiency in yourself. You have to be able to focus on the objective over everything else.
“I believe in my ability but also the ability of my brothers. So I’m not nervous for them. I know what they’ve been taught. They conduct themselves like young men in and out of the ring.
“I want a unification bout after this. I’m ready for any of the other world champions. We can line them all up in the same night if you want. If I can’t get those fights, I’m going to move up in weight and bully around these bigger guys.
“I look at each fighter as their own individual. We don’t prepare the same way for every opponent. He’s a tough fighter who comes forward. He’s very physical and I expect him to be at his best on Saturday. It’s up to me to counteract what he does.
“I love this sport. I love what I do. I love being able to prepare for no one else, but the person across the ring and then dismantling him.
“We worked on versatility most. We believe in the sweet science. A lot of these guys just win because they’re stronger and faster. We want to be more technically sound too.”
OSCAR ESCANDON
“This is a very important fight for my career. This is going to elevate me to where I want to be and give me the platform to do anything in the sport. I’m very well prepared for this.
“I feel strong and healthy at 126-pounds. I’m focused on this fight Saturday night. I’ll fight anyone but right now I have to get past Gary Russell Jr.
“In my last fight I was the underdog. People counted me out. Same thing applies here. I’ve done the work and I’m confident that I’m going to win.
“I didn’t have complete training camps with my past trainers, but now I’m with Ruben Guerrero. I’m learning so much. You can look at me in my previous fights and you’ll see a vast improvement now.
“I want that green (WBC) belt a lot. Green is my favorite color. I want to be the best and to me, winning that title signifies that I am the best. To do that I have to beat the best, and that is Gary Russell Jr.
“I don’t like to talk much but I will say that I’m coming to bring this world title back to Colombia. I respect Gary but my mindset is that I’m taking this title home.”
ANDRE DIRRELL
“It’s been a long hard journey for me. But I’ve always managed to climb back on top. The hard work that I’ve put in will make Saturday night easy work.
“My opponent is a fantastic fighter. If anyone should be in line for a title it’s this guy. He has the the power and he has the skill. I just believe he’s up against a better and tougher opponent.
“I’m going to get in the ring and display all of my abilities. I’m very confident and ready. It’s time for Andre to get on top and stay on top.
“I’ve been out of the ring for a while but most importantly, I’ve stayed in the gym in training the whole time. I’ve kept positive mentally as well. Everything is going upward right now and I’m going to take advantage.
“Uzcategui has everything a world champion needs to get to that title, but he’s facing a more skilled competitor on May 20. He’s deserving of the opportunity and that’s why I trained so hard for this fight.
“The title means the world to me. We fight for the titles first. We’re all coming from the amateurs where we got trophies. My love will always be here with the sport until the day I retire.”
JOSE UZCATEGUI
“You won’t want to miss any of these fights on Saturday night. It’s a great card and I’m planning to steal the show.
“I like when my opponent talks a lot. None of the stuff my opponent says can help him in the ring. It’s just me, him and our fists.
“It’s a lot of responsibility to be the top contender for the belt. I have to make it clear that we deserve this so that I can move on to bigger and better things.
“People are going to get to see my power on display Saturday night, but also my other skills. I can do it all in the ring and I’m going to prove it.
“After this I want to take on James DeGale and Gilberto Ramirez. I’m coming to clean out this whole division and be undisputed. It starts on Saturday.”
RANCES BARTHELEMY
“I’m living a dream right now that I myself never in a million years imagined. Every time I get to speak with my mother in Cuba, I tell her of this dream that I am currently living and how it is still surreal to me. To be able to fight on these big cards in the U.S. after the long journey, after all the setbacks, I could not be any more grateful.
“Being a world champion in two different weight divisions is something still unreal to me after people doubted whether I would even become a world champion one day. But this journey does not stop here for me. I have the urge to keep on going, make history for my people, and fight the big names in boxing.
“Everyone in my team supports and motivates each other because we know we as Cubans have to work twice as hard as everybody else. There is an unfair representation of Cuban boxers among the press and fans here in America. We are misconstrued as being boring fighters therefore we are determined to erase that stigma and prove to everyone that we can brawl and put on a good show just as much as we can box.
“I have been working on some new and different things to add to my arsenal this training camp. My whole team has been incredible and pushed me every day.
“Don’t miss this fight on Saturday night. It’s going to be eventful and exciting. I’m coming to get a spectacular win.”
KIRYL RELIKH
“I’m very happy to be here and be a part of this great show. I will do my best to give a great fight on Saturday.
“Camp was perfect. I have a great team and I’m ready for anything. We worked hard and it’s going to be a great performance.
“I’m ready for any style that that Rances Barthelemy can bring into the ring. We thought that we got the win in Scotland against Ricky Burns, but it is very hard to win on points on the road.
“I always fight in different countries so this is just another one on my list. It’s normal for me. I’m very ready for the challenge and I’m expecting a great fight.
“I hope that people like my style. I’m going to entertain the fans and get a victory over Rances Barthelemy on Saturday night.”
GARY ANTUANNE RUSSELL
“I get to pick up right where I left off after the Olympics. I’m fighting on the same night with my brothers for the first time in so long. It was one of my first amateur fights when we last did it.
“I’m feeling really good. We’re making a statement and we’re making history. What’s not to be excited about?
“Mentally and emotionally the Olympics really helped me for the pros. You have to develop over time. We’re constantly training and sharpening our tools. This is a different stage, that’s all.
“I hope everyone is ready for Saturday night. There were some mishaps at the Olympics. Life is going to throw you bumps to get over, and that’s what I’m going to do. Everyone better keep their eyes open Saturday, because it might be quick.”
GARY ANTONIO RUSSELL
“I’m really excited about this fight and competing alongside my brothers. It feels good to come home and fight. My family and friends will be in the building.
“I can’t wait to get in the ring and show what we’ve been working so hard on. All the hours in the gym with my dad and brothers is going to pay off on fight night.
“I’ve seen some video of my opponent. I know his weaknesses and strengths. We’re going to come exploit it on fight night.”
GARY RUSSELL SR., Father and Trainer of the Russells
“We work hard in the gym. Everybody has a plan until they get hit. We know that he’s going to bring pressure and we’ll be ready for it.
“I’m really happy about this opportunity. We can get it all done in one night and put on a great show for everyone.
“I’m definitely in fight mode. There are no extra nerves at all. I just want to get this done and get it done right.
“I can’t really put Escandon in the same category with the top guys we’ve faced. He’s a short fighter. Most people in these weight classes are taller than Gary. At that size, the only way you can fight is straight forward. He’s not going to out box us.”
RUBEN GUERRERO, Escandon’s Trainer
“We’re ready over here. We’re going to do what it takes. We know what we’re up against. He’s one of the best. We’ll prove who is the best on Saturday. This is going to come down to a war. Gary knows what he’s going against.
“I helped Escandon set up a camp in Las Vegas for this fight because this was a huge opportunity. We were up in the mountains and that’s where I wanted him. He’s going to be great on fight night. He’ll be ready to go. It’s not easy to train in Vegas.
“We’re coming to win. We can’t control the judges but we know they’re fair. We’re expecting a fair shake. We’re going to control what we can.”
#          #          #
ABOUT RUSSELL JR. vs. ESCANDON
Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon is a featherweight world championship showdown that headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on Saturday, May 20 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland. Televised coverage begins on SHOWTIME at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and features super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui in a matchup for the Interim IBF Super Middleweight World Championship plus two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy in a WBA 140-pound world title eliminator against Kiryl Relikh. In the telecast opener, from Copper Box Arena in London, Gervonta Davis puts his IBF Jr. Lightweight Title on the line against Liam Walsh.
For more information, follow on Twitter @MrGaryRussellJr, @TGBPromotions, @MGMNatlHarbor and @Swanson_Comm or become a fan on Facebook atwww.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing and www.Facebook.com/MGMNationalHarbor. The event is sponsored by Corona Extra, La Cerveza Mas Fina.

GERVONTA DAVIS, LIAM WALSH & PROMOTER FLOYD MAYWEATHER SOUND OFF IN HEATED FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE FOR IBF 130-POUND CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY ON SHOWTIME® FROM LONDON

 

 

America’s Youngest Champion Makes First Title Defense On The Road Against No. 1 Contender & Local Favorite Walsh Saturday At 6 p.m. ET/PT On SHOWTIME

 

“I’m just on a whole different level…On Saturday night you’ll be on your ass.” – Gervonta Davis

 

“I’m not intimidated one little bit.  Not by Floyd, not by Tank, not by anyone.” – Liam Walsh

 

Click HERE for photos; Credit Mark Robinson/SHOWTIME

 

LONDON (May 18, 2017) – IBF Junior Lightweight World Champion Gervonta Davis, undefeated No. 1 contender Liam Walsh and promoter Floyd Mayweather got into a jarring session during Thursday’s final press conference at Landmark Hotel in London just two days before Saturday’s world title clash on SHOWTIME from Copper Box Arena.

 

Baltimore’s “Tank” Davis, America’s youngest world champion, will attempt to become the first American to successfully defend his title on British soil in nearly a decade*, while Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs) aims to dethrone the man that Mayweather has christened the “future of boxing.” (*Note: Paulie Malignaggi vs. Lovemore Ndou in 2008)

 

Davis vs. Walsh is part of a split-site, four-fight SHOWTME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast that begins on Saturday, May 20, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.  In the main event, Gary Russell Jr. will make his second featherweight title defense and long-awaited homecoming against mandatory challenger Oscar Escandon live from MGM National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C.

 

The 22-year-old Davis, who has won by knockout in 16 of his 17 professional fights, will make the first defense of the IBF belt to won via KO over previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza in January.  The 30-year-old Walsh has won by knockout in three of his last four bouts and will be a decided local favorite at an expected sold-out Copper Box Arena.

 

The pound-for-pound great turned promoter Mayweather and Walsh’s two brothers, fellow professional fighters Michael and Ryan, led the jarring during Thursday’s festivities with Mayweather claiming “I’m 40 years old and I’ll kick all three of your asses in the same night.”

 

Team Walsh was “not intimidated one little bit” by Mayweather or Tank, while the southpaw Davis promised “On Saturday night you’ll be on your ass.  And then your brothers can get in next.”

 

Below are highlights of what the participants had to say on Thursday:

 

GERVONTA DAVIS:

“I’m just on a whole different level.  I do know they built you good, but you’ve been dropped before.  They’ve been protecting you from the power, so I know you have no chin.  On Saturdaynight you’ll be on your ass.  And then your brothers can get in next.

 

“Please don’t run Saturday night.

 

“I’ve just been trying to stay level-headed.  Getting that belt brings me that much closer to what I want to do – to take over the sport of boxing.  With the performance I put on Saturday night it will bring me a step closer to being the star of boxing and follow after Floyd Mayweather.

 

“Having Floyd in my corner gives me a lot of confidence.  Floyd has been pretty hands on with me, he’s been getting up and training and running with me.  He was my hero in the sport of boxing coming up so to just have him in my corner now is amazing.

 

“I won the belt and now my focus is to take over the sport.

 

“Growing up in Baltimore, it has a high crime rate.  It’s been tough.  Where I’m from the gym is in the hood.  If it wasn’t for the gym I’d either be in jail or dead.  That’s not what I want to be.  Boxing saved my life.”

 

LIAM WALSH:

“I’m always confident.  As I’ve said many times, his performance against Pedraza was very good.  I applaud him.  Tank is the best fighter I’ve come up against in my career so far, but I’m also the best fighter he’s going to come against in his career so far.  So it makes for a great fight.

 

“He’s physically very good.  He’s very fast, very powerful.  He’s a good puncher and performed beyond his years against Pedraza.  You can’t knock his performance whatsoever, but there’s still a lot of questions that he has to answer.

 

“The southpaw stance doesn’t affect me too much.  I can switch between the two.  I’m comfortable in both stances so that doesn’t bother me.

 

“I don’t think I can put it into words what it would mean to win the title.  It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little child.  The feeling, the emotion, I can’t put it into words.  This is the biggest night of my life.

 

“There are definitely flaws in his game and they’re there for me to exploit.  I plan to take advantage of his mistakes.  When I was 22, there were definitely mistakes I made that I wouldn’t make now.  So maybe it’s the perfect time to fight him.

 

“I’m not intimidated one little bit.  Not by Floyd, not by Tank, not by anyone.

 

“I predict I will win the fight.  I wouldn’t be shocked if I won by knockout, I wouldn’t be shocked if I won on points.  You won’t see me celebrating like a mad man if I knock out Tank because I know I’m capable of it.”

 

FLOYD MAYWEATHER:

“It’s not just one performance.  It takes more than just one performance.  We truly believe that he can be a great fighter, but he came in his last fight with only 16 fights and beat the champion.  We know he’s not going to lay down.  This kid has dynamite in both hands. If he keeps going out there beating great fighters he cannot be denied.

 

“When its lights, camera, action and the bell rings, 17 times he came out victorious and 16 by way of (knockout).

 

“His team does a remarkable job, but it’s my job as a friend and a father figure to tell him to come to Vegas to get him the best work.  We wanted him to have different looks.  We want guys that were going to push him, give him different styles.

 

“This kid, he busts his ass day in and day out.  We’re going to continue to go out there and do what we do.

 

“I already conquered your country once (with Ricky Hatton) and now we’re going to conquer it again on Saturday.

 

“I don’t miss being in the gym at all.  If I can push this fighter to surpass me and break every record, that’s a goal of mine.  That’s what we’re here to do.  Records are made to be broken.

 

“I remember when I met Tank on the Canelo (Alvarez) press tour and he asked to take a photo with me.  When I took a photo with him I said, ‘there’s something about that kid that looks special.’

 

“He came to my gym and put in some real good work and I reached out to him and said, ‘whatever it takes to work with you and get you to the next level, let’s make it happen.’  I told him, ‘if you listen to me and continue to work hard I truly believe you can be world champion within 24 months.’  And that’s just one stepping stone.  As of right now he’s one of the only fighters in boxing facing back-to-back undefeated fighters.

 

“Frank Warren, Liam Walsh, we just want to commend you guys for stepping up to the plate and making this fight happen and giving the fans what they want to see.  The fans want to see blood, sweat and tears.

 

“Tank is always in tremendous fights, he’s a big knockout artist.  I truly believe in my man, and I want to work with him until the end of his career.”

 

For more information visit www.SHO.com/Sports follow on Twitter @ShowtimeBoxing or become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing. To become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing.

GERVONTA DAVIS & LIAM WALSH PUBLIC WORKOUT PHOTOS FOR IBF JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP THIS SATURDAY ON SHOWTIME® FROM LONDON

 

America’s Youngest Champion Makes First Title Defense On The Road Against No. 1 Contender & Local Favorite Walsh

 

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Coverage Begins At 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT

 

Click HERE For Photos; Credit Lawrence Lustig/SHOWTIME

 

LONDON (May 17, 2017) – Gervonta Davis and Liam Walsh participated in public workouts on Wednesday at the legendary York Hall in advance of this Saturday’sIBF Junior Lightweight World Championship on SHOWTIME from Copper Box Arena in London. 

 

Baltimore’s Davis (17-0, 16 KOs) was joined in the ring during the workout by his promoter and mentor, all-time great Floyd Mayweather. Davis, who became America’s youngest reigning world champion in January, will make the first defense of his IBF belt on the road against undefeated No. 1 contender and local favorite Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs).

 

Davis vs. Walsh is the opening bout of a unique split-site, four-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event this Saturday that begins at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on SHOWTIME.  In the main event, Gary Russell Jr. will make the second defense of his WBC Featherweight World Championship against mandatory challenger Oscar Escandon from MGM National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C. 

 

Two world title eliminators will round out the quadrupleheader.  Top super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) and José Uzcátegui (26-1, 22 KOs) will face off in an IBF Super Middleweight Eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger for champion James DeGale.  Undefeated Rances Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KOs) will meet Kiryl Relikh (21-1, 19 KOs) in a WBA Super Lightweight Eliminator for unified champ Julius Indongo. 

 

For more information visit www.SHO.com/Sports follow on Twitter @ShowtimeBoxing or become a fan on Facebook atwww.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing. To become a fan on Facebook atwww.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing.

AMERICA’S YOUNGEST CHAMP GERVONTA DAVIS & NO. 1-RANKED CONTENDER LIAM WALSH MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL HIGHLIGHTS IN ADVANCE OF MAY 20 WORLD TITLE FIGHT ON SHOWTIME®

 

NEW YORK – Gervonta Davis, America’s youngest world champion, and No. 1-ranked challenger Liam Walsh participated in an international media conference call on Wednesday in advance of their clash for Davis’ IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship on Saturday, May 20 on SHOWTIME from Copper Box Arena in London.  Davis vs. Walsh is part of a split-site, four-fight SHOWTME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast that begins at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.  In the main event, Gary Russell Jr. will make his second featherweight title defense and long-awaited homecoming against mandatory challenger Oscar Escandon live from MGM National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C.

 

Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe and Hall of Fame boxing promoter Frank Warren also joined the call to talk about their fighters.

 

Here is what the principals had to say on Wednesday:

 

GERVONTA DAVIS

Thoughts on going to London to make his first title defense on foreign soil:

“I believe it was the right business move as far as getting me to the UK in my early career and giving the fans what they want to see.  I have a lot of UK fans after the [Jose] Pedraza fight so I think it’s a good change.  It’s good for me to fight in the UK.  I fought overseas when I was an amateur so now I’m going as a pro and I feel like it’s a great opportunity.

 

“I’m actually excited to fight in the UK.  I believe that I will have a crowd over there and I’m excited to put on a show for the UK fans.”

 

Have you watched Liam Walsh’s tapes? Do you think his style is sort of made to order for a fighter liked you?

“He’s a good fighter; I can’t take that away from him.  He’s my mandatory so I’m taking him seriously.  I’ve actually looked at a couple of his fights.  He’s a decent fighter, but I’m just on another level.  My mind, my skills, I’m on another level than what he’s saying and what his fans are saying too.”

 

What has it been like since you won the title?

“It’s been pretty good.  I’m actually staying level headed, staying focused.  Getting the world title is a step closer to where I want to be.  Having a belt is cool, but I’m trying to do more in the sport.  I want to be the next star of boxing.  I want to do more in the sport.  This is just one more step to me.”

 

Do you feel like you need to win by knockout?

“Of course.  I can’t rely on his mistakes, he’s capable of going down.”

 

On finishing camp with Floyd Mayweather in Vegas:

“When I got back to Vegas, Floyd Mayweather was hands on more than usual, working with me in the gym late nights.  I’m working extra hard.  Having him back in the gym gives me that extra push and has my mind on another level.

 

“Having him in my corner makes me feel like I have that chance.  I have one of the best in the business backing me.  It means a lot.  It makes me work harder.”

 

How has your experience growing up in inner-city Baltimore influenced you?

“Just growing up in that inner city, it gave me the hunger I have today.  My folks struggled.  I knew that when it was time for me to turn pro, it was time for me to help feed my family.  I’m ready to do big things in the sport of boxing and outside of the sport.

 

“I believe I have the youth right now. Right now I’m one of the youngest (world champions), and believe I have the youth right now.  I believe that as I continue to keep winning and crowning myself, a lot of young kids will look up to me and it will help get them on the right track.”

 

Going into this fight do you think Liam Walsh is your toughest opponent so far?

“I believe so.  I’ve fought a world champion.  He’s undefeated.  I don’t know, I have to see when I get in there.  On paper he might seem like a tough opponent.  I won’t know until I get in there and see what he brings to the table.”

 

Is there pressure to try and make statement against him and knock him out or wait to see if the knockout comes?

“I don’t think I have to make a statement by knocking him out.  I would rather beat him in 12 rounds.  We’re going to look for the knockout and if it comes, it comes.  But I would rather go on 12 rounds.”

 

Would you like to make a prediction?

“I’m coming out on top and keeping my world title.”

 

LIAM WALSH

Can you tell us what you think of Gervonta Davis?

“He certainly has potential and star quality – that was clear to see when he beat [Jose] Pedraza. But he has to come through me first.  I don’t see any other way than me winning.  If he’s going to be a star in the future, it’s going to have to be with a loss after fighting me.”

 

Are there advantages to fighting at home?

“I thank Frank Warren for that and giving me that advantage.  I think it all depends on his mental capacity.  He’s coming to a foreign country.  Provided that he adapts to the environment and change of scenery, then we’ll find out that night.”

 

You were Pedraza’s mandatory so were you surprised that Gervonta won that fight and in that dominant a fashion?

“I was to be honest with you.  My prediction was Pedraza to win on points.  I thought Pedraza had all the attributes and tools to get the job done.  But then on the night watching the fight, I was surprised by the way Pedraza went about his work.  I thought Gervonta looked brilliant and mature beyond his years.  I think he put on a really good show but I thought Pedraza could have gone about it a little bit better.”

 

What are your advantages in the fight against Gervonta Davis?

“First and foremost, I don’t think he’s completely overrated, but I think there are still a lot of questions to be asked of him.  He looked very good and brilliant against Pedraza.  The only other reputable fighter on his record is Cristobal Cruz.  There are a lot of question marks lingering on.

 

“I feel like I’ve been in tougher fights than him.  I feel like I’ve been in longer fights.  I think I have a better boxing IQ than him.  He’s very powerful, very physical and very fast, but we haven’t seen him in a long fight or a dog fight or a grueling fight though.  I will certainly ask all these questions.  I’ll do it any which way that it has to go.  I’m more than confident I’ll get the job done.”

 

Is it key to take the fight into later rounds?

“I think possibly, yeah.  I think that could be one angle to look at it.  We’re not going to really know until the first bell rings.  We all have game plans, but good fighters have to adapt. There’s going to be ebbs and flows in this fight, but I think the better fighter will prevail and I think that’s me.”

 

Boxing is hot in UK, how much of a benefit do you think will that be for you?

“I think it’s definitely beneficial to be fighting at home.  I don’t live far from London so I won’t have to leave my house until a couple of days before the fight and obviously my sons will be there in support for me.  It’s definitely beneficial.  I want us both to get a fair crack and I’m sure it will be.  When you’re the home fighter, you feel more obliged to dig a little bit deeper for your home fans who are cheering for you. So that’s what I’ll do.”

 

What is your prediction for the fight?

“Like 21 previous times, I’ll always predict I’ll win.  So that’s what I’ll predict again.  One thing is factually certain, I’ll give my absolute all.  My prediction is I’ll come away with victory and the belt, whichever which way I have to.  I’ll find a way to come away with that belt.”

 

Over here in the U.S., the sentiment is that Gervonta is the favorite in the fight. Do you think you’re the favorite because of the experience that you bring to the ring?

“I don’t think I’m the favorite but I’m not a 3-1 underdog.  When I was told that, I thought I must be fighting three people.  I’ve never been a 3-1 underdog.  I’m a big underdog apparently, but certainly not in my eyes.  In my eyes it won’t be a massive shock if I win this title.  The U.S. fans think it will be a walk-over, but that couldn’t be more further from the truth.  I can understand him being the favorite with all the hype and Mayweather behind him, but I’m baffled by being that much of an underdog.  But we’ll find out.”

 

Is there extra motivation in being the underdog?

“Yes, it’s extra motivation.  My friends are betting on me and when I win, they’ll have a great night.  This is the first time I’ve been the underdog in my pro career, and I’m really enjoying being the underdog.  I’m really thriving on it.”

 

LENOARD ELLERBE, Davis’ promoter and Mayweather Promotions CEO:

“This is going to be an unbelievable fight and we are looking forward to promoting our first event on foreign soil.  We expect a sold-out crowd and this is going to be a very, very exciting fight.

 

“We think this is a wonderful opportunity and a tremendous platform for [Gervonta] to be able to showcase his skills across the world.  With him being a young champion I think he has an advantage, and working alongside someone like Floyd, someone who can explain to him what it’s like to go into hostile territory and what to expect coming into a big fight.  All those intangibles, along with his hard work and preparation he’s done, I think he has a tremendous advantage and has the perfect team in his corner to get the job done.

 

“We are very comfortable with the judges and we expect a very level playing field.  Tank just has to go in there and stay focused and do what he does. I think his skills will speak loud and clear.  Liam Walsh is a tremendous fighter and he has a tremendous following and he has been in some good fights.

 

“This is similar to back in 2005 when Floyd went into Atlantic City and beat Arturo Gatti.  But this is a little different in that, as Tank mentioned, he has a lot of fans in the UK.  I don’t think it’s going to be one-side.  Because one thing I do love about the UK fans is that they are very, very knowledgeable boxing fans.  They can appreciate skill level and fighters that are really, really good.  Tank has a tremendous social media presence and a tremendous following in the UK.  As far as the crowd is concerned, I’m not so sure it’s going to be all Liam Walsh.  Tank is going to have a lot of support there.  And, again, when you have the kind of preparation he has had, and you are focused, that’s what it’s going to come down to.

 

“The focus right now is Liam Walsh and Saturday night.  As long as Tank stays focused and does what he does, the sky is the limit.  He has a tremendous team and he’s working with the best promoter in all of boxing.  We are really excited about this young man’s career and in our eyes he’s the most exciting fighter in all of boxing.  And soon he’s going to be the biggest star in all of boxing.”

 

FRANK WARREN, Hall of Fame promoter:

“The Copper Box Arena is where they held the boxing for the London Olympics.  It’s a fantastic venue with the crowd right on top of the ring.  That atmosphere is going to be fantastic and it’s going to be a sellout.  This fight is a great opportunity for the American public watching on SHOWTIME, and for those in England, to see a really good quality fight.  In some ways this fight reminds me a lot of when Joe Calzaghe fought against Jeff Lacy, who was a big favorite, and Joe took him to school.

 

“I think it’s always best to have the home advantage.  You got your fans there and your home support. The British boxing fans are passionate fans, and they are going to get behind their man.  Sometimes when you’re away from home, you may not get the best out of you.  When you are at home, you have to do your best because those fans are there for you.  I much prefer the home advantage and it’s worked well for us in the past, like when we did the fight with Ricky Hatton fight and Kostya Tszyu and he went in as a massive underdog in that fight and he ended up winning.  And we’ve done that on numerous occasions. But you have to have a good fighter.

 

“With Liam, he’s been under the radar with some of the problems we’ve mentioned outside the ring.  But the fact of the matter is that he’s one of the best British boxers.  He’s an excellent fighter.  He’s not an old 30, he’s a young 30 years of age.  If Gervonta Davis is going to be what the people think he’s going to be, well then he will be that if he beats Liam Walsh.  And to beat Liam Walsh, you have to be something special.

 

“Everyone is looking for the next big thing.  Is [Gervonta] overrated?  We will find out.  I know one thing is for sure, Liam is underrated.  And that’s going to be the difference.”

 

For more information visit www.SHO.com/Sports follow on Twitter @ShowtimeBoxing or become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing. To become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing.

Rances Barthelemy Training Camp Quotes & Photos

 

 

Two-Division World Champion Battles Kiryl Relikh in 140-Pound Title Eliminator on SHOWTIME Saturday, May 20 From

MGM National Harbor in Maryland

 

Click HERE for Photos from Sean Michael Ham/

Premier Boxing Champions

 

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (May 10, 2017) – Cuban star Rances Barthelemy will look to take one step closer to becoming the first Cuban fighter to win world titles in three weight classes when he battles Kiryl Relikh in a WBA 140-pound title eliminator on Saturday, May 20 on SHOWTIME from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

 

Televised coverage begins on SHOWTIME at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and is headlined by WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. defending his title against top challenger Oscar Escandon plus super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui in a matchup for the Interim IBF Super Middleweight World Championship. In the telecast opener, from Copper Box Arena in London, Gervonta Davis defends his IBF 130-pound world championship against Liam Walsh.

 

Tickets for the live event at MGM National Harbor, promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50, and are now on sale. To purchase tickets go to http://mgmnationalharbor.com/.

 

Already a champion at 130 and 135-pounds, a victory over the former title challenger Relikh will put Barthelemy in the mandatory position to face unified 140-pound champion Julius Indongo and do something that no fighter has done in the rich history of Cuban boxing.

 

Here is what Barthelemy had to say from training camp in Las Vegas:

 

1) How is training camp going? How have you benefitted from sparring and training alongside of your brother Leduan and Yordenis Ugas and have their recent performances been an indication of how you expect to perform? 

 

“Training camp is going really well. Training alongside of my brother and Yordenis under the tutelage of Ismael Salas is the best thing that could happen in my career. They keep me focused and motivated to get better every day. Yordenis and I have been helping each other during our camps, he’s an Olympic athlete so having him to train with is really beneficial. We have a new strength and conditioning coach as well who has us in the best shape possible. I know May 20 you guys will see the best Rances Barthelemy yet.”

 

2) What would it mean to you to become the first three-division world champion from Cuba?

 

“It would mean the world to me, after all that it took to defect from Cuba, the near death experiences, the imprisonments, leaving my loved ones behind, it would all have been worth it. I want to inspire the youth that come after me as well, let them know to never give up on their dreams no matter the conditions you live in or what the naysayers may say. Me winning a third world title and making history for a Cuban would prove that.”

 

3) What did you take away from Relikh’s loss to Ricky Burns? 

 

“I didn’t get to watch the fight but watched the highlights and it seemed like a very entertaining fight. People were saying that it probably should have gone the other way even, so it seems like he put on a good performance.”

4) How would you characterize Relikh’s style and how do you see this fight playing out? 

 

“He likes to come forward a lot and attack. I’m prepared for that if that’s what he plans to do come fight night but I also anticipate having to make adjustments. I always prepare to adjust to whatever my opponent brings. Being a cerebral fighter is a skill that has helped me succeed inside the ring.”

5) Can you address your 11-month layoff and how your training has been geared towards shaking off any ring rust you may have? 

 

“There will be no ring rust come May 20 as we have been in the gym non-stop since my last fight against Mickey Bey. We took a few weeks off to visit Cuba for the first time since my defection. Aside from that I made sure to stay active and I’ve been training hard to be prepared when my name got called. The 11-month layoff happened for reasons out of my control. My management team has been trying to get the best opponents and unfortunately it took longer than we expected but we are here now and I’m as prepared as I have ever been.”

 

6) How did you trip back to Cuba come about and what was it like to be back in your home country?

 

“It was very emotional and a long eight years since I had been back. I didn’t know if I’d be able to go back or not. But I visited the Cuban embassy in Washington D.C. and they told me I’d finally be able to go back to visit my loved ones. It was nothing but nerves until I got over there. It was an emotional time and everyone welcomed me back with open arms in my hometown of Havana. It’s something I will never forget, especially for the way I was received.”

7) How do you rate your skills and progression as a fighter considering your last three dominant wins over top quality opposition? Do you feel that you are at the peak of your career? 

 

“I am definitely at my peak physically, and I’m looking to match that on paper this year. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring. I don’t like to rate myself, I leave that to the people and the media. They’ve taken notice and that’s why I am where I am today, but I am expecting big things to happen this year.”

 

8) Why did you feel it was time to rise in weight, especially considering the wealth of talent at 135 right now? Who do you consider to be the top 135 fighter now that you are gone? 

 

“My body was asking for it, 135 was taking too much of a physical toll on me. It may not have been noticeable, but I struggled to make weight during my last fight at 135 and felt I lost some of my power because of the drainage. Since I moved up to 140 I definitely have felt a lot better. It was the right move. Plus, I now have the chance to go after a third world title in a third division, which would be the first time for any boxer from Cuba.”

 

9) Why did you make the decision to move from Miami to Las Vegas and how do you think it has benefited you?

 

“To be honest, there is nothing better for a Cuban than to be living in Miami, because the weather is just right and what we are used to. But at the same time it presents a lot of distractions too. So moving to the boxing hub of the United States is better for me so I don’t get wrapped up in anything extra other than boxing. Plus, there are so many sparring partners here and I can go up to Mt. Charleston and get my runs in up there.”

 

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ABOUT RUSSELL JR. vs. ESCANDON

 

Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon is a featherweight world championship showdown that headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on Saturday, May 20 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland. Televised coverage begins on SHOWTIME at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and features super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui in a matchup for the Interim IBF Super Middleweight World Championship plus two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy in a WBA 140-pound world title eliminator against Kiryl Relikh. In the telecast opener, from Copper Box Arena in London, Gervonta Davis puts his IBF Jr. Lightweight Title on the line against Liam Walsh.

 

For more information, follow on Twitter @MrGaryRussellJr, @TGBPromotions, @MGMNatlHarbor and @Swanson_Comm or become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing andwww.Facebook.com/MGMNationalHarbor. The event is sponsored by Corona Extra, La Cerveza Mas Fina.

America’s Youngest World Champion Gervonta Davis And WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. Anchor Four-Fight, Split-Site Boxing Event Saturday, May 20 On SHOWTIME®

 

Davis Defends Against Unbeaten Liam Walsh To Open the Show From London; 

Russell Faces Mandatory Challenger Oscar Escandon In Main Event from Outside Washington D.C.

 

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®

Saturday, May 20 * Live At 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT

From MGM National Harbor In Maryland

 

NEW YORK (May 10, 2017) – America’s youngest world champion, Gervonta Davis, will make his first world title defense in the opening bout and featherweight world champion Gary Russell Jr. will make his mandatory world title defense in the main event of a split-site, four-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event on Saturday, May 20, live on SHOWTIME at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT*. 

 

Davis will travel to Britain to defend his IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship against undefeated No. 1-ranked contender and local favorite Liam Walsh from Copper Box Arena in London.  Russell will make a long-awaited homecoming—his first professional fight in the region—and his second WBC Featherweight World Championship defense against mandatory challenger Oscar Escandon live from MGM National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C.

 

*Editors’ Note: In order to present all four bouts on one program, the Davis vs. Walsh bout may air on a delay basis of up to 30 minutes. 

 

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING host Brian Custer will anchor the four-fight telecast from Maryland with coverage of Davis vs. Walsh provided by BT Sport.  Veteran sportscaster Mauro Ranallo will handle play-by-play at MGM National Harbor with Hall of Famer Al Bernstein and former two-division champion Paulie Malignaggi serving as analysts.  Emmy award winning sports reporter Jim Gray and 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Steve Farhood will also serve from ringside.  Secondary Audio Programming will be offered in Spanish by Alejandro Luna and former world champ Raúl Marquez. 

 

From London, John Rawling will handle play-by-play for Davis vs. Walsh with former world champion Richie Woodhall providing the color commentary at Copper Box Arena.

 

“May 20 will be a big night of boxing and it kicks off a run of four consecutive weeks of world class fights on SHOWTIME,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports®.  “We have consistently delivered the biggest and most important boxing events from around the globe to SHOWTIME subscribers.  This unique presentation—four fights, two world championships and two title eliminators, from different continents, all on one show—is yet another example of our unrivaled commitment to the sport.”

 

The 22-year-old Davis (17-0, 16 KOs) is the youngest reigning world champion from the United States and the second youngest in the world.  The Baltimore native and Floyd Mayweather protégé will travel to hostile territory in his first title defense against Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs) in a matchup of undefeated southpaws. 

 

Russell Jr. (27-1, 16 KOs) will look to make a statement in the loaded featherweight division against mandatory challenger Ecandon (25-2, 17 KOs), who owns a stunning knockout of former world champion Jesus Cuellar.  Russell vs. Escandon is the sixth featherweight title bout on SHOWTIME since February 2016. 

 

Two world title eliminators will round out the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING quadrupleheader.  Top super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) and José Uzcátegui (26-1, 22 KOs) will face off in an IBF Super Middleweight Eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger for champion James DeGale. 

 

Undefeated Rances Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KOs) will meet Kiryl Relikh (21-1, 19 KOs) in a WBA Super Lightweight Eliminator for unified champ Julius Indongo.  Barthelemy, who won titles at 130 and 135, will earn an opportunity to become Cuba’s first three-division champion with a win over the hard-hitting Relikh. 

 

For more information visit www.SHO.com/Sports follow on Twitter @ShowtimeBoxing or become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing. To become a fan on Facebook atwww.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing.