Tuesday, March 21, 2023  |


Chris Avalos turns down shot at Guillermo Rigondeaux


Guillermo Rigondeaux speedbag farina


RING junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux may receive a new WBO mandatory challenger in the wake of Chris Avalos apparently having declined a planned Nov. 22 bout that was targeted for either Miami or the Dominican Republic, according to a Tweet by WBO President Paco Valcarcel.

The date and venues were proposed by Caribe Promotions on Sept. 19 after having posted that day’s winning purse bid of $317,777.77 as the sole participant in Puerto Rico.

But on Thursday, Valcarcel indicated that Avalos (24-2, 18 knockouts) was no longer in the running for the match-up, whose purse split broke down to 75 percent for Rigondeaux ($238,333.32) compared to 25 percent for Avalos ($79,444.45) “as per our WBO rules,” according to WBO General Secretary Jose Izquierdo.

“Chris Avalos apparently pulls out from Rigondeaux fight,” wrote Valcarcel. “WBO Championship Committee to make determination tomorrow on Rigondeaux mandatory.”

Izquierdo expanded on Valcarcel’s assertion on Friday.

“That’s right. We had ordered that fight and apparently, Chris Avalos pulled out yesterday. He pulled out yesterday. We were notified by [Top Rank Vice President] Carl Moretti that they thanked us for the opportunity but that Chris Avalos would not be fighting Rigondeaux,” said Izquierdo.

“The WBO World Championship Committee will make a determination today as to Rigondeaux’s mandatory defense. That’s as much as I have right now. We’ll probably have a decision by the end of business hours today and hopefully, there is no delay. Obviously, we want to see what the landscape of the division is and what the mandatory will be from that. But definitely, the World Championship Committee will make a determination today.”

Rigondeaux, who also holds the WBA belt, was last in action for a first round knockout of Sod Kokietgym on a Top Rank Promotions card in Macao, China in July.

Rigondeaux, 33, ended a 36-0-1 unbeaten streak for Kokietgym and was coming off consecutive unanimous decisions over Nonito Donaire in April 2013 and Joseph Agbeko in December.

Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 KOs) won the RING and WBO titles in the Donaire fight and the WBA title against Rico Ramos in Jan. 2012 in his ninth pro bout.

Avalos, 24, has won five consecutive fights, three by knockout, since falling by split decision to Jhonatan Romero in December 2011. Avalos also became the IBF’s mandatory challenger with his eighth-round stoppage of Yasutaka Ishimoto in May, this, at a time with the organization’s beltholder still was Kiko Martinez.

Martinez secured an exception from the IBF to face Frampton rather than Avalos, and was dethroned by Frampton following a unanimous decision loss in a Sept. 6 rematch of Frampton’s ninth-round stoppage win from February 2013.

Although Frampton (19-0, 13 KOs) was injured in the bout with Martinez, and is expected to be sidelined until November, IBF Championships Chairman, Lindsay Tucker, informed RingTV.com on Friday that he was contacted by Top Rank regarding its pursuit of a fight with Frampton.

“We were told by Top Rank that Chris Avalos wasn’t going to fight Rigondeaux, but that he was going to fight Frampton. Chris Avalos is the mandatory challenger, and he was the the mandatory challenger to Kiko Martinez. But Kiko Martinez asked for and was granted an exception to fight Carl Frampton with the condition that the winner would fight Avalos within 90 days,” said Tucker.

“But unfortunately, Frampton got injured and he’s going to need at least two months before we can order him to start negotiating with Avalos. So we have given him what we call a two-month medical extension until November. So we were told last week that Avalos intends to fight Frampton and not Rigondeaux, and that’s where we are. They’re only question was whether Avalos could take an interim fight, and we agreed to that.”

Moretti confirmed that Avalos was going after Frampton, “a scenario that presents a much better opportunity for Chris,” Moretti said.



WBA bantamweight titleholder Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno and undefeated rival Juan Carlos Payano both weighed 117.6 pounds in advance of Friday’s bout at the Mesquite Arena in Mesquite, Texas, that is being promoted by Iron Mike Productions.

The RING’s No. 1-rated 118-pounder, Moreno (35-2-1, 12 knockouts) is coming off a unanimous decision in March over Javier Nicolas Chacon, ending Chacon’s seven-fight winning streak. Moreno, 29, from San Miguelito, Panama, will be making the 13th defense of the belt he won by split decision over Volodymyr Sydorenko in May 2008.

Payano (15-0, 8 KOs) represents Moreno’s third fight since his unanimous decision loss to then-WBC junior featherweight beltholder Abner Mares in November 2012.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Payano, 30, has won three of his past five fights by knockout and is coming off a unanimous decision over German Meraz in February.

The remainder of the weights for the card are as follows:

Charles Hatley 155.4, Richard Gutierrez 154.8
Robert Marroquin 131.6, Miguel Soto 132.4
Moises Flores 126.6, Pablo Batres 133.8
Raphael Murphy 197.8, Gary Tapuosa 197.4
DeAnthony Bonner 130, Evan James Woolsey 131.8
John Wesley Nofire 244, Earl Ladson 273
Alberto Fundora 167, Andrew Sosa 164.6



Arthur Abraham (40-4, 28 KOs) is after his fifth consecutive victory in defense of his WBO super middleweight title against Paul Smith (35-3, 20 KOs) on Saturday at the Sparkassen-Arena in Kiel.

THE RING No. 2-ranked 168-pounder, Abraham, 34, is coming off a unanimous decision over Nikola Sjekloca in May that followed his split decision over rival Robert Stieglitz on March 1, the latter earning the belt and avenging a fourth round TKO loss in March 2013.

Smith, 31, has reeled off four straight wins, three by stoppage, since being stopped by George Groves in the second round in November 2011. Smith is coming off a second round knockout over David Sarabia in May.



Smith’s past four wins have been against marginal competition – two of the fighters had records below .500.

“I am fighting for the same belt that Joe Calzaghe and Steve Collins had, Chris Eubank had it and Eubank vs. Benn was for this title, Sugar Ray Leonard fought for this belt. Now I am going to fight for it in a fight that I can win, and I know that if I get this game plan right that I am going to win. I am 100 per cent the underdog, and I know I am. But that is what I want, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Smith.

“It is something that is a fact. He is a world champion, and I am a challenger. Nine times out of 10, the challenger is going to be the underdog anyway. But as a challenger who has never fought for a world title before against somebody who has had 19 world title fights, I am definitely going to be an underdog. When I made my debut, he was in big fights, and when I was moving through the six and eight-rounders, he was a world champion. So I need to up my game and be at my best.”

Smith called Abraham “a proven world-class puncher,” adding, “if you get caught, you are going to get knocked out, so you have to make sure you keep tight all the time.”

“It will be a battle of the jabs. He has a great jab and so have I. It is all about getting it right on the night,” said Smith. “The game plan I have, which we all believe will work, I have to put that into play on tomorrow night and that is what will win the title.”

Note: Smith’s quotes from a release


Undefeated middleweight prospect Dominic Wade will face KeAndrae Leatherwood as part of an Oct. 4 Showtime quadruple-header that includes unbeaten IBF junior lightweight titleholder Rances Barthelemy and former two-time light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson from Mashantucket, Connecticut, promoters Lou DiBella and Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing announced on Thursday.

Wade (16-0, 11 KOs), 24, from Largo, Md., is coming off a unanimous decision over Nick Brinson in June while Leatherwood (14-2-1, 10 KOs), 25, has scored two knockouts since falling by unanimous decision to undefeated Hugo Centeno Jr. in March 2013.

Leatherwood’s past two victories were over Scoey Fields and Mickey Scarborough in the second and first rounds in December and April, respectively.

In the main event, Barthelemy will defend against Fernando Saucedo after Dawson faces Tommy Karpency on a Showtime Boxing “Special Edition” that is co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Warriors Boxing.

Barthelemy is coming off back-to-back fights with former IBF beltholder Argenis Mendez. Their first bout in January was ruled a no-contest after Barthelemy, a Miami, Florida-based Cuban, knocked Mendez out with a punch that landed just after the bell ending the second round.

Barthelemy won their return bout by unanimous decision in July, earning the IBF title he thought he won at the start of the year.

“I’m very excited to be fighting on Showtime for the first time,” said Barthelemy, who defected from Cuba shortly before his pro debut in Aug. 2009.

“The goal when you start out your career is to win a world title and fight on a major network. Now that I have accomplished both, I want to prove I’m one of the best fighters in the world.”

A 32-year-old veteran from Argentina, Saucedo has won 14 consecutive fights since dropping a unanimous decision to then-unbeaten WBA featherweight titleholder Chris John in December 2010.

“Saucedo has fought a lot of guys. He’s one of the highest-ranked contenders in the IBF, so I’m coming in totally prepared and focused. I want to win obviously but I’d like to win impressively,” said Barthelemy.

“I want to show everybody that I’m the best at 130 pounds with no ifs, ands or buts and that includes Mikey Garcia, Orlando Salido, who’s called me out. So the opportunities are there for me but first, I have to defeat Saucedo.”

Dawson, 32, is coming off a first round stoppage of George Blades in June after having suffered back-to-back stoppage losses to RING super middleweight champ Andre Ward and and RING light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson in the 10th and first rounds in September 2012 and June 2013, respectively.

Since dropping a shutout decision to then-WBO titleholder Nathan Cleverly in February 2012 and falling by seventh round TKO Andrzej Fonfara almost nine months later, Karpency has won two bouts over journeyman opposition.

Karpency’s unanimous decision in January over 23-21-2 Rayco Saunders, avenged a similar loss from July 2008. In July, Karpency unanimously decisioned Dhafir Smith.

A fourth fight offers junior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan opposite Willie Nelson.

Martirosyan, 28, unanimously decisioned Mario Alberto Lozano in his last fight in March to rebound from a split decision loss to Demetrius Andrade in November for the WBO’s belt.

“I’ve been training for this fight for over two-and-a half months. It’s been a long camp. Every time I spar, I’m sparring 15 rounds, 20 rounds. We’re working really hard. I’ve never in my life sparred so long or experienced something like this,” said Martirosyan.

“I think Nelson is a good fighter. He always finds a way to win, even though he gets hurt or dropped and you’ve got to respect him for that. But he has to respect me too because I’ve never been so hungry in my life. This is basically do-or-die for me.”

Nelson is riding a seven-fight winning streak that includes three knockouts and was last in action for August’s unanimous decision over Luis Grajeda. Nelson’s only loss was by majority decision to Vincent Arroyo in April 2011.

“I think Martirosyan is a good fighter. He’s well-rounded, decent speed, decent power,” said Nelson. “But I’m going to use the same game plan for him as I do for everybody else. I’m not going to change nothing. Basically, I’m just going to work on keeping him on the outside on the end of my punches.”



Welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison, 20, Washington, D.C., will throw out the first pitch for Friday’s Washington Nationals vs. Florida Marlins game at Nationals Stadium. The Nationals, champions of the National League East, will play the Marlins at 1 p.m. in the first game of a doubleheader before the playoffs begin.

“I am honored to be stepping on the same field as the Nationals’ players,” said Hernandez-Harrison, “because I know what their success means to all of us in the community.”


Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank Promotions