Saturday, December 09, 2023  |



The Neutral Corner: Episode 262 Recap (Sonny Conto joins; Smith edges Vlasov, Ennis stops Lipinets)

Fighters Network

On episode 262 of The Neutral Corner boxing podcast, host Michael Montero was joined by undefeated heavyweight prospect Sonny “The Bronco” Conto.

The Philadelphia native improved to 7-0 (6 knockouts) with a highlight-reel knockout on the Smith-Vlasov undercard Saturday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Less than 48 hours after the KO1 win, Conto was already back in the gym preparing for his next fight.

“I’m back in Philly and I did a run this morning,” he told RingTV. “I’m right back into the groove. I’m actually going to hit the gym right after this interview.”

Conto weighed 230-pounds for his fight last Saturday, a dozen pounds heavier than his previous career-high weight. He says that was by design.

Sonny Conto. Photo by Mikey Williams / Top Rank

“I started my professional career around 214-pounds,” he said. “This new generation of heavyweights are bigger. It’s been our goal to put on weight with strength and conditioning training, and extra meals. I was comfortable at 230, I think I can gain another five or even ten more pounds. I have the frame for it.”

The 25 year-old Italian-American is part of recent Philadelphia boxing resurgence, with several young boxers currently working their way up through the ranks. Once such fighter is Jaron “Boots” Ennis, who scored a KO6 win over battle-tested veteran Sergey Lipinets last weekend in Connecticut.

“Jaron had a great performance Saturday night, he’s definitely ready for a world class opponent. I’m with him 100% of the way, I believe in him. He’s naturally gifted.”

“Philly is coming back and we’re coming back hard. Stephen Fulton is a world champion from Philly. We got Boots, we got Julian Williams, we got Bryant Jennings fighting for the bridgerweight world title (against Oscar Rivas in June).”

“Philly is still here.”



It only took Benn 80 seconds to finish Vargas. Photo by Dave Thompson/ Matchroom Boxing

On Saturday April 10 in London, Conor Benn only needed one round to stop Samuel Vargas in a Matchroom Boxing headliner. On the undercard, Shannon Courtenay and Savannah Marshall also scored wins in title bouts. The card was broadcast on DAZN.

Later that night in the United States, Ennis dominated Lipinets to headline a PBC on Showtime card. The Kazakhstan native had never been stopped previously. Eimantas Stanionis and Jerwin Ancajas also won 12-round decisions on the undercard.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Joe Smith Jr and Maxim Vlasov fought for a vacant light heavyweight title in a Top Rank on ESPN main event. This fight more than lived up to the hype, with heavy two-way action and momentum swings throughout. In the end, Smith edged it on the scorecards to get the majority decision win and claim his first world title. Fans and media were split on the decision, with many feeling that the Russian had done enough to win.



Saturday, April 17

TGB Promotions, PBC on Fox

Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall, Los Angeles

Tony Harrison vs Bryant Perrella, 10rds, 154 pounds

Omar Juarez vs Jessie Roman, 10rds, 140 pounds


Matchroom Boxing, DAZN

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida

Demetrius Andrade vs Liam Williams, 160-pound title fight

Carlos Gongora vs Christopher Pearson, 12rds, 168 pounds


Ryan Kavanaugh, Triller, Fite.TV PPV

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta

Jake Paul vs Ben Aksren, 8rds, 200 pounds

Regis Prograis vs Ivan Redkach, 10rds, 140 pounds



@1:46 News and Notes

@3:45 Interview with Sonny Conto

@21:10 Fight Review

@46:10 Fight Preview



Michael Montero can be found on social media via @MonteroOnBoxing. His podcast “The Neutral Corner” can be seen every Monday on TheRingDigital YouTube channel, and heard on audio podcast platforms around the world.