Johnson and Monaghan Clash at Turning Stone!
Light-Heavyweight Crunch Battle on March 9th
(February 1st) Callum Johnson and Sean Monaghan will clash in a crunch Light-Heavyweight battle at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on Saturday March 9, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
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Johnson (17-1 12KOs) returns to the States following his first World title fight in October in Chicago against Artur Beterbiev, a wild shoot-out with the Russian champion where he hit the deck in the opening round, but returned the favor with interest in the second round before being stopped in the fourth.
The 33 year old former British and Commonwealth champion and Commonwealth Games gold medal man is straight back into a major showdown for the 175lbs division as he targets a second crack at the big prize in 2019, with the fight notably bolstering the stacked bill for WBA ruler Dmitry Bivol’s defense against Joe Smith Jr.
“I was gutted in the Beterbiev fight, I was gutted because I felt the occasion maybe got to me, but I still had good moments in the fight and I've learned a lot from it,” said Johnson.
“I know that if a second shot comes my way, I will be more than ready for it with the experience of Chicago behind me. Sean always puts everything into his fights and he badly needs this win, just like I do, so there should be fireworks.”
Irish-American Monaghan (29-2 17KOs) is in no doubt as to what is on the line in what he’s calling a ‘do or die’ fight for his career.
The New Yorker enters the bout gone the ten round distance with Sullivan Barerra in November, and the 37 year old sees a victory over Johnson as a must-win to keep his World title dreams alive.
“I’ve had my eye on Callum since before the Beterbiev fight,” said Monaghan. “He has a come forward pressure style and our styles should make for a fan friendly fight.
“I know these Brit’s always come in shape so I’m already working very hard. This is a fight I absolutely need to win. No excuses, it’s do or die for me.”
Johnson and Monaghan clash on a huge bill in upstate New York led by a World title double-header in the shape of Bivol’s clash with Smith Jr and Maurice Hooker puts his WBO Junior-Welterweight title against unbeaten challenger Mikkel LesPierre. Ohio talent Otha Jones III makes his pro debut on the card, with more undercard action to be announced.
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Tickets Bivol / Smith Jr. Hooker / LesPierre
Championship Double Header at the Turning Stone Casino, Verona NY on Sale NOW - Otha Jones III Makes Pro Debut Talent Unleashed on the Paid Ranks March 9th!
(January 28th) Tickets for the World title double-header starring Dmitry Bivol and Maurice Hooker defending their belts at Turning Stone Resort Casino on Saturday March 9 live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK are on sale NOW!
Bivol puts his WBA Light-Heavyweight title on the line against Joe Smith Jr, the fifth defense of his belt after moving to 15-0 (11KOs) in November, with a comprehensive to a points win over former unified champion Jean Pascal in New Jersey. Bivol’s win over the Canadian was the latest impressive name on his growing CV, following a points triumph over Isaac Chilemba, a final round stoppage of Sullivan Barrera and a highlight real first round KO of Trent Broadhurst.
The Russian star will meet a stern test of his ambitions to unify the division in the shape of Smith Jr (24-2 20KOs) the Long Islander who famously stopped Bernard Hopkins in the Philadelphia legend’s last pro fight in December 2016 and destroyed Andrzej Fonfara inside the opening round of their clash in Chicago six months earlier.
Hooker defends his WBO Junior-Welterweight title against unbeaten challenger Mikkel LesPierre, with Hooker making the second defense of his title following his stunning victory in November, climbing off the canvas in the second round against Alex Saucedo in the challengers Oklahoma City backyard to hand a first career loss to the 24 year old in the seventh round.
Hooker (25-0-3 17KOs), who won the title on the road earlier in the year in Manchester to take Terry Flanagan’s ‘0’ in June, will add upstate New York to his travels as he targets a major hometown defense in the summer. Trinidad and Tobago born Brooklynite LesPierre (20-0-1 9KOs) fights for his first World title against Hooker.
“I want to thank Joe and his team for taking the fight as I think that our styles will make for a great fight - but I will keep my title,” said Bivol. “I'm so happy that my team have come up with a great plan for my future on DAZN, it's an exciting new chapter in my career and I cannot wait for March 9.
“This is a huge opportunity for me and one I'll take full advantage of,” said Smith Jr. “This is everything that I've worked for, really hard, for my whole life, so I'm going to give it everything I've got, and come March 9, I will be 100 per cent ready to take that title home.”
“I can guarantee you that I’m leaving New York City with another ‘W’ in the win column,” Hooker said. “I’m hungry to get back to competing and I’m going to put on a great show so that I can bring my belt back to Dallas for my next bout.”
“We’re very excited that Mo will be fighting in New York, giving him the opportunity to shine in the biggest city in the world,” Roc Nation Sports boxing promoter Dino Duva said. “He had an unforgettable 2018 and we’re confident that he’ll sustain that momentum in 2019.”
“It's been a long time coming, I've been grinding underground out of the public eye - so when I come to fight, I go to work and get the job done,” said LesPierre.
“I took this fight in a heartbeat. I don't listen to what people say, some might not think I deserve this shot but come March 9, I will show people that I belong at this level. I've moved up the rankings and put the work in – there's no-one out there that works harder than me or wants this more than me. I've put myself in position to get to this point and now it's time to shine.”
Further fights on the undercard will be announced soon.
Otha Jones III Makes Pro Debut In Turning Stone,
Ohio Talent Unleashed on the Paid Ranks March 9th!
(January 28th) Otha Jones III will make his professional debut on Saturday March 9 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.
Jones III announced his decision to join the paid ranks last week and the Ohio talent will begin converting his amateur prowess into professional success on a huge World title double-header bill as Dmitry Bivol defends his WBA World Light-Heavyweight title against Joe Smith Jr and Maurice Hooker is on the road again as he puts his WBO Junior Welterweight strap on the line against unbeaten Brooklynite Mikkel LesPierre.
Jones III amassed 280 wins as an amateur in just under 300 fights, winning 13 National titles and representing the USA national team in multiple tournaments around the world, and believes his amateur style will translate into titles as a pro fighter.
“My style is hard to beat and it's going to be the same in the pros,” said Jones III. “My team have a great plan for me and I'm so excited to fight in the UK as well as in the US, it's awesome to know that I've got so many options and fights in front of me. I don't feel any pressure because I have total faith in my ability, I just can't wait to get out there and show what I've got.”
“Otha’s record speaks for itself,” said Hearn. “I asked people 'who do we need to sign in the US?' and the name Otha Jones III came up time and again, they’d say ‘this is the guy in amateur boxing right now that you need in the paid ranks’.
“Otha is going to box eight times in his first year as a pro starting on March 9, all over the world, particularly in the US. He's an outstanding fighter with a great personality, and we can't wait for his journey to start.
“We do stadium events and World title fights, but this is sometimes the most exciting thing as you get the chance to grow a fighter from day one.”
Bivol vs Smith Jr. Opening Presser!
Beterbiev Out, Bivol / Smith Jr. In the Works!
(January 15th) With soundings of unsettled IBF World Light Heavyweight Champion Artur Beterbiev getting ready to sign a co-promotional deal with Top Rank and fight on ESPN, Star Boxing “Beast” Joe Smith Jr. will now likely challenge Matchroom / DAZN bound St. Petersburg, Russia World Boxing Association World Light Heavyweight Champion, Dmitry Bivol.
The 29-year-old, heavy handed boxer / puncher Smith, 24-2, 20Ko’s staying busy as a Local 66 laborer, while running a very productive tree service with his father and partner Joe Sr. now appears set for a World Title challenge in the up-coming months.
The always ready, willing and able popular former local amateur standout abruptly crashed into top upper echelon of the 175lb division claiming the World Boxing Council International Light Heavyweight Title rocking, shocking and stopping highly favored Andrzej Fonfara in one round June 18th, 2016.
Just six months later, Smith never one to shy away from a good scrap labelled “The Common Man” by Philadelphia “Executioner” Bernard Hopkins secured his status at the top level launching the future Hall of Famer into retirement with an eighth round TKO win.
The attention-grabbing run for Smith would hit a snag July 15th, 2017, when suffering a broken jaw somewhere in the first two rounds, the always dangerous contender continued to battle on suffering a temporay set-back ten round points loss to Miami, Florida based Cuban, Sullivan Barrera.
Following an eleven-month, major jaw and dental surgery recovery period the new business entrepreneur returned from the sidelines to blast out Kentucky, journeyman Melvin Russell in just one round.
The 28-year-old undefeated former international Russian amateur standout, Bivol, 15-0, 11Ko’s formerly fighting under the now departed HBO banner appearing headed to DAZN claimed the interim World Boxing Association World Light Heavyweight Title in just his seventh pro bout with a twelve round unanimous decision win over Felix Valera, May 21st, 2016 adding victories over Yevgenii Makhteienko, Robert Berridge, Samuel Clarkson and Cedric Agnew would take hold of the Badou Jack vacated World Boxing Association World Light Heavyweight Title knocking out once beaten Aussie, Trent Broadhurst in one round.
Banking title defense wins over Smith common opponent Sullivan Barrera, perennial world title challenger Isaac Chilemba the skilled puncher Bivol comes off a twelve round unanimous decision won over Quebec, Canada former WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal this past November.
The 33-year-old, Montreal, Quebec, Canada based Russian, Beterbiev, 13-0, 13Ko’s originally in the works to face Joe Smith on the DAZN on a date in February putting aside legal problems with former promoter Yvon Michel and adviser Al Haymon claimed the vacant International Boxing Federation World Light Heavyweight Title with a twelfth and last round knockout of Enrico Koelling, November 11th, 2017.
The two-time Russian Olympian coming off a second straight 11-month layoff of his own would make the first defense of his IBF strap stopping Boston, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom’s previously unbeaten Callum Johnson in four rounds, on an Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing USA card October 6th, 2018. Seemingly in limbo Beterbiev appears headed to Bob Arum and ESPN while Bivol and Smith Jr. appear to be on a collision course in February or March probably on the east coast.