Undefeated Joshua Wahab
Seals Promotional deal With Dibella Entertainment!
(March 29th) Rising African prospect Joshua Wahab (20-0, 13 KOs) put pen to paper on a three-year promotional deal with DiBella Entertainment, signing on the dotted line at The Golden Tulip Hotel, in Accra, Ghana.
Wahab, born in Lagos, Nigeria, spoke of his immense pride at sealing his contract and excitement at linking up with world-renowned trainer Manny Robles.
“I want to thank almighty Allah for getting me this opportunity and I want to thank my manager Michael Amoo-Bediako for getting me this promotional deal with Lou DiBella,” the undefeated super featherweight stated.
“I am pleased to be with them because I know the good work they have done with Richard Commey and I know that with this team, along with my new trainer Manny Robles, I will become a world champion,” continued Wahab. “I want to thank Charles Quartey and Kamel [who formed my previous team] for all the hard work they have put into my development over the years, and I will not let them down.”
It was a coming together of Amoo-Bediako and Lou DiBella that started Richard Commey’s rise to prominence and world championships, with Michael taking Commey from the streets of Accra to Madison Square Garden.
Amoo-Bediako’s new management contract with Wahab excites him just as much and reminds him of the early days with his former IBF lightweight world champion.
“I am really pleased to add 20-0 super featherweight Joshua Wahab to our growing number of fighters that will be plying their trade stateside with DiBella Entertainment,” said Amoo-Bediako. “My relationship with Lou since the signing of Richard Commey has grown into an understanding of what it takes to make an African fighter a world champion.
“There are many stereotypes when it comes to African fighters and we are working hard to break those down. I believe, with Joshua Wahab, we have another potential champion from the motherland. He will be training with world-renowned trainer Manny Robles, who I know is excited to be linking up with Joshua. We look forward to his progress in what is a very hot division with the likes of Oscar Valdez, Shakur Stevenson, Joseph Diaz, Carl Frampton, and DiBella’s own Tevin Farmer, to name but a few.”
The relocation stateside will be one of the largest obstacles for the Ghana-based Nigerian native, and the culture change has presented issues for those who’ve completed it in the past. Wahab is a determined individual, desperate to seize his opportunity, but the trainer plotting his route to the top knows it’s one step at a time.
“I am definitely looking forward to working with Joshua,” added new trainer, and Los Angeles-based creator of champions, Manny Robles. “I’m excited to have Joshua arrive in America and initiate training. I’m looking forward to the journey and we will take one fight at a time.”
Fellow Amoo-Bediako/DiBella stablemate and friend Richard Commey had some words of wisdom for the WBA Pan-African champion.
“It’s great that Joshua will be joining me in America. I have sparred with him in Ghana on a couple of occasions and I can tell he is going to be a problem for anyone in the 130-pound division,” said Commey. “He now has the right promoter and, of course, the best manager and now teaming up with Manny [Robles], I think he has a great opportunity to become a world champion. But he must listen and work hard and not be distracted by outside influences once he reaches America.”
As the deal was finalized, the final word went to Lou DiBella, Wahab’s new promoter. DiBella has specialized in taking the sport’s underdogs or unfancied and has reveled in playing a part in their success. In Wahab, he believes he has the chance to do it all over again and that excites him.
“Joshua Wahab is one of the top super featherweights in Africa. After developing himself locally, building his record to 20-0, Wahab has been scouted by Michael Amoo-Bediako, who is one of the premier managers in the game and one of the most influential people in the African boxing scene,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment.
“Many African fighters throughout boxing history have left home to test themselves against the best and now, it’s Wahab’s turn. Amoo-Bediako, who helped introduce former world champion Richard Commey to an American audience, has teamed up with DiBella Entertainment to bring Wahab to the United States. I am excited to work with Wahab as he reaches his full potential.”
The journey truly starts now!
About DiBella Entertainment
DiBella Entertainment (DBE) was born from the unique insights that owner Lou DiBella honed as a television executive and matchmaker. DBE rejects the contractual exploitation of professional boxers and employs a business model that at once shifts the balance of power from promoters to boxers, and establishes a legacy of matchmaking excellence to elevate the sport of boxing.
DiBella graduated from Tufts University and Harvard Law School and was previously head of programming for HBO Sports. He created and orchestrated the highly successful series, “Boxing After Dark.” HBO experienced enormous success under his guidance with some of the most high-profile matches in boxing history. DiBella also owns the San Francisco Giants Baseball AA Eastern League affiliate, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, formerly the Connecticut Defenders, which is one of the most successful teams in Minor League baseball.
DiBella Entertainment created a rebirth for boxing in New York City with its popular series “Broadway Boxing.” The two-hour program is the longest running and most successful independently produced boxing television series, which features up-and-coming fighters and promising contenders.
DiBella Entertainment represents athletes with honesty and integrity and seeks the best and fairest financial deals for its clients.
Amanda Galle Signs Co-Promotional Agreement
With Dibella Entertainment and Lee Baxter Promotions!
(photo Credit: Virgil Barrow)
(March 19th) Toronto's Amanda Galle has conquered the national stage in Canada. Now she's ready to conquer the world. Galle, one of the top female super bantamweight prospects in boxing, has signed a co-promotional agreement with DiBella Entertainment and Lee Baxter Promotions.
The three-time Canadian National champion is now 4-0 as a professional and holds the Canadian women's super bantamweight title, coming off of a dominant victory against Shelly Barnett in January of 2020. Like many fighters, her career has been slowed by the global pandemic, but an affiliation with DiBella Entertainment, perhaps the most committed promoter of women's boxing in the United States, will correct that course. Galle's amateur accomplishments also include four Ringside National titles. As a professional, she's looking to meet up with some of her elite amateur contemporaries in pursuit of a world title down the road.
That road might not be particularly long for Galle, who showed in her shutout of Barnett that she is ready to be on the fast track. Barnett most recently went the distance with Olympic medalist Marlen Esparza.
“I am super excited to be working with the most renowned promoter of female boxing, Mr. Lou DiBella, with DiBella Entertainment out of New York, in a co-promotion with Lee Baxter from my backyard in Toronto,” said Galle. “The timing is in accordance with the huge leap forward that I’ve seen in women's boxing, with the recent pay-per-view event featuring several prominent female fighters and all-women’s cards on the horizon. I have the best of both worlds, the ability to stay active locally with Baxter and DiBella matching me against international competition to move up the world rankings, as he has done with so many of his fighters.”
“Amanda is a very skilled fighter with the potential to become a world champion,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Under Lee Baxter’s guidance, she will be developed at home in Toronto and, with DiBella Entertainment, Amanda will expand her fan base and stature in the US and abroad, as she moves up the ladder facing top opposition.”
“We think that Amanda has all the tools to become the next breakout boxing star in Canada, regardless of gender,” said promoter Lee Baxter. “It's obvious that she's ready to be fast-tracked toward a world title, and she carries herself like a superstar. She's a phenomenal fighter, but she's also a big personality and an entertainer. She belongs on the big stage and, along with Lou DiBella, we'll be able to give her the platform to truly shine.”
Lee Baxter Promotions
Lee Baxter Promotions is more than just a professional boxing promotional company. Founded in 2012, LBP was created to oversee all aspects of a professional boxer's career. Committed to developing its fighters, mapping out their roads to success, negotiating contracts, ensuring their health, creating marketing and endorsement opportunities, giving financial advice and preparing clients for their careers after boxing.
Lee Baxter Promotions recruits, develops and guides elite fighters to the next level where they need to be while working with the athletes to achieve the best results for their boxing careers.
Former World Champion
Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa Embraces Motherhood
As Pandemic Hammers Women’s Boxing!
(February 15th) Former world champion Alicia “The Empress” Napoleon-Espinosa (12-2, 7 KOs), from Lindenhurst, Long Island, NY, publicly announced her pregnancy in yesterday’s New York Newsday newspaper. The newly married Napoleon-Espinosa originally intended to have a baby at the conclusion of her boxing career. However, as the pandemic began to stall sporting events, putting her pugilistic career on hold, Napoleon-Espinosa decided to take advantage of her time out of the ring and try to get pregnant. She is now due to give birth to a baby girl in March.
Read Bobby Cassidy’s article in New York Newsday (click here).
“My due date is March 26, which is nice to be delivering my daughter during National Women’s History Month. I’m going to be bringing in a future trailblazer and pioneer in whatever my daughter tries to do. I know that she will be strong-willed like her mother.
“I am grateful that I made this decision to get pregnant now. The pandemic hit shortly after my last fight, and I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to fight again for the rest of the year, and, so far, 2021 isn’t looking much better. It is a very difficult time for the majority of fighters, who have had to put their careers on hold due to the pandemic. Only a small percentage of all the fighters out there have thus far been able to get opportunities to box,” said Napoleon-Espinosa.
“What the pandemic has done is set back the careers of too many women boxers who deserve better. But Alicia moved ahead with major life goals, it was a wonderful example of planning and she did the right thing for her and her family,” Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment, told Newsday.
“I want to get back into the ring as soon as possible after giving birth,” continued Napoleon-Espinosa. “It all depends on my delivery and how much time I will need to heal. It will be a challenge to get myself back into fighting shape, but I believe I will be stronger, physically and mentally, when I do return. Of course, I’d love to get back to Gleason’s Gym or my gym, Overthrow Boxing Club, but I now have a home gym set up, so that will help. When the time comes, and it’s safe to do so, I can’t wait to bring my baby to the gym with me to watch me train.
“It’s important to me to dispel certain myths and the old mentality of motherhood that I have to give up my career and to prove that, after giving birth, I can accomplish even more than before. There are a lot of powerhouse mothers out there and I want to be one of them. My goals and dreams will be even sweeter now.
“I wouldn’t change anything with how my last fight played out. It was an amazing fight between me and Elin Cederroos; we stole the show that night. It was a very close fight and I lost by one point. I’m not mad, I’m grateful. I gained a lot of fans that night. I proved that I can fight hard and come back after getting knocked down. I proved to myself that I can shake it off and continue fighting, giving me more confidence for future fights, knowing what I can handle. There’s always room to grow, even if I had won. I feel even more motivated now to regain my title, especially with my daughter by my side.
“Had I won, I may not have made the decision to become a mother at this time. I’m very driven and goal-oriented, always asking what’s next. Seeing the pandemic shut everything down, a lightbulb went off and I told myself that it was time to have my baby. The loss was a blessing, giving me the opportunity to embrace motherhood. I have my husband and stepdaughters, but now I can have them and my new baby by my side as I regain my title. I won’t have to wait to start a family.
“I won a world title, but becoming a mother is one of the greatest titles I’ll ever have.”
Napoleon-Espinosa captured the WBA super middleweight world title on March 3, 2018, defeating Femke Hermans via 10-round unanimous decision at Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, NY. Successful title defenses against Hannah Rankin and Schemelle Baldwin followed. On January 10, 2020, Napoleon-Espinosa took on Sweden’s Elin Cederroos in Atlantic City, NJ, losing a decision via three identical scorecards of 95-94, in what was one of the year’s best fights in women’s boxing. Before her 2014 pro debut, Napoleon-Espinosa competed as an amateur for nine years, winning 11 amateur titles nationally, including two New York Golden Gloves championships and a National Golden Gloves title.