Dibella Entertainment Wraps Up All-Action Weekend!
(April 25th) It was an eventful weekend for DiBella Entertainment (DBE) that spanned two continents, and saw the beginning of one career and a career-best victory for another. In addition to promoting the Showtime Championship Boxing event, headlined by Shawn Porter vs. Andre Berto at Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, NY, DBE saw one of its fighters, 2016 United States Olympian Charles Conwell, make his pro debut and begin his journey toward a world title, while another, Avtandil Khurtsidze, capture the interim WBO world middleweight championship across the pond in Leicester, England.
Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22 KOs), who hails from Kutaisi, Georgia, but now lives in Brooklyn, traveled to England to face Tommy Langford (18-1, 6 KOs) in a 12-round affair. The contest ended early in the fifth round when Khurtsidze, who stalked his opponent mercilessly, landed a left hook that sent the previously unbeaten Langford to the canvas. He would not recover and Khurtsidze was crowned the interim WBO world middleweight champion. He is now first in line to challenge Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) for the WBO world middleweight title in July.
"Whether you call him 'Mini Tyson,' 'Homicide,' or 'Suicide,' Avtandil Khurtsidze is a man with bad intentions by any name," said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. "He put British boxing on notice by knocking out Tommy Langford. I look forward to working with Frank Warren so that he can deliver the same message to Billy Joe Saunders."
Stateside, in Miami, OK, one of DiBella Entertainment's newest prospects Charles Conwell made his long awaited debut, sensationally ending his first professional bout inside of a minute with a knockout win versus Jeremiah Page, of Andover, KS. The super welterweight, who inked a co-promotional pact with DiBella Entertainment and Holden Productions in March, ended the bout with a barrage of punches that left Page on the canvas and unable to continue.
"In 41 seconds, Charles Conwell sent the world a clear message that he won't have any trouble adjusting from the amateur to professional ranks," said DiBella. "Tony Holden and I hope to have him back in the ring in May and plan to make him one of the most active young prospects in boxing."
Conwell's half-brother, and fellow DBE stable mate, Isaiah Steen (7-0, 6 KOs) finished his super middleweight contest in four rounds, knocking down his foe three times en route to a stoppage. Also on the card, Cleveland's Yuandale Evans (19-1, 14 KOs) was crowned the WBA-NABA-US junior lightweight champion, earning a unanimous decision over Billel Dib (21-2, 10 KOs).
Dibella Entertainment Signs Highly Ranked
Welterweight Kerman Lejarragato
to Co-Promotional Agreement with MGZ Promotions!
(March 17th) DiBella Entertainment (DBE) is pleased to announce that it has signed unbeaten Spanish welterweight contender Kerman "Revolver" Lejarraga (20-0, 16 KOs) to a co-promotional agreement with MGZ Promotions, based in Spain. From Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain, the 25-year-old Lejarraga is an aggressive, hard-hitting fighter with a crowd-pleasing style, ranked no. 3 by the WBA and no. 19 by the WBC. Having fought exclusively in Spain thus far, Lejarraga will make his United States debut later in 2017.
Lejarraga made his DBE debut on March 11, 2017, with a fifth-round TKO over Gabor Gorbics in Spain.
Born in the small village of Morga in 1992, Lejarraga has revitalized the boxing scene around Spain since turning pro in May 2013, being compared by fans and experts to former world champion Javier Castillejo. In 2015, the Spaniard showed promise defeating the likes of fellow countryman Javier Garcia Roche (16-4) in his first 10-rounder and Danish Kim Poulsen (27-2), both via stoppage. On March 19 of last year, Lejarraga defeated the 20-1 Laszlo Toth via 12-round unanimous decision, dropping him in the second, to seize the WBA International welterweight title. He has since defended that belt twice with knockout victories over English Commonwealth champion Denton Vassell and Mexican Jesus Gurrola.
"There is a lot of talent in Spain, and the undefeated Kerman Lejarraga has already established himself as one of the most promising fighters in his country," said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. "Our agreement with MGZ Promotions will allow Lejarraga to continue to fight at home and within Europe as well as introduce him to the American market. With his aggressive, fan-friendly style and power, I am confident that he will fit right into the mix of top welterweights."
"It's like a dream come true that such a great promoter as Lou DiBella has put his eyes on me," said Lejarraga. "I come from a little village in Spain and I couldn't ever imagine that I was going to fight and pursue my career in the United States. I look forward to making my American debut and proving that I belong among the welterweight elite."
"This is a sensational agreement that offers Kerman the opportunity to showcase himself under a big promotional company," said Inigo Herbosa, matchmaker for MGZ Promotions. "DiBella Entertainment has a keen eye for talent. When Kerman makes his US debut, he will do so as a contender. However, we are well aware that it is important for boxers to take the right steps en route to challenging for a world title. I believe that DBE is great at building up careers from the bottom to the top, so we are very pleased to be working with them."
"For MGZ Promotions, it is a great honor that a top promoter like Lou DiBella is working with our boxer," said Lejarraga's trainer Jesus Del Valle. "I am certain that with Kerman's skills and the backing of DiBella Entertainment, Lejarraga will shine under the spotlight when he competes in the States. There are a lot of great fighters in the US at welterweight and Kerman wants to test himself against the best."
DiBella Entertainment and Holden Productions
Ink Promotional Pactswith Charles Conwell,
Isaiah Steen, and Ardreal Holmes!
(March 9th) DiBella Entertainment wrapped up an eventful weekend of boxing with the signing of three of the Midwest's most promising prospects, including a 2016 Olympian. After a record crowd descended on Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, for the unification bout between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, promoter Lou DiBella looked to the future, inking promotional deals with 2016 American Olympian Charles Conwell, Conwell's half-brother Isaiah Steen, and former amateur champion Ardreal Holmes. The trio, who are managed by Split-T Management's David McWater, will be co-promoted by Oklahoma-based Holden Productions.
Conwell, of Cleveland, OH, who will make his professional debut on April 21 at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, OK, amassed a record of 132-14 as an amateur before representing the United States in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Despite Conwell losing to eventual two-time Olympic gold medalist Vikas Krishan Yadav, it was clear to many that he would have a promising future in the professional ranks. The 19-year-old welterweight will join Holden's "Four State Franchise," a team of boxers that boasts a large and passionate following in Oklahoma.
"Signing with DiBella Entertainment and Holden Productions means everything to me," said Conwell. "I know they really care about their fighters. With them guiding my career, the sky is the limit. They will help make sure that I am not only a champ, but a legend. I love my fans in Cleveland and can't wait to make new fans and family in New York City and in the Four State Franchise."
Boxing is a family affair for Conwell, who, like all eight of his siblings, was enrolled in boxing at a young age by his father, Charles Conwell, Sr. Charles Jr. and his older half-brother, super middleweight Isaiah Steen (6-0, 5 KOs), were the only two to stick with it. "It is good to have my brother next to me as I go into the next phase of my career," said Conwell.
"I'm excited to be with DiBella Entertainment and Holden Productions," said Steen. "I know they are great people and meeting Mr. DiBella was very exciting. I could tell right away he cared about his fighters. I can't wait to start this next chapter in my career."
Junior middleweight Ardreal Holmes (5-0, 3 KOs) also signed a promotional pact with DiBella and Holden on Saturday. The 22-year-old southpaw hails from Flint, MI, and is a four-time Michigan Golden Gloves champion, a 2015 USA National Elite champion and 2016 US Olympic Alternate. He has since relocated to Lansing, MI, to train with Joe Bermudez. There he splits his time between boxing, a part-time job and caring for and mentoring his 15-year-old brother, who also has aspirations to become a professional prizefighter.
"Aside from winning world titles, and unifying all of the belts at 154, then moving up to 160, my goal is to return to my home in Flint, and bring whatever success I have back with me. I want to be a positive role model for the kids in Flint," said Holmes. The young fighter hopes to use the platform that boxing provides to keep attention on the water crisis in his hometown. "Everyone I know has been affected by the water crisis in Flint. I want to help make sure they aren't forgotten."
Holmes describes signing with DiBella and Holden as the high point of his boxing career thus far. "I can't thank God enough for blessing me with this opportunity. Rest in peace to my brother and I love you to my family, Split-T Management, Flint and my whole state of Michigan for standing behind me 100 percent. It's been a long road for Team Holmes and we have plenty miles left in us. I'm grateful that Mr. DiBella is giving me a chance to showcase to the world what I've been working on for almost half my life. I'm definitely going to make the most of it."
"These three fighters are phenomenal additions to the DiBella Entertainment family," said DBE President Lou DiBella. "All three guys are well-grounded, family-oriented and have the talent to become champions. It's great to expand my relationship with Tony Holden, who I have worked with for years."
ABOUT DIBELLA ENTERTAINMENT
In May of 2000, Lou DiBella launched DiBella Entertainment (DBE), a full-service sports and entertainment company, which has become one of the most successful promotional entities in boxing. Serving as matchmaker, television distributor, marketing advisor, and promoter, DiBella has developed an exciting stable of championship caliber, world-class fighters. DBE clearly established itself as an industry leader with the successful launch of its monthly-televised "Broadway Boxing" series in April 2004. Prior to becoming a promoter, DiBella held an 11-year tenure as the Senior Vice President of HBO Sports. He is also a well-known fixture in the film industry, having worked as an Executive Producer for the film "Love Ranch", as an Associate Producer on "The Fighter", and making his acting debut in "Rocky Balboa". The President and Managing General Partner for the Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball team, DiBella proudly wears his 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series rings, as his team is the class AA affiliate to the San Francisco Giants. In 2014, DiBella was inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame.
ABOUT HOLDEN PRODUCTIONS
Tony Holden, a former television producer, started in boxing in 1990 when he formed Holden Productions. Holden has promoted numerous world champions and stars, some of whom started their careers under his wing. They've fought on all of the major television outlets, both domestically and internationally. Currently, Holden Productions' "Four State Franchise" is a major draw at the Buffalo Run Casino and their cards are always sold out. Current and former fighters include boxing greats Tommy Morrison, Johnny Tapia and Prince Naseem Hamed, Joe Mesi, Olympian Zahir Raheem as well as Trey Lippe-Morrison, and Ivan Baranchyk, among others.
Felix Diaz Wants Crawford:
“I Hear That Bud Is Fighting in April,
It’s Time for Crawford to Face a Real Challenge!
(January 20th) Dominican Felix Diaz (19-1, 9 KOs) ended a successful 2016 as a world ranked junior welterweight contender with another two impressive victories added to his ledger. He is determined to continue that momentum this year by facing the biggest challenges. The top name on his hit list remains WBC/WBO junior welterweight world champion Terence Crawford.
"I spent half of last year calling out Crawford. He went the easy route, facing John Molina, who entered their December title fight three pounds above the weight limit and was way overmatched. Now, it is time for Crawford to face a real challenge," said Diaz.
"It doesn't look like he'll be fighting Pacquiao any time soon. I am highly ranked by the WBC and WBO, and I am willing to go to Omaha, if that's what he wants. I respect Crawford as a champion and would love the opportunity to knock him out in his hometown. My promoter Lou DiBella is ready and willing to talk to Bob Arum to get a deal done. It would be a great fight for boxing fans. Let's get it on."
Diaz closed out last year fighting in his native Dominican Republic for the first time in three and a half years, breaking down his opponent en route to a TKO victory, on December 16, in Santo Domingo.
Prior to that, Diaz won a thrilling 10-round war against highly regarded, undefeated contender 21-0 Sammy Vasquez in Birmingham, AL. The bout was shown live on FOX, and served as the co-main event to Deontay Wilder's heavyweight title defense versus Chris Arreola.
The Vasquez fight came just nine months after Diaz lost a questionable majority decision to former IBF 140lb. champ Lamont Peterson in his adversary's backyard. Wins over 15-1-1 Emmanuel Lartei, 13-2-2 Adrian Granados, and 23-1 Gabriel Bracero earned Diaz the shot against Peterson.
Following the win over Vasquez, Diaz, the only boxer to win an Olympic gold medal for the Dominican Republic, signed a long-term promotional agreement with DiBella Entertainment. Ranked no. 5 by the WBC, no. 13 by the WBO and no. 15 by the IBF, Diaz is anxious to prove that he belongs among boxing's elite.
"Arum and I have worked together for a long time," said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. "Diaz facing Crawford is a very attractive fight, one that promises a lot of action, and I am confident that we can get it done. We'd be happy to fight on HBO and in Omaha, or anywhere else. While many fighters are avoiding Crawford, Diaz is ready for the challenge. The question is, does Crawford want it?"
"Terence Crawford is someone we've been going after for a while," said Diaz' manager Jose Nunez. "We would love the opportunity to fight for the world title. Diaz wants to face the best and the best at 140 pounds is Crawford. He continues to maintain his conditioning and will be ready when called, hopefully in April. It all depends on whether Crawford wants to step up to the challenge."
CONTACT: DiBella Entertainment: (212) 947-2577