Brant Team Wins Purse Bid!
By Juan Francisco Arias
(August 14th) Greg Cohen Promotion, representatives of the American boxer Rob Brant, won on Monday, August 13th, the auction of Teiken Promotion – who is in charge of Ryota Murata – the right to carry out the fight for the middleweight title of the World Boxing Association (WBA), which ordered the Committee of Championships for the organization.
The minimum for the bidding was $200,000 and the Brant team offered $202,114. Teiken Promotion refrained from presenting a figure and, consequently, lost the auction.
The date proposed by Greg Cohen Promotions for the contest was October 27th, 2018, in Minneapolis, New York or Atlantic City.
The bid was held in Panama City and was directed by Aurelio Fiengo, a member of the board of directors of the WBA. The parties have 15 calendar days, from August 13th, to submit the signed contract.
“The Alien”: Modern Legend of the Ring!
By Jesús Cova
(August 10th) His name is Bernard Hopkins and he was born in a miserable neighborhood in north Philadelphia on January 15, 1965. Full name registered as Bernard Humprey Hopkins Jr., a member of a family of 8 siblings. In the boxing world he was more known by his aliases, which he won by what he did with his fists such as “The Executor”, “The Executioner” and “The Alien”. On December 16, 2016 he decided to untie his gloves for good after a career of 28 years and 2 months. He quit after a dazzling record of 55 victories, 32 by K0, 8 defeats, 1 before the limit and only a couple of draws.
Those 28 years of stunning activity are only below those 34 years of the mythical Jack Johnson, between 1897-1931 and the “cholo” Roberto (Mano é Piedra) Durán, Hands of Stone, the legendary Panamanian fighter that fought from 1968 until 2001 (33 years).
Archie Moore (28, from ’35 til ’63) and Evander Holyfield, with 27 between 1984-2011, are also two of the very few venerable Methuselahs of the ring.
Two very opposite stages converged in his almost randomly chosen profession; during his first years he was a steamroller machine that crushed his opponents without mercy, brutally, relentlessly until he saw his enemy fall to his feet.
In his last years he turned into a wise man, patient, skilled to the point of boredom and yawning, with ties and strings of the gloves on one shoulder, one eye, one arm, one way of stepping from one side to the other, full of tricks and satisfied with his methodic point accumulation. He used his experience to his advantage or to even out the disadvantages (depending on how you see it). In summary, a scientist in the ring.
From Felony to Glory
Hopkins led a hectic life in the beginning and an exemplary one later. The fact that he went from turbulent teenager, violent and rebellious, in and out of jail constantly to an adult of irreproachable conduct, made him a “rara avis”, a role model worthy of imitation by the youth around the world. A felon by the age of 13, with many assaults, he was sentenced at 17 to 18 years to be served at the Gaterford prison in Philadelphia for attempted murder and serious injuries. After serving 5 years, prisoner Y4145 got out with the utmost determination to walk along the right path, leaving behind alcohol and drugs. He converted to Islam and sought in boxing the road to goodness and peace.
He made it to the top and with the passing of the years, he found his place alongside other immortals that live in the museum, who like him, made history. A history that will remember him as one of the greatest boxers who ever lived and by him being a monarch of the most prolonged hegemony, with 10 years on the throne and also the oldest at 49, (above George Foreman who achieved it at 45) to ever win a universal title.
His career on the ring started the same way as it ended, with a defeat by points against Clinton Mitchell, on October 11th, 1988 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Nobody could stop him in his next battles between February 1990 and May 1993, until Roy Jones Jr. beat him by points for the middleweight IBF belt.
He won the International Boxing Federation (IBF) crown against Segundo Mercado from Ecuador and the one from the World Boxing Council (WBC) in front of Keith Holmes in April 2001. He later left Felix Trinidad and Oscar de La Hoya on the side of the road to get the IBF, WBA and WBC championships, which would be taken from him by Jermain Taylor in his 20th defense. An unparalleled success, until Gennady Golovkin, from Kazakhstan snatched his record. Taylor repeated his victory at the rematch, he has been the only one to defeat him twice in a row.
However, Hopkins came back for his glory and like a phoenix on February 18, 2010 at 45 years and one month of age, he disposed of Jean Pascal from Haiti in Québec, Canada, to own the light heavyweight and the Diamond titles from the WBC and the IBF, after a void fight, again with Pascal. Months later he would take revenge on Jones by decision in 10 rounds.
Without abandoning his attempts, in spite of his defeat by Chad Dawson (prior to a void decision with him) and the loss of the light heavyweight title on October 15, 2011, he would make history on March 9, 2013, when at 49 he won the IBF light cruiserweight title with a clear decision over the undefeated Floridian Tavoris Cloud (who had 19 KO´s in 22 fights and was 18 years his junior).
A physical wonder of 1,85m, with a reach of almost 2m, Hopkins with Taylor are the only ones who have flaunted 4 simultaneous titles, recognized by several ruling entities.
Good and Bad Times…. and a Sad Goodbye
It would be necessary tenths of thousands of words to duly relate his transit across of almost 30 years through those 16 ropes. We will do our best to summarize it and round it up after what has been noted above.
Let´s reiterate, that since the beginning, after his debut with Mitchell, the Philadelphian knitted a string of 21 consecutive victories, among which we saw that in December of ´92 he captured the middleweight division title before Wayne Powell by KO in the first round. The title was granted by the USBA, a little known entity beyond the US. He made a successful defense one more time.
In May of the following year, the “Alien” sought the IBF throne, at the time when Roy Jones Jr, who was considered the best boxer in the world, stopped him in his tracks in 12 rounds.
In spite of such frustration, Hopkins did not stop on the road and after defending his USBA Crown 3 more times, he went again after the IBF belt, left vacant by Jones Jr. He defeated Segundo Mercado by points in December ´94 in Quito, Ecuador and repeated against the same rival a year later.
After another 13 defenses, which included a draw against Robert Allen in ´98, he took the middleweight crown of both the IBF and the WBC in a battle with Keith Holmes.
On the 29th of September, 2001 the Puerto Rican Felix Trinidad, who enjoyed worldwide popularity, would serve as a showcase for Hopkins´s well deserved recognition in the eyes of the fans of the globe, at the so called Boxing Mecca, Madison Square Garden in New York, where the belt of the 3 most known organizations (WBA, WBC, IBF) was in dispute.
Hopkins smashed the Puerto Rican in the last round and later he proceeded to crush Carl Daniels, Morrade Hakkar, Willliam Joppy and Robert Allen. After confronting famous Oscar de la Hoya (currently a successful promoter and partner in this business with “The Executioner” himself), he went to gring him in 9 episodes on September 19, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada. They fought for the WBA; WBC, IBF and the newly created WBO and then came another defense where Jeremy Taylor was in charge of dethroning him in July, 2005, and win again in December of the same year.
However, this ring warrior, whose durability and persistency seemed endless and limitless, came back with a vengeance and half a year later he became again the Light heavyweight champion with a new triumph over Antonio Tarver.
From 2006 and 8 later, with several victories and a couple of unexpected losses against Joe Calzaghe and Chad Dawson, already 49, Bernard Hopkins, the “Grandpa of the 21st century boxing”, would confirm his standing as the best light heavyweight on the planet and proved that “the boy doesn´t beat the man” with an effortless victory in 12 rounds against the Euro-Asian Beibut Shumenov, 19 years his junior, humiliated and knocked down in the 11th by someone who could have easily been his father.
Since his professional debut until his imposition over, Shumenov from Kazakhstan, Bernard compiled a record of 32 anesthetized, 23 decisions, half a dozen defeats and a couple of draws.
With almost 52 springs on his shoulders, “The Alien”, a modern legend of the ring, climbed the stairs two years ago on December 16, to his corner at The Forum, in Inglewood, California, to exchange punches with a rival 24 years his junior. He fought Joe Smith Jr. for the international light heavyweight of the World Boxing Council.
The outcome was expected and predicted by the experts, but a little sadder than thought: a discolored Hopkins, totally dimmed, lethargic arms all set, he received an avalanche of punches that threw him out of the ring. He climbed back precariously, but the referee Jack Reiss, mercifully and wisely decreed the end at the mark of the 58 seconds in the 8th round. The only time during his extensive trajectory of 65 professional combats in which he did not hear the last stroke of the bell.
C´est fini. It´s over. Last bell stroke.
Prepared ‘JoJo’ Diaz to Play With Fire Against Rojas!
(photos Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos / Golden Boy Promotions)
By Francisco Pimentel - WBA
(August 8th) California contender Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz said he was ready and willing to play with fire this Saturday when he goes up against Puerto Rican Jesus Rojas for the World Boxing Association’s World Featherweight championship, in a Golden Boy Promotions billboard that will be broadcast LIVE on Facebook.
The fight between Rojas and Diaz in The Avalon of Hollywood will be the first world championship fight to be broadcast exclusively and worldwide through this digital platform, which will give a historic tint to the fight for the black and gold strap of the pioneer organization.
“Jesus Rojas is a very dangerous fighter, comes into the fight off of two great victories and knocked out both. He likes to apply pressure and always has good conditioning. “He is going to try to always press forward,” said Diaz, who hopes to be crowned in his second opportunity. “We have worked on my conditioning so as not to get tired and to be very active, throw lots of punches, and grab him when he comes inside. It will be a fight with a lot of action,” he predicted.
Indeed Rojas, 31, comes into the fight having knocked out his last four enemies as he stands out for his aggressiveness and for crushing his rivals; however, Joseph claims to have learned a valuable lesson after losing to Gary Russell Jr. a few weeks ago in his first championship fight.
“I have seen the fight 100 times and I noticed some mistakes, if I had been more aggressive, start earlier and used my jab the fight would have been different. Today I would be the world champion. Things did not go as planned, but it was a lesson learned. I now have the opportunity to go for a world championship again and I cannot miss this opportunity,” finished the challenger.
Dmitry Bivol Retains WBA 175lb Title
(August 5th) Dmitry Bivol scored his 14th victory to move his record to 14-0 with 11 knockouts via unanimous decision with scorecards of 120-108, 120-108, and 116-112 to retain his World Boxing Association (WBA) Light Heavyweight Title over Issac Chilemba.
The bout was broadcast live on HBO premium network from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City and was a co-feature to Sergey Kovalev vs Eleider Alvarez.
Bivol had success early in the fight by going forward behind a nice jab and throwing power punches. Chilemba was being his very cagey, regular self, while landing some nice right hands of his own that the champion had to adjust to.
The fight turned into a bit more of a boxing match than a slug fest as Bivol was not using his right hand very often, perhaps injuring it early in the fight, but Chilemba was very hard to hit flush in any case.
Going down the stretch in the championship rounds Bivol appeared to be coasting although he was showing some good movement while being on his toes and crisp with his punches before the cards came in a wide unanimous decision.
Alicia Napoleon Retains WBA Super Middleweight Title
By Kid Hersh
(August 5th) Alicia Napoleon scored a unanimous decision victory over Hannah Rankin to retain her World Boxing Association (WBA) World Female Super Middleweight Title at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale New York and was broadcast on FOX on the undercard of Andre Berto vs Devon Alexander.
The 10-round WBA championship fight was the first to be held in the Arenas history, with Napoleon saying after the fight “I can’t even find the words to describe how I’m feeling. It’s amazing. There’s still adrenaline flowing through me right now.”
The champion, Napoleon, came into the fight having won the title back in March – handing Femke Hermans her first defeat as a professional as Napoleon won a wide unanimous decision.
Napoleon showed her skill in this bout, as Rankin was very rugged and durable and came forward for the majority of the bout but Napoleon was able to keep her at bay with her excellent jab and use of distance and timing.
Napoleon has been hitting the news cycles more and more and getting headlines for being a very outspoken proponent of women health, boxing, and getting paid higher wages. She is turning into quite the star and a good ambassador of the WBA.
Pacquiao Wins a Thriller in Malaysia!
The WBA Opens Its Doors to Olympic Boxing!
(Gilberto Jesús Mendoza entregó medalla a Yuberjen Martínez)
(July 3rd) The World Boxing Association (WBA), in search of “The comeback of Boxing”, opens its doors to Olympic pugilism, to achieve a true union in this sport and bring back the honor that this discipline had in the past.
To achieve this goal, the WBA has summoned, through a letter, all National Boxing Federations to join this initiative. The intention is to achieve the systematic development of the sport, by the hand of specialists in the area. All this in favor of the two pillars of this discipline: the athletes and the fans.
“… As boxing is going through its issues there is another huge threat looming on the horizon: it’s negative public image, corruption, bureaucracy and continuing dysfunction of all parties involved, including amateurs and professionals of the sport of Boxing. Now they might lose participation in the Olympics. If this absurd decision were to take place, it would be an unprecedented setback for the sport”, reads the letter issued by the organization and signed by Gilberto Jesús Mendoza, President of the WBA, and Wladimir Klitschko, former World Heavyweight Champion and former Olympic Champion.
In order to achieve the proposed objectives, the WBA developed a 7-point general plan:
Strengthen our values: Participative writing of the Universal Charter of Boxing, together with athletes, officials, federations and fans from all around the world in order to underline our values of universality, diversity, respect, engagement and education.
Athlete’s welfare: Provide educational tools, and health/life insurance so the athletes are able to fully focus on their careers, and later enjoy a sustainable future after retirement.
1) Strengthen our values: Participative writing of the Universal Charter of Boxing, together with athletes, officials, federations and fans from all around the world in order to underline our values of universality, diversity, respect, engagement and education.
2) Athlete’s welfare: Provide educational tools, and health/life insurance so the athletes are able to fully focus on their careers, and later enjoy a sustainable future after retirement.
3) Simplify the structures: Offer a unique regulator, and an ultimate authority. There’s a need to simplify with less bureaucracy, leveraging digital technologies to improve transparency, collaboration and efficiency.
4) Professionalize the officials and trainers: Let’s take care of those who care for the champions, give them scalable salaries, further their education and even develop a pension system.
5) Fans Empowerment: Turn them into real participants of the boxing world, share the passion and information but also strengthen the objectivity of decisions.
6) Digitalize the experience: Enable deeper insights, share exciting information and possibilities through a customized application.
7) Optimize the reach: Create one worldwide “PRO/AM” broadcasting channel, defined by regions, including subscriptions/PPV, OTT streaming facilities and its own production unit.
In this way, the WBA will work hand in hand with the National Federations to create tournaments and seminars that promote the systematic development of boxing and show the great strength and importance of our sport.
Today begins a new era in this sport and it starts hand in hand with the World Boxing Association, which as of today becomes a Professional and Amateur organization.