Boxing Insider Notebook: Harrison, Charlo, Golovkin, Ali, Foreman, Algieri, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 30th to May 7th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Chris Algieri to Clash with Tommy Coyle at the Garden on June 1st
Chris Algieri and Tommy Coyle will clash in a crossroads showdown on Saturday June 1 at Madison Square Garden, New York, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office.
Algieri (23-3 8 KOs) puts the WBO International Junior Welterweight title on the line that he landed in January with a hard fought win over Daniel Gonzalez at the Theater at MSG. The former WBO World Champion made his return to the ring at the Paramount in his Huntington, NY home town in November following two and a half years out of the ring, beating Angel Hernandez over ten rounds before moving on to land the strap he defends.
Coyle (25-4 12 KOs) is fresh from his exciting US debut in Boston in October, sharing ten now trademark back-and-forth rounds with Ryan Kielczweski to win on points over ten. ‘Boom Boom’ moves up from Lightweight where he was Commonwealth king in April 2018 after stopping Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd in Liverpool inside six.
Algieri and Coyle lock horns on the undercard of Heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua’s USA debut against Andy Ruiz knowing that the winner will be in the frame for a potential World title shot against WBO champion and Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN star Maurice Hooker – and both men know that the stakes are high for their respective careers.
“I’m very excited to be fighting once again at The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden on June 1,” said Algieri. “I know that Tommy Coyle is another tough test for me and that a victory will bring me one step closer to another World title fight.
“I’d like to thank my entire team for making this possible and for their total support of my quest to once again become a World champion.”
“I’m absolutely delighted to be boxing on such a huge event at Madison Square Garden,” said Coyle. “It’s a dream come true. Fighting in America is one thing, but fighting at the mecca of boxing against a former World Champion in Chris Algieri is just unbelievable and I’m so up for it.
“I’m expecting a Gatti vs. Ward style fight, I really am. I know how tough Chris is, you’ve only got to watch him in the Provodnikov fight, I’m not sure if he broke his eye socket or not but he just gritted his teeth and battled on. I think we’re both cut from the same cloth. It can only go one way and I think that’s a war.
“I honestly believe that this fight has come at the perfect time for me. It’s like I’m having a rebirth in my career and I’m probably performing the best I’ve ever performed in the gym. If I come through this fight successfully there could be a World title shot on the horizon for me.”
Algieri and Coyle clash, promoted by Eddie Hearn for Matchroom Boxing in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, on a huge night of action at Madison Square Garden where Joshua’s World title defense against Ruiz is supported by Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashing with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed Women’s World Lightweight championship – with more undercard fights to be announced shortly.
Hana Ali on George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali and the Rumble in the Jungle
Muhammad Ali’s Daughter Hana Ali was recently on the Murder Master Music Show to speak about her new book At Home With Muhammad Ali. During the interview she recalls how her Dad felt about the Rumble in the Jungle memerabale fight with George Foreman and goes onto to document the friendship that the two Heavyweuights had beginng a couple years after the legendare bout in Zaire. During the interview she told a shocking moment of when George foreman had a bad vision and warned Ali not to fight Holmes.
Rumble in the Jungle was Ali’s most important fight.
“The Rumble in the Jungle was the most important fight to himbecause he had never lost his title because the government had stripped it. He was never thinking that he would go back to the ring and then he fought Frazier and would lose only to have George Foreman. Now he has to go through Foreman and nobody in the world but himself believed he could do it. That was always the most important fight to him.”
Foreman and Ali find friendship while discussion religion in rare conversation on the streets.
“George is like a second Father. He is always helpful and supportive and he has a huge heart. They had a conversation and Dad recorded it for about an hour about religion. My Dad was trying to convince George to come back in the ring because at the time he sold all his possessions and started preaching in the street literally. Dad told him he could still box and he did later on. I kneew sports fans would be shocked that they were friends. George was trying to get my Fasther to come back to Christianity and my Father was trying to explain that people who kill in the name of Islam are not real Muslims.”
Foreman had bad vision about Ali being lured out to fight Homes and warned him not to do it.
George Foreman was trying to warn my Dad that he had a vision about him being lured out to fight Hoilmes and not to do it. My Father didn’t plan on going back into the ring and did ended up being lured into the fight a year later.
Troy Isley Coming Off Biggest Win, Preparing for 2020 Olympics
USA Boxing middleweight Troy Isley is coming off the most significant victory of his young career, when he defeated the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, Cuba’s Arlen Lopez, at the recent Pan American Games Qualifier in Managua, Nicaragua.
Lopez served as a positive barometer for Isley in terms of his potential 2020 Olympic run. “Beating Lopez is my biggest win so far,” Isley admitted. “He won a gold medal at the last Olympics. I avenged my loss to him in 2017. We almost fought in The Continentals, but he lost in the quarterfinals, and I lost in the semifinals. We could face each other again in July at the Pan American Games.”
In 2017, Isley captured a bronze medal at the Elite World Championships, which marked a first for an American elite boxer in six years. He’s progressed year-by-year, taking top honors at the 2012 & 2013 National PAL Championships, 2014 National Junior Olympics, 2016 & 2017 Elite National Championships. So far this year, in addition to winning at the Pan American Games Qualifier, he also took bronze at the Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria.
Not too shabby accomplishments for a kid who really didn’t like boxing, especially compared to football, which was his favorite sport growing up.
“When I returned to the gym I trained at, Alexandria (VA) Boxing Club,” USA National Team assistant coach Kay Koromba remembered,” they needed help with a young kid, Troy Isley. I had a simple conversation with him. He said he’d come back to the gym if I was there coaching. I didn’t go back for a little while and he didn’t return. I eventually took over the gym when the coach left, and Troy returned.
“Troy is friends with Keyshawn Davis (USA Boxing’s No. 1-rated lightweight). They both live in Virginia (Troy in Alexandria, Keyshawn in Newport) and train with me at the Alexandria Boxing Club, when we aren’t living and training in Colorado Springs. They fought as kids and became good friends. All of the other boxers here look up to them.”
“I was only 8 and at first I really didn’t like boxing,” the now 20-year-old Isley spoke about his introduction to amateur boxing. “I was more interested in team sports like football, but I gave up boxing when I chose to compete in the Box-Offs. I just wanted to be a kid and you can’t play boxing. I went back to the gym and beat up everybody. Coach Kay told my father that he could make me into a national champion, and that gave me a lot of self-esteem.”
A self-described boxer puncher, Isley is an intelligent, well-spoken boxer with eyes on the future, outside of boxing, taking on-line business courses through DeVry University. “I can do it all,” he offered about his boxing style. “I’m working on using more jabs to be a better all-around boxer. The jab sets the offense up. I’m working on my jab because you can win fights with a jab.”
Promoters are lining up to pitch their companies to sign Isley, who has a definitive plan that involves making the 2020 USA Olympic Boxing Team, medal in Japan, and then turn professional.
“The Olympics is only a year away,” Isley noted. “I’m close with Keyshawn and Shakur (Stevenson, 2016 Olympic silver-medalist and an 11-0 pro prospect). Training with them makes things easier for all of us. We drive each other and train against different styles. I’m always picking up new stuff. We help each other training, sparring, and just talking. We’re always together, either in Alexandria or Colorado Springs. Shakur still goes there for good sparring.
“Shakur tells us a lot about his experiences in the Olympics and now as a pro. Me and Keyshawn have always talked about being together on the USA Boxing Olympic Team. We keep working hard and staying focused. It’s been our dream.”
Dreams do come true but, first, Isley is preparing for the Pan-Am Games
UFC Fight Pass and Murhpys Boxing Reach Multi Year Live Streaming Agreement
UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, today announced a new multi-year partnership with popular Boston-based promotion Murphys Boxing. The promotion will make its FIGHT PASS debut on Friday, May 10th, from Springfield, Massachusetts at the MGM Springfield at 9:30 p.m. E.T. / 6:30 p.m. P.T. and will feature a ten-round main event, headlined by undefeated NABA Super Featherweight Champion Abraham Nova vs. Mario Ezequiel Sayal Lozano.
“Murphys Boxing is one of the top promotions in New England, and I am excited to have them on FIGHT PASS,” UFC President Dana White said. “In just five years, Ken Casey has done incredible things with this promotion. I am looking forward to showcasing these exciting fighters to our subscribers.”
“We’re incredibly excited to join forces with FIGHT PASS,” said Ken Casey, founder of Murphys Boxing. “UFC is providing a platform for us to highlight New England’s thriving boxing scene to combat sports fans. We will introduce the world to our incredible roster that includes future champions, such as Nova.”
Recently entering the WBA’s Top 10 Rankings, undefeated Abraham Nova (14-0, 10 KOs) will make his highly anticipated 2019 debut under the Murphys Boxing banner. Nova’s opponent is Argentinian prospect Mario Ezequiel Sayal Lozano (18-2-1, 9 KOs), marking Nova’s 12th fight in the past two years.
Entering the ring for the second time this year, Junior NABF Super Featherweight Champion William Foster III (9-0, 6 KOs) will face off against Ramon Esperanza (22-15-1, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bout. Foster’s rare ability to combine both power and speed has led him to become one of New England’s most talked about prospects.
In an eight-round middleweight bout, power punching prospect Carlos Gongora (15-0, 12 KOs) will take on Argentina’s Damien Ezequiel Bonelli (23-6, 20 KOs). Gongora, a former Olympian from Ecuador, won the WBC South American Middleweight Title this past February after defeating Jesus Aviles.
Luis Arcon Diaz (6-0, 6 KOs), an undefeated Olympian from Venezuela, and a recent signing, will return to action against Argentina’s Jose Aubel (8-3, 7 KOs).
Representing the Boston area, James Perella (2-0, 2 KOs) will look for his third consecutive knockout in a four-round welterweight bout. His opponent will be named in the coming days.
Ray Jay Bermudez (6-0, 4 KOs) will make a quick return to the ring after a KO victory last month when he takes on an opponent to be named in a six-round welterweight contest.
Rounding out the card will be two of Springfield’s own – power punching welterweight Anthony Velazquez (5-0, 5 KOs), who will take on an opponent to be named, and welterweight DJ Whitley (4-1-1), who will take on the always dangerous Bryan Goldsby (5-10) in separate four-round contests.
Gennday Golovkin Selects Johnathon Banks as His New Trainer
Boxing’s pound-for-pound superstar attraction Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin announced that he has selected Johnathon Banks to be his new trainer. Banks, who is no stranger to the pressure of working on boxing’s biggest stages, has worked the corners of unified heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko and undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus, just to name a few. The announcement was made today at a press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, will be bringing his Big Drama Show back to the “Mecca of Boxing” — Madison Square Garden — on Saturday, June 8. He will be taking on undefeated top-10 contender Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs), of Toronto, in a 12-round rumble that will be contested at a maximum weight of 164 lbs. The fight will be streamed live on DAZN. Golovkin vs. Rolls kicks off the exclusive six-fight, three-year global partnership between GGG Promotions and DAZN, the world’s fastest-growing sports streaming platform.
“I want to build on what I have already achieved and continue to improve as a boxer. Johnathon is teaching me new skills that will help me reach those goals. I believe in Johnathon’s teaching methods. We are working hard and I look forward to showing the world something special when I bring the Big Drama Show to Madison Square Garden on June 8,” said Golovkin.
“I have always been a fan of Triple G since I began watching him as an amateur. I remember him at the Olympics and thought he was a tremendous talent,” said Banks. “When I got the call, of course I was excited to be working with him. We have one goal and that is to officially return Gennadiy to the world championship throne that he deserves. The two fights Gennadiy had with Canelo reminded me of the two battles between Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns. Those fights had the same caliber of high level competition. I can’t wait for Gennaidy to get another shot at him.”
Banks, a former IBO cruiserweight champion and a heavyweight contender, is a disciple of the legendary Emanuel Steward. Upon Steward’s death in 2012, Banks, who was 30, was personally selected by heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko to be his new trainer, despite Banks being six years his junior. It was a boxing Baptism of fire but a challenge Banks was prepared for thanks to the many years he studied under Steward’s tutelage at the Kronk Gym, first as a fighter and then as an assistant trainer. Banks and Klitschko traveled the world together, successfully defending the heavyweight world titles six times, with five of those defenses against undefeated contenders. Banks has steadily built on his success with Klitschko, earning a reputation as trainer with great insight who instills confidence and success into the fighters he teaches. Another star pupil of Banks is undisputed world welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus, long considered the best pound for pound female fighter. The undefeated Braekhus is in the 10th year of her world championship reign.
Boasting a resume that includes a record 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses (18 by way of knockout), Golovkin has consistently drawn packed houses to the five previous events he has headlined at The Garden, dating back to 2013. Rolls, who has stopped four of his last seven opponents, has vowed to ice the middleweight legend with his version of a Canadian cold front.
Super Welterweight Champion Tony Harrison and Former Champion Jermell Charlo Set to Rematch on June 23
WBC Super Welterweight Champion Tony “Superbad” Harrison and former super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo will step into the ring for a highly anticipated rematch live in primetime Sunday, June 23 in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Televised coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features former world champion Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux taking on exciting Mexican contender Julio Ceja in a WBC Super Bantamweight world title eliminator.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Lions Only Promotions, TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.
Harrison and Charlo’s first encounter took place live on FOX in December as Harrison earned the decision and upset Charlo to earn the title. The close nature of the bout helped warrant an immediate rematch that promises to be just as highly charged and dramatic.
“Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo showed off their elite talent to the world in their first bout and I anticipate an even more explosive showdown in the rematch on June 23,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Harrison will no doubt be at his very best again as he looks to establish himself in the championship ranks. Jermell Charlo is certainly more motivated than ever to reclaim his spot atop the 154-pound division. Fans tuning in on FOX and FOX Deportes in primetime and in attendance at Mandalay Bay Events Center are in for an action-packed Sunday night.”
Harrison (28-2, 21 KOs) has proven to be “Detroit tough” during a boxing career inspired by early years trained and managed by the late Emanuel Steward. He had to climb back into title contention twice before reaching the top with his unanimous decision victory over Charlo last December.
Harrison was on track for a title shot before suffering the first loss of his career in 2015 to Willie Nelson. After three-straight wins, he earned a shot at the vacant 154-pound title against Jarrett Hurd. Although Harrison had strong moments in the fight, he eventually lost to Hurd and was forced to again climb to the top. After another three victories, including a win over former champion Ishe Smith, Harrison took advantage of his second world title opportunity against Charlo.
“Being a world champion now, I’m excited to defend my title for the first time in this rematch that everyone is looking forward to,” said Harrison. “I think there’s actually more pressure on Charlo, just like last time. It’s just a blessing for me to be fighting on FOX and FOX Deportes Sunday, June 23. Everyone is going to be tuned-in to this fight and we’re going to bring the action to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the capital of the boxing world. I plan on doing the exact same thing to Jermell that I did in December. I’m going to get the win, and then I don’t want to hear any more crying or excuses.”
The 28-year-old Charlo (31-1, 15 KOs) suffered the first setback of his career with the close unanimous decision loss to Harrison. Fighting out of Houston, Texas, Charlo won the vacant WBC title with a devastating knockout victory over John Jackson in 2016. He made three successful defenses of the title with highlight-reel knockouts over Charles Hatley and Erickson Lubin, plus a majority decision win over former champion Austin Trout.
Charlo is trained in Dallas by Derrick James, who was recognized as the 2017 Trainer of the Year by Yahoo Sports and also works with welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. Charlo is one-minute younger than his identical twin brother, Jermall, who is the WBC interim middleweight champion and a former 154-pound champion.
“I am in a ruthless state of mind. I am upset and this upcoming fight, I am going to give it 110 percent,” said Charlo. “I am way hungrier now than I was before. I am not desperate for a win because I know how to win. The judges gave me a bad decision because I didn’t get the knockout, but you don’t have to knock everybody out to beat them. He knows he didn’t beat me. He knows exactly what happened. He knows he can’t beat me. If I have to go in there and prove it again, I will.”
Rigondeaux (18-1, 12 KOs) will look to show off the masterful technical skills that made him a unified world champion and perennial member of the pound-for-pound list when he steps into the ring on June 23. A two-time Olympic gold medalist for his native Cuba, Rigondeaux made his name with victories over the likes of Nonito Donaire, Rico Ramos and Joseph Agbeko. The 38-year-old most recently knocked out Giovanni Delgado in January on FS1.
Fighting out of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, Ceja (32-3, 28 KOs) won an interim world title at super bantamweight in 2015 by stopping Hugo Ruiz in the fifth-round. The 26-year-old would lose the full title to Ruiz in their rematch in 2016, but has won two of three fights since, including a knockout of Anselmo Moreno.