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Kathy Duva/Main Events Files Suit Against Showtime, Golden Boy, Haymon

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The temp in the room just dropped a few more degrees, with word that promoter Kathy Duva, of Main Events, made good on a promise to look into legal action against Adonis Stevenson, the Canadian light heavyweight whose choice to latch on to uber advisor Al Haymon has heated up the Cold War clash in the fight game to fiery new heights.

The Sweet Science learned that Main Events and Duva filed suit, in Federal Court, in NY, against Al Haymon, Showtime, Golden Boy Promotions, promoter Yvon Michel, and boxer Adonis Stevenson.Attorney Patrick English filed the suit on Tuesday, on behalf of Main Events.

Main Events, in the complaint filed by longtime Main Events counselor Patrick English, alleges that there exists a legally binding contract between Main Events and Michel to co-promote a Sergey Kovalev-Stevenson bout. The complaint maintains that Michel breached the contract, and Main Events “suffered damages as a result.”

On the phone Wednesday afternoon, Duva told me that she will pursue damages, including punitive damages. “I keep coming to the scene in the movie ‘Network,’ when the character says, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ It would be easier in some ways not to do this, but it’s harder for me not to do something when someone stomps on my rights. I was taught to stand up to bullies.”

I spoke to Showtime boss Espinoza. He offered a “no comment,” because, he said, he hadn’t seen the complaint.

Michel emailed me back when I requested a response. The Canadian deal-maker said he heard about the suit but also hadn’t seen it. “It seems Miss Duva is basing her case on the sole agreement made between us for a Stevenson/Kovalev fight but she certainly knows it was only a piece dependent and including a multi-fight deal we, Main Events and (Michel’s company) GYM, seperately, were negotiating with HBO.” Michel said the deal had several parts, but his side wasn’t able to strike a deal for the first part of it, a fight pitting Stevenson against Andrzej Fonfara, so the other elements became moot. “She also seems to have a lot of imagination and have fantasized a major conspiracy against her. I am amazed! The fact is, I have not been able to deliver my fighter, who was not satisfied with HBO’s proposal, period. At the end of the day, it is the fighter who is making the choice of getting in the ring with a specific fighter, and it is his prerogative to choose not to, no matter his reason or if someone likes it or not.” Michel said deals like this fall apart all the time, even after similarly lengthy negotiation periods. He questioned what Main Events’ damages could be, since Kovalev just won a bout on HBO and signed a multi-fight deal with HBO. “We are going to strongly contest Main Events’ claim and expose their twisted affirmations,” he said, to close.

In the complaint, Haymon, the behind-the-scenes tree shaker/jelly maker whose power has grown immensely in the sport in the last several years, is accused of “tortious interference” with the contract forming a Kovalev-Stevenson bout, along with Golden Boy, Stevenson, Showtime, and John Does 1-8 (in other words, other parties which may be found to be liable.)

The complaint also contains exhibits, in the form of letters sent to Michel, and Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza, and a counterpunch letter from an attorney representing Stevenson. That letter maintains that “no deal was ever consummated…” and wording suggesting that the Main Events case has but a minute chance of prevailing.

Duva said she talked the issue over with Attorney English, and got second and third opinions from other attorneys. All said she had a strong case, she told me.

“When we were building this company up, we sued the WBC, WBA, Top Rank, Don King…my husband (Dan Duva) founded it as a company which asks that you follow the rules, and if you don’t we will call you out on it. Our track record for wins in court is good, we don’t do this lightly.”

Duva said she’s doing it for her company, for her conscience, for fight fans, and as much as anything, Kovalev, who she says, simply wants to fight the best. “I’d rather take my chances than be gutless. I couldn’t live with myself, and say, ‘Oh everyone might get mad at me.’ They are already trampling on my rights..what have I got to lose here? As a person, do I want to live life in fear?”

You might recall, the impetus for the suit occurred right before Main Events’ top dog, light heavyweight Kovalev was going to glove up against underdog Cedric Agnew. That’s when Stevenson lobbed a grenade, by informing all that he didn’t want to go the route that had apparently been planned by his promoter, Yvon Michel, and HBO and Main Events, which was a warmup fight for each before Stevenson and Kovalev would face off in a light heavyweight title consolidation tussle in the fall. The pin on the grenade, you could say, was likely primed back in the third week of February, when Stevenson tapped Haymon to manage him. Emanuel Steward had performed that duty, but he died in October 2012.

The fury in Duva’s voice was barely contained when she met with press several days before the March 29 Kovalev-Agnew card, in AC. Duva said that on Jan. 23, she and Team Kovalev and then Michel decided on mutually agreeable terms which would net a Sergey-Adonis showdown. Michel was on board, she said, and all assumed that Adonis was in the fold. The next day, Jan. 24, Duva said, Michel and HBO matchmaker/exec Peter Nelson agreed to terms, which included fights beyond the interim one, and the biggie, for both boxers. Michel told Duva his lawyer would type up a contract, and then send it over. It never came…

Duva took aim at the reclusive Haymon four days before Kovalev smashed Agnew. “He’s the man best known for making sure the public doesn’t get to see the fights they want,” she told me. “It’s true, isn’t it? Ask Mayweather and Pacquiao.”

That day, she said she’d look into a legal remedy, as she was sure, she said, that the terms of a deal had been agreed to, and Stevenson’s pull-up was a breach of contract, in her mind.

To be completely honest, I somewhat shrugged off the legal threat, figuring that the anger would diminish, other compelling bouts would appear for Kovalev, and the lawyers would find other bones of contention. But that light heavyweight division contains names which are on the Showtime-Golden Boy side of the street, with Stevenson and Bernard Hopkins being the other lead dogs. The options for Kovalev, with Stevenson now firmly in the other guys’ camp, aren’t boundless…so perhaps Duva figured she had little to lose, beyond some extra lawyer fees, perhaps, in attempting to rescue a deal for a fight which was on the short list for boxing fans’ 2014 wish list.

“This is why we have a legal system, so someone like me, not the biggest player on the board, gets justice,” Duva said on Wednesday. “Kovalev wants the fight, the fans want it done…but it wasn’t made because of someone elses agenda.”

Yes, she’d still like the fight to occur. But barring that, she’s hoping for monetary damages, “in the millions.”

The case was filed in the Southern District of NY, and in the federal realm, which makes sense because the parties are so spread out, in Canada, and California, and wherever Haymon lives.

“This action is for the good of sport and my business,” she said, in summation. “Someone has to stand up to them, I’m tired of it.”

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans

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Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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