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Cunningham, Stevens and a Resurfaced Mike Lee Talk Ahead of NBC Show

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Spirited Final Press Conference for Amir Mansour and Steve Cunningham Match-up Friday, April 4 at the Liacouras Center

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Cunningham & Mansour

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Philadelphia, PA: This afternoon fans and the media were treated to a verbal sparring match between Steve “USS” Cunningham and Amir “Hardcore” Mansour as they faced each other at the final press conference for this Friday's fight at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia and on NBCSN Fight Night. Amir's words incited a vocal reaction from Cunningham. The quotes and photos from the events are highlighted below.

Kathy Duva started things off by saying, “We have a spectacular event here. This is another fantastic show. It is going to be a treat for everyone. We are thrilled to be back here in beautiful downtown Philadelphia where it seems like boxing was born and we are trying to keep it alive.”

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Stevens & Johnson

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Hall of Fame Matchmaker J Russell Peltz emceed the event. He said, “Whenever Edner Cherry is on the first or second fight on a card you know the card is stacked. This is an excellent main event. These guys come to fight. Main Events' matchmaker Jolene Mizzone tried hard to find someone competitive to fight Curtis Stevens. Steve [Cunningham] is coming off a win. He has loads of experience. In my opinion he defeated Tomasz Adamek and the only reason he lost to Tyson Fury is because Tyson is about seven feet tall and he still put Fury on the floor.”

Brother Naazim Richardson, Steve Cunningham's trainer said, “This is a great match-up style-wise. If you know what this man has been through with his daughter none of us know that pain. To face the death of your child that is a darkness no one should ever face. Not to say jail is not a dark place but what he and his wife is facing is bigger than boxing. I have watched him persevere and become a two-time world champion. Steve isn't going to intimidate anyone out of the ring, but when you compare skill he wins hands down. What he has accomplished has been on skill and skill alone.”

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Cunningham & Duva

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Two-time cruiserweight champion Steve “USS” Cunningham said, “Thank you to Main Events, Peltz Boxing and NBC for putting this on. I am not going to get into what we are going through. What is the evidence of a thing, not seen, but hoped for? Faith. You could never tell me that I am not going to be a world champion. I have faith. I back down from no man. In actuality who isn't from the streets? Who isn't hard out here? We are all hard when we need to be. A smart man knows how to survive, when to fight and when not to fight. We all have the rough tough story. No man on this earth scares me especially within a four-corner ring with rules. I am getting in this ring to win. We are going to get it on Friday.” He added, “My main advantage is experience. This is boxing. We sign up to fight. I never worry about anyone's power. I have been facing these type of situations since day one.”

Joe Hand Jr., Amir Mansour's promoter said, “We want to thank Main Events and Peltz Boxing for allowing Mansour to have this opportunity. Friday night you have two championship caliber fighters. They are going to go in there very prepared. It is going to be a great fight.”

Howard Mosley, Amir's trainer said, “Mansour is a great champion. He trains and fights like a champion. I know Steve Cunningham has been a beautiful champion who I admire very much. I believe in my heart that Amir works harder than anyone I have ever seen. I have never seen him work this hard for anything before. He has natural talent. Anything I asked him to do he did.”

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Amir Mansour

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Amir “Hardcore” Mansour said, “I am not trying to scare him or act like some sort of gangster or street thug. I despise the streets. I despise anyone who carries themselves like a thug or a gangster. I don't brag about being incarcerated. I am ashamed of being incarcerated. I am disappointed in myself. I am not using prison to be a pedestal for my toughness. I don't deny who I am as a person. I don't deny my history, my present or my future. My future is to be successful in this game right here. I have never seen a skill set that can out-match mine and I have never had to use all my skill sets. Sometimes I need to utilize strength instead of skill. I don't have a padded record. I didn't have the luxury of fighting a bunch of bums. I have a very talented skill set of boxing. I can box. I can out-box you. You can't beat me in boxing. I am not letting anyone take my title. I am coming to get you. You are not going to beat me with no jab. You are going to have to come and get this work. We all go through problems with our friends and family but you are not going to take my title. You are going to have to come and get this work. He was a great cruiserweight champion but this is the heavyweight division and that was a few years ago.”

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Tureano Johnson

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Tureano Johnson was very confident about his fight with Curtis Stevens, “It is a pleasure to be back here. I appreciate the opportunity despite that I was given less than a month's notice. I am going to go in there and beat this guy up. He said I am a slapper and a bit sloppy. Come Friday night someone is going to get bitch-slapped. I am going to enjoy this but I cannot say the same for him. Let's pray I don't put him in the hospital. This is the most important fight of my life but I don't think it is the most difficult. I never fought anyone with Curtis Stevens' power but he is not going to catch me. That dude is not catching me. There is nothing he can show me.” Johnson laughed as he and Curtis faced each other for the photographers and Curtis was blowing bubbles with his chewing gum. The two continued to trash talk with each other until they were separated by Main Events' Public Relations Director Ellen Haley.

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Curtis Stevens

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Curtis Stevens was more diplomatic and simply said, “I would like to thank my terrific promoter Kathy Duva and my surrogate mother Jolene Mizzone for matching me very well. I will go in there just take care of business. Yes, he's undefeated but he's fought 14 softies. Come Friday he is going to be in there with the real thing. I am not going to tell him; I will have to show him.”

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Roberto Acevedo

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Roberto Acevedo, who is making his Main Events' debut Friday, said, “I feel happy. Thank you Main Events, thanks NBC. I am from Puerto Rico. I am happy for this opportunity. I get hard work. I know I am going to do a great job. Thanks for this opportunity.”

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Mike Lee

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Mike Lee said, “I am really excited to fight here in Philly. I want to thank Main Events for putting me on this card. We had a great camp and a great team and I am excited to show everyone what I am all about.”

Philadelphia, PA: A little over a year ago super featherweight sensation Edner Cherry (31-6-2, 17 KOs) knocked out Vicente Escobedo in the sixth round at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and since then his fans have been anxiously awaiting his return to the ring; Friday night at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia that wait will finally be over when he takes on Rober Osiobe (14-8-4, 6 KOs).

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Edner Cherry

Photo Courtesy of: Peltz Boxing 

Despite being only 31, Cherry, a native of Nassau, Bahamas now of Wauchula, FL, has 40 career professional fights. The majority of Cherry's fights have been in his home state of Florida but he is excited to make his Philadelphia debut. He said, “I am looking forward to fighting in Philly. It has a great boxing history. I am just glad that it wasn't a few months ago because being from Miami I couldn't have handled being here with all that snow!”

Cherry has not lost since, Sep. 13, 2008 when he lost in 12 rounds to Timothy Bradley in Biloxi, MS. Edner is also currently on a three fight win streak. He and Eric Aiken had a no contest on Sep. 23, 2011 in Hollywood, FL. Since then, in addition to his knockout of Escobedo, we defeated Juan Carlos Martinez via majority decision in ten rounds on Apr. 14, 2014 in Cicero, IL and he defeated Guillermo Sanchez via unanimous decision in eight rounds on Feb. 24, 2012 in Chicago, IL.

Edner said he used this year off wisely by constantly working out. He said, “After the fight with Escobedo I took only one week off. After that I have been in the gym constantly since then. I never missed a full week. I was always at the gym for the whole year working Dan Birmingham in St. Petersburg, FL. I am ready to get back to it.”

His opponent, Robert Osiobe, 36 of Ughelli, Nigeria is trying to prove he still has what it takes to compete at this level after suffering three straight losses (an eight round split decision on Dec. 6, 2013 to Ashley Theopane, an eight round unanimous decision on Aug. 16, 2013 to Jamal James and an eight round unanimous decision to Mark Davis on Jul. 5, 2013).

Cherry said, “I want to thank Russell Peltz for bringing me on board and putting his trust in me. I want to thank my fans for supporting me. I am sorry for being off for a year but I am back. I am ready to fight.”

J Russell Peltz, Cherry's Promoter, said, “Cherry has been off for one year but that is no reason for fans to forget about him. He could be the future of the junior lightweight division.”

About April 4th:

The event features a ten-round bout for the USBA Heavyweight Title between Steve “USS” Cunningham and USBA champion Amir “Hardcore” Mansour live on NBCSN Fight Night from the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA. The Fight Night broadcast will begin at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT. The card is presented by Main Events and Peltz Boxing in association with BAM Boxing and Joe Hand Promotions. The co-feature bout is a ten round middleweight match-up between Curtis “Showtime” Stevens and Tureano Johnson. Tickets are on sale now at the Liacouras Center Box Office and www.ComcastTix.com.

NBC Sports Live Extra:

NBC Sports Group's live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will live stream Fight Night at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT on April 4th.

Coverage will be streamed via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry's effort to make quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

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Three Punch Combo: What’s in the Cards for Spence, Kell Brook, and Cotto?

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 THREE PUNCH COMBO: Errol Spence Jr. scored an impressive knockout victory against Kell Brook on Saturday to take Brook’s IBF welterweight title. Both fighters now face interesting possibilities as they move forward in their respective careers.

Spence, who entered the fight with a lot of questions, not only showcased his tremendous skills but proved he has a very good chin as well as the willingness to dig deep when needed. He is without a doubt a future superstar in this sport. With momentum strong right now, he would be wise to be as active as possible even if not landing one of the big names his next time out.

I sense that Spence’s advisor, Al Haymon, will in fact get him back in the ring this summer. One name I would speculate as an opponent is Adrian Granados. Coming off a debatable loss to Adrien Broner, Granados has earned another shot at a top fighter. Granados is not a big puncher, but will put forth a good effort. The translation here is that he is someone that can be sold to the public as an opponent for Spence while bigger names are lined up, and also someone against whom Spence can in all likelihood look impressive once again.

After a summer tilt, I would expect to see Spence back in action towards the end of the year in a more substantial fight. Keith Thurman will still be on the mend at this point, recovering from elbow surgery, so that fight is out until next year. But Haymon has plenty of other welterweights and one that I suspect he steers toward Spence will be Lamont Peterson. Peterson is a name and has a belt. He also has a stated desire to want one of the big names next along with the payday that it would command. With Thurman out, this would seem the likely immediate path for Spence as such a fight would draw plenty of attention and be easy to sell.

As for Brook, he is going to need an extensive rest before restarting his career. He suffered a beating as well as an eye injury in September against Gennady Golovkin and then suffered another beating as well as injuring his other eye against Spence. After a rest, expect to see a tune- up bout followed by a massive fight in the UK against Amir Khan. The Khan fight has always been big and one of the reasons it has not been made is that it could frankly be made anytime with it still being a very significant event. Considering where both fighters are presently in their respective careers, the timing seems right for it to happen sooner rather than later. They both get a big payday and the winner gets well positioned for another big payday in what is a loaded territory at welterweight and junior middleweight.

Errol Spence Jr. and Kell Brook gave us a great fight on Saturday. While their career paths will head in different directions, expect to see both involved in big events once again down the road.

 Miguel Cotto’s Future

 Miguel Cotto announced this week that he would be returning to the ring on August 26th to face Japanese brawler Yoshihiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO junior middleweight championship. Cotto, who split from his promoter Roc Nation last week, will work with Golden Boy Promotions for this fight which will be televised by HBO.

This is an interesting development in the career of Cotto. Reportedly HBO had not been interested in televising the proposed Kamegai fight unless it received assurances from Cotto that it would lead to a bigger fight to be televised by the network. Also, Golden Boy’s involvement in the promotion signals that they could be involved in Cotto’s future. Obviously, this would mean the opponent for a big fight for Cotto would come from under the Golden Boy banner.

The obvious choice for Cotto’s big fight opponent is David Lemieux. Lemieux has been chasing a fight with Canelo Alvarez. However, with Alvarez deciding to go after Gennady Golovkin, Lemieux gets left on the outside looking in. In need of a big fight for Lemieux, Golden Boy saw an opportunity with Cotto having been previously negotiating the Kamegai fight with Roc Nation. A fight between Cotto and Lemieux makes sense for both as Cotto wants a name who isn’t a slick boxer and Lemieux wants a big fight with the payday it commands as well as the opportunity to put a signature win on his resume to bolster his future ambitions.

But I also think Golden Boy has another potential plan for Cotto. Golden Boy’s main cash cow, Canelo Alvarez, is in a high risk, high reward fight with Golovkin in September. There is no rematch clause if Alvarez wins and, of course, a win by Alvarez cements him as a mega star in the sport. He will be eyeing a return in May 2018 during Cinco de Mayo weekend. With momentum behind him, Alvarez would be wise to seek a name opponent to further boost the event. A rematch with Cotto would not only do huge business but keep the momentum going. For Cotto, it would be a chance to avenge the loss from 2015 to Alvarez and give him one massive payday as his career nears a conclusion.

Miguel Cotto is determined to close his career out with something big and it appears likely he will get his wish.

Kudos to Golden Boy

 When Golden Boy announced its new series on ESPN this winter, I was cautiously optimistic in the fights they would produce. I must say that the matchmaking thus far on this series has been superb and is getting even better with some recently announced cards. These are the types of televised shows the sport needs to generate some badly needed positive buzz.

On June 17th, Pablo Cesar Cano takes on Fidel Maldonado in a junior welterweight contest. This fight is not only very evenly matched but can’t be anything except a slugfest given the styles of the two fighters. Cano is a high pressure fighter who is willing to exchange to get his own punches home. Maldonado has the ability to box, but often gets drawn willingly into wars. In 2015, he had a back and forth shootout with Amir Iman in a fight that got some talk in fight of the year chatter. As a matter of fact, round three was probably round of the year that year. Maldonado has a tendency to fire back when he gets hit and with Cano’s style Maldonado is going to get hit a lot. This one is guaranteed action and a perfect fight for television.

About two weeks later, Golden Boy returns with another ESPN card featuring a high stakes junior featherweight contest between Randy Caballero and Oscar Negrete. Caballero is an undefeated former bantamweight belt holder and is a very skilled boxer puncher. Negrete, also undefeated, has shown much improvement inside the ring in his last few contests. The styles of these two should mix well to provide an entertaining fight. It is also evenly matched, and with so much at stake we should see the best of both men inside the ring.

One point I harp on a lot is the importance of good matchmaking, especially in televised fights. Golden Boy is doing an excellent job so far with their new ESPN series providing high quality, well-matched fights. The boxing public is taking notice and Golden Boy deserves much praise in delivering excellent events for the fans.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

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George Foreman Youth Center in Houston Hosts Amateur Event

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George Foreman Youth Center

George Foreman Youth Center –  -Starting with the ring of the bell on October 22nd, local area boxers will be fighting for a spot to represent the Gulf Coast Region at the USA Boxing National Championships & in International Travel.

Weight categories will include: Pee Wee 8-9, Bantam 10-11, Intermediate 12-13, Juniors 14-15, Youth 15-16, & Elite 18-40 in both Open and Novice divisions. Winners will represent the Gulf area at the 2016 USA Boxing Elite, Youth and Junior National Championships to be held in Kansas City Missouri December 4-10, 2016. This tournament is a sanctioned event through USA Boxing the National Governing Body of Amateur Boxing and is a feeder to National and Olympic recognition.

The George Foreman Youth and Community Center was founded 32 years ago in 1984 by Olympic Gold Medalist and 2-time heavy weight champion George Foreman. The GFYCC is dedicated to providing a safe and secure location for youth to participate in sports and after school activities.

“This year for the first time in Houston boxing history, we are developing an elite international youth boxing team,” said George Foreman, IV. “The team will be selected for the sole purpose of training and traveling to other countries to gain experience on an international platform and promote cultural diplomacy! Utilizing grant and donor funding this team will be representing the George Foreman Youth and Community Center and will be announced Saturday October 22, at the Gulf Region’s Boxing Championship. The team will be reviewed by my father, 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2-Time Heavyweight Champion, George Foreman Sr. The first international trip for this new Houston team is scheduled for Jan. 2017.”

Doors open for the Gulf Gloves Championships on Saturday October 22nd at 11:00 am with announcements and the presentation of the colors by the United States Army Houston Recruiting Command Baytown Beaumont Company at 12:45 pm. The national anthem will be performed by the internationally acclaimed Houston Brass Quintet! Boxing will begin at 1:00 pm. Championship finals will begin at 1:00 pm on Sunday October 23rd.

Media open workouts for Houston amateur standout boxers will be held Wednesday October 19th at the George Foreman Youth and Community Center at 2202 Lone Oak Road Houston, Texas 77093 at 4:00 pm.

Confirmed attendees for interviews will be:

George Edward Foreman IV: Son of 2 Time Heavy Weight Champion, President of Foreman Public Relations

Marlen Esparza: 2012 Olympic Games Bronze Medalist, 2014 Amateur World Champion, 2006 & 2016 Amateur World Championships Bronze Medalist, Nine-Time USA Boxing National Champion.

Rocky Juarez: 2000 Olympic Games Silver Medalist, 1999 Amateur World Champion, WBC Silver Featherweight World Champion.

Raul Marquez: 1988 Amateur World Championships Bronze Medalist, 1992 Olympic Games Quarter-finalist, IBF Light Middleweight World Champion.

Frank Tate: 1984 Olympic Games Gold Medalist, IBF Middleweight World Champion, NABF Light Heavyweight Champion.

Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz: WBA Lightweight World Champion, WBO Lightweight World Champion, WBA Super-Lightweight World Champion, IBF Lightweight World Champion.

“Sweet” Reggie Johnson: WBA Middleweight World Champion, IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion.

In addition to many Houston area professional boxers and Gulf Boxing Association alumni. Event is sanctioned by USA Boxing – Gulf LBC: 16-25-14268

George Foreman Youth Center / Check out more boxing news and videos at The Boxing Channel.

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Michelle Corrales-Lewis Named New CEO of NV Boxing Hall of Fame

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Michelle Corrales-Lewis

LAS VEGAS, NV (October 5, 2016) – The Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame (NVBHOF) a non-profit charitable organization which donates to boxing-related causes, is happy to announce Michelle Corrales-Lewis as its new CEO/President. Respected boxing announcer, Rich Marotta, who founded the NVBHOF in 2012, steps down after devoting years of his life to get the organization off the ground.

With a number of boxing greats already inducted, which include world champion fighters, judges, coaches and promoters, the NVBHOF has rapidly established itself as prestigious group not only here in Las Vegas, but around the world. The NVBHOF has multiple fundraising events throughout the year, helping local boxing organizations fulfill their goals to keep boxing alive within the community.

“I took this organization as far as I could and I’m very comfortable where it is at today,” said Rich Marotta. “Michelle is on the scene in Las Vegas, has a myriad of contacts, both in business and with the boxing community, especially the fighters, and is more than ready to completely run the company. She is incredibly capable and has been an indefatigable agent for growth of the NVBHOF the past three years, taking on additional responsibilities each and every year. It brings me great pleasure to announce her as the new CEO of the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.”

After serving as the NVBHOF Chief Operating Officer for many years, Michelle Corrales-Lewis, is thrilled at her new position within the organization.

“It’s an honor to be chosen as the new CEO of the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame,” said Michelle Corrales-Lewis, widow of former multiple world champion and 2013 NVBHOF inductee, Diego Corrales. “Rich Marotta did a fantastic job building the organization from ground up. His immense work ethic is a great example of how I plan to continue the vision he set forth. My goal is to find a home for the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, one where fans from all around the world can visit on regular basis. The boxing community is filled with wonderful people that we will honor as inductees each year. I’m truly grateful for the wonderful opportunity that has been presented to me by my dear friend Rich Marotta.”

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