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NEWS ON: Mohammedi, Lepikhin

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Training Camp Notes: Nadjib Mohammedi

A Simple Twist of Fate and “The Algerian Assassin” is now Working with World Renowned Trainer, Abel Sanchez, While He Patiently Waits to Face the Winner of Kovalev-Pascal

Big Bear Lake, CA:

On March 14, Nadjib “The Algerian Assassin” Mohammedi (36-3, 22 KOs) will face Lee Campbell (8-1, 4 KOs) on the undercard of the Kovalev-Pascal fight in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. A roller coaster of events that brought him to this place in his career. When Nadjib defeated Anatoliy Dudchenko to secure the #1 position in the IBF, he thought his next opponent would be Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins as Hopkins’ mandatory challenger. When Hopkins decided to face Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev in a unification fight for the WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight Championships, Mohammedi agreed to fight on the Hopkins-Kovalev undercard and wait to face the winner.

Vince Caruso, Nadjib’s manager said, “I told him to let Sergey win all three titles and then take the bigger fight with Kovalev. We knew defeating a 50 year old fighter would not be as prestigious as defeating the hardest puncher in boxing.”

When Mohammedi arrived in New Jersey ahead of his fight with Demetrius Walker on November 8, he found out that his trainer was unable to get to the United States. Nadjib and his team scrambled to someone to work his corner. As fate would have it, legendary trainer Abel Sanchez was in town working with fellow light heavyweight Sullivan Barrera. Abel agreed to work Mohammedi’s corner. Mohammedi stopped Walker in the first round. Vince said, “Nadjib was ecstatic with Abel at that fight.”

After the fight, Sanchez became Mohammedi’s head trainer. Although Nadjib was eager to fight Kovalev, the newly crowned unified champion, both he and Abel knew they would benefit from more time together before taking on such a challenge. So, when Main Events sought a special exception from the IBF to allow Kovalev to fight Jean Pascal on March 14, the 29-year old from Gardanne, Bouches-du-Rhône, France once again agreed to wait.

According to Sanchez, “I am glad that they did it because it gives us time to adjust to one another. That is the business part of it and they handle that. I’m the coach. They confer with me obviously but it does give us more time and another training camp to be ready for the winner.” He added, “I have a different method from other coaches, so I think it took a little time for adjustment. But I think he now understands my philosophy and my style of training now. Everyone around him here in Big Bear is doing the same hard work that he is starting to do now. He is adjusting to the lifestyle. He likes that everyone around him is working just as hard as he is and he isn’t the only one.”

Nadjib added, “For me, working with Abel is going very well. He has changed my life. I get to work with very many good fighters. The team is very good and I want to face Kovalev next in America. Kovalev is the best light heavyweight right now and I only want to face the best. I only have one trajectory, the victory.”

When asked about the game plan for Lee Campbell on March 14 in Canada, Sanchez said, “I’ve always trained my guys to do what we do best and Lee Campbell is going to have to adjust to us. If we start trying to adapt to some opponent then we aren’t being 100% ourselves. We have to take Nadjib’s pluses and improve on them and also work on his minuses. Most of all we need to work on his pluses because we have only had one training camp so it is not much time to change anything.”

Training Camp Notes: Vasily Lepikhin

Less Than a Year After His US Debut Lepikhin Signed a Co-Promotional Deal With Interbox and Landed the Opening Slot on the Kovalev-Pascal HBO World Championship Boxing® Telecast

Oxnard, CA:

As Vasily “The Professor” Lepikhin (17-0, 9 KOs) prepares to face Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (23-2-2, 10 KOs) for the NABF Light Heavyweight Title on March 14 in the opening bout of the Kovalev-Pascal HBO World Championship Boxing® telecast he cannot help to reflect on his career thus far.

The common misconception is that Lepikhin earned the nickname, “The Professor” while attending university in his hometown of Gelendzhik, Russia. Although he does have two degrees, one in sports (similar to a US degree in athletic training) and one in management, he was coined “The Professor” when he made his professional debut back in 2005 at the age of 19. He explained, “When I had my pro debut in Russia, the promoter of the show thought I was so smart in the ring he said I was a professor of boxing. From that point on I was known professionally as ‘The Professor.'”

Berridge & Lepikhin

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

The undefeated Lepikhin has had a stellar career so far. He has an impressive 53% (9 of 17) knockout-to win ratio with the majority of his fights taking place in his home country of Russia. He made his US debut back in August of 2014 with an impressive fifth round stoppage of Robert Berridge of New Zealand to secure the PABA and WBO Oriental Light Heavyweight Titles. Shortly after the fight Lepikhin and his promoter, German Titov of German Titov Promotions, signed a co-promotional agreement with Main Events.

Lepikhin & Junior

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

In November, he returned to the US to face Brazilian Jackson Junior. Lepikhin appeared to struggle against Junior but still managed to secure the ten-round unanimous decision victory. He explained, “In my last fight I arrived to Pennsylvania and got very sick. I went into the ring sick.”

For this upcoming fight Lepikhin and his camp traveled from Russia to Oxnard, CA on February 21 to finish out the remainder of his training camp in the United States. “I came to Oxnard so I could adjust to the time difference and to get in a little sparring before heading to Canada,” said Vasily.

Igor, Vasily and Andrey Lepikhin

Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

For Lepikhin, boxing is a family affair. He is trained by his father, Andrey Lepikhin, the same trainer that also trains fellow Main Events’ stable mate, middleweight Dmitry Mikhaylenko. His brother, Igor Lepikhin, will also work his corner for him on March 14 when he faces Chilemba in Canada. Vasily said, “I love training with my father. I love every single minute of it. It is great for me because I get to work with my family.”

Early in 2015 Lepikhin, Main Events and German Titov Promotions were approached about joining forces with Interbox to co-promote Lepikhin and add a fight between Vasily and Isaac Chilemba to the HBO World Championship Boxing® telecast. Lepikhin said, “I am very excited about fighting on HBO and this new opportunity with Interbox. I am looking forward to showcasing my skills on this large international scale.”

The fight with Chilemba, who is currently ranked #2 in the IBF, will be a ten-round fight for the NABF Light Heavyweight Title. When asked about the fight with Chilemba, Lepikhin said, “I think Chilemba is a very good, experienced fighter. It is going to be a very good bout.” His father/trainer added, “We travelled a long road to get to this point. We are very, very happy to finally be here. We are ready.”

About Kovalev vs. Pascal

Kovalev vs. Pascal is a 12-round fight for the WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Championship Titles. The fight will be televised as part of a live triple header on HBO World Championship Boxing® Saturday, March 14 from the Centre Bell in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Tickets are on sale now at the Centre Bell ticket office, at www.evenko.ca, by telephone at 1-855-310-2525 or through Club de Boxe Champion 514-376-0980. This event is a co-promotion of Main Events and InterBox, presented by Vidéotron in association with Mise-O-Jeu.

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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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Press Releases

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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