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Kovalev-Mohammedi Press Conference Quotes

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Mohammedi and Kovalev Face-off

Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev – WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion

“Hello everybody. Thank you for comes here. What I can say? I already said enough for my side. I am sure it is going to be very interesting fight. Why? Because Nadjib has very good and big motivation to be champion and my desire is to get my four titles. I think that will happen this year, that I fight a unified fight. Fight against Nadjib is for me next step. I am not going to say that I will, I will and I will, is words of trash talkers. I am going to show what I can in the ring.

“Everyone welcome to Vegas July 25 to Mandalay Bay and have a nice time. Thank you very much for your attention, for my promoter, Kathy Duva, and manager [Egis Klimas] that they turn their attention to me, sign me and now my career is in their hands. I like it. Everything I have right now is good.

“Also I am very happy that my fight is on HBO. I am happy and I am going to be best in my division. I am not finished of my collection of all of my belts. I shoot and I must to get one more, WBC title. Just give me opportunity to fight against WBC Champion. I don’t care whether it be Adonis Stevenson or another guy. I don’t care.

“Right now I am not even thinking about this because my next fight will be big fight and not an easy fight against Nadjib Mohammedi. I think so enough to say. Thank you very much again.”

Mohammedi & Kovalev

Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Nadjib “Iron Djib” Mohammedi – IBF Mandatory Challenger

“For me is big opportunity. My first time in USA just one years now. I respect Sergey Kovalev now is champion of light heavyweight but I don’t come here for joke or for play or for game. I want be world champion. I work with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear for this. I am not stupid. I know what you think about me. I am not naïve. This fight is very, very difficult for me but I say it is very difficult for Sergey. It is not difficult just for me because I am very smarter, I am faster.

“On 25 of July I am ready with my team, I am ready for this fight. I am ready for Sergey. I am the new generation of light heavyweight because I don’t want the same fight of another opponent. Thank you very much to Kathy Duva, my promoter. Thank you very much my team. Thank you very much my co-managers, Vince Caruso and Jon Ali. Thank you, Abel Sanchez. I will see you 25 of July for the big fight. I promise you this is a big, big fight. Thank you very much.”

Duva & Kovalev

Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Kathy Duva – CEO of Main Events

“Less than two years ago Sergey Kovalev was a struggling fighter trying to make a name for himself. Since then he has fought on HBO six times. He is about to go into his seventh fight on HBO. He has become, not just the light heavyweight champion of the world, but he has unified three of the light heavyweight titles. Last year he was named the fighter of the year by Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, The New York Post, USA Today, SherDog and UCN Live. Some of you are here today and thank you so much. It I a hell of an accomplishment to be the Fighter of the Year, you can’t do that every year, no matter who you are. To go from being completely unknown to being the man in the light heavyweight division in less than two years is a remarkable accomplishment.

“I don’t think any of us would be here without the support of the fine people at HBO. Today I get to proudly announce that Sergey Kovalev gets to remain with HBO, the company that has taken him this far. It is his intention and our intention to remain with HBO for the rest of his career, if that is possible. This is the company that has led boxing for the last 30 odd years in this country. It is unquestionably the #1 boxing network in the world. It is the place to be if you want to have a high-profile career in this sport and maintain it for a long time.

“About a year ago Nadjib Mohammedi came to the United States for the first time. He earned his shot at a title by becoming the #1 contender. He has worked hard over the last year to maintain that position and prepare himself for the opportunity to fight for the world title. Now he gets the privilege of fighting for all three of those belts.

“Now that Sergey has moved to the west coast and has made a home for himself and his family here in Los Angeles we are moving his home base. I had a lovely meeting with Richard Sturm at MGM a few weeks ago and he confirmed to me that MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay want to be in the Sergey Kovalev business. As I see a vacuum opening up in Vegas for big names I think Sergey Kovalev is the kind of guy who can step in there and fill that vacuum. His fights are electrifying and exciting and thrilling. That is what boxing fans should expect when they put their money down to come and see a fight.

“Main Events has a great history with Mandalay Bay which is one of the best facilities in the country, in the world. On a personal note it is great to be going back there. We brought Fernando Vargas there years ago and had some great, great nights there and some great, great memories there. We are going to make some new ones now. It is a new beginning. It is a new beginning with HBO. It is a new beginning with Mandalay Bay. Yet it all feels very familiar because this was the same team that was making Fernando one of the biggest box office attractions in the country.

“Peter Nelson from HBO is not here because of your famous LA traffic but if he were here he would tell you that the event will start at 10:00 PM on July 25 on HBO. There will be a co-feature and we are still working on what that is going to be and we will announce that when we know. The tickets will be going on sale next week and will be priced very affordably for the fans from $25 up to $300. We want to fill up the room. We want to encourage the true boxing fans. Something that I noticed when I went to the big fight a few weeks ago at MGM that the crowd was missing the true fight fans but I want to see those people come out for this fight. Those fans will be very pleased. I have had the great pleasure to be ringside a number of times for Sergey’s fights and it is thrilling.

“This will be a 12-round fight for the WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Championships. It is an IBF mandatory bout. Sergey is 27-0-1 with 24 knockouts from Russia and Nadjib is 37-3, with 23 knockouts from France.

“To Vince’s point, that is one of the things that is great about boxing, everybody has a story. Everybody has been through adversity. If not for miracles I think everyone standing on this dais, myself included, would not be standing here right now. I think that is part of what keeps this sport alive and is what makes it so compelling is the stories behind everybody. The truth is Nadjib came here last June as an opponent basically. He came here and won a fight he wasn’t expected to win; he earned his place and has worked for a long time with Abel Sanchez. He has taken advantage of this time to work with a great trainer in Abel Sanchez and believe me we are very well aware of it. With an awkward style and a great trainer, his great heart and drive that this is not going to be an easy night for anybody.

“Having said that, Sergey Kovalev is something very special, we all know that. To me he is exactly what boxing is supposed to be, somebody who goes out there and gives their all gives 1,000% every time. He keeps the crowd entertained. He keeps the fight exciting. He makes it fun to be there. That is why we tend to focus on him and his future. We don’t mean it as an insult to anybody. That is what we have, it is called a star.”

Kovalev & Klimas

Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Egis Klimas – Manager of Sergey Kovalev

“Good afternoon everybody. Thanks for coming for this press conference in the beautiful city of Los Angeles. Thank you Kathy [Duva]. She is doing a very good job. When I brought Sergey to Kathy a couple of years ago at that point nobody knew him. Some people knew Kovalev in boxing but not much and not like he is known today.

“Vince [Caruso] was talking about how we have not seen bad days in Sergey’s career but I would say it is completely the opposite. I brought Sergey in 2009 from Russia I put him in Don Turner training camp in North Carolina which is in the middle of nowhere. The closest store is about five miles away. All around there are corn fields, bugs, bears, snakes and he stayed where Don had built his boxing gym. At that time I had many fighters going to that camp and besides Sergey and Gradovich I would say the longest somebody was there was like three months before they would call me and tell me they were done. They would go to New York or Chicago and today they are nobody and I have not even heard about them. Some are taxi drivers now but this gentleman stayed there and didn’t complain a single word for a year and a half.

“I used to go to Don’s camp, me and Don would jump in a van and drive around the country just to get the fights. I saw big talent and Don Turner saw big talent in him but I could not convince any of the promoters. I talked to Top Rank. I talked to Golden Boy. I talked to Lou DiBella. I talked to everybody about giving him a chance until one day Don Turner introduced me to Kathy see said she would try and see what is going to happen.

“The biggest fight that we had in our career was Darnell Boone. Sergey wasn’t ready for it so it went all eight rounds and was not a good fight. Main Events asked me how I felt about fighting Darnell Boone again. I thought Sergey was no going to like that. I called Sergey and I told him, he said he it was great and he wanted to do that. He said, ‘I want to see how I improved from almost two years past. That’s a fight I want.’ That was when I realized I really had a good fighter here with a good heart. Of course the second time he did a great job with Darnell Boone. It was two rounds. He was a completely different guy. He was on TV. He was on the big stage. He has had hard times.

“I want to thank HBO for giving us this very good opportunity for the rest of his career. I wanted to thank again Kathy and Mandalay Bay for having us there. Don’t miss fight on July 25.”

Caruso & Mohammedi

Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Vince Caruso – Co-Manager of Nadjib Mohammedi

“There is not much to say when you fight the #1 guy. Whether I like him or not Sergey Kovalev is the #1 guy in boxing today, especially after what we saw two weeks ago I would say he is undoubtedly #1. He is the top tier. He is a very bad dude and we are going in there with that in mind.

“I am not going to get up here and say that Nadjib is going to come in there and do this or we are guaranteeing a win. You can’t guarantee anything in this business. The only thing I can guarantee you is that on the 25th of July Nadjib Mohammedi is going to make the 175 pound contracted weight limit, that will be a guarantee. #2 he is going to come in there with a game plan that if he does execute and he does listen to Abel Sanchez, his trainer, he has a very good shot at winning this fight. Because even though Sergey might be stronger, and he might be bigger, and he might have been on the big stage a lot more than Nadjib has, there is one thing that I believe we have the edge in, and that is desire.

“When you have been held down your whole life, your whole career, a career that started in 2005, and you have to fight in rooms that are smaller than this, with no TV coverage, no press, that is hard times. I don’t think Sergey Kovalev goes through hard times. Nadjib Mohammedi has gone through hard times. He came to Big Bear before his fight on the Hopkins-Kovalev undercard back in November. His trainer that he has been with for 14 years got detained at the airport and could not get in for that fight. So me and his co-manager, Jon Ali, had to figure out who was going to work the corner. Sullivan Barrera, our friend who is also here today, was on that card already and he was working with Abel Sanchez. I have always said after I watched Nadjib on June 21st of last year, that he is the perfect style fighter for Abel Sanchez’s training methods. He fights that Mexican style. He is a straight-ahead blood and guts fighter. There is nothing really special about him. His strength is his heart. Show me a guy with heart who is sick and tired of being broke and sick and tired of getting the short end of the deal and I am going to show you a winner. Nothing ever lifts adrenaline more than the desire to change your life. That is what we need to look at going in against this guy because he is a killer. He is #1, the big cheese. That is what we want. We want high risk because we want high reward.

“With all due respect to Kathy, she talks about all these great future plans she has with Kovalev but I would have waited until this Mohammedi fight was in the books before you made any long term plans. I know nobody gives us a chance and he is probably a 15-1 underdog. We are the dog but everybody on this team has overcome something. This guy has overcome the temptations of the mafia-ridden streets of France. He went into the food business and took care of his mother and his brothers and his sister. He worked hard. He wanted to become a professional fighter. He is here. Jon Ali, my co-manager, is a professional singer. He is a great pop singer and that is why he is not here today. 11 years ago I was a junkie and I was in a Las Vegas rehab. I never thought I would be on the big stage again but I am. This team has a lot of desire. We are going to win this fight and we are going to win it with heart.”

About Kovalev-Mohammedi

WBO, WBA an:d IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) will compete in his first mandatory title defense against Nadjib “Iron Djib” Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs) on July 25 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight will be telecast live on HBO World Championship Boxing® and ticket and undercard information will be released shortly.

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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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Canada & Usa

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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