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Notebook: Dog bite be damned, Tszyu will not delay Ocampo fight
Usyk-Dubois gets new date; Ennis locks in foe, Showtime date; Frank Martin next bout lined up; Romero-Davies ordered; BetUS show; Quick hits; Show and tell
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WBO interim junior middleweight titlist Tim Tszyu’s first defense against Carlos Ocampo will move forward as planned despite Tszyu being badly bitten by a dog during a social gathering and needing surgery and 26 stitches to close the wound on his right forearm this past weekend.
Tszyu (22-0, 16 KOs), 28, who is awaiting a mandatory shot at injured undisputed champion Jermell Charlo, and Ocampo (34-2, 22 KOs), 27, of Mexico, will meet on June 17 (Showtime in U.S., 10 p.m. ET, Foxtel Main Event and Kayo Sports PPV in Australia, where it will be June 18) at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Australia.
“A dog came at me, I defended myself and he took a little bit out of me. It’s quite simple,” Tszyu said during a media availability to address the situation. “At first I was a bit worried and a bit nervous when it happened (last) Saturday but (now) it’s all on track. I was training on Monday.
“It didn’t really limit me at all. It was a little bit of a distraction, not ideal to go into surgery three weeks before a fight, but whatever. I just want to get it on. There’s a dog in me right now that’s about to come out. I knew (the wound) was superficial. If I couldn’t punch with my right then I’d have to fight with one hand. So be it.”
Tszyu is due to have the stitches removed next week.
Showtime will also air the co-feature, an IBF junior featherweight eliminator between Ra’eese Aleem (20-0, 12 KOs), 32, of Las Vegas, and Sam Goodman (14-0, 7 KOs), 24, of Australia.
Another undercard bout, a 10-rounder between junior lightweight contender Liam Wilson (11-2, 7 KOs), 27, of Australia, and Eduardo Ramirez (27-3-3, 12 KOs), 30, of Mexico, was canceled because Wilson suffered an injury during sparring. Wilson made a name for himself in February when, as a late replacement, faced Emanuel Navarrete for the vacant WBO 130-pound title and lost by highly competitive ninth-round knockout in a fight of the year contender.
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New date for Usyk-Dubois
The mandatory fight between three-belt heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk and WBA “regular” titlist Daniel Dubois has been moved from Aug. 12 to Aug. 26, but still will take place at Wroclaw Stadium in Wroclaw, Poland, according to Usyk promoter Alex Krassyuk of K2 Promotions.
The reason for the move is to have the bout closer to Ukraine Independence Day, which is Aug. 24. Usyk is from Ukraine, which borders Poland and has a large Ukrainian population. The fight cannot take place in Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion and its unprovoked war but Usyk still wanted to fight close to home, where he has not boxed since 2015 and never as a word champion.
“Wroclaw is home to many Ukrainians,” Krassyuk told TVP Sport. “The fight will take place at the stadium (set up) for 24,000 people. We had to change the date from Aug. 12 to Aug. 26 because it is (close to) Ukraine’s Independence Day. It’s the perfect date to set up a fight with Dubois. We couldn’t waste it.”
K2 Promotions won the recent purse bid to gain control of the bout, bidding $8,057,000 to beat the only other offer, which was $5,620,050 made by Dubois promoter Frank Warren of Queensberry Promotions.
Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), a 36-year-old southpaw and the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, will make his second heavyweight title defense and first since winning a second consecutive unanimous decision over former two-time unified titlist Anthony Joshua last August.
Dubois (19-1, 18 KOs), 25, of England, won the “regular” title by fourth-round knockout of Trevor Bryan in last June and has made one defense, a very shaky third-round stoppage of Kevin Lerena in December after Lerena dropped him three times in the first round.
Ennis tops Showtime card
Jaron “Boots” Ennis will defend the IBF interim welterweight title against Roiman Villa in the main event of a Showtime-televised card on July 8, a source with knowledge of the event told Fight Freaks Unite, confirming a BoxingScene report. Hours later, Ennis posted on his social media that was the plan.
The fight will take place at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a short ride from Ennis’ hometown Philadelphia.
Ennis (30-0, 27 KOs), 25, won the vacant interim 147-pound belt via shutout decision over Karen Chukhadzhian on Jan. 7 on the Gervonta Davis-Hector Luis Garcia Showtime PPV card in Washington, D.C., and will be making his first defense.
Also on that Jan. 7 undercard, Villa (26-1, 24 KOs), 30, of Venezuela, notched his most significant victory in a majority 12-round decision over Rashidi Ellis. The win was Villa’s seventh in a row since a 12-round split decision loss to Marcos Villasana in 2019.
BetUS Boxing Show
If you missed the BetUS Boxing Show live at 1 p.m. ET on Friday on YouTube, please check out the replay (and also subscribe to the YouTube channel). We previewed the Claressa Shields-Maricela Cornejo undisputed women’s middleweight title fight and the junior middleweight co-feature between Ardreal Holmes and Wendy Toussaint. We also took viewer questions and comments and discussed the latest boxing news! Please check out the show here:
Weights from Detroit for the Salita Promotions card Saturday on DAZN: Claressa Shields 159.6 pounds, Maricela Cornejo 155 (for Shields’ undisputed women’s middleweight title); Ardreal Holmes 153.4, Wendy Toussaint 149.8; Da’Velle Smith 160.6, Kahydlian Woods 159.8; Joseph Hicks Jr. 159.4, Antonio Todd 158.2; Gheith Karim 152.2, Marlon Harrington 152.8; Joshua Pagan 139.4, Ronnell Burnett 137.4; Vernon Webber 197.4, Fernando Almeida 197.4; Sarah Liegmann 124.6, Carisse Brown 125.8.
Lightweight contender Frank Martin (17-0, 12 KOs), 28, of Indianapolis, will face Germany-based Armenian Artem Harutyunyan (12-0, 7 KOs), 32, in a Showtime-televised bout on either July 15 or July 22 at a site to be determined, multiple sources with knowledge of the plans told Fight Freaks Unite. The bout will be a WBC semifinal eliminator, one source said. Martin, an Errol Spence protégé, who shares trainer Derrick James with him, is coming off his biggest win, a lopsided decision over then-unbeaten Michel Rivera in December. Harutyunyan will fight for the first time in the United States after having all of his previous bouts in Germany,
The WBA this week ordered newly crowned junior welterweight titlist Rolando Romero (15-1, 13 KO), 27, of Las Vegas, to next face mandatory challenger Ohara Davies (25-2, 18 KOs), 31, of England, who has won seven fights in a row since a decision loss to Jack Catterall in 2018. They were given 30 days to negotiate a deal or a purse bid will be scheduled for a bout the organization said should take place no later than Sept. 12. If there is a purse bid the split will be 75-25 in Romero’s favor. Before Romero controversially stopped Ismael Barroso to win the vacant title in the ninth round on May 13, the WBA said the winner would be obligated to face Davies next.
Showtime announced a new opening bout for the “ShoBox” tripleheader on June 9 (9 p.m. ET) at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, during International Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend. Light Heavyweight Clay Waterman (10-0, 8 KOs), 27, a former amateur standout from Australia, will face Kenmon Evans (10-0-1, 3 KOs), 31, of Port Orange, Florida, who is promoted by Hall of Famer and women’s boxing legend Christy Martin, in an eight-rounder. The bout replaces a fight between junior welterweight Mykquan Williams and Ryan Martin, which was canceled when Martin withdrew for what was termed “personal reasons.”
Top Rank has added fights involving lightweight Abdullah Mason and junior lightweight Tyler McCreary to the card headlined by rising heavyweight star Jared Anderson against Kazakhstan’s Zhan Kossobutskiy on July 1 (ESPN, ES9PN Deportes, ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET) at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio, Anderson’s hometown, where he will fight for the first time as pro. Cleveland native Mason (8-0, 7 KOs), 19, one of Top Rank’s best prospects, will face Tobias Green in a six-rounder and Toledo-born McCreary (17-2-1, 8 KOs), 30, will face an opponent to be named in a six-rounder.
Show and tell
Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto, one of the great action fighters of his time and one of the all-time best from Puerto Rico, is the only male fighter from the island to win world titles in four weight classes. The 2000 Olympian won six world titles in all at junior welterweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight before retiring in 2017. After losing his welterweight title by 12th-round knockout to the prime Manny Pacquiao, Cotto moved up to junior middleweight and in his first bout in the division got a shot at undefeated WBA titlist Yuri Foreman. Cotto was a huge draw in New York because of its big Puerto Rican population and Top Rank put on the fight at Yankee Stadium, which had hosted 46 previous cards but none in the 34 years since Muhammad Ali’s undisputed heavyweight title defense in his trilogy fight with Ken Norton in 1976 in a fight Top Rank also promoted at the previous version of the stadium.
I covered Cotto-Foreman at ringside and it was one of the most memorable events I have ever covered because, besides being such a hardcore boxing fan, I am also a devoted lifelong Yankees fan. So to get the opportunity to sit on the field to cover the fight was a huge thrill. So was having the chance to wander into an empty Monument Park behind the outfield wall during a break in the undercard to see all of the statues and plaques of the team greats for the first time. I took a bunch of pictures. To this day there is still a rotting Yankees wrist band from that night wrapped around the handle of my laptop bag placed there after going through security. In any event, Cotto, in his first fight with trainer Emanuel Steward, dominated the fight and stopped Foreman, who had injured his right knee, in the ninth round to claim a title in his third division. The fight was on June 5, 2010 — 13 years ago on Monday. Here is a site poster from the fight in my collection.
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Photos: Tszyu: No Limit Boxing; Ennis: Amanda Westcott/Showtime; Shields-Cornejo: Stephanie Trapp/Salita Promotions
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