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Boxing News & Notes for 7/3: Top Rank sues Haymon, Frampton-Gonzalez on ITV, Mares-Santa Cruz is finalized

Corey Quincey

KO Boxing Forum

PBC branches out another series on seventh network. Al Haymon continues his annexation of each and every television network willing to take his call to air the Premier Boxing Champions series. He’s officially purchased airtime on a seventh network, Bounce TV, a specialty network catering to a predominantly African-American viewership. On the first show of their “PBC – The Next Round” series, three-time US Olympic representative Rau’shee Warren takes a massive step up in class against unbeaten Juan Carlos Payano, the WBA Bantamweight champion.

Warren becomes the first American boxer from the 2012 Olympic class to grapple for a world title belt. Also on the bill are a pair of semi-final bouts of a WBC middleweight elimination tournament. In the first, Yudel Johnson, 2004 Olympic silver medalist, takes on Jorge Cota, who has won twenty-two of his twenty-six fights by knockout — losing only twice overall. On the flip side, John Jackson looks to continue his march back to contention when he squares off against veteran Dennis Laurente.

Bob Arum swings for the fences, alleges “predatory practices” of Al Haymon and PBC. Bob Arum’s Top Rank has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Al Haymon, citing violation of Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act and antitrust laws. “Al Haymon and Waddell & Reed are engaged in a sophisticated scheme to gain control of the boxing industry,” claims Top Rank attorney Daniel Petrocelli of the O’Melveny and Myers law firm. Top Rank’s civil suit came in excess of fifty pages of condemning legal prose, and was filed on Wednesday, July 1st in Los Angeles. Arum’s affront was perhaps given some additional fodder by Haymon’s recently uncovered attempts to “sabotage” rival promoters’ events by “holding up” dates at preferred venues, only to cancel last minute, but it appears he had plenty of ammunition up his own sleeve as Arum went as far as to accuse Haymon of paying off the fighters whom he managed not to spar with boxers from Top Rank and other rival promoters. Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya, a former partner in Haymon’s exploits, filed a $300 million law suit against Haymon and his “related companies” under similar accusations nearly two months ago, and publicly applauded Arum’s litigation against the manager.

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Frampton’s next fight lands on free TV. Terrestrial broadcaster ITV has picked up Carl Frampton’s US boxing debut against Mexico’s Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. On July 18th in El Paso, Texas, Frampton defends his IBF Super Bantamweight title in a bout that will be televised in the US by CBS. It will be his first defense not just outside of the United Kingdom, but outside of his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. In fact, he hasn’t fought on the road in six fights, when he fought Raul Hirales Jr. in Nottingham, England. He still rustled every man in the house to his support, and will probably have a sizable Irish contingent find its way to the arena in a couple of weeks, but make no mistake about it: this is a first for Frampton, and how many eyes will be on him come the first bell. Gonzalez has never fought in a bout scheduled for twelve rounds. Also: Chris Arreola Vs. Fred Kassi has been added to the undercard.

Mares Vs. Santa Cruz set. Some time ago, when both we on the rise and undefeated under the Golden Boy Promotions banner, this might have been the greatest fight to make in boxing that could have actually happened, considering the absurdity of “those two” actually getting their names signed in ink. Covenant that they would do battle in due time, the paths of these young athletes quickly diverged as Mares flocked to featherweight for a third division title, only to lose in his first defense — a crushing, first round knockout defeat to Jhonny Gonzalez, while Leo Santa Cruz continued his slow formation as a top action fighter in the lower weight classes. Santa Cruz has yet to lose, and Mares is back on track with three straight wins. Now is the time to fight. Santa Cruz Vs. Mares is set for August 29th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Ogogo returns in Germany. 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo, a representative of Great Britain, fights for the first time under a co-promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions and Team Sauerland. After a twelve month layoff due to injuries to each of his Achilles tendons, Ogogo will return to the ring on July 18th in Germany, underneath the fourth bout between Arthur Abraham and Robert Stieglitz, promoted by Sauerland Event.

Sauerland also promote Juergen Braehmer. His next fight is now known to be taking place on September 5th in Dresden, Germany against a little known German contender named Konni Konrad, effectively shutting down rumors of bouts against Nathan Cleverly, Sean Monaghan, and other internationals.

Anthony Joshua will not box on July 18th at the Manchester Arena. Joshua decided to sit out what was in all probability no more than a stay-busy fight for him. This could indicate an opponent has been selected for his fight on September 12th at the O2 Arena, and Joshua wishes to have some extra time to focus and prepare, or, of course, doesn’t feel like an early ring return is in his best interests due to injury, weariness, or some exogenous factor. Rumors of a fall bout with Dillian Whyte have surfaced in recent weeks, and a fight with either Tony Thompson or Mariusz Wash is in talks for September, says Boxing News. As fighters step up in competition, they tend to fight less, too. Martin Murray fills in on July 18th in his second bout since moving to 168lbs. The rest of the show remains the same.

Main Events matchmaker wins NABF award. Main Events’ matchmaker Jolene Mizzone has been named “Matchmaker of the Year” by the North American Boxing Federation (NABF), alongside Top Rank’s Brad Goodman. A hard-working and resourceful matchmaker, Mizzone began as receptionist for Main Events nearly twenty years ago with a dream of putting fights together for television. With the chance bestowed upon her, she’s done just that and procured boxing’s return to national television with Main Events’ Fight Night series, and is presently working with top-tier talent Sergey Kovalev, and a number of up-and-coming contenders such as Vyacheslav Glazkov, Isaac Chilemba, Dmitry Mikhaylenko, and Sullivan Barrera.

Bey dodges Shafikov showdown; vacates title. It has been announced that Mickey Bey, one of Mayweather Promotions’ top pupils, has opted to drop his IBF Lightweight title instead of travel to Macau to defend it against Russia’s Denis Shafikov, his mandatory challenger. Shafikov has been ordered to face Rances Barthelemy for the vacant belt, who has developed a pattern of weight-hopping, having fought his last bout up at Junior Welterweight after having competed two fights prior at Super Featherweight, so it is possible that Barthelemy could choose to sidestep Shafikov in hopes of landing lucrative bouts with Adrien Broner or Omar Figueroa in the United States. Ik Yang Vs. Cesar Cuenca for the IBF Junior Welterweight title remains the main event of Top Rank’s upcoming show in Macau.

Jhonny Gonzalez returns without Beristein. Ignacio “Nacho” Beristein and former two-time featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez won’t meet at the bells for the first time in seven years. Gonzalez, now boxing out of his father’s gym in Mexico City, will face Japan’s Kazuki Hashimoto in his first bout in the Super Featherweight class on August 1st in Moreila, Mexico. Gonzalez had two memorable reigns at 126lbs, both beginning as well as any with a fourth round knockout over Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan (2011) and a first round finish of Abner Mares (2013) in California. His latest reign ended after two successful title defenses when he was stopped by Gary Russell Jr. in the fourth round earlier this year.

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