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Fight manager Mike Altamura lays out his plans for the second half of 2018

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Leading Australian fight manager Mike Altamura has revealed his plans for some of his world-ranked Aussie boxers in the second half of 2018.

The globetrotting Melbournian, who manages Luke Jackson, Rohan Murdock, Leonardo Zappavigna, Paul Fleming, TJ Doheny, Nathaniel May and Dwight Ritchie amongst others, is hoping to secure at least two world title shots this year for his stable.

Near the top of his list if Tasmania’s WBO number eight ranked featherweight Luke “Action” Jackson 16-0 (7).

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“Luke Jackson, we’re just waiting to see what shakes out for the WBO featherweight world title,” said Altamura, who doubles as an International Consultant for MTK Global, in an interview with Australian Boxing Central this week.

“I’m trying to see if I can get him straight into a world championship opportunity next, whether it’s (WBO interim champion) Carl Frampton who’s also with MTK, so we could do that fight in-house, or (injured WBO champion) Oscar Valdez, who’s with Top Rank who I have a solid longstanding working relationship with too, and I’ve spoken to them about it but they’re not sure when he’s going return. So I’m just waiting to see what we do with Jacko, we might have to give him another hit-out beforehand.”

Sydney super featherweight Paul “Showtime” Fleming 25-0 (17), a southpaw assassin who has knocked out his last three opponents in a total of 11 rounds, is looking to step up his level of competition in his next bout.

“Paul Fleming, we’re just waiting for a date from his promoter which is Top Rank, so maybe July-August he’ll be back in a major fight. So that’s what we’re kind of looking at for him because now 25 and 0 so he’s ready for that next step,” he said.

Former world title challenger and current WBO number eight junior welterweight Leonardo Zappavigna 37-3 (27) is next scheduled in the ring on June 30 on the Top Rank show headlined by WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez defending his belt against Roamer Alexis Angulo.

“Lenny Zappa has got a major fight June 30, at minimum it’s going to be a world title eliminator against Alex Saucedo on ESPN in the United States in Oklahoma,” said Altamura.

The 23-year-old Saucedo is 27-0 (17) and ranked WBA #2 and WBO #3. The WBO 140-pound title is vacant after former champion Terence Crawford relinquished the belt to move up in weight.

Altamura went on to mention WBO number eight super middleweight Rohan Murdock 22-1 (16) who this week signed a promotional deal with DDP Sports that will give him a minimum of three fights a year for the next three years. His first fight officially under DDP Sports is expected in August.

“Then we’ve got other kids,” continued Altamura. “Dwight Ritchie I’m just waiting on a date for. (IBF #4 and WBO #13 featherweight) Nathaniel May is over training at the Wild Card Gym with Ernie Zavala and Freddie Roach, so we may have a world title eliminator around the corner too, so quite exciting times.”

Meanwhile at 122-pounds Altamura is working on securing a deal for Australian-based Irishman TJ Doheny 19-0 (14) to challenge Japan’s IBF world champion Ryosuke Iwasa 25-2 (16).

“TJ Doheny, he looks like he’s heading to Japan for the IBF super bantamweight world championship,” he said. “He’s got that coming up, maybe early August, so we’re just in the midst of negotiations because he’s the mandatory contender.

“So lots of exciting moves, stay tuned.”

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