Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs) met the Swedish press at an Open Gym session today in Stockholm and talked about sparring Danish legend Mikkel Kessler and feeling confident ahead of facing Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) in the quarter-finals of the World Boxing Super Series in Liverpool, September 16.
“The preparations are going very well,” said Skoglund. “I am in the shape of my life and I need to be because Callum Smith is the toughest opponent I could ask for.”
Former five-time world champion, Danish ‘Viking Warrior’ Mikkel Kessler has been a world class sparring partner for Skoglund in the build up for the Swedes first fight since moving down from light heavy to super middleweight to get a chance to get his hands on the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
“The last week the living legend Mikkel Kessler sparred with me. I have sparred with him before when he faced Carl Froch for the second time in 2013, and I can really feel how much I have developed.”
“Like then the sparring this week was unbelievable good. Kessler is a clever fighter, he knows his game. He has good footwork, good head movement, good punches. Good left hook to the head and body. He is not too unlike Callum Smith,” said Skoglund.
Smith selected Skoglund as his quarter-final opponent during the Draft Gala on July 8 at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. With under four weeks to the fight at the Echo Arena Skoglund is ready to cause a stir against one of the favorites for the tournament.
“I am full of confidence ahead of fighting Callum Smith. I don’t feel any pressure. The pressure is on Callum, everyone expects him to shine in Liverpool, but I’m happy to be the underdog. I’m relaxed and ready to steal the shine and create the surprise.”
FLOYD MAYWEATHER vows to retire from boxing for good after fighting Conor McGregor at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 26.
The undefeated 40-year-old, who has not fought since as 2015 drubbing of Andre Berto, will be looking to extend his record to 50-0 against the Irishman, who will be making his professional boxing debut.
Having previously ‘retired’ in 2007, Mayweather also declared he would never fight again after beating Berto, but has brought himself off the sidelines to meet McGregor in an event that looks set to generate records amount of money.
“I thought Andre Berto was going to be the last weigh-in, the last training camp,” the American said. “Honestly speaking, I thought that was going to be my last everything.
“But you never know what can happen. Now we’re here for this big event.”
“This is my last one, ladies and gentlemen. I gave my word to [advisor] Al Haymon, I gave my word to my children, and one thing I don’t want to do is break that.
“I gave Haymon my word, I gave my children my word. I’m going to stick to my word. This will be my last fight.”
Aside from boxing, Mayweather has numerous business interests to make yet more money and also intends to spend more time with his family.
“My real estate portfolio is truly amazing; that’s a huge part of my life. My children are going to college – that’s going to take up a lot of my time, because education is extremely important in my home,” he declared.
“I’ve got businesses started so both my children and children’s children can take over from there.”
Floyd has previously insisted that UFC star McGregor holds several advantages over him, including youth, size and strength. However, according to ‘Money’, one area the Irishman cannot match him in is experience.
“I still have a high IQ in that ring, and experience-wise, [this fight] leans towards me. Most times when I go out there and compete against any fighter, experience will always lean towards me, because I’ve been in that ring and competed at such a high level for so long.”
Unbeaten rising star David Benavidez and powerful contender Ronald Gavril will battle for the vacant WBC Super Middleweight World Championship on Friday, Sept. 8 live on SHOWTIME in the headlining attraction of a Premier Boxing Champions event from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas.
The SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/PT and will feature two additional showdowns in the super middleweight division. Once-beaten J’Leon Love (23-1, 13 KOs) will battle Texas-native Abraham Han (26-3, 16 KOs) in a 10-round bout while unbeaten prospect Caleb Plant (15-0, 10 KOs) takes on Mexico’s Alan Campa (16-3, 11 KOs) in 10 rounds of action.
Benavidez (18-0, 17 KOs) has a chance to make history – at just 20-years-old he is aiming to become the youngest super middleweight champion in history and the youngest reigning world champion in the sport today. Gavril (18-1, 14 KOs) will seek to keep the WBC 168-pound title in the Mayweather Promotions family after it was vacated by his stablemate, Badou Jack.
“This opportunity means the world to me,” said Benavidez. “I’ve been working for his since I was a little kid. It’s all come down to this moment when I’m ready to take this belt and take over the 168-pound division. The time is almost here, and I can hardly wait for September 8. Winning the championship would be enough on its own. But the opportunity to be the youngest in the sport is a major accomplishment and the biggest of my life, so far. I have a tough competitor in front of me, and I know he’s treating it as seriously as I am. I’ve been working for two and a half months for this fight and I’m not overlooking him.”
“It’s been a great journey for me getting to this point of fighting for a world title,” said Gavril. “I have a great team behind me who pushes me every single day to perform my best, learn from my mistakes and perfect my technique. Those values have gotten me here and I am thankful for such an amazing opportunity. I will go out there and give it everything I have, I can’t leave the ring without the championship belt.”
“In November 2015, I said that I had new blood for our industry David Benavidez, who would be the best and youngest super middleweight champion in the history of our sport,” said Sampson Lewkowicz, Benavidez’ promoter. “We didn’t cherry pick this opponent. He was the next available contender when Anthony Dirrell pulled out. We expect fireworks. We expect to birth a new superstar. The most important thing is to determine in which round Gavril will be knocked out, because I believe that we’re talking about matching a jet plane against a helicopter. So I expect a spectacular performance from Benavidez, who will begin his run as the new blood in boxing and will keep it going until he retires.”
“To be in a position to announce another great card coming just weeks after the biggest event in sports history shows that Mayweather Promotions shows no signs of slowing down,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “We are thrilled to present this fight card on September 9, filled with tremendous talent featuring top contenders in the Mayweather Promotions stable. Gavril has proven to be a tough competitor, he’s on a long win streak with his last four coming by way of TKO, Love making his return to the stage is sure to excite fans, and the always exciting Caleb Plant will definitely put on show. This is what boxing is about, bringing together some of the most exciting talents on one stage.”
After delivering a highlight reel knockout of Rogelio Medina in May, Benavidez has now racked up a perfect 18 wins in 18 starts at just 20-years-old. The younger brother of undefeated Jose Benavidez, David picked up four victories via stoppage in 2015 and continued with four more in 2016 including blasting out previously unbeaten Francy Ntetu in June and tough contender Denis Douglin in August. Most recently, Benavidez began his 2017 campaign with a second-round destruction of Sherali Mamajonov in January. The Phoenix-native will look to make history in the 168-pound division on September 8.
Born in Romania, Gavril won a 165 amateur fights and trained with the National Team before turning pro in 2011 and eventually moving to Las Vegas to train at the Mayweather Boxing Club. The 31-year-old won his first 11 pro fights before dropping a narrow contest to veteran Elvin Ayala. Gavril bounced back emphatically with seven straight victories including then unbeaten Oscar Riojas and once-beaten Christopher Brooker. He scored a third-round stoppage of Decarlo Perez in April ahead of his first world title opportunity.
A once-beaten contender at 168-pounds, the 29-year-old Love bounced back from his lone defeat with three victories 2015 before stopping Michael Gbenga and Dashon Johnson in 2016. The Inkster, Mich., native earned wins over Marco Antonio Periban, Derrick Findley and Lajuan Simon on his way to contender status and will look for another victory to put him in world title contention.
Han is a former champion kickboxer and third degree black Blackbelt who hails from El Paso, Texas and enters this fight the winner of his last three contests, including a first round stoppage in March of this year. A winner of his first 19 pro bouts, the 32-year-old owns a victory over Marcos Reyes in addition to narrow losses to former champion Sergio Mora and former title challenger Fernando Guerrero.
A 2011 National Golden Gloves champion, Plant has begun to make his name in the professional ranks since turning pro in 2014. After picking up six victories in 2015, Plant continued his success with stoppages of Adasat Rodriguez and Carlos Galvan before going 10 rounds for the first time in a unanimous decision victory over Juan De Angel in August 2016. The 25-year-old from Nashville began training in Las Vegas this year and picked up a victory over Thomas Awimbono in February.
Fighting out of Sonora, Mexico, the 25-year-old Campa enters this contest the winner of three of his last four contests, including a victory over then once-beaten Paul Valenzuela Jr. last April. Campa has fought professionally since 2010 and won his first nine fights while also battling top contenders Sergey Derevyanchenko and Jesse Hart.
BETTING odds on Conor McGregor knocking out Floyd Mayweather on August 26 have been dramatically cut after a recent flurry of bets being laid down on the Irishman.
Betsafe had a McGregor knockout set at 15/2, but that highly unlikely result can now be backed at 9/2 after punters flocked to lay bets on the UFC star.
The change in odds come after edited footage of McGregor’s notorious spar with Paulie Malignaggi was released, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission allowing Floyd and Conor to use eight ounce gloves when they meet at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Amazingly, odds on Mayweather to win outright are approaching the 1/3 mark. McGregor will be making his professional boxing debut against Floyd, an all-time great.
As things stand, Julius Indongo – a unified world champion – is a bigger underdog against Terence Crawford this weekend than McGregor is against Mayweather.
Bookies in the UK and US are reporting record amounts of money being placed on the fight, which looks set to break the revenue records set by Mayweather’s 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao.
TO READ THE BETSAFE PREVIEW OF MAYWEATHER-MCGREGOR, CLICK HERE.
TWENTY-seven years ago today (August 18, 1990), Britain’s Nigel Benn scored one of his most thrillingly quick wins at world level. Benn, making the first defence of his newly won WBO middleweight title, met the seasoned, tough and dangerous Iran Barkley. What followed in Las Vegas was a three-minute fight crammed with drama and plenty of controversy.
Having won the belt with an impressive eight round stoppage of the always-tough Doug DeWitt, “The Dark Destroyer“ signed up to put it on the line against “The Blade.” This was no easy first defense for Benn, but going into the bout Barkley had a serious problem. He had needed surgery on his left eye after his fight with Michael Nunn (a losing effort for the IBF middleweight title) a full year before. So not only would he be ring rusty against Benn, the former conqueror of the great Thomas Hearns would also be participating in his first fight since having undergone treatment for a detached retina. A tune-up bout would certainly have been a good idea for the 30-year-old.
The fight turned into a disaster for Barkley almost immediately. Before the sound of the first bell had even faded, he was knocked down in his own corner by a devastatingly quick attack from the champion. The former middleweight king bounced back up straight away, having clearly been surprised by the swiftness of the onslaught. Then Benn clipped him with another punch before referee Carlos Padilla could get in to administer the mandatory eight count. Once the action resumed Barkley was under fierce pressure again as Benn, 26 and at his peak, was slinging absolute haymakers in an effort to spectacularly finish the fight at the moment. Benn’s eagerness gave Barkley a chance and, showing incredible grit, the older man came back with his own shots. The fight had turned into a slugfest and now it was Benn who had to take some hurt.
Benn was badly stunned by two left hooks from his challenger and driven across the ring into the ropes. Somehow, though, he survived and came back at Barkley, decking him for a second time – this time in ring centre – with a crunching left of his own. Then, while the former gang member was still down, Benn hit him with an illegal right hand. Barkley’s fans were not happy. At the very least, Barkley should have been given time to recover, but referee Padilla gave him nothing, not even appearing to warn Benn with any severity. The bout resumed once more and Barkley was quickly down for the third time, and although he was again up very quickly, this time the fight was stopped on the three knockdown rule. Then the arguments started. Barkley was definitely hurt, but he wasn’t out…should he have been stopped?
After the fight Barkley’s manager, John Reetz, protested and said he would file a complaint to the Nevada State Athletic Commission; while Barkley demanded a rematch, all to no avail. Despite the controversy, Benn had scored one of his biggest career wins. The fight that took place 27 years ago today also ranks as one of the best “away” wins for a British fighter.
CARL FRAMPTON will not fight Andres Gutierrez after Cyclone Promotions were unable to secure a new date for the bout.
The pair were set to clash in Frampton’s hometown of Belfast on July 29, but it was called off when the Mexican slipped in the shower a day before the fight and suffered facial cuts and two broken teeth.
Cyclone have since released a statement outlining that “a proposed date in November was unsuitable to all parties” and that they are working to secure a new opponent for former two-weight world champion Frampton.
“We are confident Carl Frampton will become world champion again,” the statement read.
Frampton’s fight against Gutierrez at the SSE Arena in July was to have been a WBC title eliminator, but lost that status when Frampton came in one pound over the required weight.
It would have been Frampton’s first fight since losing his WBA featherweight title to Leo Santa Cruz in January, which was also his first professional defeat.
“We are profoundly disappointed for the fans, boxers and those who have worked with and supported us,” Cyclone added.
Frampton had been hoping to fight Santa Cruz – who he outpointed last year before losing to him in Las Vegas – in a trilogy fight, and when that looked unlikely he turned his attention to IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby. When the Welshman was ordered to fight his mandatory challenger Jonathan Barros, Frampton then signed to fight Gutierrez.