Garcia Ready To Reclaim Elite Status

Courtesy of Tom Casino
Courtesy of Tom Casino

Courtesy of Tom Casino

On Saturday night, July 30, 2016, twenty-eight year old professional boxer Mikey Garcia returned to the ring at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, after a two and a half year layoff due to a contract dispute with his former promotional company, Top Rank. On the Showtime televised broadcast, Garcia knocked down former WBC World Featherweight Champion Elio Rojas four times, before referee Eddie Claudio called an end to the fight at 2:02 of Round 5. Following Saturday’s TKO win, Garcia’s record improved to 35-0, with 29 KOs, while Rojas’ record dropped to 24-3, with 14 KOs. Garcia-Rojas was scheduled for ten rounds in the junior welterweight division as the co-main event on the fight card promoted by DiBella Entertainment, in association with Cyclone Promotions, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions. In the main event, Carl Frampton won the WBA Super World Featherweight Title by defeating Leon Santa Cruz by majority decision.
Garcia, a former two-time WBO world champion in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions, last fought on January 25, 2014, when he successfully defended his WBO World Super Featherweight Title in a unanimous decision win against Juan Carlos Burgos on HBO. In October 2014, he vacated the WBO World Super Featherweight Title because he had plans to move up in weight. Mikey grew up in Oxnard, California, trains in Riverside at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy, and resides in Moreno Valley.
He shared his thoughts about his winning performance against his opponent, Elio Rojas. “It took me a round or two to get my rhythm going. I had to find that right distance and range to connect my punches. I didn’t feel any ring rust. My defense and footwork were fine, my punches felt sharp and fast, and I felt good with my jab. My opponent used the ring well and demonstrated solid footwork. The plan was always to keep my distance and measure him. It was difficult to land that one big shot, because he kept moving and using his legs. He was smart and he wanted to win. Rojas had good reflexes, and he was able to see me coming in. He kept moving out of the way before I could land a big punch. I worked hard to close the distance, and when it happened, I let my hands go. Once I started landing hard shots, I knew that I hurt him, and eventually he went down.”
“After the first two knockdowns, Rojas didn’t look like he wanted to be in the ring anymore. The last time that I dropped him, the referee asked him if he wanted to continue. He kept looking down and finally said no. I made a statement by stopping Rojas in my return fight. Everybody at the Barclays Center was cheering, and it was great to get a victory in that manner. I easily made 138 lbs for this fight, and the contracted weight had been set previously at 140 lbs. I felt real comfortable on fight night, so making 135 lbs for my next fight won’t be any problem.”
Mikey discussed his career going forward.”
“During the past two years, I never went away from boxing. I’ve stayed busy helping other fighters get ready for their fights, and continued making improvements in the gym. I had good sparring prior to this fight, and I had adequate time to prepare. It’s very important that I get right back in the ring again soon. I didn’t have any cuts or abrasions, and my hands feel good. I’m ready for a world title fight right away at 135 lbs. I would love to fight for the WBO World Super Featherweight Title, which is currently held by Terry Flanagan of the UK. If the world title opportunity isn’t available, then I want to be back in the ring as soon as possible so that I can stay active. My next objective is to challenge for a title at 135 lbs, then perhaps unify titles in that division if the opportunity presents itself. After that, a move to 140 lbs would be likely, and I’ll seek world title opportunities there. I’ll target big names and the big fights that fans want to see. There are plenty of big challenges ahead of me. Because of the time away, it’s important to me that I’m moved on the fast track, so that I can face champion after champion. Now that the Rojas fight is over, I plan to resume conversations with boxing promoters. I’m still a free agent and am willing to negotiate a deal if it is in my best interest to do so.”
I want to thank Stephen Espinoza, Al Haymon, and Lou DiBella for giving me the opportunity to fight on Saturday night. I also want to thank my sponsors: B&B Plastics Inc., Asanti Wheels, and Everlast. It feels great to be back, but there’s so much more I want to accomplish. This is just the beginning, and I will do my best to give everyone memorable fights. The time off helped me regain that fire, and it motivated me to come back stronger. I’m thankful for all the fan support I’ve received. My performance on Saturday night hopefully reminded everyone what I’m capable of doing inside the ring, and it’s a great way to begin this next stage of my career.”
 

 

Ward vs. Brand Under Card Set

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Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (29–0, 15 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, August 6, to continue his conquest of the light heavyweight division when he takes on power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand (25–1, 19 KOs) at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The event, which will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT, will now include six bouts of non-televised action for ticketed fans to enjoy before the main event.

The promising undercard lineup will feature Bay Area native Bilal Mahasin, and a collection of Roc Nation Sports’ brightest prospects including Daniel “Twitch” Franco, Rudy “The Revelation” Puga Jr. and Darmani “Rock Solid” Rock. Roc Nation Sports’ sparkplug Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker also looks to ignite Oracle Arena as the card’s co-feature by defending his NABO belt in a 10-round junior welterweight clash against Ty Barnett.

Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (20–0–2, 15 KOs) was born and raised in Oak Cliff, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where he found a boxing home at Maple Avenue Boxing Gym by way of an outreach program for at-risk youths. His natural talent was soon noticed resulting in him competing as an amateur, during which time he compiled a record of 97–7, with 67 knockouts. Hooker turned professional on April 29, 2011. “Mighty Mo” made his debut under the Roc Nation Sports banner on the undercard of Andre Ward vs. Sullivan Barrera on March 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA, where he annihilated opponent Wilfrido “La Roca” Buelvas (17–5, 11 KOs) of Columbia in the first round of a 10-round junior welterweight bout by way of technical knockout. Hooker looks to advance his undefeated record when he takes on Ty Barnett (23–4–1, 15 KOs) on August 6 at Oracle Arena. Barnett was last seen in action on February 27, scoring a technical knockout victory over battle-tested veteran Daniel Attah at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The D.C. native is eager to stop Maurice Hooker’s momentum and take home the NABO title.

Hailing from Riverside, California and fighting out of the boxing hotbed of Oxnard, undefeated junior lightweight Daniel “Twitch” Franco (13–0–3, 8 KOs) began boxing at the age of eight, amassing an amateur record of 67–15. During Franco’s professional debut on December 18, 2010, he defeated Emanuel Machorro at Club 401 in Ontario, California via a third round technical knockout. In his most recent fight on March 26, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on the Andre Ward vs. Sullivan Barrera undercard, the unbeaten Twitch met Mexico’s German “Panteonero” Meraz in an eight-round featherweight bout. Franco scored a technical knockout over the veteran fighter in the final round of the fight. August 6 will be Franco’s third appearance at Oracle when he takes on Renton, Washington’s Marcelo Gallardo (7–3–2, 3 KOs). The 26-year-old Gallardo has been known to play the spoiler role, scoring unanimous decision victories over unbeaten prospects Christopher Diaz and Vic Pasillas in 2015.

Having compiled an exceptional amateur record of 99–8, Rudy “The Revelation” Puga. Jr. (8–0, 7 KOs), the promising prospect from Salinas, California made his professional debut on September 2, 2011, scoring a fourth round technical knockout victory over Raul Talamontes at the Sports Complex in his hometown. In his most recent fight on March 26, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on HBO’s Andre Ward vs. Sullivan Barrera undercard, Puga Jr. extended his undefeated streak against Carlos “Kalimba” Lozano by way of a technical knockout in the sixth round. The Southern California native returns to the Bay Area on August 6 to face an opponent to be announced.

Brooklyn’s undefeated Junior “The Young God” Younan (9–0, 7 KOs) is considered one of New York City’s best boxing prospects. Younan, trained by his father Sherif, a former professional boxer himself, began fighting competitively at age eight and only two years later was called a “boxing prodigy” by the New York Times. He compiled an amateur record of 90–5, racking up an impressive series of titles along the way. Less than a month after his 18th birthday, Younan made his professional debut on November 9, 2013, at the Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn, New York, stopping Kenneth Schmitz in the first round. In his last on May 13, 2016 on the undercard of throne boxing’s Dusty Hernandez-Harrison vs. Mike Dallas, Jr. on BET and Tidal.com, Younan overwhelmed Rodrigo Almeida of Woburn, Massachusetts with a technical knockout in the first round at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. Returning to Oakland on the Ward vs. Brand undercard, Younan is set to take on Jaime “Zarco” Solorio (5–2–2, 4 KOs) on August 6. Fighting out of Baja, California, the Mexico native is riding an undefeated streak in his last six fights.

At the age of 20, Darmani Rock (3–0, 3 KOs) is already drawing comparisons to former heavyweight greats of the past. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Rock was brought to a local boxing ring by his father at age twelve after he lost a street fight to neighborhood bullies. Standing at 6’4”, he moves with an unparalleled lightness and speed for a fighter his size. Rock earned nation-wide accolades following a banner year in 2014 when he took home the USA Boxing Junior and Youth Open, Youth Continental and Youth World super heavyweight titles. His most noteworthy win, however, came in May 2015 when he beat Cam Awesome in Las Vegas for the National Golden Gloves title. Rock also captured the 2015 U.S. National Amateur super heavyweight championship. He ended his amateur career as the number one rated super heavyweight in the United States (and the number five rated super heavyweight in the world) going 19–5 in national tournaments. Rock made his highly anticipated professional debut, after signing an exclusive promotional agreement with Roc Nation Sports, against Rockville, Maryland’s Carlos Black on May 13, 2016, as the co-feature of Roc Nation’s throne boxing card at the Armory in Washington, D.C. Following a devastating left hook, Rock brought his opponent to the floor with a right-left combination at the 1:54 mark of the first round. Without wasting any time, Rock followed his impressive debut by demolishing his next two opponents, Bobby Favors and Hassan Lee, both by way of knockout in the first round of the respective bouts. Making his Oracle Arena debut on August 6, Rock looks to keep his fierce win streak alive when he takes on Mike Kyle (1–2–1, 1 KO). The Boise, Idaho native seeks to reaffirm the impression he has set on Oakland where he scored his first career win and knockout over James Kirby this past January.

Bilal “Rebellious” Mahasin (8–3–1, 1 KO) is no stranger to Oakland fight fans. A resident of the Bay Area’s eastern shore, Mahasin made his professional debut in 2002 with great promise, winning his first three fights. He last fought on June 11, 2016 at the 16th Street Rail Station in Oakland, going the distance with a six-round unanimous decision over Vincente Guzman. Mahasin is ready to take on journeyman Luis Alfredo Lugo (14–25–1, 5 KOs) on August 6 at Oracle Arena in front an ever-steadied fanfare.

Future Stars of the DMV Area Featured on Aug. 19 Card

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World Class Professional Boxing returns to the D.C. area on Friday August 19th at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.

An eight-round border war between 6’4” junior welterweight sensation Mykal “The Professor” Fox (10–0, 2 KOs) of Forestville, Maryland and Somner “Magic Man” Martin (5–2, 3 KOs) of Martinsville, Virginia headlines a stacked card promoted by King’s Promotions.

The 20-year-old Fox will be making his 3rd appearance in 2016 and is coming off a six-round unanimous decision win over durable veteran Jose Valderrama on June 28th in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This is first eight-round test in Fox’s budding young career. This will be also Martin’s 3rd fight of 2016. Fox will represent the 3rd undefeated fighter Martin has faced in his career. The 29-year-old Martin is coming off a six-round unanimous decision defeat to Kareem Martin (8–0–1, 3 KOs) on April 1st in Washington, D.C.

A six-round matchup between two undefeated heavyweight knockout artist will serve as the co-feature. Luther “Lights Out” Smith (5–0, 4 KOs) of Bowie, Maryland will face former NFL linebacker Mike “Silverback” Balogun (6–0, 5 KOs) of Upper Marlboro, Maryland in what promises to be an explosive battle for state bragging rights.

Smith is coming off a split decision win over crafty veteran Solomon Maye on June 28th in Atlantic City. Balogun’s last fight ended in a first-round knockout of Devon Mosley on May 13th in Washington, D.C. This fight represents the first six-rounder for both fighters.

Also seeing action in a scheduled six-round encounter will be hard-hitting super middleweight Devar “Jengawar” Ferhadi (6–0, 5 KOs) of Frederick, Maryland taking on Zachariah Kelley (5–15, 5 KOs) of Earlsboro, Oklahoma. The pair combine for 10 knockouts in their 11 wins, so expect a thrilling finish in this fight.

Ferhadi will be fighting for the first time under the King’s Promotions banner, having signed with them in March. This is the first six-round bout of Ferhadi’s career. Kelley, who has a deceiving record, is looking to play spoiler again as he owns knockout wins over fighters with records of 6–0 and 8–0. Kelley will accept any challenge, proven by his opponents astounding combined record of 117–13–1, including 11 fighters who were undefeated. Ferhadi will make it a dozen.

In four round bouts:

Sam “The Vanilla Gorilla” Crossed (3–0, 1 KO) of Greenbelt, Maryland will take on Mike Estus (0–3) of Ames, Iowa in a cruiserweight bout. Crossed starred in a commercial with former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson during Super Bowl 50. Crossed, a local fan favorite, looks to add another knockout to his resume in front his passionate and exponentially growing fan base.

Marcus Bates (3–0–1, 3 KOs) of Washington, D.C. will be making his King’s Promotions debut against Daniel Hernandez (0–1–1) of Queens, New York in a featherweight bout. The power-punching Bates signed with the promotion in April. This fight marks Bates’ long-awaited return to the ring after a 22-month hiatus. Something is going to have to give in this fight as all of Bates wins have come via stoppage and Hernandez has never been stopped.

Colby Madison (2–0, 1 KO) of Baltimore, Maryland will tangle with Randy Easton (3–9–2, 3 KOs) of Sunbury, Pennsylvania in a heavyweight bout.

Patrick Rivera of Edgewood, Maryland will make his pro debut when he fights Dustin Caplinger (2–8, 1 KO) of Columbus, Ohio in a junior middleweight bout.

Phillip Hooker of Washington, D.C. will also be making his pro debut as he takes on David Rohn (0–6–1) of Villa Park, Illinois in a middleweight bout.

Still searching for opponents on this card are super middleweight Antowyan Aikens (10–2, 1 KO) of Atlantic City, New Jersey in a six-round bout and bantamweight Jordan “Shortdog” White (2–0, 2 KOs) of Washington, D.C. who is scheduled to fight in a four-round bout.

All bouts are subject to change.

Tickets are priced $50/$75/$100 and are available by calling (301)–899–2430 or online at www.KPboxing.com.

 

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