Steve Cunningham vs Natu Visinia Slated for Oct. 18th in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA: Heavyweight contender Steve “USS” Cunningham (27-6, 12 KOs) takes on unbeaten Natu “The Truth” Visinia (10-0, 8 K0s) on Saturday evening, Oct. 18, at the 2300 Arena when NBCSN’s popular Fight Night boxing series returns to South Philadelphia.

Cunningham’s brutal battle with then-undefeated Amir “Hardcore” Mansour on April 4 in front of an electrified hometown crowd earned him the USBA Heavyweight Title and was an instant classic.

The Oct. 18 show also features a solid 10-round junior lightweight contest between Edner Cherry, of Wauchula, FL, and Jerry Belmontes, of Corpus Christi, TX. The Fight Night telecast will begin at 9 PM ET. The doors will open at 6 PM.

Mansour & Cunningham Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Tickets priced at $50 and $75 are on sale at Peltz Boxing (215-765-0922) or online at www.peltzboxing.com. They also can be purchased through Wanamaker’s Tickets (215-568-2400). The event is sponsored by Rocco’s Collision.

Cunningham, 38, spent the majority of his career at cruiserweight before moving up to heavyweight two years ago.

“This is the third undefeated heavyweight that I am facing and he has more career heavyweight fights than I do,” Cunningham explained. “I have fought more undefeated heavyweight fighters than some heavyweights fight in their entire career. I am up for the challenge. It is always a challenge fighting a young untested fighter, but a job has to be done. We are going to do the job, get this victory and be impressive.”

Natu Visinia Photo Courtesy of: Final Forum Promotions

Visinia, 28, of Lakewood, CA, is a former stand-out high school and college football player. He was all-state in Missouri for William Chrisman High School then went on to start at left guard for Southern Illinois University. He took up boxing in 2006 to stay in shape for football, but fell in love with the sport. He began his fighting career in MMA, where he became the #2 ranked amateur heavyweight in the US before making his pro debut on King of the Cage. He then switched to boxing and joined the All American Heavyweight camp. More recently, he signed with Final Forum Promotions, who delivered a reinvigorated Derric Rossy for the August 9, 2014 Fight Night main event against Czar Glazkov. Visinia has knocked out eight of his ten pro boxing opponents-seven of them in the first round. This will be the first 10-round fight of his career.

“Steve Cunningham is a long-time respected world champion and Natu is a young-rising heavyweight contender,” said Visinia’s promoter, Sal Musumeci, of Final Forum Promotions. “And on October 18 it will be out with the old and in with the new.”

Visinia: “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to fight former cruiserweight champ, Steve Cunningham. As much as I admire his experience and accomplishments in the sport, I do not intend on leaving Philly without the win.”

There also should be fireworks in the co-feature.

Cherry & Osiobe Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Cherry, 32, has not lost in more than six years and is ranked No. 11 in the world by the IBF and No. 17 by the WBC. His 32-6-2 record includes 17 knockouts and he has beaten Vicente Escobido, of Woodland, CA; Stevie Johnston, of Denver, CO; Daniel Alicea, of Santurce, Puerto Rico, and Monte Meza-Clay, of Rankin, PA.

The last man to beat Cherry was Timothy Bradley for the WBC junior welterweight title in 2008. Cherry also lost on points to Paulie Malignaggi in 2007.

Cherry, who has never been stopped, beat Robert Osiobe, of Las Vegas, NV, earlier this year in Philadelphia.

“This is a solid match between two of the best in the world between 130 and 135,” said Hall-of-Fame promoter J Russell Peltz, who handles Cherry. “It’s nice to see fights like this at this level. No one gets a free pass and it’s on neutral ground–neither guy is from Philadelphia.”

Cherry: “I want to thank Russell Peltz and Main Events for this opportunity. I’m ready and hungry and I guarantee the fans are going to get an exciting fight, for as long as it lasts. I will show the world that I am the best 130 pound fighter in the world.”

Jerry Belmontes Photo Credits: Kamil Krzaczynski

Belmontes, 25, who lost a disputed 12-round split decision to Omar Figueroa, of Welasco, TX, for the WBC lightweight title earlier this year, is 19-5, 5 KOs. He followed that with another split-decision loss, this one over 10 rounds against Abner Cotto, of Caguas, Puerto Rico.

Belmontes earned his title shot early in 2014 when he out-pointed previously unbeaten Will Tomlinson, of Australia, at the MGM in Las Vegas. He also has beaten Daniel Diaz, of Nicaragua.

“This is a huge opportunity for Jerry,” said manager Adrian Clark. “He loves Kathy [Duva], Jolene [Mizzone] and everyone at Main Events and he is excited to work with them again. He is looking to redeem himself after the loss to Cotto by beating Edner Cherry and getting back in the hunt and hopefully soon fighting for a 135 pound crown.”

“Once again our matchmakers, Jolene Mizzone and Russell Peltz, have come up with a pair of intriguing cross-roads fights to entertain the Fight Night fans,” said Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events. “Steve Cunningham is always in a great scrap and the undefeated Visinia is determined to make a statement. Meanwhile, the battle between Cherry and Belmontes promises a lot of action from two fighters who need to win in order to advance their careers.”

Photos/Quotes: Bernard Hopkins vs Sergey Kovalev NYC Presser & Philadelphia Round-Table

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NEW YORK (Sept. 2, 2014) -Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev held a press conference in New York City and a media roundtable in Philadelphia Tuesday to officially announce their light heavyweight unification bout on Saturday, Nov. 8 taking place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City live on HBO World Championship Boxing ® .

Check out what the fighters and promoters had to say below:

BERNARD HOPKINS, WBA & IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion

“When fighters want to fight, this is what happens. When we really want to do it and our promoters do as well, we get it done.

“I take everything I do extremely seriously. But people ask me, how can I continue to do this? I have no plan or timetable when I put my mind to something.

“I want the best. Hagler fought the best. Ray Leonard fought the best. The Alis of the world, they fought the best. I’m from the era where I fought the best and that’s important to me. I receive undisputed status in 2001 and that was special.

“I bloomed late. I didn’t bloom by the timing of the experts. I want to make it as difficult as possible for you to come up with a headline for me. I don’t want to be on the pound-for-pound list because that would make me human.

“What I’m doing now is making a new legacy and a new list and a new way to judge. ‘Where do we put this man? We can’t put him in the top 10. He’s doing things no one has done!’

“Enjoy this while you can and come see it. Don’t worry about when or how I’m going to leave or break down. You guys are all humans, I understand you, but you don’t understand me.

“The last time I heard, he [Kovalev] can box. He’s shown that he can box…People are traumatized by the punch and the knockout.

“I’ve been in the game for almost three decades. I look for more of what a guy brings to a gunfight other than bullets…The sweet science is not based on only one thing you can do particularly well.

“If he comes in the game thinking a punch is all he’ll need, he might be right, so you should watch.

“I’m walking a tightrope hundreds of feet in the air. He crushes people. Only three or four people survive his hammer.

“There’s no pressure on me but one thing that is on Bernard Hopkins – that no other fighter really has to do deal with because they’ve never been in my situation is – how I continue to keep making history

“Anybody at the right time and the right place can get knocked out. It is his job to do what others try to do. It is my job to do what I’ve been doing.

“Come November 8 on HBO you get to watch artwork. You’re watching Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong with gloves on.

“It’s such a testimony to see a 50-year-old man – less than 100 days from now – go 30 plus minutes with a young strong Russian puncher and not get a scratch on him.

“I understand humans have a timeline of when they are supposed to go. Age 35 and you’re done – I don’t care what sport you’re in. It’s a fact. I don’t know what type of evidence I need to show I’m an alien other than what is there.”

SERGEY KOVALEV, WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion

“It is not easy to overlook Hopkins. I think when he’s 60 years old he’ll be in the same condition. He’s an alien, but I have to send him to the moon and maybe from there he’ll go by himself to Mars.

“I want to say that one day in Big Bear when I trained, I met Oscar De La Hoya and asked him to sign me and he turned me down, but now here we are on different sides.

“I am not a talker, I am a fighter and I am sure Bernard will promote the fight for both of us.

“I don’t really understand what Bernard is saying. It doesn’t matter what he says. Even if I understood, I wouldn’t care. I don’t worry about him. I’ll go into the ring and do my job.

“Bernard talks and fights. I just fight.

“I can’t say what the fight will be like. This is boxing and anything can happen.

“It is my secret what I will do on fight night. I will give it my all and come out with the win.”

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, President & Founder of Golden Boy Promotions

“This fight is the best against the best in the light heavyweight division.

“I really do feel that this is not just a fight, but an event. I am glad that it’s on HBO and I’m glad its not on pay-per-view, which it easily could have been, but you have to give credit to the fighters who are doing it for the fans.

“I believe that many people over the years have doubted Bernard Hopkins. He’s over 40-years-old, how can he win? All of those questions are no longer being asked. Everything that he does, he deserves.

“At 49-years-old, being the oldest champion in any sport, he deserves tons of respect. The fact that he’s facing the ‘Krusher,’ is just another of the many dangerous fighters that Bernard has faced.

“Being the best middleweight in the history of this sport, with 20 defenses and now to be 49 at light heavyweight, he’s still going strong. I’m now convinced he is an Alien.”

KATHY DUVA, CEO of Main Events

“This fight is going to be the most anticipated fight of 2014. It’s so much fun putting together a fight like this that everyone wants to see. Its great to see the excitement level and the anticipation, you can feel it in the air.

“This is going to be a tremendous event. It’s one of those fights that when the bell rings you really won’t know what is going to happen. It’s not about finding out who’s best, its about who is going to win the fight, because both are great.

“This is what boxing is supposed to be and we look forward to November 8.

“The first person I thought of when I saw Sergey Kovalev in the ring was Ray Leonard. I saw the look in his eye and I could tell he was different. I believe he is the most electrifying boxer in the world of boxing and he will prove it on November 8.”

KEN CONDON, Caesar’s Entertainment Consultant

“This is an Atlantic City fight, it’s in Bernard’s backyard and this is where the fight belongs.

“Sergey has also developed a great following from his last two fights in Atlantic City.

“Caesar’s stepped up to the plate and continued its tradition of great championship boxing in Atlantic City. We believe in the future of Atlantic City and we believe in boxing. We expect a sellout on November 8.”

AARON DAVIS, NJSAC Director

“November 8 is going to be a nice fight with premier fighters and premier promoters. We want to keep on the legacy that we have created in New Jersey.”

Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

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Kovalev – Caparello Press Conference Quotes

Atlantic City, NJ: Last night the media got a chance to engage in a Q & A with Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs) and Blake “Il Capo” Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KOs), and their respective camps, as they prepare to face-off on August 2 at Revel Casino Hotel for the WBO Light Heavyweight Championship. Below are the highlighted quotes from the call:

Main Events’ CEO Kathy Duva:

We are very excited to head into Sergey Kovalev’s fourth fight on HBO. We are thrilled to be working with them again and with Revel Casino Hotel. Tickets are on sale now on through Ticketmaster. Also HBO is going premiere “2 Days: Sergey Kovalev” on the 26th after the Gennady Golovkin fight.

Sergey impresses me because he doesn’t fight each fighter the same way. He finds out what is going to work and changes his plan to adjust to each fighter. It is a joy to watch him develop. There is nothing in the world like his intensity. Three of last four opponents have been unbeaten. An active fighter is a successful fighter and Sergey just wants to fight.

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev:

Thank you to my promoter, Main Events, to my trainer, John David Jackson, and to all my fans. Blake is undefeated. I am taking him serious. Good opponents are getting serious training camp and I know he is. I just get in to box and to win. We are both stepping in the ring to do our job. Blake has an advantage because he is coming to get the title. He is hungry and has nothing to lose. It is my job to keep the title. More pressure on me to defend the title. I don’t know Bernard Hopkins, all I know is my next opponent and his name is Blake Caparello.

Sergey’s Trainer John David Jackson:

Luckily for me Sergey Kovalev is a true professional. I don’t have to watch him or babysit him. He trains like he is still the challenger. Blake is a decent puncher and boxer. Sergey understands this. He knows we have break down Blake slowly. He is not overlooking Blake. He trains very, very hard. I just try to prepare him so he can go on to bigger and better things.

You can’t sell Blake short. Nothing is outstanding but he is very good at what he does. Sergey needs to cut the ring off and he has done very well against Southpaws. Once Blake gets hit and feels Kovalev’s power all his game plans are going to go out the window. I don’t think this is going to go 12 rounds. Sergey is very disciplined. He is very professional. This is his job. He takes each fight like he is the challenger. When we first starting working together he could punch but he was a head hunter. Now he understands a body attack will also help him. We coordinate a plan together. He studied Blake so much he is probably sick of looking at him. I love working with him because he allows me to my job. He is a class act to be around.

Sergey and I have never talked about a fight with Bernard Hopkins. We are focused on Blake. It hasn’t been a distraction at all. We aren’t looking past him we are looking right at him. After we get passed him we will look at Bernard Hopkins.

Blake “Il Capo” Caparello:

Sergey Kovalev is the biggest puncher in boxing. Anyone can hit hard. We are working on different game plans to deal with Sergey’s power. I won’t know how hard he punches until I get in the ring with him. If we go toe-to-toe and his power is too much we will change the plan. I do have the pop to stop people. When I put my punches together I can really hurt people. I have had a lot of great sparring camps. If an opening appears, I will go for the knockout but I am going to fight to the end.

I get the sense they are looking past me. I am very confident myself. I know I am going to win and I already told Lou to get me a unification fight with Adonis Stevenson after I beat Kovalev. Nothing plays on my mind. I am very mentally tough. Sergey Kovalev has power but I don’t fear him. I wanted to fight Kovalev because he is the best there is in the division. He is the man I want to beat.

Caparello’s Promoter Lou DiBella:

On behalf of Blake and Sam I would like to thank Main Events and HBO. When your name is “Krusher” you know you can punch. This is the fight that Blake wanted and Main Events was nice enough to offer this to us so we jumped on it. Sergey Kovalev is going to have his hands full. The only way to beat Sergey Kovalev is stand right in front of him and box. Blake is a true boxer and Kovalev has a real challenge on his hands. Blake fights like a boxer. This is a fight he desperately wanted. When I first signed him he told me that everyone is afraid of Kovalev but he felt he could beat him. Standing in front of Kovalev is dangerous so Blake has to use angles and avoid that “Krusher” blow. Kovalev is going to have his hands full.

There is a great advantage to fighting Kovalev: if you manage to hang in there with him, you are going to earn the respect of fans. There are a lot of guys who are afraid of Kovalev but Blake isn’t. Blake is going to go out there and do his best to win. I expect a great performance whether he wins or loses.

I knew Blake was a natural. His instincts are excellent. He does a lot of things right. This is the fight he always wanted. I lobbied for the fight and told Main Events we wouldn’t price ourselves out of the fight.

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