Marcus Upshaw Confident There’s Still Fight Left in Him

MIAMI (March 13, 2015) – During the course of his nine-year pro boxing career, veteran middleweight Marcus “Arillius” Upshaw (17-13-4, 1 NC, 8 KOs) has been called a spoiler, gatekeeper, professional opponent, journeyman and road warrior.
 
Upshaw has been all of the above, granted, but more than anything he’s been an honest fighter willing to take on anybody, anytime. He’s fought all comers from world champions to top contenders and promising prospects.
 
All he wants now, though, is a fight against a world-class opponent, hoping a victory could propel him into an often dreamed about world title fight.
 
If draws, split and/or close decision losses, especially if resulting from fights in an opponent’s backyard, are generally considered “wins” in boxing, Upshaw’s record could be a much different 27-8 today and the 34-year-old Floridian would have been fighting in major fights on major cable networks.
 
Upshaw’s official record is a direct result of him taking fights as a late replacement, on the road in hostile and biased markets, against protected fighters and sons of famous boxers, occasionally in a higher weight class than his natural 160-pound division.
 
His most recent fight last week in Dallas ended in typical fashion, as Upshaw fought to an eight-round draw (76-74, 74-76, 75-75) with hometown favorite Anthony Mack (12-1-1), in which Upshaw hurt his opponent several times, winning seven rounds according to his new head trainer, Orlando Cuellar, longtime manager Si Stern, and just about every person in attendance.
 
“The boxing world is crazy,” Upshaw said. “I’ve now had draws in back-to-back fights (the other against Aaron Pryor Jr.). I won’t let it get to me, though.. I guess it says a lot about me that I can go into a fighter’s backyard, after training hard, and come out with a draw in fights that really should have been wins. Now, I know I have to get knockouts to win and that was my intention going into the last fight because I fought a Texas guy in Texas. I wobbled him three different times and won every round but one.”
 
The height of Upshaw’s career was in 2010 when he traveled to Quebec City and shocked 21-1-1 local hero Renan St. Juste, winning a 10-round decision to elevate Upshaw in world middleweight rankings (IBF #6, WBO #9 and WBC #11). Prior to the St. Juste fight, Upshaw derailed the career of the then 19-1 James McGirt, son of famed world champion/elite trainer James “Buddy” McGirt, with a controversial 10-round majority draw. Two fights later, he stopped 10-0 prospect Ashandi Gibbs (10-0) in the fourth-round for the Florida State middleweight championship.
 
Upshaw has displayed his vast talents by going the complete distance in rounds, albeit in losses, with the likes of Mario Antonio Rubio, David Lemieux, Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez, Edwin Rodriguez, Patrick Majewski and Tarvis Simms. The latter opponent was another prime example of the injustice Upshaw has faced too many times. Simms was 24-0-1 in 2009 when he fought Upshaw at Mohegan Sun, which is a short drive from his home in nearby Norwalk. Simms won an eight-round split decision (77-74 X 2, 75-76).
 
Cuellar, best known for guiding the original road warrior, Glen Johnson, to a world title, added, “Marcus has always been in tough, he’s another road warrior, fighting more experienced, protected fighters including some who were super middleweights. He came close to putting this last guy away a few different times. He won seven of eight rounds and the ref even took a point away, without a warning, when Marcus’ poorly fitting mouthpiece fell out. It certainly didn’t happen because he was in trouble.
 
 
“We only had five weeks working together. We want Marcus to use his 6′ 3 ½” height to his advantage. He has to fight at a distance, using his reach from the outside. He can control a fight with a double jab, followed by a right, just like he did against Mack. I was impressed by the way he trained in the gym and even more now I’ve been with him in a fight. I think he can give anybody trouble if he fights on the outside. He gets in top shape, fights smart, and now we can plan a strategy in advance because we know each other. He has to knockout opponents to win. I train my fighters to drop and stop, which is what Marcus will be doing.”
 
Upshaw believes Cuellar is the missing link he’s needed to get back to the top. “I’ve already learned a lot from Orlando,” Upshaw explained, “but most of all I’ve learned that I can do anything in the ring. He doesn’t just tell a fighter to do this or that; Orlando gives a fighter the tools, the armor to go into battle, to be your best. He is like an old-school trainer. The hard part with him is training, not the fight. He’s put life into my career.
 
“I’ve been in with the best and also learned from those fights. My problem has not being focused the entire fight. I know I’m faster and stronger than my opponent, but I get bored sometimes and stop throwing punches. I don’t know why I do that but it’s been my mindset. Orlando has taught me that I need to stay focused and alert throughout an entire fight.”
  
With his size and rich athletic bloodlines – his uncle, the late Gene Upshaw, was an NFL Hall of Fame offensive guard for the Oakland Raiders – Upshaw clearly hasn’t reached his full potential, at least not yet.
 
“I am delighted Marcus is now training with Orlando,” manager Stern remarked. “Marcus is tall, strong and smart in the ring. I have great hope for him in the immediate future.”

INFORMATION
 
www.facebook.com/pages/Marcus-Upshaw/260365894066319

Kathy Duva: “Stevens Has the Heart of a Champion, Even If He Doesn’t Have that Belt Just Yet.”

Philadelphia, PA: Curtis “Showtime” Stevens took a relaxing vacation after his first round knockout of Patrick “The Machine” Majewski on January 24 at Resorts in Atlantic City, NJ and now he is faster, stronger, rested and ready to take on Tureano Johnson Friday, April 4 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA. Stevens, who vowed to stay busy this year, spent two weeks in Mexico and Jamaica following his fight at Resorts. However, even while he was having fun in the sun, he stayed in constant contact with Main Events’ Matchmaker Jolene Mizzone, “While I was away Jolene kept in contact with me. She asked me if I wanted to fight and I told her I was off for two years so now I want to get right back into it. I wasn’t playing around.”

Stevens, 29, just moved to a new place on the water in Queens and has been running stairs and on the beach as part of his new conditioning regime. He said, “I feel good. I have been training very hard. We wanted to make my legs stronger so I can get lower and weave his shots.” However, Curtis does not think Tureano Johnson is going to be a problem for him. When asked about Johnson he said, “This guy likes to fight. He slaps a lot. He’s got looping shots. But don’t leave your seat when the TV lights come on because you might miss it. Don’t blink. Have your popcorn and your soda ready beforehand because I am about to put on a spectacular showcase come April 4.”

When asked about fighting in Philadelphia, the Brooklyn native said, “Philly is the boxing capital so I am really excited to be fighting there. They like to fight in Philly and I love that. I have a lot of fans in Philly. I grew up with Karl ‘Dynamite’ Dargan, we were in the amateurs together, so I know all of his family. A lot of my fans from New York and Brooklyn are going to come out there and make the drive to show their support but I have fans in Philly too.”

This will be Showtime’s fifth Fight Night appearance and he is undefeated on the program (first round KO of Patrick Majewski on Jan. 24, first round KO of Saul Roman on August 3, 2013, eighth round UD over Derrick Findley on April 20, 2013 and first round KO of Elvin Ayala on January 19, 2013). When asked about fighting on Fight Night, Stevens replied, “I love NBC Sports. I love NBC because the world gets to see me. I am grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to perform for the whole world. Me and Cunningham were on Fight Night together when he fought Tyson Fury and I beat Derrick Findley so I am glad we get to share the spotlight again on Fight Night April 4.”

Main Events’ CEO Kathy Duva said, “I love Curtis’ attitude. There are few things better for a promoter than a fighter who will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime. Curtis has the heart of a champion, even if he doesn’t have that belt just yet.”

Jolene Mizzone, Main Events’ matchmaker said, “Fighting an up-and-coming undefeated opponent is always dangerous for a fighter so Curtis needs to be on point in order for him to get closer to a world title fight.”

Stevens vs Johnson Co-Feature to Cunningham vs Mansour April 4.

Philadelphia, PA: Less than three months after middleweight Curtis “Showtime” Stevens (26-4-0, 19 KOs) knocked out Patrick Majewski in the first round at Resorts International Casino and Hotel, he will take on the undefeated Tureano Johnson (14-0-0, 10 KOs) at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA on Friday, April 4th. The Stevens-Johnson ten round fight will be the co-feature on the NBCSN Fight Night card that features the heavyweight showdown between Steve “USS” Cunningham (26-6-0, 12 KOs) and Amir “Hardcore” Mansour (20-0-0, 15 KOs).

Stevens, who just celebrated his 29th birthday on March 10th, vowed to stay busy this year, “This is my life and my job. I like to fight and I don’t want to have a break too long. I could get a little bit too relaxed. Hopefully I can go six times this year.” “Showtime” fought four times in 2013 with a 3-1 record with two knockouts. And after his first round knockout of Majewski on January 24th he is ready for Johnson, “I am back to the old Curtis. It looks like he likes to fight. He likes to stay in the paint, in the dog house and get it on. He looks like a more aggressive Derrick Findley so this fight I might just stay toe-to-toe.”

Hall of Fame matchmaker, J Russell Peltz said this about the match-up: “This fight features Curtis Stevens, one of the most exciting middleweights in the division. It is going to be an explosive fight!” Main Events’ CEO Kathy Duva said, “We love Curtis. NBC loves Curtis. Everyone is thrilled that he’ll be back on Fight Night so quickly. Johnson fought on the undercard of one of our Fight Night cards (Adamek vs Chambers at the Prudential Center on June 16, 2012) and I was impressed by what I saw. This should be a good one.”

Johnson, 30, originally from Nassau, Bahamas, defeated Willie Fortune via unanimous decision in his last fight at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, CA on February 22, 2013. Tureano has only had three fights go the distance in his career (all unanimous decision wins) and has a 71% knockout-to-win percentage. However, Stevens is not intimidated, he said, “He has a lot of knockouts but when you check the guys that he has knocked out its guys with records that are like 6-30. That is what he is supposed to do. If he wasn’t knocking them out I believe that would be a problem.”

This will be Johnson’s first ten round fight. This will also be Johnson’s first fight as a co-feature on a national broadcast. He said, “I would like to thank Main Events and my promoter, Gary Shaw, for making this fight possible. On April 4th, the world will be introduced to Tureano Johnson. This has been a long, hard road for me filled with blood, sweat and ruthless determination. I have been begging for this opportunity to pit my skills against the so-called best in my division. However, it is easier said than done in this world of boxing. No one would fight me until now. I respect Curtis Stevens. He is a strong, hard-punching fighter who has been in with the best. But he can’t and won’t beat me. To all the fans, don’t miss this fight on NBCSN. I’m sure it is going to be a throw-back fight. It has been said that I’m not the most “technical” fighter out there. Well it’s true. I like to mix it up, throw hard punches, and get a little barbaric in the ring. I’m coming to fight, win impressive, and after April 4th, I know I will get the fights I deserve.”

“Showtime” is training for this fight in his hometown of Brooklyn, NY. He said, “I like training in Brooklyn because I am more comfortable. It is home to me; my mind is clearer when I am around positive energy. I can’t be too secluded and bored. I need to be around family and friends. So I can just go about my day as regular as possible. It is best to just keep home and have fun.”