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Light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera now has an opponent for his bout on HBO on Nov. 25 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Barrera (20-1, 14 KOs), 35, a Cuban defector fighting out of Miami, will face former interim world titleholder Felix Valera (15-1, 13 KOs), 29, of the Dominican Republic, in a scheduled 10-round fight on the undercard of the show headlined by former unified light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev facing Vyacheslav Sharbranskyy. Barrera-Valera has been "signed, sealed and delivered,” a source with knowledge of the deal told ESPN on Thursday but who was not authorized to talk about it until the fight is formally announced.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

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Would Joshua be more popular if he was unpleasant?

Anthony Joshua says that even though he doesn't play up for the media outside of the ring, he always gives fans something to remember inside of it.

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Anthony Joshua

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Joshua: Takam challenge as difficult as Pulev.

Anthony Joshua tells Steve Bunce that his new opponent Carlos Takam will provide a tough, but different fight than his original opponent Kubrat Pulev.

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Anthony Joshua

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Anthony Joshua hitting the pads held by trainer Rob McCracken at his training base in Sheffield.

Nick Parkinson
1:10

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Anthony Joshua performed a workout in front of the media at English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, England, Tuesday. The IBF-WBA world heavyweight champion from England will now face France-based Carlos Takam at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on Oct. 28 after Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev pulled out injured on Monday.

Nick Parkinson
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Miguel Cotto

Boxing

Junior featherweight world titleholder Rey Vargas will be featured on the HBO-televised undercard of junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto’s defense against Sadam Ali in what Cotto says will be his final fight on Dec. 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez said that Vargas (30-0, 22 KOs) will open the telecast against an opponent to be determined. Vargas, 26, of Mexico, will be making the second defense of his 122-pound title. He won a vacant belt on Feb. 25 by majority decision against Gavin McDonnell in Hull, England and made his first defense via unanimous decision over Ronny Rios on Aug. 26 on HBO on the undercard of Cotto’s title victory against Yoshihiro Kamegai in Carson, California.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

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Boxing

It’s unusual for the main event of a boxing card to draw fewer viewers than undercard fights but that is what happened on Saturday night for Showtime’s junior middleweight world title tripleheader from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Erislandy Lara’s dreadful decision against Terrell Gausha to retain his belt in the action-free main event averaged just 399,000 viewers and peaked at 476,000, according to Nielsen Media Research. However, both undercard bouts performed better. Titlist Jermell Charlo’s brief first-round knockout of Erickson Lubin averaged 495,000 viewers, peaking at 537,000, and the opening bout, titlist Jarrett Hurd’s 10th-round knockout of former titlist Austin Trout in a sensational slugfest, averaged 430,000 viewers and peaked at 555,000.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

Done deal: Golden Boy Promoter Oscar De La Hoya just told me that a deal was signed today for mandatory challenger David Lemieux to challenge middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders on Dec. 16 on HBO at a venue to be determined in Montreal. De La Hoya said he and Saunders promoter Frank Warren made the deal, thus avoiding an impending purse bid. “Like gentlemen we worked out the agreement and we’re on the same page with Warren. We want to see this year finish strong for boxing," De La Hoya said.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

Australian junior middleweight prospect Tim Tszyu (6-0, 5 KOs), the 22-year-old son of Hall of Fame former undisputed junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu, will fight Oct. 22 at the Star Casino in Sydney. He will face southpaw countryman Wade Ryan (14-5, 3 KOs) in Tszyu’s first scheduled 10-round fight – he’s yet to go past six -- and for his first regional title. Tszyu, who turned pro in December as a middleweight, is dropping down to 154 pounds for the bout. The main event features former super middleweight world titlist Sakio Bika (33-7-3, 22 KOs), 38, of Australia, against Geard Ajetovic (31-16-1, 16 KOs), 36, of Serbia, in a 12-rounder at super middleweight. The fight will be Bika’s second following a two-year layoff he took after losing his title to Anthony Dirrell in 2014 followed by a loss challenging light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson in 2015.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Cotto vs. Ali

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Boxing

Charlo stops Lubin with 1st-round KO.

Jermell Charlo easily defends his 154-pound world title after knocking out Erickson Lubin in the first round at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

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Main Events announced that it has signed Bronx, New York junior middleweight Ismael Villarreal, the 20-year-old son of former welterweight journeyman Otilio Villarreal, who lost to opponents such as Zab Judah, Hector Camacho Sr. and Kermit Cintron during his 1992 to 2003 career. Ismael Villarreal, who is trained by his father and managed by Jose Santiago, was 66-7 as an amateur, including winning two New York Golden Gloves championships. "My goal in boxing is to be special, one of the greats. It's about winning,” said Villarreal, who is studying physical education at Bronx Community College. “People are going to be talking about me who care about boxing and respect me as a Latino boxer. I want to be a world champion at a young age. I don't want to wait. I want to be champion at a young age.” Villarreal’s pro debut is slated to take place Nov. 25 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of the fight between former unified light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

Santa Cruz pleases fans with TKO over Avalos.

Leo Santa Cruz connects on 52 percent of his punches by the fourth round, punishing Chris Avalos with a TKO stoppage in the eighth round of their main event at StubHub Center in Carson, California.

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Boxing

Is Groves, Eubank Jr the fight of the decade?

ESPN's Steve Bunce reviews the potential fight of the decade between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr in the World Boxing Super Series semi-finals.

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Boxing news

Boxing

Heavyweight Alexander Ustinov and former world title challenger Manuel Charr are set to fight Nov. 25 at the Koenig-Pilsener-Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, organizers announced. They are attempting to have the bout sanctioned by the WBA as an official eliminator for the right to face Fres Oquendo for the organization’s secondary title since the sanctioning body owes Oquendo a title fight from a ruling in U.S. federal court and he has no opponent since Shannon Briggs was ousted from the bout because of a failed drug test. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Ustinov (34-1, 25 KOs), 40, of Belarus, has won seven fights in a row against lesser opposition since an 11th-round knockout loss to Kubrat Pulev for the European title in 2012. The 6-3, 245-pound Charr (30-4, 17 KOs), 33, who was born in Lebanon and fights out of Germany, was stopped by Vitali Klitschko in a 2012 world title fight and has won two in a row since a fifth-round knockout loss to Mairis Briedis, who dropped down in weight and later won a cruiserweight world title. Charr, who survived a gunshot two years ago, will be fighting six months after having hip replacement surgery.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

The deal is done for former secondary junior lightweight titlist Jason Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs) to face former title challenger Robinson Castellanos (24-13, 14 KOs) on Nov. 25 in an HBO-televised bout at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. The deal was finalized on Monday, a source involved in the event told ESPN. The 10-round fight will take place on the undercard of the Sergey Kovalev-Vyacheslav Shabranskyy light heavyweight bout. The Sosa-Castellanos winner will get the chance to fight again on HBO for a world title, either against the winner of Saturday’s HBO main event between titleholder Jezreel Corrales (22-1, 8 KOs) and Alberto Machado (18-0, 15 KOs) or the winner of the December HBO fight between titlist Miguel Berchelt (32-1, 28 KOs) and former titlist Orlando Salido (44-13-14, 31 KOs). Castellanos will be hoping for a rematch with Corrales, who edged him by 10th-round technical decision on July 15 on HBO.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

Jermell Charlo-Erickson Lubin

Boxing

Charlo stops Lubin with 1st-round KO.

Jermell Charlo easily defends his 154-pound world title after knocking out Erickson Lubin in the first round at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

0:30
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Santa Cruz/Mares

Boxing

Santa Cruz pleases fans with TKO over Avalos.

Leo Santa Cruz connects on 52 percent of his punches by the fourth round, punishing Chris Avalos with a TKO stoppage in the eighth round of their main event at StubHub Center in Carson, California.

0:30
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Boxing

Mares bloodies Gutierrez for unanimous victory.

After nearly a year off of fighting, Abner Mares dominates Andres Gutierrez and halts the fight in the 10th round due a deep cut to Gutierrez.

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World Boxing Super Series

Golden Boy on ESPN

Golden Boy on ESPN

Barroso stops Maldonado Jr. with body punch.

Ismael Barroso sends Fidel Maldonado Jr. to the canvas with a short left body punch, resulting in a sixth-round stoppage.

1:12
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Boxing

The Contender boxing reality series, which aired from 2005 to 2008 with the initial season on NBC, followed by two on ESPN and a fourth on Versus, could be returning, this time to Epix, multiple sources with knowledge of the talks told ESPN. Epix did top-level boxing from 2011 to 2013 and showed interest in getting back into it in recent months. It nearly closed a deal to air the World Boxing Super Series tournaments but ultimately bowed out, but the network still has an appetite for the sport, sources said. If Epix officially signs off on bringing the Contender back, pre-production could start as soon as next month with the new season to air in 2018. MGM, which owns Epix, also is part owner of Contender co-creator and reality TV superstar producer Mark Burnett’s studio. However, there are also those at Epix, according to sources, advocating for the money that would be spent for a season of the show – in the $25 million neighborhood -- to instead go to buying significant fights. That kind of annual boxing budget would compete with HBO and Showtime.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

Andre Ward, who announced his retirement in September, has relinquished the last of his three light heavyweight world titles. WBO president Paco Valcarcel told ESPN on Wednesday that Ward has vacated and that Main Events, promoter of former unified titlist Sergey Kovalev, is petitioning the organization to sanction Kovalev’s fight with Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) on Nov. 25 (HBO) at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York to be for the vacant belt. Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) lost the titles to Ward last November by controversial decision and then lost by eighth-round knockout in the June rematch, though Kovalev’s team complained bitterly about the final punches being low blows that were not called. Valcarcel said the WBO’s championship committee has not yet made a decision on whether it will sanction Kovalev-Shabranskyy for the vacant world title.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

WBA president Gilberto Mendoza has clarified his organization’s light heavyweight title world situation. There were three titleholders – a situation Mendoza is in the process of changing to get down to one titlist per weight class -- in super champion Andre Ward, regular champion Badou Jack and interim titlist Dmitry Bivol. Ward has retired and Jack vacated, getting rid of two of the belts. That leaves only Bivol. Mendoza told ESPN that Russia’s Bivol (11-0, 9 KOs) will be elevated to the full titleholder. His fight against Australia’s Trent Broadhurst (20-1, 12 KOs) on Nov. 4 (HBO) in Monte Carlo will be an optional defense. The winner of the bout will be ordered to face the organization’s leading available contender within 120 days.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

Divisional Rankings

Boxing

Garcia: 'We are ready for this fight.'

Abner Mares' trainer, Robert Garcia, talks about training camp for Mares' featherweight title defense against Andres Gutierrez in New York on Oct. 14.

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Two months before junior lightweight world titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs), a junior featherweight titlist moving up two weight divisions, will square off on Dec. 9 in the main event of a Top Rank ESPN card at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York, Top Rank announced that the 5,500-seat arena has sold out. The fight, which matches two of the world’s top fighters pound for pound, will be the first time that boxers who have both won two Olympic gold medals will meet as professionals. "This is the Big Apple's second-hottest ticket on the secondary market next to Bette Midler's Broadway smash, 'Hello Dolly,'” quipped Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

Chris Eubank Jr.

Boxing news

Boxing

Former long-reigning flyweight and junior bantamweight world titleholder Omar Narvaez is returning from a 16-month layoff on Saturday. Now fighting as a bantamweight, Narvaez (46-2-2, 24 KOs), a 42-year-old southpaw from Argentina, will take on New York-based Russia native Nikolai Potapov (17-0-1, 8 KOs), 27, in a world title elimination fight at Estadio Obras Sanitarias in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Narvaez has won three fights in a row against lesser opposition since losing his junior bantamweight title by second-round knockout to Japan’s Naoya Inoue in December 2014. Potapov’s last fight was on March 10, when he won a 10-round split decision against Antonio Nieves, who got stopped by Inoue in the sixth round in September. Potapov trained in Detroit with Javan “Sugar” Hill, nephew of the late Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward. “I had an intense training camp in Detroit with Sugar Hill,” Potapov said. “This is our second camp together and I feel like I am getting better every day.”

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

Cruiserweights Constantin Bejenaru and Thabiso Mchunu will square off for Bejenaru’s regional title on Nov. 25 at the Mohegan Sun resort in Uncasville, Connecticut, Star Boxing promoter Joe DeGuardia announced on Tuesday. Bejenaru (12-0, 3 KOs), 33, a Moldova native fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, has bumped off undefeated opponents in his last two fights on Showtime’s “ShoBox” series, Alexey Zubov and Stivens Bujaj, though he has been idle since last November. Mchunu (18-3, 13 KOs), 29, a southpaw from South Africa, has bounced back with a victory since suffering a ninth-round knockout loss challenging world titleholder Oleksandr Usyk on HBO in December.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

Ringstar Sports promoter Richard Schaefer has announced the undercard for Murat Gassiev’s cruiserweight title defense against Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in the World Boxing Super Series quarterfinals on Oct. 21 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. In addition to tournament alternates Mateusz Masternak and Stivens Bujaj meeting in a 10-rounder and junior middleweight contenders Maciej Sulecki and Jack Culcay squaring off in a semifinal title eliminator, the rest of the card is packed with prospects. New Jersey welterweight Julian Rodriguez; Freddie Roach-trained 2016 Lithuanian Olympian Eimantas Stanionis; heavyweight Efe Ajaba, a 2016 Nigerian Olympian; junior middleweight Money Powell IV; Kosovo welterweight Skender Halili; and Nigerian cruiserweight Wesley Apochi will all appear.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer

Boxing

Kell Brook-Amir Khan

Boxing

Klitschko: Joshua a great ambassador for boxing.

Wladimir Klitschko believes the sport of boxing is in safe hands with current WBA and IBF champion Anthony Joshua.

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Bunce: A new lease of life for Crolla or Burns.

Steve Bunce makes his pick for the battle of the British boxers between Anthony Crolla and Ricky Burns.

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Deontay WIlder vs. Bermane Stiverne

Boxing

Tony Bellew-Davdi Haye

Boxing

Bellew: Haye persona 'fake.'

Tony Bellew criticised David Haye's public persona ahead of their fight at the O2 in December.

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Hearn expects Bellew to win Haye rematch.

Promoter Eddie Hearn says that after watching the first fight, he fully expects Tony Bellew to beat David Haye again.

1:32
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Is the Haye-Bellew rivalry genuine?

Steve Bunce discusses the rivalry between David Haye and Tony Bellew ahead of their rematch in December.

2:12
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Ali's Life

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