Carlos Toro's Boxing Newsletter (3/24/2022): WBC President Latest To Platform Daniel Kinahan, Top Rank Ratings, Vergil Ortiz Jr., More
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman latest to give suspected mob boss Daniel Kinahan a stamp of approval, what Top Rank on ESPN viewership looked like for its latest card, plus news from around the world.
The abhorrent efforts from certain circles of boxing to platform and “sportswash” Daniel Kinahan, who has been linked to the Kinahan drug cartel by many governmental entities, has now extended to one of the sport’s most significant figures, Mauricio Sulaiman.
The WBC President wrote a letter discussing his recent trip to Dubai as Probellum held two boxing cards on March 18 and 19, the latter of which saw Regis Prograis defeat Tyrone McKenna in a WBC junior welterweight title eliminator.
Sulaiman talked about his trip to Dubai, the sanctioning body’s history in the Middle East, and his impressions of Probellum as well as MTK Global. It was during this section of the letter where Sulaiman talked about meeting Kinahan, even acknowledging his criminal ties, but otherwise had nothing but good things to say of the man.
“During Probellum fight night I also met Daniel Kinahan, who is advisor and manager of boxers. A man who has been labeled as a person linked to criminal groups. I had a fascinating and insightful talk with him, confirmed by the testimonies of many boxers, who express their admiration and gratitude for the unconditional support he has given them, which has allowed them to significantly improve their lives.
I am nobody to judge any person, and that has been the policy plus ethos of our organization, to combat all types of discrimination and abuse of power, for any person or group.”
Sulaiman is one of many people in boxing who failed to exercise any tact when it comes to Kinahan, who co-founded the company that would later brand itself as MTK Global. Kinahan’s ties to the Kinahan Cartel have been well-documented in the past, but his involvement in boxing has slowly grown over the years, even while hiding out in Dubai. Though he holds no official position with any boxing-related company, he has worked with a number of notable people within the spot, including advising boxers.
It is no accident that Sulaiman’s letter contained both Kinahan and Probellum, given that there are connections between the two.
Those connections are even more substantiated when Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti, Provincial Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Government of Punjab, Pakistan, posted a tweet on March 20 meeting with Kinahan and Probellum. In addition, Sandra Vaughan, a former MTK Global CEO, was also in pictures from the aforementioned tweet.
Probellum denied to the Irish Mirror that Kinahan is employed by the company, but it is impossible to deny the obvious connections between all parties involved. It’s either the worst kept secret in boxing or the strangest set of coincidences in history.
But Sulaiman mentioning Kinahan in the same letter that he wrote about attending the two Probellum shows in Dubai as well as commenting on MTK is way too big to not notice.
I had written about Kinahan a couple of years ago and why his involvement in the sport is problematic and here is an excerpt of what I had written back then, mainly referring to Kinahan’s alleged criminal involvement and the infamous shooting in Dublin in 2016 at a weigh-in for a boxing card that resulted in the death of David Byrne.
For those unaware, Kinahan has emerged as a person of interest in the world of boxing in recent years, primarily due to notable boxing figures, including Bob Arum, endorsing him. The “role” that some have bestowed upon him is that of Fury’s advisor and as someone who is looking to secure big fights in the Middle East.
The story of Kinahan and boxing is a long and troubled one. The High Court in Dublin, Ireland declared Kinahan as a senior figure in the Kinahan Organized Crime Group, an organization that is involved in drug and arms trafficking into Ireland and the United Kingdom.
However, their operations extend beyond the United Kingdom and most of Europe as the Kinaham Group has ties to criminal activity all over the world. The Irish branch of the "wider international" Kinahan Organized Crime Group is the Byrne Organized Crime Group, which is also heavily involved in drug smuggling and arms trafficking.
How does this relate to boxing? Kinahan was the co-founder of MGM (Macklin’s Gym Marbella) alongside former world title challenger and European champion Matthew Macklin. MGM is the group that would later be re-branded as MTK Global years ago.
Sandra Vaughan, CEO of MTK Global, bought out MGM in 2017, a year after a terrible shooting in Dublin, Ireland at the weigh-in before a boxing card. Irish gangsters who were disguised as police arrived at the weigh-ins with Kinahan allegedly being the target. In the end, three people were shot and one man died. That man was David Byrne and his brother Liam was actually named a high-ranking member of the Kinahan Organized Crime Group. The assassination attempt was reportedly in response to the 2015 murder of Gary Hutch, who is related to Gerry Hutch, another gangster. The Kinahan and Hutch groups have long been at odds with more than a dozen deaths relating to this blood feud.
After the 2016 shooting, MGM worked hard with its re-branding, quickly distancing themselves from Kinahan and his influence in public. At first, things didn’t go so well for MTK Global. MTK had a boycott of all media outlets in the Republic of Ireland beginning in February 2018, but that was soon lifted.
The entity then quickly became one of the biggest in the boxing world, managing several notable names in the sport, mainly focusing on the United Kingdom. That group includes Tyson Fury, Carl Frampton, Moruti Mthalane, Billy Joe Saunders, Liam Smith, Josh Taylor, and more.
However, Kinahan emerged in recent weeks as he was appointed as special advisor to KHK Sports in Bahrain. KHK Sports was founded by Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, a member of the Bahraini royal family.
Shortly after Kinahan was announced as a special advisor to KHK, it was announced that MTK and KHK have entered a partnership which, according to both parties, “will not only focus on large scale events but will see KHK Sports further develop grassroots programs, including educational academies, amateur programs and career progression opportunities for aspiring athletes in the greater region.”
Kinahan’s connection to both parties led many to rightly believe that he will have a hand in shaping boxing’s future in some way shape or form. This started with the announcement that a pioneering boxing summit will take place this fall with several of boxing’s biggest names outside the ring meeting to discuss the future of the sport.
When the summit was announced, many publicly reacted to the news and there was one common theme when the likes of Bob Arum, Frank Warren, Shelly Finkel, Kalle Sauerland, Badou Jack, Roy Jones Jr., and more discussed the topic: the praising of Kinahan for his work.
It didn’t stop there.
A video posted by MTK featuring Arum discussed how Kinahan was working behind the scenes on securing boxing shows taking place in the Middle East. MTK Global and Top Rank have a working relationship, which means MTK shows have been airing on ESPN platforms, mainly ESPN+, for some time.
“We have been working all year, the past year with MTK. [Due to] our connection with MTK, we have been able to get a whole host of events from MTK and televise them in the United States on ESPN+, which has more than eight million subscribers. That’s been a big success. Our relationship with MTK has been tremendous, particularly with Dan, who was the original founder of MTK and now is still an adviser to them. He is our adviser, in effect, regarding the [Middle] East. He’s lived in the [Middle] East and has very, very good connections. We [went] to Dan the authority to explore opportunities in the [Middle] East on behalf of Top Rank,” Arum said.
Kinahan being platformed as a force for the good of the sport carries a potentially dangerous and disastrous end result for boxing. The WBC, through Sulaiman, endorsing Kinahan and giving him a stamp of approval will only entice and empower other major boxing entities and key figures to further do the same. Arum already has publicly stated his support and no doubt many in boxing feel the same, but don’t want to admit it.
If this keeps up, and the sport ends up suffering as a result, then boxing has no one to blame but itself.
Vergil Ortiz Update, Potential Return Possible For Spring:
Last week, undefeated welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr. was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis and admitted to a hospital, resulting in his March 19 fight against Michael McKinson to be called off. The fight was supposed to headline a Golden Boy Promotions on DAZN card from Los Angeles, but now there have been changes to the event.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya wished Ortiz a full recovery.
“We wish Vergil a very quick and speedy recovery. As fighters, our first instinct is to fight whatever we have and tough it out. It takes a lot of courage to admit that something is wrong and get the care that you need. We are confident that we will be seeing Vergil in the ring again very soon.”
As a result of the unfortunate turn of events, Alexis Rocha vs. Blair Cobbs was elevated from the co-main event to the main event. Michael McKinson stayed on the card, facing Alex Martin in a 10-round bout as the event’s co-main event.
According to the CDC, “Rhabdomyolysis (often called rhabdo) is a serious medical condition that can be fatal or result in permanent disability. Rhabdo occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases its proteins and electrolytes into the blood. These substances can damage the heart and kidneys and cause permanent disability or even death.”
The last statement is the absolute worst-case scenario, but those with rhabdo can make a full recovery within a time window ranging from several weeks to months. Plus, one way to get rhabdo is through over-exertion and dehydration can contribute to that. Symptoms can appear at any time after a muscle injury, but symptoms can also take place several days after that injury.
Ortiz issued a statement on social media, saying he had not been feeling well for two weeks before his hospitalization, which isn’t a great sign, but not something that would lead to the worst-case scenario people diagnosed with rhabdo has.
In an interview with DAZN on March 19, Golden Boy Promotions partner Bernard Hopkins gave an update on Ortiz’s condition, with positive news on a relatively swift turnaround.
“I think we’ll see Vergil Ortiz in the ring around May in the big holiday, Cinco De Mayo or sooner. He’s young, he’s growing. Maybe he ought to look at how he feels with extra weight, a couple of pounds more than what he fights at now, and know where his body is at. A lot of it has got to do with coaching. A lot of it has got to do with himself. We know our own body better than anybody. If moving up is the case and if he’s healthy and if he can fight healthy, I’m all for it,” Hopkins said.
Discussing the possibility of Ortiz moving up in weight, Hopkins believes he should do so as soon as possible, but there’s no telling whether it’s a permanent move to junior middleweight or is the possibility of returning to welterweight there.
“Absolutely, as soon as possible. I look at his size. He had to be in camp for eight weeks. Dehydration has a lot to do with cutting back. Maybe his body is saying, ‘I can’t do it,’ even at an early age,” Hopkins said.
Ortiz, ranked No. 1 by the WBC and WBO at welterweight, last fought in August 2021 when he stopped Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the eighth round of their DAZN main event in Frisco, Texas.
Top Rank on ESPN Ratings:
The March 19 Top Rank on ESPN card from Madison Square Garden had to deal with some major competition going head-to-head with the NCAA Tournament, but still nearly matched its 2022-high in ratings and viewership.
The card, which also streamed online on ESPN+ averaged 490,000 viewers on ESPN television, with 184,000 viewers coming from the 18-49 demographic. In addition, the card drew a 0.14 rating in the 18-49 demo, which placed it at 17th-best among original cable telecasts for the day (it did a 0.30 household rating).
Edgar Berlanga’s 10-round decision win over Steve Rolls in the main event was largely uncontested as the Gonzaga vs. Memphis NCAA men’s basketball tournament game was finished. Still, by that point, it was already midnight on the east coast by the time Berlanga stepped into the ring, which is never a great formula for high viewership.
The lead-in to the Top Rank card on ESPN was the NCAA Wrestling Championships, which averaged 632,000 viewers and drew a 0.15 rating in the 18-49 demo.
As far as 2022 is concerned, the March 19 show sits in the middle in terms of viewership and ratings for Top Rank on ESPN broadcasts. This was only the third Top Rank card that aired on ESPN this year, with the other two taking place in January.
460,000 viewers/150,000 viewers in 18-49 demo
0.26 household rating/0.12 rating in 18-49 demo (27th-best on cable for the day)
539,000 viewers/197,000 viewers in 18-49 demo
0.31 household rating/0.15 rating in 18-49 demo (17th-best on cable for the day)
490,000 viewers/184,000 viewers in 18-49 demo
0.30 household rating/0.14 rating in 18-49 demo (17th-best on cable for the day)
Top Rank’s next ESPN-televised card will take place on March 26 with Miguel Berchelt taking on Jeremiah Nakathila in the main event. Some part of that card will likely compete head-to-head with the NCAA Tournament given that March 26 will be during the Elite Eight.
After that, its next two non-pay-per-view cards will also air on ESPN: Mikaela Mayer vs. Jennifer Han on April 9; Oscar Valdez vs. Shakur Stevenson on April 30.
It’s a little early to make any assertions regarding Top Rank’s viewership on ESPN this year. January has never historically been a great month for high boxing viewership and their only non-January card on ESPN went head-to-head with the NCAA Tournament. The April shows could end up increasing the overall viewership this year.
News From The World of Boxing:
Don King won a purse bid for the promotional rights to the WBA “Regular” heavyweight title bout between Trevor Bryan and Daniel Dubois. King won the rights to the fight on March 21 with a winning bid of $3,116,001, beating out Queensberry Promotions’ bid of $2,503,000. The current plan for the fight is to have it take place on June 18 in one of three possible locations: London; south Florida; New York. Had Queensberry won the purse bid, three proposed dates and locations were mentioned: May 21 in Darby, England; June 11 in Midlands, England; June 18 in London. As winners of the purse bid, Don King had 20 days from the day of the purse bid (an April 10 deadline) to send contracts by both parties.
Top Rank formally announces that unified WBO and IBF super featherweight champion Mikaela Mayer will defend her titles against Jennifer Han on April 9 at The Hangar at the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California. The fight will headline an ESPN-televised card with Giovani Santillan vs. Jeovanis Barraza in the co-feature bout. The undercard, to be streamed on ESPN+, will feature both Jason and Andrew Moloney in action as well as Luis Alberto Lopez, Duke Ragan, and Virginia Fuchs in action.
Undercard bouts were announced for the Ryan Garcia vs. Emmanuel Tagoe DAZN card on April 9. WBC flyweight champion Marlen Esparza will fight WBA champion Naoko Fujioka in a unification bout with the vacant Ring Magazine belt on the line. In addition, Gabriel Rosado will take on Shane Mosley Jr.
Filip Hrgovic will get his long-awaited IBF heavyweight title eliminator and it will be against Zhilei Zhang. The fight, which would create a mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk’s IBF world title, will take place on May 7 in Las Vegas as part of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol undercard. Also on the undercard is Montana Love vs. Gabriel Valenzuela.
Vito Mielnicki announced on social media that he will fight on the undercard of the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Yordenis Ugas card on April 16 at AT&T Stadium.
Sergey Kovalev will face Tervel Pulev in a cruiserweight bout on May 14 as part of a TrillerVerz card from the Forum. The card will also feature former heavyweight title challenger Kubrat Pulev taking on Andrey Fedosov, and several (Evan Holyfield, Fernando Vargas Jr., Amado Vargas & Emiliano Vargas) in separate bouts.
Salita Promotions will have a card in the Lincoln Ballroom of the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, Michigan on April 2 with undefeated fighter Erick De Leon fighting for the first time since 2019 in the main event.
The undercard for the Miguel Berchelt vs. Jeremiah Nakathila Top Rank card on March 26 is set. The ESPN+ exclusive undercard will have the following fights: Tiger Johnson vs. TBA; Carlos Caraballo vs. Luis Fernando Saavedra; Josue Vargas vs. TBA; Haven Brady Jr vs. Jose Argel; Dante Benjamin vs. Kevin Johnson; Arturo Cardenas vs. Juan Hernandez Martinez; Adrian Serrano vs. Estevan Partida.
Hitz Boxing announced a boxing card at The Dome at The Ballpark in Rosemont, Illinois on April 1.
Probellum President Richard Schaefer and Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn recently appeared on the talkSPORT studio on March 22 and both seemed very receptive to the idea of having IBF flyweight champion Sunny Edwards (promoted by Probellum) and WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez (promoted by Matchroom) face off in a unification bout later this year. No real offer was made but the hope here is that Martinez successfully defends his title against McWilliams Arroyo and then make the unification fight for the end of the year. From an in-ring standpoint, Martinez vs. Edwards is one of the best fights in the division, on paper. What makes the fight more intriguing is the fact that Martinez fought Edwards’ brother Charlie when Charlie was the WBC champion in 2019. That fight ended when Martinez knocked Edwards out with a body shot while Edwards already had a knee touching the canvas. At the time, it was ruled a knockout win for Martinez, but that was quickly overturned to a no contest. Charlie ended up vacating the title five weeks later to move up in weight.
Undefeated light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi will take on Craig Richards in the main event of a Matchroom Boxing card on May 21.
Josh Kelly will end a 15-month layoff and fight on a Wasserman Boxing card from the Indigo at The O2 on May 13. Kelly has not fought since he lost to David Avanesyan back in February 2021. Also on the card is Udofia Linus vs. Densel Bentley for the British middleweight title; Harlem Eubank vs. Sean Dodd; Brad Pauls vs. Ryan Kelly in a British middleweight title eliminator.
Zach Parker and current WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade will fight for the interim WBO super middleweight title at Derby County’s Pride Park Stadium on May 21.
Jack Catterall announced that he has signed a promotional deal with Probellum, just weeks after his controversial loss to Josh Taylor with Taylor’s undisputed junior welterweight titles on the line. Catterall got dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 in the latest WBO rankings, meaning that if and when Taylor vacates his titles, if the WBO simply orders the top two fighters in the WBO rankings to face off for the vacant belt, Catterall would be the odd man out. The matchup that would be ordered today would be Liam Paro (promoted by Matchroom Boxing) vs. Teofimo Lopez (promoted by Top Rank).
Matchroom Boxing announced that Conor Benn will face Chris Van Heerden at the AO Arena in Manchester on April 16 on DAZN. The rematch between Chris Billam-Smith and Tommy McCarthy for the European cruiserweight title is also on the card. Other fights announced for the undercard include Faroukh Kourbanov vs. Zelfa Barrett for the European super featherweight title, plus Jordan Thompson, Campbell Hatton, Jack Cullen & Cyrus Pattinson all in action in separate bouts.
The British Boxing Board of Control announced that it will not allow boxers who are registered and/or licensed by the Russian Boxing Federation or Belarussian Federation of Professional Boxing to compete in the United Kingdom under the BBBofC’s jurisdiction.
The European Boxing Union is the latest sanctioning body in the sport to announce its stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, announcing that no championship fights involving fighters from Russia and Belarus will be certified until the matter is resolved:
“The European Boxing Union (EBU), joining the urgent plea of the sports world to cease fire and end the war in Ukraine, will – from today on – not certify any championship contests involving boxers from Russia and Belarus until further notice.
We are united with the boxing world asking for peace and we reject any form of war.”
The statement doesn’t really mention anything in regards to titleholders who are from those countries, namely welterweight titleholder David Avanesyan, who stopped Oskari Metz on March 19 to defend his title. I contacted the EBU regarding its stance and how it relates to Avanesyan. The EBU made an exception for him given that, even though he was born in Pyatigorsk in Russia, he was born into an Armenian family and that he has a Serbian license. This is a different stance from what the WBA did in its measures regarding Russia. The sanctioning body outright redacted the names of nearly every Russian and Belarusian boxer who are either a champion or on its rankings. Avanesyan was one such boxer who had his name redacted from the rankings.
Matchroom Boxing announced a couple of cards taking place in Spain and Italy, all streaming on DAZN. In Spain, the first card will take place on April 1 at the Palau Olímpic Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona with Sandor Martin facing Jose Felix for a regional WBA junior welterweight title. The undercard for the April 1 Spain card includes Samuel Cardona vs. Fadhili Majiha; Alejandro Moya vs. Tom Farrell; Ricards Bolotniks vs. Hrvoje Sep. The other card in Spain announced is taking place on May 20 at Bilbao Arena in Bilbao, headlined by Kerman Lejarraga vs. James Metcalf.
As for the Matchroom Boxing Italy shows, the first card will take place at Palazzetto dello Sport in Verbania, Piemonte on April 22, headlined by Ivan Zucco vs. Marko Nikolic. The undercard for this show includes Mirko Natalizi vs. Tony Dixon; Francesco Grandelli vs. Kane Baker; Samuel Nmomah vs. Felice Moncelli; Mauro Forte vs. TBA, Joshua Nmonah vs. TBA, Giovanni Sarchioto vs. TBA; Voldy Toutin vs. TBA. The second show will air on May 13 at the Allianz Cloud in Milan, headlined by an all-Italian fight between Daniele Scardina and Giovanni De Carolis. On the undercard for that show, Mary Romero will take on Maria Cecchi; Vincezo La Femina will face Matteo Lecca; Maxim Prodan, Cristian Cangelosi & Oronzo Birardi will all be in action in separate bouts.
Other News & Notes:
In the latest twist to the WBO middleweight title situation, the previously ordered fight between Zhanibek Alimkhanuly and Jaime Munguia for the organization’s interim middleweight title is no longer on. The WBO has now ordered Alimkhanuly to fight Danny Dignum for the interim belt, with the winner being the mandatory challenger to Demetrius Andrade’s middleweight championship. On March 11, the WBO issued a letter to Alimkhanuly and Dignum’s camps stating that they have 10 days to reach a deal or else a purse bid will be ordered. The minimum bid is $200,000.
Kim Clavel will face WBC light flyweight champion Yesenia Gomez on April 21 at the Cabaret of Montréal Casino on a card co-promoted by Yvon Michel and Probellum. Clavel fought last night, scoring a fourth-round win over Mariela Ribera Valverde.
The WBA had a pair of boxing cards in Panama on March 11 and 12 with a pair of notable results. On the March 11 show, Jessica Nery Plata scored a split decision (97-93, 93-97, 96-94) victory over Yesica Yolanda Bopp to win the WBA light flyweight title. On March 12, Jezreel Corrales defeated Miguel Madueno by unanimous decision (117-108, 115-109, 116-108) in a WBA lightweight title eliminator.
Former WBO minimumweight champion Wilfredo Mendez is fighting Kenny Cano on a Shuan Boxing card on April 8 in the Dominican Republic. Mendez, who last fought in December in a title loss to Masataka Taniguchi, is working with former champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez.
WBA super bantamweight champion Mayerlin Rivas has signed a multi-fight promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing. Rivas hasn’t fought since February 2020 when she won the belt against then-unbeaten Laura Ledezma. Rivas’ next fight will be announced soon.
Australian amateur Alex Winwood signed with manager Tony Tolj, who is perhaps best known for his work with Andrew and Jason Moloney. Winwood has not made his pro debut yet as he’s hoping to find success and win the Commonwealth Games.
Kevin Lerena will fight Bogdan Dinu for a WBA regional heavyweight title on March 26 in South Africa.
Gustavo Lemos and Lee Selby will square off in an IBF lightweight title eliminator in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 26.
Junior welterweight title contender Jose Zepeda had a stay-busy fight in Mexico on March 19, beating Francisco Perez in the second round. Zepeda, who is the mandatory challenger to the WBC junior welterweight title, has not fought since stopping Josue Vargas in the first round back in October.
What To Watch Out For In Boxing:
Friday, March 25:
5 p.m. ET on Probellum website:
Lewis Ritson vs. Dejan Zlaticanin
Pat McCormack vs. Justin Menzie
Troy Williamson vs. Mason Cartwright
6 p.m. ET on ProBox Promotions YouTube:
Cesar Francis vs. Mohamed Mimoune
Darrelle Valsaint vs. Geronimo Nahuel Sacco
7 p.m. ET (TBD)
Mikael Zewski vs. Carlos Ocampo
Movladdin Biyarslanov vs. Roberto Verdugo
7:30 p.m. ET on BXNGTV.com:
Isaiah Wise vs. Cameron Krael
Romuel Cruz vs. VeShawn Champion
Saturday, March 26:
1 p.m. ET on Sky Sports Boxing YouTube:
Richard Riakporhe vs. Deion Jumah undercard
1:30 p.m. ET on DAZN/DAZN YouTube:
Kiko Martinez vs. Josh Warrington undercard
3 p.m. ET on DAZN:
Kiko Martinez vs. Josh Warrington main card
3:30 p.m. ET on Sky Sports:
Richard Riakporhe vs. Deion Jumah main card
5:30 p.m. ET on PunchingGrace.com:
Christian Mbilli vs. Nadjib Mohammedi
Artem Oganesyan vs. Stephen Danyo
6:30 p.m. ET on FITE:
Erik Morales vs. Orlando Salido
7 p.m. ET on FloCombat:
Greg Outlaw vs. Jonathan Montrel (select undercard bouts on FIGHTNIGHT LIVE Facebook)
7:p.m. ET on ESPN+:
Miguel Berchelt vs. Jeremiah Nakathila undercard
9 p.m. ET on Showtime:
Tim Tszyu vs. Terrell Gausha
Michel Rivera vs. Joseph Adorno
Elvis Rodriguez vs. Juan Jose Velasco
10 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+:
Miguel Berchelt vs. Jeremiah Nakathila
Jose Enrique Vivas vs. Eduardo Baez
Kenshiro Teraji regains WBC light flyweight title:
Six months after suffering his first pro loss and losing his WBC light flyweight title, Kenshiro Teraji avenged that defeat and is now a two-time world champion.
Teraji knocked out Masamichi Yabuki in the third round of their world title rematch on March 19 that took place in Kyoto, Japan.
In the first fight, Yabuki found plenty of success scoring with the jab and outboxing Teraji en route to a 10th round TKO win last September. As for the rematch, Teraji mauled Yabuki, landing the right hand with relative ease and staggering Yabuki. Teraji’s aggression overwhelmed Yabuki, dropping him in the third round and then stopping him seconds later.
Teraji now rejoins Hiroto Kyoguchi (WBA “Super”), Esteban Bermudez (WBA “Regular”), Felix Alvarado (IBF), and Jonathan Gonzalez (WBO) in the champions circle at light flyweight. The fight aired on Abema TV, which was accessible online through a VPN connecting to Japan. Not everyone was able to access it, but below is the footage of the fight.