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Ringside Seat — Halloween spotlights a ‘Monster,’ a ‘Tank’ and a future heavyweight champ

The final weekend in October brings 4 boxing playing cards involving a few of the finest fighters within the sport, as Naoya Inoue, Oleksandr Usyk and Gervonta Davis, amongst others, step into the ring.

Golden Boy Promotions hosts a card on Friday highlighted by middleweight contender Jaime Munguia and a number of their vivid younger prospects.

Saturday is a full day of boxing from throughout the globe, with reveals happening in Russia, England and Las Vegas, plus the primary main boxing present within the U.S., with a dwell viewers on the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Here’s what it is advisable know forward of this weekend:

“Monster” Inoue makes his U.S. debut on Halloween

Unified bantamweight world titleholder Naoya Inoue lastly makes his debut below the Top Rank banner on Saturday, when he faces Jason Moloney contained in the bubble on the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas (ESPN+ 7:30 p.m. ET).

Before the coronavirus pandemic halted the game, Inoue was slated to face WBO titlist John Riel Casimero on April 25. Not solely did that battle get scratched, however Inoue’s subsequent battle additionally was backed up a number of months.

Bob Arum, whose firm signed Inoue to a promotional deal after he defeated Nonito Donaire within the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight match finals in November, is raring to see him compete once more.

“It’s terrific,” Arum stated. “Obviously, we wanted him to fight before this. Then we ran into the pandemic. The MGM was hoping, when we were planning it, to get, like, 2,000 tourists from Japan. It would’ve been a much different event from what we’re doing now — no question about it. But the pandemic is something we have no control [over], except to work around it.”

Although Moloney (21-1, 18 KOs) is a strong contender — rated seventh within the division by ESPN — many had been trying ahead to seeing Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) have the chance so as to add the WBO belt to his assortment. Inoue-Casimero could be a shootout between two of essentially the most potent punchers within the division. Arum nonetheless hopes that battle could be made sooner or later.

“That’s a fight that we wanted, but the purse that [Casimero] wanted was a lot more than what we could afford,” Arum stated. “Now, could we have afforded it in normal times, if we had a big gate? Of course. But we didn’t.”

Casimero has fought as soon as since, with a third-round TKO of Duke Micah on Sept. 26.

“I am not disappointed,” Inoue stated of not going through Casimero. “He is on my radar solely as a result of he has the WBO title.

“He is one among my targets if he has the belt.”

Full card:

  • Title battle: Naoya Inoue vs. Jason Moloney, 12 rounds, for Inoue’s IBF/WBA bantamweight world titles

  • Title battle: Ewa Brodnicka vs. Mikaela Mayer, 10 rounds, for Brodnicka’s WBO junior light-weight title

  • Julian Rodriguez vs. Jose Eduardo Lopez Rodriguez, 10 rounds, junior welterweights

  • Robson Conceicao vs. Luis Coria, 10 rounds, junior lightweights

  • Andy Hiraoka vs. Rickey Edwards, eight rounds, junior welterweights

  • Jared Anderson vs. Luis Eduardo Pena, six rounds, heavyweights

Weighty points for “Tank” Davis

The Showtime pay-per-view (9 p.m. ET Saturday) is headlined by WBA “common” lightweight titlist Gervonta Davis and WBA “tremendous” junior light-weight titlist Leo Santa Cruz. It’s a battle at 130 kilos, however it is going to have each titles on the road. It’s harking back to when Sugar Ray Leonard and Donny Lalonde fought for tremendous middleweight and lightweight heavyweight belts again in 1988.

Lalonde, who got here into the battle because the WBC 175-pound champion, was pressured to get all the way down to the tremendous middleweight restrict of 168 kilos due to the star energy and leverage that Leonard possessed.

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) had main points making the light-weight restrict for his battle in opposition to Yuriorkis Gamboa in December. Not solely was he two hours late for the official weigh-in, however he additionally wanted further time to get down. He lastly weighed 134.5 kilos.

Basically, what the WBA did is give Davis a backup plan to make weight on this battle. But final week, Davis promised, “For positive I’m going to make 130. I’m constructive.”

What occurred final 12 months earlier than the battle with Gamboa?

“Just me … not taking part in round however not doing what I used to be speculated to have been doing, on the final minute,” Davis advised ESPN.

That wasn’t the primary time Davis had points making weight. In 2017, he misplaced his IBF 130-pound belt on the dimensions after he did not make weight previous to his contest with Francisco Fonseca. Davis ultimately defeated Fonseca by eighth-round KO, and the title turned vacant.

Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs), who moved as much as junior light-weight final 12 months, hopes Davis could make the burden.

“I’m a little bit nervous that he is not going to make weight,” said Santa Cruz, adding, “I feel he would possibly make weight, and he would possibly show individuals mistaken, so we’re simply going to attend and see what occurs.”

“Tank” Davis is the naturally greater, stronger fighter. How aggressive this battle is might hinge on whether or not he squeezes all the way down to 130 or is available in nearer to 135. Santa Cruz started his profession as a junior bantamweight (115 kilos), and his first main title got here within the bantamweight division (118 kilos). By distinction, Davis started as a featherweight (126 kilos).

What if he would not make the junior light-weight restrict?

“We’re going to make him drop as a lot as he can. If he’ll are available in at 133, 134, we will make him drop as a lot as he can,” Santa Cruz said. “If he cannot, I feel there’s going to be penalties. He’s going to should pay a wonderful or one thing for these kilos that he is over. But we will attempt to not let him be greater than 2 kilos over.”

There are penalty clauses in place in case Davis misses the 130-pound restrict, Rene Rodriguez, Santa Cruz’s supervisor, advised ESPN. But you get the sense that this battle will transfer ahead if he is not too removed from 130.

“One or two kilos,” Rodriguez said. “I do not suppose [Leo] will go as much as 135, so if [Davis] is available in at 134, 135, it is going to be powerful to do. But if he is at an inexpensive weight, I feel [Leo] actually desires to undergo with it.”

Santa Cruz admits that on this occasion, each fighters’ coming in as junior light-weight favors him.

“He’s not going to have an excessive amount of time to recuperate, to placed on an excessive amount of weight,” he said. “Which is an efficient factor for me.”

There shall be no scarcity of observers because the fighters hit the scales on Friday.

“The weigh-in ought to be a pay-per-view,” Rodriguez quipped. “It’s going to be a giant, huge day.”

Full card:

  • Title battle: Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz, 12 rounds, for Davis’ WBA light-weight title and Santa Cruz’s WBA junior light-weight title

  • Mario Barrios vs. Ryan Karl, 12 rounds, for Barrios’ WBA “common” junior welterweight title

  • Diego Magdaleno vs. Isaac Cruz Gonzalez, 10 rounds, IBF light-weight title eliminator

  • Regis Prograis vs. Juan Heraldez, 10 rounds, junior welterweights

  • Michel Rivera vs. Ladarius Miller, 10 rounds, lightweights

  • Jerry Perez vs. Joshua Zuniga, eight rounds, junior lightweights

  • Julian Rodarte vs. Jose Morales, eight rounds, lightweights

  • Kent Cruz vs. Dieumerci Nzau, six rounds, welterweights

  • Anthony Cuba vs. Leon Cavalli, 4 rounds, lightweights

The return of Usyk

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) has his second bout as a heavyweight as he faces Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) at Wembley Arena in London (DAZN, 2 p.m. ET Saturday) in a scheduled 12-round contest.

This bout ought to give us a a lot better gauge of the place Usyk is as a heavyweight. Last 12 months, he confronted late alternative Chazz Witherspoon in Chicago, stopping him in seven rounds in a fairly uninspired effort. But Chisora is an actual problem, and a convincing victory by Usyk will give legitimacy to his standing as a heavyweight contender.

Usyk is the No. 1 contender within the WBO rankings, and will he come out victorious in opposition to Chisora, he has rights to a title shot in 2021 in opposition to WBO titlist Anthony Joshua.

The co-main occasion on this present is an IBF light-weight eliminator between Lee Selby (28-2, 9 KOs) and George Kambosos (18-0, 10 KOs). The winner of this contest turns into the IBF obligatory for undisputed champion Teofimo Lopez Jr.

Full card:

  • Oleksandr Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora, 12 rounds, heavyweights

  • Lee Selby vs. George Kambosos Jr., 12 rounds, IBF light-weight eliminator

  • Tommy McCarthy vs Bilal Laggoune, 12 rounds, for vacant European cruiserweight title

  • Title battle: Savannah Marshall vs. Hannah Rankin, 10 rounds, for the vacant WBO middleweight title

  • Amy Timlin and Carly Skelly, 10 rounds, for the vacant commonwealth junior featherweight title

  • Dave Allen vs. Christopher Lovejoy, 10 rounds, heavyweights

  • Kash Farooq vs. Martin Tecuapetla, eight rounds, bantamweights

From Russia with love

It has been greater than two years since former unified cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev has entered the ring. Gassiev was outboxed conclusively by Usyk within the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight match finals in 2018 and hasn’t fought since.

Like Usyk, Gassiev made the choice to maneuver as much as the sport’s glamour division, however he has been beset by a number of accidents, together with a broken proper shoulder, ligament and tendon points along with his proper hand, and an damage to the nostril.

Yet Gassiev (26-1, 19 KOs), who returns Saturday in opposition to Nuri Seferi (41-9, 23 KOs) on the WOW Arena in Russia, provides himself a clear invoice of well being.

“I’m 100 percent ready,” Gassiev advised ESPN. “My physique feels good. Mentally, I really feel good. I’m able to go.

“It’s been two years. I’ve been ready a very long time. I hope it by no means occurs like that once more. But my physique, proper now, it feels higher. I’m prepared for something in that ring.”

Gassiev shall be with out longtime coach Abel Sanchez, who has been in touch with Gassiev regularly however is unable to journey to Russia. As immigration insurance policies ease, Gassiev says he has each intention of going again to the mountains of Big Bear, California, to proceed coaching with Sanchez.

Gassiev might turn out to be one other attention-grabbing piece within the heavyweight division, and Sanchez believes that Gassiev’s uncooked energy will completely transfer up with him.

Full card:

  • Murat Gassiev vs. Nuri Seferi, 12 rounds, heavyweights

  • Shakhabas Makhmudov vs. Khusniddin Pulatov, 10 rounds, welterweights

  • Edgar Ghukasyan vs. Emmanuel Amos, 10 rounds, junior middleweights

  • Stepan Diyun vs. Kulwa Bushiri, 10 rounds, junior middleweights

  • Adlan Abdurashidov vs. Idd Pialari, 10 rounds, junior welterweights

  • Arslan Iallyev vs. Ariel Esteban Bracamonte, eight rounds, heavyweights

  • David Dzukaev vs. Farrukh Juraev, six rounds, mild heavyweights

  • Yoenis Tellez vs. Andrey Tomashchuk, six rounds, junior middleweights

  • Tigran Uzlyan vs. Shodilbek Sharobiddinov, six rounds, welterweights

  • Vusal Aliev vs. Radmir Abdurakhmanov, 4 rounds, welterweights

Friday evening fever

Former WBO junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia (35-0, 28 KOs) faces Tureano Johnson (21-2-1, 15 KOs) on the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California (DAZN, eight p.m. ET Friday). It shall be attention-grabbing to see Munguia’s growth below the steering of Erik Morales, the Hall of Fame fighter who trains Munguia.

“We have been engaged on all sorts of issues. We’ve had quite a lot of time to coach,” said Munguia, now in his third training camp with Morales. “We’ve had extra time than ever earlier than as a result of we did not have a battle confirmed for a while. Once we had the battle confirmed, then we began rising the tempo.”

Their first battle collectively got here in opposition to Patrick Allotey (KO4) in September 2019. Back in January, Munguia stopped Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan within the 11th spherical.

Morales changed Robert Alcazar as Munguia’s coach after a string of unimpressive title defenses at 154, at which Munguia’s progress as a fighter stagnated.

Munguia’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, who was skilled by Alcazar for a great a part of his profession, believes that the issue is that Alcazar tried to show Munguia an excessive amount of into “The Golden Boy.”

“It wasn’t his fashion in any respect,” De La Hoya said. “He had him on his toes an excessive amount of. He took away his energy. He took away his arsenal and what he is aware of finest.”

Munguia is just not De La Hoya, however extra like Antonio Margarito, a traditional, Mexican-style strain fighter, who will get inside and breaks down his opponents with an array of physique pictures.

“Yeah, I wish to see him brawl — however sensible,” De La Hoya said. “You do not wish to see him field, and on his toes, it is wasted motion.”

Munguia additionally believes his fashion is a greater match with Morales.

“We attempt to mesh with one another’s fashion. We do it to the perfect of our mutual profit,” Munguia said. “We each know that I need to throw punches and combos. He additionally desires to guarantee that I’m standing accurately and that I’m correctly putting my punches. There’s an limitless variety of issues that we work on, and I’m getting higher in all of them.”

Just 24 years outdated, Munguia nonetheless has time to be molded right into a extra well-rounded fighter and turn out to be a respectable participant within the middleweight division.

“I wish to present that I’m an elite fighter at 160 kilos. I wish to present that I’ve saved advancing and dealing. More than something, I wish to present that I’m prepared for the largest challenges on this division,” Munguia stated.

Full card:

  • Jaime Munguia vs. Tureano Johnson, 12 rounds, middleweights

  • Rashidi Ellis vs. Alexis Rocha, 12 rounds, welterweights

  • Title battle: Elwin Soto vs. Carlos Buitrago, 12 rounds, for Soto’s WBO junior flyweight title

  • Lamont Roach Jr. vs. Neil John Tabano, 10 rounds, junior lightweights

  • Bektemir Melikuziev vs. Alan Campa, 10 rounds, tremendous middleweights

  • Marlen Esparza vs. Sulem Urbina, eight rounds, flyweights

  • Tristan Kalkreuth vs. Tyler Vogel, six rounds, cruiserweights

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