Two-division world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist VASYL LOMACHENKO and World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight world champion JASON “El Canito” SOSA will battle for Lomachenko’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight world title, Saturday, April 8, at The Theater at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD. The fight between the two world champions will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
“I would like to thank Jason Sosa, who unlike the other champions, agreed to take this fight to determine the best in this weight division, even though everyone knows I am the division’s Papi,” said Lomachenko. “I moved up to 130 pounds hoping champions in this division were not cowards like those at 126 pounds. It looks like I was wrong. To all the other ‘champions’ in the 126 pound and 130 pound divisions, I say this to you, ‘You are not champions, you are businessmen. Bad businessmen. By avoiding risks, you cheat the boxing fans and that is bad business.’ I came to this sport to prove to myself and others that I am this big and loud champion. So, while all of you continue to hide from me, I am going forward to achieve my goals. My next step is on April 8th. See you there!”
“We understand that this is the most difficult fight of our career due to the fact that we are fighting the best fighter – Vasyl Lomachenko – in the history of amateur boxing,” said Sosa. “The beauty of all of this is that I only had three amateur fights and will prove to the world that we are by far the better fighter.”
“It will be exciting to see the great champion Vasyl Lomachenko back in the ring,” said Egis Klimas, Lomachenko’s manager. “We give Jason Sosa credit for stepping up to this challenge. We want to thank our promoter Top Rank and HBO for arranging this great event.”
“Vasyl Lomachenko is history in the making. He is the greatest fighter in the world,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “Vasyl is the total package — power, balance, skills, and tricks. And he will need to be at his best against Jason Sosa who has the talent to match his guts for getting into the ring with Vasyl. The fans watching it live at MGM National Harbor or on HBO are in for helluva night.”
“I don’t know why this fight is happening. All of the boxing experts tell me Jason Sosa won’t win one second of any round and who am I to quibble with experts. They are probably the same experts who picked Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump,” said Hall of Fame co-promoter Russell Peltz. “Funny things happen when the bell rings. Jason Sosa is a real fighter and real fighters fight. One of the problems in boxing today is that most of the fighters are not real fighters; they are businessmen. That’s why guys ask for outrageous money to fight Lomachenko. Jason is cut from a different breed. He wants to find out how great he really is. What kind of fighter wouldn’t want this kind of a challenge?”
“One of the finest prizefighters in the world, Vasyl Lomachenko looks to deliver another masterful performance in his 2017 ring debut,” said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. “Having upended the experts more than once, Jason Sosa is an underdog overlooked at the peril of his opponents, and we’ll see a true battle of wills in this world championship title showdown.”
“We are excited to partner with Top Rank and HBO Sports on this sensational championship boxing event at The Theater at MGM National Harbor. The Theater gives us another opportunity to show the fans in the DMV region, and those watching worldwide, what our resorts are all about and our ability to host high-profile events normally reserved for large-scale arenas,” said Richard Sturm, President of Entertainment and Sports for MGM Resorts International.
Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs), of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine, makes his 2017 debut coming off a year that saw him named “Fighter of the Year” by several media outlets, including The Fight Game with Jim Lampley. In his last fight, on November 26, Lomachenko made his first defense of the WBO junior lightweight title, totally dominating Nicholas Walters. The previously undefeated former WBA featherweight world champion quit on his stool after the seventh round with his trainer and father, Jobs Walters, telling referee Tony Weeks, ‘”No mas.” Not only was it a total domination but a boxing masterpiece painted on the canvas by Lomacheko. The greatest amateur boxer of his era and arguably of all time, two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko, became a two-division world champion just as he did with his first professional world title, he won world title No. 2 in a record least amount of fights — SEVEN! On June 11, 2016, he annihilated defending three-time WBO junior lightweight champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez via a cringe-worthy knockout punch in the fifth round . Lomachenko captured his first world title — the vacant WBO featherweight title — on June 21, 2014, winning a scintillating majority decision over the previously unbeaten Gary Russell Jr. It was Lomachenko’s third professional bout, tying him with Thailand’s Saensak Muangsurin for fewest fights to win a world title. Muangsurin won a junior welterweight title in 1975, also in his third professional fight. Lomachenko first gained international renown by winning gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games as a featherweight and a lightweight, respectively. He retired from the amateurs with a 396-1 record.
Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs), from Camden, NJ, and managed by Raul Chino Rivas, enters this fight riding a five-year, 20-bout unbeaten streak which includes 14 knockout victories dating back to 2011! Many local fans, who flock to his fights, consider Sosa to be one of the best fighters to come out of Camden since Dwight Qawi. Sosa’s been a fan favorite since turning pro in 2009 because of his exciting and aggressive style, strong punching power. He captured the WBA super featherweight world title on June 24, 2016 in Beijing, coming from behind on all three judges’ scorecards to knock out undefeated defending champion Javier Fortuna in the 11th round. He successfully defend the title in his last fight on November 19 in Las Vegas, winning a unanimous decision over No. 7 world-rated contender Stephen Smith.
Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) world champions ÓSCAR VALDEZ, GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMÍREZ and JESSIE MAGDALENO will headline an exciting world championship event in separate title defenses, Saturday, April 22, under the stars at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Produced and distributed live by Top Rank Pay-Per-View, the telecast will also feature the pro debut of U.S. Olympic silver medalist SHAKUR STEVENSON, in a six-round featherweight bout. The live pay-per-view telecast will begin at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. and will be available on all conventional platforms, including all major cable and satellite systems, as well as Top Rank’s digital distribution via www.TopRank.tv and mobile devices.
Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs), from Nogales, México, will be making the second defense of his WBO featherweight title against No. 1 contender and NABO champion Miguel “Escorpión” Marriaga (25-1, 21 KOs), from Arjona, Colombia; Ramírez (34-0, 24 KOs), from Mazatlán, México, will be making his first defense of the WBO super middleweight title against Top-10 contender Max “Tiger” Bursak (33-4-1, 15 KOs), of Kiev, Ukraine; Magdaleno (24-0, 17 KOs) of Las Vegas, Nev., will be making the first defense of his WBO junior featherweight title against WBO Latino champion Adeilson “Dell” Dos Santos (18-2, 14 KOs), of São Paulo, Brasil, and Stevenson, the crown jewel of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team and the pride of Newark, NJ, will be making his eagerly-awaited professional debut in a four-round featherweight bout.
The six world championship warriors have a combined record of 156-7-1 for a winning percentage of 95% with a victory by knockout ratio of 71%.
“Óscar Valdez, Gilberto Ramírez and Jessie Magdaleno are becoming the new faces of boxing. They are in the hurt business and they love their work. That’s why their fan base is growing like the S&P, they give the fans great value — a big bang for the buck,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “And with Shakur Stevenson, the sky is the limit. He is such a talent.”
“Every fight is important to me. I respect Marriaga just like every fighter I face. And I will do whatever I have to do to win,” said Valdez. “This will be the second defense of my belt and I know the challengers are going to come after me, but I will be more than ready to give the fans a great fight and retain my championship.”
“The only way I don’t win my Oscar on April 22 is if Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway read the decision,” said Marriaga. “Second chances are rare in boxing and I’m going to make the most of my second shot at a world title. My trainer. “Professor” [Samuel] Gómez, and I will be prepared to give the performance of a lifetime on April 22.”
“Óscar Valdez Is boxing’s next big star. He’ll be defending his title at the StubHub Center in front of the Southern California fans who love him so much,” said Frank Espinoza, Valdez’s manager. “He is an incredible talent and a future superstar. You have to see Óscar fight live. It’s always nice to catch a star on the rise so that someday you can say, ‘Hey I watched him back in the day,’ like they say about Julio César Chávez. Óscar Valdez is extremely driven and looking to be a legend. He’s ready mentally and physically for the next step.”
“I feel very happy and I’m thankful for the opportunity of defending my title for the first time,” said Ramírez. “I’m motivated and I feel a great desire to return to the ring. I have been active in my hometown of Mazatlán and training like if I was going to fight. Now I’m ready to fight! I feel 100% recovered from the injury in my hand. I feel better than ever and with more confidence in my punching power. On April 22 I will give the fans an explosive fight with lots of action. Max Bursak is a solid strong fighter. He is a brawler and he is coming with hunger of triumph for all the Ukrainians. It will be very good for three Mexicans to be defending our titles on the same card and even more here, in California, where there is a big boxing fan base.”
“Ramírez is young, tough and already an experienced fighter. But I’m also not an ‘easy walk’. We have almost similar records and achievements, so it’s going to be a very interesting clash,” said Bursak. “I’m already working hard in the gym, because I’m coming to California to win!”
“Gilberto is returning from an excellent recovery period after the surgery he had in one of the knuckles of his right hand. He has been very active, running and doing therapy in Mazatlan since the doctor cleared him last year,” said Jesus Zapari, Ramírez’s manager. “After he was done with therapy, he started doing some conditioning training, until he was cleared to start punching. He is now a world champion who will not have any easy opponents. Zurdo has being training hard to keep improving with each fight. He now has more confidence in his punching power. We are very happy that the fight will be at StubHub Center in Los Angeles. We have always wanted to fight in that venue because of the great fans that are in Southern California. It will be a great night of boxing and Zurdo will put on a great show for the fans”
“To be a champion today you have to work hard every day, go after the big challenges and see the big picture,” said Magdaleno. “That is what I am doing to express myself and my legacy in the sport, going into a title fight like this one.”
“For me this is a unique opportunity, to be fighting for the world title of a very big entity that is the WBO,” said Dos Santos. “I know that Jessie is a very good fighter. He is a real champion. Fighting for the title has always been a dream for me and today it has come true. Thanks to my Agent Patrick Nascimento and my promoter Edu Mello. I’m training very hard for this fight. I’m very focused. I know it will not be an easy job. For those who know me, on April 22, you will see a different Adeilson. I’m working to put on a big show and win the title.”
“Jessie Magdaleno fights April 22nd at the StubHub and I think the knowledgeable Southern California fans are going to get a glimpse of a very talented young champion,” said Espinoza, who also manages Magdaleno. “He’s building a big fan base and I think the StubHub is the perfect place for him to develop. The fans are going to fall in love with this kid and his fighting style. He’s a real warrior an old school fighter who gives you everything. He’s a must-see fighter!”
“I’m excited to start a new chapter in my boxing career and make my pro debut on April 22 at the Stub Hub Center,” said Stevenson. “There have been so many exciting fights in that building and I plan to add to that history in my first pro fight. I’m already training hard and everyone is going to see what I’m all about on April 22, live on Top Rank Pay-Per-View.”
Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs), from Nogales, México, and who represented México in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, was the first Méxican fighter to qualify for two Olympic games. He is considered one of the bright lights of the featherweight division and a new face for boxing’s next generation. He will be making the second defense of the vacant world title he won on July 23, 2016 via a second-round knockout of undefeated No. 2 rated Matías Rueda. Rueda entered that fight having won his previous 10 bouts by stoppage. Valdez, 26, started 2016 with a fourth-round knockout victory over former International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight champion Evgeny Gradovich on the April 9 Pacquiao – Tim Bradley III pay-per-view undercard in Las Vegas. It was the first time Gradovich had ever been stopped in his 24-bout professional career. In his last fight, on November 5, he successfully defended the title with a seventh-round TKO of No. 1 contender Hiroshige Osawa.
Marriaga (25-1, 21 KOs), from Arjona, Colombia, enters this fight having won 15 of his previous 19 fights by way of knockout . The only blemish on his record, a 12-round unanimous decision loss to former World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters in 2015, who had lost the title on the scale when he weighed in over the division weight limit. Since that loss, Marriaga, 30, has fashioned a five-bout winning streak, including NABO featherweight title knockout victories in his last two fights against Guy Robb and Eduardo Montoya last year to become the WBO’s No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger.
Ramírez (34-0, 24 KOs), a two-fisted super middleweight wrecking machine who hails from Mazatlán, México, made history in the co-main event to the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley welterweight pay-per-view on April 9, 2016, when he became México’s first fighter to win a super middleweight world title. Entering the fight as the top world-rated contender, Ramirez gave a virtuoso performance over the defending WBO champion Arthur Abraham. All three judges scored it as a 120-108 blitzkrieg. “I took him to Méxican boxing school,” a jubilant Ramírez boasted as he put on the world championship belt . A sensational young champion, Ramírez, 25, had been scheduled to make his first title defense last July, but a training camp injury to his right hand followed by surgery and rest sidelined him for the remainder of the year. He returns to the ring having won four of his last eight bouts by knockout. Career-highlight performances include an NABF and NABO title victory over Giovanni Lorenzo via fifth-round stoppage, a WBO International title knockout victory over Junior Talipeau and a successful defense of his NABF and WBO International titles, stopping Fulgencio Zuniga in the eighth round, all in 2014. In 2015, he successfully defended his titles via unanimous decisions over once-beaten Maxim Vlasov, division gate keeper Derek Edwards, who boasts a KO victory over world champion Badou Jack, and once-beaten Gevorg Khatchikian, who had scored knockouts in five of his last six victories.
Bursak (33-4-1, 15 KOs), from Kiev, Ukraine, will be making his U.S. debut. A former European middleweight champion and one-time WBO interim middleweight world title challenger, Bursak, 32, enters this fight having scored three of his last four victories by way of knockout and is world-rated No. 10 by the WBO.
Magdaleno (24-0, 17 KOs), from Las Vegas, NV, enters his first title defense having won eight of his last 11 bouts by knockout. The former U.S. Amateur Champion has crafted a sterling professional ring record since making his professional debut on November 6, 2010. The younger brother of lightweight contender Diego Magdaleno, Jessie, 25, parlayed his No. 1 ranking into a mandatory challenge of defending WBO junior featherweight champion and five-division world titlist Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire on November 15, 2016, winning a very close and action-packed 12-round unanimous decision.
Dos Santos (18-2, 14 KOs), from São Paolo, Brasil, has won five of his last six fights by stoppage. He captured the WBO Latino featherweight title on September 17, 2016, knocking out Deivis Perez in the seventh round. Dos Santos, 25 who has also held the WBO Latino junior featherweight title, will be making his U.S. debut on this card.
Stevenson, 19, from Newark, NJ,, sailed though every stage of his Olympic competition in Rio De Janeiro last summer before losing a close split decision in the bantamweight championship fight to 2012 flyweight Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba. Ramirez swept the judges’ scorecards in round one with Stevenson returning the favor in round two. In the third and final round, the closest of the three rounds, two of the three judges gave the round to Ramirez and the gold medal, by the slimmest of margins. It was the best finish for an American male boxer since Andre Ward captured the gold medal in the Athens Games of 2004. Ward is now part of Stevenson’s management team along with James Prince and attorney Josh Dubin. The only boxer to make Forbes “30 Under 30” in its Sports category, Stevenson was selected by a panel of judges comprised of James Harden, shooting guard for the Houston Rockets, Phil Knight, Chairman Emeritus of Nike and Casey Wasserman, Chairman and CEO of the Wasserman Group. The oldest of nine children, Stevenson, who is named for the late rap star Tupac Shakur, was introduced to boxing by his grandfather, Willie “Wali” Moses, at age 5. Now based in northern Virginia, Stevenson is trained by Kay Koroma.
Anthony Joshua MBE will face former World ruler Wladimir Klitschko for his IBF World Heavyweight title and the vacant IBO Championship as well as the WBA Super Championship on April 29, 2017 at Wembley Stadium Connected by EE’
Anthony Joshua: “”This fight will be one of the biggest nights in my boxing career, it marks the highest point of my climb through the professional ranks. It is three years since I turned professional, I have taken the time to gain experience, fight men who have fallen and some who have fought hard and through this I am learning my trade, how the business works and gaining the ring craft which is sometimes underestimated as everyone wants to see the mega fights right away.
It is the perfect time for me to move up another step and contest my heavyweight championship belt against one of the legends of our sport. There is no doubt this will be a titanic battle with a huge amount on the line, just like every fight, but when I enter the ring I will be prepared for victory as I have been with all my other fights. The legend against the champ – it’s time to write history.”
Wladimir Klitschko: “I’m looking forward to this fight of the year, just like boxing fans all around the world. This is the first time in a decade that I’m the challenger again. I will fight against a champion who I consider the best of the young generation. Basically experience will take on youth. This makes this fight that unique. I will be ready for the challenge!”
“I’m so happy to get this fight made,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn. “It is the biggest Heavyweight fight in the last decade and a fight that will belong in the legacies of both fighters. It’s the young lion against a legend of the sport.
Many felt AJ would not take this challenge and that it’s too early for him but he wants to test himself and give the fans great fights. After all, isn’t that what you want to see? The risk, the dice being rolled, the 50-50 fights that will excite and ignite the World of Boxing.
Everything is on the line in this fight, not just the IBF and WBA’s titles, but hopes, dreams and even careers.”
Bernd Boente, Managing Director of Klitschko Management Group: “I’m very happy that our teams make this mega event happen and that three belts are on the line. Two Olympic Super-Heavyweight Champions facing each other. This is the best heavyweight fight that could be. This is a promoter’s dream fight. The young, undefeated champion against the best heavyweight of the past decade. This kind of duel only happened a couple of times in boxing history and it was always the same question: Is the young lion ready to take over or can the old lion defend his territory?”
In a historic showdown that will rival the biggest fights in the history of Mexico’s proud boxing lineage, two-division world champion and Pay-Per-View star Canelo Álvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) will take on former WBC World Middleweight Champion Julio César Chávez, Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) on Cinco de Mayo weekend, Saturday, May 6 in a 12-round battle to be contested at a maximum 164.5 pounds. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View.
“I’m excited to announce my fight against Julio César Chávez, Jr. and confirm that I will be prepared, like I’ve been throughout my career, to give a great fight,” said two-division World Champion Canelo Álvarez. “I want to remind you that when two Mexican fighters face-off, a spectacular show is guaranteed, and I can assure you that May 6 will be no exception especially during the Cinco de Mayo festivities.”
“Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day in September are important dates for us Mexicans, and I’m expecting a great night for boxing and the whole world,” Canelo continued. “Don’t miss this special event live on HBO Pay-Per-View. We’ll soon be announcing where the fight will be held.”
“I dedicate this fight to Mexico,” said Julio César Chávez, Jr. “I’m going to win, but my country will too because this is the fight that boxing needs.”
Álvarez was last seen in the ring Sept. 17, 2016, knocking out the previously undefeated WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith in front of more than 51,000 fans in Dallas, Texas. Chávez was last in action Dec. 10, 2016, when he secured a unanimous decision victory over highly regarded German fighter Dominik Britsch in Monterrey, Mexico.
“Boxing has been searching for a fight to draw the casual fan back to our sport, and Canelo versus Chávez, Jr. is just that fight,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions. “Canelo, the biggest star boxing, will take on not only a former world champion in Julio César Chávez, Jr., but the son of the biggest star in the history of boxing in Mexico. Add in 98 victories and 66 knockouts between these two superstars along with a Cinco de Mayo fight date, and you have a can’t-miss battle.”
“Canelo vs. Julio César Chávez, Jr. is one of the premier and most compelling matchups in boxing today,” said Tony Walker, Vice President of HBO Sports. “May 6 has all the makings of an extraordinary event as these two Mexican warriors will lay it all on the line to show who is the best on Cinco de Mayo weekend. It will be an evening that every fight fan will want to experience live on HBO Pay-Per-View.”