Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd To Clash In 154-pound Title Unification Saturday, April 7

Erislandy Lara, the longest reigning world champion at 154-pounds, will clash with IBF champion "Swift" Jarrett Hurd in a highly-anticipated super welterweight title unification live on SHOWTIME (10 pm ET/7 pm PT) as part of an exciting card presented by Premier Boxing Champions Saturday, April 7 from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

In the co-main event, Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb Truax will make the first defense of his IBF title against James DeGale in a rematch of one of the biggest upsets of 2017 that saw Truax wrestle the belt from DeGale on his home turf in London last December.

"This is an action-packed card from top to bottom. The televised card features boxers who all have something significant to gain with a victory,'' said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. "The winner of Lara-Hurd will be one step closer to becoming the undisputed 154-pound world champion. In a rematch, Truax gets to re-affirm his position as champion and DeGale has a chance to regain his world championship status. This is the kind of show that keeps fans on the edge of their seats.''

"We take pride in promoting quality events that our audiences always want to see," said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. "This card is going to be another line-up that the fans won't want to miss. With Lara and Hurd looking to unify their titles and guys going head-to-head in rematches on the undercard, this is sure to be a night of non-stop action.

Lara vs. Hurd is a classic contrast in styles that could force each fighter to raise their game to another level. Lara is a crafty southpaw who relies on his superior boxing skills to confound opponents, while Hurd is a pure pressure boxer-puncher that stalks his opponents and isn't easily frustrated.

Lara, a Cuban whose nickname is "The American Dream'', is coming off a unanimous decision victory on SHOWTIME over Terrell Gausha in October. Hurd was on the same card and defeated former champion Austin Trout when Trout's corner stopped the fight in the 10th round. That paved the way for this unification showdown.

The 34-year-old Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), who lives and trains in Houston, Texas, won his world title with a TKO victory over Alfredo Angulo in 2013 and has successfully defended it seven times, which includes wins over Trout, Ishe Smith and Vanes Martirosyan.

Mikey Garcia Becomes a Four-Division World Champion

Mikey Garcia captured a world title in his fourth weight division, outpointing previously undefeated Sergey Lipinets to win the IBF Junior Welterweight World Championship Saturday in San Antonio.

With the victory, Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) joined Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez as the only fighters in history to win titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140 pounds.

"It's a great feeling. Winning this fourth title in a fourth division is an honor," Garcia said. "To get to be mentioned with Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is a huge honor for me. It just leaves a little chapter in boxing with my name, my brother, my dad. I think people will remember the Garcia family for ages to come."

Garcia, who was fighting for just the second time at 140 pounds, relied on a steady diet of combos to back up Lipinets, who was making the first defense of the IBF title he won last November on SHOWTIME. Garcia floored Lipinets for the first time in his career, connecting on a counter left hook midway through the seventh in a rousing moment that sent the pro-Garcia crowd at Freeman Colisuem to their feet.

Garcia, who won by scores of 116-111 and 117-110 twice, connected on 46 percent of his power shots compared to 36 percent for the defending champion.

"He came in exactly as I expected - a very tough, very hungry and strong fighter," Garcia said. "We worked with angles behind the jab. He's very dangerous, but we had a great game plan and we were able to prevail.

"I know I carry the power, but I was fighting a bigger man and he could take a punch. I didn't want to get caught and I had to be patient."

After the fight, Garcia, who still holds the WBC title at lightweight, reiterated his mantra that he's seeking the biggest fights available, regardless of weight division.

"What I love is I have all the options," Garcia said. "I could go down to 135 to unify titles, which is what I really want to do. And in a couple of fights you're going to see me at 147.

Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz Media Workout Quotes & Photos

Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder and unbeaten contender Luis Ortiz participated in an open to the public media workout Wednesday as they near their main event showdown this Saturday, March 3 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Also participating in Wednesday's workout and opening the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT were super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrelland Jose Uzcategui, who meet in a rematch for an interim 168-pound world title in the co-feature.

Undercard fighters participating in Wednesday's workout were Long Island's Alicia Napoleon, who fights for a women's super middleweight world title on Saturday night, and Brooklyn'sRichardson Hitchins, who enters the ring for a welterweight fight.

Wilder was joined for his portion of the workout by "The Young Jamaican Trainer" Demarjay Smith, known for his motivational Instagram videos and appearances on "The Ellen Degeneres Show". Smith had some words of inspiration for Wilder before he began his workout.

"You re the real deal," said Smith. "You are strength no weakness. You are the shark of the ocean. You believed every day, you achieved and you became it."

The event also featured unbeaten star Marcus Browne from Staten Island, who gave a boxing tutorial for local children from Gleason's Give a Kid a Dream, BOXER Inc., Children of Promise and the Atlas Cops and Kids Foundation.

Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday from Barclays Center:

DEONTAY WILDER

"I've prepared myself for this moment for a long time now. I'm going to prove it to the world that I'm the best. That's why I gave this opportunity to Ortiz again. He says he's the 'Real King Kong', but 'King Kong' knows what happens when he comes to New York.

"I don't need anything to motivate me. Luis Ortiz doesn't need to say anything to motivate me. I have a killer instinct. No matter what people say they're going to do, I always do what I say. I speak it, I believe it and I receive it.

"My family is even more motivation that I need. This gives me more motivation than I'll ever need to beat any man who is willing to meet me in the ring.

"I mean what I say, I mean what I feel and I'm ready for whoever. Anthony Joshua will barely even mention my name. Well, I'm here and I'm ready for him.

"I am the best in the world. I've been saying it for years. Here is a big test. This is the fight that the fans have been waiting for. I'm going to pass this test with flying colors.

"I don't have any worries about Ortiz at all. When I look at Ortiz, he doesn't look powerful. I know he has nice skills like all Cuban fighters. That's nothing to me. It's going to be up to him to prove me wrong.

"I don't want anybody to change their prediction about me versus Joshua after what they see on Saturday night. I'm going to keep proving people wrong just like I've always done. I love proving people wrong.

"This is the fight game and everybody knows that you need to have confidence to be in it. I've had to fight all of my life because people said I wouldn't amount to anything. Here I am standing tall, because of that confidence I have in myself and my abilities. I don't believe any man can beat me. 

"When I think about Luis Ortiz, I see threes. It's a magical number. I see a third round knockout. I've done what I've said so far, and I haven't let anybody down. I will knock him out and then I will unify the division. I'm on a mission. There will be one champion, one face and one name. Deontay Wilder."

LUIS ORTIZ

"I'm psyched and I'm ready for Saturday night. I have no worries at all about being the underdog. I will knock Deontay Wilder out.

"I'm anxious. I'm ready to get in the ring. It's been a long wait but it is almost time to fight and I just can't wait.

"I'm here for my world title. I'm here to win the heavyweight championship of the world. Winning the belt is the only thing on my mind.

"It's going to be big for me to get this win on Saturday for myself and for Cuban boxing. This is what makes me happy and gives me thrills. It will all be worth it on Saturday night.

"I am the champ. Saturday night, I show everyone why."

ANDRE DIRRELL

"What happened last fight is in the past. I'm ready to move forward with Virgil Hunter and get this win on Saturday night. Virgil is a tough coach who gives you exactly what you need in the gym.

"Efficiency has been our thing throughout camp. If I execute on fight night, I'll walk out of there with the victory I've been working for.

"He's a tough fighter but at the end of the day he's there for me. It's all about my execution so I just need to be as sharp as possible on Saturday.

"I was a B- last fight at best. I was really closer to a C+. I was starting to come on later in the fight. I've watched the fight a million times and I know what I need to do to improve on the performance.

"I've worked hard enough box at my best for 12 or more rounds if I needed to. I've been through a lot and I believe we're going to steal the show and be the fight of the night on Saturday.

"My biggest improvements have been mental. Virgil Hunter is a coach who really helps you with that side of the sport. He always stayed on me to make sure I'm ready and focused on the task at hand.

"I'm very excited for this fight. Everyone knows it's going to be a great fight. I know this won't be easy and I've never wanted it easy. We're going to put on a great show."

JOSE UZCATEGUI

"I'm very focused on this rematch and thankful to be in this position. I thought that the win was taken from me the first time, but now is the time to move forward and get the victory on Saturday night.

"This time I really want to prove my skills and show off my power. Andre Dirrell better be ready because I'm coming to knock him out.

"This time I feel faster, stronger and ready to make this outcome more decisive and more clear in my favor. I have everything it takes.

"I'm not going to give the judges any opportunity in this fight. They won't have an impact on this fight whatsoever because I'm going to knock him out earlier rather than later.

"The only thing that matters to me is having Andre Dirrell in front of me on Saturday night and knocking him out to prove I'm the better man.

"Last time I threw a combination and everyone saw it was before the bell. I'll just have to go prove it again on Saturday.

"I'm in the best shape possible right now. I'm happy to be here doing what I love. There have been no struggled in camp and I can't wait for Saturday."

Danny Roman Dominates, Retains WBA Title from Japan

Danny Roman (24-2-1, 9 KOs) delivered another brilliant performance Wednesday night from Japan, handedly outpointing Ryo Matsumoto (21-2, 9 KOs) through twelve rounds to retain the WBA super bantamweight championship by unanimous decision. 

Scores: 119-109,119-109, 118-110.

Roman, 27, traveled from his hometown of Los Angeles to Tokyo for the first title defense of his career. Roman used a combination of superior tactical ability and timely pressure to keep the taller Matsumoto off balance.

"I'm thrilled with the decision," said Roman, who is trained and managed by Eddie Gonzalez. "We came here well prepared to defend our championship and we did just that. I'm extremely thankful to all of my team for helping me get this win."

"Danny continues to shine on boxing's biggest stages," said Ken Thompson, president of Thompson Boxing Promotions. "He was a man on a mission. He faced a tough opponent in Matsumoto, but he made it look easy. That's what world champions do."

"Danny made another statement win tonight [Wednesday]," said Alex Camponovo, matchmaker and general manager for Thompson Boxing. "He wants to fight the best in the division and in time he's going to get that opportunity. We're going to enjoy this win and hopefully have another fight for Danny in the near future." 

The 12-round world championship fight, dubbed "The Challenge," was promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions in association with Ohashi Promotions and took place at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

Danny Roman Weighs in for WBA Title Defense

WBA champion Danny "Baby Faced Assassin" Roman stepped on a scale in Tokyo on Tuesday and weighed in at 121.2 lbs., while homegrown talent and No. 11 rated challenger Ryo "Pretty Boy" Matsumoto checked in at 122 lbs. 

Roman (23-2-1, 9 KOs) defends his world title for the first time since acquiring it in knockout fashion over Shun Kubo in September - a fight that took place in Japan.

On top of the pressure that comes with a first title defense, Roman, who is from Los Angeles, will have to deal with a pro-Matsumoto (21-1, 19 KOs) crowd. 

"I'm not worried about the home court advantage," said the 27-year-old Roman. "I went against it when I won the championship in Kyoto [Japan] so I know what to expect."

The 12-round world championship fight, dubbed "The Challenge," is promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions in association with Ohashi Promotions and will take place from Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

Sergey Kovalev Reaching Full Potential by Letting Go

Despite his tremendous success at the highest levels of boxing, two-time Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) says only now is he reaching his full potential as an athlete.

This is not happy news for the rest of the light heavyweight division!

Kovalevputs his WBO title on the line against fellow Russian light heavyweightIgor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs in the 12-round main event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on March 3, televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:05 p.m. ET/PT.

Under the guidance of new trainer Abror Tursunpulatov at The Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard, Kovalev says he had to turn over the reins and trust in his trainer to bring him to his full potential, something he admits he needed to do. "I'm under his control, 100 percent, under his plan for workouts, what time I wake up and what time I should go to sleep. We're speaking about what I'm eating, and everything, we discuss it.

"It's interesting right now. It's working. It's getting me in top shape for my next fight," said Kovalev.

Kovalev says his two losses are in the past, but not the valuable lessons he learned from them. "It was the lesson of my life. The last two years before this (upcoming) fight, my sport mode was broken" due to his travel schedule back and forth between Russia and the U.S., missing workouts and changing time zones. Kovalev said it wasn't a matter of not putting in the work, but not maximizing his training and doing damage with poor diet and overtraining.

Kovalev says it's also a significant change for the better to speak in his native Russian with his trainer, one he only now fully recognizes. "We understand each other, 100 percent," and with the understanding comes full trust.

In preparation for the southpaw Mikhalkin, Kovalev has engaged in sparring sessions with southpaws. "Day by day, spar by spar, I feel much better and more comfortable against a southpaw," said Kovalev. "I should be ready for everything, because I am very motivated right now." Kovalev said it's the way of Russian fighters to give their all in the ring, "We are trained mentally, Russians, and never step back, just fighting till the end. We're ready to fight for the world title."

As an accomplished world champion among a large group of younger Eastern European and Russian boxers training alongside him in Oxnard, Kovalev understands he is seen as their role model. He accepts it, and takes the responsibility seriously.

"Yes, the guys take my personal example for something, for motivation for their upcoming fights, and something more. I feel very responsible, you know, working with Abror, and in this training camp, because around me are a lot of young fighters who watch my workouts," said Kovalev.

Their attention produced a surprising benefit for Kovalev as well. "It's good motivation for me, too. I show them how I must, and how all fighters must spend energy in the gym. It takes 100 percent effort to get any title in the world," said Kovalev.

Martin Murray: I'll retire if Saunders wins

Martin Murray is planning to retire if he loses to Billy Joe Saunders but believes he will defeat his fellow Briton to finally fulfil his dream of becoming a world champion.

The pair are set to clash at London's O2 Arena on April 14 as Saunders makes the fourth defence of his WBO middleweight belt.

Murray's previous world title fights have been a draw against Felix Sturm in Germany and losses to Sergio Martinez in Argentina, Gennady Golovkin in Monaco and - at super-middleweight - Arthur Abraham, also in Germany.

The 35-year-old from St Helens (36-4-1, 17 KOs) is used to being viewed as the underdog. When asked about that being the case against the unbeaten 28-year-old Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs), Murray said: 'It doesn't bother me.

'Come fight night I'll be the best I've ever been.'

Murray, who has been working with trainer Jamie Moore, added: 'My other four (world title fights) have been out of the country.

'Barring the Golovkin one (the only one that did not last 12 rounds), had they been in England, with the decision I think I would have got the fight.

'Now I have my fifth attempt and I am fighting Billy Joe, an English lad, in England. Everything is there for me now to go and fulfil my dream.

'I am really confident April 14 will be my night, that I will finally become world champion.

'He's flying at the moment, younger, fresher, but I've fought better people, have more experience, and I'm desperate.

'If I don't win I'm going to retire, and I don't want to yet. I want to win a world title, and a desperate man is a dangerous man.'

Isaac Zarate Claims Close Victory over Christian Ayala

In a tightly contested main event, Isaac Zarate (14-3-3, 2 KOs) pulled away in the second half against the very mobile Christian Ayala (12-2, 4 KOs)to win by unanimous decision (78-74, 77-75 twice) on Friday night.

Zarate, a southpaw from San Pedro, Calif., had trouble finding his range in the early rounds. Ayala smartly countered Zarate and kept him off balance. By the fourth round, however, Zarate discovered his jab and mixed in uppercuts to pull the tide in his favor.

"I was patient all night long," said Zarate, who sparred with WBA super bantamweight champion Danny Roman to prepare for this fight. "I knew he would get tired and start dropping his hands. Once he did I knew I would be able to throw the uppercuts."  

Zarate battled through multiple cuts caused by accidental head butts. Zarate suffered cuts above his left eye in the fourth round and below his right eye in the eighth. Despite those setbacks, he was able to battle through and claim victory.

"I expected a tough fight," Zarate said. "I just stuck with my game plan and that was enough to get the win."

In the 6-round co-feature, Ruben Villa (10-0, 4 KOs) of Salinas, Calif. made it ten straight wins to start his career by outpointing veteran Juan Sandoval (15-18, 5 KOs) of Mexico. Scores: 59-55, 60-54 twice.

Villa, 20, capitalized on his southpaw stance by landing a strong jab and countering with a right hook that routinely found its mark. Sandoval often looked confused and never managed to find any angles against the busier Villa.

"I just tried to keep the pressure on him from start to finish," said Villa, who is co-promoted by Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions. "I think he fought a cautious fight, but I was still able to land a lot of punches in every round."

Villa was most impressive in the fourth and fifth rounds when he delivered numerous sets of combinations that stunned the taller Sandoval. While Villa kept his unbeaten streak alive on Friday night, another, less recognizable streak ended. In his previous unanimous decision wins, Villa had won every round on every scorecard. On Friday night, one judge failed to give Villa all six rounds (59-55).

"That streak was bound to end sooner or later," Villa said. "I'll have to start another one."

DANNY GARCIA KNOCKS OUT BRANDON RIOS

Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) did his best work in the center of the ring, where he was able to box at a distance and fend off Rios' furious pace.  Rios, who returned in 2017 from a brief retirement, was most effective against the ropes where he gave Garcia trouble with his constant pressure and his favorite weapon - a wide overhand right.

In the ninth round with the fight where Garcia wanted it - in the center of the ring - the Philadelphia native landed a huge counter right to the chin that sent Rios flat on his back.  Rios beat the count, but was clearly wobbly on his feet, forcing referee Kenny Bayless to halt the contest at 2:25 of the ninth. 

"I felt the ring rust a little bit in the beginning," said Garcia, who recorded the 20th knockout of his career.  "He's a good inside fighter and he was giving me some good uppercuts.  I felt good, it was a good nine rounds.  He came to fight.  I came to box, I did that.  I came to bang, and I gave the fans what they wanted - a knockout. 

"I just noticed when I was getting my punches off he was standing right in front of me and I just let it go.  As soon as I got the fight in the middle of the ring where I wanted I landed good shots.  I was just letting my hands go and the punch landed."

After the fight, SHOWTIME Sports reporter Jim Gray asked Garcia how the loss to Thurman affected him. 

"The loss was tough.  I have the mindset of a winner," Garcia said.  "I hate losing.  I took it like a true champion and I bounced back like a true champion. 

"I would love the rematch with Keith Thurman.  It's on him.  Whenever he's ready we'll fight."

WBA and WBC Champion Thurman isn't the only potential blockbuster on the horizon for Garcia. Former welterweight champion and the WBC's No. 1 ranked contender Shawn Porter looms for what would be a massive showdown between the former champions.

After the fight, Rios (34-4-1, 24 KOs) was frustrated with the stoppage and promised to return. 

"I'm mad.  I don't like going out like that," Rios said.  "I'm a warrior, I got back up and I wanted to continue.  I guess they stopped it but I'm mad.  I'm mad because I got up. 

"I was doing good.  I got lazy with the jab and he came over with the right hand and he caught me.  I'm a warrior.  I'm still in the game.  I didn't think he did much to hurt me.  I think it was closer than what he thought it was.  He just caught me with a lucky punch.  I was ready to continue."

Victor Ortiz & Devon Alexander Fight to Majority Draw

Former world champions Victor Ortiz (32-6-3, 25 KOs) and Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs) fought to majority draw in the exciting main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday night from Don Haskins Center on the UTEP campus in El Paso, Texas.

Both fighters believed they had done enough over the 12 rounds to earn the decision.

"I absolutely thought I won the fight," said Alexander. "The last few rounds I probably gave him, but I thought I out landed him in the 12th. I thought I did enough to win. I gave him three rounds."

"I thought the decision was a little off and I thought I did enough to win," said Ortiz. "The first few rounds were a little complicated. He's a great boxer and he was timing me just right. I wasn't leaving the line of fire."

The fight turned out to be a back-and-forth affair, with Alexander dominating much of the early action. Alexander frequently caught Ortiz charging in with right hands and combinations. The attacks opened up swelling in Victor's left eye beginning in round three.

"The eye was tough to overcome," said Ortiz. "I can't really see out of it. I really had to listen to my corner. I tried to stay composed as I could, but he's a really good fighter."

"My game plan was to be smart," said Alexander. "Victor always has problems with people that are faster and have more ring IQ. I wanted to put him in the state of mind that he can't win."

Alexander won five of the first six rounds on two judges' scorecards and all six on the other's. Ortiz began to have more success in the second half as Alexander's output slowed slightly and Ortiz remained persistent charging forward. This effort allowed him to win five of the final six rounds on two judges' cards and all six of the final frames on the third judge's card.

After 12 rounds, the judges scored the bout 115-113 for Ortiz and 114-114 twice, resulting in the majority draw. After the bout, both former champions expressed interest in a possible rematch.

"I would love a rematch," said Alexander. "That's up to my team to see what's next, but I'll fight anybody. I'm a real fighter."

"A rematch would be awesome," said Ortiz. "If both teams agree and the fans want it, let's make it happen."

The co-main event of the telecast saw unbeaten Caleb "Sweethands" Plant (17-0, 10 KOs) score a unanimous decision victory over former title challenger Rogelio "Porky" Medina (38-9, 32 KOs) in their IBF Super Middleweight world title eliminator.

"It was a tough fight tonight against a tough competitor who puts everything on the line," said Plant. "I'm happy we got the job done tonight."

Plant established his style early, landing several flush jabs in round one to control the distance. The Nashville-born fighter showed the superior footwork from the outset that would lead him to the victory.

"I stuck to the game plan and I did exactly what I said I was going to do," said Plant. "I boxed his ears off for 12 rounds."

"He never had me hurt, but I found his style very difficult," said Medina. "He moves a lot and he's pretty quick, so that was tough to deal with."

While Plant has now become the number two rated contender in the IBF 168-pound rankings, Medina was not eligible to achieve that ranking due to missing weight Friday.

"I think I felt the struggle to make weight a little bit," said Medina. "I was a little tired in the later rounds and it probably was due to the drain to make weight. But it is what it is."

Plant was able to mix in lead left hooks and straight right hands to continue to damage Medina throughout the action. The consistent jabs caused blood to begin pouring out of the nose of Medina beginning in round three.

While Medina continued to fight hard and occasionally land single clean punches on Plant, he was unable to follow-up with much effective offense and never was able to hurt his opponent.

After 12 rounds of action, the judges scored the fight 120-108, 119-109 and 117-11, all in favor of Plant.

"I want (IBF 168-pound champion) Caleb Truax," said Plant. "He was calling me out when I was 12-0. I'm on the doorstep knocking now, let's see if he still wants it. He can either ship me the IBF belt to my doorstep, or I'll come take it off his waist."

Lightweight World Champion Robert Easter Retains Title

Unbeaten lightweight world champion Robert Easter (20-0, 14 KOs) successfully defended his title for the second time Friday night with a victory over top contender Denis Shafikov (38-3, 20 KOs) in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce from the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.

"I'm thankful for my team preparing me for this victory," said Easter. "I give my performance a B- tonight. I could have done a lot better. I fought on the inside more at the beginning of the fight but my team wanted me to box so I was able to do that late and get the win."

The 12-rounds of action were defined by both men having success when imposing their differing styles on each other. Easter had a height and reach advantage that allowed him to jab from the outside in addition to the consistent success he had following up with right hands to Shafikov's head.  

"I know a lot of guys' weakness is their gas tank so I wanted to go after him and test him early," said Easter. "Shafikov proved that's he's a tough opponent but we were able to get the job done."

Shafikov was never deterred as he continued to press forward and as the fight went on he was able to increasingly frustrate Easter and land looping shots from awkward angles. He was especially fond of a chopping right hand that was able to land while jockeying for position on the inside with Easter.

The fight ebbed and flowed for 12-rounds, with both men gaining control for moments before being forced to deal with adversity. Easter was given the unanimous decision and retained his belt, although the judges scores of 120-108 twice and 116-112 did not capture the competitive nature of the contest.

"I thought that'd I'd be the first guy to be able to break Shafikov down," said Easter. "I was able to get the win and I'm going to be ready for everybody out there."

Taras Shelestyuk Weighs in Headlines "Locked n' Loaded"

Undefeated, world ranked welterweight Taras "Real Deal" Shelestyuk (15-0, 9 KOs) weighed in at 147.8 lbs. at Friday's "Locked n' Loaded" weigh in, while challenger Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez checked in at 148 lbs. 

Shelestyuk vs. Rodriguez headlines Thompson Boxing's "Locked n' Loaded" 8-round main event from Omega Products in Sacramento, Calif. Shelestyuk is currently ranked No. 5 by the WBO.

"I'm ready to give fans an exciting show," said Shelestyuk, who is promoted by Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions. "I don't want this to go to the judges. The plan is to knock out Rodriguez."

Shelestyuk vs. Rodriguez and the entire 6-bout card will be streamed live on TB Presents: Locked n' Loaded. Watch the action on ThompsonBoxing.com and Facebook Live beginning at 7:00 p.m. PST / 10:00 p.m. EST. 

WEIGHTS

Taras Shelestyuk, 147.8 vs. Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez, 148 (8-rounds)

Ruben Villa, 126 vs. Jonathan Alcantara, 127 (4-rounds)

Jose Roman, 137.8 vs. Miguel Angel Mendoza, 139 (8-rounds)

Jose Salinas, 129.3 vs. Tyler Marshall, 128 (4-rounds)

Brandon Trejo, 133 vs. Devin Parker, 132.7 (4-rounds)

Marcos Delgado, 184.4 vs. Richard Rigmaden, 188.9 (4-rounds)

"BATTLE OF BRISBANE" WEIGHTS MANNY PACQUIAO VS. JEFF HORN

Main Event - WBO Welterweight World Championship (12 rounds)

Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), Champion, General Santos City, Philippines 146 lbs. 

Jeff Horn(16-0-1, 11 KOs), Challenger, Brisbane, Australia 147 lbs. 

Co-Feature - IBF Super Flyweight World Championship (12 rounds) 

Jerwin Ancajas(26-1-1, 17 KOs), Champion, Cavite City, Philippines 114 lbs. 

Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8 KOs), Challenger, Kobe, Japan 115 lbs. 

Middleweights (8 rounds)

Shane Mosley, Jr. (10-1, 7 KOs), Pomona, California. USA 160 lbs. 

David Toussaint (10-0, 8 KOs), Canberra, Australia 160 lbs. 

Featherweights (6 rounds)

Michael Conlan (2-0, 2 KOs), Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK 126 lbs. 

Jarrett Owen (5-4-3, 2 KOs), Brisbane, Australia 126 lbs.

REGIS PROGRAIS vs. JOEL DIAZ JR. FINAL WEIGHTS

Regis "Rougarou" Prograis and Joel Diaz Jr. made weight on Thursday just hours after the "Opening Bell" to kick off festivities for the 2017 International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend.

The undefeated Prograis (19-0, 16 KOs) and fellow unbeaten Diaz (23-0, 19 KOs) will square off in the 10-round super lightweight main event of a Hall of Fame edition of ShoBox: The New Generation tomorrow/Friday, June 9, live on SHOWTIME (10:30 p.m. ET/PT) from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.

The ShoBox tripleheader will celebrate longtime analysts Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood just two days before their induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Farhood and Tompkins were joined at the Opening Bell on Thursday by a handful of their fellow 2017 inductees: boxing legend Marco Antonio Barrera, Australian trainer Johnny Lewis, and the wife of the late Johnny Tapia, Teresa Tapia.

In the ShoBox co-feature, undefeated super middleweight Steve Rolls (15-0, 9 KOs) will take on the hard-hitting Demond Nicholson (17-1-1, 16 KOs) in an eight-round bout. In the opening bout of the telecast, Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez's protégé, Jon Fernandez, (12-0, 10 KOs) faces Juan Reyes (14-3-3, 2 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight matchup.

OFFICIAL WEIGHTS

10-Round Super Lightweight Main Event:

Regis Prograis - 139 ½ pounds

Joel Diaz Jr. - 137 ¼ pounds

Referee: Mark Nelson; Judges: Don Ackerman, Tom Schreck, John McKaie

Eight-Round Super Middleweight Co-Feature:

Steve Rolls - 161 pounds

Demond Nicholson - 162 ½ pounds

Referee: Benjy Esteves; Judges: Glenn Feldman, Don Trella, Wynn Kintz

Eight-Round Lightweight Telecast Opener:

Jon Fernandez - 132 ½ pounds

Juan Ramon Reyes - 131 ½ pounds

Referee: Charlie Fitch; Judges: Don Ackerman, Glenn Feldman, John McKaie

FINAL QUOTES:

Regis Prograis

"The person that wins this fight goes up, hopefully, to a title fight. I'm 19-0, he's 23-0. I feel like this is a real big fight.

"I take all my opponents seriously, but I'm taking this one even more seriously than others in the past. He's 23-0, and there's a reason he's undefeated. He's good, and he has the best record I've ever faced.

"I'm at a stage in my career where every fight can lead to the next big thing and I think this fight may be it for me. I'm patient, but I'm ready for more. I want a shot at a title.

"He's a brawler fighter, but I have the better punching power, and the speed.

"If I feel like he [Diaz] can't hurt me from the first round, I'll probably just walk him down the whole night and punish him.

"Seeing what [Errol] Spence did motivates me, especially the way he did it in his opponent's hometown. It got me thinking: that can be me one day. We went at it in the amateurs, so I know how good he is, but I'm good too. Just seeing him go over there and take the title away, I know my time is coming next.

"I grew up watching Macho Camacho, Roberto Duran, Mike Tyson, but I watched more Duran than anything. I really liked his style. I learned a lot watching the boxing greats on tape.

"Terence Crawford, Adrien Broner, Victor Postol. Those are the type of guys I want to fight.

"I started boxing in New Orleans, and if it wasn't for Katrina, I probably wouldn't be where I am right now. When I moved to Houston, I got into the boxing scene and started taking it seriously. It was a horrible situation [in New Orleans], but it changed my life.

"My family went back [to New Orleans], but not me. I stayed in Houston to box. I feel it's not time for me to go back home just yet. I'll come back when I become a superstar, like I'm supposed to be."

Joel Diaz Jr.

"This is my chance, this is my opportunity. I've been told, 'you only get one chance', and this is it for me. I know Regis is good, but we're going to put it on him. I'm going to be on him like flies on shit. This is one of the opportunities I can't let pass.

"We're going to break him down mentally, find our way in, and drop the bomb.

"He throws combos, and that's what I have to take away from him. I have to be on him and be the first to attack. My power will take care of his speed.

"This means a lot to me, getting to show the world who the 'secret' is. People haven't really seen what I have, but there will be no more secrets after tomorrow.

"I'm going to show the world who the real Joel Diaz is. I'm now at the right weight for me and I'm 110 percent. I didn't waste four weeks of training camp trying to lose weight. I feel strong.

"A world championship after this fight, that's what I want. This is my opportunity to actually show who I am and I can't let it go. If I let this go, I might as well go back to school. This is going to open all the doors for me.

"We've been ready for this step for a while. I'd like to fight the winner of [Adrien] Broner- [Mikey] Garcia, but we'll see. I know Broner doesn't want to fight me. I tried to fight him and he turned it down. He knows I'll give him trouble.

"I changed trainers. I used to be with Abel Ramos, now I'm with Chris Byrd. With Coach Chris, it's more defense than offense. Working with Chris is amazing. He was a fighter, so he knows what it takes to step in that ring. He's been there, so he understands me from a fighter's perspective and that's very important for me. The bond we have inside and outside the ring is special.

Super Lightweight Mario Barrios Training Camp Quotes & Photos

Unbeaten rising contender Mario Barrios shared his thoughts about his training camp and more as he nears a showdown against Mexico's Jose Luis Rodriguez on Sunday, June 11 in Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes action live from The Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster, California.

Televised coverage begins at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT after the Mexico vs. USA World Cup qualifier on FS1 and FOX Deportes and is headlined by former world champion Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios returning to the ring to take on Mexico's Aaron Herrera plus undefeated prospect Jose Miguel Borrego will battle once-beaten Kevin Watts in a super lightweight bout.

Here is what Barrios had to say about training camp, his matchup and more:

On fighting Jose Luis Rodriguez:

"Unfortunately, in the last twelve months, I've had two opponents come in overweight when I was scheduled to fight on national television.  I was ready to fight both times but my team advised me to cancel the bouts because the fighters were at least 10 pounds above the contracted weight.  Jose Luis Rodriguez is a very tough fighter who went the distant with Felix Verdejo, who many people consider a top prospect.  I just hope Rodriguez makes weight and the fight happens because I'm ready to shine."

On his return to FS1 & FOX Deportes as the co-main event:

"I'm very excited to be returning on FS1 even though I'm not the main-event as I was scheduled to be last month.  My management team once again is putting me in a great position on national television.  In this fight, I'm the co-main event and I'm eager to showcase my talents at super-lightweight.  I'm going to put on a great show for everyone watching."

On his recent training camp with Virgil Hunter in California...

"Virgil and I are working great together.  I feel I'm constantly getting better with Virgil each and every day we are together.  He's a great motivator and I'm pushing myself to become a stronger, faster fighter.  I've been in camp for the last three months and I'm like a lion ready to come out of his cage."

On fighting in Lancaster, CA...

"I've fought several times in California and the fans out here are incredible.  This will be my first time fighting in Lancaster and I'm expecting the same lively crowd.  The fans are what make this sport go so expect me to come out guns blazing.  I'm going to explosive in this fight."

Julian Williams Returns To Battles Once-Beaten Joshua Conley

Super welterweight contender Julian "J-Rock" Williams (22-1-1, 14 KOs) will match-up against once-beaten Joshua Conley (14-1-1, 9 KOs) in televised action on Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce live from the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio on Friday, June 30.

Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature unbeaten welterweight prospects Jamontay Clark (11-0, 7 KOs) and Ivan Golub (13-0, 11 KOs) squaring-off in an eight-round matchup. The June 30 event is headlined by unbeaten lightweight world champion Robert Easter making his second title defense against mandatory challenger Denis Shafikov.

"I am definitely excited to get back in the ring," said Williams. "I can't wait. It feels like it has been two years, not six months. I took my loss on the chin. I tried to learn as much as possible from it and I'm moving forward. Conley is a solid fighter. He only has one loss and it was to Daquan Arnett, who is another good fighter. I know he is coming to win. If he beats me, it opens a lot of doors and takes him to the next stage of his career so I have to come prepared."

"This is a great opportunity for my career and I feel like a win here puts me on the list of up-and-coming 154-pound fighters," said Conley. "Training camp has been going well. I'm ready to do whatever it takes. I know that it's going to be a tough fight. I expect Julian to come out fast and try to prove something, but I'm going to stay composed and do what I have to do."

Brandon Rios Media Workout Quotes & Photos

Former world champion Brandon Rios hosted a large contingent of media at Ten Goose Boxing Gym in Van Nuys, California Wednesday as he prepares for his ring return this Sunday, June 11 against Mexico's Aaron Herrera in the main event of a Special Edition of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes live from The Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster,

Here is what Rios and his trainer had to say Wednesday:

BRANDON RIOS

"I'm just ready to get back to the top. I know that I have to climb the ladder and that's what I'm here for.

"When I said that I was done, I was done. Eventually though I started getting that urge again, to get on that stage and perform on TV. My wife told me that if I wanted to fight again, I had to come back dedicated.

"It's really cool to be fighting right after the Mexico vs. USA match. I'm a Mexican-American but I live in the United States so it'll be USA vs. Mexico in the ring as well when I face Herrera.

"I know that I have a very skilled, tough opponent. He's working with Juan Manuel Marquez and he's very experienced. He's faced some really tough opponents. It's going to be a good fight to get back in the ring with.

"I felt like I needed a new voice in my corner. There's nothing against (former trainer) Robert Garcia, I respect him and he got me to where I am today, but I felt like I got too used to that situation.

"I told (Rios' trainer) Ricky Funez that I wanted to come back and have him train me and thankfully he was excited to work with me. We started working really hard and we took some time to get to know each other more and more.

"I Googled 'Southern California boxing trainers' and Ten Goose Boxing and Ricky came up, and I decided to hit him up. So I direct messaged him on Instagram and the rest is history.

"I feel like I'm in really good shape after working with a nutritionist for the first time. My nutritionist is with me 12 hours a day and it's had me feeling great heading into this fight.

"I've always been a brawler, but I'm capable of boxing, especially with my inside game. The way I can deflect punches is a strength.

"I'm just ready to get back to the top. I know that I have to climb the ladder and that's what I'm here for."

RICKY FUNEZ, Rios' Trainer

"Training Brandon was a good challenge for me but he has been disciplined from the very start. I laid it all out for him from the beginning, I just wanted a good response from him and he said he's going to work hard.

"A lot of people said that he was done, and that motivated me. I've seen Joe Goossen bring fighters back like Diego Corrales and he's my mentor in this sport. I'm working hard to push Brandon and get him to that level.

"Brandon is a stubborn fighter but he really does listen. He has a lot of tools and I think you'll see that he hasn't lost anything in that ring on Sunday."

Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence, Jr. weights & pictures

Main Event - IBF World Welterweight Championship (12 rounds)

(L) Kell "The Special One" Brook (36-1, 25 KOs), Champion, Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK 146 ½ lbs.

(R) Errol "The Truth" Spence, Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs), Desoto, Texas, USA 146 ½ lbs.

Co-Feature - Vacant WBA World Super Middleweight Championship (12 rounds) 

(L) "Saint" GEORGE GROVES (25-3, 18 KOs), Hammersmith, London, UK 167 ½ lbs.

(R) FEDOR CHUDINOV (14-1, 10 KOs), Serpukhov, Russia 167 ½ lbs.

Vacant Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship (12 rounds)

DAVID "White Rhino" ALLEN (11-2-1, 8 KOs), Conisbrough, Yorkshire, UK 250 lbs. 

LENROY "TNT" THOMAS(20-4, 10 KOs), Saint Petersburg, Florida, USA via Jamaica 232 lbs. 

Middleweights (4 rounds)

JEFF FOWLER(pro debut), 2012 British Olympian), Liverpool, Merseyside, UK 157 lbs. 

ARTURS GEIKINS(3-7-1, 2 KOs), Bognor, Sussex, UK 160 lbs.

Shawn Porter Stops Andre Berto - photos

Shawn Porter scored a ninth round stoppage of Andre Berto to become the WBC's mandatory challenger to unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
With the convincing victory, Porter potentially earns a rematch with Thurman, who he narrowly lost to last June in a 2016 Fight of the Year candidate at Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™. 

The welterweight matchup was a rough and tumble affair from the opening bell.  Porter (27-2-1, 17 KOs) barreled forward to smother the offense of Berto (31-5, 24 KOs), pounding Berto's body at close range.  A deep gash opened over Porter's left eye from an accidental headbutt in the second, and another opened over his right eye just two rounds later.  Porter's constant aggressiveness and effective body work seemed to frustrate Berto, who struggled to stay off the ropes.  

An odd series of events unfolded in the opening minute of the ninth round.  With Berto unsteady on his feet following another clash of heads, Porter pounced and floored the former champ with a left hook for his second knockdown of the fight.  Berto got up, but Porter continued to connect with Berto against the ropes and referee Mark Nelson waved off the contest at 1:31.  At the time of the stoppage, Porter had out-landed Berto 60-12 over the final two rounds.

"I have to clean up those head butts," Porter said.  "We tried to use the whole ring, but sometimes in the heat of the battle stuff happens. I'm a fighter and Mr. Berto is a fighter as well, those head butts were just the two of us going in and fighting. 

"I thought I fought smart tonight. I thought I picked my punches well. There were times where I smothered my shots, but there were also times where I smothered him. He has a dangerous uppercut but we had a great game plan. This was a just very hard fought battle by both of us and I'm blessed to get the victory."

After the fight, Berto admitted that Porter's aggressiveness and the accidental headbutts frustrated him.

"I have to give him credit, but he's a rough fighter," Berto said.  "He has great skills but, at the same time, he was trying to be rough and trying to handle me anyway he could.  I got a lot of headbutts, and he did too.  Shawn' is a tough competitor.  We had a good competitive fight until the headbutts got to be a little too much for me.  But I thought it was a really good fight before that."

After the fight, SHOWTIME Sports reporter Jim Gray asked Thurman, who was ringside for the eliminator, if he would grant Porter a rematch.

"His team was adamant about the rematch and now he's fought his way to earning that," Thurman said.  "We just need to sit down and talk about.  He's hungry, you see the way he fights, it could be a great fight again."

Answered Porter: "I was just up here wishing he said yes - that's the fight I want next."

Jermell Charlo defended his WBC Super Welterweight World Championship in dominant fashion with a devastating sixth-round knockout of mandatory challenger Charles Hatley in the co-main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. 

Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) landed the crisper shots from the opening bell, using a sharp left jab to set up a remarkably efficient straight right.   The Houston native Charlo, the younger twin of undefeated former 154-pound champion Jermall, floored Hatley (26-2-1, 18 KOs) midway through the third with a textbook left-right combo that stunned his fellow Texan.  

Charlo's striking precision continued in fourth and fifth, before an onslaught of punches and a perfectly timed right to the chin sent Hatley falling face-forward to the canvas.  Referee Harvey Dock didn't hesitate and instantly waved off the fight at :36 with Hatley out cold on the canvas.

The accuracy of Charlo's jab was telling - he landed his jab at a 31 percent clip to set up his power shots, which connected at an impressive 52 percent.  Overall, Charlo landed 42 percent of his total punches over nearly six full rounds of prizefighting.

"I used that jab to set up the right hand," Charlo said.  "I knew Charles Hatley goes down and he gets back up - he's a warrior - and I knew I had to get in there and be a lion. 

"Hatley was moving around a lot. He was trying to engage and I tried to tell him to come fight. When he finally got in there, that's when I got him out. I'm the champ so I have to continue to fight my mandatory.  They got a guy named Jarret Hurd that took my brother's title - we could unify."