A nine-time amateur national champion from tiny Linden, Michigan has made a big splash in the first few bouts of his pro career.See Joey's Profile
In this episode of PBC Jabs, IBF 147-pound world champ Errol "The Truth" Spence Jr. checks in to recap his June 16th victory over formerly unbeaten Carlos Ocampo and to reveal who he wants to face next.
Plus, we recap the rest of our June 16th Showtime card featuring a 10-round matchup between 140-pound contenders Javier Fortuna and Adrian Granados, and a 122-pound title bout between Daniel Roman vs Moises Flores.
IBF welterweight champion wants either a unification bout or clash against another high-profile fighter after scoring a first-round KO of Carlos Ocampo Saturday in a homecoming bout in Texas.
Errol Spence wants “to rule with an iron fist” and “be a legendary name mentioned like Sugar Ray Leonard” following Saturday’s first-round knockout of Carlos Ocampo at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, the Dallas Cowboys’ training center near his hometown of DeSoto.
It was the 11th straight knockout victory for the 28-year-old southpaw who was coming off an eighth-round stoppage of two-division champion Lamont Peterson in January.
“I wanna rule with an iron fist. I don’t know about unifying by the end of the year, but as soon as I can get these names in the ring, my stock and my pound-for-pound level’s are gonna rise,” Spence said. “Hopefully, when I get these other belts, I’ll be pound-for-pound No. 1. There’s a lot of people salivating for me to be No. 1, and I should be by next year.”
Spence made his second defense of the crown he won by dethroning Kell Brook in the 11th round of their May 2017 title tilt in Sheffield, England.
“I wanna unify,” Spence continued. “A unification fight with the winner between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter is probably going to happen during the first quarter of next year.”
If not the Garcia-Porter winner, Spence prefers two-division champion Jessie Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs) over 2008 Cuban Olympic bronze medalist Yordenis Ugas (22-3, 11 KOs), the latter of whom scored a two-knockdown second-round TKO of Jonathan Batista on Spence’s undercard.
“Ugas is a good fighter, but I want big names. Jessie Vargas would be in front of Ugas. Ugas is a great fighter ranked in the IBF so I’m gonna have to fight him, but I’m looking for big names and ex-world champions to build my legacy on, and Ugas won’t get me anywhere,” said Spence.
“I wanna be a legendary name mentioned like Sugar Ray Leonard. He fought the best, never ducked any opposition. Hopefully I’ll be mentioned as an all-time great like Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather, and Tommy Hearns and Oscar De La Hoya.”
“ I wanna be a legendary name mentioned like Sugar Ray Leonard. He fought the best, never ducked any opposition. Hopefully I’ll be mentioned as an all-time great. ” Welterweight World Champion Errol Spence Jr.
Fellow welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman is also on Spence’s hit list.
Thurman made his sixth and seventh defenses by unanimous decision over Porter in June 2016 and split decision over Garcia in March 2017, but has been inactive due to injuries.
“One Time” had surgery to repair damage in his right elbow following his fight against Garcia, and planned to return with a tune up fight in April or May. But after suffering a deep bruise in his left hand, Thurman said he “agreed to relinquish my WBC title at this time” and could defend his WBA belt in the fall.
“Guys still talk about Keith Thurman, like, ‘When are you gonna fight Keith Thurman?’ That’s been the talk for over a year or two, now. That’s the fight that everybody, including myself, wants to see,” Spence said.
“That’s definitely the fight that I’ve wanted and still want. Depending on how many tune-up fights Keith Thurman would need when he comes back, that would be easier to make because we’re under the same management and the same network, business-wise.”
Porter is coming off a unanimous decision win over Adrian Granados in November. Garcia is coming off a ninth-round stoppage of former titleholder Brandon Rios in February. The WBC mandated the duo to fight for Thurman’s vacated crown.
“Shawn Porter’s supposed to be fighting Danny Garcia, so hopefully, I can get the winner of that and we can unify. Whoever wins between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter for the WBC title will have to fight me. I’m ready to take the belt from either one of those guys,” said Spence, giving the edge to Garcia.
“Danny Garcia doesn’t do anything spectacular, but he’s got great timing and good fundamentals and just seems to end up winning fights by pulling them out. I think Danny could pull it out. I’ll go with Danny Garcia on that one by decision, although I can see him knocking Shawn Porter down once.”
For a complete recap of Spence vs Ocampo, check out our fight page.
From world champions to top contenders, the one constant motivation in training or inside the ring is to give their all for their sons and daughters.
Fatherhood imbues fighting spirit within many boxers. In honor of Father’s Day, Premier Boxing Champions examines how some boxers balance patriarchal parenting and punishing pugilism.
On top of being a full-time fighter 147-pound champion, Errol Spence is a full-time father with two young daughters. Spence defended his welterweight world title win a first-round KO of mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo last night at Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, Texas.
Even while going through the rigors of training camp in advance of his title-winning 11th-round knockout of Kell Brook in May 2017, “The Truth” Spence kept his family close by, whether feeding bottles to his then-infant daughter Violet or doing push-ups in his living room with then-18-month-old Ivy sitting on his back.
“They’re who I do it for. They eat whatever they want, they have a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs,” said Spence. “It’s a constant reminder. If I’m sore, or I don’t want to go work out or don’t want to go run, just looking at them and seeing how comfortable they are, it makes me grind harder.”
Since the fight was only a few miles away from his home in DeSoto, Texas, Spence got a change to spend fight week at home.
Super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo, who trains in Dallas with Spence and trainer Derrick James, is a single father of a son. His twin brother, Jermall, is married with four sons.
“My son (Elijah) was born during the weigh-ins (for Vito Gasparyan fight in 2009), ‘’ Jermell Charlo said. “So I had to make weight, and then go and be with my son after the weigh-ins.’’
“My father cut the umbilical cord for my son because I wasn’t actually there. So he was born, then, I went and won the fight. That was a situation where there could have been a lot of adversity.”
Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder dreamed of playing either basketball or football for the University of Alabama. But those plans were dashed when he became a father at the age of 19. To compound matters his daughter, Naieya, who was born with spina bifida, a congenital spine defect.
“The Bronze Bomber” began boxing as a last resort to pay medical expenses of Naieya.
Naieya, now 13, is among Wilder’s four girls and two boys, the youngest being three months old. Among his many tattoos are the names of his children.
Deontay Jr., 3, wants to be a fighter like his Daddy, whose assortment of tattoos includes the names of his offspring.
“I definitely wouldn’t be in boxing if it wasn’t for Naieya, who bravely endured several surgeries when she was young, motiving me. I have a tattoo on my right arm of she and I walking the road to success, hand-in-hand,” said Wilder.
“Being the right type of loving, caring and protective father is of utmost importance. Father’s Day is every day for me. They understand that everything I do -- particularly knocking people out -- is for my children.”
Four-division champion Mikey Garcia wears many instructing hats with his three children. For three-year old Django he is a boxing coach. For Reyu, 7, he is a gun-shooting and driving instructor and a father-daughter dance date for 11-year-old Annjie, who is into ballet.
“Boxing’s a normal part of the Garcia lifestyle. I appreciate seeing my children throughout camp,” said Garcia.
His father, Eduardo, trained his brother, Robert, and is co-training him and a grandson, Robert Jr.
“One day, they’ll surprise me a the gym, watching me spar. The little one shows interests in boxing, and he’ll actually come to the gym and put on his own wraps, gloves and wear a mouthpiece,’’ Mikey said. “I’ll see them in the stands or at ringside waving to me before the fight. That’s motivational and makes me feel good, but right before and throughout the fight, I’m focused on my opponent in the ring.”
Garcia will meet Robert Easter in a lightweight unification fight at Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 28.
As a little boy, Easter watched footage of Robert Sr.’s fights, often wearing his father’s over-sized boxing trunks and mimicking his moves with bathroom tissue on his fists and Vaseline on his face.
“I would go to the gym with my father and run around. That’s when I was like 4 or 5 years old,” said Robert Jr., whose father retired in 1999 with a record of 9-3-2 (six KO) after campaigning at weights between 159-and-171 pounds.
It was June 6, 2016, Robert Easter Sr.’s 48th birthday, when he learned that Robert Jr. was getting his first shot at a 135-pound title. Robert Sr. received another “blessing from God” the day he turned 49: the birth of grandson Robert Easter III.
It was April 2014, and Omar Figueroa Jr. had just completed his first of two defenses of the 135-pound championship he had earned with the help of trainer Joel Diaz. But as Diaz helped lead “El Panterita” to the pinnacle of his profession, there was a pain in the pit of Figueroa’s stomach that the then-24-year-old fighter could no longer endure.
Training with Diaz meant Figueroa, a native of Weslaco, Texas, would have to spend long stretches of time in Indio, California. Being away from Weslaco also meant being away from his then-newborn daughter, Sofia. So as Sofia neared her first birthday, Figueroa chose his baby girl over Diaz, handing over training duties to his father, Omar Sr.
“I have three kids, now, with a daughter, 5, a boy, 3, and a 1-year-old daughter. I try not to have them involved in my pre-fight rituals because they’re my soft side,” said Figueroa.
“My oldest has been at ringside for every fight since she’s been born. She understands the general concept of what I do but not necessarily the health risk. The other two are too young to really grasp it, so I make sure to spend precious moments with them before I leave to train in California. After that, I can flip the switch and become that pit-bull from the first bell until the last. But after being gone for two, three months, all they wanna do is hang with their Daddy.”
“ It’s a constant reminder. If I’m sore, or I don’t want to go work out or don’t want to go run, just looking at them and seeing how comfortable they are, it makes me grind harder. ” Welterweight World Champ Errol Spence Jr., on fighting for his young daughters
Following the death of his mother, Christina Breazeale, on New Years Eve 2016, heavyweight title challenger Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs), learned that his father, Harold Lee Breazeale, was an amateur boxer. The elder Breazeale was incarcerated for much of Dominic’s childhood, and died eight years ago.
“He was never a part of my life because he was in and out of prison,” said Breazeale. “To come across boxing memorabilia of my biological father was huge, because people are always saying that heavyweight champions are born, not created. So here I am, born to do this and carry the torch.”
Breazeale and his wife, Christina, are raising three sons of their own, DeAngelo, 9, Devin, 6, and Dominic, 5.
“DeAngelo is my charismatic star and loves sports. Devin’s very athletic and motivated and he’s the fastest of the three. But it’s my youngest who wants to box. He’s the aggressive one who is not taking anything from anybody, always ready to fight at the drop of a dime,” said Breazeale.
Luis “God’s Way” Collazo has endured a tumultuous career. But the 37-year-old former 147-pound world champion has always overcome obstacles. His 16-year-old daughter, Kayla, being a major inspiration in a journey illustrated in the Brooklyn, New York native’s assortment of tattoos.
“I have one on my chest that asks The Lord to treat my daughter right,” said Collazo. “I also have my daughter’s name, Kayla, on my right side on my ribs. She is playing school softball and she’s a 90-average student. I’m truly a proud Dad. I’m grateful. Now, I’m serving The Lord, so you never know what God has planned for you.”
Tony “Superbad” Harrison, a 154-pound title challenger, is motivated by his 2-year-old son, Tony Jr.
“My son is my walk partner, coming with me everywhere. He’s like my shadow – putting on the biggest gloves available in the gym. When I’m hitting the bag, he’s doing it right next to me, moving his head like his Daddy,” said Harrison.
“I’d allow him to box, although that’s probably the last sport that I would choose to put him in. But whatever he chooses to do, I wanna sit back and watch him develop. My goal is to become a world champion, but I want to be a champion father, first.”
While Flores is ineligible to win the WBA title after missing weight on Friday, the Mexican contender still plans on proving himself against the 122-pound champion Saturday night on Showtime.
This business trip has been appreciably easier for Danny Roman than the last two he took.
Each of his previous two fights required Roman to leave roughly two weeks in advance and take 11½-hour flights from Los Angeles to Japan. He won both bouts, first by stopping heavily favored Shun Kubo to win the WBA super bantamweight championship, then by out-pointing Ryo Matsumoto in his first title defense.
After all that traveling, Roman couldn’t be happier to return to American soil Saturday night. The 28-year-old Roman is scheduled to meet mandatory challenger Moises Flores in a 12-round, 122-pound title fight on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) as part of the Errol Spence Jr.-Carlos Ocampo undercard from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. However, Flores failed to make weight on Friday— coming in at 123 pounds—meaning he is ineligible to win the WBA title now.
The Inglewood, California, native hasn’t fought in the United States since stopping previously undefeated Adam Lopez after nine rounds in January 2017 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“I’m just happy to be back home after like a year-and-a-half,” Roman said. “I’m happy being back home and my family will be able to see me. I’m just excited and I’ll give the fans a great fight.”
This isn’t a position even Roman’s promoters at Thompson Boxing envisioned him occupying in the beginning of his career. Thompson Boxing released Roman from his promotional contract once he lost his fourth professional fight by split decision to Takashi Okada in July 2011.
Thompson Boxing eventually re-signed him and Roman rewarded his handlers by beating Kubo by ninth-round technical knockout to win a world title September 3 in Kyoto, Japan.
In Flores, Roman (24-2-1, 9 KOs) will face a former WBA 122-pound champion who’ll end almost exactly a one-year layoff. Mexico’s Flores (25-0, 17 KOs, 2 NC) hasn’t fought since his controversial no-contest against Guillermo Rigondeaux last June 17 in Las Vegas.
Roman has fought twice since Flores last boxed, but he doesn’t consider his activity to be too great of an advantage.
“The layoff could affect him, but I don’t wanna go in there with that mentality,” Roman said. “That’s not professional, because a fight’s a fight. He’s gonna come at me with everything he’s got. I look at it like I’m fighting another champion. I don’t take nobody lightly. I take everybody the same. A punch is a punch and a fight’s a fight.”
“ My strategy is to go forward and throw punches for 12 rounds, three minutes of every round. I need the world to know who ‘Chucky’ Flores is. ” 122-pound contender Moises "Chucky" Flores
Flores, 31, is anxious to forget about that aggravating night against Rigondeaux.
Rigondeaux clearly hit Flores with a left hand after the bell to end the first round and Flores said he couldn’t continue. Referee Vic Drakulich initially ruled it a first-round knockout victory for Rigondeaux, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission later changed the result to a no-contest due to the Cuban southpaw’s obvious foul.
Mexico’s Flores also threw at least one punch after the bell sounded and was criticized by members of Rigondeaux’s team, media and fans for exaggerating how hurt he was from Rigondeaux’s left hand. Flores fell flat on his back after Rigondeaux hit him late and remained on the canvas for several minutes.
“I believe he got hit after the bell and he went down,” Roman said. “It was controversial. It was going good in the first round. Then that happened. I don’t know if he actually got hurt or if he was faking it.
“He got hit after the bell. I don’t know what to really tell you because it could probably be true—he got hit, he gave up and he used that as an excuse. We don’t really know.”
The WBA ordered an immediate rematch, but Rigondeaux instead moved up two weight classes to challenge Vasily Lomachenko on December 9 in New York.
A frustrated Flores has been bothered by claims that he faked how hurt he was that night. He doesn’t want cynics to think that he quit and took the easy way out by trying to get Rigondeaux disqualified.
“It bothers me a lot,” Flores said, “but every time I read a comment or hear this or that, it just motivates me.”
Flores is determined to redeem himself against Roman, who has won 16 straight fights. The 5-feet-9 challenger owns a four-inch reach advantage over the defending champion and plans to wear down Roman by relentlessly pressuring him.
“My strategy is to go forward and throw punches for 12 rounds, three minutes of every round,” Flores said. “I need the world to know who ‘Chucky’ Flores is.”
Roman feels the same way about boxing on a bigger stage than usual Saturday night.
“I’m excited,” Roman said. “I’m ready to show my fans here in the States that I’ve got what it takes, that I’ve got what it takes to be a champion and I’ve got what it takes to defend my belt.”
For a closer look at Roman vs Flores, check out our fight page.
Two-division champion talks about Saturday's fight vs Adrian Granados, reflects on a tough title loss to Robert Easter Jr., and promises he will still make history as the first Dominican-born three-division world champion.
Javier Fortuna nurtures dreams of becoming the first Dominican-born three-division world champion. He has claimed titles at 126 pounds and 130 pounds and would love to do the same at 135 pounds. But first he’s going up in weight to take care of business at 140 pounds.
Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs) will battle Adrian Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs) in a 10-round, 140-pound special attraction on the undercard of Errol Spence’s 147-pound world title defense against Carlos Ocampo this Saturday on a Showtime-televised card (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
Fortuna has twice missed weight for world championship fights, most recently failing in January to make the 135-pound limit for a disputed split-decision loss to unbeaten lightweight titlist Robert Easter Jr.
Fortuna won an interim 126-pound title by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Patrick Hyland in 2012 but missed weight and was stripped before his first defense against Miguel Zamudio in 2013.
Fortuna joined countryman Joan Guzman as a two-division title winner in May 2015 with a unanimous decision over Bryan Vasquez for a vacant 130-pound crown. He was dethroned in June 2016 following an 11th-round TKO loss to Jason Sosa.
Fortuna-Granados is happening within a wide-open division featuring champions Jose Ramirez (WBC) and Kiryl Relikh (WBA), interim titleholder Regis Prograis, and former champs Sergey Lipinets and Terry Flanagan.
How often do you think about your loss to Easter, having fallen short of your goal of becoming the first Dominican-born three-division champion?
That’s still a goal and something that’s always on my mind. I’m even more motivated and determined after the Easter fight that I can do it. No one can ever take that dream away.
With this fight being at 140, is that where your future lies?
I’ll probably be stronger at 140 pounds for this fight, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not a strong fighter at 135. No matter how I perform in this fight, I’m going back down to 135 and possibly even 130 if I have the proper amount of time to train.
Why do you feel you missed weight for Easter?
We didn’t get the final notice until about four or five weeks out. I was still in the Dominican Republic at the time, so I was about 15 pounds over the limit.
By the time I arrived, it was in the dead of winter [in America.] Everything was rushed and disorganized. If I get a fair shake, time-limit-wise, to prepare, then I know I can win a title in either at 135 or 130.
“ On June 16, I know I’m gonna beat Adrian Granados, and I know that, eventually, I’m going to win another world title and become a three-division champion. That’s just my mentality and it always will be. ” Two-division World Champion Javier Fortuna
Strategically, what was the difference between winning and losing against Easter?
I haven’t watched the fight, but I thought it was going to be more of a chess match. The game plan was to counter punch, and I found it pretty easy to touch Easter.
Although I felt like the more effective punches were landed by me, I still believe there are many things I could have done differently. I thought I won the fight. But I lost, so, now, I’m facing an uphill climb.
Are you concerned at all with Granados’ height advantage [at 5-foot-9 to your 5-foot-6] or will already having faced the nearly 6-foot Easter serve as a benefit to you?
I already have the style and the skill to beat Granados, but I was able to neutralize Easter’s height, so the experience that I gained against Easter will be valuable since Granados is shorter.
Will you be strong enough at this weight to overcome the size and brawling style of Granados, which troubled Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter?
I’m not concerned with this question of Granados being the bigger man. On fight night, I’ll be the bigger guy. I also picked up a couple of things from each of Granados’ fights with Broner and Porter.
Neither Broner or Porter hold a candle to my boxing technique. Porter’s a former football player who doesn’t have my boxing IQ, and I believe I hit harder than Broner does at this weight.
I’m not looking for the knockout, but I believe it can happen. I know that I have the power to knock out anybody at 130, 135 or 140.
Is there anything to be gained by watching Granados’ unanimous decisions over southpaws Gaku Takahashi [September 2015] and Ariel Vasquez [July 2016]?
Maybe, but that doesn’t affect or factor into my strategy. I think Adrian Granados is a warrior. I like his boxing style. But the fight breaks down in my favor simply because I am a better fighter.
Even if Granados’ entire career had been against southpaws, my skills are different than anyone he’s ever faced. Adrian Granados surprises a lot of people because they don’t respect him and try to knock him out.
When that doesn’t work, he’s still there battling. I know this and can simply out box him with the timing on my jab, speed, power and movement. When I put it all together, it’ll be very difficult for Granados.
Do you have a prediction?
On June 16, I know I’m gonna beat Adrian Granados, and I know that, eventually, I’m going to win another world title and become a three-division champion. That’s just my mentality and it always will be.
For a closer look at Javier Fortuna, check out his fighter page.
After pulling out a majority decision win after 15 month's outside the ring, veteran heavyweight wants to jump back in against contenders Gerald Washington or Dominic Breazeale.
Heavyweight contender Travis Kauffman literally wants bigger challenges—specifically former title challengers Gerald Washington (6-foot-6) or Dominic Breazeale (6-foot-7)—following Sunday’s majority decision victory over late replacement Scott Alexander at Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster, California.
The 6-foot-3, 242 ½-pound Kauffman (32-2, 23 KOs) ended a 15-month ring absence and swapped first round knockdowns against the 5-foot-11, 224-pound Alexander (14-3-2, 8 KOs), who replaced left-handed former two-division champion Antonio Tarver on 10 days notice due to Tarver’s boxing licensing issues.
“I want to fight for a title against the best out there, but in order to do that, you’ve got to beat guys like Gerald Washington or Dominic Breazeale. I’d have more time to prepare for each of them, and I’m a lot better against the bigger, taller guys compared to smaller, faster guys,” said Kauffman, 32, who floored Alexander with a right hand before hitting the deck from a left hook.
“Where Breazeale’s 6-foot-7, and Washington is 6-foot-6, the difference would be preparing for the bigger guy and being more prepared for either one of them. Travis would be the underdog, but he’s always been asking for fights like that,” said Kauffman’s father and trainer, Marshall Kauffman.
“Bottom line is Travis wants to fight for a world title, and Gerald Washington and Dominic Breazeale are [the same dimensions as world champions] Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. So if you can’t beat the Gerald Washingtons or the Dominic Breazeales, how are you going to beat the Anthony Joshuas or the Deontay Wilders?”
Washington (19-2-1, 12 KOs) earned a 10-round unanimous decision over 6-foot-6 John Wesley Nofire (20-2, 16 KOs) of Miami, Florida in the co-main event Sunday. He rebounded from consecutive fifth- and eighth-round stoppage losses to world champion Deontay Wilder and contender Jarrell Miller last year.
Sitting ringside as a commentator was Breazeale, who is the mandatory challenger for Wilder’s title.
“Not a lot of people know this, but I broke my left foot a few weeks ago doing sprints with NFL players and suffering a stress fracture,” said Kauffman. “I ran six miles and that’s when it felt really bad. But I want to make no excuses, get back in the ring, and I’d be much better prepared for a fight against either Gerald Washington or Dominic Breazeale.”
For a closer look at Kauffman vs Alexander, check out our fight page.