Thursday, February 29, 2024

Serrano And Paul Set To Share Stage

The month of March in the sport of Boxing will begin with a unique doubleheader that will take place at the Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Saturday, March 2nd, which can be seen globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN. What makes it unique? It is a rare opportunity to see a superstar fighter and that fighter’s promoter competing on the same card, much less in the event’s two headline attractions.

In the main event of the evening Unified Women5IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO Featherweight world champion Amanda Serrano will defend her crown against IBF number one contender Niina Meinke. In October of last year, Serrano, the then undisputed champion of the division, took part in a groundbreaking moment for the sport in scoring a unanimous decision over Danila Ramos in Orlando, FL. The historical significance of the occasion was that the world championship bout was the first one in Boxing history where female fighters fought for a distance of twelve, three minute rounds. The same world championship distance as men's world title bouts.

As groundbreaking and overdue as that moment was for the sport in taking a major step forward towards equality, with the champion declaring that she would prefer to continue competing at the twelve three minute round distance for the remainder of her career shortly after defeating Ramos, it was not long after that fight where Serrano would lose her status as an undisputed world champion. This was due to the World Boxing Council (WBC) refusing to sanction women's world title bouts at the same distance and round length as men's bouts. In response, Serrano relinquished the WBC World Featherweight championship.

It goes without saying that Boxing is a sport where world championships are relinquished and stripped for a variety of reasons, which most of the time has to do with the politics of the sport. While this observer can go on and on, on that subject, Serrano's decision to willingly lose her undisputed champion status should be applauded. Applauded because it not only showed her intentions to help bring about equality in the sport for women was legitimate, but her conviction in wanting to see world title fights in Women's Boxing moved to the same standard as their male counterparts was so strong that when a prominent sanctioning organization, which was the first to sanction world title bouts for female fighters, refused to also take that step towards equality, Serrano put principle over whatever potential financial gain she might acquire as being one of the few undisputed champions in the entire sport, male or female.

While one can hope that the WBC will eventually join in the movement of progress for female fighters in the sport, Serrano, still the number one fighter in Featherweight division regardless of the label of undisputed being involved, will move forward with her career. The first step in that comes in her next title defense against the International

Boxing Federation's (IBF) number one contender Nina Meinke.

Meinke, a veteran of twenty-one professional fights, will come into this fight on a six fight winning streak and has won eighteen of her twenty-one professional bouts. She is also a former world title challenger having previously come up short in a challenge of then IBF Featherweight world champion Sarah Mahfoud in April 2022.

One crucial element to keep in mind is Amanda Serrano has won world titles in eight different weight divisions. While that may be reflective of Women’s Boxing still being very much in the process of growing, in that it is not uncommon for fighters to move up or down the weight scale depending on what opportunities may be available to them to fight for a world championship, often on a fight by fight basis, what Serrano has also accumulated over her forty-nine bout professional career is a level of experience that few fighters can compare to simply because the sport for women is still growing. There is no doubt in this observer’s mind that Serrano will use every bit of that experience including the fact that she now has the added attribute of having gone twelve, three minute rounds before to her advantage. 

The question here will largely fall on Meinke's shoulders in whether or not she will be able to compete against Serrano and more specifically, how she will respond to fighting under three minute rounds and the possibility of going twelve rounds. It is something that hopefully as more Women's world title bouts are held under the twelve, three minute round format will become less of an issue, but for the foreseeable future, fighters who have been accustomed to Boxing as far as ten rounds, where the length of those rounds are two minutes in duration, it will be a question of if they will be able to adjust to the format that is standard for their male counterparts. Meinke only has three knockouts in her eighteen career wins. This suggests that that fight plan for her will be to try and out point the champion over the course of the twelve round bout. 

While that may seem like an advantage for a fighter that is used to not only going the distance, but also having to implement an approach to score points to win decisions, Serrano is also a highly skilled boxer who has punching power in both hands. It will be up to Meinke to show what she will be able to do in this fight and more specifically, if she will be able to do it fighting under a longer format both in terms of round length and the scheduled distance that might determine how successful she is in this second opportunity to capture a world championship.

One fighter who will share the stage with Serrano and will look to showcase his evolving skills shortly before the Featherweight champion of the world takes to the ring for the main event, is social media influencer turned Cruiserweight boxer Jake Paul. Longtime readers know the stance of this observer with regard to the influx of celebrity that has made it’s way into the Boxing ring over the last several years, which has been given a slightly different name of “Influencer Boxing.” While those who enter the sport from an outside background should not be judged simply off of that background, I have also been critical when appropriate when it comes to those would be fighters seeming to have the mentality that they can face either other influencers and combat athletes from different disciplines/sports other than Boxing and expect to be taken seriously as would be contenders who may eventually challenge for a world championship, much less pushed and marketed as pay-per-view stars in an era where consumers continue to reject such a model. Paul has been one fighter that I have criticized for these reasons.

It should be noted however, that following his victory over MMA veteran Nate Diaz last summer, Paul opted to take a more conventional route for any boxer looking to work his way up in the sport of Boxing. Choosing to box his next fight in a more intimate setting of the Caribe Royale Resort ballroom in Orlando, FL on December 15th when he faced Cruiserweight boxer Andre August. While this was only the second time in Paul’s career where he was not on a pay-per-view as an attraction or the main event, it signaled a step forward towards proving himself to be a serious boxer by facing someone with a Boxing background, but also someone who did not have much known about him prior to the fight. Essentially, the type of opponents any would-be prospect will face as their careers and skillset develops. Paul simply took care of business on that December evening dropping August for the count with a right uppercut that ended matters at 2:32 of the first round.

Although there is not much one can say about a one punch knockout, something that Paul has done against MMA fighters, with little or no Boxing experience and other celebrities before in his career, The fact that he was able to do it against someone who was a boxer, and more specifically, how he set up the knockout by going to the body and waiting for the opening to land the knockout blow, did show progress. Now Paul looks to follow that victory by facing another boxer in the form of nineteen fight veteran Ryan Bourland, which on the surface represents a step up for Paul in terms of the experience that his opponent has. Bourland, a native of Dickinson, ND will enter into this encounter with a record of 17-2, with 6 Knockouts. He has won his last three bouts including a knockout win over a fighter named Santario Martin in his last bout. What some may see as potential red flags however, is that last bout for him took place in September 2022 and much like August, who was a Texas State Light-Heavyweight champion in his career prior to facing Paul, not much is known about Bourland and  obtaining footage for the purposes of research for this observer, a noted Boxing historian and one who studies fight films daily did prove to not be successful. An interesting note that is coincidental is both August and Bourland fought Santario Martin in their careers, and each does have a victory over him. Bourland does have a knockout victory over him however, compared to August’s decision victory over him in November 2019.

While this is coincidental and some may at minimum say that Paul’s handlers are scouting opponents from similar circles, it is important to keep in mind that there are countless fighters throughout the entire sport that toil on the local and regional levels of Boxing that take fights whenever they are offered, are willing to travel anywhere for those opportunities on often short notice, and are the true workman of the sport because of their willingness to get in and mix it up with anyone whenever an opportunity becomes available and/or is offered. In this case, the 175lb. Light-Heavyweight  and 190lb. Cruiserweight divisions are in close proximity to each other and it is not unusual to see fighters on those local/regional levels bounce up and down between divisions depending on what opportunity might be available. For those fighters who have such a career on that level as they look for an opportunity to move up towards an opportunity that might establish them as a contender, it is not unusual for fighters to have some common opposition on that path.

The question here is what Ryan Bourland will bring with him in terms of skillset into this fight. Paul has shown numerous times that he has a primary weapon, his right hand and per his being a celebrity, all of his fights have been televised in some form. While this may not seem like much to the reader, what it does provide is at least an opportunity for Bourland to study his opponent, whereas Paul may not have had that same opportunity. Bourland does have six knockouts in his seventeen wins, but he does not seem to be a fighter with punching power. Of his two losses, Bourland does have a first round knockout loss at the hands of a fighter named Israel Duffus in a fight that took place nearly nine years ago in July 2015 in Hollywood, CA. 

Much as was the case for his last fight, the element of the unknown has followed Jake Paul into this fight in terms of his opposition. These are the types of fights that are crucial for a fighter’s development if they do want to work their way up towards possible contention and hope to eventually challenge for a world championship. With the rarest of exceptions, the vast majority of fighters are not afforded the opportunity to take short cuts and try to get to that point faster and for most boxers, this is the path that they need to take as well as compete frequently not only to obtain the necessary experience against different types of opposition with varying styles, but also to try and get more opportunities that might be higher up on the ladder of contention. At least for what will be his last two fights by the time he faces Bourland, Paul seems to have realized this and it will be interesting to see how he continues to develop against fighters with a Boxing background, who likely view Paul due to his celebrity status as an opportunity to make a name for themselves. With one win and one loss coming against fighters with a Boxing background, it’s now time to see what this next step in Paul’s development as a boxer will look like.

An evening of Boxing featuring two steps toward progress. One towards equality in Boxing and the other perhaps a further step in a fighter’s developing career. It should be an entertaining night of Boxing. 

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Serrano vs. Meinke / Paul vs. Bourland takes place on Saturday, March 2nd at the Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The card can be seen globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN beginning with preliminary bouts at 4:30PM ET/1:30PM PT. This will be followed by the main card, which will begin at 7PM ET/4PM PT. 

(*U.S. Times Only.*]

(*Card Subject To Change.*)

For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, availability around the world, local start times in your area, and to subscribe please visit:

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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Jude Grant To Return At Thunderdome 45 "I think I'm in line for a big performance"

Press Release: February 25, 2024 By Dragon Fire Boxing/ Michael Clifton - Perth's Jude Grant steps into the ring for the first time in 2024 when he takes on Sandeep Kumar.

Credit: Mike O'Hara 

After a stellar 2023, Perth prospect Jude Grant will launch his 2024 campaign on Friday night at Thunderdome 45. Grant went three from three last year, taking his record to 5-0 while gaining valuable experience inside the squared circle. 

Friday's bout will see him face off against India's Sandeep Kumar in a six-round contest with the West Australian State Super Middleweight title on the line. Kumar will be Grant's most experienced opponent to date, and Grant will be looking to implement the lessons he learned over the last 12 months into his upcoming fight. 

"Last year was a big learning curve for me, obviously at a new gym, adapting to a new style. I think I came out of it a much better fighter and a much more mature fighter, " Grant explains.

"I'm looking for a very dominant performance. Sandeep has a better record and is my first international opponent, but I'm looking to put on a show. I don't think he is anything special, and, especially with the boys I'm sparring with, I think I'm in line for a big performance."

Training out of Big Rigs in Perth, Grant is surrounded by some of Australia's most talented up-and-coming fighters. Stablemate Jordan Laruccia will headline this week's event when he takes on Indonesia's Wellem Reyk.

It is the perfect environment for a fighter like Grant, who loved the cut and thrust of competitive boxing.

"There's a lot of excitement; the gym is pumping at the moment. Just the sparring I'm getting is second to none. I've got so many boys to spar and so many tests. Like, I can't take a round off. There's no room for any complacency, or I'll get find out, which is a good thing at the end of the day," he said.

"It's forcing me to constantly push, to constantly grow, to constantly get better. "

Australian boxing is going through an exciting time, and Grant feels fortunate to be arriving on a local scene brimming with confidence and talent. 

"It's a really booming period in Australia, in boxing; I feel like I'm super blessed to be coming up in this time, and there were definitely other times where it was much harder to get after exposure. But thanks to people like Kambosos and Tszyu brothers and Jai Opetaia, there are a few names out there who are pushing the Australian brand forward. It's such a great time to be coming up. I'm very blessed."

Grant is also aware that, when it comes to boxing, a little showmanship can go a long way, as anyone who has seen him compete can testify.

"My main goal is always winning and winning at all costs, but at the end of the day, I love putting on a show. I love it when people talk to me about how good my performance was. I love giving people their money's worth because tickets aren't free, and they're paying their hard-earned money to come down and support me. So I love putting on the show for them."

Fans will be able to follow Grant and all the action from Thunderdome 45 live and on-demand from Triller TV.


Material Courtesy of: Dragon Fire Boxing/ Michael Clifton/ Photo Courtesy of: Mike O’Hara Used with permission. 

The Boxing Truth®️ is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Update: Serrano/Paul Feature

We would like to let our readers know that a feature discussing the upcoming doubleheader featuring Unified World Featherweight champion Amanda Serrano and social media influencer, turned Cruiserweight boxer Jake Paul, which will take place on Saturday, March 2nd in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is in the works and will be released here on the website on Thursday, February 29th. Stay tuned.

“And That's The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth®️ is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Former WWE Diva Danielle Moinet Signs With BYB Bare Knuckle Extreme Fighting Series

Press Release: February 25, 2024 By BYB Extreme Bareknuckle Fighting Series - BYB Extreme Bare Knuckle Fighting Series Announces Addition of Host, Model and Former Professional Wrestler Danielle Moinet 

Moinet to host interactive multimedia segments, and conduct in-event fighter interviews and features for BYB.

Credit: BYB Extreme Bareknuckle Fighting Series 


Miami, FL – BYB Extreme Bare Knuckle Fighting Series CEO Gregory Bloom announced today the signing of Danielle Moinet (formerly Summer Rae of WWE) to BYB to serve as interviewer and social media correspondent.  In addition to her work in professional wrestling, which included a role in the reality show Total Divas, Moinet has worked as a runway model and ring announcer, as well as a sports correspondent covering horse racing and wagering. 

Said Bloom, “BYB’s tremendous increase in popularity worldwide has confirmed the necessity to continuously connect with fight fans across the globe.  Danielle’s on camera abilities, her experience in live sports, her global fanbase, and her ability to articulate the intricacies of nontraditional sports to a wide audience, is going to help us tell our story and showcase the personalities of our fighters both in and out of the Trigon.” 

Said Moinet, “Having seen the explosion in popularity of bare knuckle over the past year and its exponential growth possibilities, I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of what I feel will be one of the most popular, mainstream combat genres in the near future. That feeling was even more prevalent when I had the opportunity to meet the full BYB team this month at BYB 24 in Biloxi. The professionalism and experience that BYB boasts - behind the scenes, in the booth and in the Trigon - is on par with anything I’ve seen in sports over the past decade, and I’m honored to become a part of it.”

She added, “I’m especially excited to provide another female voice and perspective to the fight game, and enthusiastic about working beside and learning from (BYB broadcaster) Claudia Trejos in that regard.  I’m about equality and empowerment for everyone.  BYB’s roster has stars from around the world, including some of the best women fighters in the sport, and I hope I can help tell their stories and take them to new levels.”

Moinet will be on-hand at BYB 25 Brawl on the Bay in Tampa on April 4 before heading to Philadelphia for appearances during Wrestlemania week. For BYB tickets and information, visit and follow @bybextreme on all social media channels for up-to-date announcements. 


Originating in South Florida with backyard legend Dada 5000, whose backyard fights gained worldwide popularity online, BYB was founded to harness the excitement of bare knuckle fighting into a more structured product for a wider, more mainstream audience. Since 2015, BYB has worked diligently to grow the reach of bare knuckle on both a domestic and international level, hosting events in Colorado, Wyoming, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, London, and Dubai, and is continuing to work with athletic commissions throughout the United States and globally to expand the fanbase growing sport of bare knuckle fighting.

Material and Photo Courtesy of: BYB Extreme Bareknuckle Series Used with permission. 

For more information about BYB Extreme Bareknuckle Series please visit: 

The Boxing Truth®️ is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

BKFC Announces Slate Of Events For March 2024

The Bareknuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) have announced their upcoming schedule of Bareknuckle Boxing cards for the month of March Bareknuckle Boxing cards. On March 2nd, the promotion will present it’s latest edition of it’s BKFC Prospects series from Enoch, Alberta, Canada. Headlining the card will be a battle in the Women’s Flyweight division as Jade Masson-Wong (Bareknuckle Boxing record 2-1, with 1 Knockout) will face undefeated Gabrielle Roman (Bareknuckle Boxing record 1-0-1, with 1 Knockout) in a bout scheduled for five two minute rounds. This will headline a scheduled eight fight card at The Venue at River Cree.

The action moves to Miami on March 15th where the latest BKFC Fight Night will take place at the Vivo Dolphin Mall. A Lightweight bout will serve as the main event on this card as Howard Davis (Bareknuckle Boxing record 6-2-1, with 5 Knockouts) will face Sean Wilson (Bareknuckle Boxing record 3-1, 1 Knockout) in a bout scheduled for five two minute rounds. A battle of unbeaten Women’s Flyweights will serve as the co-main event of the card as Rosalinda Rodriguez (Bareknuckle Boxing record 1-0, 0 Knockouts) will face Monica Franco (Bareknuckle Boxing record 1-0, 0 Knockouts) in a bout also scheduled for five two minute rounds.

BKFC will travel to Sofia, Bulgaria on March 22nd for BKFC 58. In the main event, undefeated Cruiserweight Toni Markulev (Bareknuckle Boxing record 1-0, 0 Knockouts) will face fellow unbeaten Cruiserweight Kaloyan Kolev (Bareknuckle Boxing record 1-0, with 1 Knockout) in a fight scheduled for five two minute rounds. 

Finally, on March 29th in  Albuquerque, NM BKFC 59 will take place at the Tingley Coliseum. Undefeated BKFC World Flyweight champion and former Ultimate Fighter winner in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) John Dodson (Bareknuckle Boxing record 3-0, with 3 Knockouts) will defend his title against undefeated contender Dagoberto Aguero (Bareknuckle Boxing record 1-0, with 1 Knockout)

For more information about BKFC and to subscribe to the BKFC’s streaming network Bareknuckle TV please visit:

We will keep readers updated on any further developments regarding these upcoming events as they become available. Stay Tuned.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved. 

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

BYB Extreme Bare Knuckle Fighting Series Announces Signing of Robert Duran Jr. To Multi-Fight Contract

Press Release: February 21, 2024 By BYB Extreme Bareknuckle Fighting Series - Son of legendary “Hands of Stone” Roberto Duran looks to establish legacy and stardom in bare knuckle and to dedicate full-time to BYB and the emerging sport.

Credit: BYB Extreme Bareknuckle Fighting Series 

Miami, FL – BYB Extreme Bare Knuckle Fighting Series CEO Gregory Bloom announced today the signing of 14-2 professional boxer Robert Duran, Jr., son of legendary pugilist Roberto Duran, to a multi-fight deal with the Miami-based promotion.

Said Bloom, “As our global footprint continues to grow, and on the heels of our recent distribution expansion that puts us in over 100 million homes, we are laser focused on not only promoting our existing roster, but also signing the most talented fighters available to assure fans get the quality matches they have come to expect from BYB. Robert certainly fits the bill, and I can’t wait to see how his talent translates to the mighty Trigon.” 

On his transition into bare knuckle, Duran, Jr. said, “This sport suits me. Before I ever laced up the gloves, I was fighting bare knuckle on the streets growing up. I have the toughness and grit that came from having to fight to survive, and then the training and polish of professional boxing that has allowed me to fight on the biggest stages. I’ve got the best of both worlds”

He added, “In bare knuckle I can build my own name and own legacy outside of the shadow of my namesake. I have spent most of my life and built my career on my own, and I plan to forge this new path in the same manner. I intend to focus solely on bare knuckle, provided BYB can keep me active. It is the future of combat sports and I plan on being one of its first mainstream stars for years to come, and help propel it to the masses.”  

Duran, Jr. is the latest signing by BYB, following those of fight stars Uly Diaz, Gustavo Trujillo and Helen Peralta. He joins a roster that has a unique balance of fighters of all disciplines, from former UFC stars like current BYB heavyweight champion Ike Villanueva, Andre Ewell, and Rashad Coulter, to successful amateur boxers like Tommy Turner, Harry Gigliotti, and current BYB featherweight champion Harold McQueen. After hosting nine events in 2023 including the first-ever sanctioned bare knuckle event in Middle East and the first Police Gazette International Cup tournament in London, BYB is slated for twelve events in 2024. BYB 25: Brawl on the Bay, will be held in Tampa, Florida at the Florida State Fairgrounds on April 4; and BYB 26: Mile High Brawl in Denver, Colorado at the Stockyard Event Center on May 10. For more information on BYB, visit and follow @bybextreme on all social media platforms.


Originating in South Florida with backyard legend Dada 5000, whose backyard fights gained worldwide popularity online, BYB was founded to harness the excitement of bare knuckle fighting into a more structured product for a wider, more mainstream audience. Since 2015, BYB has worked diligently to grow the reach of bare knuckle on both a domestic and international level, hosting events in Colorado, Wyoming, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, London, and Dubai, and is continuing to work with athletic commissions throughout the United States and globally to expand the fanbase growing sport of bare knuckle fighting.


Material and Photos Courtesy of: BYB Extreme Bareknuckle Series Used with permission. 

For more information about BYB Extreme Bareknuckle Series please visit: 

The Boxing Truth®️ is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved. 

Moloney Not Done, Wants Piece Of 'insane' Boxing Moment

Press Release: February 21, 2024 By Team Moloney/ Murray Wenzel- Andrew Moloney wants to be part of Australian boxing's "insane" uprising, ignoring calls from those inside and outside his circle to retire to stand on the brink of another world title shot.


Credit: Australian Associated Press

The former WBA super flyweight champion's American promoter Top Rank is pushing for Japanese star Kosei Tanaka to fight the Australian on the George Kambosos-Vasiliy Lomachenko May 12 card in Perth.


That's assuming Tanaka takes care of Mexico's Christian Bacasegua in Tokyo this Saturday when the pair fight for the vacant WBO belt.


Moloney (26-3-1) is the No.3 WBO contender behind that duo and is banking on the status of the Perth card to drag Tanaka out of Japan to build his global audience with an Australian defence.


Last May Moloney suffered a brutal final-round knockout in his Las Vegas world title fight with Junto Nakatani, who will fight Alexandro Santiago up a weight for Santiago's WBC bantamweight belt on the Tanaka card.


Moloney then defied advice of keyboard warriors and close family alike to hang up the gloves, beating Filipino Judy Flores in December to get back into the conversation.


"After a loss and KO like that it feels like the world's going to end," the 33-year-old told AAP.


"A lot of people thought my career was over; I had a few tell me and saw a lot of comments that I should call it a day.


"But I've got more to give and it just made me more determined.

"Another world title shot seemed a world away, but it could come in less than 12 months."


A Commonwealth Games champion in 2014, Moloney has been rated among the country's elite professionals since his overseas debut in 2019.


Twin brother Jason won his WBO bantamweight title a week before the Vegas knockout, Andrew in his corner in Canada last month for his incredible defence against Saul Sanchez.

Jason was likely to feature on the Kambosos card but AAP understands he could now command his own headline act instead, potentially in Japan.


Tim Tsyzu, Michael Zerafa, Jai Opetaia and potentially Liam Paro, who is close to locking in a date with Puerto Rico's IBF junior welterweight champion Subriel Matias, will also fight to win or defend world titles in the first half of this year.


Moloney said his brother's defence, as well as Rohan Murdock's stoic loss on that Canadian card, had turned heads.


"I reckon every promoter watching that Canada card walked away thinking, 'We need Aussies in our shows'," he said.


"Australian boxing is flying; we could have six or seven men's world champs by the end of the year. That's absolutely insane.


"Things have changed; we can be a powerhouse.”


Material Courtesy of: Team Moloney/Murray Wenzel Photo Courtesy of: Australian Associated Press Used with permission.

The Boxing Truth®️ is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Ardreal Holmes: The Newest Player In The 154lb. Jr. Middleweight Division

 It is something that this observer has said frequently over the lifetime that I have been covering Boxing and by extension combat sports, but the sport of Boxing is truly one where the search for prospects and the next line of contenders truly never ends. Over the years, Boxing fans have been accustomed to seeing such would-be prospects showcased on various platforms where the ultimate goal has been to showcase a prospect towards what most would consider world title contention. The close of 2023 saw the close of one such platform in Showtime Sports and along with it, it's popular ShoBox: The New Generation series. While the series was known to air world championship bouts from around the world from time to time, ShoBox was primarily known as a breeding ground for fighters who were on the way up towards challenging for world championships and in some cases, superstar status in the sport.

In the latter stages of the series one prospect emerged for what became the first of only two appearances on the series, undefeated Jr. Middleweight Ardreal Holmes, who subsequently scored two ten round decisions over fighters named Vernon Brown in March 2022, and Ismael Villareal in March of last year. Holmes followed those two victories with a step up in winning the United States Boxing Association (USBA) Jr. Middleweight championship with an eighth round stoppage of Wendy Toussaint in June of last year, which was also his first fight away from Shoowtime/ShoBox and his debut on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN

While winning the USBA title was a step up, due to the organization’s affiliation with the International Boxing Federation (IBF) in terms of establishing Holmes in the world rankings in the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division, there are countless fighters looking to establish themselves on the regional title level and often, it takes a performance that will both turn heads and create buzz that will determine how quickly a fighter at that level will be able to move up towards world title contention. This leads us to Holmes’ most recent outing on February 20th in a main event of a card once again broadcast by DAZN and promoted by former world title challenger Dmitry Salita’s Salita Promotions at the Wayne State Fieldhouse in Detroit, MI. In what was the first defense of the USBA title for Holmes, a native of Flint, MI, faced a fellow prospect in Marlon Harrington of Detroit. 

Although Holmes was coming off of a stoppage win in his previous fight over Wendy Toussaint, he seemed more like a tactical boxer to this observer based on his two outings prior to that fight where he was able to box his way to decision victories by outworking his opposition. It is also worth noting that Holmes had only scored knockouts in five of his fourteen career wins coming into this encounter, which seems to support the view of yours truly that Holmes is a fighter more known for his Boxing ability as opposed to his punching power. In contrast to the champion, Harrington entered the bout with a record of 10-1, with 9 of those wins coming by knockout, registering a career knockout percentage of 90% compared to Holmes’ near 40%.

What this indicated to me as someone who was seeing Harrington compete for the first time was that he would try, at least in theory, to back Holmes up and look to limit his ability to use lateral movement and use angles, two of the most valuable tools in the arsenal of a skilled boxer and attributes that Holmes had used in his previous bouts. The first round appeared to indicate that it would indeed be Harrington’s strategy to try to apply pressure on Holmes and back him up against the ropes. While Holmes has shown a willingness to fight off the ropes in previous fights, he displayed great ring awareness and discipline in being able to turn slightly just as he was getting close to the ropes and avoid being caught and trapped where Harrington might have been able to do damage.

The opening round of this fight did not offer much in the way of action, but it did serve as being as good a demonstration as any as to the intelligence or “Boxing IQ” that the twenty-nine year old Holmes appears to have. In round two, Holmes showed something new, something he has not shown before previously, the ability to bring a fight to a sudden end and do so in impressive fashion. An overhand left in the early seconds of round two that seemingly came out of nowhere sent Harrington down hard on the canvas. Harrington struggled to get to his feet,but was able to continue. Sensing the end was near, Holmes proceeded to deck Harrington for a second time with a flush right hook to the jaw. Despite my feelings at this point that the bout should have been stopped after the second knockdown, the heart Marlon Harrington showed in being able to get up a second time on very unsteady legs, cannot be questioned, even though the decision to let him attempt to continue probably should. A justification for asking why the fight was allowed to go on beyond the second knockdown was validated when Holmes sent Harrington down for a third time seconds later, the bout was mercifully stopped. 

Questions regarding why this fight was prolonged longer than should have been the case aside, what this victory for Holmes at 1:25 of the second round did show is not only is Ardreal Holmes an evolving world-class boxer, but now, he has shown the ability to be a sniper in the sense of being able to recognize a vulnerability in his opponent and take that opponent out if given the opportunity. Whether this is an indication of a new approach to his fights or simply an evolving skillset, a victory like this should put Holmes on the radar as a fighter that is on the verge of becoming a legitimate contender rather than being a fringe contender. While as of February 2024 Ardreal Holmes has yet to break into the top fifteen of the International Boxing Federation’s Jr. Middleweight ratings, it would not surprise this observer to see his name appear in that top fifteen list of contenders when the IBF updates their rankings after this latest performance. One should also keep in mind that those who hold regional titles throughout the sport often do not hold onto those titles for extended periods if they continue to win. An additional wrinkle that currently exists in the division that may result in Holmes being able to try and step up against a top contender sooner is the fact that the IBF world championship in the division is currently vacant and as such, with the exception of the upper tier of contenders in the division that will be trying to get in position to fill the vacancy, the rest of the top fifteen likely has plenty of room to maneuver. For now, Ardreal Holmes has established himself as the newest player in the division that should be on the radar of any contender or world champion in the division. Whether he will turn out to be a major player in the IBF and beyond in the days and months to come remains to be seen. 

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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