Fiordigiglio retains IBF I/C title in Italy


Italian contender Orlando Fiordigiglio (27-1, 12 KOs) successfully retained his IBF I/C belt at jr. middleweight on Saturday night in Siena (Tuscany), Italy. The 32-year-old Fiordigiglio, a former Italian and European Union titlist, had to sweat and grit, but he was able to get past the always game Howard Cospolite (now 15-6-2, 6 KOs) of France. The French challenger started the bout at a high pace, trying to match the upset he caused in Denmark in May 2015, when he stopped the previously unbeaten Abdul Khattab. Fiordigiglio, however, was able to weather the storm and seemed to have success with his counterpunching during the middle rounds. At the beginning of round nine, though, a cut caused by an accidental headbutt a few rounds earlier forced British referee Mickey Vann to stop the contest and read the scorecards. All of the judges had it 87-85 Fiordigiglio, who was then awarded the technical decision and kept his crown.



De Loach Wins Vacant USBA Super Welterweight Title, Hurd Wins Vacant IBF Super Welterweight Title


By Raymundo Dioses

De Loach Wins Vacant USBA Super Welterweight Title

Justin De Loach needed only two rounds to dispatch Chris Pearson in a minor-upset that occurred on the undercard of a Mayweather Promotions fight card from The Pechanga in Temecula, California on February 24, 2017. 

De Loach, (17-1, 9KO) knocked Pearson to the canvas twice in round two, with Pearson taking the full count following the second knockdown as De Loach notched a KO win at 2:30 in round two. 

With the win De Loach picks up the vacant USBA super welterweight title. 


Hurd Wins Vacant IBF Super Welterweight Title

Jarrett Hurd fought Tony Harrison for the vacant IBF super welterweight title at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama on February 25, 2017 and after a slow start and many competitive back and forth rounds, was able to drop and stop Harrison in round eight. 

“I did it! Tony Harrison was a tough opponent. We knew he would use a lot of movement in the fight. The game plan was to wear him down as the fight wore on. One thing I do well is keep my composure. We knew landing shots to the body and keeping the pressure on him was going to eventually break him down,” said Hurd.

Hurd, (20-0, 14KO) is now the IBF’s newest champion.  The title became vacant a few weeks before the bout after former champion Jermall Charlo, who won the belt in 2015 and made three successful defenses, made the decision to vacate and move up to the middleweight division. 

Han Retains IBF Featherweight Title Over Gerula


By: Raymundo Dioses


Texas native Jennifer Han defended the IBF featherweight title for the fourth time with a dominant ten round unanimous decision over Olivia Gerula in front of 3,000 fans at the Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas.

Han, (16-3, 1KO) scored a knockdown in round five and fought behind a steady left hand jab, straight right hands and left hand hooks en route to 100-89 scorecards from all three judges.

"I felt great out there," Han said. 

"Olivia's a road warrior and I knew she was dangerous. She's gone into a lot of good fighter's home towns and pulled off upsets. But Louie (trainer, Burke) has the best expertise, the best game plan. I tried my best to follow that game plan in the ring."

DeGale Retains IBF Super Middleweight Title, Davis New IBF Lightweight Champion Via TKO


By: Raymundo Dioses


IBF super middleweight title holder James DeGale retained his belt in a unification match against WBC titlist Badou Jack on January 14, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York.

DeGale, (23-1-1, 14KO) scored a knockdown in round one.  The fight became competitive in the mid rounds, and Jack floored De Gale in the 12th round.  Scores were 114-112 to Degale, 113-113 and 113-113 for a majority draw. 

"Let's do it again," said DeGale. "Let's do it again in London.  He hit me [in the 12th], but I was more off balance.  I respect him.  He's a good, all-round fighter.  Let's go again."  DeGale was making his third title defense. 

In the night's co-feature, Gervonta Davis became the IBF's new lightweight champion with a dominant performance over Jose Pedraza via seventh round TKO.

Davis (17-0, 16 KO) came out swinging, was the aggressor throughout the action packed fight and in the seventh, sent Pedraza to the canvas.  Pedraza was able to beat the count, yet the fight was called off by referee Ricky Gonzalez due to the punishment Pedraza was taking.

"It feels great to win my first belt," Davis said.  "It was a lot of hard work, but it means a lot to me that I had a great performance and boxed really well.  I appreciate the best boxer in the world backing me, Floyd Mayweather."

Both fights were televised by Showtime and promoted by Mayweather Promotions.

Michael Spinks to be inaugurated into AC Boxing Hall of Fame


When Michael Spinks got notice that he was going to be inducted into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame, the former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion of the world was stunned and in disbelief.

Spinks, highly regarded as perhaps the best light heavyweight ever, was genuinely honored and taken aback that he was even chosen to be elected in the inaugural class of 2017. 

“It’s kind of unbelievable.  I feel good about it.  I love Atlantic City,” said Spinks, who fought a total of 13 professional bouts in the city by the sea.  Spinks recalled his early trips to Atlantic City before a host of casinos began to take form in the 1970’s.  Spinks would walk up and down the boardwalk eating sandwiches.  “I liked the rides.  I really enjoyed myself in A.C.”

The St. Louis, Missouri native fought in the heyday of Atlantic City boxing, as the city was booming with boxing business in the 1980’s.  Spinks first fight in the city took place at the Resorts International, one of the first casinos to establish itself in the city. 

Spinks took on opponent Ramon Ranquello on February 24, 1980 with only a four day notice from manager Butch Lewis and still registered a TKO win in his first A.C. fight.  Even more remarkable than the four day notice and subsequent TKO victory was the fact that Spinks himself had just fought earlier that month, on February 1, 1980, scoring a unanimous decision win over Johnny Wilbum at the Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Ranquello had knocked out Mike Rossman in September 1979 and Rossman pulled out of the scheduled rematch during fight week. “Rossman didn’t want anymore (of Ranquello).” 

Spinks did, and with the win over Ranquello, the ‘Jinx’, who was 10-0 at that point in his career, would go on to fight the majority of his career bouts in A.C.  Spinks fought twice more in 1980 before returning to Atlantic City on October 18, 1980, scoring a knockout over Yaqui Lopez at the Convention Center in A.C. 

Spinks fought again at the Resorts International, knocking out Marvin Johnson on March 28, 1981 before becoming the WBA light heavyweight champion with a unanimous decision win over Eddie Mustafa Muhammad on July 18, 1981 in Las Vegas.

The Playboy Hotel & Casino would host Spinks first title defense on November 7, 1981, in which Vonzell Johnson was stopped at 1:13 of the seventh round.  Spinks would fight his next three bouts and successfully defend his light heavyweight title at the Playboy Hotel & Casino, all three via knockout in 1982.  Spinks noted that he “loved the hotel jackets and t-shirts” for his fights that were provided by the Playboy Hotel & Casino.  The casino was renamed the Atlantis Hotel and Casino in 1984 and eventually closed in 1999 under the name of the Trump World’s Fair, which was the original name of the casino.

Spinks fought at the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City on September 18, 1982, notching a TKO over Johnny Davis, and returned to the Convention Center for his first fight in 1983, a unanimous decision win over Dwight Muhammad Qawi in which Spinks became the unified champion by picking up the WBC light heavyweight title.  

After a defense of both titles in Canada over Oscar Rivadeneyra on November 25, 1983, Spinks again returned to Atlantic City, this time to the Resorts International where a unanimous decision win over Eddie David that earned Spinks the recognition of undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world (WBC, WBA, IBF).  Spinks also became the International Boxing Federations inaugural champion with the win. 

On February 23, 1985, Spinks again fought at the Sands Casino Hotel against David Sears, stopping Sears at 1:02 of round three.  The Sands Casino closed its doors in Atlantic City in November 2006. 

By this time, Spinks would regularly walk Atlantic City’s famous Boardwalk on fight week and would even run daily on the beach in preparation for his bouts.  “We had a routine.  We would run on the beach every morning.  Some of my people would run ahead of me, and sometimes I would be able to pass them!” said Spinks, who also recalled training to the tunes of Midnight Star. 

Spinks defended his undisputed status in Las Vegas on June 6, 1985 in knocking out Jim MacDonald before audaciously stepping up to the heavyweight class and taking the IBF heavyweight title from Larry Holmes on September 21, 1985 via unanimous decision.  The loss was Holmes first as a professional, and in a rematch on April 19, 1986, also in Las Vegas, Spinks gave Holmes his second career loss via split decision.  Spinks, who also became the sports first light heavyweight champion to win a heavyweight title, had a non-title bout win over Steffen Tangstad on September 6, 1986 to end out the year. 

‘Jinx’ would fight the final two fights of his career in Atlantic City, starting with Gerry Cooney in a non-title bout on June 15, 1987.  For the Cooney bout, Spinks recalled training at the Trump’s Castle, then owned by President-Elect Donald Trump.  “I met him a few times, but never had a sit down,” recalled Spinks of his interactions with Trump.  Spinks came in an 8-5 underdog yet knocked down Cooney twice in the fifth round and scored a stoppage in the same round at 2:51.

In the final fight of Spinks legendary career, Spinks valiantly took on a prime Mike Tyson in what would turn about to be a passing of the torch to a young lion who had by then gained possession of all three major titles was about to take over the sport. 

In the lead up to the fight Spinks, “Played it cool.  I stayed in my hotel room, took walks on the Boardwalk.  I knew I had my hands full with Tyson.”

The bout took place on June 27, 1988 and was titled “Once and For All”.  The end result was a knockout loss in round one to Tyson.  It was the first time Spinks had even been knocked down in his stellar career. 

The fight, in which de facto promoter Trump paid an $11 million site fee to host the fight at the Trump Plaza, did garner Spinks his highest career payday with a whopping $13.5 million purse.  Tyson was given a $22 million purse in what was the record given to a fighter at that time.  A sold out crowd of 21,785 attended the fight and 600,000 fans purchased the pay per view. 

Prior to “Once and For All”, a typical Atlantic City weekend would produce $215 million in gambling revenues.  On fight weekend for Spinks vs. Tyson, the city garnered $344 million. 

Spinks has not been back to Atlantic City in several years, yet fondly recalled the infamous city in which he helped popularize.  In the following years, great fights took place in Atlantic City that included fighters Arturo Gatti, Bernard Hopkins, and heavyweight bouts featuring Evander Holyfield and George Foreman.  To some, despite only being one round long, the Spinks/Tyson bout is the best Atlantic City fight ever. 

In terms of an event and revenue, it sure was.

Spinks is hopeful that the city can restore itself to being a boxing powerhouse one day.  “I would hope that Atlantic City would get back to being a boxing city.”  Spinks noted he would attend boxing functions whenever they occurred in the future.

The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is the next great boxing event, planned for May 2017, and Spinks is more than happy to attend. 

“I can’t wait to get back there and walk around.  Maybe I will throw a Frisbee!”

Atlantic City Hall of Fame Announces Inductees

By: Raymundo Dioses



Last week the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame announced their 2017 inductees. 

Of the eight fighters selected this year, six either held a version of the International Boxing Federation title or fought for one in what will be an induction year strewn with IBF affiliations. 

The most notable International Boxing Federation title holder to be inducted into the ACBHOF, set to take place at the The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey in late May 2017, is Mike Tyson. 

Tyson first won the IBF heavyweight title on August 1, 1987 via unanimous decision over Tony Tucker in a bout titled “The Ultimate” to make ‘Iron Mike’ the youngest ever undisputed heavyweight champion.  Tucker had earned the vacant IBF title with a TKO win over James ‘Buster’ Douglas on May 30, 1987.

Also an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011, Tyson was a long reigning IBF champion, having made six successful defenses over a span of almost three years over the likes of Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks and Frank Bruno before losing the IBF title to Buster Douglas on February 2, 1990 via knockout loss in what is widely considered the greatest upset in sports history. 

Michael Spinks was the International Boxing Federations first light-heavyweight champion, winning the title on February 25, 1984 via unanimous decision over Eddie Davis and Spinks defended his undisputed status as a light heavyweight champion in two successful defenses prior to moving up to the heavyweight division and dethroning IBF heavyweight title holder Larry Holmes on September 21, 1985.  With the win over Holmes, Spinks became the first reigning light heavyweight champion to win a heavyweight championship. 

Spinks, nicknamed “Jinx” for his powerful right hand named “The Sphinx Jinx”, again defeated Holmes on April 19, 1986 and made a knockout defense of the IBF heavyweight title over Steffen Tangstad later that year before facing Tyson on June 27, 1988 and losing via KO within 91 seconds of the fight. It would be Spinks’ last career bout.  Spinks was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994. 

Larry Holmes was the first ever International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion and notched a TKO victory over James “Bone-Crusher” Smith on November 9, 1984 inside 12 of the scheduled 15 rounds.  The IBF was created the year previous in 1983 and eventually garnered its strong reputation as one of the four major sanctioning organizations in the sport of boxing.

Known as the “Easton Assassin”, Holmes defended the IBF strap twice with wins over David Bey and Carl Williams before losing the title to Michael Spinks on September 21, 1985 via 15 round unanimous decision.  Holmes would make two more attempts to gain the IBF title, losing a split decision to Spinks on April 19, 1986 in their rematch, and then Holmes was knocked out inside four rounds by then undisputed champion Tyson in a fight named “Heavyweight History” on January 22, 1988.  Holmes was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008. 

Arturo “Thunder” Gatti came into the possession of the International Boxing Federation USBA super featherweight title on June 28, 1994 when he defeated Pete Taliaferro by TKO and after two more USBA title fights, Gatti faced Tracy Harris Patterson at the Madison Square Garden on December 15, 1995, lifting the IBF’s super featherweight title from Patterson with a unanimous decision win alongside scoring an early knockdown in round two and fighting through two hampered eyes. 

Gatti made three successful defenses of the IBF super featherweight title with another win over Patterson, two knockout wins over Wilson Rodriguez and Gabriel Ruelas (named Knockout of the Year and Fight of the Year in 1997) before moving up in weight to face some of the biggest names in boxing including Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather.  Gatti also engaged in the Fight of The Year in 1998 against Ivan Robinson and had three memorable bouts against Mickey Ward, with both Gatti-Ward I (2002) and Gatti-Ward III (2003) notching Fight of the Year honors. 

Gatti died in July 2009 and was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2013. 

Atlantic City, New Jersey native Leavander Johnson began his career in 1989 in his home city and lost attempts at other lightweight titles before winning the USBA title in October 2002 with a majority decision over Julian Wheeler.  

In his fourth career attempt at a major world title, Johnson TKO’d Stefano Zoff in Milan, Italy for the vacant IBF lightweight title.  Johnson made his first defense of the title three months later on September 17, 2005 in a fatal match up against Jesus Chavez.  Johnson lost by TKO in the 11th round and later died of complications resulting from damage received in the fight. 

New Jersey resident Dwight Muhammad Qawi was a prominent cruiserweight contender throughout his 20 year career.  Qawi, known as the “Camden Buzzsaw”, lost his bid for the IBF cruiserweight belt to Evander Holyfield on December 5, 1987 inside four rounds.

In the non-participant category, iconic fight promoter Don King and legendary referee Steve Smoger will be inducted into the ACBHOF.  King promoted a host of IBF titleholders throughout his career and Smoger, an Atlantic City, New Jersey resident, has officiated many IBF title bouts.