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Two undefeated fighters from the Dominican Republic could make Saturday the greatest boxing night their country has ever seen as both vie for world titles in a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME.

This Saturday August 20th, former champions Omar Figueroa Jr. and Sergey Lipinets collide in a WBC Super Lightweight title eliminator at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.

The intriguing crossroads bout headlines a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) which features a pair of title matches that could make for a historic night for a country that has quietly become a boxing hotbed. 

Only a few years ago, boxing insiders thought of the Dominican Republic as a place with fighters who looked good while losing. Numerous prospects padded their records against Dominican boxers who sported more losses than wins. The fighters were capable but, because they lacked world class facilities, did not harbor any world champion aspirations. Instead, they picked up paychecks and experience. Dominican trainers learned on the job too and the lessons learned were passed on to the next generation. 

Two of those fighters are fighting for a title Saturday night. If both win, it would be the greatest night of boxing the Dominican Republic has ever seen, according to both. 

Alberto Puello (20-0, 10 KOs) of San Juan de la Maguana and Batyr Akhmedov (9-1, 8 KOs) square off for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Championship. In the other match, Hector Garcia (15-0, 10 KOs) also from San Juan de la Maguana, challenges WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Roger Gutierrez (26-3-1, 20 KOs.)  

Puello and Garcia share the same sentiment: They both hope their fights opens more doors for boxers from the Dominican Republic and that the sport in the country receives more attention and support—something that was lacking in the country’s past. 

The first Dominican boxer to crack the world rankings was Carlos Perez in the 1940s. Perez was a hard-hitting lefty with a penchant for street-fighting. The 5-foot-7 middleweight likely would be a welterweight with today’s improved training techniques. Because of a lack of facilities at home, Perez’s biggest wins were in Cuba. A career of fighting on the road and sleeping in unfamiliar beds came to an end one night in 1960 at a small diner in the Dominican Republic, when an ongoing street beef ended with him stabbed multiple times and slumped over an unfinished plate of bifstek encebollado.

Carlos Teofilo Cruz was the country’s first champion and his title winning performance in 1968 remains the highlight of Dominican boxing. Unfortunately, not that many people witnessed it. Held at a baseball stadium in the nation’s capital, Cruz dropped and then walked down defending champion Carlos Ortiz. The crowd, described as enthusiastic, was much smaller than the promoter had hoped for. Political correspondent, Tomas Montas, wrote that, because of the hostile political environment that remained for years following the assassination of Rafael Trujillo, “people were afraid to leave their homes.” 

After losing his title because of a cut, Cruz died tragically in a plane crash. He remains the only former champion to have beaten Carlos Ortiz who is not in the Hall of Fame. 

There is a lot of talent in the Dominican Republic Undefeated Super Lightweight Contender - Alberto Puello

Cruz, and all the other Dominican fighters who cracked the rankings, had to do what Carlos Perez did and fight on the road. Some relocated to Puerto Rico or New York. Lately, they have been able to develop world class skills while staying at home. 

San Juan de la Maguana is an agricultural city closer to Haiti than to Santo Domingo. Known for its delicious fruits and snow-colored churches, most of the youth aspire to be baseball players. When he was young, Puello’s father looked to enroll him in one of the baseball leagues. 

“I told him,” Puello said, “the league was too expensive. Why pay to play ball when I can box for free and potentially make money from it?” he asked his father. 

Puello soon found himself in Marino Minaya’s gym alongside Hector Garcia. 

“He was about 12, and I was 14,” Garcia recalled. Sixteen years later, the two are on the verge of making history for their country. 

“About a year ago the thought that we may do something special began crossing my mind,” said Garcia. If victorious, it would mark the first time the country saw two of their own win titles on the same day. 

“There is a lot of talent in the Dominican Republic,” adds Puello. “All we need is a chance and hopefully our fights (his and Garcia’s) on the 20th brings much needed attention and support for the younger fighters on the way up.”  

Some have already noticed. In a recent interview on the YouTube channel of Broadway Joel, Garcia said that companies such as Premier Boxing Champions deserve credit for their recent support. “Al Haymon, you have to give him credit. He’s the one who knows about this business. Luis DeCubas too and Bob Santos. They’re the ones who have been supporting us recently, which is what Dominicans really needed to push forward.” 

In addition to Garcia and Puello, the top-ten slots are increasingly being occupied by Dominican boxers. At middleweight, Carlos Adames is ranked number four by the independent Transnational Boxing Rankings Organization and sixth by the WBA. Stylish lightweight and Muhammad Ali look-a-like, Michel Rivera, known as the La Zarza Ali, is ranked third by the WBA. Knockout artist Elvis Rodriguez is only a fight or two away from joining them amongst the best in the world. 

These fighters are on the cusp of a title shot and if they and Garcia and Puello, are victorious, the Dominican Republic may surpass Mexico as the Latin American country producing the most champions. 

Both Garcia and Puello want to win for their country as much as for themselves. If they, and the others, continue winning, the Dominican Republic might be known as much for their world class boxing talent as they are for their baseball players. Perhaps more youngsters will choose the path that Puello did and turn to boxing rather than baseball. And maybe more fathers will be like Puello’s father. 

What does he say now about your choice to box, I asked. 

“He doesn’t even talk about baseball anymore,” Puello replied. 

For a closer look at the entire Figueroa vs Lipinets card, check out our fight night page.

See More: Sat, Oct 15, 2022

Plant vs Dirrell

SAT, OCT 15, 2022 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

Caleb Plant photo
Anthony Dirrell photo

Former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant faces two-time WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell in a highly anticipated 12-round bout between 168-pound rivals.

    • Record
    • Caleb Plant 21-1-0
    • Anthony Dirrell 34-2-2
    • KOs (KO %)
    • Caleb Plant 12 (54.55%)
    • Anthony Dirrell 25 (65.79%)
    • Weight
    • Caleb Plant 168 lbs (76.36 kg)
    • Anthony Dirrell 168 lbs (76.36 kg)
    • Height
    • Caleb Plant 6'1" (1.85 m)
    • Anthony Dirrell 6'2" (1.88 m)
    • Reach
    • Caleb Plant 74" (188 cm)
    • Anthony Dirrell 74½" (189 cm)
    • Stance
    • Caleb Plant Orthodox
    • Anthony Dirrell Orthodox
    • Age
    • Caleb Plant 30
    • Anthony Dirrell 37

Watch the Fight

LIVE ON FOX SPORTS PPV

Sat, Oct 15, 2022

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Sat, Oct 15, 2022

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Wilder vs Helenius

SAT, OCT 15, 2022 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

Deontay Wilder photo
Robert Helenius photo

Former WBC heavyweight world champion and boxing superstar Deontay "The Bronze Bomber'' Wilder makes his long-awaited return to the ring to battle top-rated Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius in an explosive 12-round battle between ferocious punchers in the main event of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View.

    • Record
    • Deontay Wilder 42-2-1
    • Robert Helenius 31-3-0
    • KOs (KO %)
    • Deontay Wilder 41 (91.11%)
    • Robert Helenius 20 (58.82%)
    • Weight
    • Deontay Wilder 226 lbs (102.73 kg)
    • Robert Helenius 243 lbs (110.45 kg)
    • Height
    • Deontay Wilder 6'7" (2.01 m)
    • Robert Helenius 6'" (2 m)
    • Reach
    • Deontay Wilder 83" (211 cm)
    • Robert Helenius 79" (201 cm)
    • Stance
    • Deontay Wilder Orthodox
    • Robert Helenius Orthodox
    • Age
    • Deontay Wilder 36
    • Robert Helenius 38

Watch the Fight

LIVE ON FOX SPORTS PPV

Sat, Oct 15, 2022

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LIVE NOW: Figueroa vs Lipinets

TONIGHT: Figueroa vs Lipinets

TOMORROW: Figueroa vs Lipinets

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Some of the finest moments in the career of the four-division champ ahead of his showdown against Omar Figueroa Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

Adrien “The Problem” Broner possesses a resume full of accomplishments. Broner won his first world title when he was 23 years old, and by 26 had joined an elite group of fighters who had won world titles in four weight classes. Now 33, Broner remains one of boxing’s biggest personalities.

After campaigning at 147 the past five years, the Cincinnati native will return to the super lightweight division to face world champion Omar Figueroa Jr. on Saturday, August 20, in a headlining event at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, FL on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). It is “work or die” season for Broner as he looks to re-establish himself in the 140-pound division.

“I’m going in there to try to stop Figueroa,” Broner said. “I’m going to take the fight to him and go ahead and get him out of there. What I expect from him is the same gruesome Figueroa that we always see. He’ll try to make it a rough fight. Every fighter is different, but I don’t think he’ll be hard to hit. I know I can be a champion again, and I know I’m going to be a champion again.”

As Broner prepares for his highly anticipated return, here is a look back at his five memorable moments.

5 ADRIAN GRANADOS

Date: February 18, 2017

Location: Cintas Center, Cincinnati

At stake: No title

Records at the time: Broner 32-2 (24 KOs), Granados 18-4-2 (11 KOs), 

Result: Broner SD (96-94, 93-97, 97-93)

Significance: Broner knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park fighting in his hometown against his friend and former sparring partner Granados, but was ready for it. Granados pressured Broner throwing punches in bunches while Broner responded with brilliant counterpunches in the form of uppercuts and hooks. The fight featured many good exchanges and was a Fight of the Year candidate. Broner’s power eventually wore Granados down. More shots were exchanged in the tenth round, but it was a thunderous left hook from Broner that rocked Granados and solidified the split decision victory for “The Problem.”

4 Ashley Theophane

Date: April 1, 2016

Location: DC Armory, Washington 

At stake: Vacant WBA Super Lightweight Title

Records at the time: Broner 31-2 (23 KOs), Theophane 39-6-1 (11 KOs)

Result: Broner TKO 9 (1:10)

Significance: Prior to the fight, Broner was stripped off his WBA Super Lightweight Title for not making weight. Yet he fought like a champion on this night, displaying his skills by battering Theophane with a versatile attack. In round three Theophane was hurt and cornered by a right hand followed by a left hook. The tough Theophane was game and Broner unphased, dismantling him with speed and power. In the ninth, Broner unleashed a volley of blows, starting with an uppercut and ending with a cross that sent Theophane swerving around the ring. Referee Luis Pabon stopped the assault.

3 Khabib Allakhverdiev

Date: October 3, 2015

Location: U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati

At stake: Vacant WBA Super Lightweight Title

Records at the time: Broner 30-2 (22 KOs), Allakhverdiev 19-1 (9 KOs)

Result: Broner TKO 12 (2:23)

Significance: There was plenty of two-way action early on as Allakhverdiev gave as good as he got. Broner’s punches carried more pop. By the sixth, Allakhverdiev’s face and ribs were marked up from a steady diet of rights and lefts. Allakhverdiev was overwhelmed by Broner’s skills and threw less in the late rounds to avoid punishing counters. In the twelfth, Broner stunned Allakhverdiev with a straight jab, followed by a left hook, and a right uppercut-left hook combination, causing referee Harvey Dock to rescue Allakhverdiev at last.

2 GAVIN REES

Date: February 16, 2013

 

Location: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

At stake: Broner’s WBC Lightweight Title 

Records at the time: Broner 25-0 (21 KOs), Rees 37-1-1 (19 KOs)

Result: Broner TKO 5 (2:59)

Significance: Rees handled his business from the opening bell, fearlessly firing away. But in the third, Rees realized that the problem was “The Problem.” Broner uncorked a sneaky right uppercut flooring Rees for the second time in his career. When Rees arose, Broner was in attack mode, pounding away in search of the finish. In the fifth, Broner was in command, landing a digging left hook to Rees’ liver. Rees dropped to a knee, though clearly in pain, he made it back to his feet only to eat more of Broner’s combinations. Referee Earl Brown halted the fight.

1 ANTONIO DEMARCO

Date: November 17, 2012

Location: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

At stake: DeMarco’s WBC Lightweight Title

Records at the time: Broner 24-0 (20 KOs), DeMarco 28-2-1 (21 KOs)

Result: Broner TKO 8 (1:49)

Significance: This was Broner’s scariest performance. Both fighters were cautious early. In the third round, DeMarco applied pressure using an attack focused on the body. In the fourth, the combatants stood toe-to-toe in the center of the ring, but it was Broner who dominated with quick combinations including a right uppercut that popped DeMarco’s head up. Broner’s shoulder roll defense frustrated an impatient DeMarco. He was still coming forward, but now being countered by head and body shots that left DeMarco’s face a swollen mess. By the eighth, DeMarco was a depleted force. Broner finished him off with a winging left uppercut that sent DeMarco to the canvas for the first time in his pro career. DeMarco’s corner stopped the fight immediately.

For a closer look at Adrien Broner, check out his fighter page.

Chris Colbert Doesn't Miss A Beat

THU, JAN 01, 1970

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The talented super featherweight is as confident as ever as he takes aim at a showdown versus rising undefeated lightweight Frank Martin.

Talented super featherweight contender Chris "Prime Time" Colbert is this week's guest on The PBC Podcast. The always-confident Colbert discusses his shocking loss to Hector Garcia last February, how NFL legend Deion Sanders helped him deal with defeat, takes aim at Frank Martin and explains why he recently confronted Gary Russell Jr. Plus, in this week's Toe to Toe section, hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal list their top five welterweight matchups of the 21st century. 

For a closer look at Chris Colbert, check out his fighter page. 

The PBC Podcast is a weekly boxing show featuring timely analysis and interviews with the sport’s biggest figures. The show is published every Wednesday on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spreaker and other outlets. Alternatively, listeners can find The PBC Podcast on the PBC website at www.premierboxingchampions.com/podcast.

Fight Night: Sun, Sep 04, 2022 - Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California

Valenzuela vs De Los Santos

The Dominican Republic’s Edwin De Los Santos (15-1, 14 KOs) scored an upset via third-round TKO as he dropped the previously unbeaten Jose Valenzuela (12-1, 8 KOs) three times before referee Ray Corona waived off the bout 1:08 into the round.
Valenzuela vs De Los Santos Round by Round Fight Summary. Rounds are displayed numerically as columns. Each row will display one of the following: W for win, L for loss, KO for knockout, or TKO for technical knock out. An empty column means that data is not available.
Fighter Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Valenzuela No data available No data available No data available No data available
De Los Santos No data available No data available No data available No data available

In the pay-per-view opener, the Dominican Republic’s Edwin De Los Santos (15-1, 14 KOs) scored an upset via third-round TKO as he dropped the previously unbeaten Jose Valenzuela (12-1, 8 KOs) three times before referee Ray Corona waived off the bout 1:08 into the round.

Recap Image

Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions


"Valenzuela is a fighter who I feel has been protected and I wanted to show everyone what I’m capable of,” said De Los Santos. "The plan wasn't to come forward so much, but when I saw how he was fighting, I was ready to go toe-to-toe. The Mexican fighters love to fight like that, but he was open for me to attack.”
 
“I didn't expect De Los Santos to be as aggressive as he was in the fight,” said Valenzuela. “He gave it out as he good as he took. I just want to focus on getting back in the ring and redeeming myself."
 
A late replacement who officially stepped in to face Valenzuela this week, De Los Santos looked sharp from the outset, staggering Valenzuela in round one, although Valenzuela was able to survive the round. Early in round two Valenzuela was staggered again, but was able to shift the momentum temporarily, landing a powerful left hook that put De Los Santos down.
 
After rising to his feet, De Los Santos was able to regain momentum with a series of right hooks that put Valenzuela down hard. De Los Santos was penalized by the referee for throwing an extra shot while Valenzuela was down, which gave Valenzuela extra time to recover and make it through the round.
 
De Los Santos looked the fresher fighter heading into the round and was able to drop Valenzuela again early in the frame. Valenzuela again was able to get back on his feet but after a follow up flurry from De Los Santos, the referee jumped in and officially waived off the fight.
 
"I came in against a ranked fighter tonight and I was up for the task,” said De Los Santos. “Now I want the same name that everyone wants. I want Gervonta Davis.”

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