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Ray Flores
Thank you very much operator and to the media joining us around the world as we are very excited because we are just under two weeks away until we have our mega event with Errol Spence Jr going head to head against Shawn Porter. Welterweight unification is on the line. That all comes your way on Saturday September 28. It is a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. What a main event but we have a sensational co-main event and a loaded undercard beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Today we’re going to be joined by fighters that are going to be involved in the co-main event which will see the WBC Super Middleweight Champion of the world, Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell taking on the former unbeaten World Champion David” El Bandera Roja” Benavidez. Also, in action and will be participating in today’s call, unbeaten rising sensation Mario “El Azteca” Barrios will collide against fellow unbeaten Batyr Akhmedov for the WBA Super Lightweight Championship. Tickets are going quickly. They are still available and it’s being promoted by Man Down Promotions, TGB Promotions, Shawn Porter Promotions. They’re available at

Before we get an opportunity to hear from the fighters, let’s talk to one of the hardest working men in entertainment. He’s the President of TGB Promotions. TGB has had another tremendous year promoting events all over the world. Please welcome my dear friend, a man who knows boxing probably more than anybody, Mr. Tom Brown.

Tom Brown
That’s why I love Ray. Thanks everyone for joining us for this conference call today for what I believe will be an extremely exciting night of boxing all presented by Premier Boxing Champions on pay-per-view. it’s a big fight when you have it at the STAPLES Center, the home of big-time boxing. We have a spectacular undercard and it’s going to be non-stop action and a lot of excitement leading up to the highly anticipated Welterweight Unification plus the undercard with veterans like Josesito Lopez and John Molina.

Also on the pay-per-view portion of the show is unbeaten Mario Barrios taking on the unbeaten Batyr Akhmedov for the WBA Super Lightweight Title. And WBC Champion Anthony Dirrell against the unbeaten former champion, David Benavidez. Any one of these fights could easily steal the show so it’s going to be a great night. I’ll throw it back to Ray and thank you again.

R. Flores
Thank you very much to Mr. Tom Brown. Always working hard but we greatly appreciate his time. He’s very excited as is the rest of the world. Now with today being Mexican Independence Day I think it’s only fitting enough that we have one of the biggest Mexican stars in the sport here to kick off today’s call. David Benavidez has been quite active. He was on hand at yesterday’s huge festival here in Los Angeles celebrating the holiday and was a tremendous hit with the crowd — greeting fans, signing autographs, taking photos. He is just 22 years of age. Former Super Middleweight World Champion trained by his father, Jose Benavidez. They have tremendous chemistry with one another. Certainly a winning formula.

Talking about that winning formula, he was the youngest Super Middleweight World Champion in history when he won the championship in 2017 by defeating Ronald Gavril, most recently having coming off of a very impressive second round stoppage over J’Leon Love. That was a fight that co-main event of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View back in March. He’s undefeated 21 and 0, 18 wins coming by way of knockout. Originally from Phoenix Arizona, now training in Southern California. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome one of the fastest rising stars in boxing today. Here is David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez. David?

David Benavidez
What’s up guys? How are you doing? First of all, I want to say a Happy Mexican Independence Day. I was happy to see a lot of people celebrating Mexican Independence Day. The fight is less than two weeks away. Probably the biggest fight of my life and I’m just very excited to be here in this position.

What about you has changed between now and a year ago?

D. Benavidez
What’s changed is that I’m getting older, I’m more mature. I feel like the situation did more good to me than bad. It’s made me realize that everything can be lost. It definitely took that to mature me and see that I had my whole life’s work taken away over one error. I’m more dedicated now, but I’m going to value things way more too. This is just a fight I want to look spectacular in.

Dirrell, he’s a great fighter, I take nothing away from him but I need these kind of opponents to reach my goals. I’m faster than last year, I’m smarter and my boxing IQ is higher. When I’m put in these types of situations, I never fold. The best comes out of me. This is my second pay-per-view fight that I’m going to be co-headlining and this is where I wanted to be my whole life so I’m going to take full advantage of this situation.

My question to you is what should Los Angeles fans would look forward to come to see you on Saturday?

D. Benavidez
The fans can expect to see me in an exciting fight. I’m going to make it a war. I’m going in there and I’m looking for the knockout. I want to make my people proud this fight and it’s going to be a hell of a fight.

Anything you would like to say to the fans that are going to come to see you from Los Angeles?

D. Benavidez
I’m fighting in my own backyard. I’ve got a lot of friends here, a lot of family here. A lot of people that support me. There’s a lot of Mexican people here so I’m definitely going to be putting on for them and it’s going to be an amazing fight. I’m going to try my best to knock Dirrell out.

When you saw Anthony Dirrell win the title that you used to own, what did it make you feel? Do you feel like maybe he was not truly the champion and it made you all the more hungrier to show Dirrell that you are the rightful WBC Champion?

D. Benavidez
Definitely. I felt it as soon as he fought for the belt in February because when I fought was it two or three weeks after that. It was very hard just to go through seeing him win the title that was mine. But he’s the real champion and he fought for the Vacant Title so I’m not going to take that away from him. But knowing that that was my belt that I have, I’m just coming in this fight very hungry, very motivated. I have about three and a half months training. So I was very focused for this training camp. So this is the best thing that you guys are ever going to see. That you guys have seen actually, so I’m very excited to go in there and give a great fight and get my title back.

Do you feel like when you made your return about against J’Leon Love that any ring rust was there that you knocked off? Was it enough time to really knock it off or do you feel like you really had to get that experience through your sparring sessions?

D. Benavidez
With the last fight when I fought J’Leon Love I wanted to get at least five rounds in. But I’m not going to complain for knocking this guy out early. But I’ve had so much sparring in this training camp and in the last training camp. For this training camp I’ve had at least over 200 rounds sparring. I feel like everything came into place. Everything is going really good and I’m just going to be extremely ready.

I’m not going to kill myself over the rounds because I didn’t get enough rounds for the last fight. I know exactly what I’m stepping into. We have an amazing game plan and like I said, I’m just ready to go.

Was that sparring with Shawn Porter more to help out Shawn or did you feel like he was offering you something in the sparring that you were getting something that was useful to you as well?

D. Benavidez
Definitely if you’re a great fighter you can find things to try to help yourself. Obviously I’m bigger than Shawn Porter and heavier than him. So I wasn’t trying to kill him but the thing about Shawn Porter that makes him so good is that he’s a very good pressure fighter. So me, for what I was trying to do, I was trying to use a little bit more of my boxing skills, just to work on that in case I have to use that in the fight for Anthony Dirrell. So you kind of have to see in what areas you have to work on yourself.

I was boxing around a little bit. Trying to stop him with my jab, throwing a lot of jabs. So we both definitely walked away with something good from that sparring session.

Final question, obviously there’s been a lot of chatter between Caleb Plant and you back and forth. Is it hard to block out the surrounding noise from a guy like Caleb Plant to focus on Anthony Dirrell or is that something that you’re use to and you just deal with it when time comes?

D. Benavidez
I don’t hear any chatter at all. I just hear some people saying that that would be a good fight. , to me personally he doesn’t tell me anything or I don’t hear anything from here. So it’s not hard to block something out when I don’t hear anything to start off with. But it’s the same thing as everybody else in the business. Caleb Plant, Anthony Dirrell, Callum Smith — there’s all these fights are great fights to be made. I just train and prepare for each fight that I have. So, yes it’s not hard at all. When it’s time for those fights to be made it’s going to be made.

How important is it for you to make this effort to interact with the fans? Here you are training, the fight is coming up. You probably could have used a day off but you’re out with them. What’s that about to you?

D. Benavidez
It’s not only just for me, at the end of the day when I fight it’s for the fans, it’s for the coaches. There was a big celebration yesterday with Mexican Independence Day. They were celebrating that yesterday and they asked me if I wanted to be there. If I wanted to go sign some pictures for some fans and we ended up giving away some free tickets and shirts.

I’m in a position right now where I’m just blessed that people like to see me. When I was younger I didn’t really think I was going to get to this point but I’ve gotten so much love, not only from the father’s but from the kids, the mothers. Everybody likes to see me and they support me so definitely as much as they support me, I’m going to go and support them.

I have no problems signing and we signed a lot of pictures yesterday. We took a lot of pictures, gave a lot of shirts out, so it’s very important to me, just so I can be out there and they can see. They know that I’m out there and they know I’m not going to be that type of boxer that’s hard and never going to attend these events. I’m always going to attend these events. Because I feel like it’s very important to show the fans and the community that I’m out there for them just like how they’re there for me. So it’s very something – it was a very special day for me yesterday.

How important also has it been this last year when you’ve been out of the ring to have your family around you, being a boxing family that understands what it’s all about?

D. Benavidez
It was very important. When we got suspended for a year we didn’t know what to do with our time. Obviously we trained but it’s like when you’re training and you don’t have anything coming up, you just train, you go home and talk about the mistakes that lead you to that point. And I felt like I matured a lot from that point, just talking to my father and my father being around me, supporting me and my family supporting me through this whole situation.

I feel like I’m very grateful just to have my family there with me always supporting me. At the end of the day, this is what I do it for. I don’t just do it for me. I do it for my family. Obviously I do it for my legacy when I get older too but I put my family before myself every time. So everything that’s good for me is good for them. I’m just very appreciative that they’re there supporting me no matter what.

So you’ve been pretty vocal that you’re gunning for the knockout in this fight. I’m just wondering if you could talk about what gives you that confidence?

D. Benavidez
I’m 22 years old but everybody sees my strengths. They know I have a good speed. I’m very strong. I feel like with the confidence I have right now in my power, I feel like anybody who I hit, it doesn’t matter who it is, I’ll hurt them. I trained very hard for this fight. I had three and a half months I haven’t slacked on anything, my diet has been very good, my recovery has been very good, my strength and conditioning has been excellent. So all of these factors have given me so much confidence in my abilities.

Also what gives me a lot of confidence is knowing that Anthony Dirrell hasn’t been stopped. Knowing that nobody has knocked him out. So I want to push myself to the absolute limit and do something that not everyone has done. Anthony Dirrell has never been hurt, he’s never been knocked out. So imagine what that’s going to do for my confidence if I’m the only one who knocks Anthony Dirrell out, if I knocked him out in this fight, that’s what just keeps me going because I know I can. I know whoever I put my hands on I can hurt. It doesn’t matter who it is and I can do it a variety of ways. I can do it from body shots, I can do it from head shots, I can do it from liver shots, I can do everything.

So coming into this fight I know what I can do and I know who I’ve been there with. He has a lot of experience but I also have a lot of experience too. I’m 22 years old and I’ve been a professional for almost seven years now. I’ve been in big fights, I’ve been in 12 round Championship fights. I fought some great contenders. So as much experience as he has, I have as well. And I know I can hurt him, I just know I can hurt him. So it’s not of a matter of if I can hurt him but it’s a matter of when I’m going to hurt him.

I’m extremely ready, camp couldn’t have gone any better. A card like this in Los Angeles at the STAPLES Center, the stakes can’t be any higher man. I’m just ready to do this.

Are you still developing in the gym? What do you have to say about that?

D. Benavidez
That’s why I’m so confident for this fight because this is a sparring session. This camp alone I’ve felt the strongest I’ve ever felt in my whole camp, in my whole life. That’s why I know when I’m going to catch Anthony Dirrell, I’m going to put him away because I just feel extremely strong. Last week I did 15 rounds in sparring. I think it was last Friday, no it was 16 rounds of sparring with four different guys. So I know I’m ready for this. This is the strongest I’ve ever been in my life and I just can’t wait.

D. Benavidez
I just want to thank everybody for the opportunities I’ve been put in, especially PBC, Sampson Lewkowicz, and my father Jose Benavidez. Everybody has been there with me even after those mistakes, they just still treated me really good. Nothing has changed. Like I’ve said, this is the biggest fight of my life fighting at the STAPLES Center and I can’t wait. I guarantee you there will be a new WBC World Champion come September 28. Thank you so much for everything.

This next young man you’ll be hearing from has an impressive record. He’s undefeated 24 and 0, 16 wins coming by of way of knockout. He’s continuing the great tradition of Mexican American fighters from the state of Texas. Another rising star looking to break into the title ranks. He’s a top 140-pound contender. He has gone ahead and rattled off eight straight knockout victories since moving up here to 140-pounds. Most recently having knocked out Juan Jose Velasco in two rounds in May back on FOX, he’s going to fight his toughest challenge to date in the fellow unbeaten Batyr Akhmedov.

He’s undefeated 24 and 0, 16 wins coming by way of knockout. Training in the Bay Area under the guidance of esteemed trainer, Virgil Hunter. Please welcome from San Antonio, Texas the undefeated Mario “El Azteca” Barrios.

Mario Barrios
Of course as a fighter, every training camp feels like the best one, but this one really has been a great camp. We left no stone unturned during this preparation for this fight. I’m aware this is my biggest opposition to date and I’m going to be exciting and go for that Vacant WBA World Title.

I just was wondering from the moment that this fight has been made to now, what’s been going through your head? Has it been like a dream? Has it sunk in that you’re actually fighting for a Title?

M. Barrios
Yes, it’s definitely sunk in, which is why we really made sure we’ve done everything in this training camp in preparation for this fight. I’m well aware of the opportunity and what I’m facing. I’m well aware of the guy I’m going to be facing come fight night. If anything though, it’s been a lot of motivation. There hasn’t been any pressure whatsoever. I promised San Antonio a World Title a long time ago. The opportunity is now in front of me and nothing is going to get in the way of that.

Do you expect nerves to be a problem? You’ve been on some big cards and some big venues. Are you doing anything special to battle the nerves? Do you expect that to be a problem come Saturday night?

M. Barrios
No, I don’t feel any nerves going into this fight. I’ve competed on some of the biggest fight cards in all PBC. This is my third time returning to the STAPLES Center. It’s always a great turn out there, especially, with the Mexican American fans and just boxing fans in general. I’m looking forward to it being a very packed night there but again, no nerves going into this fight. Nothing is going to stop me from going into the fight and dominating the way that we’ve been preparing.

What would winning this title mean to you and to join that select group of San Antonio World Champions?

M. Barrios
Man, it’s one of the biggest I think accomplishments and biggest honors for me. Like I’ve said, taking the World Title back to San Antonio, to me I think only the fifth person in San Antonio history that’s been able to do that. Yeah so it’s going to be an indescribable feeling but first thing is first and that’s to go out there and take care of business next Saturday.

What do you think you bring to the table that’s going to catch people’s eye?

M. Barrios
Not being full of myself but I think I could call myself an all-around fighter and then given my size in this division, I’m one of the biggest probably currently at 140-pounds. I use my size to my advantage and I can box very well on the outside. I work well off my jab but growing up in Texas I have a good amateur background as well.

I really learned how to fight in the inside, I guess you would say Mexican style and that I would brawl. So I’m able to box and brawl. People ask me about my style, I tell them I’m a boxer puncher. Because I’m not just a power punch. My last eight fights have been stoppages but it’s not like I’m just going out there and just winging shots and just catching lucky shots. Every fighter that I’ve stopped, they’ve been stopped in different ways, with different punches.

So I think this fight is going to continue to show the boxing fans about my presence and my place in the division and in the sport.

Do you feel an advantage when you have a height advantage or a length advantage? I know some people say that they don’t feel one. Do you feel more empowered having a size advantage?

M. Barrios
Actually I would always prefer fighting someone that was closer to my height. A lot of times when I was early in my pro career I would fight some guys that were real short, almost too short and that actually presents a lot of trouble a lot of times but Akhmedov, he’s a good height, he’s not too short, not too tall. So whether he knows I’m fighting on the outside or whether it becomes a very busy inside fight, I’m ready for either one of those.

I’m just wondering if you can talk about what the last few years of your career have been like?

M. Barrios
When I first started I was 18 years old when I turned pro and I turned pro at 122. So I was very new.

Most of my fights I was just going out there just and depending on my length and power to stop fighters as opposed to now I really, especially under the guidance of Virgil Hunter, I really gained an insight into all the little things that matter in this sport. When I started working with Virgil about three or four years ago, it really showed me a lot, because he was able to take me to that next level, that world championship stage, which is where we’re at. I think this time, being with Virgil and just maturing overall has been the biggest factors for me.

Just wondering if you could give your assessment of Akhmedov in general and being an Eastern European fighter with relatively so few fights?

M. Barrios

Yes, Akhmedov he has an impressive amateur resume. He has the experience coming in with him but for one of the first times going into a fight, I’m actually the veteran. Of course the pros and amateurs they’re two different ballgames and come fight night I’m going to use everything that I’ve learned in past 24 fights and I’m going to put everything to use.

Again, I’m not saying I’m overlooking Akhmedov. I’m expecting the best version of him that has possibly ever showed up but, like I said, I’ve had a great camp. I know I’m ready to give him any kind of fight that he wants.

Have you by any chance I know you said had kind of relationship with John Michael Johnson. Has he talked to you about fighting for a world title? Have you talked to him lately at all?

M. Barrios
No. I haven’t spoke to him in a while just aside from little comments that he will post on anything I post. But he gives his support which means a lot, especially coming from just my hometown.

All my family, my sisters, my parents, they’re all going to be there and then even just a lot of friends and family that are flying in for the fight. There’s quite a bit. it’s hard to even say.

I know my placement in my division and I know this fight it is a world title and it’s just going to propel me even closer to fighting the current champions.

I started boxing when I was six years old. As soon as I turned eight I started competing. So it’s always been a dream, but now that I’m here it feels surreal. I’m going to take this opportunity. , like I said, there’s nothing that’s going to get in the way of me and this world title.

Is this fight being for the WBA title, was that sort of incentive for you to try and stay at 140 pounds a little longer or was that always plan to stay at 140 pounds through the rest of the year?

M. Barrios
That was my plan originally with the move up to try to dominate and to try to fight for as many of the world titles as I possibly could. Right now I’m still making the weight comfortably, so that goal is going to remain the same. There’s no doubt I’m going to move up to welterweight eventually but that time isn’t now.

Is this fight a statement fight to those aforementioned champions saying that you’ve arrived and you have your case being made for being one of the best junior welterweights in the world?

M. Barrios
That’s exactly how I look at it. I wanted this fight. I felt I’d really proven myself in my past few fights but this one for sure, it’s going to put all the the world champions on notice that I’m right there knocking on the door to be fighting them next.

I want you explain to the rest of the writers here what does Mexican-style boxing mean to you and how does it influence your style, your boxing style in the job you’ve put on for the fans?

M. Barrios
Yes I figure everyone’s general description of Mexican style is sitting there and pretty much just brawling. The body punches as well and just being able to mix it up and to keep that pressure. There’s no doubt that I possess those abilities as well as being a boxer.

But given the fight day close to Mexican Independence Day, which is actually today, I’m excited to go out there and put on for my people, for my city and just the boxing fans in general.

What are you looking for to capitalize against this guy come fight night?

M. Barrios
Like I mentioned he has a great amateur pedigree so he has that experience but he doesn’t really have that experience in the pros. No matter which Akhmedov shows up and how he chooses to fight, I know that I’ll be able to adjust and use all of the tools that I’ve learned in my past 24 fights against him.

M. Barrios
I appreciate you all having me. I appreciate the media all coming in asking their questions and thank you to all the fans and supporters.

R. Flores
Next we will move on to Anthony Dirrell. He won his title by winning a technical decision over Avni Yildirim in February on FS1. His record is 33 wins, one loss, one draw, with 24 wins coming by way of knockout, he’s always in exciting matchups. He literally brings his best and brings everything that he has every single time he steps inside the ring. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the reigning and defending WBC Super Middleweight Champion of the World here is Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell. Anthony, opening comments.

A. Dirrell
How you all doing, how you all doing? You all can start with the questions. I’m just ready to fight. It’s been a long camp and a great camp and I’m just ready to get this job done.

David says he wants to knock you out. Do you think he actually believes? What’s your take on that?

A. Dirrell
I think everybody is going in there looking for the knockout. Does that happen every time? No, but you’re going to go in there and look for the knockout. Boxers don’t get paid for overtime so of course you’re going to go in there and say we’re looking for the knockout. It makes sense everybody wants you to knock opponents out. That’s what I’m going in there for. I’m looking for the knockout. I think I do it every time and I’m ready for the 28th. I’m ready to defend my title and be successful at it.

How do you rank the challenge of facing him compared to the rest of the fighters you fought in your career?

A. Dirrell
I think he’s a good fighter, but the toughest I don’t know. I haven’t been in there with him. Styles make fights. You can only can say how the guy is if you’ve been in there. But he’s a tough guy. He’s a tough kid. He’s 22 years old. He’s going in there to take what’s mine and I got to defend my title of course, and I’ll be successful doing that.

Do you think that you have an advantage in that you can try to exploit maybe that inexperience against guys at the world level?

A. Dirrell
I think everybody has power, especially with 10 ounce gloves on. I don’t know what kind of power he’s got. Every fighter he knocks out, he was supposed to knock out, just like every fighter I knocked out, I was supposed to knock out. But, like I said, I think styles make fights at the end of the day. I’m going in there, looking for the knockout. I’m going in there doing what I need to do to win this fight. If I don’t get the knockout, I definitely can go 12, and I’m just prepared. I’m mentally amd physically ready for this fight.

Is retirement or talk about retirement still somewhat in the back of your mind after you approach your fights or is that something that you’ve kind of put on hold for now?

A. Dirrell
You don’t think of retirement in a fight this big. You think of the fight. You think of the task at hand. Was I thinking about retiring after the last fight? Of course. I’m getting older and I want to spend time with my family, but I’m not getting old enough where somebody’s going to come in there and just whip me or beat me. I’m going in there prepared, fully ready for this fight and I can’t wait for it to happen on the 28th.

How are you going to use your experience to outthink David Benavidez?

A. Dirrell
You’ll have to see on the 28th. I’m not going to sit here and talk about my game plan. You’ll just have to see on the 28th. I know it’s going to be a hell of a fight, especially with a guy like David Benavidez. He’s coming to fight. And everybody knows from my previous fights, even my last fight, I’m coming to fight also and that’s not going to stop me.

Age is nothing but a number. George Foreman did it at, what, 50? Bernard Hopkins did it at 50. You do it because you want to do it and your body is allowing you to do it. So me being this age is not an excuse. I’m going to go in there and do what I need to do to win this fight.

Where do you think David Benavidez stacks in there with your opponents based on what he’s accomplished so far?

A. Dirrell
I don’t know. I have to get in there and fight him. I can tell you better after the fight but right now he’s a champion. He knocked people out he wasn’t supposed to knock out. He did what he was supposed to do. And I just feel I’m so much better, so. Like I say, on the 28th and all the talk is over with. It’s just the fight.

It looks like that you fought at the STAPLES Center 13 years ago, it’s hard to believe it was that long ago, but you’re certainly going to be in an arena where most of the fans are going to be there for your opponent. Does that fire you up? How do you use that?

A. Dirrell
I don’t use it. It’s just me and him in the right. You can’t use that. You use that, you’re messing up your game plan. It’s me and him in the ring and that’s all the matters.

How important is the family support to you and what does it mean to you to have them there?

A. Dirrell
It’s very important. My family’s been there through my whole career. I’ve been boxing almost 26 years and they’ve been there for our ups and downs, blood, sweat and tears so I’m really thankful for them, thankful for my wife. My kids even watch my fights. So I’m really thankful that they’re by my side and I’ve got a family that I can depend on.

How much do you believe your experience will play a factor in this fight?

A. Dirrell
I think it’ll be a big factor. I think I’m a little more polished in that area and just going there and stick to my game plan and do what I need to do to win this fight, no matter how the win comes, as long as it comes.

When you’re fighting do you develop a dislike for your opponent at all or is it strictly business?

A. Dirrell
No, it’s business. It’s strictly business. There’s no personal issues. It’s business. They’re trying to knock you out and you’re trying to knock them out. That’s all it is. I have no animosity or anything towards David at all. I think him and his family are good people. They’re respectful people and that’s good but on the 28th all that respect goes out the window.

It’s been well documented that David Benavidez sparred Shawn Porter. Do you feel that that’s kind of a waste of time for him or what are your thoughts on that as far as in relation to your fight with him?

A. Dirrell
I think he’s sparred with Shawn one time. That has nothing to do with me. Shawn isn’t very tallwe don’t even have the same fighting style, nothing. Shawn can get something out of it but not David, I don’t think. But his sparring at the end of the day you spar who you can spar and just get the experience. Like I said, I don’t know.

What’s the key to your longevity in the game?

A. Dirrell:
Just fight smarter, not harder. I think my last fight was a little hard. I made it hard. But you’ve just got to fight smarter and hit and not be hit, that’s the game. That’s boxing. On the 24th, will there be war? It might be. Will it be a boxing match? It might be. I don’t know. I’ll have to determine that when I get into the ring.

Can you describe what “Flint Strong” means and what kind of energy does that bring into the fight with you being from Flint and being from a long line of great Michigan fighters?

A. Dirrell
“Flint Strong” is we’re all the city. We’re all one. We all support each other from Myles Bridges to Kyle Kuzma, Javale McGee and Monte Morris and many more. You’ve got a lot of people that are from Flint. You’ve got a lot of these athletes that rep Flint. If you look at any one of their tattoos, I bet they have Flint on them or A1O. it’s just us sticking together as a city as a whole and trying to make us better.

A. Dirrell
Just tune in. If you can’t get there, definitely tune in. It’s going to be an amazing show at the end of the day. The fans will win. The fans are who we’re coming out there to do this performance for and at the end of the day, they will win. And, like I said, if you can’t be there, order it. It’ll be a heck of a card.

Spence vs. Porter pits unbeaten IBF Welterweight Champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. against WBC Welterweight Champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter in a 147-pound title unification that headlines a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event on Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

The pay-per-view event begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell facing unbeaten former champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez in the co-main event, unbeaten contenders Mario “El Azteca” Barrios and Batyr Akhmedov battling for the WBA Super Lightweight title, and rugged veteran Josesito “The Riverside Rocky” Lopez and brawler John Molina Jr. competing in a 10-round welterweight fight.

Tickets for the September 28th event, which is promoted by Man Down Promotions, TGB Promotions and Shawn Porter Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at

Action Packed Lineup of Undercard Attractions Round Out Blockbuster Night Headlined by Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter Welterweight Title Unification

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Action Packed Lineup of Undercard Attractions Round Out Blockbuster Night Headlined by Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter Welterweight Title Unification Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. 

Featuring 2016 Mexican Olympians Misael Rodriguez & Lindolfo Delgado, Hard-Hitting Super Lightweight Fabian Maidana, Plus Unbeaten Prospects Including Light Heavyweight Burley Brooks & More!

LOS ANGELES (September 17, 2019) – A loaded night of exciting undercard fights will feature top contenders and rising prospects stepping into the ring as part of a blockbuster event headlined by the welterweight title unification between Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. and “Showtime” Shawn Porter Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

The FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell facing unbeaten former champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez in the co-main event, unbeaten contenders Mario “El Azteca” Barrios and Batyr Akhmedov battling for the WBA Super Lightweight title, and rugged veteran Josesito “The Riverside Rocky” Lopez and brawler John Molina Jr. competing in a 10-round welterweight fight.

Undercard action will see a pair of rising prospects and 2016 Mexican Olympians in action as 2016 bronze medalist Misael Rodriguez (9-0, 4 KOs) battles Detroit’s Brandon Maddox (7-2-1, 5 KOs) in an eight-round super middleweight bout while Lindolfo Delgado (10-0, 10 KOs) takes on Mexico’s Jesus Zazueta Anaya (6-4-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-round welterweight duel.

The lineup continues with hard-hitting super lightweight Fabian Maidana (16-1, 12 KOs) in an eight-round fight against Mexico’s Ramses Agaton (21-10-3, 11 KOs), plus a trio of Dallas-natives compete as prospect Burley Brooks (3-0, 3 KOs)enters for a six-round light heavyweight fight against Mexico’s Fabian Valdez (3-5), welterweight Amon Rashidi (7-0, 5 KOs)takes on Mexico’s Alfonso Olvera (11-6-3, 4 KOs) in an eight-round fight and featherweight Fernando Garcia (12-1, 7 KOs) duels another Dallas-native in Juan Antonio Lopez (14-7, 6 KOs) for an eight-round bout.

Rounding out the card is unbeaten rising prospect Leon Lawson III fighting out of Flint, Michigan in an eight-round super welterweight contest versus Mexico’s Alan Zavala, super lightweight prospect Justin Cardona in a four-round bout against Norcross, Georgia’s Archie Weah and undefeated Mexican super featherweight prospect Jose Valenzuela taking on Dallas-native Charles Clark in a six-round attraction.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Man Down Promotions, TGB Promotions and Shawn Porter Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at

David Benavidez & Mario Barrios, Plus Josesito Lopez, John Molina Jr. & Robert Guerrero Share Mexican Independence Day Memories Ahead of Holiday & Their Showdowns On September 28

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David Benavidez & Mario Barrios, Plus Josesito Lopez, John Molina Jr. & Robert Guerrero Share Mexican Independence Day Memories Ahead of Holiday & Their Showdowns On September 28 as Part of FOX Sports PBC Event From STAPLES Center In Los Angeles

Benavidez draped in the Mexican Flag Credit Esther Lin SHOWTIME                 (Benavidez draped in the Mexican Flag: Credit – Esther Lin/SHOWTIME)

LOS ANGELES (September 12, 2019) – Mexican Independence Day and boxing have gone hand in hand for generations, with Mexican and Mexican-American champions routinely competing in the biggest fights around this time of year. In anticipation of their own fight night on Saturday, September 28 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, closely following this weekend’s celebrations, David Benavidez, Mario Barrios, Josesito Lopez, John Molina, Jr. and Robert Guerrero shared their memories of the holiday and country’s proud fighting tradition.

Benavidez and Lopez, who train in Southern California, will take part in a Mexican Independence Day event this Sunday, making appearances at the Que Buena (KBUE) Fiestas Patrias Celebration taking place at the Los Angeles State Historic Park at 2:30 p.m. PT.

Photo Credit Chris Farina Mayweather Promotions                              Photo Credit: Chris Farina/Mayweather Promotions

The co-main event of the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View will feature 22-year-old former world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez looking to regain his title when he takes on WBC Super Middleweight world champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell.

For Benavidez, along with trainer and father Jose Sr., and his brother and welterweight contender Jose Jr., boxing and the holiday have always gone hand in hand with memories of watching the legends of the sport in the ring.

“Around every Mexican holiday in our house, whether it was Cinco de Mayo or Mexican Independence Day weekend, I just remember there was always a big fight to watch,” said Benavidez. “My father is from Mexico and he came here when he was only 10-years-old. He’s the one who brought me up around the sport of boxing from a very young age, and now everything in our lives is about boxing.

“We definitely treated those big fights like holidays. Nothing in our household really mattered except boxing, so big fights around the holiday weekends were always huge for us. I know Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. fought around Mexican Independence Day a lot. Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez also stand out in my memory of those big fights around the holidays. Watching all of them influenced me to be the fighter that I am today.
“Watching those big fights with the great Mexican and Mexican American champions gave me so much motivation because I saw how all the Mexican people supported them. Mexican Independence Day is about warriors defending their own, so it was great to see those fighters competing for their honor. I haven’t had the chance to fight on that weekend yet but I feel that I am going to show the boxing and sports world why I deserve to be there one day.”

Photo Credit Leo Wilson Premier Boxing Champions                                Photo Credit: Leo Wilson/Premier Boxing Champions

The pay-per-view will also feature unbeaten rising contender Mario “El Azteca” Barrios as he takes on fellow unbeaten Batyr Akhmedov for the WBA Super Lightweight title. Barrios has taken on his ring name to honor the fighting spirit of his heritage. He reflected on the pride of Mexican Independence Day and what that nickname means to him.

“So many big fights go down on Mexican Independence Day weekend,” said Barrios. “Growing up, my sister and I made it a tradition to always get together with our family and friends to watch those fights.

“Boxing is one of the main things that brings our family together. I remember watching guys like Erik Morales and Marco Barrera on Mexican Independence Day. Those classic fights always bring back some good memories of being together.

“‘El Azteca’ is what I go by these days and it’s because of that Mexican warrior in me. The Aztec civilization originated in Mexico and I’m proud of my ancestry. Fights this time of year mean a lot to all Mexican fans and that makes it even more important that I have my best performance on September 28. This is just that season when you know a big fight is happening and I’m ready to be a part of it.”

Opening the pay-per-view is a showdown between all-action veterans Josesito “The Riverside Rocky” Lopez and John Molina Jr. The 10-round super lightweight attraction features two Mexican-American fighters who have shown trademark heart and passion in numerous memorable fights throughout their careers, including fights on Mexican Independence Day Weekend.

“In my family, boxing has always been a big part of our heritage and we use it to celebrate Mexican Independence together,” said Lopez. “Growing up, I first started competing as an amateur because it brought my family together. I created unity through the excitement of my fights. I definitely remember us all getting together to watch the legends like Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera. In fact, the first time Morales and Barrera fought, they made me realize that boxing was what I wanted to do for a living. I was only about 16 years old at that time, but watching those two gladiators put the exclamation point on me wanting to become a professional fighter. Seeing how great they were, gave me the motivation to work hard in this sport.

“Mexican Independence Day weekend always seems to be a weekend full of boxing. Now, to fight around this weekend as a professional, it’s a great feeling and a celebration with all our family getting together, whether it’s to support me or whoever else is fighting, and just for all of us to celebrate boxing together. Even to this day, I love how all my family and friends gather to watch and support my fights. It means a lot to me.”

Molina’s holiday memories are also tied to family, boxing and the Mexican fighting tradition.

“Spending time with my family and friends is the best part of any holiday,” said Molina Jr. “I love celebrating the holidays and just being with the people I care about. Mexican Independence Day weekend is always a huge fight weekend. I definitely remember Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and his fan-friendly style. Oscar De La Hoya was also a treat to watch and he was really ‘the man’ in my era when I was coming up.

“The Mexican style is something to be proud of. You come forward and take one to give one in order to inflict your damage. Other people even try to emulate our style and everyone knows the fans appreciate our style instead of all of the dancing around each other.”

Lopez and Molina previously fought on Mexican Independence Day weekend, with Lopez competing four times on the weekend, most notably against Canelo Alvarez in 2012, while Molina lost a close decision to Humberto Soto in an exciting 2014 battle on the Mayweather vs. Maidana 2 undercard.

“I’ve fought on Mexican Independence Day weekend a handful of times and it’s always a good weekend to fight,” said Lopez. “I haven’t felt any added pressure in the past, though. At the end of the day, it’s me inside the ring fighting another man.”

“The fight between myself and Josesito Lopez will put the Mexican style on full display,” said Molina Jr. “We’re very similar guys. We’ve both earned everything that we’ve ever received in this sport. We’re going to set the bar really high on September 28.”

In FS1 PBC Prelims preceding the pay-per-view, former three-time world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero will take on Jerry Thomas in action that begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. Guerrero has had an accomplished career and will look to write another chapter in a storied career that’s seen him become one of the most accomplished Mexican-American fighters of his era.

“I just remember always watching all the big fights on that Saturday of Mexican Independence Day weekend,” said Guerrero. “My whole family would get together at my house and enjoy the fights. It was definitely a fun time with family and to this day we will still get together to watch those fights whenever we can. The fight that stands out the most to me was the classic war when Julio Cesar Chavez beat Meldrick Taylor. What an incredible fight.

“Everyone knows I have that warrior Mexican blood flowing through my veins and that’s why you see me go to war in the ring. Mexican Independence Day will always be a time for boxing’s great warriors and spending time with family.”

Tickets for the September 28th event, which is promoted by Man Down Promotions, TGB Promotions and Shawn Porter Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at


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Welterweight Champions Spence & Porter Headline FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles

WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony Dirrell Defends Against Undefeated Former Champion David Benavídez in the Co-Feature

Unbeaten Rising Star Mario Barrios Meets Undefeated Batyr Akhmedov for WBA Super Lightweight Title & Rugged Veteran Josesito Lopez Clashes with Hard-Hitting John Molina, Jr.

Former Three-Time Champion Robert Guerrero & Sensational Unbeaten Super Welterweight Prospect Joey Spencer Appear in Separate Bouts on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Prelims on FS1 & FOX Deportes

LOS ANGELES (August 13, 2019) – IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. and WBC Welterweight World Champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter went face to face Tuesday in Los Angeles at a press conference to preview their 147-pound championship unification that headlines a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

Also in attendance at Tuesday’s press conference, and competing in pay-per-view action beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT were WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Anthony Dirrell and unbeaten former champion David Benavidez, who meet in a 168-pound title fight, unbeaten contenders Mario Barrios and Batyr Akhmedov, who battle for the WBA Super Lightweight title, and rugged veteran Josesito Lopez and brawler John Molina Jr., who battlein a 10-round welterweight fight.

The event also featured former three-time world champion Robert Guerrero and unbeaten super welterweight prospect Joey Spencer, who compete in separate attractions as part of FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Prelims on FS1 and FOX Deportes beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. Guerrero will face Jerry Thomas in a 10-round welterweight bout.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Man Down Promotions, TGB Promotions and Shawn Porter Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at

Here is what the fighters had to say Tuesday at the open to the public event from STAPLES Center in Star Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles:



“This is going to be an amazing event. The co-main event could be the main event on any normal, but this main event is going to be fire. You know it’s man down when I get in the ring and we’re going to show you just that on September 28.

“Shawn is a warrior who always comes to fight and leaves his heart on the table. He always comes ready, but I’m in shape and ready for him too. We’re both always in exciting fights and that’s what we’re going to give the fans.

“You’ve seen my growth over the years to where I’m fighting in bigger and bigger stadiums and headlining the pay-per-views. Now I’m in a unification fight, which is what I’ve wanted for a long time.

“I know Shawn will keep this same energy on fight night. It’s going to be an amazing moment when I get this knockout at STAPLES Center.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for. I had to be on the sidelines and watch Shawn fight Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, but now I’m in that group. I have the opportunity to fight these top guys and make my name known.

“My whole thing is that I’m looking for the stoppage. I want to make a statement that I’m clearing out the division. I want Manny Pacquiao and all of the top names in this division.”


“This fight demands this kind of excitement and energy that we have here today. We’re coming to the STAPLES Center for these fans, because they give us the energy that we need.

“Being in this position is amazing and I love it. I’ve always looked forward to opportunities like this and I’m going to bring this same energy into the ring.

“I know what’s about to go down. I know how great and how special this fight is going to be. The closer we get, the more excited I get. We will be prepared for it.

“People don’t understand the level that Errol and I are on. He’s expecting the same thing I’m expecting. We’re both training to go 12 hard rounds and out class each other. It’s all about that one moment, and I know I have what it takes to make that moment all mine. I’m looking forward to it.

“It was only a matter of time until this fight happened. I’ve been patient my entire career and never rushed anything. For me, this fight is happening on time. He’s amongst the elite of this division now and will be after September 28 no matter what.

“When I beat Errol Spence Jr., it doesn’t mean he’s going away. He’s still elite. But I’m going to take care of him September 28 and go after Manny Pacquiao. That’s the plan.”


“Benavidez is a come forward fighter who throws a lot of punches. You can frustrate him and do what you need to do to counteract that though.

“I’ve had some tough fights and people think that because of those fight, Benavidez is going to beat me. I feel otherwise. I’m the champion. I’m older and smarter and I’m going to go in there and defend my title successfully.

“I’m an experienced fighter. I’ve been doing this for 25 years going back to my amateur days. He’s only 22-years-old and he can’t possible know what I can do. He’s going to find out on September 28.

“I can’t only rely on just my experience. I have to throw punches and go in there to execute my game plan.

“Him going for the knockout definitely excites me. We’re going to give the fans something to see. They’re coming to see a knockout and I’m planning to give it to them.

“Being an underdog is great, it motivates me. I’m fine with it because I can prove everybody wrong at the end of the day. It’s about making history, and you can’t make history if you don’t go in there and take a chance.

“I’m ready. We’ve been wanting this fight for over a year. Now it’s here and we’re both ready to go. I’m looking for the knockout and I know he is too.

“I know that I can take a punch, but we’ll see if he can. He’s been dropped before, as have I. I’ve come back from worse than that though. We’re both warriors and we’re both going to be ready to give the fans something to see.”


“Anthony Dirrell is a tough, rugged fighter who has a lot of experience and has been in there with the best. He has height and reach like I do. We’re putting together a good game plan.

“Fighting in Dallas in front of 50,000 people was definitely one of the biggest fights of my life, but I feel like it’s just getting better and better from there.

“It’s a dream come true fighting at STAPLES Center. I’ve always dreamed about fighting here in front of all my people. It’s going to be like I’m fighting at home.

“The winners of this fight are going to be the fans. It’s going to be a great fight and I want to steal the show and put on the fight of the night.

“I have the opportunity to become the youngest two-time super middleweight world champion in history. I’m working hard to do my best to give the fans an action packed fight and accomplish my goals.

“There’s a lot of motivation for me because he has my title. We have respect outside the ring, but none of that will be in the ring. We’re both going for the knockout and it’s going to be a war from round one.

“There are a lot of things that I can do. I can box on the inside and I can brawl. I think Anthony Dirrell is going to want to make it a brawl and stay in there with me. That’s how he fought his last fight and we know there’s a lot we can do if he brings that style.”


“Fighting on a card like this is a dream come true. This will be my third fight at STAPLES Center and I always get a lot of love in Los Angeles. It’s always an exciting experience and I’m looking forward to it again.

“I’m fighting for a title and I’m not going home to San Antonio without it. I know that he’s going to bring everything he’s got. This will be my toughest opposition by far, but that won’t change anything on September 28.”


“This a great opportunity for me to be part of such a momentous card. I’m grateful to my whole team for getting me this opportunity and I’m training to take full advantage.

“On September 28, it’s going to be a great fight. I’m going to start writing my history in this fight by winning this title.”


“I’m excited to be a part of this great card. It’s been seven years since I had that great showing at STAPLES Center against Victor Ortiz, and it’s a great feeling to be back.

“I’m going to put on a show, just like I did my last time fighting at STAPLES Center. I’m going to deliver another great performance.

“Expect fireworks. We’re going to start this pay-per-view off right and get things ready for the rest of this card. It’s going to be a night you don’t want to miss.”


“Here we go again. It’s going to be another exciting fight. This is a long time coming for the both of us. We both have a never say die attitude and that’s what you’re going to get on fight night.

“Make sure you’re there on September 28, because you’re going to enjoy this fight. We’re both going to leave it all in the ring, just like everyone expects us to.”


“I’m excited to be back on this stage again. We have two great champions in the main event and it makes for an exciting night from top to bottom.

“I just wanted to say something about the shooting incidents that have happened in our country. One of the incidents happened in my hometown in Gilroy, California, so a portion of my purse is going to go to the victims of that tragedy.”


“I’m really happy and honored to be a part of this card with all of these great champions. I can’t wait to go out there and put on a show.

“It’s amazing just to be in the building, let alone to be fighting on a card like this. I’m really excited to give all the fans a great show.”


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IBF Champion Errol Spence, Jr. & WBC Champion Shawn Porter Clash in Highly Anticipated Showdown That Tops Star-Studded FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Saturday, September 28 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles

WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony Dirrell Defends Against Undefeated Former Champion David Benavídez in the Co-Feature

Unbeaten Rising Star Mario Barrios Meets Undefeated Batyr Akhmedov for WBA Super Lightweight Title

Plus! Rugged Veteran Josesito López Clashes with Hard-Hitting John Molina, Jr.

LOS ANGELES (August 13, 2019) – An incredible night of boxing just got even more spectacular as unbeaten rising star Mario “El Azteca” Barrios will meet fellow unbeaten Batyr Akhmedov for the WBA Super Lightweight Title and rugged veteran Josesito López battles battle-hardened brawler John Molina Jr. in a 10-round welterweight attraction as part of undercard action on the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

The action will be in support of the highly anticipated welterweight title unification match between IBF Champion Errol Spence, Jr. and WBC Champion Shawn Porter. WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony Dirrell will defend his title against unbeaten former champion David Benavídez in the co-feature.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Man Down Promotions, TGB Promotions and Shawn Porter Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at

“With the addition of Barrios vs. Akhmedov and López vs. Molina, Jr., an already action-packed card got an extra jolt of excitement,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Barrios and Akhmedov is a tantalizing matchup of two rising, unbeaten fighters going toe-to-toe for their first title, while Lopez and Molina are both known for engaging in dramatic wars. There are going to be non-stop fists flying leading up to the blockbuster world title unification in the main event.”

Fighting for his first world championship is a major step forward for Barrios (24-0, 16 KOs), who began his career as a super bantamweight in 2013 at age 18. Representing his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, and now training with Virgil Hunter in the Bay Area, Barrios has knocked out all eight of his opponents since making the move to 140-pounds. The 24-year-old most recently scored a knockout victory over Juan Jose Velasco in May on FOX.

“This is the fight that will solidify me as one of the top super lightweights in the world,” said Barrios. “Batyr Akhmedov was one of the top amateurs in the world and has fought some really good fighters in the pros. He’s ranked No. 3 in the WBA and I must beat him to accomplish my goal of winning a world title. I live for these moments and the world will see my talent. I’m going to bring victory home to all of Mexico and my Mexican-American fans in the States.”

Born in Uzbekistan and residing in Russia, Akhmedov (7-0, 6 KOs) represented Turkey at the 2016 Olympic games. The 28-year-old turned pro in 2017 and is unbeaten with knockouts in all but one of his first seven fights. He made his U.S. debut last April, before stopping Ismael Barroso in August, prior to his two most recent triumphs this year.

“I am the eighth child in my family and we had a very difficult and poor upbringing so I know what it means to persevere during hard times,” said Akhmedov. “I only started boxing when I was 18 years old. I spent about four hours a day on the road to get to and from the gym. I really love this sport. I know what it means when people tell me that I won’t be able to achieve something. At 20 years old I became a national champion. At 22 I was on the Olympic team. I was successful in many of the tournaments that I took part in. I always tried to find a way to victory. I know that it will not be easy for me on September 28, but I will find a way to become a world champion.”

López (36-8, 19 KOs) is coming off a hard-fought majority decision loss to Keith Thurman in January on FOX, in a fight that saw him nearly stop Thurman before narrowly dropping the close and exciting fight. The Riverside, California-native has gone toe-to-toe with numerous top fighters and has regularly engaged in memorable action fights throughout his career.

“It’s going to be an all-action fight,” said López. “Molina is always in good action fights. He brings power to the table. California and the world will see that on September 28. I’m excited to be back in the ring on a big card. I’ve been waiting to fight in California again so I’m definitely thrilled about being at STAPLES Center. I’ve been in the gym because I knew this was coming. I’m definitely ready for this.”

Molina (30-8, 24 KOs) most recently engaged in an action-packed, close unanimous decision loss to Omar Figueroa Jr. on FOX in February. A tough veteran brawler, Molina, of West Covina, California, has been in the ring with some of the top boxers at lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight. Over his 13-year career he’s been involved in multiple Fight of the Year contenders while picking up victories over Ruslan Provodnikov, Mickey Bey, Hank Lundy and Ivan Redkach.

“This is just another day in the office for me,” said Molina. “This is an all-action, California brawl, and the fans are definitely going to get their money’s worth from this one. I’m really excited to be fighting on this big pay-per-view card with so many great electrifying boxers.”

Julian “J-Rock’’ Williams Scores Unanimous Decision Victory Over “Swift’’ Jarrett Hurd

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Julian “J-Rock’’ Williams Scores Unanimous Decision Victory Over “Swift’’ Jarrett Hurd to Take Unified Super Welterweight Championship in Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Va.

Sensational Super Lightweight Mario Barrios Stuns Juan Jose Velasco with Second Round KO Victory in Co-Feature

Middleweights Matt Korobov and Immanuwel Aleem Fight to a Majority Draw

 Photos Credit: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

FAIRFAX, VA. (May 11, 2019) – Julian “J-Rock’’ Williams knew he was walking into the lion’s den when he traveled from Philadelphia to Virginia to face undefeated unified super welterweight champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd in his backyard. But Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) wasn’t afraid.

He came. He saw and he conquered Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs), scoring a 12-round unanimous decision, handing Hurd his first loss and taking the IBF, WBA and IBO championships before a hometown crowd at the EagleBank Arena on the campus of George Mason University.

The crowd and the primetime audience, which tuned in to FOX and FOX Deportes, witnessed a valiant performance from both Williams and Hurd in what will certainly be a “Fight of the Year’’ candidate. The judges had Williams handily defeating Hurd with scores of 116-111 and 115-112 twice.

Williams had come up short in his previous attempt at a world title when he was stopped on via TKO by Jermall Charlo in 2016. He was overwhelmed by emotions after his upset victory over Hurd, who was a presumptive favorite over the 29-year-old Williams.

“I am just overwhelmed. This is such a great feeling. I outclassed him. I am one of the best fighters in the world,” said Williams. “Maybe I wasn’t ready for the title the first time I got the shot. I took the loss. I took it like a man and the whole world doubted me. I went into this fight a five to one underdog.’’

“This is a dream come true. I have been waiting for this for years. I never ditched the gym. I never got into girls or left the gym. I am from the streets, but I was never in the streets. I was in the gym practicing my craft.

“The only people that believed in me were my team, but all I can say is ‘and the new’!”

Hurd is often a slow starter and Williams made him pay for that. He jumped on the defending champion right out of the gate, throwing crisp punches behind a pistol-like jab. Williams dropped Hurd in the second round with a shot to the temple.

“It didn’t really change my strategy. It was just a flash knockdown. It caught me by surprise. I wasn’t really hurt,’’ Hurd said.

Sensing he had stunned Hurd, Williams came out firing in the next round. He picked up the pace and Hurd decided to match the ferocity of the attack rather than wither under it. Midway through the third round, Hurd landed a blistering left uppercut that snapped Williams’ head upward and slowly started to regain his form.

Hurd and Williams went to the trenches in the middle rounds, closing the distance and fighting in tight quarters. Conventional wisdom would seem to favor Hurd in that space, because he is physically bigger than Williams. But Williams did more than hold his own.

By the seventh round, the fight had become a war of attrition and a test of wills. Hurd was cut over his left eye in the eighth round. By then, Williams was completely in control.

Williams said he was well prepared for everything that Hurd threw at him, but it was by no means a cakewalk.

“He wasn’t easier to hit than I thought. He was crafty and he had heavy hands. I just stayed poised. I listened to my coach and I just worked,’’ Williams said. “He couldn’t hurt me. I saw everything he was throwing. I knocked him down. The game plan was to win however I could. I adapted on the fly. We knew he had certain tendencies and worked on his tendencies. ‘’

Hurd said he didn’t feel like himself in the fight against Williams. Fighting in front of a raucous hometown crowd filled with family and friends as he hails from nearby Accokeek, Md.

“I wasn’t able to get off. I can’t really call it right now. I have to go back and watch. I was loading up on my shots instead of just letting my hands go,’’ Hurd said. “J-Rock was just the better man tonight. There’s definitely a rematch clause in our contract and I’m going to go for it. I’m going to come back better than I was tonight.’’

Super lightweight sensation Mario Barrios (24-0, 15 KOs) scored a devastating second round knockout victory over Juan Jose Velasco (20-2, 12 KOs) in the co-feature. Barrios of San Antonio, Texas kept his undefeated record intact when he landed a crushing body shot that sent Velasco to the canvas midway through the second round. Referee Hugo Spinola counted out Velasco at 1:16 of the second round as the Argentine was on his hands and knees trying to catch his breath.

Barrios said he was trying to be patient and use his jab to set up the perfect shot.

“I saw him opening up every time he would step in. I knew one of the body shots was going to do it and I found the sweet spot,’’ Barrios said. “We weren’t expecting it to end that quickly. I wasn’t predicting a knock out, but I knew I had the power to do it and stop him.”

“I was very confident. I had a great camp. I can’t thank Virgil Hunter and the team for the preparation for this fight. We knew he was vulnerable with body punches and that was something I work on regardless. It is one of my favorite shots. I have been working on it since the amateurs.”

Barrios said he would build on the victory over Velasco and continue to climb the ladder at 140 pounds.

“I want a world title shot. I am always in the gym. I am always ready. I want all the smoke at 140. I want any of the champions. And I’m ready to bring a big fight to all my hometown fans in San Antonio.’’

In the opening television bout middleweight contenders Matt Korobov of Orotukan, Russia and Immanuwel Aleem of East Meadow, N.Y. stalked each other for 10 rounds. They took turns pressing the action and playing the aggressor, dishing out and absorbing the best that each had to offer. In the end Korobov (29-2, 14 KOs) and Aleem (18-2-1, 11 KOs) had fought to a majority draw. One judge had Korobov winning 97-93 and two judges scored it 95-95.

In the sixth round Korobov landed a combination that rocked Aleem and had him in trouble momentarily. But Aleem weathered the storm. Aleem came out strong in the ninth round, practically running across the ring to meet Korobov, who had slowly raised his 36-year-old body off the corner stool at the last second. Sensing the close nature of the fight, both Korobov and Aleem unloaded and landed some heavy shots seeking to keep the outcome away from the judges’ scorecards.

Aleem said he thought he won the fight.

“I didn’t feel like he was doing enough. I was trying to use my range. He was just touching me. I realized when I started hitting him that he didnt have the gas.,’’ Aleem said. “I am faster than people think. I see open shots better than people expect. I made a statement tonight and I want to keep making statements.”

Korobov , who lost a unanimous decision to Jermall Charlo in his last fight, said he felt sluggish during the match against Aleem.

“I felt heavy and not totally sharp enough. It was hard to react and stop him from going inside. I have things to work on.,’’ Korobov said. “He was tougher than I expected. He wasn’t as strong as Charlo, but he is a really good fighter. He kept coming forward. He wasn’t afraid. He just kept throwing punches.”

Official Weights & Photos for Jarrett Hurd vs. Julian Williams PBC on FOX and FOX Deportes Fight Night

Hurd Williams Bout Sheet


Photo Credits- Stephanie Trapp-TGB Promotions


Hurd Williams Header


Unified 154-Pound Champion Hurd & Top Contender WilliamsSquare-Off Before Premier Boxing Champions on FOX & FOX Deportes Main Event This Saturday Night from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia Live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT

All Photo Credits- Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

ARLINGTON, VA. (May 9, 2019) – Unified 154-pound world champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd and top contender Julian “J-Rock” Williams previewed their showdown at a final press conference on Thursday evening before they headline Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes this Saturday night from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.

Also squaring-off at the press conference and stepping into the ring Saturday in action beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT were unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario “El Azteca” Barrios and Argentina’s Juan “The Pitbull” Jose Velasco, who meet in a 10-round fight, and middleweight contenders Matt Korobov and Immanuwel Aleem, who battle in a 10-round attraction.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (

Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday from the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Arlington, Virginia:


“This has been a great week. This is the homecoming I always wanted. It’s even better than I imagined and I can’t wait to step into the ring.

“You can tell a lot about a fighter when you see them in the lead up to a fight. Julian Williams looks confident and he looks ready. It’s going to be a classic on fight night.

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“It’s been fun to have this support from the city and my hometown. It’s fueled me. The love and support motivated me in the gym to make sure I go out there and put on a show.

“I’m a big 154-pounder but I know how to cut the weight and get it off right. We’re still eating and we’ll be strong come fight night.”


“I really don’t think too much about fighting in his hometown. I’ve fought on the road my whole career. I just focus on the fight, not what’s going on outside of the ring.

“We touched on a lot of different things in training camp. We left no stone unturned. It sounds cliché and I’ve never said this before, but this was the best camp I’ve ever had. I’m ready to go get this win.

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“I just see a man over there. His crowd can’t fight for him. That’s all it’s going to be Saturday night.

“The jab is always a key. It’s the most important punch in boxing and it’s the key for me no matter who I fight. I always work with bigger guys in camp so the size is going to be nothing new.”


“We focused on being explosive in training camp. Working with Virgil Hunter was great as always. This is a big opportunity and I’m excited to put on a great show for these fans.

“He’s a hungry fighter. That’s the main thing. He’s tasted defeat and he doesn’t want to again. I’m blocking his path. On Saturday night, he’s not getting past me.

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“I’m getting stronger and better every camp. There’s not too much to say, but I’m just looking forward to getting in the ring Saturday.”


“The fight against Regis Prograis was very tough and important for me. I want to be champion of the world and it showed me what I need to do to achieve that goal. I’m going to put what I learned on display Saturday.

“We’ve watched him and we know what he’s capable of doing. We know we have to be prepared to get this victory.”


“I took the fight against Jermall Charlo as a win because people know me better now and know where I stand in this division with my performance on short notice. I’m happy to be back and have this fight. My team did a great job preparing and we’ll be ready on Saturday night.”

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“My trainer George Peterson has always stressed to train year round. We’re not part time fighters. I’m always in the gym working. When the fight comes, we’re always prepared.

“Korobov is another opponent who’s in my way to becoming a world champion. I’ve gotten some good work with southpaws to get ready for him and I feel fully prepared.


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Barrios Credit- Brett Ostrowski

Unbeaten Super Lightweight Contender Barrios Takes on Argentina’s Juan Jose Velasco in Premier Boxing Champions on FOX & FOX Deportes Action Saturday, May 11 from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.



Photo Credit- Brett Ostrowski

OAKLAND, Calif. (April 26, 2019) – Unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario Barrios will return to action and look to further solidify his spot amongst the 140-pound elite when he takes on Argentina’s Juan Jose Velasco in a 10-round showdown as part of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, May 11 from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.

The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is headlined by IBF and WBA 154-pound world champion Jarrett Hurd defending his titles again top contender Julian Williams.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (

The 23-year-old made his 2019 debut in February, knocking out Richard Zamora in round four to bring his knockout streak to eight. Here is what Barrios (23-0, 15 KOs) had to say about his upcoming matchup, training camp with Virgil Hunter and more as he prepares to enter the ring May 11:

On his matchup with Juan Jose Velasco:
“Velasco is a tough fighter from Argentina who’s only loss is at the world class level against Regis Prograis. He will have to adjust to my style because I’m going to be dictating the action from the opening bell. My jab will be the key in this fight. I know I’ll have to let my hands go to be effective. This is going to be a tough fight, but I’m ready for the challenge.”

On his recent training camp:
“Training camp is going as planned. I’ve been in the Bay Area for the last six weeks working with Virgil Hunter and getting world class sparring with some of the best fighters in the world. Virgil has me perfecting my ability to fight with my length while using my jab efficiently. I’ve also been doing my strength training with Victor Conte and Remi Korchemny at the SNAC facility. I’m in amazing shape and will be at my best when I step in the ring against Velasco.”

On when he thinks he’ll be ready for a world title:
“I’m ready now, in my opinion, to fight any of the champions at super lightweight. I’m only 23, so there is plenty of time. I’ve never turned down a fight and when that time comes for me to get that title shot, I’ll be ready. I’m just talking it one fight at a time.”

On fighting on FOX:
“This is a major opportunity for the world to see me in action. The exposure on FOX is going to be unbelievable. My goal is to give the fans another knockout performance. Since I’ve moved up in weight, I’ve been knocking everyone out and my game is getting better with each fight. I feel I’m the next Mexican-American star in boxing who’s going to help keep this sport thriving.”

Official Weights & Photos For Tomorrow Night’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Event – Gervonta Davis vs. Hugo Ruiz

Click Here For A Replay Of The Weigh-In

Photo Credits- Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME

Davis Ruiz Bout Sheet