What To Watch In Olympic Boxing, Pro Boxing and MMA For July 31st
Olympic Boxing To Watch
Fights To Watch
Keyshawn Davis vs. Sofiane Oumiha – (lightweight) 8:03 PM PST, Friday
Keyshawn Davis will face his toughest test to get to the gold medal bout in Oumiha, of France, the man best known for beating boxing superstar, Teofimo Lopez in the 2016 Olympics. Davis should be the favorite in this bout, but this will be one to watch and to see how Davis performs. Oumiha has an amateur heavy-style so it will be interesting to see how the judges score the bout or if Davis just overwhelms the two-time Olympian, which would be a statement.
Javid Chalabiyev (AZE) vs Hovhannes Bachkov (ARM) – (lightweight) 8:36 PM PST, Friday
Two pressure fighters who could turn into good pros. This is an all-action bout that is very competitive.
Lauren Price (GBR) vs Atheyna Bylon (PAN) – (women’s middleweight) 9:06 PM PST
Lauren Price might be the best boxer in the tournament and isn’t getting her fair sure of credit. Price is the complete package, and looks to be a superstar like Keyshawn Davis, Tiger Johnson, Pat McCormack, and Imam Khataev. Watch her, please!
Duke Ragan (USA) vs. Kurt Walker (IRE) – Men’s Featherweight (Saturday,
The winner of this bout will medal, and I favor Duke Ragan, who is becoming a tremendous Olympic story, as the fighter currently signed to Top Rank Inc., has beaten Samuel Kistohurry of France, and one of my favorites of the tournament, Serik Temirzhanov (KAZ). Ragan’s biggest threat to getting into the gold medal match is Ceiber Ávila of COL, who reminds me of a southpaw Oscar Valdez.
Ragan has stepped up at this Olympic Games. Moreso, in the pros, Ragan has naturally bouts waiting with Bruce Carrington, David Navarro, Rashiem Jefferson, and Marc Castro all waiting for him in a few years.
Imam Khataev (ROC)
Tune in when he fights. Khataev feels like the next big thing coming out of Eastern Europe, now anything can be ruined, but Khataev feels like the logical next progression in the line of fighters like Sergey Kovalev, and Artur Beterbiev.
Coffie vs Rice
Saturday, July 31st – TV: FOX, Time – 5:00 PM PST
Michael Coffie will have a late-replacement opponent for his FOX main event bout this Saturday, as Jonathan Rice, a Las Vegas heavyweight gym veteran, will take the fight on short notice.
In September of last year, rice went 10-rounds with 2016 Olympian Efe Ajagba. Rice has also fought heavily touted Arslanbek Makhmudov, Tony Yoka, and Stephen Shaw. Rice knows how to make a fight ugly, and despite the short notice of the bout, this comes off as a trap fight, to me.
Here are some of Coffie’s thoughts leading up to this fight
“The biggest obstacle I’ve faced as a pro has been that people keep talking about my age,” said Coffie. “That has nothing to do with your boxing ability. If you keep yourself in shape, age is not a big thing. I’ve taken less damage at this point than other people my age who’ve gotten to this point. I also have a strong mentality and I know when it’s time to lock in for a fight. Life experience, in general, has shown me what I can become.”
“It’s still surreal to be in this position,” said Coffie. “When I decided to start boxing, I did not know that this would be happening so fast. I’m going to show the fans a piston jab. I want to give the feel of Sonny Liston, Larry Holmes, and George Foreman. This is a combat sport, so expect blood and big shots on July 31.”
Read about the previous main event below that was set prior –
In 12-bouts, Michael Polite Coffie has gone just 36 rounds, but turned heads in his last bout, knocking out top USA Boxing amateur in the super heavyweight division, Darmani Rock. Coffie will now face a main event veteran in the heavyweight scene in Gerald Washington, as Washington has faced former world champions such as Deontay Wilder, Charles Martin, as well as top heavyweights like Jarrell Miller, and Adam Kownacki.
Another thing of note about this, about this ten-round bout, airing on FOX, on Saturday, Coffie is a Marine, and Gerald Washington served in the Navy, making this an armed forces clash as well.
For Coffie, this will also be a comparable opponent to Adam Kownacki, who is looking to be a future opponent for him, if he were to win on Saturday night.
Vito Mielnicki Jr. Seeks Redemption
“White Magic” Vito Mielnicki Jr. hit a roadblock with James Martin in his last bout dropping a majority decision to him earlier this year. Mielnicki, a 19-year-old welterweight, will look to avenge the loss, and regain momentum in a crossroads bout for him. This truly is a sink-or-swim type fight, but what makes it interesting is a former world champion, Lamont Peterson will be in Mielnicki’s corner for this bout.
Joey Spencer In Action
Super welterweight Joey Spencer is continuing his path towards a title, and is being brought along well by PBC. Spencer reminds me a lot of Andre Berto, a fighter who I know he spent time in the gym with during his tenure in the Bay Area, at Vergil Hunter’s Boxing Gym, and to be compared to a world champion is quite a compliment. Spencer is always someone to watch since he will get big fights in the future.
Top featherweight amateur will make his television debut under the PBC banner as Maliek Montgomery is in-action as he trains with Ken Porter, Andre Dirrell will look to dust off some rust from the Kyrone Davis bout as he faces Christopher Brooker, 2016 Olympic welterweight Paul Kroll of Philly will face Justin DeLoach, as a win could put Kroll in the main event picture in the near future, and amateur standout Karl Dargan is back in action.
Conor Benn Returns
Saturday, July 31st – TV: DAZN, time – 11:00 AM PST
The son of Nigel Benn, Conor Benn has come into his own, and now not just is Olympian Pat McCormack capturing the U.K. fans’ hearts, so is Benn, who has really stepped up this past year, stopping Samuel Vargas in one round.
Benn will face Adrian Granados, who in all fairness is well-past his prime, and fighting one weight class above his best division, which was 140 lbs, the weight class in which he pulled off a career-defining upset win over Amir Imam.
If Benn can stop Granados that’ll be a statement, if Granados gives him fits I think we will a bit of an easing back on Benn’s career. This is a trajectory fight.
WBA featherweight world champion Can Xu will face Leigh Wood in a bout that seemingly came out of nowhere. Xu, who I believe is still with Golden Boy Promotions, is one of the most active current boxers in the sport today and should give Wood a handful.
A major step-up for the domestic level fighter, Jack Cullen faces Avni Yildrim, a man who might have been outgunned by Canelo Alvarez, but is still a tough test for those looking to be on the world level. This will be a big test for Cullen to see where he is at.
Oscar De La Hoya vs Vitor Belfort Press Conference Happened…
‘The Golden Boy’ Oscar De La Hoya of East Los Angeles, CA, Olympic Gold Medalist will face former UFC fighter Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort of Brazil as the two announced their fight to the media on, Tuesday, July 27 at STAPLES Center Star Garden, ahead of their Triller Fight Club card on Saturday, September 11.
De La Hoya, who last fought in 2008 losing to boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao, will be returning thirteen years later, against Vitor Belfort, who last fought three years ago, losing to Lyoto Machida.
“These exhibitions that we’re seeing are becoming a circus, I want no part of that. And that’s why this fight is a real, sanctioned fight and not an exhibition. Everybody who knows me, I’ve never been in a boring fight. I go out there and fight. An exhibition isn’t us, Vitor and I have too much at stake. When I see Belfort I can see in his eyes how proud he is of his legacy and I feel the same way too and I respect that,” said De La Hoya at the press conference. “This is not a game, I literally said if we’re going to do this, let’s do this for real. Let’s not do a song and dance or these exhibitions that we’re tired of.”
As for Belfort, he understands he is the underdog but remains confident.
“When you step in the ring you want the wars. I’m coming into the sport that Oscar has mastered and I’ve learned in training boxing at a different level. My style is to come as a lion and that’s what I’m going to do, no changes now,” said Belfort. “Prediction: Knockout!”
The bout will be on PPV through FITE.TV
Early Thoughts: I am rather indifferent. De La Hoya was one of the big boxers of my era, but seeing him return, marks a trend that modern boxers are not catching on, and that older legends are having more success at the boxing office. De La Hoya appears to be the latest to test this theory. Belfort is largely outclassed in this bout, but I am sure it will appeal to many.
Canelo vs. Plant – not set
The boring boxing-industrial complex topic of Canelo vs Caleb Plant is forever ongoing, as Mike Coppinger of ESPN, stated that seemingly Canelo vs. Plant seems to be off. These leaks often seem to be prompted by promoters and managers, to put pressure on fighters, so I will wait until an official fight has been announced to comment, as I feel Plant still has a good chance to land the Canelo fight. If they fight, it would be for all four world titles at 168 lbs. If the fight doesn’t happen, Dmitry Bivol is being rumored as an opponent for Canelo.
Early Thoughts: I don’t enjoy talking about the business of boxing, I am not a manager, and I don’t really like people. Whoever Canelo fights it will be a big deal, let’s get the fight done privately, and then once a press release is sent, I will give thoughts and observations. Canelo holds all the power in boxing, so he will be able to do whatever he wants.
Triller On Tuesday
Tuesday, August 3rd, Live and Free on FITE.TV, start time – 3 PM PST
Michael Hunter will make his long-awaited return to the ring as a heavyweight under the Triller platform, and this time will face former Olympic Trials rival, Mike “White Delight” Wilson in a scheduled ten-round bout. Hunter is a fighter with a good record who could seemingly fight for a world title, it will be interesting to see if Triller can get him constant T.V. dates something that has plagued Hunter’s career.
Chris Algieri will return in the co-main event in a good New York vs. New York bout facing Mikkel LesPierre, in a bout I favor Algieri to win. With a win, Algieri can probably get a fairly big name at welterweight or super lightweight depending on the weight class he wants to fight at.
Interesting Undercard Bouts
Eric Walker, best known for his time on ‘The Contender’ TV Show, and upsetting Christopher Pearson, will face Ivan Golub at welterweight in a crossroads bout for both. Golub has ties to New York since he trains with New York boxing legend, Andre Rozier.
Really good amateur, who will be a very good pro Harley Mederos will turn pro at the super featherweight division. I see Mederos going on a knockout streak, as he hits very hard, and has a great pro-style.
Longtime amateur boxing ambassador, Christina Cruz, will make her pro debut at women’s flyweight on this card as well.
Joe Ward, decorated amateur, who lost his pro debut to Marco Delgado via an injury will look to continue his winning ways, and is managed by New York-based boxing manager, Adam Glenn.
Two fighters under Peter Kahn’s Fight Game Advisors’ super lightweight Aaron Aponte, and junior middleweight big puncher Nikoloz Sekhniashvili will be featured on the undercard.
Former Mayweather Promotions fighter, Dylan Price will step up in competition against Edwin Rodriguez this weekend. Rodriguez is coming off a draw to Joshua Greer Jr in a very competitive fight, and a win over Thompson Boxing’s Saul Sanchez. This will tell a lot about Price’s potential. The fight will be on FloSports.
The son of Evander Holyfield, Evan Holyfield, will return on the regional circuit as he looks to build up his record on a Boston Boxing card in Windham, N.H. The fight will be streamed on YouTube.
Francis Hogan, nicknamed “Frank The Tank”, has been very busy in the Boston boxing scene, and was a name I would see in the 2018-2019 USA Boxing tournament brackets. Hogan is undefeated, and he will be fighting for the seventh time since March of 2020, pretty impressive considering a global pandemic occurred during the midst of that.
Upcoming MMA Bouts
Bellator 263: Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire vs A.J. McKee
Saturday, July 31st, Showtime – 6 PM PST
Bellator will see the long-time featherweight king of their organization, Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire takes on A.J. McKee, as it is the legend facing the emerging young star. McKee, a child prodigy, trained by his father, Antonio McKee, a decorated fighter in his own right, will look to do something most couldn’t do, beat Pitbull. This is not just a title fight, but the final to the featherweight tournament.
Uriah Hall vs Sean Strickland, the main event
Saturday, July 31st, ESPN – 6 PM PST
A rather ho-hum main event that will see a heavily touted fighter from the early 2010s who is living up to his potential, Uriah Hall from the Ultimate Fighter fame faces Sean Strickland, a seasoned pro. Hall is coming off wins over Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva, should be looking to gain momentum towards a middleweight UFC title.
Former Invicta Atomweight champion Jinh Yu Frey will be in action on the card fighting at flyweight. Frey feels a little undersized in this division not unlike Jessica Penne once did.
Former UFC champion Nicco Montano will be in action on the undercard, and likable UFC veteran slugger “Smilin” Sam Alvey are the other notables that I see on the card.