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Barrera Faces Khan; Murat vs. Sanavia, Sylvester vs. Nespro – News

khan434465The hype surrounding 22-year-old lightweight prospect Amir Khan may not be the same since his stunning first-round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott last September, but the 2004 Olympic silver medallist has the full confidence of his head trainer, Freddie Roach, as they prepare in Los Angeles for Khan’s showdown with multiple world champion “The Baby Faced Assassin” Marco Antonio Barrera, Saturday, March 14 at The M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Integrated Sports is distributing three 12-round championship bouts featured on the “Khan-Barrera” pay-per-view card, presented by Frank Warren, in North America for live viewing at 4 PM/ET – 1 PM/PT on cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, TVN, DirecTV and Dish Network in the United States, as well as Viewer’s Choice and Bell TV in Canada, for a suggested retail price of only $24.95. Veteran blow-by-blow announcer Ian Darke and color analyst, former WBC lightweight champion Jim Watt, will be calling the action from ringside for Sky Box Office and Integrated Sports PPV.

Khan (19-1, 15 KOs), training at Roach’s famed Wild Card Gym, defends his WBA International lightweight title against seven-time world champion Barrera (65-6, 42 KOs) in the 12-round main event. The two other PPV fights will be former WBO cruiserweight title-holder Enzo Maccarinelli (29-2, 22 KOs) against NABO champ Ola “Kryptonite” Afolabi (13-1-3, 5 KOs) for the WBO cruiserweight championship, while WBO super middleweight champion Nicky “Cookie” Cook (29-1, 16 KOs) defends his title belt against undefeated No. 1 contender Roman “Rocky” Martinez (21-0-1, 12 KOs).

Khan, coming off of a win by second-round TKO of Oisin Fagan for the WBA International title last December, is rated No. 9 by the WBO and No. 13 by the IBF. Roach favourably compares his prospect, Khan, with his ace, pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.

“Athleticism, speed…..everything,” Roach explained why he believes Amir will emerge victoriously. “Barrera’s best was at 122 and 126; Amir is a big 135-pounder. It’s the perfect time – 22-year-old kid against a 35-year-old veteran. We respect Barrera and there’s a lot we have to lookout from him. Barrera can set-up guys with his experience but we’ve really prepared for that.

“Amir reminds me a lot of Manny Pacquiao. They’re both very athletic and Amir is the only guy who can run with Manny. I remember Manny getting knocked out early in his career (by Rustico Torrecampo in 1996) and everybody writing him off. Amir came in on a bigger stage from the Olympics, but I believe he’ll rebound and become world champion. I brought Amir here (Wild Card) to camp to be with Manny and sparring together built Amir’s confidence. If he can do as well as he did with Manny, he can do as well against anybody. He just made a young man’s mistake against Prescott, going for the knockout, and he got caught. Anybody can get caught and Amir is perfecting his defense. He has come along well since his first fight (vs. Fagan) with me.”

Barrera, who has held world titles in three different weight classes during his 19-year pro career, holds wins against a Who’s Who of contemporary world champions and/or challengers such as Erik Morales (twice), Paulie Ayala, Prince Naseem Hamed, Kevin Kelly, Johnny Tapia, Robbie Peden, Mzonke Fana, and Rocky Juarez (twice).

WBO No. 1 rated Maccarinelli, ranked No. 6 by The Ring, defeated Mohamed Azzaoui, Wayne Braithwite, Bobby Gunn, Marcelo Fabian Dominguez and Mark Hobson (twice) during his WBO title reign (2006-2008). The WBO No. 2 rated London-born Afolabi, now living in California, captured the NABO crown last April, stopping previously unbeaten Eric Fields in the 10th round.

Cook won the WBO super featherweight title in his last fight, taking a 12-round unanimous decision from Alex Arthur (26-1) last September in The M.E.N. Arena. The former European champion is rated No. 6 by The Ring. Puerto Rican star on the rise, NABO super featherweight title-holder Martinez, in addition to being the WBC’s top contender, is also rated No. 4 by the WBA No. 9 by The Ring.

Integrated Sports: North America’s leading distributor of International Pay-Per-View and Closed Circuit sports events is Integrated Sports. Among the many events brought to North American viewers by Integrated Sports include World Championship boxing matches featuring Ricky Hatton, Christian Mijares, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones, Jr., Nicolai Valuev and Ruslan Chagaev. In addition, Integrated Sports has distributed numerous International soccer matches showcasing teams like Club America of Mexico and the National Team of Argentina. For more information on upcoming Integrated Sports events visit www.integratedsportsnet.com.

Murat hoping for history to repeat itself

European super-middleweight champion Karo Murat will be hoping for history to repeat itself when he takes on former world champion Cristian Sanavia in Neubrandenburg on Saturday night. Ten months ago, the 25-year-old clinched a points victory over the experienced Italian to celebrate the biggest success of his career. Murat is now looking to do the same trick again as he prepares for the rematch.

“A lot of things have changed in my life since I won the European title,” Murat stated. “I am very proud to be the champion and I will do everything to defend the belt. I have beaten Sanavia once and I will beat him again.”

However, coach Ulli Wegner expects a tough fight. “Sanavia is an excellent boxer,” he lauded. “He is very experienced and will be very determined to win back his title. But Karo has trained exceptionally well. He is in top shape and I am confident of success on Saturday night.”

Needless to say, Sanavia is eager to avenge last April´s defeat. “I had a bad night in the first meeting and did not perform well,” he said. “It will definitely be different this time.”

In the second German-Italian duel of the night, former European champion and world title challenger Sebastian Sylvester faces Gaetano Nespro for the IBF international middleweight title. “I only have the best memories of Neubrandenburg,” the Hurricane said. “I still get goose bumps when I think about my victory over Javier Castillejo (from last April). I hope I can deliver another great night of boxing.”

And his new coach Karsten Rower added: “When we first met I immediately knew that our cooperation would be successful. Sebastian is in great shape and he will perform well on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Nespro is looking to make a lasting impression. “I am already the Italian champion,” he stated. “Now is the time to make even bigger fights.”

MMA heavyweight gladiators Nelson & Monson in classic match-up of world-class grapplers

Jones-Sheika headlines pro boxing/MMA PPV March 21in Pensacola

Former IFL heavyweight champion Roy “Big Country” Nelson believes his March 21st fight against former UFC title challenger Jeff “The Snowman” Monson has all the makings of a classic match-up between a pair of world-class grapplers that all fight fans — mixed martial arts and boxing — will truly appreciate.

Nelson-Monson is part of a boxing/MMA show, headlined by 8-time world boxing champion Roy Jones, Jr. against 4-time world title challenger Omar Sheika, being broadcast live on pay-per-view from Jones’ hometown of Pensacola, Florida.

The pro boxing/MMA show, presented by Square Ring Promotions in association with Hirsch Borao Boxing and the Pensacola Civic Center, is being distributed by Square Ring Promotions, Inc. at 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT in North America on cable and satellite via iNDemand, TVN, DirecTV and Dish Network in the United States, as well as Viewer’s Choice, Shaw Cable, Star Choice and Bell TV in Canada, for a suggested retail price of only $29.95.

Tickets, priced at $128.00, $103.00, $78.00, $53.00 & $28.00 are on sale and available at all Ticketmaster locations, the Pensacola Civic Center Box Office and ticketmaster.com.

Nelson (13-6, 6 KOs, 4 Submissions), fighting out of Las Vegas, was once known strictly as a submission specialist and ground technician, but he has developed his overall game and he’s now as dangerous on his feet striking as he is grappling on the mat.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Monson (27-8, 2 KOs, 15 Submissions) was a Pac-10 wrestling champion at Oregon State, earning a Master’s Degree in psychology, who is generally recognized as one of the world’s all-time greatest submissions grapplers.

“Monson has been to the top, fighting for the UFC belt and taking on some of the top MMA fighters in the world,” Nelson said. “But I belong at the top of that food chain, too. He’s an outstanding grappler but, he lacks reach, compared to other heavyweights. We’re both world-class grapplers, but my advantage is I hit harder and I’m a better fighter on my feet than him. Our ground game will be a stand-off. We’re gladiators; they can put in the tiger but I’m still coming out the winner. Just like in boxing, it’s all about match-ups, and I’m the guy who brings the show. You have two outstanding grapplers who both know how to get out of holds. We’ll nullify each other on the ground, forcing us to fight standing-up, and that’s where it’s going to be a war. The difference is I’m a finisher…..and entertainer.”

Jones Jr. (52-5, 38 KOs), who has won titles in four different weight classes (middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight), returns to fight in his hometown for the first time in a decade. Still ranked among the top 10 light heavyweights in the world by three major boxing organizations as well as The Ring magazine, Jones has defeated 18 world champions – Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Virgil Hill, Felix Trinidad, Mike McCallum and John Ruiz among the more notables – and all five of his career losses have been to world champions.

However, Sheika (27-8, 18 KOs), fighting out of Paterson, N.J., holds a victory against a fighter who beat Jones, Glen Johnson, by 10-round decision in 2000. A hand injury hampered Sheika the past few years but he’s fully recovered and shooting for an upset.

“I think it’s great for MMA fighters to be fighting in front of a new audience – boxing fans,” Nelson added. “They’re in for a real surprise, another level of fighting, and I believe they will really appreciate it. Roy Jones is a legend in boxing. He’s one of the biggest names in boxing, but MMA is a different beast. If Roy, the promoter, takes what’s right in boxing and changes what’s wrong in MMA, I think this (boxing/MMA show) is going to be a major success.”

Additional boxing and MMA bouts are in the process of being added to the March 21st pro boxing/MMA show. All fights and fighters are subject to change.

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