“He’s ready” says Richard Dobal, President of Bad Dog Productions and co-promoter of IBF #6 super featherweight Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy (17-0, 11 KOs).
Miami-based Dobal has been with the 26-year-old Cuban Barthelemy from the beginning of his career and is hoping to watch him join the elite ranks of the 130-lb division when he faces #14-rated contender Arash Usmanee (20-0, 10 KOs) on Friday, January 4, 2013 in a 12-round elimination bout for the IBF’s #2 position.
Barthelemy and Usmanee will meet in the main event that night, as Warriors Boxing and Bad Dog Productions in association with the Magic City Casino, present the year’s debut broadcast of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights (10 PM Eastern on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, online through WatchESPN.com, and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.) live from Stage 305 in the Magic City Casino in Miami, Florida.
In the co-featured televised bout, Puerto Rican slugger Jonathan “Mantequilla” Gonzalez (15-0-1, 13 KOs) will take on Philadelphia’s Derek “Pooh” Ennis (23-3-1, 13 KOs).
“My partner Leon (Margules of Warriors Boxing), his manager Henry Foster and I feel this kid is world championship material. It’s time to take on a guy like this. He’s ready,” continued Dobal. “I say that because he’s had an opportunity to be in several training camps and all the feedback we get is that he’s ready for bigger and better things. He was just in camp with Mercito Gesta and before that with Sharif Bogere and Marco Maidana. He’s sparred several top guys and handled himself very well.”
Dobal says his fighter is in the perfect place at the perfect time, facing Afghani-Canadian Usmanee for a top spot in the rankings.
“Whenever we’ve put an opponent in front of him where he had to step up, such as Hylon Williams, Rances proved he was ready. I think he’s one of those fighters that the better the opponent, the more inspired he gets in training and in his performance. What I like about Usmanee is that we know him. They had an opportunity to spar a couple years ago and Arash is a guy who comes to fight. Rances won’t have to find him and those are the type of opponents that showcase Rances at his best. Rances likes to fight. He likes to get down and slug it out. These are the types of opponents that Rances stylistically will do well against. We’re all conscious that Arash is a very tough fighter and this is probably the toughest fight that Rances has ever had. But these are the types of guys you have to fight to become a champion.”
Barthelemy recently moved his base of operations back to Florida after spending time in Vegas working with well-respected trainer Miguel Diaz.
“He is with new trainers now, John David Jackson and with Chico Rivas, and they put a little more emphasis on strength and conditioning. We’re very grateful to Miguel in Vegas who worked with him all this time, but Rances is going to be a father soon and the distance from his fiancé with him living in Vegas wasn’t working, so he made the decision to come back to Miami to support to his new family. Rances is a very good kid and family comes first.”
Frankie Gavin and Jason Welborn go head-to-head ahead of British Title showdown
By Daniel Mole
Frankie Gavin and Jason Welborn went head-to-head today ahead of their British Welterweight Showdown in January.
The pair met at a press conference in Dudley to promote the fight, which takes place at Walsall Town Hall on Friday, 18th January 2013. It is also live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546).
Gavin (14-0) will be looking to make a successful first defence of the British strap since defeating Junior Witter in November. The Birmingham boxer is in confident mood ahead of the clash with fellow Midlander, Welborn.
“It’s come around very fast and I’m happy about that,” he told www.uko-boxing.com. “I haven’t been busy during the last couple of years, so to be back out there so soon after beating Junior Witter is a bonus.
“I’m expecting Welborn to come forward and try and take me out. He’s not going to be able to out box me so he’ll be coming to upset me and take me out of my rhythm but I think I’ll be too much for him.
“I’m looking forward to the fight, especially as it’s in the Midlands. Walsall Town Hall is a lot like York Hall, where I won my title, so I can’t wait. It will be an electric atmosphere in a sell-out venue.”
With Gavin hailing from Birmingham and Welborn hailing from the Black Country, it’s a Midlands derby that will attract a national audience.
Tickets are selling well for the Frank Warren Promotion – in association with Errol Johnson – and Welborn (11-1) is confident that, cheered on by a bumper crowd, he can cause an upset.
“It’s a massive night for me,” the Rowley Regis fighter told www.uko-boxing.com. “Being at the press conference makes it all feel real now. I’ve waited a long time for a chance at someone like Frankie and I’m ready to step up.
“He’s a good boxer with a good pedigree but I don’t think he’s got my strength. I’m strong and can really punch. I want this. This is a massive opportunity for me.
“To be fighting in the Black Country for a British title is amazing. It’s the perfect Christmas present.”
There is an action-packed undercard as Walsall’s Martin Gethin takes on Londoner Ben Murphy for the vacant British and Commonwealth Lightweight titles whilst Walsall’s Chris Keane steps in with Nottingham’s Shane McPhilbin for the Midlands Cruiserweight title.
Three unbeaten fighters – Stafford middleweight, Grant Cunningham, Cannock lightwelterweight, Dave Egan, and Burton light welterweight , Tom Shaw – are also in action along with an interesting clash between unbeaten super middleweights Andrew Robinson (Birmingham) and John Mason (Leamington Spa).
Tickets are priced at £30 and £60 and are available from Walsall Town Hall Box Office on 0845 111 2900.
The show will be live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546). Join at www.boxnation.com