NEW YORK (January 12, 2015) — Undefeated superstar champions TERENCE “Bud” CRAWFORD and FELIX “El Diamante” VERDEJO will make their 2016 debuts in title defenses, Saturday, February 27, at the “Mecca of Boxing” — The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Crawford, the two-division world champion and 2014 Fighter of the Year will be defending his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior welterweight world championship belt against Top-10 contender “Hammerin'” HANK LUNDY. Verdejo, the boxing gem of Puerto Rico, will be risking his WBO Latino lightweight title crown and his march to a world title shot when he rumbles with undefeated Brazilian buzz saw WILLIAM “Baby Face” SILVA. Both fights will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
These four warriors boast a combined record of 95-5-1 (60 KOs) — a winning percentage of 94% with close to 2/3 of their victories coming by way of knockout.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Tecate, Classic Entertainment & Sports (CES), Diamante Promotions and Madison Square Garden, tickets to the Crawford vs. Lundy / Verdejo vs. Silva championship doubleheader will go on sale Tomorrow! Wednesday, January 13 at 10:00 a.m. ET. Priced at $300, $200, $100, $50 and $25, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.
“I will show the world I am the best fighter at 140 pounds,” said Crawford
“We can’t wait to shut up this dude, once and for all,” said Brian McIntyre, Crawford’s chief trainer and co-manager.
“This is an excellent matchup,” said Cameron Dunkin, Crawford’s co-manager. “Terence, the best in the world, against Lundy, a world-class fighter. Fans at The Garden and at home watching on HBO will be on their feet for as long as it lasts.”
“This is the type of fight I have been waiting for,” said Lundy. “The last couple of fights I have beaten guys but didn’t get the fair shake. If you’re a true fan of boxing, you know I belong in the ring with the best fighters in the world. I’m the type of guy that no one wants to fight, because I am the real deal. On February 27th, I am coming to Madison Square Garden to fight Terence Crawford, and on the 28th I’ll be leaving with his belt.”
“I feel happy to be going back to New York where last time I didn’t have one of my best performances because of the injury I suffered on my left hand, but I hope that this time I can give all my fans in ‘The Big Apple’ the spectacle that they deserve,” said Verdejo. “I’m coming ready to demonstrate to the world that in Puerto Rico there is a hungry fighter that wants to continue the tradition of champions that our Island has a rich history of producing.”
“We are going to New York to face William Silva, who on paper looks like the toughest fighter Felix has ever faced, but we are confident we will do the right preparation to pass this test,” said Ricky Marquez, Verdejo’s trainer and manager. “We know that we can count on the support of all the boricuas and we dedicate this fight to them, because they inspire us to wake up every morning at dawn to keep working harder and harder.”
“This is the fight I’ve wanted for a long time. At last, we get Verdejo in the ring,” said Silva.
“All of us at Top Rank are thrilled to return to the Theater at Madison Square Garden,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “We are particularly delighted that America superstar Terence Crawford will defend his world junior welterweight title against an ever dangerous Hank Lundy. The big boxing program will also showcase rising superstar prospect and the pride of Puerto Rico Felix Verdejo who will take on undefeated contender William Silva of Brazil.”
“It is great to be working with Top Rank and HBO Boxing on this event. This is the type of fight that is great for the sport of boxing, said Jimmy Burchfield, Sr., president of CES, Lundy’s promoter. “Fans will see two true warriors who will leave it all in the center of the ring, and it should go down as one of the best fights of the year. Hank Lundy has been waiting for a well-deserved opportunity like this his whole life, and he is hungry and ready for this bout. “Hammerin'” Hank has never turned down an opportunity, and in his past 17 bouts he has fought in 13 different states against opponents with a combined record of 276-44-4. On February 28th the world will see the best Hank Lundy yet.”
“Making his Manhattan debut, Terence Crawford stands today among boxing’s fastest rising stars” said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. “His opponent Hank Lundy, Crawford’s toughest to date, seeks to usurp that star power for himself on fight night with an upset at the historic Madison Square Garden Theater. This will be a memorable night that will catapult the winner to new heights.”
Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs), of Omaha, Neb., who has won three of his last four bouts by stoppage, will be making his debut at the “Mecca of Boxing” in his second title defense as WBO junior welterweight world champion. The consensus Top-10 pound-for-pound fighter will be looking to build on his star-making 2014 which featured three world championship victories as well as Fighter of the Year honors from the BWAA and major media alike. Crawford, 28, captured the vacant WBO junior welterweight crown on April 18, 2015, via a devastating sixth-round knockout of once-beaten No. 2 world-rated contender Thomas Dulorme. He successfully defended the title on October 24, stopping No.2 world-rated contender Dierry Jean in front of a packed house at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. Crawford began his career-best year on March 1, 2014, just 13 days short of the sixth anniversary of his professional debut. He captured the WBO lightweight title, dethroning defending champion Ricky Burns on Burns’ home turf of Glasgow, Scotland. Scoring a powerful and unanimous decision, Crawford put the boxing world on notice with his virtuoso performance as he pulled out all stops in dismantling Burns, rocking the defending champion throughout the fight, while switching back and forth between orthodox and southpaw stances. He followed that with a dramatic and critically-acclaimed knockout victory of undefeated former world champion and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa on June 28, 2014, in a Fight of the Year nominee. It was one of the most-watched fights of the year with over 1.2 million viewers catching the live, first-time airing of the fight, according to Nielsen Media Research. He concluded 2014 on November 29 with a thorough shellacking of one-time world title challenger and No. 1 contender Ray Beltran, winning 11 of the 12 rounds. Crawford is only the second Nebraska native to be recognized as a boxing world champion. Perry “Kid” Graves, from Rock Bluff, captured the welterweight crown, knocking out Johnny Alberts in Brooklyn, in 1914, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Lundy (26-5-1, 13 KOs), of Philadelphia, PA., will be bringing anything but brotherly love when he battles Crawford. The nine-year pro has a refreshing “old school” attitude about competition which can be boiled down to three words, “Bring It On!” Boasting a professional resume that doesn’t shy away from any tough fights, Lundy, 32, has several impressive victories, including former world champions David Diaz and Richar Abril as well as contenders Olusegun Ajose, Patrick Lopez, Dannie Williams and Angelo Santana. Lopez and Williams were both NABF lightweight title fights. In his last fight, on October 17, Lundy captured the World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas lightweight title via a fifth-round knockout of Carlos Velasquez. Like Crawford, he can switch effectively and seamlessly to the southpaw stance. He is currently world-rated No. 8 by the WBC.
Verdejo (19-0, 14 KOs), from San Juan, Puerto Rico, who earned “Prospect of the Year” honors in 2014 and 2015, is looking to begin this year as a bona fide world title contender. He returns to the ring having won eight of his last 10 fights inside the distance, including his first and last fights of 2015 — a fifth-round knockout of Marco Lopez, on April 25, for the vacant WBO Latino lightweight title and a second-round pasting of Josenilson Dos Santos on December 11, which was Verdejo’s second defense of the title. In between those two fights, Verdejo successfully defended his title on June 13 at Madison Square Garden during Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated contender Ivan Najera of San Antonio, TX. Already world-rated No. 4 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), No. 6 by the WBO and No. 7 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), Verdejo, 22, continues to develop into a major gate attraction, producing standing room only crowds every time he fights. A former amateur standout who represented Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympics, Verdejo has been mentored by Puerto Rican boxing icon and Hall of Fame inductee Felix Trinidad.
Silva (23-0, 14 KOs), of São Paulo, Brasil, who will be making his HBO debut, has only gone the distance three times over the past five years. He began to separate himself from the pack in 2013, when he captured the WBO Latino welterweight title via a 12-round unanimous decision over Hector Santana. In his 2014 debut, he captured the WBO Latino lightweight title, again by a 12-round decision, over Pablo Barboza. Santana and Barboza had a combined record of 40-5 when Silva fought them. Silva, 28, won all his 2015 fights by knockout, including a third-round stoppage of Bayanmunkh Bayaanjargal on the undercard of the December 11 Verdejo-Santos fight. Silva was licking his chops at the prospect of fighting Verdejo and made no secret of his desire at the post-fight press conference. World-rated No. 15 by the WBO, Silva will be one of the biggest and most dangerous opponents Verdejo has ever faced.
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