Holyfield Relinquishes WBF World Title; Charity dinner in honour of Michael Watson; Andrade defeats Duran

Evander Holyfield has decided to relinquish the World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Heavyweight title in order to challenge Alexander Povetkin for the WBA “regular” World title in December. The legendary American informed this personally to WBF president Howard Goldberg.

“I have been in talks with Evander Holyfield over the past couple of weeks. He has secured a December fight against Povetkin for one of the WBA titles and informed me that with much regret he would have to relinquish his WBF world title”, said Goldberg.

“Evander and I have always had an open relationship and he expressed his great pride in having fought for and having held our WBF world heavyweight title and that he will always keep the WBF close to his heart.”

Holyfield, 44-10-2, (29), won the WBF World title in April 2010 stopping Francois Botha in eight rounds at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, and made one defense, a No-Contest with Sherman Williams in January. In his latest outing, on May 7, he stopped Dane Brian Nielsen in a non title fight.

“It has always been our philosophy at the WBF to allow our champions to grow, be it with us at the WBF or whether they are offered opportunities elsewhere. We have never, and will never, prevent our fighters from growing – that is not who we are”, continued Goldberg.

“So I take this opportunity to thank Evander for being our WBF champion, and for holding our title with such gratitude and pride, and wish him all the best for his upcoming fight in December.”

Evander Holyfield will forever be considered one of the greatest Heavyweight Champions in the history of the sport. After Unifying the World Boxing Association (WBA), WBC and IBF Cruiserweight titles in the late eighties, he won the Heavyweight World titles of the same organizations in 1990 by stopping James “Buster” Douglas in three rounds.

He since won and lost world titles several times, and will only cement his legacy further should he defeat Alexander Povetkin (22-0, 15 KOs) in December.



The cream of British boxing gathered at the Dorchester hotel in London on Tuesday night (20 September) for a charity dinner in honour of Michael Watson. Twenty years ago, Watson fought Chris Eubank at White Hart Lane for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight title. Eubank won the fight in the final round, but for Watson, the real battle was only just beginning for Michael after he collapsed in the ring and fell into a coma.

Watson’s incredible story took him from that coma to completing the 2003 London Marathon and receiving an MBE the following year and on Tuesday, the accolades for this real life superhero continued as the WBO recognised him with a special belt: the WBO People’s Champion of the World, an honour that Watson accepted with his typical quick wit.

“At last, justice is done,” said Watson, holding the belt aloft to the acclaim of one of many standing ovations he received from the mix of fans and fighting legends. “I want to thank everyone who has been such a great help to me throughout my life. Life is a gift and I’m so happy to be able to share this special evening with so many friends.”

Among those friends and family were two of Watson’s fighting foes Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank, who escorted the guest of honour into the packed ballroom after a parade of fighting greats including John Conteh, Joe Calzaghe, Duke McKenzie, Spencer Oliver and Johnny Nelson. Sky Sports’ Adam Smith chaired proceedings and interviewed Eubank and Benn about their fights with Watson.

“Michael was such a gentleman before the fight – he was so calm, almost like Yoda and for 11 rounds he dealt me a bitterly emotional beating,” said Eubank. “It is a fight that really should be celebrated – it was his greatest performance and it was the greatest fight I was ever in and so much more has happened out of the contest that has made boxing a safer sport – it’s all down to Michael and we all owe him a great debt.”

“Could I have gone through what Michael has been through? I don’t think so, no,” said Benn. “He is a true one-off, but he was always a magnificent man – a true gentleman and an inspiration. I will never forget how he beat me in our fight, he beat me so badly that night I just couldn’t live with him, but he was the first person to hug me and that was a mark of the man. He’s a friend for life.”

Those in attendance were fortunate enough to watch the premiere showing of Michael Watson: The People’s Champion, a documentary produced by Matchroom Sport on Michael’s extraordinary life which is on Sky Sports 3 and HD3 tonight at 7pm. This gripping hour of television features contributions from boxers like Benn, Eubank, Barry McGuigan and Spencer Oliver, but also from Peter Hamlyn, the neurosurgeon who tended to Michael, Leonard Ballack, Michael’s close friend and carer, Michael’s mother, Joan, and of course, Michael himself.

“The programme is a fitting tribute to a wonderful man,” said Barry Hearn, who organised the event at The Dorchester. “It’s a real treat for boxing fans and sports fans, but Michael’s story transcends sport and touches people from all walks of life – it is compelling viewing and I urge people to tune in.”

A charity auction raised considerable funds for Watson, with boxing memorabilia kindly donated and signed from those in attendance and also from mega stars like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and the Klitschko’s, while Michael’s beloved football club Arsenal and their north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur also donated special items.

Michael Watson: The People’s Champion is on Sky Sports 3 and HD3 tonight at 7pm (repeated at 11pm).

Serrano aims to Checkmate Mathis

Brooklyn-based Cindy “Checkmate” Serrano (15-3-2, 7 KOs) had her first shot at a world championship in 2005 when she fought to a draw with Rhonda Luna for the vacant WIBA Featherweight crown. Almost six years later she will get a second chance, as she travels to France to take on hard-punching reigning World Boxing Federation (WBF) Women’s Welterweight World Champion Anne Sophie Mathis (24-1, 21 KOs) on October 1.

That December night back in 2005 at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, Serrano’s 16 year old younger sister Amanda was sitting at ringside. Amanda since started her own boxing career, and became a world champion earlier this month when she won the IBF Super Featherweight title.

While happy for her sibling’s success, Cindy obviously doesn’t want to take a backseat to her kid sister. With that in mind, Serrano has worked vigorously with trainer Jordan Maldonado at Glendale Boxing Club in Queens, N.Y., and believes they have come up with the right strategy to beat Mathis, even in the champion’s home country.

However, it will be a very tough assignment for the 29-year-old Puerto Rican-American. Anne Sophie Mathis has only tasted defeat once as a professional, and that was almost six years ago and in her second bout. In 1995 Mathis was overwhelmed by the more experienced and undefeated Marischa Sjauw, who later went on to win multiple world titles.

Eleven victories later Mathis won the WBA World Light Welterweight title, along with the EBU European crown, in an all-French super-fight against current WBF World Light Welterweight champ Myriam Lamare, stopping her then undefeated countryman in seven rounds. Six months later she beat Lamare again in a rematch, this time by a close majority decision in a defense of the WBA belt.

In 2008 Mathis added the WBC and WIBF titles by defeating Panamanian Ana Pascal. She defended the WBA trinket once more later that year, before taking 2009 off and moving up to welterweight. In April 2011 she captured the WBO European championship in a tune-up towards winning the WBF and WIBA Welterweight World titles in June with a stoppage over Switzerland’s Olivia Boudouma.
Against Serrano, Mathis will be making her first WBF World title defense, and at 34 years of age she is fighting better than ever and appears to have many years as champion left in her. Cindy Serrano is however coming to cut her reign short, become her family’s second world champion, and ruin plans for a welterweight super-fight that Mathis has lined up against Holly Holm in the USA in December.

Against Serrano, Mathis will be making her first WBF World title defense, and at 34 years of age she is fighting better than ever and appears to have many years as champion left in her. Cindy Serrano is however coming to cut her reign short, become her family’s second world champion, and ruin plans for a welterweight super-fight that Mathis has lined up against Holly Holm in the USA in December.


Undefeated #14WBC, #15WBO ranked Jr. Middleweight contender Demetrius Andrade (15-0 10KO) destroyed former 2 time World Championship challenger Saul Duran (38-19-2 31KO) by a third round TKO last night in the main event at the 10th annual “Fight To Educate” in Manchester, NH.

Andrade came out firing crisp combinations to both the head and body in round 1. Andrade looked very fast and very sharp and was throwing punches in bunches with bad intentions.

Round 2 was much of the same with Andrade dominating with speed and power throwing beautiful combinations to the head and body. Duran, to his credit, was trying to fight back gamely but had no answers for the determined Andrade. A stunning 4 punch combination dropped Duran near the end of the second round.

Andrade came out in round 3 with intentions of ending the affair. Fighting very aggressively, Andrade pummeled the game Duran throughout the round dropping Saul near the end of round 3.

Duran could not come out for round 4 giving Andrade the TKO victory.

After the fight Andrade was quoted as saying “As long as I use my speed everything else is easy. I’m ready to fight again before the end of this year”.

On hand was Andrade co-promoter Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing who along with Banner Promotions promotes Andrade. DeGuardia had this to say after the fight. “Demetrius looked sensational tonight against a tough, seasoned guy who came to fight. Demetrius is ready to compete with the elite of the Jr. Middleweight division and I fully expect him to become a world champion before the end of next year”.

Proceeds from the annual Fight To Educate will benefit the SE Science Center, The Bobby Stephens Fund for Education, and the St. Joseph Community Services/Meals on Wheels.

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Boxing News Holyfield Relinquishes WBF World Title; Charity dinner in honour of Michael Watson; Andrade defeats Duran