Photo by HoganPhotos – In his third opportunity at a world title, Argentine knockout artist Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) stopped previously undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (37-1, 27 KOs) in the eighth round of a scheduled 12-round fight to win the WBA Welterweight World Championship on HBO Boxing After Dark in front of a roaring crowd of 6,143 boxing fans at Los Angeles’ “Fabulous” Forum. After several rounds in which Matthysse pushed forward to cut the distance, the 35-year-old landed an overhand right that dropped him immediately. After Kiram got up, Matthysse landed a short left hand that ended matters at 1:21 of the eighth round. At the time of the stoppage, two judges had Matthysse winning with scores of 68-65 and 69-64, while one judge had it 68-65 for Kiram, who went straight to the hospital after the fight.
“I’m really happy,” said Lucas Matthysse. “He [Kiram] moved really well, and he was really big. That’s why it was hard to cut the distance. I didn’t feel his power, but he felt mine, so that’s why I was able to find him later and stop him. I’m here for the best and biggest names. I want the rematch with Danny Garcia or Manny Pacquiao. Those are the big fights I want, though of course that will be up to Mario Arano and Golden Boy Promotions to figure that out.”
Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) successfully defended his WBA and Ring Magazine World Lightweight Titles with a shutout 12-round unanimous decision win against lightweight contender Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-2-2, 17 KOs). Linares had trouble early as Gesta provided an awkward southpaw style. But eventually Linares found his rhythm, landing right hands, uppercuts and left hooks en route to a comfortable though competitive win. Linares won with scores of 118-110, 118-110 and 117-111.
“I didn’t really feel his [Gesta’s] power, though I hurt my hand in the fourth or fifth round,” said Jorge Linares. “I threw my right hand without really putting too much power into it. I was just touching him. There wasn’t a knockout because he was well prepared. Like I said to Oscar De La Hoya, I don’t want to mention names for my next opponent. You know what’s nice? That people mention my name [as a possible opponent]. That’s fine that they mention my name, but let’s get them in the ring. Let them get in the ring with me.”
“I fought against a world champion, and that was a great privilege,” said Mercito Gesta. “He [Linares] adjusted well to my style after the first couple of rounds. Overall, I am proud of myself for taking this tough fight, and I know me and coach Freddie Roach came in with the best game plan. We just fell a little short.”
Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Marcelino “Nino” Lopez (34-2-1, 19 KOs) scored a spectacular win against veteran puncher Breidis Prescott (30-12, 22 KOs) of Valledupar, Colombia by way of knockout in the fifth round of a spectacular welterweight battle originally scheduled for eight rounds. After a few rounds of good toe-to-toe action, Lopez landed a two-punch combination that floored Prescott hard. Upon getting up from the canvas, Lopez landed another hard right hand that ended the fight at 2:59 of the fifth round.
“Boxing is a beautiful sport that is so exhilarating, but to get a knockout is the best part and what we train for,” said Marcelino Lopez. “It takes sacrifice to leave your home country and to be able to focus and get a win like this is so satisfying. I want to thank Joel Diaz, who has taken me in like his family and has helped me improve and refine my style.”
Power punching Filipino prospect Romero Duno (16-1, 14 KOs) scored a first-round knockout victory against Yardley Armento (21-10, 12 KOs) of Sacramento, Calif. in a lightweight battle that was initially scheduled for eight rounds. Duno dropped and stopped Armento with two consecutive right hands to the temple.
“I wasn’t expecting to knock him out in the first round,” said Romero Duno. “I can’t even remember if I actually hurt him. My coach told me to go in there and use my jab and to keep calm, but I just got really excited and the next thing I knew I won.”
In what was a spirited battle between two undefeated Mexican American prospects, Francisco “El Alacran” Esparza (7-0-1, 3 KOs) stopped Tenochtitlan “T-Dog” Nava (7-1, 1 KO) in the sixth round of a scheduled eight-round featherweight fight.
“We were expecting a knock out by the eighth round, so we were glad that it happened earlier,” said Francisco Esparza. “I’m trained by former world champion Fernando Vargas. He is an important mentor and helped me execute a game plan where we broke Nava down. Hopefully, I’ll be fighting in my hometown of Las Vegas in May.”
Ferdinand Kerobyan (8-0, 4 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. escaped a near upset loss in what was otherwise a dominant unanimous decision win against Compton, Calif.’s Lucius Johnson (4-2-1, 3 KOs). Kerobyan dominated the southpaw for five rounds completely, while Johnson was deducted a point in the fifth round for repeatedly spitting out his mouth guard. In the sixth and final round, Kerobyan was dropped and nearly stopped, though he survived the round and retained his undefeated record with three scores of 59-54.
“The energy was incredible tonight! I was glad to have the support of the fans and my Armenian community,” said Ferdinand Kerobyan. “I’m just ready to start stepping up the level of competition I am facing and I want to be able to start fighting for some regional titles soon.”
Daquan Pauldo (17-1, 9 KOs) of Orlando, Florida defeated Osbaldo Gonzalez (6-2, 4 KOs) by unanimous decision in a six-round middleweight clash. Pauldo’s aggressive, counterpunching style was too much for the Tulsa, Okla. native. Pauldo won with scores of 58-56, 58-56 and 59-55.
“I thought the judges were going to stop the fight after the third round because his nose was torn up,” said Daquan Pauldo. “I would give myself a 5.5 for my performance – it’s been two and a half years since I’ve been able to be consistent in the ring, and I think both me and my promoter would agree that what I need is to be more consistent with my training. I needed to move a lot more inside the ring and be more active inside.”
Javier Martinez (5-0, 3 KOs) opened the evening of combats with a tough victory against Mexico City, Mexico’s Danny Flores (11-10-1, 5 KOs). Martinez, a featherweight prospect of Dallas, Texas, won via six-round unanimous decision with scores of 58-55, 58-55 and 59-55.
“I am not proud of my performance. It was really hard to adjust and get into the rhythm of things,” said Javier Martinez. “This sport is all about taking steps forward, and I just have to take from all my mistakes and improve from this point.”
LUCAS “LA MAQUINA” MATTHYSSE, FORMER INTERIM WBC SUPERLIGHTWEIGHT:
“I’m excited this opportunity to fight for a world title. We prepared for this fight really well. We prepared in Argentina, and then finished in Indio. This Saturday, we will walk away with a world title. We know that he manages his distance well and that he has a good jab, but we prepared for that. We learned a few things, but I assure the fans that they will once again see the “Machine” this Saturday.”
TEWA KIRAM, PABA WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION:
“I’m very thankful that I’m fighting for a world title this Saturday against Lucas Matthysse. I’m looking forward to winning a world and taking the belt back to Thailand. Don’t miss out on this great show.”
JORGE “EL NIÑO DE ORO” LINARES, WBA AND RING MAGAZINE LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION:
“Thank you for this opportunity, Mercito Gesta. I’m ready. I’m here to give a good fight. I trained in Japan, and I trained here in the states. I’m not thinking about any other fight right now. Gesta is a tough fighter. He’a a quick southpaw who is dangerous. It’s very important to be victorious this Saturday. Bigger and better things will come with a victory this Saturday.”
MERCITO “NO MERCY” GESTA, LIGHTWEIGHT CONTENDER:
“I just want to say thank you to the media and to HBO. This Saturday I’ll be coming to take home the title. I’ve been training hard for this fight. This is my second shot at a title, and I’ll make the most of it with a knockout victory.”
JOEL DIAZ, TRAINER TO LUCAS MATTHYSSE:
“Lucas Matthysse is the type of fighter I like to train. He’s aggressive. He has heavy hands. I’m committed to taking advantage of this opportunity–the opportunity that he has to win a world title. This Saturday you will see a new Lucas Matthysse.”
MARIO ARANO, MANAGER TO LUCAS MATTHYSSE:
“The time has come for Lucas Matthysse. He is the face of Golden Boy Promotions and Arano Box. I’m confident that Argentina will come to a standstill this Saturday night. The world will celebrate and applaud Matthysse’s victory.”
TERRY LAOSUWANWAT, PROMOTER OF TEWA KIRAM:
“Tewa [Kiram] is number one. He didn’t get there by luck. He worked hard for this opportunity. Tewa is taller and stronger. We are definitely not the underdog, and you will see that this Saturday.”
FREDDIE ROACH, HALL OF FAME TRAINER TO MERCITO GESTA:
“It’s been a really good training camp. He’s worked hard in training camp. I just want to wish the best of luck to our opponent.”
ERIC GOMEZ, PRESIDENT OF GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS
“This Saturday will be important because it is the first boxing event of international proportions. I want to thank our partners at HBO working with us to make yet another great card, and the Forum for one again hosting another Golden Boy fight. This Saturday we will have some of our most exciting fighters in tough fights on our undercard, and it will be headline by two spectacular matchups.”
Matthysse vs. Kiram is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Arano Box and Galaxy Promotions. Linares vs. Gesta, a 12-round fight for the WBA and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championships, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Teiken Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy “Never Stop, Never Settle,” and Casa Mexico Tequila. The event will take place Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in Inglewood, Calif. and will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. The non-televised undercard action will be streamed live on RingTV.com beginning at 3:05 p.m. PT/ 6:05 p.m. ET.
HBO Boxing ushers in a new year with the all-action doubleheader HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: LUCAS MATTHYSSE VS. TEWA KIRAM AND JORGE LINARES VS. MERCITO GESTA, presented SATURDAY, JAN. 27 at 10:30 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT) from The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The HBO Sports team will call all the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.
The fights will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.
The main event spotlights ring warrior Lucas Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) of Argentina as he battles undefeated challenger Tewa Kiram (38-0, 28 KOs) of Thailand for a vacant welterweight title in a scheduled 12-round clash. Making his fifth appearance on HBO, Matthysse, 35, is a fan favorite, thanks to his aggressive, come-forward style. During his 14-year career, he’s taken on all challengers, including Danny García, Zab Judah, Lamont Peterson and Ruslan Provodnikov. Matthysse’s impressive dismantling of Emmanuel Taylor on the undercard of Canelo-Golovkin in May set the stage for this title shot.
Making his U.S. and HBO debut, Kiram, 25, looks to make a statement. With 28 knockout victories since turning pro at age 15, he would quickly catapult himself into the spotlight by defeating the respected veteran.
The night opens with Jorge Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) of Venezuela, now residing in Tokyo, defending his world lightweight title against Mercito Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) of the Philippines, now living in San Diego. The scheduled 12-round bout marks the 32-year-old Linares’ sixth defense of the crown he captured in 2014; he won an exciting fight over challenger Luke Campbell at The Forum last September.
Southpaw challenger Gesta, 30, has just one career defeat, which came in 2012 at the hands of former lightweight titlist Miguel Vázquez in his only other title shot. An impressive stretch of wins, including a knockout victory over Martin Honorio at The Forum in July, earned him this shot against the reigning champ.
Beginning its 22nd season, HBO BOXING AFTER DARK has delivered some of the sport’s most memorable moments since 1996, including Ward-Gatti 1, two fights from the Rios-Alvarado trilogy and the consensus 2016 Fight of the Year between Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido. The franchise has helped launch the careers of some of boxing’s biggest and brightest, including Gennady Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez, Sergey Kovalev, Miguel Cotto, Wladimir Klitschko, Marco Antonio Barrera and Shane Mosley.
Follow HBO boxing news at hbo.com/boxing, on Facebook at facebook.com/hboboxing and on Twitter at twitter.com/hboboxing.
All HBO boxing events are presented in HDTV. HBO viewers must have access to the HBO HDTV channel to watch HBO programming in high definition.
The executive producer of HBO Sports is Rick Bernstein; producer, Jonathan Crystal; director, Johnathan Evans.
® HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is a registered service mark of Home Box Office, Inc.
Here’s what today’s participants had to say at the media workout:
TEWA KIRAM, PABA Welterweight Champion:
“I have a great game plan that I have for next week. I can’t reveal it now, but if I find an opportunity, I’ll take it. Lucas Matthysse is coming from 140 to 147, so I feel good about that. I’ll be the naturally bigger guy in there. I’m very relaxed, even though this is my first fight outside of Thailand. I’m very happy and excited to come to America to fight for a world title. With a win, I’ll come back here very soon and fight again!”
MERCITO “NO MERCY” GESTA, Lightweight Contender:
“I’ve grown a lot and learned a lot since 2012, when I first fought for a world title. I learned how to take defeat, and I learned to make the most from my mistakes. Right now it’s a matter of taking all that I learned and putting it into the ring. I’m not concerned with Jorge Linares’ power, but he is fast and we’re taking that into consideration. I’ve been studying and working on applying pressure, but smartly to avoid mistakes. To my all my fans, don’t miss this great fight. I’m going to win that belt for you!”
FERDINAND KEROBYAN, Welterweight Prospect:
“My opponent’s name is Lucius Johnson, and he’s been a pro for a while now. We’ve done our research, and I’m looking forward to putting a great show for my fans and come out with a great victory. After fighting 7 times in 2017, I’m hoping this year I’ll be fighting for a championship belt. I want to get more experience on the way, and with experience I’ll be a more complete fighter.
ROMERO “RUTHLESS” DUNO, Super Featherweight Prospect:
“The win against Christian Gonzalez gave me a lot of opportunities. I was immediately signed and now I’m doing better than ever. I will give a good fight on Jan. 27, and we can show the world to never underestimate me. I’ve prepared well, and I’m ready for the next level and to take on even tougher fights.
TENOCHTITLAN “T-DOG” NAVA, Featherweight Prospect:
“I’ve been waiting for this fight for some time now. Now only is this a great opportunity to step up, but it’s an opportunity to give a great fight between two young, undefeated fighters. Esparza is young and tough, but I came into camp in great shape and I have a smart game plan to beat him.”
Matthysse vs. Kiram is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBA Welterweight
World Championship, and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Arano Box and Galaxy Promotions. Linares vs. Gesta, a 12-round fight for the WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championships is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Teiken Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy “Never Stop, Never Settle,” and Casa Mexico Tequila. The event will take place Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. and will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.
The non-televised undercard action will be streamed live on www.RingTV.com beginning at 3:05 p.m. PT/ 6:05 p.m. ET.
Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) hosted a media workout today in Indio, Calif. ahead of his 12-round fight against Tewa Kiram (38-0. 28 KOs) for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship on Jan. 27, 2018 in a special double main event at the “Fabulous” Forum Inglewood, Calif. In the second part of the double main event, Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) will defend his WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Lightweight Titles against Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) in a 12-round battle. The doubleheader will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.
On the non-televised portion of the card, Marcelino “Nino” Lopez (33-2, 18 KOs), who will return in 10-round super lightweight fight against a soon-to-be announced opponent, and Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (8-0, 8 KOs), who is preparing for his 2018 comeback on a soon-to-be announced card, also participated in the workout. Featherweight prospect and training partner of the fighters, Javier Martinez (4-0, 3 KOs), also was in attendance as he prepares to open the night of action in a six-round bout.
Here’s what today’s participants had to say at the media workout:
LUCAS MATTHYSSE, Former Interim WBC Super Lightweight
“Training camp has been excellent. I did a little bit of training in Argentina before coming here. to Indio. Training with Joel Diaz and the entire team has been great. I know that Tewa Kiram is a hard puncher and can fight on the outside, but on Jan. 27 I’ll become world champion. I’ve beaten the best at 140 pounds, and now I’ll beat the best at 147 pounds. A win against Kiram will put me at the top of the division.”
MARCELINO LOPEZ, Super Lightweight Contender:
“Whether I not I know who my opponent is does not make a difference. I will still train hard. When I knocked out Pablo Cesar Cano, it was a great victory for me because he’s a tough former world champion. He’s fought the best and has fought to decisions with them as well. I finished the fight in two rounds, and I know I’ll be having bigger and better fights in the future because of that.”
VERGIL ORTIZ, JR., Super Lightweight Prospect:
“Lucas Matthysse is a great person and a funny guy. Sparring with him was great. You have to watch out because he hits hard and has a lot of tricks. I feel like I’ll do my best under the Joel Diaz training camp. I feel like I won’t slack off with him and do my best. Maybe in 2018 my knockout streak will end as I fight tougher and tougher opponents.”
DANIEL MARTINEZ, Featherweight Prospect:
“Whatever they put in my way in this new year, I’ll do. I’d like to fight more rounds and fight better opponents. I want to move up the rankings this year and be in very tough fights.”
ERIC GOMEZ, President of Golden Boy Promotions:
“This fight with Lucas Matthysse was mandated by the WBA. This is a dangerous fight. He’s an undefeated puncher with a great style, and they’re both big punchers. I know it’s going to be a great fight, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Here’s what today’s participants had to say at today’s press conference:
LUCAS “LA MAQUINA” MATTHYSSE, WBA Inter-Continental Welterweight and WBO International Welterweight Champion:
“I’m happy to be back in the United States. We’re preparing well. I’ve had a great camp. I started camp early in Argentina, and now I’m looking forward to closing camp with Joel Diaz in Indio, California. I don’t train for the knockout, but if the knockout comes, I’ll welcome it. I fought everyone at 140. I want to do the same as I did at 140; I want to fight the best.”
MERCITO “NO MERCY” GESTA, Lightweight Contender:
“I know it will be a tough fight. I’m a challenger, an underdog. But I love that feeling. It makes me hungrier, train harder and box smarter. I’ve worked with Jorge [Linares] before with some sparring. I know sparring is different, but I did well. Still, I know his style and power. With the help of Coach Freddie, we’ll have the right strategy. I am hungry for this title. I’ll do anything to get that title. I will give a good show in that fight.”
FREDDIE ROACH, Trainer to Mercito Gesta:
“We’re in a real tough fight. My guy [Mercito Gesta] is definitely getting ready for this fight. We’re going over a lot of strategy. We started sparring yesterday, and it went well. We still have a lot of time to work a little more. He’s looking good so far. I feel we can win this fight. This is a good opportunity for us and we have to take advantage of it as much as we can.”
JOEL DIAZ, Trainer to Lucas Matthysse:
“I’m really happy to be part of Lucas Matthysse’s team. He’s a great fighter. Coming in he’s very motivated. In my first fight him with him, he did really well with Emmanuel Taylor. Coming in to his second fight, he was motivated and happy. I always say that a happy fighter is a successful fighter. You’re going to see a great Matthysse, one who is ready to become world champion.”
ROBERTO DIAZ, Head Matchmaker of Golden Boy Promotions:
“On January 27, Argentine knockout artist “La Maquina” Matthysse will battle Thai superstar Tewa Kiram in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship at the “Fabulous” Forum.That night, Golden Boy Promotions will have a double main event at the Forum, with Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares battling the once-defeated Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta in a 12-round fight for Linares’ WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championships.”
“Lucas Matthysse is a power puncher who is one of the best 140-pounders of this era and has defeated some of the very best of that division. Mathysse recently entered welterweight division when he stopped Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor, and he is ready to fight the very best at welterweight.”
“Gesta has not tasted defeat in six fights, beating quality opponents including Gilberto “El Flaco” Gonzalez and former contender Martin “El Brochas” Honorio. He is hungry for this fight and for this chance to be world champion.”
EVELYN CARRION, Vice President of Special Events for the “Fabulous” Forum:
“We’ve hosted the best of boxing and more than 400 important fights since it opened in 1967, including fights with Muhammed Ali, Oscar De La Hoya, Ken Norton and Shane Mosley. We’ve also hosted many more recent fighters as well. Today we are honored to welcome back Jorge Linares and Mercito Gesta, and we are thrilled to add Lucas Matthysse and Tewa Kiram to the great list of champs who have fought at our historic venue. All of us at the Forum are happy to welcome our friends at Golden Boy Promotions and HBO Boxing.
Matthysse vs. Kiram is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBA Welterweight
World Championship, and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Arano Box and Galaxy Promotions. Linares vs. Gesta, a 12-round fight for the WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championships is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Teiken Promotions.The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING.” The event will take place Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in Inglewood, Calif. and will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.