HBO and Gary Shaw Promotions have officially announced a middleweight showdown between the WBA’s “regular” middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin once-beaten European champ Grzegorz Proksa on Sept. 1 at The Turning Stone Casino in Oeida, N.Y.
A native of Kazakhstan who now lives in Stuttgart, Germany, Golovkin (23-0, 20 knockouts) was an Olympic silver medalist in 2004 who vanquished notable amateur rivals such as Lucian Bute, Andre Dirrell, Matt Korobov, and Andy Lee.
“Gennady trains in America and is committed to fighting here where there have been so many middleweight legends,” said K2 Promotions’ Tom Loeffler of Golovkin, who has also beaten ex-beltholder Kassim Ouma.
“We’re grateful to HBO for this opportunity to showcase his skills. We strongly feel that he is the best middleweight in the world right now and we’re anxious for the world to see that.”
Proksa (28-1, 21 KOs) emerged in the wake of a back injury that forced Golovkin’s WBO counterpart, Dmitry Pirog (20-0, 15 KOs), to pull out of their initially-planned bout.
“I’m very excited to face Grzegorz Proksa on September 1. Proksa has never been in the ring with a puncher like me and I’m here to show the world what I’m made of,” said Golovkin. “I’ve wanted to fight in the United States for a long time and look forward to fighting the best middleweights in the world in the near future.”
Proksa is coming off an eighth-round knockout of Kerry Hope on July 7 that avenged his only loss.
“I have no doubt in my mind that I have the ability to knockout Golovkin. My opportunity to showcase my talents to the world has arrived and I’m not going to let it slip away,” said Proksa. “This will be a difficult fight, but I believe in myself to come out victorious and I’m going to bring an aggressive game plan for the fans. I’m coming to the U.S. to impress and take home the title.”
The winner of Golovkin-Proksa hopes to draw the attention of such middleweight standouts as WBA “super” titleholder Felix Sturm and IBF beltholder Daniel Geale, who meet on the same day in Germany, as well as RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and WBC titlewinner Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who face off on Sept. 15.
“This is a terrific bout, and I believe a new star of the middleweight division will be born on September 1. There are three big middleweight bouts in a span of a couple of weeks, and this fight involves two of the best middleweights in the world. So the stakes could be very big for the winner,” said Pelullo, who promotes Pirog.
“Pirog will be anxiously awaiting the results of this fight, as he wants his opportunity to fight the winner on HBO. There are many worthy opponents at 160, including Daniel Geale, Sergio Martinez, and Chavez Jr.. He is willing to fight anyone of them, as we believe that he might be the best, and is the biggest puncher at 160.”
Golovkin-Proksa is being promoted by Shaw and Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions, and will feature an undercard matchup between former WBO junior middleweight titleholder Sergei Dzinziruk (37-1, 24 KOs) and Jonathan Gonzalez (15-0, 13 KOs).
Dzinziruk has not been in the ring since March of last year, when he was dropped five times and stopped by Martinez in a middleweight title fight.
“It’s a fact, that I am unbeatable at Jr. middleweight. Gonzalez is a big puncher, but he’s never been in the ring with a superior boxer like me,” said Dzinziruk. “I will end his unbeaten record and move toward another world title. I will be champion once again real soon.”
Jointly handled by Shaw, Warriors Boxing and Universal Promotions, Gonzalez was 132-18 as an amateur.
“Fighting on HBO is a big opportunity for me and my team,” said Gonzalez, who won his first 13 professional fights by knockout.
“Gary Shaw has come through on his promise to get me on a worldwide stage to showcase my talent. I always bring excitement to the ring and it won’t be any different when I face Dzinziruk. My goal is to become champion.”
DON KING: “JEAN PASCAL HAS TAVORISITS”
Former RING and WBC lightheavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) said that he cried when he realized that an injury to his right hand would force the postponement of a Showtime-televised bout with IBF beltholder Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs) that was scheduled for Aug. 11 at The Belle Centre in Montreal.
“To tell you the truth, I was so sad when the decision was made that I even cried,” said Pascal, who posted two, ominous messages on his Twitter account on the day of a canceled conference call, writing, “this is a sad day,” and, later, “this is a sad day because my Benz had a flat.”
“This is the first time it’s happened to me for a fight,” said Pascal. “I haven’t fought in 15 months, and this was a golden opportunity for me. Thanks to everybody involved for rescheduling. This will make me stronger when I get in the ring.”
But Cloud’s promoter, Don King, has expressed skepticism about Pascal’s injury.
“Pascal has Tavorisitis. He needs more time to get his courage up to fight this smaller version of [Mike] Tyson. Tavoris is of the Tyson ilk. He’s a search-and-destroy kind of guy. Pascal has been tweeting that he had a sad day because his Mercedes-Benz had a flat tire. Well, Tavoris is going to give Pascal a flat a– to go with his flat tire. This is going to be the fight of the decade. Tweet that,” said King.
“Tavoris Cloud is decreeing war on Jean Pascal, and he’s taking no prisoners. He told me he can’t wait to get to Canada to destroy this faker and win the hearts and minds of his new Canadian brothers and sisters. Viva Canada. When Tavoris heard Pascal said he cried over this injury, he said to just wait until he gets done with Pascal, he’ll be crying like a baby.”
Pascal has fought through injury before, having endured a disclocated shoulder which separated at least twice over the course of a unanimous decision over Adrian Diaconu in December of 2009.
“He really tried to convince us that he was going to be able to beat Tavoris Cloud. You recall that he had a dislocated shoulder three times in the fight with Adrian Diaconu, said Pascal’s promoter, Yvon Michel, who added that the cards could be pushed to sometime in October.
“In that fight, he more or less won with one hand. Jean told us that he could do the same with Tavoris Cloud, beat him with one hand, but we were not about to let him jeopardize his career by fighting injured. Jean has always challenged and fought best during his career. He certainly is not afraid of Cloud.”
HBO’S “24/7: THE ROAD TO WARD-DAWSON” AIRS ON AUG. 25
HBO’s 30-minute documentary “24/7:The Road to Ward-Dawson” will air at midnight ET/PT on Aug. 25 in advance of the network’s broadcast of the clash between RING light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) and RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) that is slated for Sept. 8 at the Oracle Arena in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, Calif.
Other play dates for the documentary are Aug. 26 at 11 a.m.; Aug. 27 at 12:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and midnight; Aug. 30 at 2:45 a.m.; Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 1 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:20 a.m.; Sept. 4 at 1:55 a.m.; Aug. 6 at 1:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.; and Aug. 8 at 11:15 a.m.
HBO2 play dates are Aug. 28 at 4:15 p.m., and Aug. 30 at 10:30 p.m. The special will also be available on HBO On Demand and HBO GO.
PAUL WILLIAMS CELEBRATING 31ST BIRTHDAY
Former two-time welterweight titleholder Paul Williams, who was paralyzed from the waist down following a motorcycle accident on May 27 near Atlanta, is celebrating his 31st birthday on Friday during a cookout with family and friends in Augusta, Ga., his manager, George Peterson, said.
The wheel-chair bound Williams has accepted an invitation from WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to be ringside when Alvarez defends his crown against Josesito Lopez on Sept. 15 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, according to Peterson.
Prior to his accident, Williams had signed to challenge Alvarez, who immediately invited Williams to be ringside for the Showtime-televised bout upon hearing of his tragic incident, said Peterson.
Peterson said Williams later received an invitation to attend a bout featuring RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and WBC beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., which will also take place on Sept. 15 but on HBO Pay Per View from The Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas.
Photo by Scott Kilbride
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime