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Terence Crawford vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas Madison Square Garden Saturday, December 14

Before pound-for-pound king Terence “Bud” Crawford enters the ring to defend his WBO welterweight world title against Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas, a STACKED undercard will look to steal the show on Saturday, December 14th.

Two of New York City’s flashiest and most promising prospects, Brooklyn’s Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga and the Bronx’s Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas, are ready for their hometown close-ups at Madison Square Garden.

In a battle of unbeatens, Crawford stablemate Steve “So Cold” Nelson will take on Cem “Champ” Kilic in a 10-rounder for the vacant NABO super middleweight title.

Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez, who hails from just across the Hudson River in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., will face Manuel Mendez in an eight-round super lightweight tilt.

Australian lightweight contender George Kambosos Jr. will fight former lightweight world champion Mickey Bey in a 10-rounder.

The rest of the ESPN main card includes lightweight world titlist Richard Commey defending against Teofimo Lopez and popular Irish featherweight Michael Conlan seeking to avenge his highly controversial 2016 Olympic quarterfinal loss to Russian nemesis Vladimir Nikitin.

To purchase tickets for this amazing event fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here


For more information on Top Rank Boxing fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:


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No Place Like Home for Undefeated ‘Action’ Anthony Laureano

There’s no place like home for undefeated super lightweight prospect “ACTION” ANTHONY LAUREANO (12-0, 4 KOs). Although he won’t be fighting at home in East Hartford, Connecticut, Laureano returns to familiar surroundings for his December 13th fight on a loaded “New England Explosion” card, presented by JOE DEGUARDIA’S STAR BOXING, at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“New England Explosion,” sponsored by MGM Springfield, will air live from Mass MutualCenter on New England Sports Network (NESN), starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, in NESN’s first live boxing broadcast. The home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox, NESN is available nationally on a sports subscription basis.

In 2016, Laureano captured top honors in the same venue at the Western New England Golden Gloves Championships. He went on to become the New England Golden Gloves champion and placed third in the National Golden Gloves Championship.

Laureano’s last two fights have been in New York at Resort World Catskills. “I love fighting at home,” Laurano said. “Springfield is less than a 30-minute drive from my home and I have history there. I’ve built up a good fan-base at the Caskills and a lot of fans are coming to Springfield to support me with my New England fans. I’ll never forget all the people from there who helped me along the way. There’s no place like home!”

The 24-year-old Laureano takes on Texas super lightweight ANGEL”AZTEC WARRIOR” HERNANDEZ (17-14-2, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bout airing live on NESN. .Hernandez, fighting out of McAllen, TX, has become somewhat of a gatekeeper in the super lightweight division. The tough Mexican-American fighter has taken on former IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter and one of the brightest in Star Boxing’s stable, former WBO super lightweight world champion CHRIS ALGIERI (24-3, 8 KOs) the full 10-round distance, albeit in losses by decision.

“For me,” Laureano commented about Hernandez, “I respect him like any fighter I’m in the ring with, but I’m not looking at him differently than any fighter I’ve faced. My team chooses my opponents and I’m ready to fight anyone. They always do what’s best for me and I have full confidence in my team.”

Far from a typical boxer, Laureano holds an associate degree and he’s a para-educator at an elementary school in Hartford. He plans to earn his bachelor’s degree, majoring in criminal justice, but his education has been put on hold due to his professional boxing career. Working and training full-time doesn’t leave time to take courses, at least not right now.

“I definitely know I have potential in boxing,” the Puerto Rican-American explained, “but I have a brain, too, and there’s life after boxing. I want to give back to my community. Whatever I end up doing will be in the juvenile system for me to have an impact on youths. I love being a teacher’s assistant and I’m a good example for kids. I thank the principal. Dr. Greene, for giving me this chance and believing in me. Education is on hold for boxing, but I will get my bachelor’s degree.”

Laureano believes fighting live on NESN will open new doors for him, his career and brand.

“Right now,” he concludes, “people are noticing me more and more. I’m there but not there yet. I want to be a household name and I’m grateful to be fighting on NESN. I’ve had some fights shown on NESN, those were taped, but this fight is live. The more people who see me, the more they will be drawn to me. I work hard and have a good, pure heart. I’ll never forget where I come from.”


Laureano will hold an open workout Tuesday, Dec. 10, between 5:30-7:30 p.m. ET, at Central City Boxing & Barbell, Inc in Springfield to promote his Dec. 13th fight. City Boxing gym is located at 22 Tyler St., Springfield, MA. The public is welcome.

“I look forward to watching “Action Anthony” at the MassMutual Center in Springfield” said Star Boxing CEO JOE DEGUARDIA. “Anthony is one of the most exciting fighters around today and truly is non-stop action. The fans in Springfield and throughout New England are in for a treat on December 13.”

Two other Connecticut fighters will also be in action in 8-round bouts on NESN. Hartford cruiserweight RICHIE “POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN” RIVERA (15-0, 12 KOs) faces Virginia cruiserweight “MIGHTY” JOE JONES (11-1, 8 KOs), while Danbury lightweight OMAR “THE BEAST” BORDOY (9-1, 3 KOs) meets Dublin, Ireland’s undefeated “SLICK” VICTOR RABEI (8-0, 2 KOs). On the undercard will be local Springfield, MA favorite DERRICK “BAD BOY” WHITLEY II (6-1-1), the son of Springfield’ Derrick Whitley Sr., former USA Massachusetts State Middleweight Champion, as well as ANGEL VASQUEZ (0-1).

Ticket prices start at $40.00 (excludes facility fees and convenience charges) and are on sale now at www.MassMutualCenter.com and the MassMutual Center Box Office, as well as through Hartford Boxing Promotions (860.840.6244 / 519.1505).

Doors open at 6 p.m. ET, first bout at 7:30 p.m. ET and the NESN broadcast commences at 9 p.m. ET.

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Combat At The Garden Electrifies with a Great Night of Combat Sports

In front of an electric crowd in the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden. The Combat at the Garden event impressed from the start to the finish of the night. Featuring a Combination of Glory Rules and Mixed Martial arts competition, this is a yearly event and one that fans should definitely check out again when it returns to New York City.

Here are the results from what was an amazing night of fights


Sal Nicchitta  vs Daniel Notlyaskiy

It was a fast based bout and both young men impressed and were able to show off some impressive skills for young fighters. These will hopefully be two that will be future stars for a company such as Glory in the future (or any combat sports company)

Anthony Micucci vs Argo Kostanyan

Both gentlemen were equal after the first round with neither competitor having the advantage. Argo had an impressive Superman punch attempt in the Second Round, but both gentlemen were able to exchange great strikes with the other. It was an amazing bout that would have been a tough one to score on any card that they were on.

Carlos Torres def Ruben Morales

This was a low kick rules bout that saw the two competitors feeling each other out early. Both fighters showed some impressive striking techniques and both were incredible with their speed and agility. Winner by majority decision was Carlos Torres who just showed some overall amazing striking ability.

Tyrese Cunningham def Mardon Hakimov

Tyrese had some impressive high knee strikes in this Glory rules bout. Cunningham had some really impressive speed and footwork. Tyrese was definitely dominant throughout the bout showing some great aggression, placing several good kicks to the head and body. Mardon was equally impressive, but it was not enough to overcome Cunningham who was the clear victor on this night.

Mansher Munch Khera def Josh Myers

Both gentlemen showed some great striking ability exchanging some great strikes in the first round of the Glory Rules bout. This was going to be a hard one to score as the action was fast and furious between these two fighters.  In the end it was Khera that was able to earn the hard won victory over Myers.

Brian Parpan vs Abner Morales –Draw

Brian was showing some impressive knees to the body in the first round, but Abner responded with an impressive kick later on in the bout.  Brian continued to dominate in the Second Round of action, connecting with both his fists and his feet. Morales had a knockdown blow, but Parpan was really impressive and strong. Morales had an impressive third round, opening up with an athletic strike to the head, but Parpan was extremely aggressive and dominant. In the end the judges called it a draw, which was a bit of a surprise but easy to understand. Both men really impressed and will be a great addition to any combat sports company they are a part of in the future.

Pat Altinbasak vs William Alomar

Altinbasak was really dominant throughout the fight, and was able to seal off the victory with his knockout in the Second Round of the event.

Michael Carim Jr def Pablo Gomez

Both men came out of the gate really aggressive and really trying to show off their power and their speed. Carim Jr was really impressive with his strikes, and Gomez was unable to defend. After a while there was no way that Gomez could continue as Michael was able to pick up the TKO victory.

Angel Rodriguez def Josh Carender

Rodriguez had a great strike of the knee to the body in the first round of his glory rules bout against Carender. Josh was able to respond in an impressive manner getting some great quality kicks and punches to the body.  There were friends and family on the side of Angel who was able to strike a knock down blow late in the fight. Rodriguez was the clear aggressor and the clear victor in the bout with two very spirited warriors.

Anthony Dilemme def Garvin Mitchell

In this MMA contest  both warriors tried to establish body position. Mitchell was able to gain the top ground and was able to work the body. Dilemme was able to get some great body strikes in brining Mitchell down to his knees. In the end it was the aggressive Dilemme that was able to pick up the victory over Mitchell.

Jon Fox def Jeremy Garcia

Fox had a great kick to the head in the first round of his fight with Garcia, but Jeremy responded with great strikes to the body. Each men countered with strikes throughout the night to try to gain the edge in the advantage.  In the Second Round both showed great strikes to the body with the knees,. Things started to open up later when Fox showed some great kicks and punches to the head.  Each guy was still trying to establish ground and see what the other would do strategy wise.  In the third round Garcia was able to strike a knock down blow, but Fox was able to respond with some great strikes of his own. In the end it was Fox earning the victory thanks to the judges decision.

Aly Franco def. Meredith Connolly

Both ladies were trying to establish who would be the in the fight. Connolly was impressive getting some great strikes to the body. Franco countered each punch holding her ground against the energetic fury that was Connolly. This was a hard one to call as both ladies were really aggressive and getting some great strikes in. Franco was able to connect with some great knees and punches in the Third Round. It was a split decision but it was Franco getting her hands raised in victory. The crowd was not too happy with the call, but it was overall a great fight by two really amazing competitors.

Christian McAuley def  Julio Carlos

Both men came out with some great strikes to the body. Carlos showed some great kicks to the body in the first round, but McAuley had some great punches of his own.  In the second round Carlos had some great kicks and punches to the body clearly being the aggressor in the fight. Christian wanted to make sure he made his presence felt as prior to the round ending he was able to strike with an impressive high kick to the head. McAuley and his never say die spirit was rewarded in the Third Round with a knock down blow, he continued his aggressive display, but Carlos responded right back with some great jabs. This was a hard one for the judges to call but the winner by unanimous decision being McAuley

Robert Varricchio def. Jonathan Bray

Varricchio was able to gain the dominant position via a single leg takedown in the first round of MMA competition at Madison Square Garden. Each competitor felt each other out but it was a body throw and hard hitting blows that got Varricchio the victory on this night. Robert lived up to his name Ruthless truly being aggressive from start to finish during his bout.

Elijah Abouelazm def Christopher Piono

Abouelazam had some great knees to the body and was able to rock Piono and earn the early first round victory with a devastating kick.  It was a really impressive fight and victory for Elijah who was able to light up Hulu Theatre with a great smile after his win.

Sophia Mirabella def Ana Maldonado

The ladies fought hard to try to see who would be the more dominant. Later in the first round Mirabella was able to land a punch that send Maldonado back on her heels a bit. In the second round Maldonado was able to get some great strikes in, but Mirabella was able to stand her ground and get some great punches in. Ana was bleeding pretty bad sometime late in the second round and really hung tight. In the third round  Sophia attempted a nice spinning elbow backfist combo and continued to show some great aggression by connecting with strikes to the body. It was Mirabella earning the ISKA Championship Belt thanks to the combination of aggression and great striking ability.

The Main Bout of fights was on UFC Fight Pass and featured the following amazing fighters:

Fight Card

Mike Misa def Jason Lee 

Misa was able to connect with a great knee to the body early in the first round of the fight, and was the more dominant and aggressive of the two fighters.  Lee was able to land a knock down blow around the 1:30 mark, but Misa responded later on in the bout with a flurry of blows that rocked Jason. Mike connected with some great knees to the body, as well as kicks to round out the first round of action. Jason Lee was able to respond to end the round on a great aggressive tone. Around the 2:25 mark in the second round Mike connected with a wicked hook that rocked Jason to his very core; Misa was more aggressive and dominant in the bout.  To end the Second Round of action a very confident Mike Misa finished with two strong knee blows bringing Lee down to the canvas. Misa had a really dominant Third Round around the 1:12 mark showing some great jabbing and knee strikes, he is going to be a star for any company he is going to fight for. Really a truly impressive fight.

Pat Carrol def Walter Howard Jr

Both fighters landed some really tough punches in the first round of action.  These blows were hard and heavy. Around the 1:10 mark Carrol was able to land a nice low leg kick to Howard to get his opponent a tad wobbly. Pat, who had the crowd clearly on his side took some really tough shots especially prior to the end of the first round as Walter landed a punch square in his face.  Carrol was able to land some great body blows to end the First. To start the Second Round  Walter was able to connect with a great kick to Carrol’s body, while also getting in some great combination of punches and kicks. Prior to the end of the Second Round Pat was able to land a nice kick to Walter’s body, but the aggressive striking and offensive dominance continued for Walter. In the Third Round Walter continued his offensive display just landing jabs right to Carrol’s head. This is one heck of a fight as both competitors were able to put on a display for the fans to enjoy. Howard reigned down some really hard knees and punches with the Third Round coming to and end, as there were some really great combinations on display during this bout. Very much to our and to the fans at the Garden’s surprise Carrol was able to earn the victory. That was a really tough one to score though, as Carrol did have some moments of brilliance and great strikes during the bout.

Sherod Abdullayev def. Darius Davis 

Sherod impressed early in the first round, getting in some great punches and knee strikes to Davis. It was Abdullayev who landed a knee blow around 0:26 of the first round to earn the knockout victory. Sherod was definitely more aggressive and hungry for the victory on this night. David was just never able to get out of the gates with any kind of offense, and will hopefully do better in his next fight as we didn’t get a chance to see his full potential with this bout.

Rick Schaefer def Dwayne Holman 

Both men started the First Round with some great punching and kicking combinations to feel out who was going to be  the aggressor in the fight. Holman landed a great knee strike around the 1:18 mark of the First Round, but Schaeffer responded with a great low kick. The crowd clearly on Schaefer’s side. It was hard to score the first round as both guys came out with some great combinations. In the Second Round Schaefer was able to connect a beautiful round house kick and really started to be the more dominant fighter. In the end it was Schaefer that earned the victory on what was a truly impressive fight.

Jennie Nedell def. Amanda Ginski 

Amanda was the clear aggressive fighter against the current champ Jennie.  Around 1:20 Ginski had a beautiful kick to the head of Nedell, who was able to stand her ground and keep fighting.  Nedell was able to get some good punches and combinations in during the bout. It was a tremendous back and forth fight but at the end of the day it was Nedell that was able to get the victory and retain her Championship.

Melvin Ramos def. Maurepaz Auguste

To start it was Ramos getting some good kicks and punches into the start of the bout.  Auguste was able to land some good low kicks but thus far the more aggressive was Melvin.  Both men really took their time to measure each other out and see what the other was going to bring.  Ramos was able to land some great knee strikes. Right before the end of the First Round Auguste got some hard fists and kicks combos in. To start the Second Round Melvin was able to land a really hard kick, landing some great jabbing combinations.  Maurepaz was able to respond with a great punch around the 1:42 mark, but Melvin thus far was really more aggressive and dominant. Thus far we would predict it would be a split decision victory, but still one last round to fight. Melvin was just overall really impressive with the amount of strikes he was able to land.  Maurepaz is going to be a fighter to watch for any combat sports company as he is just an overall tough opponent to go up against. Ramos was able to earn the victory and the Championship much to his surprise. He was in one heck of a fight, but he really was the more aggressive of the two fighters and really earned the Championship victory.


Jonathan Di Bella def. Nicky Burgos

With the crowd clearly on Di Bella’s corner Burgos came out aggressive and with some fast and furious strikes. Burgos was able to connect with some great jabs early, but Di Bella got some knees to the body in response. Jonathan had a really impressive roundhouse kick right before the end of the first round, but Nicky responded with some fast and furious fists to end the round. Di Bella was able to strike on some knock down blows in the Second Round, but that only made Burgos respond even stronger to his competition.  Burgos had a great kick around the 1:24 mark, but Di Bella was just too strong and fast. Di Bella is the Champion for a reason and really showed why with the combination of his impressive speed, power and agility. One could tell that Nicky got frustrated with his opponent, really finding it hard to come up with a good strategy to defeat his foe. Di Bella was way too strong both with his strategy and with his skills and was able to retain his Championship.

If you are a fan of Combat Sports you are going to want to check out all of the amazing Combat Sports Events that are happening at MSG. The Combat at the Garden event is one that happens pretty frequently so be sure to stay tuned for when the next event will be and support some great up-and-coming fighters.


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Simply The Best! Mark Breland

Arguably the greatest American amateur boxer of all-time, Mark Breland will be inducted into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame on Friday night, December 13, during a special Class of 2019 ceremony at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The HOF reception is being held in conjunction with the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing and 2019 National Championships, Dec. 7-15, at the Lake Charles Civic Center. The finals of the Olympic Trials will be held Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino. Hall of Fame broadcaster Al Bernstein from Showtime Sports will serve as the event’s emcee for the third year in a row.

The USA Boxing Alumni Association’s third HOF class also includes two other Olympic gold-medalists, “Big” George Foreman and “Smokin'” Joe Frazier, as well as legendary coaches Al Mitchell and Ray Rodgers.

Sen. John McCain will be posthumously presented a special Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless work to protect boxers and elevate the sport.

“I’m very happy to be inducted into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame,” Breland said. “It really means a lot, especially going in this year with Foreman and Frazier. I guess it proves I’ve done a lot in boxing. I’m happy to be going in. I had a lot of fun in USA Boxing. To be going into the same Hall of Fame with Evander (Holyfield) (Muhammad) Ali, Foreman, Frazier…champs like that, it’s something for me to be with them.”

Breland, ironically, first got into boxing at the age of eight, due to him being brought to his first boxing match, Frazier-Ali I, at Madison Square Garden. “We were up in the top seats,” the Brooklyn-born and raised Breland remembered like it was yesterday. “The crowd, the atmosphere…all I could think of was, wow! I didn’t realize until I got older that there were so many stars there watching Ali and Frazier, because they were all at ringside.

“The next day I went to a gym. I was really skinny, small, but I came back the next day. I enjoyed working out and fell in love with boxing. I wanted to box in big tournaments. This is what I wanted to do, but I had hid boxing from my parents. They knew I had I played football, but that was okay with them, because unlike in boxing, we had a helmet. I won at the Junior Olympics and it was in the papers. I saw it and thought my mother was going to kill me. My mother asked me why I hadn’t told her, so I invited her to watch me fight in the Golden Gloves. She was in one of the front rows, but afterwards when I asked her what she thought when I knocked out my opponent, she said she didn’t see it because she had closed her eyes.”

Breland went on to become a five-time New York Golden Gloves champion with a 21-0 record, including 19 knockouts, 14 coming in the opening round. In 1982, Breland captured a gold medal at the prestigious World Championships in Munich, Germany, after which he was named the No. 1 welterweight in the world by AIBA. He was also selected as Boxer of the Year (1982) by USAABF.

At the 1984 Olympic Games, held in Los Angeles, Breland fought his way to a gold medal,
along with eight of his American teammates: Paul Gonzalez, Steve McCrory, Meldrick Taylor, Pernell Whitaker, Jerry Page, Frank Tate, Henry Tillman and Tyrell Biggs.

Breland, who completed his amateur career with an amazing 110-1 (73 KOs) record, appeared to be cooler than the other side of the pillow on a hot, steamy night. No real celebrations after he won gold, to the contrary, Mark was emotionless, the same as he still is today as a trainer of champions.

“I’ve always been really laid back,” he explained. “I just remember raising my hands. At an Olympic press conference, I was asked if I was happy, and I just said I was glad it was over. I guess I didn’t seem excited. I was happy but calm. It’s the same way now (as a trainer); it’s just me. I’m happy to win and happy to be doing what I do.”

“Mark’s dominance over his competition throughout his USA Boxing career cements him as a legend,” commented Chris Cugliari, USA Boxing Alumni Association Executive Director. “His ring intelligence, commitment to his craft, and ability to fight at any pace against any style makes him a tremendous example for today’s group of amateur champions. It has been a long time coming, but the Alumni Association looks forward to reflecting on his accomplishments and honoring Mark in Louisiana.”

Confirmed special guests include 1988 Olympic gold medalist Andrew Maynard, three-time National AAU Coach of the Year (1972-76-77) Joe Clough, 1984 Olympic gold medalist Frank Tate and his brother Thomas, 1972 Olympian Tim Dement, 2002 National Golden Gloves champion Jaidon Codringtion, 1980 Olympic Qualifier Jackie Beard, 1981 Junior Olympics Glen Modicue, four-time National champion Eric Kelly, 1988 Eastern Olympic Qualifier champion John Scully, Obie Beard, Mark Lanton and the Stephens brothers – Donald, Anthony and Jerry.


Created to champion a lifelong, mutually beneficial relations between USA Boxing and its alumni, –boxers, officials, coaches and boxing fans — The Alumni Association connects generations of champions, inspiring and giving back to USA Boxing’s future boxing champions, in and out of the ring.

The USA Boxing Alumni Association is open to anyone who has a love for boxing and would like to stay connected with amateur boxing. Members are granted access to a wide variety of special events host by the Alumni Association, including the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame reception.

To join the Alumni Association, simply register at alumni@usaboxing.org for a $40.00 per year membership fee. New members will receive a T-shirt, keychain and e-wallet.

Breland made his much-anticipated pro debut November 15, 1984, at the famed Madison Square Garden, defeating Dwight Williams by way of a six-round unanimous decision. During his illustrious pro career (1984-1997), Breland compiled a sterling 35-3-1 (35 KOs) record and he was a two-time World welterweight champion.

The 56-year-old Breland, who once trained the late, great 1992 US Olympian Vernon Forrest, currently trains another great USA Boxing alumni and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, Deontay Wilder, the reigning World Boxing Council heavyweight champion.

“Once I started boxing in the amateurs,” Breland concluded, “I started progressing. I learned a lot from other amateurs like different styles. Boxers from New York/New Jersey had different styles than boxers from Georgia/Florida, and fighting Cubans was completely different. I was beating up a Cuban fighter, but every time I hit him, somehow, they took away a point from me. I knew right away that I had to knock him out to win, and they did end up stopping the fight.”

CLASS OF 2017: The charter class was headed by Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield, in addition to veteran coaches Roosevelt Sanders and Tom Coulter.

CLASS OF 2018: U.S. Olympic Team medalists and world (professional) champions Roy Jones, Jr., Andre Ward and Claressa Shields, as well as former USA Boxing National Director of Coaching Emanuel Steward and veteran USA Boxing official Tom Cleary.

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2020 to be breakout year for Unbeaten Mykquan Williams

If everything goes according to plans, 2020 will be a breakout year for unbeaten prospect “Marvelous” Mykquan Williams (15-0-1, 7 KOs), the World Boxing Council (WBC) United States super lightweight champion.

Williams, fighting out of East Hartford, CT, is arguably one of the most gifted 21-and-under fighters in the world, and he won’t turn 22 until April 6.

In 2019, he won two of three rights with a questionable draw in his last fight in October against Tre’Sean Wiggins (11-4-3, 6 KOs), in the “Broadway Boxing” main event held at Generoso Pope Athletic Complex on the campus of St. Francis College in Brooklyn.

The highlight of 2019 was capturing his title belt last May with a 10-round unanimous decision victory against Ricky Edwards (12-2) at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Overall, Williams was happy with 2019 performances, although he only fought three times as opposed to four the previous two years, and failed to register a knockout.

“I kept my belt (he retained it vs. Wiggins),” Williams spoke about 2019. “I probably would have fought four times again, if the dates were spread out a little more having my first fight in February and last in November. Quality is more important than the number of fights.

“I always look at knockouts as a bonus, if it comes, good. Not everybody goes down. I’m happy winning and looking good. I do know that my opponents felt my power and were stunned in all of my fights this year.”

Williams’ head trainer, Paul Cichon, believes his rising star is on schedule. “He’s only 21 and still has a lot to learn,” he explained. He’s right on schedule. The more experience, obviously, the better he gets. His last fight opened some eyes. He’s normally a slow starter, but now he knows that he has to start quicker. The number of fights he has is , in part, determined by who he fight and how far it goes. It could be a 10-rounder, or he could stop his opponent in three, four rounds. His last was 10 a tough, good fight.”

Williams and Cichon are looking forward to making a splash in 2020. “This coming year is going to be big for me,” Williams commented. “I’m going to be stepping up against opponents in terms of quality. I’d like to get more television exposure, too. But I’m happy with the way my career is going with 16 fights in four years.

“A lot of people forget I’m 21; they think I’m 22-23. I have no regret turning pro (rather than staying in the amateurs to try and make the USA Olympic Boxing Team) because I’ve been around for four years. Everything is going on schedule with 16 fights in three-plus years. I’d like at least three fights in 2020, one against a rated fighter, and a fight for another title by my last fight of 2020.”

Williams manager, Jackie Kallen, wouldn’t be happier with the way Williams has progressed this year and she’s looking forward to more in 2020.

“Everything is going right on schedule,” she remarked. “Mykquan has a solid team behind him and this coming year should be a stellar one. He has grown with each fight and has learned something new from each opponent. This has prepared for him for whatever lies ahead in 2020. He remains involved in his community and finds ways to give back whenever possible. He is a positive role model and a well-rounded fighter. I could not be prouder.”

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St. John’s to Host Undefeated West Virginia in MSG Debut

First-year Head Coach Mike Anderson will make his Madison Square Garden debut on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. when the Red Storm welcomes undefeated West Virginia to “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

Tickets for the contest are available by visiting RedStormTix.com or by calling 1-888-GO-STORM. Those who cannot make the game in person can watch live nationally on FS1, as Brian Custer and Jim Spanarkel will call the action live from Midtown. John Minko and Brandon Tierney will handle broadcasting duties on the Red Storm Sports Network from Learfield IMG College, available on 970 AM WNYM, TuneIn and Sirius XM.

The Johnnies will play the first of seven regular season games this year at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” the remaining six of which will come against BIG EAST foes. The Red Storm’s showdown with the Mountaineers is part of the inaugural BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle, which pits the two 10-team conferences against one another prior to the start of league play. The BIG EAST went 2-0 on the scheduling alliance’s opening night, as DePaul beat Texas Tech in Chicago and Georgetown topped Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Marquette and Kansas State will also meet on Saturday.

Saturday’s tilt between St. John’s and West Virginia will also serve as the annual Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival, as the Red Storm will make the program’s 53rd appearance all-time at the premier in-season event. The Johnnies are 75-39 all-time at the Holiday Festival, which used to feature as many as three games at “The Mecca of Basketball.” St. John’s last met a Big 12 team in the Holiday Festival back in 1987, taking the championship game against a Kansas squad that would go on to win the national championship that spring.

The Red Storm rides into Madison Square Garden on the heels of a three-game winning streak, downing UMass in the consolation game of the Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Tournament at Mohegan Sun before earning back-to-back victories at Carnesecca Arena over Wagner and Saint Peter’s.

Following consecutive scoring efforts in the single digits against Arizona State and UMass in Connecticut, senior guard Mustapha Heron averaged 17.5 points per game in the Red Storm’s wins against the Seahawks and Peacocks. The team’s leading scorer this season at 15.0 points per game, Heron shot 50.0 percent (12-of-24) from the floor during that stretch in Queens, including a 6-for-14 (42.9%) showing from three-point range. On the season, Heron leads the BIG EAST in three-point field goal percentage, knocking down exactly half of his 38 attempts from beyond the arc in the early going of 2019-20.

Another threat from deep on the Red Storm roster, LJ Figueroa snapped a brief scoring skid by posting a game-high 19 points against Saint Peter’s on Tuesday night. After recording back-to-back single-digit scoring efforts for the first time in his St. John’s career, the junior wing made six of his 11 tries from the floor and sank all five of his free-throw attempts in addition to logging six rebounds, three assists and three steals. On the season, Figueroa is shooting 44.0 percent from beyond the arc, nearly six full percentage points higher than his 38.3 percent showing a year ago. During that sophomore campaign, Figueroa excelled under the bright lights of MSG, averaging 15.2 points per game on 46.7 percent shooting, including a 43.8 percent effort from downtown, in the Red Storm’s five regular season games in Midtown. The Lawrence, Mass., native most memorably recorded a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double in the Red Storm’s thrilling come-from-behind win over defending national champion Villanova on Feb. 17.

Also making his Madison Square Garden debut will be freshman forward Julian Champagnie, who has been Anderson’s most consistent producer so far in 2019-20. The Brooklyn native has logged a team-high seven double-figure scoring efforts in just nine tries, ranking third on the team with 11.7 points per game, good enough for third in the BIG EAST among freshmen behind Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Justin Moore of Villanova. Champagnie, whose father won a national championship with the St. John’s men’s soccer team in 1996, logged the first double-double of his collegiate career with 14 points, 11 rebounds and three assists against Saint Peter’s on Tuesday night. He ranks second on the team and eighth in the BIG EAST with 7.3 rebounds per contest.

Champagnie’s front-court companion, Josh Roberts has been enjoying a breakout sophomore season in his first campaign under the direction of Coach Anderson. After averaging 1.2 points and 1.6 boards per game in 6.3 minutes during 18 appearances as a freshman, Roberts has established himself as one of the BIG EAST’s best post players. The Troy, Ala., native is averaging 8.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, including 4.0 offensive rebounds per outing. Ranking 12th nationally in offensive rebounds per game, Roberts also checks in at no. 16 in Division I with 2.9 blocks per contest.

A BIG EAST foe of St. John’s for nearly two decades, West Virginia returns to Madison Square Garden with an unblemished marked of 7-0 after defeating Rhode Island on Sunday in Morgantown. Earlier that week, the Mountaineers downed Northern Iowa and Wichita State on back-to-back days to win the Cancun Challenge.

Four Mountaineers are averaging double figures this season, led by senior guard Jermaine Haley at 12.3 points per game. A former junior college teammate of Figueroa’s at Odessa College, the 6-foot-7 Haley is shooting 68.1 percent from the floor and averaging more than six rebounds per game. During the Mountaineers’ most recent outing against Rhode Island, Haley scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

A McDonald’s All-American last season, freshman Oscar Tshiebwe is averaging a near double-double with 12.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Hailing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tshiebwe has recorded two efforts of at least 19 points and 17 rebounds, posting 20 points and 17 boards in the Backyard Brawl against Pitt before logging 19 points and 18 rebounds against Wichita State in Cancun.

The squad’s leading returning scorer from last season, sophomore forward Derek Culver is averaging 11.1 points per game, including a team-high 25 points against Rhode Island on Sunday. Another sophomore forward, Emmitt Matthews Jr., rounds out the Mountaineers’ contingent double-figures scorers at 10.6 points per contest.

Coming off a 15-21 effort in 2018-19 that featured a 4-14 record in Big 12 play, the Mountaineers were predicted to finish fifth in a preseason vote by the conference’s coaches.

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Mets Re-Sign RHP Brad Brach

The New York Mets today announced that the club has re-signed RHP Brad Brach to a one-year contract with a player option for 2021. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Mets designated RHP Chris Flexen for assignment.

Brach, 33, a former All-Star, posted a 3.68 ERA in 16 games with New York after he signed as a free agent on August 8. He held righties to a .194 (7-36) batting average, had 15 strikeouts and three walks in 14.2 innings with the Mets. Brach also appeared in 42 games with the Cubs and had 45 strikeouts in 39.2 innings last year.

“Brad is a former All-Star who made an immediate and positive impact to our bullpen last year,” Mets Executive Vice President and General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “We are confident that his presence will make us better in 2020.”

The 6-6, 215-pound native of Freehold, NJ has pitched in 327 games since 2015, the ninth-most in the majors. He was an All-Star in 2016 with the Orioles when he went 10-4 with a 2.05 ERA in 71 games.

Brach pitched in the postseason in 2014 and 2016 with Baltimore and in 2018 with Atlanta.

Brach was drafted in 2008 by the Padres out of Monmouth University (NJ).

The right-hander has 542 strikeouts in 510.1 innings and 33 career saves during his nine-year major league career with the Padres, Orioles, Braves, Cubs and Mets.

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