Philadelphia featherweight Eric Hunter (20-3, 10 KO) has an opponent for his May 22 FOX Sports 1 main event at the Fantasy Springs in Indio, Calif., as he'll be facing Antonio Escalante, a once-promising prospect whose career fell apart due to defense and chin issues.
Escalante, 29, lost his fifth pro fight back in 2004, but rallied from that and won ten straight, emerging as a super bantamweight contender before a 2008 TKO loss to Mauricio Pastrana. He won another ten straight after that before the bottom really fell out with back-to-back knockout losses to Daniel Ponce De Leon and Alejandro Perez in 2010-11. Since then, he's gone 5-3, stopped in losses to Rocky Jaurez, Roberto Marroquin, and Miguel Berchelt, which came in Escalante's last fight.
Hunter, 28, beat Rene Alvarado in January. Two of his three career losses came by disqualification. The TV co-feature will see featherweight Abraham Lopez (17-0-1, 12 KO) in action, and TAISHAN (4-0, 2 KO) has been added in a four-round heavyweight opener.
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Krzysztof Wlodarczyk has withdrawn from his May 22 rematch with WBC cruiserweight titleholder Grigory Drozd due to an illness, leaving Drozd to seek a new opponent and stay in action on that date. The Moscow show will be headlined by an interesting heavyweight matchup between Alexander Povetkin and Mike Perez, and BoxNation in the United Kingdom will air the show. Lukasz Janik (28-2, 15 KO) is a possible replacement.
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Another fighter in action on May 22 in Moscow is Alex Leapai (30-6-3, 24 KO), the Samoan heavyweight who was unceremoniously trounced after earning a shot at Wladimir Klitschko. Leapai followed that up with a wide ten-round loss to Malik Scott in Australia last October, but he's hoping a win over another former world title pretender in Manuel Charr (27-3, 16 KO) will get him another title shot. Leapai recently had surgery to correct increasingly poor vision:
"It would have made a big difference," he said. "All those punches, I would have seen them. You can't take anything away from Klitschko ...(he) won fairly. But this is going to help my comeback and I will prove I deserve to be up at the top. I feel good. I can't wait to get into smash mode."
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Denis Boytsov, the Russian heavyweight Leapai upset in 2013 to earn a shot at Klitschko, was recently found in a Berlin subway tunnel unconscious with serious head injuries. The 29-year-old fighter has been placed in an induced coma, and there is a lot of talk swirling around what happened:
Berlin police said Tuesday that the case was still under investigation but that, based on witness interviews and video footage, the incident appears to have been an accident.
... The statement on Boytsov's website suggested he had been the victim of an attack linked to his boxing career.
''It is possible that this attack was linked to the boxer's sporting activity,'' the statement said. ''Around two years ago, Boytsov was receiving threats constantly.''
There was no word on who had issued the alleged threats or why.
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An excerpt from Ricky Hatton's book, on Floyd Mayweather:
"A few minutes into the the journey, we're chatting away, having a drink when the pilot gestures to me to come forward. 'Hey Ricky, listen to this idiot.'
"He turns on the speaker and over the radio I hear Floyd arguing with the pilot of his plane behind: I'm not letting that motherf***** get there before me, f***ing overtake them!''
"'We can't do that, sir.' 'Overtake that motherf***** - I'm the champ. I've got to get to New York first. I'll pay whatever you want.'"
... "Later in 2007 when our fight was scheduled, Floyd was going: 'I'm going to beat you like a bitch, butt-f*** you.' It was nonsense.
"Floyd has his way and I have mine, but there's a line between selling tickets and disrespecting the sport.
"What's the point of being the world's best fighter if everyone thinks you're a d***head?"
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Frankie Sodano, a featherweight from Philadelphia who fought between 1948 and 1954, passed away on May 11. He was 84 years old. A 1948 Olympian, Sodano had a pro record of 49-8-1 (22 KO), fighting mostly eight rounders over his career. John DiSanto of PhillyBoxingHistory.com has a really nice article on Sodano's life and times.