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Former champ Kovalev returns against Barrera in April

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Former champ Kovalev returns against Barrera in April

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Former champ Kovalev returns against Barrera in April

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), the former light heavyweight champion, will return against former world title challenger Sullivan Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs) in a 12-round cruiserweight battle. The card will feature pugilists from four different continents fighting for championship belts from all four major sanctioning organizations. The event will take place Saturday, April 25 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.

“I’m delighted to announce this epic card of international proportions,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “For this huge event, we’ll have fighters from four different continents battling it out for world titles from all four sanctioning bodies.

Fans of professional boxing will be treated to a banquet of big fights headlined by Sergey Kovalev vs. Sullivan Barrera, along with the returns of world champions such as Patrick Teixeira, Rene and Felix Alvarado, and Chayaphon Moonsri. Don’t miss this festival of world champions on April 25 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and live on DAZN.”

Kovalev is a Russian knockout artist and three-time light heavyweight champion who captured his first world title in 2013 when he stopped Nathan Cleverly in Wales. Kovalev then traveled to Atlantic City to meet future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins to unify the WBO, WBA and IBF titles with a lopsided unanimous decision victory in 2014. As unified champion, “Krusher” successfully defended his titles twice against Jean Pascal and once against Isaac Chilemba.

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Despite setbacks against Andre “S.O.G.” Ward and Eleider Alvarez, the 36-year-old contender managed to avenge a loss to Alvarez and score a technical knockout victory against undefeated contender Anthony Yarde. Kovalev will return after participating in the most important boxing event of 2019 against Canelo Alvarez.

“I am happy to get back in the ring and to be on my way back to world championship bouts,” said Sergey Kovalev. “Barrera is a Cuban fighter and, even though I never faced any Cuban fighters as a professional, back in amateur days it was always Russian boxers competing with Cuban boxers, so I’m looking forward to remembering my amateur boxing. I’m very glad to be back and to bring my boxing to my fans on April 25.”

After a spectacular amateur career, Barrera defected from Cuba to the United States in 2009, and made his professional debut in Miami, Florida. In only his eighth fight, he captured two regional titles by defeating Frank Paines in 2011, which he followed with victories against the likes of Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy and Karo Murat.

Barrera suffered his first defeat against Andre Ward, but returned to take Vyacheslav Shabranskyy’s undefeated record and scored a decision win against Joe Smith Jr. The 38-year-old contender’s only other losses have been against Dmitry Bivol and Jesse Hart in very tough fights, and he looks to make another run for a world title in 2020.

“This will be the most important fight of my career because I have always pursued a fight with Sergey Kovalev,” said Sullivan Barrera. “I know that he has to win this fight in order to continue with his career, but the case is the same with me. It is very important to win this fight, which for me would be like becoming a world champion. That’s what it means for me to finally face Kovalev. I also want to thank Golden Boy for believing in me and my team, and for giving us the opportunity that we have always wanted, which is to fight Kovalev.”

Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said, “Because Sullivan Barrera spent most of his professional career with Main Events, a fight between Kovalev and Barrera is something that we naturally anticipated would happen for a very long time. And so here we are! This is a really solid fight between two action fighters who have never turned down a challenge.”

“This might be the last chance for both fighters,” said DAZN EVP Joseph Markowski. “A win could catapult either man into a title shot. A loss could mean the end is near. Plenty is at stake when Kovalev and Barrera enter the ring on April 25.”

In the co-main event, Patrick Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs) of Sau Paulo, Brazil will make the first defense of his WBO Super Junior Middleweight World Title against undefeated challenger Brian “El Boxi” Castaño (16-0-1, 12 KOs) of Buenos Aires, Argentina in a 12-round battle.

“I am very happy and excited to defend my world title for the very first time,” said Patrick Teixeira. “I worked very hard to become a world champion, and I won’t let anyone take that away from me. I know that Castaño, as my mandatory challenger, is tough and experienced, but my team and I are more than ready to go to war and deliver a great performance for all the fans at Fantasy Springs.”

Rene “El Gemelo” Alvarado (32-8, 21 KOs) will put his WBA Super Featherweight World Title on the line against Roger “The Kid” Gutierrez (24-3-1, 20 KOs) of Maracaibo, Venezuela. Alvarado will defend his title for the first time after violently taking it from Andrew “El Chango” Cancio in November 2019, while Gutierrez is coming off a five-win streak that includes an upset knockout victory against Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez.

Wanheng Menayothin (54-0, 18 KOs), the Thai boxer who currently boasts the most impressive undefeated record in the sport, will defend his WBC Minimumweight World Title against Marco J. Rementizo (12-3, 9 KOs) of Misamis Oriental, Philippines in a 12-round fight.

Felix “El Gemelo” Alvarado (35-2, 30 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua will defend his IBF Light Flyweight World Championship against DeeJay Kriel (16-1-1, 8 KOs) of Boksburg, South Africa in a 12-round battle. Felix, who is the twin brother of Rene, will fight for the first time after signing with Golden Boy.

Former world champion Alberto “Explosivo” Machado (22-2, 18 KOs) of San Juan, Puerto Rico will look to inch closer towards his dream of becoming a two-division world champion when he takes on Cristian Baez (18-1, 17 KOs) of Caracas, Venezuela in a 10-round lightweight bout.

Diego De La Hoya (22-1, 10 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico and Manuel “Tino” Avila (23-2-1, 8 KOs) of Fairfield, California will meet in a 10-round matchup between two standout featherweight contenders.

Recently signed middleweight contender Shane Mosley Jr. (15-3, 9 KOs) of Pomona, California will make his Golden Boy debut in an eight-rounder against Abraham Cordero (13-5-21, 7 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico.

Hector Valdez (12-0, 8 KOs) of Dallas, Texas will return in an eight-round super bantamweight fight against a soon-to-be announced opponent.

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Marquis Johns is a unknown humorist and avid boxing fan. His love for the sweet science goes back to when matches were 15 rounds and has been covering fights since closed-circuit pay-per-views. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth is not only a quote by Mike Tyson, it's also a pretty good reminder to keep your guard up.

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