World championship boxing monopolizes Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Saturday, June 27 with “Latin Fury 9!” The pay-per-view extravaganza will be headlined by two world championship fights — WBO junior featherweight champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez defending his title against undefeated Olivier Lontchi and WBO bantamweight champion Fernando “Cochulito” Montiel defending his crown against former world champion Eric “Little Hands Of Steel” Morel. The televised portion of the card also features former world champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi taking on undefeated “Mile-High” Mike Alvarado in a 10-round junior welterweight rumble and Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan risking his undefeated record against Andrey Tsurkan in a 10-round junior middleweight battle. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Caesars Atlantic City, “Latin Fury 9” will be broadcast Live on Pay-Per-View from the Adrian Phillips Ballroom, beginning at 9 p.m. EDT / 6 p.m. PDT. Tickets, priced at $200, $100 and $50, go on sale This Monday! May 18, at Noon ET, and can be purchased at the Boardwalk Hall box office, by calling Ticketmaster (800) 736-1420 or online at www.Ticketmaster.com.
“Call it the Perfect Storm because on June 27 Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall is going to be hit by a title wave,” said promoter Bob Arum. “Two world championship fights plus two more battles between top-rated contenders. Whether you see it in-person or live on pay-per-view, fans are in store for an action-packed night. Even though their fights are in Atlantic City, it’s not going to be walk on the beach for any of these fighters.”
“Caesars is very excited to welcome these gladiators and their loyal fans to Atlantic City,” said Harrah’s Entertainment Sports & Entertainment Consultant Ken Condon. “We are looking forward to what is sure to be another fabulous night of world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall with these exciting match-ups.”
Lopez (25-0, 23 KOs), from Caguas, Puerto Rico, returns to Atlantic City where he captured his world title, dethroning defending champion Daniel Ponce De Leon via a first-round knockout on June 7, 2008, ending De Leon’s three-year title reign, which had included seven successful defenses, five by knockout. Lopez has successfully defended his title three times since, all by knockout with only his most recent, against world champion Gerry Penalosa, going past the first round and stretching his victory by knockout streak to 13. He was named Puerto Rico’s 2008 “Fighter of the Year,” where he went 4-0 (3 KOs), including three first-round knockout world title victories. His professional resume boasts a victory by knockout percentage of 92% which explains why the average length of his fights is under four rounds.
Lontchi (18-0-2, 8 KOs), a native of Cameroon who fights out of Montréal, Québec, Canada, has promised to put up a Canadian cold front that will ice Lopez’s winning streak and title reign. A recent power surge has produced knockout victories in his last two fights, his most recent on April 4 when he successfully defended his NABA title with a seventh-round KO of Cecilio Santos. The former Canadian featherweight champion dropped down to 122-pound division in 2007 where he captured the vacant NABA and NABO titles winning a dominant 12-round unanimous decision over Cruz Carbajal. He has successfully defended the NABA title three times while advancing his world ratings where he had been ranked No. 3 by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and is currently No. 7 by the WBO.
Montiel (39-2-1, 29 KOs), from Los Mochis, Mexico, has captured four world titles in three different divisions. He returns to the ring in defense of his WBO bantamweight title, which he won in Tijuana on March 28 on “Latin Fury 8,” by knocking out Diego Silva in the third round. It was Montiel’s fifth consecutive world title knockout victory. Montiel, considered a crown jewel of Mexico boxing, captured his first world title in December 2000, knocking out defending WBO flyweight champion Isidro Garcia in the seventh round. He held the title through 2001, successfully defending it three times, before vacating it to dethrone undefeated WBO junior bantamweight champion Pedro Alcazar, whom Montiel knocked out in the sixth round of their June 2002 fight to claim his second world title in as many divisions. After losing the title to Mark Johnson via a majority decision one year later, Montiel reclaimed it in April 2005, stopping Ivan Hernandez in the seventh round. Montiel successfully defended that title seven times during his three-year reign before vacating it to claim the WBO interim bantamweight title.
Morel (41-2, 21 KOs), from San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the second half of this classic Mexico-Puerto Rico battle. With 50 knockout victories between Morel and Montiel, this has all the makings of a Pier Six Brawl!!! Morel captured the WBA flyweight title in 2000, winning a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision over undefeated defending champion Sornpichai Pisnurachank. He held the title for three years, successfully defending it five times against world-class competition with a combined record of 90-12-7 when he fought them, before losing it in a hotly contested defense to undefeated contender Lorenzo Parra in December 2003, a consequence of staying at flyweight too long. Since then, Morel has won eight of his last nine fights while collecting North American Boxing Organization (NABO) junior bantamweight and bantamweight titles. World-rated No. 1 by the WBO, Morel is ready to let his “Little Hands of Steel” fly when he faces Montiel on June 27.
Brooklyn’s own Malignaggi (26-2, 5 KOs), returns to the shores of Atlantic City for the first time since June 2008 where he successfully defended his International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior welterweight title for the first time, winning a unanimous decision over top-rated contender Herman Ngoudjo. Malignaggi, long a Big Apple favorite, captured the world title by dethroning defending IBF champion Lovemore N’dou with one of his best performances, producing a 12-round unanimous decision on scores of 120-106, 120-106 and 118-108. He successfully defended his title twice during his 17-month long reign, including a rematch with N’dou, before vacating it to face Ricky Hatton last November. The only blemishes on his resume have been world title losses to Hatton and Miguel Cotto. He returns to the ring fresh from an April 25 unanimous decision victory over Christopher Fernandez.
Alvarado (26-0, 18 KOs), from the mile-high city of Denver, CO., will be looking to make the most of his East Coast debut. Having knocked out eight of his last 10 opponents, the self-described boxer-puncher has finally broken into the Top-10, world-rated No. 8 by the IBF, No. 9 by the WBO and No. 10 by the WBA, based on his impressive victories over rugged opponents, including knockouts of former world champion Cesar Bazan and world-class contenders Michael Clark and Emmanuel Clottey. Malinaggi is by far the biggest test of Alvarado’s five-year professional career and a true barometer of where he stands in the junior welterweight division. He returns to ring after two impressive 2009 performances – a 10th-round knockout of Clottey on March 7, where he was leading on all three judges’ scorecards 90-80, and an eight-round unanimous decision over Jauquin Gallardo on May 2, again pitching a no-hitter with the judges scoring it 80-71, 80-71, and 79-72. In preparation for their fights against Gallardo and Hatton, Alvarado spent time at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club sparring with Manny Pacquiao.
Martirosyan (23-0, 14 KOs), a native of Armenia now living in Glendale, Calif., returns to the ring reunited with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach and his assistant trainer former light heavyweight and heavyweight world champion Michael Moorer. Known as “The Nightmare,” the 2004 U.S. Olympian, whose amateur resume boasts victories over world champions Andre Berto and Timothy Bradley, is on the verge of breaking through professionally in the competitive junior middleweight division, where he is currently word-rated No. 12 by the IBF and No. 19 by the World Boxing Council (WBC).
Tsurkan (26-4, 17 KOs), a Ukrainian native now living in Bronx, NY, enters this fight having won seven of his last nine bouts, including NABF super welterweight championship knockout victories over Hector Camacho, Jr. and Sammy Sparkman. In his last bout, the rugged Tsurkan became the only fighter to extend undefeated No. 1 contender Alfredo Angulo beyond the sixth round, making it into the 10th stanza, which was broadcast by HBO. The “Latin Fury 9” pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, has a suggested retail price of $39.95. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. For “Latin Fury 9” fight week updates, log on to www.toprank.com.