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The undefeated 130-pound world champion went from being a virtual unknown to emerging as one of the world's best fighters in a truly amazing story.

When 2021 came to an end, Hector Luis Garcia was fighting eight-rounders at volleyball arenas in his native Dominican Republic. In February of 2022, on a day when not much was happening, he received a call that made him say, “My life will never be the same.” 

Garcia, 16-0 (10 KOs) stepped in against the red-hot Chris Colbert on less than three weeks’ notice and scored one of the year’s biggest upsets. Six months later, he added the WBA World Super Featherweight Championship on a historic night. And as the year comes to an end, Garcia finds himself preparing to take part in the first big match of 2023: a superfight against undefeated three-division champion and boxing superstar Gervonta “Tank” Davis Saturday, January 7 on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)

No matter what happens that night, or the rest of 2023, Garcia will always be called “Champ,” and will be known as Premier Boxing Champion’s Breakthrough Performer of the Year for 2022. 

Earlier this week, a quick Google search of Garcia’s name showed about 10 articles on him, in Spanish and English, in just the last four days alone. Last February, before he fought Colbert, the Las Vegas Review Journal mentioned his name only twice in an article announcing the change of opponent. 

Instead, the article – and much of the boxing world - focused on how many nicknames Colbert had and of his phone calls with sports legend Deion Sanders, the man he shared the “Primetime” moniker with. The article spoke about Colbert’s bright future and what fights awaited him. As it turned out, Colbert hasn’t boxed since while Garcia added a world title and is now headlining a pay-per-view event. 

If anyone had bothered to ask, they would have known that Garcia had different plans. Plans that revealed themselves when the bell rang. In a fast-paced fight, Garcia, a 22-to-1 underdog, stalked the flamboyant Colbert, working his body and blocking the fast counters. The fight featured some spirited exchanges during the first five rounds. By round six, talk of an upset started spreading among the ringsiders. 

Then, in round seven, Garcia’s life changed forever. 

With both locked in an exchange near the center of the ring, Colbert threw a low right. Garcia countered with a punch he had been waiting to throw his entire life. A straight left landed against Colbert’s jaw that sent him toppling head over heels. Garcia dominated the rest of the fight, winning a lopsided decision. 

Six months later, he and stablemate Alberto Puello teamed up in a history-making evening. That night, both were crowned world champions, marking the first time in history that two boxers from the Dominican Republic won championships on the same night. 

Leading up to the fight, the changes in his life had already begun to take place. This time, he entered the ring a 3-to-1 favorite to beat the champ, Roger Gutierrez of Venezuela. But Gutierrez was not going to give up the title without a fight. Gutierrez, a devout Catholic who, as a youth, originally took up boxing to improve his street fighting skills, had won that championship as a promise made to both the Virgin of Chiquinquirá - the Patron Saint of Colombia and Zulia, Venezuela – and to his mother, who passed away from cancer just one month before he won the title. 

With his tight guard, and accurate punches, Garcia took the lead from the champ. But Gutierrez made him earn every point. Right down to the final round, he threw haymakers for his Mom, and for the Virgin of Chiquinquirá. Each time he did, Garcia fought back with flurries. Garcia won a clear-cut decision and when he returned to his hometown of San Juan de la Maguana, a small parade awaited him along with dozens of requests for interviews. 

From being an eight-round fighter to becoming a world champion to a pay-per-view headliner next, Hector Luis Garcia took advantage of every opportunity he was given in 2022, making him the PBC Breakout Performer of the Year. 

For a closer look at Hector Luis Garcia, check out his fighter page. 

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The unbeaten super bantam is no longer flying under the radar following an outstanding 2022 campaign which turned heads everywhere

If a twelve-year-old Michael Angeletti hadn’t wandered off from basketball practice to take his first peek inside a boxing gym, he may have never fallen in love with the sport that would change his life forever.

Inspired by his father’s Roy Jones Jr. highlight tapes, the little kid with the big ambition set about making his name in the toughest of all sports professions. As amateur achievements piled up, he eventually earned his way on to Team USA. Although his Olympic dreams didn’t pan out, the lessons learned along the way not only seasoned him as a fighter but strengthened him as a young man.

Angeletti would make his professional debut in December of 2020, in the odd and off-putting bubble world necessitated by COVID-19 protocol, fighting in empty venues, without an audience. None of that, however, stopped the New Orleans native and Houston-area resident from excelling and turning heads. Despite getting a late start in the pro game at 24 years of age, the young man who’s described his fighting style as a mix of Roy Jones and Floyd Mayweather, with a touch of Canelo thrown in, has made up for that with scorching performances and an all-around beyond-his-years mature ring presence.

Blessed with whipping power showcased behind a jarring jab, the emerging star makes for an impressive blend of raw talent and high-end skill. Sparring work with the likes of Shakur Stevenson, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and O'Shaquie Foster has also helped add depth to an already-advanced game fine-tuned under the guidance of longtime head trainer Jeff Schlitte. 

This past year firmly established the junior featherweight as a “for real” prospect with three impressive victories on high-profile Premier Boxing Champions undercards.

In March, Angeletti stopped 25-fight veteran Angel Luna in the fifth round on the Tim Tszyu-Terrell Gausha undercard at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He then blew away Rafael Morel in one round at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida in August, underneath the Omar Figueroa Jr.-Sergey Lipinets main event.

In October, he would score his biggest pro win to date, on the biggest stage of his career, when he dominated fellow unbeaten prospect Jeremy Adorno and forced a fifth-round corner stoppage on the Deontay Wilder-Robert Helenius pay-per-view undercard.

Angeletti, currently 7-0 with 6 KOs, would’ve fought a fourth time in 2022, on the Frank Martin-Michel Rivera card, but a late opponent withdrawal ruined his December plans. 

Future propositions involve a possible drop to the 118-pound bantamweight division, where his lanky 5-foot-8 frame would work to even greater benefit, and a continued push to up the level of his opposition.  

Supremely grounded for a young man, Angeletti is taking his boxing accolades in stride and working just as hard for success outside the ring as he does inside it. A licensed real estate agent since he was a member of Team USA, the married father of two has his eye on life outside of boxing, just as he pushes his way towards boxing stardom.

With two beautiful young children, a loving wife, and a supportive family circle behind him, he’s already a winner at life. A second-to-none work ethic, meanwhile, makes boxing stardom seem just a matter of “when” and not “if.” He certainly displays the patience of a man who knows what he wants and is secure in what he brings to the table.

“I knew that as long as I capitalized on the opportunities, my name would get bigger and bigger,” Angeletti recently told The PBC Podcast. “Still, I don't think my name is as big as it should be right now, but I know with each and every opportunity I get, as long as I make the most of it, it'll come.”

And “it” is indeed coming.

Congratulations to Michael Angeletti, the PBC Prospect of the Year for 2022.

For a closer look at Michael Angeletti, check out his fighter page. 

Demetrius Andrade Reloads, Frank Martin Shines

THU, JAN 01, 1970

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The accomplished Andrade discusses his January 7 return on SHOWTIME PPV, plus a look back at Frank Martin's spectacular win last Saturday.

Undefeated two-division world champion Demetrius Andrade is this week's guest on The PBC Podcast. Andrade covers a number of topics in this wide-ranging interview, from his 168-pound debut versus Demond Nicholson Saturday, January 7, on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) to crossing over to the other side of the street, looking back at his career and, of course, a superbout versus Jermall Charlo. Also, hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal recap last weekend's PBC on SHOWTIME card, including unbeaten lightweight contender Frank Martin's dominant, breakout performance, and go Toe to Toe over their Five Favorite PBC Fights of 2022. 

The PBC Podcast is a weekly boxing show featuring timely analysis and interviews with the sport’s biggest figures. The show is published every Wednesday on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spreaker and other outlets. Alternatively, listeners can find The PBC Podcast on the PBC website at www.premierboxingchampions.com/podcast.

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What was considered a 50-50 clash beforehand turned into a one-sided affair as the undefeated Martin hands Rivera his first loss Saturday night in a PBC main event on SHOWTIME.

Frank "The Ghost" Martin is a boxing chameleon. The lightweight southpaw can change shades during the course of a fight and his opponent may never notice. He can move from power puncher to boxer, from someone adept at working one angle, then changing to a different point of attack.

Martin adroitly tore apart the previously undefeated Michel Rivera, winning a unanimous lightweight decision over 12 rounds Saturday night from The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on a Premier Boxing Champions main event live on SHOWTIME.

Martin  (17-0, 12 KOs) won easily by scores of 117-110, 118-109 and a 120-107 shutout.

“This is just what I do,” Martin said. “I felt good tonight. There were some things that I saw in there that I didn't capitalize on, but we went in there and got the job done.

“In the corner Derrick (James) was telling me to stay on the outside, watch out for the right hand and work the game plan. I was using my legs and I could have done it a lot more. It worked for us tonight, but there's a lot of room for improvement and we're going to keep working.” 

After a strong first, Martin closed quickly in the second, engaging Rivera. With 1:39 left in the round, Martin slid a blunt left off of Rivera’s chin. He had Rivera backing up and bewildered, taking away Rivera’s jab.

Rivera, the taller fighter, was crouching and fighting small. Martin’s trainer, Derrick James, implored him to take advantage of this.

In the third, Rivera (24-1, 14 KOs) momentarily turned the course of the fight, using his jab to create an opening and land a straight right.  

Martin kept the heat on. Moving Rivera back, controlling the pace and distance in the middle rounds.

Then everything swung completely in Martin’s favor in a large way.

With :33 left in the seventh, Rivera stepped in with a lead right. Martin leaned back, avoiding the shot and then quickly countering with a left cross to the chin that sent Rivera down for the second time in his career.

“We believe in ‘Man Down,’ he got caught slipping and he went down,” Martin said. “I just believe in myself and I believe in our team. We know what we're doing and we're working consistently. We believe in it and believe that we're ready for any of the top fighters, so let us get them. We're ready to eat.” 

By the end, Martin dominated every punch stat category, outlanding Rivera in total punches (174 to 67), power punches (118/48) and jabs (56-19). Martin did it with strafing straight lefts, and Rivera seemingly could not do anything about it.

“I went in there for a win, I didn't come here to lose,” Rivera said. “I was feeling pretty good today, but by round four or five, I think I started to feel the effects of the weight cut. I don't make excuses, but I'm a big guy for the division. 

“I'm pretty fast, but you have to be faster to fight a guy like this. I was too slow tonight. I tried to use my jab to keep him off me. He was the better guy today. I won't take anything away from him. I don't want to learn how to lose. I'm just going to work hard to win again. I don't want losing to feeling normal. I work to win.”

Martin, who is promoted by Unified Welterweight World Champion Errol Spence Jr., just put the lightweight division on notice—he’s coming. 

“We want all of them,” said Martin. “Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney, we're ready. Let’s make it happen.”

Vladimir Shishkin remains undefeated with a unanimous decision over Jose Uzcategui

Vladimir Shishkin, his left eye bloodied and swollen, went 12 rounds for the first time in his career with a positive result, scoring a unanimous decision over former IBF champion Jose Uzcategui to win the IBF Super Middleweight Title Eliminator. 

Final scores were 117-111 (twice) and 115-113. 

With former super middleweight world champion Caleb Plant and WBA 168-pound world titlist David Morrell watching ringside, Shishkin (14-0, 8 KOs) may have entered their realm.

“This was the biggest win of his career so far and it's what he's been waiting on,” said SugarHill Steward, Shishkin’s trainer. “He’s been working hard and I think that the extra time between fights helped him out.

I'm happy with the way he performed. I'd be happy if he jabbed even more and that's something that he'll work on more. That's what these fights are for. He's going to keep working and getting better. I want him to box and be strong. Kronk style.”

Shishkin offset Uzcategui’s early aggression in each round with left hooks, jabs and countering combinations. Uzcategui (32-5, 27 KOs) started well in the first two rounds but Shiskin finished each frame strong, mainly behind combination punching.

"I came to America, and I've been living here for the last few years, to reach my goal and become world champion,” Shishkin said. “This is a big step in that direction. It was a big chance for me and I took advantage of it. I felt in control throughout the fight. I'm on a higher level now, so the fights are going to be tougher. He pushed me hard. It was something new for me.

In the third, Shishkin worked well behind his jab, landing right uppercuts and left hooks, which were countered by Uzcategui left hooks and body shots.

In the last minute of the eighth, Uzcategui nailed Shishkin with a big right to the body. It seemed to wake up Shishkin, who got up in Uzcategui’s grill and nailed him with punches from all kinds of angles, once dropping a left to the body, followed by a left hook to the head.

Entering the fight, Shishkin had knocked out six of his previous eight opponents, all coming after the fifth round. He couldn’t finish off Uzcategui yet won a clear decision.

“I want all the big names at 168 pounds. Canelo is the champion right now and I'll be ready to give him all he can handle.”  

Vincent Astrolabio delivers KO win, title shot potentially next

Vincent Astrolabio made a promise to a special man, his promoter and future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao, that he would deliver a knockout on Pacquiao’s 44th birthday and indeed he did.

Astrolabio stopped Nikolai Potapov at 1:26 of the sixth round of their scheduled 12-round bantamweight fight to become the IBF mandatory challenger.

Making his U.S. debut, Astrolabio (18-3, 13 KOs) sent Potapov to the canvas three times—the first three times of his career. Astrolabio dropped Potapov with :23 left in the first round with a counter left hook on top of Potapov’s head. He touched the canvas again with 53 seconds into round five, after an uppercut and left hook.

“I’m very happy with the victory,” Astrolabio said. “This was my first time in the U.S. and I'm thankful to Manny Pacquiao and my whole team for this opportunity. I felt very strong against my opponent. Just like I did against Guillermo Rigondeaux, and that gave me confidence for this fight.”

In the sixth, Astrolabio ended the bout with a right uppercut that caught Potapov on the chin. Referee Robert Hoyle counted out Potapov (23-3-1, 11 KOs) as he kneeled against the ropes.

“I will fight whoever I'm able to, but my dream is to become world champion,” said Astrolabio. “I want to fight for the belts. I'm so thankful that I had this and that I was able to give everyone a knockout. This is the biggest moment of my career and I'm going to keep pushing to fight the best.”

For a closer look at Rivera vs Martin, check out our fight night page. 

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Fight fans are getting an early Holiday gift in the form of one of the best matchups of 2022 as unbeaten lightweights Michel Rivera and Frank Martin throw down Saturday night in a PBC main event on SHOWTIME.

This Saturday, December 17, at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, unbeaten 135-pound contenders Michel “La Zarza Ali” Rivera (24-0, 14 KOs) and Frank “The Ghost” Martin (16-0, 12 KOs) clash in a 12-round WBA Lightweight Title Eliminator atop a Premier Boxing Champions event, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).

Lightweight has become a glamour division over the last few years with big names and big bouts occupying the minds of fight fans. Rivera and Martin find themselves in the next wave of young stars ready to make their move on the elite of the 135-pound class. 

Rivera, a native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic who now fights out of Miami, turned pro in 2016 and has impressed with his quickness and precision. Cultivating his physical and stylistic similarities to a young Muhammad Ali, he has captured the attention of fight fans and has even flirted with mainstream sports world attention. 

Dominant performances against the likes of Ladarius Miller, Jon Fernandez, and Jerry Perez have cemented his status as a future star. A victory this Saturday would be a career high-water mark achievement for the 24-year-old. 

The 27-year-old Martin will also be looking for a high-water mark win this Saturday versus Rivera. 

Originally from Indianapolis, but now training in the Dallas area under the guidance of trainer Derrick James, Martin is promoted by Errol Spence Jr. and is looking to take that big step forward in pursuit of next-level success and bankability. 

Comprehensive and brutally effective wins over Jerry Perez, Romero Duno, and Jackson Marinez have affirmed The Ghost’s “next big thing” potential.

The Stakes

Although this is a WBA Lightweight Title Eliminator, there’s more at stake than just a title shot. The winner of Rivera-Martin will move into the upper echelon of the lightweight division and a potential bout versus Gervonta “Tank” Davis.  

The Matchup

Rivera is an accurate, quick-fisted, fluid puncher who has melded his natural athleticism with a ring style that compliments his abilities. 

Working off a sharp, rapier-like jab, he sports an especially potent right hand that serves as his most effective offensive tool. Given his speed and natural ability, the one-two, jab-right hand combination is all he needs to dominate most opposition. However, he also works the body well and has a quick right hand when up close.

Defensively, Rivera uses his speed and reflexes as his main safeguarding tools.

This is going to be an action-packed fight. Undefeated Lightweight Contender - Frank Martin

Martin, who didn’t start boxing until he was 18, has developed quickly and has shown an incredible aptitude for the nuances of the game. 

Physically strong and naturally tenacious, the southpaw’s style is deceptively simple with a jab used as a range finder, a follow-up left, and, sometimes, a right hook after that. His use of subtle movement and angles, though, is what keeps opposition off-kilter and mostly in response mode. Although his biggest offensive weapon is the left hand, most everything he throws is solid and impactful.

Martin keeps a high-guard defense to pick off punches. He also likes to get under incoming shots to facilitate counters. 

The Words

Michel Rivera

“This is the type of fight that I’ve been asking for and I can’t wait to get into the ring. Martin is a strong opponent with a good record, but I’m ready to show that I am the future of the lightweight division. I’ve been training hard in Miami so that I’m ready for anything that Martin brings. Make sure you tune in to this fight!”

Frank Martin

“I’m excited to be able to go out there and prove to myself and prove to the fans how great I am. This is going to be an action-packed fight. There is going to be a lot of excitement, and a lot of hard shots are going to be dished out, so if you want to see a bang ‘em fight, get ready to see two hungry, undefeated fighters go at it.”

The Breakdown

Rivera-Martin is a beyond-intriguing contrast in styles and temperaments and especially compelling for true fans of the technical/tactical side of the sweet science.

Rivera, to have his best chance at victory, will have to keep the contest at arm’s length, where he can utilize his jab and straight right hand. A three-inch reach advantage will help in that regard.

Martin, on the other hand, would be better served up close, where he can utilize his physical strength as well as his knack for hitting and moving. 

Essentially, Rivera vs. Martin will be a battle of focus and tenacity. If Rivera can keep the jab in Martin’s face, frustrating forward movement and keeping the contest at the right distance, he’ll walk away the winner. If Martin can bull his way in and turn a long-range boxing match into an inside battle, he’ll slug his way to a victory. 

With the pride of unbeaten 20-somethings fueling the high-stakes encounter, expect this Saturday’s PBC on SHOWTIME main event to be something special – a real, evenly-matched pick ‘em treat for fight fans right before the holidays. 

For a closer look at Rivera vs Martin, check out our fight night page. 

Fight Night: Sat, Dec 17, 2022 - The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV

Vincent Astrolabio vs Nikolai Potapov

Vincent Astrolabio defeats Nikolai Potapov by way of sixth-round knockout in their IBF Bantamweight Title Eliminator.
Astrolabio vs Potapov Round by Round Fight Summary. Rounds are displayed numerically as columns. Each row will display one of the following: W for win, L for loss, KO for knockout, or TKO for technical knock out. An empty column means that data is not available.
Fighter Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Astrolabio No data available No data available No data available No data available
Potapov No data available No data available No data available No data available

Vincent Astrolabio (18-3, 13 KOs) scored an impressive and dominant sixth-round stoppage over Nikolai Potapov (23-3-1, 11 KOs) in their IBF Bantamweight Title Eliminator.

Recap Image

Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

"I’m very happy with the victory,” said Astrolabio. “This was my first time in the U.S. and I'm thankful to Manny Pacquiao and my whole team for this opportunity. I felt very strong against my opponent. Just like I did against Guillermo Rigondeaux, and that gave me confidence for this fight.” 

The Filipino Astrolabio started the bout in strong form, sending Potapov to the canvas for the first time in his career with a charging left hook late in round one. Potapov was able to get to his feet and gained some momentum in round two by countering the aggressive Astrolabio, winning the round on two judges’ cards.

In round three however, Potapov took a clean punch that caused blood to start leaking out of his right eye, hindering his offensive output. In round four, Astrolabio caught him with another counter left hook, which stunned Potapov and forced him to take a knee in his corner.

As the fight hit round six, Astrolabio again upped his pressure and hurt Potapov midway through the round with a ferocious uppercut followed by a straight right hand. This proved to be the decisive blow, as referee Robert Hoyle counted Potapov out 1:26 into the round. At the time of the stoppage, Astrolabio held a 74-58 edge in punches landed and 56-45 advantage in power punches.

“I have nothing to say about my performance, he was just the better fighter tonight,” said Potapov.

"I will fight whoever I'm able to, but my dream is to become world champion,” said Astrolabio. “I want to fight for the belts. I'm so thankful that I had this and that I was able to give everyone a knockout. This is the biggest moment of my career and I'm going to keep pushing to fight the best."

Fight Night: Sat, Dec 17, 2022 - The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV

Jose Uzcategui vs Vladimir Shishkin

Vladimir Shishkin outpoints Jose Uzcategui in their 12-round IBF Super Middleweight Title Eliminator, earning a unanimous decision win.
Uzcategui vs Shishkin Round by Round Fight Summary. Rounds are displayed numerically as columns. Each row will display one of the following: W for win, L for loss, KO for knockout, or TKO for technical knock out. An empty column means that data is not available.
Fighter Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Uzcategui No data available No data available No data available No data available
Shishkin No data available No data available No data available No data available

Unbeaten contender Vladimir Shishkin (14-0, 8 KOs) grinded out a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over former world champion Jose Uzcategui (32-5, 27 KOs) to win the IBF Super Middleweight Title Eliminator.

Recap Image

Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

"I came to America, and I've been living here for the last few years, to reach my goal and become world champion,” said Shishkin, who won by scores of 115-113 and 117-111 twice. ”This is a big step in that direction. It was a big chance for me and I took advantage of it.”

Both fighters came out aggressive from the outset, looking to land powerful right hands from close quarters. That toe-to-toe mentality maintained throughout the fight, as they frequently wrestled for position on the inside. As the fight progressed it was Shishkin’s combination punching that helped separate him from Uzcategui on the judges’ cards.

“I think I did enough to win the fight, but the judges didn’t see it that way,” said Uzcategui. “He was clutching and grabbing me and pulling me in, and I was never able to get enough clean shots.”

Shishkin averaged 63 punches thrown per round, compared to Uzcategui’s 43, and out-landed his opponent 38-20 over the final two frames. Round seven saw both fighters increase their aggression from the bell, but neither was able to seriously hurt the other, although both sported swelling over their eyes.

"I felt in control throughout the fight,” said Shishkin. “I'm on a higher level now, so the fights are going to be tougher. He pushed me hard. It was something new for me.”

With his strong finish, and a 238 to 162 overall edge in punches landed, Shishkin was able to clinch the victory. The win puts the unbeaten Shishkin into position to challenge for a title at 168 pounds.

"I want all the big names at 168 pounds,” said Shishkin. “Canelo is the champion right now and I'll be ready to give him all he can handle.”

View Vincent Astrolabio Profile

Vincent "Asero" Astrolabio

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