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  Cloutier’s Canada Corner
Jennings Established Favorite By 5-2

By Daniel Cloutier

VERONA, New York - If the Las Vegas bookies hit the target, the Montrealer Colombian Oscar Rivas will suffer of his first defeat in pro boxing Friday evening in the ring of the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, a Syracuse suburb in New York State. The Las Vegas bookies established Jennings favorite by 5-2

In the main event of this boxing show organized by Top Rank Inc., Rivas (25-0-0) will fight Bryant Jennings (24-2-0), from Philadelphia, in a NABO North American championship and a WBO heavyweight elimination bout. The winner of this bout will be ranked second contender by the WBO in the heavyweight division.

Obviously, Rivas is not worried at all by the Las Vegas boxing odds. “No matter the boxing odds, the result of the bout will be decided by the moves made by each one in the ring,” said Rivas. “And I am more than confident to win this fight. I got a perfect preparation, mentally, physically, technically and strategically. Trust me, I will fight wisely and connected my power punches at the right moments. This fight is crucial for me. A win will drive me in the second position in the WBO ratings, and I will be in position to get a participation to a world championship bout. It’s my dream to get a shot for a world title match. My close friend Eleider Alvarez became WBO light heavyweight champion of the world last spring in Atlantic City, when he won by KO against the Russian Sergey Kovalev, then, it’s my turn now to become world champion.”

Rivas’s trainer, the Montrealer Marc Ramsay, said: “Oscar trained very seriously since three months to be perfectly prepared for this challenge, the most important one of his pro boxing career. He knows he got to fight with concentration and intensity to beat Jennings, and I am positive he will do it.”

Jennings seems very confident at few hours of the moment of the truth. “I take all my opponent very seriously, and as you know, this fight is crucial for me like it is for Rivas. I want to get another shot for a world title, then, I really need to win this elimination bout. I will fight with concentration from the beginning to the end of the bout, and I am positive I will be in the winning shoes.”

A former football and basketball player, and a former track and field star, Jennings will try to score his sixth win in a row. He lost his two fights in 2015. The first one by TKO against the Cuban Luis Ortiz (30-1-0) at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, and the second one by unanimous decision against the Ukrenian Wladimir Klitschko (64-5-0) in a WBA and WBO heavyweight world title fight presented at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The scout of the GYM Group, Bernard Barré, knows very well the two fighters. He recruited Rivas for the GYM Group in 2009 and he saw Jennings in action several times. “I am positive that the fight will be intense and close,” said Barré. “Rivas and Jennings are good technically and both can punch solidly. My prediction? Rivas gonna win the fight by decision of the judges. But Oscar will need to fight wisely and intensively from the beginning to the end of the bout. Jennings is very tough fighter. He proved it when he resisted 12 rounds against the Wladimir Klitschko attacks in 2015. But I know that Oscar Rivas is considering this fight as the most important moment in his pro boxing career, and I am sure he will fight like hell to win it.”

Rivas scored 17 KO or TKO in 25 bouts, Jennings 14 in 26 fights. Rivas is 31 years old, Jennings 34.

The referee of the bout Rivas-Jennings will Gary Rosato, from Pennsylvania; The judges will be three New Yorkers: John McRae, Tom Schreck and Eric Marlinski.

At the weigh in, supervised by the WBO and the New York Athletic Commission Thursday afternoon at the Turning Stone Casino, Jenkins posted an official weight of 225 pounds, versus 245 for Rivas.

The preliminaries bouts of the evening will involved: the super featherweight Jason Sosa (21-3-4), from Camden, New Jersey, the super featherweight Shakur Stevenson (9-0-0), from Alexandria, Virginia, the super welterweight Carlos Adames (15-0-0), from Dominican Republic, the Brazilian super featherweight Robson Conceicao (10-0-0), the super lightweight Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (6-0-0), from Uzbekistan, the heavyweight Cassius Chaney (14-0-0), from New London, Connecticut, and the super welterweight Vikas Krishan, from India, who will make is pro debut.

Stevenson will face Jessie Cris Rosales (22-1-1), from Philippines, Sosa will fight the Mexican Moises Delgadillo (17-18-2), Adames will challenge the Mexican John Ruiz (21-3-0), Conseico will be opposed to the Mexican Hector Ambriz (12-8-2) Gaibnnazarov will face Ricardo Garcia (14-4-1) Chaney will fight Michael Glasscox (6-2-2), from Columbus, Ohio, and Krishan will challenge Steven Andrade (3-3-0), from Catersville, Georgia

At the weigh in, Stevenson posted an official weight of 125.5 pounds, Rosales 124.5, Sosa 131, Delgadillo 133, Adames 156, Ruiz 155.5, Conceicao 135, Ambriz 130.5, Gaibnazarov 141.5, Garcia 142, Chaney 250, Glasscox 212, Krishan 152 and finally, Andrade 151.3 pounds.


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