News: Pedro Diaz Warns Hrgovic; Jai Opetaia Update, AIBA; More

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Pedro Diaz has warned Filip Hrgovi? (6-0, 5 KOs) not to underestimate his opponent Ytalo Perea (11-3-2, 7 KOs) ahead of their WBC International Heavyweight title clash on December 8 at the KC Dražen Petrovi? in Zagreb.
 
Hrgovi? has set up camp in Miami for a second time following his impressive knockout win over Amir Mansour in September, and will once again be counting on Diaz’s skills and experience to deliver him a winning performance.
 
Diaz, who has enjoyed significant success as a coach in both the amateur and professional ranks, says he is pleased with their preparations and how their relationship is developing, but admits: “it takes time to shape a diamond.”
 
“Filip is a pure athlete. He is always in shape and will be well prepared for December 8,” said Diaz. “I will not go into specifics about our preparations, but what I can say is he will be ready to deliver another great performance.
 
“It is our second training camp together. We’re working on building and improving the coach-athlete relationship. He is a very talented fighter, and we are progressing every day, but it takes time to shape a diamond.
 
“Perea is a good opponent for Filip. He has the power, the amateur background and a good boxing knowledge. It is important that Filip does not underestimate him. I believe he is yet to show his true potential as a professional, and I know he will be keen to showcase his capabilities in Zagreb.”
 
When asked what Hrgovi?’s key to victory will be, the renowned Cuban coach refuses to give too much away, simply starting: “Patience, intelligence and following our game plan, but that’s all I’m willing to say!”
 
The WBC International Heavyweight Championship contest between Filip Hrgovi? and Ytalo Perea will top an action-packed fight card at the KC Dražen Petrovi? in Zagreb on December 8.
 
Tickets start from 150 KN and are available online via www.eventim.hr. All the action will be broadcast live and exclusive on RTL in Croatia.

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23-year-old Australian / Samoan Jai Opetaia cracked the WBO’s top 10 in their November ranking positioned at number 9 in the world – up 2 places from 11.

Opetaia made a name for himself as an amateur winning the world juniors at light heavyweight before becoming the youngest in Australian boxing history to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics at the tender age of just 16.

Since turning professional in 2015 he has racked up 16 wins collecting numerous titles along the way including the NSW State & Australian and a number of Regionals including the WBC’s ‘OPBF’, IBF Pan Pacific and the WBO Asia Pacific titles. Last year he won the IBF World youth title when he KO’d undefeated American Frankie Lopez in devastating style with a 1st round KO handing him his first loss in his 10-fight career.

He was scheduled to face IBF Intercontinental Champion Bilal Laggoune in Belgium as his mandatory challenger on December 15, however this fight has now been moved to early 2019 after Laggoune suffered an injury in camp. Laggoune has a record of 24-1-2 and is ranked # 9 in the IBF’s current world rankings. He will be the toughest opponent Jai has faced to date, though his team are confident they can travel to his backyard in Belgium and secure the title.

Opetaia’s promoter Michael Francis head of Xtreme Sports said he was pleased to see his charge enter into the WBO top 10 and that 2019 will be a big year as we continue to step up the level of opposition with a goal of sharpening up his skills while edging him closer to a mandatory position. Firstly, we have to get Jai across the line with Laggoune, however we are confident. Our matchmaker Stuart Duncan identified Bilal September last year, so he has been on our radar for quite some time.

We were originally scheduled to face Bilal on October 20 when Jai suffered an injury while sparring in camp and the date was pushed out until December 15 and now sadly.

Bilal has suffered an injury while in camp in Germany and now we’re looking at March.

‘I suppose the positive to come out of this delayed fight is that while we have been looking at Bilal for over a year, we now have more time for the team to better prepare him for battle. The good thing with Jai is that he is young and we have time on our side.

We are not in any hurry to get him his world title shot and have a plan mapped out for 2019 that will properly prepare him for a world title shot hopefully in 2020. Stuart has a ‘long list’ of top 15 ranked opponents he feels Jai is ready for now, so for now our focus is purely on Bilal Laggoune and if things go according to plan, which we are confident off, 2019 will be a big year ahead!

With two major events coming to a close, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is pleased to report that the changes and updates with regards to its Refereeing and judging (R&Js) system and regulations are being positively received by athletes and technical officials alike.

Since 2016, AIBA has fully revamped its R&Js management systems to foster a culture of transparency and fair play, in and out of the boxing ring. The new system in place was tested for the first time during the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina and yet again at the recent 2019 AIBA Women’s World Championships in Delhi, India. PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC), the leading audit firm in Switzerland was charged with the independent monitoring and reviewing during the first implementation. PwC positively reviewed the new systems, indicating that the changes made were good and producing the desired results. Highlighted changes include:

– The return of having five judges’ scores a bout;
– The removal of the President and Executive Director from the appointment and approval process of Referee and Judges;
– The development of a computerized draw system for appointing Referees and Judges to a bout;
– The appointment of an observer position into the Field of Play;
– The increased number and quality of courses offered for training Referees and Judges;
– The improvement of AIBA’s database so that Referees and Judges can be evaluated over time as opposed to event by event.

Noteworthy, is the establishment of a protest system for Coaches and Athletes which has been approved, tested and is set to be implemented in 2019 at the AIBA Men’s World Championships.

Tom Virgets, AIBA Executive Director, said: “AIBA is committed to safe-guarding the integrity of boxing and its competitions on all levels. Collaborating with an independent audit team is just one of the ways we are working hard to ensure we keep our sport clean and our competitions honest. Like any other International Sport Federation, AIBA will continuously seek to improve its refereeing and judging and will remain ever vigilant to the fact that we serve our athletes in the first place.”

While the new systems have been successfully implemented and approved by the independent organisation PwC and the IOC, AIBA is dedicated to continuously investing in new technologies to further improve its refereeing and judging processes in the lead up to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and beyond.




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