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    Yuri Foreman definitely had a reach advantage.

    But the former world champion boxer didn’t press it. Instead, he was happy to let the youngsters at the Wyckoff Community Center counter and connect on the combinations he was teaching them during an NBA FIT Week event on Thursday afternoon.

    Foreman teamed up with Nets players Jahlil Okafor, Quincy Acy and Tyler Zeller and some of the Brooklynettes dancers to man workout stations at the event.

    “It was amazing,” said Foreman. “They were a little distracted … there were three giants walking around. I was distracted myself. But it was fun.”

    The 37-year-old last fought a year ago, but he’s been working on building a foundation for his post-boxing life longer than that. After several years of study, he was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi in 2014. Born in Belarus, then in the Soviet Union, Foreman’s family moved to Israel when he was 10. He immigrated to Brooklyn in 1999.

    “It was a gradual process,” said Foreman of his studies. “Something I was reconnecting with, my roots, my Jewish roots. And I wanted to go a few steps deeper. Being a rabbi would give me the pass to work in the future with kids and communities.”

    Foreman came to Brooklyn to pursue his boxing career, and he found a home at Gleason’s Gym. The climb in the boxing world was gradual as well. His first two pro fights in 2002 were in a hotel and a restaurant, neither of which has held a fight card since that year. The spotlight was a distant reach.

    He won a minor title with the NABF super welterweight belt in 2007. But it wasn’t until 2009, after he’d won his first 27 fights, that Foreman got a major championship shot. He cashed in with a unanimous decision victory over Daniel Santos that made him the WBA world super welterweight champion.

    Foreman lost the belt to Miguel Cotto a year later, but he’s gone on to post a 34-3 career record. He fought at Barclays Center in 2015 and won by unanimous decision.

    He’s continued to train at Gleason’s almost daily, several hours a day. And for several years he’s been heavily involved in the gym’s Give A Kid A Dream program. Foreman and other Gleason’s trainers regularly work with young kids on their boxing skills as part of the free program.

    “I’m an ordained rabbi, former world champion boxer,” said Foreman. “I think I’m in the stage of my life that I’m asking what can I possibly do, bring some light to the world. Besides my family, my kids, something else. Everybody has some kind of a mission in life, and I feel comfortable, I feel satisfied when I work with young adults, kids in search of expanding their world view perhaps, in some positive way.”


    Lightweight Champion Robert Easter Meets Javier Fortuna in SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Co-Feature while Marcus Browne Clashes with Francy Ntetu & Adam Kownacki Meets Iago Kiladze in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING PRELIMS Streaming Live on SHOWTIME Sports® Digital Platforms

    BROOKLYN (December 28, 2017) - Rising stars and veteran contenders will enter the ring on Saturday, January 20 looking to start their 2018 with a statement victory when they compete in undercard action from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING®, on the undercard for the welterweight championship showdown between IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. and two-division champion Lamont Peterson.

    Undefeated 135-pound world champion Robert Easter will defend his IBF Title against former world champion Javier Fortuna in the co-main event live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

    In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING PRELIMS, unbeaten light heavyweight Marcus Browne will take on once-beaten Francy Ntetu in a 10-round fight and undefeated heavyweight sensation Adam Kownacki will face Iago Kiladze of Kiev, Ukraine in a 10-round bout. 

    The live digital offering will stream exclusively in the U.S. on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and the SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page.  

    Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, are priced starting at $50, and are on sale now. The Easter-Fortuna bout is promoted in association with Sampson Boxing and About Billions Promotions. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.combarclayscenter.com, at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center or by calling 800-745-3000. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.

    Here is what the fighters had to say about their January 20 matchups and more:

    ROBERT EASTER (20-0, 14 KOs) - Making third defense of IBF Lightweight World Title

    "This fight can definitely set a good tone for me in 2018. I'm going to be making a statement with this fight. My last three fights I haven't gotten a knockout. I'm going to be giving my fans and fight fans a good show.

    "I'm going to use my reach and length and destroy this guy from the outside. All my career I've been fighting shorter guys. Every short guy doesn't fight the same. But you get in the ring and you feel him out and make adjustments.

    "There's nothing in particular that I have to prepare for with Fortuna. I take every fight the same. Every fighter fights different so you get in there, feel him out and make adjustments as you go along. I'm not worried about him being a southpaw. I've faced plenty of lefties in my career and in the amateurs. That's no problems at all.

    "I think what makes me the more dangerous boxer in this fight is having the height that I do and the punching power and the speed and the mindset as well. My mindset is that I'm not going in there to play around with him. I'm ready to destroy.

    "My goals for 2018 are to capture more titles and to get unification bouts. We had a few champions in the weight class, but it appears that no one is willing to fight the other champions. We're willing to do whatever it takes, fight whoever has the titles. We're willing to capture all those titles whenever the other guys are willing to sign up for the fights."

    JAVIER FORTUNA (33-1-1, 23 KOs) - Former Super Featherweight World Champion

    "My preparation for this fight is going very well. I've been working out in the Dominican Republic, but I've come back to Boston to finish my training. Right now we're at 75% and closing in on 100%. I will be completely prepared when it's time to fight. My preparation and my strategy make me the more dangerous guy.

    "I see this like no other fight that I've had before, because every opponent is different. Everyone has their own niche at this level, something that works for them. His niche is that he's tall. He uses that to his advantage. But it's nothing that I can't overcome. I've fought tall guys before.

    "I prefer my opponents to be taller. It plays into what I'm able to do. I've never had a problem with taller opponents. Abner Cotto (5-10) is one of tall guys that I fought. I fought in Chicago and put on a great performance. (Fortuna scored a 5th round KO against Cotto)

    "My goal for 2018 is to fight all the top elite fighters in my weight class, and I'm trying to become mentioned as one of the best in the sport. I really want to win another world title in a different weight class. It would be the biggest moment so far of my career to get another world title."

    MARCUS BROWNE (20-0, 15 KOs) - Top 10 Ranked at 175 lbs. (WBC, WBO, WBA & IBF)

    "My opponent (Francy Ntetu, 17-1, 4 KOs) looks like a durable, tough guy. I see this fight being very exciting for the fans for as long as it lasts. I saw a little bit of tape on him. I know he always comes in tip-top shape, and I hear he's consistent in his performance in the ring. I just know I'm going to have to be sharp on Jan. 20.

    "It's always an honor to fight here at home and at Barclays Center. It's special to be able to perform in front of these fans and I can't wait to put on a good performance leading up to the Spence vs. Peterson fight.

    "This fight could put me in the position that I need to be in to fight for a world title. I can't be lacking in any way. I have to come out strong with a great performance from start to finish and leave no doubt in there.

    "For 2018, I want to become a world champion. I'm determined to make it happen this year. That vision starts on Jan. 20 at Barclays Center against Francy Ntetu."

    FRANCY NTETU (17-1, 4 KOs) - Fought David Benavidez at Barclays Center in June 2015

    "I know Marcus Browne is probably taking me lightly and thinks he will simply go through me. I hope that's the case, because it's going be a shock to him, the fans and his team when I take his spot in line for a title. I want to face Eleider Alvarez in our hometown of Montreal after I get this win.

    "My previous fight at Barclays Center against the current WBC champion David Benavidez was obviously a very bad decision by the referee to stop the fight, especially when I was winning the round and Benavidez was slowing down. I was getting stronger while he was getting weaker.

    "I've never been hurt and never been dropped in a fight. I want Marcus to challenge himself and see if he can do something no one else has. I'm excited to be in a fight of this magnitude. Marcus, it's time for us to give the fans what they want!"

    ADAM KOWNACKI (16-0, 13 KOs) - Originally from Poland & fighting out of Brooklyn

    "This fight is going to be another step toward becoming a champion. I know I'm going to have to work very hard and prove that I'm continuing to build on my win against Szpilka. From the video I've seen on Iago Kiladze (26-1, 18 KOs), he moves a lot, so I'll be needing to cut off the ring. Whatever he brings to the ring, I'll have an answer for.

     "Three years in a row now I've been fighting in January. I love starting off the year strong. My wife and I actually started a tradition of the "Kownacki Family Run" at midnight on New Year's Eve. Since I'm always preparing for a fight around New Year's, we figured we might as well have fun while we work. So, we'll have some friends come out and run a few miles with us around the neighborhood during the fireworks. It's fun and helps get me ready.

    "Ultimately, I'm looking to become the best in the heavyweight division. The end goal for this year is to become a world champion. But the very first step is taking Iago Kiladze very seriously. I can't look past January 20 right now. I have a tough opponent who will challenge and make me a better fighter in the long run."

    IAGO KILADZE, Third fight since move up to heavyweight division (2-0, 2 KOs)

    "I feel great and my training has been terrific. My trainer is Freddie Roach now. I sparred with (IBF Cruiserweight Champion) Murat Gassiev three times recently which is great preparation for me. I believe I can knockout Kownacki but if I have to go the distance I'm prepared for that. Either way, I'll be victorious. I'm feel that I'm the more skilled fighter and that will show in the ring.

    "This is a great fight for my career and a terrific start for 2018. I know that if I win this fight I'll be that much closer to a world title opportunity.

    "My goal is to be a world champion at the end of 2018. I want to continue improving and learning under Freddie and with his guidance I'm confident of success."



    Lamont Peterson saw it all coming for Errol Spence Jr., back in 2011.

    “I knew at the time six years ago that he would get at this point,” said Peterson. “He would be a world champion. I saw a lot of talent.”

    Spence was 21 years old at the time, a decorated amateur on his way to a spot on the U.S Olympic team for the 2012 Olympic games in London. He got in the ring for a sparring session with Peterson, a fighter six years older whose style he’d admired from a distance.

    Peterson had already won an interim WBO world super lightweight title bout two years earlier, and by the end of 2011 he would claim the IBF world super lightweight title and WBA super world super lightweight title against Amir Khan.

    “It was just great work,” said Spence. “It was a learning experience. I was an amateur. I’m going at a fast pace, just firing punches.

    “Lamont, he’s just being patient, blocking, just trying to counter, basically fighting at a pro level, pro pace, and I didn’t really understand it until I was a pro going 10, 12 rounds.”

    That was their last sparring session, but their paths have continued to cross, and their mutual admiration has remained consistent.

    They’ll be back in the ring together on January 20 at Barclays Center for Spence’s first bout since fulfilling Peterson’s vision and winning a world championship title. The current and former world champions met at the arena on Wednesday afternoon to announce their upcoming bout.

    Spence powered his way to the IBF belt last May, building momentum as the fight went on before dethroning Kell Brook with an 11th round knockout. It was only the second career loss for Brook, who had dropped his previous fight to undefeated unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. 

    It was a coronation for Spence, who had taken some of the final steps of his championship journey in Brooklyn. He made his Barclays Center debut in April 2015, destroying Samuel Vargas on the undercard of Peterson’s bout against Danny Garcia.

    A year later Spence returned to headline a BROOKLYN BOXING fight card at Barclays Center for the biggest fight of his career to date, defeating former WBO world super lightweight champion Chris Algieri. With his fifth-round TKO, Spence became the first fighter to stop the tough as nails Algieri from going the distance. Four months later, Spence clinically took apart the veteran Leonard Bundu on Coney Island.

    He’ll enter the ring in January with a 22-0 record and 19 wins by knockout, including his last nine fights. The next challenge is Peterson.

    “I’ve been in training camps with him,” said Spence. “I know what Lamont can do. I’ve seen him fight. I’m going to focus on what’s in front of me. That’s Lamont Peterson. That’s a big task at hand.”

    The former super lightweight champ captured the WBA world welterweight title with a unanimous decision over David Avanesyan last February, but has vacated that belt in order to take on Spence.

    Peterson brings in a 35-3-1 record with a goal to reclaim a championship belt.

    “We’ve never been in boring fights,” said Peterson. “Always in fan-friendly fights. We have a lot of dog in us. That’s what you’re going to get.”

    “It’ll probably start as a boxing match, but at the end it’s going to end up as a dogfight,” said Spence. “We’ve both got big hearts. I’ve never known Lamont to duck any big competition.”

    The two fighters are among ESPN.com’s top 10 welterweights, with Spence listed No. 2 following his championship win and Peterson coming in at No. 8. They’re part of a division filled with dynamic fighters — and big fights waiting to be made.

    Undefeated WBA super welterweight champion and WBC welterweight champion Keith Thurman tops that list, which also features Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Barclays Center has been a home to those fighters, in addition to Spence. The possibilities for a year of big welterweight fights in 2018 awaits. Spence is ready for it.

    “I see for the welterweight division the best fighting the best,” said Spence. “I know I’m willing to fight the best. I know Lamont’s willing to fight the best. It’s for the other guys to step up and make their choice whether they want to be great or whether they just want to get by.”


    Spence Returns for First Title Defense in SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Main Event

    BROOKLYN (Nov. 21, 2017) - Undefeated IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol "The Truth" Spence Jr. will make the first defense of his title when he takes on former two-division world champion Lamont Peterson on Saturday, January 20 live on SHOWTIME. The event is presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING®.


    SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING coverage begins live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature undercard attractions that will be announced in the near future.   


    Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, are priced starting at $50, and go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 22 at 10 a.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.combarclayscenter.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center starting Thursday, Nov. 23 at noon. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP).


    "I'm pleased to be promoting Spence vs. Peterson, one of the very best matchups in the welterweight division and in all of boxing," said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. "Spence is not only one of the best welterweights in the world, but one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing. In Peterson, he faces another elite welterweight and a two-time world champion. Spence vs. Peterson will bring the heat to Barclays Center on a chilly January 20. This is yet another night in the outstanding run of big time fights on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING."


    "Spence vs. Peterson is an intriguing matchup between two elite welterweights looking to reach the top of this marquee division," said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. "Errol Spence is a rising star with his sights set on title unification and the top of the pound-for-pound list, but he's going to receive a stern test from Lamont Peterson, a multiple division champion whose resume is filled with top class opponents. It's going to be another fantastic atmosphere at Barclays Center and a great night of fights live on SHOWTIME."

    "With his breakout performance against Kell Brook, Errol Spence established himself as one of top fighters in the welterweight division, if not in all of boxing," said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports.  "Never one to rest on his laurels, Errol continues to seek out the toughest available opponents, and he has found exactly that in Lamont Peterson.  Lamont has never backed down from a challenge, and as a result, he has a wealth of experience with one of the strongest resumes in the division.  This type of high profile, dangerous matchup is the quintessential SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event."


    "BROOKLYN BOXING enjoyed a banner year in 2017, and we are looking forward to carrying that momentum into 2018," said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. "Spence vs. Peterson sets a strong precedent for the year, with two top welterweights returning to the ring at Barclays Center to compete for recognition in one of the sport's most talented divisions."


    Spence (22-0, 19 KOs), of Dallas, traveled to England to dethrone IBF 147-pound champion and hometown favorite Kell Brook on May 27 on SHOWTIME in one of the defining fights of 2017.  The 27-year-old, who had long been touted as boxing's next big thing, fulfilled his promise with a breakthrough performance, fracturing Brook's orbital bone en route to an 11th round TKO.  A 2012 U.S. Olympian, Spence will enter the ring at Barclays Center for the third time after most recently stopping former champion Chris Algieri in an April 2016 main event. He will fight in Brooklyn for the fourth time; he earned his title shot by knocking out Leonard Bundu at the Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk in August 2016. 


    "My goal is to unify the welterweight division in 2018, but this fight is a true test and Lamont Peterson is a veteran that I definitely will not overlook," said Spence. "I sparred him in the amateurs and I know what he brings to the table. I have to get through him to achieve my goals and that is what I plan on doing January 20th."


    Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs), of Washington, D.C., has won titles at 140 and 147 pounds while facing some of the biggest names in the sport, including Danny Garcia, Amir Khan and Timothy Bradley.  The 33-year-old won the WBA 147-pound title in his last outing Feb. 18 on SHOWTIME before relinquishing the belt for the chance to challenge Spence. Peterson has won four of his last five outings, twice fighting at Barclays Center. His Brooklyn debut saw him defeat Edgar Santana by TKO in 2014 before dropping a narrow majority draw to Garcia in a 2015 main event in Brooklyn.


    "First off, I'm happy to be getting back in the ring," said Peterson. "I've stayed in the gym and I'm ready to go. This is a fight I wanted and as I said before when I became a welterweight, I want to fight the best and make the fights that people want to see. I'm ready to give it my all and give the fans a great show."



    Daniel Jacobs left no doubt when he returned to the ring at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the second BROOKLYN BOXING On Long Island fight card at the Coliseum.

    The former middleweight world champion outclassed Luis Arias from start to finish in a 12-round unanimous decision with one-sided results on all three judges’ cards.

    After his narrow loss to unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin eight months earlier, Jacobs had called this fight the start of a new chapter in his career.

    “Life is blissful right now,” said Jacobs in the ring after the decision was announced. “I’m living my dreams. All I want to do is impress the fans. All I want to do is be the people’s champion. I have the opportunity to do that.”

    Jacobs broke through to connect on some strong shots early and conceded he began thinking about a quick knockout after that, but he remained in control throughout, thoroughly dictating the fight right through the end, including an 11th-round knockdown.

    With Billy Joe Saunders putting his WBO middleweight title on the line in December against David Lemieux and Golovkin headed toward a 2018 rematch with Saul Alvarez, Jacobs is looking forward to big matchups in 2018 and reclaiming a middleweight championship.

    “I’m looking forward to see whoever wants to step up,” said Jacobs after improving to 33-2 with 29 knockouts.

    Jarrell Miller stayed unbeaten with a bid to move up the ladder of heavyweight title contenders with a ninth-round TKO of Marusz Wach. The Brooklyn native improved to 20-0-1 with 18 knockouts after steadily battering the former world championship contender.

    Long Island’s Cletus Seldin had Roberto Ortiz on the mat twice in the first round and bloodied soon after on the way to a third-round TKO.

    “I could have took him out a little bit earlier, but I was showing my determination and I kept coming trying to land that big shot, and I could do it with either hand, so I was trying to set it up, but I got him out of there,” said Seldin. “You could see how rough and tough and old-school style that I fight. You gotta be in great shape to take me down.”

    The rugged super lightweight improved to 21-0. He opened a cut over Ortiz’s left eye with one of his sledgehammer rights and the fight was stopped in the third round as Ortiz continued to bleed.

    “You could see what happens just going three or four rounds with me,” said Seldin. “I am a wrecking machine from Long Island.”

    Conor Benn, son of former middleweight and super middleweight champion Nigel Benn, knocked out Brandon Sanudo in the second round of their welterweight bout. Two more Long Island fighters took the ring, with Tyrone James registering a unanimous decision over Daniel Sostre and Tommy Rainone fighting to a draw with Geroge Sosa. NYPD officer Dimash Niyazov remained undefeated with a fifth-round TKO of Agustine Mauras.