By Eric Armit-
-Gervonta Davis destroys Hugo Ruiz inside a round in WBA super feather title defence
-Andrew Cancio pulls of huge shock win as he stops unbeaten Alberto Machado to win the secondary WBA super featherweight title
-Jose Carlos Ramirez retains the WBC super light title with a majority verdict over Jose Zepeda in an entertaining fight that was close all the way
-Rey Vargas gets off the floor and outpoints challenger Franklin Manzanilla in defence of his WBC super bantam title despite cuts over both eyes
-Erickson Lubin stops Ishe Smith and sends the former IBF super welter champion into retirement
-Ray Beltran returns and stops unbeaten Hiroki Okada
-Javier Fortuna outpoints Sharif Bogere in a disappointing match
-Mario Barrios goes to 23 wins with stoppage of Richard Zamora
WORLD TITLE SHOWS
Carson, CA, USA: Super Feather: Gervonta Davis (21-0) W KO 1 Hugo Ruiz (39-5). Super Welter: Erickson Lubin (20-1) W RTD 3 Ishe Smith (29-11). Light: Javier Fortuna (34-2-1) W PTS 10 Sharif Bogere (32-2,1ND). Super Light: Juan Heraldez (16-0) W KO 7 Eddie Ramirez (17-3). Super Light: Mario Barrios (23-0) W KO 4 Richard Zamora (19-3). Light: Ladarius Miller (19-1) W KO 1 Daulis Prescott (32-11,3ND ).Feather: Angelo Leo (16-0) W PTS 8 Alberto Torres (11-2-3). Fly: Genesis Libranza (18-1) W PTS 8 Gilberto Mendoza (11-7-2).
Davis vs. Ruiz
Davis retains the WBA title as he obliterates Ruiz who never managed to land any punch of note before a stunning combination dropped and finished him just one second from the end of the opening round
Davis was shadowing Ruiz probing with his right jab as Ruiz slid around the ropes. Davis tried a couple of quick lefts to the body. Ruiz was just poking out his jab and tried a right but was short. Davis backed Ruiz into a corner and leapt in with a quick right followed by a left then backed off and Ruiz advanced to the centre of the ring. Davis backed Ruiz into a corner again and banged home a solid right jab followed by a powerful right to the side of the head. Ruiz took a step forward and then wobbled badly took a step back and dropped to one knee. He was in some distress but climbed to his feet at eight. There was blood pouring from what was probably a broken nose. He looked unsteady and when he failed to respond the referee’s questions the fight was stopped. That makes twelve wins in a row for Davis who has that deadly combination of speed and power. Ruiz was a very late substitute after Abner Mares had to withdraw with a detached retina but he was in some shape as he was due to fight Filipino Jhack Tepora on 19 January but instead outpointed Alberto Guevara who stepped in after Tepora was overweight. There is a WBA eliminator on 2 March between Edner Cherry and Ricardo Nunez but with Cherry having had only one fight in two years and Nunez never having faced a name fighter they pose no threat to Davis who plans to have another three or four fights this year. We will have to wait to see what develops. Former WBC super bantam champion Ruiz gets his fourth loss by KO/TKO and has said he will look to move down to feather.
Lubin vs. Smith
Lubin destroys Smith and sends the former IBF super welter champion into retirement. Lubin dominated the first and then really went to work in the second. Initially he used his longer reach to keep Smith out and then connected with a couple of head punches that did not seem heavy but sent Smith down and onto his back. He slowly made it up just in time. Lubin chased Smith along the ropes and Smith fell to his knees although again it did not seem that Lubin had landed anything particularly heavy. He was up quicker this time but as the action restarted he went down again to his knees whilst ducking under Lubin’s punches. This time after the count he used some fast movement and punched back to survive to the bell. Lubin was chasing Smith down in the third and just before the bell Smith went down from a right to the head. He beat the count and the bell went and Smith’s corner pulled him out of the fight. Second fight for the 23-year-old Lubin since his first round kayo loss to Jermell Charlo in October 2017. With a couple more wins he should be in position to challenge for a title again. Good decision by Smith’s corner. The former IBF champion suffers his third loss in a row. He only lost on a split decision to now WBC champion Tony Harrison in May but looked all of his 40 years here. His punch resistance looked to have gone and it is a sensible retirement.
Bogere vs. Fortuna
Fortuna gets the unanimous decision but this was a poor fight which neither deserved to win. There was just some hesitant prodding of jabs in the first and although they did swap a few punches in the second, the best was a right from Fortuna which had Bogere holding on, but in fact there was more holding and wrestling than fighting and already the crowd was booing. The third, fourth and fifth were no better. When they did trade punches the exchanges were untidy and ineffective. It was a simple case of the two styles not mixing well. Both are good fighters but just not against each other. Things livened up in the sixth as at the start of the round they stood and threw hooks and uppercuts. They were just swinging wildly and Fortuna seemed to get the better of the exchanges. They went wild again at the end of the round throwing looses punches. They both tumbled to the floor but the referee decided that an left uppercut from Fortuna has put Bogere down and gave a protesting Bogere a count and he was showing a cut over his right eye at the bell. Bogere had probably been just in front before the sixth but the knockdown put Fortuna marginally ahead. The seventh round saw too much untidy mauling with Fortuna doing what clean work there was. Fortuna was firing body punches in the eighth with Bogere not able to counter. The referee stopped the action to get the ringside doctor to examine the cut over Bogere’s right eye but he was allowed to continue and Fortuna attacked the body again to take the round. Bogere staged a strong finish over the ninth and tenth but it was not enough. Scores 96-93 to Fortuna from the three judges. The 29-year-old Dominican is a former holder of the secondary WBA super feather title. He challenged Robert Easter for the IBF lightweight title but blew his chance by not making the weight and lost the fight on a split decision anyway. This is his first outing since falling through the ropes in his fight against Adrian Granados in June last which resulted in Fortuna being taken to hospital and the fight being declared a No Decision. Ugandan Bogere had a shot at the vacant secondary WBA light title in 2013 but lost on points. He was 9-0,1ND going into this one. Both will have better nights/.
Heraldez vs. Ramirez
Good test for Heraldez and he passes with flying colours. Ramirez constituted his toughest fight on paper but he dominated the action putting Ramirez down in the fifth and again in the seventh with the count being waived on the second knockdown. Californian-born Heraldez, 28, a member of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s team, has ten wins inside the distance. No names yet but useful victories over unbeaten Jose Borrego and Kevin Watts. Third loss on the bounce for Ramirez having been knocked out by Antonio DeMarco and outpointed by Argenis Mendez.
Barrios vs. Zamora
Barrios stops Zamora in the fourth. After a cautious opening they traded quick punches with Barrios scoring with a sharp left hook inside but it was an otherwise slow opening. The 5’10” Barrios had lots of height and reach over Zamora but the Mexican showed a useful jab. As Barrios began to open up in the second Zamora was being rocked by right hand counters. They both landed some good punches but a left hook from Barrios staggered Zamora at the bell. Barrios upped the pace in the third forcing Zamora back with a strong jab and Zamora fired back and landed a strong three-punch combination. That made Barrios a bit more cautious but again he landed a heavy right at the bell. Barrios rammed home a strong right early in the fourth but when he tried to follow that up Zamora ducked and dived and then held on tight with a frustrated Barrios tossing him to the floor. Barrios landed a series of rights to the head and Zamora visibly weakened. Barrios bombarded Zamora with head punches and although Zamora kept swing in hope he was taking too many head shots and the referee stopped the fight. The 23-year-old “El Azteca” the WBA No 1 has 15 wins by KO/TKO but has yet to face a name opponent and yet to be really tested. With typical WBA shenanigans he went from unrated to No 3 super light for winning their Inter-Continental welterweight title and from there to No 1 without fighting! The young Texan has talent and could be fighting for the title next year. Zamora had won his last five fights.
Miller vs. Prescott
A very quick win for Miller. Not a noted puncher southpaw Miller put a very over the hill Prescott down and out after just 57 seconds. “Memphis” Miller is on a ten bout winning streak including convincing victories over Jamel Herring and Dennis Galarza. Colombian Prescott was a late choice as Miller’s opponent and eight losses in his last nine fights, six by KO/TKO tells its own story.
Leo vs. Torres
Leo goes to 16 wins with points victory over Torres. Leo forced the fight from the first bell and scored knockdowns in the second and fifth rounds but Torres survived going on to lose by wide margins on all three cards. Scores 79-71 for Leo. Leo, 24, another Mayweather Team member, reportedly won 65 of his 75 amateur fights and is making steady progress. Torres only other loss was a split decision against useful 17-1-1Erick Ituarte.
Libranza vs. Mendoza
Filipino champion Libranza gets his eighth win after taking the decision over Mendoza in a competitive contest. Libranza had expected to face an aggressive Mendoza but instead it was Libranza who had to force the fight with Mendoza cagey and countering. Libranza’s pressure paid off with a unanimous decision. Scores 78-74 on the three judges’ cards for Libranza. He made an ambitious challenge to South African Moruti Mthalane for the IBO flyweight title in Johannesburg in 2017 and was knocked out in four rounds. He has rebuilt with seven wins back home in the Philippines. Mexican Mendoza had won his last four fights.
Indio, CA, USA: Super Bantam: Rey Vargas (33-0) W PTS 12 Franklin Manzanilla (18-4). Super Feather: Andrew Cancio (20-4-2) W TKO 4 Alberto Machado (21-1). Feather: Joseph Diaz (28-1) W PTS 10 Charles Huerta (20-6). Light: Adrian Estrella (29-3) W PTS 10 Oscar Duarte (15-1-1). Super Feather: Azat Hovhannisyan (16-3) W KO 5 Lolito Sonsona (22-3-4). Super Middle: Tureano Johnson (20-2-1) DREW 8 Fernando Castaneda (26-13-1).
Varga vs. Manzanilla
Vargas gets off the floor in the second round and survives two doctors inspection of cuts over both eyes to retain the WBC title with wide points decision over determined but limited Manzanilla./
Vargas took control immediately. With his height and long reach he was able to slot home his jab and score with right crosses. Manzanilla tried some rushing attacks but Vargas was able to take long steps back and either catch Manzanilla coming in or tie him up inside
Vargas was again bossing the action behind his jab mixing in straight rights and left hooks to the body. It was too easy and that made Vargas careless and as he stood in front of Manzanilla preparing another attack the Venezuelan landed a sweeping left that dropped Vargas on his back. Vargas did not look badly shaken. After the count Manzanilla was desperately throwing hooks but Vargas was holding inside and smothering Manzanilla’s attacks. A frustrated Manzanilla wrestled Vargas to the floor which resulted in a bit more recovery time for Vargas who made it comfortably to the bell.
Score: 10-8 Manzanilla Manzanilla 19-18
Vargas was back in charge. He was again spearing Manzanilla with jabs at distance and dropping in straight rights. Manzanilla was restricted to charging forward chucking hooks but Vargas was tying him up inside as the fight got messy.
Score: 10-9 Vargas Tied 28-28
Vargas was now on the front foot. Manzanilla had no answer to the champion’s jab and Vargas was going to the body with some wicked left hooks. A clash of heads saw Vargas suffer a small cut over his right eye.
Score: 10-9 Vargas Vargas 38-37
Vargas just kept sticking his jab in Manzanilla’s face and the challenger had no answer to it. Vargas was also countering when Manzanilla rushed in and instead of holding was pumping punches to the body. Manzanilla did go down but it was ruled a slip.
Score: 10-0 Vargas Vargas 48-46
Manzanilla launched some fierce attacks at the start of this round and connected with a few hooks. Vargas saw out the storm and then went to work with his jab and straight rights before moving in with blazing combinations. Manzanilla continued his rushing attacks but with his long legs Vargas was able to move back out of range and then step in quickly with counters.
Score: 10-9 Vargas Vargas 58-55
A clash of heads at the start of the round had blood dripping from the cut over the right eye of Vargas. Vargas lost his composure briefly but then punished Manzanilla with hard counters and connected with left hooks to the body. A wild Manzanilla was deducted a point for one of many punches to the back of the head. Vargas outscored Manzanilla and with the deduction that made it a 10-8 round.
Score: 10-8 Vargas Vargas 68-63
A messy round as Manzanilla became more desperate with his attacks and again was penalised a point this time for hitting on the break. Vargas did what clean scoring there was so another 10-8 round for the champion.
Score: 10-8 Vargas Vargas 78-71
A clash of heads in this round saw a cut opened over the left eye of Vargas and it was serious enough for the referee to have the doctor inspect it. Vargas was allowed to continue but he now had blood trickling down his face from both cuts. He began to keep his gloves high to protect the cuts and had more trouble dealing with the attacks of a fired-up Manzanilla who just did enough to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Manzanilla Vargas 87-81
Manzanilla stormed forward for much of the tenth and managed to land some hooks. Vargas had his composure back and was connecting with jabs, straight rights and hooks and was the one coming forward at the bell.
Score:10-9 Vargas Vargas 97-90
Vargas boxed intelligently in this one. Manzanilla was flying in head first but Vargas was landing chopping rights and tying Manzanilla inside. Again Manzanilla had some success with hooks and rocked Vargas with a right to the head but was clearly outscored.
Score:10-9 Vargas Vargas 107-99
Manzanilla piled forward for the whole three minutes but was wayward with his punches. Vargas boxed mainly on the outside letting Manzanilla walk onto counters and firing quick combinations as took the round.
Score: 10-9 Vargas Vargas 117-108
Official Scores : Judge Lou Moret 117-108, Judge Dennis O’Connell 117-108 and Judge Pat Russell 117-108 all for Vargas.
The 28-year-old champion was making the fourth defence of his WBA title. Manzanilla could never find an answer to the height and reach advantages of Vargas who outworked and outscored him all the way. Jessie Magdaleno is No 1 in the WBC ratings but Vargas is a Golden Boy fighter and Magdaleno is with Top Rank so that might be a difficult match to make and with his height Vargas might be more comfortable at feather where there are some good fights to be made. Colombian-based Manzanilla landed the title shot on the basis of a shock four round victory over Julio Ceja but he was outclassed by Vargas. The two deductions did not help his cause but he was lucky not to lose more points for punches to the back of the head and kidney punches. He is strong, aggressive but limited .
Cancio vs. Machado
Cancio climbs off the floor in the first round to steamroller champion Machado to defeat with four knockdowns in the fourth.
Machado had plenty of height and reach over Cancio and as Cancio came forward he was caught by a couple of straight southpaw lefts from Machado. Cancio continued to advance and he was able to get past the jab and score with hooks. As Cancio moved in he ducked under a right and into the path of a short left hook that dropped him to the floor on his side. He was up at eight and Machado was throwing slashing hooks trying to repeat his success but Cancio was getting inside again and finished the round strongly.
Score: 10-8- Machado
Machado was looking to box on the outside and land more left hooks. Cancio was walking through the punches and hooking to the body with both hands. The ferocity of Cancio’s attacks had Machado retreating and Cancio was doing the better work inside. Just before the bell Cancio rocked Machado with a series of hooks and took the round.
Score: 10-9 Cancio Machado 19-18
A painful round for Machado. Cancio kept marching forward throwing hooks and uppercuts and Machado could do nothing to keep Cancio out. He was brushing aside Machado’s counters and rocked Machado’s head back and forth with a volley of punches. During the interval the referee was concerned enough to come to Machado’s corner to check he was OK.
Score: 10-9 Cancio Tied 28-28
Somehow Cancio seemed to have defused El Explosivo’s bombs and there was no power in the champions punches. Cancio was hunting him down and a long right to the body saw Machado take a step away and go down on one knee. He had his head bowed and looked a dispirited and beaten fighter. He reluctantly got to his feet at nine and as Cancio threw a couple more body punches, most of which seemed to be blocked, Machado dropped to the floor again. He was up at nine and hesitated before raising his gloves when asked to do so by the referee. The fight continued but only for a few seconds and as Cancio was throwing s few more body punches Machado dropped to the floor and the fight was stopped.
Huge upset as Cancio wins the secondary WBA title. Cancio had been in erratic form losing to Ronny Rios and Joseph Diaz but beating Rene Alvarado and Hugo Cazares. He was inactive in 2017 and had two modest wins in 2018 but here his ferocious onslaughts just blew Machado away. Puerto Rican Machado had scored 17 wins by KO/TKO but he just seemed to have lost his power and when Cancio attacked the body he buckled then broke. Cancio may now defend against former conqueror Rene Alvarado who is rated No 1 and Machado may now move up to lightweight.
Diaz vs. Huerta
Diaz moves up to super feather and looks sharp in win over useful Huerta. Diaz controlled the action with a sharp strong southpaw jab and impressed with some flashing combinations. Huerta just could not get into the fight in any meaningful way but apart for a rocky time in the fifth he was never in any real trouble. Unanimity from the judges who all saw Diaz winning 99-91. Diaz had good and bad in 2018. He knocked out former WBC champion Victor Terrazas in February but then lost a unanimous decision to Gary Russell Jr for the WBC title in May. In August he outpointed Jesus M Rojas but had failed to make the weight for this challenge for the secondary WBA title so no title for Diaz. He was rated No 2 feather by the WBC and No 5 with the WBA but now it looks like he will move up and forfeit those spots. Huerta was having his first fight since beating 21-2 Miguel Angel Gonzalez on a technical decision in August 2017.
Estrella vs. Duarte
Estrella wins a split decision over unbeaten Duarte to breathe some life back into a career that seemed to be going nowhere. Duarte was quicker and more accurate and built a substantial lead. Estrella put in a strong finish and managed to claw back some of that deficit but did not seem to have done enough but the judges decided otherwise. Scores 98-92 and 96-94 for Estrella and 97-93 for Duarte. There was a time not that long ago when Estrella was the hottest prospect in Mexico. He won his first 22 fights 18 by KO/TKO beating Dante Jardon and former champion Ernesto Caballero along the way. His power was camouflaging some serious deficiencies in his defence and his run was broken by a crushing loss to Filipino Eden Sonsona. Estrella continued to win but he was no longer the hot prospect and losses last year to unbeaten fighters Subriel Matias and Alex Duran seemed to indicate a serious decline so he badly needed a win here. Duarte had shown promise in wins over Juan Jose Montes, Rey Perez and Roger Gutierrez so hopefully this will be a temporary blip.
Hovhannisyan vs. Sonsona
The aggression of former WBC title challenger proves too much for Filipino Sonsona. Hovhannisyan’s fierce attacks particularly his left hooks to the body had Sonsona on the back foot from the off. He strayed low a few times but the body attack weakened Sonsona. In the fifth a right put Sonsona down. He was up but looked shaky and Hovhannisyan forced him to the ropes. Sonsona threw a weak left and Hovhannisyan came over the top with a stunning right and two more rights to the body saw Sonsona drop to the canvas and he was counted out. A win over Ronny Rios in March last year saw Hovhannisyan pitched in against Rey Vargas in a challenge for the WBC title in May but he lost a unanimous decision. He bounced back in October with a stoppage of 24-4 Jesus Martinez. He is No 8 with the WBC and with a couple more impressive wins such as this could yet land another title chance. Sonsona lost by a large margin against Jason Moloney in 2017 and this is only his second fight in eighteen months and his first loss by KO/TKO.
Johnson vs. Castaneda
Disappointing performance and disappointing result for Johnson. This was the first fight in eighteen months for Bahamian Johnson but he looked sharp enough at the start. He had a much better skill set than the Mexican “Hurricane” and outboxed him early. Castaneda kept pressing and got into the fight more and more. Johnson probably had a slight lead going into the last but Castaneda staged the stronger finish and that was enough to get him a share of the decision. Scores 77-75 for Johnson, 77-75 for Castaneda and 76-76. A last round stoppage loss to Sergey Derevyanchenko in August 2017 in what was virtually and IBF eliminator cost Johnson the chance of a title shot and he will now have to fight his way back into the ratings but at 35 he is on the clock. Castaneda had a title shot in 2011down at super light when he was stopped in four rounds by Johan Perez but he is 24lbs heavier and at 4-6-1in his last 11 fights a long way down the road from that high point.
Fresno, CA, USA: Super Light: Jose Carlos Ramirez (24-0) W PTS 12 Jose Zepeda (30-2,1ND). Super Light: Ray Beltran (36-8-1) W KO 9 Hiroki Okada (19-1). Feather: Carlos Castro (22-0) W PTS 10 Genesis Servania (32-2). Super Feather: Andy Vences (22-0-1) W PTS 8 Dardan Zenunaj (14-6). Light: Saul Rodriguez (23-0-1) W TKO 5 Aelio Mesquita (17-4). Super Light: Cristian Coria (29-7-2) W KO 3 Joel Diaz (24-2).
Ramirez vs. Zepeda
Ramirez holds on to the WBC title with majority verdict over Zepeda in a fight that was too close to call until Ramirez settled it over the championship rounds. Zepeda found the range early with his southpaw jab with Ramirez tending to ignore his own jab. Ramirez was taking the fight to Zepeda but the speed and accuracy of Zepeda’s work saw him take the first two round. In what was to be the pattern for much of the fight. Ramirez then had a good couple of rounds finally using his jab and getting inside with some effective body punches and rocking Zepeda with rights in the fourth. At that stage the judges all had identical 38-38 scores and had all scored every round the same. Ramirez kept the imitative over the fifth and sixth. He was still under using his jab but was making up for that with sustained pressure that was forcing Zepeda onto the back foot and allowing Ramirez to do some hurtful body punching when he pinned Zepeda to the ropes. The fight swung back to Zepeda over the seventh and eighth with his jab constantly getting past the guard of Ramirez and smart footwork allowing him to find the space to counter the attacks of Ramirez. After eight rounds there was very little between them with two judges having them level on 76-76 and the other giving Ramirez the edge at 77-75. The body punching from Ramirez finally began to bring rewards over the closing rounds. Zepeda was still jabbing well and moving skilfully but also being forced to stand and trade more which favoured Ramirez. Critically the champion’s pressure earned him the points in the ninth and tenth and it looked as though the fight was going all his way. Zepeda was not finished and he stormed back to take the eleventh and put the result in the balance again. They both fought fiercely in the last and it was a late burst from Ramirez that made the difference and he took the round and the decision. Scores 116-114 and 115-113 for Ramirez and 114-114. Ramirez was making the second defence of his WBC title and is now looking to unify the titles but the position there won’t be clear until the fate of the WSSB tournament is decided as the WBC “Diamond” champion Regis Prograis and No 1 challenger Josh Taylor are still waiting to fight in the WSSB semi-finals. Zepeda came so close. Close enough to deserve a return but Ramirez may not want to take that step back. I have some sympathy for Zepeda. He fought Terry Flanagan for the vacant WBO lightweight title back in 2015 but dislocated his shoulder in the second round of that fight and had to retire. It has taken him almost three years to get another title shot.
Beltran vs. Okada
It is rarely boring when Ray Beltran fights and it was no different in this one as he stopped the previously unbeaten Okada in the ninth round. Okada was looking to fight this one from the outside and avoid getting dragged into a close quarters brawl which is where Beltran is most effective. However with typical Japanese fighting spirit Okada was willing to trade if he had to. The action was hot from the opening round. In an amazing second Beltran made a big statement flooring Okada with a left hook. Okada beat the count and then showed fighting spirit in spades as he staggered Beltran with a right and then proceeded to batter Beltran for the rest of a frantic round. The fight calmed a little after that and gradually Okada began to find the target with his long range punches. Beltran kept ploughing forward and did his best work when he could pin Okada to the ropes. The Japanese fighter looked to have edged in front and Beltran seemed to be tiring. That changed in the ninth when Beltran connected with a right to the head that put Okada down. He made it to his feet but Beltran drove him to a corner and rained punches on Okada until he went down again and Okada’s corner immediately asked the referee to stop the fight. Now at supper light Beltran collected the WBC Continental and WBO Inter-Continental titles which should put him in the ratings. Nothing is straightforward with Beltran. In world title fights he has lost to Terrence Crawford for the WBO lightweight title then beaten Takahiro Ao in what was to be a fight for the vacant WBO lightweight title but he had failed to make the weight and tested positive for a banned substance. He finally won the WBOI title by beating Paulus Moses in February 2018 but lost it in his first defence against Jose Pedraza in August. The super light situation is muddied but Beltran will be looking for a title shot. Okada had halted 40-2-1 Jason Pagara and a few reasonable but not outstanding opponents and was floored in taking a split verdict over Cristian Coria so he will have to fight his way back to get another shot.
Castro vs. Servania
Big win for Castro as he decisions former WBO featherweight title challenger Servania and hands the Filipino his second loss. Castro simply outboxed Servania he was too quick for the Filipino and won by a wide margin on all cards. Servania was cut over his right eye in the second round which did not help his cause but hard as he chased he just could not pin Castro down and kept eating fast accurate counters. Score 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92 all for Castro. The 24-year-old from Phoenix wins the vacant WBC Continental Americas title in what was only his second ten round fight. After winning his first 29 fights Servania had Oscar Valdez on the floor before losing to him for the WBO title in February 2017. He has won three fights since then including a inside the distance victory over former WBC bantamweight title challenger Carlos Carlson but with this defeat Servania has blown his WBO No 1 position.
Vences vs. Zenunaj
Local fighter Vences returns to action and gets eight rounds of work as he outpoints Kosovon-born Albanian Zenunaj . “The Shark” was having his first fight since scoring a good win over Frank De Alba in July. Vences won every round with the three wise man all seeing Vences the winner by 80-72. A draw with unbeaten Erick de Leon is the only slight blemish on Vences record. Three losses in a row for Zenunaj but one of those over ten rounds against Andrew Cancio with one judge seeing it a 96-94 fight.
Rodriguez vs. Mesquita
Rodriguez rolls on with stoppage of Brazilian Mesquita. That makes it seventeen wins in a row for Rodriguez and he has a total of seventeen inside the distance victories. The draw on his record was a technical one. Mesquita has lost 4 of his last 5 fights but all against opposition he would be expected to lose to and all on the road.
Coria vs. Diaz
A wow! here as Coria beats once world rated Diaz in three rounds. No sign of the upset to come as Diaz seemed to be controlling the fight over the first two rounds. In the third Coria blitzed Diaz with a shower of punches and Diaz went down under the barrage. He arose but seemed unsteady. Coria then landed a ferocious left hook that put Diaz down on his back. He scrabbled around trying to get up but the referee waived the fight off. This should have been a routine win for Diaz. The 36-year-old Argentinian Coria was down at No 10 in the Argentinian ratings with an unthreatening 12 wins by KO/TKO. He had been floored and lost every round against Canadian Custio Clayton in 2017 but a much better result is his only losing on a split decision against unbeaten Hiroki Okada in September. Diaz’s only other loss was a two round stoppage by Regis Prograis in 2017 and he took fourteen months out after that before returning with a win in October last year.
Sydney, Australia: Super Welter: Tim Tszyu (12-0) W TKO 2 Denton Vassell (25-6). Super Middle: Rocky Jerkic (17-1) W PTS 8Mark Lucas (9-1). Super Middle: Cesar Tapia (9-0) W PTS 8 Adam Copland (4-1). Heavy: Paul Gallen (9-0) W TKO 2 John Hopoate (12-6).
Tszyu vs. Vassell
Tszyu blows away a faded Vassell inside two rounds. The young Australian found his range early and scored well over the first round. There was a brief stoppage in the second as Vassell had left his corner without his mouthguard but when the action resumed a series of punches floored Vassell. He beat the count but Tszyu drove him to the ropes and a left uppercut followed by a right to the head saw Vassell staggering along the ropes with his guard down. Tszyu followed him along the ropes raining punches to the head until the referee stepped in to save Vassell. Tenth win by KO/TKO for the 24-year-old son of the great Kostya Tszyu. He collects the interim WBA Oceania title as he prepares to head out to the USA for sessions at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym and Floyd Mayweather Jr’s Boxing Club. Former Commonwealth champion Vassell, 34, was 20-0 at the start of his career but is now 5-6 in his last 11 which tells his own story but in fairness to Vassell he took this fight a short notice and his other losses have also been against tough opposition.
Jerkic vs. Lucas
Jerkic just gets by Lucas on a split decision. Scores 78-73 and 77-75 for Jerkic and 78-76 for Lucas. Both fighters had the effects of inactivity to shake off. Former undefeated Australian super welterweight champion Jerkic was having his first fight for six months and only his second fight since losing to Anthony Buttigieg for the Vacant Commonwealth title in March 2017. Former Australian amateur champion Lucas had run up nine wins and then surprisingly retired in 2017 and this is his first fight since then.
Tapia vs. Copland
Mexican youngster proves much too good for Copeland and takes wide unanimous decision. Scores 80-72, 79-72 and 78-73 all for Tapia. The 20-year-old MTK Global boxer has done all of his pro boxing in Australia and is making good progress. Copeland, a top level amateur, was moving up to eight rounds for the first time. He is just 23 so can rebound from this.
Gallen vs. Hopoate
Gallen halts former Australian champion Hopoate in rubbish match-up. Gallen was too strong and fit for oldie Hopoate. After pounding on Hopoate for two round Gallen cornered Hopoate and banged away to head and body as Hopoate tried to hide behind a high guard. Eventually Hopoate dropped his hands to punch back which left him open and Gallen stunned him with a left hook and then connected with a series of head punches that had Hopoate falling forward and face down on the canvas with the referee immediately ending the fight. At 37 Gallen is probably going nowhere but as a former professional Rugby League player and Australian international he is news and sells tickets. His first eight opponents had just twelve wins between them and Hopoate, 44, was having his first fight for nine years which says it all.
Philadelphia, PA, USA: Bantam: Victor Ruiz (23-10) W KO 2 Christian Carto (17-1). Heavy: Darmani Rock (14-0) W KO 4 Steven Lyons (5-4).
Ruiz vs. Carto
Local hope Carto doing OK until a thunderbolt from Ruiz puts him down and out.. The Philly prospect was boxing well and took the opening round of the fight against limited Mexican southpaw Ruiz. In the second as Carto was just short with a jab Ruiz stepped inside and landed a booming left to the head. Carto went down heavily on his back with his head slamming onto the canvas. The referee instantly waived the fight over and the ringside doctor and other medical aides climbed into the ring to attend to Carto. He was given oxygen and taken from the ring on a stretcher and to hospital. No news yet of his condition although he was said to be alert as he left the arena so let’s hope it is not too bad. Huge shock for the fans of the 22-year-old former National Golden Gloves champion. Ruiz had lost his last four fights against relatively modest opposition but with 15 wins by KO/TKO he was a dangerous opponent..
Rock vs. Lyons
Rock gets another win but in a dull and uninspiring fashion. Lyons was never in with a chance against the former Elite level amateur star. He was smaller with very limited technique and giving away 63lbs in weight. There was very little in the way of excitement and it was embarrassing that Rock could not get Lyons out of there. Finally in the fourth he took Lyons to a corner and unloaded a few head punches and Lyons slid down and then just took the full count whilst on one knee and showed no inclination to get up. Rock,22, is 6’5” and was 273 ¼ lbs for this fight. That is some way below the 315lbs of the 6’4” Jarrell Miller but is a heavy burden to carry for ten rounds and he does not seem to have the punch power to blow away better class opposition. He was outstanding as an amateur He was US, Pan American and World champion at Youth level and won gold medals at both the US National Championships and the National Golden Gloves. An inside the distance loss to Marlo Moore cost him a place in the US Team for the 2016 Olympics so he has great credentials. Heavy or not he has to be respected. Second loss inside the distance for the 209 ¾ lbs Lyons.
Lautaro, Chile: Feather: Cristian Palma (30-10-1) W PTS 10 Ernesto Franzolini (8-9-1). Home town fighter Palma extends his winning run to ten with unanimous decision over Argentinian prelim fighter Franzolini. A left hook from Palma dislodged Franzolini’s mouthguard in the first round as he was getting past the jab of the taller man and working inside. Franzolini lost a point in the second for a punch to the back of Palma’s head and a point in both the third and the fifth for the same offence. Palma was scoring repeatedly with his jab and left hooks but Franzolini fought hard, if wildly, in every round. An already lost cause disappeared completely when he was again penalised for a punch to the back of Palma’s head. It began to look as though if he wasn’t careful Franzolini would finish up with a minus score. Palma was streets ahead in technique. Franzolini never gave up charging forward but lost every round-plus a few points. The Chilean was making the second defence of his South American title. Franzolini was having his first fight outside of Argentina.
Bangkok, Thailand: Super Bantam: Saenganan (23-1) W PTS 10 Noldi Manakane (33-28-3) Easy night for teenager Saenganan as he wins every round against experienced but long since faded Manakane. Saenganan was too quick and too busy for the 35-year-old Indonesian. Scores 100-90 for Saenganan from all three judges. He wins the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver title (so not even the interim title but the Silver interim title). The 19-year-old 5’2” Thai has been confined to strictly substandard opposition since being floored twice and knocked out by Filipino no-hoper Edison Berwela in January last year. Manakane is now 1-7-1 in his last 9 fights.
Paris, France: Super Welter: Souleymane Cissokho (8-0) W KO 3 Romain Garofalo (14-4). Bantam: Elie Konki (6-0) W PTS 10 Anthony Chapat (5-1-1). Super Light: Yazid Amghar (22-0) W TKO 4 Oszkar Fiko (32-27-1).
Cissokho vs. Garofalo
Cissokho wins the vacant French title against seriously overmatched Garofalo. Cissokho started the first round cautiously but before the bell was already connecting with powerful uppercut. In the second he had Garofalo in trouble from a left hook but Garofalo did not crumble. It ended in the third as Cissokho put Garofalo down. He connected with a wicked right to the body followed by a left hook and another body punch which dropped Garofalo. He made it to his feet but a right to the body almost cut him in half and he went down in agony and was counted out. Senegalese- born Rio bronze medallist Cissokho, 27, was returning after eight months of inactivity due to an operation to repair a rupture of a tendon in his left bicep. He registers his sixth win by KO/TKO. Garofalo was having his second shot at winning a French title but was never in with any sort of a chance against the talented Cissokho.
Konki vs. Chapat
Konki, another former top amateur, makes a successful first defence of the French title with points victory over flyweight champion Chapat. Konki used his longer reach and some fierce counters to control this one Chapat kept trying to get close but the speed and accuracy of Konki had him floundering at times. Konki began to load up on his punches in the ninth to try to end the fight early and dropped Chapat with a crunching left hook to the body in the tenth but Chapat beat the count and was saved by the final bell. Scores 99-90 for Konki on the three cards. Konki, 26 was French champion in 2012,2013,2104 and 2015 and fought at the Rio Olympics. Chapat showed guts but was in against a fighter several classes above him in ability.
Amghar vs. Fiko
Amghar overcomes awkward Romanian Fiko and finishes in impressive style. Amghar was careful early as the head down rushes of Fiko could have caused injury but once he settled it was just a matter of time before he ended things. He rocked Fiko with a right and a left hook in the third then finished the job in the fourth. A left hook to the head and a left to the body sent Fiko down. He beat the count but another left hook had him rolling in agony on the floor and the fight was waived off. Ten wins by KO/TKO for the undefeated former French champion. He was an outstanding performer at French boxing where both fists and feet are used but then switched conventional boxing before eventually turning pro. He is No 13 with the EBU. Now thirteen defeats by KO/TKO for Hungarian-based Fiko.
Berlin, Germany: Light Heavy: Nick Hannig (7-0) W PTS 12 Ryan Ford (15-4). Super Middle: Yusuf Kanguel (18-3-1) W PTS 10 Vartan Avetisyan (18-1-2). Welter: Rico Mueller (25-2-1) W PTS 8 Bethuel Ushona (36-8-1).
Hannig vs. Ford
Hannig wins the vacant WBC International title with close unanimous decision over Canadian Ford. The local fighter dominated the early rounds. He took control of the centre of the ring and outboxed the slower but strong Ford. After four rounds Hannig was way in front at 40-36 on all three cards. Hannig built on his lead over the fifth and six but gradually the strength of Ford began to tell and he pushed strongly over the seventh and eighth but importantly Hannig had a strong ninth which left Ford with a big gap to bridge. Ford began to get through with some heavy head punches over the last three rounds against a tired Hannig. Ford came close but it was just too big a deficit to claw back. Scores 115-113 twice and 117-112 all for Hannig. The 32-year-old “Mr Business” is reported to have ended his amateur days after 100 fights with 79 wins before turning pro at 30. He had never gone past eight rounds before so the experience of goiung twelve will have helped his confidence. The “Mr Business” is because he owns a security company and a gym and the money from this fight will help him build his collection of vintage Harley Davison’s. Ford, 36, a former MMA campaigner, has lost 4 of his last 5 fights but they have all been on points in the other guy’s backyard and he is one tough customer.
Kanguel vs. Avetisyan
Kanguel wins the vacant WBC Mediterranean title in a fight that was close from first to last. Kanguel tactics were to march forward behind a high guard with Avetisyan moving and countering. As expected Kanguel was most effective when he could take Avetisyan to the ropes and work the body. Avetisyan did his scoring at distance and neither was really dominating. The scores after four rounds reflected this at 39-37, 37-39 and 38-38. Kanguel was finding plenty of gaps in the defence of Avetisyan as he ploughed forward but Avetisyan was throwing more and the judges were still having difficulty splitting them. The position had not really changed after eight rounds with two judges carding 76-76 and the third just giving Kanguel the edge at 77-75. Kanguel had a big ninth having Avetisyan shaken and in trouble and although Avetisyan fought hard in the last it was not enough. Scores 96-95 twice for Kanguel and 95-95. German Kanguel had won this same title in March last year but did not defend it. He has won 11 of his last 12 fights with the loss being to world rated Vincent Feigenbutz. Armenian-born Avetisyan, 29, came to Germany at the age of five as a refugee but has retained his Armenian nationality. Kanguel was a step up in the quality of his opposition but he made it close here.
Mueller vs. Ushona
Mueller beats Ushona again and as in their first fight wins every round against the Namibian veteran. The 30-year-old German has won 17 of his last 18 fights including a points victory over Ushona in August. A ninth round stoppage by Jeff Horn in 2016 is only loss in that run but his opposition has been pretty non-threatening. At 36 Ushona is on the downward path with just two wins in his last seven fights.
Manila, Philippines Bantam: Reymart Gaballo (21-0) W TKO 2 Yuya Nakamura (9-3-1). Light: Romero Duno (19-1) W KO 2 Kuldeep Dhanda (7-2).
Gaballo vs. Nakamura
Another power showing from outstanding Filipino Gaballo. He almost ended this one in the first three minutes putting his Japanese opponent down twice. Nakamura survived to hear the bell for the second round but was annihilated by crunching shots from Gaballo. A right sent Nakamura to the ropes. He tried to punch with Gaballo but was rocked by a right to the head and hurt by a left to the body before a wicked left hook to the chin saw him drop to his knees with his head touching the canvass. He grabbed the ropes and clung to them as he made it to his feet but the referee waived the fight over. The 22-year-old “Assassin” is living up to his nickname. He has won 13 of his last 14 fights by KO/TKO in a total of 18 inside the distance victories. He won the interim WBA title with a points decision over unbeaten Stephon Young in March last year. Second loss by KO.TKO for Nakamura who was overmatched here.
Duno vs. Dhanda
Not to be outdone “Ruthless” Duno scored an even more spectacular kayo over Indian novice Dhanda. Duno had the outclassed Dhanda down in the first and then crushed him in the second. Dhanda scored with a sharp straight right then Duno connected with a couple of jabs and landed a fearsome overhand right that sent Dhanda face down on the canvas out cold. Ten wins in a row for 23-year-old US-based Duno and his fifteenth victory by KO/TKO. In fights in the USA Duno has scored useful wins over unbeaten Christian Gonzalez, Yardley Armenta Cruz and Gilberto Gonzalez. He is not in the ratings but he won the vacant WBA Asian title in this fight and in the twisted WBA figuring beating an eight fight novice for this minor title will count for more than the victories over much better opposition in the USA. The WBA got a sanctioning fee for this one-that’s their ranking criteria right there. First fight outside India and first loss by KO/TKO for Dhanda.
Korbach, Germany: Mario Jassmann (18-0) W TKO 5 Mika Joensuu (15-11). Ilja Mezencev (19-1,1ND) W TKO 2 Jan Hrebik (1-12).
Jassmann vs. Joensuu
Too easy for Jassmann as he stops overmatched Finn Joensuu in five rounds. Joensuu tried to come forward behind a high guard so Jassmann was able to slot home jabs and rights to the head. Joensuu was too slow and had no power so was never really in the fight. In the fifth Jassmann had Joensuu on the ropes and after landing a series of head punches he connected with a left to the body that dropped Joensuu to his knees. The Finn made it to his feet but another left to the body saw him turn away badly hurt and the referee halted the fight. Jassmann, 31, makes it 15 wins by KO/TKO and retains the German International title but his opposition has been strictly low grade. His father Reinhard was a good level amateur and uncle Manfredo a Germany light heavy and heavy champion who fought for the European title at light heavy, cruiser and heavyweight titles but I can’t see Mario going that far. Fifth defeat by KO/TKO for Joensuu and fifth loss in his last six fights.
Mezencev vs. Hrebik
No surprise here as German-based Kazak goes to 17 wins by KO/TKO with stoppage of poor Hrebik in some abysmal matchmaking. The 23-year-old Mezencev has fed on some very substandard opposition. The only decent fighter he has faced is unbeaten Tom Schwarz who kayoed him in seven round s. He is young so could improve. Tenth inside the distance loss for Czech Hrebik.
Belfast, Northern Ireland: James Tennyson (23-3) W TKO 2 Garry Neale (10-1). Light: Feargal McCrory (10-0) W TKO 9 Karl Kelley (2-3). Light: Paul Hyland Jr (20-1) W PTS 8 Miroslav Serban (10-2). Cruiser: Tommy McCarthy (13-1) W PTS 8 Jiri Svacina (13-33).
Tennyson vs. Neale
Tennyson much too big a step up for Neale. Tennyson had his jab working well in the first and was already connecting with body punches. Southpaw Neale was forced onto the back foot but tried to counter when he saw an opening. In the second Tennyson again took the fight to Neale and put him down with rights to the head. Neale arose and tried to fight back but was down again under a series of punches and was counted out. The 25-year-old “Assassin from Belfast goes to 19 wins by KO/TKO . This is his first fight since a fifth round stoppage loss against Tevin Farmer for the IBF super feather title in October. None of Neale’s victims had a positive record so this was a too ambitious fight for him.
McCrory vs. Kelley
McCrory gets late win against Kelly in a hard-fought contests. Southpaw McCrory made a good start behind his jab and staggered the aggressive Kelly with a left in the opening round. Kelly was walking through McCrory’s punches over the next two rounds but a clash of heads saw both fighters cut over the left eye. His better boxing saw McCrory winning the rounds and Kelly was a wide open target as he marched forward. Pressure from Kelly increased and more and more McCrory was being forced to fight inside as Kelly began to eat into McCrory’s lead. The eighth was close but McCrory broke through in a big way in the ninth. He trapped Kelly in a corner and blasted away until with Kelly not firing back the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. McCrory wins the vacant Boxing Union of Ireland title. Dubliner Kelly had earlier lost in a fight for the BUI super light title.
Hyland vs. Serban
Hyland given a tough night and a scare by inexperienced Serban. Hyland boxed well over the first four rounds. Serban was pressing hard and looked dangerous at times but Hyland was slotting home jabs and landing with power shots to the body. Both Hyland and the crowd were shocked in the fifth when a head punch from Serban put Hyland down. He made it to the vertical but was unsteady. Serban’s inexperience saw him throw away his chance of victory as he launched wild punches trying to nail Hyland again and the local fighter survived. Hyland was staggered again by left hook in the sixth but boxed his way through the seventh and eighth to take the decision. Referee’s score 78-74 for Hyland. Second win for Hyland as he rebuilds after losing inside a round to Lewis Ritson for the British title in June last year. Czech champion “Lumberjack” Serban had won his last six fights. This was his first outing since December 2017 but by flooring Hyland he might have earned himself some more paydays.
McCarthy vs. Svacina
McCarthy takes every round against survivor Svacina. McCarthy fed Svacina a steady diet of punishment but the ancient Czech just soaked it up. McCrory scored heavily in the fifth and sixth but Svacina refused to cave in and McCarthy had to settle for a points win. Referee’s score 80-72 for McCarthy whose only loss is a points decision against then British champion Matty Askin in 2016. This is win No 4 since then. The 41-year-old Svacina has only lost eight times by KO/TKO in his 47 fights.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Cruiser: Marcos Aumada (21-6) W TKO 4 Carlos Nascimento (16-7). Aumada has no trouble holding on to his WBC Latino title against poor Brazilian Nascimento. Aumada was able to walk past the jabs of the 6’4” Nascimento and score with hooks and uppercuts. A fearsome southpaw left uppercut put Nascimento down in the first and he showed guts to get up and survive. Aumada continued to punish the Brazilian in the second and third. In the fourth Aumada used a series of straight lefts to force Nascimento to the ropes and the landed a another left that staggered Nascimento and the referee had seen enough and stepped in. Aumada, 32, the Argentinian No 1 has 16 wins by KO/TKO . Sixth inside the distance defeat for Nascimento.
Halifax, Canada: Super Bantam: Tyson Cave (33-4) W PTS 12 Humberto de Santiago (16-6-1). Local fighter Tyson wins unanimous verdict over de Santiago in IBA title fight. The 37-year-old southpaw handled de Santiago well but was hampered late in the fight by a calf injury that limited his mobility. Scores 120-107, 117-110 and 116-111 for Cave. The Halifax fighter lost to Oscar Escandon for the interim WBA super bantam title in 2014. He has now won nine in a row but against modest level opposition. Mexican de Santiago was having his first fight since December 2017.
Peterborough, Canada: Super Welter: Cody Crowley (17-0) W PTS 12 Stuart McClellan (25-3-3,1ND). Super Light: Steven Wilcox (20-3-1) W PTS 8 Javier Mercado (25-14-2).
Crowley vs. McClellan
This looked a very even match on paper but in the event local southpaw Crowley outclassed the more experienced former champion and retained the Canadian title. Crowley was quicker, busier, punched harder and floored McClellan on the way to a wide unanimous decision. McClellan did well to stick in there to the final bell. Scores 120-107 for Crowley from the three judges. The 25-year-old Crowley, a bronze medal winner at the Commonwealth Youth Games, is ready to step up to tougher competition. McClellan, 32, was 13-0,1ND in his last 14 fights.
Wilcox vs. Mercado
A breeze turned into a tornado for Wilcox as he only just survives a late surge by Mercado. Wilcox outboxed the limited Mexican and was coasting to victory with a good lead strengthen by Mercado losing a point for a low punch. It was near disaster for Wilcox in the seventh. A big punch from Mercado dropped Wilcox and he was in serious trouble. He was floored for a second time and there could haven been a third knockdown as a punch buckled his knees and his glove brushed the canvas but it was not spotted by the referee. Wilcox survived the round and despite being staggered again he fought hard in the eighth and took the decision. Scores 77-73 twice and 76-74 for Wilcox. Now 5 wins in his last 6 fights for the Canadian No 3. Mercado has now won only two of his last seven fights but with 22 of his 25 wins coming inside the distance he had a punchers chance and nearly brought it off.
Nadi, Fiji: Joseph Kwadjo (24-11,2ND) ND 6 Savenaca Naliva (9-2-1,1ND). A wild and wet night in Fiji as the fight between Kwadjo and Naliva was halted twice before being abandoned. The first stoppage came in the second round when a brawl broke out between the rival fans and the police had to intervene to quell the trouble. The fight restarted but rain had made the canvas slippery and even after both fighters shed their footwear they still had problems keeping their balance with Kwadjo sliding to the floor six times and the fight was abandoned. Kwadjo is a Ghanaian who now lives in Fiji and he and local fighter Naliva will have to meet again as this was for the Fijian title and that remains vacant.
Estosadok, Russia: Light Pavel Malikov (14-1-1) DREW 10 Vage Sarukhanyan (19-2-2). Super Welter: Olek Ivanov (17-4) W PTS 10 Konstantin Ponomarev (34-2). Light: Denis Shafikov (40-4-2 )DRE W 10 Gaybatulla Gadzhialiev (6-0-1) . Super Welter: Alex Sharonov (12-3-2) W PTS 8 Akhmed Khapachev (3-2-1).
Malikov vs. Sarukhanyan
Malikov and Sarukhanyan draw in a close fight that saw both fighters on the floor. Malikov was the aggressor and the busier fighter early with Sarukhanyan showing some nice skills but just not working hard enough over the first three rounds. Sarukhanyan eventually began to pick up rounds but was floored in the eighth. He took the ninth and put Malikov down in the tenth to even things up. Scores 96-92 Malikov, 96-92 Sarukhanyan and 94-94.This was a quarter-final of a tournament so there had to be a winner and a fourth judge had Malikov 95-93 in front so he goes through to the lightweight semi-finals. Reportedly the 32-year-old Russian Malikov was defending the oddly named Eurasian Parliament title. Armenian Sarukhanyan, 28, is now 11-1-1 in his last 13 fights.
Ivanov vs. Ponomarev
Ivanov pushes the once promising Ponomarev a little further down the slope with a wide unanimous decision. Ponomarev did plenty of attacking but with a very leaky defence and Ivanov’s jab was the dominant punch in the fight. Ponomarev was bereft of any idea on how to turn things around and seems only half the fighter he was when campaigning in the USA and earning a world rating. Scores 100-90, 98-92 and 97-93 for Ivanov. Ukrainian-based Russian Ivanov makes it 7 wins in his last 8 fights and he also goes through to the semi-finals at super welter. Ponomarev looked a top prospect when he was beating Mikael Zewski and Brad Solomon but after 34 wins in a row he lost a split decision to unbeaten newcomer Sergey Vorobiev for the vacant Russian title in July last year.
Gadzhialiev vs. Shafikov
Disappointing performance from Shafikov. The former three-time challenger for the IBF title made a slow start and Gadzhialiev used speed and skill to work on the outside countering Shafikov’s usual forward march. Gadzhialiev built a good lead in the early rounds but Shafikov kept coming and looked to have edged in front only for Gadzhialiev to find another gear late. The judges scored this 96-96, 95-95 and 97-94 for Gadzhialiev. Again a result was needed and it was decided that whichever fighter the judges scored the last round for would go through to the semi-finals and that was Gadzhialiev. Although he has had only seven pro fights Gadzhialiev (Hajialiyev) was a high level amateur being Azeri national champion, winning a bronze medal at the European Championships and competing at the 2011 and 2013 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics. He also fought for the Azerbaijan Baku Fires team in the World Series of Boxing. It remains to be seen how badly this draw affects Shafikov’s chances of getting a fourth world title fight but it must be a heavy blow to them.
Sharonov vs. Khapachev
Sharonov goes through to the semi-finals with Gadzhialiev as he gets majority decision over Khapachev. The fighters in this one were a class or two behind Gadzhialiev and Shafikov but their contrasting styles produced a competitive and close fight. Scores 77-76 and 77-75 for Sharonov and 76-76. Four wins in a row for Sharonov. Southpaw Khapachev was in his first eight round fight.
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Light: Prince Lee Isidore (17-3-1) W PTS 10 Antoni Armas (9-4). Local fighter Isidore overcomes a slow start to outpoint Venezuelan Armas. In his first fight since December 2017 Isidore took a few rounds to get into his stride and Armas connected with some heavy body punches in the second. The visitor looked to have edged the first three rounds. From the fourth Isidore took control and outboxed Armas. The young Venezuelan had never gone past six rounds and he tired late in the fight allowing Isidore to put the verdict beyond doubt and Isidore took the unanimous decision. This marked the first time that the 33-year-old Isidore had had to go the distance for a win. He collects the vacant WBFoundation International title. Armas, 22, had won 4 of his last 5 fights.
Pretoria, South Africa: Heavy: Elvis Moyo (9-5-2) W PTS 10 Ruann Visser (14-1).
If these two are amongst the best heavyweights in Africa then the Africa is in sore need of some new faces. This contest was fought at a pedestrian pace. The 6’9 ½” tall Visser towered over the 6’1” Moyo who just kept plodding forward. There was no power in Visser’s jab and he was sloppy with his right so Moyo was able to walk the big man down. Moyo would work Visser to the ropes and launch himself forward firing hooks past the porous guard of Visser. Visser was slightly more active than the 282 ¼ lbs Moyo and landed enough to win a round here and there but other than that it was Moyo who did most of what scoring there was and was a deserving winner. Scores 98-95, 97-93 and 96-94 all for Zimbabwean Moyo. He has won his last six fights but against strictly low level opposition and at 6’1 and over 280lbs he makes Jarrell Miller look almost svelte. South African champion Visser had won his last nine fights but is going nowhere.
Fight of the week (Significance): Gervonta Davis has opened some exciting possibilities at super feather
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Ray Beltran vs. Hiroki Okada had plenty of action on show and the Jose Carlos Ramirez vs. Jose Zepeda fight was in the balance all the way.
Fighter of the week: Gervonta Davis for his obliteration of Hugo Ruiz
Punch of the week: So many to choose from. The left hook from Victor Ruiz that flattened unbeaten Christian Carto. A left hook from Reymart Gaballo that obliterated Yuya Nakamura and on the same show the overhand right that Romero Duno used to put away Kuldeep Dhanda also the lightning uppercut from Marcos Aumada that wiped out Carlos Nascimento all great punches but I go for the left hook from Cristian Coria that laid out favoured Joel Diaz.
Upset of the week: Ruiz vs. Carto, Cancio Coria vs. Diaz
Prospect watch: I will go with 24-year-old Tim Tszyu who is 12-0 with 10 wins by KO/TKO-it’s in the blood.
By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
Japanese professional boxing is in a great place right now when some truly elite fighters and a plethora of outstanding youngsters racing through the ranks at a lightning pace. The country is hosting the 2020 Olympics but boxing’s place is yet to be confirmed due to a dispute between governing body AIBA and the IOC.
Japan has never been a traditional powerhouse in amateur boxing but has had plenty of success at the youth and junior levels. Here are a small selection of boxers from the land of the rising sun who could either feature in Tokyo, or more likely in the professional ranks in the years to come.
Hayato Tsutsumi, bantamweight, (56kg).
The next potential superstar from Japan, Tsutsumi ruled the roost at the youth level and has made a solid start in the elite level. He’s had plenty of success domestically winning various tournaments. 2016 was a banner year as Tsutsumi claimed flyweight golds at the Asian and World Youth Championships before repeating the success up at bantamweight at the 2017 Asian Youth Championships.
His move to the senior ranks saw him win the national title in 2017 and reach the last 4 in 2018 but elimination in the first contest of the 2018 Asian Games will have been a disappointment but should be seen as a valuable learning experience. If boxing doesn’t take place in Tokyo, expect promoters to be queueing round the block to sign up Tsutsumi. You can view the final of the 2017 national Championships involving Tsutsumi below.
(Ed's note - The fight below is against highly regarded Teiken prospect Mikito Nakano, now 2-0 (2) in the professional ranks)
Sora Tanaka, light welterweight, (64kg).
Blessed with an exciting style and punching power, Tanaka won gold at the Asian Junior Championships in 2017. After winning Bronze at the 2018 Asian Youth Championships, Tanaka didn’t fare as well at the world Youth’s, going out in his first bout. An excellent performer at home, the teenager is definitely one for the future whether that’s as an amateur or a professional. Tanaka’s bout from the 2018 World Youth Championships can be seen below
Ryutaro Nakagaki, flyweight, (52kg).
Nakagaki’s first success away from home came in 2015 when he topped the podium at the Asian Junior Championships. His best result to date saw him take Asian Youth gold in 2017 as he prevailed over top notch Uzbek Abdumalik Khalokov in the final. Nakagaki’s 2 outings at the Japanese nationals saw him reach the last 4 in 2017 and the last 8 in 2018 and there is plenty to build on for the gifted youngster. You can take a look at a bout from 2015 involving Nakagaki below.
Sho Usami, welterweight, (69kg).
2018 saw Usami reach the quarter-finals of the Asian Youth Championships before going one better at the World Youth Championships in Hungary, coming away with a credible Bronze medal. A shot at the national crown last year saw him lose in his opening bout but again he should only improve given the right coaching and appearances at international tournaments. You can watch Usami’s semi-final contest at the World Youth Championships below
Finally it’s not just Hayato who has the boxing bug in the family as younger brothers Ryonosuke and Reito Tsutsumi have shown plenty of promise. Ryonosuke reached the last 8 at the 2018 World Youth Championships after grabbing Bronze at the Asian Youth Championships, losing out on both occasions to the outstanding Atichai Phoemsap. Reito’s most notable triumph so far saw him earn lightweight gold at the 2017 Asian Junior Championships. Footage of both Tsutsumi’s in action can be viewed below.
By Eric Armit
It looks as though Anthony Joshua’s first fight in the USA will be against Jarrell Miller in New York on 1 June and confirmation of that is imminent. Reportedly Joshua’s purse will be his highest yet at $32 million. The WBC pushed the date for the purse bids for Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury back to 12 February with the parties said to be near to reaching an agreement. If the purse bidding does go ahead it will be interesting to see whether, as has been claimed, Wilder vs. Fury is a bigger fight. It is to the credit of the fighters and the Wilder/Fury people if they can come to an agreement in such a relatively short time.
With the possibility of Derek Chisora vs. Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte vs. Dominic Breazeale on the cards, Joe Joyce vs. Bermane Stiverne on 23 February and Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman all scheduled to fight in the next two months I can’t remember the last time there was so much happening for British heavyweights. Definitely not the “horizontal heavyweights” of the past.
It is not just British heavyweights keeping busy with Agit Kabayel 18-0 defending the European title against Andriy Rudenko 32-3 on 2 March in Magdeburg and fellow SES heavyweight unbeaten Tom Schwarz 23-0 facing 17-1 Croatian Kristijan Krstacic on the same show. With Alex Povetkin likely to return to action in April and Kubrat Pulev facing Robert Helenius in the USA on 23 March (but that may fall through as the main event was to be Miguel Berchelt defending the WBC super feather title against Francisco Vargas and that fight has had to be put back to May due to Berchelt injuring his left hand) Romanian heavyweight Christian Hammer going where others fear to tread by taking on Luis Ortiz on 2 March it is a busy time for the heavyweights.
The WBSS is still limping along. It is a bit like a wounded animal-is it going to be able to limp safely to the end of the current rounds involving the cruiserweights, super lightweights and bantamweights or is it fatally wounded and destined to die out? It has been announced that the cruiserweight semi-final between Krzys Glowacki and Mairis Breidis will take place in Riga, Latvia, on 15 June but no date or venue yet for Yunier Dorticos vs. Andrew Tabiti. At super light Josh Taylor vs. Ivan Baranchyk has an 18 May date in Glasgow but no information yet available for Regis Prograis vs. Kiryl Relikh. At bantamweight nothing advised for Zolani Tete vs. Nonito Donaire or Naoya Inoue vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez. The quarter finals were held in October so you are looking at a gap of seven and eight months between even those fights already scheduled. It is encouraging that a couple of the six semi-finals have a date but the longer it is before the other four are schedules the more it looks like the wound is fatal.
Gilbert Ramirez has thrown his hat into the light-heavyweight mix indicating he is targeting Sergey Kovalev and it is a sensible move as there is very little for him in staying at super middle as the WBO ratings offer very little for Ramirez in the way of a challenge. In another move he is reported to have changed his manager and his trainer.
Rob Brant is set to make the first defence of the secondary WBA middleweight title on 15 February in Hinckley against unbeaten 17-0 Russian Khasan Baysangurov. Brant will be back in his home State of Minnesota where he turned pro and had most of his early fights.
Originally set for 6 February the WBA have reset the date for purse offers for three of their titles. Bids were due for Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Anthony Crolla at lightweight, Beibut Shumenov vs. Arsen Goulamirian at cruiser and Daniel Roman vs. Murodjon Akhmadaliev at bantam but they have delayed the purse opening to 13 February. You can be sure Top Rank will decide who Lomachenko fights in April and not the WBA. Shumenov vs. Goulamirian will be between their secondary champion and their gold champion as they continue to try to sort out the mess they made by having more champions than titles. They solved the Denis Lebedev problem by just making him disappear. As he is not in their ratings he is probably back in the recess they put him in before. You can be sure that the gold title they invented for Goulamirian will not disappear because there are sanctioning fees to be made from it. There was a faint hope that Roman might be allowed to fight IBF champion TJ Doheny in a unification fight but that looks unlikely.
Roman vs. Murodjon Akhmadaliev? If you have never heard of Murodjon Akhmadaliev let me say that he was a top level amateur but has only been a professional for less than a year. How did he become the WBA No 1 super bantamweight? Well this is another case where paying the sanctioning fee for one of their obscure minor titles can reap such rich rewards. After three six round fights in August last year Akhmadaliev beat world No 266 Ramon Contreras from Chile for the WBA Inter-Continental title and was parachuted into the WBA ratings at No 6. In November be beat Isaac Zarate rated No 66 or 70, depending on which independent ratings you go by, and beating the No 66/70 was enough for Akhmadaliev to rise to the No 1 spot in the WBA ratings. That abomination makes a complete mockery of the very principles that should underpin ratings. In the WBA ratings a sanctioning fee trumps a win over a rated opponent every time.
Olek Gvozdyk will put his WBC light heavyweight title on the line against Doudou Ngumbu in Philadelphia on March 30. It seems that Adonis Stevenson who had to be put in an induced come after losing the WBC title to Gvozdyk is making slow progress but it is progress. At the start of the year he was able to speak for the first time since being hospitalised and at the end of last month he took his first unaided steps. He has a long journey and I am sure he will tackle it with the same dedication and courage he showed as a fighter. That is one journey he won’t have to make unaided as his family his team at Group Yvon Michel and his fans will all be supporting him. If Gvozdyk gets past Ngumbu there will be pressure for him to fight Marcus Browne who beat Badou Jack in a final eliminator.
Miguel Cotto is going to be busy this year. On March his fighter Alberto Machado defends his WBA super featherweight title against Andrew Cancio and he has said that he plans to have ten shows in Puerto Rico to develop more talent.
With Saul Alvarez set to fight Daniel Jacobs in a unification match on 4 May in Las Vegas it is obvious that the secondary WBA super middle title will fall vacant. British fighter John Ryder is rated No 1 by the WBA with Fedor Chudinov No 2 and Chris Eubank Jr No 3 Chudinov would seem the most likely opponent although there has been a suggestion that David Lemieux could be in the other corner against Ryder.
The AIBA are fighting it but it seems that the IOC’s decision to cut the number of divisions to be competed for at the Olympics is going to stand. It is a blow to the lower divisions. The weight divisions will be: 52kg, 57kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg, 81kg, 91kg and +91kg. That means that instead of the four lighter divisions 49kg, 52kg, 56kg and 60kg there will now only be two divisions in that range. That will be blow to the little guys as they will all have to compete at a higher weight than in the past. That will mean a natural 49kg fighter having to compete in his national qualifiers at 52kg. It also means that there will be fewer medals available and often national funding is based on medals won previously or potential returns. It is yet another blow to boxing at the Olympics.
The Oubaali’s are another of boxing’s fighting families. Not surprising in their case. Nordine who won the WBC bantamweight title last month is the 13th of the 18 children in the family. Elder brother Ali lost only three of his 29 fights but unfortunately they were all in title fights. Now younger brother Messaoud is turning pro with his first bout scheduled for April. Ali and Nordine founded and run a gym in Deauviller with Olympic champion Estelle Mossely being one of their discoveries.
There are still rumours of a return to action by Marcos Maidana. A few weeks back he seemed to indicate he was about to return but then he indicated he was only joking. Now he says there have been people talking about fights for him and he is training. What is certain is that Omar Narvaez will return to the ring. Now 43 he is targeting March for his first fight.
By Eric Armit
- Sergey Kovalev outboxes Eleider Alvarez to regain the WBO light heavyweight title
-Richard Commey crushes Isa Chaniev in two rounds for the vacant IBF lightweight title
-Oscar Valdez returns to action and stops Carmine Tommasone in seven rounds in defence of his WBO featherweight title
-Teo Lopez continues his march of destruction as he batters Diego Magdaleno to defeat in seven rounds
-Sergio Garcia outpoints unbeaten Ted Cheeseman to retain the European super welter title
-Samir Ziani beats Julie Giner on a sixth round retirement to win the vacant European super featherweight title
-Oldie Tomas Rojas scores late inside the distance win over Jairo Lopez and is hoping for a title fight
-World rated Aston Palicte crushes Jose Martinez to keep alive his hopes of a return against Donnie Nietes
-In Commonwealth title fights Felix Cash wins the vacant middleweight belt with win over Nigerian Rasheed Abolaji and Philip Bowes halts Tanzanian Benson Nyilawila for the super lightweight title.
WORLD TITLE CARDS
Frisco, TX, USA: Light Heavy: Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1) W PTS 12 Eleider Alvarez (24-1). Light: Richard Commey (28-2) W TKO 2 Isa Chaniev (13-2). Feather: Oscar Valdez (25-0) W TKO 7 Carmine Tommasone (19-1). Light: Teo Lopez (12-0) W KO 7 Diego Magdaleno (31-3). Super Welter: Patrick Day (17-2-1) W PTS 10 Ismail Iliev (11-1-1). Super Welter: Bakhram Murtazaliev (15-0) W TKO 9 Elvin Ayala (29-13-1). Middle: Janibek Alimkhanuly (5-0) W TKO 5 Steven Martinez (18-5).Feather: Jason Sanchez (14-0) W TKO 2 Daniel Olea (13-7-2).
Kovalev vs. Alvarez
Sweet revenge for Kovalev as he outboxes and outpoints Alvarez to regain the WBO light heavyweight title
Not a great deal of action. Kovalev was regularly stabbing out his jab but falling short. Alvarez scored with a his jab to the body and just did enough to edge a slow round that could have gone either way.
Score: 10-9 Alvarez
Dominant round for Kovalev. He was constantly finding gaps for his jab and following in with hooks and straight rights. Alvarez was throwing one punch at a time and mostly missing.
Score: Score 10-9 Tied 19-19
A much better round for Alvarez. He was able to get on the front foot and was jabbing strongly with purpose and doing a better job of blocking Kovalev’s jab. He was also firing rights. Kovalev did most of the pressing but was not letting his punches flow as he had in the second.
Score: 10-9 Alvarez Alvarez 29-28
One for Kovalev. He was controlling the fight with his jab slotting it through Alvarez’s high guard and then firing clubbing lefts and rights to the head. Alvarez was just not throwing enough punches and in hiding behind his high guard was just moving into Kovalev’s punches without countering.
Score: 10-9 Kovalev Tied 38-38
Official Scores: Judge Levi Martinez 40-36 Kovalev, Judge Jesse Reyes 38-38 tied, Judge Lisa Giampa 40-36 Kovalev.
Alvarez started the round well firing his jab and throwing a series of punches to the body. That was as good as it got for him once Kovalev started to find the rang with his jab and thumping rights. Alvarez tried to get close by coming in low but Kovalev cracked him with a right to the head and then finished the round with more hurtful head punches. Some of Kovalev’s shots were getting blocked but he was punching while Alvarez was waiting.
Score: 10-9 Kovalev Kovalev 48-47
Alvarez scored the first punch in this one a clubbing overhand right to the head which was the best pinch he had landed so far in the fight. From there Kovalev took over. He was teeing off on the advancing Alvarez and digging left hooks to the body. As Alvarez was coming forward Kovalev was firing a quick sequence of punches and then moving leaving the plodding Alvarez without a target
Score: 10-9 Kovalev Kovalev 58-56
Alvarez let his hands go more in this one. When Alvarez came forward behind his high guard Kovalev was again able to stab home punches but in this round Alvarez was standing and exchanging punches and just getting the better of the action.
Score: 10-9 Alvarez Kovalev 67-66
It was boxer Kovalev and not “Krusher” Kovalev who was winning here. His jab and move tactics were frustrating Alvarez’s attempts to get close. Kovalev was sliding punches through the porous guard of Alvarez and rattling him with quick bursts and then moving. Alvarez resorted to dropping his high guard and trying to walk Kovalev onto counters but that didn’t work either.
Score: 10-9 Kovalev Kovalev 77-75
Official Scores: Martinez 78-74 Kovalev, Reyes 77-75 Kovalev, Judge Giampa 80-72 Kovalev.
Another round for Kovalev. He was sticking to his hit and move tactics and landed a choice right over the top of Alvarez’s guard. He continued to pop out punches not really loading up on them but still scoring. Alvarez had started to go away from the high guard and was holding his hands where he could throw punches but kept falling back to the high guard under pressure.
Score:10-9 Kovalev Kovalev 87-84
Kovalev was in charge throughout this one. He was finding more and more gaps for his jabs and straight rights and was putting Alvarez on the back foot and having him floundering at times. Alvarez had largely abandoned the plodding head down tactics but had also long since abandoned using his jab and had no answer to Kovalev’s.
Score: 10-9 Kovalev Kovalev 97-93
With his hands freed from defensive work Alvarez opened the round with a series of punches including a strong left to the head. Kovalev worked hard throughout the round and threw more and landed more but it was the most competitive Alvarez had been for a few rounds.
Score:10-9 Kovalev Kovalev 107-102
Kovalev took the last clearly. He was against slotting home jabs and then firing quick bursts with Alvarez looking to land one big punch. Although he connected with a couple of hard head shots a confident Kovalev was forcing him back with quick accurate punches and was a clear winner of the round and the fight.
Score10-9 Kovalev Kovalev 117-111
Official Scores: Judge Levi Martinez 116-112 Kovalev, Judge Jesse Reyes 116-112 Kovalev, Judge Lisa Giampa 120-108 Kovalev.
The 35-year-old Florida-based Kovalev had his tactics just right here as he jabbed, moved and fired short bursts of punches controlling the tempo of the fight with Alvarez too slow to catch him. With fellow Russians Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol holding the IBF and WBA titles respectively and Ukrainian Olek Gvozdyk the WBC champion Eastern Europeans rule the roost. Britain’s Anthony Yarde is the WBO No 1 but I am not sure he is ready for Kovalev as he is yet to face an opponent remotely near the ratings. Alvarez had his tactics all wrong. Pressing behind a high guard only works if you can force your opponent to the ropes and work on him there. Alvarez never did that efficiently so rarely had Kovalev under any real pressure and he changed his tactics too late. He is still a force in this division and may look to get a return with Kovalev or try for one of the other belts.
Commey vs. Chaniev
Justice for Commey as demolishes Chanev inside two rounds and lifts the vacant IBF title in his second. attempt. Commey established a strong jab from the outset. Chanev was trying some rights but looked low on power. Commey put Chanev on the back foot with his jab but Chaniev landed with some good hooks and a straight right. That gave Chanev the confidence to stand and trade which proved a big mistake. First he was shaken by a Commey left hook and then a straight right dumped Chanev on the floor. He was up quickly but he looked very unsteady and staggered backwards. After the eight count Commey leapt in to try to finish the fight but after landing a couple of punches Commey tripped and went down. There was no count and after Commey landed another right the bell went. With just eight seconds gone in the second round a left hook sent Chanev down again. He looked unsteady and after the count Commey piled in connecting with punches from both hands. Chanev tried desperately to hold on but when a short left hook on the inside floored Chanev again the fight was stopped. Great win for the 31-year-old from Ghana and win No 25 by KO/TKO. In his first shot at the title he lost a controversial split decision to Robert Easter and then suffered another blow in a questionable split verdict against Denis Shafikov. He had scored three good wins going into this one and crushed Chanev with ease. Boxing in Ghana suffered a blow with the loss of Isaac Dogboe against Emanuel Navarette but this win by Commey will restore national pride and put a smile back on the faces in his home country. By winning this one Commey had lined up a huge fight against Vasyl Lomachenko in Los Angeles on 14 April but Commey indicated he had injured his right hand in the Chanev fight so there is some doubt over that. The ease with which Commey disposed of Russian Chaniev puts a question over how Chaniev came to be at No 3 the second highest rated fighter in the IBF ratings. Significantly he could not fill the No 2 spot because he had not beaten a rated fighter so the No 2 spot was vacant. He had beaten reasonable level opposition in Jean Pierre Bauwens, Juan Martin Elorde and Ismael Barroso but those fighters were all unrated when he beat them and he was crushed here.
Valdez vs. Tommasone
Valdez returns to action and shakes off some rust as he retains the WBO title with stoppage of Italian Tommasone
Neither fighter dominated the round. Valdez was quicker and more accurate with his jabs. Tommasone tried some rights but was mainly on the back foot and short with his punches.
Score: 10-9 Valdez
Valdez stepped up the pace in the second . Again he was forcing Tommasone back with hard, accurate jabs. He was letting his hands go more but with his inactivity his timing was off. Tommasone kept stabbing out his jab but it was a defensive weapon not an offensive one.
Score: 10-9 Valdez Valdez 20-18
Tommasone did well over the first half of the round. He was more positive with his jab and landing some rights. Valdez was hunting him down with more purpose but his timing was still out and Tommasone kept moving and kept jabbing and just did enough to edge the round.
Score: 10-9 Tommasone Valdez 29-28
The roof fell in on the Italian challenger in this one. Valdez moved up a gear and hurt Tommasone early with a left to the body. Valdez was pressing hard and Tommasone stepped in to trade punches and Valdez connected with a straight right that sent Tommasone down. He sat on the floor and timed his rise getting up at eight. Valdez went after him but Tommasone boxed on the back foot piercing Valdez’s guard with jabs and scoring with a four-punch combination. Just before the bell a long left from Valdez landed on the belt of Tommasone. He momentarily dipped at the knees and touched the canvas that led to a second count.
Score: 10-7 Valdez Valdez 39-35
Official Scores: Judge Javier Alvarez 40-34 Valdez, Judge Ursulo Perez 40-34 Valdez, Judge Elias Johnson 40-34 Valdez
Tommasone was moving and jabbing again and now his jab was more accurate and he was getting though Valdez’s guard. When Tommasone became too confident a left to the body from Valdez saw him backing off. Valdez began to find the target with his left hooks to the body and straight rights bringing blood from Tommasone’s nose and bruising under his left eye as Valdez was finally getting his timing right.
Score: 10-9 Valdez Valdez 49-44
Valdez was staring to load up on his punches but the punch that put Tommasone down early in this round was a jab which knocked the Italian off balance. He was up at eight and despite pressure from Valdez was never really in trouble again as he boxed on the back foot with plenty of jabs.
Score: Score 10-8 Valdez Valdez 59-52
It was over quickly in this round. With less than ten seconds on the clock a stunning short right uppercut from Valdez sent Tommasone down. The referee immediately waived the fight over despite protests from Tommasone. It looked as though Tommasone could have continued but it was only going to end with him taking more punishment so it was a wall judged decision by the referee. Due to injuries this is the first fight for Valdez since March 2018 and he took a few rounds to get his timing right and got the job done. His mandatory challenger is Filipino Genisis Servania so what happens next depends on whether the WBO insist he fights Servania or allows Valdez another voluntary defence. Tommasone’s role as challenger required some ratings “adjustment” form the WBO who parachuted him in on the back of a November win over a guy with a 8-8-1 record. Having said that he show a sharp jab and plenty of shifty footwork but with only five wins by KO/TKO was never a threat so just right for Valdez after his long period of inactivity. The night was not all bad for Tommasone as he proposed to his girlfriend in the ring and she accepted. Bravisimo Carmine!
Lopez vs. Magdaleno
Another imperious performance from Lopez as he dismantles then demolishes Magdaleno. It was the power of Lopez against the hand speed and movement of Magdaleno and both were on show in the first with Magdaleno’s right jab flicking out like a snakes tongue and Lopez landing with a couple of hard punches just before the end of the round. Magdaleno was quick with his fist again in the second and although he was landing for Lopez it was a case of insult but not injury and he shook Magdaleno with a vicious right uppercut that saw Magdaleno buckle at the knees and opened a cut on the bridge of Magdaleno’s nose. Lopez is pretty quick with his own hands and was driving Magdaleno back with snapping hooks to the head starting to connect with some hard shots. He trapped Magdaleno in a corner and landed with some straight rights before Magdaleno skipped out of range. Lopez does not mind which hand he leads with and in the third he sneaked home a peach of a right uppercut and then continued to land with rights either as the lead or following a jab. Magdaleno was throwing his jab at the start of the fourth but a few right counters from Lopez made him much more reluctant to commit himself to attack. It was a quieter round but it was Lopez whose punches were landing. In the fifth Lopez began to unload on Magdaleno with right uppercuts and straight rights Magdaleno was trying to come in behind his jab with lefts to the body and had some success but there was no real sting to the punches whereas almost every punch Lopez threw was a power shot- and plenty of them were landing. Lopez hardly threw a punch over the first half of the sixth but then landed a right to the body that hurt Magdaleno. He continued to be sparing with his shots but connected with another body punch and snapped Magdaleno’s head back with a left uppercut. Magdaleno kept working but late in the round as he moved inside a wicked left to the chin sent him tumbling sideways to the floor. He was up at eight and after the count with less than ten seconds left Lopez landed a couple more head punches at the bell. As Magdaleno walked back to his corner he was unsteady, there was blood dripping from the cut on his nose and his left eye was almost closed. Lopez connected with a series of hard head punches in the seventh driving Magdaleno to the ropes and pouring on punishment. A gutsy Magdaleno gestured for Lopez to bring it on and he did with more lefts and rights to the head and then connected with a fearsome left that put Magdaleno down on his back. The referee started the count but did not bother to complete but cradled Magdaleno in his arms and stopped the fight. The 21-year-old from Brooklyn makes it ten wins by KO/TKO. If he continues to destroy opposition this way I am going to run out of superlatives. To just talk about his power would be to understate his talent as he is also a very clever defensive boxer. He retained his NABF and USBA titles and won the vacant NABA belt so is covering all angles and is rated WBA 9/WBC 11/WBO 11. There is talk of a fight with Jose Pedraza this year and that would be an interesting test for Lopez. Magdaleno, 32, had previously only lost in world title fights being outpointed by Roman Martinez and stopped by Terry Flanagan in WBO fights. He won his two fights in 2018 but took a savage beating here so will be on the sidelines for a while.
Day vs. Iliev
Former top amateur Day registers his sixth win on the bounce with unanimous verdict over Russian Iliev. The respective tactics gelled well producing a competitive ten rounds. Iliev was the aggressor early with Day boxing well and countering the Russian’s attacks. Iliev was going for quantity and Day with accuracy and more power punches. Most of the rounds were close and could have been scored for either boxer but it was Day’s heavier eye-catching shots that earned him the verdict. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 all for Day. The 26-year-old from Freeport was National Golden Gloves champion and great things were expected from him when he first turned pro, initially he had trouble adjusting to the pro game but seems to have settled now and is making progress. Iliev, also a good level amateur, was having his first fight in the USA and his first fight for almost 14 months so his slow start is understandable.
Murtazaliev vs. Ayala
World rated Russian slowly breaks down a gutsy Ayala for a late stoppage win. Murtazaliev was attacking hard from the start and Ayala tried to match him early. In the opener a Murtazaliev punch had Ayala taking a knee but he survived the round. After that Ayala quickly went into reverse under the pressure. Murtazaliev continued to boss the action with Ayala doing just enough to stay in the fight and it looked as though Ayala might go the distance. Late in the eighth a left hook had Ayala badly shaken and Murtazaliev stormed forward in the ninth landing plenty and with Ayala on the ropes and being pounded the referee stepped in and halted the fight. The 26-year-old Murtazaliev retains the WBC USNBC title and makes it ten wins by KO/TKO in his last eleven contests. No names on his record yet but he is already rated WBO 7/IBF 10(9). Way back in 2008 Ayala challenged unsuccessfully for the IBF middleweight title losing to Arthur Abraham. Now 38 Ayala is a long way down the slope with one win in his last eight fights.
Alimkhanuly vs. Martinez
Look out here comes yet another outstanding talent from Kazakhstan. Martinez is a good level pro and looked a reasonable test for southpaw Alimkhanuly. The Kazak boxer soon dispelled that notion. After taking the first two rounds he floored Martinez early in the third and rocked Martinez with savage uppercuts in the fourth. After another of those wicked uppercuts in the fifth the referee came in to save Martinez from more harm. The 25-year-old Oxnard-based Alimkhanuly gets his second inside the distance win. As an amateur he was a gold medallist at the World Championships, Asian Championships and Asian Games but did not medal at the 2012 or 2016 Olympics. Certainly one to follow. Martinez suffers his first loss inside the distance. He took Terrell Gausha to a majority decision but this was his first fight for eleven months.
Sanchez vs. Olea
Sanchez dismantles Olea in two rounds. Sanchez blitzed Olea landing heavily with both hands in the first and then putting Olea on the floor with a powerful right in the second. Olea managed to return to the vertical but his legs were all over the place and the referee would not let him continue. The 24-year-old “Little Scorpion” from Albuquerque moves to seven inside the distance wins. A victory in October over unbeaten Jean Carlos Rivera saw him lift the vacant WBO Youth title and he was rewarded with No 15 in the WBO ratings. Mexican Olea suffers his third defeat in a row all against very tough opponents.
Alpine, CA, USA: Super Fly: Aston Palicte (25-2-1) W TKO 2 Jose Martinez (20-1-2). Impressive showing by Palicte as he wipes out previously unbeaten Martinez inside two rounds. In the opening round Palicte used his longer reach to probe with his jab and then fired home straight rights. Martinez was going to the body and landed a good left hook. He was confident and taking the fight to Palicte and they exchanged punches. Just at the bell Martinez lunged forward with his head banging into Palicte’s face but luckily there was no damage. Martinez went after Palicte at the start of the second landing body punches. A left hook to the body followed by a left to the head saw Martinez almost go down and he briefly touch the canvas with a glove. No count was applied but Palicte kept Martinez against the ropes and unloaded with shots to head and body. Martinez got off the ropes and fired back but was nailed with a series of rights from Palicte and dropped to one knee. He was up at eight but dropped under more rights complaining about a punch to the back of the head. He was up at eight again but as Palicte was beating on him the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. First fight for the 28-year-old Filipino since drawing with Donnie Nietes for the vacant WBO super fly title in September and win No 21 by KO/TKO. He has lost only one of his last seventeen contests. He fights under the banner of the Roy Jones Jr team and is trained by former WBC light flyweight champion Rodel Mayol. He was an elite level amateur competing at the World Junior Championships and the prestigious King’s Cup and his younger brother Jamie won a gold medal at the Asian Junior Championships. Puerto Rican Martinez beat 23-2 Jesus Martinez in 2017 but had only one fight in 2018.
Rochester, NY, USA: Super Middle: DeAndre Ware (13-1-2) W PTS 10 Ronald Ellis (15-1-2,1ND). Light: Will Madera (13-0-2) W PTS 8 Thomas Mattice (13-1-1). Middle: Dominic Wade (19-1) W KO 1 Martin Rios (23-19-4,1ND).
Ware vs. Ellis
Minor upset as Ware takes majority decision over previously unbeaten Ellis. It was a close fight all the way. Ellis made the better start working well on the outside with his jab with Ware trying to get inside. The fight changed after the third in which Ellis suffered yet another of the hand injuries that have plagued him in his career. With his right of limited use Ellis had to rely mainly on his jab. He tried to compensate by throwing even more jabs and for a while he was outworking Ware and built a lead. Eventually as it became apparent that Ellis was carrying the injury the always pressing Ware was able to step up his attacks and get past the jab and land with powerful rights. Ellis was only able to use his right sporadically and despite a big effort in the last Ware just got the decision his pressure and power punching deserved. Scores 96-94 twice for Ware and 95-95. Big win for Toledo fireman Ware who had suffered his only loss to date when coming in as a late substitute and being outpointed by Cem Kilic in September. He collects three previously vacant titles in one go as he wins the NABA, WBC Continental Americas and the USBO titles. More bad luck for former National Golden Gloves champion Ellis. Hand injuries have caused two extended periods of inactivity but he was also out for fourteen months back in 2013/2014. Whilst that was due to an elbow injury it was also the result of positive test. He will be inactive again whilst this latest injury heals .
Madera vs. Mattice
Good matchmaking under the sponsorship of Shobox sees a second very close battle between unbeaten fighters as Madera beats favourite Mattice on a tight unanimous verdict. Madera won this one on the basis of his better work over the first half of the fight. He pressed the fight hard and Mattice was slow to get into his stride. Madera was the busier and more accurate. Mattice used his better skills to get into the fight over the middle rounds but Madera protected the early lead he had built with a strong finish over the last two rounds and was a good winner. Scores 77-75 twice and 78-74 all for Madera. The 28-year-old Madera from nearby Albany has struggled against very modest opposition but against a better class of opponent he showed improvement here. Mattice had also struggled lately. In his last two fights he had looked lucky to get a split verdict over Zhora Hamazaryan and then fought a draw with the Armenian.
Wade vs. Rios
In his first fight for almost three years Wade disposes off Argentinian Rios in just 108 seconds. No time for any rust to show as Wade floors Rios twice with the second, a left to the head, putting Rios down and out. First fight for Wade since his crushing two round beating by Gennady Golovkin in a world title challenge in April 2016. Still only 28 it will be interesting to see where he goes next as he was 173lbs for this one. Rios, a former Argentinian champion at middleweight and super middleweight, suffers his fourth loss by KO/TKO and his eighth loss in his last nine fights.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Super Feather: Pablo Ojeda (16-4-1) W KO 3 Mario Lozano (18-2-1).
Ojeda’s power too much for Lozano. After two fairly even rounds Ojeda broke through in the third. A straight right forced Lozano back to the ropes. He tried to fight his way off the ropes but an overhand right and a left hook sent him staggering and another left saw him pitch forward and down and he was counted out. Ojeda wins the vacant WBO Latino title with his eleventh win by KO/TKO. Lozano was 10-0-1 in his last eleven fights but they were mostly four round preliminaries.
Fontvielle, Monaco: Middle: Diego Natchoo (18-1-4,1ND) W PTS 10 Patrick Momene Mokamba (7-24-4). Super Feather: Florian Montels (14-2-2,1ND) W PTS 10 Rachid Sali (6-8-2,1ND).
Natchoo vs. Mokamba
L’Indien Natchoo retains the French title with wide unanimous verdict over Mokamba. Natchoo made a great start flooring Mokamba with a hard left hook in the first round. Mokamba survived and tried to force the fight but Natchoo was too quick and too clever .The fight was fast-paced and both tired badly over the late rounds but Natchoo held on to the lead and was a clear winner Scores 98-91 twice and 98-92 all for Natchoo. He lost in a challenge f or the French super middle title in 2017 but then moved down to middle and is now 8-0-1 in the new division. Next up will be a defence against experienced Michel Mothmora who he beat for the title in October. First shot at the national title for Mokamba who is now 2-6 in his last 8 fights.
Montels vs. Sali
Montels holds on to the French super feather title as he knocks back the challenge of No 1 feather Sali in a return match. Montels boxed coolly in this one with Sali trying to break through with wild attacks. A right from Montels had Sali in trouble in the third but he was unable to capitalise on that. Montels controlled the fight with his better boxing but over the second half of the fight with Montels taking no chances and Sali just not able to be a threat it was a disappointing contest. When these two fought in November a clash of heads saw Sali badly cut and although Montels had won the three completed rounds it was declared a No Decision. No mistake this time as Montels won all the way. Scores 100-90,99-91 and 98-92 for Montels. He is now 6-1,1ND in his last 8 fights with the loss being against WBC No 7 lightweight Yvan Mendy. Sali, a poor challenger, is 1-7-2,1ND in his most recent 11 contests
London, England: Super Welter: Sergio Garcia (29-0) W PTS 12 Ted Cheeseman (15-1). Middle: Felix Cash (11-0) W TKO 1 Rasheed Abolaji (11-5-1). Light Heavy: Craig Richards (13-1) W TKO 3 Jake Ball (12-2). Cruiser: Lawrence Okolie (11-0) W TKO 3 Tamas Lodi (20-12-2 ). Middle: Scott Fitzgerald (12-0) W TKO 2 Filip Rzadek (2-12).
Garcia vs. Cheeseman
Garcia outboxes a gutsy but outclassed Cheeseman in the first defence of his European title. No probing or posturing in this fight. Garcia was immediately sliding punches past the guard of the advancing Cheeseman who was using a high guard and throwing hooks. Garcia was on the back foot but very accurate with his jab and straight rights and moving quickly back leaving Cheeseman with no target. Cheeseman did better in the second connecting with hooks and straight rights and landed a sharp uppercut but Garcia was throwing more and landing more and it was as well that Garcia is not a heavy puncher. Cheeseman continued to walk into jabs and heavy counters in the third and fourth. Garcia did not have a strong enough punch to keep him out but was scoring with jabs hooks and uppercuts on the challenger. Cheeseman upped his pace in the fifth and scored well with hooks. He was also moving his head more but Garcia was still finding plenty of gaps although Cheeseman rattled the Spaniard with a left hook late in the round. The sixth saw three minutes of pressure from Cheeseman and three minutes of pain and frustration as uppercuts from Garcia brought blood dripping from the challenger’s nose and movement from Garcia left Cheeseman swishing air. At the half-way point it was hard to feel Cheeseman had won a single round. In the seventh Cheeseman tried both the high guard and hands down swinging but he just kept walking onto punishment. The eighth was a great round. Cheeseman again came out swinging. No high guard just powerful rights and lefts and for once he was connecting and bombarding Garcia who looked rattled. He was caught with some powerful punches and it looked as though Garcia was about to go under. Then the storm blew itself out and Garcia was the one landing heavily only for Cheeseman to come to life again and score with heavy rights to take the round. Garcia couldn’t miss Chesses man with his punches in the ninth and tenth as the challenger just kept walking onto punch after punch. His head was snapped back by a vicious uppercut and a bruise under his left eye was leaking blood. Cheeseman connected with some wild swings in the eleventh but he was walking forward with both hands at hip level making it easy for Garcia to rattle his head with a series of punches. Cheeseman had early success in the last as he trapped Garcia in a corner and landed three rights to the head. After that he was just swinging wildly and too often standing right in front of Garcia with his hands down allowing the Spaniard to tee-off on him an array of punches. Scores 119-109 twice and a totally unbelievable 115-114 all for Garcia. Scoring is not subjective it is opinion but how Massimiliano Bianco scored this one 115-114 is beyond me. Garcia outclassed a very brave Cheeseman in his first defence of his European title. The super welter division is talent rich in Europe and the world. I am not sure Garcia has the power to beat the top fighters. He is No 4 with the WBC and No 14(13) with the IBF so could land a title shot. British champion Cheeseman was never able to get a foothold in this fight but is 23 so he can come again.
Cash vs. Abolaji
Cash wins the vacant Commonwealth Boxing Council title with stoppage of Nigerian Abolaji. Cash was sharp from the start. He was snapping out his jab to head and body and landed a couple of hooks to the body . The next jab from Cash surprisingly saw Abolaji go back and down on his rump. He got up at six and after the eight count he seemed to have recovered. They boxed on until Cash connected with a combination and as Abolaji came forward Cash landed a hard jab and following behind it came a straight right that connected with the forehead of Abolaji who stumbled forward a couple of steps and then pitched face down on the canvas. He somehow staggered to his feet but wobbled back to the ropes and was obviously in no condition to continue and the fight was over. Seventh win by KO/TKO for 25-year-old prospect Cash. Abolaji had gone the distance with Sam Sheedy for this same title in 2017. He then scored three wins in 2017 before losing on a sixth round retirement against Bilel Jkitou in January 2018 for the vacant ABU title which was his last fight. He got caught cold here but it was a very disappointing performance from him.
Richards vs. Ball
Richards right proves too strong for the skills of Ball. After a tentative opening in the first with southpaw Ball circling the ring and probing with his jab Richards landed a straight right which dumped Ball down onto the bottom rope. Ball arose quickly and looked OK and the bell went after the eight count was completed. Ball was working with his jab in the second but there was danger in every right that Richards threw. After they both landed good punches a right to the body saw Ball drop to his knees. He beat the count but was hurt and the bell went before Richards could press home his advantage. It was mainly a case of exchanging jabs in third until two rights from Richards put Ball down again. Ball was up at eight and allowed to continue. Richards chased Ball throwing more rights. A couple landed and as Ball staggered back the referee stopped the fight with Ball protesting strongly that he was OK. “Spider” Richards, 28, makes it eight wins by KO/TKO and collects the vacant WBA Continental title. His only loss is against Frank Buglioni when he came in as a very late substitute and lost a close decision in a challenge for the British title. This is his fourth inside the distance win since then. The 6’4” Ball had won his last five fights.
Okolie vs. Lodi
Okolie just keeps busy with stoppage of an outclassed Lodi. There was no way this one was going to last long. Okolie towered over the Hungarian and was able to spear Lodi with jabs and drop in right crosses. Lodi was in survival mode before the first minute was over. Okolie was able to stand off and place his punches where he liked with little or nothing coming back from Lodi. The visitor threw a few punches at the start of the second but soon went back into his shell’ Okolie put Lodi down with a left and a right . Lodi was up quickly but floored again by a right to the head. Got to his feet and as the eight count was completed the bell rang. A straight right saw Lodi drop to one knee in the third. He beat the count and tried to come forward but two rights sent him down again. This time when he completed the eight count the referee waived the fight over. Okolie, the Commonwealth and British champion, move to 8 wins by KO/TKO. This was a defence of his WBA Continental title and whoever though this was a suitable title fight should hide their face. A top prospect Okolie was several classes above Lodi who was a late pick as his opponent. The danger is that if Okolie gets fed opposition like this he could develop habits that could cost him dear against better opposition but his team will make sure that doesn’t happen. Eighth loss by KO/TKO for Lodi.
Fitzgerald vs. Rzadek
Fitzgerald overpowers poor Rzadek for another quick win. No time wasting from Fitzgerald. He was landing thudding hooks to the body and strong rights. Rzadek tried a couple of punches but all he got for his trouble was another series of blistering hooks from Fitzgerald. A stiff jab followed by a right to the head saw Rzadek fall to his knees late in the round. He made it to his feet and lasted the remaining seconds to the bell. Early in the second a left from Fitzgerald landed very low. He was given a warning and Rzadek given some recovery time. When the fight resumed a series of hooks and a wicked uppercut saw Rzadek fall to his knees and although he just made it his feet the referee stopped the fight. The 27-year-old Commonwealth gold medallist makes it nine wins by KO/TKO but this was just another keep busy fight. He will face a much sterner test when he tackles unbeaten Anthony Fowler in Liverpool on 30 March. Now that will be some fight. Rzadek in way over his head he has 18 losses inside the distance.
Barcelona, Spain: Super Feather: Samir Ziani (28-4-1) W RTD 6 Juli Giner (23-4-1). Light: Frank Urquiaga (13-1-1DREW 10 Ivan Tomas (9-0-1) . Super Feather: Moussa Gholan (11-0) W RTD 5 Alex Rat (8-4-2).
Ziani vs. Giner
Another exciting European title fight sees Frenchman Ziani take on experienced former EU champion Giner in the Spaniard’s home city and break both Giner’s heart and that of Giner’s fervent supporters to win the EBU belt. The pattern for the fight was set in the first round and never varied. Southpaw Ziani was marching forward getting in close and working the body and Giner was moving and countering. The rounds were close in a too-and-fro battle. Ziani was having success with his body punches and Giner was on target with sharp, accurate counters. It looked a fairly even fight over the first five rounds but in the sixth the body attack paid off for Ziani. He continued to press hard and Giner began to feel his 35 years and began to struggle. He had nothing left and although he was still on his feet at the bell he was finished and retired in his corner. Former French champion Ziani, 28, wins the European title at his second attempt having lost a very close decision, 115-113 from all three judges, against Guillame Frenois in 2016. He had won seven in row since then Giner, 35, is a former Spanish feather and super feather and EU champion with his losses being to quality opposition in Ruddy Encarnacion, Miguel Roman and Martin Joseph Ward for this European title. It could be retirement time for “The Rock”.
Urquiaga vs. Tomas
Urquiaga and Tomas end up all even after a good ten round scrap for the vacant Spanish title. Urquiaga was the favourite and that looked the right pick over the first four rounds. From the fifth Tomas started to firstly get into the fight and then take it over and it was close all the way with the draw looking a fair result. Scores 95-95 twice and 96-95 for Torres. Peruvian-born Urquiaga suffered his only loss when he was outpointed by Edis Tatli for the European title last August. Tomas, 25, did well as this was his first ten round fight. Hopefully there will be a return.
Gholan vs. Rat
Lanky youngster Gholan wins the vacant WBC Youth title with a victory over Rat. The tall Moroccan-born Gholan had already built a substantial lead when Romanian Rat retired citing an injury to his left arm. Good win for Gholan who was also in his first ten round fight. Madrid-based Rat, who previously fought for the IBF Youth title, had won his last two fights.
Tokyo, Japan: Light: Kenichi Ogawa (23-1,1ND) W PTS 10 Roldan Aldea (12-7-1). Fly: Junto Nakatani (18-0) W TKO 9 Noaki Mochizuki (15-4). Koki
Ogawa vs. Aldea
Ogawa returns to the ring for the first time since being suspended for testing positive after winning the vacant IBF super featherweight title against Tevin Farmer. Ogawa won the first round but southpaw Aldea scored with some sharp lefts to the body in the second. Ogawa took over then scoring with heavy rights in the fourth and fifth with Aldea managing to get home some left hooks. Ogawa dished out heavy punishment in the seventh And eighth but Aldea refused to crumble and fought hard to the last bell. Scores 99-92, 98-92 and 97-93 for Ogawa. He celebrated his 31st birthday on Friday and gets win No 17 by KO/TKO. With Farmer now the IBF champion Ogawa will be looking to fight his way back to another title shot. Aldea, the Philippines lightweight champion, does not travel well-six of his seven losses have been on the road,
Nakatani vs. Mochizuki
Southpaw hope Nakatani wins the vacant Japanese title with stoppage of Mochizuki. Nakatani was handing some severe punishment with lefts to the body and right uppercuts. Mochizuki managed to do some good work inside in the second but was having to absorb some heavy hits. Nakatani continued to press over the next three rounds with his uppercut again a dominating punch. After five rounds Nakatani was well in front on scores of 49-46 twice and 50-45. Mochizuki was beginning to fade but kept fighting back although his face was now swelling from Nakatani’s punches. In the ninth a right uppercut and a straight left had Mochizuki in trouble and the referee stopped the contest. The 21-year-old Nakatani now has 13 victories by KO/TKO. He is already rated WBC 4/WBO 10 so could be in line for a title fight later this year. First loss by KO/TKO for Mochizuki who had won 4 of his last 5 fights.
Rio Bravo, Mexico: Super Feather: Tomas Rojas (51-16-1) W RTD 10 Jairo Lopez (23-10). Super Middle: Juan Macias Montiel (21-4-1) W TKO 4 Marcos Reyes (37-5).
Rojas vs. Lopez
Age is but a number for “The Worm” as Rojas outclasses and beats Lopez. The tall, skinny southpaw, a former WBC super flyweight champion was living up to his “Doberman” nickname but Rojas showed a combination of good defensive work and hurtful counters and Lopez went down on one knee after a hail of punches in the fourth. Lopez is tough and he continued to try to take the fight to Rojas but was paying a heavy price and was floored again with a body punch in the tenth. It was a well beaten Lopez who went back to his corner and he did not answer the bell for the eleventh round. After loses to Cris Mijares and Edivaldo Ortega in 2017 it looked as though Rojas was coming to the end of the road. However he proved that he still had plenty left with a points win in October over Jhonny Gonzalez. He is No 8 with the WBC so at 38 there may be one more title shot out there for him. Fifth loss by KO/TKO for Lopez. He was 2-3 in fights in 2017 and 2018 but the three losses were against Luke Campbell, Jose Felix and 19-0 Joseph Aguirre
Montiel vs. Reyes
Montiel gets win over more experienced Reyes. Both of these are big punchers so it was not expected to go the distance. What was not expected was that young Montiel would almost blow Reyes away in the first round. Montiel came out punching and put Reyes immediately under pressure. He landed some heavy stuff and late in the round a series of head punches floored Reyes. He only just beat the count and was saved from defeat by the bell. Reyes never really recovered from that pounding and Montiel had him under fire and on the back foot through the second and third and by the fourth the referee was ready to step in and declare Montiel the winner. The 24-yerar-old “Juanito” is a member of the clan fighting Montiel’s clan from Los Mochis which includes former world champion Fernando Montiel. This is his 21st win b y KO/TKO. His only inside the distance defeat was against Jaime Munguia in 2017. Reyes started his career by going 32-1 in his first 33 fights and had reversed his only loss. He then went 3-3 in his next six including defeats against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and David Lemieux. He had won his last two fights but he looked an old man here and just caved in under the pressure
Anapa, Russia: Light: Elnur Samedov (8-1) W PTS 10 Viskhan Murzabekov (18-3).
Samedov climbs off the floor twice and wins vacant Russian title at the second attempt with split decision over more experienced favourite Murzabekov. Samedov was down in the first and third rounds and both boxers escaped without injury when they toppled through the ropes with Murzabekov landing on the ring apron and Samedov pitching head first into the ringside seats. Neither fighter was injured and Samedov staged a strong finish to claw back the points lost over those first three rounds. The 25-year-old Azeri-born southpaw had lost a split decision to unbeaten Nikita Kuznetsov for the vacant title in March last year. He now goes forward into the semi-finals of the Presidents Cup. “Little Tyson” Murzabekov had won 6 of his last 7 fights with all of the wins by KO/TKO.
London, England: Super Light: Philip Bowes (19-3) W TKO 2 Benson Nyilawila (10-2). “Quicksilver” Bowes wins the vacant Commonwealth Boxing Council belt with second round stoppage of young Tanzanian Nyilawila. The tall East London southpaw gets win No 3 by KO/TKO and has won 10 of his last 11 fights. Nyilawila, 21, lacked the experience to really pose any problems for Bowes and suffers his second loss in a row.
Necochea, Argentine: Middle: Francisco Torres (11-3) W PTS 10 Alan Castano (13-1). Middle: Jonathan Wilson Sanchez (14-3-1) W TKO 3 Sergio Lopez (12-3).
Torres vs. Castano
An upset result as Torres beats Castano. This was a quarter final fight in the Argentinian middleweight Super 8 tournament for the Carlos Monzon Cup. Castano was the favourite to win the Tournament but fell by the wayside as he was clearly beaten by Torres. After a close opening round Torres began to make use of his advantages in height and reach and was able to counter the attacking Castano with long lefts and rights and land sharp uppercuts when Castano did get inside. Castano took too long to get into the fight and was not nearly busy enough. By the end of the fifth Torres had built a good lead. Castano was walking through the punishment in the sixth and finally handing out some of his own. Torres banged back strongly in the seventh and there were some savage exchanges over the last three rounds as Castano tried vainly to close the points gap. Scores 97-93 twice and 96-94 all for Torres. Big win for Torres who did not even figure in the Argentinian ratings. Inactivity may have caused the slow start to the fight for Castano. He had only one fight in 2017 and was inactive in 2018. He was a top ranked amateur who competed in the World Series of Boxing before turning pro. He is the younger brother of Brian Castano the holder of the secondary WBA super welterweight title.
Sanchez vs. Lopez
Plenty of incident in this one as Sanchez gets a win when Lopez just climbs out of the ring in the middle of the third round. In the first round Lopez was storming forward forcing Sanchez to the ropes. As he piled forward throwing more punches Sanchez stepped to the side and a charging Lopez went out over the top rope being caught by a couple of ringsiders before he hit the floor. He managed to get in the ring before being counted out. Later in the round Lopez floored Sanchez with a right and with Sanchez kneeling on the canvas looking up at him Lopez took a step forward and landed another right for which he should have been disqualified. Sanchez was up at eight and survived. In the next round the position was almost reversed with Sanchez missing with punches and ending up balanced on the top rope half way out of the ring with the referee grabbing him by the shoulder and pulling him back into the ring. In the third Sanchez began to connect with hard right crosses to the head and the referee gave Lopez a standing count. When the action resumed Sanchez drove Lopez to a corner. Lopez then turned away , waived his arm and just climbed out through the ropes onto the ring apron. He then changed his mind and climbed back into the ring. The referee proceeded to count Lopez out., Bizarre! Sanchez needed the win being 1-3-1 in his last 5 fights. The victory puts him in the semi-finals of the Argentinian middleweight Super8. Lopez, the Argentinian No 6, had won 8 of his last 9 fights and even he could not explain his crazy actions.
Ingelmunster, Belgium: Super Feather: Maidin El Garni (14-0) W PTS 10 Brian Pelaez (8-4). Super Feather: Hakim Ben Ali (21-6) W PTS 8 Matthieu Lehot (11-10-1)
El Garni vs. Pelaez
El Garni lifts the vacant IBO Continental title with victory over Spaniard Pelaez. El Garni was conceding lots of height and weight against Pelaez but was always coming forward and getting past the jab of Pelaez. Neither fighter is a puncher so there were plenty of fiery exchanged but without either really being shaken. Most of the rounds were close but El Garni looked to have just done enough to edge out the Spaniard. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 96-94 all for El Garni. The 25-year-old El Garni is a former undefeated French lightweight champion but has moved down and is now No 2 super feather in the French ratings and No 18 in the EU lists. Pelaez , 23,had won 6 of his last 7 fights with the defeat coming in December against unbeaten Puerto Rican hope Abraham Nova .
Ben Ali vs. Lehot
Former Belgian champion Ben Ali also faced a taller opponent in former French champion Lehot. The pattern was much the same as the other main event with Ben Ali bundling his way inside with Lehot trying to work at distance. Ben Ali’s tactics prevailed and he was a clear winner on all three cards. Scores 77-74 twice and 78-74 all in favour of Ben Ali. The former European Union title challenger lost back to back fights to unbeaten opponents Faroukh Kurbanov and Joe Cordina but has won two in a row and is hoping to fight for a title this year. First fight for Lehot since losing the French title last May.
Fight of the week (Significance): Sergey Kovalev vs. Eleider Alvarez which could lead to some interesting unification fights in the light heavy division
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Nothing really stood out.
Fighter of the week: Sergey Kovalev with honourable mentions to Richard Commey and Teo Lopez
Punch of the week: The sweet uppercut from Oscar Valdez that finished Carmine Tommasone was special as was the left from Teo Lopez that ended his fight with Diego Magdaleno
Upset of the week: No biggies although DeAndre Ware’s win over Ronald Ellis was unexpected
Prospect watch: Kazak middleweight Janibek Alimkhanuly 5-0 is worth following.
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
-Rene Mark Cuarto (16-1): IBF #5 / WBO #8
Cuarto won his first championship in August after he fought Clyde Azarcon (14-2) for the vacant WBO Oriental title. He will face Samuel Salva (16-0) in an IBF world title eliminator, on March 25.
-Robert Paradero (17-0): WBO #1 / WBC #28
Paradero successfully defended his WBO Asia Pacific Youth title in 2018.
-Samuel Salva (16-0): IBF #4
The Filipino prospect remained undefeated in 2018 as well, thus adding 4 more victories to his record. As mentioned above, Salva and Rene Mark Cuarto (16-1) will square off, for a chance at the IBF World championship, March 25, in Manila.
-Pedro Taduran (13-2): WBC #9 / IBF #9
Taduran began 2018 very promising as he dropped former world title challenger Jerry Tomogdan (26-10) in the fifth round, but couldn’t capitalize on that momentum in his World championship bout against Chayaphon Moonsri (52-0). He beat Jeffrey Galero (17-6) in December.
-Melvin Jerusalem (14-2): IBF #10
Jerusalem got a unanimous decision victory over 2 time world title challenger Toto Landero (10-4) this past November.
-Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1): IBF #3 / WBA #5 / WBC #14
Barriga failed to capture the vacant IBF World Championship in December.
-Joey Canoy (14-3): WBO #10
Canoy recently challenged Simpiwe Konkco (19-5) for the IBO title but the fight ended in a no contest.
-Jonathan Taconing (28-3): WBC #1 / WBO #1 / WBA #2 / IBF #6
Taconing defended his WBC International championship, for the second time, this past September against former world title contender Vince Paras (13-2). A match with either the WBO World champion Angel Acosta (19-1) or the WBC World champion Ken Shiro (15-0), seem to be the next step for him.
-Edward Heno (13-0): WBO #3 / WBC #3 / WBA #6 / IBF #11
Heno marked 2 successful title defenses of the OPBF championship, within 2018, over Jesse Espinas (19-3) as well as former World champion Merlito Sabillo (27-6). His third OPBF title defense will take place in Japan, against Koji Itagaki (18-13), on February 11.
-Jing Xiang (16-4): WBO #8 / WBC #9
2018 was a quite successful year for Xiang as he, not only captured the vacant WBO Intercontinental title in January, but also earned a huge victory after defeating former World champion Merlito Sabillo (27-6), this past September, to become the WBC Silver champion. 2019 already brought another major test for the Chinese rising star as he successfully defended his WBC Silver title against 2 division World champion Suriyan Satorn (59-7), on January 5th, in China.
-Christian Araneta (17-0): IBF #3 / WBA #9 / WBC #10 / WBO #11
Araneta added 3 more wins to his perfect record, in 2018, including a stoppage victory over former world title contender Jerry Tomogdan (26-10), in August.
-Randy Petalcorin (29-3): IBF #10
The former interim WBA World champion will return to action on April 6, in Australia.
-Rey Loreto (24-14): WBC #4
Loreto has only fought once in 2018.
-Giemel Magramo (23-1): WBO #5 / WBC #5 / WBA #8 / IBF #8
The Filipino captured the vacant WBO Oriental title on March of 2018 and successfully defended it in October, against Petchchorhae Kokietgym (17-2). Magramo kicked off 2019 with a bang as he stopped Wenfeng Ge (11-1) for the WBO International title on January 5th, in China.
-Teeraphong Utaida (38-6): IBF #6
Utaida went 4-0 in 2018, moving up to Flyweight only recently and soon became the IBF Pan Pacific champion.
-Sarawut Thawornkham (20-1): WBA #1
The former WBA Asia champion has fought twice in 2018 and has knocked out both of his opponents.
-Nare Yianleang (69-5): WBA #2 / WBC #7
Since losing to Kazuto Ioka in 2017, Yianleang has been undefeated in his last 7 fights.
-Komgrich Nantapech (25-5): IBF #3
Nantapech became the IBF Pan Pacific champion in 2018, when he earned a decision win over Naoki Mochizuki (15-3). He was supposed to face Masayuki Kuroda (30-7) in an IBF World title eliminator bout on November 21st, but due to a sudden injury, he wasn’t able to compete. Komgrich later had to vacate his belt but still managed to pick two more victories before the year was over.
-Sirichai Thaiyen (51-4): WBA #7 / WBC #18
The former WBA interim World champion failed the recapture the crown this summer in Ukraine when he fought Artem Dalakian (18-0).
-Aston Palicte (25-2): WBO #1 / WBC #7 / IBF #14
Palicte stopped Jose Martinez (20-1) on January 31st, in a WBO world title eliminator.
-Michael Dasmarinas (28-2): IBF #4 / WBC #14
Dasmarinas knocked out former EBU European champion Karim Guerfi (28-4) in 2018 to win the IBO title. He will square off against Kenny Demecillo (14-4), on March 29, in an IBF world title eliminator.
-Kenny Demecillo (14-4): IBF #3 / WBC #33
Demecillo has fought only once in 2018, scoring a KO win over Vyacheslav Mirzaev (11-1) in Russia. As mentioned above, he takes on Michael Dasmarinas (28-2) in Singapore.
-Carl Jammes Martin (11-0): WBO #10 / WBA #14
2018 has been a breakout year for the Filipino, winning 4 fights in the span of only 6 months, plus earning the WBO Oriental Youth & WBA Asia titles. Martin will fight again, on February 16, against Petchchorhae Kokietgym (17-2).
-Arthur Villanueva (32-3): WBO #8 / WBC #15
The former WBO Asia Pacific champion and world title contender has one win and one draw in 2018.
-Albert Pagara (31-1): WBO #2 / IBF #7 / WBC #21
Pagara stopped Laryea Gabriel Odoi (20-4) this past June, to become the WBO Intercontinental champion. He successfully made his inaugural title defense against George Krampah (14-4) in November. He will return to action in early March (opponent TBA).
-Juan Miguel Elorde (27-1): WBO #3
Elorde has won the WBO Asia Pacific championship in 2015 and has defended it successfully thrice since then.
-Marlon Tapales (31-2): WBO #6 / IBF #6
The former WBO Bantamweight World champion’s next fight will take place on February 16.
-Nawaphon Kaikanha (44-1): WBC #10
Kaikanha went 5-0 in 2018 and even scored a TKO victory over former World champion Amnat Ruenroeng (18-3). He will be involved in a special attraction match in Thailand, on February 8, against the WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4).
-Jeo Santisima (17-2): WBO #10
The Filipino won the vacant WBO Oriental title this past summer and has already defended it once.
-Genesis Servania (32-1): WBO #1 / WBA #1
Servania has knocked out all of his opponents, since losing to WBO World champion Oscar Valder (25-0) in 2017, including world title contender Carlos Carlson (23-5) in September. His next confirmed opponent is Carlos Castro (21-0), whom he’ll face in California, on February 10. If Servania wins here, since he’s already the number 1 ranked Featherweight by both the WBA & WBO, he can either challenge Can Xu (16-2) or rematch Valder in the immediate future.
-Mark Magsayo (18-0): WBC #1
The former undefeated WBO International champion is the number 1 contender for the WBC World title. A match with Gary Russell Jr. (29-1) could be in the works for later this year.
-Daud Yordan (38-4): WBA #5
Yordan’s latest success came in April of 2018, when he knocked out Pavel Malikov (14-1) to become the WBO Intercontinental champion. He later put on a good performance against former World champion Anthony Crolla (34-6) in a WBA world title eliminator, but it wasn’t enough to get the win.
-Mercito Gesta (32-2): WBO #2 / WBC #32
After unsuccessfully challenging Jorge Linares (45-5) for the WBA World championship, Gesta defeated Robert Manzanarez (36-3) for the vacant WBO-NABO.
-Apinun Khongsong (14-0): IBF #6
The current IBF Asia & Pan Pacific champion has fought 4 times in 2018, all stoppage victories. Khongsong will now face Akihiro Kondo (31-7) in an IBF world title eliminator, on February 18.
-Meng Fanlong (14-0): IBF #8 / WBA #12 / WBO #15 / WBC #29
Meng stopped the former British & Commonwealth champion Frank Buglioni (22-4), this past November, to defend his IBF Intercontinental title for the first time.
-Zhilei Zhang (20-0): WBO #5
The undefeated Chinese giant and Olympic Silver Medalist beat Don Haynesworth (15-3) this past September in his first WBO Oriental title defense.
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
-Masataka Taniguchi (11-2): WBO #2 / WBC #18
Taniguchi defeated Joel Lino (10-1), back in November, for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title. He will challenge Vic Saludar (18-3) on February 26 for the WBO title.
-Tsubasa Koura (14-0): WBC #3 / WBA #8 / WBO #9 / IBF #11
Koura has been the OPBF champion since 2017 and has marked 3 successful title defenses. He is expected to face Simphiwe Khonco (19-5) in a WBC World title eliminator.
-Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6): WBO #3 / WBC #6
The former World champion will get another shot at Chayaphon Moonsri (52-0) and the WBC title, on March 1st, in Thailand. (Ed's note - This bout is now set to be rescheduled for March 29th)
-Shin Ono (23-10): WBO #5 / WBC #29
Ono lost his Japanese title to Norihito Tanaka (18-7) on January 12.
-Tetsuya Hisada (33-9): WBA #1 / WBO #2 / WBC #2 / IBF #9
After recording a 5th successful Japanese title defense in November, before vacating the belt, Hisada is now rumored to fight Carlos Canizales (21-0) for the WBA (Regular) World championship.
-Reiya Konishi (17-1): IBF #4 / WBA #4 / WBO #4 / WBC #6
The WBO Asia Pacific champion will clash with Felix Alvarado (34-2) for the IBF World title, either in March or in April.
Kenichi Horikawa (35-18): WBC #7
Horikawa ended 2018 with a 4-0 record. The former Japanese & WBO Asia Pacific champion’s next opponent will be Satoru Todaka (9-2), whom he will meet on February 14, for the vacant Japanese title.
-Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3): WBO #4
The former IBF & WBA Light Flyweight World champion is moving up a weight class to challenge Kosei Tanaka (12-0), for the WBO strap, on March 16.
-Junto Nakatani (18-0): WBC #4 / WBO #10 / IBF #13 / WBA #14
The unstoppable Japanese prospect has fought 4 times in 2018 and has won all of his bouts, 2 of them via KO. He finally won his first championship, when he stopped Naoki Mochizuki (15-4), on February 2nd, for the vacant Japanese crown.
-Masayuki Kuroda (30-7): WBO #3 / IBF #4
Kuroda has recently vacated his Japanese title as his has set his sights on the World championship. He is rumored to meet Moruti Mthalane (37-2) for the IBF title in 2019.
-Sho Kimura (17-2): WBO #6
The former WBO World champion lost his title to Kosei Tanaka (12-0) this past September, in a FOTY candidate. No word yet as to what’s next for him at the moment.
-Ryuichi Funai (31-7): IBF #1 / WBO #4 / WBC #11
Funai stopped Victor Olivo (15-3) in an IBF world title eliminator, this past November, to become the number 1 contender for Jerwin Ancajas’s (30-1) title.
-Sho Ishida (27-1): IBF #4 / WBO #6 / WBA #7 / WBC #12
Since losing to the WBA world champion Khalid Yafai (25-0) in 2017, Ishida has won all of his 2018 bouts, against Ratchanon Sawangsoda (12-3), Richard Claveras (18-6), as well as former world title contender Warlito Parrenas (26-9).
-Kazuto Ioka (23-2): WBC #3 / WBO #5
Ioka debuted at the Super Flyweight division this past September, defeating McWilliams Arroyo (17-4) to become the WBC Silver champion. In December, he fought Donnie Nietes (42-1), for the vacant WBO World title, losing a very close decision.
-Koki Eto (24-4): WBC #6 / WBO #7 / WBA #8 / IBF #12
The former interim WBA Flyweight World champion has been on a 7 fight winning streak, since losing to Carlos Cuadras (37-3) in 2015.
-Daigo Higa (15-1): WBA #6
The former WBC Flyweight World champion is expected to make his return to the ring in 2019.
-Ryosuke Iwasa (25-3): IBF #3
Iwasa will square off against Cesar Juarez (23-6) in an IBF world title eliminator, on February 16. If he wins, he will be one step closer to regaining his championship.
-Shingo Wake (26-5): IBF #4 / WBC #4
The former Japanese & OPBF champion has been on a 6 fight winning streak since losing to Jonathan Guzman (23-1) in 2016.
-Yukinori Oguni (20-2): WBA #4
After losing his World title in 2017, Oguni has picked only one victory in 2018.
-Satoshi Shimizu (8-0): IBF #3
The 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist has made 3 successful title defenses of the OPBF crown in 2018, against Kyung Min Kwon (6-5), Shingo Kawamura (16-5) and Takuya Uehara (16-1).
-Hiroshige Osawa (34-5): WBA #8 / IBF #13
The former OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion finds himself once again in the world rankings, since losing to WBO World champion Oscar Valdez (24-0) in 2016.
-Reiya Abe (19-2): IBF #4 / WBC #12
Abe is the number 1 contender for Taiki Minamoto’s (16-5) Japanese title. These 2 men will collide at the 2019 Champion Carnival, on May 1st.
-Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1): WBO #4
Sueyoshi will defend his Japanese championship, for a fourth time, against Ken Osato (15-2), on May 4th.
-Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0): IBF #4 / WBC #8 / WBO #9
Nakatani marked his 11th successful OPBF title defense in December, when he stopped the former WBC International champion Hurricane Futa (25-8) in round 6. He is rumored to face former EBU European & WBA Intercontinental champion Edis Tatli (31-2) in an IBF world title eliminator.
-Nihito Arakawa (31-6): WBO #6
The former Japanese, OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion is looking for his second world title opportunity in 2019.
-Hiroki Okada (19-0): WBO #2 / WBA #3 / IBF #5 / WBC #9
Okada’s toughest challenge to date will take place on February 10, as the undefeated Japanese superstar takes on the former WBO Lightweight World champion Raymundo Beltran (35-8), in a WBC world title eliminator.
-Akihiro Kondo (31-7): IBF #4
The former WBO Asia Pacific champion will be involved in an IBF world title eliminator, against the IBF Pan Pacific champion Apinun Khongsong (14-0), on February 18.
-Keita Obara (20-3): IBF #6 / WBO #13
The 2 time WBO Asia Pacific champion will face the undefeated former WBC Silver champion Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0), on March 30, in an IBF world title eliminator.
-Takeshi Inoue (13-1): WBO #3
The former Japanese, OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion unsuccessfully challenged Jaime Munguia (32-0) for the WBO World title, on January 26.
-Ryota Murata (14-2): WBC #4 / IBF #6 / WBA #7
The 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist lost his WBA (Regular) World title to Rob Brant (24-1) this past October, and once again finds himself in the position of the title chaser.
-Kyotaro Fujimoto (20-1): WBO #7 / WBA #11 / WBC #27
The former K-1 champion has unified the Japanese, OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles.
By Eric Armit
The Past Week in Action
-Keith Thurman retains the WBA welterweight title with victory over Josesito Lopez
-China’s Can Xu wins the secondary WBA featherweight title with upset victory over Jesus Rojas
-Jamie Munguia retains the WBO super welter title with wide unanimous verdict over Takeshi Inoue
-Tugstsogt Nyambayar outpoints Claudio Marrero in WBC featherweight eliminator and also wins the vacant IBO title
-Adam Kownacki steam rollers Gerald Washington in two rounds
WORLD TITLE SHOWS
New York, NY, USA: Welter: Keith Thurman (29-0) W PTS 12 Josesito Lopez (36-8,1ND). Feather: Tugstsogt Nyambayar (22-0) W PTS 12 Claudio Marrero (23-3). Heavy: Adam Kownacki (19-0) W TKO 2 Gerald Washington (19-3-1). Middle: Chordale Booker (14-0) W PTS 8 Juan De Angel (21-9-1). Super Feather: Chris Colbert (10-0) W PTS 8 Josh Hernandez (8-2). Super Bantam: Stephen Fulton (15-0) W TKO 5 Marlon Olea (14-4). Welter: Miguel Cruz (18-1) W TKO 2 Luis Eduardo Florez (24-12,1ND). Super Light: Gary Antuanne Russell (8-0) W TKO 2 Roberto Almazan (7-9).
Thurman vs. Lopez
Thurman makes a long awaited return to the ring and retains his WBA title with unanimous decision as he sheds the rust of almost two years of inactivity against a rugged and Aggressive Lopez
After the initial probing with jabs Lopez let fly with a couple of hooks that stirred Thurman into action. He quickly reddened Lopez’s face with jabs and straight rights and ended the round with a sharp uppercut inside.
Score: 10-9 Thurman
Thurman kept popping Lopez with jabs in the second and showed some classy defensive work to dodge the challenger’s punches. Thurman was content to let Lopez march forward and was connecting with quick bursts of punches and moving before Lopez could counter. Late in the round Thurman landed a vicious body punch and as Lopez shaped to throw a left hook he was nailed by a left hook from Thurman that sent him down on his hands and knees. He was up at eight and with less than ten seconds remaining in the round he survived to the bell.
Score: 10-8 Thurman Thurman 20-17
Lopez seemed to have recovered and he was coming forward again in this one. He had two problems in that he was not throwing enough punches and had no defence against the stabbing jabs from Thurman. Lopez finally let his punches go but was too wild and Thurman staged a strong finish to the round.
Score: 10-9 Thurman Thurman 30-26
Thurman made an aggressive start to the fourth coming out throwing hooks and uppercuts and initially putting Lopez on the back foot. Thurman kept moving and punching with Lopez a step behind all of the time. That changed as Lopez had his first success in the fight so far when he connected with some heavy shots. Thurman stayed cool and scored with sharp counters.
Score: 10-9 Thurman Thurman 40-35
Official Scores: Judge Ackerman 39-36 Thurman, Judge Schreck 40-35 Thurman Judge Weisfeld 40-35 Thurman
Thurman simply outboxed Lopez. He was on his toes constantly on the move and slotting jabs and uppercuts through the guard of Lopez. Just before the bell they both landed with single heavy punches to the head but it was Thurman’s round.
Score:10-9 Thurman Thurman 50-34
Lopez pressed hard again in this round. He finally managed to trap Thurman on the ropes and landed some heavy swings but Thurman was quickly on the move scoring with fast combinations up and down and connected with a burst of punches at the bell.
Score: 10-9 Thurman Thurman 60-53
A big round for Lopez. After chasing in vain and eating a diet of jabs and uppercuts he pursued Thurman into a corner and connected with a neck-snapping left to the head. As Thurman tried to get out of the corner he was knocked back by a stiff right. He made it out of the corner but Lopez pursued him around the ring rocking him with hooks. Momentarily it looked as though Thurman had survived the storm but Lopez landed two big shots to the head and the pursuit was on again. Thurman did recover just before the bell and fired back with shots of his own but it was Lopez round by a big enough margin to make it a 10-8 even with no count
Score 10-8 Lopez Thurman 68-63
Thurman was on his toes and boxing but there were danger signs as he was caught by a couple of punches from Lopez. Lopez kept padding forward but he was just too slow and Thurman was going for speed and not loading up with his punches but was much more accurate.
Score: 10-9 Thurman Thurman 78-72
Official Scores: Ackerman 76-74 Thurman, Schreck 77-73 Thurman Weisfeld 77-73 Thurman
A closer round. Lopez managed to score with clubbing shots to head and body as he kept chasing Thurman down. Thurman was stopping and blasting away with quick combinations but Lopez just had the edge.
Score: 10-9 Lopez Thurman 87-82
Brilliant boxing from Thurman. He was constantly on the move sliding jabs and straight rights through the centre of Lopez’s guard. He mixed in left hooks to the body and good upper body movement which saw Lopez too often swishing empty air.
Score: 10-9 Thurman Thurman 97-91
You had to give Lopez credit for his persistence as stalked Thurman around the ring but he was just too slow to really threaten. Thurman was exploding with bunches of punches and then either skipping away or ducking under the ponderous swing from Lopez.
Score:10-9 Thurman Thurman 107-100
Thurman was really just trying to stay out of trouble in the last. He scored with some jabs but did not stay to trade. Lopez kept marching forward throwing punches and just did enough to edge the round.
Score: 10-9 Lopez Thurman 116-110
Official Scores: Ackerman 113-113 Draw, Schreck 117-109 Thurman Weisfeld 115-111 Thurman
The 30-year-old Thurman retains the (real) WBA welterweight title. He had a couple of rough patches but generally was too quick and too slick for a strong and limited Lopez. He injured his right hand in the fight and this was his first fight after almost two years due to injuries so some allowances have to be made for that. It would be too much to expect that the WBA insist that Thurman and Manny Pacquiao now fight to establish one champion as the WBA once claimed was their aim. Thurman is not the kind of opponent Pacquiao would want at this stage of his career. With IBF champion Errol Spence fighting Mikey Garcia in March, WBO champion Terrence Crawford tackling Amir Khan in April and WBC champion Shawn Porter defending against Yordenis Ugas in March any unification is a way down the line. Alex Besputin is Thurman’s No 1 challenger and although talented Besputin is not yet a high profile boxer so it would be a lot of risk for very little reward and Thurman may look to fit in another voluntary defence. Californian Lopez, 34, made Thurman fight hard but never really looked a likely winner. He has already come out second in title fights against Saul Alvarez for the WBC super welter title and Andre Berto for the interim welterweight title and I can’t see him getting another title shot.
Nyambayar vs. Marrero
Nyambayar outpoints Marrero in a clash of styles that provides plenty of entertainment. Nyambayar made the sharper start. He was using his jab well and although Marrero showed great hand speed over the opening two rounds Nyambayar was able to move in quickly and score with rights to the body and evade Marrero’s counters. The third was a good round for Nyambayar. Initially Marrero was taking the fight to the Mongolian but Nyambayar landed a peach of a right uppercut that sent Marrero back. Nyambayar then landed a long right. Marrero mocked the punch only for Nyambayar land another hard right and followed that with an uppercut. Marrero did much better in the fourth letting his punches flow. Nyambayar evened things up with a couple of flashing combinations and some stiff jabs. The round could have been scored either way but as I saw it Nyambayar had take the first four rounds. The fifth was Marrero’s round. He was attacking from the outset firing rapid combinations that had Nyambayar backing up and unable to block the shots. Unfortunately Marrero than decided to do some fancy stuff and lost the initiative but took the round. Nyambayar’s jab had been a potent weapon earlier but now it was Marrero’s right jab that was dominating and together with a selection of straight lefts he bossed the sixth round and took the seventh. Nyambayar came back into the fight in the eighth. He had his jab working again and was finding gaps for his straight rights and just did enough to collect the round. At that stage I had Nyambayar in front 77-75 but Marrero took the ninth. He was peppering Nyambayar with straight shots from both hands so quickly that Nyambayar was unable to block them and it looked as though Marrero might take over the fight. The tenth saw a couple of incidents. Nyambayar began well scoring with straight rights to the head but after the referee called break Marrero landed another punch and was deducted a point. Marrero attacked furiously trying to get the point back and as they traded punches a left hook from Nyambayar went low. Marrero retreated hurt. The referee issued Nyambayar with a warning and gave Marrero some recovery time and with Marrero piling forward and Nyambayar letting his fist fly it was a wild end to the round. The best Marrero could hope for out of the round was a 9-9 so he still had some catching up to do. Marrero marched forward throwing punches in the eleventh but he was just swinging and with no real accuracy. Nyambayar threw less but hardly wasted a punch landing pinpoint jab s and straight rights countering the rushing attacks of Marrero. The cooler boxing of Nyambayar gave him the last round with Marrero lucky not to lose a point for four consecutive punches to the back of the head. Marrero just could not launch an effective attack and Nyambayar was already celebrating as the round and the fight drew to a close.. Scores 116-111, 115-112 and 114-113 all for Nyambayar. The 26-year-old “King Tut” is now in line to challenge Gary Russell for the WBC title. He also won the vacant IBO title. As an amateur he won silver medals at both the World Championships and the 2014 Olympic Games and is said to have ended his amateur time with a 245-34 record. He has wins over Filipino Hermonito Dela Torre (19-0) and interim WBA champion Oscar Escandon but this was only his second fight in thirteen months. Dominican Marrero also a former interim WBA champion lost that title to Jesus Rojas in 2017 but had rebounded with a victory over unbeaten 29-0-2 Jorge Lara.
Kownacki vs. Washington IBF 8(7)
Kownacki gets another inside the distance win as he presses his claim for a seat at the big money table. From the opening bell Pole Kownacki walked forward throwing rights forcing the taller Washington back. Washing tried to stop Kownacki’s attacks with counters but Kownacki walked through Washington’s punches banging out jabs and launching rights. Washington stopped Kownacki’s advance temporarily with some rights but then Kownacki pounded Washington with rights to the head and at the bell Washington was on very unsteady legs. Washington launched a fierce attack at the start of the second but again Kownacki walked through the punches and drove Washington back and down with rights. Washington got to his feet but looked very shaky. He did the walks the referee asked him to do and reluctantly was allowed to continue. Kownacki took Washington the ropes and connected with a couple more rights and the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. The 29-year-old Brooklyn-based Pole makes it 15 wins by KO/TKO. At 6’3” tall and 258lbs he is fleshy with short arms but seems to have a great chin and is heavy handed. He has wins over Artur Szpilka, Iago Kiladze and Charles Martin and is rated IBF 5(4)/WBC 8. He walked through the punches of the 6’6” Washington but the question is whether he would be able to walk through the punches from Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. When Washington challenged Wilder for the WBC title in February 2017 two judges had the fight even after four rounds. Wilder finished it in the fifth and Washington retired after eight rounds against Jarrell Miller in July. This is only his second fight in 18 months.
Booker vs. De Angel
Booker marches on with comprehensive points win over experienced Colombian De Angel. The southpaw hope took the first round but was then buzzed by a right in the second. He quickly recovered and fired back. He controlled the fight from there. He rocked De Angel in the fifth and then landed a crunching body punch in the seventh that had De Angel going down on one knee. The Colombian beat the count and endured to the bell and saw out the last round. Scores 79-72 twice and 80-71 for 27-year-old Booker who was an Elite level amateur. He took silver at the 2014 US National Championships and then went one better with gold in 2015. That qualified him for the US Olympic Trials. He almost made it getting through the early rounds but losing to LeShawn Rodriguez in what was virtually the semi-final. De Angel is in the “brought in to lose" category now and has won only one of his last six fights but there has been tough opposition in those fights such as Austin Trout and Immanuwel Aleem.
Colbert vs. Hernandez
“The Golden Child” Colbert continues unbeaten with a unanimous verdict over Hernandez. Colbert was always in control in this one but Hernandez pushed him hard all the way and the result was a high-tempo entertaining eight rounds. Colbert’s superior speed and skills were the winning factors here. He lacked the power to keep Hernandez out but those skills in the form of precise southpaw jabs, clever movement and sharp countering gave him the edge. He was a clear winner but was given eight testing rounds. Scores 79-73 for Colbert from all three judges. He was US National champion in 2015 where he could have been excused for not being at his best as he and his family were evicted from their home just as the Tournament was starting and staying sheltered accommodation. Hopefully success as a pro will make such problems a thing of the past for the 22-year-old from Brooklyn. Hernandez had scored seven wins by KO/TKO but could not repeat that success against prospect Colbert.
Fulton vs. Olea
Philadelphian Fulton gets his sixth win by KO/TKO as he stops Colombian Olea in five rounds. It we as a breeze for the 24-year-old Fulton. He dripped Olea in the second and again in the fourth. He was piling on the punishment inn the fifth when the referee stopped the fight. A former National Golden Gloves champion and US National Championships silver medal winner this is his sixth win by KO/TKO. Four fights outside of Colombia and four losses for Olea but on the credit side lone of those losses was on points against now WBA super bantamweight champion Daniel Roman.
Cruz vs. Florez
Cruz rebounds from his first pro, loss with second round stoppage of Florez. Cruz Was outpointed by Josesito Lopez in his last fight in April last year dropping a wide unanimous decision made to look even worse by him being deducted two points for low punches. Cruz gets his eleventh win by KO/TKO with this result. Florez’s record recently has been very spotty but sitting there back in 2014 is a first round destruction of current WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt. The only fight Berchelt has lost!
Russell vs. Almazan
Bombs away as Russell blasts out poor Almazan in two rounds. Russell was hunting Almazan early and landing southpaw right hooks to the body. Almazan dropped to his knees but it did not look to be a knock down more of Almazan leaning forward too far. The referee applied a count. Russell continued to force Almazan around the ring. Almazan managed to land a couple of counters but the power shots were coming from Russell. In the second Russell trapped Almazan on the ropes and pounded away until Almazan slid down the ropes to the floor and the fight was stopped. Since the father of WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr decided to name all four of his sons Gary it can be hard to track them. Gary Antuanne, 22, was National Golden Gloves champion, as were his three brothers and like Gary Jr he also made it to the Olympics representing the USA in Rio. He has won all of his eight fights by KO/TKO taking less than twelve rounds to dispose of his eight opponents. Brownsville-based Mexican Almazan was way out of his depth here and this is his fifth loss by KO/TKO.
Houston, TX, USA:. Super Welter: Jaime Munguia (32-0) W PTS 12 Takeshi Inoue (13-1-1). Feather: Can Xu (16-2) W PTS 12 Jesus M Rojas (26-3-2,1ND) . Super Bantam: Alberto Melian (4-0) W TKO 10 Edgar Ortega (10-2-2). Super Light: Vergil Ortiz (12-0) W RTD 5 Jesus Valdez (23-5-1).
Munguia vs. Inoue
Munguia retains the WBO title as he takes every round against a game and persistent but crude challenger.
Although Munguia is the puncher it was Inoue who came out throwing rights but was warned twice for punches behind the head in the first minute of the fight. Munguia was much taller with a longer reach and began by throwing jabs on the back foot but and as the round progressed he began to let fly with left hooks and straight rights.
Munguia was able to box outside and slot home his jab and then move inside with left hooks to the body. Inoue’s tactics were to draw the jab and then lunge forward head down swinging wildly. Munguia was able to smother the attacks and again and with Munguia ducking under the punches Inoue was landing on the back of Munguia’s head
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 20-18
Inoue did have some success with his rights in this round but Munguia was banging home solid left hooks to the body all the way through the round. He was often leading with his right and finding Inoue an easy target.
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 30-27
Already this was a one-sided fight. Munguia was scoring with jabs and left hooks with Inoue waiting and waiting and then throwing himself forward punching wildly. Munguia was able to tie him up inside and then again score on the outside. Both fighters were warned about punches behind the head as Munguia responded to the illegal punches from Inoue with some of his own.
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Alvarez 40-36 Munguia, Judge Martinez 39-37 Munguia, Judge Ramos 40-36
Too easy for Munguia. He was able to stand off and score with jabs and left hooks and then go forward with clubbing rights. Inoue showed no sign of being in any trouble from the punishment but his crude rushes were no threat to Munguia.
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 50-45
Inoue had a couple of brief spells where he landed with some hooks but other than that it was all Munguia. He was connecting with sweeping clusters of punches from both hands forcing Inoue back and focusing on the body trying to get the challenger to drop his high guard. Inoue was again warned for punches to the back of the head.
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 60-54
Inoue launched a fierce attack at the start of the round but then Munguia opened some space and began to rattle Inoue’s ribs with left hooks. A couple of them had Inoue hurt but he continued to march forward into the punishment. After being caught by a thudding right just before the bell Inoue landed a hard right of his own but it was another round for Munguia-and Inoue was warned again for punches to the back of the head.
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 70-63
Inoue had a bit more success in this round as he stayed close and swung his hooks. He landed some snappy ones but Munguia was able to break free and force Inoue back with a series of lefts and rights to the head and outscored Inoue over the remainder of the round-both were warned for punches to the back of the head.
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 80-72
Official Scores: Alvarez 80-72 Munguia, Martinez 79-73 Munguia, J Ramos 80-72 Munguia
Inoue pressed hard again in this one. Munguia’s output dropped and too often he allowed Inoue to stay inside and brawl. Inoue rarely found the target with his wide swipes and Munguia was able to make space and land his wicked hooks to the body.
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 90-81
Munguia was tiring and was now just throwing one big punch at a time. Inoue kept marching forward and scored with rights but was taking more than he was giving. Just before the end of the round with Inoue on the attack Munguia connected with a couple of head punches. Inoue’s legs buckled and Munguia drove him back with more head punches that had Inoue reeling to the bell.
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 100-90
Munguia looked a bit arm weary. He should be as he had hit Inoue enough times. Munguia was still landing big single shots. Inoue was trying hard to work inside but he was hooking too wide and Munguia was able to duck inside the hooks. Munguia again fired a bunch of heavy punches late in the round.
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 110-99
Munguia handed out some serious punishment in the last but somehow Inoue just kept coming. Munguia was bouncing rights and lefts off the head of the Japanese fighter who showed remarkable resilience and determination but took a hammering.
Score: 10-9 Munguia Munguia 120-108
Official Scores: Alvarez 120-108 Munguia, Martinez 119-109 Munguia, Ramos 120-108 Munguia
A gift defence for the 22-year-old Mexican who was making the third defence of his title in six months. He had won 26 of his fights by KO/TKO which shows just how well Inoue takes a punch. A former Mexican amateur champion his father fought twice for the Mexican title in a brief career. His mandatory challenger is Dennis Hogan and that will be Munguia’s next fight. This result was totally predictable . Inoue had never faced let alone beaten a rated contender but was No 3 with the WBO. He owed this rating to a victory over an opponent with a 7-3 record which saw him first enter the WBO ratings in November 2017 at No 11. He did not get rated because of a win over a worthwhile opponent but because he won the WBO Asia Pacific title and in their scramble for money the WBO don’t care who you beat just make sure you pay the sanctioning fee. What a disgraceful distortion of a ratings system. Since then he had only one other fight when in April 2018 he outpointed 40-year-old Yuki Nonaka and somehow he had climbed from No 11 to No 3 in the WBO ratings. Inoue is not a member of the same family as Naoya Inoue. Takeshi won a silver medal at the Japanese championships in 2010 and so did not qualify for the 2012 Olympics. He then applied to join the Japanese police but after meeting no success there he turned to pro boxing. He lacked the craft or the experience to be competitive here.
Xu vs. Rojas
Xu wins secondary WBA title with decision over champion Rojas in hard-fought and entertaining contests where the scores do not reflect how close the fight was. At its most basic it came down to the cleaner work at distance from Xu compared to the busy inside attacks from Rojas. A close first round saw Xu already probing with his jab and Rojas looking to go to the body . Xu largely managed to keep the fight an outside fight in the second with Rojas coming forward and focusing on a body attack. Rojas started the third with some sharp jabs and following rights but Xu ended the round strongly to again make it close. The fourth was Xu's round as he worked his jab well and scored with some useful hooks. After four rounds two judges had Xu in front 40-36 with the other seeing them level at 38-38 so it looked like the close rounds were going to Xu with much of the inside work being done by Rojas overlooked. The champion worked hard inside to take the fifth and they they both battled away in the sixth and seventh with Rojas getting into his stride and stepping up his work rate and Xu having more trouble keep him out. Xu took the eighth as he forced the fight hard coming forward and shooting out his jab and connecting with rights. After eight rounds one judge had it 79-73 for Xu, one had it 78-74 and third 78-75 putting Xu in a strong position. Rojas had a good ninth scoring with some eye-catching rights to the head and uppercuts inside but as they traded punches in a fast tenth Xu seemed to edge it with his jabs and straight rights. Xu also had a good eleventh rattling Rojas to set up a furious last round. That featured three minutes of nonstop exchanges with both having their moments in another close round in an exciting battle. Scores 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112 all for Xu. The last score looked to be a better reflection of the twelve rounds and the punch stats showed a very narrow gap between the punches each landed but Xu got the decision and the title. The 24-year-old “Monster” wins China’s third world title and their first with the WBA. Not bad for someone who was just 3-2 in his first 5 fights. He has scored wins over good level opposition in Kris George, Corey McConnell, Jack Asis and Nehomar Cermeno but was very much an outsider here. Great reward for his parents. When Xu showed promise as a boxer they knew he needed to go to a city to get recognition so they sold their home and moved to give him that chance. Now it is literally pay back time. Rojas won the interim WBA title with a kayo of Carlos Marrero in 2017 and was later promoted to secondary champion just before the fight with Joseph Diaz in August 2018. Rojas lost that fight but because Diaz failed to make the weight Rojas remained champion until this fight.
Melian vs. Ortega
Melian scores late stoppage over Ortega to win the vacant WBA-NABA title. The former Elite level amateur dictated throughout this one handing out a steady beating to Mexican Valdez. Although their records made this look like a reasonable match Melian’s vast amateur experience meant Ortega never really had a chance. Melian had won all nine rounds and it looked as though he would have to settle for a points win. However in the last round a booming left hook put Ortega down flat on the floor. Somehow he made it to his feet but Melian drove him to the ropes with two rights. He then brutalised Ortega with head punches until the referee dived in and stopped the fight. The 29-year-old Melian was a leading member of the World Series of Boxing Argentinian Condors team and represented Argentina at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. He won the national title in only his second pro fight. Ortega was 6-0-1 going into this one and fought hard but had lost every round at the time of the finish.
Ortiz vs. Valdez
Up against a southpaw for the first time Ortiz took a little while to sort out his tactics but he was soon getting through with his jabs and straight rights. In the second it was clear that Ortega did not have the power to keep Ortiz out and Ortiz began to boss the action coming in behind his jab and attacking the body. The fight was a little untidy in the third and with Ortiz doing the cleaner work. He was throwing more and landing more. Late in the fourth a right from Ortiz opened a cut over the left eye of Ortega and it bled heavily. Ortiz continued to take the fight to Ortega in the fifth. Half way through the round the referee asked the doctor to take a look at Ortega’s cut but he was allowed to continue. Ortiz was connecting with hard rights and once again Ortega had to pass doctors inspection of the cut. At the end of the round the cut was ruled too serious for Ortega to continue. The 20-year-old from Dallas already has victories over former IBF and WBA super featherweight champion Juan Carlos Salgado and experienced Mexican Roberto Ortiz. In the amateurs he was twice USA Junior champion. Second loss by KO/TKO for Valdez.
Trujillo, Puerto Rico: Super Bantam: Luis Lebron (15-0-1) W KO 8 Josean Figueroa (I2-6-2). Lebron punches too hard for Figueroa in an all-Puerto Rican clash. Lebron used his edges in height and reach to score at distance and connected with crisp left hooks inside. Figueroa marched forward over the next four rounds cutting down Lebron’s punching room and getting through with short hooks and uppercuts but was still taking punishment to the body and clubbing head punches from Lebron. Lebron outscored Figueroa over the fifth. Figueroa continued to advance in the sixth but at the end of the round was rocked by a series of punches. After a one-sided seventh with Figueroa’s left eye almost closed Lebron landed a right hook followed by a left and Figueroa dropped to knees and was counted out. “Popeye” Lebron gets his eighth win by KO/TKO and his ninth win in a row, Fourth loss by KO/TKO for fellow-Puerto Rican Figueroa.
Cape Town, South Africa: Feather: Toto Hlebe (20-7) W PTS 10 Pfariso Neluvhulani (12-13-2). Former undefeated South African champion bantamweight champion Hlebe takes routine unanimous decision over southpaw Neluvhulani. Fighting in his home area Hlebe was a clear winner and will be looking to fight for international titles next. Neluvhulani was 2-0-1 in his last three fights.
Wat Kedkanudom, Thailand: Super Fly: Kongfah CP-Freshmart (25-1) W PTS 10 Salatiel Amit (11-6-2).Fly: Noknoi (69-5) W PTS 6 Mahmoud Lotfollazadeh (0-3). Fly: Petchmanee (26-1) W TKO 2 Suphakit Khampha (2-7).
Kongfah vs. Amit
Thai Kongfah (real name Jakkrawut Majoogoen) floors and outpoints gutsy Filipino Amit. Kongfah was to have defended the OPBF Silver title but he came in at 116lbs so lost the title on the scales. Kongfah was much the bigger man and had a big edge in reach. He used those advantages and some thudding rights to the head to control the fight. Amit refused to back down so it was a fiercely contested fight. After eight rounds Kongfah was in front 78-74 on two cards and 77-75 on the other. Whatever chance Amit had of turning the fight his ended in the ninth when a right to the side of the head knocked him off balance and he touched the floor with a knee and his right glove. That resulted in a count and a 10-8 round for Kongfah. Final scores were 97-92 for Kongfah from all three judges. This is the eleventh win for Kongfah since being knocked out by future champion Daigo Higa in 2015. He is hoping to challenge Artem Dalakian for the WBA flyweight title this year but after losing his title on then scales here needs to get control of his weight. Amit fought hard all the way but is now 1-4 in his last 5 fights.
Noknoi vs. Lotfollazadeh
Forget this one. Just really some paid sparring for Noknoi (real name Nare Yianleang) as he takes it easy on Iranian novice and wins all six rounds. Scores 60-54 from the judges. Noknoi,32, the WBC No 7 has lost only one of his last 69 fights but that was in his only really competitive contest when he was decisioned by Kazuto Ioka for the secondary WBA flyweight title in 2017
Petchmanee vs. Khampha
More waste of ring time as Petchmanee (Panya Pradabsri) stops fellow-Thai Khampa in two rounds. Petchmanee, the WBC No 12 light flyweight, also lost his only really competitive fight when he was defeated on a majority decision by Chaozhong Xiong in China in 2017 for the vacant WBA International title. Four losses in a row for poor Khampha.
Karlsruhe, Germany: Super Middle: Vincent Feigenbutz (30-2) W TKO 5 Przemyslaw Opalach (27-3). Super Welter: Ahmad Ali (14-0-1 W PTS 13Denis Krieger (14-8-2). Middle: Araik Marutjan (8-0) W KO 8 Islam Teffahi (21-7-2,1ND).
Feigenbutz vs. Opalach
Feigenbutz too strong for Pole Opalach and wins the vacant Global Boxing Union title with fifth round stoppage. In the first round Opalach was using his longer reach to try to keep Feigenbutz out. He had some success but Feigenbutz was quicker and was able to score with his own jab and some hard rights. Opalach went on the front foot in the second but Feigenbutz was the one scoring with jabs slotting them through the Pole’s defence and connecting with well-timed rights. Feigenbutz again controlled the action in third and landed some hurtful rights to the head that shook Opalach. The Pole tried to come forward but had no answer to Feigenbutz’s jab and was also being caught by sweeping right uppercuts. Opalach was using his jab more in the fourth but was being buzzed with thumping rights and again with uppercuts. Opalach tried to punch with Feigenbutz but lacked power and Feigenbutz was also connecting with body punches from both hands and slowly breaking Opalach down. Opalach scored with a few body punches at the start of the fifth but then Feigenbutz went to work. He was landing rib bending body punches and booming rights to the head. Opalach was soaking up the punishment but after a right staggered him the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. The 23-year-old German has lost only one of his last 29 fights and is No 3 (2) with the IBF. The European Boxing Union (EBU), which goes more by strength of the opposition he has beaten than the number of wins, has him at No 12. A fight with new IBF champion Caleb Plant has to be a possibility. Feigenbutz has shown steady improvement but I am not sure he can lift himself to the next level. Opalach’s record is deceiving. Although a former WBFederation champion his opposition has been modest at best and he does not even make it into the EBU top 25.
Ali vs. Krieger
German Ali wins the vacant Global Boxing Union (GBU) world title with wide unanimous verdict over Moldovan Krieger. Ali swept the first three rounds before Krieger managed to get into the fight over the fourth and fifth. The skilful Ali then outboxed Krieger the rest of the way and a strong finish by Krieger where they traded punches time and again was too little too late. Scores 120-108, 119-109 and 117-111 for Ali. He was born in Germany and is one of eight children of Lebanese parents. Ali, 30, balances his pro career with his work at Mercedes Benz. He is a former GBU middleweight champion. German-based Krieger is 2-7 in his last 9 fights with one of his wins an upset victory over 21-0 Robert Maess.
Marutjan vs. Teffahi
Marutjan finds a finishing punch in the last round after a slow and uninspired performance. The former top amateur had an off night in a fight which featured very little in the way of highlights. Marutjan was doing enough to win the rounds having Teffahi in trouble late in the fourth but otherwise just not sparking. It looked as though the fight would end with a points win for Marutjan but he produced a thunderous right cross in the last that put Teffahi down. He managed to get to his feet but the referee stopped the fight. The Armenian-born Marutjan, 26 and now a German citizen, is a former German amateur champion. He won a silver medal at the European Championships, a bronze at the World Championships and competed at the 2016 Olympics. This is his second win by KO/TKO. Belgian-based Tunisian Teffahi had put together a 10-0-1 run until knocked out by unbeaten Hungarian Balasz Bacskai in December.
Uncasville, CN, USA: Super Light: Cletus Seldin (23-1,1ND) W KO 1 Adam Mate (28-14). Seldin blows away Hungarian Mate inside a minute. Seldin came outpunching and immediately forced Hungarian Mate into a corner and connected with shots to head and body. Mate squeezed out of the corner but Seldin followed and put him down on his hands and knees with a right to the head. Mate was up at nine and allowed to continue. Seldin jumped on him and drove him across the ring before landing with a huge right cross that put Mate face down on the canvas with the referee immediately waiving the fight over. The 32-year-old “Hebrew Hammer” was unbeaten in his first 22 fights before losing to Canadian Yves Ulysse in December 2017. He was inactive until returning a win in November. Eleventh loss by KO/TKO for Hungarian Mate who has constantly been overmatched.
Montreal, Canada: Super Light: Mathieu Germain (16-0-1) DREW 10 Steve Claggett (27-5-2). Super Welter: Sadriddin Akhmedov (7-0) W TKO 4 Abraham Juarez (13-2). Heavy: Arslanbek Makhmudov (6-0) W TKO 1 Jason Bergman (27-16-2). Super Middle: Lexson Mathieu (1-0) W TKO 1 Edgar Santoyo (2-2-2)
Germain vs. Claggett
Germain and Claggett fought to a draw in a stirring contest with the tie looking a good reflection of the action. With Claggett No 1 in the Canadian ratings coming from Calgary and Germain No 4 from Montreal there was plenty of needle in the fight. After a frantic first round as they both tried to take control of the fight the pace slowed to something more sensible and Germain built a slight lead. Claggett had a big fifth with Germain seeming to fade but then Germain came back into the fight and had again nosed ahead after nine. Claggett needed a strong finish and he produced one with an exhausted Germain in deep trouble in the last but making it to the bell. Scores 96-94 Germain, 96-94 Claggett and 95-95. Germain, 29, holds on to his IBF North American title. For Claggett, also 29, of Chinese and Canadian roots, getting a draw in Germain’s back yard will seem almost as good as a win. A return would make for another good fight.
Akhmedov vs. Juarez
Kazak prospect Akhmedov wins his first pro title as he halts Mexican Juarez in four rounds. Akhmedov stalked Juarez over the first three rounds without finding the punch he needed to end the fight. In the fourth Akhmedov shook Juarez with a left and then nailed him with a right and a left hook to the head that put the Mexican down. Juarez beat the count and circled the ring trying to stay out of trouble but Akhmedov trapped him on the ropes and knocked him down with a right. Juarez was up early but on unsteady legs and the referee stopped the fight. The 20-year-old Montreal-based Akhmedov has ended all of his seven fights by KO/TKO taking less than fifteen rounds to do so. He wins the vacant WBC Youth title. He is a former two-time Kazak amateur champion who competed in the World Series of Boxing in 2016 and 2017 and he is worth watching. Juarez had won his last nine fights and this is his second loss by KO/TKO.
Makhmudov vs. Bergman
Russian Makhmudov adds another first round finish as he puts Bergman away in just 97 seconds. A right set Bergman up for another right to the side of the head which saw Bergman fall into the ropes hanging half outside of the ring suspended on the third rope. He was up at eight but another series of head punches dropped him to his knees and the referee had seen enough. The 29-year-old 6’ 5” (197cm) Makhmudov now has five first round finishes and his six fights have lasted less than seven rounds. He also competed in the World Series of Boxing and it was his friend, the current IBF light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev, who talked him into re-locating to Montreal. “Ironman” Bergman suffers his sixth loss by KO/TKO.
Mathieu vs. Santoyo
Canadian boxing is expecting big things from Mathieu who took just 43 seconds to register his first victory as a pro. A left rattled Santoyo and as he tried to move forward a right dropped him to his knees. Santoyo was up quickly. Having started as a southpaw the flashy Mathieu switched to southpaw and landed a huge right that spun Santoyo so far around that he ended up with his back to Mathieu. He staggered backwards past Mathieu to the ropes and as Mathieu pounded him with head punches Santoyo collapsed to the floor with the referee pulling Mathieu away and ending the fight. The 19-year-old former Canadian amateur champion certainly showed tremendous potential so a name to note. Mexican novice Santoyo outclassed.
Montevideo, Uruguay: Super Feather: Jose Matias Romero (21-0) W PTS 10 Javier Herrera (16-3). Super Light: Alfredo Blanco (20-7) W PTS 8 Angel Yomar Mateo Arias (22-01). Middle: Amilcar Vidal (7-0) W KO 1 Carlos Capelari (9-1). Feather: Ranfis Javier Encarnacion (15-0) W PTS 8 Sergio Martin Sosa (10-2).
Romero vs. Herrera
Romero gets second win over Herrera and retains both the Argentinian and IBF Latino titles. Romero took a couple of rounds to get into his stride as the aggressive Herrera pressed hard. From the third the clever boxing and quick movement of Romero had Herrera pursuing in vain. Romero reportedly injured his right early in the fight so Herrera was never in any danger but no matter how hard he pressed Romero was just too quick and Herrera was leaving himself open to counters. Romero looked to have won comfortably but the scores were close. All three judges saw it 96-94 for Romero. He had climbed off the floor to outpoint Herrera in August to win these two titles and is rated No 10 (8) by the IBF. Herrera is 11-2 in his last 13 fights with both losses to Romero. He is No 7 in the Argentinian ratings.
Blanco vs. Arias
Minor upset as Argentinian Blanco takes split decision over previously unbeaten Dominican Arias. The Dominican was on his way to victory after six rounds and then it all went wrong for him. He lost a point in the seventh for a low punch and was floored in the eighth which turned the outcome on its head. Scores 75-74 twice for Blanco and 75-74 for Arias. Blanco, No 9 in the Argentinian welterweight lists, had met a much higher class of opposition but really Arias threw this one away. His record is heavily padded with low level opposition.
Vidal vs. Capelari
Local fighter Vidal pulverised Argentinian Capelari to win the vacant WBC Fecombox title. As Capelari came forward and threw a right Vidal took a step back and then staggered him with a right to the head. Vidal then closed the distance landed a wicked left hook to the body that saw Capelari turn away and drop to the canvas in agony and he was counted out. The 22-year-old Uruguayan, a bronze medallist at the South American Youth Championships, has won all of his fights inside the distance so has less than ten rounds behind him as a pro. Both fighters were in their fist fight scheduled for ten rounds.
Encarnacion vs. Sosa
After Blanco’s win over Arias Encarnacion levelled the scores for the Dominican Republic as he outpointed Argentinian Sosa in a close competitive match. There was also a deduction in this one with Sosa losing a point for a low punch in the fifth. Scores 86-84 twice and 87-83 for 24-year-old Encarnacion who wins the vacant WBA Fedelatin title in his first fight outside of the Republic. Sosa, the Argentinian No 9 super bantamweight, was beaten by former top amateur Alberto Melian in his last fight in May-in which he was also penalised for a low punch.
Pont-Sainte-Maxence, France: Light: Yvon Mendy (41-5-1) W TKO 6 Achiko Odikadze (20-11-1). Light: Karim Achour (27-5-3) W PTS 8 Diego Shamatava (5-11-1).
Mendy vs. Odikadze
In front of his home fans Mendy erases his way back into the winning column with stoppage of Georgian Odikadze. It was an easy night for Mendy. He put southpaw Odikadze on the floor in the first with a body punch and then repeated that series with body punches in the fifth and sixth before the fight was stopped. The 33-year-old Frenchman seemed on his way to a world title fight when he outpointed unbeaten Luke Campbell in 2015 but although he scored further wins against good level European opposition it was Campbell who got the title shot but lost a close decision to Jorge Linares. Mendy faced Campbell again last September but lost on points. He is hoping to build towards a title fight this year. Odikadze suffers his eighth loss by KO/TKO. Any control of boxing in Georgia is loose at best and Odikadze, now 19, was allowed to turn pro at 15 and his role is that of travelling loser.
Achour vs. Shamatava
Just a mild run out for Achour as like Mendy he is rebuilding. He had some problems with the awkward style of the smaller Shamatava and was not at his best after eight months of inactivity. Despite that he was levels above the Georgian and won on scores of 79-72, 79-73 and 78-73. In a 12-0-1 run Achour captured the French, European Union, WBC International and WBC Francophone titles. The run came to an end last May when he lost a wide unanimous decision to David Lemieux in Montreal. Like fellow neighbourhood fighter Mendy Achour is in a rebuilding phase. Shamatava is 0-6-1 in his last 7 fights.
Fight of the week (Significance): Keith Thurman’s winning return adds another factor to an already star stacked welterweight division.
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Xu can vs. Jesus Rojas gave plenty of action with honourable mention to Tugstsogt Nyambayar vs. Claudio Marrero
Fighter of the week: Keith Thurman with honourable mention to Can Xu-or is it Xu Can?
Punch of the week: Some good ones. The body punch from Uruguayan hope Amilcar Vidal was special as were the thunderbolts from Araik Marutjan and Alberto Melian. Fight finishers all.
Upset of the week: Can Xu’s win over Jesus Rojas
Prospect watch: Canadian-based Kazak Sadriddin Akhmedov with a 7-0, 7wins by KO/TKO and I will take a gamble on new pro Lexson Mathieu who looks a bit special
By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
Currently professional boxing is in a pretty solid state in Thailand with 3 world champions and some decent contenders in the mix around world level. The amateur scene in the country could be on the verge of a really sustained period of success with the youth and junior programmes put in place in 2013 paying dividends. The nation has also hosted many significant events in the last couple of years and it will be the destination for the elite Asian men’s and women’s Championships this April.
Here are a selection of the best current Thai amateurs and some future stars who will be aiming to move up to the senior level in the upcoming years.
Chatchai Butdee, bantamweight (56kg)
A veteran of over a decades experience at the top level, Chatchai has been there, seen it and done it, competing at every major tournament and is probably the most well-known Thai amateur boxer. He was voted the top sportsman in his homeland in 2013 where he won South East Asian gold and a world championship bronze.
Further gold at the South East Asian Games in 2011 and silver in 2009 coupled with top spot at the Asian Championships in 2015 prove Chatchai’s quality and ability to compete with the best around. At 33 and with a very cagy awkward style, a transition to the professional ranks is unlikely but expect Chatchai to be a tough out for anyone at bantamweight in future competitions. Some footage of Chatchai in a bout versus Misha Aloian can be seen below:
Sailom Ardee, welterweight (69kg)
Another man with copious amounts of experience at the top level Sailom is a regular for Thailand at all the major tournaments and has had his fair share of success. His most recent medal came at the 2018 Asian Games where he took bronze.
The South East Asian Games has proved fruitful for Sailom with the 32-year-old claiming gold twice and 3 bronze medals. His other most notable achievement came in 2013 where he picked up silver at the Asian Championships. Given his age a run in professional boxing doesn’t seem likely but similar to Chatchai, expect Sailom to be in and around the medals in future events. You can view a contest between Sailom and Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez below:
Wuttichai Masuk, light welterweight (64kg)
Wuttichai is a highly decorated amateur winning a medal at every major event apart from the Olympics. 2015 was a great one for Wuttichai, with gold at the Asian Championships followed by a bronze at the world championships.
The 29-year-old has also captured gold at the 2009 Asian Championships, 3 golds and a bronze at the South East Asian Games and Asian Games gold and bronze twice along with a handful of bouts in the WSB. Presuming there is boxing at the Tokyo Olympics, Wuttichai is arguably Thailand’s best hope for a medal but a crack at the professional game could be a root to take if the AIBA IOC dispute can’t be resolved and he would be an interesting addition in the pro scene at home. Wuttichai’s bout in the final of the 2015 South East Asian Games can be viewed below:
Atichai Phoemsap, lightweight (60kg)
A young man with elite potential Atichai’s first breakthrough came at the 2017 South East Asian Youth Games where he topped the podium. The Korat born teenager then had what can only be described as a phenomenal 2018, winning Asian, world and Olympic Youth golds cementing his place as one of the hottest future talents in amateur boxing. At just 17 Atichai really does have the world at his feet but it’s unclear when the step up to senior level will come but the 2024 Olympics seems a very realistic aim. Atichai’s winning effort over home man Adrian Orban in the world Youth Championships final can be seen
Thitisan Panmod, light flyweight (49kg)
Not far behind teammate Atichai, Thitisan’s first success also came at the South East Asian Youth Games in 2017 where he claimed gold. After Bronze at the Asian Youth Championships in 2017 followed by silver in 2018, Thitisan finally went one better at the world Youth Championships in Hungary in the same year. Again the move up to the elite level should come in time with the teenage talent showing he has all the tools to succeed. You can watch Thitisan’s fight from the final of the 2018 world Youth Championships
Sukthet Sarawut, flyweight (52kg)
Finally, the last of a trio of top young Thai talent Sukthet won silver at the Asian Junior Championships back in 2017. After victory at home in the Asian Youth Championships, a medal at the world’s was more than a realistic aim but the teenager was drawn against top Uzbek Samandar Kholmurudov in the early stages. Having defeated him in the final of the Asian Championships Sukthet would have been confident but it was Kholmurudov who got the better of it on this occasion leaving the Thai empty handed. Sukthet did however go onto claim silver at the Youth Olympics in Argentina and the future looks bright for him if he continues to develop his skills and experience. You can take a look at a clash from the world Youth Championships involving Sukthet
By Eric Armit-
Manny Pacquiao once again illustrated his drawing power with his fight against Adrien Broner reportedly drawing 400,000 + PPV hits. Not the sort of figures he was drawing at his peak but still a very high return. He was guaranteed $10 million for this fight but will obviously earn a great deal more when the final figures for the gate etc. are taken into account. It is incredible to think that the wonder fighter from the Philippines won his first world title more than 20 years ago. He is 18-4-2 in world title fights and at 40 is still performing at the highest level. Surely one of the most remarkable fighters in the history of boxing. It’s a pity that this was for the secondary WBA title not the real title. The real champion Keith Thurman returns with a title defence this weekend. As for Broner he showed just how delusional he is as he was convinced he had won a fight where he threw less punches, landed less punches and rarely took a step forward. He has entertained in the past but it may be that his days as deserving of PPV status are over.
Of course the talk immediately turned to another fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr but it was stated that Mayweather was retired and was not interested in another fight with Pacquiao-but don’t rule it out.
Why should Mayweather take on Pacquiao when he can earn $10 million for blowing away a 20-year-old Japanese kick boxer/MMA fighter Tenshin Nasukawa in less than three minutes. The most amazing thing is that people actually paid to see this farce. It brought to mind something that happened a good few years ago. I went with my wife to see the irreverent and slightly mad comic genius Spike Milligan in a play. It was still the tradition then that the national anthem was played after every cinema and stage performance and you stood throughout the anthem. As the play finished there seemed to be no sign of the national anthem being played so we hesitantly got to our feet ready to leave. At that point Milligan emerged from behind the curtain in a scruffy overcoat and flat cap carrying a tin whistle. He proceeded to give a reedy wavering version of the anthem on the tin whistle. We were undecided. Ok it was the national anthem but being played on a tin whistle. However tradition ruled and we stood until Milligan finished. He looked at us, shook his head and said “If you’ll stand for that you’ll stand for anything”! That’s how I feel about those who paid for Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor and Tenshin Nasukawa.
Whilst the heavyweight division is currently focused on who Anthony Joshua will fight in April and the return match between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury the shadow of Oleg Usyk hangs over the division. The unbeaten Ukrainian will have his next outing in the USA on either the 18th or 25th of May but no opponent nominated yet. Surely Usyk will fight for the heavyweight title later this year.
From the sublime to the ridiculous. The WBA have ordered Manuel Charr to defend their secondary heavyweight title against Fres Oquendo. They were to have fought in September last year but Charr tested positive for a banned substance and the fright was cancelled. Initially Charr was suspended but not stripped off his title. There was no indication Charr intended to have a representative present for the testing of his B sample but he challenged that fact that he did not have someone there for the B test. The WBA backed off and as Charr was clean in subsequent tests-and he would have to have been stupid not to be-the WBA decided that his suspension had expired and he could return provided he defended against Oquendo within 60 days and the winner of that fight must fight the winner of a fight between their interim champion Trevor Bryan and Jarrell Miller even though there is no indication that a fight between Bryan and Miller will take place. Oquendo of course has not fought since July 2014. The Charr vs. Oquendo fight is now set for 23 March in Cologne. Thought I would give you date and place so that you could ensure you were somewhere else doing something else that night.
German heavyweight Michael Wallisch also gave a positive test after his losing effort against Christian Hammer in December and no news yet over his B sample. That fight was a farce. In the fourth round their heads collided and Wallisch went down and the referee counted him out. A 30 or 45 days suspension from fighting for the knockout? No instead they decided Wallisch should not have been counted out so they pretended the original fourth round never happened and restarted the fight with another fourth round and Wallisch was counted out again in the fifth! Hammer’s reward is a date with Luis Ortiz in New York on 2 March.
The Saul Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs fights looks a really attractive one. Jacobs is a totally different fighter style-wise to Gennady Golovkin and it is a fight Jacobs could win. It looks as though David Lemieux may also appear on the 4 May show. The Canadian will be fighting for the first time since he fainted from dehydration which led to his fight with Tureano Johnson being cancelled
Jose Ramirez’s defence of his WBC super lightweight title against Jose Zepeda also looks a good one. Ramirez is 23-0 and making the second defence of his title. Zepeda is 30-1 with the loss coming when he dislocated his shoulder in a fight against Terry Flanagan for the vacant WBO lightweight title in 2015. On the same show Ray Beltran will be having his first fight since losing his WBO lightweight title to Jose Pedraza in August. He meets the 19-0 Hiroki Okada and in a featherweight ten Genisis Servania 32-1 faces 21-0 Carlos Castro. Ramirez will be auctioning some items of his boxing equipment to raise funds for a Community Cancer Institute which is a great gesture.
I said that Broner was delusional but Don King seems to be going the same way. He is warning what Bermane Stiverne will do to English heavyweight hope Joe Joyce when they meet in London on the undercard to the exciting James DeGale vs. Chris Eubank Jr fight on 23 February. Let’s be clear this is a 40-year-old vastly overweight fighter who is having his first fight since being floored three times and stopped inside a round by Deontay Wilder in November 2017. King can talk a fight up but can Stiverne still walk the talk?
Interested in money? Of course. Lou DiBella won the bidding for the Jack Culcay vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko final eliminator for the IBF title. DiBella ‘s bid was $425,515 and as Culcay is the higher of the two in the IBF ratings he gets 65% $276,000 and Derevyanchenko 35% $148,930. I can’t see Culcay winning this one.
Two fights had to be scrubbed from the undercard of the Pacquiao vs. Broner show when Filipino Jhack Tepora and Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago came in ridiculously over the contract weights. Tepora was 5.5lbs over and Buitrago 6lbs over. It must have been obvious well in advance of the day of the weigh in that they would never make the weight but somehow no one spotted this so one fight was cancelled and the other saw a last minute substitute step in. Surely some check weights would have revealed this earlier. The WBC recently announced a number of initiatives to combat this very thing by laying out a complete weight check schedule to be followed. As it stated that for this to work they needed the collaboration of the promoters, manager, trainers etc. and without that it is just a very good idea with little hope of it being taken on board which is a great pity but at least the WBC are trying to tackle the problem which no one else appears to be doing.
With his victory over Badou Jack Marcus Browne became the fourth member of the US Team at the 2012 Olympics to win a version of a world title alongside Errol Spence, Jose Ramirez and Rau’shee Warren. Not bad for a team that failed to win a single medal and with Spence being the only one to get as far as the quarter-finals. In addition from the team Dominic Breazeale, Mike Hunter, Terrell Gausha and Joseph Diaz have challenged for world titles leaving Jamal Herring as the sole member not to win or challenge for a title and he is 19-2 with three good wins in 2018 so it is still possible that he will join the others in fight for or winning a title. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Class of 2016 where Shakur Stevenson’s silver was the only medal in male boxing the USA won in Rio. From the above it appears that the USA does not know how to produce medal winners in Olympic boxing but can turn under-achieving amateurs into professional champions.
Somehow it just doesn’t seem fair. A few years back in the AIBA World Series of Boxing the British Lionhearts found themselves facing the Ukrainian Otamans. The Ukrainian team won 4-1 but then it was fairly strong it contained Vasyl Lomachenko, Oleg Usyk and Olek Gvozdyk!
By Eric Armit
-Manny Pacquiao outclasses Adrien Broner to retain the secondary WBA title
-Demetrius Andrade stops Artur Akavov in last round of a one-sided defence of WBO middleweight title
-JT Doheny halts Ryohei Takahashi in first defence of IBF super bantamweight title
-Marcus Browne outpoints a bloodied Badou Jack to left the vacant WBA interim light heavyweight title
-Nordine Oubaali decisions Rau’shee Warren to win vacant WBC bantamweight title
-Pablo Cano springs huge surprise with first round destruction of Jorge Linares
-Oscar Rivas crashes the heavyweight picture with late stoppage of Bryant Jennings
-Jason Sosa, Shakur Stevenson, Carlos Adames, and George Kambosos all gets wins
WORLD TITLE SHOWS:
New York, NY, USA: Middle: Demetrius Andrade (27-0) W TKO 12 Artur Akavov (19-3). Super Bantam T J Doheny (21-0 W TKO 11 Ryohei Takahashi (16-4-1). Super Light: Pablo Cano (32-7-1,1ND) W TKO 1Jorge Linares (45-5). Welter: Chris Algieri (23-3) W PTS 10 Daniel Gonzalez (17-2-1).
Andrade vs. Akavov
Andrade makes a successful first defence of his WBO title with a controversial late stoppage of Russian Akavov. Andrade was way ahead on all three cards but Akavov was in no trouble and strongly protested the stoppage.
Comfortable first round for Andrade. He used his southpaw jab to score at distance and found gaps to land some quick combinations. Akavov, also a southpaw, tried to come forward but could not get past Andrade’s jab.
Score: 10-9 Andrade
Akavov was much more aggressive in this round leaping in with attacks and managing to land with some body punches. Andrade continued to control the action with his reach advantage, superior hand speed and clever movement and took the round.
Score: 10-9 Andrade Andrade 20-18
Andrade used his jab to outscore Akavov but he was not pressing his attacks and not working at full speed. The best punch of the round was a left uppercut to the head from Akavov but it was Andrade’s round.
Score: 10-9 Andrade Andrade 30-27
Andrade upped his pace in this one. He was following up behind his jab moving inside and scoring with hooks. Akavov showed plenty of movement and good footwork but Andrade launched a fierce attack before the bell and scored with some hard lefts.
Score: 10-9 Andrade Andrade 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Morgan 40-36 Andrade, Judge Nace 39-37 Andrade, Judge Paolillo 40-36 Andrade
A totally one-sided round as Andrade kept his jab in Akavov’s face and threw right hooks to the body trying to bring Akavov’s high guard down. Akavov just could not get past the jab and hardly landed a punch.
Score 10-9 Andrade Andrade 50-45
For round six read round five. It was the same jab, jab and occasional right hook to the body from Andrade whilst Akavov circled the ring looking for an opening but never seeing one.
Score: 10-9 Andrade Andrade 60-54
The pattern continued with Andrade stabbing out his jab and throwing a few hooks to the body. With his crouching style and high guard Akavov was not an easy target but with his degree of command it was disappointing that Andrade was not applying more pressure and the fight was too one-sided to be entertaining.
Score: 10-9 Andrade Andrade 70-63
Andrade was still sticking to his jab and occasionally lefts to the body but was finding Akavov an elusive target. Andrade did throw one extended combination which was notable as the first he had thrown in the fight. Akavov was looking crude and bereft of any idea of how to get into the fight.
Score: 10-9 Andrade Andrade 80-72
Official Scores: Morgan 80-72 Andrade, Nace 79-73 Andrade, Paolillo 80-72 Andrade
Finally Akavov started to do what he should have been doing from round one. He was bundling his way past Andrade’s jab and firing hooks inside. He landed a good left to the chin and later a strong left/right series which also landed on Andrade’s head. He wasn’t hurting Andrade but he was hustling him out of his comfort zone and with Andrade hardly throwing a punch it was Akavov’s round.
Score: 10-9 Akavov Andrade 89-82
A clash of heads early in this round saw Akavov suffer a bad cut over his right eye. That spurred on Andrade and sent Akavov onto the back foot again. Andrade pressed hard letting go with his punches. Akavov was trying to protect the cut and not looking to get involved in any trading.
Score: Score 10-9 Andrade Andrade 99-91
The cut was an ugly, wide wound. Andrade marched forward for the whole round but after some early success he was having trouble landing his punches on the elusive Russian and Akavov was never really in any danger.
Score: 10-9 Andrade Andrade 109-100
The ending was controversial. After some early fire Andrade was again just using his jab. Akavov was circling the ring trying to stay out of trouble. With just over thirty seconds left a right from Andrade was blocked by Akavov but the power saw him sliding along the ropes. He was not hurt or shaken by the punch but suddenly the referee wrapped him in his arms and stopped the fight. Akavov protested long and strong and rightly and Andrade looked surprise at the ending.
Andrade retains his WBO title. He has previously held the WBO and secondary WBA titles at super welterweight but having been stripped off the first and vacated the second this is only the second time he has defended a title. He did not sparkle here against a limited challenger. He was calling out Gennady Golovkin but he will have to fight a lot better than he did in this showing to stand any chance against Golovkin. Russian Akavov gave Billy Joe Saunders a tough night in 2016 but there are no wins over any names on his record. Although Akavov is Russian the competition for places in the National team was so fierce that Akavov fought in Estonia winning the Estonian title and competing for Estonia at the European and World Championships. He proved an awkward opponent for Andrade but his limitations were exposed in this fight.
Doheny vs. Takahashi
Doheny opens his account in the USA with a stoppage of brave but very limited challenger Takahashi.
Both fighters made a fast start with plenty of movement and quick probing jabs. Doheny found the range for his southpaw lefts and landed some right hooks and a straight right to the body hurt Takahashi. The challenger connected late in the round with a right but it was Doheny’s round
Score: 10-9 Doheny
A clash of heads early in the second saw both men. Doheny suffered a vertical cut to the right of the bridge of his nose and Takahashi high on the left of the bridge of his nose. Takahashi was careless with his attacks and Doheny was able to counter him with some strong lefts and it was his round.
Score 10-9 Doheny Doheny 20-18
Takahashi was untidy with his attacks and Doheny was making him pay with countering lefts. Doheny landed a powerful hook to the body and followed that with right to the head. Takahashi started to fall but grabbed Doheny’s right arm with both hands. That left him without a guard and Doheny landed three lefts as Takahashi tumbled back and down. He was up quickly and survived but at the expense of a few more hefty thumps from Doheny.
Score: 10-8 Doheny Doheny 30-26
Clear round for Doheny. He was finding gaps for his right jab and lefts to the body and on the back foot he was stopping Takahashi in his tracks with counters. Takahashi was resorting to wild leaping attacks with no accuracy.
Score: 10-9 Doheny Doheny 40-35
Official Scores: Judge Bruni 40-35 Doheny, Judge Perez 40-35 Doheny, Judge Taylor 40-35 Doheny
Takahashi attacked at a furious pace throughout the three minute. He was storming forward constantly switching guards and throwing punches. The guard changes were only succeeding in leaving him unbalanced and apart from one strong right he was swishing air. Doheny was coolly picking him off with sharp counters and easily avoiding or blocking Takahashi’s punches.
Score 10-9 Doheny Doheny 50-44
Takahashi did a little better in this one managing to get inside and score with some hooks. Doheny was hardly wasting a punch constantly getting through with his jab and long lefts and he attacked strongly driving Takahashi back at the end of the round.
Score: 10-9 Doheny Doheny 60-53
Classy boxing by Doheny in this round. He was slotting home jabs and left hooks. Takahashi kept piling forward and Doheny was moving and countering and then slipping inside to land a bunch of punches and getting out before Takahashi could respond.
Score: Score 10-9 Doheny Doheny 70-62
Concerned over the punishment Takahashi was taking the referee asked the doctor’s to examine him before the start of the round but he was given the OK to continue. Takahashi marched forward throwing punches and with the volume he was throwing it was guaranteed some would get through. However Doheny was landing the cleaner and harder punches and Takahashi’s face was swelling from the punishment.
Score: 10-9 Doheny Doheny 80-71
Official Scores: Bruni 80-71 Doheny, Perez 80-71 Doheny, Taylor 80-71 Doheny
A close round with Doheny not as busy or as active and Takahashi slowing but still swinging. Doheny sent Takahashi stumbling back with a left to the head and again was more accurate but it was a close round.
Score: 10-9 Doheny Doheny 90-80
Takahashi’s round. He was able to score with his straight right throughout the round. He kept Doheny busy fending off his punches and despite a strong finish from Doheny had just done enough to edge the round.
Score: 10-9 Takahashi Doheny 99-90
Takahashi walked into trouble in this one. Doheny countered him with a series of head punches. Takahashi tried to keep punching but the fire had gone out of his work and as Doheny continued to connect with hard shots the referee stepped in and stopped the fight.
The Australian-based Irishman was making the first defence of his IBF title and will now be looking for a unification match with WBA champion Daniel Roman. He has no mandatory challenger so that looks a fight that could happen. Doheny, 32, has never fought in Ireland as a professional. He moved to Australia after losses to John Joe Nevin cost him his chance to go to the 2008 Olympics. He worked as a scaffolder in Australia before deciding to turn pro out there and work his way to a world title. Takahashi was a very modest challenger. He was 10-10 as an amateur and lost a wide unanimous decision to Andrew Moloney in Australia in 2016. He also dropped a decision to novice Yuki Iriguchi in 2017. He owed his IBF rating to winning the IBF Pan Pacific title and even after entering the IBF top 15 for that achievement he was still only rated No 11 in the Japanese ratings. The IBF lifted him to No 10 without him fighting and at the same time as the Japanese Commission dropped him to No 12! He showed guts but very little else.
Cano v s. Linares
Cano destroys Linares with three knockdowns in the opening round to spring a major upset. Just ten seconds into the first round Cano threw a three punch combination. The first two punches missed but the third, a downward chopping right, connected on the head of Linares and he went back and down. Linares was up immediately and Cano stormed forward throwing punches. Linares was on the back foot countering but another right to the head saw Linares drop to one knee. Again he was up quickly and Cano jumped on him forcing him back throwing rights. Linares was dropped for the third time by another right. He had not looked badly shaken by the first two knockdowns but this time it was obvious that he was hurt as he climbed shakily to his feet as the count reached eight. Cano connected with two heavy head punchers which staggered Linares and then with two more punches and Linares stumbled back to the ropes on unsteady legs and the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. When doing some notes for this report I noted that Cano was 2-3 in his last five fights and looked to be on the slide! Instead the 29-year-old Mexican, a former WBA interim champion, has scored the best win of his career and registered victory No 22 by KO/TKO. Linares was rated No 2 by the WBC and No 4 with the WBO. With many of the top super lightweight tied up in the WSSB Tournament Cano may have put himself in line for an early title shot. As for Linares all five of his losses have come by way of KO/TKO. After his loss to Vasiliy Lomachenko in May he had shown good form in stopping Abner Cotto (23-3) but here he looked vulnerable with very little punch resistance. He has said he will drop back down to lightweight but his time at the top might be over.
Algieri vs. Gonzalez
Algieri only just scrapes past Gonzalez despite the scores making it look a comfortable win. The former WBO super light champion made a good enough start. He used slick movement and quick, accurate punches to build a lead over Gonzalez but the younger fighter was making the rounds close. A clash of heads in the fourth saw Algieri suffer a cut on his left cheek bone and that seemed to make him more cautious and he was boxing mainly on the back foot after that. Gradually Gonzalez took over the fight with Algieri boxing cleverly but under pressure and tiring. Algieri seemed to have very little left over the closing rounds but he held on and the judges decided that Algieri’s early work was enough to earn the decision. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 for Algieri. He had just done enough to edge it but the scoring was loudly booed with the last tally looking the more accurate. Algieri, 34, put in a magnificent effort when climbing off the floor twice in the first round to lift the WBO super light title from Ruslan Provodnikov. It was downhill from there against super tough opposition as he lost his title to Manny Pacquiao and was beaten by Amir Khan and Errol Spence. He took a couple of years out after the Spence loss before returning with a win last November but the signs in this performance were not promising. Gonzalez’s only other loss was a third round stoppage by Danny O’Connor in 2017.
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Welter: Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2) W PTS 12 Adrien Broner (33-4-1,1ND ). Bantam: Nordine Oubaali (15-0) W PTS 12 Rau’shee Warren (16-3,1ND). Light Heavy: Marcus Browne (23-0) W PTS 12 Badou Jack (22-2-3). Feather: Hugo Ruiz (39-4) W PTS 10 Alberto Guevara (27-4). Light: George Kambosos (16-0) W PTS 8 Rey Perez (24-11). Welter: Jonathan Steele (9-2-1) W PTS 8 Jayar Inson (18-2).
Pacquiao vs. Broner
Pacquiao retains the secondary WBA title with comfortable unanimous decision over a disappointing Broner in a fight without highlights
Not a great deal of excitement in the first round. Pacquiao was the one doing the attacking with Broner looking to counter but being just too slow to block the lefts from Pacquiao which gave him the round.
Score: 10-9 Pacquiao
Both were still probing looking for openings in the second. Broner scored with a good counter right but again Pacquiao was quicker getting past Broner’s jab and landing lefts inside.
Score 10-9 Pacquiao Pacquiao 20-18
Clear round for Pacquiao. He was scoring with his jab and then darting inside and landing with hooks from both hands. Broner was just pushing out his jab and occasionally throwing single rights and being totally outworked by Pacquiao.
Score: 10-9 Pacquiao Pacquiao 30-27
Broner had given three rounds away-or rather Pacquiao had taking them- because Broner was throwing so few punches. Pacquiao continued to take the fight to Broner but this time Broner was letting his hands go more and had success early and late in the round doing just enough to take it.
Score: 10-9 Broner Pacquiao 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Cheatham 39-37 Pacquiao, Judge Moretti 39-37 Pacquiao, Judge Feldman 39-37 Pacquiao
Broner connected with a good right early in this round and threw a few more punches and worked harder. Pacquiao was still landing with his right jabs and quick hooks and just did enough to shade a close round.
Score: 10-9 Pacquiao Pacquiao 49-46
Pacquiao continued to be the man coming forward. He was jabbing to the body and then jumping with left hooks. A body punch had Broner backing up and looking hurt. Broner scored with a left at the bell. Pacquiao’s round.
Score: 10-9 Pacquiao Pacquiao 59-55
No doubt about it Pacquiao’s round. He was outboxing and outscoring Broner early and then he really cut loose. He took Broner to the ropes and landed a series of lefts to the head. Broner escaped by holding on to Pacquiao and trying to force him down. Pacquiao then trapped Broner in a corner and connected with a series of punches with Broner again escaping only to be once more against the ropes and taking more punches at the bell.
Score 10-9 Pacquiao Pacquiao 69-64
A close round. Pacquiao was coming forward but not attacking quickly enough to get to Broner. Pacquiao did land a heavy right but Broner got though with some straight rights and just did enough to take the points.
Score: 10-9 Broner Pacquiao 78-74
Official Scores: Cheatham 77-75, Moretti 79-73, Feldman 77-75
This round was progressing towards another close round to Pacquiao as he was getting his punches off first and Broner was too slow with his counters. Pacquiao then landed a left to the head that saw Broner stumbling back and almost going down but he regained his balance staggering back to the ropes where Pacquiao trapped him and unloaded a series of punches with Broner just covering up.
Score 10-9 Pacquiao Pacquiao 88-83
A close round without a great deal of success for either boxer. Pacquiao continued to come forward but Broner was throwing a few more punches and used good movement to skip away from Pacquiao’s attacks and just took the round
Score: 10-9 Broner Pacquiao 97-93
Another close round. The same pattern of Pacquiao coming forward and Broner trying to counter with neither having a great deal of success. It was close but Pacquiao’s jabs just gave him the edge.
Score: 10-9 Pacquiao Pacquiao 107-102
Pacquiao fought the last round as if it was one he needed to win and Broner as if it was one he could afford to lose and still win the fight. As a result Pacquiao worked with his jab and moved inside with left hooks whereas Broner circled the ring on his toes looking to avoid contact.
Score 10-9 Pacquiao Pacquiao 117-111
Official scores: Cheatham 116-112, Moretti 117-111, Feldman 116-112 all for Pacquiao.
At forty the Filipino Wonder is still a quality fighter who was just too quick and too busy for the passive Broner. There was some concern over the report that Pacquiao had suffered a scratched cornea in his left eye but it is not thought to be a career threatening injury. It is incredible to think that Pacquiao won his first world title 20 years ago at flyweight. He is now 16-4-2 in world title fights (18-4-2 if you count the WBA secondary title) and is still very much a man in demand. Naturally there is speculation over a third fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr but many more options are out there for Pacquiao with challengers lining up. No mention of a fight with the real WBA welter champion Keith Thurman which is a pity as whether it is Pacquiao or anyone else holding the secondary title does not make him the real champion. Broner never looked like winning this one and his reluctance to engage in any sustained exchanges killed any hope of an entertaining fight. It strikes me that The Problem’s biggest problem is himself. He has great skill but in this fight it was smoke and mirrors with little real substance
Oubaali vs. Warren
Frenchman Oubaali lifts the vacant WBC title with comprehensive unanimous victory over Warren in a fight between two highly skilled little fighters.
A close open round saw Oubaali the aggressor coming in behind his right jab and firing hooks to the body. Warren came to life over the second half of the round with a series of hooks to just take the round
Score: 10-9 Warren
Another close round. These are two very quick very clever boxers. Oubaali was again taking the fight to Warren who was looking to counter with his left. Oubaali was scoring with jabs to head and body and despite a flurry of punches late in the round from Warren it was Oubaali’s.
Score 10-9 Oubaali Tied 19-19
Warren was on the front foot stabbing out his jab early in this round but then Oubaali began to launch fierce attacks forcing Warren back and scoring with right hooks. Warren rallied before the bell but it was a round for Oubaali.
Score: 10-9 Oubaali Oubaali 29-28
A better round for Warren. He was on the front foot for much of the round piecing the Frenchman’s guard with jabs and when Oubaali did attack Warren was skipping out of distance and connecting with sharp counters.
Score: 10-9 Warren Tied 38-38
Official scores; Judge Lederman 39-37 Oubaali, Judge Weisfeld 39-37 Oubaali and Judge Ocasio 39-37 Warren
Warren made a confident start but Oubaali picked up the pace springing to the attack and getting through with his right jab and left hooks. Warren rallied late in the round as they both landed good punches but it was Oubaali’s round.
Score: 10-9 Oubaali Oubaali 48-47
A good round for Oubaali. He was getting through with his quick attacks and Warren was finding it hard to land any punches due to the pressure from Oubaali. That pressure led to some fierce exchanges and the Frenchman landed the best punch so far in the shape of a left hook to the head that stung Warren.
Score: 10-9 Oubaali Oubaali 58-56
War broke out in this one. For much of the round Warren was slotting home jabs and Oubaali scoring with his right hook. After another fierce attack from Oubaali they just stood and traded punch after punch with Oubaali getting the better of the wild exchanges rocking Warren with hooks from both hands.
Score: 10-9 Oubaali Oubaali 68-65
A closer round but another one for Oubaali. Warren came forward early and had some success with fast rights but Oubaali took the round with late attacks. He was hustling and harrying Warren forcing him to stand and trade and catching Warren with right hooks.
Score: 10-9 Oubaali Oubaali 78-74
Official scores: Judge Lederman 78-74 Oubaali, Judge Weisfeld 79-73 Oubaali and Judge Ocasio 76-76
Warren managed to put Oubaali on the back foot at the start of this round and scored well with his jabs. From there Warren lost control of the round as Oubaali stormed forward scoring with hooks and that led to some more furious exchanges with Oubaali throwing more and landing more particularly with his right hooks.
Score: 10-9 Oubaali Oubaali 88-83
Another round for Oubaali but bit a bit closer. Warren knew he was behind so he came forward throughout the round stabbing his jab and firing lefts. Oubaali was again finding the target with his right hooks and he outscored Warren in more furious exchanges.
Score: 10-9 Oubaali Oubaali 98-92
Three minutes of pressure from Warren. He came forward throughout the round throwing hooks. He cut down Oubaali’s space making it more difficult for Oubaali to launch his attacks and he was also ducking under the rights that had served Oubaali so well and outlanding Oubaali.
Score: 10-9 Warren Oubaali 107-102
Oubaali simply outpunched Warren in the last. Warren kept padding forward but it was Oubaali doing the scoring with his quick leaping attacks and hooks from both hands.
Score: 10-9 Oubaali Oubaali 117-111
Official scores: Judge Lederman 116-112, Judge Weisfeld117-111and Judge Ocasio115-113 all for Oubaali.
Great win for 32-year-old Oubaali as he repeats a victory he scored over Warren at the 2012 Olympics. He showed skill and attacking flair and outworked Warren. He is of Moroccan descent and the thirteenth born of a family of eighteen children. Warren, a former World Champion and three-time Olympian as an amateur and a former WBA champion as a pro, is a supremely gifted fighter but lacked the power to impress himself in this fight and never really had an answer to the fierce attacks of Oubaali. He has the skill to trouble any fighter in the division but that lack of power is a handicap.
Browne vs. Jack
Browne wins the vacant interim WBA title with wide unanimous decision over a very bloodied Jack.
Confident start from Browne. He used his longer reach to score from distance and was connecting with long southpaw lefts. Jack was having trouble getting past the jab of Browne and was being caught with counters as he moved in.
Score: 10-9 Browne
Jack had a little more success with his rights in this round but again Browne was doing most of the scoring. He was showing his right jab to Jack without looking to land but using it as a foil for darting straight lefts and ended the round with a flurry of punches.
Score: 10-9 Browne Browne 20-18
Jack tried to get inside more in this round and had some success but he was still finding Browne’s jab a barrier and a distraction. Browne was scoring with long lefts and it was a close round but Browne just took it.
Score: 10-9 Browne Browne 30-27
A better round for Jack. He was able to trap Browne on the ropes and score inside. Browne was not as accurate with his jab and was doing a lot of holding. A close round but Jack shaded it.
Score: 10-9 Jack Browne 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Cheek 39-37 Browne, Judge DeLuca 38-38, Judge Trella 40-36 Browne
This was an untidy round. Browne was scoring with quick punches and then falling inside and clinching to stop Jack working. He was warned twice for holding but over the last minute he dominated the action scoring with a series of punches from both hands.
Score: 10-9 Browne Browne 49-46
Another round for Browne. He was piercing Jack’s guard with both his right jab and straight lefts. Jack was coming up short with his punches at distance and Browne was preventing him from working in close by clinching.
Score: 10-9 Browne Browne 59-55
Brown was continuing to outbox Jack on the outside and hold inside. As they both ducked forward there was a clash of heads and Jack turned away pawing at his forehead above the bridge of his nose and there was blood seeping from a long vertical gash. The referee had the doctor examine the cut but Jack was allowed to continue. He tried to get inside but once again Browne held him in a clinch. The referee had seen enough of that from Browne and he indicated a point deduction for holding. Jack continued to drive forward but was walking onto counters and still Browne was holding. Browne’s careless headwork seemed to be the main cause of the cut.
Score: 10(-1)-9 Browne so a 9-9 round Browne 68-64
The cut was severe enough to distract anyone and the blood was dripping into Jacks right eye. Browne found Jack and easy target for his jabs and straight rights and dominated the round.
Score: 10-9 Browne Browne 78-73
Official Scores: Cheek 78-74, DeLuca 77-74, Trella 79-72 all for Browne
The cut had drained the confidence out of Jack and Browne was able to control the fight. He was finding gaps for his right jab and straight lefts. Jack was not forcing the fight and was being picked off by Browne.
Score: 10-9 Browne Brown 88-82
Knowing he must be way behind on the scores it is understandable that Jack did not want to be pulled out of the fight as he would have lost on a technical decision but with a wound that bad it should have been stopped. This really was pointless now. Jack couldn’t score at distance and was not allowed to work inside and Browne was able to stand off and land straight punches through the guard of Jack.
Score: 10-9 Browne ` Browne 98-91
Jack’s face was covered in blood from his hairline to below his chin and he continued to standoff allowing Browne to score with punches from range. The referee stopped the action and again and Jack was passed as fit to continue by the doctor. Jack then began to pile forward throwing punches but it was already Browne’s round.
Score: Score 10-9 Browne Browne 108-100
The last round saw Browne continue to connect with jabs and lefts from distance and clinch on the inside. Jack tried to stage a strong finish but just could not find the target as Browne showboated to the bell.
Score: 10-9 Browne Browne 118-109
Official Scores: Cheek 117-110. DeLuca 116-111, Trella 119-108
Browne wins the vacant WBA interim title. He becomes the fourth member of the USA Team at the 2012 Olympics to win a version of a world title. He was the first Olympian to emerge from a gym which was funded by the Theodore Atlas Foundation which was set up by Teddy Atlas in memory of his father. The real WBA champion is Dmitry Bivol and that would be a good fight if it could be made but the WBA don’t have any rules on who the interim champion has to fight so he has plenty of options. Jack had relinquished the secondary WBA title in 2017 and then drew with Adonis Stevenson for the WBC title in June last year. The injury he suffered in this fight was horrendous and obvious had an effect on his performance but he was never really in the fight before that so would probably have lost anyway. It will be some time before that injury heals and he will be back.
Ruiz vs. Guevara
This was supposed to be a fight for the interim WBA title but when champion Jhack Tepora weighed-in at almost 6lbs over the limit that fight was cancelled and instead Ruiz faced very late substitute in Alberto Guevara. Ruiz almost made it an early night. In the opening round Guevara came forward landing a hard right and Ruiz countered him with a right and left hook that sent Guevara down. He was not badly hurt and so he beat the count and had no real problems in making it to the bell. Obviously as such a short notice substitute Guevara was not in top shape and wary of Ruiz’s power. He chose to try to outbox Ruiz on the outside but Ruiz had height and reach over Guevara plus the confidence of having trained hard for a twelve round fight. As the fight progressed Guevara spent more time trying to avoid trouble than trying to win the fight. Ruiz pressed but he was not really putting his punches together and although winning the rounds never came near to having Guevara in any trouble and had to settle for the wide unanimous decision. Scores 99-90 twice and 100-89 for Ruiz. He is a former WBC super bantamweight champion and interim WBA bantam title holder. After losing his interim WBA title to Julio Ceja and his WBC title to Hozumi Hasegawa Ruiz took two years out before returning with two wins late last year. He is No 10 with the WBA. Apart from being a last minute substitute this was also Guevara’s first fight for nine months. His other three losses have all been either in world title fights or against future champions. He lost to Leo Santa Cruz and Shinsuke Yamanaka in title fights and Emmanuel Rodriguez before the Puerto Rican won the IBF bantam title.
Kambosos vs. Perez
Australian prospect Kambosos outboxes experienced Filipino Perez for unanimous decision. From the outset Kambosos was too quick for Perez and found the target continually with long rights and hooks. Perez had brief success when he looked to have shaken Kambosos with a right in the second but Kambosos had already done enough to take the round. Perez switched stances and did a bit better but not enough to threaten the dominance of Kambosos. The Australian continued to connect with his rights and both inside and at distance his speed and accuracy saw him in control. Kambosos finished the fight with a flourish landing heavily from both hands and took every round. Scores 80-72 on the cards of the judges. Kambosos, 25, has been acting as Pacquiao’s sparring partner for quite a while and has useful wins over Brandon Ogilvie and JR Magboo. Perez came in on the back of impressive wins over Roberto Marroquin and Christian Gonzalez but was outclassed by Kambosos.
Steele vs. Inson
Pacquiao was the only Filipino to register a win on the card as Inson lost an upset split decision against unfancied Steele. Southpaw Inson hurt Steele with almost the first punches he threw in the fight but Steele stayed in the fight and just before the bell he put Inson over. It took Inson a couple of rounds to get into the fight after that early shock but then they engaged in an entertaining contest with both scoring heavily. Inson began to exert pressure in the fourth and fifth rounds feeling he had some catching up to do. Steele was the one pressing over the sixth and seventh but Inson staged a strong finish just coming up short. Scores 77-74 and 78-73 for Steele and 77-74 for Inson. Useful win for Texan Steele who was 1-2-1 in his last 4 fights. Philippines champion Inson’s only other loss was to unbeaten South African Thulani Mbenge and he had won his last five fights
Verona, NY, USA: Heavy: Oscar Rivas (26-0) W TKO 12 Bryant Jennings (24-3) . Feather: Shakur Stevenson (10-0) W TKO 4 Jessie Cris Rosales (22-2-1). Super Welter: Carlos Adames (16-0) W KO 3 Juan Ruiz (21-4,1ND). Super Feather: Jason Sosa (22-3-4) W PTS 10 Moises Delgadillo (17-19-2). Super Feather: Robinson Conceicao (11-0) W PTS 8 Hector Ambriz (12-9-2). Super Light: Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-0) W RTD 4 Ricardo Garcia (14-5-1). Middle: Vikas Krishan (1-0) W TKO 2 Steven Andrade (3-4).
Jennings vs. Rivas
Rivas scores late stoppage over Jennings to crash the heavyweight party. Jennings was not looking to trade punches with the hard punching Colombian and spent the first round circling the perimeter of the ring and stabbing out his jab. Rivas was tracking Jennings but was not quick enough to land any punches of note. Rivas had some success in the second round with left hooks to the body with Jennings continuing to box on the retreat and using his jab to score. The pattern was the same in the third and fourth . Rivas was loading up on every punch whereas Jennings was stabbing out his jab picking up points not looking for power but to break up the Colombian’s attacks. The pace picked up in the fifth with Rivas throwing a bunch of head punches. Jennings blocked most of them but Rivas connected with a hard body shot. Rivas did better in the sixth using his jab more and firing straight rights. Jennings continued to move and jab but his punches lacked any power. The first six rounds had been a tactical battle with few highlights with Jennings too smart to stand and trade and Rivas only firing in short bursts. More of the same in the seventh. Jennings boxed well scoring with his jab and landing a couple of long left hook as Rivas just padded after Jennings without managing to land anything of note. Jennings had a good eighth. Working off the jab he was standing his ground and firing combinations. By the end of the round he had Rivas on the retreat for the first time in the fight. Jennings had an even better ninth as he again stood his ground piercing the guard of Rivas with his jab and banging home accurate combinations. Rivas was more aggressive in the tenth. He chased down Jennings trapping him on the ropes and working to the body. The eleventh was an even round. Both fighters had some success Jennings with his jab and Rivas with a couple of heavy rights. Before the start of the twelfth round I felt Jennings had outlanded Rivas but two judges had Rivas in front, 106-103 and 105-104 and the other judge had Jennings leading 106-103. That became academic as Rivas burst into action shaking Jennings with a left hook and then driving him along the ropes under a barrage of punches. He kept pounding Jennings until Jennings fell sideways to the canvas. He made it his feet at eight but after the count Rivas forced Jennings to the ropes and was landing some heavy head punches and the referee stopped the fight. The 31-year-old Montreal-based Colombian was facing his first “name” opponent and as Jennings was No 2 with the WBO this is a huge win for Rivas the 18th by KO/TKO. He retains the NABF belt and lifts the NABO and IBF International titles held by Jennings. Jennings 34 had done a fine job of rebuilding after consecutive losses to Wlad Klitschko and Luis Ortiz in 2015 but it may be more difficult to rebound again.
Stevenson vs. Rosales
Another outstanding performance from Olympian Stevenson. He made a confident start boxing on the back foot probing with his right jab and firing flashing combinations. Filipino Rosales marched forward but found Stevenson an elusive target. Stevenson was on the back foot for much of the second with Rosales hunting in vain. Over the last minute Stevenson went on the offensive and was raking Rosales to head and body with lightning series of punches. The third was one-sided. Stevenson was forcing Rosales back connecting with strong combinations and crunching hooks to the body and Rosales had to soak up plenty of punishment. Stevenson ended it in the third scoring with two straight lefts which sent Rosales to the canvas on his back. He was up at eighth but after a close look at him the referee stopped the fight. Now six wins by KO/TKO for the 21-year-old Stevenson who improves with every fight. He has great poise and real power –a star in the making. Rosales tried hard here but was outclassed. His only other loss was a third round kayo against Jhonny Gonzalez.
Adames vs. Ruiz
Power puncher Adames ends this one with a body punch in the third. Two slow opening rounds saw both fighters really just probing with their punches with neither landing anything heavy. Adames switched to southpaw in the third and was whipping straight lefts through Ruiz’s defence. He backed Ruiz to a corner and a vicious right hook to the body saw Ruiz drop to one knee in agony and he was counted out. The 24-year-old Adames now has 13 wins by KO/TKO. The Dominican prospect is already No 4 with the WBA after wins over Juan Carlos Prada (31-2-1), former IBF super welter champion Carlos Molina and Alejandro Barrera (29-4). Mexican-based Venezuelan Ruiz has now lost 4 of his last 5 fights but all of the losses have been against unbeaten opposition.
Sosa vs. Delgadillo
It looked in the first round as though Sosa might get this one over early as he scored with thumping left hooks to the body of Delgadillo but a stiff jab sent Sosa stumbling back and almost down. In the second they were going toe-to-toe with both landing heavily and Sosa was cut on the bridge of his nose. Delgadillo rounded off a combination with a left hook that sent Sosa spinning away on wobbly legs and his gloves touched the canvas as he tried to keep his balance. It counted as a knockdown and the referee gave Sosa a count with the bell sounding as the count was completed. Neither fighter wanted to take a backward step so the action was close in and brutal and even this early both had suffered facial damage as though they had gone ten rounds. Sosa began to outwork Delgadillo in the exchanges and used a focused body attack to slow Delgadillo but both were shipping lots of punishment in a gruelling scrap which was all about offence and not defence. In the seventh a right cross from Sosa had Delgadillo badly hurt and he retreated to the ropes and went down on his knees. As the count reached eight it looked as though he was not going to get up and Sosa lifted his arms in triumph. Delgadillo was not finished and he did make it to a vertical position at nine. Sosa tried to finish it and pounded Delgadillo with punches but Delgadillo survived. They continued to knock lumps off each other over the closing rounds with Sosa the stronger but Delgadillo making him fight hard all the way to the final bell. Scores 97-91 twice and 96-92 for Sosa. The former holder of the secondary WBA title at super feather won’t want too many fights like this. He had a tough 2017 losing to Vasily Lomachenko for the WBO title and dropping a questionable majority verdict to Yuriorkis Gamboa. He started to rebuild with a win in August last year but this way a too tough outing. Delgadillo was 2-6 in his last 8 fights but the losses had all been on points in fights he was expected to lose.
Conceicao vs. Ambriz
Brazilian Conceicao gets another points wins, his fifth in his last six fights, as he outclasses Mexican Ambriz. Scores 80-72 for Conceicao on all three cards. The 30-year-old Rio gold medal winner had great success as an Elite level amateur scoring wins over Oscar Valdez, Claudio Marrero and Vasiliy Lomachenko-briefly-as his 20-19 win over Lomachenko at the 2011 World Amateur Championships was overturned after a protest and changed to a 19-18 win for Lomachenko. He is being brought along slowly by Top Rank. Now five losses and a draw in his last six fights for Ambriz.
Gaibnazarov vs. Garcia
Gaibnazarov gets a win but without really impressing as Garcia retires after the fourth round. Gaibnazarov was finding the target in the first with his southpaw straight lefts with Garcia really just trying to stay out of trouble and throwing few punches. Garcia was more aggressive in the second. He was coming forward letting his punches go. He was not very accurate and there was no power there. Gaibnazarov’s right jab was bruising up the left side of Garcia’s face. Gaibnazarov landed a right to the head early in the second that sent Garcia down sprawling on his knees but it did not look a heavy knockdown. Garcia beat the count and saw out the round by clinching and moving. Gaibnazarov chased Garcia in vain in the fourth without really being able to land any telling punches so it was a surprise when Garcia retired in his corner. Uzbek Gaibnazarov, a gold medal winner in Rio, now has four wins by KO/TKO. He is small for his division with a short reach and has yet to really settle as a pro. Dominican Garcia is 0-4-1 in his last 5 fights but two of those losses and the draw were majority decisions.
Krishan vs. Andrade
Top Ranks looks to be aiming to break into the Indian market in a big way. They recently signed Vijender Singh and here they launched the pro career of another top Indian boxer in Krishan who blew away Andrade within two rounds. The Indian southpaw looked quick and powerful. Andrade-no relation to Demetrius-was throwing lots of rights in the opener obviously having been told that was the way to beat a southpaw. Unfortunately he was telegraphing them and they lacked power. Krishan was finding the target with his left with lots more power and drove Andrade around the ring until the bell. Krishan ended the fight in the second landing some vicious left hooks to the body that dropped Andrade. He made it to his feet but Krishan piled on the punches until the referee waived the fight off. The 26-year-old “Indian Tank” had been talking about the 2020 Olympics but decided to turn pro instead. In the amateurs in 2010 he won a gold medal at the Asian Youth Championships and the Asian Games and a bronze medal at the World Youth Championships. He lifted a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships but did not medal at the 2012 Olympics. In London he was awarded the a 13-11 decision over Errol Spence but that was overturned on appeal due to infractions of the rules by Krishan with Spence declared the 15-13 victor. His team protested the changed decision and took their protest all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but their appeal failed. He did not medal at the 2016 Olympics but won another gold medal last year at the Commonwealth Games. A university graduate and a policeman his career will be avidly followed in India. Andrade has lost his last four fights all against unbeaten opponents.
Bangkok, Thailand: Super Welter: Teerachai (40-1) W PTS 12 Meshak Mwankemwa (17-6-2).
Easy night for Teerachai against an unschooled Mwankemwa. He was able to score with jabs and straight rights jerking back the Tanzanian’s head time after time. Mwankemwa had no power and poor footwork but he had plenty of guts. He soaked up the punishment and kept trying to punch back. A big right from Teerachai in the ninth saw Mwankemwa’s legs go in different directions and he pitched down to the floor. He beat the count and saw out the round. As Teerachai increased the pressure Mwankemwa twice lost his mouthpiece and when he deliberately spit it out in the last he was deducted a point. It is to his credit that despite taking a pounding for twelve rounds he was still there at the bell. Scores 120-106 twice and 118-108 for Teerachai. Second win for Teerachai since his kayo loss to Lucas Matthysse for the secondary WBA title in January last year. “Smart Boy” Mwankemwa has now lost 4 of his last 5 fights with the other three losses coming in Russia, Namibia and Hungary as an imported to lose boxer.
Brampton, Canada: Light: Josh O’Reilly (14-0) W PTS 10 Cam O’Connell (17-3-1). O’Reilly takes a big step up as he captures majority verdict over fellow-Canadian O’Connell to win the vacant NABA title. Scores 98-92 and 96-94 for O’Reilly and 95-95. The 98-92 looked way out for such a close fight. The 28-year-old O’Reilly is hoping the NABA title will get him a slot in the WBA top 15. Another setback for O’Connell after losses to Tony Luis and Mathieu Germain.
Struer, Denmark: Feather: Jesus Sanchez (10-1) W TKO 5 Dennis Ceylan (19-3-2) . Middle: Abdul Khattab (16-2-1) W PTS 8 Oliver Flodin (4-1). Heavy: Kem Ljungquist (7-0) W TKO 1 Boldizsar Czagler (2-1). Super Middle: Mateo Veron (28-21-3,2ND) W PTS 8 Lolenga Mock (42-16-1). Heavy: Albon Pervizaj (12-0) W TKO 1 Alain Banongo (3-1).Super Welter: Mikkel Nielsen (7-0) W PTS 6 Angel Emilov (9-25).
Ceylan vs. Sanchez
This turned out to be Ceylan’s last fight as he announced his retirement after being bludgeoned to defeat for the second time by the strong but crude Spaniard in a fight for the vacant European Union title. Sanchez started this fight at a Usain Bolt-level pace. He came out firing punches trying to blow Ceylan away. He rocked Ceylan early but by the end of the round Ceylan was countering well. The second brought back memories of the crushing defeat Ceylan suffered in their first fight. He was being caught by long swinging punches and looked very shaky. Ceylan boxed his way through the third and fourth connecting with some crisp head punches but he looked vulnerable every time Sanchez let fly with his looping punches. In the fifth Sanchez launched a wild attack forcing Ceylan to the ropes and pounding away with both hands. Ceylan ducked so low his gloves almost brushed the canvas and when he straightened up he tottered along the ropes and went down. He struggled to get to his feet almost falling again and although he did beat the count the referee took a hard look at him and then waived the fight over. Ceylan protested but it was a good stoppage. Spanish champion Sanchez gets his ninth win in a row but only his third win by KO/TKO. Now he will be looking to challenge fellow Spaniard Kiko Martinez for the European title. A year ago Ceylan was European champion was unbeaten with a world title fight a possibility. A disastrous 2018 saw him crushed in ten rounds by Josh Warrington and then knocked out in two rounds by Sanchez and now he has decided to retire.
Khattab vs. Flodin
This was always going to be a tough ask for Swede Flodin against the more skilled Khattab who had the added advantage of Mikkel Kessler working in his corner. The young Palestinian-born Khattab made his usual bright start. He boxed on the outside using quick and accurate jabs and strong rights to stop the aggressive attacks of Flodin. He had built a useful lead by the end of the fifth but the fight was entering a critical stage as Khattab had previously faded badly over the late rounds in other fights. Flodin pressed hard and started eating into Khattab’s lead but Khattab had paced this fight better than some of the others and he fought hard over the last three rounds and did enough to hold on to his advantage. Scores 77-75 twice and 79-73 all for Khattab. After suffering an inside the distance loss to Armenian Torosyan in early 2017 Khattab put on a class display in drawing with Ronny Mittag later in the year. He was inactive throughout 2018 so this was his first fight for almost 15 months. Swedish “Wise Guy” Flodin, 22, was moving up to eight rounds for the first time and the experience will have been good for him even if the result was not. He is a former Nordic Youth champion and Swedish Senior champion and represented Sweden at both the World and European Youth Championships but lost out at the European and World Qualifiers for Rio and turned pro.
Ljungquist vs. Czagler
Poor match as Danish heavyweight hope Ljungquist beats late substitute Czagler inside a round. The 6’6 ½” southpaw towered over the overweight Czagler whose only tactics were to plough forward head down swinging. Ljungquist dropped him with an uppercut and although Czagler beat the count as he bulled forward again he was caught with a left hook and went down with the referee immediately waiving off the fight. The 28-year-old Dane gets his fifth win by KO/TKO. In the amateurs he was Danish champion and fought in the WSB in the 2016/2017 series. He lost to Joe Joyce at the 2016 European Olympics qualifier and then failed to make it through the World qualifier. Hungarian Czagler had no hope here.
Veron vs. Mock
This result brought about the second retirement announcement as Mock decided to retire again after this loss. Veron used stick-and-move tactics slipping in a couple of punches and then slipping away before Mock could catch him. Mock pressed hard as he always does but at 46 he is not as quick as he was. He is still strong and although Veron presented a difficult target the DRC-born Dane did manage to land some hefty hits and did better late as Veron began to slow but the Argentinian kept moving and slotting home punches and was a deserving winner. Scores 78-74 for Veron on the three cards. The 29-year-old Veron, a former Argentinian super welter champion had lost 3 of his last 4 fights and was 0-7 in fights outside of Argentina so this did not look a tough test for Mock who was 11-1 in his last 12 fights losing a close decision to Turk Avni Yildirim for the WBC International title in his last fight in September. He has faced top level, opponents such as David Haye (who he had on the floor before losing), Lucien Bute, Gabriel Campillo and Erik Skoglund and was a good European Union champion.
Pervizaj vs. Banongo
This one was a waste of ring time. Pervizaj just beat on the vastly overweight Banongo banging away at the almost static Czech who only prodded out the occasional jab. Pervizaj took Banongo to the ropes and unleashed a series of punches that saw Banongo drop to his hands and knees. He stumbled to his feet at eight and the referee stopped the fight. This is the fifth first round win for the 23-year-old German of Albanian parentage. He was German Youth and Senior champion. He turned pro when the German Board allotted the Rio Olympics spot to a professional who was taking advantage of being able to fight at the Olympics so Pervizaj did not even have a chance to qualify. Banongo just a novice and way out of his depth.
Nielsen vs. Emilov
Nielsen gets six rounds of useful work against Bulgarian Emilov. Nielsen won every round but Emilov came to fight and refused to fold under pressure. Nielsen picked up the pace over the second half of the fight but Emilov refused to fold and lasted the distance. Scores 60-54 for Nielsen on all three cards. Nielsen, 29, was Danish amateur champion in 2013,2014 and 2015 but failed to get through the European qualifier for the Rio Olympics and turned pro. Emilov has only failed to go the distance twice in his 25 losses.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Bantam: Shingo Wake (26-5-2) W TKO 6 Takafumi Nakajima (29-12-1). Wake waits a long time to revenge a loss to Nakajima but does it in style. It was a tough, close fight with Nakajima the aggressor but with Wake boxing cleverly and countering. From the third round the accuracy of Wake’s southpaw lefts put him on top but Nakajima tried to hustle Wake and turn the fight his way. As he bustled forward in the sixth Wake landed a peach of a left uppercut that put Nakajima down flat on his back. Nakajima managed to beat the count but was badly shaken and Wake hammered home punch after punch until Nakajima collapsed into the ropes and then to the canvas with the referee immediately stopping the fight. Wake had lost to Nakajima back in 2012 then ran off ten wins to land a fight with Jonathan Guzman for the vacant IBF super bantam title in 2016. He lost that one but is on a run of six inside the distance wins and is No 4 with the IBF but with the first two spots vacant he is effectively the second guy in the ratings. Now three losses in a row for Nakajima.
Seoul, South Korea: Super Welter: Jung Kyoung Lee (7-2-1) W KO 7 Samuel Colomban (25-11-1). Lee wins the vacant OPBF title with kayo of experienced Colomban. Lee established an early lead but Colomban was always dangerous with heavy counters. This was Colomban’s fist fight for sixteen months and that began to tell. Lee broke through in the seventh with a heavy combination that sent Colomban down and he was unable to beat the count. Third win by KO/TKO for Lee who competed in MMA fights before changing over to boxing in 2017. Boxing has been at a very low ebb in South Korean for many years and the hope is that Lee can spark a revival. Colomban was born in Cameroon but settled in Australia after competing at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006. He won the Australian super welter title in his last fight in September 2017 after four time losing in fights for the welterweight title. Reports from Australia indicated he suffered a shoulder injury in this fight.
Fight of the week (Significance): Manny Pacquiao vs. Adrien Broner. Not a great fight but there will be a queue to face the Filipino marvel
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Jason Sosa and Moises Delgadillo knocked lumps off each other for ten brutal rounds. Honourable mention to Nordine Oubaali vs. Rau’shee Warren which by contrast was a fast-paced contest of skills
Fighter of the week: Has to be Pacquiao but Oubaali deserves a mention and does Pablo Cano
Punch of the week: The first left from Shakur Stevenson which put Jessie Cris Rosales down was special as was the left uppercut from Shingo Wake that floored Takafumi Nakajima it was a thing of beauty.
Upset of the week: Has to be Pablo Cano demolishing Jorge Linares inside a round.
Prospect watch: He has excellent amateur credentials and it would be good to think that Indian Vikas Krishan might turn out to be a star as that is a huge largely untapped market for boxing.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features