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.
Over the last few years we've seen Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) go from schooling Yuki Sano one handed in just his third professional bout to claiming the WBC Light Flyweight title, the WBO Super Flyweight title and the WBA "Regular" Bantamweight title. He has looked sensational since announcing himself on the world stage, stopping Adrien Hernandez, and really turned heads when he blitzed Omar Andre Narvaez, in a bout that made him an international name but also saw him badly bang up his hands. In 2018 he again showed his destructive ability by stopping Jamie McDonnell and Juan Carlos Payano, both inside a round.
One question that has often been asked is just how high can he go? Can he be the next Asian fighter to climb through the weights like Manny Pacquiao, who won world titles in 8 divisions, or is his limit going to be rather lighter than that?
To begin with we should look at history. Throughout the history of the sport only one man has ever won world titles to bridge Light Flyweight and Super Bantamweight. That was Mexican warrior Jorge Arce (64-8-2 49).
Arce's first 2 titles came at Light Flyweight, winning the WBO title in 1998 and the WBC title in 2002. Unlike Inoue he did compete at Flyweight, winning the WBC interim title, but never got a shot at the full title before moving up in weight. He would have a few shots at 115lbs before finally winning the WBO Super Flyweight title in 2010 before skipping a division the following year to claim the WBO Super Bantamweight title. He would then head down to Bantamweight to pick up the vacant WBO Bantamweight title. In total he would compete in 20 world title fights, going 14-6 (9) from December 1998 to October 2014, when he lost in an attempt to win the WBC Featherweight title from Jhonny Gonzalez.
Arce's career began when he was just 16. He was 19 when he took the WBO Light Flyweight title from Juan Domingo Cordoba, in his 22nd bout, 22 years old when he claimed his second Light Flyweight title, defeating Yo Sam Choi in his 34th bout. He came up short in his first 3 Super Flyweight world title bouts, before getting a vacant title fight with Angkly Ankotta and winning to claim his third world title, in his 60th professional bout. His next title was the Super Bantamweight title, which came when he stopped Wilfredo Vazquez Jr in his 65th fight at the age of 31. He would rematch Angkotta, again for a vacant title, at Bantamweight title after defending the Super Bantamweight title once.By the time he was a 4 weight champion Arce had notched a 59-6-2 (45) record. He was 32, and had grabbed vacant titles at Super Flyweight and Bantamweight, by beating Angky Angkotta.
So we do have a precedent of a fighter climbing successfully from Light Flyweight to Super Bantamweight. Interestingly Arce was similar in size to Inoue as well, with Inoue being ½″ taller and 1½″ longer, in terms of reach.
Notably there is also one fighter who has gone from winning world titles at Flyweight, a division Inoue famously missed out on, to Featherweight. That's Nonito Donaire who claimed the IBF Flyweight title, the WBC Bantamweight title, the WBO Super Bantamweight title and the WBA Featherweight title, before dropping back down to Bantamweight last year to claim the WBA "super" Bantamweight title. We won't go into Donaire too much, though like Inoue and Arce he missed out on the division above the one he won his first world title at.
Donaire is more notable in a way due to his natural size. He was huge at Flyweight and Bantamweight, and still a big fighter at Super Bantamweight, standing at 5′ 7½″ and boasting a 68" reach. Like Inoue he's heavy handed, but in ways became a fighter who depended on his power, rather than the skills to set that power up. When he and Inoue have been pictured together you can clearly tell they are not the same size, despite both currently competing at Bantamweight, and as you can see in the picture he physically dwarfs Inoue.
Given that I've just mentioned size, it's worth considering how Inoue stacks up with current Super Bantamweights.
Inoue is a muscular 5′ 5" fighter with a 67½″ reach. His frame will certainly be capable of adding 4lbs with no real issue, but how does he stack up with the Super Bantamweight champions?
WBA champion Danny Roman (26-2-1, 10) is the same height as Inoue and only has a slight edge in reach, at 68"
WBO champion Emanuel Navarrete (26-1, 22) is taller than Inoue, at 5'7", but looks huge at the weight and his time competing at 122lbs may not be that long
WBC champion Rey Vargas (32-0, 22) is a wiry fighter at 5′ 7½″ with a 70½″ reach
and IBF champion TJ Doheny is (20-0, 14) is 5′ 5½″ with a 68" reach.
It should be noted however that Isaac Dogboe (20-1, 14) was recently the WBO champion and he's significantly smaller than Inoue, standing at around 5'2" with a 66" reach. He had success despite being small, and Inoue's size doesn't seem as much of a disadvantage as that of Dogboe.
Whilst all 4 champions are bigger than Inoue the Japanese fighter was physically dwarfed by both Jamie McDonell and Yoan Boyeaux, and Inoue has shown an ability to get inside on bigger men.
Inoue's father has suggested his son will, one day, fight at Featherweight. It's not something in their immediate plans, and they will certainly more to Super Bantamweight first, but it is worth considering how he would fair at Featherweight.
At Featherweight we again see fighters naturally bigger than Inoue, though the reality is that the Featherweights don't appear much bigger than their Super Bantamweight counter parts.
WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19) is 5′ 7½″ with a 69" reach, though he carries the weight well he does regularly give up his reach
Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19) is almost the same size as Inoue, standing at 5′ 5½″ with a 66" reach
IBF champion Josh Warrington (28-0, 6) stands at 5'7" and although being tall isn't a powerful fighter, who instead relies on speed and a very high work rate
and WBC champion Gary Russell Jr (29-1, 17) is actually smaller than Inoue, listed at 5′ 4½″ with a 64" reach.
If Inoue does indeed take a Super Bantamweight title, to become a 4 weight world champion, and a Featherweight title, to become a 5 weight champion, there will clearly be some thoughts towards another title at Super Featherweight. That's despite the fact that Inoue would be one of only a handful of fighters, including Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar Delay Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, to win titles in 5 weights.
Through history we have only had men winning world titles in 6 divisions, De la Hoya and Pacquiao. If Inoue was to win a world title at Super Featherweight, as well as the other 2 divisions as mentioned, he would put his name in a very select list.
Currently the Super Featherweights are a mixed bag in terms of size. A couple of title holders are similar in size to Inoue.
Champions bigger than Inoue at the weight are
WBC champion Miguel Berchelt (35-1, 31) is 5'7" with a 71" reach, both significantly bigger than Inoue, and he too is a huge puncher
WBA champion Alberto Machado (21-0, 17), who stands at 5'10" and has a 72" reach
WBO champion Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13), 5′ 8½″ and has a 70½″
The outliers here however are Gervonta Davis (20-0, 19), the WBA "super" champion, who is 5′ 5½″ with a 67½″, and Tevin Farmer (28-4-1, 6), who is 5'6" with a 67" reach. Both of these are similar in terms of reach and height to Inoue, though Davis is built like a "Tank", excuse the pun, and has the body type to carry more weight with little issue.
So back to the original question. How high can Inoue go?
We don't imagine him having problems at Super Bantamweight, he has the skills, size, speed and power to compete at Super Bantamweight tomorrow. He will be giving away a bit of size, but not too much against many of the champions.
At Featherweight he will certainly come across some problems, but does regularly spar with Featherweights, and more than holds his own. He can certainly make a mark there in the future, and could do so against a recognised champion.
It's at Super Featherweight where we start to think he will totally struggle and would be very lucky to win a world title. He could, potentially, nip up and take a vacant title against a weak opponent, like we saw Arce do, but against an actual top Super Featherweight we think he'd struggle.
It is worth noting that we have only used the current champions for size comparisons, with Inoue now 25 years old it's going to be years before he heads to Featherweight, if he ever does, and by then the title scene will have changed drastically. If he ever ends up at Super Featherweight we wouldn't expect the title scene to be anything like it is today, and would be genuinely surprised if any of the current champions are still title holders at the weight in 3 years time.
(Images courtesy of Ohashi Gym, boxingnews.jp)
By Eric Armit
-Caleb Plant scores upset win over Jose Uzcategui to win the IBF super middle title
-Devin Haney marches on with win over previously unbeaten Xolisani Ndongeni
-Guillermo Rigondeaux returns with a first round win in a poor match against Mexican Giovanni Delgado
- Prospect Brandon Figueroa impresses as he destroys Moises Flores in three rounds
-Venezuelan veteran Jaider Parra outpoints Fabian Maidana to ruin the night for Marcos Maidana who was staging his first promotion on the same show former IBF super light champion Cesar Cuenca loses to Jonathan Eniz on his comeback
- Eric Armit returns to work!
World Title Shows:
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Super Middle: Caleb Plant (18-0) W PTS 12 Jose Uzcategui (28-3). Feather: Brandon Figueroa (18-0) W TKO 3 Moises Flores (25-2,2ND). Light Heavy: Ahmed Elbiali (19-1) W TKO 3 Allan Green (33-6).Super Feather: Guillermo Rigondeaux (18-1) W KO 1 Giovanni Delgado (16-9). Welter: Ryan Karl (16-2) W TKO 5 Kevin Watts (12-3). Super Light: Lindolfo Delgado (8-0) W KO 3 Sergio Lopez (22-13-1).
Plant vs. Uzcategui
The IBF super middleweight title changed hand as the relevantly unknown Plant outboxed and floored champion Jose Uzcategui twice on the way to a unanimous decision. Plant was giving away height and reach but boxed on the outside being quicker to the punch and using good movement to negate Uzcategui’s power and aggression. In the first round Uzcategui kept marching forward but was not throwing enough punches and unable to land anything of consequence or deal with the jab and move tactics of Plant. Early in the second Plant landed a quick left hook to the chin which put Uzcategui down. It was not a heavy knockdown and Uzcategui was up quickly and back on the prowl but Plant was just too quick and slick for him. Plant outboxed Uzcategui in the third but in the fourth was cut over his right eye in a clash of heads. That spurred Uzcategui into attacking fiercely but as he shaped to throw a left hook Plant fractionally beat him to it and dropped Uzcategui for the second time. Again Uzcategui was up quickly and taking the fight to Plant but he was just too slow to hunt Plant down. Plant took the fifth as he constantly pierced Uzcategui’s guard with his jab. Uzcategui finally won a round in the sixth. He let his punchers go more and did a better job of cutting off the ring forcing Plant to stand and trade. That proved to be a false dawn for Uzcategui as Plant outboxed him and outlanded him in the seventh and eighth to extend his lead. Finally the pace he had set began to tell on Plant and in the ninth he was no longer moving but standing in close and trading and Uzcategui had Plant reeling with some of his trade mark left hooks. Uzcategui had Plant hurt again in an exciting tenth rocking him with a terrific right cross. Plant saw the danger signs and went back to his boxing moving and jabbing and he edged the eleventh. With the fight won Plant was just looking to stay out of trouble in the last and Uzcategui never really threatened to find the knockout he needed. All three judges had Plant a clear winner with Max DeLuca and Zachary Young both scoring it 116-110 and Lou Moret 115-111. It was a very emotional victory for Plant. When his 19 months old daughter Alia died two years ago Plant promised he would win a world title and he fulfilled that promise here. Plant 18-0 (10) was a huge underdog but with the IBF title is now a major player in the super middleweight mix. In the amateurs Plant, 26, won a gold medal at the 2011 National Golden Gloves but failed to progress throught the US Olympic Trials for the 2012 Games. He made one appearance for the USA Knockouts, a winning one, in the World Series of Boxing. Mexican-based Venezuelan Uzcategui, 28, was a huge disappointment. He had impressed in 2018 with wins over Andre Dirrell and Ezequiel Maderna looking strong and dangerous. In this fight he was exposed as being one-paced and that pace was slow.
Figueroa vs. Flores
Young Figueroa may be a new name on the block but he showed in this fight that he is definitely a fighter for the future as he overwhelmed and destroyed the former interim WBA and IBO champion Flores. “The Heartbreaker” from Texas holds the CompuBox record for the most punches thrown in a round and he lived up to that No 1position here. In the first he bombarded the more experienced Flores with a whole array of punches shaking Flores time and again with shots to head and body. Flores looked as though he had aged overnight as he was blown this way and that. He tried to stand and trade but Figueroa was constantly switching guards and scoring with jabs, hooks and uppercuts from both hands. It was more of the same in the second with Figueroa on top of Flores for the whole three minutes. Flores had a bit more success than in the first and Figueroa was marked around his left eye but again he had outpunched Flores all the way. Heads clashed a couple of time in the third and Figueroa was now cut over the left eye. That made no difference to the outcome as a huge overhand left from Figueroa crashed onto the side of Flores head and sent him down heavily. He made it to his feet but Figueroa jumped on him and stunned him with a long right. A series of punches rounded off by a big right cross sent Flores down again and the referee immediately waived the fight off. It was a few minutes before Flores recovered. Figueroa is still only 22 having turned pro at 18. Last time out in September he moved up to ten rounds for the first time and stopped former interim WBA champion Oscar Escandon in the last round. He is already rated WBA 5/IBF 9(7). Flores was 25-0, 2 No Decisions until losing to Daniel Roman for the WBA super bantam title in June last year. He was knocked out by Guillermo Rigondeaux in June 2017 but the kayo punched was ruled to have been delivered after the bell to end the first round so it was a No Decision.
Rigondeaux vs. Delgado
Rigondeaux returns with a win that provides no satisfaction for anyone. His Mexican opponent was too poor to provide any sort of useful work for the Cuban star. Rigondeaux just padded after the ever retreating Delgado who never took a forward step and hardly threw a punch. Just a few seconds before the bell to end the first round Rigondeaux landed a strong straight left which then saw Delgado take a couple of steps back and go down on his knees., The referee indicated to the timekeeper that the punch had landed before the bell and that he was going to apply a count and he tolled out the ten. This is the first “fight” for 38-year-old Rigondeaux since his loss to Vasily Lomachenko in December 2017. He weighed 122 ¼ lbs so can make super bantam if that is his plan. Poor Delgado has now lost 7 of his last 8 fights but in fairness they have been against a high standard of opposition such as Diego De La Hoya, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Brandon Figueroa.
Elbiali vs. Green
Elbiali destroys oldie Green inside three rounds. The Miami-based Egyptian sent Green to the canvas in both the first and second rounds. He ended the fight in the third putting Green down again with a right and the referee waived the count. The 28-year-old Elbiali won his first 16 fights before being stopped in six rounds by Jean Pascal in December 2017. This is his second win since then and his fifteenth win by KO/TKO. Green, 39, was looked upon as a possible world champion as he went 29-1 in his first 30 fights. He had scored wins over Carl Daniels, Carlos De Leon Jr and the 25-0-1 Tarvis Simms but then lost every round against Andre Ward in a WBA super middle title fight in 2010. He then went 3-3 in fights against good level opposition before being inactive from October 2013 until returning to the ring with one fight in 2018.
Karl vs. Watts
Sweet revenge for Texan “Cowboy” Karl as he punches too hard for previous conqueror Watts. It was an entertaining scrap while it lasted. Despite suffering a cut over his left eye Karl gradually punched the resistance out of Watts until the fifth round when with Watts shipping heavy punishment in a corner the referee halted the fight. When these two met in April last year Karl was in front on points until he was knocked down and stopped in the fifth round. Tenth win by KO/TKO for Karl. “Playboy” Watts has now lost 4 of his last 5 fights.
Delgado vs. Lopez
Mexican Olympian Delgado makes it eight from eight as he stops Lopez in the third round. Delgado was always in control in this one until a body punch sent Lopez down in the third and he was unable to beat the count. Eighth win by KO/TKO for the 24-year-old Mexican prospect. He was a top level amateur winning silver medals at both the Pan American and Central American and Caribbean Games and competing at the 2016 Olympic. He fought in the World Series of Boxing for four seasons ending with a 9-4 record. The experienced Lopez suffers his eighth loss by KO/TKO.
Shreveport, LA, USA: Light: Devin Haney (21-0) W PTS 10 Xolisani Ndongeni (25-1). Heavy: Frank Sanchez (11-0) W KO 2 Willie Jake Jr (8-2-1). Feather: Ruben Villa (15-0) W PTS 8 Ruben Cervera (10-1,1ND).
Haney vs. Ndongeni
Another scarily impressive performance from Haney as he floors and outpoints previously unbeaten Ndongeni. The South African tried to establish his jab in a speedy first round but Haney had quicker hands and feet. Ndongeni tried some long punches but Haney closed the round by raking Ndongeni with a left hook, an overhand right and a vicious straight right. Ndongeni made a fast start to the second firing jabs and overhand rights and showing some sharp movement but as he moved across the front of Haney he was nailed with a right hook that sat him on his rump. Ndongeni was up quickly and for the rest of the round he used clever footwork and upper body movement to frustrate Haney’s attempts to catch him again. In a close third Ndongeni scored with a couple of good rights and a left hook but Haney finished the round strongly with jabs and rights of his own. A low key fourth also went to Haney as he was getting his punches off first and dodging Ndongeni’s. Haney upped the pace in the fifth. He hounded Ndongeni for three minutes firing more combinations than in the earlier rounds. The pressure was forcing errors from Ndongeni and Haney made him pay for them. The sixth was closer. Again Haney did the pressing and was landing lightning quick jabs and strong rights but Ndongeni did some good work to the body. Haney had been taking the close rounds but Ndongeni had a good seventh. He was able to take Haney to the ropes and work to the body. Haney was coming up short with his jabs-apart from one that jarred loose Ndongeni’s mouthguard-and he outworked Haney to edge the round. It had been Ndongeni’s tactics to make a strong start to each round and he did that in the eighth. He rattled Haney with a couple of long rights to the chin but then Haney began to move inside cutting down Ndongeni’s space and landing short vicious shots inside. He rocked Ndongeni with a left hook and the South African began to hold for the first time in the fight. Haney ended the round with a series of right to the head with Ndongeni looking to be in trouble and tiring. Haney dominated the ninth. He stalked Ndongeni around the ring getting inside and working the body with Ndongeni relying on wild rights but always missing. After a slow start to the last Haney forced Ndongeni to the ropes and just kept firing hooks with both hands and kept Ndongeni there to the bell. Scores 100-89 twice and 99-90 for Haney. Although the highest rating Haney had before this fight was No 8 with the WBA the 20-year-old “The Dream” is on his way to a world title shot either by the end of 2019 or early in 2020. He has prodigious talent. A natural with moves you can’t teach a fighter so there are exciting times ahead for Haney. Ndongeni “The Wasp” was set an impossible task for his second fight in the USA but he showed enough to indicate he is capable of giving most rated fighters a tough night and will be in some big fights in the future.
Sanchez vs. Jake
Sanchez dismantles Jake inside two rounds. Sanchez forced the fight hard in the first with the heavier Jake not quick enough with his punches or his movement to compete as Sanchez connected with some powerful rights. There was then a delay for a problem with the ropes Sanchez then continued pressing the heavier Jakes who tried to tie-up the unbeaten Cuban on the inside. Sanchez shook himself loose and landed a crunching right to the head. Jakes backed into a corner and then under a series of punches from Sanchez he slid down the ropes and ended face down on the canvas. The referee started to count but then waived the fight off. The one big right that Sanchez did throw in that series landed on the left glove of Sanchez and it looked like Jakes was taking the easy way out. The 26-year-old 6’4” has nine wins by KO/TKO. His No Decision came when he bundled his opponent through the ropes and he was unable to continue. Sanchez was an elite level amateur. He won a silver medal at the Pan American Youth Championships and thrice won a bronze medal in the Cuban Championships. His best result was a victory over Erislandy Savon in taking a gold medal at the Cuban Giraldo Cordova Cardin tournament. He looks powerful and is one to watch. Southpaw Jakes had won his last five fights but against inferior level opposition and this is his second loss b y KO/TKO.
Villa vs. Cervera
Villa wins every round against Colombian Cervera. Villa controlled the action with his sharp, accurate right jab. He was just too quick and slick for Cervera. The Colombian connected with a good right in the first and was pressing forward for most of the fight but Villa was slotting jabs through too quickly for Cervera to block and then following with hard and accurate straight lefts. Villa used good movement to change angles and was firing rapid combinations with Cervera often a step or two behind and swishing air with his punches. On the down side despite his total dominance even when Villa sat down on his punches he never really had Cervera in trouble. Scores 80-72 for Villa from all three judges. The 21-year-old Salinas southpaw was National Golden Gloves champion in 2014 and 2015. He scored two wins over Shakur Stevenson but lost the chance to go to the Rio Olympics when Stevenson beat him in the US Olympic Trials final. He has won 8 of his last 9 fights on points so could be short on power. Former Colombian featherweight champion Cervera was having his first fight outside of Colombia and his first fight since February 2018.
Santa Ynez, CA, USA: Super Welter: Maditar Ashkeyev (11-0) W PTS 10 Luis Hernandez (16-7). Middle: Meiirim Nursultanov (10-0) W KO 2 Ramon Aguinaga (13-2).
Ashkeyev vs. Hernandez
Kazak Ashkeyev outpoints Hernandez. After a shaky start when he was buzzed by a punch from Hernandez in the first Ashkeyev took over the fight and outboxed Hernandez all the way despite various infractions by Hernandez as he tried to rough up Ashkeyev. The Kazak fighter was already on his way to a wide points win when he dropped Hernandez in the last but just could not get Hernandez out of there. Scores 98-91 twice and 99-90. Ashkeyev, 30, was in his first fight scheduled for ten rounds. He is based in Oxnard, California alongside Sergey Kovalev, Oleg Usyk, Olexandr Gvozdyk and Vasyl Lomachenko. Puerto Rican Hernandez has lost 5 of his last 6 fights but all against good quality opposition.
Nursultanov vs. Aguinaga
Nursultanov, another member of the Oxnard outfit flattens Mexican Aguinaga with a brutal right. Nursultanov prowled after Aguinaga in the first looking to land his destructive right but Aguinaga made it the bell without too much danger. In the second a straight right from Nursultanov crashed onto Aguinaga’s chin. He sagged and then fell back into the ropes and bounced off ending face down on the canvas out cold. The 25-year-old Kazak now has eight wins by KO/TKO. He won a gold medal at the Asian Championships and was 13 -1in fights in the World Series of Boxing including two victories in the semi-final matches against the British Lionhearts. Aguinaga had won 8 of his last 9 fights but the loss was in his last fight in July against French hope Christian Mbilli.
Tacoma, WA, USA: Super Feather: Giovanni Mioletti (15-0) W TKO 3 Antonio Escalante (29-10).
Mioletti rolls on with win over experienced Escalante. After a tentative start to the first round Mioletti started to find the distance with his jab and Escalante had no real answer to it. In the second Mioletti put Escalante down with a left hook but Escalante got up and made it to the bell. In the third a right staggered Escalante and a following left floored him again. He made it to his feet but when the eight count was finished so was Escalante who indicated he wanted out. Born in Seattle but based in Chicago Mioletti , 24,gets his sixth win by KO/TKO. He has had five fights and five wins under the banner of Brian Halquist Productions “Battle at the Boat” series at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma. In those five wins is a victory over unbeaten Ray Lampkin the son of the former WBA lightweight title challenger of the same name. El Paso-based Mexican Escalante was 24-2 before losing to Daniel Ponce De Leon in WBO featherweight eliminator but has fallen away and was inactive for over three years before returning with a loss in October.
Mar Del Plata, Argentina: Light Heavy: Walter Sequeira (22-5) W PTS 10 Facundo Galovar (10-5-1).
Sequeira continues his run of form with majority decision over Galovar. This was a war. Not much evidence of skill but entertaining for the fans. Sequeira made a slow start conceding the first round to a busier Galvan but Sequeira landed enough accurate punches to edge the second and had Galovar hurt by a right in the both the and fourth rounds. Galovar came back into the fight in the fifth and sixth as Sequeira’s work rate dropped. Sequeira had a good seventh once again shaking Galovar with a right but the eighth and ninth could have been scored either way but a left from Sequeira in the last put him in control and he emerged a clear winner. Scores 96-94 twice for Sequeira and 95-95. Now 31, Sequeira makes it five wins in his last six fights and collects the vacant WBC Latino title. His National title was not on the line. His loss in those last six fights was a fourth round stoppage against unbeaten Anthony Yarde in October. Three losses in a row now for Galovan.
Mar del Plata, Argentina: Super Light: Jaider Parra (33-2-1,1ND) W PTS 10 Fabian Maidana (16-1).Super Light: Jonathan Eniz (23-11-1,1ND) W PTS 10 Cesar Cuenca (48-3) . Bantam: Fernando Martinez (8-0) W PTS 6 Abel Silva (5-3-3).
Maidana vs. Parra
On a mixed night for the Maidana family Marcos stages his first promotion and younger brother Fabian loses for the first time as a pro in a clash of younger brothers”. Parra, the younger brother of former WBA flyweight champion Lorenzo, proved too experienced and clever for Maidana. The visitor took a round to get into his stride but then proceeded to outbox Maidana. Parra was able to penetrate Maidana’s defence with jabs and sharp rights and was ducking under and around Maidana’s punches and took the third. Maidana managed to trap Parra on the ropes and land some hooks in the fourth but a right in the fifth opened a cut on Maidana’s left eyelid and Parra did most of the scoring in the sixth and seventh. With brother Marcos climbing into his corner Maidana finally landed some heavy punches in the eighth and rocked Parra with a left in the last but by then it was already a lost cause. Scores 98 ½-94, 98 ½-94 ½,97 ½-95 ½ all for Parra. The 36-year-old Venezuelan lost inside the distance in challenges for both the WBA super feather and interim lightweight titles and had won 10 of his last 11 fights. It would have been 11 out of 11but after he stopped Spanish prospect 20-1 Nicolas Gonzalez in January 2017 he tested positive for Clenbuterol and the result was changed to a No Decision. This win over Maidana will generate more work for Parra. Maidana, 26, had scored wins over Johan Perez and Andrey Klimov and was rated No 9 by the WBA. He was looked upon as one of the best prospects in Argentina but even though his trainer Manny Robles was flown down to be in his corner he was flat and flummoxed by the more experienced Parra.
Eniz vs. Cuenca
With Eniz only rated No 9 in the National ratings he looked a comfortable opponent for the return to the ring of former IBF lightweight champion and fellow southpaw Cuenca. This was Cuenca’s first fight since April 2016 and not surprisingly the young Eniz dominated the first two rounds. Cuenca began to find the target in the third and was expected to pick up the pace and kick on from there. That did not happen. Using a focused body attack and some vicious hooks Eniz put himself in front over the middle rounds. There were plenty of fierce exchanges with both landing heavily but although Cuenca finished strongly he was well beaten. Scores 98-94, 98-94 ½ and 97 ½-94for Eniz. The 24-year-old from Dolores was 2-2 in 2018 scoring two low level wins but being knocked out in seven rounds by unbeaten Kazak Batyrzhan Jukembayev in Montreal before performing above expectations in losing a split verdict to unbeaten Luis Veron. This win will boost his profile way up. Cuenca, 36, lost his IBF title to Eduard Troyanovsky in 2015 and was stopped in seven rounds in a return match in 2016. No talk of retirement from Cuenca.
Martinez vs. Silva
Olympian Martinez extends his 100% record to eight fights with unanimous decision over feisty Silva. This was a battle all the way. Martinez had the harder punch but Silva refused to back up and despite shipping heavy punishment banged back with some heavy punches of his own. Martinez ‘s power was decisive and he poured on the punishment as Silva tired to take the decision. Scores : 59 ½ -55 ½ , 59-56 and 59 ½ -56. Martinez, 27 represented Argentina at the World Championships and the 2016 Olympics and was a member of the Los Angeles Matadors team in the World Series of Boxing. Third loss in a row for Silva.
Perez, Argentina: Light; Gustavo Lemos (20-0) W TKO 4 Galvis Guerra (16-3-3).
Lemos dismantles overmatched Colombian. Lemos was piling forward connecting with hooks and overhand rights to the head. Guerra lacked the power to compete and had a leaky defence so Lemos was driving him back and rocking him with punches in close. Guerra survived a brutal third but it was all over in the fourth. A straight right from Lemos saw Guerra tottering back across the ring to the ropes where he dropped to one knee. He beat the count but suddenly without Lemos landing another heavy punch Guerra turned away from the action and again crossed the ring to the ropes and knelt down and the referee stopped the fight. Tenth win by KO/TKO for the 22-year-old “El Electrico” from Tres Arroyos and his fourth defence of his IBF Latino title. He is Argentinian No 1 and IBF have him at No 14. Second loss by KO/TKO for Guerra who is now 0-3 in fights outside of Colombia.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Bantam: Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1) W PTS 10 Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-1). Minimum: Norihito Tanaka (18-7) W TKO 8 Shin Ono (23-10-3).
Tamura vs. Nakagawa
Minor upset as Tamura wins the vacant National title at the second attempt . With 14 wins in his last 15 fights Nakagawa was the favourite but Tamura was off the mark quickly attacking strongly and scoring well to head and body. Nakagawa answered the pressure with some strong jabs and uppercuts but Tamura outscored him and at the half way mark was up 50-45, 49-46 and 48-47 on the three cards. With his greater experience Nakagawa was expected to claw back the deficit over the second half of the fight and although he landed some sizzling rights it was Tamura who was stronger blunting Nakagawa’s attacks and emerging a comfortable winner. Scores 99-91 twice and 97-93 for Tamura. He was 3-2-1 at the start of his career but has turned things around with 9 wins in his last 10 fights with the loss being in a challenge for this title in 2017. Nakagawa, 30, had won 14 of his last 15 fights but this was only his second fight scheduled for ten rounds. To his credit he is canvassing with some success for cloud funding to help children in the Philippines
Tanaka vs. Ono
Another surprise here as Tanaka halts Ono to lift his Japanese title. Despite Ono having the edge in height over tiny Tanaka the challenger punched his way inside negating southpaw Ono’s greater skills. He shook Ono in the second and floored him with a right in the third and after five rounds all three judges had him ahead 49-45. Ono had the better of the action in the sixth using his reach to collect the points. Tanaka was getting past the jab in the seventh and a harried Ono was deducted a point for holding. Tanaka’s attacks overwhelmed Ono in the eighth and he was battered to the floor with the referee immediately stopping the fight. Tanaka was winning a title at the third attempt. He was outpointed by future world champion Akira Yaegashi for this same title in April 2011 and was inactive from November 2011 until returning to action in February 2017. In his second shot at a title he lost to unbeaten Tsubasa Koura for the OPBF crown in April last year. Former WBA and IBF title challenger Ono was rated in the top 15 by all four sanctioning bodies so this was a severe blow to his hopes of a third world title fight.
Fight of the week (Significance): Caleb Plant as is win over Jose Uzcategui will open many doors for him.
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Plant vs. Uzcategui supplied plenty of action
Fighter of the week: Has to be Plant but with honourable mention to Devin Haney
Punch of the week: The right from Meiirim Nursultanov was a real thunderbolt and the right that gave Brandon Figueroa his first knockdown against Moises Flores was special.
Upset of the week: Plant beating Uzcategui was unexpected as was Jaider Parra’s victory over unbeaten Fabian Maidana, Parra vs. Maidana
Prospect watch: Plenty on show this week with Brandon Figueroa, Meiirim Nursultanov and Frank Sanchez all impressing
By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
2018 was another interesting year for Asian boxing with the usual ups and downs but it was one that saw the seeds planted for what can potentially be a golden era for the sport throughout the continent.
2018 was a disappointing 12 months for Japanese boxing at world level but with a core of elite pugilists and a plethora of outstanding youngsters on the rise, the future is still very bright for boxing in the land of the rising sun.
Long reigning WBC bantamweight boss Shinsuke Yamanaka quite frankly deserved so much better than to go out at the hands of the disgraceful Luis Nery who failed a drugs test after their first encounter then came in 5 pounds overweight on first attempt before their rematch. Yamanaka can hold his head up high and will go down as one of Japan’s best after a terrific career.
After losing his WBO strawweight belt to Vic Saludar, Ryuya Yamanaka was unfortunately forced to retire due to a serious head injury and stalwarts Kohei Kono and Yoshihiro Kamegai also hung up the gloves after exciting fan friendly careers. Katsunori Nagamine, who was always guaranteed to provide thrills and spills was also forced to retire due to injury which was such as shame as the flyweight became a favourite of mine.
Daigo Higa and Kenichi Ogawa will not want to be reminded of having the arduous distinction of being the only Japanese fighters to lose their world titles on the scales and for failing a drugs test respectively and both will hope for much better results in 2019. Ryota Murata has it all to prove after floundering against an inspired Rob Brant and Ryoichi Taguchi, Kazuto Ioka, Ryosuke Iwasa and Reiya Konishi will aim to return to world level after losing close decisions that could have easily gone the other way.
In what you could easily call the awesome foursome Naoya Inoue, Kenshiro, Kosei Tanaka and Hiroto Kyoguchi are as good a quartet of fighters anywhere on the planet and will be aiming to establish themselves as the number 1 in their respective divisions. Inoue blasted away both Jamie McDonnell and Juan Carlos Payano inside a round and claiming the World Boxing Super Series prize is the goal for 2019. Kenshiro enjoyed a rather fruitful 2018, impressively halting both Ganigan Lopez and Milan Melindo before scoring a wide points victory over Saul Juarez to cap off the year and hopefully the WBC light flyweight champion can secure a unification in 2019.
Kosei Tanaka became a 3-weight world champion in just his 12th bout but had to go through the meat grinder to do it as he took the WBO flyweight strap from Sho Kimura in undoubtedly the fight of the year. A rumoured clash with Ryoichi Taguchi is in the works for this spring and if it’s half as good as the bout with Kimura then we’re in for another classic. Hiroto Kyoguchi made a real statement as he broke down Hekkie Budler and became the first man to stop the South African and his heavy hands make him a force to be reckoned with at 108 pounds.
Finally Masayuki Ito deserves more than a mention after winning a world title away from home, something very few Japanese boxers accomplish. Ito was far too seasoned for Christopher Diaz and after a one-sided beat down of mandatory challenger Evgeny Chuprakov, the WBO super featherweight champion has options aplenty for 2019. Tomoki Kameda and Takuma Inoue will get cracks at full world titles this year after winning interim trinkets in 2018.
Overall 2018 was an excellent year for Filipino boxing with 3 of the nation’s favourite sons scoring notable victories. Donnie Nietes prevailed in a close and thoroughly absorbing contest with Kazuto Ioka, making him a 4-weight champion and let’s hope he defends against similar calibre of competition as there is no shortage of top challengers at super flyweight.
After defeat to Carl Frampton and moving down to a division which he hadn’t fought at in 7 years, few if anyone gave Nonito Donaire a prayer when he entered the World Boxing Super Series but the Filipino Flash defied the odds to beat Ryan Burnett and set up a semi-final contest versus Zolani Tete. It should be noted that a freak back injury left Burnett unable to continue but Donaire was highly competitive in rounds 3 and 4 so a win against Tete isn’t out of the question.
Manny Pacquiao knocked out Lucas Matthysse to keep his career going and he has a very winnable bout with Adrien Broner coming up shortly but the biggest winner in Filipino boxing in 2018 was visibility, with not only ESPN5 providing much needed coverage for boxing globally but other streams were provided for domestic cards making the sport far more accessible than it has been in previous years. Vic Saludar produced an excellent display to capture the WBO strawweight title in Japan but IBF 115 lb champion Jerwin Ancajas failed to shine in 2018 and will need to up his game if he’s to compete and overcome the elite of the division.
The 2 all Filipino world title fights between Jerwin Ancajas and Jonas Sultan and Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte unfortunately completely underwhelmed but if the myth that these kind of bouts shouldn’t be happening is slowly being dispelled then that’s a positive and we saw other such good clashes at domestic and regional level between Jonathan Taconing and Vince Paras and Edward Heno and Jesse Espinas take place.
The biggest negative was the disappearance of exciting featherweight Mark Magsayo who failed to fight at all in 2018 and Mark Antony Barriga will also have to rebound after his first loss. Jhack Tepora and Reymart Gaballo enjoyed breakout years and are leading the charge of the next generation of young Pinoys, Romero Duno should continue to provide plenty of entertainment and KJ Cataraja and Dave Apolinario are 2 gems worth getting excited about.
Boxing in Thailand ticked over quite nicely in 2018 with all 3 world champions holding onto their titles and the country has 2 interesting prospects in Apichet Petchmanee and Downua Ruawaiking both at light welterweight. The Workpoint series was also a nice edition and saw much improved match making and some solid domestic bouts that delivered including the 2 encounters between Kompayak Porpramook and Pongsaklek Sithdabmij and the clash between Nawaphon Por Chokchai and Amnat Ruenroeng.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai scored a majority decision over Juan Francisco Estrada in a thoroughly enjoyable contest in the US to kick off his 2018 and after a stay busy bout he made history as he headlined a One Championship card in front of a raucous home crowd. The WBC super flyweight champion scored a wide point’s win over game Mexican Iran Diaz and heads into 2019 with numerous available options with a unification with Jerwin Ancajas looking a distinct possibility.
Wanheng Menayothin made his own history as he took his unbeaten record to 52-0 by the end of the year. The WBC strawweight titlist reached the magic 50-0 mark in style as he destroyed mandatory challenger Leroy Estrada before taking a unanimous decision over solid challenger Pedro Taduran. If the reports are to be believed and Wanheng does venture outside of Thailand then tougher challenges could lay ahead for the 33-year-old with a bout against the undefeated Tsubasa Koura mentioned as a possibility.
Despite making 3 defenses of his strawweight crown the stock of Knockout CP Freshmart dramatically dropped with 3 very poor performances and the fights against Xion Zhao Zhong and the rematch with Byron Rojas were honestly dire viewing. Knockout will need to dramatically up his game in 2019 if he’s to keep hold of his belt as he looks to be there for the taking.
Along with Cuba, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are now well established as the leading forces in amateur boxing and now both nations are making their presence felt in the professional ranks with Daniyar Yeleussinov, Murodjon Akhmadaliev, Shakhram Giyasov, Sadriddin Akhmedov and Israil Madrimov just a selection of names who are looking to make an impact. Expect the Kazak/Uzbek take over/invasion to ramp up even further in 2019 with so much strength in depth in both countries.
Finally any action that took place inside the ring in amateur boxing was completely overshadowed by a tumultuous struggle between AIBA and the IOC which has left boxing’s place at the Tokyo Olympics hanging by a thread. After being made interim President, controversial Gafur Rakhimov who is described as "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals" by the United States Treasury Department was elected permanent President under farcical proceedings which saw certain delegations fail to vote and the electronic voting system fail to work.
Repeated warnings from the IOC regarding Rakhimov’s potential election as permanent President clearly were not heeded and coupled with governance and financial concerns, this lead to the planning for boxing in Tokyo being frozen therefore leaving everyone in total limbo. 2019 is without doubt a defining period in amateur boxing but the signs are bleak and a boxing tournament in Tokyo without AIBA’s involvement is a solid possibility which could lead to a messy split within the federations and in all of this the boxers are the ones who suffer due to the arrogance, selfishness and incompetence of those at the top.
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
-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.
-Meng Fanlong (14-0): IBF #8 / WBA #12
Meng stopped the former British & Commonwealth champion Frank Buglioni (22-4), on November 24th, to defend his IBF Intercontinental title for the first time.
Super Lightweight / Jr Welterweight:
-Apinun Khongsong (14-0): IBF #7
The current IBF Asia & Pan Pacific champion has fought 4 times in 2018, all stoppage victories. Khongsong will face Akihiro Kondo (31-7) in an IBF World title Eliminator, on February 18.
-Daud Yordan (38-4): WBA #5
Yordan’s latest success came in April, 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
After unsuccessfully challenging Jorge Linares (45-4) for the WBA World championship, Gesta defeated Robert Manzanarez (36-3) for the vacant WBO-NABO title, which he will defend on January 26 at Golden Boy’s first boxing card on DAZN. No opponent has been named as of yet.
-Can Xu (15-2): WBA #2
The reigning WBA International champion will be facing Jesus Rojas (26-2) for the WBA “regular” title on January 26.
-Genesis Servania (32-1): WBO #1 / WBA #3 / IBF #5
Servania has knocked out all of his opponents, since losing to WBO World champion Oscar Valder (24-0) in 2017, including world title contender Carlos Carlson (23-5) in September. He’s now looking for another shot at a World championship, either at Featherweight or at Super Bantamweight. His next confirmed opponent is Carlos Castro (21-0), whom he’ll face in California, on February 10.
-Mark Magsayo (18-0): WBC #1 / WBO #8
The reigning 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 2019.
Super Bantamweight / Jr Featherweight:
-Albert Pagara (31-1): WBO #2 / IBF #6
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) on November 24.
-Juan Miguel Elorde (27-1): WBO #3
The WBO Asia Pacific champion marked his third successful title defense in February against Likit Chane (16-8). After dispatching Ratchanon Sawangsoda (12-3) in July, he returned to the ring once more before the year is over, on December 16, and defended his belt against Artid Bamrungauea (21-25).
-Marlon Tapales (31-2): WBO #6 / IBF #7
The former WBO Bantamweight World champion made short work of Goodluck Mrema (22-4) this past September. It’s not certain if Super Bantamweight or Featherweight will be the division Tapales sticks with. His next fight will take place in February, under the MP Promotions banner.
-Jeo Santisima (17-2): WBO #10
The Filipino won the vacant WBO Oriental title, after defeating Likit Chane (16-8) this past summer. In November, he made his first successful defense, against Victor Uriel Lopez (13-10).
-Kenny Demecillo (14-4): IBF #3
Demecillo has fought only once in 2018, scoring a KO win over Vyacheslav Mirzaev (11-1) in Russia. His next scheduled appearance is in March of 2019 as he takes on Michael Dasmarinas (28-2) in an IBF World title eliminator, in Singapore.
-Michael Dasmarinas (28-2): IBF #4 / WBC #11
Dasmarinas knocked out former EBU European champion Karim Guerfi (28-4) this past April to earn the IBO “world” title. His latest fight against Manyo Plange (17-0) came to a draw. He will square off against Kenny Demecillo (14-4), as mentioned above, for a chance at the IBF World title.
-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 the WBO Oriental Youth & WBA Asia titles.
-Arthur Villanueva (32-3): WBO #8
The former WBO Asia Pacific champion and world title contender has 1 win and one draw in 2018.
-Tasana Salapat (48-1): WBC #2
“Petch Sor Chitpattana” lost his first fight when he fought Takuma Inoue (13-0) for the interim WBC World championship, on December 30, in Japan.
Super Flyweight / Jr Bantamweight:
-Aston Palicte (24-2): WBO #2 / WBC #6
Palicte will be involved in a WBO World title eliminator with Jose Martinez (20-0) on January 31st.
-Giemel Magramo (23-1): WBO #6 / WBC #7 / WBA #8 / IBF #9
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 #8
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 (68-5): WBA #2 / WBC #5
Since losing to Kazuto Ioka in 2017, “Noknoi Sitthiprasert” has been undefeated in his last 6 fights, but none of them was against a credible opponent.
-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.
-Wenfeng Ge (11-1): WBO #9 / IBF #13
The former undefeated Chinese prospect took the unanimous decision victory over Ivan Soriano (19-2) as well as the vacant WBO International championship, this past August, before losing it to top ranked Flyweight Giemel Magramo (23-1).
-Sirichai Thaiyen (51-4): WBA #7
The former WBA interim World champion failed the recapture the crown this summer in Ukraine when he fought Artem Dalakian (18-0).
-Jayr Raquinel (10-1): IBF #6
Raquinel won the OPBF title from Keisuke Nakayama (11-3) in March and in 2 months time, he successfully marked his first title defense over Shun Kosaka (15-5). However, he failed to capture the vacant WBC Silver championship, when he boxed with Chinese rising star Wean Tuolehazi (9-3), in September.
-Jonathan Taconing (28-3): WBC #1 / WBO #1 / WBA #2 / IBF #8
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 Angel Acosta (19-1), for the WBO strap, could be in the works for this coming Spring.
-Edward Heno (13-0): WBO #3 / WBC #4 / WBA #6 / IBF #6
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 #6 / WBC #13
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 #4 / 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.
-Rey Loreto (24-14): WBC #5
After a failed attempt to dethrone Thammanoon Niyomtrong (19-0) in 2017, Loreto returned this past February and knocked out journeyman Arnold Garde (10-6).
-Pongsaklek Sithdabni (17-6): WBC #8
The WBC Asia champion finished 2018 with a 3-2 record.
-Robert Paradero (17-0): WBO #1
Paradero is supposed to face Wilfredo Mendez (11-1) in a WBO World title eliminator this coming January. The winner will be next in line to challenge Vic Saludar (18-3) for the gold.
-Chaozhong Xiong (27-8): WBA #9
Xiong tried to become a 2 time World champion when he fought Thammanoon Niyomtrong (19-0) in July, but it wasn’t meant to be. No news yet if that was his last match or not.
-Rene Mark Cuarto (16-1): IBF #7 / WBO #8
Cuarto won his first championship in August after he fought Clyde Azarcon (14-2) for the vacant WBO Oriental title.
-Samuel Salva (16-0): IBF #5
The Filipino prospect remained undefeated in 2018 as well, thus adding 4 more victories to his record.
-Pedro Taduran (13-2): IBF #10 / WBC #12
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) on December 7.
-Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1): IBF #3 / WBA #5
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 “world” title but the fight ended in a no contest.
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
-Kyotaro Fujimoto (20-1): WBO #6 / WBA #11
The former K-1 champion and the unified OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific title holder recently defended his belts twice in 2018.
-Ryota Murata (14-2): IBF #6 / WBC #6 / WBA #7
The 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist lost his WBA world title to Rob Brant in October, and once again finds himself in the position of the title chaser.
Super Welterweight / Jr Middleweight:
-Takeshi Inoue (13-0): WBO #3
The undefeated 4-year veteran and the unified OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion will challenge Jaime Munguia (31-0) for the WBO World title, on January 26, in Texas.
-Keita Obara (20-3): IBF #6 / WBO #15
After avenging his shocking loss to Alvin Lagumbay (10-4) and regained the WBO Asia Pacific championship, Obara was set to takes on the undefeated former WBC Silver champion Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0), on January 4th, in an IBF world title eliminator, but the match never happened. No updates yet if it will be rescheduled or not.
Super Lightweight / Jr Welterweight:
-Hiroki Okada (19-0): WBO #2 / WBA #3 / IBF #5 / WBC #9
The former Japanese & WBO Asia Pacific champion made his US debut this past September, against Cristian Rafael Coria (28-7), winning via unanimous decision. Okada is rumored to face the former WBO Lightweight World champion Raymundo Beltran (35-8) on February 10.
-Akihiro Kondo (31-7): IBF #4
Since losing to Sergey Lipinets (14-1) in 2017, Kondo has won his last 2 fights against the debuting Rikhit Thunritsa and Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-12). He will meet the undefeated IBF Pan Pacific champion Apinun Khongsong (14-0), on February 18, in an IBF world title eliminator.
-Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0): IBF #5 / WBC #7 / WBO #10
Nakatani marked his 11th successful OPBF title defense recently, when he stopped the 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 #4
The former Japanese, OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion is looking for his second world title opportunity in 2019.
Super Featherweight/ Jr Lightweight:
-Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1): WBO #6
Sueyoshi has defended his Japanese title thrice this year. His next one will probably be a rematch with Ken Osato (15-2) in early 2019.
-Satoshi Shimizu (8-0): IBF #3
The 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist has marked 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).
-Reiya Abe (18-2): IBF #4 / WBC #12
Abe is the number 1 contender for Taiki Minamoto’s (16-5) Japanese title. These 2 will collide at the 2019 Champion Carnival, on May 1st, but before that the young lion has another match set first against Daisuke Sugita (4-0) on January 12.
Super Bantamweight / Jr Featherweight:
-Shingo Wake (25-5): IBF #4 / WBC #4
The 12 year veteran has re-established himself at the top of the division after stopping Yusaku Kuga (17-3) in July to win the Japanese title. However, Wake recently vacated his belt and he is rumored to face a world champion in 2019. Until then, he will square off against Takafumi Nakajima (29-11) on January 19.
-Ryosuke Iwasa (25-3): IBF #3 / WBC #14
Iwasa lost his IBF world title to DJ Doheny (20-0) this past August. Rumor has it that he maybe fighting Cesar Juarez (23-6) in an IBF world title eliminator in the near future.
-Ryohei Takahashi (16-3): IBF #10
Takahashi won the IBF Pan Pacific championship from Pipat Chaiporn (45-12) back in June and defended it against Shingo Kusano (11-7) in September.
-Yukinori Oguni (20-2): WBA #6
After losing his World title in 2017, Oguni has picked only one victory in 2018.
Super Flyweight / Jr Bantamweight:
-Kazuto Ioka (23-2): WBO #3
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 Super Flyweight World title, losing a very close decision.
-Koki Eto (23-4): WBC #5 / WBO #8 / WBA #8 / IBF #12
The former interim WBA Flyweight World champion has fought and won twice in 2018 against lesser opponents.
-Ryuichi Funai (31-7): IBF #1 / WBO #6 / WBC #10
Funai stopped Victor Olivo (15-3) in an IBF world title eliminator, this past November, to become the number 1 contender. However, if the rumored Jerwin Ancajas (30-1) vs. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4) fight takes place, Funai might have to wait for a few months more before he receives his opportunity.
-Sho Ishida (27-1): IBF #4 / WBO #7 / WBA #7 / WBC #13
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).
-Daigo Higa (15-1): WBA #6
The former WBC Flyweight World Champion has been suspended for the majority of 2018, since failing to make weight in his last title fight. Recently though, there have been rumors of his upcoming return, including training videos of him, and with his inclusion to the WBA rankings, it’s almost a certainty that we will see Okinawa’s favorite son back to the rings this year.
-Junto Nakatani (17-0): WBC #4 / WBO #10
The unstoppable Japanese prospect has fought 4 times in 2018 and has won all of his bouts, 2 of them via KO. He will finally compete for a championship belt when he faces Naoki Mochizuki (15-3), on February 2nd, for the vacant Japanese crown.
-Sho Kimura (17-2): WBO #5
The former WBO World champion lost his title to Kosei Tanaka (12-0) this past September, in a FOTY candidate. Already ranked at the top 10 of the WBO, he will probably find himself in a championship match again very soon.
-Masayuki Kuroda (30-7): WBC #3 / 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.
-Tetsuya Hisada (33-9): WBA #1 / WBO #2 / WBC #2 / IBF #11
Hisada recorded a 5th successful Japanese title defense in November, before vacating the belt. Ranked at the top of the division all year long, it will be a surprise if he doesn’t fight for a World championship in 2019.
-Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3): WBC #3 / WBA #3 / IBF #7
Taguchi could be challenging Kosei Tanaka (12-0) for the WBO World title this Spring.
-Reiya Konishi (17-1): IBF #3 / WBA #4 / WBO #4 / WBC #14
After losing a decision to Carlos Canizales (21-0), for the WBA world title, Konishi came back in July and knocked out Orlie Silvestre (12-5) to become the new WBO Asia Pacific champion. His first successful title defense took place on December 1st, against Richard Rosales (13-8).
Kenichi Horikawa (35-18): WBC #6
Horikawa ends 2018 with a 4-0 record.
-Tsubasa Koura (14-0): WBC #3 / IBF #4 / WBA #10 / WBO #9
Koura defended his OPBF title, for the 3rd time, against Daiki Tomita (12-1) in September. He is now set to face Simphiwe Khonco (19-5) in a WBC World title eliminator (date TBA).
-Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6): WBO #3 / WBC #6 / IBF #14
Fukuhara has been victorious in both of his 2018 bouts.
-Shin Ono (23-9): WBO #5 / IBF #12 / WBA #13 / WBC #13
Ono marked his first successful Japanese title defense against former world title contender Riku Kano (14-4) in August. He will make his second one against Norihito Tanaka (17-7), on January 12.
-Masataka Taniguchi (11-2): WBO #2 / IBF #6
Taniguchi recently defeated Joel Lino (10-1) for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title. It’s almost certain that he will take on Vic Saludar (18-3) on February 25th for the WBO title.
(Image courtesy of World Sport 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