By Eric Armit
-Josh Taylor floors and outpoints Ivan Baranchyk to win the IBF super light title and progress to the final of the WBSS Tournament where he will face Regis Prograis
-Japanese “Monster” Naoya Inoue crushes Emmanuel Rodriguez in two rounds to lift the IBF bantamweight title and will meet Nonito Donaire in the final of the WBSS Tournament
- Deontay Wilder retains the WBC heavyweight title with stunning one punch kayo of Dominic Breazeale
-Billy Joe Saunders becomes a two-division champion after winning the vacant WBO super middle title
-Gary Russell gets technical decision over Kiko Martinez to retain the WBC featherweight title
-Felix Alvarado outpoints Reiya Konishi in defence of his IBF light flyweight title
- Ryan Burnett returns with a win-Joe Joyce rolls on with stoppage of Alex Ustinov
-Former champion Omar Narvaez is on the trail of another title fight after a win on Saturday
- Brad Foster retains the British super bantam title and wins the Commonwealth title with dramatic late stoppage of Ashley Lane
WORLD TITLE SHOWS
Glasgow, Scotland: Super Light: Josh Taylor (15-0) W PTS 12 Ivan Baranchyk (19-1). Bantam: Naoya Inoue 18-0) W KO 2 Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1). Super Middle: Zach Parker (18-0) W TKO 4 Steven Crambert (8-5). Bantam: Paul Butler (29-2) W TKO 6 Salvador Hernandez (14-9-1). Super Bantam: Lee McGregor (6-0) W PTS 6 Brett Fidoe (13-51-5).
Taylor vs. Baranchyk
It took Taylor two attempts to make the weight for this fight but that was a minor blip as he floored Baranchyk twice and put on a marvellous display of box/fighting to win a wide unanimous decision/
Baranchyk made an aggressive start but southpaw Taylor was able to dart away from the Russian’s punches and landed a crisp left counter. Baranchyk was wild with a couple of swings and Taylor scored with a good combination and then ducked under a couple of punches from Baranchyk.
Score: 10-9 Taylor
Taylor opened the round with a couple of crisp punches and then had Baranchyk lunging and swinging wildly with some quick footwork and upper body movement. Taylor connected with a right jab and a clubbing left with Baranchyk just not able to pin down the Scot and being left swishing air.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 20-18
Baranchyk finally got into the fight. He was sharper scoring with left hooks to the body and closing Taylor down better. Taylor landed a nice right to the body but Baranchyk banged back with two body punches. Taylor was not as accurate as he had been in the first two rounds.
Score: 10-9 Baranchyk Taylor 29-28
Taylor connected with hooks at the start of this one. He kept sliding jabs through Baranchyk’s defence and was getting his punches off and moving too quickly for Baranchyk to counter.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 39-37
Baranchyk scored with a sharp uppercut and then a left to the head in early action. Taylor then lost his cool and just stood and traded with Baranchyk and it was the Russian who was on target with hooks and uppercuts and for the first time he looked like the boxer who had crushed Anthony Yigit. A cut appeared over the left eye of Taylor after a clash of heads but the last punch of the round was a right to the head that made Baranchyk stumble.
Score: 10-9 Baranchyk Taylor 48-47
The both had some success early with Baranchyk connecting with a couple of hard right uppercuts. It looked as though he was building some momentum but Taylor landed a stunning right hook the sent Baranchyk to the floor. Taylor walked away with his arms raised in triumph but the fight was far from over. Baranchyk rolled to his feet and after the count tried to fight Taylor off. The Scot forced Baranchyk to the ropes connecting with hooks and uppercuts and Baranchyk went down for the second time. Once again Baranchyk rose immediately and the bell went when the eight count was completed.
Score: 10-7 Taylor Taylor 58-54
As a result of the sixth Taylor was now four points in front and knew he could hurt Baranchyk. The Russian was not about to fold but now he was fighting to keep Taylor out rather than doing the attacking Baranchyk landed some good hooks but Taylor was landing jabs, hooks and uppercuts and put Baranchyk under heavy pressure at the bell
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 68-63
Taylor eased up a bit in this round. He was content to dodge or block Baranchyk’s punches for the first half of the round and although he did the scoring with ripping body punches and lefts to the head to take the round it was not the same level of domination as the sixth and seventh.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 78-72
A complete change of pace from Taylor. He came out punching taking the fight to Baranchyk and they stood and traded punches. Baranchyk got through with some hooks and uppercuts but Taylor was bossing the exchanges and forcing Baranchyk back. Taylor then changed tactics again moving outside and spearing Baranchyk with jabs and then switched again to all-out aggression. Baranchyk just could not adjust to the changes and it was another round for Taylor
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 88-81
A dominant round for Taylor. For the whole three minutes he was bouncing punches of Baranchyk’s head with Baranchyk not able to launch any meaningful attacks as Taylor was crowding him and outpunching him. Baranchyk is a tough fighter but again he was fighting to keep Taylor off and not able to do much work himself.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 98-90
Taylor took no chances in this round. He was not looking to trade punches and that allowed Baranchyk to score with some long rights and to pummel away at Taylor’s body to win a round that Taylor could afford to lose.
Score: 10-9 Baranchyk Taylor 107-100
Taylor started the last round on fire and finished rocking Baranchyk’s head with hooks. In between it was Baranchyk doing the scoring as he desperately sought the knockout he needed and he just did enough to take the round but that was not enough to win the fight.
Score: 10-9 Baranchyk Taylor 116-110
Official Scores: Judge Levi Martinez 117-109 Taylor, Judge Jerome Lades 115-111 Taylor, Judge Joerg Milke 115-111 Taylor.
Scotland gets a world champion as the “Tartan terror” wins the IBF title and a place in the WBSS final against Regis Prograis. It was a brilliant victory by Taylor as he both outboxed and outpunched a teak-tough unbeaten Baranchyk. The Russian fought hard all the way but he just could not match the hand speed, movement and power of the Scot.
Inoue vs. Rodriguez
Inoue lives up to his “Monster” nickname as he floors Rodriguez three times in the second round to rip the IBF title from the Puerto Rican’s hands and move into the final of the WBSS against Nonito Donaire.
Rodriguez showed his intentions early as he clipped Inoue’s chin with a right that had Inoue blinking with surprise. He was much the bigger man and had Inoue backing up with stabbing jabs and landed another right to the chin. Inoue suddenly burst into life connecting with flashing punches from both hands. When the storm subsided Rodriguez was again marching forward behind his jab and there was high quality defensive and offensive work from both fighters with Inoue’s speed giving him the edge.
Score 10-9 Inoue
Inoue was letting fly with hooks as this round opened. They traded punches and he stepped inside and landed a short left hook to the head that sent Rodriguez down on his haunches. He was up quickly and walked to a corner but his legs were unsteady and there was blood dripping from his nose. At the end of the count Inoue walked in and landed a right and a left that put Rodriguez down on his hands and knees. Again after the count Inoue jumped forward and threw punches and Rodriguez dropped for a third time. He managed to get up but the referee waived the fight over. The 26-year-old Inoue is now a three division champion. Only two of his opponents have lasted the distance and in his last ten fights against ever better opposition he has won all ten by KO/TKO with only two of his victims lasting to the sixth round. I can’t see any way that Nonito Donaire can last the distance when they clash in the WBSS final. Rodriguez had won the IBF title by outclassing Paul Butler and took a split decision over unbeaten Jason Moloney in the quarter-finals of the Ali Tournament which was also his first title defence. He looked shell-shocked by the speed and power of Inoue so has some rebuilding to do.
Parker vs. Crambert
British champion Parker breaks down and halts French import Crambert in four rounds. A pretty routine outing for the 24-year-old prospect. Crambert trundled forward behind a high guard try to get inside but Parker was much too skilful for the limited Crambert and initially seemed content to work with his jab switching guards and slotting home straight lefts. He suddenly upped the pace in the fourth pining Crambert to the ropes and keeping him there as he pounded away with both hands to head and body. Crambert was blocking many of the punches but the referee decided he had seen enough and stopped the fight. Parker looked sensational in blasting out Luke Blackledge inside a round in 2017 but has had a low profile since then and did not impress in squeezing by unbeaten Darryl Williams on a split decision to win the British title in November. He has plenty of potential. Crambert had won 4 of his last 5 fights but against very modest opposition.
Butler vs. Hernandez
Butler keeps his hand in with stoppage of Mexican Hernandez. Butler was fighting with purpose even though there was nothing at stake. He was looking to make it an early night but Hernandez took the lumps. Butler staggered Hernandez with a right in the second and came close to ending it in the third when he had Hernandez in pain from a body punch but he then landed two low punches each of which gave Hernandez a bit of recovery time. He stunned the Mexican a couple of times in the fourth and fifth from body punches and ended it with series of punches rounded off by a wicked body punch. Hernandez made it to his feet but the referee rightly halted the fight. Third win for the former undefeated IBF bantam champion since his loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez for the vacant IBF title in May last year when Butler failed to make the weight. Hernandez is 1-5-1 in his last 7 but he took former champion Luis May the full ten rounds in October.
McGregor vs. Fidoe
All McGregor was likely to get out of this one was six rounds of work and a unanimous decision. If there is one thing that Fidoe always provides it is an aggressive performance even when coming in at short notice and fighting a high quality opponent. McGregor tried his hardest to put a dent in Fidoe’s toughness. He was scoring with flashing jabs and hurtful combinations and won every round clearly but even though giving away 5” in height Fidoe made sure that the young prospect had to work hard in every round. Referee’s score 60-54 for 22-year-old McGregor who defends his Commonwealth title next month against Scott Allan. Fidoe has clocked up 51 losses but only lost once inside the distance.
New York, NY, USA: Heavy: Deontay Wilder (41-0-1 W KO 1 Dominic Breazeale (20-2). Feather: Gary Russell Jr (30-1) W TKO 5 Kiko Martinez (39-9-2). Light: Juan Heraldez (16-0-1) DREW 10 Argenis Mendez (25-5-3,1ND). Heavy: Robert Alfonso (18-0-1) DREW 8 Iago Kiladze (26-4-1). Bantam: Gary Antonio Russell (14-0) W TEC DEC 6 Saul Hernandez (13-13-1). Super Light: Gary Antuanne Russell (9-0) W KO 4 Marcos Mojica (16-4-2). Welter: Richardson Hitchins (9-0) W RTD 3 Alejandro Munera (4-2-3)
Wilder vs. Breazeale
Wilder crushes Breazeale with one thunderous right to end the fight in just 2:17 and retains the WBC title. Breazeale made a confident start stabbing out jabs. When Wilder began to throw rights Breazeale quickly went onto the back foot. He began to advance again but was shaken by a long right from Wilder and Wilder drove him across and into a corner firing punches. Breazeale threw some counters edged his way out of the corner and grabbed hold of Wilder and was given a warning for holding. As Breazeale came forward Wilder connected with a booming right that sent Breazeale down spread-eagled on the canvas,. Somehow, just as Tyson Fury had done, Breazeale rolled over and started to rise but unlike Fury he did not beat the count and when he made it to his feet he stumbled back to the ropes. With Breazeale having gone almost seven rounds with Joshua this was a big statement by Wilder showing again that he is the hardest puncher in the heavyweight division and that power can compensate for any deficiencies in his style. He was making the ninth defence of the WBC title and racks up win No 40 by KO/TKO. Breazeale still has a future at heavyweight but at 33 is unlikely to get another title shot so may end up as a test for younger fighters coming through.
Russell vs. Martinez
Russell has his annual outing and retains the WBC title with stoppage of Spaniard Martine with a cut ending things late in the fifth round.
Martinez was wading forward in a crouch trying to get inside. Russell used quick footwork fast jabs and hooks to meet Martinez and was just too slick for the Spanish veteran
Russell was in complete control. Martinez knows only one way to fight and he kept coming forward but was knocked off balance with a southpaw right hook and was being outboxed.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 20-18
A much better round for Martinez. Russell was in charge early in the round spearing Martinez with jabs and countering the advancing Spaniards with short burst of punches. Martinez finally managed to get inside and work to the body with hooks but Russell’s early work gave him the round.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 30-27
Again in this round the jabs and quick lefts from Russell were finding gaps in Martinez’s defence but Martinez kept coming and was able to trap Russell on the ropes and work inside. The cleaner and more accurate work came from Russell
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Erik Marlinski 40-36 Russell, Tony Paolillo 40-36 Russell, Judge Robin Taylor 40-46 Russell
Martinez was still marching forward and Russell was having trouble keeping him out. Russell didn’t seem to have the power to dissuade Martinez and Martinez did not have the punch to hurt Russell. With only eight seconds to go in the round the referee stopped the fight and asked the doctor to examine a nasty cut over the left eye of Martinez. Blood was flowing down Martinez face and splashing onto his chest and the doctor advised the fight be stopped. Fourth defence of the WBC title for Russell. He has had just one fight in each in years 2015,2016, 2017 and 2018. He puts that down to no one wanting to fight him and he is now calling out WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz but there seems to be no interest from the Santa Cruz’s team. Former IBF super bantamweight champion Martinez has lost to Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg and to Josh Warrington on a majority decision. His fights are a battles of attrition and that will catch up with him soon.
Heraldez vs. Mendez
This youth vs. experience battle ended in a majority draw with Mendez a little unlucky not to get the decision. After a quiet opening round Mendez finished the second with a strong attack. Heraldez pressed hard in the third and fourth but Mendez used his skills to block or dodge many of the punches. Heraldez had a good fifth rocking Mendez with a right but the sixth and seven were close and both fighters landed big punches in the eighth. Mendez staged a strong finish. He had paced the fight better than Heraldez. He wobbled Heraldez a couple of times in the ninth and clearly took the tenth connecting with punches to head and body. Scores 95-95 twice and 97-93 for Mendez. Mendez marked a definite step up in quality opposition for Heraldez and will have given the 28-year-old Californian some pointers on areas for improvement. Former IBF featherweight champion Mendez suffered consecutive losses in 2016 to Robert Easter and Luke Campbell but has bounced back with victories over Ivan Redkach and Eddie Ramirez and a draw with Anthony Peterson so he was a very live opponent for Heraldez.
Alfonso vs. Kiladze
Alfonso and Kiladze share the points in this one. Cuban Alfonso had kept busy acting as a sparring partner for Deontay Wilder and was looking to make a statement against his first real test. Kiladze was looking to break a streak of three consecutive inside the distance losses. Kiladze made his goal but Alfonso did not really shine. It was a close fight with both fighters landing some heavy punches but with neither really posing a big danger to the other. Alfonso just seem to have done enough to get the decision but there was never much of a gap between them in any round so no real complaints over the draw. Scores 77-75 Alfonso, 77-75 Kiladze and 76-76. Alfonso had beaten aged Ray Austin in February but at 32 time is running out for him. After winning his first 20 fights and figuring high in the ratings a second round kayo loss to Youri Kayembre Kalenga put him in context. He then won six fights again very modest opposition before losing inside the distance to Adam Kownacki, Michael Hunter and Joe Joyce.
Russell vs. Hernandez
Russell is well on the way to victory when a clash of heads ends this one and the verdict is decided on the cards. Although far superior in skill Russell decided to outfight Hernandez inside and that worked fine for him. He was stronger and after taking the first two rounds he had Hernandez on the verge of a stoppage in both the third and fourth. He continued his domination in the fifth until a thudding clash of heads in the sixth saw Hernandez drop to the canvas. He was examined by the doctor and it was decided it would be unwise for Hernandez to continue. Russell was clearly in front on all three cards at 60-54 twice and 59-55 so he took the technical decision. Russell brother of champion Gary is a former National Golden Gloves champion and also ended as runner-up in the 2010 and 2014 Gloves. Hernandez had scored first round wins in his last three fights but his victims had combined records of 0-30.
Russell vs. Mojica
Unbeaten Russell, the youngest of the three Russell brothers on the card had no real problems here with Nicaraguan Mojica. The hand speed and power of Russell allowed him to dominate the fight. In the fourth he put Mojica on the canvas with a left hook and then floored him again with a crushing combination and the fight was stopped. The 22-year-old southpaw, a 2016 Olympian, has won all of his fights by KO/TKO taking less than 16 rounds in total to get the job done. Third loss by KO/TKO for Mojica who was stopped in three rounds by another 2016 Olympian, Daniyar Yeleussinov, in November.
Hitchins vs. Munera
Mayweather Promotions prospect Hitchins much too classy for novice Munera. Hitchins had the Colombian under fire in the first and almost ended the fight with a left hook. Munera stumbled but did not fall. Hitchins handed out some severe punishment in the second and third and Munera’s corner retired their man at the end of the third. Fifth quick win for the 21-year-old from Brooklyn. Hitchins twice lost to Gary Antuanne at the US Olympic Trials for Rio but then re-entered the World Qualifiers representing his parents home country of Haiti beating Britain’s Pat McCormack to qualify but then lost again to again to Russell in Rio. Both of Munera’s losses have been by KO/TKO.
Stevenage, England: Super Middle: Billy Joe Saunders (28-0) W PTS 12 Shefat Isufi (27-4-2). Heavy: Joe Joyce (9-0) W TKO 3 Alex Ustinov (34-4). Super Bantam: Brad Foster (11-0-1) W TKO 12 Ashley Lane (13-9-2). Light: Shaun Cooper (9-0) W PTS 10 Boy Jones (18-3-1). Super Welter: Balazs Bacskai (10-0) W PTS 8 Davi Eliasquevici (14-9).
Saunders vs. Isufi
Saunders becomes a two-division champion as he picks up the WBO title with ridiculously easy win over WBO No 1 Isufi.
Sign of things to come as Saunders is able to stride around Isufi spearing him with right jabs and then stepping in with a series of punches to head and body with Isufi a static target too slow to respond. Saunders is hardly even bothering to lift his gloves above hip height.
Score: 10-9 Saunders
It is a toss-up as to which is slower Isufi’s hands or his feet. He is being totally outclassed. Saunders is just using clever upper body movement to weave under Isufi’s punches and then rattling off six or seven punch combinations without loading up on his punches.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 20-18
Isufi made a bit more of an effort in this one but to no real purpose Saunders was boxing brilliantly constantly changing direction and then stepping with rapid combinations with Isufi too slow to counter and too slow to cut the ring off. Saunders is already mocking his efforts.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 30-27
This is really just highly paid sparring for Saunders as he is way ahead of Isufi in every facet of boxing. He is sliding light jabs through the defence of Isufi then combinations to head and body. Isufi often resorts to just hiding behind a high guard and retreating to the ropes where Saunders pounds him to head and body
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 40-36
Isufi made a more positive start to this round lunging forward and connecting with some rights but once Saunders got to work again Isufi was just hiding behind a high guard and throwing an occasional wild swipe hoping to get lucky.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 50-45
It was all too easy and Saunders nearly paid the price of being overconfident. At the start of the round he stood in front of Isufi throwing lefts and rights. A counter right from Isufi landed on Saunders chin. Saunders took a step back and his legs wobbled as he staggered across the rings and into the ropes. Isufi saw Saunders was hurt and piled after him throwing punches. Initially Saunders clinched and then he danced around to ring with Isufi trying to catch him. Isufi was too slow to cut off the ring and didn’t manage to land another punch. Saunders wasn’t throwing any punches so that early success gave Isufi the round.
Score: 10-9 Isufi Saunders 59-55
Saunders took no chances in this one. He kept moving slotting jabs home but no longer standing in front of Isufi with his hands down. Isufi was just plodding after Saunders not being able to land a punch on the constantly shifting target and Sunders connected with a bunch of punches just before the bell.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 69-64
Saunders was back in total control again. After firing a burst of jabs early he was dancing around round Isufi hands down slotting jabs home throwing punches off the wrong foot. He was not even bothering to raise his hands above wais level before firing home punches before the bell.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 79-73
Again Saunders was able to dance around Isufi with his hands down with Isufi suffering from punch constipation. He was waiting for an opportunity to score again with a right as he had in the sixth but Saunders was not offering any second chance so Isufi had no target. When he did throw a punch he usually missed and paid for that with a counter so he threw very few punches although he did catch Saunders with one right but Saunders was moving away when it landed.
Score: 10-9 Saunders 89-82
Another easy round for Saunders. He was circling a static Isufi popping him with jabs and straight lefts. Isufi managed to rush Sunders to a corner but Saunders bobbed and weaved around and under Isufi’s punches and then went back to moving and prodding Isufi with jabs.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 99-91
A stroll in the park for Saunders. After an initial burst of punches when it looked as though he might be trying to end this early he then settled for flitting around a plodding Isufi sticking Isufi with an occasional jab.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 109-100
Saunders mixed dancing and firing quick burst of punches over the first half of this round and then spent the second half dancing around the ring dodging wild efforts from Isufi and countering through the gaps Isufi was leaving.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 119-109
Official Scores: Judge Roussel 120-108 Saunders, Judge O’Connor 118-110 Saunders, Judge Montella 117-111 Saunders
Sunders did what we knew he could do. He dazzled and befuddled Isufi who other than one punch in the sixth round was almost a non-combatant. It was beyond the poor Isufi skill level to tackle the movement and hand speed of Saunders. It really is a case of what’s next for Saunders. For a while his career seemed to have stalled now he must be hoping to find some big fights at super middle. He himself has said that fighters such as Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin would not want to face him as his style would be wrong for them although he would be willing to go back down to middleweight if there was a chance of one of those fights. The pitiful display by Isufi highlights the rotten core of the WBO’s policy of awarding places in the ratings for fighters whose promoters are willing to pay the sanctioning fee. The promoter is then free select the opponent and irrespective of the quality of that opponent a win will guarantee their fighter a rating which almost equates to selling spots in the ratings. But then all sanctioning bodies do the same thing but in the case of Isufi it resulted in a ridiculous mismatch in one of the WBO title fights. You reap as you sow
Joyce vs. Ustinov
Predictable quick win for Joyce. Size and weight are the only things Ustinov have going for him. He is glacially slow and clumsy. Joyce was able to reach him with jabs to the body and began to find the range with rights at the end of the round and opened a small cut over the left eye of the Russian. Joyce launched a furious attack at the start of the second landing a number of heavy rights. He then seemed to stop punching allowing Ustinov to come forward and throw some rights before attacking strongly at the end of the round. Joyce marched into Ustinov in the second again landing clubbing shots. It must have discouraged Ustinov when he hit Joyce on the chin with a big right only for Joyce to hardly even notice it. There were a couple of breaks in the action first for a low punch from Joyce and secondly when he threw Ustinov to the floor. Joyce then just walked through punches from Ustinov and beat him to the floor with booming head shots landing a final left hook. Ustinov was on his knees watching the count and it looked as though he started to rise at nine but the referee waived to signify the ten was reached. Joyce can only fight what is in front of him and he has rolled right over ever opponent and beaten them all inside the distance but in way of a reality check let’s not forget that Bermane Stiverne was 40 and Ustinov 42 and were both coming off defeats. There will be tougher test than these in wait for Joyce. Third loss in a row for Ustinov and only his second fight in 18 months.
Foster vs. Lane
This was a fast-paced open fight between two boxers with good techniques. Foster was forcing the fight and rocked Lane with a right in the second. Lane was working well with his jab but was caught with two rights in the third. Foster followed up with a fierce attack pinning Lane to the ropes and unloading on Lane for the rest of the round. Lane’s skill kept him in this fight and he took the sixth but he was in trouble again in the seventh from a right. The eighth went to Foster and Lane took the ninth and this was turning into a cracking little fight. The paced slowed a little in the tenth with Foster again landing heavily with rights but there was plenty of back and forth action in the eleventh with Lane seeming the fresher and outworking Foster. It was the same in the twelfth with Foster tiring and Lane in full flow. Foster was cut over the left eye and late in the round a low left from Foster saw Lane turn away in agony and go down on both knees. He was given some recovery time and then strode across the ring to take the fight to Foster only to be met by a thunderous right cross that put him down on his back. Lane was up at three and after the count there were only ten seconds left in the fight. Foster drove Lane to the ropes and unleashed a barrage of punches and the referee stopped the fight just two seconds before the final bell. The 21-year-old Foster retains the British title and wins Lane’s Commonwealth title. Lane had won his last six fights and was making the first defence. A great contest.
Cooper vs. Jones
Despite struggling to make the weight Cooper comes out on top in the clash of 22-year-old prospects with a majority decision and wins the vacant WBO Youth title. Scores 97-93 and 96-94 for Cooper and 95-95. All of Cooper’s wins have been on points and this was the first time he had gone past the sixth round. Second defeat in a row for Jones after losing to Craig Evans for the vacant WBO European title in November.
Bacskai vs. Eliasquevici
Bacskai a former star of the Hungarian amateur scene makes a surprise visit to the UK and has no trouble bustling his way past Brazilian Eliasquevici. Bacskai came close to ending it when he forced Eliasquevici to his knees in the seventh but the Brazilian got up and stayed to the end. Referee’s score 80-71 for Bacskai. The 31-year-okld Hungarian won a cabinet full of trophies but may have left it late as he did not turn pro until he was 29. Five points losses in a row for Eliasquevici so he does what he is paid to do.
Sydney, Australia: Super Welter: Tim Tszyu (13-0) W PTS 10 Joel Camilleri (17-6-1). Welter: Jack Brubaker (15-2-1) Drew 10 Ty Telford (5-1). Cruiser: Jai Opetaia (17-00 W TKO 8 Navosa Ioata (6-4).
Tszyu vs. Camilleri
Tszyu wins the Australian title with points victory over Camilleri. Tszyu was a comfortable winner in the end but he took a couple of rounds to figure out the awkward, clever style of Camilleri. After a close first round Tszyu was cut under his left and finding it difficult to put a dent in Camilleri’s confidence. Gradually Tszyu took over. He was quicker and more accurate with his punches and his body attack slowed Camilleri over the late rounds. Camilleri landed enough to test Tszyu’s chin and although rocked by a body punch in the fourth his response to Tszyu’s punches was to grin and come back for more. Tszyu dominated the fight but Camilleri gave Tszyu the type of fight he needs to continue his development. Scores 99-91 twice and 98-92 for Tszyu. The 24-year-old son of the former world champion was talking about a fight with Jeff Horn and whilst that would be a huge fight for Australia Tszyu is still some way short of the experience required to take that big a jump. Camilleri was making the first defence of the Australian title and performed much better than expected and will have given his stock boost.
Brubaker vs. Telford
This was the fight of the night and perhaps the fight of the week. These two spent ten rounds knocking lumps off each other. Whenever one seemed to be getting on top the other would punch back and have a good spell of his own. It was ten rounds of rousing action with a majority draw good result as neither fighter deserved to lose in this war which received a well warned standing ovations at the end. Scores 95-95 twice and a very different 99-91 for Telford. Former Commonwealth title challenger Brubaker was the favourite here due to his more extensive experience and his record of ten wins in his last eleven fights but Telford 21 was a good level amateur and had already won two minor titles. This was for the vacant WBA Oceania titles so hopefully there will be a return match.
Opetaia vs. Ioata
Opetaia halts inexperienced Ioata but has to go further than expected to do so. Opetaia was able to connected repeatedly with his right jab and left crosses. Ioata was having to soak up heavy shots in every round but looked to have hurt Opetaia with a right to the body in the third. He kept battling but in the sixth Opetaia was driving him back with straight lefts and a left sent Ioata stumbling into a corner and the referee gave him a standing count. Opetaia staggered Ioata again in the eighth and the towel came in from Ioata’s corner. Former undefeated Australian champion Opetaia makes it 14 wins by KO/TKO but he really has to start facing better class opponents. Ioata suffers his first loss by KO/TKO but he showed he was tough and brave. He comes from Tuvalu which is a small Polynesian Island half way between the Hawaiian Islands and Australia
Kazan, Russia: Super Welter: Vaghinak Tamrazyan (16-4) W PTS 10 Olek Ivanov (17-5). Super Middle: Fedor Chudinov (20-2) W RTD 2 Rafael Bejaran (26-4-1). Light: Roman Andreev (23-0) W PTS 10 Jesus Cuadro (17-5).
Tamrazyan vs. Ivanov
Tamrazyan gets split decision over Ivanov with a ridiculously wide variation in the scoring. This was a tough, close fight between two well matched opponents. Ivanov was generally the one pressing the fighting behind a strong jab with Tamrazyan countering with powerful rights and he looked the harder puncher with Ivanov having the better skills. The first two rounds were tight but Tamrazyan had a big third when he floored Ivanov with a right to the head. The fourth was close. Ivanov had a good fifth but Tamrazyan socked him with a great left uppercut in the sixth. An exciting seventh saw both fighters handing out and soaking up punishment. It was give and take again in a close eighth which Ivanov seemed to take. He out jabbed a tiring Tamrazyan in the ninth but was shaken by a couple of right uppercuts. Ivanov outworked Tamrazyan in the last and for me just shaded the fight. Scores very strange with two judges giving it to Tamrazyan 100-90 and 96-94 and one seeing Ivanov the winner 97-93 so a fourteen point difference in how two judges saw the same fight. Former Russian welterweight champion Tamrazyan goes on to the final of the Vladimir Putin Cup. Russian based Ukrainian Ivanov has good wins over Dmitry Mikhaylenko and 34-1 Konstantin Ponomarev and looked unlucky here.
Chudinov vs. Bejaran
Early finish here as Bejaran retires with a hand injury. Chudinov was strong and accurate with his jab in the first and found the target with a couple of rights. Bejaran was mainly on the back foot and occasionally tried a jab to the body. Chudinov’s jab was the main punch in the second round. He was quick and accurate with it and kept Bejaran on the back foot. At the bell as they traded punches Bejaran threw a right that landed on the elbow of Chudinov, Bejaran immediately turned away in pain almost running back to his corner and he was unable to continue. Former WBA super middleweight champion Chudinov, 31, suffered back-to-back losses against Felix Sturm and George Groves but has fought his way back into contention with victories over Ryan Ford and Nadjib Mohammedi and is No 3 with the WBA. German-based Dominican Bejaran was 12-1-1 going into this fight with the loss being against Jack Culcay in September. The injury was bad luck but even after just two rounds Chudinov seemed to be in the driving seat.
Andreev vs. Cuadro
Andreev had lots of trouble against substitute Cuadro. Andreev forced the fight but southpaw Cuadro was sliding jabs through the defence of Andreev and scoring with left hooks. By the end of the second Andreev was already cut under his right and had blood leaking from his nose. From the fourth Andreev attacked the body more getting inside where his strength gave him the edge. Cuadro bounced back in the sixth which he dominated rocking Andreev with left hooks but Andreev took the seventh. Cuadro stormed forward in the eighth and ninth taking the fight inside and they were both close rounds with Andreev taking the eighth and Cuadro the ninth. Cuadro looked to have outworked Andreev in the tenth to make it a very close call. Scores 98-92, 96-93 and 96-94 for Andreev but for me Cuadro deserved at least a share of the points. Andreev, 33, has climbed to No 1 with the WBO thanks to winning their European title but he has never faced a rated contender and it would be ridiculous for the WBO to insist Vasily Lomachenko defend against him. He is strong but limited. Bad ratings make for bad title fights. Venezuelan Cuadro lost a close decision to Diego Magdaleno in September and all four of his losses have been from fresh stamps in his passport.
Indio, CA, USQAL Light: Romero Duno (20-1) W Tec DEC 9 Juan Antonio Rodriguez (30-8). Feather: Manny Robles (18-0) W PTS 10 Rigoberto Hermosillo (11-1-1,1ND).
Duno vs. Rodriguez
Duno gets split technical decision over Rodriguez in a great scrap. Duno pressed hard over the first two rounds with southpaw Rodriguez boxing coolly and countering but with Duno looking to have edged them. The third was a mixed round for Rodriguez. He shook Duno twice with left hooks and clearly took the round but was cut over on his forehead between his eyes by a punch. Rodriguez took a wild fourth that saw them go toe-to-toe swinging hooks but Rodriguez was cut again this time over the left eye in a clash of heads. Rodriguez kept up the pressure in the fifth and sixth and with Duno losing a point for a low punch in the seventh I had Rodriguez in front. The cut over Rodriguez left eye was continuing to bleed and he looked to be tiring in the eighth when a left hook to the body from Duno saw him drop to his knees in a delayed reaction. He crawled across the ring to the ropes and was up at nine and withstood Duno’s efforts to put him away. The referee had the doctor examine Rodriguez’s cut at the start of the ninth and he was allowed to continue. He was connecting with some sharp left hooks but heads clashed and Rodriguez was gashed under the right eye and was unable to continue so it was decided on the cards. With the partially completed ninth round scored the judges had it 86-83 and 85-84 for Duno and 85-84 for Rodriguez . I had it 85-84 for Rodriguez but it was too close to argue. Locally-based Filipino Duno, 24, collects his eleventh win in a row and the vacant WBO NABO title. Rodriguez, 31, was out of action for almost two years before losing to another Filipino, Mercito Gesta, in March. He fought his heart out here as did Duno.
Robles vs. Hermosillo
Robles keeps his 100% record but has to fight hard all the way to take the split decision. Southpaw Hermosillo came flying out of the gate taking the fight to Robles in the first. He was too eager and walked onto left hook and a short right and was put on the floor just one minute into the fight. He was up quickly and after the count continued to attack but was rocked by counters and a punch opened a cut over his left eye making it a disastrous start for Hermosillo. Robles took the second and third with some smart counter punching but Hermosillo pressed all the way in the fourth rocking Robles a couple of times with lefts. The tigerish Hermosillo hunted Robles down in the fifth. Many of his shots were being blocked but he outworked Robles in the sixth and seventh and Robles was cut over the left eye by a punch. Hermosillo’s work rate was incredible. He was throwing more but also missing more and Robles was scoring with hard counters but the sheer volume of punches was giving Hermosillo the edge in the ninth. Robles boxed smartly to take the last moving and firing short burst of punches and staying off the ropes. Scores 97-92 and 96-93 for Robles and 95-94 for Hermosillo. Second defence of the NABF title for 24-year-old Robles. Hermosillo had never been in a fight scheduled for more than six rounds and Robles was a much higher quality fighter than the opposition he had met in the past so he gave Robles a much harder fight than anticipated.
Morales vs. Navarrete
Morales gets a needed win with stoppage of Navarrete. Morales quickly took charge with his longer reach and quicker hands. He found his range early and dished out some severe punishment in the second and third. He attacked relentlessly in the fourth battering Navarrete around the ring for three minutes. Morales made a slow start to the fifth but then stepped up the pace and hammered away at Navarrete until the referee stopped the fight. Morales started his career going 0-1-4 in his first five fights and then won 16 in a row. That was followed by losses to Alberto Machado, Ryan Garcia and Rene Alvarado so Morales was due an easier night and he moved to seven wins by KO/TKO in this one. Navarrete has been in with a whole gaggle of top fighters but this is only his fourth loss by KO/TKO.
Montreal Canada: Super Light: Mathieu Germain (17-0-1) W PTS 10 Jose Lopez (29-7-2). Heavy: Arslanbek Makhmudov (8-0) W TKO 7 Jonathan Rice (10-4-1). Super Light: Batyrzhan Jukembayev (16-0) W TKO 1 Luis Vidales (13-7). Light Heavy: Arutyun Avetisyan (13-0) W KO 6 Cesar Reynoso (15-13-4). Super Middle: Lexson Mathieu (3-0) W TKO 1 Hernan Perez (5-3).
Germain vs. Lopez
Germain returns to form and winning ways with a resounding victory over Mexican Lopez. In an assured performance Germain took possession of the centre of the ring from the first round and bossed the fight after that. He had Lopez shaken in the second but boxed a controlled fight. He had learned from his draw with Steve Claggett that he needed to pace fights better. He shook Lopez on occasion with long rights and left hooks but Lopez did not cave in and was still there at the end of the tenth round. Scorers 100-90 for Germain from all three judges. Germain was making the third defence of the IBF American title. The draw with Claggett has thrown up some things for Germain to work on and he made a good start on those here. Lopez had won his last three on majority decisions with useful opposition such as Roberto Ortiz and Lupe Rosales beaten last year so a real test for Germain.
Makhmudov vs. Rice
Russian Makhmudov almost doubles his ring time as Rice lasts into the seventh round. The heavy punching Makhmudov had Rice reeling from heavy rights in the first round and that was enough to put Rice into survival mode. Makhmudov continued to connect with heavy rights and although rocked a couple of times Rice kept moving. Rice was floored by a strong right late in the fifth round but survived and became the first of Makhmudov’s opponents to hear the bell for the start of the sixth round. In the seventh a right staggered Rice and the referee had seen enough and stopped the contest. The 6’5 ½” Makhmudov wins the vacant WBC Continental Americas title with his eighth win by KO/TKO achieved in less than 15 rounds. Rice had lost on points to Tony Yoka in 2017 and was coming off three low level wins.
Jukembayev vs. Vidales
An easy night for Kazak southpaw Jukembayev despite his opponent coming in 8lbs over the contract weight. He had Vidales hurt early with straight lefts to head and body. He then landed two powerful hooks to the body and knocked Vidales into the ropes with a left to the head. The ropes held Vidales up so he was given a count. When he stood up Vidales looked very unsteady on his feet and the referee waived the fight off. Now 13 wins for “777” Jukembayev who claims 203 wins in 243 amateur fights. Second loss by KO/TKO for Mexican Vidales who has scored useful wins over Nery Saguilan and Shoki Sakai
Avetisyan vs. Reynoso
Armenian-born Russian Avetisyan came up against some unexpectedly tough resistance from Argentinian Reynoso but eroded his resistance for a win in the sixth round. The 6’3” Avetisyan pounded Reynoso with strong jabs and jolting uppercuts. He lost a point in the third for a punch to the back of the head but it was the body punches which were getting to Reynoso. In the sixth a rib-bending left saw Reynoso drop to one knee and he was counted out. The 23-year-old prospect has eight wins inside the distance. South American champion Reynoso had been stopped in seven round by Avetisyan’s team mate Nurzat Sabirov in Montreal in March.
Mathieu vs. Perez
Top prospect Mathieu made this one nice and simple. He looked for an opening and when he saw one he drove a laser guided straight left to the chin of Perez and the fight was over. This fight lasted 104 seconds which is the longest a fight has lasted so far for Mathieu. The 20-year-old can fight out of southpaw or orthodox and has real power. Perez never in with a chance.
Belfast, NI: Super Bantam: Ryan Burnett (20-1) W TKO 6 Jelbirt Gomera (14-6). Super Feather: Marco McCullough (22-4) W TKO 3 Declan Geraghty (18-4). Super Light: Sean McComb (7-0) W TKO 1 Miroslav Serban (11-3). Middle: Stephen Donnelly (5-0) W KO 4 Edwin Palacios (12-8-1).
Burnett vs. Gomera
Local fighter Burnett returns for the first time since a back injury in his fight with Nonito Donaire in November cost him his WBA title and his chance of progressing in the WBSS tournament. Burnett was on top form here. He put on an exhibition of top class skills and showed no effects from the injury. He had Filipino southpaw Gomera hurt in the first and to show his confidence in the second he even just covered up so that Gomera could take some shots. However when he settled down to the job he handed out a considerable amount of punishment in the third and fourth in the shape of some hurtful rights. Gomera took the punishment and kept trying to pressure Burnett but he had to soak up more heavy rights in the fifth. Early in the sixth a low blow from Burnett saw the referee deduct a point but when Gomera recovered a crunching body punch had him turning away in pain and the referee stopped the fight. A fit Burnett will be a threat to any bantamweight and hopefully he will get an opportunity later this year to regain the title he lost in such an unfortunate manner. Only two wins in his last seven fights for Gomera but he gave Burnett much needed ring time without poising too much of a risk.
McCullough vs. Geraghty
This was expected to be a tough close fight but a big right from McCullagh ended it early. Both fighter were cautious and the first two rounds produced very little in the way of thrills and looked about even although McCullough was showing two small cuts under each eye. The pace picked up in the third but a clash of heads saw Geraghty suffer a severe cut over his left eye. Before that could become a factor McCullagh stepped inside a drilled home a straight right that put Geraghty down on his back and the referee abandoned the count. Belfast’s McCullough wins the vacant IBF European title with his fifth victory since a stoppage loss against Ryan Walsh for the British title in 2017. Another blow for Dubliner Geraghty who has already lost inside the distance to James Tennyson and Jonjo Carroll
McComb vs. Serban
This was being played as a test for McComb but he made that look ridiculous as he destroyed Czech Serban in just 84 seconds. McComb towered over Serban and was quickly on target with his southpaw jabs. He shook Serban with a right and then drove Serban along the ropes to a corner connecting with left hooks. Serban was just hiding inside his guard and not making any effort to fire back and the referee stopped the contest. Fourth win by KO/TKO for the former European bronze medallist. With Serban not having lost inside the distance and having floored Paul Hyland when losing a competitive eight round fight in February this win in an impressive statement by McComb
Donnelly vs. Palacios
Donnelly showcased his skills over the first three rounds. He was slotting quick jabs through the guard of Palacios and landing cracking left hooks to the body. Palacios tried to come forward but was met with sharp counters . In the fourth Donnelly ducked under a punch from Palacio and came up inside with two left hooks to the body. Palacios took a step back and then went down on his hands and knees and was counted out. First inside the distance win as a pro for the 30-year-old Donnelly. He is a former Ulster and Irish champion who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and was a quarter-finalist representing Ireland at the 2016 Olympics. Fourth loss in a row for Palacios from the Nicaraguan/Barcelona certified losers club.
Mashantucket, CN, USA: Super Light: Mykquan Williams (15-0) W PTS 10 Rickey Edwards (12-3). Feather: Elijah Pierce (9-1) W KO 3 Irvin Gonzalez (12-1). Heavy: George Arias (14-0) W PTS 8 Keith Barr (19-12-1). Super Feather: Toka Kahn Clary (26-2,1ND) W KO 5 Carlos Reyes (33-6-1). Heavy: Marco Huck (41-5-1, 1ND) ND 1 Nick Guivas (14-10-3,1ND).
Williams vs. Edwards
Williams marches on with unanimous decision over Edwards. Williams led at the start taking the first and then staggering Edwards with a right in the second. Edwards did enough to make the third and fourth close but Williams just edged them. Edwards rallied well in the sixth and seventh but Williams took the fight inside in the eighth to collect the points. Edwards rebounded in the ninth but Williams closed him out by taking the tenth. Scores 100-90, 97-93 and 96-94 so quite a spread in the scoring. Local fighter Williams, 21, was moving up to ten rounds for the first time and paced the fight well. Edwards was out for two years and is now 1-2 since returning last September.
Pierce vs. Gonzalez
Minor surprise as visitor Pierce ruins the 100% record of Gonzalez. Peirce jumped on Gonzalez in the opening round flooring the Worcester fighter twice. Gonzalez made it out of the round but just could not handle the relentless pressure from Pierce and in the third was pinned to the ropes and not punching back when the referee halted the fight. Eighth win by KO/TKO for Oklahoman southpaw Pierce who gets back into the winning column after losing on points to unbeaten Giovanni Mioletti in June last year. Back to basics for Gonzalez.
Arias vs. Barr
Dominican Arias has to climb off the canvas to keep his unbeaten record. On paper Barr looked an unthreatening choice of opponent and perhaps the cocky Arias was too relaxed. He has a hands down style and breezed through the first round. In the second he was give an wakeup call as a right from Barr put him down. Arias was more surprised than hurt and he was soon back in the driving seat and apart from a brief rally by Barr in the fifth Arias boxed his way to victory. Scores 78-73 twice and 77-74 for Arias. At 6’0” the Bronx-based Arias is small by today’s standards but he is quick and has good skills. Barr is really just a pumped up cruiser and is 2-3 in his last 5 fights.
Clary vs. Reyes
Clary eases his way back into action in his first fight since losing to Kid Galahad in an IBF eliminator in October. He was streets ahead of Reyes and was in charge from the first bell. He took the first two rounds and then dropped Reyes in the third. That put paid to whatever confidence Reyes had and Clary upped the pace in the fourth before putting Reyes down again in the fifth with Reyes not being able to beat the count. The Liberian-born Clary now has 18 wins by KO/TKO. He is currently No 9(8) in the IBF ratings so some work to do if he is to get another title shot. Third loss by KO/TKO for Dominican Reyes who had won 8 of his last 9 fights.
Huck vs. Guivas
Not sure what Huck’s plans were when he chose to have an eight round fight down the card here but in the end it all came to nothing. Huck floored Guivas with a right in the first 30 seconds. Guivas was up at seven and when the action resumed Huck landed a left to the body and a right to the head. Guivas was trying to clinch and the referee tried to break them up but Huck had already started another right on its way and it struck Guivas on the head after the referee had called break. Guivas slumped to the canvas with the referee indicating a time out. Eventually Guivas made it his feet but the doctor had already waived for the fight to be stopped. Huck was declared the winner. The decision was then changed to No Decision as it was ruled that Huck’s punch had been delivered after the call to break-which technically is a foul and should have led to disqualification. Huck is probably hoping to work his way into title fight.
Tres Arroyos, Argentina: Bantam: Omar Narvaez (48-3-2) W Carlos Sardinez (15-1). Light: Gustavo Lemos (21-0) W Pedro Verdu (28-20-3).
Narvaez vs. Sardinez
In his first fight since losing every round against Zolani Tete in a challenge for the WBO bantam title in April last year Narvaez shows the fire is still there. In a typically Narvaez approach he stormed forward in round after round pumping out punches. Sardinez refused to be overwhelmed and punched with Narvaez. The ferocity of Narvaez’s attacks threatened to overwhelm Sardinez at times but regrouped and battled back. Narvaez was able to get inside and fire bunches of hooks and uppercuts and wobbled Sardinez a couple of times. Over the last two rounds it was Sardinez who rocked Narvaez but there was never any doubt about who would be the winner. Scores 97-93 twice and 96-94 for Narvaez. The former WBO fly and super fly champion is now 43 but remains a name so he could yet land another title fight. Former South American bantamweight champion Sardinez had scored a good win over 19-0 Hector Sarmiento in December and provided just the level of test Narvaez needed.
Lemos vs. Verdu
Lemos punches too hard for Venezuelan and wears down and stops Verdu in the fifth. Lemos rumbled into the attack over the first three rounds working to the body. In the fourth a right hook to the head put Verdu down in a heap. He made it to his feet but another right dropped him. Again he beat the count and just managed to survive to the bell. In the fifth Lemos forced his way inside and a right to the body sent Verdu down on his hands and knees and the fight was over. “El Electrico” was making the fifth defence of the IBF Latino title and gets win No 12 by KO/TKO. His opposition has not been strong but he is No 8(6) lightweight with the IBF due to having won their Latino title but the Argentinian Federation have him No 1 a super light. Eleventh loss by KO/TKO for Verdu
Sydney, Australia: Super Light: Dylan Emery (21-1) W TKO 6 Victor Odindo (5-3). New Zealander Emery wins the vacant Australian title at the second attempt with stoppage of Kenyan Odindo. Fourth consecutive win by KO/TKO for Emery since being beaten in four rounds by Kye Mackenzie in 2016. And fourteen inside the distance win in total. Odindo a poor challenger gets his third loss in a row.
Sydney, Canada: Cruiser: Ryan Rozicki (10-0) W KO 3 Shawn Miller (18-5-1,1ND). Welter: Jessie Wilcox (13-0-2) W PTS 8 Nestor Garcia (23-17-1). Super Welter: Kevin Higson (17-2) W PTS 8 Jose Zuniga (13-13-2). Light: Bradley Wilcox (8-0) W PTS 8 Lupe Acosta (13-4). Middle: Brandon Brewer (23-0-1) W PTS 8 Isaac Mireles (8-7).
Rozicki vs. Miller
Neighbourhood hero Rozicki disposes of Miller inside three rounds. Rozicki took the first two rounds against an out of condition Miller varying his attacks from head to body. In the third Rozicki drove Miller along the ropes before landing a solid right to the head that sent Miller sprawling into the ropes and out onto the ring apron through the bottom rope. He crawled back into the ring but was counted out kneeling on the canvas. Rozicki, 24, wins the vacant WBC International Silver title with his tenth inside the distance win in his ten fights. He has taken less than 19 rounds for his ten wins. He was twice a bronze medallist in the Canadian Championships at super heavy but looks a much better fighter at cruiserweight. Miller, 37, was having his first fight since having a win in Las Vegas in October overturned when he gave a positive test for a banned substance and was given a six month suspension.
Wilcox vs. Garcia
The Wilcox clan was well represented here as Jesse collected a unanimous decision over Mexican Garcia. The first two rounds were close but Garcia moved ahead after flooring Wilcox in the third. Wilcox recovered and battled his way back into the fight. It was too close to call at the end of the seventh but Wilcox collared the win with a knockdown just before the bell to end the eighth. Scores 78-72, 77-75 and 76-74 all for Wilcox who has won his last four fights. Garcia has won only two of his last eleven fights but one of his two victories was over experienced Carson Jones.
Higson vs. Zuniga
Canadian Higson makes it nine wins in his last ten bouts with points victory over Zuniga. Higson boxed his way to victory here. Zuniga attacked hard going to the body to slow the much quicker Higson but the Ontario fighter was too slick. He used some excellent work with his jab to control the action in most rounds and withstood a charge in the late rounds from Zuniga to emerge a clear winner. Scores 79-73 twice and 78-74 for Higson. Higson’s loss in that run was against unbeaten Cody Crawley for the Canadian title. In his previous visit to Canada Zuniga was knocked out in two rounds by unbeaten Kazak Sadriddin Akhmedov in November.
Wilcox vs. Acosta
Wilcox notches up another win as he outpoints Acosta. No real problems here for Wilcox. He boxed well on the outside and had success with hooks and uppercuts inside with Acosta never really posing any problems. Scores 80-72 for Wilcox from the three judges. The 24-year Wilcox was Canadian champion at Cadet and Youth level but despite making it to three finals he was unable to win the Senior title. Acosta was having his first fight for 16 months and has not yet lost inside the distance.
Brewer vs. Mireles
Brewer wins this one with a wide unanimous decision but he struggled at times to impress. He had the better skills and was stronger over the second half of the fight but never quite managed to subdue a competitive Mireles. Scores 80-72 twice and 79-73 for Brewer. Despite a 24-bout unbeaten record Brewer really has not progressed at all in terms of the level of opposition and at 34 he should be well beyond fighting guys such as Mireles who has now won only one of his last four fights.
Aarhus, Denmark: Super Middle: Lolenga Mock (43-16-1) W PTS 12 Mateo Veron (28-24-3). Mock gets a revenge win over Veron but that does not change the obvious conclusion that Mock is not the fighter he was and he was right to announce his retirement after this fight. As early as the second round he was stunned by a couple of hooks from the Argentinian and only just survived the round. Mock used his strength to get into the fight but was being frustrated by the clever tactics of Veron which were making Mock look crude and clumsy. Mock got a lucky break in the seventh when the referee deducted a point from Veron for holding. Mock again looked vulnerable when he was buzzed by a right in the ninth but any impetus that may have given Veron was lost when he was deducted another point for throwing Mock to the floor. However the visitor was strong in the eleventh with Mock again looking rocky and Veron looked to have done enough to take the decision. Scores 114-112 twice for Mock and 114-112 for Veron. At 47 Mock has shoulder aside Father Time too often and there did not really seem much purpose behind him continuing so he has made a wise decision. He has struggled twice against an experienced Veron but the Argentinian is no world beater as he has now lost 5 of his last 6 fights and has been defeated 24 times in all.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Bantam: Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1) W PTS 10 Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1). Kuga regains the Japanese title by outpointing champion Tamura. Kuga built a substantial lead over the first half of the fight. He was anticipating the attacks of Tamura scoring at distance with strong jabs and catching Tamura on the way in with left and right hooks. He had Tamura down and in deep water in the fifth but was too eager to finish it and missed with most of his punches. At the end of the fifth all three judges had Kuga in the lead with scores of 50-44, 49-45 and 48-46. Tamura began to roll in earnest over the second half of the fight wading into Kuga who tried to continue to box but was under more and more pressure but his accuracy offset some of Tamura’s aggressive work and he did enough to hold onto the half way lead he had built. Scores 97-92, 96-93 and 95-94 for Kuga as he regained the title he had lost to world rated Shingo Wake last year. Kuga had won the title with a unanimous decision over Tamura in 2017 and Tamura went on to win the title when it became vacant with a victory over Mugicha Nakagawa in Januarys this year.
Saltillo, Mexico: Super Feather: Jhonny Gonzalez (67-11) W TKO 5 Rafael Hernandez (30-12-3,1ND). Age is no barrier to Gonzalez particularly when faced with an inferior opponent such as Hernandez. Somehow Hernandez thought that instead of boxing orthodox as usual switching to southpaw might improve his chance. He was wrong. A batch of punches floored Hernandez in the second. He survived that and survived the third and fourth round with some holding and delaying tactics but he was only delaying the inevitable. In the fifth a body punch sent Hernandez down and he was unable to get up again. First fight for the 37-year-old Gonzalez after his majority decision defeat against Tomas Rojas in October. Gonzalez has 55 wins by KO/TKO and collects the vacant WBC Fecarbox title. Venezuelan Hernandez 36 lost to Thai Poonsawat for the interim WBA super bantam title in 2009 and is way past his best.
Mexico City, Mexico: Super Light: Jose Zepeda (30-2,2ND) ND 3 Eleazar Valenzuela (18-12-4,1ND). Joel Cordova (9-4-2) W RTD 5 Juan Hernandez (35-4).
Zepeda vs. Valenzuela
Zepeda’s plans to keep busy as he waits and hopes for the chance of a return shot at Juan Carlos Ramirez suffered a blow as a clash of heads saw this one end in the third round as a No Decision. Zepeda was going to end this inside the distance any way. He had Valenzuela on the floor in the opening round from a lovely short left hook. Valenzuela climbed to his feet and absorbed some more left hooks before the bell. Zepeda continued to connect with left hooks and upper cuts in the second with Valenzuela punching back but walking onto some fierce shots. In the third their heads banged together. Both were cut but Valenzuela’s cut was the more serious streaming blood down his face and onto his chest and he was not allowed to continue. Zepeda’s loss to WBC champion Ramirez in February was a majority decision but he is down at No 9 in the WBC ratings so has work to do if he is to get another title shot. Valenzuela had won 6 of his last 7 fights but mainly in four and six round contests.
This is the sort of fight that Hernandez would have taken in his stride when he was at his peak. But those days seem to be behind the former WBC flyweight champion. He was zipping around the ring constantly switching guards and stabbing out quick jabs. Cordova was lunging in with strong attacks but being met with counters and finding Hernandez a hard target. In the second as Hernandez advanced Cordova caught him with a left hook that put the former champion down. After the count Cordova managed to trap Hernandez on the ropes and fire punches to head and body but Hernandez covered well and then boxed his way through the rest of the round. Hernandez evened things up in the third dropping Cordova with a fast left hook. Cordova was up immediately and was taking the fight to Hernandez for the rest of the round. Cordova pressed hard in the fourth but when Hernandez went down the referee decided Cordova had tripped him and deducted a point. In the fifth the constant pressure from Cordova was starting to have an effect and Hernandez was slowing allowing Cordova to score heavily but it was a surprise when Hernandez retired at the end of the round. Huge win for Cordova. After consecutive losses to Victor Garcia and Dewayne Beamon Cordova had rebounded well with a win over Jose Quirino in February but it remains to be seen whether this result says more about Hernandez than Cordova who at 32 could be on the edge and about to slide.
Christchurch, New Zealand: Welter: Bowyn Morgan (20-1,1ND) W TKO 3 Jack Asis (38-22-5). Morgan too big and strong for veteran Asis. Morgan was hurting Asis with body punches but Asis was not willing to take a step back leading to some torrid action. In the third Morgan dropped Asis early with a body punch. Asis only just beat the count but stood and punches with Morgan until he was driven to the ropes and was floored again. He was up at nine and tried to trade with Morgan but a succession of left hooks and straight rights saw Asis drop to his knees and the referee waived the fight over. The 30-year-old local fighter is a former New Zealand amateur champion who competed at both the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. His sole loss was a stoppage defeat against Kris George in 2015 and he now has a 13 bout winning streak. This fight was for the vacant WBU title (German version).Now 35 the Filipino/Australian Asis is a former IBO and Australian super lightweight champion and was having his first fight for 14 months.
Auckland, New Zealand: Cruiser: David Light (13-0) W PTS 10 Mark Flanagan (24-7). Light puts on impressive show as he outboxes and outpunches the more experience Flanagan. Light did great work with his jab constantly finding gaps as Flanagan marched forward trying to batter down the local fighters defences, Flanagan had some success inside with hooks but Light when he opened up was firing fast, accurate and hurtful combinations. He looked to have Flanagan in trouble a couple of times but Flanagan battled his way through those patches but had no answer to Light’s jab and hand speed. All three judges gave it to Light 98-92 who lifts the vacant WBO Oriental belt. The 27-year-old Light “The Great White” was New Zealand champion in 20011, 2012 and 2013 and won a silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. A loss to Jai Opetaia ended his hopes of competing at the 2012 Olympics. He is one of eight children. Flanagan has lost to Denis Lebedev and Arsen Goulamirian for versions of the WBA cruiser title and was 13-2 in his last 15 fights.
Ekaterinburg, Russia: Super Feather: Evgeny Chuprakov (21-1) W TKO 9 Alex Munoz (40-9). Chuprakov starts the long road back with a stoppage of former champion Munoz. Chuprakov’s balance was terrible and Munoz was able to knock him back with jabs in the first round. Chuprakov used his strength to get inside over the second and third and was able to pound on Munoz’s body. Muniz showed some classy touches but he was rocked by two head punches at the end of the fourth and he was already looking tired in the fifth. Chuprakov kept rolling forward in the sixth but Muniz rallied with a strong attack at the end of the round. Chuprakov was relentless again in the seventh and when Munoz slipped to the canvas he was very slow in regaining his feet. Munoz threw himself into an attack at the end of the round but it was a last fling. Chuprakov battered an exhausted Munoz in the eighth with Muniz twice falling to the canvas from exhaustion. Muniz had nothing left in the ninth. When Chuprakov landed a couple of punches Muniz made a gesture to his corner to say this is useless. They ignored him and in the middle of Chuprakov’s next attack Muniz just threw his arms up in the air and walked back to his corner. This was Chuprakov’s first fight since losing to Masayuki Ito on a seventh round stoppage for the vacant WBO title in December. He is another example of the WBO offering ratings in return for sanctioning fees for fighting for their minor titles. Chuprakov entered the ratings without facing a rated fighter and climbed to No 1 without facing a rated fighter-and the most cynical thing of all is that after losing in a fight for their vacant title he goes from No 1 to out of the ratings altogether-disgraceful. At 40 former WBA super fly champion Munoz is not even a shadow the fighter who won his first 31 fights by KO/TKO.
Bang Phun, Thailand: Bantam: Nawaphon (45-1-1) W KO 7 Sonny Boy Jaro (45-15-5).Bantam: Petchbarngborn (43-9) W TKO 3 Matt Arcillas (6-2).
Nawaphon finishes a courageous Jaro with a body punch in WBA Asian Boxing Council title defence. Nawaphon the naturally bigger man had plenty of trouble in dealing with the smaller Filipino. Nawaphon was able to score with jabs and long rights at distance but was not able to keep the aggressive Jaro out and that led to plenty of fierce exchanges. Both were scoring with combinations in close. Nawaphon rocked Jaro a few times with rights and rained punches on him when he could trap him in a corner but Jaro kept coming forward and connecting with hooks inside. In the seventh a long right to the body saw Jaro step back to the ropes and then go down clutching his side. He was visibly in pain and he was counted just as he made it to his feet. Nawaphon, the WBC No 6 retains the WBC Asian Boxing Council title with win No 35 by KO/TKO. He was stopped in three rounds by Juan Hernandez in three rounds in a challenge for the BC flyweight title in 2017. He now has nine consecutive wins seven by KO/TKO. Jaro, 37, was WBC flyweight champion for four months back in 2012 with his title winning effort against Pongsaklek being the Ring Magazine Upset of the Year. Those glory days are well past now but he fought hard here.
Petchbarngborn vs. Arcillas
Petchbarngborn (Karoon Jarupianlerd) took a couple of rounds to get into his stride and then he floored and halted Filipino novice Arcillas in the third round. Petchbarngborn challenged Naoya Inoue for the WBO super fly title in 2016 and lasted until the tenth round before being stopped which does not look too bad a performance now. Arcillas really just a prelim fighter thrown in over his head.
Hockessin, DE, USA: Super Middle; Hector Camacho Jr (59-7-1) W KO 1 Victor Abreu (9-6).
In his first fight since July 2017 Camacho is handed a gift win. He went to the body of poor Abreu from the first exchange and dropped Abreu with a right to the body with Abreu counted out. I can’t see the 40-year-old Camacho achieving much in this latest return. Abreu has now lost five in a row and has never managed to last more than two rounds in any of those five fights. Abreu was given a one year suspension for “Failure to perform”.
Washington DC, USA: Middle: Alantez Fox (25-1-1) W TKO 6 Nick Brinson (19-5-2). Patrick Harris W DISQ 3 Tony Woods (10-24).
Fox vs. Brinson
Fox batters Brinson to defeat in six rounds. Fox was in charge all the way after flooring Brinson in the first. Just after Brinson had landed a good counter Fox scored with a left to the body and then knocked a partially un-balanced Brinson down with a right to the head. After that Fox was able to use his much longer reach to connect regularly with jabs and straight rights with Brinson occasionally coming in under Fox’s jab and scoring with hooks but not able to do anything to wrest control of the fight from Fox. Brinson took a lot of punishment in the fifth and the referee had the doctor examine him before the start of the sixth and Brinson was cleared to continue. Brinson tried to punch with Fox but he was shaken time and again by long rights to the head until the referee stopped the fight. The 27-year-old 6’4” Washington-born Fox had Demetrius Andrade on the floor before losing to him on points in October 2017. He took eleven months out and this is his second win since returning. Brinson was having his first fight since June 2017. After losing only one of his first nineteen contests defeats against Dominic Wade and Andre Dirrell de-railed his career.
Harris vs. Woods
Local southpaw Harris remains unbeaten after Woods is thrown out in the third round. Harris had rained punches on Woods over the first two rounds and a desperate Woods decided that the only way to de-fuse the power of Harris was to hold. He over did it and had two points deducted and when he continued to clinch he was disqualified. Harris, 25, was a good class amateur but just came up short in the United States Championships, the National Golden Gloves and the National Police Athletic League but is making steady progress as a pro; Bahamian Woods has been disqualified in two of his last three fights.
Kobe, Japan: Light Fly: Felix Alvarado (35-2) W PTS 12 Reiya Konishi (17-2). When Alvarado win the IBF title in October he was having his third shot at a title and fighting in the other guys back yard. He won by simply overwhelming Filipino Randy Petalcorin with a hurricane attacking style which simply exhausted Petalcorin who was stopped in the seventh round. This time Alvarado was again in his opponents home city of Kobe but the venue was all that changed. From the outset he was throwing an incredible number of punches. He was not very accurate but the sheer volume of his punches had Konishi too busy defending himself to get into the fight in a meaningful way. Konishi is crude but strong with a great heart but just could not match Alvarado’s mad work rate. Konishi was cut over his right eye in the eighth and almost stopped in the tenth as Alvarado continued to out-throw and outland the challenger to the end. Scores 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112 all for the champion from Nicaragua. Alvarado was making the first defence of the IBF title and has won his last 17 fights. Konishi was having his second shot at a title having lost on points to Carlos Canizales for the secondary WBA light fly title in March last year.
Fight of the week (Significance): Deontay Wilder’s crushing of Dominic Breazeale puts a unification fight with Anthony Joshua back on the table.
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Jack Brubaker vs. Ty Telford was great entertainment and Romero Duno and Juan Antonio Rodriguez fought their hearts out Duno vs. Rodriguez & Brubaker vs. Telford
Fighter of the week: I go for Josh Taylor for his win over Ivan Baranchyk (I’m Scottish cut me slack) with honourable mention to Naoya Inoue.
Punch of the week: Wilder’s straight right was a thunderbolt but I just go for that perfect left hook from Inoue. Honourable mention to the right from Marco McCullough that floored Declan Geraghty
Upset of the week: Nothing stood out
Prospect watch: Both Gary Antonio Russell (14-0) and brother Gary Antuanne (9-0) look special
This coming Saturday we see two Japanese fighters in action in Florida. One of those is WBO Super Featherweight world champion Masayuki Ito, a man who really came of age in 2018 with a huge win over Christopher Diaz to become a world champion. The other is Koki Eto (24-4-1, 19) a less well known, but arguably more interesting fighter than Ito, despite being significantly less talented.
Ito is a world class fighter, but is a technically well schooled fighter who came through the hard way, developed skills and reached the pinaccle, Eto on the other hand is a 1-man action man, a wildly entertaining fighter who's flaws have made him a must watch fighter. Despite being hugely entertaining Eto is somewhat an unknown outside of Asia, and this weekend's bout, against 2-time Olympian Jeyvier Cintron (10-0, 5), will be his second outside of Asia. Ahead of Eto's bout in the US we've decided to make the latest fighter to get our "Fighter Focus" treatment, following Ryuichi Funai who also made his US debut earlier this month.
So to begin with lets go through some cliff notes, and some factoids about Eto and his career so far:
So now to look at Koki Eto in more depth, understand him as a fighter and add some meat to the interesting notes from above, and try to understand why we once refered to Eto as the "One man Highlight reel".
He was born in Okinawa along side twin brother Taiki Eto, and the two of the, along with older brother Shingo Eto, were quickly compared to the Kameda brothers, who were also a fighting threesome. Little really is reported about the Eto clan's amateur careers, though Koki clearly didn't have a strong one debuting in a 4 round bout against a fellow novice in August 2008. The following year he would enter the Rookie of the Year but was sadly eliminated by a majority decision loss to Naoki Shiosawa. Whilst that was a notable set back for Eto he would get revenge the following year, stopping Shiosawa in the 5th round a rematch just 8 months later.
The win over Shiosawa was part of a great run of form for Eto, who strung 8 wins together including a win on his international debut, in Mexico in early 2011, and a win over Shota Hashimoto, who had also been stopped by Koki's twin brother. That winning lead to him travelling to Thailand, for his first of 3 bouts in the country, and challenger WBC International Silver Flyweight champion Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym. The bout looked like a straight forward win for the local, on paper, but in actuality Eto went over determined to take the victory and ran the Thai incredibly close on the cards of all 3 Thai judges.
Sadly after the set back against Panomroonglek Eto struggled on his return to the ring, fighting to a 6 round draw with Yota Hori. Eto's career would then be put on ice for a while, before he returned 11 months later and beat the then world ranked Denchailek Kratingdaenggym in 2 rounds. At the time Denchailek was ranked #10 by the WBA and this loss derailed his career completed, with the Thai never returning to the boxing ring afterwards.
Around 9 months after Eto stopped Denchailek he got to make the WBA ranking he had taken from the Thai, fighting against Kompayak Porpramook for the WBA Flyweight title in Bangkok. This turned out to be the bout that put Eto on the proverbial map, as he travelled as the under-dog and came out on top of a 12 round fight that was truly amazing. Eto looked to set a fast pace from the opening round, showing no fear of the harsh Thai conditions and he took the fight to Porpramook from the off. The Thai was fighting back hard, but a 12th round knockdown by Eto proved vital with the Japanese fighter winning a razor thin decision
Sadly for Eto his reign would last less than 4 months, with the fighter losing the title to Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep in his first defense. Eto was stopped in round 6 and despite putting up a good effort he was eventually stopped in the 12th round, whilst down on all 3 cards. Despite losing to the Thai he had again put in a thrilling effort, showing guts and determination whilst being slowly beaten up by the Thai.
Given his tough bouts against Porpramook and Yodmongkol, in the space of just a few months, Eto was given a bit of a break before returning to face Filipino foe Ardin Diale for the OPBF Flyweight title. This was another insane bout, with Eto being dropped in rounds 3 and 7 before battling back and stopping Diale in the 8th round. By the stoppage he was 5 points down in all 3 cards, with 5 rounds left. This was widely proclaimed as one of the best bouts in Asia in 2014 and again saw Eto show his heart and willingness to have a war.
Despite having 3 incredible bouts in a row Eto would actually revert to boxing for his next two, defending the OPBF title against Cris Paulino and Yuki Fukumoto. These were both competitive bouts, but neither was particularly exciting, with Eto pulling out stoppages in the second half of both bouts.
After making his second defense of the OPBF Flyweight title Eto moved up to Super Flyweight and challenged the then WBC world champion Carlos Cuadras. Entering as a huge under-dog Eto was completely out boxed in the first half, though had success in the second half of the fight, closing up the scores slightly and making things respectable. Although he lost 117-111, twice, and 116-112 Eto showed he could compete on the fringes of world class, and probably should have been kept at that level.
Sadly instead of building on the loss to Cuadras Eto has been consistently facing limited opposition and not really looking good in the process. He struggled to beat Filipino domestic level fighter Michael Escobia, was dropped by Jun Blazo before scoring a stoppage, and has really just faced a string of over-matched opposition. That string of bad opposition has allowed Eto to go 7-0 (6) but he's looked very poor in some of those bouts, and at times it has appeared he has regressed from the man who managed to take rounds off Cuadras. He's always looked exciting, but so technically flawed that he could end up being taken out by anyone he faces.
Although a truly exciting fighter at his best, and arguably the closest we have to a current day Naoto Takahashi, the 31 year old Eto has had a damaging career and with his technical flaws and incredible toughness that damage will add up. It's hard to know how much longer Eto has left in his body, but it's clear that win or lose his bout with Cintron will be wonderfully enjoyable for as long as it lasts.
At his best Eto was, for a time, one of the must watch Asian fighters, but the last few years of fighting relative nobodies has seen Eto losing his appeal and becoming less and less interesting. His fight with Cintron will give his career another boost, but we're expecting him to come up short and to end his career in the near future.
(Image courtesy of SGS Gym)
By Eric Armit
The next four weeks will see the three best heavyweights in the world in action. Obviously it is too much to hope for in this day and age for any of them to be fighting each other The good news is that none of them face an opponent who should really threaten their unbeaten record or in the casers of Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder their titles. I can’t see any of the top three going from these fight to a match with one of the others they will all want one more fight with the plan being for a meeting either Joshua vs. Wilder, or Joshua vs. Fury or Wilder vs. Fury. A return between Wilder and Fury would be big but Joshua vs. Wilder or Fury would be the biggest money-wise. Those plans rely on the sanction bodies keeping their heads down as they have done so far. They all want to be part of one of those big fights. Dillian White has been No 1 with the WBC for 18 months without any effort being made to force Wilder to defend against him. Both WBA interim champion Trevor Bryan and IBF No 1 Kubrat Pulev have been on top for shorter times and if Joshua was looking to make another defence this year neither would pose a big risk. In the end it will came down to money, egos and promoters agreeing money and swallowing egos. I was feeling quite upbeat until I got to that last bit.
On heavyweights Kubrat Pulev is still trying to extricate himself from the troubles he brought upon himself with the forced kiss on a lady journalist. He is being sued by the lady in question but equally as problematical is that before California will re-licence him he will have to go on a training course dealing with sexual harassment. If he does not do so then California will not re-licence him and that could mean he would not be able to fight in the USA.
There is another hat in the heavyweight ring now. Still waiting for his first pro fight Cuban Lienier Pero (t) comes with some strong amateur credentials. He was World Youth, World Youth Olympics and Pan American Youth champion. He took a gold medal at both the 2011and 2015 Pan American Games but lost in the quarter-final of the Rio Olympics to Filip Hrgovic. At 26 and 6’2” he has time to adjust to the pro ranks. In other heavyweight moves in his first fight since beating Alex Ustinov in November Mike Hunter meets Brazilian Fabio Maldonado on 25 May. Maldonado is coming off points losses to Oscar Rivas and Olek Teslenko. In addition former IBF and WBA cruiser champion Marat Gassiev will have his first fight at heavyweight on 27 July but no venue or opponent named yet.
Interesting show set for Schwern, Germany 15 June with three former champions scheduled to fight. Tyron Zeuge, the ex-holder of the WBA secondary super middleweight belt will reportedly face Spanish champion Adam Silvera for the vacant European Union title which seems a very sub-standard EU title fight, Jack Culcay the former secondary WBA super welter champion tackles experienced Italian Stefano Castellucci and Juergen Brahmer the former WBO and secondary WBA champion at light heavyweight meets unbeaten fellow German Nils Schmidt. Three not very competitive matches. Schmidt is 17-0 but of his last nine opponents eight of them only had 19 wins between them and the other victim had lost 6 of his last 7 fights. With the current state of German boxing they are taking no chances of their guys losing. Only two German fighters hold EBU titles, Agit Kabayel the heavyweight and Dominic Boesel the light-heavyweight and they have no world champions. Sorry I am wrong there Manuel Charr holds the secondary version of the WBA heavyweight title. That really is a case of chickens coming home to roost. As a result of their machinations the WBA are left with a champion who has not defended the tile he won eighteen months ago and he is supposed to fight at some time Fres Oquendo who has not fight since July 2014. It’s more like a fifth division title than a secondary. No one wants it and if the WBA ordered Anthony Joshua to defend against Charr they would be a laughing stock.
One German former world champion is busy and that is Marco Huck. He has a fight against Nick Guivas at the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut on Friday night 17th then he has to fly back to Germany to oversee his promotion on 25 May in Salzgitter. I guess one more world title fight is Huck’s aim.
I was saddened to read of the death of Harold Lederman. He was one of the good guys a real gentleman who lived for and was passionate about boxing. He earned his living as a pharmacist but earned people’s love and respect as a boxing judge and as the man who scored fights for HBO. I first met Harold in the early 1970’s at a WBC Convention in Mexico City. His first words to me “what’s a stone?” That threw me until I realised he was talking about the term used in Britain for body weight. A couple of nights later he, Mickey Duff and I went to the world famous Arena Coliseo to watch the fights and Harold and I forged a friendship that lasted right up until his death. My life is less rich with the passing with Harold RIP.
It was sad to hear of the death of Bert “Smokin” Cooper from Pancreatic cancer at the age of 53. For most of his career Bert was a name on an index card that I updated by pencil after his fights. When you physically write those details about a fighter you are almost living his career as it starts, progresses and ends. Bert kept me busy .He dodged no one and fought eight world champions. His only chance at a world title came in November 1991. When both Mike Tyson and his replacement both injured themselves Bert stepped in at one week’s notice to challenge Evander Holyfield for the IBF and WBA titles. In the third round Bert nearly sprang what would have been the biggest upset in heavyweight boxing. A heavy puncher, 31 of Bert’s 38 wins came by KO/TKO; he nailed Holyfield with a right that had Holyfield sagging into the ropes badly hurt. The ropes stopped Holyfield from going down so he was given a count. Copper rocked Holyfield a few more times but with such short notice he was not in condition and Holyfield stopped him in the seventh round. He fought them all but loss his battle with cancer RIP Bert.
Female boxers are showing up their male counterparts. Where sometime it seems too many egos/promotion rivalry gets in the way of big male unification fights there seem to be no such problems in the female ranks. Last month Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer met with the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight titles on the line and now Katie Taylor and Belgian Delfine Persoon fight at Madison Square Garden on 1 June with the same four lightweight titles on the line. That will mean two divisions totally unified. Male score on that=Zero.
What do Olek Usyk, Manny Pacquiao, Terrence Crawford, Errol Spence and Vasyl Lomachenko have in common? Yes they all hold versions of a world title and they are all on most people’s list of the best pound for pound fighters around today. Let me also add Denis Lebedev, Adonis Stevenson, Gilberto Ramirez, Demetrius Andrade, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Tevin Farmer, Gary Russell Jr, Gervonta Davis, Regis Prograis, Billy Joe Saunders, Josh Taylor, Marcus Browne, Erislandy Lara, Luis Ortiz, Zolani Tete, Srisaket, Jerwin Ancajas, TJ Doheny and Terry Flanagan not all of whom are champions or on typical pound for pound lists. The answer is that they are all southpaws. Oh how things have changed back in the 1950’s southpaws were treated as pariah. One famous boxer-it may have been the great Sugar Ray Robinson- said that all southpaw should be strangled at birth! In the 1950’s southpaws were a very rare breed. You had Jimmy Carruthers, Gustav Schulz, Flash Elorde, Kenny Lane , Dave Charnley Horacio Accavallo and a few others but you could count on two hands without including your thumbs the number of southpaw boxers active throughout the 1950’s who were world champions or leading fighters. Yet here we are today where it is almost a case that the best fighters are southpaws and there are plenty of them so somehow the southpaw have crept up on us and taken over boxing-how? The heavyweight seems to be one division that has withstood the plague of southpaws. Right now of what I would call the “A” list only Luis Ortiz, Charles Martin and Artur Szpilka are southpaws and as an example there are only 74 active southpaws in the heavyweight division whereas there are 182 super lightweights and 165 lightweights. I am right-handed so I am watching this spreading curse of the left-handers with trepidation.
It is not unusual for a boxer to retire after a heavy defeat but in the case of the Dogboe family it is the trainer who is retiring. After his loss to Emanuel Navarrete Isaac has said the he will continue to box but move up to featherweight father Paul has said he will stop his work as a trainer. It must have been painful for him to see his son losing so heavily. The father/son bond adds another dimension to watching your fighter lose so I can understand his pain and it has to be said he has done a magnificent job by taking Isaac to a world title. I am not too sure how wise Isaac’s decision to move up to feather is. He is 5’2” and the 5’7” Navarette was just too big for him if he could get down to bantam that would seem a more sensible option.
Forthcoming fights: The big one of course is Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman on 20 July in Las Vegas with Thurman’s WBA welter title up for grabs. Many is 40 and Thurman is unbeaten and strong so a very risky fight for Pacquiao. The “championship of the Garcia’s” looks set for 13 August with Danny fighting Mikey. Obvious Mikey is sure he can do better at welter against Danny than he did against Errol Spence. Anthony Yarde gets his world title chance against WBO light heavy champion Sergey Kovalev in Russia on 29 June. Kovalev will constitute a huge step up in the quality of opposition for Yarde. Kovalev is a few levels above Yarde victims Dariusz Sek, Walter Sequeira and Travis Reeves. Yarde’s power has been enough to compensate for his defensive deficiencies but that’s unlikely to be the case against Kovalev. On 12 July in Osaka Ken Shiro defends the WBC light fly title against Filipino Jonathan Taconing. On 13 July in Carson, California Rey Vargas will make the fifth defence of his WBC super bantam title up against former WBO bantam champion Tomoki Kameda. On 20 July Caleb Plant will make the first defence of his IBF super middle title against 21-0 Mike Lee and 27 July in Baltimore Gervonta Davis will defend his WBA super feather title. Yuriorkis Gamboa was originally to be the guy in the other corner but there is now a question over that. It is a long way down the line but it is reported that Ryad Merhy will take on Imre Szello for the WBA cruiserweight gold belt in Charleroi on 19 October. Merhy is 28-1 with his only loss coming against Arsen Goulamirian for the WBA interim title and Hungarian “Imo” Szello is 23-0.
Boy they are tough with their titles in France. From now on every French national champion must defend his title against his No 1 challenger every four months. No Exceptions or exemptions and if the challenger refuses then he can’t fight for the title for a year-and Dillian Whyte has been wait 18 months for a shot at the WBC title and Fres Oquendo has been waiting almost five years for a court decreed shot at the WBA title. Vive la France I say!
By Eric Armit
The Past Week in Action 14 May 2019
-Julian Williams upsets the odds with unanimous decision over Jarrett Hurd to win the IBF and WBA super welterweight titles
-Miguel Berchelt halts Francisco Vargas to retain WBC super feather title
-Emanuel Navarrete stops Isaac Dogboe in the last round of their return fight and remains WBO super bantamweight champion
-Stephen Fulton decisions Paulus Ambunda to lift the vacant IBO super bantamweight title
-Stefan Haertel wins European super middleweight title with victory over champion Robin Krasniqi
-Mexican Enrique Tinoco ends unbeaten run of Jordan Gill with a stoppage win and Leigh Wood retains the Commonwealth featherweight title with kayo of Ryan Doyle
-Prospects Ruben Villa, Michael Dutchover, Abraham Nova and Carlos Castro score wins
WORLD TITLE SHOWS
Tucson. AZ. USA: Super Feather: Miguel Berchelt (36-1) W RTD 6 Francisco Vargas (25-2-2). Super Bantam: Emanuel Navarrete (27-1) W TKO 12 Isaac Dogboe (20-2).Super Light: Mykal Fox (20-1) W PTS 10 Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-1). Super Bantam: Carlos Castro (23-0) W PTS 10 Mario Diaz (18-3). Feather: Miguel Marriaga (28-3) W RTD 3 Ruben Cervera (10-2,1ND).
Berchelt vs. Vargas
In a rep[eat performance Berchelt dismantles a too brave Vargas and retains the WBC title
Both opened cautiously just poking out their jab and feeling each other out. Berchelt moved forward with a small series of punches with Vargas on the front foot but looking for openings. Berchelt fired a couple of short bursts of punches but was warned for straying low twice but finished the round with another series of punches.
Score: 10-9 Berchelt
Vargas had been a step behind Berchelt in the first but he upped his pace cutting off the ring and scoring with strong jabs. Berchelt was circling the perimeter of the ring and again firing fast combinations. He wasn’t loading up on them but they were getting through, Over the second half of the round it was toe-to-toe stuff with both firing hooks and uppercuts with Berchelt not so accurate but throwing and land more.
Score: 10-9 Berchelt Berchelt 20-18
Vargas continued to roll forward crouching behind a high guard willing to walk through Berchelt’s punches to get inside. Berchelt was firing clusters of combinations and already there was signs of swelling on the face of Vargas from the hooks and uppercuts he was walking onto.
Score: 10-9 Berchelt Berchelt 30-27
Berchelt once again was making Vargas pay a heavy price for coming forward. The champion was getting through with bursts of five or six punches with Vargas occasionally stopped in his tracks, After Berchelt landed every one of an eight-punch burst Vargas fired right back but his face was showing lumps and bumps.
Score: 10-9 Berchelt Berchelt 40-36
Vargas had some success at the start of this round it looked as though Berchelt had thrown so many punches that he was dialling back on his output allowing Vargas to score with hooks and straight rights. He had Berchelt pinned to the ropes for a spell and although Berchelt began to let his punches fly late in the round Vargas did enough to edge it.
Score: 10-9 Vargas Berchelt 49-46
Despite his success in the fifth the face of Vargas was now red raw and there was a swelling under his left eye that was obscuring some of his vision. In a brutal round Berchelt pounded on a too courageous Vergas connecting with hooks to the body and head with Vargas at times like a man caught in a storm with nowhere to hide.
Score: 10-9 Berchelt Berchelt 59-55
Vargas team retired their man.
An imperious display by Berchelt. His combination punching was hugely impressive and he was too quick for Vargas. This was his fifth defence of the WBC title and win No 32 by KO/TKO, At 27 Berchelt seems to get better and better. He is now looking to take on the winner of Masayuki Ito’s WBO title defence against Jamel Herring on 19 May to unify the WBC and WBO titles. Vargas was his No 1 challenger so he has cleared any mandatory obligations, At 34 it is difficult to see where Vargas goes from here. He took a savage beating and his tactics of pressurising and wearing Berchelt down never really looked like working. He showed incredible bravery taking the punishment he did but bravery was not enough.
Navarrete vs. Dogboe
Navarrete retains the WBO title with stoppage of courageous but outclassed Dogboe
Navarrete was in the groove immediately circling Dogboe using his much longer reach to spear Dogboe with jabs and landing short left hooks. Dogboe had to lunge with his and overreach with his attacks as with his much longer stride Navarrete was able to get out of range quickly. Dogboe landed a couple of hooks but Navarrete was peppering him with jabs and left hooks.
Score: 10-9 Navarette
Dogboe did much better in this round. He started out scoring with jabs and as the round wore on was connecting with hooks. Navarrete was changing guards and continuing to pierce Dogboe’s defence with jabs and connecting with long swinging hooks. His more accurate work gave him the round as he rocked Dogboe with a left hook and with another long left opened a cut on the right eyelid of Dogboe.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 20-18
Early in the round a left hook to the temple knocked Dogboe into the ropes and Navarrete pounded on the Ghanaian with rights and left hooks. For a while it looked as though Navarrete was going to finish the fight but Dogboe held and threw enough punches to make it to the bell but it had been one-sided round/.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 30-27
A confident Navarrete was now the one marching forward but he was being careless and missing too often with his punches. Dogboe connected with some counters but just before the bell was under fire from a series of left hooks from Navarrete.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 40-46
Official Scores: Judge Jerry Martinez 40-36 Navarrete, Judge Pat Russell 40-36 Navarrete, Judge Zachary Young 40-36 Navarrete
Dogboe’s best round so far. His swarming attacks were getting him inside where he was scoring with hooks to the body. Navarrete’s punch output dropped dramatically and again he was too casual and inaccurate with his punches.
Score: 10-9 Dogboe Navarrete 49-46
Navarette tightened things up in this round. He was more controlled with his punches and soon had Dogboe backing up under a series of hooks and landed a crunching left hook to the body. With Dogboe hurt Navarrete landed more punches with Dogboe lurching head first into the ropes to escape the storm. Effectively the ropes stopped Dogboe from going down so the referee applied a count. Again it looked as though Navarrete was on the cusp of a stoppage as he drove Dogboe around the ring but Dogboe made it to the bell.
Score: 10-8 Navarrete Navarrete 59-54
Navarrete’s dominance was total now; He was walking forward throwing long punches with Dogboe constantly on the retreat and only fighting in short ineffective bursts. Navarrete was now much more accurate connecting with almost 50 % of the punches he threw.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 69-63
Dogboe flurried with some punches at the start of this round but Navarrete was soon driving him back with hooks and uppercuts. Dogboe again tried to march forward but he was being met with some hefty counters and was shaken with a left hook at the bell.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 79-72
Official Scores : Martinez 79-72 Navarrete, Russell 79-72 Navarrete, Taylor 79-72 Navarrete
A painful round for Dogboe. After his usual early fire Dogboe was then under pressure and being caught consistently with hooks and uppercuts. Navarrete piled on the pressure and twice drove Dogboe into the ropes and with Dogboe stumbling and swaying he only just survived.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 89-81
No one could doubt the courage and determination of Dogboe but he was taking a beating. In this round it was Navarrete doing the scoring but by the process of some clever defensive work and lots of movement Dogboe largely stayed out of trouble.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 99-90
Dogboe attack more often in this round but was swinging wildly and walking onto punches. As the round close Navarrete scored with heavy punches and Dogboe was in trouble and pinned to the ropes.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 109-99
Dogboe tried to stage a strong finish but a series of head punches had him backed into a corner and another volley saw him sag at the knees. He slumped into the ropes and down on one knee. The referee gave him an eight count and was ready to let the action continue but that would have been wrong and Dogboe’s corner man climbed on the ring apron to get the fight stopped.
When these two met in December Navarrete had been a clear winner but the scores were close. This time Navarrete was just too big, too strong and punched too hard for Dogboe. The former champion from Ghana at 5’2” was never able to compete physically against Navarrete but he showed in wins over Javier Chacon, Cesar Juarez and particularly Jesses Magdaleno that he is a top quality fighter and at 24 will be back looking for another title shot.
Fox vs. Gaibnazarov
Fox hands Rio gold medal winner Gaibnazarov his first pro loss with a close but unanimous decision. When Fox uses his freakish 6’3 ½” height and companion reach he can be a difficult opponent for any fighter. He failed to use those assets against 5’ 10 ½” Shohjahon Ergashev in February but against Gaibnazarov who is only 5’6 ½” he was much more effective. The Uzbek southpaw had problems scoring effectively and Fox also had a busier work rate. In addition Gaibnazarov was his own worst enemy dropping points for holding in both the seventh and eighth rounds which would have made things much closer. Scores 95-92 twice and 95-93 for Fox. Southpaw Fox,23, just lacks power and seven of his last eight wins have been decisions and that will be a drawback against more experienced opposition. The difficulty in dealing with Fox’s physical edges and moving up to ten rounds was probably too much of a challenge for Gaibnazarov at this stage of his pro career but it should be only a temporary set-back.
Castro vs. Diaz
Castro continues his emergence as a good prospect with comprehensive victory over Mexican Diaz. Castro was just too good and too busy for Diaz. He floored Diaz in the second round and controlled the action working everything of an educated jab that Diaz never really found an answer to. Scores 100-89 twice and 98-91. The 25-year-old fighter from Phoenix retains the WBC Continental Americas title . His winning run and an impressive victory over 32-1 Genesis Servania in February have him rated IBF 9(8)/ WBC 9. Diaz, 24, capped a fourteen bout winning streak with a victory over 28-1Rayota Whitfield before being stopped in June last year by Erik Ruiz.
Marriaga vs. Cervera
With three world title shots behind him already you would think Marriaga would be satisfied. However since they were all losses he is obviously hoping to make it fourth time lucky. Body punches put paid to late substitute Cervera. Both fighters were on the floor in this one. Marriaga came close to ending the fight in the second when he sent Cervera to the floor but fellow-Colombian Cervera survived. Not for long. There was a slight hiccup for Marriaga when he went down whilst trading punches with Cervera in the third. He was not hurt and he was up quickly and continued to bang away at Cervera’s body and it was no surprise when Cervera did not come out for the fourth. The 32-year-old Marriaga has lost to Nicholas Walters, Oscar Valdez and Vasily Lomachenko in title fights but as he is still rated WBC 6 and WBO 9 and with his record in title fights he could yet land another title bout as very beatable challenger.
Fairfax, VA, USA: Super Welter: Julian Williams (27-1-1,1ND) W PTS 12 Jarrett Hurd (23-1). Super Bantam: Stephen Fulton (16-0) W PTS 12 Paulus Ambunda (27-3). Super Light: Mario Barrios (24-0) W KO 2 Juan Velasco (20-2). Middle: Matvey Korobov (28-2-1) DREW 10 Immanuwel Aleem (18-1-2). Super Fly: Alexandru Marin (18-0) W PTS 10 Luis Concepcion (37-8). 22
Williams vs. Hurd
The heavy punching champion was a big favourite to retain his titles but Williams fought a clever fight boxing on the outside in some rounds and going toe-to-toe in others with Hurd one-dimensional and unable to adapt to those tactics and ending up a clear loser.
Confident start from Williams. He was quicker and more accurate with his jab and following in behind it with straight rights, Hurd was cautious and mainly looking to counter with Williams just that bit sharper.
Score: 10-9 Williams
Pressure from Hurd made Williams fight inside and he was using upper body movement to make Hurd miss and connecting with short hooks. Hurd was taking away the jab of Williams but paying for it as Williams outscored him inside. The tactic was not working for Hurd and Williams landed an overhand right and two left hooks and Hurd fell to the canvas. He was up quickly but shaken. Williams pinned Hurd to the ropes and unloaded with heavy punches but Hurd managed to duck and weave through the few seconds to the bell
Score: 10-8 Williams Williams 20-17
Williams tried to carry on where he had left off in the second and landed some crisp shots. Hurd again took the fight inside and this time he was scoring with thumping body punches and uppercuts. The action was about level until Hurd connected with a hard right cross that shook Williams and from then Hurd was coming forward and doing the scoring.
Score: 10-9 Hurd Williams 29-27
They traded jabs at the start with Williams quicker and more accurate. They then brawled for the rest of the round. Williams was cleverly smothering Hurd’s work and finding space to land with hooks and uppercuts to clearly take the round.
Score: 10-9 Williams Williams 39-36
Official Scores: Judge Robin Taylor 39-36 Williams, Judge Steve Weisfeld 39-36 Williams, Judge Alfredo Polanco 39-36 Williams
Three minutes of toe-to-toe brawling in this one. Williams did the better work early but over the last minute Hurd was landing thudding hooks and uppercuts and dominated that period.
Score: 10-9 Hurd Williams 48-46
Hurd made a blazing start to this round bombing Williams with powerful jabs and right crosses. Williams moved inside and for a while he was outscoring Hurd but Hurd again staged a strong finish with Williams under pressure. It had been anticipated that Hurd would be too strong for Williams and fight had begun followed that script over the last two rounds.
Score: 10-9 Hurd Williams 57-56
Williams brilliantly re-wrote the script in this one. He went back to what had worked so well for him in the first round. He was stabbing jabs into Hurd’s face then moving refusing to be dragged inside. He was cleverly changing angles and connecting with quick punches and getting away before Hurd could counter
Score: 10-9 Williams Williams 67-65
Williams scored with some jabs and suddenly Hurd backed off pawing at his left eye. Williams strode forward driving Hurd to a corner and pounding him with punches. Hurd fought his way of the ropes and did some good work inside but Williams landed a crisp uppercut that had Hurd backing off and it was Williams doing the scoring at the bell. Hurd was cut over his right eye but still seemed concerned about his left eye.
Score: 10-9 Williams Williams 77-74
Official Scores Taylor 77-74 Williams, Weisfeld 77-74 Williams. Polanco 77-74 Williams
Hurd opened this one with a big attack throwing long straight shots. Williams went back to jabbing and moving and then went inside and got the better of the exchanges with short hooks. Hurd banged back but was rocked by an uppercut and taking punishment before firing back at the bell. A round for Williams but really the first round that was close.
Score: 10-9 Williams Williams 87-83
Back to the brawl. It was close-quarters work all the way. Both were connecting with clubbing shots but Williams was outlanding Hurd and looked the stronger of the two. He did enough to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Williams Williams 97-92
Williams round. He outboxed Hurd early and then when he went inside his punches were shorter and more accurate. He was the stronger man pushing Hurd back and clipping Hurd with uppercuts. Hurd banged back at the end of the round and looked to have hurt Williams with a right.
Score: 10-9 Williams Williams 107-101
This had been a tough, gruelling contest and both guys had the cuts and bruises to show that with Hurd cut over both eyes and Williams with a swelling under his left eye. Hurd attacked early but he was tired and Williams was soon opening him up with short uppercuts inside and driving Hurd back. Both were tired but Williams remained the more accurate and took the round.
Score: 10-9 Williams Williams 117-110
Official Scores: Taylor 115-112 for Williams, Weisfeld 115-112 for Williams and Polanco 116-111 for Williams.
I saw it wider than that but as with the judges I saw Williams a clear winner. The 29-year-old “J Rock” from Philadelphia had been stopped by Jermell Charlo for the IBF title in 2016 but had rebuilt with wins over Ishe Smith and Nat Gallimore and now he holds the |IBF, WBA and IBO titles and deservedly so. The first two spots in the IBF ratings are now vacant as nobody in their top 15 has beaten a rated contender and Kell Brook is the No 1 in the WBA ratings but at this time it is not known if Brook wants to go down that route. Hurd has said there is a return clause which he intends to claim so they could go again later this year. Hurd had brushed aside Tony Harrison, Austin Trout and Jason Welborn in IBF title fights and taken a split verdict over Erislandy Lara and if he can return to that form he could well win any return match.
Fulton vs. Ambunda
Fulton ensures that two Philadelphia boxers come away from this night as champions. Fulton collected the IBO belt with a resounding victory over Namibian veteran Ambunda. The Namibian was making the first defence of the IBO title in his second reign as champion. Fulton grabbed his big chance here by outboxing Ambunda. Fulton was faster, set a higher work rate and worked well behind a classy jab. He led from the start and never allowed the slower Namibian to get into the fight. Fulton floored Ambunda with a right in the eighth and won every round. Scores 120-107 for Fulton from all three officials. In theory this was a big step up for 24-year-old Fulton who had only faced very modest opposition and been in only one ten round fight but he was an Elite level amateur and a former National Golden Gloves champion. For 38-year-old Ambunda it was a clear sign that he is way past his best. He hit a peak when winning the WBO title with an upset victory over Thai Pungluang in 2013 and had picked up the IBO title a couple of times but this was by far the widest margin in any of his losses.
Barrios vs. Velasco
Barrios destroys Velasco with a wicked body punch. In the opening round Barrios did most of the scoring. He was more mobile with much quicker hands finding gaps for his jabs and straight rights and Velasco was limited to connecting with a few jabs. Barrios was probing with his jab in the second and then as Velasco stepped in with a punch a lightning-quick left to the body and a right to the head dropped him. It was the body punch that effectively ended the fight with the right being surplus to requirements. Velasco dropped to the a kneeling position with his head touching the canvas. He was in some deep pain and never looked like getting up. It can be argued that on the basis of the opposition he has faced that the WBA’s rating of Barrios as No 1is a travesty but the 23-year-old from San Antonio oozes class and power and he will probably get a title shot later this year when the WSSB super light tournament finishes and the picture at super light becomes clearer. Second loss by KO/TKO for Velasco who was stopped by Regis Prograis in eight rounds last July.
Korobov vs. Aleem
After initial elation at being declared the winner of this one Korobov suffers the disappointment of having the result changed to a draw after a mistake was made in the scorecards. Korobov made the better start taking the first two rounds being accurate with his right jab and landing some straight lefts to the body. Aleem was not committing to his jab and falling short. Aleem pressed his attacks more in the third but Korobov was boxing smartly and countering accurately. Aleem went down late in the round but it was due to being off balance so no count. Aleem continued to come forward in the fourth and landed some punches inside but Korobov was scoring more. Aleem was getting past Korobov’s jab in the fifth and sixth and scoring with short burst of punches inside but Korobov hit back strongly at the end of the sixth and had Aleem in trouble from a series of head punches. The seventh was a close round with neither dominating but Korobov looked to be well ahead. Aleem upped his pace in the eighth with Korobov slowing but still countering well. Aleem finished the round strongly to take it. Aleem finally had some momentum and he was connecting with hooks from both hands with Korobov staggering with exhaustion and his work rate dropping. Aleem had a big last round driving Korobov back and rattling him with hooks to the head. A strong finish by Aleem. As above Initially Korobov was declared the winner by majority decision. After the fighters had left the ring a check of the scorecards revealed an error and the result was changed to a majority draw. Scores 95-95 twice and 97-93 for Korobov. For me the last score was a better reflection of the action. Both of Korobov’s losses have come in title fights. He was beaten by Andy Lee for the vacant WBO middleweight title in 2014 and by Jermall Charlo for the interim WBC title in December last year. At 36 time is running out for Korobov and currently his only ranking is No 14 with the WBC so his chance has probably passed. Local fighter Aleem, 25, is No 15 with the WBC. He suffered a big set-back losing on a third round kayo against Hugo Centeno in 2017. In May last year he stopped Juan De Angel so this was his first fight in twelve months.
Marin vs. Concepcion
Marin gets tight decision over the more experienced Concepcion. The taller Marin (5’7” to 5’2”) was naturally more comfortable working on the outside with Panamanian Concepcion using his experience to get by the longer reach of the Romanian to score with hooks inside. It was a fast-pace fairly even fight . Marin boxed skilfully at distance with a strong jab and walked Concepcion onto some sharp counters. Concepcion kept coming forward looking to draw Marin’s jab and then get past it inside and fire hooks to the body. Marin built an early lead but under relentless pressure from Concepcion his work became untidy and his punch output fell so that the decision could have gone either way. Scores 96-94 twice and 97-93 all for Marin. I thought Concepcion was worth a draw. Maryland-based Marin was defending the IBO Inter-Continental title and coming off a useful win over Bruno Escalante. Concepcion, 33, is a former WBA champion at flyweight and super flyweight but blew the super flyweight title when he came in overweight for a defence against Khalid Yafai in 2016 and also lost the decision. He has now lost 3 of his last 4 fights.
Tokyo, Japan: Flyweight: Moruti Mthalane (38-2) W PTS 12 Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3). A real top quality performance by Mthalane sees him retain the IBF title with unanimous verdict over Kuroda. The challenger launches some ferocious attacks early and built a lead with two of the judges seeing him in front after four rounds at 39-37 and the other having them level at 38-38. That’s was as good as the night got for Kuroda. From the fifth the sharp punching and solid defence of Mthalane put him in total control. In a masterful display he outboxed the aggressive Kuroda constantly threading jabs through the taller man’s guard and firing home quick accurate combinations. Mthalane wound up the pace in round after round controlling the fight with his jab and busting up the face of the challenger and after eight rounds had turned the fight around to lead 77-75 on all three cards. Kuroda put in a big effort in the tenth to try to get back into the fight but it was a last fling as the brilliant little South African swept the last two rounds to finish a clear winner. Scores 116-112 twice and 117-111 all for Mthalane. The 36-year-old from Natal was imperious on the night. He is a former IBF champion having relinquished the title in 2014 rather than defend it in Thailand against Amnat Ruenroeng for a derisory purse. That was a gamble but it paid off with Mthalane winning the IBO title in the same year and making three defences before becoming IBF champion again with a victory over unbeaten Muhammad Waseem in July last year. This is his second defence. He is 24-1 in his last 25 fights with the loss being a cuts stoppage against Nonito Donaire back in 2008 and one of the 24 wins being a victory over Zolani Tete who he floored and halted in 2010 in Tete’s only inside the distance defeat. Kuroda lost a wide unanimous decision against Juan Carlos Reveco for the secondary WBA title in 2013 but was Japanese champion and had won his last six fights.
Toronto, Canada: Super Light: Steven Wilcox (21-3-1) W PTS 10 Roody Pierre Paul (16-5-2,1ND). Wilcox wins the vacant Canadian title with wide unanimous verdict over Quebecor Paul. The local fighter had considerable physical advantages and they were just too much for Paul to combat. Wilcox was able to work on the outside with his jab and with his much longer legs he was able to frustrate Paul’s efforts to get inside with simple movement. Southpaw Paul was more competitive over the middle rounds although still being outscored but then faded again before putting in a vain effort in the last. Scores 100-90 for Wilcox from all three judges. The 29-year-old Wilcox has scored six wins in his last seven fights with the loss being a decision dropped against Darragh Foley in Australia in March last year. Paul, 35, had been on a good run of seven wins and two draws but in his last fight in a dire display he lost a majority decision to Romanian prelim fighter Oszkar Fiko.
Nakhon Phanom, Thailand: Super Welter: Teerachai (41-1) W TKO 12 Ramadhani Shauri (25-15-1). Gutsy display by Tanzanian southpaw Shauri as he forces Teerachai to go into the last round for victory. Teerachai had some problems with Shauri’s style but gradually wore the African down and had him in deep trouble and shipping punishment in the twelfth when the referee halted the contests. Third low level win over a Tanzanian for Teerachai since suffering an eighth round kayo against Lucas Matthysse for the vacant WBA title in January last year. He had beaten Shauri by nine points on each of the three cards when they fought in 2017 so not sure why they bothered with a return. This was billed as for the WBA South Asian title which is yet another addition to the long, long list of invented sanction fee belts. Seventh loss by KO/TKO for Shauri
Nottingham, England: Feather: Enrique Tinoco (18-5-4) W RTD 8 Jordan Gill (23-1). Feather: Leigh Wood (22-1) W KO 10 Ryan Doyle (17-4-1). Super Feather: Stephen Smith (26-4) W PTS 6 Des Newton (7-5). Cruiser: Chris Billam-Smith (9-0) W RTD 3 Yassine Habachi (5-14-5,1ND). Heavy: Fabio Wardley (7-0) W TKO 3 Dennis Lewandowski (13-4).
Tinoco vs. Gill
Gill loses his unbeaten tag and his WBA International title as he is floored three times and pulled out of the fight by his team after the eighth round. As expected Gill quickly took control with his better boxing skills and looked comfortable over the first two rounds. The fight changed in the third when a couple of left hooks to the body from Tinoco put Gill down. He beat the count and used his speed to stay out of trouble to the bell. Gill seemed to have recovered as he outboxed Tinoco in the fourth but the Mexican was exerting heavy pressure and he put Gill on the floor again in the fifth with another body punch. As in the third Gill got up and managed to steer his way to the bell. Tinoco was now marching forward throwing heavy punches looking for an upset. Gill was sticking to his boxing and countering well but could not keep Tinoco out and Tinoco’s punches had started a swelling by Gill’s left eye. Tinoco’s pressure paid off again in the eighth as Gill was down again from a body punch and at the end of the round Gill’s corner retired their man. Huge set back for the man from Chatteris. A former undefeated Commonwealth champion he had scored wins over Jason Cunningham, Ryan Doyle and Emanuel Dominguez. After the fight Gill revealed that in the lead up to the fight he had suffered from food poisoning and had fractured his right hand in the contest. At 24 he will regroup and come back strongly. Tinoco had weighed 5ozs over the contract weight so could not win the WBA International title. He had lost on points to top prospects Mario Barrios and Devin Haney and will hoping this win leads on to better things.
Wood vs. Doyle
Wood retains the Commonwealth title with kayo of Doyle. The fight took a couple of rounds to catch fire and when it did it was Wood who took over. He was outboxing and outlanding Doyle switching guards and finding the target with hard and hurtful punches. By the fifth he was beginning to wear away at Doyle’s resistance with shots to head and body. Doyle was soaking up punishment but trying to fight back without success. By the tenth he was ready to go and Wood showered Doyle with punches from both hands before sending Doyle down with a wicked left hook and Doyle was counted out. Local fighter Wood, 30, was defending the Commonwealth title for the first time and gets his twelfth win by KO/TKO. His only loss was to world title challenger Gavin McDonnell in 2014 and this is his eleventh win since then. Former Commonwealth champion Doyle had scored a good win over unbeaten Reece Bellotti but lost to Jordan Gill in October.
Smith vs. Newton
Smith throws his hat in the ring as he returns from inactivity with a win. The former IBF and WBA title challenger was given some useful rounds of work by late substitute Newton. He floored Newton with a body punch in the fifth but the Devon fighter survived and stayed to the final bell. Referee’s score 60-54. First fight for Smith, 33, since losing a technical decision against Francisco Vargas in December 2017 when an ear injury forced the fight to be stopped and go to the cards. He will be looking to fight his way to a third title shot. Newton keeps his slate clear of any inside the distance losses.
Billiam-Smith vs. Habachi
Billiam-Smith is emerging as one to watch. “The Gentleman” was much too good for Moroccan Habachi who retires at the end of the third round. The 6’3” Smith, 28, just came up short in the major tournaments as an amateur but has won eight of fights by KO/TKO. He faces his first test when he meets unbeaten Richar Riakporhe in July. Italian-based Habachi is 0-6-4 in his last ten fights.
Wardley vs. Lewandowski
Wardley beats an obese Lewandowski in a farce of a match. All you need to know about Lewandowski is that he is 6’2” and 351lbs. It was like hitting the heavy bag-the very heavy bag-for Wardley. He pounded on the slow Lewandowski for two rounds. In the third a series of uppercuts had blood pouring from Lewandowski’s nose and he dropped under a volley of punches. Despite the nose injury he got up and tried to continue but went down again and the fight was stopped. No chance to get any real assessment of Wardley but he did look very sharp and at 24 and standing 6’5” with six wins by KO/TKO he looks yet another addition to the growing ranks of promising young British heavyweights. German Lewandowski tried but had nothing to offer except a target. He has put on an additional 90lbs since he turned pro in 2014 but this is the first time he has failed to last the distance
Burbank, CA, USA: Light Heavy: Vyacheslav Shabranskyy W TKO 1Gilberto Rubio (9-8). You would have thought that after being out of action for 18 months Shabranskyy might have looked for some useful ring time. Instead he made it an early night as he battered Rubio to defeat inside the opening round. First outing for the tall Ukrainian since being floored and halted in two rounds by Sergey Kovalev in a fight for the vacant WBO light heavy title in November 2017. Really should have expected this one to end early as only three of Shabranskyy’s 21 fights have gone the distance. Ridiculous really putting a 5’8” Rubio in with a 6’3 ½” Shabranskyy. Rubio suffers his sixth loss by KO/TKO.
Corona, CA, USA: Feather: Ruben Villa (16-0) W PTS 10 Luis Lopez (17-2). Bantam: Saul Sanchez (12-0) W KO 8 Brandon Leon Benitez (14-2).Light: Michael Dutchover (13-0) W KO 1 Rosekie Cristobal (15-4). Light: Petr Petrov (40-6-2) W KO 2 Ruben Tamayo (27-13-4).
Villa vs. Lopez
Southpaw Villa wins the vacant WBO International belt by outpointing Lopez. Villa had problems early with the uncoordinated and flailing attacks of Lopez but once he settled his better skills put him in charge. Villa was using sharp accurate jabs to control Lopez’s attacks and opened a cut over the left eye of Lopez with a punch in the fourth round. Body punches from Villa had Lopez tiring and Villa attacked strongly over the last three rounds looking for a stoppage. He rocked Lopez with rights in the tenth but Lopez stayed in the fight to the end. Scores 98-92, 97-93 an 96-94 for Villa. The 22-year-old Villa was in his first ten round contest and he paced the fight well. He is being sensibly matched and remains a top prospect. Mexican Lopez had won his last five fights including a victory over 18-1 Ray Ximenez.
Sanchez vs. Benitez
Sanchez maintains his 100% record and collects the vacant WBO Latino belt with late stoppage of Benitez. Sanchez was marching forward with Benitez boxing on the retreat. Benitez had trouble keeping Sanchez out but he was picking up points with his counters in an interesting contest. Sanchez showed his power by shaking Benitez with a right in the fourth but he was cut under his left eye. That did not stop him from raging in and outlanding Benitez who was slowly being broken down. Sanchez opened a cut over Benitez’s right eye in the seventh and then had Benitez in trouble and ended it in the eighth with a fierce attack. After he shook Benitez with a right the referee halted the contest. Now seven wins by KO/TKO for the 21-year-old Californian who in theory was in his first ten round bout. Second loss by KO/TKO for Mexican Benitez who had won his last 5 bouts.
Dutchover vs. Cristobal
This looked a reasonable fight with the unbeaten Dutchover facing a taller southpaw who in his last fight had taken unbeaten Denys Berinchyk into the seventh round before being stopped. He only lasted 106 seconds against Dutchover. A left hook to the body sent Cristobal down and he was counted out. Tenth win by KO/TKO for the “West Texas Warrior”. Second loss by KO/TKO for Cristobal.
Petrov vs. Tamayo
Petrov continues to edge his way back into contention as he halts Tamayo for whom losing has become a habit. The Russian “Czar” dropped Tamayo three times in the second round and the fight was stopped. Petrov put together a run of good results that saw him win the ESPN Boxcino tournament and the NABA title. A victory over 24-1-2 Mike Perez earned him a title shot but he lost on points to Terry Flanagan for the WBO light title in 2017 and was inactive for a year after losing to Ivan Baranchyk in March 2018. Mexican Tamayo has now lost 9 of his last 10 contests.
Hollywood, FL, USA: Welter: Derrick Cuevas (21-0-1) W PTS 8 Albert Mensah (31-8-1). Welter: Livan Navarro (11-0) W PTS 8 Breidis Prescott (31-17). Feather: Hairon Socarras (22-0-3) W RTD 5 Jesus Martinez (25-8). Heavy: Ivan Dychko (7-0) W Ray Austin (29-9-4). Welter: Logan Yoon (16-0) W PTS 8 Robert Frankel (37-21-1).
Cuevas vs. Mensah
Cuevas has no problem in staying unbeaten as he outpoints a survival-minded Mensah. Cuevas dominated the action with Mensah on the defensive and only fighting back in bursts. Cuevas was able to pin Mensah to the ropes and work on him but Mensah was never in any real trouble and did enough to stop being overwhelmed to a point where the referee might stop the fight. Scores 80-72 twice and 78-74 for Cuevas. No real chance for Cuevas to shine here but he has garnered useful experience in wins over seasoned-if sliding-pros Silverio Ortiz, Breidis Prescott and Ed Paredes. Ghanaian Mensah is 2-3 in his last 5 fights which breaks down as 2 wins in Ghana and 3 losses in the USA.
Navarro vs. Prescott
Cuban hope beats up a very faded Prescott who uses all of his experience to last the distance. Navarro was able to dominate the fight with Prescott only really fighting in bursts and not taking too many chances. Navarro tried hard for an inside the distance finish but despite his pressure and dominance Prescott was never really in trouble. Scores 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74 for Navarro. The tall, 28-year-old “Machine Gun Kid” won gold medals at the two most prestigious tournaments in Cuba, the Copa Roberto Balado and the Giraldo Cordova Cardin. No 36 Prescott has lost 9 of his last 10 fights.
Socarras vs. Martinez
After eight years as a pro Socarras finally seems to be making some progress as far as being more active is concerned. Martinez did not constitute a tough test but Socarras got the job done. He had won every round before flooring Martinez with a left hook in the fifth. Martinez survived to the bell but then retired. The 26-year-old Socarras has 14 wins by KO/TKO. Colombian Martinez is heading in the same direction as fellow-countryman Prescott with 5 losses in his last 6 bouts.
Dychko vs. Austin
Kazak giant Dychko stops ancient and fat Austin, Dychko had won the first two rounds before Austin complained of an injury to his left arm and the referee stopped the fight. The 6’9” Dychko, 28, has won all of his eight fights by KO/TKO but the opposition has been either inferior or old or sometimes both. Dychko was an Elite level amateur winning a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics losing to Anthony Joshua 11-13 in the semi-final and he collected two silver medals and a bronze at the World Championships. He scored wins over Filip Hrgovic, Efe Ajagba, Erik Pfeifer and Simon Kean in the amateurs but it remains to be seen whether he can convert that to pro success. Austin is 48, and weighed 303lbs for this fight. He needs to think about a future-outside boxing.
Yoon vs. Frankel
Hawaiian prospect Yoon eases his way back into action with comfortable unanimous verdict over seasoned pro Frankel’ The 5’10” Yoon had physical edges over Frankel as well as youth and speed but Frankel was brought in to gave Yoon some needed ring time and he did that. Scores 80-72 twice and 78-74 for Yoon. The 20-year-old from Honolulu looks very promising. Frankel, 38, after 15 years as a pro is a useful if unthreatening opponent for the up and coming young fighters.
Springfield, MA, USA: Super Feather: Abraham Nova (15-0) W TKO 2 Mario Lozano (18-3-1). Middle: Carlos Gongora (16-0) W PTS 10 Damian Bonelli (23-7).
Nova vs. Lozano
Puerto Rican comer Nova wipes out Argentinian Lozano inside two rounds. After taking the first round Novoa ended the contest in the second launching an onslaught of punches that drove Lozano to the canvas with the referee stopping the fight. Despite what looks like a greying beard Nova is only 25 and la very good prospect. This is his fourteenth win by KO/TKO with three of those quick wins coming in fights in Belgium. He has also fought in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Argentina. He is a former US National champion and won gold medals at the Independence Cup and Jose Che Aponte which are top level amateur tournaments. Lozano had put together a 10-0-1 run before being knocked out in three rounds by Pablo Ojeda in February.
Gongora vs. Bonelli
Gongora moves up to ten rounds for the first time and comes away with a convincing unanimous verdict over Argentinian Bonelli. Scores 98-92 twice and 99-91 for the tall southpaw. He was one of the most successful amateurs in Ecuadorian boxing representing them at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and at the 2007, 2009 and 2011 World Championships and he scored wins over Shawn Estrada, Terrell Gausha and Yamaguchi Falcao. Bonelli, 41, has lost his last six fights on his travels including going the distance with Steve Rolls who fights Gennady Golovkin in June.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Feather: Kevin Acevedo (17-2-2) W PTS 10 Claudio Echegaray (22-3-1). Middle: Amilcar Vidal (8-0) W TKO 8 Martin Bulacio (9-4). Super Feather: Jaime Arboleda (14-1) W RTD 3 Jose Saant (12-1-1).
Acevedo vs. Echegaray
Acevedo comes from behind to outpoint Echegaray. It was Echegaray who made the better start outboxing Acevedo over the early rounds. Constant pressure from Acevedo saw Echegaray tire over the second half of the fight and Acevedo did enough to claw back Echegaray’s lead and emerge a winner in a unanimous verdict. Scores of 97-94, 98-95 ½, 96 ½ -95. Good win for Argentinian No 3 Acevedo as he extends his current unbeaten run to 15 with 13 wins and 2 draws. Southpaw Echegaray was unbeaten in his first 22 fights but is now 1-3 in his last 4.Vidal vs. BulacioUruguayan Vidal gets another inside the distance win as he halts Argentinian Bulacio in the eighth round. The 23-year-old from Montevideo collects something called the WBC South American title with his eighth win by KO/TKO. Bulacio forced the fight hard but Vidal had too much power. He floored Bulacio in the eighth with a left hook. Bulacio made it to his feet but took more punishment and was given a standing only to be hurt again by hooks from Vidal and dropped twice in the eighth to force the stoppage. Bulacio is now 2-3 in his last five fights.Arboleda vs. Saant
Panamanian prospect Arboleda much too classy for Ecuadorian Saant. Arboleda’s attacks led to the referee giving Saant a standing count in the second. Arboleda continued to dominate the action in the third with Saant spitting out his mouthguard to get some respite. He made it to the bell but his team then pulled him out of the fight. Former top amateur Arboleda is rebuilding after a stoppage loss against Filipino Recky Dulay in 2017. This is his fourth inside the distance win since then and his first fight in Argentina under the banner of Sampson Lewkowicz. First fight outside Ecuador for Saant.
Ghent, Belgium: Middle: Kevin Ongenae (11-6-2) W PTS 10 Kevin Vanderheyden (9-1-1) . Middle: Sash Yengoyan (44-6-1) W PTS 8 Francesco Lezzi (11-14-2). Welter: Hedi Slimani (31-5) W PTS 10 Renald Garrido (24-23-3).
Ongenae vs. Vanderheyden
Home town fighter Ongenae wins the vacant Belgium title with all three judges seeing him as the better man. These two had very similar styles and had fought to a majority draw in October for the vacant title. Neither had the punch to seriously shake the other and as they tired over the last three rounds there was more brawling than boxing but they kept swinging away until the end. The cleaner work came from Ongenae and he was a clear winner. Scores 97-92 twice and 96-93 all for Ongenae He had a run of 8 wins but after it was broken he lost two in a row before drawing with Vanderheyden. These two could probably go again giving Vanderheyden the chance to reverse his only loss.
Yengoyan vs. Lezzi
Yengoyan gets unanimous decision over Lezzi but it is not an impressive win. Yengoyan was marching after Lezzi for the whole fight but having trouble pinning down the Italian. Yengoyan was dangerous with right swings but Lezzi was always moving and stabbing out his jab and scoring with long rights. Yengoyan just did enough to win this one but he is lucky Lezzi is not a puncher or he could have been in trouble. Scores 80-72, 79-73 and 77-75 for Yengoyan. The 34-year-old Armenian is looking very shop-worn. Lezzi has won only two of his last eleven fights.
Slimani vs. Garrido
Slimani takes split decision over Garrido who puts on a typical “Garrido” performance. He was giving away lots of height and reach and could not match Slimani for skill but he rolled forward in round after round throwing plenty of punches getting inside and working the body. Slimani tried to fight on the outside where he controlled the action. He threaded jabs through the leaky guard of Garrido and rocked Garrido with some rights to the head, Garrido never stopped coming forward. He shook Slimani in the sixth and it times it looked as the sheer volume of his punches had Slimani wilting but in the end Slimani’s skill and accuracy were just enough to see him get a decision that could have gone either way. Scores 77-75 and 77-76 for Slimani and 77-75 for Garrido. Tunisian-born Slimani had put together an 18 bout winning run before losing to Richard Commey in 2017. He has since suffered inside the distance losses against Vage Sarukhanyan and Steve Jamoye. He has won his last three fights but he may have gone as far as he is going. Former French super light champion Garrido has a very unimpressive set of figures but has never lost inside the division and always lives up to his “The Lion” nickname.
Tokyo, Japan: Bantam: Keita Kurihara (14-5) W KO 1 Warlito Parrenas (26-10-1). Super Welter: Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1) W RTD 6 Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2).
Kurihara vs. Parrenas
This looked a very equal fight on paper but Kurihara tore up the script to retain the OPBF title. He connected with a right hook to the head that put Parrenas down heavily. Parrenas struggled to his feet but too late to beat the count. All over in 35 seconds. Twelfth win by KO/TKO for Kurihara. When he won the OPBF title in December there was some confusion over whether he would get to keep the belt as due to a timekeeping error one round lasted four minutes but it was decided that the result should stand. Japanese-based Filipino Parrenas fought a draw with David Carmona for the vacant interim WBO super fly title in 2015 and was then stopped in two rounds by Naoya Inoue for the full WBO title later the same year. He had suffered two losses against good level Japanese opposition going into the OPBF title fight.
Matsunaga vs. Shindo
In an all-southpaw contest Matsunaga steamrollers champion Shindo to defeat. At 6’1” Shindo had a huge advantage in height and reach over Matsunaga but the challenger was storming forward from the first bell and was working on the body inside. Shindo tried to keep him out with jabs and straight lefts but was constantly pinned to the ropes. After five rounds Matsunaga was up 48-47 on two cards and 49-46 on the third. Shindo tried to turn back the tide in the sixth but Matsunaga kept him in a corner and unloaded punches on the champion and at the end of the round Shindo’s team pulled their man out of the fight. Ninth win in a row for the former bakery worker. Matsunaga was having his first shot at the national title and at one time it seemed his career might be over due a retina injury but now he is champion at thirty-one. Shindo was defending the title for the second time having held on to it with a draw against Akinori Watanabe with a draw in December.
Kempton Park, South Africa: Super Welter: Boyd Allen (4-0) W PTS 12 Brandon Thysse (10-21-1). Super Middle: Rowan Campbell (10-0) W PTS 10 Yanga Phetani (14-3-1,1ND).
Allen vs. Thysse
Allen retains the WBA Pan African title with a split verdict over Thysse. Allen outboxed Thysse and looked a clear winner. Scores 115-113 twice for Allen which tell one story and a score of 119-113 for Thysse which is inexplicable. Allen has crossed over from MMA and made rapid progress. Former South African title challenger Thysse had lost in a fight for the national title in 2017
Campbell vs. Phetani
Campbell also won on a good night for the champions. He held on to his IBO All-African title with a unanimous decision over Phetani, Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 98-93. South African champion Campbell is progressing well. Phetani has been moving up through the weights. He had a shot at the South African super welter title but lost. He then had a try at the middleweight title but lost again only for the result to be changed to No decision after his opponent tested positive for a banned substance. He is No 1 in the national middleweight ratings so should land another shot if he stays at middleweight.
Magdeburg, Germany: Super Middle: Stefan Haertel (18-1) W PTS 12 Robin Krasniqi (49-6).Cruiser: Juergen Uldadaj (11-0) W PTS 10 Krzys Twardowski (5-2). Heavy: Peter Kadiru (3-0) W PTS 6 Paolo Iannucci (4-4).
Minor upset as Haertel outpoints champion Krasniqi for the European title. Haertel made a strong confident start taking the fight to Krasniqi and constantly finding gaps for his slick jabs. In the second Krasniqi suffered a cut over his right eye that was to be a problem for the rest of the fight. Haertel’s work saw him sweep the first three rounds on all cards but in the fourth Krasniqi connected with some fierce uppercuts which brought blood from Haertel's nose. After four rounds all three judges had Haertel clearly in front with scores of 39-37, 39-37 and 40-36. Haertel increased his lead with some more pressure and good boxing over the fifth, sixth and seventh but the rounds were close in a fight full of fierce exchanges. Krasniqi’s cut continued to trickle blood but despite also now being cut over his left eye Krasniqi fought back hard but was unable to make a dent in Haertel's lead with the judges still having the German ahead after eight rounds at 77-75, 78-74 and 80-73. Krasniqi built on his good eighth round rocking Haertel with a right in the ninth but Haertel was boxing well and put the fight out of Krasniqi’s reach by edging the tenth and eleventh. Krasniqi went for broke in the last looking for the knockout he needed. He took the round but it was not enough for him to keep his title. Scores 115-113, 116-112 and 117-112 making the 31-year-old Haertel the new European champion. This had been yet another outstanding European title fight. In the amateurs Haertel had ruled the 75kg division in Germany and competed at the European and World Championships and 2012 Olympics. He had not really shone as a pro and lost a split decision to unbeaten Adam Deines last year but he came good here. After going 1-2 in his first three fights Kosovon-born Krasniqi put together a 38 bout winning steak before losing to Nathan Cleverly for the WBO light heavy title in 2013. He continued to win fights but lost big ones against Juergen Brahmer for the secondary WBA light heavyweight title and Arthur Abraham in a non-title fight before winning the vacant European title in June last year with a victory over 36-2 Stan Kashtanov. At 32 he can still come again.
Uldedaj vs. Twardowski
German-based Uldedaj adds the WBC Youth title to his collection with a victory over Pole Twardowski. Uldedaj outboxed the Pole form the start building a strong early lead dominating the centre of the ring constantly switching guards. He kicked on from there showing better defensive work and varying his attacks to maintain his lead. Twardowski tried hard for a knockout in the tenth but that never looked likely and Uldedaj won 97-93 on all three cards. Reportedly Uldedaj, 21, who already holds the German International and WBO Youth titles, fought from the fourth round with a fractured right hand. Twardowski really just a four and six round prelim fighter did better than expected although a clear loser.
Kadiru vs. Iannucci
Hot prospect Kadiru gets some more pro rounds under his belt as he outpoints rugged and durable Italian Iannucci. Kadiru bossed the fight in every round. He showed a strong jab and connected with some booming rights but Iannucci never looked like falling and provided some useful work for the 21-year-old former top amateur. Scores 60-54 for Kadiru on the three cards. He is being brought along slowly as he is still very much a work in progress. Iannucci’s loses have all been on points.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Cruiser: Yamil Peralta (3-0) W PTS 10 Marcos Aumada (21-7). Peralta wins his first pro title in only his third fight as he outpoints Aumada to lift the WBC Latino belt. Peralta was far too quick and clever for southpaw Aumada. He used his defensive skills to duck or dodge Aumada’s punches whilst scoring with his jab and hooks. A frustrated Aumada tried to turn the fight into a brawl and succeeded in as far as there was plenty of dirty stuff from both boxers but he just could not match the accuracy of Peralta’s counters and despite a big effort in the last he was an ex-champion. Scores 100-90, 98-92 and 97-93 for Peralta. Although this was only his third pro fight Peralta has a wealth of experience behind him winning bronze medals at the Pan American Games and the World Championships, getting to the quarter-finals of both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and being an outstanding performer for the Argentina Condors in the WSB. Aumada, “the Thin Man”, was making the third defence of the WBC title and had won his last four fights by KO/TKO.
Esneaux, Belgium: Super Light: Jessy PetitJean (16-0) W PTS 10 Bence Molnar (18-9). Fighting in his home neighbourhood PetitJean is much too good for young Hungarian Molnar. PetitJean cemented the win by flooring Molnar twice in the eighth but really Molnar was never any threat. Scores 100-89, 99-89 and 99-90. PetitJean is No 11 in the European ratings but is going to have to go against some better quality opposition if he is to climb further. Molnar, 23, turned pro at 17 but had been inactive of late with this being only his second fight in almost three years.
Brampton, Canada: Light Heavy: Ryan Young (13-4) W PTS 10 Tim Cronin (11-3-2). Light: Josh O’Reilly (15-0) W PTS 10 Oscar Mejia (14-4-1).
Young vs. Cronin
Young wins battle of local boxers as he outpoints champion Cronin to collect the Canadian title. It was expected to be a competitive fight with the two contestants having similar records being of similar age and level of experience but Young was clearly the better man on the night and lifted the title. Scores 99-91 twice and 97-93 for Young. A needed win as 34-year-old Young was 2-4 in his previous six fight. Cronin, 35, had lost and drawn his previous two bouts.
O’Reilly vs. Mejia
O’Reilly retains the NABA title with points victory over Mejia. Scores 97-93 twice and 96-94 for the Canadian No 2. O’Reilly was making the first defence of the title he won with a majority verdict over fellow-Canadian Cam O’Connell in January. For winning the NABA title the WBA have gifted O’Reilly a No 14 position in their ratings. O’Reilly looked to have won more clearly than the scores suggest but Mejia is strictly a prelim fighter down in Aguascalientes and this was his first ten round fight.
Fight of the week (Significance): Miguel Berchelt’s win over Francisco Vargas will hopefully open the way to an attempt to unify the super featherweight titles
Fight of the week (Entertainment): The fight between Julian Williams and Jarrett Hurd was a battle all the way and the Stefan Haertel vs. Robin Krasniqi European title fight provided plenty of entertainment.
Fighter of the week: Julian Williams for his upset win over Jarrett Hurd with an honourable mention to Moruti Mthalane for a quality performance in retaining his IBF title in Japan
Punch of the week: The left hook from Mario Barrios that ended Juan Velasco’s interest in their fight was special but so was Leigh Wood’s left hook that ended Ryan Doyle’s interest in their fight
Upset of the week: Two really Williams beating Hurd and Mexican Enrique Tinoco stopping unbeaten Jordan Gill
Prospect watch: Super bantamweight Carlos Castro is now 23-0 so one to follow.
One of the great things about doing these Closet Classics is the fact we get to enjoy fights we've not seen recently, and get to re-enjoy some amazing contests from the past. These include wars, exciting matches, amazing shows of heart and brilliant battles where sometimes we get the unexpected one such surprise came in 2008 when Japanese fans saw the then WBA Lightweight world champion Jose Alfaro travel to Tokyo in pursuit of his first defense. His opponent was a Yusuke Kobori, former Japanese national champion at Super Featherweight.
Although the bout won't go down as an all time classic, it's a bout that has long lived in our memories as a very fun bout, with heavy leather being thrown by both, and it didn't take long for that leather to be thrown.
Jose Alfaro (20-3-0-1, 18) Vs Yusuke Kobori (22-2-1, 11)
Nicaraguan puncher Jose Alfaro had won the title in Germany in late 2007, when he took a split decision against Prawet Singwancha. That was Alfaro's 6th straight win, and has followed a big win over DeMarcus Corley 7 motnhs earlier. Although now a forgotten man of sorts Alfaro was a feat fighter at the time. He had been beaten thrice in the space of a year, losing to Sanots Benavides, Cesar Rene Cuenca and Miguel Acosta, but had bounced with a solid winning run and had proven to be a really devastating puncher.
Kobori on the other hand was a Japanese domestic level Super Featherweight. He had won the title in early 2006 and had made 7 defenses, winning the OPBF title along the way. His nost notable defenses, at the time, was probably Hiroyasu Matsuzaki, though looking back a win over a then unbeaten Takashi Miura is certainly a victory that aged really well. Despite being a long term Japanese champion he hadn't really done anything to suggest he would a world title, or even that he would be competitive at Lightweight, a division that he hadn't actually fought at.
The opening moments of the fight were simple enough, with both looking to dictate the behind their jabs. Although that's normal both seemed busier than we typically see of fighters in the opening 20 or so seconds. From then on though both began to let shots go more freely and by the end of the opening round both were throwing down heavy leather with both hands. This saw both men looking shaken before the round was over, and lit the touch paper for a thrilling second round that seemed to continue the intensity of the opening round. The action swung both ways in a round that really deserved to be watched as both looked for a stoppage win.
We won't ruin the rest of the fight, but this ended up bring a nail biting, war in the end and is a fight that every fan owes themselves a chance to watch. This quickly ended up being a pure fight and is well worthy of your time.
This coming Saturday we'll be focusing on the action in Glasgow, Scotland, where Naoya Inoue and Emanuel Rodriguez battle in their WBSS Bantamweight semi-final. It's worth noting that Inoue isn't the only unbeaten Asian fighter on the card however, with Thailand's Downua Ruawaiking (15-0, 12), aka Apinun Khongsong, also on the card as a reserve for the WBSS tournament at 140lbs.
The 22 year old Thai was announced for the show last week, and at the time of writing his opponent for the show still hasn't been announced, and his appearance will be his first bout in Europe following 15 straight bouts in Asia. The travel, however, shouldn't be an issue with Downua having scored his best win on the road, and secured himself a future world title fight whilst outside of his native Thailand. Despite that we're probably right in assuming most fans, especially those focusing on the main WBSS bouts in Glasgow, don't know anything at all about the unbeaten Thai, making him an ideal subject for one of our "Fighter Focus" articles, and as usual we'll begin with some factoids
As with many Thai fighters there isn't a lot public about Downua's early live other than that he was born in the summer of 1996 in Trang. He was born Apinun Khongsong, though like many Thai's he adopted a fighting name, Downua, and took a name of a sponsor. For those unaware this is how most Thai's get their unique names, and why their "surnames" seem to change, with sponsors and gyms changing. Downua has reportedly had 2 notable sponsor names, originally "Sakkreerin", like that of stablemate Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, and now Rauwaiking, like many others in the Kiatkreerin stable.
Whilst little of Downua's amateur career can be found he told journalists in Japan, earlier this year, that he had had over 100 amateur bouts becoming part of the national team in his teenage years. Those claims were also reported in the Thai press back in 2017 from his promoter, Ekkarat Chaichotchuang
Those amateur claims seem to be backed up by his style, which is similar to that of a Western professional, rather than a former Muay Thai fighter who has converted to boxing. He is quick on his feet, has good technical skills and makes the most size. Those skills were clear early on. In his second recorded bout, a meeting with Matthis Bernot, he showed an aggressive but technical style boxing behind his jab, looking to counter his man and controlling the range behind his straight shots and footwork.
As is typically the case with Thai's Downua was busy early in his career, fighting monthly between June 2017 and December of that year. On the whole his opponents were novices, though he did end the year with a semi-notable victory against Indonesian veteran Heri Andriyanto. Sadly this was a bout with Andriyanto after the Indonesian started to put in poor performances, and was 8 years removed from him going the distance with Yoshihiro Kamegai and more than 5 years after he'd gone the dirstance with Shuhei Tsuchiya.
Downua would stop Andriyanto in 2 rounds, to move to 6-0 (4), stopping the Indonesian in the same round as Koki Inoue had done 3 months earlier. That was followed up 2 months later by a big step up in class, as he faced Yuta Maruoka for the IBF Pan Pacific title. This title meant something to the Kiatkreerin stable, with Patomsuk Pathompothong, also known as Komsan Polsan having previously held the belt before losing it in Macau to Ik Yang. Downua would have no problem with Maruoka, taking him out in the first round to claim the title. He dropped Maruoka with a huge right hand in the early moments and whilst Maruoka would get back to his feet he was set straight back down by another right hand, and then again soon afterwards forcing the referee to stop the action.
Like many Thai's Downua fought in a stay busy bout after winning a belt, taking out Indonesian journeyman Eddy Comaro in the third of a scheduled 6 rounds. This was followed by a straight forward defense against Filipino visitor Junar Adante. This was a very uninspiring first defense against a man who had been stopped in 4 of his previous 5, and had fought much of his career at Super Bantamweight. The over-matched Adante was dropped from a right hand up top and decided enough was enough, making it clear he didn't want to continue.
Thankfully Downua was stepped up after the farcial bouts with Comaro and Adante, taking on former Filipino amateur talent Adam Diu Abdulhamid, in a bout for the IBF Asia title. The under-rated Abdulhamid had not read the script and had come to upset the Thai pressing Downua backwards and showing good defense to avoid the shots of Downua whilst cutting the distance. For the first time the Thai was tested, and only narrowly pasted the test, taking a very close unanimous decision.
Unsurprisingly, after the close call, Downua was given a lengthy rest before being allowed to get some more seasoning. After an 8 month break he swiftly took out Rusmin Kia Raha, Jasen Egera and Ray Rahardjo, in a combined 12 rounds over 7 months. Those wins lead to another step back up in class, and he shined as he beat down Sonny Katiandagho in 3 rounds. This was the first time that Downua really impressed, showing great timing, handspeed, movement and skills to take out the under-rated Katiandagho.
In a way the win over Katiandagho opened the eyes of those who had followed him, including our selves, and seemed to build the belief in the youngster again, following the worries that Abdulhamid had put into the mind of his team. That rebuilt belief lead him to travel to Japan to face Kondo this past February in an IBF world title eliminator. At the time Downua was ranked #7 by the IBF, Kondo was #4. Not only was Kondo higher ranked, more experienced and more proven, but Kondo was also fighting at home, fighting his 39th bout at the Korakuen Hall. Despite being the under-dog Downua impressed, boxing well behind his jab before taking Kondo out with a brutal uppercut, and planting himself as top contender for the IBF crown.
Although he's not well known outside of Asia the unbeaten Thai will look at this weekend to announce himself as one to watch, and despite "only" being a reserve for the WBSS this is a great chance for Downua to make an impression on a whole new audience, and continue his march towards an eventual world title bout. His style is one that should appeal to Western fans, he's heavy handed, a good boxer-puncher and although still a baby in terms of his place in the sport, is clearly a fighter looking to build on a career best win only a few months ago. He's one to keep a very close eye on.
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
-Alexander Povetkin (34-2): WBC #7 / WBA #10
The former Olympic & World champion may be facing Oleksandr Usyk (16-0), after the Ukranian’s return from injury.
-Evgeny Romanov (12-0): WBO #10
Romanov knocked Dillon Carman (14-4) out this past February in order to become the inaugural WBO Global champion.
-Sergey Kuzmin (14-0): WBA #7 / IBF #9 / WBC #15
Kuzmin won the WBA Intercontinental title last year, after he defeated David Price (24-6), and defended it for the first time against LaRon Mitchell (16-2). He marked his second one on March 9 against Joey Dawejko (19-7).
-Aleksei Egorov (8-0): WBA #7
The 2013 European champion added 3 more wins to his record in 2018, including one over former world title challenger Lateef Kayode (21-4). He fought Thomas Oosthuizen (28-3) on March 23rd in Russia.
-Dmitry Kudryashov (23-2): WBC #5
The former WBC Silver & WBA International champion is now the mandatory challenger for Yves Ngabu’s (20-0) EBU European title.
-Murat Gassiev (26-1): WBC #1 WBA #5 / IBF #6 / WBO #14
The former WBA & IBF World champion, who recently signed with Matchroom, has decided to make the jump to heavyweight. His 1st potential opponent could either be Manuel Charr (31-4), interim WBA World Heavyweight champion Trevor Bryan (20-0) or Adam Kownacki (19-0).
-Maxim Vlasov (42-3): WBO #8
Vlasov will compete in his 1st match since losing in the opening round of the WBSS, on May 19, against Lenin Castillo (20-2).
-Yury Kashinsky (17-0): IBF #4 / WBA #4 / WBO #5 / WBC #8
Kashinsky continued his undefeated streak in 2018, adding 2 more victories to his record.
-Ruslan Fayfer (23-1): IBF #9 / WBC #13
Ruslan will return to the ring on May 19.
-Umar Salamov (24-1): WBO #4 / WBA #6
Salamov successfully defended the WBO International title against Norbert Dabrowski (22-8) on April 18.
-Igor Mikhalkin (22-2): WBC #2
The former WBO Intencontinental & EBU European champion finds himself back in the world rankings, despite not being active since September of last year.
-Fedor Chudinov (19-2): WBA #3 / IBF #6 / WBC #6
The former WBA World champion returned after 8 months of inactivity and defeated Wuzhati Nuerlang (11-3) on March 23rd. He will now face Rafael Bejaran (26-3) for the vacant WBA Continental title, on May 16, in Russia.
-Aidos Yerbossynuly (11-0): WBA #10
The Kazakh defeated Lukas Ndafoluma (15-2) on March 24, to become the WBA International champion. Aidos already holds the WBO Global & WBC Asia Continental titles.
-Azizbek Abdugofurov (12-0): WBC #5
Abdugofurov won the WBC Silver title last year.
-Gennady Golovkin (38-1): WBO #1 / WBA #1 / WBC #1 / IBF #3
Triple G’s first fight since losing to Canelo will be against Steve Rolls (19-0) on June 8.
-Magomed Madiev (12-0): WBA #5
Madiev remained undefeated in 2018 while also winning the WBA Asia title.
-Bakhram Murtazaliev (16-0): WBO #4 / IBF #10
Murtazaliev successfully defended his WBC United States championship against Elvin Ayala (29-13) this past February. He then scored a first round finish of Bruno Leonardo Romay (21-7) on April 18.
-Aram Amirkhanyan (12-0): WBO #6 / WBA #8
Amirkhanyan earned his biggest victory to date against Khuseyn Baysangurov (14-1), this past December, to become the unified WBO International, WBA Continental & IBF International champion.
-Magomed Kurbanov (17-0): IBF #3 / WBA #9 / WBC #10
The former WBO International & Intercontinental champion earned a unanimous decision victory over Damian Ezequiel Bonelli (23-6) on February 22nd.
-Israil Madrimov (2-0): WBA #7
One of the most accomplished amateur Uzbek boxers (Asian Games Gold Medalist & World Championships Silver Medalist) made his successful pro debut in 2018. Madrimov’s second fight took place on March 9, where he knocked Frank Rojas (24-3) out in just 2 rounds, with the WBA Intercontinental title on the line.
-Kudratillo Abduqaxorov (16-0): IBF #1 / WBC #4 / WBO #9
The undefeated former WBC Silver champion earned a decision win over the 2 time WBO Asia Pacific champion Keita Obara (20-4), in an IBF world title eliminator, on March 30.
-Sergey Lipinets (15-1): IBF #7
Lipinets earned a significant victory, on March 24th, against 2 division World champion Lamont Peterson (35-5) after he stopped him in the 10th round.
-David Avanesyan (24-3): WBC #8
The former interim WBA World title holder TKOed Kerman Lejarraga (27-1), to become the EBU European champion, on March 30.
-Alexander Besputin (13-0): WBA #1 / IBF #5
The 2013 European champion defended his USBA title for the second time against Alfredo Blanco (20-8) on April 12.
-Radzhab Butaev (11-0): WBA #6
The accomplished Russian amateur boxer knocked out 50 plus fight veteran Lanardo Tyner (35-15) on March 8. His latest win took place on May 3rd against Sliverio Ortiz (37-25).
-Nursultan Zhangabayev (7-0): WBA #10
Zhangabayev won the vacant WBA Intercontinental championship after defeating Matute (28-2) on March 24.
-Batyr Akhmedov (6-0): WBA #2
After stopping former interim WBA World Lightweight champion Ismael Barroso (21-3), Akhmedov successfully kicked 2019 off, with a victory over Viktor Plotnikov (33-6) back in Russia.
-Shohjahon Ergashev (16-0): WBA #4 / IBF #7
The former WBA International champion returned to the ring on February 15, defeating Mykal Fox (19-1).
-Maxim Dadashev (13-0): IBF #4 / WBC #5
Unbeaten Top Rank fighter Dadashev earned his 11th stoppage win over Ricky Sismundo (25-13) on March 23rd.
-Georgi Chelokhsaev (16-1): WBO #7
Chelokhsaev won the Eurasian title in 2018.
-Eduard Troyanovsky (27-2): WBC #7 / WBA #8
The former World champion failed to capture the WBA title last year.
-Roman Andreev (22-0): WBO #1 / IBF #11
The undefeated Russian top contender will be fighting former WBO Super Lightweight World champion DeMarcus Corley (51-33) on May 16.
-Zaur Abdullaev (11-0): WBC #2
The WBC Silver title holder stopped Humberto Martinez (33-9) on February 22nd.
-Shavkat Rakhimov (14-0): WBC #5 / IBF #6
Rakhimov marked his 3rd IBO title defense, against Rofhiwa Maemu (18-8), on March 23rd.
-Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (14-0): WBA #6
Sulaimanbek stopped Pipat Chaiporn (46-13) in Russia, to defend his WBA Asia championship.
-Denis Shafikov (40-4): IBF #9
Shafikov fought Gaybatulla Gadzhialiev (6-1), this past February, to a draw.
-Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-0): WBC #1 / IBF #8
The 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist recently defeated Claudio Marrero (23-3) to earn the vacant IBO belt. Prior to that, Nyambayar stopped 2 division champion Oscar Escandon (25-5). He’s now next in line to face the winner of Gary Russell & Kiko Martinez for the WBC title.
-Murodjon Akhmadaliev (6-0): WBA #2
The 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist made his pro debut last year and has already amassed 6 victories (5 stoppages) as well as the WBA Intercontinental title. He is now targeting the unified WBA & IBF World champion Daniel Roman (27-2).
-Nikolai Potapov (20-1): WBO #4 / IBF #11
Potapov fought on March 30, scoring another win, this time against Adam Mbega (9-2).
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
-Samuel Salva (17-0): IBF #1 / WBO #1 / WBA #10
Salva scored a major victory over Rene Mark Cuarto (16-2), on March 23rd, to secure a future IBF world title shot.
- Rhenrob Andales (9-0): WBA #9
”ArAr” captured the vacant WBA Asia title earlier this year and defended it for the first time on April 13 against Cris Ganoza (17-3).
-Joey Canoy (14-3): WBO #10
Canoy will take on Frans Damur Palue (15-22) on May 11 for the WBA Asia & WBC Asia Silver belts.
-Lito Dante (16-10): WBC #10 / IBF #13
In a shocking turn of events, Dante managed to TKO top contender Tsubasa Koura (14-1) and not only become the OPBF champion but also place himself in the world rankings.
-Melvin Jerusalem (14-2): WBC #2 / IBF #8 / WBO #11
Jerusalem got a unanimous decision victory over 2 time world title challenger Toto Landero (10-4) this past November.
-Robert Paradero (18-0): WBO #2
Paradero’s beat Jonathan Almacen (5-3) on April 5th.
-Pedro Taduran (13-2): IBF #5 / WBC #6 / WBO #8
Taduran hasn’t competed since last year.
-Rene Mark Cuarto (16-2): IBF #7
As mentioned above, Cuarto lost to Samuel Salva (17-0) in Manila.
-Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1): IBF #3 / WBC #8
Barriga failed to capture the vacant IBF World Championship in December.
-Jonathan Taconing (28-3): WBC #1 / WBA #3 / WBO #3 / IBF #12
The WBC International champion Taconing is expected to be challenging the WBC World champion Ken Shiro (15-0) on July 12, in Japan.
-Tanawat Nakoon (11-0): WBA #11
Muay Thai phenom turned pro boxer, the former Lumpinee & Rajadamnern Stadium champion earns his place at the world rankings as he challenges Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0) for the WBA Super World championship, on June 19.
-Jing Xiang (16-4): WBO #8 / WBA #8 / WBC #9
Xiang successfully defended his WBC Silver title against 2 division World champion Suriyan Satorn (59-7), on January 5th, in China.
-Edward Heno (14-0): WBO #2 / WBC #2 / WBA #4
Heno made his third successful OPBF title defense, in February, against Koji Itagaki (18-14).
-Christian Araneta (17-0): IBF #4 / WBA #9 / WBC #11 / WBO #12
Araneta added 3 more wins to his perfect record, in 2018.
-Randy Petalcorin (29-3): IBF #9 / WBA #15
The former interim WBA World champion has been inactive since losing to Felix Alvarado.
-Ivan Soriano (20-2): IBF #10
Soriano has won twice since losing to Wenfeng Ge (11-1) in 2018.
-Wulan Tuolehazi (11-3): WBA #4
The WBC Silver champion fought Japanese standout Ryota Yamauchi (4-1), on March 30, to win the vacant WBA International title. He will mark his inaugural WBA defense against former OPBF champion Ardin Diale (35-13) on May 26.
-Sarawut Thawornkham (20-1): WBA #1
Undefeated since September of 2014, Thawornkham will go on to challenge Artem Dalakian (18-0) for the WBA World championship on June 15.
-Giemel Magramo (23-1): WBO #2 / WBC #4 / IBF #5 / WBA #9
Magramo defeated Wenfeng Ge (11-1) for the WBO International title on January 5th.
- Jayson Mama (12-0): WBO #10 / IBF #10
The undefeated Filipino prospect earned the biggest win of his young career this past March over the IBF Pan Pacific champion & 2 time world title contender Teeraphong Utaida (38-7).
-Nare Yianleang (70-5): WBA #2 / WBC #8
Since losing to Kazuto Ioka in 2017, Yianleang has won 8 fights in a row.
-Komgrich Nantapech (25-5): IBF #3
No news yet on what’s next for the former IBF Pan Pacific champion.
-Sirichai Thaiyen (53-4): WBA #8
The former WBA interim World champion has been 3-0 since losing to Dalakian.
-Aston Palicte (25-2): WBO #1 / WBC #7
Palicte stopped Jose Martinez (20-1) on January 31st, in a WBO world title eliminator. He is set to meet Kazuto Ioka (23-2) for the vacant championship, on June 19.
-Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-5): WBA #3
The former WBC, The Ring & Lineal champion already finds himself again at the top of the world rankings.
-Donnie Nietes (42-1): IBF #4 / WBC #5
The 4 division world champion decided to relinquish his WBO strap. No news on his return yet.
-Michael Dasmarinas (29-2): IBF #1 / WBC #11
Tsarinas picked up a unanimous decision win over Kenny Demecillo (14-5), on March 23rd, to become the #1 contender for the IBF World title.
-Sukpraserd Ponpitak (22-9): IBF #5
“Sukkasem Kietyongyuth’s” toughest challenge will take place on May 8, as he takes on the former IBF Super Bantamweight World champion Yukinori Oguni (20-2) in Japan.
- Ben Mananquil (17-1): WBA #8 / IBF #8 / WBO #10
The Filipino earned a huge win against Japanese star Tenta Kiyoshe (15-3), on February 10, to win the WBO Asia Pacific championship. He will defend it for the first time against Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8), on May 26.
-Tasana Salapat (49-1): WBC #8
After failing to capture the interim WBC title in December, Salapat returned to the ring on April 24 to defeat Nicky Jordan Nainggolan (6-1) and become the OPBF Silver champion.
-Kenny Demecillo (14-5): IBF #9
Demecillo lost to Michael Dasmarinas (29-2) in Singapore, as mentioned above.
-Arthur Villanueva (32-3): WBO #6 / WBC #14
Villanueva has one win and one draw in 2018.
-Juan Miguel Elorde (28-1): WBO #2
Elorde has won the WBO Asia Pacific championship in 2015 and has defended it successfully 4 times since then, most recently against Shohei Kawashima (17-3).
-Nawaphon Kaikanha (44-1): WBC #7
Kaikanha went 5-0 in 2018 and even scored a TKO victory over former IBF World champion Amnat Ruenroeng (20-3). He will make his 1st appearance in 2019, on May 18, as he faces former WBC World champion Sonny Boy Jaro (45-14).
-Marlon Tapales (32-2): IBF #4 / WBO #4
The former WBO Bantamweight World champion has been 2-0 since moving up a weight class.
-Albert Pagara (31-1): WBO #1 / IBF #7
The WBO Intercontinental champion hasn’t been active close to 6 months now.
-Jeo Santisima (17-2): WBO #10
The Filipino won the vacant WBO Oriental title this past summer and has defended it only once.
-Joe Noynay (17-2): WBO #8
The Filipino rising star TKOed Kosuke Saka (18-5), on April 20, to win the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title.
-Apinun Khongsong (15-0): IBF #1
The undefeated Thai fighter stopped former WBO Asia Pacific champion Akihiro Kondo (31-8) with a thunderous uppercut, to become the #1 contender for the IBF World title.
-Meng Fanlong (14-0): IBF #7 / WBA #12 / WBO #12
Meng stopped the former British & Commonwealth champion Frank Buglioni (22-4) in November of 2018, to defend his IBF Intercontinental title for the first time.
-Zhilei Zhang (20-0): WBO #5
The 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist has signed with Matchroom Boxing.
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
-Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6): WBC #4
The former World champion will get another shot at Chayaphon Moonsri (52-0) and the WBC title, May 31st in Thailand.
-Masataka Taniguchi (11-3): WBO #6
Taniguchi defeated Joel Lino (10-1), back in November, for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title. He unsuccessfully challenged Vic Saludar (19-3) on February 26 for the WBO World title.
- Norihito Tanaka (18-7): WBC #7 / IBF #9 / WBO #9 / WBA #13
Tanaka won the Japanese title, this past January, and will defend it on June 13 against Naoya Haruguchi (15-10).
-Sho Kimura (18-2): WBA #2
The former WBO Flyweight World champion dominated Thai veteran Wicha Phulaikhao (60-11) on March 30. In a surprising move, Kimura decided to move to the Light Flyweight division and he will now challenge Carlos Canizales (21-0) for the WBA (Regular) World championship on May 26, in the country he became famous China.
-Reiya Konishi (17-1): IBF #3 / WBC #6
The WBO Asia Pacific champion will clash with Felix Alvarado (34-2) for the IBF World title, on May 19.
-Tetsuya Hisada (34-9): WBA #1 / WBO #1 / WBC #3 / IBF #8
Hisada is rumored to be challenging Angel Acosta (19-1) for the WBO title, potentially this Summer.
-Kenichi Horikawa (39-18): WBC #5 / IBF #7
Horikawa won Japanese title, on February 14, for the second time in his career. He will make his inaugural defense on May 19 against Masashi Tada (13-5).
-Masayuki Kuroda (30-7): IBF #4
Kuroda, who is currently on a 6 fight winning streak, will meet Moruti Mthalane (37-2) for the IBF World title on May 13.
-Junto Nakatani (18-0): WBO #3 / WBC #3 / IBF #12 / WBA #15
Nakatani stopped Naoki Mochizuki (15-4), on February 2nd, for the vacant Japanese crown. He will mark his first defense against Wolf Nakano (6-7) on June 1st.
-Kazuto Ioka (23-2): WBO #2 / WBC #4
The 3 division world champion will meet Aston Palicte (25-2) at the Makuhari Messe arena in Japan, for the vacant WBO World championship.
-Akira Yaegashi (28-6): WBA #9 / WBO #10
Yaegashi moved up to Super Flyweight in 2018 and has since been undefeated in the division with 3 consecutive TKO victories. He finally makes it back in the world rankings as he aims to become a 4 division champion.
-Koki Eto (24-4): WBO #4 / WBA #7 / IBF #8 / WBC #9
Eto’s getting closer to the world title again as he faces Jeyvier Cintron (10-0) on May 25th for the right to challenge the winner of Ioka/Palicte.
-Sho Ishida (28-1): WBO #3 / IBF #5 / WBA #6 / WBC #11
Since losing to Khalid Yafai (25-0) in 2017, Ishida has earned 4 victories over the likes of Ratchanon Sawangsoda (12-3), Richard Claveras (18-6), world title contender Warlito Parrenas (26-9) as well as Ikuro Sadatsune (9-4).
-Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3): IBF #1
Iwasa won an IBF title eliminator against Cesar Juarez (23-7), on February 16.
-Shingo Wake (26-5): WBC #2 / IBF #3
The former Japanese & OPBF champion has been on a 6 fight winning streak since losing to Jonathan Guzman (23-1) in 2016.
-Hiroaki Teshigawara (19-2): IBF #9 / WBO #15
Teshigawara made his Super Bantamweight debut last year, stopping Glenn Suminguit (21-4) to win the OPBF championship. He marked his first successful title defense on February 14, against Yuki Iriguchi (10-3).
-Yukinori Oguni (20-2): WBA #4
The former IBF World champion will compete on May 8, in Japan, as he takes on Sukpraserd Ponpitak (22-9).
-Shun Kubo (13-1): WBA #10
The former WBA Super Bantamweight World champion moved up a weight class last year, defeating Hiroshige Osawa on his Featherweight debut. He will now get the opportunity to challenge Can Xu (16-2), in China, for the WBA (Regular) World title on May 26.
-Satoshi Shimizu (8-0): IBF #3
The 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist has made 3 successful title defenses of the OPBF crown in 2018, against Kyung Min Kwon (6-5), Shingo Kawamura (16-5) and Takuya Uehara (16-1).
-Hiroshige Osawa (35-5): WBA #1 / IBF #13
The former OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion finds himself once again in the world rankings, since losing to WBO World champion Oscar Valdez (24-0) in 2016. He fought Indonesian journeyman Ahmad Lahizab (4-8) on April 7.
-Reiya Abe (19-2): IBF #4 / WBC #9
Abe fought the Japanese champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5), on May 1st, to a draw.
-Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1): WBO #3
Sueyoshi defended his Japanese championship for the 4th time, against Ken Osato (15-3), on May 4th.
-Kenichi Ogawa (23-1): IBF #4
The former Japanese champion returned to ring, after his one year suspension, and defeated Roldan Aldea (12-7) on February 2nd. Ogawa is expected to face the undefeated IBF Intercontinental champion Azinga Fuzile (14-0) in an IBF world title eliminator.
-Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0): IBF #3 / WBC #8 / WBO #12
Nakatani marked his 11th successful OPBF title defense this past December, by stopping former WBC International champion Hurricane Futa (25-8). He takes on Teofimo Lopez (13-0), on July 19, for a future shot at the IBF World championship.
-Nihito Arakawa (32-7): WBO #8
The former Japanese, OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion failed to obtain the WBO International title from Denys Berinchyk (11-0) on April 20.
-Takeshi Inoue (13-1): WBO #9
The former Japanese, OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific champion unsuccessfully challenged Jaime Munguia (32-0) for the WBO World title this January. He is scheduled to return to the ring on August 3rd.
-Ryota Murata (14-2): WBA #3 / WBC #5 / WBO #9
The 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist will get his chance for revenge on July 12 as he goes up against Rob Brant (25-1) in Osaka for the WBA (Regular) World championship.
-Kyotaro Fujimoto (20-1): WBO #10 / WBA #11
The former K-1 champion has unified the Japanese, OPBF & WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles. He is now looking for a World championship fight before he retires from the sport.
One thing we will never deny is that we are huge admirerers of Naoto Takahashi and his career was short but incredible and he gave us more action in what was a very short career than most fighters will give us in career thrice as long. For the second time in this Closet Classic series we look at one of Takahahi's amazing bouts from the 1980's, and again get the chance to see why his 23 fight career is remembered so fondly by Japanese fight fans from the era. This time around we look at arguably his most famous bout and one of the best bouts form 1989.
Mark Horikoshi (17-1, 13) vs Naoto Takahashi (15-2, 10)
If you read last weeks Closet Classic you'll be aware that Naoto Takahashi had some how pulled out a victory in a bout with Noree Jockeygym in May 1989. His bout prior to that one was just as good, if not even better, as he challenged Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Mark Horikoshi. Coming into the bout Takahashi was looking to become a 2-weight national champion, following a short but exciting reign as the Japanese Bantamweight king.
Horikoshi on the other hand was a Japanese based American born fighter, who was also known as Mark Anthony Brooks. Despite being born in Califnornia Horikoshi fought 19 of his 27 professional bouts in Japan, including his debut. In just his 11th bout Horikoshi would stop Yoshiyuki Nomaguchi for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title. Following his title win he had gone 7-0 (6) making 6 defenses, and ending them all inside the distance. The only man he failed to stop was Filipino tough guy Flash Emmanuel. He had been destructive but had also shown some frailty, with his sole loss coming by stoppage back in 1986.
The fight started at a high pace with both men unloading busy jabs. Takahashi was trying to establish distance, snappign his jab into Horikoshi's face, whilst Horikoshi was using his jab to try and back up Takahashi and go to work with heavier artillery. It was two different styles, yet both were dependent on jabs and they gelled excellently. As the bout went on the pace increased. The exchanges became more intense and both men would find themselves hurting the other. The boxing skills never vanished, but the clean punches increased, and they took it in turns to hurt the other, with Takahashi being hurt in rounds 3 and 4, Horikoshi being dropped when Takahashi was hurt, both men showing incredible heart, determination and will to win.
The bout saw both men being dropped, it saw both men needing to over-come advertcity and it saw both digging deep to give us an amazing action packed and drama filled war. Enjoy this slice of classic Japanese action!
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