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!
By Eric Armit
-Canelo Alvarez unifies the IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles with close unanimous decision over Daniel Jacobs
-Jerwin Ancajas retains the IBF super fly title with stoppage of Ryuichi Funai
-Artur Beterbiev crushes Radivoje Kalajdzic in IBF light heavyweight title defence
-John Ryder wins the vacant interim WBA super middleweight title with stoppage of Bilal Akkawy
-Joseph Diaz moves up to super feather and halts Freddy Fonseca
-Anthony Young pulls off an upset inside the distance win over Sadam Ali
-Prospects Gabriel Flores, Vergil Ortiz, Abass Baraou and Qais Ashfaq score inside the distance wins
WORLD TITLE SHOWS
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Middle: Saul Alvarez (52-1-2) W PTS 12 Daniel
Jacobs (35-3). Super Middle: John Ryder (28-4) W TKO 3 Bilal Akkawy (20-1-1). Super Feather: Joseph Diaz (29-1) W TKO 7 Freddy Fonseca (26-3-1,1ND). Super Light: Vergil Ortiz (13-0) W TKO 3Mauricio Herrera (24-9). Super Feather: Lamont Roach (19-0-1) W PTS 10 Jonathan Oquendo (30-6). Welter: Anthony Young (21-2) WTKO 3 Sadam Ali (27-3).
Alvarez vs. Jacobs
Alvarez unifies three of the four title belts with close but deserved unanimous decision victory over Jacobs.
Alvarez was shadowing Jacobs throughout the round and landed a couple of hard body punches. Jacobs was on the back foot using jabbing well and he scored with a couple of punches in the middle of the round and then came forward at the end and connected with a good combination.
Score: 10-9 Jacobs
A better round for Alvarez. He was still coming forward and was strong with his jab and landed some beefy body punches. Jacobs was still on the back foot and switched to southpaw but was not using his jab effectively.
Score:10-9 Alvarez Tied 19-19
More pressure from Alvarez. Jacobs tried to stay in the middle of the ring but strong jabs from Alvarez again had him backing up. Alvarez was getting through with lefts to the body and right hooks and although Jacobs, now back to orthodox, scored with a nice combination again Alvarez was landing more..
Score: 10-9 Alvarez Alvarez 29-28
Jacobs threw plenty of jabs in this one but Alvarez did a great job of blocking or ducking them and then leaping forward and scoring with left hooks. It was a close round because Alvarez made a slow start but he was connecting with the better shots once he opened up.
Score: 10-9 Alvarez Alvarez 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Dave Moretti 39-37 Alvarez, Judge Glenn Feldman 40-36 Alvarez, Judge Steve Weisfeld 39-37 Alvarez
A close round. Jacobs switched to southpaw again and did better early in the round with his jab and quick rights. Alvarez came on stronger as the round progressed and his jabs and hooks to the body just gave him a slight advantage.
Score: 10-9 Alvarez Alvarez 49-46
Alvarez attacked hard early but a crisp left hook from Jacobs had him backing off. For the first time in the fight it was Jacobs taking Alvarez to the ropes and unloading on him with both hands. Still as a southpaw Jacobs was finding gaps for straight lefts in a round in which Alvarez was largely ineffective.
Score: 10-9 Jacobs Alvarez 58-56
Best round of the fight so far. Alvarez picked up the pace coming in behind a stiff jab and connecting with left hooks. Jacobs was landing hooks and uppercuts inside and they then stood and exchanged punches. Jacobs held his own then Alvarez connected again with hooks until Jacobs staged a strong finish but just not enough to take the close round. .
Score: 10-9 Alvarez Alvarez 68-65
Boxing southpaw Jacobs was landing straight lefts early but then Alvarez seemed to hurt him with a left hook and connected with some hooks on the back of that success. Jacobs seemed determined to stand and trade and they both scored with some hard hooks to the head with Alvarez just taking the round.
Score: 10-9 Alvarez Alvarez 78-74
Official Scores: Moretti 78-74 Alvarez, Feldman 78-74 Alvarez, Weisfeld 78-74 Alvarez
Jacobs took this one. He was moving well and looked fresher. Alvarez was throwing powerful single punches with Jacobs letting fly with bursts and he twice had Alvarez against the ropes and connected with a big right cross but he was leaving this rally late.
Score: 10-9 Jacobs Alvarez 87-84
Alvarez was stepping up quicker in this round and was landing with his jab straight rights and left hooks with Jacobs throwing very little. Over the third minute Jacobs came to life forcing Alvarez to the ropes and opening up with hooks from both hands but Alvarez was finding the target with counters.
Score: 10-9 Alvarez Alvarez 97-93
Jacobs outworked Alvarez. He was pumping out his jab and firing bunches of hooks with Alvarez often forced onto the retreat. Alvarez was scoring with hard single shots but that was not enough.
Score: 10-9 Jacobs Alvarez 106-103
No last round heroics in this one again it was the hardest punches from Alvarez and the quantity from Jacobs with his accuracy with his jab and hooks just giving Jacobs the round.
Score: 10-9 Jacobs Alvarez 115-113
Official Scores: Moretti 115-113 Alvarez, Feldman 116-112 Alvarez, Weisfeld 115-113 Alvarez.
Alvarez retains the WBA and WBC titles and lifts the IBF title from Jacobs. That leaves the WBO belt as the only one missing from his collection and Alvarez said he was interested in completing the collection which would a mean a big payday for WBO champion Demetrius Andrade. Alvarez had his tactics spot on in this fight but Jacobs let the fight get away from him from the second round to the eighth. Two judges had Alvarez winning six of those seven rounds and the third gave Alvarez 5 of them. Before the fight Jacobs had to pay a forfeit of $750,000. He made the weight at the official weight-in on the day before the fight but the contract stipulated that there would be a penalty of $250,000 payable by either fighter for every pound over 170lbs at a weigh-in on the day of the fight. Alvarez weighed 169lbs but Jacobs was 173.6lbs and had to pay $750,000. Jacobs has said he will now move up to super middleweight
Ryder vs. Akkawy
Ryder wins the interim WBA title with stoppage of Australian Akkawy. Southpaw Ryder had a slight edge over the first two rounds due to some good work with his jab. In the third he caught Akkawy with a booming right that put Akkawy on the floor. Akkawy did not look in too serious a condition when he got up but when the action restarted Ryder rocked him badly with an uppercut. Akkawy tried to punch with Ryder but was on the floor again from right hook. This time he was decidedly shaky when he made it to his feet. Ryder jumped on him drove him to a corner and a pair of uppercuts had Akkawy on the verge of going down when the referee stepped in to save him. Ryder’s career looked to be going nowhere after domestic defeats against Nick Blackwell, Jack Arnfield and Rocky Fielding but he turned the situation around with wins over 29-1 Patrick Nielsen, 25-1 Jamie Cox and unbeaten Andrey Sirotkin. A fight with the real WBA champion Callum Smith would be a big attraction. Akkawy came in at relatively short notice after David Lemieux withdrew with an injury three weeks before the fight with Ryder. At 25 Akkawy can rebound from this.
Diaz vs. Fonseca
Moving up to super feather and conceding height and reach proves no problem for Diaz as he stops Fonseca. From the opening bell Diaz was connecting with southpaw left hooks and uppercuts on a slower Fonseca. In the second and third Fonseca switched to southpaw and landed a couple of clubbing punches but Diaz with superior hand speed was scoring with right jabs and hooks to the body and forcing Fonseca back. Fonseca tried to stand in close and trade with Diaz over the fourth and fifth but did not have the power or a sound enough defence for that to work and he continued to take punishment. Diaz rocked Fonseca badly with a right and then two left hooks late in the sixth and Fonseca dropped to his knees. Fonseca got up and there was not enough time left for Diaz to finish things before the bell. Diaz did the business in the seventh. He was landing some solid lefts to the head and then a series of hard rights and lefts saw the towel coming in from Fonseca’s corner. The former Olympian lost to Gary Russell for the WBC title in May last year but then beat Jesus Rojas in August in a fight for the secondary WBA title but Diaz had failed to make the weight so could not win the title. The move to super feather is a sensible decision and he wins the vacant WBA Gold title. Nicaraguan Fonseca suffers his first loss by KO/TKO. He was No 5 with the WBA but there were no names or real tests on his record.
Ortiz vs. Herrera
Ortiz bombs out a shop-worn Herrera inside three rounds. The first saw an unexpectedly cautious Ortiz not really pressing his attacks against a fleshy-looking Herrera. Ortiz let his hands go more in the second and just before the bell he landed a vicious chopping right to the head that staggered Herrera and then cut loose with hooks and uppercuts until Herrera slumped to the floor by the ropes. Herrera used the ropes to get vertical and passed the referees examination and the bell had already gone. At the start of the third Ortiz staggered Herrera again with a right and then a booming right rendered Herrera out whilst still on his feet and he dropped back into the ropes and down with the referee instantly waiving the fight off. The tall 21-year-old Texan has won all of his fights by KO/TKO and has only once had to go beyond the third round. He has victories over experienced pros Juan Carlos Salgado and Roberto Ortiz. He is ranked No 9 by the WBO. At 38 Herrera is no longer the fighter who lost on a majority decision to Danny Garcia for the WBA and WBC titles back in 2014
Roach vs. Oquendo
Roach remains unbeaten with a decision over Oquendo that was unpopular with the crowd. Oquendo threw Roach off his game plan with a strong start. He was working his way inside and scoring with hard body shots. Despite being rocked by a right in the fourth Roach began to get into the fight. He was using movement and sharp jabs to work on the outside and was successful in countering Oquendo as he rolled forward. Oquendo was still getting past the jab often enough to make these rounds close but some careless headwork cost him a point in the eighth. Both fighters stuck to their tactics over the last two rounds with Oquendo still bustling his way inside and Roach firing jabs and counters. It looked as though the decision could have gone either way but the judges gave it clearly to Roach. Scores 97-92 twice and 96-93 for Roach. The draw on Roach’s record was against Orlando Cruz in April 2018 and this is his third win in a row since then. He retains the WBO NABO and International titles. Oquendo was beaten by Jesus Cuellar for the secondary WBA feather title in 2015 and had lost important fights against Juan Manuel Lopez, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr and Abner Mares but had won his three fights last year.
Young vs. Ali
Young halts former WBO champion Ali in a major upset. No sign of the early stoppage over the first two rounds as they traded punches. Young looked to just doing better in the exchanges but Ali was competing hard. Young broke through in the third with a series of body punches before forcing Ali into a corner with a couple of hard hooks. He then just pounded away until the referee came in and halted the barrage. Huge win for Young, 31, who had won his last eight contests against mediocre opposition. When Ali beat Miguel Cotto for the WBO super welter title in December 2017 the “World Kid” was on top of the world but with the crushing defeat against Jaime Munguia and now this loss to Young it is questionable whether he has a future.
Stockton, CA, USA: Super Fly: Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2) W KO 7 Ryuichi Funai (31-8). Light Heavy: Artur Beterbiev (14-0) W KO 5 Radivoje Kalajdzic (24-2).Light Heavy: Felix Valera (18-2) W TKO 4 Mario Aguilar (20-7). Welter: Brian Mendoza (17-0) W KO 2 Carlos Rodriguez (12-8-1). Light: Gabriel Flores Jr (13-0) W KO 3 Eduardo Pereira dos Reis (23-6).
Ancajas vs. Funai
Ancajas breaks down and stops a very limited Funai in the seventh defence of the IBF title
Ancajas was into his stride quickly spearing Funai with right jabs and lending straight lefts . Funai was overreaching with his jabs and paying for it with short hooks from Ancajas.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas
A more even round. Funai was landing some jabs and Ancajas was off target with his. Funai kept throwing lead rights off the wrong foot so there was no power in them. Late in the round Ancajas found the range and banged home some straight lefts.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 20-18
Plenty of action in this round as Funai resolved to walk through the champion’s punches to work inside. Ancajas was in the groove now. He was punishing Funai with jabs and countering the advancing challenger with hooks and uppercuts. Funai did some good work inside but did not have the power to hurt Ancajas.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 30-27
Ancajas started this round with a ferocious attack. He pinned Funai in a corner and pounded him with hooks and uppercuts. Funai was getting caught with booming punches and was rocked but managed to fight his way out of the corner. He kept trying to get close but was being caught with counters with a right staggering him and after a vicious straight left he was now bleeding heavily from the nose.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Jonathan Davis 40-36 Ancajas, Judge Daniel Sandoval 40-36 Ancajas, Judge Kermit Bayless 40-36 Ancajas
The referee had the doctor examine Funai at the start of the round but he was cleared to continue. Not so much action in this round. Funai was a lot more cautious never really trying to get inside and Ancajas was a little less accurate . He landed an occasional straight left but not many.
Score: 10 -9 Ancajas Ancajas 50-45
The dismantling process continued in this round. Funai initially again tried to walk inside but Ancajas could not miss him with straight lefts and Funai was forced to go on the defensive. Ancajas was really loading up on his punches and staggered Funai twice late in the round.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 60-54
The referee and the doctor consulted before the start of the seventh and before the bell Funai was taken over to where the doctor was standing and after examining Funai the doctor recommended the fight be stopped and it was over.
Too easy for the powerful and talented 27-year-old Filipino who has 21 wins by KO/TKO. He has kept busy with three defences in 2017 and three in 2018. A fight with WBC champion Juan Francisco Estrada would be a big attraction as would one against either fellow-Filipino Aston Palicte or Kazuto Ioka who contest the vacant WBO title in June. Funai was outclassed here. He had won his last seven fights and was the IBF No 1but that was a false rating.
Beterbiev vs. Kalajdzic
Beterbiev overpowers Kalajdzic with crude but effective tactics and real power.
Beterbiev came out throwing punches sending Kalajdzic back into the ropes with a left hook. Kalajdzic took possession of the centre of the ring probing with jabs. Beterbiev circled him launching occasional attacks. A push from Kalajdzic sent Beterbiev down but obviously no count. Kalajdzic showed some flash dancing with his hands down but Beterbiev had done the scoring.
Score: 10-9 Beterbiev
Beterbiev was wild with his attacks and Kalajdzic was able to score with jabs and with hooks when he came inside. Beterbiev was tracking Kalajdzic but has no real footwork. When he got close he was landing some clubbing shots but was warned twice for punches to the back of the head but did enough to make the round his.
Score: 10-9 Beterbiev 20-18
After some bull-like rushes from Beterbiev Kalajdzic decided to stand his ground and trade punches. Not a good choice. He was landing but did not have the power to trade with Beterbiev. Kalajdzic broke off the exchanges but was then dragged back and as they exchanged shots heavy rights from Beterbiev had Kalajdzic turning away and he went down on one knee. After the count he managed to hold out to the bell but was unsteady. Again Beterbiev got away with some punches to the back of the head and that needs to be picked up on by referee’s before some gets badly injured.
Score: 10-8 Beterbiev Beterbiev 30-26
The doctor examined Kalajdzic before the start of the round. Beterbiev then pounded on Kalajdzic. He trapped Kalajdzic on the ropes and was landing clubbing punches. Kalajdzic punched back and there was a wild exchange until Beterbiev again forced Kalajdzic to the ropes. Kalajdzic tried to escape a few times but Beterbiev kept muscling him to the ropes again.
Score: 10-9 Beterbiev Beterbiev 40-35
Official Score: judge Edward Hernandez 39-36 Beterbiev, Judge Zachary Young 40-35 Beterbiev, Judge Michael Tate 40-35 Beterbiev
Once again the doctor examined Kalajdzic and let the fight continue but it was just a token agreement as the first time Beterbiev took Kalajdzic to the ropes and landed a punch the referee stopped the fight-so why let it continue at all? Second defence of the IBF title by the 34-year-old Russian. There is nothing of the stylist about Beterbiev but he has steamrollered his 14 opponents to defeat inside the distance so what he does works for him. All four versions of the light heavyweight title are held by Eastern Europeans and it would be interesting to see a clash between any two of the four because when you take out Marcus Browne and Eleider Alvarez there is not a lot of quality in the division although Anthony Yarde might prove that wrong if he can bear Sergey Kovalev. Florida-based Bosnian Kalajdzic ‘s only other loss was a split decision against Browne in 2016. He had won his last three fights but lacked the power to compete against Beterbiev.
Valera vs. Aguilar
Former WBA interim champion Valera gets past Mexican Aguilar with ease. The tall Dominican had the height and reach to control the action. When he chose to go inside he was busier and outscored Aguilar. After three one-sided rounds Valera was unloading on Aguilar in the fourth when the referee halted the contest. Valera lost his interim title to Dmitry Bivol in 2016 and was beaten on points in a foul-filled fight by Sullivan Barrera in 2017. This is his third win in a row but his opposition has been modest. He is No 3 with the WBA. Aguilar had been 2-3 in his last 5 fights but the three losses had all been to undefeated fighters.
Mendoza vs. Rodriguez
Mendoza celebrates signing a contract with Top Rank with a stunning stoppage of Rodriguez. This was showing signs of being a good competitive fight for five minutes and then Mendoza delivered a rib-bending right to the body and followed that with a left hook to the head and Rodriguez went down on his back and that punch was such a clear finisher that the referee dispensed with the count. The 25-year-old from New Mexico has won 5 of his last 6 fights by KO/TKO and has twelve inside the distance wins in total. He was moving up to eight rounds for the first time but he made that an irrelevance. Third loss by KO/TKO for Rodriguez.
Flores vs. Pereira dos Reis
Flores continues to impress. He was too slick and too quick for Brazilian dos Reis and was looking to end this early. He had dos Reis under pressure over the first two rounds and then produced an explosive left hook that floored the Brazilian heavily and the referee decided a count was unnecessary and just waived the fight off. The 19-year-old home town fighter is the youngest fighter ever signed by Top Rank. He impressed as a Junior winning a gold medal at the US Under-17 championships and silver at the World Under-17’s. Pereira dos Reis is now 0-4 in fights outside Brazil.
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Middle: Steven Butler (27-1-1) W PTS 10 Vitali Kopylenko (28-2). Middle: W Chris Pearson (17-2,1ND) W PTS 10 Yamaguchi Falcao (16-1,1ND). Super Middle: Erik Bazinyan (23-0) W PTS 10 Alan Campa (17-5,1ND). Middle: Alexis Salazar (22-3) W PTS 8 Abraham Cordero (13-4-2).
Butler vs. Kopylenko
Butler just scrapes past Kopylenko as he comes off the floor to get the win with a strong finish. Both had their moments over the first half of the fight with Butler scoring with left hooks and Kopylenko displaying some good skills. Butler picked up the pace in the sixth but the seventh was close with Kopylenko just having the edge. In the eighth a series of body punches culminating in a left to the body from Kopylenko put Butler down. He beat the count and resisted Kopylenko’s efforts to repeat that success. Butler then had the better of the exchanges in the ninth and the early part of the last but Kopylenko dominated the closing minute. Scores 96-93 twice for Butler and 95-94 for Kopylenko. Canadian Butler, 23, wins the WBC International title with his ninth win in a row with the other eight coming by KO/TKO. Butler is rated WBO 5/WBC 11/IBF 12(11) but Kopylenko is his first real tests since losing to Brandon Cook in 2017 and he nearly blew it. Kopylenko’s team are demanding a return but don’t hold your breath. The 35-year-old Ukrainian has talent but is letting it slip away. Since losing on points to Willie Monroe Jr in the semi-final of the Boxino tournament in 2014 he has had just seven fights in five years and needs to be more active.
Pearson vs. Falcao
Pearson comes from behind to outpoint Falcao in a mild upset. In his first fight for almost twelve months Brazilian Falcao made a strong start. He was outworking a tentative Pearson and connecting with straight lefts. Pearson finally started to get into the fight from the third and it was close over the middle rounds with Falcao just having a small lead. The seventh was a swing round. Pearson began to find the target with his jab and straight lefts and a clash of heads saw Falcao cut over his right eye. Falcao faded and was rocking badly in the tenth but made it to the bell. Scores 96-94 twice and 96-94 for Pearson. He wins the vacant WBC Latino title. The 28-year-old from Ohio took 13 months out after being beaten in two rounds by Justin DeLoach in February 2017 but has been more active with three wins now since his return. The No Decision on his record came back in 2014 when he outpointed Lanardo Tyner only for both boxers to test positive for a banned substance. Former Pan American silver medal winner Falcao took a bronze medal in the London Olympics in 2012. When fighting for the Mexico Guerreros in the WSB Falcao outpointed Pearson who was on the Los Angeles Matadors team so revenge for Pearson.
Bazinyan vs. Campa
Armenian-born Canadian Bazinyan gets wide unanimous decision over Campa. Bazinyan took control early with some cracking rights. Campa fired back did not have the power to match Bazinyan who had won his last eight fights by KO/TKO. Bazinyan continued to pile on the pressure but Campa has been in with some tough opposition and he was landing enough to be competitive and pick up some points. A clash of heads in fifth started a big bump on the left side of Campa’s forehead and he was under heavy attack in the sixth until a low punch from Bazinyan bought him some respite and he had a good seventh. In the eighth another low punch from Bazinyan cost him a point deduction but he ended the bout strongly to take the decision. Scores 99-90 twice and 97-92 for Bazinyan. He retains the WBA-NABA and WBO-NABO titles. He is rated WBO 4/WBA 11and has wins over 32-2 David Zegarra and Francy Ntetu. Campa is 1-3 in his last 4 fights now but the other two losses were against Jesse Hart and D’Mitrius Ballard.
Salazar vs. Cordero
Salazar moves to 14 wins in a row with points victory over Cordero. Salazar was just too fast for Cordero who was having his first fight 18 months and came in almost 30lbs heavier than in his last fight. Salazar used his reach to score on the outside but Cordero was able to score with hooks in close. They bumped heads hard in the third and fifth but luckily no one was cut. Salazar dominated late as Cordero tired. Score 80-72 twice and 79-73 for Salazar. Most of Salazar’s wins have come against modest opposition and he did not look ready to move up but as he is just 23 he may improve. Cordero, 24, showed some good skills but with just one fight in 2016 and one in 2017 and being inactive through 2018 he is very rusty.
Newcastle, England: Super Bantam: Tyrone McCullough (13-0) W PTS 10 Alvaro Rodriguez (9-3-1,1ND). Heavy: Simon Vallily (14-2-1) W TKO 1 Jone Volau (5-5). Middle: Troy Williamson (10-0-1) W RTD 2 Ionut Llie (17-32-3).
McCullough vs. Rodriguez
McCullough gets routine win over unorthodox Rodriguez. Southpaw McCullagh forced the fight behind his jab with Rodriguez looking to dive forward with counters. At times McCullough had problems with the hands-down unorthodox style of Rodriguez but the Spaniard was wild with his attacks swinging and leaving himself open to counters. McCullagh moved well, jabbed well and was accurate with his straight lefts but never quite subdued Rodriguez who connected with enough swings late on to edge a couple of rounds with the fight getting untidy at times. Scores 98-92 twice and 96-94 for McCullagh. The 28-year-old “White Chocolate” from Northern Island has useful domestic wins over Joe Ham and Josh Kennedy. Rodriguez, the Spanish champion, has never been stopped. He lost on a late TKO against Cristian Rodriguez for the vacant Spanish title in 2016 but the result was changed to a No Decision when Cristian Rodriguez tested positive for a banned substance.
Vallily vs. Volau
Having drawn in a fight for the English cruiserweight title in June and stopped by Craig Glover in October Vallily makes a success of his first bout at heavyweight. Vallily had lots of height and reach over Volau and rocked him early with a right cross. Volau rumbled forward looking to get inside and landed a good right. Vallily came forward with purpose connected with two punches to the body and then an overhand right to the head and Volau went down heavily. He tried to make it to his feet but tumbled sideways and the referee stopped the count and ended the fight. The 33-year-old Vallily was British champion and won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games at 91kgs as an amateur. Locally based Fijian Volau has lost his last four fights.
Williamson vs. Ilie
Williamson was much the bigger man and from the outset Ilie’s tactics could be summarised as survive. It was largely target practice for Williamson who hurt Ilie with a left hook to the ribs just before the bell to end the first round. Ilie threw a few punches at the start of the second but was soon being driven around the ring by Williamson. More body punches had Ilie hurt and at the end of the round he retired with a rib injury. Now seven wins by KO/TKO for former amateur champion Williamson but this was no kind of test. Ilie suffers his fifteenth loss by KO/TKO.
Bethlehem, PA, USA: Super Feather: Frankie De Alba (23-4-2) W PTS 8 Ruben Lopez (12-14-4). Welter: Janelson Figueroa (14-0) W RTD 3 Gabor Gorbics (26-17). Welter: Radzhab Butaev (12-0) W PTS 6 Silverio Ortiz (37-25).
De Alba vs. Lopez
Southpaw De Alba decisions Argentinian Lopez. After an early storm from Lopez De Alba settled down to outbox the strong but limited South American and took every round. Scores 80-72 for De Alba. He needed a win after losing to O’Shaquie Foster and Andy Vences in 2018. Lopez falls to 0-6-1 in his last seven.
Figueroa vs. Gorbics
Flashy prospect Figueroa much too good for Hungarian travelling loser Gorbics, The 20-year-old Figueroa was connecting with punches from all angles and a sympathetic doctor would not let Gorbics continue after the third round. Ten wins by KO/TKO for Puerto Rican Figueroa a coming lad. Fifth loss in a row for Gorbics.
Butaev vs. Ortiz
Russian Butaev outpoints seasoned pro Ortiz. Scores 58-55 twice and 59-54. The 26-year-old “Python” was Russian Youth and Senior champion and won a silver medal at the European Youth Championships. As a member of the Russian Boxing Team in the World Series of Boxing he went 9-1 including wins over Dens Berinchyk, Rosniel Iglesias and Scott Fitzgerald. Ortiz has won only one of his last seven fights but after 19 years as a pro he can still teach the youngsters a trick or two
Perth Australia: Middle: Wes Capper (20-2-1) W PTS 8 Arnel Tinampay (25-24-1). Neighbourhood fighter Capper extends his unbeaten run to ten with points win over seasoned Filipino Tinampay. Former undefeated Australian champion Capper, 30, a plumber by trade, has an extensive career in kickboxing behind him including Australian and World titles. In his last fight in March 2018 he fought a draw with Sam Soliman. Three losses in a row for Tinampay-one in Chine, one in Russia and now one in Australia.
Dubai, UAE: Light Heavy: Oscar Ahlin (18-2) W KO 1 Arthit Bumphloeng (3-8-1). Swedish “Golden Boy” Ahlin puts away poor Thai Bumphloeng in just 70 seconds. Ahlen moves to 16 wins by KO/TKO including five in his last five fights but the opposition has been dire and losses in the past to Bernard Donfack and Patrick Mendy have knocked much of the glitter off the “Golden Boy”. Now 7 losses in a row for pathetic Bumphloeng 6 by KO/TKO. This was Badou Jacks first promotion and any others had better improve on this rubbish. Amir Khan and Jeff Mayweather were at ringside to support Jack.
Brussels, Belgium: Cruiser: Joel Tambwe Djeko (16-2-1) W PTS 12 Ricardo Snijders (17-1). Super Light: Mohamed El Marcouchi (22-2) W PTS 10 Jean Pierre Habimana (9-17-3).
Djeko vs. Snijders
Djeko keeps his IBO Inter-Continental title with unanimous decision over unbeaten Snijders. Djeko made the better start making use of his longer reach to work on the outside. Snijders came alive in the fourth getting past Djeko’s jab and landing well to the body and he overtook Djeko’s early lead by winning the middle rounds. Djeko managed to get his jab working again in the eighth and smothered Snijders work inside and after two hotly contested rounds by the end of the ninth Snijders was tiring. In the tenth Djeko was connecting heavily and an in trouble Snijders dropped into the ropes half from a push and half from a punch. He did not go all the way down but only because the ropes stopped him and the referee rightly applied a count. Snijders survived but Djeko swept the closing rounds to emerge a clear winner. Scores 117-110 twice and 116-111 for Djeko. “Big Joe” gets his seventh win since dropping a split decision against Craig Kennedy in 2016. Dutchman Snijders had won 6 of his last 7 by KO/TKO but Djeko was a much tougher opponent than the others he had met.
El Marcouchi vs. Habimana
Miami Beach-based Belgian El Marcouchi wins the vacant BeNeLux (Belgium, Netherlands & Luxemburg) title with decision over Rwandan-born Habimana. Sores 98-92 twice and 97-93. After an early points defeat El Marcouchi has now lost only one of his last twenty-one fights and that was a disqualification. Tougher time for Habimana as he takes on board his fifth consecutive loss.
Charleroi, Belgium: Cruiser: Ryad Merhy (28-1) W KO 3 Cesar Crenz (23-12). Heavy: Herve Hubeaux (31-3) W PTS 10 Jack Mulowai (6-1-1).Middle: Mikala Vesialou (10-0-1) W PTS 10 Norbert Harcsa (11-2. Light Heavy: Timur Nikarkhoev (21-2) W PTS 8 Geard Ajetovic (31-21-1).
Merhy vs. Crenz
Merhy crushes Crenz inside three rounds. Argentinian Crenz was just over 6’4” tall but that was all he had going for him. Merhy was able to get past the longer reach of Crenz to score inside. Late in the second Merhy rocked Crenz with a right to the head and then dropped him with a left to the body. Crenz survived but with the first punch Merhy threw in the second round, a left hook to the head, Crenz was down again. He got up but was unsteady and the referee stopped the fight. The 26-year-old Ivory Coast-born Belgian now has 23 wins by KO/TKO. His loss was an eleventh round stoppage by Arsen Goulamirian for what was then the interim WBA title but is now the WBA Gold title. Merhy is No 3 with the WBA so will be hoping to get a title fight later this year. Crenz, 39, has nine losses by KO/TKO.
Hubeaux vs. Mulowai
Hubeaux wins the vacant Belgian title with majority decision over Mulowai. It was a close fight but with Hubeaux scoring a knockdown in the fourth and looking to have won well. Scores 97-94 twice for Hubeaux and 95-95. The EBU No 14 has lost big fights against Agit Kabayel for the European title and Oscar Rivas for the NABF title. This is his second win as he rebuilds after the Rivas loss. Congolese-born Mulowai was taking a huge step up in quality of opposition so performed above expectations.
Vesialou vs. Harcsa
Russian-born Belarusian southpaw Vesialou retains the WBA Continental belt with unanimous decision over Hungarian Harcsa. Vesialou made good use of his longer reach to outbox Harcsa and won comfortable. Scores 98-92 twice and 100-90 for Vesialou. The winner was a success in the WBS Baku Fires team. Harcsa one of Hungary’s most successful amateurs, had won his three fights last year but has not progressed as a pro.
Nikarkhoev vs. Ajetovic
Russian Nikarkhoev gets his seventh win on the bounce with narrow verdict over experienced Serbian Ajetovic. Scores 77-74 twice and 77-75. The 26-year-old European No 8 has not really been tested since losing to modest Joseph Mulema in 2017. Ajetovic is at travelling journeymen level now. He has lost his last four fights all on points and all in different countries
Frankfurt, Germany: Light Heavy: Leon Bunn (14-0) W TKO 9 Leon Harth (18-4). Super Welter: Abass Baraou (6-0) W TKO 5 Ali Funeka (40-11-3).Super Light: Anthony Yigit (23-1-1) W TKO 5 Sandro Hernandez (15-8-3). Heavy: Kem Ljungquist (8-0) W PTS 8 Dominik Musil (3-2).
Bunn vs. Harth
Fighting in his home city Bunn wears down and halts Harth. Bunn just had the edge in a couple of slow opening rounds but the third looked even. In the fourth Bunn began to connect with booming punches and Harth was badly rocked and the bell saved him. Harth faded out of the fight going into defensive mode and he was in trouble again late in the eighth. Bunn had Harth against the ropes in the ninth and was unloading with some savage shots and the referee stepped in and halted the contest. Bunn, 26, wins the vacant IBF International belt with his eighth victory by KO/TKO. He is No 12 with the EBU. German-based Armenian Harth has lost in tough tasks against Krzys Wlodarczyk and unbeaten Artur Mann but had won his last three fights.
Baraou vs. Funeka
Top prospect Baraou halts veteran Funeka. The first round was the only one in which South African Funeka was in the fight in any meaningful way. From the second Baraou began to dismantle Funeka. He was connecting with straight rights and hooks with very little come back from a shop worn Funeka. Baraou scored with a series of brutal punches in the fifth and the referee stepped in to save Funeka but even then it was a few minutes before Funeka recovered. In the amateurs the 24-year-old Baraou was German champion in 2014, 2015 and 2016, He won a gold medal at the 2017 European Championships and took bronze at the World Championships. He won the German title in only his second pro fight. Now 41 Funeka is 1-6 in his last 7 fights and really needs someone to save him from doing himself permanent damage.
Yigit vs. Hernandez
Swedish southpaw Yigit gets his second win since being eliminated from the WBSS tournament by Ivan Baranchyk in a fight that was for the vacant IBF super light title. Yigit had too much skill for Hernandez to deal with and the Venezuelan was outclassed. Hernandez lost a point for holding and was cut and being raked by punches when his corner threw in the towel. At 27 Yigit still has a big part to play at both European and world level. Five losses in his last six fights for Hernandez.
Ljungquist vs. Musil
Danish heavyweight Ljungquist keeps his 100% record with a points victory over Czech Musil. This fight never really caught fire and it was a pedestrian display from the 6’6 ½” Ljungquist against the Czech novice. No real highlights as the Danish southpaw took the verdict on scores of 79-72 from all three judges with Musil losing a point late in the fight for some illegal headwork. Ljungquist is a former Danish amateur champion but a loss to Joe Joyce at the European Qualifier cost him his chance of making it to Rio. Musil’s two losses have been on points against undefeated fighters
Alta Gracia, Argentina: Feather: Hector Sarmiento (20-1) W KO 3 Julian Aristule (34-10). “Little Bird” Sarmiento beats Aristule with a little bit of controversy thrown in. In the first two rounds Sarmiento was landing with powerful rights against southpaw Aristule. He continued to pile on the pressure in the third. As he was throwing punches their bodies clashed with Sarmiento‘s elbow banging into the body of Aristule who went down on one knee in some pain, The referee gave Sarmiento a warning and allowed Aristule time to recover. When the action started again Aristule had not fully recovered and Sarmiento drove Aristule to the ropes and landed a series of punches ending with a left to the head and Aristule again dropped to one knee and was counted out. Santiago’s national title was not on the line. He now has 14 wins by KO/TKO. Aristule, the interim champion, has four losses by KO/TKO.
Buenos, Aires, Argentina: Super Feather: Miguel Antin (18-2) W TKO 8 Pablo Ojeda (16-5-1).Antin collects the vacant WBC Latino title with stoppage of Ojeda. Antin dominated the fight connecting with accurate and hurtful counters as Ojeda marched forward. Ojeda had a good seventh round when he finally managed to score with some hefty hooks but it was a last fling. In the eighth Antin put Ojeda down with two left hooks. Ojeda made it to his feet but a series of shots had him reeling and the fight was halted. A badly needed win for Antin after consecutive inside the distance defeats against Matias Rueda and Jeremias Ponce had seen him drop out of the Argentinian ratings. Ojeda, the Argentinian No 2 had scored useful domestic victories over Daniel Brizuela and Horacio Cabral.
Varesse, Italy: Super Bantam: Terry Le Couviour (14-0) W PTS 10 Iuliano Gallo (9-3). Frenchman Le Couviour ventures into the home town of Gallo and comes away with the vacant European Union title. This was a controversial victory as the locals clearly felt that Gallo had done enough to deserve the decision. Gallo was in charge over the early rounds with Le Couviour mainly on the back foot and under pressure. Le Couviour then had a strong spell over the middle rounds to get his nose in front. Gallo picked up the pace again over the eighth and tenth with Le Couviour staging a strong finish. It was a close fight as the scores show. Le Couviour took the verdict and the title with two judges having him the winner at 115-114 and the third judge seeing it level at 114-114.Good win for Le Couviour who had never gone past eight rounds before, Gallo admitted afterwards that his preparation had been badly affected by bursitis and that it had been painful him to punch over the last five rounds so a gutsy effort and hopefully he will get another chance.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Feather: Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1) W PTS 10 Ken Osato (15-3-1). Sueyoshi retains the Japanese title with majority verdict over Osato. Both fighters scored well with their jab early and then began to trade heavy punches both connecting with rights. At the midpoint Sueyoshi just had the edge on two cards at 48-47 with the third judge having him up 49-46. Sueyoshi made a strong start over the second half of the fight looking to build a commanding lead. Knowing he was behind Osato came on strongly taking two of the last three rounds but it was just not enough. Scores 97-93 and 96-95 for Sueyoshi and 95-95. Sueyoshi, the WBO No 4, was making the fourth defence of the Japanese title with one of those defences being an eighth round stoppage of Osato in February last year. Osato had won his last two fights.
Manchester, England: Marc Leach (13-1-1) W PTS 10 Brett Fidoe (13-50-5). Welter: Liam Taylor (21-1) W PTS 6 Edvinas Puplauskas (5-24). Feather: Qais Ashfaq (6-0) W KO 1 Stefan Sashev (5-21-1).
Leach vs. Fidoe
Leach wins the vacant English title with points victory over Fidoe. Leach had height and reach over the 5’2” Fidoe and was able to slot home jabs and connect with long rights. Fidoe kept trying to drive forward and when he did get inside was pumping out punches. Leach was always in control. He was constantly switching guards and exhibited good defensive work when Fidoe attacked. He rocked Fidoe a couple of times in the seventh but never really came close to stopping Fidoe. Scores 100-90, 100-91 and 99-91 for Leach. He is now 13-0-1 after losing his first pro fight. Fidoe had a little winning spell and was 4-1-1 going into this one. Of his 50 losses only one has come inside the distance.
Taylor vs. Puplauskas
Taylor gets in some useful work against Puplauskas. Taylor was scoring with hard punches from both hands from the first bell but Puplauskas was willing to take the punishment and take the fight to Taylor when he could. A series of head punches dropped Puplauskas in the third but he survived and despite Taylor continuing to scores with some hurtful punches he stayed to the end and was fighting hard in the last round. Referee’s score 60-53. Taylor was coming off a career best win over Tyrone Nurse in November and will be looking to build on that. Now eighteen losses on the bounce for Puplauskas but he certainly earned his money in this one.
Ashfaq vs. Sashev
Ashfaq gets this one over in the first round. He was hunting down poor Sashev and connecting with all manner of punches, hooks, uppercuts and straight rights and left. Eventually Sashev just slumped to the floor under a series of punches and was counted out. Ashfaq is yet another hot prospect from British rings. He won a hatful of titles in the amateurs. He was British and Commonwealth Youth champion was English and British champion at Senior level. Won a bronze medal at the European Games and silver at the Commonwealth Games and competed at the World Championships and the 2016 Olympics. Sashev suffers his ninth loss by KO/TKO.
Fight of the week (Significance): Saul Alvarez win over Daniel Jacobs has to be the one.
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Nothing really stood out from the crowd.
Fighter of the week: Saul Alvarez with honourable mentions to Jerwin Ancajas and John Ryder
Punch of the week: The left hook from Gabriel Flores that finished Eduardo Pereira dos Reis as was the chopping right from Vergil Ortiz that floored Mauricio Herrera for the first time was special
Upset of the week: Anthony Young’s stoppage of Sadam Ali was unexpected
Prospect watch: Brian Mendoza 17-0 looks tasty as does Britain Qais Ashfaq 6-0
By Eric Armit
Last week’s big fights were a mixed bag. We had two very good fights in California with Daniel Ramon vs. JT Doheny an exciting scrap all the way which unified two titles and also a brilliant exhibition of quality boxing from Juan Francisco Estrada against Srisaket. In addition when we thought it was dead in the water the WBSS Tournament came back to life with semi-finals in the super lightweight and bantamweight categories. It was predictable that Regis Prograis and Nonito Donaire would win but it was important how they did it and they both showed power and class. Let’s just pass over Robert Easter vs. Rances Barthelemy as it showed that two good fighters could put up a bad fight. I seem to have a talent for being in the wrong time at the wrong place. The WBSS card was held in Lafayette. I worked in the oil industry and Lafayette was the first town I visited in the USA. I returned there just a few years back to visit with my long time and close friend Beau Williford who has his Ragin’ Cajun gym there and met up with Kerry Daigle who subsequently did all of the media and publicity work for the WBSS show. So how come I was slogging away at a computer on the East Coast of Scotland instead of sitting at ringside in Lafayette-wrong time wrong place.
Of course tomorrow night in Las Vegas we have Saul Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs with a good supporting cast including John Ryder vs. unbeaten Bilal Akkawy and in Stockton Jerwin Ancajas and Artur Beterbiev defend their titles. I think Jacobs is going to be a much tougher test for Alvarez than many anticipate and I would not be surprised to see Jacobs pull off an upset victory.
Congratulations to Andy Ruiz he is going to get the fight that will pay him more than he has ever been paid for a fight by a factor of ten or fifteen more than he has ever received or probably ever will receive. Life and boxing are unpredictable so those that turned down the chance to fight Anthony Joshua may well live to regret it. There are only three fighters in the heavyweight division against whom seriously big money can be made-Joshua, Deontay Wilder and to a lesser extent Tyson Fury. In the Wilder vs. Fury fight Wilder reported got $14 million and Fury $10 million and neither Wilder nor Fury will earn nearly as much against their next opponents. Ruiz will reportedly get $7 million but that was an exceptional case due to the need to offer a big enough incentive to get someone to take the fight at such short notice.
Of course Ruiz is not an opponent to get the juices flowing but he will be close to fighting condition having won recently. He has lost only once and for my money was very unlucky not to get at least a draw against Joseph Parker. No it is not a great fight but let’s not get hysterical it is no worse than Wilder vs. Dominic Breazeale and better than Fury against untested Tom Schwarz.
I find it incredible that the WBA should have given Miller a derisory six month ban. He failed three test, lied about it until it was obvious that the evidence that he had cheated was confirmed and some even praised him for confessing. What else could he do? Lie again!
The WBA ban is just posturing. They have no jurisdiction over Miller. All they can do is ban him from fighting for the WBA title. The New York Board withdrew his licence but cannot ban him and since there is no central authority governing boxing the USA in theory he could box next week if he could find a State to give him a licence. We could learn something from the German approach which has Felix Sturm in its sights.
Even in Germany the wheels of justice sometimes grind slowly but it can be satisfying when they do get there in the end. Last month former middleweight and super middleweight champion Felix Sturm decided that it was safe for him to return to Germany having moved out of the country a few years back to avoid some growing legal problems. He was wrong. The authorities in Cologne quickly arrested Sturm to face tax evasion charges. Sturm appealed to a local court to be allowed bail and the court agreed. However a higher court overturned that ruling deciding that due to the amount of money involved in the charges Sturm was a flight risk and the bail application was denied. Then came the action that will interest boxing as new indictments have been raised under the German Anti-Doping in Sports Act relating to Sturm’s fight with Fedor Chudinov in 2016. The irony of that will strike Sam Soliman who beat Sturm for the IBF and WBA super middleweight titles in 2012 only to be denied the titles due to a positive test which after years of going through the courts finally proved Soliman was innocent. It is interesting that through this law in Germany it is a crime to use performance enhancing drugs in sport. In most countries it is a breach of the rules dealt with by the sporting organisation involved and is not a criminal offence. Under the German law brought into force in 2017 athletes who test positive for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs)or are found in possession of PEDs can face a prison term of up to three years. Those who provide them with the substances can face sentences of up to ten years. Whilst criminalising the use of performance enhancing drugs would be very strong deterrent I can’t see many countries following the lead of Germany and boxing’s approach will continue to be flawed, fractured and weak. It is hard to think of a single boxer who has been given a suspension of more than a year and there are plenty such as Luis Ortiz, Tony Yoka, Alex Povetkin and yes even Saul Alvarez of the tainted Mexican meat who have been allowed to slip though the net.
Plenty to look forward to on May 11 with two return matches. In Tucson Miguel Berchelt defends his WBO super feather title in a return match against Francisco Vargas the man he won the title from in 2017 and Emanuel Navarette is offering Isaac Dogboe the chance to win back the WBO super bantamweight title he took from the Ghanaian in December.
On the same night in Fairfax Jarrett Hurd puts the IBF and WBA titles on the line against Julian Williams
It seems a case of one out-one in as far as Argentinian former world champions are concerned. Marcos Maidana has abandoned his plans for a return blaming parts of the contract for his return as opposed to any boxing reason for changing his mind. On the other hand Sergio Martinez is training with a view to a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in September or October. Now 44 “Maravilla” has not fought since losing to Miguel Cotta in June 2014. It is a pity he has taken that decision as in June this year he will have been inactive for five years which would have made him eligible to go on the list of candidates for the Boxing Hall of Fame
Zab Judah continues his stuttering return with a contest against Cletus Seldin at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona on 7 June. Seldin is 23-1 so there is some risk in the venture for the 41-year-old former light welterweight and welterweight champion.
So now the WBO have a Global title. When it comes to inventing another sanctioning fee it is a basic rule not to let commonsense get in the way. According to my dictionary global means “world-wide” so we have a world-wide title that is not a world title and to think they actually debated about what to name this new title!
It angers me they way that the sanctioning bodies hand out a place in the rating to fighters who win their minor titles irrespective of the quality of the fighter they are or the stature of the opponent they beat for the title. Apart from skewing the whole principle behind ratings they then put themselves in the position of what to do if the fighter then relinquishes that minor title. The only reason he was rated has disappeared so does he do the same?
Badou jack has scotched any rumours of retiring. The former holder of the WBC super middleweight and secondary WBA light heavyweight titles has said he intends to fight again once the horrific cut he suffered in his loss to Marcus Browne in January heals. A return with Browne is one aim but he has also hinted he might try fighting at cruiserweight to become a three-division.
Any thief who is dumb enough to steal a motor bike from Roberto Duran’s son must be really dumb. Duran quickly went on social media asking for help and in response units of the National Police Force and the Public Ministry were quickly mobilised and the thief abandoned his prize realising he has kicked over a hornets’ nest and the bike was very quickly back with the Duran family. Never steal from a local hero.
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