By Eric Armit
-Josh Taylor floors and outpoints Ivan Baranchyk to win the IBF super light title and progress to the final of the WBSS Tournament where he will face Regis Prograis
-Japanese “Monster” Naoya Inoue crushes Emmanuel Rodriguez in two rounds to lift the IBF bantamweight title and will meet Nonito Donaire in the final of the WBSS Tournament
- Deontay Wilder retains the WBC heavyweight title with stunning one punch kayo of Dominic Breazeale
-Billy Joe Saunders becomes a two-division champion after winning the vacant WBO super middle title
-Gary Russell gets technical decision over Kiko Martinez to retain the WBC featherweight title
-Felix Alvarado outpoints Reiya Konishi in defence of his IBF light flyweight title
- Ryan Burnett returns with a win-Joe Joyce rolls on with stoppage of Alex Ustinov
-Former champion Omar Narvaez is on the trail of another title fight after a win on Saturday
- Brad Foster retains the British super bantam title and wins the Commonwealth title with dramatic late stoppage of Ashley Lane
WORLD TITLE SHOWS
Glasgow, Scotland: Super Light: Josh Taylor (15-0) W PTS 12 Ivan Baranchyk (19-1). Bantam: Naoya Inoue 18-0) W KO 2 Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1). Super Middle: Zach Parker (18-0) W TKO 4 Steven Crambert (8-5). Bantam: Paul Butler (29-2) W TKO 6 Salvador Hernandez (14-9-1). Super Bantam: Lee McGregor (6-0) W PTS 6 Brett Fidoe (13-51-5).
Taylor vs. Baranchyk
It took Taylor two attempts to make the weight for this fight but that was a minor blip as he floored Baranchyk twice and put on a marvellous display of box/fighting to win a wide unanimous decision/
Baranchyk made an aggressive start but southpaw Taylor was able to dart away from the Russian’s punches and landed a crisp left counter. Baranchyk was wild with a couple of swings and Taylor scored with a good combination and then ducked under a couple of punches from Baranchyk.
Score: 10-9 Taylor
Taylor opened the round with a couple of crisp punches and then had Baranchyk lunging and swinging wildly with some quick footwork and upper body movement. Taylor connected with a right jab and a clubbing left with Baranchyk just not able to pin down the Scot and being left swishing air.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 20-18
Baranchyk finally got into the fight. He was sharper scoring with left hooks to the body and closing Taylor down better. Taylor landed a nice right to the body but Baranchyk banged back with two body punches. Taylor was not as accurate as he had been in the first two rounds.
Score: 10-9 Baranchyk Taylor 29-28
Taylor connected with hooks at the start of this one. He kept sliding jabs through Baranchyk’s defence and was getting his punches off and moving too quickly for Baranchyk to counter.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 39-37
Baranchyk scored with a sharp uppercut and then a left to the head in early action. Taylor then lost his cool and just stood and traded with Baranchyk and it was the Russian who was on target with hooks and uppercuts and for the first time he looked like the boxer who had crushed Anthony Yigit. A cut appeared over the left eye of Taylor after a clash of heads but the last punch of the round was a right to the head that made Baranchyk stumble.
Score: 10-9 Baranchyk Taylor 48-47
The both had some success early with Baranchyk connecting with a couple of hard right uppercuts. It looked as though he was building some momentum but Taylor landed a stunning right hook the sent Baranchyk to the floor. Taylor walked away with his arms raised in triumph but the fight was far from over. Baranchyk rolled to his feet and after the count tried to fight Taylor off. The Scot forced Baranchyk to the ropes connecting with hooks and uppercuts and Baranchyk went down for the second time. Once again Baranchyk rose immediately and the bell went when the eight count was completed.
Score: 10-7 Taylor Taylor 58-54
As a result of the sixth Taylor was now four points in front and knew he could hurt Baranchyk. The Russian was not about to fold but now he was fighting to keep Taylor out rather than doing the attacking Baranchyk landed some good hooks but Taylor was landing jabs, hooks and uppercuts and put Baranchyk under heavy pressure at the bell
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 68-63
Taylor eased up a bit in this round. He was content to dodge or block Baranchyk’s punches for the first half of the round and although he did the scoring with ripping body punches and lefts to the head to take the round it was not the same level of domination as the sixth and seventh.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 78-72
A complete change of pace from Taylor. He came out punching taking the fight to Baranchyk and they stood and traded punches. Baranchyk got through with some hooks and uppercuts but Taylor was bossing the exchanges and forcing Baranchyk back. Taylor then changed tactics again moving outside and spearing Baranchyk with jabs and then switched again to all-out aggression. Baranchyk just could not adjust to the changes and it was another round for Taylor
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 88-81
A dominant round for Taylor. For the whole three minutes he was bouncing punches of Baranchyk’s head with Baranchyk not able to launch any meaningful attacks as Taylor was crowding him and outpunching him. Baranchyk is a tough fighter but again he was fighting to keep Taylor off and not able to do much work himself.
Score: 10-9 Taylor Taylor 98-90
Taylor took no chances in this round. He was not looking to trade punches and that allowed Baranchyk to score with some long rights and to pummel away at Taylor’s body to win a round that Taylor could afford to lose.
Score: 10-9 Baranchyk Taylor 107-100
Taylor started the last round on fire and finished rocking Baranchyk’s head with hooks. In between it was Baranchyk doing the scoring as he desperately sought the knockout he needed and he just did enough to take the round but that was not enough to win the fight.
Score: 10-9 Baranchyk Taylor 116-110
Official Scores: Judge Levi Martinez 117-109 Taylor, Judge Jerome Lades 115-111 Taylor, Judge Joerg Milke 115-111 Taylor.
Scotland gets a world champion as the “Tartan terror” wins the IBF title and a place in the WBSS final against Regis Prograis. It was a brilliant victory by Taylor as he both outboxed and outpunched a teak-tough unbeaten Baranchyk. The Russian fought hard all the way but he just could not match the hand speed, movement and power of the Scot.
Inoue vs. Rodriguez
Inoue lives up to his “Monster” nickname as he floors Rodriguez three times in the second round to rip the IBF title from the Puerto Rican’s hands and move into the final of the WBSS against Nonito Donaire.
Rodriguez showed his intentions early as he clipped Inoue’s chin with a right that had Inoue blinking with surprise. He was much the bigger man and had Inoue backing up with stabbing jabs and landed another right to the chin. Inoue suddenly burst into life connecting with flashing punches from both hands. When the storm subsided Rodriguez was again marching forward behind his jab and there was high quality defensive and offensive work from both fighters with Inoue’s speed giving him the edge.
Score 10-9 Inoue
Inoue was letting fly with hooks as this round opened. They traded punches and he stepped inside and landed a short left hook to the head that sent Rodriguez down on his haunches. He was up quickly and walked to a corner but his legs were unsteady and there was blood dripping from his nose. At the end of the count Inoue walked in and landed a right and a left that put Rodriguez down on his hands and knees. Again after the count Inoue jumped forward and threw punches and Rodriguez dropped for a third time. He managed to get up but the referee waived the fight over. The 26-year-old Inoue is now a three division champion. Only two of his opponents have lasted the distance and in his last ten fights against ever better opposition he has won all ten by KO/TKO with only two of his victims lasting to the sixth round. I can’t see any way that Nonito Donaire can last the distance when they clash in the WBSS final. Rodriguez had won the IBF title by outclassing Paul Butler and took a split decision over unbeaten Jason Moloney in the quarter-finals of the Ali Tournament which was also his first title defence. He looked shell-shocked by the speed and power of Inoue so has some rebuilding to do.
Parker vs. Crambert
British champion Parker breaks down and halts French import Crambert in four rounds. A pretty routine outing for the 24-year-old prospect. Crambert trundled forward behind a high guard try to get inside but Parker was much too skilful for the limited Crambert and initially seemed content to work with his jab switching guards and slotting home straight lefts. He suddenly upped the pace in the fourth pining Crambert to the ropes and keeping him there as he pounded away with both hands to head and body. Crambert was blocking many of the punches but the referee decided he had seen enough and stopped the fight. Parker looked sensational in blasting out Luke Blackledge inside a round in 2017 but has had a low profile since then and did not impress in squeezing by unbeaten Darryl Williams on a split decision to win the British title in November. He has plenty of potential. Crambert had won 4 of his last 5 fights but against very modest opposition.
Butler vs. Hernandez
Butler keeps his hand in with stoppage of Mexican Hernandez. Butler was fighting with purpose even though there was nothing at stake. He was looking to make it an early night but Hernandez took the lumps. Butler staggered Hernandez with a right in the second and came close to ending it in the third when he had Hernandez in pain from a body punch but he then landed two low punches each of which gave Hernandez a bit of recovery time. He stunned the Mexican a couple of times in the fourth and fifth from body punches and ended it with series of punches rounded off by a wicked body punch. Hernandez made it to his feet but the referee rightly halted the fight. Third win for the former undefeated IBF bantam champion since his loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez for the vacant IBF title in May last year when Butler failed to make the weight. Hernandez is 1-5-1 in his last 7 but he took former champion Luis May the full ten rounds in October.
McGregor vs. Fidoe
All McGregor was likely to get out of this one was six rounds of work and a unanimous decision. If there is one thing that Fidoe always provides it is an aggressive performance even when coming in at short notice and fighting a high quality opponent. McGregor tried his hardest to put a dent in Fidoe’s toughness. He was scoring with flashing jabs and hurtful combinations and won every round clearly but even though giving away 5” in height Fidoe made sure that the young prospect had to work hard in every round. Referee’s score 60-54 for 22-year-old McGregor who defends his Commonwealth title next month against Scott Allan. Fidoe has clocked up 51 losses but only lost once inside the distance.
New York, NY, USA: Heavy: Deontay Wilder (41-0-1 W KO 1 Dominic Breazeale (20-2). Feather: Gary Russell Jr (30-1) W TKO 5 Kiko Martinez (39-9-2). Light: Juan Heraldez (16-0-1) DREW 10 Argenis Mendez (25-5-3,1ND). Heavy: Robert Alfonso (18-0-1) DREW 8 Iago Kiladze (26-4-1). Bantam: Gary Antonio Russell (14-0) W TEC DEC 6 Saul Hernandez (13-13-1). Super Light: Gary Antuanne Russell (9-0) W KO 4 Marcos Mojica (16-4-2). Welter: Richardson Hitchins (9-0) W RTD 3 Alejandro Munera (4-2-3)
Wilder vs. Breazeale
Wilder crushes Breazeale with one thunderous right to end the fight in just 2:17 and retains the WBC title. Breazeale made a confident start stabbing out jabs. When Wilder began to throw rights Breazeale quickly went onto the back foot. He began to advance again but was shaken by a long right from Wilder and Wilder drove him across and into a corner firing punches. Breazeale threw some counters edged his way out of the corner and grabbed hold of Wilder and was given a warning for holding. As Breazeale came forward Wilder connected with a booming right that sent Breazeale down spread-eagled on the canvas,. Somehow, just as Tyson Fury had done, Breazeale rolled over and started to rise but unlike Fury he did not beat the count and when he made it to his feet he stumbled back to the ropes. With Breazeale having gone almost seven rounds with Joshua this was a big statement by Wilder showing again that he is the hardest puncher in the heavyweight division and that power can compensate for any deficiencies in his style. He was making the ninth defence of the WBC title and racks up win No 40 by KO/TKO. Breazeale still has a future at heavyweight but at 33 is unlikely to get another title shot so may end up as a test for younger fighters coming through.
Russell vs. Martinez
Russell has his annual outing and retains the WBC title with stoppage of Spaniard Martine with a cut ending things late in the fifth round.
Martinez was wading forward in a crouch trying to get inside. Russell used quick footwork fast jabs and hooks to meet Martinez and was just too slick for the Spanish veteran
Russell was in complete control. Martinez knows only one way to fight and he kept coming forward but was knocked off balance with a southpaw right hook and was being outboxed.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 20-18
A much better round for Martinez. Russell was in charge early in the round spearing Martinez with jabs and countering the advancing Spaniards with short burst of punches. Martinez finally managed to get inside and work to the body with hooks but Russell’s early work gave him the round.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 30-27
Again in this round the jabs and quick lefts from Russell were finding gaps in Martinez’s defence but Martinez kept coming and was able to trap Russell on the ropes and work inside. The cleaner and more accurate work came from Russell
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Erik Marlinski 40-36 Russell, Tony Paolillo 40-36 Russell, Judge Robin Taylor 40-46 Russell
Martinez was still marching forward and Russell was having trouble keeping him out. Russell didn’t seem to have the power to dissuade Martinez and Martinez did not have the punch to hurt Russell. With only eight seconds to go in the round the referee stopped the fight and asked the doctor to examine a nasty cut over the left eye of Martinez. Blood was flowing down Martinez face and splashing onto his chest and the doctor advised the fight be stopped. Fourth defence of the WBC title for Russell. He has had just one fight in each in years 2015,2016, 2017 and 2018. He puts that down to no one wanting to fight him and he is now calling out WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz but there seems to be no interest from the Santa Cruz’s team. Former IBF super bantamweight champion Martinez has lost to Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg and to Josh Warrington on a majority decision. His fights are a battles of attrition and that will catch up with him soon.
Heraldez vs. Mendez
This youth vs. experience battle ended in a majority draw with Mendez a little unlucky not to get the decision. After a quiet opening round Mendez finished the second with a strong attack. Heraldez pressed hard in the third and fourth but Mendez used his skills to block or dodge many of the punches. Heraldez had a good fifth rocking Mendez with a right but the sixth and seven were close and both fighters landed big punches in the eighth. Mendez staged a strong finish. He had paced the fight better than Heraldez. He wobbled Heraldez a couple of times in the ninth and clearly took the tenth connecting with punches to head and body. Scores 95-95 twice and 97-93 for Mendez. Mendez marked a definite step up in quality opposition for Heraldez and will have given the 28-year-old Californian some pointers on areas for improvement. Former IBF featherweight champion Mendez suffered consecutive losses in 2016 to Robert Easter and Luke Campbell but has bounced back with victories over Ivan Redkach and Eddie Ramirez and a draw with Anthony Peterson so he was a very live opponent for Heraldez.
Alfonso vs. Kiladze
Alfonso and Kiladze share the points in this one. Cuban Alfonso had kept busy acting as a sparring partner for Deontay Wilder and was looking to make a statement against his first real test. Kiladze was looking to break a streak of three consecutive inside the distance losses. Kiladze made his goal but Alfonso did not really shine. It was a close fight with both fighters landing some heavy punches but with neither really posing a big danger to the other. Alfonso just seem to have done enough to get the decision but there was never much of a gap between them in any round so no real complaints over the draw. Scores 77-75 Alfonso, 77-75 Kiladze and 76-76. Alfonso had beaten aged Ray Austin in February but at 32 time is running out for him. After winning his first 20 fights and figuring high in the ratings a second round kayo loss to Youri Kayembre Kalenga put him in context. He then won six fights again very modest opposition before losing inside the distance to Adam Kownacki, Michael Hunter and Joe Joyce.
Russell vs. Hernandez
Russell is well on the way to victory when a clash of heads ends this one and the verdict is decided on the cards. Although far superior in skill Russell decided to outfight Hernandez inside and that worked fine for him. He was stronger and after taking the first two rounds he had Hernandez on the verge of a stoppage in both the third and fourth. He continued his domination in the fifth until a thudding clash of heads in the sixth saw Hernandez drop to the canvas. He was examined by the doctor and it was decided it would be unwise for Hernandez to continue. Russell was clearly in front on all three cards at 60-54 twice and 59-55 so he took the technical decision. Russell brother of champion Gary is a former National Golden Gloves champion and also ended as runner-up in the 2010 and 2014 Gloves. Hernandez had scored first round wins in his last three fights but his victims had combined records of 0-30.
Russell vs. Mojica
Unbeaten Russell, the youngest of the three Russell brothers on the card had no real problems here with Nicaraguan Mojica. The hand speed and power of Russell allowed him to dominate the fight. In the fourth he put Mojica on the canvas with a left hook and then floored him again with a crushing combination and the fight was stopped. The 22-year-old southpaw, a 2016 Olympian, has won all of his fights by KO/TKO taking less than 16 rounds in total to get the job done. Third loss by KO/TKO for Mojica who was stopped in three rounds by another 2016 Olympian, Daniyar Yeleussinov, in November.
Hitchins vs. Munera
Mayweather Promotions prospect Hitchins much too classy for novice Munera. Hitchins had the Colombian under fire in the first and almost ended the fight with a left hook. Munera stumbled but did not fall. Hitchins handed out some severe punishment in the second and third and Munera’s corner retired their man at the end of the third. Fifth quick win for the 21-year-old from Brooklyn. Hitchins twice lost to Gary Antuanne at the US Olympic Trials for Rio but then re-entered the World Qualifiers representing his parents home country of Haiti beating Britain’s Pat McCormack to qualify but then lost again to again to Russell in Rio. Both of Munera’s losses have been by KO/TKO.
Stevenage, England: Super Middle: Billy Joe Saunders (28-0) W PTS 12 Shefat Isufi (27-4-2). Heavy: Joe Joyce (9-0) W TKO 3 Alex Ustinov (34-4). Super Bantam: Brad Foster (11-0-1) W TKO 12 Ashley Lane (13-9-2). Light: Shaun Cooper (9-0) W PTS 10 Boy Jones (18-3-1). Super Welter: Balazs Bacskai (10-0) W PTS 8 Davi Eliasquevici (14-9).
Saunders vs. Isufi
Saunders becomes a two-division champion as he picks up the WBO title with ridiculously easy win over WBO No 1 Isufi.
Sign of things to come as Saunders is able to stride around Isufi spearing him with right jabs and then stepping in with a series of punches to head and body with Isufi a static target too slow to respond. Saunders is hardly even bothering to lift his gloves above hip height.
Score: 10-9 Saunders
It is a toss-up as to which is slower Isufi’s hands or his feet. He is being totally outclassed. Saunders is just using clever upper body movement to weave under Isufi’s punches and then rattling off six or seven punch combinations without loading up on his punches.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 20-18
Isufi made a bit more of an effort in this one but to no real purpose Saunders was boxing brilliantly constantly changing direction and then stepping with rapid combinations with Isufi too slow to counter and too slow to cut the ring off. Saunders is already mocking his efforts.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 30-27
This is really just highly paid sparring for Saunders as he is way ahead of Isufi in every facet of boxing. He is sliding light jabs through the defence of Isufi then combinations to head and body. Isufi often resorts to just hiding behind a high guard and retreating to the ropes where Saunders pounds him to head and body
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 40-36
Isufi made a more positive start to this round lunging forward and connecting with some rights but once Saunders got to work again Isufi was just hiding behind a high guard and throwing an occasional wild swipe hoping to get lucky.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 50-45
It was all too easy and Saunders nearly paid the price of being overconfident. At the start of the round he stood in front of Isufi throwing lefts and rights. A counter right from Isufi landed on Saunders chin. Saunders took a step back and his legs wobbled as he staggered across the rings and into the ropes. Isufi saw Saunders was hurt and piled after him throwing punches. Initially Saunders clinched and then he danced around to ring with Isufi trying to catch him. Isufi was too slow to cut off the ring and didn’t manage to land another punch. Saunders wasn’t throwing any punches so that early success gave Isufi the round.
Score: 10-9 Isufi Saunders 59-55
Saunders took no chances in this one. He kept moving slotting jabs home but no longer standing in front of Isufi with his hands down. Isufi was just plodding after Saunders not being able to land a punch on the constantly shifting target and Sunders connected with a bunch of punches just before the bell.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 69-64
Saunders was back in total control again. After firing a burst of jabs early he was dancing around round Isufi hands down slotting jabs home throwing punches off the wrong foot. He was not even bothering to raise his hands above wais level before firing home punches before the bell.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 79-73
Again Saunders was able to dance around Isufi with his hands down with Isufi suffering from punch constipation. He was waiting for an opportunity to score again with a right as he had in the sixth but Saunders was not offering any second chance so Isufi had no target. When he did throw a punch he usually missed and paid for that with a counter so he threw very few punches although he did catch Saunders with one right but Saunders was moving away when it landed.
Score: 10-9 Saunders 89-82
Another easy round for Saunders. He was circling a static Isufi popping him with jabs and straight lefts. Isufi managed to rush Sunders to a corner but Saunders bobbed and weaved around and under Isufi’s punches and then went back to moving and prodding Isufi with jabs.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 99-91
A stroll in the park for Saunders. After an initial burst of punches when it looked as though he might be trying to end this early he then settled for flitting around a plodding Isufi sticking Isufi with an occasional jab.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 109-100
Saunders mixed dancing and firing quick burst of punches over the first half of this round and then spent the second half dancing around the ring dodging wild efforts from Isufi and countering through the gaps Isufi was leaving.
Score: 10-9 Saunders Saunders 119-109
Official Scores: Judge Roussel 120-108 Saunders, Judge O’Connor 118-110 Saunders, Judge Montella 117-111 Saunders
Sunders did what we knew he could do. He dazzled and befuddled Isufi who other than one punch in the sixth round was almost a non-combatant. It was beyond the poor Isufi skill level to tackle the movement and hand speed of Saunders. It really is a case of what’s next for Saunders. For a while his career seemed to have stalled now he must be hoping to find some big fights at super middle. He himself has said that fighters such as Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin would not want to face him as his style would be wrong for them although he would be willing to go back down to middleweight if there was a chance of one of those fights. The pitiful display by Isufi highlights the rotten core of the WBO’s policy of awarding places in the ratings for fighters whose promoters are willing to pay the sanctioning fee. The promoter is then free select the opponent and irrespective of the quality of that opponent a win will guarantee their fighter a rating which almost equates to selling spots in the ratings. But then all sanctioning bodies do the same thing but in the case of Isufi it resulted in a ridiculous mismatch in one of the WBO title fights. You reap as you sow
Joyce vs. Ustinov
Predictable quick win for Joyce. Size and weight are the only things Ustinov have going for him. He is glacially slow and clumsy. Joyce was able to reach him with jabs to the body and began to find the range with rights at the end of the round and opened a small cut over the left eye of the Russian. Joyce launched a furious attack at the start of the second landing a number of heavy rights. He then seemed to stop punching allowing Ustinov to come forward and throw some rights before attacking strongly at the end of the round. Joyce marched into Ustinov in the second again landing clubbing shots. It must have discouraged Ustinov when he hit Joyce on the chin with a big right only for Joyce to hardly even notice it. There were a couple of breaks in the action first for a low punch from Joyce and secondly when he threw Ustinov to the floor. Joyce then just walked through punches from Ustinov and beat him to the floor with booming head shots landing a final left hook. Ustinov was on his knees watching the count and it looked as though he started to rise at nine but the referee waived to signify the ten was reached. Joyce can only fight what is in front of him and he has rolled right over ever opponent and beaten them all inside the distance but in way of a reality check let’s not forget that Bermane Stiverne was 40 and Ustinov 42 and were both coming off defeats. There will be tougher test than these in wait for Joyce. Third loss in a row for Ustinov and only his second fight in 18 months.
Foster vs. Lane
This was a fast-paced open fight between two boxers with good techniques. Foster was forcing the fight and rocked Lane with a right in the second. Lane was working well with his jab but was caught with two rights in the third. Foster followed up with a fierce attack pinning Lane to the ropes and unloading on Lane for the rest of the round. Lane’s skill kept him in this fight and he took the sixth but he was in trouble again in the seventh from a right. The eighth went to Foster and Lane took the ninth and this was turning into a cracking little fight. The paced slowed a little in the tenth with Foster again landing heavily with rights but there was plenty of back and forth action in the eleventh with Lane seeming the fresher and outworking Foster. It was the same in the twelfth with Foster tiring and Lane in full flow. Foster was cut over the left eye and late in the round a low left from Foster saw Lane turn away in agony and go down on both knees. He was given some recovery time and then strode across the ring to take the fight to Foster only to be met by a thunderous right cross that put him down on his back. Lane was up at three and after the count there were only ten seconds left in the fight. Foster drove Lane to the ropes and unleashed a barrage of punches and the referee stopped the fight just two seconds before the final bell. The 21-year-old Foster retains the British title and wins Lane’s Commonwealth title. Lane had won his last six fights and was making the first defence. A great contest.
Cooper vs. Jones
Despite struggling to make the weight Cooper comes out on top in the clash of 22-year-old prospects with a majority decision and wins the vacant WBO Youth title. Scores 97-93 and 96-94 for Cooper and 95-95. All of Cooper’s wins have been on points and this was the first time he had gone past the sixth round. Second defeat in a row for Jones after losing to Craig Evans for the vacant WBO European title in November.
Bacskai vs. Eliasquevici
Bacskai a former star of the Hungarian amateur scene makes a surprise visit to the UK and has no trouble bustling his way past Brazilian Eliasquevici. Bacskai came close to ending it when he forced Eliasquevici to his knees in the seventh but the Brazilian got up and stayed to the end. Referee’s score 80-71 for Bacskai. The 31-year-okld Hungarian won a cabinet full of trophies but may have left it late as he did not turn pro until he was 29. Five points losses in a row for Eliasquevici so he does what he is paid to do.
Sydney, Australia: Super Welter: Tim Tszyu (13-0) W PTS 10 Joel Camilleri (17-6-1). Welter: Jack Brubaker (15-2-1) Drew 10 Ty Telford (5-1). Cruiser: Jai Opetaia (17-00 W TKO 8 Navosa Ioata (6-4).
Tszyu vs. Camilleri
Tszyu wins the Australian title with points victory over Camilleri. Tszyu was a comfortable winner in the end but he took a couple of rounds to figure out the awkward, clever style of Camilleri. After a close first round Tszyu was cut under his left and finding it difficult to put a dent in Camilleri’s confidence. Gradually Tszyu took over. He was quicker and more accurate with his punches and his body attack slowed Camilleri over the late rounds. Camilleri landed enough to test Tszyu’s chin and although rocked by a body punch in the fourth his response to Tszyu’s punches was to grin and come back for more. Tszyu dominated the fight but Camilleri gave Tszyu the type of fight he needs to continue his development. Scores 99-91 twice and 98-92 for Tszyu. The 24-year-old son of the former world champion was talking about a fight with Jeff Horn and whilst that would be a huge fight for Australia Tszyu is still some way short of the experience required to take that big a jump. Camilleri was making the first defence of the Australian title and performed much better than expected and will have given his stock boost.
Brubaker vs. Telford
This was the fight of the night and perhaps the fight of the week. These two spent ten rounds knocking lumps off each other. Whenever one seemed to be getting on top the other would punch back and have a good spell of his own. It was ten rounds of rousing action with a majority draw good result as neither fighter deserved to lose in this war which received a well warned standing ovations at the end. Scores 95-95 twice and a very different 99-91 for Telford. Former Commonwealth title challenger Brubaker was the favourite here due to his more extensive experience and his record of ten wins in his last eleven fights but Telford 21 was a good level amateur and had already won two minor titles. This was for the vacant WBA Oceania titles so hopefully there will be a return match.
Opetaia vs. Ioata
Opetaia halts inexperienced Ioata but has to go further than expected to do so. Opetaia was able to connected repeatedly with his right jab and left crosses. Ioata was having to soak up heavy shots in every round but looked to have hurt Opetaia with a right to the body in the third. He kept battling but in the sixth Opetaia was driving him back with straight lefts and a left sent Ioata stumbling into a corner and the referee gave him a standing count. Opetaia staggered Ioata again in the eighth and the towel came in from Ioata’s corner. Former undefeated Australian champion Opetaia makes it 14 wins by KO/TKO but he really has to start facing better class opponents. Ioata suffers his first loss by KO/TKO but he showed he was tough and brave. He comes from Tuvalu which is a small Polynesian Island half way between the Hawaiian Islands and Australia
Kazan, Russia: Super Welter: Vaghinak Tamrazyan (16-4) W PTS 10 Olek Ivanov (17-5). Super Middle: Fedor Chudinov (20-2) W RTD 2 Rafael Bejaran (26-4-1). Light: Roman Andreev (23-0) W PTS 10 Jesus Cuadro (17-5).
Tamrazyan vs. Ivanov
Tamrazyan gets split decision over Ivanov with a ridiculously wide variation in the scoring. This was a tough, close fight between two well matched opponents. Ivanov was generally the one pressing the fighting behind a strong jab with Tamrazyan countering with powerful rights and he looked the harder puncher with Ivanov having the better skills. The first two rounds were tight but Tamrazyan had a big third when he floored Ivanov with a right to the head. The fourth was close. Ivanov had a good fifth but Tamrazyan socked him with a great left uppercut in the sixth. An exciting seventh saw both fighters handing out and soaking up punishment. It was give and take again in a close eighth which Ivanov seemed to take. He out jabbed a tiring Tamrazyan in the ninth but was shaken by a couple of right uppercuts. Ivanov outworked Tamrazyan in the last and for me just shaded the fight. Scores very strange with two judges giving it to Tamrazyan 100-90 and 96-94 and one seeing Ivanov the winner 97-93 so a fourteen point difference in how two judges saw the same fight. Former Russian welterweight champion Tamrazyan goes on to the final of the Vladimir Putin Cup. Russian based Ukrainian Ivanov has good wins over Dmitry Mikhaylenko and 34-1 Konstantin Ponomarev and looked unlucky here.
Chudinov vs. Bejaran
Early finish here as Bejaran retires with a hand injury. Chudinov was strong and accurate with his jab in the first and found the target with a couple of rights. Bejaran was mainly on the back foot and occasionally tried a jab to the body. Chudinov’s jab was the main punch in the second round. He was quick and accurate with it and kept Bejaran on the back foot. At the bell as they traded punches Bejaran threw a right that landed on the elbow of Chudinov, Bejaran immediately turned away in pain almost running back to his corner and he was unable to continue. Former WBA super middleweight champion Chudinov, 31, suffered back-to-back losses against Felix Sturm and George Groves but has fought his way back into contention with victories over Ryan Ford and Nadjib Mohammedi and is No 3 with the WBA. German-based Dominican Bejaran was 12-1-1 going into this fight with the loss being against Jack Culcay in September. The injury was bad luck but even after just two rounds Chudinov seemed to be in the driving seat.
Andreev vs. Cuadro
Andreev had lots of trouble against substitute Cuadro. Andreev forced the fight but southpaw Cuadro was sliding jabs through the defence of Andreev and scoring with left hooks. By the end of the second Andreev was already cut under his right and had blood leaking from his nose. From the fourth Andreev attacked the body more getting inside where his strength gave him the edge. Cuadro bounced back in the sixth which he dominated rocking Andreev with left hooks but Andreev took the seventh. Cuadro stormed forward in the eighth and ninth taking the fight inside and they were both close rounds with Andreev taking the eighth and Cuadro the ninth. Cuadro looked to have outworked Andreev in the tenth to make it a very close call. Scores 98-92, 96-93 and 96-94 for Andreev but for me Cuadro deserved at least a share of the points. Andreev, 33, has climbed to No 1 with the WBO thanks to winning their European title but he has never faced a rated contender and it would be ridiculous for the WBO to insist Vasily Lomachenko defend against him. He is strong but limited. Bad ratings make for bad title fights. Venezuelan Cuadro lost a close decision to Diego Magdaleno in September and all four of his losses have been from fresh stamps in his passport.
Indio, CA, USQAL Light: Romero Duno (20-1) W Tec DEC 9 Juan Antonio Rodriguez (30-8). Feather: Manny Robles (18-0) W PTS 10 Rigoberto Hermosillo (11-1-1,1ND).
Duno vs. Rodriguez
Duno gets split technical decision over Rodriguez in a great scrap. Duno pressed hard over the first two rounds with southpaw Rodriguez boxing coolly and countering but with Duno looking to have edged them. The third was a mixed round for Rodriguez. He shook Duno twice with left hooks and clearly took the round but was cut over on his forehead between his eyes by a punch. Rodriguez took a wild fourth that saw them go toe-to-toe swinging hooks but Rodriguez was cut again this time over the left eye in a clash of heads. Rodriguez kept up the pressure in the fifth and sixth and with Duno losing a point for a low punch in the seventh I had Rodriguez in front. The cut over Rodriguez left eye was continuing to bleed and he looked to be tiring in the eighth when a left hook to the body from Duno saw him drop to his knees in a delayed reaction. He crawled across the ring to the ropes and was up at nine and withstood Duno’s efforts to put him away. The referee had the doctor examine Rodriguez’s cut at the start of the ninth and he was allowed to continue. He was connecting with some sharp left hooks but heads clashed and Rodriguez was gashed under the right eye and was unable to continue so it was decided on the cards. With the partially completed ninth round scored the judges had it 86-83 and 85-84 for Duno and 85-84 for Rodriguez . I had it 85-84 for Rodriguez but it was too close to argue. Locally-based Filipino Duno, 24, collects his eleventh win in a row and the vacant WBO NABO title. Rodriguez, 31, was out of action for almost two years before losing to another Filipino, Mercito Gesta, in March. He fought his heart out here as did Duno.
Robles vs. Hermosillo
Robles keeps his 100% record but has to fight hard all the way to take the split decision. Southpaw Hermosillo came flying out of the gate taking the fight to Robles in the first. He was too eager and walked onto left hook and a short right and was put on the floor just one minute into the fight. He was up quickly and after the count continued to attack but was rocked by counters and a punch opened a cut over his left eye making it a disastrous start for Hermosillo. Robles took the second and third with some smart counter punching but Hermosillo pressed all the way in the fourth rocking Robles a couple of times with lefts. The tigerish Hermosillo hunted Robles down in the fifth. Many of his shots were being blocked but he outworked Robles in the sixth and seventh and Robles was cut over the left eye by a punch. Hermosillo’s work rate was incredible. He was throwing more but also missing more and Robles was scoring with hard counters but the sheer volume of punches was giving Hermosillo the edge in the ninth. Robles boxed smartly to take the last moving and firing short burst of punches and staying off the ropes. Scores 97-92 and 96-93 for Robles and 95-94 for Hermosillo. Second defence of the NABF title for 24-year-old Robles. Hermosillo had never been in a fight scheduled for more than six rounds and Robles was a much higher quality fighter than the opposition he had met in the past so he gave Robles a much harder fight than anticipated.
Morales vs. Navarrete
Morales gets a needed win with stoppage of Navarrete. Morales quickly took charge with his longer reach and quicker hands. He found his range early and dished out some severe punishment in the second and third. He attacked relentlessly in the fourth battering Navarrete around the ring for three minutes. Morales made a slow start to the fifth but then stepped up the pace and hammered away at Navarrete until the referee stopped the fight. Morales started his career going 0-1-4 in his first five fights and then won 16 in a row. That was followed by losses to Alberto Machado, Ryan Garcia and Rene Alvarado so Morales was due an easier night and he moved to seven wins by KO/TKO in this one. Navarrete has been in with a whole gaggle of top fighters but this is only his fourth loss by KO/TKO.
Montreal Canada: Super Light: Mathieu Germain (17-0-1) W PTS 10 Jose Lopez (29-7-2). Heavy: Arslanbek Makhmudov (8-0) W TKO 7 Jonathan Rice (10-4-1). Super Light: Batyrzhan Jukembayev (16-0) W TKO 1 Luis Vidales (13-7). Light Heavy: Arutyun Avetisyan (13-0) W KO 6 Cesar Reynoso (15-13-4). Super Middle: Lexson Mathieu (3-0) W TKO 1 Hernan Perez (5-3).
Germain vs. Lopez
Germain returns to form and winning ways with a resounding victory over Mexican Lopez. In an assured performance Germain took possession of the centre of the ring from the first round and bossed the fight after that. He had Lopez shaken in the second but boxed a controlled fight. He had learned from his draw with Steve Claggett that he needed to pace fights better. He shook Lopez on occasion with long rights and left hooks but Lopez did not cave in and was still there at the end of the tenth round. Scorers 100-90 for Germain from all three judges. Germain was making the third defence of the IBF American title. The draw with Claggett has thrown up some things for Germain to work on and he made a good start on those here. Lopez had won his last three on majority decisions with useful opposition such as Roberto Ortiz and Lupe Rosales beaten last year so a real test for Germain.
Makhmudov vs. Rice
Russian Makhmudov almost doubles his ring time as Rice lasts into the seventh round. The heavy punching Makhmudov had Rice reeling from heavy rights in the first round and that was enough to put Rice into survival mode. Makhmudov continued to connect with heavy rights and although rocked a couple of times Rice kept moving. Rice was floored by a strong right late in the fifth round but survived and became the first of Makhmudov’s opponents to hear the bell for the start of the sixth round. In the seventh a right staggered Rice and the referee had seen enough and stopped the contest. The 6’5 ½” Makhmudov wins the vacant WBC Continental Americas title with his eighth win by KO/TKO achieved in less than 15 rounds. Rice had lost on points to Tony Yoka in 2017 and was coming off three low level wins.
Jukembayev vs. Vidales
An easy night for Kazak southpaw Jukembayev despite his opponent coming in 8lbs over the contract weight. He had Vidales hurt early with straight lefts to head and body. He then landed two powerful hooks to the body and knocked Vidales into the ropes with a left to the head. The ropes held Vidales up so he was given a count. When he stood up Vidales looked very unsteady on his feet and the referee waived the fight off. Now 13 wins for “777” Jukembayev who claims 203 wins in 243 amateur fights. Second loss by KO/TKO for Mexican Vidales who has scored useful wins over Nery Saguilan and Shoki Sakai
Avetisyan vs. Reynoso
Armenian-born Russian Avetisyan came up against some unexpectedly tough resistance from Argentinian Reynoso but eroded his resistance for a win in the sixth round. The 6’3” Avetisyan pounded Reynoso with strong jabs and jolting uppercuts. He lost a point in the third for a punch to the back of the head but it was the body punches which were getting to Reynoso. In the sixth a rib-bending left saw Reynoso drop to one knee and he was counted out. The 23-year-old prospect has eight wins inside the distance. South American champion Reynoso had been stopped in seven round by Avetisyan’s team mate Nurzat Sabirov in Montreal in March.
Mathieu vs. Perez
Top prospect Mathieu made this one nice and simple. He looked for an opening and when he saw one he drove a laser guided straight left to the chin of Perez and the fight was over. This fight lasted 104 seconds which is the longest a fight has lasted so far for Mathieu. The 20-year-old can fight out of southpaw or orthodox and has real power. Perez never in with a chance.
Belfast, NI: Super Bantam: Ryan Burnett (20-1) W TKO 6 Jelbirt Gomera (14-6). Super Feather: Marco McCullough (22-4) W TKO 3 Declan Geraghty (18-4). Super Light: Sean McComb (7-0) W TKO 1 Miroslav Serban (11-3). Middle: Stephen Donnelly (5-0) W KO 4 Edwin Palacios (12-8-1).
Burnett vs. Gomera
Local fighter Burnett returns for the first time since a back injury in his fight with Nonito Donaire in November cost him his WBA title and his chance of progressing in the WBSS tournament. Burnett was on top form here. He put on an exhibition of top class skills and showed no effects from the injury. He had Filipino southpaw Gomera hurt in the first and to show his confidence in the second he even just covered up so that Gomera could take some shots. However when he settled down to the job he handed out a considerable amount of punishment in the third and fourth in the shape of some hurtful rights. Gomera took the punishment and kept trying to pressure Burnett but he had to soak up more heavy rights in the fifth. Early in the sixth a low blow from Burnett saw the referee deduct a point but when Gomera recovered a crunching body punch had him turning away in pain and the referee stopped the fight. A fit Burnett will be a threat to any bantamweight and hopefully he will get an opportunity later this year to regain the title he lost in such an unfortunate manner. Only two wins in his last seven fights for Gomera but he gave Burnett much needed ring time without poising too much of a risk.
McCullough vs. Geraghty
This was expected to be a tough close fight but a big right from McCullagh ended it early. Both fighter were cautious and the first two rounds produced very little in the way of thrills and looked about even although McCullough was showing two small cuts under each eye. The pace picked up in the third but a clash of heads saw Geraghty suffer a severe cut over his left eye. Before that could become a factor McCullagh stepped inside a drilled home a straight right that put Geraghty down on his back and the referee abandoned the count. Belfast’s McCullough wins the vacant IBF European title with his fifth victory since a stoppage loss against Ryan Walsh for the British title in 2017. Another blow for Dubliner Geraghty who has already lost inside the distance to James Tennyson and Jonjo Carroll
McComb vs. Serban
This was being played as a test for McComb but he made that look ridiculous as he destroyed Czech Serban in just 84 seconds. McComb towered over Serban and was quickly on target with his southpaw jabs. He shook Serban with a right and then drove Serban along the ropes to a corner connecting with left hooks. Serban was just hiding inside his guard and not making any effort to fire back and the referee stopped the contest. Fourth win by KO/TKO for the former European bronze medallist. With Serban not having lost inside the distance and having floored Paul Hyland when losing a competitive eight round fight in February this win in an impressive statement by McComb
Donnelly vs. Palacios
Donnelly showcased his skills over the first three rounds. He was slotting quick jabs through the guard of Palacios and landing cracking left hooks to the body. Palacios tried to come forward but was met with sharp counters . In the fourth Donnelly ducked under a punch from Palacio and came up inside with two left hooks to the body. Palacios took a step back and then went down on his hands and knees and was counted out. First inside the distance win as a pro for the 30-year-old Donnelly. He is a former Ulster and Irish champion who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and was a quarter-finalist representing Ireland at the 2016 Olympics. Fourth loss in a row for Palacios from the Nicaraguan/Barcelona certified losers club.
Mashantucket, CN, USA: Super Light: Mykquan Williams (15-0) W PTS 10 Rickey Edwards (12-3). Feather: Elijah Pierce (9-1) W KO 3 Irvin Gonzalez (12-1). Heavy: George Arias (14-0) W PTS 8 Keith Barr (19-12-1). Super Feather: Toka Kahn Clary (26-2,1ND) W KO 5 Carlos Reyes (33-6-1). Heavy: Marco Huck (41-5-1, 1ND) ND 1 Nick Guivas (14-10-3,1ND).
Williams vs. Edwards
Williams marches on with unanimous decision over Edwards. Williams led at the start taking the first and then staggering Edwards with a right in the second. Edwards did enough to make the third and fourth close but Williams just edged them. Edwards rallied well in the sixth and seventh but Williams took the fight inside in the eighth to collect the points. Edwards rebounded in the ninth but Williams closed him out by taking the tenth. Scores 100-90, 97-93 and 96-94 so quite a spread in the scoring. Local fighter Williams, 21, was moving up to ten rounds for the first time and paced the fight well. Edwards was out for two years and is now 1-2 since returning last September.
Pierce vs. Gonzalez
Minor surprise as visitor Pierce ruins the 100% record of Gonzalez. Peirce jumped on Gonzalez in the opening round flooring the Worcester fighter twice. Gonzalez made it out of the round but just could not handle the relentless pressure from Pierce and in the third was pinned to the ropes and not punching back when the referee halted the fight. Eighth win by KO/TKO for Oklahoman southpaw Pierce who gets back into the winning column after losing on points to unbeaten Giovanni Mioletti in June last year. Back to basics for Gonzalez.
Arias vs. Barr
Dominican Arias has to climb off the canvas to keep his unbeaten record. On paper Barr looked an unthreatening choice of opponent and perhaps the cocky Arias was too relaxed. He has a hands down style and breezed through the first round. In the second he was give an wakeup call as a right from Barr put him down. Arias was more surprised than hurt and he was soon back in the driving seat and apart from a brief rally by Barr in the fifth Arias boxed his way to victory. Scores 78-73 twice and 77-74 for Arias. At 6’0” the Bronx-based Arias is small by today’s standards but he is quick and has good skills. Barr is really just a pumped up cruiser and is 2-3 in his last 5 fights.
Clary vs. Reyes
Clary eases his way back into action in his first fight since losing to Kid Galahad in an IBF eliminator in October. He was streets ahead of Reyes and was in charge from the first bell. He took the first two rounds and then dropped Reyes in the third. That put paid to whatever confidence Reyes had and Clary upped the pace in the fourth before putting Reyes down again in the fifth with Reyes not being able to beat the count. The Liberian-born Clary now has 18 wins by KO/TKO. He is currently No 9(8) in the IBF ratings so some work to do if he is to get another title shot. Third loss by KO/TKO for Dominican Reyes who had won 8 of his last 9 fights.
Huck vs. Guivas
Not sure what Huck’s plans were when he chose to have an eight round fight down the card here but in the end it all came to nothing. Huck floored Guivas with a right in the first 30 seconds. Guivas was up at seven and when the action resumed Huck landed a left to the body and a right to the head. Guivas was trying to clinch and the referee tried to break them up but Huck had already started another right on its way and it struck Guivas on the head after the referee had called break. Guivas slumped to the canvas with the referee indicating a time out. Eventually Guivas made it his feet but the doctor had already waived for the fight to be stopped. Huck was declared the winner. The decision was then changed to No Decision as it was ruled that Huck’s punch had been delivered after the call to break-which technically is a foul and should have led to disqualification. Huck is probably hoping to work his way into title fight.
Tres Arroyos, Argentina: Bantam: Omar Narvaez (48-3-2) W Carlos Sardinez (15-1). Light: Gustavo Lemos (21-0) W Pedro Verdu (28-20-3).
Narvaez vs. Sardinez
In his first fight since losing every round against Zolani Tete in a challenge for the WBO bantam title in April last year Narvaez shows the fire is still there. In a typically Narvaez approach he stormed forward in round after round pumping out punches. Sardinez refused to be overwhelmed and punched with Narvaez. The ferocity of Narvaez’s attacks threatened to overwhelm Sardinez at times but regrouped and battled back. Narvaez was able to get inside and fire bunches of hooks and uppercuts and wobbled Sardinez a couple of times. Over the last two rounds it was Sardinez who rocked Narvaez but there was never any doubt about who would be the winner. Scores 97-93 twice and 96-94 for Narvaez. The former WBO fly and super fly champion is now 43 but remains a name so he could yet land another title fight. Former South American bantamweight champion Sardinez had scored a good win over 19-0 Hector Sarmiento in December and provided just the level of test Narvaez needed.
Lemos vs. Verdu
Lemos punches too hard for Venezuelan and wears down and stops Verdu in the fifth. Lemos rumbled into the attack over the first three rounds working to the body. In the fourth a right hook to the head put Verdu down in a heap. He made it to his feet but another right dropped him. Again he beat the count and just managed to survive to the bell. In the fifth Lemos forced his way inside and a right to the body sent Verdu down on his hands and knees and the fight was over. “El Electrico” was making the fifth defence of the IBF Latino title and gets win No 12 by KO/TKO. His opposition has not been strong but he is No 8(6) lightweight with the IBF due to having won their Latino title but the Argentinian Federation have him No 1 a super light. Eleventh loss by KO/TKO for Verdu
Sydney, Australia: Super Light: Dylan Emery (21-1) W TKO 6 Victor Odindo (5-3). New Zealander Emery wins the vacant Australian title at the second attempt with stoppage of Kenyan Odindo. Fourth consecutive win by KO/TKO for Emery since being beaten in four rounds by Kye Mackenzie in 2016. And fourteen inside the distance win in total. Odindo a poor challenger gets his third loss in a row.
Sydney, Canada: Cruiser: Ryan Rozicki (10-0) W KO 3 Shawn Miller (18-5-1,1ND). Welter: Jessie Wilcox (13-0-2) W PTS 8 Nestor Garcia (23-17-1). Super Welter: Kevin Higson (17-2) W PTS 8 Jose Zuniga (13-13-2). Light: Bradley Wilcox (8-0) W PTS 8 Lupe Acosta (13-4). Middle: Brandon Brewer (23-0-1) W PTS 8 Isaac Mireles (8-7).
Rozicki vs. Miller
Neighbourhood hero Rozicki disposes of Miller inside three rounds. Rozicki took the first two rounds against an out of condition Miller varying his attacks from head to body. In the third Rozicki drove Miller along the ropes before landing a solid right to the head that sent Miller sprawling into the ropes and out onto the ring apron through the bottom rope. He crawled back into the ring but was counted out kneeling on the canvas. Rozicki, 24, wins the vacant WBC International Silver title with his tenth inside the distance win in his ten fights. He has taken less than 19 rounds for his ten wins. He was twice a bronze medallist in the Canadian Championships at super heavy but looks a much better fighter at cruiserweight. Miller, 37, was having his first fight since having a win in Las Vegas in October overturned when he gave a positive test for a banned substance and was given a six month suspension.
Wilcox vs. Garcia
The Wilcox clan was well represented here as Jesse collected a unanimous decision over Mexican Garcia. The first two rounds were close but Garcia moved ahead after flooring Wilcox in the third. Wilcox recovered and battled his way back into the fight. It was too close to call at the end of the seventh but Wilcox collared the win with a knockdown just before the bell to end the eighth. Scores 78-72, 77-75 and 76-74 all for Wilcox who has won his last four fights. Garcia has won only two of his last eleven fights but one of his two victories was over experienced Carson Jones.
Higson vs. Zuniga
Canadian Higson makes it nine wins in his last ten bouts with points victory over Zuniga. Higson boxed his way to victory here. Zuniga attacked hard going to the body to slow the much quicker Higson but the Ontario fighter was too slick. He used some excellent work with his jab to control the action in most rounds and withstood a charge in the late rounds from Zuniga to emerge a clear winner. Scores 79-73 twice and 78-74 for Higson. Higson’s loss in that run was against unbeaten Cody Crawley for the Canadian title. In his previous visit to Canada Zuniga was knocked out in two rounds by unbeaten Kazak Sadriddin Akhmedov in November.
Wilcox vs. Acosta
Wilcox notches up another win as he outpoints Acosta. No real problems here for Wilcox. He boxed well on the outside and had success with hooks and uppercuts inside with Acosta never really posing any problems. Scores 80-72 for Wilcox from the three judges. The 24-year Wilcox was Canadian champion at Cadet and Youth level but despite making it to three finals he was unable to win the Senior title. Acosta was having his first fight for 16 months and has not yet lost inside the distance.
Brewer vs. Mireles
Brewer wins this one with a wide unanimous decision but he struggled at times to impress. He had the better skills and was stronger over the second half of the fight but never quite managed to subdue a competitive Mireles. Scores 80-72 twice and 79-73 for Brewer. Despite a 24-bout unbeaten record Brewer really has not progressed at all in terms of the level of opposition and at 34 he should be well beyond fighting guys such as Mireles who has now won only one of his last four fights.
Aarhus, Denmark: Super Middle: Lolenga Mock (43-16-1) W PTS 12 Mateo Veron (28-24-3). Mock gets a revenge win over Veron but that does not change the obvious conclusion that Mock is not the fighter he was and he was right to announce his retirement after this fight. As early as the second round he was stunned by a couple of hooks from the Argentinian and only just survived the round. Mock used his strength to get into the fight but was being frustrated by the clever tactics of Veron which were making Mock look crude and clumsy. Mock got a lucky break in the seventh when the referee deducted a point from Veron for holding. Mock again looked vulnerable when he was buzzed by a right in the ninth but any impetus that may have given Veron was lost when he was deducted another point for throwing Mock to the floor. However the visitor was strong in the eleventh with Mock again looking rocky and Veron looked to have done enough to take the decision. Scores 114-112 twice for Mock and 114-112 for Veron. At 47 Mock has shoulder aside Father Time too often and there did not really seem much purpose behind him continuing so he has made a wise decision. He has struggled twice against an experienced Veron but the Argentinian is no world beater as he has now lost 5 of his last 6 fights and has been defeated 24 times in all.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Bantam: Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1) W PTS 10 Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1). Kuga regains the Japanese title by outpointing champion Tamura. Kuga built a substantial lead over the first half of the fight. He was anticipating the attacks of Tamura scoring at distance with strong jabs and catching Tamura on the way in with left and right hooks. He had Tamura down and in deep water in the fifth but was too eager to finish it and missed with most of his punches. At the end of the fifth all three judges had Kuga in the lead with scores of 50-44, 49-45 and 48-46. Tamura began to roll in earnest over the second half of the fight wading into Kuga who tried to continue to box but was under more and more pressure but his accuracy offset some of Tamura’s aggressive work and he did enough to hold onto the half way lead he had built. Scores 97-92, 96-93 and 95-94 for Kuga as he regained the title he had lost to world rated Shingo Wake last year. Kuga had won the title with a unanimous decision over Tamura in 2017 and Tamura went on to win the title when it became vacant with a victory over Mugicha Nakagawa in Januarys this year.
Saltillo, Mexico: Super Feather: Jhonny Gonzalez (67-11) W TKO 5 Rafael Hernandez (30-12-3,1ND). Age is no barrier to Gonzalez particularly when faced with an inferior opponent such as Hernandez. Somehow Hernandez thought that instead of boxing orthodox as usual switching to southpaw might improve his chance. He was wrong. A batch of punches floored Hernandez in the second. He survived that and survived the third and fourth round with some holding and delaying tactics but he was only delaying the inevitable. In the fifth a body punch sent Hernandez down and he was unable to get up again. First fight for the 37-year-old Gonzalez after his majority decision defeat against Tomas Rojas in October. Gonzalez has 55 wins by KO/TKO and collects the vacant WBC Fecarbox title. Venezuelan Hernandez 36 lost to Thai Poonsawat for the interim WBA super bantam title in 2009 and is way past his best.
Mexico City, Mexico: Super Light: Jose Zepeda (30-2,2ND) ND 3 Eleazar Valenzuela (18-12-4,1ND). Joel Cordova (9-4-2) W RTD 5 Juan Hernandez (35-4).
Zepeda vs. Valenzuela
Zepeda’s plans to keep busy as he waits and hopes for the chance of a return shot at Juan Carlos Ramirez suffered a blow as a clash of heads saw this one end in the third round as a No Decision. Zepeda was going to end this inside the distance any way. He had Valenzuela on the floor in the opening round from a lovely short left hook. Valenzuela climbed to his feet and absorbed some more left hooks before the bell. Zepeda continued to connect with left hooks and upper cuts in the second with Valenzuela punching back but walking onto some fierce shots. In the third their heads banged together. Both were cut but Valenzuela’s cut was the more serious streaming blood down his face and onto his chest and he was not allowed to continue. Zepeda’s loss to WBC champion Ramirez in February was a majority decision but he is down at No 9 in the WBC ratings so has work to do if he is to get another title shot. Valenzuela had won 6 of his last 7 fights but mainly in four and six round contests.
This is the sort of fight that Hernandez would have taken in his stride when he was at his peak. But those days seem to be behind the former WBC flyweight champion. He was zipping around the ring constantly switching guards and stabbing out quick jabs. Cordova was lunging in with strong attacks but being met with counters and finding Hernandez a hard target. In the second as Hernandez advanced Cordova caught him with a left hook that put the former champion down. After the count Cordova managed to trap Hernandez on the ropes and fire punches to head and body but Hernandez covered well and then boxed his way through the rest of the round. Hernandez evened things up in the third dropping Cordova with a fast left hook. Cordova was up immediately and was taking the fight to Hernandez for the rest of the round. Cordova pressed hard in the fourth but when Hernandez went down the referee decided Cordova had tripped him and deducted a point. In the fifth the constant pressure from Cordova was starting to have an effect and Hernandez was slowing allowing Cordova to score heavily but it was a surprise when Hernandez retired at the end of the round. Huge win for Cordova. After consecutive losses to Victor Garcia and Dewayne Beamon Cordova had rebounded well with a win over Jose Quirino in February but it remains to be seen whether this result says more about Hernandez than Cordova who at 32 could be on the edge and about to slide.
Christchurch, New Zealand: Welter: Bowyn Morgan (20-1,1ND) W TKO 3 Jack Asis (38-22-5). Morgan too big and strong for veteran Asis. Morgan was hurting Asis with body punches but Asis was not willing to take a step back leading to some torrid action. In the third Morgan dropped Asis early with a body punch. Asis only just beat the count but stood and punches with Morgan until he was driven to the ropes and was floored again. He was up at nine and tried to trade with Morgan but a succession of left hooks and straight rights saw Asis drop to his knees and the referee waived the fight over. The 30-year-old local fighter is a former New Zealand amateur champion who competed at both the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. His sole loss was a stoppage defeat against Kris George in 2015 and he now has a 13 bout winning streak. This fight was for the vacant WBU title (German version).Now 35 the Filipino/Australian Asis is a former IBO and Australian super lightweight champion and was having his first fight for 14 months.
Auckland, New Zealand: Cruiser: David Light (13-0) W PTS 10 Mark Flanagan (24-7). Light puts on impressive show as he outboxes and outpunches the more experience Flanagan. Light did great work with his jab constantly finding gaps as Flanagan marched forward trying to batter down the local fighters defences, Flanagan had some success inside with hooks but Light when he opened up was firing fast, accurate and hurtful combinations. He looked to have Flanagan in trouble a couple of times but Flanagan battled his way through those patches but had no answer to Light’s jab and hand speed. All three judges gave it to Light 98-92 who lifts the vacant WBO Oriental belt. The 27-year-old Light “The Great White” was New Zealand champion in 20011, 2012 and 2013 and won a silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. A loss to Jai Opetaia ended his hopes of competing at the 2012 Olympics. He is one of eight children. Flanagan has lost to Denis Lebedev and Arsen Goulamirian for versions of the WBA cruiser title and was 13-2 in his last 15 fights.
Ekaterinburg, Russia: Super Feather: Evgeny Chuprakov (21-1) W TKO 9 Alex Munoz (40-9). Chuprakov starts the long road back with a stoppage of former champion Munoz. Chuprakov’s balance was terrible and Munoz was able to knock him back with jabs in the first round. Chuprakov used his strength to get inside over the second and third and was able to pound on Munoz’s body. Muniz showed some classy touches but he was rocked by two head punches at the end of the fourth and he was already looking tired in the fifth. Chuprakov kept rolling forward in the sixth but Muniz rallied with a strong attack at the end of the round. Chuprakov was relentless again in the seventh and when Munoz slipped to the canvas he was very slow in regaining his feet. Munoz threw himself into an attack at the end of the round but it was a last fling. Chuprakov battered an exhausted Munoz in the eighth with Muniz twice falling to the canvas from exhaustion. Muniz had nothing left in the ninth. When Chuprakov landed a couple of punches Muniz made a gesture to his corner to say this is useless. They ignored him and in the middle of Chuprakov’s next attack Muniz just threw his arms up in the air and walked back to his corner. This was Chuprakov’s first fight since losing to Masayuki Ito on a seventh round stoppage for the vacant WBO title in December. He is another example of the WBO offering ratings in return for sanctioning fees for fighting for their minor titles. Chuprakov entered the ratings without facing a rated fighter and climbed to No 1 without facing a rated fighter-and the most cynical thing of all is that after losing in a fight for their vacant title he goes from No 1 to out of the ratings altogether-disgraceful. At 40 former WBA super fly champion Munoz is not even a shadow the fighter who won his first 31 fights by KO/TKO.
Bang Phun, Thailand: Bantam: Nawaphon (45-1-1) W KO 7 Sonny Boy Jaro (45-15-5).Bantam: Petchbarngborn (43-9) W TKO 3 Matt Arcillas (6-2).
Nawaphon finishes a courageous Jaro with a body punch in WBA Asian Boxing Council title defence. Nawaphon the naturally bigger man had plenty of trouble in dealing with the smaller Filipino. Nawaphon was able to score with jabs and long rights at distance but was not able to keep the aggressive Jaro out and that led to plenty of fierce exchanges. Both were scoring with combinations in close. Nawaphon rocked Jaro a few times with rights and rained punches on him when he could trap him in a corner but Jaro kept coming forward and connecting with hooks inside. In the seventh a long right to the body saw Jaro step back to the ropes and then go down clutching his side. He was visibly in pain and he was counted just as he made it to his feet. Nawaphon, the WBC No 6 retains the WBC Asian Boxing Council title with win No 35 by KO/TKO. He was stopped in three rounds by Juan Hernandez in three rounds in a challenge for the BC flyweight title in 2017. He now has nine consecutive wins seven by KO/TKO. Jaro, 37, was WBC flyweight champion for four months back in 2012 with his title winning effort against Pongsaklek being the Ring Magazine Upset of the Year. Those glory days are well past now but he fought hard here.
Petchbarngborn vs. Arcillas
Petchbarngborn (Karoon Jarupianlerd) took a couple of rounds to get into his stride and then he floored and halted Filipino novice Arcillas in the third round. Petchbarngborn challenged Naoya Inoue for the WBO super fly title in 2016 and lasted until the tenth round before being stopped which does not look too bad a performance now. Arcillas really just a prelim fighter thrown in over his head.
Hockessin, DE, USA: Super Middle; Hector Camacho Jr (59-7-1) W KO 1 Victor Abreu (9-6).
In his first fight since July 2017 Camacho is handed a gift win. He went to the body of poor Abreu from the first exchange and dropped Abreu with a right to the body with Abreu counted out. I can’t see the 40-year-old Camacho achieving much in this latest return. Abreu has now lost five in a row and has never managed to last more than two rounds in any of those five fights. Abreu was given a one year suspension for “Failure to perform”.
Washington DC, USA: Middle: Alantez Fox (25-1-1) W TKO 6 Nick Brinson (19-5-2). Patrick Harris W DISQ 3 Tony Woods (10-24).
Fox vs. Brinson
Fox batters Brinson to defeat in six rounds. Fox was in charge all the way after flooring Brinson in the first. Just after Brinson had landed a good counter Fox scored with a left to the body and then knocked a partially un-balanced Brinson down with a right to the head. After that Fox was able to use his much longer reach to connect regularly with jabs and straight rights with Brinson occasionally coming in under Fox’s jab and scoring with hooks but not able to do anything to wrest control of the fight from Fox. Brinson took a lot of punishment in the fifth and the referee had the doctor examine him before the start of the sixth and Brinson was cleared to continue. Brinson tried to punch with Fox but he was shaken time and again by long rights to the head until the referee stopped the fight. The 27-year-old 6’4” Washington-born Fox had Demetrius Andrade on the floor before losing to him on points in October 2017. He took eleven months out and this is his second win since returning. Brinson was having his first fight since June 2017. After losing only one of his first nineteen contests defeats against Dominic Wade and Andre Dirrell de-railed his career.
Harris vs. Woods
Local southpaw Harris remains unbeaten after Woods is thrown out in the third round. Harris had rained punches on Woods over the first two rounds and a desperate Woods decided that the only way to de-fuse the power of Harris was to hold. He over did it and had two points deducted and when he continued to clinch he was disqualified. Harris, 25, was a good class amateur but just came up short in the United States Championships, the National Golden Gloves and the National Police Athletic League but is making steady progress as a pro; Bahamian Woods has been disqualified in two of his last three fights.
Kobe, Japan: Light Fly: Felix Alvarado (35-2) W PTS 12 Reiya Konishi (17-2). When Alvarado win the IBF title in October he was having his third shot at a title and fighting in the other guys back yard. He won by simply overwhelming Filipino Randy Petalcorin with a hurricane attacking style which simply exhausted Petalcorin who was stopped in the seventh round. This time Alvarado was again in his opponents home city of Kobe but the venue was all that changed. From the outset he was throwing an incredible number of punches. He was not very accurate but the sheer volume of his punches had Konishi too busy defending himself to get into the fight in a meaningful way. Konishi is crude but strong with a great heart but just could not match Alvarado’s mad work rate. Konishi was cut over his right eye in the eighth and almost stopped in the tenth as Alvarado continued to out-throw and outland the challenger to the end. Scores 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112 all for the champion from Nicaragua. Alvarado was making the first defence of the IBF title and has won his last 17 fights. Konishi was having his second shot at a title having lost on points to Carlos Canizales for the secondary WBA light fly title in March last year.
Fight of the week (Significance): Deontay Wilder’s crushing of Dominic Breazeale puts a unification fight with Anthony Joshua back on the table.
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Jack Brubaker vs. Ty Telford was great entertainment and Romero Duno and Juan Antonio Rodriguez fought their hearts out Duno vs. Rodriguez & Brubaker vs. Telford
Fighter of the week: I go for Josh Taylor for his win over Ivan Baranchyk (I’m Scottish cut me slack) with honourable mention to Naoya Inoue.
Punch of the week: Wilder’s straight right was a thunderbolt but I just go for that perfect left hook from Inoue. Honourable mention to the right from Marco McCullough that floored Declan Geraghty
Upset of the week: Nothing stood out
Prospect watch: Both Gary Antonio Russell (14-0) and brother Gary Antuanne (9-0) look special
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