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
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