Courtesy of Boxrec.com
It's not often that the Cruiserweight division managed to get the attention of the boxing world but that's exactly what happened recently thanks to Russian toughman Denis Lebedev (25-2, 19) and Panamanian Guillermo Jones (39-3-2, 31) who put on a true FOTY candidate. The clash, for the WBA Cruiserweight really had everything a fight fan could want to see in a fight including action, heart, bombs from both sides and genuine guts.
The fight started at a solid pace with Lebedev using his sharp, accurate right jab to connect on his taller opponent, though it was the powerful right hands of Jones that really looked like the bigger shots. Although Lebedev had clearly outworked Jones in the opening round his face was already looking a bit of a mess.
As the fight went on Lebedev's face went from bad, to awful, to worse and finally a total mess as the brave Russian fought through massive swelling to land his own monster shots on Jones. Despite the Panamanian being forced to take massive hooks and uppercuts he seemed completely unfazed by the shots whilst managing to land his own crisp uppercuts, sharp right hands and hurtful body shots that all took their tall on the much shorter Lebedev.
Although Lebedev's face was a genuine mess going through the middle rounds the Russian was doing well despite no help, at all, from his corner team (including Kostya Tszyu), the ringside doctor or the referee who acted as if a swollen face was the norm for a fight. Worryingly South African referee Stanley Christodoulou seemed almost oblivious to the fact Lebedev had too swollen shut eyes and was fighting on fumes for several rounds.
In round 11 a visibly exhausted Lebedev was knocked down and he stayed down before the referee waved off the bout, it was obvious that he was completely spent and although some may want to say "he quit" the fact that he had put on a true battle with a disfigured face really should silence those doubters.
The future for neither man looks great. We'd be shocked if Lebedev was ever the same fighter and whilst Jones may have won, the fact he is now 41 and took a number of massive shots may see him a diminished fighter in the future.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
It can often be detrimental to a fighter to know that they have a big payday on the horizon, though that didn't seem to effect Russian Heavyweight Alexander Povetkin (26-0, 18) who made light work of Polish opponent Andrzej Wawrzyk (27-1, 13).
Although both men entered the bout with unbeaten records it was Povetkin who was the prohibitive favourite. Not only was the Russian the defending WBA Heavyweight champion but he also took to the ring a very distinguished amateur record and a proven class.
It was the proven class of Povetkin that was evident from the off and although little happened in the opening round it was the champion who looked the more comfortable almost spending the opener working out what his challenger had.
Having realised that Wawrzyk had a pea shooter arsenal Povetkin went to work in the second round and dropped the Pole with a sharp shot. After being dropped the writing was on the wall for Wawrzyk who did well to see out the second round but was stopped in the 3rd as Povetkin put on an impressive performance against an admittedly weak opponent.
With the Polish fighter out of the way Povetkin will now be preparing for a bout with Wladimir Klitschko. The bout, worth a career high payday for both men, did requie Povetkin to win here and with that out of the way fans are now excited in what will be the biggest Heavyweight clash in quite some time (whether you include Klitschko v David Haye or not, this appears to be a bigger bout for us).
Courtesy of boxrec.com
Japanese fighter Ryo Miyazaki (19-0-3, 11) may be over shadowed by stablemate Kazuto Ioka but today he certainly stole the headlines with an eye catching, KO of the year contender victory.
Making the first defense of his WBA Minimumweight title Miyazaki took on Mexican challenger Carlos Velarde (23-3-1, 13) and the two men put on quite a show.
The bout started in fantastic fashion with neither man feeling the need for a typical "feeling out" round. The way both men went at it from the off made it clear that we were unlikely to see a distance bout though we were almost certain to have a cracker on our hands.
If the first round was good the second was better as Velarde ramped up the pressure and forced Miyazaki to fight back hard. Although Miyazaki looked to be the better boxer he was seemingly getting dragged in to a war with the challenger.
With the first 2 rounds being genuinely enjoyable it was little wonder that round 3 was also a fantastic round, arguable one of the best of the year as the men stood in front of each other an traded shots to both the head and body. The round seemed to see both men hurt at one point and neither got the upper hand in a round that seemed very even.
At the start of round 4 the champion seemed to have a change in tactics and rather than fighting the challengers fight he started to try and fight his own fight. With Miyazaki now on the move Velarde was forced to amp up the pressure and really put the champion on the back fought in a round that perhaps suggest Miyazaki was having a tough time with his determined challenger.
After the fantastic start it was obvious the pace had to slow down at some point and that's what it did in round 5 as Miyazaki continued to box and used his feet arguably more than his hands. This forced Velarde to chase him and with that the challenger started to become a bit predictable and easier to pick off. It was whilst Velarde was stalking Miyazaki he landed a lovely 2 punch combination and out of nowhere Velarde was lying on his back and taking the full count. The KO, from a straight right hand-left hook combination was stunning to say the least and genuinely was a highlight reel KO that will be repeated numerous times in the future.
Courtesy of boxrec.com
Unbeaten rising star Kazuto Ioka (12-0, 8) may not have put on much of a show for the fans watching at the Bodymaker Colosseum, but he did further enhance his reputation with his first WBA Light Flyweight title defense.
Ioka, who won the title late last year by stopping Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in 6 rounds started slowly against Thai challenger Wisanu Kokietgym (43-9-2, 13). Tt was really hard to think of any major highlights from the opening 2 rounds which were dominated mainly by Ioka's jab.
It wasn't until round 3 that anything of ay real note was landed by either man with Ioka opening up for the first time though the pace suddenly vanished the following round as Ioka continued to fight conservatively and was certainly looking overly cautios. It may have been that Kokietgym's southpaw style was giving Ioka problems (though it's unlikely considering how many southpaw's he's faced) but it seemed more as if Ioka wanted some rounds under his belt.
The pace picked up once again in round 5 as Ioka started to cut the ring off and impose himself on his challenger though hr rarely landed much, again being conservative despite being clearly in control of the bout. It wasn't until round 6 that Kokietgym ever really put Ioka under too much pressure. Sure he had been landing punches through out the bout but not enough of note to really trouble the champion, at the end of round 6 however he appeared to be coming back in to things.
With the challenger growing in confidence it certainly seemed that round 7 was his best round as he seemed to be more active and more accurate than many of the previous rounds. It was as close to claiming a round.
In round 8 Ioka bounced back from his worst round of the fight and really revved things up a gear again. Although he landed numerous shots he never seemed to actually hurt the challenger but was once again installing himself as the boss of the bout. As the boss Ioka looked fantastic and he seemed unwilling to give his position away in round 9, a round that saw the champion starting much quicker than he had done in many other rounds.
With the added activity it seemed only a matter of time before Kokietgym was going to be stopped, either by the referee or from a clean blow. Thankfully for fans of highlight videos it came as a result of a wonderful 3 punch combination by Ioka who started with a right to the body, then a left jab then another right to the midsection which sent the Thai down for the count.
With a prospective bout between Ioka and former Teiken fighter Roman Gonzalez later this year this didn't really serve as much of a warm up, though it did give Ioka a chance to get some rounds under his belt. At the moment it'd be hard to bet against Gonzalez who is a wrecking machine at Light Flyweight. Though if a bout with Gonzalez cannot be made Ioka certainly has other bouts out there that could be made easily enough.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
In a mild upset Kohei Kono (28-8, 11) lost his WBA Super Flyweight title in his first defense as champion Liborio Solis (15-3-1, 7) claimed a highly debatable majority decision.
The fight started slowly with neither man managing to really take the opening round, though the bout heated up quickly and both men were trading through out the second round. It was during a trading exchange that Solis suffered a flash knockdown and gave away a 10-8 round.
After being dropped Solis came back well and the two men fought 4 fantastic rounds that had genuine to-and-fro action with neither man getting a clear upper hand over the other. Every round from 3 through 6 could well be up for round of the year as both men showed their warrior spirit and took one to land one.
Despite the action in round 6 it appeared that Kono was changing his game plan and rather than trading headshots he started to dig Solis to the body, a tactic he employed to even greater effect in round 7 as he appeared to be slowing the challenger down. The body shots may have been connecting but they weren't able to stop Solis who actually turned things around in a big 8th round that saw Kono dropped hard and rocked repeatedly as Kono had his best round of the fight.
Kono seemed to lose round 9 as Solis changed his tactics and rather than brawling with Kono the Venezuelan started to boxer and move. Whilst the challenger was boxing he was making the champion look incredibly foolish and and clumsy. The jab and movement, which appeared to score time and time again seemed to suggest that Solis could have been making the bout harder for himself in the earlier rounds.
The boxing of Solis continued through round 10 as the pace started to slow and Solis started to combine his excellent distance work with tying Kono up on the inside effectively neutralising the champion who also had a point deducted in the round just to make things even worse.
Despite having been out boxed for much of the previous 2 rounds Kono came back excellently in the championship rounds and appeared to rock the challenger in both rounds as he looked to close the show. Unfortunately for Kono however he was just a tad too predictable and Solis saw out the final bell to claim a jaw dropping majority decision,
WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (20-0-1, 17) made the 7th successful defense of his belt as he stopped the previously unbeaten challenger Jaider Parra (20-1-1, 10) with a genuinely vicious body shot.
Though bout actually started well for the challenger who boxed to his strengths early on and used his movement as well as his jab to keep Uchiyama away from landing his power shots. Although Uchiyama did manage to score an occasional eye catching blow they were few and far between as he applied constant pressure but used a conservative punch out put.
Parra boxed well through rounds 2 and 3 and even seemed to take the punches of Uchiyama well, though it did seem like Uchiyama was boxing well within himself and not taking any major chances as he tried to figure out what Parra had.
After having landed several clear head shots, including a love cross part way in to round 3 Uchiyama may have started to feel that he might have a long night in front of him (something he's certainly not used to). That changed drastically in round 4 as an Uchiyama body shot appeared to really rattle the challenger who as forced to take several follow up shots before the bell saved him. The attack, late in round 4 seemed to show a key weakness for Parra and it was jumped on very early in round 5.
Having been hurt the previous round Parra tried to use his legs to maintain a safe distance between himself and the champion. Unfortunately for Parra his legs were all but taken away as an Uchiyama body shot strayed low. The referee admonished Uchiyama for his transgression but it didn't take long for the Japanese fighter to take advantage of his wounded opponent. Just seconds after being told to continue Parra was cracked to the body and sent straight to the canvas where he ended up writing in agony until the 10 count was complete.
A rematch between Takashi Uchiyama and Takashi Miura looks like later this year, a bout many should be excited about as the WBA and WBC titles will be unified.
In a notable upset Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (19-3-1, 18) scored the most notable victory of his career as he dethroned Japanese fighter Yota Sato (26-3-1, 12) of the WBC Super Flyweight title.
The bout, the first world title bout for Srisaket took some time to get going after a long series of formal introductions speeches and advertising, though once the bell went to start the bout the Thai challenge brought the action.
The opening round was some what close with Sato managing to land a number of his own shots early though Srisaket managed to land several eye catching flurries that won him the round on one of the judges score cards. From then on Srisaket merely took over the bout and clearly won rounds 2-4 as he started to set an unbelievable tempo.
At the start of round 5 the score cards all read in favour of the Thai with scores of 39-37 (twice) and 40-35. It was thought by many, including myself that Srisaket would have to slow eventually and after the hectic pace he was forcing it seemed likely he would tire soon.
Both rounds 5 and 6 were better for the defending champion as he managed to create some space though the bout was typically being fought at close quarters which suited Srisaket due to being naturally smaller.
After the two good rounds for Sato it didn't take long for Srisaket to put his foot back on the gas and launch a ridiculous assault in round 7 that saw Sato pinned in the corner whilst the challenger unloaded for a good portion of the round. The referee, Italy's Guido Cavalleri, did well not to stop the bout at the end of the round with Sato taking a genuine pounding in a round that was hard not to score 10-8 to the challenger.
Having just survived round 7 Sato knew that he was going to have to regain his senses in round 8 though Sriaket jumped on him trying to corner him once again. This time when Sato was forced to eat a series of shots the referee stepped in seeing that Sato was now being battered with little chance of turning it around in the coming rounds.
This loss for Sato, his first loss since 2005, was the first stoppage loss of his career and sees the trend of defending Japanese world champions being defeated in Thailand continue.
Sor Srisaket, who genuinely announced himself on the world stage with this victory will not be a fighter that many will be wanting to face. He's relentless, hard hitting and whilst technically not great he's fantastic at cutting the distance as he did time and time again here.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.