Boxing is a funny sport at times. The key is to win, and that's the first thing that a fighter needs to focus on. A win at all costs mentality is an absolutely must have for fighters in the upper echelons of the sport. Sadly though some fighters miss out on a secondary goal, "to entertain". If you don't entertain fans will struggle to care, no matter how goo you are. Especially if you appear to be cruising fight after fight, in risk free performance after risk free performance. Safety comes first, for sure, but it's not 100% about winning and winning safety.
Without drama there is no reason to watch.
One fighter who needs to realise that fans to appreciate comfortable yet safe cruising is WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11) who, yet again, appeared willing to kill the entertainment factor to win. And he did so against an opponent who served as little more than a tough, durable, but gun shy foe, in the form of Lenin Castillo (20-3-1, 15).
Going into the bout Castillo had been derided as a poor opponent. In reality he wasn't a poor opponents, he was a lazy one. He had skills, toughness and solid pop, but lacked desire and ambition. That was on show early on here, as Bivol quickly figured his man out, but never pushed. He never fought out of his comfort zone, and Castillo was never forced out of his. When Bivol could have let things go a bit more and force Castillo to show something he didn't. When Bivol knew Castillo didn't want to bite down and fight back he never took the fight too him.
Bivol was in total control, he even dropped Castillo in round 5, but never looked like he wanted to use that control to entertain. He looked like he was happy to simply out box an opponent who was happy to make up the numbers.
The few rare times that Bivol to up the output, such as late in round 8, he had Castillo in problems, and showed he had it in his arsenal. Yet the work rate was never sustained, and he never looked to make a statement. Instead of going in and taking out his man he was happy to just win the roads.
After 12 rounds the bout was scored 120-107 and 119-108, twice. It was however another bout that has further damaged Bivol's standing in the sport and again made him look like he's 100% focused on winning, and has no interest at all in entertaining, making the most of his opportunity or having fans want to see him.
Bivol is massively skilled, but these dreary 12 round decisions wins, which are getting more and more 1-paced and undramatic, will turns fans off him and quickly. He's become tedious to watch and someone in his team really needs to have a word with him. Decisions themselves aren't the issue, is the way he goes about them, fighting in second gear, that is the issue, and is a problem that needs to be solved. Quickly.
On paper the month of October looked good for fight fans, but it's hard to really believe how lucky we've been already, with the first weekend of the month giving us a thrilling, dramatic and action packed Middleweight title bout.
The bout in question saw Kazakhstan's Gennady Golovkin's (40-1-1, 35) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] become a 2-time world champion as he reclaimed the IBF Middleweight title in a narrow, and very hard fought, bout against talented Ukrainian fighter Sergey Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10).
Golovkin got off to the ideal start. He looked sharp from the off and dropped Derevyanchenko with a right hand. He had landed a big one earlier in the round and looked like he could be on for a relatively easy win. Derevyanchenko got up from the knockdown, but was hurt again late in the round. The second round was another that went really well for the Kazakh who landed a big left hook, and found success with his body shot and jab. Derevyanchenko was also hindered by suffering a cut in the round.
After 2 rounds it really did seem like the 37 year old Golovkin was on route to a straight forward win.The bout however turned in round 3 when Derevyanchenko began to turn the bout into a dog fight, getting up close and getting success to the body. The Ukrainian's body attack hurt Golovkin and put the Kazakh on the back foot, making him cover up. For one of the first times in his career it seemed like Golovkin was hurt, and Derevyanchenko knew how to get to the Golovkin. Through the middle rounds the pressure and body shots of Derevyanchenko caught the eye, and he really seemed to have adapted a gameplan that not only let him have success, but also smothered the power of Golovkin who couldn't get full extension on his shots.
Golovkin managed to build some success of his own as he found his range again in round 6. It was a much better round for the Kazakh, though Derevyanchenko did hold his own through the round. It was a platform for Golovkin who managed to have more success in round 7, one of his best rounds. It looked like the KAzakh was turning the tide in his favour, but he was putting a lot in and really was looking his 37 years in the corner, as he sat breathing very heavily.
The 8th started with a doctor's inspection of the Derevyanchenko's cut, which was ruled to have come from a headclash back in round 2, and the doctor was happy to let the fight go on. It was another great round of back and forth action, and one where Golovkin had some of his best success, with 2 huge body shots. The pressure continued to come from Derevyanchenko but it was less effective as he began to tire. Incredibly however Derevyanchenko came roaring back in rounds 9 and 10, having Golovkin again in his shell and backing up under the pressure of Derevyanchenko and his quick combinations when he came in.
By the championship rounds it was clear the bout was close, it had been gruelling and both men were looking tired. Derevyanchenko again tried to apply his pressure but struggled to have consistency through the round, whilst the more conservative Golovkin landed the higher quality shots. That was the case in the final 2 rounds, as Derevyanchenko fought on will, more than skill, as he continued to try and impress the judges.
After 12 rounds, something that seemed unlikely after the start Golovkin had had, we went to the judges. The fight had been close, and could have gone either way, and when cards of 114-113 and 115-112, twice, were read out, it was unclear which way they were going. Unfortunately for Derevyanchenko they didn't go his way, instead they went with the Kazakh, who had been pushed hard in one of his toughest bouts.
Through the fight it seemed like Golovkin had shown his age. The 37 year old couldn't keep the intensity that we'd seen earlier in his career, and he was backed up a lot more often than we'd typically see from him. He was slower, less active, and hurt, several times, from body shots. For Derevyanchenko this was a second, razor thin, loss in a world title bout.
The post fight comments seemed to suggest a rematch could be in the offing, and if that happens we'd love to see it, though we feel that perhaps it's time for Golovkin to hang them up. He looked his age, he looked like a man who had been in a lot of hard bouts and seems a lot, lot more beatable than he has in the past. He took the win, and maybe this is the perfect time to hang them up, going out on a high as the IBF champion, and putting to bed any chance of losing again.
The Light Flyweight division might be almost ignored in Western boxing media, but it continues to deliver amazing fights, as we saw today from Osaka thanks to MBS.
The bout in question saw Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人] successfully retain his WBA "super" and Ring Magazine Light Flyweight titles with a decision win over fellow Japanese fighter Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20) [久田 哲也]. But simply saying Kyoguchi won a decision doesn't do the fight, or the fighters justice for what was a fantastic 12 round contest that saw both men show their will to win, and saw both men being hurt in what was a truly pulsating, action packed, violent and exciting war.
The bout began with Kyoguchi looking too crisp and sharp, winning the first round with his consistency over the 3 minutes, but Hisada held his own and proved he wasn't there to just make up the numbers. In round 2 we had real drama as Hisada's right hand, which landed a couple of times through the round, twice to seemed to worry the champion, at one point staggering him across the ring. Hisada tried to jump on the hurt Kyoguchi, but the champion put up the ear muffs and saw out the trouble, though was fully aware that Hisada was a dangerous challenger. Not only had Hisada landed solid right hands, but was finding a home for uppercuts as well.
Hisada was put on the back foot in round 3, but again had success, especially up close where his uppercuts again came into play. Kyoguchi's jab and right hand did catch the eye more often, but Hisada wasn't being over-whelmed, and instead fought back, trying to play his part in every exchange. The following round the challenger began to find more space and worked whilst Kyoguchi followed him around. It was another good round for the challenger, and the crowd responded by getting getting behind him with a "Hisada" chant. Despite both men being from Osaka originally it did feel like the crowd were behind the under-dog, who was exceeding expectations.
Despite Hisada's uppercuts catching the eye in the first half of the fight Kyoguchi had been putting money in the bank with solid body shots through out, and those shots paid dividends in the middle rounds as Hisada began to slow. The challenger still had heart, and in round 6 he showed that by finishing the round big, but his moments were coming in isolation, whilst Kyoguchi's successes seemed to be more consistent and pronounced. Surprisingly however it was Kyoguchi who seemed to be wearing his damage more, with the entire left side of his face turning red, a result of the right hands Hisada was landing.
In round 8 it was clear that Kyoguchi had more to offer than he was showing, and he spent much of the round skipping around on his toes, landing big shots and making Hisada look his age. This was where the body shots from early really showed, and Hisada was looking tired, whilst Kyoguchi looked full of energy. Despite slowing Hisada wasn't going to roll over, and in round 9 he came out with gusto, pressing Kyoguchi early in the round, before being punished for his ambition, and being dropped. Although he was quick to his feet he seemed buzzed and Kyoguchi went for the finish, pressing through the 9th round, and landing huge power shots time and time again. It was a credit to Hisada's toughness and will to win that he survived the round.
Despite being in all sorts of trouble in round 9 Hisada gritted his teeth, bit down on his gum shield and fought and inside, toe to toe war in rounds 10 and 11. Again Kyoguchi was getting the better of it overall, but the action was incredible, with both men trading shots on the inside, trying to match each other punch for punch. It favoured Kyoguchi, was quicker, sharp and heavier handed but it made for awe inspiring action as the two fighters just tried to beat each other up. The champion's shot just seemed to much more eye catching, and the two he landed at the end of round 11 were stunning, it was hard to understand how the challenger was staying up at times. It was all action at that point.
In the final round it seemed very much like Kyoguchi was sent out to play safe. It seemed he was in comfortable control on the cards, he had to be up and by quite some margin. Rather than trading he got on his feet, moving around the ring, whilst Hisada threw bombs, looking for the home run punch. That punch never came and in the end it was clear Kyoguchi had done enough to retain his title.
After 12 rounds we went to the socrecards with the judging turning scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112. Whilst the bout was, overall, competitive on a round by round basis, it always felt like Kyoguchi was the clear winner. He was winning the exchanges and doing that bit more overall. Despite that Hisada can hold his head high, he out did what fans had expected.
Whilst Kyoguchi took the win he knew he was in a fight, and his left eye was swollen shut at the final bell. Ideas of unification are still on his mind, but he really needs to tidy up before getting in there with another champion, who could make him pay. As for Hisada, this is probably the curtain call for his career, but he deserves to much credit for his effort and for playing his part in a fantastic bout.
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.