Around a month ago we looked at 5 Korean prospects to keep an eye on this year. Today we run a similar feature but shift from the Korean peninsula to the north and head into China.
The country right now is of course having an horrific outbreak of coronavirus which has essentially put all sport in the country on ice to try to help curtail the outbreak. Despite that Chinese boxing is strong, and when we finally see Chinese boxing start again the fans in the country will have a lot of fighters to get excited about.
For the sake of this article we aren't going to include anyone who is world ranked, for us they don't count as prospects, they are, almost by definition, contenders.
Jianhao Diao (2-0, 2)
Former WSB fighter Jianhao Diao made his professional debut last year at Lightweight and despite being 27 years old when he made his debut he instantly became one to watch. On debut he stopped Indonesian veteran Rivo Rengkung in 4 rounds and around 8 weeks later he stopped Filipino veteran Jaime Barcelona in 2 rounds, giving Barcelona his 8th stoppage loss in 108 bouts. Sadly quality footage of his two pro bouts have been hard to come by, but his time in the WSB showed us more than enough to be very excited about his potential. He's a solid southpaw boxer-puncher and he genuinely has the ability to be moved quickly. He's found his groove in the pros and the longer distances seem like they will suit him. Fingers crossed we see him in an 8 or 10 rounder next time out.
Zhong Liu (16-0, 6)
Unbeaten Super Bantamweight prospect Zhong Liu has been a pro for a little over 4 years and really he should have been on our radar very quickly, but wasn't. His debut came against a 7-0 and his second bout was against another unbeaten man. Those wins should have caught our eye, but didn't and then he sort of went backwards and fought a string of novices through 2016. In recent bouts he has stepped up, massively, and he beat Jess Rhey Waminal, John Kenan Villaflor and Ryan Lumacad in 2019. Although he's in a very tough division the 28 year old has got the potential to work himself into a world title fight in the next year or two. It would be a huge ask to see him world a world title, but we thought the same when we used to look at Can Xu.
Xiang Li (6-0, 5)
The 25 year old Super Featherweight/Lightweight Xiang Li is an interesting hopeful. We've seen him look bad, but in reality been matched matched hard and we're glad we've seen him being forced to dig in and earn his wins, despite his last 5 coming inside the distance. Li, not to be confused with a Light Flyweight with the same name, looks a rather raw boxer-puncher at times, but he's proven to have legitimate pop in his hands, a genuine will to win and a willingness to wait. We saw him being tested against Arvin Yurong at the start of 2019, and being forced to work even harder against Do Jin Lee last August and those tests will have done him the world of good. He's a long way from a world title fight, but is certainly someone worthy of attention at this very early stage of his career.
DianXing Zhu (5-0, 4)
We see the Minimumweight division as one that is ready for a shake up after the long, and frustrating, reigns of Knockout CP Freshmart and Wanheng Menayothin. We don't see both the Thai's keeping their titles to 2021, and we see a number of exciting youngsters making a climb through the division. One of those that managed to remain under the radar so far is 23 year old Chinese fighter DianXing Zhu. Zhu only debuted in early 2019 but has already proven to be destructive, exciting, very strong has moved up to 10 rounds bouts. He's not as polished as the Shigeoka brothers, but he looks bull strong and he's likely to be the country's ready made replacement for the now retired Xiong Zhao Zhing
Nan He (1-0)
A bit of a wild card to close off is 18 year old Featherweight Nan He, who debuted last August and upset the then 5-0 Haiyun Duan. In that bout He really impressed us. Technically he looked sharp for a debuting teenager, he put his shots together really nice, and didn't look like a debutant at all. In fact he looked like the 5-0 fighter. He had a tight defense, smart boxing, a good work rate and was so much crisper with his work than Duan was with his. It wasn't a flawless performance, for from it, but it was a really impressive debut and the type that put him on our map immediately. Fingers crossed we see him back in action when the coronavirus is finally defeat.
There is one bout which will also be close to the site, and that's because it was the first bout we managed to run an official live stream for through the broadcaster. Thankfully the bout wasn't just a fight that we streamed, but it was also an instant classic and a genuine Fight of the Year candidate with two well matched, but stylistically very different, men giving us an absolutely incredible war that will go down as one of the best Flyweight bouts in recent memory. This was something special for us as a site and something just as special for us as fans. This was 2018 at it's absolute peak.
Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) Vs Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7)
In one corner was Cinderella man Sho Kimura. Kimura had been stopped in a round on debut and had a career that had toiled away without recognition until 2017 when he pulled out one of the shocks of the year and stopped Zou Shiming in China. That win saw Kimura become the WBO Flyweight champion and an instant star in China, where the country almost adopted him. He had built on the win over Shiming by defending the belt twice, and had quickly become a man that fight fans wanted to see. He wasn't the most skilled, or the fastest or the most flashy, but what he was aggressive, tough and had an incredible engine. He was the sort of unstoppable object that makes for thrilling fights and with his ability to bite down on the gumshield and go for it late he was gaining a real reputation as a must watch fighter.
Kosei Tanaka on the other hand was the man groomed for success. He was a stellar amateur who had won his first world title in just his 5th professional bout, then won his second in his 8th bout. Now, in bout #12, he was looking to tie Vasyl Lomachenko's record for fewest fights to become a 3-weight champion. Tanaka had looked like a sensation rising through the ranks. He had shown he could box, he could brawl and that he could bang. He had also, sadly, shown he could be hurt, going down against Vic Saludar and Palangpol CP Freshmart. It was those vulnerabilities than really made us question the move up against a rugged, solid punching, fighter like Kimura. On one hand Tanaka had all the skills, but on the other hand Kimura wasn't the sort of fighter a boxer was going to easily out box, and in fact Kimura had beaten 2 Olmypians in his previous 3 fights.
The fight had high expectations on it, it was a rare fight that Western fans didn't need to go looking for, given the free stream that was available and it was a chance for both men to impress an international audience.
Thankfully it exceeded expectations, in a big way, as the two men put on a show case of violence from the opening round to the final bell. The styles gel perfectly and they set a hot tempo from the off. Kimura's pressure and Tanaka's willingness to to box up close saw the first round look completely unlike a typical opening round. This was a hot tempo to start the bout, and it only got hotter and hotter as the bout went on. Both men taking the best their opponent had, and firing back with just as good shots of their own.
As the rounds went on the pace just got better and better. It was a rare fight that started fantastically, but got better, and better as it went on, and even the final rounds, after both had inflicted massive amounts of punishment the other, continued to be thrilling. In fact the later rounds, with both men swelling badly around the eyes, saw some of the most eye catching moments of the fight, with a particular sequence in round 12, where both took it in turns to launch massive right hands, being regarded as one of the moments of the fight.
This was a fight that we hoped would be good, and in the end it turned out to be sensational. If you missed this, some how, we really do suggest you make up for it now.
By Eric Armit
-Tyson Fury crushes Deontay Wilder to win the WBC heavyweight title
-Emanuel Navarrete stops Filipino Jeo Santisima in WBO super bantam title defence
-Charles Martin stops Gerald Washington in heavyweight action
-Petros Ananyan outpoints IBF No 2 Subriel Matias in an upset
-Isaac Lowe and Sebastian Fundora remain unbeaten after wins in ten round bouts in Las Vegas
-James Dickens and Ryan Walsh win through to the featherweight final of the MTK Golden Contract tournament at featherweight and Tyrone McKenna and Ohara Davis win their super lightweight semi-finals
-Canadian super middleweight hope Erik Bazinyan goes to 25-0 with stoppage of Finn Timo Laine and heavyweight Simon Kean is 19-1 after beating Daniel Martz on the same Canadian show
WORLD TITLE SHOWS
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Heavy: Tyson Fury (30-0-1) W TKO 7Deontay Wilder (42-1-1). Super Bantam: Emanuel Navarrete (31-1) W TKO 11 Jeo Santisima (19-3). Heavy: Charles Martin (28-2-1) W TKO 6 Gerald Washington (20-4-1). Welter: Javier Molina (22-2) W PTS 8 Amir Imam (22-3). Feather: Isaac Lowe (20-0-3) W PTS 10 Alberto Guevara (27-6). Welter: Petros Ananyan (15-2-2) W PTS 10 Subriel Matias (15-1). Super Welter: Sebastian Fundora (14-0-1) W PTS 10 Daniel Lewis (6-1). Light: Gabriel Flores (17-0) W PTS 8 Matt Conway (17-2,1ND). Light: Ronald Romero (11-0) W TKO 2 Arturs Ahmetovs (5-1).
Fury vs. Wilder
Fury is a world champion again as he stops Wilder in seven rounds after dominating the fight from the first bell and scoring two knockdowns.
Not the expected opening as Fury immediately took the fight to Wilder putting Wilder on the back foot. Fury had no trouble brushing aside a couple of rights from Wilder and scored with a good combination including a clubbing right. Wilder looked uncomfortable when Fury forced him to the ropes and Fury landed another right to take the round
Score: 10-9 Fury
A better round for Wilder. He was jabbing more and throwing more rights. Fury was still on the front foot and Wilder looked apprehensive every time Fury shaped to throw a punch. Fury ended the round connecting with a right but Wilder’s early work just gave him a slight edge.
Score: 10-9 Wilder TIED 19-19
Fury was looking supremely confident and shook Wilder early with a right to the head. Fury forced Wilder back with a series of jabs and another right to the head before another right sent Wilder sliding down the ropes to the floor. Wilder was up quickly and when the eight count was finished he ducked under Fury’s punches grabbing Fury around the waist and as Fury went back Wilder lost his grip and dropped to the canvas. It was not a knockdown but it gave Wilder a few extra seconds of recovery time and the bell went with Wilder walking unsteadily back to his corner.
Score:10-8 Fury Fury 29-27
The referee gave both fighters a lecture over holding. Fury forced Wilder back with jabs and threw a right. In ducking under it Wilder tumbled to the floor so no knockdown. The fight became untidy with constant clinches. Fury continued to boss the action and did what little scoring there was.
Score: 10-9 Fury 39-36
Official Scores: Judge Dave Moretti 40-35 Fury, Judge Glenn Feldman 39-36 Fury, Judge Steve Weisfeld 40-35 Fury
Fury started the round by connecting with three overhand rights. After some untidy mauling Fury threw a couple of rights that had Wilder stumbling back to avoid them and two left hooks to the chest sent him to the floor. The punch Fury had landing on the chest did no real damage and Wilder was up early quickly and under fire. Fury was wild with his punches and they again clinched until the referee broke them up and deducted a point from Fury for pushing down Wilder’s head . Fury had Wilder under pressure again from rights to the head before the bell. Wilder had blood trickling from his left ear.
Score: 9-8 Fury Fury 48-44
Fury was pitching overhand rights with Wilder looking disorientated and dispirited but it was a case of Fury throwing a right and then a clinch. He pinned Wilder to the ropes and landed some hooks and uppercuts with Wilder just looking to hold. A left hook sent Wilder into a corner and again Fury was trying to land overhand rights (as they clinched Fury actually licked some of the blood trickling for Wilder’s ear-ugh). Wilder looked finished he had not taken a step forward in the round or even thrown a right with any intent.
Score: 10-9 Fury Fury 58-53
Fury was forcing Wilder back with jabs. Wilder tried some wild swings which missed and Fury was backing him up again. Wilder’s whole demeanour was off a beaten fighter and he backed himself into a corner as Fury unloaded with rights to the head. There was nothing coming back from Wilder and a member of Wilder’s team threw in the towel and the referee plunged in to separate the fighters just as Wilder finally threw a punch. Wilder protested the stoppage but it looked about right although the towel had been thrown in without total agreement in the corner.
Crushing victory for Fury whose tactic of taking the fight to Wilder from the first bell threw Wilder completely and Wilder never got into the fight at all. A towering performance from Fury who wins the WBC title after a remarkable comeback from a whole variety of problems that interrupted his career just as it had reached its highest point. The stunning nature of this victory and his now having the WBC puts him in a very strong bargaining position when it comes to negotiations for what must now be an inevitable clash with Anthony Joshua . Wilder looked much older than his 34 years. When Fury unexpectedly took the fight to him Wilder had no plan B and the right hand that had come to his rescue a few times was never a factor. The blood from his ear backs up the claim that he had a damaged ear drum but even before that injury he was ineffectual under Fury’s attacks. Wilder has thirty days to enforce the return bout agreement in the contract and it seems he may choose to do that which would complicate the timing of a fight with Joshua so it is a case of wait and see but if Fury vs. Joshua does come off it will be the richest fight in the history of heavyweight boxing with there already being talk of a $400 million offer to stage the fight in Saudi Arabia.
Navarrete vs. Santisima
Navarrete ends another defence of the WBO title with an inside the distance victory as he outclasses Filipino Santisima and halts him in the eleventh round of a one-sided contest.
In a fast-paced opening round Navarrete was stabbing out jabs and following with occasional rights. Santisima showed a quick jab but usually came up short and was not letting his hands go. Navarrete ended the round with a strong attack
Score: 10-9 Navarrete
Navarrete had the longer reach and used it well. He was constantly firing jabs and those that were not landing were enough to dissuade Santisima from coming forward. The challenger briefly pinned Navarette on the ropes with an attack but that resulted in Navarette opening up and he scored with jabs and long looping hooks from both hands.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 20-18
Santisima started the round trying to pressure Navarrete but once Navarrete began to come forward throwing combinations it was one-sided. Navarrete does a lot wrong but it works for him. He was forcing Santisima back with series after series of hooks, uppercuts and straight punches with Santisima hurt by a couple of body shots and rocked by a left to the head.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 30-27
Plenty of action in this round. Santisima was coming forward getting past Navarrete’s jab and scoring inside with hooks. When they traded punches again it was Santisima doing best with some left hooks to the body and he sent Navarrete tumbling into the ropes with a left hook. Over the last minute of the round Navarrete was chasing down and connecting with long shots but Santisima’s early work gave him the round.
Score: 10-9 Santisima Navarrete 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Patricia Morse Jarman 39-37 Navarrete, Judge Don Trella 40-36 Navarrete, Judge Julie Lederman 38-38.
Three minutes of pressure from Navarrete. He was walking forward firing a whole stream of punches of every variety from both hands with Santisima almost swamped by the sheer volume and he visibly wilted under a couple of rib-bending hooks. A stoppage looked possible but Santisima didn’t crumble and made it to the bell.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 49-46
After his huge effort in the previous round Navarrete dialled it back in this one. He was still landing but not throwing nearly so many punches or pressing his attacks. Santisima was able to get in the fight scoring with a choice uppercut only for Navarrete to land an even better one and they traded punches to the bell.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 59-55
After a slow start Navarrete started to roll. He was forcing Santisima back raking him with punch after punch. Santisima fought back hard but just could not match the power or output from Navarrete.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 69-64
Tremendous work rate from Navarrete. Again he was putting together sequences of anything from two to ten punches at a time. They were not all landing and not all hard but the volume had Santisima bemused and befuddled.. Santisima tried hard firing the occasional crisp hooks but was under pressure all the way.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 79-73
Official Scores: Judge Jarman 79-73, Navarrete, Judge Trella 80-72, Judge Lederman 78-74 Navarrete.
Navarrete slowed things down a little in this round. He was using his jab more and sending thudding straight rights through Santisima’s guard .He was not firing so many combinations but he ended the round connecting with a succession of head punches.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 89-82
Santisima attacked briefly at the start of this one before Navarrete began to control the action with his jab. Navarrete burst into action over the last minute relentlessly bombarding Santisima with punches and once or twice a stoppage looked on the cards but Santisima held out to the bell.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 99-91
Santisima came forward throwing hooks. Navarrete backed off into a corner and just rested his right arm on the top rope for a couple of seconds and then went to work. He lunged forward driving Santisima around the ring under a deluge of punches. He trapped Santisima on the ropes and unloaded with heavy shots. Santisima fired back just enough to convince the referee to let him continue. He slid down under Navarrete’s attacks but not from any particular punch so the referee ruled it a slip. When Santisima got up Navarrete again blasted him with punches until the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Successful fifth defence of the WBO title for “Cowboy” Navarrete with all five defences ending inside the distance making it 26 wins by KO/TKO in all. Still only 25 he looks unbeatable at the weight and will eye moving up to featherweight soon. Santisima gave it his best. He showed some skill, quick hands and plenty of courage but never looked likely to cause an upset. There was nothing in his record to suggest otherwise as he had never faced a single top class opponent. Navarrete’s No 1 challenger is another Filipino, Albert Pagara and that should be another winning defence for Navarrete in a division that looks very weak right now.
Martin vs. Washington
Former IBF champion Martin gets his third win in a row as he scores a one-punch stoppage win over Washington. The first round featured the usual pushing and probing with jabs. Martin landed a useful southpaw left and Washing did a bit better with a couple of rights at the bell. They were even more cautious in the second with Martin coming forward but not throwing much and Washington on the back foot and then lunging with occasional rights. Punches were on short rations again in an unexciting third. Martin began to let his hands go in the fourth scoring with straight lefts and some hooks but it was the sort of fight where you could confidently take your eyes off the ring and not miss any of the action. Washington started the fifth by firing five consecutive rights but Martin either blocked or dodged them. Later in the round Martin was against connecting with straight lefts. Washington was trying his luck with rights again in the sixth until Martin landed a left and then followed that up with a better aimed one that landed on Washington’s chin and dropped him. He made it to his feet but was staggering when he tried to walk and the referee stopped the fight. Southpaw Martin,33, is rebuilding after losing to Adam Kownacki in 2018 but has a long way to go and not a lot of time to get there. He does not look any kind of threat and I can’t see a title shot anywhere soon in his future. Washington, 37, had been level on two cards before being stopped by Deontay Wilder in their WBC title fight in 2017. Inside the distance losses to Jarrell Miller and Adam Kownacki had pushed him out of the ratings but a win over Robert Helenius in July gave him some hope which Martin crushed here.
Molina vs. Imam
This was to have been a ten round fight but was reduced to eight by TV scheduling on the night. Molina took a unanimous decision in a low key affair. Molina boxed on the back foot over the first two rounds using sharp accurate jabs to score and although Imam made the rounds close Molina lived up to his “Untouchable” nickname and had established a lead. He also had the better of the exchanges in the third but Imam fought back hard over the fourth and fifth only for Molina to outscore him in the sixth connecting with some good left hooks. The last two rounds saw both boxers putting in a big effort trying to swing the fight their way but Molina boxed coolly and held on to his lead. Scores 78-74 twice and 79-73 for Molina. Former Olympian Molina, 30, went 17-1 before losing on points to Jamal James in his only fight in 2016. He was then inactive in 2017 and had only one fight in 2018. He was more active last year with three wins including a first round stoppage of Hiorki Okada and will be hoping this victor nets him a world rating. Big set-back for Imam. After losing to Jose Ramirez for the vacant WBC title in March 2018 due to contractual problems he did not fight again last November.
Lowe vs. Guevara
Lowe takes wide unanimous decision over experienced Guevara but the achievement is overshadowed by six points being deducted for rules violations three from each fighter. Lowe made an impressive start taking the first two rounds. Guevara hit back strongly in the third rocking Lowe with a fierce right but despite that success the referee deducted a point from the Mexican for holding. After a close fourth the deductions cropped up again this time it was Lowe losing two points one for pushing Guevara to the canvas and one for hitting him to the back of the head. That scenario was repeated in the next round as Guevara was docked a point for a low punch and Lowe for again pushing Guevara to the floor. After a close seventh which Lowe edge he dumped Guevara on the floor with a left in the eighth and outboxed Guevara over the closing two rounds to take the decision. Scores 96-87 twice and 95-88 for Lowe. The 26-year-old from Lancashire is now 4-0 in fights in the USA. He was making the second defence of the WBC International title and is at No 10 in the WBC ratings. His three draws have come in fights for the European, British and English titles. Guevara has lost in fights for the IBF and WBC bantamweight titles and was beaten by Hugo Ruiz and Shakur Stevenson in his two fights last year.
Ananyan vs. Matias
Unfancied Armenian Ananyan wins a close unanimous decision over Puerto Rican Matias in a major upset. This was a close one all the way. Matias had won all of his fights inside the distance and tried to batter down the Armenian but Ananyan just would not allow Matias to take control. They traded punches over the first six rounds both landed hard shots to head and body but without either fighter really being able to dominate but with Matias just seeming to have a slight edge. That changed dramatically in the seventh. The round started with Matias rocking Ananyan with a combination but then Ananyan broke through with some heavy shots. He forced Matias to the ropes and connected with three booming rights to the head and then landed a left hook that sent Matias stumbling across the ring and falling backwards into the ropes which held him up. The referee stepped in to give Matias a standing count with the count being delayed as Ananyan was slow in moving to a neutral corner. Only the bell saved Matias. Ananyan wasn’t able to repeat that success but he was able to outscore a shaken Matias the rest of the way to snatch victory. Scores 95-94 twice and 96-93 with the 10-8 from the seventh for Ananyan the decider. Last time out the Brooklyn-based Ananyan had lost on points to 13-2-1 Kareem Martin and he looked a safe opponent for Matias but proved tougher than expected. Matias, 27, was ranked No 2 by the IBF and had his eyes on a shot at Josh Taylor but that dream has died for now.
Fundora vs. Lewis
You don’t get many 6’5 ½” 154lbs fighters and Australian Daniel Lewis will be glad about that. Fundora “The Towering Inferno” won this clash of unbeaten fighters clearly and without relying too much on his physical edges. Southpaw Fundora was able to score at range with Lewis forced to take punches to get inside but Fundora was equally happy at close quarters. Lewis had some early success connecting with rights and there was blood showing in Fundora’s mouth by the second round. Apart from a spell in the fourth that really was about as good as it got for Lewis as Fundora used his longer reach to score at distance and landed some heavy lefts which brought out some bumps and bruises on the Australian’s face. When Lewis did get inside Fundora was outscoring him there as well and continued to control the fight over the closing rounds. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93. The 22-year-old Floridian-born Fundora is the second eldest of six brothers all of whom box. Eldest brother Alberto was 12-0 but has not boxed since 2017 so Sebastian is currently carrying the family flag in the pros. Lewis was a top level amateur being Australian champion in 2013,2014,2015 and 2016 and competing at the Olympics, the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. At 26 he has time to put this one down to experience and come again.
Flores vs. Conway
Stockton teenager Flores wins again. It seemed it might be an early night for Flores as he put Conway on his rump with a right in the opening round but Conway beat the count and later took the fight to Flores. For most of the fight Conway was marching forward but paying for that with sharp, accurate countering from Flores. Gradually Flores took control and over the last three rounds he scored with flashing combinations over the sixth and seventh and then outboxed a game Conway in the eighth. Scores 80-71 twice and 79-72. The 19-year-old Flores is being sensibly matched to build his experience and he will be one to watch in 2021. Conway has fought in a wide range of venues including a Casino Ballroom, a State Penitentiary and now the MGM Grand. His only other loss was on a majority decision and he had mixed with some reasonable level opposition..
Romero vs. Ahmetovs
Six inside the distance wins in a row for 24-year-old Romero. He won the first round and then floored the previously unbeaten Ahmetovs in the second. Ahmetovs beat the count but was under fire when the referee stopped the fight. In theory this was Romero’s first eight round fight but he has won ten of his eleven fights by KO/TKO eight of them inside the first two rounds. Latvian Ahmetovs was never in with a chance.
London, England: Feather: James Dickens (29-3) W PTS 10 Leigh Wood (23-2). Super Light: Tyrone McKenna (21-1-1) W PTS 10 Mohamed Mimoune (22-4). Feather: Ryan Walsh (26-2-2) W PTS 10 Tyrone McCullagh (14-1). Super Light: Ohara Davies (21-2) W TKO 6 Jeff Ofori (10-2-1).
Dickens vs. Wood
In an entertaining and close bout of contrasting styles Dickens gets through to the final of the MTK Golden Contract featherweight tournament with a razor thin majority verdict over Wook. Dickens made a strong start stunning Wood in the first. Wood steadied himself over the second and third and used his longer reach and some good counters to even things up. Southpaw Dickens was bobbing and weaving his way inside in some good back-and-forth action but his face was marking up from Wood’s counters. Dickens connected with a heavy left in the sixth but Wood was also showing some good defensive work and landed a left of his own in the seventh that shook and added to a swelling around the left eye of Dickens. The eighth saw Dickens busier and outscoring Wood and in a one-sided ninth he hammered away at Woods with a stoppage a possibility but Wood survived and Dickens took the last to clinch the win. Scores 96-94 and 95-94 Dickens and 95-95. Since suffering consecutive losses to Guillermo Rigondeaux for the WBA super bantam title and Thomas Patrick Ward for the British title Dickens has bounced back with seven wins including a points victory over 21-1 Nathaniel May. He is No 3 with the IBF but the top two positions are vacant. Wood was rated No 11 by the IBF so that may allow Dickens to climb to the post of official challenger to Josh Warrington. Wood had put together a twelve-bout winning run and was ranked No 8 by the WBO. He was making the first defence of the WBO European title and he will probably look for some domestic wins and then climb the ratings again.
McKenna vs. Mimoune
In a clash of southpaws McKenna advances to meet Ohara Davies in the super lightweight final of the Golden Contract with a very controversial unanimous decision over Frenchman Mimoune. This was a fast-paced entertaining fight as the two styles melded to produce plenty of furious exchanges. McKenna was looking to use his longer reach to work on the outside with Mimoune putting McKenna under pressure. McKenna’s boxing gave him an early edge but Mimoune was rumbling forward and getting through with hooks. Mimoune connected with a strong right to the body in the fourth and then kept on top of McKenna for the rest of the round. They continued to exchange punches in some fierce action with the pattern being of Mimoune marching forward and McKenna moving, stabbing out jabs and trying to keep the Frenchman out. Mimoune landed a number of low punches but avoided a deduction. McKenna was cut over his right eye in the seventh and although still picking up points with his jab he was being outworked by the stronger Mimoune. The eighth was close and so was the ninth with a couple of low punches from Mimoune going unpunished as he seemed to have gone in front on the scoring. In the tenth McKenna was stronger at the start of the round but Mimoune finished the stronger and looked to have done enough to win. Scores 96-94 twice and 97-93 for McKenna. The question was whether McKenna’s early lead was enough to hold off Mimoune’s strong finish which was very questionable but with the intense action many rounds were close. McKenna was defending the WBC International title. The Belfast fighter lost to WBO No 1 Jack Catterall in 2018 but had won the WBC International title last June with a victory over Darragh Foley. Mimoune, a former undefeated IBO and European champion, had put together a ten-bout winning run including victories over Sam Eggington and 21-0 Emiliano Dominguez but a loss to Viktor Postol last April ended that sequence and this loss just adds to his agony. At 32 he will have to take chances to get back in contention.
Walsh vs. McCullagh
Walsh wins through to face Dickens in the final of the Golden Contract tournament and protects his WBO No 2 status as he stages a strong finish to outpoint McCullagh. Over the early rounds Walsh just could not pin down the quick moving, elusive southpaw McCullagh. As a frustrated Walsh chased McCullagh in vain McCullagh was just doing enough to edge the rounds. Walsh constantly changed guards but was still having no success as McCullagh skated through the first five rounds. The fight changed in the sixth with Walsh being credited with a knockdown. It was as much a case of McCullagh being shaken by some rights and overbalancing in trying to avoid the follow-up punches. From there Walsh grew in strength and McCullagh began to fade. Walsh kept up the pressure in the seventh and had McCullagh rocky in the eighth. McCullagh rallied briefly early in the ninth but just before the bell he was down again as Walsh connected with left hooks and Walsh outscored McCullagh in the last. Scores 97-91 twice and 96-92 for Walsh. The 33-year-old from Norfolk lost important fight to Lee Selby for the British title and Dennis Ceylan for the European title but has rebounded well with wins over Reece Bellotti and unbeaten Hairon Socarras. McCullagh, a former WBO European super bantamweight champion, was rated No 8 by the WBO due to winning their European title but he lacked the power to keep Walsh out.
Davies vs. Ofori
Davies wins his way through to the Golden Contract final with stoppage of Ofori with bragging rights for their neighbourhood of Hackney also on the line. Davies was just too strong and too experienced for Ofori. After taking the first two rounds Davies floored Ofori with a right late in the third. Davies also took the fourth but Ofori fought back hard in the round before a series from punches from Davies in the fifth had Ofori in deep trouble and the fight was stopped. Fifteenth win by KO/TKO for “Two Tanks”. He ran into road blocks in the shape of losses to Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall but wins over Miguel Vazquez and unbeaten Logan Yoon have put him back on course and victory and a Golden Contract would be a huge boost for him. This proved too big a step up for Ofori
Rimouski, Canada: Super Middle: Erik Bazinyan (25-0) W TKO 6 Timo Laine (27-13,1ND). Heavy: Simon Kean (19-1) W KO 3 Daniel Martz (19-9-1). Light Heavy: Nurzat Sabirov (11-0) W PTS 8 Ricardo Luna (22-8-1).
Bazinyan vs. Laine
Another inside the distance for Bazinyan as he breaks down and stops game Finn Laine. Bazinyan dominated the action with his sharp, accurate jabbing which Laine never really found a way to neutralise but he was competitive. In the sixth Bazinyan launched a fierce attack. He battered Laine in a corner then drove him along the ropes to another corner. Laine was just trying to cover up and not punching back and the fight could have been stopped a few punches before it was. The 24-year-old Armenian-born Bazinyan goes to 19 wins by KO/TKO. A talented fighter with power he is rated WBO 4/WBA 9/IBF 15(14) he has yet to face anything remotely like a name fighter so really needs tougher tests. He moved to Canada with his family at the age of 16 as his parents did not want him to do military service which is mandatory in Armenia. Laine was coming off three wins over very modest opposition and gets beaten when he tries to step up.
Kean vs. Martz
Too easy for Kean against Martz. After a slow first round Kean twice forced Martz to a corner in the second and dropped him with a series of punches. Martz survived but when he tried to rush Kean in the third Kean landed a left hook counter which put Martez down on his back and he was counted out. Win No 18 by KO/TKO for the 31-year-old from Trois Rivieres. He has reversed his lone loss but is still just a big, strong but limited fighter. Eighth loss by KO/TKO for Martz. The 6’72” “Mountain” is tall and that’s about all he has going for him. Last year he was stopped in four rounds by Charles Martin and in 69 seconds by Apti Davtaev.
Sabirov vs. Luna
Montreal-based Kazak Sabirov wears down Mexican Lima with body punches on his way to a unanimous decision. Sabirov being sensibly matched and had the useful experience of going eight rounds in this one. Luna was stopped in five round by Bazinyan in December 2018 and knocked out inside a round by Bektemir Melikuziev in August but earlier went the distance with Ryota Murata and D’Mitrius Ballard
Moscow, Russia: Super Middle: Aslambek Idigov (18-0) W PTS 10 Ryan Ford (17-6). Super Welter: Islam Edisultanov (10-0) W PTS 10 Evgeny Terentiev (15-3). Middle: Andrey Sirotkin (17-1) W PTS 10 Apti Ustarkhanov (18-4-3) . Heavy: Apti Davtaev (20-0-1) W KO 2 John Napari (21-1). Middle: Rizvan Elikhanov (10-0) W KO 3 Roger Guerrero (17-2-1).
Idigov vs. Ford
You get no favours in the other guy’s back yard that’s the painful truth Canadian Ford is learning as he loses a majority decision to Russian Idigov. The home fighter made a strong start and by the half way mark was in front putting in a big effort in the fifth looking to get an inside the distance win. Instead Ford came into it as Idigov tired. As Ford landed some thumping rights Idigov was forced to resort to clinching over the late rounds and Ford seemed to have done enough to take the decision but was adjudge the loser on two cards. Scores 96-94 twice for Idigov and 95-95. Idigov wins the WBA Asia title. The 24-year-old Russian scored useful wins last year over 16-1 Ronny Landaeta and 21-1 Robert Racz and is No 6 with the WBO. Ford, 37, is 3-6 in his last 9 fights with all 6 losses on the road against tough opponents such as Avni Yildirim and Joshua Buatsi.
Edisultanov vs. Terentiev
Southpaw Edisultanov takes unanimous decision over fellow Russian southpaw Terentiev. In a good action fight Edisultanov had the edge in power over a competitive Terentiev and was helped on his way to victory by a sixth round knockdown scored with a left hook. Scores 97-91 twice and 96-92 . Edisultanov, 34, wins the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council and WBA Asia belts. Trentiev’s other losses were both split decisions.
Sirotkin vs. Ustarkhanov
Sirotkin takes a unanimous decision over Ustarkhanov but the judges all seemed to see a different fight. Sirotkin went in front early as after a good first round he dropped Ustarkhanov in the third. Ustarkhanov gradually got in to the fight and did enough to make it close but southpaw Sirotkin was a clear winner. Scores 99-90, 96-93 and 95-94 for Sirotkin who lifts the WBC Asian Boxing Council title from defending champion Ustarkhanov. The 34-year-old Sirotkin was stopped in seven rounds by John Ryder in October 2018 but was a quick winner in his last contest in July. Ustarkhanov was 7-1-1 before this one with the loss coming against world rated Rohan Murdock
Davtaev vs. Napari
This was just a farce as Davtaev crushes an inept Napari inside two rounds. Davtaev put Ghanaian Napari down in the first . It was a punch and a push as Davtaev connected with a right to the head that stunned Napari and then applied a push that sent Napari down, He survived the round but in the second swung a wide right with his head down leaving himself wide open and a short explosive right from Davtaev sent him down and he was counted out. Davtaev makes it 18 wins by KO/TKO but even he looked disgusted at this ridiculous pairing. You had the 6’5” Davtaev against the 36-year-old 6’0” Napari who outweighed Davtaev by13lbs. All of Davtaev’s victims have been substandard and it is about time he was tested. Davtaev was defending the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental belt. Napari’s record is unfortunately typical of some of the poor matches in Ghanaian boxing. Sixteen of his opponents had never won a fight and the other five all had negative records.
Elikhanov vs. Guerrero
Elikhanov just punches too hard for poor Ecuadorian Guerrero-another fighter with a heavily padded record. Guerrero did well to survive the first two rounds but Elikhanov blasted him out in the third. Guerrero was pinned to the ropes and slid to the canvas under a barrage of punches. The referee decided it was a slip and he pulled Guerrero to his feet. Guerrero was on unsteady legs and a crunching right sent Guerrero’s mouthguard flying and he dropped to the canvas being counted out as he tried to rise. The 21-year-old Russian has won all nine of his fights by KO/TKO and this victory nets him the WBO Youth title. First fight outside of Ecuador for Guerrero whose only other loss was on a disqualification.
Miami, FL, USA: Light Fly: Jonathan Gonzalez (23-3-1,1ND) W PTS 10 Saul Juarez (25-11-2). Feather: Robeisy Ramirez (2-1) W KO 4 Rafeal Morales (3-1,1ND).
Gonzalez vs. Juarez
Gonzalez takes unanimous decision over Juarez but has to fight hard all the way to withstand the pressure from little Juarez. Southpaw Gonzalez used his better skills and slick movement to offset the aggression of Juarez and scored with some nice left counters. Gonzalez had faster hands and was more accurate but a determined Juarez was able to get past Gonzalez’s jab and connect with hooks to the body. Gonzalez took the first two rounds but Juarez using relentless pressure was getting home with some useful hooks in the third. Smart boxing from Gonzalez was making Juarez look crude in the fourth and the Puerto Rican scored well at the end of the round with a series of hooks. Juarez continued to chase Gonzalez down in the fifth and he had a good sixth as Gonzalez had to resort to holding to stop Juarez scoring inside. Gonzalez took the seventh. He found the target regularly with straight lefts and matched Juarez when they stood and traded and his slick movement frustrated Juarez in the eighth. Juarez switched to southpaw at the start of the ninth but it made no difference as Gonzalez was quicker on his feet and more accurate with his punches. No fireworks in a close last round which Juarez probably edged. Scores 96-94 twice for Gonzalez and a too wide 98-92 for Gonzalez. Gonzalez was return to the ring for the first time since losing in seven rounds against Kosei Tanaka for the WBO title in August. He wins the WBO NABO title which will guarantee he stays in the ratings and makes another title shot a possibility. “Baby” Juarez has lost in title fights against WBC minimumweight champion Wanheng and against Tanaka for the WBO light flyweight title but he is now 2-7-1 in his last 10 fights so no third title chance on his horizon.
Ramirez vs. Morales
Cuban southpaw Ramirez uses a sustained body attack to beat Texan novice Morales. Ramirez ended it in the third with a series of body punches putting Morales down for the count. The 26-year-old double Olympic gold medallist scored wins over Andrew Selby, Michael Conlan and Tugstsogt Nyambayar at the 2012 Games and current world champions Murodjon Akhmadaliev and Shakur Stevenson in Rio. Morales badly overmatched.
Barnsley, England: Feather: Josh Wale (31-11-2) W TKO 3 Iddi Kayumba (12-3-2). Heavy: Kash Ali (17-1) W PTS 6 Kamal Sokolowski (8-17-2)
Wale vs. Kayumba
Four wins in a row now for experienced Barnsley warrior Wale. He had Tanzanian Kayumba hurt early in the first and finished him in the second. A left to the body sent Kayumba down for the first time and a right to the body followed by a left to the head brought the second knockdown and the end of the fight. The former British bantamweight champion is rebuilding well after back-to-back losses to Georges Ory for the European bantam title and Brad Foster for the vacant British super bantamweight title. Kayumba was 10-1 in his last eleven fights.
Ali vs. Sokolowski
Ali given a tough night by late substitute Sokolowski but gets a deserved 58-57 points win. His loss was a stupid disqualification for biting David Price and he needs a few wins to put that behind him. British-based Pole Sokolowski is much better than his record indicates and he has a stoppage win over Nick Webb and a points victory over unbeaten Alex Dickinson.
Asti, Italy: Middle: Etinosa Oliha (11-0) W PTS 10 Carlo De Novellis (7-4-1).Light: Domenico Valentino (8-1) W Nestor Maradiaga (8-5-1).
Oliha vs. De Novellis
Youth, speed and accuracy won this one for promising Oliha as he takes the unanimous verdict over De Novellis to collect the vacant national title. An assured performance by the younger fighter who showed good skills to make up for a lack of power. He is still very much a work in progress. Oliha built a lead over the slow paced early but De Novellis did well over the middle rounds scoring with some good uppercuts and showing Oliha had some work to do on his defence but other than that was outboxed by the new champion. Scores 97-93 twice and 98-92 for the 21-year-old Asti fighter who is of Nigerian antecedents. The 39-yerar-old De Novellis was the Italian champion back in 2008 but was inactive for almost eight years before returning to the ring in 2016.
Valentino vs. Maradiaga
Valentino beings the process of putting his defeat by Francesco Patera behind him with an undemanding points victory over teenager Maradiaga. That loss in October was for the European title and the former World Amateur champion and three-time Olympian will be building towards another shot. Maradiaga, 18, was having his first fight in Europe but will presumably join the stable of Nicaraguan losers so loved by British promoters.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Super Light: Carlos Cordoba (12-6,1ND) W PTS 10 Christian Andino (13-0).
Excellent win for visitor Cordoba as he defeats local undefeated fighter Andino. It was a fairly even fight with Andino trying to box on the outside and Cordoba to work the body inside. Andino was in front after five rounds with Cordoba losing a point in the fifth for a punch to the back of the neck. Cordoba edged into the lead late in the fight scoring with hooks and uppercuts inside and although it was tight the decision looked right. Scores 97-94 ½ , 96-93 ½ and 95-94 ½. Cordoba, the Argentinian No 5 lightweight ,moves up and wins the national title at super lightweight . He had the advantage of having gone both ten a and twelve rounds before which helped him pace the fight. “Elegant” Andino, 24, will try again.
Brovari, Ukraine: Light: Denys Berinchyk (13-0) W PTS 12 Hector Sarmiento (21-2). Super Middle: Maksym Bursak (36-6-2) W PTS 8 Max Smirnov (8-6-3).
Berinchyk vs. Sarmiento
Berinchyk retains the WBO International title with victory over Argentinian Sarmiento. Berinchyk was coming forward throwing punches trying to take Sarmiento out early but the Argentinian showed some clever moves and frustrated Berinchyk. The Ukrainian just kept up the pressure and Sarmiento started to slow. Even then he was still boxing well enough to deal with Berinchyk’s aggression but he was not scoring enough himself to be a threat. Berinchyk handed out plenty of punishment having Sarmiento rocking in the eighth but was never quite able to repeat that and was leaving himself open in his efforts to crush Sarmiento. In the end Berinchyk was a clear winner but will have been disappointed at having had to go the full twelve rounds for a win in each of his last three fights. Scores 118-110, 117-111 and 117-112 for Berinchyk. After winning silver medals at the World Championships and the Olympics he was expected to do big things as a pro but he has not been active enough or fought the right quality of opposition to have a high profile in a division crowded with talent. Berinchyk was just too strong for Argentinian featherweight champion Sarmiento who has never weighed more than 130lbs in a fight. His only other loss was on a technical decision.
Bursak vs. Smirnov
Bursak struggles to impress against Smirnov. Late substitute Smirnov was busy over the first few rounds. He was finding gaps for his jab and straight rights but had no power. Bursak was able to walk him down and focused his attacks on the body. Smirnov had a good third popping Bursak with jabs and Bursak was looking slow. Bursak did better in the fourth as his power put him in control. Smirnov remained competitive in the fifth but was tiring in the sixth as Bursak landed some clubbing hooks to the head. Bursak just could not subdued Smirnov who was outworking the Ukrainian over the closing rounds. The harder punches were coming from Bursak but Smirnov was more than willing to stand in front of Bursak and trade punches. Bursak got the unanimous decision. Scores 80-72, 78-74 and 78-75 for Bursak but even the last score was unfair on Smirnov. On this showing the 35-year-old from Kiev is not going to pose much of a threat. He may have treated this one too lightly. He has lost in shots at the WBO and IBO titles and only lost to David Lemieux on a split decision in December but will need to improve a lot to get another title shot. Russian Smirnov, 34, was having only his second fight in five years so performed well above expectations.
Brampton, Canada: Super Welter: Brandon Cook (22-2) W KO 7 Luis Pina (20-4). Middle: Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (8-0) W PTS 10 Richard Holmes (19-12).
Cook vs. Pina
Cook looking on the edge of a stoppage loss finds a body punch to pull off an unlikely win. Cook fought with his traditional aggression bobbing and weaving his way past the jab of Lima and targeting the body. Lima was taller with a reach advantage and was countering well and more than willing to trade with Cook. Lima took advantage of the wide open Cook to score heavily in the third and fourth and was proving a real test for the local fighter. Cook battled back hard in the fifth but Lima was again handing out punishment in the sixth with things looking bleak for Cook who was showing heavy bruising under both eyes. Cook dropped into the ropes and it could have been counted as the ropes held him up Lima drove Cook across the ring with Cook floundering and stumbling and holding to survive. Lima was storming into Cook with punches in the seventh and Cook was in deep trouble dipping at the knees and almost going down. He then threw himself forward and landed a right to the side of Lima’s body which sent Lima into a corner. Suddenly Lima was in pain and he looked over at the referee showing that pain. The referee stepped in and gave Lima a standing count but Lima was still in agony and not able to continue so the referee waived the fight over. A real back from the brink win for Cook. He has been beaten inside the distance by Kanat Islam and in a WBO title fight by Jaime Munguia. He was out for fourteen months after losing to Munguia in September 2018 and this is his second win after returning but with the punishment he took and at the age of 33 it really does put a big question mark over where he goes from here. Mexican Lima was coming off inside the distance losses to very tough opposition in Christian Mbilli and Carlos Molina but he came within a couple of punches of a win here.
Bhatti vs. Holmes
Bhatti moves to eight wins with decision over Jamaican Holmes. Bhatti had the better skills and with his much longer reach was able to control much of the fight with his jab. Holmes was competitive. A bit slower but he was able to score with hooks and uppercuts. Bhatti switched guards occasionally and had a big fourth round when he penned Holmes in a corner and battered away at him for over 40 seconds. Holmes never looked like going down and fought back hard in the fifth. Bhatti was back on top in the sixth and seventh but Holmes did well in a wild eighth which saw both fighters standing and trading punches. Although tiring Bhatti outboxed Holmes in the ninth and had more left than Holmes in the tenth. Scores 98-92 twice and 97-93 for Bhatti. The Indian-born, Ontario-based Bhatti showed good skills. He is at the very start of his career but may lack the power to go beyond domestic level. Holmes drops to 0-3 in fights in Canada.
Ergue Galaric, France: Super Welter: Howard Cospolite (18-7-3) W PTS 10 Romain Peron (9-8). Cospolite wins the vacant French title with split decision over Peron. His greater experience paid off for Cospolite and he looked to have won clearly but one judge saw a different fight. Scores 98-92 and 97-92 for Cospolite and 96-94 for Peron. In his last two fights Cospolite had drawn and lost to unbeaten Dylan Charrat for the vacant European Union title so he will be hoping to work his way to another shot at the title. Peron had won his last five fights.
Recklinghausen, Germany: Super Middle: Ibrahim Guemues (19-0) W TKO 8 Cesar Cuenca (48-4). An aging and largely inactive Cuenca is stopped by unbeaten Guemues. In theory Cuenca was a big step up in quality of opposition for the IBF Mediterranean champion who had scored a good win with a stoppage of Gennady Martirosyan in November. In reality the 39-year-old Cuenca, a former IBF super light champion, was having only his second fight in almost four years and his first for 13 months and was 20lbs heavier than that last fight.
London, England: Super Bantam: Brad Foster (12-0-2) W RTD 6 Lucien Reid (8-1-2). Umar Sadiq (10-1) W PTS 10 Kody Davies (10-1).
Foster vs. Reid
Foster puts the record straight with victory over Reid. When these two met in September Foster held on to his British and Commonwealth titles thanks to a majority draw with one judge seeing Reid the winner. Foster had taken on board the lessons from that first fight. Reid had proved a clever, slick opponent but this time Foster pressured him hard from the start and broke down the challenger’s resistance. Reid had some brief periods of success to ease the pressure but by the sixth he had nothing left and his corner pulled him out of the fight. The 22-year-old Foster was making the third defence of the British title and the second of the Commonwealth title. Reid has a regrouping project ahead of him.
Sadiq vs. Davies
Sadiq wins the British title eliminator with points victory over Davies. The Nigerian-born Sadiq won on scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 and is now in position to challenge British champion Lerrone Richards the WBO’s No 12. Welsh southpaw Davies had done most of his fighting recently at light heavy so might go up again to seek a title fight there.
Oldham, England: Light Heavy: Mark Heffron (25-1) W TKO 1 Ondrej Budera (12-16-1). Heffron continues his series of victories over un-testing opposition as he wipes out Czech Budera in just 59 seconds. Heffron landed some head punches and Budera dropped to one knee with Heffron connecting with a glancing blow when Budera was on one knee. Budera got up but was shaken by another series of punches and put down and out by a thunderous right hook. Four wins for Heffron who was stopped in ten rounds by WBC No 4 rated Liam Williams for the vacant British title in December 2018.Budera is 0-4 in fights in Britain.
Monte Hermoso, Argentina: Super Welter: Gerardo Vergara (12-0) W Marcelo Bzowski (11-11-3). Vergara wins the vacant WBA Fedebol tile with points decision over southpaw Bzowski. A higher work rate and heavier punch saw Vergara through to the victory. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 for Vergara. The 26-year-old from Bahia Blanca, the Argentinian No 6, was moving up to ten rounds for the first time and will be hoping to fight for the national title later this year. Bzowski was No 4 in the ranking. He lost twice in South American title fights last year and has suffered a dip in form now being 1-4-1 in his last six outings.
Ghent, Belgium: Welter: Meriton Karaxha (27-5-3) DREW 8 Laszlo Toth (28-5-2). Welter: Giovanni Techel (7-0) W Melvin Wassing (7-4-4).
Karaxha vs. Toth
This was a tough fight between two experienced boxers. Neither is top flight but they both fought hard all the way with first one and then the other on top. Karaxha constantly pressed the taller Toth but had to absorb some hard shots from the Hungarian. It could have gone to either boxer but the draw looked the right result. Scores 76-76 twice and 77-75 for local fighter Karaxha. The Albanian-born Karaxha has boosted his record with an unbeaten run of nine wins and two draws. Toth started his career with a 19-0-1 run but then went the money route fighting in the other guys back yard and against tougher opposition for better pay days, He has fought in Ukraine, Spain, Romania, Germany, South Africa, Indonesia and Russia,
Techel vs. Wassing
Belgian hope Techel gets his fourth inside the distance victory with second round kayo of Dutchman Wassing. Steady progress by the 23-year-old. Wassing is now a balanced 3-3-3 in his nine most recent outings.
Fight of the week (Significance): Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Tyrone McKenna vs. Mohamed Mimoune was a hotly contested for all ten rounds
Fighter of the week: Has to be Tyson Fury
Punch of the week: The fight finishing rights from Apti Davtaev and Ronnie Heffron stood out
Upset of the week: Petros Ananyan’s victory over IBF No 2 Subriel Matias was a shock
Prospect watch: Lightweight Rolando Romero is 11-0 with 10 wins by KO/TKO and looks promising.
There aren't too many fighters who will get multiple mentions in this series, but today's Closet Classic features one man's third entry and one man's second. The bout featured two true action men in the ring and it was clear, as soon as the bout was signed, that we would be getting something special. We would be getting warriors beating lumps out of each other and we would be getting the Wonder Boy and the Tough Boy.
Rex Tso (21-0, 13) Vs Kohei Kono (33-10-1, 14)
Local Hong Kong star Rex Tso seemed to be edging his way towards a world title as we headed into winter 2017. The all action "Wonder Boy" had the backing not just of local promoter DEF Boxing but numerous sponsors, who were all putting money behind Tso to try and get him a shot at the WBO world title. As we entered this bout he had climbed to the verge of a title shot and had wowed fans with thrilling bouts against the likes of Hirofumi Mukai and Ryuto Maekawa. Although not the most polished of fighters Tso was more skilled than people seemed to give him credit for. He just often abandoned his skills to have a fan friendly tear up instead, and often went toe-to-toe with fighters, bringing out the most fun to watch bouts he could. He was an action fighter and at 30 years old it seemed 2018 was going to be the year that he broke into the big time.
The 36 year old Kohei Kono was dubbed the "Tough Boy", he was rugged and had only been stopped once in 34 bouts, by Naoya Inoue. As a 2-time world champion he had proven his ability at the highest level and even at 36 years old he had a great engine, a solid chin and a desire to always give his all. Although not a major star he had a real cult following that had expanded outside of Japan with fans knowing Kono could provide fun bouts, and that was notably shown in the US when he faced off with Koki Kameda in the first ever all-Japanese world title to take place in America. Past his best, and with losses in 2 of his previous 3, he was expected to be too a good name for Tso to get on his record and wasn't expected to have the legs and energy to push the Hong Kong local too hard here.
Straight from the off it was clear Kono had more in the tank than many had anticipated. He was on the front foot straight away and trying to cut the ring down, taking the legs of Tso away and pressing the local star. To his credit Tso shows that he could respond to the pressure by both moving, or fighting fire with fire.
It was the "fighting fire with fire" that we were hoping to see, and as the bout went on, and as Tso's legs began to slow, there was a growing amount of fiery action, hastened in part to a headclash in round 2 that had damaged the eye of Tso. The damage, originally, wasn't too bad but it would later get worse and ended up as a grotesque swelling around the eye.
As the swelling got worse it forced Tso to stand and fight, and also gave Kono a real target to attack. This was where the fight, and action began to go through the gears, with desperation striking both men.
Sadly the ending was rather inconclusive, and left a tarnish to the fight that the action didn't deserve, but what we'd had to get to that point had been enthralling, from the first bell to the last.
Sadly the injury that Tso suffered kept him out of the ring all together for a long stretch of time, before resurfaced as an amateur fighter, and began to try and make his way to the 2020 Olympics. As for Kono he would fight just once more before hanging up the gloves after 46 professional bouts.
By Eric Armit
-Caleb Plant stops Vincent Feigenbutz in IBF super middleweight title defence
-Ryan Garcia and Jorge Linares score inside the distance wins to set up a tasty clash between them later this year
-Abel Ramos halts Bryant Perrella in the last second of their welterweight fight
-Former WBA bantamweight champion Rau’shee Warren eases himself back into action with a points win over Gilberto Mendoza and Diego Magdaleno returns with points victory over Austin Dulay
-In a clash of former champions Sho Kimura crushes Merlito Sabillo in two rounds
WORLD TITLE SHOWS
Sydney Canada: Cruiser: Ryan Rozicki (12-0) W TKO 3 Vlad Reznicek (9-3-2). Welter: Jessie Wilcox (15-0-2) W PTS 8 Luis Montelongo (12-8). Middle: Brandon Brewer (24-1-1) W PTS 8 Josue Castaneda (14-13-3).
Rozicki vs. Reznicek
Cape Breton fighter Rozicki successfully defends the WBC International Silver title with stoppage of Czech Reznicek. Rozicki made a slow start and a left hook from Reznicek busted his nose in the opening round. Rozicki began to roll in the second digging in hooks to the body as they exchanged heavy punches. Rozicki ended it in the third. He pushed Reznicek back with some body shots and then exploded a left hook that already had Reznicek horizontal on the way down. Somehow the brave Czech made it to his feet but he was stumbling and shaky but the referee allowed him to continue and with Reznicek pinned to the ropes Rozicki landed nine more head punches before the referee belatedly stopped the fight. The 24-year-old was having his first fight since September when he suffered a cut requiring 26 stitches and also sustaining a broken orbital bone and a hand injury. He maintains his 100% record of inside the distance wins taking him less than twenty-four rounds in all but he has his faults so might be found out against higher level opposition. Reznicek, 31, was 5-0-2 in his previous seven fights and gave Rozicki a good fight until the stoppage.
Wilcox vs. Montelongo
Wilcox remains unbeaten with unanimous decision over Mexican Montelongo. A strong jab and good movement helped Wilcox overcome a determined Montelongo. The tall 28-yerar-old from Ontario, the Canadian No 5, is a former Canadian Golden Gloves champion. Montelongo had won his last five contests.
Brewer vs. Castaneda
Brewer is pushed hard all the way by Castaneda but just does enough to get the win on a split decision, First fight for the 35-year-old “LJack” since losing a wide unanimous decision against Mark DeLuca in June. Mexican Castaneda drops to 2-3-1 in his last six fights
Saint Quentin, France: Super Feather: Guillame Frenois (47-2-1) W PTS 10 12 Caril Herrera (41-3,2ND). Fighting in front of his own fans Frenois wins the WBA Inter-Continental title with comfortable points win over Uruguayan Herrera. The 5’3” tall southpaw visitor is too small to be fighting at super featherweight but he is stocky and strong and has a punch. Frenois put Herrera down in the second round and then realised that Herrera was not going to give in easily and from there Frenois used his huge reach advantage and better skills to box his way to the win. Scores 119-108, 118-109 and 117-110 for Frenois. This is his first outing since losing on points to Tevin Farmer for the IBF title in July. He is hoping the WBA Inter-Continental title might open doors for him in their rankings. The 39-year-old Herrera, a pro for 16 years, won the national featherweight title less than a month ago. After turning pro he won his first 21 fights before losing to Filipino A J Banal in an IBF super flyweight eliminator.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Fly: Ryoji Fukunaga (12-4) W TKO 7 Froilan Saludar (31-4-1). In a mild upset Fukunaga stops Filipino Saludar and relieves him of the WBO Asia Pacific title. Saludar had the better of the opening exchanges pressuring Fukunaga and starting a swelling around Fukunaga’s right eye which worsened as the fight progressed. Fukunaga focused on the body and gradually worked his way into the fight. After four rounds Saludar was in front on two cards 40-36 and 39-37 with the third having them even at 38-38. The body punching from Fukunaga slowed Saludar and Fukunaga dominated the fifth and sixth. In the seventh Saludar was backed into a corner and shipping punishment when the referee stopped the fight. All of the 33-year-old Fukunaga’s wins have come by KO/TKO. Saludar, the WBO No 9, was 8-1 in his last nine fights with the loss coming against Sho Kimura for the WBO flyweight title.
Anaheim, CA, USA: Light: Jorge Linares (47-5) W KO 4 Carlos Morales (19-5-4), Light: Ryan Garcia (20-0) W KO 1 Francisco Fonseca (25-3-2). Welter: Alexis Rocha (16-0) W PTS 10 Brad Solomon (28-3). Welter: Blair Cobbs (14-0-1) W PTS 10 Samuel Kotey Neequaye (23-3). Super Middle: Bektemir Melikuziev (5-0) W KO 1 Oscar Cortes (27-6).
Linares vs. Morales
Linares obliterates Morales as he scores two knockdowns on the way to a fourth round victory. Over the first two rounds Linares was marching forward with some flashing rights just whistling past the chin of Morales. Morales was boxing well on the back foot using a good jab and some straight rights but was unable to keep Linares out but a clash of heads opened a cut over the left eye of Linares. Late in the third Linares dropped Morales with a short right hook with Morales beating the count and the bell going before Linares could do any more damage. In the fourth as Morales moved forward trying to get inside Linares met him with a right hook that put him down heavily. Morales made to his feet but was counted out. It was obvious that Linares was looking to impress after his first round stoppage loss against Pablo Cano in January last year. At 34 and twelve years after winning his first world title he made it clear that his aim is another title. First inside the distance defeat for Morales who was coming off a technical draw with Mercito Gesta. With the talk of Linares vs. Ryan Garcia it is interesting to note that Morales only lost to Garcia on a majority decision.
Garcia vs. Fonseca
Stunning and explosive demonstration by Garcia. The smaller Fonseca tried to get inside but was knocked back on his heels by a left hook. Garcia used his huge reach advantage to probe Fonseca’s defence and when Fonseca again came forward Garcia met him with a chilling left hook that sent Fonseca down flat on his back. His eyes were open but un-focused and the referee immediately dispensed with the count. All over in 80 seconds. In his last fight in November Garcia crushed Romero Dulay in 98 seconds and for both Dulay and Fonseca it was the first time they had been stopped. The tall 21-year-old “Kingry” retains the WBC Silver title. He has 17 wins by KO/TKO and is rated WBA 2/WBC 4/WBO 6. Now hopefully he heads on to a fight with Linares in July a huge test for Garcia but he is also talking about fighting Gervonta Davis by the end of the year. Nicaraguan Fonseca has had two shots at the IBF super feather title. He was knocked out in eight rounds by Davis in 2017 for the vacant title and on points in a challenge to Tevin Farmer in December 2018. In last fight in November he looked very unlucky not get the decision over Alex Dilmaghani in London.
Rocha vs. Solomon
Good win for Rocha against the more experienced and smart Solomon. Rocha was pressing the fight early hustling Solomon getting inside and outworking him. Solomon managed to get a foot-hold in the fight in the third in some exchanges that saw both fighters connecting with good shots. The middle rounds were close. Solomon was scoring with some accurate combinations but Rocha boxed well and was busier just having the edge in each round. Rocha had already established a winning lead before flooring Solomon in the last. Solomon was hurt by a body shot and then went down under a series of follow-up punches. Not only did Solomon beat the count but he went on to rock Rocha with an uppercut before the bell but it was a 10-8 round for Rocha. Scores 100-89, 99-90 and 97-92 for Rocha. The 22-year-old southpaw turned pro at 18 after winning a number of youth titles and is making good progress with wins over Shoki Sakai and 17-1 Roberto Valenzuela Jr. Solomon, 36, wax 26-0 at one time but with just one fight in each of years 2016, 2017 and 2018 and being knocked out in Vergil Ortiz in December, his only fight in 2019, he hardly counts as active.
Cobbs vs. Neequaye
Cobbs remains undefeated with split verdict over Neequaye in a disappointing fight. Flashy southpaw Cobbs was quicker and used that edge to work on the outside. Neequaye pressed but was having trouble finding the target. Cobbs was content to box without taking chances and apart from some overhand rights Neequaye was not contributing much himself. The contestants were being booed by the fifth with the crowd looking for them to engage more. The fight flared briefly into action in the sixth with some frantic exchanges but then reverted to dullness. The better skills of Cobbs gave him a slight advantage but the crowd were restive again in the ninth a round in which Cobbs was deducted a point for a low punch but he seemed to be the clear winner. Scores 96-93 twice for Cobbs and 95-94 for Neequaye. The 30-year-old from Philadelphia retained his NABF title but did not fight like a guy with nine inside the distance victories to his credit and he should have done better against a strong but limited Neequaye. The 36-year-old Ghanaian was having only his second fight after 3 ½ years of inactivity.
Melikuziev vs. Cortes
Uzbek southpaw Melikuziev wipes out Cortes. Melikuziev went after Cortes and floored him with a right to the head. Cortes made it to his feet but after he was put down with a body punch the referee started the count and then stopped when he saw Cortes was not going to get up any time soon. Done and dusted in 2:05 of the first round. The 23-year-old Melikuziev won every round against Vaughan Alexander in December and is already No 15 with the WBA. He won gold medal at the World Youth and Youth Olympics and silver medals at the World Championships and 2016 Olympics. Cortes came in as a late replacement after Marco Periban pulled out. Cortes has been travelling a rough road with losses to Hugo Centeno and Kamil Szeremeta in 2019.
Philadelphia, PA, USA: Light: Isaac Cruz (19-1-1) W PTS 10 Thomas Mattice (15-2-1) W. Super Light: Montana Love (13-0-1) W PTS 8 Jerrico Walton (16-1). Super Bantam: Raeese Aleem (16-0) W TKO 4 Adam Lopez (19-4-2).
Cruz vs. Mattice
Cruz takes hard earned majority decision in a well-matched contest. Sometimes styles dictate the pattern of the fight but sometimes physical factors are the driver. With the 5’4 ½” Cruz facing a 5’9” Mattice there was only one way that Cruz was going to win and that was by taking the fight inside and that was what he set out to do from the start. He put Mattice under heavy pressure banging heavily to the body and it was the third round before Mattice was finally able to get on the front foot and do some body punching on his own account. Mattice connected with some choice punches in the fifth and sixth but just could not keep Cruz out and in the seventh it was Cruz scoring to the body and he shook Mattice with a left hook . Mattice was finding gaps and countering and doing enough to keep the fight close but was under pressure throughout the ninth. Cruz connected with a strong left hook early in the tenth but then Mattice staged a strong finish landing a heavy right to the head and hurting Cruz with a body punch to take the round but it was not enough. Score 96-94 twice for Cruz and 95-95. The little 21-year-old from Mexico City is on a good run. He has won his last eight fights including a stoppage of former interim WBA title challenger Jose Felix Jr. and is rated No 7(5) by the IBF. Cruz was a brave choice of opponent for Cleveland’s Mattice but you have to be ready to earn your money the hard way on ShoBox and this was an entertaining and competitive fight so hopefully he will come again.
Love vs. Walton
Cleveland southpaw Love finishes strongly to edge out Walton in a spirited contest that swung one way and then the other. Love bossed the first two rounds outscoring a slow starting Walton in the first and shaking him with right in the second. Walton did better in the third getting through with left hooks and it was Love’s turn to be rocked in the fourth. The fifth was close with Walton working well to the body inside and Love had a good six boxing on the outside. It was too close to call at that stage but Love turned it his way with an eye-catching right in the seventh that stunned Walton and Love carried the impetus from that into the eighth to earn him the decision. Scores 77-75 twice and 78-74 all for Love. He was having only his second fight in nineteen months. The draw on his record was with Kenneth Sims Jr in July 2018. New Orleans-born Walton outpointed a fading former WBC super bantam champion Victor Terrazas in August and made this one close to the end.
Aleem vs. Lopez
Assured winning performance from Aleem as he stops very creditable opponent in Lopez. Aleem took the first and then began the breaking down of Lopez in the second. He was landing well to head and body and Lopez was trying to hold and slow Aleem’s attacks but ended the second with a cut high on his hair line on the left side of his head. Aleem was handing out some serious punishment in the third and the blood was flowing from Lopez’s nose. Aleem had Lopez reeling with a sustained attack in the fourth and with Lopez’s nose still bleeding heavily Lopez’s team signalled they wanted the fight stopped. Ninth inside the distance for Michigan’s Aleem. Lopez had won his last three fights.
La Calera, Argentina: Super Welter: Alejandro Silva (12-0-1) W PTS 10 Emiliano Pucheta (13-4). Silva wins the vacant Argentinian title with unanimous verdict over Pucheta. In a savage battle it was Silva handing out most of the punishment. In round after round he rocked Pucheta with hooks and uppercuts and looked close to a stoppage win. Pucheta landed some good shots of his own but Silva had the harder punch and Pucheta did well to last the distance. Scores 98-92 twice and 99-91 for Silva, the Argentinian No 2,registers his tenth win in a row. Pucheta the national No 5 drops to 2-3 in his last 5 but has yet to be beaten inside the distance.
Carlos Paz, Argentina: Super Feather: Matias Rueda (34-1) W TKO 8 Fabian Orosco (27-12-4). Super Light: Hugo Roldan (18-0-1) W PTS 10 Emiliano Rodriguez (23-7).
Rueda vs. Orosco
As expected Rueda just punches too hard for a downward heading Orosco. The “Little Cobra” put Orosco down in both the third and fourth but Orosco hung in there until the eighth. In that round a left hook to the body saw Orosco dropping to one knee in obvious distress and the referee waived the fight over without a count. Win No 30 by KO/TKO for the 31-year-old from Tandil. His only defeat came in 2016 in a fight against Oscar Valdez for the vacant WBO featherweight title and he has run up eight wins since then, seven by KO/TKO. Orosco (or Orozco as he appears on the Argentinian Federation rankings) is well down the slope. He was knocked out by Rueda in 2018 and now has eight losses and a draw in his last nine fights.
Roldan vs. Rodriguez
Argentinian No 2 Roldan keeps his unbeaten tag with unanimous verdict over Rodriguez. Roldan took the unanimous decision. It looked as though it might be a split decision as he was trailing Rodriguez on one card until he scored a knockdown in the tenth getting away with a final punch that seemed to land when Rodriguez had a glove on the canvas. Scores 99 ½ -92, 97-94 ½ and 96 ½ -96 for Roldan. He needed a win after having his 100% record spoiled by a majority draw against novice Agustin Kucharski in December. Rodriguez lost to Mohamed Mimoune in France for the IBO title in 2018 and to Sean McComb in Belfast last year but in a better result, also last year, only lost to Rueda on a split decision.
Kuringen, Belgium: Welter; Hovhannes Martirosyan (9-0) W PTS 10 Bilal Messoudi (7-6-1). Heavy: Herve Hubeaux (32-3) W PTS 6 Pavlo Krolenko (3-5).
Martirosyan vs. Messoudi
Martirosyan wins the vacant Belgium title as he scores a knockdown and takes every round against a too brave Messoudi. Martirosyan had too much skill for a very raw and very limited Messoudi but what Messoudi did have was guts galore. He soaked up lots of punishment and climbed off the floor to go the distance. In the last round Martirosyan was battering Messoudi around the ring and it was difficult to see what was keeping Messaoudi up and it would have been an act of mercy to stop the fight. Martirosyan punched himself out and that allowed Messoudi to stay to the bell. Scores 100-89 for Martirosyan on all three cards. Martirosyan was going ten rounds for the first time. Moroccan born Messaoudi needs saving from himself and he took too much punishment here.
Hubeaux vs. Krolenko
Just a light run out for Hubeaux as he outpoints Ukrainian prelim fighter Krolenko. Scores 60-54 from the three judges for Hubeaux. Losses in big fights against Agit Kabayel for the EBU title and Oscar Rivas for the NABF title have been important set-backs for the 27-year-old Hubeaux who is currently No 12 in the EBU ratings. Krolenko did his job by going the distance.
Calgary, Canada: Welter: Devin Reti (14-0) W Victor Rangel (17-6-3).
Calgary fighter Reti collects his first pro title as he outpoints Mexican Rangel. Reti controlled the action all the way but Rangel showed a good chin and it was an entertaining contests. Reti had the better skills but could not dent Rangel who did some showboating to entertain the crowd and gave Reti his first experience of going ten rounds. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91. Reti, 26, the Canadian No 4, wins the vacant Canadian Professional Boxing Council’s North American title. Rangel is a modest 4-4 in his last eight outings
Santiago, Chile: Light: Jose Sanchez (18-1) W PTS 10 Javier Clavero (27-7). Local fighter Sanchez wins the vacant WBO Latino title with close verdict over Argentinian Clavero. In the early rounds Clavero’s pressure tactics saw him build a lead. Sanchez came into the fight more over the second half and cut into that lead but Clavero looked to have done enough to win. The judges disagreed. All three officials scored it 96-94 for Sanchez. The 35-year-old Chilean turned pro in 2006 and won his first 15 contests before in 2010 an injury in an assault seemed to end his career but after a couple of false starts he is back on track and has reversed his only loss. Clavero, a former Argentinian and South American champion, was 2-2 last year with losses in fights for the Argentinian and WBC International titles.
St Trivier les Courtes, France: Heavy: Newfel Ouatah (18-3) W PTS 10 Faisal Arrami (19-8-1). Ouatah retains the French title with comprehensive victory over former cruiserweight champion Arrami. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93. The 34-year-old 6’6 ½” from Lyon is in his second reign as champion. He was stopped inside a round by Junior Fa in March last year. His immediate aim is a shot at the EU title but he has a lot of work to do as he is currently down at No 23. “The African King” Arrami was having his second shot at the national title.
Mexicali, Mexico: Fly: Elwin Soto (17-1) W KO 1 Javier Rendon (10-4-3). WBO champion Soto blows away poor Rendon in the first round. Soto was giving away height and reach but his quicker hands were too much for Rendon. Soto found the range with his jab and connected with a coulee of good rights. Soto continued to hunt Rendon and shook him with as left hook. Rendon jabbed and moved but just when it looked as though he would see out the round with thirty seconds to go a right to the head and a vicious left hook to the body sent him down writhing in pain and he was counted out. It was quite a while before he was able to get up. Not too often do you get world champion in non-title fights these days. Soto. 23, the WBO light fly champion, was streets ahead of mediocre Rendon and gets his twelfth win by KO/TKO. He came up short as an amateur losing out in the Mexican Youth Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016 but after an early career loss in the pros he has won 15 in a row. Third inside the distance loss for over-matched Rendon.
Manila, Philippines: Super Fly: Sho Kimura (18-3-2) W TKO 2 Merlito Sabillo (27-8-1).
A sharp and focused Kimura flattens Sabillo in two rounds. In the opening round Shimura used his jab to put Sabillo on the back foot and kept him there throughout the round. For much of the time he pinned Sabillo to the ropes connecting with rib-bending left hooks and rights to head and body. Sabillo fired back briefly in desperation but was quickly on the retreat again. In the second it was more of the same with Shimura dishing out punishment until Sabillo launched an attack. He drove forward throwing left hooks and sustained his attack with more hooks and uppercuts to have Kimura on the retreat but as Sabillo came forward Kimura caught with a booming left hook to the head and Sabillo went face down on the canvas with the referee not even bothering with a count. Former WBO flyweight champion Kimura was starting his rebuilding campaign after losing to Carlos Canizales in a challenge for the secondary WBA light flyweight title in May last year. It is now four consecutive losses for former WBO minimumweight champion Sabillo and at 36 retirement may be calling him.
San Juan, Puerto Rico: Bantam: Jose Martinez (21-1-2) W TKO 2 Yeison Vargas (17-4). Super Bantam: Carlos Caraballo W TKO 1 Mike Oliver (26-11-1).Light Fly: Oscar Collazo (1-0) W TKO 3 Vicente
Martinez vs. Vargas
Martinez comes off the floor to stop Vargas. A left hook from Vargas put Martinez down in the first but the home fighter was not too shaken. In the second Martinez floored Vargas twice and was beating on him in a corner when the referee stopped the fight. Fourteen wins by KO/TKO for 27-year-old Martinez. His lone loss came in January last year when he was knocked out in two rounds by Filipino Aston Palicte and this is his first fight since then. Fourth inside the distance loss on the bounce for Colombian Vargas.
Caraballo vs. Oliver
Totally predictable outcome as Caraballo annihilates 40-year-old Oliver inside a round. Caraballo dropped Oliver with a left hook in the opening exchange of punches and although Oliver made it to his feet he was put down by a left to the head and the fight was over. The 24-year-old Caraballo has won all thirteen of his fights by the quick route and this is his fifth first round finish. Poor Oliver needs saving from himself he is 1-9-1 in his last eleven fights and this was his first bout for fifteen months
Collazo vs. Castro
Tipped to a future star of Puerto Rican boxing Collazo win his first pro fight. He worked on Castro’s body over the first round and then had him in trouble with a barrage of punches in the third which brought the stoppage. The 23-year-old 5’3” Collazo lost out 3-2 in the first series in the 2017 World Championships to eventual gold medallist Cuban Yoahnys Argilago but won the gold medal at last year’s Pan American Games. With the 49kg class eliminated from the Tokyo Olympics he has turned pro under Miguel Cotto’s banner. One to follow. Mexican Castro just a sacrificial lamb.
Nashville, TN, USA: Super Middle: Caleb Plant (20-0) W TKO 10 Vincent Feigenbutz (31-3). Welter: Abel Ramos (26-3-2) W TKO 10 Bryant Perrella (17-3). Light: Diego Magdaleno (42-3) W PTS 10 Austin Dulay (13-2,1ND).Bantam: Rau’shee Warren (17-3) W PTS 10 Gilberto Mendoza (15-8-3). Welter: Jose Miguel Borrego (17-2) W TKO 3 Joaquim Carniero (28-13). Super Welter: Leon Lawson III (13-0) W KO 1 Francisco Castro (28-13).
Plant vs. Feigenbutz
Plant retains the IBF title as he outclasses a gutsy but limited Feigenbutz and wins every round before forcing the stoppage in the tenth.
Good opening round for Plant. He quickly had his jab working and was piercing Feigenbutz’s guard both to head and body. Feigenbutz looked tense and his jab was tentative. Plant was coming forward and trying some rights in a dominant round.
Score: 10-9 Plant
Plant cut loose in the second. He was firing four and five punch combinations switching from left hooks to the body to straight rights to the head. Feigenbutz looked flummoxed at times not sure where the next punch was coming from. He tried to stay cool and fire his jab but he was short and when he jabbed he was encouraging counters from Plant and already the challenger looked out of his depth.
Score: 10-9 Plant Plant 20-18
Plant bombarded Feigenbutz with punches at the start of the round. Flashing hooks and uppercuts from both hands were headed Feigenbutz’s way. He blocked many but Plant continued to suddenly open up with these busts throughout the round alternating between boxing on the back foot and firing jabs and then blazing away at Feigenbutz and the German had blood dripping from his nose and was bruised under both eyes.
Score: 10-9 Plant Plant 30-27
Plant took the first two minutes of this round off. That gave Feigenbutz the chance to have some success with his jab and lunging attacks. For the first time in the fight he was throwing more than one punch at a time. Over the last minute Plant cut loose again with strong jabs hooks and uppercuts with Feigenbutz obliged to cover up rather than counter.
Score: 10-9 Plant Plant 40-36
Plant boxed his way through this one. He was threading punches through Feigenbutz’s guard then banging home body punches. Feigenbutz was throwing one punch at a time only jabs and very few of them. Plant was putting together some burst of three or four punches but not sustaining his attack. At this stage the figures showed Feigenbutz connecting with 18 punches in the five rounds and Plant 84.
Score: 10-9 Plant Plant 50-45
Feigenbutz’s best round so far as Plant looked content to box on the back foot. Feigenbutz rushed him to the ropes and blazed away with both hands. Plant blocked or dodged most of the punches but at least Feigenbutz was throwing them. The hand speed of Plant came into play and he was a sending thudding jabs into Feigenbutz‘s face and although Feigenbutz was too slow with his own punches it was his most active round in the fight.
Score: 10-9 Plant Plant 60-54
Plant was on the back foot again letting Feigenbutz come forward and ramming his jab into the German’s face. Initially Feigenbutz tried to fire back. Plant’s was occasional exploding with hooks and uppercuts before going on the defensive again. Feigenbutz was just too slow and predictable to pose a threat.
Score: 10-9 Plant Plant 70-63
The swelling beneath Feigenbutz’s eyes had worsened and stabbing jabs fro Plant in this round did not help. Plant was quick enough to slot his jabs home with Feigenbutz too slow to block them. Periodically Plant would fire a flurry of punches and then dial it down again and go back to the jab.
Score: 10-9 Plant Plant 80-72
Plant was out to take care of business in this one. He had Feigenbutz stumbling under a blizzard of punches of all types and from all angles. To his credit Feigenbutz rode out the storm and regrouped and came forward. Periodically throughout the round Plant would burst into life again on one occasion putting together a sequence of seven successive left hooks and uppercuts but a gutsy Feigenbutz with his right eye almost closed was still there and trying to stay in the fight at the bell.
Score: 10-9 Plant Plant 90-81
Plant attacked ferociously ramming home punch after punch. He was snapping Feigenbutz’s head back with jabs and uppercuts. Again Feigenbutz refused to crumble and tried to punch with Plant but was overwhelmed and soaking up too much punishment and the referee stopped the fight.
Second defence of the IBF title for Plant and the first pro fight in front of his home fans. The 27-year-old “Sweethands” showed flair and power in his twelfth inside the distance victory. His best wins have been a decision over Jose Uzcategui to win the title and a stoppage of Mike Lee in his first defence. WBC champion David Benavidez has been calling out Plant and that unification fight would be a big test for the IBF champion. He is in a relaxed situation as the first two spots in the IBF rating are vacant and somehow Feigenbutz had climbed to No 3 so no pressure to make a mandatory defence. Feigenbutz, a former interim WBA champion, has been skilfully steered to an impressive record but his limitations were fully exposed here. He has a top team behind him and will be rebuilt and probably fight for a title again next year.
Ramos vs. Perrella
Ramos snatches a very dramatic late victory over Perrella. Not often you see a fighter wearing a “tuxedo”; collar and tie into the ring for a fight but Perrella looked very stylish. The Floridian southpaw controlled this fight from the start. With his much longer reach he was able to paste Ramos with jabs on the outside and catch Ramos with counter left hooks as Ramos tried to work his way inside. Perrella was much quicker around the ring and Ramos was having to overreach with his punches and paying for it with those lefts from Perrella. In the third Perrella took Ramos to the ropes and worked him over and had won all three rounds before staggering Ramos with a left in the fourth. Ramos landed his best punch so far in the shape of a right to the head in the same round and both fighters were showing signs of wear around the eyes. The flat-footed Ramos just kept padding forward focusing on body punches to slow Perrella and by the seventh that seemed to be working. Perrella was still landing more but he was under more pressure as he struggled to keep Ramos out. By the eighth Perrella’s work rate had dropped and there was no snap in his punches. Perrella rallied briefly in the ninth but was under pressure all the way. After nine rounds Perrella was ahead 88-83 on two cards and 87-84 on the third so just had to survive the last three minutes and he came within one second of doing that. He was keeping Ramos out with the jab and finding gaps for counters when with just over thirty seconds to go he was dropped by a fierce right uppercut and landed half out under the bottom rope. He climbed to his feet with the count at five. The referee had a hard look at him and made him walk to the side and back and then let the fight continue. Ramos took Perrella to the ropes and landed a right that had Perrella staggering along the ropes and down heavily. Again he was up at five but this time as he obeyed the referee’s instruction to take a few paces there was a distinct stutter in his step and the referee stopped the fight. Perrella’s team screamed in anger as there was only one second left in the round but it was a good call. Huge win for Ramos whose three losses have come against Regis Prograis, Ivan Baranchyk and on a majority decision against Jamal James. He had won his last seven fights so will be hoping to ride this win to some good paydays. Perrella has lost important fights to Yordenis Ugas and Luis Collazo but was coming off a stoppage victory over 22-2-1 Dominique Dolton in July. A crushing blow losing this one when he was so close to victory.
Magdaleno vs. Dulay
Magdaleno returns to action and gets a unanimous decision over local fighter Dulay. An even first round saw the pattern set of the taller Dulay working with his right jab and Magdaleno getting close firing hooks to the body. Dulay took the second round. They both scored well Dulay with his jab and straight right and Magdaleno to the body. Dulay took the round with a fierce attack before the bell. Magdaleno picked up the pace in the third but was given a warning for a low punch. He was putting his punches together in the fourth and outscored Dulay to bring them level. Magdaleno was hustling and bustling Dulay in the fifth raking Dulay to the body with hooks but was given another warning for going low before taking the sixth by attacking relentlessly. In the seventh despite Dulay having the longer reach, Magdaleno was out-jabbing him and connected with a blistering left to the body that sent Dulay back and down in pain. He knelt until the count reached seven and was up at eight. Magdaleno chased Dulay looking to land a decisive punch but instead landed a very low right hook and was deducted a point turning a 10-8 round for him into a 9-8 round for Dulay. Magdaleno continued to outscore Dulay over the eighth and ninth and in the tenth he connected with a stream of straight lefts before they finished bombarding each other with punches. Scores 96-92 twice and 97-91 for Magdaleno. First fight for Magdaleno since his seventh round kayo loss to Teo Lopez in February last year. The inactivity has cost him any spot in the rankings and to get within a sniff of a title fight he will need to takes some risks as at 33 time is not his friend. Home city fighter Dulay, 24, lost this one when he stopped using his jab and went on the back foot. At 24 he can learn from this and rise again.
Warren vs. Mendoza
Warren eases his way back into action with a win over a passable opponent in Mendoza. Southpaw Warren was streets ahead of Mendoza in speed and skill and breezed his way through this one with the active rounds more important that going for a quick finish. Scores 99-91 twice and 100-90 for the former WBA and IBO bantamweight champion and the USA’s only three-time Olympian boxer. First fight for Warren after losing to Nordine Oubaali for the vacant WBC title in January last year and he is still No 6 in the WBA ratings. Mexican Mendoza gave Warren the work he needed without being a threat.
Borrego vs. Carniero
Mexican southpaw Borrego has too much power for Brazilian Carniero. After taking the first two rounds a sustained barrage of punches from Borrego in the third had Carniero hurt and floundering and the referee stopped the fight. After a 1-2 spell Borrego has now won his last three contests. Fellow southpaw Carniero suffers his tenth KO/TKO loss.
Lawson vs. Castro
“Lethal “Lawson floors Castro twice for first round blow out. He put Castro down with almost the first punch he threw. Castro made it to his feet but was put down again and the fight was done and dusted in 36 seconds. Sixth win by KO/TKO for the 20-year-old from Flint, Michigan. A former National Golden Gloves champion the 6’5” Lawson is part of a boxing family. Andre and Anthony Dirrell are first cousin, his grandfather Leon trained both Dirrells and his father Leon Jr. also helped train the Dirrells. Leon Jr is best known for climbing in the ring and punching Jose Uzcategui in 2017 after the Venezuelan had been disqualified for a low punch against Andre Dirrell. A 6’5” super welterweight-you don’t get many of them so one to watch. Nine losses in his last ten fights for Castro.
Fight of the week (Significance): Caleb Plant vs. Vincent Feigenbutz with Plant’s win hopefully leading to a unification fight with David Benavidez
Fight of the week (Entertainment); Diego Magdaleno vs. Austin Dulay provided plenty of action
Fighter of the week: Ryan Garcia’s one-punch finish of Francisco Fonseca was the best performance of the week
Punch of the week: The body punch from Elwin Soto that downed Javier Rendon, the left hook that Ryan Rozicki used to floor Vlad Reznicek and Sho Kimura’s dynamite left hood that flattened Merlito Sabillo were all outstanding candidates but it has to be the left hook from Garcia that knocked out Fonseca that wins the prize.
Upset of the week: The last second win by Abel Ramos over Bryant Perrella was one for the outsider.
Prospect watch: Leon Lawson III 20-years-old and 15-0 a former US Under-17, Under-19 and National Golden Gloves champion looks good.
After having had fun in January with our first look at boxer's in commercials we've decided to make it a mini-series. Today we look at 5 more featuring fighters from Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia, including some genuine legends of the sport...and someone who wasn't such a big legend.
Tomomi Takano - Laudarin'
We started the first one of these with a Tomomi Takano advert for a kitchen spray so we though we should show Takano in another advert, this time for a fabric softener...yeah Japan should be ashamed, and so should the guys watching this one multiple times. We'll admit it made us somewhat interested in the product and we found out Takano actually did two adverts for the company, this one and one with her in a dress heading for a night out.
Joichiro Tatsuyoshi - Nissan
As the biggest name in Japanese boxing for much of the 1990's we were surprised to not find a lot of Joichiro Tatsuyoshi adverts. What we did find was an anti-bullying message, after the fighter had been bullied as a child, this short advert for Nissan from 1995 and one other, for a beef product. It really is odd how little marketers seemed to use the charismatic Osaka.
Koichi Wajima - Boxer's Road 2: The Real
One thing we never expected to come across was a Koichi Wajima advert for a video game, especially not in the 00's when Wajima was into his 60's! But here were are with Wajima being featured in an advert for a PSP game "Boxer's Road 2: The Real". The game was a boxing game featuring over 100 professional fighters and 77 gyms. Sadly the game doesn't appear to have made the jump over to the West, but you never maybe Boxer's Road 3 could do so, with the attention the Japanese scene is now getting...we can hope right!
Chris John - Extra Joss
One man who was in a lot of adverts in Indonesia was Chris John, in fact he was in a lot with Manny Pacquiao. Here is John trying to show the effects of Extra Joss. From a quick glance on wikipedia Extra Joss is a health drink, that is typically sold in powder form, and required the addition and was originally aimed at the less economically well off in Indonesia, hence coming as a powder.
Manny Pacquiao - HP Touchpad
We've just mentioned that Chris John did a number of commercials with Manny Pacquiao, and here's one Manny did by himself. In fact the sheer number of commercials Pacquiao did could have filled a number of these articles by himself, and they are incredibly varied ranging from shoe stores to drinks, to sardines to this, for the HP Touchpad. This sees the Filipino legend poking fun at himself a little whilst also showing off the product. Simple but effective.
By Eric Armit
With Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury less than ten days away the odds have changed very little. Two weeks ago I reported that Wilder was a slight favourite at 11/10 with Tyson quoted as a spread from 8/11 to 10/11. The latest odds are still slightly in Wilder’s favour at 20/21 with Tyson at 20/23 but that reflects that this is the most difficult heavyweight title fights in recent years to predict. In the past both Wilder and Anthony Joshua have been clear favourites in their title fights and before that it was not even worth betting on a Wlad Klitschko title fight.
Wlad has popped up to tease us by saying that if Fury wins he might consider coming out of retirement for a chance at revenge. Sorry Wlad but if that fight did take place it would be another Klitschko fight not worth betting on but this time no one would be betting on you.
The division continues to boil under the influence of Wilder vs. Fury. It seems that Anthony Joshua’s IBF mandatory defence against Kubrat Pulev is going to land in London on 20 June. The two grounds in competition to be the venue are Tottenham Hotspur’s Stadium or Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. The word “rivals” doesn’t even begin to describe how the respective fans see each other so competition will be hot to land the fight. Almost like an off pitch cup final. The Joshua and Pulev teams have until Friday (20 February) to agree terms.
Some potential shuffling has Andy Ruiz apparently pricing himself out of a fight with Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz being mention as an alternative opponent and a Whyte vs. Alex Povetkin match in May being the route Whyte may follow. The Oleg Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora fight will now be pushed back until May because of an elbow injury sustained by Usyk and after missing out on his fight with Chisora in October due to a bite from a spider Joseph Parker fights in Frisco, Texas on 29 February against 39-year-old Shawndell Winters who is just about acceptable on the basis of a stoppage win over then unbeaten 16-0 Olek Teslenko in October and after signing Jarrell Miller Bob Arum is doing more than just dipping his toe in the heavyweights as he has added Oscar Rivas to his team and finally Otto Wallin will return on 28 March vs. Lucas Browne in Las Vegas.
Things have certainly changed in the heavyweights over the past fifty years. The current WBC ratings-I chose them as Wilder is America-shows that out of the top 15 plus the champion four are British (Fury, Dubois, Joyce and Chisora), two are Americans (Wilder and Mike Hunter) and then it becomes really international with nine different countries represented in Oscar Rivas Colombia, Oleg Usyk Ukraine, Luis Ortiz, Cuba, Adam Kownacki Poland, Andy Ruiz Mexico, Filip Hrgovic Croatia, Joseph Parker New Zealand, Alex Povetkin Russia and Kubrat Pulev Bulgaria making up the rest of the fifteen plus the champion. It was much different fifty years ago. In 1970 in the top 10 Joe Frazier was champion and Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Jerry Quarry, Mac Foster and Sonny Liston were in the top spots in the rankings with only Oscar Bonavena, Henry Cooper and George Chuvalo posing any kind of minor threat to American supremacy. Right now as far as American heavyweights are concerned Deontay Wilder is an oasis in a desert and you would need strong binoculars to see any young American heavyweights coming over the horizon.
With the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Teo Lopez fight set for 31 May it looks like that month may end with a bang as Daniel Jacobs is planning to fight then as well but no opponent named yet.
End of March is also looking interesting with David Avanesyan set to defend the European welterweight title against unbeaten Josh Kelly on 28 March in London. These two were to have faced each other in December 2018 but Kelly fell ill after the weigh in so the fight was cancelled. On the same night Dominic Boesel is putting his IBO and interim WBA super middle titles up for grabs against Zac Dun in Magdeburg with unbeaten heavy hope Peter Kadiru and former undefeated European heavyweight champion Agit Kabayel also on the card.
Felix Trinidad has a fight on his hands but not in the ring. The Banco Popular in Puerto Rico is threatening to seize all of his assets and he is fighting in the courts to prevent it. He has been fighting with the bank since 2013 when Trinidad filed a complaint against the Bank for allegedly mishandling his investments and the Bank sued Trinidad to recover a line of credit. In November the Bank filed a motion to freeze Trinidad’s assets. They feared that they would not be able to collect against that $22 million line of credit as documents showed that Trinidad’s net asset value dropped from $27 million in 2010 to $1.6 million in 2016. Hearings over the Bank’s action to freeze Trinidad’s assets are scheduled for 27 and 28 February.
Martin Vargas is probably the best fighter that Chile has ever produced and he is playing his part in establishing an unusual use for boxing. He is working with the Chilean Association for the Blind setting up a boxing programme for blind youngsters with the title of Raise Your Eyes Champion. It features training with a punch bag where the youngster can establish the position of the bag with a jab and then work from there with other punches and getting them in the ring, giving them a feel for where the ropes are and then letting them shadow box to build their sense of spatial orientation. He is being assisted by Cristian Valenzuela a vision impaired gold medal sprint winner at the Paralympics. Vargas boxed from 1973 until 1998 and had four shots at winning a world title. He was defeated in all four but he lost only 15 of his 109 fights.
There was quite a difference between two winning bids for upcoming European title fights. The winning bid for the fight between Spaniard Sandor Martin and Dane Enock Poulsen for the vacant EBU super lightweight title was won by Team Palle with a bid of EU 55,555 (approx. $60,000) although it is not certain that Martin will want to go down that route. The other was for the vacant European Union cruiserweight title between Frenchman Dylan Bregeon and Pole Nikodem Jezewski where the winning bid-in fact the only bid as Jezewski’s team were too late with their offer- was of EURO 12,000 (approx. US13, 000) from Bregeon’s team and that would be split 50-50. Not much money but actually quite a good contest at this level.
Having left the EU British fighters will now not be eligible to fight for the EU title but instead will have to contest the EE-EU title for fighters outside the European Union. That might actually work out well for British fighters. Like every other sanctioning body the EBU look kindly on those who win their subsidiary titles so it could be a route into the EBU ratings worth following. The British promoters have not put a great deal of effort into bidding for EU titles partially because there are some very good fighters to compete against and some rival promoters with serious money to bid against but the EE-EU rankings are not nearly as strong and neither are the promoters who might contest the bidding.
Back to purse bids- since the parties have not come to an agreement the WBO has ordered purse bids by 20 February for the light heavyweight eliminator between Gilberto Ramirez and Eleider Alvarez with the minimum bid set at $300,000. The split will be 50/50 unless the proposed venue is the home base for one of them in which case the “away” fighter gets 60%. The winner will have to meet the winner of an eliminator between Umar Salamov and Max Vlasov at least that’s the plan but don’t bet on it going down that route.
Sorry to see that Sergio Martinez is returning to action. “Maravilla” will be 45 next week and has not fought since losing to Miguel Cotto in June 2014. It seems that the target date is June 7 but the reason is harder to figure.
One downside of growing old-and I am an expert on that-is when the names that have contributed to your memories pass on. Recent deaths include Johnny Bumphus and only a day ago Jimmy Thunder. Two very different fighters. Johnny was a classy boxer who really should have had more success than the one world title he won and Samoan-born New Zealander Thunder (Jimmy Peau) a big punching banger. Jimmy beat Tony Tubbs, Trevor Berbick, Ray Anis and Tim Witherspoon. He lost to Derek Williams and Henry Akinwande in Commonwealth title fights but never fought for a world title and fell on very hard times before dying 13 February. RIP guys.
World title fights in April will see Junto Nakatani and Filipino Giemel Magramo contest the now vacant WBO flyweight title in Tokyo on April 4 and Patrick Teixeira defend the WBO super welter title against Argentinian and ex-undefeated champion Brian Castano in Los Angeles on 24 April. On 25 April Felix Alvarado defends the IBF light flyweight title against South African DeeJay Kriel in Indio California. Another April title fight will feature Andrew Selby against Italian Mohammed Obbadi for the vacant European flyweight title in London on 18 April.
We continue with out Closet Classics by travelling back to 1995 and bringing you one of the greatest fights in living memory between two hard punching little men who shared multiple knockdowns. This was a fistic fury at Light Flyweight and was the Ring Magazine Fight of the year, and we suspect the Fight of the Year in the eyes of many who got a real treat, and proof the little men could do special things in the ring.
Saman Sorjaturong (26-2-1, 21) vs Humberto Gonzalez (43-2, 30)
Going in to the bout the 29 year old Humberto Gonzalez was enjoying his third reign as a world champion, having reclaimed his throne in 1994 when he defeated Michael Carbajal for the WBC and IBF titles, avenging a 1993 loss. The Mexican was a little genius in the ring and was happy to prove it against all comers. He had travelled to Korea to beat Yul Woo Lee for his first title, and returned to Asia to defend it against Jung Koo Chang, he had then gone on to face the likes of Rolando Pascua, Kwang Sun Kim, Napa Kiatwanchai and Michael Carbajal, twice. Although a very solid puncher Gonzalez had been stopped in both of his losses up to this point.
At this point in time Thailand's Saman Sorjaturong was very obscure. His only bout of note was a 1993 loss to Ricardo Lopez, in what was his only previous bout outside of Thailand. Travelling to LA to face Gonzalez in just his second bout was a huge ask, especially given the Mexican's reputation as a puncher. Aged just 24 this was his potential to become a star and completely change his career. He knew he wasn't there as the favourite, but with 21 stoppage wins in 29 fights he also knew he had the power to be dangerous, and the dynamite to drop Gonzalez, who had been dropped several times during his thrilling career.
From the off both men tried to figure the other out, and by the end of the opening round both were beginning to let bombs go. In the second round the tempo picked up, with Gonzalez being dropped, but he recovered well and responded quickly, firing shots back at Saman soon after getting back to his feet. The Thai realised the Mexican was dangerous and got on the backfoot, being smart and avoiding a tear up, for now. It didn't take long however for Gonzalez's power to pay off and as the bout went on he dragged Saman into a toe to toe war, dropping the Thai twice as the bout intensified.
From there we ended up with something truly spectacular, a war for the ages with Gonzalez's pressure forcing Saman into a special type of fight. This was thrilling, this was intense and this had twists and turns to make an instant classic. This is one that every fight fan should watch, and well deserving of the Fight of the Year accolades it got.
By Eric Armit
The Past Week in Action 11 February 2020
-Gary Russell decisions Tugstsogt Nyambayar to retain WBC featherweight title
-Guillermo Rigondeaux wins vacant secondary WBA bantamweight title outpointing Liborio Solis
-Kid Galahad stops Claudio Marrero and Kell Brook knocks out Mark DeLuca in a British winning double
-Artem Dalakian outpoints Josber Perez and holds on to WBA flyweight belt
-Wilfredo Mendez halts Gabriel Mendoza in WBO minimumweight title defence
-Kevin Lerena retains IBO cruiser title with stoppage of Firat Arslan
-Daniel Matellon wins the vacant WBA interim flyweight title with majority decision over Erik Lopez
-Luis Concepcion wins the vacant WBA interim flyweight title with stoppage of Rober Barrera
WORLD TITLE/ MAJOR SHOWS
Panama City, Panama: Light Fly: Daniel Matellon (11-0-2) W PTS 12 Erik Lopez (14-5-1). Fly: Luis Concepcion (39-8) W TKO 11 Rober Barrera (23-3). Minimumweight: Leyman Benavides (17-6-1) W PTS 12 Carlos Ortega (14-6-3) . Bantam: Leosdan Nunez (11-0) W TKO 1 Javier Martinez (12-4). Super Feather: Pablo Vicente (16-1,1ND) W TKO 4 Eder Espitia (11-3-4). Feather: Bryan De Gracia (26-2-1) W TKO 3 Freddy Lainez (5-2).
Matellon vs. Lopez
Cuban Matellon wins the vacant interim WBA title with majority decision over Mexican Lopez. In the first round Matellon was finding gaps for his left jab but Lopez set him back on his heels with a left hook. Matellon responded by staggering Lopez with left hook and a right cross. Matellon had big edges in height and reach and was scoring at distant before moving in to fire impressive combinations. Lopez looked to be in over his head. Matellon had no trouble outboxing Lopez over the third and fourth. Lopez finally got into the fight from the fifth. Sometimes he was storming past Matellon’s jab forcing the Cuban to the ropes and firing body punches and on other occasions backing to the ropes inviting Matellon in and then countering. Lopez continued to vary his tactics and was taunting Matellon at times and outpunching him as he took the sixth. Matellon landed enough to take the seventh but it was no longer a one-sided fight and fierce attacks from Lopez made the eighth close. These two obviously believed that attack was the best form of defence as for twelve rounds they went toe-toe with neither fighter willing to take a step back. Matellon reasserted himself in the ninth as Lopez was throwing punches that had people on the street outside ducking and although Lopez showed more restraint in the tenth Matellon was now using his superior skills to outbox Lopez instead of punching with him and the Cuban looked to have taken control again. He was cruising in the eleven until Lopez sent him staggering along the ropes with a right to the head and then twice pinned Matellon in a corner and pounded him with punches with Matellon in real trouble at the bell. Matellon came out punching in the last until a left hook from Lopez sent him back on his heels and he spent the rest of the round running and holding. Scores 116-112 twice for Matellon and 114-114 although Matellon looked a clear winner. The 32-year-old Cuban showed the classy skills and hand speed we have come to expect from Cuban fighters but he has never come close to facing a real test and he certainly flagged late in this one. Lopez tried hard and set Matellon some problems but he was far too small and crude to win other by a knockout and that never came.
Concepcion vs. Barrera
Concepcion breathes some life back into his career as he stops Barrera in eleven rounds to win the WBA interim title. Barrera boxed well in the first spearing Concepcion with sharp right jabs and mixing in left crosses. Concepcion was hunting Barrera down but The Colombian showed good defensive work. Concepcion upped the pressure in the second . He was walking forward into some great shots from Barrera and firing punches of his own until a series of head punches saw Barrera go down on his knees. He was up quickly indicating he had slipped but it was a 10-8 round for Concepcion. Barrera outboxed Concepcion in the third and landed a series of lefts to the body but Concepcion again upped the pace to take the fourth. The fifth was fairly even but the accuracy from Barrera just gave him the edge. He had a big sixth connecting time and again with lefts to the head and had Concepion’s head snapping back with jabs. The seventh was close but Conception took it. Concepcion pressed hard again in the eight and although Barrera looked to be tiring he was landing constantly on a wide-open Concepcion but his punch output had dropped and there was no longer any snap in his punches. Although in front on the cards Barrera just could not keep Concepcion out in the ninth. Barrera switched to orthodox for much of the tenth and continued to find the target but his punches were just bouncing off Concepcion and two rights almost drove Barrera out through the ropes. Concepcion ended it in the eleventh. A right to the head sent Barrera stumbling back and down in a corner. He was up at six and was unsteady but the referee let the fight continue and two more right sent Barrera back to the ropes and the referee stopped the fight. Concepcion qualified to fight for the interim title by losing to Andrew Moloney and Alex Marin neither of whom are anywhere in the WBA ratings. Once again the 34-year-old Panamanian’s punch proves decisive. Barrera’s other losses have come against Carlos Canizales, the current holder of the secondary WBA light fly title and Ryoichi Taguchi for the same title.
Benavides vs., Ortega
Benavides floors and decisions Ortega. These two obviously believed that attack was the best form of defence as for twelve rounds they went toe-toe with neither fighter willing to take a step back. Hardly a jab in sight as neither had the punching room to fire one. Benavides had the edge in that he was targeting his shots whereas Ortega was often just pumping out punches with his head down. The only time the referee came into the fight was when a right followed by a left hook from Benavides dumped Ortega in a corner. In a move typical of the fight Ortega got up and proceeded to drive Benavides back under a storm of punches. A great fight. Scores 117-110 twice and 118-109 for Nicaraguan Benavides who has scored seven wins in his last eight fights including a victory over current WBO champion Wilfredo Mendez. Local fighter Ortega is a former WBC Silver champion and was 3-0-1 before this one.
Nunez vs. Martinez
Nunez obliterates Martine. Nunez put Martinez down and almost out through the bottom rope with a succession of brutal left hooks and rights to the head. Martinez made it to his feet and after a long look the referee decided to let the fight continue. Nunez jumped on Martinez crashing home a couple of rights and the referee quickly came in and stopped the .fight after just 94 seconds. Fifth win by KO/TKO for the 25-year-old Cuban. He is No 9 with the WBA and retains the WBA Fedelatin belt. He won silver and bronze in the Cuban championships but never gold. Fourth time Colombian Martinez has failed to last the distance.
Vincent vs. Espitia
Cuban Vincent defends his WBA Fedelatin belt with stoppage of Espitia. The 26-year-old Panama-based Vincent has 14 wins by KO/TKO with his only defeat being a controversial split decision against Marcos Villasana Jr in 2018. Venezuelan Espitia is now 5-2-3 in his last 10.
De Gracia vs. Lainez
Just a night out with the boys for De Gracia as he halts Lines in three rounds and collects the vacant WBA Fedecentro title.”The Rock” the WBA No 6, has 22 wins by KO/TKO . Novice Lainez really just a prelim fighter but still good enough for the WBA to get a sanction fee out of.
Allentown, PA, USA: Feather: Gary Russell Jr. (31-1) W PTS 12 Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-1). Bantam: Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1) W PTS 12 Liborio Solis (30-6-1). Super Feather: Jaime Arboleda (16-1) W PTS 12 Jayson Velez (29-6-1). Super Light: Gary Antuanne Russell (13-0) W KO 1 Jose Marrufo (12-10-2). Super Welter: Jamontay Clark (15-1-1) W PTS 8 Anthony Lenk (16-7). Bantam: Gary Antonio Russell (17-0) W DISQ 6 Jesus Martinez (27-11)
Russell vs. Nyambayar
Fifth defence of the WBC title for Russell and he proves too quick and too clever for the challenger and wins comfortably.
Classy boxing from Russell. He was shooting his right jab through Nyambayar’s defence following with quick rights and using fleet footwork to get away. When Nyambayar did throw punches Russell countered him with short hooks.
Score: 10-9 Russell
Another master class from Russell. His jab was darting out and finding the target and he was also connecting with left leads. Nyambayar was just plodding after Russell and bemused by Russell’s movement he was freezing on his punches and throwing very little.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 20-18
Nyambayar did a lot of clever bobbing and weaving but was still not throwing enough punches. Russell continued to pick up the points with his jab and occasional bursts of punches. Nyambayar pressed harder than in the first two rounds but was still not landing anything of note.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 30-27
A closer round as Russell did not throw as many punches and was short with his jab for much of the time. Nyambayar landed a couple of body punches but the jabs Russell did land and some quick flurries with both hands give him the round.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 40-36
Official Scores: Judge David Bilocerkowec 40-36 Russell Judge Glenn Feldman 40-36 Russell, Judge John McKaie 40-36 Russell
Finally a round for Nyambayar. He pressed harder connected with some jabs and straight rights and landed to the body when he caught Russell on the ropes. He was also blocking or ducking Russell’s jabs and Russell was not using his left.
Score: 10-9 Nyambayar Russell 49-46
A close round as Russell chose to stand and trade a couple of times. Russell was sneaking home jabs but also short with many and Nyambayar had some success when they traded and landing his own jabs and just took the round.
Score: 10-9 Nyambayar Russell 58-56
Russell regained control as he changed his tactics a couple of times in the round. He started by taking the fight to Nyambayar and punched with Nyambayar. His superior hand speed and better defence won those exchanges. He then went on the back foot which allowed Nyambayar a toe-hold in the round but then Russell again took the fight to Nyambayar scoring with blazing combinations before backing off again.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 68-65
Russell was back in the groove. Nothing spectacular just on target jabs, quick bursts of punches and dodging and diving around the slower Nyambayar. The challenger was holding back looking to land single big punches but Russell was too elusive to present Nyambayar with a chance.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 78-74
Official Scores: Judge Bilocerkowec 79-73 Russell, Judge Feldman 78-74 Russell, Judge McKaie 78-74 Russell
Russell made this a good round for Nyambayar. For much of the round he stood in front of the Mongolian throwing punches. That meant that Nyambayar wasn’t having to chase down Russell or wait to throw his punches. As a result Nyambayar was throwing more and having more success with strong jabs, straight rights and body shots. Russell was getting through with his punches but not enough.
Score: 10-9 Nyambayar Russell 87-84
Despite that success Nyambayar was running out of rounds so the tenth was critical and Russell captured it. There was no standing and exchanging punches. Russell was jabbing, moving and changing angles. He scored well with lead rights and although Nyambayar had some success when he could pin Russell down he had no answer to the speed and accuracy of the champions punches.
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 97-93
Another change of tactics from Russell. For the whole three minutes he walked forward taking the fight inside and outworking Nyambayar. He kept pumping out punches to the body and denying Nyambayar any punching room. Nyambayar did manage to land some seriously good body punches but the quality and the quantity came from Russell
Score: 10-9 Russell Russell 107-102
No heroics in the final round. It was close but for me Nyambayar worked harder and just outscored Russell.
Score: 10-9 Nyambayar Russell 116-112
Comprehensive victory for Russell. He was too quick and too clever for Nyambayar and made th4 Mongolian look pedestrian at times. I can’t see Russell getting a chance to reverse his loss to Vasyl Lomachenko now that Lomachenko is campaigning at lightweight. If Russell is to leave a substantial legacy he is going to have to fight more often. Just one fight a year 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 won’t cut it and the big fights for him out there are against Leo Santa Cruz, Josh Warrington or Shakur Stevenson but none of those fights are on the horizon. This was Nyambayar’s first fight for almost thirteen months so he was lucky to still be No 1 with the WBC. He really was just too slow and predictable but he could fight his way into another title shot down the line.
Rigondeaux vs. Solis
After a slow start Rigondeaux floors Solis in the seventh and then sweeps the late rounds to win the secondary WBA title on a split decision over Solis but it is a fight very low on entertainment value.
Wow! Solis came tearing out of his corner throwing punches. He was in close firing hooks from both hands working hard to the body. Rigondeaux was caught by surprise but he landed a couple of strong straight lefts in the middle of the round before Solis again moved inside flailing away to Rigondeaux’s body.
Score: 10-9 Solis
What a contrast. Hardly a punch thrown in anger in this round. They just probed and tapped gloves with the few punches that were thrown and landed came from Solis but you could count them on one hand and still have enough fingers to make a rude gesture.
Score: 10-9 Solis Solis 20-18
Again more probing than punching. Solis was tracking Rigondeaux but just not able to trap the crafty Cuban. Of the punches landed the pick was a lightning quick straight left from Rigondeaux which sent Solis back on his heels, but another poor round as they snarled at each other but did not back up their words.
Score: 10-9 Rigondeaux Solis 29-28
Another round of posing with very little punching. Solis was the one forcing the fight but Rigondeaux was not giving him many openings. The Cuban looked dangerous when he threw his left but he was rationing himself to one a round. They both mocked each other but didn’t make any attempt to mug each other. Few punches with Solis just landing one or two more than Rigondeaux and the scores reflected how difficult it was to score such a low punch output fight,.
Score: 10-9 Solis Solis 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Don Ackerman 40-36 Solis, Judge Ron McNair 39-37 Rigondeaux, Judge Kevin Morgan 38-38
After a slow start they finally began to throw punches. Solis was still coming forward but just could not nail down Rigondeaux and the Cuban fired some fierce straight lefts that stopped Solis in his tracks, Solis threw his arms open taunting the constantly retreating Rigondeaux who paid him back with a quality left before doing a dance. Not the sort of entertainment the fans were paying for.
Score: 10-9 Rigondeaux Solis 48-47
Not difficult to sort out who won this one. Solis threw about ten rights and landed with half of them and whilst Rigondeaux put on a brilliant display of defensive movement he threw less than five punches.
Score: 10-9 Solis Solis 58-56
Rigondeaux had looked dangerous when he threw the left with purpose and he started this round by connecting with two. A third one blasted into the body of Solis and froze him to the spot for a second. Seeing he was hurt Rigondeaux leapt forward knocking Solis into the ropes with two rights. Solis slid down the ropes which were holding him up and as the referee came forward Rigondeaux landed another left . The referee stepped in and gave a standing count to Solis. After the count Rigondeaux landed two more lefts and Solis looked shaky but then Rigondeaux stopped punching and hardly threw another blow in the round.
Score: 10-8 Rigondeaux TIED 66-66
Solis hunted Rigondeaux in vain. The Cuban was too quick and too slippery. Again he was parsimonious with his punches but he was landing an occasional snappy jab and countering Solis on the way in to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Rigondeaux Rigondeaux 76-75
Official Scores: Judge Ackerman 77-74 Solis, Judge McNair 78-73 Rigondeaux, Judge Morgan 76-75 Solis
A repeat of round eight except that Rigondeaux landed a couple of laser-like lefts late in the round. Solis chased but just could not find the elusive Rigondeaux and was again being caught with an occasional counter.
Score: 10-9 Rigondeaux Rigondeaux 86-84
The tenth was going the same way until Solis lunged at Rigondeaux against the ropes. Rigondeaux spun off the ropes and blasted Solis with a left to the head that badly staggered Solis. Rigondeaux landed a couple more lefts but then Solis steadied himself and fought his way off the ropes. Rigondeaux did not press his attack but landed some more lefts before the bell.
Score: 10-9 Rigondeaux Rigondeaux 96-93
Rigondeaux was serious for the first minute poking Solis with right jabs and a few lefts then he decided to showboat instead and spent the rest of the round doing little dances around Solis who was just lunging forward trying to land a punch but could not lay a glove on Rigondeaux,
Score: 10-9 Rigondeaux Rigondeaux 106-102
Rigondeaux danced and clowned his way through the last . He threw and landed a few jabs, a very few, and Solis chased shadows but did land some jabs and a couple of rights to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Solis Rigondeaux 115-112
Official Scores: Judge Ackerman 115-112 Solis, Judge McNair 116-111 Rigondeaux, Judge Morgan 115-112 Rigondeaux
Rigondeaux wins the vacant secondary WBA title (Naoya Inoue is the real champion). The 39-year-old Cuban southpaw is a master of defence but as in this fight sees no need to entertain or take chances. He has impressive speed and power in his left but uses it sparingly and often frustrates both his opponent and the fans. It’s like saying he is a great cook but the food is awful. His ability might give Inoue nightmares and there not that many good fights out there for him other than Inoue (or John Riel Casimero of course). Former WBA super fly champion Solis is 37 and it is difficult to see where goes from here and he can only hope he gets a chance as a voluntary challenger but it will have to happen soon.
Arboleda vs. Velez
Arboleda gets split decision verdict over Velez but has to survive a desperate last round in an outstanding back-and-forth contest . The early rounds were close with both landing some heavy shots but with Velez having the edge and moving into the lead. Arboleda broke through in the fourth and fifth rocking Velez with a left hook in the fourth and clobbering him with a right in the fifth, Arboleda built on that success to outpunch Velez through the middle rounds but Velez had a good eighth. A clash of heads opened a cut over Velez’s right in the ninth which was a good round for Arboleda and by the end of the eleventh he had built a winning lead on two cards. That nearly counted for nothing in the last as Velez landed a succession of head punches including a right to the head that sent Arboleda reeling back and down. He was up quickly and when the action resumed Velez bombarded him with punches staggering him a couple more times but Arboleda punched back just enough for the referee to let him continue and he made it to the final bell. Scores 114-113 twice for Arboleda and 115-112 for Velez. Five inside the distance wins have brought Arboleda a No 10 position with the WBA but with Velez at No 3 this was recognised as an eliminator so could lead to a shot at real WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz or secondary champion Rene Alvarado. Velez, 31, had rebounded from a beating handed to him by Ryan Garcia with victories over Orlando Cruz and Victor Terrazas but this loss will scupper whatever hopes he had of a title shot.
Russell vs. Marrufo
Another quick win for Russell as he maintains his 100% record of inside the distance finishes. An over ambitious Marrufo decided to take the fight to Russell and was doing that until a right from Russell knocked him down and out at the 2:12 mark of the opening round. The 23-year-old Antuanne has taken less 23 rounds for his 13 inside the distance wins and has yet to go past the fourth round. As with his brother he is right-handed but fights as a southpaws . A former National Golden Gloves champion he beat Jaron Ennis twice in the US Olympic Trials but in Rio lost 2-1 in the quarter-finals to the eventual gold medallist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov. He is ready for much better opposition. Phoenix-based Mexican Marrufo with five losses by KO/TKO no sort of test for Russell.
Clark vs. Lenk
Clark gets unanimous decision over Lenk. He has struggled to impress in recent fights but had too much talent for Lenk. Clark made good use of his 6” advantage in height and longer reach and also found the target regularly with southpaw lefts to the head. Lenk fired briefly in the fourth staggering Clark with a right but other than that Clark was a comfortable winner. Scores 79-73 twice and 78-74. Clark’s only loss a wide unanimous verdict against the now IBF super welter champion Jeison Rosales in 2018 but he has been unimpressive in his outings since then. Fellow-southpaw Lenk has won only two of his last eight fights.
Russell vs. Martinez
Russell gets disqualification win as Martinez is thrown out. The middle of the three Russell brothers on the card Gary Antonio was well on his way to victory after taking the first five rounds when the referee lost patience with the low blows and holding from Martinez and disqualified him in the sixth. The 27-year-old is a former National Golden Gloves champion. Colombian Martinez, 39, was 23-1 until losing to Luis Nery in 2017 so it has been a long downward slope since then.
Panama City, Panama: Minimumweight: Wilfredo Mendez (16-1) W TKO 9 Gabriel Mendoza (30-7-2). Super Bantam: Jose Estrada (11-2-1 W PTS 10 Luis Lebron (17-2-1). Feather: Jose Nunez (10-0-1) W PTS 8 Francisco Ramirez (10-2). Bantam: Orlando Penalba (10-0) W PTS 10 Keiver Fernandez (20-1-1) .
Mendez vs. Mendoza
Puerto Rican Mendez batters a game Mendoza to defeat in the second defence of the WBO title.“Bambito” Mendez was 17 years younger and taller with a longer reach and he started out boxing on the back foot spearing Mendoza with southpaw jabs and easily evading the challengers attacks. Mendoza kept padding forward in the second but was constantly caught on the end of Mendez’s jab and if he got past that then Mendez clobbered him with straight lefts. Mendoza was lunging and lurching forward in the third and Mendez was starting to double up on his jab and put some combinations together. They banged heads early in the fourth but luckily no damage was done and Mendoza had some success with body punches as he continued to march forward. Mendez began to load-up on his punches more in the fifth and was digging in plenty of body shots with Mendoza starting to tire. Mendoza had slowed completely in the sixth and as Mendez continued to land hooks to the body and add in flashing straight lefts Mendoza was wilting. It was one-way traffic in the seventh as Mendez was now the one coming forward raking Mendoza with hooks and uppercuts and a cut had opened over the right eye of Mendoza. More punishment from Mendez in the eighth and the referee had the doctor examine Mendoza’s cut but he was allowed to continue. Mendez was connecting with heavy head punches and the blood was affecting Mendoza’s vision so the end was near. Mendoza tried to take the fight to Mendez in the ninth but a succession of lefts to the head staggered Mendoza and the referee stepped in to save him. The 23-year-old from Trujillo Alto gets his sixth inside the distance victory but there will be tougher tests that this with the 40-year-old Mendoza being slipped into the ratings at No 14 for this fight.
Estrada vs. Lebron
The strength and tenacity of Estrada overcomes the classier boxing of Lebron as he walks away with a unanimous decision in a spirited contest. Lebron seemed comfortably in charge over the opening rounds moving well countering the advancing Estrada with jabs and left hooks to the body and by the third Estrada was heavily bruised under both eyes. Lebron was outboxing Estrada but the problem was that he could not stop the Mexican marching forward. Estrada was connecting with vicious body punches which slowed Lebron and he floored Lebron in the seventh with a thunderous right uppercut .Lebron boxed and held to the bell but he was under pressure from the Mexican over the closing rounds and although Estrada’s face looked that of the loser his power had given him a well deserved upset win and the vacant WBO Latino title. Scores 96-92 for Estrada on all cards. Seven wins in a row for the former Mexican champion but only the second fight in fifteen months. Puerto Rican Lebron goes from 16 straight wins to 1-2 in his last three fights.
Nunez vs. Ramirez
Local prospect “Magnifico” Nunez decisions Ramirez in a youthful contest. Nunez put Ramirez down in the fourth and had him in trouble on other occasions in the fight to emerge a clear winner. Scores 80-71 twice and 78-73 for the 21-year-old southpaw who collects the WBO Youth belt. Ramirez, 19, was on a five-bout winning run before this fight.
Penalba vs. Fernandez
Local fighter Penalba takes split decision over an unlucky Fernandez. Venezuelan Fernandez had the longer reach and the greater experience and he forced the fight from the first bell to the last. Penalba countered well but Fernandez was outscoring him in a competitive and entertaining fight. Fernandez was harshly deducted a point in the fifth and the seventh for low blows which cost him the decision. Scores 94-93 twice for Penalba and a more reflective 95-92 for Fernandez. Penalba, 23, a former Panamanian amateur champion, lifts the vacant WBO Latino title in his first ten round fight . Impressive looking record for Fernandez but his last eight victims had amassed only three wins between them so lots of padding in there.
Kiev, Ukraine: Fly: Artem Dalakian (20-0) W PTS 12 Josber Perez (17-3).
Dalakian vs. Perez
Dalakian has no trouble retaining the WBA title with wide unanimous decision over Perez in an unspectacular fight that features too much holding.
Dalakian was content to box on the back foot and let Perez come to him then spearing the Venezuelan with jabs and stepping in with a cluster of punches before Perez could counter. Perez was coming forward in a straight line and slowly which suited Dalakian.
Score: 10-9 Dalakian
The second was a closer round as Perez upped his pace and connected with a couple of rights to the head. Dalakian continued to pierce Perez’s guard with quick jabs and step in quickly with a little flurry of punches and just edge the round.
Score: 10-9 Dalakian Dalakian 20-18
Dalakian was on the front foot more in the third. He was slotting jabs through the guard of Perez and scoring well inside. A combination of two jabs and two hooks to the body were typical of his work and he was tying Perez up and holding inside.
Score: 10-9 Dalakian Dalakian 30-27
Dalakian opened this one with a series of jabs and some body punches. Perez was trying to get into the fight but Dalakian fists and footwork were too quick for him. When he did get close Dalakian was just grabbing and holding and getting away with it.
Score: 10-9 Dalakian Dalakian 40-36
After Dalakian opened the round with another series of jabs Perez managed to trap him on the ropes and the first real exchanged of punches ensued, Perez was able to landed some good hooks but Dalakian had the better of the exchange and scored with more jabs and hooks later in the round.
Score: 10-9 Dalakian Dalakian 50-45
Dalakian continued to throw quick jabs and a couple of quick hooks. Perez just tried to walk through them but when he did Dalakian just grabbed and held until the referee prised them apart. Perez had brief success with some hooks but Dalakian kept finding gaps for his jabs.
Score: 10-9 Dalakian Dalakian 60-54
No way into the fight for Perez. Dalakian’s hands were too quick and his footwork was too slick. Dalakian was bouncing jabs off Perez then firing typical quick bursts and then typically holding and holding to prevent Perez doing any work inside. It was effective but not exactly entertaining. My nightmare would be Dalakian vs. Rigondeaux.
Score: 10-9 Dalakian Dalakian 70-63
A round for Perez. He pressed hard closing the distance quickly and doing some work inside before Dalakian grabbed him and held. He kept hustling Dalakian with the champion not able to use his jab quickly enough and what scoring there was came from Perez . Weak refereeing was allowing Dalakian to continually hold.
Score: 10-9 Perez Dalakian 79-73
Dalakian was in control again. Perez did not show as much aggression and Dalakian was able to score with his jab and some straight rights. He was darting in with a punch and then holding and Perez was just not able to do any work inside or at distance.
Score: 10-9 Dalakian Dalakian 89-82
Dalakian’s round. He was shooting his jab home and leaping in with rights to the head. He drove Perez across the ring with a series of jabs and his speed and movement were too much for Perez to land anything useful.
Score:10-9 Dalakian Dalakian 99-91
Not a great round but what little clean work there was came in very short spells from Dalakian. On four occasions Perez threw his arms wide to show he was not holding but no action from the referee- Kiev being Dalakian’s home. Having said that he was just too mobile for Perez.
Score: 10-9 Dalakian Dalakian 109-100
Dalakian outboxed Perez early in the round and then attacked strongly with hooks and uppercuts late to take the round.
Score. 10-9 Dalakian Dalakian 119-109
Official Scores: 117-111, 117-111 and 118-110 for Dalakian
The 32-year-old Azeri-born Ukrainian was making the fourth defence of the WBA title. He was much too good for Perez and has a style that will give anyone problems but also one that won’t find too many fans outside of Ukraine. There are very few big fights to be had at flyweight so Dalakian could rule for quite some time. Perez was down at No 12 in the WBA rankings and that looked to flatter him on this showing.
Sheffield, England: Feather: Kid Galahad (27-1) W RTD 8 Claudio Marrero (24-4). Super Welter: Kell Brook (39-2) W KO 7 Mark DeLuca (24-2). Super Feather: Martin Joseph Ward (24-1-2) W PTS 10 Jesus Amparan (16-2). Welter: Anthony Tomlinson (12-0) W TKO 9 Stewart Burt (13-2-1). Super Middle: John Docherty (8-0) W TKO 1 Pablo Mendoza (9-4). Heavy: David Allen (18-5-2) W KO 3 Dorian Darch (12-11-1). ).
Galahad vs. Marrero
Galahad rebounds in impressive style from his loss to Josh Warrington with an inside the distance wins over WBC No 4 Marrero who also holds the WBA Gold title. Galahad took the first two rounds. The action was a bit untidy but Galahad was able to land jabs from both hands and get through to the body and was constantly changing guards and forcing Marrero back. Marrero tried to up his pace in the third but he wasn’t showing much or throwing much and Galahad was darting in with three or four punches and getting out before Marrero could counter. Marrero had a better fourth. He was getting close scoring with rights jabs and some straight lefts but still had no answer to Galahad’s hand speed which had him eating jabs and getting caught with quick stabs to the body. Galahad started the fifth round by pinning Marrero to the ropes and firing a bunch of punches. When Marrero moved off the ropes Galahad then pierced his guard consistently with jabs and the round ended with Marrero against the ropes again and he had a swelling under his left eye. Galahad outboxed Marrero in the sixth. He was able to land jab after jab changing angles and connect with quick combinations . Marrero kept advancing but he was throwing too few punches and only one at a time-and missing. Huge round for Galahad. After raking Marrero with punches early in the seventh a straight right sent Marrero staggering back to the ropes. Galahad bombarded Marrero with punches until Marrero fought his way off the ropes. Just a few seconds later Galahad forced Marrero to the ropes again and unloaded. Marrero seemed angry at himself for getting into trouble and punched back fiercely cornering Galahad but was unable to land anything of consequence. In the interval Marrero’s team asked him if he wanted to continue and he said he did. He gave it a shot but when a fast, accurate jab smacked into his face the fight went out of him and Galahad had him under pressure from that point to the bell after which Marrero retired. Galahad is No 3 with the WBC and with Russell having just beaten No 1 Tugstsogt Nyambayar Galahad will rise to No 2 behind Jesse Magdaleno. He is also No 4 with the IBF behind No 3 James Dickens but positions 1 and 2 are vacant. That does not help Galahad as it means that Warrington does not have a mandatory challenger so there is no pressure on him. Dominican Marrero, a former interim WBA and IBO champion, had a mixed time in 2019 losing a close unanimous verdict to Nyambayar but outpointing former IBF title challenger 22-1-3 Mexican Eduardo Ramirez. He was outclassed here in losing inside the distance for the second time in his career.
Brook vs. DeLuca
After a slow start Brook turns on the power to floor DeLuca twice on the way to a seventh round kayo victory. Brook’s timing and distance were a bit off in the first round. DeLuca spent most of the round circling the perimeter of the ring than lunging forward swinging punches and connected with some southpaw lefts to the body. Brook fought southpaw for much of the second as he began to find the range with his jab but with his high guard and crouching style DeLuca was not an easy target. Brook found the range in the third. As DeLuca bulled forward Brook met him with two heavy rights that shook DeLuca badly and then a succession of head punches forced DeLuca to go down on one knee. He got up and survived. In the fourth Brook was starting to string together some impressive combinations and had DeLuca under pressure but DeLuca took the punishment well. DeLuca traded punches with Brook in the fifth a round in which the pace dropped and Brook did not sustain his attacks as he had in the fourth. Brook savaged DeLuca in the sixth bombarding him with hooks and uppercuts pinning him to the ropes at times as he unloaded. A gutsy DeLuca took the punishment and although by then end of the round it looked as though he was finished he kept trying to punch back. As they fought against the ropes in the seventh DeLuca went out through the ropes sitting on the apron but was pulled back in. Just seconds later as he came forward he was met with a blistering short left that put him down on his back. He struggled to his feet but was counted out just he achieved the vertical. First fight for fourteen months for Brook so some rust showed but not for long and he certainly finished in style. Despite the fourteen months without a fight he is still No 10 with the WBC but he will want at least another fighter or two before he goes looking for another world title chance. First inside the distance loss for DeLuca who had scored wins over some reasonable level opposition. He was strong, awkward and crude at times but he was tough and made Brook work hard for his victory which was just what Brook needed after his long absence.
Ward vs. Amparan
Ward gets in ten useful rounds of work against a brave but outclassed Amparan. The Mexican had a slight edge in reach but Ward’s movement and hand speed more than cancelled that out as he was quicker to the punch with a strong jab. Ward dominated from the centre of the ring and staggered Amparan with a left in the second round. He continually changed the angle of his attacks and his movement left Amparan punching to where Ward had been not where he was. Amparan marched forward trying to put pressure on Ward but Ward was raking Amparan with jabs and a variety of hooks and uppercuts and was putting on a master class of offence and defence. Amparan had some success inside but not much and he was down late in the seventh from a right to the body but he made it to the bell. Amparan got respite in the eighth after a low punch from Ward and the visitor then attacked hard but Ward ended the round by rattling punches off Amparan. Ward buzzed around Amparan in the ninth showering him with punches but Amparan did knock Ward back with a right to the head, the best punch he had landed in the fight. Another body punch dropped Amparan in the tenth but despite Ward’s best efforts he survived the round. Scores 100-88 on all three cards for Ward. Masterful display of boxing by Ward. He lost his European and Commonwealth titles when he was halted in five rounds in a shoot out against puncher James Tennyson in 2018 with Tennyson going on to challenge Tevin Farmer. Ward is rated IBF 7(5) so has a way to go before getting a title chance. Amparan did his job well but never threatened Ward in any way.
Tomlinson vs. Burt
Neighbourhood fighter Tomlinson gets late stoppage in a competitive fight. Tomlinson made a strong start attacking the body well in the early rounds with Burt often on the back foot using some smart jabbing to stay in the fight. Tomlinson was well ahead after five rounds but was rocked by a punch from Burt in the sixth. Tomlinson shook that off and increased the pressure over the seventh and eighth and although Burt still fought back hard he was being worn down and a fierce attack from Tomlinson had him in trouble in the ninth when the referee stepped in. Fifth inside the distance victory in a row for the Central Area and IBO Continental champion. Scottish Area champion Black had won his last three fights.
Docherty vs. Mendoza
Scottish prospect Docherty notches up another quick victory as he floors and stops late replacement Mendoza at the end of the opening round. The 22-year-old southpaw has six short route wins and this is the fourth of his first round finishes. A former Scottish, British and Commonwealth Youth champion and Commonwealth Games silver medallist he is one of the best young prospects in Scotland. Mendoza is a member of the team of Spanish-based Nicaraguan’s who are always available at short notice but usually last a few more rounds than this.
Allen vs. Darch
After a crushing defeat against David Price in July an undismayed Allen returns with a win. The Dave Allen we know was nowhere in sight in the first two rounds as he danced like Muhammad Ali, bobbed and weaved like Nicolino Locche and landed only a few pitty-patty punches on a bemused Darch. No “White Rhino” here. Darch had managed to land some right crosses in the second but in the third Allen came out punching and put Darch down with a left hook. Darch lay on his back until the count reached six and then was up at eight. Allen landed a series of punches ending with two hooks to the head and Darch went down on his back again. He sat up and then with refreshing honesty just shook his head to say he had had enough and lay down again until the count was completed. Allen always provides entertainment and is very popular but he seems to have gone as far as he is going. Welshman Darch suffers a depressing seventh inside the distance loss on the bounce.
Geoppingen, Germany: Cruiser: Kevin Lerena (25-1) W TKO 6 Firat Arslan (47-9-3). Super Middle: Davide Faraci (15-0) W PTS 8 Emre Cukur (14-0) W . Cruiser: Huseyin Cinkara (14-0) W PTS 8 Dzemal Bosnjak (4-2). Super Middle: Osleys Iglesias (3-0) W TKO 2 Bernard Donfack (23-24-4). Heavy: Viktor Vykhryst (1-0) W TKO 1 Andrei Mazanik (13-11). Super Light: Fatih Keles (12-1-1,1ND) W TKO 1 Ivan Njegac (12-14. Heavy: Erkan Teper (21-3) W PTS 4 Mykyta Nesterenko (1-3).
Lerena vs. Arslan
Lerena retains the IBO title with sixth round stoppage that crushes Arslan and his dream of winning a world title at 49. In the first Arslan tried to walk forward behind the high guard so favoured by German boxers but Lerena constantly pierced his guard with right jabs and found the target with straight left and body punches. More of the same in the second. Lerena was stabbing home jabs firing hooks to the body and curving punches around Arslan’s high guard with Arslan on the back foot and only tossing a few jabs. It was target practice for Lerena in the third as he teed-off on a static Arslan connecting with clubbing punches from both hands with Arslan indulging in the occasional jab and actually landing one good uppercut. Arslan did much better in the fourth, He was finally throwing punches and putting together some combinations. Lerena was still landing with his jab and thudding body shots but Arslan did enough to at least share the round. Lerena was back in charge in the fifth. He speared Arslan with a whole series of jabs and then began to unload heavy shots rocking Arslan and driving him back to the ropes and then pounding him some more and Arslan was under fire at the bell. Lerena jabbed Arslan persistently in the sixth before connecting with a booming left to the head that sent Arslan staggering back across the ring. Lerena chased him to the ropes and was pummelling him with punches when the referee stepped in and stopped the fight just as the towel came in from Arslan’s corner. Arslan was not happy with his corner but it was the right decision. The 27-year-old from Johannesburg was making the sixth defence of the IBO title with his thirteenth win in a row. He was No 2 with the WBA going into this one and since none of their myriad of champions are involved in the WSSB that may be a route for him. He is No 3 with the IBF with the No 2 spot vacant so he could be in line to face the winner of the Yuniel Dorticos vs. Mairis Breidis final so there are options for him to test himself against the best. Arslan’s age caught up with him and he fought like an old man whose best days are way past.
Faraci vs. Cukur
Faraci wins clash of unbeaten fighters with unanimous decision over
Cukur. It was a tight, close fight in the first round. Faraci was coming forward strongly with southpaw Cukur counter punching effectively. Faraci had the better of the exchanges at the start of the second but was put down by a left later in the round. The pace slowed in the third and fourth but Faraci’s speed and accuracy saw him dominate the fifth and Cukur went down in the sixth but it was ruled a slip. Faraci continued to boss the fight in the seventh and then sealed his win by flooring Cukor twice in the last to take the decision. The 28-year-old Faraci is Swiss-born and the Italian champion and has dual nationality. Best career wins so far for Faraci a former three-time Swiss amateur champion and European Under 22 bronze medallist. Cukur was the official challenger for the vacant European title and an Italian promoter had won the bidding for Cukur to fight veteran Giovanni De Carolis so Faraci will probably now be looking to replace Cukur as the official challenger. Unexpected and expensive set-back for Cukur but a good leaning fight and at 26 he has time to develop further.
Cinkara vs. Bosnjak
Cinkara decisions inexperienced Montenegrin-born Bosnjak. Cinkara was able to use his considerably edge in height and reach to come out a winner on all three cards. Scores 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75.The 35-year-old Cinkara has acted as a sparring partner for Marat Gassiev and Oleg Usyk in the past and had won his last seven fights by KO/TKO.
Iglesias vs., Donfack
Yet another former elite level Cuban is campaigning in Europe. Berlin-based southpaw Iglesias was far too good for aging loser Donfack. He was showering Donfack with sizzling combinations though out the first and dropped him twice in the second to force the stoppage. You can’t blame Iglesias for leaving Cuba, He won the silver medal at the Cuban Championships in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018-all against Pan American, World and Olympic champion Arlen Lopez. His three pro wins have been achieved in less than five rounds. Cameroon-born Donfack, 39, is now a sorrowful 0-10-1 in his last eleven fights.
Vykhryst vs. Mazanik
Vykhryst wins his first pro fight with quick finish. Mazanik tried a couple of overhand rights looking for a sensational win but none of them connected. Vykhryst, who is very Klitschko-ish in style and stature, was stabbing out his jab and then shook Mazanik with a straight right and put him down heavily with another . As the referee started the count the towel came in from Mazanik’s corner but the referee did not see it and counted Mazanik out. All over in 55 seconds. The 6’5” Vykhryst was Ukrainian Champion three times and European Champion in 2017 and 2019. Too early to get over-excited but Belarusian Mazanik had gone the distance with Peter Kadiru and Ali Eren Demirezen in his last two fights.
Keles vs. Njegac
Quick win for Keles as he blows away Njegac inside a round with three knockdowns. The 30-year-old Turk is a former European Championships gold medallist who also competed at the 2012 Olympics and World Championships, He has struggled so far as a pro but his only loss is a points verdict against world rated Liam Paro in Australia for the WBO Global title.. Four losses in a row for Njegac a late choice as an opponent
Teper vs. Nesterenko
Pretty disgraceful match really as Teper decisions Ukrainian novice Nesterenko. Teper,37, took the unanimous decision. Scores 40-36 twice and 39-37. Second win for Teper as he tries to get back on track after kayo loss to Robert Helenius in 2018. Nesterenko, 22, way out of his depth.
Indio, CA, USA: Bantam: Oscar Negrete (19-2-2) W PTS 10 Alberto Melian (6-2). Super Fly: Ricardo Sandoval (18-1) W KO 7 Ray Tabugon (22-12-1). Super Bantam: Leon Baez (18-2,1ND) W PTS 8 Moises Flores (25-3,2ND).
Negrete vs. Melian
Negrete pulls away in the second half of an entertaining scrap to take a unanimous verdict. Melian started by out jabbing the smaller Negrete in the first and second rounds. A punch opened a cut over Melian’s right eye but the aggression from Melian was stifling Negrete’s attacks in the third and Melian dominated the fourth. He was forcing Negrete back throughout the round pinning him to the ropes and unloading with left hooks to head and body and straight rights. Negrete punched back but the referee checked on him at the end of the round. Melian landed more in the fifth to put himself narrowly in front. Melian made a strong start in the sixth but Negrete slowly took control and by the bell was driving a tiring Melian back. Negrete took the seventh as Melian’s attacks seemed to run out of steam. The Argentinian rallied during the eighth but he was allowing Negrete too much space and Negrete’s accuracy won him the ninth and tenth rounds. Scores 98-92 twice and 97-93 for Negrete. The 32-year-old Colombian, a former WBC super bantam title challenger, needed a win after going 0-1-2 in consecutive fights against Joshua Franco. Melian was looking for revenge after losing to Negrete in the South American Championships back in 2010. When Melian turned pro he did so in a blaze of publicity after representing Argentina at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and starring for Condors in the WSB but after a loss to Leonard Baez in July he is a very ordinary 1-2 in his last three fights.
Sandoval vs. Tabugon
Sandoval wars down and stops Tabugon. In the opener Sandoval showed he carried the heavier power as he opened with some strong jabs and then hurt Tabugon with a right to the head and a wicked left hook to the body. The Filipino was undeterred and was looking to trade punches in the second when a left hook knocked him off balance and he went down on one knee. He was not badly hurt and took the fight to Sandoval for the rest of the round. Sandoval handed out punishment in the third, fourth and fifth connecting with rights to the head and left to the body and Tabugon was rocked a couple of times. Tabugon managed to land some rights to the head as Sandoval came forward but he was spending more and more time trying to fend off left hooks from Sandoval. At the end of the sixth Saldivar had Tabugon pinned to the ropes and was pounding on Tabugon and he continued those attacks in the seventh until the referee came in to stop the punishment. Now 14 wins on the trot for the 21-year-old Californian. Tabugon is 2-5 in recent action including inside the distance losses to Andrew Moloney and Angel Acosta.
Baez vs. Flores
Baez wins every round against former interim WBA and IBO champion Flores. Plenty of action from the start as Baez was getting past Flores’ jab and whacking left hooks to the body. Flores was following his jab with straight rights and as they traded punches inside. Baez just had the edge. He started to add left uppercuts with Flores slinging punches without much accuracy. A clash of heads in the third saw Baez cut over his left eye but he continued to outscore Flores. Over the late rounds Baez kept landing those hurtful body punches and Flores was reduced to just lunging and inaccurate shots and getting caught with counters when he made a mistake. Flores put in a big effort in the seventh but there was still more incoming than outgoing and Baez took the last to sweep the board. Scores 80-72 for Baez from the three judges. Now seven consecutive wins for the 24-year-old from Mexicali. Flores in a rocky period. A first round kayo loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux in a fight for the full WBA title was changed to No Decision as it was ruled the knockout punch landed after the bell. He then failed to make the weight and was outpointed by Daniel Roman for the secondary WBA belt and in his most recent fight in January last year he was stopped in three rounds by Brandon Figueroa. At 33 he looked an old fighter here
Lautaro, Chile: Feather: Cristian Palma (31-10-1) W Kevin Acevedo (19-3-2). Chilean Palma holds on to the South American title but only just as the judges come up with a split draw. The smaller Acevedo was a little tiger constantly walking in getting past the jab of Palma and working inside. Palma was able to score at distance with his jab and connected with hooks and upper cuts as Acevedo marched forward and it was action all the way with the rounds difficult to score but Acevedo just seemed to have outfought the local fighter. Scores 96-94 Palma, 96-94 Acevedo and 96-95. After losing to Michell Smith in London in 2015 Palma had scored eleven consecutive contests including a points victory over Acevedo in 2017. Second shot at the South American title for Acevedo who had won 4 of his last 5 bouts.
Madrid, Spain: Light Heavy: Anthony Yarde (19-1) W TKO 2 Diego Ramirez (4-49-3). A curious bit of paid sparring for Yarde in a small hall in Spain where the real purpose was to position Yarde for a shot at the WBC title by meeting the stipulation that a fighter cannot challenge for the WBC title if he is coming off a loss-or so it is said. Ramirez went into reverse gear from the opening seconds and rarely took a step forward. Yarde walked him down with jab and rights to the body. Ramirez was better in the second and although he was usually throwing wide sweeping punches he was also standing and urging Yarde to do his worst. A left hook to the body put Ramirez down and when he went down later in the round under a Yarde attack the referee stopped the fight. First outing for Yarde since his eleventh round stoppage loss to Sergey Kovalev in August. Heads clashed a few times in this bout and it would have been silly for Yarde to risk a bad cut in such a nothing fight. Sixth loss in a row for Spanish-based Colombian Ramirez.
Bilbao, Spain: Light: Jon Fernandez (20-1) W Aristides Perez (31-13-2). Fernandez sweeps aside late substitute Perez. The local boy put Perez down with a barrage of punches finished off with a left hook to the body. Perez made it to his feet but went down again from another barrage. He dragged himself up at nine but the referee waived the fight over. The 24-year-old Fernandez lost his unbeaten label when he was outpointed by O’Shaquie Foster in 2018 and has rebuilt with five wins. Colombian Perez, 38, was a substitute for a substitute. Back in 2009 he lost in two rounds when challenging Humberto Soto for the WBC super feather title but this is his first fight for seventeen months and his third inside the distance loss in a row,
Vienna, VA, USA: Super Middle: Dusty Hernandez Harrison (34-0-1) W KO 2 Les Sherrington (38-15). Heavy: Mike Balogun (16-0) W KO 1 Adnan Buharalija (32-25-2).
Harrison vs. Sherrington
Harrison dismantles Australian veteran Sherrington in two rounds. Harrison floored Sherrington in the first with a straight left and had Sherrington hurt again at the bell. Harrison brought down the curtain in the second flooring Sherrington twice with lefts the second of which saw Sherrington counted out. Harrison is working his way back after a number of factors saw him inactive in 2017 and 2018. He had three wins last year and is looking to get back in the ratings. Five losses on the trot for 37-year-old Sherrington.
Balogun vs. Buharalija
Balogun moves to 16 wins, 12 by KO/TKO, with first round stoppage of Buharalija. All of his opposition have been mediocre at best. The 35-year-old Maryland southpaw did not turn pro until he was 31 after playing for short periods in American football for the 49ers, Redskins, Cowboys, Buccaneers, Bills and Colts. Georgia-based Bosnia Buharalija falls to 3-7 in recent action.
Fight of the week (Significance): Gary Russell’s win over Tugstsogt Nyambayar could lead to some good fights at featherweight
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Leyman Benavides vs. Carlos Ortega was war, war and more war
Fighter of the week: Gary Russell with both Kid Galahad and Kell Brook worthy of honourable mention
Punch of the week: The right uppercut from José Estrada that almost lifted Luis Lebron off his feet was spectacular and you don’t often find a left jab getting a mention but Kell Brook’s one that floored Mark DeLuca for the second time did the job
Upset of the week: Estrada beating Lebron was unexpected
Prospect watch: May be too early but I am going to go with 1-0 Ukrainian heavyweight Viktor Vykhryst .
There are certain fighters that we always looked forward to seeing, knowing that they consistently delivered great bouts. When we got two of those matched up together we knew to expect something special and in 2018 we got something just like that when, one August evening, we had a massively over-looked All Japanese thriller at Korakuen Hall.
Akira Yaegashi (26-6, 14) Vs Hirofumi Mukai (16-5-3, 6)
In one corner was former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi, a man that had a cult following in the West and a huge fan base in Japan. Yaegashi had given us so many thrilling fighters though his career that we knew if he was in the ring we were in for something exciting. His bouts with the likes of Pornsawan Porpramook and Kazuto Ioka had been absolute thrillers and even Yaegashi's "duller" bouts were more exciting than the most exciting bouts of many other fighters. Come 2018 Yaegashi was clearly not the fighter he had once been, but was still on the hunt for one more world title fight, in the hope of becoming a 4-weight champion.
In the opposite corner to Yaegashi was former amateur standout Hirofumi Mukai, who had twice challenged for world titles in Thailand. Mukai had once shown a lot of promise, and had beaten Sonny Boy Jaro very early in his career, but by 2018 his career was really not going upwards. Instead he was relying more on his heart and toughness than the skills he'd developed as an amateur. That gritty determination had seen him put on an instant classic in 2017, with Rex Tso, and after 3 easy wins he then took on Yaegashi in a bout that was a must win for both.
The loser of this was going to be in their 30's and really would have a lot of rebuilding to do. Both had suffered numerous losses, by stoppage, and both were starting to take a lot of accumulated punishment. In their prime Yaegashi would have been expected to over-come even the best Mukai, but at 35 years old, and just 15 months removed from an opening round loss to Milan Melindo it was unclear what either man had left in the tank.
What we ended up getting was the sight of two men fighting for their careers. Two men putting it all on the line and two men who knew what the bout meant. This wasn't a fight where either man was going to keep something in reserve, but instead a bout where they both had to big deep, and both took serious punishment.
Early on Mukai tried to establish range, behind his footwork, reach and southpaw stance. Yaegashi wasn't having it and was repeatedly marching forward, looking to get inside and draw Mukai into a war. By the round of round 2 Yaegashi was getting closer and closer to getting Mukai to respond up close and it seemed a matter of time before the touch paper was going to be lit and begin to see both firing...and that was done in round 3, as Mukai realised Yaegashi wasn't going to back off. From there on we began to see a classic unfold in front of our eyes.
The bout reached its peak in round 6, a true round of the year contender, with both men being badly damaged and shaken during 3 punishing minutes that saw fans wonder how much the two could take. Yet the bout went on.
This might not have had a world title on the line, but it had two men willing to give their all, and two men who really did everything they could in a legitimate modern day closet classic.
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