Our closet is packed All-Japan classics, and sadly we've not yet come across a similar number of All-Korean, All-Filipino or All-Thai fights. For whatever reason they area lot less common than brilliant bout featuring two Japanese fighters. There are, admittedly, a few different theories as to why but it's a real shame that we rarely see great domestic show downs from through other Asian countries. Thankfully however today we share a really fun All-Korean bout from the late 1990's.
Jung Bum Kim (9-1-1, 8) vs Hyuk Jin Kwon (5-2, 4)
In one corner was the now often forgotten Jun Bum Kim. At the time of this bout he was the South Korean Light Weltweight champion and was making his second defense of the title that he had won 11 months earlier. At this point in his career little was really said about Kim, but later in his career he would go on to win the OPBF title, and defend it 5 times over 3 years. He would earn the moniker of the "Oriental Express" and when the engine got going the punches began to flow. A fully up and running Kim was a joy to watch, letting punches go like an endless punching machine. If you hit him that wasn't going to stop him and instead it just seemed to drive him on.
In the opposite corner was Hyuk Jin Kwon, who was competing in his first title bout. After this bout his career went a bit crazy, with a bout against the always fun Hiroyuki Sakamoto, one of the real good guys of the sport, a bout at 154lbs in Uzbekistan for the WBO Asia Pacific title, and eventually he would claim the Korean national title at 140lbs. Upto this bout Kim we really hadn't seen anything to suggest he would be able to live with the champion. That didn't stop him thinking he could.
This is quite a short bout, so we won't ruin too much of it, but it is a very, very fun bout.
It begins quickly. The action doesn't start like your typical opening round. Both men let some solid shots go, with the champion, fighting in the silver shorts, looking like the man taking some solid shots as his engine begin to get going. With around 2 minutes of the round gone we see the pace increase further, and the naturally bigger looking Kwon does get off some good shots on the champion, who had fought behind a busy jab.
From the bell to start round 2 the action was again high and Kwon even managed to get Kim on to the ropes for a few seconds.
Again we won't ruin any more of the bout, but for those wanting to watch something of short, fun, Korean bout they could do a lot worse than this. Both men let their shots go, we had some brilliant exchanges, and the action, when it picked up, was intense and brilliant.
By Eric Armit
-Emanuel Navarrete stops a gutsy Chris Diaz in the last round and remains WBO featherweight champion
-Kenshiro Teraji defends the WBC light fly title for the eighth time as he decisions Tetsuya Hisada
-Michael Magnesi retains the IBO super featherweight title with first round victory over Khanyile Bulana
-In Barcelona Sandor Martin outpoints Key Prospere in a European super light title defence and Andoni Gago is still European featherweight champion after a controversial technical draw against Gavin McDonnell with Kevin Lejarraga stopping Jez Smith.
-Felix Cash stops Denzil Bentley to unify the British and Commonwealth middleweight titles and Callum Johnson returns with a win
- Edgar Berlanga floors Demond Nicholson four times but has to go the full eight rounds as his streak of 16 consecutive first round wins comes to an end.
World Title/Major Shows
Kissimmee, FL, USA: Feather: Emanuel Navarrete (34-1) W TKO 12 Christopher Diaz (26-3). Super Light: Josue Vargas (19-1) W PTS 10 Willie Shaw (13-3). Super Middle; Edgar Berlanga (17-0) W PTS 8 Demond Nicholson (23-4-1). Light: Jamaine Ortiz (14-0-1) DREW 8 Joseph Adorno (14-0-2).Feather: Orlando Gonzalez (17-0) W PTS 8 Juan Antonio Lopez (15-9). Welter: Xander Zayas (8-0) W KO 1 Demarcus Layton (8-2-1).
Navarrete vs. Diaz
Navarrete stops challenger Diaz in the last round after an exciting title fight.
Good opening round for Navarette he was floating around the ring in his customary languid style poking jabs through Diaz’s guard and then unleashing a few powerful swings. Diaz was content to stay out of range but Navarette landed a couple of shots just before the bell.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete
Better from Diaz. He dropped a couple of rights over the top of lazy jabs from Navarrete then used quick lateral movement to avoid Navarrete’s attempts to close him down and landed a couple of nice hooks.
Score: 10-9 Diaz TIED 19-19
Total change of pace by Navarrete. He was quickly closing Diaz down and connecting with hooks and uppercuts. Navarrete kept pressing firing lots of punches. Navarrete is so unconventional the Diaz could never be sure what punch would be coming from where. Diaz regrouped and attacked at the end of the round but already there was a swelling under his right eye.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 29-28
Diaz was having a good round. Fast movement was frustrating Navarrete’s attempts to close him down and connected with a couple of crisp left hooks. Then suddenly it was not such a good round for Diaz. Navarrete started to throw a right and then instead let fly with a left hook and his feet were almost off the ground when it landed but it sent Diaz down. He got up and then dropped down on one knee before getting up at eight. He stepped in close to Navarrete and punched with him to the bell.
Score: 10-8 Navarette Navarrete 39-36
Official Scores: Judge Christopher Flores 39-36 Navarrete, Judge Patricia Moses Jarman 39-36 Navarrete, Judge Alex Levin 39-36 Navarrete.
An entertaining round. Showing no ill effects from the knockdown Diaz set out to control the action. He was quicker and was looking to exchange punches with Navarrete and connected with some good hooks. Navarrete spent most of the round on the back foot but again when he landed his power showed but Diaz just edge the round.
Score: 10-9 Diaz Navarrete 48-46
Another action-filled found. Diaz was taking the fight to Navarrete. He was forcing Navarrete onto the back foot walking through Navarrete’s counters and scoring with hooks to the body inside. Navarrete was landing heavy counters but could not keep Diaz out and Diaz rocked him a couple of times. Diaz was warned for kidney punches.
Score: 10-9 Diaz Navarette 57-56
The pace stayed hot as Diaz continued to try to walk through Navarrete but this time Navarrete was meeting him with bursts of counters. Diaz shrugged them off but in a clinch he again landed a punch to the kidney’s of Navarrete and the referee deducted a point*. Diaz was relentless but he was paying a price for his aggression and by the end of the round he was like a guy walking into a storm and being buffeted by the wind.
Score: 10-9 (10-8*) Navarrete Navarrete 67-64
Navarrete started the round with a series of long swinging hooks but again Diaz moved in close trying to deny Navarrete the room he needed for those dangerous long shots. Diaz was having some success but then Navarrete unleashed a salvo of hook and uppercuts and Diaz dropped to the canvas. Diaz was up at eight but a storm of punches from Navarrete forced him to his knees. He arose at eight and was now showing a gash under his left eye. There were only ten seconds left in the round but instead of trying to clinch Diaz traded punches with Navarrete.
Score: 10-7 Navarrete Navarrete 77-71
Official Scores: Judge Christopher Flores 79-69 Navarrete, Judge Patricia Moses Jarman 78-70 Navarrete, Judge Alex Levin 78-70 Navarrete.
Navarrete raked Diaz with punches early in the round but Diaz showed no sign of caving in and connected with some good hooks. Navarrete was fighting in bursts and in the act of throwing a combination he tumbled backwards to the floor. Not really surprising as Navarrete must have the worst footwork of any champion and poor balance. He was soon on the attack again with Diaz standing up well to the pressure.
Score: 10-9 Navarrete Navarrete 87-80
Diaz seemed to have recovered from the horrors of the seventh round and he outworked Navarrete getting in close and hooking to the body. Navarrete just let his punches go in isolated bunches and effectively took a breather.
Score: 10-9 Diaz Navarrete 96-90
Diaz was bouncing around as if it was the first round. He was darting in firing hooks and then tying Navarrete up inside. Navarrete put together some nice sequences of punches but Diaz simply outworked him.
Score: 10-9 Diaz Navarrete 105-100
Diaz came out throwing punches and Navarrete again found himself on the back foot as Diaz dug in with hooks to the body but then the energy seemed to drain from Diaz. Despite that he kept moving forward throwing tired punchers and Navarrete was also slowing. It looked as though this one was going the distance until Navarrete scored with two clubbing rights to the head. A left hook had Diaz stumbling and almost going down. Navarrete had Diaz’s head bouncing around with punches from both hands. The referee looked ready to step in when Diaz stumbled to one side and a push from Navarrete sent him to the canvas. The referee could have stopped it but he gave Diaz a count. Diaz was up at seven and looked in a bad way. Initially the referee stepped back to let the fight continue but then rightly decided to stop the fight. Navarrete was making the first defence of the WBO title with win No 29 by KO/TKO. Some sources say 28 but he scored a stoppage in a non-title fight in Mexico City in June last year but as it was not under the Commission there it shows as a No Decision). The featherweights are not one of the strongest divisions right now and I really can’t see his mandatory challenger James Dickens as any real threat to Navarrete. This was a highly entertaining fight due in no small part to the way the Diaz chose to take the fight to Navarrete and even in defeat the 26-year-old Puerto Rican must have boosted his stock. His other losses have been on points against Masayuki Ito for the vacant WBA super feather title and Shakur Stevenson.
Vargas v. Shaw
After an early scare southpaw Vargas settled into the fight and emerged a good winner. Vargas was coming forward confidently in the first when a right counter from Shaw had him staggering backwards. Shaw piled in throwing punches taking Vargas to the ropes and connecting with a series of punches. Vargas survived the storm and although Shaw remained dangerous on occasion Vargas controlled the rest of the fight. He was piercing Shaw’s guard with quick, accurate jabs and firing rapid lefts to the head. Shaw tried to counter but Vargas either used classy body movement to get around the punches or was stepping back quickly out of range. Shaw tried coming forward behind a high guard but uppercuts from Vargas quickly showed that was not a good idea. Vargas was just too quick for the one-paced Shaw and slowed Shaw with some juicy body shots. The fight became untidy late with too many clinches as they both tired. Scores 99-91 twice and 98-92 for 22-year-old Puerto Rican Vargas. His only loss was a disqualification and he has won thirteen in a row with the last five all by decision. Shaw proved dangerous but limited.
Berlanga vs. Nicholson
It had to happen sometime and in his seventeenth fight Berlanga finally heard the bell to signal the start of the second round. He floored Nicholson four times but his streak of first round wins was snapped. In the first Berlanga was trying to line Nicholson up for some heavy rights but Nicholson moved well and had no real trouble getting through the first three minutes. Nicholson was looking to trade with Berlanga in the second and had some success. He went down under a shower of punches in the second but it looked more as though he tumbled forward rather than was knocked down. Berlanga piled on the punches but Nicholson survived. Nicholson was finding flaws in Berlanga’s defence in the fourth but went down again and this time it looked as though Berlanga threw him down. Berlanga was just too strong for Nicholson to really compete with. He showed no real respect for Berlanga’s reputation but he was the one who broke of the exchanges each time. A fierce attack from Berlanga had Nicholson reeling and going down for a third time in the fifth and taking some heavy punishment in the sixth and seventh. Berlanga came near to finishing it when he put Nicholson on the floor with a right in the eighth but Nicholson got up and was there at the bell. Scores 79-69 twice and 79-68 for Berlanga. Good experience for the 23-year-old. The 16 first round finishes had made it impossible to judge anything other than his power and it was evident here there was things that needed to be worked on. The only fighter to have beaten Nicholson inside the distance is Jesse Hart back in 2018. He had won five fights since then and proved a much needed test for Berlanga.
Ortiz vs. Adorno
A great little scrap sees Ortiz down twice but fight back hard and get a well deserved draw. Ortiz outboxed Adorno in the first before experiencing an almost disastrous second. Adorno connected with a savage left hook which had Ortiz bleeding heavily from a probably broken nose and then floored Ortiz with a vicious left hook. Ortiz made it through the round and then used his speed and better skills to get back into the fight and edge ahead. In the seventh an uppercut from Adorno sent Ortiz tumbling into the ropes which held him up resulting in Ortiz being counted. Ortiz had more left in the eighth but he could not claw back all of the points from the two knockdowns and had to settle for a majority draw with one judge having Ortiz the winner 76-74 and the other two scoring it 75-75. A loss to Gary Antuanne Russell at the US Trials prevented Ortiz from competing at the Rio Olympics and he showed some slick boxing here. Second successive draw for Adorno who had ended up all even against 14-7-3 Hector Garcia in January last year.
Gonzalez vs. Lopez
Puerto Rican Gonzalez also had an inside the distance streak ended in this fight as after ten wins by KO/TKO he had to go the full eight rounds for victory. Gonzalez took charge from the first but found fellow southpaw Lopez a better fighter than his record indicated. Gonzalez was sharper and outboxed Lopez over the first three rounds before rocking him with a blistering left in the fourth. Lopez just told Gonzalez to bring it on and they exchanged insults often. Lopez was strong and determined and opened a cut on the right cheek of Gonzalez in the sixth. He just could not match the hand speed of Gonzalez and was cut over his right late in the last round as Gonzalez fired his way to victory. Scores 79-73 twice and 78-74 for Gonzalez. The 25-year-old from Puerto Rico is making steady progress and a step up to ten rounds can’t be far away. Lopez is limited but tough and drops to 3-7 in his last ten outing.
Zayas vs. Layton
Zayas obliterates Layton in under a minute. Zayas came out throwing punches. Layton tried to keep him out with jabs but a booming left hook sent him into a corner and Zayas exploded with punches to head and body until another left hook sent Layton slumping to the canvas and he was counted out after just 56 seconds. The 18-year-old Puerto Rican gets his fifth first round win. No need to rush him but he needs some useful ring time. Layton never had a chance.
Osaka, Japan: Light Fly: Kenshiro Teraji (18-0) W PTS 12 Tetsuya Hisada (34-11-2).
In his first fight for sixteen months Teraji makes a successful defence of the WBC title with wide unanimous decision over a strong and gutsy Hisada.
Hisada made a confident start taking the fight to the champion and getting the better of the exchanges in a low key round.
Score: 10-9 Hisada
Hisada continued to plunge forward with Teraji showcasing some slick skills. He was connecting with eye-catching rights and one of those landed and put Hisada on the floor. It was the first time Hisada had been dropped but he showed his fighting spirit by getting up and again taking the fight to Teraji.
Score: 10-8 Teraji Teraji 19-18
Hisada again showed some real aggression in this one. He piled on the pressure walking through counters from Teraji and scoring well to the body and outworking Teraji.
Score: 10-9 Hisada TIED 28-28
Teraji began to take control. Hisada found that even though he continued to have some success the speed and accuracy of Teraji’s work was giving him the edge and Teraji’s confidence was growing as he found the range after a slow start.
Score: 10-9 Teraji Teraji 38-37
Official Scores: Judge Yoshikazu Furuta 38-37 Teraji, Judge Hisatoshi Miyazaki 38-37 Teraji, Judge Masahiro Noda 40-35 Teraji
This was the best round so far. Teraji continued to pick up the points with his classy boxing and sharp counters. Hisada was not letting Teraji have things all his own way and he had some success as he upped his pace to make it a close round but Teraji was doing most of the scoring.
Score: 10-9 Teraji Teraji 48-46
Hisada was not letting up and again he attacked hard scoring with hooks and overhand rights. Teraji had upped his pace and he made Hisada pay for his aggression with some great counters and put together some exciting combinations and landed hurtful body punches.
Score: 10-9 Teraji Teraji 58-55
It was a case of for round 7 see round 6. Hisada was putting in a great effort expending lots of energy but the classy work from Teraji meant that Hisada saw very little reward for his efforts as Teraji was superior in defence and attack and although Hisada was making the rounds close he just could not find a way to win one.
Score: 10-9 Teraji ` Teraji 68-64
Another round for Teraji. He was outboxing Hisada and had more power. More and more Teraji was raking Hisada with body punches and although Hisada seemed to just absorb them and kept coming you had to feel they were having an effect.
Score: 10-9 Teraji Teraji 78-73
Official Scores: Judge Yoshikazu Furuta 78-73 Teraji, Judge Hisatoshi Miyazaki 78-73 Teraji, Judge Masahiro Noda 79-72 Teraji
Teraji continued to target Hisada’s body and the cumulative effect of that assault began to show in the round. Hisada was still full of aggression but his output dropped. Teraji dominated the action piercing the challengers guard with jabs and those body punches and it became to some extent a case of whether Hisada would make it to the final bell.
Score: 10-9 Teraji Teraji 88-82
Easily Teraji’s round as Hisada looked to be fading giving Teraji more room to set himself for his punches. He was scoring consistently to head and body whereas Hisada was unable to sustain his aggression and was no real threat to the champion.
Score: 10-9 Teraji Teraji 98-91
One thing Hisada still had was determination and he dredged up some energy to again be piling forward but that only made Teraji’s job easier as Hisada was right there in front of him. Teraji finished the round strongly making Hisada wince with a body punch and banging home some savage head punches.
Score: 10-9 Teraji Teraji 108-100
Hisada went down fighting. He once again drove forward with Teraji having to adjust to facing a rejuvenated challenger and a level of pressure that he had not had to deal with over the last four rounds. Teraji rose to the challenge and again the quality and accuracy of his punches more than offset Hisada’s brave final fling and Teraji took the round.
Score: 10-9 Teraji Teraji 118-109
Official Scores: Judge Yoshikazu Furuta 118-109 Teraji, Judge Hisatoshi Miyazaki 118-109 Teraji, Judge Masahiro Noda 119-108 Teraji
The 29-year-old Teraji was making the eighth defence of the WBC title. He has a complete set having won the WBC Youth, Japanese and OPBF titles. Fourteen of his eighteen fights have been title fights and he has the ability to unify the four versions of the title if the fights can be made. He is the son of a former Japanese middle and OPBF light heavyweight champion so quite a physical difference between father and son. Originally Teraji fought as Ken Shiro with the name taken from a famous manga character but under any name he is a very talented performer. At 36 it may be the end of the line for Hisada, a former Japanese champion, he lost to Hiroto Kyoguchi for the WBA title in his last fight in October 2019 so it might be a good time to put the gloves away as he is unlikely to get another shot.
Sydney, Australia: Heavy: Paul Gallen (11-0-1) W TKO 1 Lucas Browne (29-3).
Gallen blasts out Browne in less than two minutes. Browne came out poking and prodding with his left using his height and longer reach to force Gallen back to the ropes. Brown let fly with a couple of punches to the head but Gallen turned Browne to the ropes and then landed a series of rights that put Browne down. He was up at four and when the eight count was completed Browne tried to stand and punch with Gallen but Gallen staggered him with a right and then kept pounding Browne with rights until Browne went down again. Although he staggered to his feet the referee had waived the fight over after just 1:55. Sixth inside the distance for the 39-year-old Australian Rugby League player Gallen. He was giving away 7” in height and 33lbs but the 42-year-old Browne was pathetic and the win said more about Browne than Gallen who is tremendously strong but has only rudimentary technique. Nine of his victim had only five wins between them and the draw was three fights ago against 44-year-old Barry Hall who was having his only pro fight. Brown, a former holder of the secondary WBA title, had been knocked out in three rounds by Dave Allen in April 2019.
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Light: Frank Martin (13-0) W TKO 7 Jerry Perez (13-0). Light Heavy: Marcus Browne (24-1) W PTS 10 Denis Grachev (20-13-1).
Martin vs. Perez
Martin, an outstanding amateur continues his progress for pay as he stops unbeaten Perez in seven rounds. Perez got through with some hard rights in the first but Martin took over from the second. The Detroit-born southpaw found the target regularly with lefts and used clever movement to spin away from Perez’s attacks. Perez upped his pace in a competitive fifth but he was rocked by a left from Martin late in the round. It was over in the seventh as Martin put Perez down with a left hook. Perez beat the count but was taking punishment when the referee stopped the fight. Both fighters were moving up to ten round level for the first time. Martin, 26, a National Golden Gloves gold medallist and a silver medal winner at the US National Championships gets his tenth inside the distance victory. Californian Perez had registered ten inside the distance wins but did not have to skills or power of Martin.
Browne vs. Grachev
In his first fight for twenty months Brown wins every round against Grachev. Scores 100-90 on the three cards for Browne. He will now be aiming to work his way back to a return with Jean Pascal who floored him three times before a cut brought their fight for the interim WBA title to a halt with Pascal winning a technical decision and taking Browne’s title. The 30-year-old New Yorker is No 2 with the WBC with curiously the WBA secondary champion Pascal at No 1 with the WBC so a return is certainly on the cards. Also curious is that this fight received no coverage and no publicity. Russian Grachev at 38 is on the other side of the hill with just one win in his last seven fights.
Sydney, Australia: Super Feather: Liam Wilson (9-0) W PTS 10 Francis Chua (8-2-1). Super Feather: Bruno Tarimo (26-2-2) W PTS 10 Kye MacKenzie (21-3). Welter: Steve Spark (12-1) W PTS 8 Jack Brubaker (16-4-2). Welter: Leonardo Zappavigna (38-4) W TKO 3 Danny Kennedy (9-3-1).
Wilson vs. Chua
Wilson continues his progress with points victory over southpaw Chua. Wilson had plenty of height and reach over Chua and a much higher level of skills. He was switching guards and slotting punches home. Chua was cut in the second but just kept throwing punch after punch to make the third close. Wilson was finding the target with left hooks. He rocked Chua badly in the fourth and by the fifth there was some concern over Chua’s injury. Chua looked to have shaken Wilson in the eighth but Wilson was the one doing the major share of the scoring in the ninth and neither had much left for the last round as the fight petered out. Scores 98-92 twice and 97-94 for Wilson. A clear win for the Australian No 1 but not a hot performance from Wilson who stated after the fight that he had injured his hand in the third round. The 25-year-old remains one of the best prospects in Australia. Chua, the Australian No 6, was too small and did not have the power to match Wilson but he showed plenty of guts.
Tarimo vs. MacKenzie
Relocating to Australia has been a great career move for little Tarimo as he gets another outstanding win by decisioning the much taller MacKenzie. Tarimo just kept coming and was busier and more accurate. MacKenzie never used his physical advantages and Tarimo emerged a wide winner despite being deducted a point in the eighth for a low punch. Scores 97-92 twice and 96-93 for the 25-year-old Tanzanian who has taken Australian citizenship and is No 3 in the National rankings. He is 5-0-1Tec Draw in his last six fights including wins over Joel Brunker and Nathaniel May. He was defending the IBF International title and wins the vacant IBO Inter-Continental belt. MacKenzie had lost and won against Francis Chua and was having his first fight since November 2019 and this is a big setback for him.
Spark vs. Brubaker
Spark gets off the floor to score wide decision over more experienced Brubaker. Brubaker got a great start flooring Spark with a right in the first but then Spark began to connect with some strong rights to the head and took rounds two and three to even the scoring. Spark took the fourth to move ahead and then totally dominated the fifth and never let Brubaker into the fight after that. Scores: 77-74 twice and 80-72 for Spark. The 24-year-old Queenslander, a former undefeated Australian super lightweight champion, lost on a majority decision in China in his second professional fight but has put together an impressive run including eight inside the distance wins in a row before this contest. He is No 1 in the Australian National Boxing Federation rankings. Two losses in succession for Brubaker but sixteen months apart as he was stopped in four rounds by Tim Tszyu in December 2019.
Zappavigna vs. Kennedy
Zappavigna eases his way back into action with a third round stoppage of overmatched Kennedy. First fight since June 2018 for the 33-year-old former Australian and IBO champion and IBF title challenger. He had announced his retirement after taking a beating from Alex Saucedo. He would be giving away a bit of weight against Tim Tszyu might it might be a fight that could be made but Zappavigna would be an outsider if it came off. Kennedy, born in Jersey in the Channel Islands, had been stopped in the tenth round by Ben Kite in an Australian welterweight title fight in December.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Welter: Hironobu Matsunaga (18-1) W PTS 10 Rei Nakajima (4-1). Super Feather: Reiya Abe (21-3-1) W TEC DEC 7 Koshin Takeshima (4-2-1).
Matsunaga vs. Nakajima
Matsunaga remains Japanese champion but had to fight hard to retain his title. Nakajima was quick and accurate early but the more experienced Matsunaga made good use of his longer reach and pressed hard upsetting Nakajima’s tactics and had edged in front on all three cards after five rounds at 48-47 twice and 49-46. Nakajima just could not break Matsunaga’s stranglehold on the fight and despite a big effort in the ninth he could not close the gap. Scores 97-93 twice and 96-94. Third defence of the title for southpaw Matsunaga, 33, and his twelfth win in a row. Nakajima was in his first ten round fight and the experience will be good for him.
Abe vs. Takeshima
Abe gets unanimous technical decision over Takeshima. The first round went to Takeshima but little else went his way. A clash of heads saw him cut in the second and Abe scored a knockdown in the third. Takeshima was cut again in the fourth and just could not settle. He was outboxed by clever southpaw Abe and also deducted a point for holding in the seventh and later in the round the fight was stopped due to his cuts. Scores 68-63, 68-64 and 67-64 for Abe. He is No 3 in the Japanese ratings No 3 and has drawn and lost in shots at the National title. Takeshima lacked the experience to deal with Abe and suffers his second loss in a row.
West Point, NY, USA: Super Light: Juan Romero (14-0) W PTS 10 Deiner Berrio (22-3-1). Welter: Angel Ruiz (17-1) W PTS 8 Bobirzhan Mominov (12-1). Super Middle: Christian Mbilli (18-0) W TKO 5 Jesus Gutierrez (27-5-2).
Romero vs. Berrio
In the first post-COVD show in New York State Mexican Olympian Romero takes unanimous verdict over Colombian Berrio. In the opening round Romero was using his big advantages in height and reach crowding Berrio and doing the scoring. In the second Romero again controlled the action but suffered a cut over his right. Romero continued to get the best of the exchanges but Berrio although outworked fired back with some dangerous overhand rights. A sustained attack in the fifth had Berrio looking to be tiring but the Colombian stayed in the fight. Romero outlanded Berrio in the sixth and seventh but Berrio fought back hard over the last three rounds to make those rounds close. Scores 98-92 to Romero on the cards of the three judges. Romero, 31, a soldier in the Mexican Army, competed in the World Championships and 2016 Olympics and was a series winner in the WSB but did not turn pro until he was 27. He has been given some good tests and come through them but the clock is ticking for him. “Monster” Berrio was 20-0-1 before back-to-back losses in Russia. He came in at just one week’s notice for this fight.
Ruiz vs. Mominov
Mild upset as Ruiz fights his way through a few low punches to score two knockdowns and take the unanimous decision. Mominov worked his way into a lead taking the fight to Ruiz but the fight turned in the fifth. Mominov had been guilty of going low with his punches and he did it one time too many in the fifth. Ruiz was given time to recover and the referee took a point off Mominov and to complete the turnaround Ruiz floored Mominov just before the bell to end the round. Mominov stormed his way through the sixth but any claw back that spell earned him disappeared when he was dropped by a left in the seventh. The Kazak attacked hard through the eighth but could not close the gap. Scores 76-73 twice and 75-74 for Ruiz showing how the deduction and two knockdowns cost Mominov victory. Mexican southpaw Ruiz was having his first outing since being stopped in two rounds by Javier Flores in October 2019. Californian-based Mominov, a former World Military Champion, will bounce back to the winning column soon but he needs to clean up his act.
Mbilli vs. Gutierrez
OK I am high on “Solide” Mbilli and he was impressive here in destroying Mexican Gutierrez. He was giving away height and reach to the 5’11” Gutierrez who tried to pressure Mbilli from the start but Gutierrez could not match the strength of the Cameroon-born Frenchman as they went toe-to-toe over four rounds. Mbilli ended it in the fifth with two knockdowns. A couple of heavy rights and two uppercuts put Gutierrez down for the first time and he only just made it to his feet. He chose to try to punch with Mbilli but a right and a left to the head dropped him again and the referee did not bother with a count. The 25-year-old hope has only been taken the distance once as a pro. He won gold medals at the European Youth and European Union Championships. He also scored three wins over England’s Anthony Fowler but lost to eventual gold medallist Arlen Lopez at the 2016 Olympics. Gutierrez was beaten inside the distance in consecutive fights by Steven Butler and Esquiva Falcao but had won his last two fights.
Zagarolo, Italy: Super Feather: Michael Magnesi (19-0) W KO 1 Khanyile Bulana (12-1).
Magnesi retains the IBO title with controversial first round stoppage of Bulana. The Challenger was much taller with a longer reach and he started well enough with some jabs until pressure from Magnesi put him on the back foot. Magnesi tracked Bulana around the ring with Bulana throwing punches as Magnesi marched forward. Magnesi caught up with Bulana and connected with a couple of rights to the head and as Bulana backed out the of exchange Magnesi clipped him with another right to the chin. The South African went down on his back but quickly arose to a kneeling position not looking at all distressed and watching the count. He seemed to be at nine but the referee decided he had arisen too late and indicated he had counted Bulana out. There was some confusion with Magnesi going over to Bulana and shrugging his shoulders as if to indicate he did not think the count had been completed but the fight was over. First defence of the IBO title for the 26-year-old “Lone Wolf” and his sixth inside the distance win on the trot. Bulana, the South African No 2, was having his first fight since September 2019. He did not look to have the power to keep Magnesi out but it was an unsatisfactory ending.
Barcelona, Spain: Super Light: Sandor Martin (38-2) W PTS 12 Key Prosper (14-2-1). Feather: Andoni Gago (24-3-4) TEC DRAW 5 Gavin McDonnell (22-2-2). Super Welter: Kevin Lejarraga (32-2) W TKO 7 Jez Smith (12-3-1). Feather: Bernard Torres (14-0) W KO 2 Anuar Salas (20-9-1).
Martin vs. Prosper
Martin remains European champion with unanimous points victory over Prosper in a fight night sold as Spain vs. England. Southpaw Martin had everything going for him skill, speed, accuracy, great defensive moves and experience. Southpaw Prosper exerted plenty of pressure and some less acceptable tactics to try to complicate things for Martin but had very little success. Martin outboxed Prosper over the first two rounds and rocked him in the third. Prosper kept taking the fight to Martin and had some success particularly in the eighth when he was able to make Martin stand and trade. He then undid his work as in quick succession he was deducted a point for low punches and another for hitting to the back of Martin’s head although neither deduction looked justified. Sheer aggression landed Prosper a couple of rounds but Martin was masterful in his control of the fight and a good winner. Scores 119-107, 117-109 and 117-110 for Martin. Nine consecutive wins for Martin and a second successful defence of the European title. The only loss he has suffered in his last 24 fights was on points against Antony Yigit in 2017. He is rated No 7 by both the WBA and WBC so like many other super lights he is waiting to see what shakes out from the unification fight next month between Josh Taylor and Juan Carlos Ramirez. For Luton’s Prosper (Kayamba Prospere), the English champion, this fight has come too early in his career but at 36 it was a chance he had to take even though he lacked the experience to really threaten Martin. He will go back to domestic fights and rebuild.
Gago vs. McDonnell
Gago retains the European title with controversial majority technical draw against McDonnell. There was a total contrast in styles here. The much taller McDonnell wanted to box on the outside and the smaller, aggressive Gago was launching lunging attack to force McDonnell to the ropes where he could then work on the Englishman’s body. McDonnell emerged from an exchange in the first with a cut over his right eye which the referee ruled as having resulted from a clash of heads but with some protesting it was a punch that did the damage. Gogo attacked constantly if not always accurately hustling McDonnell out of his stride. Gago threw more and landed more with the quality rather than quantity coming from McDonnell. The doctor inspected McDonnell’s cut in the fourth round but allowed the fight to continue until the bell and then before there was any action in the fifth the doctor ruled the cut too bad for McDonnell continue with the fifth round being scored 10-1 it went to the judge's cards and they returned scores of 48-48, 48-48 and 50-46 for McDonnell resulting in a majority draw which incensed Spanish sources as they saw Gago as a clear winner and he certainly seemed to have done most of the scoring. Gago was making the first defence of the European title and an 8-0-1 run had seen him rated IBF 6(5)/WBC 14. McDonnell has lost in fights at super bantamweight for both the vacant WBC title where he dropped a majority decision against Rey Vargas and the WBA title where he was stopped in ten rounds by Daniel Roman. This was his first fight for 16 months. Hopefully there will be a return and normally the champion would want that in his home territory but that did not work out well for Gago here.
Lejarraga vs. Smith
Lejarraga gets off the canvas twice to stop Smith. Smith boxed well over the first two rounds but was under relentless pressure from the strong Lejarraga. That changed dramatically in the third when a right uppercut from Smith put Lejarraga down heavily. He made it so his feet and managed to survive to the bell although he was now showing a swelling by his right eye. Lejarraga came back strongly in the fourth only to be put down for a second time. Lejarraga had difficulty landing anything of consequence in the fifth due the good defensive work of Smith but the fight changed again in the sixth. A focused body attack from Lejarraga had its effect and Smith was the one visiting the floor. Lejarraga attacked a tiring Smith in the seventh ramming home body punches with Smith doubled over trying to smoother the shots until the referee stopped the fight. The stoppage looked very premature and Smith protested. The Basque “Revolver” gets win No 25 by KO/TKO but this fight illustrated his strength in attack and his weakness in defence which were already evidenced by his two inside the distance losses to David Avanesyan. Smith came very close to an upset here but instead suffers his third inside then distance defeat in his last four contests.
Torres vs. Salas
Norwegian based-born in the Philippines and fighting in Spain but above all successful that’s Bernard Angelo Torres. The 24-year-old southpaw registered another win last night in Barcelona. He floored Colombian Anuar Salas with a right in the first round and staggered him badly with another punch in the second and the referee stopped the fight to save Salas from further punishment. Promoted by Sergio “Maravilla Martinez” Torres is now 14-0 with 6 wins by KO/TKO. Salas is now 20-9-1 with 4 losses by KO/TKO.
Canberra, Australia: Feather: Brock Jarvis (19-0) W TKO 6 Nort Beauchamp (18-4). Middle: Issac Hardman (9-0) W RTD 7 Mark Lucas (10-3). Super Feather: TC Priestley (4-4) W RTD 9 Ben Dencio (8-4).
Jarvis vs. Beauchamp
Jarvis makes it nineteen wins with stoppage of Beauchamp. Initially Jarvis looked to box at distance but as Beauchamp kept marching forward Jarvis decided to get down in the trenches with him in a competitive opening round. Jarvis scored with some savage rights and lefts in the second but they just bounced off Beauchamp who did not seem to possess a reverse gear. Beauchamp had some success as they fought inside in the third but was being hurt by body punches from Jarvis. Beauchamp managed to pin Jarvis to the ropes at the start of the fourth but by the end of the round Jarvis landed so many devastating shots it was a wonder Beauchamp was still on his feet. Jarvis upped his pace in the fifth again scoring heavily to the body with Beauchamp just hanging in the fight and no more. Jarvis continued to bombard Beauchamp with punches in the sixth shaking off Beauchamp’s desperate attempts to hold until the referee came in and stopped the fight despite vigorous protests from Beauchamp. The Jeff Fenech-trained Jarvis, 23, has to be one of the best prospects in Australia but he now needs to step up to a higher class of opponent. He was defending his WBO Global title and collected the vacant IBF Pan Pacific title in this fight. Seventeen of his nineteen wins have come by KO/TKO. Thai-born New Zealander Beauchamp has never been knocked down as an amateur or a pro and you could see why in the way he absorbed everything Jarvis threw at him but this is his second loss on the bounce.
Hardman vs. Lucas
Former MMA fighter Hardman stops Lucas in Australian title defence. Lucas was making the fight early as both landed some strong punches. Lucas kept pressing over the third and fourth but Hardman was boxing well and countering Lucas as he surged forward. It was still a close fight in the fifth but a clash of heads opened a cut over the left eye of Lucas. They both scored well in the sixth but the superior power of Hardman was obvious in the seventh as he handed out severe punishment to a fading Lucas and at the end of the round his corner pulled him out of the fight. The 24-year-old “The Headsplitter” from Brisbane has seven victories by KO/TKO. He won the national title with a majority verdict over more experienced Tej Pratap Singh in December and was also defending the IBF Australasian and WBO Oriental titles. First inside the distance defeat for Lucas who had outpointed former IBO champion Renald Quinlan in his last fight in October 2019.
Priestley vs. Dencio
Former Australian champion Priestley regains the title with second win over Dencio. This one was hard fought all the way. Each had good spells. Dencio was cut over his left eye in the second but it was not a factor in the fight. Not a great deal of skill but plenty of interchanges of heavy punches. The fight was posed to go either way after eight but Priestley broke though in the ninth. He staggered Dencio with a right and put him down with another right. Dencio managed to make it to his feet but after the referee gave him a cautionary look he decided Dencio was finished and stopped the fight. Priestley had stopped Dencio in seven rounds to win the vacant Australian title in April 2019 but never defended the title and it was declared vacant. Now 3 losses in his last 4 fights for local fighter Dencio
Cordoba, Argentina: Super Welter: Diego Ramirez (23-4-1) W PTS 10 Maico Sommariva (9-3). Super Welter: Alejandro Silva (15-0-1) W TKO 4 Jonathan Wilson (18-5-1).
Ramirez vs. Sommariva
Ramirez moves through to the final of the Super Welter Super 8 tournament with split decision over Sommariva. This one was close until Sommariva faded late. Sommariva, the local fighter, made the better start putting Ramirez under pressure with Ramirez taking time to settle. As the fight developed the cleaner work, greater accuracy and extensive experience of Ramirez proved crucial and he staged a strong finish to take the split verdict. Scores of 97-93 ½ and 97-95 ½ to Ramirez and 97-95 ½ for Sommariva. Ramirez’s biggest victory was his second round stoppage of 28-2 Bradley Skeete in 2018 but consecutive defeats against Maximiliano Veron and Custio Clayton knocked him back and he only got through to the semi-final of the Super 8 on a technicality after drawing with Nicolas Palacios in the quarter finals. Sommariva had never been in a ten round fight before and that caught up with him late in this fight.
Silva vs. Wilson
Silva retains the Argentinian title and advances to the final of the Superb 8 tournament with stoppage of Sanchez. Outstanding performance from Silva as he was in charge from the start and floored Wilson in both the third and fourth rounds to force the stoppage. A savage left hook floored Wilson in the third and it was a series of punches that put him on the floor in the fourth. “The Raven” has now won his last 13 fights and will go on to face Ramirez in the final of the Tournament named The Miguel Angel Castellini Cup after the late WBA light middleweight champion who was a victim of COVID-19 last October. Silva won his quarter final when his opponent Gabriel Diaz was disqualified after biting a chunk out of Silva’’s arm. Wilson had won 6 out of his last 7 going into this fight and was making his second unsuccessful challenge for the Argentinian title.
Vancouver, Canada: Cruiser: Ryan Rozicki (13-0) W TKO 6 Sylvera Louis (8-7). Moe Zawadi (1-0) W TKO 1 Olivier Tshitumba (1-1).
Rozicki vs. Louis
Rozicki gets another inside the distance win as he stops Louis in the sixth round. The 6’2”, 26-year-old from Nova Scotia has won all of his 13 fights by KO/TKO. Louis, 38, came in as a late substitute and now 5 of his 7 losses have come by KO/TKO.
Zawadi vs. Tshitumba
Canadian prospect Zawadi has his first pro fight and stops Tshitumba in the opening round. The 19-year-old from Ontario was Canadian Junior champion in 2017, Youth champion in 2018 and 2019 and won gold at the Canadian Winter Games so one to follow. Congolese boxer Tshitumba was having his first fight for four years.
Gdansk, Poland: Cruiser: Youri Kayembre Kalenga (26-6) W KO 9 Michal Plesnik (9-5).
Former interim WBA champion Kalenga dismantles Plesnik before ending things in the ninth. Kalenga’s timing was out but he was too strong for the Slovakian. Kalenga was credited with a dubious knockdown in the second but head punches caused two genuine knockdowns in the fourth and at the end of that round he was 40-33 up on the three cards. Plesnik did well to stay in the fight but by the end of the eighth he had tired badly. A well-timed left hook put Plesnik down in the ninth and the referee saw no need for a count. Kalenga wins the vacant WBC Francophone title with his nineteenth quick win. He is calling out WBC champion and fellow-DRC fighter Ilunga Makabu but is currently No 13 in their ratings and over the past five years has lost important fights against Denis Lebedev, Yuniel Dorticos, Kevin Lerena, Mateusz Masternak and Michal Cieslak so a win over Plesnik won’t make much of an impression. First inside the distance defeat for Plesnik who was way out of his league here.
Belgrade, Serbia: Super Middle: Sergei Gorokhov (11-2-2) W TKO 10 Marko Nikolic (27-1).
Very much an upset as unsung Russian Gorokhov stops Nikolic in the last round to snap the Serbian’s 27-bout winning run. Gorokhov connected with some eye-catching punches putting Nikolic in trouble early. Nikolic fought back hard from the third using his height and reach to outbox and outpunch Gorokhov and by the end of the ninth the local hero looked to have built a winning lead. Knowing he was losing Gorokhov launched a fierce attack and landed a succession of clubbing punches which had Nikolic stumbling and staggering and the referee stopped the fight with just 32 seconds remaining in the contest. After a poor start to his career the 31-year-old Gorokhov had put together a little unbeaten run of five wins and two draws but there was nothing to say he should have been a problem for Nikolic. He wins the vacant WBC International Silver title the first title of his career. Fireman Nikolic has been very carefully matched but they made a mistake this time.
London. England: Middle: Felix Cash (14-0) W TKO 3 Denzel Bentley (14-1-1). Light Heavy: Callum Johnson (19-1) W TKO 2 Emil Markic (32-3).
Cash vs. Bentley
Cash stops Bentley in three rounds to unite the Commonwealth and British titles. A frantic start saw Bentley letting his fists fly but then be badly staggered by a right from Cash. Bentley recovered and showed some silky skills but was rocked a couple more times by Cash and who continued to hunt Bentley to the bell. There was plenty of movement and plenty of jabs from Bentley in the second but Cash continued to walk him down. Bentley boxed well and managed to avoid trouble but Cash looked dangerous with his overhand rights particularly as Bentley persistently held his left hand low. Cash caught up with Bentley in the third. He forced Bentley to the ropes and then connected with a series of head punches that had Bentley slumping and helpless and the referee made a good stoppage. Cash retains the Commonwealth title and takes Bentley’s British title with his tenth and most impressive win. Bentley had drawn with and then stopped Mark Heffron in 2020 and was No 9 with the WBO but he lacked the punch to keep Cash out and paid the price for that and a too casual defence.
Johnson vs. Markic
Johnson overwhelms Markic and batters him to defeat in two rounds. Johnson immediately jumped on Markic forcing him to the ropes and showered him with hooks to the body. Markic managed to get off the ropes but Johnson continued to find the target with hooks. Johnson was rolling forward when a right from Markic saw Johnson sag at the knees and almost go down. He staggered back and Markic went after him throwing punches but Johnson recovered and soon had Markic trapped on the ropes again and under fire. Markic boxed well at the start of the second but Johnson quickly took control and had Markic pinned against the ropes and landed a series of lefts to the head until Markic slumped to the floor and the referee stopped the fight. First fight for Johnson since beating Sean Monaghan in three rounds in February 2019 but obviously no sign of rust. His only loss is a fourth round kayo by Artur Beterbiev for the IBF title in October 2018. The long period out has seen him drop in the ratings and miss a chance to fight for the European title so he will want to keep active with fellow-Brits Lyndon Arthur, Anthony Yarde, Joshua Buatsi, Craig Richards and MTK Global tournament winner Ricards Bolotniks all rated. Bosnian Markic, 38, was rated No 15 by the WBO but he could not cope with the power and aggression of Johnson and he was not rated in the top 15 in the EBU ratings.
Gqeberha, South Africa: Fly: Jackson Chauke (20-1-1) W PTS 12 Luyanda Ntwanambi (7-1-1). Super Fly: Yanga Sigqibo (15-1-1) W PTS 12 Jerald Paclar (15-5-3). Light Fly: Sivenathi Nontshinga (10-0) W PTS 10 Christian Araneta (19-2). Feather: Lerato Dlamini (15-1) W PTS 10 Hassam Milanzi (9-0-1).
Chauke vs. Ntwanambi
Chauke takes a majority verdict over Ntwanambi to retain the South African title and get his hands on the WBO Global title. Ntwanambi defied his lack of experience to run Chauke very close and survived a knockdown to be fighting hard to the last bell. Scores 116-111 and 115-112 for Chauke and 114-114.Ten wins in a row now for 35-year-old Chauke. After twelve years as a pro Chauke will be hoping to get a shot at champion Junto Nakatani although he was rated No 13 and Ntwanambi was unrated before this fight. Ntwanambi was having his first fight since September 2019.
Sigqibo vs. Paclar
Sigqibo holds on to the WBO Inter-Continental belt as he finishes in front on all three cards. Paclar gave Sigqibo a tough fight getting past the extended reach of the South African and applying persistent pressure. Sigqibo was on the canvas three times but two were slips and the other came from a punch to the back of Sigqibo’s head so none of them counted. The South African boxed cleverly against the aggressive Filipino and just deserved his victory but the fight was closer than the scores made it look as Sigqibo won on tallies of 116-112 twice and 116-113. It is now twelve wins on the trot for Sigqibo and his third successful defence of the WBO Inter-Continental title. He is No 4 in the WBO ratings and with the WBC tournament sweeping up No 1 Srisaket and No 3 Roman Gonzalez Sigqibo might even get a call to challenge champion Kazuto Ioka. Paclar was having his fight for seventeen months and was unbeaten in eight before this fight.
Nontshinga vs. Araneta
Nontshinga survives a late knockdown to win a close unanimous verdict over Filipino Araneta. Both are reputed punchers but instead of a slugging match both showed they could box and the fight was interesting rather than exciting. There was never much of a gap between them and it looked as though a knockdown scored by southpaw Araneta in the twelfth might get him the win but the judges saw Nontshinga as the victor. Scores 114-113 twice and 115-112 for Nontshinga. The South African “Special One” at 4’11” always has to find a way to overcome that handicap. He was No 3 with the IBF with the first two spots vacant and this win over No 4 rated Araneta clears the way to make him mandatory challenger to champion Felix Alvarado. Araneta’s only other loss was a retirement after four rounds against Mexican Daniel Valladares in 2019 but he rebounded with two wins in 2020.
Dlamini vs. Milanzi
Dlamini returns with a win as he outpoints Zimbabwean Milanzi. The WBC No 3 holds the WBC Silver title which he won in Jeddah in July 2019 by outclassing 15-0 Filipino David Penalosa so will be hoping to get a title shot sometime this year or early next. He took a unanimous decision here and after losing his first pro fight has run up 15 consecutive victories. Milanzi had been inactive for 19 months.
Hamburg, Germany: Light: Artem Harutyunyan (10-0) W PTS 12 Vladyslav Melnyk (13-4). Heavy: Senad Gashi (21-3) W KO 3 Dominic Vial (6-1).
Harutyunyan vs. Melnyk
Harutyunyan collects the WBA International title with very narrow split decision over Melnyk. This was Harutyunyan’s first fight for fifteen months and it showed as Melnyk went ahead over the early action. Harutyunyan fought his way back into contention over the middle rounds but seemed to fade late and looked a lucky winner. Scores 115-113 and 115-114 for Harutyunyan and 115-113 for Melnyk. The 30-year-old Armenian-born German won a bronze medal in Rio. He had broken his hand twice in training and had moved down to lightweight so there were some excuses for his indifferent performance. Melnyk was a substitute for a substitute. The 22-year-old Ukrainian has kept busy with this his fifth fight in the last nine months. He is now 2-3 in those fights but deserved at least a draw in this one.
Gashi vs. Vial
Gashi registers yet another inside the distance win as he hammers overmatched Vial. Gashi had no problem getting through the longer reach of Vial of the 6” taller Vial and Vial’s 310lbs was more of as handicap than a help to him. Gash regularly connected with rights to the head until Vial fell in the third and with his girth there was no way he was going to get up. The Kosovon-born German was carefully guided to a 17-1 record but consecutive losses against Carlos Takam (TKO 7) and Dereck Chisora (wide points) marked his ceiling. This is his fourth inside the distance victory since his loss to Chisora with all 21 wins coming by KO/TKO. Vial had won his last five fights on stoppages all against opposition with negative records.
Ginowan, Okinawa: Bantam: Ryosuke Nishida (4-0) W PTS 12 Daigo Higa (17-2-1).
Newcomer Nishida breaks through in a big way with wide unanimous decision over former WBC flyweight champion Higa to win the WBO Asia Pacific title. Nishida was just too big for Higa. He was coming down from super bantam and Higa was coming up from flyweight and Nishida had a much longer reach and was 4” taller. Nishida used his southpaw jab to control the action over the opening three rounds. Higa, fighting in front of his own fans, managed to get inside over the fourth and fifth but Nishida matched him there. All of Higa’s wins have come inside the distance but he did not have the same power in this division and Nishida boxed coolly and continually scored with accurate counters never letting Higa get a toe-hold in the fight. Scores 117-111 twice and 118-110 for Nishida. In his last fight Nishida, 24, had outpointed former WBO bantamweight title challenger Shohei Omori so a meteoric rise as he will now be looking to crash the world ratings. Higa fell from grace when he failed to make the weight for a defence of the WBC title in 2018. The fight went ahead and Cristofer Rosales stopped Higa to become the new champion. Higa was suspended by the Japanese Board with the suspension ending in October 2019 but Higa had failed to impress in going 2-0-1 since then.
Culiacan, Mexico: Super Light: Erik Leon (14-1-1) W TKO 5 Adalberto Moreno (12-4).
Leon vs. Moreno
Power showing from Leon as he stops Moreno in the fifth round. Leon’s only loss had been on points so he was not about to leave this one to the judges. Moreno was not one to take a step back and he paid for that as he tried to match Leon punch for punch. Leon scored three knockdown before ending it in the fifth round. As they traded punches a booming left cross dropped Moreno flat on his back and his corner immediately threw in the towel. Thirteenth inside the distance win for the tall, 27-year-old Venezuelan. He is now 2-1-1 in 4 fights in Mexico. Naturally being Venezuelan his record back there was rubbish with his twelve victims having combined record of 11-90. Moreno just a 4 and 6 round prelim fighter but he had scored more wins than all eleven of Leon’s opponent in Venezuela combined.
Hermosillo, Mexico: Feather: Bryan Acosta (15-0,1ND) W PTS 10 Diego Andrade Jr (12-4-2).
Neighbourhood fighter Acosta continues his unbeaten run with a unanimous points win over Diego Andrade. Score 97-93 twice and 98-92 for Acosta. Second win this year for the 22-year-old “Latino” who holds the WBC Fecarbox title. Andrade was coming off an important win over 29-1-2 Jorge Lara in December.
Bangkok, Thailand: Light Heavy: Teerachai (45-1 W RTD 6 Sirimongkhol (97-5).
Teerachai retains the WBA Asia title with win over fellow-Thai Sirimongkhol. Teerachai, 29 was just too young (relatively) fnisor super veteran Sirimongkhol, 43, who used his vast experience to compete until retiring with a shoulder injury after the sixth round. Teerachai was knocked out in eight rounds by Lucas Matthysse in a fight for the secondary WBA welterweight title in 2018. Sirimongkhol was WBC bantamweight at super featherweight ages ago.
Fight of the week (Significance): Emanuel Navarrete vs. Christopher Diaz
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Navarrete vs. Diaz gets the nod with a honourable mention to the battle between Jermaine Ortiz and Joseph Adorno
Fighter of the week: Navarrete as he again shows he has the power to crush the best with an honourable mention to Kenshiro Teraji for his eighth title defence
Punch of the week: The left hook from Erik Leon that flattened Adalberto Moreno was impressive
Upset of the week: Ryosuke Nishida (3-0) beating former world flyweight titlist Daigo Higa has to count as an upset.
Prospect watch: Lightweight Frank Martin 13-0 is progressing well.
It is amazing how Emanuel Navarrete makes so many mistakes and has so many faults and yet it all work for him. I wonder what it must be like to train a fighter who breaks all of the rules on how to box.
If you want an example of how the COVID-19 can affect a boxer you just have to look at Teerachai. In November 2019 he was a super welterweight and in his next fight in December 2020 he was a light heavyweight!
There is no way that Thai Sirimongkhol will ever get voted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He has been a pro for almost 17 years. He won two world titles one at bantamweight and one at super featherweight. He has had 102 fights with a 97-5 record. He turned pro as a flyweight and in 2018 won the Thai light heavyweight title and is still fighting at 43.
A real Puerto Rican fiesta on the Top Rank show in Kissimmee with a Puerto Rican or a fighter of Puerto Rican descent in every fight
Nationalities were also the feature of two other shows with the two European title fights and Kevin Lejarraga vs. Jez Smith publicised as Spain vs. England and the show in South Africa billed as South Africa vs. Philippines. Not exactly local rivalries but if helps to sell tickets go for it.
Good to see a live crowd for the Top Rank show. We are getting there gradually.
The Japanese Featherweight scene in the 1990's is really over-looked now a days. The fighters weren't the best in the world, but a number of them fought in world title bouts during an era where they all seemed to be in some great fights. In recent weeks we've included bouts featuring some of those fighters in this series, and today we include another such fight, this time with two of them facing off. This isn't an out an out war, like some bouts in this series, but it's still a very, very good fight from two men who matched up well and left a lot of themselves in the ring.
Warning, this one is a bit bloody, but bloody good as well
Koji Matsumoto (15-3-1, 7) vs Nobutoshi Hiranaka (12-0, 8)
Now a days Koji Matsumoto is regarded as one of the best trainers in Japan, working at the Ohashi gym where he helped mould the careers of fighters like Akira Yaegashi and Ayaka Miyao. Back in the 1990's he was a genuinely good fighter himself. As a fighter he challenged 3 times for a world title, and gave Yong Soo Choi fits in a very close and competitive bout in 1997. As well as his world title bouts he would also go on to have 3 reigns as the Japanese Featherweight champion. He was a talented southpaw boxer, who was gutsy, a smart mover, and had under-rated sting on his shots. He wasn't a power puncher, but he hit the target clean. He entered 1994 as the Japanese Featherweight champion and was looking to extend a reign that had began back in February 1992.
In the opposite corner was Nobutoshi Hiranaka, the younger brother of former 140lb world champion Akinobu. Like his older sibling Hiranaka was a heavy handed puncher and won a staggering 74% of his amateur bouts by stoppage. That power had carried over to the professional ranks, where he scored 8 stoppages in his first 12 bouts. Whilst his competition wasn't the best early on it was clear he was a brutish puncher and matched that power with an ability to take a shot. Despite being heavy handed he was also a capable boxer, making him more of a boxer-puncher than just a physically imposing banger. His style was aggressive and exciting and it matched up well with his power at domestic level. Having won his first 12 bouts he was now getting his first title bout, and was taking on a very solid champion with world level experience.
The opening round saw the two southpaws try to get a read on each other, but within 30 seconds the bout was had warmed up nicely. They two weren't being over-wreckless, but they were both being aggressive, trading punches in some nice exchanges before getting back behind their jabs and seeing that the other had. It was clear that Matsumoto was the fighter happier with moving, whilst the moustached Hiranaka was the fighter with more pop in his shots and more belief in his power. Despite that belief he was cut around the right eye in the opening round, from a clash of heads. That cut happening so early could have stopped the fight, but instead it went on. Boy did that cut change the graphics of the fight and give Matsumoto a target to work on.
The second round saw both men putting their foot on the gas a little more. This was most notable when Matsumoto got Hiranaka on the ropes and worked away on the challenger with some eye catching blows. Despite good moments from Matsumoto it again seemed like Hiranaka was the more dangerous fighter and his blows seemed to have more on them on a punch by punch basis than Matsumoto's.
By round 4 Hiranaka's shorts had began to look discoloured as the claret ran from his cut. Despite that the two men fought up close through the round, giving us a genuinely incredibly 3 minutes of action, with big shots up close. Unlike many we see now the action wasn't being halted when the men worked up close but was instead mostly exciting, mauling with both men letting their hands go, a lot.
Round by round the blood ran from Hiranaka's cut, and began to not just cover his shots but also that of Matsumoto, and left some small puddles on the ring canvas. It wasn't a total blood bath, but it was getting visibly messy due to the blood. Despite that neither man slowed down, with both desperate for the victory, and the title. This genuinely lead to some amazing moments late on, which we won't ruin any further.
Whilst this isn't one of the more well known war from Japanese boxing history it is a bout that is well worthy of a watch. A proper, gruelling, bloody, war.
By Eric Armit
The richest fight in boxing history is slowly edging its way across the starting line. Just a few I’s to cross and T’s to dot (Yes I know it is supposed to be the other way around but this is boxing so nothing is normal). There’s good news and bad news. The good is we have an idea of the day the deed will be done with a date somewhere in the spread between the last two weeks in July and the first week in August. The bad news is that it will almost certainly be in that great fight city of Jeddah. Not London, not Las Vegas, not New York. A city where human rights are ignored, women are treated as second class citizens at best, imported labour lives in squalid conditions with virtually no rights and alcohol is banned-and those are its good points! Putting those niceties aside from my visits to the area when working in the oil industry the only exercise you indulged in was rushing from one air-conditioned building to the next before the sun frizzled you up. Oil dollars will have bought the richest fight in boxing history and only 0.0000001% of boxing fans will be able to say “I was there” but it is better than no fight at all. I just hope we get a great fight-but if not there is always the return match-and don’t rule out a return of the return if it is 1-1 after the first two fights. Wonder where the 2022 fight will be staged!
Suddenly boxing is experiencing some seismic changes. Eddie Hearn is ending his association with Sky Sport and uniting with DAZN and taking his Matchroom fighters with him although Sky will continue to have an involvement in the fights of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. DAZN is planning to make the Saul Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders fight available in the UK through its app. An indication of the competition it aims to bring to the UK market. Whilst that will be a blow to Sky Sport Boxing it leaves a gap for another promoter to enter into a partnership with Sky Sport. Frank Warren has an ongoing contract with BT Sport and there is another player entering the field.
Wasserman, a huge global sports agency, has bought the Sauerland organisation and it too is targeting the British boxing scene looking to use its massive wealth to sign up British boxers. Sauerland had looked to have taken its eye of the ball in Germany losing some key fighters and not announcing any star signings. There was also no mention of the future of the WBBS so it remains to be seen if it has a future after the way the cruiserweight tournament limped to a finish.
The farcical position with the WBA myriad of heavyweight titles continues. On 15 May in Hamburg Mahmoud Charr will defends his WBA title “champion in recess” against Chris Lovejoy the boxer with one of them most ludicrous records for any title challenger in any division at any time. However that is not certain as Don King has said he has an exclusive promotion contract with Lovejoy and is threatening to stop the fight. He did the same when Lovejoy was to have fought in Britain. The promoter in Hamburg is going ahead with the title defence and if it is not possible to use Lovejoy then he will ditch Lovejoy and replace him with another fighter. It has been over three years since Charr last fought and Lovejoy is not currently in the WBA rankings. He has had just one fight in the last two years and his last five opponents had records of 3-10-1, 2-18-0, 0-3-0, 6-52-2 and his last opponent in January was Misael Sanchez who was 12-16-7 and Box Rec had him at 433 in the World. The question is that since the WBA already have a Super, Secondary and Gold champion and Charr is champion in recess what title does the winner of the Charr vs. Lovejoy then hold?
Andy Ruiz is said to have dropped 60lbs in training for his fight with Chris Arreola. Of course the question is what weight he started at. He had gone from 268lbs to 283lbs for the two Anthony Joshua fights so if he has dropped 60lbs from the 268lbs he could make Bridgerweight but it would be nice to see him restore some pride.
They have only recently come on the scene and already I don’t like Triller. For their Fight Club night where Teo Lopez will defend his lightweight titles against George Kambosos they will be featuring a fight between Evander Holyfield and Kevin McBride for their Legends Golden Belt. McBride is in the hat because he beat Mike Tyson fifteen years ago but he is now 47 and like Holyfield has not fought for almost ten years. I don’t understand how boxing people can be attracted to something like this but the disease keeps spreading where it is either a case of “All Your Yesterdays” or media starlets with less ability than a six round prelim fighter but get paid more than a world champion. Only in boxing!
Plenty going on the bantamweights. Naoya’s next opponent will be Filipino Michael Dasmarinas but no date set yet. WBC champion Nordine Oubaali defends against Nonito Donaire on 29 May and John Riel Casimero will defend his WBO title against Guillermo Rigondeaux on 21 August. It can’t be a unifier since Rigondeaux only holds the secondary WBA title. Waiting in the wings are Ghanaian Manyo Plange and Melvin Lopez who meet in a WBA final eliminator on 3 July.
You would think that promoters would give the WBA a chance to manipulate their ratings before announcing a fight. Carlos Canizales will put his secondary WBA light fly title on the line against Mexican Esteban Bermudez on 28 May. Bermudez is not yet in the WBA ratings but on his form in his last two fights beating a guy who had never had a fight and getting a technical draw against a fighter with an 11-10-2 record he meets the stringent WBA standards easily. I am trying to come up with a sandwich board for the WBA with their logo on saying “buy your rating here”.
Cuban Erislandy Lara is aiming to become a two-division champion. On 1 May in Carson he faces Thomas LaManna for the secondary WBA middleweight title. Lara is currently the holder of the secondary WBA title at super welterweight and should beat LaManna but even if he does it will still only hold a secondary title which does not count in my view.
That guy has topped the ratings again. This time in his political career. Senator Pacquiao topped a survey on the Filipinos' preferred senatorial candidates for next year's national elections with 58.9 percent backing from those polled backing Manny with Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno second on 53 percent. Presidential candidate next Manny?
Five years late and still awaiting the results of a fresh investigation launched by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) into the conduct of judging and refereeing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as part of a series of reforms approved by the governing body's Board of Directors. All 36 referees and judges used for the boxing tournament at Rio 2016 had been suspended by AIBA over corruption concerns and would not be allowed to officiate at Tokyo 2021 or any qualifying events. The results of the original investigation were never published.
It was good to see that the Georgia Commission has changed the result of the fight between Regis Prograis and Ivan Redkach to a TKO for Prograis. The theatrics by Redkach writhing in agony on the canvas from a “low” blow kidded the officials into deciding to go to the cards and Prograis was declared the winner on technical decision even though the large screen replays showed not only that the punch passed outside of Redkach’s left elbow but also that it only brushed Redkach’s side.
After Zou Shiming won his second Olympic gold medal and turned pro in 2013 it was being shouted from the rooftops that China was going to be the next super power in boxing. No one is even whispering that now. There are few professional fighters and most of those are still at the novice stage and without the tournaments to help them develop their skills they cannot succeed. China has one title holder Can Xu who holds the secondary WBA lightweight title and one No 1 in Meng Fanlong at light heavyweight with the IBF but no one seems to be pushing his case for a challenge to Artur Beterbiev. Heavyweight Zhilei Zhang had his limitations exposed by Jerry Forrest in their drawn fight. Hong Kong’s Rex Tso was tipped to be a star when he won his 22 fights but his wide open style saw him taking too much punishment and he wisely retired in 2017 (ed's note - Tso currently fights in the amateur ranks). Box Rec lists 21 Chinese heavyweights but other than Zhang only one of them has had more than five fights. There are 17 light heavyweights listed and the most active fighter has had only seven fights. It is a similar picture at flyweight with 25 listed with only four having had more than ten fights and the most experienced on 15. No investment-no returns.
By Eric Armit
-Demetrius Andrade floors and outpoints Liam Williams in a WBO middleweight title defence
-Carlos Gongora retains the IBO super middleweight belt with stoppage of Chris Pearson
-Tony Harrison and Bryant Perrella draw over ten rounds at super welter
-Regis Prograis has to settle for a technical decision win over drama queen Ivan Redkach
-Fabio Turchi outpoints Dylan Bregeon to win the European Union cruiserweight title
- A well-matched MTK show sees Danny Dignum remain unbeaten with a draw against Andrey Sirotkin and Dan Azeez outpoint Ricky Summers
World Title/Major Shows
Hollywood, FL, USA: Middle: Demetrius Andrade (30-0) W PTS 12 Liam Williams (23-3-1). Super Middle: Carlos Gongora (20-0) W KO 8 Chris Pearson (17-3). Heavy: Andrey Fedosov (32-3) W TKO 1 Mahammadrasul Majidov (3-1). Super Light: Arthur Biyarslanov (8-0) W PTS 8 Israel Mercado (9-1).
Andrade vs. Williams
Andrade floors and outpoints a gutsy and determined Williams. Andrade scored with a couple of punches early and as Williams tried to move inside Andrade staggered him with a series of head punches. Andrade was looking to end this in the first and Williams was desperately holding. Williams tried to come forward and landed a couple of hooks but was wide open to the counters from Andrade. Williams did better early in the second with stabbing jabs but then a straight left from Andrade dropped him. He was up at eight and Andrade just could not find a punch to finish things. Williams came forward throughout the third but great movement from Andrade was frustrating his efforts and he was being caught with sharp counters. Williams had a good fourth. Again he was pressing forward and he shook Andrade with two left hooks and Andrade was being forced to stand and brawl. The fifth was an even round as Williams continued to walk forward and Andrade was not as busy or as accurate as he had been but Williams was now cut over his right eye. Andrade was back on top in the sixth. He was boxing cleverly and rattled Williams with a booming uppercut the sent the Welshman on the retreat. Andrade scored with two more uppercuts but Williams just walked through them. Andrade outboxed Williams through the seventh and eighth and shook the challenger with uppercuts in both rounds. Williams got back into the fight in the ninth. He hurt Andrade with two heavy rights and Andrade was clinching and spoiling for the rest of the round. The tenth was close but Williams found the target often enough with his right to perhaps edge it. Andrade took the eleventh with some smart boxing leaving Williams swishing air and slotting punches though the challenger’s guard. Andrade run the clock down in the last. He had a little bit more left than Williams and landed enough to take the round. Scores 118-109 twice and 116-111 all for Andrade. Fourth defence of the WBO title for Andrade. He seems no closer to a big career defining fight but a defence against unbeaten Jaime Munguia would be attractive. Williams was brave and did well to recover from the early knockdown and made Andrade fight hard all the way after and there are some good domestic fights for him.
Gongora vs. Pearson
Ecuadorian Gongora retains the IBO title with eighth round kayo of fellow-southpaw Pearson. This was Gongora’s fight all the way. He established control with his jab in the first and was piercing Pearson’s guard with southpaw lefts. Pearson did not seem to have an answer to Gongora’s jab and although he tried to hide behind a high guard Gongora was swinging lefts around Pearson’s guard and onto the target. Pearson came to life in the third dropping his hands and firing punches from hip level. When Gongora punched back Pearson’s aggression faded. It was the same in the fourth with Pearson attacking only in bursts and Gongora landing more and heavier punches. Gongora connected with a series of head punches in the fifth and all that Pearson was able to offer in return was some hooks to the body but he did not sustain his attacks. Gongora continued to pressure Pearson and for much of the sixth Pearson was pinned to the ropes with Gongora battering at his defence. An uppercut snapped Pearson’s head back but he made no attempt to fight his way off the ropes. Gongora bossed the seventh and Pearson had a swelling over his right eye. Pearson made a fiery start to the eighth but Gongora connected with an array of head punches most landing on Pearson’s right eye and Pearson turned away from the action and went down on one knee. He partially got up during the count but then dropped back down and was counted out as he indicated he did not want to continue due to the swelling. Gongora impressed in his kayo win over unbeaten Ali Akhmedov for the IBO title in December and totally dominated Pearson here. His only rating from the other four sanctioning bodies sees him at No 14 with the WBA but hopefully this win will give him a boost. First fight for Pearson since stopping unbeaten Yamaguchi Falcao in May 2019. He was disappointing here and it will be a tough road to recovery for him.
Fedosov vs. Majidov
Fedosov gets win as Majidov injures his ankle when knocked down in the opening round. Things looked bleak for Fedosov when a stiff left jab sent him stumbling back to the ropes only 45 seconds into the fight. Fedosov had been jabbing well himself and he recovered scored with a jab and then let fly with a right cross to the head that sent Majidov back and down. As he lay on the canvas Majidov was clutching his right leg having twisted it as he went over. He got up but limped when the referee asked him to walk forward. The referee cleared him to continue but another right from Fedosov toppled Majidov and the referee counted him out then called his seconds to help him. A win is a win and the first right scored a genuine knockdown so despite the” injury” victory Fedosov deserves credit for that right. The Californian-based Russian Fedosov, now 35, went 21-1 as the start of his career but the dropped out of the picture and this was his first fight since outpointing Joey Dawejko in October 2018. Russian-born Azeri Majidov, 34, had won gold medals at the 2011 World Championships where he beat Anthony Joshua, and then at the 2013 World Championships but had to settle for bronze at the 2016 Olympics losing to Roberto Cammarelle. He did not turn pro until he was 32 so he cannot afford too long a lay off.
Biyarslanov vs. Mercado
Russian-born “Chechen Wolf” Biyarslanov looks a clear winner but has to settle for a majority decision against Mercado. Biyarslanov edge the first round and then had Mercado hurt with a body shot and head shots late in the second. Mercado did better in the third and when Biyarslanov looked to be taking charge in the fourth he stopped the Canadian in his tracks with a right. They traded punches through the fifth and sixth with both having good spells. The action slowed in the seventh until Biyarslanov burst into life finding gaps for with a series of body punches and a close last could have been scored for either boxer. Two judges cards had Biyarslanov winning 76-74 and 77-75 and the third had it 76-76. Tough test for Biyarslanov who moved to escape the strife in Chechnya when he was four and then went on to Canada when he was ten. He won a gold medal at the 2015 PanAmerican Games and was the only male Canadian boxer to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Californian “Bad Ways” Mercado was a top level amateur who missed out on the US team for Rio when he was beaten by Teo Lopez in the US Trials.
Los Angeles, Ca, USA: Super Welter: Tony Harrison (28-3-1) DREW 12 Bryant Perrella (17-3-1). Cruiser: Efetobor Apochi (11-0) W TKO 3 Deon Nicholson (14-1) Super Light: Omar Juarez (11-0) W Elias Araujo (21-3). Welter: James Martin (7-2) W PTS 8 Vito Mielnicki Jr (8-1). Super Light: Darwin Price (17-1) W KO 5 Saul Corral (31-17).
Harrison vs. Perrella
Harrison and Perrella fight to a split draw. Both fighters made a cautious start as they sought to shed some rust. Perrella was on the front foot with Harrison countering and just doing enough to edge the round. Harrison had admitted he did not like fighting southpaws and Perrella made use of pressure and his right jabs to take the second. He also won the third. Harrison had Perrella on the back foot but Perrella was peppering Harrison with right jabs and then getting through with straight lefts and hooks from both hands with Harrison waiting too long to let his punches fly. Harrison continued to force the action in the fourth and did better in that round but Perrella kept working his right jab as instructed by his corner man Roy Jones Jr. and bounced back by outlanding Harrison in the fifth. Harrison handed Perrella the sixth. He was not using his jab despite having a much longer reach and instead stood in front of Perrella behind a high guard allowing Perrella to pick his spots. Harrison finally found some form over the seventh, eighth and ninth using his longer reach to score at distance and outworking and outscoring Perrella on the inside. The tenth was close with both having good spells but a powerful right from Harrison gave him a slight edge. Harrison used his jab to control the action in the eleventh with Perrella cut over his left eye in a clash of heads but then Harrison seemed to think all he needed to do was avoid trouble in the twelfth and Perrella put in a big effort to take the round. Scores 116-112 Harrison, 117-111 Perrella and 114-114. Disappointing result for former WBC super welterweight champion Harrison in his first fight since being stopped and losing his title against Jermell Charlo in December 2019. He certainly has a part to play in the division with the ability to beat any of the other title holders except Charlo and could possibly fight for the title again in 2022 or earlier. Perrella had been an underwhelming 3-3 in his last six fights and was coming off a crushing stoppage loss against Abel Ramos in February last years but this draw will boost his profile again.
Apochi vs. Nicholson
An impressive Apochi crushes unbeaten Nicholson in three rounds in this WBA eliminator. Apochi out jabbed Nicholson in the opener and stepped up the pressure in the second. He connected with a series of punches and Nicholson dived inside and held and then went to the floor when Apochi wrestled him off so no count. Apochi continued to find the target with heavy shots and Nicholson was stumbling and staggering and he went down from two right uppercuts. He was very unsteady when he got up but survived some more head shots and made it to the bell walking very stiff-legged to his corner. A right to the head dropped him early in the second and when he stood up he staggered backwards and the referee stopped the count and waived the fight off. The Texas-based Nigerian moves to eleven wins by KO/TKO. He showed real power here. As an amateur he twice took a silver medal at the All-African Games and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. He also registered a win over Jai Opetaia who is currently the top rated fighter in the IBF cruiserweight rankings. Nicholson had scored 13 inside the distance wins including 9 in the first round but Apochi’s power was in another league altogether.
Juarez vs. Araujo
A calm confident display from Juarez as he outboxes Araujo. After a slow first round Juarez controlled the action. Araujo was aggressive but limited and lacked the power to compete with Juarez. It was Juarez who scored best at distance and he more than matched Argentinian Araujo inside. The visitor had some success over the middle rounds but Juarez was back in charge in the seventh and eighth letting Araujo come forward and landing solid counters and he outboxed Araujo over the ninth and tenth for a clear victory in his first ten round fight. Scores 99-91 twice and 98-92 for 21-year-old from Texas. Former Argentinian champion Araujo had won 3 of his last 4 fights.
Martin vs. Mielnicki
Something of an upset as Martin takes majority decision over highly touted teenage prospect Mielnicki. From the start Martin was posing problems for Mielnicki. He was out jabbing Mielnicki and getting past Mielnicki’s jab to score inside. In the second Mielnicki shook Martin with a sharp left hook but a Martin left hook started blood dripping from Mielnicki’s nose and he connected with some good body punches. Mielnicki upped his pace over the fifth and sixth scoring with left hooks to head and body as Martin looked to be tiring but Martin rebounded to dominate the seventh with clubbing rights and hooks to the body and an uppercut which splattered blood from Mielnicki’s nose. Mielnicki tried to put in a strong finish but Martin boxed well in the last to seal his victory. Scores 79-73 and 77-75 for Martin and 76-76. Good win for Philadelphian Martin, 23, who had lost every round against unbeaten Xander Zayas in February. Mielnicki, 18, who turned pro at 16, might just have underestimated Martin and by the time he realised his mistake Martin was in full flow.
Price vs. Corral
Price gets back into the winning column with victory over Corral. Price put Corral down and out in the fifth. In his last fight in December 2019 with unbeaten Malik Hawkins Price was forced to retire in the fifth round due to a knee injury snapping a 16-bout winning run. Mexican Corral was a usefgul fighter at one time but has won only three of his last ten fights.
Atlanta, GA, USA: Super Light: Regis Prograis (25-1) W TEC DEC 6 Ivan Redkach (23-5-1). Super Middle: Junior Younan (16-0-1) W PTS 8 Jeyson Minda (14-5-1).
Prograis vs. Redkach
Prograis gets the win in the clash of southpaws but it is tainted by the disgraceful antics of Redkach who collapsed from a “low punch” clutching his groin whereas the replays showed the punch landed above the belt and on the left side of Redkach body but he writher in agony and was taken out of the ring on a stretcher. Lots of probing jabs in the first but little else. Prograis was that bit more positive and did what scoring there was. Prograis took control in the second hunting Redkach down with a series of punches and scoring with long lefts and hooks to the body. Redkach complained when a left hook from Prograis landed low. Redkach had a small cut over his left eye. The third was closer with Redkach working with his jab and Prograis off target with his lefts. Prograis upped his pace in the fourth and was connecting with hard overhand lefts to head and body and chasing down a retreating Redkach. In the fifth Redkach used lots of jabs and lots of movement and Prograis was unable to cut the ring off so not landing as much as earlier and it was a close round. In the sixth Prograis had Redkach under heavy pressure. He was landing hooks to the body. In close Prograis missed with an overhand left then threw a right hook to the body. Redkach collapsed to his hands and knees and then started to drum his feet on the canvas and rolling over clutching his genitals. Initially the referee counted to eight but when he saw Redkach writhing in agony and clutching his crown jewels the referee stopped the count and chaos took over. Replay after replay showed the punch curling around Redkach’s left elbow and into his side. It would have been impossible for the punch going round the back of his left elbow to land where Redkach was pretending it had. Eventually Redkach was carried from the ring on a stretcher. In the end it was decided to go the cards and two judges had Prograis winning on scores of 60-54 and the third by 59-54 but Prograis rightly complained he should have been awarded a knockout. Prograis will move on waiting to see what shakes out from the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Carlos Ramirez fight. Redkach should be given the Golden Raspberry Award. It’s reserved for female actors but who knows Redkach might now be eligible.
Younan vs. Minda
Younan returns to action as he floors and decisions Ecuadorian Minda. Scores 80-71 for Younan on all three cards. First fight for Younan in over two years. The only blemish on the record of the 25-year-old from Brooklyn is a split draw with Ronald Ellis back in 2018. Since leaving Ecuador Minda has been seriously overmatched having lost all five of his fights away from home four of them by KO/TKO.
Milan, Italy: Cruiser: Fabio Turchi (19-1) W PTS 12 Dylan Bregeon (11-1-1). Super Middle: Ivan Zucco (13-0) W RTD 6 Luca Capuano (11-1). Light: Francesco Patera (24-3) W PTS 8 Nicola Henchiri (9-3-2). Super Welter: Samuel Nmomah (15-0) W PTS 8 Kassimou Mouhamadou (7-3). Feather: Mauro Forte (15-0-1) W PTS 6 Cristian Narvaez (16-25-6). Fly: Mohammed Obbadi (22-1) W PTS 6 Jose Sanchez (4-16-1,1ND).
Turchi vs. Bregeon
Turchi wins the vacant European Union title with close unanimous decision over Bregeon in a disappointing fight. Bregeon made a good use of his longer reach in the early rounds which were slow and without any real highlights. Turchi had been expected to show more aggression and had probably conceded a lead to Bregeon. The Italian opened up in the sixth and put more pressure on Bregeon working to the body. Turchi looked to have drawn even in the scoring as he had strong rounds in the ninth and tenth. Bregeon was spending more time pinned to the ropes and there were plenty of clinches. At times Turchi was wild with his punches but his strong finish made him a clear winner. All three judges had Turchi winning 115-113 with the scores looking a little generous to the Frenchman. The 27-year-old “Stone Crusher” will now be looking to get revenge against Tommy McCarthy who beat Turchi on a split decision for the WBC International title in October 2019 and now holds the European title. Former undefeated French champion Bregeon was having his first fight since outpointing useful Olivier Vautrain in January last year and will almost certainly regroup and get another title shot at some time in the future.
Zucco vs. Capuano
Zucco collects the vacant Italian title with victory over Capuano in an all-southpaw match. Big puncher Zucco surprising choose to box in the first round but then resorted to type and attacked hard from the second. A left from Capuano in third saw Zucco dip with his knee touching the floor but the referee decided it was a slip. Zucco then finished the third pounding Capuano with punches. The pace slowed in the fourth but Zucco dominated the fifth. In the sixth he handed out severe punishment. He stunned Capuano with a left hook late in the round and Capuano chose to retire at the end of the round. Eleventh inside the distance finish for Zucco. This was his first fight scheduled for ten rounds so now he will be looking to extend his experience. Capuano, 32, was a good level amateur but did not turn pro until he was 28 and his performance here was disappointing.
Patera vs. Henchiri
Patera beats substitute Henchiri. Belgian Patera prefers to fight on the back foot but Italian Henchiri was not willing to chase the fight leaving Patera to step up and take the fight to Henchiri. Patera outboxed Henchiri but the Belgian was never able to put Henchiri in any danger and Henchiri saved his best for last putting in a good eighth round. Scores 78-74 twice and 79-74 for Patera. A run of excellent wins over 17-0 Lewis Ritson, 24-1-1 Marvin Petit, 20-1 Paul Hyland Jr and unbeaten Domenico Valentino have brought scant reward for the former undefeated European champion as his sixteen months out of the ring has hurt his rating with the sanctioning bodies. Former Italian super featherweight challenger Henchiri came in at only three days notice but had fought in February with a win that meant he was 7-0-1 going into this fight.
Nmomah vs. Mouhamadou
Nmomah continues to make progress as he outpoints Mouhamadou. After a low key opening round the fight proved entertaining and competitive. Nmomah used his technical superiority to boss the fight with Mouhamadou using lots of movement and scoring with jabs and rights to the body. Nmomah was outstanding over the last two rounds putting together some speedy combinations with Mouhamadou doing well to last the distance. Scores 79-73 twice and 78-75 for Nmomah. The Nigerian-born Italian was moving up to eight rounds for the first time. Third loss in his last four fights for Frenchman Mouhamadou.
Forte vs. Narvaez
Just a gentle run out for European Union champion Forte as he outpoints Narvaez. The Rome southpaw had not fought since December 2019 so needed some ring time before his EU title defence against Isaac Lowe with no date yet set for the fight. Spanish-based Nicaraguan Narvaez is a champion survivor with just one win in his last 22 fights with 21 of those losses on points.
Obbadi vs. Sanchez
Former undefeated European Union flyweight champion Obbadi was also having his first fight since December 2019 and he also took the chance to shed some rust with a points win over Sanchez. Ninth win for Obbadi since he was beaten in seven rounds by future WBC champion Cristofer Rosales in 2017. Inactivity has seen him drop out of the EBU ratings but he is a viable contender at flyweight. Sanchez yet another Nicaraguan with a losing habit as he extends his run of defeats to 16-all on points.
Monterrey, Mexico Super Light: Miguel Vazquez (43-10) W TKO 7 Isai Hernandez (10-2-1). Super Bantam: Ariel Perez (6-0) W TKO 7 Brandon Romero (11-2-1).
Vazquez vs. Hernandez
Vazquez much too good and experienced for Hernandez. The former IBF lightweight champion put Hernandez down twice in the fifth and finished the job in the seventh with a series of punches rounded off with a left hook to the body. First fight for Vazquez since losing a very disputed decision to Lewis Ritson in England in October. Hernandez had won his last four fights but was in way over his head against Vazquez.
Perez vs. Romero
Perez wins the vacant WBC Inter-Continental Youth title with seventh round kayo of Romero. The 22-year-old Guatemalan-based Cuban is a former Cuban Youth champion so could bear watching. Mexican Romero is 0-2-1 in his last three contests.
Panama City, Panama: Light: Darvin Galeano (10-0) W TKO 1 Fernando De La Rosa (5-2-1). Fly: Keiver Fernandez (22-1-1) W PTS 8 Engel Gomez (8-1-1).
Galeano vs. De La Rosa
Galeano blows away De La Rosa in less than a minute. Galeano floored De La Rosa with a left to the head. De La Rosa beat the count but was taking severe punishment and the referee stopped the fight after just 51 seconds. Seven inside the distance victories for the 26-year-old Colombian who now holds the WBA Fedecaribe title. Panamanian Dev La Rosa had won his last three fights but both of his losses have come inside a round.
Fernandez vs. Gomez
Venezuelan Fernandez wins a unanimous decision over Gomez but is deducted a point in the second round for a low blow. Scores 78-73, 77-74 and 76-75. Fernandez is rated No 13 with the WBA but being a Venezuelan naturally his record flatters him with thirteen of those he has beaten never having won a fight. Despite his lack of experience Nicaraguan Gomez gave Fernandez a tough night.
Bolton, England: Middle: Danny Dignum (13-0-1) DREW 10 Andrey Sirotkin (19-1-1). Light: Dan Azeez (12-0-1) W PTS 10 Ricky Summers (17-3-1). Super Bantam: Jack Bateson (13-0) W PTS 8 Joe Ham (16-3).
Dignum vs. Sirotkin
Dignum and Sirotkin fight to a split draw. Sirotkin made a busy start trying to hustle Dignum out of his stride and he worked hard to take the round. Dignum had a good second. He was jabbing constantly and countering Sirotkin’s attacks with right hooks and straight lefts. Sirotkin outworked Dignum in the third. He was bobbing and weaving to get inside and landed some heavy rights. Dignum just could not find the target with his jabs but did score with a couple of hooks. Dignum was back on target with his jab in the fourth and connected with some fierce body punches. Sirotkin was swinging wildly and leaving himself open to counters. The fifth was close with Sirotkin nicking it by being busier but Dignum clearly took the sixth pressing hard and scoring with left hooks inside and he outboxed Sirotkin in the seventh with Sirotkin relying on head down wild swings. It was a fast paced close fight and finely balanced. Sirotkin turned things his way in the eighth. He cracked Dignum with two straight lefts and then launched a furious attack that had Dignum retreating in disarray and he landed more punches late in a round that saw Dignum cut over his left eye. Sirotkin was stronger in the ninth with Dignum too busy defending to show much in the way of offence. It was the same in the last. Sirotkin was fresher and did all of the attacking. Dignum was cut over his left eye for a second time and just did not compete in the last. Scores 96-95 Dignum, 96-94 Sirotkin and 95-95. Dignum retains the WBO European title and presumably his ludicrous No 5 in their ratings (he is No 34 in the BoxRec World ratings). This will have been a good learning fight for Dignum and once the cuts heal he will be looking to make up for having had only one fight in the previous seventeen months. Russian Sirotkin, 36, a former full contact kickboxing European and World champion, has managed to keep active with three fights last year. His only loss is a seventh round stoppage by John Ryder in 2018
Azeez vs. Summers
Azeez just edges out Summers on a split decision. A close opening saw both using their jabs effectively and both landing rights to the head. Although Azeez had the shorter reach he connected with powerful jabs and a series of rights in the second. Summers worked hard with his jab in the third ramming it through Azeez’s guard and both connected with heavy rights to the head. The pace slowed in the fourth which Summers took again working hard with his jab. The fifth was livelier with Azeez upping his pace but with Summers finding gaps for his jab and dancing away from Azeez’s counters. The sixth was a good round for Azeez. He started using his jab again and getting past the jab of Summers and he landed a series of rights to the head that had Summers holding. At this point the rounds had been close but Summers looked to have a small lead. Azeez took the seventh and eighth. He was more mobile and putting his punches together getting through with rights with Summers relaying on a left jab and straight right with no variety in his work. Summers choose to brawl with Azeez in the ninth and landed a series of hard rights to the head but Azeez came back in the tenth pounding a tiring Summers with punches. It had been a gruelling battle with many rounds close but I though Azeez just deserved the win. Scores 97-93 and 96-94 for Azeez and 97-95 for Summers. Azeez was defending the English title and as this was also a final eliminator for the British title he will now get a shot at champion Craig Richards. Summers had not fought since December 2019 and he will be looking to rebound and try for another title shot.
Bateson vs. Ham
Bateson takes the referees decision over Ham in a clash of former leading lights in the amateur ranks. Bateson is very much flying under the radar but here he made full use of his long reach and fast hands to outbox the smaller Scot. Ham kept marching forward trying to cut off the ring and when he succeeded he scored well with some sharp left hooks and uppercuts. Too often he was not quick enough and Bateson was hitting him with right jabs and straight lefts then skipping out of reach bedore stopping to trade with Ham and firing a bunch of shots . Neither fighter was ever in any trouble in these fast-paced eight rounds with Bateson picking up a well deserved win 78-75 on the referee’s card. Bateson, 26, collected a bucket full of gold medals scoring over 100 wins in around 120 amateur fights. He is an outstanding talent with a lack of power the only problem for him. Ham dominated his field in Scottish amateur boxing and also collecting medals galore but has lost to Tyrone McCullagh and Qais Ashfaq and domestic fights may be his ceiling.
Melbourne, Australia: Cruiser: Jason Whateley (8-0) W TKO 8 8Aaron Russell (13-6).
Olympian Whateley stops Russell in eight rounds. The 6’5” Whateley used a strong jab to control the action and kept Russell on the back foot. Whateley was scoring with hard right crosses and mixing in left hooks to the body. When Russell did gets inside he landed some hooks with both hands but too often was stuck at the end of Whately’s long jab. Whateley connected with some neck-snapping uppercuts in the fourth and by the fifth Russell was bleeding from the nose. Despite taking plenty of punishment Russell kept fighting back. His resistance ended in the eighth when a series of punches sent him lurching into the ropes and with Whateley pounding him with punches the referee halted the fight. The 30-year-old former undefeated Australian champion gets his seventh win by KO/TKO in his first fight for 16 months. In the amateurs he won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and competed at the World Championships and 2016 Olympics. Russell, another former National cruiser champion, loses inside the distance for the sixth time.
Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany: Welter: Karen Chukhadzhian (19-1) W TKO 7 Yannick Dehez (21-2-1). Middle: Andrii Velikovskyi (19-2-1) W RTD 5 Anatoli Hunanyan (9-7-1).Heavy: Oleksandr Zakhozhyi (15-0) W TKO 1 Sergei Werwejko (11-3). Welter: Maurice Morio (7-1) W PTS 10 Said Rahimi (11-5).
Chukhadzhian vs. Dehez
Chukhadzhian stops Dehez in seven. Chukhadzhian imposed himself on the fight from the start controlling the action and gradually wearing down the Frenchman. Southpaw Dehez resisted well but after Chukhadzhian floored Dehez in the seventh the towel came fluttering in from Dehez’s corner. Impressive first showing in Germany for the 24-year-old Ukrainian. Former French champion Dehez just could not handle the power of Chukhadzhian
Velikovskyi vs. Hunanyan
These two were to have met in October but the fight was cancelled at short notice. Velikovskyi got the job done six months later as he built a good lead before stopping Hunanyan in the sixth. The Ukrainian, the holder of the WBC Asian Boxing Council title, makes it twelve inside the distance endings. Armenian-born Czech Hunanyan suffers his first stoppage loss.
Zakhozhyi vs. Werwejko
Zakhozhyi lifts the vacant WBC Francophone title as he destroys Werwejko. A fierce attack from Zakhozhyi had Werwejko reeling and rocking and the referee stopped the fight after just 79 seconds. The German-based “Hunter” Zakhozhyi, 27, is another of these Ukrainian giants standing 6’9” tall but the only “name” he has met so far is a very faded Kevin Johnson who he outpointed in October 2019. Pole Wertwejko, a mere 6’5” and also born in Ukraine, has lost four by KO/TKO but lasted a lot longer in those losses than he did in this one.
Morio vs. Rahimi
Morio wins unanimous decision over elderly Rahimi for the vacant German title. The 20-year-old was in his first ten round fight. Afghan-born Rahimi, 39, had previously lost in a challenge for the German International title.
Junin, Argentina: Super Light: Hugo Roldan (20-0-1 W PTS 10 Emiliano Dominguez (25-8).
Roldan makes it a double over Dominguez as he floors and outpoints him in a clash of rated fighters. Dominguez had been forcing the fight but Roldan dropped him with a left hook in the fifth. Dominguez was up quickly and fought back hard but Roldan had the better skills and was a clear winner but it was not an easy night for him despite the scores of 100-89, 98 ½ -93 ½ and 96 ½ -93 ½. Roldan, the Argentinian No 3 is yet to face a real test. Former IBO title challenger Dominguez rated No 5 had lost on points to Roldan in February last year.
Desvio Arijon, Argentina: Super Light: Gustavo Lemos (27-0) W TKO 8 Maximiliano Veron (12-3-1,1ND).
“Electric Storm” Lemos grinds down and stops Veron in eight. A typically aggressive showing from Lemos as he never stopped coming. Veron was forced to spend a lot of the fight against the ropes with Lemos trying to find a finishing punch. The taller Veron fought back strongly staggering Lemos with a left hook counter in the third but Lemos recovered and went straight back into the attack and rocked Veron with a left hook in the fifth. Veron showed a great chin but could not keep Lemos out. In the eighth Lemos took Veron to a corner. Veron connected with three hard counters but Lemos shook them off and then sent Veron staggering along the ropes with two left hooks and was unloading on Veron when the referee stopped the fight
The 25-yeaer-old Lemos retains the IBF Latina title and now has 17 inside the distance finishes. He is No 3 with the IBF so close to a title shot. He has power but he will have to improve his defence against better opponents. Veron, the holder of the IBF Latino welterweight title had outpointed 21-2 Diego Ramirez in his last fight in November 2019.
Derry, NH, USA: Cruiser: Chris Traietti W TKO 3 Kevin Brown (2-14). Super Middle: Kendrick Brown (16-1-2) W PTS 8 Brian Vera (28-26)
Traietti vs. Brown
Traietti continues to beat up the beaten as he halts poor Brown in three rounds. The local ticket seller has managed nine consecutive wins against shop-worn or novice opponents. Eight losses in his last nine fights seven by KO/TKO for Brown.
Brown vs. Vera
Brown takes unanimous decision over old timer Vera. Scores 79-73 twice and 78-74 for Brown who is now the proud holder of the WBC United States title. This 39-year-old Vera is a world away from the Vera of yesteryears.
Corona, CA, USA: Super Light: Ruben Torres (15-0) W TKO 1 Diego Contreras (11-4). Welter: Miguel Madueno (23-0) W KO 1 Bergman Aguilar (15-7-1).
Torres vs. Contreras
Torres gets this oe over quickly as he floors Contreras twice in the opening round with the referee dispensing with a count. The 23-year-old tall Californian makes it twelve wins by KO/TKO. Mexican Contreras just prelim level and his three inside the distance losses have all come within the first two rounds.
Madueno vs. Aguilar
A wicked body punch from Madueno finished this fight just one second before the bell ended the opening round. The 22-year-old “Explosivo” is living up to his nickname as only two of his victims have lasted the distance and eight have gone out in the first round. Costa Rican Aguilar has lost 5 of his last 6 fights.
Fight of the week (Significance): Demetrius Andrade keeps his name in the frame for a big fight with his win over Liam Williams but whether it will happen for Andrade we will have to wait and see.
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Tony Harrison vs. Bryant Perrella was a hard fought contest.
Fighter of the week: Not Ivan Redkach that’s for sure. I go for Perrella who rebounded from a sticky patch of form to get close to a career best win against Harrison
Punch of the week: The thunderous right to the head from Efetobor Apochi that effectively ended his fight with unbeaten Deon Nicholson
Upset of the week: James Martin (6-2) was not expected to pose any problems for unbeaten and highly rated prospect Vito Mielnicki but he took a deserved decision
Prospect watch: Nigerian cruiser Efetobor Apochi (11-0) showed real power and some good skills
Ivan Redkach’s disgraceful attempt to cheat against Regis Prograis should get him a suspension and a fine. The replays showed clearly that Prograis punch was not low and it swept around the left elbow of Redkach and it was a physically impossible for a punch doing that to land on Redkach’s testicles. It did raise a bit of a problem for the female doctor who attended him in the ring. She could hardly ask him to drop his shorts so she could examine him and heaven help us if she had deemed it necessary to either count that he still had two or rub him to see if it made him feel better. Public decency would not permit
When I see mention of the WBC Francophone title I always think it might referrer to a Spanish dictators mobile!
Reliable losers don’t come much better than the squad of Nicaraguans residing in Spain. Featherweight Cristian Narvaez is 1-21 in his last 22 fights and flyweight Jose Sanchez is on a 0-16 run but they have gone the distance in every one of those losing fights which is why they are kept active. It is about all a promoter really wants from an imported boxer.
Promoters are certainly doing all they can to get fighters back in the ring. Two shows in Colombia featured a total of 19 fights, shows in Germany added another 24, Ghana had a development show with twelve fights and Derry New Hampshire topped the list with 24 bouts-mostly totally mismatches but work is work.
Today we get to go back to an old whipping boy in this series as we feature the third Koki Kameda fight in this series. This is one of the more forgotten controversies of Kameda's career, but one that certainly needs talking about in this series, despite not being one of the worst. It was one where he went in as a very big favourite against a relative unknown and was perhaps a little bit lucky to walk away with the win.
Koki Kameda (25-1, 16) Vs David De La Mora (23-0, 16)
Early in his career Koki Kameda had looked like a star in the making, and he quickly got the Japanese fans behind him. They began to question his ability when he refused to face domestic opponents, and then some began to turn on him when he won his first world title. It wasn't that they out and out disliked him, but saw him as a man taking an easy route. That was feeling intensified when fans saw him getting lucky in his first world title win, a very controversial decision over Juan Jose Landaeta. His reign at 108lbs was a short one, with Kameda quickly moving up to Flyweight and claiming the WBC title with his career defining win over Daisuke Naito, avenging Naito's win over his Daiki Kameda.
That win over Naito made people realise Kameda was a really good fighter. Like him or hate him, he was a very good boxer and deserved respect. Then he lost that title just 4 months later in a huge upset defeat to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. Rather than pursuing a rematch with Wonjongkam we saw Kameda move up in weight, again taking an easy option, and winning the WBA "regular" Bantamweight title with a win over Alexander Munoz. In his first defense Kameda beat the limited Daniel Diaz before then meeting unbeaten Mexican challenger David De La Mora.
Boasting a 23-0 (16) record the 23 year old David De La Mora was a real unknown quantity. His best wins were against the likes of Luis Valdez and Jovanny Agdael Soto. He was unbeaten but seemingly rather untested, with very little on his record to suggest he deserved a world title bout. Sometimes however an unbeaten record can give an illusion that a fighter is better, or worse, than they really are. With De La Mora the numbers looked good, even if his competition didn't.
Although De La Mora seemed to have done very little to earn a shot at a world title the WBA had him #8 coming into this bout, a big step up from Daniel Diaz who was #14 adding to the legitimacy of De La Mora's challenge.
In the opening moments of the bout it was clear De La Mora had come to win, he was showing ambition straight away and took center ring. Despite the ambition from the challenger it was the crisp punching, skills and hand speed of Kameda that caught the eye through the first 3 minutes. Although De La Mora had put in a credible effort, but it was a round that Kameda deserved, despite needing to work hard for it.
Kameda took center ring in round 2 and looked to get the respect of the Mexican challenger who fired back with some solid combinations of his own and made Kameda cover up more than once. It wasn't always the prettiest of work but when De La Mora opened up he seemed to have Kameda second guessing himself. It was great to see the young challenger looking to make a point and fighting to win.
The real drama for the fight came in round 3 as one of De La Mora's bursts of punches hurt Kameda and forced him to hold on and left him cut. Sadly for De La Mora he got greedy and reckless and was dropped by a counter left hand from Kameda. The shot, around 2 minutes into the round, turned what was a very good De La Mora round into a 10-8 for Kameda.
Despite being dropped De La Mora seemed encouraged by his own success in round 3. That encouragement saw him putting his foot on the gas hard in round 4, despite some issues with his gum shield at the start of the round. The aggression of De La Mora lead to a brilliant moment for him, where he unloaded with Kameda on the ropes. He then had some success when the two traded in center ring and again later on, when he again got Kameda was on the ropes. Although the round had some moments where little happened, the three big highlights for us were all from De La Mora, who picked his spots and really made the most of them.
Through the middle rounds we saw De La Mora build on his success, simply out working Kameda, who seemed to slip into a rut. The pressure, the ou put and the aggression were being driven by De La Mora. Kameda looked the more talented man, but all too often seemed happier to move, and circle rather than let his hands go. The tactics of Kameda made it easy for De La Mora to win rounds, fighting with exciting burst and out landing the tepid Kameda.
By the start of round 8 the good start from Kameda was easily forgotten. He was letting the bout slip away, fighting far too reservedly, and seemed stuck in a low gear. He showed flashes of brilliance, but failed to maintain it and his excellent skills were being used more to negate the action than to win a fight.
Although there wasn't open scoring in play things were close. In fact the judges had the bout incredibly close, with scores of 67-65 on two of the cards, both to Kameda, and the third judge had the bout level.
Round 8 itself was brilliant with both men giving as good as they got. This actually saw the round being split by the three judges, with one giving it to Kameda, one giving it to De La Mora and the other having it even. It was a genuinely fantastic round with both men having their moments, and both seemingly hurt the other. Both guys let their hands go and matched each other really well in 3 minutes of brilliant action.
We saw the pace drop off again in round 9, though both men had their moments with Kameda boxing well and De La Mora having success with some of his eye catching flurries. It was another ultra-close round and another very entertaining one.
De La Mora came back strong in rounds 10 and 11 as he looked to make a statement late and he looked damned good during those two rounds as Kameda once again slowed down and began to look gun shy. These two great rounds from De La Mora likely sealed him the victory in the eyes of some observers, though Kameda game back strong in a very, very entertaining final round as he looked to retain his title and he dug deep.
After 12 rounds it was close, but it seemed to be one that De La Mora had done enough to get it, at least for us. For us Kameda just didn't do enough in the middle rounds but he started well and ended well. It was however super close, however you saw it.
In the end all 3 judges saw it for Kameda, giving him the win with scores of 114-113, 115-113 and 115-112. It wasn't a terrible decision, but was one of those where the local fighter gets a disputed close one.
This was certainly not Koki Kameda's biggest controversy, far from it, but it was a controversial one all the same. A good number of those in Japan thought Kameda had gotten a gift, though there was, of course, some anti-Kameda bias behind some of those comments. It was close, hotly contested and one of Kameda's best Bantamweight bouts to watch. Sadly many of his other bouts at the weight were rather dull affairs, but this one was genuinely a great fight and is well worth a watch, even ignoring the controversy around it.
One of the most amazing things about the Japanese domestic scene is the sheer number of barn burners we get from it. Whilst not all the bouts are great there does seem to be a much higher proportion of them than we realise. Today we look at a sensational Japanese Light Middleweight title bout from 2001. This isn't the prettiest bout you'll ever get, but is something very special, and very exciting.
Hiroyuki Yoshino (34-8-1, 25) vs Crazy Kim (8-2, 7)
In one corner was veteran Hiroyuki Yoshino, a hard hitting and experienced fighter who had been a professional since 1985. His 16 year career had had some ups and downs but the highs really were high and included a lengthy reign as the Japanese Welterweight champion, from 1988 to 1992, a world title fight in 1993 and an OPBF title reign in 1996. He had walked away from the sport for 2 years, but bounced back and in 2000 he had won the Japanese Light Middleweight title, beating Joya Kawai, to become a 2-weight Japanese champion. Although not a world beater Yoshino was a dangerous puncher, with a brutal left hand, and an aggressive mentality. He made for fun fights and with a suspect chin he was very much a stop or be stopped type of fighter.
Crazy Kim, also known as Toshiharu Kaneyama, was a similar type of fighter to Yoshino in terms of his mental attitude. He looked to make fights fun and exciting, he was aggressive, heavy handed and always looking to take his opponents out early on. In his first title fight he lost a decision to Akira Ohigashi, in 1999, and then lost a second title bout the following year to Joya Kawai. Although he was a novice, with just 10 fights, he had proven he belonged in the title mix, especially with the bout against Kawai which was really close and competitive. He had proven his power on the lower end of domestic level and at 5'11" he was much taller than Yoshino. He was also coming into his physical prime, at 26 years old, much younger than the 33 year old Yoshino, who had taken considerable punishment in his 43 fights up to this point.
From the opening second it was clear that neither man was looking to go to the scorecards. Kim came out swinging huge looping hooks, that were thrown with really bad intent. Yoshino, seeing he was in against someone trying to take his head off began tried to see out the storm early on from the more imposing challenger. Kim didn't care about Yoshino's reputation and dropped him in the first round as his power took it's toll on the champion. Two huge right hands sent the champion down, but he would get to his feet. Yoshino managed to see out the round, but was in all sort of trouble and looked unable to cope with the brutish aggression of the challenger.
The work rate and effort Kim put in to the opening 3 minutes was incredible and whilst it did slow in round 2, which was no surprise, it was still clear he didn't want to hear the final bell. Yoshino however began to find some space, and as Kim slowed Yoshino began to land some shots of his own. Sadly for Yoshino his own shots seemed to bounce off Kim, who may have slowed his out put but still landed the more eye catching single shots, including a solid looking uppercut with about 45 seconds of the round left.
Round by round the experience of Yoshino began to show, that however didn't mean the bout got dull, round 3 was a fantastic round, with both men landing some booming head shots, before Kim pushed Yoshino over. The push was a clear sign from Kim of his physically strength, but only moments later Yoshino dropped him.
With both men dropped in the first 3 rounds it was clear both men could be hurt but neither man wanted to come up short. Their heart and desire couldn't be questioned and that was shown the remainder of the fight, as both men took some heavy leather, dug deep to keep the punches flowing in what was a thrilling, if some what crude, shoot out.
Please note - Some rounds are missing from the TV cut of this war, but the bout is very much worthy of a watch.
By Eric Armit:
-Joe Smith Jr outpoints Maxim Vlasov to win the vacant WBO light heavyweight title
-Jerwin Ancajas retains the IBF super flyweight title with unanimous decision over Jonathan Rodriguez
-Jaron Ennis knocks out former IBF champion Sergey Lipinets
-Eimantas Stanionis takes twelve round verdict over Thomas Dulorme in WBA eliminator
-Connor Benn stops Samuel Vargas inside a round
-Four Australian title fights in two days shows interest is still there for well matched national titles
-Unbeaten fighters Mark Magsayo (22-0), Efe Ajagba (15-0), Albert Bell (17-0), Robinson Conceicao (16-0), Jared Anderson (9-0), Trey Lippen (17-0) and Duke Ragan (4-0) all score wins.
World Title/Major Shows
Tulsa, OK, USA: Light Heavy: Joe Smith Jr (27-3) W PTS 12 Maxim Vlasov (45-4). Heavy: Efe Ajagba (15-0) W KO 3 Brian Howard (15-5). Light: Albert Bell (18-0) W PTS 8 Manuel Rojas (20-5). Super Feather: Robinson Conceicao (16-0) W TKO 7 Jesus Ahumada (17-4,1ND). Heavy: Jared Anderson (9-0) W KO 2 Jeremiah Karpency (16-3-1). Heavy: Trey Lippy (17-0) W TKO 3 Jason Bergman (27-20-2). Feather Duke Ragan (4-0) W PTS 4 Charles Clark (3-7-1).
Smith vs. Vlasov
Smith wins the vacant WBO title with a strong finish against Vlasov.
Vlasov started with his hands low with lots of upper body movement and he was penetrating Smith’s guard with jabs and hooks. Smith managed to land some left hooks but Vlasov was firing combinations and getting through with them. He connected with a series of rights before the bell but there was no real power in the shots. Smith had a small cut over his left eye.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov
Vlasov was scoring with his jabs again but Smith crashed home a sold right cross that had Vlasov backing off. Blood from the cut was running into Smith’s eye but he landed a heavy left and later another strong right. Vlasov was working hard but was not as effective as he had been in the first.
Score: 10-9 Smith TIED 19-19
Vlasov was back on target with his jabs and stringing together bursts of punches and was particularly effective with his straight rights. Smith was finding the perpetual movement of Vlasov a problem and was again pawing at his left eye to try to clear away the blood.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 29-28
Vlasov dominated the round. He was pumping out punches physically forcing Smith back and firing salvos. Smith was blocking many of the punches but lots were getting through and Smith other than a solid right to the head which was the best punch in the round was too busy defending to counter. The question was whether Vlasov could maintain the fast pace and perhaps there was a bit more style than substance in Vlasov’s work
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Gerald Ritter 39-37 Smith, Judge Pat Russell 38-38, Judge David Sutherland 38-38
Vlasov outworked Smith. He was pouring out punches. Many were blocked and again they were not powerful but Smith was being swamped. Smith battled back late in the round landing a heavy right hook but it was Vlasov’s round.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 49-46
Another dominant round for Vlasov. He hustled and harried Smith around the ring raking him with straight punches and hooks. Smith briefly switched to southpaw but that did not help and he was under strong pressure at the bell looking a sorry fighter.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 59-55
Smith needed to find a way into this fight and his work was being hampered by his need to protect the cut. The real Smith showed up in this round. He rocked Vlasov with a right to the head and then marched forward throwing hooks, uppercuts and straight rights refusing to take a step back. Vlasov looked a lot less confident under the pressure and it was Smith’s round.
Score: 10-9 Smith Vlasov 68-65
Smith started well banging out a succession of jabs and getting through with hooks to the body. That storm blew itself out and Vlasov took control forcing Smith onto the back foot. He continued to score with shots from both hands and jerked Smith’s head back with uppercuts.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 78-74
Official Scores: Judge Gerald Ritter 77-75 Smith, Judge Pat Russell 77-75 Smith, Judge David Sutherland 76-76
A big round for Vlasov. He was able to push Smith around the ring scoring with rights and lefts. He twice pinned Smith against the ropes and unloaded a pile of punches and drove Smith across the ring with rights to the head. When Smith did come forward he was walking onto counters and was under constant fire and relentless pressure. He was again trying to paw the blood out of his left eye and trudged back to his corner at the end of the round shaking his head. Both were now showing facial damage Vlasov with a bruise under his right eye and a small cut over his right eye and Smith a bruise under his already cut left eye.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov 88-83
This round was so one-sided that a stoppage looked possible and a lesser fighter than Smith might have crumbled. Vlasov was driving Smith around the ring showering him with punches. Smith tried switching to southpaw and also resorted to head down swings but the punches from Vlasov just kept coming.
Score: 10-9 Vlasov Vlasov 98-92
Smith takes a controversial round. Smith was piling in throwing punches. A very tired Vlasov was only looking to clinch and throwing very little. Near the end of the round a right from Smith shook Vlasov. Smith than scored with a series of hooks and as Vlasov stumbled forward a punch from Smith landed high on the back of Vlasov’s head and he dropped to one knee although it looked that that was due to exhaustion. The referee indicated it was not a knockdown due to the punch to the back of Vlasov’s head and called a time out with just twelve seconds to go in the round. Vlasov stayed kneeling for twenty seconds and then got up and went to the ropes and stood leaning against the ropes talking to his corner men for another ten seconds before the referee indicated for the fight to recommence and the only punch Smith landed was one to the back of Vlasov’s head which did not trouble Vlasov at all. There was no time left for Smith to do anything. Smith had landed three punches to the back of Vlasov’s head earlier in the round which had no effect on Vlasov then.
Score: 10-9 Smith Vlasov 107-102
With both fighters exhausted Smith outpunched Vlasov in the last. He was swinging hard looking for a kayo shot and Vlasov was fighting back enough to be competitive but also holding a lot like a fighter who thought he only had to make to the bell to win the title.
Score: 10-9 Smith Vlasov 116-112
Official Scores: Judge Gerald Ritter 115-112 Smith* Smith, Judge Pat Russell 115-113 Smith, Judge David Sutherland 114-114.
*Judge Ritter credited Smith with a 10-8 in the 11th.
Smith wins the WBO title having previously lost to Dmitry Bivol in a challenge for the secondary WBA title in March 2019 after which he scored impressive victories over Jesse Hart and Eleider Alvarez. I disagreed with the verdict. The CompuBox statistics showed Smith throwing more and landing more but you call them as you see them. Bivol is now the full WBA champion so a unifying fight would be attractive as would a unifier against WBC/IBF title holder Artur Beterbiev and Umar Salamov and Lyndon Arthur are being prepared for a final eliminator and of course a return with Vlasov is a possibility so options for Smith. Russian Vlasov, 34, had lost to Krzys Glowacki for the interim WBO cruiser title and then moved down to light heavy. The Glowacki loss was the only one he had suffered in his last 16 fights.
Ajagba vs. Howard
Ajagba ends this one with an explosive right that lays Howard out cold. The 6’6” Ajagba used his long jabs to get on top with Howard retreating and looking to counter but Ajagba was the one landing the punches in particular a long right cross that shook Howard. In the second Ajagba was using his jab to set up Howard for more right crosses but was overshooting the mark and Howard was short with his rights. Ajagba suffered a small cut over his right eye in a clash of heads. Half way through the third round with Howard holding his left arm low Ajagba stepped in with a thunderous right cross that landed on Howard’s jaw. He was out before he hit the deck lying inert in a twisted heap and the fight was stopped immediately with it being quite a while before Howard recovered. The 26-year-old Nigerian gets his twelfth inside the distance and is rated No 11 by both the WBA and WBC. He is a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and a Olympic quarter-finalist. Second inside the distance loss in succession for Howard who was stopped in four rounds by Frank Sanchez in November.
Bell vs. Rojas
Bell outboxes an aggressive Rojas. Bell tried to blow Rojas away with a series of hooks and uppercuts in the first. Rojas rode out the storm and then fired back but Bell continued to land solid shots. Rojas forged forward in the second connecting with left hooks to the body. Bell was on the back foot slotting home jabs and countering well. The pattern was the same in the third with the skills of Bell just giving him the edge. A clash of heads saw Rojas cut on this forehead. Rojas continued to take the fight to Bell doing some good work inside but there were too many clinches with Bell tying Rojas up to prevent him working in close. Bell’s superior technique gave him the edge but too often he allowed himself to be dragged into brawls and that helped Rojas steal a couple of rounds. Scores 78-74 for Bell from all three judges. A brilliant boxer Bell, 28, has beaten credible opposition in Andy Vences, Frank De Alba and Mark Bernaldez and is listed as WBO 12 and WBC 14 if there is a problem it is in the power department. Riojas is strong but limited. He has lost only one of his last nine fights and that was a decision against Felix Verdejo.
Conceicao vs. Ahumada
Conceicao batters a game Ahumada to defeat in seven rounds. It has taken a time for Conceicao to settle in professional boxing but he is now improving with every fight. Here he was jabbing powerfully cracking home body shots and could not miss Ahumada with straight rights. Ahumada took lots of punishment. His defence leaked badly and never seemed able to get away from those right hands from Conceicao. He insisted on trying to walk through Conceicao’s punches even if the Brazilian had lots more power. There was soon blood dripping from Ahumada’s nose as Conceicao strung together some hurtful combinations. Ahumada began bleeding from the mouth as well and it was amazing he was still there after the heavy punches he absorbed but he never stopped firing back. The doctor examined Ahumada at the end of the sixth but he was allowed to continue. Finally in the seventh a left hook sent Ahumada down on his back. He climbed to his feet but the referee saved him from his own bravery and stopped the fight. Now eight wins by KO/TKO for the 32-year-old Rio Gold medal winner. Mexican Ahumada is now 3-3 in his last six fights including a ninth round stoppage by Stephen Fulton.
Anderson vs. Karpency
Another power show from Anderson. Karpency opened the first by chucking some wild swings which Anderson easily evaded. Anderson then walked Karpency down with jabs before connecting with a right to the ribs that saw Karpency go down on one knee. He was up at nine and managed to clinch to the bell. A right to the body put Karpency down at the start of the second and he was shaking his head and just stayed on one knee throughout the count. The 21-year-old “Real Big Baby” has won all nine of his victories by KO/TKO talking less than 20 rounds to do so but desperately needs someone to really test him. At least he got Karpency out of there quicker than Oscar Rivas (3 rounds) and Sergey Kuzmin (6 rounds) the others who have beaten Karpency inside the allotted rounds.
Lippe vs. Berman
It’s now 17 fights and 17 wins inside the distance for Lippe but not much satisfaction for him in this one. Lippe came out firing putting Bergman under pressure and scored with body punches. He continued to attack but with Bergman taunting him he was ignoring defence and Bergman landed three quick punches with the third a left hook sending Lippe back and down. It looked a valid knockdown but the referee indicating it was a slip. An incensed Berman argued with the referee that it was a knockdown and Lippe who had jumped up quickly stood and watched as Bergman harangued the referee for 20 seconds before the action continued and Berman looked to have rocked Lippe with the last punch of the round. Lippe scored well to the body in the second but looked uncomfortable when the 31lbs heavier Bergman applied pressure. Bergman was again taunting Lippe but Lippe kept his cool and score well and Bergman was looked gassed. Bergman was sticking his chin inviting Lippe to him it in the third but when he stepped forward to launch an attack he collapsed to the canvas having turned over his ankle and was unable to continue. Lippe, 31, the son of the late WBO heavyweight title holder Tommy Morrison, was having his first fight since July 2019. Bergman,36, had lost 5 of his last 6 fights with all five of his conquerors being unbeaten fighters.
Ragan vs. Clark
Just six rounds of fairly undemanding work for the outstandingly talented young Ragan. Scores 60-54 for Ragan on all three cards. No need to rush the 23-year-old from Cincinnati who has won every round in his fights to date. All seven of the guys who have scored wins over Clark were unbeaten fighters when he faced them.
Uncasville, CT, USA: ). Super Fly: Jerwin Ancajas (33-1-2) W PTS 12 Jonathan Rodriguez (22-2). Welter: Jaron Ennis (27-0,1ND) W KO 6 Sergey Lipinets (16-2-1. Welter: Eimantas Stanionis (13-0) W PTS 12 Thomas Dulorme (25-5-1). Feather: Mark Magsayo (22-0) W TKO 4 Pablo Cruz (21-4).
Ancajas vs. Rodriguez
Ancajas makes a successful ninth defence of the IBF title with unanimous decision over Rodriguez. Ancajas faded noticeably but held off a late surge from the young Mexican.
Southpaw Ancajas was a bit taller with a longer reach and began by jabbing to the body. He had early success as a left knocked Rodriguez back and he almost touched the canvas with his glove but stayed upright. Rodriguez showed quick movement but Ancajas landed with lefts to the body.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas
Ancajas was working well with the jab and reaching out with lefts to the body. The fight suddenly burst into life when Rodriguez turned to complain to the referee about a punch to the back of the head and Ancajas took the opportunity to jump in and land some punches. An angered Rodriguez fired back and they trade punches with Ancajas getting the better of the exchanges.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 20-18
Rodriguez was letting punches fly early but then Ancajas settled down to score with his jab and long lefts. Again Rodriguez justifiably complained about a punch to the back of the head and when the referee ignored him another fierce exchange of punches started with both landing with hooks and uppercuts but Ancajas came out ahead.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 30-27
Rodriguez was taking too long to launch his attacks and Ancajas was getting his punches off first He continued to land with his jab and long lefts and bounced some sharp lefts off Rodriguez’s head. Rodriguez scored with a good left late in the round but that was all.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Tony Paolillo 40-36 Ancajas, Judge Tom Schreck 39-37 Ancajas, Judge Don Trella 40-36 Ancajas
Ancajas outboxed and outworked Rodriguez. The champion was sending out a constant stream of jabs and nipping in with rights to the body. Rodriguez was fighting in short burst but every time he was about to launch a rush attack Ancajas was hitting him with jabs and Rodriguez had to set himself all over again.
Score 10-9 Ancajas: Ancajas 50-45
Ancajas changed styles completely. He went inside and traded punches with Rodriguez. He was ripping home hooks and uppercuts to the body and overhand lefts. The change of tactics suited Rodriguez who was able to do some scoring of his own with swinging hooks and uppercuts but again it was Ancajas getting the better of the action.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 60-54
Ancajas went back to his boxing. He kept his right jab in Rodriguez face, landed long lefts to the body and occasionally stepped in with a left cross to the head. A frustrated Rodriguez was never able to get close enough to land any significant punches.
Score: 10-9 Ancajas Ancajas 70-63
A huge round for Ancajas. He pressed hard connecting with clubbing shots from both hands. He was forcing Rodriguez back with Rodriguez bewildered by the storm of punches. Ancajas drove Rodriguez to a corner and pounded him until Rodriguez slumped to one knee. He was up at eight and with only three or four seconds left in the round the bell went before any more action took place.
Score: 10-8 Ancajas Ancajas 80-71
Official Scores: Judge Tony Paolillo 78-73 Ancajas, Judge Tom Schreck 79-72 Ancajas, Judge Don Trella 80-71 Ancajas
A great round. Ancajas set out to finish what he had started in the first round and forced Rodriguez to the ropes twice blazing away with hooks and uppercuts. It looked as though Rodriguez was ready to go but he kept punching back. As the round ended it was Rodriguez digging to the body and scoring with hooks and uppercuts and Ancajas looking to have punched himself out.
Score: 10-9 Rodriguez Ancajas 89-81
Rodriguez sensed Ancajas was tiring and he attacked hard throughout this round piling on the pressure and firing punches. Ancajas was landing plenty but he was being outscored and for the first time in the fight looking to hold rather than fight inside.
Score: 10-09 Rodriguez Ancajas 98-91
Rodriguez was swarming forward throwing punches. Ancajas had forgotten his jab and although still landing sharp counters his punch output had dropped and Rodriguez was scoring heavily with Ancajas the one to break off the exchanges as the swopped shots to the bell.
Score: 10-9 Rodriguez Ancajas 107-101
For the final three minutes two tired fighters just stood and pasted each other with punches. Neither had any thought of defence and both were rocked a few times but in the end Rodriguez just had that little more left and took the round.
Score: 10-9 Rodriguez Ancajas 116-111
Official Scores: Judge Tony Paolillo 115-112 Ancajas, Judge Tom Schreck 116-111 Ancajas, Judge Don Trella 117-110 Ancajas.
Right now with the No 1 and No 2 spots in the IBF rankings vacant and Rodriguez being No 3 the 29-year-old Filipino does not have any mandatory challenger. Because of the WBC super fly “tournament” his options are limited and there are no big fights to be had from the IBF list but as he struggled at the end of this a rest might be a good idea but he won’t want to sit on the sidelines for another sixteen months as he has just done. Considering that Rodriguez had never faced an opponent remotely near to being rated he performed well showing strongly at the finish and it will be interesting to see how he develops.
Ennis vs. Lipinets
Ennis outclasses and then stops former IBF champion Lipinets in a statement making performance. Ennis is 5’10” to the 5’7” of Lipinets and has a 74” reach compared to a 67” reach for Lipinets. He also has quicker hands and is much niftier on his feet. All of those things came into the play in the first round as Ennis danced around a plodding Lipinets stepping in quickly to score with jabs and getting out before Lipinets could counter. When Lipinets did lunge forward Ennis clouted him with rights to the head. Ennis changed to southpaw in the second and scored with lefts to the body. Lipinets ploughed forward with his head down throwing punches but walked onto counters from Ennis. They stood and traded punches before Ennis switched back to orthodox and speared Lipinets with left jabs. They swopped jabs at the opening of the third before Lipinets managed to pin Ennis against the ropes and connect with some strong body punches. Ennis switched to southpaw and drove Lipinets back landing hooks, uppercuts and straight rights with Lipinets getting rocked. Lipinets came out swinging in the fourth but Ennis was changing positions and angles and firing punches with such speed that Lipinets never seemed to know where Ennis was or where the punches were coming from. As they fought inside Lipinets went down on one knee. He was up immediately and was given a count. It seemed more a case of their feet getting tangled up but Lipinets did not dispute the referee’s action. Ennis then connected with huge rights which Lipinets was just too slow to block. Ennis staggered Lipinets with a herd right but when he went to follow up a punch from Lipinets went very low and the action was stopped briefly for Ennis to recover and he then settled for piercing Lipinets guard with jabs to the bell. Ennis ended it emphatically in the sixth. He took the fight to Lipinets going toe-to-toe handing out brutal punishment before landing a stunning left hook that put Lipinets down on his back and the referee immediately waived the fight over. Scintillating display from Ennis in the way that he outclassed and then disposed of former IBF champion Lipinets. The 23-year-old from the fighting Philadelphian Ennis family has lots of both ability and power as this is his twenty-fifth win by KO/TKO. He was rated WBO 7/IBF 9/WBC 12 and with Lipinets being No 3 with the IBF he will certainly get a promotion from them. With this and other recent showings the likelihood of Ennis becoming a world champion has gone from perhaps to possibly to probable and on this showing almost certain with the “almost” only there because he is in the same division as Terrence Crawford and Errol Spence. He is also much younger than both Crawford and Spence so time is on his side. Lipinets suffers his first inside the distance loss with Mikey Garcia the only fighter to have floored him previously. He was coming off a draw in October against unbeaten Custio Clayton for the interim IBF title and with Clayton at No 4 with the IBF that might be a logical next step for Ennis. Kazak Lipinets never got into this fight to any degree and will now have some serious rebuilding to do.
Stanionis vs. Dulorme
Stanionis has to come from behind to win this WBA eliminator. Stanionis utilised his standard pressure tactics early with Dulorme using clever movement and outworking Stanionis at the start. They were both landing well with the rounds close and no one really able to dominate. Stanionis connected with a good lefts to the head in the third and fourth and Dulorme banged back with solid body shots. Stanionis just looked to have edged the exchanges in the fifth but boxing on the back foot Dulorme did good work over the sixth and seventh. Stanionis came back strongly with body punches in the eighth but the ninth was a close round. A punch from Stanionis opened a cut over Dulorme’s left eye in the tenth and then over the last two rounds he proved stronger and outlanded a tiring Dulorme whose vision was being affected by the blood from the cut. Scores 117-111,116-112 and 115-113 all for Stanionis. The 26-year-old Lithuanian adds this win to victories over Justin de Loach and Janer Gonzalez but with Stanionis No 10 and Dulorme No 14 it is difficult to see this win pushing him very high in the queue of those looking for a title shot. It has been a switchback ride in his most recent fights for former WBO super light title challenger Dulorme. He has lost to Yordenis Ugas, drawn with Jessie Vargas, outpointed Terrel Williams and lost in a fight for the interim WBA welter title to Jamal James. He will now probably fall out of the ratings and I can’t see him regaining that lost ground.
Magsayo vs. Cruz
Filipino “Magnifico” Magsayo adds another win. He had Cruz under pressure with left hooks in the first and then dropped him late in the second. A Magsayo left hook put Cruz down in the third and Cruz only just managed to make it to the bell. The end wasn’t long in coming as a right from Magsayo sent Cruz down again in the fourth and the referee stopped the one-sided action. Fifteenth victory by KO/TKO for the 25-year-old Magsayo who is rated IBF 5(4)/WBC 5/WBO 8 so is very much in the queue for a title shot. Texan Cruz “The Lethal Mosquito” came in having won 7 of his last 8 fights
Grozny, Russia: Heavy: Jack Mulowayi (10-2-1) W TKO 8 Apti Davtaev (20-1-1). Super Middle: Aslambek Idigov (20-0) W PTS 10 Sherzod Khusanov (22-2-1). Light Heavy: Umar Salamov (27-1) W PTS Sergei Ekimov (18-2). Middle: Rizvan Elikhanov (12-0) W RTD 2 Mfaume Mfaume (16-8-2).
Mulowayi vs. Davtaev
Huge upset as unsung Belgian-based Congolese fighter Mulowayi wore down and stopped unbeaten Russian Davtaev. Mulowayi was given no chance here but he gradually ground Davtaev down. It was a fairly even fight over the first five rounds and then Davtaev started to tire. Mulowayi dominated the action from there and in the eighth round an exhausted Davtaev was taking heavy head punches as he stumbled along the ropes and with no sign of him punching back the referee stopped the fight. The 34-year-old ABU champion Mulowayi had lost a majority decision to 30-3 Herve Hubeaux for the Belgian title and been outpointed by world rated Frank Sanchez and did not look a threat on paper. Davtaev has been very carefully matched but the wheels came off in this on.
Idigov vs. Khusanov
Idigov returns home from his training base in Detroit and takes wide unanimous decision over veteran Khusanov. In a slow-paced fight despite Khusanov’s edges in height and reach Idigov was always in command. Khusanov competed hard all the way without ever doing enough to steal a round. Scores 100-90 from each of the judges for Idigov who was defending the WBO and IBF European titles. The Salita Promotions fighter is No 6 with the WBO. Uzbek Khusanov, 41, had a 22-fight unbeaten run ended when he lost to 40-0-1 Damian Jonak in 2018 but had returned in September last year with a decision over 25-1 Robert Parzeczewski.
Salamov vs. Ekimov
Fighting in his home territory Salamov only just escapes being the second heavy favourite to lose on this show. At 6’3 ½” he had height and reach on his side and made a confident start taking the fight to Egorov. It looked as though the fight would go as forecast but Ekimov boxed cleverly using Salamov’s height against by fighting mainly from a crouch leaving Salamov searching for a target. Despite that with his higher work rate Salamov seemed to have done enough to earn the decision but Ekimov fought hard enough to make it very close and to convince one judge he was the winner so Salamov had to settle for a split decision. It looks likely that Salamov, the WBO No 4 will go on to fight No 3 Britain’s Lyndon Arthur in an eliminator to challenge the new WBO champion Joe Smith. After 18 consecutive wins Ekimov came into this fight on the back of losses to Ricards Bolotniks and Ali Izmailov so his form here was a surprise.
Elikhanov vs. Mfaume
Elikhanov keeps his 100% record of inside the distance wins as Mfaume retires in the second round. Elikhanov had been stalking Mfaume in the first but Mfaume stepped in and threw a series of body punches in the second. A left hook clashed with the point of Elikhanov’s elbow and Mfaume backed off with his arm hanging by his side and indicated he could not continue. The 23-year-old has been matched sensibly with some experienced opposition. Tanzanian Mfaume is 0-3 in fights in Russia.
Tokyo, Japan: Welter: Keita Obara (24-4-1) W PTS 10 Shoki Sakai (25-12-2). Light: Go Hosaka (5-0) W PTS 8 Kanta Fukui (7-4-1).
Obara vs. Sakai
Obara retains the National title on a very narrow unanimous decision over Sakai in an entertaining scrap. Obara wanted to box but the aggressive Sakai kept driving forward behind a high guard to offset Obara’s strong jab. Obara managed to put in enough good work to take the first two rounds but Sakai upped his pace over the next three to close the gap. After five rounds two judges had Obara up 48-47 with the third going for Sakai by the same score. Sakai took the sixth to even things up but Obara’s experience at a higher level saw him make the stronger finish to take the verdict. All three judges had Obara the winner by 96-94. The 34-year-old former IBF and IBO title challenger makes it four wins in a row. Sakai went to Mexico and turned pro there in 2010 and did his fighting in Mexico and the USA before returning home in late 2020 and scoring two wins over modest domestic opposition.
Hosaka vs. Fukui
Former top amateur (Takeshi) Go Hosaka was also returning home but had to fight hard to get a split decision over unranked Fukui. Hosaka built an early lead with his better boxing but Fukui began to cut into the lead over the middle rounds with Hosaka needing a strong finish to just deserve the victory. Scores 78-74 and 77-75 for Hosaka and 77-75 for Fukui. Hosaka was the first Japanese fighter to medal at the World Youth Games winning a bronze medal in 2014 and finishing fourth in the Youth Olympic Games in the same year. He joined the famous ALA gym in the Philippines and turned pro there before returning to Japan when the gym closed. Fukui was moving up to eight rounds and exceeded expectation in this fighting performance.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Super Light: Fabian Maidana (18-1) W PTS 10 Carlos Cordoba (13-7,1ND).
Easy win for Maidana as he outpoints Argentinian champion Cordoba in a non-title match. With his superior power and a strong jab Maidana had Cordoba on the back foot and controlled the action. He found Cordoba a hard target and Cordoba used plenty of movement, constant switching of guards and lots of bobbing and weaving but Maidana keep pressing and landed with heavy lefts and right when he was able to trap Cordoba against the ropes. Cordoba’s attacks tended to be rushed and inaccurate and he was moving too much to really set himself to get any power in his punches. It was a frustrating fight for Maidana but despite the trickery of Cordoba he stuck to his task and dominated the fight. Scores 100-90, 100-92 and 99-92 ½. Maidana, 28, won his first 16 fights before losing to more experienced Jaider Parra and this is his second victory since then. He is the younger brother of Marcos Maidana. Cordoba certainly lived up to his “Little Fox” nickname but his tricks were no match for the better technical boxer with the heavier hands.
Sydney, Australia: Super Light: Youssef Dib (15-0) W PTS 10 Hunter Ioane (8-2-1). Super Feather: Billel Dib (25-3) W TKO 3 Jack Asis (38-24-5). Heavy: Willis Meehan (11-0) W TKO 1 Patrick Thunder (1-6-1).
Dib vs. Ioane
Dib wins the vacant Australian title with unanimous verdict over Ioane. Ioane came in 1 lb over the division limit so the title was only on the line for Dib who wins his first pro title in his first ten round fight. After being put on the floor in the first Dib settled down to outbox and outpunch Ioane to emerge a comfortable winner. Scores 97-92 twice and 96-93. Dib, 28, is the youngest of the three fighting Dib brothers. Second tough fight in a row for Ioane having been stopped in two rounds by unbeaten Jacob Ng after having Ng on the floor in the first round. He made Dib work hard for his win here.
Dib vs. Asis
Billel makes it a family winning double as he stops Filipino oldie Asis. The much taller Dib stopped the very faded Asis in the third round to retain the WBA Oceania title for the third time. Body punches did for Asis with three knockdown in the third. Dib, 31, makes it four wins in a row in his first fight in two years. It was also a treble for the Dib’s as brothers Billy and Youssef had also beaten Asis inside the distance. Asis put together a great run that took him to the IBO super feather title but those days are long past
Meehan vs. Thunder
Meehan gets a quick win as he crushes Thunder in 70 seconds. The 6’5”, 25-year-old New Zealand-born southpaw has nine inside the distance victories, six in the first round, but his victims have been substandard. Meehan is also a professional rugby league player. He is the son of former WBO heavyweight title challenger Kali who came close when losing to Lamon Brewster on a split decision for the WBO title in 2004. Thunder with no chance at all suffers his fourth defeat by KO/TKO.
Mantova, Italy: Super Light: Arblin Kaba (12-0-2) TEC DRAW 4 Luciano Randazzo (15-3-4).
Kaba retains the Italian title with technical draw against Randazzo. The ending seemed lucky for Kaba. Randazzo had started strongly connecting with a series of hooks in the first and after an even second he had the better of the exchanges in the third. In that round a clash of heads opened a gash over the left eye of Randazzo. They started the fourth round but with the blood hampering Randazzo’s vision the fight was stopped and with the fourth round not being completed it was ruled a technical draw. Albanian-born Kaba was making the second defence of the title but was coming off a knockout loss against Mohamed Khalladi in November so he needed a win. Randazzo was making his second challenge for the title and will probably get a third shot when his cut heals.
Auckland, New Zealand: Super Welter: Andrei Mikhailovich (15-0) W TKO 9 Shay Brock (13-3-2).
Mikhailovich makes a successful defence of the New Zealand title with stoppage of Brock. Mikhailovich was able to use his big advantages in height and reach to floor and then stop Brock. Mikhailovich was in charge of the fight flooring Brock with a body punch in the fourth and breaking him down. Brock had some success with rights but Mikhailovich was just too big and too strong and the referee stopped the fight in the ninth. Russian-born “Renegade” Mikhailovich, 23, also holds the New Zealand middleweight title. Former champion Brock suffers his first inside the distance defeat.
Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania: Light: Hannock Phiri (3-0) W TKO 9 Yona Segu (19-11-2) W. Middle: Twaha Kassim (17-7-1) W Bebe Rico Tshibangu (9-1-3).
Phiri vs. Segu
Malawian Phiri stops local fighter Segu in the ninth round. Phiri had not even the sights idea of how to box. He could not throw a jab he just waked and sometimes ran for ward just swinging both arms. He ignored any punch Segu landed and when he was sent staggering back he just threw himself forward again. A big right swipe put Segu down in the third and when Segu got up he was staggering badly. When the referee asked him to take a couple of steps forward he turned away and stumbled into a corner. The fight continued and in the fourth a huge swelling appeared over the right eye of Phiri and by the end of the round he could only see though a very narrow split and had to pull his head back to see through that slit. Despite all of this and despite walking through punch after punch his determination saw him through and although the swelling was grotesque in the ninth he landed a series of clubbing punches which sent Segu face down on the canvas and the fight was stopped. The 22-year-old Phiri wins the WBFederation African title and has won his three fights by KO/TKO I have rarely seen any fighter with less idea of how to box-but he won. Segu had been in with Terry Flanagan and had lost a split decision against 20-1-1 Armenian Vahram Vardanyan in February last year but he had no idea of how to deal with Phiri
Villa Gobernado, Argentina: Light Heavy: Abraham Buonarrigo (9-1) W PTS 9 Rolando Mansilla (16-8-1). Bantam: Juan Carlos Reveco (40-4) W PTS 6 Jeremias Ulibarre (8-12-1).
Buonarrigo vs. Mansilla
Buonarrigo wins the vacant WBA Fedebol title with unanimous decision over Mansilla. Scores 89-82, 88-83 and 87-84 for Buonarrigo the Argentinian No 7. Mansilla is 3-3 in his six most recent outings including losses in Australia and France.
Reveco vs. Ulibarre
Reveco returns to the ring with a points victory over Ulibarre. Gentle easing back for “Coton” as he wins on scores of 60 -53 ½, 60-54 and 60-55. Now 37 the former holder of the WBA secondary titles at light flyweight and flyweight was having his first fight since losing to Donnie Nietes for the IBF flyweight title in February 2018. Ulibarre sinking gradually and is 1-8 in his last 9.
Brisbane, Australia: Welter: Andrew Hunt (8-0-1) W PTS 10 Ben Kite (18-4-1). Light Heavy: Leti Leti (16-1) W PTS 10 Conor Wallace (7-1). Super Welter: Ben Mahoney (11-0) W PTS 10 Kris George (14-3).Heavy: Justis Huni (3-0) W TKO 1 Jack Maris (2-1).
Hunt vs. Kite
Tall southpaw Hunt scores majority verdict over champion Kite to win the Australian title. Hunt made an impressive start rocking Kite with uppercuts in the opening round. Kite worked hard to take the second but after a close third Hunt landed big punches in the fourth and fifth. Kite managed to work inside to avoid the big shots from Hunt over the sixth and seventh but Hunt scored with body punches in the eighth and despite the efforts of the more experienced Kite to hold and mess with Hunt inside the challenger finishes strongly. Scores 97-94, 96-94 and 96-95 for Hunt. New Zealand-born Hunt was taking a big step up in facing Kite and was in his first ten round fight but he paced the fight well. He is of Samoan antecedents and represented Australia at the 2017 World Championships. Kite was making the second defence of the National title and had won his last 13 fights.
Leti vs. Wallace
Leti beats champion Wallace on a majority decision to collect the Australian light heavyweight title after ten rounds of total war. Southpaw Wallace towered over the 5’8” Leti but Leti was prepared to take punishment to get inside. Once there he was connecting with some serious body punches. Wallace’s corner kept urging him to box and when he did he had some success but again and again he was standing and exchanging big punches with Leti. Both were rocked on occasion but also both were willing to absorb the incoming punches and fire back with their own. Leti was remorseless in his attacks and Wallace displayed an iron chin but Leti’s body punching wore down Wallace and Leti made the stronger finish. Scores 98-93 and 96-94 for Leti and 95-95. Eighth win in a row for Samoan-born Leti. Wallace-born in Newry Northern Ireland-was defending his title for the first time. Three great Australian title fights on the same night all of which would make good return matches.
Mahoney vs. George
Mahoney wins the vacant Australian title with narrow unanimous decision over George. Things started well for Mahoney as a jab in the first round landed on the left eye of George which had him blinking constantly and eventually a swelling developed by the eye. Both jabbed well in a tactical battle with Mahoney on the front foot and George countering. Mahoney had George’s nose bleeding early and the nose dripped blood throughout the fight. Mahoney’s jab was a potent weapon which he used to open George up time and again. George was effective with uppercuts and overhand rights as he worked off the rust from almost three years out of the ring. George floored Mahoney with a left hook in the seventh but Mahoney survived and fought hard over the last three rounds to take the decision. Scores 95-94 twice and 96-93 for Mahoney. Great win in a great fight for the 25-year-old Mahoney. First fight for former Commonwealth champion George since losing his title on a stoppage against Josh Kelly in June 2018. A fight in which George suffered two broken hands and a broken jaw.
Huni vs. Maris
Huni blows away Maris in the first round. Huni went straight after the 6’9” tall Maris rocking him with left hooks to head and body and sent him stumbling to the ropes. Huni then pounded on Maris sending him sliding along the ropes with a right to the head and the referee came in to stop the fight. Maris protested the stoppage but it was well-timed. Huni, 22, won the Australian title in his first pro fight. He is a former World Youth Champion and World Championships bronze medallist and has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Maris lacked the experience to cope with the more mobile Huni.
Tijuana, Mexico: Super Welter: Carlos Ocampo (29-1) W TKO 2 Ivan Matute (30-4). Super Welter: Dunbiel Sanchez (17-0-2) W PTS 10 Ruben Orozco (8-4).
Ocampo vs. Matute
Ocampo disposes of Matute in two rounds. Ocampo had Matute under plenty of pressure in the first and he was obviously the harder puncher. In the second a series of left hook to the body forced Matute to drop to one knee. After the count Ocampo landed more body punches before flooring Matute with a right. Matute got up but was quickly trapped on the ropes and some more left hooks to the body saw him down on one knee with his face screwed up in agony and the referee stopped the fight. The 25-year-old from Ensenada now has 19 inside the distance victories. When he challenged Errol Spence for the IBF welter title in 2018 he was knocked out inside the first round and this is his seventh win as he tries to restore some pride. Needless to say that Venezuelan Matute has a very heavily padded record.
Sanchez vs. Orozco
Sanchez outpoints Orozco to remain unbeaten. Sanchez used a strong body attack to take charge in this fight. He picked his punches well and stuck to his game plan. Orozco did well enough with his pressing attacks to outscore Sanchez on occasion but Sanchez took the unanimous decision. All three judges gave it to Sanchez 97-93 to make it a double for Ensenada. Four consecutive losses for Orozco.
Valencia, Spain: Welter: Jon Miguez (13-0) W KO 8 Ricardo Roser (7-1). Super Feather: Juan Felix Gomez (10-0) W RTD 7 Diego Valtierra (6-3). Light: Zeus de Armas (12-0) W TKO 5 Carlos Arroyo (5-16-1).
Miguez vs. Roser
Miguez wins the vacant Spanish title with kayo of Roser. After a slow first round Miguez did the attacking switching guards and he rocked Roser with a left hook in the third. Roser countered well and it was very close at the end of the fourth with Miguez in front on one card, Roser in front on another and the third reading a tie. Miguez upped the pressure over the middle rounds with Roser forced to stand and punch with Miguez and suffering a cut by his left eye. In the eighth Roser was slowing and Miguez connected with a series of punches that sent Roser down on his knees and he was counted out. Sixth inside the distance win for the 24-year-old from Cantabria. Disappointment for local boxer Roser who was short on power.
Gomez vs. Valtierra
Southpaw Gomez gets a win for Valencia as he beats Valtierra to win the vacant Spanish title. Gomez had the longer reach and he used that to the full. He also showed some good defensive work and Valtierra just could not get into the fight. Gomez was scoring at distance and countering strongly and Valtierra was slowly being broken down. In the sixth Valtierra was down twice and a cut had opened over his left eye. He was given one more round to turn things around but just took more punishment and retired at the end of the seventh. Nice boxing from 24-year-old “El Mago” Gomez. Valtierra had never gone past six rounds before and was well beaten.
de Armas vs. Arroyo
Canary Islander de Armas has no trouble stopping Arroyo. He put Arroyo down in the fourth and twice more in the fifth and the fight was over. The 35-year-old will be looking for a shot at the national title. Spanish-based Nicaraguan Arroyo has just one win in his last nine fights.
London, England: Welter: Conor Benn (18-0) W TKO 1 Samuel Vargas (31-7-2). Bantam: Ukashir Farooq (15-1) W PTS 10 Alexander Espinoza (20-3-2).
Benn vs. Vargas
Benn blitzes Vargas in one. After both had stabbed out jabs Benn scored with a left hook/overhand right and was letting his punches go. Vargas came forward taking the fight to Benn who connected with two rights the second one stopped Vargas in his tracks. Benn then poured on the punches driving Vargas to the ropes under a barrage of shots to head and body. He had Vargas pinned to the ropes and was connecting with hooks and uppercuts with Vargas being rocked and with his head being snapped back and flung side to side by punches when the referee stepped in. Vargas protested but it was a good call. All over in 80 seconds. Second impressive showing in a row by Benn after beating Sebastian Formella in November. He was making the fourth defence of the WBA Continental title. Vargas has lost the big fights with Errol Spence, Danny Garcia and Vergil Ortiz beating him inside the distance but none of them did it this quickly and he took Amir Khan the distance and Benn is calling out Khan.
Farooq vs. Espinoza
Farooq comes through a true test as he takes decision over tough and experienced Espinoza. Speed and skill are two qualities Farooq has in spades but here he chose to show that he could also fight in the trenches. He took on Espinoza inside for much of the fight and these two swapped punches all the way. That bit of extra speed served Farooq well but his chin was tested by Espinoza and he was cut over his right eye when heads bumped together, Espinoza came on strong over the late rounds but Farooq had outfought the Nicaraguan and picked up a deserved decision and the WBC International Silver belt. Scores 97-93. 97-94 and 97-95 all for Farooq. The Pakistani-born Scot’s only loss was a controversial split decision against Lee McGregor in November 2019. Espinoza had won 5 of his last 6 fights.
Livorno, Italy: Light: Vairo Lenti (8-4-1) W PTS 10 Gianluca Picardi (9-1).
Lenti is Italian champion after winning on a close unanimous decision over fellow-southpaw Picardi. It was Picardi who set the early pace managing to fight inside over the first three rounds. Lenti started to use his longer reach in the fourth but Picardi again scored well inside in the fifth. The sixth was close and then Picardi’s output dropped with Lenti staging a strong finish to just nick the decision. Three scores of 96-94 for home town fighter Lenti with Picardi a very angry man about the decision. Lenti makes his record look a little better with his fourth win in his last six fight. Picardi will want a second shot.
Fight of the week (Significance): Joe Smith’s win over Maxim Vlasov opens the possibility of unification fights at light heavyweight.
Fight of the week (Entertainment):The Australian title fight between Leti Leti and Wallace gets the vote with honourable mention to Smith vs. Vlasov
Fighter of the week: Jaron Ennis for his outstanding performance in knocking out Sergey Lipinets
Punch of the week: It has to be the booming right from Efe Ajagba which knocked Brian Howard out cold.
Upset of the week: Belgian-based DRC fighter Jack Mulowayi (9-2-1) was not supposed to stop (20-0-1) Apti Davtaev
Prospect watch: None I have not already spotted
Jared Anderson has my permission to apply for a new nickname “Real Big Baby” just does not do it for me when attached to a fearsome puncher such as Anderson. A stamped addressed letter will get you a list of suitable nicknames not yet sold (I mean allocated).
PS Pablo Cruz has already taken “The Lethal Mosquito”
Two controversial/strange breaks in the action:
We often hear fans complain about the "super" and "junior" weight classes, but in reality a number of those have been undeniable positives for the sport. One of the best examples of that is the consistently fantastic Super Featherweight division. Whilst the division is a "super" division, and not one of the original weight classes, it has been around since the 1920's and is a division that has had so many amazing champions over the years and given us so many great fights that we really need to give the powers that be credit for creating the division.
As may have guessed, today's closet classic looks at one of those great Super Featherweight bouts, as we head back to 1997 for a gem from Korea.
Yong Soo Choi (22-2, 13) vs Koji Matsumoto (24-4-1, 13)
In one corner was a Closet Classic regular, Yong Soo Choi. The teak tough Korean was in so many amazing fights through his career that we do a mini series on just great fights, and it's longer than some careers! Despite the dodgy mullet the Korean was tough, exciting, set a high work rate and made up some technicaly limitations by simply being so damn strong and rugged. His wars with Lakva Sim and Takanori Hatakeyama are certainly proof of how entertaining he is and we get more proof. Enterting the bout Choi had made 4 defenses of the WBA Super Featherweight title, and whilst he had looked impressive as a warrior he had shown technical flaws through out his bouts. This time around he was up against someone who wasn't going to fight his fight with him, like Sim and Yamato Mitani had, but instead was going to use technical skills to try and neutralise him, and out score him.
Southpaw challenger Koji Matsumoto, who is now a trainer at the Ohashi Gym, had come up short in a previous world bout against Korean Young Kyun Park. Against Park a 22 year old Matsumoto had been out classed and then stopped in 11 rounds. He had been gutsy but the fight come far too early in his career. Following that loss he had rebuilt, winning 10 of his subsequent 11 bouts, and scored 9 T/KO's. Now he was in his mid 20's, he was a man, and he had proven himself as an excellent regional level fighter with an OPBF title win. This time he was ready for a world title shot and was fighting a less skills fighter, albeit a champion with an iron jaw, irresistible work rate and incredible will to win.
Unlike some of Choi's other great bouts this wasn't an all out battle of wills from the off. Instead it was an exciting and compelling chess match.
Early on Matsumoto boxed on the move, using his feet well and looking to lure Choi in for counters. Choi, being Choi, kept walking forward, clearly under the belief that if Young Kyun Park could break down Matsumoto so could he. This wasn't the same inexperienced Matsumoto who had lost to Park, and instead of being out worked and out muscled Matusmoto landed some gorgeous combinations, clinched when he needed to and smartly circled to prevent Choi from setting his feet. It was a smart gameplan but one that clearly needed a lot of energy and focus from the challenger.
Although Matsumoto used his feet he never ran from Choi, instead circling closely, stopping Choi from letting loose, whilst getting his own quick combinations off in eye catching fashion. It was a brilliant gameplan from the Yonekura gym for their man.
Of course Choi was never one to give up and given his will to win was incredible. Despite being in a hole early to the boxing skills of the challenger Choi began to claw back the bout in the middle rounds. His power shots and physical strength playing a key role in dragging Matsumoto into his fight. This was where the bout went from chess match to war and where Choi began to shine, landing some huge bombs on the challenger, who took them and fired back. The clever combinations and movement from Matsumoto were fading, as he tried to smother Choi, and take his power away that way.
At times this was messy, at times this ugly, but it always compelling, with some amazing back and forth action, it was always intense and it always felt like Matsumoto's chin would fail him under the growing pressure of Choi's attack.
Whilst it's not the best Choi bout it is still a great fight and one of the many forgetten gems from the history of the Super Featherweight division.
By Eric Armit
I am starting to get twitchy about the Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury fight. It appears that some factors have been agreed but others remain to be resolved and that is leading to some doubt as to whether the outstanding issues are significant enough to derail the negotiations. We are told that all that is outstanding is where and when and let’s hope that is so. I still have a hangover from when the first negotiations for Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Manny Pacquiao collapsed and we did not to see them fight at what would have been the optimum time and some of the shine had gone off the fight by the time it did happen. This is too big a fight and worth too much to those with a piece of it so I am hoping we hear soon with a date and venue.
It seems spring madness is in the air. Evander Holyfield has accepted a fight with Mike Tyson (we think), Oscar De La Hoya is returning having just passed his 48th birthday and not having fought for twelve years when he lost to Manny Pacquiao and weighed 145lbs. Roy Jones wants to fight De La Hoya although Jones is 52 and weighed 199lbs in his last professional fight. I guess there is more chance of De La Hoya now making 199lbs than Jones getting down to 145lbs but to be honest I could not care less. The same goes for the third fight between Tyson and Holyfield. Tyson is 54 and last fought in 2005 and Holyfield is 58 and last fought in 2011. If that turns you on then good luck to you but to me it would be like watching Usain Bolt and current World 100 meters champion Chris Coleman racing each other in 30 years using Zimmer frames. Miguel Cotto, 40, is going to face Juan Manuel Marquez, 47, in an exhibition and Marco Antonio Barrera is also getting in on the act and will fight an exhibition against Joes Soto Karass. Yet another show will feature Julio Cesar Chavez, 58, vs. Hector Camacho Jr and Julio Chavez Jr vs. UFC champion Anderson Silva. Equally as strange is Denis Berinchyk aiming to have a bare knuckles fight with their champion Artem Lobov. Normally interest in these types of exhibitions /cross discipline fights are a sign that boxing is ailing but I don’t think that is the case right now. Perhaps nostalgia is staging a comeback.
Vasyl Lomachenko will return in June probably against Japanese fighter Masayoshi Nakatani. Nakatani’s record is 19-1 with the loss coming on a wide unanimous decision in a fight against Teo Lopez in July 2019. He rebounded from that with a stoppage of Felix Verdejo last December and is No 5 lightweight with the WBO. First fight for Lomachenko since losing his IBF and WBA titles to Teo Lopez in October last year. Nakatani’s 5’11 ½” height might give Lomachenko problems but Loma has reached where he has by solving problems in the ring.
Tim Tszyu has obviously impressed his Russian antecedents as there is now a move to award him Russian citizenship. Is that interim, secondary or franchise citizenship? Someone must have Putin a good word for him.
Having said they were in no hurry to get Tszyu a title chance his backers have now indicated that they are willing to put up $10 million to get IBF/WBA/WBC champion Jermell Charlo or WBO champion Brain Castano to come to Australia to defend their titles.
Tony Yoka’s next fight could be a defence of his European Boxing Union title against Belgian Herve Hubeaux. Nothing confirmed but it would be a good match for Yoka as Hubeaux has a 32-3 record and has not lost inside the distance.
Still on heavyweights purse bids were due yesterday for an IBF final eliminator between No 4 Michael Hunter and No 5 Filip Hrgovic. No news yet but the winner will be eligible to move into the vacant No 1 spot leaping over No 2 Charles Martin and No 3 Oleksandr Usyk and being in the queue for a shot at the winner of Joshua vs. Fury.
Looks like Nordine Oubaali will return on 29 May defending his WBC bantamweight title against Nonito Donaire which will be Oubaali’s biggest name opponent so far.
Once again the WBA have presented me with a difficult problem. I have to decide which of two blatant manipulations of their heavyweight ratings is the most disgraceful. Could anything be worse than the slipping of Bermane Stiverne into the ratings for Don King so that Trevor Bryan could win their secondary title? I will leave you to judge. Take the case of Chris Arreola. He fights Andy Ruiz on 1 May and is No 8 in the WBA ratings right now. They slipped Arreola into their rating at No 8 on 30 June last year. I looked back to April 2015 without finding Arreola anywhere in their ratings prior to that sudden entry in June 2020. This sudden elevation in June 2020 comes despite his last fight had been in August 2019 when he lost to Adam Kownacki and there having effectively been no boxing in the USA between March 14 and 9 June when Top Rank invented the “bubble! The WBA even previewed their manipulation by saying with the ratings issued on 31 May 2020 that “Due to the Coronavirus boxing like all other sport has been forced to stop. All boxers will maintain their ranking until we resume normal activities”. So in June the WBA resumed normal activities by slipping an inactive Chris Arreola into their ratings at No 7!
Don’t make your mind up yet until you see what has happened to Bogdan Dinu. Not exactly a household name but No 2 in the WBA heavyweight ratings above Luis Ortiz, Deontay Wilder and other bigger and better names. I have to say in advance that my vote for the most blatant manipulation goes to Dinu. On 3 October 2020 he beat Frank Bluemle a guy with a 16-8-2 record ranked No 502 by BoxRec who was 2-6 before fighting Dinu with all six losses coming inside the distance and five of them inside three rounds. Naturally that did not earn him a place in the ratings issued by the WBA on 30 October-but did “earn” him a place at No 9 in the 30 November ratings. Without fighting he climbed to No 3 in the WBA ratings 29 of January and is now No 2. Don’t be surprised if you start hear talk of Dinu challenging Trevor Bryan for the WBA secondary title.
The IBF are not immune to strange happening in their ratings. On Saturday Jerwin Ancajas will defend the IBF super flyweight-or junior bantamweight as they call it-against Jonathan Javier Rodriguez. With the No 1 and 2 slots vacant he is the highest ranked fighter at No 3but can’t be No 1 or 2 because he has not beaten a rated fighter. Sounds sensible but that does not explain how Rodriguez has gone from No 15 to the No 3 –without fighting anyone! His two most recent fights were in June 2019 and December 2020 both against unrated fighters. In the IBF ratings for 2 December 2019 he was No 15. By the 2 February 2020 he was No 10 and in March 2020 he was No 3. How do you get from No 15 to No 3 without having a fight? Don’t ask me-ask the IBF.
Why do I bother? Well to quote Simon Wiesenthal “for evil to flourish it only requires good men to do nothing” and since in my old mum’s unbiased opinion I was a good boy I am obliged to do something to draw attention to how disgracefully those who are in positions of power in our sport are acting and don’t forget every time a rating gets manipulated some other fighters get screwed.
Just two more rants as I would not want to leave the WBC out of things. The Franchise Champion is one of the most ridiculous pieces of tinkering for a long time. The one thing I used to think that the sanctioning bodies brought to boxing was the mandatory challenger. When Ring Magazine was the authority on titles there was an unshakable principal that other than for retirement the only way a fighter could lose his title was in the ring. Now that meant that a champion could pick and choose who he fought or did not fight and a lot of good fighters found themselves frozen out with no recourse to any authority or any pressure on the champion. By rating someone No 1 the sanctioning bodies seemed to have righted that wrong and for years being No 1 meant you were the mandatory challenger and there were clauses in the rules of the sanctioning bodies enshrining that right. Forget it being No 1 now does not mean you are the mandatory challenger-ask Dillian Whyte-or Srisaket if you don’t believe me as they both found that being No 1 did not give them any right to a shot at the title. Now we have a Franchise champion and in Mauricio Sulaiman’s own words “A franchise boxer enjoys special status with respect to his or her mandatory obligations……….”
Being No 1 in a division that has a Franchise champion means you have no idea of your status or rights with regard to a title shot. A Franchise champion does nothing for boxing at all it does not bring one more dollar on a gate or on a boxers purse or clear the way to a big fight all it adds is one more piece of confusion to an already ridiculously obfuscated sport and even now the rules on a Franchise champion losing or winning the Franchise designation in the ring are being “updated”. As far as I can see the only thing it has brought the WBC is criticism and ridicule.
To finish my rant I feel that the WBC made an error in naming their new weight division after a young boy. No matter how brave-and the 6-year-old James Bridger was a hero tackling a dog about to attack his sister and suffering numerous bites in doing so-but the new division has a name that reflects one heroic act in Britain, My worry is that once the WBA, WBO and IBF decided to adopt the same weight division they are unlikely to dedicate it to young James. The sanctioning bodies already can’t agree on calling their divisions super (WBA, WBC, WBO) or junior (IBF) so I can see us ending up with four different names for the same division. If the new division was to have been personalised with a name then something with a more worldwide significance and an outstanding legacy such as Mandeladivision would have been better. Good luck to you James I hope you have a happy and prosperous life.
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