When we talk about the best Flyweight bouts of the 1990's we have a lot of great bouts to pick from. Today we look at one of those as we bring you the latest in our Closet Classic Series and this is a sadly forgotten gem that ended in brutal fashion after what had been a hard, yet technical and punishing bout between a man seeking his 4th defense and a man looking to prove he belonged at world level.
Yuri Arbachakov (12-0, 11) vs Muangchai Kittikasem (20-1, 12)
Coming into the bout Thailand's Muangchai Kittikasem was the WBC Flyweight champion and a man who had recorded 3 defenses of the title. Although not a huge name in the west historically he was a excellent and gutsy fighter who had originally made his name at Light Flyweight, where he claimed the IBF title, before moving up in weight. Before moving up he had recorded 3 defenses of the IBF title, prior to losing the belt in 1990 to Michael Carbajal. The move up did him good and he would score 3 of his biggest victories at Flyweight. The first of those was his title win 1991, when he stopped Sot Chitalada, before following that up with a stoppage over Jung Koo Chang and a second win over Chitalada.
Although not the quickest, or the most skilled Kittikasem ticked a lot of boxed. He had under-rated speed, a good boxing brain solid power and an incredible will to win. He could be hurt, and could be dropped, but there was no disputing his hunger and desire and he had pulled out a win against Jung Koo Chang despite being dropped 3 times.
In the opposite corner was Japanese based Russian fighter Yuri Arbachakov, a fantastic amateur who had joined Kyoei and won his first 12 bouts without many issues. Those wins had included a 1990 win over Rolando Bohol, and a Japanese title win over Takahiro Mizuno. He had been tipped for big things when he turned professional and a world title was almost expected of him when he began his career given how good of an amateur he was. There was however no track record of Russian fighters making a mark on the professional ranks, and whilst he was a real talent, with incredibly heavy hands, there was also lots of questions still to be asked of him.
Prior to this bout Arbachakov had only heard the final bell once, and that was in a 10 round decision against the super durable Samanchai Chalermsri. Aside from that Arbachakov's longest bout was a 7th round TKO in his 4th professional bout, with none of the others going beyond round 5. He was destroying people, and sadly he wasn't facing stiff enough competition to really see what he was about. This however was going to be a bout where we found out if Arbachakov had what it took to be a star in the pros, or not.
In the opening round we saw technical stuff from both, Arbachakov was using his jab, controlling the distance and using his often under-rated movement to close the distance. Kittikasem on the other hand was being cautious, boxing off the backfoot and trying to see what the Russian had without taking much punishment. The tactics of the Thai saw him land some good counters through the opening round but right on the bell the power of Arbachakov dropped the Thai. The shot came as the bell was ringing and was waved off by the referee.
With Kittikasem feeling the power of the challenger at the end of round 1 he picked up his pace notably in round 2. The Thai was again on the back foot, but was a lot more willing to get off the ropes as Arbachakov continues to press in a very intelligent style. A right hand from the challenger with about 40 seconds of the round left instantly saw the tempo rise as we got some thrilling back and forth, but for the most part this was controlled, technical stuff.
We got more drama early in round 3 as Arbachakov was dropped. He seemed to be caught by surprise more than hurt but it was a cracking right hand that dropped him as he got a wake up call. Kittikasem wasn't here to just hand over his title. Soon afterwards the Thai was rocked from a couple of huge right hands and the bout got an injection of drama, then it got a larger shot as Kittikasem was dropped. The Thai was badly hurt but showed his grit to make his way through what had been a truly fantastic round.
With both men being down in round 3 it was clear both knew their opponent had the power to damage them. From here on the pace began to quicken, with Arbachakov showing what he could do with his movement and jab, and Kittikasem trying to to respond. The Thai would be rocked several times but fired back every time, giving the bout a sense of tension. The champion might have been behind, and taking some big shots, but he wasn't gone and he was dangerous.
As the bout unfolded the Thai began to find his range for shots, countering more successfully and even pressing forward himself at times. It was as if his game plan was based around coming on strong and take advantage of Arbachakov's lack of later round experience. This again felt like the bout was shifting momentum, with rounds 7 being a really good round and giving Kittikasem the belief that he could take the fight to the challenger.
We won't ruin the bout any further but this is worthy of your time, especially if you like technical boxing, with a sense of drama, heavy shots and momentum switches. It's not the most action packed bout ever, and it's not a slug fest, but it's a very clean, exciting bout, with the feeling that either man could take the other down at a moments notice.
Whilst not a war this is a very, very engaging bout, with serious tension through out.
By Eric Armit
-Joe Joyce strengthens his claim to a world title shot with stoppage of Carlos Takam
-Murat Gassiev returns to action and stops Michael Wallisch in a heavyweight contest
-Alberto Puello and Eric Rosa win in WBA interim title fights in the Dominican Republic
- Fifty-year-old cruiserweight Firat Arslan keeps his dream of becoming the oldest fighter to win a world title as he gets an easy win over Ruben Acosta
World Title/Major Shows
London, England: Heavy: Joe Joyce (13-0) W TKO 6 Carlos Takam (39-6-1), Welter: Ekow Essuman (15-0) W TKO 8 Chris Jenkins (22-4-3). Super Welter: Hamza Sheeraz (13-0) W KO 5 Ezequiel Gurria (15-2). Super Bantam: Chris Bourke (10-0) W PTS 10 James Beech (12-2). Heavy: David Adeleye (7-0) W TKO 4 Mladen Manev (3-10). Super Light: Sam Noakes (7-0) W RTD 2 Naeem Ali (2-71-1).
Joyce vs. Takam
Joyce retains the Commonwealth, WBC Silver and WBO International titles as he stops Takam in the sixth. Takam was giving away height, weight and reach against Joyce and his tactics were to keep moving and throw overhand rights. Joyce was padding forward as usual in the first stabbing out jabs and throwing straight rights. It was Takam who was catching the eye as he scored early with a strong right and ended the round connecting with four more. Joyce continued to come forward in the second landing some clubbing shots and a couple of rights to the body. Takam connected with a left hook to the head and again banged home some right crosses. The punches just bounced off Joyce. The third saw Takam’s pace drop as Joyce began to find a home for more of his powerful jabs and heavy rights but Takam threw himself forward on the attack late in the fourth again getting through with rights to the head.
The body punches started to take their toll on Takam who slowed in the fifth. Joyce was landing heavily but Takam again attacked fiercely at the end of the round. In the first few seconds of the sixth a left hook from Joyce sent Takam stumbling back across the ring on rubbery legs. Joyce followed him landing a whole series of head punches. Initially Takam was punching back but then after a few more head punches from Joyce he stopped doing that and just covered up as Joyce bounced punches off his head/gloves and sent him reeling. The referee came in and stopped the fight only for Takam to pop his head over his high guard shouting in protest at the stoppage. He continued to berate the referee but with his experience he must have known that by letting Joyce throw almost thirty punches without throwing a single punch back he was leaving the referee little choice but to stop the fight. Joyce is rated WBO 2/WBC 5/IBF 10(9) and was calling out Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury but he probably have to wait until next year before he gets a title shot. Takam was enraged by the stoppage and has demanded a return but Joyce will be looking forward and not back.
Essuman vs. Jenkins
Essuman wins the British and Commonwealth titles as after a high action competitive fight he overwhelms and injured Jenkins in the eighth round. They are well-schooled fighters and from the start both men showed well with their jab. Jenkins took the first round just winning the duel if the jabs but Essuman seemed to take the second with more variety in his work. He landed some hard body punches and it later transpired that one of those punches had broken a rib in the left side of Jenkins. Both scored well in the third and the fourth swung one way and then the other. Essuman started with a fierce attack and had Jenkins reeling. Jenkins steady himself and then fired back and dominated the second half of an excellent round with his jab. Essuman outworked Jenkins in the fifth and sixth. He was coming forward throwing punches with Jenkins no longer as strong with his jab. Essuman also took the seventh with Jenkins constantly on the back foot and off target with his jab and Essuman getting through with hard punches from both hands. Essuman launched a furious attack at the start of the eight and suddenly Jenkins was in trouble being caught with heavy punches and just covering up under fire and the referee made a timely stoppage. Botswana-born Essuman gets his sixth inside the distance win. Welshman Jenkins was having his first fight for twenty months and will be hoping for a return match when his injury heals.
Sheeraz vs. Gurria
Sheeraz grinds down and stops Spaniard Gurria in the fifth round. Sheeraz had huge edges in height and reach and he used those to put Gurria under pressure over the first two rounds but the pace was slow. Sheeraz increased the tempo in the third driving Gurria back across the ring with a series of punishing jabs. He continued to put his punches together well in the fourth and then floored Gurria with a left hook to the body. Gurria made it to his feet but when he was dumped on the canvas again with right to the body and a left to the head the fight was stopped. Seventh consecutive early win for the 6’1” 22-year-old Shiraz who was putting the WBO European belt on the line for the third time. Former Spanish champion Gurria was just not big enough to trouble Sheeraz.
Bourke vs. Beech
Bourke boxes his way to a clear decision over Beech in a fast-paced match. Bourke took control of the centre of the ring in the first round and never relinquished that control. He used sharp accurate right jabs and straight lefts to scores at distance and when Beech did try to come forward Bourke met him with hard, accurate counters. Beech just could not get a foothold in the fight. He made the seventh and eighth rounds close but took heavy punishment in the ninth and was out boxed by Bourke in the last. Scores 100-90, (99-91 and 99-92. First defence of the WBC International belt for Bourke. Second defeat in a row for Beech who lost a decision against Brad Foster for the Commonwealth and British titles in July last year.
Adeleye vs. Manev
Adeleye stops Manev in four rounds. The Bulgarian was carrying lots of extra weight around his middle and Adeleye was able to land body punches with both hands in the first. Manev was cut over his left eye in a second round which saw little action. Adeleye upped his pace notably in the third scoring with clubbing head shots and some spectacular uppercuts. Adeleye was in control in the fourth and when he landed another uppercut Manev back away to a corner and then confusion reigned. Manev seemed to be indicating a problem with his left eye. He started to drop looking to take a knee so the referee could step in. He did not go all the way down but dropped his hand and the referee did not step in so Adeleye connected with a heavy right on Manev who was in a semi-crouch. Manev was so enraged over that punch that he went wild throwing punches resulting in a wild brawl before an uppercut did put him down. He beat the count but went down again from a left to the body with the referee ending the fight immediately. Sixth win by TKO/TKO for the 24-year-old Londoner. Manev was a top level amateur but he competed at 75kg (165lbs) and 81kg (178lbs) then and he was 228lbs here in losing the fifth of his last six fights.
Noakes vs. Ali
Noakes gets another inside the distance victory but the real surprise was Ali being stopped. Noakes usually comes out firing punches but he took a more measured approach here against survival expert Ali. Noakes landed some stiff body shots in the first but Ali blocked most of the shots and was not in any real trouble. In the second Noakes began to find the target with some vicious uppercuts but Ali made it to the bell. There was blood coming from Ali’s nose which seemed to be broken and he retired in the interval. Noakes has won all of his fights by KO/TKO but the real news was that this is the first time in 74 fights-including 71 losses- that Ali has failed to last the distance
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Super Light: Alberto Puello (19-0) W PTS 12 Jesus Rubio (13-4-1). Minimum: Eric Rosa (4-0) W PTS 12 Ricardo Astuvilca (21-1). Light Heavy: Lenin Castillo (21-3-1) W RTD 4 Ronald Gonzalez (8-1).
Puello vs. Rubio
Puello remains unbeaten and retains the interim WBA title as he takes wide unanimous verdict over Mexican Rubio. Puello put Rubio down with a right just before the bell to end the first round and was in control from there. He used his superior skills and accurate southpaw straight lefts with the strong but limited Rubio out of his depth. Puello cruised over the middle rounds before trying to put Rubio away in the last with a barrage of body punches but Rubio just made it to the final bell. Scores 120-107 on the three cards for Puello. With the WBA loading this division with super, world and Gold title holders Puello is a long way down the pecking order but ” The Wasp” is a quality fighter too good to be left down the blind alley of an interim title. Rubio was a very ordinary level challenger and no real threat to Puello.
Rosa vs. Astuvilca
In only his fourth fight Dominican hot prospect “Mini Pac-Man” Rosa outpoints Peruvian Astuvilca to collect the vacant WBA belt in an entertaining scrap. Southpaw Rosa had height and reach over Astuvilca and comfortably outboxed the little Peruvian over the first three rounds. Astuvilca was credited with a questionable knockdown in the fourth and carried that momentum into the fifth. Rosa then took the next four rounds but then had to fight hard to hold off a fierce finish from Astuvilca over the closing rounds but was a clear winner. Scores 117-110 twice and 114-113 for Rosa. The new title holder is still a work in progress but has plenty of talent. Astuvilca has very little skill but plenty of energy and aggression but his record has been built on very modest opposition.
Castillo vs. Gonzalez
Castillo gets a win as Gonzalez retires at the end of the fourth round due to a swelling over his right eye hampering his vision. Castillo had no real problem here in piercing the Venezuelan’s guard or dealing with Gonzalez’s crude attacks. A clash of heads in the first saw a swelling developing over the right eye of Gonzalez. Castillo handed out plenty of punishment over the second and third rounds and staggered Gonzalez a couple of times in the fourth leading to the doctor examining the swelling in the interval and indicating the fight should be halted. The 21-year-old 6’2” Castillo lost to Dmitry Bivol in a shot at the secondary WBA in his last fight in October 2019. Venezuelan Gonzalez has a very padded record with his eight victims having only one win between them.
Tokyo Japan, Fly: Seigo Akui (16-2-1) W TKO 10 Taku Kuwahara (8-1).
“Yuri” Akui retains the Japanese flyweight title with a tenth round stoppage of “Ioka II” Kuwhara. Akui put Kuwahara down in the opening round but Kuwahara fought back hard enough for it to be close going into the last round. In the tenth Akui floored Kawahara again with a heavy right and the fight was stopped. Eleventh inside the distance victory for Akui. His “Yuri” nickname is a tribute to former flyweight title holder Yuri Arbachakov and Kuwahara’s nickname is “Ioka II” after four-division title holder Kazuto Ioka.
Moscow, Russia: Heavy: Murat Gassiev (28-1,1ND) W TKO 4 Michael Wallisch (22-5). Super Fly: Mikhail Aloyan (7-1) W PTS 10 Mchanja Yohana (12-3). Feather: Andranik Grigoryan (14-0) W PTS 10 Nathaniel Kakololo (11-3-1). Vladimir Nikitin (5-1-1) W RTD 3 Raul Aghayev (31-10)
Gassiev vs. Wallisch
Now campaigning at heavyweight Gassiev stops Wallisch in four rounds. Gassiev landed a hard right in the first that started a bruising under the left eye of Wallisch but apart from that one punch for three rounds Gassiev just tracked Wallisch around the ring hardly throwing a punch. Wallisch landed a right in the third which was the best punch to that point. Gassiev finally showed some fire in the fourth using his jab and throwing some hooks. Wallisch already looked to be tiring and went down heavily from a hard right. Wallisch made it to his feet and Gassiev then had him reeling under a barrage of punches and the referee stopped the fight The former IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion looked slow but as this is only his second fight in three years (and one day) that was understandable but he needs to improve from this showing. Wallisch is now 3-5 in his last 6 fights with all of the losses by KO/TKO against tough opposition.
Aloyan vs. Yohana
Aloyan outpoints Tanzanian Yohana. Aloyan was just too quick for Yohana. He was able to score with his jab at distance and get inside and land a punch before Yohana could counter. Yohana came forward for much of the fight and although he made Aloyan work hard he just lacked the speed and accuracy of Aloyan. Scores 99-91 for Aloyan on the three cards. Armenian-born Aloyan was World amateur champion in 2011 and 2013 and a gold medallist at the European Championships. He scored wins over Khalid Yafai, Nordine Oubaali, Andrew Selby, Rau’shee Warren and Tugstsogt Nyambayan in the amateurs but lost to Zolani Tete for the WBA bantam title in 2018. Yohana did not have the power or the experience to threaten Aloyan.
Grigoryan vs. Kakololo
Armenian-born Grigoryan takes unanimous decision over Namibian Kakololo. The 5’4” Grigoryan chased down the taller Namibian over the full ten rounds. Kakololo showed some good skills but not much power and Grigoryan was able to get inside and score constantly. He is no puncher himself and never had Kakololo in any trouble. Kakololo had shown well in his last fight in Russia only losing on a majority decision against WBO No 6 Oleg Malinowski.
Nikitin vs. Aghayev
Nikitin batters Azeri Aghayev to defeat in three rounds. Nikitin came out throwing punches from the first bell and never stopped. He hustled and harried late substitute Aghayev around the ring in the second and third and at times only the ropes held Aghayev up. Aghayev gave it everything in the third standing and trading with Nikitin but he was rocked a few times and retired at the end of the round. Nikitin’s loss came against Michael Conlan who gained revenge for a controversial loss to Nikitin in the Rio Olympics.
Panama City, Panama: Welter: Johan Gonzalez (28-1) W KO 2 Likar Ramos (30-11). Super Bantam: Liborio Solis (32-6-1, ND) W PTS 8 Marlon Olea (14-8). Feather: Yonfrez Parejo (24-4-1) W RTD 3 Jordan Escobar (16-13-2). Feather: Rafael Pedroza W KO 2 Mauricio Martinez (15-22-2).
Gonzalez vs. Ramos
Venezuelan Gonzalez knocks out Colombian southpaw Ramos early in the second round. All 28 of Gonzalez’s victories have come by KO/TKO. His loss was a split decision against Charlie Navarro in July 2019. Former WBA interim WBA super feather title holder Ramos has won only one of his last six fights
Solis vs. Olea
Seasoned pro Solis floors and outpoints Colombian Olea. Scores 80-71 twice and 79-72 for the 39-year-old Venezuelan a former holder of the WBA super flyweight title. He is 7-1 in his last 8 fights with the loss being a split decision to Guillermo Rigondeaux for the vacant secondary WBA bantam title in February last year. Olea falls to 1-7 in his most recent activity.
Parejo vs. Escobar
Parejo handed out some severe punishment and Nicaraguan Jordan Escobar did not come out for the fourth round. The 34-year-old Parejo lost to Ryan Burnett in a challenge for the WBA bantamweight and Brandon Figueroa for the interim secondary WBA super bantamweight titles. Escobar drops to 1-6 in his last 7 fights.
Pedroza vs. Martinez
Panamanian Pedroza makes it ten wins by KO/TKO in his eleven fights as he puts Colombian Mauricio Martinez down and out in the second round. Pedraza, 24, is No 15 super bantamweight with the WBA. Poor Colombian Martinez has lost 14 times by KO/TKO.
Grand Island. NE, USA: Super Middle: Isaiah Steen (16-0,1ND) W PTS 10 Kelvin Henderson (14-1-1). Welter: Janelson Figueroa Bocachica (17-0-1) DREW 10 Shinard Bunch (15-2,1ND).
Steen vs. Henderson
Steen wins a unanimous verdict over Henderson in a clash of unbeaten fighters. Henderson made a promising start connecting with rights in the first and doing enough to share the second. When heads banged together in the second Henderson was cut over his left eye and from there Steen took control. He outlanded Henderson in the fourth and rocked him with a right in the fifth. Henderson did enough to take the sixth but Steen banged back hurting Henderson with rights in the seventh. Henderson took the fight to Steen over the eighth and ninth but Steen boxed well behind his jab and edged the tenth to take the decision. Scores 97-93 twice and 95-94 for Steen. Good win for Steen, 24, the brother of unbeaten former Olympian Charles Conwell. Texan Henderson will rebound and if that does not work then he can fall back on his bachelor’s degree in music education.
Bunch vs. Bocachica
This contest between Bunch and Bocachica ends as a draw although Bunch looked a clear winner. From the start Bunch had his jab working well and was on target with long rights. He was using good upper body movement to bob and weave under Bocachica’s punches and landing jarring shots from both hands. Bunch looked to have swept the first six rounds and although Bocachica shook Bunch a couple of times in the seventh and eighth Bunch scored well in the ninth and then boxed his way through the last. The judges came up with scores of 97-93 for Bunch 96-94 for Bocachica and 95-95.
Boujan-sur-Libron, France: Super Light: Bastien Ballesta (23-0-1) W RTD 6 Hedi Slimani (33-7-1).
Local fighter Ballesta wins the vacant WBC Francophone belt with injury victory over Hedi Slimani. It was Slimani who took the first crowding Ballesta and scoring with strong rights. Ballesta settled into the fight in then boxed cleverly over the second and third. Slimani was dangerous with his power in the fourth but Ballesta was defending well and countering accurately. Ballesta dominated the action in the fifth and sixth as Slimani showed signs of a shoulder injury and retired after the sixth. Former French champion Ballesta drew his first pro fight so this is win No 23 in a row. Slimani was 26-2 but after a points loss to Richard Commey in 2017 has fallen away.
Maccarese, Italy: Super Welter: Mirko Di Carlantonio (11-7-1) DREW 10 Marco Papasidero (9-2-4). Super Welter: Mirko Natalizi (11-0) W PTS 8 Dmytro Shcherbyna (10-1-1). Feather: Mauro Forte (16-0-1) W KO 3 Romic Airapetean (9-2).
Di Carlantonio vs. Papasidero
The Italian title remains vacant as Di Carlantonio and Papasidero fight to a draw. Papasidero dropped Di Carlantonio with a right in the opening round and used all-out aggression and effective body punching to move into a clear lead. Di Carlantonio, 40, fought back hard and produced the stronger finish to earn a share of the points. Scores 95-94 for Papasidero, 95-94 for Di Carlantonio and 95-95. A good fight and they will have to go up against each other again.
Natalizi vs. Shcherbyna
Good test for Natalizi against Ukrainian Shcherbyna. Natalizi scored heavily over the middle rounds but Shcherbyna did not crumble and remained competitive until Natalizi floored him in the last to cement his victory.
Natalizi 26yo based Rome, 5’ 11 ½” 7 wins id,
Shcherbyna 25yo Ukrainian, 6’0”, 3 wins id 0 losses id,
Forte vs. Airapetean
Unbeaten southpaw Forte blows away Moldovan Airapetean in three rounds. Forte floored Airapetean in the first and continued to ram home heavy punches in the second. Airapetean survived but was floored twice in the third and counted out. European Union champion Forte is waiting for a date for his title defence against Francesco Grandelli.
Osaka, Japan: Light Fly: Riku Kano (18-4-1) W TKO 9 Takumi Sakae (22-4-1). Middle: Yuki Nonaka (35-10) W PTS 12 Koki Koshikawa (9-3).
Kano vs. Sakae
Kano has to get off the canvas twice against heavy puncher Sakae to retain his WBO Asia Pacific title. It looked early as though Sakae was on his way to victory when he put Kano down in the second and fourth rounds. He failed to finish the champion and over the second half of the fight Kano’s body punching wore-down Sakae and with Sakae reeling under an array of punches in the ninth the fight was stopped. Fifth consecutive win for the WBO No 6. First inside the distance defeat for Sakae.
Nonaka vs. Koshikawa
Age no barrier as 43-year-old Nonaka returns to action with a successful defence of the WBO Asia Pacific belt on a unanimous decision over Koshikawa. Nonaka comfortably outboxed the young challenger slotting punches through Wahiawa’s guard and banging home straight lefts. Koshikawa tried to take the fight to Nonaka but by the middle of the fight he was bloody and bruised. He survived some doctor’s examinations but was never able to match Nonaka for skills. This was Nonaka’s first fight since September 2019 Scores 119-109 twice and a confusing 115-113 all for southpaw Nonaka who turned pro back in 1999.
Cuernavaca, Mexico: Heavy: Arslanbek Makhmudov (12-0) W TKO 1 Pavel Sour (13-5)
Canadian-based Russian Makhmudov gets another quick win. After a first exchange of punches Makhmudov landed a booming right to Sour’s temple that sent him down heavily with the referee immediately waiving the fight over after just 33 seconds. The 32-year-old 6’5 ½” Makhmudov has won all of his fights by KO/TKO with eight first round finishes. Czech Sour suffers his fourth inside the distance loss.
Brisbane, Australia: Super Light: Liam Paro (21-0) W PTS 10 Steve Gago (12-2). Super Welter: Tysinn Best (14-2) W PTS 10 Adrian Rodriguez (13-4-2). Cruiser: Floyd Masson (10-0) W TKO 4 Joseph Liga (6-3-1).
Paro vs. Gago
Paro much too good for limited but willing for fellow southpaw Gago in a slow-paced uninspiring fight. He outboxed Gago and sent him down in the fifth with a left to the head. Gago was going back at the time so it wasn’t a heavy knockdown and Gago got up quickly and back into the fight but found the skills of Paro too much. Scores 99-90 twice and 100-89. Paro is No 2 with the WBO and No 3(2) with the IBF so like all super lightweights he is waiting to see what happens with Josh Taylor.
Best vs. Rodriguez
Superior skills and a higher work rate won for Best here. He worked everything off his jab and although Rodriguez was dangerous with rights he was leaving himself open and Best was able to slot home jabs and connect with straight rights. Neither was hurt and with his aggressive approach Rodriguez made Best work hard. Scores 97-94 twice and 98-92 for Best. The former Australian welter champion wins the vacant Australasian title. Rodriguez is a former Australian champion.
Masson vs. Liga
New Zealand-born southpaw Masson proves just too strong for Liga and wins the vacant Australasian title. Masson was in charge from the start with Liga willing to stand and trade with the stronger man. Masson was cut in the second round but slowly broke Liga down before flooring him with a series of vicious head punches in the fourth with the fight being stopped. Seventh inside the distance victory for Masson
Guarulhos, Brazil: Cruiser: Yamaguchi Falcao (17-1-1,1ND) W TKO 1 Clebson Tubarao (3-2-1).
In a disgraceful mismatch Falcao jumps up three divisions and stops Tubarao in the first round to win the vacant Brazilian cruiserweight title. This was a massacre as Falcao put the bigger Tubarao down four times before the fight was mercifully stopped. Falcoa, 33, is the elder brother of unbeaten Esquiva Falcao and won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. This was his first fight since drawing with D’Mitrius Ballard in December 2019. Tubarao was having his first fight for over two years.
Agde, France: Super Feather: Florian Montels (21-2-2,1ND) W PTS 10 Carlos Cossio (8-8-3).
Home town fighter Montels hold on to the WBC Francophone title with unanimous decision over Peruvian Cossio. Scores 100-90, 98-92 and 97-93 for Montels who registers his eighth victory on the bounce. French-based Cossio without a win in his last four fights.
Goeppingen, Germany: Cruiser: Firat Arslan (49-9-3) W KO 4 Ruben Acosta (38-18-4). Cruiser: Huseyin Cinkara (16-0) W RTD 6 Erdogan Kadrija (16-4). Heavy: Ali Kiydin (15-1) W KO 2 Dorde Tomic 3-3).
Arslan vs. Acosta
Farcically easy win for Arslan in a show staged in his own gym. Over the first two rounds Arslan was walking forward behind a high guard with a tubby Acosta just circling the perimeter of the ring. Arslan trapped Acosta in a corner in the third and landed a right to the body that saw Acosta take a count on one knee. He made it through the round but went down twice more from body punches in the fourth and was counted out. The 50-year-old Arslan wins the vacant WBA International title. He is No 5 with the WBA even though he has done nothing of consequence since losing to Kevin Lerena in February last year. His aim is now to challenge for the WBA title to become the oldest fighter to win a world title beating Bernard Hopkins record of winning the WBC light heavyweight title at the age of 46 but to gain recognition he will need to win the real WBA title. Argentinian Acosta, 43, weighed 152lbs at the start of his career and he was more than 40lbs heavier for this fight.
Cinkara vs. Kadrija
German Cinkara wins the vacant IBO Continental title. He floored Kadrija early and Kadrija retired at the end of the sixth round. Twelfth win by KO/TKO for 36-year-old Cinkara. Kosovo-born Kadrija had won 5 of his last 6 fights.
Kiydin vs. Tomic
Kiydin crushes novice Tomic in two rounds. He floored Tomic twice with body punches in the first and put him down with a savage combination in the second. Kiydin has 14 wins by KO/TKO but was knocked in 66 seconds by unbeaten New Zealander Hemi Aho in 2019.
Konigsbrunn, Germany: Minimum: Tina Rupprecht (10-0-1) W Kalia Gutierrez (23-7).
Fourth successful defence of the WBC Female title for Rupprecht as she takes a split decision over former IBF champion Gutierrez. Despite Gutierrez having, the longer reach Rupprecht controlled the fight from the centre of the ring constantly forcing Gutierrez on to the back foot with Gutierrez looking to counter punch. The fight was close all the way and at the end of the seventh round Rupprecht was in front on two cards and behind on the other. Rupprecht held on to her lead with her more aggressive approach. Scores 97-93 and 96-94 for Rupprecht and 96-94 for Gutierrez. Gutierrez came into the fight as the holder of the WBC Silver belt.
Fight of the week (Significance): Joe Joyce’s win over Carlos Takam puts him in line for a shot at the heavyweight title next year.
Fight of the week (Entertainment): The Eric Rosa vs. Ricardo Astuvilca provided plenty of entertainment
Fighter of the week: Joe Joyce as he marches on towards a title fight
Punch of the week: The right cross from Arslanbek Makhmudov that finished Pavel Sour was a blaster
Upset of the week: None
Prospect watch: Super Bantamweight southpaw Chris Bourke put on an impressive display in outpointing James Beech
Records can be so deceptive. Take Nassem Ali who before his fight this week had a 2-70-1 record with all of his 70 losses on decisions. It is an awful record but it conceals the fact that Ali actually has quite a few skills and could have a better record. However he can make more money from taking short notice fights or going in against rising prospects. He cannot afford to be stopped and suspended as he always has to be ready and available-and he if he started to win he might even find the fights drying up.
If in trouble and looking for some recovery time it can be a good idea to spit out your mouthguard. The referee will then stop the action to recover it and then take you to a corner to get it a quick wash and then restart the fight. That trick did not work for Michael Wallisch. He “lost” his mouthguard after being floored by Murat Gassiev but the referee just picked up the mouthguard and stuck it back into the German’s mouth-not hygienic but it might make Wallisch think again before using that ploy.
Dominican Eric Rosa won the interim WBA minimumweight title in only his fourth pro fight. In fact all four of his fights have been for a title. In this age of multi-titles that is not the achievement it used to be and it distorts the level of his achievement as the WBA have four title holders at minimumweight in a super, secondary, gold and now interim. I can’t think of any other sport where the major bodies have damaged the standing of their sport as the sanctioning bodies have to boxing with now over 1.000 titles and more to come.
It feels like every time we do one of these, and we've done around 20 now, we mention that controversies come in different forms. From judging, to refereeing, to time keepers making a mistake. They vary just in what the controversy was but also range complete utter incompetence to genuine mistake. Today we have what we feel was a competency issue, and it was a pretty major one which resulted in a title changing hands on what was certainly not a fair blow.
Hyung Chul Lee (19-4, 15) vs Alimi Goitia (11-0, 8) I
To set the stage we need to go back more than 25 years. We need to really go back to to September 1994, some 10 months before the fight we're about to discuss, and then we'll discuss the bout at hand, the controversy that mattered and share the video of the full bout.
In September 1994 Korean fighter Hyung Chul Lee scored the biggest win of his career, in what was a notable upset win over Katsuya Onizuka in Japan to claim the WBA Super Flyweight title. The win ended Onizuka's lengthy, but often controversial, reign and began Lee's reign, which it's self ended in controversy.
In his first defense Lee stopped Tomonori Tamura, a Japanese challenger who had held the Japanese Flyweight title, moved up in weight for this bout and retired afterwards. Then Lee took on unbeaten Venezuelan Alimi Goitia. On paper Goitia, boasting an unbeaten record, looked a very live challenger, though maybe lacked the experienced needed to deal with the champion. The bout was Gotia's first outside of the America's, though not his first away from home given he had fought one bout in Nicaragua in 1994.
On paper this looked a good one. Two solid punchers clashing for the WBA belt. One being an explosive, unbeaten rock fisted challenger. The other being the champion, a solid pressure fighter who had ended the long reign of a Japanese star less than a year earlier. And in fairness to the fighters it proved to be a very interesting bout from the off.
Lee was the aggressor, taking center ring and pursuing the challenger, who looked relaxed, comfortable and calm on the outside of the ring, picking his shots well and using his southpaw stance really well. The challenger was making Lee work hard for his success, and was limiting it well with his movement, reach and crisp, had shots.
It wasn't until round 3 that Lee's pressure really began to have any success, but to his credit Goitia didn't look in any trouble at all.
Then we got to the controversial round, round 4.
For the most part the round was another good on, with good back and forth. Goitia was surprising with his skills, movement and solid punching whilst Lee was continuing to take leather, coming forward in a desperate attempt to come close and begin the grinding process up close. Towards the end of the round it seemed like Lee was finally getting to his man, with Goitia on the move and looking like he felt one or two of Lee's shots on the inside. Then the bell went.
About a second after the bell Goitia took a swing and caught Lee clean with a left hook. Lee then hit the canvas and was flat on his back for quite a while before getting up. When up he still looked shook, but got back to his corner, seemed to dust himself off and get ready to resume.
Despite the shot coming clearly after the bell, referee Armand Krief didn't really do anything to take control of the situation. He spoke to ringside officials whilst Lee looked like he was preparing to continue the fight. Goitia also looked ready to resume the action. Sadly however the bout never continued. Although not featured on the video the bout was stopped with Goitia being declared the winner by TKO at an official time of 3:06 giving us one of the strangest endings of a Super Flyweight world title bout.
Some 7 months after this bout, following a stay busy defense for Goitia, the men ran it back. That rematch saw Goitia retain his title with a 12th round TKO, sending Lee into retirement. Rather oddly that rematch seemed to finish both men, and Goitia would go 2-4 (2) following his second bout with Lee.
In the 1980's Korean boxing had a number of notable stars that really helped make the country a boxing power house. Fighters like Jung Koo Chang and Myung Woo Yuh are obviously two of the biggest names the country had but they are certainly not the only major Korean fighters of the era. They also had two men who made their names much here up the scales, and based their careers around power, toughness and bombs. Today, in this weeks Closet Classic, we look at the time two of the Korean big lads clashed, and gave us something special.
Chong Pal Park (46-4-1, 39) Vs In Chul Baek (43-2, 39)
In one corner was 28 year old smashed Chong Pal Park. He had struggled early in his career, going 3-1-1 in his first 5, but had built himself a reputation as one of the most destructive fighters of the era. He had won the Korean and OPBF Middleweight titles, before later claiming the OPBF Light Heavyweight title and then, in 1984, he won the IBF Super Middleweight title. He had entered that would title bout with a record of 33-3-1 (31) and was only 23 years old! He went on to make a number of defenses of the IBF title before the later becoming the WBA champion in 1987, though lost that title less than a year later.
Though out the later part of Park's career we had seen countryman In Chul Baek make his mark and fight himself to a position where he was pretty much a contender himself. After 45 fight Baek was himself a veteran who had won national and OPBF honours and was knocking on the door of a second world title bout. He had previously fought for a world title at 154lb, but was stopped by the monstrously hard hitting Julian Jackson and immediately moved up in weight, winning the OPBF Middleweight title. He moved up further for this bout, which took place a little over the Light Heavyweight limit, allowing both men to essentially forget about cutting weight.
The bout had the ingredients to be a total thriller from the off. It had two men who could bang, both of whom could take a shot, despite having stoppage losses, and it featured a battle for national bragging rights. It also had the two men knowing the winner was almost certainly getting a world title fight, whilst the loser may end up seeing themselves needing to hang them up. Win or lose, this was going to be one of the fights that defined their career.
The opening minute or two saw both men trying to establish their jabs, get a feel for the other and keep the heavy artillery locked away. Stiff, heavy jabs were the order of the day with Park looking the busier man and the more natural. Baek however wasn't being dissuaded and even when Park caught him with something big he hardly blinked. By the end of the round Park was landing heavy leather and Baek was still warming up. It seemed like the former world champion was going to have too much for his domestic foe. Round 2 saw Park continue to let loose the bombs that had taken him to world glory, and Baek's chin was getting a very real test, as was his midsection. That was until Baek decided to fight fire with fire and started to let his own right hands go. Although Baek began throwing heavier shots himself he continued to be out worked for much of the round, though was having moments, especially later in the round.
With both men wide awake and starting to dig into their bag of weapons the pace increased in round 3. Baek was on the front foot, pressing and pressuring whilst Park was trying to fight back off the ropes. Both were landing bombs, both were having their chins check and both were looking to win what was a real tough man fight. Amazingly both men seemed to take solid shots incredibly well before firing back themselves. That was until Park went down. He was up at about 6 and stumbled through much of what was left of the round, falling into his corner at the bell.
The end seemed nigh for Park as we went into round 4 but the former champion showed the heart of a champion and recovered well enough and put up a fight through the round. That was despite showing signs of being hurt when Baek landed clean. Not only was Park showing that the clean shots were hurting him, but his left eye was visibly marked and his own successes were becoming less frequent. With his power, experience and toughness however Park wasn't going to just fold, despite looking exhausted.
Park gritted out several torrid rounds as Baek unloaded what he had, tiring himself out in the process. This allowed Park some success as the bout went into the middle rounds. By then the action was crude, wild but thoroughly entertaining as it began to look like a case of the two men would simply fight until one could fight no more.
If you like brutal fights, huge head shots, intense back and forth, Rocky-esque heart and determination and chins that seemed to be made of something else this is seriously worth your time. A truly fantastic all-Korean war of attrition.
By Eric Armit
Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano fight to a controversial draw in a fight that was supposed to unify the four super welterweight belts- so nothing unified
-Ryad Merhy makes a successful defence of the secondary WBA heavyweight title with eighth round stoppage of Chinese challenger Zhaoxin Zhang
-Lourdes Juarez gets a split verdict over Diana Fernandez in a WBC Female super flyweight title defence
-Former cruiserweight title holder Krzys Wlodarczyk returns with a victory and in domestic action Mattia Faraoni and Vairo Lenti win in Italian title fights, Yves Ulysse stops fellow-Canadian David Theroux and red hot Japanese prospect Ginjiro Shigeoka stops Toshiki Kawamitsu
World Title/Major Shows
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico: Super Fly: Lourdes Juarez (32-2,1ND) W PTS 10 Diana Fernandez (23-4). Super Light: Bryan Flores (30-2-1) W TKO 4 Otto Gamez (19-6)
Juarez vs. Fernandez
“Lulu” Juarez retains the WBC title with a split decision over local fighter Fernandez. The split decision was a strange one. After Fernandez edged the opening round Juarez took over. She was on the front foot taking the fight to Fernandez landing with power and speed and looked to have swept the next four rounds. Fernandez got back into the fight by taking the sixth but then Juarez staged a strong finish over the last three rounds. The judges scored this 96-95 and 95-94 for Juarez and 96-94 for Fernandez! After a couple of defeats early in her career Juarez is now unbeaten in her last 29 fights. Fernandez lost a split decision to Lourdes in November 2017 and was beaten by Mariana Juarez, the elder sister of Lourdes, for the WBC female bantam title in 2019.
Flores vs. Gamez
Juarez-based Flores batters Gamez to defeat in four rounds. Flores led all the way before driving Gamez to a corner in the fourth and dropping Gamez with a right with the fight being halted. Flores is 19-0-1 in his last 20 outings but against carefully vetted opposition. Venezuelan’s Gamez’s recent form has him 1-4 in his last five fights.
San Antonio, TX, USA: Super: Jermell Charlo (34-1-1) DREW 12 Brian Castano (17-0-2). Light: Ronald Romero (14-0) W TKO 7 Anthony Yigit (24-2-1). Middle: Amilcar Vidal (13-0) W PTS 10 Immanuwel Aleem (18-3-2). Super Welter: Bakhram Murtazaliev (19-0) W PTS 8 Khiary Gray (16-6).
Charlo vs. Castano
A unification fight that does not unify as Jermell Charlo, the IBF, WBA and WBC title holder and WBO title holder Castano fight to a controversial draw.
Castano was jabbing well and tried an early right as Charlo was on the back foot. Castano was walking forward behind a high guard and he took Charlo to the ropes and connected with a sharp right to the chin. Charlo continued to retreat and Castano showed quick hands and scored with another two rights.
Score: 10-9 Castano
Charlo stood his ground using his longer reach to get through with jabs and fired rights. Castano worked Charlo to the ropes and fired a series of punches but a solid left hook had Castano backing off with Charlo in pursuit firing punches. He had hurt Castano but then Charlo went on to the back foot again and did not capitalise on that left hook.
Score: 10-9 Charlo TIED 19-19
This round was boring until the last ten seconds. Neither fighter was committing himself merely prodding with jabs. Just before the bell Castano cut loose with a barrage of punches landing two great left hooks the second of which sent Charlo slumping to sit on the bottom rope and nearly going down.
Score: 10-9 Castano Castano 29-28
A good round for Castano. He had Charlo pinned to the ropes for most of the round. He was choosing his moment to dart inside throwing bursts of punches connecting with some good head shots. Charlo was too busy defending himself to counter effectively.
Score: 10-9 Castano Castano 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 39-37 Castano, Judge Nelson Vazquez 39-37 Charlo, Judge Steve Weisfeld 39-37 Castano.
A much better round for Charlo. He jabbed and moved and scored with long rights. He stayed off the ropes and bobbed and weaved under Castano’s punches whilst raking Castano with shots from distance.
Score: 10-9 Charlo Castano 48-47
Charlo was jabbing but one punch at a time. Castano was circling Charlo looking for a chance to throw himself in to the attack. He gave up waiting and over the last minute stormed forward throwing punches. Not all landed but Charlo was throwing very little in return.
Score: 10-9 Castano Castano 58-56
Castano’s round again. He was swarming forward forcing Charlo to the ropes and throwing punches. He was going for volume rather than accuracy but he was throwing punches and landing some including a sharp left hook with Charlo not firing enough back.
Score: 10-9 Castano ` Castano 68-65
Charlo was fighting a dumb fight. He was constantly retreating just firing his jab and not putting his punches together. Castano was prowling after Charlo choosing his moment to plunge in and landed some hard overhand rights. If Charlo had a plan there was no evidence of it.
Score: 10-9 Castano Castano 78-74
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 77-75 Castano, Judge Nelson Vazquez 78-74 Charlo, Judge Steve Weisfeld 78-74 Castano.
Castano was again in control. He was hunting Charlo around the ring launching swinging attacks firing hooks and uppercuts and having success with overhand rights. Charlo was only using his jab and was unable to keep Castano out or to score with his own punches
Score: 10-9 Castano Castano 88-83
This fight was not following the script as Charlo was a heavy favourite but it looked as though some Argentinian fans were going to make serious money. Half way through the round everything changed. Charlo connected with a left hook and suddenly Castano was sent backwards on shaky legs. Charlo chased Castano down and rocked him a couple more times but Castano danced around the ropes and recovered enough to swap punches with Charlo before the bell.
Score: 10-9 Charlo Castano 97-93
This one was close with Castano still coming forward but Charlo jabbing with more purpose. He landed a good right hook and late in the round as Castano was busy firing punches a left hook from Charlo stunned him and sent into hasty retreat with Charlo landing some heavy shots.
Score: 10-9 Charlo Castano 106-103
Charlo finally started using his right. He was jabbing strongly and every jab was followed by a straight right. That helped Charlo dominate most of the rounds with Castano attacking hard before the bell but it was Charlo’s round.
Score: 10-9 Charlo Castano 115-113
Official Scores: Judge Tim Cheatham 114-114 TIED, Judge Nelson Vazquez 117-111 Charlo, Judge Steve Weisfeld 114-113 Castano.*
Judge Weisfeld scored the tenth 10-8 for Charlo.
No one is sure what fight Judge Vazquez was watching having Charlo the winner by six points.
Both fighters are interested in a return and hopefully it will happen. I have been underestimating Castano since he first turned pro just seeing him as a wild slugger but he showed great heart, a tremendous work rate and clever use of a cross-arm defence. Charlo was disappointing never showing any real form or sustained aggression until the last three rounds. It will be interesting to see if Charlo has a better plan next time. Castano was unlucky here. He should have got the decision.
Romero vs. Yigit
Romero halts Yigit in seven rounds in defence of his WBA interim belt. Yigit was a short notice substitute and came in 5 ½ lbs over the limit so could not win the title. Yigit started well swopping punches with Romero. He suffered a gash on his left cheek from a Romero elbow in the third and by the fourth Romero was staring to land some heavy shots and was in control. In the fifth Romero used a wrestling hold to throw Yigit to the canvas and was then deducted a point for hitting Yigit after the break call. He then landed a series of punches that sent Yigit to the canvas. Yigit struggled to beat the count and he was saved by the bell. An exhausted Yigit soaked up punishment in the sixth and a left and right floored him in the seventh. When the action resumed Romero bundled Yigit to the floor but it was from a push so no count. Yigit was finished. He tried to walk through Romero’s punches but as he stumbled forward a left hook sent him down heavily and the fight was stopped. Romero, 25, was making the first defence of the interim belt. Yigit was obviously not in condition and was too brave for his own good. He hasn’t looked the same fighter since the savage beating he took in losing to Ivan Baranchyk for the vacant IBF super light title in 2018.
Vidal vs. Aleem
Vidal gets a majority decision over Aleem. There was a nice mix of styles here with the bigger stronger Vidal walking down the clever, quick-handed but light-punching Aleem. Vidal kept up the pressure and rocked Aleem with a right to the head in the second. Aleem was spearing Vidal with punches as the Uruguayan came forward and firing rapid combinations inside but not having the power to dissuade Vidal. There were plenty of exchanges in what was warming into an entertain match as they traded punches inside at the end of the fourth. Since he could not keep the power punching Vidal out Aleem stood and scrapped with Vidal. A series of crunching left hooks to the body had Aleem hurt in the sixth but he bounced back to outscore Vidal in the seventh and rocked him in the eighth with a left hook. It was toe-to-toe through the ninth and tenth with the result seemingly in the balance but the judges came down on the side of Vidal with two judges seeing it 97-93 for Vidal and the third turning in a 95-95 card which looked the better measure of the fight. Vidal, 25, shows promise. He is lucky to be boxing as he was struck by a lorry when doing road work in 2015 and suffered a broken pelvis and needed surgery to an injured arm. Aleem has no luck in close fights as in his last three contests he has drawn with Matt Korobov and lost to Ronald Ellis and Vidal with all three results being majority decisions.
Murtazaliev vs. Gray
Murtazaliev was looking to showcase his power and move a step closer to a fight with Charlo for the IBF title. He succeeded in the power aim as he rocked Gray on various occasions but could never totally subdue Gray who took the licks and fought back enough to garner some respect from Murtazaliev even though losing clearly. Scores 79-73 twice and 78-74 for Russian Murtazaliev. He is No 1 with the IBF but after the draw between Charlo and Castano and the possibility of a return it seems he is further away and not closer to a title fight. This is the first fight for Gray since being stopped in six rounds by Gary O’Sullivan in March 2019.
Brussels, Belgium: Cruiser: Ryad Merhy (30-1) W TKO 9 Zhaoxin Zhang (10-2-1). Super Light: Hovhannes Martirosyan (12-0) W RTD 8 Renald Garrido (25-29-3). Super Light: Antoine Vanackere (17-1) W PTS 10 Nazri Rahimov (9-3). Cruiser: Steve Eloundou Ntere (5-0) W PTS 10 Zura Mekereshvili (16-30-1). Super Light: Mohamed El Marcouchi (28-2) W PTS 6 Gary Abajyan (26-42-1). Super Feather: Miko Khatchatryan (13-0) W KO 3 Michael Pappoe (26-8). Super Middle: Kevin Lele Sadjo (16-0) W PTS 8 Javier Maciel (33-13).Cruiser: Samuel Kadje (16-1) W KO 3 Vukasin Obradovic (6-18-1). Cruiser: Youri Kayembre Kalenga (27-6) W KO 1 Mikheil Khutsishvili (31-44-6).
Merhy vs. Zhang
Merhy makes a first defence of the secondary WBA title with stoppage of inexperienced Zhang. In the first Zhang made an assured start using his longer reach firing jabs and trying right hands. He was flat-footed and showed no upper body movement and Merhy was able to score with jabs of his own. In the second a jab from Merhy sent Zhang down . He was up quickly indicating it was a slip. He was not too shaken but Merhy dominated the round as he threaded jabs though Zhang’s guard. A big left hook from Merhy floored Zhang in the third. The challenger made it his feet and despite a couple of heavy rights from Merhy survived to the bell. Merhy was landing strongly again in the fourth and fifth but Zhang showed a good chin. The pace dropped in the sixth allowing Zhang to work his jab and he even had Merhy trapped against the ropes and under fire for a spell. Merhy picked up the pace again in the seventh scoring with his jabs and long rights on a visibly tiring Zhang. Merhy was following Zhang around the ring in the eighth loading up on his punches and when Zhang prodded out a tame right Merhy came over the top with a solid left hook that dumped Zhang on the canvas on his side. Zhang got up but after the eight count the referee made a good decision to stop the fight. Ivory Coast-born Belgian Merhy makes it 25 inside the distance finishes. He was to have defended against Kevin Lerena but COVID restrictions meant Lerena could not get to Belgium. Hopefully that fight can be made as it is a hard one to call and it would be a treat for the fans. Zhang was called in at just five weeks notice with the task of getting a visa giving him little time to prepare for the fight. He had plenty of flaws but as he had no amateur background it was understandable and he was not disgraced.
Martirosyan vs. Garrido
A rarity here as for the first time in 57 fights Garrido fails to go the distance. Belgian champion Martirosyan used better skills to outbox the ever aggressive Frenchman. It looked as though Garrido was on his way to another points defeat but an injury to his jaw was too serious for him to continue. Martirosyan wins the vacant BeNeLux title for fighters from Belgium Netherlands (Holland) and Luxemburg. Garrido will be back in action as soon as his jaw heals.
Vanackere vs. Rahimov
Southpaw Vanackere wins the vacant IBO Continental title. This was a close one with Rahimov spoiling his own chances by some infractions that cost him a point deduction in the second and tenth rounds. Scores 95-93 twice and 95-94 for Vanackere. Now nine consecutive wins for the Belgian champion. Ukrainian Rahimov, 20, was 6-1 going into this one.
Ntere vs. Mekereshvili
Cameroon-born Ntere collects the vacant Belgian title as he outclasses Georgian Mekereshvili. Ntere made good use of his edges in height and reach to control the fight with Mekereshvili never really a threat. Scores 99-91 twice and 100-90 for Ntere who was in his first ten round fight. Mekereshvili extends his current losing streak to seven.
El Marcouchi vs. Abajyan
(Marco) El Marcouchi has one of the best records of active Belgian boxers but needs to start moving up as at 33 his youth is behind him. The Miami-based fighter easily handled late substitute Abajyan and eased to a points victory. His only loss in his last 23 contests was a disqualification. Georgian Abajyan, 47, slides a little further down the slope with his thirteenth loss in a row.
Khatchatryan vs. Pappoe
Belgian prospect Khatchatryan gets another win under his belt with stoppage Ghanaian Pappoe. Khatchatryan sent Pappoe to the boards in the second and then finished him in the third with a body punch. Although he is the Belgian lightweight champion this win gave him the IBO International super featherweight belt. Pappoe went twelve rounds with Isaac Dogboe back in 2016.
Sadjo vs. Maciel
“KLS” Sadjo may be a little old at 31 to be deemed a prospect but he is a former undefeated French champion and experienced Argentinian Maciel is only the second fighter to take him the distance. Sadjo floored Maciel in the first but Maciel did not buckle and made Sadjo work hard over the remaining seven rounds. Scores 79-72, 79-73 and 78-72 for Sadjo. After 14 consecutive inside the distance wins that’s now two points wins in a row. At one time Maciel was 27-2 but now he is just in it for the money he can get as a travelling trial horse and this is his seventh loss in six different countries with six of his opponents being unbeaten.
Kadje vs. Obradovic
Former Belgian cruiserweight champion Kadje punches too hard for Obradovic. After handing out punishment for two rounds Kadje landed a vicious right uppercut that dropped the Serbian to his knees and he sat out the ten count. Frenchman Kadje has 13 inside the distance finishes. Obradovic no real test.
Kalenga vs. Khutsishvili
Farcically easy for Kalenga. The fight had only just started when Khutsishvili flopped to the floor from a phantom punch and was counted out. The 33-year-old former interim WBA title holder Kalenga had lost big fights to Yuniel Dorticos, Kevin Lerena, Mateusz Masternak and Michal Cieslak so has work to do to get another title chance. A very predictable result as Khutsishvili has now lost by KO/TKO twenty-four times.
Fontenay-sous-Bois, France: Welter: Mehdi Mouhib (19-2) W TKO 4 Yahya Tlaouziti (18-5-3). Super Light: Massi Tachour (16-4,1ND) W RTD 4 Luciano Randazzo (15-4-4).
Mouhib vs. Tlaouziti
Mouhib blows away Tlaouziti to win the vacant European Union title. Mouhib sent Tlaouziti down in each of the first two rounds. Tlaouziti banged back to take the third but a left to the head put him down again in the fourth and the fight was stopped. Twelfth win by KO/TKO for Mouhib. First inside the distance loss for former French champion Tlaouziti
Tachour vs. Randazzo
Home town fighter Tachour retains the European Union title with victory over Italian Randazzo, The challenger started aggressively but powerful hooks and uppercuts from Tachour soon had Randazzo going backwards. Tachour scored heavily in the fourth and Randazzo retired at the end of the round citing an injury to his left shoulder which had affected his performance in the fourth. Algerian-born Tachour was making the first defence of the EU title and has won his last thirteen fights. Former Italian champion Randazzo was 5-0-1 going into this fight.
Tokyo, Japan: Minimumweight: Ginjiro Shigeoka (6-0) W TKO 2 Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-1).
The latest Japanese prodigy Shigeoka stops Kawamitsu in two rounds in a WBO Asia Pacific title defence. The 5’0” tall Shigeoka was giving away 4” in height and immediately took the fight to Kawamitsu who was forced to stand and trade punches in an exciting first round. It was all over in the second as Shigeoka floored Kawamitsu with a right hook. Kawamitsu beat the count but was stunned by another right hook and a straight left and the referee stopped the fight. The 21-year-old Shigeoka was 56-1 as an amateur and is being tipped as a future star in Japan. (The loss came when he was to have fought his brother in a tournament final and although he entered the ring when the gong went his corner threw in the towel so Shigeoka “lost” the fight). Kawamitsu never in with a chance.
Shawinigan, Canada: Super Light: Yves Ulysse Jr (20-2) W TKO 5 David Theroux (16-5).
Ulysse crushes Theroux in five rounds. Ulysse took control in the first and then put Theroux down heavily with a short right hook in the second. He continued to punish Theroux in the third and fourth. In the fifth a right which landed high on the side of Theroux’s head sent him down on his hands and knees. He spun around and eventually made it to his feet but was walking towards his corner as the referee stopped the fight. Ulysse wins the vacant NABA title. He lost a razor-thin decision against Ismael Barroso for the WBA Gold title in December 2019 but had come back well with a stoppage of fellow Canadian Mathieu Germain in November. Second consecutive inside the distance loss for Theroux who retired after six rounds against Steve Claggett in November.
Ladispoli, Italy: Cruiser: Mattia Faraoni (7-1-1) W RTD 5 Francesco Versaci (21-4-1).
In a return match Faraoni wins the Italian title with injury victory over champion Versaci. The challenger looked to have built a lead over the first four rounds. Versaci gave it a big try in the fifth but then retired due an injury to his right shoulder. These two had met in March with the fight ending after just one round when Versaci was unable to continue due a punch to the back of the head. It was a winning double for Faraoni. He did go down once but it was after the fight when he proposed marriage to his girl friend and she accepted. Versaci was making the second defence of the title.
Grosseto, Italy: Light: Vairo Lenti (9-4-1) W PTS 10 Luca Maccaroni (16-7-4).
Lenti outboxes perennial challenger Maccaroni. Lenti constantly found opening for his jab and used some slick footwork and accurate counters to pile up the points. Maccaroni had a good fifth but other than that despite Maccaroni’s constant pressure Lenti never lost control of the fight. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 for Lenti in his first defence of the national title. His lack of power will be Lenti’s biggest problem against better quality opponents. Maccaroni was trying to win a national title for the fourth time having lost twice at super lightweight and now twice at lightweight.
Talisay City, Philippines: Minimum: Melvin Jerusalem (17-2) W PTS 12 Tito Landero (11-6-2). Fly: Dave Apolinario (15-0) W TKO 4 Charlie Malupangue (9-5-3). Light Fly: Christian Araneta (20-2) W TKO 1 Richard Claveras (19-7-2).Super Fly: KJ Cataraja (13-0) W TKO 7 Cris Alfante (17-9-1).Feather: Jeo Santisima (21-3) W TKO 1 Alan Alberca (11-5).
Jerusalem vs. Landero
Former WBC title challenger Jerusalem outpoints former WBA and IBO title challenger Landero. Jerusalem boxed for most of the fight on the back foot scoring well with his jab at distance and countering the advancing Landero who never stopped walking forward. His pressure gave Landero a couple of rounds but he was outboxed and outscored by Jerusalem. Scores 118-110 twice and 116-112 for Jerusalem who snaps up the vacant OPBF belt with his sixth win in a row. He had scored a wide unanimous decision over Landero in 2018.He looked unlucky to lose to Wanheng in Thailand for the WBC title in 2017 with two judges giving Wanheng the win by 114-113 and the other by 115-113. Landero, who lost to Knockout CP Freshmart for the WBA minimum title 2018, is on the slide having now lost 5 of his last 6 fights.
Apolinario vs. Malupangue
In a clash of southpaw’s Apolinario gets his tenth inside the distance victory as he stops Malupangue in the fourth. Apolinario was landing heavily from the start. He rocked Malupangue in the third and in the fourth after a punch sent Malupangue’s mouthguard flying Malupangue indicated he was finished and the fight was stopped. Apolinario wins the WBA Asian title. Malupangue had won 4 of his last 5 fights.
Araneta vs. Claveras
Araneta wipes out Claveras in 91 seconds. With Claveras against the ropes Araneta landed a series of bombs that sent Claveras down heavily and the referee immediately stopped the fight after just 91 seconds. Sixteenth inside the distance win for the Cebu City southpaw.
Cataraja vs. Alfante
Cataraja moves to thirteen wins as he stops a too brave Alfante in the seventh. Southpaw Alfante just kept rolling forward and landed enough to keep Cataraja busy. Too often Alfante was walking onto left hooks to the body and straight rights but he persisted in trying to trade punches. He was shaken in the sixth and walked onto a right in the seventh which sent him stumbling to the ropes and down. He was up early but when the referee reached eight Alfante just shook his head and the referee waived the fight over. Only two opponents have managed to last the distance against Cataraja. Alfante was a useful 6-2 going in.
Santisima vs. Alberca
Santisima punches too hard for Alberca. He floored Alberca with a left hook to the body and then put him down and out with a left hook to the head. All over in 101 seconds. Santisima’s only loss in his last 20 fights is an eleventh round stoppage by Emanuel Navarrete for the WBO super bantam title in February last year. Four quick defeats for Alberca
Magdeburg, Germany: Light Heavy: Michael Eifert (8-1) W PTS 10 Tom Dzemski (17-1). Cruiser: Juergen Uldedaj (14-0) W TKO 7 Dmytro Serguta (7-2). Heavy: Peter Kadiru (11-0) W TKO 2 Adnan Redzovic (21-6). Cruiser: Adam Deines (20-2-1) W RTD 4Bernard Donfack (23-27-4).
Eifert vs. Dzemski
Eifert gets revenge as he takes majority verdict over Dzemski. It was Dzemski who made the more confident start but he was staggered by a left from Eifert in the third. Eifert built on that success to take the fourth but Dzemski settled again to edge the fifth. Eifert’s harder punching saw him take the sixth and he looked to have taken the close seventh and eighth and landed heavily in the ninth. Dzemski threw everything into then tenth but it was not enough. Scores 97-93 twice for Eifert and 95-95. Eifert wins the WBC , IBF and WBO Youth titles and reverses his majority decision loss against Dzemski in August last year. Dzemski will be rebuilt.
Uldedaj vs. Serguta
Albanian Uldedaj lifts the vacant WBC Youth title, He put Ukrainian Serguta on the floor in the second round but Serguta recovered to fight back hard until a left hook sent him tumbling to the canvas in the seventh and the fight was stopped. Uldedaj gets his fifth win by KO/TKO. Serguta had lost to Leon Harth on points in April.
Kadiru vs. Redzovic
Kadiru gets his sixth victory by the short route. He dropped Bosnian Redzovic late in the first and when he staggered Redzovic in the second the referee halted the action. The German champion is going to be working as a sparring partner with Anthony Joshua. Third loss in a row for Redzovic against tough opposition.
Deines vs. Donfack
Deines returns with a win as he floors Donfack in the first and fourth rounds and Donfack does not come out for the fifth. First fight for southpaw Deines since losing on a tenth round stoppage against Artur Beterbiev for the IBF and WBC light heavyweight title in March. Just one win in his last thirteen fights for Donfack.
Suwalki, Poland: Cruiser: Krzys Wlodarczyk (59-4-1) W PTS 8 Vadym Novopashyn (6-3). Middle: Fiodor Czerkaszyn (18-0) W TKO 1 Damian Bonelli (24-8). Light Heavy: Marek Matyja (20-2-2) W TKO 2 Maksym Miszczenko (7-2).
Wlodarczyk vs. Novopashyn
In his first fight for 20 months Wlodarczyk took a couple of rounds to find his range. The pace was slow with Wlodarczyk not throwing many punches but he was accurate. Novopashyn found gaps when Wlodarczyk was careless with his guard but he tired and faded out of the fight. Wlodarczyk scored heavily over the late rounds staggering Novopashyn with a left in the fifth but other than that he never really had Novopashyn in any trouble. Scores 79-73 twice and 80-72 for Wlodarczyk. Not an impressive showing from former IBF and WBC title holder Wlodarczyk who is aiming to be busier and fight his way to another title shot but at 39 he needs to hurry. Novopashyn gave Wlodarczyk some useful rounds of work.
Czerkaszyn vs. Bonelli
Czerkaszyn wipes out Bonelli inside a round. A huge left hook flattened Bonelli. He made it to his feet but Czerkaszyn had him pinned to the ropes and was bombarding him with punches bringing the referee in to stop the massacre. The 25-year-old Ukrainian-born Pole makes it twelve inside the distance wins. Argentinian Bonelli is 0-3 in fights in Poland.
Matyja vs. Miszczenko
Matyja produces a one-punch finish to stop Ukrainian Miszczenko. The first round was even with Miszczenko taking the fight to the local fighter. In the second Miszczenko went down from a low punch and was given a chance to recover. Later in the round he threw a lazy jab and Matyja came over the top with a right that sent Miszczenko down heavily. Miszczenko struggled to his feet but did not respond to the referees instructions and the fight was over. Ninth win by KO/TKO for Matyja.
Lesniki, Ukraine: Super Welter: Dymtro Mytrofanov (11-0-1) W PTS 10 Rilliwan Babatunde (13-1).Middle: Khasan Baysangurov (21-1) W RTD 1 Berikbay Nurymbetov (7-4-1).Welter: Khuseyn Baysangurov (19-1) W TKO 3 Nika Gvajava (12-22-3).
Mytrofanov vs. Babatunde
Oxnard-based Ukrainian Mytrofanov retains the WBO Oriental title with unanimous decision over Babatunde. Mytrofanov was conceding height and reach to the Nigerian but rumbled forward throughout the fight. Babatunde showed some useful skills and counterpunched well causing Mytrofanov some problems. He just did not have the power to keep Mytrofanov out and was under heavy pressure in every round. Scores 99-90, 99-91 and 98-92. Mytrofanov was defending the title he won by decisioning Asinia Byfield in December. First fight outside of Nigeria for Babatunde and at 25 he will only get better.
Baysangurov vs. Nurymbetov
Early finish for Baysangurov as Kazak Nurymbetov retires at the end of the first round with a hand injury. Baysangurov lost on an eleventh round stoppage against Rob Brant for the secondary WBA middleweight title in February 2019 and this is the fourth win for him as he rebuilds. Nurymbetov is 2-4-1 in his most recent contests.
Baysangurov vs. Gvajava
Elder brother Khusein bounced Gvajava off the floor six times before their fight was stopped in the third round. Five inside the distance wins in a row for Baysangurov who rarely needs the full distance to win as he has beaten 17 of his opponents by KO/TKO. Georgian Gvajava falls to1-10-1 a bad dozen.
Rock Rapids, FL,USA: Middle: Serhii Bohachuk (19-1) W KO 1 Brandon Baue (16-24)). Welter: Ronald Cruz (18-1) W PTS 8 Chris Gray (13-23-1).
Bohachuk vs. Baue
Lanky Bohachuk ended this one early. After hurting Baue with a uppercut Bohachuk landed a left hook to the body dropping Baue to one knee and he was counted out. First fight for Bohachuk since being stopped by Brandon Adams in March. All 19 of Bohachuck’s wins have come by KO/TKO. Baue was a substitute and suffers his sixteenth loss by KO.TKO.
Cruz vs. Gray
Cruz gets unanimous verdict over a very rusty Gray on scores of 78-74 twice and 79-73. The 29-year-old Californian extends his winning run to 16 fights. Gray, 45, was having his first fight since December 2015.
Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina: Middle: Juan Taborda (16-0) W PTS 10 Abraham Buonarrigo (9-2).
Taborda wins the vacant WBO Latino title as he outpointed Buonarrigo. After two fairly even rounds Taborda’s power put him in command. He had Buonarrigo in trouble in the fourth and seventh round. Taborda coasted through the eighth and swept the last two rounds to cement his victory. Scores 97-93 twice and 98-92 for Taborda who was having his first fight since December 2019.
Berlin, Germany: Super Bantam: Michael Kannier (12-3-1) W PTS 12 Jozsef Ajtai (22-18). Super Light: Zapir Rasulov (36-1) W PTS 8 Nestor Faccio (18-13-2,1ND).
Kannier vs. Ajtai
German Kannier wins the vacant Global Boxing Council belt with points victory against little Hungarian Ajtal. Kannier was just too big for the 5’2 ½” Ajtai. Scores 118-110 twice and 120-108 for Kannier who has won 9 of his last 10 fights with the loss coming against Zapir Rasulov. Ajtai, a former Hungarian light flyweight title holder is 1-9 in his last ten outings.
Rasulov vs. Faccio
Rasulov seems to be taking a long time to get nowhere. He outpointed Uruguayan Faccio but despite the scores made heavy work of winning. Faccio was competitive all the way but the judges saw Rasulov the winner on scores of 79-74, 78-74 and a more realistic 77-75. Russian Rasulov, 34, celebrated 17 years as a pro this month but is still fighting six and eight round contests. Faccio had lost his last three fights which is typical of the level of risk Rasulov is willing to take.
Fight of the week (Significance): Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castano. Must lead to a return to get those four titles unified.
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Amilcar Vidal vs. Immanuwel Aleem an inspired bit of matching which produced a great scrap.
Fighter of the week: He may not have won but for me Brian Castano should have now been holding the four belts.
Punch of the week: Some beauties. The left hook from Ryad Merhy in the eighth round was a classic and Yves Ulysse produced a great right to stop Theroux but I will go for the perfectly timed left hook from Pole Fiodor Czerkaszyn that put Damian Bonelli down.
Upset of the week: No shockers
Prospect watch: Japanese minimumweight Ginjiro Shigeoka 6-0 and 56-1 as a amateur looks a cert with only his 5’0” height limiting the divisions he could span
The Juarez family has produced two outstanding talents in female boxing. Mariana “Barbie”-real name Maria Anastasia Trejo, now 41, is a former WBC flyweight and bantamweight title holder and is 17-2 in title fights with an overall record of 55-10-4. Despite the scarcity of female boxers younger sister Lourdes had 33 fights over seven years as a pro before getting a title shot last December when she won the WBC female super flyweight title. Some family.
There are many areas of the world where being around 5’0” tall and weighting around 103lbs does not hamper you in finding fights. That’s not the case in Europe. Take Hungarian Jozsef Ajtai. He is 5’2 ½” and weighed as low as 101lbs in a fight at the start of his career. Gradually he was taking on opponents such as Andrew Selby, Shiming Zou, Khalid Yafai, Artem Dalakian and 5’9 ½” Gavin McDonnell and is tackling super bantamweights and even super featherweights to get fights. There’s vertically challenged and just too small.
Belgian fans certainly got their money’s worth in Brussels as the Merhy vs. Zhang card had sixteen fights scheduled ranging from twelve rounds to four rounds and not one Belgian loser on the night.
Earlier in this series we looked at a brilliant 2002 Japanese Flyweight title bout between two men who were amazingly well matched and gave us something very special. The two men in question would then rematch the following year and once again they delivered a sensational war. That bout, like their first one, has made it's way into our ever growing Closet Classic series!
For those who haven't seen it, let us bring the second bout in the Sakata Vs Nakanuma rivalry!
Takefumi Sakata (19-1-1, 8) vs Trash Nakanuma (23-2, 10) II
In 2001 Takefumi Sakata had claimed the Japanese Flyweight title, with a close win over Masaki Kawabata. He had then reeled off 3 defenses of the title, including a very hotly debated one with Daisuke Naito. Just over a year after winning the title however he would go on to lose the belt in a nail biting action bout against Trash Nakanuma. That bout was sensational, with the two men matching each other perfectly and delivering a 10 round thriller.
Following his title loss Sakata had rebuilt with two wins. One of those saw him take a technical decision over former OPBF Light Flyweight champion Koki Tanaka whilst the other saw him stopping former world title challenger Jin Ho Kim. Those bouts kept Sakata in the mix and in April 2003 he got a chance to reclaim his title as he got a rematch with Nakanuma.
Despite the almost negative and derogatory sounding name Trash Nakanuma was one of the most under-rated Flyweights of his era and an absolute nightmare to fight. He wasn't the quickest or most technically sharp fighter but he was teak tough, incredibly strong and had brilliant stamina. He was the sort of fighter who wouldn't look amazing on the eye test but gave everyone he faced real problems, and later went on to give Pongsaklek Wonjongkam one of his toughest bouts. Although very good he could be seen as a bit of a slow starter at times and one of those fighters who grew into bouts as they went on.
After beating Sakata in their first bout Nakanuma had made two defenses of the belt, stopping both Ryo Kitano and Takeyuki Kojima, and was looking to score a 22nd straight win as he entered this bout with Sakata.
Given the fact the two men had engaged in a 10 round war just a year earlier the two fighters knew each other well and that showed from the off.
Early on it was Sakata who seemed to start better, taking center ring, but Nakanuma picked his spots well and landed some of the more eye catching shots in the first minute. The round didn't quite have the same tempo as their first bout, but it was certainly not a typical, slow feeling out round with both men letting some heavy leather go in a very competitive round.
The pace began to pick up further in round 2 with Sakata again the one taking center ring to begin with but around mid way point Nakanuma began to come forward more himself and put his foot on the gas. When this happened the two men engaged in some great back and forth. The bout moved up again in round 3 as we saw the tempo continue to build. One again Sakata was the one pressing and letting his shots go, whilst Nakanuma looked to counter, land the smarter shots and pick his moments. This smarter, game plan from Nakanuma resulted in him shaking Sakata, who's toughness saw him through some stormy moments in round 3 before ending the round well.
Sakata looked to bounce back early in round 4 but Nakanuma was looking to prevent the challenger from taking over and again landed the better single shots in what a thrilling and intense round of action. From here the bout just kept getting better and better, with the intensity increasing from both fighters. It seemed both men knew the action was close and felt they needed to do more than the other to try and differentiate themselves. This lead to some amazing back and forth, thrilling exchanges and a really intriguing style clash as Sakata continued to use volume whilst Nakanuma's heavier, cleaner shots caught the end more.
We won't ruin what happens in the final half of the fight, but this is one of those bouts that's starts good, gets really good and then gets even better. Each round gets better than the one it follows, building to a sensational finish.
This is a real hidden gem well worthy of a watch!
By Eric Armit
-Gilberto Ramirez destroys Sullivan in four rounds with body punches
-Joseph Diaz wins vacant WBC interim lightweight title with decision over Javier Fortuna
-Tim Tszyu marches on as he halts Steve Spark in three rounds and Filipino Joe Noynay stops unbeaten Liam Wilson.
Seneisa Estrada and Naoko Fujioka win inn Female title fights
-Unbeaten Kazak hopes Tursynbay Kulakhmet score inside the distance wins.
World Title/Major Shows
Sydney, Australia: Super Welter: Tim Tszyu (19-0) W TKO 3 Steve Spark (12-2). Super Feather: Joe Noynay (19-2-2) W TKO 5 Liam Wilson (9-1). Super Welter: Wade Ryan (19-9) W TKO 6 Troy O’Meley (11-2). Welter: Sam Ah See (14-0-1) W TKO 1 Czar Amonsot (35-6-3,1NC).
Tszyu vs. Spark
In a fight for the vacant Commonwealth title Tszyu blows away Australian welterweight champion Spark flooring him twice with body punches in the third round to force the finish. Spark came out throwing punches and taking the fight to Tszyu. Once Tszyu stated to use his longer reach he was able to force Spark back with jabs and land clubbing rights to the head. Tszyu was walking Spark down with Spark jumping in with short bursts of punches but Tszyu was landing hooks to the head and body and was the heavier puncher. Spark tried to take the fight to Tszyu in the second but a series of heavy hooks soon had him retreating and Tszyu drove him around the ropes connecting with hooks and uppercuts with a stumbling Spark in trouble. He fired back an occasional punch but his head was being snapped back by hooks and uppercuts as he took a one-sided beating and the fight could have been stopped. In the interval the contents of an ice bucket from Sparks’s corner was knocked over and ice cubes were scattered across the ring with the start of the third round being delayed by about a minute as the cubes were swept out of the ring. It was a genuine accident and not a ploy on behalf of Spark’s corner. Spark again tried to trade punches with Tszyu but was being heavily punished and a left hook to the body sent him down. Spark beat the count and tried to fight his way out of trouble but another body punch dropped him to his hands and knees and the referee immediately stopped the fight. Too easy for Tszyu as he wins the vacant Commonwealth title and retains the WBO Global belt. He announced that his preferred next opponent was Britain’s Liam Smith which would be a good fight for both men. Spark was a late substitute coming in at just one week’s notice. A much anticipated fight between Tszyu and Michael Zerafa fell through when Zerafa backed out of the contest citing concerns over COVID-19 restrictions between Zerafa’s State of Victoria and New South Wales where the fight was to be held. Spark showed courage but was way out of his depth.
Noynay vs. Wilson
World rated Filipino southpaw Noynay proves too good for Queenslander Wilson. Noynay put Wilson on the floor with a left in the first round but Wilson recovered and banged back to take the second. The third was close with Wilson getting through with good left hooks but a series of punches put Wilson down again in the fourth. He was still unsteady in the fifth and after a left to the head dropped him again the fight was stopped. Noynay, the WBO No 7, was too quick and punched too hard for Wilson. A huge blow for Wilson but at 25 he can rebound.
Ryan vs. O’Meley
Ryan makes a successful defence of the IBO International belt with stoppage of O’Meley. The first two rounds were close with Ryan just having the edge. Ryan began to take control in the third and a clash of heads opened a bad vertical gash over the right eye of O’Meley. The doctor inspected the cut at the start of the fourth round but let the fight continue. Ryan dominated the round then floored O’Meley with a left hook in the fifth. Despite bleeding heavily from the cut O’Meley fought hard in the sixth but the referee stopped the fight late in the round. Ryan had beaten O’Meley on a split decision for the Australian title in December.
Ah See vs. Amonsot
Former Australian champion Ah See returned to action and stopped Filipino veteran Amonsot in the first round. As they traded punches an uppercut from Ah See shook Amonsot and another put him down. He made it to his feet but was shipping heavy punishment and the referee stopped the fight. First fight for Ah See for six years. Amonsot lost to Michael Katsidis for the WBI interim lightweight title in 2007 and then went undefeated in his next 16 fights but has now lost 3 of his last 4.
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Light Heavy: Gilberto Ramirez (42-0) W TKO 4 Sullivan Barrera (22-4). Light: Joseph Diaz (32-1-1) W PTS 12 Javier Fortuna (36-3-1,2ND). Light Fly: Seneisa Estrada (21-0) W PTS 10 Tenkai Tsunami (28-13-1). Light: William Zepeda (23-0) W RTD 6 Hector Tanajara (19-1). Fly: Naoko Fujioka (19-2-1) W PTS 10 Sulem Urbina Ochoa (12-2,1ND). Super Bantam: Azat Hovhannisyan (20-3) W PTS 10 Jose Santos Gonzalez (23-9-1). Feather: Bryan Chevalier (16-1-1) W PTS 10 James Wilkins (9-2). Super Feather: Lamont Roach (21-1-1) W TKO 2 Daniel Rosas (22-5-1). Heavy: Mihai Nistor (3-0) W TKO 2 Colby Madison (9-3-2). Light: Sparkinson Wilson Castillo (15-0) W TKO 2 Miguel Contreras (11-10)
Ramirez vs. Barrera
Ramirez crushes Barrera in four rounds with body punches. The first round saw very little action as both fighters were cautious trying to establish their jab and seeing what the other fighter had to offer. Ramirez was taking the fight to Barrera in the second getting through with jabs, connecting with a strong right hook and punching to the body. Ramirez continued to attack the body in the third and late in the round as Barrera came forward Ramirez fired a bunch of punches ending with a left hook to the body that saw Barrera lurch to one side stumble to the ropes and then go down on his hands and knees. He beat the count and although Ramirez landed another two body punches Barrera made it to the bell. After Ramirez connected with another left hook to the body in the fourth Barrera threw a couple of counters but then in a delayed effect walked away from Ramirez to the ropes and went down on one knee. He was up at six but Ramirez landed another left to the body and Barrera went down with the referee immediately stopping the fight. A very impressive display by Ramirez. He looked sharp and was putting his punches together well with the body shots the icing on the cake of a towering performance. His preferred choice for his next opponent is Dmitry Bivol the holder of the secondary WBA title. Cuban Barrera had been stopped in twelve rounds by Dmitry Bivol in a challenge for the WBA secondary title in 2018.His only other inside the distance loss.
Diaz vs. Fortuna
Local fighter Diaz wins the vacant interim WBC title as he outscores Fortuna. Southpaw Diaz was quicker into his stride and more accurate and outscored Fortuna over the first two rounds. Fortuna had a much better third round being the busier and the round was made even better for him when a clash of heads resulted in a cut over the left eye of Diaz which bled throughout the fight. Diaz looked on his way to pocketing the fourth round but he was deducted a point for a punch to the back of Fortuna’s head and Fortuna edged in front in the fight as he outscored Diaz in the fifth. Diaz stayed cool despite the cut and rallied to take a close sixth and the seventh with some sparkling combinations. He was throwing less than Fortuna but was finding the target more often and focusing on the body of the Dominican southpaw. They battled at close quarters in the eighth with Fortuna probably doing enough to take the round but from there Diaz took control. The body punches had weakened Fortuna and Diaz took the ninth and rocked Fortuna with a right in the tenth. Diaz was stronger and swept the last two rounds to put the decision beyond doubt. Scores 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 for Diaz. He had lost his IBF super featherweight title when he failed to make the weight for a defence against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov in February a fight that ended in a draw. Diaz looked much stronger in this fight not having to battle with his weight. He came into the fight as a replacement for Ryan Garcia who withdrew to deal with his mental health problems. Diaz is looking to fight either Garcia or WBC real title holder Devin Haney. Fortuna, a former holder of the secondary WBA super featherweight title, had scored good wins over Sharif Bogere, Jesus Cuellar and Antonio Lozada but at 32 time is running out for him to win another title.
Estrada vs. Tsunami
“Super Bad” Estrada is too quick and too busy for WBO Female title holder Tsunami. The Californian constantly switched guards and used good movement to slip away from Tsunami’ who kept plodding forward but without much success. Tsunami had a good seventh but then was hurt badly in the eighth and as she tired from the fast pace Estrada finished strongly. Scores 98-92 twice and 99-91 for Estrada. She adds the WBO Female light fly title to the WBA Female minimum title she already holds. Tsunami was defending her title for the fourth time.
Zepeda vs. Tanajara
Zepeda breaks down Tanajara’s resistance and forces a sixth round retirement. Southpaw Zepeda put Tanajara under pressure from the start. He was jabbing strongly and firing stinging straight lefts with Tanajara not on target with his counters. Tanajara stood and traded more in the second but Zepeda was catching him with hard lefts and eventually Tanajara was forced on to the defensive. The third was an all-action round as they just stood and swapped punches for three minutes. Both were landing quality shots but by the end of the round Zepeda was still banging home hooks and uppercuts shutting down Tanajara’s offence. Tanajara tried to match Zepeda in the fourth but Zepeda was relentless and his punch output impressive as he bombarded Tanajara with punches to head and body. Zepeda continued to pile of the punches in the fifth with Tanajara being overwhelmed by the blizzard of leather from Zepeda and after a one-sided sixth Tanajara’s corner pulled their man out of the fight. Win No 21 by KO/TKO for 25-year-old Zepeda. His early opposition has not been strong but as he stopped 23-2-1 Roberto Ramirez in November so his last two victims have had combined records of 42-2-1. Tanajara, 24, was facing his first real test but found he could not match the power or work rate of Zepeda.
Fujioka vs. Ochoa
Fujioka defies Old Father Time as she retains her WBA Female title with a majority verdict over Mexican Ochoa. It might have been expected that the 45-year-old Fujioka would start fast and fade over the late rounds but the opposite occurred. It was Ochoa who did better over the early rounds being quicker and piercing Fujioka’s guard with left hooks and countering Fujioka when the champion came forward. From the fifth the harder punching from Fujioka put her in control and Ochoa’s work rate dropped. Fujioka had a big seventh round and then outfought Ochoa over the last three rounds to emerge a good winner. Scores 99-91 and 96-94 for Fujioka and 95-95. The 99-91 was too wide. Fujioka was making the third defence of the WBA title in her first fight for two years. She did not turn professional until she was 34 and has held titles in five weight categories and is 11-2-1 in title fights. Second loss in a row for Mexican Ochoa.
Hovhannisyan vs. Gonzalez
Just a keep busy fight for Hovhannisyan as he floors and decisions Gonzalez. Hovhannisyan was in control all the way. There was a down side as a swelling under his right eye hampered him from the third but it was no real problem. He floored Gonzalez with a burst of punches in the eighth but Gonzalez hung in there and made it to the final bell. Scores 99-91 twice and 100-90 for Armenian Hovhannisyan. He lost a wide points decision against Rey Vargas for the WBC super bantam title in 2018 but has kept active with six wins, five by KO/TKO and is No 2 with the WBA so another title shot is a possibility. Gonzalez’s last fight was in August 2019 and he is 1-7-1 in his last 9 outings.
Chevalier vs. Wilkins
Chevalier remains unbeaten as he edges out Wilkins in a good, competitive match. Nice boxing early from Chevalier as he used his longer reach to slot home jabs and right hooks to the body. He shook Wilkins with a combination in the second. Wilkins upped the pressure in the third and fourth taking the fight to the 5’11” Chevalier to make the rounds close but Chevalier just had the edge and also took the fifth. Wilkins got into the fight more looking to have made the sixth close and with Chevalier tiring took the seventh. Chevalier was deducted a point in the eighth for pushing Wilkins head down but then unloaded on Wilkins having him in deep trouble and by “winning” made it a 9-9 score for that round. Chevalier had more left and edged the ninth but was rocked by a left hook in the last. Scores 97-92, 96-93 and 95-94 for Chevalier. The 27-year-old Puerto Rican is in good form having beaten Luis Lebron, Yeison Vargas and Carlos Zambrano in his last three fights. He proposed to his girlfriend in the ring and she accepted. Wilkins had won his previous four fights.
Roach vs. Rosas
Roach stops an over-matched Rosas in two rounds. Roach was scoring with heavy punches in the first. The smaller Rosas had to try to come inside but he had to absorb some wicked body punches. He was sent stumbling by a left hook to the head and was under heavy fire at the bell. In the second a long right stunned Rosas and Roach drove Rosas to the ropes and as Rosas began to drop to the floor the referee stopped the fight. Roach, 25, lost to Jamal Herring in a challenge for the WBO super feather title in November 2019 but is a classy fighter and No 5 with the WBO so could fight for a title again in 2022. Fourth inside the distance loss for Rosas.
Nistor vs. Madison
Nistor has to get off the floor twice to win. Nistor looked much too strong for Madison in the first and had Madison against the ropes at the end of the round and connected with a body punch that saw Madison drop to one knee. He only just beat the count but as Nistor walked forward to finish it he was sent flying into the ropes by a left from Madison. He extricated himself but was wobbled and a right from Madison snapped his head back and dumped him on the floor in a corner propped up against the ring post cover. He made it to his feet and luckily the bell went. In the second Nistor had Madison trapped against the ropes and was throwing punches but a right counter from Madison again dumped him on the floor. Nistor made it to his feet and then floored Madison with a right. Madison beat the count but was in no condition to continue. Romanian Nistor scored big wins as an amateur with a stoppage of Anthony Joshua and points victories over Guido Vianello and Filip Hrgovic but on this showing will struggle as a pro. Madison had been knocked out in 44 seconds by Vianello in November 2019.
Castillo vs. Contreras
Castillo scores brutal win over Contreras. Southpaw Castillo used his long reach to outscore Contreras in the first. He was coming in behind his jab in the second and as Contreras leant back to avoid Castillo’s jab he put himself in the firing line for a thunderous left from Castillo that sent him toppling back to the canvas out cold and the fight was waived over. Twelfth win by KO/TKO for Dominican Castillo.
Luis Guillon, Argentine: Light: Geraldo Perez (9-1) W PTS 10 Reuquen Arce (13-4-2). Light: Yamila Abellaneda (12-4-1) W PTS 10 Estefan Alaniz (5-5-1). Super Flyweight: Deborah Lopez (19-0-1) W PTS 6 Lucia Ruiz (2-5).
Perez vs. Arce
In a fast-paced entertaining fight Perez overcame a slow start to take a tight majority decision over Arce to win the WBA Fedebol title. Arce outpunched Perez over the first three rounds. From the fourth Perez moved and countered better throwing more and landing more with Arce the heavier puncher but not as accurate. Perez had built a lead and he held off a late surge from Arce to take the decision. Scores 96-94 twice for Perez and 95-95. Fifth win in a row for Perez. Arce was making the third defence of the Fedebol title.
Aballaneda vs. Alaniz
Aballaneda easily outpointed the less experienced Alaniz. Aballaneda sent Alaniz down with a right in the second and forced the fight all the way. Alaniz scored with some sharp counters but took plenty of punishment and was never really in with a chance. Scores 98-92 twice for Aballaneda and an unbelievable 95-95 from the other judge which if you take into account a 10-8 second round for Aballaneda becomes ever more inexplicable. Third defence of the Argentinian title for “Princess” Aballaneda who had won a closer unanimous decision over Alaniz in December.
Lopez vs. Ruiz
WBO female flyweight champion Lopez gets in some ring time as she outpoints Ruiz. Lopez was conceding height and reach but her better were too much for Ruiz. Scores 60-54 twice and 59-55. Now 17 consecutive wins for Lopez.
Roosdaal, Belgium: Welter: Meriton Karaxha (29-5-3) W TKO 6 Gyorgy Mizsei (27-29-1).
Albanian Karaxha extends his unbeaten run as he stops Hungarian Mizsei in five rounds. Despite his poor record Mizsei gave Karaxha a good fight before the stoppage. Karaxha is now 12-0-2 in his last 14 fights. Mizsei falls to 2-10 in his last 12 fights.
Miami, FL, USA: Cruiser: Serik Musadilov (10-0) W PTS 8 Lamont Capers (10-15-5,1ND). Super Feather: Mark Bernaldez (23-4) W TKO 7 Juan Kantun (21-12-3). Joahnys Argilagos (7-0) W PTS 8 Juan Meza (4-2). Light: Josec Ruiz (23-4-3) W RTD 1 Ramon Esperanza (22-19-1).
Musadilov vs. Capers
Musadilov comes through with a unanimous decision but has to work hard to outpoint Capers. Southpaw Musadilov was giving away height and reach but his greater strength saw him through although he faded late. This is the first time the 5’9” Kazak has had to go past the third round for victory. Capers is now 1-4-1, 1ND in his last 7 fights.
Bernaldez vs. Kantun
Filipino Mark “Machete” Bernaldez moves to 17 wins by KO/TKO as he stops Kantun in the seventh round. It looked like a very early night when a short right from Bernaldez-the first punch in the fight-put Kantun down on his rump. Kantun did get up and fought on taking plenty of punishment and when a left and a right had Kantun stumbling in the seventh the fight was over. Eight losses in a row for Kantun, seven of them inside the distance.
Argilagos vs. Meza
Cuban Argilagos is struggling to make an impression in the pros. He had too much skill for Chilean novice Meza and won every round but a tough Meza fought hard all the way. Twice a gold medal winner at the World Championships the 24-year-old Argilagos will hopefully adjust soon.
Ruiz vs. Esperanza
Ruiz dismantles Esperanza. After being put down twice by body punches in the opening round Esperanza did not come out for the second. Honduran Ruiz had a 13 bout unbeaten streak snapped with two losses in 2020 but has bounced back with two wins in 2021. Seven consecutive defeats for Paraguayan Esperanza.
London, England: Light Heavy: Lyndon Arthur (19-0) W TKO 9 Davide Faraci (15-1). Super Middle: Zach Parker (21-0) W KO 1 Sherzod Khusanov (22-3-1). Super Feather: Archie Sharp (20-0) W PTS 10 Diego Andrade (13-5-2). Bantam: Dennis McCann (10-0) W TKO 2 John Chuwa (20-5).
Arthur vs. Faraci
Arthur struggles to subdue Faraci but produces a savage finish. Faraci just took the first round as Arthur made a slow start. Arthur sent Faraci stumbling back with a left hook in the second. Faraci put his glove on the canvas to avoid going down but the referee did not count it as a knockdown and Arthur staggered Faraci again later in the round. Arthur was on the front foot in the third scoring with a couple of heavy rights to the body and forcing Faraci to hold. In the fourth a body punch had Faraci hurt and Arthur finished the round by landing heavy hooks to the head. A series of head punches had Faraci in trouble at the end of the fifth with the bell coming to his rescue. Faraci recovered and looked to have won a slow-paced sixth. Two right crosses from Arthur were the only punches of note in the seventh and Faraci outworked a tiring Arthur in the eighth. In the ninth Arthur landed a heavy right cross over a lazy jab from Faraci that sent Farce down. He made it to his feel but a fierce left uppercut and a right to the head put Faraci down again. He beat the count but when two more rights to the head staggered him the referee stopped the fight. Arthur retains the WBO Inter-Continental title but laboured until the explosive finish in the ninth. Faraci was competitive all the way but did not have the power to match Arthur.
Parker vs. Khusanov
An early night for Parker as he stops a fleshy looking Khusanov. Parker was jabbing well to head and body with Khusanov hiding behind a high guard. Parker switched to orthodox and connected with a solid left hook to the body and Khusanov dropped to the canvas and was counted out. Fifteenth inside the distance finish for Parker. He is No 1 with the WBO so their mandatory challenger for Saul Alvarez. Uzbek Khusanov, 41, looked all of his 41 years-and more. He was inactive in 2019 and had just one fight in 2020 and was coming off a loss.
Sharp vs. Andrade
Sharp takes unanimous decision but at the cost of two cuts. Sharp boxed brilliantly over the early rounds with slick movement. Constantly switching guards he jabbed and countered with accuracy with Andrade marching forward throwing punches with mote enthusiasm than accuracy trying to drag Sharpe into a brawl. In the seventh a sweeping punch from Andrade opened a cut on the left eye lid of Sharpe and that saw Andrade attack hard and win the round. Things worsened for Sharpe in the eighth when a clash of heads opened a vertical gash over his right eye with the blood running down the side of his nose and Andrade looked to have taken the ninth. Sharpe steadied himself and outboxed Andrade over the last. Scores 97-93 twice and 99-93 for Sharpe who wins the vacant WBO Global title. Andrade won a split decision over 29-1-2 Jorge Lara in December but only edged past 5-0 jailer on a split decision last month.
McCann vs. Chuwa
McCann stops Chuwa in two rounds. Southpaw McCann was looking to end this early and had the fragile-looking Chuwa on the retreat and floundering under pressure in the first. In the second a left cross sent Chuwa staggering back to the ropes and McCann drove him along the ropes snapping his head around with heavy shots and the referee stopped the contest. Sixth victory by KO/TKO for the 20-year-old Traveller. Chuwa had won his last three fights.
Almaty, Kazakhstan: Super Welter: Tursynbay Kulakhmet (4-0) W TKO 10 Aleksei Evchenko (19-15-2). Super Feather: Sultan Zaurbek (11-0) W PTS 10 Ronnie Clark (21-5-2). Welter: Talgat Shayken (5-0) W TKO 7Alexander Sharonov (12-6-2). Light: Isa Chaniev (15-3) W KO 3 Nurtas Azhbenov (11-1).Heavy: Ivan Dychko (10-0) W KO 1 Denis Bakhtov (39-19).
Kulakhmet vs. Evchenko
Local southpaw Kulakhmet floors Evchenko early but the durable Evchenko manages to stay around to give Kulakhmet some valuable ring time. Kulakhmet won every round and handed out plenty of punishment before flooring Evchenko in the tenth and then forcing the stoppage with a minute left in the fight. Kulakhmet, who won the WBC International title in his second pro fight, is being fast-tracked towards a world title fight. Only the second time Russian Evchenko has been stopped.
Zaurbek vs. Clark
In a clash of southpaws Zaurbek shows his class as he outboxes a gutsy Clark and wins a wide points decision on all three cards. Zaurbek was outscoring Clark at distance with his quicker and more accurate punching and was landing heavy counters when Clark tried to get inside. By the third blood was leaking from Clarks mouth and by the seventh his left eye was almost closed. Clark survived a doctor’s examination and a torrid last round to go the distance. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91 for Zaurbek. The 25-year-old Zaurbek wins the vacant WBO European title. Clark was having his first fight since scoring a good win over Zelfa Barrett in February 2018.
Shayken vs. Sharonov
Shayken shows why he is considered a prospect as he dominates Russian Sharonov and stops him in the seventh round. His harder punching was too much for Sharonov whose corner threw in the towel in the seventh round. The 20-year-old Shayken is a former World Youth silver medallist. First stoppage loss suffered by Sharonov.
Chaniev vs. Azhbenov
Back-to-back losses in 2019 have made it a rocky road for Chaniev and unbeaten Azhbenov was given a good chance of winning this one. It looked a reasonable forecast when Azhbenov floored Chaniev at the end of the first round. Chaniev survived and early in the third knocked out Azhbenov with a crunching right to the chin. Chaniev was stopped in two rounds by Richard Commey in a fight for the vacant IBF lightweight title in February 2019.
Dychko vs. Bakhtov
A dreadful excuse for a fight saw Dychko floor Bakhtov with a right to the head after just one minute. Bakhtov landed on the canvas on his back with his legs shaking and jerking and the referee immediately waived the farce off. Dychko lost to Anthony Joshua in the semi-final in the 2012 Olympics and won silver medals three times at the world championships. Bakhtov has lost his last five fights by KO/TKO.
Melbourne, Australia: Super Middle: Victor Nagbe (4-0) W PTS 10 Sam Soliman (46-16-1,2ND).
Nagbe takes unanimous verdict over Soliman to win the vacant Australasian title. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 for Nagbe. The 27-year-old Liberian-born southpaw Nagbe is a former sparring partner of Soliman and former Muay Thai star. He moved to Australia with his family when he was 10. He was getting into trouble so much that his mother kicked him out of the house and with the help of a benefactor he wound up on a Muay Thai course in Thailand. At 47 former IBF middleweight champion Soliman shows no signs yet of hanging up his gloves.
Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic: Tomasz Bezvoda (10-15) W PTS 10 Middle: Victor Agateljan (9-2). Light Heavy: Jozef Jurko (7-2) W KO 5 Stanislav Eschner (14-16-1). Light Heavy: Ondrej Budera (15-21-1) W Michal Ryba (6-4).
Bezvoda vs. Agateljan
Unexpected result as veteran Bezvoda gets revenge against Agateljan to win the Czech title. When these two met in September for the vacant Czech title Agateljan won clearly on a unanimous decision. Bezvoda had trained hard for the return and turned the fight his way with a strong showing over the last two rounds to take the split decision. Scores 97-93 and 97-94 for Bezvoda and 96-95 for Agateljan although a draw would have been a fairer result. Bezvoda had won only one of his last eight fights. Armenian-born Agateljan’s loss was against Tej Pratap Singh strangely enough for the Australian title in Agateljan’s only fight in Australia.
Jurko vs. Eschner
Minor upset as the more experienced Eschner was the favourite but Slovak Jurko came out on top, He floored Eschner in the second and stopped him in the fifth. First fight for two years for Jurko who wins the UBO International title. Tenth inside the distance loss for Czech Eschner
Budera vs. Ryba
Third time lucky as Budera’s greater experience won this one as he secured close unanimous decision over Ryba to win the national title at the third attempt. Scores 98-93, 97-95 and 96-95 for Budera. Ryba had won 3 of his last 4 fights.
Bielefeld, Germany: Cruiser: Leon Harth (20-4) W TKO 5 Rad Rashid (20-9). Middle: Sven Elbir (18-1) W RTD 4 Jose Torres (32-10). Middle: Buijar Tahiri (8-0) W TKO 3 Branislav Malinovic (11-6-2). Welter: Rico Mueller (28-3-1) W TKO 3 Kakha Avetisiani (42-58-1).
Harth vs. Rashid
Harth outboxes and then drops Rashid twice to win the vacant WBO European title and get a world rating from the WBO. The Armenian-born Harth losses when he steps up having been defeated by Marat Gassiev and Krzys Wlodarczyk. Rashid, 41, losses inside the distance for the fourth time.
Elbir vs. Torres
Elbir gets stoppage win over Torres. Elbir was working well to head and body with Torres really looking to survive. After a punishing fourth round Torres retired citing a shoulder injury. Elnir’s only defeat was a close points loss to IBF No 3(1) Patrick Wojcicki. Colombian Torres, 42, has been beaten by KO/TKO in 4 of his last 5 fights.
Tahiri vs. Malinovic
Tahiri overcomes shock first round knockdown to stop Malinovic. A left floored Tahiri in the opener but he recovered and then punished Malinovic over the second before flattening him with a left hook in the third. Tahiri was moving up to ten rounds for the first time but only needed the three rounds to register his seventh win by KO/TKO. Bosnia Malinovic was unbeaten in his last seven fights.
Mueller vs. Avetisiani
Mueller sends Avetisian down four times before the fight is halted in the third round. Mueller lost a majority decision against Argentinian Jeremias Ponce, a recent winner over Lewis Ritson, in 2019. He was originally adjudged the loser against Rafal Jackiewicz in August 2020 but his team protested the decision and after five new judges watched the video of the fight and scored Mueller the winner the decision was changed to a win for Mueller. Georgian Avetisian has won only one of his last ten fights. He has crammed 101 fights into 15 years as a pro
East London, South Africa: Minimum: Bangile Nyangani (11-1-1) W PTS 12 Siyakholwa Kuse (3-1-1). Light: Lusanda Komanisi (24-6) W KO 1 Sinethemba Bam (12-1).
Nyangani vs. Kuse
Nyangani wins the South African title with a majority decision over champion Kuse. First fight for Nyangani since November 2019 with his extra experience just giving him the advantage. Kuse was making the first defence of the title he won in December 2019.
Komanisi vs. Bam
Former IBO featherweight champion Komanisi punches too hard for a rusty Bam and puts him down and out in the first round for win No 21 by KO/TKO. First fight for Bam for over three years.
Glattbrug, Switzerland: Heavy: Labinot Xhoxhaj (15-0) W KO 8 Ferenc Urban (7-4).
Kosovo-born Swiss Xhoxhaj gets his twelfth inside the distance victory with eighth round kayo of Hungarian Urban. Fourth consecutive defeat for Urban.
Fight of the week (Significance): Gilberto Ramirez’s win over Sullivan Barrera puts him line for a title shot
Fight of the week (Entertainment); A few examples but no all out wars this week.
Fighter of the week: Gilberto Ramirez for his crushing win over Barrera
Punch of the week: Some good ones here in the left from Sparkinson Wilson Castillo which pole-axed Miguel Contreras and an uppercut from Lyndon Arthur which almost beheaded Davide Faraci but I just give it to the crunching right to the chin by Isa Chaniev that flattened unbeaten Nurtas Azhbenov
Upset of the week: None as most fights went the way forecast.
Prospect watch: None I have not already spotted but a couple to keep my eyes on.
It was good to see crowds back at the shows. It meant Gilberto Ramirez could jump up on the ring post and raised his arms in triumph in front of a cheering horde instead of a dozen officials just about to leave for a pee.
Strange scoring makes news in big fights but if the fight is not the headliner it hardly rates a tsk.tsk. In the Argentinian Female title fight between Yamila Abellaneda and Estefan Alaniz two judges had it 98-92 for Abellaneda and the third scored it a draw and in the WBO Female title fight between Naoko Fujioka and Sulem Ochoa one judge scored it 99-91 for Fujioka and one scored it 95-95. It happens every week but only becomes a concern when it is a high profile fight.
The Ramirez vs. Barrera show in Los Angeles consisted of twelve fights adding up to 110 rounds-luckily they did not all go the distance or you could have had a few wives suing for desertion.
Sometimes our sport disgusts me. On the show in Kazakhstan some matchmaker and presumably some local administrator though that the fight between Ivan Dychko and Dennis Bakhtov was acceptable. You had the 6’9” 30-year-old Dychko against the 5’ 11 ½” 41-year-old Bakhtov with Dychko having won his nine fights by KO/TKO and Bakhtov losing his last eight fights five of them by KO/TKO with the most recent one in September 2020 seeing Bakhtov knocked out in 40 seconds by a 2-0 novice. I felt sick when Bakhtov was floored by Dychko in sixty seconds and lay on the canvas with his body shaking and his legs twitching in the air. A duty of care-forget it.
When it comes to controversies in boxing we think we have corker for you today, from the UK. In fact this one is really weird when we think about, because had it taken place just a few weeks later the result would have been. That's not just us talking and making excuses, but literally the rules were changed the following month. What was ruled a TKO here, wouldn't have been had the bout taken place after the rule change.
Shinny Bayaar (15-4-2, 4) vs Paul Edwards (7-0, 1)
The bout in question saw British based Mongolian fighter Shinny Bayaar take on the unbeaten Paul Edwards in December 2010, in a bout for the British Flyweight title.
Coming into the bout Bayaar was the British Flyweight champion, and was looking to make his second defense. He had won the belt in October 2009, beating Chris Edwards, and had defended it with a draw against Ashley Sexton, in a thrilling bout in May 2010. Although he had losses on his record Bayaar had really turned his career around. He was once 6-4-1 (2) but then reeled off a 10 fight unbeaten run, including his title win and his defense against Sexton, and was seen as one of the best little men in Britain at the time.
Despite originally being from Mongolia, Bayaar had only actually fought once in the country, fighting to a draw. He had then fought in the Philippines, losing against former world champion Manny Melchor. He would lose against on his UK debut, in 2001, and at the time he sported a record of 0-2-1. Though again he rebuilt really well. Like most Mongolian fighters Bayaar was tough, and although not the most technical he really could fight, letting shoots go and having rough and tough wars. Sadly for him a lot of his bouts saw him suffering cuts, in part due to his style and in part due to his southpaw stance, that would turn out to be the case again here. Aged 33 coming in to this bout he was old for a Flyweight but was still in the run of his career.
The 24 year old Paul Edwards was the challenger and was regarded as a good prospect in the UK. He had been a good amateur, winning an ABA title, and had scored a notable win over Andy bell in February 2010. Although talented he lacked power, and had narrowly come through his 2 previous bouts, taking razor thin wins over Bell and Anwar Alfadli. Not only had he struggled in his previous 2 bouts but he was also being made to take a leap up in class here, going from 6 rounders to 12 round title bouts in one giant step.
Heading in to the bout Edwards was the notable under-dog, but with his unbeaten record, amateur pedigree and youth he was very much considered a live challenger.
What no one expected, was what we got.
The opening seconds saw the two men try to feel their way into the fight, but after only a few moments Bayaar began to march forward, and try to close the distance. Edwards tried to get his respect but that only seemed to anger Bayaar who began to up the intensity. Sadly that caused a clash of heads which left Bayaar with a huge cut in his forehead. Around 40 seconds after their headclash Bayaar was taken over to the doctor, who stopped the bout due to the nasty cut, which was genuinely brutal.
Almost anywhere outside of the UK this would have been either a No Contest or a technical draw. In the UK however there was an out dated rule, that meant if a fighter couldn't continue due to a clash of heads, the other fighter won by stoppage. That rule was in effect here, and resulted in Edwards getting an opening round TKO win over Bayaar as a result, and winning the title.
The rule that caused this result had been set to change in January 2011, a month after this bou, and finally saw the UK matching the rules of the rest of the world. For Bayaar however, that was too late, his reign was over.
Sadly we never got a rematch for this one. Paul Edwards lost the belt in his first defense, to Chris Edwards, who then beat Bayaar by decision when the Mongolia returned to the ring in December 2011, in what turned out to be Bayaar's final bout.
Not many fighters are in instant classics, but between 2004 and 2012 we saw two men battle 4 times, and several of their bouts became instant classics. The bouts, pit a legendary Filipino against an often over-looked Mexican, enhanced the legacies of both men and gave us 3 ultra close bouts as well a stunning KO in their 4th contest. For today's Closet Classic we're going to look at the first of the 4 bouts between the two modern day legends
Manny Pacquiao (38-2-1, 29) vs Juan Manuel Marquez (42-2, 33) I
Of course the rivalry we're talking about is the sensational 4 bout series between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. The two men were stylistically very different, yet they matched up pretty much perfectly. The two men shared more than 40 rounds together and yet until the 42nd round neither man had managed to finish off the other. Not only were the two men well matched, but their rivalry stretched over multuple years and saw the men fight each other at Featherweight, Super Featherweight and Welterweight.
For this bout we go back to the beginning of the rivalry between the two men, with their May 2004 bout. At this point Pacquiao had already won world titles at Flyweight and Super Bantamweight and was now looking to become a 3-weight world champion. Coming in to the bout he had been unbeaten in almost 5 years and had reeled off a 13 fight unbeaten run. That run had seen him defeat the likes of Nedal Hussein, Lehlo Ledwaba and Marco Antonio Barrera. He was starting to not just make waves but actually become a boxing star. Aged 25 at this point he was becoming a regular on US TV, this was his 6th bout on US soil, and a must watch attraction in the sport.
Whilst Pacquiao was building a name for himself Marquez was often getting over-looked. He had scored 42 wins and had gone unbeaten since a decision loss to Freddie Norwood in September 1999. Since that loss he had reeled off 13 straight wins and beaten the likes of Robbie Peden, Manuel Medina and Derrick Gainer. He had unified the WBA and IBF Featherweight titles and had managed to become highly regarded as a very good technical boxer. Despite being a brilliant boxer, with solid power and a great boxing brain, he was often over-looked in favour of Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, two other Mexican fighter who had more fun styles and were more well known to the world at large. He was, in many ways, the forgotten man of Mexican at this point in time.
Not only were the fighters two of the best but so too were the trainers. In Pacquiao's corner was Freddie Roach the man who had developed Pacquiao into a much more rounded fighter than he had once been. He was still a work in progress, but a sensational talent all the same. In the opposite corner was Nacho Beristain, a Mexican boxing genius who crafted Ricardo Lopez and was now crafting another brilliant Mexican in Maruqez.
For Pacquiao this was a chance to claim more world titles, for Marquez this was a chance to get recognition he craved. It was aggressive tornado against counter punching genius. It was Mexico Vs Philippines. It was special. For fans this was to become an instant classic. One for the ages.
The bout started fast, really fast. Both men seemed to ignore the typical "feeling out round" and Marquez was fighting more aggressively than he typically had, it was as if he wanted to make a statement, and tell the world he every bit the Mexican warrior that Morales and Barrera were. That however cost him and he was dropped 90 seconds into the bout. The knockdown sent the crowd wild, though Marquez didn't appear hurt. Less than 30 seconds later Marquez was down for a second time and then down again only seconds later. It looked, for all intents, like Marquez was going to be taken out inside a round, as Pacquiao kept finding a home for his straight left hand. A bloodied Marquez barely surived the round.
With blood running from his nose and a huge hole to climb out of Marquez's chances looked done within a round. It didn't look like we were seeing the first chapter, of a 4 fight series but instead it looked like we were watching a sensational performance from Pacquiao. It seemed like Marquez was simply unable to cope with the straight left hand of Pacquiao, which had been his undoing in the first round. It looked like Marquez, at the age of 30, was too slow, too old and not versatile enough to over-come the speed and power of the Filipino.
Then things changed. Marquez changed tactics. He was from a man looking for war to a man who was looking to neutralise Pacquiao and counter. The tactical change was stark, no longer was Marquez fighting aggressively but instead he was fighting smartly. Despite the change Pacquiao still seemed to have some major success through the round, landing his straight left hand a number of times. Marquez's tactical change didn't instantly end Pacquiao's success, but did slow the tempo, and began to slow the momentum of the Filipino.
In round 3 Marquez would begin to go to the body of Pacquiao, trying to slow down the Filipino, and would also begin to really time the Filipino as the bout went from a fight to a boxing contest. The slower pace began to suit Marquez more and more. Not only did the slower pace suit Marquez but the distance he was creating also brought him success, and he began to out box Pacquiao. The Filipino was still landing some of the bigger, flashier shots, but Marquez was really building himself a foothold in the bout and that foothold would see him really pull himself back into the bout.
The Mexican also had a solid round 4, making Pacquaio follow him around the ring and countering him regularly. This was becoming Marquez's fight, this was becoming the type of fight that Pacquiao was going to struggle with. Saying that however Pacquiao knew he had the power to drop Marquez, if he landed clean we could see the Mexican fall apart like he had in round 1.
The bout had started with incredible drama but had began to turn into a high paced boxing contest. The drama was slowly ebbing out, but there was tension and action throughout, both men letting shots go, the styles gelling perfectly.
As we went into the middle rounds it was getting harder and harder to predict the outcome. From there on we had exciting, high level boxing. We had a damaged boxer, with what appeared to be a broken nose, against a puncher who was dangerous but struggling to land his main power punch, his straight left hand. We had an aggressive monster against a boxing genius, and we had two top trainers pitting their wits against each other just as much as we had two great fighters against each other.
In the middle rounds we began to see Pacquiao having success once again, landing his left hand, and making adjustments needed, the Marquez adapted once again making things swing back and forth as the bout moved towards the finishing line. It seemed like both men had had major success at times, but it was impossible to predict a winner as we went deeper and deeper into the bout.
We're not going to ruin the outcome for those who haven't seen this, and for those who have, let your memory go a little blank and just relive this sensational battle.
For those who love drama, high intensity action, brilliant back and forth, staggering momentum shifts, high quality action and a touch of controversy this has it all. This genuinely has every thing a fight fan could want and the result left the door open for the rivalry that would unfold over the coming years and give us 3 more amazing fight between two legendary modern day greats.
By Eric Armit
-Chris Colbert retains the interim WBA super featherweight title with wide unanimous decision over Tugstsogt Nyambayar
-Former WBO super featherweight champion stops Valentine Hosokawa as he continues his campaigns at lightweight
-Middleweight Etinosa Oliha and light heavyweight Adriano Sperandio retain their Italian titles with wins.
-Former WBC Female WBC lightweight champion Delfine Persoon moves down to super featherweight looking for another title shot and Argentinian light flyweight Evelyn Nazerena Bermudez stops Tamara Demarco in IBF Female title defence
World Title/Major Shows
Calvi, France: Super Middle: Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (38-5) W PTS 8 Gabor Gorbics (26-20-1). Middle: Bruno Surace (19-0-2) W PTS 6 Nodar Robakidze (16-37-6).
N’Jikam vs. Gorbics
In his first fight for nineteen months N’Jikam outpoints a willing but limited Gorbics. The former holder of the secondary WBA middleweight title N’Jikam took a couple of rounds to get into his stride but then looked sharp as he worked well with his jab and weakened Gorbics with some meaty body punches. Unusually this super middleweight fight was scored just by the referee who saw N’Jikam the winner 80-73. N’Jikam, 37, suffered consecutive losses to Callum Smith and Fedor Chudinov in 2019 so has a rebuilding job on his hands and there is talk of a fight with unbeaten Christian Mbilli. Hungarian Gorbics is 0-1-8 in his last 9 fights.
Surace vs. Robakidze
French champion Surace was given six rounds of useful work by a tougher than expected Georgian Robakidze. Surace moved to 16 wins in a row as the referee scored the fight 58-56 for him. Robakidze is now 0-1-32 in contests outside of Georgia
Asti, Italy: Middle: Etinosa Oliha (15-0) W PTS 10 Francesco Lezzi (14-18-2). Light Heavy: Adriano Sperandio (14-1) W PTS 10 Stefano Abatangelo (23-8-1).
Oliha vs. Lezzi
Hometown fighter Oliha retains the Italian middleweight title with comfortable victory over Lezzi. Oliha was forcing the fight from the first bell and apart from a couple of good rights from Lezzi in the third that stopped the champion in his tracks Oliha controlled the fight. He had Lezzi on the back foot and rocked him in the seventh and had him on the verge of going down with a right in the eighth. Despite that Lezzi made it the bell but was a clear loser on scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. Second defence of the title by unbeaten Oliha. Lezzi is now 0-4 in Italian title fights but blamed his poor showing here on an arm injury.
Sperandio vs. Abatangelo
In another Italian championship bout Sperandio made a successful defence of the light heavyweight belt with a very close unanimous decision over former champion Abatangelo. The challenger could consider himself unlucky. He put Sperandio under pressure from the start. Sperandio had a longer reach and better skills but Abatangelo forced the champion to spend most of the fight inside. Sperandio created some space over the middle rounds and impressed with his greater accuracy when countering the oncoming Abatangelo. Sperandio tired late and with a strong finish Abatangelo looked to have done enough to merit at least a draw but came up short on the cards with the judges scoring it for Sperandio 97-93, 96-94and 96-95. Sperandio was making the first defence of the title. Abatangelo, 39, is 2-4 in Italian title fights.
Sheffield, England: Cruiser: Jack Massey (19-1) W KO 4 Engin Karakaplan (14-9-3). Heavy: Ian Martell (11-0) W KO 1 Erik Nazaryan (28-24-4).
Massey vs. Karakaplan
Massey wins the vacant IBF European title with victory over Karakaplan. A right hook to the body ended the fight in the fourth round with Karakaplan unable to beat the count. Second win for Massey since losing a close decision against Richard Riakporhe for the vacant British title in December 2019. Turkish-born Frenchman falls to 0-3-2 in his last 5 outings.
Martell vs. Nazaryan
Martell gets his fifth win by KO/TKO as he puts Nazaryan down with a right to the body to end this one after 2:45 of the opening round. Nazaryan usually goes the distance as he has only been stopped five times in his 24 losses.
Louisville, KY, USA: Super Light: Carlos Dixon (12-1) W KO 1 Moises Flores (25-4-1).
Dixon blows away a sliding Flores. It took Dixon just one good right followed by a left hook to the body to put Flores down and out after just 47 seconds to register his ninth win by KO/TKO. Dixon was conceding 7lbs to Flores. Once the holder of the IBO and interim WBA super bantamweight titles Flores weighed 140lbs for this fight which tells you all you need to know about how hard Flores trained.
Eernengem, Belgium: Super Feather: Delfine Persoon (45-3) W PTS 10 Elena Gradinar (10-2). Super Welter: Nabil Messouadi (5-0) W KO 6 Milos Janjanin (14-25). Super Welter: Stephen Danyo (19-4-3) W PTS 10 Christian Arvelo Segura (12-6).
Persoon vs. Gradinar
After losing her WBC lightweight title in unification fights against Katie Taylor Belgian Persoon moved down to super featherweight and outpointed Russian Gradinar. The Flemish boxer used her long reach and superior skills with Gradinar spending most of the time going backwards at speed. Scores of 100-89 twice and 99-89. Now 36 Persoon had hoped to qualify for the Olympics but the pandemic ruined those hopes. Her aim now is a shot at the WBC and IBO super featherweight titles held by Terri Harper and then to get a slot in the WBSS tournament. Gradinar had only the most basic technique and was never really in with a chance.
Messouadi vs. Janjanin
British-based Belgian Messouadi knocks out Janjanin late in the sixth to win the vacant Belgian title. All of the wins scored by the 22-year-old Messaoudi have come by KO/TKO. Bosnian Janjanin came in as a late substitute.
Danyo vs. Segura
Dutchman Danyo collects the vacant IBO Continental title with unanimous decision against Italian-based Dominican Segura. The strong but limited Segura was giving away too much in height and reach and never really troubled Danyo
Scores 99-89 twice and 97-91. The four losses suffered by 32-year-old Danyo have been against quality opposition including Custio Clayton and Felix Cash. In his last fight in February Segura was stopped in ten rounds by unbeaten Damiano Falcinelli for the Italian title.
Oulu, Finland: Light Heavy: Aku Kanninen (8-0-1) W PTS 10 Timo Laine (28-16,1NC).
Hometown fighter Kanninen just too young and too strong for veteran Laine and takes the unanimous verdict. Laine was a slight favourite but from the first round Kanninen was quicker and more accurate and handed out steady punishment to Laine. If Laine had any hope that Kanninen might fade late as he was up at ten rounds for the first time but Kanninen stayed strong and although he never came close to a stoppage he dominated the action and lifted the vacant Finnish title. Scores 100-90, 100-91 and 98-92 for 21-year-old Kanninen. At 37 former champion Laine is now making his money filling the role of travelling loser as a test for overseas talent.
Saint Denis, France: Super Welter: Milan Prat (11-1) W TKO 3 Fouad El Massoudi (17-14-1)
Outstanding prospect Prat blows away seasoned pro Massoudi in two rounds to win the vacant French title. The Saint Denise fighter dazzled in the first as he landed with ferocious combinations. Massoudi chose to try to stand and punch with Prat but was shaken late in the round. In the second shots from Prat sent Massoudi down twice and when he was floored again in the third the towel came in from Massoudi’s corner. Eighth inside the distance win for the 21-year-old Prat The loss on Prat’s record was a disqualification for a punch to the back of his opponent head. This is only the second time Massoudi has been beaten inside the distance and he went twelve rounds with WBC No 2 Sergio Garcia in a challenge for the European super welterweight title in December 2019.
Tokyo, Japan: Light: Masayuki Ito (27-3-1) W TKO 8 Valentine Hosokawa (25-9-3).
Former WBO super featherweight champion Ito impresses as he is sharp from the start and outclasses Hosokawa. Now up at lightweight Ito was finding the target with straight rights from the start. The smaller Hosokawa just could not get past Ito’s jab and as Ito began to put his punches together and connect with left hooks and body punches only Hosokawa’s durability kept him in the fight. In the sixth Hosokawa was staggered by a straight right and when a following left hook had him reeling the referee came in and saved Hosokawa. Ito made his initial move to lightweight after losing his WBO title to Jamal Herring in May 2019 but suffered an upset loss to unbeaten novice Hironori Mishiro. He had questions to answer so there was a lot of interest in how he would look in this fight under a new trainer and he looked good. At 40 and almost 5” smaller Hosokawa had nothing but his grit going for him but his winning of the Japanese super lightweight title in 2017 in his seventeenth year as a pro was a popular victory.
Mandaue City, Philippines: Feather: Pete Apolinar (15-1) W TKO 12 Jess Rhey Waminal (14-4-1). Super Mark Vicelles (14-0-1) W KO 10 Jerven Mama (12-1-1).
Apolinar vs. Waminal
Apolinar wins the vacant OPBF Silver title with stoppage of Waminal. Although Waminal was more mobile and busier it was Apolinar who was landing the harder punches and he was getting through with some hefty body shots. Waminal was given some recovery time after a low punch from Apolinar in the ninth but took a savage beating over the tenth and eleventh and a wicked left hook to the body in the twelfth sent him down writhing in agony and he was counted out at the 2:00 mark of the last round. Tenth consecutive victory for “Thunder” Apolinar and his ninth win by KO/TKO. First inside the distance loss for Waminal.
Vicelles vs. Mama
In another late ending Vicelles wins on a last round kayo. In an entertaining, competitive fight southpaw Vicelles was scoring well with his right jab and straight lefts with the smaller Mama coming forward pressing the action. Vicelles had built a lead but in the ninth after Mama was warned twice for low punches a clash of heads opened a bad cut over the left eye of Vicelles. In the tenth Mama was driving Vicelles around the ring but went low again and the referee deducted two points. Vicelles then connected with a straight left to the head and Mama went down and was counted out with just one second remaining in the ten round fight. Vicelles extends his winning run to eleven fights. Mama had won his last seven.
Urdaneta, Philippines: Super Feather: Charly Suarez (7-0) W PTS 10 Eduardo Mancito (18-12-2).
Former top amateur Suarez floored and outpointed an over-matched Mancito. Suarez put Mancito down in the second and then outboxed him the rest of the way. Suarez might have been able to finish it early but a slippery canvas made it difficult for both fighters Scores 100-89, 99-90 and 98-92. Suarez won three gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games and represented the Philippines at the 2007, 2009 and 2011 World Championships and the 2016 Olympics but at 32 has left things late to make an impression as a professional. Mancito did his job giving Suarez ten rounds of ring time.
Carson. CA, USA: Super Feather: Chris Colbert (16-0) W PTS 12 Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-2). Light: Michel Rivera (21-0) W TKO 8 Jon Fernandez (21-2).
Colbert vs. Nyambayar
In a clash for the interim WBA title Colbert puts on a boxing class he has too much skill and speed for Mongolian Tugstsogt. Colbert used quick hands and his longer reach to pierce Nyambayar’s guard in the first. With Colbert’s jab constantly in his face Nyambayar just could not get his punches off and when he did come forward Colbert was able to dance away. Late in the second Colbert switched to southpaw and dropped his left hand to his thigh confident he was too quick for Nyambayar to take advantage of the opening that created. Nyambayar scored early in the third as he trapped Colbert against the ropes. Colbert was never in trouble and he came back with his stabbing jabs and some hooks and uppercuts only for Nyambayar to fire a burst of punches to make it his round. Colbert’s persistent jabbing in the fourth was keeping Nyambayar on the back foot and forcing him into the counter puncher role but he was not quick enough to be effective. Colbert just could not find his range in the fifth and Nyambayar was able to do some useful work with his own jab but not enough to off-set quick burst of punches from Colbert. In the sixth Colbert’s jab was working well and he put together some flashing combinations doubling his jab and landing overhand rights with Nyambayar too slow to counter. Colbert changed tactics in the seventh and not for the better. Instead of coming forward behind his jab he was walking in behind a high guard. Without Colbert’s jab to worry about Nyambayar was stepping forward and connect with punches through and around Colbert’s static guard. Colbert came to life late and just landed enough to edge the round but had made it harder than it needed to be. Colbert went back to jabbing, moving and throwing clusters of punches and landed a leaping left hook to take the eighth and he jabbed and danced his way through the ninth ending the round with an Ali shuffle. Nyambayar was just too slow to apply the necessary pressure and if Colbert was against the ropes it was because he chose to put himself there. Colbert produced some flashy stuff in the tenth as he raked Nyambayar with combinations and then danced around the ring with a frustrated Nyambayar a step behind all the way unable to land a punch until Colbert decided to just stand in front of Nyambayar with a high guard and let Nyambayar throw shots which he easily blocked. Colbert floated through the last two rounds with Nyambayar unable to get even one clear shot home until the last ten seconds of the twelfth when they finally traded a few punches. Scores 118-110 twice and 117-111 for Colbert who remains WBA interim champion. The 24-year-old from Brooklyn has great boxing skills and was too much for the slow and methodical Nyambayar and the fight was too one-sided to be entertaining. He would probably be able to handle Roger Gutierrez the holder of the secondary WBA title and perhaps Jamal Herring but Gervonta Davis, Oscar Valdez and Shakur Stevenson would probably beat him right now. Nyambayar is strong but limited and has probably reached his ceiling.
Rivera vs. Fernandez
Rivera gets off the canvas to floor and stop Spaniard Fernandez. Rivera’s better skills saw him build a lead over the early rounds but Fernandez always looked dangerous. In the sixth Fernandez connected with right that sent Rivera down. He beat the count and survived to the bell. Rivera steadied the ship in the seventh and then brought down the curtain in the eighth. A strong jab opened up Fernandez’s defence and a powerful right put Fernandez on the floor. He struggled trying to get to his feet but was in a bad way and the referee stopped the fight. Now 14 wins by KO/TKO for Dominican Rivera and a useful result after victories over Fidel Maldonado and Ladarius Miller. Fernandez was outpointed by O’Shaquie Foster in Oklahoma in 2018.
Masvingo, Zimbabwe: Middle: Charles Manyuchi (25-4-1) W PTS 12 Muhamad Sebyala (19-14-1).
Zimbabwean Manyuchi retains the WBFederation belt with unanimous verdict over experienced Ugandan Sebyala. Scores 117-109 twice and 116-110 for former WBC International champion Manyuchi. Of Sebyala’s 14 losses 12 have come on trips outside Uganda.
Rosario, Argentina: Light Fly: Evelyn Nazerena Bermudez (14-0-1) W TKO 9 Tamara Demarco (9-4).
In an all-Argentinian clash Bermudez retained the IBF Female title with stoppage of Demarco. Bermudez was 4” taller than the challenger flooring her in the second and then forcing the stoppage in the ninth. Third defence for Bermudez. Demarco drops to 22-4 in her last 6 fights
Fight of the week (Significance): Chris Colbert’s win over Nyambayar keeps alive the possibility of more top quality fights at super featherweight
Fight of the week (Entertainment): In a low key week Pete Apolinar vs. Jess Rhey Waminal provide twelve good action rounds. Well actually 11 rounds and 2:59 seconds.
Fighter of the week: Chris Colbert. Brilliant display of boxing skills
Punch of the week: The body punch from Apolinario that had Waminal rolling in agony was a great finisher
Upset of the week: None
Prospect watch: France’s Milan Prat a super welterweight who is 11-1. He is of one of six children from Yugoslavian and Algerian immigrant parents. He has style and can punch
This was surely one of the quietest weekends since boxing restarted with Colbert vs. Nyambayar the only “big” show and that was for an interim title with a low key undercard.
The ease with which Delfine Persoon handle novice Elena Gradinar highlights one of the problems for female boxing. There are some star performers such as Clarissa Shields and Katie Taylor but too many poor fighters. What is missing is that all important middle strata of experienced fighters not quite star quality but who can both stretch the top liners and provide useful tests for the up and coming boxers. Female boxing needs some new names from the Tokyo Olympics to keep interest high and encourage more women to turn professional so that there is no dip when the current stars retire.
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