For today's Closet Classic we don't go too far back into the closet, in fact it's less than 10 years, but we do get one hell of a war, in fact we get to cover what was, arguably, the fight of the year for 2011. It was a fight that saw even Western journalists talking about a Minimumweight title bout, and was something very, very special, very exciting, and a real must watch!
Akira Yaegashi (14-2, 7) vs Pornsawan Porpramook (23-3-1, 16)
To fully understand this bout we need to roll the clocks back to October 2011. At this point Pornsawan Porpranook was the WBA Minimumweight champion, having narrowly beat Muhammad Rachman in Indonesia. In his first defense he travelled over to Japan to take on Akira Yaegashi.
For those who perhaps aren't too familiar with with Pornsawan, aka Somporn Seeta, the Thai was an aggressive monster. He was dubbed the "Tank" and up to this point his only set backs came to Donnie Neites, Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Edgar Sosa, with the loss to Sosa coming at 108lbs. He was tough, aggressive, hit solidly for a Minimumweight and was a real physical handful. He had fought in 4 previous world title bouts, before eventually winning the title against Rachman, and was very much a world class fighter, even if he was just shy of the divisional elite.
In 2020 we all look back fondly on Akira Yaegashi as one of the modern day great warriors. A must watch icon with a sizeable international cult following. In 2011 however the Japanese warrior was an unknown outside of Japan. In Japan he was regarded as a hopeful, and had been fast tracked to an OPBF title in his 6th bout and a world title shot in his 8th bout. Despite falling short in his first world title bout, in 2007 to Den Junlaphan, he had rebuilt and went on to win the Japanese title in 2009 before building to a second world title fight, this one with Pornsawan. Like the Thai Yaegashi was an exciting warrior to watch, and despite having been a solid amateur was very much a blood and guts warrior as a professional.
Looking back it seems obvious this was going to be a thriller, though few would have expected what we got.
The opening minute saw the two men feel each other out, but soon afterwards the bout quickly moved into the next gear as Pornsawan applied intense pressure and Yaegashi countered it brilliantly with his speed and footwork. It was smart from Yaegashi, who was using the ring, but it didn't slow down the pressure from the Thai who kept coming forward.
The pressure of Pornsawan was stepped up again in round 2, and he began to slowly drag Yaegashi into his fight. It seemed like he dropped the Japanese fighter midway through the round, though it was ruled a slip. By the end of the round Pornsawan was beginning to get Yaegashi on to the ropes and that success from the Thai was something he was hoping to build on in round 3. Despite his success Pornsawan was regularly being countered with combinations and walking into shots from Yaegashi, giving the bout an amazing back and forth feel.
From there on the action intensified, round by round things got more and more exciting, more and more thrilling as Yaegashi began to stand his ground more often. With Yaegashi willingly trading we began to get a fight that was becoming an instant classic. What had started nicely quickly warmed up massively in the middle rounds, to give us a bout that quickly took on the feel of being something truly spectacular.
The middle rounds were sensational and the longer the bout went on the more, and more brutal this became with rounds 8, 9 and 10, being truly incredible! This wasn't a crude brawl, but was a bout that had skills, action, a building intensity and real excitement. This was something very, very special!
By Eric Armit
-Alex Povetkin climbs off the floor twice in the fourth round to floor and stop Dillian Whyte in the fifth
-Shawn Porter outclasses Sebastian Formella in an IBF eliminator
-Joe Smith crushes a worn looking Eleider Alvarez
-Former WBA secondary title holder Rob Brant gets a victory in his first post-COVID-19 bout
-Sergio Martinez returns to the ring with a win over Jose Fandino but Yoan Pablo Hernandez’s return is sunk by a surprisingly aggressive Kevin Johnson
- IBF No 1 cruiser Ruslan Fayer is stopped by fellow-Russian Alexei Papin
-Wins for Vladimir Shishkin, Peter Kadiru, Magomed Kurbanov, Sebastian Fundora and Julian Rodriguez
Brentwood, England: Heavy: Alex Povetkin (35-2-1) W TKO 5 Dillian Whyte (27-2). Super Middle: Jack Cullen (18-2-1) DREW 10 Zak Chelli (7-1-1). Welter: Chris Kongo (12-0) W TKO 9 Luther Clay (13-2).Heavy: Alen Babic (4-0) W TKO 2 Shawndell Winters (13-4).
Povetkin vs. Whyte
Povetkin climbs off the floor twice in the fourth round to knock Whyte down with a perfect left hook early in the fifth which upsets a few plans and puts Povetkin back into the picture at the top of the heavyweight tree.
After a cautious start by both boxers Povetkin was the livelier scoring with some body punches. Whyte stopped Povetkin in his tracks with a jab but other than that came up short with his punches.
Score: 10-9 Povetkin
A close round. Whyte was reaching the target with his jabs but rocked Povetkin with a right cross landed well to the body. Povetkin also went to the body a couple of times but Whyte did the better work in the round.
Score: 10-9 Whyte Tied 19-19
With his longer reach Whyte was find gaps for his jab and landed nicely to the body. He knocked Povetkin off balance a couple of times but Povetkin scored with some hooks.
Score: 10-9 Whyte Whyte 29-28
Whyte scored with two rights and then landed a left hook that saw Povetkin drop to one knee. He was up immediately and after the count Whyte took his time probing with his jab and looking for another opening. That gave Povetkin time to recover and he then did well with body punches and had Whyte on the back foot. With just fifteen seconds remaining in the round as Povetkin moved in Whyte landed a left hook to the temple that put Povetkin down again. Povetkin made it to his feet and at the end of the eight count the bell went before Whyte could land another punch.
Score: 10-7 Whyte Whyte 39-35
They traded punches at the start of the eighth then Povetkin exploded a booming left hook to Whyte’s chin. Whyte fell back flat on the canvas with part of his body under the bottom rope and referee immediately signalled the fight was over.
Huge win for the 40-year-old Russian as he collects the vacant WBC interim title. Although he had outboxed Hughie Fury in August his dreary draw with Mike Hunter in December made him look a safe bet as an opponent for Whyte. Whyte is demanding a return and Povetkin has said he is agreeable. With both Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua tied up with other business it would make a sensible fight for both Povetkin and Whyte. However this is loss is a massive blow for Whyte as winning the WBC interim title would have kept his name right there and made it more difficult for Fury or Joshua to ignore him. A revenge win over Povetkin is the only fight that will get him back to a seat at the heavyweight table but this fight showed that with the heavyweights everything can change with just one punch as the late Tommy Morrison found out against outsider Michael Bentt.
Cullen vs. Chelli
The 6-3” Cullen and Chelli fight to a disputed split draw. Cullen was using his height and reach well over the first two rounds but Chelli was pressing hard. Cullen’s jab had raised a nasty swelling around Chelli’s left eye in the third. Cullen started the fourth well but late in the round Chelli began to find the range with his own jab and some heavy single shots to take the round and in addition Cullen was cut over his left eye. Chelli continued to get the better of the exchanges in the sixth rocking Cullen with a left hook. Cullen tried to take the fight to Chelli in the seventh and eighth but again the harder punches were coming from Chelli. Cullen was tiring but he started both the ninth and tenth with some good work with his jab but in both rounds Chelli was stronger and outlanding Cullen and looked to have done enough to offset his slower start. Scores 97-93 Chelli, 96-95 Cullen and 95-95. Chelli, 22, was coming off a close points defeat against unbeaten Kody Davies. Cullen had lost on an eighth round stoppage against Felix Cash for the Commonwealth title in November.
Kongo vs. Clay
Good contrast of styles as boxer Kongo and fighter Clay produced a good scrap until Kongo ends things with two lefts in the ninth. Kongo used his longer reach over the first two rounds to score on the outside. Clay was trying to come in under the jab but was being caught by counters and Kongo was able to smother Clay’s work inside with some holding. Clay had more success in the third and fourth as he was jabbing well himself and able to get past Kongo’s jab. Near disaster in the fifth for Clay. He was pursuing the retreating Kongo and getting inside. As they traded punches Kongo landed a right to the head and Clay was in deep trouble. He staggered to the ropes and Kongo pelted him with punches Clay was swaying and a stoppage looked possible until Kongo punched himself out and it was Clay on top at the bell. Clay pressed through the sixth with Kongo jabbing and countering well but a right to the head had him hanging on in the seventh only for Kongo to fire back with a left and a right that shook Clay. Kongo boxed well in the eighth putting together some nice combinations and looked to be in front. Clay was shaken by a punch inside in the ninth and then he was sent reeling back by an uppercut. Kongo drove Clay around the ring bombarding him with punches but Clay survived. He then began to take the fight to Kongo again until two left hooks to the head put him down on his back and the towel was thrown in from Clay’s corner. Kongo gets his seventh win by KO/TKO and collects Clay’s WBO Global belt which will get him a world rating as Clay was rated No 11by the WBO. Kongo had a successful time as an amateur under his real name Chris Mbwakongo. British-based South African Clay had scored useful wins over Dario Morello and Freddy Kiwitt.
Babic vs. Winters
Babic annihilates Winter. Babic floored Winters with a left hook in the first and continued to clobber him in the second. He landed a series of punches and as Winters slumped to the floor the referee stepped in to save him. The 29-year-old Croat has taken less than seven rounds for his four wins. A former Croatian amateur champion he competed for Croatia at the 2017 European Championships. Winters, 39, lost on a fifth round stoppage against Joseph Parker in February.
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Light Heavy: Joe Smith (26-3) W KO 9 Eleider Alvarez (25-2). Middle: Rob Brant (26-2) W RTD 5 Vitalii Kopylenko (28-3). Super Light: Julian Rodriguez (20-0) W TKO 1 Anthony Laureano (13-1,1ND). Feather: Duke Ragan (1-0) W TKO 1 Luis Alvarado (1-2).
Smith vs. Alvarez
Smith pounds Alvarez to defeat in a one-sided contest as Alvarez looks about ready for retirement.
Alvarez made a bright start popping Smith with jabs but that did not last. Smith began to force Alvarez to the ropes and unload with some crude but powerful punches.
Score: 10-9 Smith
Alvarez was having trouble staying off the ropes and out of corners. Smith was using a powerful jab and some muscle to trap Alvarez and he was then bombarding Alvarez with wide swinging hooks.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 20-18
Alvarez had the better skills but Smith was not letting him use them. He was bullying Alvarez inside and thudding lefts and right against Alvarez’s head, Alvarez was being dragged into a brawl and losing.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 30-27
Alvarez boxed well for much of this round. He was firing jabs and moving. Smith just kept rolling forward and eventually he forced Alvarez to stand and trade and he was landing some wicked hooks and uppercuts. Alvarez had blood dripping from his nose at the end of the round.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 40-36
A punishing round for Alvarez. Too often he was static in front of Smith just covering up and not throwing any punches. Smith was able to tee off on Alvarez with hurtful rights and lefts with Alvarez not even trying to hold or throw much himself.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 50-45
Smith started this round slowly allowing Alvarez to work his jab. Once Smith stepped up the pressure Alvarez output dropped and again Alvarez was letting Smith get inside. Smith was loading up on every punch and was landing some vicious uppercuts. Alvarez punch output was dismal.
Score: 10-9 Smith. Smith 60-54
Alvarez boxed a bit more in this one and shook Smith with a right to the head that momentarily unhinged Smith’s legs. It was the best shot Alvarez had landed. Later in the round Smith pressed forward and was firing a succession of punches with Alvarez just covering up but Alvarez’s early work just gave him the edge.
Score: 10-9 Alvarez Smith 69-64
That proved a false down as Smith was back on top in the eighth. He was throwing more, landing more and landing harder punches. Alvarez briefly came to life putting together some rapid-fire combinations but he was staggered by a left hook late in the round.
Score: 10-9 Smith Smith 79-73
Smith ended this with his first hard punch of the round. He stepped in and detonated a right on Alvarez’s chin. Alvarez was already falling back when Smith added a left. Alvarez was flat on his back half out under the bottom rope. He seemed to decided too late to scramble to his feet and was counted out. Losses to Sullivan Barrera and for the secondary WBA title to Dmitry Bivol had pushed Smith down the ratings but his points win over Jesse Hart and now this crushing victory over Alvarez makes a title shot in 2021 a distinct possibility. For Alvarez it could be the end. He showed little movement and too often stood in front of Smith being deluged with punches and not firing back.
Brant vs. Kopylenko
Brant well on his way to victory when Kopylenko is retired with a large swelling affecting his vision. A lively first round saw both firing their jabs with Brant quickly adding some hooks to the body and matching Kopylenko’s jabs to take the round. Kopylenko just could not deal with Brant’s jab in the second. Brant was firing quick and accurate shots and Kopylenko was slow and off target. Kopylenko was weak with his jabs in the third and throwing one punch at a time. Brant was drawing the jab and then getting into range and connecting with hooks. Kopylenko missed with a charge and almost went head first through the ropes. At the end of the round Kopylenko had heavy bruising under his left eye. Brant completely outboxed Kopylenko in the fourth and fifth, He was buzzing around popping Kopylenko with jabs then nipping in to land a quick burst of punches with Kopylenko hardly throwing anything in response. The swelling under Kopylenko’s left eye had grown and Kopylenko could hardly see so his corner pulled him out. Brant starting again after losing his secondary version of the WBA middleweight title. Two losses in a row for Kopylenko who lost a split decision to Steve Butler in May last year.
Rodriguez vs. Laureano
Rodriguez stops an over aggressive Laureano inside three minutes. Laureano decided to walk through Rodriguez’s punches to get inside. Rodriguez was letting fly with bunches of punches to head and body and after just one minute a strong combination dropped Laureano on his rump. He was up at four and after the count he again tried to batter down Rodriguez. He was having some success until a left and a right rocked him and three right floored him again. He beat the count but went down for a third time under another series of punches and the fight was waived off. The 25-year-old “Hammer Hands” from New Jersey was in theory moving up to ten rounds but instead registered his thirteenth win by KO.TKO.
Ragan vs. Alvarado
Former top amateur Ragan turns pro and scores a quick stoppage win. Southpaw Alvarado just could not cope with the speed of Ragan and a neck-snapping straight right dropped him. He made it to his feet but walked away gazing out over the ropes so the referee waived his hands to signal it was over. Ragan, 22, won two US National titles, a National Golden Gloves title and silver at the PanAmerican Games. He looks a sure bet to make it to the top in the pros. Alvarado just there as a sacrifice.
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Welter: Shawn Porter (31-3-1) W PTS 12 Sebastian Formella (22-1). Welter: Justin DeLoach (19-4) W TKO 1 Livan Navarro (11-1). Super Welter: Sebastian Fundora (15-0-1) W KO 6 Nathaniel Gallimore (21-5-1).
Porter vs. Formella
Porter in another league to Formella and he wins all the way to set up a title chance in 2021.
Porter was coming inside quickly behind a double jab and scoring to the body. He had Formella on the back foot. He was exerting plenty of pressure and letting fly with hooks when he caught Formella on the ropes. Formella scored with a nice right late in the round.
Score: 10-9 Porter
Porter was trying to overwhelm Formella with fierce attacks connecting with hooks and uppercuts. Formella made some space with his jab but Porter once again was all over him with hooks and uppercuts.
Score: 10-9 Porter Porter 20-18
Porter was continuing to apply pressure. He is too quick for Formella and is putting together rapid combinations switching to head and body. Formella was trying to get into the fight with good movement and his jab but the swarming attacks from Porter are just too much for him.
Score: 10-9 Porter Porter 30-27
Formella had a much better round. Porter was on the back foot looking to counter and that was giving Formella a chance to work with his jab. Porter was only attacking in burst and Formella did just enough to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Formella Porter 39-37
Porter upped the pace. He connected with a heavy right to the head and then launched frenzied attacks. He was getting through with punches from both hands and literally chasing Formella around the ring. Plenty of body punching from Porter must take its toll later
Score: 10-9 Porter Porter 49-46
Formella was not keeping Porter out. Porter was moving in behind a double jab and then throwing punches faster than Formella could block or duck and the German took some serious punishment.
Score: 10-9 Porter Porter 59-55
Porter rocked Formella a couple of times with rights but Formella was fighting back. Porter was still working hard on the body and after connecting with a big left hooks he had Formella rocking on the ropes at the bell
Score: 10-9 Porter Porter 69-64
Porter was alternating between boxing on the retreat scoring with counters and full on charges throwing so many punches so quickly that Formella was getting rocked time and again. Porter’s right hand counter over Formella’s jab was taking away Formella’s confidence in his main weapon.
Score: 10-9 Porter Porter 79-73
Porter dialled back his activity in this round spending most of the fight on the back foot. That allowed Formella to find the range with his jab and connect with a couple of rights. Whenever Porter burst into life he was firing punches through Formella’s defence scoring with rights to the head and left hooks to the body and doing just enough to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Porter Porter 89-82
After being fire and fury at the start of the fight Porter was now spending more time looking to draw Formella’s lead and springing to the attack. He did that in this round letting Formella come forward behind his jab. Porter was then bursting into life driving Formella back and across the ring with a series of hooks and uppercuts to head and body. To his credit Formella did not crumble but kept taking every chance he got to punch back
Score: 10-9 Porter Porter 99-91
Porter was content to box his way though most of this round. His hand speed was too much for Formella and Porter pierced his guard continually with jabs. Porter exploded into action a couple of times bombarding Formella with shots from all angles and then settled back to box for the rest of the round.
Score: 10-9 Porter Porter 109 100
Porter handed out more punishment in the last connecting with a blistering right to the head and left hook to the body to showcase his talent. Formella was under fire but fighting back hard at the end.
Score 10-9 Porter: Porter 119-109
Official Scores: Judge Lou Moret 120-108 Porter, Judge Pat Russell 120-108 Porter, Judge Zachary Young 120-108 Porter.
The scores tell the story. Formella was never in this fight with a chance at any stage. Porter’s hand speed, movement and combination punching were in a different class to Formella. This fight was both for the WBC Silver title and an IBF eliminator. Porter is No 1 with the WBC but this win will only have landed him the vacant No 2 spot with the IBF as Kudratillo Abduqaxorov is already No 1. Having lost to IBF/WBC champion Errol Spence on a split decision in September Porter seems assured of a return with Spence in 2012 for either belt. This was way too high a step up in quality of opposition for the 33-year-old Formella. He showed a strong jab, some good movement and plenty of guts but the truth is that he was outclassed.
DeLoach vs. Navarro
DeLoach gets a much needed win as he destroys Navarro in just over two minutes. Cuban Navarro came out throwing bombs looking to blast DeLoach away. DeLoach tried to box but Navarro’s wild attacks had him ducking and dodging. Navarro staggered DeLoach with a right but as he lunged forward he was leaving himself wide open to counters and a booming overhand right to the head sent him down heavily. Navarro made to his feet but was wobbly and when the action restarted DeLoach drove Navarro to the ropes and tagged him with some heavy head punches. Navarro went down on his side and after starting the count the referee saw he was not going to get to his feet and stopped the fight. De Loach, 26, had suffered three defeats in his last four fights against Nathaniel Gilmore, Jeison Rosario and Terrell Williams so he has a chance to rebuild. Navarro, 29, was remarkably crude for a former Elite level Cuban amateur and paid the price for his carelessness.
Fundora vs. Gallimore
The 6’5 ½” Fundora is a freakish super welterweight. His 80” reach and his southpaw style just add to the problem for his opponents as Gallimore found on the way to a sixth round stoppage loss. At 5’11” Gallimore’s tactics were simple he had to hustle Fundora to the ropes and keep him there. He had some success but Fundora was catching on the way in outfighting him inside and spearing him at distance. Gallimore managed to make the second round a brawl and did enough to take the round. Fundora was happy to fight inside with Gallimore in the third and fourth. He was using his height to lean down on Gallimore and in both rounds he was rocking Gallimore with hooks and uppercuts. Fundora battered Gillespie throughout the fifth with Gallimore spending most of the round pinned against the ropes as Fundora unloaded on him with punches from both hands. In the sixth Fundora raked Gallimore with punch after punch until the referee took pity on Gallimore and stopped the massacre. Fundora “The Towering Inferno” gets his tenth win by KO/TKO. Jamontay Clark had some answers to Fundora’s height and fought to a controversial draw with Fundora in August (one judge had Fundora winning 98-92) and in Jamaican-born Gallimore he outclassed a fighter who has wins over current IBF super welterweight champion Jeison Rosario and Justin DeLoach. Fourth loss in his last five fights for Gallimore,
Detroit, MI, USA: Super Middle: Vladimir Shishkin (11-0) W TKO 9 Oscar Riojas (21-14-1). Middle: Timur Kerefov (9-0) W PTS 8 Calvin Metcalf (10-5-1).
Shishkin vs. Riojas
In a show staged in the Kronk gym Kronk-based Russian Shishkin has too much of everything for limited but tough Riojas. Shishkin almost ended it early when he staggered Riojas with a solid left hook in the first round. Riojas survived that but was never in the fight. He was shaken again in the second and rocked badly by a big right in the eighth. He was given a brief recovery period after complaining of a punch to the back of the head but that only delayed the end for a couple of more minutes. Shishkin landed a straight right, a candidate for punch of the week, which sent Riojas down heavily. He made it to his feet but was taking more punishment and the referee stopped the fight. Shishkin, the WBC No 10 makes it ten wins by KO/TKO. He was a member of the Russian Boxing Team in the WBS and has a win over tough French world light heavyweight title challenger Najib Mohammedi. Fourth inside the distance loss for Riojas but they have all come against good quality opposition.
Kerefov vs. Metcalf
Kerefov gets unanimous decision over Metcalf. Metcalf tried to pressurise Kerefov but the Russian was scoring with crisp counters and gradually wore Metcalf down. He was putting Metcalf under more pressure over the late rounds but despite being badly shaken in the sixth and carrying a cut Metcalf fought back hard and lasted the full eight round. Scores 80-72 twice and 78-74 for Kerefov. The 30-year-old Russian was an Elite level amateur and is progressing well. Metcalf can still boast he has never lost inside the distance and gave Kerefov eight useful rounds of work.
Bucharest, Romania: Super Welter: Flavius Biea (19-1) W DISQ 4 Teodoro Nikolov (5-36-4) Biea gets expected win but some confusion over the ending. Bulgarian Nikolov manage to hustle Biea off his game plan with an aggressive start hurting the local fighter with a pair of rights in the first round but it went downhill from there. Biea used his superior skills and a powerful jab to outbox Nikolov without ever really looking impressive. The referee deducted a point from Nikolov for holding in the fourth and repeatedly warned him for ducking too low and diving in with his head down. When the bell rang to end the fourth the referee just walked to Nikolov’s corner and told his team he had disqualified Nikolov for his head work. Seventh win in a row for Biea but all against very mediocre opponents. Now only one win in his last twenty-nine fights for Nikolov.
Torrelavega, Spain: Middle: Sergio Martinez (52-3-2) W KO 7 Jose Fandino (15-7). Middle: Sergio Garcia (32-0) W PTS 10 Pablo Mendoza (9-5). Feather: Kiko Martinez (41-9-2) W RTD 2 Noe Martinez (23-11-2). Light: Jon Fernandez (21-1) W Ruben Rodriguez (8-5-1). Super Feather: Bernard Torres (12-0) W PTS 8 Alex Cazares (16-12).
Martinez vs. Fandino
Martinez returns to the ring with a stoppage of Fandino.
Martinez eased his way into the fight. From the first round he was holding both hands at hip level firing jabs up through Fandino’s guard. Fandino staged an occasional attack but Martinez was able to slip them and counter. Fandino spent most of each round with his back to the ropes behind a high guard but Martinez was piercing Fandino’s guard with right jabs. Fandino connected with a hard right at the end of the second which fired him up for a short while. Martinez began to put some combinations together over the third and fourth and was easily dodging the occasional swipe from Fandino. The fifth saw Martinez still standing in front of Fandino with his gloves resting on his thighs before slotting punches past Fandino’s guard. Fandino showed a lot more aggression and had enough success to make it a close round. Martinez stepped on the gas in the sixth. For the first time he was staying inside and trading punches. He trapped Fandino in a corner and connected with a couple of body punches, Fandino dropped to a knee but seemed to indicate he thought Martinez’s punches were low. He was up quickly and then had his best spell of the fight as he stood and exchanged punches but Martinez drove him to a corner again and landed a series of punches as the round ended. Fandino came forward in the seventh. Martinez chose to stand inside again and exchange punches allowing Fandino to land some clubbing shots. Martinez connected with a series of short left hooks to the body forcing Fandino back and then drove home one more left to the body. Fandino fell to his knees and was counted out. A win for Martinez but one that did not tell us much. Fandino was willing but limited but provided no real measure of how much Martinez has left. At 45 and in his first fight for six years there were some signs of the Martinez of old but not many and unfortunately I think his days of being to compete at the top level are over. Fandino did his job in showing enough resistance to give Martinez a few rounds of work but was way out of his league and now he will go back to his gardening and masonry work having had the honour of being in the ring with a great former champion.
Garcia vs. Mendoza
Garcia much too talented and too big for Mendoza and outpoints the game Nicaraguan. Garcia had height and reach over Mendoza and was able to score constantly with his jab and straight rights. Mendoza showed plenty of fight but had difficulty getting past Garcia’s jab and had to walk though some hooks and uppercuts to get into range. When he did get there he was able to land some crisp left hooks to the body. Garcia was on the front foot looking to break Mendoza down mixing straight punches and hooks but he is not really a knockout puncher and Mendoza was never in any serious trouble. As the rounds passed Mendoza was spending more and more time with his back to the ropes but Garcia just could not totally subdued him and to the end Mendoza was still rumbling forward whenever he could. He made Garcia work for his win which was unexpected in view of Mendoza’s lack of experience and his first round stoppage by John Docherty in February. A good workout for Garcia. Scores 99-92, 98-92 and 98-93 for Garcia. The European champion is probably the most accomplished boxer in Spain right now and as WBC No 2 he is hoping for an eliminator against No 1 Erickson Lubin but there is also the possibility of a huge domestic fight with Kerman Lejarraga. For Mendoza, a Spanish-based Nicaraguan, a third loss in a row.
Martinez vs. Raygoza
Martinez gets victory when Raygoza’s corner pulls their man out before the start of the third round. The former IBF champion engaged in his usual war with Mexican southpaw Raygoza. They were knocking lumps of each other in the first with a clash of heads looking to have opened a cut on the left eyelid of Raygoza. Martinez bombarded Raygoza with punches in the second and although Raygoza was willing to stand and trade Martinez was taking control. The Mexican did not come out for the third round due to that cut which the referee decided had been caused by a punch giving Martinez the victory. The former IBF super bantam champion has faced the best including Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, Scott Quigg and Josh Warrington and was stopped in five rounds by Gary Russell in a challenge for the WBC title in May last year. At 34 he shows no sign of even considering retirement. First fight for Raygoza since being stopped in eight rounds by Ryan Garcia in December 2017 and his fifth loss by KO/TKO.
Torres vs. Cazares
Filipino-born southpaw Torres continues to show improvement. He boxed solidly with strong, accurate jabbing and some good body punching. Mexican Cazares was competitive early but then tired and Torres took the unanimous verdict. Torres, 24, is managed by Sergio Martinez and is a Norwegian citizen. As an amateur he was Norwegian and Nordic champion and represented Norway at the European Under 22 championships. Cazares took Kiko Martinez the full ten rounds in December and has not yet lost inside the distance.
Kissimmee, FL, USA: Light Fly: Axel Aragon (14-3-1) W PTS 10 Saul Juarez (25-12-2). Feather: Henry Lebron (13-0) W PTS 8 Luis Porozo (15-4). Super Light: Omar Rosario (1-0) W PTS 4 Solon Staley (1-5-1)
Aragon vs. Juarez
In an all-Mexican contest Aragon wins his first title as a pro as he easily decisions former world title challenger Juarez. Aragon made a great start buckling Juarez’s legs with a right to the head in the first and only the bell deprived Aragon of an early win. Aragon took the second round and then had Juarez in deep trouble again with a right uppercut in the third. Aragon continued to pound Juarez with punches over the fourth and fifth but Juarez just would not crumble. The pace slackened over the sixth and seventh which gave Juarez some breathing space. Aragon was tiring in the eighth from his frantic efforts to put Juarez away and Juarez came on strong over the ninth and tenth but could not put a dent into Aragon’s lead. Despite the strong late effort from Juarez the scores were 100-90 twice and 98-92 for Aragon the clear winner. The 20-year-old from Ensenada lifts the previously vacant WBA Fedelatin title. Despite losing a wide decision to Wilfredo Mendez in September Vega was then given a return with Mendez in October last year after Mendez had become WBO minimum champion and in the return contest he lost a narrow technical decision. Juarez has had shots at both the WBC minimum and light fly titles and although he lost his last two fights-to Ganigan Lopez and Jonathan Gonzalez- both were in close decisions.
Lebron vs. Porozo
Puerto Rican southpaw prospect Lebron adds another win as he outpoints Ecuadorian Porozo. A masterful performance from Lebron as he totally outboxed Porozo. The Ecuadorian has an awkward style and he was looking to confuse and confound Lebron with some rough stuff mixed in. Lebron stayed cool shrugging off a cut over his left eye and never really seemed to or needed to hit top gear. Porozo lost a point in the sixth for punches to the back of the head and never posed a threat to the poised Puerto Rican. Scores 80-71 twice and 79-72. The 22-year-old Lebron , a Puerto Rican Youth and Senior champion and Pan American Youth champion, is being exposed a number of different styles. Porozo was one of Ecuador’s most successful amateurs but is finding life tough in the pros being 1-4 in his last 5 fights, all against high level opponents.
Rosario vs. Staley
Top Rank adds another outstanding prospects to their roster in six-time national champion Rosario who won titles at Junior, Youth and Senior level. The 5’10” Rosario towered over the 5’5” Staley and he eased himself into the pro ranks winning every round. Scores 40-36 for Rosario on the three cards. Rosario, 22, was preparing for the Tokyo Olympics but when they were cancelled he decided to turn pro. Staley just someone to sit in the other corner really.
Guerande, France: Middle: David Papot (24-0-1) W PTS 8 Francis Tchoffo (19-17-1). Super Welter: Jordy Weiss (27-0) W PTS 6 Issa Mourzaev (10-14-4).
Papot vs. Tchoffo
Southpaw Papot returns with a win as he takes a unanimous decision over survivor Tchoffo. He floored Tchoffo in the first but Tchoffo used his survival skills from there to disappointing the local fans but to balance that he also gives Papot some ring time. The down side for Papot is an injury, a suspected fracture, to his left hand suffered in the fourth round. Once the hand heals Papot, the WBA No 9, will be looking to fight in the USA where he drew with James McGirt in June last year. Cameroon-born Tchoffo has never lost by KO/TKO but has been unsuccessful in two shots at the French title.
Weiss vs. Mourzaev
EU champion “Gypsy” Weiss boxes his way to his twenty-seventh victory as he decisions Mourzaev. It was an interesting contest as Mourzaev despite his poor record is a neat boxer. Unanimous victory for Weiss who is hoping to get a shot at the winner of the European title fight between champion David Avanesyan and Josh Kelly. Mourzaev a deceptive 3-9-1 in his most recent outings.
Porto Viro, Italy: Middle: Etinosa Oliha (12-0) W PTS 10 Andrea Roncon (14-5-1). Oliha makes a successful first defence of the national title as he decisions Roncon. Oliha boxed his way to victory. He preferred to fight on the outside with Roncon taking the fight to the champion and pressing hard. There were some fierce exchanges and Roncon although behind was very much in the fight until the strength and accuracy of Oliha opened a huge gap between them. Over the second half of the fight Oliha was in control hurting and slowing Roncon with an array of body punches and vicious uppercuts and despite a big effort from Roncon the champion won by a large margin. Scores 100-90, 99-92 and 98-92. The 22-year-old Oliha is of Nigerian parents. He was a top level amateur compiling a 55-13-2 record and will be looking for a shot at the EU title next year. Roncon had home advantage and was more competitive than the scores indicate but he had never been past six rounds in a fight and that was a big factor here.
Hermosillo, Mexico: Super Feather: Mauricio Lara (19-2) W TKO 8 Jesus Quijada (16-7-2). Super Bantam: Noe Robles (24-1) W KO 4 Guillermo Rodriguez (15-3).
Lara vs. Quijada
“Bronco” Lara wears Quijada down and finally finishes him at the end of the eighth round. Quijano was boxing cleverly. He was finding gaps for his jab as Lara marched in and with Lara swinging wildly at times he was connecting with some hard counters. Lara kept rolling forward and slowly the pressure began to pay off as he was finding the target on a tiring Quijada in the sixth. As Lara began to land with long lefts in the seventh Quijada’s earlier composure disappeared and he was rocked late in the round by a right to the head. Quijada was cut on his right eyelid and was inspected by the doctor who gave Quijada the clearance to continue and then smeared something on the cut as if he was Quijada’s second. The referee deducted a point from Lara for low punches he had landed in the seventh. It made no difference as Lara submerged Quijada under a torrent of punches until he dropped and the referee stopped the fight. Ten wins in a row for Lara and either 14 or 15 inside the distance. He scored a one round stoppage victory on a show last month when there was no commissioner present so it shows as a No Decision on BoxRec record. Local fighter Quijada loses inside the distance for the first time.
Robles vs. Rodriguez
Robles was too quick for Rodriguez and took control of the fight from the first round. He was connecting with some brutal body punches. Rodriguez was firing some crude counters of his own but Robles walked through them. In the fourth Robles forced Rodriguez into a corner and as Rodriguez shaped to throw a left Robles beat him to the punch with a thunderous right to the head. Rodriguez dipped at the knees and was on his way down when the referee caught him and stopped the fight. That makes it 20 wins by KO/TKO for the 22-year-old local prospect but all against moderate opposition. Rodriguez had won 12 of his last 13 fights and he suffers his first inside the distance defeat.
Tlalnepantla, Mexico: Middle: Juan Carlos Raygosa (17-15-3) W PTS 10 Dauren Yeleussinov (8-1-1).
Surprise result here as Mexican journeyman Raygosa decisions Kazak to win the vacant WBC International title Scores 96-94 twice for Raygosa and 96-94 for Yeleussinov. Yeleussinov was to have fought a couple of weeks ago and when that was cancelled this one was arranged. The plan was for Yeleussinov to get a win and a title but Raygosa tore up the script. Yeleussinov, twice Kazak amateur champion is the elder brother of Olympic gold medallist Daniyar but he is finding it not as easy as expected in the pros having been held to a draw by novice Devaun Lee in 2016
Magdeburg, Germany: Heavy: Kevin Johnson (35-17-1) W KO 7 Yoan Hernandez (29-2). Light: Heavy: Tom Dzemski (15-0) W PTS 8 Michael Eifert (6-1). Heavy: Peter Kadiru (9-0) W KO 2 Muhammed Ali Durmaz (29-29). Cruiser: Juergen Uldedaj (12-0) W KO 2 Robert Grguric (4-2). Light Heavy: Robin Krasniqi (50-6) W TKO 6 Stanislav Eschner (14-15-1).
Johnson vs. Hernandez
Johnson scuppers Hernandez’s plans for resurrecting his career as he steamrollers Hernandez to defeat in seven rounds. The fight was staged at walking pace with Johnson, much the heavier man, coming forward poking out his jab and Hernandez retreating stabbing out his jab and moving inside to land a left hook and then holding. In the second and third Hernandez was unable to stop Johnson marching forward and Johnson was able to pin Hernandez to the ropes landing some heavy clubbing punches with Hernandez doing too much holding. Johnson had Hernandez down twice in the fourth. The first saw Johnson trapping Hernandez against the ropes and Hernandez falling sideward’s to the canvas with the referee deciding it was a slip. Johnson kept up the pressure and after a series of punches Hernandez dropped to the canvas and this time was given a count. After the count Johnson had Hernandez reeling again but ran out of time. A clash of heads in the fifth saw Johnson cut over his left eye. He passed a doctor’s inspection and continued to outmuscle a very tired Hernandez who lost his mouthguard as Johnson hustled and harried him. Hernandez was shaken by a right to the head in the sixth and two lefts and a right to the head dropped him in the seventh and he was counted out. Disaster for the 35-year-old former IBF cruiserweight champion and this loss must have crushed any hopes he had of a successful return. I have been very critical of the 40-year-old Johnson in the past but right from the opening bell he fought with a purpose and focus that he has not shown for a long time. He has to be careful as he has earned good money as an imported no threat opponent but if he performs like this the work could dry up.
Dzemski vs. Eifert
Dzemski gets a majority verdict over Eifert in a clash of stalemates. Both of these boxers are members of SES Team Germany so they know each other well and they put on an excellent fast-paced skilful contest. There was never much between them at any stage of the fight. Dzemski used his longer reach to work well with his jab in the first and cracked Eifert with a right cross in the second. Eifert put Dzemski under heavy pressure in the third and connected with some heavy head punches in the fourth and fifth. Dzemski had his jab working again in the sixth as they both showed the effects of the fast pace. A stronger finish by Dzemski saw him take the seventh and he outworked Eifert in the last. Scores 77-76 twice for Dzemski and 76-76. Great little scrap and a pity there had to be a loser. Dzemski, 23, wins the IBF Youth title. He is trained by his father Dirk who boxed professionally and retired with a 27-2 record. Eifert, 22, is a former German Under-22 champion who was a successful competitor in the Bundesliga boxing.
Kadiru vs. Ali Durmaz
No problems for Kadiru here as he disposes of Ali Durmaz in two rounds. Kadiru spent the first round padding after the retreating Ali Durmaz before catching up with him and landing a few punches just before the bell. Early in the second he trapped Ali Durmaz in a corner and threw a bunch of punches. A left hook connected but the others missed and Ali Durmaz dropped to his hands and knees and just stayed there to be counted out. Fourth win by KO/TKO for the 23-year-old from Hamburg but a predictable ending. Ali Durmaz has lost 24 fights by KO/TKO and won 27 the same way so only 7 of his 58 fights have gone the distance. He was 7-1 in his last 8 fights but those seven defeated opponents had just 5 wins between them
Uldedaj vs. Grguric
In his first fight since May 2019 Albanian prospect Uldedaj brushes aside German-based Croat Grguric. After pressing hard in the first round southpaw Uldedaj ended it in the second with a hurtful body punch which sent Grguric down and he was unable to beat the count. The 22-year-old Uldedaj won bronze medals at both the European Junior and Youth Championships. Grguric never in with a chance.
Krasniqi vs. Eschner
Not everyone’s return failed in Magdeburg. In his first fight for eighteen months Krasniqi shed some rust with a sixth round stoppage of Eschner. Krasniqi was content to box on the back foot and counter the aggressive Eschner and he shook Eschner with a left hook in the first. Krasniqui’s timing was a bit off but he connected with a left hook and a right to the body with Escher beckoning him to come back with more. Krasniqi did so landing a peach of a left uppercut and a right to the head. Eschner continued to get nailed by uppercuts but he shook off the punishment and was forcing Krasniqi to raise his pace. They stood and exchanged punches in the fifth with a left hook from Krasniqi knocking Eschner’s mouthguard flying. It looked as though Eschner might last to the final bell but a ferocious attack mixing body shots and uppercuts from Krasniqi had him reeling and rocking and the referee made a timely stoppage. The 33-year-old Kosovon-born Krasniqi, a former European champion who lost in light heavyweight title shots against Nathan Cleverly and Juergen Braehmer, was having his first fight since losing his European title against Stefan Haertel in May 2019 and he looked sharp. Eschner showed plenty of determination here. His role is defined by twelve of his fifteen losses coming when facing unbeaten opponents.
Ekaterinburg, Russia: Super Welter: Magomed Kurbanov (20-0) W KO 1 Ilya Ochkin (6-2). Zaur Abdullaev (13-1) W KO 7 Pavel Malikov (16-1-1).
Kurbanov vs. Ochkin
Kurbanov blasts out Ochkin in just 82 seconds. Ochkin had shown he was going to take the fight to Kurbanov and that proved a huge mistake, As Ochkin bundled forward Kurbanov met him with a well-timed short right to the head which sent Ochkin crashing to the canvas and he was counted out. Kurbanov has put together a run of impressive wins twelve of them coming inside the distance. The local-based “Black Lion”, a former World Junior champion, is rated WBA 5/WBO 7/WBC 11 and I anticipate that he will fight for a world title next year. Russian based Kazak Ochkin was way out of his depth.
Abdullaev vs. Malikov
In front of his home fans and in his first fight since losing to Devin Haney for the interim WBC title in September Abdullaev massacres a too gutsy Malikov scoring seven knockdowns. Abdullaev used a strong jab and counters to the body to build an early lead over the first three rounds. Malikov was competitive but lacking the power to match Abdullaev. From the fourth it was just one knockdown after another mostly from body punches. Malikov was down twice in the fourth, once in the fifth, and three times in the sixth. He showed tremendous courage as he got up each time and fought back but a left to the body in the seventh was the finisher and he was counted out. The Haney fight came much too soon for the 26-year-old Russian and the road to another title shot started here. Malikov was knocked out in eight rounds by former IBO champion Daud Jordan in 2018 but had reinstated himself with points victory over former IBF title challenger Isa Chaniev last October.
Kazan, Russia: Cruiser: Aleksei Papin (12-1) W TKO 6 Ruslan Fayer (25-2). Super Feather: Albert Batygraziev (2-0) W TKO 10 Erzhan Turgumbekov (8-1-1). Super Light: Kharito Agrba (3-0) W PTS 10 Soslan Tedeev (20-2).
Papin vs. Fayer
A minor upset here as Papin returns from his first loss as a pro with stoppage of Fayer. In the opening round Fayer was sharper slotting jabs home and finding gaps for rights. Fayer was busy, busy in the second and third. He was firing quick, light punches, well more light taps than punches, and then bursts of hooks with a bit more power. Papin was coming forward behind a high guard and starting to find the range with some body shots. Fayer continued to throw more and land more than Papin in the fourth and fifth but now Papin was getting past Fayer’s light jabs and landing some heavy single shots. Papin rocked Fayer with a right to the head at the start of the sixth. Another hard right to the side of the head sent Fayer tumbling to the floor. He was up at two but was on shaky legs. He walked away from the referee to a neutral corner. The referee followed and asked Fayer to walk forward. Fayer did but the referee was not convinced and waived the fight over. Fayer protested but not with any conviction. Papin had lost a majority verdict against Ilunga Makabu for the WBC Silver title in August last year and now that Makabu is WBC champion Papin obviously wants a return and deserves one on this showing, Fayer was No 1 with the IBF so he has blown any chance of a fight against whoever wins the long since forgotten WBSS tournament (it has been 14 months since the semi-finals). He wants a return but does not have a strong claim after this loss.
Batyrgaziev vs. Turgumbekov
Southpaw Batyrgaziev has a war with Turgumbekov before winning on a late stoppage, Batyrgaziev took an early lead but over the middle rounds Turgumbekov took control and then Batyrgaziev came on strongly at the finish. He had Turgumbekov hurt but then threw Turgumbekov to the canvas so no count. When the action started again Batyrgaziev landed a series of savage punches and the fight was stopped. Batyrgaziev has had a meteoric rise. He started in kickboxing but after watching the 2016 Olympics he decided to switch to boxing. He won the Russian champion three years in a row. In 2017 he beat Olympian Vladimir Nikitin and in the 2018 championships he beat European silver medallist Gabil Mammadov. He lost to Cuban Lazaro Alvarez in the quarter-finals of the 2019 world championships but later in the year won his third Russian title. He qualified for Tokyo but then the pandemic intervened. He won a WBA Asian title in his first pro fight. A bright future ahead. Kyrgyzstan boxer Turgumbekov gave Batyrgaziev a harder test than expected.
Agrba vs. Soslan
Southpaw Agrba overcomes injury to outpoint Tedeev. Agrba was well in front after five rounds but then injured his right hand and boxed the second half of the able only to use his left but still took the unanimous decision. The Georgian-born Russian was World University champion and twice won silver at the Russian Championships but lost to England’s Pat McCormack in the final of the 2019 European Games. Tedeev had won his last seven fights.
Redditch, England: Light Heavy: Shakan Pitters (14-0) W PTS 12 Chad Sugden (11-2-1). Cruiser: Isaac Chamberlain (11-1) W TKO 3 Anthony Woolery (2-3).
Pitters wins the vacant British title with a wide unanimous points victory over Sugden. Pitters is 6’6” tall and that advantage was one that Sugden was never able to overcome. Pitters was able to work on the outside with Sugden struggling to get close enough to be effective. Pitters is not a big puncher and other than a split lip Sugden was never really in any trouble but he could not apply enough pressure to wear down Pitters. Pitters took no chances mostly sticking to a jab-right cross offence and although he rocked Sugden with a right in the eleventh he was always going to have to go the distance for his win. Scores 118-112 twice and 119-110 for Pitters. The Birmingham fighter scored a useful victory over Dec Spellman for the English title but there are stiffer challenge ahead. Sugden was 7-0-1 in his last eight fights.
Fight of the week (Significance): Alex Povetkin’s win over Dillian Whyte has shaken up the heavyweight ranks.
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Tom Dzemski vs. Michael was a close fought entertaining fight.
Fighter of the week: Alex Povetkin for showing his career is not over yet.
Punch of the week: Three good right hand candidates in the driven right from Vladimir Shishkin that dropped Oscar Riojas, the short right from Magomed Kurbanov that put out the lights for Ilya Ochkin and the thunderous right from Joe Smith that finished Eleider Alvarez but the award has to go to the perfect left hook from Povetkin that ended his fight with Dillian Whyte.
Upset of the week: Kevin Johnson was supposed to lose to Yoan Pablo Hernandez but he rubbished the script but again it is Povetkin’s win over Whyte that gets the vote.
Prospect watch: Only one fight in the pro ranks but Duke Ragan has the amateur credentials to make him a top prospect.
Certainly a pick-up in action this week
One comeback sees a degree of success and one a disaster. Sergio Martinez won but his age was showing and Yoan Pablo Hernandez should put the gloves away again and it is time for Eleider Alvarez to do the same.
Strange to see a doctor smearing a substance over a fighters cut after examining him and clearing him to continue-isn’t that the seconds job and one that should not be done when the doctor is just there to assess the cut?
You don’t find too many fight records like that of Muhammad Ali Durmaz: 29 wins 27 by KO/TKO, 29 losses 24 by KO/TKO so of his 58 fights only seven have gone the distance.
Good to see a boxing show at the Kronk gym a hallowed venue
In this series we've already looked at poor judging, time keeper errors and a very early stoppage. Today we look at a different issue, a rather baffling technical decision. We know technical decisions are often a bit of an oddity, and are very inconsistent, but this was one of the most baffling and was so clearly suspect that it's a shame it was hidden on a very obscure Thai card when it deserved much more attention than it got.
Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (22-0-1, 9) Vs Ben Mananquil (9-0, 2)
For this Controversial Clash, we need to roll the clock back to July 2013 for a bout between future world title challenger Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym, from Thailand, and Filipino Ben Mananquil. On paper this looked like the next step forward for the Thai, who was waiting for a big fight and ticking over until he got it. For Mananquil the bout was a big step up and his first outside of the Philippines.
The unbeaten Thai fighter, also known as Kwanpichit 13 Rien Express and Prasitsak Phaprom was 31 years old, and for a Flyweight a loss could well end his dreams of getting a world title fight. He had been a professional since 2010 and had padded his record with novices and regional journeymen type. Despite his competition being low level he had claimed the WBO Oriental Super Flyweight and Flyweight titles and was climbing up the WBO rankings on the back of that.
At 21 years old Mananquil looked like he was being the next Filipino tossed in to lose to a Thai in Thailand. It's something we see regularly and sadly is part of the problem with both the Filipino scene and Thai scene. It turned out, however, that Mananquil hadn't read the script and the youngster saw the bout as a winnable one.
After a few moments of posturing, from both men, the bout seemed to fall into a pattern of Kwanpichit slowly stalking Mananquil who boxed on the back foot waiting for a mistake. When that mistake came he turned the tables and battered the local on the ropes, unloading until the Thai went down. Mananquil continued his assault when Kwanpichit recovered to his feet, with the Thai managing, just, to survive the round. In many other countries the bout would have been stopped with Kwanpichit being saved as he took a worrying amount of head shots. With the help of kind referee the Thai managed to hold, survive and see his way through the round.
Honestly it could have been waved off several times in the first 3 minutes.
We then had round 2 and Mananquil could still smell blood, taking the fight to the Thai. It was a mostly dominant round for the Filipino youngster, who landed all the shots of note, whilst Kwanpichit again tried to survive the onslaught.
The wild aggression from Mananquil ended up causing a rather minor headclash which left Kwanpichit with a small cut on his right eye. It was the kind of cut that many fighters shrug off and fight with. The doctor and referee however knew they were there to protect Kwanpichit's unbeaten record, and this was a chance for them to do that. Rather than letting the bout go on, as they should, they quickly stopped the bout.
The cut was that small that by the time Kwanpichit made his way to his own corner, after the stoppage, there wasn't any sign of a bloody cut. It was, but a mere scratch.
As a result of the cut the bout ended in a 2nd round technical draw, extending the unbeaten records for both men. Later down the line Kwanpichit ended up with two sizeable pay days for facing Zou Shiming. Neither of those bouts are likely had he lost here, like he probably would have, if not for the doctor and referee.
There are a bunch of fighters who have become favourites for this series and today we look at a brilliant bout featuring two heroes of the Closet Classic series, as we go back to the 1990's for an often ignored war between a brilliant Korean and a legendary Mongolian. Both of these men have featured in numerous Closet Classic articles are with good reason, they are great fun to watch!
Yong Soo Choi (21-2, 13) Vs Lakva Sim (5-0, 4)
In October 1995 Korean warrior Yong Soo Choi travelled to Argentina, where he stopped Victor Hugo Paz to become the WBA Super Featherweight champion. After wining the belt he defended it against Yamato Mitani, twice, and Orlando Soto. Although not the prettiest fighter from a technical point of the Choi was a bull like warrior, who was incredibly physical, let his hands go happily, and was essentially a war monger in the ring. It was rare for a Choi fight to be anything short of intense, and that was quickly making him a star in Korea. Coming into this bout he was riding a 15 fight unbeaten run, going on for close to 5 years.
Lakva Sim on the other hand was a brilliant Mongolian amateur who turned professional in December 1995 and was raced through the rankings. He had won a PABA Lightweight title on his debut, then dropped down in weight to claim the PABA Super Featherweight title just a few short weeks later. After just 5 bouts he was then given a shot at Choi and the WBA Super Featherweight title. By this point he had been a professional for around 14 months and had just 30 rounds of action to his name. His team, and the fighter himself, didn't fear anyone and Sim's amateur background, as well as impressive performances against the likes of Noree Jockygym, made it seem like he was already ready for a world title fight.
We knew, before the bout, that both guys were physically strong, powerful and aggressive. They weren't out and out brawlers, but were technically solid aggressive fighters who loved battling on the inside and had styles that would gel.
Straight from the off the two men managed to prove the pre-fight perceptions right as they went to war, fighting on the inside with bombs being exchanged almost immediately. Choi, the champion, was the more aggressive in the opening round but the stone faced challenger didn't take long to move through the gears himself and by the mid point of round 2 he was starting to tag the champion with more success.
From there on the bout took off and both men began to step it up, with round 3 being a sensational all out inside war between fighters willing to take a shot to land one. As we went through the fight the action swung one way, then the other, as the two continued to land heavy shots in an attempt to break the other down. Not only was this amazing to watch, but for the most part the inside action was allowed to continue and flow with out stoppages and clinches. This meant we had very little need for the referee, a young looking Tony Weeks in one of his first world title fights.
If you like two tough guys trying to bludgeoning each other with heavy shots up close in a phone booth war this is a must watch. It was brutal and less fighters would have been ruined by the type of punishment they took here. Brutal and brilliant violence.
By Eric Armit
It has been a good week/bad week in boxing. The Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Teo Lopez fight will now go ahead at MGM Grand on 17 October. We know who Saul Alvarez’s next opponent will be, there are some more green shoots of recovery emerging and we have gone a whole week without any of the sanctioning bodies inventing a new title although the WBC is investigation the need for a new division. On the down side boxing in the Philippines took a big hit when ALA Boxing decided to pull out after 35 years of being a major force in boxing there and some proposed fights have fallen by the wayside.
Lomachenko showed how much he wanted the Lopez fight and what he was willing to do to get the deal done. He agreed to reduce his cut from $3.5 million to $3.25 million with that $250,000 cut going to boost Lopez purse from $1.25 million to $1.5 million. Both fighters will finish up with more than those amounts when ancillaries are added in. Lomachenko’s move puts to shame those fighters whose ego has seen them walk away from a big fight rather than cut a deal. Bob Arum has said it will not be a PPV fight. He is concerned that with so many people losing their jobs due to COVID-19 that there may a reluctance to pay the PPV fee. I am not so sure. This is a fight that every boxing fan would want to see and if people want something bad enough they will find the money but Arum knows this business better than anyone else and if he feels he can make money out of this fight working with ESPN then even I am not dumb enough to question him.
Just as a contrast Top Rank won the bidding for the vacant WBO featherweight title fight between Emanuel Navarrete and Jessie Magdaleno with a bid of $250,000. They were the sole bidders.
It’s a good sign to see a big heavyweight fight as Dillian Whyte and Alex Povetkin clash on Saturday in Eddie Hearn’s back garden. It is for the interim WBC title as a sop to Whyte who has almost grown old in the WBC No 1 position. I can’t think of any boxer who has been rated No 1 in any division and yet gone almost three years without getting a title fight (he was installed as No 1 in November 2017). The WBC are fooling themselves if they think that this interim title and a Diamond belt are in anyway compensation for the disgraceful way Whyte has been treated.
Green shoots! Boxing has been given the go ahead in South Africa but with strict provisions laid down. Rodney Berman has a card scheduled for 10 October topped by a return fight between super welterweights Boyd Allen and Brandon Thysse scheduled for 10 October. These two fought a draw in May last year. He is also targeting early December for another show.
Another encouraging sign is Hennessy Sports staging their first post-virus card in Redditch on Saturday topped by a British title fight between light heavyweights Shakan Pitters and Chad Sugden and this will be shown live and free on terrestrial TV.
Returning is not an easy road for many promoters. With the additional cost of complying with the condition laid down by national governments and no attendance or TV breaking even is going to be tough or at times impossible.
The proposed unification fight between bantamweight champions Naoya Inoue and John Riel Casimero has fallen through. Bob Arum advised that the schedule for the fight was compromised by the COVID-19 restrictions which had seen the US Embassy in Japan closed making it impossible for Inoue to get a visa. Casimero will now defend his WBO title against Ghana’s Duke Micah on September 28 as part of the show at the Mohegan Sun featuring Charlo twins Jermall and Jermell and Mario Barrios in world title fights. I guess Inoue’s attitude to the fight falling through would be “no sweat”. He has worked with a Japanese company to develop a sauna suit to help with weight making. No news as to whether David Benavidez has placed an order for one. Top Rank are now aiming for Inoue to defend his IBF and WBA bantam titles against Jason Moloney which is good match.
Other fights that have slipped away include the WBC/IBF light heavyweight title defence for Artur Beterbiev against IBF No 1 Meng Fanlong which was to have taken place on 25 September With Fanlong pulling out there is talk that either IBF No 6 Adam Deines or No 9 Igor Mikhalkin may be in the other corner. It is interesting that Deines, who was expected to fight on the SES card in Magdeburg on Saturday, is no longer on the card. The 3 October IBF eliminator between Lee Selby and Australian George Kambosos is back on the table after Kambosos refused to accept a proposal from Eddie Hearn of a cut in their previously agreed purse from $150,000 to $100,000. The IBF may now call for purse bids. Daniel Dubois fight of 19 August is still on but instead of Erik Pfeiffer Dubois will now face Dutchman Ricardo Snijders who has an 18-1 record. The downside to Snijders is that he is not a real heavyweight. Most of his fights have been at cruiser and in May last year he was floored and lost a wide points decision to Joel Tambwe Djeko for the IBO Inter-Continental cruiserweight title. He was 213 ½ lbs for a fight in September but that looks to be a career high weight.
The news of ALA’s closure is a big blow for boxing in the Philippines. Business man Tony Aldeguer set up ALA Boxing back in 1985 and helped develop the careers of many of the top fighters from the Philippines such as world champions Donnie Nietes and Milan Melindo and fighters such as Z Gorres, AJ Banal, Rey Bautista and Michael Domingo. ALA had a good team employing former world title challenger Edito (Ala) Villamor and his brother Edmund as trainers. The impact of COVID-19 and the end of their working relationships with their broadcasting network made it impossible for ALA to continue and I wonder if there will be other causalities. ALA fighters are now all free agents including world rated Albert Pagara and Nietes a four division world champion with a record of 17-0-2 in world title fights and just one loss in his forty-seven fights with the loss being a split decision back in 2004. At 38 Nietes needs a new promoter and some contests. He has not fought since December 2018 and relinquished the WBO super fly title in February 2019.
Another piece of bad news was to hear one of Manny Pacquiao’s advisors talking up a fight between Manny and Conor McGregor saying that nine out of ten Filipino’s wanted the fight. Not sure what that says about fight fans in the Philippines. It will probably sell but as a finale to Manny’s career it stinks. Manny is working hard on his political duties. He is involved in an investigation into the alleged part played by the Philippines Bureau of Customs and Excise into a shipment of $126 million of illegal drugs from China.
The WBC should send a thank you card to David Benavidez. When he lost his WBC super middleweight title on the scales he opened the door for the WBC to nominate Saul Alvarez and No 1 Avni Yildirim for the vacant title. It gives the WBC a big sanctioning fee and a high profile fight. Yildirim became No1 with the WBC for losing a disputed decision to Anthony Dirrell and has not fought since February 2019! Of course Alvarez is the holder of the secondary WBA a title and the ridiculous WBC Franchise title but I assume he will relinquish the WBA title as you can hardly be the WBC full champion and the secondary WBA champion-even our sport can’t be that stupid. I need to stop saying the sanction bodies can’t get even more stupid as they seem to be taking those words as a challenge.
The fact that the WBC are reviewing the need for a new division for fighters weighing between 200 and 225lbs won’t be welcomed by most fans. There are times when I believe all of the sanctioning bodies operate Title Invention Teams (TITS). The WBA get on my tits most of all but let’s not forget the Jose Sulaiman was the first to introduced the interim and silver titles. This is new division proposal is a little different. The WBC also introduced the light flyweight, super flyweight; super middleweight and cruiserweight divisions and I don’t now believe that boxing people see them as unnecessary. Before their introduction if you weighed more than 185lbs you were too heavy to be a light heavy so could find yourself having to fight guys weighing 240-250lbs and more. At the other end of the scale if you weighed 105lbs then you would be fighting guys who weighed 112lbs and even more than that by fight time. That’s a lot for the small guys to give away.
As an example I looked at the last recorded weights of twelve of the top heavyweights in the world:
Tyson Fury 272lbs
Deontay Wilder 231lbs
Anthony Joshua 237lbs
Ole Usyk 215lbs
Alex Povetkin 229lbs
Andy Ruiz 283lbs
Dillian Whyte 271lbs
Mike Hunter 226lbs
Dereck Chisora 260lbs
Luis Ortiz 236lbs
Joseph Parker 245lbs
Kubrat Pulev 248lbs
Looking ahead the next generation / currently unbeaten heavyweights are also above 225lbs: Joe Joyce 270lbs, Daniel Dubois 240lbs, Filip Hrgovic 241lbs, Efe Ajagba 242lbs, Tony Yoka 239lbs, Junior Fa 267lbs, Guido Vianello 230lbs, Cassius Chaney 250lbs and Peter Kadiru 239lbs so all over 225lbs.
It makes a case I might support in return for a vow not to introduce another set of interim, silver, gold, bronze, tin titles etc. Now come on don’t laugh I am serious but of course once again the TITS will be dancing on the tables as they gleefully tot up the potential sanctioning fees.
Sorry to see Sergio Martinez returning to the ring. “Maravilla “fights Spaniard Jose Fandino in Oviedo on Friday. Even at 45 Martinez should not have any problem beating Fandino but he has already approached the WBA about getting approval to challenge Ryota Murata the holder of their secondary middleweight title.
Boxing has rallied around to help Ricardo Mayorga the former WBA and WBC welterweight champion and WBC super welterweight champion. The Nicaraguan is in a bad way and former WBA Minimumweight and light flyweight champion Rosendo Alvarez together with Mauricio Sulaiman have helped get Mayorga into rehabilitation to fight his problems with drugs and alcohol. Alvarez is now a major promoter in Nicaragua. He does not get the respect he deserves. At a time when Ricardo Lopez was 47-0 and on his way to the International Boxing Hall of Fame he twice fought Lopez in unification fights with the first ending in a technical draw with one judge having Alvarez five points in front and then lost a split decision to Lopez in the return. Lopez retired with a record of 51-0-1.
Good old reliable WBA. When they hit rock bottom they keep right on digging. Their new interim WBA champion Rolando Romero was rated No 7 before winning the title last week. That’s despite having had only eleven fights, never having fought a ten round fight and only one eight round fight in which he beat a guy with a 5-0 record. Pity all those poor suckers who think they actually have to beat reasonable opposition to be awarded with a title fight. It takes quite something to make the other sanctioning bodies look good but the WBA can do it in their sleep. Come to think they probably were asleep when Romero slipped past them
By Eric Armit
-David Benavidez losses the WBC super middleweight title on the scales but then hands out a hiding to Roamer Angulo with the title only on the line for Angulo
-Rolando Romero wins the vacant WBA interim lightweight title with very controversial victory over Jackson Marinez
-Carl Frampton returns with a stoppage victory over Darren Traynor and Michael Conlan halts experienced Sofiane Takoucht
-Felix Cash retains the Commonwealth middleweight title with stoppage of Jason Welborn
-Maxi Hughes scores upset points victory over world rated Jonjo Carroll
-Otto Wallin keeps his name in the heavyweight mix as he beats Travis Kauffmann who is unable to continue after injuring his left arm
-Israil Madrimov, Archie Sharp and Try Williamson all continue their winning starts.
South Kirkby, England: Light: Maxi Hughes (21-5-2) W PTS 10 Jonjo Carroll (18-2-1). Super Light: Sean McComb (11-0) W PTS 10 Star Ozgul (15-5). Super Light: Craig MacIntyre (12-0-1) W TKO 5 Ishmael Ellis (11-3). Welter: Sahir Iqbal (8-0) W PTS 8Maredudd Thomas (11-0).
Hughes vs. Carroll
Hughes gets the biggest win of his career as he takes very close unanimous decision over fellow-southpaw Carroll. The Dubliner made a busy start trying to take control and although Hughes tried to match him over the first two rounds Carroll looked to have a slight edge but the rounds were very close. Hughes then upped his pace and pressed Carroll hard in the third and fourth to even things up. The fifth was tight with both scoring with hard lefts and Carroll looked stronger in the sixth. Hughes bounced back with a good seventh as he kept marching forward closing down Carroll’s space. A left from Carroll rocked Hughes at the start of the eighth. Carroll was almost 8lbs heavier than in his victory over Scott Quigg in March and at first that extra weight had helped him outmuscle Hughes but he started to slow over the last two rounds, Hughes began to move and box frustrating Carroll in the ninth and then connecting with a couple of hard lefts in the last to just take the decision. Scores 96-95 twice and 97-93 for Hughes. His previous best performance had been a draw with Martin Joseph Ward but he had failed twice in shots at the British title. Hughes was very much the underdog here but this win should put him in with a chance of some good paydays. A setback for Carroll. He had lost to Tevin Farmer in a challenge for the IBF super featherweight title in March last year but put himself back in the picture with that eleventh round stoppage of Scott Quigg in March. He will need to bounce back quickly if he is to land another title fight.
McComb vs. Ozgul
Ulster southpaw McComb outboxes a strong but limited Ozgul to take the unanimous decision. Ozgul came forward in the first trying to hustle the stylish McComb out of his comfort zone. McComb settled in the second and was soon popping Ozgul with right jabs and scoring with lefts at distance. The lanky McComb took the second round shaking Ozgul with a right and was easing his way through the third when a clash of heads opened a cut over his right eye. That led to a fierce attack from Ozgul at the start of the fourth but McComb remained in control. He was able to work on the outside dictating the fight taking the fifth and sixth round with some excellent skilful boxing. Ozgul blazed back over the seventh and eighth and brought blood from McComb’s nose. Fighting a ninth round was into the unknown for McComb but he was scoring well with his jab and raking Ozgul with body punches. He took the ninth round but on one occasion he was bundled to the floor by Ozgul. When he got up the fight was stopped for a few seconds as McComb had a problem with his right eye. It turned out that when the referee stuck out a hand to help McComb to his feet he had accidentally poked McComb in the eye with his finger. McComb cruised through the tenth to victory. Scores 97-93 twice and 99-92 for the 27-year-old McComb. In the amateurs he was Irish champion in 2013, 2015 and 2017, competed at the World Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games and won a bronze medal at the European Games. He showed here that he is making good progress. As a private citizen McComb also managed the strange feat of foiling two separate burglaries on the same day! London-based Turk Ozgul has been in with some top level opposition such as Viktor Postol and Anthony Yigit and he did his job well giving McComb his first taste of ten rounds.
MacIntyre vs. Ellis
Macintyre floors and stops Ellis. The 6’0” tall Macintyre was pursuing the retreating Ellis over the first two rounds occasionally managing to cut off the ring and connecting with left hooks to the body and straight rights. Ellis was circling the perimeter of the ring not looking to engage and was pinned to the ropes for much of the third round. Ellis dropped to the floor under a series of punches late in the fourth and was almost floored again by a right uppercut. After MacIntyre scored with a series of rights in the fifth the referee stopped the contest. Fifth win by KO/TKO for the 25-year-old Glaswegian. Ellis had lost a couple of close decision in Midlands Area title fights but was poor here.
Iqbal vs. Thomas
Iqbal withstands a late surge from Thomas to take the unanimous decision. This one was a battle of jabs in the first round with Iqbal being quicker and more accurate. From the second Thomas was taking the fight to Iqbal was finding gaps for his jabs and connecting with long rights. His accuracy and good defensive work saw him build a lead over the first five rounds. Thomas kept coming and Iqbal was under heavy fire in the sixth. He is not a puncher and he lacked the power to keep Thomas out and Thomas looked to have taken the last three rounds but could not overtake Iqbal’s lead on the cards. Scores 78-74, 78-75 and 77-76 all for Iqbal. The Bolton 24-year-old, a former British champion at Junior and Youth level, wins the vacant WBC Youth title. Welshman Thomas looked unlucky not to get a draw.
Tokyo, Japan: Feather: Ryo Segawa (10-1) W KO 6 Yuri Takemoto (8-2-1). Segawa retains the national title with kayo of Takemoto. The challenger used some southpaw jabbing to hold off the aggressive champion in the first round. Segawa managed to get inside in the second landing rights to the body in some hot action. The third and fourth saw both have some success and after five rounds the judges all had Segawa in front with two scores of 48-47 and one of 49-46.Takemoto attacked hard at the start of the sixth but a right to the body from Segawa had him badly hurt and a series of punches put Takemoto on the floor. There was just one second remaining in the round and although Takemoto struggled to rise he was counted out. Second defence of the title for Segawa the WBC No 8. He has put together nine consecutive wins including victories over former WBA title challenger 21-1 Ryo Matsumoto and 19-2-1 Reiya Abe. A University of Agricultural graduate Segawa is a salesman for a confectionary company and makes sure to give their products a plug when interviewed. Takemoto, 24, won the All-Japan Rookie title in 2018 and with more experience could come again.
Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania: Super Welter: Hassan Mwakinyo (17-2) W PTS 12 Tshibangu Kayembe (9-1-3). Super Bantam: Tony Rashid (12-1-2) W KO 2 Yamikani Mkandawire (5-8-1).
Mwakinyo vs. Kayembe
Mwakinyo delights his home fans with convincing victory over tough but crude DRC fighter Kayembe. Mwakinyo was able to use his longer reach to score on Kayembe who trundled forward behind a high guard occasionally bursting out with some swinging punches. Mwakinyo targeted Kayembe’s body early and was putting together some hefty combinations. Kayembe was rocked a few times but always bounced back. He landed a hard left hook in the fourth that sent Mwakinyo staggering but Mwakinyo quickly recovered. The lights failed before the start of the sixth round and Kayembe’s team claimed it was deliberate to give Mwakinyo time to recover after a torrid fifth. Kayembe did not work consistently. He would just hide behind his guard and let Mwakinyo pick his spot and then walk away before lunging back with some wild but dangerous looking swipes. Trouble broke out at the end of the eighth when Mwakinyo landed a punch just after the bell. Kayembe’ s team climbed into the ring to protest along with a few other who had no right to be there but peace was eventually restored. Mwakinyo really dominated for most of the fight. He has a strong jab and mixes his punches well. He connected with powerful uppercuts and long rights in sustained attacks. Kayembe had to soak up quite a lot of punishment but when he looked in trouble he took his licks and then swung back. Scores 119-109 twice and 116-112 for Mwakinyo who is now the owner of the WBFederation Inter-Continental belt. Seven consecutive wins including a stoppage of Sam Eggington for the 25-year-old Mwakinyo who is probably the best fighter in Tanzania right now. At 5’5” the DRC fighter Kayembe, also 25, is just too small for this division and his last recorded fight was two years ago at super light so he was never expected to win this one.
Rashid vs. Mkandawire
“AK47” Rashid pounds Mkandawire to defeat inside two rounds. Rashid was ripping into Mkandawire from the start with Mkandawire not able to match the fierce punching from the local fighter. In the second Rashid forced Mkandawire into a corner and let fly with shots from both hands. Mkandawire started to throw a right but Rashid beat him to the punch with a southpaw right hook of his own which clattered onto Mkandawire’s chin. He dropped to the canvas on his hands and knees and was counted out. ABU champion Rashid is now 8-0-2 in his last ten fights and has nine inside the distance finishes. Malawian Mkandawire suffers his fourth defeat in his last five fights.
Mkandawire 27yo Malawi 2 wins id 3 losses id, lost 3 of 4
Brentwood, England: Middle: Felix Cash (13-0) W TKO 5 Jason Welborn (24-9). Super Feather: Zelfa Barrett (24-1) W TKO 8 Eric Donovan (12-1). Super Welter: Kieron Conway (15-1-1) W PTS 10 Navid Mansouri (20-4-2). Super Middle: John Docherty (9-0) W TKO 7 Anthony Fox (8-13-4)
Cash vs. Welborn
Cash breaks down and stops Welborn in a one-sided Commonwealth title clash. Cash was into his stride quickly stabbing home strong jabs and finding the target with rights to the head. Welborn connected with a good left hook but tumbled along the ropes after being knocked off balance by a left hook. Welborn showed plenty of aggression at the start of the second but Cash blocked or dodged most of the punches before sending Welborn back on his heels with a straight right and then scoring with jabs and body punches. Cash worked well with his jab in the third and again found Welborn open for rights to the head. He went to the body a few times-Welborn had been stopped by body punches in each of his last two fights- but strayed low and was given a severe warning. Welborn tried to rough Cash up and take him out of his stride but Cash ended the round with a series of punishing shots. Cash was putting his punches together impressively in the fourth. Welborn was taking a lot of punishment but fighting back just enough to satisfy the referee that he was still in the fight. Cash landed a low punch early in the fifth and after having warned him in the third this time the referee deducted a point from Cash and gave Welborn a short recovery break. Cash then piled into Welborn hammering at him with hooks to the body. Welborn tried to fire back but a chopping right to the side of the head sent him down on one knee. Welborn beat the count but another right to the head sent him down to a knee again and when the towel came in from Welborn’s corner the fight was over. Second defence of the Commonwealth title for 27-year-old Cash and his ninth inside the distance finish as he shows progress with every fight. Former British middleweight champion Welborn is showing signs of wear. This is his third loss in a row by KO/TKO having been beaten in four rounds by Jarrett Hurd for the IBF/WBA.IBO super welter titles in 2018 and in eight rounds by James Metcalf for the Commonwealth super welter title in June last year. At 34 perhaps it is time to put the gloves away.
Barrett vs. Donovan
Barrett provides a perfect finish to a fast-paced competitive fight with Donovan as two left hooks seal Donovan’s fate. Irishman Donovan had the better of the opening round. He was on target with long southpaw lefts and just a bit busier than Barrett. In the second Barrett picked up his pace jabbing well and scoring with rights to the body with Donovan connecting with some right counters but being outscored. Very few punches were thrown until late in the third round. Both were cagey waiting to counter but over the last thirty seconds Donovan forced Barrett into a corner and they traded punches with both landing well. The fourth saw Donovan coming forward but being met by counters from Barrett and Barrett bossed the action in the second half of the round ripping home some good body punches. Donovan was impressive in the fifth with short, explosive punches from both hands and he was getting the better of the exchanges. Donovan fought in bursts in the sixth but was stopped in his tracks by a right to the head from Barrett who connected with a couple more useful rights. The eight year younger Barrett was looking the fresher and he put Donovan under intense pressure in the seventh before flooring the Irishman with a perfect left hook to the head. Donovan was up at four but looked unsteady. After the count he tried to punch his way out of trouble but was dropped by a series of head punches just before the bell. He managed to get up at the count of eight and go to his corner. A gutsy Donovan took the fight to Barrett in the eighth but he was punching with a harder puncher and a peach of a left hook to the chin dropped him on his back and the referee stopped the fight without bothering to count. Commonwealth champion Barrett, 27,wins the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title and registers his fifteenth victory by KO/TKO in his most impressive showing to date. His sole loss was a majority decision against Ronnie Clark and he has put that behind him with four wins. He comes from a boxing family. He is a cousin of Commonwealth light heavyweight champion Lyndon Arthur and is trained by his uncle former British and European super lightweight champion Pat Barrett who lost in a challenge for the WBO welterweight title against Manning Galloway. It is a pity that talented Donovan did not turn pro until he was a month short of his 31st birthday. He was an outstanding amateur and showed some touches of real class here.
Conway vs. Mansouri
Conway proves just too strong for experienced Mansouri and collects the vacant WBA Inter-Continental title on a wide unanimous decision. Mansouri’s hand speed and movement gave Conway a few problems early but once Conway settled down behind his jab he was in the driving seat. Mansouri was buzzing around pumping out quick punches but Conway’s jab was the dominant punch and he was also finding the range for some hard rights to the head. Sheer work rate had Mansouri with a slight lead after three rounds but from the fourth the bigger and stronger Conway was ramming home jabs and clouting Mansouri with blistering rights. Neither fighter is a puncher but the power was with Conway and Mansouri was finding himself too often with his pinned against the ropes and under fire. A stoppage looked likely when Conway was connecting with hooks, uppercuts and clubbing rights on Mansouri in the seventh but Mansouri has never lost inside the distance and he used his experience to survive. Mansouri was cut over the left eye but it was not a serious injury. Conway tried desperately to finish a tiring Mansouri over the last two rounds but Mansouri was still there at the final bell. Scores 98-92 for Conway on the three cards. The 24-year-old from Northampton is 5-0-1 in his last 6 fights with the draw being against Ted Cheeseman for the British title. A result that is enhanced by Cheeseman’s win earlier this month over IBF No 5 Sam Eggington. Mansouri 31, was 19-1-2 at one stage of his career but since 2018 has done most of his fighting in Spain and this result sees him suffer his third defeat in his last four outings.
Docherty vs. Fox
Scottish hope Docherty adds his seventh win by KO/TKO as he floors Fox twice on the way to a seventh round stoppage victory. Tall southpaw Docherty controlled the fight from the first round. He utilised his reach to stab Fox with right jabs and found the target with long rights. Fox circled the perimeter of the ring rarely managing to get off the ropes or to reach the taller Scot with a meaningful punch. A left to the side of the head dropped Fox at the bell to end the third but he was up immediately and able to go to his corner. Docherty really just followed the retreating Fox around the ropes in the fourth but with very little variety in his work. Fox launched some lunging attacks in the fifth which opened the fight up and Docherty finally began to put some combinations together but was cut over his left eye in a clash of heads. A series of lefts from Docherty at the end of the sixth had Fox reeling and he went down on one knee under a hail of punches in the seventh. He made it to his feet but a series of hooks and uppercuts from Docherty had him in deep trouble and the referee stopped the fight. The 22-year-old Docherty was Scottish, British and Commonwealth Youth champion and competed at the World and European Youth Championships before winning a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. This was his first move up to eight rounds so it is early days but he shows plenty of promise. German-born Brit Fox had won his last three fights.
Kissimmee, FL. USA: Super Bantam: Ricardo Espinoza (25-3) W PTS 10 Brandon Valdes (13-1). Super Bantam: Jorge De Jesus Romero (17-0-1) DREW 8 Daniel Lozano (15-9-1)
Espinoza vs. Valdes
Espinoza mauls and brawls his way to victory over Valdes to collect the WBO Youth belt. All of the early pressure came from Esparza. He was giving away height and reach to Valdes but was able to rumble his way inside where he ripped home hooks to the body. Colombian Valdes had some success with his jab but it was not a strong enough punch to keep Espinoza out. Valdes did some good work in the third. He boxed well on the back foot countering with rights. He also held on the inside to smother Espinoza hooks. Espinoza was pressing relentlessly over the fourth and fifth and although crude at times he was outworking Valdes. The sixth was a bit closer but again whist Valdes was scoring with counters Espinoza was pumping hooks to the body inside despite persistent holding from Valdes. The action was messy in the seventh, eighth and ninth as both fighters were feeling the pace but it was Espinoza who was doing the scoring inside. Valdes stood and traded in the tenth and caught Espinoza with some hard hooks but Espinoza had more left and he finished the fight strongly with another range of body punches. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 for Espinoza. The 23-year-old “Hindu” from Tijuana registered useful wins over Daniel Lozano, Yeison Vargas and Ricardo Nunez but was knocked out in the twelfth round by John Riel Casimero for the interim WBO bantamweight title in April last year. The scores after eleven rounds were 105-103, 103-105 and 104-104 so as tight as it gets. Espinoza is down at No 13 in the WBO ratings now so a long way to go to get another title shots. Valdes, 21, had never gone ten rounds and only gone eight once and he had very little left at the end.
De Jesus vs. Lozano
Miami-based Cuban Romero remains unbeaten with a majority draw against Lozano in a disappointing fight. Lozano was to have fought another fighter on the card but was swopped to face De Jesus. The styles did not mix and produced a poor fight. Scores 76-76 twice and 77-75 for Lozano. A bit of realism in Romero’s record as he has yet to face any testing opposition. Lozano had lost five in a row before this but included in there are losses to Carlos Cuadras, Ricardo Espinoza and Joshua Greer so he has met far better quality fighters than De Jesus.
London, England: Light: Carl Frampton (28-2) W TKO 7 Darren Traynor (16-4). Feather: Michael Conlan (14-0) W TKO 10 Sofiane Takoucht (35-4-1).Super Feather: Archie Sharp (19-0) W PTS 10 Jeff Ofori (10-3-1). Super Welter: Troy Williamson (15-0-1) W PTS 10 Harry Scarff (8-2).
Frampton vs. Traynor
Frampton return to action with a stoppage of an overmatched Traynor. Frampton took the first round. He was quicker with his jab more accurate with his hooks when he moved inside. Traynor was a bit more active in the second and third but was not committing with his jab. Frampton was quicker and was able slot jabs through Traynor’s defence then step in quickly and score and get out before Traynor could counter. Frampton was cruising in the fourth and fifth able to pick off the taller Traynor with jabs and then slip in a few rights. Traynor was throwing more punches but was unable to find the range with his jab and Frampton was confidently boxing with his hands down using some clever bobbing and weaving to frustrate Traynor. Frampton finally put his foot on the pedal late in the sixth. He had Traynor backing up with a series of punches. Traynor punched back but a wicked left to the body sent him to the canvas face down. He did not look like getting up but at six he suddenly leapt up to his feet and with the bell having gone he survived. Frampton was walking Traynor down in the seventh and when he connected with a left to the body Traynor just threw his hands in the air and walked away leaving the referee to waive the fight over. Comfortable, undemanding return to the ring for Frampton and some rounds of work. He was just ½ lb inside the lightweight limit for this one but WBO super featherweight champion Jamal Herring (or Jonathan Oquendo who challenges Herring on 5 September) look to be the target as Frampton aims to become a three-division champion. It was disappointing to see Traynor quit but Frampton was a huge leap in the quality of opposition for Traynor and this was only his second fight in two years.
Conlan vs. Takoucht
Conlan controls the fight all the way and after flirting with disqualification, losing two points for low blows, gets late stoppage of Takoucht. Within the first minute of the fight Conlan had already switched to southpaw and was finding Takoucht’s body with right hooks. Takoucht, also a southpaw, was not quick enough to block further quick burst of punches from Conlan and was missing with his counters. Conlan went low with a punch and was warned. Conlan’s hand speed was too quick for Takoucht and again in the second Conlan was stabbing home jabs and hooks to the body. Clever upper body movement had Takoucht threshing air but again Conlan was told to keep his punches up. Takoucht had a small measure of success in the third as he managed to find the target with some jabs but again Conlan was doing most of the scoring. He was given a third warning for a low punch and near the end of the round a disgracefully low shot saw Takoucht given a time out and Conlan yet another warning. Conlan switched guards a couple of time is the fourth. He was dazzling Takoucht with his lightning jabs and bobbing and weaving under the Frenchman’s attempts to counter. He hurt Takoucht with some legitimate body punches but after getting away with going low again when he landed way below the belt late in the round the referee belatedly deducted a point from Conlan. Takoucht had a little success getting inside in the fifth and yet again a punch from Conlan landed on Takoucht’s thigh. The referee would have been justified in disqualifying Conlan but instead deducted another point. Conlan had a pained look on his face as if he was being victimised but he was in fact being treated too leniently. Conlan had done the better work in the round but even landed well low again without being warned. Conlan took the sixth but seemed flat. Some of the snap was missing from his punches and his output dropped. It may have been the two deductions that affected his normal attacking style. He upped his pace in the eight and hurt Takoucht with some vicious hooks to the body. Takoucht was finding the range for his jab but being outlanded. The pace dropped again in the eighth and ninth with Conlan sometimes ignoring his jab and just walking in behind a high guard but he was still the one doing the scoring. It looked as though Takoucht might last the distance until a left hook unhinged his legs. Conlan fired a barrage of punches and as Takoucht staggered back the referee came in and halted to fight. A patchy performance from Conlan. Very impressive early but he seemed to go a bit flat in the late rounds before providing a blistering finish. He is rated IBF 6(5), WBC 13 and is on track for a title shot in 2021. He really has to take on board his near disqualification here. He tends to dip when throwing body punches so they start below the belt and curve upwards but he consistently went low in this fight and a less tolerant referee might have disqualified him and that is a dumb way to lose a fight. Takoucht is an experienced former European champion nearing the end of his career. He was stopped in two rounds by Josh Warrington in a challenge for the IBF featherweight title in October which is the only other time he has failed to last the distance.
Sharp vs. Ofori
Sharp gets a very tight decision over Ofori in a fight that saw Sharp build a lead over the early rounds only for Ofori to claw his way into the fight and make it very close at the end. Clever boxing from the start by Sharp. He was on the back foot blocking or weaving around Ofori’s punches. He was finding gaps for fast jabs constantly switching guards and darting in with quick attacks with Ofori just shadowing Sharp and not having much success. Sharp was outboxing Ofori at distance and smothering him inside. Ofori was waiting too long to let his punches go and was not really pressing Sharp hard enough allowing Sharp to dictate the pace and use his higher level skills to outbox Ofori. The fight changed from the fifth as Ofori increased his pace and made better use if his own jab. It was the first round he had won but he built on that getting inside more in the sixth. Sharp got back on track in the seventh with smart defensive work and good counters. Sharp had struggled to make the weight for this fight and Ofori’s pressure began to tell as he outworked a tiring Sharp in the eighth and ninth and although the last was close Ofori just did enough to edge it to make the fight one that could go either way. The referee scored the fight 96-95 for Sharp. For winning their European super featherweight title the WBO have the twenty-five-year-old Sharp No 4 in the world but he has yet to be tested even domestically. He was to have defended the WBO European title here but when he did not make the weight it was changed to a lightweight fight. Londoner Ofori is now 1-3-1 in his last five fights but the other two losses have come against good quality opposition in unbeaten Alfie Price and Ohara Davies
Williamson vs. Scarff
Williamson retains the IBF European title. The decision was unanimous but it was not an impressive performance by Williamson. He had the better skills but was never able to make space to make that skill pay as Scarff, although the taller with the longer reach, chose to hustle and harry the champion. It was a hard if unspectacular fight open at the beginning and then contested on the inside with neither fighter really dominant and neither in any trouble during the ten rounds. The hustling, busy style of Scarff made it hard work for Williamson but it was Williamson who showed better when he did make some space. Scarff forced Williamson to work hard and the champion was tiring by the end twice losing his mouthguard in the last round. Scores 97-94, 96-94 and 96-95 for Williamson. The 28-yerar-old from Darlington was British and English champion in the amateurs and competed in the World Series of Boxing. He will have better nights. Former undefeated English champion Scarff was coming off a loss to Anthony Fowler in November.
Uncasville, CT, USA: Super Middle: David Benavidez (23-0) W RTD 10 Roamer Alexis Angulo (26-2). Light: Rolando Romero (12-0) W PTS 12 Jackson Marinez (19-1).Heavy: Otto Wallin (21-1,1ND) W TKO 5 Travis Kauffman (32-4,1ND).
Benavidez vs. Angulo
Benavidez has no trouble winning the fight but loses his battle with the scales and his title when he comes in overweight and is stripped of the WBC belt so only Angulo had an interest in it as a the title.
Comfortable first round for Benavidez. He was able to use his big edges in height and reach to score at distance and when he moved inside scored to the body with left hooks and clubbing rights. Angulo threatened briefly when he took Benavidez to the ropes and got though with some uppercuts.
Score: 10-9 Benavidez
Angulo made a fiery start to the second rushing forward pinning Benavidez to the ropes and getting past Benavidez guard with rights. Once that storm blew itself out Benavidez was picking Angulo off with his jab and banging in rights to head and body
Score: 10-9 Benavidez Benavidez 20-18
It was a similar pattern in this round with Angulo raging forward taking Benavidez to the ropes and throwing punches but as in the second Benavidez quickly took control. He was finding plenty of gaps in Angulo’s high guard and when Angulo tried to come forward he was stopped in his tracks by booming left hooks.
Score: 10-9 Benavidez Benavidez 30-27
Target practice for Benavidez. Angulo was just standing in front of Benavidez with a guard that leaked and Benavidez was able to pick his spot. Jabs, left hooks and rights to the head were bouncing off Angulo whose only contribution was some wild swipes.
Score: 10-9 Benavidez Benavidez 40-36
One-sided hardly describes this. Benavidez was safely standing in front of Angulo and taking his time to decide which punch to throw and where to land it. To have any chance to win Angulo had to be coming forward cutting off the ring but instead he was more often going back and just occasionally lunging forward swinging wildly.
Score: 10-9 Benavidez Benavidez 50-45
Angulo showed a bit of life late in this round but for most of the three minutes Benavidez was able to score with almost every punch. Just before the bell Benavidez put together a couple of meaty combinations with every punch landing on a static Angulo.
Score: 10-9 Benavidez Benavidez 60-54
Angulo tried to come forward more in this round but had very little success. Angulo was telegraphing his wild attacks and with his longer legs Benavidez could skip back out of range and then bombard the off balance Angulo with counters. Again Benavidez was putting together five and six punch combinations and showing his frustration that Angulo was still on his feet.
Score: 10-9 Benavidez Benavidez 70-63
It really was now just a question of how much punishment could or should Angulo be allowed to take. Again he tried to advance a bit more but he was still far too slow and even when he had Benavidez on the ropes the fire had gone out of his attacks. Benavidez was dropping his hands doing a little showboating, firing punches of the wrong foot and fighting as if he was bored by the whole business.
Score: 10-9 Benavidez Benavidez 80-72
Angulo put in a bigger effort in this round than in any other. He constantly marched forward throwing punches and had some success. Benavidez was still able to land any punch he liked and was not really threatened even when against the ropes but at least Angulo had shown some determination.
Score: 10-9 Benavidez Benavidez 90-81
An early attack by Angulo seemed to wake Benavidez up and he really cut loose. Angulo was reeling under a storm of punches. He took the punishment but his head was snapped back by uppercuts and he ended the round on unsteady legs and sensible retired in his corner.
Much too easy for 23-year-old Benavidez. He has indicated that he will get back to heavy work and try to regain his title or go for one of the other versions of the super middleweight crown. The 36-year-old Florida-based Colombian Angulo lost almost every round when he challenged Gilberto Ramirez for this title in 2018 but a points win over unbeaten Anthony Sims in January gave some cause for hope that Angulo might be competitive in this one but he flopped badly.
Romero vs. Marinez
Romero wins the interim WBA lightweight title with a hugely controversial unanimous decision over Jackson Marinez. It seems that the three judges were the only one who saw Romero as the winner and one of the judges actually had Romero winning by an unbelievable eight points.
Romero took the opening round. He was letting fly with his punches early. He was a bit crude and not always accurate but Marinez did very little work.
Score: 10-9 Romero
Marinez is much the better technician and he had his jab on target in the second. He was also connecting with some rights to the head. Romero was lunging in with jabs but his timing and accuracy was off.
Score: 10-9 Marinez TIED 19-19
Marinez was again working well with his jab. he was much quicker than Romero and used his longer reach to score before Romero could get into range. Romero was over-committing himself with his jab and leaving himself open to counters.
Score: 10-9 Marinez 29-28
Romero forced the fight harder and threw more punches in this round but was often wildly off target. Marinez kept his jab in play and countered the wide-open Romero as rushed in with his attacks scoring with the cleaner punches.
Score: 10-9 Marinez Marinez 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Glenn Feldman 40-36 Romero, Judge Frank Lombardi 40-36 Romero, Judge Don Trella 39-37 Romero
Romero was able to get inside more in this round and Marinez was not as effective with his jab. Romero connected with a burst of punches late in the round including a good left hook.
Score: 10-9 Romero Marinez 48-47
Another good round for Romero. He was getting through with rights to the head and lefts to the body. Again Marinez’s jab was not as effective and he was getting caught with punches he had slipped earlier.
Score: 10-9 Romero TIED 57-57
Marinez went back to the jab and Romero was not launching as many attacks as he had in earlier rounds. He was wild with his punches when he did come forward. Marinez landed some good counters and was using good movement to slip Romero’s swings.
Score: 10-9 Marinez Marinez 67-66
Romero changed his approach in this one. He had been taking a huge step forward when he threw a jab. That gave Marinez time to see it coming and also left Romero off balance. Now he was marching forward with short quick steps giving Marinez less time to block or counter and it was working for Romero who was able to score with hooks inside.
Score: 10-9 Romero Tied 76-76
Official Scores: Judge Feldman 78-74 Romero, Judge Frank Lombardi 79-73 Romero, Judge Don Trella 78-74 Romero
Big round for Marinez. He changed his tactics. Now he was taking the fight to Romero and landing clubbing head punches. Romero was pawing at his left eye as Marinez poured on the punches driving Romero back and keeping him under fire and Romero was now showing a cut over his left eye which bothered him for the rest of the fight.
Score: 10-9 Marinez Marinez 86-85
Marinez was on the front foot again. He was spearing Romero was jabs at distance connecting with long rights and left hooks and countering Romero with heavy rights when Romero barged forward throwing wildly inaccurate shots.
Score: 10-9 Marinez Marinez 96-94
Romero was a desperate fighter and he was throwing desperate punches. He was missing and leaving himself open to counters from Marinez. Marinez was snapping jabs through Romero’s guard and was now happy to stand and trade punches and was winning the exchanges.
Score: 10-9 Marinez Marinez 106-103
Marinez took the last. He was stabbing Romero with jabs moving in quickly to land hooks inside with Romero too slow and lacking any fire in his attacks. When Romero did get inside Marinez was tying him up and then breaking away to connect with punches of his own.
Score: 10-9 Marinez Marinez 116-112
Official Scores: Judge Feldman 116-112 Romero, Judge Frank Lombardi 118-110 Romero, Judge Don Trella 115-113 Romero
Most observers saw Marinez a clear winner the scores for Feldman and Trella looked wrong but not outrageous but Lombardi’s score and his marking all four late rounds to Romero is inexplicable. They are all very experienced and trustworthy individuals but for me they got this one wrong. Romero, 24, is strong but crude and very limited and Marinez is a stylish fighter but not outstanding. For the WBA now to give Romero the status of a world lightweight champion alongside Vasyl Lomachenko and Gervonta Davis is beyond a joke-as are the WBA
Wallin vs. Kauffman
Wallin wins inside the distance as Kauffmann injures his left arm in the fifth round and is forced to retire with Wallin already seeming on his way to victory. Wallin was looking to fight on the outside where he could use his height and reach to outscore Kauffman and he managed that in the opening round and also connected with a couple of clubbing head punches. Kauffmann tried to walk through Wallin’s jab in the second and third but was too slow to be effective and Wallin was able to ping him with jabs and connect with some thumping lefts and then tie Kauffmann up inside. It was too easy in the fourth as Wallin was able to pierce Kauffmann’s guard repeatedly with right jabs and as an exhausted Kauffmann trundled forward thump Kauffmann with lefts to the head and rights to the body. Kauffmann threw a left in the fifth then dropped his left arm obviously having suffered an injury. He tried to continue using just his right but eventually the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. The 6’5 ½” Wallin won but did not really impress. He received a lot of praise for going the distance against a blood splattered with Tyson Fury in September where he put up a creditable performance but other than that he has not really been tested. Twice beaten by Anthony Joshua in the amateurs he outpointed fellow-Swede Adrian Granat for the European Union title in 2018 but that result said more about Granat than Wallin. His only rating right now is No 15 with the IBF and I feel he will struggle against better quality heavyweights. Kauffmann, 34, was having his first fight since being knocked out in ten rounds by Luis Ortiz in December 2018 and formal retirement beckons.
Dayton Beach, FL, USA: Welter: Alberto Palmetta (14-1) W TKO 6 Tre’Sean Wiggins (11-4-3). Argentinian Palmetta proves too strong for Wiggins and floors and halts him in six rounds in this all-southpaw clash. In the first round the tall, slender Wiggins was boxing cleverly on the back foot using a sharp jab to keep the aggressive Palmetta out. Palmetta was ducking trying to get under Wiggins jab but Wiggins was tying him up when he did get past the jab. Wiggins jab was quick and accurate but lacked any real snap and Palmetta was willing to eat the jab to get close. By the fifth Palmetta was applying more and more pressure and Wiggins was beginning to lose his composure and being forced to stand and trade. In the sixth Palmetta overwhelmed Wiggins with a searing attack. He trapped Wiggins in a corner pounding him with punches until a left uppercut connected and dropped Wiggins to the floor on his hands and knees. He only just beat the count and as Palmetta landed another pair of uppercuts the referee stopped the contest. Palmetta, 30, a former Olympian and Pan American Games bronze medallist, is now the owner of the previously vacant WBA International title after registering his eighth inside the distance win in a row. Wiggins was coming off creditable draws against Branden Pizarro and Mykquan Williams but his lack of power undid him in the fight.
Tulsa, OK, USA: Super Welter: Israil Madrimov (6-0) W PTS 12 Eric Walker (20-3). Super Light: Shakhram Giyasov (10-0) W KO 3 Wiston Campos (31-8-6 (22-4).
Madrimov vs. Walker
Madrimov finally has to go past the sixth round for a win as he outscores a competitive Walker. Madrimov, constantly switching guards, went in front early rocking Walker with a right to the head in the first. Walker rode with that and showed he was there to give the favourite a hard night as he was the fighter connecting with rights in the second. Madrimov’s corner were urging him to attack the body and he did that to good effect over the third and fourth with Walker slowing by the fifth. A left to the head had Walker badly hurt in the sixth but the fighters then got tangled and fell to the canvas. Walker recovered and scored with some body punches at the end of the round. Despite slowing Walker was still very much in the fight and he more than matched Madrimov with body punches in the seventh and eighth. The fight should have been over in the ninth. Madrimov landed a leaping left hook and the impetus of the punch took him into Walker with his shoulder and Walker went down on his back by the ropes. The referee decided that it was the shoulder charge and not the hook that put Walker down but Walker was already on his way from the left hook. It is doubtful whether Walker would have beaten the count but of course there was no count and the referee then gave Walker five minutes to recover. Madrimov kept up the pressure in the tenth and eleventh but was deducted a point in the twelfth for a low punch. He quickly put that right by flooring a weary Walker who beat the count and stayed out of trouble to the bell. Scores 116-110 twice and 116-111 for Madrimov. “The Dream” from Uzbekistan has scored creditable wins over Alejandro Barrera and Charlie Navarro but on the basis of that his No 2 ranking with the WBA is way too high. It will have done him good to go twelve rounds and his aim now presumably a title shot in 2021 which is very much is on the cards. Walker, 37, certainly earned his pay here by taking Madrimov the distance. He spent thirteen years in prison-aged 16 to 29 but has rebuilt his life through boxing.
Giyasov vs. Campos
Giyasov wins one-sided contest with stoppage of Campos. Giyasov was hunting Campos around the ring in the first getting through with jabs and rights to the body with southpaw Campos only throwing a few counters. Giyasov stepped up the pressure in the second. He was again scoring with rights and Campos had lost all interest in the fight and was already just looking to survive. Giyasov shadowed Campos around the ring in the third. Campos was just walking around the perimeter of the ring and only poking out an occasional jab. Just before the bell he came to life and surged forward until a left to the body put him down and he writher in agony as the referee counted him out. The 27-year-old Uzbek “Wonder Boy” has won eight times by KO/TKO and is No 7 with the WBA. As an amateur he won a gold medal at the World Championships and silver at the Rio Olympics. He was also Uzbek, Asian and World Universities champion. Campos came in as a late substitute and was a waste of space and time.
Mexico City: Super Welter: Carlos Ocampo (28-1) W PTS 10 Jorge Luis Garcia (18-3). “Chema” beats “Chino” as “Chema” Ocampo takes the decision over “Chino” Garcia; Ocampo was in control early with Garcia being forced to spend a lot of time against the ropes and under fire. Ocampo had the stronger jab and the harder punch. They were fighting at a fast pace and with the fight being in Mexico City both fighters tired early. Ocampo was controlling the fight. He rocked Garcia with a right late in the seventh and handed out steady punishment in the eighth. Garcia had the longer reach but was never able to bring that into play as Ocampo pounded home punches over the ninth and tenth looking to finish the fight inside the distance but Garcia hung in there. Scores 100-90 twice and 99-91 for Ocampo. Now six consecutives untesting wins for the fighter from Ensenada since being knocked in the first round of a challenge to Errol Spence for the IBF title in 2018. Garcia’s other two losses have both been split decisions
Fight of the week (Significance): Carl Frampton’s win keeps him on the road to a shot at the super featherweight title
Fight of the week (Entertainment): It ended inside the distance but Zelfa Barrett vs. Eric Donovan provided plenty of action
Fighter of the week: Bad Boy/Good Boy David Benavidez as he loses his WBC super middleweight title on the scales but then outclasses and stops Roamer Angulo.
Punch of the week: The two left hooks from Zelfa Barrett the one that scored the first knockdown of Eric Donovan and the second which ended the fight were both real belters
Upset of the week: Maxi Hughes outpointing world rated Jonjo Carroll was not predicted
Prospect watch: Northern Ireland super lightweight Sean McComb 11-0 is progressing well
Observations: There were approximately 350 spectators allowed in to watch the Japanese title fight between Ryo Segawa with masks and social distancing observed. For the Hassan Mwakinyo vs. Tshibangu Kayembe there was a full house of spectators with no social distancing and not a mask in sight. Different cases for different places. Eddie Hearn is still using his back garden for staging the fights. I guess when spectators are allowed in it will not be beer but a glass of lemonade and cucumber sandwiches. It seems to me that if a fighter gets three or four warning for low blows and then has a point deducted he should be on a final warning and disqualified if he does it again. Otherwise what does the referee say when he deducts the first point “if you do that twice more I will disqualify you”?
When we first started doing this "5 times Asian boxers have appeared in commercials!" series we expected to have 5 or 6 articles in the series and that was that. Instead however we've managed to find a lot, lot more adverts than expected and we'll be continuing the series right through the year and in to 2021, just based on what we have in the locker already. With that said, here are another 5 commercials featuring Asian boxers.
Manny Pacquiao - San Miguel
One of the few men who we could do a special one of these features about is Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino icon is in so many commercials and they are pretty wide ranging in what they're about. One of the most constant subjects for his commercials is alcoholic beverages. Here he features alongside Jet Li in an advert for San Miguel. The advert is certainly not one where Manny does much, but Jet Li's involvement is pretty cool. A decent advert but one where Manny seems to have been massively under-utilised and put there just because he's Manny.
Guts Ishimatsu - Aviva
Another man who could have filled up his own feature in these types of articles is Guts Ishimatsu, who is a regular in these articles. Here we have one of his more mundane and dull efforts as he tries to promote Aviva. From what we understand these were shown in, or around, the year 2000 and this one is certainly not one of his better efforts. Then again the best commercials with him are really good and this was more of short promotional thing than anything too memorable.
Yoko Gushiken - Mitsubishi Colour TV's
Another Japanese legend who was in a lot of commercials was Yoko Gushiken. Here's his very advert for Mitsubishi colour TV's from around 1980. The advert features colour video of Gushiken boxing with a character from Ashita No Joe, or "Tomorrow's Joe" a popular Japanese boxing anime. This is a rare time where we would have liked a longer commercial, but it does well to sell the product. Given that colour TV's are now pretty much every where we suspect this advert was much more impactful back when it was shown, but the technological advances in 40 years do show.
Yuko Kuroki - Autobacs
One thing that is quite rare, though there are examples of it, are female boxers being featured in commercials. Here we have former female world champion Yuko Kuroki strangely being used in an advert for Autobacs tyres. That's right the cute, and adorable Kuroki was used to try and sell car tyres in what may go down as one of the most confusing and confounding ideas. Not only was she used to sell tyres but we legitimately don't understand how her actions have anything to do with the product. Crazy and almost disconnected advertising here folks...at least the jingle is good!
Gennady Golovkin - Apple Watch
To finish this months look at commercial's we have another short one, with Gennady Golovkin featuring in an advert for Apple Watch. The advert is little more Golovkin training and showing off the heart beat monitor of the watch. Yeah this is not an advert that screams "Apple Watches are amazing". Then again at least it makes a lot more sense that the Yuko Kuroki advert.
In recent years the Japanese boxing scene has been on fire, and in part that is due to the rise of a number of sensational prospects who have been moved incredibly quickly through the ranks. Today's closet classic features one of those men in a bout that helped put him on the map and saw him take on a fellow future world champion. Although not a war, as such, the bout was still something very special, with a high pace, a lot of action, and incredible skills on show.
Naoya Inoue (3-0, 3) v Ryoichi Taguchi (18-1-1, 8)
Coming in to the bout Naoya Inoue wasn't the boxing star he is today. He was a 20 year old prospect with a 3-0 record moving into his first title bout. Although tipped as a future world champion he was still a novice at this point, and his only win of note was his TKO victory over Yuki Sano, in what was essentially a Japanese title eliminator. Although he had schooled Sano, fighting much of the bout one-handed as he seemed to suffer a minor injury to his right hand, he still had questions to answer. Could he do the same against a world ranked Japanese champion? Was he being moved too quickly? Was he really as good as he and manager Hideyuki Ohashi believed?
Against Inoue was future unified Light Flyweight world champion Ryoichi Taguchi. Taguchi was a tough and hungry fighter with freakish height and reach for a Light Flyweight. Taguchi was the reigning Japanese Light Flyweight champion, he had 20 bouts of professional experience, he had never been stopped and at 26 years old he was a fully grown man. Having debuted in 2006 Taguchi's only loss up to this point had come to Masayoshi Segawa, in a razor thin decision, and the only other mark on his record was a split decision draw with Masayuki Kuroda, in a Japanese title fight. By this point he was a 7 year pro and looked to be heading towards a world title fight. Yes he was up against the hottest youngster in Japanese boxing, but he wasn't there to lose, he was there to beat the upstart, push his own career forward and retain the Japanese title.
From the opening round it was clear we were watching something a little bit special with both men looking incredibly fluid. This wasn't a typical domestic title bout between domestic level guys but instead it was a bout between two very talented fighters who were willing to come forward with technical aggression. It was high level, and aggressive chess from the first round. It was clear that although Taguchi was wary of Inoue's power he wasn't afraid of it, and was forced to take some solid shots before backing up the talented youngster.
The belief of Taguchi, and his willingness to take a shot to come forward saw him putting Inoue under pressure.
As the bout went on we continued to see a brilliantly high level of action. It seemed like Inoue was always a step ahead of Taguchi, but Taguchi was never looking like a man who was intimidated by the young upstart and continued to try and box his way into the bout. When that failed Taguchi then tried to rely on his experience to and physical maturity to try and tame the Monster. Inoue seemed determined to rip the liver out of Taguchi who's toughness shone through as the bout became a little one sided, but remained captivating. Could the youngster keep it up? Would the veteran find something to neutralise his sensational looking foe.
Whilst we know Inoue has been in bigger bouts than this, and even one or two better bouts than this, this is a genuine must watch and a great chance to see Inoue in with someone who could take his power, who came to win, and who wasn't overly fearful of the Monster. This is also a chance to see what a young, Light Flyweight Inoue looked like before he moved through the weights and became a star, and a chance to see the performance that arguably made Ryoichi Taguchi the fighter he later became.
Yes this isn't a global fight of the year contender, but this is still something every fan needs to see!
By Eric Armit
One day this week I climbed into my car started it sat there whilst banging my head on the steering wheel (I do that a lot usually after reading the latest pronouncements from the WBA) it also help wake me up so that I don’t go down to the local shops in my pyjamas-again. I then turned off the ignition and stepped out. I went indoors and checked my calendar and saw that it was really was still 2020. I was relieved. When I read about proposed fights for Roy Jones, Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jorge Arce, Oscar De La Hoya and Sergio Martinez I thought my car might have been secretly replace by the car from Back to the Future and had actually transported me back to the past! Most of these are being projected as exhibitions and as long as adequate safety provisions are in place I guess that is OK but I would pay to avoid seeing Mike Tyson and Roy Jones huffing and puffing and would rather remember them as they were. Both Del La Hoya and Martinez are adamant that their returns will be genuine contests and not exhibitions with Martinez targeting a comeback fight on 21 August.
The Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Teo Lopez fight is still up in the air with reports that Lopez is holding out for more money. Reportedly Lopez was offered $1.25 million for the fight. The question is who needs who the most. With Lomachenko holding three of the four versions of the lightweight title Lopez, the IBF champion, won’t get that money against anyone else at the weight. The first two spots in the IBF ratings are vacant (no rated fighter has been another rated fighter so they can’t move into those spots) and with all due respects to them Nos 3,4 and 5-George Kambosos, Lee Selby and Gustavo Lemos are not big PPV names. Lopez might be able to squeeze a little more out of Bob Arum but he should take this fight. A win would make him a super star and if he loses he is only 23 so it might only prove to be a bump in a long lucrative career.
The WBC lightweight rankings are in for a shake up. No 1 Javier Fortuna fights No 4 Jorge Linares on 28 August and if they can ever come to terms hopefully No 2 Luke Campbell and No 3 Ryan Garcia will fight each other. Campbell vs. Garcia should not be that hard to make. I am wondering if Saul Alvarez is handling the negotiations.
Errol Spence is a heavy favourite when he puts his IBF and WBC titles on the line against Danny Garcia on 21 November. One of the questions that will be answered in this fight is whether the serious injuries Spence received in October have had any lasting effect. Spence’s car crossed the meridian in Dallas and rolled over a number of times and ejected him. Lucky to be alive.
Spence’s last opponent before the accident was Shawn Porter. He returns to the ring on 22 August against unbeaten German Sebastian Formella for the vacant WBC Silver welterweight title. This constitutes a big hike in the standard of opposition for Formella.
French heavyweight hope Tony Yoka will face his biggest test to date when he tackles former WBC title challenger Johann Duhaupas in Paris on 25 September. Duhaupas is well into the veteran stage at 39 but only Deontay Wilder and Alex Povetkin have beaten him inside the distance and he has wins over Robert Helenius and Manuel Charr. Yoka’s wife Estelle Yoka-Mossely the IBO female lightweight champion and unbeaten Souleymane Cissokho will also fight on the card-not against each other I hasten to add.
There will be a real clash of styles when Emanuel Navarrete and Jessie Magdaleno fight for the vacant WBO featherweight title. The date will be either 19 or 26 September. Navarrete was a beast at super bantam winning his last 15 fights inside the distance including seven world championship fights. Magdaleno is slick but Navarrete could be too strong.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is scheduled to fight in Monterrey on 12 September. No opponent named yet but one fighter in the frame is Mari Cazares. His claim to fame is a win over Saul Alvarez in the amateurs but he did not turn pro until 2015 instead concentrating on obtaining an economics degree.
Former undefeated IBF cruiser champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez returns to the ring in Magdeburg on 22 August. It will be the 35-year-old Cuban’s first fight since 2014. He will face Kevin Johnson. That’s a fight to be missed if you can- I hate Johnson fights. The only good thing about them is that you can pop down to the shops and back without missing anything remotely exciting. Also on the card are 19-1-1 light heavyweight Adam Deines and 14-0 Tom Dzemski. The show will be staged beside Magdeburg Lake so you might even get a chance to do some fishing whilst the Hernandez vs. Johnson fight is on.
Coming back to my head-banging over the WBA I could not believe when I read that President Gilberto Jesus Gonzalez had whined that it was so difficult to reduce the number of titles. How would he know-the WBA has never ever made any move to reduce the number of their titles they just keep adding more and more. If you include their Gold title they now have four heavyweight champions-just more hypocrisy. I now term them World Bulls—ting Association! This weekend they have sanctioned two interim title fights including one for the super middleweight title where they already have a champion in Callum Smith a secondary champion in Saul Alvarez and a Gold champion in Fedor Chudinov. The super middleweight title fight will be between Lennox Allen, who has had just one fight in the last two years, and a young Cuban David Morrell a former top amateur who has had just two professional fights-one six round and one eight round. There is an attempt to paint this as similar to Vasyl Lomachenko who won the WBO featherweight inn his third fight. There was some justification for Lomachenko jumping past all of the rated fighters as he came out of the amateurs with two Olympic gold medals and three World championships. Morrell has one World Youth gold and was twice Cuban champion. He will probably beat Allen but to be rated No 3 in the world after winning just two preliminary fights is an insult to good quality fighters such as Daniel Jacobs, David Lemieux Anthony Dirrell and others the WBA bumped him past.
The WBA heavyweight division is still in a mess with four champions in real champion Anthony Joshua, secondary title holder Mahmoud Charr, and Gold champion Robert Helenius and interim champion Trevor Bryan. Ominously they have now slipped Christopher Lovejoy in at No 14. He is 19-0 with his 19 opponents have just 51 wins between them. To me it looks as though the plan will be for Truelove to challenge Trevor Bryan. I could rave on about Truelove (yes I know I am) so all I will say is that Box Rec have him at No 424 in the world and I would recommend having a look at his record. His Box Rec identity is #746640 and make up your own mind.
Charr has not fought since winning the secondary WBA heavyweight title in 2017. After using Manuel as his name for quite a while he has reverted to his birth name of Mahmoud. During his inactivity he has been working with refugee groups in Germany. He did claim he had German citizenship to help his career but he only had refugee status having arrived from Lebanon as a five-year-old lad and he still has no German passport. He is hoping his management can get him a fight with Andy Ruiz.
Whilst British fighters can no longer hold or compete for the European Union titles they are still a major force in European boxing. Andrew Selby, Gamal Yafai, Gavin Mc Donnell, Alex Dilmaghani, Josh Kelly and Callum Johnson are all awaiting dates for their European Boxing Union title fights and of course Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois are lined up to clash for the vacant heavyweight title. For some reason British promoters never seemed to have a great deal of interest in the EBU-EU titles (these are for fighters from countries in the European Union) and now British fighters can no longer challenge for them it has opened up huge opportunities for boxers from other European Union countries who have slotted into the gaps in the ratings caused by Britain’s withdrawal. Instead the British fighters are now in the EBU-EE ratings alongside fighters from non-European Union countries such as Russian, Ukraine, Belarus, Norway etc. British fighters hold the No 1 spots in eleven division of the EBU-EE ratings but if the EU titles did not attract them I can’t see there being a sudden flood of EBU-EE title fights in Britain.
Miguel Cotto is aiming to return boxing to Puerto Rico on 22 August but whether that happens or not depends on what relaxations on sporting events the Puerto Rican government announces on 15 August. If it is not possible to stage the show then Cotto has said he will consider switching the show to a venue in the USA.
Both WBC super flyweight Juan Francisco Estrada and his wife were infected with the COVID-19 virus but luckily have both recovered. There is talk of Estrada defending his title against Carlos Cuadras on 17 October. These two clashed in a non-title fight in 2018 with a late knockdown costing Cuadras victory.
Japanese boxing suffered a minor set-back as a young male professional boxer tested positive for COVID-19 which has resulted in the closure of the gym he attended in Nagoya which will the delay the return to boxing in that city.
There is no hope of boxing returning in South Africa in the near future. A source there indicated that it had been hope it might return in October but it could now be December instead. Boxing there is currently leaderless as Tsholof Lejaka; the CEO of Boxing South Africa (BSA) has resigned. He had another year to run on his term in office but decided to take his career along a different path. He took the post at time when BSA was in a state of chaos and conflict and has proven a steadying hand. A level of the problems the BSA faced is illustrated by the fact that none of Lejaka’s predecessors served their full five year term mostly jumping before they were pushed.
By Eric Armit
-Jamal James wins the vacant WBA interim title at welterweight by outpointing Thomas Dulorme
-Cuban David Morell collects the vacant WBA interim super middleweight title in only his third pro fight as he decisions Lennox Allen
-Chris Billam-Smith retains the Commonwealth cruiserweight title with stoppage of Nathan Thorley
World Title Fight Card
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Welter: Jamal James (27-1) W PTS 12 Thomas Dulorme (25-4-1). Super Middle: David Morell (3-0) W PTS 12 Lennox Allen (22-1-1) Welter: Lucas Santamaria (11-1-1) W PTS 10 Mykal Fox (22-1).
James vs. Dulorme
James wins the vacant WBA interim title with unanimous decision over Dulorme in a low key fight lacking any real highlights.
Comfortable first round for James. He was able to use his longer reach and his 4” height advantage to work with his jab on the outside mixing in some downward chopping rights to the head. Dulorme was not quick enough to cut off the ring so was largely ineffective.
Score: 10-9 James
Dulorme had a better second round. He attacked strongly ducking under the jabs from James and connecting to the body. James managed to open some space and picked Dulorme off with jabs but Dulorme trapped James on the ropes and got through to the body again
Score 10-9 Dulorme TIED 19-19
Good round for James. After some early pressure from Dulorme James took over driving Dulorme to the ropes and scoring with left hooks to the body and overhand rights.
Score: 10-9 James James 29-28
A close round but just edged by Dulorme. There was no conviction behind the jabs from James and Dulorme was able and get through with body punches as James just circled the ring not throwing much at all.
Score: 10-9 Dulorme TIED 38-38
James took this one. He kept moving and Dulorme just could not cut the ring off. James was able to score with quick jabs and then step in with a straight right followed by a left hook then use his long legs to step well out of range of any counters.
Score: 10-9 James James 48-47
Dulorme made a strong start. James was not moving enough or punching enough and Dulorme got through with left hooks to the body. James suddenly came to life and bombarded Dulorme with a shower of punches and just did enough to take the points.
Score: 10-9 James James 58-56
James jabbed and moved and then connected with occasional quick rights and with Dulorme unable to hunt James down it was a clear round for James which he punctuated with a series of chopping rights to the head before the bell.
Score: 10-9 James James 68-65
Dulorme chased for three minutes without ever getting close to landing a solid punch. James was picking him off at distance and banging home single rights. He was frustrating Dulorme’s attempts to fight inside by holding and turning his body away from Dulorme leaving him with no target.
Score: 10-9 James James 78-74
Dulorme upped his pace and had some success at the start of the round but not a lot. James was circling, slinging jabs and clipping Dulorme with rights and just doing enough to steal the round. So far the fight was lacking any highlights and Dulorme showed no likelihood of changing the pattern.
Score: 10-9 James James 88-83
A low scoring round but one in which Dulorme got close enough often enough to connect with some left hooks to the body and with James staying cautious and throwing little except one straight right that stopped Dulorme in his tracks Dulorme took the round.
Score: 10-9 Dulorme James 97-93
Dulorme chased hard again in this one. He managed to get close and scored with left hooks but James was also popping him with jabs. A clash of heads saw a lump appear under Dulorme’s left eye and he again landed some left hooks.
Score: 10-9 Dulorme James 106-103
James easily took the last round. He moved quickly and constantly stabbing home jabs and quick straight rights with Dulorme never able to get close enough to do any useful work as he chased in vain.
Score: 10-9 James James 116-112
Official Scores: Judge Lou Moret 117-111 James, Judge Zachary Young 116-112 James, Judge Alejandro Rochin 116-113 James.
With his 6’2” height and long reach James will pose problems for anyone he fights but he is not in the same class as Terence Crawford, Errol Spence or Manny Pacquiao. He is not entertaining enough for anyone to want anyone to break down doors to get him one of those fights and the interim title has little real value. He fought his fight here and won well but Dulorme was disappointing. He never really posed a threat. He had lost a very close decision to No 1 Yordenis Ugas and drawn with Jessie Vargas but he never got to grips with the physical advantages enjoyed by James.
Morell vs. Allen
Cuban youngster Morell take a wide unanimous over Allen to win the vacant WBA interim title
Morello was fired up taking the fight to Allen and firing flashy combinations. Allen connected with a couple of jabs but Morell was far quicker and unleashed a succession of punches as the round ended.
Score: 10-9 Morrell
Morell’s hand speed was giving Allen problems but he worked well with his jab and blocked or dodged many of the punches from the young Cuban and knocked Morell off balance with a right hook even though the confident Morell was already finding time to showboat.
Score: 10-9 Allen TIED 19-19
A dominating round for Morell. After some early jabbing from Allen Morell forced him to the ropes and piled on the punches to head and body from both hands. Allen fired back when he could catching Morell with a hard right hook and fought his way of the ropes before the bell.
Score: 10-9 Morell Morell 29-28
An early flurry of punches from Morell was enough to give him this round. Apart from that he was again showboating and leaving himself open to counters with Allen not quick enough to take advantage of the openings.
Score: 10-9 Morell Morell 39-37
Allen marched forward throughout the round but paid for it as Morell raked him with punches on the way in and either blocked or danced away from Allen’s punches. Morell was landing plenty but never really made a dent in Allen.
Score: 10-9 Morell Morell 49-46
Morell launched a wild attack at the start of this one. He pinned Allen against the ropes and kept him there belabouring him with punches. Allen saw out the storm but was rocked by four successive rights to the head later in the round.
Score: 10-9 Morell Morell 59-55
Morell was putting his punches together well in the seventh but could not stop Allen coming forward. He was connecting with hooks and uppercuts from different angles with Allen walking through the punches but not doing much inside. With only two pro fights, both of which ended early and the rest of his experience being in amateur fights this was probably the first time Morell had been as far as seven rounds.
Score: 10-9 Morell Morell 69-64
The pace dropped over these three minutes. Allen was still trying to force the fight but Morell was finding gaps with straight rights and the occasional uppercut and looked to be coasting.
Score: 10-9 Morell Morell 79-73
Morell had slowed but he still connected with some choice uppercuts and with Allen not able to get inside to work it was Morell’s round but he looked arm weary at times.
Score: 10-9 Morell Morell 89-82
The spring had gone out of Morell’s legs but Allen was more exhausted and the young Cuban worked Allen over on the ropes with hooks and uppercuts without ever really shaking Allen. Morell seems to have trouble with the word “break” and through the fight often hit on the break.
Score: 10-9 Morell Morell 99-91
Allen landed a sharp left counter early in this round but then Morell dominated the action. He was scoring with overhand lefts and threading uppercuts throught Allen’s guard and although Allen finished the round with a flourish it was not enough.
Score: 10-9 Morell Morell 109-100
Allen looked to have more left. Morell was wild as he tried to close the fight out and was caught repeatedly by counters from Allen who finished the fight the stronger.
Score: 10-9 Allen Morell 118-110
Official Scores: Judge Lou Moret 120-108 Morell, Judge Rudy Barragan 119-110 Morell and Judge Steve Morrow 118-110 for Morell
The 22-year-old Cuban can claim to have equalled Vasyl Lomachenko and Saensak Muangsurin who both won a world title in their third professional fight. The big difference was that they both won genuine world titles and not the fabricated interim title. It shows how low the standing of the WBA is when no one is too surprised that they rated Morell No 3 in the world after winning two preliminary bouts against fighters who only just scrape into the top 100 in the division. With Callum Smith (real champion), Saul Alvarez (secondary champion) and Fedor Chudinov (Gold champion) they now have four world champions in the super middleweight division. Nevertheless Morell showed some classy skills and real power but his problem is that as he is a “world champion” he will not be able to drop down to take some useful learning fights. Allen was never really in this fight with a chance and it is ridiculous that he should get a title fight in only his third fight in the last five years.
Santamaria vs. Fox
Santamaria scores important upset victory as he floors and outpoints world rated southpaw Fox. Santamaria was giving away nearly 8” inches against the 6’3 ½” Fox but made the perfect start as he sent Fox to the canvas in the first round. Fox recovered and it turned into a competitive scrap. Fox tried to fight at distance but just could not keep Santamaria out often enough or long enough to impose himself on the fight. Despite that it looked closer than the scores indicate but Santamaria was a clear winner. Scores 99-90, 97-92 and 96-93 for Santamaria. The 22-year-old winner from California is 9-0-1 in his last ten fights and was in his first ten round contest. Fox, the WBA No 13, went 19-0 before losing to unbeaten Uzbek Shohjahon Ergashev but had worked his way back with three wins.
Brentwood, England: Cruiser: Chris Billam- Smith (11-1) W TKO 2 Nathan Thorley (14-1). Super Welter: Anthony Fowler (13-1) W TKO 7 Adam Harper (9-2).
Billam-Smith vs. Thorley
Heavy-handed Billam-Smith halts Thorley in two rounds. After controlling the early action with strong jabs and straight rights with less than ten seconds to go in the round Billam-Smith connected with a perfectly timed right to the head. Thorley tried to move inside and hold but Billam-Smith managed to land a couple of lefts and Thorley dropped to one knee in a delayed action from that initial right. Thorley was up quickly and when the eight count ended with the round already over he returned to his corner. Billam-Smith put Thorley down early in the second with two clubbing rights to the head. Thorley was up at seven and then took the fight to Billam-Smith but walked onto a huge right counter that dropped him. Again he beat the count but swayed badly and the referee waived the fight over. Billam-Smith was making his first defence of the Commonwealth title. He has ten inside the distance wins with his only loss coming against unbeaten WBA No 3 Richard Riakporhe. Welshman Thorley didn’t have the power to match Billam-Smith.
Fowler vs. Harper
Fowler much too good for Harper and halts him in seven rounds. Fowler was in control of this one from the opening bell. With his longer reach and faster hands he was able to score at distance and raked Harper with body punches inside. He was twice warned about low punches in the first round and had a point deducted when he went low again in the second. Harper was showing a cut over his left eye by the end of the round. Fowler floored Harper with a right cross in the fourth and only the bell saved Harper. The fifth and sixth were one-sided with Fowler pounding on Harper but he went low again late in the sixth and was given a final warning. Fowler continued to connect with heavy shots in the seventh and when a long right rocked Harper the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight. Fourth win in a row and tenth by KO/TKO for Fowler with his only loss coming on a split verdict against Elite class amateur Scott Fitzgerald. The 29-year-old former Commonwealth gold and World bronze medallist and 2016 Olympian has talent and power and should be fighting for the British title soon. English champion Harper brave but in over his head. His other loss was on points against Australian Michael Zerafa for the vacant Commonwealth title in 2018
Grosseto, Italy: Super Feather: Mario Alfano (15-1-1) W TKO 2 Nicola Cipolletta (14-10-2). Alfano becomes national super feather champion for the second time as he floors and halts perennial challenger Cipolletta in the second round. With neither fighter being a puncher the fans were expecting ten rounds of tactical boxing. Cipolletta the more technical fighter began well boxing cleverly and scored well in the opening round. The roof fell in on him the second as Alfano exploded with a big right hook which had Cipolletta badly shaken and a left hook which sent Cipolletta staggering into the ropes. Alfano bombarded him with punches and Cipolletta fell sideways to the canvas. He somehow made it to his feet but was reeling and the referee rightly halted the contest. Alfano had won this title back in 2016 but was tonight coming off a loss against Lavisas Williams in Verona (NY) in June last year in an unsuccessful trip to the USA. This is only his fourth win by KO/TKO. Cipolletta, a former Italian featherweight champion, was having his fourth shot at the super featherweight title.
Managua, Nicaragua: Light: Francisco Fonseca (26-3-2) W TKO 1Eusebio Osejo (30-25-3). Super Feather: Marcio Soza (20-6-2) W PTS 8 Franco Gutierrez (10-5)
Fonseca vs. Osejo
Fonseca finishes southpaw Osejo in two minutes. Fonesca used his longer reach to put veteran Osejo on the defensive. He threw a long right that landed low with the referee indicating for him to keep his punches up. Osejo was hurt by the punch and edged along the ropes into a corner. Fonseca followed and landed a couple of lefts to the body but Osejo was already on his way down in delayed action to the first right and he sat out the count. Fonseca is looking for another title shot. He was beaten by Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer in bouts for the IBF super feather title and in November last year drew with unbeaten Alex Dilmaghani for the vacant IBO belt. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he was clobbered in just 80 seconds by Ryan Garcia in his last fight in February. Osejo now makes his money as a loser. His recent form reads just two wins in his fourteen fights spread across six different countries.
Soza vs. Gutierrez
No quarter asked or given in this one as Nicaraguans Soza and Gutierrez battered away at each other for eight rounds. The result could have gone either way but the judges gave it to the more experienced Soza on a majority verdict. From on the road to nowhere Soza has turned the corner with ten consecutive victories. Gutierrez looked as though he might do the same when he put together a run of six wins but he is now1-4 in his last 5.
Bucheon, South Korea: Welter: In Duk Seo (13-3-2) W TEC DEC 10 Jung Kyoung Lee (8-4-1). Seo wins the vacant WBA Asian title with technical decision over southpaw Lee. This was a savage scrap which swung one way and then the other. It was the aggression of Seo against the better skills of Lee and over the first four round Lee’s higher work rate and better boxing had him in front on a couple of cards 40-37 and 39-37 with the third judge favouring Seo 39-37. Things changed over the middle rounds as Lee started to slow from the pace he had set and although the fifth and sixth were close Seo began to dominate the action. Leo just could not keep him out and was forced into a brawl spending much of the time trapped on the ropes. After eight rounds Seo had edged in front 78-74 and 77-76 on two cards and was even at 76-76 on the third. A clash of heads in the eighth had seen Lee cut over his right eye and although he fought hard he soaked up a lot of punishment in the ninth and tenth. The referee had the doctor examine the cut before the start of the eleventh and the doctor ruled the cut was too bad for Lee to continue. It was decided on the cards with Seo winning ion scores of 98-92, 97-94 and 96-94. Third time lucky for Seo who in his last two contests had suffered defeats in a shot at this same title and also for the vacant OPBF Silver title. Lee is a former OPBF super welter champion who had gone 5-1-1 before this loss.
Marbella, Spain: Super Feather: John Carter (13-0-1) W TKO 8 Ibon Larringa (13-4). Super Welter: Kerman Lejarraga (31-2) W PTS 10 Tyrone Nurse (37-7-2). Light: Samuel Molina (15-0) W TKO 2 Ruben Garcia (5-9-2).
Carter vs. Larrinaga
Big win for Carter as he stops felloe-Spaniard Larringa in eight to collect the vacant European Union title. Carter was a heavy favourite and he fought like it. He attacked strongly from the start and had Larringa under siege. Larringa began to find the target with his jab in the third until a hard right put him on the floor. He survived the round but was rocky again at the end of the fifth and lost a point in the sixth for holding. Rights from Carter had Larringa reeling in the eighth and with Larringa’s team ready to throw in the towel the referee stopped the fight. Seventh consecutive win for Carter. He raises his total of inside the distance victories to seven but I think he will struggle against better class opposition. Larringa a poor level EU title challenger. He lost every round against Michael Conlan in May 2018 and was beaten in seven rounds by Carlos Ramos for the vacant Spanish feather title in November 2018.
Lejarraga vs. Nurse
Lejarraga takes wide unanimous decision over Nurse. Nurse took a few rounds to settle into any rhythm in this fight. Lejarraga took advantage of that to comfortably take the first three rounds. He took control of the centre of the ring jabbing well and scoring with some hefty rights. From the fourth Nurse, who had been looking to match Lejarraga in trading in the centre of the ring, changed his tactics and started to fight off the ropes letting Lejarraga come to him and countering the Spaniard. Nurse did better in those exchanges and his clever defensive work was frustrating Lejarraga’s attacks. Lejarraga continued to force the fight and was picking up rounds but good work from Nurse was making it closer. Lejarraga’s looked to be tiring and Nurse outscored Lejarraga in the eighth and the ninth was an even round. They both put in a big effort in the last with Lejarraga just having the edge. Scores 100-90 twice and 98-92 all for Lejarraga. “The Revolver” from Bilbao takes another step along the road to recovery with his third win in a row, but those two inside the distance losses to David Avanesyan still hangs over him like a cloud. Nurse, a former British super lightweight champion, has been a pro for twelve years. He went through a rough spell that saw him suffer four losses in a row but all of the results were close and debatable. He had worked his way back with two wins late last year and is a difficult opponent on his night.
Molina vs. Garcia
Molina gets a stoppage win but hugely controversial ending. Garcia outboxed Molina in the first but became overconfident and was showboating and mocking Molina in the second. He had his hands down inviting Molina to land a punch. Molina did. He nailed Garcia with a crunching right which landed on the bell-or after it as Garcia’s team claimed. Garcia lurched around the ring before collapsing to the canvas in a corner propped up against the ropes. Even when he got up he was obviously in a daze and distressed and the referee decided he could not continue and stopped the fight. Garcia and his team protested loud and long but the verdict stood although there may be a protest. Molina, 21, is Spanish champion and was national Under-19 champion in the amateurs. Despite his protests Garcia’s record will now show he is 1-7 in his last eight contests.
Fight of the week (Significance): The WBA interim victories for both Jamal James and David Morell have added another dimension to the welterweight and super middleweight divisions
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Marcio Soza and Franco Gutierrez knocked lumps off each other in eight rounds of war in Managua with honourable mention to the In Duk Seo vs. Jung Kyoung Lee WBA Asian title fight.
Fighter of the week: David Morell for winning the interim title in only his third pro fight.
Punch of the week: The right hand counter from Chris Billam-Smith in the second round of his fight with Nathan Thorley. It was a beauty.
Upset of the week: Lucas Santamaria’s win over Mykal Fox
Prospect watch: None I have not already spotted for you
Eddie Hearn’s back garden is becoming a busy fight camp.
I would love to hear how the WBA justify putting David Morell (only two prelim fights) above Daniel Jacobs, John Ryder, Anthony Dirrell, David Lemieux etc. in their ratings but I am not holding my breath.
A couple of clarifications. A) In California even if a fighter is on his feet when the fight is stopped it is registered as a KO but I will put it as a TKO where I know that has happened. B) If a fighter retires between rounds Box Rec list it as a retirement after the completed round and not before the next round and I will follow the same rule.
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